Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mistakes, I Know I've Made A Few But I'm Only Human

Yer actual David Tennant has provided some new teasers about his role in the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary special. The actor told SFX that fans can expect to see 'a slightly different' side to his Doctor when he is paired with Matt Smith's. 'The Doctor tends to lead every scene he is in and when you are sharing that out it becomes slightly different,' Tennant explained. 'You have a new relationship with that aspect of the character and that gives you fresh challenges to work on.' Tennant added that he was 'not surprised' to be asked back for the fiftieth, after previously leaving Doctor Who in 2010. 'There is a precedent to this, isn't there?' he said. 'For a long time I was starting to think it was never going to happen, so there was an element of surprise there. But the general concept [of a multi-Doctor story] was something I always expected.' The forty two-year-old also said he believed that the anniversary episode will appeal to long-time Doctor Who fans and casual viewers alike. 'Doctor Who has managed to be a big success over the past few years by being very accessible to everyone,' he suggested. 'We have never been about going for a highly particular audience - although that audience is the reason Doctor Who has lived for fifty years - but rather to have a very broad appeal. I think that aspect is something that people will feel is quite evident in this special as well.'

Rory Kinnear is to play the runaway aristocrat (and, allegedly, murderer) Lord Lucan in a two-part ITV drama marking the fortieth anniversary of his mysterious disappearance. Richard Bingham, The Seventh Earl of Lucan (nicknamed 'Lucky' by his high society friends) vanished after the death of his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett. Once (allegedly) considered for the role of James Bond, Lucan was by all accounts a charismatic individual, a 'professional gambler' with expensive tastes; he raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin. In 1963 he married Veronica Duncan, with whom he had three children. When the marriage collapsed late in 1972, a bitter custody battle ensued, which Lucan ultimately lost. He began to spy on his wife and record their telephone conversations, apparently obsessed with regaining the custody of the children. On the evening of 7 November 1974, Sandra Rivett was bludgeoned to death in the basement of the Lucan family home. Lady Lucan was also attacked and she later identified her estranged husband as her assailant. As the police began their murder investigation Lucan telephoned his mother, asking her to collect the children, and then drove in a borrowed Ford Corsair to a friend's house in Uckfield, Sussex. In the early hours of 8 November, he left the property and was - at least, officially - never seen again, effectively vanishing without a trace. The Corsair was later found abandoned in Newhaven, its interior stained with blood and its boot containing a piece of bandaged lead pipe similar to one found at the crime scene. A warrant for Lucan's arrest was issued a few days later and in his absence, the inquest into Sandra's death named Lucan as her murderer, the last occasion in Britain that a coroner's court was allowed to do so. The drama is based on John Pearson's book The Gamblers, which claimed that several of Lucan's wealthy and influential friends helped him to leave the country in the hours after the death of Sandra Rivett. Christopher Eccleston will appear as Lucan's friend, the famed gambling club host and animal park owner John Aspinall. Michael Gambon has also been cast in the drama, called Lucan (as another of Lucan's close personal friends, the Tory grandee James Goldsmith), which will chart Lucan's exploits as a member of the infamous Clermont Set and the collapse of his marriage. Writer Jess Pope has scripted a number of true crime dramas for ITV, including Mrs Biggs, the award-winning Appropriate Adult and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence. 'The story of Lord Lucan continues to mystify and intrigue us,' said ITV's director of drama commissioning Steve November. 'Jeff's reputation for award-winning factual drama goes before him, and these new scripts offer a compelling insight into the events surrounding Lucan's disappearance.' Lucan will begin shooting in August in and around London. Lucan's fate remains a fascinating mystery for the British public. Many believe he committed suicide by throwing himself from a cross-channel ferry in the early hours of 8 November, however hundreds of reports of his presence in various countries around the world - some more credible than others - have been made since Sandra's murder. None have been substantiated. Despite a police investigation and huge press interest, Lucan has never been found and is now presumed dead. Lucan was officially declared deceased by the High Court in 1999. Executive producer Francis Hopkinson said that the drama would bring 'new insight and revelations which will surprise the audience.' Kinnear, the son of the much-loved late actor Roy, played Bill Tinner in the Bond films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall and can be seen this weekend in Channel Four drama Southcliffe. And, he's not going to be the next Doctor. Which is a pity, actually, as he'd probably be very good at it. He's a very talented lad, and his first play, The Herd, has its premiere at The Bush Theatre in London in September.

