Thursday, December 26, 2013

On The Feast Of Steven

Doctor Who was the second most watched programme - and most watched drama - on Christmas Day's overnight ratings with an initial audience of 8.29 million (just under thirty one per cent of the audience share). Obviously, that figure will rise - perhaps by as much as two million - once timeshifts are added in about a week's time. The day's peak audience on any channel was at 8.25pm during The Time Of The Doctor's closing moments with 10.20m watching the regeneration sequence and yer actual Matt Smith turning, as if by magic, into Peter Capaldi his very self. Doctor Who is also (easily) top of the iPlayer viewing list. Overnight viewing figures for most of the big shows were down on average compared with Christmas 2012, except for Doctor Who, which was significantly up on the 7.6 million overnight viewers who watched last year's Christmas special, The Snowmen. Mrs Brown's Boys was - by a distance - the most watched programme on Christmas Day with 9.40 million overnight viewers (a thirty five per cent share of the available audience). For the first time since 2008, EastEnders was not the top programme on Christmas Day. It only finished fourth with 7.78 million. Coronation Street was in third place with 7.91 million punters. That's the first time Corrie's Christmas Day episode has beaten EastEnders on overnights in a nearly a decade. Danny Dyer's arrival as the new landlord of the Queen Vic failed to increase ratings for Easties which, by its own standards had a rather below par Christmas. If ITV+1 figures are added to Coronation Street's audience it was watched by 8.27m. However, if the BBC3 repeat figure - just under six hundred thousand - is added to EastEnders total then it, marginally, came out on top. Swings and roundabouts, innit? Corrie's audience was, possibly, slightly affected by it being on opposite Doctor Who (and, indeed, visa versa). It was nice to know, however, that at 7:30 on Christmas night, sixteen and a half million people were watching two twenty four carat British TV institutions on opposite each other for only the second time since Doctor Who returned to TV in 2005.  On that previous occasaion (New Year's Day 2010, and David Tennant's final episode, The End Of Time) Doctor Who also, narrowly, came out ahead. Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas special - won by comedian Rufus Hound and his partner, Flavia Cacace - was the fifth most show of the day with 7.30 million. Call The Midwife (sixth) beat Downton Abbey (seventh) in the battle of the period dramas with 7.08 million versus 6.6 million (a fraction over seven million if +1 figures are added to Downton's figure). Both period dramas' overnight figures were down quite a bit from last year. Call The Midwife, admittedly, had an earlier slot this time around (though, arguably, far weaker competition) whilst Downton had much tougher competition - Mrs Brown's Boys - for the second half of its episode than last year. BBC1's showing of Toy Story 3 averaged 6.32 million from 3.20pm. The BBC's coverage of The Queen's Christmas Message was watched by 5.7 million. Emmerdale, which for the last few years has always faced Doctor Who on Christmas Day, didn't fare any better when being put up against Call The Midwife instead, having an overnight audience of 5.5 million. BBC1 had eight of the top eleven most watched programmes overnight while ITV had three - the channels share the Queen's Christmas broadcast. BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said: 'Nothing brings the country together at Christmas quite like BBC1. Huge audiences shared the Christmas Day schedule on the nation's favourite channel.' 'I'm really proud of the quality and range of programmes we've shown across BBC television this Christmas,' added Danny Cohen, the Director of BBC television. 'Much-loved shows like Doctor Who, Strictly, EastEnders and Mrs Brown have been hugely popular with viewers this year.' The peak-time and all-day average audiences on BBC1 on Christmas Day were both higher than those of any other channel. The ratings are, of course, only provisional overnight figures and will change once viewers who recorded programmes and then watched them later are taken into account. Two years ago Downton Abbey was rated fourth in the overnight ratings but eventually rose to first when the final, consolidated figures were released a week later. And, none of the ratings will include viewings on catch-up services such the BBC's iPlayer or the ITV Player. BBC2's highest rated programmes were Morecambe and Wise: Leading Ladies, which had 2.04 million at 8.30pm, and Mark Gatiss's terrific adaptation of The Tractate Middoth, watched by 1.23 million at 9.30pm. Channel Four's most-watched programme was Bear's Wild Weekend with Stephen Fry, seen by 1.99 million at 8.30pm. Channel Four's alternative Christmas message, delivered by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, attracted an average of seven hundred thousand ridiculous Gruniad Morning Star readers.

