Thursday, July 11, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch Naked

No, not really before you get too excited, although I imagine that header will have probably got this blog a few hundred hits which it might not have otherwise had. ('What does it need a title for?' Sherlock asked. John just smiled, wryly!) Anyway, yer actual Benny his very self has taken some time off from his Sherlock and Star Trek duties to appear as this weekend's celebrity guest on yer actual Top Gear. Benny will be attempting to impress in the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car segment of the popular motoring show, tackling a lap of the Top Gear track in a 1.6 Tech Line Vauxhall Astra. The Astra was introduced by hosts yer actual Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May as the show's new Reasonably Priced Car at the start of the current series. So far, AC/DC rocker Brian Johnson is at the top of the celebrity leader board, with a lap time of 1:45.1. Whether yer actual Benny will be able to go faster, you'll just have to tune in on Sunday and find out.

On a broadly similar theme, finally, various warring factions of Sherlock Holmes fans can stop fighting in the streets: Benedict Cumberbatch his very self has said that he wants to 'have a cup of tea' with rival Holmes actors Robert Downey Jr and Jonny Lee Miller. '[I'd most like to have a cup of tea with] Robert Downey Jr and Jonny Lee Miller,' the actor said. 'We could all sit down and compare notes. That would be fun. I know Jonny very, very well, but I don't know Robert at all. At least, I think it would be fun!' The comments, picked up by Now magazine (no, me neither I'm afraid), refer to Downey Jr, who stars in the movies Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Lee Miller, who portrays a version of the detective as a contemporary Holmes in the American TV series Elementary. It's the latter, though, which has cause the most controversy; with Sherlock producer Sue Vertue having threatened legal action against the CBS adaptation and Cumberbatch reportedly saying in an interview with Shortlist that Miller only took the role for the money despite Benny asking him not to do it. Cumberbatch, who became good friends with Miller after they both starring in Danny Boyle's acclaimed 2011 stage production of Frankenstein, later issued a statement saying he had been misquoted. 'I never said that Johnny took the job for the paycheck, nor did I ask him not to do it,' Benny confirmed. 'What I said is I would have preferred not to be in the situation where we will again be compared because we are friends. I know for a fact his motivations were to do with the quality of the script and the challenges of this exceptional role. It is baffling because I have only been supportive of an incredibly talented actor who I am proud to call a friend taking a job I know he is going to enjoy immensely and be wonderful in. Over seventy actors have played this exceptional character before us. To say that there can be only one Holmes would be ludicrous. We're both thrilled to get the opportunity to play him in a modern context. The world of Sherlock Holmes and the world that we live in now is big enough to take more than one interpretation. As a genuine Sherlock Holmes fan I am greatly looking forward to his series.' Y'see, dear blog reader, tea sorts everything. And biscuits. Obviously.

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has insisted that he has 'no plans' to leave Doctor Who. Which will, hopefully, be loudly celebrated by many. Especially that section of naysayers in fandom who would, otherwise, have nothing else to whinge about. The showrunner confirmed his intention to stay with the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama through its eighth series - the first with the show's next lead actor - in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. 'I've signed up for this next year, with the new Doctor,' Moffat said. 'It's one of those jobs when you know when you've had enough. At the moment, I haven't had enough and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.' Good. Glad somebody is. The writer/producer added that he is 'very excited' at the 'challenge of establishing [the] new Doctor. [I have] no plans to leave as yet,' he affirmed. 'But that doesn't mean I'll be here for twenty years. There will come that day when I think it's time someone else had a go and it's time I did something else.' In addition The Moffinator confirmed that Matt Smith's intention was always to 'do three series and then he would do the fiftieth and then he'd do Christmas.' Moffat stated that he did try to persuade Smudger to do a further season, but 'he said that he'd come very close to doing another series but it was the same argument: "If I do another series, I think I might do two more series, or three more series. I think I might never leave."' Moffat also hinted that Doctor Who's forthcoming fiftieth anniversary special will be 'movie-length' and spoke about the 'terrifying" search' for an actor to replace Smudger. 'If you're a Doctor Who fan, as I have been all my life, you've been doing fantasy casting for this part for as long as you can remember,' he explained. 'But when you're suddenly faced with the reality that you are going to sit there and you are going to make that decision it does feel absolutely chilling. There's a very big range of people who could play it and different ways you could go with it. We must get this right. One false move and the show's over.' Moffat also confirmed that the new Doctor will début in the drama's 2013 Christmas special, with the latest actor to play the Time Lord being unveiled to the public 'pretty fast' after casting is finalised. 'It'll be the traditional regeneration,' he explained. 'The eleventh will fall and the twelfth shall rise. And you'll see that in the closing moments of the show. I mean, you sometimes sit and think, "Are there better ways of doing it?" But, quite honestly, what could be better than that? It's just too exciting.' The new Doctor's first full series will then follow in 'late summer 2014.'

