Thursday, October 17, 2013

I've Been Told This And It's Been Tested By Research

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has described yer actual Matt Smith and David Tennant his very self as 'a tremendous double-act.' You know, just like Morecambe and Wise, Shearer and Ferdinand, Lennon and McCartney, or Wilson, Keppel and Betty (only, you know, without Betty). Or, indeed, Mike and Bernie Winters. No, actually, thinking about it, nothing at all like Mike and Bernie Winters, Moffat did, after all, say 'a tremendous double-act' not 'oh Christ, there's two of them!' The two actors 'got giggly with each other' on set of the fiftieth anniversary Doctor Who special, head writer and executive producer Moffat told SFX. 'When you're talking to yourself there are no limitations, there's no holding back,' The Moffnator (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) said. 'You wouldn't be kind or courteous. At the same time, because they are two lovable, madcap, caffeinated Doctors, they're also quite fanboy-ish about each other.' Moffat added that the 'funny' dynamic between the tenth and eleventh Doctors was a 'lovely accident' and came about 'mostly in the playing. It is a tremendous double-act,' he explained. 'They're naturally funny together. Enough alike and enough dissimilar. They're not broody, upset Doctors. They were having such a good time together that they brought that out.'
The director who fifty years ago made the first episodes of Doctor Who has spoken of the reluctance of William Hartnell to play the Time Lord and said the BBC showed 'little faith' in the programme. Waris Hussein, who directed ten episodes of the series that would become the longest-running science fiction show on television, recalled balking at the script for the first story, An Unearthly Child. Broadcast in November 1963, the first episode introduced Hartnell and the TARDIS in a junkyard in London. You've probably seen it. Hussein said that he was 'fine' with this script but was 'rattled' by the remaining three episodes, which featured a power struggle between stone-age factions. '[I was] a graduate from Cambridge with honours, and you're directing this piece about cavemen in skins,' he said in an interview with the Radio Times's website. 'I thought, "Where have I landed up in my life?"' It wasn't just Hussein who failed to grasp the potential of Doctor Who. He claims that the drama's makers had struggled to secure a star to play The Doctor, with Hartnell the first choice of the producer, Verity Lambert. 'When we approached him, he didn't want to do it because he was doing well in films,' said Hussein. Hussein said that there 'a major force' within the BBC that had not wanted to go out on a limb with a family SF drama. The reticence is made clear in the Mark Gatiss's forthcoming biopic drama An Adventure In Space And Time, which fleshes out how the show made it to the small screen. 'The BBC had no faith in it,' claimed Hussein. 'The fact was, they didn't want to make it.' But, of course, they did.

Returning to the latest issue of SFX magazine, published this week, which features an eighteen page special on Doctor Who to celebrate the show's fiftieth anniversary. The main event is the above mentioned interview with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat about the anniversary and, perhaps even more fascinatingly, about what is to come thereafter. 'We've got to set The Doctor off in a brand new direction,' says The Moffster, concerning The Day Of The Doctor. 'It's chapter two of his life. Now something happens to him that changes the way he thinks and the way he will adventure from now on. You can celebrate an anniversary in many ways – I think the most productive one within the narrative is to say "This is where the story really starts. This is where he finds his mission, he finds his destiny. We're not fibbing – this one is going to change the course of the series. And it's very rare in Doctor Who that the story happens to The Doctor. It happens to people around him, and he helps out – he's the hero figure who rides in and saves everybody from the story of the week. He is not the story of the week. In this, he is the story of the week. This is the day of The Doctor. This is his most important day. His most important moment. This is the one he'll remember, whereas I often think The Doctor wanders back to his TARDIS and forgets all about it.' As previously noted, Moffat also spoke about the dynamic between The Doctors: 'I wrote it as the friction version. When you're talking to yourself there are no limitations, there's no holding back. You wouldn't be kind or courteous. At the same time, because they are two loveable, madcap, caffeinated Doctors, they're also quite fanboyish about each other. They think it’s quite cool. They're not broody, upset Doctors – it's more "There's two of us! Brilliant!" But that's mostly in the playing, because they were having such a good time together that they brought that out. They're naturally funny together. Enough alike and enough dissimilar. Matt said it was like Laurel and Laurel, as if Hardy didn't show up, except he does in the form of John Hurt. The weird thing is there's never that much contrast between Doctors. The truth is it's not wildly different how they're written. I've written quite a lot for both of them, and you just have the voice in your head, very clearly. Where they are similar is funny, because they're practically in unison, and where they are different is David is a cheeky, sexy, genuinely cool Doctor, up against a Doctor who thinks he’s sexy and cool but is woefully wrong on that subject! And that's just naturally funny.'

Next, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is indebted to his old mate Danny Blythe for the following screengrab - from an issue of the Doctor Who Magazine - and a pithily brilliant observation which made yer actual KTT his very self chuckle. Lots.
'Still one of my favourite "Dear Editor" moments of all time,' notes Dan. 'The punchline is well worth waiting for. I hope Dave Stevens of Beaconsfield saw the funny side.' It's just about possible, one supposes, although he's a Doctor Who fan so, you know, it's equally possible he's currently sitting in his bedsit making voodoo dolls of poor old Tom Spilsbury and sticking pins in them. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, incidentally, would very much like to see the magazine cover 'the perfect souffle' in a future issue. I'm just saying ...

BBC America has released a series pictures promoting the forthcoming much-anticipated BBC2 drama An Adventure In Space And Time. Written by Mark Gatiss and directed by Terry McDonough, the ninety-minute production, as you probably know, tells the story of the genesis and early years of Doctor Who and stars, among others, David Bradley as William Hartnell, Claudia Grant as Carole Ann Ford, Jemma Powell as Jacqueline Hill, Jamie Glover as William Russell, Sacha Dhawan as Waris Hussein, Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert, and Brian Cox as Sydney Newman.
A party is to be held at Buckingham Palace next month to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who, it has been announced. In what is, arguably, the highest honour which could be bestowed on the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama, the Countess of Wessex - who is believed to be something of an admirer of the programme as well as a gross drain on Britain's already overstretched resources - will host the reception on Monday 18 November. The guest list has been kept under wraps, but people involved with the show both in front of and behind the cameras over the years are expected to feature on it. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, probably, isn't. Ah well, them's the breaks. The BBC's popular long-running family SF drama enjoys a strong royal connection, with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall having visited its studios in Roath Lock during the summer. Doctor Who's original producer Verity Lambert was awarded an OBE in the 2002 New Year Honours List for services to film and TV production, while Russell Davies was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to drama. Buckingham Palace itself has featured and been referenced in the programme, with The Doctor averting its demolition by the starship Titanic in Voyage Of The Damned, while in the later story Planet Of The Dead The Doctor stated that he had parked the TARDIS in its grounds with the full approval of Her Maj her very self. In alternate timelines, the starship Titanic destroyed the Palace (Turn Left) and it was the home of the Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill in The Wedding Of River Song. It is to be presumed that the current royals are either unaware of or were amused by the implication in Tooth And Claw that they are all werewolves. Well, it's better than David Icke's theory. Marginally.

