Saturday, July 13, 2013

Week Thirty: Lots Of Naughty Bits (And A Smidgen Of Tennant Nudity)

Broadchurch creator and scriptwriter Chris Chibnall has revealed he has completed writing the first and last scenes of series two of the drama. Which means that he simply has to write all the stuff in-between and he'll be pure-dead sorted, so he will. The ITV whodunnit crime drama will return for a second series after a successful run earlier this year. Although whether yer actual David Tennant and Olivia Colman her very self will be returning with it has yet to be revealed. Chibnall told the Mirra that he now knows the main plot and the finale of the second series, but that he needs to complete the rest of the story. He said: 'I've written the first scene and the last scene. So I know how it starts and how it ends. Now I just need to fill in the eight hours in between.' Tennant and Colman played the lead roles in the ensemble drama, which is expected to begin production in 2014.

Meanwhile, do you want to see a picture of yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch from this week's Top Gear, dear blog reader? Of course you do. You're only human after all.
According to the SFcrowsnest.org website the fantasy and SF author Stephen Hunt was reporting that at rehearsals for Saturday night's Doctor Who-themed proms at The Albert Hall, the staff gathered there were briefed on a section of the Prom where the identity of the new Doctor would be revealed to the audience. But, it wasn't. Hunt had previously claimed on Facebook that 'a friend of mine is playing in the orchestra at the Doctor Who Proms. During the rehearsal last night they were told who the new Doctor is.'

Big Brother's latest Friday night eviction episode climbed in the ratings from last week, according to overnight figures. The exit of one Wolfy Millington - whose actual departure from the house was interrupted by adverts on Channel Five - gained one hundred thousand viewers from last week and was watched by 1.48 million crushed victims of society. On BBC1, A Question of Sport slumped to 1.76m at 7.30pm. A repeat of the best episode of Sherlock gathered 2.40m at 9pm. BBC2's continued coverage of the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show interested eight hundred and two thousand punters at 7pm. First Night of the Proms brought in six hundred and forty eight thousand at 8pm. On ITV, Ben Fogle's Harbour Lives was seen by 2.82m at 8pm, while - shockingly - a repeat of Doc Martin was the most-watched show of the night outside of soaps and the news programmes with a mere 3.24m at 9pm. That, dear blog reader, what is what you call a really rotten night on telly. Channel Four's Four Rooms had an audience of five hundred and sixty nine thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by Blue's appearance on The Million Pound Drop Live which failed to pull in the millions, the episode being watched by 1.32m at 9pm. BBC3's coverage of England's loss to Spain in women's Euro 2013 scored seven hundred and twenty five thousand at 7pm (which is a lot more than England scored), while posh boys with O levels Mumford & Sons at T in the Park appealed to three hundred and fifty seven thousand punters at 10pm.

Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford's new BBC1 series scored the best ratings outside of soaps on Thursday evening, according to overnight figures. We All Pay Your Benefits interested 4.55 million viewers at 9pm. Earlier, Great British Budget Menu was watched by 3.66m at 8pm. Lord Sugar-Sweetie's The Apprentice: Why I Fired Them, if you will, 'special' was seen by 1.77m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show continued with 1.44m at 8pm, followed by the Ewan McGregor narrated documentary Herbrides: Islands on the Edge with 1.56m at 9pm. Mock the Week amused 1.60m at 10pm. ITV's new documentary series Married to the Job attracted 2.72m at 8.30pm, followed by Brady & Hindley: Possession with 2.33m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Supersize Vs Superskinny brought in five hundred and seventy three thousand at 8pm.

President Barack Obama is, apparently, a fan of the BBC drama Luther, its star Idris Elba has claimed. Elba told the Sun that the president voiced his appreciation for the dark detective series during his recent visit to The White House. 'The Obamas invited me to The White House and I had fun,' the actor is quoted as saying. 'David Cameron and his wife were there [too] - he is a Luther fan and so is Barack Obama. When I saw the president I said, "Mr President, I hear I am not your favourite character in The Wire", and he said, "Well, yeah, but Luther - that's me."' Err, well, actually it isn't, yer actual Mister Presidentship, it's Idris Elba his very self, actually. Obama is also a self-confessed fan of the Showtime terrorism thriller Homeland, reportedly requesting multiple sets of the show's first season on DVD.

And now, here's yer next batch of Top Telly Tips:-
Saturday 20 July
Another year, another riot in Casualty – 9:10 BBC1 - is as predictable as the English weather used to be. But, this time there’s mob rule behind the walls of a jail rather than out on the streets. As ever, though, paramedics Jeff and Dixie are in the thick of it as they – along with medic Tom – find themselves on the wrong side of the locked gate with a group of revolting crims. The trouble is that Jeff's everyman blok-y charm isn't working: he's on trial in a kangaroo court presided over by a gang of hard-bitten convicts and the verdict isn't the best he could have hoped for. As far as tension goes, this is the most dramatic Casualty we've had all year. But, it's a shame about the odd clunky line of dialogue: 'If we don't do something soon, someone's going to get hurt,' rumbles the deputy governor. No shit? The series returns in two weeks' time.