He's best known for hurtling through space and time in the TARDIS (or, one at least one occasion, round the Top Gear test track in the previous Reasonably Priced Car), but at the tender age of eighteen, yer actual Matt Smith's choice of transport was far less impressive. When the actor passed his driving test, the first vehicle he purchased was a 2000 silver Vauxhall Corsa, fondly termed 'The Shed.' Since then his career has gone stratospheric while his beloved car's wheels have remained firmly on the ground - in his parents' drive in Northampton to be precise. Now Smudger is in the process of transferring his career across the pond to Hollywood, he's selling his first car on eBay to raise money for the Starlight Children's Foundation. But, whilst the TARDIS has undergone several revamps, The Shed has retained its characteristic quirks such as a wing mirror held on with gaffer tape and one or two notable bumps and scratches - the result of many journeys to university in Norwich, the National Youth theatre and even some of the Doctor Who locations. 'While I have been travelling the universe in my TARDIS, my much-loved Vauxhall Corsa, has been parked outside my parents' house,' said Smith. 'As my first ever car, it has seen lots of adventures, not to mention a fair few mishaps (hence the dents). I'll be very sad to see it go but I understand my parents want their driveway back! I'd love to find a new owner for this great little car, particularly as all the profits will go to Starlight, which is an amazing charity that brightens the lives of seriously and terminally ill children.' Bidding started at just ninety nine pence with the highest current price at five hundred and sixty notes. For a second-hand thirteen year old Corsa? Somebody's got more money than sense!

The BBC has released a first-look image of David Bradley in the Doctor Who fiftieth biopic An Adventure In Space And Time. Bradley will play William Hartnell in the BBC2 drama, written by Mark Gatiss his very self. 'David Bradley brings every ounce of his talent, humour and presence to the role of William Hartnell,' said Gatiss. 'It's a wonderfully touching and subtle performance and I'm immensely proud of both him and the film.' Reece Shearsmith, who plays Hartnell's successor Patrick Troughton, recently told the Digital Spy website that Bradley is 'absolutely brilliant' in the biopic. '[Mark has] done a really good rendering of that time and that story,' he added. 'I think it's a real treat.' An Adventure In Space And Time tells the story of the beginnings of Doctor Who - first broadcast on 23 November 1963 - and the many personalities involved with its creation and early years. Brian Cox (no, the other one) will play the BBC's legendary Head of Drama, Sydney Newman - often credited with the creation of the show - while Call The Midwife's Jessica Raine will play Doctor Who's first producer Verity Lambert.
It might not be until November that Doctor Who fans start singing 'Happy Birthday', but composer Murray Gold has revealed that at this weekend's Doctor Who Proms he will premiere a special 'birthday' composition, 'Song For Fifty.' 'We thought it would be appropriate to write something to commemorate the birthdays; essentially to a lovely television show. I think the last words are "Happy Birthday Doctor You", which I'm sure the whole audience is gonna mishear and say, "You must never call him by that name!"' He added: 'I wrote this long song to speak for everybody in that room [Royal Albert Hall].' Gold, who has composed for the show since its revival in 2005, went on to tell BBC Radio 4's Front Row how he views his famous scores. 'For better or for worse, I like to have a certain type of melody; a sort of slow, developing melody with a sense of triumph about it. Te idea of embattled people… in the Doctor's case: not that he's embattled. But he is a bit of a nerd; a bit like The Smiths with anthems for the defeated.'

Since this is the first blog update for three days, we've got something of a shedload of overnight ratings to reveal. Starting with Wednesday night where The Apprentice climbed to a new peak audience for its current series on BBC1. The interview round of the business competition gained over four hundred thousand overnight punters from the previous episode to hit 6.75 million at 9pm. The Apprentice: You're Fired!, featuring three axed candidates, entertained 2.35m at 10pm on BBC2. Earlier on BBC1, Your Money, Their Tricks shed over a million viewers from last week's series opener to be watched by 3.28m at 8pm. A Question of Sport had an audience of 1.75m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, horrible Caroline Quentin's horrible Restoration Home was watched by 1.48m at 8pm, followed by Michael Mosley's Horizon special with 1.43m at 9pm. ITV's The Zoo returned for a new series with 4.23m at 8pm. Love and Marriage concluded with 2.87m at 9pm. Channel Four's Twenty Four Hours in A&E continued with 1.95m at 9pm, while Secrets of the Pickpockets saw nine hundred and fifty one thousand people, as it were, dipping in at 10pm. On Channel Five, the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead brought in nine hundred and sixty nine thousand at 8pm, followed the final NCIS of the season with 1.77m at 9.15pm. Big Brother's latest episode was watched by 1.36m crushed victims of society at 10pm.

