Monday, August 12, 2013

The Cycle Of Life

It's interesting to see several of the national papers picking up on Peter Capaldi's 'drag queen past.' Must be a slow news days, obviously. Here, for example, is the Daily Record, and the Mirra, and the Scum Express rooting out some thirty year old photos from early in Peter's career and presenting it as 'news'. And, From The North is quite happy to play the same game.
Nice hair.

Anyway, let's kick off today's bloggerisationisms with a couple of collective noun jokes. Because, let's face it, dear blog reader, there's never enough of those in the world.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, dear blog reader. Available for birthdays, weddings, funerals. Et cetera. He's here all week.

Dragons' Den opened to just under three million overnight viewers on Sunday. The eleventh series of the business competition series attracted 2.95m at 8pm on BBC2, which is nine hundred and fifty thousand punters higher than its previous episode in December. Later, The Hairy Bikers' new series Restoration Road Trip interested 1.95m at 9pm. On BBC1, Celebrity Mastermind was watched by 3.03m at 7.30pm, while Countryfile was, once again, the most-watched show of the night with 5.29m at 8pm. The White Queen's penultimate episode had an audience of 3.17m at 9pm. ITV's Tipping Point attracted 3.93m at 7pm, followed by All Star Mr & Mrs with 3.34m an hour later. Law & Order: UK rose was watched by four million viewers at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Mill held steady at 1.93m at 8pm. Southcliffe's third episode dropped to 1.10m at 9pm. Channel Five's latest episode of Once Upon a Time appealed to six hundred and thirty two thousand punters at 8pm. Big Brother continued with 1.17m at 9pm.

And after that, dear blog reader, there's the final and consolidated figures for the Top Twenty One programmes for week-ending 4 August 2013:-
1 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 - 8.86m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.82m
3 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.36m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.23m
5 Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor - Sat BBC1 - 6.37m
6 Countryfile - Sat BBC1 - 5.82m
7 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 5.49m
8 Who Do You Think You Are? - Wed BBC1 - 5.39m
9 Long Lost Family - Mon ITV - 5.32m*
10 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.18m
11 Celebrity MasterChef - Wed BBC1 - 5.11m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.08m
13 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.84m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.80m
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.67m
16 Law & Order: UK - Sun ITV - 4.60*
17 The National Lottery: Break The Safe - Sat BBC1 - 4.55m
18 You Saw Them Here First - Wed ITV - 4.46m*
19 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.42m
20 The Sheriffs Are Coming - Wed BBC1 - 4.37m
21 The White Queen - Sun BBC1 - 4.35m
Programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures.

David Walliams has described his new sitcom Big School, which starts later this week, as 'slightly subtler' than his previous work. Which is, usually, verbal shorthand for warning people that what's coming is not going to be very funny.

ITV's latest bid to keep The X Factor ratings juggernaut ticking over has, predictably, sparked plenty of tears, tempers and tantrums. The Sun reports - who, of course, love brown-tonguing Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' arse the mostest, baby - that, in a bid to 'keep it spicy', some contestants who were asked to come up on stage during filming at Wembley Arena to advance to the 'Boot Camp' segment of the talent show were, subsequently, dumped by judges. Host Dermot O'Dreary described the twist as 'brutal.' Gary Barlow saw it differently, tweeting: 'That was the most incredible and exciting X Factor session EVER!'
Make-up is, reportedly, banned for the actors who play the exploited 1830s mill girls in Channel Four's glum-fest The Mill. Indeed, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, 'their costumes seem to consist of sacks rolled in a mixture of oil, dirt and coal dust.' But even those sacrifices aren't enough for costume drama sticklers, warming up for the return of Downton Abbey: some of the girls, apparently, had a chance 'to get their eyebrows neatly waxed,' one arsehole with nothing better to do with their time, tartly noted in a letter to Radio Times. And, again, let's simply stand up and applaud the utter trivial shite that some people chose to care about.
A woman who threw ink at the crime author Val McDermid over what is described as 'a long-term grudge' has been given a restraining order. Sandra Botham, from Sunderland, claimed that the writer referenced her husband's 1990 murder in her non-fiction book, A Suitable Job for A Woman, in 1994. Botham had accused McDermid of 'painting an unflattering portrait' of her. She was convicted in July of throwing ink in the author's face during a book signing event. Botham was ordered to pay fifty smackers compensation but immediately said that she will launch an appeal against her conviction. Botham was reported to have disguised herself in a blonde wig and hat to carry out the assault at Sunderland University in December last year. it was claimed that she had borne 'a grudge' against McDermid over her book and its apparent depiction of her late husband George, who was shot dead on his doorstep. The book referred to a woman called Sandra who was 'shaped like a Michelin Man.' Botham's defence lawyer said that she felt 'abused' after reading the chapter and subsequent comments which were made on social networking sites. When the two women met in court in July, following Botham's charge of common assault, she is alleged to have told the Scottish author: 'We meet again.' How arch. McDermid claimed that she had never met Botham prior to the assault taking place. Botham had stormed out of the trial and was re-arrested for failing to attend a later court date on 31 July. At Sunderland Magistrates Court on Friday, Botham was sentenced in absence, having been taken down to the cells after turning her back on magistrates and describing the proceedings as 'a kangaroo court.' She received a restraining order forbidding her from contacting McDermid for an unspecified period of time. McDermid is currently appearing at the Edinburgh Book Festival and was not at court for the sentencing.
An eighty-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences as part of the Operation Yewtree investigation into alleged historical abuse. He was arrested at an address in South London and taken into custody, the Met Police said. Operation Yewtree was set up in the wake of allegations against the dirty rotten scallywag and damned bad bugger Jimmy Savile. The latest arrest falls under the strand of the investigation termed 'Savile and others.' The, as yet unnamed, man is the fourteenth person to be arrested under Operation Yewtree, set up following the death of Savile in 2011, when hundreds of sex abuse allegations subsequently came to light.

