Monday, October 07, 2013

Out Of Africa?

Further to the weekend's hyperbolic Doctor Who missing episode malarkey which, this blogger understands, has - fantastically - already acquired a fandom nickname, Hartnell-gate, the websites of the Radio Times and the Daily Mirra have published articles claiming that an unspecified number of Doctor Who episodes, previously missing from the BBC's archives and starring Patrick Troughton as The Doctor, have been recovered, from somewhere, and will be made available for sale in the UK via online download on Wednesday 9 October. The news follows a quite ludicrously badly researched article published by the Mirra's sister title, the People, on Sunday. This earlier article contained the unlikely - for which read 'completely bollocks' - claim that all one hundred and six missing episodes of Doctor Who had been recovered from a TV station in Ethiopia (despite the fact that only a fraction of the episodes in question were ever sold to Ethiopia in the first place, including a grand total of none featuring Troughton). Nevertheless, it follows months of (often really tedious) speculation in fandom - fuelled by a series of claims made by the Bleeding Cool website - that an unspecified number of Doctor Who episodes had been recovered, with many of the circulating rumours focusing on such a recovery occurring in an equally unspecified country in Africa. Officially, one hundred and six of the two hundred and fifty three episodes of Doctor Who broadcast during the 1960s are missing from the BBC archives, having being wiped or junked due to the BBC's then-archiving policies (in and of itself a very long, complex and rather sad story, which this blogger had a go at explaining here. And here). Since that policy changed - again, for a variety of reasons - in the late 1970s some twenty odd previously missing Doctor Who episodes have been recovered from a number of different sources, but there have been just four such recoveries in the past twenty years, the most recent two episodes discovered in the hands of a private collector in 2011. So far there has been no official comment from the BBC on the articles, though the Radio Times - which was formerly owned by the Corporation, and has always had strong links with Doctor Who - claims: 'BBC Worldwide will put two previously lost episodes from different stories – both believed to be from the Patrick Troughton era – for sale on digital platforms such as iTunes from Wednesday ... They are believed to originate from a haul discovered in Africa and have been digitally remastered for sale, although exact details remain sketchy.' The Mirra article - which is, frankly, one of the worst written pieces of journalism this blogger has ever seen, adds: 'The 1960s programmes – featuring the first two Doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – vanished after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage and wiped copies or lost them.' Err ... No cigar. I mean, not even close. 'But the corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide has now called a press conference and screening on Tuesday in a London hotel. The invitation sent out had he [sic] event details written inside the screen of a [sic] old-fashioned sixties style television set, complete with a dial to tune in the channels, seeming to hint at the type of news to come,' they continue. And, breathe. 'Journalists will be told exactly which old footage has been recovered, with some of it then broadcast on screen to watch.' As opposed to being broadcast in some form other than 'on screens', presumably? Jeez, and this guy gets paid to write such crap? On Monday, the Radio Times website amended its article, replacing the word 'two' with 'the' but retaining the word 'both'. The relevant paragraph now reads: 'BBC Worldwide will put the previously lost episodes from different stories - both believed to be from the Patrick Troughton era - for sale on digital platforms such as iTunes from Wednesday, Radio Times understands.' So, make of all that what you will, dear blog reader. Something? Nothing? One hundred and six episodes found in a secret vault in Addis Ababa along with the Ark of the Covenant, Lord Lucan and Elvis? Your guess is, frankly, as good as mine.
Just to state the bleeding obvious, here, the fact that something appears to have (perhaps) been discovered, somewhere, is a cause for - genuine - celebration. However, the fact that one hundred and six episodes almost certainly haven't been discovered in Ethiopia is, yer actual Keith Telly Topping would suggest, a cause for some regret but, really, it was never likely to be the case. As Gerhardt Himmelmann, the blogger at The Dragon's Maw, points out in this studious and considered deconstruction of the various rumours and the possibilities of them being accurate. I dare say we'll find out what we've got in due course and if, as this blogger suspects, a handful of episodes have been found (the rumours I'm currently hearing - from a couple of different sources, neither of them especially close to the Beeb and, therefore, to be treated with extreme caution - put the number at anywhere between 'a few' and 'a couple of dozen') then, hey, brilliant. Certainly this blogger's debit card is likely to take a right buggering buying the ensuing DVDs.

