Monday, November 18, 2013

Nothing Ever Happens To People Like Us, 'Cept We Miss The Bus

Let's start off the latest From The North bloggerisationisms, the first in the week that will end with Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary its very self with this look of shocked and stunned discombobulation from two of our sponsors, dear blog reader.
Tremendous. Additionally, the BBC have released a spoof introduction to The Day Of The Doctor, featuring yer actual David Tennant. And his 'space hat.' Which is nice.
Radio Times is celebrating Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary with an interactive special edition and a choice of twelve collectable covers - one for each of The Doctors who've appeared over the last fifty years (yes, it includes John Hurt his very self). The special issue is the fiftieth Radio Times Doctor Who cover since the fictional time traveller first graced the front page in 1964 and the magazine features archive interviews with each of the actors to have played The Doctor. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, who is on subscription and gets his Radio Times sent to him, incidentally, got the Paul McGann cover. Could have been much worse, admittedly.
The rival listing magazine TV Times also features Doctor Who in a series of four souvenir covers. Eleven Doctors are featured on this one (albeit, you really have to look hard to find poor McGann!). They are joined by several companions and monsters from throughout the last fifty years.
Now, amid all the 'leaping up and down with yer knickers in the air' malarkey over the forthcoming Doctor Who anniversary, virtually unnoticed by this blogger - which, in and of itself tells a story, dear blog reader - From The North its very self hit a rather significant milestone at some point over the weekend. For that was when it received its one millionth hit since yer actual Keith Telly Topping first started the blog in March 2006. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping would, of course, like to thank each and every visitor that we've had. Even those who've come looking for pictures of Anna Meares' bum. Or, indeed, Lucy Lawless naked. We'd never have made this far it without you.
Yer actual Matt Smith and John Hurt his very self were greeted by notorious Royal parasite Sophie, the Countess of Wessex at the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary reception held at Buckingham Palace on Monday afternoon. Smudger and Johnny were joined for the gig by fellow former Time Lords yer actual Tom Baker and Peter Davison his very self as they shook hands with their host in Buckingham Palace's Bow Room and tried not to look uncomfortable when in the presence of Prince Edward's missus. The cast and crew at the event were also surrounded by iconic props, including two versions of the TARDIS, a K-9 model and a pair of Daleks. There was also a hugely unflattering bow-tie-clad Matt Smith model erected at the event. Other guests included The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, Catherine Tate and Jenna Coleman.
The new edition of the magazine The Big Issue - out this week - marks the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who with a cover feature.
Editor Paul McNamee said: 'We kick-off our run of five bumper editions leading up to Christmas with a Doctor Who special. As the anniversary of that show approaches, with a number of Doctors together on screen and fan-mania growing, we have a collection of fantastic features.' These include an interview with yer actual Matt Smith detailing working on-screen with David Tennant his very self, a piece from Who-obsessive, screenwriter, and chap of wealth and taste yer actual Mark Gatiss, pieces from Karen Gillan and long-time Doctor Who fan Eddie Izzard his very self plus 'a panel of experts' explaining what deeply-held psychological fear each Doctor Who monster plays to and why we can't escape them. There's also a Doctor Who themed competition with prizes including a TARDIS teapot. Honest. Now, see, here's the problem dear blog reader. This blogger now wants a TARDIS teapot. I don't care if I don't drink tea all that often and actually use a teapot even more rarely, I still want one. This special edition of the weekly magazine will be available from vendors everywhere across Britain. You can usually spot them by their strand cries of 'b'gisssssew.' And, their miserable-looking dog on a piece of string, obviously.
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has described the BBC's decision to cancel Doctor Who in 1989 an act of 'outright stupidity and unforgivable blindness.' Which it was but, hey, it all turned out all right in the end so, let's forgive and forget, eh? The showrunner called those responsible for cancelling the original series fools in a new piece written for Radio Times. 'What can one say about fifty years of Doctor Who?' Moffat wrote. 'Well, first of all, one can be pedantic. Doctor Who hasn't been on for fifty years - owing to the outright stupidity and unforgiveable blindness of the BBC. There was a sixteen-year gap. That gap is important though. It confers something very special on this most special of all shows: immortality. Doctor Who, for once and for all, is the show that comes back. Axe it at your peril, someone like me is going to call you a fool, and lots of people like you are going to read along and nod.' The Moff credited Doctor Who's large and vocal fan-base and its refusal to let the show die for the popular family SF drama's eventual re-emergence in 2005. 'The audience said no,' he suggested. 'Just, no. A nice, polite, terribly British, utterly final no. And The Doctor just kept on going. It's not supposed to work like that. You're not supposed to axe a TV show and find the next generation of producers forming an orderly queue.'
There's a very good piece in the Gruniad Morning Star by Andrew Harrison on yer actual Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) entitled I Was The Original Angry Doctor Who Fan which is well worth a few minutes of your valuable time, dear blog reader: 'Sometimes it feels like Moffat is caught between the hardcore fans – vocal, possessive, perhaps too forensic in their love of what is only a TV programme – and a much larger corpus of general viewers who just want a good old thrill-ride laced with some unknowable cosmic terror of a Saturday night. Or maybe there's a fan in every mainstream viewer and vice versa. The fanboy and the fangirl are no longer marginal figures, but are driving the culture. "I love Doctor Who fans," he says, "and I am a Doctor Who fan, but the show is not targeted at them. And to be fair most of them say: 'For God's sake don't make it for us.' They want it to be successful. They don't want it to be a niche thing, because then it would die." Moffat's earliest Who memory is of watching Patrick Troughton and wondering where the real Doctor, William Hartnell, had gone. "That's [The Doctor] now," his father told him. Young Moffat, then perhaps five years old, thought he was far too young for the role. "Oh, the irony," he says. "I was the original angry fan." The Doctor Who of the 1960s cemented Moffat's idea of perfect televisual fear. "It was terrifying," he says. "It wasn't the camp or sweet or nice thing it became for a while afterwards. It wasn't improving or good for you, it just wanted to scare the crap out of you. It was the bad boy of children's television." During the dead years between cancellation and revival (1989 to 2005) Moffat moved in a circle of diehard fans based around The Fitzroy Tavern in London, which included working TV professionals like himself and Davies, writers of fan-fiction [like yer actual Keith Telly Topping, obviously!] and straightforward Who lovers. In those days the programme seemed destined to fall into the same category as The Prisoner – fondly remembered but never coming back. "Were we keepers of the flame," Moffat wonders, "or just moths circling that flame, deluding ourselves that we were influencing the fire?" They would fantasise about what they'd do if Who ever did return. As a TV writer with a few well-known shows to his name – Press Gang, Chalk and then Coupling – Moffat thought he might be in the running. He wrote a couple of short stories and an affectionate Comic Relief sketch The Curse Of The Fatal Death. "That form of fandom was much more active than it is now," he recalls, "because you only had what you could create yourself. There was no Who on TV. We had nothing."' Even better than this joyous recollection of The Good Old (Bad Old) Days, however, is one of the asinine comments below it - from one Becky P - who notes: 'We look forward to watching the fiftieth anniversary of the recommissioned series in 2055. Unfortunately, the current series remains non-canon with the original 1963-1989 series, and even the 1996 movie.' 'Non-canon', in this particular case - and, as numerous subsequent commentators point out - being 'something Becky P doesn't like.' Ah, silly, daft, glakish fangirls (and fanboys, for that matter) with a sodding great chip on their shoulder that things aren't being done just so. Don't ya just lurv 'em the mostest, baby?
