Friday, August 16, 2013

She Showed Up All The Errors And Mistakes

As previously reported, highlights from this year's Doctor Who Prom are to be shown on BBC1 in a seventy five-minute programme starting at 4pm on Monday 26 August. Two concerts were held over the weekend of 13 and 14 July, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama and featuring music by Murray Gold, accompanied by specially-edited visual clips. The concert programme also included the world première of 'Song For Fifty', Gold's 'tribute' to the show. Which was a bit turgid, frankly, though the rest of the show sounded pretty enjoyable. The first concert was broadcast live by Radio 3 and recorded for television broadcast. Hosted by Neve McIntosh as Madame Vastra and Dan Starkey as Strax, the concerts also marked the classic era with a medley of sound effects by Brian Hodgson and music from The Daleks, The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Sea Devils, City of Death, Logopolis, The Five Doctors and The Curse of Fenric, with Mark Ayres and Peter Howell on synthesisers and sound effects. In addition, the Proms featured guest appearances by yer actual Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Peter Davison, and Carole Ann Ford. The concerts were performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the London Philharmonic Choir, conducted by Ben Foster, with soloists Elin Manahan Thomas, Allan Clayton, and Kerry Ingram.

More than nine million viewers tuned in to ITV's - as usual, utterly wretched - coverage of the first international football clash between England and Scotland in fourteen years. ITV's coverage of the 'competitive friendly', which saw England triumph 3-2 in a rather boring match that got a bit more interesting in the second half, attracted an average audience of 6.8 million between 7.30pm and 10.25pm. The fifteen-minute peak audience was nine million. ITV said that for the period of the actual match, which kicked-off at 8pm, the average audience was 8.2 million, a thirty six per cent share of the total TV audience. On the basis of five-minute peak audience measurement, the match hit 9.2 million shortly before the climax. Earlier this year England's 2-1 win over Brazil also managed a five-minute peak audience of ninemillion.

Lovely old sweet and fluffy Ryanair who are, of course, wonderful and terrific and all that, has given the old tin-tack to long-standing airline pilot John Goss with 'immediate effect' and issued legal proceedings against him after he appeared in a Channel Four documentary which raised questions over the airline's safety policy. As reported in a previous blog, the no-frills airline - who are, as noted, lovely and sweet and nice and would certainly never do anything as sick and wrong as sack a chap with a legitimate grievance, oh no, very hot water - has already instructed its lawyers to take legal action against Channel Four's Dispatches over some of the allegations made in the documentary, called Ryanair: Secrets From The Cockpit. The airline said in a statement: 'We will not allow a Ryanair employee to defame our safety on national television just three weeks after he confirmed in writing to Ryanair that he had no concerns with safety and no reason to make any confidential safety report to either the IAA or Ryanair.' The Gruniad reports that it 'is not known' if Goss, a captain who has been with the airline for around twenty five years, has himself taken legal advice. Goss was expected to retire in October of this year. Goss is a member of the interim council of the Ryanair Pilot Group, the group which played a pivotal role in the Channel Four documentary. Ryanair has refused to engage with RPG and argues that its safety record is unblemished. 'Ryanair rejected the false and defamatory claims made by the Channel Four Dispatches programme which wrongly impugn and smear Ryanair's outstanding twenty nine-year safety record based on nothing more than anonymous hearsay claims made by individuals whose identity was concealed, and/or by representatives of pilot unions of Ryanair's competitor airlines masquerading as a non-Ryanair Pilot Group,' said the company. A memo has also been circulated to all Ryanair pilots by its director of flight and ground operations, David O'Brien, according to a report in the Irish Independent. 'I write to advise you that Captain John Goss was today dismissed with immediate effect from Ryanair,' the memo said. It added that safety remains Ryanair's 'number one priority.' The memo added that management wrote to Goss three weeks ago. Ryanair said it was 'shocked and astonished' that he then contributed to the Channel Four documentary.

Microsoft is, reportedly, to fund the latest version of an oft-mooted remake of the cult BBC SF drama Blake's 7 for its Xbox Live service. Blake's 7 - a completely daft, but endearingly over-the-top space opera which far exceeded anyone's expectations - was devised by the late Terry Nation, the creator of Doctor Who's Daleks, and ran for four series on BBC1 from 1978 to 1981 becoming a huge international which that has maintained a loyal following ever since. Microsoft, which has agreed to finance a remake according to the Financial Times, replaces NBC Universal's Syfy which announced a deal to revitalise the show last year. Syfy, which successfully revived 1970s cult series Battlestar Galactica in 2004, had been considering a thirteen-episode series. For Microsoft, the deal marks its latest high profile move to invest in original TV programming ahead of the launch of the new Xbox One console – it already has a deal with Steven Spielberg's Amblin TV to make a series based on its hit game Halo. 'We do not comment on rumour or speculation,' said a spokesman for Microsoft. Microsoft's big budget programming strategy is following in the footsteps of Amazon and Netflix, the latter spent one hundred million smackers on a remake of the BBC's House Of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey. It is not clear how true to the original any Blake's 7 remake will be, given that the story of the interstellar renegades and their fight against the evil Federation ended in something of a bloodbath. If this blogger had to hazard a guess, he'd suggest it's likely to be about as faithful to the original as the recent AMC remake of The Prisoner was to that source text. So, not very, in that case. Not that this is, necessarily a bad thing - Battlestar Galactica proved that. However Microsoft, like Syfy, has hired Goldeneye director Martin Campbell to direct the pilot episode to loan the project some heavyweight credibility. Blake's 7 has been revived as a series of audio dramas, some of which have been broadcast by the BBC. The Microsoft series will be produced by Georgeville TV, the studio founded by Motion Picture Capital, the London-based film and TV company backed by Reliance. Reliance is an Indian conglomerate controlled by Anil Ambani.
Former Radio 1 presenter Dave Lee Travis has been formally charged with twelve sexual offences, Scotland Yard has said. The sixty eight-year-old faces eleven counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault and will appear before Westminster magistrates on 23 August. Travis, of Mentmore, said that he was 'disappointed and surprised' to be charged and has strenuously denied all of the allegations against him. The alleged incidents are said to have, allegedly, occurred on various dates between 1977 and 2007 and relate to nine female complainants aged between fifteen and twenty nine at the time they, allegedly, happened. Travis was questioned by police as part of Operation Yewtree, an investigation into historical claims linked to the entertainment industry. The probe was launched in the wake of revelations against ex-TV presenter, disc jockey and naughty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile. The operation has three strands. One is looking specifically at the actions of Savile and the second concerns allegations of sexual offences by 'Savile and others.' Travis's arrest falls within a third strand, relating to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigation. Travis is best known for his twenty five-year stint on BBC Radio 1 which ended after a stroppy on-air bit of high dudgeon in 1993. He also presented editions of Top Of The Pops on BBC TV in the 1970s and 1980s - you know, the ones that BBC4 aren't currently showing.

