Monday, June 17, 2013

Week Twenty Six: I Have Visions Of Many Things

The Voice demonstrated a significant degree of bouncebackability after the previous week's series low with 5.81 million overnight punters watching this week's episode on BBC1 from 7pm on Saturday. The BBC1 show was up by 1.6m overnight viewers on the previous episode, which had switched to a Friday slot to avoid a clash with the final of Britain's Got Toilets. The Voice peaked at 6.26m. ITV, having lorded it over the BBC big-style(e), for the last six or seven Saturday's massively suffered from the absence of Britain's Got Toilets, attracting but 3.2m for computer animated movie Despicable Me at 6.45pm. Goodbye Granadaland, which saw gloriously unfunny professional Northerner Peter Kay and various other b-list celebrities bid farewell to the Granada Studios, followed at 8.30pm with 2.1 million viewers. The third episode of imported US thriller The Americans had 1.1m at 10pm, down seven hundred thousand viewers on last week. Meanwhile, on BBC1, Casualty was watched by 4.43m at 9.30pm and Match Of The Day pulled in 1.68m at 10.30pm. BBC2 broadcast coverage of the Trooping the Colour pageant between 6.30pm and 8pm, being watched by 1.8m. England's rugby union clash with Argentina followed with 1.3m at 8pm and the film A Serious Man was seen by five hundred and thirty thousand viewers from 10pm. Channel Four showed The World's Weirdest Weather to eight hundred and ninety thousand at 7pm and The Million Pound Drop Live to 1.2m an hour later. Date Night was watched by nine hundred thousand viewers at 9.30pm. Elsewhere, a double-bill of NCIS had an audience of seven hundred and two thousand and 1.1m respectively from 8.15pm on Channel Five, while the latest episode of Big Brother had 1.2m at 9.15pm, down over seven hundred thousand on the previous evening's second launch episode. Match of the Day Live was the highest rated show on the multi-channels, picking up nine hundred and twenty one thousand viewers on BBC3 at 7.30pm.

The second episode of Big Brother brought 1.96 million viewers to Channel Five from 9pm on Friday, overnight data shows. The show, which introduced housemates including socialite Gina Rio and mother-daughter duo Jackie and Charlie, apparently, held on to most of its viewers from Thursday's launch episode. On BBC1, Miranda earned 3.27m at 9pm and Mrs Brown's Boys had 3.65m half-an-hour later. Earlier, Would I Lie To You? was watched by 2.55m at 8.30pm, while The Graham Norton Show was had an audience of 3.5m punters at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip interested 1.12m from 6.45pm and The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England continued with 1.38m at 9pm. Ben Fogle's Harbour Lives attracted 3.49m to ITV at 8pm and David Lynch's 2006 movie Inland Empire pulled in one hundred and sixty thousand viewers from 10.45pm. Meanwhile, Channel Four's The Million Pound Drop Live had 1.52m at 9pm and bloody unfunny Micky Flanagan's Out Out Tour was watched by one million sad crushed victims of society with nothing better to do with their lives an hour later.