Luther topped Tuesday evening's ratings despite a minor drop in overnight viewers from the previous week. Idris Elba's BBC1 drama fell by just over two hundred thousand viewers to 4.71 million at 9pm. Later, a Rod Stewart Imagine special was seen by 2.08m at 10.30pm. On BBC2, Raymond Blanc's new series How to Cook Well interested 1.47m at 8pm, followed by fellow new series The Cruise: A Life At Sea with 1.88m at 8.30pm. The documentary Piper Alpha: Fire in the Night was watched by 1.13m at 9pm. Robson Green's new ITV factual series How the North Was Built received a predictably dreadful audience of 2.19m at 9pm. Nature's Newborns continued with an equally piss-poor 2.16m at 7.30pm, while Love Your Garden featuring odious full-of-his-own-importance non-entity Alan Titchmarsh was seen by 2.39m at 8pm. Not much chance of a second series for that one, I'm guessing. On Channel Four, Gok Live entertained 1.03m at, followed by the first Murder Trial documentary with 1.63m at 9pm. Channel Five's Gibraltar in the Sun continued with 1.09m at 8pm, while the latest CSI was the channel's pick of the night with 1.64m at 9pm. On BBC3, Football's Suicide Secrets was seen by four hundred and sixty six thousand at 9pm. The highest-rated multichannel programme was Storage Hunters on Dave with eight hundred and twenty eight thousand punters at 8.30pm.

The lick-arse Andy Murray documentary The Man Behind The Racquet scored decent ratings on Monday evening, according to overnight figures. An updated version of the BBC1 programme following Murray's Wimbledon victory on Sunday attracted 3.97 million punters at 9pm, over a million more than its first broadcast on 23 June. The Apprentice brought in 2.06m at 10.35pm for its 'final five' special, while Panorama was seen by 1.95m at 8pm. BBC2's coverage of The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show interested 1.47m at 8pm. Rick Stein's India picked up 1.58m at 9pm. Count Arthur Strong's first TV episode was watched by nine hundred and seventy one thousand viewers at 8.30pm. On ITV, The Dales attracted 2.57m at 8pm (although why is, perhaps, a question best left for another day), while Long Lost Family was the most-watched show outside of soaps with 4.56m at 9pm. Channel Four's Undercover Boss was seen by 1.13m at 9pm. On Channel Five, The Gadget Show has an audience of eight hundred and eighteen thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by The Travellers' Secret Cash Stash with 1.16m at 9pm. BBC3's Don't Call Me Crazy interested seven hundred and forty six thousand viewers at 9pm, while BBC4's Only Connect had six hundred and forty nine thousand punters at 8.30pm.

Former Holby City actress Tina Hobley has told the Digital Spy website that she is 'campaigning' for roles in Broadchurch and The Fall following her exit from the medical drama after twelve years. Yeah. Might be an idea to try to walk before you run, love.

In the least-surprising media news of the year, Ben Elton's wretched, risible, gloriously unfunny sitcom, The Wright Way, has been extremely cancelled after its first series, the BBC has confirmed. Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch, comedy commissioner Shane Allen said the decision had been made 'in conjunction' with the writer. Or, in other words, was made by Allen who told Elton, 'Ben, mate, this is utter crap, you're capable of better go away and rediscover whatever it was that you've lost and then come back and write something better.' The alleged comedy, which featured The Thin Blue Line actor David Haig, was heavily criticised by reviewers and viewers alike and was, frankly, about as funny as a rash on the knob. Allen claimed the show was a 'valiant effort' - which, it really wasn't - but that Elton had been 'bruised' by the reception. Which, is understandable although he was likely to have been less bruised if he'd written something that hadn't been quite so bloody awful. The writer, known for sitcom classics such as The Young Ones and Blackadder, had previously said his 'happiest memories' were from writing BBC comedy. The Wright Way, Elton's first BBC1 sitcom since 2005's Blessed - which was also dreadful - did not 'catch fire with the audience' Allen admitted. Which was true although it's fair to say that some of them may well have wanted to set fire to it, and indeed some of those connected to it. 'It wasn't what you could call a flop,' he claimed - although if it wasn't then I'd love to see something that was, on any level - 'over the course of a week it had three-and-a-half to four million viewers,' he added. However, TV critics were not as kind with the Mirra calling it 'the worst sitcom ever' and the Torygraph said the show's opening episode 'barely raises a smile.' This blogger will merely add that, as a big fan of (most of) Ben Elton's previous work, this was not one of his finer moments. The BBC also announced that it has re-commissioned a second series of Count Arthur Strong for BBC2 after its début this week. Written by Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan, it stars Delaney as the former variety show star alongside actor Rory Kinnear. Who's not going to be the next Doctor. You knew that already, yes?

The Royle Family will not return for a Christmas special in 2013, it has been confirmed. Broadcast journalist Robin Parker announced the news on Twitter following the Broadcasting Press Guild lunch with Shane Allen. The last Royle Family special Barbara's Old Ring was shown on Christmas Day 2012 and attracted an audience of almost ten million. Allen confirmed that BBC1's Citizen Khan and Not Going Out would have Christmas specials later this year. The new comedy boss, who previously worked at Channel Four, also suggested that he is 'in talks' with Catherine Tate about new comedy shows with the BBC and that 'the door is open' for more Absolutely Fabulous specials.

