Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Come Fate Into The List And Champion Me To The Utterance

Big fight, dear blog reader! Effing huge rive-on. Total bastard Armagiddeon nightmare in the area. And that. It is the TV awards equivalent of the big screen face-off between Batman and Superman – a new category introduced for next year's National Television Awards, which will pit the likes of Sherlock Holmes against John Luther and Sarah Lund against DS Ellie Miller. The new 'best detective' award will take its place alongside the more traditional comedy, drama and best entertainment presenter categories (the last of which has been won by Ant and/or Dec for twelve bloody years running. Surely it must be unlucky thirteen this time around?) The longlist for best super sleuth – like all the NTAs, it is voted for by viewers – features no fewer than twenty six of the small screen's finest forensic minds, including fictional figures from newcomers such as The Fall and Broadchurch to slightly longer running investigations (Poirot, New Tricks, Midsomer Murders). Sadly, Dermot O'Dreary will - as usual - host the awards, live on ITV, from the 02 Arena on 22 January next year. A lot of industry insider's money is going on Broadchurch, unless Olivia Colman and David Tennant split the vote - as infamously happened when Sherlock and Doctor Who went up against each other for best drama two years ago and both Steven Moffat series lost out to, of all things, Waterloo Road. If Broadchurch does become the victim of such malarkey and shenanigans, is the field clear made for Sherlock (or Watson), the BBC1 drama being included despite the knotty fact that no new episode have been broadcast since January last year (when the qualifying period began). Ceremony bosses weaseled that they included Sherlock because 'the repeats were so popular.' Sounds like 'made up bollocks' to this blogger, but anyway ... There could also be a case of split loyalties in another category since the male and female drama performance categories have been combined into one this year, which means that 2011 winner Matt Smith finds himself, as it were, up against his co-star, Jenna-Louise Coelman. The show itself is nominated in the drama category; candidates at this stage is always large, with this year's nominees covering a variety of genres from both the UK and USA: The Fall, The White Queen, Shetland, Love and Marriage, New Tricks, Doc Martin, Foyle's War, Jonathan Creek, Poirot, Silent Witness, Death In Paradise, Scott & Bailey, The Village, Call The Midwife, Under The Dome, DCI Banks, Revolution, Endeavour, Ripper Street, Vera, Homeland, Lewis, What Remains, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Luther, Last Tango In Halifax, Broadchurch, Midsomer Murders, Law & Order: UK, Holby City, Downton Abbey, Casualty, Mr Selfridge and The Syndicate. That will be whittled down to probably four or five titles in the fullness of time. Expect Lord Snotty's bafflingly popular snob-fest Downton Abbey to be a clear favourite for the prize.
Use your votes wisely, dear - British - blog readers.

Yer man Arthur Darvill has - sort of - confirmed that he will appear in series two of Broadchurch. The former Doctor Who actor said in an interview with BBC America that he is scheduled to reprise his role of the Reverend Paul Coates in the second series of the massively popular crime drama. 'I'm meant to be doing the next series,' Arty his very self said. 'But I actually don't know whether that's an episode or a whole series. I'm in touch with the production company and my agent, [but] it's quite nice not knowing because I really can't give anything away. I'd quite like to find out soon so I can plan my life!' Speaking to the Digital Spy website in May, Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall refused to confirm which members of Broadchurch's cast - which included Olivia Colman and David Tennant - would be back for series two. 'I would take nothing for granted, I would just wait and see' said the writer. Chibnall is currently writing the new series, which Will Mellor has suggested could be a prequel.