Of course, the story didn't end there - it's a Doctor Who missing episodes story, how could it? Within a few hours, the Mirra was reporting that the press conference, scheduled for Tuesday, had been postponed until Thursday. A BBC spokesman told the Mirra that they were 'not quite ready.' The Mirra then quoted an alleged - anonymous, and therefore, almost certainly fictitious - Doctor Who 'insider' who, allegedly, said: 'With all the excitement in the last few days about the lost episodes we are really keen to get the information out, but there are a few delays. We want everything to be ready and for this announcement to excite fans so they will have to wait a few days longer. They have been waiting nearly fifty years for this, so a couple of days shouldn't make any difference.' That obviously wasn't a Doctor Who 'insider' or anyone even remotely like it as any Doctor Who 'insider' worth their salt will know from past experience that if there's one thing Doctor Who fans never are, it's patient. About anything. But, particularly, about rumours of missing episodes being recovered. Case in point, when this announcement was made, well known fan Ian Levine, a chap seldom short of an opinion or two, reacted thus - in an atypically thoughtful and measured way - on Twitter: 'They [whoever 'they' are] treat Doctor Who fans like toilet paper. What a fucking useless irritating pompous self-important bunch of KUNTS [sic] !!!!!!!!!!!!!!' (Yes, the fourteen exclamation marks were part of the original tweet. No, I don't know why either - hey, what can I say, I'm just a simple man.) So ... He'll do himself an injury one day, that lad. He really should watch out for his blood pressure, it can be a killer. Anyway ... (Belated thanks to Peter Nolan for the next image!)
Billie Piper her very self has praised the casting of yer actual Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. The actress - who will return to the BBC's long-running family SF drama as Rose Tyler in the fiftieth anniversary episode in November - said that Capaldi's casting 'makes absolute sense.' Speaking to Flicks & The City about Capaldi's casting, Billie said: 'I think it's brilliant. I've always really loved him and admired him. I think he's a brilliant actor, I think he's both absolutely terrifying and credible with comedy. "I really like the fact that he's a bit older and I think it will open a whole new set of fans. I think it makes absolute sense. It's a really wise choice.' Bill described the upcoming episode The Day Of The Doctor as 'a gift to the fans.' The thirty one-year-old actress explained: 'I'm just looking forward to the fans being able to finally see it, because there is relentless questioning about what is going to happen and I can't say anything. It will be nice to be rid of the burden of that enormous secret. It's like a gift to the fans really so all in all I think it's pretty exciting.' Billie - who last appeared on Doctor Who in David Tennant's final episode The End Of Time - admitted that she had some nerves about returning. 'I never feel that anxious about returning because I'm friends with a lot of people and I've built some really good relationships. I always know it's going to be beautifully written,' she added. 'I think you're anxious on the first day in terms of getting back into the character and whether you've still got it there. Otherwise, it's pretty seamless and enjoyable.'

Matt Smith is to star in a musical version of the controversial novel American Psycho. Smudger has been cast as the serial killer Patrick Bateman in the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 thriller. The production will run at London's Almeida Theatre from 3 December to 25 January 2014. The show, first announced in January, almost completely sold out within hours of Smith's involvement being revealed. Set in the 1980s, American Psycho tells the story a twenty six-year-old Manhattan investment banker whose sanity slowly disintegrates, turning him into a brutal murderer. It was previously adapted for the big screen in 2000 with Christian Bale in the lead role. But, that wasn't very good. The stage show will be directed by the Almeida's new artistic director, Rupert Goold, who developed the musical with his former company, Headlong. The Tony Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik has collaborated with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark scriptwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to adapt the book for the stage.