Meanwhile Allen also said that he would 'welcome' Mad Frankie Boyle back to the corporation but admitted that the controversial comic's tweets and public outbursts made it 'more difficult' for him to work in broadcasting. Allen, who championed Boyle in his previous job as Channel Four's head of comedy, said that Mad Frankie had been 'wrongly stereotyped' as an 'offence machine.' He refused to further discuss Boyle's most controversial joke – about Katie Price's disabled son in a 2011 episode of Channel Four's Tramadol Nights – saying only that 'everything was referred up to [Channel Four chief executive] David Abraham.' On the subject of a possible return to the BBC, Allen noted: 'Frankie's been on Radio 4, I have seen him in the building. He's not a pariah.' Allen admitted that performers who made controversial comments on social media networks such as Twitter made it 'more difficult' for them to come to work for the BBC. Channel Four appeared to distance itself from Boyle after he made controversial jokes about Paralympic athletes on Twitter last year. Allen said: 'There's a difficulty and this goes across every talent. There's been a few examples of people who have got into trouble for their off-screen communications. There was stuff in Tramadol Nights that got taken out that to me was too difficult to justify. But we don't have any control and nor should we have any control over what people do in their social media life. That's caused a bit of repression in terms of what people do.' Allen said another Twitter furore involving the comic would immediately be characterised as 'the BBC's Frankie Boyle says something horrific on Twitter.' He added: 'We don't and nor should we say to Frankie Boyle: "Do you know what, could you stop tweeting in case you do a programme for the BBC and it reflects badly on the programme because the story will be the BBC's Frankie Boyle says something horrible about the Queen?" That's censorship.' Allen compared Boyle's treatment to widespread criticism of Billy Connolly - now considered to be something of a national treasure - in the press during the 1970s. 'Billy Connolly was an outcast, he was this hate figure because he would do jokes about criticism,' said Allen. 'If it is nasty comedy which is not done with intelligence and a purpose then I think you can't defend it. But I do think Frankie has something to say. He is bright, he gives us an alternate view of the world. His core is this libertarian mindset, not a million miles away from Charlie Brooker. He is seen as this offence machine whereas he is actually a really good writer.' Allen announced a new comedy, Puppy Love, set in a dog training class, written by the creators of acclaimed Jo Brand sitcom Getting On. But Getting On itself, which was shown on BBC4 and won BAFTA and Royal Television Society Awards, will not return.

The BBC's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, has had an operation to remove shotgun pellets from his head. He received the injury last Friday - as reported by this blog - while covering protests across Egypt following the military coup against former President Morrissey. Bowen tweeted about the successful operation early on Thursday morning. The fifty three-year-old appeared to be in good spirits, and after BBC Bureau Chief Simon Wilson said, 'hope you get a chance to watch some Ashes cricket as you recuperate!' and Bowen responded: 'That is today's plan.' News of Bowen's injury also came through a tweet on Friday that showed his head covered in a bandage, with a patch of blood on his left cheek. The respected journalist has been covering the unfolding events in Egypt and has pointed to the need for 'cool heads on Twitter', adding that he has not 'spotted any yet.' After Bowen received his injury, a BBC spokesperson said on Friday: 'He was treated at the scene for minor injuries and has gone back to his hotel for more treatment. We expect him to be reporting again soon.' Bowen has spent a number of years covering the Middle East and prior to being made editor in 2005, he was based in Jerusalem from 1995 to 2000, as a correspondent in the region.

The Newsroom and House of Lies' second seasons will both be shown in the UK from August, it has been confirmed. Both shows will first be available for viewers on Sky On Demand from 20 August. They will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic later in the month. The Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama series, which stars Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer as the news anchor and executive producer at fictional cable network ACN. Series two will feature the News Night team covering events between August 2011 and November 2012, such as the administration's anti-terrorism policy, Occupy Wall Street, Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, Benghazi and the presidential election. John Gallagher, Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn and Sam Waterston have all returned for the show's second run. House of Lies is 'a dark comedy' about the team at Galweather & Stearn management consultancy, which includes Don Cheadle's Marty Kaan and Kristen Bell's Jeannie.
MPs want to question billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch about comments he is said to have made about the police probe into allegations of corrupt payments by journalists at his newspapers. Murdoch was secretly recorded by Channel Four News and the Exaro news agency appearing to criticise the police and defending his journalists who have been accused of making such payments. The cross-party culture committee has voted to ask the News Corp boss to reappear before it at some future stage. He first appeared before MPs in 2011. The appearance was disrupted when a protester attempted to throw a foam pie at him but ended up getting the shit kicked out of him by billionaire tyrant Murdoch's then-wife. Which was funny, to be fair. Billionaire tyrant Murdoch has yet to respond to the MPs' new request, which comes after a secret recording was broadcast appearing to show him criticising Operation Elveden - the probe into alleged illegal payments to public officials by journalists, mainly from News International. In the recording - which captures billionaire tyrant Murdoch talking to Sun journalists in March - he is heard whinging about 'totally incompetent' police officers and said he would do 'everything in his power to give you total support, even if you're convicted.' The MPs are reported to believe that there were numerous 'contradictions' between the apparent contents of the recording and billionaire tyrant Murdoch's - self-proclaimed humble and contrite - evidence given to them which they 'want to explore.' But with more than twenty arrests so far in the Elveden inquiry and several people charged, the committee could be extremely restricted in what questions it could ask billionaire tyrant Murdoch. Earlier on Tuesday, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick told MPs on the home affairs committee that the force was 'seeking a court order' to get hold of the original tape recording of Murdoch's comments. She said voluntary co-operation with News Corp had 'significantly reduced' in the past couple of months and that all new requests for material were now 'subject to the approval of a judge' - a process which she described as 'protracted.' News Corp has said it 'continues to co-operate' with the police regarding Operation Elveden, and the separate investigation in allegations of phone hacking, and said billionaire tyrant Murdoch had been demonstrating 'understandable empathy' with staff.

The Countess of Durham is among four new claimants suing News UK (formerly News International) over alleged phone hacking by the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. Marina Lambton, a former model who married the Earl of Durham, Ned Lambton, in 2011, has filed a civil claim against billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper group at the high court in London. She is the latest member of British aristocracy to take legal action over allegations of phone-hacking by the scum tabloid, shut in shame and ignominy in 2011. Harry Meade, a close friend of Prince William and Prince Harry, filed a claim against the publisher in April. Doctor Hasnat Khan, the former friend of Princess Diana, is also seeking compensation over allegations his voicemails were secretly accessed. Others behind fresh claims launched in the past week include Andrea Winders and Tina Dutton, the founders of the women-only taxi operator Pink Ladies, previously promoted by twice bankrupt ex-reality TV regular (and drag) Kerry Katona. Katona was 'a family friend' of Dutton's but severed all links with the Warrington-based firm a few years after its launch in June 2005. The twice bankrupt former reality TV regular (and waste-of-space), whose mother is also suing News UK over alleged phone-hacking, settled her own claim against the publisher in February, saying: 'There were times when I thought I was going mad wondering where those stories could be coming from and I'm just glad it's all over now and we can move on.' A fourth claim has been filed by a man named Phil Dale.

The BBC reportedly monitored the e-mail accounts of thirty members of staff last year including four people it suspected of leaking information to external sources. The accounts of three other staff were 'monitored' because the BBC suspected them of taking part in what it described as 'malicious communication.' In addition to those it suspected of leaking information, the BBC also monitored one employee suspected of bribery, one of harassment and two of theft. Eight were monitored for 'computer misuse', six were suspected of fraud and four were monitored in relation to 'disciplinary matters.' The BBC 'spying on people's e-mails' was, according to a spectacularly (if unsurprisingly) prejudicial and full-of-its-own-importance piece of excrement in the Gruniad Morning Star, 'revealed in a freedom of information request, by the What Do They Know website.' The monitoring was conducted by its own investigation service which the BBC describes as 'an internal service specialising in the investigation of criminal and other illicit activity including fraud, theft, harassment and stalking, malicious communications, abuse of BBC systems and data security.' The revelations led to accusations that the BBC is targeting so-called whistleblowers, something which the corporation vigorously denies. In a statement it said that the monitoring of e-mail accounts was only in 'exceptional circumstances. The BBC Investigations Service does not target whistleblowers. The four cases of leaked information involved other matters such as the release of commercially sensitive information or the release of internal information – none of the four cases of leaked information could be considered as whistleblowing in any sense. The BBC has a clear policy protecting the right to whistleblow,' the BBC said.

A TV advert for the soft drink Irn-Bru featuring a mother showing off her 'push-up' bra to her son's teenage friends has escaped a ban despite attracting more than one hundred and seventy complaints. The advert features a mother cleaning a kitchen table, when her teenage son and two of his friends walk in. She looks at her cleavage and says: 'New push-up bra. Amazing eh?' The son is initially appalled while his friends gawp, but after a sip of Irn-Bru, he says: 'Looking good mum.' She then leans forward to clean the table, with the boys watching, then says 'C'mere you' before embracing her son against her chest. He looks uncomfortable, then drinks more Irn-Bru and smiles. The mother says 'Group hug?' and the friends jump from their chairs. The advert's tagline, 'Irn-Bru – gets you through' is written on two balloons balanced behind two cans of the soft drink. Irn-Bru's advert, which was broadcast this earlier this year, was created by Edinburgh's The Leith Agency. Industry watchdog the Advertising Standard Authority received one hundred and seventy six complaints, all from humourless glakes - with nothing better to do with their time, it would appear - and most claiming the ads were 'offensive and irresponsible', as the scene between the mother and the young men was 'sexual and inappropriate.' Others claimed the advert was 'sexist' and 'demeaning to women', while some said it was scheduled at 'an inappropriate time' when 'children could have been viewing.' Won't somebody think of the children? AG Barr, the maker of Irn-Bru said that it wanted the advert to 'stay true to the traditionally cheeky and irreverent sense of humour' of its previous campaigns. It added that it was conscious not to 'objectify women, carry any tone of a sexual nature or cause offence', saying that the advert focused on the son's embarrassment and the awkward situation, not any sexual overtones. The ASA cleared the advert on all grounds. In its ruling, the ASA noted that the interaction between the mum and the two boys did not constitute irresponsible behaviour. 'Although we noted that some complainants had interpreted the action in the ads as portraying an inappropriate relationship between the mum and the son's friends, we did not consider that their interaction was a portrayal of irresponsible behaviour,' it said. 'We considered that the action relied on the mum being confident and attractive, but not consciously or overtly behaving in a sexualised or flirtatious way. We also considered that the focus of the ads was the son's embarrassment at the effect his mum's appearance was having on his friends. Therefore, and particularly in the context of ads intended to portray a surreal and light-hearted comedic approach, we did not consider that the action or depiction of the female protagonist was sexist or demeaning and concluded that the ads were not in breach of the code.' It therefore said no further action against the soft drinks company was necessary. And, once again dear blog reader, let us simply stand up and applaud the utter shite that some people chose to care about.
The sentence given to broadcaster and convicted fiddler of little girls Stuart Hall for sexual abuse will be reviewed following complaints he 'got off lightly.' Naughty old scallywag and rotter Hall, eighty three, received a fifteen-month jail sentence in June after admitting fourteen offences against girls aged nine to seventeen between 1967 and 1985. The Attorney General Dominic Grieve has referred the sentence to the Court of Appeal for review. Victims' charities claimed the sentence was 'unduly lenient.' Court of Appeal judges will decide whether the sentence should be increased. Grieve said 'about one hundred and fifty' complaints had been received about the length of Hall's prison term. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood said the tariff showed his crimes were not taken 'seriously enough.' The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children chief executive Peter Wanless said the sentence was 'not a great day for justice.' Labour MP Emily Thornberry, the shadow Attorney General, said the sentence should be extended because of the 'seriousness of the offences, the age of victims' and the fact Hall 'compounded the victims' distress' by publicly denying the allegations at first. This blogger would also like to add the complaint that Hall should've already been given at least five years for It's A Royal Knockout. Dirty old scoundrel Hall was initially arrested in December and made a public statement labelling the claims against him 'pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious.' That, ultimately, turned out to be a load of old crap and Hall was, in fact, guilty as sin of the whole shebang. What a rotter. Hall has been a familiar face and voice in British broadcasting for half-a-century, and was appointed an OBE in the 2012 New Year Honours. Preston Crown Court heard the former It's a Knockout host was an 'opportunistic predator' who used his fame to befriend girls. The court heard that in the 1980s, 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.' The BBC is currently investigating claims that he was able to abuse girls on its premises. Judge Anthony Russell QC said that he had to sentence Hall based on the maximum sentence available at the time the crimes were committed, which was two to five years. However, the maximum sentence for similar offences has more recently been increased to ten years.
Jim Davidson has been rebailed until October over allegations of sexual offences, his solicitor says. The fifty nine-year-old alleged comedian answered police bail along with a second man, aged fifty three, who was also rebailed. Davidson was first arrested in January by detectives from Operation Yewtree, which was set up after the Jimmy Savile fiasco, although his arrest is not linked to the late DJ. Davidson's solicitor said that he continued to 'vigorously deny' the allegations. Henri Brandman said his client had 'helped the police as fully as possible in their inquiries. He has not, of course, been charged with any offence,' he added. Both men who were rebailed on Wednesday had been arrested as part of Operation Yewtree - the Met Police inquiry into historical allegations of sexual abuse linked to the entertainment industry.

The BBC has apologised to Formula 1 fans after it revealed the result of the F1 qualifier in Germany – before it had broadcast the highlights, reports the Sun. Sports fans watching BBC1's Wimbledon's coverage were, apparently, told Lewis Hamilton had claimed pole position, prompting seven hundred viewers to complain.
Forty-two years after it was first released, the classic family film The Railway Children has prompted its first ever complaint to the British Board of Film Classification. By 'some effing tool with no bloody common sense whatsoever.' Apparently. 'The correspondent was concerned that children may be encouraged to play on railway tracks as a result of seeing the film,' the BBFC's annual report reveals. Whilst barely able to refrain from laughing its collective (and metaphorical) cock off, let it be noted. The charming, acclaimed drama was directed by Lionel Jeffries and starred Bernard Cribbins, Dinah Sheridan and the then-teenage Jenny Agutter and Sally Thomsett. And the lad that nobody can remember the name of. The report, published on Thursday, said the BBFC judged that it was 'very unlikely' The Railway Children would promote 'such dangerous activity.' And that the person making such a complaint should grow the hell up and stop being such a plank. 'The Railway Children is set in the Edwardian period and trains and access to railway property are very different today,' the censor said. 'The film also demonstrates the potential harm to children if proper care is not taken.' Senior examiner Craig Lapper said the film had always been rated U - meaning suitable for all - but that the BBFC website now drew attention to the fact that the 'playing on railway lines was in an archaic context.' Hammer chiller The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, generated the most public feedback to the censor in 2012. A total of one hundred and thirty four cinema-goers complained to the BBFC that the film was 'too dark and unsettling' for a 12A certificate. Which is a little bit less stupid than The Railway Children one but still, ultimately, ruddy ludicrous. The film generated twenty one million smackers in UK cinemas in 2012, making it the second most popular British film of 2012 after Skyfall. The Hunger Games, in which children and teenagers are forced to fight to the death on TV, generated forty three complaints about its violence and theme. The BBFC had classified the film 12A following edits to remove some violent detail. There were a 'small number of complaints' criticising the decision to cut the film. The BBFC said: 'These were mostly from young fans of the books who believed the film should remain intact and that any cuts to the violence would sanitise its impact.' Men in Black 3 received fifty complaints for its language, violence, horror and sexual innuendo. The film was classified PG, as were the earlier two films in the franchise. In 2013, the most complaints have been about the violence in 12A-rated Tom Cruise action movie Jack Reacher. In 2012, the BBFC classified eight hundred and fifty films - the highest number since 1965. No film or video works were refused a classification. Other trends in 2012 included a forty per cent rise in the number of classifications of online-only material. BBFC director David Cooke said that while the Internet downloads did not fall under BBFC's remit - but could be submitted voluntarily - it was 'becoming clearer that both politicians and the public want us to play a role.' The BBFC also backed government plans to change the rules on videos that are exempt from classification - such as music videos, documentaries and extreme fighting videos. 'It's become apparent that some of those exemptions have enabled some very strong material,' Cooke said.

