Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Wiping The Bottom Of The Barrel

Please note, dear blog reader, if you previously read this bloggerisationism update on Tuesday 8 October, be well advised that it's been (massively) updated since then with loads of additional Top Telly Trivia and all that malarkey.
And so, dear blog reader, Doctor Who fans the world over continue to wait, patiently as always - that's satire in case you were wondering - for news on missing episodes being, you know, not quite as missing as they once were. Some, more patiently than others, admittedly.
Especially now that we have, seeming, confirmation of the story (or, one of the stories, anyway) from the BBC its very self. 'A number of early episodes of Doctor Who, which were believed to have been permanently lost, have been returned to the BBC,' they state. 'BBC Worldwide is expected to confirm the find at a press conference in London later this week.' Interesting they use a still from The Invasion (1968, eight-parts, two of them currently missing in action) to illustrate the story. A clue? Highly unlikely, I'd've said, given how few countries that particular story was sold to (none of which were in Africa, incidentally). But, as ever, until Worldwide make their announcement, we're all indulging in guess work.
Subsequently, there came the news that Patrick Troughton's co-stars during the 1967-68 period, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling, would be on hand for the BBC's official announcement of the return of whatever Doctor Who episodes have been found. According to Debbie's official website, 'Deborah, along with Frazer Hines, will be helping the BBC to launch the newly found Dr Who episodes this Thurs (10/10/13), betwwen [sic] 3.30pm and 7.00pm approx.' Inevitably, this furthers speculation that at least some of the recovered episodes are ones which feature Deb and Frazer. And, at this point, half of fandom collectively wets itself at the prospect of seeing (possibly) one of the five episodes of the much-loved 1968 classic The Web Of Fear which are currently missing in action. This blogger, meanwhile, gets even more excited by the - admittedly far more remote - possibility that something from either The Evil Of The Daleks or Fury From The Deep is in there. Watch, I'll bet it's just an episode from The Space Pirates after all this nonsense. Or, worse yet, another episode from The Underwater Menace.
Of course, it should also be remembered that Debbie and Frazer have a history of working with the Beeb on Doctor Who-related projects. The pair fronted the BBC's 1993 documentary about the history of Doctor Who episodes going walkabout, The Missing Years, which was subsequently released on DVD as part of the Lost In Time box-set.
'One of my favourite moments for this story was the Telegraph announcing they'd be live-blogging the press conference only to have to back track very shortly afterward that they'd been slapped down and the contents of the briefing was embargoed,' writes yer actual From The North's good chum - and regular dear blog reader - Peter Nolan. 'I like to imagine the Beeb's message contained the phrase "O Rly?"'

Meanwhile, I don't know how much credence to give to this dear blog reader, but yer actual Keith Telly Topping has just heard a very intriguing rumour - from 'a source' - that one hundred and forty seven episodes of The Funky Phantom, thought lost, have been discovered in The Federated States of Micronesia. Apparently, the film stock was being used as toilet roll. They were missing, presumed wiped. Next ...
The Doctor Who missing episodes discovery malarkey has now seemingly reached the pages of the Gruniad Morning Star in the shape of this piece by one Jason Deans. To be fair to Jason, it's far better written and better researched than those risibly speculative and hyperbolic piss-poor articles in the Sunday People and the Daily Mirra mentioned in our last blog update, notably in the section where Jason gives a precise little introduction to the work of the Restoration Team: 'A whole cottage industry has grown up around the search for and restoration of lost Doctor Who episodes. In the early 1990s a group of fans with TV industry experience set up an informal "Doctor Who restoration team" that works with the BBC on preparing lost episodes recovered from foreign broadcasters or private individuals for release on videotape and DVD.' However, the article still includes one astonishingly inaccurate claim, that episodes were 'lost or damaged.' Damaged? Where did that suggestion come from? Having tapes wiped for re-recording, certainly. Junked after having been sold abroad, yes. Used as landfill on the M4 or burned in the BBC's over-worked incinerators, sadly so. But 'damaged'? Nope - entirely new one on me. 'More than one hundred episodes from the 1960s featuring the first two actors to play the Time Lord, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, were either destroyed or suffered from poor storage in the BBC's videotape and film libraries,' Jason claims. This blogger doesn't believe that he's ever heard a single suggestion - from anyone - that the reason why any of the one hundred plus missing Doctor Who episodes are missing is, or was, due to 'poor storage' or anything even remotely like it. Could you quote your source for this amazing revelation, please, Jason.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was proper delighted watching A Very British Murder With Lucy Worsley on Monday evening to discover that Doctor Lucy shares this blogger's opinion that not only is Dorothy L Sayers a better writer than Agatha Christie but, probably, the best British novelist of the early Twentieth Century full stop. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping loves this woman the mostest and, were it not for the fact that she's already happily married and, in any case, way out of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's league(!), he'd want her to have his babies. (Err ... Doctor Lucy, that is, not Dorothy. She's a bit mature even for yer actual KTT). Anyway ...
This blog has already highlighted several superb comedy moments in last Friday's episode of Have I Got News For You but, one we missed, but were remained of during Monday night's extended repeat on BBC1, was yer actual Ian Hislop's description of America's The Tea Party: 'They're like UKiP ... only with guns.'
Now, the first in a new, irregular, From The North series Great Daft Moments From TV History. Number one: From the Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) episode Someone Just Walked Over My Grave (filmed autumn 1969, broadcast, 9 January 1970), and concerning the fantastic, scene-stealing, performance by a very young Nigel Terry sporting the most sensational afro barnet in living memory. Nige plays the agoraphobic hippie surrealist painter, Harry. In his first scene he asks Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt) who, as usual, has already had his face redesigned by thugs in the episode's opening sequence if he's been having 'trouble with the fuzz.' Jeff assures Harry that he hasn't and, clearly, isn't over-impressed by the chap's Jackson Pollock inspired artwork, noting that he, personally, 'digs Rembrandt.' 'Oh come on,' replies Harry, incredulously. 'Rembrandt's a drag, man!' They certainly don't write them like that any more.
Next, continuing our other new - equally irregular - series Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence. Number three, a hot girl (in leather) on a motorbike. As modelled in this particular instance by another From The North favourite, the divine Suzy Perry.
Channel Four's Sex Box was watched by over nine hundred thousand punter on Monday night, according to overnight data. The one-off talk show was seen by nine hundred and six thousand at 10pm. Earlier, Gadget Man brought in 1.11m at 8.30pm, while 999 returned with 1.05m at 9pm. On BBC1, the documentary Malala: Shot For Going To School interested 1.91m at 8.30pm, followed by Motorway Cops with 2.62m at 9pm as the Beeb continues to struggle badly on Monday evenings. It was outperformed in several slots by BBC2: University Challenge, for example, was watched by 3.09m at 8pm, while Proper Pub Food had 1.86m at 8.30pm. Midwives attracted 1.65m at 9pm, followed by Never Mind the Buzzcocks with 1.15m at 10pm. On ITV, Doc Martin easily topped the ratings outside of the soaps with 7.31m at 9pm. Channel Five's Inside Broadmoor appealed to 1.18m at 9pm, while the latest Under The Dome had an audience of 1.05m at 10pm. BBC4's Only Connect topped the multichannels with 1.02m at 8.30pm.

The 2013 Pride Of Britain Awards attracted over four and a half million sad, crushed victims of society on ITV on Tuesday, according to overnight data. The annual charity event was seen by 4.53m at 8pm, the exact same amount of overnight viewers as last year's broadcast. On BBC1, DIY SOS: The Big Build brought in equally baffling 4.02m at 8pm. The much more worthy documentary The Day I Got My Sight Back gathered 1.60m at 10.35pm. BBC2's The Great British Bake Off fell by around three hundred thousand punters from last week but still pulled in an impressive 5.93m at 8pm. The Wrong Mans continued to be wretched, unfunny and in serious danger of rotting the brains of anyone caught watching it, which in the case of Tuesday night was 2.31m at 9pm, followed by The Sarah Millican Television Programme with 1.35m at 9.30pm. On Channel Four, Double Your House For Half The Money attracted 1.02m at 8pm. The new imported Michael Sheen drama Masters Of Sex interested 1.19m at 9pm. Channel Five's latest episode of CSI: NY had an audience of 1.39m at 9pm, while Castle appealed to seven hundred and forty thousand punters at 10pm.

The Fall is to start filming its second series in February 2014. The crime drama's return to production was confirmed on Twitter by Emmett Scanlan, who plays Glen Martin. 'Start shooting The Fall season two next February,' wrote the Irish actor. 'By the sound of it, it's gonna be fucking awesome. Can't wait.' BBC2 first announced that The Fall - which stars Jamie Dornan as a ruthless serial killer and yer actual Gillian Anderon as the detective pursuing him - would return for a second series in May 2013. The first series finale, which was broadcast on 20 June, ended on a cliffhanger - with Dornan's character Paul Spector apparently escaping justice. The Fall - also available to US viewers on Netflix - proved a big ratings hit for BBC2, with the final episode pulling in 3.6 million viewers.
ITV has reportedly received sixty complaints over the latest episode of Lord Snooty's costume drama Downton Abbey, broadcast on Sunday. From people with nothing more important or more constructive to do with their time, seemingly. Viewers also - of course - 'took to Twitter' to express their 'shock' and 'distress' after Anna May Bates (played by Joanne Froggatt) was attacked and raped by a guest's valet. Because, as we all know, Twitter is now The Final Arbiter On The Worth Of All Things. At least, according to journalists who, instead of going out and reporting the news, seem to spend all day searching Twitter to find a handful of people whinging about bollocks that normal people couldn't give a stuff about and then reporting that as 'news'. The recent nonsense about Helen Fielding's latest novel being - as Have I Got News For You pointed out - very much a case in point. A warning alerting Downton Abbey viewers to some 'upsetting scenes' was broadcast before the episode aired. Sadly, a similar warning isn't broadcast every week informing viewers that 'some of this episode features scenes of extreme snobbery and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.' Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has also received an unspecified number of complaints - although it has not yet released an figure. An average of 7.97 million viewers watched the episode on ITV at 9pm on Sunday. They saw the character of Anna attacked while the rest of the servants, guests and family were watching an opera performance upstairs. Katy Rink writing in the the Daily Torygraph was one of those 'shocked and stunned' by the episode. Because, apparently, there was no proper 'news' for a journalist to be reporting on this week. 'Last night we writhed in our sofas, disbelieving and uncomfortable,' she claimed, electing herself to speak for eight million people it would seem, pointing out that the incident 'risked alienating viewers' who watch Downton for 'gentle escapism.' But Nigel Harman, who played attacker Mr Green, said in an interview with ITV's This Morning that the intention was to shock. 'It was a shocking and bold storyline,' he said, adding that when he read the script he was 'amazed and excited by it, if that makes sense, because for a show like Downton it really leaped out as a bold and risky idea.' He added: 'I'd worked with Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle before and we had a rehearsal and went for it. And what we wanted to do was to try and not signal about what was to come. We went for something - as it would be in real life - very shocking.'
Meanwhile Downton Abbey creator, Lord Snooty, has defended the controversial storyline and seems grossing offended that anyone should dare to challenge his unquestioned brilliance and rightness in all things. 'The whole point of the way we do things on Downton is we don't do them gratuitously,' Lord Snooty told the BBC. 'We are interested in exploring the resultant emotions and the effect these things have on people,' he added. Lord Snooty, who won an Oscar for the screenplay of Gosford Park in 2002, rejected - outright the criticism, from plebs, saying that he was 'sorry' if fans felt the show couldn't 'go there.' Although, he didn't look particularly sorry. He pointed out the attack took place 'behind closed doors', saying: 'If we'd wanted a sensational rape we could have stayed down in the kitchen with the camera during the whole thing and wrung it out.' Joanna Froggatt also defended the scenes, telling BBC Breakfast that she was 'proud' the show could tackle such a weighty subject. 'I think it's a really brave thing to do. I believe that Julian has written it in a way that is not gratuitous at all,' she said. 'We all felt a big responsibility to get it right.' Lord Snooty said the plot development did not signal a new direction for the drama, which is now in its fourth series. 'Downton deals in subjecting a couple of characters per series to a very difficult situation and you get the emotions that come out of these traumas. When you handle very difficult and sensitive story lines, the minus is that they do expect more work from the audience but the plus is they can take you to a helpful place in terms of self analysis,' he said. 'The fact that [viewers] engage with it is sort of what you pray for as a programme maker, because with most series that's not happening. It's always a compliment that everyone gets so involved in the show,' he added. Froggatt claimed that later episodes would 'explore the emotional journey of Anna and Bates after this event', adding that Lord Snooty had 'done a beautiful job at hitting the right note with it.' She said that the writer was 'adamant' they would not depict 'that kind of violence against a woman' on screen, adding: 'That's something he didn't want in a show of his, and that's an incredible thing in this industry in this day and age.' She said that the show still had 'shock value' without 'anything graphic' being shown. The actress explained that the series' historical advisor, Alastair Bruce, had told her that one hundred years ago, when the story was set, women felt unable to tell the police about sexual assaults. 'There was still such a stigma attached to any kind of attack like this that you were very much in danger of losing all of that,' she said. 'And if a woman lost her reputation that would bring shame upon the house, she could lose her job, she could lose her husband. And society still saw it as no smoke without fire, "well he's only a man - he couldn't help himself."'

And, speaking of serial whingers, Jennifer Saunders has branded the BBC 'an executive-run place for idiots' in a tirade against the broadcaster. Which almost certainly means any future episode of Ab Fab are now in the 'don't call us, we'll call you' bin. Saunders whinged that the corporation has become 'unrecognisable' and 'overrun' with bosses. 'It's become top-heavy in such an ugly way,' she claimed. 'They went corporate, instead of being what they should be, which is a national resource, a place which trains people and curates the best programmes, and encourages talent and does great news and journalism. They just became a corporate, executive-run place for idiots. It's just so weird that they could put people off coming into the building.' Saunders' broadside, made in an interview with that bastion of hard-hitting journalism Glamour magazine (no, really), came on the day the new director general Tony Hall delivered his grand vision for the BBC's future in his first major address since joining the corporation six months ago. She said: 'The new DG said he'd go through it with a knife and cut out loads of people. But I remember when it was fun to be there. They'd all be geeky and everybody in the building looked like they really knew something or were learning something and were happy to be there – even though they were paid so little. Now they have things like massive workshops for executives and heads of departments on decision-making and you think: "If you're the fucking head of a department at the BBC and you don't know how to make a decision, why are you in that job? Who hired you? That's the only thing that you have to do!" It got so annoying that you were called into these special lunches with the Director-General at The Ivy and you were like: "fuck off! This is the licence-payers' money! I'm paying for the car to take me there – we all are paying for that car. And I'd like an extra bit of budget on my programme please and less of your wheels!"' Saunders turned her considerable ire to the creative director, Alan Yentob, and said: 'What are these titles? How is Alan Yentob still allowed in the building? There are questions that need to be answered! It's absolutely extraordinary and I just don't get it.' Asked by the interviewer, Celia Walden, for her opinion on the BBC's new base in Salford, Saunders added: 'It's very weird and slightly soulless, but it's not greatly built. Do stop me because I could go on for hours about this. I have been left in rooms doing this rant.' One wonders why. No, actually, one doesn't.

Colin Firth's dripping white shirt in Pride and Prejudice transformed him into a sex symbol – but the drama's writer has revealed that the scene was originally intended to go even further. Andrew Davies, who adapted Jane Austen's novel for the BBC, told the Cheltenham Literary Festival that he planned Mr Darcy to be fully nude in the scene. However, Davies said Firth had other ideas: 'The wet shirt scene was intended to be a total full-frontal nudity scene. Darcy was an actual man but he spent all his time being constrained by demands of society. He'd just spent weeks and months in London being polite with a group of stuffy people. He would have had a few hours in which he could be blissfully alone. It's a hot day, he arrives at this lake – so I thought he would strip completely off and dive down and just become a creature, an animal, just for once.' Davies added: 'I don't know the reason why – maybe they felt it would have taken too long to get him undressed. They could have always cut to him standing on the bank diving in naked so it might have been something about Colin's anxiety about love handles or something.' The Times reports that Davies said afterwards: 'But it's kind of nice that it turned out the way it did. The whole thing would have been different. I suspect we wouldn't have have been allowed to get away with full frontal. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't.'

The BBC has unveiled new pictures from the set of Call The Midwife, featuring Miranda Hart and Jessica Raine. A third series of the period drama is currently shooting in Chertsey, ahead of the show's return at Christmas.
The BBC is planning, at long last, to launch a BBC1+1 channel, its director general Tony Hall has announced. About five years overdue but, you know what they say, better late than never. Hall said that audiences expected a timeshift service which would give people 'more of what they've already paid for.' Other innovations he announced included a revamped, personalised iPlayer, offering a thirty-day catch-up period. The service will also allow users to watch some shows before they are broadcast. Explaining the decision to introduce a 'plus one' service, which would show BBC1 programmes with a one-hour time delay, Lord Hall said: 'BBC1 needs to be on top form. It has to be the nation's favourite channel, and also its bravest.' He added that the corporation would be investing more in drama and entertainment 'so that all audiences find something they love on the BBC.' In addition, a BBC Store will be launched, offering people in the UK the chance to buy BBC shows to watch and keep. Lord Hall said he wanted BBC Music to be a well-recognised brand like BBC News and BBC Sport, and that he wanted to offer more moments like this year's Glastonbury festival coverage, where six stages were streamed live to TV, radio, computers, consoles, tablets and phones.

The BBC's plans to make programming available on the iPlayer before they are broadcast is unlikely to extend to popular early evening shows such as flagship soap EastEnders. It is more likely that post-9pm programmes such as The Graham Norton Show, broadcast on BBC1 at 10.35pm on Fridays, would be made available to view earlier in the evening on the iPlayer for viewers who fancy an early night. Tony Hall, announced in his Where Next? speech on Tuesday on the corporation's ambitions for the next decade that it aimed to make more TV and radio shows available via the iPlayer on-demand service ahead of transmission. However, the details of the iPlayer strategy are 'still being finalised.' Speaking after Hall's speech, BBC director of TV, yer actual Danny Cohen' said that the corporation is considering keeping early evening shows as broadcast exclusives, only available on the iPlayer after their first transmission as they are now. After 9pm if viewers do not like what BBC1 is showing they could pull forward a programme which is due to air later but they may be too tired to stay up for, such as Norton's chat show, Cohen added. Former BBC1 controller Cohen said that having considered the 9pm watershed – which parents still rely on to ensure their children watch appropriate programmes – he is 'thinking the best way to do it is to start at 9pm.' He said that the 'different schedule windows' the new generation iPlayer would provide would benefit viewers and the BBC and allow more exclusive content that would work particularly well with BBC3's younger audience. BBC3 shows including odious, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall's sitcom Bad Education are already made available to view on the iPlayer before they are broadcast on the channel. Cohen said that the number of new channels being put up on the new iPlayer has not yet been decided but some will be temporary. The iPlayer channels could focus on specific genres, such as science, while others will provide coverage of specific events, such as Glastonbury. When asked if the additional emphasis Hall particularly wants on drama and entertainment on BBC1 could mean a fifth weekly episode of EastEnders, Cohen said there are no plans at the moment, adding: 'It's not on the radar in the next three to four years.'

The BBC is also seeking up to a further two hundred million smackers in cost savings to fund initiatives including the personalised iPlayer on-demand service, an expanded digital music offering and more drama and entertainment programming. Well, they could start by kicking Chris Patten's fat arse out of the door, that'll save a few hundred grand a year dear easily. Hall said on Tuesday the extra savings come on top of the existing seven hundred million quid cuts planned under the Delivering Quality First strategy, admitting that 'hard choices' will have to been made in order to fund the new initiatives. Well, make sure that the hard choices are, basically, 'do we cut fifteen executives who do fuck all to justify their existence or twenty,' and not cutting money from programmes or programme makers. The potential two hundred million notes, which will need to be found in the final two years of the current ten-year royal charter agreement, which runs to the end of 2016, will come from a combination of further cuts and efficiency savings across the BBC. 'I know people won't find it easy – the organisation has been through some tough times already – but I'm certain we can do it,' Hall said, sounding not at all certain, when delivering his vision for the BBC over the next decade, Where Next? Where Do We Go From Here? might have been a better title. Is it down to the lake I fear? 'That will mean some hard choices. We'll look at our investment priorities.' Hall added that the BBC would look at 'all options', including whether 'everyone who should be paying the licence fee is' - which, i thought they were doing anyway - and making sure the corporation's management is 'fit for purpose.' 'I want it to be clear to everyone, inside the organisation and outside the BBC, who is responsible for major decisions and projects,' he said, a clear nod to the disastrous handling of the Digital Media Initiative, scrapped after wasting nearly one hundred million knicker of licence fee payers' money. Hall pledged a new era of BBC internal culture, acknowledging that the Jimmy Savile fiasco and row over severance pay had 'highlighted a culture of management looking to protect themselves' instead of serving licence fee payers. 'No organisation as big as ours can avoid making mistakes,' he said. 'We are going to reward courage and truth telling rather than back-covering and caution. I don't want people to progress simply by stopping things happening and ticking boxes.' He added: 'When making a programme I want us to think "How great this could be if we got it right." Not "What will happen to me if I get this wrong?"' Well, he's making all the right noises at least. Hall said that his aim is to make sure the BBC is 'well managed, robustly but with simplicity and with directness.' He added: 'This is an organisation brimful with people who feel passionate about serving the public.' BBC Trust chairman - and waste of effing space - Patten, commenting on Hall's speech, welcomed the 'very exciting vision' he had laid out. 'It's a launch of a BBC under a new director general who knows the organisation extremely well but also has had the chance of looking at the BBC from outside,' Patten said. Asked about the additional two hundred million quid in savings announced by Hall in order to fund his vision -and whether he'd like to contribute to it by, gloriously, throwing himself on his sword - Patten said: 'If we've got a frozen licence fee and want to do more we have to be more focused and find money elsewhere.' Yeah. How about your job for a kick-off?
Senior politicians have rejected the newspaper industry's version of a royal charter setting up a press regulator, the BBC's Newsnight has reported. An alleged 'source' claimed that a sub-committee of the Privy Council, containing Lib Dem and Tory cabinet ministers, thought the proposals were 'flawed.' Which, if true will be, frankly, a great day and the first time in many years that any politicians have properly justified their own existence. But sub-committee chair Danny Alexander insisted that no decision had been made. The full Privy Council is also looking at an alternative plan backed by politicians of all three major parties and campaigners. It is due to announce its decision later this month. Plans for a new system of press regulation are being considered in the wake of The Leveson Inquiry, which was set up by a panicked Prime Minister in July 2011 after it emerged that journalists working for the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World had hacked into the mobile phone of the murdered Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the families of other victims of crime. Politicians and the press have been at odds over the details of a royal charter - a formal document used to establish and lay out the terms of a body - to underpin the regulator. The government's proposals published in March have cross-party backing and the support of campaign group Hacked Off. There are a series of key differences between the industry's plan for press regulation and that agreed by politicians. Newsnight's political editor Allegra Stratton was told that Privy Council members felt proposals for self-regulation of the press put forward by newspapers 'did not meet the requirements' of Lord Justice Leveson's report. The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said that although alleged government 'sources' allegedly insisted that the press's plans had not been rejected, 'ministers do look set to reject them.' The decision will be taken by a Privy Council sub-committee of four Tories and two Lib Dems - and both parties have been critical of the press proposals - he added. Alexander told the BBC that the sub-committee met on Monday and the full Privy Council will meet on Wednesday to consider the proposal. He said there were a 'few remaining details' to be decided, adding that 'no final decision has been made.' Steve Hewlett, presenter of Radio 4's The Media Show, told Newsnight that newspaper publishers felt the process had been 'far from transparent.' He said: 'People I have spoken to are furious and are now considering whether there might be a legal challenge to this decision by the Privy Council.' Well tough, matey. Perhaps that'll teach them not to hack phones and ruin people's lives. Though, I wouldn't count on it. Trevor Kavanagh, associate editor of the Sun, said that the news was 'not a shock'. Well, not after the Daily Scum Mail decided to make Ed Milimolimandi their pet punchbag last week by having a god at his late father, anyway. 'It's what we'd been given fairly clear clues would happen,' Kavanagh whinged. 'I think it has to be seen as a great victory for the forces of oppression of a free press - Hacked Off in particular - and the politicians who have gone along for the ride.' Yeah, yeah, tell it to someone who's interested. Thankfully, nobody of any importance gives much of a stuff about what Trevor Kavanagh thinks. About pretty much anything. Hacked Off welcomed reports of the sub-committee's decision - but expressed concern at the prospect of a delay. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said there was no deadline for the sub-committee to consider the industry's proposals. A DCMS spokesman said: 'They will continue until they reach a decision.' Earlier, Gerry McCann said that the newspaper industry's plans for press regulation were 'a gentlemen's club agreement' and should be rejected by politicians. The father of missing Madeleine McCann said the recommendations of The Leveson Inquiry were 'the minimum acceptable.'

The actor Hugh Grant has said any 'further compromise' by ministers over press regulation would be a 'betrayal of the promises' made to media abuse victims. He said that the government was 'terrified of the press' and was doing all it could 'to oblige the press barons.' Late on Tuesday the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Miller said that newspapers' proposals for regulation had been rejected. But she suggested that the government was 'willing to consider' some of the ideas put forward by publishers. Grant, a member of the Hacked Off campaign, accused senior Tories of an 'abuse of democracy' by trying to 'sabotage' plans for a Royal Charter agreed by all the major political parties in Parliament. The report of The Leveson Inquiry into press standards recommended a tougher form of self-regulation backed by legislation - although, sadly, it stopped short of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's proposal that they all be thrown into the gutter along with all the other turds - and Grant said that any suggestion such a system would limit free speech was 'propaganda on the part of the press.' He said that some of the main newspaper groups 'refuse to accept any system which would make them accountable for any of their actions.' Grant said that Lord Leveson had made 'very mild' recommendations - far too mild, frankly - but the press was determined to 'mark its own homework.' He said that victims of press abuse, such as the families of Madeleine McCann and Milly Dowler, had been assured by David Cameron that new rules would protect people from the press. 'Any further compromise would be a betrayal of the promises made by the secretary of state and above all by the Prime Minister to them, Grant added. Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said that the vile and odious rascal Miller was simply talking about 'tidying up' press regulation plans. He said the minister agreed with Lord Leveson that a regulation system forced on the press without its consent would be 'unworkable.' On Tuesday the vile and odious rascal Miller announced that the Privy Council had rejected press proposals for a Royal Charter. She referred to principles in The Leveson Report such as independence and access to arbitration and said an alternative plan would now be 'improved', adding that ministers were said to be willing to consider some of the industry's ideas.
David Cameron has endorsed Ed Milimolimandi's decision to challenge the Daily Scum Mail over a scummy, rotten, lice-ridden article which alleged that his late father Ralph, a Marxist philosopher, 'hated' Britain. The prime minister told Tom Bradby on ITV's The Agenda: 'What was wrong was the headline; he clearly didn't hate Britain. Ed was right to come out.' The prime minister, who said that he 'worries' about whether it is right to subject his wife Samantha to press scrutiny, claimed that his family had 'suffered' when the Sunday Mirra once searched their bins to see whether they used recyclable nappies. The move caused 'particular offence' because the nappies had been used by the Cameron's late son, Ivan. Cameron said: 'I had an episode where the Mirra went through my dustbins to prove I wasn't a "good green dad" because I wasn't using recyclable nappies. To me, I just think that's totally over the top going through dustbins. There are processes they shouldn't be allowed to do. When they get it wrong, if they get it wrong, they should say so.' Asked whether he worried about press attention on his family, he said: 'It's an issue of judgement. There is the option. Some politicians say "right, my family life will be entirely private." If that's your decision, that's absolutely fine. I think people want to know a bit about you and what makes you tick and I have talked about my family and Samantha and I do things together but you know as soon as you do that you're opening them up to greater scrutiny. The scrutiny has got to be fair.'

As part of the same interview, Cameron also hailed yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of the 'twitchiness' of Julian Assange and expressed 'qualified support' for the early work of the WikiLeaks founder. The prime minister, who described Cumberbatch's performance in the movie The Fifth Estate as 'brilliant', said that WikiLeaks had 'done well' in its early period when it exposed corruption in Africa. But, he claimed that later WikiLeaks had put lives at risk. Cameron was asked to review the Fifth Estate before his appearance on The Agenda on ITV on Monday night. Because, of course, he's only Prime Minister, he's got nothing more important to do with his time than take up amateur film reviewing as a hobby. The PM told Tom Bradby: 'Benedict Cumberbatch – brilliant, fantastic piece of acting. The twitchiness and everything of Julian Assange is brilliantly portrayed.' But Cameron said that he felt 'uneasy' that in the film Assange appears to be more concerned about the fate of people who leaked documents to WikiLeaks – an apparent reference to Chelsea Manning – rather than people whose security may have been jeopardised by the leaks. Cameron said: 'There is an interesting bit at the beginning when he says some of these documents are confidential, people's lives are at risk and of course he is thinking of the people who have leaked them. Actually you also need to think about the people whose lives are at risk because they have been leaked. In the bit of the film I saw that didn't come out enough. But it makes you think.' But the PM, who campaigned strongly in favour of open government while in opposition at the time that WikiLeaks first started to make an impact, said that he had 'some understanding' of the motives for its early work. Asked whether he had 'sympathy' for the way in which it had exposed corruption, he said: 'Yes, you do feel sympathy for them because some of the things they uncover in Africa and elsewhere – you think it is great that information has been revealed. Transparency, sunlight is a great disinfectant. Transparency about information and where money is spent and how it is spent – this helps keep governments and politicians honest. So it is a good thing.' But Cameron questioned what he called the 'huge dumps of information' by WikiLeaks. He said: 'Later on, the film when it gets on to what happened recently where just huge dumps of information – every single telegram they had was made public without thinking of the consequences and huge lives could be put at risk. There is some information that government has to keep secret for national security, for people's safety. I think that needs to be part of the debate too.'

Grumpy, but pure dead excellent Newsnight presenter Jezza Paxman has criticised the Prime Minister for comments Cameron made about how Britain will mark the centenary of World War I. Cameron said that he wanted to see 'a commemoration that, like the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, says something about who we are as a people.' Paxo, incandescent with rage, told the Radio Times that centenary events should 'have almost nothing in common' with the Jubilee. He spoke of concerns the centenary could become 'a celebration of war.' Cameron's comments were made in a speech at the Imperial War Museum in London in October last year. He promised 'a truly national commemoration' to mark one hundred years since the outbreak of war - in 2014, Armistice Day in 2018, and the dates of major battles in between. Paxman, whose great uncle died in the war, said that 'not to acknowledge the war's significance would be wilful myopia', but that 'the whole catastrophe has been overlain with myth and legend.' He was especially critical of Cameron's choice of words, noting that the Prime Minister is 'hazardous' when he is not accompanied by a speech writer. The sixty three-year-old, who is also well known for fronting University Challenge and terrifying the living bejesus out of students, said that the Jubilee was 'an excuse for a knees-up in the rain to celebrate the happy fact that our national identity is expressed through a family rather than some politician who wants the job to gratify his vanity.' well, that and Fearne Cotton to show herself, and the nation, up on live TV of course. 'A number of distinguished fellow citizens, like the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and the thoughtful musician Brian Eno, are worried that the events will turn into a celebration of war. Only a moron would "celebrate" the war,' Paxo added, rightly. He continued: 'We shouldn't "celebrate" the outbreak of the First World War. But not to recognise that it was one of the most consequential events in our history would just be perverse.' The Prime Minister used the speech to announce that more than fifty million knicker has been allocated for 'a historic commemoration' of World War I.

Sesame Street characters The Cookie Monster and Elmo are to star in a new programme for CBeebies. BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis interviewed Cookie Monster about his defection to the BBC on Monday evening's show. She gave The Cookie Monster the final word to end the edition of Newsnight. Who said rigorous political reportage was dead?
The advertising watchdog has banned a Home Office advert telling illegal immigrants to 'go home', saying it was misleading. But the Advertising Standards Authority cleared the campaign of being offensive and irresponsible. The campaign saw two vans driving around London for a week in July, carrying the message 'Go home or face arrest.' The ASA said the posters on the vans referred to 'inaccurate arrest statistics.' It received two hundred and forty four complaints about the vans from individuals, campaign groups, legal academics and the Labour peer Lord Lipsey. During the campaign, the advertising vans drove around the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Hounslow, some of the most diverse areas of the capital where it is thought a lot of illegal immigrants live and work. The poster displayed a picture of handcuffs and read: 'In the UK illegally? GO HOME OR FACE ARREST.' In capital letters as well so, you know, they obviously meant it. ASA chief executive Guy Parker told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the campaign was considered unlikely to cause 'widespread offence.' But he said that the phrase 'go home' was 'reminiscent of the racist slogan' and 'clearly carries baggage.' He added: 'It clearly upset some people and I think it might be wise, if the government uses the poster van again, to perhaps think about using a different phrase - like return home.' The campaign split the coalition, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying Liberal Democrat ministers had not known about them in advance. Business Secretary Vince Cable said the campaign was 'stupid and offensive.' The advert said there had been one hundred and six arrests in the area in the past week - curiously, the exact same number of currently missing Doctor Who episodes. Coincidence? I think not - and encouraged illegal immigrants to contact immigration officials for information on how they could be helped to leave the country. In its ruling, the ASA said the reference to the number of arrests was misleading because it did not relate to those detained in the specific areas where people would have seen the vans. It said the figure referred to arrests which occurred across a large part of North London more than two weeks before the campaign began. 'The ad must not appear again in its current form,' said the ASA report. 'We told the Home Office to ensure that in future they held adequate substantiation for their advertising claims and that qualifications were presented clearly.' But it dismissed complaints that the slogan 'Go home' had been offensive or irresponsible. It claimed that, while the phrase had been used in the past to attack immigrants, the Home Office was now using it in a different context. One or two people even believed them. The report said: 'We concluded that the poster was unlikely to incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multi-cultural communities. It was not irresponsible and did not contain anything which was likely to condone or encourage violence or anti-social behaviour.' Ministers have not clarified if or when the advertising vans will be used again and they have not published any data on whether the campaign led to an increase in illegal immigrants turning themselves in. However, a Home Office spokesman said: 'We are pleased the ASA has concluded that our pilot was neither offensive nor irresponsible. We have always been clear that this campaign was about encouraging illegal immigrants to leave the country voluntarily and was not targeted at particular racial or ethnic groups. In respect of the ASA's other findings, we can confirm that the poster will not be used again in its current format.'

An advert featuring the singer Robin Thicke (no, me neither) performing his number one hit 'Blurred Lines' must not be shown before 19:30 as it is 'too sexual', the Advertising Standards Authority has said. The ruling was made after ninety seven complaints about the advert for Beats Pill speakers, which features scantily clad women. Gosh. How terrible. The ASA said that while it accepted some viewers might find the advert distasteful, it would not cause widespread offence. However, it ruled the 'overall tone' was clearly sexual. The advert, which is based on the controversial music video for Thicke's song, shows three female models dancing and interacting with the product while dressed in hot pants and crop tops. It also features one woman kneeling on her hands and knees with a Beats Pill laid on her back. Those that complained said the commercial was 'sexist, objectified women and was degrading to women.' Others said it was 'inappropriate' at a time when children would be watching. Won't somebody think of the children. In its response, Beats Electronics International claimed that the advert was 'not intended' to be offensive or 'encourage any inappropriate stereotypes' (although, it clearly does), saying the women involved were 'confident, self-assured individuals' who were 'not subservient to the male character.' Though, they all seem to enjoy jigging about in their underwear. And, hey, who doesn't? It added that the dominant images were of the product being used as dumbbells, a hot dog, binoculars and medicine, which were 'strong, playful images that most viewers would not see as having any sexual connotation.' Most viewers without a functioning brain (or, indeed, libido for that matter). In its ruling, the ASA acknowledged some viewers could find elements of the advert distasteful - 'particularly the shots of the women's bodies with their heads obscured and the shot of the woman on all fours.' It said as the shots were brief, it did not consider the advert - when taken as a whole - showed 'any sustained, overtly sexual or provocative behaviour.' However, it concluded that the 'overall tone' was 'sexual' (if not sexist, two rather different things despite the fact that they're almost spelled the same) and was 'not suitable for broadcast' before 19:30. The un-rated video for Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' - in which the female models appeared topless - was branded 'misogynistic' and banned from YouTube earlier this year. A second version of the video, featuring the women in the same outfits they wore in the Beats Pill advert, later replaced the original.

When indie band Frankie & The Heartstrings released their second CD this summer, they were so alarmed by the lack of record shops in which to sell it that they decided to open their own. 'We were coming to the completion of our second record and the main story on the news one day was the fact HMV had gone bust,' says singer Frankie Francis. 'At the time, a couple of local record shops had gone bust as well. We thought "We've got this record coming out, but there might not actually be anywhere to sell it on the High Street." So we thought we'd take a stand and open our own record shop.' With help from Sunderland City Council, the band took over the empty tourist office in their home town. 'There's no call for it any more, for various reasons,' Francis suggested. Pop Recs Ltd was only supposed to open for two weeks to mark their CD's release in June. But the band say that the reaction has been so good that they are keeping it open for as long as they can and have plans for in-store gigs through to next February. Four out of the five band mates work there full time and, last month, the venture earned them the title of 'hardest working band in Britain' from the Association of Independent Music.

Some very sad news now, dear blog reader, Phil Chevron, the guitarist with The Pogues, has died at the age of just fifty six. 'After a long illness Philip passed away peacefully this morning,' a message on the band's website said on Tuesday. 'He was unique. We'll miss him terribly. Dublin town, and the world, just got smaller,' it added. Phil was treated for head and neck cancer in 2007, but a new, inoperable, tumour appeared in August 2012. Born Philip Ryan in Dublin, he formed the Irish punk band The Radiators From Space in late 1976. They recorded two (really rather good) LPs - TV Tube Heart and Ghost Town - and received some critical acclaim (John Peel was a big fan), albeit little widespread popularity or financial success. Following the break up of the band in 1981, Phil moved to London, befriending the notorious scenester Shane MacGowan - then still signing with The Nipple Erectors - through time spent working together at a record shop. Following the release of The Pogues' 1984 debut Red Roses For Me, Phil was invited to join the band, initially on a short-term basis as cover for banjo player Jem Finer's paternity leave. On Finer's return, Phil took over as the band's guitarist for live engagements following MacGowan's decision to concentrate on singing and to expand the band's line-up. Phil became a full-time member in time for the recording of their second LP, The Pogues' masterpiece Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (1985) - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping. Phil also played banjo and mandolin on various Pogues recordings. Phil was an excellent addition to The Pogues' maverick style fitting in musically alongside Finer, Spider Stacy, Terry Woods et al and proving a good complement to the group's frontman and main songwriter MacGowan. Phil wrote several of the band's songs, including one of their most popular compositions 'Thousands Are Sailing' about the flood of Irish emigration to America on their third LP If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1988). Phil left The Pogues in 1994 following problems with drugs and alcohol. In 2003, he reformed The Radiators with ex-Pogues bassist Cait O'Riordan. They released the critically acclaimed Trouble Pilgrim in 2006. The record also included a touching tribute to Chevron's friend, the late Joe Strummer. In later years, Phil became in effect The Pogues' unofficial spokesperson and resident expert on the reclusive MacGowan — frequently visiting online fora and directly answering questions from fans. In 2004, he personally oversaw the remastering and re-release of The Pogues' back catalogue on CD. Phil toured regularly with The Pogues, who had reunited after a successful reunion tour in 2001. When not touring, much of Phil's time was spent seeing plays, musicals and operas primarily in London, Dublin and New York. Occasionally, he was involved professionally with productions and his reviews were regularly published on The Pogues official forum under Speaker's Corner. 'Those of us on pogues.com are at a loss for words,' the website. 'We all send our sincere condolences to his family. His loved ones are in our thoughts.'

ABC has accidentally shown how TV promos can be badly timed. During Sunday's episode of Once Upon a Time, the network displayed a graphic to promote its spin-off series Once Upon A Time In Wonderland in an unfortunately placed part of the screen. While Ginnifer Goodwin's character said the line: 'You're searching for something powerful enough to vanquish the queen,' an animated White Rabbit appeared and drew a rabbit hole around her crotch. Unfortunate doesn't even begin to describe it.

Britt Ekland her very self has been interview by Metro about her involvement in The Wicker Man and has confirmed one long-standing legend about the film is true. That's not her bare bum jiggling about like a jelly on a plate during the 'Willow's Song'/temptation of Sergeant Howie sequence. When she notes that she was pregnant during filming the Metro asks 'is that why you used a body-double for your iconic naked dance scene?' 'I didn't really know they'd used a body-double until afterwards,' Britt claims. 'She was a bit "bigger" than me - I guess they chose what they thought would look good on screen.' Seems likely. 'Any regrets about not using your own bottom?' asks the newspaper. 'There is absolutely no way, even when I was younger and had a pert butt, that I would ever show my bum like that,' Britt says. 'That has always been a big hang-up of mine - no one can see my butt.' (A local actress, Jane Jackson, is often said to have been the body-double used. However, this claim is contradicted by the film's assistant music supervisor, Gary Carpenter, who was on-set during filming. Carpenter suggests that the actual double was Lorraine Peters, who also appears earlier in the movie as the naked girl weeping on a grave.)
Which brings us, very nicely, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) - and 33(s) - of the Day. Some songs, dear blog reader, just seem to bring out the best in everyone that has a go at covering them. Take, The Mock Turtles, fr instance.
Or, Doves, for that matter.
Or, in total mad mash'd-up techno-trance style(e) with the hippin' and the hoppin', and that, yer actual Sneaker Pimps.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, however, being the snob he is, still prefers the original. (And no, it's not Britt singing. That myth was destroyed years ago.)

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