Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Just Want A Lover Like Any Other

Yer actual Matt Smith and David Tennant his very self have been talking about Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary special to the Digital Spy website. Dave his very self reveals how it felt to be back in the pin-striped suit and what it was like to act opposite another Doctor. Smudger, meanwhile, talks about the seventy five-minute episode's 3D action set-pieces, saying: 'We hope that it's going to be the biggest and best that we've done and right up there with the great Who episodes.' The pair also talk the appeal of multi-Doctor stories and why Doctor Who is different from Tarzan, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes. A time machine, mainly. Or, in Tarzan's case, more clothes.
The latest hot rumour doing the rounds on the Interweb about the forthcoming Doctor Who anniversary special popped up on The Huffington Post on Wednesday. In what they trumpet to be an 'exclusive', the website claims that yer actual Tom Baker his very self will be appearing in The Day Of The Doctor. Speaking to website, Baker allegedly said: 'I am in the special. I'm not supposed to tell you that, but I tell you that very willingly and specifically; the BBC told me not to tell anybody but I'm telling you straightaway.' The BBC was then, allegedly, contacted to comment on Baker's statement, to which they, allegedly, replied: 'As with William Hartnell's recent appearance in the last season finale, anything is possible in Doctor Who. But nothing is certain.' To be honest, this blogger simply doesn't know what to believe any more! I'd got more than a bit jaded by all of the obviously hoax nonsense that'd been doing the rounds for months and then McGann only went and turned up in the , if you will, minisode last week. So, frankly, right at the moment, all bets are off.

Matt Smith's Doctor Who exit felt 'brutal' and 'traumatic', his co-star Jenna Coleman has admitted. The actress spoke about filming Smith's regeneration scene and Peter Capaldi's arrival as the next Doctor on ITV's notorious breakfast flop Daybreak on Tuesday morning. 'I knew it was going to be sad, but it was really traumatic,' Jenna her very self said. 'It was very emotional and overwhelming.' The twenty seven-year-old added that the nature of Doctor Who - with the show's ever-changing cast - means that filming on the series can be 'so brutal. It's a strange thing [but] it's the nature of the show,' she conceded. 'Matt leaves, Peter arrives in his costume and the scene carries on. You just keep going - that's the show.'
In case you haven't already bought it, dear blog reader, be well advised, the latest - fiftieth anniversary special - issue of Doctor Who Magazine - four hundred and eighty seven - is a thing of beauty. And, I've told the editor that, an'all, so it shouldn't come as any surprise.
The second mini-episode for the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary special - The Last Day - is now available online. Unlike the previous one (featuring yer actual Paul McGann) though this is currently only available through iTunes. Strangely, it costs £2.49 in the UK, whereas it is free on the American store.
The extra content for the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Day Of The Doctor has also been revealed this week. BBC Worldwide said that the fiftieth-anniversary episode would be accompanied by the following: The Night Of The Doctor mini-episode, The Last Day - a second mini-episode, the documentaries Doctor Who Explained, and Behind The Lens, The Day Of The Doctor TV trailer (presumably the longest of the various versions currently knocking around) and the Fifty Years Of Doctor Who trailer. The release will also contain English subtitles for the hard of hearing, audio description, and audio navigation. The main feature will have a 5.1 soundtrack. It will be released for Region 2 (in the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe) on Monday 2 December and for Region 1 (USA and Canada) on Tuesday 3 December. Release dates for other regions are unknown at this time.
Yer actual Andrew Scott has talked about about his sexuality, saying that he is 'relieved' people 'don't see being gay as a character flaw.' Well, most people don't anyway. Sadly there are some people who are just, you know, scum, basically. The Sherlock actor accepted that there is 'a difference between privacy and secrecy' and although he doesn't like to speak too freely about his personal life, he also doesn't want to be accused of hiding anything. 'Mercifully, these days people don't see being gay as a character flaw,' he told the Independent. 'But nor is it a virtue, like kindness. Or a talent, like playing the banjo. It's just a fact. Of course, it's part of my make-up, but I don't want to trade on it. I am a private person; I think that's important if you're an actor. But there's a difference between privacy and secrecy, and I'm not a secretive person. Really I just want to get on with my job, which is to pretend to be lots of different people. Simple as that.' Scott also praised the manners of the many Sherlock fans he has encountered, stating that only a handful of them get creepy. 'There is this impression that the fans are crazy, but they're not - they're very respectful,' he said. 'They don't overstep the mark. I get a lot of fan mail. Of course, some of it is a bit creepy, but mostly it's very moving and creative.'

I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) continued this shameful existence with further impressive ratings for its second show on Monday, according to overnight data. The sick ITV reality fiasco dipped by over a million from Sunday's opener to 10.27m at 9pm. There is usually a drop between launch night and its second episode, and it is almost a million up from last year's equivalent episode. On BBC1, Ripper Street lost around six hundred thousand punters when up against I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), dropping to 3.30m at 9pm. Fake Britain brought in 2.87m at 8.30pm. BBC2's University Challenge had an excellent 3.10m at 8pm, while MasterChef: The Professionals brought in 2.95m at 8.30pm. The Choir's latest episode dropped to 2.37m, followed by Never Mind The Buzzcocks with 1.08m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Health Freaks had and audience of eight hundred and forty seven thousand viewers at 8.30pm, while Fear of Flying appealed to seven hundred and five thousand at 9pm. Fresh Meat dipped to six hundred and sixty thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's The Gadget Show interested five hundred and eighty two thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by Seven Days That Made The Fuhrer with six hundred thousand at 9pm. On BBC3, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide gathered seven hundred and thirty four thousand punters at 8pm. BBC4's Only Connect had eight hundred and forty seven thousand at 8.30pm. Not as many as I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), sadly.

