Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Keep On Shining

England's pure-dead extraordinary win over Australia in the opening test of the 2013 Ashes peaked with 1.3 million viewers on Sky, with nearly 1.5 million watching the highlights on Channel Five on Sunday. The home side's fourteen-run victory after Brad Haddin was given out off the bowling of yer man Jimmy Anderson, had a five-minute peak of 1.32 million on Sky Sports Ashes (the Sky Sports 2 channel has been rebranded for the duration of the summer). The entirety of Sky's coverage averaged just under five hundred thousand between 10am and 7pm (although ,that's a bit of a false figure given that the game itself ended around 2pm). Channel Five's highlights programme, Test Cricket: The Ashes, had 1.47 million viewers between 7pm and 8pm. It was Channel Five's most popular programme of the day, beating Sunday night's episode of Big Brother, which was watched by 1.46 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Law & Order: UK returned to over four million overnight viewers on ITV. The Bradley Walsh crime drama attracted 4.59m overnight punters at 9pm. This is down around five hundred thousand from the series' last episode in November 2011. Earlier, Tipping Point was watched by 2.93m at 7pm, followed by All Star Mr & Mrs with 3.09m at 8pm. On BBC1, Antiques Roadshow interested 3.83m at 7pm, while Countryfile was the most-watched show of the night with 5.13m at 8pm. The White Queen's latest episode lost another five hundred thousand viewers from last week to 3.59m at 9pm. BBC2's David Attenborough documentary Wild Cameramen At Work was seen by seven hundred and thirty two thousand at 7.30pm. Top Gear's third episode of the series had an overnight audience of 4.12m at 8pm. The subsequent F1 documentary Hunt Versus Lauda scored 2.04m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Time Team was seen by seven hundred and forty three thousands punters at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of The Returned with nine hundred and nine thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's latest Once Upon A Time attracted six hundred and seventy five thousand viewers at 8pm. On BBC4, the documentary Grand Prix: The Killer Years gathered seven hundred and thirteen thousand viewers at 10pm.

Keith Telly Topping did rather enjoy The Daily Mash's piss-take on all those joyless naysayers who haven't got into The Ashes mood yet. 'Cricketologist Wayne Hayes said: “You can get arseholed whilst watching it, it's officially not allowed to be played when the weather is terrible and yesterday pissed off the entire continent of Australia. If all of that isn't enough for you then you're operating on a level of jaded I can't actually comprehend." Anyone continuing to doubt test cricket is the pinnacle of mankind's achievement will be sent footage of Viv Richards in action and given seven days to suggest anybody with half the amount of suave.' It's true, dear blog reader, cricket is, officially, sexy.
Although whether it's as officially sexy as The Premier League is, of course, open to debate.
This blogger would call that a draw, personally. Even after five days of watching it. Next ...

And, speaking of officially sexy, yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch showed Jezza Clarkson how to perform a stage punch on Sunday's Top Gear. The Sherlock and Star Trek actor introduced yer man Clarkson to the art of convincing stage combat during an interview broadcast on the popular BBC2 motoring show. 'It's a good job I don't do your job, I'd be rubbish at it,' Benny joked upon revealing how he had caused serious damage to his first car, a Mini which had previously belonged to his mother, thee actress Wanda Ventham. Clarkson responded by saying he is glad he's not an actor, noting: 'I've no idea how to fly a spaceship or punch anyone. Or act.' 'That can be taught,' said Cumberbatch, who explained that a stage punch requires an actor to 'set [the manoeuvre] a bit more for the cameras.' He then encouraged Jezza to join him in a demonstration for the show's studio audience, quipping: 'I'll give and you receive. I like being the dominant one.' Benny also discussed the next series of Sherlock, Star Trek, slash fan-fiction and his carjacking in South Africa during the interview.

Meanwhile, here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Three programmes in Britain for week-ending 7 July 2013:-
1 Wimbledon - Sun BBC1 - 10.32m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.00m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.94m
4 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.53m
5 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.72m
6 Luther - Tues BBC1 - 6.43m
7 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 5.31m
8 Formula 1: The German Grand Prix Highlights - Sun BBC1 - 5.26m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.16m
10 Long Lost Family - Mon ITV - 5.15m*
11 Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 5.09m*
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.07m
13 The White Queen - Sun BBC1 - 5.00m
14 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.99m
15 Your Money Their Tricks - Wed BBC1 - 4.67m
16 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.62m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.31m
18 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.25m
19 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.24m
20 Me & My Guide Dog - Wed ITV - 4.15m*
21 The National Lottery: In It To Win It - Sat BBC1 - 4.02m
22 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.99m
23 Summer's Supermarket Secrets - Thurs BBC1 - 3.91m
Programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures.