Britain stood on a political cliff-edge three years ago as the three main parties negotiated to form a coalition government. Now a drama will attempt to show the conflict and tensions inside Downing Street as the country waited to hear who would form the next government. The drama, by Richard Cottan, writer of the BBC's praised adaptation of Wallander, is to be based on the recent book by former Labour minister Lord Andrew Adonis. After a fraught bidding war between television production companies, the rights to turn Five Days in May into a screenplay were secured last week by the production team behind the BBC police drama Line of Duty and the post-second world war spy series The Bletchley Circle. The coalition drama will centre on the frantic deals being cut by a small cast of characters – including Gordon Brown, Paddy Ashdown, Ed Balls, Nick Clegg, David Laws, Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Adonis himself – during day and night sessions in Westminster. Cottan, who also wrote the much-admired Thatcher TV drama Margaret starring Lindsay Duncan in 2009, is expected to stick closely to the structure of Adonis's book, which critics have compared to a taut political thriller. 'It is very exciting,' said Adonis this weekend, admitting that he is the rather unlikely fulcrum of such intense activity in the entertainment industry. 'I wrote it all down at the time because I wanted to bring it to life for other people. Then looking at again a few years later, I also wanted to give readers a sense of the electric drama and to get it across as a real-time narrative, the way it felt for us.' Another writer who is believed to have wanted to turn the book into a drama was the playwright James Graham, author of the National Theatre's recent production This House, which centred on Harold Wilson's Labour government's struggle to survive a hung parliament and a tiny majority from 1974 to 1979. Simon Heath, creative director of the successful bidder, World Productions, said the first-person point-of-view of Adonis's book, which begins with a listed dramatis personae like a play, made it a natural for adaptation. 'Quite soon after the election I had a discussion about whether this would make a drama,' he said. 'Now, three years on, we have been given a final act for the story. What has happened since ensures that the events described in the book are shot through with a good deal of retrospective irony.' Heath believes part of the power of the drama will also lie in a sense shared by many of the electorate that 'we were all a little bit hoodwinked.' Like Adonis, he argues that the story serves as a warning against the way that significant political decisions are often taken under duress by people who are sometimes prepared to abandon a policy simply because they are tired. 'There is always drama in showing the decline of a significant empire, whether it is the Romans or New Labour,' he said. 'With this particular drama, we also want to ask if our governments should be constructed in this way.' Adonis, who has returned to the Labour fold after working in a non-partisan thinktank and is now working on the new manifesto, said he chose World Productions because of their track record of quality television. 'I was surprised by the level of interest, but what was quite striking is that almost every review said it read like a play. I am quite curious to see who plays Gordon Brown. David Morrissey was excellent in The Deal.' Despite the eventual outcome of the negotiations, David Cameron never appears in Adonis's book. 'In a sense, the key player is not there throughout,' Adonis said, 'and that helps make it more dramatically effective, so it will interesting to see if they keep this element. I haven't discussed how they will adapt it and I take the view that the artists should now get on with it.' Heath said that although plans are at an early stage the focus will probably stay on the New Labour bunker and the screenplay is likely to stick to the same tight, five-day timeframe. World Productions have also handled Westminster before in the drama series Party Animals which introduced several fresh acting stars, including Matt Smith, Andrew Buchan and Andrea Riseborough. Since the broadcast of The Deal in 2003, the appetite for political drama seems to have grown both on television and in live theatre. Peter Mullan and Tony Slattery have both played Brown and Nathaniel Parker is currently playing him in the West End in The Audience, starring Helen Mirren. A new one-man play, The Confessions of Gordon Brown, previews this week in London, ahead of a month-long run at the Edinburgh Fringe. Inspired by the idea of Brown as a Shakespearean tragic hero, writer Kevin Toolis will concentrate on the time the former prime minister has spent in Kirkcaldy since losing the election and will star the Scottish actor Ian Grieve in the title role. Toolis said that he had looked for an actor 'with the same demonic energy' as Brown but the real demon of Adonis's piece, and therefore perhaps the plum acting role, is Paddy Ashdown, who tells the Labour deal-makers they are not offering enough and that Brown's attitude has been rude. 'There is more interest in political drama now and I wonder if it is because we are little less differential since the Thatcher and Major eras,' said Heath. 'The Deal was one of the defining pieces of recent years, because it was about male friendship and betrayal, which are staple elements of drama.' Heath concedes there are few parts on offer for female actors and will not comment on whether Gillian Anderson or Romola Garai might consider the part of Sarah Brown. 'The lack of women is a reflection of the reality of that world that we see in the book,' he said.

Here's the latest batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 22 June
The Many Faces of Helen Mirren- 8:00 BBC2 - is, as you might expect from such a title, a profile of the actress, who started her career in theatre in the 1960s and appeared with the RSC before going on to make her mark in the worlds of film and television. It's an indication of the depth of the nation's love for Dame Helen Mirren (not to mention its occasional moronic stupidity) that when Matt Smith announced he was leaving the TARDIS, there was a (crassly media-created) clamour for Dame Helen her very self to take over his role as The Doctor. Not that such a conceit was ever even remotely likely to happen - the BBC, quite simply, couldn't afford her apart from anything else. But, it's typical of how her name – and the Grand Dame her very self – crops up in the most unexpected areas, including giving a group of intrusive drummers an earful when they disturbed a performance of her play The Audience earlier this year. Her portrayal of detective Jane Tennison in ITV drama Prime Suspect made her a household name in the UK, but it was her Oscar-winning performance as Elizabeth II in 2006 film The Queen that propelled her to international stardom. In recent years she has balanced Hollywood commitments with a return to her first love - the stage.