An - extremely sweet - Dalek cake has been made by Great British Bake Off winner Edd Kimber. The Red Velvet Dalek Cake contains red gel colouring, cocoa powder and buttermilk. And lots and lots and lots of sugar. You, dear blog reader, can find out how to make the cake on the official Doctor Who website. However, be well advised, if - like yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self - you have recently been diagnosed as type two diabetic then it's, almost certainly, very bad for you and will, like as not, send your blood-sugar level through the sodding roof. As, indeed, would encountering an actual Dalek. (The answer to both situation is, probably, run up a few flights of stairs, one imagines.)
Lara Pulver has revealed details about her role in the upcoming Sky Atlantic drama Fleming, which tells the story of the James Bond creator, Ian Fleming. Lara will play Fleming's wife, Ann O'Neill, in the four-parter, a 'captivating baroness' who had a passionate romance with war-time intelligence officer and Bond writer (played by Dominic Cooper). 'I feel like right now I'm playing the ultimate Bond girl: becoming Ann Fleming on screen. It's been a lot of fun,' said Pulver. 'It's a beautiful piece of storytelling about the life of this man who we know a little bit of, but don't really know his back story. It's hugely interesting. It's a historical drama in a sense and a love story at its heart.' Speaking about the relationship between Ann and Ian, Pulver added: 'It's completely dysfunctional. She was known as Good-Time Annie and her spirit, her life and her passion for life are hugely admired. Her family's motto is, It's no longer fashionable to be dull. Against the background of a war and people struggling, fearing her mortality just isn't a possibility, so she puts on this big show and this big front and I think that's the basis of both characters. They have this bravado and when you see them behind closed doors they're very dysfunctional, painful, lost people who are both searching for their identities.' One imagines that Lara's massive following will be glued to Fleming on the off-chance that there's a bit of Sherlock-style naughty nuddy nudeness therein, regardless of the quality of the drama itself.