Olivia Colman's new Channel Four drama, Run, began to relatively low ratings on Monday, overnight data reveals. The first in a four-part series was seen by 1.34 million punters at 10pm. Earlier, Undercover Boss interested 1.56m at 9pm. On BBC1, Gregg Wallace's Eat Well for Less had an audience of 3.94m at 7pm. Fake Britain was seen by 2.63m at 8.30pm. The documentary Broken By Battle brought in 1.64m at 9pm, while My £9.50 Holiday was watched by 2.65m viewers at 10.45pm. BBC2's University Challenge returned with 1.95m at 8pm and Paxman scowling his boat off as usual. Count Arthur Strong's was seen by eight hundred and two thousand at 8.30pm. Rick Stein's India attracted 1.76m at 9pm. On ITV, Long Lost Family was the most-watched show of the day outside the soaps with 5.42m at 9pm. The Dales appealed to 2.95m crushed victims of society at 8pm. Channel Five's The Gadget Show interested six hundred and fifty four thousand viewers at 8pm, while Extraordinary People was seen by seven hundred and fifty six thousand at 9pm. Elsewhere, BBC4's Only Connect attracted eight hundred and eighty nine thousand at 8.30pm, while the most-watched programme on the multichannels was ITV3's repeat of Foyle's War at 9pm with 1.07m.

Heathrow Airport will experience 'a Doctor Who takeover' in the lead-up to the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama's fiftieth anniversary. Travellers at the UK's largest airport will be treated to a variety of 'Doctor Who surprises' over the course of the week as part of the launch of the new partnership. Whether this will include something slithery and alien coming out of the toilets in Terminal Two is, at this time, unknown. A number of 'experiences' will be on offer at the airport, including TARDIS photo booths, props, memorabilia and 'augmented reality experiences.' Whatever one of those is. As part of Tuesday's launch day, the London Philharmonic Orchestra will also put on performances of the series' famous theme tune in Terminal Five. Iconic monsters such as The Cybermen and The Daleks will make appearances as well at the airport in the coming weeks, while Doctor Who novelist Jenny Colgan, author of the recently-released Doctor Who: Dark Horizons, will be in attendance for a special one-off book signing. Susan Goldsmith, Operations Director at Heathrow Terminal Five, said: 'I am delighted that Heathrow has been chosen to host this much-loved British iconic series. With visitors from over one hundred and eighty destinations worldwide, as the UK's only hub airport, Heathrow offers a fantastic opportunity to bring the Doctor Who experience to an international audience this summer.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat his very self added: 'We are delighted to announce another extension to Heathrow's world-beating facilities - all of space and time in a stylish blue box, complete with phone. Heathrow with time travel - nobody need ever be late again.' Please do remember all about Heathrow's 'world-beating facilities' the next time your connecting flight to or from Los Angeles for a Doctor Who convention gets cancelled, dear blog reader. This blogger, his very self, isn't bitter. Much.

