Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Everywhere I Go I Get Slandered

BBC Cymru has announced that Brian Minchin is to be the new Executive Producer of Doctor Who, alongside showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. Brian Minchin is an executive in BBC Wales drama, currently working on The Game, a new Cold War spy thriller from Toby Whithouse for BBC1 and Wizards Vs Aliens, Russell Davies' show for CBBC. He has also worked as BBC executive producer on Dirk Gently and Being Human. Brian produced the RTS award-winning and BAFTA nominated series The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as the British sections of Torchwood: Miracle Day and was assistant producer on Torchwood: Children of Earth. Brian, who grew up in Aberystwyth, joined the department in Cardiff in 2005 as a script editor working on the BBC Wales drama Belonging, before moving on to network dramas Doctor Who and Torchwood in the same role. Brian said: 'I'm thrilled and excited to be joining Steven Moffat on a show that has meant so much to me over the years. I've watched in awe as Steven has taken Doctor Who to wild and imaginative places and I can't wait to get started on many more adventures with The Doctor.' Faith Penhale, Head of Drama for BBC Wales, says: 'I've no doubt Doctor Who will enjoy a very exciting time with Brian at the helm working alongside Steven. Since joining BBC Wales in 2005, he’s proved he has a fantastic eye for story and a sharp awareness of what makes a drama like Doctor Who unmissable.' Moffat his very self added: 'When I first took over Doctor Who, Brian was there as script editor, and in the most difficult time of a new Doctor and a new era, was completely brilliant. We lost him to producing The Sarah Jane Adventures at the end of our first run. Rising talent keeps rising, is how I comforted myself back then - but now I am beyond happy that Brian has risen all the way back to Doctor Who, in his new role of executive producer. I look forward to getting hopelessly lost in space and time with him.'

Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS had an audience Appreciation Index (or AI) score of eighty five over the weekend. And, if you don't know what the AIs are all about by now, dear blog reader, just Google it. As usual Doctor Who scored higher than the majority of Saturday's TV output with those viewers who expressed a preference. The highest scoring programmes of the day were Casualty with eighty seven, Dad's Army with eighty eight and Law & Order with eighty nine.
This coming weekend's adventure for The Doctor and Clara, meanwhile, will be The Crimson Horror, written by yer actual Mark Gatiss and directed by Saul Metzstein. The episode will premiere on BBC1 at 6:30pm on Saturday. There have been some minor changes to the schedule this weekend; The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins continues to follow on BBC1, but on ITV, Britain's Got Talent shifts to 7:15pm, no longer overlapping with Doctor Who; it is preceded by You've Been Framed! Top One Hundred Weddings. Sounds like must-see television that one. BBC2 presents an episode of Dad's Army from before most of you lot were born at 6:30pm, followed by yer more coverage of the bloody snooker at 7:00pm. Like I say, must-see telly. Channel Four has the Channel Four News followed by Sarah Beeny's Selling Houses at 7:00pm, and the Channel Five movie for this week is Stone Cold.
Russell Tovey has revealed that he auditioned for the lead role in Doctor Who. The Being Human actor was, briefly, tipped to replace David Tennant on the BBC's long-running family SF drama, after appearing in two episodes as Midshipman Frame. The thirty one-year-old claimed that he did screen-test for the part of the Eleventh Doctor, according to the Independent, but ultimately lost out to Matt Smith. 'It would have terrified me,' Russell is quoted as saying. 'I don't know what I would have done with all the attention.'
ITV's attempt to revive its primetime comedy output got off to a promising start on Monday, with new sitcoms Vicious and The Job Lot winning the 9pm hour in the overnight ratings. Vicious, starring Ian McKellan and Derek Jacobi as an ageing gay couple, launched with an average of 5.53 million punters from 9pm. ITV's second new comedy of the night, The Job Lot, set in a Job Centre and starring Russell Tovey, followed up from 9.30pm with 4.49 million. The broadcaster gave its new sitcoms the best possible launch pad, in one of only two weekday 9pm slots following Coronation Street. They also faced relatively soft BBC1 competition from Crimewatch (3.4 million). Other 9pm shows included BBC2's Dave Allen: God's Own Comedian (2.7m) which is what yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was watching, Channel Four's The Hoarder Next Door (1.8 million) and Channel Five's Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild (1.2 million). The University Challenge final, giving Manchester University its fourth title in seven years, averaged 2.8 million viewers. This was followed by a BBC2 repeat of another highbrow panel show, BBC4's Only Connect, which averaged 1.9 million viewers. The BBC2 shows predictably lost out to BBC1 and ITV's mix of soap and factual in the 8pm hour, but had the better of other competition in the slot: Channel Four's Secrets of Your Missing Mail (1.5 million) and SuperScrimpers (1.3 million), and Channel Five's Nature Shock: The Big Bang Theory (0.7m). James Nesbitt's Ireland attracted 2.94m for ITV at 8pm. On BBC1, Bang Goes The Theory was seen by 2.81m at 7.30pm and Panorama brought in 2.17m at 8.30pm. BBC4's new series The Flying Archaeologist opened to a very respectable six hundred and thirty thousand at 8.30pm.

