Sunday, May 19, 2013

Week Twenty Two: Common Labourer By Night, By Day Highbrow

As promised by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat if we were all very, very good, the BBC has released footage of yer actual Matt Smith and former national heartthrob David Tennant his very self together discussing the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary special. Not 'alf. The clip was promised to fans of the show if details of the series finale The Name Of The Doctor were kept a secret. The series blu-ray was accidentally sent out early to some fans in the US last week. The official Doctor Who Twitter account announced earlier in the week: 'Steven Moffat has promised if fans help keep the finale's secrets, we'll release a special video featuring Matt and David right after the episode!' And, they did. In the interview, Smith and Tennant discussed the first time they met on the set of The End Of Time in 2009, as well as 'the unusual set of pressures' that taking the role of The Doctor brings. Smudger noted that the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors seem to 'get on quite well' in the anniversary episode, while Tennant added that they do 'bicker a bit.'
Meanwhile, Steven Moffat has personally thanked the popular long-running family SF drama's fans for keeping the secrets of the season finale. Following the early release of the US blu-ray discs containing the series climax, the BBC asked recipients to keep the secrets of the episode - specifically its climax - until after the broadcast of the show, promising the special video clip would be released as a reward. Moffat told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'That was all a bit Keystone Cops, wasn't it? Our biggest surprise, our most secret episode, a revelation about The Doctor that changes everything ... and we'd have got away with it too, if we hadn't accidentally sent blu-ray copies of The Name Of The Doctor to two hundred and ten Doctor Who fans in America. Security-wise, that's not good, is it? I mean, it's not top-notch; it's hard to defend as professional-level, hard-line secrecy. My favourite fact is that they're blu-rays. Listen, we don't just leak any old rubbish, we leak in high-def – 1080p or nothing, that's us. Every last pixel in beautifully rendered detail. It's like getting caught extra naked. But here's the thing. Never mind us blundering fools, check out the fans. Two hundred and ten of them, with the top-secret episode within their grasp – and because we asked nicely, they didn't breathe a word. Not one. Even Doctor Who websites have been closing their comments sections, just in case anyone blurts. I'm gobsmacked. I'm impressed. Actually, I'm humbled. And we are all very grateful. Now you might be thinking, what does all this matter? It's a plot development in the mad old fantasy world of Doctor Who, why is that important? Well of course, it's not important, and in the scheme of things, it doesn't matter at all. Just as it doesn't matter when you're telling a joke, and some idiot shouts out the punchline before you finish. It's irritating, that's all. It's bad manners. Well, no bad manners here! Two hundred and ten Doctor Who fans kept the secret, and many, many more fans helped. I wish I could send you all flowers, but I don't know where you live (and, given our record, you really shouldn't be sharing private information with us). So instead, there is a little video treat.'

Oh, and just in case you didn't know already ...
The Eurovision Song Contest scored an overnight audience of 7.7m for BBC1 on Saturday evening. The annual show was up two hundred and thirty thousand punters on last year's overnight figure, peaking at 9.28m shortly before the climax. It was broadcast between 8pm and 11.30pm. Britain's Got Talent maintained its lead on the Saturday overnight ratings, pulling in 8.8m from 7.30pm on ITV - although this was down 1.74m on last week's audience. It peaked at 9.31m. Later on ITV, game show The Cube had 3.2m at 8.45pm and The Jonathan Ross Show took 1.7m an hour later. Earlier, the Doctor Who finale The Name Of The Doctor was watched by 5.46m overnight viewers from 7pm, up seven hundred and twenty thousand punters on last week. BBC2 showed Sincerely, F Scott Fitzgerald: A Culture Show Special at 8.30pm, picking up five hundred and forty thousand viewers. Flog It! gave the channel its best ratings of the day, scoring 1.62m at 7pm. Channel Four showed movies Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps from 7.15pm, attracting six hundred and ninety thousand and eight hundred and seventy thousand respectively. Channel Five's double bill of NCIS scored six hundred and seventy two thousand and 1.12m respectively from 8pm.

So, as noted, Denmark triumphed at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, held in the Swedish city of Malmo. Emmelie De Forest had been the overwhelming favourite among the twenty six entries, with her song 'Only Teardrops'. Azerbaijan finished second. The UK's Bonnie Tyler came a thoroughly miserable nineteenth, a slight improvement on last year when Engelbert Humperdinck came second from last. There was disappointment for Ireland's Ryan Dolan as he finished in last place with just five points. De Forest won with two hundred and eighty one points and Azerbaijan's Farid Mammadov finished forty seven points behind, followed by Ukraine in third and Norway in fourth. Denmark, which will now have the awkward, and expensive, job of hosting the fifty ninth contest next year, had previously won in 1963 and 2000. De Forest sang her up-tempo tune barefoot, saying before she performed: 'It makes me feel closer to the ground, the earth and makes me feel more relaxed.' At the post-event news conference, she told reporters: 'It has been quite stressful but it's also a wonderful thing that has happened to me. It's amazing. It was crazy when they put the butterfly [of the winning country's flag] on the dress. I didn't understand we had won at that point.' She added: 'Of course I believed in the song, but that's the exciting thing about Eurovision you don't know what's going to happen. So I was surprised and shocked when it happened.' TV viewers across Europe were treated to the mix of high-energy pop and power ballads which have become synonymous with the contest, as well as some outlandish stage performances and some cheeky Swedish humour which seemed to go down very well across Europe. One of the more eccentric acts was Romania's Cezar, who mixed his operatic voice with a disco beat. He managed a respectable thirteenth position. Tyler, who claimed to have had high hopes for her chances before the competition, even if no one else did, scored but twenty three points for her performance of 'Believe In Me'. Speaking afterwards, Tyler said that despite her less than impressive final score the experience had been 'a night to remember.' She said: 'I got the feeling tonight that I got at the Grammy awards. I'm sure a lot of people will be disappointed on my behalf but I have really enjoyed my Eurovision experience. I did the best that I could do with a great song. I don't feel down and I'm ready to party.'

Yer actual Gillian Anderson has spoken about her role on new BBC2 crime drama series The Fall. The actress revealed that she enjoyed playing Stella in the Belfast-based series because of her sexual confidence, the Daily Scum Mail reports. The new series also stars former Calvin Klein model Jamie Dornan as a stalker and serial killer. The forty four-year-old actress admitted that she has 'played a succession of tightly-wound, dark, confused, suicidal women' since portraying Dana Scully in The X Files. On The Fall, she said: 'If Stella finds a man attractive, she doesn't hesitate to make the first move. I quite like that in a woman, I've discovered. I like the way Stella is so sexually confident but there are consequences to that, as you'll see over the serial. I would quite like to be like her. But I found filming the sex scenes difficult. It always is. Both sides get very nervous and you think, "What if he's a terrible kisser?" I'm pleased Stella keeps her clothes on, though. I am not happy naked on film. But Stella is comfortable in her own skin. She's much more feminine than Scully ever was,' Gillian added. The Fall opened to a very impressive 3.5 million viewers last week and was met with a largely positive response from critics.

And, so to the Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 25 May
Holly Willoughby's shapely arse and Reggie Yates's lack of charisma present the final battle show of The Voice - 7:10 BBC1 - by the end of which the - alleged - 'superstar' coaches will be one step closer to deciding their final line-ups. Twenty-four more acts sing off in the battle arena two at a time, hoping their coach will choose them to go through to next week's knock-out rounds. However, with Tom Jones and Jessie J both having used their 'steal' option, only Danny O'Donoghue and Will.He.Very Much Is are able to add one of the losing acts to their teams - and as the pressure mounts in the studio, friction grows between the coaches, prompting one of them to walk out. Which would be dramatic if the BBC hadn't already used the incident as part of a trailer and revealed that it is full-of-herself Ms J who done the stroppy girly stomping off in a huff nonsense. So, now you know that, dear blog reader, there's really no need to actually watch the episode in question. Read a book instead, you might learn something.

