Saturday, August 24, 2013

Week Thirty Six: But The Black & Blue Bruise Would Be The Only Sign

Celebrity Big Brother scored big ratings for Channel Five on Thursday night according to overnight data. The launch show was down by nearly a million viewers from January's opener, attracting 2.66 million at 9pm. However, this is consistent with last summer's series launch, which was watched by 2.7 million sad crushed victims of society. On BBC 1, having had a great audience the night before, Celebrity MasterChef fell by nearly a million from its previous episode to 3.84m at 8pm. Paul O'Grady's Working Britain was the most-watched show outside of soaps with 3.95m at 9pm. On BBC2, Dara O'Briain's Science Club pulled in 1.22m at 8pm, followed by The Men Who Made Us Thin with 1.05m at 9pm. ITV's Married To The Job continued with 2.33m at 8.30pm. Tom Hardy's documentary Poaching Wars interested 1.23m at 9pm. On Channel Four, the latest series of Location, Location, Location attracted 1.74m at 8pm. The documentary film The Imposter appealed to 1.02m at 9pm.

Big School's second episode scored 3.63m for BBC1 on Friday, overnight data has confirmed. The alleged comedy - which is, actually, about as funny as somebody stamping on ones trunk, repeatedly - starring David Walliams and Catherine Tate, was down six hundred thousand punters on the previous week's debut, but was still, astonishingly, the most watched programme of primetime outside the soaps and new programmes. Which probably says a lot more abut what a thoroughly wretched night's schedule it was than anything else. Meanwhile, Celebrity Big Brother's second episode scored 2.05m for Channel Five at 9pm, also down just over six hundred thousand on the previous episode. On BBC1, The ONE Show interested 3.15m from 7pm, after which Nigel Slater's Dish of the Day appealed to 2.5m at 7.30pm. The latest episode of Celebrity MasterChef attracted 3.28m an hour later. Mrs Brown's Boys took 3.46m at 9.30pm. BBC2 showed Great British Railway Journeys to 1.1m at 7.30pm. It was followed by Mastermind with 1.91m at 8pm and Gardeners' World on 1.87m at 8.30pm. The Burrowers: Animals Underground and The Trip had audiences of 1.86m and six hundred and sixty thousand viewers respectively from 9pm. On ITV, River Monsters was seen by 2.28m at 8pm, while another Doc Martin repeat attracted 3.02m at 9pm. Channel Four's Four Rooms secured five hundred and ninety thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by Peter Kay Live at the Top of the Tower with 1.25m at 9pm. On Channel Five, coverage of The Ashes earned seven hundred and eleven thousand at 7pm and Paul Merton: World's Biggest Cruise Ship took nine hundred and twenty seven thousand at 8pm.

ITV has been named channel of the year at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. The broadcaster has enjoyed critical and ratings success over the past year with shows including hit drama Broadchurch and its Exposure documentary The Other Side of Jimmy Savile about the dirty old scallywag, scoundrel and rotter. Broadchurch also picked up the new programme award, whilst the drama's creator, Chris Chibnall, was named industry stand-out talent of the year. Which will, no doubt, be vastly amusing to Chibs the next time he ventures onto the web and sees the charming comments that gets written about him by some of The Special People over his work on Doctor Who. Other winners at the EITF Channel of the Year awards included Channel Four, which picked up the channel breakthrough prize for its disability awareness work, following its well-received Paralympics coverage. Charlie Brooker's dark comedy drama Black Mirror won both the network and 'ones to watch programme choice' awards respectively, while The Voice and Who Do You Think You Are? producer Wall To Wall was named production company of the year.
Former BBC Radio 1 presenter and self-styled 'hairy cornflake' (no, honestly) Dave Lee Travis has appeared in court, charged with eleven counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault. The allegations date from 1977 to 2007 and relate to nine female complainants aged between fifteen and twenty nine at the time of the, alleged, incidents. The sixty eight-year-old, from Mentmore, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court under his real name, David Patrick Griffin. He denies any wrongdoing. Travis was bailed to appear at Southwark Crown Court on 6 September. His solicitor Martin Bale indicated he would be pleading not guilty. Travis spoke in court only to confirm his name, address and date of birth, and to query what the next hearing would involve. Tragically, he didn't follow that with a 'quack-quack-oops'. Because, if he had, that would've been funny. Albeit, probably, contempt of court. Sadly, he also didn't ask for the Laurie Lingo & The Dipsticks' single to be taken into consideration, either. Addressing reporters outside earlier, Travis said that he could not comment on the case against him, adding: 'I'd like to speak for three hours to everybody to tell you the story.' He later said: 'I either talk for a long time or I don't, and at the moment I'm not talking.' Travis, a Radio 1 DJ between 1968 and 1993, had been questioned by police as part of Operation Yewtree, an investigation into historical claims of sexual offences linked to the entertainment industry set up in the wake of allegations made about the late naughty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile. Travis was first arrested in November 2012 and released on bail. He was rearrested in March and questioned about further allegations before being charged earlier in August.
Former News International executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and ex-Downing Street spin doctor Andy Coulson have been told their trials will be delayed for almost two months. Mr Justice Saunders said the trial of the pair - and others - would now begin on 28 October, rather than the previously announced 9 September. The Old Bailey judge adjourned the trial for what were described as 'unreportable legal reasons.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denies that she conspired with others to hack mobile phones at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. Brooks edited the paper, subsequently shut in shame and ignominy, from 2000 to 2003. She then moved to edit the Sun before becoming chief executive officer of the two papers' parent group News International. Coulson was Scum of the World editor after well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks from 2003 to 2007. The trial beginning in October involves eight defendants who all deny a number of allegations which developed out of the Metropolitan Police's Operation Weeting investigation into dodgy alleged shenanigans and all manner of alleged malarkey at the Scum of the World. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, Coulson, former managing editor Stuart Kuttner, and former news editor Ian Edmondson all deny conspiracy to intercept mobile phone voicemails between October 2000 and August 2006. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks further denies two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, one between January 2004 and January 2012 and a second between February 2006 and October 2008. She also stands accused with former colleague Cheryl Carter, of conspiring to pervert the course of justice by allegedly removing seven boxes of material from the News International archive in July 2011. The final charge relates to an allegation that she, her husband millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks and Mark Hanna, News International's head of security, conspired to pervert the course of justice by allegedly hiding documents and computer equipment from the police in July 2011. The Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Coulson and Clive Goodman, the former royal editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, face two allegations of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003 and between January and June 2005.

