Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Is Very Expensive

The BBC have released a trailer for Christmas Day programming on BBC1, which as well as including Doctor Who (7:30pm) also features Strictly Come Dancing (5:00pm), Call The Midwife (6:15pm), Eastenders (8:30pm), Mrs Brown's Boys (9:30pm) and Michael McIntyre's Showtime (10:00pm). BBC America have also released an exclusive new one minute trailer for the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special.
Two more pictures from The Time Of The Doctor have been released by the BBC, with both of them appearing to show Smudger in the naughty nuddy (albeit inside the TARDIS rather than in public). They were released to media following Wednesday night's press screening of the Christmas episode. The event was held at the BFI in London.
Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor' and EastEnders have helped BBC iPlayer achieve its third biggest month on record in November. The celebratory episode of the long-running popular fmaily SF drama was played 1.3 million times in just twenty four hours, beating the previous iPlayer record of one million requests held by the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Overall iPlayer requests reached two hundred and sixty three million by the end of the month, a twenty seven per cent rise year-on-year. Daily requests averaged out at eight million and weekly requests exceeded fifty six million. Test Match Cricket and Premier League Football were among the most popular radio requests during November, along with Radio 4 comedies I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and The News Quiz. Meanwhile, the BBC announced that the new series of CBBC's comedy drama series Four O'Clock Club will premiere on iPlayer, with fans able to catch new episodes one week before they are broadcast on television.

The co-creator of Sherlock, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, has revealed that the BBC detective drama could follow Doctor Who to the big screen. Speaking at a screening of the third series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional sleuth at the BFI, Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) revealed the production team had considered taking the show to cinemas. Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary episode - The Day Of The Doctor - was shown in multiplexes last month and performed well enough to make the experience worth repeating. 'If there was a really good reason [as to] why this story needs to be told in that way, then yes,' said The Moffat in response to a query at the screening. '[But] we [already] make films – we make three every eighteen months.' He added: 'There would have to be a significant reason why you'd do it. Films, for some reason, take much longer to make, so you would be reducing the amount of Sherlock you're getting. So, I'm not sure. I don't think there's anything about cinema that outranks television these days. After all, I can say that proudly because Doctor Who's fiftieth was number two at the American box office with only limited distribution!'
There are many questions Sherlock fans want answered when the series returns on New Year's Day. How did Sherlock Holmes managed that death-defying leap, for instance? How will he reveal to his friend, John Watson, that he is not, in fact, the late Sherlock? How will John react to this news? And, that moustache. Why? I mean, just why, for the love of God, why? But the world doesn't revolve around Sherlock his very self (despite what he might think) and another thing viewers will be keeping a close eye on is the dynamic between John Watson and his new love interest, Mary Morstan. Marty Freeman's real-life partner, yer actual Amanda Abbington, plays the 'sensible, quick-witted' Mary – and according to their co-star Benny Cumberbatch, the two are 'delightful' together. 'You were delightful with her. Very lovely,' Benny told Marty during a BFI Q&A at the weekend, eliciting a huge 'Aaaah!' from the audience. Meanwhile, Freeman was keen to make clear that Abbington's casting had not been the result of his own demands. 'It wasn't a John and Yoko thing where I said "I want my missus in this,"' he claimed. 'I think Mark [Gatiss] and Sue [Vertue] had thought "Who would be a good Mary?" And Amanda is a really good Mary. If she was nothing to do with me she's someone who would definitely have gone up for it – she's there or thereabouts in that casting. Mark had worked with her before, Sue had worked with her before, we all just got on and we knew that chemistry would work.'

BBC1 drama The Great Train Robbery topped Wednesday's ratings, according to overnight figures. Chris Chibnall's first of a two-parter - broadcast on the night of real-life robber Ronnie Biggs's death (see below) - attracted 5.23 million at 8pm. And, actually, it was rather good. Later, a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys was watched by 4.89m at 9.30pm. On BBC2, Wartime Farm appealed to 1.39m at 7pm, followed by Food and Drink with 1.39m at 8pm. Tudor Monastery Farm gathered 1.51m at 9pm. ITV's wretched Surprise, Surprise was gawped at by 4.06m glakes at 8pm. The second part of Lucan dropped around 1.2m from last week to 2.66m at 9pm. So, all that tabloid fuss stirred up about it beforehand was, rather, over nothing. Although Chris Eccleston and Rory Kinnear were very good in it, despite both having to spot outrageous posh accents. On Channel Four, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners was watched by 1.21m at 8pm. Twenty Four Hours in A&E attracted 2.15m at 9pm, while the latest Gogglebox was up to 2.05m at 10pm. Channel Five's Excessive Compulsive Collectors was seen by four hundred and four thousand at 8pm, while Britain's Craziest Christmas Lights attracted 1.35m at 9pm. Sky Atlantic's final part of The Tunnel was watched by two hundred and sixty thousand punters at 9pm. And, they had such high hopes for it when it started, too.

Last Tango In Halifax topped Tuesday night's ratings for a second week, according to overnight data. The BBC1 romantic drama climbed slightly from last week to 5.79 million at 9pm. Later, The Matt Lucas Christmas Awards completely failed to entertain 1.89m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, a festive edition of The Great British Bake Off attracted 2.93m punters at 8pm, followed by Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve with 1.35m at 9pm. Hebburn gathered eight hundred and thirty four thousand at 10pm. ITV's broadcast of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire was watched by 3.10m at 7.30pm. On Channel Four, Location, Location, Location was watched by nine hundred and eighty two thousand at 8pm, while Heston's Great British Food brought in 1.17m at 9pm. Channel Five's Pothole Britain intrigued nine hundred and twelve thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of The Mentalist with 1.35m at 9pm and Castle with six hundred and ninety seven thousand viewers at 10pm.