CBS' presentation at the Television Critics Association centred around one thing and one thing only: the departure of Cote de Pablo from their hit show NCIS. Cote has played Ziva David in the crime drama for the last six years and her exit would be a huge loss for the fans and the show itself, such is her popularity. Well, it seems that she is leaving - which is a pity, because she's really good in the show - but not without CBS attempting to throw a whole bucket-load of cash at her first. 'I really want to clarify,' CBS CEO Les Moonves said, 'we offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money, and then we offered her even more money because we really didn't want to lose her. We love her. We think she was she was terrific.' There was an odd twist to this presentation, though, by all accounts. Before the reporters sat down, e-mails were popping into each and every one of their in-boxes, imploring them to question Moonves on the exact nature of de Pablo's exit with some suggestions that CBS 'undervalues' their female talent by underpaying them. 'We, obviously, were in discussions. And the rest of the cast and the producers were aware what's going on. Ultimately she decided she didn't want to do the show. It was purely her decision. We're, obviously, getting a lot of e-mails. There's a lot of Twitter buzz about her, and rightly so. She's a wonderful lady,' continued Moonves, through gritted teeth. The line of questioning clearly didn't sit well with Moonves, who was facing the twin concerns of losing one of his biggest assets and being accused of sexism. 'Look, NCIS, the highest rated show on television last year,' he said at one point, attempting to conclude the topic. 'We don't like losing anybody. But we did everything humanly possible. We feel like we exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn't want to do the show.'

Internet troll victim Professor Mary Beard - whom we're all big fans of here at From The North - said that she would like to take her abuser to the pub and to 'smack his bottom.' It's probably worth somebody pointing out to Mary on the quiet that she doesn't want to be offering out such services for free. There's many a chap that'd gladly pay good money for that sort of thing down Soho. Or, err, so yer actual Keith Telly Topping understands, anyway. Ahem. Where were we? Oh, yes. Wasn't it the American humourist Emo Phillips who once noted: 'You don't appreciate a lot of stuff in school until you get older. Like being spanked every day by a middle aged woman: Stuff you pay good money for in later life.' Mary, the Roman historian, writer and broadcaster - a maker of several superb documentaries for the Beeb - said that she was willing to share a drink with the student Oliver Rawlings after the twenty-year-old was shamed into publicly apologising for calling her a 'filthy old slut.' And rightly so, matey. Where's yer bloody manners? Mary told BBC Radio 5Live: 'When I'm being sympathetic to these people, I see them as people who see themselves as voiceless. What they are doing is powering out in the one place they do have a voice.' Professor Beard added: 'It is a tough call. I have increasingly opted for name and shame. It has to be outed. And maybe his friends can say "stop."' The classicist spoke earlier this year of how she decided to expose online trolls after drawing abuse for an appearance on the BBC's Question Time. She said: 'Women are too often told just to shut up and don't make a fuss and it'll go away. But not this time.' Meanwhile, Commons culture select committee chairman John Whittingdale said he would like Twitter bosses to appear before MPs when it examines child protection issues in the autumn. The Conservative MP said it would explore if Internet companies were 'doing as much as they can' to prevent abuse. Feminist campaigner Caroline Criado Perez said that vicious tweets aimed at her and at Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy should be ‘a wake-up call’ for Twitter. Northumbria Police arrested a twenty five-year-old man on suspicion of harassment over tweets aimed at the pair. Earlier, a twenty one-year-old man was bailed over tweets sent solely to Criado Perez. Twitter said that it was looking at ways of reporting abuse. As mentioned on many previous occasions on From The North, this blogger's attitude to the whole subject of Internet communications in general remains consistent. I believe in freedom of speech and the right of an individual to voice an opinion about others, even if it isn't necessarily a very nice opinion. But, and this is the really important bit, within the boundaries of the law as it currently stands. If you say you violently dislike someone, I'll defend your right to do that to the end. But, if you say you want to kill or rape or otherwise discombobulate a person then, sorry prick, you're on your own and, frankly, you're asking for everything that you're likely get to when plod comes a-knocking. Which they, inevitably, will. Here endeth the lesson. Speaking of which ...

The Scottish police force has apologised for a tweet sent during a Newsnight debate about abusive messages on Twitter. That's one for anyone who thinks irony is something their mum does with their shirts after washing. The tweet mocked the columnist Toby Young's contribution to the programme. It was later deleted. Police Scotland said that the matter was 'being investigated' and Twitter access was 'being reviewed.' Young - who, to be fair, is a bit of a bell end at the best of times (that's an opinion, incidentally, covered under libel laws by the category of 'fair comment') - said that he had blocked the force's account, was 'not offended' and would not complain. Good on ya, Toby. This blogger probably wouldn't have been so understanding! The journalist was appearing in a discussion with Stella Creasy who, as noted, has received vile threats of rape on Twitter from, no doubt, perfect specimens of humanity, and wants social networks to do more to protect users and to identify perpetrators. The MP told the programme: 'We need to make sure that police at a local level and at a national level understand the risks and dangers that can come from online behaviour.' Young, who writes for the Daily Torygraph, argues that blocking and ignoring abusive posters on the Internet is sufficient 'in ninety nine cases out of one hundred.' Which, to be fair to him, is probably true. But, it's the one hundredth case that's not quite so clear-cut. After receiving the message from the Police Scotland account, Young tweeted: 'Just had to block @policescotland, the official police Scotland Twitter feed, for abusing me on Twitter. This is getting weird.' On Wednesday morning, Police Scotland tweeted: 'We apologise for the tweet ... and for any upset caused. The matter is being investigated and we're reviewing Twitter access.'

A Tory arsehole has apologised 'for any offence caused' after he said fracking should take place in 'the North East' because it was 'desolate.' 'For any offence caused'? Whom, dear blog reader, whom in the wide, wide world of sport could possibly take offence at a such a reasoned, informed and logical statement? Oh, apart from all of us who, you know, live there. The former energy secretary - and, odious louse - Lord Howell said that there was 'less concern there' than for 'beautiful natural areas.' Apologising, grovellingly, Howell said that there were parts of both the North East and the South which were 'less densely inhabited than others.' And then the Tories wonder exactly why everybody North of Nottingham hates them and everything they stand for. Fracking - short for 'hydraulic fracturing' and not a euphemism for a quick knee-trembler - involves drilling deep under ground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hundreds of chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside. Water companies are worried that the process could contaminate drinking water aquifers which lie above shale gas reserves. But supporters of fracking say it is safe and essential to making the UK more energy self-sufficient. Widespread fracking has not started in the UK yet, but Cuadrilla began exploratory drilling in Lancashire in 2011 and many other possible sites have been identified. During Lords Questions, Howell, who was energy secretary from 1979 to 1981, asked: 'Would you accept that it could be a mistake to think of and discuss fracking in terms of the whole of the United Kingdom in one go? I mean there obviously are, in beautiful natural areas, worries about not just the drilling and the fracking, which I think are exaggerated, but about the trucks, and the delivery, and the roads, and the disturbance, and those about justified worries.' He then added: 'But there are large and uninhabited and desolate areas. Certainly in part of the North East where there's plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody's residence, where we could conduct without any kind of threat to the rural environment.' What a knob. After the comments, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, wrote on Twitter: 'North East England [is] very beautiful, rugged, welcoming, inspiring, historic, advancing, not "desolate" as was said in House of Lords today.' Friends of the Earth's Tony Bosworth called the comments 'jaw-dropping', adding: 'The government's ill-conceived fracking plans aren't something that can be quietly brushed under the carpet "oop North" - as the villages resisting the drillers in the Tory heartlands of England's South show.' Following the criticism, Howell issued a spectacularly spineless statement saying: 'I apologise for any offence caused. I certainly did not intend to suggest that the North East is desolate and I do not believe it to be the case. There are parts of the country that are less densely inhabited than others. That includes parts of the North East but also other areas in the South of England as well. The shale gas industry should be encouraged to develop in a sustainable way where it is appropriate to do so and in way that ensures communities benefit, which could be in many different parts of country.' A tip, yer very Lordship. When you're in a hole (even a big hole, used for fracking) it's, generally, a good idea to stop digging. Downing Street said that Howell 'did not speak for the government.' But Labour MP for Newcastle North Catherine McKinnell said that the peer's idiotic remarks demonstrated that the Conservative Party was 'out of touch. It's right that Lord Howell has apologised for these offensive comments but such outdated opinions leave a lasting impression,' she said. Andy Wilson, chief executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority, said the authority had received initial contact from companies over fracking for shale. 'It's something that in the longer term we're expecting to deal with,' he said. 'But we shouldn't start with an assumption it's empty and desolate; it's beautiful and peopled.'