David Bowie: Five Years - 9:20 BBC2 - is, as the name might suggest, a much-anticipated documentary exploring five key years in the iconic singer's career, which saw him redefine himself as an artist by adopting a different persona - each one marking a shift in musical and visual direction. Featuring interviews with several of his collaborators, the programme focuses on five pivotal years in Bowie's career as a recording artist - from 1971's transformation from the America-obsessed singer-songwriter of Hunky Dory to the ultimate glam-rock icon Ziggy Stardust. Then reinvention as the impeccably dressed soul stylist the Thin White Duke in 1975, to his regeneration in Berlin with the critically acclaimed 1977 LPs Low and Heroes, 1980's triumph of Scary Monsters - the last, properly great LP he made until, well, this year basically and, finally, the mixture of populism and horrible clothes of Let's Dance's global success in 1983. And, no Tin Machine either. That's probably just as well.

ITV's - as usual, thoroughly wretched - coverage of Live UEFA Champions League starts at 7:00. Achtung, baby - gott in himmel, it's an all German affair with yer actual Borussia Dortmund versus Bayern Munich their very selves (kick-off 7.45pm). So, that'll be popular in Essex. The showpiece match at Wembley Stadium, sees the two Bundesliga clubs contesting the prestigious trophy. While the tournament this season has been one to forget for English teams, those from Germany and Spain have dominated, with Dortmund defeating Fancy Dan Real Madrid in the semi-final, and Bayern demolishing the, supposedly, 'unbeatable' Barcelona in their last-four encounter. This will be the fifth match to take place between the rivals during this campaign, with the two league matches finishing in 1-1 draws, while Bayern triumphed 1-0 in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal and 2-1 in the DFB-Supercup. Odious grumpy greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles presents, with a singular lack of analysis analysis from Roy Keane, Gareth Southgate and Lee Dixon, and commentary by Clive Tyldesley. Andy Townsend will also be there on a freebie although Christ only knows what he does to justify his sodding existence, never mind his, presumably, massive wages. Subsequent programmes are subject to change in the event of extra time, penalties or, hopefully, one of the panel deciding to attack their colleagues with a machete.

Sunday 26 May
Jackson is asked to find out if a woman's fiancé is cheating on her - but what appears to be an open-and-shut case proves to be anything but when he finds himself investigating a suspected murder in Case Histories - 9:00 BBC1. Meanwhile, the Private Investigator struggles to re-establish his relationship with Louise following her marriage, his home life becomes complicated when daughter Marlee moves in and with the business suffering, Deborah turns to honey-trapping to bring in some much-needed revenue. Crime drama, starring Jason Isaacs, Amanda Abbington, Zawe Ashton and Millie Innes.

In Australia with Simon Reeve - 9:30 BBC2 - the author and adventurer continues his Australian journey in Kakadu, the country's largest national park, where he works through the night with a team committed to culling the poisonous feral cane toads that are threatening the region's wildlife. He then learns how to survive off the land using ancient Aboriginal knowledge as he heads out on patrol with a unique military unit in the remote Northern Bush, before attempting to catch box jellyfish on Cape York Peninsula with a group of scientists who believe the species' deadly venom may have medicinal qualities. Finally, Simon flies 100 miles out into the ocean to watch a large tanker being guided through the Great Barrier Reef.

Ventriloquist and comedienne Nina Conti performs a show in Sydney, accompanied by two of her best-known puppet characters, Monk, a cynical monkey who insults and swears when he does not have his demands fulfilled, and Granny, an elderly Scotswoman to whom the entertainer refers as someone similar to her own grandmother in Nina Conti: Talk To The Hand - 9:00 BBC4.

Monday 27 May
Gibson is instructed by Burns to start carrying a firearm as she takes control of the hunt for the serial killer targeting women in Belfast in The Fall - 9:00 BBC2. Elsewhere, Spector tries to locate his next potential victim after realising that the murderer's so-called 'perfect kill' has become tainted. And, while visiting Sally Ann's parents at their farmhouse outside the city, he discovers an abandoned building which appears ideal for storing some of his secret possessions. Thriller, starring yer actual Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan.