Jenna Coleman her very self has said that it felt 'liberating' to leave Doctor Who behind - albeit, briefly - for her newest TV role. The twenty seven-year-old actress stars in the BBC's three-part period drama Death Comes To Pemberley - beginning on Boxing Day at 8.15pm on BBC1. 'It's been lovely,' Jenna said. 'It's been very liberating. It's nice to to be able to [explore] a completely different period [and] a lovely role.' Coleman will also star in Doctor Who's Christmas special The Time Of The Doctor on Christmas Day - yer actual Matt Smith's final episode with the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama. 'I'm going to be annoying a lot of people come Christmas,' she said. 'But my grandma will be very happy.' Based on a novel by PD James, Death Comes To Pemberley is a sequel to Pride And Prejudice, set six years after Jane Austen's novel ends. '[Austen's book is] very rich and when something is as rich as that, you can do lots of adaptations and they can be completely different,' Jenna claimed. 'There's so many places to go with the material and different ways to explore it. You can be influenced by the other pieces but I think this is very much our own take.'

Dynamo's UKTV series Magician Impossible is to be shown on BBC1, it has been announced. Three episodes of the four-part series - which was broadcast on Watch in 2011 - will be shown on BBC1 at 5.35pm from Saturday 11 January. The entertainer's first series saw the impressive Dynamo his very self travelling the world and shocking and stunning members of the public with his tricks. And, with his Bradford accent more than once. Dynamo: Magician Impossible broadcast its second series in 2012, followed by a third earlier this year. The show has received nominations from BAFTA, the Royal Television Society, the Broadcast Awards and the National Television Awards. A fourth series is currently in production and will premiere on Watch in 2014.

It was an afternoon treat for Countdown viewers of a certain disposition. The Channel Four programme's final conundrum round on Wednesday featured the nine-letter anagram 'ITCHYSEMI' – prompting sniggers among students everywhere who really should have been in the library. Instead of making up the majority of the afternoon quiz's audience along with pensioners and the unemployed. It's not the first time the programme makers have enjoyed a bit of fun with the conundrum, offering up 'LARGEBAPS' a few years ago. Then there have been those unhappy accidents where the contestants' selection of letters have offered up 'shitface', 'wankers', 'orgasmed' and 'semprini'. Despite much head scratching, neither of the contestants in Wednesday's semi-final cracked this harder than usual conundrum. The answer – 'mythicise'. if it's any consolation, lads, yer actual Keith Telly Topping didn't get it either.
Will Mellor and Jill Halfpenny have been cast in BBC1's upcoming drama In the Club. Hermione Norris, Tara Fitzgerald and Katherine Parkinson are also among the cast members of the six-part series from The Syndicate's Kay Mellor. In the Club will be centred around the birth of a new baby in a modern family, following six different couples who connect at the local Parent Craft class. Jonathan Kerrigan, Christine Bottomley, Luke Thompson, Taj Atwal, Sacha Dhawan and Hannah Midgley have also been cast. Kay Mellor said: 'I'm really excited by the calibre of cast we've attracted; the level of talent is staggering. I feel flattered and honoured to have such amazing actors bringing my characters to life.' Norris will play businesswoman Roanna, who has two adult children and finds herself pregnant again with her young artist lover Simon (played by Thompson). Diana (Halfpenny) and Rick (Mellor) are expecting a 'miracle' child after being told they could never conceive. However, a scan reveals another shock, while Rick hides his own secret. Susie (Fitzgerald) and Kim (Parkinson) are expecting their second child via the same biological father. Kim is pregnant with the child this time around, but the arrangement with Susie's ex and sperm donor Neil (Kerrigan) has unexpected consequences. Yasmin (Atwal) and husband Dev (Dhawaan) are together through an arranged marriage, and are now expecting their 'honeymoon baby'. However, issues arise over the baby's due date. Rosie (Midgley) is a schoolgirl who is hiding her pregnancy from everyone in her life, while midwife Vicky (Bottomley) is terrified of her own birth, especially when it comes to who the father of the baby is. In the Club begins filming in and around Leeds in January.

