Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You Don't Call At All

Matt Smith his very self has revealed that he would like to play a James Bond villain. And this is 'news', apparently. The Doctor Who actor said that he doesn't believe he is 'handsome enough' to portray 007 himself, and he's probably right, but suggested he would make a good adversary for the MI6 operative. 'I'm not handsome enough to be James Bond,' the Sun quotes Smudger as saying. 'Maybe a villain though. Start campaigning now.' On the type of Bond baddie he would like to be, Matt referenced Daniel Craig's latest record-breaking episode in the franchise. 'I'd edge on the camp dangerous side I think,' he commented. 'Javier Bardem was amazing. I thought Skyfall was a sumptuous film.' Smudger also called the forthcoming Doctor Who series opener The Bells of Saint John 'a modern-day conspiracy thriller [that's] like Doctor Who-meets-Bourne-meets-Bond.' Why does everything have to be 'something-meets-something' these days? Are there no original ideas left or is it that film and TV professionals think viewers are too thick to watch something unless it's described to them in such banal terms. And, that's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's rant done for the day. No, not really, dear blog reader. Plenty more where that came from.
ITV appear to have a real - and very well-deserved - hit on their hands with Chris Chibnall's Broadchurch. The thriller, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman climbed to its highest audience so far on Monday, overnight figures suggest. The show's third episode pulled in 7.3 million viewers in the 9pm slot, adding an extra two hundred and forty thousand punters on ITV+1. Earlier in the evening James Nesbitt's Ireland had been watched by 4.04m from 8pm on ITV. On BBC1, the latest A Question of Sport was watched by 3.02m at 8.30pm, while Motorway Cops at 9pm limped along in the slow lane with 3.08m. Paul Hollywood's solo show Bread débuted with 2.67m at 8.30pm on BBC2, while ninety minute drama The Challenger followed with 1.53m at 9pm. Robson's Extreme Fishing Challenge landed 1.01m at 9pm on Channel Five.
Meanwhile, during the advert breaks for Broadchurch on Monday evening, ITV broadcast the trailer for the forthcoming third series of Scott & Bailey, a drama which now, thanks to the recruitment of the great Nicola Walker, includes four of this bloggers favourite actresses.
ITV Have also been heavily pushing the trailer for the latest batch of Foyle's War episodes, this week. Which, also looks rather good.
And, whilst we wait for those to show up on telly, here's a picture of some nude ladies holding their own boobies for anyone who likes that sort of this. This blogger, to be honest, prefers the real thing but he fully realises that there are people out there in Interwebland who don't have such a full and varied life as he.
Homeland's Damian Lewis (seen left, in the midst of doing The Gay Gordon, seemingly) has told the Digital Spy website that he believes Brody's relationship with Carrie (Claire Danes) will be over in season three of the popular US espionage thriller. Speaking as he received the Freedom of the City of London at the Guildhall on Tuesday, Lewis commented that the two characters' unlikely romance is not 'a story that has got legs,' arguing: 'They'd be in the divorce courts very quickly.' Millionaire Old Etonian Lewis also revealed how much work has been done so far on Homeland's third season, which will be broadcast on Showtime in the US and on Channel Four in Britain later this year. On receiving the prestigious honour for his 'outstanding achievements in acting', the forty two-year-old said: 'Being awarded something like the Freedom of the City is like being given the keys to the city. I feel very attached to [London]. Of course it's lovely winning awards, that's recognition. That you're doing well, but this just means what you've achieved within your profession has a broader reach, so it's extremely flattering.'

