Thursday, January 23, 2014

One In The Eye For Johnny Whinger

Doctor Who had an extremely triumphant night at the 2014 National Television Awards on Wednesday, with the show winning the best drama category and Matt Smith picking up the best drama performance award into the bargain. This year's record-breaking fiftieth anniversary Doctor Who special, The Day of The Doctor was, of course, among Smudger's final appearances on the show, with Peter Capaldi recently taking over as the next Doctor. Smudger - who previously won the outstanding drama performance (male) award in 2012 - was victorious in a category which now includes both male and female actors, beating Martin Clunes, Maggie Smith, and Miranda Hart. The actor is currently appearing in  the musical American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre in London, so the award was collected on his behalf by Jenna Coleman and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. 'Sadly Matt cannot be with us tonight because he is slaughtering people on stage in the West End,' Moffat told the amused audience. 'It's not in the script, he's just cross.' However Smudger his very self did record a video message for the occasion, thanking the NTA for 'the marvellous award. Thank you to everyone who voted. You made my time on Who the best and most brilliant and most audacious part of my career to date. I am forever grateful.' Doctor Who also won the award for best drama for the first time in three years, regaining a title which it had held every year from 2005 to 2010. It beat Broadchurch (which caused some absolute prick of no importance at the Daily Torygraph to whinge like a big girl), Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife. The award for the show was collected by Jenna Coleman her very self. 'I think this award absolutely belongs to the team, the cast and crew who are grafting away in Cardiff as we speak. The genius and mastermind that is Moff, and of course Matt Smith. Thanks to everyone who voted.' The awards were presented at The O2 in London. Other winners included yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch who won the best TV detective category. Sherlock won in the newly created category which pitted Benny against Luther's Idris Elba and the two Broadchurch leads, Olivia Colman and David Tennant. In a video message, yer man Cumberbatch said that he wished he could have picked it up in person but, unfortunately, he was busy in Los Angeles being a movie star at the time. 'I'm over the moon, I can't tell you what this means,' he said. 'This is a vote by the public and you are the people that have made Sherlock the success of what it is.' Coronation Street's Julie Hesmondhalgh picked up the best serial drama performance. A recent storyline had involved her character Hayley Cropper's diagnosis with terminal cancer and, just this week, her suicide. The soap also beat rivals EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks to win serial drama for the second year in a row. You have to feel sorry for Hollyoaks - every year it gets put up and every year it loses. Actually, come to think of it, no you don't have to feel sorry for Hollyoaks - for any reason whatsoever - that's just plain stupid talk. Presenting duo Ant and/or Dec won a 'special surprise landmark award', presented by Philip Schofield with a message from another long-running double act, princes William and Harry. It followed the pair's thirteenth win in a row in the entertainment presenter category, as they saw off competition from Graham Norton, Alan Carr, Keith Lemon and Dermot O'Dreary. 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) - also presented by Ant and/or Dec - took the entertainment programme prize, beating their own show Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Celebrity Juice and The Graham Norton Show. The Geordie presenters, who took a 'selfie' portrait of themselves and the audience while on stage to collect their landmark award, later revealed their 'shock' at being honoured for their twenty five years in television. 'Words can't describe how we feel tonight,' said Ant McPartlin backstage. But, he had a go anyway. 'We, genuinely, had no idea this was going to happen; didn't have a clue our mams had been flown down and had their make-up done and done an interview.' People including Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads (whose shows, amusingly, ended the night with nought but a bowl of steam), Sir Bruce Forsyth, Robbie Williams and Alan Shearer had also recorded messages for the pair. 'We came back here tonight because this was the thirteenth year we'd been nominated for entertainment presenter award, and that was good enough for us,' added Declan Donnelly. 'We would happily have jumped on the bus and gone home then. But then to be given the landmark as well was just quite overwhelming.' Strictly Come Dancing won the talent show category for a second year running, beating ratings rival The X Factor, Britain's Got Toilets, soon to be cancelled Twatting About On Ice and The Voice. The ceremony featured a performance from recent Strictly winner Abbey Clancey, who took the floor for a dance routine which saw the show's male dancers - and judges Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli - fighting to be her partner. Mrs Brown's Boys triumphed in the comedy category for a second year which, as usual, a bunch of TV critics whinged about. Brendan O'Carroll's sitcom beat the wretched Derek, Miranda and The Big Bang Theory to take the prize, and the Irish comedian thanked fans for voting for them. 'It looks like our Twitter campaign, our advertising campaign and our threats paid off,' O'Carroll joked. The cast of EastEnders, who arrived together in a customised red double decker bus, took one prize in the newcomer category, for Khali Best who plays Dexter Hartman. The night's other winners, which were all voted for by the public, included This Morning which won the daytime category. Educating Yorkshire won the documentary series award and Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs beat The Great British Bake Off, Top Gear and An Idiot Abroad to take the factual entertainment award. Which also caused yer man at the Torygraph to positively foam at the mouth. Oh, pure dead vexed, so he was. Incandescent and spluttering with impotent fury and that: 'The NTAs make big play of the fact that they're the only TV awards entirely decided by the public vote, hence their shamelessly mainstream populism. Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs somehow beat The Great British Bake-Off in the Factual Entertainment category. Voters clearly prefer mutts to marquees and sniffing bottoms to soggy ones.' You simply have to stand up and applaud the sneering use to the phrase 'mainstream populism.' For which, I think we're supposed to read 'programmes watched by nasty, horrid, smelly working-class people on council estates rather than nice people in the Home Counties.' Christ, dear blog reader, there are some good people in the world, there are some bad people and then there are those who are just scum.

Yer actual Peter Capaldi is 'going to be wonderful' in Doctor Who, his co-star Jenna Coleman has claimed. As though there were ever any doubt about this. Jenna her very self told press at the National Television Awards that there are 'exciting times ahead' for the long-running BBC family SF drama. '[Peter is] great - of course, we all know he's going to be wonderful,' said the actress. 'It's been great to get up on our feet and get started - we just seem to have taken off like a rocket. It's been such a fantastic year,' said Jenna. 'This is wonderful - to be able to take this back to everybody that is grafting as speak, doing series eight.'
The National Television Awards topped the Wednesday overnight ratings outside of soaps. The annual ceremony hosted by Dermot O'Dreary, attracted an average of 5.90m punters from 7.30pm onwards. This is up just over three hundred thousand from last year's broadcast, but down on the 2012 event. It was a thoroughly rotten horrorshow (and drag_ night on BBC1 where Crimewatch was seen by 2.85m at 9pm. Earlier Pointless pulled in more than the Beeb's entire primetime schedule (3.93m) whilst The ONE Show could only manage 3.51m. Waterloo Road had a disastrous night at 8pm, attracting but 2.42m opposite The NTAs. A far cry from 2011 when it won the best drama programme award beating both Doctor Who and Sherlock. Course, Jenna Coleman was in it back then. BBC2's Winterwatch appealed to 2.27m at 8pm, followed by its Unsprung special with 1.29m at 9pm. Russia On Four Wheels continued with 1.13m at 9.30pm. Channel Four's Restoration Man had an audience of 1.50m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours in A&E continued with 1.60m at 9pm. On Channel Five, the latest Celebrity Big Brother live eviction dipped to 1.90m at 9pm. E4's latest episode of The Tomorrow People dropped to six hundred and sixty four thousand punters at 9pm, while Sky1's The Kumars also dropped like a stone to two hundred and twelve thousand at 9pm.

At some stage over the last three days, dear blog reader, something this blogger has been waiting to happen ever since From The North first began keeping records in 2009, actually only went and, you know, did. From The North has now been visited by dear blog readers in the following two hundred and three countries, states, kingdoms, commonwealths, confederations, principalities, sultanates, grand duchys, Islamic republics, serene republics, territories, semi-autonomous regions, zones of international dispute or coral atolls in the middle of nowhere: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, Germany, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, India, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Italy, the Federative Republic of Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey, Finland, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Mexico, Romania, Switzerland, Hungary, Greece, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, the Argentine Republic, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Singapore, Austria, Thailand, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Egypt, Hong Kong, Serbia, Ukraine, South Korea, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Chile, Slovenia, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Viet'nam, Colombia, Estonia, Peru, the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Lithuania, Morocco, Guernsey, Malta, Cyprus, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Kuwait, the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Latvia, the Democratic Socialist republic of Sri Lanka, Qatar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Iraq, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Tunisia, Macedonia, Puerto Rico, the Sultanate of Oman, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Lebanon, Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, Uruguay, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Bahrain, Kenya, Belarus, Ecuador, Iran, Moldova, Mauritius, Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Albania, the People's Republic of China, Armenia, the Dominican Republic, Gibraltar, Panama, Libya, Bolivia, Nepal, Ghana, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Syria, Senegal, Yemen, Cambodia, Palestine, El Salvador, Uganda, Barbados, Ethiopia, Paraguay, Sudan, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Mongolia, Macau, Afghanistan, Bermuda, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Réunion, the Maldives, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, the Faroe Islands, the Principality of Monaco, the Union of Myanmar, the Bahamas, Uzbekistan, Namibia, Zambia, the Cayman Islands, Honduras, the Netherlands Antilles, Guadeloupe, Guam, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Laos, Tajikistan, Botswana, Fiji, Haiti, Aruba, Cameroon, Greenland, Saint Lucia, Mozambique, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Belize, Grenada, French Guiana, Madagascar, Mauritania, Malawi, Rwanda, Togo, the Cook Islands, Dominica, the Seychelles, the Democratic Republic of TimorLeste, US Virgin Islands, Kosovo, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Angola, Benin, Bhutan, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Martinique, Suriname, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Åland Islands, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Curaçao, Djibouti, the Falkland Islands, the Principality of Liechtenstein, Liberia, Lesotho, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Somalia, Cape Verde, Eritrea, the Consecrated Republic of Eastern Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, the democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, Sint Maarten, Swaziland, British Indian Ocean Territories and now, finally, the Federated States of Micronesia. Hello to all of you out there and welcome to our latest member of this, if you will, Interweb United Nations of Bloggerisationsims. In other words, we've now had visitors from most of the known world. However there are still a couple of Caribbean island paradises, San Marino, a belt of countries across Westerns and Central Africa around the Sahara rim, a couple of islands in the Indian Ocean and a number of small coral atoll republics in the Eastern Pacific which haven't been represented yet. So come on guys, get your laptops out. Or, if not, the trick is to bang the rocks together.
A reboot of the US crime drama series Murder, She Wrote has been scrapped by NBC. because it was a shit idea, basically. It was reported in October that Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer had signed up to star in a pilot. The original series featured Angela Lansbury as a writer and amateur sleuth. Spencer was to play a hospital administrator who dabbled in detective work. But Deadline has said the network has now decided not to proceed with the show. When plans for a pilot were announced, Lansbury said that she was not happy they were using the same title. 'I think it's a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote', she told the Associated Press, 'because Murder, She Wrote will always be about Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person. So I'm sorry that they have to use the title Murder, She Wrote, even though they have access to it and it's their right.'

Great daft moments of television history (slight return): The Gadget Show's 2009 version of the test card.
There's just something about Suzi Perry dressed a schoolgirl. But, perhaps I've said too much ...

Prince William reportedly told Lee Mack: 'You need some new jokes.' The comic revealed that the Duke of Cambridge briefly turned comedy critic when they met at Buckingham Palace. Speaking to Graham Norton on his BBC1 chat show, which is due to be broadcast on Friday night, the Not Going Out and Would I Lie To You? star said that meeting Royalty was 'a bit of a highlight' of his career. But, he added that he nearly caused an incident because he was 'a bit drunk.' Lee claimed: 'We got to go to the Palace, which was very exciting and [Prince William] came up to me and said, "You need some new jokes." I was a bit drunk and said, "I don't tell you how to be a future king," to which he said, "I was joking, I really like your sitcom." I felt a bit bad then,' Mack conceded. It is not clear when the alleged encounter allegedly happened, but Lee was one of the comperes at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace in 2012. William possibly learned how to talk to a comedian from his brother. In 2008, Prince Harry allegedly told Stephen K Amos: 'You don't sound like a black chap' – which the comic later said he could only hope was made in jest.

Graduate Fog, the careers advice website which campaigns against the exploitation of interns, has revealed another example of alleged bad practice. Natalie Gil's report, on the Gruniad Morning Star website concerns Wee Shughie McFee the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' company, SyCo, being criticised for advertising for unpaid interns. It tells of a Facebook advert which allegedly sought 'keen as mustard new interns' to work for You Generation, a global online video auditions platform run jointly by SyCo, YouTube and Sony. Applicants then learned that they would receive 'expenses and a lunch allowance' rather than pay. But the advert was withdrawn after just four days. Gil quotes Sony Music's communications director, Paul Bursche, as saying that the advert 'didn't fit our intern policy.' There is no evidence that Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads his very self knew about the advert, although another Gruniad article, in December 2011, claimed that the tax authorities had investigated allegations The X Factor had been using unpaid interns behind the scenes. After Graduate Fog highlighted that case the interns were later compensated for their work, receiving up to three grand each.
Computers recovered by police from well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks' house were not in use when she quit News International, the phone-hacking trial has heard. Detective Constable Alan Pritchard said that police had not recovered equipment with 'relevant activity' from the time that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks resigned as CEO in 2011. He told the Old Bailey some 'computers, iPads and phones' of Mr and Mrs Brooks had 'never been found.' Both of the Brookses deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Jonathan Laidlaw QC, for well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, said that it was 'wrong' to claim equipment had gone missing 'prior to and since' her arrest. He said 'all her computer equipment was left in the office for police to recover later in the evening' on the day she quit. DC Pritchard was involved in searches of homes belonging to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks in London and Oxfordshire, as well as an office at News International and an office in Marylebone in July 2011 and March 2012. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks was extremely arrested, along with her husband, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, on suspicion of perverting the course of justice on 13 March 2012. The court heard on Tuesday that seventeen different computers and devices were found, including iPads, various laptops and a compaq desktop. It was also revealed that the police searched a Moses basket used by the couple's baby when they arrested them in the early hours of 13 July 2012 at their home in Oxfordshire. Detective Inspector Stephen McCabe, who was the officer in charge of planning the operation, told the court that his officers carried out their duties 'without fear or favour.' He said that a team of eleven officers had arrived at the property at around 05:00 with a warrant to search the building and the home of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks' eighty one-year-old mother-in-law, who lived next door. Asked about the reasons for arriving so early in the morning, without warning, McCabe said there was a 'risk that material may have been concealed or destroyed.' He also said that the police took into consideration the couple's jobs - in particular the knowledge that millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, as a race horse trainer, was likely to leave for work early in the morning. 'I'm not in the business of humiliating anyone, neither are my officers,' McCabe added. Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks both deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice by concealing documents and computer devices. The trial continues.

A former prison officer has been arrested by police probing illegal payments to public officials. The man was held at his North London home on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, under the Criminal Law Act 1977. The forty nine-year-old remains in custody at a police station in London. He is the eighty third person to be arrested as part of the Metropolitan Police's Operation Elveden investigation. Operation Elveden is the Scotland Yard inquiry into alleged payments to public officials in return for information. It is running alongside Operation Weeting - into allegations of phone-hacking - and Operation Tuleta into claims of computer hacking and other privacy breaches and - alleged - naughty badness and nefarious skulduggery.
A woman has told a jury that former DJ - and self-confessed 'Hairy Cornflake' - Dave Lee Travis 'groped her breasts' when she went to his house to interview him for a national magazine. He allegedly told her that he was 'a photographer' and, allegedly, suggested that she pose in a bikini after she noticed an, allegedly, 'provocative' photo of a pop star on his wall, the jury heard. The woman told Southwark Crown Court that she felt 'embarrassed' and 'taken aback', but 'did not say much.' The sixty eight-year-old denies sexual assault and thirteen counts of indecent assault. The woman said that the incident took place when she went to Travis's home to interview him about a photograph of him and naughty old scallywag and rotten rotter Jimmy Savile alongside a number of other DJs. Travis - who is being tried under his real name of David Griffin - told her that he was, himself, a keen photographer as well as a DJ, and twice offered to take her picture, the court heard. The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said that she felt as though she was 'in an enclosed space' as they spoke face-to-face in his kitchen. 'He raised photography and said again "I could take some photos of you." The first time when I dismissed it, I thought the conversation wouldn't happen again,' she said. 'The fact that he raised it again, I almost felt like I had to justify myself. I burst out "No - and anyway, my boobs aren't big enough" because I thought that would put him off. He didn't say anything, there was a split second where neither of us said anything and then, suddenly, he put his arms out and put his hands on my breasts and then, quizzically, put his head to the side as if he was judging himself - whether they were big enough.' The woman claimed that she thought Travis left his hands there for a 'couple of seconds.' She went on: 'It felt to me like he knew that this was an opportunity. In hindsight I see that he was looking for an opportunity and he took it. I did not invite him to touch me. The picture was very obviously about a young girl in a bikini showing her cleavage. I knew what he meant when he said I had a good figure. He wanted me to strip down.' When she told her mother what had happened, she claims, they agreed that Travis was 'a pervy old man' and that they would not let the incident get in the way of her career, she added. She told jurors that she did not go to the police or tell her bosses at the time because she did not want to jeopardise her fledgling career by making 'a big fuss.' It was only after allegations against Travis surfaced in the press that she decided to go to the police, the court heard. Two friends, with whom the woman shared a house, gave evidence at the trial. One told the jury her friend appeared 'stressed and upset' when she came home on the evening of the interview, and had said that Travis put 'both his hands on her breasts.' Travis, of Buckinghamshire, denies sexually assaulting the female reporter in 2008. He further denies thirteen counts of indecent assault between 1976 and 2003 - involving eleven women, one of whom was fifteen years old at the time of the alleged offence. The trial was adjourned until Thursday.

Coronation Street actor William Roache told police that he was 'absolutely surprised' and 'amazed' when he was first arrested, a jury has heard. The actor appeared 'visibly shocked and broke into a sweat' as he was detained on suspicion of rape, his trial heard. During police interview, Roache said it was 'against my nature, I'm a very peaceful person', Preston Crown Court was told. Roache, from Wilmslow in Cheshire, denies two charges of rape and five of indecent assault between 1965 and 1971. The charges relate to five women who were aged sixteen and under between those dates. Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the long-running ITV soap, was arrested and cautioned at his home on 1 May last year. He was then taken in an unmarked vehicle to a police station where the circumstances of the allegations were outlined. The actor told officers that he would 'never do anything like that' and when the rape allegation was put to him said: 'I totally deny that.' The jury heard Roache told the police that he 'did not remember' the girl who had accused him of raping her. The court heard he told them: 'It didn't happen because I'd remember it if it had.' Roache told police he had 'no recollection' of inviting the girl to his then house in Haslingden, Lancashire. The jury was told Roache also denied having 'any kind' of relationships with any girls during that period. When asked in the police interview whether he could remember whether any young girls would 'come on to you', the actor said that women would but young girls were just 'excited children.' Roache said there 'may have been' a 'flirty comment' in getting an autograph 'but not in a sustained way.' Police asked Roache why the woman may have made the allegation if they were not true. The court heard that he replied: 'A lot of people are coming out and accusing celebrities of these things for various reasons.' He told police that the woman involved may want 'a moment of fame', adding there was 'some hope of selling articles to the newspaper.' He also told police: 'I was always polite and friendly with the viewers and people in the street. I have no idea why she would come up with this. I don't know what the motivation might be I'm absolutely horrified at the whole thing,' Roache said during the interview. Roache was interviewed by police again on 6 June over the indecent assault allegations. The court heard that he gave a handwritten prepared statement to police ahead of that meeting. Roache said that he had 'not recognised' any of the women after being given photographs of them around the time of the claims. He said: 'I firmly deny that any such indecent assaults took place at all. The incidents as described do not reflect in any way my behaviour at the time.' He added that he was 'a very sensitive and caring person' who 'always respected the wishes of other people. I would not dream of forcing myself on any other person,' Roache told police. Roache was asked about the nature of relationships between men and women in the 1960s and told officers 'people could be far more tactile, not in a sexual way.' The actor told officers that he had 'never abused' his position and that he considered 'a good name' to be important, the court heard. During the course of the interview, Roache was asked, again, why the women would make such allegations, some giving similar stories of what happened. He replied: 'Look, I can only conjecture, I can guess and make all sorts of comments, only they know. It didn't happen.' Roache added: 'I had plenty of very attractive, wonderful partners. I love women and I love making love to women but it has to be with their full co-operation and full enjoyment. Youngsters have no attraction to me at all. These allegations are not nice, not pleasant and I don't know why they have come forward,' he added in the interview. The jury also previously heard that one of the women alleged she was sexually propositioned by former Coronation Street actor Neville Buswell, who played Ray Langton. She claimed it happened when he and Roache got her passes into Granada studios in Manchester. Lancashire police had contacted Buswell, who was now an American resident living in Las Vegas, about the claims, the court heard. He 'declined an invitation' to come to the UK to speak about the allegations, the jury was told. The trial continues.

Simon Russell Beale has admitted he had 'no idea what was happening' when a co-star lost his voice in the middle of a preview of King Lear. Sam Troughton, who plays Edmund in the National Theatre production, was struck dumb mid-sentence shortly before the interval on Tuesday night. 'It must have been terrifying,' Beale told BBC Radio 4. 'Apparently his voice just completely gave out.' Some of the cast thought the silence was deliberate, he added. 'Stephen Boxer, who plays [Edmund's] father Gloucester, said: "That's a very daring choice at the Olivier Theatre!"' Speaking to the Front Row programme, Beale explained that although Troughton had only a few scenes left to complete, 'there were things he had to do, so we had to nip and tuck on the wing. Various actors had to do monologues, so it was rather skilful.' And, he was impressed with how the production managed to keep going. 'There is a bit of you that goes in your head: "We can't do the second half; we can't throw someone on that's never done this on stage in front of one thousand people." But that's not the way we do things and I was really proud of everyone.' Beale is playing the lead role in Sam Mendes' much-anticipated production of the Shakespeare play - but he said that he was one of the last to know of Troughton's predicament, because they share relatively few scenes. The first he knew was when Mendes 'whizzed past backstage and said Troughton had lost his voice.' For the remainder of the first half he 'couldn't get any information because every time I came off stage the relevant people weren't there. It was a very peculiar feeling,' he admitted. Mendes came on stage at the interval to explain to the audience what had happened and that the understudy would be taking over the role. 'It was a good speech, very elegant,' said Beale, 'and the audience were lovely. They were willing us on. You are in the privileged position of seeing not one but two actors' nightmares,' Mendes reportedly said, referring to Troughton losing his voice and the understudy having to go on at short notice. The understudy on the night was Paapa Essiedu, who is not long out of Guildhall drama school. 'I went and saw him at the interval and just patted him on the back because the last thing he wants is me wishing him well. But he was fantastically cool,' said Beale. 'It's one of those occasions when you go: "I'm rather proud of this team for just willing it forward."' Troughton will return to play Edmund on Thursday's press night.

Jocelyn Hay, who founded the respected pressure group The Voice Of The Listener And Viewer, has died aged eighty six. Hay founded the campaign group in 1983 as a voice for radio listeners, in response to a proposal by BBC managing director Richard Francis to change Radio 4 into an all-news network. She remained its president until her death on Tuesday. As radio's unsung champion, Jocelyn was made a CBE in 2005 for services to broadcasting. Announcing her death, the VLV said that she had built the organisation into 'the United Kingdom's main consumer voice on issues affecting public service broadcasting and quality and diversity in radio and television programming. Jocelyn was an inspiration to all of us,' said Colin Browne, chairman of the VLV. 'Through her own strength of personality and strong convictions, and by gaining the respect of politicians and media executives, she helped to ensure that the views of listeners and viewers were listened to by decision-makers across the industry. She had remained active and involved in the organisation until very recently. My colleagues and I will miss her hugely; but our thoughts at this time are primarily with her family, to whom we send our most sincere condolences.' Hay, who has two daughters, was the widow of a former Army officer. In the early stages of her career, she worked as a writer and broadcaster, as well as spending time working in public relations, before founding The Voice Of The Listener in 1983. The non-political organisation, which is made up of some fifteen hundred members, changed its name to include 'And Viewer' in 1991. As well as an MBE and CBE, Hay was honoured with a European Women Of Achievement Award for her work. She went on to become president of the European Alliance of Listeners' & Viewers' Associations for twelve years. She was widely admired within the industry for her dogged determination to defend viewers' interests. 'For a huge number of people, their only leisure activity and relaxation is to watch something on the box at home at the end of the day's work,' she told the BBC in an interview in 2006. 'The VLV views with great concern the relaxation in regulation in many areas, particularly to do with advertising, sponsorship, product placement. Once you break the trust that viewers have in the broadcasters, you'll never get it back again. That trust is a very, very precious commodity.' The BBC's director general Lord Hall said: 'Jocelyn Hay had a huge impact on broadcasting in this country. She never stopped campaigning for better quality programmes and for all broadcasters to put their audiences first. She always believed it was every broadcaster's duty to make engaging programmes that captured the public's imagination. She will be much missed.'

A drunken fan of The Scum called nine-nine-nine 'demanding' to speak to Sir Alex Ferguson after the club's latest catastrophic defeat. Greater Manchester Poliss were called at 22:30 on Wednesday evening by a man from the Crumpsall area after the team had lost to relegation-haunted Blunderland in the Capital One Cup. GMP said that it 'can be sad and depressing' when a football team loses a game - as yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows only too well from a lifetime following his beloved (though unsellable) Magpies - but asked the public to remember that nine-nine-nine 'is to be used for emergencies only.' One presumes this chap thought that losing at home to Blunderland could be considered to be 'an emergency.' The Scum lost 2-1 on penalties in the semi-final of the competition at Old Trafford under new manager David Moyes. The man reportedly opened the call by asking to speak to Ferguson before telling the call handler: 'The result is all wrong, they had extra time and it was a total and utter load of rubbish.' So, he might have been drunk but at least he was speaking common sense. After being asked if he needed to report a crime, the caller replied: 'Yes, a crime. I want to report a crime. The crime is that Manchester United were absolutely knackered.' Criminal. Towards the end of the call the man asked if the force could call him back. On the GMP North Manchester's Facebook page, a spokesperson for force said: 'A man from the Crumpsall area of North Manchester rang nine-nine-nine in a drunken state demanding to speak to Sir Alex Ferguson about last night's result. Obviously, it can be a sad and depressing moment when your football team loses a game, however, can we all please remember that nine-nine-nine is to be used for emergencies only. If you would like to speak to Sir Alex about recent football results we here at GMP Manchester North can only suggest you try ringing Manchester United FC directly as you will probably (not definitely) have a much better chance of getting through to him there rather than ringing the police,' the statement added. Diane Grandidge, GMP's business lead for call handling, said: 'Silly calls like this one are thoughtless and can make a difference in a life and death situation. You wouldn't want your own emergency call being delayed by someone tying up a line with a hoax.' The force said that the caller has been warned about inappropriate use of the nine-nine-nine service, but would not face further action.