BBC America achieved its highest-ever audience on Christmas Day, as 2.47m tuned in for Doctor Who. The Time Of The Doctor broke the US channel's ratings record which had only been set a month previously by Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary special, which drew 2.4m viewers. A special looking back at Matt Smith's time on Doctor Who also performed well for the channel, with 1.54m tuning in immediately before his last episode.
BBC America have released a brief deleted scene from The Time Of The Doctor online, taking place just before Clara introduces The Doctor to her - frankly, rather annoying - family.
Yer actual Matt Smith has left a, rather touching, farewell message for fans, courtesy of the official Doctor Who Twitter feed, bless 'im.
Meanwhile upon The Feast of The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, yer man The Moffinator also congratulated Smudger for his time on the show. 'Farewell to Matt Smith, citizen of the universe and a gentleman to boot. He'll be standing ready, should the cosmos ever need him again!' Reflecting on the episode, Jenna Coleman her very self described the Christmas special as 'celebratory. It's full of lots of joy and laughter and adventure,' the actress said. 'And actually, what I love about it is, it's The Doctor and Clara as friends, kind of going through all these changes together. It's kind of everything that is so wonderful about the eleventh Doctor and more.'
The BBC have also released a new behind-the-scenes online video for The Time Of The Doctor, featuring interviews with yer actual Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman her very self, James Buller, Sheila Reid and Elizabeth Rider, Steven Moffat (The Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He), stunt person Daz Parker, the very excellent Orla Brady, Jack Hollington, and Danny Hargreaves ('provider of chaos and mayhem').
And, as a special treat for the most Christmassy day of the year, the production team of An Adventure In Space And Time have released a tribute to a very magical Christmas moment in 1965, re-enacted by the great David Bradley.
Martin Freeman has revealed that he almost missed out on the role of John Watson in Sherlock. The forty two-year-old actor told Radio Times that his first audition was 'not successful' after he had been a victim of mugging earlier in the day. Marty said that he 'felt distracted' in the audition and meeting with producers Sue Vertue, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss his very self, after he was targeted by a thief and had his wallet nicked. 'I'll admit maybe I was a bit stressed,' said Martin, who stars alongside his real-life partner Amanda Abbington in the third series of the hit BBC1 drama - which returns next week. 'But a week later my agent rang and said, "Listen, this Sherlock thing, they're sort of under the impression you weren't that into it." And I said "Oh, I am really interested. Please call them and let them know that I am interested." I wasn't being blase about it at all. I just wasn't on my best day.' Marty then added that it was a chemistry test with co-star yer actual Benny Cumberbatch that ensured he got the role. 'I came in again, read with Benedict and it instantly worked, it seemed to me... I thought he was a fantastic actor and there was something about our rhythms, similarities and differences that meant that it just happened.'
Meanwhile, a series of new images from Sherlock's forthcoming third series have been released by the BBC.
The return of Sir David Jason as Granville in a one-off Christmas revival of Open All Hours was the most popular programme on Boxing Day, attracting a peak overnight audience of ten million. Personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought it was about as funny as a good hard kick in the Jacob's Cream Crackers, but he seems to be in a minority of one. The success of Still Open All Hours, which was shown nearly thirty years after the last episode of the original Ronnie Barker sitcom, meant BBC1 scooped the Christmas honours, broadcasting the most popular shows on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The comedy, which saw Granville and his son inherit the business from the late Arkwright, managed an average audience of 9.43 million and a thirty five per cent share of all TV viewing between 7.45pm and 8.15pm. The show's peak audience briefly touched ten million. The success of the show marks a welcome return of form for Jason after 2011's, if you will shitcom The Royal Bodyguard, failed to win over viewers. After a strong Boxing Day debut attracted 7.1 million viewers, audiences rapidly dwindled, falling well below two million during its six-part run. The strong audience for Still Open All Hours provided a welcome running start for Death Comes To Pemberley, the TV adaptation of PD James' best-selling sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the third most popular TV programme on Boxing Day. The first episode of the three-part mystery drama, which immediately followed Still Open All Hours, from 8.15pm to 9.20pm, and drew an average audience of 5.90 million. The BBC dominated Boxing Day with Gangsta Granny, the TV adaptation of David Walliams' children's book, pulling 5.79 million between 6.05pm and 7.15pm. It was the fourth biggest rating TV show of the day. EastEnders, which had a lacklustre Christmas Day, losing the soap ratings battle to rival Coronation Street for the first time in more than a decade (see above), was the second most watched show on Boxing Day with 7.22 million. Later in the evening, the Boxing Day edition of Match Of The Day pulled in 4.01 million between 10.30pm and midnight. Mainly, one imagines, to watch yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies giving Dirty Stoke a damned good twanking, 5-1. The usual battle of the Boxing Day soaps did not take place, with ITV instead opting to broadcast the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which averaged 3.67 million between 7.15pm and 10.05pm. ITV's biggest show of the day was Emmerdale, which attracted 5.08 million viewers. BBC2's highest-rated show of the night was University Challenge, which took 1.22 million at 7.45pm, and Idris Elba: King of Speed drew nine hundred and thirty thousand punters at 8.15pm. The channel's biggest drawcard proved to be the film version of Dad's Army, which managed 1.6 million. Channel Four's top-rating programme was The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year, which drew 2.23 million. Michael Bublé's Christmas Special, featuring guests Mary J Blige, Mariah Carey and the Cookie Monster, led the night for Channel Five with 1.18 million, while the first round of World's Strongest Man 2013 pulled in 1.05 million. The most-watched film on Boxing Day was Cars 2 with 3.53 million on BBC1 at 4pm.

BBC1 was the most watched channel across the whole of Christmas Eve - except for a half-hour period from seven o'clock when ITV was showing Emmerdale. EastEnders was most watched programme of what was, generally, a rather disappointing night schedule-wise with an average audience of 7.46 million from 7.30pm. They witnessed naughty Janine fretting considerably over David's demand of two hundred and fifty grand in return for his silence over her admission of murder. So, that was quite funny. Four and a half million punters stayed with the channel from 8pm for the latest episode of Holby City (4.55 million), as Edward was forced to confess the truth about Mary-Claire. The concluding episode of Last Tango In Halifax's second series attracted 5.64 million at 9pm - slightly down on the series overnight average - followed by 4.75 million who tuned into the Christmas special of Lee Mack's Not Going Out. The BBC's afternoon family movies also drew quite high ratings for their particular slots, including Toy Story 2 which gave the channel 3.99 million from 3.45pm to 5:15pm. Meanwhile the festive short Shrek The Halls was watched by 4.52 million and 4.79 million sat down to Finding Nemo at 5.55pm. Emmerdale, as noted, was the most watched programme on ITV's - thoroughly rotten - Christmas Eve schedule, as 5.68 million tuned in to see Declan's continued demise. By the soap's usual standards that's not a particularly good figure but, it got far worse for the channel later as a new, Christmas-themed, episode of Midsomer Murders gave ITV a mere 3.66 million viewers at 8pm. The Nation's Favourite Christmas Song was every single bit as wretched as it sounded and had an average audience of but 2.62 million at 5.15pm. A little short of three million (2.89m) joined the channel at 7.30pm for a distinctive lack of festive laughs from You've Been Framed, while 1.88 million watched Christmas Carols on ITV from 10.15pm. Elsewhere, a repeat of - the thoroughly rotten - Victoria Wood's Mid-life Christmas was the most watched programme for the night on BBC2, pulling in 2.5 million from 8pm. Which, in and of itself, is a shocking indictment of ... something. Just over two million viewers watched Carols From King's at 6:15pm (2.07m), followed by The Perfect Morecambe and Wise Christmas, which gave the channel 2.37 million between 7.30pm to 8pm. A - rather good - festive edition of Qi XL, featuring Brendan O'Carroll had an audience of 1.92 million punters at 9pm, while the documentary Mel Smith: I've Sort of Done Things also took in 1.92 million at 9:45pm on a generally steady night for BBC2. Channel Four's schedule led with a repeat of festive favourite The Snowman And The Snowdog, which had 1.97 million at 7:30pm. Big Fat Gypsy Christmas was watched by 1.38 million from 8.05pm till 9pm. On Channel Five, the movie Scrooge pulled in an average of seven hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers. On the multichannels, Raiders of the Lost Ark gave BBC3 1.58 million at 8pm, while a repeat of the 1978 Top Of The Pops Christmas special with the Beard of Despair Noel Edmonds was watched by six hundred and seventy five thousand on BBC4.