Bloggers could face high fines for libel under the new Leveson deal with exemplary damages imposed if they don't sign up to the new regulator, it was claimed it a shit-stirring scare-story on Tuesday. But, they probably won't. Or, of course, they could try - as this blog always attempts to - not posting anything remotely libellous. That's usually a good way of not ending up a'fore the beak. You can be critical, scathing, witheringly ironic or cynical, even downright rude about someone or something without breaking the law. It's actually quite easy. Just don't state opinions as facts but clearly label them as opinions and don't tell lies (or, allege wrongdoing if you're not one hundred per cent certain that it can be proven) about someone with more money and bigger lawyers than you. Kirsty Hughes, the chief executive of Index on Censorship, which campaigns for press freedom around the world, whinged that it was 'a sad day' for British democracy. Which may well be true but, I'll tell you what, it's, a great day for victims of outrageous and sick press shenanigans and also a great day for those of us who regard journalists in general as pond scum only fractionally above worms, snakes, weasels and politicians in terms of evolution. A great day. 'This will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on everyday people's web use,' she claimed. Not this blogger, it won't, except that I'll probably have far less shitty kiss-n-tell nonsense from the tabloids to take the piss out of on a daily basis. Which is, of course, utterly tragic. But, livable with. Otherwise, I'm pretty much sorted, thanks Kirsty. She continued that she feared 'thousands of websites' could fall under the definition of a 'relevant publisher' according to the rules passed in the House of Commons on Monday night as part of the courts bill. Under the rules, sites which 'generate' news (as opposed to those than merely report it) and are written by several authors could risk exemplary damages. Although, again, only if they publish something which is considered libellous by a court of law. If they don't, then they've got absolutely nothing to worry about. It's a bit like saying people who go out and rob banks could end up in jail because of it. Well, yes, they could. So, don't rob banks in that case. Jesus, has everybody taken The Stupid Pill this week, or what? Hughes whinged: 'Bloggers could find themselves subject to exemplary damages, due to the fact that they were not part of a regulator that was not intended for them in the first place.' Exemplary damages and costs imposed by a court to penalise those who remained outside the regulator could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds, enough to close down smaller publishers and make most larger ones shite in their own pants and cry for their mummy. Harry Cole, one of the journalists involved in the Guido Fawkes site, said it would not be joining the regulator and believes that because its servers are based in the US it will be excluded from the exemplary damages clauses in Britain. 'I don't see I should join a regulator. This country has had a free press for the last three hundred years, that has been irreverent and rude as my website is and holding public officials to account. We as a matter of principle will be opposing any regulator especially one set up and accountable to politicians we write about every day,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Carla Buzasi, the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post told the BBC: 'I can't imagine any politician has had this discussion because they have rushed this through so quickly. It does worry me to a certain extent. Someone said this is a carrot and stick approach. There doesn't seem to be too much of a carrot here,' she added. The exemplary damages clause was recommended in The Leveson Report but has been opposed by newspapers which have, they claim, 'been given legal advice that it could be contrary