Wednesday, February 05, 2014

D Is For Disgraced and Disgraceful (And, Also For Drag)

Peter Capaldi's first Doctor Who episodes have been compared to 'the classic era' of the show. Ben Wheatley - who is directing the first two parts of series eight - told io9 that the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama is 'going back to that style. To have a unity that runs eight years, it's pretty crazy,' said Wheatley. 'It seems to me the episodes that we're doing now seem more like classic Who.' The filmmaker also described his leading man as 'a massive Who fan' who knows the series 'inside out. He's so good,' the director said. 'You look at his career and you look at his performances, they are all so brilliant, and all so different as well. It was a lucky break for me, I think.' Capaldi's official Doctor Who debut will be written by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, with Phil Ford writing Wheatley's second episode. Wheatley also told Collider that he is 'achieving [his] childhood dreams' by working on Doctor Who. 'It's very good,' he said of shooting the new episodes in Wales. 'It's very tiring and it's a lot of stuff to do very quickly. Peter Capaldi is excellent and I've been able to go into the TARDIS and do all this stuff I always dreamed of doing as a nine-year-old. So I'm in the process right now of achieving my childhood dreams.'

The BBC has taken to Twitter to warn people to avoid tweets claiming to be from either Peter Capaldi or Jenna Coleman, as neither actor has a Twitter account. In a tweet sent out from the official Doctor Who account last week, it said: 'We can confirm that neither Peter Capaldi or Jenna Coleman have Twitter accounts. Because they're sensible. Don't be fooled by the fakes.' Meanwhile, Jenna her very self has been talking about her life in travel, including her earliest holiday memory (in Cornwall) and her favourite destination in Britain (Derbyshire). She says that her best holiday was in The Maldives. 'I went after finishing series seven of Doctor Who. I had to pinch myself because it was so picturesque. Especially because I'd gone in January, from grey London skies and concrete to all this colour and sea. It took about five days to settle in. We arrived by seaplane and barely saw anyone else the whole time. We did a catamaran trip where the hotel took us out with a picnic and snorkelling gear to a strip of sand in the middle of the ocean and left us there. You couldn't see anything else except the horizon and water. We were totally stranded.' Her worst travel experience was 'Christmas Eve at London Euston railway station, trying to get home to Blackpool. Everybody turns into animals. Humans stop being humans.' Yeah, that sound like London.

This week's episode of ITV drama Midsomer Murders sees an End of Time reunion of sorts, with yer actual Bernard Cribbins, Jacqueline King and June Whitfield her very self among the guest cast caught up in the latest blood and snots goings-on in that sink of bohemian West Country depravity Midsomer. When an airfield owner is murdered. Bernard plays veteran mechanic Duggie Wingate, June portrays Molly Darnley, a former Air Transport Auxiliary member with a dark secret and Jackie is Laura Wilding - the mother of resident pathologist Kate. Chatting about the episode last week, Bernard said that June's character would be 'a love interest' for Wingate. Just as in Doctor Who.

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has admitted that he has 'no idea' when Sherlock will return. The writer told IGN that fans could well be in for another two-year wait before a fourth series of the hit drama appears. 'If people have to wait two years, they'll have to wait two years,' he said. '[It's like asking] when's the next James Bond film? It's not the kind of show that turns up all the time. It's just not. But the good news is, that probably means it will turn up sporadically for a very, very long while.' Moffat - who co-created Sherlock with Mark Gatiss his very self - added: 'We'll do what we can [to make the show as quickly as possible] but with no sacrifice in quality.' Amanda Abbington recently confirmed that she will return to Sherlock as Mary Watson, but revealed that she is uncertain 'in what capacity' the character will reappear.

Martin Freeman has revealed that he initially 'had reservations' about Sherlock's series three episode The Sign Of Three. The episode, in which Sherlock delivers the best man's speech at John's wedding, proved hugely successful when it was broadcast in the UK, with a consolidated audience of 11.3 million punters. Albeit some whinging waste-of-space smears of no importance whatsoever who talk shite all the time objected, loudly, on the Internet (to anyone that would listen ... and, indeed, anyone that wouldn't) about the more overtly comedic and emotional tone of the episode. As if the completely worthless views of numskulls the likes of them actually matter even a smidgen. Which they don't. 'I definitely had reservations when I read it,' Marty said during a Q&A session at the Regent Street Apple Store. 'We talked about it, and I said, "Has this gone a bit too mushy? Sherlock's being very, very adept all of a sudden at being emotional." Steven [Moffat] said, "No, trust me, here's the reasons and it'll be explained. What we're gonna do, in episode three, is completely rip the rug out from under people's feet, just as they think that they're seeing a slightly different sort of show, we'll give it to them both barrels."' Benny his very self agreed: 'It's a very fine line to tread, but I think we got away with it, and then you crash in with the mystery. I thought it was a wonderfully complex bit of storytelling.'

