Wednesday, October 30, 2013

When I Think Of It Now I Acted Like A Sinner I Just Washed My Hands Then I Went For My Dinner

Let's start off today's bloggerisationisms with something genuinely, properly, thrilling dear blog reader.
Two retro-style posters for the forthcoming drama An Adventure In Space And Time were released this week by the BBC. The ninety-minute production for BBC2 tells the story of the creation and early years of Doctor Who and both posters carry the tagline The Story Begins Here with one of them using artwork of David Bradley as William Hartnell in the role of The Doctor, evoking the spirit of the 1960s annuals. It also features images of a Cyberman, a Menoptra, and a Dalek, giving a taste of what viewers can expect in the drama. Another character portrait shows Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert.
The BBC Media Centre's programme information section currently has the drama unplaced in the BBC2 schedules for the week of Saturday 16 November to Friday 22 November, but it is the chief highlight for that week. This special one-off drama travels back in time to 1963 to see how Doctor Who was first brought to the screen. As reported earlier, ABC1 in Australia became the first TV channel in the world to announce a specific date and time for its transmission: Sunday 24 November at 8.45pm. It will, however, have its world première at the BFI on Tuesday 12 November.
The BBC has confirmed its longest running astronomy series, The Sky At Night, will continue next year. The show will move to a new monthly half-hour slot on BBC4 from February 2014, with subsequent repeats on BBC2. It follows an online campaign to save the series, with a petition signed by more than fifty thousand people. Including yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self, as it happens. Since presenter Sir Patrick Moore's death in December 2012, The Sky At Night has been fronted by a team including the comedian, impressionist and amateur astronomer Jon Culshaw, and doctors Chris Lintott and Lucie Green. Culshaw gave his reaction to the show's new series on Twitter, calling it 'grand news. The Sky At Night is saved and will stay,' he continued. 'Huge thanks to everybody who signed and spoke up so passionately.' The much-loved show was first broadcast on 24 April 1957 and became the longest-running programme to have the same presenter in television history (fifty five years until Moore's death). The latest series has also featured astronomy experts Chris North, Paul Abel and Pete Lawrence. It has not been confirmed yet who will front the show when it returns in February. The Sky At Night will be off-air in January, the gap being filled by BBC2's annual astronomy series Stargazing Live, presented by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain. 'Sir Patrick Moore inspired generations of astronomers,' said Kim Shillinglaw, head of commissioning for BBC Science and Natural History. 'I hope that alongside the BBC's other astronomy content, such as BBC2's Stargazing Live, The Sky at Night will enthuse further generations about the wonder of the night sky.' The petition to save the show was started by a group of amateur astronomers, after it was reported in September that the future of the series was under discussion. 'There were clearly thousands of people who care deeply about saving this historic programme,' said Brie Rogers Lowery, the website's UK campaigns director, and someone who has managed to get quite far in life despite suffering the huge embarrassment of being named after a cheese. Jolly well done, Brie. 'By tapping into that nostalgia and bringing together organisations, celebrities and fans they've made the BBC think again about axing The Sky At Night.' Although whether the BBC actually did intend to 'axe' The Sky At Night or were, merely, considering their options, is a question perhaps best left for another day. It is possible that moving the series from its current late-night BBC1 slot could lead to a drop in overall viewing figures. A recent episode on 6 October, featuring the team camping at The Brecon Beacons star party, attracted six hundred and fifty five thousand viewers on BBC1. A repeat of the same show drew an audience of just under two hundred thousand when it was shown on BBC4 a few days later. The Sky At Night is one of the BBC's longest running TV shows, its longevity eclipsed only by current affairs show Panorama, which began four years earlier in 1953. Moore presented a total of seven hundred and twenty one episodes, missing just one outing in the programme's history, when he was struck down by food poisoning. Lintott filled in for him on that occasion.