to the European convention on human rights', which enshrines the principle of free speech. But not free libellous speech, that's something they all appear to be conveniently forgetting. Lord Lester, the campaigner for libel reform, warned during the Leveson debate in the House of Lords earlier this year that publications such as Private Eye and local newspapers could face closure as a result of the imposition of exemplary damages. On Monday night, the editor of the Gruniad, specky little nasty Communist oik Alan Runtbudgie said that he 'welcomed' cross-party agreement on press regulation, but added: 'We retain grave reservations about the proposed legislation on exemplary damages.' Typical sodding Gruniad Morning Star, innit? They can't make their bloody minds up about anything. You're either for it or against it, Runtbudgie, you can't stay with your buttocks clenched on the fench of cowardice forever. Oh no, sorry, you're the Gruniad Morning Star, of course you can. Under sustained questioning on Monday night during the Commons debate about the courts bill, which includes the Leveson regulations, the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Miller, said that the 'publisher would have to meet the three tests of whether the publication is publishing news-related material in the course of a business, whether their material is written by a range of authors – this would exclude a one-man band or a single blogger (like, ahem, yer actual Keith Telly Topping, so that's me off the hook) – and whether that material is 'subject to editorial control.' The vile and odious rascal Miller said that the new rules were 'designed to protect small-scale bloggers' and to 'ensure that the publishers of special interest, hobby and trade titles such as the Angling Times and the wine magazine Decanter are not caught in the regime,' but Hello! magazine - hilariously - would be subject to regulation. She said the 'one-man band or a single blogger' would not be affected by the legislation because of the definition of 'relevant publisher' in relation to exemplary damages. The vile and odious rascal Miller added: 'student and not-for-profit community newspapers' will not be caught under the new rules and that 'scientific journals, periodicals and book publishers will also be left outside the definition and therefore not exposed to the exemplary damages and costs regime.' Cool. So, what's the problem? Oh yes, some people merely like whinging if there's a 'y' in the day. Of course, stupid of me.
The deputy editor of the Sun, Geoff Webster, is to be charged with allegedly authorising payments to public officials for information, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. He is charged with two counts of misconduct in a public office, relating to two payments totalling eight thousand smackers. The charges are part of the Met's Operation Elveden, a probe into illegal payments to public officials. Webster will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 26 March. Alison Levitt QC, principal legal advisor to the director of public prosecutions, said in a statement that Webster was being charged with 'two offences of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.' She added: 'The first offence relates to allegations that Mr Webster, between July 2010 and August 2011, authorised payments totalling six thousand five hundred pounds for information supplied by a public official to one of his journalists. The second offence relates to an allegation that in November 2010, Mr Webster authorised a payment of fifteen hundred pounds for information provided by an unknown public official.' About sixty people have been arrested as part of the Metropolitan Police's Elveden inquiry, which is being run alongside two other police investigations. Operation Weeting is an inquiry into alleged phone hacking, while Operation Tuleta is an investigation into computer hacking and other privacy breaches and nefarious skulduggery.

