Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Like A Doctor Who's Born For A Purpose

After the BBC's official Doctor Who website announced earlier this week that acclaimed British film director Ben Wheatley was to helm the opening two episodes of series eight in 2014, it has also emerged that the novelist and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce is currently working on a script for a potential future episode of the long-running popular family SF drama, having been put in touch with the production team by former showrunner Russell Davies. Boyce, who worked with Davies on the Granada Television drama series Springhill in the mid-1990s, broke the news of his possible future involvement with Doctor Who in response to a question at a BBC Writersroom event at the Manchester Literature Festival last week. Boyce was a writer for the Granada soap opera Coronation Street early in his career, and later wrote the screenplays for several films by the award-winning director Michael Winterbottom, including Twenty Four Hour Party People. He is also an acclaimed author of children's fiction, having won the Carnegie Medal and the Gruniad Morning Star Prize, and the writer of official sequels to Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In 2012, Frank worked closely in collaboration with director Danny Boyle to write the script for the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games, which received worldwide praise. It is unknown yet whether Boyce's script is to be part of series eight in 2014, or a later run, or whether it will eventually appear at all. Although the screamed headlines Frankie Boyle To Write For Doctor Who certainly sent a few tabloids into meltdown until they realised it was, actually, Frankie Boyce instead. Ben Wheatley, who will be one of the most high-profile directors ever to have worked on Doctor Who, told the BBC: 'I am very excited and honoured to be asked to direct the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who. I've been a fan since childhood (Tom Baker is my Doctor if you are asking). I've been watching the current run of Doctor Who with my son and have discovered it all over again. The work that has been done is amazing. I'm really looking forward to working with Peter Capaldi and finding out where Steven Moffat is planning to take the new Doctor.' Wheatley's previous CV included series two of the acclaimed BBC3 sitcom Ideal. Speaking to one of the cast of that show this week - yes, that one - yer actual Keith Telly Topping was told that Ben is 'a magnificent director' and that Doctor Who is 'in safe hands.'

The BBC has released a series of new publicity photos from Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary special. Six images from The Day Of The Doctor featuring Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt have been unveiled. Including this one.
BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand have announced that the fiftieth anniversary feature-length Doctor Who story, The Day Of The Doctor, is to be screened in 3D in some eighty seven cinemas in Australia and nineteen in New Zealand.
The new edition of Doctor Who Magazine is out this week, and is available to buy with a choice of two different covers to celebrate the return of episodes of the Patrick Troughton stories The Enemy Of The World and The Web Of Fear.
Meanwhile, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mucker, the Godlike genius of Greg Bakun, has written a fine piece on the recently recovered Doctor Who episodes at his much-recommended From The Archives blog, which you can check out here.
The beloved children's show, Clangers is being resurrected, with a new series in production for CBeebies in 2015. Debuting in 1969, the show told the story of a race of knitted aliens eking out a threadbare existence on a cold blue planet, not far from Earth. The pink, mouse-like creatures lived in craters covered by dustbin lids - whose noisy 'clang' gave the show its name. Co-creator Peter Firmin said that the new series would involve 'great storytelling with lots of heart.' The puppet-maker, whose other credits include Ivor The Engine and Bagpuss, promised the new series would be 'markedly different' from the crude, jerky animation of the original. 'When you watch the original Clangers you have to make allowances for the limitations of the animation techniques when it was made,' he said in a statement. 'It was magical for its time, but this is a new Clangers for a new age.' Firmin dreamed up the Clangers along with his partner, the acclaimed puppeteer and writer Oliver Postgate, who also narrated the series. It was first shown on BBC1 in November 1969, just four months after NASA's moon landing, and one episode even showed the Clangers making inventive use of a flag left behind by some astronauts. The series will also feature memorable characters such as the Soup Dragon, the Iron Chicken and the Froglets. The characters even appeared in Doctor Who - watched by The Doctor's arch-nemesis The Master in an episode of the 1972 story, The Sea Devils. Although the creatures communicated in an eerie, swooping whistle, Postgate later revealed that their 'dialogue' was, actually, written out in full, in English, and often included the occasional swear words. On receiving the scripts, the BBC objected, telling him, 'Darling, you can't say that on children's television,' he told Clive Banks' science fiction website. 'I said, "It's not going to be said, it's going to be whistled," but [the BBC] just said, "But people will know!"' Eventually, Postgate won - and the Clangers apparently swear like sailors, for those who can translate Clangerese into English. Postgate's son, Daniel, is writing the scripts for the show's Twenty First Century version, which he described as 'a labour of love. I've always loved Clangers,' he said. 'I was about five years old when it was made - just the right age. The new Clangers is not something we've rushed into. It has been carefully considered.' CBeebies controller Kay Benbow added: 'Nostalgia is a funny thing, and we always think very carefully about remakes or re-imaginings of classic children's programmes. The Clangers [sic] is a programme that has an enduring magic. The new proposition has been built firmly upon the joyful foundations of the original, and will be produced by a team of exceptional talent which includes the extraordinary Peter Firmin.' The five million quid production is already under way, and is being co-produced by US pre-school TV channel Sprout, which will broadcast the programme in North America.