Atlantis continued with its second episode pulling in an overnight audience of 5.06m on BBC1 on Saturday. The fantasy drama, which was broadcast at 8.30pm, was down five hundred thousand on the previous week's premiere but the Beeb will still be more than happy with those sort of numbers, especially as it was up against The X Factor. However, it was Strictly Come Dancing which, once again, achieved the evening's highest ratings, attracting 9.25m at 6.15pm. It peaked with 10.51m punters at 7.45pm. On ITV, meanwhile, The X Factor was watched by 8.18m at 8pm, up about five hundred thousand viewers from last week's equivalent episode. It peaked with a fraction under nine million punters at 9pm. The Chase earlier garnered 2.79m at 7pm and risible, wretched tripe Through The Keyhole had 3.73m at 9.45pm. Opposite that on BBC1, Casualty took 4.04m at 9.30pm, while Match Of The Day was viewed by 3.52m at 10.30pm. Mostly, to watch The Mighty Toon's victory at Cardiff, presumably. On BBC2, a repeat of Count Arthur Strong interested but three hundred and seventy thousand viewers at 7pm - you have to wonder if the BBC are regretting giving that one a commission for a second series quite so early - and Natural World was seen by six hundred and forty thousand half-an-hour later. Dad's Army took 1.32m at 8.30pm and The 70s appealed to 1.43m at 9pm, while The Sarah Millican Slightly Longer Television Programme had 1.24m at 10pm. At 10.45pm, Mock The Week scored seven hundred and ninety thousand. On Channel Four, a Marvel's Agents of SHIELD repeat and Grand Designs had seven hundred and forty thousand and six hundred and twenty thousand respectively from 7pm. The - really bad - movie Friends With Benefits was watched by nine hundred and ten thousand at 9pm. Channel Five aired Blood Alley to four hundred and fifty three thousand at 6.45pm. Lethal Weapon 3 followed with six hundred and eighty six thousand punters from 9pm. Ford Saturday Night Football Live was the highest rated broadcast on the multichannels, bringing 1.19m to Sky Sports 1 from 5pm to watch The Scum's win over relegation-haunted Blunderland.

Strictly Come Dancing also came out on top of the overnight ratings on Sunday. The first results show of the series attracted 8.19 million viewers at 7.15pm on BBC1. Later, Antiques Roadshow was seen by 5.33m at 8pm, while By Any Means - or, Hustle-lite as it's rapidly becoming known - continued with a poor 2.91m at 9pm. On ITV, The X Factor dropped over a million viewers from last Sunday to 8.07m at 7.15pm. Lord Snooty's Downton Abbey also lost over a million punters week-on-week, falling to 7.97m at 9pm. Earlier, Surprise, Surprise spectacularly failed to entertain 3.45m at 6.15pm. BBC2's The Crane Gang interested nine hundred and ninety two thousand at 8pm, whilst the documentary The Ottomans: Europe's Muslim Empire brought in 1.25m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Man Made Home appealed to 1.22m at 8pm. Homeland's third season was watched by thrilled 1.84m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of the Ashton Kutcher film Killers was seen by nine hundred and forty five thousand at 9pm.

Tony Jacklin became the first celebrity to be voted out of this year's Strictly Come Dancing. The former golfer and his professional partner, Aliona Vilani, faced off against fashion designer Julien Macdonald (no, me neither) and his partner, Janette Manrara, after both couples found themselves in the bottom two. This weekend, the fifteen couples danced for the public vote for the first time this year, with Claudia Winkleman filling in for the ill Bruce Forsyth along with co-host Tess Daly. After judges' scores were combined for the last two weeks, the overall standings were added to the viewers' votes to decide the first dance-off of the series. And, it was Old Tone who give the big heave-ho.
Meanwhile, here's the final and consolidated figures for the Top Twenty Five programmes for week-ending 29 September 2013:-
1 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 11.55m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 10.53m
3 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 10.51m
4 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 9.82m
5 Doc Martin - Mon ITV - 8.51m*
6 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 - 8.42m
7 EastEnders - Mons BBC1 - 7.85m
8 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 7.45m
9 The Great British Bake-Off - Tues BBC2 - 7.32m
10 Atlantis - Sat BBC1 - 7.36m
11 Countryfile - Sat BBC1 - 6.40m
12 Antiques Roadshow - Sat BBC1 - 5.81m
13 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.99m
14 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.90m
15 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.80m
16 BBC O'Clock News - Sun BBC1 - 4.56m
17 By Any Means - Sun BBC1 - 4.49m
18 The Wrong Mans - Tues BBC2 - 4.45m
19 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.41m
20 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 4.12m
21 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.09m
22 Match of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 4.08m
23 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.07m
24 Who Do You Think You Are? - Wed BBC1 - 3.99m
25 Marvel's Agents of SHIELD - Fri Channel Four - 3.98m
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated programmes of the week, aside from The Great British Bake-Off and the wretched The Wrong Mans, were University Challenge (2.93m), The Wonder Of Dogs (2.76m), Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food (2.63m) and Qi (2.48m). Peaky Blinders also scored above two million (2.2m). Educating Yorkshire topped Channel Four's list (3.43m) behind Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Under The Dome topped Channel Five's week (1.74m). Whitechapel continued to struggle with 3.84m (not including HD figures) although that's a couple of hundred thousand up on the previous week. The Saturday episode of The X Factor was watched by 8.95m - a significant victory for Strictly Come Dancing on the night. By contrast, Strictly's Friday show audience was 9.33m.

