Friday, October 25, 2013

I Will Not Celebrate Meaningless Milestones (Unless Doctor Who Is Involved)

On the off chance that there was ever any doubt the two most fanboy-like actors to play the character of The Doctor would get on well together on-set, yer actual Steven Moffat assured the Radio Times they, of course they did: 'David and Matt, were both quite apprehensive of the other. David has continued to watch Doctor Who like the sad old fan he is and, so as far as he's concerned, Matt's The Doctor. And of course, for Matt, you don't believe yourself you're The Doctor, you just think David's The Doctor. So they were both slightly nervous and apprehensive. By the end of it, Matt told me that he'd worked out this plan that they'd both continue in Doctor Who: do five individual episodes each and three together – would that be okay? It was a nice plan. I think, if I'd said yes they'd have gone for it. The double act between them is sublime,' added The Moffinator (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He). 'It's one of those happy accidents – there's no reason why they should be, but they are absolutely adorable and hilarious together.'
And now, dear blog readers, a short - but, I suppose, ultimately necessary - moment of personal reflection upon, you know, stuff.
Doctor Who isn't the only thing that turns fifty this year, dear blog reader. Oh, goodness me no. For on Saturday 26 October 2013, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self hits the big Hawaii. As David Coleman might say on Sportsnight, 'quite extraordinary.' (There'd probably be a lengthy 'errrrr' in there, as well.) There were many who believed that yer actual his very self would never make it to thirty - Keith Telly Topping being, merely, one of them. Nevertheless, as someone who regards birthdays as, essentially, nothing to celebrate and, in fact, just one day closer to my inevitable death, let yer actual Keith Telly Topping thank everyone in advance for all the kind best wishes he knows he's going to get. And, no there isn't going to be a party. Next ...
Whilst an entire nation eagerly awaits the new series of Sherlock to find out just how the world's only consulting detective managed to fake his death at the end of the last series, yer actual Benny Cumberbatch his very self has admitted that keeping the answer secret from us all has been more than he can take. There have been numerous theories put forward as to how the spectacularly calculating and intelligent, albeit eccentric, detective managed to pull off such a stunt, with the most likely one (at least, according to 'some people on the Internet') seeming to involve hypnosis after the noted illusionist Derren Brown was spotted on set filming for the first episode of series three earlier this year. But, of course, one thing Sherlock is good at doing, as a show, is to pull the wool over our eyes, which is one of the reasons it is so hugely popular. So, we all know deep down we will simply have to wait until the new series arrives, which is due either late this year or early next, to find out the truth. (Most of the hot money is currently going on a start date of either 29 December of 4 January). But, Benny of course already knows the truth, and has been joking with fans on Reddit's Ask Me Anything webchat that he is finding it incredibly difficult keeping the secret from them, adding: 'I cry myself to sleep at night. And then wake up laughing,' During the chat the actor, revealed how TV legend Ted Danson had got starstruck when he met him: 'Ted Danson at a pre-Oscar party screaming across a floor of people like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ray Liotta, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, et al while pushing past them and knocking their drinks. OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! IT’S FUCKING SHERLOCK HOLMES!' But, it seems Ted is not the only US resident who recognises Benny, as Cumberbatch explained to Time magazine how weird it had been to find fans so far from our side of the pond: 'I thought, "I won't get recognised here." But, the first café I walked into, the waitresses were like – "Oh my God! Aren't you on television? Don't you play Sherlock Holmes?" It's amazing the spread of that thing, it's incredible.' But that doesn’t mean Benny is too big to be starstruck himself, as he revealed he still gets nervous around the big names: '[I'm starstruck] every time I've met someone famous who I've been in the audience of. I have the same butterflies and inability to be cool. I approach them as a fellow member of the human race, as the next person in their audience does. I've been doing this for ten odd years, and so to meet people who thrilled me with their work for my entire life in such a concentrated manner, as has happened over the last few years, has been mind-blowing. One of the many perks of my job, I guess.'

Mind you, he's always been a photogenic chap has Benny. Well, with Tim and Wanda as his parents, that's hardly surprising.
Anybody else desperate to know what the 'chippy row' was all about and how it the led to murder? Just me then?