The University of Manchester became only the second team to retain the title of University Challenge champions in the programme's history. The team beat the much-fancied University College London in the final by one hundred and ninety points to one hundred and forty to claim its fourth title in eight years. Manchester's tally equals the current record for the number of series wins. Magdalen College, Oxford, has also won the competition four times since the series began in 1962. The trophy was presented to the Manchester team by the Astronomer Royal Professor Martin Rees. Team captain Richard Gilbert, a linguistics student, said the success was down to 'the perfect broad range of knowledge across the team.' President and Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: 'There is a real buzz around the campus today, having seen our team win University Challenge yet again. We are going to hold a celebration dinner for the team in June and I am particularly pleased for their coach Stephen Pearson who deserves great credit for these four victories in just eight years.' Coach? University Challenge teams have coaches?! Well, that's one illusion totally shattered.

My Mad Fat Diary's Sharon Rooney will reportedly appear in the new series of Sherlock. Rooney's online CV with talent agency TROIKA claims that she will play the character of Laura in third series premiere The Empty Hearse. The actress is best known for playing the lead role of Rae in E4's comedy-drama My Mad Fat Diary, which has recently been renewed for a second series. Amanda Abbington - the real-life wife of Martin Freeman - was previously confirmed to be joining the series in a guest role. Following The Empty Hearse, Sherlock's third run will continue with episode two The Sign of Three - written by Steve Thompson - and will conclude with a third - as yet unnamed - instalment, written by series co-creator The Lord thy God Steven Moffat.

