Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why Did Summer Go So Quickly? Was It Something That You Said?

Yer actual Paul McGann his very self has suggested that he is 'a bit gutted' not to feature in Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary special. Oh, bloody hell, not another one. Join the queue behind John Barrowman and Sylvester McCoy, mate. What the hell is it with out of work actors who seems to believe they have a divine right to return to a programme they once featured in whenever it hits a particular milestone? Featured, in McGann's case let us remember, for all of ninety minutes in 1996. Bloody hell, the Xeraphins were in Doctor Who longer than that and I don't see them whinging about not being invited back. McGann - who played the eighth Doctor in the 1996 TV movie (very well, admittedly but, again, let us repeat, for a total of ninety minutes) - told Flicks and the City that, contrary to spectacularly moronic online rumours, he will not appear in The Day Of The Doctor. 'I was a bit dismayed,' said McGann. 'A bit gutted, but [the older Doctors] are not in it. There's all kinds of rumours doing the rounds. One gets tired of trying to refute things on Twitter and the like, but take it from me - I'm not in it. The thing about Doctor Who is, if not now, then maybe some other time. That's the beauty of it - we can always come back.' McGann also praised the show's new lead Peter Capaldi, who will replace Matt Smith at Christmas, insisting that Doctor Who is 'in safe hands. Peter Capaldi's going to take over - a proper fan, a brilliant actor [and] a lovely man,' he said. 'I think he'll bring the old-fashioned, scary gravitas that my favourite William Hartnell had. He'll bring a fierce intelligence.'

BBC Worldwide has announced first details of the Doctor Who special's cinema screenings. The anniversary episode The Day Of The Doctor will be screened in 3D in cinemas across the UK, Ireland, America, Canada, Germany and Russia. The screenings will take place at the same time as the UK TV broadcast on BBC1 on 23 November, with more countries taking part to be announced in the coming weeks. A total of two hundred and sixteen Cineworld, Odeon, BFI, Picturehouse and VUE cinemas in the UK and Ireland have already confirmed their participation, with tickets for the anniversary screening set to go on sale this Friday - 25 October - at 9am. Locations include London, Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool, Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh, while internationally, German, Russian, American and Canadian fans will also be able to gather in cinemas to enjoy the simulcast release. Or, they could just watch it at home like normal people. Just a crazy mad suggestion, there. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is full of 'em. Thirty cinemas in Germany will screen the special and up to fifty theatres will show it in Russia, while in New Zealand and Australia, fans will have a choice of one hundred and six cinemas at which to view the episode on 24 November, following the simulcast TV broadcast earlier in the morning. Doctor Who is joining the likes of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Bolshoi Ballet and the V&A in exploiting the potential for one-off cinema screenings for major cultural events.
BBC America has released three new images from An Adventure in Space and Time. The BBC2 biopic drama, written by Mark Gatiss, will chronicle the creation of Doctor Who and the show's early years under original lead William Hartnell. David Bradley will play Hartnell in the drama, while Claudia Grant stars as Carole Ann Ford, who played the Doctor's granddaughter Susan. Jemma Powell and Jamie Glover also appear in the new images, portraying original companion actors Jacqueline Hill and William Russell. An Adventure In Space And Time - also starring Jessica Raine and Brian Cox - will be broadcast on BBC2 in November as part of a celebratory slate of programming marking Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary.
Broadcast details for BBC2's The Science of Doctor Who have been announced. Professor Brian Cox will present the one-hour programme on Thursday 14 November at 9pm. Brian takes an audience, with the help of celebrity guests, on a journey into the universe of The Doctor, in a specially-recorded programme from the lecture theatre of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Brian is, of course, in the unique position of knowing The Doctor's universe inside out as well as the reality behind the drama. When the TARDIS travels through time and space, he understands the physics involved. And when it comes to life on other planets, Brian knows the real science that could prove extra-terrestrial life might just really exist in our galaxy. Yer actual Foxy Coxy his very self is no stranger to Doctor Who, having had a cameo role in The Power of Three last year, as well as taking part in Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor in August.
Sherlock's third series will be broadcast in the US from 19 January next year. The detective drama will be shown on PBS Masterpiece at 10pm, back-to-back with episodes of fellow UK import Downton Abbey, reports Entertainment Weekly. Though a British premiere date is yet to be confirmed, the BBC has 'first window' rights, meaning that the episodes will be broadcast on BBC1 at some stage prior to US broadcast. Sherlock's executive producer Sue Vertue said: 'We are hugely excited about this next series and have worked closely with our partners, Masterpiece and PBS, to bring these episodes to US audiences in January. We promise our fans that season three is worth waiting for.' PBS chief programmer Beth Hoppe added: 'We love that Sherlock fans are so passionate and eager to see season three. The pairing of Downton Abbey and Sherlock in January offers a blockbuster night of British drama only on PBS stations.' Sherlock's third series will again feature three ninety minute episodes - The Empty Hearse by Mark Gatiss, The Sign Of Three by Stephen Thompson and His Last Vow by Steven Moffat. Lars Mikkelsen has been cast as a new nemesis for Sherlock (yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch), while Amanda Abbington will play Mary Morstan, a love interest for John Watson (Martin Freeman his very self).
Doc Martin's series finale topped the Monday night ratings outside of soaps, according to overnight data. The Martin Clunes drama regained around three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week, climbing to 7.04 million and an audience share of a fraction under thirty per cent at 9pm on ITV. On BBC1, the new series of A Question Of Sport was seen by 2.62m at 8.30pm. Panorama was watched by 2.55m at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge had an audience of 3.12m (13.2%) at 8pm, followed by Tom Kerridge's Pub Food with 1.99m at 8.30pm. The documentary Iceland Foods: Life In The Freezer Cabinet brought in 2.06m at 9pm. On Channel Four, new series Health Freaks appealed to 1.49m at 8.30pm. 999 continued with 1.23m at 9pm. Date My Porn Star attracted 1.14m at 10pm. Channel Five's Shoplifters And Proud was watched by 1.94m at 9pm, followed by the latest Under The Dome with nine hundred and thirty eight thousand punters at 10pm. On BBC4, Only Connect entertained eight hundred and thirty nine thousand viewers at 8.30pm.

The Great British Bake Off scored huge mega-hard eff-off overnight ratings for its final on Tuesday. BBC2's fourth series finale attracted an average audience of 8.42 million at 8pm. A peak audience of 8.80m tuned in at around 8.30pm. It is a rise of almost two million punters from last year's final, which had average of 6.54m. The show also scored the biggest ratings of the night overall, beating both Emmerdale and EastEnders. An earlier episode featuring past Bake Off contestants was seen by 3.31m at 7pm. Later, The Wrong Mans decline continued, 1.92m watching the latest episode of the risibly unfunny alleged 'comedy' at 9pm. That was followed by The Sarah Millican Television Programme with 1.36m at 9.30pm. On BBC1, DIY SOS: The Big Build brought in 5.04m at 8pm, while the documentary Fox Wars interested 2.25m at 10.35pm. ITV's coverage of Arsenal's Champions League loss to Borussia Dortmund scored an average 4.17m at 7.30pm. On Channel Four, Double Your House For Half The Money had an audience of seven hundred and ten thousand viewers at 8pm. Masters Of Sex continued with six hundred and ninety five thousand at 9pm. On Channel Five, the final two episodes of CSI: NY were watched by 1.49m at 9pm and 1.39m at 10pm.

Clothes designer Frances Quinn has been crowned 2013's winner of The Great British Bake Off. Frances said that she was 'in complete and utter shock' after beating Kimberley Wilson and Ruby Tandoh to the title. She baked a rainbow picnic pie to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry on the fourth series of the popular BBC show. Quinn also created a three-tier wedding cake, inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins had described Quinn, who lives in Market Harborough in Leicestershire, as 'the most creative baker to ever set foot in the tent.' Frances said that she was looking forward to celebrating with family and friends, after having to keep her win under wraps since recording the final episode during the summer. 'I've been back at work and trying to keep a poker face,' said Quinn. 'I remember watching the Wimbledon final the following week and getting so emotional, thinking at least Andy Murray doesn't have to hide his trophy under his bed for the next three months.' Quinn, who had been criticised at times by the judges for presenting style-over-substance, said that she was 'shocked' to hear her name being announced. 'I don't think I could speak for a little while. It was so close, such a close final,' she added. 'I think it was the wedding cake at the end that really did swing it.' Quinn's cake consisted of ginger and rhubarb, lemon sponge and raspberries and a third tier of carrot, orange, pistachio and apricot, while her savoury pie contained two types of trout and five different vegetables. The Great British Bake Off is set for a move to BBC1 next year, after series four scored the show's highest ratings yet. Its audience has grown from an average of 2.8 million when it began in 2010, peaking with 7.8 million a fortnight ago - making it the highest rated show on BBC2 so far this year. The controller of BBC1, Charlotte Moore, said that she wanted to 'bring the show to an even broader audience on BBC1.' She continued: 'It's been fantastic to watch it flourish on BBC2 and I can assure viewers I will continue to cherish it on BBC1.' Hollywood called Quinn 'a deserving winner', who beat the others 'hands down' in the showstopper round. 'She not only gave us the style, she gave us the substance too and that cake actually, each layer, superb,' said Hollywood. Fellow judge Berry added: 'She has attention to detail, she's got excellent flavours, her baking improved as each week went by. We're very proud of her.' Quinn, who was persuaded to apply for Bake Off by family and friends, insisted there was 'no antagonism' between the all-female finalists. 'We all get on. People want to feel there was more competition than was the case,' said Quinn. 'The emotions you go through in that tent, you never want to see anyone get that criticism. Outside the tent we're just supportive of each other,' she claimed. 'It's a reality show but we know the actual reality that went on.' Hours before the final was broadcast, TV chef Raymond Blanc apologised on Twitter after previously suggesting that the show's youngest contestant, Tandoh, was 'too thin' to enjoy food she was making and had, also, won the competition. He later used the social networking site to say sorry to Hollywood, blaming his comments on the fact that he is 'a Frenchman writing English' and claiming - rightly, as it turned out - that he did not know who would be crowned winner. Tandoh, a twenty one-year-old student, has already provoked some social media comment for her invariably gloomy outlook ahead of glowing judges' verdicts, a habit some viewers had labelled as 'sulky' although others were more charitable about. Tandoh has even been accused of 'flirting' with Hollywood, to boost her chances. Blanc, patron of the two Michelin-starred Manoir aux Quat'Saisons restaurant and no stranger to telly himself, had said that Tandoh was too skinny. 'The Great British Bake Off. Not much skills, female tears and a winner so thin who makes me doubt of her love for great cooking, baking,' he grumbled in a tweet on Monday morning. The complaints - inevitably - flooded in, not least from outraged viewers who believed that Blanc had revealed the victor. A couple of hours later Tandoh herself, no stranger to tackling critics on Twitter, directly replied to Blanc: '"Female tears"?! And what has anyone's size got to do with it? I don't care if you're a patisserie king – don't be an idiot.' You go, girl. Then Hollywood – who has dismissed any favouritism towards Tandoh, telling the Radio Times, somewhat ungallantly, that fellow finalist Kimberley Wilson is 'far prettier' – waded in with a pair of size twelve bovver boots, asking Blanc how the Frenchman could claim to know the winner. Blanc swiftly returned to Twitter to apologise. In separate tweets to he congratulated the show, signing off with a Gallic double kiss. Tandoh, an eloquent and opinionated online presence whose Twitter profile describes her as a 'glutton and baker', remained understandably annoyed, tweeting in response to a message of support: 'Will never understand people's need to gender food! Supposedly frilly baking vs. macho Michelin stars. All nonsense.' Quinn said that she was not thinking of leaving her design job, although she has already been approached by agents and hopes to produce a book. 'Work has been so, so supportive. I'm not going to say yea or nay to anything at the moment, I've got a mortgage to pay,' she said. 'The baking market is completely saturated so I don't want to do a book that's anything like one that's already out there. I'd like to create a book that's got all my rough sketches and ideas.' She continued: 'I don't know what the future is going to hold but it does excite me. What I'd love to do is combine both passions, baking and design.'

Subsequently, Tandoh spoke out against the apparent 'nastiness, bitterness and bile' from some commentators about this year's series. Writing a piece in the Gruniad Morning Star responding to things written about her and other contestants, she said: 'I am surprised at just how much nastiness was generated from the show. Despite the saccharin sweetness of the Bake Off, an extraordinary amount of bitterness and bile has spewed forth every week from angry commentators, both on social media and in the press.' She continued: 'The criticism ranged from the gently cynical to the downright obnoxious, but as the series went on I noticed an increasing degree of personal vitriol and misogyny. We (female) finalists are supposedly too meek, too confident, too thin, too domestic, too smiley, too taciturn. I am tired of defending myself against the boring, inevitable accusations of flirting with Paul Hollywood, of emotionally manipulating the judges and of somehow surfing into the final on a tidal wave of tears. I'd rather eat my own foot than attempt to seduce my way to victory, and even if I had any intention of playing that card, it's insulting to both the judges to suggest that they'd ever let their professional integrity be undermined in that way.' Tandoh concluded: 'If a show as gentle as Bake Off can stir up such a sludge of lazy misogyny in the murky waters of the Internet, I hate to imagine the full scale of the problem. But it's not something I'm willing to tolerate. Sod the haters. I'm going to have my cupcake and eat it, too.'

Now, in case you were wondering, dear blog reader, yes, that is former Doctor Who actress Niocola Bryant playing the sour-faced 'woman who's ill with some non-specific discombobulation' in the current AXA Healthcare advert. And, yes, the drippy miserable song they used on it is really sodding annoying.
Olivia Colman is expected to return to Broadchurch for its second series. The hit thriller's creator, Chris Chibnall, appears to confirm Colman's involvement in the forthcoming second series a new DVD commentary the pair recorded for the first series finale. 'Broadchurch will return,' Chibnall notes on the commentary. 'We're going to come back and do some more. Aren't we Olivia?' Chibnall also reiterated that he always 'had a plan' to continue Broadchurch beyond its initial eight episodes. 'Our favourite thing was we kept it secret that we were coming back for a second series and had a plan,' he suggested. Colman added: 'That was fun, you just sent a text saying, "Watch the end."' A second series of Broadchurch was originally announced by a caption following the finale's end credits.
Meanwhile, Colman and her Broadchurch co-star yer actual David Tennant revealed that they nearly worked together on a comedy project ten years before the ITV detective drama. The duo were involved in a sitcom project that was written by a friend of Tennant, and the pair would have played husband and wife. Tennant revealed this information in his own commentary on the Blu-ray release of Broadchurch, saying: 'We'd done a reading of a sitcom that a friend of mine wrote. Had that gone ahead, we'd have been husband and wife. But lots of creatives came and said they didn't want to make it.' Broadchurch producer Richard Stokes mocked those who turned down the teaming of Tennant and Colman, saying: 'Who are these people? They have no future.'

Johnny Vegas has admitted that he was 'really cross' when Ideal was axed. And, he wasn't the only one either. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very said was fair livid about it and about the absolute arsehole - Zai Bennett - who made the decision. The stand-up comedian played Moz in the BBC3 comedy for seven - brilliant - series from 2005 to 2011 before it was cancelled. 'I won't lie, that was one of the projects I was really cross when it was pulled,' Johnny told the Digital Spy website. 'It happens all the time. A new head of channel comes in, they want a clean sweep.' He continued: 'It was frustrating with Ideal because we always, always felt like we were up against some invisible force, or we weren't getting the support that we should have had for a show that was such a big hit within the channel itself. We'd earned our audience by word of mouth. We were always being asked to punch above our weight and it never felt as though we were given a level playing field.' He added: 'Bizarrely, that year we were cancelled was the year we felt safe. It was a big shock for all of us. So few things get to seven series now. It had just become part of our lives. It was a job I loved doing. It was a part I loved playing. It was something I knew, I loved Graham [Duff]'s writing, the characters in it, we all got on so well. It was really hard to let it go, especially when you're struggling to find the justification for cancelling it. We got along with fans as well.' On the subject of publicly speaking out against the axe, Johnny said: 'This notion that you can't speak out when you disagree with the decision of a broadcaster, as if you're not a team player or something, far from it!' He added on the future of the characters: 'Graham's working on a film script now. These things, hopefully they happen - they're not always guaranteed. We're all behind it. We've done a few stand-up nights, Ideal nights with the cast, with me hosting. We're not just being bitter and I can't let go, but there's a lot of love out there for it. It's great taking it out live and seeing how many people within the cast are actually accomplished stand-ups as well.'

For the latest Great Daft Moments From TV History, we have number nine, the pre-title sequence from the Department S episode The Man Who Got a New Face. Fair scared the buggering bejesus out of yer actual Keith Telly Topping in 1969, that did.
Meanwhile, in From The North's other recurring segment, Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence, number eleven. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, season three.
Oh yes. Proper geet cush. And from that, dear blog reader, to something that very much not geet cush. Not even remotely close.
Former Radio 1 DJ Dave, if you will, Lee Travis has pleaded not guilty to fourteen counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault. He is accused of carrying out the naughty badness between 1976 and 2008. The allegations relate to eleven female complainants, aged between fifteen and twenty nine at the time the alleged incidents took place. The sixty eight-year-old former so-called hairy cornflake appeared at Southwark Crown Court under his real name, David Patrick Griffin. His trial date was set for 14 January 2014. It is expected to last five to six weeks. Travis, of Mentmore, was first arrested on suspicion of sexual offences by Operation Yewtree officers in November last year. The Metropolitan Police investigation was launched in the wake of sexual offence allegations against ex-TV presenter, radio DJ and dirty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile (OBE). The operation has a number of strands. One is looking specifically at the actions of Savile and the second at allegations of sexual offences allegedly committed by 'Savile and others'. Travis's arrest fell within a third strand, relating to allegations against suspects unconnected directly to the Savile investigation. Travis is currently on bail on condition that he lives at his Buckinghamshire home and does not contact any of the alleged victims. Travis strenuously denied the following counts in court on Tuesday: An indecent assault on a woman between 1 January 1976 and 31 December 1977; two offences of indecent assault on a girl aged fifteen, both on 17 June 1978; an indecent assault on a woman on 29 June 1978; an indecent assault on a woman between 1 January 1981 and 31 December 1983; an indecent assault on a woman between 1 January 1983 and 2 March 1984; an indecent assault on a woman between 1 January 1983 and 31 December 1984; an indecent assault on a woman between 1 November 1990 and 31 January 1991; two offences of indecent assault on a woman between 1 November 1992 and 1 January 1993; three offences of indecent assault on a woman between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2003; an indecent assault on a woman between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2003 and a sexual assault on a woman between 1 June 2008 and 30 November 2008.

Meanwhile, disgraced and convicted filthy old kiddie-fiddler Stuart Hall is to be stripped of his OBE by the Queen after he was jailed for a series of sexual assaults on young girls. Hall, eighty three, admitted fourteen counts against girls aged from nine to seventeen between 1967 and 1985 in June. His fifteen-month sentence was doubled by the Court of Appeal. An independent forfeiture committee decides whether recipients should lose honours if they have brought the system into disrepute. A notice published in the London Gazette confirmed: 'The Queen has directed that the appointment of James Stuart Hall to be an Officer of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, dated 31 December 2011, shall be cancelled and annulled and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order.' Hall was made an OBE in the 2012 New Year's Honours list. The honours forfeiture committee explains on its website the method by which an honour can be stripped from an individual. 'Honours can be taken away from people who have done something to damage the honours system's reputation,' the committee said. 'For example, someone's honour can be taken away if they are: sentenced to prison for at least three months for a criminal offence, censured or struck off by a professional or regulatory body for something directly relevant to their honour (eg a doctor being struck off).' It added: 'If the committee recommends an honour is withdrawn, the decision is sent to the Queen by the Prime Minister. The Queen decides if the honour should be forfeited.'

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - has upheld complaints against episodes of Newsnight and This Morning which led to Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in child sex abuse allegations. Newsnight broadcast allegations against an unnamed 'leading Conservative politician from the Thatcher years.' Lord McAlpine was not named in the piece, but was the subject of subsequent Internet speculation. Days later, the Prime Minister was handed ze list of alleged abusers, which named the peer, on ITV's This Morning. The investigation on BBC2's Newsnight looked into allegations of sexual abuse at the Bryn Esytn children's home in Wales in the 1970s and 1980s. Ofcom said that the broadcast of the allegations in the context of the widespread Internet speculation had led to Lord McAlpine being incorrectly identified. During the live ITV programme on 8 November 2012, This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield produced ze list of people linked to allegations of child abuse which he said he had put together by searching on the Internet. He handed ze list - which included Lord McAlpine's name - to the Prime Minister, and it was briefly and inadvertently visible to viewers of the channel. Ofcom ruled that both programmes had breached the broadcasting code and had treated Lord McAlpine unfairly. ITV also fell foul of rules relating to provided 'adequate protection' for members of the public from the inclusion of harmful material. Both the BBC and ITV subsequently apologised to Lord McAlpine, and paid substantial libel damages.

Counter-terrorism thriller Homeland has been renewed for another season by US cable channel Showtime, as has 1960s-set drama Masters Of Sex. The fourth season of Homeland and the second of Masters Of Sex will both comprise twelve episodes and be broadcast in 2014. The shows are both shown on Channel Four in the UK on Sunday and Tuesday respectively. Homeland, starring Claire Danes as CIA agent Carrie Mathison, was watched by 3.31 million viewers when it returned to UK screens earlier this month. The opening episode of Masters Of Sex, which features Michael Sheen as pioneering sex expert Dr William Masters, drew an audience of 1.43 million two days later. In the US, both shows are broadcast back-to-back on a Sunday night. 'Homeland continues to prove its strength for Showtime, and is one of television's most exciting, provocative and widely-discussed shows,' David Nevins, president of entertainment at the network, said. 'The critical and audience reaction to Masters Of Sex since its great launch has been incredibly gratifying. It's a privilege to get to work with such talented and creative people as [Homeland creator] Alex Gansa and [Masters Of Sex's] Michelle Ashford, as well as their tremendous casts. They have each created truly original shows, with distinctive voices that are among the most admired series on television.'

Red Dwarf writer Doug Naylor has played down reports of a new series being commissioned, insisting that an eleventh series of the SF comedy is 'yet to be confirmed.' The sitcom, which stars Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules, Craig Charles and Robert Llewellyn, returned for its first full series in over a decade in 2012. The show's tenth series brought in record ratings for UKTV's Dave channel and the cast and writers have all expressed an interest in returning for series eleven. However, Dave has still not given the green light to a new run of episodes, and it is now a year since the show returned to screens. Llewellyn posted a blog at the weekend insisting than 'an eleventh series will happen' and that it will be 'sometime in 2014.' However, Llewellyn has since removed the post and Naylor played down suggestions that series eleven was 'definitely happening.'

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is to end after fifteen years. ITV has confirmed that the long-running quiz show is to draw to a close, to coincide with Chris Tarrant stepping down as host. The sixty seven-year-old has been with the show since its launch in 1998 and said that he had reached a point where he wanted to call it a day. ITV has said there will be no further specials beyond the ones which have already been planned. The show was the first to offer a million-pound prize, even if it was rarely reached, and became a major global hit, inspiring the Oscar-winning blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire. Announcing his departure in a statement, Tarrant said: 'It's been a huge part of my life for fifteen years and I've loved every minute of it, but it is time for me to move on from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. It's been the most remarkable journey and I consider myself very fortunate to have been associated with Millionaire from its inception. ITV have been fantastic in their support from day one and to see its huge success has been thrilling.' The show was a hit when it launched, appearing daily on ITV. In recent years, it has been used more as a platform for fundraising celebrity specials. Tarrant went on: 'The calibre of the celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney, George Michael, Sir Alex Ferguson, Simon Cowell, Sir Tim Rice, Sir Terry Wogan, Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas et cetera, is just one indication of how much this show has touched a nerve with everybody. But of course so much more rewarding for all of us has been, not just the celebrities or even the million-pound winners, but all of the ordinary men and women whose lives have been changed - sometimes forever - by being on the show. Thank you all for sitting opposite me. I am privileged to have been a part of it, but do now feel that it is time for me to call it a day.' Referring to his cliffhanger catchphrase from the show, he said: 'I've worked ridiculously hard these last few years and to quote myself, "It's time to take a break."'

Comedy Central has been given a good hard smack for 'dropping the F-bomb' at teatime, in an episode of Sex And The City. Watchdogs at Ofcom ruled that the channel broke broadcasting rules for showing an episode at 6.10pm on Comedy Central Extra in June. One lone viewer - obviously with nothing better to do with their time - whinged about yhe bad language in the show, which included four instances of the word 'fuck'. One of which was, almost certainly, 'who the fuck watches Comedy Central Extra any time, least of all at 6:30 in the evening?' Comedy Central blamed 'a technical issue' which caused the original post-watershed version to be loaded onto their servers for transmission instead of an edited pre-watershed version. In a ruling published this week, the regulators were having none of it and said: 'Ofcom noted that the wrong episode was transmitted "by mistake" and that the licensee has taken various measures to prevent this problem recurring' – but still censured the broadcaster and demanded that the personal responsible be given a jolly good hiding. Ofcom also revealed that it received thirteen complaints about Channel Four's new sitcom London Irish, concerning bad language and racial offence - but decided they did not require full investigation.
The Sun has been forced to - grovellingly - apologise to Kate and Gerry McCann over a tweet by one of its official Twitter accounts which made a really tasteless joke referring to the disappearance of the couple's daughter, Madeleine. During Saturday night's The X Factor live show the Sun Showbiz Twitter account tweeted about hotly-tipped contestant Tamera Foster, relating to press coverage that she was recently caught shoplifting. 'Forget make up, the only way Tamera's gonna lose this is if she admits to stealing Maddie,' the tabloid tweeted to almost thirty thousand followers. The tweet immediately provoked a furious backlash which resulted in the publisher deleting the message and - eventually - issuing an apology. 'We would like to say sorry for a tweet that was sent out earlier,' the publisher tweeted at 10.18pm, almost fifteen minutes after The X Factor had finished. 'It was an inappropriate attempt to make a joke, and we got it wrong.' Sun editor David Dinsmore followed up the Twitter apology with a letter to Kate and Gerry McCann expressing his 'sincerest apologies' for the incident. It is understood that a freelance journalist was responsible for the tweet, and that some form of - hopefully harsh and painful - disciplinary action has been taken against him or her. The Trinity Mirra-owned Sunday People used the episode to have a dig at its red-top rival on Twitter. 'The Sun, having a go at the "funny tweeting" thing there. And failing miserably,' the People tweeted crowingly to its thirteen thousand followers. It followed up with some sarcastic piece of advice directly to its rival: 'The Sun Showbiz Social, media can be quite tricky, but the only real golden rule is DON'T DO MADELEINE MCCANN jokes'. You're welcome.' The incident coincided with Sun's publication of a heavily promoted twelve-page pull-out in Saturday's edition called The Maddie Files.

The X Factor type person Wagner made a - long-waited (it says here) return to TV on Monday evening appearing in the Never Mind the Buzzcocks 'identity parade'. The singer appeared alongside other former X Factor contestants as panelists tried to work out which of the five people before them had never appeared on the show. Niki Evans and Kimberley Southwick from the 2007 series and Jade Ellis from last year's competition were the other genuine X Factor finalists present in the line-up. During the identity parade round, Wagner was referred to as 'the guy from the Seventeenth Century' by Irish comedian David O'Doherty. Wagner's last major television appearance was on Celebrity Coach Trip in 2011, where he was paired with Britain's Got Talent act Stavros Flatley.
The BBC's Director General Tony Hall has said that the BBC will broadcast a Panorama programme featuring allegations about Comic Relief, if they are true. Newspaper reports had claimed that the investigation into several charities, is in danger of being shelved. But Lord Hall told a parliamentary select committee he 'very much' hoped it would be transmitted. He added: 'I believe strongly in the BBC's ability to carry out investigative journalism.' It was reported by the Mirra that the Panorama programme is looking into claims the charity has invested one hundred and fifty million smackers of its funds for up to eight years before passing money on to the causes for which it had been raised. There are also allegations that some of the money went to a fund which invested in tobacco firms and an arms company. Lord Hall appeared before a Department of Culture Media and Sport select committee alongside Chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, to discuss the BBC's annual report. He was asked by odious Tory cocksplash Philip Davies if the Panorama programme would be broadcast. 'The thing I learned when I was last in the BBC was that when you have a programme which is controversial, and right to be controversial, making big claims, and right to be making big claims, you shouldn't set a transmission date,' said Lord Hall. He said programme makers 'should set aside time' to talk to lawyers and check claims, adding 'that's exactly what's happening with this programme.' Lord Hall said he had discussed the programme directly with director of news, James Harding, adding 'there's no string of BBC executives' making decisions about the programme. Comic Relief has called the claims 'inaccurate' and misleading.' When pressed on whether the six-month investigation into charities' pay and investments would be broadcast, Hall said: 'I don't know yet. I very much hope this programme will be transmitted but I don't know yet what the substance of the allegations are, and whether they are right or wrong. My aim is to get programmes on the air [and] I believe strongly in the BBC's ability to carry out investigative journalism.' Hall was asked by former lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Bradshaw of there were parallels with Newsnight's dropped investigation of naughty old scallywag and rotter Jimmy Savile and whether that was why staff had 'leaked' the story to the press like a bunch of stinking Copper's Narks. 'I don't know about the parallels,' said Hall. 'This is a much clearer story which, if established, I think is a proper story to tell. I've done a lot of programmes like this [in my previous career at the BBC]. But what we needed from the journalists was to work through the implications of what they were saying and if they do that, they will have my complete support.' Hall added: 'We are moving as quickly as we can.' Both Hall and Patten were appearing in front of the committee to discuss the findings of this year's BBC annual report, published in July. The report also found public trust in the BBC had now almost recovered to previous levels, following the Savile and Newsnight crises. At the select committee hearing on Tuesday, Hall was also questioned on the issue of bullying and harassment among staff at the BBC. The Respect At Work Review by Dinah Rose QC was published in May and suggested there was 'a strong undercurrent of fear' at the BBC when addressing these issues. Hall said the BBC had been working 'very hard' on implementing the report's recommendations. 'We are, this week, opening our first ever bullying and harassment support line to allow people to say if they think they are being bullied and harassed, and we are trying to deliver results on all the cases as quick as we can,' he said. He confirmed a number of disciplinary hearings had been carried out and that in one case, the subject of the complaint was no longer working at the BBC. Hall also stated that his new one hundred and fifth thousand knicker cap on severance pay was 'very real' and that it would be enforced on all of the three hundred staff it applied to, despite around twenty senior managers disagreeing with the cap. When questioned on the issue of cuts to local radio by Tracey Crouch MP, Lord Hall agreed there was 'a danger' of news being recycled as a result. However he added that he wanted to 'be ambitious, with limited resources' with his plans for the BBC's thirty nine local stations. 'There's a lot to do in partnership with local newspapers and other local organisations,' he said, adding that he wanted to do more to 'reflect the quality of the arts, culture and other things going on in communities.'

Hall also defended the right of BBC executives to have second jobs, but described as 'daft' a senior manager who blogged about setting up her own café business. Hall revealed that twenty out of the BBC's three hundred senior executives had rejected his proposal for a one hundred and fifty grand cap on severance payments but said that he would press ahead with the change in the wake of the controversy over the corporation's big money payouts. Hall said it could be 'beneficial' for BBC staff to have jobs outside of the corporation. He was quizzed about 'two jobs' executives at the BBC after John Linwood, suspended from his two hundred and eighty thousand quid post as BBC head of technology in the wake of the one hundred million smackers Digital Media Initiative fiasco, became a non-executive director of private technology firm DRS. Lisa Opie, the BBC's controller of business, knowledge and daytime, founded a café business called Here in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire. In blog posts, since removed from the café's website, Opie said it had been 'non-stop eighteen-hour days, rapid phone calls squeezed in between proper job meetings, hurried decisions about banquettes and stress-y calls to the VAT man on the train.' Asked by the vile and odious rascal Bradshaw whether it was 'appropriate' for BBC executives to have a second job, Hall said: 'It is good within reason for people within the BBC to do something outside of the BBC, especially things that are unpaid and charitable. There are restrictions - any second job has to be agreed by the line manager, and there are restrictions on the number of hours you can spend doing them. It's for the line manager to decide whether the person's job is so pressured, so vital, that they shouldn't.' Hall defended Opie's business venture, but added: 'She is a shareholder in that business, and tweeting or rather blogging about it was daft. What matters is her manager has ensured that she is concentrating on her day job, which she is.' Another Labour MP on the committee, Paul Farrelly, told Hall: 'You could have struck a much firmer tone. We are not talking about people being school governors or non-executives on a charity here. We are talking about people earning money from other jobs outside the BBC when they are being paid a small fortune to work for the BBC.' Hall responded: 'It depends entirely on the job, and that job not taking provenance over the day job. I really do think there are benefits to having people see what like is like outside of the BBC,' he added. 'I want the BBC to be much more fluid and much more porous, and for it not to be an isolationist BBC but somewhere where people move in and out.' One of Hall's first public pronouncements after taking up the post in April was a plan to limit severance payments for outgoing senior management to one hundred and fifty thousand notes, in the wake of controversy over big money payouts such as the million quid severance deal with former deputy director general Mark Byford. Hall revealed that twenty out of three hundred senior managers had not agreed to the proposal, which came into effect on 1 September this year, but declined to say what this would mean in practice. Eleven further executives had left the BBC since he made the announcement in April but before the cap had come into place. 'About twenty people have not agreed out of three hundred odd who need to,' he told MPs. 'At all different positions within the organisation. The cap will, and is, being applied. The cap is very real so I'm afraid those people, if they were to face redundancy, will face the cap.'

A quiz for the BBC director general. Which channels slots show CBBC and CBeebies on Freeview, asked Lib Dem MP John Leach when Tony Hall appeared before members of the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday. 'I'm afraid I am going to fail your test,' replied Hall. At least he was in good company. Patten didn't know either. 'I'm a bad grandfather,' confessed Patten. 'But my grandchildren do [know].' Neither did operations and finance chief Anne Bulford. 'But the app is doing extremely well,' said Hall, quickly. Leach had another question. 'Given that none of the three senior people are in front of the committee are able to tell me where in the EPG those channels are, does that not suggest moving all children's TV onto channels that perhaps the average person doesn't know where to find it, is a potential problem?' 'I failed your Freeview EPG test,' said Hall, in case MPs didn't miss it. But he said audiences for Newsround and Blue Peter were growing in their new home. 'These two channels are working and finding their audience.' Next time he's up before MPs, expect Hall to know exactly where to find CBBC and CBeebies.

The risk from saturated fat in foods such as butter, cakes and fatty meat is being overstated and demonised, according to a cardiologist. Doctor Aseem Malhotra claimed that there is 'too much focus' on the fat with other factors such as sugar intake being overlooked. It is time to 'bust the myth of the role of saturated fat in heart disease', he writes in an opinion piece in the British Medical Journal. The British Heart Foundation claims that reducing cholesterol through drugs or other means does lower heart risk. Studies on the link between diet and disease have led to dietary advice and guidelines on how much saturated fat, particularly cholesterol, it is healthy to eat. Millions of people in the UK have been prescribed statins to reduce cholesterol levels. Doctor Malhotra, a cardiology registrar at Croydon University Hospital, London, says the 'mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades.' He says saturated fat has been 'demonised' and any link with heart disease is 'not fully supported by scientific evidence.' The food industry has compensated for lowering saturated fat levels in food by replacing it with sugar, he says, which also contributes to heart disease. Adopting a Mediterranean diet - olive oil, nuts, oily fish, chicken, plenty of fruit and vegetables and a moderate amount of red wine - after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing mortality as taking a statin, writes Doctor Malhotra. However, Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, says that studies on the link between diet and disease frequently produce 'conflicting results.' Unlike drug trials, it is difficult to carry out a controlled, randomised study, he says. 'However, people with highest cholesterol levels are at highest risk of a heart attack and it's also clear that lowering cholesterol, by whatever means, lowers risk.' Cholesterol levels can be influenced by many factors including diet, exercise and drugs, in particular statins, he adds. 'There is clear evidence that patients who have had a heart attack, or who are at high risk of having one, can benefit from taking a statin. But this needs to be combined with other essential measures, such as eating a balanced diet, not smoking and taking regular exercise.' Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower rates of cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol can also be reduced by eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and doing regular physical activity.

On a somewhat related theme, at Tuesday morning's now-regular gym and swim session, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self only went and set personal bests both on the bike (7.1 miles in seventeen minutes) and the treadmill (1.2 miles in thirteen minutes). Little victories, dear blog reader, little victories.
So, anyway, dear blog reader, here's the deal; yer actual Keith telly Topping went swimming again on Wednesday (no gym this time, I'm not made of muscles) and, as he was entering the pool in front on him in the queue were three really beautiful young ladies. I mean, stunning. Eighteen or nineteen years old, I'm guessing and, from the various non-specific non-North Eastern accents they were sporting, yer actual KTT imagines they were probably students - something confirmed when he overheard one of them talking about attending a lecture a bit later - but, we'll come to that. So, anyway, Keith telly Topping his very self went in, got changed and then dived into the pool and did his usual six lengths of synchronised drowning. About two thirds of the way through, he noticed that the girls were, also, in the pool. Fine - that stands to reason. Anyway, after six laps, he got out and went into the steam room. immediately followed by the young ladies their very selves. After about ten minutes, they left. Keith telly Topping stayed for another five minutes - his usual routine - then went into the sauna. Where, inevitably, the girls were. Fifteen minutes in there - by which time, again, they'd had a thorough natter about girly-girl things and then left - yer actual went back into the steam room. And, there they were were again. Shit, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self starts thinking, this is beginning to look like I'm following these girls around. So, he had another quick dip in the pool and then went for a shower, where all three of them - perhaps inevitably - were standing, again chatting away and not paying much-if-any attention to him. Nevertheless, he made it a quick one as he didn't particularly want any burly lifeguard coming over and giving him the 'isn't it time you moved along, sir? And, by the way, is that a canoe in your pocket or are you copping an eyeful of something that you shouldn't?' routine. So, he gets changed, comes out to dry his hair and, there they are again! Horrorshow (and, indeed, drag). By this time, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is in danger of getting taken for a complete stalker. As quick as he can, he gets the hell out of there, happy to have a) done his daily exercise and b) be away from any potential charge of loitering with intent. Then he walks down the road to Morrisons to do a quick bit of shopping. Ten minutes later he's walking down aisle six (condiments, spices, rice and pasta if you're taking notes by the way) and, bugger me, but there the three of them are again. By now yer actual Keith Telly Topping is, not unreasonably, beginning to wonder if it was him - potentially - stalking them or, in fact, the other way around. Thankfully, by the time her got the bus back to Stately Telly Topping Manor, he appeared to have shaken them off. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping really didn't realise he'd become such an obvious babe-magnet. Or ... maybe not.

Julien Macdonald (no, me neither I'm afraid) has 'revealed' that he was 'devastated' by his Strictly Come Dancing exit this weekend and has 'confessed' that he 'couldn't stop crying' after Sunday night's results show. And, this constitutes 'news' apparently.
Lady Gaga is to appear with The Muppets for a one-off TV special in America next month. The singer will star alongside the puppets in a ninety-minute special on American network ABC. Lady Gaga & The Muppets' Holiday Spectacular will be broadcast on 28 November, Thanksgiving in the US. Sir Elton John and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are among the other guests who will be a part of the show.

Police want condoms banned from Edinburgh's licensed saunas. Police Scotland has reportedly written to the city council arguing that if it grants licences for five saunas it should be on condition that 'no items of a sexual nature' are allowed on the premises. Sex workers' charity Scot-pep has condemned the police proposal saying that it could lead to an HIV epidemic. A council decision on new licence rules could end Edinburgh's more tolerant attitude to the sex trade. Campaigners for a safer sex trade have said that any ban on condoms would not stop people having sex but it would result in unprotected sex and higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Earlier this year, six other saunas had their licences suspended following raids across Edinburgh. Nadine Stott, a board member of the charity Scot-Pep, which campaigns for the rights of sex workers, said: 'This goes against all basic common sense. It also places Scotland really out of step with the rest of the world. The World Health Organisation just last week released guidelines on sex workers and HIV that specifically stated where countries use condoms as evidence of sex work that should be stopped immediately.' She added: 'We are really shocked that, in private, the police have been quite clear to us. They said that the policy (on saunas) wasn't changing. We think this highlights how inappropriate the police are as a regulatory body of sex workers in a criminal context.' A Police Scotland spokesman said: 'Police Scotland recently provided reports to the Council Regulatory Committee in respect of a number of public entertainment licence renewals. In cases where there was evidence of criminality or premises operating out-with the conditions of their licence, objections were made to those licences being renewed. Police Scotland will continue to work with partners to inspect and report on licensed premises operating within Edinburgh in order to keep people safe. Whenever criminal activity, or licensing contraventions are detected within these venues, officers will respond appropriately and report all offences to the relevant authority.'

The Metropolitan Police Service will be the subject of a BBC1 documentary series that will 'go behind the scenes' at Britain's largest police force. Channel controller Charlotte Moore said The Met would be the first 'definitive' look at the 'vital' organisation. Over six hour-long episodes, she said, the public would see the police force 'in a way never seen before.' As opposed to, you know, being casually racist and taking money from journalists. Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said that he was 'delighted' to work with the BBC 'on such an important project. I hope that over the coming months, we can reveal the true scale and complexity of the challenges faced by officers and staff across the service.' According to the BBC, the show will 'take an in-depth look at how the Metropolitan Police Service works' and 'show the scale and complexity of policing London on a day-to-day basis.' 'We have been granted extraordinary, unprecedented access to film from top to bottom of the organisation,' added Moore, who nurtured the series in her previous role as commissioning editor for documentaries. The BBC announcement coincides with news from BBC3 about five new factual and current affairs series. These include Slum Survivors, a three-part series that tests young people's resourcefulness in the slums of Lagos, Mumbai and Jakarta, and The Human Tissue Team, a two-part look at tissue donation.

A previously unheard radio show recorded by David Bowie to promote Pin Ups is to be broadcast for the first time in forty years. The fifteen-minute mock radio show, made in 1973, will be broadcast on 6Music on Wednesday. The show features five songs from Pin Ups, Bowie's classic covers LP. The recording was discovered by Nigel Reeve, who oversees Bowie's back catalogue. He said it was a 'jaw-dropping' moment when he played it for the first time. The five songs in the show - The Pretty Things' 'Rosalyn', Them's 'Here Comes the Night', The Yardbirds' 'I Wish You Would', The Merseys' 'Sorrow' and The Who's 'I Can't Explain' - are interspersed with Bowie's own musings on the London music scene of the 1960s. The show was produced by Bowie and Ken Scott, who worked with Bowie on his classic LPs from Hunky Dory through to Pin Ups. Reeve discovered the recording during research several years ago. 'It was in an old tape vault on 1/4' tape with simply the words "Radio Show" written on it,' he said. 'This is such a rare find. No one knew of its existence, apart from David and Ken. To play it for the first time was quite simply a jaw-dropping moment.' Clips of the show will be broadcast across Wednesday on 6Music and will be available to listen to until midnight on Sunday 27 October. Presenter Shaun Keaveny said: 'It's beyond exciting for 6Music to be showcasing the first-ever airing of this historic recording, in a year that has been all about the Bowie comeback.' Bowie broke a ten-year silence in January, releasing a new single, 'Where Are We Now?' completely out of the blue. It was the first sign of his twenty fourth studio CD The Next Day, recorded in secret over two years with long-time producer Tony Visconti. The CD is nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, which will be announced on 30 October. 'As a network showcasing music of alternative spirit, David Bowie is at our core,' said James Stirling, the 6Music editor. 'It's fantastic that our listeners will have the opportunity to hear this radio show for the first time ever.'

It's a right proper good week to be Morrissey, frankly: just as Autobiography became one of the fastest-selling memoirs ever published, The Smiths' The Queen Is Dead has been named the Greatest Album of All Time by NME. The band's 1986 LP beat works by The Beatles, The Stone Roses, Bob Dylan and David Bowie in the list of five hundred records, which was voted for by NME journalists past and present. Published in this week's magazine, each journalist's top fifty were awarded points. The Smiths third studio LP was released in 1986 and peaked at number two in the UK charts on its release. The Queen Is Dead pipped Revolver to the top spot, with third place going to Hunky Dory by David Bowie. Christ only knows how, but The Strokes' This Is It was at four and The Velvet Underground & Nico's eponymous debut from 1967 at five. In previous NME polls, The Queen Is Dead had usually reached the top ten. Although a continual supporter of Morrissey's music, the singer has had a rather tempestuous relationship with the publication, a subject which crops up frequently throughout his biography. Asserting that the editor of NME in 1992 'allegedly called a staff meeting at which he has passed the command that his staff writers must now "get Morrissey"', he also discussed the famous NME cover which bore the words: Is Morrissey flirting with fascism? and an interview with the magazine fifteen years later, which prompted further accusations of racism, something which the singer describes as 'the most offensively malodorous attack ... the editor [then Conor McNicholas] gives the story teeth by switching the wording of my replies, and by inventing questions that were never asked. It is catastrophically controversial.'

The singer, songwriter and actor Noel Harrison has died at his home in Devon, aged seventy nine. Noel was best known for recording 'The Windmills Of Your Mind' for the soundtrack of the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair. It won best song at the 1968 Oscars - a year after his father, Rex Harrison, had won the same Oscar for his performance of 'Talk To The Animals' - was later covered by numerous artists including Dusty Springfield - and, more horribly, Sting - and, is a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self. Not Sting's version, obviously. 'It's a very peculiar and intriguing song,' notes Bob Stanley, the musician and author of the pop history Yeah Yeah Yeah. 'It gets called easy listening but really isn't at all.' Stanley adds that the song was the product of a short-lived era, post-Sgt Pepper, 'where what had been the straight-set jumped on the psychedelia bandwagon.' It was written by French composer Michel LeGrand, with English lyrics by the husband-and-wife team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman (a French version, 'Les Moulins de mon coeur', was also penned by Eddy Marnay) and was used to memorable effect in the Steve McQueen thriller The Thomas Crown Affair. Noel Harrison spent much of his life in America, as an actor and performer, but moved back to the UK in the last decade to live in Devon. He once said, of recording 'The Windmills Of Your Mind': 'It didn't seem like a big deal at the time. I went to the studio one afternoon and sang it and pretty much forgot about it.' Harrison continued: 'I didn't realise until later what a timeless, beautiful piece Michel LeGrand and the Bergmans had written. It turned out to be my most notable piece of work.' After moving to the US, he starred in the TV series The Girl From UNCLE and had further chart hits with Charles Aznavour's 'A Young Girl' and Leonard Cohen's 'Suzanne'. His sixties LPs - including 1967's Collage, the following year's Santa Monica Pier and 1969's The Great Electric Experiment Is Over - are properly decent collections of his interpretations of songs by some of Noel's favourite writers, including Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Donovan and Lennon and McCartney. On his website Noel wrote: 'I was part of the "British Invasion" spearheaded by The Beatles. I bought a nice house in Los Angeles. There was another US charts record and four years of endless TV appearances, theatre tours and star-studded social occasions.' However, he revealed that he 'didn't like being a celebrity' and spent his sixties mixing performing with construction work before moving back to the UK, adding, 'I was well out of the goldfish bowl and I liked it.' Noel was born in London on 29 January 1934, to Rex Harrison and Collette Thomas, the first of Rex's six wives. After his parents divorced, Noel lived in Bude in Cornwall, with his mother's parents before Collette took him to live in the Swiss Alps at the age of fifteen. He subsequently joined the Ipswich repertory theatre group and taught himself guitar, but his main interest and most of his spare time during this period was spent skiing. At an early age he was a member of the British ski team, becoming its first giant-slalom champion in 1953, and representing Great Britain at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo and four years later in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Noel undertook National Service and, after leaving the army in the 1950s, toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist, but instead, concentrated on his musical career. His early break came when he took a regular part in the BBC Television programme, Tonight, as part of a team who sang the day's news in a calypso style. When he was aged twenty, he started playing professionally, around the tables in a Greek restaurant in London. He also made a living playing in bars and nightclubs all over Europe, including appearances at the Blue Angel Club, where one show was recorded for a live LP, Noel Harrison At The Blue Angel, released on Phillips in 1960. He left for the United States in 1965, working as a nightclub entertainer at venues like the Hungry I in San Francisco, and the Persian Room in New York. In 1966, Noel was cast as Mark Slate in The Girl From UNCLE opposite Stefanie Powers. He also appeared in an episode of the show's parent series, The Man From UNCLE in a third-season episode titled The Galatea Affair. In 1968, he appeared in Take A Girl Like You, shot in England, with Oliver Reed and Hayley Mills. Noel also toured with The Beach Boys and Sonny and Cher, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, featured on Hullabaloo and appeared on The Tonight Show. In 1972, Noel moved to Nova Scotia, settling in rural Mount Hanley and hosted a show called Take Time for CBC Television. In the winter of 1974, the wood stove caught fire and his house burned down, inspiring Noel to write the humorous song, 'The Middleton Fire Brigade', which appeared on his 1979 LP Mount Hanley Song. He subsequently built a new house from scratch with no electricity, inspired by the fashionable pioneers Helen and Scott Nearing and their self-help bible, Living The Good Life. An admirer of Jacques Brel, Noel created a one-man musical, Adieu, Jacques in the 1980s and, in 2002, released a CD of songs from the show. Returning to the UK in the 1990s, Noel continued to sing, putting on occasional performances and financing his own CDs including Hold Back Time. A compilation album of his work for Reprise called Life Is a Dream was released in 2003. In 2010, he recorded a new CD, From The Sublime To The Ridiculous! The record was made as part of the Internet event, the RPM Challenge, which challenged musicians to record a new album from scratch during the month of February. Noel played Glastonbury Festival's Spirit of '71 stage in 2011, marking forty years since his first appearance at the festival. Noel was married three times and is survived by his third wife, Lori, and five children and four grandchildren from his first two marriages.

Which brings us to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which, of course, is this little twenty four carat masterpiece.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Go Ruby! Beauty, baking skills and not afraid to stand up and defend herself against whingeing jealous fat arsed critics and viewers who take against her precisely because of her beauty and baking skills.

I'm still livid about Ideal being cancelled too. BBC3 idiots axe that and give Nick Grimshaw airtime?!? So it's especially heartening to hear that Duff is writing a film script. We can but hope. Nicely nicely.