ITV's final batch of episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot launched with 4.4 million overnight punters on Wednesday. The first of David Suchet's final four episodes - The Big Four - began with a peak of 4.89m at 9pm and an average audience share of just a smidgen under twenty per cent. The previous episode in June attracted 4.47m. On BBC1, Watchdog interested 3.87m at 8pm, while The Great British Year was seen by 2.61m at 9pm. BBC2's Nigellissima, featuring Nigella Lawson - she has her knockers - was watched by 1.11m at 7.30pm, followed by The House that One Hundred Thousand Pounds Built with 1.81m at 8pm. David Mitchell (the funny one) and Robert Webb's Ambassadors pulled in an opening night audience of 1.21m at 9pm. On Channel Four, River Cottage To The Core appealed to nine hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm. Grand Designs was watched by 2.48m at 9pm, while Gogglebox had 1.49m at 10pm (352k/4.0%). Channel Five's Animal Maternity had an audience of nine hundred and thirteen thousand at 8pm. Saving Britain's Seventy Stone Man was seen by 1.25m at 9pm. Wentworth continued with seven hundred and ninety five thousand viewers at 10pm. Sky Atlantic's The Tunnel dropped over one hundred and thirty thousand viewers from last week's debut - effectively a third of its audience - to two hundred and thirty six thousand viewers at 9pm. Hello Ladies which, if you haven't seen it yet, is about as funny as a growth on the scrotum, dipped twenty thousand week-on-week to one hundred and thirty thousand at 10pm. Which is still one hundred and thirty thousand too many, frankly.

The finale of Educating Yorkshire topped a relatively quiet Thursday evening outside of soaps, according to overnight data. Which is the main reason that yer actual Keith Telly Topping always goes out on a Thursday. The Channel Four series attracted 2.62 million viewers, up around one hundred and fifty thousand punters from last week. Earlier, George Clarke's Amazing Spaces was watched by 1.98m at 8pm. BBC1's Truckers rose, fractionally, from last week's low but could still only manage 2.31m at 9pm. Nevertheless, it edged out ITV's period-medical-drama flop Breathless, which lost over half-a-million viewers to end with 2.13m at 9pm. Britain's Secret Treasures interested 2.24m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, Nigellissima brought in 1.29m at 7.30pm. Strangely over-obsessive woman, that lass dear blog reader. I mean, don't get me wrong, this blogger likes a bit of pasta just as much as the next person does; but with Nigella, at one point she was moaning in orgasmic ecstasy so much about her bowl of tortellini that I thought she was going to come all over the kitchen table. Meanwhile, Trust Me, I'm A Doctor appealed to 2.42m at 8pm. Documentary No Sex Please, I'm Japanese was seen by 1.78m at 9pm. Channel Five's Benidorm ER had an audience of nine hundred and seventy five thousand viewers) at 8pm. Countdown To Murder attracted 1.27m at 9pm. The Person of Interest season premiere was watched by nine hundred and twenty six thousand at 10pm.

In the latest From The North's Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence, number twelve. The bit in The West Wing where, after nearly seven years of total faffing about, Josh and Donna finally decide to, you know, do it.
And, the post-coital sigh which emerged from fandom at that point could be heard in space.

Next, it's our other recurring series, Great Daft Moments From TV History. Today, number ten: 'We're The Sweeney, son, and we haven't had any dinner!'
Yer actual David Tennant and Olivia Coleman her very self helped ITV's Broadchurch win four awards - dubbed The Daggers - at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards. The pair picked up the best actor and actress awards for their roles in the drama, with co-star Andrew Buchan named as best supporting actor. Broadchurch also won the TV award, with Bond movie Skyfall named best film. Martina Cole and Wilbur Smith were also inducted into the Crime Writers' Association Hall of Fame at the event. The awards - which marked the culmination of ITV3's Crime Thriller Book Club - included a new award for the club's best read, which went to Malcolm MacKay for The Necessary Death Of Lewis Winter. After beating books by Linwood Barclay, Megan Abbott, Christopher Fowler, Diana Bretherick and Andrew Taylor, the author said it was 'a huge honour and thrill to win.' Mick Herron picked up the coveted Gold Dagger award for best crime novel of the year for Dead Lions. 'My shelves are crammed with Gold Dagger-winning novels of the past - The Mermaids Singing, Black and Blue, Bones and Silence. I can't quite believe I get to put my own book next to them,' he said. The best new crime writer award went to Derek B Miller for his debut novel Norwegian By Night Roger, while Roger Hobbs's Ghostman was named best thriller of the year. Other awards went to Amelia Bullmore, who won best supporting actress for her role in ITV's Scott and Bailey, while Danish series The Killing III won the best international TV award. The ceremony will be shown on ITV3 on 27 October introduced by Bradley Walsh.