In the same paper, there's also a piece by John Plunkett Doctor Who's Fiftieth anniversary stirs up old battle which quotes extensively Moffat's comments in Radio Times about how stupid the BBC was to cancel the show in the late eighties and then brings in Michael Grade for Round Two of 'who's the hardest?' - no biting, gouging or punching below the waistline, let's make it clean, chaps: 'Grade defends his decision to axe the show: "It was absolutely the right decision at the time." Grade, who went on to be chairman of the BBC governors and executive chairman of ITV, says: "My argument with the producer was that the same audience watching Doctor Who was watching Star Wars and ET. The show was ghastly. It was pathetic. It just got more and more violent; they resorted to the most horrific hangings. It was just horrible to watch. It lost its way." It took someone like Russell Davies, who oversaw its return in 2005, to breathe new life into the show, he says. "Russell brought such imagination to it. Now the production values are high, the scripts are witty, it's full of invention. And digital effects today enable you to do so much more. The only connection it has with its previous life is the title and the premise, but it's light years ahead. I'm pleased that the show's back and in such good health – it was a brave decision to bring it back. If [Russell] said he was going to do it, and with such enthusiasm, even I would have commissioned it."' So, it was all the late JNT's fault for making it crap, commissioning Vengeance On Varos and casting Colin Baker, apparently. There you have it, dear blog reader. Grade one, listed, as it were.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirra has published a clip from BBC Breakfast featuring Lizo Mzimba's on-set report and a previously unseen clip from the fiftieth anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor. One which shows David Tennant threatening a rabbit with his sonic screwdriver. The total bastard. In the 'sneak peak', Dave his very self - reprising his role as The Doctor, as if you actually needed telling that, dear blog reader - confronts the hapless bunny after mistaking it for an alien in disguise. As you do. He warns it: 'Whatever you've got planned, forget it. I'm The Doctor. I'm nine hundred and four years-old. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I'm The Oncoming Storm, the Bringer Of Darkness, and ... you're, basically, just a rabbit, aren't you?' It's quite funny, actually. The video also features some comments from David with him insisting that returning to the show for the fiftieth anniversary was not a difficult choice. He explained: 'Not really. If the call comes to celebrate Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary then it would be churlish to turn it down.' Var nigh impossible, one could suggest. Although apparently Eccleston managed it.
There's also a very good interview with yer actual Jemma Redgrave in the Independent to tie in with her reprised guest role in The Day Of The Doctor: 'Redgrave's peak Doctor Who-viewing years were the early 1970s, when, classically, she'd watch from behind the sofa. "I would then have terrible nightmares," she says. "My dad said he would take me to the BBC studios so I could see The Daleks – and that frightened me even more." Does she meet one in the anniversary special? "Can I tell?" she asks the publicist sitting in on the interview, who signals her assent. "In that case, yes, I come across a Dalek. There was no acting required. It was a scarifying moment. I work with more than one Doctor. Oh, and I worked with more than one TARDIS as well." Intriguing, or at least it will be to Whovians. "The community of Who fans have been very kind to me," she says. "Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was such a loved character and I think people were very open to his daughter making an appearance and, hopefully, touch wood, making more appearances in the future." So, she'll be back? "I think Peter Capaldi is a very exciting prospect as the new Doctor, so that would be wonderful."' Excellent. However, allow this blogger to clarify his previous comments over one little thing. It's a very good interview apart from the author - one Gerard Gilbert - using that utterly hateful, nasty term - 'Whovian.' Seriously, mate, nobody - and I mean nobody but the daftest tosser in all the land with absolutely no bloody self respect or dignity - has ever described themselves thus in public. Because to do so makes you sound like a frigging plank, basically.
Meanwhile, the first full clip from An Adventure In Space And Time has debuted online. Mark Gatiss's biopic, of course, tells the story of Doctor Who's beginnings at the BBC in 1963 and will be broadcast on BBC2 on Thursday at 9pm. Here's Syndey telling Verity what he wants (and what he doesn't want).
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's good mate Danny Blythe has written a properly excellent piece on Paul McGann's - brief, but welcome - return to the role of The Doctor on his blog and whether he should feature in more episodes in the future, possibly at the expense of the next Doctor. It's called, of course, Robbing Peter To Pay Paul and - if only because of that pun, dear blog reader - you should check it out here: 'Perhaps the odd adventure with "the flashback Doctor" would not do any harm? It's new territory - nobody has been in a position, or willing especially, to do this before - Peter Davison's Time Crash outing reminded us all how much affection his Doctor is held in, but didn't particularly lead to a call for him to do odd episodes alongside David Tennant. Everyone was happy with his status as a "past Doctor."'
What's been Tony Hall's biggest thrill since he became Director General of the BBC? It was, he tells the new issue of Radio Times, the moment he got to stand inside the TARDIS on the set of Doctor Who. 'Quite possibly the most exciting moment of my time as DG came during a visit to the set in Cardiff. The cast and crew let me "fly" the TARDIS. That is to say, stand at the central console while they ran the special effect lights,' wrote Hall. 'I was the Birkenhead schoolboy once again. And at one point Matt Smith leaned over and said, "Whatever you do, don't touch that." And just for a moment, it was all I wanted to do. Set a course and head off to the galaxy.'
An Australian parliamentarian, George Christensen MP, proudly wearing a Fourth Doctor scarf and looking not at all like a total and complete knob, has presented a motion in the Australian Parliament, acknowledging the strong links between Australia and Doctor Who a few days before the fiftieth anniversary of the show. Christensen mentioned the important role that a number of Australians have played in the long history of Doctor Who - specifically mentioning Bunny Webber, Tony Coburn, Ron Grainer, Dudley Simpson, 'adopted Aussie' Katy Manning, Janet Fielding and, of course, Kylie Minogue. The motion also proposed that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Australia and the various Australian state-based film funding bodies consider offering finance to entice the BBC to film the 2015 series (or, at least some of it) in Australia to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's first Australian screening, which occurred in 1965. The motion attracted broad bipartisan support and three other parliamentarians spoke in its favour. The motion and its call for Doctor Who to be filmed in Australia has received some local media coverage, including ABC Brisbane, ABC North Queensland and the Herald Sun. Whether the Australian government or any of the other bodies mentioned do intend to pay the BBC for the travel and transport costs of the cast, crew and equipment that such an undertaking would require is not, at this time, known. Stranger things have happened, mind. Although, not, usually, in relation to politicians and paying for things, admittedly. Lovely idea, though.
The year is 1984 and a genocidal Margaret Thatcher wants to replace the human race with time-travelling aliens from another dimension. Yeah, I think I can remember that. Of course, there's only one person who can help: not Neil Kinnock, not Arthur Scargill, but The Doctor. The Time Lord has vanquished The Daleks and dispatched the universe's most evil tyrants. But now, in a story marking his fiftieth anniversary, Matt Smith's Doctor comes face-to-face with The Kin, an ancient foe of the Time Lords, which have adopted the persona of the (thankfully) late prime minister and now plan to rid the planet of humans. In the story written by Neil Gaiman, the alien Thatcher has persuaded British homeowners to sell their properties at a vast profit under a plan to rid the planet of humans and replace them with the sinister Kin. It's privatisation in action, people. The Doctor is tasked with rescuing humanity from her devilish plotting and wicked ways. While left-wing scriptwriters are reported to have inserted anti-Thatcher storylines in the series during the 1980s, according to former Doctor Sylvester McCoy, the new tale is the first official meeting of the two cultural titans. Nothing O'Clock has been written for a Penguin anthology of new short stories featuring all eleven Doctors. Neil, the best-selling author who has written two Matt Smith episodes for the series, said that he wanted to create 'a creepy Doctor Who monster of the kind that we haven't quite seen before.' The creator of The Sandman added: 'I wanted to see if I can scare people. I got to do lots of really interesting things including have the voice of the late Margaret Thatcher. She's there in 1984 and it was really a strange discovery that actually there's nothing quite as scary as a classic Doctor Who villain with Margaret Thatcher's speech patterns.' In the story, published this week, the fictional Thatcher – in reality The Kin wearing a mask – introduces herself to The Doctor in a familiar breathy female voice. 'You do know who we are, dear?' she asks with familiar menace. 'It would be such a shame if you didn't.' Because The Kin has adopted the Thatcher guise, The Doctor says, people 'are going to be much more willing to sell big important things, places that belong to the country, not to an individual, when they believe that the leader of their country is asking for them, personally.' Thatcher explains that they will create 'reservations' for the displaced humans but 'they will die out. It won't be pretty.' The Doctor rips off the Thatcher mask to reveal a face that 'writhed and squirmed.' Just like Margaret Thatcher, in fact. Readers can discover whether The Doctor foils the alien Thatcher's master-plan when Gaiman's story is released as an e-book download on Thursday. Although, you can probably guess in advance. A physical anthology, including ten other Doctor Who stories written by authors including Charlie Higson and Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman, will also be published. Gaiman would like to see a television adaptation of the Thatcher/Doctor face-off. 'There was definitely part of me who went, "You know, wouldn't it be fun to put this on screen?"' he said. 'Wouldn't this be fun to see if I can actually make people wee themselves with terror in real life?' During the 1980s, the story The Happiness Patrol featured a caricature of Thatcher, called Helen A, a big-haired despotic ruler of a human colony on the planet Terra Alpha, played by Sheila Hancock. Andrew Cartmel, the Doctor Who scriptwriter at the time also inserted a speech based on CND material in an episode. Sylvester McCoy said: 'We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster The Doctor had encountered.'