Last Tango in Halifax returned for a new series with just under six million overnight viewers on Tuesday. The BBC1 romantic drama attracted 5.97m at 9pm. This is down from last year's finale, which achieved 6.29m. However, it was not going up against Live International Football on that occasion. ITV's - piss-poor, as usual - coverage of England's loss to Germany at Wembley scored 6.20m at 7.30pm, topping the night overall. On BBC2, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip interested 2.29m at 7pm, followed by MasterChef: The Professionals with 2.80m at 8pm. Strange Days: Cold War Britain was watched by eight hundred and sixty three thousand at 9pm, while Hebburn thoroughly entertained a million punters at 10pm. Channel Four's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners dipped slightly to 1.62m at 8pm. The Sound Of Musicals attracted seven hundred and twenty two thousand at 9pm, while Masters Of Sex continued with six hundred and five thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, The Mentalist was watched by nine hundred and twenty six thousand at 9pm, followed by Castle with six hundred and forty seven thousand at 10pm. Overall, BBC1 came out on top with an overall audience share of 22.6 per cent for the night, besting ITV's 19.7 per cent.

It was reet proper good and that to see yer actual Keith Telly Topping's sometime writing partner and the local radio legend that is Alfie Joey his very self cropping up again in this week's - excellent - episode of Hebburn on Tuesday playing Vic Reeves' doctor for the second time.
It was also jolly good fun to get a cameo from one of the North East's finest ever actors, the great John Woodvine, in a smashing little scene with Gina McKee and Pat Dunn. Quality sitcom entertainment, as always.
For the latest Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence we have number twenty nine: The Surpemes.
Yeah, that sounds about right. That's followed, as usual, by Great Daft Moments From TV History. Number twenty two: Jimmy Nesbitt going so-over-the-top-he's-down-the-other-side in episode two of Jekyll. That poor lion! 'Ever killed anyone, Benjamin?' 'Not personally. I have people for that.' 'You're missing out. It's like sex only there's a winner!'
Some pure dead total brilliant news now, a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping Foyle's War is to return to ITV in 2015. The period detective drama starring the great Michael Kitchen will shoot three new two-hour episodes between January and April 2014. Inspired by real events in the early years of the Cold War. The new series will see Foyle immersed in the dangerous world of espionage in his role as a Senior Intelligence Officer for MI5 (so, seems he didn't resign at the end of the last series after all). Honeysuckle Weeks will, of course, reprise her role of Foyle's trusted driver and secretary Sam Stewart, while Anthony Horowitz will again script the new episodes. The new Foyle's War will explore the power of American and German industrialists and a major blight of post war Britain, the Black Market. 'We are delighted to see the return of Foyle's War to ITV,' said ITV's Head of Drama Series, Jane Hudson. 'Anthony Horowitz has written three outstanding episodes and the audience are in for a real treat. This series also gives us the chance to take the shoot to one of the jewels of the North West, Liverpool.' The three feature-length episodes will shoot in Liverpool, doubling for post-war London, with transmission planned for 2015.

Russell Davies his very self is to write two new drama series for Channel Four. Cucumber and Banana (stop it!) will be Big Rusty's first works for the channel since Queer As Folk ended in 2000 and will examine 'the passions and pitfalls of Twenty First Century gay life.' Previously in the works at US cable channel Showtime, eight-part hour-long drama Cucumber will be broadcast on Channel Four and will follow forty six-year-old Henry and his boyfriend on a disastrous date night. Its sister series Banana - comprised of eight half-hour episodes - will follow the lives of Cucumber's younger characters in more detail and will be broadcast on E4. Both shows will also be accompanied by Tofu, a factual web series, billed as 'an anarchic online guide to sex inspired by the dramas each week.' Presumably, lubrication will be provided for all viewers. Somehow. 'I once read about a scientific institute which had studied the male erection,' Big Rusty his very self said. This blogger has carried out many similar studies - usually on a boring Wednesday afternoon in November when there's nowt on Dave. 'It divided the hard-on into four categories, from soft to hard. One, tofu. Two, peeled banana. Three, banana. And four, cucumber. Right there and then I knew I had my drama,' Rusty noted. Are you sure there's only four, though, Russell? I mean, what about twiglet? Just me? Okay. Channel Four's Head of Drama, yer actual Piers Wenger added: 'No-one can look into the heart and soul of modern relationships quite like Russell and across Channel Four, E4 and online, he paints an unflinching and forensic portrait of how our sex lives affect us all. It might be fifteen years since Queer As Folk, but he has made it more than worth the wait.' Davies's past credits include, of course, Doctor Who and its spin-offs Torchwood and Sarah Jane Interferes for the BBC, plus The Second Coming and Bob & Rose for ITV. His new projects will begin filming in spring 2014 in Manchester for broadcast later in the year.

Screenwriter the late Terry Nation has been honoured with the unveiling of a blue plaque at the house in Wales where he was born. The event was due to take place at midday in Fairwater Grove West, Cardiff, just a few miles from where Doctor Who is now made. Organised by The Llandaff Society, its chairman, Geoffrey Barton-Greenwood, told the BBC that he met the Daleks creator while the latter had been visiting friends in the area after his move to Hollywood. He said: 'I knew immediately who he was. I had been watching the Doctor Who series from the very beginning. I didn't at that stage know that he was a Llandaff boy. He was obviously a very impressive character. He had stature and gravitas. There are stories of neighbours seeing him, as a boy, sitting on the back step jotting down story ideas in his notebook. He put the success of Doctor Who and The Daleks down to "good old-fashioned stories, lots of danger, with tremendous adversaries. And The Doctor beating big villains".' Nation was born in 1930 near fellow writer Roald Dahl.