Meanwhile, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has revealed that the show's upcoming fiftieth anniversary episode will not feature 'a traditional massive reunion.' Which we knew anyway, so that's not, really, 'news', per se. The Moffinator suggested that an eleven Doctor story is 'impossible' as not all of the actors are, you know, alive to take part. The lad's got a point. He told Entertainment Weekly: 'People say, "Are you going to do the eleven Doctors?"' Yes, but those 'people' are morons, Steven. You know that, I know that, probably Entertainment Weekly know's that. 'We can't do eleven Doctors,' he continued. 'Three of them are dead.' Yeah. Bit of a drawback, that. Matt Smith and David Tennant will star as The Doctor(s) in the fiftieth anniversary special alongside John Hurt, Jenna Coleman, Billie Piper and that annoying lass from Gavin & Stacey with a voice like paint-stripper. Moffat added: 'What we're not doing is the traditional massive reunion. It's a different kind of anniversary, and the spine of that is David and Matt.' The writer recently described the anniversary special as 'movie-length' but did not disclose a precise running time. Meanwhile, composer Murray Gold suggested that a twist in the episode could prove 'controversial' to some fans. You know, The Special People.
The BBC is to launch five new subscription-free HD versions of its current TV channels by early 2014. The new channels will be offered on every digital television platform that carries HD content including YouView and Freeview HD, as well as cable TV and IPTV networks. From early 2014, viewers will be able to enjoy HD versions of BBC News, BBC3, BBC4, CBeebies and CBBC. The BBC will simulcast the HD channels at the same time as their SD variants, which should translate to up to two hundred and fifty hours extra of viewable HD content a week. BBC iPlayer will also have the new HD channels available to watch on demand. Currently over 50% of homes in the UK are HD enabled, with 80% of UK homes expected to be able to watch high definition content by 2016. 'BBC1 HD and BBC2 HD have already proved to be highly valued by our audiences and I'm delighted that we're able to follow this with the launch of five new subscription-free BBC HD channels by early 2014. These new channels will allow us to showcase more of our programming at its very best,' said BBC director general Tony Hall.
Channel Four has ordered a new documentary series which will explore Britain's 'complaints culture'. Which should be very popular with many TV viewers as those glakes are often whinging about something or other. The Complainers will examine how millions are spent on customer care, tending to dissatisfied clients and service users and appeasing whinging glakes with nothing better to do with their time, Broadcast reports. The six-hour long series will also take a look at the complainers themselves, to establish if the majority of complaints are valid or simply opportunistic and the product of a nasty, mean-spirited wish to spoil the enjoyment of others. The Complainers is inspired by the 1997 Cutting Edge film of the same title. 'The big difference is that consumer power was in its infancy then - now there is a huge customer services industry that has grown up to deal with complaints, and the films will reflect that,' said Channel Four's deputy head of factual, Nick Mirsky. The Complainers will be broadcast on Channel Four in 2014.
And, speaking of whingers with absolutely no justification to feel aggrieved about anything, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch reportedly feels 'hurt and betrayed' by the leaking of the tape covertly recorded when he met arrested Sun journalists. Both the Hollywood-based Variety and Exaro News - the investigative website which broke the story - report on billionaire tyrant Murdoch's apparent 'distress' about what he regards as 'a treacherous act.' Variety's Frank DiGiacomo reports Exaro News's editor-in-chief, Mark Watts, as saying that News UK has launched 'a mole hunt' to discover who was responsible for the leak. And, in a piece on Exaro itself, published on Monday and written by Watts and David Hencke, they mention that billionaire tyrant Murdoch 'told friends that he feels hurt by the leak.' what a pity for him. They report that the Sun's editor, David Dinsmore, revealed to colleagues that Murdoch - in a phone call from America - told him: 'I feel hurt by what has happened.' They also report an alleged 'senior source' on Operation Elveden - Scotland Yard's investigation into illegal and corrupt payments by journalists to police officers and public officials - as saying the Murdoch tape is 'a delicate issue.' Police, the report claims, are planning to 'assess the relevance' of the recordings but have no plans, as yet, to interview Murdoch.
The BBC has spent almost five million smackers on three separate inquiries set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile fiasco. Money which should have been used to make programmes. The corporation's annual report revealed The Pollard Review, which looked into Newsnight's dropped investigation into dirty old scallywag and rotter Savile, cost £2.4m. BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten said that the organisation was 'determined' to 'learn lessons' from the past year. Director general Tony Hall admitted the BBC was 'not the steward of public money' it should have been. Lord Hall, who started in the job four months ago, said that 'further steps' were needed to ensure the BBC was better run and more efficient. The Pollard Review was set up by the BBC to decide if there were management failings over Newsnight's axed Savile investigation in 2011. The report, headed by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard and published in December 2012, concluded the decision to shelve the investigation was 'seriously flawed' but 'done in good faith.' The report dismissed claims - by some people with a sick anti-BBC agenda - that the programme was dropped to protect a number of tribute shows to Savile and found 'no evidence' of a cover-up, but was highly critical of a number of BBC bosses in describing 'chaos and confusion' and 'leadership in short supply.' Aside from The Pollard Review, the Respect At Work Review by Dinah Rose QC was published in May and Dame Janet Smith's review into the 'culture and practices' of the BBC during the Savile years will come out later this year. The cost of all three inquiries up to 31 March 2013 was £4.9m. According to the annual report, public trust in the BBC, which was hit by the Savile fiasco and the Newsnight crises, had now 'recovered to previous levels.' It said the BBC continued to reach ninety six per cent of the population every week - with audiences consuming an average nineteen hours of content weekly. The report also highlighted the massive success of the BBC's Olympic coverage. The two thousand five hundred hours of television coverage reached ninety per cent of the population - the highest audience for any event since measurements began. 'This has truly been a year like no other, with some incredible highs and some desperate lows,' said Lord Patten. 'In both, there are lessons we must learn.' He welcomed Lord Hall's plans to reform the BBC's 'management culture' - one of the actions required by the BBC Trust following The Pollard Review. The report also highlighted the BBC's failed one hundred million quid Digital Media Initiative - which was halted last autumn having never become fully operational. Lord Hall said: 'From redundancy payments to the failed DMI project, the BBC has not always been the steward of public money it should have been. This is changing and we now need to take further steps to ensure the BBC is better run and more efficient.'