BBC personalities past and present have criticised the corporation's decision to sell Television Centre, with Michael Parkinson comparing it to the Royal Opera House, the former home of incoming director general Tony Hall. David Mitchell, Victoria Coren, Penelope Keith, Danny Baker and Barry Cryer criticised the two hundred million smackers sale in a BBC tribute programme, recorded in studio one of the historic West London site on Monday night and scheduled to be shown later this week. John Cleese, who also appeared, took issue with BBC executives who, he said, insisted on having a say in every aspect of a show, despite never having made a programme. Former chat show host Parkinson said: 'We have lost an awful lot. It is as culturally significant in my view as the Royal Opera House or the National Theatre. If you think of what's been done here, people's memories of it, it is extraordinary that it has gone without any kind of recognition or outcry. It's irreplaceable, it is a history of our time.' The doughnut-shaped ring of TV Centre will be turned into apartments and a hotel, with other parts of the site to feature shops and offices. Danny Baker, an outspoken critic of BBC management when his afternoon radio show on BBC London was dropped last year, compared the sale to the BBC's infamous decision to record over tapes featuring thousands of hours of programmes, such as Top of the Pops and Doctor Who, fifty years ago. 'They say it makes financial sense to get rid of this. They said it made financial sense to get rid of all those tapes in the 60s and 70s, and we now know what a blunder that was. It's going to be extraordinary to people that we were just so cavalier with it.' Baker added: 'You have to believe that there is something in the bricks, in the fabric of somewhere, that really does have worth. Otherwise, the Houses of Parliament would make a great hotel. Why not sell that? They can have a conference centre. The BBC is accountable, like the government, and people hold this building as a recognisable symbol of that.' Cleese, who also appeared on the show hosted by Michael Grade, took wider aim at BBC management on his return to the studios where he made Monty Python's Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers. 'The people who became executives [in the 60s and 70s] had produced or directed a great deal of comedy. Now there seems to be an executive class and they have never written and never directed. They seem by some mystical process to understand comedy much better than the people. And now want to know exactly what is going to be in every programme so that they can say that won't work. On the basis of what?' Former Good Life star Penelope Keith said the BBC's entertainment and drama departments had been 'left bereft' by the TV Centre sell-off. Hardly, since most BBC drama is made in Cardiff these days, do try and keep up, dear. 'The BBC has this vast edifice that is the news and we've got sport, religion and children's [programming] in Salford. Where does what happened here go? It hasn't got a home – we are orphans.' Victoria Coren, presenter of BBC4's Only Connect who made a film about the site for the BBC tribute, said staff had taken so many souvenirs from the building there was very little of it left. 'It was very difficult finding places to film that looked like the BBC because it was all being stolen day-by-day, hour-by-hour. People that worked in the BBC were just nicking signs, doorknobs and bits of carpet. I came to hope that it was a coherent gang that was going to rebuild it somewhere else. The building lives, it is an emblem, all over the country people know we have this free broadcaster.' Coren's husband, David Mitchell, also mourned its departure. 'It's a television factory. It's not the same when studios are fitted around the country or around London. You are not bringing creative people to the same place, nothing random or unusual is going to spark off.' It was left to Sir David Attenborough, a BBC presenter for sixty years and former corporation executive, to make the case for change as eloquently as usual. 'We are going to lose something, but it's worthwhile thinking about what the world was like when this place was being designed and built,' he told the studio audience. 'Then television was a mystique, very few people understood it and cameras were huge. You couldn't go out and just make television, it was a specialised thing. If you wanted to see it done, this is the place you went, and I would like to think we did it as well as anybody in the world. But now television has changed, we can all do television. You can go and buy home videos and its good stuff, it's fine, television has changed and you have to recognise that.'
Downton Abbey broke a record with its season three finale in the United States. The episode - which was broadcast on Sunday 17 February - beat all broadcast and cable competition to become the highest-rated show on American television that evening. The Carnival Films show, which is shown as part of the Masterpiece anthology on PBS, reached an average of 12.3 million viewers, with the entire third series averaging 11.5 million viewers. It has become the highest-rating TV drama in PBS's history, and has reached over twenty four million viewers overall. The numbers for the programme - written by Lord Snooty - see a seven million increase on the US ratings for series two. Over the course of the three series, Downton Abbey has won nine EMMYs, three Golden Globes and, most recently, the SAG Award for 'Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Drama Series'. Downton Abbey also has the highest number of EMMY nominations for any British show. Carnival Films' managing director Gareth Neame said: 'The fact that Downton Abbey was the most-watched programme across all networks for the series finale is truly exceptional. This has never been done before and it is truly gratifying to see how the US audience's appreciation grow so much year-by-year.' The show's popularity in the US probably says less about it's own quality and more about the fact that America doesn't have much history of its own so has to import other peoples.