ITV's Mad Men rip-off Breathless dropped nearly eight hundred thousand viewers for its second episode on Thursday evening, according to overnight data. The drama dipped to 2.66 million at 9pm. So, the period medical drama - which ITV have spent a lot of time and effort bigging up like it's the greatest thing since Monroe - is unlikely to see a second series based on those sort of figures, one imagines. Earlier, Michael Buerk's new factual series Britain's Secret Treasures was seen by 3.03m at 8.30pm. On BBC1, their own catastrophic flop drama, Truckers, fell by around six hundred thousand from last week's opener to a probably embarrassing 2.25m punters at 9pm. That one's not so much a question of 'will it get a second series?' as 'will it make it to the end of the first in its current time slot or be shunted to some late night Dead Zone slot for the last three or four episodes and be replaced by a repeat of New Tricks?' BBC2's Trust Me, I'm A Doctor interested 2.63m at 8pm, while the final Peaky Blinders of the series climbed by around two hundred thousand to 1.64m at 9pm. A decent figure for a BBC2 drama and one which really puts into context just how shockingly bad Breathless and Truckers' overnight audiences were. On Channel Four, Location, Location, Location gathered 1.70m at 8pm to watch yet more really annoying young professional couples from the Home Counties with 'that's not a real job'-type jobs faffing around like geet useless planks when simply trying to buy a sodding house. That was followed by Educating Yorkshire with 2.48m at 9pm. New series Up All Night opened with 1.12m at 10pm. Channel Five's The Railway continued with eight hundred and seventy six thousand punters at 8pm, while Countdown To Murder appealed to nine hundred and sixty one thousand at 9pm.

Sky Atlantic was given a boost in the Wednesday's overnight ratings by a solid performance from new drama series The Tunnel. Sky's adaptation of Nordic Noir favourite The Bridge pulled in three hundred and sixty two thousand at 9pm, an impressive figure for the channel with a homegrown production. Stephen Merchant's Hello Ladies followed on Sky Atlantic at 10pm with one hundred and fifty thousand (which is one hundred and fifty thousand too many, frankly), while series two of Veep launched at 10.30pm with forty thousand. On Sky Living, the second series of Chicago Fire started with just over two hundred thousand at 8pm, while Universal Channel's US acquisition Sleepy Hollow is proving to be something of a cult favourite in the UK with three three hundred and fifty four thousand viewers tuning in at 9pm. BBC1's The Great British Year attracted 2.63 million at 9pm and the second part of Stephen Fry's Out There documentary had nine hundred and seventy six thousand punters in the same timeslot on BBC2. Cilla Black's return to ITV in The One And Only ... pulled in 3.92 million at 9pm, winning its slot. Channel Four had success with Grand Designs at 9pm attracting 2.54 million and Gogglebox was watched by 1.42 million at 10pm. On Channel Five, When Gastric Bands Go Wrong attracted eight hundred and sixty thousand viewers at 9pm, before the latest episode of Wentworth brought in seven hundred and fifty five thousand at 10pm.

England's crucial World Cup qualifying victory over Poland helped ITV secure massive ratings on Tuesday night. Roy Hodgson's team secured a 2-0 win, which ensures them a spot at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored the goals that helped England top their group above rivals Ukraine. A peak audience of 10.8 million (a forty three per cent audience share) tuned in at 9.30pm to watch the closing minutes of the match. ITV's average audience for the evening's coverage, which started at 7.30pm and ended at 10.30pm, was 7.9 million. The ratings were up on last Friday's qualification match against Montenegro, which pulled in a peak audience of nine million. The Great British Bake Off dipped by around three hundred and fifty thousand viewers from the previous Tuesday, overnight data reveals. The semi-final of the BBC2 competition attracted 5.58 million at 8pm - presumably lower than usual because of the match. The Wrong Mans continued to lose viewers, which rather restores ones faith in the viewing public. The wretched unfunny James Cordon sitcom was four hundred thousand down week-on-week for its fourth episode, dropping to 1.89m at 9pm, while The Sarah Millican Programme had an audience of 1.09m at 9.30pm. On BBC1, DIY SOS: The Big Build interested 4.46m at 8pm, while the documentary The Prison Restaurant brought in 1.85m at 10.35pm. On Channel Four, Double Your House For Half The Money appealed to six hundred and ninety thousand punters at 8pm. Masters of Sex was seen by seven hundred and twenty eight thousand viewers at 9pm. Channel Five's latest episode of CSI was watched by six hundred and ninety five thousand at 9pm, followed by Castle with six hundred and forty seven thousand at 10pm.

And, speaking of CSI, the latest episode of the popular long-running crime drama's fourteenth series in the US featured a rather amusing conceit - a MasterChef-style TV cookery show in which one of the losing contestants is murdered and subsequently cooked. 'Didn't you think it was a bit odd the show would cook and serve up a human being?' DB Russell asks one of the chefs. 'Wouldn't be the weirdest thing that happened on a reality show,' answers the chap, straight-faced. See, dear blog reader, if Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' Food Glorious Food contained a round like that, this blogger would probably watch it.
Also in the US this week, it was jolly nice to see the excellent Jorge Garcia turning up in a guest role alongside his former Lost colleague Daniel Dae Kim in the latest Hawaii Five-0.
Continuing From The North's recurring segment Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence. Number eight, Rachel Riley spelling out a rude word on Countdown. Always a winner.
Actually, particularly because it's the lovely Rachel, that rude word is what makes it art.