Match Of The Day secured something of a coup on Saturday night when they had Roy Hodgson appear as a guest panellist on the show. It was the first time that a current England manager has ever appeared as an analyst on the BBC's long-running Saturday night football highlights show and gave Hodgson the opportunity to talk about England's two massive upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland. However, if the BBC's captioning was to be believed, you might have expected Roy to consider calling himself up to squad - what with him being described as 'The Premier League's all-time leading goalscorer'. For the record, of course, Roy never scored a single goal in the premier League. Indeed Hodgson, who only ever played non-league football in England, most notably with Gravesend & Northfleet in the old Southern League. He ended his - relatively modest playing - career in 1976, a full sixteen years before the Premier League came into existence. It is clear, of course, that the BBC's captioner got his wires crossed and the Premier League goalscorer statistic was meant for the man sitting beside Hodgson on the sofa, yer actual Alan Shearer. Who, presumably, elbowed the captioner reet hard in the mush for such an affront. However, it was still an embarrassing gaffe after the BBC had made such a big deal about securing Roy for the show in the first place. Especially as Hodgson only appeared after ending an alleged 'feud' (mostly media created, let it be noted) with host Gary Lineker which stemmed from the latter having described England's recent performance against the Ukraine as 'woeful', 'awful' and 'from the dark ages.' All of which it was, although the point gained might, just, be the most important thing to come out of it in the end. Not surprisingly Twitter users were 'all over' the mistake as soon as it happened. Twitter as we all know, being The Sole Arbiter of The Worth of All Things these days.
And so we come to today's instalment on yer actual 'who hated Britain more, a man who fought against the Nazis or a newspaper which actively supported them for nearly a decade-gate'.
Around seventy two per cent of the public - who expressed a preference - believe that the Daily Scum Mail was wrong to call Labour leader Ed Miliband's father Ralph 'the man who hated Britain', while about sixty nine per cent of people in general and fifty seven per cent of Daily Scum Mail readers think the newspaper should apologise, ideally in as grovelling and humiliating a manner as possible, according to an opinion poll published on Sunday. The YouGov poll, conducted on behalf of The Sunday Times, came as about two hundred protesters gathered outside the Daily Scum Mail and Scum Mail on Sunday offices in London following the publication of the Ralph Miliband article last week, which the Labour leader said had left him 'appalled'. The row over the treatment of Milimolimandi's late father, a much-admired Marxist academic, has reached a stalemate, with Labour demanding an apology but the Daily Scum Mail stubbornly digging in its heels and refusing to retract its article despite the fact that hardly anyone appears to believe they had just cause. Late on Sunday the campaign group Hacked Off said that it had written to the Daily Scum Mail proprietor, Lord Rothermere - great-grandson, remember, of a close personal friend of Hitler - asking him to 'reconsider' his rejection of a full and frank inquiry into ethics at the paper and of its editor, the coward, bully and snake Paul Dacre, which had been called for by Miliband. The dispute will be a part of the context for a meeting of the privy council on Wednesday, at which politicians are expected to make a decision about the future of press regulation. They are likely to look at a royal charter proposed by the newspaper industry, which has been examined by eight Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs over the summer. If this is rejected, the privy council is likely to back a royal charter agreed by all three leading political parties. The press industry is likely to set up its own form of regulation, even if it does not receive the seal of a royal charter. In an interview with the BBC on Sunday, Milimolimandi said that he would 'never disparage' David Cameron in the same way that Miliband's father Ralph had been by the Daily Scum Mail, even though he believes the Prime Minister's policies are 'profoundly misguided. I say judge him by his deeds,' he told the BBC. 'Let me put it this way: I would never say about David Cameron that he hates Britain, I would never say he doesn't want the best for this country. Of course he wants the best for this country. So what the Mail said about my dad, I would never say about David Cameron.' At the protest outside the Scum Mail offices, demonstrators said they were 'expressing anger' in the wake of the Ralph Miliband story. 'The message is clear,' said the journalist and campaigner Owen Jones, addressing the crowd. 'Enough is enough: stop your campaign of hatred.' Jones said the newspapers had spent years demonising large sections of society, from public sector workers to women and trade union members. 'We are speaking up for decency. This is a show of cheerful defiance by all the people who have been picked on by the Daily Mail.' Some Tory politicians have reportedly expressed fears that the backlash against Miliband's treatment by the Scum Mail will 'influence' this week's discussions on press regulation at the privy council. David Davis, a senior Conservative and former leadership candidate, said that David Cameron had ended up 'being forced' to accept newspaper regulation because he 'didn't know how to deal' with the phone-hacking scandal which led to The Leveson Inquiry. 'I think he didn't know how to deal with it, truthfully. I actually don't think this is what they planned. I'm guessing what they thought was Leveson would come out with was a very ponderous and sonorous condemnation of bad practices but the preservation of the free press – and in a way he sort of did – and that would be the end of it. But actually, the Hacked Off campaign, the Labour party has very strong campaigners – Tom Watson's one good example – drove the issue I think to the wrong conclusion. Maybe with the best intentions, but to the wrong conclusion.' Davis said the Scum Mail had been 'horribly heavy-handed' towards Miliband but Labour is 'wrong to go down this route' of pushing for strict press regulation.

