Saturday, June 08, 2013

I'm A Midnight Creeper, All Day Sleeper

Yer actual Jenna-Louise Coleman has admitted filming her final scenes opposite Matt Smith will be an emotional experience. 'I don't even want to pick up that script just yet' she said in one of her first interviews since Smudger announced his departure from the long-running BBC family SF drama. Jenna insisted that she has 'no idea' who will play the next Doctor. As, indeed, doesn't anyone else (except, possibly, yer actual Steven Moffat). Not that this has stopped a massive amount of - hugely ill-informed - speculation (see below). She also noted, that the process of choosing the next Doctor was likely to be a protracted one. The actress was speaking after meeting The Queen at the official opening of the BBC's Broadcasting House. Coleman said it was 'such an honour' to meet The Queen, and that Her Maj was the only person who did not try to quiz her about the identity of the next Doctor. No, more of a Trek fan, Liz I'd've thought. 'Everybody else in the building has asked me who the next Doctor is, and I can tell you honestly we don't know. It's going to be a long, long search. But yes, I'm being asked that question a lot,' Jenna whinged. She confirmed that filming on Smudger's final story will not begin until the autumn (September in the date this blogger is hearing). The episode, which will be broadcast at Christmas, is also expected to introduce Matt's successor. Jenna said she has 'no preferences' for what kind of actor will be cast. 'I am completely open, and I have lots of confidence in Steven and all the team. And I'm sure they're very much across it. But we shall see. I just can't think about it yet. I think because [Matt and I have] got so much left to [do]. We haven't even begun our goodbye yet. So, I suppose that's all I can think about at the moment.' Since Smudger announced that he was leaving the popular family SF drama show after four years in the role there has been a large amount of speculation about his replacement. Most of it, completely bloody cuckoo. At the moment the BBC will only confirm that the search for the twelfth actor to play the Time Lord is now 'under way.' With filming for the Christmas special not beginning until the autumn, a casting announcement may not need to be made until late summer, or even later. When Smudger was chosen as the eleventh Doctor, the news that someone had been cast and their identity was successfully kept secret for some weeks.

Meanwhile, of course, the circus continues apace. On Friday, Starburst magazine (which this blogger used to write for, occasionally, back in the day and which, I must admit, yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought had folded years ago), suggested 'sources' had indicated that 'a Sunday newspaper is intending to scoop the BBC by announcing the name of the new Doctor this weekend. And in order to pre-empt the scoop, the BBC look set to announce the name tomorrow evening [Saturday], just a single short week since the announcement of Matt Smith's departure, and hardly time enough for that bombshell of a news story to sink in.' The article went on to claim that Starburst's alleged 'sources' had, allegedly, 'come up with three names, apparently the front-runners in the bidding to be the new Doctor' whom they named as Domhnall Gleeson, Daniel Kaluuya and Dominic Cooper. None of these are ridiculous suggestions, indeed, all three broadly fit in with the sort of criteria that most informed commentators (including this one!) expect from the actor cast as the next Doctor. (Specifically, they're all young - thirty, twenty four and thirty five respectively, and none of them are household names). Queue, therefore, a positive frenzy of fan excitement on Twitter and Facebook on Friday evening which all fell to pieces like wet cardboard on Saturday morning when the BBC, via the official Doctor Who Twitter account announced ... that there would be no announcement. Ah, the wonders of the Internet age.
Yer actual Arthur Darvill is the latest former Doctor Who actor to speak about his former co-star Matt Smith's departure from the show. Echoing comments from Alex Kingston earlier in the week, Arthur told BBCA he 'wasn't surprised' by Smudger's exit: 'I've known that Matt's going to leave for awhile, so it wasn't much of a shock to me, and I saw him last week or the week before. He's done his time on it, I think. It's a hard one. I left a year ago and it was very hard to leave. I think the worst that you can do on something like that is outstay your welcome. It's better to be missed than for people to go, "Just get out," so I think it's a good time for him to leave.' On whom Arty would like to see as the twelfth Doctor, he said: 'I think they should go for someone older and I don't know who that should be. I suppose it could be a woman. I think it is a male part, though I think it's just about the person.'

Jamie MacKinnon has been crowned the winner of BBC2's The Chef's Protégé. The seventeen-year-old catering student from Perth College beat fellow hopefuls Sophie and David to take the title of Britain's most promising young chef. Throughout the series MacKinnon was mentored by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin, who hand-picked the teenager after returning to catering college and conducting a search for the most talented trainees. The pair competed against protégés selected by fellow top chefs Theo Randall and Le Gavroche's Michel Roux Jr in cooking challenges designed to test the candidates' skills. In Friday's final cook-off, the students produce a two-course menu for judges Pierre Koffmann, Ruth Rodgers and Albert Roux. MacKinnon impressed the panel with his Scottish scallop and roast partridge menu which was deemed both high quality and a clear demonstration of his mentor's influences. Following his victory, MacKinnon described the final as the best day of his life. 'You can't really describe how amazing it makes you feel,' he explained. 'I don't show emotion that much but everything is just going on inside my head.' Kitchin added: 'The sense of pride in Jamie winning it for himself, for Perth College, and for Scotland is unbelievable. He has really taken on the philosophy, the belief, the passion - he's just submerged himself into my philosophy.' MacKinnon also revealed that - like runners up Sophie and David - his mentor has offered him a job when he finishes college. 'I think I'll be taking him up on the offer,' he said. 'I mean, how many people get given an opportunity like that?'

A trailer for the third series of the acclaimed and award-winning BBC crime drama Luther has been revealed. The new series - beginning next month - will see Idris Elba's maverick DCI John Luther investigating two conflicting crimes while a ruthless ex-cop tries to bring him down. Ruth Wilson has been confirmed to return as Luther's psychopathic accomplice Alice Morgan and Resident Evil's Sienna Guillory will be introduced as a new love interest for the detective. The show began shooting scenes for the four-part run last November.

Olympic gold medal winner Nicola Adams has begun filming for a guest part in Waterloo Road. The boxer will play herself in an episode involving a character getting into boxing. Adams told the Sun's TV Magazine: 'It's great to be here. I love Waterloo Road, I watch it after training.' She did, however, admit that she was struggling with some of the basics, saying: 'I keep calling people by their character's name.' The Olympian has previously had cameos in Coronation Street and Emmerdale. She received an MBE in March. Her Waterloo Road episode will be broadcast in October.

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries is to be investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. The investigation is understood to relate to payment for her appearance on ITV's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) programme last autumn. A spokesman for the commissioner said that a complaint was received earlier this week and had 'been accepted' for inquiry. It is thought that it was the Labour MP John Mann that snitched Dorries up like a dirty stinking Copper's Nark. Which, to be fair, is funny. Dorries recently suggested that she had not yet received an appearance fee and would obey Commons rules if she did. She told the BBC: 'I'm a backbencher not a minister. My personal finances are my business and nobody else's and if I choose to take money from the company then I will declare it immediately to the standards commissioner.' The MP has yet to declare any fee from the reality TV show in the Commons register of members' interests. Dorries denied on Twitter after her interview with Andrew Neil last Sunday that she had been paid forty thousand smackers for her appearance on the z-list celebrity show. The MP also threatened to take legal action against Matthew Sinclair, the chief executive of the odious right-wing pressure group the Taxpayers' Alliance after he criticised her. 'One warning, Mr Sinclair. Libel me and I will take you personally to the legal cleaners.' Oooo, get her. In a recent appearance on the BBC's Sunday Politics, Dorries claimed that she had 'not personally benefited' from going into the jungle. She said that she had a company and added: 'When I benefit personally from that I will have to declare it to the register.' According to the Gruniad Morning Star, Companies House records show that Dorries is a director of a limited company called Averbrook. Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Hudson will now gather evidence on the matter. The Conservative Party suspended Dorries following her TV appearance, but she was reinstated last month. If found guilty of such nefarious skulduggery it is likely that David Cameron will give her a damned good pants-down tweaking in Parliament Square. Which will be covered live on Sky News. Probably.