The actress Sarah Alexander and her husband, actor and - not especially funny - comedian Peter Serafinowicz, play The Million Pound Drop Live - 9:00 Channel Four - aiming to win as much money as possible for charity by answering questions correctly and avoiding the trapdoors. Because, there's not enough misery in the world already. The couple face losing piles of cash every time they slip up, but if they manage to reach the end, there's a chance to double their winnings. Davina McCall presents.

An assassination attempt on President Reagan causes chaos in both the FBI and KGB as Phillip and Elizabeth race against the clock to find out who was responsible in The Americans - 9:45 ITV. Meanwhile, Stan puts himself in danger and risks exposing his mole to investigate the attack, and prepares for the worst-case scenario along with his wife - but they have a difference of opinion about sharing information with their superiors. The undercover KGB agents Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) are enjoying a bit of, ahem, decadent Western 'afternoon delight' in a Washington hotel room, oblivious to the breaking news – someone has tried to assassinate the President. The world is immediately pitched into chaos and paranoia. But FBI boss Frank Gaad (former John-Boy Walton his very self, Richard Thomas) fears that the Soviets are behind it: 'I need to know where every KGB agent in the country is and where they've been during the past twenty four hours,' he yells, Jack Bauer-style. This is another thoughtful, thrilling episode as Phillip and Elizabeth wrestle with their wildly differing world views.

Sunday 23 June
Elizabeth silences the naysayers with a lavish coronation, and further ensures her family's security by marrying off her sisters to the nobility in The White Queen - 9:00 BBC1. But her rise means the fall of the Lancastrians, with many stripped of their titles - and when young Henry Tudor is among them, his mother, Margaret Beaufort, is furious. Oooo, spitting mad, so she is. Meanwhile, Isabel and Anne Neville also resent the Rivers' rise to power, especially as there are few noblemen left to marry and the queen has driven a wedge between their father and the king. However, Warwick tells his daughters he has a plan - if only King Edward will agree. Epic historical drama set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses, starring Rebecca Ferguson, Amanda Hale and Faye Marsay.

Last year Horizon put out a powerful programme about the risks of 'space weather' and solar storms in particular. It was full of those hypnotic close-up shots of the Sun's surface, all churning plasma and erupting flares – which is the kind of thing we can expect in The Secret Life Of The Sun - 8:00 BBC2 - as Kate Humble and Helen Czerski give us a guide to the inner workings of our local star, ninety million miles away. They discover why the solar light reaching us can be up to a million years old and meet the teams who protect us by keeping a vigil on the Sun, which is more active at the moment than it has been for a decade. Using satellite images and the expertise of Britain's leading solar scientists, Kate and Helen investigate the inner workings of the star and the influence its cycles of activity have on the Earth. They reveal the sun is more active at present, sending out super-heated plasma and waves of radiation, and examine why some experts think longer-term changes in its behaviour may have powerful effects on the world's climate.

In Agatha Christie's Marple - 8:00 ITV - the sleuth helps an old friend find refuge at country house Greenshaw's Folly, but a sinister shadow falls over the strange building's various inhabitants and a murderer strikes. Miss Marple uncovers secrets from the past as a dangerous storm gathers and the bodies start to pile up. Kindly Miss Marple offers shelter to a friend who's on the run from her abusive husband with their young son. Jane (Julia McKenzie) finds them a berth at the rambling country house of her friend, a barmy botanist (the magnificent Fiona Shaw). But the place is - inevitably - packed with weirdos, including a very off-hand factotum (played by Vic Reeves) who puts the fear of God into the little boy when he tells him that the house is stalked by a ghost. Everyone is terribly gnomic and, as the body count starts to rise, it seems that there really is a hooded spectral figure gliding through the corridors of the house. McKenzie heads an all-star cast which also includes Kimberley Nixon, Robert Glenister, Julia Sawalha, Judy Parfitt and Matt Willis.
Monday 24 June
Two teams who won their first-round games in Only Connect - 8;30 BBC4 - strut back into the studio like they own the place to compete for a spot in the semi-finals. For the losers, it's the ignominy of dropping back into this series' byzantine elimination system, to face another team which has won one and lost one in a battle of the mediocrities. Anyway, tonight you'd occasionally be forgiven for thinking that we were already in the rarefied later stages, since the sequences round in particular is something of a killer. Remember that low culture is as important on this show as classical scholarship. The highlight of the show's unique banter during this particular episode: Saucy minx Victoria Coren-Mitchell's impersonation of an angry Welsh woman.

Rick Stein meets the ninety one-year-old owner of a Parsee restaurant in the latest leg of his epic journey to find the world's best curry Rick Stein's India - 9:00 BBC2. The gentleman, who remembers the Raj fondly, is an ardent monarchist. He bids Stein: 'Please give all my love to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and please tell her we want her back.' You can have her, pal. The chef visits Mumbai in search of the bombil, the fish used in Bombay Duck and also enjoys Parsee hospitality learning about their massive contribution to Indian cuisine. He then heads South to Pondicherry, where locals prepare Indian dishes with a French twist, before moving North along the coast to Mamallapuram, where he samples one of the best fish curries he has ever had. Rick also demonstrates how to make popular Parsee chicken dish sali murgh and personal favourite aloo mattar. To Rick, and probably a lot of others - this blogger included - 'there's something about a curry that's all pervading. Just the thought of it ignites a longing deep inside us.' So expect your longings to be burning like bonfires by the end of this glorious hour as he samples Indian street food and curries, from prawn cutlets to mulligatawny soup.
Yer actual Rachel Riley her very self and Jason Bradbury - who still has a career after Don't Scare The Hare much to many people's surprise - team up with cosmetic dentist James Russell to put the latest electric toothbrushes through their paces and Jon Bentley is in Amsterdam to test new Android smartphones in the latest episode of The Gadget Show - 8:00 Channel Five. Pollyanna Woodward, meanwhile, comes face-to-face with The Mantis, a British-designed mechanical beast with six legs which can be controlled from its cockpit or by Wi-fi and former swimmer Mark Foster gives his verdict on three waterproof MP3 players.
Tuesday 25 June
Brian Cox (no, the other one) is furious: 'Bastards! The injustice of it is astonishing. It's an absolute outrage.' No, he's not talking about the fact that Jack Whitehall is alive and getting paid as well but, rather, he's just learned that his disabled great-grandfather was, officially, classed as 'a malingerer' in the opening episode of Secrets From The Workhouse - 9:00 ITV. Damned by a Victorian classification system which drew distinctions between the 'deserving' and the 'undeserving' poor, Brian's unfortunate relative went from workhouse to workhouse. His is one of a clutch of stories revealed to often tearful celebrities about their ill-used, poverty-stricken ancestors in this narrower version of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? (tellingly, it's made by the same production company). TV presenter Fern Britton discovers the ignominy faced by one of her relatives even after his death in the workhouse, whilst novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford goes to Ripon in North Yorkshire, to the forbidding institution that was, once, the home to her mother. Along with Cox, Brittan and Taylor Bradford, the model Kiera Chaplin - grand-daughter of Charlie Chaplin - go on an emotional journey to uncover how her ancestors was driven into the Victorian workhouse by poverty.

For some reason, CSI - 9:00 Channel Five - not-very-subtly references Lost in tonight's episode. Hunting for the trail that a dead man took through the desert, the team find a hidden hatch in the ground (it leads to an impressively furnished underground bunker). That much might be coincidence but the deceased man is also called Abrams, presumably as a nod to Lost creator JJ. Aside from that, it's something of a by-the-book mystery: after a horror-film opening (a young man pursued through the dark by someone with night-vision goggles) the team examine a corpse with an origami bird in his pocket and his hands cut off, leading poor old put-upon Super Dave to bemoan the lack of clues with a cringe-inducing, 'We're stumped.' it probably seemed like a good idea in the writers meeting. A dead body is discovered by a homeless couple and inquiries lead DB and the team to a forest where the victim had gone camping. Nicky and Morgan discover a hatch that leads to a subterranean complex, in which they apprehend Tommy Barnes, who tells them that he has been living underground since his wife was murdered eleven years earlier as he wanted to keep his daughter, Miranda, safe from the outside world. Guest starring Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives).

BBC4 repeats a genuine bit of TV history tonight at 11:00. Metroland is a classic documentary from 1973, poet Laureate John Betjeman taking a nostalgic look at the branch lines of the London Underground's Metropolitan Line and their meanderings through suburban Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Well worth an hour of your time if you've never seen it before. Or, indeed, even if you have.

The quartet arrive at Lazaro's empty house, where they kill some time by sharing a few home truths and playing the blame game, resulting in a playground-style scuffle in the final episode of the third series of Mad Dogs - 9:00 Sky1. 'Do you know how many times over the last two years I wished that we'd never met?' Baxter snarls at his three mates, who are all behaving like a bunch of school kids. They've pitched up in the South African veldt where they finally meet Lazaro, a growling American who appears to have the power to delete their records and send them all home. The machine-gun-toting Lazaro isn't best pleased by the behaviour of his uninvited guests - but after hearing their story he is, it would seem, happy to help them out. All he wants in return is for them to do his dirty laundry. It seems too good to be true - but, haven't Woody, Quinn, Baxter and Rick learned their lesson by now? Psychological thriller, starring Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren.

An investigation into a murderer who plays the vocal cords of his victims like a musical instrument grabs the attention of Hannibal Lecter, who interprets the behaviour as one killer serenading another in Hannibal - 10:00 Sky Living. Meanwhile, Will Graham's mental stability deteriorates further and he turns to Alana for support. But he's hoping for something more than friendly advice. Could a reet good shag be on the cards, at last, for the tortured FBI agent?

Wednesday 26 June
The first day for head teachers at Waterloo Road - 8:00 BBC1 - is always something of a rite of passage. There's no easing in gently or quietly checking over timetables. So, as she takes her place in Michael Byrne's vacated chair, Christine has to deal with a resignation, the arrival of a deputy she knew nothing about, murmurings among the parents about her failings and half the sixth form off 'sick.' In fact, they're at the recording of a kind of Jeremy Kyle Show (with Patrick Baladi as smarmy host, Julian Noble) where Dynasty and her mum are having a very public showdown and Kevin gets a horrible shock when he sees someone from his past in the audience. Back at school, Christine makes a bold start on her first day, despite the obvious tension between her and Nikki, while Maggie faces the heartbreaking prospect of turning off Grantly's life-support machine.

Here's something not generally appreciated about black holes: apparently, the gas spiralling into them becomes so superheated it creates the most powerful source of light in the universe, with the energy of ten million suns. That's very bright. It's the kind of thing you learn watching Horizon, as your mind reels under a gale of bedazzling information about the cosmos, as we discover in the latest episode of the BBC's long-running science show - 9:00 BBC2. But what makes black holes hot, as it were, right now is that the supermassive one at the centre of our own galaxy is about to 'shred' a gas cloud (or possibly a star) that is approaching it at two thousand kilometres a second. That's pretty fast. So, over the next few years astronomers will be able to witness for the first time the workings of what the voiceover calls 'these dark dragons of the cosmos.' It's a great premise for a fascinating programme.

This penultimate season of Mad Men - 10:00 Sky Atlantic - has been a rather curious beast. We've seen Don Draper at his worst while Peggy, Joan and Pete have fought hard for their positions in the workplace. But, at times their actions have struggled to take priority against the turbulent outside world; it's as if the writers have been as stunned by the (real-life) events of 1968 as the (fictional) characters have been in watching them unfold on TV (or is that the industrial quantities of marijuana knocking around?) As the season concludes, times are tough for Don. But is this most charismatic of TV leads still worth redeeming?

Thursday 27 June
Yer actual Peter Powell his very self presents a vintage edition of Top Of The Pops - 7:30 BBC4 - with music by Buzzcocks, Marshall Hain, ELO, yer actual Sho-wuddy-wuddy, San Jose, Clout, Steel Pulse (aw, yeah!), City Boy and Justin Hayward. Plus, a dance sequence by Legs & Co. First broadcast on 6 July 1978.
Classical historian Michael Scott examines the important individuals, objects and ideas of the ancient Greeks to discover what they were like and why their culture spread across the planet in the first of the two-part Who Were The Greeks? - 9:00 BBC2. He begins by exploring how they lived and what they believed in, uncovering a world of gods, democrats and warriors, and reveals many of the country's inhabitants could be as brutal as they were brilliant.