Nick Pollard, the former head of Sky News who led the investigation into the BBC's end of the Jimmy Savile fiasco, has criticised the BBC's handling of news as 'committee-driven' and 'one-paced.' Pollard, who spent close to thirty years working for in news for organisations including the BBC, Sky and ITN, claimed that corporation 'lacks the cut-and-thrust' of its rivals. 'Within the BBC there is a tendency to approach news as a sort of committee-driven process,' he said, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Media Show on Wednesday. 'Other places, Sky or ITN, [are] very ideas-driven places. If you have a good idea someone will say "That's great – let's do it." I get the sense that if you have a really good, bright idea that no one else has thought of in a BBC newsroom someone will say "Let's have a think about that, we have a planning meeting coming up either this afternoon or next week we'll see what the planning committee think about that." That is a slight caricature but that is the sense that I get. I think you can see that on-air and hear it on radio as well.' Pollard added that flagship programmes such as the BBC News At Ten and Breakfast may attract bigger audiences than rivals - which they do; considerably bigger in both cases - but they are 'one-paced' and 'very predictable.' Well, the viewers don't seem to share your opinion Nick so, you know, thanks for the comments now piss off back under whatever stone you crawled out of. Of course, all of this was - gleefully - reported by the Gruniad Morning Star who have absolutely no sick agenda to push whatsoever. 'The principal fault is that [the BBC's news] is very predictable,' Pollard said. Oh, are you still here? 'It tends to be one-paced. Nothing ever surprises you. It just runs on.' He also added his voice to those who have 'expressed concern' that the BBC is too often swayed by pressure groups. 'There is a slight tendency to naivety to some of the coverage, particularly home news stories,' he said. 'I get the impression as a viewer watching some BBC output that they are slightly too keen on latching on to pressure groups, special interest groups [and say] "here is a case study that will support our case." I think [other news organisations] are slightly happier looking at lateral ways to approach news stories.' Earlier this week the Centre for Policy Studies - a bunch of odious right-wing bully-boy thug lice of no importance, elected by no one, just in case you were wondering - published a report which claimed that the BBC is twice as likely to cover left-wing policy proposals than those that are right-wing. The report, Bias at the Beeb - so, again, no obvious sick agenda at work here, then - claimed to be the 'first statistical evidence of the bias.' The corporation issued a statement on Wednesday night defending its news output against the crass and agenda-soaked whinges. 'BBC News provides impartial and independent coverage to a quarter of a billion people across the world,' said a BBC spokeswoman. '[They don't] provide concrete evidence to back up their claims or publish the full methodology used – although they do point to references to searches on Wikipedia.' She also questioned the impartiality of the right-of-centre think-tank's report, arguing that the CPS wants the BBC to be smaller and 'campaigns against the licence fee. The CPS claims to have found bias in the way we describe think-tanks,' she said. 'We use descriptions to help our audiences understand more about each think-tank and think carefully about the words used. They haven't published their own definitions for describing the think-tanks concerned.' No. Curious that, is it not? She also forgot to add that they are, you know, odious, risible thuggish right-wing scumbag lice. Probably because she's far too polite to make such a suggestion. But, I'm not.
Tina Fey is returning to sitcoms a year after the end of Thirty Rock, but only behind the scenes. Deadline reports that Fey is executive producing a 'Cheers-style show about a young woman who tries to reconnect with her father.' While The Hollywood Reporter says there is 'a bidding war' among TV networks for another Fey comedy, about a former all-girls college which opens its doors to men. Both shows are being made by Fey's production company Little Stranger. NBC has bought the Cheers-style show, which has been written by Thirty Rock producer Colleen McGuinness. The show is set on Fire Island in New York which is a popular destination with gay holidaymakers. But McGuinness refuted an idea suggested on Twitter that the father in the sitcom would be gay. Fey will executive produce the show along with her fellow Thirty Rock producers Robert Carlock and McGuinness. The college show will be executive produced Fey along with another Thirty Rock producer Matt Hubbard. The last episode of the multi-EMMY award winning Thirty Rock was broadcast in January.

Soft core pornographer Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell has reported a loss for 2012, with Channel Five posting a deficit of more than sixteen million smackers as rivals broadcast events such as Euro 2012 and the London Olympics. A snapshot of the financial accounts of N&S, owner of Express Newspapers, Channel Five and OK! magazine, show that it made an operating loss of £5.6m last year. The loss compares favourably with the £20.8m N&S reported in 2011, but 2012 appears to have been particularly tough for Channel Five, according to figures published on Wednesday. Channel Five reported a loss of £16.1m in the first half of 2012 – as advertisers flocked to ITV's coverage of Euro 2012 and viewers headed to the BBC and Channel Four for the London Olympics and the Paralympics – although a much better second half of the year is thought to have left the broadcaster with an annual loss not too much larger in total. Total revenues fell 8.6 per cent from three hundred and fifty six million notes to three hundred and twenty five million. N&S said that despite the slump Channel Five 'improved its total audience share' as well 'grow commercial impacts' – effectively the slots which are bought by advertisers – thanks to shows such as Big Brother and ... well, just Big Brother, basically.

Marianne Faithfull her very self has been forced to cancel several concerts in the US and Lebanon after an accident in which she broke a bone in her back. The sixty six-year-old singer spent four weeks in hospital after fracturing her sacrum while on holiday. The accident happened in July but only came to light after she announced she could no longer perform. Faithfull said that she was 'sad' to have to cancel the shows. In a letter to fans in Beirut, she said: 'I broke my back in July and hoped and prayed I would be better enough to be able to do the performance on 17 August, although it's not very long, but my recovery was going well. I have never been to the Lebanon though I know it through books. It looks like one of the most beautiful places in the world.' Faithfull - who had starring roles in films including Girl On A Motorcycle as well as several stage shows was injured while on holiday in the US. She has since returned to her home in Paris to continue her recovery. In addition to solo shows in New York and Chicago in September, Marianne has also cancelled an appearance at a tribute concert to Edith Piaf in New York. Her next CD will also be delayed as a result of the accident.

England and Yorkshire pace bowler Tim Bresnan will miss the rest of the summer through injury. The England and Wales Cricket Board said the player, twenty eight, has a stress fracture in his lower back. Just like Marianne Faithfull. Is this back-breaking contagious, one wonders? Bresnan has played in the last three Ashes tests for England but will not feature in the fifth test at The Oval starting next week. The ECB added: 'Bresnan will begin a recovery and rehabilitation programme and a date for his return to cricket will be determined in due course.' He later tweeted: 'Really gutted to be missing the last test! Wishing the boys well for The Oval.' Tim missed the first test of the Ashes series but came in for a very out-of-form Steven Finn for the second test. The Yorkshire pace bowler and middle order batsman then retained his place as Alastair Cook's side went on to first retain and then win the Ashes. Tim has taken ten wickets in the three tests he has featured in and averaged twenty with the bat, including a very impressive forty five in the second innings at Chester-le-Street which helped to swing the momentum of the game back towards England after a period when Australia had been on top. Kevin Pietersen has had a scan on his right knee but is available to be selected for the fifth test at The Oval which starts on 21 August.

The stuntman who parachuted into the London 2012 Opening Ceremony as James Bond has been killed in an accident. Mark Sutton, from Surrey, died while wing-suit flying near Martigny in Switzerland, on Wednesday. Police said that they did not yet know the cause of the tragedy but it is thought Sutton died after crashing into a ridge of rock. Sutton doubled for Daniel Craig's James Bond as he and another stuntman playing the Queen memorably entered the Olympic Stadium from a helicopter. Wing-suit flyers wear special suits which are designed to allow them to glide through the air at high speeds, before a parachute is opened for landing. Sutton, a former army officer, is thought to have jumped from a helicopter flying at above three thousand feet intending to land at a village just across the border in France. But reports suggest that the stuntman hit a ridge of rock, suffering fatal injuries. Rescuers believe Sutton died on impact. The stuntman had been invited to take part in the three-day wing-suit event with nineteen other experienced wing-suit pilots. The accident happened on the first day of the event, which involved the wing-suit flyers being filmed jumping from helicopters. Police said that a formal identification of the body was under way and an investigation had been opened. They said the group of wing-suit flyers had been invited to the Swiss Alps by a company specialising in extreme sports. Gary Connery, the stuntman who played the Queen during the Olympic ceremony, tweeted following his friend's death. He wrote: 'All you jumpers/flyers out there, stay safe, make wise choices and know your limits and your locations. Live to tell your stories. One love.'

England women's cricket captain Charlotte Edwards praised the battling qualities shown by her players as they secured a draw from the Ashes test against Australia. Heather Knight's one hundred and fifty seven rescued the home side from one hundred and thirteen for six on day two, with a draw agreed as England reached ninety three for two chasing two hundred and forty nine to win on the final afternoon. 'They are probably more disappointed than us because they had a real opportunity on day two,' said Edwards. 'I'm more than happy with how we responded and the character we showed.' The draw at Wormsley gives both sides two points in the new-look Ashes series, with two points each on offer for the winners of the three one-day internationals and three Twenty/20s that follow. Six points would have been claimed by the winners of the test match and Edwards said that she did not believe the potential deficit created by a defeat created a fear of losing. 'I'm more than happy with this structure,' said the thirty three-year-old Kent player. 'The test match can't be played last because we could be in the situation of being a dead rubber. It was a huge incentive to get the six points and both teams really wanted them. There are a lot of draws in men's cricket and it was the same here.' The Ashes series now moves on to Lord's, where the first of the one-day internationals takes place on Tuesday. 'We have a game on Saturday against the Middlesex Boys team to have a run-out before Tuesday,' added Edwards. 'We'll probably give our bowlers a rest but it gives us the opportunity to have a look. Heather Knight has staked a claim for a place in the one-day side. Hopefully we can get a win under our belt and get on the way to winning the Ashes.' Australia captain Jodie Fields, who made seventy eight in the Southern Stars' two hundred and thirty one for five on the final day, said that the flat nature of the Wormsley pitch made it hard for her side to force a result. 'I think it was an exciting match,' said Fields. 'We came here with a positive attitude but England managed to bat it out on a flat wicket. Once they shut up shop it was going to be a draw. Our goal was to win the match and we knew we had to declare at some stage. It was flat and hard to generate wickets, but that's test match cricket.'

Meanwhile, Natalie Sciver has been called up to England's Ashes squad for the three one-day internationals and three Twenty/20 matches. The twenty-year-old Surrey bowler replaces Georgia Elwiss, who has failed to fully recover from a back problem, in the fourteen-strong squad. Holly Colvin and Lauren Winfield who missed the test also return.

Unheard Joy Division out-takes are among a stash of rare tapes to have surfaced, according to a former studio engineer who says she rescued them from a skip. Julia Adamson worked at Stockport's Strawberry Studios and says she saved tapes by bands including Joy Division and Magazine when the studio closed twenty years ago. She revealed the details on Facebook, saying she no longer wanted the tapes. One recording features out-takes from Joy Division's 1979 sessions for the Unknown Pleasures LP, she said. Adamson, who is also a former member of The Fall, said she salvaged the tapes when the studio's entire archive was binned after its closure in the early 1990s. 'They were just throwing everything in skips,' she told BBC News. 'They were throwing it all out and we were a bit devastated.' She and her husband, fellow engineer Chris Nagle, rescued recordings produced by Martin Hannett, who worked with Joy Division among other seminal Manchester bands, plus 'anything else we thought we should hang on to,' she said. 'We didn't see it as valuable, we just didn't like the idea of them being thrown in a skip,' she said. In the Facebook thread, she said she wanted them to go to a collector as she did not want to look after them any more. She posted a photo showing almost thirty tape boxes with hand-written titles bearing the names of bands including New Order, The Durutti Column, Magazine and The Psychedelic Furs. Many are copies of master tapes, with the originals still in existence elsewhere, she said. But one, titled 'Joy Division out-takes', features recordings of the songs 'She's Lost Control', 'Wilderness' and 'New Dawn Fades' which 'haven't been heard before as far as I'm aware', she said. 'They're quite different to the album,' she said. 'They're earlier versions before they did the final take, but they are really good.' Joy Division were one of the most influential bands of the 1970s. After singer Ian Curtis killed himself in 1980, the remaining band members went on to find international success as New Order. Julia Adamson now runs the Manchester-based record label Invisible Girl.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Louise Hazel says that the International Olympic Committee should consider removing Yelena Isinbayeva from her role as an ambassador for the Youth Olympics after the Russian pole vaulter made a series of extremely dodgy and inflammatory, odious, borderline-homophobic comments about her views on homosexuality. Isinbayeva criticised athletes competing at the World Championships in Moscow for painting their nails rainbow colours in support of gay rights. She also defended a controversial Russian law which makes it illegal to 'promote' homosexuality to under-eighteens. Hazel, who won gold in the heptathlon at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2011 and competed at the London 2012 Olympics for Great Britain, believes the IOC must act. Though, they probably won't because they're well-known appeasers and cowards. 'They should definitely be revising her position as an ambassador. That just seems ridiculous to me,' said Hazel. 'I think it should be their first point of call after the [World] Championships are over.' The twenty seven-year-old was, she said, 'prompted to speak out' following her 'deep shock' and 'disappointment' over Isinbayeva's views. Isinbayeva claimed that the Russian people did not want to see homosexuality promoted in their country. She told reporters on Thursday: 'We just live with boys with women, women with boys. We never had these problems in Russia, and we don't want to have any in the future.' While defending the new law which prescribes heavy fines for those promoting homosexuality, she insisted: 'It's their life, it's their choice, it's their feelings, but we're just against the publicity in our country and I support that.' Hazel said: 'Essentially she's being outwardly homophobic. It's the Twenty First Century and obviously Russia has been very outwardly spoken in the build-up to the games on their views about homosexuality and it seems the issue has been brushed under the carpet up until now. I think it's really important that after the games there's a review of what she's said, as an ambassador to the Youth Olympics, and that the IOC really look and question whether that is in line with their values and their beliefs.' Isinbayeva, thirty one, was appointed to her position as an ambassador for the Youth Olympics in 2010 by the IOC President, Jacques Rogge. She is a sporting icon in her native Russia with two Olympic golds, twenty eight world records and this week won her third World title. Rogge said when appointing her: 'We have a true champion in Yelena, a true role model for young people.' However, Hazel believes Isinbayeva's comments have undermined that intention. 'A role model is somebody we can look to for inspiration and also to imitate. You're not supposed to exclude anyone and that's what she's done in making these comments. I would be worried if my children or the next generation of athletes were looking to Yelena Isinbayeva and thinking that these comments are acceptable because, quite simply, I don't think they are. They're sending the message that discrimination is okay and it quite clearly is not in this day and age. I just don't feel that it's in keeping with the spirit of sport in general and the all-encompassing, all inclusive values of the Olympic Games.'

A German artist prosecuted for performing performing Nazi salutes in what he claimed was an artistic gesture has been acquitted. Now, if only Hitler had thought of that, he might have gotten away with the oppression of much of Western Europe and the murder of six million Jews. But, he didn't. Which is probably just as well because he was a one-balled bastard and he died in ditch on fire. So, that was good. 'Art has triumphed,' Jonathan Meese claimed after the verdict in a court in Kassel. 'Now I am free.' Nazi symbols and gestures are banned in Germany, but Meese's lawyers had argued that the constitution protects artistic freedom. Meese is a painter who also directs stage performances. He has been hired by the world-famous Wagner Festival in Bayreuth to produce Parsifal there in 2016. He was accused in court of twice making a Nazi salute at an event called Megalomania in the Art World at Kassel University in June last year. But the court agreed with the defence that the gesture was part of an interview-turned-art performance. Meese has argued that his use of the salute and the swastika symbol are 'satirical' and aim to 'diminish, not increase, their potency.' He has in his manifestos called for a 'dictatorship of art' and, after his acquittal on Wednesday, said that his vision was alive and well. 'I am very satisfied,' he said, adding that he would continue 'fighting for the dictatorship of art and the absence of ideology. There won't be any [political] parties any more. There will be the rule of art then, the takeover of, the dictatorship of art, that's great,' he said.

It hasn't taken David Moyes long in his new role as manager of The Scum to acquire his predecessor's predilection for whinging like a big stroppy girl. Moyes says he finds his club's start to the new season 'hard to believe.' Among their first five Premier League games, the champions host Moscow Chelski FC and Sheikh Yer Man City and The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws away. Moyes whinged: 'I find it hard to believe that's the way the balls came out of the bag, that's for sure.' The Premier League responded by saying: 'We have absolutely assured him the process is random and above board. He has accepted those assurances.' Although, quite why they had to 'assure' him of anything when it's absolutely none of his frigging business or anything even remotely like it is a question, perhaps, best left for another day. Earlier on Thursday the dour and sour-faced Scotsman whinged: 'I think it's the hardest start for twenty years that Manchester United have had. I hope it's not because Manchester United won the league quite comfortably last year [that] the fixtures have been made much more difficult.' Moyes officially took over from dour and sour-faced Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired after twenty six trophy-laden and constantly-whinging years in charge, on 1 July. The former Everton boss saw his new side win the Charity Shield with a 2-0 victory against Wigan Not Very Athletic (and their odious chairman) last week.

Flinders University in Adelaide has defended the use of nudity in a recent play after 'concerns' were raised by a mother whose daughter was asked to appear partially naked on stage. The eighteen-year-old first-year is enrolled in a creative arts course but her mother says that she was told she could miss out on lead roles in student stage productions after she declined to appear topless in the play. The university says it is 'investigating' the allegation. The mother claims that she is 'concerned' students who perform naked could be 'exposed' on websites without their consent. 'They can put them on Facebook, they can put them on Twitter. They are exposing our kids,' she said. 'I know they are young adults but they are still impressionable and they have no right to make our kids think that this is acceptable behaviour and they are typecast in the future for parts. These kids are under pressure thinking they have to do this to make it.' The woman alleges the production featured a topless female student and contained sexually explicit language, including references to bestiality. As Peter Cook once noted, 'I go to the theatre to be entertained. I don’t want to see plays about rape, sodomy and drug addiction. I can get all that at home.' 'It was a war-related play and very explicit sexual comments were made. I just don't think this is necessary to show your acting skill. You don't need to sink this low,' the woman whinged. She also raised concerns about the way drama is taught at the university. She said young female actors should be 'given the choice' about the types of roles they want to play. 'We can actually have a classy form of acting. Students can still be challenged, they can still think outside of the box without having to head down that track,' she said. The play is called Trojan Barbie: a car-crash with Euripides' Trojan women and is a modern retelling of a classical Greek tale. Arts Professor Julian Meyrick says that drama students have never been pressured into performing naked and only a few plays have included nudity. 'A small proportion of those may involve semi-nudity but it's certainly not a matter of course and we certainly don't insist on it,' he said. 'It's not gratuitous nudity. We don't do it for the sake of it. We do all sorts of play and all some plays involve those kinds of acts. We have to train [students] for the field and so we give them the option but we don't insist on it. They can always say no and they're not penalised for it.' The university's head of acting, Rosalba Clemente, says two of the fifteen plays in which students have taken part during the past two years have involved nudity. 'If nudity is required we would do what the industry does. We would talk to the student, consult with the student. If the student declines that role for those reasons we would just let it go,' she said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called on the police to act against gangs that are stealing women's hair. Oh, the hair thieves. Presumably, they don't wear hairnets. The thieves sell the hair - sometimes stolen at gunpoint - to salons where it is used for extensions and wigs (or, sell it into slavery in Azerbaijan, whichever takes yer fancy). I am, genuinely, not making this up dear blog reader and, neither is it some forgotten Eddie Izzard routine. Such attacks appear to be on the rise, especially in the country's second largest city Maracaibo, local media reports. Maduro used strong language against what he called 'mafias that cut girls' hair.' Speaking at the inauguration of a train station in the capital, Caracas, he said that the government would guarantee that the thieves would be caught. Several women have reportedly been targeted, being asked to tie their hair into ponytails so that gang members can easily cut it off. However, the BBC's Irene Caselli in Venezuela says authorities are yet to receive any formal complaints. One victim told a local newspaper that she refused to report the case to the police because she 'feared being teased.'

A zoo in China is reportedly in trouble after it was discovered that its 'African lion' was actually a dog. It has since been discovered that the zoo, located in the People's Park of Luohe within the central province of Henan, has used a number of common species as replacements for exotic animals. The 'African lion' was actually a Tibetan Mastiff. A visitor, identified only by her surname Liu, reported the zoo after her son noted that the lion was barking. 'The zoo is absolutely cheating us,' Liu told Beijing Youth Daily. 'They are trying to disguise the dogs as lions.' It has also emerged that the zoo had been using a white fox as a leopard and another dog as a wolf. The chief of the park's animal department, Liu Suya, claimed that the zoo's African lion had been taken to a breeding facility and the dog was 'only being used temporarily.'

A Canadian oil-change shop employee has been fired after police in York saw his tweet apparently seeking a marijuana delivery - and replied. What a plank - everybody knows that's what Facebook private messaging is for. The Twitter user asked on the social network whether his dealer could bring drugs to his Toronto-area shop, as he needed 'a spliff or two' to see him through to the end of his shift. York police retweeted the request and declared: 'Awesome! Can we come too?' Heh. Top points to the York police for advanced sarcasm, there. The shop, one Mr Lube - excellent name, by the way! - told CBC News that an employee was, later, sacked. The profile on the Twitter feed was later changed to read 'my tweets are not serious by any means,' before the feed was deleted. I wouldn't try using that as defence in a court of law, matey. it seldom works. Mr Lube thanked the police force on the social media platform and added: 'The matter has now been handled.'

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Since they're in the news today, here's a tasty bit of yer actual Joy Division. The version you all know, obviously. I haven't got any tapes hidden away in the loft. Well, except for all those missing Doctor Who episodes. But, perhaps I've said too much.

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