Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Show A Little Tenderness, Before You Go

Mawkish and trite Long Lost Family returned for a new series to top Monday night's ratings on ITV, according to overnight figures. Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell's third run was seen by 5.25 million viewers at 9pm. On BBC1, The ONE Show entertained 3.97m at 7pm, while Panorama interested 2.16m. A repeat of New Tricks brought in 3.09m at 9pm on what was, across the board, a pretty miserable night all round. BBC2's Airport Live was seen by 2.59m at 8pm. Rick Stein's series India secured 2.33m for its opening episode at 9pm. On Channel Four, Food Unwrapped had an audience of 1.32m at 8.30pm, followed by documentary Scientologists At War with 1.33m at 9pm. BBC3's coverage of the Confederation Cup game between Tahiti and Nigeria scored seven hundred and twenty thousand at 7.30pm - almost as many of Nigeria scored, in fact. Victoria Coren Mitchell's quiz Only Connect attracted seven hundred and seventy thousand at 8.30pm.

The White Queen enjoyed a near regal start on BBC1 on Sunday evening, overnight data reveals. The War of the Roses drama topped the ratings on Sunday, launching with 5.34 million overnight viewers at 9pm. Earlier, Countryfile was watched by 4.93m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 4.53m at 8pm. Match of the Day's live Confederations Cup game between Spain and Uruguay scored 1.35m at 10.30pm. BB3's broadcast of Mexico versus Italy brought in 1.03m at 7.30pm. On BBC2, Peter Jones Meets... was down to almost six hundred thousand punters week-on-week at 7pm. Operation Snow Tiger was seen by 1.83m at 8pm. Rise of the Continents secured 1.46m, while the soon-to-be-knighted Tony Robinson his very self starred in a classic Blackadder II episode with 1.41m at 10pm. ITV's Tipping Point with Ben Shephard entertained 2.85m at 7pm. Agatha Christie's Marple dropped over seven hundred thousand viewers from the previous week's Poirot episode being watched by 3.85m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Terror in the Skies had an audience of by nine hundred and sixty six thousand at 8pm. The imported French drama The Returned was down around three hundred thousand punters from the previous week week to nine hundred and eighty four thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Big Brother held steady at 1.28m sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm, while Once Upon a Time continued with eight hundred and eighty thousand punters at 8pm.

Meanwhile, here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty shows week-ending 9 June 2013:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 12.23m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.99m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.36m
4 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.29m
5 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.88m
6 Love & Marriage - Wed ITV - 5.22m*
7 The Voice - Fri BBC1 - 5.14m
8 Poirot - Sun ITV - 4.86m*
9 Frankie - Tues BBc1 - 4.71m
10 Formula 1: The Canadian Grand Prix - Sun BBC1 - 4.68m
11 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.65m
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.55m
13 Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.44m*
14 The Fall - Mon BBC2 - 4.28m
15 Holby City - Tues BBc1 - 4.14m
16 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 3.95m
17 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 3.94m
18 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.94m
19 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 3.83m
20 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.74m
Programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures.

Craig Charles has 'revealed' that he 'would be interested' in the lead role in Doctor Who. But, he's not going to be offered it, so that's something of a non-story, really. File that one away with the other couple-of-dozen chancers who've grabbed themselves a bit of free publicity by bigging themselves up for a role they haven't got the faintest buggering hope in hell of being offered. And, in other news, Barry Chuckle also threw his hat into the ring for the part. Next ...

Filming for the Call The Midwife Christmas special and third series has started this month in its new home of Chertsey in Surrey. Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, the BBC1 period drama has been a ratings smash, pulling in huge audiences on Sunday nights. Its first series was BBC1's biggest new drama launch on over a decade, while the second series had a consolidated average audience of over ten million. It is the highest-rated drama of the year so far on any channel. Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, Helen George and Pam Ferris lead the cast. The show will return for a Christmas special and a third series in early 2014. Series three will kick off in 1959 and 'the winds of change are sweeping through the country and the residents of Nonnatus House.' It will have an all-female director line-up for its third series, with episodes due to be helmed by Thea Sharrock, Juliet May, China Moo-Young and Minkie Spiro. Executive producer Pippa Harris said: 'I am very proud of the continued popularity of the show and how series two was so warmly received by the audience. Its success is down to the insightful writing of Heidi Thomas and to our fantastic crew and cast, who I am thrilled are returning for series three to enjoy the dawn of the swinging sixties!'

David Tennant his very self has won a daytime EMMY for his voice work on the Cartoon Network's Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. The actor was named Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program at a ceremony in Los Angeles for voicing Huyang, a droid who trains Jedi on how to build lightsabers. Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni said that Tennant's work as the Doctor convinced him that the actor was perfect for Huyang: 'I absolutely loved what David Tennant was doing on Doctor Who. There was such a quizzical nature to his character, a sense of whimsy, but he could still get very powerful emotion out of the character — a lot of intensity, a lot of anger — just an incredible display of range.'

Faded old seventies hasbeen Penelope Keith is returning to television to play Mr Darcy's aunt for the BBC. The Good Life actress will play Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the adaptation of PD James's Pride and Prejudice follow-up, Pemberley. The book places the Jane Austen characters six years on and involved in a murder mystery. Matthew Rhys will follow in Colin Firth's footsteps and take on the role of Darcy. Anna Maxwell Martin will play Elizabeth Bennett, while Matthew Goode takes on the role of George Wickham. It has also been announced that Doctor Who actress Jenna-Louise Coleman will play Lydia Wickham. Trevor Eve and The Thick Of It star Rebecca Front will also join the cast. Death Comes to Pemberley picks up with Elizabeth and Darcy six years after their wedding, when they have two young sons and are preparing for the annual ball at their home. The book, which was an international best-seller, has been adapted by Juliette Towhidi, the writer of Calendar Girls. Filming is currently taking place on location in Yorkshire.

Miranda Hart is to discuss her career in an interview at this year's Edinburgh International Television Festival. The hour-long session will see the Miranda and Call the Midwife star talk about her work ethic, creative process and future plans. Breaking Bad creator and executive producer Vince Gilligan will lead a masterclass on the US drama. The thirty eighth festival will run from 22 to 24 August. More than two thousand delegates from the broadcasting and media industries attend the annual event. Hart is best known for her eponymous BBC1 sitcom which has earned her three Royal Television Society awards in its three series. Breaking Bad is about a terminally ill man who turns to crime in order to provide his family with financial security after he dies. The festival's programme line-up also includes sessions on BBC2's The Great British Bake Off and Channel Four's The Undateables. Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson and an award-winning director, producer and puppeteer in his own right, will give an inside view of the use of puppets and how they have evolved on TV and the big screen, from The Muppet Show to the modern day. Kevin Spacey, the actor and artistic director at the Old Vic theatre, will deliver the festival's keynote MacTaggart lecture.

Notorious rubbish sitcom Birds of a Feather will, reportedly, return for a new series on ITV. And, it'll almost certainly be every bit as worthless and unfunny as the original series on BBC1 was twenty years ago.
A journalist and a prison officer will be charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office over payments to officials, prosecutors say. The Sun's chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker will be charged with three counts of conspiracy. Lee Brockhouse, an officer at HMP Swaleside prison, will be charged with one count of misconduct and one of conspiracy. They will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 11 July. The charges are a result of the Met Police's investigation into alleged payments made to public officials by journalists, known as Operation Elveden. The charges allege that information provided by Brockhouse related to the movement of prisoners, prison procedures and methods used by prisoners to smuggle items into prison, the CPS said. Gregor McGill, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'It is alleged that on two occasions the Sun newspaper paid money to a public official in exchange for the unauthorised disclosure of information to Nick Parker relating to well-known individuals. It is also alleged that between 23 April 2007 and 27 October 2009, the Sun newspaper paid one thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds to prison officer Lee Brockhouse for the unauthorised disclosure of information to Nick Parker. Additionally, it is alleged that Lee Brockhouse provided similar information to the People newspaper, for which he was paid nine hundred pounds." The charges that Parker faces also allege that during two periods in 2009 he 'conspired together with a public official, namely a police officer, to commit misconduct in a public office.'

The prime minister's former director of communications, and 'chum', Andy Coulson, has appeared in court charged with perjury. The forty five-year-old appeared in private at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Thursday of last week, where he made no plea or declaration and was granted bail. A contempt of court order was granted at the hearing banning media coverage. The order was challenged by a number of media organisations and following legal submissions was lifted on Tuesday by Sheriff John McCormack. And, you simply do not want to mess with Sheriff John. No siree. Coulson - who was adamant that, whilst he might have shot the sheriff, definitely did not shoot the deputy - was represented at last week's hearing by the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Richard Keen QC. Coulson had been detained at his London home in a dawn raid in May last year and was then driven more than four hundred miles to Glasgow by officers from Strathclyde Police. He was held at Govan police station, where he was questioned and later charged. Coulson became editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World in 2003, before he resigned in 2007. He then served as David Cameron's director of communications before resigning in January 2011.

A British actress and former Hollywood stunt double has sued News Corp and its subsidiary News International, accusing the companies of ordering the hacking of her phone. The suit, the first such claim from America, was filed by Eunice Huthart, a former double for Hollywood star Angelina Jolie. In the suit, the Liverpool resident alleges that messages from family, friends and from Jolie herself were intercepted and in some cases deleted by News International staff or those working on their behalf. In a civil complaint filed on 13 June, Huthart seeks damages for 'violations of federal and California laws' and 'intrusion into private affairs.' According to the IMDB website, Huthart worked as Jolie's stunt double on the films Wanted, Mr and Mrs Smith, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. In the court filing, she describes herself as 'a close friend' of Jolie, and says the pair 'often travelled and socialised together.' Huthart said that during 2004 and 2005, some friends and relatives complained that she had not been returning their phone calls, and she, in turn, complained to her mobile phone provider that voice messages were seemingly being lost in their system. She said that Jolie left messages concerning travel arrangements and other plans, which Huthart never received. She added that her daughter left messages complaining about bullying incidents in school in Liverpool, which she also never received - rendering her 'unable to console her daughter.' Huthart said that her husband had also criticised her for not responding to his messages. Huthart says her name, telephone number and other private information appeared in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who worked for the Scum of the World and was jailed in January 2007 for unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages received by royal aides. Huthart 'believes that they were hacking her cellular telephone as a means to obtain information about Ms Jolie,' says the court filing. According to the suit, the Sun newspaper published several news stories based on information illicitly obtained from Huthart's mobile phone messages. Revelations about phone-hacking led News Corp boss, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, to close the Scum of the World in shame and ignominy in July 2011. The investigation into phone-hacking claims and payments to public officials for information has led to scores of arrests of journalists, police officers and other public officials. Among those charged were well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, a former News International executive and Andy Coulson, former Scum of the World editor and ex-communications chief, and 'chum', of David Cameron. Police have identified more than four thousand possible victims of phone-hacking included politicians, celebrities, actors, athletes, relatives of crime victims and dead soldiers and victims of the 7/7 London bombings. The suit comes days before News Corp is to be split into two companies, one for its entertainment assets and the other for its publishing business. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch is to be the chairman of both firms.

The US is to open direct peace talks with the Taliban, senior White House officials have announced. The first meeting is due to take place in the coming days in Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban have just opened their first official overseas office. What a very good idea. But, what a pity they didn't think of trying talking to each other about a decade ago. It might have saved a lot of people a lot of aggro.

The BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Sky News and other broadcasters are being investigated by the media regulator after almost one thousand complaints about the broadcasting of graphic footage of the Woolwich attack. Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one, let us never forget - received a total of seven hundred complaints about TV news coverage of the Woolwich attack in which soldier Lee Rigby died on 22 May, which included graphic scenes filmed by a member of the public on a mobile phone of one of the alleged assailants with blood on their hands. The regulator is investigating whether the broadcast of the footage before the 9pm watershed is in breach of the broadcasting code. About half of the complaints are understood to have been about ITN-produced ITV News, which was the first to broadcast the footage on its 6.30pm bulletin on the day of the murder. Ofcom has received complaints about the Woolwich coverage on 22 May by ITV News, BBC's Six O'Clock News, Channel Four News, Five News, Sky News and programmes on al-Jazeera. There were also two complaints about a BBC1 6pm news bulletin's follow-up coverage on 24 May. According to Ofcom's code, broadcasters must apply 'generally accepted standards' meaning that any material they show which might be offensive or explicit must be able to be justified by context, such as whether children are likely to see it. Last month, an ITV News spokesman defended the decision to broadcast the footage, saying that it was done on 'a public interest basis as the material is integral to understanding the horrific incident. It was editorially justified to show such footage in the aftermath of such a shocking attack,' he said, adding that the broadcasts were pre-faced with a warning that the segment contained graphic scenes. A number of national newspapers also led with front pages showing particularly graphic imagery the day after the attack.

BBC Radio 4's Today programme has been censured by Ofcom - again, a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - over an interview with the full-of-her-own-importance writer Lynda La Plante, during which she used the word 'retard.' Quite why the BBC should have to apologise over this instead of Ms La Plante her very self, is possibly a question best left for another lifetime. No, hang on, let's ask it now, instead.  Why? Why for the love of God, why? The Prime Suspect author was discussing her induction to the Forensic Science Society when she made the remark. She used the word a further two times during the show, which was broadcast in March. Ofcom said that although the first use of the word was editorially justified, the second and third 'had the potential to cause considerable and gratuitous offence.' During the interview, La Plante claimed that she was 'frustrated' at being misquoted in the press and pointed to an article published that day in which she was reported to have used the word 'retard' to describe BBC commissioning editors. Host Sarah Montague questioned the author further on her use of the language. La Plante replied: 'It was a Q&A, somebody said, "How do and where do I send a script to?", and I said "You do not send a script, full script, anywhere, you learn how to do a treatment, because you don't know if there's a retard at the end of that envelope reading it." Suddenly I've called everybody at the BBC a "retard."' Hurriedly attempting to change the subject, Montague said: 'Moving on from that use of language, do you feel that the BBC is not listening to you and not wanting to use your work?' Four listeners - presumably with nothing better to do with their time than whinge - complained to Ofcom over the use of the word. None of their heads exploded, however and the world didn't end in a fireball immediately afterwards so, yes, it's a jolly offensive term and probably should never be used but, seriously, is it worth complaining about? In its response, the BBC said that when La Plante raised the issue of the reported quote, and claimed not to have said it, Montague had assumed that she was denying using an offensive term. The broadcaster considered there was 'editorial justification' for the first use of the word, up to that point because the interviewer believed that she was about to offer a clarification - and, possibly, a denial - about something for which she had been widely criticised, and this merited journalistic exploration. When it became apparent that the clarification was 'considerably less significant' than La Plante seemed to have suggested it might be, it was decided to move on in order to avoid further offence, as challenging the language further may, potentially, have increased the offence caused. Ofcom considered the complaints against guidelines which ensure the broadcast of 'potentially offensive material' is justified by the context. The regulator noted that it was La Plante who first used the word in the programme and also the BBC's reasoning that it was editorially justified to question her about it. However when the author used it again, it was to confirm that she had used it to make a derogatory remark and appeared to not recognise the potential for causing offence or show any contrition. Ofcom considered the broadcast of the word on the second and third occasions 'had the potential to cause considerable and gratuitous offence, and was not justified by the context.' It added that although Montague changed the subject, 'it would have been preferable' if the host had directly recognised the potential for offence and apologise to listeners.
The moral of this story is, it would appear, don't let Lynda La Plante and her offensive mouth within a hundred miles of a broadcaster if you don't want someone to be offended.

The art collector Charles Saatchi has been cautioned for assault after images of him grasping his wife, Nigella Lawson, warmly by the neck appeared in a Sunday newspaper. Scotland Yard said that a seventy-year-old man 'voluntarily attended a Central London police station and accepted a caution for assault' on Monday afternoon. Saatchi had previously claimed that images of him choking the living daylights out of his wife - she has her knockers - had been misinterpreted and merely showed 'a playful tiff.' The photos, published in the Sunday People, were taken about a week ago outside a restaurant in Mayfair, by some scum of the Earth paparazzi. 'The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place,' Saatchi reportedly told the Evening Standard. Lawson herself has not commented. The police say that they are 'examining the images.' Officers from the Community Safety Unit for Westminster said that they were 'aware' of the article and were 'making inquiries' to see if further investigation was necessary. No complaint has been received at this time, they added. In Monday's Evening Standard, Saatchi said: 'About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point. There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt. We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.' Lawson and Saatchi, a former advertising executive, have been married since 2003. She has two children, Cosima and Bruno, from her previous marriage to the journalist John Diamond, who died in 2001.
Lawson's spokesman confirmed that she had 'left the family home with her children,' but did not say whether it was a permanent or temporary move.
Naughty old disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Stuart Hall has been sentenced to fifteen months porridge for sexually abusing girls and other assorted dirty badness. And, therefore, will have spent Monday night getting used to the concept of 'slopping out.' The nasty old rotter, eighty three of Wilmslow, admitted fourteen offences which occurred between 1967 and 1985. One of the girls was nine years old when the disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall assaulted her, Preston Crown Court heard. Solicitors representing some of the victims said that proceedings are under way to sue disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall and the BBC for damages. Judge Anthony Russell QC said that disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall had a 'darker side' and took advantage of his 'status as a well-liked celebrity.' The BBC said that it was 'appalled' some of his crimes seemingly took place in connection with his work at the corporation. The ex-Radio 5Live summariser and It's A Knockout host initially insisted the allegations were 'pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious.' But, they weren't and he was lying. His barrister, one Crispin Aylett, who sounds like a right good laugh, in a, somewhat pathetic, effort at mitigation told the court that the former broadcaster had 'all of thirteen' victims compared to Jimmy Savile's thirteen hundred. Oh, so that's all right, then. No, actually, Crispin, I don't think it is, mate. And then lawyers wonder why it is that everybody hates them. Sentencing the disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall, Judge Russell said: 'It is clear from the victim statements that I have seen that your brazen attitude when first charged and the public protests of your innocence have added to the distress of some if not all of your victims.' Judge Russell said the disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall had 'given pleasure to millions of people' (which is highly debatable) and was 'known for his genial personality, charm, bonhomie and wit.' Which is, also, debatable. But the judge added: 'There is a darker side to you, one hidden from public view until now, and a side which you were able to conceal taking advantage of your status as a well-liked celebrity.' The judge said that for most of disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall's offences the maximum sentence at the time they were committed was two years, but the remainder carried a potential term of five years. He added: 'The maximum sentence for this type of offence has been significantly increased, since these offences were committed, to ten years.' The attorney general's office said that it had already had 'a small number' of requests to review the sentence to determine if it was 'unduly lenient.' A decision on whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal on such grounds must be made within twenty eight days. The Crown Prosecution Service said the case shows 'time is no barrier to justice.' Prosecuting barrister Peter Wright QC said Hall's first victim was sixteen at the time of the assault, which happened in late 1967 or early 1968. She met the disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall when he presented her with an award at a school prize-giving and he invited the girl to record some songs at the BBC studios in Piccadilly, Manchester. The court was told disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall bought her a drink in a pub before sexually assaulting her in his car. She burst into tears, telling her parents what had happened after Hall took her home. Her angry father went to find the disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall, presumably to give him a damned good thrashing, but, the disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall was 'nowhere to be seen.' The family - for whatever reason - decided not to report the matter to the police. And, what a very great pity they didn't. If they had, they might have nipped this disgusting and filthy rotten behaviour in the bud at an early stage and saved a lot of other girls and young women a lot of distress. Preston Crown Court previously heard that in the 1980s the disgusting scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Hall molested a nine-year-old girl by putting his hand up her clothing. He also kissed a thirteen-year-old girl on the lips after saying to her: 'People need to show thanks in other ways.' On another occasion, in the 1970s, he fondled the breast of a girl aged sixteen or seventeen, the court was told. Aylett claimed that his client had been arrested 'as a consequence' of the investigations into Jimmy Savile, 'who used young girls on a scale that is simply staggering. Instead, in the dock today is a frightened and bewildered eighty three-year-old man answering for the touching - no more, no less - of all of thirteen, not thirteen hundred, victims over a quarter of a century ago.' In a statement, the corporation said: 'The BBC is appalled that some of Stuart Hall's crimes took place in connection with his work at the BBC and offers an unreserved apology to the people he abused. Dame Linda Dobbs is leading a detailed investigation into Hall's conduct at the BBC and her conclusions will be published as part of the Dame Janet Smith Review later this year.' One count of rape will lie on the court file.