Yer actual David Tennant's The Escape Artist topped the overnight ratings on a quiet Tuesday outside of soaps. The BBC1 drama's opening episode attracted 5.02 million viewers at 9pm. Later, an Imagine special on yer actual Jimi Hendrix was seen by 1.33m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, The Great British Bake Off masterclass special interested 2.49m at 7pm. Autumnwatch appealed to 2.95m at 8pm. James Corden and Mathew Baynton's utterly shite The Wrong Mans concluded its risible, unfunny, wretched series with 1.83m at 9pm - a satisfyingly huge slump in its audience since the initial episode pulled in over three million punters. The Sarah Millican Television Programme was watched by 1.35m at 9.30pm. ITV's Tonight special Looking For Love gathered 1.51m at 8pm, followed by documentary On the Run with 1.53m (at 9pm). On Channel Four, Obsessive Compulsive Eaters brought in 2.12m at 8pm, beating ITV's figure by over half a million punters. Masters Of Sex continued with seven hundred and sixty thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Cowboy Builders was seen by nine hundred and thirty one thousand at 8pm. The Mentalist interested 1.30m at 9pm, followed by Castle with eight hundred and twenty six thousand at 10pm.

Wor geet canny Ross Noble has criticised Mock The Week, describing the panel show as 'terrible.' The comedian, who has frequently appeared on other BBC panel shows like Have I Got News For You and Qi, condemned the Dara Ó Briain-fronted series for a perceived lack of improvisation. When asked why he has never taken part in Mock The Week, Noble told the Radio Times: 'Because it's terrible. If you watch Mock The Week, watch when the camera goes wide, look at the scripts - they've got pages and pages of them. You watch Have I Got News For You and they show a wide shot, there are no notes there. You watch Mock The Week, there are A4 pages spread out if you look at the desk in front of them.' He went on to say: 'When you see spin the wheel, what subject could be coming up now and you do a little bit of stand-up about it - it's really weird that when the wheel spins, the topics that come up usually relate to something that is in that person's act. I've not been on that show but they clearly get them in advance.'
Freedom of speech campaign group Index On Censorship has accused the police of displaying a 'worrying' and 'blasé' attitude towards freedom of the press after it emerged that plain clothes officers had asked a news vendor to 'consider' taking down issues of Private Eye from display at his kiosk near the Old Bailey, where week known Crystal Tipps-lookalike Rebekah Brooks and the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Andy Coulson are currently standing trial. The news vendor was advised by police to remove copies of Private Eye featuring Brooks on the cover on the day that her phone-hacking trial started. Tony McCarthy claimed that two officers asked him to take down the magazine outside Farringdon station in Central London. Surrounding the front page picture of ex-Scum of the World editor and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks were the words Halloween Special and Horror witch costume withdrawn from shops. McCarthy, told Metro: 'The officers wanted to know about the distribution company I use and how many copies were out on the street. I said, "Why?" and they said it could be some kind of contempt of court. I said up until the point the judge orders me to take them down, I'll keep selling them. They said, "No problem" and didn't pursue it aggressively at all.' Scotland Yard subsequently confirmed that officers 'advised the vendor that the publication may be contempt of court.' Quite why they felt they had either the right or, indeed, the need to 'advise' him of this is another matter entirely. At the start of the Old Bailey trial, Mr Justice Saunders referred to the 'bad taste' cover when warning jurors to ignore 'negative publicity' about the defendants. 'It has no serious input and it is not relevant to your considerations,' he said. Jurors in the Scum of the World trial were warned to ignore Private Eye because 'British justice is on trial.' The nine women, three man jury was sworn in and told that the Private Eye cover was 'meant to be satire' but was 'a joke in especially bad taste.' In the judge's opinion. Others, clearly, found it quite funny. They were also ordered to ignore blogs and tweets about the case by 'actors, musicians, politicians and the rest' (presumably, that includes yer actual Keith Telly Topping) because they 'know very little.' On that score, at least, the judge is entirely correct. The attorney-general's office said later that it would not pursue a contempt of court case against Private Eye making the police's earlier actions even more extraordinary. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, a former News International chief executive, and Coulson, another former Scum of the World editor, are accused of conspiring with others to listen to voicemails. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and Coulson are also accused of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office. They and six other defendants, of course, deny the charges. The trial is expected to last for up to six months.