Death In Paradise continued its Tuesday ratings dominance by topping the night outside of soaps, overnight data reveals. The popular BBC1 Caribbean crime drama rose by nearly one hundred thousand viewers from last week's episode to 6.64 million at 9pm. On BBC2, The Great Interior Design Challenge semi-final was seen by 1.92m at 7pm, followed by Children's Emergency Rescue with 1.66m at 8pm. Inside The Animal Mind attracted 1.40m at 9pm, while House Of Fools was watched by six hundred and sixty five thousand punters at 10pm. ITV's Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? was seen by 2.98m at 8pm. New factual series Births, Deaths & Marriages interested 2.25m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Location, Location, Location brought in two million viewers) at 8pm, followed by The Taste with seven hundred and thirty two thousand at 9pm. Secrets Of The Pickpockets intrigued nine hundred and eighty three thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Gibraltar: Britain In The Sun was seen by 1.02m at 8pm. Meanwhile, documentary She's Seventy Eight, He's Thirty Nine: Age Gap Love drew in 1.63m voyeurs at 9pm.

Caitlin Moran's comedy Raised By Wolves is to return for a full series. A pilot for the sitcom - based on Caitlin's own childhood - was shown on on Channel Four in December 2013. Albeit, hardly anybody actually bothered to watch it. The broadcaster has now ordered six more half-hour episodes, to shoot later this year. Author and columnist Moran co-writes Raised By Wolves with her sister Caroline. 'Caitlin and Caroline have a truly original comic voice,' said executive producer, Big Talk's Kenton Allen. 'I'm delighted Channel Four are giving them the chance to entertain the world with the joys of unconventional life in Wolverhampton.' The series of Raised By Wolves will be broadcast on Channel Four in 2015.

Channel Four has also confirmed another new comedy commission, Scrotal Recall. The six-part series will follow the 'disastrous exploits' of Dylan Witter, who must contact everyone he's ever slept with to tell them that he has chlamydia. Sounds hi-fucking-larious, does it not dear blog reader? The series has been written by The Midnight Beast's Tom Edge. Each episode sees Dylan finding a different girl from his 'STI contact list', as he remembers a sexual encounter he'd previously tried his hardest to forget. Murray Ferguson, Clerkenwell Films' Chief Executive, said: 'We're delighted to be making Scrotal Recall for Channel Four. Tom Edge has come up with a brilliant concept for a comedy, with bright, funny and engaging characters. The result is a unique comedy brimming with humour, heart and mild genital discomfort.'

Just occasionally, dear blog reader, one will come across a TV review that has one nodding in agreement and, at the end, standing on ones chair and applauding. This week, it was Alex Fletcher at the Digital Spy website and his perceptive deconstruction of the horrorshow (and drag) that was Channel Five's odious and toxic The Big Benefit Row: Live under the heading Why the ugly zoo TV debate achieved nothing and beginning 'Not since Arg waddled around without any trousers on on The Only Way Is Essex: Live has there been a more ugly and pointless hour of television than Channel 5's The Big Benefits Row.' Especially impressive was Alex's scalpel-like character assassination of the rancid and disgraceful bowl of puss that is that awful full-of-her-own-importance Hopkins woman: 'What followed was click-bait TV. An hour of Daily Express front page headlines spliced together with Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins hurling out bile and snarling like Gremlins to screams of fury from members of the audience. There was zero debate, plenty of screeching and snide remarks, and a vacuum where common sense long since departed. Katie 'self-styled social commentator' Hopkins continued her steady transformation from panto villain to stinking puddle of venom. "LEFT WING LOONS," she barked, at absolutely nobody. "You chose to have a baby, deal with it," she hissed at fellow guest Annabel Giles. "Why are we always clapping?" she feebly pleaded, as the studio audience did their best to ignore her idiocy. A debate about Katie Hopkins and how we can rid ourselves of her tiresome rent-a-gob piffle would have been a more worthwhile studio debate. The Queen of the Trolls, who appears willing to say anything with that terrifying dead-eyed stare just to get her a few extra minutes of TV time and another appearance fee. The sooner someone locks her in the Big Brother house and throws away the key, the better.' Aye. What he said. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is reminded of that episode of The West Wing where a bed-bound President Barlet has his first encounter with The Jerry Springer Show and asks Toby, horrified: 'These people don't actually vote, do they?'
NCIS's David McCallum has admitted that he felt 'frustration and anger' at Cote de Pablo's decision to quit the show. McCallum told the Digital Spy website that he was 'shocked' and 'stunned' when the actress departed early in the US drama's eleventh season. 'It was frustration and anger that someone should just walk out on us,' said McCallum, who plays Ducky Mallard in the long-running crime drama. 'I just don't understand how a leading lady in a show that's worldwide, who ostensibly wants to have a career as an actress, suddenly walks away from such a gem and just vanishes a couple of days before we start production.' The veteran actor revealed that de Pablo's sudden departure forced the NCIS writers to hastily revise the first five episodes of season eleven. 'This business is merciless so right away the whole team of writers gets in and rewrites the first five shows,' he explained. 'When it happened, you think, "This is a dangerous road to go down" - but they pulled it off.' In August, de Pablo said that it was 'not an easy decision' to leave NCIS and 'not one taken lightly.'