Broadchurch's second series will differ from the crime drama's first run, ITV's director of television Peter Fincham has said. Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival where he unveiled a whole plethora of commissions and recommissions (see below), Fincham insisted that the thriller's new episodes will not be a 'formulaic repeat of series one.' The massively popular crime drama's creator, yer man Chris Chibnall, is currently writing the new series, which star Will Mellor hinted could be a prequel.
Scott & Bailey will return to ITV for a fourth series. The crime drama starring Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones will begin shooting new episodes in spring 2014. Amelia Bullimore, who plays Gill Murray in the series, will also write four of the scripts for the new series. Scott & Bailey is produced by Red Production Company, which announced back in June that ITV was 'interested' in a fourth run. 'We're thrilled to be producing a new series of Scott & Bailey,' said Red Productions director Nicola Shindler. 'It's rewarding to think the public have become so familiar with the characters and taken them to heart. With this new series, we have the chance to explore great story ideas and continue developing those characters.' ITV's Director of Drama Steve November added: 'ITV Drama without Scott & Bailey would be unthinkable. Its reputation for quality storytelling and great characterisation precedes it and it's become a firm favourite with ITV viewers.' The third series of Scott & Bailey ended in May, with its final episode attracting over seven million punters.

Additionally, John Simm is to star in a new drama series for ITV, also made by Red Productions. Prey - written by newcomer Chris Lunt - will see the Life on Mars actor play a police officer suspected of murder. When Simm's character, Marcus Farrow, is found at the scene of brutal crime, he is forced to go on the run in Manchester. His colleague Detective Sergeant Susan Reinhardt is soon tasked with catching the family man and bringing him to justice, sparking a high-stakes game of cat and mouse across the city. 'We're attempting something different with Prey,' said Nicola Shindler. 'It's very fast-paced and to enhance the high octane qualities of Chris's brilliant scripts we'll be shooting essentially from the back of a transit van. It's almost a guerrilla-style technique, which will make Prey feel accessible and edgy with the "real" factor.' Steve November, added: 'Chris Lunt is a very talented writer and we are delighted to have his début serial on ITV. He has created extremely vivid characters in Prey and we are very excited to have John Simm in the lead role.'

ITV has renewed both Vicious and The Job Lot despite the fact that, by the end of both series hardly anybody was watching them. The Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi sitcom will return for a second series, Peter Fincham announced on Thursday at the Edinburgh Television Festival. Fincham said that he refused to 'commit the first sin of broadcasting' and bail out on a show because of low ratings for its first series. Despite a star-studded acting line up and top writing credentials – Vicious was created by Family Guy and Will & Grace writer Gary Janetti – the first series failed to catch on with audiences. The sitcom made a promising start with about six million viewers for its first episode in April. But audiences dwindled to less half that figure over five subsequent Monday nights. Vicious was also panned by a number of critics, with the Torygraph saying that the script 'fell disastrously flat' and calling it 'the least funny new comedy in recent memory.' Which, to be fair, was written before The Wright Way started. Some louse of no importance at he Gruniad described Vicious as 'frankly, a bit lame' and 'a Greggs doughnut of a show.' Which is, actually, being rather unkind ... to Greggs doughnuts. 'I don't think the issue is what went wrong with it, the issue is a show like that finding its feet,' Fincham said. 'If we are committed to comedy, I don't want to commit the first and most obvious sin of broadcasting … To say we are going to bail out at the first sign of ratings falling off. We are committed.' The Russell Tovey lead workplace comedy The Job Lot - which yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought was not half bad, even if no one in the entire country seemed to agree with him - has also been recommissioned, but will be moved to ITV2 for its next series where tiny ratings are less of an issue. Fincham said he did not believe The Job Lot was 'the right fit' for the flagship ITV channel. '[It has a] strong appeal to a young audience,' he claimed, 'but I'm not sure that it is quite a mainstream sitcom.' Vicious was previously confirmed to be returning for a Christmas special. Derek Jacobi claimed in May that a second series might not shoot until 2014, due to his co-star Ian McKellen's busy film schedule. ITV2's wretched, risible alleged sitcom Plebs has also been renewed, Fincham announced, confirming initial reports from June.
Which brings us to the next batch of Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 31 August
In January, terrorists linked to al-Qaeda attacked a gas facility near the Algerian town of In-Amenas and took hundreds of workers hostage before the Algerian army responded with overwhelming force. In the documentary Terror In The Desert - 9:15 BBC2 - British survivors reveal how they played cat and mouse with their captors, were forced to wear necklaces of explosives and came under fire from helicopter gunships. Part of the This World strand.

The talent extravaganza The X Factor returns with a new look for its tenth series - 8:00 ITV. And, since it's on opposite the odious, risible, wretched I Love My Country on the BBC this blogger's advise is, tragically, I'd watch X Factor if I were you, dear blog reader. Either that or, you know, read a good book and develop your mind instead. The X Factor welcomes Sharon Osbourne back to the judges' desk in her first permanent role on the show since 2007. Replacing Tulisa - currently on bail for drugs offences, of course - Ozzy's missus joins Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh (who recently announced that this will be his final year, as if anyone's actually bothered by that) to 'search for the nation's next singing sensation.' In a change to the usual format, The X Factor will be shown twice a week from the very beginning, with Saturdays initially dedicated to the closed-room auditions that fans will remember from the first five years of the show. The most impressive acts then progress to Wembley Arena on Sundays to face their second performances in front of an audience of thousands. Full-of-his-own-importance Dermot O'Dreary hosts.