Horrifyingly dreadful though it was (and Christ, it was mind-numbingly bad) John Bishop's Christmas Show proved popular with a fair cross-section of sad, crushed victims of society, topping Monday's overnight ratings outside of soaps. The BBC1 show, featuring the likes of Nina Conti and Tim Vine, was watched by 4.75 million at 9pm despite stinking the gaff up like rotten diarrhoea. Shame on you, viewers, shame on you all. Earlier, Celebrity Mastermind was watched by 4.08m at 7pm, followed by A Question of Sport with 4.07m at 8pm. The Would I Lie to You? Christmas special attracted 3.51m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, a classic festive episode of The Good Life was seen by 1.51m at 7.30pm. University Challenge interested 2.63m at 8pm, while a broadcast of the movie Jane Eyre appealed to 1.82m at 8.30pm. Qi XL had an audience of 1.36m from 10.20pm. ITV's final episode of Tales From Northumberland with wor geet canny Robson Green garnered 3.04m at 8pm. Gary Barlow's Journey To Afghanistan which, if anything, was even more odious and wretched than John Bishop's thing - and, tragically, didn't see Barlow, you know, stay there - was watched by 3.06m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Nigella Bites brought in eight hundred and seventeen thousand punters at 7pm, followed by a festive Food Unwrapped with 1.02m at 8pm. Heston's Great British Food was watched by eight hundred and twenty thousand viewers at 9pm, while the final Fresh Meat had an audience of six hundred thousand at 10pm. It may have got plenty of plaudits from the critics (or, in other words, her journalistic colleagues), but Caitlin Moran's sitcom, Raised by Wolves, was watched by fewer than five hundred thousand punters. The semi-autobiographical comedy, written by Caitlin and her sister, Caroline, had four hundred and forty five thousand viewers between 10.50pm and 11.25pm. The Gruniad Morning Star's resident snooty twat, John Plunkett wrote a piece focusing on the audience of Moran's programme as contrasted with a couple of arse-licking reviews it received which was followed by a rather dismissive comment about the number of 'long-running quiz shows' on BBC1 during the evening. Ignoring the fact that all of them pulled in about seven or eight or nine times the audience that Raised By Wolves did. Typical twattish, knob-end Gruniad Morning Star nonsense. Channel Five's The Gadget Show was watched by five hundred and sixty two thousand at 8pm. The Most Shocking Celebrity Moments of 2013 had an audience of 1.10m at 9pm. BBC4's Only Connect was seen by eight hundred and sixty five thousand at 8.30pm.

BBC1's Countryfile Christmas special topped the Sunday ratings outside of soaps, according to overnight figures. An average of 6.19 million viewers watched as the show's team celebrated a woodland Christmas in Gloucestershire, taking over a quarter of the available TV share during the hour from 7pm. Antiques Roadshow also helped BBC1 pull in a sizeable share, as 5.29 million stayed with the channel from 8pm to 9pm. ITV fared reasonably well with its latest showing of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, attracting some 4.49 million viewers. Elsewhere on Channel Four, the Homeland finale was watched by an average of 1.62 million viewers, down on last year's 2.1 million for the season two climax and down even more on the 2.8 million who tuned into the first season's ending in May 2012. Yeah, there's a show that's appeal has got really old really fast. The channel's most-watched programmes for the day include this year's repeat of The Snowman, which took in 1.76 million. Night at the Museum 2 followed, attracting 1.74 million viewers an hour later. The Muppets and Lady Gaga at Christmas was bizarrely entertaining and was Channel Five's most watched programme of the day. The festive special pulled in over eight hundred and thirty four thousand. On the multichannels, Sky Sports 1 led the pack with two matches. The first at 12.30pm between Southampton and Stottingtot Hotshots took in 1.61 million, while the match between Swansea City and The Everton was watched by 2.05 million.

And, here's the consolidated figures for the Top Twenty Two programmes, week-ending 15 December 2013:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.07m
2 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 10.30m
3 Coronation Street - Fri ITV - 9.11m
4 The Royal Variety Performance - Mon ITV - 7.90m
5 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.80m
6 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): Coming Out - Wed ITV - 7.51m
6= Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.15m
6= Last Tango In Halifax - Tues BBC1 - 7.`5m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.25m
9 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 6.11m
10 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year - Sin BBC1 - 5.81m
11 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.77m
12 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.44m
13 Atlantis - Sat BBC1 - 5.34m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.16m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.65m
16 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.51m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.47m
18 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.46m
19= MasterChef: The Professionals - Thurs BBC2 - 4.45m
19= Lucan - Wed ITV - 4.45m
21 Pointless - Mon BBC1 - 4.36m
22 Christmas Supermarket Secrets - Thurs BBC1 - 4.28m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated show of the week, aside from MasterChef: The Professionals, was University Challenge (2.81m) and Qi (2.55m). Channel Four's best rated show for the week was Homeland with 2.71m. A broadcast of the film The Polar Express was Channel Five's highest performer with 2.33m. The Saturday night episode of The X Factor was watched by 9.11m on ITV and ITV HD. Strictly's Sunday results show audience was 10.22m.