Sky and the producers of new drama series The Tunnel have defended the decision to adapt the critically acclaimed Scandinavian crime drama The Bridge. Clémence Poésy and Stephen Dillane star in the Anglo-French twist on the Nordic Noir series, and the drama's chief executive Janet Featherstone insists that fans of the original - of which yer actual Keith telly Topping numbers his very self - shouldn't be put off by the remake. 'I think the concept of Britain and France is particularly woven through and we've got key plot changes,' claimed Featherstone, speaking at a Sky Drama launch. 'I won't tell you what the changes are because I don't want to spoil the drama, but there are plenty of changes and we've got many people who have seen both, who feel that they get satisfaction because the characters go on different journeys and the actors all bring a whole new level of interest in it. I honestly think if you watch it, you'll be surprised.' Poésy, who plays frosty foxy French investigator Elise Wasserman, said that she has opted not to watch the original series, commenting: 'I thought it would allow a bit more freedom. I'm slightly nervous but excited about watching it now. I feel like I'm going to see things that I should have done." The Tunnel, which is written by [spooks], Outcasts and Party Animals author ben Richards, starts on Sky Atlantic in October.
Well, that a proper good start to the day on Tuesday. And by that, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self is, of course, being ironic. (For the uninitiated, and dear American blog readers, 'irony (aeIroni), n. 1. An English invention in which one says something that one does not necessarily mean. For the purposes of Merriment and Japery and all that malarkey. 2. Like "goldy" or "brassy" only with iron. 3. What you mum does with your shirts after washing.') So, any road up, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self took Gillian, roughly, up the back alley for a run around the (shorter) Tour De St Anthony's course and only went and ended up back at Stately Telly Topping Manor with a tight hamstring and a painful calf muscle on one leg and a really painful Achilles tendon on the other. Would you Adam and Eve it, dear blog reader? And people will tell you cycling is a non-contact sport. A stroll up to ASDA for the weekly shop followed by another three hundred metres of synchronised drowning at the pool didn't exactly, help either. (Albeit, fifteen minutes in the steam-room and ten in the sauna probably did!)
The Gruniad's Peter Preston - a journalist this blogger has always considered who talks more than his fair share of utter horseshite - has, nevertheless, slightly gone up in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's estimation when he had a right go at the 'trial by television' of Margaret Spanker Hodge and her dubious fellow MPs on the public accounts committee. And, in particular, what he describes as their 'political grandstanding' which 'doesn't conceal MPs' own role in the pay-offs debacle.' Preston writes: 'The problem has been balefully evident for years, long before Entwistle, Savile, Newsnight and other BBC crises. That 2006 governance divide between the BBC Trust and executive board is an accident waiting to happen. It's a potential black hole of incomprehension and inattention. It won't survive beyond the next charter renewal and, after Monday's hapless spectacle on a Westminster stage, may not even stagger on until then as Maria Miller opens her own last chance saloon and sets the National Audit Office dogs running. But this is still the beginning of the argument, not the end,' Preston continues. 'We can all join the culture secretary and throw mud pies at great BBC panjandrums, ancient and modern. Newspapers, almost to the last sketch writer, did that after the non-magnificent seven had taken their committee-room drubbing from Margaret Hodge and her friends on the public accounts committee. Warm baths of sanctimony turned to acid baths in a trice. But pause over a few simple facts and obvious fixes. This wasn't a "trial", said Hodge. Quite right. Trials don't have defendants laid end to end for simultaneous interrogation. Trials don't let the acting chief justice grandstand about "lies" that may have been simple misunderstandings, or salary levels that might raise eyebrows in Dagenham but not at Channel Four. Proper trials might attempt to define the precise terms of trade for a public broadcaster obliged to pay market rates for the Kylies it needs on The Voice, the dramatists it commissions, the sport it can no longer afford, but working in an organisation saddled with management pay structures that reflect none of these pressures. Trials take their time. They don't shoehorn everything into three hours of snap and snigger. Trials try to establish the truth, not push it aside because, with an election coming, there are collars to be felt. One truth, of course, is that the BBC governance system invented by politicians and civil servants last time round, is broken. Another is that the "real world" of ordinary people, as regularly invoked by the PAC panel, is not quite as separate as supposed. Heads of C4 finance (on four hundred and eighty nine thousand pounds a year) know that just as well as BBC finance heads on three hundred and ninety five thousand pounds – though we're actually talking about the same finance superwoman who's just joined the BBC for ninety four thousand pounds less. Director generals are hired for four hundred and fifty thousand pounds a year while the chief executive of C4, our other publicly owned broadcaster, gets seven hundred and forty four thousand.'
Meanwhile, as the Gruniad - one of the most regular, and odious, whingers about the BBC - suddenly gets all pally as it senses a bit of political cant it can exploit, here's something yer actual Keith Telly Topping bets you thought you'd never see, dear blog reader. The Daily Scum Mail doing the same. No, I couldn't believe it either. It's definitely one for Mock The Week, this: Headlines we thought we'd never see: Why the Mail stands shoulder to shoulder with the BBC. The blogger repeats, no, I didn't believe it either. It seems that the most reliable and frequent of BBC attack dogs has finally found a reason to defend Auntie in a 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' sort-of way. Because, if there is one thing the Scum Mail hates more than than the Beeb ('monstrous bureaucracy', 'unthinking profligacy', 'manifold editorial misjudgments', 'all-pervading soft-Left bias') it is the prospect of Ofcom regulation. Or, as the Scum Mail describes Ed Richard's fiefdom: 'That nest of politically correct Blairites.' Jesus, isn't it horrible when you actually find yourself agreeing with something in the rancid Daily Scum Mail? The prospect of the NAO having financial oversight of the BBC, and reporting into MPs on the public accounts committee, is also an anathema to the Scum Mail it would seem - they appear to be taking a 'first they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I said nothing' line on this. This, for instance, is what they have to say about the PAC members: 'vanity, partisan agendas and propensity to bear grudges'. Damned straight. The BBC Trust's Lord Patten also - perhaps rightly - gets both barrels ('smugly blasé, pink-tinged and utterly useless') and the Scum Mail spends more than a few paragraphs railing against the size of the corporation in the market. 'But where the freedom of the media and the public's right to know are at stake, political control can never be the answer,' bellowing the Scum Mail in summary. 'We value the independence of the BBC as highly as our own.' Now that's been said, expect normal service to be resumed.
Doc Martin came out on top in the Monday overnight ratings. ITV's Martin Clunes drama vehicle rose by the thousand viewers from the previous week's episode to 7.18 million at 9pm. Earlier, Countrywise was seen by 3.23m at 8pm. On BBC1, Motorway Cops attracted 2.68m at 8pm. BBC2's University Challenge was watched by 2.63m punters at 8pm. The Incredible Spice Men had an audience of 1.57m at 8.30pm, followed by Robert Peston Goes Shopping with 1.31m at 9pm. Channel Four's new series Fried Chicken Shop opened with 1.14m at 9pm. Richard Ayoade's Gadget Man was seen by 1.02m at 8.30pm. On Channel Five, Celebrity Super Spa spectacularly failed to entertain five hundred and seven thousand viewers at 9pm, while the latest Under The Dome interested nine hundred and twenty three thousand at 10pm.