Former Scum of the World editors Brooks and Coulson 'must have known about phone-hacking' at their newspaper, the Old Bailey has heard. Andrew Edis QC said the prosecution would be able show there had been phone-hacking at the now-closed in shame and ignominy paper. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and the prime ministers former, if you will, 'chum' Coulson - among eight on trial - deny charges including conspiracy to intercept communications. The court heard that three other Scum of the World journalists had already admitted their guilt in relation to conspiracy to hack phones. Edis said they were Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup, who are not on trial at this time. He said that private investigator Glenn Mulcaire had also pleaded guilty earlier this year to three counts of conspiracy to hack phones in relation to murdered Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler and others. The crown prosecutor revealed that the individuals had already pleaded guilty at an earlier stage in proceedings, as he outlined to the court that Scum of the World was at the centre of three criminal conspiracies dating back to the year 2000, involving the two former editors. But the prosecuting counsel told the jury that journalism itself was not on trial. 'There is no justification of any kind for journalists for getting involved in phone-hacking. That is an intrusion into people's privacy which is against the law,' Edis said. 'The prosecution says that journalists are no more entitled to break the law than anyone else,' he added. Edis told the court that the criminal activity was discovered as a result of a police investigation into the paper in 2011 following the revelation that the telephone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler 'had been hacked by somebody acting on behalf of the News of the World.' The prosecuting counsel told the jury that 'the events were very big at the time' but that they must put what they remember about them 'out of their mind' and try the case on the evidence that they heard. Edis also told them they did not have to remember everything they heard during his opening. 'This is not a memory test, it's a long trial,' he said. 'There are three types of criminal behaviour alleged here,' Edis told the jury. The jury heard that the first centred on alleged phone-hacking conducted by a private investigator hired by the paper, Glenn Mulcaire, 'who was very good finding out personal codes' which were used to access other people's voicemails remotely. Mulcaire was 'very good indeed at getting the codes for people's phones and therefore able to get into other people's messages. It was very useful,' Edis said. He added that Mulcaire's activities helped the tabloid prove the truth of news under investigation such as affairs of people they were interesting in writing about. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks is also accused of approving payments to public officials while she was editor of the Sun after 2003. She allegedly approved nearly forty thousand smackers of payments for stories from a security-cleared MoD official. Edis, opening the prosecution case on Wednesday, said: 'We say we will be able to show that there was phone-hacking at the News of the World. That Glenn Mulcaire did it. That Clive Goodman did it. And that Ian Edmonson did it. Were they asked as part of the conspiracy, given that they were so senior at the paper? They wanted it to happen because they were in charge of the purse-strings. So you may say that if they didn't stop it, they were part of the conspiracy to carry on.' He told the jury it was 'quite a simple issue. There was phone-hacking - who knew?' Edis said 'there was phone-hacking during both periods' when well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Coulson, edited the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. 'You will have to decide whether it could happen without the editor knowing,' he told the jury. He later said: 'The News of the World is a Sunday paper. That means it published once a week, fifty two times a year. It wasn't War And Peace. It wasn't an enormous document. It was the sort of document that if you were its editor you could actually take an interest in its content without too much trouble. What you are going to have to consider is whether these people were doing their jobs properly, in which case we say they must have known what they were spending the money on. They must have known, we say, where these stories came from, otherwise they would never have got into the paper.' Edis told the jury there would be 'timelines relating to famous people' including Sir Paul McCartney, Jude Law, Lord Prescott and others. Edis said one of the defendants, Edmonson, had commissioned Mulcaire to carry out 'an undoubtedly large number of phone hacks.' One hack related to 'someone who knew actress Joanna Lumley' and police had found recordings of thirteen of Lord Frederick Windsor's voicemails. There were also recordings of voicemails left by former Home Secretary David Blunkett to his friend Sally Anderson. Edis told the jury the prosecution would show Edmondson had hacked the phones of journalists at rival papers, including the Scum Mail on Sunday. Earlier in his opening speech, Edis told the jury that the Scum of the World had closed because it had been discovered that 'someone at the newspaper' had hacked the phone of a 'young murdered girl, Milly Dowler.' He said that phone-hacking meant listening to other people's voicemails without their consent, usually by finding the pass-code needed to listen to messages left for them by someone else. Edis said the newspaper had employed Mulcaire to be involved in phone-hacking in order to find or develop stories that would eventually make it into the Scum of the World's despicable pages. He said various public officials, including prison officers and soldiers, had sold information to the Scum of the World - and the Sun - and that was a crime. And, a jolly naughty one at that. The third set of allegations faced by some of the defendants concerned hiding possible evidence - perverting the course of justice, he said. Notebooks belonging to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and computers and other material which could have been relevant to the phone-hacking inquiry were hidden from police investigating it, the jury was told. Material was removed from well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's London and Gloucestershire homes immediately before the Scum of the World was shut down - in shame and disgrace - in 2011 in the wake of allegations that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked, Edis said. 'It wasn't a secret that there was an investigation going on and by July of 2011 when the Milly Dowler allegation was being made, there was a great storm of publicity,' Edis added. Edis said well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, the prime minister's former, if you will 'chum', Coulson and colleagues Edmondson and Stuart Kuttner were charged with conspiracy to intercept communications by listening to voicemails. Coulson and Goodman are alleged to have paid a Buckingham Palace police officer for a copy of the royal household telephone book. Goodman allegedly asked Coulson to approve a payment to a palace police officer. Further charges allege an attempt to cover-up evidence involving well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, her Personal Assistant Cheryl Carter, her husband, the millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks and security chief Mark Hanna. Edis said that Mulcaire pleaded extremely guilty to conspiracy to hack phones in November 2006 and was sentenced to a period in pokey for that crime along with Goodman. The trial was adjourned until Thursday when Edis will continue his opening. All the defendants deny the charges they face.

Newspaper and magazine publishers have utterly failed in their application for an injunction to prevent the government's plan for a new press regulation regime getting the royal seal of approval. Industry bodies representing the publishers were granted an emergency high court hearing for an injunction at 10.30am on Wednesday, just hours before the government's press regulation royal charter – backed by all the three main parties and by Hacked Off campaigners – is set to go before the privy council for sealing by the Queen forthwith. If not sooner. Publishers were seeking to get an injunction to get a 'stay' on the privy council sealing the government's royal charter until a decision on their application for a judicial review of the government's rejection of the industry's rival plan for a new press regulator has been taken. They were also seeking a legal ruling that any decision to seal the cross-party charter can be automatically overturned if their judicial review succeeds. The case for an injunction was heard by Lord Justice Richards and Justice Sales. Applications for the injunction and judicial review were filed at the high court in London on Monday. Hours later publishers appealed to Court of Appeal judges to reconsider that decision. However, Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Lord Justice Elias, refused to grant an interim order pending further legal action. In a joint statement, the newspapers whinged that the newspaper and magazine industry had been denied the 'right' properly to make their case that the Privy Council's decision to reject their charter was 'unfair and unlawful.' The court, seemingly, did not agree and slapped down such nonsense into the gutter where it belongs. The newspapers learned that their alternative proposals had been rejected by the Privy Council earlier this month because they did not comply with certain principles from The Leveson Report, such as independence and access to arbitration. A spokesman for the Department for Culture Media and Sport said: 'Acting on the advice of the government, the Privy Council has granted the cross-party royal charter. Both the industry and the government agree independent self-regulation of the press is the way forward and that a royal charter is the best framework. The question that remains is how it will work in practice; we will continue to work with the industry, as we always have. A royal charter will protect freedom of the press whilst offering real redress when mistakes are made. Importantly, it is the best way of resisting full statutory regulation that others have tried to impose.' Hacked Off's executive director Brian Cathcart said: 'The royal charter is good for journalism, good for freedom of speech, and - vitally - good for the public. What Mr Murdoch and his friends are clinging to is the right to lie, twist, bully and intrude, inflicting misery on innocent people. That has to stop.' Earlier this month the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Miller announced that ministers were not going to consider the industry's royal charter, sticking instead with the charter agreed by the three main political parties and Hacked Off, which campaigns on behalf of victims of press intrusion, in March. This charter is due to be ratified by the privy council. The vile and odious rascal Miller has offered some concessions aimed at addressing publishers' concerns with the cross-party royal charter, but these have been dismissed as inadequate by the industry, which is also moving ahead with setting up its own new press self-regulator. The injunction and judicial review has the backing of four trade organisations representing newspapers and magazines – the Newspaper Publishers Association, the Newspaper Society, the Scottish Newspaper Society, and the Professional Publishers Association – through the Press Standards Board of Finance, the funding body for the existing industry regulator, the PCC. PresBof made the industry's original royal charter application. Last week, newspaper and magazine publishers presented their final plans for their own regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which would include a contract binding publishers to the watchdog's decisions. They said that the new watchdog would have greater powers of investigation, enforcement and sanction than the discredited Press Complaints Commission, which it will replace. Those supporting the injunction, judicial review and the creation of Ipso include the publishers of the Daily Scum Mail, the Torygraph, the Mirra and billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News UK, publisher of the Sun and The Times.

David Cameron - you know, Andy Coulson's former, if you will, 'chum' - has called on the Gruniad Morning Star and other newspapers to show 'social responsibility' in the reporting of the leaked NSA files to avoid high court injunctions or the use of D notices to prevent the publication of information that could damage national security. yeah. Like's that's gonna happen. In a statement to MPs on Monday about last week's European summit in Brussels, where Cameron warned of the dangers of a 'lah-di-dah, airy-fairy view' about the dangers of leaks, the prime minister said that his 'preference' was to talk to newspapers rather than resort to the courts. Or, failing that, to send a couple of big chaps round to give Alan Runtbudgie a good hard kick in the Jacob's cream crackers. But, he said that it would be 'difficult' to 'avoid acting' if newspapers 'declined to heed government advice.' Or, bullying as it's also known. The prime minister issued the warning after the Tory MP Julian Smith (no, me neither) quoted a report in Monday's edition of the Sun that said Britain's intelligence agencies believed details from the NSA files leaked by Edward Snowden had 'hampered' their work. The Sun quoted an anonymous - and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'top surveillance source' as allegedly saying that alleged terrorists had allegedly 'gone quiet' after the publication of details about NSA and GCHQ operations.

Finally, on the subject of the press, here's proof that they do, sometimes, print corrections.
In the latest of From The North's recurring series, Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence, number fifteen: Girls with sword, as demonstrated here by another popular From The North regular, Rosamund Pike.
Careful, love, you could 'ave someones eye out with that thing. Next ...

That's followed, as usual, by, Great Daft Moments From TV History. Today, number thirteen: That bit in the Magnum title sequence with the girl with the big arse in a bikini. Always a winner.
And, on a slightly related theme, yer actual Katy Perry appeared to, if you will, 'hit a bum note' while performing for fans on Tuesday. Sydney Opera House provided a grand setting for the twenty nine-year-old singer as she performed her latest hit single 'Roar' on the Australian TV show Rise. In a typically lively performance, Perry cheerfully flashed her knickers to the camera. And, obviously, we have a picture of that. Nice, isn't it?
Simon Pegg reportedly played a trick on Benedict Cumberbatch during filming of Star Trek Into Darkness – by convincing yer actual Benny that he was in danger from radiation on the set. Mug job! Simon told Chris Pine – who plays Captain Kirk – that the cast were at risk, and the rumour spread like wildfire. Simon told the Sun: 'I don't like seeing people get embarrassed. But we were filming in a nuclear facility and one day I said that Chris needed neutron cream – otherwise he'd get sunburn. He said, "What?" I said, "Yeah, you'll get a rash from ambient radiation in the air." From there the trick spread to other cast members. Finally, we got Benedict. He had this speech and he kept fucking it up. Afterwards he said, "Guys, I'm ever so sorry - I've got a real headache. I think the ions were getting to me." He was so convinced.' No, Si. That's called 'acting'.
Daniel Radcliffe is to play yer actual Sebastian Coe in a forthcoming film drama about his rivalry with fellow Olympian Steve Ovett. The project, entitled Gold, will see Radcliffe reunite with director James Watkins, with whom he worked on 2012's The Woman In Black. Written by Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy and Will Davies, the film tells of the runners' famous rivalry in the run-up to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow at which they both one gold medals. It is not yet known who will play Ovett in the production. Coe, subsequently, of course, a Tory MP, London 2012's chairman and, now, a Lord, famously ran against Ovett in Moscow, the former clinching victory in the fifteen hundred metres and Ovett picking up gold in the eight hundred metres. The entire country picked sides as the press whipped up a supposed deadly rivalry between the two men. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping always rather preferred Ovett of the two. More maverick. More rock and roll. Seb was, even then, a bit too 'establishment'. Beaufoy, who won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire in 2009, told the BBC earlier this year the film was 'a brilliant story' with 'a perfect end. I hadn't realised how good it was until you dig into their past,' he said. 'They were fantastically different athletes and different people. And they rarely met ... apart from on the track - but not very often, even on the track.' BBC Films and the British Film Institute have developed the project - based on Pat Butcher's book, The Perfect Distance - along with AL Films. 'Compelling, funny and moving, Gold is a gem of a story,' said BBC Films' Christine Langan, who is also serving as executive producer. Filming will begin in the UK and Russia in April next year.

The BFI hosted an evening with David Suchet on Tuesday celebrating the end of the actor's twenty four-year, seventy-episode turn as the title character in ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot. Suchet revealed that he had compiled ninety six facts about the eponymous detective's character, while preparing to start the ITV adaptations back in 1989. 'I used to, and still do carry them around with me. It's things like how many lumps of sugar he takes in his tea and how many in coffee, all the little mannerisms.' He noted that even Christie herself had, at times, got tired of Poirot, calling him detestable. 'There is no point making that sort of eccentric character likeable. He is an irritating little man, he creeps up on you,' Suchet said, before adding that this was matched by his ruthlessness in pursuit of justice. 'He does take the law into his own hands and can be quite terrifying.' Suchet added that he had become so bound up with the Poirot character that 'I wake up in the morning, put on his persona. I know what he would be doing every single second or minute of the day. He's been like a best friend. I'll miss not inhabiting him ... but I will also see him on ITV3 quite a lot.' Very true. He said that he believed it would be 'too exhausting' to star in a long-running Poirot-based play in the theatre, given the make-up and padding required, but 'a film, a movie, I'd love to do one of those.' The Suchet evening took place as publishers prepared for their last-ditch bid to injunct the government's press regulation royal charter at the high court. Tory peer Lord Black, one of the key players in the industry's post-Leveson battle with meddlesome politicians, chose to attend the event, asking Suchet which was his favourite Agatha Christie story. 'For plot alone, The ABC Murders is my favourite,' David replied. 'It brings out another side of him, getting rid of a miscarriage of justice.' This story, in case you've neevr read it, or seen one of the numerous adaptations - Suchet's included - deals with three bodies all found with a copy of the ABC Railway Guide beside them: Poirot saves a suspect from a wrongful conviction. Such is Black's passion for the drama he told the Gruniad he had even paid a set visit for an episode of Suchet's swansong series, Dead Man's Folly, to be broadcast this week, and has a stash of box-sets at home. So, before dashing off to the after show party, he was able to add helpfully that The ABC Murders was one of Suchet's early episodes, made in 1992.

The veteran comic actor Graham Stark, best known for his recurring roles opposite Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, has died aged ninety one. The actor died in London on Tuesday after recently suffering a stroke. Roles in Alfie and the James Bond spoof Casino Royale were among his more than one hundred screen credits. It was his friendship with Sellers that secured his roles in the Pink Panther series, beginning with 1964 film A Shot in the Dark. He played Inspector Clouseau's stone-faced assistant, Hercule Lajoy, a role he reprised in 1982's Trail of the Pink Panther. The part saw him say little more than 'Oui, monsieur' to Clouseau's orders. He later starred as Auguste Balls in Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) and Son of the Pink Panther (1993). He, memorably, also appeared in 1976's The Pink Panther Strikes Again, playing a German hotel clerk in the famous scene where Clouseau is bitten by a dog. 'I thought you said your durg did not bite?' says Clouseau, to which Stark replies: 'Zat is not my durg!' Stark, who was born in Wallesey, Merseyside, made his professional debut at the Lyceum theatre in London in a pantomime aged thirteen. After studying at RADA he volunteered for the RAF. During the war years he entertained the troops around the world with fellow airmen and future stars Sellers (who became a close friend), Tony Hancock and Dick Emery. Graham went on to star in numerous comedy TV shows, including The Idiot Weekly, A Show Called Fred and Son of Fred - with Sellers and Spike Milligan - and The Benny Hill Show, before landing his own BBC sketch series, The Graham Stark Show, in 1964 (written by Johnny Speight). He first came to prominence on BBC Radio, making his debut in Happy Go Lucky and subsequently appearing on Ray's A Laugh, Educating Archie and The Goon Show. Graham worked and socialised extensively with both Milligan and Sellers, and is mentioned throughout biographies of both of them. He also played the role of Lord Fortnum's doctor, Captain Pontius Kak, in the original stage play of The Bed-Sitting Room, which opened at the Mermaid Theatre on 31 January 1963. Following the death of James Beck, Graham took over the role of Private Walker in the radio adaptation of Dad's Army. In 1982, Graham appeared in a cameo role as a butler, alongside Dandy Nichols, in the music video for Adam Ant's 'Goody Two Shoes'. In later years he appeared in Ain't Misbehavin', Tickle On The Tum (as Freddie The Fireman), Boon and Here Come The Double Deckers. Other films in which he appeared include Victor Victoria, Superman III, Start The Revolution Without Me, The Plank and Blind Date. He also directed two films: the 1970 short Simon Simon and the 1971 comedy The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins. Graham was also a keen photographer and had exhibited his work - mainly images of his acting colleagues and friends - around the world. His autobiography, Stark Naked, was published in 2003. He is survived by his wife, the actress Audrey Nicholson, and three children.

And another quality British actor, Nigel Davenport, has died at the age of eighty five. He died on 25 October after suffering from pneumonia, his agent Nicholas Young told the BBC. During a career spanning more than fifty years, Nigel appeared in such films as A Man for All Seasons and Chariots of Fire and the TV series Howards' Way. His son, the actor Jack Davenport, is best known for his roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the BBC series' This Life and Coupling. 'It was a privilege, a pleasure and an honour to have represented Nigel,' said Young. 'Not only was he an excellent actor, but he was also a charming, warm and witty man. His performances over the years were powerful and moving; his voice, the envy of many an aspiring actor, was a joy to listen to. Never afraid to give his opinion, he lived life to the full and enjoyed his retirement. Immensely popular on both a personal and professional level, he will be sadly missed.' Born in May 1928, Nigel studied English at Trinity College. There he joined the Oxford University Drama Society and decided to pursue a career in acting. He did most of his early work in theatre, landing his first professional job as an understudy at the Savoy in Noel Coward's Relative Values. He later joined the English Stage Company at the Royal Court, where he appeared in more than a dozen plays including A Taste of Honey - a play he performed on Broadway in 1960. On the big screen he appeared in such movies as A High Wind In Jamaica, The Island of Dr Moreau and Without A Clue. He was best known for his roles as Thomas More's friend, the Duke of Norfolk, in 1966 Oscar winner A Man for All Seasons, and as Olympic committee member Lord Birkenhead in Chariots of Fire. On the small screen he appeared as a regular character actors in dozens of TV shows, including The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Saint, The Avengers, Trainer, The Upper Hand, Don't Rock The Boat, Bird of Prey, The Prince Regent (as George III) and South Riding. In the BBC's 1980s drama Howards' Way he played Sir Edward Frere. Nigel was an active member of the actors' union Equity and served as its president from 1986 to 1992. His more recent roles included parts in BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, ITV drama Midsomer Murders and a 2000 dramatisation of David Copperfield. Nigel was married twice, the second time to actress Maria Aitken. He is survived by sons Jack and Hugo and daughter Laura.

It would have been in around October 1986 that yer actual Keith Telly Topping first saw The Proclaimers live - at the old, late and much-lamented Mayfair Ballrooms in Newcastle. They were supporting another particular favourite of yer actual, The Housemartins, and I don't think, at that stage, the Reid brothers' had even been signed to a record company much less released any records - their debut LP wouldn't come out for another eight months. So, that gig would have been the first time yer actual (and, pretty much everyone else in the Mayfair that night) heard songs like 'Throw The R Away', 'Letter From America', 'Over And Done With' et al. (I do recall Craig and Charlie doing a truly epic version of 'The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues' - still my favourite Proclaimers song - at the end of their set.) Thereafter, The Proclaimers became a band - well, a duo, anyway - whose work this blogger occasionally bought (I've certainly got their first two CDs and a number of their singles as well) and pretty much always enjoyed. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping mentions all this because on Tuesday evening, in the company of his very good friends Christian and Vicky, he went to see Dexter Fletcher's Sunshine On Leith, the movie based on Stephen Greenhorn stage musical featuring the songs of the Reid brothers. Ironically, at The Gate, the cinema which was built on the very site of where the Mayfair used to stand. And, it was a properly great night, albeit sadly one which was almost - almost, but not quite - ruined by the pair of drunken arseholes sitting next to us in the cinema who insisted on talking throughout the entire film. Bastards. As for the movie itself, it was ninety five per cent of the way towards being a total little bloody masterpiece; it was only slightly spoiled by the presence of flaming Jane Horrocks. Seriously, dear blog reader, everything that sodding woman does just gets right on this blogger's tit-end, without any exception. She really grates my cheese, so she does. Yer actual has never found himself even marginally engaged with her performance in any single thing that she's been in and, usually, she manages to utterly ruin many, otherwise enjoyable, experiences. But, her apart, Sunshine On Leith was great. A really thoughtful and rather touching, well-acted, big hearted and, in places, very funny film (I particularly enjoyed Craig and Charlie's cameo early on and, later, the witty Trainspotting visual reference). And, of course, the songs are great. So, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a song which Craig and Charlie played that first night I saw 'em and which would become, nearly thirty years later, one of Sunshine On Leitch's highlights.

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