And, after that, dear blog reader, we come to Great Daft Moments From TV History. Number six. Just seven little words, but they meant so much to the watching millions. 'Matt Bianco. You're a bunch of wankers!' Simon from Leicester, wherever you are these days, a nation salutes you.
Peter Capaldi was unveiled as Doctor Who's newest lead in August - you might have noticed, dear blog reader, it was in all the papers, and everything. He will make his first appearance in the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama's forthcoming Christmas special, before taking control of the TARDIS the following year. However, the Digital Spy website claims to have learned that other actors were considered for the role of the twelfth Doctor - among them Ben Daniels, who was rumoured as a potential candidate and was at one point named as the bookies' favourite. Daniels has joined the cast of the BBC period drama The Paradise and, while promoting his role in series two, he gave Digital Spy his version of events. 'It was more than rumour. I was approached and asked if it was something I'd be interested in doing. Apparently, usually when it's announced that The Doctor is leaving, the new Doctor is already firmly in place. But a BBC e-mail had apparently been leaked, talking about Matt Smith's departure or something, so they had to announce it officially much sooner than they'd have liked. I don't know whether my name was also on that e-mail as was stated in lots of those rumours, but I was one of the names on one of their many lists they had as a possible replacement. So I was asked, and when I eventually managed to peel myself off the ceiling, I said, "Yeah, of course it'd be something I'd be interested in doing," and I was hugely excited by it. I was a huge fan of the show as a kid, like we all were, really. My era was Jon Pertwee into Tom Baker and then also when it returned, penned thrillingly by the amazing Russell T Davies with Christopher Eccleston. To be thrown into that mix as a possibility was fantastic. But I also knew from the outset that there was a name ahead of my own on that list that they were very interested in. So after that initial conversation that I had with them, it was just a waiting game. I was consumed by the idea, even though I was heavily involved filming The Paradise at the time - often I'd call my agent and make them call Doctor Who and ask if it'd gone away as a possibility. It was just so I could stop thinking about it, but then my agent would call me back and say, "No, you're still on the list." This went on for a couple of months. So I had a good two months to really think about the ramifications of not being able to go to the local pub and so on. I sort of live in the middle of three schools, so it was like, "Okay, maybe I'd have to move." I think a lot of actors have no interest in doing that, but The Doctor is a fantastic character and if you want to, there's a huge scope for an actor to really sink your teeth into. It'd be an absolute privilege. Then - I think it was about two weeks before that live reveal event - I was told that their shortlist had got much shorter! But it didn't mean I wouldn't come back into the frame. So I took that to mean the deal was being done with whoever was the frontrunner and if it all fell through, then those of us who were trailing behind would be in with a chance. After that, all communications went into lock-down infuriatingly, but I suppose they have to, so nothing leaked. I found out about that BBC live reveal programme a couple of days before it [was broadcast]. It was a really exciting couple-and-a-half months. I was thoroughly entertained reading all those daily rumours online - first I was cast, then I'd filmed, then I had to pull out for personal reasons! All of which had no basis whatsoever in reality, but they'd obviously latched onto something and I don't know where that all initially started. You never know with all those rumours. I can't wait to see what Peter Capaldi does. He's brilliant - such an amazing actor and it'll be completely unique and I'm looking forward, hugely, to his Doctor. I knew from the outset, from that initial conversation, that they wanted to cast someone older and I just think it's so great to shake it up. The Who fans are just so incredibly passionate about that show, which I absolutely love. They're really vocal. The debates they all have about who it should be and why it should be ... but I think Peter Capaldi will just be fantastic.'

Yer actual David Tennant's latest role sees him transformed into a king with flowing locks in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Richard II. Early reviews have noted Tennant's 'mesmerising' performance and 'Christ-like' hair. Richard II is the Doctor Who and Broadchurch actor's first RSC role since his acclaimed role in Hamlet five years ago. Tennant and the cast won enthusiastic applause on Thursday's opening night in Stratford-upon-Avon. The production transfers to the Barbican in London in December. It reunites Tennant with Hamlet director Gregory Doran, who is now in charge at the RSC. Starting with Richard II, Doran intends to stage each one of Shakespeare's plays once over the next six years. Written almost entirely in verse, Richard II is a story of power and plotting in which the king's weakness and vanity threatens to drag his people into a civil war. In the cast alongside Tennant are Michael Pennington as John of Gaunt, Nigel Lindsay as Henry Bolingbroke, Oliver Ford Davies as the Duke of York and Jane Lapotaire as the Duchess of Gloucester. The play opens with a funeral lament sung live by a small choir, after which Tennant's Richard arrives in a flowing white robe, in sharp contrast to those around him in chain-mail or mourning black. In another scene he preens his rock-star locks in a mirror. 'His hair takes some getting used to,' notes the Torygraph's Dominic Cavendish. 'Great gingery-brown extensions trail girlishly downwards. Long, magisterial, quasi-medieval robes add to the effeminate impression. With his startled eyes and concentrated frown, Tennant is frail, pale and consistently interesting but the nervous energy he excels in is confined to quarters early on.' Tennant gives a 'mesmerising performance that grows in power as Richard's authority declines,' according to Michael Billington in the Gruniad Morning Star. 'The packed houses for this production's run in both Stratford and at the Barbican may have much to do with Tennant's star presence. But this is the strongest company the RSC has fielded in years.' The Independent's Paul Taylor called it 'another palpable hit for the Tennant/Doran collaboration.' Recent star-name portrayals of the title character in Richard II include Eddie Redmayne at the Donmar Warehouse in 2011 and Ben Whishaw's BAFTA-winning TV performance in the BBC's The Hollow Crown last year. Tennant told the Independent recently that Richard II was a play he had loved since drama school when he saw a production with Sir Derek Jacobi. 'It's quite unknowable,' he said. 'There are no heroes and villains in it, just people trying their best and not managing to get on with their lives.' Tennant's association with the RSC goes back to 1996 when, aged twenty five, he played Touchstone in As You Like It. His other RSC appearances include Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, Love's Labour's Lost and The Rivals. By the time he played the Prince of Denmark in Doran's modern-dress Hamlet in 2008, Tennant was a household name thanks to his lead role in Doctor Who. Tennant's last Shakespearean stage role was Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing in the West End in 2011, alongside his former TARDIS companion Catherine Tate as Beatrice.