Yer actual Billie Piper and Ben Whishaw his very self are to feature in a new drama offering from Sky. The former Doctor Who actress - who, just yesterday was unveiled as one of those appearing in Penny Dreadful - and the Skyfall and The Hour actor will appear opposite Lindsay Duncan in the TV movie Foxtrot. The story of a gang heist gone wrong, the Playhouse Presents film has been scripted by That Face playwright Polly Stenham. Sky has also announced new film Nightshift - Danny Mays and Ashley Walters will star as two police officers who spend a night in East London discussing life, the universe and, well, pretty much everything. Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio is also writing a high-octane medical drama for Sky1 - Critical will unfold in real-time and span thirteen episodes. The series - first announced in December 2012 - focuses on the 'golden hour', the crucial period immediately following a serious injury when treatment can save lives. 'We're so happy with the dramas we've made so far, and I hope our new programmes will underline how much we put a premium on creative endeavour at Sky,' said Stuart Murphy, director of Sky Entertainment. 'We really believe that our philosophy of backing world-class creative talent and pushing them to make their best work is the way to go.'

Meanwhile, Helen McCrory and Simon Russell Beale have also joined the cast of Penny Dreadful. McCrory will play the spiritualist Madame Kali, while Beale will appear as eccentric Egyptologist Ferdinand Lyle. Former The Bill actor Danny Sapani has also joined the cast of the Showtime drama and will play Sembene, a long time ally of Timothy Dalton's character, Sir Malcolm. Dalton, Josh Hartnett, Eva Green and yer actual Billie Piper are among the already confirmed cast. Penny Dreadful is being written and executive produced by Skyfall duo John Logan and Sam Mendes in their first collaboration for television. The eight-part series will tell the origin stories of a number of literary horror characters such as Victor Frankenstein (and his monster), Dorian Gray and Count Dracula, as they deal with life in Victorian London. It has been confirmed that Penny Dreadful will be shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK. Sky drama executive Anne Mensah has described the show as 'a stunning, mesmerising and terrifying series on a cinematic scale.' The drama begins production in Dublin this month after it was moved from the UK.

Government proposals to cut the cost of taking libel action against publishers or broadcasters will have a 'chilling effect' on newspaper investigations, top lawyers and campaigners have warned. At least, according to a typically whinging piece of agenda-soaked arse in the Gruniad Morning Star. So, nothing that anyone actually gives a flying stuff about, in that case. Under the plans issued by the Ministry of Justice, libel claimants will only have to pay their own lawyers' fees – even if they lose a case. 'We are concerned about the implications for freedom of expression in that someone could sue a newspaper vexatiously because they know they don't have to pay the costs even if they lose,' said Mike Harris, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship, one of the groups which led the successful battle this year for a new defamation act. 'It could silence investigations.' Or, it might lead to people being a little bit more careful what they write and not libelling people. Bit of a radical suggestion there, Mike, I know but, hey, that's this blogger down to the ground. Always with the radical suggestions. The MoJ issued the proposals on Friday as part of a review prompted by The Leveson Inquiry. Harris agrees that reducing libel costs, which can easily run to half a million smackers for both sides, is 'a noble aim' but claims that 'imposing one-way costs is not the answer.' Libel costs in England and Wales are currently one hundred times times more expensive than the rest of Europe, according to a comparative study of costs in defamation proceedings issued by the University of Oxford last week. In one recent high-profile case, when former Tory party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas successfully sued The Sunday Times, costs were estimated to have run to a million knicker. 'What would be more useful would be reducing the costs at the outset of cases and introducing alternative dispute resolution, which we have put to the MoJ but they didn't go for that idea,' whinged Harris. David Price, libel solicitor and QC, said that he is 'concerned' that the MoJ proposals further add to the 'libel chill' and there needs to be more meaningful engagement from the legal and media professions on the issue of fees reform. He said that in the US, claimants or defendants do not get any costs recovered, but the law is 'more favourable' to free speech. 'In the US even if you are sued, you have better protection because most claimants have to prove malice,' said Price. 'The danger is that this proposal is an incremental disincentive to investigations by the media, where there are already many others.' Losing claimants in civil court cases in England and Wales currently have to pay the winning side's legal bills, on top of their own. The new protections have been unveiled by the Ministry of Justice in response to concerns raised in The Leveson Inquiry that potential libel victims could be put off from taking on large media groups and their expensive legal teams. The recommendation was backed by victims of defamation and invasion of privacy, including the McCann and Dowler families. Justice minister Helen Grant said: 'Defamation and invasion of privacy can have a devastating effect on lives and it is crucial that people, whatever their means, can stand up for their rights in court even when they are facing a wealthy opponent who can afford to appoint a team of expensive lawyers.' Under the proposals which are out to consultation until 8 November, a judge will be able to impose 'a one-way' costs order in a case if it is clear one side would not otherwise be able to take part because of the potential legal bills. This would mean that the smaller party would only be liable for their own legal costs, while the larger party would have to pay for both sides if they lost the case. This would apply both ways, so individuals and small media organisations could also receive protection if they were contesting a case brought by, for example, a wealthy celebrity. The proposed changes are intended to come into effect from April, alongside reforms to no-win no-fee agreements for defamation and privacy cases.

The BBC is to launch a spin=off magazine of its long-running Sunday night hit, Antiques Roadshow. The monthly title, which will launch next spring, is a tie-up between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and Good Homes publisher Kelsey Media. The magazine promises readers a 'behind-the-scenes' look at the popular Sunday night show, which is presented by Fiona Bruce and was first broadcast on BBC1 in 1979. Kelsey Media won a competitive pitch for the title after Radio Times publisher Immediate Media, home of the BBC Magazines division sold off in 2011, decided not to take up the option. Nicholas Brett, director of publishing at BBC Worldwide, said it would be 'a full on, unadulterated magazine for people who are both passionate about the programme and passionate about antiques.' He added the show has a 'huge, passionate and knowledgeable fan base. It will very much tap into the programme, going along to the roadshows and talking to the thousands of people who come along. With all the stories they have to tell, it is a rich seam to mine editorially.' Likely to be priced around £3.99, BBC Antiques Roadshow Magazine will launch with its April issue next year. Kelsey Media publishes more than forty consumer magazine titles, most of them specialist, including Aeroplane Monthly, Ships Monthly, Practical Poultry, Mini World, Tractor and Machinery and The Chicken Strangler Gazette. Probably. It has been moving more mainstream in recent years with the purchase of the Good Homes from BBC Worldwide in 2009 and Coast, which it bought from Hearst last year. Mandy Thwaites, Kelsey Media's managing director, said: 'We hope this will be the first of many specialist magazines we can make together.' The BBC sold its magazine business for one hundred and twenty one million notes two years ago, with Radio Times and other leading BBC magazine titles now published by Immediate Media. The BBC's top-selling spin-off titles include Top Gear, Gardeners' World and CBeebies magazine, all of them published by Immediate Media under a long-term licence deal. The corporation's commercial arm has a close but not exclusive relationship with Immediate, which remains its preferred partner. Immediate Media is also home to Homes & Antiques, another former BBC title which has close links to Antiques Roadshow. BBC Worldwide's licensing deal with Kelsey Media, which bought Good Homesfrom the BBC in 2009, was announced on Monday.

Canadian firm DHX Media has acquired Ragdoll Worldwide, owner of Teletubbies and In The Night Garden, for over seventeen million quid. The stockmarket-listed DHX, which owns brands including Inspector Gadget, is acquiring the company from BBC Worldwide and investors including Ragdoll founder Anne Wood. Under the terms of the deal DHX Media has bought twelve series, including three hundred and sixty five episodes of Teletubbies, fifty two episodes of Teletubbies Everywhere and one hundred episodes of In The Night Garden. 'Teletubbies and In the Night Garden are worldwide phenomena,' said Michael Donovan, chief executive of DHX Media. 'As a leading supplier to subscription video-on-demand services worldwide, and as an operator of our own SVOD, we are uniquely positioned to continue to develop these evergreen children's properties in exciting new ways.' Ragdoll Worldwide was set up as a joint venture with BBC Worldwide in 2006 with the company, which reported a pre-tax loss in the year to the end of March 2012, put up for sale in January this year. 'Finding the right new home for these beloved children's properties was incredibly important for BBC Worldwide as we have worked hard over the years with Ragdoll to nurture them and build their popularity and commercial success both in the UK and internationally,' said Marcus Arthur, the managing director of BBC Worldwide, UK and Australia. Worldwide will retain the broadcast rights for its international CBeebies channels. Wood and her son, Christopher, will continue to manage and operate their own company, Ragdoll Productions. 'The sale of Ragdoll Worldwide will procure future growth for Ragdoll Productions and, with the passing of creative control for the future development of our catalogue we are confident of their continued success for many years to come,' she said.