The BBC executive responsible for Miranda, Mrs Brown's Boys and The Thick Of It has been promoted to a new role overseeing all of the corporation's in-house drama, entertainment and comedy production. Mark Freeland, who is currently the BBC's controller of comedy production, takes one of two new roles created by director of television Danny Cohen following the departure of Pat Younge, the BBC's chief creative officer in charge of all in-house production. Freeland becomes controller of fiction and entertainment, alongside Natalie Humphreys, who was appointed, controller of factual production. Announcing the appointment on Wednesday, Cohen said: 'Mark's appointment as controller, fiction and entertainment comes at a very exciting time for BBC Productions. We now have a fantastic new leadership team to build on our creative successes and drive the team forward to make even more brilliant programmes. Mark understands the creative risks needed to ensure BBC productions continue to be known for their quality and innovation across the world. His track record speaks for him. He has led a team that has produced the biggest comedy hits of recent times from Miranda to Mrs Brown's Boys, The Thick Of It to The Wrong Mans. He has driven a high volume of new creative business and brought some of the most talented people in the world to work at the BBC.' In his new role the BBC said Freeland would also be 'working closely with BBC Worldwide to ensure that the creative flair, ambition and growth of in-house business is achieved hand-in-hand in with its commercial partner.' Freeland was previously at Sherlock producer Hartswood Films, between 2005 and 2007, and before that was head of comedy commissioning at the BBC, with credits including Qi, Marion and Geoff and The Mighty Boosh. Freeland said: 'Over the last six years, working in comedy production, alongside amazing on-and-off-screen talent, the BBC has let me express myself creatively. I have had the best time. I want to carry that on and lead and learn from a fantastic group of storytellers – in drama, entertainment and comedy and shape a company of confident, ambitious, creatively hungry programme-makers.'
Clive Goodman, the former royal editor on the Scum of the World jailed in relation to phone-hacking offences would rarely 'stir himself' and go out and get stories, it was claimed at the Old Bailey. Stuart Kuttner, the paper's former managing editor, told police in an interview after his own arrest in 2011, that he was 'puzzled' by payment requests from Goodman for stories and by his constant presence in the office. He claimed that Goodman was 'irritated' by queries over his requests for payments because he was a former news editor who would 'have had the authority' to sanction payments himself, adding that Kuttner 'never understood' why Goodman did not leave the office. He continued: 'I was not his line boss, but eventually, I learned that no matter what, he would not stir himself and go out and cover stories, that seemed to be a negation of a reporter's role.' According to a transcript of his police interview read out to the jury in the Old Bailey phone-hacking trial on Tuesday, Kuttner claimed that 'eventually', he and the paper's then editor well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, 'did a job in Paris like two journalists that we'd wanted Clive to do.' Kuttner told police that they 'went to see a man called John Bryan' who had 'had a relationship' with Sarah Ferguson, the Grand Old Duchess of York (she had ten thousand quid) and who 'had come round to the view that in return for a lot of money he'd sell his story.' Neil Wallis, who was then working for the Sun, was also on the train. 'Unfortunately, whoever ran Eurostar managed to make it the longest ever journey to Paris – seventeen hours.' Kuttner said that Goodman would ask to approve payments which, he felt, were sometimes 'out of kilter with what appeared in the paper' – up to three hundred smackers for 'little snippets.' In the 2011 police interview, Kuttner repeatedly denied 'all knowledge' of phone-hacking, including an alleged conspiracy with the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson, who was editor between 2003 and 2007, when he had to resign over the conviction and subsequent jailing of Goodman in relation to interception of the voice messages of members of the royal household. Asked if he 'ever conspired with Mr Coulson to hack in to mobile phones', Kuttner replied: 'No, I did not.' Asked if he was 'aware of him conspiring with others or actually hacking into mobile phones himself', he replied: 'No, I am not.' He claimed that he 'liked' Coulson, whom he described as 'competitive, astute' and more 'enthusiastic' than some others he had dealt with in his twenty nine-year career. Asked if he ever knew prior to Goodman's arrest that he was tasking Glenn Mulcaire to hack phones, Kuttner claimed: 'Absolutely not.' He said that the first he heard of Mulcaire 'possibly' was when he was arrested along with Goodman in 2006. Kuttner also denied knowing that Goodman was putting through payments for a man called 'Alexander', a pseudonym used by Mulcaire. 'I trusted staff, I had no reason on earth to think that Clive Goodman or indeed anybody was inventing people,' he told police. 'Why Mr Goodman should invent another person, I've no idea. If he was paying Mulcaire, he should have been paying Mulcaire.' Kuttner claimed that he never knew the identities of the people he was paying 'beyond the information on the docket.' Asked if there was 'a culture of inventing names' for payment on the paper, he said: 'Not that I'm aware.' Kuttner also claimed that he didn't question who Alexander – a name used for Mulcaire by Goodman in the paper's payments system – was and assumed he was a bona fide contributor. 'I had no reason to distrust Clive Goodman,' he told police in a second interview conducted on 30 August 2011. He said that he 'may have approved' payments to Alexander but 'that was all.' Asked how did Goodman get away with it, Kuttner replied: 'I'm afraid he deceived the newspaper.' He also claimed Goodman would submit 'dockets' for payments and these would be part of 'thousands of financial documents' that would go through his office. The jury heard of two new aliases used by Mulcaire for payments – Jane Street and John Jenkins. Previously they had been told of three other pseudonyms, Paul Williams, 'Matey' and Alexander. Kuttner said he was 'not even aware' that hacking was possible. 'Perhaps naively until the arrest of Goodman and Mulcaire, I did not know such a thing was possible and if it was possible I certainly didn't know what the mechanics of it were,' he told police. During this interview with police in 2011, Kuttner was shown a memo from Goodman dating back to 1998 addressed to the paper's then editor, Phil Hall, discussing a payment to 'Matey' for six hundred quid. This is the earliest reference to a professional relationship between the Scum of the World and Mulcaire that the jury has been told about so far in the trial, which has now been running for eight weeks. Kuttner 'did not recognise' the e-mail nor the contracts shown to him between Mulcaire's companies and the Scum of the World. Asked by a police interviewer about the number of cash payments requested by a news desk executive, Kuttner told police: 'I have no recollection.' Asked about the 'cash only' sources of James Weatherup, a news desk executive, Kuttner told police: 'I have no recollection.' He was also quizzed about the size of the one hundred thousand knicker a year contract with Mulcaire, replying: 'I think it was a lot of money. Whether it's a lot of money for the services [Mulcaire] was providing, I don't know.' The trial continues.
Nigella Lawson used a family recipe for lasagne given to her by two Italian aides now on trial for fraud in her Nigellissima cook book, a jury has heard claimed. Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo gave her the recipe for the pasta dish from their native Calabria and were mentioned by Lawson in the book. The sisters are currently on trial accused of fraudulently spending six hundred and eighty thousand smackers on company credit cards issued by Lawson's ex-husband, Charles Saatchi. They deny the charges. The jury was shown pages from Nigellissima, a tie-in to the TV series of the same name and published in September last year, containing the recipe for 'Calabrian lasagne'. Grillo said: '[Nigella] refers to two friends from Calabria, or two sisters.' She claimed that during trips home to Italy while employed by the family, she would use the company credit card to buy food items and props for Lawson which were used in the book. In another of her books Lawson described the sisters as her 'kitchen confidantes.' Finishing her evidence, Francesca Grillo, denied that she was 'a fantasist' or 'a shopaholic' when she was accused by prosecutor Jane Carpenter of being a lying liar concerning her expenditure. 'I haven't lied to this court,' Grillo told Isleworth Crown Court in West London. 'I don't think I'm a fantasist as Miss Lawson suggested. I would have to disagree.' Carpenter said Grillo had 'admitted' being a 'shopaholic' in a telephone call after the allegations of fraud first came to light, but the defendant said of that claim: 'I don't think so.' Addressing claims that she 'took advantage' of her position and felt she was 'on to a good thing', Grillo replied: 'I didn't have to feel like I was part of a good thing. They were my family. I was very, very lucky. They loved me, I loved them back. Despite being here defending myself I still have feelings for them.' Judge Robin Johnson, giving the jury directions of law, told them that they had to decide whether the Grillos had 'behaved dishonestly. If it was dishonest, you must decide if the defendant realised what she was doing was dishonest,' he said, adding that the authorisation for purchases could have been specific or implied. Carpenter, making her closing speech, stressed that the jury 'had to remember' that the sisters were the ones facing charges. 'It might have seemed at times that other people were on trial,' she told them, saying that she was referring to Saatchi and Lawson. She described it as 'utter nonsense' that the couple would authorise the Grillos' alleged level of personal expenditure. The prosecutor said: 'Did [the defendants] abuse their positions while working in Mr Saatchi's and Miss Lawson's household? Did they do that for their own personal gain? Clearly you will know that the Crown say they were spending more as time passed, as they grew bolder and greedier.' Carpenter said it was a feature of the Italians' defence that because the Grillo sisters were 'part of the family, they were entitled to spend in the same way the family did. That, you must appreciate, is utter rubbish and cannot possibly have been the case,' she said. 'Just because Mr Saatchi is a very wealthy man obviously does not mean he should be defrauded by his staff, specifically Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo.' She added that Lawson had given evidence about her marriage and about 'previous drug-taking with much clarity and with much detail. She made it abundantly clear she had not sanctioned the extraordinary levels of spending you see on the cards.' The jury has retired to consider their verdict.

