Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quite Extraordinary (Remarkable Extended Remix)

As 2013 comes to a close dear blog reader, yet another one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's childhood TV heroes has left us. The legendary sports broadcaster yer actual David Coleman - for a generation, including this blogger, the voice of sport on the BBC - has died at the age of eighty seven after a short illness. David first appeared on radio for the BBC in 1952. During the next fifty years he covered eleven Olympic Games - from Rome in 1960 to Sydney 2000 - and six football World Cups, including commentating on the finals of the competition in 1974 and 1978 along with a seventh as a studio presenter in 1982. He presented some of the BBC's leading sporting programmes, including Match Of The Day, Grandstand and Sportsnight. He was also the host of A Question of Sport for eighteen years and was awarded an OBE in 1992 for his services to broadcasting. He retired in 2000. Later that year he became the first broadcaster to receive the Olympic Order award, in recognition of his contribution to the Olympic movement. A statement from his family said: 'We regret to announce the death of David Coleman OBE, after a short illness. He died peacefully with his family at his bedside.' The BBC's Director General Tony Hall led the corporation's tributes: 'David Coleman was one of this country's greatest and most respected broadcasters,' he said. 'Generations grew up listening to his distinctive and knowledgeable commentary. Whether presenting, commentating or offering analysis, he set the standard for all today's sports broadcasters. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.'
The BBC's Director of Sport, Barbara Slater added David was: 'A giant in the sports broadcasting world, an iconic and hugely respected figure. In a BBC career that spanned over forty years he set the standard that so many others have tried to emulate. His was one of broadcasting's most authoritative and identifiable voices that graced so many pinnacle sporting moments. From his famous football and athletic commentaries to his presentation of events and programmes such as the Olympics, the World Cup, Question of Sport and Grandstand, he was quite simply the master of his craft. David had many friends at BBC Sport and was admired by audiences in their millions. We send sincere condolences to his family.' Born in Cheshire in April 1926, David went to the local grammar school and became a keen amateur runner, winning several national cross-country championships as well as the Manchester Mile. He began working as a reporter on the Stockport Express, continuing his journalism during a period of National Service, where he wrote for an army newspaper. By the age of twenty two he was editing a local paper, the Cheshire County Express, with hopes of developing his running career in parallel. Hamstring problems ruled him out of trials for the 1952 British Olympic team, so he wrote to a BBC editor to suggest he could cover athletics for the BBC's then fledgling Saturday evening sports programme, Sportsview. The BBC clearly liked the cut of his jib and they asked him to report for radio on an event at Bradford City Police Sports Club. Soon afterwards he began freelance radio work in Manchester. After providing him with occasional opportunities, the BBC offered David a permanent role in 1954. Coleman then moved to Birmingham to work as a news assistant and sports editor. His début on Sportsview came in May 1954 when David interviewed the golfer Roberto de Vicenzo live whilst the rest of the production team were desperately trying to get hold of Roger Bannister, who had broken the four-minute mile earlier in the day.
In 1958, David was approached by the BBC's Head of Sport, Peter Dimmock, to front a new Saturday afternoon programme Grandstand. Dimmock presented the first two programmes and David took over from episode three. He would carry on presenting the show for the majority of the next decade and returned to the role for a few years in the mid-1970s. During his time on Grandstand, David not only presented but also interviewed many sportsmen and celebrities both in the studio and on location - in February 1964, for example, he was given the gig of grabbing a word with The Beatles when they returned to Heathrow from their first American tour. On Sportsnight, he interviewed the then Conservative Party leader (and future Prime Minister) Ted Heath on his triumph in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. David also presented other sporting events for the BBC such as the Grand National, motor racing and was even part of the 1959 General Election broadcast team, reporting live from the Press Association headquarters. Coleman's journalistic background was most notably in evidence when he anchored the BBC's 1972 Olympics coverage. Working from scant information and just a closed circuit TV monitor, he held together the live coverage of the unfolding horrors in Munich as Palestinian Black September terrorists held hostage and then murdered a group of Israeli athletes. David's BBC colleague Barry Davies described David's coverage as 'just the right balance of authority and sensitivity.'
In these days of dedicated sports channels it is difficult to appreciate the importance of Grandstand, which led the way in showcasing a wide variety of sporting action each week to armchair viewers. Some of us watched it all the way from Football Focus to Final Score and gave ITV's pale imitation, World Of Sport, scant regard. Compared to David Coleman, yer man Dickie Davies - despite his excellent 'tache - was, like, nowhere, baby. David's knowledgeable presentation was infused with a genuine enthusiasm and he worked long hours through the week to learn all the facts and figures needed for the forthcoming weekend. Nowhere was his dedication and knowledge better illustrated than at the teleprinter on Final Score as the football results came in. His successor in the Grandstand chair, Frank Bough, was full of admiration. 'Coleman was the only one who could tell you that a win had put Arsenal on top of Division One on goal average, or that was East Fife's first score draw in nineteen consecutive games,' he said. However, that commitment led to accusations that David was sometimes difficult to work with. There is, for instance, a memorable out-take from the 1968 Olympics coverage of David tearing a hapless cameraman who'd made a mistake a new arsehole for his inept daftness. David could also let his sense of what he perceived to be sporting fair play (or lack of it) get in the way of balanced journalism, as in the occasion during the 1962 World Cup when he described a notoriously violent game between Chile and Italy as 'the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football possibly in the history of the game.' This was, obviously, before Lee Cattermole. ITV's football commentator, and David's main rival, the late Brian Moore - whose head really did look uncannily like London Planetarium - was rather mean and disparaging about Coleman in his autobiography, saying: 'I imagine he was a pretty uncomfortable guy to work with. His standards were high and his temper was pretty short.'
David fronted the midweek Sportsnight show - for a while it was called Sportnight With Coleman - from 1968 and began to co-host the BBC Sports Review Of The Year in 1961, a role which he carried on performing until 1983. In 1971 he succeeded Kenneth Wolstenholme his very self to become the BBC's senior football commentator, covering several FA Cup finals before handing over the role to John Motson in 1979. After continuing with football commentary for two more years on Match Of The Day, David focused his attention on athletics. In 1968, at the Mexico Olympics, Coleman was recorded at two hundred words-per-minute whilst commentating on David Hemery's win in the four hundred metres hurdles. After the finish David could only identify the first two over the line and, infamously, exclaimed: 'Who cares who's third?' (The bronze medal winner actually turned out to be another Briton, and a good friend of Coleman, John Sherwood.) David also memorably once had to commentate on a Greek athlete named Papageorgopoulos and a Madagascan named Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa in adjacent lanes in a one hundred metres race. David's perceived inability to 'read' a race remained unsullied by experience to the end of his long commentating career. The phenomenon was parodied by satirists of the 1980s, who portrayed him as constantly surprised and hyperventilating by relatively mundane happenings at athletic events. Smug twat Clive James once wrote that the difference between commentating and 'Colemantating' was that a commentator says something you may wish to remember; a Colemantator says something you try to forget. But then, nobody gives a frigging stiff shit about what smug twat Clive James thinks. About pretty much anything. Although David was a dedicated and knowledgeable presenter with an encyclopaedic knowledge of sport, the occasional on-air gaffes and sometimes bizarre non-sequiturs (and his pre-eminence in sports broadcasting, frankly) led to Private Eye starting its own semi-regular Colemanballs column (later a series of pocket-sized paperbacks). Ironically, many of those attributed to Coleman were not, in fact, his. But he did, undeniably, come up with some twenty four carat classics. Who, for instance, could ever forget: 'That's the fastest time ever run. But it's not as fast as the world record.' Others included: 'There's going to be a real ding-dong when the bell goes', 'Forest have now lost six matches without winning' and, from the 1974 World Cup match between Scotland and Zaire, the comment that 'for those of you watching in black-and-white sets, Zaire are in the light shirts.'
The Colemanballs column gleefully reproduced many of these - much to David's reported annoyance. He was said to have been more relaxed about his character on the satirical puppet show, Spitting Image, where he was depicted as having a finger permanently attached to his earpiece and where his 'remarkable, err ... quite extraordinary' catchphrase became something of a trademark. Pop satirists I, Ludicrous even wrote a song about it. David retired from broadcasting after the 2000 Olympics. At his own request there was no tribute or recognition from the BBC, though it later broadcast The Quite Remarkable David Coleman a one-off programme to celebrate his life, shown after his eighty fifth birthday in May 2011. Former athlete and fellow commentator Brendan Foster said that David was the 'greatest sports broadcaster that ever lived.' He added: 'David enriched so many lives and that was down to his brilliant commentary and presentation at all the major sporting events of the world. In my view, everybody had a David Coleman quote they could use. It could have been about Pele, Charlton, Toshack or Keegan, or just "one-nil." It was a privilege to know him, to have him commentating on races during my career, to work with him and to call him a friend.' Another athlete-turned-BBC-broadcaster, Steve Cram, said that Coleman had been a big influence on his career. 'When I first came into the British team as a youngster, I would watch back my races and I could tell from his commentaries that he knew what he was talking about,' Cram said. 'When I met him at major championships, such as the Olympics in Moscow in 1980, he would say things that turned out to be incredible helpful, such as advice on travel and how to deal with the media. He had a reputation within broadcasting for being tough and demanding, but I always found him an incredibly generous bloke. Yes, he had high standards but I think that came from his athletics background. Broadcasting, like athletics, is in a sense about performance and he wanted to produce the best he could. He used to always tell me that I should endeavour to work with the best to get the best results.' UK Athletics chair Ed Warner said that his organisation was 'saddened' by Coleman's death. 'David has been the voice of some of our most memorable moments over the years. A truly iconic broadcaster,' he added. David is survived by his wife Barbara and their six children: Anne, Dean, David, Mandy, Michael and Samantha.

Thus, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, this one's for David.
'There's too many songs about sport these days, let's get back to familiar ways. Let's write songs about politics and sex but first of all, Emlyn, what happened next?' ... Back to the studio.
Police are to review Nigella Lawson's admission as a witness in a court case that she snorted Charlie. Scotland Yard had said that it would not take any action but would review that decision if 'new evidence' came to light. However, in a further statement the Met claimed that 'a specialist team' would 'examine all the evidence emerging.' Giving evidence at the trial of two former personal assistants, Lawson admitted that she had taken cocaine, but claimed that she was not an habitual user. Sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo were cleared of defrauding Lawson and her former husband, Charles Saatchi. A Met spokesman had said previously: 'Allegations that one of the [alleged] victims was involved in taking Class A drugs have been made during the course of this trial. At this stage the Metropolitan Police will not be investigating these allegations. Should any evidence, and that includes material from the trial, that could be investigated come to light this decision will be reviewed.' However, on Saturday evening another statement was issued: 'After the Metropolitan Police Service's decision not to investigate at this stage was queried in press reporting, we would like to clarify the position with regard to this witness. The Senior Investigating Officer received legal advice that the witness's admissions did not by themselves provide sufficient evidence to bring charges. As we said, however, should any evidence come to light that can be investigated further we will review this decision. A specialist team from the MPS will nevertheless examine all the evidence emerging as part of a review into this matter and in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service will determine an appropriate way forward.' Commander Stephen Watson, of the Metropolitan Police, told the Sunday Telegraph that the evidence at Isleworth Crown Court would 'have implications.' At the trial, Lawson claimed that she took cocaine with former husband John Diamond when he found out he had terminal cancer and in July 2010 in the later years of her marriage to Saatchi. She told the jury: 'I have never been a drug addict. I've never been a habitual user. There are two times in my life when I have used cocaine.' Lawson (she has her knockers) claimed that she took cocaine with Diamond on six occasions. 'It gave him some escape,' she said. 'The idea that I am a drug addict or habitual user of cocaine is absolutely ridiculous.' Following the verdict, Lawson described her experience as a witness as 'deeply disturbing. I did my civic duty, only to be maliciously vilified without the right to respond,' she said. 'I can only hope that my experience will highlight the need for a reform that will give witnesses some rights to rebut false claims made against them.' Lawson said that she was 'disappointed but unsurprised' that two sisters who worked as her personal assistants were cleared of fraud. The trial of Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo heard they spent six hundred and eighty five thousand smackers on credit cards owned by Lawson and Saatchi. They claimed that Lawson allowed their spending to cover up her cocaine use. Following the verdict, Lawson said: 'Over the three-week trial the jury was faced with a ridiculous sideshow of false allegations about drug use which made focus on the actual criminal trial impossible. When false claims about habitual drug use were introduced I did everything possible to ensure the CPS was aware of the sustained background campaign deliberately designed to destroy my reputation.' She added: 'Even more harrowing was seeing my children subjected to extreme allegations in court without any real protection or representation. For this I cannot forgive the court process.' Her ex-husband, the seventy-year-old businessman and art dealer Saatchi has yet to comment about the case. During the trial, the jury was read extracts of an e-mail he sent to his ex-wife in which he called her 'Higella', in reference to drug use. In the e-mail he also wrote: 'Of course now the Grillos will get off on the basis that you were so off your heads on drugs that you allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked and, yes, I believe every word the Grillos have said, who after all only stole money.' Giving evidence later in the trial, Saatchi claimed it was a 'terrible, terrible mistake' that the correspondence had become public. Midway though the trial, Judge Robin Johnson warned the jury to ignore rank knobbish comments made in support of Lawson in an interview given by the Prime Minister to the Spectator magazine. Following Friday's not guilty verdicts, solicitor Richard Cannon said the Grillo sisters were 'naturally relieved' by the verdict, following a 'long, hard fight played out in the gaze of the world's media.' The trial heard that the sisters fraudulently used credit cards loaned to them by the couple, splashing out on designer goods from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood. Francesca Grillo was accused of spending five hundred and eighty grand on herself. But she and her sister insisted all of their purchases had been 'authorised.' The Grillos claimed - and the jury accepted - that Lawson consented to their spending as they were 'intimately connected to her private life and were aware of the drug use which she wanted to keep from her then-husband Charles Saatchi.' Giving evidence, Lawson claimed that her ten-year marriage to Saatchi had become unhappy and drugs had made an 'intolerable situation tolerable.' The television cook said she was 'not proud' of being snowflaked off her snitch but would rather be 'honest and ashamed' about what she had done than lie about it. She and Saatchi split up earlier in the