BBC1's popular Live At The Apollo returns for a new series next month with yer actual Eddie Izzard his very self among the comedians headlining the shows. Unfortunately, so is risible, odious, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall. See, dear blog reader, it's true what they say. Every silver lining does have a cloud. The BAFTA-nominated series features different hosts performing for three and half thousand punters at the Hammersmith Apollo, alongside two special guests. Eddie - probably, still, the finest comedian in the world when he's on form, will top the bill in the first episode and will be joined by the excellent Josh Widdicombe and the young South African comic Trevor Noah who was such a hit recently when he featured on an episode of Qi. Later in the series, risible, odious unfunny lanky streak of piss Whitehall, Sean Lock (who is funny), Last Leg presenter Adam Hills (who's really funny) and the ventriloquist Nina Conti will all headline individual episodes. The full line-up of those taking part is scheduled to run as follows:-
Episode one - Host Eddie Izzard with special guests Josh Widdicombe and Trevor Noah.
Episode two - Host Jack Dee with special guests Seann Walsh and Milton Jones.
Episode three - Host Sean Lock with special guests Romesh Ranaganathan and Marcus Brigstocke.
Episode four - Host Adam Hills with special guests Andi Osho and Terry Alderton.
Episode five - Host Jack Whitehall with special guests Katherine Ryan and Rich Hall.
Episode six - Host Nina Conti with special guests Rob Beckett and Jimeoin.
BBC2 has announced plans for a tribute show about late comedian Felix Dexter. Felix, who was much admired - not least by this blogger - for his roles on shows such as The Real McCoy and Citizen Khan, died last week at the horribly young age of aged fifty two. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer. The Fast Show creator and friend Paul Whitehouse said: 'It's great that the BBC are showing this tribute to Felix. He was brilliant, funny and challenging and deserves to be remembered as such, even though he was a Gooner.' BBC comedy controller Mark Freeland said that the BBC was 'proud' to be able to show the tribute, which would highlight 'what a fantastic comedy actor he was.' Felix first rose to fame on the flagship 1990s comedy series The Real McCoy before going on to appear in TV shows including The Fast Show, Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge and Absolutely Fabulous. His most recent role came in BBC sitcom Citizen Khan as Omar, a friend of Adil Ray's titular community leader.

Yer actual Alan Davies is a very funny chap, dear blog reader - a particular favourite of this blogger - and a very fine actor to boot. But, unfortunately, he has something of a spectacular habit of opening his gob and putting his foot in it. As proved again this week. Alan has paid considerable damages after he retweeted a post which linked a Tory peer's name to a TV report on a 'senior political figure who is a paedophile.' Davies grovellingly apologised for the 'great damage and distress' his post caused the ex-Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord McAlpine, his lawyer claimed. Thus proving, once again if any further proof were needed, what a complete and total bloody menace Twitter can be in the hands of ... just about anyone who uses it. Alan accepted that the 'allegations' were 'completely untrue', his lawyer added. Lord McAlpine's solicitor said that his client accepted Davies' apology. But, speaking after the hearing at the London court, Andrew Reid added: 'The fact remains that both [Lord McAlpine] and his family have been caused immeasurable distress which cannot be rectified. There still remain people influenced by this tweet and all the apologies in the world are not going to put the situation back to where it was.' Alan said he 'stood by' the public apology he issued at the time of the malarkey and had made a donation of thirteen grand to the NSPCC in an attempt to make amends. 'I hoped those steps might avoid legal action but in March press reports appeared saying I was going to be sued for two hundred thousand pounds,' he said in a statement issued after the hearing. 'I offered to pay fifteen thousand pounds in damages plus a contribution to costs and agreed to make today's statement in court. From my own experience, I am able to warn others of the dangers of retweeting.' During the hearing, which neither McAlpine nor Alan attended, lawyers for both outlined details of the libel action to the judge, Mr Justice Tugendhat. Sir Edward Garnier QC, for Lord McAlpine, said on 2 November last year the then 'managing editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism' - one Iain Overton - crowingly tweeted: 'If all goes well we've got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile.' Of course, as events subsequently proved, the report was, in fact, a piece of extremely soddy journalism put together with little basic fact-checking having been done and, nobody bothering to show the alleged victim of abuse a photograph of Lord McAlpine to confirm the veracity of the story. Dear blog readers with longer memories my recall that Overton was the clown who once tried to use an important piece of legislation like the Freedom of Information Act to get the BBC to give him some ratings figures. On 12 November 2012, Overton resigned from his position at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Sir Edward said that this announcement - as, perhaps, anyone with half a brain in their head could have foreseen - prompted much further Twitter activity and speculation on the identity of the individual to whom Overton had alluded. Newsnight subsequently broadcast the report about the sexual abuse of boys at the Bryn Estyn children's home in Wrexham, in the 1970s and 1980s. It accused an unnamed 'leading Conservative politician from the Thatcher years of sexually abusing boys in care.' Sir Edward said that, prior to the broadcast, Davies had asked his Twitter followers: 'Any clues who this Tory paedophile is?' Garnier added that a few minutes later Alan received a reply which contained links to three websites, including to an article about an inquiry into abuse at the Bryn Estyn home and to a Swedish website which 'purported to report on a paedophile ring in the British establishment.' Garnier said that the reply tweet then said 'lord mcalpine, some would say.' He added: 'Most unfortunately, Mr Davies retweeted that tweet. At the time he had a substantial number of followers on Twitter - in excess of four hundred thousand.' Davies' lawyer Steve Hudson told the judge: 'Mr Davies withdraws the allegation made on Twitter unreservedly and apologises sincerely to Lord McAlpine for the great damage and distress his tweeting has caused him.' He added: 'Mr Davies hopes that as a result of this matter other Twitter users will be more aware of the potential damaging consequences of tweeting and be more careful in how they use that platform.' Some chance. On Tuesday, Lord McAlpine's libel action against Sally Bercow, the wife of Commons Speaker John Bercow, was formally settled at the same court. Mrs Bercow had already apologised and paid the peer undisclosed (but, one imagines, pretty substantial) damages for a defamatory tweet which also linked McAlpine to false claims of child sex abuse allegations. And this, dear blog reader, is why this blogger avoids Twitter like the plague. Just about every single news story I've seen over the last three years where someone has got themselves into trouble for saying something about anything has, it would appear, involved Twitter directly or indirectly.