And now, dear blog reader, the really big news this week is the release of this press release from Gollancz: 'Gollancz and the SF Gateway are delighted to announce the eBook return of a series of classic unauthorised guides to genre TV by the authorial team of Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping. The five books were bought by Gollancz editor Marcus Gipps, and include a guide to Doctor Who. Marcus Gipps said: "I'm thrilled to bring these books back. They may be representative of the time they were written, but they're still entertaining, informative and enjoyable. All three authors have written Doctor Who novels and have a love of televised SF, and between them they bring a range of knowledge and critical thought to their subjects." The re-releases are led by The Discontinuity Guide, the ground-breaking light-hearted look at the entire classic series of long-running hit Doctor Who. Originally published in 1995, and out of print in the UK since the late nineties, this was the book that revolutionised the way in which Doctor Who was viewed. Now, on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the longest running SF TV series in the world, return to this classic and affectionate deconstruction and episode guide, completely un-updated or revised (apart from a couple of typos we spotted). Other titles in the series include: - The Avengers Dossier, focusing on the fondly remembered action-packed series featuring Mr Steed [sic] and a variety of glamorous assistants, including Emma Peel and Cathy Gale. This isn't about the world-conquering Marvel film or comics series, but if you're a fan of that, you'll probably enjoy this too. A few errors have been updated for this edition, which covers every broadcast episode of the TV series. The New Trek Programme Guide, a fully-up-to-date (when it was published in 1995) guide to 1990s Star Trek. Featuring detailed analysis and review of all episodes of The Next Generation and the first two series of Deep Space Nine, this is essential for the generation of people who were introduced to the Trek-verse by Picard, Worf and all. It's a record of the time it was written, a time when Trek was forging new ground, exploring brave new frontiers, and reminding the world just how good the series could be. X-Treme Possibilities – A Paranoid Rummage Through The X-Files is, you will not be surprised to hear, about The X-Files. Covering the first five seasons of the show and the first film, this is the perfect way to remind yourself of just how ground-breaking and innovative the show was, how much we all enjoyed it, and how much BBC2 messed us around by broadcasting things in random order. I reckon it was a conspiracy, you know. These four books will all be released on ebook on the 31 October 2013, and will be followed by a fifth volume, the more wide-ranging Classic British Telefantasy Guide. Marking a major foray by the SFGateway into non-fiction, these books fit the site's remit – to republish the out-of-print gems of genre – perfectly, and Gollancz is thrilled to welcome the authors to the list.' Me auld mucker Cornell has also blogged, rather movingly, on the same subject. Check it out, here. 'They're all quite eccentric books, with a lot of opinion and spice,' writes Paul. 'They're often credited with starting the modern wave of episode guides, and our style, of dividing episodes into recurring concepts using headings, was much copied. I also like to think that The Discontinuity Guide, or perhaps arguing with it, set off a wave of commentaries that took a new look at Doctor Who which continues to this day.' As, indeed, has Martin, here.

As has been pointed out by at least one dear blog reader, the SFGateway logo looks, rather uncannily, like the old Southern TV logo. As you can see.
Continuing From The North's recurring feature Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence. Number seven, Alternate Fascist Universe Liz Shaw in Inferno. And her draza leather boots.
Followed, of course, by our other new, irregular, series Great Daft Moments From TV History. Number five, the bit in The Talons Of Weng Chiang where Leela almost gets eaten by a really crap giant puppet rat.
Yer actual David Tennant his very self is featured heavily in a new trailer for the forthcoming BBC1 drama The Escape Artist. The Doctor Who and Broadchurch actor plays Will Burton, a talented barrister who has earned the nickname 'The Escape Artist' for his skill in getting his clients out of tight legal corners. But when Burton acquits Liam Foyle (played by Toby Kebbell), the prime suspect in a horrific murder trial, he finds that his brilliance comes back to bite him in the arse 'with unexpected and chilling results.' Sophie Okonedo and Ashley Jensen will also star in the new drama, written by [spooks] creator David Wolstencroft. Looks pretty good.
A man who ran 'a cottage industry' producing fake celebrity autographs - including those of yer actual David Tennant - has been found guilty (of being a damn bad bugger, quite apart from anything else) and extremely sent down to pris for his wicked crimes. Andrew Sullivan of Lyng in Norfolk, made more than thirty five thousand smackers from selling the counterfeit goods on eBay to gullible planks between 2009 to 2011. He pleaded very guilty in September to selling counterfeit autographs with false authenticity documents and general naughtiness. At Norwich Crown Court, Sullivan was sentenced to twenty one months in stir. The court heard that Sullivan admitted forging over three thousand autographs over a two year period. He also pleaded very guilty to selling pictures of actors and celebrities without their permission. A tip-off from an autograph collector to Norfolk County Council's Trading Standards team, exposed Sullivan as selling the fake autographs, including former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper, the actress Angelina Jolie and Caroline Munro who featured in The Spy Who Loved Me. Caroline Carter, from Norfolk Trading Standards, said: 'When we visited Mr Sullivan's home office we found an Aladdin's den of materials that pointed to a significant business operation selling celebrity-related items online. We also took away a container of ripped-up and discarded signed photographs which were later pieced together to reveal what looked to be mistakes. The office was equipped with a high quality printer and paper and pens suitable for reproducing and marking up photographs and when we examined the office computer we found that it was storing scores of copyrighted images of famous people.' The investigation was also supported by BBC Worldwide, which provided evidence that the copyright for images being printed by Sullivan, onto which he inscribed the autographs, was owned by the BBC and they had not given him permission to reproduce or generate an income from them. David Wilson, prosecuting on behalf of trading standards, told the court: 'The business of celebrity autographs clearly relies on honesty and authenticity. The commission of these offences undermines the trust in this market and those who legitimately operate in it.' David Collinson, Norfolk County Council's head of public protection, added that Sullivan 'was exploiting fans and carried out a sophisticated cottage industry fraud, he scammed possibly thousands of victims around the world. We're very pleased with the result as twenty one months custodial is a significant message to those people who will attempt to exploit people and use the gains that are available through the Internet to try and catch people out.'