With the shorter, thirty minute, edition shown on Sunday 25 August, Qi XL finally reaches the episode of the last - J - series which still hasn't been shown yet (even though clips from it appeared in two of the compilation shows broadcast last December). It's on at 10:15 on BBC2 so, use your recording devises wisely, dear blog reader. National treasure Stephen Fry hosts an extended edition of this 'special episode' of the intelligence quiz which poses questions on all manner of inventions, including some which proved to be, as it were, 'just the job.' Trying to come up with interesting answers are Top Gear presenter yer actual Jezza Clarkson, comedian Jason Manford, broadcaster Sandi Toksvig and regular panellist Alan Davies.
Sunday 1 September
Saucy mix Fiona Bruce and the experts visit the seafront at Eastbourne, and its famous bandstand, where members of the public bring along their treasured antiques and collectibles to hear their stories and find out their worth in the latest episode of the - seemingly never-ending - Antiques Roadshow at 8pm on BBC1. Items include a collection of pottery, a signalling lamp used during D-Day and rare images of Marilyn Monroe taken at her last photographic session. Red button viewers can play along by guessing the valuations.
Len is struggling to adapt to his retirement and finds himself drawn back into the investigation, convinced there is more to Melissa's death than the residents of Coulthard Street are letting on in the second episode of What Remains - 9:00 BBC1. With help from Vidya, who is equally confused by her neighbours' apparent lack of interest in the deceased, he slowly pieces together each person's relationship with her - but with differing opinions of her character, it seems that not everyone is telling the truth. Murder mystery, starring David Threlfall, Amber Rose Verah, Russell Tovey and David Bamber.

Respected surgeon Dan Marsden is shot dead days before his retirement and his teenage daughters Mira and Karen are abducted in the latest Vera - 9:00 ITV. Joined by a new addition to the ranks, Vera investigates a mysterious parcel and a connection to the Iraq War as she races against time to catch the killer and save the girls. However, the case soon takes a violent and unexpected turn, striking at the heart of the team. Patchy if, occasionally, rather intriguing crime drama set in Northumberland which is rather spoiled by the truly poxy accent that the (genuinely terrific, Oscar-winning) lead actress has chosen to attempt. Guest starring Luther's Saskia Reeves and the excellent Dean Andrews (best known for Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes), with Brenda Blethyn, David Leon and Gareth Farr.

Monday 2 September
In Robert Peston Goes Shopping - 9:00 BBC2 - the BBC's business editor investigates the history of the retail trade in Britain since the end of the Second World War. He begins by examining how shopping was transformed from a chore in the 1950s into one of the nation's most popular pastimes and how innovative businesses including Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, ASDA, Chelsea Girl and Next revolutionised the industry.

The Lost Hero of 9/11 - 9:00 Channel Four - is, as the title might suggest, a documentary about former US Marine Jason Thomas, who helped to rescue two people buried in the rubble of the Twin Towers following the terror attacks of 11 September 2001. His identity remained a mystery after his heroic act because he didn't want his wife to find out he had risked his life. However, years later, Jason saw a trailer for Oliver Stone's film World Trade Center and realised that it was telling his story.
Tonight also sees the return of The Newsroom - 9:00 Sky1 - the Aaron Sorkin-created drama about one of America's most popular TV news shows. The team is under scrutiny from ACN's legal department following the airing of a story that accused the US government of committing war crimes, which News Night later had to retract. Guest starring Marcia Gay Harden, with Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer and Sam Waterston.
Tuesday 3 September
Sandra and the team investigate why five years earlier a man seemingly vanished during his morning run and has not been seen since in the latest New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. The alarm was raised when he never made it to work at the construction company belonging to his father-in-law, who has a history of violence, and the detectives' suspicions grow when they realise how much the missing man's wife is scared of her dad. Could he have had something to do with his son-in-law's disappearance? Amanda Redman, Nicholas Lyndhurst and Denis Lawson star. Dennis Waterman ... sort of appears.

In 1999, Carole Sund, her fifteen-year-old daughter Juli and sixteen-year-old Argentinian exchange student Silvina Pelosso were murdered while on a visit to Yosemite National Park in California, a story which is told in somewhat graphic detail in Born To Kill? - 8:00 Channel Five. When another person - the naturalist Joie Armstrong - was also killed soon afterwards, the trail led the authorities to one Cary Stayner, an employee of the lodge where the Sunds family had been staying prior to their brutal murder. In this documentary programme - one of Channel Five's usual staples of either sharks, Nazis or serial killers (in this case, the latter) - eyewitnesses and alleged 'criminal experts' analyse Stayner's motives and personality and try to work out what led the chap to commit his wicked and naughty crimes.

God, but hasn't Family Tree - 10:00 BBC2 - the alleged sitcom starring Chris O'Dowd been a total and utter waste of bloody time, energy and talent, dear blog reader? I mean, seriously, this blogger expected such good things from this show and it hasn't delivered  any conceivable level. Anyway, hang out the bunting, dear blog reader, because tonight sees the final episode of the disaster. What a blessed relief for everyone? Tom spends the day with Ally and meets his distant cousin Melvin Schmelff, whose grandfather was a famous silent movie cowboy called Tumbleweed Tim, and Bea calls in a panic when Monkey goes missing at the beach. Al and Kitty throw a farewell party for Tom, which leads to more dark secrets coming to light.

Wednesday 4 September
The field has been whittled down to four finalists in Celebrity MasterChef - 8:00 BBC1. They will now face their toughest challenges to date as they vie for this year's title with the penultimate episode tomorrow and the final on Friday. The last three days of competition begin with two tasks designed to test their creativity and precision - first they must master the art of afternoon tea at Covent Garden hotel One Aldwych, each reproducing one sweet and one savoury item for the enjoyment of a group of Pearly Kings and Queens. Cor blimey, wot a West Ham, innit? Then it's back to the MasterChef kitchen to rustle up tarts (steady!) and ice-creams from a range of fruits, nuts, wines and liqueurs - and the stakes are higher than ever, as one of the hopefuls will be hanging up their apron for good at the end of the show.

EastEnders actor Nitin Ganatra (who plays Masood Ahmed) moved to England from Kenya when he was just three years old. Now he has questions about his identity, wanting to know not only why his family left, but also why they emigrated to Africa from India in the first place, which he will explore in Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1. The trail leads Nitin to his ancestral home in Gujarat, but along the way he makes an emotional discovery about his mother's relatives.

Tonight also sees the return of Whitechapel - 9:00 ITV - the crime thriller, starring Rupert Penry-Jones, Phil Davis and Steve Pemberton. Chandler, Miles and the team investigate the murder of a man crushed to death by stones. As the killer's macabre methods become clearer, a second body is discovered and the detectives suspect the executions are being carried out by a notorious witch hunter. However, their progress is impeded as links to Twentieth-Century espionage attract attention from the security services.
Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams - 9:00 BBC4 - is a documentary exploring the history of the self-operating contraptions known as automata, which were first designed hundreds of years ago but display levels of technical sophistication that continue to amaze many today. Professor Simon Schaffer examines the history behind these clockwork motor-powered machines and the hardship endured by the workers that built them. Travelling around Europe, he visits a functional automaton city, observes a robotic boy that can be programmed to write, and witnesses a device capable of playing chess.