The comedy line of Boxing Day saw Jeff Stelling informing Soccer Saturday viewers why Paul Merson is missing from the day's punditry line-up: 'He's in his local nativity play. He's one of the Three Wise Men. Well, it's a small village...'

It was actually a bad day all round for Sky Sports. Take, for example, this extremely unfortunate typo from their website. (My thanks for regular dear blog reader Simon Irvine for pointing that one out.)
'The sparkly tops and the sequinned trousers may have been put away for another year (well, at least until the Christmas special), but the fallout from this year's Strictly Come Dancing continues' according to another rather typical piece of trouble-making written by some anonymous smear of no importance at the Gruniad. He (or she) goes on to report that Fiona Fullerton – a former Bond girl from about thirty years ago who appeared early in the current competition before being extremely voted out by the public – has 'hit out' at finalist Susanna Reid, suggesting that the BBC Breakfast presenter, who made the final three, was 'charmless' and ran 'a military style PR campaign' during the course of the show. In what might be described as a full-on personal attack on her fellow dancer, Fullerton claimed Reid's 'Obama-style use of social media and lack of charm left us bewildered.' No, I don't know who 'we' are either, dear blog reader and neither, seemingly, does the odious Gruniad. Not that this stopped them from running yet another anti-BBC piece with an agenda smeared, thickly, all over its boat-race. Fullerton's comments seemingly prompted another good friend of the Beeb, the Daily Scum Mail, to ask their readers if Reid was 'just too smug to win'? But, as the Scum Mail is, at least, fair enough to note, none of the other contestants in Strictly have joined in with Fullerton's criticism. 'Inevitably, all thoughts turn to Reid's Twitter feed' sneers this wretched waste-of-oxygen at the Gruniad in conclusion, 'but there is no response to be found. "Inundated with amazing messages today – thank you" she wrote. Not including the one from Fullerton, presumably.' Oh, hardy-har-har, you vacuous, unfunny plank.

If you're looking for something interesting to read over the Christmas hols, dear blog reader, between bouts of turkey sandwiches then allow yer actual his very self to thoroughly recommend a very thoughtful and well-argued piece by Front Row's Naomi Alderman on the BBC website called Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The legacy of the teen heroine. It's well worth twenty minutes of your time.
There's a very funny trailer for the Drama channel currently cropping up a lot on Dave, Yesterday, Watch et cetera - ie. all the other UK TV channels - featuring Alan Davies not in the guise of Jonathan Creek helpfully helping a rather batty neighbour re-tune her telly so she can watch her favourite show. Who said he couldn't do comedy?
Sally Wainwright's double BAFTA-winning drama Last Tango In Halifax will return for a third series after it was, unsurprisingly, recommissioned by the BBC on Christmas Eve. The drama, starring Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker, debuted on the channel last year and had an overnight audience for its second series of around six million viewers. Welcomed as that rarest of TV properties, a feelgood drama about old people, the show was initially turned down by the BBC – as well as ITV. Wainwright said: 'I'm so happy we've got a third series, it's so exciting to be able to take these characters further and to find out loads more stuff about them. What's so great about writing for characters like Celia and Alan is that there is a wealth of back story to explore. Series three will be a whole new emotional ball game.' The show, made by independent production company Red, which recently sold a majority stake to French film and TV company Studiocanal, was recommissioned by BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore and Ben Stephenson, the BBC's controller of drama commissioning. Stephenson said Wainwright's 'heartfelt scripts combined with the outstanding and stellar cast involved meant we couldn't resist a third series.' Red's founder and executive producer Nichola Shindler added: 'Both series of Last Tango In Halifax have been a hit with audiences and critics alike thanks to the elusive combination of brilliant acting, a sincere and engaging script, and familial trials and tribulations.' The drama will go into production next year and will be broadcast later in 2014. Reid, after she won a BAFTA for her role in the show earlier this year, said: 'I am so glad the BBC has decided at last to do love stories about people who are over thirty five. Some of us do have quite interesting lives when we get to seventy.'

David Baddiel - who was last even remotely funny in around 1991 - is set to, he claims, 'save' that most endangered of species, the family sitcom. According to the former comedian, reality shows are pushing sitcoms out of the TV schedules and he's not prepared to stand for it. So, to rectify this lamentable shite state of affairs, he's planning a new show on Channel Four called At least, this is according to the i. 'The family sitcom was once the heartland of TV, but now comedy has become niche. Comedy is a great art form, so it's a great shame when it gets shunted around the schedules and not thought of as something television should support and invest in,' Bladdybub his very self says. The paper reports that webcams, tablets, Facebook and Instagram provide the backdrop for events in the show. Yeah, that sounds like a good old fashioned family sitcom and no mistake.