The twenty fourth movie in the James Bond franchise will be released in 2015, it has been confirmed. Skyfall director Sam Mendes and screenwriter John Logan will both return for the as-yet-untitled next instalment, which will be released in the UK on 23 October 2015 - just in time for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's birthday, three days later - and in the US on 6 November. Daniel Craig will return for his fourth outing as 007, while other returning cast members are yet to be confirmed. 'Following the extraordinary success of Skyfall, we're really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan,' producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement. 'I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honour all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24,' Mendes added. 'I very much look forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel, Michael and Barbara for a second time.'

BSkyB has muscled out challenger BT to secure key matches at the start of the Premier League season, including The Scum's clashes with other top teams, José Mourinho's first fixture back at Moscow Chelski FC and Manuel Pellegrini's first game in charge of Sheikh Yer Man City. The first round of televised Premier League fixtures published on Thursday reveal that Sky Sports has focused its efforts on stopping BT from covering The Scum's top matches, which traditionally attract the biggest football audiences, including the Manchester derby. BT's top matches in the opening weeks of the 2013-14 season are the London derby clash between Stottingtot Hotshots and Moscow Chelski FC and Everton versus Liverpool Alamaba Yee-Haws in the Merseyside derby. However, while Sky has plucked the pick of the top Premier League games until December, BT could have a strong end to the season, as it has only exercised five of its eighteen first picks, leaving with it with thirteen first picks at the business end of the season. Sky has exercised eight of its twenty picks, leaving it with twelve. But the contrast in the early games is marked, with BT's first game of the season Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws versus Stoke, while Sky is airing David Moyes' much-anticipated first game in charge of The Scum in a free-to-air live broadcast, in an effort to get one-over on BT, which has spent seven hundred and thirty eight million notes over three years securing the rights to thirty eight live matches a season. Sky paid £2.3bn for one hundred and sixteen matches per season. Sky is also showing every fixture between last season's top four clubs and will have shown a live match featuring every Premier League team at least once by 6 October. But BT does have some prize games in the first half of the season, including Spurs Versus The Scum. The Sky Sports managing director, Barney Francis, said: 'This is our biggest ever season of Premier League football. When you look at the opening fixtures in black and white, you can see that no other broadcaster comes close to the quality that we offer. Sky Sports will show every match between last season's top four as well as every club at least twice by December. We'll have more than three times as many matches as BT, and our schedule is even stronger than it was last season. With the best team of analysts, a fantastic new weekend schedule and coverage from the Football League, UEFA Champions League, La Liga and the SPL, this is the best ever football season for Sky Sports viewers.' The director of BT Sport, Simon Green, said: 'We are thrilled that BT Sport viewers will be able to enjoy these top-of-the-table matches free with BT broadband. This is the first time in Premier League history that top-pick matches have been shown anywhere other than on Sky, but Sky TV customers can easily add BT Sport by calling us and if they have BT broadband they can get it for free.' Sky's opening weekend of games will feature the return of Jose Mourinho as Moscow Chelski FC manager at home to recently promoted Hull City and Shiekh Yer Man City's new boss Manuel Pellegrini's first game in charge at home to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though tragically unsellable) Newcastle United. Stottingtot Hotshot's trip to Crystal Palace at 1.30pm on Sunday 18 August will also be shown. Outside of the Premier League, the Championship Yorkshire derby between Dirty Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday will also be free for all Sky subscribers on 17 August at 1.30pm.

Four clubs involved in two play-off matches that ended 79-0 and 67-0 respectively have been suspended in Nigeria. Plateau United Feeders were 79-0 victors over Akurba FC while Police Machine FC demolished Bubayaro FC 67-0. 'It is unacceptable - a scandal of huge proportions,' said Muke Umeh, chairman of the Nigerian Football Federation Organising Committee. 'The teams are suspended indefinitely, pending further sanctions.' Plateau United Feeders and Police Machine went into the matches level on points, with promotion to the lowest tier of the Nationwide League Division at stake. Feeders scored seventy two of their goals in the second half, while Police Machine reportedly scored sixty one times after the break in their game. The results meant that Plateau edged above Police Machine on goal difference. Umeh added: 'We will investigate this matter thoroughly and get to the bottom of it.' The NFF's director of competitions, Doctor Mohammed Sanusi, gave assurances that the Organising Committee would hand out 'severe sanctions' on 'all persons and institutions' indicted by the investigation. 'The teams involved, their players and officials, match officials, coordinator and anyone found to have played some role in this despicable matter would be severely dealt with,' Sanusi said.

Anna Wing, best known for her role as Lou Beale in EastEnders, has died aged ninety eight. The actress, who appeared in the BBC1 soap from its first episode in 1985, died on Sunday, her agent said. Anna recognised the stereotypical character she played as she had grown up among such women. Born in Hackney, she took along her birth certificate to the audition to prove that she was the genuine daughter of a greengrocer – which was fitting since Lou and her late husband Albert had built up the Beales' business running a fruit and veg stall on Walford Market. Wing featured as the opinionated Beale and Fowler family matriarch for three years, alongside Gretchen Franklin as her best friend, Ethel Skinner. Lou was based on the aunt of EastEnders creator Tony Holland. By 1988, Wing had had enough. She asked to be written out. 'We had thirty one million viewers and it was shown all over the world, and I suddenly thought "Should I be in this?" I had a crisis of conscience.' The scriptwriters obligingly killed Lou off. She returned from an outing to Leigh-on-Sea feeling ill and retreated to bed. After giving putative wisdom to her descendants, she said her last words: 'That's you lot sorted. I can go now.' At the Queen Vic after her funeral, her son, Pete, proposed a toast to 'that bloody old bag.' Born in October 1914, Anna started her career as an artist's model at ten pence an hour. 'I had a very attractive body, a Renoir, and they were mad about it,' she would recall. She gained a scholarship, funded by an unknown benefactor, to the Croydon School of Acting at the age of twenty one. A lifelong pacifist, when war broke out in 1939 she took a nursing course and volunteered with the Red Cross. After the war, she worked both as a nursery school teacher and as a stalwart of repertory theatre, where she met her first husband, the merchant navy lieutenant and actor Peter Davey. The pair had a son, Mark Wing-Davey (later an acclaimed actor himself) and were divorced in 1947. During the 1960s and 70s, Anna starred in a number of TV mini-series and films including episodes of Doctor Who (the 1982 classic Kinda) and The Woman in White. An earlier soap appearance of hers was in Market In Honey Lane for ATV in the late 1960s. Other television credits include roles in Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars, Play For Today, On Giant's Shoulders and The Sweeney. After leaving EastEnders, Anna worked on stage, playing the medium, Madame Arcati, in Noël Coward's comedy Blithe Spirit. She also had numerous other television roles, including parts in Casualty, Doctors, French and Saunders, The Bill and Silent Witness as well as adding her vocal talents to the animated series Fungus the Bogeyman. Her film credits include The Calcium Kid with Orlando Bloom and Tooth (in which she played an ancient fairy), both in 2004. In May 2005 she attended the British Soap Awards, where she presented her friend June Brown with a lifetime achievement award for Brown's portrayal of Dot Branning in EastEnders. In the same year, Anna was part of the cast of the short film Ex Memoria, directed by Josh Appignanesi and produced by Oscar-winning producer Mia Bays. The film tells of a woman's struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Ex Memoria was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Best Short in 2006. She also played Grandma in Garth Jennings's 2007 film Son of Rambow. Anna was several things unimaginable to her soap character, including a Quaker and vocal CND supporter. She decided, aged eleven, that she wanted to be an actor after seeing John Gielgud on stage at the Old Vic (in 1977, she appeared with her idol in Alan Resnais' film Providence). In 2007, she reckoned to have appeared in at least fifty plays during an, at that stage, sixty eight year career, among them Early Morning in 1969 and A Man for All Seasons in 1971. During the 1970s, she worked with her eldest son Mark, by then an welly known actor and director, in Sheffield Crucible's production of Free for All. She also had small parts in films such as Billy Liar (1963) and an adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House (1973). Between 1953 and 1960, she was the partner of the surrealist poet Philip O'Connor, whom she encouraged to write his first book, Memoirs of a Public Baby (1958). She once lamented that she had nothing to remember O'Connor by but a scribbled farewell note reading: 'I love you, the gist of it is, I've been unfaithful. Have packed and gone.' She said: 'I pined for him for fifteen years.' She had a second son, John, with O'Connor. Anna was appointed an MBE in the 2009 Birthday Honours for her services to drama and charity. She is survived by her two sons and five grandchildren.

A sign installed by police to deter thieves has been stolen just one day after it was put in place. Oh, the dramatic irony. The eight foot banner - attached to a trailer by the side of the road - warned locals in Tiverton, Devon that 'covert capture cars' were being used in the area to crack down on car theft, reports the Exeter Express & Echo. Specially designed cars are parked in crime hot spots and are fitted with a satellite tracking device which is activated if the car is broken into. Police are now appealing for the return of the sign which, they believe, was taken 'by a drunk person during the night.' Sergeant Jane Alford-Mole said: 'The sign was cable tied to the trailer and we think someone took it after having a few drinks. They should bear in mind that it was there to try and assist members of the public and this theft is a crime against the community. It was also a new sign and had been bought using taxpayers' money.'

Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. It had to be, really, didn't it?

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