Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No News Is Good News?

For the second day running, dear blog reader, this is no Doctor Who news. This situation is, quite simply, becoming intolerable and must change. Forthwith. If not sooner.
Britain's other favourite doctor, Doc Martin topped the Monday ratings outside soaps yet again, according to overnight figures. The Martin Clunes fronted ITV drama gained around quarter of a million viewers from the previous week with 7.33 million at 9pm. On BBC1, Panorama interested 2.39m at 8.30pm, followed by Motorway Cops with 2.78m at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge quizzed 2.81m at 8pm, while Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food was, if you will, consumed by 2.24m at 8.30pm. The Midwives continued with 1.38m at 9pm, followed by the premiere of the latest series of Never Mind The Buzzcocks with 1.11m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Jamie's Money Saving Meals tragically appealed to 1.25m at 8pm. Richard Ayoade's Gadget Man had an audience of nine hundred and fifty nine thousand punters at 8.30pm. Fried Chicken Shop held steady from last week with 1.10m at 9pm. The documentary Sex: My British Life appealed to 1.26m at 10pm. Channel Five's Phoebe Prince documentary Bullied To Death was seen by six hundred and forty five thousand viewers at 9pm, followed by the latest Under the Dome with nine hundred and fifty nine thousand at 10pm. The opening episode of BBC4's Lucy Worsley series A Very British Murder topped the multichannels with eight hundred and twenty seven thousand at 9pm. Including yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self.
Odious, unfunny buffoon James Corden and Mathew Baynton's The Wrong Mans [sic] attracted over three million viewers for its first episode on Tuesday, according to overnight figures. How many the second episode will attract is a question to be returned to at a later date. BBC2's new - alleged - comedy series was seen by 3.08m at 9pm. Sarah Millican's Television Programme returned with 1.73m at 9.30pm. Earlier, The Great British Bake Off rose once again to 5.79m at 8pm. On BBC1, the first episode of New Tricks featuring Tamsin Outhwaite rose by almost five hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 7.10m at 9pm to top the ratings outside of soaps. Stacey Dooley's Girls Behind Bars interested 1.79m at 10.30pm. ITV's risible, wretched Ade in Adland was seen by 1.41m at 8pm, which made this blogger laugh and laugh and laugh until he stopped. And then laugh some more. That fiasco was followed by Being Paul Gascoigne with 1.78m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Double Your House for Half the Money appealed to nine hundred and forty two thousand punters at 8pm. My Big Fat Gypsy Ladies' Day was watched by 1.73m at 9pm. Channel Five's latest episode of CSI: NY pulled in 1.01m at 9pm, followed by the returning Castle with seven hundred and fifty five thousand at 10pm.

Risible, full-of-himself Phillip Schofield has claimed that This Morning's 'willingness to break taboos' and 'experiment with its content' has enabled the magazine show to run successfully for twenty five years. Presumably he's thinking of that time he presented the prime minister with Ze List, in his noble quest to out, alleged, paedophiles which landed ITV with a hundred thousand quid plus legal bill. That was fairly taboo breaking. And, almost career ending.

Rumours that The Sky At Night could be facing the chop have provoked an angry reaction from viewers. The monthly BBC astronomy series may be dropped following the death of its original host Sir Patrick Moore, claims the Daily Scum Mail. The louse right-wing tabloid quotes an anonymous - and, therefore, probably fictitious - alleged BBC spokesman as allegedly saying: 'The Sky At Night is on air until the end of the year. Plans for subsequent series are being discussed.' Moore began presenting the show in 1957, with his final episode being broadcast in January 2013, following his death last the previous month. The Sky at Night is now presented by the cosmologists Lucie Green and Chris Lintott following Moore's death. And a very good job they do to, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a regular (and very satisfied) viewer. It is shown once a month, in a late-night slot on BBC1 and, subsequently, repeated in a 7:30pm slot on BBC4. Moore presented a total of seven hundred and twenty one episodes, only ever missing one broadcast, in July 2004, after he suffered food poisoning (Lintott deputised on that occasion). As well as looking into space, discussing everything from comets to quasars, the show also covered the 1999 solar eclipse and the Apollo moon landings of 1969. It has featured interviews with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and the author Arthur C Clarke. The last episode, which looked at black holes, was watched by just over two hundred thousand viewers on BBC4. Although small in comparison to the audiences who watch primetime programmes on BBC1 and ITV, that is not an insubstantial audience for BBC4, particularly in the slot it occupies. Next month's programme will feature the 'Moore moon marathon' and will be filmed on 18 October, the night of the penumbral eclipse. A fan petition campaigning for The Sky At Night to continue has now reached over twenty three thousand signatures at the time of writing, with the post reading: 'The BBC is a Public Service Broadcasting organisation and no programme could be as well described as being a Public Service as The Sky At Night.' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping supports this endeavour and has signed the petition even if, once again, he's rather annoyed by the curiously narrow definition of public service broadcasting as 'programmes I like'. The BBC's public service remit extends to producing programmes which not only educate and inform but, also, entertain, the part of the equation that is almost always left out whenever anybody talks about public service broadcasting in and of itself. Using the strict Reithian model, Strictly Come Dancing is as much an example of public service broadcasting as The Sky At Night. Anyway, it's a minor point, it's just that it narks this blogger, that's all! Astronomy shows have been a big hit for BBC2 in recent years, with Stargazing Live presented by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain, which was credited with generating a boom in interest in astronomy. The Sky At Night is one of the BBC's longest running TV shows, its longevity eclipsed only by current affairs show Panorama, which began four years earlier, in 1953.

The BBC has announced more than fifty hours of natural history programming, including follow-ups to hugely popular Blue Planet and Planet Earth series. Many shows will utilise new filming techniques, such as Countdown To The Rains, which will see seventy five cameras along a stretch of Africa's Luangwa River. While Sleepover At The Zoo will feature a team of experts staying up all night at Bristol Zoo. Well, someone's got to do it, one supposes. They will be broadcast across BBC1, BBC2 and BBC4 over the next few years. New series Oceans will continue where the award-winning programme Blue Planet left off in 2001. It will look at some of the marine species which have been discovered over the past decade. These include the bizarre-looking blanket octopus, the 'alarmingly hairy' yeti crab and the velvet belly lantern shark which uses a light-sabre style glowing spine to defeat its enemies. The Hunt will explore the competition between predators and their prey, including footage of polar bears filmed hunting bearded seals for the very first time. Dolphins, tigers and kangaroos will all get their own dedicated series. Dolphin: Spy In The Pod uses spycams disguised as sea creatures - dubbed Tunacam, Turtlecam and Squidcam - to get even closer to some of the most loved (but, misunderstood) animals in the world. A decade on from Planet Earth, the new six-part series One Planet will provide 'the ultimate tour of an iconic ecosystem.' It will look at how animals and plants evolve in response to areas as diverse as mountains, deserts, wild islands and man-made cities. 'By using new filming techniques, peerless research and great storytelling, the next few years are all about shows that will delight our UK and global audiences,' said the BBC's head of commissioning for natural history and science, Kim Shillinglaw. She continued: 'From new discoveries in Oceans and never-before-filmed behaviour in The Hunt, to assembling seventy five cameras in one place for Countdown To The Rains and the ground-breaking spirit of our Sleepover At The Zoo event, we've never had as much range, scale and innovation to offer.' Top Gear's Richard Hammond will front a three-part series called Big Weather, which will see The Hamster flying a light aircraft into a hailstorm and releasing robot drones into a hurricane. Because he can! Three-part series Countdown To The Rains, which began filming from the moment the African dry season ended, will be shown on BBC2 from Sunday 3 November, presented by Kate Humble and Simon King. Other highlights include in-depth looks at Alaska, Japan, Patagonia and New Zealand and Talk To The Animals, which will feature real life Doctor Doolittle, Lucy Cooke, on a mission to understand how animals communicate.
Yer actual Lord Sugar-Sweetie (and his not insignificant legal might) is reported to be suing former winner of The Apprentice Stella English for thirty five thousand smackers after she lost a constructive dismissal case against him earlier in the year. In what some might regard as a rather mean and bullying public punishment beating and others as really pure dead funny, the businessman claims that English 'deliberately lied' about her job at his company being a 'sham' in a bid to ruin his reputation and fleece him of mucho wonga. He reportedly wants the five-figure compensation for 'legal costs and damages.' English, who won series six of The Apprentice in 2010, claimed to the tribunal in April that she was forced out of the firm and shunned by colleagues, but her allegations were unanimously dismissed. Lord Sugar-Sweetie's lawyer Seamus Sweeney has since told Stratford Employment Tribunal that he believes English knew the claims were untrue but went ahead with her case to remain in the public eye. 'We recognise it is not normal to bring costs claims at a tribunal but we maintain that the proceedings brought were completely unreasonable,' he said. 'The claimant knew her allegations that the job was a sham were untrue because when questioned by me at tribunal she accepted it was untrue. It was a real job, with real money and real duties. To put out to the world at large that the job was a sham had the effect of bringing the respondent company, Lord Sugar and broadcaster the BBC into disrepute. That was the effect. There is very little glamour sitting behind a desk in an office working in an IT company, compared with the glamour of being on a popular television [show]. It may have been boring.' Sweeney went on to allege that English 'went missing' from her role and subsequently hired PR guru Max Clifford to sell her story to the tabloids. 'There was a sense by her employers that the glamour had gone out of it for her,' he claimed. 'She went and got a PR guru and the inference of this, we submit, was to keep the claimant in the public eye. Otherwise why would she go to the press and bring these claims?'
The BBC has unveiled the latest trailer for its autumn drama line-up. Call The Midwife, The Paradise and Truckers are among the programmes featured in the promo.

Sunday night's EMMY Award ceremony achieved the event's highest US audience since 2005, attracting 17.6 million viewers. Breaking Bad and the Liberace biopic Behind The Candelabra were the main winners at the event, boosting ratings by thirty three per cent from 2012. However reviews of the show, fronted by How I Met Your Mother actor Neil Patrick Harris, were largely negative, some reviewers describing the event as 'dull' and 'dead'. Some claimed that the ceremony focused too much on tributes and musical numbers whilst cutting the winners' speeches short. 'This was an EMMY telecast so plodding, lifeless and just plain glum that even the overdue best drama win for Breaking Bad failed to provide a lift at the end of the show,' claimed The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney. Other winners on the night included Homeland's Claire Danes and comedian Stephen Colbert who won best variety series, with both having their speeches noticeably cut short. 'Isn't the reaction of those performers - joyful, giddy, tearful, self-indulgent, whatever - one of the reasons people tune in, to see stars in unscripted moments?' wrote Brian Lowry for industry publication Variety. He continued: 'This year's awards were competent, perhaps, but created scant opportunity for the Gods to favour them.' David Bianculli, who runs the TV Worth Watching website, criticised the lack of clips from the nominated TV shows, 'when they needed it more than ever.' The critic said that, with the competition including online shows like Netflix's House of Cards and programmes from pay-TV networks such as HBO and Showtime, 'the audience is more fragmented than ever' and fewer viewers were likely to have seen EMMY-nominated shows than in the past. Bianculli added: 'The EMMYs is [sic] one time that all viewers are coming under one roof. To not have [clips] is not using time wisely.' Many acknowledged that the popularity of host Harris, a seasoned Broadway performer known for his exuberant song-and-dance numbers, may have contributed to the number of fans tuning in. The opening segment where Harris was hijacked by previous hosts including Jimmy Kimmel, Jane Lynch and Kevin Spacey, plus front-row hecklers Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, received something of a mixed response. The LA Times failed to be won over by his hosting skills. 'Even super-host Harris can't save mostly lifeless show,' read its review by Mary McNamara. 'He seemed oddly off his hosting game in a show that featured too many tributes and not enough energy.' The evening's five separate In Memoriam tributes prompted Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan to suggest that it was 'the saddest EMMYs ever.' But the show received criticism for passing over the deaths of Dallas star Larry Hagman and Quincy's Jack Klugman. Klugman's son said the exclusion was 'criminal' and 'an insult.' McNamara claimed the segments 'did not just disrespect the other important figures who had also died last year, it dragged down the whole show, forcing the audience to follow moments of celebration or amusement with dutiful sorrow.' However the awards' executive producer Ken Ehrlich defended the tributes, which were delivered by friends and colleagues of the deceased. 'That was a very conscious decision - I felt it was more important to focus in on the faces of the people that were talking about them, because of their personal relationships, and allow them to speak,' he told TV Guide. 'I would have loved to do more, but there's only so much time you have. And I thought we devoted the proper amount of time to those five pieces and then to the In Memoriam segment.' It is thought large NFL viewing figures for the Sunday Night Football game between The Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers (18.7 million) also played a role in the EMMYs audience figures.

Meanwhile, still of the subject of US ratings, a record number of viewers tuned in to watch the final episode of the serial killer drama Dexter on Sunday. Some 2.8 million people tuned-in to see the highly anticipated series eight finale, despite it being broadcast at the same time as the EMMYs. The figure gave cable network Showtime its highest-ever rating for an original series. However reviews for the episode were - again - mixed, with one reviewer calling it 'the lamest series finale since Seinfeld.' 'If only the producers had dispatched their show with the care their murderous hero showered on his victims,' Associated Press's Frazer Moore said. So, not a fan, we're guessing. The Den Of Geek website's reviewer, Billy Grifter, said that the episode was 'a final figurative nail in the coffin of this once great creative endeavour. The final part of the Dexter narrative revealed that the writers had drawn a blank in how to end the show dramatically, and the creative cupboard was utterly bare. It might not have gone out on a high, but it's certainly a show that people will talk about for years to come, even if only as a stern warning to writers about when it's best to conclude a successful show.' However Entertainment Weekly appeared to rather enjoy it, describing the episode as 'the best Dexter episode in years. Given the episodes we've seen, especially in recent weeks, I was surprised that this finale was this polished and effective,' James Hibberd added. Across series eight, Dexter's ratings grew thirteen per cent from the season premiere, breaking its own ratings record each week. According to Showtime, the series averaged 6.4 million weekly viewers across all platforms - including repeats, streaming services and catch-up TV - compared to season seven which averaged 6.1 million. The final episode will be broadcast in the UK on Sunday 29 September on FOX.

The EMMY-award winning creator of BBC2's The Hour has written a new police drama for BBC1 to be made by the producers of Broadchurch. Abi Morgan, who won an EMMY on Sunday night for the second series of The Hour will make her BBC1 debut with River, about a brilliant police officer called John River whose genius threatens to overwhelm him. The new series will be made by Kudos, whose impressive list of credits include Broadchurch – the acclaimed Chris Chibnall murder mystery starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman – [spooks], Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, Hustle and Sky Atlantic's up-coming remake of The Bridge, The Tunnel. Mind you, they also made the notoriously awful Eternal Law so, you know, not everything they make is TV gold. Announcing one of her first new flagship dramas, BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said: 'River is full of intriguing twists and turns and I was truly gripped when the script came in. Abi's one of Britain's most distinctive and original storytellers and her ability to push the boundaries of the genre in surprising ways makes River her perfect debut on BBC1.' The six-part series follows the life of the titular character, a 'brilliant police officer whose genius and fault-line is the fragility of his mind' according to the BBC's description of the new drama. River is a 'man haunted by the murder victims whose cases he must lay to rest. A man who must walk a professional tightrope between a pathology so extreme he risks permanent dismissal, and a healthy state of mind that would cure him of his gift.' Sounds pretty good. If a bit like Luther. And Broadchurch. And The Fall. The BBC's controller of drama commissioning, Ben Stephenson, said: 'It was amazing to see Abi winning the EMMY in LA on Sunday night – it shows what a world-class talent she is. I am delighted that she will now be turning her attention to her first series for BBC1. It's a corker, with all Abi's unique qualities – smart, moving, warm and full of huge surprises.' Morgan's other credits include Channel Four's Sex Traffic and the big screen Margaret Thatcher biopic, The Iron Lady. Kudos chief executive Jane Featherstone said Morgan had created a 'fascinating and gifted lead character, whose story will move and surprise the audience.' River will begin filming in London next year and be broadcast on BBC1 in 2015.

Channel Four's head of alleged comedy has confirmed that Peep Show will soon come to an end. Although a ninth series of the sitcom - starring David Mitchell (the funny one) and Robert Webb (not the funny one) - has been commissioned, Phil Clarke told the Chortle website that he is currently in discussions with creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong to work out when and how the show will conclude.

The BBC should consider showing children's TV programmes after seven o'clock in the evening, a report by the BBC Trust has said. A review of CBBC and Cbeebies notes that 'some 4.5 million four-to-twelve year olds' watch TV after 19:00, the time at which the channels come off air. Broadcasting shows aimed at older children on BBC1 or BBC2 could 'help extend' the 'impact of high-quality programmes', it said. Overall, the report found that CBBC and CBeebies were 'performing well.' Both channels are 'much-loved' by children and parents, the Trust said, although they must maintain reach and impact and keep up with children's consumption of media. The report also looked at the BBC's radio and online content for children. More than eight thousand six-to-twelve year olds sent their views to the BBC Trust, along with two thousand seven hundred parents or carers. CBeebies was praised by parents for its 'high-quality content and its focus on learning and development' while CBBC was hailed for its 'distinctive content and the balance it provides between education and entertainment.' The review also found older children were 'less inclined' to watch CBBC or CBeebies, and that CBBC struggled to inherit younger viewers moving on from CBeebies. This was also the finding of the previous review into children's services in 2009. The Trust said that it supported the BBC's plans to address these concerns by 'commissioning more content for older children' and with both channels working together to 'provide a more joined-up offer.' But it also noted that 'older children might be more attracted to watching CBBC's older-skewing content if it were shown on other BBC channels.' The websites for CBBC and CBeebies regularly score highest on quality out of all of the BBC's online offerings and the CBBC website has 'improved' since the Trust's 2009 recommendation that its declining usage levels should be addressed. But the 2013 report raised some concerns about the online content falling behind children's consumption habits, with more youngsters keen to access content on-demand, on tablets and other mobile devices. Trustees welcomed the BBC's plans to address these issues, including the recent launch of the CBeebies Playtime app. BBC Trustee Alison Hastings said: 'We heard an overwhelming amount of praise for the BBC's children's services, both from their young audiences and from adults, and it's clear that CBeebies and CBBC have earned their place at the heart of many families' viewing habits.' She said the challenge for the corporation was to 'keep pace with change', providing programmes, information, apps and other content 'when and where children want and expect it.' Hastings added that the Trust expected to 'see progress being made' in the coming months - although whether the Trust will even exist in a few months time is something of a conundrum at this time given the shite performance of its 'I know nothing' chair at a recent commons committee. The Trust's findings for radio output stated it 'supports the current scope of the BBC's provision for children' through a daily programme on Radio 4 Extra, and CBeebies Radio via the CBeebies website. However it did ask the BBC to find more ways to promote these services and to provide an update on this within six months. It also said it would like to see children considered as an audience for mainstream output across other BBC services, such as the recent broadcast of CBBC's Wolfblood on BBC3. The BBC said it had already put plans in place to address the issues and the Trust has asked for regular updates on its progress. 'We're really pleased the BBC Trust has concluded that our children's services are performing well and making a strong contribution to the BBC's public purposes.' The press office said: 'CBeebies and CBBC remain the most-watched children's channels in the UK and the Trust's consultation confirms how loved and valued our TV, web and radio services are by children and parents alike. We are very aware of the challenges ahead and we'll be working with colleagues across the BBC and the Trust to address them.' The report was carried out as part of the BBC Trust's remit to review BBC services at least once every five years.

Del Boy, Sir Trevor McDonald and The Doctor are the companions most TV viewers would like to spend an evening with. The Radio Times conducted a poll to find people's 'ultimate TV schedule' for its ninetieth birthday. Almost thirty thousand votes were cast - with Blue Peter chosen as the top children's programme and The Morecambe & Wise Show as the best entertainment format. Of the six winners, only Blue Peter and Doctor Who are still on the air, with both running for several decades. 'It's a pretty good representation,' said Boyd Hilton, TV critic from Heat magazine. 'They're all solid, hugely influential shows. Doctor Who is absolutely unique. It's an incredible achievement that it's lasted for fifty years and been entertaining families for that long.' However, Hilton said that he, personally, wouldn't have chosen Blue Peter as the best children's show. 'I would have gone for Grange Hill. It was a much bolder thing to commission for children - a drama that tackled lots of incredibly difficult issues.' The poll saw former ITV newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald win almost as many votes as the next four most popular nominees combined, Moira Stuart came second, followed by Kenneth Kendall, Reginald Bosanquet and Fiona Bruce. In the drama category, Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Coronation Street all lost to Doctor Who. And rightly so. Michael Palin topped the documentary section with his 1989 series, Around The World In Eighty Days, in which he tried to recreate Phileas Fogg's fictional jaunt around the globe. The programme beat Sir David Attenborough's Life On Earth into second place, while Walking With Dinosaurs came third. The Morecambe & Wise Show won the entertainment vote, followed by another comedy duo, The Two Ronnies and thereafter Strictly Come Dancing, Top Gear and I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). There was no place in the list for The X Factor. In the children's programme category, Blue Peter easily outranked Thunderbirds and Wallace and Gromit, earning seventeen per cent of the vote. Only Fools And Horses received double the number of votes of its nearest rival, Fawlty Towers. Blackadder, Dad's Army and Father Ted rounded out the top five shows in the comedy category. As usual, with this sort of thing, many media outlets were reporting all of this a 'news', and even yer actual Keith Telly Topping found himself - not unwillingly, let it be said - dragged into BBC Newcastle to discuss the results with the delightful Steph Finnan. You can hear the ensuing shenanigans at this link for the next seven days or so. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self is on approximately one hour, twenty three minutes and thirty three seconds into the broadcast. it's worth checking out for Uncle Scunthorpe's outstanding sixty second 'why you should be watching Breaking Bad' interlude.
The Tomorrow People remake has cast one of the original series' actors, Nicholas Young. Young - who played John on the 1970s ITV children's SF drama - has been cast in a new role on the CW's forthcoming remake, TV Guide reports. The actor will play Aldus Crick, a scientist who first discovered The Tomorrow People, in the new show's eighth and ninth episodes. Young starred as John - the role played by Home and Away's Luke Mitchell in the 1990s remake - between 1973 and 1979 and was the only cast member to remain for the original Tomorrow People's entire six-year run. Robbie Amell and Peyton List will also star in The CW's series, with Lost's Mark Pellegrino cast as the villain Jedikiah. Julie Plec - who developed the remake - previously admitted that she is a fan of the original Tomorrow People (well, someone has to be) and used to watch the series as a child. The Tomorrow People begins in the US on 9 October and will be shown on E4 in the UK.
EastEnders is to axed four of the soap's characters. Although not with an actual axe, o bviously. Kirsty Branning (played by Kierston Wareing), AJ Ahmed (Phaldut Sharma), Carl White (Daniel Coonan) and Poppy Meadow (Rachel Bright) will all depart Albert Square in the New Year. The show's new producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins is 'determined to get EastEnders back to its best' the Sun reports.

Sony Pictures Television has signed a deal with the Space Expedition Corporation to launch a new TV show, which will feature z-list celebrities battling it out for a trip to space. Hopefully, it'll be one way. Sony will unveil the format for the show, which is currently titled Milky Way Mission, at the industry event MIPCOM. It will be the first time in television history that a broadcaster has been able to send contestants into space. or, at least, attempt to. SXC will provide seats on its space flights for participating broadcasters. Dutch TV network Nederland 1 have already picked up the rights to the show and other countries, including the US and UK, are expected to follow. The show will feature alleged 'celebrities' taking part in physical and mental challenges such as G-force simulation and underwater tasks to earn the prize of a trip to space. 'I can't even begin to describe how excited we are about this format. Having the world's most famous pop-stars, athletes and movie stars compete to become an SXC astronaut is literally going to be out of this world,' said SXC founder Michiel Mol. Yes, of course they will. Or, more likely, it'll be some people who regularly featuring in Heat magazine lining up to take part. Sony Pictures Television's chief creative officer Wayner Garvie added: 'For years people have dreamt [sic] about the possibility of a show in space. SPT is now poised to make that dream real, thanks to the engineering genius of SXC and the format brilliance of [producers] Tuvalu and Simpel. While over one hundred billion humans have walked the Earth, just a handful have looked back at our planet from space and we will soon be adding to that lucky elite. Testing endurance, agility and bravery, Milky Way Mission is a television format that is genuinely out of this world.' So, dear blog reader, which - alleged - 'celebrities' would you like to see packed into a rocket and blasted off into space with the genuine possibility they may burn up on re-entry? Answers on a - very big - postcard.
A member of Metropolitan Police staff has been arrested by police investigating inappropriate payments to public officials and other, alleged, naughty badness. The fifty five-year-old man and a woman, aged forty eight, were arrested at their home in Berkshire at around 5am on Monday in what might be described as a dawn raid. They are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office. It brings the number of people arrested under Operation Elveden - which is being conducted by the Met - to seventy four. The operation, which is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, runs alongside Operation Weeting, the Met's phone-hacking inquiry, and Operation Tuleta, a probe into computer hacking and other privacy breaches and nefarious skulduggery and shenanigans.

The Sunday episode of The X Factor attracted a healthy 9.4 million viewers, just up on its audience for the week before – and the Sun attributes the rise to Dermot O'Dreary's tight trousers. It reports: 'Some 8.9 million were there at the start but, as freeze-framed photos emerged online, figures rocketed to 10.4 million.' It cites a fan, one 'DarrenCollier86', apparently, who tweeted: 'The real winner of this year's X Factor is Dermot's bulge.' Oh well, if DarrenCollier86 says so, it must be right. 'MollyKat72' asked: 'What trousers has Dermot got on tonight? Purely from a fashion point of view, you understand. I'm in no way checking the bulge. Nope, not me.' Oh no. very hot water.
Footballer Joe Yoffe is considering taking FIFA to court over what he claims are unfair restraints on player movement outside the transfer window. The twenty six-year-old will be without a club from October, when a successful spell playing in Iceland comes to an end. Under the current rules, Yoffe cannot join another club in Europe until the transfer window reopens in January. 'A couple of lawyers have already said they'd like to take the case,' Yoffe told BBC Radio Shropshire. 'I don't think it's FIFA's idea to obstruct any player. They have the rules in place for what they see as perfect sense, but there is a grey area. It is quite messy.' Manchester-born Yoffe has played in the United States, Canada, Spain, Republic of Ireland, Australia and now Iceland since starting his professional career at Stockport County during their Championship days. Having also played for FC United of Manchester, moves to Ottawa Fury and Galway United followed, before a brief spell at the start of last season in the Conference Premier with AFC Telford United. But now, if Yoffe, who has been playing at UMF Selfoss in the Icelandic second tier, decides to take legal action against FIFA, it could lead to the biggest shake-up of the transfer system since the 'Bosman ruling' was enforced in 1995. 'It is something I feel strongly about,' said Yoffe, who has scored seven goals in nine league games for Selfoss. 'I know a lot of players do as well. Some I know are signing shorter deals which means their contract expires before the window closes. It protects them and they don't have to go four months without a club. It's not just for me. I want to help others in the same situation. A player's career is so short anyway that, when you come to the end of a contract, you'd like to be in the shop window to progress forward as soon as possible after that. Having to wait for several months is denying players a right to impress, a right to move forward and a right to earn a living. I'm talking to the lawyers about what options are available.'

A couple of quick advertising-related questions now, dear blog reader. Is it just yer actual Keith Telly Topping of does the sinister looking little red-haired girl getting messy stuff thrown at her in that Persil Whatever life throws at you advert scare the living bejesus out of anyone else?
Burn the witch! Secondly, in that - really very annoying indeed - Ariel advert, where the ditzy blonde lass is wittering on about her 'lovely' vintage dress and wonders what those 'weird stains' on it are, is anyone else constantly hoping that her friend will reply to her question 'coffee, right?' with something along the lines of 'no, they're almost certainly shit,' instead of 'probably'?
And, finally, on a marginally related subject, is there anyone else who really hopes that the pretty office worker with the apple in the Right Moves advert will, one day, find a home she can call her own where she can play Blondie at full volume to her heart's content? Just me then?
You'd have got long odds, back when Stephanie Beacham was still in Dynasty and Russ Abbot was in his Madhouse, of the two of them appearing in a sitcom together. Even longer, if you said that sitcom would be based around a friendship group for OAPs in Norfolk. Still, you wouldn't have predicted the iPad either, would you? Abbot and Beacham will star alongside Alison Steadman in a pilot for a new BBC comedy, Grey Mates, reports the Sun.

A 'relationship support' meeting booked at a village hall has been cancelled amid fears that it was being used as 'a bondage workshop.' Crikey. Adverts were published for an event which would include 'spanking, flogging and kink on a budget' - served with tea and cakes, admittedly - at an unnamed South Cambridgeshire venue. You usually have to pay good money for that sort of thing down Soho. Ahem ... apparently. Anyway, the trustees of the village hall in Trumpington (which, apparently, is a real place and not, as you may have always believed, the neighbouring town of Camberwick Green where Hugh Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub all live) said they believed their venue had been booked 'under false pretences' and that they weren't going to be having any truck with this sort of sexy malarkey. 'The booking did not fully state the activities undertaken,' they claimed. So, no mention of recreational chastisement in the original phone call, then? Peer Rope Cambridge, a group which supports the BDSM community, published an agenda for the 12 October 'workshops' on its website, stating that the venue would be 'announced closer to the time.' The day would begin with tea and pastries, and a lunch of sandwiches and fruit would be served by 'Maid Sarah', they said. In the afternoon, participants were invited to take part in 'relationship counselling' in the main hall, or a 'flogging workshop' in the small hall next door. People attending were advised to take the park and ride because of a lack of parking spaces at the venue. They were also asked to help stack chairs away nicely at the end of the day. Sound like the kind of thoughtful and socially aware people village halls should be encouraging to use their facilities. Although the trustees of the hall were unable to confirm the relationship counselling sessions booked by PRC for that day were bondage workshops, they cancelled the booking anyway. In a statement, they said: 'It has been brought to [our] attention that the premises have been hired under false pretences by PRC Cambridge. When the bookings were made, the activity was described as a "relationship support group meeting." The booking did not fully state the activities undertaken. The trustees have therefore cancelled all future bookings and have no further comment to make.'

Which brings us, naturally, to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, since we mentioned it earlier and the theme (and accompanying title sequence) is a particular favourite of this blogger, here's a bit of yer actual deadly Dudley Simpson and something which is sure to bring a nostalgic tingle to various UK Fortysomethings.