Tulisa Contostavlos has denied being involved in the supply of class A drugs. The singer denied the charge at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday. She was arrested in June after an undercover investigation by the Sun On Sunday. Musician Michael Coombs, of Velocity Way, Enfield, who also uses the name Mike GLC, pleaded not guilty to the same charge. Contostavlos is accused of being 'concerned with the supply of 13.9 grams of cocaine' to the Sun On Sunday's undercover reporter, Mazher Mahmood, sometimes known as The Fake Sheikh, between 20 and 24 May. The singer was forced to disclose her address to the court after her solicitor applied for it to be withheld to prevent 'unwanted visitors.' Chief magistrate Howard Riddle ruled 'the address must be given' after considering the application with representations from prosecutor Emma Scheer and the Press Association. The singer then told the court: 'Just to let you know, after it being read out, in the next month or so I might have to move to a new address.' The judge appeared rather disinterested in hearing further details of her domestic living arrangements but granted both defendants unconditional bail and told them the case was to be sent to Southwark Crown Court where they will appear on 9 January.

Ofcom has cleared a routine by Lady Gaga on The X Factor which attracted hundreds of whingers. Three hundred and seventeen people - with nothing better to do with their time, seemingly - moaned directly to the regulator about the 27 October performance of 'Do What U Want' and 'Venus', which featured the singer wearing flesh-coloured underwear and a seashell bra. well, smack her bottom for such naughty badness and send her to bed with no supper. A further sixty numskulls whinged directly to ITV, suggesting that, this was a very bad thing indeed in its horribleness and that it was 'too explicit' to be seen before the 9pm watershed. Ofcom categorised the incident under 'Scheduling' on its table of whinges assessed, but not investigated in its latest Broadcast Bulletin. It said: 'This is a list of complaints that, after careful assessment, Ofcom has decided not to pursue because they did not raise issues warranting investigation.' Following the initial complaints, an ITV spokesman said: 'We do not believe Lady Gaga's performance was inappropriate for the family audience of The X Factor results show, which has an established tradition of featuring performances from the biggest music stars. Lady Gaga is well known for her highly individual performance style.' In 2010, performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera in The X Factor final sparked thousands of equally glakesque whinges from planks. Ofcom investigated the performances at the time, and ruled that they were not in breach of its guidelines. It also noted that many of the complaints had been made following - a typically thoughtful and considered - coverage in the Daily Scum Mail, which had featured a number of stills which were 'significantly more graphic and close-up' than the material that had actually been broadcast on the programme, and 'taken from a different angle to the television cameras.' The Daily Scum Mail had run a thoroughly odious and mean-spirited double-page spread featuring stills from the two singers' performances, published alongside a headline reading: We apologise to readers but you have to see these pictures to understand the fury they've stirred, a tactic which Ofcom was particularly critical of in making the alleged offence seem worse than it, actually, was. However, Ofcom also warned that broadcasters of programmes which attract family audiences 'should recognise the significant potential for causing offence', and that care must be taken to 'provide appropriate protection for those audiences.'
Sky has received a right good telling-off for airing a condom advert featuring a couple appearing to have big hot sweaty thrusting sex immediately after a broadcast of the family movie Ice Age 4. The Durex advert featured couples in a variety of 'sensual embraces' – including a woman sitting on top of a man (presumably about to give him a some trombone) which advertising watchdog the ASA said 'could be interpreted as alluding to sexual activity.' A voiceover stated 'When great sex moves you, nothing else matters. Love sex.' In its defence, BSkyB said that the advert aired at 9.32pm on Sky Movies Premiere, in line with a restriction that it should not be broadcast until after the 9pm watershed, and live post-transmission ratings showed a zero per cent index of children between the ages of four and nine years old would have been watching. However, a single viewer - presumably with nothing better to do with his or her time - whinged to the Advertising Standards Authority that the advert was 'inappropriately scheduled' because Ice Age 4 was likely to appeal to audiences under the age of sixteen years old. Or, at least, with a mental age of under sixteen. The ASA said that whilst the advert did not show any nudity or sexual activity, some scenes 'could be interpreted as alluding to sexual activity.' Which is, obviously, horrible and rotten and show never be shown to anyone in case it encourages them to go out and having lots of big hot sweaty thrusting sex. Obviously. It added that the 'overall tone' of the voiceover 'heightened' the sensual nature of the advert. The watchdog said that while the advert was broadcast in line with the post-9pm restriction broadcasters needed to 'exercise responsible judgment' on scheduling to 'avoid juxtaposition' with certain programmes. 'Because we considered that the ad had been scheduled around a programme that was commissioned for and likely to appeal particularly to children, including those under ten years old, we concluded the ad had not met the scheduling requirements arising from the product classification and had been broadcast at an unsuitable time,' said the ASA. 'We told BSkyB to take more care with their scheduling in future.' Sky were also given a jolly good smacked bottom for such naughtiness. Which you have to pay good money for down Soho. Apparently.
The Daily Scum Mail's resident gobby shitehawk (and drag) Ephraim Hardcastle's diary column couldn't resist picking up on some apparently Eurosceptic comments made by the culinary legend Michel Roux Senior. Roux reportedly said: 'The EU's increasing and bewildering intrusion into national lives dilutes countries' identities as it marches on with its alarming aim of an "ever closer union."' Rubbing its hands with glee, the Scum Mail describes Roux as 'French-born MasterChef chef', adding 'Let's hope Roux's chance of future appearances on the Europhile BBC survives such heresy.' All very well and good, except that it isn't Michel Roux Senior, aged seventy two, who is a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals (though he has appeared on it a few times), but rather his nephew the lovely Michel Roux Junior, fifty three. As Michel Junior would probably say on MasterChef when presented with a dish of hot tongue and tripe: 'Hmm ... Not good.' Somebody in the Daily Scum Mail talking a load of inaccurate cobblers in relation to the BBC? What are the chances?
Happy days for the BBC's James Landale when he was tasked with going out to Richmond-on-Thames to find residents' views about the possible expansion of Heathrow Airport. Who should he stumble across but the actor Henry Winkler, who is starring as Captain Hook in the town's panto, Peter Pan. 'Are you a voter?' asked Landale, who didn't take too long to realise who he was talking to. The BBC reporter ploughed on regardless (later admitting that he became a 'gabbling, star-struck idiot'), Winkler gave the prospect of another runway at the airport the thumbs up. The Happy Days superstar then wandered off before he could be asked whether London mayor Boris Johnson, backing controversial plans for a brand new airport in the Thames estuary, had jumped the shark. Or, in deed, whether he should sit on it. Ayyyy.

ITV has allegedly 'banned' jokes about Scousers and drunken Australians from the revival of Birds Of A Feather, the sitcom's writer has whinged. Oh dear. How sad. Still, that's two more reasons not to watch the fekker. Laurence Marks says that he had a 'huge row’ with executives, who told him that it was 'unacceptable' stereotyping to suggest someone from Australia might be a drunk. And he claimed 'priceless' guidelines from regulator Ofcom banned the word 'Scouser' saying: 'It's racist, apparently.' His comments came in a sixteen hundred-word rant in the Daily Scum Mail (of course), complaining about the swearing at the British Comedy Awards, which he compared to a 'boozy and aggressive barrack room. There is simply no need for them to reduce their behaviour to the standards of cavemen,' he said of the comedians 'spraying obscene words around as if they were aerosol.' The sixty five-year-old whinger – who co-wrote Birds Of A Feather with Maurice Gran; and, frankly, for that sin, alone, deserves to have not a single thing he ever says listened to – accused broadcasters of 'double standards' in allowing so many expletives during the awards, but not mild (if crass, banal and twenty years out of date) national stereotypes in their script. He wrote: 'There was a huge row when we described someone as Australian: unbelievably, ITV insisted it must not have any negative connotations. If you say someone is "Australian" and drunk, that's racial stereotyping - and unacceptable. So this is British television in 2013: you can say fuck as much as you like at a comedy awards show, but you can't call anyone an Australian. I find that odd, whether before or after the watershed.' Despite what Marks may have been led to believe (and, as a consequence, led Daily Scum Mail readers to believe), the Ofcom broadcasting code contains absolutely no rules banning the word 'Scouser', or anything even remotely like it, or the use of national stereotypes. Last year it did issue guidance stating: 'Racist terms and material should be avoided unless their inclusion can be justified by the editorial of the programme. Broadcasters should avoid stereotyping unless editorially justified.' However the watchdog has previously rejected a number of complaints about stereotypes in jokes, such as comments made by Top Gear's presenters about Mexicans, for example. The revival of Birds Of A Feather starts in the new year, with original cast, Linda Robson, Pauline Quirke and Lesley Joseph. And, it will be shit, just like the original was. ITV said it had no comments on Marks's claims. except than chances of him being invited back to write a second series has suddenly taken a turn for the worse.
The actress Jennifer Lawrence has said she thinks 'it should be illegal to call someone fat on TV', after criticism of her own figure. Speaking to chat show host Barbara Walters, The Hunger Games actress added: 'Why is humiliating people funny?' Dunno love, but it is. And this blogger says that as someone who, - despite having lost nearly two stone in the last six months after he was diagnosed with diabetes is, still, effing enormous. The twenty three year-old actress, who plays Katniss Everdeen in the teen franchise, said that she was 'worried' about how the media's attitude affected young people. Lawrence features in Walters' series The Ten Most Fascinating People of 2013. Which, obviously, is based on some new meaning of thew word 'fascinating' that this blogger hadn't previously come across. 'I get it, and I do it too, we all do it,' the actress told Walters. '[But] the media needs to take responsibility for the effect that it has on our younger generation, on these girls who are watching these television shows, and picking up how to talk and how to be cool,' Lawrence claimed. 'So all of the sudden being funny is making fun of the girl that's wearing an ugly dress. And the word "fat"! I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV.' What, even if they are? Seems a bit 'thought-crime' to me, but maybe this blogger is in a minority of one, there. It's possible. Lawrence added: 'If we're regulating cigarettes and sex and cuss words, because of the affect they have on our younger generation, why aren't we regulating things like calling people fat?' Last month the actress told BBC Radio 1 that hearing negative things about her appearance 'was like being in High School.' Her own figure became the subject of debate - among people with nothing better to do with their time - after being described as 'fuller' by industry standards. She told the December 2012 issue of Elle magazine that 'in Hollywood, I'm obese. I'm considered a fat actress.'
ITV is reported to be developing a new weekend breakfast format for children. Scrambled! will be produced by the team behind Holly & Stephen's Saturday Showdown and will be broadcast in early 2014. The show will be shown between 7.30am and 9.25am on Saturdays and Sundays, reports Broadcast. It is being produced by Zodiak Media company The Foundation, and will include established and new cartoons and sitcoms, such as Almost Naked Animals and Bottom Knocker Street. The show will also feature chat, comedy sketches, games and celebrity guests, in a similar format to past weekend morning shows such as Live & Kicking and SMTV Live. CITV head of programmes Jamila Mertran said: 'Scrambled! will build on ITV's heritage of brilliant Saturday morning shows for today's generation of children. Highlights will include the ability for children to have their original content used on the show through posting videos and photos on the Scrambled! website.' Holly & Stephen's Saturday Showdown previously aired on ITV and CITV between 2004 and 2006, and helped launch to the careers of Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern. And, for that fact alone, should have been strangled at birth.