Perhaps not surprisingly, Howell's staggeringly ill-advised opinions have earned him a front page rebuff in the Newcastle Journal, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's local paper of choice. And, a very articulate and well-written rebuffing it is too. Picking up on the fact that Howell also happens to be father-in-law of the chancellor, George Osborne, the paper's front page today asks: What on earth is your father-in-law talking about George? The headline is overprinted on a montage of pictures of rural splendour in Northumberland - Hadrian's Wall, the Kielder Reservoir, Bamburgh Castle, The Angel of the North and the village of Alnmouth. Inside, the paper carries of page of criticisms of Howell, including a series of tweets from readers. None of which, to the best of this blogger's knowledge, have been referred to the fuzz on the grounds of general naughtiness, despite most of them having been written by blokies and lasses what were fair vexed to the point of being radjy and ready for a geet rive-on. And that. The main piece reports how Howell was forced to make a grovelling public apology for his gaffe. The critics included Labour peer Lord Beecham, who was in the Lords to hear Howell's ignorant half-arsed comments. Beecham is quoted as saying: 'Neville Chamberlain spoke of pre-war Czechoslovakia as "a far away country of which we know nothing." Lord Howell clearly has a similar view on the North-East and his comments once again highlight the Tories problem with the North.' Aware of the potential political damage, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick-upon-Tweed, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said that she 'firmly disagreed' with Howell's characterisation of the region in a piece of distance-making worthy of a BBC disc-jockey asked if he'd ever hung out with Jimmy Savile in the 1970s. 'I am appalled by the implication of Lord Howells's comments that the North East has a disposable landscape value,' she said. David Skelton, director of an independent campaign group aimed at broadening the Tory appeal, Renewal, said: 'As a proud North Easterner, I know that such a description isn't even close to the truth. I'd be delighted to give Lord Howell a tour of the North East to show him that it's far from desolate and is, in fact, one of the gems of the nation.' The paper also quotes the Northumberland county council leader, Grant Davey, who could not resist a sarcastic dig at his very lordship. 'We must thank our lucky stars that he's resigned from his role in the foreign office, where his diplomatic skills will be sorely missed.'
A few quick personal notes now, before we return you to the new dear blog reader. On 31 July 2013, with a visit to this site from a dear blog reader in Managua, Nicaragua, From The North achieved readership in its two hundredth territory. We still haven't had anybody from the Federated States of Micronesia yet, though. Come on guys, the trick it to bang the rocks together. Since March 2006, From The North has had just over nine hundred and eighteen thousand page views and, since yer actual Keith Telly Topping started keeping proper stats (I know, I know, Asperger's, or what?) in August 2009, the blog has been visited by four hundred and twenty seven thousand individual, unique visitors. Actually, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping would like to assure you that he thinks you're all unique. Just under twenty per cent of hits are from returning visitors, the average pages per visit is 1.38, the average duration is, exactly, one minute, and the average daily traffic is between six and eight hundred individual page hits. Or, on days where people are doing searches for Anna Meares' bum or Lucy Lawless nude, over a thousand.

