Monday, August 19, 2013

Straighten Up And Fly Right, It's No Catastrophe

Luther creator Neil Cross has confirmed that he will return to write for Doctor Who for its eighth series. Which is jolly good news and welcomed by most. Except, perhaps, for some of The Special People. Cross told the Stuff website in New Zealand that he is 'really excited' about writing for Peter Capaldi his very self. 'I am going back [for series eight],' the writer revealed. 'I have got story ideas tucked away. There's a whole bunch of stuff I want to do. Steven [Moffat] is clearly very busy with the fiftieth anniversary special and Christmas special, but I have to find out from Steven what his intentions for The Doctor are and what sort of stories he wants me to write.' Cross - who previously wrote the Doctor Who episodes The Rings of Akhaten and Hide - described Capaldi as 'an outstanding choice' to replace current lead Matt Smith. 'I am familiar with Peter Capaldi's work and I am looking forward to it,' he said. 'There's something about his physicality, his image, his wit, that evokes The Doctor. There's something about him that evokes classic Doctor Who.'

Yer actual David Tennant has said that he considers Matt Smith to be 'like a brother', after working with him on Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary episode. David is returning to the show he graced for four years for the anniversary special alongside yer actual Billie Piper and John Hurt. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, David revealed that any fears of tension between himself and yer actual Smudger among Doctor Who's production team were dashed before filming even began. 'I suppose you'd expect me to say we're new best friends and I love him like a brother. But that is sort of how it was,' David said, adding: 'I had a fantastic time and that wouldn't necessarily have been the case.' He continued: 'I'm coming back onto a show that's effectively somebody else's show and used to be mine and that's potentially quite a weird situation to be in. Going back to something I knew so well and had such fun memories of might have backfired. It's a quite rare set of circumstances: Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig don't get to play James Bond next to each other. But actually it felt familiar enough that it was like coming home and working with Matt proved to be a real joy.' He concluded: 'I hope I'm speaking for him when I say we really enjoyed bouncing of each other and playing sort of two aspects of the same character. It was everything that I hoped it might be and nothing that I feared it could be.'

MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace allegedly 'brawled with another man' at a dining event held at a Worcestershire hotel this weekend, according to various scum newspaper reports. It is claimed that Wallace 'took issue' with the unnamed man and knocked him to the floor 'as stunned guests looked on.' Reports in Monday's scum tabloids claim that Wallace was 'reacting to comments or advances' made to his girlfriend, Anne-Marie Sterpini. Gregg's spokesman confirmed he had been 'involved in a disagreement' which was 'swiftly resolved.' The alleged incident allegedly took place at the alleged Wood Norton Hotel in Evesham at an alleged ticketed event billed as 'Dinner with Gregg Wallace'. Allegedly. A photograph in the Sun appears to show Wallace being restrained as he grappled with another man. According to an alleged 'unnamed source' allegedly quoted in the Daily Scum Mail, the pair 'quickly made up and shared a whisky in the bar together.' The Daily Mirra allegedly quotes another alleged 'unnamed source' as allegedly saying that the man with whom Wallace took issue had called the incident 'something and nothing.' Doesn't really sound much of a 'brawl' in that case. More handbags at ten paces. Market trader-turned-restaurateur and broadcaster Wallace has co-hosted the BBC's cooking show MasterChef and its various spin-offs - with John Torode since 2005.

Meanwhile, dear blog reader, do you want to see an image of a leather-clad Liz Hurley from the latest comparethemeerkats.com advertising campaign? Course y'do.
Eyebrows rather than glasses were raised last week when yer actual David Cameron dropped in to the famous Grapes pub in Limehouse, for a chat with national treasure Stephen Fry his very self about the issue of gay rights in Russia (or, rather, the lack of them) and the winter Olympics. Anyone who frequents the famous Dickensian pub knows how jolly small it is. Apparently the pair were invited by Independent owner Evgyny Lebedev, who bought the pub last year with his close friend Sir Ian McKellen. One wonders if this meeting will go into the Prime Minister's hospitality register. And, whether anyone has told those odious, risible lice at the Daily Scum Mail whose sick and malignant attempts at a character assassination job on Fry recently were, very satisfyingly, slapped down, hard by the writer and broadcaster. It was a proper sight to see, dear blog reader.
The White Queen climbed back up in the overnight ratings for its final episode on Sunday. The costume drama which has been shedding viewers at a regular rate over the last nine weeks, gained back almost four hundred thousand punters, attracting three-and-a-half million at 9pm on BBC1. Earlier, Countryfile once again topped the ratings with 5.61m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 5.55m at 8pm as the channel continued to dominate Sunday nights. On BBC2, Dragons' Den dipped by approximately one hundred thousand overnight viewers from the previous week to 2.86m at 8pm. The Hairy Bikers' Restoration Road Trip interested 1.93m at 9pm. ITV's Tipping Point was watched by three million punters at 7pm, while Martin Clunes's Heavy Horsepower appealed to 1.60m at 8pm. Law & Order: UK's finale lost almost one hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 3.93m at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Mill came to an end, holding reasonably steady at 1.94m at 8pm. Southcliffe's final episode dropped to nine hundred and seventy seven thousand at 9pm. On Channel Five, Once Upon A Time brought in eight hundred and forty four thousand at 8pm. Big Brother continued with 1.26m at 9pm.

And, here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty programmes for week-ending 11 August 2013:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.47m
2 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 - 7.77m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.57m
4 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.37m
5 Countryfile - Sat BBC1 - 5.39m
6 Long Lost Family - Mon ITV - 5.32m*
7 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.11m
8 Who Do You Think You Are? - Wed BBC1 - 4.95m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.90m
10 Film: Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire - Sat ITV - 4.71*
11 Law & Order: UK - Sun ITV - 4.67*
12 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.60m
13 Celebrity MasterChef - Tues BBC1 - 4.54m
14 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.46m
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.67m
16 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.42m
17 The National Lottery: Break The Safe - Sat BBC1 - 4.34m
18 The White Queen - Sun BBC1 - 4.16m
19 The Field Of Blood - Thurs BBC1 - 4.06m
20 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.82m
Programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated programmes of the week was Dragons' Den (3.37m). The Mill (2.72m) topped Channel Four's list.

BT Sport and Sky Sports finally went head-to-head on the opening day of the Premier League season, officially kicking off their fight (possibly, to the death) for ratings and subscribers. BT is the latest challenger to Sky's football coverage dominance, and has paid a whopping price for thirty eight matches across the season, including a number of 'first picks'. Jake Humphrey launched the broadcaster's Premier League coverage on Saturday, anchoring the opening game of the season, Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws versus Dirty Stoke which the Merseysiders won 1-0. The match brought BT its highest ratings for any broadcast so far, seven hundred and sixty four thousand punters for the lunchtime kick-off. This figure broadly matches up with recent opening day fixtures for ESPN, who pulled in seven hundred and thirteen thousand and eight hundred and six thousand for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle versus Stottingtot Hotshots and Newcastle versus The Arse in 2012 and 2011 respectively. BT's Simon Green insisted - somewhat desperately - that the broadcaster was 'pleased' with the figures and argued that the stats didn't 'tell the whole story' as a number of viewers watched the game via platforms, not included by the independent monitor of viewing figures, BARB. Sky's coverage of The Scum's visit to Swansea easily trumped BT's viewing figures, picking up a peak audience of 2.47 million for the Saturday evening kick-off. They also acquired an extra six hundred and twenty five thousand punters on Sky2, which featured Sky Sports 1 coverage for free all day as a start of the season promotional tool.

A second world war drama dubbed a 'German Band of Brothers' which sparked a national debate in Germany about ordinary people's role in the conflict has been bought by the BBC. Generation War (originally titled Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter) follows the lives of five young German friends between 1941 and 1945 and was watched by record audiences of more than seven million viewers when it was shown on the German broadcaster ZDF earlier this year. The three-part drama was described by Der Spiegel as 'a turning point in German television', featuring explicit scenes of violence traditionally shied away from in by German broadcasters in their depictions of the war. The BBC's head of programme acquisition Sue Deeks said that the programme had 'a truly epic sweep. This is the first German series since Das Boot that has really tackled this subject matter and done it so well,' she said. 'What it does, as Band of Brothers did, is that it makes you look at the horror of war and you see that depicted. You really do engage with the characters – you don't necessarily sympathise with them, at least not initially – and it has real emotional punch. It will have great breadth of appeal because everyone relates to the war.' Another German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, said the drama provided the 'first and last chance to ask grandparents about their true biographies, their immoral compromises; the missed chances to act – everything which, in masses, leads to catastrophe.' British viewers will now have the chance to watch the drama for themselves when it is broadcast on BBC2 later this year. The drama – its original German title translates as Our Mothers, Our Fathers – focuses on the lives of two brothers who become Wehrmacht soldiers, along with a nurse who is in love with one of them, a singer who dreams of being the next Marlene Dietrich and her Jewish boyfriend. Most of it is set on the Eastern front. Unlike Band of Brothers, HBO's acclaimed 2001 mini-series executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, the characters in the German series are entirely fictional. Once the home of subtitled German dramas such as Heimat and Das Boot, BBC2 will it will show its first foreign language series since 2001. Subtitled dramas have become mainstream since the success of Scandinavian dramas such as The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge on BBC4. Channel Four recently showed the critically acclaimed French supernatural drama, The Returned, the latest in a trend which can be traced back to Swedish detective series Wallander and French crime drama Spiral, which were also shown on BBC4.

Yer actual Johnny Vegas has written a daytime TV drama, which will star Sharon Horgan. The comic will also direct his episode of the BBC1 series Moving On, which is about a freshly-divorced couple fighting over their children. Called Back By Six, the standalone drama will be part of the forthcoming fifth season of the anthology show. Producer Colin McKeown said: 'I think a lot of people will relate to it.' Earlier this year, Vegas directed Jason Manford in another drama for the Moving On strand, That's Amore, about another couple going through a divorce. Johnny is increasingly working behind the camera since some arsehole with no brains whatsoever cancelled Ideal, having directed shows for Sky, Radio 4 and the video for Billy Bragg’s 'Handyman Blues.' Johnny co-wrote the new Moving On episode with another St Helens writer, Andy Lunch. Meanwhile, Johnny's autobiography, Becoming Johnny Vegas, is out next month.
The utterly disgraceful detention by UK terror police at Heathrow of Gruniad journalist Glenn Greenwald's parter, David Miranda, for seemingly no obvious reason other than the fact that they don't particularly like Greenwald, one of the main authors of Edward Snowden's revelations, is a marginally worrying bit of school bully-style muscle-flexing which would be laughable if it wasn't so crassly obvious. But, slightly more offensive, frankly, is the Gruniad's really pitiful and self-righteous, 'why doesn't everybody look at me, me, me, me, me, me, me' whinging about the affair. Which you can read here. And here. And, from Greenwalt himself, here. Yes, guys, we get it. The government doesn't seem to like you very much (and, to be fair, they're not entirely alone in that. Though, in most other people's case, it's reasons far removed from this nonsense). Yes, it was a thoroughly dirty tactic that you wouldn't expect from a ten year old. Yes, it was rotten not-fair and mean. And, yes, Mister Miranda probably has a very good case for getting some middle-ranking civil servant at the Department of Homeland Bastardry publicly outed and made a scapegoat for overstepping his brief. But it has to be said, for a newspaper which has already got a sodding great chip on its collective shoulder and a positively obscene martyr complex at the best of times, this is like a four-course banquet of feeling oppressed. Still, at least it gave them something besides Top Gear to whinge about for a few days. Which makes a nice change.
The wide variation in the odds of getting and surviving cancer across the UK has been highlighted by a cancer charity. Cities in the North of England have some of the lowest survival rates. No shit. As someone whose father and mother both died from cancer, this blogger could have probably been able to guess that without this latest revelation. Cancer Research UK has launched a new tool that allows people to compare cancer statistics in their area with those in the rest of the country. It hopes the local data will help doctors and politicians tackle the specific problems in their patch. There is separate data for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the greater Glasgow area had the highest cancer mortality while Shetland had the lowest. Mortality was much higher in Belfast than the rest of Northern Ireland. Merthyr Tydfil was one of the worst performing parts of Wales, while Ceredigion had better cancer survival rates. Harrow, Richmond and Surrey in the South of England performed better than areas further North such as Stoke on Trent, Hartlepool and Nottingham. A significant factor in the regional variation is differences in lifestyle, such as smoking, which is linked to lung cancer. Kensington and Chelsea, East Sussex and Devon all had fewer than thirty five cases of lung cancer per one hundred thousand people. The rate is more than double - in excess of eighty five per one hundred thousand - in cities such as Hull, Manchester and Liverpool. A similar website presented by Public Health England led Health Secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, to describe the differences in England as 'shocking.' Charlotte Williams, the executive director of London Cancer, said: '[The tool] means it's easier to identify where we're doing well, and where we could do better, and how we could potentially learn from others. This will pinpoint where we need to improve to help ensure everyone gets the best care possible.' Sara Hiom, director of patient engagement and early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said: 'In the UK we are privileged to have access to valuable information about cancer diagnosis and treatments for different parts of the country. We've created this website because we hope that it will allow policy makers and healthcare professionals to understand what's going on in their area and support local insight and decision-making.'

And, speaking of health, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's continuing adventures on Gillian continue a-pace with, on Monday morning, two whole laps of the Tour De St Anthony's circuit. Which was exhilarating and knackering in equal doses. What doesn't kill you can only make you stronger, they reckon dear blog reader.
Actually you know, come to think of it, that's one of those phrases that, on the surface sounds really good advice but, when you start to pick at it, falls to pieces in your hand like so much wet cardboard.
The singer Ellie Goulding has achieved her first UK number one single with her song, 'Burn'. Which is, frankly, great news since, presumably, it means the poor lass will now be able to afford some pants.
The stand-up comedian Jeff Mirza was reported to police for 'inciting racial hatred' for using the word 'Paki' in his Edinburgh show. Mirza who is, of course, a second generation British-Pakistani himself, was apparently questioned at a city centre police station after handing a flyer for his show Meet Abu Hamsta and Paki Bashir to a fellow British Asian, who, it would seem, took offence. However the forty nine-year-old told officers that he was trying to 'reclaim' the word – and was sent on his way. Mirza was dressed in character as a butcher called Paki Bashir while handing out leaflets on on the Royal Mile. After the incident, he told the Daily Torygraph: 'How on Earth can I be accused of racism against my own community? My daughter at the age of four had been racially abused and for many years after I had been angry when I heard that word, but a few years ago I realised that I am a Paki and I should be proud of that. Pakistan means "Land of the Pure" and what's wrong with that? I have been called Paki so many times that the only thing for me was to turn it around and make people laugh with me. Black people use the "N" word in songs and on TV and I have never seen any of them arrested.' Mirza said that the officers advised him to 'put his finger over the offensive word' when handing out flyers in future.
A commercial radio station has apologised after being accused of encouraging people to 'bully' Helen Flanagan. Manchester's Key 103 ran a Facebook poll asking listeners if they 'loved or loathed' the former Coronation Street actress. Similar comments were made on-air during the station's breakfast show. The discussion prompted a backlash from listeners, who described the poll 'nasty' and suggested that the station should be supporting local talent. A Key 103 spokesman issued a grovelling apology: 'Yesterday some comments were made on-air and on Facebook about Helen Flanagan and for that we sincerely apologise. We are sorry for any offence this caused. The wording of the posting was inappropriate and as soon as it was seen by our senior team at the station it was taken down. We are now in discussions with the staff member responsible for the posting.'

Odious malingering workshy greedy Little Shit Michael Owen has, allegedly, 'hinted' that he may sign up for I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). Is it really so very wrong to fantasise that, should this story turn out to be true - unlikely, as it's in the Daily Lies - the horrible waste-of-space goes into the jungle and spends most of his time whilst there trying to avoid getting eaten by something with nasty big teeth? Yeah, probably is actually. The, alleged, former footballer has been linked with a spot on the ITV reality show line-up since his retirement from football this summer. Although, most supporters of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved, though unsellable, Magpies were convinced that he had, effectively, decided to retire during the four years he spent on the treatment table on Tyneside. Most of this speculation regarding appearances in reality TV shows was by tabloids, admittedly. Owen had also been rumoured to be join this year's Strictly Come Dancing, but, the Daily Lies allege, he claims that he would prefer to try the jungle than the dance floor. beside, if he did go in for dancing there's probably too much danger he'd get a mysterious groin strain like the one he got two hours before a must-win relegation six-pointer against Fulham in 2009. 'If I was ever going to do one it would be the jungle but I would need to be offered a few quid to do it, that's for sure,' Owen told the Daily Lies. 'People think I'm a saint so they would be in for a shock. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a lunatic, but I don't think I would be able to contain my frustration. You have to keep a level of professionalism when you're in the public eye but it would be hard in the jungle.'
Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova, two of the Russian team who won the women's four by four hundred metres relay in the Moscow world athletics championship, kissed each other on the podium when receiving their medals. It is being taken in Russia as a direct protest against the anti-gay legislation and has, it would seem, kicked up quite a fuss. Good on ya, girls. Not only is this a fantastic kick in the knackers for homophobes everywhere (and, specially, in the Kremiln) it's also a useful reminder that there, really, genuinely, are very few things in life which can't be, dramatically, improved by lezzing them up.
Fight the power!

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Since yesterday's 'behold, The Miracles' moment went down so well, let's have another one.

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