'The English think God is pleased with ornamental neighings and agile throats,' whinged Erasmus concerning the nation's love for choral music five hundred years ago. Scary, scowly - but always very watchable - historian David Starkey celebrates those neighings in David Starkey's Music and Monarchy - 8:10 BBC2 - tracing how kings and queens from Henry V onwards shaped the national soundtrack and used it for what he calls, in a typical Starkey phrase, 'the politics of splendour.' As you'd expect, there is wonderful music to bask in, plus a few curiosities such as Henry V's own setting of the Sanctus, with (to modern ears) odd, angular harmonies. But there's also the kind of history we rarely hear about. Before the Battle of Agincourt, Henry heard mass sung by a choir which travelled with him on campaigns. Sacred music was how you won heaven over to your side in them days. Starkey also explores the disastrous loss of medieval work; under Edward VI the nation's great choir books were burned and English music hovered 'on the brink of annihilation.' Much as during the early 1970s when prog rock was stinking up the airwaves. Starkey reveals how the military and religious ambitions of England made its music the envy of all Europe, and investigates the lasting influence of Elizabeth I. The programme features performances recorded at King's College Cambridge, Canterbury Cathedral and Eton College.

As the search for Tui Mitcham escalates and fears for her survival grow, Robin pursues a suspect to his house for questioning, but the situation quickly spirals out of control in the second episode of Top of the Lake - 9:10 BBC2. The detective later goes to the women's camp at Paradise where the girl was last seen, but ends up being interrogated herself by the enigmatic GJ. Thriller set in New Zealand, starring Elisabeth Moss and Holly Hunter.

Sunday 21 July
Oddly for a series about driving (usually very fast), some of the most memorable bits of Top Gear - 8:00 BBC2 - often involve boats. Taking to the water has produced more than a few of Top Gear's finest moments, from the amphibian VW camper van (the legendary 'Dampervan' as it was known) to the climax of the Vietnamese special amid the islets of Ha Long Bay and the cross-Channel shenanigans of Clarkson's Toybota. Jezza, The Hamster and Captain Slowly embark on a project to build a car which can turn into a hovercraft and 'bring relief to flooded areas of Britain.' Ambitious. What could possibly go wrong? Their efforts do not start smoothly, of course, but it is not long before the trio are demonstrating the brilliance of their creation with an eventful journey down the River Avon. Plus, Jeremy grabs the keys to two variants of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG supercar - the V8-engined Black Series with a roaring 622bhp, and the 740bhp Electric Drive, which is powered by four electric motors. X-Men and Les Miserables star Hugh Jackman is the latest celebrity to take the new Reasonably Priced Car around the test track. And, some louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star will whinge about something. So, no change there, then.

'Uri Geller is famous,' boasts the illusionist, spoon-bender and - alleged - 'paranormal expert' Uri Geller his very self, looking rather pleased about it. Geller's gleeful participation in the documentary The Secret Life of Uri Geller - 9:00 BBC2 - about his 'secret work' as a 'psychic spy' for powerful nations is almost enough to spoil it, frankly. If he refused to talk about being asked to use his famous abilities to wipe top-secret embassy floppy discs or visualise key military locations during the 'hot years' of the 1970s, it might all seem a bit more serious. As it is, he tells his interviewer his lips are thoroughly zipped, but gives his blessing to the gossip about, for example, his role in the rescue of the Entebbe hostages in 1976, which flows freely from others' mouths. And, he reminds us he was Michael Jackson's 'best friend.' Allegedly. One could also mention that he has a very annoying habit of referring to himself in the third person but then, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is in absolutely no position to cast aspersions in that regard, dear blog reader. oh no. ESP, remote viewing and the rest might be fascinating, especially when there's a military dimension to it, but Geller's tin-foil hat James Bond fantasies are odd and rather off-putting – though probably not to him.

It’s the penultimate episode of The Returned - 9:00 Channel Four - and the slivers of ice will prickle your spine as what feels like a mighty horror is about to reveal its very self. At times the tension zings like a zither as an apocalyptic shroud settles across the curious little Alpine town which doesn't even seem to have a name, where everyone's movements are tracked by banks of CCTV cameras. More people crowd into that strange Helping Hands hostel (what is it and what are the motives of the creepy bloke who runs it?), the dam level continues to drop, there's talk of evacuation and The Returned becomes squeezed by an oppressive menace. There are visions of death and a sense that everyone is trapped and about to drop into Hell. Escape, it would seem, is impossible.

Monday 22 July
The divine Goddess of sexy hotness that is yer actual Julia Bradbury, Phil Hammond and Phil the Cat Tufnell present Long Live Britain - 9:00 BBC1 - the first of two programmes tonight raising awareness of type two diabetes, heart disease and liver disease. Which, coming on the very day that yer actual Keith Telly Topping discovered that he, his very self, may well have type two diabetes (more tests required) is timely in its timeliness, and that. In May, more than four hundred people were screened at Super League's Magic Weekend in Manchester to see if they were at risk of contracting Britain's three most preventable 'silent killers', and EastEnders actor Ricky Grover, singer Jodie Prenger and Benidorm actress Crissy Rock took part in the health check, the results of which served as a shocking wake-up call for some of them. Using footballers and dustbins chained up with lard-encrusted locks to demonstrate how arteries get clogged up isn't particularly subtle but, hey, if it gets the message across, we shouldn't quibble. The best tip is to watch your waistline – it should be roughly half your height or you could be in trouble. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's is, as you might expect, considerably more vast than that.

There's a poignant, end-of-an-era feel to Burton & Taylor - 9:00 BBC4. Which is not only because it's about two ageing stars (and lovers) giving it one last roll of the dice. It's also because Burton & Taylor looks like being the last original drama BBC4 will make (at least for the time being). Which, frankly, seems absurd after all the successes they've had in that area. But, as we all know the BBC haven't got a pot to piss in and need to have money on hand to pay off Chris Patten's forthcoming - massive - redundancy pay-off. So, you know, something's got to give. The good news is, BBC4 go out on a high, with a wistful story of love and glamour and growing old that stokes up the emotional power as it goes along. William Ivory's script opens in 1983, as the twice-married and twice-divorced Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton reunite for a Broadway production of Private Lives. He's a tired old lion; she's vulnerable and pill-addicted. They've been apart for several years, but her heart seems set on more than a professional reunion. So the stage is set for flirting, rows and power games interspersed with reminiscing on their golden years. It's touchingly done and steeped in a seedy glamour that is very early-1980s. And in a story that is very much about acting and stardom ('I was acting Antony. She was Cleopatra,' Dick Burton recalls of their 1963 film). And, as you'd expect, Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West are both superb.

More than two hundred children convicted of fighting for the Taliban are currently being held in special prisons across Afghanistan, for crimes including the laying of improvised explosive devices, ambushes and the preparation of suicide missions. The Dispatches film Taliban Child Fighters - 8:00 Channel Four - documents their experiences and tells the stories of some of them, including fifteen-year-old Hanan, who took up arms after his father was killed in a NATO air-strike and is currently serving a two-year sentence after surrendering during a shoot-out with government forces.

Tuesday 23 July
In the final episode of yer actual Luther - 9:00 BBC1 - the detective is something of a broken man after being accused of crimes which he hasn't committed. He is forced to work outside the law in an attempt to catch vigilante killer Marwood, who has made his vendetta personal by targeting Luther and those closest to him. As Stark hurries Mary Day into hiding for her own protection - hoping to lure the detective into a trap - the man himself continues his private investigation, realising that the killer won't be satisfied until he has punished the man responsible for his wife's death - and when he kidnaps an innocent woman, the stage is set for a dramatic showdown in which Luther risks losing everything he holds dear to do the right thing. Idris Elba stars as the maverick cop, with Sienna Guillory, Elliot Cowan and David O'Hara. Last in the current series and, possibly, the last ever - spin-offs and movie adaptations notwithstanding.

Yer actual Ozzy Osbourne and the rest of Black Sabbath their very selves open the series finale of CSI - 9:00 Channel Five - with one of their tuneless dirges. Which is a mildly entertaining notion in and of itself (especially as Ozzy gets one really brilliant line of dialogue). Actually, however, they're just publicising a new CD and their presence is totally unconnected to the meat of the episode. Which is that a serial killer is killing prostitutes (that old cliché) who belong to The Fellowship of Fallen Angels, a quasi-religious organisation (run by an almost unrecognisable Eric Roberts), in ways inspired by Dante's The Divine Comedy. To complicate matters for the CSIs, they have a pushy reporter (played by Battlestar Galactica's James Callis) shadowing them as he's writing an article about their work. There's a properly impressive guest cast in the episode however, a warning to the impatient: there's an almighty fekker of a cliffhanger and you'll have to wait until the show returns in the autumn for the conclusion. Morgan agrees to be the bait in a bid to catch the murderer (played by The West Wing's Tim Matheson). But her safety appears to be in grave danger after the man changes his tactics. Holy moly.

With the Chesapeake Ripper still active and the finger of blame pointing in many directions, Lecter provides Jack Crawford with highly incriminating evidence to push Will Graham's name higher up the list of suspects in Hannibal - 10:00 Sky Living. Unaware of the mounting suspicion against him, the agent takes Abigail back to Minnesota to re-examine the scene of the original crimes, and during a hallucination he deduces that she was a participant in her father's murders.
Wednesday 24 July
In Who Do You Think You Are? which starts a new series tonight at 9:00 on BBC1, celebrities trace their family trees and uncover facts about their heritage. You knew that, right? In the first episode, actress and national treasure Una Stubbs embarks on a quest to learn about the grandparents she never met. As she delves into their history, she uncovers a surprising connection between her paternal grandfather and the confectionery company she modelled for in the 1950s. Another coincidental link also comes to light - between her forebear's chosen home town of Welwyn Garden City and the area's founder, Ebenezer Howard. Una starts with a major disadvantage, having never met her grandparents or even known their names. She is absolutely baffled as to why not. Una is, of course, delightfully batty throughout, being blown away by every tiny detail and dabbing away the tears as she learns about illegitimacy, adoption and periods in the workhouse. But she does know of one famous person in her family tree – her maternal great-grandfather was the creator of Welwyn Garden City, although she's never looked into his story either.