year after photos emerged in a Sunday tabloid of his hand around Lawson's throat at a London restaurant. Lawson told the trial she had taken drugs in the later years of her marriage to the multi-millionaire after being subjected to 'intimate terrorism' by him. Elisabetta Grillo, who was rushed to hospital on Thursday night after a panic attack, was with her sister in another room in the court as the verdicts were read out. She had collapsed again earlier as she arrived at the building. After hearing the verdicts, Francesca Grillo declared in Italian: 'There is a God.' Speaking outside court, Cannon said: 'Elisabetta and Francesca would like to thank their friends and relatives for their love and support.' The Grillos, of Bayswater, each denied a single count of committing fraud by using a company credit card for personal gain between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2012. After the three-week trial, the jury of seven men and five women rejected the prosecution's claims that the purchases on the cards had been unauthorised. It also emerged that lawyers acting for the Grillo sisters had tried to get their trial halted after David Cameron said he was 'on Team Nigella.' Cameron's comments, halfway through proceedings, amounted to 'a character reference,' argued a defence lawyer. The trial did not collapse, but Cameron received a stern and very public rebuke from the judge, Robin Johnson. Asked at an EU summit on Friday if he was still on 'Team Nigella', the Prime Minister squirmed: 'I have probably said enough about this issue, so I will plead the Fifth on that one.' In scenes the jury did not witness and which could not be reported until a verdict was reached, Elisabetta Grillo's barrister Anthony Metzer QC said that Cameron's comments amounted to a 'character reference through the back door' for Lawson. He said that the case hinged on evidence from Lawson on whether she had given the Grillos permission to use credit cards or not, adding: 'The Prime Minister is essentially saying in the course of the trial that she is somebody that he would endorse.' Karina Arden, representing Francesca Grillo, said: 'If one looks at it realistically, the man on the street would say "Well, look, the Prime Minister likes Ms Lawson." There is real risk that the jury will be influenced by the fact that the prime minister likes Ms Lawson and thinks she's a jolly good sort.' Irritated by how much time the legal representations were taking up, Judge Johnson issued a stinging rebuke to the Prime Minister, telling jurors: 'It is of regret when people in public office comment on a person involved in a trial in progress.' He said it was 'inconceivable' that some members of the jury would not have seen the comments, he said: 'The defendants feel aggrieved that the comments are favourable to Ms Lawson. The fact that they are aggrieved is not without justification. You realise that what public figures may feel about this case, or witnesses in this case, can have no bearing on your views.'

Abbey Clancy has won Strictly Come Dancing 2013. The twenty seven-year-old former model lifted the BBC competition's glitterball trophy after a final against actress Natalie Gumede, newsreader Susanna Reid and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor. BBC Breakfast presenter Reid was the favourite with bookmakers to win the show's eleventh series. Clancy, partnered by professional dancer Aljaz Skorjanec, said: 'I can't believe this; it's just mad.' Blimey, once in a generation mind, that one. She called Strictly 'the most perfect experience I've had.' After the cameras stopped rolling, she ran and jumped into the arms of her husband, the footballer Peter Crouch, who had arrived in the studio between the first and second broadcast after scoring the winner for Stoke City earlier in the day. Clancy's winning dance was a quickstep to Katrina and the Waves' 'Walking On Sunshine', scoring thirty eight points out of a possible forty from the judges. Bruno Tonioli called it 'absolutely dazzling in its brilliance', while Len Goodman called her 'a spectacular dancer' with 'wonderful posture.' The model and presenter was a complete amateur going into the contest, but was the first contestant to score a perfect forty, for a salsa performed during the tenth week of the show's run. 'It's so emotional tonight,' said Bruce Forsyth as the Strictly final drew to a close. Natalie Gumede was racked with sobs as she stood behind a glitter curtain waiting to perform her final dance. The tears only stopped as she walked through to face the cameras - but the sorrow was channelled into her tempestuous, passionate American Smooth. In fact, everyone cried at least once as they confronted the end of the show. 'I was addicted to it immediately,' explained Susanna Reid. 'It was the most extraordinary privilege.' But, amidst the sadness, there was an end-of-term atmosphere in the Strictly studio. 'Don't clap; it gives me a headache,' joked Sir Bruce as he greeted the audience, while, behind the cameras, the entire crew joined in the show's 'keeeep dancing' signature move. But the night belonged to Clancy - who began as a novice thirteen weeks ago, 'literally from the dance gutter,' as Craig Revel Horwood put it, to a chorus of pantomime gasps from the fans. The former model claimed that she was proper 'gobsmacked', like, to win it and that. And the secret to her success? 'People just enjoy watching people who enjoy what they're doing.' It was the first time in the programme's eleven-year history that there had been an all-female final, and many of the previous winners - including Darren Gough, Mark Ramprakash, Louis Smith and Natasha Kaplinksy - were in the Saturday night audience to watch the showdown. All four couples performed two dances in the first half of the finale, comprising of the judges' favourite performance from across the series and a show dance. Reid kicked off with a cheery newsreader's-sofa-based quickstep and later performed a daring fourteen-revolution spin clinging to the neck of her dance partner Kevin Clifton. But her scores were consistently lower than those of the other contestants. Coronation Street actress Gumede was the most technically-impressive dancer, with head judge Len Goodman at one point essentially demanding she be put through to the final three. 