Tim Vine has joined the cast of the upcoming second series of Blandings. The Not Going Out actor will play Bladings Castle's long-suffering butler, Beach, in the BBC1 comedy, based on the stories by PG Wodehouse. Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders will reprise their roles as Lord Clarence Hemsworth and his sister Connie, respectively. Harry Enfield, Celia Imrie and Mathew Baynton will be among the second run's guest stars. Julian Rhind-Tutt, John Sessions, Daisy Beaumont, Zoe Boyle, Michael Brandon, Nichola McAuliffe and Jemima Rooper round out the guest cast. Blandings' second series will see Clarence looking to spend more time with his pig, The Empress of Blandings, and facing the risk of being committed to an asylum by a guest, among other stories. Writer Guy Andrews said in a statement: 'As ever, all Clarence wants is to be left in peace with his beloved pig. But events conspire against him as never before. His incorrigibly rakish brother, Galahad, is on the prowl with a glittering monocle and a case full of shocking memoirs. Other guests and impostors include a voracious Hollywood producer, a dancing saxophonist secretary, Clarence's frankly terrifying sister, Charlotte and - worst of all - the poker-wielding Duke of Dunstable, the rudest man in all Shropshire. Will tranquillity ever reign at Blandings Castle, even for an afternoon?'

Richard Schiff and Olympian McKayla Maroney are to guest star in a forthcoming episode of Bones. They will appear in the same episode, which centres on Brennan (Emily Deschanel) attempting to solve the murder of lonely physicist Leon Watters's daughter. Maroney is to portray a rival of the murder victim, according to Entertainment Weekly. Richard, of course, is best known for starring in The West Wing as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler, quite possibly the single greatest TV character ever created (well, that doesn't have the title 'Doctor', anyway). He also recently played Doctor Hamilton in director Zack Snyder's blockbuster Man of Steel. Olympic gymnast Maroney's previous acting experience includes a role in The CW's Hart of Dixie.

Miranda Hart and Joanna Lumley are to star in a BBC adaptation of Gangsta Granny. David Walliams's best-selling children's novel will be turned into a one-off sixty-minute film for BBC1, following the success of the TV adaptation of the same author's Mr Stink last year. Julia McKenzie will appear as the title character in the comedy drama, which begins filming on Sunday, for a broadcast at Christmas. The project has been co-written by Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley with Walliams. Gangsta Granny follows schoolboy Ben (played by Reece Buttery), who becomes bored after being forced to stay with his grandma. However, she soon tells him the story of when she used to be an international jewel thief, before they join forces to complete the big heist she never completed. So, a heart-warming tale of thievery and badness for all the family, there. Lumley will portray The Queen - cor, I'd vote for 'er - while Walliams and Hart will play Ben's parents Mike and Linda. Rob Brydon will play nosey neighbour Mister Parker, who could end up ruining the robbery plan with his meddling. Jocelyn Jee Esien played Kelly, the mother of Florence, with whom Ben has to dance in a local ballroom competition. Harish Patel, Max Olesker and Steven Spiers complete the cast. David Walliams said of the project: 'I am thrilled that we have such a stellar cast of comedy legends for Gangsta Granny. I can only apologise that I am in it too!.' Would that he'd done that with Come Fly With Me, frankly. Mark Freeland, BBC Controller of Comedy Production, added: 'David asked us not to muck up his massively popular book on TV. So we cast him and then added some of the most-loved and wonderful comedy actors in the country. I hope it will be a very special special.'

Peaky Blinders will return for a second series in 2014, it was announced on Friday. The BBC has confirmed that the period drama - which follows the lives of gang members who control the streets of 1920s post-war Birmingham - has been recommissioned for a further six-part run. 'I am so pleased we will be able to continue to tell this story of a working class family living through extraordinary times in an extraordinary way,' said series creator Steven Knight. 'The Peaky Blinders will march on to many surprising places and fight astonishing battles as the 1920s begin to roar.' Those behind the BBC2 show have revealed that the forthcoming series will see the Shelby family expand their crime empire, while maintaining control over their Birmingham heartland. Gang leader Tommy (played by Cillian Murphy) also looks set to be undermined by sinister forces in his attempts to make the black market business legitimate, but his ascent into 1920s high society will be aided by his criminal credentials. 'We've been thrilled by the passionate responses Peaky Blinders has been getting from viewers all over the country,' explained executive producer Caryn Mandabach. 'Like them, I can't wait for Thomas Shelby's story to continue.' Filming on the project is scheduled to begin early next year. Murphy's co-stars - Sam Neill and Helen McCrory - are expected to return, though viewers were left wondering about the fate of Annabelle Wallis's character Grace following the dramatic series finale.

Eddie Marsan is to feature in new BBC1 drama, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Marsen and Les Misérables actor Bertie Carvel will play the title roles. Marc Warren, Samuel West, Charlotte Riley, Enzo Cilenti and Paul Kaye will also feature. Set at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell will follow Strange (Carvel) - a charming and rich aspiring magician - and Norrell (Marsan) - a recluse with fantastic abilities. Based on the novel by Susanna Clarke, the series has been adapted by Peter Harness and directed by Toby Haynes. 'I can't wait to start playing Norrell in this terrific adaptation of Susanna Clarke's novel, and to be working with such a cast of actors, many of whom I've admired for so long,' said Marsan. Carvel added: 'I read the book some years ago and was totally enchanted. I've been casting spells for the part of Strange ever since. It is a considerable surprise to find that some of them worked!' Ben Stephenson - the controller of BBC Drama commissioning - praised the seven-part drama's 'original, talented and dynamic cast. This cements our reputation for bold and ambitious drama and I can't wait to see Bertie and Eddie bring these wonderful characters to life in a unique and exciting way,' Stephenson added. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell begins filming next week in Yorkshire, Canada and Croatia.

The Universal Channel has picked up the UK rights to Greg Kinnear's legal drama Rake. Kinnear stars as the lead, a self-destructive criminal defence lawyer called Keegan Joye. Rake will be broadcast on FOX in the US. Joye is billed as 'a flawed hero', who fights with everyone around him, including 'his ex-wife, the judges, the assistant district attorney, his bookie, and even the IRS, as he relies on his wit and charm to defend the indefensible, both in and out of the courtroom.' Miranda Otto, John Ortiz, Necar Zadegan, Tara Summers and Ian Colletti appear alongside Kinnear. Universal Channel's James Newton said: 'Rake was one of the most talked-about series of this year's LA Screening and we knew it would be the perfect fit for Universal Channel and our new positioning. It immediately became a prime target for us, and we're delighted to have secured it this early, long before its US launch. Keegan Joye is one of the most memorable small-screen leads since Gregory House, and we're confident he'll fit right in with Universal Channel's growing roll-call of truly magnetic characters.' The series is an adaptation of a hit Australian show of the same name, created by Peter Duncan.