Horrorshow (and drag) Christine Bleakley is to co-host This Morning with Holly Willoughby. So, that's yet another very good reason not to watch it. The Curiously Orange waste-of-oxygen will fill in for regular host Phillip Schofield for two days next month. Be afraid, dear blog reader. Be very afraid.
George Entwistle, who resigned after only fifty four days as BBC director general at the height of the Savile fiasco, will be the first holder of the prestigious post not to have an official portrait since the second world war. Which seems a bit cheap and mean, frankly. Although, one imagines, some lice of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star will be delighted. After months of speculation about whether the shortest lived DG would be painted for posterity, the BBC has confirmed that it has 'no plans' to commission an Entwistle painting. Traditionally, every Director General has their picture painted after they have left office. But Entwistle's has been a conundrum for both him and the BBC and it is understood an agreement has now been reached that he will not have one. Entwistle left the BBC in November 2012, but the brevity of his tenure and the subsequent row over his pay-off have made the prospect of spending more public money on a portrait 'a political hot potato.' Usually, Director Generals are asked if they would like a painting of them commissioned to hang in the BBC's Broadcasting House headquarters. Entwistle's predecessor, Mark Thompson, now president and chief executive officer of the New York Times, has agreed to have one done and the BBC is discussing the choice of artists with him. Greg Dyke was the last Director General to leave under a cloud in 2004, but had a portrait commissioned the same year. According to BBC archives, only three have previously missed out on a portrait, having been 'overlooked amid the preoccupations of World War II and its aftermath: Frederick Ogilvie, Cecil Graves and Robert Foot.' Entwistle has kept a low profile since leaving the corporation. He is understood to have been studying for a masters in arts at Oxford, in addition taking an unpaid role at an arts charity, the Public Catalogue Foundation.

