Thursday, December 05, 2013

Please Turn Me Over

The Christmas Day episode of Lord Snooty's Downton Abbey will be pitched directly against EastEnders, according to TV schedules released this week. Class warfare! That's what the kids want for Christmas. The seasonal outing of ITV's ludicrously over-popular period drama will be screened at 20:30 - the same time as BBC1's flagship soap. Doctor Who will be screened at 19:30, going head-to-head with an hour-long Coronation Street on ITV (for the past few years Who has always been up against Emmerdale). The last time Doctor Who faced Corrie in a direct clash was for David Tennant's final episode on New Year's Day 2010 when the BBC show came out, marginally, on top. Downton's third Christmas special sees the action shift to 1923 and has American actor Paul Giamatti joining the cast. The two-hour episode centres on the Crawleys' wayward family member, Rose, being presented at Buckingham Palace, a grand occasion that sees Cora's mother, Martha - played by Shirley MacLaine - return to the drama. It will also see Giamatti makes his Downton début as Martha's brother, Harold, who was 'in trouble with the law' at the end of the last series. The show's producers are keeping tight-lipped about the fate of Lady Edith and her pregnancy, saying only that she is 'wrestling with a moral dilemma.' Last year's Christmas Day special climaxed in the unexpected death of Matthew Crawley, leaving behind his wife, Lady Mary, and their newborn son. Its first hour overlapped with EastEnders in 2012. Final, consolidated audience figures gave EastEnders the edge, scoring 11.2 million viewers over Downton's 10.2 million. This year the second hour of Downton Abbey's seasonal episode will be up against the popular BBC sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys. The Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who will see Matt Smith battle lots of deadly enemies - including The Daleks and The Cybermen - before getting himself deaded and regenerating into yer actual Peter Capaldi. In BBC1's schedule, the popular long-running family SF drama finds itself sandwiched between Call the Midwife and EastEnders. Albert Square will see the arrival of a new landlord for the Queen Vic, Mick Carter, played by Danny Dyer. The ongoing murder storyline involving Janine Butcher is also expected to figure in EastEnders' hour-long special. On the cobbles of Coronation Street, producers have revealed that Leanne and Nick Tilsley's relationship will 'take a turn for a worse.' The tragic storyline involving long-running character Hayley Cropper is not expected to end until early next year.
Highlights of the Christmas period scheduled released this week include: On Saturday 21 December, BBC1 will broadcast the Strictly Come Dancing final at 6.30pm, followed by the penultimate episode of fantasy drama Atlantis at 7.55pm. Jonas Armstrong and Martin Sheen star in drama The Whale on Sunday 22 December at 9pm, with series two of Last Tango In Halifax drawing to a close at 9pm on Christmas Eve. The David Jason sitcom revival Still Open All Hours and the first part of the period thriller Death Comes To Pemberley will be shown on BBC1 on Boxing Day at 7.45pm and 8.15pm respectively. Death Comes To Pemberley continues on Friday 27 December at 9pm and concludes on Saturday 28 December at 9pm, with the third and final episode following the Atlantis finale, scheduled for 8.15pm. The Mrs Brown's Boys New Year special has been pencilled in for 9.30pm on Monday 30 December, with comedy Two Doors Down (9pm) airing on New Year's Eve. The long-awaited return of Sherlock kicks off the New Year at 9pm on Wednesday 1 January, while long-running crime drama Silent Witness launches its seventeenth series at 9pm on Thursday 2 January.
Psst. Want to see some more Doctor Who and Sherlock pictures, dear blog reader? H-okay. Yer actual is merely a slave to your sick and sordid desires. That's his excuse, anyway, and he's sticking to it.
Sherlock, Call The Midwife and Doctor Who all feature in the BBC's new promotional reel for its Christmas schedule. The three-minute clip - scored by Mariah Carey's 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' - also features footage from Strictly Come Dancing, Bad Education and Mrs Brown's Boys.
A mini-episode of Sherlock will be made available online on Christmas Day. Titled Many Happy Returns, the short episode will serve as a prequel to the show's third series, and will be available via the BBC's interactive Red Button service. 'Sherlock Holmes has been gone for two years. But someone isn't quite convinced that he's dead' the synopsis for the episode reveals. The episode will be available between 25 December and New Year's Day, when series three will début on BBC1.
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about how he deals with Sherlock's 'obsessive' fans. And, surprisingly, it's not 'with a crowbar.' The actor suggested that fan-fiction is 'part of the love people have for the show.' Speaking about the show's fans, he told the Independent on Saturday's Radar magazine: 'They don't teach you how to deal with that. I had a friend who once squeezed her rabbit too much until it started to squeal and she thought it was kind of going, "I love you", when it was really saying, of course, "You are the reason I'm dying." But, what I love about the show is that there are lots of people who weren't outside the hotel today equally excited to see it and are just waiting for it as a quality piece of television.' Benny also admitted that social media has 'given a platform' for Sherlock fan-fiction, with some imagining John Watson and Holmes as gay lovers (it's called 'slash', dear blog reader, and it's hardly unique to Sherlock fandom). 'The problem, of course, is [Sherlock Holmes] uses social media and it gives a platform for this fan-fiction, which is really creative but it's not really what we're doing. It's part of the love people have for the show even if a few of them are quite fanatical about it.'
BBC2 has unveiled details of its Christmas and New Year schedule for 2013-14. Yer actual Mark Gatiss's horror drama The Tractate Middoth and the documentary Idris Elba: King Of Speed are among the highlights. The Choir's Christmas final will be broadcast on Saturday 21 December at 9pm, followed by The Sarah Millican Television Programme Christmas Special at 10pm and a festive episode of yer actual Keith Telly Topping;'s favourite sitcom, Hebburn, at 10.30pm. The Great British Bake-Off is scheduled for 6.30pm on Sunday 22 December, with Christmas specials of University Challenge and Never Mind the Buzzcocks being shown at 8pm and 11.05pm respectively. Christmas Eve programming includes gloriously unfunny full of her own importance geet useless spawny-eyed parrot-faced wazzock Victoria Wood's Mid-Life Christmas at 8pm - so, that'll be well worth avoiding - and a QI XL special at 9pm which will feature Brendan O'Carroll. Doctor Who At The Proms will get a Christmas Day repeat on BBC2 at 3.15pm, with a second showing for Mark Gatiss's acclaimed biopic drama An Adventure In Space And Time, broadcast at 4.30pm. Just in case you haven't watched it enough already over the last month. Following Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at 6.10pm, The Tractate Middoth - starring Sacha Dhawan, Louise Jameson and Una Stubbs - will go out at 9.30pm. Idris Elba: King Of Speed has been scheduled for 8.15pm on Boxing Day, while on New Year's Eve, viewers can look forward to a Mock The Week Christmas special (or, a clip show, in other words) at 10pm and, of course, Jools' Annual Hootenanny from 11.30pm. Movies airing on BBC2 over the festive period include Drive, I Am Number Four and Jane Eyre.

Dust off your credit cards this Christmas as you settle down to watch festive specials of Downton Abbey and Mrs Brown's Boys. New research from e-Bay into the amount viewers shop online while watching telly – 'dual-screening' as it's know – claims that during last year's Christmas Downton Abbey, after the birth of Lady Mary's sprog, sales of Moses baskets on the shopping website rose by seventy eight per cent, while during Mrs Brown's Boys last Christmas Eve, sales of retro armchairs similar to the one used in the show's sitting room went up by seventy per cent. Also, during the Christmas Day, Call The Midwife saw retro bicycle purchases increase by seventy seven per cent and, while The Queen's Speech was on, brooch sales went up eighty three per cent and pearls up forty seven per cent. According to an e-Bay spokesman, Steven Heywood, the website predicts, 'Sherlock, Doctor Who and Downton Abbey will impact our shopping habits this festive period.' So, expect the sale of TARDISes and deerstalkers to go through the roof on Boxing Day.
With full figures now available for the week-ending 24 November 2013, The Day Of The Doctor has been confirmed as the highest-rated programme on British television for the week. The final confirmed rating of 12.8 million viewers puts the programme firmly at the top of the chart, more than a million ahead of the final rating for Strictly Come Dancing, which - as widely reported at the time - had marginally edged ahead of Doctor Who in the initial overnights. ITV's chart was dominated by the reality freak show I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), which took the top five positions for the channel. The highest programme was Monday's, which had 10.04 million watching on ITV plus an additional 1.7 million on ITV HD. The Day Of The Doctor is now the sixteenth-highest-rated episode out of the seven hundred and ninety nine episodes of Doctor Who which have been broadcast since 1963. Only two episodes, Voyage Of The Damned and The Next Doctor, from the post-2005 series have out-rated it. The remainder charting above The Day Of The Doctor all come from the pre-1989 era, and the period when BBC1 was one of just three channels broadcasting (and only insomniacs and intellectuals watched BBC2). Only three other Doctor Who episodes can claim to have topped the charts for the week in which they were broadcast: Journey's End - the series four climax broadcast in 2008 (provided the BBC HD simulcast figures are included in the total) and both parts of David Tennant's swan song, The End Of Time on Christmas Day 2009 and New Years Day 2010. BBC Drama controller Ben Stephenson paid tribute to the production team: 'The Doctor Who fiftieth was a hugely ambitious event on the BBC and it's only fitting that it has taken the top spot as the highest rating drama across all channels this year. It's a fantastic tribute to both Steven Moffat and the creativity of all those involved in the show throughout its history. Next stop, the regeneration at Christmas.' These figures, of course, do not include cinema screenings, or those who watched the programme on iPlayer (a number which, itself, at the moment stands at close on three million).

The main ITV channel is set to increase its audience share for the first time since 1990, on the back of successful shows including Downton Abbey, Broadchurch and I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). Figures published on Thursday show ITV is on course to be the only one of the five terrestrial channels to record an increase in audience share during 2013, with Channel Four's figures slumping the hardest after the ratings success of its London Paralympics coverage the previous year. The last time ITV's annual share of viewing grew, John Major was prime minister and the broadcaster dominated British television. At the time there still just four terrestrial channels and BSkyB's satellite service was in its infancy. In 1990, ITV had a forty four per cent audience share and Coronation Street was the most popular show on British TV, with its highest rating episode attracting nearly twenty million viewers. ITV, which now faces competition from hundreds of digital channels as well as the BBC, also has the most-watched programme of 2013 to date, last month's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) launch show, with a consolidated audience of thirteen million sad, crushed victims of society. According to the Barb figures, ITV had an audience share of 16.5 per cent (including its timeshift service ITV1+1) for the year to 22 November, compared with 15.7 per cent in 2012. The broadcaster's ratings suffered badly during 2012 as viewers watched the BBC's coverage of the London Olympics and Queen's diamond jubilee, but bigger audiences for ITV's stable of reliable ratings bankers including I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) and Britain's Got Toilets, plus new dramas such as Broadchurch and Mr Selfridge, are also credited with helping deliver the broadcaster's improved performance. 'We needed to bounce back and we have,' said Peter Fincham, ITV director of television. 'We've had a very good year. That's due to a range of different things. We're coming good on drama, we've got good entertainment and more new entertainment shows that will return.' Fincham highlighted programmes including the Tom Daley diving show Z-List Celebrity Drowning, soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale and entertainment series including Catchphrase. However, he said it would 'be foolish to think "stability at last"', as ITV still faces a 'competitive and challenging world.' Industry analyst Tim Westcott told the Gruniad Morning Star that ITV's audience share had 'inevitably fallen' since 1990 due to the explosion in digital television, cable and satellite channels and other competition from the likes of Netflix and YouTube. Westcott added that the challenge now for mainstream broadcasters such as ITV, in the face of digital competition, is to 'hold onto shows and big events that do well.' He highlighted ITV's success in regenerating 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) each year. Allegedly. ITV also appears to have been a beneficiary of BBC2 replacing original programming with repeats in its afternoon schedule as part of the corporation's ongoing cost-cutting measures. BBC2's audience share for the year to date is 5.7 per cent, compared with 6.1 per cent in 2012. BBC1 slipped back slightly this year, from 21.3 per cent to 21.1 per cent, but remains - by a distance - the UK's most popular channel. The recent Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary episode, The Day Of The Doctor, is currently the second most watched TV show of the year, with 12.8 million viewers, after 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). Channel Four has suffered a real decline in its audience share from 6.5 per cent in 2012 to 5.8 per cent.

It wouldn't be Christmas without the greatest festive tradition of all. Forget the lights on Oxford Street or carol singers turning up at your door just as you're settling down to the latest episode of MasterChef – you know the holiday season is upon us when some arsehole louse of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail runs a shitehawk 'exclusive' bemoaning the number of BBC repeats in the yuletide schedule. But this year, there's a twist. The article starts off with the usual crass whinging: seven out of ten BBC2 programmes are re-runs; forty seven per cent of shows on the Beeb's two main channels are 'reheats', a ten per cent increase on last year. Then, without warning, it all turns very season of goodwill. 'Amid the glut of repeats,' the paper bellows like a drunken Uncle at a family knees-up, 'viewers will also be able to look forward to some new dramas.' The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, Sherlock and Doctor Who are all things people can 'eagerly tune in to'. The Scum Mail getting into the spirit of things? Lordy! That really is a Christmas miracle.
The TV chef , self-confessed naughty Nigella Lawson - she has her knockers - has been accused of using a court case as 'a vehicle to explain herself' to the world's media. She strongly denied the allegation, saying:'"I felt that I would be put on trial.' The fifty three-year-old, who admitted in court to having taking both cocaine and marijuana, said that she was 'not proud' of her past drug use but would rather be 'honest' about snorting Charlie than 'bullied with lies.' Lawson's former personal assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, deny committing fraud and abusing their positions by using a company credit card for personal gain. Lawson told Isleworth Crown Court that she 'did not want to attend the hearing at all' because she had been 'menaced.' Replying to a defence barrister cross-examining her, she said that she was not a drug addict or an habitual user. She said: 'I would rather be honest and ashamed. Not bullied with lies.' On the first day of her evidence on Wednesday, Lawson claimed that she took cocaine with her late husband, John Diamond, 'on six occasions', after he found out his cancer was terminal. She claimed that she took it again in July 2010, after she felt she had been 'subjected to intimate terrorism' by her ex-husband, Charles Saatchi. Responding to claims from the defence that she was 'not honest' about her drug use, she said: 'No one really wants their errors having the spotlight put on them. When I needed to tell the truth, I told the truth.' Lawson told the court that her ex-husband, Saatchi, had threatened to 'destroy' her with 'false' allegations about her drug usage. She said he made the threat after she had shown reluctance to give evidence at the trial of her assistants. The Grillos' defence has claimed that the sisters were 'allowed' to spend on credit cards by Lawson in return for their covering up her use of drugs. She claimed that the allegations which have been made about her at the trial had followed 'a long summer of bullying and abuse. 'I have been put on trial here where I am called to answer, and glad to answer the allegations, and [in] the world's press,' she said. Lawson added that she had been 'reluctant' to give evidence in the trial, which had provoked an sniffy reaction from Saatchi. 'He had said to me if I didn't get back to him and clear his name, he would destroy me,' she claimed. Lawson said that following the 'awful incident at Scotts', the 'false' allegations began circulating 'on a PR blog.' Saatchi was cautioned for assault by plod after images of him grasping Lawson warmly by the neck at the London restaurant appeared in a newspaper. She said that the allegations on the blog were 'dedicated to salvaging Mr Saatchi's reputation and destroying mine.' On Friday, Saatchi had told the court that he had 'no proof' Lawson had ever taken drugs. The couple divorced in July after ten years of marriage. The Grillo sisters are accused of using credit cards loaned to them by the couple to spend more than six hundred and eighty thousand smackers on themselves. Lawson told the court that Elisabetta 'did not have a strong moral compass', but she said the forty one-year-old was 'a stalwart' who had helped Lawson through the death of her first husband. She said the allegations of fraud 'broke our heart' when they were revealed to her and Saatchi. Lawson claimed Elisabetta had been 'a rock', adding: 'I would have done anything for her.' Defending, Anthony Metzer QC asked Lawson if Saatchi had a temper. She said that he 'did have a temper and I don't think that anyone can be in any doubt he had a temper', adding that she had 'confided' in Elisabetta about Saatchi's outbursts. Lawson told the court that Saatchi used to 'shout and swear' at her, and she told the defendant privately that 'I don't know how long I can take this.' She added that it was 'not beyond impossible to imagine' that Saatchi had also lost his temper with Elisabetta. Metzer also asked about if she thought her background 'conflicted' with Saatchi. 'I don't understand why my marriage is pertinent to you,' she said. She added that while her late husband, Diamond, had left her with some debts, she was 'an independent woman' who had not used Saatchi's money to pay them off. Metzer was then warned by Judge Robin Johnson that he should not 'invite argument.' Lawson also corrected the defence barrister, who had referred to her supporters as Team Nigella. 'No, they call themselves Team Cupcake,' she said. Wouldn't cheesecake be more appropriate, one wonders? You know, buttery biscuit base and all that. The case continues.
I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) continued its, frankly sick, domination of the overnight ratings for the first three shows of this week. It pulled in audiences of 8.21m on Monday (a big drop of over a million from the previous evening's show), 8.42m on Tuesday and 8.64m on Wednesday. Britain! What the hell are you thinking? On Monday, earlier in the evening, Tales From Northumberland with Wor Geet Canny Robson Green, like, was seen by 3.46m at 8pm on ITV. On BBC1, latest episode of Ripper Street - the last before the announcement of period drama's cancellation on Wednesday - bounced back by around two hundred thousand viewers from the previous week to, a still not very good, 3.26m overnight viewers at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge was watched by 3.07m at 8pm, followed by MasterChef: The Professionals' first semi final episode with 2.81m at 8.30pm. The Choir continued with 2.05m at 9pm, while Never Mind The Buzzcocks tickled 1.10m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Sarah Beeny's Great British Christmas appealed to 1.15m at 8pm. New series Liberty Of London has an audience of 1.58m at 9pm, followed by Fresh Meat with seven hundred and six thousand punters at 10pm. Channel Five's The Gadget Show interested eight hundred and forty seven thousand at 8pm. Monty Halls And The Divers' Graveyard brought in seven hundred and thirty four thousand at 9pm. On BBC4, Only Connect had eight hundred and seventy six thousand viewers at 8.30pm.

Apart from the 8.42m sad, crushed victims of society watching Matthew Wright and Vincent Simone leave the jungle in a double eviction, on Tuesday night, BBC1's highest-rated primetime programme outside of soaps was Last Tango In Halifax, which was down on last week's audience at 4.51m. Imagine's latest episode Who's Afraid Of Machiavelli - featuring yer actual Peter Capaldi his very self - was watched by 1.13m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, 3.05m punters watched the very impressive Adam and Steven both progress to the final in MasterChef: The Professionals at 8pm, while the latest episode of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's current favourite sitcom Hebburn had an overnight audience of eight hundred and ten thousand punters at 10pm. On Channel Four, an audience of 1.1m tuned in for Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners - down slightly on last week's audience. The Sound Of Musicals followed with six hundred and twenty thousand at 9pm, while Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan's drama Masters Of Sex was seen by a further six hundred thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's highest-rated programme in primetime was The Mentalist, which had nine hundred and thirty seven thousand viewers at 9pm.

On BBC1 on - a very poor - Wednesday evening's schedules, Nigel & Adam's Farm Kitchen was watched by 2.95m at 8pm, followed by a repeat of New Tricks with 2.80m at 9pm. A midweek Match Of The Day scored 3.27m at 10.35pm, including yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies unbeaten run coming to a juddering halt at Swansea where they got a damned good hiding. BBC2's MasterChef: The Professionals had 2.51m at 8pm watching young Tom join Adam and Steven in the final and, the seemingly rather full-of-himself David, leave the competition. Tudor Monastery Farm gathered 1.43m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Location, Location, Location with Phil, Phil, Phil and musmy, bossy, shouty Tory Kirstie interested six hundred and eighty two thousand at 8pm. Twenty Four Hours in A&E was seen by 1.26m at 9pm, followed by Gogglebox with 1.32m at 10pm. Channel Five's Police Interceptors arrested six hundred and seventy eight thousand at 8pm, while Car Crime UK: Caught On Camera had an audience of 1.05m at 9pm.

So, anyway, as noted above Ripper Street will not be returning for a third series, the BBC has confirmed. A spokesperson said that 'declining viewership' contributed to the decision to axe the show, which starred Matthew Macfadyen, Adam Rothenberg and MyAnna Buring. 'We are very proud of Ripper Street which has enjoyed two highly ambitious series on BBC1,' the spokesperson explained. 'However, the second series didn't bring the audience we hoped and in order to make room for creative renewal and new ideas it won't be returning.' Jerome Flynn - who plays Bennet Drake in the period thriller - first revealed that the show had been dropped during a radio interview on BBC London. Ripper Street's first series launched with 7.89m punters for its first episode in 2012, but the latest episode - broadcast on Monday - as noted above attracted an overnight audience of just 3.26m. Supporters of Reid, Drake and Jackson have taken to Twitter in their droves - of course - and even some waste-of-space Communist of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star got in on the act, demanding to know What Is The BBC thinking? They're thinking 'nobody's watching this, we'd better make something else instead,' Julia, love. Do try to keep up, there's a good girl. There are also, of course, a number of online petitions doing the rounds, demanding that the show be saved. Okay, here's the deal people, it's not rocket science - TV programmes get cancelled for one of three basic reasons: a) because they're shit, b) because no one's watching them or c) because they're shit and no one's watching them. Ripper Street, sadly (because this blogger genuinely did rather enjoy it), after a promising start fell into the second category. It lost half of its initial audience in a year and an audience of three-and-a-half million for a primetime midweek 9pm drama on BBC1 is going to invite cancellation sooner rather than later. If it had been four-and-a-half million it might, just, have gotten away with it but, at the end of the day, that's simply not enough people to justify its continuation. Glakeish conceits such as online petitions would be far better directed at getting a few more people to watch the dman thing. Then the Beeb would not have had any reason to bin it in the first place.
BBC head of television Danny Cohen has hit out at recent critics of the Corporation insisting that those who are 'well rewarded' by the BBC must stop giving media interviews in which they criticise the organisation. And, once again, it's nice to see, finally, somebody in a position of authority at the BBC showing a bit of sodding backbone and threatening those afflicted with a loose mouth with a swingeing bit of 'you'll never eat lunch in this town again'. Nothing, but nothing silences dissent like somebody being made a very public example of. Can this blogger, respectfully, suggest Jack Whitehall for such a pants down shoeing? No particular reason, just because he's Jack Whitehall. Should have been done years ago, frankly. In a robust address to journalists at an event marking the BBC's Christmas programming, Cohen said that people 'who work for the BBC and are well rewarded for it are quick to attack or criticise the organisation in public rather than deal with any issues or concerns internally.' While he insisted that 'critical friends' are important for the broadcaster's well-being he added: 'I know that BBC staff often wonder why some of our on-screen talent and some former members of staff choose to attack or undermine the BBC in public rather than express any concerns they have in private conversations within the BBC. In short, this drives BBC staff mad. It is very important to say that the vast majority of the talented people we work with on-screen are great supporters of the BBC and I want to put on record my thanks to them for their hard work, creative dedication and public support. But I would also like to call on those who are paid by the BBC but criticise it in media interviews and in public to think hard before they join the daily chorus of BBC-bashing that takes place in some quarters.' Cohen said that such comments are 'damaging' and unhelpful and called on 'everyone who believes in the BBC to get behind it, to speak up for it, to celebrate its successes', adding that 'those employed by the BBC should drive this change from the inside rather than undermining this wonderful organisation from the outside.' While Cohen made no mention of anyone by name, recent critics of the BBC have included numskull David Dimbleby, who suggested that the BBC should be 'dramatically slimmed down', cutting out 'some of the gardening and the cookery' and that BBC4 be abolished and merged with BBC2. Jennifer Saunders, the star of Absolutely Fabulous recently snitched like a Copper's Nark to Glamour magazine that the 'ugly' and 'corporate' BBC of today no longer resembles the place she worked when she created her classic comedies. She said: 'It's become top-heavy in such an ugly way. They went corporate instead of being what they should be, which is a national resource, a place which trains people and curates the best programmes, and encourages talent and does great news and journalism.' Nice bit of loyalty there from somebody who has made a vast amount of coin from the BBC over the years. Roger Mosey, a former head of BBC Television News who ran the BBC's Olympics coverage before leaving this year - for a massive pay out, of course - suggested last month that the BBC axe BBC3 and BBC4 in order to 'focus on quality' and suggested that a slice of the BBC's licence fee could go to its commercial rivals. And, as noted in our round-up of the year's best and worst telly anybody who regards BBC4 as anything less than something to be treasured rather than threatened ith the axe is a frigging twenty four carat moron with cement between their ears who does not deserve to have a single word they say listened to. Numskull glakes, the lot of them dear blog reader.

Now, for the latest Examples of things that are, like, totally geet cush, and make the world a better place by their very existence, number thirty three: Lynda Carter. Oh yes. Got this blogger through some very lonely teenage nights did Lynda.
The BBC has a Laurel and Hardy biopic in the works. Stan And Ollie - a ninety-minute drama - will be written by Mrs Biggs author Jeff Pope, reports Broadcast. The biopic will pick up at the tail end of the pair's comedy career in 1953, as they embark on an ill-fated UK tour. 'Stan And Ollie is Jeff's love letter to two pioneers and enduring giants of screen comedy,' claimed Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC. Why the hell does everything have to be 'a love letter' these days? Can't they just be, you know, 'a script'? 'It beautifully captures the deep emotional bond forged over a lifelong partnership as they reflect on their rollercoaster careers through the prism of this final UK farewell tour. An epic story about the world's most famous comedy double-act to date told with great insight and heart.' A comedy duo of the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy rose to fame in the late 1920s and starred in a total of one hundred and seven films together before Hardy's death in 1957. No casting has yet been announced for the film.
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks approved a four grand payment for a photograph of Prince William in a bikini posing as a Bond girl when she edited the Sun, but never published the picture, the Old Bailey has heard. The former News International chief executive was forwarded an e-mail from a journalist on the paper when she was editor requesting the money for a contact at Sandhurst, the military academy where the prince was training in 2006. When asked 'What do you think, boss?' she replied 'Okay', the hacking trial jury was told on Thursday. Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said the picture was not published, but the Sun ran a 'mock-up' of it, with William's head superimposed on someone else's body and the headline Willy in a Bikini in September 2006. The article claimed that Prince William 'caused a stir at a Sandhurst 007 bash by dressing as a Bond girl' and added his then girlfriend, Kate Middleton, attended the party 'wearing a wetsuit and carrying a toy gun.' Well, off to The Tower with her. The jury was shown the e-mail which read: 'My best contact at Sandhurst who has provided a string of great stuff over a period of months, offered us a picture of William at a James Bond party dressed as a Bond girl. He is wearing a bikini and an open Hawaiian shirt.' The e-mail continued that the person offering the photograph wanted four thousand smackers 'up front' to pay for a course for his wife, but that the picture should only be used when Sandhurst was on its summer break. The journalist added: 'He assures me that although this is not the way we would normally operate we would not be let down. Indeed I already have the guy with the picture over a barrel because I know his identity.' Well, what a class act you are, pal. The e-mail was forwarded to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks. 'Less than ten minutes later, she says okay,' said Chalkey. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denies conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Paddy Harverson, former communication secretary to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, told the jury that he 'recalled' a conversation with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks about the Sun proposing to publish a photograph of William. He said the conversation, in August 2006, was as a result of the Sun publishing pictures and a story about Prince Harry headlined Playboy prince cops a feel. Dirty Harry. The front page story and double spread inside alleged that Harry was 'canoodling' with a woman 'who was not his girlfriend', the court heard. Harverson said he told well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, then well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Wade, that the Harry photographs were 'old' and not recently taken. Notes he made during the conversation were shown to the jury. In them he wrote 'RW: my guy say did deal on Friday. He claimed they were his pictures. We knew him.' Harverson also wrote down well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks saying: 'If we fucked up, what are we going to say?' Jonathan Laidlaw QC, for well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks asked Harverson if this was well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks accepting 'and I won't use her language, but that "we got it wrong"' over the Harry story. Harverson agreed. The paper had published a grovelling apology the next day, the jury heard. Referring to the same notes, Laidlaw highlighted one other passage in which Harverson had written 'pic of PW in underwear wearing pink feather boa.' Laidlaw put it to him: 'There was a discussion, but it was about a different photograph. About the prince in boxer shorts and a feather boa and not about the prince wearing a bikini.' Harverson said that he told well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks if the Sun had a picture of William at a private party it would be in breach of his privacy to publish it. He added: 'It was interesting to see they didn't publish the photograph.' Laidlaw told the jury the 'underwear' photograph was never published by the Sun, but was published by the Sunday People in 2011. Detective inspector David Kennett, from the Metropolitan police's Operation Elevden investigation into alleged illegal payments by journalists to public officials, was asked by Laidlaw if he had ever considered whether the e-mail request for money that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks approved might have 'related to three individuals' rather than two – and that a third individual might have been involved. Kennett replied that he had not. The court was also told well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks repeatedly approved payment requests from a Sun journalist for his 'number one military contact' who was a Ministry of Defence official when she was editor of the paper. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks allegedly authorised the payments after the requests were e-mailed to her. The journalist did not name the official in the e-mails. The jury was told the money was paid to Bettina Jordan-Barber, an MoD employee. Sums of between five hundred and four thousand five hundred knicker were made for exclusive stories which the reporter described as 'massively picked up' and 'good value for money', it was alleged. The prosecution claimed the payments were made through a Thomas Cook branch. The court was told of a string of e-mails between the reporter and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks. One request allegedly sent to her for authorisation, and which was shown to the jury, read: 'Morning boss, I wonder if you could please approve the following payments for my number one military contact which are paid via Thomas Cook. Your e-mail okaying them is all the paperwork necessary.' The e-mail included reference to three stories and the amounts three thousand, one thousand and five hundred notes. The court was told that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied 'of course.' Another e-mail from the journalist detailing a story asked if it was 'alright to pay the contact three thousand pounds' for 'a belting exclusive.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks allegedly replied 'brilliant scoop', adding 'of course on payments.' The case continues.

A former legal manager of The Times has been suspended by a tribunal from practising as a solicitor for a period of six months over his involvement in a high court case relating to an anonymous police blogger, Nightjack, unmasked by the paper. The chairman of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Andrew Spooner, announced the sanction late on Thursday after the tribunal ruled that Alastair Brett knowingly allowed the high court to be misled over the hacking of Nightjack's e-mail account. Spooner said that it was 'a single occurrence, an unfortunate occurrence and in the context of his career a sad occurrence', but given the seriousness of the allegations made against Brett 'a period of suspension was appropriate. The allegations are serious – a high court, a claimant were misled and possibly the outcome of a high court trial may have been affected by this case. We balance this against the good character, the fact that he has had a long and respected career,' Spooner added. Brett, sixty three, a lawyer with The Times and Sunday Times for thirty three years, was referred to the tribunal by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. He was accused of breaching two elements of the solicitors' code of practice after the author of the blog, detective constable Richard Horton, tried to get an injunction preventing the paper from unmasking him. Horton failed to get the injunction but it subsequently transpired that the reporter behind the story, Patrick Foster, had hacked into Horton's e-mail account and this was not then made known to The Times' barristers, Horton's counsel, or the presiding judge, Mr Justice Eady. Delivering the tribunal's ruling, Spooner said: 'We find that the respondent [Brett] knowingly allowed the court to be misled and failed to act with integrity, therefore allegations one and two are proven.' Spooner said he 'did not accept' that Foster had partially dictated the response to Horton's lawyers in which an allegation that the journalist had a history of hacking was challenged. He also found against Brett's defence that he had 'a duty of care' to Foster. 'His duty was to the court rather than a young reporter who had committed a potential criminal offence.' In mitigation, counsel for Brett, Sue Sleeman, told the tribunal that he took the allegations 'very seriously' but that it was 'a single aberration' at the end of 'a very long and distinguished career.' Sleeman claimed that Brett had 'already suffered' as a consequence of the affair and had gone through 'a very public and humiliating' experience at The Leveson Inquiry. She asked the tribunal to 'consider a reprimand', the lowest level of sanction available, but Spooner said this was 'not likely' given the seriousness of the offence. Taking the witness stand for the second time, Brett said that since he had left The Times in 2010 he had made 'very little money' because most of his work was pro bono. A financial arrangement that he had made with the paper was about to run out and he had not filed earnings higher than seven and a half grand in the last two years.

BBC2 has commissioned a follow-up to its comedy hit Twenty Twelve. W1A will follow Hugh Bonneville's character Ian Fletcher as he takes on his next big job as Head of Values at the BBC. In his new role, Ian's job task is to 'reshape and redefine' the BBC 'in particular for Licence Fee Renegotiation and Charter Renewal in 2016 and 2017.' The new four-part series will also see Jessica Hynes reprising her role of Siobhan Sharpe, but will otherwise feature new situations and characters. No Olivia Coleman, obviously. She's too busy. Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC2, said: 'Twenty Twelve was one of BBC2's stand out comedy hits last year, and I'm absolutely thrilled that John Morton and the fantastic off-screen team are coming together again as well as some of our most loved characters from the first series.' Morton added: 'It isn't a demolition job on anybody or anything, and it isn't one giant in-joke, and this isn't a game of guessing who is supposed to be who. If it is satirical then it's satirical about an environment, an ethos, and the absurdities of modern corporate life itself.'

World Memory Champion Jonas Von Essen appeared on Monday's Newsnight and attempted to recite the programme's credits from memory. However, the Swede almost slipped straight away as he tried to remember one very important name - presenter Jeremy Paxman. Which was funny. Needless to say, Paxo didn't look at all amused by this malarkey and scowled at his script, throughout. Good on ya, Jeeza, you're an inspiration to us grumpy old fiftysomethings everywhere.
Yer actual Martin Bashir has resigned from the liberal US news and chat network MSNBC after making controversial remarks about former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. In November, he referred to Palin, a Republican and a numskull, as 'a world-class idiot', and suggested that she eat faeces. Sounds like a pretty reasonable set of views for anyone to hold compared with, for example, with Palin's own belief that Africa is a country, but there you go. Bashir has since called his remarks - about her comparison of the US national debt to chattel slavery - 'ill-judged.' Bashir joined MSNBC three years ago as a daytime chat show host after a successful career in the UK. 'Martin is a good man and respected colleague - we wish him only the best,' MSNBC president Phil Griffin wrote in a statement announcing the decision on Wednesday. Bashir later released his own statement saying that he had offered his resignation after a meeting with Griffin and upon 'further reflection' of his remarks. 'It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself,' he wrote. 'I deeply regret what was said, will endeavour to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers.' Bashir's rapid fall from grace follows comments he made on 15 November. 'America's resident dunce Sarah Palin scraping the barrel of her long-deceased mind and using her all-time favourite analogy in an attempt to sound intelligent about the national debt,' he said on MSNBC. 'Given her well-established reputation as a world-class idiot, it's hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its abominable history.' Bashir then suggested that she 'eat faeces', which he described as a punishment for wayward slaves. He later apologised to Palin and network viewers for his 'deeply offensive' comments.

The BBC's soon-to-be-former HR director, Lucy Adams, has settled her legal action against the NUJ after the union apologised for falsely accusing her of 'a dirty tricks' campaign against its members. The NUJ said that it 'did not intend' to suggest Adams 'had led a dirty tricks campaign or that there was any criminal activity on her part whatsoever.' Although that appeared to be exactly what it did suggest. 'The NUJ apologises to Lucy Adams for making these allegations.' The union has agreed to pay Adams' legal costs, said to be about ten grand. The statement by the NUJ earlier this week set out to 'clarify' remarks contained in an article entitled BBC dirty tricks including hacking NUJ members' e-mails, published on its NUJ website on 30 August this year. 'It was the intention of the article to make "a broader criticism" of management practices at the BBC, which the NUJ will continue to address through the appropriate industrial channels,' the statement claimed. 'We have agreed not to repeat these allegations and both parties now draw a line under the dispute.' A BBC spokesman said: 'We're pleased this issue has been resolved. The BBC hopes it can work constructively with the NUJ in the future.' In August, Adams - who is paid three hundred and twenty thousand smackers a year - announced that she would leave the corporation in March 2014 without any severance pay. A day after her departure was announced, the NUJ published the disputed article. Their claims were instantly dismissed by the BBC as 'false and without foundation.' Adams later announced that she was suing the NUJ for defamation over 'an unwarranted and very personal attack.' Last month, the BBC confirmed it had 'agreed to fund the reasonable costs of Adams' seeking external legal advice.'
Freddie Starr has been bailed yet again by officers investigating allegations of sexual offences. The seventy-year-old, from Warwickshire, is due to appear before police in February next year. Starr was first arrested in November 2012 by detectives from Operation Yewtree, the police inquiry set up after the Jimmy Savile abuse revelations. Starr, known variously as an alleged comedian, impressionist and singer, has lately appeared on TV reality shows. The Metropolitan Police have not identified the entertainer by name but released a statement saying that the man had 'now been re-bailed to return pending further inquiries.' Starr has already been rebailed several times previously. In June, Starr's lawyer said that he hoped to soon be able to clear his name and, in October, his lawyers questioned the length of the investigation. At the time, police said that the delay was the result of the 'complex nature' of the inquiry. Starr was re-arrested in April by Yewtree officers when further allegations against him - unconnected to dirty old scallywag and rotten rotter Savile - emerged. Starr has denied any wrongdoing throughout. Yewtree is an inquiry into allegations of historical sexual abuse linked to the entertainment industry. It was launched after it emerged Savile had allegedly subjected hundreds of young people and children to sexual abuse over more than five decades. The operation has three strands. One concerns dirty old scallywag and rotten rotter Savile's own - many and disgusting - crimes exclusively, while a second relates to allegations against Savile and others. The third strand concentrates on accusations which emerged as a result of the publicity surrounding Savile but which are unconnected to him. The allegations against Starr fall under the 'Savile and others' strand.

The BBC has been criticised - by nobody that actually matters - after arranging a day devoted to Gary Barlow. Radio 2 will focus on The X Factor judge for a whole day next week, the Gruniad Morning Star reports - in an atypical gleeful trouble-making way, of course. Barlow will appear on both Ken Bruce and Steve Wright's shows, will do an 'Ask Gary' Q&A on the BBC website, and his concert from the BBC Radio Theatre will be broadcast on Radio 2 and on the Red Button. All of which can easily be avoided by watching or listening to other stuff instead, which this blogger will be doing. You want to try it, dear blog reader, it's a pure dead brilliant way of completely avoiding Gary Barlow. 'This is no ordinary performance,' the BBC said. 'Throughout the day, you can listen, watch and interact with a bona fide national treasure - before seeing him perform in concert.' Who the bona fide national treasure is, they didn't say but, apparently, Gary Barlow will be on as well. However, 'some groups' (that's Gruniad Morning Star shorthand for 'about four people with a chip on their shoulder') have reportedly whinged about Barlow's prominence as he has already been on Chris Evans and Simon Mayo's radio shows, The ONE Show, Breakfast and Children In Need.
Plebs has been named the Best New Comedy Programme at this year's British Comedy Awards. Which it wasn't. Or anything even remotely like it.
Mark Shenton, the Sunday Scum Express chief theatre critic for the past elven years, has been fired in what the Gruniad Morning Star describe as 'extraordinary circumstances.' Shenton has been accused of 'bringing the newspaper into disrepute' because naked pictures of him were discovered on a gay website. He said that the paper's editor, Martin Townsend, told him the pictures were 'embarrassing.' Shenton, who believes that the pictures were taken twenty two years ago, said they could only have been obtained by someone who paid to gain access to the site. 'It is truly ironic that I should be fired by an organisation run by a pornographer,' he said, referring to the paper's owner, Richard Desmond. 'It is rank hypocrisy to sack me over this. The only difference is that he has dealt in straight pornography and this could be defined as gay pornography. But I must stress that it was only available to those seeking it and willing to pay for it.' In a blogpost announcing that he had been fired, Shenton wrote: 'The paper had been tipped off by a malicious third party that there were some private, personal (but entirely legal) images of me available on a gay website. I'd never seen or heard of the site myself so it was news to me, but yes, the thumbnail picture I was shown by the head of human resources was, indeed, of me. I had not posted it, but remembered it being taken, by my reckoning, by a friend in San Francisco I have long lost touch with some twenty two years ago – long before I either worked for the paper or the Internet had come of age, so I never expected them to turn up on a website that didn't exist then.' Shenton said that his sexuality 'is public knowledge.' He joined the Sunday Scum Express in April 2002 and also writes a daily blog, plus reviews, for The Stage, the weekly newspaper that covers the theatre and entertainment industry. Before taking up his Scum Express role, he worked for the Press Association from 1990, initially as editor for arts and entertainment and subsequently as managing editor for arts and lifestyle, finance data and television listings. Northern & Shell, Desmond's publishing company which owns the Sunday Scum Express, declined to comment when asked to explain themselves by the Gruniad. However, the Gruniad adds that Northern & Shell 'disputes' Shenton's version of events.

The BBC Trust has concluded that a sequence shown in a BBC1 wildlife documentary was misleading to viewers. It ruled it was wrong to imply that a grizzly bear expert was present when he commentated on the animals. His contribution in The Great Bear Stakeout, shown on BBC1 in April, had actually been filmed separately. However, it did confirm that the bear was there. So, you know, one out of two, at least. An earlier BBC 'probe' (anal or otherwise, we can only speculate) found that there had been 'serious breaches' of editorial guidelines that should 'ensure accuracy' and not 'distort known facts.' BBC managers responded to the investigation by sending staff from the Natural History Unit on 'bespoke training courses' and setting up 'regular review boards' to discuss editorial concerns. In its review of September's rulings by the Editorial Standards Committee, the Trust agreed it was 'not acceptable' for the wildlife expert to be filmed separately from the events on which he was commentating. But they accepted the staging of his reaction 'had been done as a production technique to tell a narrative and to enhance the viewing experience.' The Trust said that the natural history sequences shown in the film were accurate, including the one in question. This had featured footage of a mother bear leading her two cubs into the sea to catch fish and one of the cubs disappearing into the waves. The ESC's concern was that this could 'damage a world-class brand' - namely, the BBC's natural history output. In June it was informed about the misleading footage and that editorial rules had been broken. The footage was later re-edited and the original version removed from the BBC iPlayer. The programme's producer, Gavin Henderson, also wrote an online post in which he apologised for the 'misleading' scene and pledged that any future repeats would not contain the bear guide's commentary. The bear's thoughts on the matter were not recorded. Although, he was probably a bit grizzly about the whole subject. What? What?
The Attorney General is to publish guidance on Twitter to help prevent social media users from committing contempt of court when commenting on legal cases. Dominic Grieve QC said it was designed to make sure fair trials took place. Peaches Geldof recently apologised for tweets relating to a case, and several people were fined last year for naming a woman raped by the footballer Ched Evans. The advice will apply to court cases in England and Wales. The rise of social media has meant that conversations about criminal cases, once held down the pub or over the garden fence, are now routinely published online - and can be shared with thousands. But Facebook and Twitter - and blogs for that matter - are publications subject to the same laws that, in practice, used to apply only to the mainstream media. Anyone commenting about a case or defendant in a way which could prejudice a trial could be prosecuted for contempt and, in really serious cases, imprisoned. That is why the Attorney General is going to start publishing advice - that previously only went to the media - to the public via his own website and Twitter feed. Although whether that, in and of itself, will constitute a potential contempt of court and land old Grievesy his very self in the dock is another matter entirely. It is designed to 'help inform' people about the legal pitfalls of commenting in a way that could be seen as prejudicial to a court case or to those involved. Grieve said blogs and social media sites allow individuals to reach thousands of people with a single post (or, in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's case, a few hundred at best), which he said was 'an exciting prospect' but one which 'can pose certain challenges to the criminal justice system.' He said that he was not proposing 'some sort of Big Brother watch' but wanted to 'educate people', possibly starting in schools. Guidelines currently issued to the media about high-profile cases could be published online and through Twitter to prevent legal risks and the collapse of trials, he said.

And now, without any shadow of a doubt, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite media story of the week. Russian state TV has come up with an unusual weapon in its propaganda offensive against supporters of Ukraine's integration with the EU - a Swedish TV programme designed to help children understand their bodily functions. In the middle of a report on 1 December about the background to the clashes in Kiev over the issue of Ukraine's relationship with the EU, viewers of official Russian state TV channel Rossiya 1 bizarrely found themselves watching clips from the Swedish children's series Biss Och Kajs - the Swedish words for 'wee-wee' and 'poo-poo'. I'm not making this up, dear blog reader. For Rossiya 1 anchor Dmitriy Kiselev, Biss Och Kajs exemplifies the kind of 'Western decadence' which awaits Ukraine if it decides to join the EU and turn its back on Mother Russia. The Swedish TV series tells children about their various bodily functions with the help of two characters, the eponymous Biss and Kajs. It livens up the physiological explanations with musical numbers from The Rump Orchestra (bottoms dressed in hats, glasses and ties) and what Kiselev calls 'singing genitalia.' Some consider it The Dogs Bollocks, apparently. Others a load of old crap. Hey, come on, I work with the material I'm given, what can I say? A respectful article in pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda recently praised the show for 'helping spare children' some of the 'suffering connected with various physical manifestations.' But Kiselev says that in Sweden, there has been a 'sharp rise in child abortions, early sex is the norm - from the age of nine, and it is not surprising that child impotence starts at twelve. There you have European values in all their glory.' Right. Kiselev has become somewhat notorious in recent months for his verbal attacks on homosexuals and his likening of enemies of the Kremlin both in Russia and abroad to the Nazis. So, clearly not a complete nutter with a very small tiddler, then. Obviously. He is also one of several Rossiya 1 presenters who regularly suggest that if Ukraine opts to ally itself with the West it will find itself in some sort of 'Euro-Sodom'. Sounds like a party we'd all like to be invited to, that. Writing on Facebook, TV Russian critic Arina Borodina has described Kiselev's weekly homilies as 'schizophrenic streams of consciousness.' But his latest outpouring has still managed to raise some eyebrows. 'Kiselev is talking about a stream of urine, poo-poo and genitalia. I'm lost for words,' wrote one Twitter user. Others asked: 'Has Kiselev undergone a course of hypnosis?' and 'Is he on drugs?'

A celebration by American football fans in the city of Seattle grew so loud on Monday evening that it registered as a minor earthquake, a research group has claimed. Raucous fans jumped up and down during an early first-quarter touchdown in the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network detected the vibrations, measuring between a magnitude one and two earthquake. The Seahawks eventually won the game at CenturyLink Field thirty four points to seven. Pacific Northwest Seismic Network director John Vidale told CNN that his staff had recorded five separate seismic events during the game. It was not the first time fan celebrations shook Seattle. In 2011, the response to another US football touchdown registered at nearby seismic recording stations. CenturyLink Field, which is open to the air, also set a Guinness World Record for noise in September.

Some very sad news now. The reggae singer Junior Murvin, best known for the 1976 song 'Police and Thieves', has died in Jamaica aged sixty seven. His son, Keith Smith, said that Junior died in hospital in Port Antonio on Monday. The cause of his death has not been established although the singer was being treated for diabetes and high blood pressure in recent months. 'Police and Thieves', produced by the celebrated Lee Scratch Perry, became something of a 1970s anthem with its chorus about 'stirring up de nation wit cha guns and ammunition' and its biblical allusions to 'Genesis to Revelation.' It was later, famously, covered by The Clash on their début LP. The song eventually reached number twenty three on the UK chart when it was re-issue in 1980 after it was featured in Rockers, a film about reggae culture. Junior Murvin - born Murvin Junior Smith in 1949 - began his career as a hotel entertainer in Jamaica, eventually becoming a recording artist in Kingston, the Jamaica Observer reported. 'Police and Thieves' was a massive hit in Jamaica in the summer of 1976 and acquired a cult following in the UK where it found an audience with punk rock aficionados. The song became closely associated with the Notting Hill Carnival in London that year which ended in rioting. It was The Clash's bassist, Paul Simonen, a huge reggae fan, who brought the song to the attention of his bandmates. The Jamaica Observer also reported that Murvin, was admitted to hospital last week for diabetes and hypertension. The exact cause of death will be determined at an inquest. Junior began singing as a child, influenced particularly by Curtis Mayfield, and began performing in public after his family moved to Montego Bay. He studied mechanics at the local technical high school and then moved to Trenchtown in Kingston, where he lived with his aunt and auditioned unsuccessfully for both Lee Perry and Coxsone Dodd. He first recorded under the name Junior Soul for Sonia Pottinger's Gayfeet label, and then began recording regularly for the Crystal label owned by Derrick Harriott, where he had a minor hit with 'Solomon' in 1972. He also performed as a member of The Hippy Boys and later The Mighty Falcons and The Tornadoes, in Kingston's nightclubs and tourist hotels. He recorded music for more than thirty years, and broke out of the local Jamaican scene with 'Police and Thieves', a song that outlined the police brutality and social unrest in Jamaica of the time. Junior continued recording throughout the Eighties and Nineties, but never had another international hit like 'Police and Thieves'. However, he sang with one of Jamaica's top bands, Jah Postles and toured widely in Europe. He recorded with various producers and musicians, including Joe Gibbs, Errol Thompson, another Clash associate Mikey Dread with whom he recorded the 1982 album Bad Man Posse, Henry Junjo Lawes, Prince Jammy and King Tubby. Junior's other Jamaican hits included 'Miss Kushie', 'Cool Out Son', 'I'm In Love', 'Bad Man Posse' and 'Muggers in the Street.' His last released recording was a single entitled 'Wise Man', released on the London-based Dubwise record label in 1998. Junior is survived by his five children and eight grandchildren.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual KTT attended Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player. For many years this week's featured slab on vinyl was a bit of a guilty pleasure for this blogger. he loved it but he didn't like admitting that. But - like a lot of late 70s LPs - its time has definitely come again and, listening to it on Thursday afternoon pre-gig, it actually sounds as fresh now as it did in 1978. So, here's today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day and a bit of the mighty Electric Light Orchestra.

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