Thursday, August 22, 2013

Time Hath My Lord A Wallet At His Back Wherein He Puts Alms For Oblivion

The latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine, out on Thursday, goes behind the scenes of Doctor Who Live, the light entertainment show which revealed the identity of the new Doctor. (It's, err, yer actual Peter Capaldi, just in case you didn't know.) The magazine features interviews with showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, presenter Zoë Ball and producer Russell Minton. There's also has an exclusive note from Peter Capaldi his very self to DWM readers. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) told DWM, regarding the casting of the latest Doctor: 'He's always looked like Doctor Who [sic], how has this taken us so long? Because the moment you say his name, you go "Of course!" Because he's got the hair, and he's got the look, he's brilliant, he's known to be a fan, of course it's bloody him!' Oi, Moffat, no! The character is called The Doctor, the popular, long-running family SF drama is called Doctor Who. You, of all people, should know that by now.
BBC1 topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Wednesday evening. Celebrity MasterChef's audience increased by one and a half million punters from its previous episode to 4.75m at 8pm. Gary Lineker's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? won the night overall with five million viewers at 9pm. On BBC2, Restoration Home interested 1.7m at 8pm, followed by Vanessa Engle's Welcome to the World of Weight Loss with 1.11m at 9pm. ITV's repeat of  an episode of Midsomer Murders appealed to 2.87m at 8pm. On Channel 4, How Not To Get Old brought in 1.09m at 8pm, followed by the latest Twenty Four Hours in A&E with 2.15m at 9pm. The Last Leg - featuring one of the comedy highlights of the week, the excellent Adam Hills' furious, eye-popping 'come and have a go if you think you're hard enough' rant concerning the odious, risible UKiP arsehole Godfrey Bloom - was watched by eight hundred and seventeen thousand viewers at 10pm. Channel Five's Nurses was seen by nine hundred and forty two thousand at 8pm. A broadcast of the worst film ever made, bar none, The Da Vinci Code, was watched by 1.02m sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm.

Just to return, for a just a moment to The Last Leg because the wonderful Adam Hills' to-camera piece on the moronic UKiP planks making the news over the last week really does deserve to be experienced by a much wider audience than just eight hundred thousand punters. So, this blogger is doing his bit for the cause, dear blog reader: 'The party’s treasurer, Stuart Wheeler, said that women should not be promoted to company boards because they were "worse than men at card games." UKiP is independent in the same way that a recently-divorced man is independent. [Godfrey] Bloom then went on to say that Twentieth Century feminists were - again, quote - "shrill, bored, middle-class women of a certain physical genre." W-T-FUCK?! Firstly, Godfrey Bloom, we're in the Twenty First Century now. You're already two decades out of date, you mathematically inept cock-splash! Secondly, as a man who holds the view that all people deserve to be treated equally regardless of colour, gender or sexual persuasion, I object to your following statement that men who support these women - and, again, I quote - "have no link with the usual social sporting male preserves and are slightly effete, politically-correct chaps who get sand kicked in their face on the beach." Really? Fuckin' Really?! You are on, Bloom, you are on. I challenge you to turn up here, next Wednesday night, live on-air. I'll even bring in the sand, bitch! Your arse will be kicked from here to "Bongo Bongo Land", you out-dated, anachronistic, prehistoric old dick!' Adam Hills, ladies and gentlemen. The single best thing to come out of Australia since Shane Warne! If you missed The Last Leg for God's sake get yourself over to 4Player and search it out because that really does deserve to be watched again and again and again. And again.

Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman are to star in a TV adaptation of Roald Dahl's Esio Trot. Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer have written the screenplay for a BBC1 production, which will begin filming in London next spring. BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said: 'It's an honour to have Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman starring in this wonderful new adaptation. It's absolutely stellar casting for one of the nation's favourite children's classics.' BBC Drama's Ben Stephenson stated: 'An amazing cast and production team have come together to dramatise Roald Dahl's wonderful, evergreen story. This film is a class act with a roll call of talent that only the BBC could assemble.'

The Fast Show's Simon Day is to star in a new comedy for BBC4. Rock Ratatouille is a three part spoof music documentary fronted by the award-winning art-rocker Brian Pern (played by Day). The series - which promises 'a host of cameos from the world of music' - is co-written written by Day and Rhys Thomas. The channel has also picked up a new drama acquisition from Ireland - Amber is a tense psychological thriller following the disappearance of a fourteen-year-old girl. The terrific Eva Birthistle (so good in the final series of Waking The Dead) leads the cast of the four-parter, which examines 'the twists and turns surrounding the teenager's disappearance from several different perspectives.' So, a bit like Broadchurch, then. Or, indeed, Top Of The Lake. Or, Twin Peaks for that matter.

BBC2 has also announced a number of new drama and factual commissions. Yer actual Idris Elba will front a new two-part documentary. The Luther actor will explore the 'colourful origins and secret history' of the car racing scene in Idris Elba: King of Speed. On the drama front, Ian McDiarmid will lead BBC2's historical drama series Thirty Seven Days. The serial will chart the pivotal days between the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 and the declaration of war between Britain and Germany on 4 August. Sinead Cusack, Tim Pigott-Smith, Bill Paterson and Kenneth Cranham will also star in the series, from writer Mark Hayhurst. Ian Hislop his very self, the maker of a series of superb documentaries for the Beeb about social history, will front yet another in the same mould, a three-part series called Olden Days, which explores the British obsession with nostalgia and our own past, whilst Fern Britton will present horticultural competition series Grow, Make, Eat: The Great Allotment Challenge. Following the massive success of the Horizon episode Secret Life Of Cats - which got BBC2 some of its highest ratings for a documentary in years - the channel has also ordered a three-part follow-up, Cats, to take an 'even closer' look at a 'fascinating and often misunderstood species.' 'BBC2 remains ahead of its main competitors in peak and audience appreciation remains as high as ever,' said Janice Hadlow. 'On top of this, I've relished the challenge of taking on BBC4 and my ambition is to find ways to increase collaboration between the channels whilst ensuring that BBC4 retains its unique and distinctive voice.'

Room 101 has been renewed for a fourteenth series by BBC1. The long-running comedy programme will keep its three-guest format, which sees celebrities putting forward their case for pet hates to be banished forever. Frank Skinner will return as host of the show for the third time. The eight-part series will be recorded on Tuesdays and Thursdays in October at Elstree Studios. It is then expected to be shown on BBC1 in early 2014. Nick Hancock and then Paul Merton previously hosted the chat show, which originally saw the host speak to just one celebrity guest each week. It originally ran from 1994 to 2007, before returning with a new format in 2012 with Skinner as host.
Sky is to revive the cult comedy series The Kumars after a seven-year absence from television screens. Sky1 is to bring back the show, which ran for seven series on the BBC under the title The Kumars At Number Forty Two, with a new six-part series set to be shown this autumn. 'The entire Kumars family are very excited to have moved into a new home on Sky1,' said Sanjeev Bhaskar, who plays the son in the now Hounslow-based fictional British-Indian family. 'We are currently repainting the flat in anticipation of great guests, new members of the extended family and anyone else we can get to flog the tat from Dad's shop downstairs. Granny's wind problems are almost under control so all are welcome.' The show ran for fifty three episodes on BBC2 - and, later BBC1 - between 2001 and 2006. It is made by production company Hat Trick. Sky has also recommissioned Little Crackers, the short comedy film series, with Martin Freeman the first star to sign for one of the films. The fourth series of Little Crackers will kick-off during Christmas week. Mad Dogs will draw to a close in a final two-part adventure, with Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren all set to return. Other shows confirmed include a two-part family drama called Moonfleet, about smuggling in small Dorset village, starring Ray Winstone and written by Ashley Pharaoh, who co-created on Life on Mars and Ashes To Ashes. Lee Mack will host new panel quiz Duck Quacks Don't Echo. Sky1 regular Ashley Banjo fronts a new dance challenge show Ashley Banjo's The Town That Danced Again.

Joe Thomas and Simon Bird have said that they 'fully expect to get complaints' about historical inaccuracies in their new Sky1 sitcom Chickens. Hopefully they will also get at least a smattering of complaints that the alleged comedy is, in fact, about as funny as a growth on the scrotum.

The BBC has released the latest statistics for its iPlayer streaming service. Streaming requests rose thirty eight per cent from last year to two hundred and forty two million throughout July, the latest figures revealed. Top Gear was - as usual - among the most-popular TV shows over the past month, with the first four episodes of the latest series receiving over two million requests each. The Apprentice, Luther and The White Queen were also top performers. Andy Murray's Wimbledon victory received eight hundred million views, on top of those who watched on the BBC Sport website. Sport, in particular, improved live viewing and listening in July, with live streams on TV and radio up month-on-month from fifteen to eighty five per cent. A record seventy seven million radio requests were made last month, with streams on mobiles reaching the highest figures ever. Nine out of the top ten radio requests were for Test Match Special's coverage of The Ashes. Mobile and tablet streams held steady month-on-month, reaching thirty one per cent of total requests. An average of 7.2 million daily streams were made in July, with fifty one million weekly requests. BBC iPlayer will soon begin streaming BBC3 shows such as Bad Education online first before they are broadcast on TV.
BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow has defended the decision to recommission Count Arthur Strong. The sitcom - co-written by star Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan - has somewhat divided critics and achieved not particularly impressive ratings figures but, because it was recommissioned before the series had even started, it will return for a second series next year. 'Comedy is the hardest thing,' Radio Times quotes Hadlow as saying at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. 'I think pre-watershed comedy's particularly difficult – it's very competitive, everyone's looking for a pre-watershed success. Because we haven't had a huge amount of pre-watershed comedy, people are perhaps not looking for it there yet – people need to get more familiar with the idea that there can be quite technicolor laughs quite early on BBC2, so we'll hang on in there.' Hadlow did acknowledge that Count Arthur Strong is 'a bit Marmite' in its appeal. 'You either really, really find it funny or you really don't,' she said. 'I think what you can't do on BBC2 is go the opposite of what Marmite is – I don't think something very bland will ever work for us. We're always looking for strong flavours, and strong flavours sometimes are a bit divisive.'

Hadlow also revealed hat she has been 'inundated' with spin-off ideas following the success of The Great British Bake Off and The Great British Sewing Bee. Several of the ideas sent to her were, she suggested, for a knitting reality competition show. 'We got a lot of proposals for knitting,' she said. 'People saying, "Sewing works so lets find another handicraft."' Hadlow confirmed that she turned down the idea, commenting: 'It is best to think what did we learn from Sewing Bee, not how do we do it with crochet.'

Channel Four is to broadcast a new drama-doc exploring the impact of a mass blackout on Britain. Blackout will examine the effects of a devastating cyber-attack on the UK's national electricity grid. The film will chronicle the first five days immediately following a catastrophic nationwide power outage, as experienced by a cast of ordinary characters 'struggling to feed and protect themselves and their families.' Eyewitness accounts will reveal the disastrous impact of a prolonged blackout on hospitals, law and order, transport, and the food and water supply. Blackout will utilise real user-generated footage, alongside fictional scenes, CCTV archive footage and news reports to build an account of Britain being plunged into darkness. Fictional scenes with professional and non-professional actors will be filmed on mobile phones, laptops and camcorders, and inter-cut with real found-footage recorded during actual power cuts and other emergencies. 'This is a completely new and innovative way to dramatise our total dependence on electricity by asking what would happen if Britain were to be plunged into darkness - not for a few hours, but for five days,' said Nick Mirsky, Channel Four's Deputy Head of Factual. Blackout will be broadcast in September 2013.

Yer actual Danny Boyle is to direct a new crime drama for Channel Four. The director will return to television for the first time in ten years to helm the project. The as-yet-untitled series has been penned by Sam Bains and Jesse Armstrong. The announcement was made this week at the Edinburgh International TV Festival by Channel Four's chief creative officer Jay Hunt. The broadcaster has also ordered a new ten-part period drama. Set in the Himalayas, Indian Summers will chronicle the decline of the British Empire and the birth of modern India. 'The epic beauty of the Himalayas provides the perfect backdrop for this turbulent story of a world in change,' said Channel Four's Head of Drama, Piers Wenger. Indian Summers will begin filming in 2014.

Meanwhile, Jay Hunt, has aggressively dismissed figures showing that rival Channel Five has trumped Channel Four's audience numbers recently, arguing that it is a PR ruse involving 'squinting and turning your head on the side' to make it true. Hunt rubbished a recent widely reported story that Richard Desmond's station beat Channel Four for a week in viewing share for the first time since Channel Five launching in 1997. 'Channel Five didn't beat us for a week by a measurement the industry recognises,' Hunt said, speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. 'But to be blunt if I was a PR at Channel Five and I found a way that if they took out all of the hours between midnight and six o'clock in the morning and squinted and turned your head on the side then you sort of beat us, I might have done that too.' Nevertheless it is true that there have been a number of days that Channel Five has come out on top, thanks in part to Big Brother and the popularity of the highlights of the Ashes series, while summer is traditionally a fallow period for Channel Four. Earlier this week the final of Big Brother and Stephen King's Under The Dome provided a rare all-day-share ratings victory for Five over Four. Hunt said that, in reality, there is 'a huge margin' between the two broadcasters and that its flagship digital channel, E4, often outperforms Channel Five. 'As I say, normal service is resumed and there is a huge margin between us and Channel Five. It is worth remembering that in any given week E4 frequently outperforms Channel Five, particularly on young audiences,' she said. 'So I'm not hugely concerned about that.' She did admit that Channel Four's ratings have 'flagged somewhat' year-on-year, on the measure known as all-individual share, but argued that this is 'just one way of looking' at audiences. Hunt said that Channel Four is also evaluated on which demographics it reaches, with 'huge' reach among sixteen to thirty four-year-olds, and that it does target 'light' audiences with some shows. 'Yes, all individuals is slightly down this year,' she said. 'To be blunt, you become quite sanguine that there will be ups and there will be downs. There is always going to be a bit of a rollercoaster, particularly on a channel that is reinventing itself at such a pace.'

Lanky, odious, unfunny waste-of-space streak of piss plank Jack Whitehall has landed his own chat-show on BBC3. So, that'll definitely be worth avoiding, then.

The director of a Channel Four documentary about One Direction fans who are, you know, definitely not completely mental, has defended the show after criticism that programme makers used 'extreme' examples of the band's fandom. Which was, after all, the whole point of the documentary in the first place. Crazy About One Direction was shown on Thursday 15 August. Since the broadcast, some of the fans featured in the show have, reportedly, received online abuse for the way they presented themselves in the show. Programme makers have been accused of hunting down 'all the craziest fans' and videoing them. Which, again, would seem to have been the entire point of the programme - check out the title for a kick-off. The director of the programme, Daisy Asquith, claims that is not true. But, not many people believed her. 'Their response to the film is so much more extreme than anything I chose to include. It's really been quite shocking. I think the response itself is proof that we didn't just pick the most extreme fans there are.' Daisy admitted that she, Channel Four and the fans who featured in the documentary, have been getting abuse on Twitter by other One Direction fans. Although, whether alleged 'threats' made by over-emotional schoolgirls who get damp knickers whenever Harry Styles appears on telly actually qualify as proper threats is a question, perhaps, for those with more legal minds than this blogger to answer. 'Channel Four have had threats and masses of hate directed at them,' she said. 'I've also had masses of hate directed at me.' It comes as one of the teenagers who appeared in Crazy About One Direction claims that she is 'unhappy' about the way she was portrayed. Becky Greenwell, nineteen, said that 'hate' has been directed at her because of the way documentary makers made her look. 'They edited so much out,' she said. 'And then, I was getting hate for it because people thought I, genuinely, did that and said that stuff, when I really didn't.' Daisy Asquith suggested that none of the girls had told her they were unhappy with the finished product before it was shown. The broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, say that they have received 'less than a handful of complaints' about the documentary. Most of them very silly indeed. In a statement, Channel Four said: 'This documentary, made by an award-winning film-maker, followed a number of fans who, by their own admission, are "obsessive" about the band. Whilst not suggesting that the girls featured represent all 1D fans, it examined the impact social media has had on teenage fandom and how it has developed a new form of idol worship for many teenage girls.' In the documentary, Becky was seen with friends outside the venue where One Direction were giving interviews about their new movie, This Is Us. She said that she had left her home at 2.25am to find the band. Becky also said that she had planned to 'spend the night in Leicester Square' to meet the band at the premiere of the film. 'To me, [I came across] all right, everyone says it was all right, but other people say it was embarrassing. But I don't see anything I did wrong or embarrassing,' she claimed. When asked whether she thought she may have come across as 'slightly obsessive', Becky replied, 'No. But they [Channel Four producers] made out like I don't have no life, and that I just sit outside Harry's house every weekend waiting for him to appear.' And that. Channel Four's statement also said: 'Both Channel Four and the film-makers took the utmost care to produce a documentary with genuine affection and respect for the fans.'

Channel Four has announced its 2013 pilots for the comedy showcase 4Funnies. STI comedy Scrotal Recall joins the previously-announced Raised By Wolves - written by Caitlin Moran - in the line-up. Moran's pilot, co-written with her sister, Caroline, has been described by the columnist as 'a modern day reimagining' of her teenage years. Scrotal Recall - from Pramface writer Tom Edge - follows twenty-something Dylan Witter, who must contact everyone he's ever slept with to tell them that he has Chlamydia. An interesting basis for a comedy, one imagines. Also on the slate is a comedy from Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Roisin Conaty telling the story of Marcella, a 'hapless thirty-year-old' doing her very best 'to muddle through life.' Superhero spoof The Revengers! is the final commission. Daisy Haggard will star in the, if you will, mockumentary - described as 'Batman meets The Office' - which follows 'an unconventional team of costumed adventurers.' In Croydon. 'With exceedingly well-crafted scripts and new talent at the heart of this year's run, 4Funnies is brimming with clever, witty laughs,' claimed Channel Four's Head of Comedy, Phil Clarke.

Michelle Collins, who plays Rovers Return landlady Stella Price, has confirmed she will leave Coronation Street next year. The former EastEnders actress described the role, which she began playing in 2011, as 'a revelation.' But, she added: 'Creatively I need to play other roles.' Producer Stuart Blackburn wished the actress 'every happiness' and promised 'the tour de force that is Stella Price will leave with a bang.' Collins will leave the programme at the end of her current contract next April, with her final scenes expected to be shown in June 2014. Her character has been at the centre of a number of traumatic storylines since she took up the role two years ago, including reuniting with her estranged daughter, Leanne, and a turbulent relationship with gambling addict Karl. 'So much has happened to the character since we discovered she was Leanne's real mum,' said Collins. 'From catching Karl with barmaid Sunita to her near-death experience in the Rovers fire - I've loved playing Stella and will be very sorry to leave her behind. Creatively I need to play other roles and I've ambitions as an actress that I'd like to fulfil. I'm also looking forward to spending more time with my daughter, Maia.' Scriptwriters are currently working on Stella's departure. 'When an actor decides to leave a programme like Corrie, it means the writing team can creatively scale new heights,' said Blackburn. 'Her character has made a tremendous impact and has deservedly earned her the status of a classic Coronation Street matriarch.' Sue Johnston, who plays Collins' on-screen mother, Gloria, is also expected to leave the production around the same time. The award-winning soap has suffered a number of blows this year. Long-running regulars William Roache and Michael Le Vell are both involved in separate legal proceedings and have been written out of the show whilst these are on-going. Earlier this week, actor Chris Fountain - who played Tommy Duckworth - got the old tin-tack following his exposure as 'a masked rapper' who posted strongly worded videos online.

The soft core pornographer Richard Desmond's Channel Five has made its first investment in home-grown drama in eight years, commissioning a police crime series from the executive producer of The Bill. Channel Five has hired Paul Marquess, the former executive producer of The Bill and Hollyoaks and the creator of Footballers' Wives, to make the new show, Evidence. The procedural crime drama will comprise self-contained episodes following three detectives attempting to crack ten different cases. Channel Five's programming strategy since Desmond took over three years ago has been to rely on acquired imports such as the CSI franchise and Neighbours, along with documentaries - usually about sharks, serial killers, UFOs or Nazis. Or, indeed, all four. And, Big Brother. 'This is something new for the channel and we're working with the people who really know this kind of programming,' claimed Ben Frow, the Director of Programmes at Channel Five. 'It's part of my desire to broaden the channel and take calculated risks and I think it will sit comfortably alongside our popular factual programming and our glossy US acquisitions.' Evidence, which will be broadcast in the first quarter of next year, has been developed by Fremantle Media's worldwide drama division, and made by UK subsidiary Newman Street. The broadcaster, which is owned by Desmond's Northern & Shell, has also decided to invest in its own series of one-off films and documentaries. A three-part documentary series, called ... And Proud, will follow 'Britain's most brazen petty criminals and people who really know how to work the welfare state.' Public service broadcasting, there, from the same people that brought you telly to spunk-off too like Television X and Red Hot TV. The series, which will be produced in-house by 5Production, will 'look at shoplifters, pickpockets and those on benefits.' One-offs will include Baby Faced Brides, which follows teenage brides-to-be who are 'bucking the trend' toward older marriage; Can't Stop, which will 'lift the lid on Britain's most obsessive compulsive behaviour' and The Spy Who Brought Down Mary Queen of Scots, about 'England's greatest spy', Sir Francis Walsingham. Other programmes include DIY Dummies and Undercover Store Detectives. 'Along with our new drama we've got other new commissions that I think keep the channel fresh and exciting,' claimed Frow. 'Big Brother this year has performed better than ever and these new shows, and the many more we are also working on, add texture and diversity to the schedule.' Channel Five is thought to have a total programming budget of between one hundred and one hundred and thirty million knicker, a fraction that of rivals such as ITV, Channel Four and Sky.

This year's iTunes Festival will be broadcast on Channel Four, it has been confirmed. The month-long music event will return to Channel Four, E4 and 4Music next month, with Lauren Laverne hosting the coverage. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, The Arctic Monkeys, Kings Of Leon and Robin Thicke (no, me neither, I'm afraid) will all play Camden's Roundhouse as part of the festival. So, nobody that you'd actually want to pay money to see, in that case. The line-up also includes Jessie J, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Pixies (ah, that's a bit better), Vampire Weekend, Nile Rodgers's Chic, Rizzle Kicks and many more. Jonathan Rothery, commissioning editor for music at Channel Four, said: 'We are delighted to welcome iTunes Festival back to Channel Four for a second year. The line-up for 2013 proves the event's repeated ability to attract the biggest and most varied acts in the business.' Highlights will be broadcast across the three channels from Wednesday to Friday during September, with a weekly highlights show featuring exclusive interviews and performances airing on C4 on Wednesday nights. 4Music will play an extended highlights show each Friday in September.

The broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has fined an Islamic TV channel eighty five thousand smackers, for inciting violence. It ruled in December that Noor TV had breached broadcasting codes after a host said it was 'acceptable or even the duty' of a Muslim to murder anyone who 'disrespected' the Prophet Mohammed. Ofcom said that the fine imposed today was so large due to the serious nature of the breaches. But it stopped short of revoking the channel's licence. Noor TV, which is owned by Al Ehya Digital Television, broadcasts both in the UK and internationally on Sky. The programme in question, Paigham-e-Mustafa, was broadcast on 3 May 2012. Presenter Allama Muhammad Farooq Nizami answered questions from viewers around the world about a wide range of issues relating to Islam. One caller asked what the punishment should be for anyone 'showing disrespect' towards the Prophet Muhammad. Nizami answered that 'there is no disagreement about this. There is absolutely no doubt about it that the punishment for the person who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death.' He also justified the actions of Mumtaz Qadri - the bodyguard who assassinated the Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer in 2011 - on the grounds that he objected to Taseer's calls to amend the country's controversial blasphemy laws. As well as the fine, the channel was ordered to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings and must not repeat the programme. In its defence, the channel had claimed that rather than inciting viewers to commit murder, the presenter was asking them 'to take responsibility to become involved where they see disrespect to the Prophet.' They said, after five years of presenting on Noor TV, the presenter's comments were 'totally unforeseen and could not be anticipated.' They also claimed that the channel as a whole follows Sufism and aimed to 'promote peace and understanding' around the world. Al Ehya dismissed Nizami in May for promoting personal political opinions and supporting a violent act during the programme. In July, Ofcom fined the TV channel DM Digital a similar figure, after it broadcast a speech by an Islamic scholar who said that Muslims had 'a duty to kill' anyone who insults the Prophet Muhammad.

At Stately Telly Topping Manor for us dinner today, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping made this.
And, jolly nice it was too.

Simon Pegg has got all angry and 'responded' to the Star Trek branch of The Special People who, apparently, voted this summer's Into Darkness as the worst movie in the franchise's history. Which, you know, it isn't. Not even close. But, even if it was was, Si, do not, do not, do not engage these people in debate. For the sake of your blood pressure and your sanity. That way lies madness and sweaty palms. The JJ Abrams-directed sequel, which opened in May to critical and commercial success - yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self thought it was quite decent ... as Star Trek movies go - reportedly fell foul of some 'fans' at ... some Star Trek convention or other in Las Vegas earlier this month. During which a poll was held on what was the worst movie in the franchise and that one came top. 'So what?' I hear you ask dear blog reader and, you know, there's not really an answer I can give you which, actually, makes any sense. So what, indeed. Anyway, consider the following, Si: You've already got their money and they'll be buying the DVD and/or Blu-Ray (possibly both, if they're serious collectors) when it comes out just so that they can then whinge about it all over again on an Internet forum near you. So, you know, what's the bloody problem? Speaking to The Huffington Post to promote his latest collaboration with long-time partner's Edgar Wright and Nick Frost, The World's End in the US, Pegg said that Into Darkness 'absolutely isn't the worst Star Trek movie.' Which, as noted, it isn't. So, now we've established that, let's move on. Sadly, most people in the film and TV business just love the sound of their own voice and simply can't let it lie. 'It's asinine, you know?' chundered Peggy. 'It's ridiculous.' Uh-huh. And ...? 'And frustrating as well,' he continued. 'Because a lot of hard work and love went into that movie, and all JJ wanted to do was make a film that people really enjoyed. So, to be subject to that level of sort of, like, crass fucking ire, I just say, "Fuck you."' Oh, this isn't gonna end well. There'll be tears, mark my words. Si added that he thought the adverse reaction to Into Darkness from a handful of glakes was akin to 'when you tire of an indie band that you love because they get a number one single. Star Trek: Into Darkness is the most successful Star Trek movie ever made,' he said. 'It is, in terms of what it took at the box office and how many people went to see it. More people saw that film than any iteration of Star Trek that existed before. That is probably slightly annoying to some Star Trek fans - which I totally understand.' Yes, so, anyway ...

Sid Bernstein, the concert promoter who staged early American shows by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, has died. Bernstein booked The Beatles for their legendary show at Shea Stadium in New York in 1965, which was the first concert to be staged in a stadium. Bernstein, who was ninety five, promoted the Fab Four's first American shows - including two at Carnegie Hall in New York - on their debut US tour in 1964. He also arranged The Rolling Stones' first five US gigs and shows for Judy Garland, Ray Charles and Tony Bennett. He died on Wednesday in New York, according to his friend and publicist Merle Frimark. Bernstein spent time in England during World War II when he served in the Six Hundred and Second Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion and continued to follow British newspapers after his return to New York. Reading about the growing Beatlemania during the autumn of 1963, he contact Brian Epstein and persuaded him to let Bernstein promote two shows at Carnegie Hall in February 1964, despite the fact, Bernstein famously said, he had never actually heard The Beatles' music. A Carnegie Hall official told Bernstein the demand for tickets was so high that he could have sold out fifty dates. That remark led him to book the fifty five thousand-capacity Shea Stadium for the following year. He also booked a string of other UK bands during the mid-1960s including The Kinks and The Moody Blues. 'The first dozen groups of the British Invasion were my imports,' he later said. 'But look, it was no stroke of genius. I was just doing my homework at the time.' In 1976 and 1979, Bernstein tried to persuade The Beatles to reform for charity concerts. They declined on both occasions. He also arranged concerts for artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Jimi Hendrix. In a documentary about Bernstein's life, late funk singer James Brown said that the promoter was the only mainstream impresario booking black singers in the 1960s and so, according to Brown, 'was in the forefront of race relations.' Bernstein made his own musical debut at the age of ninety three with a CD of cover versions of his favourite songs. Sid is survived by his wife of fifty years Geraldine Gale, their sons Adam, Etienne, Beau and Dylan, daughters Casey Bernstein Deutsch and Denise Bernstein and six grandchildren.

And so to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a popular beat-combo from Northern England, m'lud.

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