It is the nation with the largest variety of bread types in the world, so it's probably little wonder that Germany has joined The Great Bake Off trend. The country has become the thirteenth to license the Love Productions format following the breadcrumb trail of Italy, France, Australia, and Sweden among others. The German version of the BBC2 hit show, which is currently broadcasting its fourth series and averages seven million punters per episode, will premiere later this year. Das Große Backen will be filmed near Dusseldorf and will feature a jury of the best pastry chefs in the country.

Funding for the BBC's arts coverage will go up by twenty per cent, the broadcaster's Director General is to announce. Tony Hall - who used to run the Royal Opera House - says that he wants to return the arts to the corporation's heart. It will mean plays, art exhibitions and more live music from around the UK being broadcast on the BBC. Among Lord Hall's proposals are a new 'BBC Arts at' brand and new television series fronted by the acclaimed historian Simon Schama and the broadcaster Andrew Marr. The Director General, formerly the BBC's head of news, returned to the corporation following the Jimmy Savile fiasco. He wants to see the BBC collaborate more with arts institutions around the country. In a speech on Tuesday he is expected to unveil new partnerships with London's British Museum, the Tate and the Manchester International Festival. The plans mean that more opening nights, major exhibitions and arts events will be shown live on television. An experimental digital service known as The Space, developed by the BBC and Arts Council England, is also due to be relaunched in 2014. 'Arts programming sits right at the heart of the BBC and is a vital part of who we are, but I want us to to be much more ambitious,' Lord Hall said. 'We need to showcase more of the incredible talent that this country has to offer to the widest possible audiences. He is due to announce major new television series featuring two faces familiar to BBC audiences. Schama - currently on our screens with the ground-breaking The Story Of The Jews - will front a five-part series in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery exploring the history of Britain through portraiture. A series looking at the greatest writers in Scotland will be presented by Marr his very self. And there will be a series of six BBC programmes seeking to uncover the 'hidden heroes' of British art, with ten amateurs competing for the title of Britain's Best Artists. The announcement is part of the Director General's new strategy for the BBC and comes as the corporation looks to cut two thousand jobs over five years after the freezing of the licence fee.