Two French football stars, Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, are to go on trial in Paris on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute. Both deny the allegations and the girl involved, Zahia Dehar, has said neither player knew she was not eighteen at the time. Dehar, now twenty one, is a household name after launching her own fashion label. Under French law, paid sex with someone under the age of eighteen is regarded as sex with a minor - punishable by three years in prison and a forty five thousand-euro fine. Six other people have been charged over the affair, which broke before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Some of them are accused of 'aggravated pimping.' Ribery, the Bayern Munich midfielder, escaped his childhood deprivation in Northern France to become one of Europe's highest paid footballing stars. He cultivated a wholesome image as a family man, married to his childhood sweetheart, and also as an observant convert to Islam. But in 2010, he and Benzema, a Real Madrid star, were arrested as part of an investigation into a Paris prostitution ring. Ribery has since admitted he had a quick knee-trembler with the Algerian-born Dehar in Munich in 2009, when she was aged seventeen. Benzema, meanwhile, denies there was any encounter; Dehar says he paid her for sex in 2008, when she was sixteen. In France, the age for consenting sex is fifteen, but soliciting a prostitute under eighteen is a crime. The attitude being, it would appear, why pay for it if you can get it, legally, for free. A very French attitude, frankly. Dehar told investigators that neither footballer had known her real age - because she had lied to them. The state prosecutor had asked for the case to be dropped in November 2009, but the investigating judge said Dehar 'looked so young' that they must have known. Ribery's lawyer, Carlo-Alberto Brusa, says Dehar travelled across borders for paid sex and knew exactly what she was doing. 'In French law, it's not forbidden to make love to a woman and even to pay her for it, what is forbidden is to do it with a minor,' he told the Reuters news agency. 'When a woman travels around Europe by plane, can you imagine thinking for one second that she's a minor?' He will ask on Tuesday for the case to be thrown out. Neither player will appear at the hearings. Following the launch of the high-profile investigation, Dehar became fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld's muse and protegee, launching her own luxury lingerie line. So, she's done all right out of this crime, it would seem.

A homeowner claimed that they did not think they had to pay their TV licence fee because their pet was 'related to one of the Queen's dogs.' Other laughably implausible excuses given to officials by evaders last year included watching a stolen TV set, the TV Licensing authority said. More than four hundred thousand people were caught watching TV without a licence in 2012. UK residents are legally required to have a licence if they watch or record TV at the same time as it is broadcast or could face a fine of up to a grand. A colour TV licence costs £145.50 while a black-and-white licence costs just forty nine smackers. In January, TV Licensing revealed that more than thirteen thousand households across the UK were still using black-and-white television sets. Excuses for non-payment given last year included: 'Apparently my dog, which is a corgi, was related to the Queen's dog so I didn't think I needed a TV licence'; 'Why would I need a TV licence for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I've got it'; 'Only my three-year-old son watches the TV. Can you take it out of the family allowance I receive for him? He watches it so he should pay'; 'I had not paid as I received a lethal injection'; 'I don't want to pay for a licence for a full year. Knowing my luck I'll be dead in six months and won't get value for money' and 'I have lost weight recently and had to buy new clothes. That's why I could not afford to buy a TV licence.' TV Licensing spokesman Stephen Farmer said: 'Some of the excuses are simply hilarious whilst others show a great deal of imagination and creativity but being caught without a valid TV licence is a criminal offence and no laughing matter. Joking and wacky excuses apart, it's breaking the law to watch live television without a licence so anybody doing this risks prosecution and a fine of up to one thousand pounds.'

Flop ITV sitcom Vicious, featuring Sir Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as an ageing gay couple, has been accused of 'peddling homosexual cliches' would would make 'John Inman look restrained.' Barry Cryer, the veteran comedy writer and performer, said that Vicious had 'fallen into the trap' of trying to be funny all the time rather than developing characters people could identify with. Which is, presumably, why audience figures have fallen through the floor after a very promising start. That and the fact that it's rubbish, of course. 'A sitcom with two old gays could be really good and moving. With two great actors in Sir Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi it should be fantastic,' Cryer writes in the latest Radio Times. 'But it was insult, insult, insult every other line. You don't believe in them. It made John Inman look restrained.' Cryer, seventy eight, whose credits include The Two Ronnies and The Morecambe & Wise Show, said Vicious was part of an era of 'back-to-basic sitcoms' including Mrs Brown's Boys and The Wright Way which had forgotten the importance of 'great characters trapped in a situation. It's a serious business writing comedy. You don't necessarily need funny lines all the time. The key is to create characters. Characters people can identify with. But right now we've gone back at least thirty years in terms of format,' he added. 'The great sitcom writers of the past didn't think jokes were remotely important.' Cryer said writers such as Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, Johnny Speight and Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais knew this instinctively and just wrote great characters. 'It's straightforward stuff: character, character, character. You don't need jokes, you don't need funny lines. The humour will come because the secret to the truly funny sitcoms is simple – they are basically all about life.' Barry, who has written for Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Kenny Everett and Frankie Howerd in his long career, does rate Rev and Miranda – even though, with regard to the latter, 'the falling down has got a bit out of hand.' But he holds out hope for the future of sitcom, saying: 'We will laugh again soon.'

Two companies which appear in BBC3 series The Call Centre have been issued with fines related to nuisance calls. The Information Commissioner's Office issued penalties to Nationwide Energy Services of one hundred and twenty five thousand notes and to We Claim You Gain of a hundred grand. The ICO said the sums include the first penalties linked to nuisance calls over Payment Protection Insurance. Both companies said they intended to appeal, saying the fines were not the 'appropriate course of action.' As someone who is constantly pestered by nuisance calls of exactly the kind provided by these two companies, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is somewhat forced to agree, fining them such a large amount doesn't fit the crime. Stringing them up by their bollocks from the ceiling is a far more suitable punishment. Nationwide Energy Services and We Claim You Gain are part of Save Britain Money Ltd, which is based in Swansea. The penalties were issued in response to two thousand seven hundred complaints to the Telephone Preference Service or reports to the ICO using its online survey between May 2011 and the end of December 2012. The ICO said that neither company had carried out adequate checks to see whether the people they were calling had registered with the Telephone Preference Service. In a statement, Nationwide Energy Services and We Claim You Gain said they 'remain committed to the best interests of our customers at all times.' It said it 'did not accept' that issuing fines was 'the appropriate course of action' and said it would be issuing a formal appeal to the ICO shortly. Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations governing electronic marketing, call centres have a responsibility to check if people are registered on the TPS. ICO director of operations Simon Entwisle told the BBC that the investigation into the call centres had been ongoing for more than a year. 'We've given the companies ample opportunities to put things right, but unfortunately they've not been able to stop the complaints flowing in about their cold calls.' The ICO has issued fines totalling more than three quarters of a million smackers to companies who have breached the regulations. It is currently carrying out ten more investigations. The call centres are the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary The Call Centre which began on 4 June 2013 on BBC3.

A Greek court has ordered that state broadcaster ERT, which was shut down by the government last week, can resume transmissions. However, the court also upheld a plan by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to replace ERT with a smaller broadcaster. The ruling came as Samaras and his coalition partners - furious that they had not been consulted about ERT's closure - held crisis talks. The prime minister's decision triggered mass protests across the country and both national and international condemnation. The leading party in the governing coalition, the conservative New Democracy, said last Tuesday that ERT suffered from 'chronic mismanagement, lack of transparency and waste.' It shut the broadcaster down with the loss of nearly two thousand seven hundred jobs. Viewers saw TV screens go black as the signal was switched off. Greece's top administrative court - the Council of State - upheld Samaras's plan to replace ERT with a new broadcaster later this year but backed the position of the other coalition partners that the signal must be restored in the interim. Some ERT journalists have continued live broadcasts unauthorised over the Internet, and when the ruling came through, a strapline across the screen said: 'In a few hours ERT will be broadcasting everywhere.' The case was brought by ERT's union in an attempt to overturn Samaras's surprise move. Each side will claim victory, but in the end the unity of the government has been badly weakened. During talks, Samaras had suggested a new, leaner, cheaper broadcaster would be established within weeks and he proposed hiring a small team to produce news programmes in the interim. But this idea was rejected by his two coalition partners - Evangelos Venizelos of Pasok and Fotis Kouvelis of the Democratic Left. 'The court decision is essentially in line with what we've said: no one has the right to shut down national radio and television and turn screens black,' said Kouvelis after the emergency talks ended. The row has threatened to topple the government and force Greece into snap elections, triggering political turmoil with implications for the whole Eurozone.

'There's something a bit whiffy going on in the bowels of the BBC' claims some hippie louse Communist arsehole scumbag of absolutely no importance in a typically sneering and despicably rancid piece of anti-BBC diarrhoea in the Gruniad Morning Star. So, no change there, then. It seems that ten days after the Queen opened New Broadcasting House, staff on the 'lower levels' (that's the basement to you and me dear blog reader) have started complaining about toilets over-flowing and a 'gut-churning stench' which 'makes it hard to concentrate.' One alleged BBC worker allegedly keen to allegedly provide alleged details to the Sun allegedly said that it was because the toilets in the bowels of the building are lower than the London sewer level, meaning that 'waste has to travel against gravity' and, as a consequence, blockages occur. A spokesman attempted to clean up the PR stink, saying that all of this was 'a temporary issue.' Or, you know, a flash in the pan, if you like.

And speaking of the stink of shit, the alleged 'psychic' Derek Acorah was apparently forced to cancel a show earlier this month due to 'unforeseen circumstances.' The irony of which is, this blogger trusts, lost on no one. The controversial alleged medium, who rose to infamy on Most Haunted, before he got very amusingly sacked after being found out to be a fraud, was due to perform at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline on 8 June. A statement on the venue's website read: 'Please note - the performance at Carnegie Hall has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.' One - nameless, and almost certainly fictitious - 'fan' allegedly told the Sunday People: 'How can a psychic have his show cancelled due to "unforeseen circumstances"? You would think he would have seen it coming.' Yes. You would. Acorah's booking agent Brian Shaw said that the show had been moved to the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy on 11 September due to 'the other upcoming dates and for personal reasons.' Acorah, who claims - unconvincingly - that he can speak to dead people by contacting his Ethiopian spirit guide, Sam, was accused of being a total and utter fraud in 2005 by Most Haunted's psychologist Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe.
Defence officials allegedly issued a confidential 'D notice' to the BBC and other media groups in an attempt to censor coverage of surveillance tactics employed by intelligence agencies in the UK and US claim the Gruniad Morning Star. So, therefore, it's confidential no longer. As if the Gruniad aren't in enough trouble with the Americans already. Editors were, reportedly, asked not to publish any information which may 'jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel' in the warning issued on 7 June, a day after the Gruniad first revealed details of the National Security Agency's secret Prism programme. The 'D notice', which was, apparently, marked 'private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media', was made public on the Guido Fawkes's Westminster gossip blog, Order Order. I suppose, given the wording of the notice, me actually telling you this could potentially see yer actual Keith Telly Topping dragged off in irons to Tyburn although, given that From The North is merely reporting what a national newspaper reported that another blog has alleged, I think this blogger is, probably, safe from a visit from Special Branch. Let's face it, those chaps have got bigger fish to fry than yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self. And, if they haven't, dear blog reader, then I think that's something we really should all be worried about! 'Although only advisory for editors, the self-censorship system is intended to prevent the media from making "inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations and methods"' the Gruniad states. The warning was, they claim, issued by defence officials in the UK as the BBC, ITN, Sky News and other newspapers and broadcasters around the world covered the surveillance revelations disclosed by Edward Snowden. The leaks, reported extensively in the Gruniad and also the Washington Post, have made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic for more than a week. It is not clear what impact the warning has had on media coverage of Snowden's revelations relating to British intelligence - if, indeed, any.
Notorious full-of-her-own-importance self-publicist Nadine Dorries has said she would like to appear on Strictly Come Dancing despite getting in trouble for her exploits on another TV show last year. The Conservative MP was suspended after she flew to Australia to take part in 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), but had the party whip restored six months later. Dorries told Total Politics that her constituents 'absolutely loved' her for it and she would consider other offers. Whether her constituents really did enjoy seeing their MP swanning around the jungle with Ant and/or Dec, we'll have to wait until the next election to find out, but I'm guessing probably a fair number of them weren't all that impressed. Dorries also said Boris Johnson would 'definitely' become Tory leader one day. The MP, who has been a frequent critic of David Cameron and George Osborne, said that those who believed the Conservatives would definitely win an outright majority at the next election were 'naive' and delusional. 'I understand it's important to put out the message that we're going to have a Conservative majority with Cameron [but] the people who say that are foolhardy and setting themselves up to look like idiots,' she said in an interview for the monthly magazine.

Legendary Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker has been diagnosed with cancer. The eighty nine-year-old said he had a form of lymphatic system cancer, which was diagnosed during tests after a fall in which he broke his pelvis last month. 'They've caught it incredibly early. It's treatable, the doctors say my condition is mild and I'm very hopeful,' Murray said. He is to have a programme of chemotherapy over the next few months in an attempt to cure the disease. He has cancelled his plans to attend the British Grand Prix over the weekend of 28 to 30 June. BBC F1 editor Mark Wilkin said: 'I spoke with Murray this afternoon and it's good to hear he's in good spirits. Our thoughts are with him and we're all really hopeful he can make a full recovery.' As, indeed, do we all at From The North. Murray has become synonymous with F1 over more than thirty years of commentary, first with the BBC and then with ITV. He retired from full-time commentary after the 2001 season but has continued to work in F1, where he is regarded with great affection and admiration throughout the sport. Since the BBC regained the television rights to the sport at the start of the 2009 season, he has been involved in a series of features on the BBC Sport website. These have included Classic F1, F1's Greatest Drivers and, this year, Murray's Memories. As a broadcaster, he is famous for his high-energy commentary style and his propensity to mis-speak in an amusingly self-deprecating manner.

Bradford's National Media Museum will not close, MPs say they have been told. The city's MPs met the lack of culture minister the vile and odious rascal Vaizey this week, and claimed that he told them any closure would be 'unacceptable.' George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, said: 'We have had a categorical assurance from him that the media museum in Bradford will not close.' The government did not not confirm the vile and odious rascal Vaizey's comments but said: 'We are clear about the value of the [museum] to the local area and to the UK.' A campaign to save the museum started after its owner, the Science Museum Group, said that it would have to close one of its three museums in the North if its budgets were cut by a forecast ten per cent in the next government spending review. As well as the Media Museum the group runs the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the National Railway Museum in York and the Science Museum in London. The assurance about the museum follows a reported agreement between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Treasury that the department's spending will be cut by eight per cent for 2015-16 and arts and museums will share less of the burden with a five per cent reduction. Bradford East Lib Dem MP David Ward said the vile and odious rascal Vaizey had expressed regret 'that it got to the stage that it got to. I think it was welcoming for him to regret the alarm that had been caused.' Visitor numbers at the museum have fallen in recent years and Ward and Galloway said that all parties 'acknowledged' that something needed to be done to secure its long-term future. The MPs said there were no discussions or assurances given about the museums in York and Manchester at the meeting. Hugh Bayley, Labour MP for York Central, said he did not think the vile and odious rascal Vaizey's comments 'makes any difference at all' to the future of the three museums and he would wait for the outcome of the spending review.

'Dad dancing' and 'tweet' are among the new and revised entries in the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED announced the new additions - which also include 'epic', 'flash mob', 'geekery' and 'headfuck' - in its quarterly update. Social networking is heavily represented in the revisions, with the existing entries for the words 'follow' (verb), 'follower' (noun) and 'tweet' (noun and verb) expanded to include social media definitions. Oxford English Dictionary chief editor John Simpson said: 'The noun and verb tweet (in the social-networking sense) has just been added to the OED. This breaks at least one OED rule, namely that a new word needs to be current for ten years before consideration for inclusion. But it seems to be catching on.' The well-known phrase 'dad dancing' has been added as a noun and is defined as 'an awkward, unfashionable or unrestrained style of dancing to pop music, as characteristically performed by middle-aged or older men.' Meanwhile, the word 'epic' has been expanded to mean 'particularly impressive or remarkable; excellent, outstanding, awesome.'

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, yer actual Keith Telly Topping remains, extremely deep, in a Tamla-Motown mood at the moment. (Well, it's summer, what the hell do you expect?) So, dear blog reader, here's yer actual Kim Weston her very self, and a twenty-four carat classic. And, standing on 2001: A Space Odyssey's obelisk by the look of things.

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