Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Y'Get Nowt For Nowt In This Life, And Very Little For Sixpence

The Great British Bake Off returned to its usual excellent overnight ratings figures for BBC2 on Tuesday. The competition series attracted 5.6 million punters at 8pm with a peak of 6.3 million viewers and a twenty six per cent share of the available audience. This is up nearly two million from last August's launch episode which attracted just under four million overnight viewers. It beat all other TV shows in its time slot including Holby City on BBC1. The hospital drama picked up 4.4 million viewers. New Tricks topped the night overall once again, but was down by four hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 6.49m at 9pm. On ITV, Nature's Newborns could only manage 2.34m at 7.30pm, while a repeat of Lewis appealed to 1.77m at 8pm. Channel Four's new series opener of Top Boy brought in 1.01m at 9pm. Double Your House For Half The Money, featuring Sarah Beeny - she has her knockers - was seen by 1.19m at 8pm. On Channel Five, CSI: NY had an audience of 1.11m at 9pm. The subsequent documentary 9/11: Crime Scene Investigators picked up eight hundred and seventy seven thousand viewers at 10pm.

So, it's totally official, dear blog reader: Yer actual Mary Berry has taken her place in the pantheon of top TV cooks in the area. First, there was 'The Delia Effect', then came 'The Nigella Effect' (she has her knockers too, dear blog reader, you might have noticed). Now, The Great British Bake Off judge scowling Mary Berry has, as it were, whisked up her own phenomenon like a Victoria sponge mix. The Daily Scum Express, in their scummy scummishness, reports that sales of bakery goods – including wooden spoons, rolling pins and mixing bowls – have 'shot up' ahead of the BBC1 hit's new series return Tuesday night. Unfortunately for Berry's co-star, Paul Hollywood, even Bake Off's somewhat unlikely popularity does not yet warrant 'The Hollywood Effect'.

The Naked Rambler - which this blog previewed last week - was postponed by BBC1 on Tuesday night at the eleventh hour. The one-off documentary about controversial naked walker Stephen Gough was, ahem, 'pulled from the schedules' at the last minute, after the father-of-two was arrested in Winchester last week for, alleged, naughty nudity. A spokesperson for the BBC confirmed that the programme had not been shown 'for legal reasons.' Gough, a former Royal Marine, had previously received an ASBO which prevented him from engaging in public naughty nekkedness - terms which he breached by showing his buttocks and genitalia in public. And once again, we ask the question posed when the programme was first announced - is Stephen a maverick outsider demonstrating his right to freedom of expression in a supposedly free (but, actually, highly repressive) society or is he a shameless exhibitionist who simply enjoys getting his Charlie out in public, to the massive distress of little old ladies everywhere he goes? The documentary followed the fifty four-year-old's bid to walk, in the altogether, from Scotland - where, it's a bit nippy at the best of times - to Hampshire, and had originally been due to broadcast at 10.35pm on Tuesday. It is currently unclear whether the BBC will show the documentary at a later date. After serving a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence for his nude ways last year, Gough walked from prison completely naked. He was then re-arrested days after his release.
David Cameron ordered Britain's most senior civil servant to contact the Gruniad Morning Star over classified information leaked by Edward Snowden, it has emerged. Whether he also told them to cut out their regular crass and ignorant criticism of Top Gear is, at this time, not known. But, if he didn't, he should have. Alleged Whitehall 'sources' allegedly confirmed that Sir Jeremy Heywood (he's not alleged, he definitely exists) approached the newspaper over the matter. It came after the Gruniad published details about secret US and British surveillance programmes. Editor, the odious and specky Alan Runtbudgie claimed that the newspaper was 'forced' to destroy the computer hard drives storing the information in July. Runtbudgie said his conversations with the government prior to that happening, on 20 July, had been with 'a very senior official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister.' Meanwhile, the partner of a Gruniad journalist held for nine hours at Heathrow airport under anti-terror laws on Sunday has told the BBC that he was forced to divulge e-mail and social media account passwords to his interrogators. Pfft. Lightweight. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping would not divulge his passwords to The Man even if he was chained to a chair, had his meat and two veg put in a plastic tube which then had a rabid, half-starved weasel released into it, dear blog reader. No way, Jose. I'd've said 'naff off, fascists, I'm telling ya nowt. Oh, all right then, it's "BigHardThing99" if you must know.' What can I say, dear blog reader? I just weak. David Miranda said that his interrogators threatened that he could go to prison if he did not do so. On Tuesday, the Independent and the Daily Scum Mail both reported that Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy had made contact with the Gruniad. Alleged Whitehall 'sources' allegedly emphasised that it would have been 'a total abdication of their responsibilities' not to talk to the Gruniad. Allegedly. The government, they claim, feared that if secret data held by the newspaper fell into what it called 'the wrong hands' (whatever the fek that means) it could have been a threat to the UK, the alleged 'sources' allegedly added. The conversations between Whitehall and the Gruniad took place with the explicit approval of Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Foreign Secretary, Billy Fizz. Following the conversations, Runtbudgie agreed to what he has called 'one of the most bizarre incidents' in the newspaper's history. Two GCHQ security experts oversaw the destruction in a basement of computer files containing information from America's National Security Agency leaked by Edward Snowden. Runtbudgie said: 'We were quite clear we were not going to hand this material back to the British government so we destroyed it ourselves under advice from a couple of GCHQ intelligence experts, who told us which bits of the hard drive to smash up, in what way.' The editor said he believed handing the hard drives to the government would have been 'a betrayal' of the newspaper's source. It is understood that the files had already been copied and the Gruniad is expected to continue pursuing the Snowden story. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who is the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, told Radio 4's Today programme: 'Neither Mr Snowden nor the editor of the Guardian - or the editor of any other newspaper - is in a position to necessarily judge whether the release of top-secret information may have a significant relevance in the battle against terrorism.' He went on: 'Sometimes you might genuinely think you can release a document and it's not going to be of any assistance to a terrorist when in fact you might be wrong - and that's simply a question of your inability to judge if you are a newspaper editor or a journalist as opposed to somebody involved in the intelligence work that has to be done.' Former National Security Agency contractor Snowden has been granted asylum in Russia despite requests from America that he be returned so that he can get locked in a cell and have the shit kicked out of him by the CIA. Asked about the Independent's story, a spokeswoman for the Gruniad told the BBC: 'We're not going to comment on this.' Except to comment that they're not going to comment, obviously. Oh, I feel dizzy now. Elsewhere, it has emerged that Miranda - the boyfriend of Gruniad journalist Glenn Greenwald who has covered stories based on leaks by Snowden - is to launch legal action over his detainment at Heathrow airport. He wants his confiscated electronic equipment returned and assurances that his private data will not be distributed on to other parties. And, presumably, loads of yer actual wonga for his trouble into the bargain.
The Metropolitan police had no legal basis to detain David Miranda under the Terrorism Act 2000, Tony Blair's former Lord Chancellor has claimed. Lord Falconer of Thoroton, who helped introduce the bill in the House of Lords, said that the act 'makes clear' that police can only detain someone to assess whether they are involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism. Falconer told the Grunaid: 'I am very clear that this does not apply, either on its terms or in its spirit, to Mr Miranda.' The peer, who served as solicitor general from 1997 to 1998 and as Lord Chancellor from 2003 to 2007, was highly critical of the Home Secretary, the vile and odious rascal May, who praised the police action at Heathrow on the grounds that the partner of the Grunaid journalist Glenn Greenwald allegedly may, or may not, have possessed allegedly 'sensitive documents' which could (or, could not) help terrorists and 'lead to a loss of lives.' or, not as the case may be. The vile and odious rascal May also said that police had acted 'within the law.' Falconer disagreed. He said that the Home Secretary's statement 'is putting it too widely.' Falconer cited in detail the Terrorism Act 2000, which was passed as the government moved to crack down on dissident Irish republican terrorists in the wake of the 1998 Good Friday agreement, to show that there was 'no legal basis' for the detention of Miranda. He said that schedule seven of the act allows police to detain someone even when they have 'no grounds for suspicion.' But, he added that police can only stop an individual to determine whether they are involved 'in commission, preparation or instigation' of terrorism. Falconer said: 'What schedule seven allows an examining officer to do is to question somebody in order to determine whether he is somebody who is preparing, instigating or commissioning terrorism. Plainly Mr Miranda is not such a person.' The second paragraph of schedule section act says, specifically: 'An examining officer may question a person to whom this paragraph applies for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a person falling within section forty (1)(b).' This refers to paragraph forty earlier in the act which defines a terrorist at (b) as a person who 'is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.' Falconer said that the provision in schedule seven, which allows the police to stop an individual even if there are no grounds for suspicion, is 'not designed for the likes of Miranda.' He said: 'What that provision is intended to allow is random searches where you've got a group of people, maybe everybody who is coming in from Northern Ireland on that ferry, where what you are going to do is search people. But there the examining officer, although he does not have grounds for suspecting any individual, has a perfectly good basis for doing random searches. Or, he might think it is sensible to examine every third person because it is relevant or this is a way of getting to the truth. But that section plainly doesn't apply here. What is happening is they are targeting Miranda because they believe that he may have information that has been obtained from Snowden. The reason that doesn't fall within schedule seven is because even assuming that they think there is material which has been obtained in breach of the Officials Secrets Act, the action of Miranda or anybody he is acting with, could not be described as somebody concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. You could not reasonably believe, if you were the state, that Miranda is commissioning or assisting somebody to commission terrorism, to prepare terrorism or to instigate terrorism.' Falconer conceded that the word 'instigation' in the act 'could be open to interpretation.' But, he said: 'You could argue that publishing this material could drive the world into such a frenzy that terrorism takes place. But that is much too wide a definition of instigation. What the act has in mind is people who are encouraging others, specifically and directly, to commit acts of terrorism, which neither Miranda nor Greenwald are engaged in. So my view – and I am very clear about this – is that schedule seven does not cover what happened subject to one thing: if the government has got reason to believe that Greenwald or Miranda were engaged in something I know nothing about then obviously it might cover it – but from what has been said the basis of the stopping was a connection with the Snowden activities.' Falconer was critical of the vile and odious rascal May who, along with David Cameron, was apparently given advance notice of the police decision to detain Miranda. The Home secretary, who said that police had made their own decisions about Miranda independently of ministers, praised them on the grounds that they suspected Miranda had information 'useful to terrorists.' As indeed, theoretically it could be argued, does every single member of, for example, the armed forces or the Ministry of Defence. So, it'll be interesting to see if any of those get pulled on their way through Terminal Five the next time they're either on their way to, or from, holiday. Someone, I doubt it. The former Lord Chancellor said: '[The vile and odious rascal May's statement] is putting it too widely. The reason that the examining officer may question the person is to determine whether he is a person who is, or has been, concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. What they are doing is winkling it much too wide. They are forcing into the wording of forty (1)(b), which is referred to in schedule seven paragraph two, much too wide words.' The Gruniad admit that they paid for Miranda's flights and state that 'Miranda is not a Guardian employee but often "assists" Greenwald in his work.'
The White House has said that it would not be 'appropriate' for the US government to destroy leaked government secrets obtained by media organisations in the way ordered by the British government. 'It's very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate here,' said White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday. Earnest's statement was the first made by the Obama administration after Alan Runtbudgie disclosed that the British government insisted that the Gruniad surrender or destroy computers containing allegedly 'classified' information allegedly provided by Edward Snowden. Allegedly. The United States provides greater legal protections for journalism than the UK. Earnest did not say that such destruction was impossible to imagine. US government destructions of inadvertently released and disseminated classified material are rare, but they have occurred. During a court battle over the frozen assets of a now-defunct Islamic charity, al-Haramain, the government in 2004 accidentally released to al-Haramain's lawyers a document which apparently indicated the NSA had 'surveilled' the charity without a warrant and passed a record of the surveillance to the Treasury Department, apparently contributing to the asset freeze. A court in Oregon kept the document in a secure facility. Years later, following lengthy litigation in multiple venues, Justice Department officials in California used a table leg and a chair leg in 2007 to destroy a laptop computer containing a court brief which described the document. Earnest declined to criticise the British government, Washington's closest foreign ally, saying that he 'did not know' more about the data destruction beyond what has been reported. He added that it was 'hard for me to evaluate the propriety of that.' American media watchdogs have described the coerced destruction of copies of the Snowden data as deeply problematic for the freedom of the press. The Gruniad 'has been threatened by its own government with prior restraint and had its hard drives smashed in its basement to make a (stupid) point,' wrote Ryan Chittum in the Columbia Journalism Review. 'This is police-state stuff. We need to know the American government's role in these events – and its stance on them – sooner rather than later.'
You said it, Doctor. Albeit, in redacted form.

Doctor Who showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has acknowledged The Doctor's regeneration limit. Speaking at The Ad-Lib Event at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Moffat gives little specific detail about how he plans to get around The Doctor's life cycle, first established in a throw-away line in the 1976 four-parter The Deadly Assassin. 'Do you acknowledge the convention that The Doctor can only regenerate twelve times?' moderator Frank Skinner asked, to which Moffat simply replied: 'Yes.' Moffat also spoke about Peter Capaldi retaining his Scottish accent for his portrayal of The Doctor, commenting: 'I'd be very surprised if he didn't [keep it]' The showrunner revealed that 'the door is open' for a return of The Doctor's daughter, Jenny (played by David Tennant's missus Georgia Moffett), whilst a return for for The Doctor's former companion, Romana, was, effectively, ruled out. 'I have actually given no thought at all to Romana. The Time Lords are dead in my mind.' A member of the audience asked if JK Rowling will write one of the planned Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary short stories which the BBC has said will be written by famous 'well-known children's authors.' 'I can’t confirm that right now,' said Moffat. The Moffinator his very self also commented on the longevity of Sherlock, making reference to his two stars and their increasingly successful film careers. 'It's quite difficult at the moment,' he admitted, thanks to the difficulty of judging various filming schedules. So what future would the show have if Benny Cumberbatch and Marty Freeman took the decision to move on? Could Sherlock and John follow in the footsteps of the Time Lord and simply regenerate? 'That show could not continue without Benedict and Martin. It's absolutely them,' stated Moffat. But any ardent Sherlock fans worrying that their favourite show could soon come to an end can be comforted by Moffat's next suggestion. 'Benedict and Martin have been announcing on various red carpets that they're happy to come back and keep doing it. It would be quite nice to do it for a long, long time - let them age and become the normal aged Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.'

The 1970s family SF series The Tomorrow People is to return to British television after an American remake was bought by Channel Four. The series is based on the popular children's show which ran for several seasons on ITV, featuring a group of young people with advanced powers. It is to be screened by E4 next year. The Tomorrow People - created by Roger Price - was first shown in 1973 and continued through seven series until 1979. It was seen as the commercial network's most direct attempt to muscle in on the success of Doctor Who. The stories featured a regularly changing group of teenage characters with powers of telepathy and teleportation, who had reached another stage of human evolution, homo superior. The cast, most famously, included teen pop star and actor Mike Holoway. To be honest, it was a bit shit, really - with notoriously cheap production values that made Doctor Who's look like 2001: A Space Odyssey by comparison - although, we all still watched it at the time and it had (and retains) a big following in the way that lots of sparkly and camp early-70s kitsch does. The show was first revived two decades later by ITV for a further twenty five episodes. The show is one of a trio of new programmes which have been bought from Warner Bros International Television. Channel Four will also screen Hostages – a thriller starring Toni Colette as a surgeon who must murder the US President or her family will be killed – and E4 will broadcast The One Hundred, a post apocalyptic space drama. Channel Four's chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: 'Channel Four has had real success with Warner Bros shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Two Broke Girls so I'm thrilled to be bringing more of the best acquisitions to the Channel Four network.'

As Channel Four's racing team prepare to screen the prestigious Ebor festival from York, which starts on Wednesday, its sports editor has mounted a vigorous defence of its work. Since the broadcaster began exclusive coverage of the sport in January, bringing IMG on board as the new producer, viewing figures have been, let's be fair about this, hugely disappointing and critical reception somewhat mixed. But, Jamie Aitchison insists he has 'no concerns' on either score, while acknowledging the 'challenge' that racing presents. 'I think we're in a pretty good place,' he said this week, describing this year's racing coverage as a step forward on Channel Four's output last year. 'It's visually stronger, it's definitely slicker and the presentation team [led by Clare Balding] are really all excellent at what they do. When I talk to other people who work in television, they can all see the standard of production values and the work that's going into it.' It must be a matter for regret, then, that audiences have generally been lower than last year and not just for races like the Grand National, for which Channel Four faced an impossible task in trying to reproduce BBC1's peak of 10.9m viewers from 2012. In the event, 8.9m for this year's National was seen as a a qualified success, though Royal Ascot suffered a greater audience drop for its first time away from the BBC. Concern has centred on the fact that for the first half of this year audiences tended to be down even for the Saturday afternoons, when Channel Four was showing much the same racing as last year, while the station's preview show, The Morning Line, also performed below par. But Aitchison claims that recent viewing figures are 'more cheerful' and that in, any case, it is 'unfair' to use 2012 as a benchmark. 'Channel Four racing, year-on-year, without the crown jewel events, is still seven per cent down on 2012,' he concedes. 'But, I think there's quite obvious reasons for that. Against 2010 and 2011, they're up. All that moaning: "Oh, this is crap, we don't like it", is nonsense because we've got more people watching than in 2010 and 2011.' Pressed as to why the figures for 2012 would be unusually good, Aitchison says: 'I think sport was massive in people's minds last year. You had great racing stories. We had a number of weekends where racing was on the front pages: Frankel and then Black Caviar coming over. The Diamond Jubilee gave a great boost to the Derby and Royal Ascot because the Queen was massively in focus. I can show you a chart; 2012 is an anomaly in terms of racing. Racing was actually in decline for years previous to it and then spiked in 2012.' Neither chart nor precise figures were actually subsequently produced, despite a request from the Gruniad for Aitchison to do so. A Channel Four press officer agreed that the audience increase on 2010 and 2011 could only be 'marginal.' But Aitchison's point, Channel four claim, is that there are 'no major concerns' and he reports that 21.7 million people - a third of the British population - have watched at least three minutes of racing on the channel this year. A post-Royal Ascot review focused only on issues like making better use of new technology. Aitchison would very much like to be making more use of sectional times, which illustrate changes in the speed of runners during a race and could offer significant insights. Alas, the mechanics of recording them has so far proved 'frustrating' and he fired a shot across the bow of the company responsible, saying: 'At the moment Turftrax is in pole position but everybody is looking as to what other products are out in the market.' Turftrax's MD, Mike Maher, responded by saying: 'We have had frustrations ourselves this year but as we continue the development of the system for new applications, the data it provides becomes ever more robust.' Aitchison also gave racing itself a prod. 'This first six months, if you go up to the man in the street and say, name me a horse that has won a big race, it's very hard for them to do that. It's a tough sport to bring new people into. I've watched lots of different sports and this is definitely the toughest because it can be very complicated. The Queen winning at Royal Ascot was brilliant. I'd say that's probably the only [story] of this year so far that would cut through to your average sports fan. The challenge is to keep growing, not stagnating. We've shown with the Grand National, we can get the audience, but it's not a challenge we're doing on our own; I think racing needs to keep pushing itself and make sure events like the Derby are up in people's focus.'
Jim Davidson will face no further action over alleged sexual offences in the UK, the CPS has said. The fifty nine-year-old was first arrested in January by detectives from Operation Yewtree. He was subsequently re-arrested in March after further allegations emerged. His solicitor, Henri Brandman, said that Davidson was 'pleased' with the news. Allegations that investigations are to continue over claims that Davidson impersonated a comedian cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied. The CPS said that it had considered ten allegations against Davidson but added that there was 'insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to all complaints.' A second man arrested at the same time as Davidson, a fifty three-year-old from Hampshire, will also face no further action, the CPS said. The Metropolitan Police said that one allegation against Davidson and referred to Operation Yewtree remains outstanding, but because it falls outside UK jurisdiction it has been referred to 'the relevant authority.'
Sun reporter Rhodri Phillips will face no further action after his arrest last year ago by police investigating the theft of a Labour MP's phone. The journalist was held in July last year on suspicion of 'handling stolen goods' in relation to an incident said to have taken place over a year earlier involving Siobhain McDonagh's mobile phone. Earlier this year, the Sun grovellingly apologised in the High Court for accessing private information on a stolen mobile phone belonging to a Labour MP. Phillips was arrested as part of the Operation Tuleta investigation into computer hacking and other alleged breaches of privacy and naughty shenanigans. The high court heard earlier this year that police told McDonagh her text messages had been accessed after her phone was stolen in October 2010. The Sun, which has not admitted the theft of the phone itself, agreed to pay the MP 'very substantial' damages after she launched a civil claim for invasion of privacy and breach of confidence.

Jodie Marsh has signed up to, if you will, front two documentaries for the TLC network. The body-builder will host two one-off programmes titled Jodie Marsh On... Steroids and Jodie Marsh On... The Game. Both programmes will be broadcast on the digital channel in October. Marsh has spoken in the past about how she was often offered but declined 'cash for (ahem) extras' while working as a dancer and she has also refused to use steroids as a body-builder. In the Steroids documentary, Marsh will look into the underground world of steroid users, and how the performance-enhancing products are affecting the sport. She will examine the psychological and physical effects of steroids and whether they actually improve performances. In The Game, Marsh will research how the nation's attitude towards prostitution has changed over the years and meet people involved in the escorting industry. Marsh has previously fronted the documentary Bullied for Channel Five. Earlier this year, she revealed that she was once offered ten thousand smackers for sex from 'an A-list celebrity.' has reportedly been lined up for a return to The Voice. The Black Eyed Peas performer will serve as coach on the third series of the competition, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Not that anyone actually cares about that.

Michael Palin is to play the role of God in the Monty Python musical Spamalot, in London's West End. Palin's performance, which has already been filmed, will be included in shows from 26 to 31 August. Fellow group member Eric Idle usually plays the part but this summer other actors have taken over the role to raise money for charity. It comes as it is announced the show will have its run extended until 8 February 2014. Others who have filmed the role of God include Barbara Windsor, Christopher Biggins, Hugh Bonneville, Larry Lamb and Bradley Walsh. Palin has chosen Action for Stammering Children as his nominated charity. The musical currently stars Bonnie Langford as the Lady of the Lake, and Les Dennis as King Arthur. Warwick Davis will soon join the cast as Patsy from 23 September until 19 October. Spamalot, which was written by Idle, is on at the Playhouse Theatre. The show is based on largely the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, about a group of incompetent medieval knights searching for the religious relic. But Spamalot also spoofs Broadway and various musicals, including those of Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as including plenty of other references to the work of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It premiered on Broadway in 2005 and went on to win three Tony Awards, before coming to London in 2006.

A tasty silk jacket which once belonged to alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon is expected to fetch up to twelve grand at auction. The teal blue Nehru jacket, later owned by Jo Jo Johns, Lennon's personal assistant, will be auctioned in Derbyshire. Johns had to clear Lennon's home, Tittenhurst, when he moved to the US in 1971 and later gave the jacket to her friend, Tony Goddard, as a birthday present. For twenty five years, Goddard has had the jacket on display at his Leicestershire home but said it was 'time to sell it. The jacket was given to me at one of my birthday parties in the early 1970s. Jo Jo was a good friend and she had acquired a lot of abandoned belongings from the band members.' The three-quarter length jacket, with a mandarin collar and slightly flared sleeves, shows some 'small signs of wear.' 'There is no doubt, in my mind, that this jacket was well worn by John in the late 1960s,' said Charles Hanson, manager of Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall. Junior valuer Elizabeth Bailey said when the jacket was brought along to a valuation evening earlier in the year, 'the whole room dropped into a stunned silence' when the vendor explained the item's history. The jacket, with a statement of provenance, has a guide price of between eight and twelve thousand knicker.

Ted Post, the veteran US film and TV director who worked with Clint Eastwood on Hang 'Em High and Magnum Force, has died in Los Angeles at the age of ninety five. Born in Brooklyn in 1918, Ted first directed Eastwood in twenty four episodes of the classic western TV series Rawhide. The actor insisted that Post direct his 1968 western Hang 'Em High but they reportedly fell out on the set of Magnum Force, the second film in the Dirty Harry series. Post's other directing credits include 1970's Beneath the Planet of the Apes. He also worked on the 1980 pilot episode of long-running police series Cagney and Lacey. Post would later blame Eastwood for the decline of his career, accusing the actor of claiming to have had directed more of Magnum Force than he did. 'I believe that Clint became afflicted with a touch of megalomania,' Ted told one interviewer. 'Clint's greed and ego began to affect his sensitivity and judgment.' The pair later appeared to have, at least partially, reconciled their differences, however. In 1996, Post formed Pro Bono Productions, a non-profit corporation intended to showcase the skills of older members of the Hollywood community and Eastwood publicly endorsed the initiative, along with the likes of Jack Lemmon, Karl Malden and Gregory Peck. The director's final film was Four Faces, a low-budget title released in 1999. Post died at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica on Tuesday and is survived by his wife Thelma, two children and four grandchildren.

Maria Sharapova has revealed plans to change her surname to Sugarpova. The Russian tennis player hopes to temporarily alter her surname for the duration of the upcoming US Open, reports The Times. The move would be in order to promote a particular brand of sweets for the two-week tournament (other sweet products are available). She will also wear the logo of the sweets brand - a pair of red lips - on her tennis outfit. If the grand slam committee and courts allow the 'quickie' name-change, Sharapova will be officially named Sugarpova by umpires and announcers during the tournament while she remains in the competition.
A new vending machine which produces hot chips in ninety seconds using beef fat has been launched in Belgium. Newspaper reports suggest that it could be the first dispenser to adopt the cooking technique. The machine, situated outside a supermarket in Brussels, charges €2.50 for a one hundred and thirty five gram pot of chips, also including a fork, salt and the choice of either ketchup or mayonnaise. BreakTime Solutions, the organisation behind the project, will monitor the success of the dispenser before deciding whether to launch it in other countries. Company spokesperson Tuline Bey told La Dernière Heure: 'The device was tested in India and Romania. At a later stage, we plan to offer machines with two deep fryers that would enable us to cook croquettes such as nuggets.'
A Swiss schoolgirl who spent two years - and loads of her parent's wonga - contesting a ninety-minute detention she received has lost her case at the country's highest court, costing her family more than thirteen hundred quid. The naughty fourteen-year-old, along with several other students, was caught skiing down off-limit slopes whilst on a school trip to Klosters in Eastern Switzerland in 2011. They were all subsequently given a ninety-minute detention, but the girl did not attend and stubbornly refused to make up the time like a right drama queen. The family hired a private lawyer to dispute the punishment with both the school board and the regional education department. After the attempts at mediation were unsuccessful, the matter was taken to the canton-level court, where the girl was told to stop being such a stoppy little madam and take her chastisement like an adult. A final appeal was made to Switzerland's Federal Court. Its verdict was reached on 24 July and published on the court's website on Monday. The girl's parents were ordered by the court to pay two thousand Swiss francs in penalty fees, on top of the costs they have already had to pay their lawyers. And, presumably, they were also authorised to give their silly brat a damned good tweaking that she won't forget in a hurry for such uppity nonsense.
Which, by process of elimination, brings us to today's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's a choice bit of Elvis.

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