Strictly Come Dancing host Bruce Forsyth may be a man of many talents, but telling jokes perhaps isn't one of them. Viewers may be puzzled as to why the contestants n the BBC's celebrity dance format always seem to find his tired gags so hilariously funny, but the Sun may have the answer: it reports that 'bosses' (that's 'producers' only with less syllables) have, allegedly, told celebrities to, allegedly, laugh at Brucie's jokes in case their blank faces are shown on-screen when the jokes fall flat with normal people. An alleged - nameless, and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'source' allegedly told the alleged paper: 'Contestants are regularly briefed by producers to give give a positive reaction to Bruce's jokes. It's a light-hearted and fun show and Bruce's one-liners are central to it. But the last thing they want is to broadcast awkward tumbleweed reactions during recordings.'
The BBC has confirmed the broadcast date of Ripper Street's second series premiere. The period drama returns for its second run on Monday 28 October at 9pm. Taking place in the East End of London, the second series moves forward to 1890, and will feature the return of Matthew MacFadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg as crime-solving trio Reid, Drake and Jackson. Paul Kaye is among the guest stars of series two, along with Gina Bellman and Neve McIntosh. Breaking Bad's David Costabile, Being Human's Damien Molony and Game of Thrones actor Joseph Mawle are also among the new cast members. The Elephant Man - not the actual Elephant Man, obviously. He's been dead since 1890 - has also been confirmed to be making an appearance in the first two episodes of the series. Speaking about series two, MacFadyen recently said: 'It's fantastic to be reunited with much of the wonderful cast and crew from last year. Also to be reunited with my bowler hat - I'd missed it. The show's creator Richard Warlow has given us wonderful, strange and unsettling episodes, teeming with the fierce and fragile life of Victorian Whitechapel.'
The BBC has unveiled its most ambitious television season ever – one hundred and thirty programmes spanning two thousand five hundred hours – that will be broadcast over four years to mark the centenary of the first world war. The season is designed to match the timespan of the 1914-18 war, and include a daily BBC Radio 4 drama. Programming will also include an exclusive interview with billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, who will talk about the role his father played reporting on the Gallipoli campaign. There will also be documentaries from Jeremy Paxman and historians Max Hastings and Niall Ferguson, as well as a frontline medical drama featuring Oona Chaplin. Thought to rival the BBC's Olympics coverage in its ambition, the BBC's first world war centenary season is an example of the vision of the BBC as 'the place everyone goes to for the big events' that was outlined by new director general Tony Hall last week. 'This season is going to have a profound impact on the way we think about world war one,' said Hall, speaking in the BBC's Radio Theatre at New Broadcasting House. 'On television, on radio and on digital, we'll be exploring how this conflict, above all others, shaped our families, our communities, our world – and continues to influence us today.' The BBC claims the scale of the season and its breadth are 'unique' and it will 'be much more than a chronological historical record' said its world war one centenary controller, Adrian Van Klaveren. The coverage will echo the time frame of the Great War, running until 2018. While there will be documentaries such as Paxman's landmark Britain's Great War on BBC1, there will also be unseen footage of interviews with veterans from seminal 1960s series The Great War. There will also be programmes designed to be accessible to younger generations, such as a special editions of children's show Horrible Histories and BBC3's award-winning Our War. Radio 4 will broadcast one of its biggest-ever drama commissions, Home Front. From August 2014, each day it will follow characters in real time as they try to cope with the realities of wartime Britain, with every episode set one hundred years to the day of broadcast. BBC1 dramas include The Ark, which focuses on nurses and volunteers, starring Oona Chaplin and Hermione Norris, and The Passing-Bells by Tony Jordan. BBC2 will broadcast a three-part factual drama about the lead-up to the war, Thirty Seven Days, featuring Ian McDiarmid and Tim Piggott-Smith. The events leading to the outbreak of the war and its effect will also be debated by experts in programmes such as BBC2's The Necessary War, fronted by Max Hastings and The Pity of War, presented by Niall Ferguson. Meanwhile, the legacy of the first world war will be explored by historian David Reynolds in Long Shadow. A documentary will present 'a fresh look' at the controversial Gallipoli campaign which claimed huge numbers of allied (particularly ANZAC) troops, and feature an interview with billionaire tyrant Murdoch about his father's role as a whistleblower. The horrors of war will also be charted in Fergal Keane's Teenage Tommies for BBC2, and in Neil Oliver's The Machine Gun and Skye's Band of Brothers. On radio, the BBC World Service and Radio 3 will partner the British Council in a look at the global perspective in a series presented from a different location each time by Amanda Vickery. How the first world war affected music and the arts will also be examined in programmes on Radio 2, 3 and 4 and on BBC2 and BBC4. 'We are setting out to broaden people's understanding of the war and to commemorate and remember those who died,' said Van Klaveren. 'Through documentaries, drama, news coverage, children's programmes and arts and performance, we will tell well-known stories from fresh perspectives and original stories so far untold.'

Michelle Keegan's Coronation Street character, Tina McIntyre, is to be killed off in a dramatic new storyline. Tina, who Keegan has played since 2008, will be murdered, horribly, according to reports, leading the show into a 'whodunnit' plot. The twenty six-year-old actress announced that she was leaving the soap in April this year and this new ploy from ITV is said to be part of their ongoing ratings war between Coronation Street and the BBC's EastEnders. EastEnders has recently begun something of a fightback - after a lengthy period of Corrie being in the ascendancy - with Michael French and Samantha Womack recently returning to the show, while it was announced that Danny Dyer is to join the cast last month.

Waterloo Road will have a new head teacher in series ten, it has been revealed. The excellent Neil Pearson, who is to star as incoming teacher Vaughn Fitzgerald in the next series of the continuing BBC1 drama, will play the new head next year. The news was revealed online after a fan visited the set in Greenock and spilled the beans. Pictures showing filming for the tenth series, due to be broadcast in 2014, were posted on Inverclyde Now and show the school's sign on a wall outside. Closer inspection reveals that the sign says 'Head Teacher: Vaughn Fitzgerald.' Last month, it was revealed that the fifty four-year-old Drop the Dead Donkey and Between The Lines actor along with actress Nicola Stephenson had been signed up by Waterloo Road producers as two new teachers. Speaking about joining Waterloo Road in a BBC press release, Neil - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - commented: 'Waterloo Road has a long and successful history, an impressive list of alumni, and a highly talented and enthusiastic cast. All of which makes me very excited to be joining my new school.'