Sky has announced that it will make highlights of The Ashes available to view on its free-to-air channel Pick (that's channel eleven on Freeview if you've never come across it before - it's sandwiched between ITV3 and Dave). From Thursday 21 November, Sky, Freeview, Virgin Media and Freestat users will be able to watch a comprehensive one-hour package of the previous day's play for every Test, One Day International and Twenty20 match. Pick channel director Stephen Ladlow said: 'We are delighted to be able to showcase such a huge sporting event on Pick for our viewers. The Ashes is always compelling viewing and making the highlights available on Pick will give many more homes the opportunity to get a daily dose of Sky's outstanding cricket coverage.' One imagines Stephen must have a great time at dinner parties when people ask him what he does for a living. 'I'm director a TV channel' he'll say. 'Oh, really? Which one?' 'Pick.' 'Err...' 'It's on Freeview. Number eleven. Sandwiched between ITV3 and Dave.' Sky's Ashes coverage includes commentary from former cricket legends David Gower, Michael Atherton, Ian Botham, Nasser Hussain, Andrew Strauss, David Lloyd and Shane Warne.
Breaking Bad actress Anna Gunn has been cast in the US remake of Broadchurch. Gunn will appear alongside yer actual David Tennant and Silver Linings Playbook's Jacki Weaver in the remake, Deadline reports. The FOX series - which will follow the same plot as the ITV original. And will be shite - has been retitled Gracepoint. Gunn will play Detective Ellie Miller in the series alongside Tennant, who will play Detective Emmett Carver. I mean, seriously - does David look like an 'Emmett' to you, dear blog reader? Bloody Americans - they can't leave anything alone. Look at Iraq, for one. Anyway, the character of Miller is, of course, played by Olivia Colman in British series. Colly recently confirmed that she will appear in the second series of the crime drama. Meanwhile, Weaver will take on the role of Susan Wright, the part played by Pauline Quirke in Broadchurch. Director James Strong has joined the FOX series and will direct multiple episodes of the US version, having previously directed the pilot and several episodes of Broadchurch. Filming on Gracepoint is scheduled to begin in January ahead of a premiere later in 2014.
A Scum of the World reporter who interviewed the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2002 about his football career has claimed that it was 'generally known' at the time that Mulcaire worked for the paper. Geoff Sweet told the jury in the hacking trial on Tuesday that he had interviewed Mulcaire for a 'novelty story' on AFC Wimbledon. His story appeared on page eighty two on that week's edition and told readers that as well as a footballer, Mulcaire 'was part of our special investigations team.' 'I'd interviewed Glenn Mulciare ,who I knew to be the centre forward for Wimbledon and knew to work, had effectively worked, for the News of the World,' Sweet said. Asked how he knew this, he said: 'I understood he was part of the special investigations team and because I was part of the News of the World empire, it was just generally known.' Under cross-examination, Sweet said he 'could not remember' writing the story or writing that Mulcaire had worked for the paper. Sweet made a brief appearance at the trial as a prosecution witness. In the opening of the trial, the prosecution had challenged an assertion by well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, who is facing five charges, that she 'did not know' who Mulcaire was when she was Scum of the World editor between 2000 and 2003, by citing Sweet's article as contradictory to this allegation. Under cross-examination by Jonathan Laidlaw, QC, counsel for well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, Sweet said he was 'not stationed permanently' at the Scum of the World offices and would only visit once every six weeks or so. He told Laidlaw that he 'did not think' Mulcaire was talked about at the offices. 'As far as I'm aware Mulcaire was never discussed.' He went on to say that he was 'not sure' if he had written that Mulcaire was part of the special investigations team or whether that statement had been added to his story by someone else. 'I can't remember writing the story. For all I know, that might have been written in by the sports desk to add a bit of kudos to [the] story.' Details of the Scum of the World's former chief footballer writer Robert Beasley were found in Mulcaire's notebook, along with the name 'Mutu', the court heard. Beasley, now chief sports correspondent on the Sun, said that he 'did not know' that his name and mobile number were in the private investigator's notebooks before the police had shown him this. He told the jury that he believed the notes may have been written at a time when he was working on a story about the then-Chelsea footballer Adrian Mutu. Asked if Mulcaire had been the subject of 'office gossip' at the Sunday tabloid, Beasley replied: 'Absolutely not. I didn't even know the guy existed.' He was asked by Laidlaw: 'As far as phone-hacking is concerned, at no time did you see, hear, or suspect that anyone within the News of the World was engaged in unlawfully accessing voicemail messages?' 'Absolutely no idea at all,' replied Beasley. Earlier, Harry Scott, a former night editor at the Scum of the World, told the court that he did not think the original Milly Dowler story in 2002 suggested that she had been hacked, even though the article contained a direct reference to telephone voice messages. He said he 'couldn't remember' the story on page nine, or the second version that appeared in a later edition. Timothy Langdale, counsel for the deputy editor at the time, the prime minister's, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson, put it to him: 'Had you read it at the time, you would not have suggested that the News of the World hacked Milly Dowler's phone?' Scott replied: 'No, not at all.' Langdale spent much of the morning at the Old Bailey quizzing Scott on the production of the paper and the layout of the Scum of the World offices, which the jury heard included a windowless 'secret room' which was used to 'produce exclusives.' At one point there was loud laughter from the dock as Stuart Kuttner, the former managing editor of the paper, who is on a charge of conspiring to hack phones, reacted to an intervention from the judge. Scott was explaining how a 'spoof' edition of the paper would be produced to protect an exclusive being copied by a rival, such as the revelation that David Beckham had an affair with Rebecca Loos. Justice Saunders asked Scott whether spoof stories were actually 'true' stories, to which the answer was yes. There was another moment of levity when Scott explained how determined production staff were to get the newspaper out in time. 'If you cut a reporter in half, you will see expenses written through them like a stick of rock, if you cut a production person in half, you will see deadline,' he claimed. The minutae of the Scum of the World production system was explained to the jury including the use of a 'secret queue' of stories which Scott explained was 'like an ultra-secret queue' of stories which only the editor, the production editor and other top selected staff had access to. 'I would go there with an artist and a sub and draw the page in a secret room,' Scott claimed. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks could not be 'shown' to have authorised a single payment to Mulcaire during her editorship of the Scum of the World, it was claimed. The name of the private investigator, who was paid seventeen hundred smackers a week – about ninety two grand a year – 'did not appear' on a list of her authorised payments draw, the phone-hacking trial was told. The list had been drawn up by Michael Gill, group financial controller at News UK, formerly News International, the court heard claimed. Laidlaw asked Gill: 'I think what we asked you to do was search for any payments authorised by Mrs Brooks during her editorship, and this is the extent of those payments, is it?' Gill replied: 'That's correct.' Among them were the expenses claims of staff reporting directly to her, including her then deputy, Coulson and managing editor Kuttner, the jury heard. Referring to the contributors payments, Laidlaw said: 'She never authorised a payment to Glenn Mulcaire.' 'That's correct,' replied Gill. 'Either in his name or any of the names of the companies by which he was paid. Not a single one authorised by Mrs Brooks,' continued Laidlaw. The jury was shown a detailed list of payment requests made at the Scum of the World for April 2002, which, said Laidlaw, was 'illustrative' and 'not an unusual month. We have a hundred pages, each page containing about twenty to thirty separate requests for payment?' said Laidlaw. 'Slightly more,' replied Gill. They ranged from tiny sums to many thousands of pounds, added Laidlaw. 'Within which we can see the four payments for this month to Glenn Mulcaire's company.' Andrew Edis, prosecuting, queried why the 'actual payments' were made to Nine Consultancy when Mulcaire's contract with the Scum of the World, which was shown to the jury, was made out to Euro Research and Information Limited. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, editor of the Scum of the World from May 2000 until January 2003, the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Coulson, who replaced her as editor and Kuttner were 'Category three' approvers – allowed to authorise payments of up to fifty thousand knicker, the court heard. Gill agreed that desk editors were not on the approvers list from 2002 until 2005 when Ian Edmondson and James Weatherup were added to approve payments of up to two grand. Edis asked: 'Before that, were the desk editors allowed to authorise?' Gill replied: 'They weren't on the approvers list then, no.' The total annual amount of a contract was taken into account when deciding who should be the approver. Judge Justice Saunders asked if Mulcaire was 'getting one hundred thousand, authorisation would need to come from somebody who had authority up to and beyond that figure?' 'It should do,' replied Gill. Examining Mulcaire's twelve-month contract, drawn up in 2001, Edis asked if it would have been approved. 'It should have legal approval as it is a contract and editorial approval for total amount, because you would always look to have approval of the total value of the contract,' Gill said. The jury heard Scum of the World contributors were paid in cash, or electronic bank transfer or by cheque. Some cash payments to remote locations outside of the Scum of the World office were arranged through Thomas Cook or Western Union. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, Coulson, Kuttner and Edmondson are charged with conspiring to intercept mobile phone voicemail messages. They deny all the charge. Mulcaire and Weatherup have pleaded guilty to the same charge. The trial extremely continues.