The man wrongly linked to the murder of Joanna Yeates hopes a forthcoming drama about him will show the destructive nature of certain elements of the UK press. Retired teacher Christopher Jefferies was arrested when Joanna, who rented a flat from him, was found dead on Christmas Day 2010. He was questioned for two days before being bailed by police and eliminated from their inquiries several months later. Vincent Tabak, who lived in the next flat to Yeates in Bristol, was jailed for life in October 2011 after being convicted of her murder. Jefferies's experiences will be told in The Lost Honour, a two-part ITV drama scripted by Oscar-nominated writer Peter Morgan. Jefferies will be played by Being Human's Jason Watkins. Speaking to BBC Radio Bristol on the third anniversary of the inquiry, Jefferies said that he had tried to get on with his life. 'When Peter Morgan first got in touch with me he made it entirely clear that if I would be very uncomfortable, then he wouldn't go ahead, he wouldn't make the film,' Jefferies said. 'So right from the start he was entirely principled and from what he said it was clear to me that the interest that he had in the story was in no way sensational. He was entirely sincere in what he wanted to do. I suppose one of the things that I hope will emerge from the film is one of the things that I think emerged from The Leveson Inquiry, was to make people realise the kind of press – at least certain sections of it – that we have in this country and how destructive they are and how amoral they are. It's about the damage that can be done. It happens to be about me but it's about the damage that can be done to somebody by certain elements of the media, who are not in the least bit concerned with the people whose reputations they trash.' Filming for the drama has already begun in Bristol. Jefferies successfully sued a number of newspapers for libel following coverage of his arrest in 2010, won massive damages from them and, later, gave evidence before Leveson. In 2013, Jefferies also received a grovelling apology from Avon and Somerset police for the distress he suffered during the murder investigation. Jefferies said he felt 'extremely fortunate' to get redress through the courts. The landlord told BBC Bristol how he had changed his appearance after his arrest to prevent being recognised when he went outside. 'When I was released from custody I had no idea that I was simply going to have to stay indoors for almost all day and only occasionally go out at night in order to avoid a media scrum.'
Victims of press intrusion have demanded the lack of culture secretary withdraw her 'insulting' claim that the Hacked Off campaign has been 'a destructive force.' The vile and odious rascal Miller made the claim when she appeared in front of the culture select committee last week. She was discussing the degree to which it had been 'unhelpful' that Hacked Off members were present at one of the final inter-party meetings setting out details of the royal charter for press self-regulation on 17 March. Victims of press intrusion, including Chris Jefferies, Kate and Gerry McCann and JK Rowling, wrote to the vile and odious rascal Miller describing her comments as 'unfair and inaccurate', pointing out that Hacked Off was asked to attend the meeting and telling her, frankly, to get her tongue out of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's arsehole and do her sodding job. They said that they 'retained full confidence' in the Hacked Off campaign. The letter also reflects the frustration at the slowness, in their view, with which the culture department is moving to implement the recommendations of The Leveson Report. The commissioner for public appointments, Sir David Normington, has said he has 'not yet received' a letter from the vile and odious rascal Miller starting the process of creating a press regulation recognition panel. This is the body which will decide whether or not any new press regulator meets the criteria set out in the royal charter, which was granted by the government on 30 October. The newspaper industry is divided about whether to form a self-regulatory body that is unlikely to meet the criteria set by Leveson. In their letter, the press victims write: 'We regard the endorsement of the royal charter in the Commons last March, by your party and by every other party in the House, as a historic breakthrough, ensuring that in future people are better protected against the cruelty and intrusion to which we have been subjected by newspapers. You, yourself, have spoken in similar terms in a previous committee session. It is now clear that a group of newspaper companies stands almost alone in the country in opposing these cautious and minimal changes. We look to you to give leadership here on behalf of us and of ordinary, vulnerable people across the country who may find themselves the targets of unethical journalistic practice. You meet editors and proprietors often: please exert every possible pressure on them to accept the charter.' They add: 'Hacked Off, we repeat, stands up for our interests. It does not pander to the interests of newspaper owners as, sadly, politicians have tended to do far too often in the past.' They say the vile and odious rascal Miller's remarks were 'not only mistaken, but insulting to us. We ask you to put the record straight.' They also try to set out why they were invited to the meeting in March. They claim that David Cameron asked them to a meeting in Downing Street in February as representatives of victims of press abuse. At the meeting with the Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin, Hacked Off claims, Cameron sought the support of victims for the draft royal charter 'that had been drawn up by Conservative ministers in secret meetings with the press, and which he made public the next day.' The letter says: 'On our behalf, Hacked Off rightly rejected it as falling far short of the Leveson recommendations: it was, indeed, little better than a Press Complaints Commission mark two.' It goes on to say that Hacked Off was then invited to the March meeting following cross-party agreement on a different charter draft. 'Your colleague Oliver Letwin was, again, present. Hacked Off was asked whether victims would support the draft and, on this occasion, since broadly it delivered what The Leveson Report proposed, Hacked Off said they would.'

A Great British Bake-Off finalist has spoken about how she was told to 'know her place' and 'show more deference' by ignorant - and, probably, racist - viewers who did not like the way she was portrayed in the BBC2 series. Kimberley Wilson said that the 'two-dimensional' way she and other contestants were depicted had 'a knock-on effect' on viewers' reactions. But, despite suggestions that an all-female final may have prompted sexist responses, she claimed that the harshest critics were, themselves, often women. Fellow-finalist Ruby Tandoh has already spoken out about the 'extraordinary amount of bitterness and bile' directed at the finalists both by commentators and on social media websites like Twitter. Now, Wilson has told BBC Radio 4's World At One how she was sent messages telling her that she was 'too self-satisfied, I was too confident and cocky and cocksure and I wasn't showing enough vulnerability, I wasn't showing enough deference, I wasn't being gracious enough.' She said: 'I read comments which said I should "know my place." That was really quite an interesting response to what I went into thinking was just a baking show. It felt political.' Kimberley said that she believed the response was 'partly' framed by the way in which different aspects of participants' characters were portrayed in the show. 'What you got was a kind of condensed, slightly two-dimensional representation of what happened,' she said. 'Nothing was fictionalised, but it wasn't fully nuanced. What happened was that I was presented as kind of uber-confident and uber-competent, which is probably just not human. That becomes a bit of a problem in terms of viewers watching it, because it becomes a little bit unnatural and there was a little bit of repercussion for me in terms of that. People not liking you isn't very nice, it wasn't a pleasant experience. Part of our ego says that we all want everybody to love us all the time. That's not realistic.' She added: 'I would say the harshest critics of the guys on the Bake Off – women and men – would be women sat on their sofas talking to each other saying: "She looks a bit fat in that" or "I don't think she's done a very good job of her jam tarts." I think it's women who are actually the harshest critics. There's a danger when you talk about a gender bias, you imagine it's men attacking women, whereas I think actually women can be the real damage to a kind of perceived sisterhood that never existed.' Wilson suggested that her professional training may have affected the way she appeared to viewers. 'When I was on the show, one of the producers did say: "You don't seem to be too riled by some of the things the judges say, you don't seem to get very upset about things. Is it something about your job which means you have a thick skin?" Actually, I think it's completely the opposite. I'm a psychologist, part of my job is about taking criticism every single day. I sit in supervision and my work is taken apart line by line, verbatim, in sessions. I've sat in therapy and I've looked at myself and I understand myself. It's about not just pushing criticism away in a kind of defensive stance. It's about partly understanding what's being picked up on and, painfully, is there any truth in it, is there any reality in it and if so can you deal with that? But it's also partly about understanding the social context and understanding where it's coming from, what people are responding to in you, what that says about themselves, what they are projecting into you. It is quite complex.'

The organisers of a Belfast arts festival have said they are 'stunned' that one of the headline acts has pulled out because of security concerns. yer actual Arch Drude Julian Cope his very self was due to perform in The Black Box venue as part of the Out to Lunch Festival in January. However, he contacted organisers to say that he would not be able to attend because of 'the current security situation in Belfast.' One of the organisers, Sean Kelly, said that they had been left 'shocked' and 'stunned' by this discombobulation. 'In fifteen years of organising festivals in Belfast, it's the first time we've lost an artist due to the security situation,' he said. 'We received an e-mail. It was very sudden and inexplicable so we simply released it on our website. People have been critical of the artist, but I don't think we should rush to judgement too much. I take him at his word that he was genuinely fearful for his safety and we just have to deal with that.' Kelly said they hoped to be able to find another performer to fill the vacancy. 'It's three weeks away and there were various ideas, but it might be short notice to pull off something spectacular, but we might do something local,' he added. The organisers said anyone who had purchased tickets by credit or debit card, would automatically be refunded. Those who paid by cash, should obtain a refund from the Visit Belfast office.