James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith are to receive posthumous tributes at the Primetime EMMY awards. Producers have selected five people to be recognised separately from the usual In Memoriam segment. Producer Gary David Goldberg, Jean Stapleton and Jonathan Winters will also be honoured. Monteith died from a heroin and alcohol overdose in July, while Gandolfini died in June following a heart attack. Close friends and colleagues will deliver the tributes. Edie Falco will pay tribute to her on-screen The Sopranos husband Gandolfini, while Glee star Jane Lynch will pay tribute to Monteith. Actor Michael J Fox has been asked to talk about Family Ties producer Goldberg. The show helped launch Fox's career and they also worked together on the 1990s political sitcom Spin City. Director Rob Reiner will present the Jean Stapleton tribute. He played her son-in-law in the 1970s hit sitcom All in the Family. She died in June aged ninety. Comic Robin Williams will remember his friend and mentor Jonathan Winters, who played his adult baby Mearth on Mork and Mindy.

England rugby centre Manu Tuilagi has apologised for 'playing a prank' on the Prime Minister during a visit to Downing Street on Monday. Tuilagi made a 'bunny' gesture with two fingers behind David Cameron's head while posing for a photo with British and Irish Lions players. The squad were attending a function to honour their series win in Australia. 'Apologies for messing around on Lions photo. No offence intended,' Tuilagi, tweeted later on Monday. 'Great Day at Downing Street. Thanks to Prime Minister for hosting us.' The Leicester Tigers - who appears to be the only invertebrate currently playing international rugby judging by his spinelessness over this, perfectly harmless, bit of malarkey - made three starts on the Lions tour but just one substitute appearance in the test team, in the series-winning match in Sydney. His prank on the steps of the PM's official residence is not the first time Tuilagi has been at the centre of - wholly media-created - controversy. He was fined three grand by the Rugby Football Union after he jumped from a ferry during England's World Cup campaign in New Zealand two years ago. Tuilagi was cautioned by police on that occasion and disciplined by then England manager Martin Johnson. He was also fined four thousand eight hundred smackers by the International Rugby Board during the World Cup for wearing a mouth-guard bearing the name of a sponsor. Well, how very dare he? And, once again, dear blog reader, let us just stand up and salute the utter shite some people chose to care about. The Samoan-born player has scored ten tries in his twenty one games for England having made his debut against Wales in August 2011. He is the youngest player to represent England in a World Cup, playing against Argentina at the age of twenty years and one hundred and fifteen days. Following his latest prank, Tuilagi's Lions team-mate Ben Youngs, tweeted: 'The man just couldn't stop himself.' The scrum-half later removed the tweet and posted a picture of himself posing outside Downing Street. Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns, an England team-mate, tweeted: 'Great bottle from Manu Tuilagi!'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye has apologised to supporters (which, presumably, includes yer actual Keith Telly Topping) after refusing to play for the club last month. Cabaye, twenty seven, missed a 0-0 draw against The Hamsters after the Magpies rejected a ten million quid summer bid for him from The Arse. The French international stayed at St James' Park and made his first start of the season in a 2-1 win at Aston Villains on Saturday. 'If the fans were, or still are, mad at me for what happened, then I understand and I apologise to them,' said Cabaye. 'I want to come back from what has happened.' Before refusing to play against The Hamsters, Cabaye had missed Newcastle's opening Premier League game - a 4-0 defeat at Sheikh Yer Man City - and was subsequently absent from their 2-0 Capital One Cup victory at Morecambe. He'd apparently, been told they were playing 'And Wise', instead. He came on as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Poor Bloody Fulham Haven't Got A Chance on 31 August and started at the Villa. Cabaye insisted that he is 'happy' at Newcastle - at least, until January - and that he would 'give everything' for the club for the rest of the season - or, at least, until January - as he targeted securing a place in France's squad for the World Cup next summer, if his country qualify. 'In your career, you do not have a career without bad moments,' he added. 'I have moved on and now in my head I just want to work really hard, to get back in the team every week and to help the team - that is the most important thing for me. I want to forget what happened during the summer, I want to put it behind me and give everything for Newcastle every day, for the club and for my team-mates.'