Thursday 5 September
As previously mentioned, the contestants are given two more challenges in their bid to lift this year's Celebrity MasterChef trophy - 9:00 BBC1. First they must replicate John Torode's dish for rabbit three ways, a task that puts every aspect of their culinary repertoire under scrutiny, from butchery and roasting to making pasta and mastering a classic sauce. They then face possibly the most daunting test of their skills so far when they cook for four chefs who have earned several Michelin stars between them, with the assistance of Steve Groves, the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2009.

The Guilty - 9:00 ITV - is a new psychological drama. Following an annual neighbourhood barbecue in a communal garden, Claire and Daniel Reid discover that their four-year-old son Callum has gone missing, and a nationwide police search is launched. But, tragically, the boy is not found. Five years later, as workmen repair a burst water main in the same garden, his body is unearthed, just a short distance from his home. Having been forced to step down from the original case, DCI Maggie Brand leads the investigation into Callum's death, while adjusting to the news her young son has autism. Crime drama set across two timelines, starring Tamsin Greig, Katherine Kelly and Darren Boyd.
The topical comedy quiz Mock The Week returns - 10:00 BBC2 - after a summer break. Host Dara O Briain and regulars Chris Addison, Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons are joined by Ed Byrne, Stewart Francis and Rob Beckett, with the panellists giving their take on the week's major news stories by way of stand-up spots and improvised games.

Friday 6 September
Just six days after the last - 'J' series (technically) ended, Qi returns for an eleventh - 'K' - series. As in K for Keith Telly Topping his very self. Tragically, however, for this opening episode - 10:00 BBC2 - they've only been and gone asked back odious, risible, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall so if you're going to miss one of this series sixteen episodes (and two clips shows at the end), this is probably the one to go for. Listen, BBC, seriously - stop employing Jack Whitehall, it only encourages him. There's ribaldry a-plenty in this episode, of course. It's titled Knees and Knockers so lie down on yer actual antique fainting couch as national treasure Stephen Fry and the teams get blushingly saucy in a typically Qi way. But, of course, it's all good fun and even educational - both of which are guaranteed to piss-off some bell-end lice of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail. Which, in and of itself dear blog reader, is more than enough reason for Qi's continued existence - quite aside from the fact that it's, you know, brilliant. Come on, you're surely curious about where in the human body the 'end-bulbs of Krause' are? (It's not where you think!) Or, for that matter, the pores of Kohn? (No, it's not the title of a Star Trek episode.) Elsewhere, smug-but-usually-moderately-amusing Davie Mitchell (you know, Victoria's bloke) has one of his eye-popping Would I Lie To You?-type angry logical rants, this time about, of all things, the 'idiocy' of pandas. Yeah, lazy bastards. Always lying there eating, shooting and, err, leaving. As it were. We also learn why robins are so associated with Christmas, the rules for the driving of cars in early Twentieth-Century Pennsylvania and why red kites are called red kites, even though they aren't, actually, red. Or, indeed, kites in the traditional sense. Regular panellist Alan Davies is joined by Mitchell, the odious, risible, lanky streak-of-piss Whitehall (rest easy, dear blog reader, you'll be relieved to learn that this is the last time you'll have to suffer that turd's presence for the rest of this series) and first-timer Sara Pascoe (who is, properly, funny) with, as usual, points being awarded for interesting answers as well as correct ones. You know the score by now, surely?

Speaking of Would I Lie To You?, let's hear it for the - allegedly much-anticipated - but, to be fair, always enjoyable clip show episode of the highlights of the last series - 10:35 BBC1. These are also some attempts by celebrities to fool other celebrities that ended up on the cutting room floor, not because they weren't funny (they usually are) but because they were surplus to requirements – or just a bit too guessable. But, dear blog reader, we can still revel in Charles Dance's claim that he answers the phone in a Belfast accent or Dermot O'Dreary's obsessive approach to stacking crockery. Best of all is a duel between team captain Lee Mack and Richard Osman over whether the latter invented a superhero called Snooker Table Man as a child. One is fairly sure that Osman is improvising furiously, but if he is, he's doing a stunning job. Hosted, as usual, by Rob Brydon. Team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack are joined by guests including Mel Giedroyc, Jason Manford, Sarah Millican, Stephen Mangan, Warwick Davis, David Harewood, Bob Mortimer, David O'Doherty and Joanna Scanlan in an attempt to hoodwink their opponents with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves. Call My Bluff for the Twenty First Century but with a better class of knob gags. Required viewing.

There's also ITV's - usually wretched - coverage of Live International Football; in this particular case England versus Moldova (kick-off 8:00).

Which brings us to the news: And, we start with the truly world-shattering revelation that Countdown's Rachel Riley her very self has, reportedly, signed up for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. Hold the front pages. The twenty seven-year-old will take to the BBC1 dance-floor alongside fourteen other celebrities next month, according to the Daily Lies. So, that's almost certainly not true, then.
Television has entered a 'third golden age' with the small-screen now home to high-quality drama including Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Homeland and Breaking Bad, one of Hollywood's best-known actors has told the Edinburgh Television Festival. Which is, essentially, what this blogger has been saying for the last decade and a bit so, it's nice to see the rest of the world starting to catch up. Yer actual Kevin Spacey said on Thursday that the medium had 'come into its own as an art form', eclipsing film in terms of character-driven drama. The third wave of success followed broadcasting's early burst of innovation in the 1950s and a second creative high point in the 1980s, with the likes of Hill Street Blues, Kev opined, but he warned that a fear of risk-taking and the 'warp speed' of technological change could leave programme-makers and broadcasters behind. 'Our challenge now is to keep the flame of this revolutionary programming alive by continuing to seek out new talent, nurture it, encourage it, challenge it, give it home and the kind of autonomy that the past and present has proved it deserves,' he told an enraptured audience of TV executives. Audiences are demanding 'complex, smart stories' as they become accustomed to 'bingeing' on box sets, Spacey has told TV executives in Edinburgh. The star of the acclaimed US drama House of Cards said: 'The audience wants control. They want freedom.' He urged the industry to nurture talent and give audiences 'what they want, when they want it. If they want to binge then we should let them binge.' Spacey was the first actor to deliver the showpiece MacTaggart Lecture at the annual TV festival. He criticised US TV networks' obsession with piloting shows before committing to a full series, saying that this forced writers to establish characters, create arbitrary cliff-hangers and prove their concept will work and attract an audience in just forty five minutes. The actor, who is artistic director of the Old Vic theatre, contrasted this approach with cable channels such as HBO and AMC, which gave shows including The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and Mad Men time to develop creatively over several series and build an audience. A two-time Oscar winner for The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, Spacey last year starred in the drama series House Of Cards, which bypassed television channels and premiered on the Internet streaming service Netflix. Spacey said the innovative form of distribution was proof that the TV industry could learn 'the lesson that the music industry didn't learn. Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they'll more likely pay for it rather than steal it. Well, some will still steal it, but I believe this new model can take a bite out of piracy,' he said. Netflix is not the only digital company to move into drama commissioning, with Amazon and Microsoft both investing in new series in the last twelve months. Spacey said the success of House of Cards, whose thirteen episodes were released on the same day, had provided all content-makers with new insights into audience behaviour. 'For years, particularly with the advent of the Internet, people have been griping about lessening attention spans. But if someone can watch an entire season of a TV series in one day, doesn't that show an incredible attention span? When the story is good enough,' he said, 'people can watch something three times the length of an opera.' He added: 'The audience has spoken: They want stories. They're dying for them. And they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them on the bus and to the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, Facebook and God knows what else. All we have to do is give it to them.' His lecture began with a cautionary tale about 'The Suits' at traditional TV networks, who tinkered with programmes and tried to second-guess audiences. The actor said the team behind House of Cards 'got lucky' in that respect. 'We weren't asked to compromise or water down the story we wanted to tell by anyone.' The actor also used the speech to call on the TV industry to be innovative and work harder to support new talent. He encouraged programme-makers to 'keep the flame of this revolutionary programming alive by continuing to seek out new talent, nurture it, encourage it, challenge it, give it [a] home and the kind of autonomy that the past and present - of our three Golden Ages of television - has proved it deserves. We get what audiences want - they want quality. We get what the talent wants - artistic freedom. And the only way to protect talent and the quality of our work is for us to be innovative. We also get what the corporations want, what the studios want, what the networks want - they want to make money and we need them to be profitable so they can continue to fund high quality production,' he added. In a passionate, electric speech punctuated by impressions of his hero and mentor, Jack Lemmon, Spacey said broadcasters had to take more risks and go back to TV's early days in the 1950s, when Lemmon told him there was 'a sense of total abandon.' He warned of a 'shift towards conservatism, away from risk-taking' and urged broadcasters to give creative talent more freedom and said TV commissioners had to be 'willing to take risks, experiment, be prepared to fail by aiming higher rather than playing it safe. We need to surprise, break boundaries, and take viewers to new places. There has been this myth of "nobody knows anything", that making a good programme is a crap-shoot,' he added. 'But frankly, that's just BS. We do know how this works and it's always been about empowering artists. It's always about total abandon.' Finishing his speech on a quote from another of his heroes, Orson Welles, Spacey said: 'I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I just can't stop eating peanuts.'

The BBC's creative director Alan Yentob has said the BBC needs to tackle the 'toxic' issue of executive pay and the split between its so-called 'officer class' and rank-and-file staff. Yentob said that he did not consider himself a member of the so-called 'officer class', a phrase coined by former Newsnight reporter Liz MacKean and later picked up by BBC director general Tony Hall. Although most people consider him to be, in fact, a classic example of the genre. Yentob said that there was a 'toxic situation going on about what people get paid and not get paid. I have never considered myself in that class, I don't know how to tie a tie,' he told the festival on Saturday. Yentob said he could understand staff anger about the controversial issue of pay-offs, with sixty million smackers paid to outgoing BBC executives over an eight-year period instead of being used to make programmes. 'I don't want to get into the issues of pay-offs because it has been discussed endlessly and Tony said from the beginning that it's not going to happen any more,' he said. 'A lot of people had to leave, people who had spent a lifetime at the BBC, and it had to be done very quickly and that's why Mark [Thompson, former BBC director general] decided that should happen and others did it.' He added: 'This thing about the officer class, most of the people who run things at the BBC, certainly the creative leaders, have been through the troops and done things. I see myself as a programme maker, I always have done and always will. This split, particularly at this time, is problematic and we need to move on.' Responding to Kevin Spacey's earlier MacTaggart Lecture and the concept of 'total abandon' in programme making, Yentob said it was not a case of giving creative talent total free rein. '[What] we ought to be able to do is enable creativity, that is what leadership is about. The question of how creatives are looked after is not total abandon. One of the great challenges is how you relate individuals to the people around them and how you create teams but allow them to retain their individuality.' Yentob said there would be 'a more level playing field' in the future between the BBC's in-house producers and independent programme makers. Currently fifty per cent of the BBC's programming is reserved for in-house production, with twenty five per cent for independents and the remaining twenty five per cent up for grabs. 'The BBC has to do better to support and enable the in-house production and to get the best of the indies,' he said. 'I'm a great believer in in-house production.' Asked whether there would be a quota in five years' time, Yentob said: 'I think there probably won't be a quota.' But he said there was an issue about independent producers owned by giant multinational companies. 'It does matter, who owns the intellectual capital. A mixed ecology is the best way.' He said the BBC had a huge opportunity to use new technology to unearth new talent. 'This is a great opportunity. I don't think that broadcasters, I don't think the BBC, has taken sufficient advantage of it. The opportunity is now there, the BBC has thousands of staff, a lot of them young, they understand the technology better, bringing together the creative community to try out ideas. This is the most exciting thing about the next few years.' Yentob said the BBC had 'done quite a lot' to acknowledge that it had not put enough women on screen. 'It's not just about women, the diversity of Britain is what is great, whether it's cultural, racial or other things, that has to be represented at the BBC.'
It is something a three-patch problem, as it were: why has yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self pulled out of big a Hollywood movie on which shooting is due to start in a few months' time? The Sherlock actor had been lined up to star in Crimson Peak, a Gothic horror film about a woman who discovers that her husband might not be whom he appears to be. It will be directed by Guillermo del Toro, whose hit films include Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth. No reason for Benny's departure from the project has been given and, according to some louse of no importance at the Torygraph, alleged 'sources' allegedly say it is not linked to his appearance in any other project.
Meanwhile, Sherlock's third series may have had its premiere date announced. Or, it might just be wishful thinking on behalf of ... you know, 'some people on the Internet.' Your call, dear blog reader. The date was tweeted from the Blogtor Who website who claimed: 'Sherlock series three episode one is set in November and will air on 1 January 2014.' Which would make sense, and it would be two years to the day since the opening episode of series two was shown on BBC1. It is not clear whether the purported date is accurate from where Blogtor Who received this information. Before the tweet, the series was rumoured by some eager fans to have been pencilled in for October as the date was listed on IMDB. Although, that always seemed somewhat unlikely since the series is still being filmed as we speak. The show's producer, Sue Vertue, said that the date on IMDB is clearly 'just a place-holder' and was not confirmed. Mark Gatiss revealed earlier this year that episode one of new series will be titled The Empty Hearse, episode two will be The Sign of Three and episode three, His Last Vow. Sherlock is still in the process of filming its third series with shooting set to conclude in early September. Fans have reportedly flocked to the streets of London earlier this month to watch the cast and crew film scenes. A teaser trailer was also released last month, which shows yer actual Benny Cumberbatch secretly watching some of his friends - including John Watson looking suspiciously like he's got a small furry creature asleep on his top lip.

A bit like that small furry creature, there is a question which has been on every Sherlock fan's lips since January 2012. Just how did Sherlock Holmes survive falling from the roof of St Bart's? Although showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) stopped short of explaining the complete process, he did hinted that some fans have got close to the answer because the options are somewhat limited when it comes to surviving such a scenario. 'He cunningly avoided the pavement. There really is only one way to avoid dying in that circumstance,' Moffat told Frank Skinner at the Ad Lib event in Edinburgh. 'My wife asked very nicely for people not to give the secret away. But not all of what we did in public – and you have to shoot these things in public – necessarily leads you to the right conclusion.' However, the co-creator of the series did concede that some fans have already worked out more or less how Sherlock got away with it. 'But at the same time, as Mark keeps saying, there really are only a limited number of ways he can do this,' he added. 'He's got to interrupt his fall before he hits the pavement, really. Short of developing a superpower which we haven't ruled out.'
Luther creator Neil Cross has ruled out a return to the small screen for the BBC crime drama. Following the conclusion of the third series earlier this year, Cross announced plans to 'wrap up' the cult hit and develop a spin-off movie. Lead actor yer actual Idris Elba said that he would 'not rule out' a fourth series as he is 'very loyal' to the show's audience. However, Elba later admitted that the third series would 'probably' mark the end of John Luther's television adventures. Speaking at Edinburgh, Cross confirmed that the show is now 'finished' on TV. When asked about its future, Cross replied: 'There is none. The show's finished. Idris, as he should be, he's gone on to be a big movie star.' However, Cross did confirm plans for a movie based on the drama, adding: 'I think there will be a Luther movie - that's the plan.' Elba has rapidly risen to stardom in Hollywood following his turns in The Wire and Luther, starring in blockbusters including Thor, Prometheus and Pacific Rim. He is also due to play Nelson Mandela in biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Cross said: 'Because I love Idris, I think, "Oh my God, you're playing Mandela. That's such a big thing. I hope it goes well." But I watched the trailer a couple of weeks ago and it's astonishing. He's a great actor - because he's so beautiful and charismatic and because he commands the screen so singularly, people forget he's a fucking astonishing actor. I can't think of a more high profile, risky role to play than Mandela. He's owned it.' Cross also teased future projects, including an NBC series which begins shooting next month, another script for Doctor Who and plans for a new UK show. 'Exactly what it is, I've got a few ideas,' he added.

Reviving EastEnders will be at the top of BBC1's priorities, according to the channel's controller Charlotte Moore. The recently appointed boss of the corporation's main entertainment channel told the Mirra that she wants EastEnders to become 'the best drama on TV.' Ratings for the flagship soap have fallen in recent months, but Moore said that she aims to return the show to its former glory by making it something to talk about. She said: 'EastEnders is incredibly important to us and some viewers come to the BBC for it and nothing else. We want to make sure it's water cooler TV - a mix of gritty real life that still has humour as part of its rich mix.' Moore said that the return of Samantha Womack, Barbara Windsor and Michael French in the coming months will 'inject some energy' into the show. 'All soaps have their peaks and troughs, but we have big returning characters this autumn including Ronnie Mitchell, Peggy Mitchell and David Wicks,' she explained. Show alleged 'sources' have allegedly predicted that new executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins will 'reinvigorate' The Square with 'bold' ideas. Earlier this week, BBC1 previewed the lead-up to Phil Mitchell's dramatic car crash, which will see him fighting for his life next month.

Channel Five's controller, Ben Frow, has defended his channel's - alleged - ratings 'win' over rival Channel Four, adding that there needs to be 'a rethink' over the view that his channel - owned, remember, by soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond - is 'an also-ran.' Frow responded to comments made by mouthy Jay Hunt, Channel Four's chief creative officer, who implied that Channel Five's victory in a week of all day ratings was down to allegedly 'manipulated' figures. Ooo. Big fight, little people. 'I'm not particularly confused as far as I'm concerned we all follow the same data and the same process,' said Frow, speaking at Edinburgh. 'There is a team telling me if I have or haven't beaten Channel Four, and they told me I had beaten Channel Four. I like to think we did beat Channel Four.' Frow added that the victory, which saw Channel Five trump its rival across a week in terms of total share for the first time since Five launched in 1997, was not something he would dwell on. But, he did. 'We were quite happy that week, it was nice, but it was only one week in fifty two,' he said, not dwelling on it. 'For me it is not about beating Channel Four,' he continued, still not dwelling, 'it is about Channel Five. I like to think we did beat C4 but at the end of the day it's not what it is about, it is about growing share at Channel Five. Share is everything to me, I don't have a goal except for share. It is how I am measured on my success or failure. End of story.' So, no dwelling there, then. Frow, who returned for a second career stint at Channel Five when he started as director of programmes in February, voiced concern that the channel is not treated with the respect it deserves by production companies. Which is probably what happens when you're owned by a soft-core pornographer and you devoted such a large chunk of your schedule to Big Brother. Them's the breaks, baby. 'I do need people to feel that Channel Five is just as important a place for their work as Channel Four or the BBC or any of the other channels,' he said. 'I do feel there is a bit of a perception out there sometimes that Channel Five is an also-ran.' No, not an also-ran. Well, not if you like documentaries about sharks, Nazis or serial killers. Frow, who was controller of features and entertainment at the broadcaster between 2004 and 2007, added: 'Channel Five is in a very good place, it is not like it is a channel in the gutter. That kind of sleazy grubby low-rent stuff I was doing before is gone. We are more blue-collar and down-market than other channels, but that doesn't mean we have to stay there or that is all we do.' He claimed that the broadcaster needs 'another beast' to go alongside Big Brother, which he admitted will eventually start to 'tail off', although he believes the reality show still has a 'good few years in it yet. I don't want to be reliant on it [but] it is the great white hope I guess,' he said. 'One day it will start to fail and tail off. I like to think it has a lot more in it. We will continue to surprise people, evolve it. It has a good few years in it yet.' Of more pressing concern is the winding-down of the CSI crime franchise, a staple of Channel Five's programming schedule. 'We need another beast, as has been well-documented [CSI] is being cancelled now [in the US],' he said. 'The days of the double, or triple, CSI is coming to an end because they are not making them any more.' In actual fact, CSI itself was recommissioned for a fourteenth series in March of this year. CSI NY has recently been cancelled.

Sky Living is to ditch its 'pink' branding in an attempt to move the female-oriented channel away from the idea of women watching their shows 'in their pink fluffy bedroom, wearing their pink fluffy negligee.' Antonia Hurford-Jones, the director of Sky Living, said that the channel is undergoing 'a makeover' which will involve swapping the pink branding for a blue and silver logo. The home of hit US dramas like Bones and Elementary and fashion series The Face, Hurford-Jones also said the channel will no longer show programmes that are 'too girly' and do not appeal to men. 'We are in the middle of a bit of a revamp and from September onwards, we're doing a rebrand. My feeling was on joining Sky Living about a year ago it was a little bit too niche in the sort of subject matters we were covering,' she said at Edinburgh on Saturday. 'I wanted to broaden it out from that old fashioned view of women liking girly pink stuff and fashion and dating and weddings. That's not to say there isn't a place for all those things, but women are quite normal and we have lots of broad interests and I think we needed to broaden it out a bit and widen our remit.' She added: 'We keep being told that women like watching television with their partners. They don't want to sit alone in their pink fluffy bedroom, wearing their pink fluffy negligee, watching shows on their own. It's all about watching with their partners. So shared viewing is extremely important. I wouldn't do anything that was exclusively male-skewed, but pretty much everything else is fair game. As well as metaphorically, I am literally de-pinking the channel.' Hurford-Jones, an entertainment commissioner at Sky who became Sky Living director last November, said that she would not commission programmes which are 'too niche [or] girly. I think that not only alienates men, but I think it alienates quite a lot of women as well,' she said, adding that the most exacerbating pitch she got from producers was about 'men with their tops off.'

She made quite a career for herself from turning struggling retailers around and trying to breathe new life into Britain's high streets. But sour-faced full-of-her-own-importance Mary Portas, the former creative director of Harvey Nichols turned (not particularly good) TV presenter, appears to have met her match in TV critics whom she snootily branded 'slightly sociopathic' and 'clinically mad.' One assumes that the feeling is entirely mutual. Portas whinged like a big whinger about at The Sunday Times critic AA Gill, who savaged her TV début six years ago, and the Daily Scum Mail writer Liz Jones. Neither of whom this blogger is particular fan of, but I'll defend both on their rights to find risible, odious, full-of-herself Mary Portas and her nasty, foul television formats utter tripe. 'There is a culture in the media at the moment, in reviews, that you have to be really clever and you have to have a side, it's got to have an edge,' thin-skinned Portas suggested at the Edinburgh television festival. She described Gill's review of her BBC2 show Mary Queen of Shops in 2007 was the 'most heinous' she had ever read. 'I have blocked it out of my mind, it was so bad,' she claimed, although she still whinged about it at length so, clearly, it wasn't that blocked. 'I couldn't even speak it was so horrible. He's an incredibly talented writer, he is clever, but it's just not the truth,' claimed Portas. 'It's this culture, this slightly sociopathic attitude that TV critics have to write. I don't think he's got an emotional filter. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I wrote what he wrote.' Actually, Gill merely wrote that he didn't like your TV show, dear. As a TV critic that's his job and as a licence fee payer (you know, one of those annoying 'little people' who, since you were working for the BBC at the time, paid your sodding wages) that's his right. Jesus, they should have called it Mary, Drama Queen Of Shops. Portas, whose more recent Channel Four shows include the wretched, risible Mary's Bottom Line and the completely self-serving and thoroughly odious Mary Queen Of The High Street, added: 'It's become an art form now, writers like Julie Burchill or Liz Jones in the Mail. You are clinically mad writing that.' She added that 'of course' Jones had attacked her and come down 'like a bag of snakes on top of me. I think I'd have failed if she hadn't.' Portas also recalled how she had struck a deal with the Absolutely Fabulous creator Jennifer Saunders to feature Harvey Nichols when the show first started on the BBC in 1992. 'I was on a shoot and someone was talking about Jennifer Saunders making this TV show so I called her. We met and I said "listen, I will work with you and give you access to all the brands and I'll get you access to the designers if you just name-check us as the only shop."' Portas said it was 'one of the factors' which helped breathe new life into the Nichols brand and make the loss-making retailer profitable again. 'That could have fallen flat on its face if that show hadn't taken off and been really clever,' she said. 'There's an element of risk, it's about all these things coming together.' She said some of the people she had met in an episode of Mary Queen Of The High Street, in which she tried to rejuvenate the Kent seaside town of Margate, had been 'horrible.' Again, one assumes that the feeling was entirely mutual. 'There were a few really not very nice people,' she said. 'They're very clever and not very nice, and would go to the press [with stories]. They would set these stories and by the time we got there it was beyond exhausting. Most of them in Margate were fantastic and wanted the change. I really rarely dislike anyone. I did meet some horrible people.' In her latest Channel Four series, Portas will launch an employment agency for people over sixty five called Age Against the Machine.
ITV's director of television Peter Fincham has denied that Coronation Street is 'in crisis', despite scandals involving Chris Fountain's Internet raps and Bill Roache facing trial on sexual assault charges. Fincham did not directly refer to those events instead focusing on Coronation Street's ratings. 'Coronation Street is I think up three per cent year-on-year,' he said, speaking at Edinburgh on Friday. 'Just in those narrow terms it is doing really, really well with audiences. The short and simple answer is no, I don't think it is in trouble at all.' He was interviewed by Martha Kearney, presenter of BBC Radio 4's The World at One, who also asked Fincham about the half a million quid pay out he reportedly received when he was forced to resign as BBC1 controller in the wake of the so-called 'Crowngate' affair. 'It is six years since I left the BBC and I haven't talked about the circumstances in which I left and I don't want to start now,' he said. 'I've really resisted turning into an armchair commentator on the BBC, which I had a wonderful time at.' Kearney pushed the issue once more, asking if he might consider emulating Roly Keating, the former BBC director of archive content, who voluntarily returned his three hundred and seventy five thousand smackers pay off. 'I honestly don't want to talk about it,' said Fincham. 'I actually have confidentiality obligations which I have observed about this and I just don't think this is the appropriate forum to do so.' Fincham also disagreed with Kevin Spacey's MacTaggart Lecture the previous evening, in which the actor argued for Netflix's model of allowing fans to binge on multiple episodes of shows online, pointing to the successful formula of the crime series Broadchurch. 'In a way, Broadchurch was very against modern trends,' he said. 'Eight hours, one crime, it was a very discursive piece in a way. It wasn't going to deliver a result to the audience at the end of every hour. It reminded us of the deferred pleasure that we had to wait until Monday night. It became a talking point. I believe if we look into the future I'm an absolute believer in box-sets and binge viewing and watching TV in the way you want to. But I also am a very strong believer in the value of the linear schedule – the social value – that's what makes it water cooler television.'

A number of Loose Women presenters are reportedly 'facing the axe' by early 2014. Although not with an actual axe, obviously. Because that would be messy. ITV 'bosses' (tabloid-speak for 'executives' only with less syllables) are alleged to be looking to 'make some changes' in the daytime show following a drop in ratings, according to the Sun. Each panellist has allegedly been handed twelve-week contracts, with their place on the show being reviewed in January. Carol Vorderman, Carol McGiffin and Linda Robson are among those who may get their arse kicked out the door in the New Year. Celebrity Big Brother-type person McGiffin and Sherrie Hewson are two-to-one favourites to go, according to the scum tabloid. Jane McDonald and Janet Street-Porter follow at three-to-one, while Lisa Maxwell and Sally Lindsay have odds of four-to-one. However, Denise Welch and Andrea McLean are both tipped to survive the axeman, bookmakers Ladbrokes allegedly said. Loose Women creator Helen Warner recently returned to ITV from Channel Four as the new Head of Daytime.

Dave has ordered a new comedy featuring Harry Enfield, Jack Dee, Sally Phillips and Richard Hammond. Crackanory will be feature part live-action, part-animated tales, performed by celebrities. Each episode of the six-part series will tell two twenty-minute stories, penned by a variety of comedy writers including Kevin Eldon and The League of Gentlemen's Jeremy Dyson. In addition to Enfield, Dee, Phillips and Hammond, more talent will contribute to the series, with more names to be unveiled at a later date. 'The art of storytelling is far from dead; in fact Dave's bringing it back bigger and better,' said general manager Steve North. 'Crackanory gives it a brand new, contemporary twist, in what could be described as an ingenious adult adaptation of well-loved children's programme Jackanory. Weird and wonderful tales delivered by the funniest people on television: Dave viewers are sure to find this a delicious combination.' Crackanory will debut in late 2013 on Dave.

The BBC's director general has said he would like to see more women hosting or co-hosting breakfast shows on the corporation's local radio stations. 'By the end of 2014 I would like to see half of our local radio stations with a woman presenting on the breakfast shows,' said Tony Hall on Thursday. Currently, two local breakfast shows are presented solely by women, while seven have women co-hosting - including yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved BBC Newcastle whose breakfast show is presented by Alfie Joey and the divine Charlie Charlton. The remaining thirty two are presented by men. Lord Hall made his comments on Thursday at Edinburgh during an unscheduled appearance at a panel event on the challenges he has faced since taking up his job in April. He also addressed staff concerns regarding pay-outs to senior BBC managers, saying he was 'concentrating on trying to lance that particular issue.' Across BBC local radio, women make up forty eight per cent of the entire workforce. But only BBC Leeds' Liz Green and Alina Jenkins on BBC Radio Solent host the breakfast shows solo. 'Finding new and diverse voices is a challenge we relish,' said David Holdsworth, controller of English Regions. 'Work is already under way to better reflect the communities we serve. A series of initiatives have been launched to widen the way BBC Local Radio searches for and identifies talented presenters while, at the same time, seeking to address any challenges that women may face in this area.'

A - clearly not mental nor anything - Beatles fan wants to 'create a clone' of the notorious alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon by using one of the late singer's teeth. Yeah, that sounds feasible. Michael Zuk, a dentist from Canada - who is clearly not mental or anything - bought one of Lennon's molars for nearly twenty grand two years ago (which proves, at least, that this chap has got more money than yer actual sense). Now, Zuk claims that he wants to extract DNA from the tooth, in some sort of sick experiment which is against all the laws of God and man, the Sun reports. And, of course, they always tell the truth. Lennon, who was shot extremely dead in December 1980, reportedly gave the tooth to his housekeeper after he had it pulled out in the 1960s. As you do. Zuk bought it from the housekeeper's son. Just to repeat, for twenty grand. So, clearly not mental or anything. He said: 'If scientists think they can clone mammoths, then John Lennon could be next. To say I had a small part in bringing back one of rock's greatest stars would be mind blowing. Many Beatles fans remember where they were when they heard John Lennon was shot. I hope they also live to hear the day he got another chance.' Aye. Clearly not mental.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a righteous blast from the decade that taste forget. Racy Tracie Young (produced by the Goddamn Modfather Paul Weller and introduced on this Top Of The Pops clip by the Virry Guv'nor His Self, Lord John Peel) and a song about yer actual sadomasochism. Wicked. Very nice tight pink jeans as well, Trace.

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