The creator of Breaking Bad says that Internet piracy 'helped' his show to become popular and increase 'brand awareness' of it. Vince Gilligan said: '[It] led to a lot of people watching the series who otherwise would not have. The downside is a lot of folks who worked on the show would have made more money, myself included, if all those downloads had been legal.' According to the Torrentfreak website, the final episode of the US cult drama was illegally downloaded more than half-a-million times. The forty six-year-old writer and showrunner made his comments as part of BBC radio's Newsbeat's week long investigation into copyright. The fourth series of Downton Abbey started in the UK at the end of September but doesn't begin in the US until January. Gareth Neame, the programme's executive producer, said: 'The three month delay between the UK broadcast - we air in September and we're not on in America until January - it is completely unrealistic in this day and age that there is such a long timeline.' He added that the twenty four-hour difference between when Game Of Thrones is shown in the US before being screened in the UK was 'more realistic. There is a historic reason why we run later than the US, and it doesn't seem to affect our ratings. The last episode was the highest rated drama on television that night, so we can't look at that and say, well this delay is losing us viewers. It's not really having that effect.' Atlantis executive producer Johnny Capps said that illegal downloading is a 'huge problem for programme makers' and they are 'powerless with how to deal with it.' He added: 'If a show keeps on being illegally downloaded then the value of the show is worth less, so therefore your budgets will go down and it will affect the show creatively. As programme makers, what you try and do is you try and make your product, your shows, available day and date globally. And that's very difficult to do, and in the first series of Atlantis that won't happen.' He also said 'if people are downloading it, people are talking about it, which helps create fans and drive people to buy the DVD of the show. There is the problem of illegal downloads, we have to sort of face that, but as the series progresses and networks around the world buy into it, we'll be able to create a system where you can do day and date transmission. And when that happens it has been proved that the counterfeiting of shows goes down a lot.'

Robert Peston has been announced as the new BBC economics editor. For the last eight years, Pestinfestation has worked as the broadcasting company's business editor. He replaces the divine Stephanie Flanders, who recently announced her departure from the role to join the bank JP Morgan. Pestinfestation said that he was 'excited by the prospect of trying to get underneath what's going on in the British economy. Especially in the run-up to the 2015 general election.' He also tweeted about his new position, saying: 'The post of BBC Biz Ed [sic] will be available soonish because - after eight action-packed years - am moving seat a few places to be Econ Ed.' The head of the BBC's business and economics unit, Jon Zilkha, added that Pestinfestation is the 'ideal combination of economic and financial expertise, political insight and broadcasting flair to give our audiences and programmes the best service in the years ahead.'

The number of companies increasing marketing budgets hit a thirteen-year high in the third quarter, as the UK advertising industry turns bullish after years of struggling to recover from the recession. The IPA's Bellwether report found that in the third quarter a net balance of over twelve per cent companies surveyed said that they were spending more. The net balance is found by subtracting the percentage of companies reporting a budget decrease from the proportion reporting a budget boost. 'The report indicates that the UK economy is on the rise again,' claimed Paul Bainsfair, director general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. Which all sounds rilly great if you work in advertising rather than living on a council estate in Newcastle. 'This optimism will send a continued upbeat message to the advertising industry and the wider economy,' he added. The report confirms 'a swell of optimism' being felt across the industry with ITV, the UK's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, hitting a new record high share price of one hundred and ninety two pence. Investors continue to be buoyed by the strong advertising market in the UK, this week both American giant Omnicom and the French group Publicis reported strong organic growth of more than seven per cent in the third quarter. The latest IPA report found that main media advertising budgets – those for media including TV, press and radio – were boosted by a net balance of 3.4 per cent. This is the highest figure since the third quarter of 2010. However it was Internet advertising budgets which were boosted to the greatest degree, with a net balance of eleven per cent. 'The Bellwether adds to the growing flow of upbeat data on the UK economy,' said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit which compiles the report. 'Marketing spend looks set to rise sharply as companies boost their budgets to an extent not seen in the thirteen-year history of the survey.'

The award-winning comedian (it says here) John Bishop is to host The Royal Variety Performance next month. It will feature people such as Gary Barlow, the cast of hit West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Attraction, the winners of this year's Britain's Got Talent.r Olly Murs will also perform on 25 November, with the show set to be screened by ITV in December. So, that'll be worth avoiding, then.

On the other hand, Ed Byrne is a genuinely funny man. And, as if to prove it, Byrne accidentally made a couple of audience members faint during his latest stand-up tour show. Two people apparently fainted after the comedian mentioned needles at his Roaring Forties show in Brighton on Thursday night. 'Two people in the audience in Brighton fainted tonight. I had no idea I was that good looking,' the Mock The Week regular joked on Twitter. 'The woman from St.John's ambulance says the people fainted because I was talking about getting an injection. Oops!' Byrne was performing at the Brighton Dome when the incident happened.

Shane Meadows has confirmed that plans for This Is England '90 'improvisation session' in January. The director told the Digital Spy website that the project could overtake his planned biopic of the cyclist Tom Simpson if the session goes well. 'Tommy Simpson's a bit further ahead because there's a script in hand, but then we're going to hopefully sit down with some of the key cast in January and do a bit of a Meadows improv session,' Meadows said. 'That could pull it up on the outside and make it late winner to shoot for next year, so we'll see what happens.' Meadows added: 'It's a nice pressure to have, because miracles happen in those rehearsal sessions with those amazing actors sat in a room together. Something might happen there, so we're keeping a really open mind and Channel Four and FilmFour are happy for us to go whichever way. Hopefully there'll be an official announcement reasonably soon and we'll get rolling. They're both going to get made, but it depends in which order.' The director's 2006 movie This Is England spawned TV follow-ups This Is England '86 in 2010 and This Is England '88 in 2011, but work on the 1990-set sequel was halted while Meadows made his acclaimed Stone Roses documentary.
A former West Yorkshire policeman is under investigation by the police watchdog over claims that he intervened on behalf of naughty old scallywag and disgraceful rotter Jimmy Savile. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking into whether the ex-inspector inappropriately contacted Surrey Police before the force interviewed Savile in 2009. Savile has been accused of abusing hundreds of victims during his career. Victims' groups have reacted with incandescent fury and righteous anger at the contents of a transcript of the interview. It included repeated denials by Savile that he had abused women and girls. The investigation follows an instruction from the IPCC to West Yorkshire Police to 'record and refer' the conduct of the former inspector, identified in a Surrey Police report as 'Inspector Five'. The Operation Ornament report, which was published in February, stated that Inspector Five had contacted Surrey Police on 8 June 2009, claimed that he was 'known personally' to Savile and passed on a telephone number to enable the force to contact him. He was said to have advised that Savile was available and could be seen at Stoke Mandeville Hospital the next day to conduct the police interview. The IPCC said it hoped to announce decisions shortly in relation to a further referral from West Yorkshire Police, and in relation to information supplied by a number of other forces. 'This follows our earlier request to forces to review material they hold to establish whether there are any conduct matters in respect of police officers which should be referred to the IPCC.' The watchdog added: 'We have been assessing information to determine whether there are any matters requiring IPCC investigation, supplied by the following forces: West Yorkshire, Metropolitan Police Service, Surrey, Sussex, GMP, Lancashire, Thames Valley, North Yorkshire and Cheshire.' The heads of several victims' groups were outraged after the 2009 interview was published. Peter Saunders from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood said the language used by Savile in the forty one-minute interview with Surrey police child protection officers - which included him saying 'what you don't do is assault women, they assault you, that's for sure' - indicated his 'hatred' of young women. 'The transcript confirms the nature of the man,' he alleged. 'If you look between the lines you can see he hates women, and young women in particular.' Children's charity the NSPCC said it hoped that the Savile fiasco had changed the way allegations of abuse are handled by police. 'This police interview rings true with what victims have said about Savile,' said Peter Watt, the NSPCC's Director of Child Protection Advice and Support. 'Like many sex offenders he was manipulative, arrogant, controlling and dominated this interview.'
The Sun journalist Nick Parker and a second man will be charged by police over the theft of an MP's mobile phone in 2010. Parker, from South-West London, is accused of one count of receiving stolen goods and one of unauthorised access to computer material. Michael Ankers, also from South-West London, faces one count of theft of a phone belonging to Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh. Both men will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 6 November. Gregor McGill, a lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service, said there was insufficient evidence to charge another suspect in relation to the case. McDonagh, who has represented Mitcham and Morden since 1997, had her mobile phone stolen from her car in Colliers Wood on 17 October 2010. The accusations against Parker and Ankers bring to three the number of people charged under Operation Tuleta, a Scotland Yard investigation focused on computer hacking and other alleged privacy breaches and naughty skulduggery. Operation Tuleta began in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has also made three arrests under inquiries linked to the investigations.