Meanwhile, Hall is also expected to announce the launch of the next generation BBC iPlayer in a keynote speech on Tuesday. It is understood he will explain his vision for an enhanced iPlayer, allowing users to personalise their viewing and listening choices. The iPlayer, launched in 2007, provides a catch-up service for BBC TV and radio programmes. Entitled Where Next?, Lord Hall's speech will will discuss the technological challenges facing the BBC, as more people turn to the internet via mobile phones and tablets to watch TV. As part of this focus, Radio 1 has announced it is going to get its own channel on the iPlayer. The station said this will allow fans to watch exclusive performances and interviews not broadcast anywhere else. It is hoped that the channel will help Radio 1 reach more young people. Content will include music featured in Radio 1's Live Lounge and at the annual Big Weekend festival as well as interviews with celebrities and artists from around the world. But as the iPlayer becomes more bespoke for each user, media commentators have already begun to question the validity of the fixed licence fee paid by the public. Writing a typically spiteful and trouble-making piece, of course, in the Gruniad Morning Star on Sunday, Steve Hewlett wrote: 'One question that must surely arise in the unbundled "My BBC" world is, once I've picked out the bits of the BBC I use and value, why should I pay for the rest? And because the technology of on-demand delivery that underpins the whole project allows subscription in a way that broadcast TV and radio don't - at least not easily - "My BBC" will inevitably in time reignite the question of subscription funding, for some BBC services at least.' Thankfully, no one of any consequence gives a ruddy stuff what those odious Communist tossers at the Gruniad think. About anything.
Veteran entertainer, singer and artist Rolf Harris is to stand trial in April accused of indecent assault and making indecent images of children. The eighty three-year-old faces nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images. Rolf, from Bray in Berkshire, was excused from attending a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey. A plea hearing at Southwark Crown Court has been set for 14 January. His trial will, reportedly, start on 30 April.

A new body to tackle some of the UK's most serious crimes has been launched. Labelled the 'British FBI', the National Crime Agency will 'relentlessly pursue' organised criminals, the Home Secretary said. As opposed to the police at the moment who only pursue for a bit until they get tired and then give up, presumably? Jesus, what an arsehole that woman is. Theresa May told the BBC that it would 'focus' on organised, economic and cyber crime, border policing and child protection. It will replace a number of existing bodies but will have significantly less funding. Labour has called the move a 'rebranding exercise.' Although to be honest, if they added hunting for aliens and solving baffling murders into their remit then the creation of the NCA has all the makings of an exciting twenty two episodes a season drama, it has to be said. It is the third time since 1998 that an organised crime body has been set up. The 'National Crime Squad' was set up fifteen years ago, only to be replaced eight years later by the Serious Organised Crime Agency - which is now being scrapped. The reason the National Crime Squad went the way of all flesh presumably being that any grouping with the word 'squad' in it summons up images of ad hoc and arbitrary violence or utter failure (ie. the England football squad, for a kick-off). The NCA will work with each of the regional police forces in the UK and similar organisations abroad. The agency will have four thousand five hundred rock hard officers and aims to adopt 'a more visible, joined-up approach' than was previously the case. Its head, Keith Bristow, warned criminals to expect 'continuous disruption' to their naughty ways, including the confiscation of their assets. Ooo, having yer assets pinched by the bobbies. Not nice at all. 'We are going to make a difference the public will see,' he told the BBC, adding the 'British FBI' label was 'reasonable shorthand' for the new body. However, unlike the FBI, the NCA does not have responsibility for combating terrorism. That remains the responsibility of Scotland Yard, where the Metropolitan Police oversees a number of regional teams comprising police and MI5 officers. The vile and odious rascal May told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the new agency was 'designed to be a relentless crime-fighting body which will relentlessly pursue organised criminals.' The Home Secretary added: 'Crime is falling in this country, but we can't be complacent. And particularly on organised crime, I don't think the last government put enough emphasis on this.'