Peter Powell presents the edition of Top Of The Pops from 10 August 1978, with music from The Rezillos (aw, yeah!), Foreigner, Hi-Tension ('that's what they are/Superstar'), Raydio, Renaissance (that'll be 'Northern Lights' I'm guessing) and yer actual Jilted John his very self. Plus, a performance by dance group Legs & Co.
Criminal Darren Treacy risks a return to Dublin for a weekend to celebrate his brother's release from prison, having fled to Spain after a gun was found at his house in the first of a new series of Love/Hate - 10:00 Channel Five. However, a tragic event forces him to stay longer than planned - and he soon finds himself being drawn back into old conflicts. Gangland drama, starring Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gillen.

Thursday 25 July
Making science programmes accessible without dumbing down has always been a challenge, but Dara O Briain's Science Club - 8:00 BBC2 - seems to have got the hard-facts-to-gags ratio just about right. The first episode of the second series is all about mind control, so Dara and his fleet of boffins examine whether mind reading is scientifically possible (plenty of joke potential there), whether there are creatures in the sky controlling the weather (err ... that'd be a 'no'), if humans and computers can form an emotional bond and how far we can trust our own perceptions. Apparently, research into the latter suggests we have a lot in common with fish. O Briain can, of course, also be seen later in the evening in his more regular gig as the host of Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2.

Catching A Killer: Crocodile Tears - 10:00 Channel Four - is a documentary exploring the phenomenon of 'crocodile tears', when individuals attempt to conceal their guilt by making emotional public appeals for information to solve the crimes for which they are responsible. The programme investigates the levels of deception and betrayal involved in a number of recent high-profile cases, illustrated by lawyer Milton Firman, who gives a first-hand account of how he was convinced by claims of innocence from two parents who were eventually charged with the murder of their daughter.

If you don’t mind Ewan McGregor emoting all over the commentary, Hebrides: Islands On The Edge - 9:00 BBC2 - is an enchanting series. Our narrator keeps waxing lyrical (or his script does, anyway) about the islands' 'otherworldliness' and 'ancient sense of place' when you wish he’d tell us more about the animals instead. At one stage he lets drop the fact that Arctic terns nesting on Lewis have arrived there after a nineteen thousand kilometres (that's about twelve thousand miles if you haven't gone metric yet) migration from Antarctica – the kind of jaw-dropping information that makes you long to know more. But that's not the idea here: it's an impressionistic, misty-eyed sort of series: best to let it wash over you.
Friday 26 July
With the season of wassailing just about now upon us, somebody clearly thinks it's a good time to join in with lead-lined hit 'Merry Xmas Everybody'. But as a three-pronged celebration reminds us, there was always far more to yer actual Slade than their jive-inducing festive fixture. Their raucous, grammatically challenged songs, including stomp-glam masterpieces like 'Coz I Luv You', 'Cum On Feel The Noize' and the epic 'Gudbuy T'Jane', made them Britain’s biggest live band in 1972-73. And, when he didn't sound like he was gargling with barbed wire in his throat, mutton-chopped frontman Saint Noddy Holder OBE could nail a ballad along with the best of them ('Far Far Away' from 1974's Slade In Flame was a spine-tingling high point). It's Slade - 9:00 BBC4 - is a documentary first shown in 1999 about Nod, Dave, Jim and Don. During their career, the group went from faux-skinheads to mirror-hatted, platform shoe-wearing glam rockers, before finally re-emerging as hard rock heroes whose audience embraced punks and skins and rastas and all sorts. Their six number-one singles in the 1970s included 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now' and 'Skweeze me, Pleeze Me', and they sold more than fifty million records worldwide. Featuring contributions by band members yer actual Nod his very self, Dave Hill, Jim Lea and Don Powell, as well as fans and friends such as Noel Gallagher, Ozzy Osbourne and Suzi Quatro. Narrated by Mark Radcliffe. Slade In Flame, their only cinema outing is also shown tonight on BBc4 (10.50pm). A grimy, melancholy satire of the music industry, Flame was a world away from the traditional extended pop commercial and has many champions for being one of the top five best films about the music industry ever made. Not bad for four blokes who couldn't spell.
Also repeated tonight, and long overdue frankly is The Trip - 10:00 BBC2. Steve Coogan is commissioned to review half-a-dozen country restaurants for a Sunday newspaper and plans the trip with his American girlfriend - only to face the prospect of a week of meals-for-one after she suddenly dumps him. So, Steve ropes in his old friend Rob Brydon to accompany him, and the pair find themselves debating the big questions of life (and, lot of little ones as well) over a series of delightful dishes on a most curious road-trip. A superb, award-winning improvised comedy in which the two actors play wildly exaggerated versions of themselves - both putting in some of the finest performances of their career - directed by Michael Winterbottom. If you missed this first time around, you need to put that right.
As part of the BBC's Summer of Wildlife season, Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games present a guide to the UK's butterflies and moths, looking at their life cycles and habitats in Springwatch Guide to Butterflies - 9:00 BBC2. A recent spate of cold, wet summers has been disastrous for them, and the team shows how viewers can help by creating havens for the insects in their gardens.