The BBC needs to 'pull back a bit' and should merge two of its television channels, according to broadcaster David Dimbleby. The Question Time host claimed that the corporation needed to 'redefine' its role and examine 'whether it is too powerful for its own good.' He told Richard Bacon's BBC Radio 5Live radio show: 'I do think the BBC needs to pull back a bit from some of the things it does, maybe cut back a bit on its number of television channels.' He said programmes on BBC4 were being made 'on a shoestring' and the channel should be merged with BBC2. He said: 'Cut out some of the gardening and cookery and all that on BBC2 and turn it back into a quality thing it was meant to be and then you have two big channels, One and Two.' His comments echo those of former BBC news chief Roger Mosey who said earlier this month that the corporation should get a smaller slice of the licence fee to promote competition and give the public wider choice. Writing in The Times, Mosey said that if more bids from commercial organisations were open to funding from the licence fee, it might 'enrich the nation.' Mosey said the corporation faced widespread competition in network television, but its market share of seventy per cent of all news consumption on both TV and radio was something that 'even long-term loyalists find uncomfortable.' This long-term loyalist doesn't, pal, speak for yourself.

Madchester On The Rampage is soon to hit our screens as ITV plans to serialise the autobiography of Happy Mondays frontman and, now, UFO hunter, Shaun Ryder, the Sun reports. Incidents from Twisting My Melon which are likely to feature include the time in the late 1980s when the musician was arrested in Jersey for possession for cocaine (which led to the NME's memorable one-liner: 'what do you call a Happy Monday in a suit?' 'The accused') and on being asked if he wanted an advocate, replied: 'I don't want any poncey Southern drinks, mate!' True story. Allegedly. Downton Abbey's Rob James-Collier is one of the names being to touted to play Shaun, along with Shameless star Elliott Tittensor. He's Shaun William Ryder, dear blog reader. He's gonna lie down beside ya and fill you full of junk!

The Grand Dame her very self David Bowie, Alan Partridge, Broadchurch and The Arctic Monkeys are among the nominations for the South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2014. The shortlist, which celebrates the best of British culture and achievement across visual art, theatre, opera, dance, comedy, classical music, pop, TV drama, literature and film, also includes nominations for The Selfish Giant, Philomena and BBC2 dramas The Fall and Top Of The Lake. Yer actual Sir Melvyn Bragg his very self will host the awards on Monday 27 January at the Dorchester Hotel in London. 'Once again, the list of nominees for the South Bank Sky Arts Awards shows that the UK arts landscape is as vibrant as ever,' claimed Bragg. 'It's vital to honour the excellence of artists, performers, musicians and authors especially at this time, and we're very glad that we can do this.' Sir Peter Blake, the co-creator of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band sleeve, is designing a new award for the 2014 show this year.

Michael Palin, former MI5 chief Eliza Manningham-Buller and Polly Harvey will take charge of Radio 4's Today programme this winter. Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins will also be guest editors over Christmas. Palin will be joined by fellow Python John Cleese to discuss their famous TV debate defending The Life Of Brian against ignorant and ill-informed criticism from the Church. The comedy group revealed on Tuesday that they are to reunite soon for a stage show. The Today programme, Radio 4's flagship news show, traditionally hands the reins over to public figures during the festive season. Previous editors have included Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group, Zadie Smith, PD James, Yoko Ono and Professor Stephen Hawking. That wanker Damon Albarn used his edition of the programme to call for celebrity culture to be 'dismantled' (hopefully, starting with him). Philanthropist Melinda Gates petitioned for women to have a bigger say in developing countries. This year's editors have already given some indication of the topics they will put on the agenda. Manningham-Buller, a counter-terrorism expert who was heavily involved in the Lockerbie investigation, will explore the use of pigeons in spy craft and, with the help of architect Thomas Heatherwick, look at how we can make cities in the UK more distinctive. Sir Tim, who helped develop the World Wide Web in the 1980s, will look at the future of the Internet, asking listeners around the world what they want from the web. In his programme, Palin will convene a meeting of some of the world's most respected travel writers to look at what their role is in a largely discovered world. He also travels to Ethiopia and asks whether small farmers hold the key to success in developing countries. Harvey will showcase some of her many influences - political, poetical and musical. The guest editors are given a say in up to half of their particular three-hour broadcast, but their ideas and stories must still meet the BBC's guidelines for independence and impartiality. Programme editor Jamie Angus said: 'For the past ten years, Today's Christmas guest editors have brought a surprising and refreshing editorial perspective to some of our biggest running stories, as well as unearthing original treasures that we'd never have found by ourselves.'

A 'tongue-in-cheek' viral advert for a protein shake which featured men who appeared to be masturbating has been banned. The advert, for sports drink For Goodness Shakes, was embedded in a marketing e-mail. The e-mail asked the question 'What's going on here?', followed by the video, which showed the upper bodies of men who appeared to be tossing themselves off in public places. At the end of the video it was revealed that it was, actually, a perfectly innocent protein drink being shaken, and the line 'We shake for you ... the protein shake without the shaker.' The Advertising Standards Authority - a notoriously humourless bunch of glakes who will be first up against the wall come the revolution in all likelihood - investigated the advert after a lone complaint (from a twenty four carat stone-faced smear) that it was 'likely to cause serious or widespread offence.' And,as a consequence, tossed it off. The Internet, that is.The shake's maker, My Goodness, said that its protein powders required 'vigorous and constant shaking' to turn them into smooth shaky goodness. The company said that the video was 'a humorous take' which used the old comedy technique of 'it isn't what you think it is.' It added that the video had not been advertised using general broadcast media, such as TV, so it was unlikely to have been seen outside the target market of 'sports-interested adult males' who would relate to the video. The ASA said the video 'alluded to masturbation' with a scene that indicated that a man had 'ejaculated' onto a woman's back. 'We considered that many of the other online channels that hosted the video, such as a news and entertainment website, were likely to appeal to a wider audience who would find the references to public masturbation, and particularly to ejaculating on another person, offensive,' said the ASA. 'We concluded that the video was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.' The ASA banned the advert and told My Goodness to make sure its future adverts did not contain similar content. Otherwise, they'd have to pull it.
And, speaking of pointless wankers, odious, risible Myleene Klass has admitted that she 'wasn't familiar' with all of the not-so-famous faces appearing on this series of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) Risible waste-o-f-space Klass - who was herself in the jungle in 2006, though, she sadly was let out again - suggested that this is not most instantly recognisable cast that the show has ever had. 'It's quite a line-up,' she told New! magazine. 'I had to ask who a few of the celebs are.' Insert your own punchline here, dear blog reader.
Ruby Tandoh faced some online abuse - from daft planks - during her appearances on The Great British Bake Off – and now the twenty one-year-old philosophy student has been set up for a fresh mauling by those delightful pond scum lice at the Daily Scum Mail. Under the headline Ruby's four-letter blast at Bake Off and its 'silly' fans, the odious, risible, Nazi-supporting right-wing paper reports Tandoh's remarks at a debate on whether feminism needs rebranding, claiming: 'It is the popular TV show that turned her into a household name and saw her go from philosophy student to baking star in a matter of weeks. But Ruby Tandoh has admitted she thinks The Great British Bake Off is "c*** TV" and that women who watch it are "silly."' None of which is, necessarily, the worst things in the world that someone could hold an opinion of (unless the 'c***' in question was the word 'cunt' rather than the considerably less controversial 'crap', of course). However, Ruby's full quote at the event was actually: 'Collectively we [women] are all a bit silly. I cried over the John Lewis Christmas advert, we like get so excited when the Starbucks red cups come out. We watch crap on TV like Bake Off. We like things we can latch onto and understand quite clearly. This isn't about dumbing down feminism or making it more girly or softer or diluting any of these messages. And I don't want you to compromise any of those goals. But I just think we need to change our meanings, make it more inclusive, make it less epidemic.' All well argued and worthy of reasoned consideration and debate, I'd've said. There was, of course, no mention in the Scum Mail's scummishly scummish version of events that Ruby had included herself as one of the 'silly' viewers who watch 'crap TV' like Bake Off. Still, why should a little thing like context get in the way of a cheap, attention-grabbing and trouble-making headline from scum the likes on them, eh?

Watching the England versus Germany friendly on ITV (crap, as always, of course), a thought suddenly stuck this blogger. Has a single comment of any worth ever emerged from Andy Townsend's gob? Particularly his complete inability during this particular game to pronounce Lars Bender without making it sound like a very unfortunate homophobic slur.
Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld could appear in future 007 films now that a long-running legal dispute has been settled. Kevin McClory, who came up with the story for Thunderball along with Ian Fleming, had been locked in a battle over Bond rights every since 1959. McClory, and later his estate, asserted he had created the Blofeld character. Now, MGM and Bond producers Danjaq have acquired all the rights from McClory's estate. A joint statement from the three parties involved said the deal brought 'to an amicable conclusion the legal and business disputes that have arisen periodically over fifty years.' The agreement means that Bond producers are clear to use the Blofeld character again if they so wish. The character has appeared in five official Bond films - From Russia with Love (1963), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971). A Bolfeld-like character appears in For Your Eyes Only (1981) though he is never named as such. The character also appeared in McClory's Never Say Never Again (1983) - a, rather one-paced and tired remake of Thunderball, despite some (uncredited) script contributions from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Blofeld has been played by Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray and Max von Sydow among others. The dispute began when McClory worked with Fleming and another writer, Jack Whittingham, on a proposed TV movie script for Thunderball in 1959, which introduced the character of Blofeld. It was then used by Fleming to form the basis for his novel of the same name. But McClory and Whittingham, were unaware that the novel was being published and were not credited. This led them to sue Fleming, successfully, in 1963. McClory, who died in 2006, produced the movie of Thunderball in 1965. But the dispute raised its head again in the 1970s, when McClory wanted to make another Bond film - he won the right to do so in court and the result was Never Say Never Again. He brought back Sean Connery after a twelve-year hiatus, and the film was again based on the Thunderball novel. However the movie has never been welcomed into the official Bond canon. Largely, because it's not very good. McClory lost another legal case in 2001 over the rights to the James Bond film character although at various stages during the late 80s and throughout the 90s he was said to be trying to get a second remake of Thunderball off the ground. A federal appeals court in San Francisco dismissed his case, saying McClory had 'waited too long' to make a claim. The next Bond film, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Mendes, is due for release in 2015.

The journalist, broadcaster and gay rights activist Ray Gosling has died in hospital in Nottingham. Gosling, seventy four, presented more than one hundred television documentaries and many more radio programmes in a career lasting over fifty years. In 2010 he was sentenced for wasting police time after he falsely claimed on a BBC show that he had smothered a former lover who was dying of AIDs. Nottingham University NHS Trust said that Gosling died at the Queen's Medical Centre on Tuesday. In 2004, Ray became a regular presenter on Inside Out in the East Midlands. During one of the programmes, broadcast on 15 February 2010, he claimed that he had killed his lover. 'I killed someone once,' he claimed. 'He was a young chap, he'd been my lover and he got AIDs. I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead.' Gosling was interviewed on the BBC Breakfast programme the day after the Inside Out broadcast and was asked about his claims. He again confessed to the killing. He was then arrested on suspicion of murder but was later charged with wasting police time after confessing that the claim was false. Tony Roe, a BBC editor and friend of Gosling, discussed a programme about death which led to Gosling making the claim. Roe said: 'After his arrest he was bailed to my house to avoid the media scrum. When he told the truth I was at first angry inside, and then sad. He was sitting in front of me, his career over. For once no straight answer as to why he had done it. But that night did see an explanation of sorts. At his friend's funeral he said he was harangued for not ending the suffering sooner. So for the next thirty years he told himself and believed himself that he had. He had wanted to do the right thing and to have been seen to do the right thing.' Poet and artist Dave Bishop was a close friend of Gosling and was with him at the hospital on Tuesday. He said that people should remember Ray for his TV and radio work. 'He was different from all other broadcasters,' he said. 'He was curious about the world and used to go to places that no-one else bothered with. Ray knew how to talk to people and he liked to mix with the working class, and talk to them. He didn't like programmes like Shameless and EastEnders because he thought they misrepresented the working class.' Ray was born in Chester in 1939 and was educated at Northampton Grammar School and the University of Leicester. He was a youth worker in the St Ann's area of Nottingham and wrote Sum Total, his autobiography, at the age of twenty three. The book detailed his work in the city. During the 1960s and 1970s Gosling hosted Granada TV's On Site programme. He made many TV and radio documentaries about his personal life as well as subjects as diverse as garden sheds, gnomes and windmills. In one of his last documentaries he discussed old age, bankruptcy and moving into sheltered accommodation. Roe said: '[He made] films about people and the places they lived. He wrote like he spoke. Direct. Said what he saw. Said what he thought.'

Uruguay became the last nation to book their spot at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil with a 0-0 second-leg draw against play-off opponents Jordan. Uruguay had all but secured their berth with a 5-0 victory in the first leg. Uruguay dominated the first half in the return leg in Montevideo and came closest to scoring when Diego Godin headed against the crossbar. 'We're all happy because the truth is it's been a hard road,' said striker Edinson Cavani. Uruguay were competing in the World Cup qualifying play-offs for the fourth successive tournament, but knew that it would take a miraculous effort for Jordan to overturn five goal deficit. The South Americans, who are currently ranked sixth in the world, boast a rich World Cup pedigree having won the trophy in 1930 and 1950 and also reached the semi-finals last time out in South Africa. But Oscar Tabarez's men finished fifth in their continent's qualifying after being edged out of the automatic places by Ecuador on goal difference. It meant that they were forced to negotiate a two-legged tie against a Jordan side, who had beaten Uzbekistan in the Asian qualifying group to reach the play-off. However, with Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws striker Luis Suarez partnered up front by Paris St-Germain's fifty five million quid striker Cavani, they were always likely to have too much firepower for the Middle East nation. Jordan, who have never appeared at the World Cup finals, are ranked sixty four places below Uruguay in the world.

France became the first European team to overturn a two goal first-leg deficit to reach the World Cup with a thrilling 3-0 victory over ten-man Ukraine. Mamadou Sakho tucked in Franck Ribery's shot and Karim Benzema levelled the tie from an apparent offside position, having been wrongly denied by the linesman's flag earlier. Ukraine's Yevhen Khacheridi was sent off early in the second half and the tie was decided when Sakho converted Ribery's cross under pressure from Oleg Gusev. At the time of Khacheridi's dismissal, France were 2-0 up after a pulsating opening period but any chance that Ukraine had of altering the flow of the match then drained away. His red card was certainly avoidable after receiving a first yellow card for shoving Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws defender Sakho before half-time and he thoughtlessly fouled Ribery two minutes into the second half. France coach Didier Deschamps asked for an 'exceptional' match from his team and - led by an impressive display from the recalled Yohan Cabeye, they replied in some style as they handed Ukraine their first defeat of 2013 and avoided becoming the first French side to miss out on the World Cup since they failed to qualify for the 1994 finals. That mark on France's rich football history came via a final qualifier defeat by Bulgaria in November 1993 - and roared on by a partisan crowd at the Stade de France, the 1998 World Cup winners seemed determined not to suffer the same fate. Marseille's Mathieu Valbuena and Bayern Munich's Ribery were a menace throughout, conjuring a variety of deadly set-plays, quick combinations and strong running. And they were involved in several exchanges as Valbuena, Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba and Real Madrid's Benzema all went close to opening the scoring in the first twenty minutes. It was in stark contrast to an insipid first-leg display in Ukraine, who this time struggled to begin with but looked to be finding their feet when the hosts went ahead. Ukraine managed to clear Valbuena's free-kick and although Andriy Pyatov made a superb save to stop Ribery's fierce shot, Sakho was on hand to crash the ball in. Deschamps' side then continued their first-half onslaught as Pogba fired over but they were fortunate to grab their second goal after thirty four minutes, although they will feel that justice was served after Benzema was previously ruled offside for a goal when he appeared to be level with the Ukraine defence. The Real Madrid forward had his first effort disallowed after tucking in Ribery's cross on the half-hour mark. Then four minutes later, Cabaye's shot through a congested penalty area struck Valbuena before falling for Benzema, and despite being offside by two yards, the goal was allowed to stand. Ukraine almost clawed a goal back when Mathieu Debuchy blocked Andriy Yarmalenko's goal-bound shot with France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris beaten. However, their task became more difficult after the break when Khacheridi received two yellow cards in the space of two minutes either side of the interval. Benzema wasted a great chance to put France ahead as he fired over from ten yards when he had time and space to shoot after more good work by Ribery. But when Ribery crossed in from the right, Sakho directed the ball home from close range to send France to the World Cup.

Nigeria became the first African nation to reach the World Cup finals after a 2-0 victory over Ethiopia in Calabar confirmed a 4-1 aggregate play-off win. Victor Moses coolly slotted home a first half penalty before substitute Victor Obinna slammed home a late free-kick to see Nigeria through to their fifth World Cup finals in six attempts. Efe Ambrose had the first Nigerian shot in the opening moments after Brown Ideye had broken into the Ethiopian penalty area, but the Glasgow Celtic defender's effort was wild and high. Sisay Bancha then produced a wonderful double save after a seemingly innocuous throw-in by Ahmed Musa reached Emmanuel Emenike in space inside the Ethiopia penalty area. His shot was stopped and Moses' follow up was turned behind for a corner by the Ethiopia goalkeeper. The game then turned in Nigeria's favour as Musa received the ball on the Nigeria left and attempted a cross. Aynalem Hailu - the defender who conceded a last-minute penalty in Addis Ababa - jumped to block and was - perhaps harshly - adjudged to have handled the ball. Moses stepped up, and scored an almost identical penalty to Emenike's first leg effort, passing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner and sending Bancha the wrong way. It was Moses' third penalty against Ethiopia in 2013, having scored two spot kicks against the Waliya Antelopes at this year's CAF Africa Cup of Nations. Ogenyi Onazi then received the ball on the Nigeria right and whipped in a cross to the back post, but Ideye headed wide of the goal. The two combined again just before the interval, with Onazi's shot from distance parried by Bancha and Ideye hitting his follow-up over the bar. Salahdin Ahmed found himself free of the Nigeria defence after the break, but the in-form Vincent Enyeama rushed off his line to smother the ball before the Ethiopia number seven could get his shot away. Emenike then sprinted in behind the Ethiopian defence after a through ball by Onazi, but Bancha was quickly off his line to thwart the Fenerbahce frontman. Ahmed was brought down by Moscow Chelski's Kenneth Omeruo on the edge of the box, and took the resulting free kick but it was wasted and Shemeles Bekele found himself offside after the ball was chipped back into the box. The second half continued to move along at a relaxed pace, until Obinna's late free kick. The Lokomotiv Moscow forward curled his right-footed effort past Bancha, who should really have done better with the set piece. As the rain began to hammer down towards the end, the Ethiopians' sour mood matched the miserable weather, but the hosts did not care. They danced jubilantly and joined the crowd in celebration on the final whistle as their thoughts turned to next summer's carnival of soc-her in Brazil.

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic says that the World Cup is 'not worth watching' without him after their play-off loss. The Paris St-Germain striker scored twice against Portugal on Tuesday but Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick took his side through 4-2 on aggregate. Ibrahimovic got a reet sulky lip on when he said: 'It was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup with the national team for me. A World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worthwhile to wait for the World Cup.' Oooo. Get her. The play-off between Sweden and Portugal, who had both finished second in their qualifying groups, had been billed as a showdown between Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo - two of the best players in the world. They ended up scoring all six goals between them as Portugal won 4-2 on aggregate. Former Inter Milan forward Ibrahimovic, who has played in two World Cups, scored eight times in qualifying, including the play-offs, and assisted another six goals - having a hand in fourteen out of Sweden's twenty one goals. He told UEFA's website: 'Why did we lose? To be honest, they were better than us. We should be proud. We couldn't have done better than we did. Of course, we could look back at our mistakes, but these things happen. They punished our mistakes. After making it 2-1 it felt like we were on a roll, our hopes grew, but unfortunately they made it 2-2 soon afterwards.' Real Madrid forward Ronaldo, who has scored thirty four goals in twenty four games this season for club and country, said: 'I just did my job, as I have been doing lately. I always try to give my best - that is always my goal.' He is now Portugal's joint-top scorer, along with retired former Paris St-Germain striker Pauleta on forty seven. 'It was not a priority for me to break Pauleta's record,' the twenty eight-year-old said. 'I knew Portugal needed me and I stuck to the task at hand. Now we have some time to rest and to do our best for our clubs before starting to think about the World Cup finals.'

Ghana were the top scorers in the African qualifiers with eighteen goals in six group matches and managed more points (fifteen) than any other country in their region, though they did suffer a surprise 1-0 loss away against Zambia. But they made light work of overcoming one of the continent's dominant sides, Egypt, in the play-offs, winning 7-3 on aggregate. Algeria knocked out Burkina Faso on away goals after a 3-3 draw in their play-off tie - and had a close escape in stoppage time when a clearance struck their own crossbar. Cameroon qualified for the World Cup for the seventh time - a record for an African nation. Japan might have qualified with the highest points tally in the Asian competition, but special mention must go to Iran, who managed to top their five-team group despite scoring just eight goals in eight matches. Their defence proved crucial, conceding only twice in seven hundred and twenty minutes of qualifying action. Australia managed only three wins from a group containing Iraq, Oman, Jordan and Japan, form which would eventually contribute to their coach, Holger Osieck, getting the tin tack, but they still made it to Rio by the skin of their teeth. Seven teams made it through the whole campaign without losing in Europe (Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland), but it is the records of the Germans and Dutch that stand out: played ten, won nine, drawn one, both amassing twenty eight points from a possible thirty and scoring seventy goals between them. With just seconds left of the entire campaign, Mexico's hopes were all but over. Their defeat on the final day against Costa Rica in the Confacaf section meant that Panama, playing at the same time, needed only to beat the already-qualified United States at home to book their place in Brazil. With the Panamanians leading 2-1 in injury time, the Americans struck back, scoring in the ninety first and ninety second minutes, to end Panama's dream in the most painful of circumstances. The Mexies then went on to beat New Zealand in the play-off meaning that, for the first time in a couple of world cups, Oceania does not have a representative at the finals (Australia, of course, now play in the Asian qualifying group considering themselves to be too good to play with the likes of Samoa and Fiji). The United States topped the Confacaf qualifying group but Jurgen Klinsmann's men were not without their problems - they lost to Jamaica, Costa Rica and Honduras along the way. In the absence of Brazil, who qualify automatically as hosts, there was a three-way tussle at the top of the South American table between eventual group winners Argentina, Colombia and the impressive Chile. The three sides all finished with nine wins from their sixteen matches, but it was the combined firepower of Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain, who between them scored nineteen goals, which made the difference for Argentina.

Plans to 'inject some fun' at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United's St James' Park stadium by installing slides outside of the ground have been vetoed by the club. On the grounds, presumably, that nobody has 'fun' at St James' Park these days. Company NE1 announced plans in February to build two 'travel accelerators' beside the car park at the stadium. But the firm said that the plan had now been shelved after United, which owns the land, said it was 'no longer available for use.' The club declined to comment further. As usual. Newcastle currently lie ninth in the Premier League and have been having a good run of form recently, with wins against both Moscow Chelski FC and Stottingtot Hotshots, but the season has been somewhat soured by some fans' general grumpy unhappiness with the club's owner, PC disaster-waiting-to-happen Mike Ashley. In October, hundreds marched through the city to protest against the way Ashley has been running the club. The slides, which were intended 'to inject some fun' into Newcastle, will not be located elsewhere as they had been designed for the area around the ground, NE1 said. It said it was now 'moving its attention' to other areas in the city. The idea was part of the 'pocket park programme', designed to 'infuse new life' into areas of the city centre which were 'neglected or underused.' The plans were submitted to the council's planning committee earlier in the year. They would have been a similar in design to ones used by commuters at Overvecht railway station in Utrecht, Netherlands.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will, as usual on a Thursday, be attending Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside. This week, it's one a lot of us regulars have been really looking forward to, a New Wave singles compilation face-off between Siouxsie & The Banshees' glorious Once Upon A Time and Buzzcocks' seminal Singles Going Steady. So, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 33(s) of the Day, there's, clearly, this.
And, obviously, this.
Completely brilliant.

No comments: