Saturday, August 17, 2013

Everything's Alright

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has revealed that he is 'not quite sure' if River Song will return to Doctor Who. Speaking to the io9 website, the showrunner explained: 'We can see her again because everything’s out of sequence and, clearly, the implication is that she's met more than two Doctors. But the question is whether or not we should [revisit her].' He added: 'It'll now be story-driven. If we've got an idea that she fits into perfectly then there's no reason why we can't do it, but I quite liked where we got to at the end of The Name Of The Doctor, with [The Doctor] saying goodbye to her. So, we'll see.' Yer actual Alex Kingston her very self made her début as The Doctor's, ahem, 'friend', Professor River Song in 2008's Silence In The Library and has appeared in a total of fourteen episodes to date. And very good she's been too. Particularly those episodes in which she was wearing jodhpurs. Oh yes, indeed.

Meanwhile, here's a thought.
And, here's another.
And, do you know what, dear blog reader? They're both spot on. Next

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is indebted to the very excellent Steffan Peddie for the news - announced on Facebook - that series two of the best sitcom on British telly since Ideal finished, Hebburn, is currently being filmed. Wey aye, man.
Internet users have been prevented from accessing the Radio Times sit - and hundreds of other websites - as a result of the Premier League's battle with an unrelated copyright infringing site. The 'accident' occurred because the sites share an Internet protocol address with First Row Sports, which offers unauthorised streams of football games. Internet providers had been ordered to block the IP address. The Premier League only became aware of the issue when the BBC contacted it. The problem only occurred if users typed in '' rather than the full '' address, or likewise dropped the 'www' ahead of the other sites affected. The editor of the Radio Times 'expressed anger' at the news. 'It's outrageous that our website has been suddenly switched off and our users wrongly informed that it's to protect against copyright infringement,' said Ben Preston. 'The Premier League seems to be behaving like the worst sort of blundering striker who's forgotten the first rule of football - check you're at the right end before you shoot.' The football body said that it was 'urgently looking into the matter' and stressed that it had not meant to block other sites. So, that's all right, then. The High Court recently ordered ISPs to prevent access to a growing number of sites including The Pirate Bay, EZTV, Fenopy, and Newzbin2 after rights-holders complained of copyright infringement. Last month the Premier League added First Row Sports to that list - a Swedish-based site offering video streams to football games from around the world. The way the system works is that the rights-holders are responsible for identifying which IP addresses are being used and then sending the details to the ISPs. The court specifically said that ISPs are 'wholly reliant' on the rights-holders 'accurately identifying' which IPs should be blocked and had 'no obligation' to check them themselves. In addition to Radio Times, several football clubs - including Blackburn Rovers, Reading and Brentford - as well as the Notes From Nature science project and Galaxy Zoo space education site are also reported to have been affected. Virgin Media confirmed its subscribers had 'flagged the issue' last week - following discussion about it on the Thinkbroadband forums - and added that it had 'taken action' to 'rectify' the problem. 'As a responsible ISP we obey court orders when addressed to the company,' said a spokesman. 'However, we do not believe the instruction to block this particular IP address meets the criteria of the court order against First Row Sports so we have stopped blocking it and are writing to the Premier League.' Virgin acknowledged this meant that 'in some cases' users might be able to access First Row Sports again. BT added that it was taking similar action. 'Under the terms of the court order to block First Row Sports, it is the Premier League's responsibility to provide BT with IP addresses to block that relate only to First Row Sports,' a spokesman said. 'The Premier League is currently looking into whether the IP addresses provided to BT included any IP addresses that related to BT has suspended blocking of the IP addresses in question in the mean time.' Telefonica - which has sold the Be Unlimited network to Sky, but continues to run the operation - said it had also unblocked the IP address, but planned to use 'another way' to prevent subscribers accessing The First Row site. 'We anticipate that this will be actioned shortly,' added a spokesman. BSkyB added that it had 'already unblocked' the IP address for subscribers to its Sky Broadband network and had discussed the issue with the Premier League. TalkTalk said it was 'not aware' of the problem. The Premier League said it had 'never intended' legitimate sites to be affected. But it also 'expressed concern' at the idea that the ISPs were taking unilateral action. 'The court order that requires Internet service providers to block this website clearly states that any issues they have in implementing the block must be raised with the Premier League before taking any further action,' said a spokesman. 'This is the first we have heard of this issue and are looking into it as a matter of urgency. The fact remains that the High Court has ordered an injunction requiring ISPs to block First Row Sports and we will continue to implement it and expect the ISPs to respect the ruling.' Ooo, get her.

One Direction fans have 'reacted angrily' to Channel Four's documentary about the boy-band's 'obsessive' following which was broadcast on Thursday according to reports. Although, one imagines, Channel Four is not, exactly, bothered about the Twitter and Tumblr rantings of a few hundred over-emotional teenage girls. The one-off documentary examined 'the extremes' of the band's fandom, including death threats sent to members, alleged 'superfans' who will 'stop at nothing' to get in a room with the boys - and, presumably, have them, as it were, rock their world - and 'shipping' fans, who have developed torrid and sticky fantasies about hidden love and bromances within the band. So, just like Doctor Who fandom, essentially. Only, you know, without the gay agenda and the beards. Some of those commenting on the documentary claimed that Directioners - the brilliantly daft name One Direction's young following give to themselves - were 'misrepresented' by the documentary and that Channel Four was 'trolling for ratings.' Which, given the fact that most of them appear to have watched it to be able to comment upon it, seems to have worked.
Or, did it? In actual fact, Channel Four's One Direction documentary failed to lift the channel's ratings, or, indeed, rock anybody's world, particularly, losing out in the 10pm slot to Channel Five's Big Brother. Crazy About One Direction only pulled in five hundred and five thousand punters at 10pm (and, most of them were way past their bedtime), while the latest episode of Big Brother managed 1.4 million. And, in that single statistic, dear blog reader, we have a perfect illustration of what a sick and sordid society we live in. Where's your effing dignity, people? Earlier Channel Four, How To Get A Council House brought in 1.3 million at 9pm. The latest Celebrity MasterChef was watched by 3.4 million at 8pm on BBC1, while Paul O'Grady's Working Britain won the 9pm slot with four million punters. On BBC2, Dara O'Briain's Science Club had 1.2 million at 8pm, which would - slightly - restore one's faith in the general public if it wasn't for the fact that this was two hundred thousand punters less than Big Brother. The Men Who Made Us Thin at 9pm had nine hundred and ninety three thousand viewers. Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience increased BBC2's audience to an impressive 1.1 million at 10pm. ITV's primetime highlight was My Dwarf Family at 9pm, which pulled in three million.

The new BBC1 comedy (although, actually, it was about as funny as a good hard kick in the stones) Big School topped a quiet (for which read, bloody terrible) Friday evening outside of soaps, according to overnight figures. David Walliams and Catherine Tate's new series totally failed to amuse 4.24 million at 9pm. Because, it was crap, basically. A repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys attracted 3.61m at 9.30pm. And, at least, contained a couple of proper jokes, unlike Big School. Earlier, Celebrity MasterChef was watched by 3.25m punters at 8pm. On BBC2, Mastermind had an audience of 1.65m at 8pm, while new series Burrowers: Animals Underground interested 2.17m at 9pm. ITV's Food, Facts & Fiction brought in 3.03m at 8pm. A Doc Martin repeat was seen by 2.93m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown had 1.26m at 9pm. Channel Five's live Big Brother eviction of Sophie Lawrence (no, me neither) was seen by 1.60m at 9pm.

A BBC Breakfast presenter accidently released a box of mosquitoes live on air. Witless Louise Minchin was presenting a segment on insect bites during the show on Thursday when she offered to put her hand into the box of insects. However, when she tried to put her hand in she accidentally ripped off the front of the container, releasing the creatures into the studio. The guest on the show, Doctor James Logan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, quickly moved the box and reassured everybody that there was no danger, while Minchin suffered a fit of hysterics for the rest of the segment. She said: 'Me and mosquitoes have a very bad relationship. I have actually knocked myself out trying to kill a mosquito.' Why does that not surprise me? Needless to say, a video clip of the malarkey has 'gone viral'.
There was good news for all cricket fans on Saturday morning when David Lloyd returned to the Sky Sports commentary box for the Twenty/20 finals day at Edgbaston after his recent knee operation. Good to have you back, Bumble.
Now, dear blog reader, every so often a story comes along which, quite simply, warms the cockles of yer actual heart and makes you spend the day walking around with a great big beaming smile all over yer boat. And, this is one-such. Martine McCutcheon - she has her knockers - is to host two shows on Heart Radio this summer, it has been announced. Since she doesn't seem able to get too many acting jobs these days. Well, you usually need to be, you know, an actor for that sort of thing to happen. And, Martine's certainly never displayed much evidence of that in her entire career. The former EastEnders-type person, singer (allegedly) and author (allegedly) was declared extremely bankrupt earlier this year, with reported debts of one hundred and eighty thousand smackers. So, frankly, she's available for pretty much anything. In fact, Martine, this blogger needs somebody to wash his kitchen floor at the moment, if you're up for it.

And, speaking of desperate times for soap people, Coronation Street actor Chris Fountain has been suspended by the production after being exposed as 'a masked rapper' who posted 'strongly worded videos' online. The YouTube clips purportedly showed him rapping about raping women and committing violent acts in the guise of his alter-ego 'The Phantom.' An ITV spokesperson said that the content of the videoes was 'totally unacceptable', adding that the twenty five-year-old had been suspended. In a statement, Fountain apologised 'for any offence' he had caused. 'I am deeply ashamed by the lyrics and very much regret my behaviour,' said the actor, who plays Tommy Duckworth on Corrie. 'The videos were made over a year ago when I was experimenting with music and I've not done anything like it since, nor will I.' The clips, which are no longer available to view, featured Fountain wearing a Halloween mask, miming stabbing motions and claiming he was 'bored with fame.' His involvement in the videos was revealed in Friday's edition of the Sun, which claimed it had 'brought them to the attention of his employers.' How very public-spirited of it. 'ITV find both the language used and the views expressed in this video totally unacceptable,' said the ITV spokesperson. 'Chris Fountain has been suspended pending further enquiries into this matter.' Previously seen as Justin Burton in Hollyoaks, Bradford-born Fountain joined Coronation Street in 2011. In an interview with the Daily Lies earlier this month, the actor expressed 'uncertainty' regarding his future on the programme.

A short personal moment, now. For the first time since he acquired Gillian on 18 July, yer actual Keith Telly Topping on Friday afternoon ventured beyond the bounds of the St Anthony's Estate, from Stately Telly Topping Manor up to his chums Mietek and Naomi's palatial gaff at the top of Walker Road - about a-mile-and-half in both directions. Easily the furthest he's been on Gillian in one go thus far. Not bad for an out of condition, overweight buffoon on the bike, huh? Getting there, actually, was something of a piece of piss as it's just about all downhill (and yer actual Keith Telly Topping had a very nice detour through Harbottle Park's cycle route as a bonus). 'This is pleasant', he thought to his very self. As, indeed,was the visit itself, the cup of Earl Gray he had and the company whilst talking about, you know, cookery, the crime rate in new York, the state of the nation and, err, Doctor Who. Coming back the other way, on the other hand, was ... hard. And I mean really, really effing hard! It was the bit between Raby Street and half-way along Harbottle Park that was the worst. It looks relatively flat when you're on a bus. But, on the bike ... murder! Still, yer actual Keith Telly Topping did manage to make it back in one piece. Just. As this bloggerisationisms update proved, dear blog reader. Ah, the things yer actual Keith Telly Topping does to provide you with infotainment. Remember kids, cycling is the new rock and roll. And, it's healthy too. Providing you don't suffer a heart attack on the uphill bits.
David Harewood and Downton Abbey's Amy Nuttall will appear in new BBC1 drama By Any Means. The series stars Luther's Warren Brown as Jack Quinn, leader of 'an elite team of mavericks' who bring criminals to justice. Sounds wretched, frankly but then, many dramas do when one applies the 'twenty-words-or-less' criteria to them. Harewood and Nuttall join fellow guest stars Honor Blackman and Nick Moran. 'I'm so excited to be part of this gripping new drama,' said Nuttall. 'Being on set with the fantastic cast and crew was really fun. My character is a hard-hitting journalist - very different from some of the other characters I've played - which was lots of fun!' Keith Allen, Neil Maskell, Kate Dickie and Michael Maloney will also appear in the show, from writer Tony Jordan. Oh, Jordan's written it? All of a sudden this blogger is upgrading 'sounds wretched' to 'sounds rather promising'.

The BBC is claimed to be 'facing criticism and a five thousand pound bill' after a terror alert near its Northern headquarters in Salford according to a spectacularly sick agenda-smeared trouble-making article from some middle-class Communist louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star. Bomb squad officers were allegedly 'called out' and 'hospitals put on standby' after a package posted from BBC Northern Ireland was 'deemed suspicious' at a sorting office near MediaCity. The parcel actually contained a spy camera recording device inside a plastic drinks bottle, for use in BBC Panorama investigations. But, the Gruniad claim, 'when x-rayed it looked like a bomb' and 'a terror scare was sparked' at the offices of Swiss Post in Salford, shortly after 9am on Wednesday. Police, bomb disposal, fire and the ambulance service were, allegedly, put on alert. The Gruniad claim, with no supporting evidence whatsoever, that the package had been sent 'as an exercise to test security procedures' at the BBC HQ. However, the corporation said that this was not the case. Tony Lloyd, the police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester, has called on 'BBC bosses' (that's newspaper-talk for executives only with less syllables) to investigate – and promised to send them the bill for the false alert. Lloyd said: 'Whatever has happened here, whether a deliberate hoax or a stupid mistake, it caused severe disruption to the emergency services and the local community in Salford. The cost of this operation to the police alone is likely to be around about five thousand pounds and I will be sending the bill to the BBC's director general. It's not right that the people of Greater Manchester should have to pick up the tab for Panorama's stupidity. There is a police investigation ongoing and it needs to run its course, but I will also be writing to James Harding, the new director of news at the corporation, as I expect him to carry out a full review of the circumstances. The BBC owes it to the people of Greater Manchester to explain how Panorama caused this farce to happen, and what they will do to avoid a repeat of it.' So, he's not very happy by the sound of him. A spokesman for the BBC explained: 'The package contained filming equipment and had been sent from BBC Northern Ireland by Royal Mail because it was needed in Salford the following day. This was categorically not part of an investigation testing security procedures. There was a stamp on the outside of the package that showed it had been sent by BBC Northern Ireland and it was addressed to a producer at BBC Salford. The package was referred to the police as it was believed it looked suspicious. Everyone acted in good faith and we discussed what happened in detail with the police yesterday.' A bit of a no-story then. Which is about standard for the Gruniad.

Yer actual Sir David Attenborough has vowed to continue working despite undergoing emergency heart surgery in June. The eighty seven-year-old naturalist and broadcaster was forced to cancel a planned tour of Australia to have a pacemaker fitted following advice from his cardiologist. However, the presenter insisted that the operation hasn't prompted him to consider cutting down on his busy work schedule. 'If you're in your late eighties as I am, and your heart needs to be helped with collaborations, then it is easily fitted with [a pacemaker],' he said at the launch of his new nature film Penguins 3D. 'You just go in for twenty four hours and it's done. I don't think it has made me reassess my work at all or any trips ahead. It allows one to continue the way one does until one can't, doing what I enjoy.' Sir David had previously told fans that he would reschedule his scrapped tour of Australia.

Dempsey and Makepeace actors Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber have joined the line-up of couples taking part in ITV's new dance show Stepping Out. The married couple, who met on the 1980s police show, will learn to dance in front of the camera, alongside five other real-life couples. Former Westlife-type person Brian McFadden and wife, Vogue (look, that's her name, what can you do?) and actress Denise Welch and husband Lincoln, are also joining the project. Which, one trusts, will be every bit as successful as the last ITV format which attempted to ape a BBC production, Food Glorious Food, was. Just to make Stepping Out's potential floppage of humongous proportions even more delicious, Davina McCall will host the show, which will be broadcast at the end of this month. Viewers will see the couples journey from home to dance floor, as each pair tries to master a new dance genre each week. 'I'm beyond excited to be hosting Stepping Out,' said McCall, sounding uncannily like a seventeen year old schoolgirl from the San Fernando Valley. Does anybody remember a time when, you know, grown-ups used to front TV shows? Just me, then? 'I love dancing and I'm a nosey parker,' continued Buffy Moonchild McCall. 'I can't wait to see how the couples are going to cope trying to learn the cha cha or pirouette whilst doing the school run or cleaning.' The series - to be shown in a primetime Saturday night slot - will be seen as ITV's answer to BBC1's long-running hit Strictly Come Dancing, which is due to broadcast its eleventh series this autumn. Brandon and Barber have continued to work on stage and screen, despite remaining best known for their hit 1985 show. Brandon, sixty eight, won recognition playing the lead role in the original production of Jerry Springer - the Opera, while Barber's small screen work has included recurring roles in The Royal and EastEnders, as Glenda Mitchell.

And, speaking of yearning for a time, long ago, when proper grown-ups used to present television ...
BBC Studios and Post Production is to pull out of its Central London facility after just twelve months as part of a shake-up of its post production division. The facilities firm moved into its Charlotte Street base at the start of the year but BBC S&PP chief executive Anna Mallett said that it would leave the premises after judging its current business model was 'not commercially viable.' BBC S&PP will retain its post capacity at Elstree and will continue to provide post production for EastEnders and Holby City, but from 2014 it wants to move to a 'project-based, client-tailored post model.' BBC S&PP said that it will post produce the upcoming series of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing and ITV's Stepping Out from Charlotte Street before it exits the premises on 1 January. Around twelve staff are thought to be affected by the changes. The company is now in talks with an unknown number of production companies and broadcasters about taking on their post production work as a managed service. Mallett said: 'Despite best efforts, post production in its current form is not proving to be commercially viable for BBC Studios and Post Production.' A building adjacent to the Charlotte Street premises is to be be redeveloped from early next year, which Mallett said 'compounded' the situation. An e-mail was sent to BBC S&PP staff on 15 August informing them of the move. The assets from the Charlotte Street facility, which contains nine Avid Media Composer offline suites, eight Avid Symphony Nitris DX finishing suites, an Avid Pro Tools 5.1 audio suite and a Flame Premium VFX suite will be retained and split among the firm's Elstree and South Ruislip sites. BBC S&PP moved into Editworks' old premises on Charlotte Street in January, after the BBC decided to move out of Television Centre. It will return to TVC after the site has been redeveloped.

Police have said no further action will be taken over allegations linked to pay-outs to senior BBC managers. Which will, no doubt, be of severe disappointment to various middle-class Communist lice at the Gruniad Morning Star which had been pushing this story for all it was worth a couple of weeks ago, complete with much snide, sneering innuendo and a thoroughly sick agenda smeared, like shit, all over it. Boo, bloody hoo. The Metropolitan Police said that 'an assessment of material' had found 'insufficient evidence of dishonesty or criminal misconduct.' The force received allegations of misconduct and fraud over twenty five million quid paid to one hundred and fifty outgoing executives. A National Audit Office report found executives were 'not always entitled' to the money. Conservative MP Rob Wilson - a spectacularly odious right-wing bag of scum - called for a police investigation to examine whether any criminal offences took place at the BBC in the light of a damning report into the corporation's sixty million quid redundancy payouts to senior executives over the past eight years. One wonders whether the police will now be calling on Rob Wilson MP - or indeed the Gruniad Morning Star - to repay the cost of the time wasted on this investigation just as yer man in Manchester was so keen that the BBC should pay back the five grand cost of alerting the bomb squad? Over to you, police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd. Come on, you had plenty to say for yourself on the other subject, seems only fair you should be equally verbose on this matter. In its report, published in July, the NAO found that the BBC had spent twenty five million quid - money that could have easily financed the cut services from, for example, local radio or BBC4 under the Delivering Quality First initiative - on severance payments for one hundred and fifty senior staff in a three-year period up to December 2012 and sixty million smackers since 2005. The NAO found 'no evidence' of criminal wrongdoing but criticised the BBC, saying that the scale of the payments 'risked public trust.' All of which is true but it still doesn't explain why the poliss became involved. The NAO noted that former BBC director general George Entwistle was paid four hundred and seventy five grand after he announced his resignation in November 2012. In September 2012, the former chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson, left the BBC with a pay-off of six hundred and seventy thousand knicker, while the deputy director general Mark Byford received nine hundred and forty nine thousand quid when he departed in 2011. In a statement, the Met Police said: 'These allegations have been carefully assessed by officers from the Fraud Squad, Specialist, Organised and Economic Crime Command. The assessment, of available material, has concluded there is insufficient evidence of dishonesty or criminal misconduct to begin a criminal investigation, and the MPS will not be taking any further action.' BBC director general Tony Hall announced in April that the BBC would limit pay-offs to its managers to a maximum of one hundred and fifty thousand notes from September this year. The measures entitle senior managers to a redundancy package of one month's pay for each year of service up to a maximum of twelve months' salary or one hundred and fifty grand - whichever is the lower.

UKiP's treasurer, Stuart Wheeler, has denied being sexist after saying that women were 'nowhere near as good as men' at games like chess, bridge and poker. The spread-betting tycoon - and silly old plank by the sound of him - made the comment during a debate on EU proposals for gender quotas in the boardroom. Wheeler claimed that he had been 'explaining why companies should not be forced to appoint more women' to their boards. He was accused of sexism by fellow panellist Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs. Explaining his comments on BBC Radio 4's The World At One, Wheeler squirmed: 'I pointed out that in certain areas, women did not do as well as men, and then I cited poker, bridge and chess. My point is that there are some things that men are better than women at, some things that women are better than men at, and you don't necessarily want to impose a minimum of either sex at the top of any profession or at the top of any board.' Wheeler, a former Conservative Party donor who was expelled from the party by David Cameron over his support for UKiP, said that the anti-EU party was 'attracting more women' and was taking steps to achieve this but ruled out quotas for candidates. Asked if he was suggesting men were more intelligent than women, Wheeler furiously back-peddled: 'No, certainly not. All I was saying was there are areas where women are not as good as men. I'm sure there are areas men are not as good as women and therefore I don't think it's always essential to have a minimum number of either.' UKiP MEP candidate Diane James, who came close to winning the Eastleigh parliamentary by-election in March, said Wheeler's comments had been taken 'totally out of context' and the party was being 'picked on.' Aw, diddums. Welcome to The Big Time, dear. Asked about Wheeler's comments at the meeting on Wednesday night, Dcctor Gerada said they were 'self-evidently sexist. I hope it was tongue-in-cheek because there is no evidence whatsoever that men are better at poker, bridge or chess. And even if they were, what does that mean about the skills you require on a board?' She told the BBC News channel that she did not agree with quotas but said 'we certainly need to have more women in senior roles.' Gerada added that her eighty two-year-old mother regularly beat men a 'quarter her age' at bridge. It was also reported, by The Times, that UKiP MEP Godfrey Bloom - already in big trouble over his use of the phrase 'Bongo Bongo Land' a couple of weeks ago, told the same event he and party leader leader Nigel Farage wanted an invitation to a 'bunga bunga' party hosted by former Italian Prime Minister and convicted fraudster Silvio Berlusconi. Why am I not surprised by this? Wheeler told BBC News that Bloom had 'clearly been joking' and he hoped it did not give the impression women were not taken seriously by the party.

And now, dear blog reader, a story about exactly the sort of Muslim asylum seeker that UKiP would like to deny entry into a UKiP-governed Britain. Magic Mo Farah's career reached incredible new heights he became only the second man in history to complete an Olympic and world 'double-double' in the distance events. The thirty-year-old held on in a thrilling finish to add the five thousand metres title to the then thousand metres gold he won on Saturday. It was a battle between Farah and Kenyan Isiah Kiplangat Koech down the home straight, with the Londoner moving away in the last fifty metres. Farah crossed the line in thirteen minutes and 26.99 seconds to claim his fifth global outdoor title. 'I never thought in my career I would achieve something like this,' said Magic Mo. 'This was very tough - it was all left to the last two laps. I had a lot of pressure but at the same time I enjoy it. I am very proud to represent my country and hold the Union Jack. To all the people who give me great support I can't thank you enough. Thank you to all the people back home - I am very proud.' The historic feat in Moscow concludes an incredible twelve months for Britain's greatest distance runner, who has now matched the feats of Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. Multiple world record holder Bekele claimed double gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and repeated his exploits at the Berlin World Championships a year later to join his compatriot Haile Gebrselassie on the list of history's distance running greats. Some will argue the absence of world records for Farah over the two distances is a minor blot on his glorious CV. Farah, however, stands head and shoulders above his compatriots as the most decorated British athlete in history. Before the start of these championships, Farah was level with triple jumper Jonathan Edwards and decathlete Daley Thompson with three major championship titles, but he moved above them in the space of a magnificent six days in the Russian capital. BBC Sport commentator Brendan Foster called Farah the greatest British athlete of all time. 'For my money he is the greatest we've ever had,' said Wor Bren, who won bronze in the ten thousand metres at the 1976 Olympics. 'He put himself at the front and he would not let them past. Farah has always had challengers and he's always been able to hold them off. We are enjoying great times in distance running. Now we have a man who's inspiring the next generation of runners.' Five athletes in the field had faster personal bests than the 2011 five thousand metres world champion, and seven had gone quicker than him this season. The race started at a slow pace which suited the Briton and with six hundred metres remaining the double Olympic champion set off for the finishing line. Farah could not entirely break free of Koech, but he was always in control and a final lap of 53.51 saw off the challengers. He finished half a second ahead of Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet, with Koech falling back to take the bronze. BBC commentator Steve Cram, the fifteen hundred metres world champion in 1983, said: 'That was another incredible performance. His fifth global title - that's a fistful of gold. That was hard, really, really hard. It's not getting any easier, but it's just as sweet and just as brilliant. We are in special times with this special athlete.' It had been a good day for Britain with young Adam Gemili qualifying impressively for Saturday's two hundred metres final - becoming only the second British man ever to clock a time below twenty seconds in the event. John Regis, whose British record still stands at 19.87, is the only Briton to complete the distance in a faster time. Gemili's team-mate Chris O'Hare produced another surprise performance by qualifying for the fifteen hundred metres final with a comfortable fourth-placed finish in his heat. Great Britain's men's four by four hundred metres relay team were unable to make it a double celebration, though, as they had to settle for fourth place. Nigel Levine was well placed going into the anchor leg but lost ground as a group of runners fought for position. He finished strongly down the home straight, but had left himself too much to do.

The CIA has, for the first time, officially acknowledged the existence of the secret US test site known as Area Fifty One, in a newly unclassified internal history of the U-2 spy plane programme. The document obtained by a US university describes the 1955 acquisition of the Nevada site for testing of the secret spy plane. It also explains the site's lingering association with UFOs and aliens. The remote patch of desert surrounding Groom Lake was chosen because it was adjacent to a nuclear testing facility. 'The U-2 was absolutely top secret,' Chris Pocock, a British defence journalist and author of histories of the programme, told the BBC. 'They had to hide everything about it.' The U-2 plane, developed to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, is still flown by the US Air Force. The document, a secret 1992 internal CIA history of the U-2 programme, was originally declassified in 1998, though with heavy redactions. Many of the blacked-out details were revealed this month after a public records request by the National Security Archive at the George Washington University in Washington DC. The site was selected for the U-2 programme in 1955 after an aerial survey by CIA and Air Force staff. According to the history, President Eisenhower personally signed off on the acquisition. Officials from the CIA, Air Force and Lockheed, the contractor building the U-2, began moving into the facility in July 1955. While a lengthy account of the development of the U-2 spy plane programme, the history also attempts to shed light on the public's fascination with the Area Fifty One site and its lingering associations with extra-terrestrials and UFOs. It notes that testing of the U-2 plane in the 1950s - at altitudes much higher than commercial aeroplanes then flew - provoked 'a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects. At this time, no one believed manned flight was possible above sixty thousand feet, so no one expected to see an object so high in the sky,' note the authors, Gregory Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach. The original request for the redacted portions of the history was made in 2005. It was released to the National Security Archive several weeks ago. Jeff Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archive, said that the long period of secrecy was notable because of the extent people across the world were 'already aware' of Area Fifty One's existence. Richelson speculates that the CIA must have recently made a conscious, deliberate decision to reveal Area Fifty One's existence and origins. 'There is a general inclination towards secrecy,' he said, and the many US agencies and non-US governments involved in the U-2 programme would have had a say in the declassification process. 'As far as I can tell, this is the first time something must have gone to a high-enough level to discuss' whether or not to formally acknowledge Area Fifty One's existence, he said. Secrecy, however, still shrouds the site which has also been the developmental base for several generations of US experimental military aircraft, most recently, the F-117 stealth fighter. The USGS topographic map for the area does not even acknowledge the existence of the base, showing only the long-disused Groom Mine. A civil aviation chart published by the Nevada Department of Transportation does show a large restricted area, defined as part of the Nellis restricted airspace. Although federal property within the base is alleged to be exempt from state and local taxes, facilities owned by private contractors are not. When documents that mention the Nevada Test Site and operations at Groom are declassified, mentions of Area Fifty One have, previously, been routinely redacted. One exception was a 1967 memo from CIA director Richard Helms regarding the deployment of three OXCART aircraft from Groom Lake to Kadena Air Base to 'perform reconnaissance' over North Vietnam. Although most mentions of OXCART's home base are redacted in this document the redactor appears to have missed one example, which specifically mentions 'the necessary task force personnel will be deployed from Area Fifty One to Kadena.'

Students in a Mercer County school district in Pennsylvania are reported to be breathing 'a deep sigh of relief' after learning that a rumoured ban on 'yoga pants' has proved to be untrue. The Hermitage School District sent out a letter to students entering grades eight through twelve which said that yoga and other 'tight pants' require a long shirt or tunic-like top that reaches to a girl's fingers when her arms are down. School board member Paul Paoletta told administrators that he has been barraged with questions about the supposed ban. Paoletta claims that some girls 'don't know how to wear them,' and are 'revealing more than they should.' The policy also applies to leggings, leotards and other 'tight apparel.'

'Itchy cows' have been blamed for a series of power cuts in a Welsh village. Residents in Llanddona, on the island of Anglesey, have been plagued by repeated power outages in recent years and ScottishPower claims to have identified the problem. Local councillor Carwyn Jones said: 'For years now the electricity has been going off for a few seconds then coming back on. I contacted ScottishPower and they got back to me saying they thought it was cows scratching against equipment, leading to a temporary cut as the equipment is moved. They said they were going to install fencing around the poles to try and sort it out, but as far as I know that has not happened yet.' ScottishPower has said that it has now installed fencing around the poles to avoid any further damage from the cows. Jones commented that it was 'a bit much' for the company to blame cows for the persistent problem, adding: 'A company like this, which makes so much money, should invest in new equipment.'

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer says that the large contingent of French players at the club is 'unhealthy.' Well, aye. I mean, the smell of garlic, for a kick-off ... Newcastle's recent capture of Queen's Park Strangers' forward Loic Remy on loan means that Alan Pardew's squad has eleven French players. Shearer is worried that this could 'have a negative impact' if things went against Pardew's side. 'I don't think it's a healthy thing to have too many French players in one dressing room,' Shearer told BBC Radio 5Live. Though, to be fair, it's never done, you know, France too much harm. Wor Shearer then elbowed someone in the face on general principal. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) magpies finished fifth from bottom in the Premier League table last season after a horrible season disrupted by injuries and a, very unwelcome, Europa League campaign and start the 2013-14 campaign away to Sheikh Yer Man City on Monday. 'If things start to go against you then little cliques appear [in the dressing room],' added Shearer, who scored two hundred and six goals in four hundred and four games during a ten-year spell at Newcastle before managing the club for two months in 2009. 'I know Arsenal had a lot of French players and went on to be successful. But I don't see Newcastle being that successful.' Despite his comments, Shearer is tipping his old club to enjoy a better season than last. 'Two years ago, Newcastle overachieved without doubt by finishing fifth,' he said. 'Last season they underachieved by finishing fifth bottom. If the truth be known, they're somewhere in between. At the minute I would have them finishing eleventh or twelfth.'

Distant relatives of yer actual Richard III have been granted permission for a judicial review of the decision to rebury the king's remains in Leicester. The Plantagenet Alliance launched a legal challenge to the decision made by the Ministry of Justice in May. The group, which includes fifteen of Richard III's relatives, wants his body to be buried in York, claiming it was King Richard's wish. A date for the review, expected to take one day, has not been set. Skeletal remains found beneath a car park in Leicester last year, were confirmed as the king's by a team at the University of Leicester in February. The licence to carry out the dig, issued by the Ministry of Justice, gave the university the authority to decide where to rebury the king. Leicester Cathedral has begun a one million quid rebuilding project to accommodate the king's tomb while the city council plans to build a four million smackers visitor centre commemorating his life. However, the Plantagenet Alliance want the king to be laid to rest in York Minster. Justice Haddon-Cave said that he would grant the review 'on all grounds' but warned the parties against beginning an 'unseemly, undignified and unedifying' legal tussle. He urged the parties to 'avoid embarking on the legal Wars of the Roses part two.' Oh, very good, yer judgeship. They'll be having you up for Mock The Week before you know it. Giving his reasons for granting the review, he said: 'The archaeological discovery of the mortal remains of a former King of England after five hundred years is without precedent. In my judgment, it is plainly arguable that there was a duty at common law to consult widely as to how and where Richard III's remains should appropriately be reinterred. I grant permission to the claimant to bring Judicial Review proceedings against the Secretary of State for Justice and the University of Leicester on all grounds.' Richard, the last monarch of the House of York, grew up at Middleham Castle in the Yorkshire Dales and visited York several times during his twenty six-month-long reign. Launching the bid for a judicial review in May, Vanessa Roe, from the Plantagenet Alliance, said: 'It is well documented throughout the centuries that he wanted his remains to be buried in York, amongst his family.'

The prolific Kepler space telescope has had to give up its prime planet-hunting mission after engineers failed to find a fix for its hobbled pointing system. The observatory lost the second of its four reaction wheels in May, meaning it can no longer hold completely steady as it looks towards the stars. NASA engineers have worked through a number of possible solutions but have failed to find one that will work. Kepler has so far confirmed one hundred and thirty five planets beyond our Solar System. But it still has more than three thousand five hundred 'candidates' in its database which have yet to be fully investigated, and the vast majority of these are expected to be confirmed as planets in due course. The six hundred million dollar observatory was launched in March 2009 to try to find Earth-sized worlds orbiting their host stars in the so-called habitable zone. This is the region around a star where, given the right atmospheric conditions, temperatures would permit water to persist on a rocky surface in a liquid state. In essence, Kepler has been attempting to locate planets that have the best chance of supporting life. The observatory has already identified a number of 'super-Earths' - worlds slightly bigger than Earth - in stars' habitable zones, and mission scientists are confident they will soon be able to confirm the existence of further planets that enjoy even more Earth-like conditions. 'What we're looking for is a planet that's really Earth-sized around a star just like the Sun, and that's what we're hoping will be in this data that we have yet to fully analyse,' explained Bill Borucki, the Kepler mission's principal investigator. Kepler's method of detection has involved looking for the minute dips in light as planets pass in front of their stars. It is an extremely tricky measurement to make, with the total light changing by just tiny fractions of a percent. And it has demanded Kepler be held absolutely still during these observations - something it needs a minimum of three spinning wheels to achieve. The spacecraft launched with four wheels, and experienced its first failure in the hardware set in July 2012. A second wheel then went down three months ago. Officials liken the difficulty of controlling Kepler now to that of a shopper trying to push a supermarket trolley with a jammed wheel. 'The wheels are sufficiently damaged that they cannot sustain spacecraft pointing and control for any extended period of time,' confirmed Charles Sobeck, Kepler's deputy project manager. Kepler completed its prime mission in November 2012, so it has already worked beyond its minimum requirements. But there is hope more science can be extracted from the spacecraft, with suggestions that it be turned over to look for asteroids, comets and exploding stars. The US space agency, however, will have to decide whether a damaged Kepler merits further funding. Paul Hertz, NASA's astrophysics director, told reporters: 'In this era of constrained resources for continued operations of any of our missions that have already completed their prime phases, NASA may use a senior review to help us prioritise a two-wheeled Kepler mission against the continued operations of other NASA astrophysics missions. Only after weighing these considerations will NASA be in a position to make a decision on the future of Kepler operations.' More planet-hunting missions are due to come online in the coming years. The European Space Agency will launch its Gaia observatory before the end of 2013. Although its main goal is to map the positions of stars, it will do this so precisely that it should discover thousands of orbiting worlds in the process.

The actress Lisa Robin Kelly, who had a role in the US sitcom That '70s Show alongside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, has died at the age of forty three. Her manager Craig Wyckoff said that Lisa had died on Wednesday at a Los Angeles addiction treatment facility where she had been admitted earlier in the week. No official cause of death was given. Lisa portrayed Laurie Forman, the promiscuous sister of Eric - played by Topher Grace on the FOX series, which ran from 1998 until 2006. She left the series at the end of the fifth season in 2003. Her character was portrayed by the actress, Christina Moore, in season six. Lisa fell out of the spotlight after leaving the show but soon began making headlines for her troubled personal life. She was arrested in November along with her sixty one-year-old husband, Robert Gilliam, in connection with a disturbance at their home in North Carolina. In June, she was arrested on suspicion of drink driving in California. 'Lisa had voluntarily checked herself into a treatment facility early this week where she was battling the addiction problems that have plagued her these past few years,' said Wyckoff. 'I spoke to her on Monday, and she was hopeful and confident, looking forward to putting this part of her life behind her. Last night, she lost the battle,' he added. Prior to That '70s Show, Lisa had guest star roles in several US TV shows, including The X-Files, Charmed and Married With Children. She also appeared in the TV movies Amityville Dollhouse, Late Last Night and Jawbreaker.

Finally, dear blog reader, are you 'unhappy with your gross vagina?' If so, this is the very website for you, it would seem.

Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Heeeeere's Stevie. And further proof that us white kids, simply, can't dance!

No comments: