Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Now You See What You Wanna Be Just Have Your Party On TV

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self have been reunited for the first read-through of Sherlock series three. The popular TV double act posted a picture of themselves 'larking around' as they started work on the highly-anticipated next three episodes of the BBC1 drama. The BBC Twitter account noted: 'Sherlock read-through over, plenty of surprises in store for series three!' Freeman confirmed on Graham Norton's Comic Relief Big Chat last week that series three of Sherlock begins filming later this month, and producer Sue Virtue subsequently confirmed the actual date would be Monday 18 March. Freeman described the scripts as 'brilliant,' but insisted that he still didn't know how Sherlock Holmes had survived the cliffhanger ending of The Reichenbach Fall. 'Even we on reading the script aren't quite sure [what happened],' he said. 'Mark Gatiss is a clever fella.'
A return date for The Voice has been confirmed by the BBC. The second series of the talent contest will début on Saturday 30 March, the same night as Doctor Who returns, according to the BBC1 Twitter page.
Former cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, trudged reluctantly to court on Monday afternoon to take their very public pants-down caning, awaiting sentences for perverting the course of justice after being found extremely guilty of various naughty skulduggery, malarkey and shenanigans. They were both convicted after Pryce took driving licence points for Huhne after he was nicked for speeding in 2003. Huhne resigned as the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire after - finally - admitting the charge. Pryce, who had claimed the defence of 'marital coercion', was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court last week. Inside the courtroom the judge listened to mitigating arguments. Pryce's barrister claimed that his client's offence was 'at the lower end of the scale.' There was 'no real benefit' to her in committing it and she did so 'under pressure' from her then-husband, he suggested. The offence was something which Pryce would not have done but for the actions of Huhne seeking to pressurise her to take the points, her legal team argued. But John Kelsey-Fry, representing Huhne, said his client did not force Pryce nor coerce her nor bully her. In the end, the judge was having absolutely none of it and sent the pair down for an eight month stretch, each. Presumably meaning that both of them spent Monday evening (whilst yer actual Keith Telly Topping was listening to the new Bowie LP in the company of some good friends) learning all about slopping out at Holloway and Wandsworth respectively. Nasty. Sentencing the pair, trial judge Mr Justice Sweeney said that Huhne had lied 'again and again.' He told the couple: 'To the extent that anything good has come out of this whole process, it is that now, finally, you have both been brought to justice for your joint offence. Any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault.' Pryce, a prominent economist, was described as being 'controlling, manipulative and devious' by the judge. He said her 'weapon of choice' - snitching the story to a newspaper like a dirty stinking Copper's Nark after her husband had left her for another woman - had been 'a dangerous weapon' because they had both - knowingly - broken the law. And the momentum of the news story led to Pryce's 'unmasking.' Mr Justice Sweeney said point-swapping was 'all too easy to do' but it amounted to the 'serious criminal offence of perverting the course of justice' and sent them both off to begin their sentences. They'll both probably be out in three or four months, electronically tagged, but with their careers and reputations in ruins. That's what happens when you break the law and get caught.
Now, speaking of Mister Jones of Bromley and his new LP - as we were a few paragraphs back - yer actual Keith Telly Topping did, indeed, attend Uncle Scunthorpe's Record Player special on Monday evening to hear The Next Day in full for the first time. And, he's very glad he did. Let's not beat about the bush, dear blog reader - that was, frankly, just about effing extraordinary. Forget 'I'm simply relieved it's not crap.' Forget 'well, it's not half bad for a bloke in his sixties with a dodgy ticker'. Forget, even, 'that might be the best thing he's done since Buddha of Suburbia, not that it's got much to beat, of course.' The Next Day is - without question and, even on the strength of but one listen - the best thing Dame David Bowie's done since Scary Monsters. Easily. The production is superb - Visconti's got it absolutely spot on - and the Grand Dame's songs are, mostly, great. AND, bonus, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self (jointly) won the quiz afterwards and blagged himself a free copy of the CD and a copy of Peter Doggett's excellent Bowie In The 70s to justify his going half way across Newcastle from Stately Telly Topping Manor on just about the coldest night in living memory. TOTALLY worth it, kids! (Keith Telly Topping and young Ewan his very self jointly won the quiz along with a couple of other chaps. We decided against a tie-breaker - they got the five English pounds, we took the book and the CD.)