Right, now the big news. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping went to the local Medical Centre to get the confirmation blood test for his, recently suspected, type two diabetes on Wednesday morning. The nurse, lovely Jay, also took another armful of claret to check his kidneys. ('I don't mind it up to here, but I'm not having it up here' yer actual Keith Telly Topping squealed, like a girl in a Tony Hancock sketch.) Thus, both of his bloody arms resembled pin-cushions by the time he got out the gaff. We had a great chat about the future management of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's lack-of-health in the area; they're going to try dieting (good luck with that), 'lifestyle changes' and exercise for at least a couple of months before any medication is prescribed. 'You may well find if you lose three or four stones that not only will your blood sugar levels come way down but so will your blood pressure levels. Your bad back might improve as well!' noted Jay. Keith Telly Topping his very self noted that he had started swimming once a week and also that he'd recently bought a bike which he'd called it ... 'Gillian?' Jay asked. 'How ...?' 'I read your blog, daftie!' she replied. Oh. Fair enough. The obvious answer is usually ... the obvious answer. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping had a long check-list of what he should be eating and what not to - thankfully, the majority of his 'I'd sooner die than give up that!' items were okay, although in a couple of cases, it was 'in moderation.' Indeed, the general thrust of the whole conversation was 'in moderation.' 'Smaller portions, don't snack between meals, cut out the sweet stuff and avoid tetties.' Yeah, okay, I can handle that. Keith Telly Topping his very self said that he'd given up red meat and bread which Jay said was a good start. One pint of lager on a Thursday night and the odd glass of wine once a fortnight with a meal is, apparently, 'an acceptable level of alcohol intake!' Brown rice is better than white rice. Pasta's okay and it gives you energy but it can be hard to break down so, again, don't overdo it. Low carb is a good idea though, generally, just eating sensibly is the best route. The odd takeaway's fine but home-made curry is, it seems, considered a very healthy option (yes!) so yer actual Keith Telly Topping should try that as a default, particularly if you don't fry anything that you're putting in it. Which yer actual Keith Telly Topping doesn't anyway, as it happens. In fact, frying, generally, is as bad as a bad thing with bad knobs on it. Prawns and fish, fine. Cheese, fine. Mushrooms and onions, fine. 'Do you eat much fruit'? 'Do tinned pears count?!' Yeah, it was that sort of conversation. So, anyway, we should have the results of the blood test back in a week - which will be positive, yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows that in advance! Thus, having already been out on Gillian at the crack of dawn for fifteen minutes and then walked to and from the centre, it was off to Byker swimming pool for a quadruple daily dose of exercise. You know, that thing yer actual Keith Telly Topping 'doesn't do.' That, as it turned out, was thoroughly bracing. Got to the pool, had a ten minute fight trying to extract the key to the locker I'd chosen to put my gear in (Keith Telly Topping ended up giving up on a bad job and going to another one). I had planned to maybe do three or four lengths since it was the first time yer actual Keith Telly Topping had been swimming in earnest since, and this is a true story dear blog reader, 11 September 2001. However, as soon as yer actual Keith Telly Topping put one toe in the water, the wave machine came on and he spent fifteen minutes splashing about like a ten year old. It was proper great. Then it stopped and he managed but two lengths before giving up through exhaustion and visiting the sauna for quarter of an hour of sensational dry heat. In truth, Keith Telly Topping used to be quite a good swimmer - many, many years ago - but, again, like riding a bike it's something he hasn't done for such a long time. I remember, specifically, the date of the last time I was in that particular swimming pool because, I'd gone with the late Mama Telly Topping (who was a regular swimmer) and, on getting back to Stately Telly Topping Manor, yer actual Keith Telly Topping switched on Sky News to find the odious Kay Burley horrorshow that she is describing the planes which had just gone into the Twin Towers. Whether the fact that it took twelve years to get yer actual Keith Telly Topping back in the water had to do with any sort of subliminal guilt-trip over his being in Byker baths on that very day and that having, somehow, caused 9/11, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self knows not. But, it's a good story even if it hasn't.

Back to news now and New Tricks returned to easily top the overnight ratings on Tuesday evening. The BBC1 crime drama's tenth series attracted 7.52 million viewers at 9pm. This is slightly down from the previous series' 7.8m launch, but up on October's finale ratings of 6.79 million punters. Earlier, Nigel Slater's show Dish Of The Day cooked up 2.88m at 7pm. On BBC2, Count Arthur Strong was watched by seven hundred and twenty five thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by The Cruise with 1.13m at 8.30pm. Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth interested seven hundred and seventy two thousand at 9pm. On ITV, Nature's Newborns garnered 2.79m at 7.30pm, while Odious, Risible Alan Titchmarsh's Love Your Garden appealed to 3.15m at 8pm. Hunting The Doorstep Conmen pulled in 2.33m at 9pm. Channel Four's thoroughly nasty Kirstie Allsopp show Fill Your House For Free attracted 1.40m at 8pm. Why Don't You Speak English? concluded with seven hundred and three thousand punters at 9pm. On Channel Five, The World's Worst Holiday Horrors continued with 1.44m at 8pm. CSI: NY launched its latest season with 1.47m at 9pm. Big Brother's latest episode brought in 1.49m at 10pm.