Meanwhile, this blogger is all for forthright opinions on any footballer's abilities or otherwise but, the following, spotted on the BBC Sport website is, surely, taking 'calling it as I see it' a wee bit too far.
EastEnders is on the move, not out of Walford but to a bigger outdoor set at the BBC's Elstree studios in North London. The BBC1 soap has been filming on the current site since it launched in 1985. The facilities, including a new Queen Vic, will be twenty per cent bigger than the existing set enabling 'greater editorial ambition and improved working conditions', said the BBC. The corporation refused to divulge to the Gruniad Morning Star how much it will spend on the facilities, saying it was 'commercially sensitive' - though, sadly, not adding 'and, it's none of your effing business, you middle-class Communists' - but the executive board has approved the terms, 'suggesting it is a considerable sum,' the Gruniad noted in a rather atypical shit-stirring bit of trouble-making. So, no change there, then. It said rebuilding the set on the existing premises was the most cost effective option, the corporation owning the freehold of the Elstree site. The corporation examined other options including moving to an entirely new location, as ITV's Coronation Street did in switching to Salford Quays across the canal from Media City UK, home of BBC North. The redeveloped site will be nine thousand square metres, up from the existing seven thousand four hundred square metres, and will feature new locations, streets and buildings, reflecting a 'greater sense of the modern East End of London.' The redevelopment is expected to be completed in 2018, but the project remains subject to planning permission. Preparatory work on the new set will begin at BBC Elstree later this year, with construction works due to begin on the temporary set early next year. A temporary set, which will be used during the building of the new exterior, will be kept, with the BBC exploring 'legacy options' including using it for visitor tours and educational opportunities. Dominic Treadwell-Collins, the soap's executive producer, said: 'We have ambitious plans for the show and the new exterior set will help bring those to life and better reflect the East End of London on screen for audiences. The bigger and improved set will increase the potential for storylines, increase quality and meet the demands of future technology requirements. Crucially, it will provide a greater sense of scale with more locations for our characters to spend time in, opening up new areas and opportunities that haven't been possible before – all of which are in the best interest of our viewers.' Treadwell-Collins took charge of the show late last year after a period in which its ratings have declined and it has come under fire from some critics. BBC executives hope Treadwell-Collins' arrival will spark a resurgence in the soap's fortunes, with high profile signings including Danny Dyer, as the Queen Vic's new landlord Mick Carter, and acclaimed stage and screen actor Timothy West joining the show as Carter's father, Stan. Kate Harwood, of the BBC's drama department , said: 'The improvements and modernisation are vital to the growth and development of the show. As we approach the show's thirteith anniversary, this is a really exciting opportunity to underpin the future of one of the BBC's most important programmes.' It remains to be seen whether the Albert Square cafe, which was originally called the Bridge Street cafe and has seen numerous incarnations over the show's twenty nine years, will be changing its name yet again as a result of the new set. The BBC said the show had been 'filming on the existing exterior set for nearly thirty years and the improvements to the new extended set will provide both the scale and flexibility necessary to support and develop the show so that it continues to deliver for audiences in the years ahead. The new set will provide a modern, upgraded exterior filming resource for EastEnders, replicating the appearance of the existing set but twenty per cent bigger to enable greater editorial ambition and improve working conditions for staff. A temporary set will be created on site to enable filming to continue while the permanent structure is rebuilt.'

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's Supergrass.

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