Thursday, December 12, 2013

Recompense For All My Crimes Of Self Defence

We start with this announcement.
Clear? Now read on ... (and, obviously, skip the bits you've already read).

A variety of new images have been released by BBC America to promote the forthcoming The Time Of The Doctor, featuring yer actual Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman her very self, Orla Brady as Tasha Lem, Rob Jarvis as Abramal, Tessa Peake-Jones as Marta and Jack Hollington as Barnable, plus a number of old enemies.
The BBC and BBC America have also released the full trailer for the forthcoming The Time Of The Doctor.
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has said that casting Peter Capaldi was 'a big declaration of intent' for Doctor Who. Moffat told SFX magazine that casting an actor of Capaldi's stature is 'a statement of the importance of Doctor Who. People do sometimes try to be cynical about Doctor Who, and try to say "It's not what it was" - despite the fact that you arithmetically can't prove that in any direction whatsoever,' said the showrunner. 'We've cast one of the most beloved, one of the most distinguished - and one of the few Oscar-winning - actors in the role of The Doctor. It's such a statement of the importance of Doctor Who and the size of Doctor Who that Peter is so over the moon about doing it, and that we get him.' Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) also suggested that Peter could tempt new viewers to watch Doctor Who for the first time. 'I'm confident that we'll sell this Doctor to our existing audience and he will be different enough that people won't just be miserable that they're missing Matt,' he said. 'And there will be people who will come and have a look just because it's Peter Capaldi. He's a huge fan of Doctor Who, so we asked and he was incredibly excited to come and audition,' Moffat explained. 'We didn't tell him that he was the only person auditioning because that would be oddly pressuring.' Moffat went on to describe Capaldi as 'beloved' and 'one of the best actors in the country. Nobody has a bad thing to say about him and that's not a minor issue when it comes to casting a Doctor,' he said. 'They've got to be lovely.'

Matt Smith has admitted that he got 'very emotional' filming his 'bittersweet' Doctor Who exit. Smudger said that his mum was 'mortified' when he informed her of his decision to leave the series. 'Honestly she was at the front of campaign for me to stay and wasn't happy when I said I was going to leave,' he admitted. 'But, when you've got to go, you've got to go.' The actor promised that his Doctor will 'go out with a bang, a crash and a wallop. Steven has written a brilliant, adventurous, funny episode and I'm really thrilled with it,' Smudger said. 'I'm pleased it's really funny and mad. When I got to the last 20 pages it was quite a hard read for me, but I hope it's going to be a belter. Steven's managed to tie in plot points and narratives that have been threaded through over years, and I think that's ingenious.' Moffat his very self has revealed that he had Smudger's exit planned out 'for a long while.' The Time Of The Doctor will 'pay off' plot points 'laid down for years', the showrunner promised. 'Before I wrote it, I did say to Mark [Gatiss] that I thought I knew what [Matt's] last moment would be - and indeed his last line,' Moffat said. 'I've had the vague storyline in place for a long while. It's his final battle and he's been fighting it for a while. There are elements from every series of Matt's Doctor, which will come to a head in this special.'
Jenna Coleman her very self has claimed that Doctor Who will be 'a different show' with yer actual Peter Capaldi as its lead. Capaldi, she said, will 'take the show in an interesting [new] direction. He's going to be so different to Matt,' Coleman suggested. 'It will be a different show next year. We have a bit of a gap before we start filming the new series, so I have time to get my head around it all. Me and Peter will get together before Christmas to start rehearsing and the scripts will start coming in.' The twenty seven-year-old added that Capaldi's casting 'makes sense' following Smudger's four-year tenure as The Doctor. 'It's funny as I don't think he was one of the names that was originally being speculated about,' she said. 'It wasn't until the week before [the official announcement] that his name came up.'
Meanwhile, yer actual Billie Piper attended Matt Smith's press night for American Psycho in London on Thursday night. And the Doctor Who and The Ruby in the Smoke co-stars seemed to be having a right old time. (Smudger, of course, played lovable Cockney ragamuffin Jim Taylor opposite The Billster her very self in the BBC's two Sally Lockhart adaptations, so they're old muckers.)
Amanda Abbington has promised that her character in Sherlock will not 'come between' the show's leads. Abbington plays Mary Morstan, fiancée of John Watson in the upcoming third series. 'Mary doesn't come between them in a negative way - she doesn't destroy their relationship,' the actress told Metro. 'A lot of Sherlock Holmes fans don't like Mary in the books but she's an interesting character to play - she's very feisty. It was daunting [to join the series] because Martin and Benedict do have such amazing chemistry, and there's such a thing about those two on the Internet - fans who are obsessed with the idea of those two being together.' Abbington - who is, of course, married to her co-star Martin Freeman in real life - also dismissed accusations (from nobody of any importance, of course) that 'nepotism' had helped land her the Sherlock role. 'I've already had the nepotism label thrown at me, big time,' she said. 'It started on Twitter right away - it was, "OMG, she's awful" - I know I'm not going to be to everybody's taste but hopefully some people will think I'm good.' Freeman recently criticised Sherlock fans who have sent his wife abusive messages, branding their actions 'ridiculous.' Personally, if this blogger had been in Marty's shoes he'd have sought out as many of the troglodyte glakes he could find and give them a ruddy good biff on the conk, kung-fu style(e) for disrespecting his lady. It's the only language these ladgeful waste-of-space wazzocks understand.

The release of Peter Jackson's second Hobbit movie The Desolation of Smaug was always going to be feverishly anticipated by the sort of people that feverishly anticipate Hobbit movies. But, for fans counting the days until the third series of Sherlock finally gets its ass onto TV, there's an extra reason to get all discombobulated. The film sees yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self back together on-screen more than a fortnight ahead of their long-awaited reunion as Sherlock and John. However, although Marty's Bilbo shares a lengthy dialogue scene with Benny's motion-capture dragon Smaug, the pair never actually acted together. 'In truth, without being glib about it, it was like acting with a fucking great dragon who doesn't exist,' Freeman said. 'Regardless of whether it was Ben. The characters had an interaction which was very different from the dynamic of Sherlock,' Benny expanded. 'It was a shame not to have [Martin's] presence, we love sparring off one another, but it would have been a very odd dynamic to practice.'

A petition to name a recently discovered planet Gallifrey has received more than twenty six thousand supporters. None of whom, one is certain, are completely mental. Obviously. The planet, currently known as HD 106906 B, was discovered earlier this year by a team working at the University of Arizona. The planet is a gas giant which is estimated to be approximately eleven times the mass of Jupiter and orbits its star at a distance of nearly sixty billion miles, or about six hundred and fifty times the distance between Earth and the Sun. So, the chances of finding intelligent life there are, you know, about the same as finding intelligent life on Twitter. A petition has been started by Australian Sam Menhennet to ask the International Astronomical Union to rename the planet Gallifrey, in honour of Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary. 'Doctor Who is legendary, award winning, record breaking, and global,' said Sam. 'This planet deserves something special and supernatural as its name' How better to honour its existence than by dubbing it the home planet of our beloved time travelling alien, The Doctor?' Yeah. So, just when you thought that - in the after-glow of the fiftieth anniversary - the days of people thinking Doctor Who fans were, you know, bloody stupid, were long gone. It's a funny old world, innit?

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, Gillian Anderson her very self, Nick Cave and Neil Gaiman turned out to perform at charity event Letters Live on Tuesday night. Reading extracts from Simon Garfield's To The Letter and Shaun Usher's Letters Of Note books, the actors, writers and musicians brought to life the power of letters. The many highlights included Gillian's moving reading of a letter from Katharine Hepburn to Spencer Tracy, Benny and Kerry Fox reading a couple's wartime correspondence, Peter Serafinowicz doing a David Bowie impression and Cave reading his infamous message rejecting an MTV Music Awards nomination. At the end of the evening, Gillian chaired an auction of books, with Benny gamely holding up a signed volume. Neil Gaiman joked that the book's value would be increased by it containing DNA from Cumberbatch's sweaty hands. Gillian then licked it in an attempt to boost the bids even further. 'Imagine the cloning possibilities!' said Gaiman. This blogger bids a million quid. Bidding proceeded at a sprightly pace, with a cartel formed by The Times columnist Caitlin Moran, writer John Niven and musician and BBC 6 Music presenter Guy Garvey taking a prominent part. In the end, the auction raised more than ten grand for literary charity the Reading Agency – and excellent cause and, clearly, something worth writing about.

Steven Edwards has been crowned MasterChef: The Professional champion for 2013. The twenty seven-year-old head chef is the seventh winner to take the coveted title after judges Michel Roux Jr, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace chose him as the culinary victor. Speaking on his win, Edwards said: 'It feels so surreal; I don't know what to say, apart from "thank you!" I'm exceptionally happy, I can't believe it, this is what dreams are made of isn't it? I don't know how to describe how I'm feeling, it means so much. These kinds of things don't seem to happen to me, it just feels unbelievable.' So, that was the extremely confused Steven Edwards, there. Double Michelin-starred chef Michel praised Edwards for expressing himself 'to the full' throughout. 'His food is lovely. He makes food that is great to eat, expertly cooked, presented with certain elegance, clean lines and it works. Fault free.' Michel's right-hand woman scowling kill-you-with-a-glance Monica added: 'Steven showed he deserves to be here, he's cooked faultlessly. It was simplicity done to perfection.' Edwards beat tough competition from Scott Davies and Adam Handling to win the show. 'From my perspective, one of a customer, I think these three are super, super talented. I'm really impressed,' said Gregg, who has been a solid fan of anything pudding-related throughout the six weeks of the show. The highlight of this year's series arguably came in the semi-final, when the chefs visited Italy to the world's number three restaurant, Osteria Francescana, to cook with Massimo Bottura. The final task, however, was to prepare a three-course meal for the judges. Steven's winning menu consisted of a starter of Anjou pigeon breast with roasted baby beetroot, caramelised feta dice, apple compote, watercress and a beetroot vinaigrette and a main of pan-fried stone bass on a bed of tomato and parmesan orzo, with pureed poached and blackened Kohlrabi and a lime foam. Dessert was honey cake topped with honeycomb, with poached peaches, peach compote, roast peach puree, yoghurt Espuma, a pistachio crumb and thyme syrup. Edwards is currently working at The Camellia at South Lodge Hotel. His dream is to own his own restaurant within the next ten years, but after winning MasterChef: The Professionals, this will likely be realised far sooner. 'I will be continuing to push forward with this and also with developing my own style of food,' he said.

A new trailer has been released for the second series of BBC2's Line of Duty. The police drama - which was renewed last year following impressive ratings during its first run - will return to screens in early 2014. The promo sees the tables turned on Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton (played by Keeley Hawes) as she is grilled by Deputy Chief Constable Mike Dryden (Mark Bonnar), following her arrest on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. The six-part series opens with the ambush of a police convoy in which three police officers are extremely killed, leaving Denton as the only surviving officer and the prime suspect in the investigation. Martin Compston and Vicky McClure return as Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott and Detective Constable Kate Fleming respectively, while Call The Midwife's Jessica Raine (so good recently in An Adventure In Space And Time) joins the cast as Detective Constable Georgia Trotman. Robert Lindsay had originally signed up to play Dryden but quit the role after just two days, allegedly following stroppy disagreements over the portrayal of his character.

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) topped Wednesday evening's ratings, according to overnight data. ITV's Coming Out special - steady - attracted 6.23 million viewers at 8pm. The channel's drama Lucan, starring Rory Kinnear and Chris Eccleston, followed with 3.89m at 9pm. On BBC1, Farm Kitchen gathered 3.36m at 8pm, while Gary Lineker's Sports Personality Of The Year At Sixty interested 2.53m at 9pm. BBC2's MasterChef: The Professionals entertained 2.80m at 8pm. Tudor Monastery Farm appealed to 1.56m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Superscrimpers Christmas Cracker brought in nine hundred and fifty thousand at 8pm. Twenty Four Hours in A&E was watched by 2.03m at 9pm. Channel Five's Stop! Police Interceptors was watched by eight hundred and sixty thousand.

Last Tango In Halifax bounced back to top the ratings on Tuesday, overnight data reveals. Without 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) stinking up the gaff in opposition, the BBC1 drama leaped by over 1.2 million viewers week-on-week to 5.73m at 9pm. On BBC2, MasterChef: The Professionals brought in 2.97m at 8pm, followed by Simon Reeve's Pilgrimage with 1.21m at 9pm. Hebburn remained steady with eight hundred and seventy nine thousand punters at 10pm. ITV's Champions League coverage of The Scum's win scored 3.91m over Shakhtar Donetsk at 7.30pm. On Channel Four, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners was watched by 1.66m at 8pm, while Heston's Great Britain was seen by 1.55m at 9pm. An hour later, Masters Of Sex continued with six hundred and sixty one thousand for its latest episode. Channel Five's The Mentalist attracted 1.90m at 9pm, followed by Castle with seven hundred and twenty one thousand at 10pm. The BBC4 documentary Hidden Killers Of The Victorian Home appealed to six hundred thousand at 9pm.

ITV's broadcast of the 2013 Royal Variety Performance topped the overnight ratings on Monday. However, its average rating was down by almost a million viewers from last year, attracting 7.31m from 7.30pm. On BBC1, Panorama interested 2.44m at 8.30pm, followed by the penultimate Ripper Street with 2.95m at 9pm, dropping over two hundred thousand punters from the previous week. BBC2's University Challenge was watched by 2.72m at 8pm, while MasterChef: The Professionals attracted 2.84m at 8.30pm. The Choir continued with 1.95m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Dispatches had an audience of 1.53m at 8pm. Liberty Of London appealed to 1.12m at 9pm, followed by Fresh Meat with six hundred and twenty two thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's The Gadget Show gathered four hundred and sixty thousand at 8pm, while Monty Halls and Japan's Lost Atlantis had five hundred and ninety four thousand punters at 9pm. BBC4's Only Connect was watched by eight hundred and seventy two thousand at 8.30pm.

And speaking of Ripper Street, it could be making a surprise return to television, despite being axed by the BBC last week. The Beeb previously announced that the period thriller would not be returning for a third series, citing dwindling audience numbers. However, the corporation is now claimed to be 'in the early stages of a deal' with LoveFilm to revive the series. According to the Gruniad Morning Star if not anyone more reliable. The deal, the Gruniad claim, 'would be for a third series and an option to order a fourth', with LoveFilm premiering the new episodes online and BBC1 showing them shortly afterwards. The BBC has confirmed to the Digital Spy website that while a deal is 'yet to be finalised', it is 'considering' bringing back Ripper Street. 'The BBC is looking at partnerships that could enable Ripper Street to return but at better value to licence fee payers,' a spokesperson confirmed. A second spokesperson from production company Tiger Aspect added: 'The creative team have great vision and high ambition for future series of Ripper Street. It would of course be marvellous to find a route to make these plans reality.'

Graham Norton and his production company So Television have been - quite disgracefully - 'reprimanded' by the BBC after Graham wore a World AIDs Day ribbon on air. The presenter and his guests all donned the charity emblem for his BBC1 chat show broadcast on 29 November. BBC entertainment controller Mark Linsey said that although it was a cause which Norton 'cares passionately about', he was 'in breach of BBC guidelines.' Editorial guidelines state that: 'The BBC must remain independent and distanced from government initiatives, campaigners, charities and their agendas, no matter how apparently worthy the cause or how much their message appears to be accepted or uncontroversial.' Wearing Poppies in support of the Royal British Legion is the one exception to this rule. The issue of Norton's World AIDs Day insignia was raised in a letter to BBC in-house magazine Ariel, by a - snitching - member of staff who had been told on a training course that staff must remain impartial. 'Can you ask the powers-that-be what action has, or is, being taken as a result of this? Is it only "talent" on big contracts who can flout rules if they disagree with them?' asked the letter from the Copper's Nark in question, one Hamish Marshall, a BBC news and sports reporter in the South West. In reply, Linsey said: 'The production company has been contacted and reminded that he cannot do this and Graham has accepted he was wrong to do so. The BBC has been assured it will not occur again.' The Graham Norton Show on 29 November was watched by an average of 3.29 million people. All of the guests - Jeremy Clarkson, comedian Jo Brand, Hollywood actor Colin Farrell and X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne - wore red ribbons to highlight World Aids Day on 1 December.

The BBC has been ordered to improve the 'quality and distinctiveness' of its peak-time drama and current affairs. It is one a set of objectives the BBC Trust gave director general Tony Hall in July, which were made public for the first time this week. The targets were published as part of a review into how the BBC is governed, following what the Trust called 'a number of significant failures.' Several changes will be made to make the BBC more 'accountable and transparent.' The BBC Trust will regularly publish the objectives it sets for Lord Hall from now on. It said the 'quality, variety and originality of new drama on BBC1' should be one of his 'immediate priorities', especially in peak time. BBC1 has recently enjoyed success with dramas such as Doctor Who and Last Tango in Halifax. However, other dramas have not done so well. The 'quality and prominence' of BBC1 and BBC2's current affairs coverage was another key area where Lord Hall was encouraged to 'achieve new peaks of distinctiveness' by looking at the 'creative culture' in TV management and commissioning. Whatever the hell that means. The governance review was launched in September following 'a year of difficult events at the BBC.' The review's key conclusion is that there has been 'confusion about who is responsible for what in certain key operational areas and this has undermined confidence in the governance and operation of the BBC.' BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten - someone with no working knowledge of television drama whatsoever, please note - said that he and Lord Hall had now agreed some 'sensible changes' to the working relationship between the Trust and the BBC Executive, to make things clearer in terms of their roles and responsibilities. There will now be new three-stage performance reporting, to ensure better monitoring of specific BBC projects. It will enable issues to be identified and dealt with early - unlike the DMI project, which was supposed to modernise the BBC's video production and archive systems, but which collapsed after five years, at a cost of £98.4m. The BBC's Executive Board, which is responsible for making decisions, will now have to report to the Trust more often and more comprehensively throughout the year, so that the trust can assess how it is doing. Some of these meetings will be filmed and broadcast on the Trust website, including end of year discussions about the corporation's performance. The Trust will also ask licence fee payers to 'help set the priorities' for the BBC each year, but it will no longer involve itself in operational decision making. 'This is an important first step in making the BBC simpler and better run,' said Lord Hall of the changes, which come into effect from 1 April, 2014. The BBC has also appointed former Sony chairman and CEO, Sir Sir Howard Stringer, to strengthen the team and bring his 'extensive broadcasting and commercial experience' to the BBC Executive Board from 1 January, as one of two new Non-Executive Directors. 'People don't just expect the BBC to produce great programmes, they want it to be run well,' said Lord Patten. 'While much has gone well in the past, the last fifteen months have seen a number of significant failures. [These changes mean] the BBC can get on with the job of running the BBC, and the Trust can rightly focus on holding the Executive to account on behalf of licence fee payers.' One of the other objectives laid out by the Trust, and originally sent to Lord Hall in July, is that 'BBC managers need to spend public money as if it is their own money.'

BBC Drama controller Ben Stephenson has spoken following this year's Golden Globe nominations. It was announced on Thursday that the BBC had received ten nominations, with its shows Dancing On The Edge, Top Of The Lake and The White Queen all up for awards. 'BBC Drama's ten nominations in today's Golden Globes reinforces our international reputation and position as the very best producers of drama both at home and across the pond,' said yer man Ben.

BBC4 made an unlikely Saturday night hit out of Danish politics in Borgen and enjoyed some of its biggest ratings with Scandinavian thrillers The Killing and The Bridge as well as French thriller Spiral. Now the channel is looking to expand viewers' palettes with its first Danish period drama and newly-acquired series from Israel, Ireland and Sweden, in a 2014 programming line-up unveiled on Wednesday. The pick of the bunch is likely to be 1864, from Danish public service broadcaster DR which was also responsible for Borgen, The Killing and The Bridge. DR's first period offering, it follows the story of two brothers who fall in love with the same woman during the war between Denmark and the newly-unified Germany in the Nineteenth Century, a conflict that proved catastrophic for the Danes. Told from the point of view of a modern-day woman who lost her brother in Afghanistan, the ten-part series, made for an estimated twenty million smackers, will be broadcast on Saturday nights on BBC4 next year. Other new shows destined for the Saturday night slot include Israeli drama Hostages, a ten-part thriller about the family of a surgeon who are taken hostage in order to coerce her into killing the prime minister on the operating table. Israeli drama is on a roll, after the success of Prisoners Of War, the inspiration for the US drama hit Homeland, and Hostages was bought for adaptation by the American network CBS before it had even debuted on Israeli TV. Cassian Harrison, channel editor of BBC4, said: 'Foreign language dramas on a Saturday night have become more than a cult success; they actually sit at the heart of the BBC4 offer. You have always got to offer the audience something new and fresh, and what we have got here is a selection of things with the same high production values, and really good stories, but with a different flavour. In the end if we ended up continually running thrillers all the time, I think the audience will become a bit jaded.' Other new dramas include Crimes Of Passion, a 1950s-set series of six 'whodunnits' based in the Swedish mining district of Bergslagen and adapted from the crime novels by Maria Lang, and the eagerly anticipated second series of Danish-Swedish thriller, The Bridge. BBC4 will also show two new dramas closer to home. Irish drama Amber will follow the disappearance of a fourteen-year-old girl from multiple perspectives over four episodes, while Welsh series Hinterland follows a London policeman on the run who moves to Aberystwyth, where it turns out he is not the only one leading a double life. The new acquisitions come at a critical time for the channel which, ridiculously given the quality of its programmes, has faced calls for it to be axed by Question Time presenter David Dimbleby and former BBC executive Roger Mosey - if not anybody whose opinions actually matter - as part of the debate about the BBC in the run-up to its charter renewal in 2016. Having built a solid reputation for biopics about celebrity figures, including The Kenny Everett Story and Burton & Taylor, BBC4 has also lost all of its homegrown drama, axed as part of controversial corporation-wide cost-saving measures. Harrison suggested drama on BBc4 might yet make a comeback, albeit not necessarily in its previous form. The BBC's head of programme acquisitions Sue Deeks said: 'Hostages is a taut, spare and authentic Israeli thriller; Crimes Of Passion is a stylish and engaging 1950s set detective drama and 1864 is an epic Danish historical drama with tremendous sweep and scale.'

The second series of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s award-winning The Trip, this time set in Italy, is to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month. As with there first series, director Michael Winterbottom has made a feature-length version as well as the TV episodes. Although no broadcast date has yet been set for the BBC version, Brydon has revealed that the film will be shown at Sundance in Utah on 19 January 2014.
ITV has ordered a new four-part drama series focusing on the work of a missing persons field unit dealing with serial killers. Written by DCI Banks and Holby City scriptwriter Rob Williams, Chasing Shadows follows the team in their pursuit of serial killers 'who prey on the vulnerable.' The series follows Detective Sergeant Sean Alexander, described as 'intense, socially awkward and a misfit', alongside his partner and stabilising influence Ruth Hattersley. Both parts have yet to be cast. ITV's Director of Drama Steve November said: 'It's a crime drama, but not a typical one as it is based around a missing persons unit. And it introduces two very individual and exciting new characters who we're very much looking forward to seeing.' Filming is due to commence in February and will be set in an urban area shot in the South East. Chasing Shadows will feature five returning characters including Sean and Ruth's boss DCI Carl Prior, Ruth's son Bryan, and Sean's housekeeper, Adele.

Quiz show Fifteen To One - on which yer actual Keith Telly Topping once appeared, dear blog reader - is to return to Channel Four for a full series, the broadcaster has announced. The general knowledge show was recently broadcast as a one-off celebrity special as part of Channel Four's 1980s nostalgia night in September. Sandi Toksvig will host the new twenty-part daytime series when it is shown in the spring, with comic Adam Hills fronting four celebrity editions. The original show, hosted by yer actual William G Stewart, ran from 1988 to 2003. 'I'm thrilled to be taking up the mantle of hosting Fifteen To One,' Sandi said. 'It is a legendary quiz show with tough questions. I'm glad I'll be asking not answering.' Adam, who hosts comedy show The Last Leg, also fronted the September special which was watched by an average 1.8 million viewers. 'I am thrilled to be part of the ongoing institution that is Fifteen To One,' he said. He added that he had enjoyed watching celebrities trying not to make fools of themselves while answering general knowledge questions. Tom Blakeson, from Remedy Productions, which produces the show, said: 'It's fantastic to be making more Fifteen To One for Channel Four following the success of the celebrity special earlier this year. We're really looking forward to introducing a whole new generation to this compelling format and, with Adam and Sandi, we're delighted to have two brilliant and very funny hosts on board.' The quiz show will stick to its original format with three rounds and fifteen contestants trying to avoid elimination by answering questions correctly. Subsequent rounds then see contestants nominate who should answer the next question, in a battle to knock each other out.

And, to prove that yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self featured on a Fifteen To One episode filmed in late 1990 and broadcast in March 1991 (and, indeed, got to the last three before blowing his chances on a question about National Insurance), we have this evidence. (Incidentally, Jim, the lad who won that particular episode reached the Grand Final that year and came fourth, so at least I wasn't just beaten by myself!)
Sarah Lancashire and Steve Pemberton are to star in a new BBC1 crime thriller. Happy Valley is written by Last Tango In Halifax's Sally Wainwright, and a six-part series will be broadcast in 2014. Siobhan Finneran, George Costigan, Joe Armstrong, James Norton, Adam Long, Karl Davies, Ramon Tikaram and Charlie Murphy will also feature in the drama. The series will follow Catherine (played by Lancashire), a police sergeant who leads a team of officers in a rural valley in Yorkshire. A staged kidnapping soon creates a domino effect and leads to several other serious crimes. Lancashire said: 'Happy Valley is a dark, funny, multi-layered thriller revolving around the personal and professional life of Catherine, a dedicated, experienced, hard-working copper. She is also a bereaved mother who looks after her orphaned grandchild. It's an emotional, complex, challenging role. I'm terrified, exhausted and freezing cold but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.' Sally Wainwright said: 'I'm pleased that we're filming Happy Valley right in the heart of Calderdale in West Yorkshire. It's going to be hard work, but on screen it will look stunning.' Six hour-long episodes will be produced by Karen Lewis and directed by Euros Lyn.

Russell Kane - very popular with students - is to host a third series of Live at the Electric. So, that'll be unmissable.
Rosemary's Baby is poised to live again – but this time, on the small screen. The US network NBC is planning a television mini-series based on Ira Levin's classic eponymous horror novel, published in 1967 and adapted for Roman Polanski's 1968 movie, according to Slash Film. The network, which has broadcast series based on Hannibal Lecter and Dracula, has set The Wire's Agnieszka Holland to direct the four-part serial. The TV version of Rosemary's Baby is reportedly based on Levin's bestselling book, rather than Polanski's film, about a young woman facing Satanic horrors in a Manhattan apartment block. The action will be transferred from New York to Paris by the screenwriters Scott Abbott and James Wong. Levin's novel centres around a young couple who move into an imposing Gothic-revival Manhattan apartment block, which they are told has a sinister history. In Polanski's paranoiac adaptation, Rosemary, played by Mia Farrow, becomes increasingly convinced that her unborn child is being targeted for ritual sacrifice by the building's eccentric tenants, who appear to have made an unholy alliance with her struggling actor husband. The reality turns out to be even more terrifying. An earlier cinema remake of the Polanski adaptation faltered four years ago following negative reactions online. Michael Bay's much-maligned Platinum Dunes production company, which has brought poorly received reboots of A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday The Thirteenth to multiplexes, had threatened to resurrect Rosemary's Baby alongside a new version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.
David Cameron has revealed that he is a 'massive fan' of the TV chef - and self confessed cocaine sniffer - Nigella Lawson, who is currently involved in a court case against her two former personal assistants who deny fraud. Lawson has admitted during proceedings to taking cocaine but denies ever having a drug habit. Asked if he was on 'Team Nigella' - an informal grouping of supporters - the prime minister said: 'I am.' Whether the prime minister should be making comments which could, at least in theory, influence the outcome of a currently ongoing criminal trial is another question entirely and one which, one trusts. the defence will be bringing to the attention of the judge in this particular case for him to decide whether any contempt has taken place. Cameron told the Spectator magazine that Lawson was 'very funny and warm.' In his interview with editor Fraser Nelson, Cameron said that he wanted 'passionately' to lead a Conservative, rather than coalition, government after the next general election. He was compiling a 'little black book' of ideas for his party's next manifesto. Lawson, the daughter of former Conservative Chancellor Lord Lawson, has written several recipe books and has presented cookery shows on the BBC and Channel Four. Her former personal assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, are currently on trial for alleged fraud against Lawson and her former husband Charles Saatchi. Both deny the charges.

And, indeed, on Thursday it was reported that the jury in the trial have been told to 'ignore' the complimentary remarks made about Lawson by the prime minister. Judge Robin Johnson said it was 'a matter of regret' when public figures commented on someone in a trial. Alleged 'sources' allegedly told the BBC that the prime minister's office 'does not want to comment' on the judge's extremely pointed remarks. The jury heard that the defendants felt 'aggrieved' by Cameron's comment, even though they did not specifically deal with matters in the trial and would like to have given him a jolly good ticking off if he'd been able to. Judge Johnson told the jurors: 'You will realise that what public figures may feel about this case or a witness in this case can have no bearing on your own views.'

New pictures of Ben Miller and Stephen Fry in the second series of This Is Jinsy have been revealed. Miller stars in the second episode of the sitcom as the Chief Accountant of Jinsy, along with his sister - a drunk, hefty, buck-toothed accountant called Berpetta. Fry appears in the first episode as Doctor Bevelspepp, a character who uses his encyclopaedic knowledge of Jinsy to help save the island from an invasion of rampaging hair.
The Comic Relief chief executive has promised a full review of the charity's investments following a public backlash over a Panorama investigation into its multimillion-pound interests in tobacco, arms and alcohol companies, saying it would 'do the right thing.' Kevin Cahill confirmed for the first time on Tuesday that Comic Relief still had money in managed funds which invested in tobacco, arms and alcohol companies but said that it was 'a small percentage, no more than five per cent of our funds in any of those particular areas. We will do a full review of our policy after this particular programme and these discussions we are having now,' Cahill told Martha Kearney on Radio 4's World At One. 'It's really important that the public stick with us, that they trust us to do the right thing and they understand that we are listening to the messages that are out there on the social networks. It's showing us on the social networks this morning that the public do have some concern about these things.' The BBC-backed charity came in for widespread criticism on Twitter after the revelations, which were broadcast on Panorama on Tuesday night, became public. Comic Relief's law firm, Harbottle & Lewis, had initially attempted to get the programme stopped, warning that its accusations would 'damage vulnerable people in the UK and abroad.' Although, arguably, not as much as the damage that could be caused to them by the guns that Comic Relief helped to fund. Just, you know, a small counter-point there. However, after sustained criticism of Comic Relief on Tuesday, including caustic tweets from some of the charity's own high-profile supporters, including comics Mad Frankie Boyle and Al Murray, Cahill signalled a sudden change of tack. Cahill said that it was a 'no-brainer' that the charity would rather invest in ethical concerns if they could match or better the returns offered by other investments. 'The most important thing for us is to keep the trust and faith of the public. We would clearly be keen to be in ethical funds if they match other funds and that's something our committee will look at,' he said. 'We should never forget that we are nothing without the public. They have given us over eight hundred million pounds to date, all of that money, every single penny, partly because of our investment policy, has gone to people living in extreme poverty and to vulnerable communities domestically and overseas. We are listening to the public and we will do the right thing.' Cahill suggested Comic Relief and other charities should seek 'more clarification' over the rules around ethical investments. 'We should probably seek more clarity along with all the other charities about what the Charity Commission's specific guidance is. There seems to be some room for doubt,' he said. 'Our trustees were acting in good faith in doing what they were doing. It's very good to hear the potential exists within ethical funds to match the return [of funds with non-ethical investments], because Comic Relief would clearly choose to be in those if the return was equal or better to where we currently are. It's a no-brainer for us.' Cahill said the charity's trustees had made their investment decisions believing 'they delivered the greatest benefits to our benefactors. When a moment like this occurs for a charity like ours, that's never had a blemish on its reputation in its entire twenty five-year history, which has never been sited for any kind of transgression of Charity Commission regulations or guidelines, the past is important but the future is even more important.'

Channel Four has signed up a variety of b-to-z-list 'celebrities' including Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave, reality TV-type person Amy Childs and former singer Sinitta for its winter sports reality show The Jump. The broadcaster has signed up twelve names – six men and six women, some of whom you might even have heard of, dear blog reader – to appear in the horrific-sounding Davina McCall-fronted show, in which they will compete in winter sports including the ski jump, bobsleigh and skeleton. The Jump will broadcast on ten consecutive nights early next year. The women's team will include 'socialite' (that's a nice way of saying 'unemployed') Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, former broadcaster Anthea Turner, TV presenter Melinda Messenger and ex-Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt. Stop sniggering at the back. Competing against them in the men's team will be former England cricketer Darren Gough, 'celebrity hairdresser' Nicky Clarke, 'party promoter' Henry Conway (who?), Flash Gordon actor Sam Jones and comedian Marcus Brigstocke. The teams will have coaches including former 1988 Olympic competitor Eddie The Eagle Edwards, with the two losers of each night's sport facing off in a live ski jump to stay in the show. It is, of course, to be hoped that none of those taking part slip whilst doing these jumps and, you know, horribly injury themselves, with the broken bones and the screaming and the months in traction, and that. Oh no. 'Winter sports are tough to master,' said Edwards, and he should know since he never managed it himself. 'It takes skill, guts and determination to get round a course. The ultimate test will be The Jump itself. I know how hard it can be when the world is watching.' The Jump is Channel Four's latest crass and desperate attempt to fill the reality TV hole left in its winter schedule by the cancellation of Celebrity Big Brother. In early 2011 the Chris Evans and Clare Balding-hosted flop Famous and Fearless, which saw celebrities compete in urban and extreme sports including BMX biking, street luge and monster trucks, was lambasted by critics and failed to win over any sort of audiences at all. The Jump follows ITV's surprise - though bewildering - hit Z-List Celebrity Drowning, featuring Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley coached z-list non-entities in diving, which is returning soon for a second series. Don;t worry, dear blog reader, you'll be given plenty of warning when it's on the way so you can avoid it. Next year the BBC will be also adding its take on Olympic legacy TV with a celebrity gymnastics competition, given the working title Let's Get Ready To Tumble, on Saturday nights.
The BBC are putting together a new compilation of archive Dave Allen material for a night themed around the legendary Irish comic. On 4 January 2014, BBC2 is to repeat the documentary God's Own Comic, which was first broadcast earlier this year, alongside the new compilation – plus his 1974 documentary Dave Allen In Search of the Great English Eccentric. Hopefully, this time they'll include the 'ethnic Hamlet' sketch.
The BBC and ITV are to split the coverage of next year's World Cup football matches. In a press release sent earlier this week, the broadcasters confirmed that they would be dividing the matches for the 2014 tournament, held in Brazil next summer. ITV will show the opening match between hosts Brazil and Croatia on 12 June, while the BBC will start with holders Spain versus The Netherlands the following day. England's first group match, where they will play Italy, is to be broadcast by the BBC. The BBC will have first pick of the round of sixteen and semi-finals, whilst ITV has first pick of the quarter-finals. Both ITV and the BBC will show the final.
Police took more than five years to warn Buckingham Palace that confidential directories with the royal family's private phone numbers had been found in the home of the former Scum of the World royal editor, Clive Goodman, the Old Bailey heard on Tuesday. The jury in the phone-hacking trial was told that a total of fifteen royal phone directories were found by police in August 2006 when they arrested Goodman and searched his home in Putney yet it was not until January 2012 that Palace officials were informed of this. Since then, the number of directories in circulation had been 'dramatically reduced.' The disclosure came as the Crown began to present its case that Clive Goodman and his former editor, and this prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Andy Coulson, conspired to commit misconduct in public office by agreeing to pay Palace police officers to supply the directories. Both deny the charge. The evidence opened a door on the private world of Palace life. The jury heard that among those whose numbers were listed in the directories were the Keeper Of The Privy Purse, The Lord Warden Of The Stannaries, equerries, ladies-in-waiting, gentleman ushers, extra gentleman ushers and The Swan Warden who proved to be a professor in Oxford. Michelle Light, head of telephony for the royal family at Buckingham Palace, told the court that some twelve hundred copies of a directory containing two thousand phone numbers for royal staff would be produced by the Palace's in-house printer. Seven of these with various dates were found in Goodman's home. Light said that she was not informed of this until January 2012. Jonathan Spencer, deputy controller of The Lord Chamberlain's office, said that some nine hundred copies of a 'Green Book', containing private numbers for the royal family and senior staff, would also be produced by the Palace printer. Each of these was marked 'Restricted Document' on the front cover with a request that it 'should be kept in a safe place and not shown to unauthorised persons. On receipt, please destroy your previous edition.' They were not classified as secret, he said, but they were confidential. 'We would never send it to an unauthorised person, nor would we want it to be in the possession of such a person.' Eight Green Books, dated between August 1988 and October 2002, were found in Goodman's home. Spencer said that he was not told of this until November 2012. Since being informed by police, he told the court, the Lord Chamblerlain had decided the Green Book should no longer be sent to external staff and sent only in smaller numbers to internal staff. 'We have decided to reduce the distribution dramatically right across the piece,' he said. One of the directories with staff extension numbers which was found at Goodman's house was discovered to be carrying the fingerprint of a retired officer, Michael Godfrey, who told the court that he had often worked with a porter on 'the tradesman's entrance' of Windsor Castle, known as The Side Door, and that on night shifts, when the porter was not there, he would have used the directory to check on visitors' credentials. One of the Green Books found at Goodman's home was discovered to carry the indented imprint of the signature of a second retired officer, Gregory Gillham, who had worked as a protection sergeant at Buckingham Palace. before becoming head of police operations at Kensington Palace. He said that the Green Book was 'kept secure', he would not expect to find one 'lying around' and that he would dispose of an old one by tearing it into quarters and throwing them into a confidential waste sack. 'I worked for the royal household for a long time,' he said. 'The protection of the royal family was paramount.' It was not suggested that either officer had supplied Goodman with any directory. The trial continues.

Meanwhile, The Queen allegedly marked the level in bowls of nuts left around Buckingham Palace as she was 'irritated' by police officers eating them, the Old Bailey has heard. According to an e-mail sent by Clive Goodman she was 'upset' by such disgraceful lack of breeding. The journalist added that a memo was sent to palace officers, telling them to 'keep their sticky fingers out' of the Queen's nuts. The phone-hacking jury also heard that one of the defendants, Ian Edmondson, is no longer fit to stand trial. Mr Justice Saunders said that it was 'not appropriate to adjourn to wait for his recovery' and discharged the jury from reaching a verdict in his case. Saunders told the Old Bailey jury on Thursday that he has 'read and received a number of medical reports about the fitness of Mr Edmonson to continue' and the 'consensus of doctors instructed both by the defendant and the prosecution is that he is currently unfit.' He then discharged the jury from their duty to return a verdict on Edmondson and told them 'he will be tried by a different jury at a later date.' In the e-mail to former Scum of the World editor Coulson, which Goodman also had sent to himself, he wrote: 'Problem is that police on patrol eat the lot. Memo now gone around to all palace cops telling them to keep their sticky fingers out.' The e-mail continued: 'Queen furious about police stealing bowls of nuts and nibbles left out for her in apartments in the BP/Queen's corridor. She has a very savoury tooth and staff leave out cashews, Bombay Mix, almonds etc. Prob[lem] is that police on patrol eat the lot. She started marking the bowls to see when the levels dipped,' he added. Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the jury that the e-mail said the Queen was 'upset' because 'apparently they were helping themselves to nuts.' He said: 'They were all being scoffed by police. That irritated Her Majesty apparently.' Amid howls of laughter in court, Mr Justice Saunders told the jury that the claim that officers were stealing nuts was 'an unproven allegation.' It is not known what chastisement awaits anyone convicted of stealing the Queen's nuts, but a spell in The Tower followed by a trip to Tyburn is, surely, the least such a sorry individual could expect. Curently, one imagines, they'd have their nuts whipped off.

Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and disgraceful oily twat Piers Morgan accused each other of hacking voicemail and e-mail messages in front of guests at a South London birthday dinner held for the prime minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Andy Coulson a decade ago, the jury in the phone-hacking trial has heard. The former Daily Mirra editor the vile and odious rascal Morgan even warned one guest about giving her phone number to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, saying: 'Careful, she'll tap your phone,' the Old Bailey heard. Evidence about the dinner party was given by a former London media legal adviser, Ambi Sitham, who spoke to the court by video link from Los Angeles, where she now lives. Sitham claimed that she had gone with her then boyfriend to Coulson's birthday dinner at a steak restaurant in Balham in January 2003 and found herself sitting with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks on her left and oily odious twat Morgan opposite her. Blimey. Shit sandwich, or what? 'Rebekah and Piers were both very busy because at the time they were both editors of quite big tabloid newspapers,' Sitham said. 'I remember they were both very busy trying to finish off the last details of their splashes, their front covers, for their respective papers – on their phones, texting, e-mailing.' At one point, she told the jury, Morgan had said to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks: 'I already know what your splash, or your cover, is going to be because I have been listening to your messages.' She claimed that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'Been hacking my phone again, have you, Piers?' Sitham said: 'He said something along the lines: "Well, you've been looking at my e-mails." It was quite a quick, back-and-forth bantering, her saying to him: "I have left a false trail, I have led you up the garden path." Him saying: "I've done the same on you." It was pointed. It was like truth said in jest. There was a pointedness to it.' Sitham, who told the jury she was working for Schillings law firm at the time, said she had been 'nervous' at the dinner and so had deliberately drunk very little in order to avoid making a fool of herself. 'I was quite nervous to be around all these people. These were pretty much the most powerful people in the media industry.' She had made small talk with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, who had suggested they should 'stay in touch' in the hope that they could find amicable settlements for any future disputes between Schillings clients and her newspaper. 'I thought that was a good idea because I was taking on more responsibility at work, so I went to give her my number on a piece of paper, and Piers said: "Careful, she'll tap your phone." I must have looked a bit scared and pulled a funny face, because Rebekah said: "Don't worry. Let me give you my number."' Cross-examined by Claire Sibson for well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, Sitham agreed that she had not reported this conversation to Schillings, nor made any note of it at the time. The jury were shown a blogpost published by Sitham in November 2012, headed: And the truth shall set you free, in which she had described her 'difficulty' in deciding whether to say anything public about it. 'The situation came to a head, and six weeks ago led me to find myself in a discreet cafe with Hugh Grant, Evan Harris of the Hacked Off campaign and Nick Davies of the Guardian in a scene not dissimilar to a Richard Curtis film, apart from the fact that this was very much real life and no laughing matter.' Sibson put it to Sitham that she had 'fictionalised' her account. Sitham replied: 'Absolutely not. As God is my witness, everything I have told you is the truth and to the best of my recollection.' 'The truth is this conversation didn't happen, did it?' suggested Sibson. 'It did,' replied Sitham. The former lawyer was challenged about her recollection of events and it was suggested that the dinner had taken place a year later, in January 2004. Sitham was asked if she remembered any discussion on the night of The Hutton Report. She did not. Sibson put it to Sitham that the dinner took place on the eve of the report being published in 2004 and the reason why there was a pointedness to the conversation was because Morgan was 'angry' that 'the Sun had come by a leaked copy of the report', scooping the Mirra. Eell-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denies conspiring to intercept communications.

It is Australia's largest-selling newspaper, which brashly called on the public to 'kick out' the country's last government and whose support, in the true image of a Rupert Murdoch tabloid, can win you an election. But last week's Sunday Telegraph carried a line which is sure to draw the ire of its billionaire tyrant proprietor. On page seventy nine in Harry The Dog's weekly word search (this Sunday the theme was the 'amazing animals' of Indonesia, from Sumatran tigers to Komodo dragons) the puzzlemaster was clearly 'having a bit of a laugh' at the paymaster's expense. Third line down, first on the left reads: 'LIVESIHCODRUM', or, in reverse, 'MURDOCHISEVIL.' It took reporters in Australia two days to spot the apparent swipe, which sparked joy among many observers on Twitter. The Sunday Telegraph itself refused to comment. Which is most unlike them since they've usually got plenty to say on all manner of subjects, many of which have nothing whatsoever to do with them. It remains unclear if billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch completed the quiz himself.
A vicar has been forced to apologise after claiming at a primary school assembly that Father Christmas does not exist according to the Daily Torygraph. And this constitutes 'news', apparently. Parents are reported to have whinged when their children, aged between five and eleven, 'came home shell-shocked' and the vicar of St Andrew's Church in Chippenham has now apologised. Coward. Stick to your guns, mate, it's a made-up story. You know, just like most of The Bible. It's better they hear it from you, now, than find out in a few years time that their parents are a bunch of lying liars.

BT has apologised to its customers after what it called its 'poor service' during the launch of BT Sport in August. It followed figures which showed complaints about BT's television service more than doubled in the July-to-September period. Telecoms regulator Ofcom said complaints peaked in August, when the new channel went on-air. As a result, BT had a far higher ratio of complaints than its rivals. Ofcom said the biggest problems were service issues, and the way the company handled complaints. BT said some customers were confused by the fact that BT Sport was initially free on BT TV, but was subsequently encrypted. It said the number of complaints represented a fraction of one per cent of its customers. 'We are disappointed with the result, and we accept that we failed to reach the high standards that customers expect,' a BT spokesperson said.

Space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock is to be the new co-host of long-running astronomy TV series The Sky At Night. She will join existing presenter Chris Lintott when the show moves to a new home on BBC4 with a monthly half-hour slot in 2014. Aderin-Pocock – who has led teams designing scientific instruments, including a replacement for the Hubble space telescope – has become a familiar figure on TV and radio over the past few years, and heads a firm which helps to engage the public with science. She has hosted BBC2's Do We Really Need the Moon? and has appeared regularly on BBC1's The ONE Show. The Sky At Night, first broadcast on 24 April 1957, has had a number of guest hosts in recent months, most notably Lintott, Lucie Green and Jon Culshaw. Aderin-Pocock, a research fellow at University College London, said: 'The opportunity to present The Sky At Night is like completing a circle and fulfilling a lifelong dream. Above all, it's a huge honour to follow in the footsteps of Patrick Moore, a passionate advocate of the wonders of the night sky. As a child I would beg my parents to allow me to stay up late and watch the programme. It even inspired me to go to night school at a young age to make my own telescope mirror, which I lovingly crafted and gave me my first glimpse of the breathtaking spectacle above us. This enthusiasm eventually led to a degree in physics and a PhD in mechanical engineering and then working on the wonderful eight-metre Gemini telescope in Chile. I'm so looking forward to being a part of this cherished and much-loved institution.' Jonathan Renouf, the executive producer of the programme, said: 'Maggie is a fantastic addition to this series. She is a renowned space scientist and science communicator who will bring tremendous enthusiasm and excitement to the programme.' Cassian Harrison, the editor of BBC4, said: 'Maggie is a true evangelist of the wonders of the night sky and a passionate science communicator. She'll be an exciting presence on the team.'

Sir Ian McKellen has claimed that he was advised 'not to go to Russia' by the Foreign Office because of the country's homosexuality laws. 'That's why I can't go. They couldn't protect me from those laws,' Sir Ian told the Radio Times. 'Two and a half hours from London! In the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev, Rudolf Nureyev - gay artists whose sexuality informed their work.' The actor came out as being gay in the 1980s at the age of forty nine. Russia passed a law in June which can result in heavy fines for anyone providing information about homosexuality to people under eighteen. Critics say that its 'loose interpretation' effectively hinders any kind of public gay rights event in Russia. Sir Ian also hit back at comments made by Homeland actor Damian Lewis in a Gruniad Morning Star interview earlier this year. Lewis said that he did not want to end up 'as one of those slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn't start getting any kind of film work until I was fifty and then start playing wizards.' While not naming names, the comments were widely thought to have been aimed at actors like Sir Ian and Michael Gambon. Sir Ian told the magazine: 'So he feels sorry for me, does he? Well, I'm very happy, he needn't worry about me', although he did agree Lewis's remark was 'fair comment.' However, he went on to say: 'To rebut it, I wouldn't like to have been one of those actors who hit stardom quite early on and expected it to continue and was stuck doing scripts that I didn't particularly like just to keep the income up. I've always wanted to get better as an actor. And I have got better. You've only got to see my early work to see that.' Regarding the 'fruity voice' comment, Sir Ian said: 'Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer's voice, to fill a large space. It is unnatural.' He added: 'To be allowed for the first time in your later career to play leading parts in extremely popular movies is not a situation to worry about.' Sir Ian also admitted his performance in ITV show Vicious was 'over the top' and he would tone it down for the second series. He said he was over acting 'for the benefit of the live studio audience.'

And now, an important message from those in charge of things (this blogger's thanks to Uncle Scunthorpe for pointing him in the direction of this, entirely worthy, piece of discrimination.)
The Be-Atles ( a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) are to release 59 rare and unheard recordings in a bid to stop their copyright protection expiring. The digital compilation includes BBC sessions, four alternate takes of 'She Loves You' and five of 'A Taste Of Honey'. It has not been officially announced, but a spokeswoman for Apple records confirmed the release to the BBC. EU law protects songs for seventy years after they are recorded, but only if they get an official release. Otherwise, copyright lasts fifty years. In the case of The Beatles, that means their 1963 début, Please Please Me and the singles they released that year - including 'She Loves You' and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' - are protected until 2033, but the unreleased session tapes are not. If the Beatles chose not to release the recordings before the end of the year, it would mean other record labels could, theoretically, profit from them. The band's 1962 début single, 'Love Me Do', arguably slipped out of copyright last year, before the EU's copyright extension was signed into law. At least one record company issued a 'remastered' version of the song, although that has since been deleted. Some of the songs appear to come from the same radio shows which were recently given an official release on The Beatles Live At The BBC Volume Two earlier this year. The new collection is expected to reach iTunes on Tuesday. News of its arrival first appeared on Norwegian Beatles blog, WogBlog, which also published cover art and a tracklisting. According to the site, the collection contains three versions of 'There's A Place' as well as demos of two songs the group gave to other artists — Paul McCartney and John Lennon's acoustic version of 'Bad To Me' and Lennon's piano demo of 'I'm In Love'. The Beatles are not the first artist to issue rare material in a bid to extend copyright. Bob Dylan's record label rushed out one hundred copies of a CD last year containing early TV performances, alongside multiple versions of 'Blowin' In The Wind', 'Bob Dylan's Dream' and 'I Shall Be Free'. Officially called The Fiftieth Anniversary Collection, it carried a subtitle which explained its true purpose: The Copyright Extension Collection, Volume One. A second volume followed this year, while Motown has also begun issuing rare recordings on iTunes under the 'Motown Unreleased' banner. Given the low-key nature of the release, it is likely that Apple Corps, the Beatles' record label, will take down the new material after a brief period, allowing them to exploit the recordings in a more considered way later on. However, it is likely that the release of rare material will become an annual event, as the band seek to protect their works for another twenty years. Meanwhile, a more glossy campaign is being mounted to promote a new Beatles box-set, which is being released to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the band's first trip to America. The thirteen-disc set includes all of the band's American LPs, including five which have never been available on CD before. Many of the records feature different titles, song listings, mixes, and artwork from their UK versions. The band will also be given a lifetime achievement award by the Grammys in 2014, during a special ceremony the night before the main event. German electro pioneers Kraftwerk, country star Kris Kristofferson and soul trio The Isley Brothers will also be honoured.

Two 'lost' films starring actor Peter Sellers are to be shown in public for the first time in more than fifty years. The actor made the comedy shorts Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia Is Good For You in 1957 as he tried to make his name as a film actor. The two thirty-minute films were originally salvaged from a skip outside a film company's office in 1996 before being forgotten about all over again. They will be screened at the Southend Film Festival next May. Sellers was already a radio star thanks to the BBC's The Goon Show when the films were made, but he had yet to establish himself as a screen actor. He went on to earn big screen success in films like I'm All Right Jack, The Millionairess, The Naked Truth, The Pink Panther and Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The two rediscoveries were spoof government information films. Sellers played a number of different parts and treated them almost as 'show reels' to demonstrate 'his considerable talents', according to Paul Cotgrove from The White Bus, which runs the Southend Film Festival. Cotgrove was given the films by building manager Robert Farrow. Farrow had spotted the twenty one film cans as he was overseeing the clear out of Park Lane Films' former office in London before its refurbishment in 1996. '[I] thought they would be good for storing my Super 8 collection in,' said Farrow, who admitted he thought about throwing the films away before putting them in a cupboard until a recent clear-out of his own home. 'It was then I realised they were two Sellers films including the negatives, titles, show prints, out-takes and the master print. It was amazing.' Cotgrove, who is now getting the films digitally restored, told the BBC they captured Sellers 'in a period when he was experimenting. They're kind of a pastiche of the public information films at the time,' he said. 'They're not riotous comedy, they're just good fun to look at.' Actor Neil Pearson, who is also a rare books collector and dealer, had also looked into the star's early films after buying the only known remaining script for Insomnia Is Good For You. 'The BFI doesn't have a copy - it's a lost Peter Sellers film,' he said. Pearson said the films had 'quietly disappeared' after being left 'redundant' when Sellers' career took off later that year. 'They were clearly designed to be made on the cheap and, from Peter's point of view, to put him forward as a potential movie star,' he said. The films will be shown on the opening night of the Southend Film Festival on 1 May. Mark Cousins from The Peter Sellers Appreciation Society said the discoveries, which are the final two of three missing films, were 'very exciting' and helped to 'complete the cannon of his legacy. These early films, although they're only shorts, are quite important because they were really made before he hit the big time,' he said. 'They are missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. [Sellers] is very well known for his later works such as Dr Strangelove and the Pink Panther films and these help to give people an appreciation of how he got there.' Dearth of a Salesman is believed to feature Judith Wyler, daughter of the Academy Award-winning film director William Wyler, and both films were co-written by Canadian screenwriter and author Mordecai Richler. However, little else is known about them and Cotgrove said the festival wanted to hear from anyone who was involved in their creation.

The owners of the firm which supplied a 'fake' sign language interpreter to the Nelson Mandela memorial event have vanished, a South African minister has said. Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu apologised to the deaf community for the 'poor quality' of interpretation given by Thamsanqa Dyantyi from SA Interpreters. 'He is Xhosa speaking. The English was a bit too much for him,' she said. Dyantyi himself has blamed his flawed interpretation on 'a schizophrenic episode.' He also admitted he has been violent in the past. Although ,what the hell that has to do with his sign language ability (or, lack of it) God only knows, but most media outlets have reported it nonetheless. During the memorial, Dyantyi was employed to stand on the stage next to key speakers such as President Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela's grandchildren, translating their eulogies. But the minister denied there was 'a security issue', saying Dyantyi had been 'properly accredited.'

Huge Laurie has won best actor at the New Zealand film awards for his role in Mr Pip. Laurie won the Moa - the country's version of an Oscar - for playing a teacher who reads Dickens to children on a strife-torn Pacific island. His young co-star, Xzannjah, took the prize for best actress, while the film won a further two awards. But the big winner at the ceremony in Auckland was rites of passage movie Shopping, which won six trophies. Top Of The Lake, written by New Zealand Oscar winner Jane Campion, was named best television feature. The series was recently screened on BBC2. Laurie, who was unable to pick up his award in person, plays teacher Tom Watts in Mr Pip, who is the only white man to remain on the island of Bougainville in the 1980s when a civil insurrection was raging. He reads Great Expectations to the local school children in an effort to deflect attention from what is going on around them, and a pupil called Matilda - played by Xzannajh - is particularly drawn into the story. The film is based on the best-selling novel by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the best book from the region and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2007. The movie, directed by Andrew Adamson was released in Australia and New Zealand this October, but has yet to be seen in the rest of the world.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self will, as usual, be attending Uncle Scunthorpe's The Record Player at the Tyneside. This week, the second last for 2013, it's another one of those two-for-the-price-of-one deals with a face off between two of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourites of the early 1980s. And, for what it's worth, two of the least boring records ever made by anyone. So, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 33(s) of the week, you've got a choice between the heavy, heavy monster sound of The Nutty Boys.
And, the rankin' sound, the unity sound of The Beat.
Well tasty.

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