ITV has struck a deal to bring the James Bond franchise back to free-to-air television, including the latest film, Skyfall, which will be shown next year. The broadcaster, which last year lost its almost forty-year hold on free-to-air rights to the Bond films after BSkyB struck a deal to launch a dedicated channel and broadcast the full back-catalogue, has renewed its long-standing relationship with MGM Worldwide Television. Under the multi-year deal, the broadcaster will show all twenty three films in the spy franchise. 'Skyfall is the highest grossing film of all time at the UK box office and proves not only the enduring popularity of the Bond franchise, but also its iconic status,' said Angela Jain, ITV's director of digital channels and acquisitions. 'I am delighted we have the entire Bond library of films on Britain's biggest commercial channel, a fantastic treat for all viewers.' The broadcaster last struck a two-year deal to keep the exclusive free-to-air TV rights for the Bond films in 2010. BSkyB swooped last year to snap up all rights to the catalogue and launch a Sky Movies channel dedicated to showing Bond films, tying in with the launch of Skyfall and the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the first Bond movie, Dr No. Bond movies have been a staple of ITV's output since 1975. Sky has held pay-TV rights to new Bond movies since the 1990s, giving the satellite broadcaster the UK TV premiere of each. 'MGM is thrilled to partner again with ITV to bring James Bond home to UK audiences,' said Chris Ottinger, president of international television distribution and acquisitions at MGM. 'The Bond franchise is a jewel in the MGM library and we are delighted to share the films with the viewers across the United Kingdom.'

The surviving members of Monty Python's Flying Circus are reuniting for a stage show, Terry Jones has confirmed. Jones, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Michael Palin will appear together at a press conference in London this Thursday. 'We're getting together and putting on a show - it's real,' Jones told the BBC. 'I'm quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!' The five members reportedly held months of secret talks about a new project and Eric Idle has also tweeted several teases about the reunion over the past week. The group have reunited on-and-off over the past thirty years, with the last official Python project involving all surviving members being 1999's BBC2 Monty Python Night dedicated to the troupe. The last time the five remaining members appeared together on stage was in 1998 at the Aspen Comedy Festival. Idle tweeted on Monday: 'Only three days to go till the Python press conference. Make sure Python fans are alerted to the big forthcoming news event.' He added on Tuesday: 'Python meeting this morning. Can't wait. Press Conference Thursday will apparently be live on Sky News.' Cleese also tweeted about the event, saying: 'Monty Python is set to be a flying circus all over again.' Last year, John Cleese revealed that plans for a reunion had stalled. 'The truth is, I don't think any one of us knows what's going on,' he said. 'Terry [Gilliam] rang us about eighteen months ago and said, "If we make this movie and I direct it, will you do a voice for it?" As far as I know, everyone said yes, and that's the last we heard about it.' The sixth member, the late Graham Chapman, died in 1989.
If you were looking for any proof, dear blog reader, that the British public, when presented with 'any old crap', will sometimes watch the bugger, ITV's 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) began its thirteenth series with its best-ever opening episode overnight ratings, attracting twelve million sad, crushed victims of society – nearly half the Sunday night TV audience in the 9pm slot. This blogger instantly resigned from humanity in protest though, to be honest, I don't think it did much good. The jungle reality Victorian freak-show presented by Ant and/or Dec their very selves had an average of twelve million voyeuristic punters between 9pm and 10.30pm, a forty six and a half per cent share of the available audience, with a five-minute peak of 12.9 million. Its audience was up from 10.6 million punters who watched last year's launch show. 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)'s audience added to the viewers inherited from The X Factor results show, which averaged 9.3 million between 8pm and 9pm making it a jolly top night all round for ITV (and, more importantly, their advertisers). The talent show, however, once again lagged behind BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing results show, which was watched by 9.6 million viewers between 7.15pm and 8pm as Fiona Fullerton and her partner, Anton Du Beke left the contest. With more z-listers than usual in the line-up of contestants, including former Olympic swimmer and Mad Frankie Boyle punchline Rebecca Adlington (in what must surely be her most embarrassing TV appearance since the time she got spanked by a fifteen year old in the Olympics last year), ex-world snooker champion Steve Davis and TV presenter Matthew Wright (along with several alleged celebrities whom you will, likely, never have heard of), the audience for this year's 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) was its biggest ever. It eclipsed the previous high of 11.8 million viewers in 2011, and the 11.2 million who watched in 2010. The show's baffling popularity meant that it was a low-key debut for David Dimbleby's new BBC1 show, Britain And The Sea, despite all the publicity surrounding Dimbles' new tattoo. The four-part series, in which Dimbleby takes a voyage around Britain while exploring the country's maritime heritage, set sail with 2.7 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. It meant that ITV dominated the peak-time ratings, with The X Factor watched by more than double the 4.2 million who watched BBC1's department store drama The Paradise between 8pm and 9pm. Also at 9pm, the further adventures of Carrie Mathison and Nicholas Brody in Homeland had 1.7 million viewers on Channel Four between 9pm and 10pm. It had the better of the third of BBC2's three-part natural history extravaganza, Africa 2013: Countdown To The Rains, watched by 1.4 million viewers also between 9pm and 10pm. Great Continental Railway Journeys was the most popular BBC2 show of the night, with 2.4 million viewers between 8pm and 9pm, ahead of Channel Four's Secret History documentary about Queen Victoria's eldest grandson, with 1.7 million. On BBC3, Doctor Who's Greatest Monsters And Villains Weekend peaked at six hundred and ninety five thousand. An episode of Lewis on ITV3 which had a similar figure.