The Walking Dead actress Shannon Richardson has been arrested in connection with ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama, New York City Major Michael Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, a gun control advocate in Washington DC, last month. NBC News first reported the arrest. The thirty five-year-old actress was arrested in Mount Pleasant, Texas, on Friday and appeared in front of Judge Caroline Craven in Texarkana. Richardson was charged with 'mailing a threatening communication to the President of the United States', The Hollywood Reporter confirms. If convicted, Richardson faces up to ten years in federal pokey. According to NBC's report, Richardson had previously called the Federal Bureau of Investigation to claim that her husband had sent the letters. Investigators reportedly later discovered that she, in fact, had sent the letters herself. Richardson, who has also appeared on The Vampire Diaries, hails from New Boston. Her husband, Nathaniel Richardson, is an army veteran. According to the New York Times, Richardson has five sons. The letters, discovered during a routine mail screening process, were postmarked 20 May from Shreveport, Louisiana, and sent with a return address. A copy of the letter was obtained by NBC in New York. 'You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns,' the message sent to Bloomberg read. 'Anyone who wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right and I will exercise that right till the day I die.' Actually, it only is if you take some words away from what it says in the US Constitution but, let's not get sidetracked by trivia for the moment. According to a press release from the US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Texas, the case is currently being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Postal Inspection Service and the US Secret Service. Also providing assistance to the investigation are the New Boston police department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Shreveport, police department.
The Home Secretary Theresa May is coming under increasing pressure to investigate claims that Britain's electronic listening post, then naughty buggers at GCHQ, have been gathering data through a secret US spy programme. Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs committee, said that the allegations were 'chilling.' According to the Gruniad Morning Star, GCHQ had access to data covertly gathered from leading Internet firms in the US. GCHQ said that it operated within a 'strict legal and policy framework.' The Gruniad claims that it has 'obtained' documents showing that the secret listening post, based at Cheltenham, had access to the Prism system, set up by America's National Security Agency, since at least June 2010. The documents were said to show that the British agency had generated one hundred and ninety seven intelligence reports through the system in the twelve months to May 2012 - a one hundred and thirty seven per cent increase on the previous year. The newspaper suggested that the Prism programme 'appeared to allow GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to obtain personal material', such as e-mails, photographs and videos, from Internet companies based outside the UK. Vaz, said: 'I am astonished by these revelations which could involve the data of thousands of Britons. The most chilling aspect is that ordinary American citizens and potentially British citizens too were apparently unaware that their phone and online interactions could be watched. This seems to be The Snooper's Charter by the back door. I shall be writing to the Home Secretary asking for a full explanation.' And, if he's not satisfied then, presumably, he'll be ... organising a protest quiche morning, or something. The UK's data protection watchdog the information commissioner also raised 'concerns' about the report. 'There are real issues about the extent to which US law enforcement agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens,' the watchdog statement said in a statement. 'Aspects of US law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to US agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK's own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the US government.'

This very morning, dear blog reader, before I got too interested in the cricket, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self did some strimming in the garden. No, don't laugh. Yes, I do still have a dodgy knee and an even dodgier back, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was not doing this for the good of his health. This was, in fact, the third day in a row that he'd been involved in said garden-related activity. Unwillingly, admittedly. I shall explain. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has a small Qualcast strimmer which he got given as a present from an embarrassed relative a couple of years ago which is one of those battery powered type affairs. Problem is, the battery takes about four hours to charge up and then, if you use it straight away, you get about ten minutes or quarter of an hour maximum of quality strim out of it before it konks out and needs recharging again. Thus, for a big job, like cutting Stately Telly Topping Manor's rolling and luscious grasslands down to slightly below the height of an elephant's eye, it's an four or five day operation. Anyway, on this occasion yer actual Keith Telly Topping got nearly twenty minutes of good strim out of the beast so the Stately Telly Topping Manor garden is, probably, about three quarters done. I've stuck the recharger on so I might get it done today or, more likely, tomorrow. Now, some cricket. And, of course, a cold beverage to go with it. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping can't do manual labour all day, dear blog reader. I mean, these are artists hands!

At a certain point mid-Saturday afternoon, with England on two hundred and thirteen for six at just around the time that Jos Buttler got himself out to a daft shot, if someone had ventured the opinion that if you stuck the entire England ODI cricket team in a big sack and beat the fekka, pure dead hard, with a massive stick (ideally, one covered in shit) that you'd almost certainly hit someone who thoroughly deserved it, yer actual Keith Telly Topping would not, necessarily, have disagreed with such a proposition. Of course, from that point onwards they took a vice-like stranglehold on the 'stralians Jacob's cream crackers and wouldn't let go. Which, let's face it, is always a right good larf. James Anderson led an exceptional bowling display as England opened their Champions Trophy campaign with a forty eight-run victory over the old enemy at a thoroughly rocking Edgbaston. Ian Bell's measured ninety one was the cornerstone of England's two hundred and sixty nine for six, while Jonathan Trott made a tedious forty seven and Ravi Bopara supplied late impetus with forty six not out off thirty seven balls. Despite fifty five from stand-in Aussies skipper George Bailey and James Faulkner's lusty unbeaten fifty four, Australia laboured to two hundred and twenty one for nine on a largely blameless surface. Anderson claimed three for thirty to become England's leading wicket-taker in one-day internationals, Tim Bresnan took two for forty five and James Tredwell, playing in place of the injured Graeme Swann, had tidy figures dented by some late hitting. Victory not only gave England the early advantage in Group A after the first of their three round-robin games, but served as an early psychological blow against Australia before The Ashes start next month. However, one suspects Sri Lanka, at The Oval on Thursday, and New Zealand will pose a stiffer test than a shoddy Australian team which was bowled out for sixty five in their final warm-up game and were missing their injured captain and best batsman Michael Clarke here. There remains room for improvement for England - a middle-order collapse threatened to undermine a promising start with the bat and two catches and a stumping, albeit all of them extremely tough, went begging. But, coach Ashley Giles can be pleased with their performance in front of an exuberant crowd basking in the Birmingham sunshine. The skills exhibited by Anderson and company, who found reverse swing which entirely eluded the Australia seamers on a dry yet flat surface, rendered the debate over England's total redundant after they wasted a start that saw them reach one hundred and sixty eight for one after they won the toss. Stuart Broad located David Warner's edge early on and Bresnan had Shane Watson taken at gully via inside edge and pad for twenty for in one of four maidens bowled in the first fifteen overs of Australia's reply. Phil Hughes had twice been reprieved by the time he was LBW for thirty attempting to pull Joe Root's part-time off-spin, and Bailey's resourceful contribution became increasingly futile as four wickets tumbled for twenty four runs in twenty seven balls. The exceptional Anderson was central to that collapse, accounting for Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade in an over which saw him surpass Dazzling Darren Gough, on two hundred and thirty four wickets, as England's most prolific bowler in one-day cricket. Adam Voges was bowled by Bresnan and Bailey hoisted Tredwell to Root at long-on either side either side of that. Mitchell Johnson - jeered all day in comic fashion by the crowd - skied a Bopara full toss to point and Anderson capped another record-breaking day by cleaning up the third Mitchell in the Australia side. Faulkner's thirty eight-ball half-century was all but irrelevant. Man-of-the-match Bell and Cook batted with as much fluency as anyone in the game in adding fifty seven for the first wicket before the skipper was caught chasing Watson outside off stump. Steady accumulation was the principle feature of Bell and Trott's one hundred and eleven-run alliance for the second wicket, although the fact they managed a combined five fours in twenty two overs and Trott's resemblence of a snail on valium suggested scoring was not as easy as many observers initially expected on a pale, dry surface. The most notable feature of Trott's innings was a verbal exchange with Wade after he inadvertently impeded the Australia wicketkeeper, but any sense that England's momentum would improve with his departure proved premature as five wickets fell for the addition of forty five runs. After Trott wafted at a Starc delivery which would have been called wide had he missed it, left-armer Faulkner arced one back to bowl Bell, then Root clipped the impressive Clint McKay tamely to midwicket in the next over. Eoin Morgan was bowled round his legs as he stepped across his stumps to McKay, and a leaden-footed Jos Buttler played on driving at Faulkner two balls later. With England's ambitions of reaching three hundred long since revised, it was left to Bopara - mixing the occasional drive over the top with sprightly running - and the muscular Bresnan to carry them to a total which ultimately proved more than adequate. Just to cap a thoroughly amusing second half of the game, Australia were fined for a slow over-rate after it was ruled they were one over short of their target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration. Skipper Bailey was fined twenty per cent of his match fee while his players received ten per cent fines.

BBC4 on Friday night, dear blog reader - superb documentaries on Bobby Womack, Ike & Tina Turner, the making of LA Woman and Respect Yourself: The Stax Record Story. This is what yer actual Keith Telly Topping pays his licence fee for! Therefore, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's one of Bobby's twenty-four carat classics for Wilson Pickett.

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