Game Of Thrones actress Rose Leslie has joined the cast of Channel Four's Utopia for series two. Leslie, Ian McDiarmid and The Hour's Tom Burke are among the new cast additions joining the conspiracy thriller in its second run. Trystan Gravelle and Michael Maloney will also join returning cast members Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Alexandra Roach, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Adeel Akhtar, Oliver Woollford, Paul Higgins, Neil Maskell and Geraldine James. Principal photography has now begun on the new six-part series, again written by Dennis Kelly and directed by Marc Munden. Channel Four first announced in March that Utopia would return for a second series, with the new episodes expected to broadcast in 2014. A US remake of the show was also reported to be in development at HBO, with David Fincher said to have expressed an interest in the project.

The BBC2 executive responsible for The Great British Bake Off has lamented the serial poaching of hit shows by BBC1, but said that as a 'good soldier', it is part and parcel of the way the corporation operates. Janice Hadlow, the controller of BBC2, has admitted that she is 'sad' to see the somewhat unlikely hit baking show move to BBC1. 'I'm sad to see it go, I won't pretend I'm not,' she said, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Media Show. 'It's been a great show to have on BBC2. I've loved my time working with it, I think it is one of my favourite shows.' The Great British Bake Off is following a well-trod path of shows that have become hits on BBC2 moving to the more mass-market BBC1, including MasterChef, The Apprentice and Miranda. 'I am a good soldier and a grown up person and I realise when you have a show doing sometimes seven million viewers we have an obligation, if you like, to put it on a channel where there is a chance that even more people will find and enjoy it,' she said. 'Actually, it is a condition of being a controller of BBC2 that sometimes you see programmes that you love get on the escalator and move up to the next level.' Hadlow said that while the exact recipe that makes a show a winner with the public is impossible to define, she 'always knew' it was going to be a good show. The last series of Bake Off averaged more than five and a half million punters per episode, with the final pulling in over seven million. Hadlow made some prescient comments in the summer, admitting that the huge success had 'provoked some sniffing' within the corporation that was like a 'flag going up' for it to be potentially poached by BBC1.

Ofcom will audit live TV subtitles twice a year from next spring. The broadcasting regulator confirmed the move on Wednesday following a period of consultation. The twice-yearly audit, which will run for at least two years, has the aim of encouraging broadcasters to improve the quality of their service for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences. 'We are taking important steps towards improving the quality of subtitling on live programmes for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers,' said Claudio Pollock, Ofcom's consumer group director. 'Ofcom expects regular reporting by broadcasters to help improve subtitles over time, as well as allowing us to identify exactly which areas need most progress.' Broadcasters will be required to report once every six months, including data on the number and type of errors, subtitling speed and the gap from when words are spoken to their appearance on screen as live subtitles. They will also be expected to report back on how much pre-recorded output had to be subtitled live where programmes were delivered late, and any technical problems causing disruption to subtitling services. Ofcom is expected to produce its first report in Spring 2014, and will use the audit process to consider whether it should revise its current guidance or set quality targets for broadcasters.
Comedy Central was forced to repeat an old episode of South Park after a power cut prevented this week's scheduled episode from being finished. Computers at South Park Studios in Los Angeles were down for three hours on Tuesday, halting work on the episode Goth Kids III: Dawn of the Posers. Co-creator Trey Parker told fans 'it sucks' but admitted that it was inevitable. 'After all these years of tempting fate by delivering the show last minute, I guess it was bound to happen,' he said. It is the first time that he and Matt Stone have missed one of their tight deadlines in sixteen years, after famously starting each show from scratch just six days before it is due to air. Most animated TV shows are written several months in advance, but South Park's creators hope to keep the show current and fresh by working to a tight deadline. The US office of Comedy Central said in a statement on Wednesday: 'From animation to rendering to editing and sound, all of their computers were down for hours and they were unable to finish episode 1704, Goth Kids III: Dawn of the Posers, in time for air tonight.' The planned episode was replaced with a repeat of Scott Tenorman Must Die, an episode featuring miserable bleeders Radiohead, which fans had voted their second favourite of all time in a poll in 2011. The team posted pictures of the blackout on the show's Twitter feed and revealed that Goth Kids III was now scheduled for next week. Earlier this year Parker and Stone's musical The Book of Mormon opened to rave reviews in London's West End, after a sell-out debut on Broadway. They confirmed two years ago that they would continue animating the adventures of South Park's Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman until 2016. The show recently kicked off its seventeenth series in the US to its highest ratings since 2011, with 4.3 million viewers tuning in across three broadcasts.

