Monday, March 18, 2013

Week Thirteen: On The Box, You Get To See All The Best Women

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) is 'taking special care' to protect the secrets of the programme's fiftieth anniversary episode. 'One length I've gone to which is a really good security measure - I make sure I don't get a script, because I will lose it,' he said. 'I forbid people to hand me one. It's on my computer at home under lock and key.' Matt Smith promised fans they 'will not be disappointed' by the story. Oh, I wouldn't bank on that if I were you, Smudger. They're Doctor Who fans, some of them can usual find something to whinge about in almost any situation. And, start a fight when they're on their own in a telephone box an'all. 'I read it and I clapped at the end. I think it's hilarious, it's epic and it's vast,' he said at a Doctor Who series launch event last week. 'It manages to pay homage to everything - and look forward.' The first story of Doctor Who's 2013 run, The Bells of Saint John, will be screened on Easter Saturday 30 March. Described by Moffat as a 'proper London thriller', it sees the Doctor and his new companion, Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) battling an evil entity in the world's wifi networks. Future episodes see the return of the Cybermen and old enemies the Ice Warriors, who last appeared during the Jon Pertwee era in 1974. 'It's going to be the biggest and best and most inventive and most exciting year for the show,' Smith said. The fiftieth anniversary special, due to begin filming in April, will be broadcast in 3D around the show's birthday in November. Matt Smith told the BBC News website that during his time as The Doctor he had cultivated the habit of giving nothing away. 'You're sat on all this information and people are genuinely intrigued. It's one of the responsibilities of being in this show you have to be discreet about what you tell people.' The first ever episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child, with William Hartnell as The Doctor, was broadcast on 23 November 1963. As part of the anniversary events, the BBC will also broadcast An Adventure in Space and Time - a one-off biopic by Mark Gatiss looking at how the popular family SF drama came to be made.

Doctor Who's forthcoming series seven (b) opener The Bells of Saint John will make its Australian début on Easter Sunday 31 March 2013, at 7.30pm on ABC1. This will be just hours after the UK premiere which takes place on 30 March, and is the swiftest fast-tracking ABC has ever provided Australian fans of the show on terrestrial television. So, that's good news for everybody down under.
The eleventh series of Qi, covering the letter 'K', will again consist of sixteen episodes and will be recorded in April and May 2013. Of course, for some daft reason one episode from the previous, tenth, series - 'Just The Job' - still remains to be shown. There's, sadly, no news yet on when that's likely to happen.

The X Factor 'bosses' have reportedly axed the Newcastle Upon Tyne auditions from this year's show. Presumably, because they divvent reckon there's nee decent singa talent up here, like. Y'knaa. Soft Southern shites. The judges didn't visit Birmingham last year as producers thought the city provided 'no memorable talent,' but they apparently plan to reverse their decision after 'disappointing results' in Newcastle. 'Last year's show saw thirty thousand fewer wannabes audition than ever before,' an alleged 'source' (anonymous, of course) allegedly told the Daily Lies Sunday. 'Obviously switching Newcastle for Birmingham was a mistake and they're desperate to make sure it doesn't happen again.' Former judge Wor Cheryl Cole, of course, comes from Heaton and won The X Factor a few years ago as a mentor to South Shields's Joe McElderry. 'She has a special connection to Newcastle and its talent because of him and because of her roots there. She's not happy about it,' the alleged 'source' allegedly added.

Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway rose to a series high rating on Saturday night, overnight data shows. The duo's revived ITV format commanded an average of 6.69 million from 7pm until 8.15pm. While Saturday Night Takeaway was once again the most-watched primetime show, the programme was not the best-rated broadcast of the day. BBC1's Six Nations Rugby coverage, which saw Wales win for the second year over England, pulled in 7.52m between 4.30pm and 7pm - peaking with nearly ten million viewers. After the rugby, the corporation's flagship channel recorded 4.48m for Pointless, 4.46m for In It to Win It, 4.85m for Casualty and a commendable 4.88m for a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys. Meanwhile on ITV, The Cube attracted 3.78m after Takeaway and The Jonathan Ross Show was watched by 2.63m from 9.30pm. The Six Nations continued on BBC2 for the last match of the competition, between Italy and Ireland, with 2.16m, while Churchill and the Fascist Plot interested 1.02m on Channel Four and US drama NCIS acquired a million viewers for Channel Five. Overall, BBC2 led primetime with 21.2 per cent of ther total audience share, beating ITV's 19.4 per cent.

Here's the next batch of Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 23 March
In Pointless Celebrities, Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman introduce a Doctor Who special of the unorthodox - and wholly aptly-named - general knowledge quiz - 7:00 BBC1. Contestants Sylvester McCoy, Bernard Cribbins, Jacqueline King, Andrew Hayden-Smith, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred, Louise Jameson and Frazer Hines (so, nobody actually connected to the production any time recently, then) try to come up with the least likely correct answers to a series of questions posed to the public in the hope of winning a jackpot sum for charity. Sounds staggeringly pointless.

A repeat, but a good 'un is Slade at the BBC - 10:55 BBc4. Yer actual Saint Noddy Holder his very self introduces a compilation of the legendary Birmingham rock band's performances from the BBC archives. Featuring appearances from the 1970s on shows such as Top of the Pops, Blue Peter and Crackerjack, with classic hits including 'Coz I Luv You', 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now', 'Gudbye T'Jane' and 'Cum On Feel the Noize'. Well tasty as a pair of twelve inch platforms. Kipper tie? Don't mind if I do - milk, two sugars.
There's also a repeat of a terrific Playhouse Presents, The Other Woman - 9:00 Sky Arts 1. The play is a neat exploration of the dynamics of a long- term relationship. Geraldine James plays an actress in a successful family drama written by her husband Robert (Trevor Eve), who reads between the lines of her on-screen husband's (Richard E Grant) infidelities to discover the truth about their own marriage. The urbane script draws out the threads that bind two people together over the years — and the small walls that keep them apart — with wit and warmth. If you missed it last time around, put that right tonight.
Sunday 24 March
In a special twentieth anniversary celebration for Time Team, Tony Robinson relives the best bits from more than two hundred episodes in the final ever programme - 5:30 Channel Four. The episode takes in major highlights such as digging up the garden of Buckingham Palace to reveal a crashed Spitfire and discovering the first stone circle to be found in Britain for one hundred and fifty years. There is a reminder of how the show grew from nervous beginnings in a Somerset field into attempting city-wide digs and promoting nationwide events in which thousands of people spent the weekend digging in their own back yards.
Our Girl - 9:00 BBC1 - is a one-off drama about eighteen-year-old Molly Dawes, who is desperate not to turn out like her mother - pregnant with her sixth child - and layabout father. So, the morning after a hard drinking session, she walks into an Army recruitment office and tentatively asks about a job in the forces. The next thing she knows, she is on a two-day assessment course to find out whether she is a suitable candidate for basic training. Although she finds it hard to settle, the examiners see her as a rough diamond. But does she have enough potential to make it through? Lacey Turner stars, with Kerry Godliman, Matthew McNulty, Sean Gallagher, Dan Black and Katherine Pearce.

Foyle's War, the detective drama starring the great Michael Kitchen returns for three new episodes - 8:00 ITV. It's 1946 and, although one war has ended, another - cold - one is looming as the Iron Curtain falls across Europe. Foyle arrives home from America where he is wanted in connection with a suspicious suicide, but MI5 offers him a way out. The agency suspects Britain's atomic research programme has been infiltrated and wants to recruit him to investigate a Soviet spy ring that could be at work in the heart of London. With Honeysuckle Weeks, Ellie Haddington and Dylan Charles.
Monday 25 March
In Paul Hollywood's Bread - 8:00 BBC2 - the master baker explores the diverse and colourful world of flatbreads, making corn tortillas served stacked and layered with spicy roast chicken, guacamole and sour cream. Paul also bakes a Middle Eastern maneesh to dip in a smoky baba ganoush, tries his hand at making traditional wafer-thin Indian lentil dosas and gets to grips with a supersize Caribbean roti known as 'buss up shot'. He shares his love of Cypriot food with a recipe for Nigella-scented pittas stuffed with pork souvlaki.

Local journalist Olly investigates Jack, the newsagent for whom Danny did a paper round - and discovers a suspicious previous conviction in Broadchurch - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile, Beth and Mark try to get more national press coverage of their son's death in an attempt to find his killer, and Hardy goes for dinner with Miller and her husband, but blacks out in his hotel room later that evening. Detective drama, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman.
Wodehouse In Exile - 9:00 BBC4 - is a (rather fine-looking) drama set during the Second World War, focusing on how celebrated author PG Wodehouse came to face a treason charge that led to him being exiled from Britain, never to return. Starring Tim Pigott-Smith, Zoe Wanamaker, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Paul Ritter.
Tuesday 26 March
Tonight's Live International Football is Montenegro versus yer actual under-performing England (kick-off 8.00pm). On ITV, as usual, so the coverage of this evening's 2014 World Cup Group H qualifying match at the Podgorica City Stadium will; be shite. Also as usual. The hosts have been the surprise package in the group so far, leading the standings after the first four matches with three wins and a draw, and their home fixtures have produced a 2-2 draw against Poland and a 3-0 victory over San Marino. The nations have met twice before, in the qualifiers for Euro 2012, with both encounters ending in stalemate, and Roy Hodgson's men need to win here to kick-start a stuttering campaign that has already seen them drop points against Ukraine and Poland. Presented by odious greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles, with a complete lack of anything approaching sensible analysis by Roy Keane, Gareth Southgate and Lee Dixon, and commentary by Clive Tyldesley. Andy Townsend, as usual, makes various noises of such lack of coherence that they evaporate on contact with the ear. Risible.
In the latest CSI - 9:00 Channel Five - Russell and his team are presented with a suitably gruesome murder to solve on Halloween when Las Vegas police dog handler Mike Nelson is found with his throat ripped out - and at first glance all the signs point to his German shepherd partner as the killer. Meanwhile, Finlay and Morgan investigate the shooting of high-profile divorce lawyer Barry Sloan, and fingerprints found outside his bedroom window lead them to question one of his clients.

Rachel Johnson embarks on a quest to find out how to be a proper ladygirl in the rather obviously titled How to Be a Lady: An Elegant History - 9:00 BBC4. The writer and former editor of the Lady magazine explores the origins of the word 'lady', from the time when it represented a specific code of behaviour, dress and speech, to the present day, asking why terms such as 'ladylike' remain in use. As part of her mission, Rachel rides side-saddle, attends an etiquette school, visits her grandmother's own Ladies' College at Cheltenham, discovers where the gymslip was invented (steady!), and attempts to learn how to open and close a door correctly. The secret's in turning the knob, love. Most woman have already mastered that by the time they go to school.

If you can't find anything else to watch tonight then you could do far worse than check out ITV4's repeat of the legendary 1985 show An Audience with Billy Connolly. Albeit, be advised, it is the edited fifty odd minute version rather than the unedited hour and a half show, with swearing, that's available on DVD. The Big Yin descends on London to entertain a celebrity crowd including Twiggy, Ringo Starr, Michael Brandon, Jackie Charlton, Denis Law, Peter Davison, Samantha Fox, Michael Parkinson, Michael Aspel, some of Status Quo, Bob Hoskins (who constantly looks like he's about to wee in his own pants) and Clive James. It's pure dead funny. Especially the Gebrovian National Anthem!
Wednesday 27 March
Five more amateur cooks must hold their water in tonight's MasterChef - 8:00 BBC1. Firstly, there's the invention test, which gives them one hour to cook an exceptional dish from scratch. They then take a palate test in which they have to recreate John Torode's dish of pappardelle with meatballs and tomato sauce without a recipe. Two of them are then eliminated and the three remaining hopefuls work a busy lunchtime service at London's One-O-One restaurant, before heading back to the MasterChef HQ kitchen to cook two courses to impress John and Gregg Wallace, hoping to win a place in the quarter-finals.
Eighteen years ago, Discworld author Terry Pratchett had a life-changing experience in the jungles of Borneo, where he encountered orangutans in the wild for the first time. Now he's going back to find out what the future holds for these endangered primates in Terry Pratchett: Facing Extinction - 9:00 BBC2. In which, Terry learns of a new threat to their habitat that could push them to the brink of extinction. The novelist's battle with early onset Alzheimer's makes the trip an incredible challenge both physically and mentally, as he contemplates the role of mankind in the eradication of the planet's species and considers his own fragile mortality.

There's one of the finest episodes of the current series of Bones on tonight - 9:00 Sky Living. When Jack and Angela Hodgins wake to find the skinned body of a Special Forces agent hanging over their bed, they instantly know who is responsible - psycho-killing arch-genius Christopher Pelant is back, and the killer is sending a clear signal that he has upped his game. While Booth delves into the victim's shady dealings with a mercenary supplier, Jack and Angela become obsessed with the case and pursue a separate investigation without their colleagues' knowledge.
Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time - 9:00 BBC1 - is a one-off documentary in which Margaret Mountford visits the Roman town of Pompeii, where in 79AD the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius encased its citizens in lava, creating body casts that populate the ruins. No one has yet been able to fully explain how these people became frozen in time, so while forensic scientists peer beneath the plaster to rebuild the faces of two victims and recreate the final moments of the townfolk, Margaret dispels the myths surrounding the events in 79AD and explores the lives of the individuals who lived in the enigmatic city.

Thursday 28 March
In the opening episode of a new series of James May's Man Lab - 8:00 BBC2 - the Top Gear presenter continues his quest to help modern men relearn vital skills in danger of being lost, beginning by enlisting a memory champion to help him prepare to commentate on the Grand National. Back in the lab, Captain Slow builds a one-ton pizza oven from scratch, while his sidekick Rory is challenged to convince a group of connoisseurs that he is the BBC's newest wine expert - with James and Oz Clarke offering help via an earpiece from a van parked outside.

Forty Year Old Virgins - 9:00 Channel Four - is a documentary following a forty five-year-old man and a twenty nine-year-old woman who have never had sex - and not through personal choice. Clive is intimidated by the thought of physical intimacy and finds it difficult to talk to women, while Rosie dreams of starting a family, but cannot bear to be touched by men. The pair head to America for a radical two-week course of sex therapy designed to help them face their fears.

Ian Hislop Goes Off the Rails - 9:00 BBc4 - might be a repeat but it's still, comfortably, the best hour of TV tonight. It tells the story behind the 1963 Beeching Report, commissioned under Harold Macmillan's government, which led to the closure of a third of Britain's rail network. With contributions from experts, campaigners, railwaymen and passengers, Private Eye editor yer man Ian Hislop - a maker superb, thoughtful social history documentaries - outlines the historical background to the proposals, along with the social and economic impact that followed their implementation.
Friday 29 March
Nile Rodgers: The Hitmaker - 9:00 BBC4 - features a candid interview with 1970s pop legend Nile Rodgers talks about his personal life and the career that saw him become one of disco music's most successful artists. Rodgers opens up about his childhood, his party lifestyle as a member of the band Chic, the tragic death of his musical partner Bernard Edwards and his battle with cancer. Featuring contributions from Bryan Ferry, Debbie Harry, Valerie Simpson, Steve Winwood, David Bowie, his fellow Chic members and other artists.

My Hero - 9:00 BBC1 - is a conceit in which celebrities explore the lives of those who have influenced them, beginning with Miranda Hart paying tribute to Eric Morecambe. She tells his story by retracing his steps, visiting the places he appeared with partner Ernie Wise, meeting people who knew him and introducing the performances that made her want to enter the comedy world. The journey takes her across Britain, from Wales - where she talks to writer Eddie Braben, the man behind many of Eric and Ernie's most famous TV moments - to the Essex studio of the artist who painted the entertainer at the height of his fame.

Revolution - 9:00 Sky1 - is a post-apocalyptic adventure from the makers of Lost and Supernatural, set in a dystopian future 15 years after an unknown phenomenon disabled electricity and all devices powered by it. The drama follows members of one family who unite with a rogue band of survivors and set out on a mission to overthrow the militia, while exploring the mystery of why the power failed and whether it will ever return. Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos and Graham Rogers star.
To the news, now: A press regulation deal appears to have been reached between the three main political parties, according to Labour's Mad Hattie Harman. Talks were held overnight between Ed Milimolimandi and Nick Clegg, along with Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin. Full details of the proposals are expected to be confirmed later. Harman claimed that a proposed vote on the matter of a new press watchdog would not be held in the Commons on Monday. David Cameron has objected to plans to set up a new watchdog backed by law, while the other parties supported the idea. Last November, Lord Justice Leveson recommended 'a genuinely independent and effective system of self-regulation' of the press, backed by a new statutory law. Cameron - who set up the Leveson inquiry in the first place - chose to ignore this and subsequently proposed a new system involving a press regulatory body overseen by a royal charter. Following the breakdown of cross-party talks on the matter last week, Cameron announced that MPs would vote on press regulation on Monday night. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are said to have agreed a deal with the Conservatives on 'a limited version' of their original wishes for full legal backing of a royal charter, reports BBC News. Harman told BBC Radio 4's Today: 'There is an agreement.' She explained that 'a small piece of legislation' relating to the enterprise and regulatory reform bill will be announced in the Lords later today. An alleged 'senior Labour source' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'After five-and-a-half hours of talks in Ed Miliband's office which ended at 2.30am, we are confident we have the basis of an agreement around our royal charter entrenched in statute.'

Odious right-wing scum louse Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Scum Mail, and Torygraph Media Group and News International executives, are said to be 'concerned' that a candidate such as Hacked Off's Brian Cathcart might apply to be on the board of the new press watchdog and the editors insist they need a veto on appointments to stop anyone with an agenda getting a seat at the top table. Oh, I'll frigging bet they're concerned. Cathcart, who is executive director of Hacked Off, the group campaigning for tighter press regulation, claimed on Thursday that David Cameron had acquiesced to demands by the three newspaper groups that they should 'have the final say' over who was on the new regulatory body's board. But alleged 'sources' in the Scum Mail, Torygraph and News International camp said this is a 'legitimate concern' to stop the likes of Cathcart or 'some sub-editor who has borne a grudge against their employer' getting on the board and using their position 'to pursue their own narrow agenda rather than regulate and adjudicate on the merits of the cases that come before it.' Under the Leveson recommendations, no serving editor would sit on the board of the press watchdog that will replace the Press Complaints Commission in order to ensure its 'independence' from the industry. However former editors can apply and Cathcart would be eligible as a former deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday. 'The process is open and anyone can apply, but the concern was you might end up with a situation with for instance Brian Cathcart applied as one of the industry members who can't be serving editors but you can't have anyone too junior either. The industry people need to be people who work in the industry and know and understand it,' said one alleged newspaper industry 'source'. Others who it is believed might apply for the job include the former Scum of the World executive editor Neil Wallis, who might have the support of the tabloids but not the broadsheets, the alleged 'source' allegedly said. The newspaper industry 'insiders' allegedly said that the veto they want on appointments is 'borne out of real concerns' and not 'a desire to return to the ways of the past' when the PCC was seen as an obedient poodle of the tabloids and failed to properly investigate allegations about Scum of the World phone-hacking raised by the Gruniad in 2009. They have asked prime minister to approve a system of a 'qualified majority' whereby all appointments to the new press regulator's board must have majority approval of the seven independent members making the appointments decisions and a majority of the five industry members. The demands for a veto became one of the sticking points which led to the collapse of cross-party negotiations on a new Leveson-compliant press watchdog and the decision on Thursday by Cameron to pull the plug on talks. The closed-door talks between Cameron and individual editors including the odious Dacre has also led to a split in the press industry, which had initially agreed to set aside their differences over a breakfast summit at the Delaunay restaurant in London in December and implement most of The Leveson Report recommendations, including the creation of a new press regulatory body with the powers to exact fines of up to one million smackers. 'We don't like it, but we are going to have to implement it,' one tabloid national newspaper editor allegedly remarked to the Gruniad at the time. A little over three months later the Delaunay pact appears to be in tatters with old rivalries resurfacing between newspapers. According to one alleged newspaper 'insider' allegedly involved in the talks with Downing Street, it all allegedly 'started to unravel' on 5 February, the day Lord Puttnam won Lords backing to tack Leveson amendments onto the defamation bill. At that point the political momentum had dissipated around Leveson as the Tories delayed on their proposals for a new watchdog, prompting Puttman's manoeuvre. But behind the scenes, newspaper groups, notoriously divided over the PCC's past performance, had managed to agree on almost everything, something they considered a major feat. 'We were within an inch of agreeing the recognition criteria [for the new press regulator] and the only outstanding issue was one sentence on group complaints,' said one alleged newspaper 'source' allegedly involved in the talks. 'Cameron had asked us to find agreement when we went to see him in number ten after Leveson, he did his spiel and left us with [the lack of culture secretary] Maria Miller and [the PM's policy adviser] Oliver Letwin. She asked us all to go away and find agreement which we did,' said the alleged 'source'. Last week the united newspaper front crumbled. Three newspapers, the Gruniad Morning Star, the Financial Times and the Independent, wrote to the two men leading the negotiations on behalf of the industry and called for greater openness. 'It is clear to us that closed-door negotiations with the Conservatives have so far failed to generate a politically acceptable outcome and the process has alienated stakeholders in the debate, including party leaders and parliamentarians,' said the editors of the respective papers, risible specky Communist runt Alan Rusbridger, Lionel Barber and Chris Blackhurst. Their letter was sent to former Scum Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright and Paul Vickers, company secretary of Trinity Mirra, who have been leading negotiations on behalf of the industry.

Yer actual David Bowie's first CD in a decade has become the fastest selling of the year, hitting the number one spot in its first week. The Next Day is the sixty six-year-old's first number one since 1993's Black Tie White Noise. And his best since, at least, 1993's The Buddha Of Suburbia. The CD sold ninety four thousand copies this week (including one to yer actual Keith Telly Topping), according to the Official Chart Company, outselling the number two CD from risible old hairy rockers Bon Jovi two-to-one. Which is nice. The announcement that Bowie was releasing new material came as a surprise to many in the music world, and has had Bowie aficionados picking over the fiercely private star's back catalogue, comparing his early work with his latest release. A retrospective of the performer is being unveiled at London's V&A Museum on 23 March, celebrating Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon. Although Bowie himself is not directly involved with curating the exhibition, the David Bowie Archive gave 'unprecedented access' to the V&A, which picked out flamboyant costumes, early photographs and other memorabilia to show. The Next Day's first week sales beat that of the previous fastest-selling UK CD, which was Biffy Clyro's Opposites which sold seventy one thousand in its debut week in January.

Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen beat Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in a tense strategic battle in the Australian Grand Prix. Raikkonen made only two pit stops for fresh tyres compared to Alonso's three and the Finn carefully managed his race to hold off the Ferrari's challenge. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel took third ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. Red Bull's Mark Webber was sixth ahead of Force India's Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta. Jenson Button salvaged ninth for struggling McLaren ahead of the second Lotus of Romain Grosjean. Raikkonen had started in seventh place on the grid but a good start put him up to fourth in the early laps. Lotus devised a two-stop strategy and Raikkonen managed his tyres carefully to move into the lead on lap twenty three as the other front-runners - Alonso, Massa and Vettel - made their second of three stops. Alonso, who passed early leaders Vettel and Massa with an earlier second stop, set a series of fastest laps as he took the lead following Raikkonen's final stop on lap thirty four. Raikkonen re-took the lead when Alonso made his own final stop, after which he emerged third behind the Finn and Sutil, who was running second on his own two-stop strategy. But, once Alonso had passed Sutil, Raikkonen upped his pace and was able to keep the Ferrari at arm's length and even pull away in the closing laps. 'Our plan was to do two stops,' said the Finn. 'It's always difficult in the first races to know when to stop. We got it exactly right, the team worked extremely well, we had a plan and we followed the plan, and it worked out perfectly for us. I could save the tyres and I could go fast when I wanted. It was one of the easiest races to win. Hopefully we can have more races like this.' Vettel had looked poised for a comfortable win after setting impressive times in practice and taking pole by nearly half-a-second. But the Red Bull could not keep pace with Raikkonen and Alonso in the race as he struggled with higher tyre wear than the Lotus and Ferrari. 'We can be happy with the pace all weekend, the whole team worked well,' said Vettel. 'Obviously there is a bit of homework to do with the tyres. I think two stop was out of our range today. The naked pace was there.' The close battle bodes well for a competitive season between those three teams, who appear to have a slight advantage over the rest. 'Arriving here and fighting for the podium was the aim of the weekend,' said Alonso. 'The car felt good so being on the podium is job done, let's say. We didn't have the pace to fight with Kimi today. He was too fast for us.' Like Raikkonen, Mercedes tried a two-stop strategy with Hamilton, who appeared to be in with a chance of victory at one point, but the car's tyre wear was too high and the 2008 world champion had to make an unplanned third pit stop and fell back to fifth. He was a place ahead and outpacing team-mate Nico Rosberg before the German retired just before half distance. Webber lined up on the front row alongside team-mate Vettel, but a terrible start dropped him to seventh following an electronic control unit failure which automatically shut down his Kers power boost. His race was subsequently ruined when he was stuck behind Button after his first pit stop. Sutil impressed in the Force India, leading at mid-race after starting from eleventh place on the harder 'medium' tyre, while those in the top ten had to start on the 'super-softs' on which they had qualified. But he went too hard too early on the super-softs when he fitted them at his final stop and fell back to seventh.