The Voice's Danny O'Donoghue has become the second coach to quit the show. As if anybody is actually even remotely interested in nonsense the likes of that.

Holly Willoughby's low-cut dress on The Voice finale may have prompted one hundred and thirty nine complaints to the BBC - from whinging glakes with nothing better to do with their time - got some lice of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail in a froth and prompted the corporation to issue an sort of half-hearted non-apology apology – but it failed to get Ofcom hot under the collar. The media regulator's investigations team, whose job it is to 'uphold broadcasting standards' on behalf of the public (as opposed to on behalf of some lice of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail), have assessed the thirty complaints it received and decided that Willoughby's neckline 'did not warrant a formal investigation.'
ITV, the BBC and Channel Four are to be investigated by Ofcom over their decision to give airtime to radical cleric Anjem Choudray in the wake of the Woolwich attack. The media regulator has launched an investigation into interviews with Choudray aired on Channel Four News, BBC2's Newsnight and ITV's Daybreak in the days after the death of Lee Rigby in May after receiving complaints from viewers that the preacher's comments were 'offensive.' Although they can be slightly less thorough in their investigation of the latter since, as it was Daybreak, nobody was likely to be watching it. In a series of interviews following the terrible incident on 22 May, Choudray, who is banned from entering France by the nation's interior ministry, refused to condemn the killing. On BBC2's Newsnight on 23 May he said that he had 'encountered' one of the suspects, Michael Adebolajo, at a number of Islamist demonstrations. 'When I saw what took place I was shocked ... but what he said in the clip, I think not many Muslims can disagree with,' he told interviewer Kirsty Wark, who - to be fair to her - repeatedly attempted to get Choudray to condemn the killing. Ofcom received more than twenty complaints about the interviews with Choudray across the three broadcasters, and has now decided there are grounds to investigate to see if there has been any breach of the broadcasting code. Choudray's TV appearances incensed many, with Baroness Warsi, the Conservative peer and faith and communities minister, and Labour's shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy, criticising the media for giving 'too much airtime' to his controversial views. So, to sum up then, more than six times as many people complained about the state of Holly Willoughby's dress than did about three broadcasters' - probably legitimate - decision to air the views of someone who supports murder. And, if any further demonstration were needed concerning just exactly how screwed up the priorities of some people are these days, there you have it, dear blog reader.

A TV channel has been told they were very naughty by watchdogs after the comedian Arthur Smith told a talent show hopeful to 'fuck off.' Now, if The X Factor was like that, I might watch. The aptly named Controversial TV broadcast the comedian's comment at 7pm – two hours before the watershed for adult content – so earning a proper, pants down spanking from Ofcom. Smith's comments came in an episode of The Pitch, in which fledgling entertainers pitch an idea for a programme to a group of judges. The show was originally made for Loaded TV, the spin-off channel of the lads mag, but subsequently shown on Controversial. The comic was a guest judge on the episode repeated on 11 May, and his blunt dismissal of the competitor, unnamed by Ofcom, attracted the complaint. Controversial TV apologised, saying: 'It would appear that the edit team had not obscured the sound over the wording in question, thinking that the programming was going to go out after the watershed.' It said that 'in mitigation' its demographic was the over-eighteens and unlikely to cause widespread offence – but Ofcom said the strongest swear words should never be aired before 9pm, and censured the channel for their naughty and bad ways.

Former Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan, a The Only Way Is Essex type-person, one James Argent (no, me neither) and 1980s TV chef Rustie Lee are among the various z-list non-entities signed up for Channel Five's new reality fiasco Celebrity Super Spa. And, if that line-up isn't enough to put you off, dear blog reader, then frankly you're a lost cause.
Police are investigating further allegations against ex-BBC broadcaster and dirty old scallywag Stuart Hall, who was jailed last month for sexually abusing girls. Despicable and filthy old rotter Hall, eighty three, admitted fourteen offences committed against girls aged between nine and seventeen from 1967 to 1985. His fifteen-month sentence is due to be reviewed by the Court of Appeal after complaints he 'got off lightly.' Lancashire Police said that officers were 'trying to determine' what action to take over the latest allegations. The force said that it was 'working closely' with the Crown Prosecution Service to determine the 'most appropriate course of action.' Hall has been a familiar face and voice in British broadcasting for half a century, and was appointed 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.

England have chosen an unchanged thirteen-man squad for the second test against Australia at Lord's, which starts on Thursday. Alastair Cook's side won the enthralling opening contest of the Ashes series at Trent Bridge by fourteen runs on Sunday. Paceman Steven Finn struggled for form in Nottingham - in fact, he bowled like a complete girl's blouse for most of the match - but Lord's is his home ground and that may work in his favour. If Finn is dropped, Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan or Durham's Graham Onions could replace him. England selection chief Geoff Miller said that the Trent Bridge test - the first of five this summer - was 'a fantastic start to the test series with both sides showing a huge amount of skill and determination.' He added: 'I would like to congratulate England on showing a great deal of composure to win by fourteen runs. I have no doubt that the rest of the series will be equally compelling. We have selected the same squad for the Lord's Test as this continues to provide options for Alastair Cook and Andy Flower.' Finn's place has come under most scrutiny, with the twenty four-year-old Middlesex paceman struggling for control at Trent Bridge and getting smashed all over the shop, twice. The six feet seven inch fast bowler took two wickets at Trent Bridge in twenty five overs at a cost of one hundred and seventeen runs.

Australia coach Darren Lehmann meanwhile has called on his top order batsmen to score more runs in the forthcoming Ashes. The tourists lost the first Test narrowly with their top order struggling for runs and being rescued by major contributions from the tail. The second test against England starts on Thursday at Lord's and Lehmann said: 'Our tail has done really well over a period of time now. But it's time for the batters to make sure they're making the runs.' Australia were, at one point, one hundred and seventeen for nine in their first innings before debutant Ashton Agar came in as the last batsman and scored ninety eight to help them to a total of two hundred and eighty. They struggled again in their second innings and were one hundred and sixty four for six before a resolute seventy one from Brad Haddin got them within touching distance of the three hundred and eleven needed to win the test. 'I think we only batted for sixty four overs in the first innings and one hundred and ten in the second,' added Lehmann. 'We've got to be reversing that about, batting for one hundred and twenty overs plus in the first innings of a game and making our runs there.' Ed Cowan's place appears to be in most jeopardy after he was out for a duck and fourteen batting at number three in Nottingham. 'He's had a tough game,' admitted Lehmann. 'Like everyone, you've got to make runs and perform. We've told Ed how we want him to play and how we want him to bat - we picked him to do a role. He'll be disappointed with the shots. So are we. We're trying to learn and get better. I'm sure he'll get better at that as well.' Lehmann replaced Mick Arthur as Australia coach sixteen days before the start of the Ashes and the narrow margin of the result at Trent Bridge has given him hope for the future prospects of his side. 'I think they're quite close - a lot closer than people give them credit for, both sides. So the key for us is to make sure we're playing better,' said Lehmann. 'I still don't think we performed to the level we want to perform at. If we do that then we'll be good enough.'

The Hubble space telescope has discovered a new moon orbiting Neptune, NASA has confirmed. Designated S/2004 N1, this is the fourteenth known moon to circle the planet. It also appears to be the smallest moon in the Neptunian system, measuring just twelve miles across, completing one revolution around Neptune every twenty three hours. US astronomer Mark Showalter spotted the tiny dot while studying segments of rings around Neptune. NASA said the moon was roughly one hundred million times dimmer than the faintest star visible to the naked eye. It is so small that the Voyager spacecraft failed to spot it in 1989 when it passed close by Neptune and surveyed the planet's system of moons and rings. Showalter's method of discovery involved tracking the movement of a white fleck appearing over and over again in more than one hundred and fifty photographs taken of Neptune by Hubble between 2004 and 2009. 'The moons and arcs orbit very quickly, so we had to devise a way to follow their motion in order to bring out the details of the system,' Showalter explained. 'It's the same reason a sports photographer tracks a running athlete - the athlete stays in focus, but the background blurs.'

Thence we come to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This blogger is not sure what colour S/2004 N1 is, dear blog reader, but if it's the same as its parent planet then yer actual Elvis his very self was, once again, horribly accurate in his regal magnificence. I'll leave to one side the irony of the fact that it was on the Sun label. Hey, I don't just throw these things together, you know!

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