Back, briefly, to the Huhne fiasco. It was a quintessential tabloid exposé, featuring a high-profile MP, a private investigator and an extramarital affair. But the Scum of the World initially spiked its story on Chris Huhne's relationship with his press adviser because he was 'not famous enough', the former chief reporter of the disgraced and disgraceful louse tabloid has revealed. Neville Thurlbeck, writing on his personal blog, recounted how the Scum of the World 'sat' on the story of Huhne's infidelity for a year. It was only after the Lib Dem MP became energy secretary in the coalition government in May 2010 that the then-editor, Colin Myler, felt the story was 'worth running.' Thurlbeck told how he hired a private investigator – Derek Webb (the so-called Silent Shadow) – to tail Huhne's lover, Carina Trimingham, from the MP's Eastleigh constituency to her London home. Thurlbeck claimed that he was 'tipped off' about the story when he ran into 'an old contact, by chance' during a visit to parliament on 'another kiss-and-tell job.' That story, about former Labour MP Nigel Griffiths, originated via a tip-off from a teenager, Thurlbeck revealed. Thurlbeck also paid tribute to Isabel Oakeshott, The Sunday Times political editor who exposed Huhne's points swap after an embittered Pryce told her the story. 'I tip my hat to her,' he said. 'But it's odd to think all this unravelling and domino effect would never have happened if a nosy teenager in 2009 hadn't picked up the phone to me.'

On to more telly-related matters now, and there's a terrific interview by yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mucker the great Malcolm Holt on his Sunny Side of the Street website with former CSI actress Liz Vassey. Check it out. And, whilst you're doing that, here's the single best Liz Vassey publicity photo yer actual Keith Telly Topping could find on a two minute search of the Interweb. Oh yes.
Sticking to a - marginally - similar theme, following his truly excellent review of the reissued Doctor Who: The Aztecs DVD mentioned on this blog the other day, yer actual Keith Telly Topping wishes to draw your attention, dear blog reader, to another old mate of his, Greg Bakun's From The Archive blog and its take on the new The Ark in Space 'special edition.'
Incidentally, still on the subject of Doctor Who, had he lived, yesterday would have been the great Douglas Adams's sixty first birthday. So, in tribute to The Dougmeister, here's Lalla Ward (with her future husband, of course) wearing a naughty schoolgirl outfit in City of Death. I know, I know, any excuse, frankly.
Errr ... just so we're clear, it's Lalla in the naughty schoolgirl outfit, not Tom. Glad we cleared that one up. Next ...

A previously lost script (now 'found', obviously) about the downfall of footballing legend George Best by the writer Jack Rosenthal is to be given its world premiere in a pub theatre in Manchester almost thirty years after it was written. Rosenthal, one of the UK's leading TV writers, wrote The Best for a film in 1985, but the movie never got made. The script has been rediscovered in Rosenthal's archive and put on stage at the thirty-seat Lass O'Gowrie pub. Actress Maureen Lipman, Rosenthal's widow, said that the play was 'wonderful.' Bestie was widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers to have graced the British game .. . even if he did play for The Scum. But the United icon's lifelong battle with alcoholism led to a drink-driving conviction, bankruptcy, a liver transplant and his eventual death aged just fifty nine in 2005. A tragedy for one so gifted. Rosenthal, a giant of British drama and a United fan, spent some time with Best and his first wife, Angie, while researching his script. 'Jack sat with Angie and George for several weekends and got the stories,' Lipman said. The script begins in a clinic where the footballer is looking back at his life and facing his demons with a psychiatrist. Lipman said that Rosenthal wanted to write the story of Best 'coming up against himself in a drying-out clinic.' But the film studio, Warners, wanted him to turn the tale of George and Angie into 'the greatest love story ever told.' 'So, somehow, they didn't do it,' said Lipman, who has given her blessing for the script to be adapted for the stage and recently sat in on rehearsals. 'It really, really surpassed my expectations,' she said. 'I did not expect to laugh as much or be touched in the way I was. I think if Jack had been sitting beside me in that dingy back room at the Lass O'Gowrie - which of course he was - he would have been as thrilled as I was.' Rosenthal, who died in 2004, won three BAFTA awards in the 1970s, wrote over one hundred and twenty classic episodes of Coronation Street (and produced the series for a year in the late 60s) and co-wrote the feature film Yentl with Barbra Streisand. After his death, Lipman donated Rosenthal's papers to Sheffield University, where the script for The Best was spotted by the Lass O'Gowrie landlord Gareth Kavanagh. 'There it was - a first draft with all his hand-written notes of his meetings,' Kavanagh said. 'It was ready to produce.' Kavanagh had already recreated some of Rosenthal's vintage Coronation Street episodes on the pub's stage with Lipman's permission. He said The Best was 'a very clever story,' adding: 'What was so amazing about it, and this is where writers like Jack never lost their craft, was that even though it was going to be a Hollywood screenplay, it was still a small piece. It didn't have a huge cast, it didn't have a huge number of location changes. So it wasn't like trying to stage Avatar in a small room. I felt it was suited more to the stage than as a screenplay.' The Best will run at the Lass O'Gowrie from Tuesday to Saturday. Lipman said that she hoped the story could then go on to be staged in bigger venues. This is not the first time George Best's story has been told on the stage - a musical titled Dancing Shoes opened in Belfast in 2010.
Numerous police failings left dirty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile free to sexually abuse hundreds of young people over five decades – when he could have been stopped during the 1960s, according to a highly critical report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. The watchdog's inquiry into police 'handling' of Savile revealed that the disgraced DJ and paedophile, who died in October 2011, could have been stopped 'as early as 1964' but the police mishandled evidence and dismissed the claims of victims. In a sixty one-page report to the home secretary, Theresa May, HMIC raised fresh concerns about information sharing in the police and warned that officers could fail to prevent a Savile-like scandal happening again. The inspectorate described a 'cultural mistrust' of evidence from children, warning that procedures adopted by various agencies over many years had 'left vulnerable young people unprotected' by the criminal justice system. 'The findings in this report are of deep concern, and clearly there were mistakes in how the police handled the allegations made against Savile during his lifetime,' said Drusilla Sharpling of HMIC. 'However, an equally profound problem is that victims felt unable to come forward and report crimes of sexual abuse.' Five allegations of sexual assault were recorded against Savile during his lifetime, according to HMIC – compared with the six hundred made since October last year when the Metropolitan police launched its Operation Yewtree investigation. Meanwhile, eight victims have so far come forward with concerns about how their allegations against Savile were handled – and the inspectorate revealed examples of how a series of complaints about him were 'dismissed' by police officers. In 1963, a Cheshire man was told by a police officer to 'forget about it' and 'move on' when he reported an allegation of rape by Savile, according to HMIC. Another man who tried to report an assault that his girlfriend had suffered at a recording of Top of the Pops was told by police he 'could be arrested for making such allegations.' The inspectorate investigated seven incidents – including five sexual assault complaints by victims and two 'pieces of intelligence' – and concluded that a failure to 'join the dots' left police unable to derail Savile's five-decade reign of sick and sordid abuse. In an alarming finding, HMIC warned that inconsistencies in intelligence sharing by police forces meant there was a 'distinct possibility' the failure to identify Savile's pattern of abuse 'could be repeated.' HMIC said it was sufficiently concerned that it will review information management in the police later this year – just two years after the Police National Database was set up. Referring to Michael Bichard's recommendations to reform intelligence sharing in 2004, the HMIC report said: 'It is a matter of some concern that, in 2007, in the post-Bichard era, the failures of the past may still have been repeated.' Evidence uncovered by HMIC suggests Savile was 'known' to Met officers investigating child sex offences 'as early as 1964' – the same year he presented the first edition of Top of the Pops. The inquiry also turned up 'an anonymous letter' received by the Metropolitan police in 1998, which it said was 'never properly investigated,' despite suggesting that Savile changed his telephone number as a result of a blackmail attempt. HMIC's report also raises further questions for West Yorkshire police, which said in February that some of its officers regularly visited Savile's Leeds home whilst on duty. Two former West Yorkshire police officers and a relative of an officer have come forward to state that they 'were aware' of 'concerns' surrounding Savile's contact with young girls, the report said. As the force for the area where Savile lived throughout his life, West Yorkshire should have received three key pieces of intelligence, according to HMIC, but has only been able to confirm receipt of a letter from the Met in 1998. An inspector from the force who may have 'acted on behalf' of Savile is currently under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Danny Boyle has confirmed plans for a Trainspotting sequel. He hopes that the adaptation of Irvine Welsh's follow-up novel, Porno, will see the return of the original cast including Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle. The filmmaker plans to begin making the film in 2016. John Hodge, who wrote the screenplays for several of Boyle's movies including Trance, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave and A Life Less Ordinary, is currently working on the script. 'This has been a long time coming,' Boyle told The Playlist. 'There's always been this long-term plan for Trainspotting 2, if John can produce a decent enough script, I don't think there will be any barriers to Ewan or any of the cast coming back. I think they'll wanna know that the parts are good so they don't feel like they are letting anyone down.'
Miranda Hart has suffered an ankle injury in Newcastle after stumbling in high heels on the eve of a charity challenge. The six foot one inch tall comedy actress, who is famous for falling over on-screen, had to be taken to hospital after Sunday's fall as she arrived at a hotel. The forty-year-old is due to do a series of challenges for charity in different cities including waxing her armpits. But she may now have to do Miranda's Mad March on crutches. Hart is being assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary. But she is still hoping to get set a world record by waxing as many armpits as possible in three minutes, live on BBC1's The ONE Show later. She said: 'I should have known better, I was wearing a heel at the time, which is ridiculous as I'm six foot one. To be honest, it was only an inch-and-a-half heel but that was enough to do it. I normally only wear ballet pumps. I was in my hotel room and I just went. So much for my Mad March - this is now definitely going to be Miranda's Mad Hop.' The actress and writer had to be given gas and air in hospital while medics 'manipulated' her leg. But she said that she is determined to carry on through the pain and is helped by the fact she can do the first challenge while seated. The Call The Midwife star was told about her first challenge live on Radio 2 on Monday morning by breakfast show host Chris Evans. She said: 'I'm a shaver not a waxer so this is completely new territory for me. Goodness knows where the wax is going to end up tonight - all I can say is, good luck Newcastle.' After Monday night's challenge, she will be taken to Manchester, Birmingham and Oxford, before finishing in London on Friday, which is Red Nose Day. Money raised through her BT Red Nose Challenge will help Comic Relief's work in the UK and Africa.

There were chaotic scenes at a Swiss football match over the weekend as a pine marten - a member of the weasel family, just in case you though it was one of the band that sang 'Happy Hour', dear blog reader - rushed on to the pitch. The Swiss League game between FC Thun and Zurich was temporarily put on hold as players and officials chased the creature round the gaff like this was an episode of Jeux Sans Frontières. Tragically, Stuart Hall was unavailable to do the commentary and we had to put up with a couple of Swiss blokes instead. At first the frisky little critter evaded capture, until Zurich defender Loris Benito dived to the ground and grabbed it. Unfortunately for Benito, the pine marten responded by giving him a nasty nip on the finger. What larks. The crowd seems to enjoy the spectacles far more than the actual match itself which ended in a 4-0 victory for Zurich.
And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a stone twenty four carat funk groove from yer actual Blondie. Street.

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