The BBC has been cleared over broadcasting the word 'shagging' before the 9pm watershed. The BBC Trust ruled that it was acceptable to say the word 'in some contexts' after a single viewer - seemingly with nothing better to do with his or her time - whinged about 'the appallingly sexually explicit language' in an episode of Holby City last year. One character said to another 'you're just shagging her', while later another said the same character was 'scared of women. Remind him that you have the power to cut his balls off, metaphorically speaking.' The Daily Torygraph reports that the Trust's editorial standards committee ruled that there was 'sensitivity' over the word 'shagging' (from those repressed individuals who've probably never had a good hard shag in their lives), but 'regular viewers' would not have found it acceptable in the given context. However, the Torygraph its very self can't quite bring itself to print the words 'shagging', opting for 's-------' instead and telling readers that it is 'a vulgar term for sexual intercourse.' One imagines that the majority of Torygraph readers probably knew that already. 'B----', metaphorical, or otherwise, didn't make the cut either – which does rather make one wonder how the paper manages to cover Wimbledon, the Ashes and the Premier League.
Doctor Who fans will get the chance to visit the set of the show, including stepping onto the TARDIS used in filming. Visitors to The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff this summer also have the opportunity to upgrade their entry tickets to include a studio set tour. The console room used on screen is located at the nearby Roath Lock Studios. Tickets will also include a walking tour of locations used in the show around Cardiff Bay. Further details of how to book and purchase tickets can be found here.
ITV has accused Channel Four of 'shoddy journalism' for planning to broadcast an undercover sting on Coronation Street actors allegedly promoting fake products on Twitter. Big fight, little people. An ITV executive accused the rival broadcaster of attempting to 'create a "scandal" from entirely innocuous conduct' and threatened to sue Channel Four's arse into the middle of next week if it broadcasts the Dispatches investigation next week. In a sharply-worded letter to Channel Four, ITV's group legal director Andrew Garard wrote: 'As a public service broadcaster, I am amazed you would consider broadcasting this allegations – and, as I say above, I am astounded that this programme would be broadcast by you on Dispatches at all.' The broadcasters have been embroiled in a behind-the-scenes dispute about the planned programme – Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans – since the producers alerted a number of b-list celebrities about its investigation last month. Three Coronation Street actresses are said to have been covertly filmed receiving bogus beauty products from a fictitious cosmetics firm set up by Dispatches. Some of them later tweeted about the products, which included 'mystique spray' and a bottle of toner which actually contained only water. The one-hour Dispatches film is due to go out on Channel Four on Monday 5 August. In the letter to Channel Four, Garard wrote: 'If you are seriously proposing to broadcast the programme and to include any allegations of wrongdoing against ITV and/or its employees in it, we (and the relevant individuals) will have no option but to issue proceedings against you for libel. As you will appreciate, as a fellow broadcaster ITV does not wish [to] have to take such action, but in the circumstances we will have no choice. Quite frankly, this is a shoddy piece of journalism in an attempt to create a "scandal" from entirely innocuous conduct.' Garard wrote directly to Channel Four's director of commercial affairs, Martin Baker, after ITV's lawyers were told that Dispatches planned to broadcast the film. He accused Matchlight, the production firm behind the programme, of 'attempting to entice' young Coronation Street actors into tweeting about the fake products by sending them messages on the social network. 'As set out at length in the correspondence between [ITV's lawyers] Olswang to Matchlight, the allegations that it is proposed be included in the programme about ITV and its employees are highly defamatory and completely false,' said Garard. 'Olswang have made it very clear to Matchlight that if such allegations are broadcast then ITV and the relevant individuals will issue libel proceedings.' A spokeswoman for Channel Four said: 'We stand by our journalism and the evidence we have collected.' Channel Four previously said that the Dispatches film will examine whether some celebrities are 'less than transparent when tweeting brand names' and expose 'the new tricks used by marketeers to plug brands.' The Dispatches film has been produced and directed by Chris Atkins, the film-maker behind the acclaimed 2009 documentary Starsuckers which hoaxed several tabloid newspapers into printing fake celebrity stories.

The Wire and Breaking Bad actor David Costabile, Being Human's Damien Molony and Game of Thrones actor Joseph Mawle are among the new cast members for series two of BBC1 period drama Ripper Street. Filming has started in Dublin on the show's second run, which will feature the return of Matthew MacFadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg as crime-solving trio Reid, Drake and Jackson. Costabile joins as Daniel Judge, the older brother of Rothenberg's character, and will appear in the two-part finale. Molony joins as new H Division constable Albert Flight, while Mawle is cast as the corrupt Inspector Jedidiah Shine. Newcomer Leanne Best will appear as Jane Cobden, the first woman elected to the London County Council. Meanwhile, Paul Kaye is among the guest stars in series two, alongside Gina Bellman, Neve McIntosh and James Wilby. Based around the East End of London, the second series will move the show forward to 1890. Series two will launch in the UK in early 2014. Speaking about series two, MacFadyen said: 'It's fantastic to be reunited with much of the wonderful cast and crew from last year. Also to be reunited with my bowler hat - I'd missed it. The show's creator Richard Warlow has given us wonderful, strange and unsettling episodes, teeming with the fierce and fragile life of Victorian Whitechapel.'

Crawley nightclub JJ Whispers are letting Channel Four cameras into the toilets to film a new documentary about what happens in the netties 'on an ordinary evening' in a British club. This blogger always thought filming people in lavatories was an arrestable offence but, apparently, not. Firecracker Films are producing the one-off show for Channel Four, which is hoping to replicate the success of recent documentary hit The Fried Chicken Shop. Producer Laura Smith told local press: 'A lot goes on in nightclub toilets and this documentary will answer the questions bugging both sexes. Apart from the usual gossiping, I've broken up with a boyfriend in a club toilet before, consoled people and seen people get thrown out. When it comes to the men, I hear they never talk to each other and don't even stop to wash their hands. Take away the craziness of the scenario and we are sure to get some really nice moments and capture a lot of relationships.' Customers will not be filmed without their permission, and nobody will be shown using the toilets.

The Voice's third series will allegedly be brought forward in the TV schedules next year. BBC bosses are said to have decided to change the broadcast dates for the talent show's next run, according to supposed leaked documents 'acquired' by the Sun. How they 'acquired' them, or whether they're genuine, they fail to reveal. The show's live finals will reportedly begin in March and finish in April, before rival show Britain's Got Talent returns on ITV. Pre-recorded auditions would therefore begin in February, which is almost two months earlier than this year's run. However, a BBC spokesperson has since stated: 'No decision has been made. The Voice is not pinned down in the schedule yet.' Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue have both confirmed their departures from The Voice's coaching panel after two series. It is not yet known if and Sir Tom Jones will remain on the panel for series three. Nor, indeed, does anyone much care.

Britain's greatest living playwright, the very excellent Sir Tom Stoppard, has been named as the recipient of this year's Pen Pinter prize. The award was established in 2009 by writers' charity Pen - which promotes freedom of expression - in memory of Harold Pinter. Tom - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - will be presented with the prize at the British Library on 7 October and will deliver an address. Alongside plays like Arcadia, he is known for co-writing the Oscar-winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love. His other stage work includes The Real Thing and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and TV plays like Professional Foul, Squaring the Circle and the recent adaptation of Parade's End. This year's panel of judges - which selects an 'unflinching, unswerving' writer for the honour - included Christopher Bland, 2012 winner and former Children's Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Antonia Fraser, David Lan and the president of English Pen, and chair of judges, Gillian Slovo. South African-born novelist Slovo said that the judges 'agreed unanimously that Tom's lifetime's work meets the challenging criteria set by Harold Pinter when he described those characteristics he most admired in a writer; those of courage and truthfulness, a determination to tell things as they are.' Sir Tom paid tribute to Pinter - who died in 2008 aged seventy eight - calling him 'one of the reasons I wanted to write plays.' He added: 'I had the sense not to attempt a "Pinter play", but in other respects, as the years went by, he became and remained a model for the kind of fearless integrity which Pen exists to defend among writers.' Sir Tom will share his prize with an international writer of courage, selected by him and Pen's Writers at Risk committee. Last year Carol Ann Duffy shared the prize with the exiled Syrian author Samar Yazbek, whose book A Woman in the Crossfire was based on diaries she kept during the early stages of the Syrian conflict.

Channel Four has been 'rapped' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with a couple less syllables) for running alcohol adverts during shows 'likely to appeal to children', including the hit US comedy import The Big Bang Theory. Other broadcasters including Discovery and Comedy Central have also fallen foul of rules on alcohol advertising to children. The Advertising Standards Authority found seven cases of broadcasters breaking the rules relating to alcohol advertising – which bans adverts in or around programmes targeted or likely to appeal to under-eighteens – after acting on research from an Ofcom investigation. According to Ofcom's rules alcohol adverts are not allowed to be shown in programmes which attract an audience of ten to fifteen-year-olds that is twenty per cent or more above the norm. Channel Four broadcast alcohol adverts during The Big Bang Theory on its E4 service, with the ASA ruling that in fifteen of those episodes too many children aged from ten to fifteen were watching. The broadcaster was also caught out with adverts that ran in another popular US import How I Met Your Mother (seventy eight episodes in breach), as well as around the Film4 movie Aquamarine (three adverts in breach). E4 said that it had kept an eye on the audience profile of the shows previously, but for the period Ofcom monitored 'the process was not followed.' The channel has now tightened its restrictions on when alcohol adverts can and can't be shown. The ASA has reprimanded other broadcasters – including Discovery, Paramount and Men & Movies+1 channel owner Entertainment Networks – with a small number of additional adjudications due to be published in the coming weeks. Paramount, owner of channels including Comedy Central, broke the rules for running an alcohol advertisement during the film Stuart Little 3. The company said that the advert was scheduled in the film 'due to a systems error.' Discovery broke the rules by running alcohol commercials on its main UK channel and Quest service during sixty two episodes of Mythbusters. The US broadcaster said the show was 'clearly directed' at an audience of over-eighteens. The ASA disagreed. Entertainment Networks UK, which runs Men & Movies, aired alcohol adverts in five films commissioned for under-eighteens, such as Three Ninjas Knuckle Up.

The Indian cricketer S Sreesanth has been charged with thirty eight other people over a spot-fixing scandal that has rocked the Indian Premier League. Prosecutors brought charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating against Sreesanth, two of his Rajasthan Royals team-mates and other non-cricketers. Spot-fixing involves players bowling wides and no-balls at certain times arranged beforehand with bookmakers. Sreesanth and team-mates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan deny all the charges. They were arrested in May along with scores of bookmakers. A separate spot-fixing investigation by cricket officials led to cricket chief N Srinivasan stepping aside last month pending the outcome of the probe. He left his post as the head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested for suspected spot-fixing. He and his Chennai Super Kings franchise were exonerated by the inquiry, but the Bombay High Court has now ordered a 're-investigation.' Correspondents say that the ruling could delay the return of Srinivasan. The scandal broke in May when Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila were arrested. Sreesanth and Chavan were later freed on bail, but Chandila remains in pokey at the time of writing. The trio, all bowlers, were suspended by India's cricket board and the Rajasthan Royals. The IPL is considered to be the world's showcase for Twenty/20 cricket. Top Indian and international players take part, contributing to what is the world's richest - and greediest - cricket tournament.
German prosecutors have charged former international footballer Uli Hoeneß, president of European champions Bayern München, with tax evasion after a lengthy inquiry. Lawyers for Hoeneß have one month to respond to the charges before a court in München decides whether the case should go to trial. The former German international and World Cup winner reported himself to the authorities earlier this year over an undeclared Swiss bank account. Bayern München beat Borussia Dortmund to win last season's Champions League. News of the secret bank account caused a stir in Germany with even Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman saying she was 'disappointed' in the former West Germany international. Neither he nor officials at the club have disclosed how much money is involved, but German media sources suggest he deposited millions of Euros in a Zurich-based account over ten years. Ooo, naughty. Hoeneß is said to have failed to pay capital gains tax. Ken Heidenreich, a spokesman for München prosecutors, declined to give details of the indictment on Tuesday, citing tax secrecy laws. 'We have filed the charges to the München state court,' he said. 'The defence now has one month to pronounce itself.' In May, Bayern's supervisory board backed Hoeneß to remain in the job despite the investigation against him.

The former Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper is 'honoured' an AC Milan legends team will face a Magpies all-star side in his testimonial game. Alan Shearer, Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini are among the players confirmed for the match on 11 September. Proceeds from the game will benefit The Great North Children's Hospital, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Newcastle United Foundation. 'I'm honoured such a great team is coming,' Harper told BBC Newcastle. 'We're going to be privileged to see some of the greatest players to ever play the game. If you picked an all-time world XI then Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini would certainly be in a lot of people's teams. To have that iconic AC Milan team that I grew up watching on a Sunday is fantastic.' The three most high-profile members of Milan's Glorie legends team are the defensive trio of Maldini, Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta. Under Fabio Capello they were part of the side that won the 1994 European Cup, although the latter two were suspended for the final. However they continued to star for the Rossoneri for the next decade, Baresi winning three Champions League titles, while Maldini and Costacurta both lifted five each. 'I was very happy to hear of the possibility of AC Milan Glorie travelling and playing against a Newcastle United legends team at such a famous stadium,' Baresi said. 'I know the passion of Newcastle fans and I know of the club's history and the love of football in the city, so I congratulate Steve and wish the fans and Newcastle United a magnificent occasion.' Unlikely, but just about possible. Harps, who joined Hull City following the end of his twenty-year spell at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle this summer, made one hundred and ninety nine appearances for the club following his move from Seaham Red Star.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is a twenty four carat gem from Smokey Robinson and his Miraculous Miracles. When Smokey sings, yer actual Keith Telly Topping hears ... well, Marvin Tarplin's guitar, actually.

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