And, speaking of (alleged) criminals, Lord Sugar-Sweetie has, reportedly, been investigated by police after he was accused of posting an alleged 'racist' message on Twitter. The businessman and star of The Apprentice posted a photo of a child - apparently of Chinese origin - crying which he captioned: 'The kid in the middle is upset because he was told off for leaving the production line of the iPhone 5.' Which, some may regard as a pretty witty observation on the quite disgraceful use of sweatshop child labour in the developing world by large multi-national companies. Others may disagree, of course. Either way, it hardly seems to be a comment worthy of calling the law in. Nevertheless, Merseyside Police said that it had investigated a complaint but added that 'no criminal offences' had taken place. Lord Sugar-Sweetie's spokesman said that he would not be commenting on the complaint. Although, one imagines in private that Sugar-Sweetie is already drawing up a whole batch of delicious revenge scenarios as in the Stella English industrial tribunal. Allegedly. A Liverpool shop owner, one Nichola Szeto, had reportedly 'taken offence' about the reference to the Asian factories where the mobile phones are produced and complained about the 'racist tweet' to the Metropolitan Police. This blogger wishes he could simply ring up the rozzers and grass up all the things that offend me in life. Might be quite a long call, to be fair. Perhaps Ms Szeto has more hands on her time than I. Don't come to me looking for a quick answer on that one, dear blog reader. Szeto was then, reportedly, contacted by Merseyside Police and went to a Liverpool police station to make a formal statement about the tweet, which had been posted on 30 September. Szeto told the Scum Mail on Sunday: 'I told the police I just wanted to let him know it was wrong. They said they take this very seriously, but I said: "Just leave it, I've complained now." But they phoned back, so I went to see them.' One does, rather, wonder why, if Ms Szeto merely wanted to 'let him know it was wrong' that she didn't merely post a reply on Lord Sugar-Sweetie's Twitter page. You know, saying 'I think this is wrong, Lord Sugar-Sweetie' or something similar. Snitching him up to the Old Bill like a Cooper's Nark does seem, rather, to be a case of using an atom bomb to crack a nut. Or, some other equally inappropriate simile. A police spokesman said: 'Merseyside Police can confirm officers received a complaint in relation to the tweet sent on the evening of Sunday 30 September. The communication has been examined by the force's specialist hate crime investigation team and at this time it has been recorded as "a hate incident" and no criminal offences have taken place. Officers from the specialist team will be contacting the person who made the initial complaint to discuss this.'

Sir David Jason is reprising his role as Granville in the BBC sitcom Open All Hours for a one-off Christmas Special. Bloody hell, they must be desperate. Lynda Baron and Maggie Ollerenshaw will also return as Gladys Emmanuel and Mavis respectively. The original series, starring the late Ronnie Barker as Granville's uncle Arkwright, ran between 1973 and 1985. 'I am sure there is an audience out there who would like to see what Granville has been up to in the corner shop,' claimed Jason. 'I'm really excited to be bringing back Open All Hours,' he added. Which is almost certainly true since the last sitcom he was involved in, the disgracefully unfunny horrorshow (and drag) The Royal Bodyguard, was such a risible mind-numbing flop of quite outrageous proportions. 'It will be a great family show for Christmas and a fitting tribute to the legacy of Arkwright.' The thirty-minute special will be created by the programme's original writer, Roy Clarke. He said: 'This has been fun - a great opportunity to work with David Jason again and to suggest how things at that corner shop might look today.' BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said it made BBC1's Christmas schedule 'suddenly feel complete.' In the original, which consisted of four series, Arkwright was the miserly Doncaster shop owner and his nephew Granville was his put-upon shop assistant. In the new one-off episode, Granville now runs the shop, having inherited it from Arkwright.

Hapless Harry Redknapp says that Football Association senior officials 'do not have the knowledge required' to choose the best England manager. The Queens Park Strangers boss was overlooked for the role when Roy Hodgson succeeded former coach Fabio Capello in May 2012. To the absolute horror of a handful of his arse-licking friends in the tabloid press but the absolute delight of many football fans in the country who, simply, cannot stand full-of-his-own-importance Redknapp and, seemingly, do not regard his abilities anywhere near as highly as he appears to regard himself. And, of course, he said all of this hit the papers just a few days before England are due to be involved in a must win World Cup qualifier. 'I wouldn't trust the FA to show me a good manager if their lives depended on it,' he wrote in his autobiography, serialised in the Daily Scum Mail which had the thoroughly spiteful effect of spectacularly undermining Roy Hodgson's preparations of his squad for the game against Montenegro on Friday at Wembley. Redknapp claims that he 'holds no grudge' against Hodgson after the decision, although these comments somewhat suggest that might not, necessarily, be true. He insists that he was 'the people's choice' with England fans (providing absolutely no evidence to back up this claim; certainly this England fan was never canvassed for his opinions on Redknapp) and players, adding that 'senior players' texted him to offer him their support. FA Chairman, Greg Dyke, reportedly commented: 'I don't think this is a day to talk about Harry Redknapp.' Nor, indeed, is any day.

And, finally, dear blog reader, yer actual Mankind entered the UK singles chart in 1978 with their disco rendition of the Doctor Who theme tune. You might remember it. It was shite. Now, a 'special' remix of their top thirty hit 'Dr Who?' is being produced to mark the show's fiftieth anniversary, with a new compilation LP containing all of the band's recordings being released too. The LP, Space, Time And Beyond - due out on Monday 18 November on the Mondo Recordings label - will be a bumper affair consisting of a translucent-blue fourteen-song vinyl record with a gatefold sleeve telling the story of the making of the 1978 single. The package will also include a poster plus unpublished photos from the first Doctor Who convention in the USA, held in 1979 and for which a special pressing of the single was made and an accompanying CD in a six-panel digipak. The CD will also be available separately on the same date. Dos Amigoz - rising stars on the production, remix, and DJing scene, apparently - are creating the 2013 remix, with work on 'Dr Who? (Dos Amigoz Space Time Remix)' featuring Diane Charlemagne expected to finish this week. It will be given a worldwide release via all major download sites on a date to be announced. Brought together in 1978 by Don Gallacher - a recording engineer determined to become a record producer - Mankind took 'Dr Who?', released in November that year, to number twenty five, spending a total of twelve weeks in the chart. It eventually sold more than two hundred and forty thousand copies, with Gallacher commenting: 'If a single sold that many copies between November and January in the present day, it would probably be number one for the entire Christmas/New Year period!' The group also appeared on Top Of The Pops three times, with those appearances due to be broadcast again soon on BBC4 as part of the channel's ongoing series of repeats of the former BBC1 pop-music programme. Apart from the episode where the group were introduced by naughty old scallywag and ghastly rotter Jimmy Savile OBE, of course. Oh no, very hot water. 'Dr Who?' originally came about after Gallacher had noted South African producer Meco's top ten hit the previous year with the disco version of the Star Wars theme. Together with keyboard player Mark Stevens, Don hired session guitarist Dave Christopher, bass player Dave Green and drummer Graham Jarvis (since his usual session drummer, Graham Hollingworth, wasn't available at the time). A twenty four-track studio in Clapham was booked to record the piece, with Gallacher adding some minimalist vocals himself to circumvent Radio 1's alleged 'anti-instrumental' policy at the time. The single was first released on the Motor Records label, which had been formed especially by Gallacher for that purpose, but overwhelming interest led to the disc's promotion and distribution switching to Pinnacle - an eager new label better placed to cope with nationwide demand. For the Top Of The Pops appearances, Paul Martinelli - a former band mate of Gallacher's - stood in for Christopher on guitar and mimed the vocals, while Hollingworth appeared on the drums. Sadly, Stevens, Martinelli, Green and Jarvis have all since died. Gallacher is now a freelance music supervisor, while Hollingworth is still a session drummer. Christopher, meanwhile, now works for a helicopter manufacturer.

Which, by a kind of circular logic, brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Oh, go on then. You might as well have the twelve inch version as well for seven minutes of sonic agony.
Hateful, isn't it? I'm trying to work out if that's the worst cover version in the history of music and I've got it down to a straight choice between that and Candy Flip's 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. And, here's something even more horrifying, the week it reached it's highest chart placing - 22 December 1978 - it was one place higher in the charts than 'Promises' by Buzzcocks. No justice!

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