Johnny Depp his very self is to front the first documentary in a new series on Sky Atlantic. The actor will track the life and career of one of his heroes, the artist Ralph Steadman, in For No Good Reason. Depp is the first of many stars to work on the second Sky Atlantic Documentary Films season, set to be broadcast on the channel in 2014. Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris will also present his own documentary in the series, looking at the role of Donald Rumsfeld as the US Secretary of Defence and his part in the Iraq War. Titled The Unknown Known, the film was the first documentary to be nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in September. The title, of course, comes from a legendarily moronic statement made by Rumsfeld on 12 February 2002 at a press briefing where he addressed the absence of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups: 'There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.' Thanks, Don. We'll let you know. The news follows the Sky Atlantic Documentary Film Festival which took place on Thursday screening six films for the series' first season. Lucy Walker's The Crash Reel was shown, as well as BAFTA-winning director Beeban Kidron's In Real Life, which are due to be shown on Sky Atlantic HD from 5 November.

Pompous certified nutjob Russell Brand appeared on Newsnight this week to discuss his role as guest editor of The New Statesman. In a properly unmissible ten minutes and forty six seconds of madcap tomfoolery and that, the alleged comic went head-to-head with yer actual Jezza Paxman, managing to squeeze together a (really stupid) 'call to revolution' (yeah, right, we'll get back to you on that one, Russ - you go first), bemoan West Ham's recent form and discuss Paxo's beard. If you missed it, dear blog reader, trust me it was, genuinely, unbelievable. Brand, not unsurprisingly, demonstrated an utter inability to offer any concrete examples of what he believes we should all do instead of vote. He wants fundamental change in society - good, so do many people - but he, seemingly, has no idea about how to achieve it except via some 'revolution' that's never going to happen. Referencing to Paxman's appearance on Who Do You Think You Are?, the comic did his best to launch an 'up and ate 'em' address to the nation. 'I remember I see you in that programme where you look at your ancestors. You saw that your grandmother got fucked over by the aristocrats who ran her gaff. You cried because you knew that it was unfair and unjust. And that was a century ago. That still happens now. I've just come from a woman who is being treated like that. If we can engage that feeling, instead of some moment of sentimentality trotted out on the TV for people to pore over, emotional porn, if we can engage that feeling and change things, why wouldn't we? Why is that naive? Why isn't that my right, because I'm an actor? I've taken that right, I don't need the right from you, I don't need the right from anybody, I'm taking it.' Isn't that quote from Citizen Smith? The nation, as it happens, simply got bored with his drivel and switched over to CSI: NY on Channel Five instead. The peasants are not revolting, it would seem.
The BBC has outlined the details of its winter Ashes coverage, which will include the return of cricket-themed entertainment shows from Andrew Flintoff and Radio 1 DJ Greg James. Radio 5Live, 5Live Sports Extra and online will have ball-by-ball coverage of the twenty five-day series, plus build-up programming and highlights shows. The recent triumphant summer series for England boosted 5Live's listening figures and there were 10.6 million requests to listen to the Test Match Special team, lead by Jonathan Agnew, commentators Henry Blofeld, Simon Mann, Jim Maxwell and Ed Smith, summarisers Michael Vaughan, Geoff Boycott and Vic Marks and analyst Simon Hughes. For the first time, the TMS team will also have commentary from England's build-up matches, which start against Australia A on 6 November. Extra programming includes a 5Live Fighting Talk special hosted by Freddie Flintoff and the return of Greg James's Not Just Cricket. The BBC will also be covering the 2014 Women's Ashes on 5Live Sports Extra with presenters Alison Mitchell, Isa Guha, Charles Dagnall and Alistair Bruce-Ball. Jonathan Wall, controller of 5Live and 5Live Sports Extra, said: 'We've responded to the huge audience appetite for the Ashes in the summer with 5Live's most ambitious plans ever for an overseas cricket tour. With the peerless Jonathan Agnew and co on TMS, 5Live's Ashes Breakfast, daily podcasts and a special Freddie Flintoff Fighting Talk we think we've got something special, not just for England cricket followers, but for millions of sports fans all over the country.' Or, you could just watch the action on Sky Sporots like normal people.
Tony Hall says that the next BBC HR director - Lucy Adams's successor - will earn a 'lower rate' after being questioned about Adams' three hundred and twenty thousand smackers salary. Appearing before a parliamentary select committee, Hall was asked how it was possible that Adams was paid exactly the same as the director of television, Danny Cohen. Who, actually does some things to justify his existence. The leader of the BBC, who has been in the job since April, defended himself by saying: 'I've inherited what I've inherited.' Ouch.

NBC is currently working on a Murder, She Wrote reboot, is has been reported. The crime series starring Angela Lansbury is being reimagined for the network, with Desperate Housewives producers Alexandra Cunningham and David Janollari developing the new version. No. No, for the love of God, no. Haven't we suffered enough already?
One of those really bastard hateful BT Infinity fibre Internet adverts has been banned for suggesting that mobile phones and radios interfere with Wi-Fi connections. The advert in question shows three student flatmates using a BT Infinity connection on laptops and tablets to access online dating services, transfer photo files and purchase concert tickets. Sadly, the rest of the series of adverts - featuring Daniel Rigby, Rebecca Night and Tommy Bastow - haven't been banned ... for being a disgraceful frigging waste of everyone's time and talent. Despite the fact that they, you know, should be. The Advertising Standards Authority said that the advert was misleading and cannot be broadcast again. 'There's no end of things around the home that can disrupt your wireless Internet,' the advert claimed, while displaying mobile phones and radios on screen. 'The devices that were found to cause particular problems were baby monitors and video senders, but not Private Mobile Radio devices or mobile phones,' the ASA concluded. The report did acknowledge however, that microwaves are a possible source of interference. Three complaints were filled - by people with nothing better to do with their time, seemingly - because the advert implied that significant interference was caused by the devices shown while the complainants understood that was not the case.
Amy Garcia is to return to BBC Look North as a presenter, sharing the sofa with long-serving Harry Gration. Garcia previously worked on the programme - the local news show for Yorkshire and Humberside - as a broadcast journalist, presenting news bulletins and reporting on the road. She left in 2012 to be a senior broadcast journalist at BBC South Today and is currently on maternity leave after the birth of her first child. Born and bred in Yorkshire, Garcia, who has also presented BBC3's Sixty Seconds News, will take up her new post on 25 November. Helen Thomas, head of BBC Yorkshire, said that the new recruit, who started her career in children's TV, would be 'a huge asset' to the team. 'Her natural warmth and empathy, combined with her track record in TV news, really shone out for us. I'm very proud to have an all Yorkshire presentation line-up.' Her appointment follows the sudden departure of Christa Ackroyd earlier this year after twelve years on the programme. Ackroyd's contract was terminated after what the BBC described as a 'breach of contract'. Ackroyd had not presented the regional news programme, which regularly attracts an audience of two and a half million punters, since March amid press reports of 'a dispute' over her tax affairs.

BBC Worldwide plans to increase its investment in programmes by thirty million smackers a year. It will assign around two hundred million notes a year to co-productions, with both the BBC and independent production companies, as well as commissions for its own channels. Following the recent announcement that the BBC's commercial arm would become the Natural History Unit's main production partner, Tim Davie, Worldwide's CEO, picked out new drama Intruders, by The X-Files writer and executive producer Glen Morgan, as another example of this drive. The series is commissioned by BBC America from BBC Worldwide Productions in Los Angeles. 'Significantly higher content investment will underpin BBC Worldwide's third party sales, as well as our own BBC branded services,' Davie told staff on Friday, as he outlined his 'vision' for the next few years. He added that BBC Showcase - the annual global programme selling event - would become 'bigger and better than ever' - as the company looked to reap the rewards of its investments. Davie also confirmed on Friday the launch of three new genre brands. BBC Earth will become the company's brand for factual content, while BBC First will be home to British drama and first-run BBC programming. A third brand targeting male audiences is yet to be named. I'd suggest BBC Chap, personally. A BBC Earth block will be launched on BBC America in 2014, while BBC First will make its debut on the Foxtel platform in Australia next August. 'BBC Earth is a compelling way for us to share premium factual content with audiences around the world,' said Davie. 'It has already proven itself through a YouTube channel, in an amazing live event partnership in Japan and as blocks of programming on linear and digital programmes around the world.' He believed BBC Earth would help position the BBC as 'a true, global leader in all things factual'. Meanwhile, he said, the BBC's commercial international website will be 'beefed up' to take on the competition. It will include a long-form video player, and may incorporate the global iPlayer app. As a result, the current trial of global iPlayer will not be extended to any new markets, he said. The site could also include an international version of the BBC Store - the planned digital shop where people can buy and download BBC programmes. Together, the new investment plans would underpin the success of BBC Worldwide over the next three years and beyond, Davie told staff. They would 'serve to grow the BBC's footprint across the world, both via our own services and our important third party sales, resulting in greater access by audiences to BBC and British content and sustainable cash flows back to the BBC'.