Here's the consolidated figures for the Top Twenty Four programmes, week-ending 10 November 2013:-
1 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 11.70m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.26m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 10.23m
4 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 9.64m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.78m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.57m*
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.34m
8 The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance - Sat BBC1 - 5.58m
9 Atlantis - Sat BBC1 - 5.52m
10 The Paradise - Sun BBC1 - 5.50m
11 Ripper Street - Mon BBC1 - 5.48m
12 The Escape Artist - Tues BBC1 - 5.32m
13 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.28m
14 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.27m
15 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.22m
16 Britain On The Fiddle - Wed BBC1 - 5.01m
17 Agatha Christie's Poirot - Wed ITV - 5.00m*
18 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.94m
19 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.74m
20 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.64m
21 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.64m
22 The Nation's Favourite Elvis Song - Fri ITV - 4.48m*
23 WatchDog - Wed BBC1 - 4.10m
24 Match of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 4.06m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated show of the week was, by a distance, MasterChef: The Professionals which saw all four of its weekly episodes top the three million mark, the highest being Monday's episode with 3.59m. That was followed by University Challenge (3.30m). Homeland topped Channel Four's ratings (2.91m) and The Mentalist was Channel Five's highest performed (1.87m). Sky Sports's Live Ford Super Sunday coverage of Premier League football pulled in a whopping 2.46m. The Saturday night episode of The X Factor was watched by 9.32m on ITV. Strictly's Sunday audience was 10.79m.

In the book Behind the Sofa: Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who (in which the various z-list alleged 'celebrities' - including Wincey Willis, no less - talk about watching Doctor Who in their formative years), a contribution from the ex-Tory MP, chit-lit author and full-of-her-own-importance glake Louise Bagashite Mensch suggests that she is, once again, looking for an Internet fight from which she will emerge looking both silly and even more silly. So, no change there, then. Previously outspoken in arguing that The Doctor must be an 'alpha male' (whatever the Hell that's supposed to mean), Mensch goes further in her piece by whinging - in classic The Special People-style(e) - that every Doctor since Tom Baker (Christopher Eccleston possibly excepted) 'has been so lame by comparison they barely register on the scale.' Corks. Expect a proportion of fandom to collectively descend on Bagashite's Twitter account like a ravenous pack of Velociraptors and rip her, as it were, a new ringpiece, fast. Faster, in fact, than she cleared off out of politics before the voters of Corby could kick her arse into the gutter along with all the other shit.
Now, the latest Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence, number twenty eight: Rubber Soul.
Followed, as usual, by Great Daft Moments From TV History. Number twenty one: Damaris Hayman asking Neil if he 'digs graves' in The Young Ones.
Thought you'd heard the sodding daftest ever idea for a TV show, dear blog reader? Well, perhaps you'll have to think again. For, apparently, Joanna Lumley is to feature in a one-off BBC1 documentary along with will.he.is. No, this isn't a joke ... at least, I don't think it is. The actress feature with the US rapper in the hour-long special, which will see Joanna travelling to will.he.is's home in Los Angeles. That's in America, apparently. Why, no one knows. Lumley spent time at The Voice presenter's mansion in Los Feliz, met his friends and family and visited his childhood home in the social housing projects in East LA. The actress said in a statement: 'I have long been fascinated by will.he.is and leapt at the chance of meeting him and finding out more about his extraordinary life and achievements. He was everything I had hoped he would be, and more: charming, articulate, a whirlwind of ambition and talent, as sweet as pie and as dandy as a peacock.' Yes. Quite. BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said of the programme: 'In this very special documentary for BBC1, Joanna Lumley spends time with the intriguing will.he.is, hanging out with his friends and family and delving into his background to find out just what motivates this extraordinarily driven individual, who seems more than anybody else to define the pace, energy and creativity of the time in which we live.' will.he.is will discuss his childhood, school days and his early music career with Lumley. He will also delve into his success with The Black Eyed Peas Group and as a producer and solo artist. Emma Willis, Head of Documentary Commissioning for the BBC, added: 'We're absolutely delighted to be welcoming Joanna Lumley back to factual television on the BBC. Joanna is one of Britain's most popular personalities and will bring warmth and insight to this unique documentary.' Joanna Lumley Meets will.he.is - snappy title - is expected to be shown on BBC1 in 2014. To an audience of but four, probably.

Yer actual Anthony McPartlin and/or Declan Donnelly his very self will be the final castaways on this year's Desert Island Discs on 29 December. It will be the first time in more than twenty five years that two guests have appeared together on the Radio 4 show. The last pair to be marooned together were Spitting Image creators Fluck and Law, in 1987. Ant and/or Dec - who appear to be joined at the effing hip - will choose two songs individually and four together as well as a luxury item and a book each for their time on the desert island. The pair, of course, met when they worked as child actors on Byker Grove. They have gone on to host shows including Britain's Got Toilets, Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and 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). And risible and spectacular flop Red Or Black? of course. can't forget that one. Other festive shows on Radio 4 include a version of National Velvet starring Alison Steadman and John Sessions and a Christmas edition of Just A Minute starring Pam Ayres, Stephen Mangan, Gyles Brandreth and Paul Merton. Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams said: 'While the festive season invites us to indulge in rich food and drink, I know Radio 4 listeners will also welcome the chance to indulge their minds.' Not sure quite how Ant and/or Dec fit into that particular description but, I'm sure, we'll find out in due course.

A gardening contest featuring nine pairs of amateur horticulturalists (yes, it is a proper word) is to air on BBC2 next year, presented by Fern Britton. Grow, Make, Eat: The Great Allotment Challenge - the show's working title - will include skills tests such as growing vegetables and making jam. In a format similar to The Great British Bake-Off, one couple will be eliminated each week. The series will be filmed in a walled garden in Oxfordshire. Each pair of contestants will have four months prior to the filmed challenges to harvest their crop. The challenges will test their knowledge, creativity and culinary skills. The series will feature three experts who are authorities in their field - horticulturalist Jim Buttress, floral expert Jonathan Moseley, who will cast a creative eye over the floral arrangements and preserves connoisseur Thane Prince. The programme is expected to be broadcast in early 2014. The Great British Bake-Off recently became BB2's most-watched programme in a decade, after 8.4 million punters saw Frances Quinn win series four recently. The successful amateur baking competition is judged by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood and fronted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. It will be moving to BBC1 for its fifth series next year.
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks was 'a demanding editor' of the Sun who expected everyone who worked for the paper to 'pull in the same direction', the Old Bailey has been told. That direction, presumably, being straight towards billionaire tyrant Rupert Murodch. On the sixteenth day of the phone-hacking trial, the jury also heard that editorial staff at the tabloid were not given training about issues relating to phone-hacking before the arrest of the former Scum of the World royal editor Clive Goodman in 2006 despite a clause in the Press Complaints Commission code of practice regarding 'interception of private telephone conversations.' The court was also told that although the Sun may be unpopular among some sections of society because of its page three pictures or its politics, the people who work on it are some of the best in the business. Justin Walford, an editorial lawyer on the Sun, said the paper was 'a national institution' which provided 'entertaining journalism' but also 'proper news' and campaigns and 'had something to say to a section of people' in the country. And lies about Liverpool football supporters, obvious, can't forget that. 'Obviously there are many people who do not like what the Sun stands for; [because] of page three or politics or whatever. But most fair people would say they [the staff] were highly professional. You don't get to work on the Sun unless you are very good. Obviously I work there, but that's my honest opinion,' claimed Walford. He was being cross-examined by Jonathan Laidlaw QC, counsel for well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, the former editor of the Sun and the Scum of the World and former chief executive of News International. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks is facing five charges in relation to three alleged conspiracies centring on phone-hacking, illegal payments to public officials and perversion of the course of justice. Walford described well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks as 'very demanding' and 'passionate' about the Sun during his time there. 'She has a strong personality. She has strong views and she expected hard work and everyone pull in the same direction to get stories into the newspaper,' he said. He claimed that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was the type of editor who demanded explanations for legal queries on stories. 'She was certainly demanding. It was not for convenience. It was "tell me what the legal issues are,"' he said. Walford joined News Group Newspapers – the News International subsidiary that publishes the Sun – in 2005, two years after well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks became editor of the paper, and had primary responsibility for checking stories for libel and privacy matters, the court heard. Occasionally he worked for the Scum of the World when its lawyer, Tom Crone, was on leave. Walford said he made inquiries after the arrest of Goodman in 2006 about phone hacking on its sister tabloid and was given assurances it did not happen on the Sun. 'I did ask a number of people when I had seen what had happened to Mr Goodman so I did ask a number of people and I was given an assurance that phone-hacking, it didn't happen on the Sun,' he claimed. of course, News International's public stance for the next four years was that phone-hacking didn't happen at the Scum of the World either, except by a lone rogue report - Goodman. We now know that to be a bare-faced lie. The prosecution showed Walford a copy of a PCC code of practice for journalists from 1999 including the clause on regarding interception of private telephone conversations. Andrew Edis QC, counsel for the crown, asked if during his time between joining NGN in 2005 and Goodman's arrest, any training was given to journalists on this, Walford said: 'I can't say that it did.' He went on to qualify this saying that he 'thought' there was 'some' training in conjunction with the PCC by the managing editor of the Sun for some journalists. 'I do not know if it was also done at the News of the World,' he said. Walford was also asked about the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Andy Coulson, who is also facing a charge related to conspiracy to hack phones during his time as editor of the Scum of the World. Walford said that in his view Coulson wanted to get stories into the paper, but listened to legal advice he was given. The trial extremely continues.

Last week began brightly for Geoff Hill, who has just replaced Deborah Turness as editor of ITV network news: 'Fantastic first day at ITV News, honoured to have the keys to David Mannion's old office,' he tweeted. Less terrific, seemingly, was day two, when he was obliged to tell staff that his business editor Laura Kuenssberg (who was, allegedly, being groomed for higher ITV things, as evidenced by her summer stint as the holiday relief for Julie Etchingham) had been nabbed by Newsnight.

John Hiscock, a veteran Los Angeles freelancer, was reportedly outraged when the Daily Scum Mail Online published an interview he had written - on an exclusive basis - for the Daily Mirra. After some forty years based in Santa Monica, plus several years on national papers in the UK before that, Hiscock knows all about Fleet Street competition, and how it leads some editors to rip-off rival papers' scoops. Similarly, he claims that he is also aware, in these digital days, that no story is 'exclusive' for very long. Nevertheless, he was 'amazed' (at least, according the Gruniad Morning Star) to see how the Scum Mail treated his interview with Emma Thompson which was published in the Mirra last Friday. In this, Emma revealed to Hiscock that forty five years ago an elderly magician hired by her parents for her eighth birthday party had kissed her 'inappropriately.' She explained that the experience had affected her so strongly it prompted her to write a handbook on sex and emotion for her own thirteen-year-old daughter, Gaia. The Scum Mail Online responded by running the interview ver batim on its site, under the byline 'Daily Mail reporter', without any attribution to Hiscock or, indeed, to the Mirra. It was, Hiscock claims, 'the most blatant and egregious case of plagiarism I have ever come across.' He was so angry that he wrote to Scum Mail Online's editor, Martin Clarke, and to the Daily Scum Mail's editor, the vile and odious rascal Dacre: 'It has been brought to my attention that you have lifted the exclusive interview I did with Emma Thompson from the Daily Mirror and reproduced it word-for-word without any attribution in the Mail Online under the heading Emma Thompson reveals that she was "sexually abused" by a magician during her eighth birthday party. It is the most blatant and egregious case of plagiarism I have ever come across and if it happens again I will take steps to ensure I am adequately compensated for the theft of my interview.' Clearly, someone at the Scum Mail Online realised it had gone too far, and the copy was rewritten the following day, but still including the direct quotes from Thompson to Hiscock. And, it was still without any reference to its provenance. The headline was also changed, but the original one - Emma Thompson reveals that she was 'sexually abused' by a magician during her eighth birthday party - can still be found on Google.
Jay Hunt, Channel Four's chief creative officer, must feel Miriam O'Reilly is fated to cause trouble for her for years to come, long after the presenter's controversial departure from Countryfile in 2009 (the subject of an industrial tribunal two years later) when Hunt was head honcho at BBC1. The latest instance occurred during the tribunal assessing whether John McCririck had, similarly, been dismissed due to ageism (he hadn't, it found, and officially declared McCririck to be 'unpalatable' to most people. Which was funny). Hunt was forced to 'clarify' a statement that she had apologised to O'Reilly – she had only done so via a Gruniad interview some months later (in which she expressed regret for 'the distress it caused for Miriam'), rather than in person or in writing. The verdict on her? 'The fact that Ms Hunt told the tribunal without qualification that she had apologised to Miriam O'Reilly goes to her credibility and is disingenuous in the extreme.' Ouch.

You may well have missed, as news of it was broken at the foot of one of Dominic Lawson's widely ignored Daily Scum Mail columns last week, the latest - alleged - BBC fakery scandal. Lawson 'revealed', scummishly, that yer man Jezza Paxman had told him of an incident that on University Challenge 'some years ago', filming was stopped so a student could use the loo. She then refused to come out (as you do) and was so determined not to that the show 'continued with just three on the team, and the BBC superimposed earlier images of the missing contestant.'

There's a very good interview with the terrific Adam Hills on the Digtial Spy website which is well worth a few moments of your time, dear blog reader. Of particular is Adam's take on recent criticism of Mock The Week by Ross Noble: 'Ross's style would never suit Mock The Week. I've had Ross on talkshows in Australia and a music quiz show that I used to host [Spicks And Specks], and when Ross was on the show you would prepare less than you would for any other show, because you just knew it was going to go off on a tangent. I think if Mock The Week had Ross on it, instead of preparing a thirty-minute show they'd have to prepare a fifteen-minute show and let Ross do the rest. It's different horses for different courses. People like Milton Jones and Stewart Francis really shine on Mock The Week because they do short, sharp jokes. I've always had a good time when I've been on it. It's quite competitive. The hardest part for me about Mock The Week is that you don't know what anyone else is going to say. It becomes a competition to say your joke before somebody else says the same joke. But that's the kind of show that they want to create. They want it to be competitive and fast-paced and a bit gladiatorial. I'm sure Ross would probably be more suited to The Last Leg, where he could just ramble for fifteen minutes.'
Unfunny Cock-er-knee geezer Micky Flanagan has revealed that he is writing a new TV sitcom. So, that'll be worth avoiding, then.

Paul O'Grady is reportedly in hospital after suffering from an angina attack. The presenter was replaced by Michael Ball on his talk show on Monday and is scheduled to undergo surgery later, according to the Liverpool Echo. O'Grady's friend, Peter Price, said that the presenter is 'in good spirits' but is expected to be out of action 'for some time.' O'Grady told Price in a text message: 'I have had an angina attack and I will need a few days' rest. I am going to be out of the game for quite a while, and am going in for surgery tomorrow.' Price admitted that he is concerned that the fifty eight-year-old, who has suffered two heart attacks in the past, has 'been overdoing it.'

One final hangover from last week's - quite superb - Record Player (Electric Ladyland, just in case you've forgotten) was a flyer (and a few slightly blurry ohotos) from a December 1967 gig at Newcastle's City Hall which Jimi and The Experience played and which Uncle Scunthorpe used in the evening's - properly psychedelic - slide show. Check out the acts on the bill, dear blog reader!
The Experience, The Move, The Floyd (with Syd), Amen Corner, The Nice ... that's a quality line-up for yer two and six or whatever it cost to get in (fifteen shilling, actually, according to the ticket). Perhaps almost as good as the show held at the Blackpool Opera House on 16 August 1964 when, for thruppence (or whatever) you could've had spent the night watching sets from The Who (still The High Numbers at that stage), The Kinks and, topping the bill, The Be-Atles (they were popular beat combo of the 1960s, dear blog reader, you might have heard of them).
And, Adrienne Poster, admittedly. Do you ever get the feeling you were, simply, born ten years too late, dear blog reader? Mind you, to be fair yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self got to see The Jam, The Clash, The Blockheads, The Specials and The Smiths live all in their prime - and many others, for that matter - so, you know, swings and roundabouts and all that.

In preparation for this coming Thursday's Record Player event at the Tyneside, dear blog reader (a spectacular Siouxsie-and-co-versus-Shelley-and-co face-off), this week as somewhat irregular feature on Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, yer actual Keith Telly Topping will, mostly, be playing Buzzcocks' b-sides. Starting with this twenty four carat classic.

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