'Excellence is never a fluke,' he said after her cha-cha to Boney M's 'Rasputin' (he was a cat that really was gone, apparently). 'Excellence comes from hard work and dedication and sweating. And I can tell you, that was excellent.' Ellis-Bextor performed an elegant, stylish Viennese Waltz but her cha-cha show dance contained some inelegant lifts, and she was eliminated as the second show commenced and placed fourth. Clancy began her career on another reality show - Britain's Next Top Model - where she was the runner-up in 2006. She has subsequently appeared on TV shows such as Hell's Kitchen and This Morning, where she is 'a fashion expert.' Her last night on Strictly began with a waltz to Des'ree's song 'Kissing You'. The routine, which had been chosen by the judges, originally scored thirty two in week one - but improved to a perfect forty in the final. 'That dance should be declared an area of outstanding beauty,' said Goodman. She then performed a flame-fuelled show dance to Guns N' Roses' 'Sweet Child O' Mine', scoring thirty nine and prompting Bruno Tonioli to declare: 'You rocked my world and you rocked the nation.' Darcey Bussell, as usual, said little of any consequence, and favoured Clancy's final dance, a 'seamless quickstep', noting her improvement over the course of the series. 'I feel so lucky,' Liverpudlian Clancy told the BBC after the show. 'The fact everyone's voted for us to win, it's just surreal.' Her partner, Slovenian dancer Skorjanec, was also competing in Strictly for the first time. The final was determined entirely by public votes and the judges' scores did not count towards the final outcome. More than six million votes were cast in the final. However, the BBC said that it would not disclose the breakdown of the votes, meaning the second and third-placed contestants will not be revealed. Reid would have been the third BBC Breakfast presenter to win Strictly, following Natasha Kaplinsky in the first series and sports host Chris Hollins, who won in 2009. But, she didn't.

The Strictly Come Dancing final topped the overnight ratings on Saturday, with a whopping average of 11.5 million tuning in for the BBC1 dancing competition's grand finale. The earlier episode of the show's first ever all-female final at 6.30pm received an audience share of forty eight per cent, while almost forty six per cent returned at 8.40pm to see Abbey Clancy win the trophy, with a peak audience of 12.57m shortly before the climax. Elsewhere, Atlantis pulled in 5.59m for the penultimate episode of the current series at 7.55pm whilst Match Of The Day was watched by 4.47m. Most, obviously, tuning in to see yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies giving relegation-haunted Crystal Palace a damned good twanking. It was proper good night for BBC1 all round with bumper audiences of both The National Lottery Live (6.72m) and BBC News (5.74m). On BBC2, a repeat of Dad's Army brought in the channel's biggest ratings of the night with 1.75m tuning in at 8.20pm, while an episode of The Many Faces Of ..., focusing on the late Ronnie Barker, was seen by 1.43m at 10pm. It was a proper bad night for ITV which continued its season of Harry Potter films at 6.30pm, with the franchise's fifth movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix bringing in 3.5m. That was as good as it got for the network with The Chase: Celebrity Special attracting just 3.01m and The Illusionists only managing 2.01m. Christmas movies dominated Channel Four's primetime schedule, with Deck The Halls pulling in nine hundred and ninety thousand at 7.15pm. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn's festive comedy Four Christmases was watched by 1.16m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Patrick Stewart's portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol attracted eight hundred and seventy thousand at 8pm, while The Bible's penultimate episode was seen by five hundred and twenty five thousand at 10pm.

ITV horrifying, mawkish and trite charity fundraiser Text Santa dominated Friday's overnight ratings outside of soaps, beating BBC1's comedy output over the course of the utterly toxic three-hour show. The programme featured a variety of ITV soap actors, the singer Robbie Williams, the prime minister and This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby (that's in order of importance, obviously). Kicking off at 8pm, the show averaged 4.68m viewers. BBC1's panel show Have I Got News For You dropped to 3.71m at 9pm, after leading last Friday's overnights with 4.68m viewers. Live At The Apollo, featuring the excellent Adam Hills, the dreadful Andi Osho and the 'you've probably never heard of him' Terry Alderton, attracted 2.45m at 9.30pm. The channel regained the lead over ITV with The Graham Norton Show at 10.45pm. Featuring guests Julie Walters, Len Goodman, Miranda Hart and Tinie Tempah, it drew an audience of 3.31m. Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two performed well ahead of the weekend's final. The companion show pulled in an audience of 2.3m at 6.30pm. University Challenge and Mastermind attracted 2.01m and 2.07m viewers respectively. A repeat of an old episode of the Stephen Fry-hosted panel show Qi was watched by a 1.4m audience at 10pm. Christmas cooking programme Gordon Ramsay's Festive Home Cooking had an audience of nine hundred and thirty thousand on Channel Four. Big Fat Gypsy Christmas secured 1.49m viewers at 9pm. Alan Carr: Chatty Man fell to eight hundred and sixty thousand viewers, down from last week's 1.02m. Stobart: Trucks, Trains and Planes was Channel Five's best-performing prime time show, attracting seven hundred and seventy thousand viewers at 8pm.

BBC1's Great Train Robbery conclusion topped the overnight ratings on Thursday night. The second part dipped by around three hundred thousand viewers from its opening episode to 4.95 million at 8pm. A Mrs Brown's Boys repeat was watched by 4.23m punters at 9.30pm. On BBC2, The Hairy Bikers' Christmas Party garnered up 1.56m at 7pm, followed by Alex Polizzi's Christmas Fix with 1.78m at 8pm. Alexander Armstrong and Giles Coren's Twelve Drinks Of Christmas had 1.45m at 9pm. ITV's You've Been Framed could only manage 2.95m at 8.30pm. A celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? had a similarly underwhelming 2.78m at 9pm. On Channel Four, George Clarke's Amazing Spaces interested 1.21m at 8pm. A return to Educating Yorkshire brought in 2.02m at 9pm. What Happens in Kavos had an audience of nine hundred and nine thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Caught On Camera appealed to eight hundred and sixty four thousand viewers at 9pm, followed by Person Of Interest with eight hundred and thirty five thousand at 10pm.

Broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Sky News are understood to have been cleared of breaking TV regulations by broadcasting graphic footage of the aftermath of soldier Lee Rigby's murder. Media regulator Ofcom received nearly seven hundred whinges about TV news coverage of the Woolwich attack in which Rigby died on 22 May, which included graphic footage filmed by a member of the public on a mobile phone of one of the assailants with blood on his hands. Michael Adelbolajo and Michael Adebowale were extremely convicted of murdering Rigby by a jury at the Old Bailey on Thursday. Ofcom has been investigating whether the broadcast of the footage before the 9pm watershed was in breach of the broadcasting code. It is understood that Ofcom has cleared all the broadcasters on the basis that showing the footage was in the public interest. In September, Ofcom said that it had 'completed its investigation' but was holding back publication of the ruling while the trial of the two assailants was on-going. According to Ofcom's code, broadcasters must apply 'generally accepted standards' meaning that any material they broadcast which might be offensive or explicit must be able to be justified by context. Ofcom received whinges about the Woolwich coverage on 22 May broadcast by ITV News, BBC News, Channel Four News, Five News, Sky News and al-Jazeera. There were also two whinges about a BBC1 6pm news bulletin's follow-up coverage on 24 May. About half of the complaints are understood to have been about ITN-produced ITV News, which was the first to broadcast the graphic footage on its 6.30pm bulletin on the day of the murder. In May an ITV News spokesman defended the decision to show the footage as 'editorially justified', saying that it was done on 'a public interest basis as the material is integral to understanding the horrific incident.' A spokesman for the watchdog said: 'Ofcom plans to publish the full and detailed outcome of its investigations under the broadcasting code in its regular broadcast bulletin, with the next one due out early in the new year.'
Miranda Hart has spoken of 'loneliness' and 'struggling' with fame in an interview for Desert Island Discs. The comedy actress told the Radio 4 programme that she felt it was 'all a bit too much' a year ago, but was now feeling 'happier and more confident.' Hart, who will appear in a Call The Midwife special on Christmas Day, also spoke about her father's 'lucky' survival during the Falklands War. Her episode of Desert Island Discs will be broadcast on Sunday. She told presenter Kirsty Young that her worries surfaced when she was filming a documentary about her hero Eric Morecambe. 'I think I got to a point a year ago possibly when it was all a bit too much,' she said. She added that she was 'quite lonely' and was 'struggling' at the time of filming because she was wondering if her chosen career was worthwhile. 'So that was the key question I would have asked Eric and I hoped he would say "Yes, it was worth it,"' she said, choosing the Morecambe and Wise theme 'Bring Me Sunshine' as one of the records she would take to a mythical desert island. 'Then you find ways to manage your life that mean you're not in that place, which I'm not now, and I'm much happier and more confident and celebratory about what I've achieved, and feel it's fine as a woman to be confident and pat myself on the back.' Among her other music selections for the programme was a Mozart piano concerto her father, David Hart Dyke, listened to while serving in the Falklands War. He was the commanding officer of HMS Coventry when it was sunk by the Argentine air force, killing nineteen crew. She said that he was 'lucky to survive. He didn't speak at all when he got back but he put everything on tape and then when I was in my early twenties he allowed me to type them all up, which was amazing and quite emotional listening to his voice going through it so close to the event,' she said. She added that her father was 'absolutely convinced he was going to die' but managed to get off the ship, which 'went down in fifteen minutes.

The former BBC Television Centre is to be transformed into more than one thousand homes and a hotel after plans to redevelop it were approved. The Grade II listed central ring and the main studio will be preserved under proposals passed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council. Developers Stanhope said that work on the White City site, which closed in March, would create two thousand seven hundred jobs. The centre, which opened in 1960, shut when the BBC moved to Central London. Programmes recorded there include Fawlty Towers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Strictly Come Dancing, Blue Peter and Doctor Who. The development will see four television studios, the centre's restaurant, drama blocks and connected buildings replaced. The plans will see one storey will be added to the top of Television Centre and two under it, with the facade of the building being retained and restored. Hammersmith and Fulham Council's Mark Loveday said the building 'holds a special place in many people's hearts. By approving these plans, we have immortalised the key elements of this iconic building for the nation,' he said.

The BBC has appointed the Sunday Torygraph's Kamal Ahmed as its new business editor, replacing Robert Peston, who is taking over as the BBC's economics editor. Ahmed has been business editor of the Torygraph for four years. This year he became executive business editor, with a role across the Sunday and daily print editions. The BBC also appointed Carrie Gracie as its first China editor, after six years as a BBC News channel co-presenter. Gracie, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese and speaks fluent Mandarin, will be based in Beijing. Before joining the Torygraph, Ahmed was group director of communications at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Previous roles also include executive news editor and political editor at the Observer. 'I am absolutely delighted to be joining the BBC,' said Ahmed. 'It is a great privilege to follow in Robert's footsteps and build on the great work the BBC does covering the business world.' James Harding, director of BBC News and Current Affairs, said: 'Kamal Ahmed is one of the most formidable journalists working in Britain today. He will bring intelligence, flair and incisive judgement to the BBC's coverage of business.' Ahmed is due to take up his post in March 2014. Commenting on Gracie's appointment, Harding said: 'The appointment of the BBC's first China editor signals our determination to bring home to people the sweeping changes in the world's most populous nation, as well as the transformative impact that China is having upon the world and all of our lives.' Gracie had 'profound knowledge of China, insightful judgement as a journalist and exceptional talent as a broadcaster,' he said. She will take up her post in the spring.

Adverts will no longer be broadcast during children's programmes on S4C. The Welsh language channel said it wanted to 'transform' the way it broadcasts commercial breaks to meet the needs of both advertisers and viewers. The changes will mean less advertising during certain hours of the day and no adverts during programmes on children's services Cyw and Stwnsh. The new schedule will start in the new year. The channel will experiment by not showing adverts during the broadcast of its Christmas family film Y Syrcas (The Circus) on 26 December. S4C chief executive Ian Jones said: 'With more and more people watching online and recording programmes to watch at a later time following the original broadcast, TV advertising does not always enjoy the prominence it once did. There's no point in us as a broadcaster sitting back and watching the inevitable decline in advertising revenue because of the changes in technology and the public's viewing habits. We want to be ahead of the game and striving to break new ground in finding ways of stabilising advertising revenue in the future.'

England off-spinner Graeme Swann has announced his retirement from cricket. The thirty four-year-old Nottingham player - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - has taken only seven wickets during this winter's disastrous Ashes series and has ruled himself out of the rest of the tour in Australia. Swann took two hundred and fifty five wickets in sixty tests - the sixth highest tally for England. 'This decision has been very difficult seeing as the England team has been my family for seven years now, but I feel it is the right time,' Swanny said. 'I don't regret a single day of my career. Every high has been celebrated with verve and vigour and every low painfully accepted as a chance to learn and improve.' Australian coach Darren Lehmann said: 'It was a bit of a surprise. It's mid-tour - I don't know what's going on - but obviously he's decided he's had enough. He's been a great cricketer for England over many years, I wish him all the best in retirement. He'll go home as one of the England greats.' Following the departure of batsman Jonathan Trott with a stress-related illness earlier in the tour, Swann's retirement further unsettles the England team ahead of the fourth test, which starts in Melbourne on Boxing Day. 'I know I'm making the decision for the right reasons,' added Swann. 'My body doesn't like playing five-day cricket any more and I don't feel I can justify my spot in the team in the latter stages of a game. As a spinner, that's when you need to come into your own. With two games to go in Australia and then a fiercely competitive summer against Sri Lanka and India, I feel that it is a great time for someone else to strap themselves in and hopefully enjoy the ride as much as I have.' Swann was first named in an England squad as a teenager back in 1999-2000. After several years on the periphery her finally made his Test debut in 2008 and took four wickets against India in Chennai. He established a reputation for taking wickets in the first over of a spell and became the sixth-highest wicket-taker for his country. Despite struggling with elbow problems in recent years, Swann played in three Ashes series victories in 2009, 2011 and earlier this year and helped England become the number one Test side in the world in 2011. He also took one hundred and four wickets in seventy nine one-day internationals after making his debut against South Africa in Bloemfontein in 2000 at the age of twenty and spent a spell as the top-ranked ODI bowler in 2011. In addition, he helped England clinch their first major global world title at the 2010 World Twenty/20 in the Caribbean. 'My personal highlights include the three Ashes victories, which I will cherish for the rest of my life, and the World T20 victory in the West Indies, which ranks as my limited overs highlight,' he added. 'I have met, played with and against, and become friends with some magnificent people throughout my journey and feel truly privileged to have been given these opportunities.'

The head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has accepted a challenge from The Vatican to play their first ever cricket match. Priests from the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church are planning to compete - appropriately enough - at Lord's next September. The Vatican cricket club, founded in October, includes priests from Australia, India and Pakistan. It has also been suggested the umpires might be Muslim or Jewish so that there can be no accusations of impropriety in the sight of The Lord. But, the feeling is that their faith will not matter - as long as they are fair, the BBC's correspondent in Rome reports. He added that anything else just wouldn't be cricket. Accepting the challenge, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that he was 'looking forward to the possibility that this match may actually raise money for charity' (and, presumably, to giving the Papist filth the sort of thrashing the Aussies are currently giving England Down Under), according to Reuters. He also said that he was keenly anticipating 'to the togetherness and team sport that is being offered.' Pope Franky the First is known to be keen on sport of all kinds, having played basketball as a young man and still supporting his local San Lorenzo football club in Buenos Aires.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies comfortably beat relegation-haunted Crystal Palace to record their sixth win in eight games and keep pace with the Premier League's leading pack. Newcastle took the lead through Yohan Cabaye, whose deflected shot from close range beat goalkeeper Julian Speroni. They doubled their advantage when plankish defender Danny Gabbidon inadvertently turned in Mathieu Debuchy's low cross into his own net to general hilarity around Selhurst Park. Substitute Hatem Ben Arfa completed the win when he smashed home from the spot after Jonathan Parr had fouled Shola Ameobi. Ben Arfa had also forced a good save from Speroni moments earlier, while fellow Frenchman Yoan Gouffran - who had a fine game - struck the woodwork with a great shot from twenty yards as the Magpies finished strongly. Palace manager Tony Pulis will be disappointed with his side's efforts - especially the first-half display - having impressed with two successive home wins since he took charge last month. The bottom-three side now travel to Aston Villains and also face a daunting trip to Sheikh Yer Man City over the Christmas period. The Toon are in sixth after taking nineteen points from a potential last twenty four and sit just six points behind the league leaders, Liverpool Alabama Yee Haws. Manager Alan Pardew - who was a key member of Palace's side which reached the cup final in the late 1980s - is seeing his squad begin to gel. The French legion which arrived in January have settled in, prized midfielder Cabaye is in his best form since joining the club, the defence, marshalled by Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul is looking solid and in Loic Remy they have one of the division's leading marksmen. At a rain-swept Selhurst Park, they recorded their fifth away win so far - having managed only two last season - with a dominant performance. After a non-eventful opening period, the Magpies took the lead through Cabaye. The twenty seven-year-old, who missed last week's 1-1 draw against Southampton through suspension, scored his fourth of the season when his shot from fifteen yards flew in via a deflection off Mile Jedinak. Palace tried to hit back immediately and it needed a good save from Krul to deny Cameron Jerome and the impressive Vurnon Anita cleared off the line after team-mate Mike Williamson had unwittingly sent the ball goalwards. Pulis's men then suffered their second blow when Debuchy fired in a fizzing cross from the right that Remy had given up on but Gabbidon poked past his stranded keeper. The former Dirty Stoke boss made two changes at half-time - bringing on winger Yannick Bolasie and Parr - but aside from a wild Jerome volley from seven yards, the Eagles failed to threaten the Magpies goal. Newcastle brought on Ameobi and Ben Arfa. A somewhat peripheral figure this season at times, the Frenchman added energy to the Magpies attack and went close before tucking away his penalty four minutes from time after Ameobi had been pushed over. Pardew's side now have home matches against Dirty Stoke and The Arse over the festive period.

These couple of miserable-looking fuckers were also in evidence at Selhurst Park. One imagines they didn't pay for their tickets.
Saturday saw yet another Chris Kamara Special on Soccer Saturday. Kammy was covering the West Bromwich Albinos versus Hull Kittens game at The Hawthorns and, in a live, update, told Jeff Stelling: 'Jeff, unbelievable. Tom Huddleston has just caught James Morrison in his own penalty box.' Blimey. Bet that made his eyes water.
And, finally ...

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