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar must switch to winter, according to FIFA's own medical chief. Michel D'Hooghe, the chairman of the FIFA's medical committee, will advise that the risks posed to supporters by extreme heat are 'too great.' Odious, risible waste-of-space Sepp Blatter already supports a move away from the traditional summer staging, when temperatures can reach as high as fifty degrees in Qatar. 'The World Cup is about more than games and players,' said D'Hooghe. Qatar has a hot desert climate with daytime temperatures usually peaking at forty two degrees Celsius during June and July. It doesn't tend get much cooler overnight as temperatures typically don't fall below thirty degrees. The climate during November and December is similar to that of a European summer where the average daytime temperature is around twenty six degrees with the chance of a little rain at times too. 'I am sure the Qataris have the technical skill to organise a tournament where teams could play and train in a stable, acceptable temperature, but it's about the fans. They will need to travel from venue to venue and I think it's not a good idea for them to do that in temperatures of forty seven degrees or more.' The Premier League has opposed a proposed move to November or December 2022, which would disrupt the English domestic season. However, the European Club Association, which represents some of the continent's top teams, has said that it is 'open' to the switch, while the Football Association's chairman Greg Dyke has said that a summer tournament would be 'impossible' in the Middle East. Hassan al-Thawadi, the head of Qatar's 2022 bid, has rejected suggestions that the tournament should be moved to another host nation rather than be rescheduled. 'I'd like to assure everybody that it is not an impossibility to host the World Cup in Qatar in the summer,' he told BBC Sport earlier in September. 'A summer World Cup is what we bid for - it's the original plan - and we are going for it and we are moving ahead with it.' FIFA's executive committee is expected to agree in principle to move the World Cup to the winter when they meet in early October before starting a six-month exercise to work out how it will affect the international calendar and domestic leagues.

Australia's football chief, Frank Lowy, says that his country's Football Federation may seek compensation if the 2022 World Cup is switched to the winter. Australia was one of four countries which lost out to Qatar, despite spending over twenty five million smackers on its bid. 'Australia invested heavily in the World Cup process,' Lowy said. 'Since December 2010, Australia has been careful not to let its misgivings about the process be interpreted as sour grapes.' You sense a but coming here, don't you dear blog reader? 'But now, with increasing speculation about a change that will impact on us as one of the bidding nations, and because our competition will be affected, we have made our position public.' An FFA statement also asked FIFA to 'look' at awarding 'just and fair compensation' - mucho wonga, in other words - to those nations which 'invested many millions, and national prestige, in bidding for a summer event.' Qatar beat Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to win the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Lowy, the billionaire owner of the Westfield shopping centre empire, is also urging FIFA's executive board to not make 'a quick decision' about moving the tournament to a date when the weather will be cooler. He said: 'Better to let the independent investigative process run its natural course and then, with those issues settled, make a clear-eyed assessment about rescheduling and its consequences.'
King of the Mods Sir Bradley Wiggins leads the Tour Of Britain after winning stage three's individual time trial on Tuesday. Sir Brad, blazed round the sixteen kilometre course in ninety minutes fifty four seconds to beat fellow Briton and Team Sky team-mate Ian Stannard by thirty two seconds. Stannard moves up to second overall, thirty three seconds behind Wiggins. Overnight leader Gerald Ciolek started the stage in Knowsley thirty seconds ahead of Wiggins but his time of 21:45 saw him lose the race leader's gold jersey. It was a stunning performance by the London 2012 time trial champion and Tour De France winner, who is also using the Tour Of Britain to prepare for next week's world time trial championship in Florence. And after enduring a tough year which saw him pull out of the Giro d'Italia with a chest infection, and miss out on defending his Tour De France title through illness and injury, Wiggo admitted that he had been focused on producing a strong ride. 'I've been training throughout July and I can't tell you how many times I've been round this course,' he said. 'I only live twenty miles away.' Wiggins also said that he had used the morning practice session to check how quickly he could race around the roundabouts in an effort to pick up crucial seconds on main rivals Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin. 'I'm not a great climber like Dan or Quintana, so I need to do a [good] time trial and gain in areas where guys won't pay as much attention, especially when it's raining,' he said. 'I had to take every second I could really.' Wiggins finished one minute thirty five seconds ahead of Colombia's Quintana, runner-up to Chris Froome in this year's Tour De France and a further seven seconds quicker than Ireland's Martin. Wiggins survived a crash on a rain-soaked Monday in the Lake District as Gerald Ciolek won stage two. Wiggins landed on top of Italian rider Giovanni Visconti, who crashed in front of him on a descent while travelling at more than thirty mph. 'Brad was really lucky,' said Team Sky sports director Servais Knaven. 'He is fine which is good news.' Ciolek beat Ireland's Sam Bennett in a sprint finish in Kendal. Heavy rain made the road treacherous for much of the 186.6km stage, which started in Carlisle and saw the riders ascend Honister Pass, which features gradients of twenty four per cent. Quintana attacked the peloton on the climb with Martin but they were unable to open a significant advantage as Sky controlled the peloton as the race rolled towards the finish. Martin later tweeted: 'Got cold sitting in the peloton so decided to have a play. Thanks to Nairo for coming with me. Somebody has to try break Sky.' Mark Cavendish, riding for Omega Pharma Quick-Step, darted out in front of the leading group with ten kilometres left but he was quickly caught. Sweden's Thomas Lovkvist made a more sustained effort to win the stage but he was caught by Ciolek, who then edged out Bennett. British under-twenty three rider Simon Yates finished fourth on the stage, behind Lovkvist, to moved up to second overall.

Direct access to Facebook and Twitter was briefly restored in Iran on Monday evening. Access to the social media sites was cut in 2009 after some protests against the knobcheese twats that run the country were organised via the services. On Monday the block was, briefly, lifted for some Iranians - but the authorities blamed 'technical problems', stressing that the official policy towards such modernist malarkey had not changed. The alleged 'hitch' comes as US trade sanctions have forced the closure of an Iranian opposition leader's website. Late on Monday, Western journalists working in Iran reported that they had suddenly gained direct access to Twitter and Facebook. Thomas Erdbrink, Tehran bureau chief for the New York Times, sent several tweets via his mobile phone without the need to go via a proxy which circumvents official blocks. Most Iranians who want to use social media have typically used proxies or other special software to get around the government imposed firewall. This blog, for instance, has several regular visitors from Iran. Mind you, that might be Ahmadinejad checking out if yer actual Keith Telly Topping is making any more jokes about him looking like Roy Keane (only, you know, slightly less mental). Initially it was thought that the block was being lifted for everyone in Iran, signalling the start of a more tolerant attitude towards social media by the government. But, that ridiculous notion was soon put back to bed. In recent weeks some Iranian government officials and ministers have signed up for accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Either to get girls or so they can post pictures of their cat. Probably. This led to 'confusion' earlier this month over whether President Hassan Rouhani had tweeted 'Happy Rosh Hashana' to Iran's Jewish community. A message came from a Twitter account thought to belong to Rouhani, but officials later said claimed that did not have any such account. Early on Tuesday, Reuters reported that official policy had not changed and 'technical faults' had, mistakenly, led to the restrictions being lifted. And a rush of hits on several massive jugs websites. It quoted Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, who heads the committee which oversees Iran's net filters, as saying it was looking into the shenanigans. 'We are investigating to see which of these companies has done this,' he said. At the same time, the website of Iranian opposition politician Mehdi Karoubi has been shut down by the Just Host service at the request of the US Treasury Department. Sanctions restrict what services US companies can supply to Iranians and this extends to hosting websites that use the country's .ir domain suffix. An aide for Karoubi said the action by the US was 'frustrating.'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is on something of a TV theme trip this week, dear blog reader. So, for anyone who happens to have sneaked into From The North from Tehran, here's a bit of classic 1960s Western decadence from the capital running dog and jackal's entrails that was yer actual Tony Hatch and his very orchestra for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Queue the fountains and, turn to camera Stu, Alex and Bill. Nice.

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