The series finale of Bones aired this week, directed by yer actual David Boreanaz his very self, the latest episode in the recurring Christopher Pelant storyline and featuring another wonderfully sinister little turn from Andrew Leeds. Horribly disfigured after his last encounter with Booth, Pelant returns which causes Brennan to re-evaluate her relationship with Booth when evidence emerges that he could be Pelant's latest target after a series murders are revealed to be connected to FBI agents with ties to Seeley. The popular drama was renewed for a ninth series in January and will return in the autumn.
He is not a man typically lost for words but yer actual Lord Sugar-Sweetie, ahead of the new series of The Apprentice, pointedly refused to discuss the recently high-profile dismissal case brought against him by one of its previous winners. The business show and vanity exercise returns to BBC1 for its ninth series next week with its usual cast list of wannabes, no-hopers and – maybe – genuine entrepreneurial talent. It comes less than a month after Stella English, who won the show in 2010, lost her claim for constructive dismissal against Lord Sugar-Sweetie, who accused her during the tribunal of, effectively, blackmailing him. English had claimed that she was treated like an 'overpaid lackey.' And, the problem with that is, exactly ...? But, at the programme launch in London on Tuesday, Sugar-Sweetie refused to answer any questions on the subject. 'Here we go,' he said. 'We are here to talk about the new series and that's what we are going to talk about today.' But, while The Apprentice is back, the BBC has cancelled its spin-off series, Young Apprentice, a decision which clearly still rankles with Sugar-Sweetie who pointed out that it had been nominated at next month's BAFTA TV awards. 'Young Apprentice has been nominated for a BAFTA for the second time,' he wailed. In the same category of Made In Chelsea, let it be noted. 'The BBC commissioners decided not to recommission it,' he said. 'There was obviously some logical thinking behind it.' Indeed, they did. The decided not to recommission it because it was shit and no one was watching it. That's why shows get cancelled, usually. 'They can explain it to me if we pick up the gong next week,' Sugar-Sweetie continued. 'If.' Good word, that. He said that he hoped the BBC would continue to commission The Apprentice, which first appeared in 2005, into a tenth series and beyond. 'Television is a product and like any product they will make the decision simply by the reaction in the marketplace. They judge television programmes by viewing audiences, all that type of stuff,' he said. But, he admitted it was difficult to refresh the challenges faced by contestants, nine series in. 'I think The Apprentice has got longevity in it as long as we can continue to find interesting and different characters. I know it's difficult with tasks – they are either selling or buying or negotiating or manufacturing something, of course that is never going to change. We try to make it a little bit more interesting but at the end of the day it is down to the candidates if it is interesting TV. I am sure the BBC will continue to commission it.' Asked if the new series of the programme had found the right balance between candidates who were entertaining and talented, Sugar-Sweetie said: 'You wouldn't ask that question if you turned up to some of the auditions and saw some of the people with mohican hair painted pink and bones through their nose. You would realise we do actually select some credible people.' Exactly how credible remains to be seen. The new series features candidates who boast, among many other things, 'I take inspiration from Napoleon. I'm here to conquer' and 'I have the sex appeal of Jessica Rabbit and the brain of Einstein.' Or, possibly, the other way round. Sugar-Sweetie tells them, 'I am sick and tired of all these bloody clichés – failure not an option, thinking outside the box, inside the box,' before offering up one of his own: 'I am interested in actions, not words.' The programme, which began by offering a one hundred thousand smackers job with Lord Sugar-Sweetie, now offers two hundred and fifty thousand knicker backing for the winning candidate's new business idea. The opening episode sees the two teams challenged to sell the contents of two shipping containers in Tilbury, including cat litters, bottles of water, high visibility jackets and waving 'lucky cats.' Sugar-Sweetie said he already had 'a quick glimpse' at the contestants' business plans before the show began, but said it was only towards the end of the series that he looked at the remaining candidates' ideas in greater detail. Asked if he had ever made any mistakes, Sugar-Sweetie - the man who bought Stottingtot Hotshots ... when they were rubbish - said: 'I am not perfect, there are occasions when I may have got it wrong.' Yeah. Producing the second best satellite TV system on the market, when there were only two on the market, for a kick-off. 'Of course some slip through the net. I haven't seen anybody who I let go become the new Branson or Zuckerberg. I am sure you in the media world would have taken delight.'

Meanwhile, Sugar-Sweetie's oppo Nick Hewer made light of rumours that Countdown might be axed in the near future at The Apprentice launch. Hewer, who took over as host of the long-running Channel Four quiz show last year, made a joke to journalists when asked about rumours that the show was coming to an end. 'I've got a contract right through until 2014. So, to be honest with you, I'd be sad ... but I'd be in the money,' he said. Hewer's Apprentice co-star Lord Sugar-Sweetie laughed: 'That's twenty five years of training [from me].' Hewer described Countdown as 'a great institution' when he took over the helm from Jeff Stelling last year.