For the second time in a week, ludicrous midget Justin Bieber has suggested that he is quitting music. Do you reckon, dear blog reader, that if he subsequently doesn't, we can sue him for lying?

Loic Remy scored twice as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle emphatically spanked nine-man Dirty Stoke to record their seventh win in nine games. Oussama Assaidi had put Dirty Stoke ahead but they then had Glenn Whelan sent off for a second yellow card, before Marc Wilson saw a straight red for fouling Remy in the area anddenying a goalscoring opportunity. Remy's penalty was subsequently saved, but he soon equalised with a deflected shot. Yoan Gouffran drove in a second, before Remy's header, Yohan Cabaye's glorious curled effort and Papiss Cisse's penalty finished off the comfortable victory. It was the bonny Magpies' biggest win of the season and boosted their hopes of earning a European spot this season as they closed the gap on fifth-placed Everton to but one point. Having briefly found themselves in the bottom half of the table early in the season, Newcastle have improved considerably with the help of the club's large French contingent. Midfielder Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko, defender Mathieu Debuchy and Gouffran have been particularly impressive. But it was another Frenchman who shone in this fixture as Hatem Ben Arfa - starting in place of the suspended Cheick Tiote - proved a constant menace to Dirty Stoke. The midfielder's flair and invention troubled the Dirty Stoke defence from the outset and the former Marseille man produced the home side's first real chance when he curled an effort just wide. Charlie Adam, employed in an advanced midfield role, was finding plenty of space for Dirty Stoke as they grew into the game and he twice hit long-range strikes narrowly off target. Adam provided the assist for Dirty Stoke's opener midway through the first half, laying the ball into the path of Assaidi, who shot into the top corner. Dirty Stoke's joy was short lived, however, as a dramatic couple of minutes just before half-time turned the game on its head. Whelan was shown his second yellow for a needless foul from behind on Cabaye, a decision which evidently angered Dirty Stoke's notoriously short-tempered manager, Mark Hughes. Ooo, pure dead vexed, so he was. Incandescent with red-faced rage. Flames and that. He was extremely sent to the stands by referee Martin Atkinson for expressing his frustration and getting all stroppy and discombobulated and flinging his coat around like a Big Girl. Which was funny. It got even worse for Hughes and Dirty Stoke moments later as Vurnon Anita fed a neat pass through to Remy and the striker was brought down inside the area by Wilson when bearing down on goal. Atkinson pointed to the spot, before sending Wilson off as well. Remy's spot-kick was saved by Dirty Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen - in the side for the injured Asmir Begovic - but Remy made amends with Newcastle's next attack, equalising via a deflected shot. Newcastle then took the lead three minutes into the second half. Ben Arfa's cross was headed into the air and Sorensen meekly punched the ball straight to Gouffran at the edge of the area, whose low shot crept in for his fifth goal in successive home games. The two-man deficit for Dirty Stoke was telling as the visitors found themselves largely entrenched inside their own area, inviting Newcastle to push forward. The hosts took full advantage as Remy nodded in after Sissoko headed on Davide Santon's cross. Cabaye then extended Newcastle's lead with the goal of the game - a beautiful curling shot from twenty yards after a terrific sweeping five-man move. Ben Arfa subsequently hit the woodwork twice but there was still time for a fifth when Erik Pieters was adjudged to have fouled Ben Arfa in the area and substitute Papiss Cisse scored from the spot for his first league goal of the season.

And, finally dear blog reader, yer actual his very self popped out for fifteen minutes on Boxing Day evening to wish a neighbour - one of the few that Keith Telly Topping can, actually, stand - seasonal felicitations, and all that. As he returned along the frosty bridal path towards Stately Telly Topping Manor, he noted a very bright star in the Eastern sky. Keith Telly Topping, briefly, wondered whether it was Venus, Jupiter or, indeed, a wondrous sign proclaiming the Second Coming of Our Lord and Saviour. Perhaps, Keith Telly Topping speculated, this time He was arriving in some shed on the Estate (being, fashionably, twenty four hours late, obviously). All the cool kids are doing it, they reckon. It was only then, that yer actual realised that it was, on fact, the poliss helicopter, no doubt chasing after some local yooths who have decided to get away from the turkey sandwiches and fifteenth repeat of a Harry Potter movie and go out on the rob. You've just got to admire their almost Thatcherite work ethic, dear blog reader. They don't even take a Bank Holiday off.

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