Host Dara O Briain and regulars Chris Addison, Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons are joined by Gary Delaney, the wretched full-of-herself Holly Walsh and Josh Widdicombe on the latest episode of Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2 - the topical comedy quiz, with the panellists giving their take on the week's major news stories.

Friday 28 June
Jimmy Carr, actor and comedian Griff Rhys Jones, The Hairy Biker's Dave Myers and news presenter Susanna Reid join team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack for the panel show Would I Lie To You - 8:30 BBc1 - trying to hoodwink their opponents with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves. Rob Brydon hosts.
This year's Glastonbury Festival kicks off today with large amounts of live coverage on both BBC3 and BBC4 and two highlights shows on BBC2 - starting at 10:00. Yer actual Dizzee Rascal, Seastick Steve, The Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Tom Tom Club, Portishead, Nile Rodgers, The Horrors and Sinead O'Connor are amongst the featured acts.
To the news, now: Blackadder actor and Time Team host Tony Robinson has been knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours on a list which also includes his co-star Rowan Atkinson. Sir Tony is famed for his role as long-suffering manservant Baldrick to Atkinson's Edmund Blackadder in the BBC sitcom, and his catchphrase 'I have a cunning plan.' He is recognised for his public and political work, while Atkinson's CBE is for services to drama and charity. Sculptor Anish Kapoor and former secretary general of the TUC, Brendan Barber, are among the other knights. Adele follows up her best song Oscar win with an MBE for services to the baking industry. The same honour goes to singer-songwriter Polly Harvey and the comedian and presenter Rob Brydon. There are OBEs for broadcaster Clare Balding, golfer Paul Lawrie, Red Bull Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner and the novelist Jackie Collins. A total of eleven hundred and eighty people are named on the Birthday Honours list - nearly half of them women - and with seventy two per cent of the recipients people who are actively engaged in charitable or voluntary work within their local communities. The list recognises twenty eight headteachers, with knighthoods or damehoods for five, including Kenneth Gibson, who leads two Tyneside schools described as 'beacons of hope' in a deprived area. Robinson's knighthood recognises his 'lifetime of public and political service with a career as an actor, theatre director, children's author and television presenter.' The sixty six-year-old said that he had been left 'a little gob-smacked. I also pledge that from this day on I'll slaughter all unruly dragons, and rescue any damsels in distress who request my help.' The one-time member of Labour Party's National Executive Committee added: 'I'll use my new title with abandon to highlight the causes I believe in, particularly the importance of culture, the arts and heritage in our society, and the plight of the infirm elderly and their carers.' Atkinson, who first found fame as part of the Not The Nine O'Clock News team in 1979 before going on to star in The Black Adder, and its several sequels - transmitted by the BBC for the first time exactly thirty years ago on Saturday - went on to find international stardom as the bumbling Mister Bean. He said that his CBE was 'a genuine surprise and a great honour.' The same honour also goes to ceramic artist Grayson Perry and veteran screen and stage actress Claire Bloom, who suggested her years in the limelight would not prevent her being nervous about attending an investiture at Buckingham Palace. Thomas Heatherwick, the designer behind the Olympic cauldron, has been made a CBE, while there are OBEs for Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who designed the London Olympics and Paralympics torch. The BBC's Sue Lloyd-Roberts becomes a CBE for services to journalism while news presenter Julia Somerville's OBE recognises her work chairing the advisory committee on the government art collection.

Brazil's opening Confederations Cup match was affected by protests at the amount of money the country is using to stage next year's World Cup. Up to a thousand Brazilians demonstrated outside the country's national stadium to vent their anger. Police used tear gas and pepper spray to control protesters, who moved closer to the stadium as fans arrived for a match in which Brazil beat Japan 3-0. There were also reports rubber bullets were used, with fifteen arrests made. Demonstrators held up posters reading: 'We don't need the World Cup' and 'We need money for hospitals and education.' BBC Sport's South American football correspondent Tim Vickery told World Service listeners: 'Brazilian society was explicitly told in 2007 that all of the money spent on stadiums would be private money. It hasn't worked out that way at all. More than ninety per cent of the money being spent on football stadiums is public money.' The Confederations Cup is a dress rehearsal for the World Cup next year and the stadium in Brasilia used for the inaugural match was one of the most expensive of the six built, costing around three hundred and eighty million quid. Vickery added: 'Of the twelve stadiums for the World Cup, some of them are in the heartlands of Brazilian football will be very well used indeed. But there are four - Brasilia plus three others - that you really wonder where the long term viability will be. Brasilia does not have a team in either of the first two divisions of Brazilian football and doesn't really have much of a local football tradition at all. The idea seems to be that it is going to be viable with pop concerts. I'm a little bit dubious about that one.'