In The Politician's Husband Emily Watson's character, Freya, appeared on Newsnight and was grilled by Kirsty Wark, playing Kirsty Wark, about her stance on immigration. This is the issue on which her husband Aiden (David Tennant) resigned from the cabinet, creating a space for her. She sticks to the government line, triggering Aiden's fury at her betrayal and thickening the plot. Paula Milne's drama was originally going to have this encounter on Question Time, made by the same independent producer, Tinopolis. But David Dimbleby, according to Question Time executive producer Steve Anderson, said: 'I don't do drama.' Those who recall Dimbles' world class tetchy encounter with odious moustached Republican horrorshow (and drag) John Bolton during the BBC's overnight US presidential election coverage in 2008 may beg to differ.
A The Only Way Is Essex-type person - one Billie Faiers, apparently (no, me neither) - has stripped down to her bra and keks in an effort to pitch herself for a role in Broadchurch. Yeah, that ought to do it. Because, you so often see quality actresses pouting in lads magazines with their bazookas hanging out, don't you? The reality TV regular - who, of course, has her knockers - revealed her 'love' of the ITV drama while posing for Nuts magazine and said that she would 'love' to appear alongside David Tennant and Olivia Colman in its second series. As, indeed, would lots of talentless chancers across the land both in and out of the media industry, sweetheart. Join the effing queue. At the back.
And, from that piece of utter, inconsequential trivia tat of the kind so beloved by scum tabloid newspapers, to something completely different.
Scotland Yard has arrested two more people in relation to its investigation into alleged naughty payments to public officials by alleged scummy journalists. A thirty seven-year-old former prison officer has been detained in in Wales following his arrest at 6am on Tuesday in West Glamorgan on suspicion of committing misconduct in a public office, while a thirty six-year-old woman was arrested in Tower Hamlets in London. She has been detained on suspicion of committing misconduct in public office and of suspected money laundering contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The police have not identified her job but confirmed that she is not a journalist. Scotland Yard said the two people arrested were later bailed. Tuesday's dawn arrests bring the number of people arrested as part of Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden to sixty four. The police inquiry was set up in 2011 and is running in conjunction with Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard's investigation into phone-hacking. So far more than twenty current or former Sun executives and journalists have been arrested. Four have been charged while one, the crime editor Mike Sullivan, has been cleared and told he faces no further action. The remainder of the arrests have been public officials. A pharmacy assistant who worked at Sandhurst military college has also been arrested and charged.

BBC business editor Robert Peston has described how transcribing his late wife's final book helped him cope following her death from lung cancer. Sian Busby died aged fifty one in September 2012, five years after her diagnosis. In the preface to the book, which has been printed in the Radio Times, Peston said: 'Foggy-brained, the transcription was spoilt by spelling mistakes and typographical errors. All mine.' A Commonplace Killing will be Radio 4's Book at Bedtime next month. Peston said he picked up the novel's handwritten manuscript eleven days after his wife's death. 'My motive was selfish: I wanted to keep talking to her. I still do,' his preface reads. 'The tears could not be staunched as I read, deciphered and typed. Sian's prose was as pellucid and accurate as ever. And brave. Here she was, all hope lost of reprieve from the lethal cancer, reflecting on what it is like to know that death awaits on the morrow.' Writer and filmmaker Busby died a month after specialists said that there was nothing more they could do for her. She had never been a smoker. Writing in his BBC blog earlier this month, Peston bemoaned what he sees as the underfunding of research into lung cancer. 'Breast cancer receives just over three thousand five hundred pounds of research funding per death from the disease.' he wrote. 'Leukaemia receives over seven thousand pounds of research funding per mortality. Lung cancer receives just over four hundred pounds per death. There has been a perception that lung cancer sufferers have only themselves to blame, because they've smoked all their lives, and they tend to be old.' Busby wrote five books, the first two non-fiction. She also lectured in film and performing arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. She and Peston briefly dated in their early twenties and resumed their relationship twelve years later following the break up of Busby's first marriage. By the time Busby was completing A Commonplace Killing, Peston writes in his preface, she was 'being turned into an invalid, in almost unimaginable pain most of the time. Very occasionally she grumbled against the palpable unfairness, but she was courageous and stoical to an extent that tested my credulity.' A Commonplace Killing, described by its publisher as a 'gripping psychological thriller set in the bleakness and confusion of post-WWII London,' will be published on 2 May.

Go Compare's TV adverts featuring that irritating opera singer resulted in the most complained about advertising campaign of 2012, with almost two thousand, single-handedly fuelling a near doubling of complaints about UK financial advertising. Some thirty one thousand two hundred and ninety eight complaints were made about nearly nineteen thousand adverts last year, the majority by people with nothing better to do with their time, slightly down on 2011, according to the latest Advertising Standards Authority annual report. Complaints about financial services advertising, however, ballooned by eighty six per cent. In 2012 the rise in grievances against financial services adverts in general was almost entirely attributable to the price comparison website's annoying tenor Gio Compario. Go Compare took the first two spots in the ASA's top ten most complained about adverts of 2012 list, notching up eighteen hundred and five complaints. Viewers took particular exception to an advert featuring former England player Stuart Pearce kicking a football into the opera singer's knackers. A second advert featuring Sue Barker in a balaclava shooting the irritating tenor with a bazooka also provoked complaints that it was 'offensive' and 'inappropriately trivialised war' and terrorism. And once again dear blog reader, let us simply marvel at the utter shite some people chose to care about. Despite the huge number of complaints about the Go Compare campaign – third on the list, with three hundred and seventy three, was Channel Four's controversial 'Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier' poster adverts for Big Fat Gypsy Weddings – the ASA ruled that neither commercial broke the UK advertising code. Go Compare supplanted Phones 4U, which previously had the dubious honour of fielding the most complained about advert (with six hundred and fifty nine) in the ASA's 2011 'list of shame.' The ASA has also been cracking down on the way so-called 'pay day' loan companies, such as Wonga, market their deals. 'We've required pay day loan companies to be clear about what it is they are providing and what it costs,' said Lord Smith of Finsbury, chairman of the ASA. Although TV remained the most complained about advertising medium, with complaints up six per cent year-on-year to eleven thousand two hundred and forty five, 2012 was very much the year that the ASA and marketers got to grips with digital advertising. Just two years after the watchdog's online advertising remit was extended to include marketing on companies' own websites and in social media, it has swiftly cemented its place as the second most complained about advertising medium. Last year digital advertising prompted over nine thousand seven hundred complaints, almost a third of the watchdog's entire workload, but despite this rapid growth curve the number of complaints actually dropped by four per cent year-on-year. The ASA said that the main issue with online advertising is consumers feeling they are being misled – the subject of ninety per cent of all complaints about digital. In its annual report the ASA also laid down the law on how companies can use Twitter to advertise, with Nike the first UK company to have a campaign banned from the social media service. Nike fell foul of the ASA rules for not clearly telling the public that tweets from the personal Twitter accounts of Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere were, in fact, adverts. Others who failed to abide by the ASA's Twitter rules include The Only Way Is Essex person Gemma Collins, who promoted hair salon chain Toni & Guy: 'The use of celebrities to endorse products or services through their own Twitter accounts has raised questions about whether it is always clear when tweets are, in fact, ads,' said Smith. 'We've now issued advice to advertisers suggesting they use "#ad" or "#spon" if it's not otherwise clear what the communication is.' The burgeoning 'daily deals' sector was also made to toe the line after the ASA referred market leader GroupOn to the Office of Fair Trading. In its ruling the OFT found GroupOn guilty of 'widespread' breaches of consumer protection laws relating to areas including pricing, advertising and unfair terms attached to its daily deals. 'A company or sector's infancy does not absolve them from following the rules that protect the public from misleading ads,' said the ASA. 'As is often the case when you are one of the first or biggest players in a new industry, GroupOn has been the benchmark for all advertisers in that sector. In the past year we've tackled misleading and unfair advertising in the daily deals sector, working with the sector to improve their internal compliance processes.' In the travel sector the scrutiny that TripAdvisor's user review system has come under prompted the ASA to investigate how it markets and advertises itself to consumers. TripAdvisor was told to remove the expressions 'reviews you can trust' and 'read reviews from real travellers' after the ASA said it became clear that the company could not prove all reviews were from genuine travellers.

Sky Sports has strengthened its line-up of football experts even further by signing the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws defender Jamie Carragher. A particularly brave move since English is, seemingly, not Carragher's first language. Carragher will join in August ahead of the season, adding to a line-up which includes Gary Neville, Jamie Redknapp, Graeme Souness, Niall Quinn and Alan Smith. The 2013-14 season on Sky Sports comprises more than five hundred live matches from the domestic, European and international game. Carragher said: 'I watch Sky Sports all the time and I'm a huge fan. I can't wait to be part of their coverage and work with the best in the business. What Sky has done for football for over twenty years is incredible and I'm thrilled to be part of their exciting plans for next season.' At least, we think that's what he said. He continued: 'I don't think there could be a better move for me: to retire from one of the world's best football clubs at the end of the season and then join one of the world's best broadcasters. Until that time comes, I'll remain fully focused on my remaining playing career with Liverpool and I'm looking forward to ending the season with good results.' Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: 'Jamie has everything you want in an expert analyst; opinions, experience and incredible knowledge. He's hugely respected throughout the game and I know his immense insight on today's players, teams and tactics will make our football coverage even better. He joins us fresh from the changing room of one of the world's biggest clubs and will be part of our incredible line-up of football experts, who between them boast twenty five League titles, ten European trophies and over seven hundred international caps.' Carragher has spent his entire playing career with Liverpool and in seven hundred and thirty four appearances for the club, the thirty five-year-old has won the Champions League, UEFA Cup, two Super Cups, two FA Cups and three League Cups. He is only the second player to reach the landmark of five hundred Premier League appearances for one club and is Liverpool's longest serving player.

FIFA honorary president and - allegedly - corrupt old sour-faced scallywag Joao Havelenge has resigned after being named in a report as having 'received bribes.' The report by FIFA's ethics chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert also names Nicolas Leoz for taking payments from World Cup rights marketing agency International Sport and Leisure. Leoz resigned from the governing body's executive committee last week. He was accused in the report of being 'not fully candid' in his explanations over the affair. That's 'lying' to you and me. However while the report says that payments to Havelenge, Leoz and the former FIFA executive Ricardo Teixeira, qualified as 'bribes' they were not 'crimes' at the time. FIFA granted ISL exclusive rights to market World Cup tournaments to some of the world's biggest brands and ISL received millions more from negotiating television broadcast rights. The company collapsed with huge debts in 2001 and its arrangement with FIFA was subsequently investigated by Swiss authorities. FIFA was last year forced by the Swiss supreme court to release documents relating to the case after repeated attempts to block the confidential papers' release. It followed a report by Andrew Jennings for the BBC's Panorama programme in 2010 - scorned, at the time, by FIFA - which alleged that three senior FIFA officials took bribes from Swiss-based ISL in the 1990s. FIFA president Sepp Blatter - who did much of the scorning of Jennings in 2010 - announced in July 2012 that FIFA's new ethics committee would be looking at the bribery allegations. That investigation resulted in the release of Tuesday's report. The report says: 'It is certain that not inconsiderable amounts were channelled to former FIFA president Havelange and to his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira as well as to Doctor Nicolas Leoz, whereby there is no indication that any form of service was given in return by them. These payments were apparently made via front companies in order to cover up the true recipient and are to be qualified as "commissions," known today as "bribes."' The report states that Havelenge and Teixeira were 'morally and ethically reproachable' for accepting the money. Leoz told investigators that he had donated the money he received to a school project - but he only did so in January 2008. The report states that payments were made between 1992 and May 2000. Questions over Blatter's own conduct have also been raised in the past but the report says that there is no evidence he received money from the now-defunct ISL. However, it does raise questions about whether Blatter should have known about the bribes to other executives and labels his behaviour in dealing with aspects of the affair as 'clumsy. There are also no indications whatsoever that President Blatter was responsible for a cash flow to Havelange, Teixeira or Leoz, or that that he himself received any payments from the ISL Group, even in the form of hidden kickback payments. It must be questioned, however, whether President Blatter knew or should have known over the years before the bankruptcy of ISL that ISL had made payments (bribes) to other FIFA officials.' Eckert is also critical about the controls that FIFA had in place to prevent such corruption from occurring. In response to the publication of the report Blatter said: 'I note in particular that, in his conclusions, chairman Eckert states that "the ISL case is concluded for the Ethics Committee" and that 'no further proceedings related to the ISL matter are warranted against any other football official." I also note with satisfaction that this report confirms that "President Blatter's conduct could not be classified in any way as misconduct with regard to any ethics rules." I have no doubt that FIFA, thanks to the governance reform process that I proposed, now has the mechanisms and means to ensure that such an issue - which has caused untold damage to the reputation of our institution - does not happen again.' So, hurrah for good old Sepp Blatter, the only honest man in world football. According to, you know, Sepp Blatter.

Noel Gallagher has reiterated that he will not be joining The X Factor as a judge. The ex-Oasis guitarist recently confirmed that he was offered a spot on the judging panel by Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. Speaking about his reasons behind turning down the deal, Noel said that he would be worried about swearing on live television. And presumably, that he had a bit more dignity that to prostitute himself like that. 'Yes, I was asked to do it again,' he told the Daily Lies. 'I think they think that because my tour's finished I'm going to be bored, but I'm never going to be that bored. Sharon Osbourne gets £1.5 million for it, I've heard. If she's worth one and a half, what am I worth? Three? Three and three quarters? I've not got anything against the show, I just don't want to be on the telly every Saturday night. Fuck that.'

Campaigners are renewing their efforts to save Bray Studios, near Maidenhead in Berkshire, probably most famous for the Hammer horror films which were made there. They have also hosted TV productions as well as band rehearsals. Doctor Who, for instance, used the facilities for five stories between 1972 and 1979 - Frontier In Space, The Invisible Enemy, The Invasion of Time, The Power of Kroll and City of Death - and the studios were also used by Gerry Anderson for some of his shows. The now-dilapidated site, currently owned by showbusiness agent Neville Hendricks, is set to be turned into seven executive homes but the Save Bray Studios campaign, headed by Robert Simpson, aims to halt the bulldozers. Over the years the studios have been home to hundreds of films, television productions and music. They are now set for demolition and conversion into housing following a successful planning application, but the campaign is looking into halting this and exploring any options that would allow them to continue functioning as studios.
Male prisoners in England and Wales must 'work harder' for privileges such as televisions in cells, the government has said. Inmates will be made to wear a uniform during their first two weeks in jail and their access to private cash to call home will be restricted. Satellite and cable TV channels, currently available in some private prisons, will be banned altogether. The Prison Reform Trust said 'getting rid of tellies' was not going to cut reconviction rates. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'I want the arrival in prison for the first time to be an experience that is not one they'd want to repeat. That means an environment where they arrive [where] standards are pretty basic and then they start to gain extras by contributing. And, if they won't do it, then they can't expect to start gaining those privileges.' There are three levels of privileges available to prisoners - basic, standard and enhanced. Currently all inmates must be placed initially on the middle tier when they enter prison. This allows them to wear own clothes, have a TV in their cell and gives them more family visits, access to private cash and potential to earn more from prison jobs than those who are moved to basic level for poor behaviour. However, from November, all prisoners will spend their first two weeks on a new 'entry' level, which more closely resembles the basic standard currently in place. Their behaviour will be reviewed after two weeks and they will either stay at the basic level or move up to the standard level - which includes privileges such as in-cell TVs. Noel 'Razor' Smith, who was in prison for thirty three years and is now a writer, said putting TVs into prisoners' cells actually helped reduce violence in prisons, because it gave inmates who could not read or write a way to occupy their time. 'You would think [Grayling] would start on drugs if anything,' Smith said. 'It's easier to buy heroin on prison landings than on the streets.' But Max Chambers, from the right-wing Policy Exchange think-tank, said the moves were 'exactly what taxpayers would expect from our prison system' and would bring about the sort of behaviour change needed in jails. Once again, isn't it nice to see right-wing lice speaking for all tax payers despite, seemingly, not having been given permission by this blogger - a tax payer - to speak for him, at least. Last month, MSPs warned that prisoners in Scotland's jails were spending too much time watching TV instead of taking part in activities to cut reoffending.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be attending Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside. This week it's one of the best-selling records of all time, Sime and Garf's Bridge Over Troubled Waters. An LP that yer actual Keith Telly Topping knew backwards when he was a teenager (his mate Matt, whose gaff Keith Telly Topping spent considerable time at, only had about five records in the house and three of them were Sime and Garf LPs!) Consequently, by the time I was sixteen, I was sick to bloody death of it and, as with a few other LPs of the same vintage it went into the, conceptual, Time Vault Of Horrorshow (And Drag). Then, about ten years ago, yer actual Keith Telly Topping bought that three CD Sime and Graf box-set, Old Friends (because it was going cheap in an HMV sale, probably), which includes most of Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and discovered - to his astonishment - exactly why it's sold over a hundred trillions copies since 1970. Because it's sodding brilliant, basically. So, guess what today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day is then, kids?

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