Next, dear blog reader, the news:
Scotland Yard has been told by the high court to disclose information it has on phone-hacking by the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World to potential new victims arising out of information provided by a so-called supergrass. That's not a member of the band Supergrass, you understand, rather it's one of yer actual Copper's Narks snitching up their former mates, perhaps in the hope of getting their own alleged crimes overlooked. Or something. The high court on Friday overruled an application by the now-closed tabloid's former publisher, News UK subsidiary News Group Newspapers, which argued that the police did not have 'the full powers' to release the information they had. Whatever the hell that was supposed to mean. Friday's court ruling opens the way for potentially hundreds more victims who may have had their phones hacked by the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World under a new police investigation which is not linked to previously known phone-hacking allegations. And sue the bastard arse off them. The new investigation was launched on the back of fresh evidence obtained by Scotland Yard from a suspect-turned-super-snitch. Lawyers dealing with the seven civil damages claims so far resulting from this second Metropolitan police investigation, known as Operation Pinetree (not to be confused with Operation Yewtree, of course, that's another matter entirely), applied to the high court for police disclosure in March. NGN argued in its high court submissions that 'the old regime' of advance disclosure from the Met 'had been costly, with large sums being spent on lawyers and spent in the disclosure exercise.' Yeah. And...? Dinah Rose QC, for NGN, said it would been 'better for victims' to commence proceedings, receive compensation offers and then get disclosure if they needed it later on. Although what she actually meant was that it would be better for News Group Newspapers and their owner, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch in their efforts to weasel out of their, alleged, shameful activities in this regard. In his judgment on Friday, Mr Justice Mann was highly critical of NGN's ludicrous approach: 'It might be better for NGN for victims to be in ignorance for a longer rather than a shorter time, but it can hardly be better for the claimants' he said. He noted that Rose had been critical of the extent of the disclosure and the need for potential claimants to 'see all the information' that was sought, which in some cases might relate to other victims. 'There are advantages to an applicant in putting the activities in relation to him/her in the context of others and in seeing how far into the organisation the hacking went,' Mann responded. He said the fact that a claimant might have received compensation for phone-hacking uncovered by the Met's earlier Operation Weeting investigation should not be a reason for police to withhold information if the alleged victim was also hacked by individuals being investigated by Pinetree officers. 'It would be unfortunate to require a claimant to litigate partially blind,' said Mann. Yer man Mann (if you see what I mean) has taken over the case management of the phone-hacking civil damages claims from Mr Justice Vos, following the latter's promotion to the court of appeal. And he sounds like he's going to take not shit from anyone. Which is, of course, terrific.

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge, Paul Gascoigne and the Yorkshire Ripper his very self, are being contacted by police to be told they are among four hundred and nineteen suspected victims of journalists allegedly paying public officials for stories about them, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Other suspected victims being contacted by detectives in Operation Elveden include the family of fifteen-year-old Isobel Reilly, who died of a drugs overdose at a party in London, the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips, Ian Brady and Jon Venables – information which could act as a prelude to massive legal action. Those identified as suspected victims in Operation Elveden could be entitled to sue News UK, publishers of the Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times, for loads and loads and loads of lovely wonga for damage suffered as a result of stories allegedly being sold about them. It is understood that between five and ten claims for compensation are in the pipeline against News UK and one claim has been issued to the court from a victim in Elveden. Commander Neil Basu, of the Metropolitan police, the senior officer running the linked operations Elveden, Weeting and Tuleta, revealed this week that detectives had identified four hundred and nineteen potential victims relating to Elveden. He said further arrests were likely in the coming weeks and months. A spokesman for Scotland Yard said on Wednesday the force would not comment on the identity of the individuals identified as victims by police. But he added: 'We can confirm we are in the process of contacting all the victims identified by Operation Elveden.' Seventy people have so far been arrested under Operation Elveden, including journalists, police officers, NHS staff and members of the armed forces. At a high court hearing last month, Dinah Rose QC, for News Group Newspapers – now News UK – indicated that the company was 'aware' of the claims from those identified by detectives as victims in Elveden. But, she said that the company would fight damages claims over what she termed 'so-called' Elveden claims. 'It is our intention to resist them. We will not be making offers of compensation,' she told the high court. Hugh Tomlinson QC, who represents the claimant group in the litigation against News UK, told the court that one claim had been lodged from an Elveden victim, and there were five to ten in the pipeline. He said 'what have been called Operation Elveden claims' were 'claims which involve an allegation of corrupt payment by journalists to public officials.' Paul Flattley, a former Metropolitan police officer, was jailed for two years in March for selling information to the Sun about the Duchess of Cambridge, Gascoigne and the Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing whose wife, Eva, died last year. He also sold information about O'Reilly, the fifteen-year-old girl who died after taking drugs. In a victim impact statement her family talked of their 'devastation' at the way the information was released about her. Last month at his mental health tribunal the Moors murderer Brady, who killed five children between 1963 and 1965, referred to stories being sold about him to journalists. 'I was informed by a reliable source that they have discovered the mole,' he claimed. Venables, who with Robert Thompson murdered two-year-old James Bulger on Merseyside, is another high-profile killer who has been identified by detectives as having suffered as a result of stories being allegedly sold about him. Richard Trunkfield, a former operational support officer at a high-security prison near Milton Keynes, has pleaded guilty to passing on details about Venables and was given a sixteen-month prison sentence in May. Peter Sutcliffe, the serial killer jailed for murdering thirteen women in Yorkshire in the 1970s, who is being held at Broadmoor high security hospital, is understood to have been identified as a suspected victim by police. Other victims include The Rolling Stones guitarist Rockin' Ronnie Wood and the mother of the Moscow Chelski FC footballer John Terry, all of whom are being contacted or have already been contacted by police. Last month the former Surrey police constable Alan Tierney was given a ten-month jail term after pleading guilty to selling details about high-profile people including Wood and Terry's mother.

A Twycross Zoo chimp who starred as 'Brooke Bond' in TV adverts for PG Tips tea has died. Louis the chimpanzee was dressed as James Bond in adverts for the brand during the 1970s and 1980s. He died, aged thirty seven, at Twycross Zoo in Warwickshire on Monday following a short illness, the zoo said. The curator Doctor Charlotte Macdonald said: 'Louis was a very gentle and laid-back chimp – a favourite with everyone. Born at Twycross, he was one of the original PG Tips chimps. Although gone, Louis will never be forgotten.' The chimp's forty two-year-old partner, Choppers, who also starred in the adverts, remains at the zoo. MacDonald said: 'She is doing well and will be monitored closely over the next couple of weeks by the animal team. She will be introduced to some of the other chimps in the near future.'

Andrew Marr is planning to return to television full-time from September, only nine months after the serious stroke which left him with mobility issues down his left side. The broadcaster will appear on The Andrew Marr Show this Sunday morning with his first political interview since the stroke in January, ahead of a planned return to BBC1 in the autumn. Marr has interviewed David Milimolimandi, the former Labour MP, in a pre-recorded segment for the current affairs programme, fronted by stand-in host Jeremy Vine. 'You have to take it bit by bit and I always wanted to come back in the autumn as it's the natural beginning of the political year,' said Marr. 'But I also felt that I'm thinking and talking fine. My walking is a bit wobbly, but so what?' He, briefly, appeared as a guest on the show in April, but his return to interviewing shows a remarkable – and continuing – recovery only nine months after he tore the carotid artery while exercising on a rowing machine in his garden shed. He said his return to the interviewer's chair 'felt really good and really natural.' It will be Milimolimandi's final interview before the former MP flies to New York to start his new role as chief executive of the charity International Rescue Committee. 'This is the first of my padding steps back to full-time,' said Marr. 'I'm really looking forward to getting back full-time for the new political season.' The fifty three-year-old journalist has no shortage of work in the pipeline: he is filming a documentary on German chancellor Angela Merkel next week. Marr has described how he was struck by 'a blinding headache and flashes of light.' He woke up the next morning lying on his bedroom floor, unable to move, after suffering a serious stroke overnight. He was paralysed down his left side but the area of the brain which controls speech and memory was unaffected. His appetite for reading and writing, too, is undimmed. He recently finished writing the first draft of a novel with the help of a computerised dictation system, and has also worked on an updated book on Scottish politics and another on his love of drawing. In an interview with the Daily Scum Mail this month, Marr described how he was living a 'brittle, narrow, overstressed life' before his stroke and said he was a happier 'and slightly nicer' person than before the incident. 'I had been doing too much, too quickly. I lived life at a hurtle, like a vehicle out of control, ricocheting against everyone around me,' he said. Patrick Olszowski, campaigns and policy manager at the charity Stroke Association, said Marr's recovery would provide inspiration to the one million people living with the aftermath of the condition in the UK. 'I would totally applaud Andrew Marr for his fortitude,' he said, adding: 'What stroke survivors want more than anything else is hope that their life is not over. For Andrew Marr it might be about getting back to work, but for someone who has had an even more serious stroke it might just be to pick their kids up from school or open one eye or give their wife a cuddle. A lot of people can go on to make very striking contributions to the world after having a stroke.'

A growing rift has emerged over the BBC's controversial sixty million smackers of redundancy payouts to senior staff, with the former director general Mark Thompson at loggerheads with Lord Patten, the BBC Trust chairman. Thompson, who is now chief executive of the New York Times Company, issued a strongly worded statement on Thursday contradicting key passages of Patten's evidence to the Commons public accounts committee twenty four hours earlier. The former director general, who will appear before MPs in November, claims that the Trust was 'fully informed in advance' of the near-one million knicker redundancy package given to Thompson's former deputy, Mark Byford. Thompson said he had 'made sure that the Trust were aware of and understood all potentially contentious issues' and had been sent 'a detailed analysis of the value-for-money case' of redundancies at the top of the corporation. Patten told the committee on Wednesday that he 'assumed', and had been told by Thompson, that Byford's redundancy, and that of another former senior BBC executive, the marketing and communications chief Sharon Baylay, were being made on contractual terms. 'It was a question of shock and dismay for us to discover how many [redundancy payouts] had been beyond contractual and had therefore been even higher than they needed to be,' claimed Patten. An alleged 'friend' of Thompson allegedly said that the former director general had, allegedly, been 'surprised' and allegedly 'gobsmacked' by his former BBC colleague's evidence to MPs and, allegedly, 'reluctantly felt he had to step in to defend his own reputation in the light of what had been said.' All of this according to the Gruniad Morning Star who seem to enjoy running unattributed quotes which make serious allegations. It has emerged that an e-mail sent by Thompson's office to the BBC Trust director, Nicholas Kroll, on 8 October 2010, said that Byford and Baylay would receive 'maximum payments.' It said they would be given their formal redundancy letters in 'calendar year 2011.' Although the decision to make Byford redundant was made in October 2010, he remained on staff for a further eight months before receiving his full redundancy payment, twelve months' salary worth over four hundred and seventy thousand quid, with a further four hundred and seventy four thousand smackers pay 'in lieu of notice.' Byford's severance settlement was criticised by MPs on the PAC on Wednesday as one of a number in which the BBC paid out more than its contractual obligations. Thompson, in his statement, said that he was 'looking forward to laying the facts in front of the public accounts committee in person, but there are a couple of inaccuracies ... which I would like to clear up. I had made sure that the Trust were aware of and understood all potentially contentious issues (including the fact that formal notice would not be served at once),' he added. Thompson claimed that he was 'not involved' in the three hundred and seventy five grand pay-off to the BBC's former director of archive content Roly Keating, who later returned the money after the National Audit Office described it as 'seriously deficient.' 'If I had been consulted, I would not have approved it,' said Thompson. A spokeswoman for the BBC Trust said that Thompson's October 2010 e-mail 'pre-dated Patten's tenure as chairman'; the Trust was then headed by Sir Michael Lyons. She added: 'It did not contain a breakdown of the payments themselves, and no reasonable reading of this correspondence would have concluded that it indicates these individuals were to be given excessive pay in lieu of notice.' The New York Times Company said in a statement: 'Mark continues to have the full support of the New York Times Company board and of his colleagues in management.' The BBC Trust said on Thursday that it was considering the committee's request to provide the names of one hundred and fifty senior managers who received severance payments in the three years to 2012. The committee said if necessary it would use its parliamentary powers to force the BBC to identify the executives after Tony Hall, the BBC director general, said he had 'taken advice' from the Information Commissioner not to do so because of data protection issues. Patten told MPs if they used parliamentary privilege to obtain the names there would be a 'hell of an argument about what it would do to the BBC's independence, which I am statutorily obliged to defend.' Hall admitted to MPs that the corporation had 'lost the plot' over executive severance payments.

The journalist and broadcaster Alan Whicker has died at the age of eighty seven after suffering from bronchial pneumonia. His spokeswoman said that he died in the early hours of Friday morning at his home in Jersey. With a TV career that stretched nearly six decades, Whicker was best known for his long-running documentary series, Whicker's World. The show, which ran from 1959 to 1988 on both the BBC and ITV, saw him travel all over the world. The series featured Whicker reporting on the unusual and bizarre, interviewing all types of people from millionaires and monks to gangsters and dictators. He once said that he counted himself 'one of the luckiest men in the world' because he enjoyed his work so much. Valerie Kleeman, Whicker's partner of more than forty years, said she was 'lucky to have shared' his life. 'A few years ago a poll asked who was the most envied man in the country - and Alan won by a country mile' she noted. 'He said that he didn't know where work ended and private life began. Quoting Noel Coward, he would say "work is more fun than fun." On this last journey he will arrive curious, fascinated, and ready for a new adventure.' After joining the army at the end of World War II, it was his stint as the editor of the British Army newspaper that whetted Whicker's appetite for a future in journalism. He joined the BBC in 1957, where he became a correspondent for the flagship current affairs show Tonight. There he was credited with bringing interview techniques like walking towards camera and cutaways to television. His dapper figure, inevitably clothed in neatly pressed slacks, blazer and regimental-style tie, made him one of the most recognised figures on television. But it was Whicker's World, a perennially popular ratings winner, that made him a household name. The show even inspired an infamous parody, the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch about Whicker Island, a mythical place populated by Whicker look-alikes awaiting that 'inevitable interview' and in pursuit of 'the impossible dream.' His scripts had a full quota of alliteration and puns, and his slightly nasal delivery was distinctive - and much mimicked, most notably by the Pythons. Former Monty Python star and, later, one of Whicker's heirs as a travel writer and presenter Michael Palin was among the first to pay tribute. 'Alan Whicker was a great character, a great traveller and an excellent reporter. He was absolutely at the top of his game in front of the camera,' Palin said. David Green, director and producer at September Films, worked with Whicker as a young man and remembered him as 'a true original. He was a television giant - made my first of twenty four films with him as a baby director in Alaska thirty six yeas ago. A brilliant popular journalist and observer of the human state, who achieved legendary status among his peers and was loved by the great British public.' In its tweet, BAFTA called Whicker's death 'so sad.' Alan Donald Whicker was born in Cairo on 2 August 1925. His family moved to Richmond in Surrey three years later. His father, a former army officer, became ill and died soon after the move. Alan was educated at the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School in Elstree and joined the army himself straight from school. He was commissioned in the Devonshire Regiment and worked with the army film unit in Italy, directing cameramen - work which he loved. After leaving the army post-war he got a job as a newspaper reporter and found himself working as a war correspondent covering the conflict in Korea. At one stage it was reported he had been killed. But a telegram to his office - 'Unkilled, Uninjured, Onpressing' - reassured his editor the dispatches would keep coming. He joined the BBC in 1957 and worked on the Tonight programme, which saw him presenting a whole series of offbeat reports from a wide variety of places and countries. Two years later came Whicker's World. In a remarkable run of almost thirty years, first on the BBC and then ITV, he crossed continents covering a bewildering variety of topics. His list of interviews was a veritable host of the great, the good and the extremely ugly, most notably the notorious Haitian dictator Papa Doc Duvalier. Peter Sellers, Joan Collins, writer Harold Robbins and the Sultan of Brunei were among the famous figures who subjected themselves to Whicker's courteous but penetrating style of questioning. He effortlessly crossed class divides, as much at home among ordinary people as he was among the wealthy and famous. He had a natural ability to persuade his subjects to bare all for the camera. At his best he would charm his way into people's confidence, then allow them enough rope to hang themselves. In the Alan Whicker Report series he memorably interviewed Paul Getty, the world's richest man, in The Solitary Billionaire. Even Whicker later confessed he was taken aback when Getty casually mentioned during the interview that his best friend had committed suicide that very morning. In 1968 he became part of the team which set up Yorkshire Television, and Whicker's World transferred with him. He rejoined the BBC in 1982 and did four programmes from the QE2. Later came Living with Uncle Sam, about British expatriates in the United States, and Whicker's World Down Under, about Britons in Australia. At one time Whicker was travelling one hundred thousand miles a year. He interviewed monks, cowboys and comics. Money, or the lack of it, was a recurring theme. But all the travelling had its downside. He once said the constant travelling left many of his friendships in disrepair. On radio he presented Start the Week and Whicker's Wireless. The broadcaster won two BAFTAs during his career - the factual personality award in 1965 and the Richard Dimbleby award in 1978. Whicker moved to Jersey in the 1970s after visiting the island many times in the 1960s, saying the slow pace of life attracted him to the place. He retired from full-time broadcasting in 1998 but returned to the spotlight ten years ago in a series of adverts for a travel company, coining its slogan 'Hello world.' In 2009, he revisited some of the people and places he had filmed over the decades for the BBC series Alan Whicker's Journey of a Lifetime. He was made a CBE for services to broadcasting in 2005. Whicker never married, though he once lived for three years with the millionairess Olga Deterding, who made him the beneficiary of her will. Since 1969 he shared his home in Jersey with partner of the next forty years, Valerie Kleeman.

Dawn French was recently quoted on the subject of how she might have saved her marriage to Lenny Henry: 'Maybe I should've worn more interesting pants,' she said. The mind, rather, boggles.

Both a San Francisco Bay Area TV station and the National Transportation Safety Board apologised for their roles in the broadcast Friday of fake and hugely racially insensitive names of the pilots allegedly flying the ill-fated Asiana Airlines Flight 214. The segment on Friday at noon which referred to two of the pilots as 'Captain Sum Ting Wong', and 'Wi Tu Lo', has gone viral and drawn heavy criticism on the Internet. In a statement read on KTVU-TV Friday night, anchor Frank Somerville said the station made 'several mistakes.' Somerville did not say how, exactly, the station got the false names. But did say that 'we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out.' Might be an idea if, from now on, you did, matey. It might have avoided your claim that one of the pilots was called 'Ho Lee Fuk ' Late on Friday, the NTSB acknowledged that 'a summer intern' confirmed the false names to KTVU when a reporter from the station called about them. 'Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft,' the NTSB said in a statement. 'The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crew members or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today's incident. Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated,' the statement added. Presumably involving the summer intern getting his knackers kicked, hard. Somerville said the station 'didn't properly verify' who at the NTSB was confirming the names. So, somebody's going to get their bottom well and truly smacked for all that malarkey. 'The NTSB has confirmed these were the names of the pilots.' Or, not as the case may be. A public, and highly grovelling, apology was not long in coming from the station.

And, on that bombshell, here's today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day.

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