The Olympic champion Usain Bolt regained his one hundred metres world title and won a fourth individual World Championships gold with a season's best of 9.77 seconds in Moscow on Sunday. In heavy rain, the twenty six-year-old Jamaican made amends for his false start in Daegu two years ago and further cemented his status as one of the greatest sprinters in history. The six-time Olympic champion overtook Justin Gatlin in the final stages, forcing the American to settle for silver in 9.85. Bolt's compatriot Nesta Carter claimed bronze, while Britain's James Dasaolu was eighth. It was another convincing victory for the sport's brightest star, who demonstrated his superiority by equalling the eighth-fastest time of his career in unfavourable conditions. Such is Bolt's dominance of the event, he does not have to be at his quickest to win major championships. 'I am happy but I wanted to do better,' he told BBC Sport. 'My legs were sore after the semi-finals, I don't know why, but the world record wasn't on so I came out just to win. Back in Jamaica, they do not expect less than that from me. They always expect me to dominate!' Bolt's rain-drenched win attracted a peak audience of 4.6 million on Sunday night. BBC1's coverage of the final attracted an average audience of about 4.3 million at 6.50pm. The Sunday afternoon session of the World Championships, held at a disappointingly under-populated stadium in Moscow, managed an average of 2.9 million viewers between 3.30pm and 7.05pm. On Saturday, about 2.8 million viewers tuned in at just after 4pm to see double Olympic gold medal winner Mo Farah win a closely fought World Championship ten thousand metres title.

Natalia Semenova competed in the discus qualifying at the World Championships on Saturday despite suffering concussion and a broken nose. She was, reportedly, 'accidentally hit' by Poland's Zaneta Glanc who was miming a throw while sitting in the athletes' area. At least, that was Glanc's excuse, and she's sticking to it. The Ukrainian 2012 European Championship bronze medallist required two stitches and will now wait to find out if she requires surgery. She finished bottom of her qualifying group after managing one legal throw. 'Coach asked me not to compete but I had to throw to show my husband and parents watching on TV in Donetsk that I'm alive, feeling good and I'm the Iron Lady as usual,' she said in a statement released by the Ukrainian team. 'I'm so sorry it happened to me today as I was in great shape and showed strong results in practice. I was sure I'd throw in the final.' The thirty one-year-old, sporting a dressing on the bridge of her nose, continued with qualifying but managed only 55.79 metres, well down on her season's best of 61.41, and short of the automatic qualifying mark of sixty three metres needed to guarantee a place in the final.

Robin van Persie ensured that the David Moyes era in charge of The Scum began with a trophy as Wigan Not Very Athletic (and their odious, risible chairman) were beaten 2-0 in the FA Community Shield at Wembley.

The actress Haji, best known for her role in the 1965 trash cult movie Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, has died at the age of sixty seven. The Canadian actress, who was born Barbarella Catton, appeared in several other Russ Meyer films including Motor Psycho and Supervixens. Her friend, the actress Kitten Natividad, revealed the news of Haji's death on her Facebook page. Haji was reportedly spotted by Meyer working as a dancer in an LA nightclub. The director got her to read for a small part in his film Motor Psycho - eventually giving her the starring role. In an interview she admitted that she told Meyer she 'didn't know the first thing about acting. He told me, "Don't worry baby, just stick with me, I'll teach you everything." So I just sort of did it, I wasn't terrific, but it was fun,' she said. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, about three go-go dancers who embark upon a sick and vengeful murder spree of epic proportions, is a particular favourite of the director Quentin Tarantino and is still popular on the arthouse film circuit. Haji also appeared in films including Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Bigfoot and John Cassavetes' The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Her last film role was in Killer Drag Queens On Dope in 2003. Which, tragically, isn't as gtood as you'd hope it was from the title. She continued to perform live burlesque shows until last year.

A number of English cities and national parks are to share a ninety four million knicker cash injection to promote cycling. Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich will share seventy seven million quid, with four national parks getting a further seventeen million notes. The money is to improve existing and fund new cycle routes. The government says that it also wants to 'cut red tape' to facilitate cyclist-friendly planning. Labour said that roads have become 'less safe' for cyclists under the government. David Cameron claimed that he wanted to start 'a cycling revolution.' Well, we all wanna change the world, Davey, pal. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, of course, has already - as it were - joined the revolution by getting on his bike, purchasing the lovely Gillian. 'Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour De France, British cycling is riding high - now we want to see cycling soar,' Cameron said mixing up his metaphors and missing indulging in some fairly obvious puns. Get a new writer, mate, this one's crap. 'This government wants to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up and business, local government, developers, road users and the transport sector all have a role to play in helping to achieve this,' he claimed. Manchester alone will get twenty million wonga to build or improve some thirty miles of cycle paths and create new twenty miles per hour speed limit zones around the city. The national parks to benefit are the New Forest, the Peak District, the South Downs and Dartmoor, where major improvements to ninety three miles of cycle routes are anticipated. The government has also announced a feasibility study to look at creating a new national cycleway broadly following the route of the HS2 rail line from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Ministers hope to emulate nationwide the popularity of cycling in London - where the number of cyclists has doubled over the past ten years, according to one estimate. 'But pedal outside the city and the picture's very different,' said the BBC's transport correspondent Richard Westcott. 'Far more people prefer to drive, walk or catch the bus - in fact government statistics show that in 2012, just two per cent of journeys in Britain were by bike.' Malcolm Shepherd, chief executive of sustainable transport charity Sustrans, welcomed the initiative. He said: 'This is fantastic news for those living in the successful cities. Getting about by bike for everyday journeys could become a reality for people of all ages and abilities in those areas. We welcome the recognition that for the cycling revolution to become a way of life for us all, this level of investment must be maintained and extended to all parts of the UK, including rural areas.' This was sentiment shared by Professor David Fox, chairman of cycling charity CTC, who said Cameron had 'shown leadership.' Well, that is his effing job, matey. Maybe he ought to try it a bit more often, he might find he's quite good at it. I wouldn't bank on it, though. 'We now urge MPs of all parties to speak up for cycling in Parliament in September, calling for the funding needed to transform Britain's streets into a continental-style Cycletopia,' Fix said. But, the shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle whinged: 'No amount of cynical spin from David Cameron will make up for the fact that, immediately on taking office, he axed Cycle England, the Cycle Demonstration Towns scheme and the annual sixty million pound budget to support cycling that he inherited. Since then he has axed targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads, reduced traffic enforcement, cut the THINK! awareness campaign and allowed longer HGVs. Only last month the prime minister set out plans for Britain's roads that failed to include a single commitment to the investment in separated cycling infrastructure that is the best way to boost cycling and make it safer.' She claimed that Labour would, using the existing roads budget, deliver 'long-term support for separated safe cycling routes and safer junctions. Tragically the number of cyclist deaths are now at a five-year high, reversing the progress that was starting to be made, and reports of new casualties are becoming a weekly occurrence,' she said.
And still on the subject of cycling, Olympic champion and King of the Mods, yer actual Sir Bradley Wiggins believes that gaining a stone in weight will improve his chances in next month's World Championships in Florence. Now, there's an irony - the reason yer actual Keith Telly Topping returned to cycling for the first time in thirty odd years last months was to lose weight. The thirty three-year-old, who missed defending his Tour De France title with a knee injury earlier this summer, made an impressive return with victory in the thirty seven kilometre time trial at the Tour of Poland recently. 'Carrying extra weight is hard but once you get into the time trial - and I won by a minute - it pays off,' he said. Wiggins is competing in the 56.8km time trial in Tuscany on 25 September. Following his incredible 2012 - when he became the first British rider to win the Tour, won the Olympic time trial, was named the Sports Personality of the Year and received a knighthood - Wiggins has been disrupted by illness and injury. He was forced to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia in May this year because of a chest infection and then chose not to defend his Tour De France crown because of injury concerns. 'In hindsight, thinking about where I am now, it was the best thing not going to the Tour. I had injury problems and there came a point when I had to address that. I couldn't keep burying my head in the sand. I would have hated to have gone to the Tour and pull out for the same reasons, taking the spot from somebody else. It had come to a point when I said enough is enough.' Asked about compatriot and Team Sky teammate Chris Froome's triumph in this year's race, Wiggo said: 'Going in he was undoubtedly the favourite. Having seen what he'd been doing leading up to the Tour, it was just a case of doing what he'd been doing all year. And he did that, it was incredible. The team showed that they didn't really need me. They did the job. Even if I'd been fit this year, I probably wouldn't have been selected. It's just a case of doing the best you can and they pick the team according to the demands of the event. I think he's earned the right to lead the team again next year and do it all again.' Looking ahead to the World Championships, Wiggins, who won silver in 2011, said: 'It's what I've been training for since the Giro. It's been a complete contrast because training for time-trialling was always a bit of a compromise because I had to be so light. But now we've gone completely the other way, it's been nice actually. My climbing is going to be affected massively. By the time we get to the Worlds, I'm going to be seven or eight kilos heavier than when I won the Tour.'

Which brings us very nicely to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Let us, therefore continue with our two wheeled themes and have, as it were, a trip on an orange bicycle. And that. But, remember, don't ever ride your bike whilst under the influence of any artificial stimulants, kids. That's just asking for trouble.

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