The fantasy and comics author and scriptwriter Neil Gaiman has said that 'snobbery and foolishness' by adults about certain books can easily destroy a child's love of reading. 'I don't think there is such a thing as a bad book for children,' Gaiman said on Monday in a speech to leading figures from the arts, education and literary world. The author, best known for novels including American Gods, Coraline and The Graveyard Book and the comic series The Sandman, was delivering the second annual Reading Agency lecture at the Barbican. 'Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children's books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them "bad books", books that children should be stopped from reading,' Gaiman said. 'I've seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy. It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn't hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is the gateway drug to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you. Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the Twenty First Century equivalents of Victorian "improving" literature. You'll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.' Gaiman's speech comes a few days after his classic 1996 fantasy novel Neverwhere was removed from the reading list of a high school in New Mexico after the mother of one of the school's students complained that it was 'inappropriate' for teenagers. Gaiman said that he had found it 'incredibly heartening' that some of the school's teachers had publicly supported him. 'Books get challenged,' he told the BBC on Monday afternoon before he delivered his lecture. 'I tend to take books of mine being challenged and occasionally being banned - and very occasionally being burned - as a kind of badge of honour. You know you are doing something right.' He added: 'And in Alamogordo, New Mexico, you know that. Those kids are going to be really desperate to get their hands on Neverwhere, and I want to apologise to them all because there aren't lashings of sex and violence.' In his speech, Gaiman said that he worried people 'misunderstand what libraries are' in the Twenty First Century. 'If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to fundamentally miss the point. I think it has to do with nature of information.' He added: 'For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something: when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories. Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service. In the last few years, we've moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut.' He quoted Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt as saying that every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003. Gaiman said that librarians were there to 'help these people navigate that world.' The author, who was born in Hampshire and is now based in the US, said that he did not believe all books would migrate on to screens. 'As Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, over twenty years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is.' Speaking at a press briefing ahead of his speech, Gaiman said that the consequences of not funding and of closing down libraries were 'insidious and slow. It's the equivalent of stopping vaccination programmes. You know what the results are,' he added. Gaiman's most recent books include The Ocean At The End Of The Lane and children's book Fortunately, The Milk. He has also written two episodes of Doctor Who and, will hopefully be writing another one, soon, if he has the time.

Three years after its low-key TV debut as an amateur contest, The Great British Bake Off is moving to BBC1 after proving an unlikely hit on BBC2. The baking show, which has made stars of its judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, will move to the BBC's flagship channel for its fifth series next year. Once dubbed 'the nicest show on television', The Great British Bake Off has seen its popularity rise like a well-crafted soufflé: 7.2 million viewers tuned in to watch last year's final, compared with 2.8 million when it was first broadcast on BBC2 in 2010. Its move to BBC1 follows a well-trodden path of hit-making shows that started life on BBC2, including MasterChef, The Apprentice and Miranda. And Qi, although that later made the return trip to BBC2. Charlotte Moore, the recently appointed BBC1 controller who originally commissioned the show in 2009, said: 'I've championed The Great British Bake Off from the very start and believe the time is absolutely right to bring the show to an even broader audience on BBC1,' she said. 'I've watched the series grow over the last few years and earn a special place in the nation's hearts. It's inspiring and warm storytelling at its best which celebrates the huge talent of enthusiastic and passionate bakers from all over the country. It's been fantastic to watch it flourish on BBC2 and I can assure viewers I will continue to cherish it on BBC1.' The current series of Bake Off has seen the highest-rating episode to date, with 7.8 million viewers tuning-in on 1 October. It is also the highest-rating show on BBC2, meaning its departure was no doubt difficult to stomach for channel controller Janice Hadlow. 'BBC2 has enjoyed great success this year with stand-out hits including The Wrong Mans, The Fall and Line Of Duty,' noted Hadlow. Although with regard to The Wrong Mans, considering the massive drop in audience between the first and second episodes she might want to wait a bit longer before lauding it too loudly. 'I'm so proud to have helped build The Great British Bake Off into one of the most popular series of recent years and although sad to see it leave BBC2, I wish the series all the very best in its new home.' Richard McKerrow, the joint chief executive and chief creative officer of Bake Off producer Love Productions, described the move to BBC1 as 'tremendously exciting.' He added: 'It's a series that we've always been passionate about, but we never dreamt it could or would become as popular as it has done.'

ITV's Doc Martin came out on top of Monday's overnight ratings outside of soaps, but lost six hundred thousand punters from last week, bringing in 6.71m at 9pm. On BBC1, Crimewatch had its highest-ever ratings on a Monday as detectives issued a fresh public appeal for information in the search for the missing Madeleine McCann. The programmes was seen by 6.69m at 9pm. Metropolitan police detectives said on Tuesday that the Crimewatch appeal prompted more than one thousand calls and e-mails from the public. Several people have provided police with the same name of an individual whom they believe matches the description of a man allegedly seen carrying a young child away from the resort towards the beach area. The sighting came at what detectives now believe is a crucial time in the night of Madeleine's disappearance from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, on 3 May 2007. 'We are extremely pleased with the response to the Crimewatch appeal,' said detective chief inspector Andy Redwood, who was interviewed live on the show by host Kirsty Young. 'We will now take the time to follow up these lines of enquiry.' Monday's Crimewatch, which more than doubled its average audience of 3.1 million in September, attracted a twenty seven per cent audience share in between 9pm and 10pm. On BBC2, University Challenge quizzed 3.00m at 8pm. Stephen Fry's Out There interested eight hundred and sixty five thousand viewers at 9pm, while Never Mind The Buzzcocks was watched by 1.06m at 10pm. Channel Four's Dogs: Their Secret Life appealed to 2.23m at 8pm, followed by 999 with nine hundred and sixty six thousand viewers at 9pm. On Channel Five, The Gadget Show returned to seven hundred and twenty nine thousand at 8pm. On Benefits And Proud was seen by 1.77m at 9pm. The latest Under The Dome gathered 1.03m at 10pm.

Zombie TV thriller The Walking Dead has attracted its largest audience in the US to date, with 16.1 million tuning in for the return of the fourth series. In the coveted eighteen to forty nine age group (with all of their lovely disposable income), it was the top-rated show across all US TV programming on Sunday, according to initial overnight Nielsen data. The third series finale in March was watched by 12.4 million viewers. The AMC show follows deputy sheriff Rick Grimes as he tries to survive zombies in a post-apocalyptic world. I've always thought that's a bit too much like hard work. Why not just get bitten and they try to change the system from within? It's less hassle and less zombies have to die in the process. The Walking Dead started in 2010 with an initial six episode run and was inspired by the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. Andrew Lincoln stars in the lead role as Grimes, while fellow British actor David Morrissey joined the cast in season three as the villainous Philip Blake. AMC recently announced it was developing a spin-off show of the zombie drama following a different set of characters created by Kirkman. The 'companion' series is expected to be broadcast in 2015.
Making his first comments about his former colleague and his - alleged - filthy rotten and bad ways, yer actual sen-sational Tony Blackburn his very self has claimed that it was 'a tragedy' dirty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile (OBE) died before he could be face savage ad hoc justice. Blackburn said all this to Sky News. What a great pity it was that he never mentioned any of his concerns whilst Savile was actually still alive and it might have done some good.
Meanwhile, Surrey police have released a transcript of an interview with Savile, in which the naughty old scallywag repeatedly denied claims of abuse. During the 2009 interview Savile said that allegations against him had started in the 1950s by people 'looking for a few quid, or story for the paper.' The Police said the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Savile. The interview was conducted at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on 1 October 2009. Savile was asked about touching a young girl 'sexually' over her clothes at Duncroft Children's home in Staines in the 1970s, and forcing her to give him oral sex. Savile repeatedly replied: 'Oh! Out of the question' when the allegations were put to him. He said: 'the main allegations are completely fictional; in fact they are made up.' He added: 'as it happens, now then, now then.' Or something. Savile said that when he was presenting Top Of The Pops 'what you don't do is assault women, they assault you, that's for sure, and you don't have to, because you've got plenty of girls about. So dealing with something like this is out of the question, totally wrong,' he continued. Savile said the allegations had only surfaced because his accusers were after money. 'My business there's women looking for a few quid, we always get something like this coming up for Christmas, because we want a few quid for Christmas right,' he told police. 'And normally you can brush them away like midges and it's not much of a price to pay for the lifestyle.'

Actress Natalie Cassidy is to return to EastEnders, seven years after she left the BBC soap. The thirty-year-old will reprise her role as Sonia Fowler when she returns to Albert Square in January, accompanied by the character's daughter, Rebecca. The BBC said the actress would be part of 'a gripping storyline' involving the women of the Butcher household having a right old ding-dong and that. Cassidy said she was 'extremely excited and honoured to be making a full-time return' to the soap. or, in other words, she's struggling to get a job anywhere else and so it's back to the old house. 'I feel so lucky as an actress to get back to my roots,' she said. 'It's such an exciting time for the show - I cannot wait to work with Patsy [Palmer] and Lindsey [Coulson] again. Bring it on.' The actress, who first appeared on the programme in 1993, has made occasional guest appearances on the soap since her original departure. She returned for a small number of episodes in February 2010 and appeared in a single episode in 2011. During her fourteen years on the show, viewers saw Sonia at the centre of numerous dramas. She gave birth to Rebecca after failing to realise she was pregnant and then put her up for adoption. She and the baby's father, Martin Fowler, later regained custody and moved to Manchester. However Sonia's future return to Walford will reveal how their relationship has been on the rocks. Cassidy is the latest addition to the EastEnders cast under new executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, who recently recruited Danny Dyer to play the new landlord of the Queen Vic.

ITV has furiously denied claims that Lorraine Kelly may be about to be replaced on notorious breakfast flop Daybreak. Rumours have widely circulated in recent weeks - on the Interweb, if not anywhere more reliable - that the likes of Rachel Riley and Kate Thornton are 'being considered' for the daily breakfast show. However, the channel's daytime director, Helen Warner, has dismissed the claims, stating that Kelly's job is safe. For the moment, anyway. Warner did not make any mention of Aled Jones's status on the show. Jones and Kelly took over as Daybreak hosts last September following the sacking of grumpy old greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles and his curiously orange witless and giggling partner, Frank Lampard's missus some months earlier. However, the show's audience hasn't grown and is still stuck around the seven hundred thousand mark per episode. BBC Breakfast, by comparison, pulls in up to two million viewers each day.

The music industry has a 'culture of demeaning women' which forces singers to 'sell themselves as sex objects', according to Charlotte Church. Which may very well be true but, I'll tell you what dear blog reader - coming from Ms Church that's a bit like Barry Chuckle whinging about a lack of intelligence in television. Church claimed that she was 'pressurised' into 'wearing revealing outfits' in videos by male executives when she was nineteen or twenty. Now twenty seven, Church said that young female artists were routinely 'coerced into sexually demonstrative behaviour in order to hold on to their careers.' She made her comments during BBC 6Music's annual John Peel Lecture. Her stinging attack on sexism in the music industry comes amid a heated debate over the sexual imagery used by pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. The music business is 'a male dominated industry with a juvenile perspective on gender and sexuality' and increasingly wants 'sex objects that appear child-like', Church claimed. She accused record labels of encouraging young singers 'to present themselves as hypersexualised, unrealistic, cartoonish, as objects, reducing female sexuality to a prize you can win.' She continued: 'When I was nineteen or twenty I found myself in this position, being pressurised into wearing more and more revealing outfits. The lines that I had spun at me again and again - generally by middle-aged men - were: "You look great, you've got a great body, why not show it off?" Or: "Don't worry, it will look classy, it will look artistic." I felt deeply uncomfortable about the whole thing, but I was often reminded by record label executives just whose money was being spent.' She recalled feeling 'massively uncomfortable' about 'dancing suggestively' in little more than a basque and knee-high boots in the video for her single 'Call My Name' in 2005. 'Whilst I can't defer all blame away from myself, I was barely out of my teenage years and the consequence of this portrayal of me is that now I'm frequently abused on social media, being called slut, whore and a catalogue of other indignities,' she said. 'Now I find it difficult to promote my music in the places it would be best suited because of my history.' She particularly criticised Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Robin Thicke. Cyrus's routine at The MTV Awards last month, in which she danced provocatively with Thicke and made 'suggestive gestures' with a foam finger, sparked a furore over whether she had 'gone too far.' Church also accused video websites of doing too little to prevent young viewers from being able to see explicit videos, and supported Annie Lennox's recent call to give pop videos film-style age ratings. In her speech, delivered at the Radio Festival at The Lowry in Salford, Church added that radio stations should consider dropping singles by artists whose images were 'too risque.' She said: 'As Tony Hall, the BBC's director general, announces the new iPlayer channel for Radio 1, the question must be asked - should programmers take into consideration the image of an artist when deciding whether to play and promote their music? "here are countless examples from the last few years of songs that have been in high rotation, that have little to no artistic worth, but are just plain rude.'

Roy Hodgson said that reaching next summer's World Cup in Brazil was his proudest moment in football after England secured qualification with a 2-0 victory over Poland at Wembley on Tuesday night. Goals from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard ensured that England topped Group H to qualify. Hodgson said: 'To go to a World Cup in 1994 and a Euros in 1996 with Switzerland was pretty good. But I'm English. As an Englishman, it means a little bit more to you.' England had only beaten San Marino and Moldova before this week, but two fine performances and wins against Montenegro and then Poland ensured that the Three Lions qualified for their fifth consecutive World Cup finals. Hodgson had admitted before Tuesday's game that he was 'anxious' about qualifying and said he was relieved his team had not let the country down. 'I don't think you can help but feel the pressure because we know how important it is to so many people,' Hodgson said. 'I died a thousand deaths every time Poland crossed the halfway line, which is what you do but I do think this team is growing now. England's a very big football nation. So many people are desperate to see England participate and hopefully do well in a World Cup so we knew that it was on our shoulders to make certain that we didn't disappoint them. The pressure is always from the outside and it weighs upon you because you know that you sometimes needs that little bit of luck.' New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke effectively dismissed England's hopes of winning next year's tournament shortly after his appointment - but buoyant coach Hodgson will travel in hope. Hodgson said: 'First of all you've always got a chance. It is the old thing about if you want to win the lottery you have to buy a lottery ticket. We have got our ticket so that in itself is good. But as yet in all the years of World Cup football no European team has ever won in South America. If we do that we'll be really pushing the boat out.'

TV comedy line of the week was from ITV's - piss-poor, as usual - coverage of the England versus Poland match. Clive Tyldesley noting 'Just at the moment, Wayne Rooney is full of it.' Insert your own punchline at this point, dear blog reader.

Diamonds big enough to be worn by Hollywood film stars could be raining down daily on Saturn and Jupiter, US scientists have calculated. New atmospheric data for the gas giants indicates that carbon is abundant in its dazzling crystal form, they say. Lightning storms turn methane into soot which as it falls hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond. These diamond 'hail stones' eventually melt into a liquid sea in the planets' hot cores, they told a conference. The biggest diamonds would likely be about a centimetre in diameter - 'big enough to put on a ring, although of course they would be uncut,' says Doctor Kevin Baines, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He added that they would be of a size that the late film actress Elizabeth Taylor would have been proud to wear. 'The bottom line is that one thousand tonnes of diamonds a year are being created on Saturn. People ask me - how can you really tell? Because there's no way you can go and observe it. It all boils down to the chemistry. And we think we're pretty certain.' Baines presented his unpublished findings at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in Denver, alongside his co-author Mona Delitsky, from California Speciality Engineering. Uranus and Neptune have long been thought to harbour gemstones. But Saturn and Jupiter were not thought to have suitable atmospheres. Baines and Delitsky analysed the latest temperature and pressure predictions for the planets' interiors, as well as new data on how carbon behaves in different conditions. They concluded that stable crystals of diamond will 'hail down over a huge region' of Saturn in particular. 'It all begins in the upper atmosphere, in the thunderstorm alleys, where lightning turns methane into soot,' said Baines. 'As the soot falls, the pressure on it increases. And after about one thousand miles it turns to graphite - the sheet-like form of carbon you find in pencils.' By a depth of six thousand kilometres, these chunks of falling graphite toughen into diamonds - strong and unreactive. These continue to fall for another thirty thousand kilometres - 'about two-and-a-half Earth-spans' says Baines. 'Once you get down to those extreme depths, the pressure and temperature is so hellish, there's no way the diamonds could remain solid. It's very uncertain what happens to carbon down there.' One possibility is that a 'sea' of liquid carbon could form. 'Diamonds aren't forever on Saturn and Jupiter. But they are on Uranus and Neptune, which are colder at their cores,' says Baines. The findings are yet to be peer reviewed, but other planetary experts contacted by BBC News said that the possibility of diamond rain cannot be dismissed. 'The idea that there is a depth range within the atmospheres of Jupiter and (even more so) Saturn within which carbon would be stable as diamond does seem sensible,' says Professor Raymond Jeanloz, one of the team who first predicted diamonds on Uranus and Neptune. 'And given the large sizes of these planets, the amount of carbon (therefore diamond) that may be present is hardly negligible.' However Doctorr Nadine Nettelmann, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, said 'further work was needed' to understand whether carbon can form diamonds in an atmosphere which is rich in hydrogen and helium - such as Saturn's. 'Baines and Delitsky considered the data for pure carbon, instead of a carbon-hydrogen-helium mixture,' she explained. 'We cannot exclude the proposed scenario but we simply have no data on mixtures in the planets. So we do not know if diamond formation occurs at all.' Meanwhile, an exoplanet which was believed to consist largely of diamond may not be so precious after all, according to new research. The so-called 'diamond planet' 55 Cancri-e orbits a star forty light-years from our Solar System. A study in 2010 suggested it was a rocky world with a surface of graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond, instead of water and granite like Earth. But new research to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, calls this conclusion in question, making it unlikely any space probe sent to sample the planet's innards would dig up anything particularly sparkling. Carbon, the element from which diamonds are made of, now appears to be less abundant in relation to oxygen in the planet's host star - and by extension, perhaps the planet. 'Based on what we know at this point, 55 Cancri-e is more of a "diamond in the rough,"' said author Johanna Teske, of the University of Arizona.

The allure of the silver screen has helped Belgian police nab one of the most notorious and naughty Somali pirate leaders, according to The Times. Mohammed Abdi Hassan – apparently known as 'Big Mouth' – was arrested in Brussels after police lured him there with the promise of 'an advisory role' in a film about his life of crime.

Maxine Powell, the etiquette instructor who taught numerous Motown Records' artists how to carry themselves during the label's 1960s heyday, has died at the age of ninety eight. Her Artists Development Department - known as Motown's Finishing School - was considered as important to its operations as any singer or producer. Some of its training included teaching Marvin Gaye to sing with his eyes open and the proper way to exit a limousine. Maxine died of natural causes on Monday at a hospital in Southfield, Michigan. Her death comes less than two months after a tribute event held in her honour at the Motown Museum in Detroit. The August event saw Smokey Robinson describe Powell as an 'integral part' of the label's legacy. Born in Texarkana, Maxine was raised in Chicago and began her career as an actress before moving to Detroit. There she opened the Maxine Powell Finishing School, which led to her being brought to Motown to help prepare its artists for their lives in the spotlight. Label chief Berry Gordy remembered some of Maxine's advice to her students included 'do not protrude the buttocks' and she is often credited with, among other things, playing a leading part in the increasingly sophisticated image of The Supremes as the 60s progressed. 'You had style,' said the Motown founder in a videotaped tribute played on 26 August. 'You gave them class.' 'I love all the Motown artists,' Powell said on that occasion, adding that she intended to teach 'until there's no breath left in my body.' According to a Motown Museum spokeswoman, she died at Southfield's Providence Hospital 'peacefully surrounded by family and close friends.'

For today's Keith Telly Topping 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's yer actual Fab Four Horsemen their very selves, with a twenty four carat classic. 'Sing Michael, sing!'

1 comment:

Greg said...

41 Thanks for the nod! Lovely Whoniversity T-Shirt by the way!