Roy Hodgson says that he and his players are 'angry' and upset that England's World Cup qualification has been, crassly, overshadowed by the - wholly media-created - furore surrounding comments which he made during Tuesday's game against Poland. Hodgson was criticised by certain sections of the media - and by various people with a rather pointed agenda in place - for referring to a joke about a monkey and an astronaut to make a tactical point during a half-time team talk in the 2-0 win, which secured England's 2014 World Cup place. Although quite how these comments ended up in the public domain in the first place is a question that someone in the England camp really needs to answer. Somebody, it would appear, snitched Roy up good and proper like a filthy Copper's Nark to the scum press. Which says an awful lot about squad loyalty, if nothing else. The Football Association moved quickly on Thursday to back the England boss and slap down,harshly, any suggestion that he had said or done owt wrong or anything even remotely like it. 'Joy is short-lived in this job,' a visibly upset Hodgson told the Daily Scum Mail on Friday. 'The players are as angry about this as I am. We have just had a successful period and, although I wouldn't suggest we intend to rest on our laurels, I think we have earned the right to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Instead we get this. I admit that some of the younger players may not have understood the reference to the monkey in space. They may not have heard the expression before but that's a generational thing. I meant "give the ball to the player who can make things happen." There was no other connotation, and no offence was taken by any of the players. You would have to go a long way to find somebody who is less racist than me. I have coached almost everywhere in the last thirty seven years, worked with all kinds of people, so this intimation of racism – you can hardly call it a story – is so saddening.’ Hodgson was reported - by, let us repeat, someone within the dressing room - to have referenced the joke when attempting to explain to right-back Chris Smalling that he needed to pass the ball to winger Andros Townsend more often. The joke, the exact wording of which is still unclear, revolves around an astronaut and a monkey on a NASA mission. In the joke, the monkey performs all of the various tasks requested by mission control, with the punchline being that the astronaut's only role is to feed the monkey. While Hodgson later apologised 'for any offence' he had, unintentionally, caused Townsend himself tweeted: 'I don't know what all this fuss is about. No offence was meant and none was taken!' Quite why Roy felt the need to apologise instead of telling anyone who did 'take offence' at this, quite innocent, reference to just grow the fuck up and find something real, and tangible, and relevant to get offended by instead of this frigging nonsense is another matter entirely. Let this blogger be clear about this, racism is wrong on any level. It is sick and vile and evil and people have a right - indeed, a duty - to get offended by it when it occurs, even if it's casual or unintentional. That's actual, proper, honest-to-God racism. If, on the other hand, you start to look for offence in places where it doesn't exist, chances are if you work hard at it, and you've got an agenda to be offended, then you'll, like as not, find something to be offended by. But you'll also be a completely worthless glake with no right to complain about important stuff when it occurs. Anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out had called for the FA to 'investigate' the comments, but, seemingly, they shat in the own pants and ran a mile as soon as the incident threatened to turn into something more than tabloid tittle-tattle. They said that they 'considered the matter closed' after the governing body released a - very strongly-worded - statement in support of Hodgson and added it had not received any complaints from England players. So, quite why they felt it was their job to get involved in this malarkey in the first place when no player had complained to them is, again, a matter perhaps left for another day when tempers have cooled somewhat. 'Roy Hodgson is a man of the highest integrity, an honourable man who is doing a great job with the England team,' said FA chairman Greg Dyke. 'He has fully explained to us what he said and the point he was making to the players in the dressing room at half-time on Tuesday night. He has also explained the context in which he made his remarks.' England striker Wayne Rooney also showed his support for Hodgson on Twitter and via his personal website: 'To try and pin some form of label on him is absolutely ridiculous. Roy spoke to Andros straight away and he took no offence whatsoever. Hopefully that's now the end of the matter.' Former Southampton and England forward Matthew Le Tissier said he is concerned that there is somebody in the dressing room whom Hodgson, it would appear, cannot trust. 'That's not a great thing to have,' Le Tissier told BBC Sport. For all the supportive tweets of Wayne Rooney and Andros Townsend the very fact this story made it into the public domain clearly suggests this England team is not quite as united and solid as the FA and the manager would hope. 'If the player is offended then pull Roy to one side and be a man about it,' said Le Tissier. 'Roy is the type of guy who will have gone "I didn't really mean any offence and I apologise." That would have been the end of the matter.' The FA is said to have spoken to all twenty three members of the England squad on Thursday to check whether they had been offended by Hodgson's comments. And, presumably, in an effort to find out who was the individual that grassed Roy up so sneakily. The former England striker Stan Collymore, a noted anti-racism campaigner, also moved to strongly defend Hodgson on Twitter, suggesting that the row - and those who had perpetuated it - risked undermining moves to eradicate real, proper racism from the sport. The reaction of some parties, Collymore noted, 'demeans every anti-racism campaigner by having cheap pop at RH who said nothing wrong. [It] makes campaigners seem over-PC and petty. They're not,' he added. Spot on, Stan.
Yer actual Morrissey has used his autobiography to criticise the UK legal system and music business and revealed his first full relationship came with a man when he was in his thirties. The singer was scathing about the judges in his 1990s legal battle with former band mate Mike Joyce, describing one of them as the 'pride of the pipsqueakery.' The Smiths' record label Rough Trade, he claimed, had been 'brutally drab.' And, he accused the NME of being 'out to get Morrissey' in the 1990s. Morrissey, who is normally fiercely protective of his private life, opened up about a relationship with Jake Walters which began in 1994. He wrote about how Walters followed him back to his house after meeting him at a restaurant and 'steps inside and stays for two years. For the first time in my life the eternal "I" becomes "we", as, finally, I can get on with someone,' he wrote. Morrissey also revealed how he later discussed having a baby - or, as he put it, 'a mewling miniature monster' - with Tina Dehgani, with whom he described having an 'uncluttered commitment.' Giving his version of his 1996 court battle with Joyce, who was seeking twenty five per cent of The Smiths' earnings, Morrissey accused the drummer of 'constant inaccuracies and assumptions vomited out with leaden fatigue' in court. The presiding judge, John Weeks, came in for particularly scathing criticism, portrayed caustically in the book as an 'unsmiling Lord of the Hunt, with an immutable understanding of the world of The Smiths. The pride of the pipsqueakery, John Weeks begins his judgment by falling flat on his face: He brilliantly announces to the world how The Smiths formed in 1992 - his judicial accuracy not to be questioned!' Morrissey wrote. Geoff Travis, who signed The Smiths to Rough Trade, was another who failed to impress Morrissey. When the singer and guitarist Johnny Marr turned up for an appointment, Morrissey claims he waved them away and refused to listen to their music until Marr 'pinned him to the swivel chair.' Travis, Morrissey noted, 'would have found himself wandering from kaftan to kaftan' if it had not been for The Smiths, who the singer claimed 'saved his life and made it count in the long run.' The autobiography is, clearly, Morrissey's opportunity to right every perceived wrong in his entire life - teachers, the NME, judges (whom he spends fifty pages on), even The Thompson Twins, who stopped The Smiths' debut LP from getting to number one in the UK Album Charts! However, it is a thoroughly entertaining read, with a many laugh-out-loud moment every couple of pages. Michael Stipe is criticised for not brushing his teeth before an REM gig. Morrisey's primary school teacher is described as the sort 'who will never marry and will die smelling of attics.' There are revelations: Love affairs with a man and a woman, a thorough analysis of The Smiths' break-up (Johnny Marr was the 'master', Morrissey 'the servant') and enough titbits to delight fans (far from being the ailing non-sporty-type of repute he was, actually, the fastest runner in his school, he once turned down a part in Friends and is a something of fan of Norwegian pop group A-ha). There is also much beautiful writing, as you'd expect from one of the finest lyricists this country has ever produced. Manchester of the late 1960s is described as 'an old fire, wheezing its last, where we all worry ourselves soulless, forbidden to be romantic.' The singer's bitter and long-running row with the NME began, he said, when a new editor took over and 'allegedly called a staff meeting at which he has passed the command that his staff writers must now "get Morrissey."' In 1992, the magazine questioned whether he was racist after he appeared on stage wrapped in a Union Jack in a gig at Finsbury Park. The NME put him on its cover under the headline: Flying the flag or flirting with disaster? The singer also detailed the brutality of teachers at St Mary's school in Stretford - which will come as little surprise to anyone who heard's 'The headmaster Ritual', of course - where each day was 'Kafka-esque in its nightmare.' One teacher, he recounted, 'stands and stares and stands and stares' at naked boys in the shower, while another was recalled for the way he rubbed anti-inflammatory cream into the young Morrissey's wrist after he had fallen over. 'At fourteen, I understand the meaning of the unnecessarily slow and sensual strokes, with eyes fixed to mine,' Morrissey wrote. The autobiography was published on Thursday as a Penguin Classic. It had been due for release in September, but was delayed by what Morrissey described as 'a last-minute content disagreement.' Other highlights from Morrissey's autobiography include: A pre-fame Morrissey was invited to submit a script for Coronation Street. 'I whip off a word-slinger's delight wherein young take on old as a jukebox is tested in the Rovers Return. Swords cross, heads bump and horns lock, and the episode fades with Violet Carson addressing the camera, one eyebrow arched, with, "Do I really look like a fan of X-Ray Spex?"' The script was, of course, not accepted. Mozza attended the opening night of Manchester's Hacienda nightclub, which he said later became full of 'disfigured disco dancers and goblinesque pork-pie chubbos with carroty-red curls smelling of picked pig who claimed the Hacienda as their own public toilet.' He first met Johnny Marr after a Patti Smith gig at the Manchester Apollo. The guitarist's first words to Morrissey were: 'You've got a funny voice.' (Perceptive lad, that Johnny Marr). Factory Records boss Tony Wilson attended the first few Smiths gigs but dismissed Marr's guitar playing, telling Morrissey: 'All this Byrds stuff has been done and done.' Morrissey and Marr were 'as thick as two short planks' when they signed their US record deal with Sire, the singer wrote. 'We have no idea what we're signing, in an act of legendary mental deficiency.' John Peel supported The Smiths debut single 'Hand In Glove', but Morrissey gives much of the credit to Peel's producer John Walters rather than Peel himself. 'John Peel did not ever come to see The Smiths play live, and he did not attend any of the radio sessions.' Morrissey was really miffed that The Smiths' classic debut LP only entered the UK chart at number two, beaten by The Thompson Twins. Someone from Rough Trade told him: 'It would've come in at number one but we couldn't manufacture the cassettes in time.' Morrissey continued: 'My life stinks.' Morrissey did not originally like their song 'There Is a Light That Never Goes Out' and suggested to Marr that it be left off The Queen Is Dead. 'The humiliation I live with, because this suggestion is everlasting since the song became - and continues to be - greatly loved as one of the most powerful components of The Smiths canon. It is often a relief to be wrong.' In 1987, after Strangeways Here We Come, Morrissey and Marr were 'wanting to live yet longing for sleep.' Morrissey goes on: 'Johnny and I were both drained beyond belief, and there was no-one around us to suggest that we disappear somewhere to rest, and apart. We do not telephone each other for two weeks, and then suddenly the press is rife with Smiths split stories.' The Smiths, of course, split. 'Margaret On The Guillotine', a song on Morrissey's debut solo LP, Viva Hate, prompted Special Branch to pay the singer a visit and question whether he might pose a security threat to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 'I am drilled and recorded on tape for one hour under the penetrating glare of Special Branch.'

The jingle bells might still be a distant sound on the horizon, but the silly Christmas stories appear to have started early this year. Take this gem in Friday's Daily Torygraph: Get a TV licence Father Christmas, or face fine, trumpets the headline. Readers are told: 'Father Christmas has been warned by TV Licensing to get a licence for his grotto or risk a fine.' It warns that shopping centre grottos, Christmas markets and festive ice rinks have been 'put on ze list' by TV Licensing, the dirty rotten Scrooges who collect your annual hundred and forty five quid to pay for the BBC, to ensure they have a licence this festive season. Good will to all men,. And that.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside. This was one yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self had been waiting best part of three years to occur, the quality stylings of one of the greatest records ever made by anyone, anywhere, in any genre London Calling. Thus, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day, here's the Fab Four Horsemen again.
Much to his intense embarrassment, yer actual Keith Telly Topping - along with his good chum Christian - only went and won Uncle Scunthorpe's fiendishly difficult two-part quiz on the night (twenty eight out of a possible thirty - not bad even if yer actual Keith Telly Topping does say so his very self). He wasn't embarrassed at winning five of yer actual English pounds (which Keith Telly Topping his very self, gratefully, kept), or the recently remastered CD of The Clash's magnificent eponymous debut (Christian got that) but rather that the third element of the first prize was yer actual KTT's own 2004 book The Complete Clash. That was embarrassing. Never fear, dear blog reader, it was extremely donated to a worthy recipient.

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