Only Connect - 8:30 BBC4 - is, of course, the quiz show that rewards lateral thinking. It continues as saucy minx Victoria Coren Mitchell challenges three festival enthusiasts to pit their wits against a trio with a shared love of all things French. Letters, kissing, toast, that sort of thing. The two sides are tasked with finding the sometimes tenuous links between things that are not otherwise thought to be connected.

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games return to Ynys-hir nature reserve in Welsh Wales for a new series of Springwatch - 8:00 BBC2 - to follow the fortunes of wildlife, looking at the effect the late spring has had and reporting on how kites, wild boar, dolphins and otters are getting on. They also kick off the BBC's Summer of Wildlife season of programming (or, 'Four Days In June Of Wildlife' as it's being called this year) and events celebrating the UK's unique and extraordinary wildlife.
Tuesday 28 May
Newly released footage filmed in 1928 and 1930 by Edward VIII his very self shows the much-maligned Hitler-loving monarch in a new light, revealing the untold story of his safaris in Africa and his role in changing the future of the continent's wildlife in Edward VIII: The Lion King - 9:00 Channel Four. The then Prince of Wales was, we are told, shocked and stunned by the scale of the slaughter he encountered, with elephants, rhinos, lions and leopards being killed in their thousands, and led a conservation campaign to protect the lives of these animals. He was a Nazi sympathiser, but he liked animals. So, that's all right then.

The crime scene investigators stumble upon an age-old feud between two expatriate families as they investigate the murder of a famous Cuban singer's sister - and it seems that the performer herself is the killer's next target in the latest CSI - 9:00 Channel Five. A vital clue leads the team to interview the owner of a chrome-plating workshop, whom they believe has something to hide. Meanwhile, Hodges begins to get cold feet at the prospect of marrying his sexy Italian girlfriend. Drama, starring Ted Danson, Wallace Langham, Elisabeth Shue, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Elisabeth Harnois and Paul Guilfoyle.
To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the first successful ascent of the world's highest mountain, a cast including Stephen Campbell-Moore, Jason Flemyng, John Hannah and Toby Jones read from the diaries, accounts and letters of those determined to conquer Everest before anyone else in Words of Everest - 10:35 ITV. The programme follows George Mallory and Sandy Irvine's ill-fated 1924 expedition to the summit, and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's successful climb in 1953.
Tonight's episode of Hannibal - 10:00 Sky Living - is Oeuf, the one that wasn't shown in the US due to Bryan Fuller suddenly getting a bit queasy about its subject matter. Doctor Lecter (the genuinely terrific Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) compete for Abigail's trust following her attempt to break out of hospital, and the psychiatrist invites the youngster to his house in a bid to put her under his spell. Meanwhile, two families are found murdered, with both mothers being killed last. The only link between the families is that they both have teenage sons who have been on the missing persons list for approximately a year. Graham concludes that these Lost Boys are killing their old families to bond more closely to a new family. Graham continues his sessions with Lecter and confides that even if he finds the boys, he will never be able to give them back what they gave away: their families. He also admits to having paternal feelings toward Abigail, which make him uncomfortable. Lecter's own interest in Abigail leads him to check her out of the hospital, against the wishes of Doctor Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), and take her into his care. He gives her some tea made from psilocybin mushrooms to help with her traumatic dreams. Bloom helps Graham to realise that the Lost Boys are under the influence of a powerful mother figure (played by Molly Shannon) and uses footage from a convenience store security camera to track them to North Carolina in time to stop another young boy from murdering his family. With Laurence Fishburne, Hettienne Park and Kacey Rohl.
Wednesday 29 May
The Iraq War - 9:00 BBC2 - is a three-part documentary in which senior figures involved in key decision-making before, during and after the Iraq War explain the logic of their choices. The first episode begins in January 2002, when the war on terror was just four months old. Saddam Hussein's former intelligence chiefs join leading US, British and French politicians - Colin Powell, Tony Blair, Jack Straw, General Petraeus and Dominique de Villepin - and Iraq's post-war prime ministers to offer an authoritative account of the tense build-up to the conflict, when members of the Bush administration turned their attention to deposing the Iraqi dictator, having recently helped overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
In Mothers, Murderers and Mistresses - 9:00 BBC4 - Professor Catharine Edwards explores the stories of women who tasted power in the Roman Empire, beginning with the wife of the emperor Augustus and mother of Tiberius - Livia. She also explains that imperial women who lacked perfect political judgement would become not leaders, but victims.