A controversial Arouna Kone goal earned Wigan a critical - but thoroughly undeserved - three points in their fight for survival against yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle. An absolutely blatant Maynor Figueroa handball - missed by both the referee, Mark Halsey and his assistant - in the build up to the goal had Alan Pardew and his side furious in a match which was overshadowed by a horror tackle on Newcastle's young French full back Massadio Haidara. The twenty-year-old defender, playing only his second Premiership game, was on the end of a shocking knee-high lunge from Callum McManaman for which the Wigan midfielder was not even booked - in fact referee Mark Halsey failed to give a free kick . According to Pardew, Halsey apologised to the Newcastle manager at half time claiming that he had 'not seen' the incident. United assistant manager John Carver was so angry at the challenge that he confronted the Wigan man at half-time. Carver was sent to the stands for the second-half along with Wigan coach Graham Barlow after a melee. Jean Beausejour opened the scoring for Wigan with a smart curling shot on eighteen minutes but Davide Santon's well-hit finish drew the away side level with twenty minutes left.

A Greek footballer has been banned for life from playing for the national team after making an apparent Nazi salute. AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis made the gesture to celebrate his winning goal during a match at the weekend. The Greek football federation called it 'a severe provocation' that insulted 'all the victims of Nazi bestiality.' Katidis denied he gave a Nazi salute. 'I am not a fascist and would not have done it if I had known what it meant,' Katidis said on his Twitter account. The player - a former captain of Greece's under-nineteen team - was fiercely criticised on social media for the salute after scoring the winner in AEK's 2-1 victory over Veria in the Olympic stadium on Saturday. He insisted that he was simply pointing at a team mate in the stands. The club have asked him to 'explain himself' at a board meeting next week. But AEK's German coach Ewald Lienen has backed Katidis. 'He is a young kid who does not have any political ideas. He most likely saw such a salute on the Internet or somewhere else and did it without knowing what it means,' he said, according to Reuters news agency.

An alleged comedian - although this blogger finds him about as funny as a genital wart - accused of going on to a football pitch and warming up with the Sheikh Yer Man City team has been charged. With being an unfunny arsehole, presumably. Simon Brodkin, thirty five, who appears in of BBC3's Lee Nelson's Well Good Show, was charged with pitch encroachment under the Football Offences Act. It comes after a man took to the pitch prior to Saturday's Everton versus Sheikh Yer Man City Premier League match at Goodison Park in Liverpool. Brodkin will appear at Liverpool Community Justice Centre on 3 April. Stewards noticed a man on the pitch dressed in a Sheikh Yer Man City kit before the kick-off. Police said it did not delay the start of the match, which Everton won 2-0.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, a story of Northern passion from the late, great Chris Sievey before he grew the paper mache head.

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