England defied the rain and a late New Zealand rally to book their place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy with a tense ten-run win at Cardiff. It was a match in which, once again, England's superb bowling attack got them out of a hole after a batting collapse the appeared all too predictable. A target of one hundred and seventy in a game delayed by five hours and reduced to twenty four overs per-side appeared well within the Kiwis' reach after England lost their last seven wickets for twenty eight runs. But the hosts bowled splendidly, especially with the new ball, to restrict New Zealand to one hundred and fifty nine for eight despite Kane Williamson's valiant sixty seven off fifty four balls. Although they spent much of the second innings in the ascendancy, England could breathe easily only when Williamson skied Stuart Broad to James Anderson at extra-cover in the twenty second over. That Broad was millimetres away from being penalised for a no-ball was typical of a day on which England's hopes of progressing hung precariously in the balance. As it is, England, as likely Group A winners, look set to face South Africa in the first semi-final at The Oval on Wednesday. Should Sri Lanka beat Australia on Monday, England will qualify as runners-up and meet India in the last four at Cardiff on Thursday. New Zealand will be knocked out unless Australia win - but only by a margin that ensures the Black Caps maintain their superior net run-rate. A large portion of the credit for England's safe passage must go to Anderson, who claimed two key early wickets and finished with three for thirty two, while Ravi Bopara numbered the dangerous Brendon McCullum in his haul of two for twenty six. The value of Alastair Cook's innings of sixty four off forty seven balls - albeit one in which he was dropped three times by Nathan McCullum - was also made apparent as New Zealand slipped to sixty two for five in reply on a surface that spent much of the day under cover. Anderson was chiefly responsible for inflicting the early damage, inducing a rash pull from Luke Ronchi which found third man and bowling Martin Guptill via an inside edge two balls later. The required run-rate had climbed to more than eight an over by the time Ross Taylor failed to overturn an LBW verdict, but that remained a realistic possibility until Brendon McCullum was superbly taken low down at deep square-leg by Joe Root off Bopara, who also accounted for James Franklin in his next over. Williamson, driving and pulling forcibly, and ODI debutant Corey Anderson, who swung agriculturally, gave England some cause for concern with a sixth-wicket partnership of seventy three off forty five deliveries. Broad atoned for an over from Tim Bresnan that cost nineteen runs by ending Williamson's counter-attack. Corey Anderson perished moments later and James Anderson ended an erratic final over by finding Nathan McCullum's edge to have him caught behind off the final ball of the match. England's innings, which began five and a half hours after they lost the toss, was equally frantic - marked by some rash strokeplay and a lack of clear thinking in the latter overs as Kyle Mills's four for thirty saw him become the leading wicket-taker in Champions Trophy history. Ian Bell had already been reprieved by Franklin when he drilled Mitchell McClenaghan to short extra-cover in the second over and Jonathan Trott clipped Mills to midwicket shortly after before he could send the crowd to sleep with another torpor induced innings. A seventy five-run stand for the third wicket between Cook and Joe Root was far from fluent until Cook launched Franklin back over his head for six then unveiled a ramp shot over the wicketkeeper. Root perished for a cheerfully crisp thirty eight as he made room to pull McClenaghan, before Cook offered a return catch to Nathan McCullum to spark England's collapse. The out-of-form Eoin Morgan followed, LBW sweeping Daniel Vettori, and when James Tredwell steered Mills straight to third man England had gone from one hundred and forty one for three to one hundred and sixty nine all out in the space of five overs. Thanks to Anderson and company, it was a collapse that did not prove crucial.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, yer actual Keith telly Topping is still very much in something of a soulful (if rather melancholy) mood at the start of a new week. So, for your delight, here's one of the greatest records ever made, a quality bit of yer actual Jimmy Ruffin his very self.

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