After a report on Japan's economy from BBC chief business correspondent Linda Yueh was shown on Tuesday's Newsnight, Jezza Paxman made it clear he was unimpressed by its final package, in which she interviewed someone in a Tokyo restaurant where a monkey is a waiter. 'That monkey will be reporting for us next week,' claimed yer man Paxo, who may also have been subtly voicing dissatisfaction with Yueh and her package, which was, according to some smug smear of no importance in the Gruniad Morning Star, 'very American in style and full of distracting touristy images of sumo wrestlers, archery and sushi being made.'
The makers of a Chinese cartoon series have been held partly responsible for injuries incurred by two children who were imitating a scene from the show. The brothers were badly burned in April when another boy tied them to a tree and set them on fire, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency. The ten-year-old claimed that he was 'copying' a scene from Xi Yangyang and Hui Tailang (Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf). A court said that the show's producers and the boy's guardians were both to blame. It ordered the guardians to pay sixty per cent of the injured brothers' medical bills and Creative Power Entertaining, a Chinese animation company based in Guangzhou, to pay fifteen per cent. Who will pay the other twenty five per cent, we just don't know. The court in the Eastern Jiangsu province said there was 'a cause-and-effect relationship between the case and the violent scenarios in the cartoon' and that the show should carry warnings in future, The Hollywood Reporter said. The verdict has been widely criticised in China, with some questioning why the country's state broadcaster escaped censure despite showing the cartoon in the first place. The show, popular with both children and adults, features a wolf whose relentless pursuit of a group of goats sees both parties suffer degrees of physical punishment. According to Xinhua, the civil case was brought by the family of the brothers, the elder of whom is reported to have suffered eighty per cent burns to his body.

Channel Four has commissioned another series of Eight Out Of Ten Cats, plus new episodes of their Countdown specials. Host Jimmy Carr and team captains Jon Richardson and Sean Lock will return for the seventeenth series, comprising nine episodes and two compilations, in 2014. A further six new episodes of Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown have also been ordered. Channel Four commissioning editor Syeda Irtizaali said: 'Series seventeen really is testament to the talent, on screen and off, of the Cats team. And, like all teenagers, [I] am sure this series will be as cheeky, fresh and irreverent as always.' And her colleague, Madeleine Knight added: 'Eight Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown has grown into a very funny format in its own right and a brilliant comedy vehicle for Sean, Jon, Jimmy and Joe Wilkinson.'
The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont is suing US TV network AMC, claiming that he is owed 'tens of millions of dollars.' Darabont contends that he was 'abruptly sacked' from the zombie drama ahead of its second series to avoid paying him an increased profit share. The complaint was filed at New York Supreme Court earlier this week. It claims that AMC made 'a favourable licensing deal' with its own affiliate to distribute the show, 'designed to ensure' that Darbont 'received no profits.' AMC have yet to comment on the claims. 'Darabont is being deprived of tens of millions of dollars in profits, despite delivering to AMC the most popular show on all of television and the most popular show in the history of cable,' state documents filed as part of the the legal action. Court papers assert that Darabont and his agents at Creative Artists Agency - which is also, separately, suing AMC - have 'not received one dollar' from his promised profit participation in the series. The drama is currently in its fourth series, with a fifth already in the pipeline. Each episode draws an average of thirteen million viewers, making it one of the top-rated cable shows on US television. AMC both produces and airs the series. Lawyers for Darabont claim AMC pays an artificially low licensing fee to the AMC affiliate which produces the show, meaning the series ran at a loss for many years - a practice known as 'self-dealing.' Licence fees are supposed to be agreed between producers and distributors based on the market value of the series. Creators and producers of shows such as Smallville and The X Files have both previously sued over 'self-dealing' issues. According to the complaint, AMC set a license fee rate of $1.45 million per episode, with an increase of five per cent per season, far less than what it costs to produce the show, meaning there was no profit to share with the talent. As a result the show was running at a loss of forty nine million bucks, two years after in premiered in October 2010. Darabont was forced off the series in 2011, amid an ongoing dispute over his profit share. 'AMC's conduct toward Frank to date has been nothing short of atrocious,' Darbont's lawyer Dale Kinsella told The Hollywood Reporter. Darabont and CAA claim that they are entitled to more than twenty per cent of the profit from The Walking Dead. It is also alleged that Darabont had been wrongly fired from the series and is entitled compensation and credit from spin-off show Talking Dead.

An American reality TV-type person Phil Robertson has been suspended from his show following apparently derogatory remarks he made about homosexuality. Robertson had been asked to describe his idea of sin by GQ magazine, and replied: 'Start with homosexual behaviour and just morph out from there.' He went on to paraphrase the Bible, condemning bestiality and adultery. TV network A&E said that it was 'extremely disappointed', adding the comments were based on Robertson's 'personal beliefs' and 'in no way reflect those of A&E.' More than nine million idiots regularly watch reality sitcom Duck Dynasty in the US. Which says something about something but don't ask me what. It follows the lives of the Robertson family, a clan with 'old-fashioned values' (ie. a bunch of sick homophobes ... allegedly) who 'live together in Louisiana', running their multi-million family business, Duck Commander - which makes products for duck hunters. The show - now in its fourth series - has broken several ratings records on both A&E and cable television as a whole, with the fourth season premiere drawing eleven million viewers. I know, it's horrifying, isn't it? Interviewed for the January issue of GQ, Robertson was quoted as saying that he 'could not understand' why a man would choose to sleep with another man, instead of a woman. 'There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes!' he was quoted as saying. 'But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical.' Pressed to give his own definition of sin, he first suggested homosexuality, then added: 'Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don't be deceived,' he continued. 'Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers - they won't inherit the kingdom of God.' Nor, according to Exodus, will anyone wearing a garment woven from two different clothes for they shall, surely, be stoned to death. So, you really want to be checking if your shirt is made from polyester and cotton, Phil mate. Cos, if it is, I'm sure there's a few Isaiah-quoting skull-crackers out there in the Bible Belt who'll be more than happy to organise a public stoning for your good self. A spokesman for the Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation condemned his remarks as 'some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people in a mainstream publication' - which they are - and added that 'his quote was littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.' Following A&E's decision to place Robertson 'under hiatus from filming indefinitely', GLAAD's Wilson Cruz added: 'What's clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike. By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value.' Robertson released his own statement through the network calling himself 'a product of the sixties. I centred my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Saviour. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.' Another part of what the Bible teaches can be found in Matthew 7:1. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Or, indeed, John 8:7. That's a  good one as well. It's remarkable how few Christians actually bother preaching that bit and concentrate, instead, on a few bits and pieces from Leviticus that take their fancy. But, not the bit about not eating pork or prawns, of course. Or, the bit about it being acceptable to sell members of your family into slavery. 'However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me,' he claimed. Having just done so. 'We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other,' Robertson claimed. The Robertsons are outspoken about their Christian faith, and each episode of their series ends with a prayer. Former US vice-presidential candidate and well known brain-dead numskull Sarah Palin, and several FOX TV commentators, were among those who defended Robertson. Which, again, says it all, really. 'Free speech is endangered species; those "intolerants" [sic] hatin' and taking on Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing personal opinion take on us all,' tweeted Palin, while her Facebook page included a picture of the politician with the Duck Dynasty cast. And again, nice example of Matthew 7:1, Sarah. Look it up, if you can actually read, you're supposed to believe in The Word Of The Lord. FOX talk show host Sean Hannity, said it was a 'slippery slope' to begin firing people over things they said, while Megyn Kelly, of The Kelly File, called for 'a discussion. He is a Christian man - I grant you he did not say in this kindest way - but why can't there be a debate about it?; We've seen this clash over and over. [It's] yet to be resolved,' she added. To which this blogger can only add another verse from the Gospel according to Matthew. 'Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.' Here endeth the lesson.

Ronnie Biggs, who took part in the violent Great Train Robbery, has died aged eighty four, his spokeswoman has confirmed. Biggs was part of the gang which escaped with £2.6m from a tooled-up blag of the Glasgow to London mail train on 8 August 1963. He was given a thirty-year stretch at Her Majesty's but escaped from Wandsworth nick in 1965 and went on the run. In 2001, he returned to the UK seeking medical help but was immediately - and amusingly - sent back to pris for his troubles. He was released on compassionate grounds in 2009 after contracting pneumonia. At the time of his release, his solicitor alleged that Biggs was a very sick man with, perhaps, just weeks to live. So, the fact that he managed to survived four years on the outside is, probably, one very good reason why solicitors should be trusted about as far as one can comfortably spit. Train driver Jack Mills was coshed over the head during the robbery. Mills, who was fifty seven at the time of the robbery, never fully recovered from his injuries. He returned to work in for several periods on light duties before retiring in 1967. When Ronnie Biggs' wife, Charmian's, sob-story was told in the Sunday Mirra in the late 1960s, it was revealed by rival papers that she had been paid sixty five grand for the 'exclusive', dwarfing the two hundred and fifty notes compensation that poor old Jack had received. Mills died in February 1970 of chronic lymphatic leukaemia, with complications of bronchial pneumonia. The West Cheshire Coroner concluded that while he was aware that Mills had been injured in the robbery, there was no direct connection to his fatal illness. However, debate has raged in the subsequent years as to whether the robbery had an indirect effect on Jack's health. Biggs, who died early on Wednesday, was being cared for at the Carlton Court Care Home in East Barnet. He could not speak and had difficulty walking after a series of strokes. He was last seen in public at the funeral of his fellow Great Train Robber, Bruce Reynolds, in March of this year. Christopher Pickard, the ghost writer of Biggs's - seriously dreadful - autobiography, said that Biggs should be remembered as 'one of the great characters of the last fifty years.' Which some dear blog readers might regard as possibly one of the sickest things that anyone has ever said about a toerag thief. Pickard told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Biggs was 'a very kind and generous man with a great sense of humour.' Biggs was 'one of the first products of the media age' who 'inherited fame while running around the world,' Pickard claimed. By contrast, Anthony Delano, who wrote another book about Biggs, met the criminal a number of times. 'He was a man with no moral compass whatever,' Delano told BBC Radio 5Live. 'He was a small-time crook who probably would have ended up in prison for a greater part of his life anyway. I think he was lucky actually to have so much of it free.' For more than thirty five years, Biggs thumbed his snook at attempts to bring him back to Britain to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Biggs became easily the best-known of the gang that got away with over two and a half million smackers from the near Cheddington in Buckinghamshire on 8 August 1963 (a story which, ironically, this very week is the subject of a two-part BBC dramatisation by Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall). But in reality, Biggs had never been more than a small-time criminal, mainly a car thief, and played a relatively minor part in the train robbery. Ronald Arthur Biggs was born in Stockwell in August 1929, and after spending much of World War Two as an evacuee in Cornwall, embarked on a career of petty thieving. In 1947, he volunteered for the RAF, only to be jailed and dishonourably discharged after two years for breaking into a chemist's shop. A month after his release, he was behind bars again for stealing a car and, at twenty one, Biggs took part in a bungled raid on a bookie's office in Lambeth for which was was also jailed. When he was twenty seven, Biggs married seventeen-year-old Charmian Powell. He was working as a carpenter at Reigate when he approached Bruce Reynolds, with whom he had previously done bird, for a loan. Reynolds had something else in mind. 'I'd been married and going straight for three years,' Biggs claimed, rather unconvincingly. 'Then, along came this invitation to take part in the train robbery. I asked for twenty four hours to think it over. I suppose I needed about twenty seconds.' A gang of at least seventeen (sources vary since at least a couple of them subsequently got away with it) halted the train at night with false signals, but Biggs's contribution - he had recruited a retired train driver to take the train to a rendezvous with getaway lorries - impressed no-one. The retired driver, one of the members of the gang who was never caught - could not master the controls and the actual driver, Jack Mills, who had been smacked over the head with an iron bar, was forced to move the train himself. Biggs, Reynolds, Buster Edwards, Gordon Goody, Charlie Wilson, Roy James and the other gang members wore helmets and ski masks to carry out their crime and, although they didn't carry guns, they were packing a series of really vicious hand weapons like axes, knives and coshes. They made off with one hundred and twenty bags of swag totalling £2.6m - the equivalent of between forty and fifty million knicker in today's money. And, they would have probably got away with it if it hadn't been for a bungle over the clean-up of their hideout in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Biggs's fingerprints were found on a ketchup bottle at Leatherslade Farm and three weeks later, he was arrested along with eleven other members of the gang. He said that it was 'totally regrettable' Jack Mills has been injured during the robbery. 'I regret it fully, myself - I only wish it would not have happened but there's no way that I can put the clock back.' But, Biggs said that he did not regret the robbery and, referring to comments made by the judge in the trial, he said: 'I'm totally involved in vast greed, I'm afraid.' In April 1964, Biggs was sentenced to thirty years porridge, but was free again fourteen months later after hoping over the wall at Wandsworth nick with a home-made rope ladder and dropping on to a waiting removal van outside. Biggs fled to Paris, where he spent forty grand of his one hundred and forty three thousand smackers share of the proceeds on plastic surgery, and bought forged documents to go to Australia. His wife and their three sons joined him and lived there for four years, until Interpol started making inquiries and Biggs fled the gaff again, this time to Brazil on a false passport. In February 1974, Jack Slipper of Scotland Yard, who pursued Biggs around the globe, thought he might have got his man when he arrested Biggs in Rio. But the resourceful Biggs exploited local law by announcing that his nineteen-year-old Brazilian girlfriend, a stripper named Raimunda, was having his baby. She had a son, Michael, and because Biggs was in the process of getting divorced from Charmian, the fugitive could not be extradited from Brazil. He regularly charged tabloid newspapers for the 'scoop' that he was coming home, and made a,. actually surprisingly good, record - 'No One Is Innocent' ('Ronnie Biggs was doin' time, till he done a bunk' and all that - with punk band The Sex Pistols and appeared in their film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. In 1981, another attempt to recapture him was made by a group of British ex-soldiers. They kidnapped him and smuggled him to Barbados, where they handed him over to the authorities. But, again, Biggs was freed by a legal loophole and returned to Brazil. There, Biggs exploited his questionable celebrity status by making television commercials, writing his autobiography and becoming a tourist attraction for visiting Brits who thought it was cool to have their photo taken with an armed blagger. It was a tabloid newspaper, the Sun, which finally brought Biggs home in a blaze of - frankly, rather sick - publicity in May 2001, by which time he was a very ill man. He was arrested as soon as he stepped off the plane and his bid to appeal against his thirty-year jail term was dismissed out of hand. In July 2007, Biggs was transferred from the high-security Belmarsh to a unit at Norwich Prison specially designed for elderly inmates on life sentences after a number of strokes and heart attacks left him seriously ill. Two years later in July 2009, after a sustained campaign for freedom, Biggs was - rightly - denied parole. Justice Secretary Jack Straw said that Biggs was 'wholly unrepentant' about his actions, and had 'outrageously courted the media' whilst on the run. Straw also said it was 'unacceptable' that Biggs had chosen not to obey the law and had tried to avoid the consequences of his naughty crimes. But, on 6 August, Straw changed his mind and decided to free Biggs, citing medical evidence that Biggs's condition had deteriorated and he was not expected to recover. Biggs expressed no regrets about the Great Train Robbery. In fact, he was quite pleased he had been involved. 'My poor old dad used to say to me, "I know you'll make good one day." You know, I made good in a curious way, I suppose. I became infamous.'

And, speaking of waste-of-space arseholes whose fame far exceeds their worth, the International Paralympic Committee says it may take disciplinary action against Heather Mills after alleging she 'verbally abused' and 'physically harassed' an official. Mills, who lost the lower half of her left leg in 1993 - and has never shut up about it since - said on Monday that she would not ski at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics after the IPC ruled her equipment had not been ratified. The IPC claims that Mills 'went into a wild tantrum' after being given the news and could now be fined. Her coach claims that there is 'a vendetta' against her. Although he failed to say why. IPC skiing committee head Sylvana Mestre told BBC Sport that the forty five-year-old Mills had 'acted entirely improperly. I was trying to explain to her that this is not the equipment we approved earlier in the year and then that was it, she exploded,' said Mestre. 'She jumped on me. She started to say I was a bitch. She grabbed me from the back and she started to say that "you don't know who I am, I will make your life miserable." I don't understand the reaction.' A representative of former model Mills - who is clearly not mental or anything even remotely like it - issued a statement in response, denying Mestre's and the IPC's version of events. It read: 'Heather waited patiently - as the IPC confirmed - to try and explain to Sylvana Mestre that her left boot was legal and purely cosmetic to abide by the archaic IPC rules. It was just cut down and the buckles removed to stop more weight limb damage.' The statement also claimed Mestre had shouted at Mills and would not let the GB coach the opportunity to 'speak or explain' before storming off. Mills's own coach, John Clark, plans to make a formal complaint about the behaviour of Mestre, claiming that Mestre had 'deliberately put barriers in the way' of his racer. Clark has also called for Mestre's dismissal, but IPC spokesperson Craig Spence blamed Mills entirely for the incident. 'It was harassment,' he said. 'It was absolutely disgraceful behaviour.' In July, all athletes with adaptive skiing equipment - including Mills - were asked to submit their device specifications for assessment. The device Mills was using was approved, but she subsequently switched to a new limb created by the London Prosthetics Centre. The IPC wanted her to wear a new boot cover over the prosthetic, but Mills said that requirement resulted in 'unnecessary weight' and 'intolerable pain' on her limb. When the IPC discovered at the Pitzal Europa Cup event in Austria on Monday that Mills was not complying with its ruling, it held a meeting with coaches and race officials to discuss the issue. The IPC said it was willing to work on the new device with the skier and did not plan to annul her previous results. However, Spence claimed Mills 'started to verbally abuse' Mestre when the IPC chief tried to explain the IPC's stance. He insisted the IPC was not looking to ban Mills, the divorced former wife of Sir Paul McCartney, from future competitions, but said it will now 'take the matter' to the IPC's legal and ethics committee. 'It is likely we will sanction the athlete and this will incur a fine of between five hundred and one thousand Euros,' he said.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self attended Uncle Scunthorpe's final Record Player of 2013 at the Tyneside. So, a'fore we suffer from a couple of months enforced lay-off from regular Thursday evening duties, here's today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. Festive.

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