Dirty old scallywag and rotter, the disgraced kiddie-fiddler - and scoundrel - Stuart Hall will be charged with sixteen further allegations of historic sexual offences. Allegations which are, of course, entirely unproven at this time. The ex-broadcaster will appear before Preston Magistrates' Court on 8 November, to face fifteen charges of rape and one of indecent assault. Crown Prosecution Service North West chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal said in a statement: 'Following a careful review, we have decided that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Stuart Hall for sixteen alleged sexual offences against two girls and that it is in the public interest to do so. It is alleged that Stuart Hall committed offences against one girl, aged between fourteen and sixteen, from 1976 to 1978 and another girl, aged between eleven or twelve and fifteen, from 1976 to 1981.' Afzal added: 'This decision to prosecute has been taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, the CPS legal guidance on rape and sexual offences and the DPP's guidelines on prosecuting cases of child sexual abuse. May I remind all concerned that Mr Hall has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.' It is not yet known how Hall will plead to the fresh allegations. The broadcaster is currently serving a thirty-month prison sentence for fourteen counts of indecent assault. Hall was the presenter of It's A Knockout from 1972 to 1982, and the original host of A Question Of Sport.

Tim Roth is to play the FIFA president Sepp Blatter in a film about football's governing body. Provisionally titled F2014, Gerard Depardieu will also appear in the movie as Jules Rimet - one of FIFA's founders and its longest-serving president. In a video published on FIFA's website, Blatter said that Roth's casting was 'well done' and they had 'common qualities.' Not sure exactly what those common qualities are since Tim Roth is a superb actor at the top of his game and Sepp Blatter ... isn't. The film is due for release next year, to coincide with FIFA's one hundred and tenth anniversary and the World Cup. Production will take place in France, Brazil and Azerbaijan. The video showed Blatter meeting with Roth for the first time in Zurich, which Blatter said was 'a very interesting get-together. I had read a lot of the CV and all the [films] that Tim Roth has made [and] I was very eager to meet him,' the seventy seven-year-old said. The movie is being made by French production companies Leuviah and Thelma Films. Blatter has run FIFIA - badly - since 1998 amid a series of controversies including many allegations of corruption. In 2004 the Swiss was criticised for suggesting that female footballers should wear tighter shorts and low cut shirts to attract more male fans, while in 2011 he insisted there was no racism in football and that any incidents could be 'settled with a handshake.' He was also at the centre of allegations of bribery resulting in Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid and was criticised for saying that gay football fans should not have sex while in the nation, where homosexuality is illegal. He has since apologised for his remarks.

German chancellor Angela Merkel was photographed arriving at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, in a car with a 007 number plate as claims that the US were spying on her hit the headlines. Merkel spoke to Barack Obama after receiving information that American security services had 'snooped' on her mobile phone. Speaking after the summit, Merkel - who seemed both shaken and, indeed, stirred, said she had 'made it clear' to President Obama that spying on allies is 'not acceptable at all.' Which shows a, necessary, difference between her and yer actual James Bond. He'd've just shot someone.
On Thursday evening of this week, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self only went and - as usual most weeks - attended yer actual Uncle Scunthorpe Steve Drayton's latest, glorious, Record Player event at the Tyneside Cinema. This week, it was the groovy ambient-trance-jazz-disco-easy-listening sounds of Air's 1998 masterpiece Moon Safari in all its shimmering, spacey, floating, tripped-out, Burt-Bacharach-influenced glory. And that. A properly magical night it was too although, sadly, not as well attended as many of the recent Record Players (it would seem that white boys with guitars are more popular than white boys with, you know, minimoogs). Steve writes, beautifully, about the night here on his own blog. 'It's a very sociable thing is the Record Player. Some folk come along in a group, or with their significant other, many though brave the evening alone. That's a huge compliment, in that we've created a bit of time for ourselves, a safe haven.' Aye. What he said. (And, yes, the slide show was indeed a particular thing of rare and glorious terrificness.) So, anyway, what in the wide wide world of sport could possibly be yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day this time around, I hear you chunder, dear blog reader? Why, this of course.

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