BSkyB has made its sports channels available on a pay-as-you go basis for the first time, providing access to content such as Premier League football for £9.99 a day without a Sky TV subscription from Tuesday. BSkyB has launched Sky Sports on Now TV, its new Internet TV service, marking a radical departure for the company which has spent more than twenty years building its business model on monthly subscription packages of at least £42.50. BSkyB is offering fans unlimited access to its range of six sports channels – including Sky Sports News – for £9.99 for a twenty four-hour period. 'The launch of Sky Sports on Now TV is a landmark moment for sports fans,' said Simon Creasey, director of Now TV. 'For the first time you can get great value, commitment-free access to Sky Sports, all at the touch of a button.' Sports programming that will now be available on the service includes Premier League and Champions League football, Formula 1, the Ashes tests between England and Australia and the major golf tournaments. Now TV, which launched late last year and had attracted twenty five thousand subscribers by the end of 2012, allows fans to watch programming on devices including tablets, smartphones and games consoles. BSkyB announced the launch of Now TV, which is partially a response to the arrival of US streaming giant Netflix and growth of Amazon's LoveFilm, in July last year. The service offers Sky Movies for fifteen smackers a month, or some titles for £3.49 on a pay-per-view basis.

An episode of Most Haunted - featuring the alleged psychic Derek Acorah allegedly becoming allegedly 'possessed' allegedly - could have allegedly 'spooked' children when it was broadcast on Sky's Pick TV channel in the early evening last year, Ofcom has ruled. Broadcast on 17 October at 6pm, the episode saw the Most Haunted team investigating Chatham Dockyard in Kent, where there have been been alleged sightings of alleged 'malevolent spirits' and 'dark evil shadows.' The programme featured descriptions of various alleged spirits, including an alleged headless drummer boy, alleged duelling cavaliers, an alleged grey lady with no feet who hovered, and the alleged ghost of one of the port's commissioners, Peter Pett, who was later killed in the Tower of London. At one stage, Acorah suddenly became 'possessed' (allegedly), supposedly by the alleged spirit of an alleged soldier, and he then spoke in a gruff deep voice and identified himself as Richard Neville, before allegedly collapsing. During a later seance, Acorah was again allegedly 'possessed', this time by an alleged nine-year-old boy called Barney Little, and then by an alleged woman who had allegedly abused the alleged boy, allegedly called Lizzie. As Lizzie, Acorah spoke in a rasping voice and contorted his face, forcing one of the Dockyard employees into tears as she allegedly recognised Lizzie as 'being responsible' for the death of one of the children who had resided in the building. This is the same Derek Acorah, incidentally, that was subsequently asked to leave the programme after Ciarán O'Keeffe, a parapsychologist working on the show, fed him misinformation to which he later responded during an investigation, presenting himself as being possessed by the spirit of a fictional character, which led Yvette Fielding and the programme makers to question Acorah's credibility. Acorah had claimed that he was allegedly 'possessed' by the alleged spirit of an alleged man called Kreed Kafer. In a later interview O'Keeffe said that the character was a fabrication which he had invented, and an anagram of 'Derek faker.' O'Keeffe had fed this name to Acorah prior to the programme, and he had subsequently repeated it during filming. it's also the same Derek Acorah who, in November 2009, featured in two programmes where he claimed to be trying to make contact with the alleged spirit of Michael Jackson. The risible Michael Jackson: The Live Seance was subsequently named as 'the worst TV programme of 2009' in a poll of more than nine thousand Yahoo! users. Allegedly. A complainant alerted Ofcom that the content in the Most Haunted episode was not suitable for broadcast before the 9pm watershed when children could have been watching. Sky claimed that Most Haunted was 'an entertainment show' - which appears to suggest that they regard it as nothing more than a series of alleged psychics 'making stuff up' too - and so it could be broadcast pre-watershed. But the satellite broadcaster added that it had deliberately scheduled the show in a slot on Pick TV when children were 'not likely to be watching in significant numbers.' Quite why anyone, children or otherwise, would want to watch this drivel in significant numbers is a question best left for the oaf that commissioned it in the first place. In its ruling, Ofcom noted that the episode of Most Haunted had told viewers that the spiritual activity portrayed 'may not actually have happened.' The programme also acknowledged that Acorah may have been 'simply play-acting for the cameras.' May have been? Interesting. However, Ofcom felt that the 'consistently dark and menacing' tone of the episode could have caused distress to younger viewers. 'In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of the malevolent nature of the spirits who "appeared" either through Derek's "possessions" or were recounted in the experiences presented, and the repeated references to children being harmed, mistreated or murdered resulted in this particular episode being consistently dark and menacing,' said the regulator. 'Therefore it had the potential to cause distress to younger members of the audience.' Or, indeed, anyone who doesn't enjoy having their intelligence insulted. Ofcom stressed that the ruling only applies to this particular episode of Most Haunted, and not the whole series. 'When scheduling programmes that include paranormal practices for entertainment purposes which were originally intended for broadcast later in the schedule, broadcasters should take great care,' Ofcom said. 'They should ensure that such programmes are individually complied so they are appropriately scheduled.'

David Mitchell will host new Channel Four entertainment show Was It Something I Said? The series will feature two teams battling against each other in a battle of wordplay 'to deduce who said what.' Mitchell's entertainment show credits include hosting the short-lived BBC2 show The Bubble and acting as team captain on panel shows Best of the Worst and Would I Lie to You? It was also confirmed this week that Mitchell would be returning to Channel Four alongside Charlie Brooker, Lauren Laverne and Jimmy Carr for another series of Ten O'Clock Live. Mitchell is also currently filming a new BBC sitcom with Robert Webb (the unfunny one) and Keeley Hawes.

The Coronation Street actor William Roache has apologised after finding himself in very hot water after he appeared to suggest that sexual abuse victims are paying the price for their behaviour in 'previous lives.' Roache (seen right, during his druid phase), and who is clearly not a complete and utter fruitcake although some people - with a less charitable view of the humanity than this blogger - might regard him as a  rather silly man with some rather silly views, made these extraordinary comments during an interview with New Zealand's TVNZ. 'I would like to say that I am very sorry for any offence that has been caused as a result of my comments,' he said in a statement. The NSPCC said that his original 'bizarre' comments were 'not helpful.' During the interview, in which Roache discussed recent sex abuse scandals, he said: 'If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won't happen to you.' Interviewer Garth Bray replied: 'To some people that sounds perhaps like you're saying victims bring things on themselves - is that what you're saying?' Roache replied: 'No, not quite. And, yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever.' Oh, Bill. Bill, Bill, Bill. When you're in a hole, mate, it's usually a jolly good idea to, as it were, stop digging. In Tuesday's apologetic statement, Roache said: 'I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way. I had no intention of causing any kind of distress as a result of my interview and I offer my utmost sympathies to anyone affected by sexual offences and paedophilia.' Doctor Jon Bird, the operations manager of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, and a victim of abuse himself, told the BBC: 'We're disgusted on behalf of survivors (of abuse).' Don't be, mate. Be disgusted on behalf of yourself, certainly, if that's the way you feel but, please, don't claim to be disgusted on behalf of anyone else. There's easily enough disgust in the world to go round for everyone. Bird added that Roache's comments were 'very ignorant and inappropriate.' He said he was 'deeply offended on a personal level.' In the interview, Roache also talked about people who are accused of abuse, saying: 'If someone has done something wrong, the law should take its course. Whether they're proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever. We should all be totally forgiving about everything.' Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's sexual abuse programme, said: 'We should be concentrating on helping the thousands of children sexually abused every year who need therapy to re-build their lives. They will have already suffered horrendous experiences and will find what Mr Roache is saying to be hurtful and demeaning.'

Actor Bruno Ganz, who played Hitler in the 2004 film Downfall, is to play a fictional Pope in a new US TV drama. The Vatican has been commissioned by cable channel Showtime, and will see blockbuster film-maker Sir Ridley Scott direct his first TV pilot. The contemporary thriller about life inside the institution will also star Scottish actor Ewen Bremner and Brookside and Pushing Daisies star Anna Friel. House writer Paul Attansio has written the one-hour pilot script. Showtime said Ganz's character, Pope Sixtus VI, will be of German ancestry who is 'an unassuming and introspective caretaker of the church, who struggles with his own legacy, and how history will judge his papacy.' Super 8 and Argo actor Kyle Chandler will play progressive New York Cardinal Thomas Duffy, while Friel will star as his secular, 'hard-living' sister. Production is expected to begin shortly. Downfall, which told the story of Hitler's final days in his Berlin bunker, grossed ninety two million dollars at box offices around the world when it was released. The film was named winner of the BBC4 World Cinema Award, but since then it has become almost as famous for a wave of Internet parodies of its final scene, poking fun at numerous news events. Like this one, for instance. Swiss-born Ganz's other credits include The Reader and The Manchurian Candidate.

A TV actor has gone on trial at Blackfriars Crown Court accused of rape and sexual assault. The actor, who cannot be named because he is under eighteen, is said to have forced himself on the complainant, aged fourteen, in a theatre's internal fire escape. It is alleged he did it to prove to his girlfriend that he was bisexual. He denies one count of oral rape in July 2010 and three counts of sexual assault between July 2010 and September 2010. Proceedings were adjourned twice as the teenager was asked to detail the attack on him and struggled to compose himself. The case continues.

Sky News correspondent Gerard Tubb will not face prosecution for hacking the e-mail account of 'canoe man' John Darwin, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced. Tubb accessed e-mails belonging to Darwin, who faked his own death in a canoe, and his wife Anne when she was due to stand trial for deception in July 2008. The CPS announced on Monday it would 'not be in the public interest' to prosecute Tubb because the e-mails were accessed with a view to proving that a criminal offence had been committed. Prosecutors said a number of the same e-mails were later 'lawfully obtained' by the police and used by the crown in Anne Darwin's trial. 'Having considered the factors set out in the guidelines on cases affecting the media, it is our view that the evidence indicates that the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the potential overall criminality, should an offence be proved,' said Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the CPS. The CPS said it was 'not possible to ascertain' whether the potential e-mail hacking offence was committed in the UK or the US, but added that no further investigations were required. McHaffie added: 'Having considered the factors set out in the guidelines on cases affecting the media, it is our view that the evidence indicates that the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the potential overall criminality, should an offence be proved. In reaching this decision, we took into account that the e-mails were accessed with a view to showing that a criminal offence had been committed and that a number of the same e-mails were subsequently lawfully obtained by the police and used by the prosecution at the criminal trial of Anne Darwin.'

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, is to sell travel guide business Lonely Planet to US company NC2 Media. The BBC Trust has approved the sale, following criticism of BBC Worldwide's acquisition of Lonely Planet in 2007. In 2009, the Select Committee on Culture Media and Sport attacked BBC Worldwide's purchase. They said that it demonstrated the expansion of an area 'where the BBC has no, or very limited existing interests.' BBC Worldwide will receive seventy five million dollars for Lonely Planet, with an initial sixty million dollars paid on completion and a further fifteen million paid in one year's time. The BBC's commercial arm acquired seventy five per cent of Lonely Planet in 2007 for a massively over-priced £88.1m and the remaining twenty five per cent in 2011. The sale follows the corporation's commercial review last year which set out the company's strategy to focus on BBC brands and promote the best of its output globally. Diane Coyle, the Trust vice chairman and chair of the Strategic Approvals Committee, said: 'The Trust's strategy for Worldwide now is to focus on BBC programme content, and Worldwide would not make this sort of acquisition again. Although this did not prove to be a good commercial investment, Worldwide is a very successful business; and at the time of purchase there was a credible rationale for this deal. Given the significant financial loss to Worldwide, however, we have asked the BBC Executive to commission a review of lessons learned and report to the Trust with its findings,' she added. Paul Dempsey, interim chief executive officer of BBC Worldwide, said: 'We acquired Lonely Planet in 2007 when both our strategy and the market conditions were quite different. Since then, Lonely Planet has increased its presence in digital, magazine publishing and emerging markets whilst also growing its global market share, despite difficult economic conditions. However, we have also recognised that it no longer fits with our plans to put BBC brands at the heart of our business and have decided to sell the company to NC2 Media who are better placed to build and invest in the business.'

Jenson Button has defended McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh after the team's difficult start to the 2013 Formula 1 season. Button said: 'He is the boss. Everyone looks up to Martin. It's difficult to always be strong, but he is doing a good job. It is everybody's job to stay positive. We have to say what we think about the car, that is how it is. We cannot say everything is hunky-dory because it is not. We know we have work to do, but we are all very strong within this team.'

Channel Four wants to match its successful coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games with its broadcasting of the Grand National. The nation's favourite horse race switches from the BBC to Channel Four this year and the broadcaster has announced 'a showcase of programmes' to promote the sporting occasion. An advert campaign for the race, created by the team behind the Paralympics 'Superhumans' campaign, launches this week. The trailer was filmed in Liverpool's Everton Park and features stunt horses and jockeys racing across the city, through gardens and allotments and over cars and picnic benches. Grand National season starts in April and will include How To Win The Grand National, a documentary featuring veterinary expert Mark Evans, a Come Dine With Me special and Alan Carr's Grand National Specstacular. There will also be a special edition of Tim Lovejoy's Saturday Brunch between The Morning Line and the racing. Channel Four will have three days of racing coverage with fifteen hours of live action. Clare Balding heads up the expert team of presenters, which also includes Nick Luck, Jim McGrath, Mick Fitzgerald, Graham Cunningham and Ted Walsh. And, definitely not John McCririck. No siree, Bob. The commentary team will feature Simon Holt, Richard Hoiles and Ian Bartlett. 2012 Grand National winner Daryl Jacob said: 'It's brilliant that Channel Four is determined to take racing to the masses. My sport is truly privileged to have a broadcaster that shows such commitment and I know their National coverage will be top class.' The channel has implemented new technology to improve its coverage, which includes using forty five cameras around the famous Aintree track. It will utilise Superloupe Hi-Motion cameras, a Becher's Brook fence camera, a new fence sound system, three Jib Cranes, award-winning cameraman David Manton in a low-noise helicopter and a Camcat wire-cam system running alongside the track. So, when horses die, you'll be able to watch it from above and beside.

A survey about wheelie bins has asked respondents to specify their sexual orientation. The online questionnaire, carried out by Birmingham City Council, was sent to residents to collect their views on the local wheelie bin service and recycling reward schemes. The survey also included a question which asked whether the respondent was heterosexual, gay or bisexual, reports the Mirra. Local resident Cyril Mayers fumed: 'What the hell has sexual orientation or religion got to do with wheelie bins? Mind your own business.' A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council has claimed that it was a 'standard monitoring question.' They said: 'Although we do ask those questions as part of the effort to make the feedback as informed as possible, you will have also noticed that "prefer not to say" is an option to every question in that part of the survey.'

The former England striker Michael Owen is to retire from football at the end of the season. Which will no doubt come as a considerable surprise to supporters of Newcastle United who believed that Owen had retired during the four years that the workshy greedy worthless little waste-of-space spent at St James' Park.
Bobbie Smith, the original lead singer of soul group The (Detroit) Spinners, has died at the age of seventy six in Orlando, Florida. The group's management said in a statement on Monday that Bobbie died on Saturday due to complications from pneumonia and influenza. The statement added that Smith had been diagnosed with lung cancer in November. Bobbie was the voice behind the band's first hit, 'That's What Girls Are Made For'. Smith also sang lead on most of their Motown material during the 1960s - such as the charting singles like 'Truly Yours' (1966), 'I'll Always Love You' (1965) and the magnificent 'It's A Shame' (1970) - on almost all of the group's pre-Motown material and also on The (Detroit) Spinners' biggest Atlantic Records hits in the 1970s such as 'I'll Be Around', 'Could It Be I'm Falling in Love?' and 'They Just Can't Stop It (The Games People Play)'. The quintet began in 1955 as a high school doo-wop group called The Domingoes and they were signed by Harvey Fuqua to the Detroit record company Tri-Phi Records. Berry Gordy took over Tri-Phi in 1965, but the group struggled to make a big impact on the charts although they released a series of fine singles on Motown's VIP label. It was not until 1972, when tenor Philippé Wynne came on board and the group signed to Atlantic, that the hits began coming regularly. Wynne left the group in 1977 to be replaced by new lead vocalist John Edwards but the band's producer Thom Bell left shortly afterwards. The band has continued in various guises since then, the most recent version consisting of Smith and fellow original member Henry Fambrough, along with Charleton Washington, Jessie Peck and Marvin Taylor. In a US newspaper interview last year, Smith said of continuing to tour: 'I look at this like semi-retired. I would miss my fans. As long as I feel good and feel like I can do it, I'm going to keep on. I would be afraid to quit.'

To Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, then. This one's for Bobbie.

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