The body of a TV producer is found by treasure hunters under a patch of ground covered with mushrooms, and the team is baffled as to how the victim ended up in such an obscure location in the latest Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. Meanwhile, Brennan is left reeling at the accusation that Christine is an 'average' child following an incident at preschool and Jack Hodgins tries to replicate Finn's grandmother's secret hot sauce recipe.
Thursday 30 May
Jimmy Doherty investigates the predictability of human behaviour, looking at research that suggests people often think and move like members of a herd of animals in The Human Swarm - 9:00 Channel Four. He uncovers how the 'data trails' left behind by such things as Internet usage and supermarket shopping reveal a remarkably detailed picture about an individual, and shows how one of the most powerful influences on the public is the temperature, with the smallest changes having great physical and psychological effects.

Tony Robinson reveals new evidence that shows how a huge tsunami swamped the east coast of Britain eight thousand years ago and explores the lives of those it affected in Britain's Stone Age Tsunami - 8:00 Channel Four. For years, these Mesolithic communities were thought to be primitive hunter-gatherers, but through archaeological excavation, Tony discovers they were living comfortable existences in their own houses, with varied diets and sophisticated skills. Scientists take him on a virtual journey through the rich landscape of Doggerland - the area of dry land which connected Britain to Mainland Europe - which was destroyed by the wave and persistent flooding.

The Beard of despair Noel Edmonds presents an edition of Top of the Pops from 8 June 1978. With music by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, yer actual Lindisfarne, The Rolling Stones, Goldie, AC/DC, Boney M, Guy Marks, Maxine Nightingale and David Soul. Plus, a performance by dance group Legs & Co.
The concluding part of Eddie Izzard's Mandela Marathons - 9:00 Sky1 - in which the comedian, marathon man and action transvestite attempts to run twenty seven marathons across South Africa in as many days - one for each year that Nelson Mandela spent in prison. Having put his near-collapse at the end of last week's episode down to 'teething problems', things are back on track and for the first time he gets to run on smooth tarmac as opposed to the rocky terrain at the start of his journey. However, his good fortune is fleeting and returning pains mean a planned visit to Mandela's university Fort Hale is replaced with a trip to the hospital. Will he ever finish his marathon mission?

Friday 31 May
Stand-up David O'Doherty, Pointless co-host Richard Osman, comedienne Susan Calman and weather presenter Carol Kirkwood join team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack for Would I Lie To You? - 8:30 BBC1 - trying to hoodwink their opponents with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves. Rob Brydon hosts. That's followed immediately afterwards by Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - as stand-up Matt Forde and actor-comedian Miles Jupp join team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton to take a sidelong - and, hopefully, spectacularly irreverent - glance at the events of the past week. Last in the current series.

Author Ian Mortimer refutes myths and stereotypes held of the Elizabethan period as he answers key questions that a prospective traveller to late sixteenth-century England might ask. In The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England - 9:00 BBC2 - based on his 2012 book of the same name, the presenter begins by confronting the fact that, contrary to the abiding image of courtiers in fine clothes and lavish palaces, many who lived in the era were poor. He offers advice on how to survive on a wage of fourpence per day (making him a sort of academic version of Iain Duncan Smith), and examines the realities of finding work, getting around, and living in a smoke-filled countryside hovel. Ian also addresses the religious controversies that threatened to pull Britain apart, and reveals how society tolerated extreme cruelty towards animals, women and children.

Otis Redding: Soul Ambassador - 9:00 BBC4 - is a profile of the soul singer, documenting his childhood and career, including unseen home movies that reveal how his 1967 tour of Britain dramatically changed his life and music. Tragically, within six months of that triumph, backed by Booker T & The MGs, he'd be dead. Plus, footage of rare performances and intimate interviews with Redding's widow, daughter and his collaborators Steve Cropper and Booker T Jones.
The news, now: Peep Show creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong were lined-up to write Flight Of The Conchords' US sitcom but had to pull out when their Channel Four show was recommissioned. The pair were 'a week away' from flying to Los Angeles to co-create the series but took the 'horrible decision' not to go after series four of Peep Show was given the go-ahead, Bain has revealed. In a lengthy interview with US broadcaster Ken Plume on his A Bit Of A Chat podcast, Bain also discussed Fresh Meat's 'major new characters', how the show has changed since its conception, and admitted to killing Richard Blackwood's career. For which we must, all, be really thankful. Now, can you do the same for Jack Whitehall please? Of the new Fresh Meat team, Bain described home-schooled fresher student Candice as 'naïve' and 'taken under their wing a bit' and Javier as 'a guy' Vod met in Mexico while travelling around South America with Oregon, who 'appears unexpectedly back in their lives'. Casting for these roles is ongoing. Fresh Meat was initially rejected by the BBC fourteen years ago, and the current characters are 'pretty similar' to those in the original scripts, though Josie, played by Kimberley Nixon, 'was written as Asian, she was called Shazia' he said. And at one point, Kingsley, played by Joe Thomas, was in a wheelchair. However Bain and Armstrong subsequently decided that an Asian dental student was 'a bit too much of a racial cliché.' And that casting Kingsley as disabled was 'quite a bold decision but ultimately, we moved away from it. I think we probably felt, correctly, that it might be a little too much to load on that character, too restrictive in some ways.'

A guitar played by John Lennon and George Harrison of the Beatles has sold for over four hundred thousand dollars at auction. The custom-made instrument, built in 1966 by the Vox company, was bought by an unidentified American buyer with more money than common sense in New York. Harrison played the instrument, distinguished by two symmetrical flared shoulders on the upper body, during the rehearsals for 'I Am The Walrus' in 1967 whilst alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie Lennon used it in when The Beatles were shooting a promotional film for the song 'Hello, Goodbye', according to a statement from Julien's Auctions. The Vox guitar was a prototype instrument custom-built for Lennon in 1966, said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's. Lennon gave the guitar as a gift in 1967 to Magic Alex Mardas, who was the electronics engineer for the band's Apple Records label, the auction house said. Julien's said the guitar had exceeded its estimated value of two hundred thousand dollars. After playing the guitar, Lennon gave it as a twenty fifth birthday present to Mardas, a member of The Beatles' inner circle during the late 1960s. A plaque on the back reads: 'To Magic Alex/Alexi thank you/for been [sic] a friend/2-5-1967 John.' Mardas sold the instrument in 2004.

Stuart Broad took seven wickets in eleven overs to rip through New Zealand and inspire England to an astonishing one hundred and seventy-run win in the first Test at Lord's. Chasing two hundred and thirty nine to win, the Black Caps were bowled out for just sixty eight in 22.3 overs after lunch on the fourth day as Broad finished with test-best figures of seven for forty four. Only two Kiwi players - Neil Wagner and BJ Watling - made double figures as they succumbed for the tenth lowest score in a Lord's Test. Jimmy Anderson picked up two for twenty three with Steve Finn and Graeme Swann not bowling a single ball. It was the first time since 1936 that England have bowled a side out using just two bowlers. Just two hours earlier, the tourists appeared to have given themselves a good chance of victory when they took England's last four second-innings wickets for thirty three runs to bowl them out for two hundred and thirteen. England captain Alastair Cook told the BBC: 'Cricket's a strange game and sometimes results like that happen. I think the extra heat today helped the ball swing, it was a good wicket but it kept doing enough, and Broady and Jimmy [Anderson] were outstanding. At one hundred and sixty for two with a lead of one hundred and ninety we were thinking "bat them out of the game", but Tim Southee bowled outstandingly well. I think there are areas in all of our game where we can improve, the swinging ball was tough for both sides here and we wanted to score more runs, but a one hundred and seventy-run win is a big win. Just watching Jimmy Anderson bowl from slip and seeing the pain fast bowlers go through, reaching three hundred wickets was outstanding and hopefully he's got a few more left in him.'
For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a proper twenty four carat masterpiece from yer actual Pretenders.

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