Four people have reportedly been arrested as part of an investigation into the suspected heroin overdose death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Some three hundred and fifty bags of junk were also seized during the arrests in Lower Manhattan, unnamed police officials were quoted by US media as saying. The Oscar-winning star was found dead at his Greenwich Village home on Sunday with a syringe in his arm. Dozens of suspected bags of smack were found near his body. Some were stamped with the Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Spades, which are said to be brand names for a particular strain of heroin which New York pushers use. No definitive cause of death has been given, as police try to piece together Philip's tragic final hours using surveillance video and inspecting computers found in his home. Police say that the heroin found in Hoffman's apartment was not mixed with the synthetic narcotic fentanyl. Fentanyl has been blamed for a number of recent overdose deaths. Philip is reported to have withdrawn a total of twelve hundred bucks in six visits to a cash machine the day before his death. The acting world has been paying tribute to a man described as one of the finest actors of his generation. Lights along theatre marquees on New York's Broadway were due to be dimmed on Tuesday in honour of Hoffman, who earned three Tony award nominations for his theatre work in the city. Hoffman, who is survived by his partner Mimi O'Donnell and their three children, had spoken candidly in the past about his struggle with drug addiction. In a 2006 interview with CBS he said that he had, at times, 'abused anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all.' He admitted in May 2013 that he had entered rehab a year earlier, spending ten days in treatment. The actor's family say they are planning a private funeral service 'for the family and close friends' followed by a memorial service, but have given no dates.
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks offered Max Clifford a two hundred thousand smackers-a-year contract with the Sun in the belief that he would 'call off the lawyers' in his phone-hacking civil claim, the Old Bailey heard earlier this week. Senior executives at News International at one point suggested that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'give him money in cash' after he demanded a written agreement. Internal minutes of a meeting held in January 2010 involving well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and NI legal managers show that she 'feared the deal could backfire' and 'could look as if the company was paying him off' to stop potentially explosive revelations about hacking coming out in his civil action. 'Brooks said it would look terrible if seen to be "buying off" Max,' the minutes said. 'Brooks reported that she got Max to agree two hundred thousand pounds per annum to represent the Sun/do business with the Sun. He would call the lawyers off the next day if the deal was put in writing,' the minutes continued. 'We either get something in writing or she could physically turn up with cash to see him.' The meeting was held after it emerged that a potential civil case by Clifford in relation to hacking may have led to a court order requiring Glenn Mulcaire, already convicted of hacking offences, to name those involved in hacking on the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. 'You have to think about what is worse – her doing a deal with Max which will be perceived as a cover-up or indemnifying Mulcaire so that he doesn't say anything about NGN,' said the internal memo. '[Mulcaire] could say anything and he could say anybody – Chapman said it would certainly be difficult to prove that [Mulcaire] was just making up names. Brooks said it would look terrible if seen to be "buying off" Max,' the memo continued. The jury heard that the meeting was attended by Julian Pike, a partner at the law firm Farrer & Co, Tom Crone, the former legal manager of the Scum of the World, Jon Chapman, the former legal manager at News International and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks her very self. The memo revealed the determination of News International to avoid Mulcaire revealing information about the Sunday tabloid - shut in shame and ignominy - in a potential Clifford trial. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said that she was 'happy to do whatever it takes' to clinch a deal and, indeed, did a month later. 'Once Max sees, say, thirty thousand pounds in his account, he will see we pay good rates at the Sun. He just has to accept he will be paid as things go along, it would be a mark of good faith,' the memo said. The court heard that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks had 'made efforts' to see that a Sunday Times story would not harm the deal she was negotiating with Clifford. The jury was shown an e-mail from her to Sunday Times deputy editor Martin Ivens on 20 February 2010, asking him to 'reconsider' a story on the MMR jab that Clifford was unhappy with. She told Ivens that she was 'close' to closing a 'legal settlement' with him and 'another legal would be a nightmare. He's a slippery fish so you may have him bang to rights, in which case don't worry,' she added, asking him to 'cast an eye' over the story. Ivens replied: 'No problem, the story is quite vague and minor league, so we'll leave it.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'Thanks Martin, huge favour to ask I know.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy to intercept mobile phone communications. The former News International chief executive and David Cameron's former spin doctor - and, if you will, 'chum' - Andy Coulson, who also denies the charges against him, will not know their fate until early summer. Jurors were told by Justice Saunders that they would not be asked to consider their verdict until 'the middle of May.' The prosecution ends its case this week with defence starting on 17 February. The remaining defendants are Clive Goodman, the Scum of the World's former royal editor, Stuart Kuttner's the paper's former managing editor, Cheryl Carter, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's former PA, Mark Hanna, News International's head of security, and millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, the husband of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks. The trial extremely continues.
A musician has told a court that Dave Lee Travis was 'very very professional' when he took naked photographs of her at his house. Elisabeth Birks told Southwark Crown Court she had met Travis at a charity event and he asked her to model for him after seeing her tattoos. That doesn't appear to be a euphemism for anything, incidentally. She said that the DJ had been 'very polite' and made her feel comfortable. Birks said the DJ had tapped her on the shoulder at the event in London and said he liked the tattoo on her back, which was visible because she was wearing a backless dress. She said Travis - who is being tried under his real name, David Patrick Griffin - was 'very friendly' and 'seemed lovely.' She visited his home in 2010 with her husband and the couple had tea with the DJ and his wife before the photo session. Birks said she 'felt comfortable for the whole thing' and Travis would always ask if he wanted her to change position. Asked if he did 'anything inappropriate', she said: 'No, not at all. Everything was fine.' The case continues.

The actor Richard Bull, who played shopkeeper Nels Oleson in long-running US TV series Little House On The Prairie, has died at the age of eighty nine. The performer, who was a resident of a Los Angeles home for retired actors, died of pneumonia in hospital. His quiet, long-suffering character was saddled with an overbearing wife and spoilt naughty daughter, Nellie. Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie, paid tribute to Bull as 'a calm, sensible and rational man. Everyone loved him so much,' said the actress, who remained a close friend of her on-screen father after the conclusion of the series. 'People are posting [condolences] in six different languages on my Facebook page.' Melissa Gilbert, who had a lead in the series, said that Bull would be missed. 'Goodbye Richard,' she wrote on Twitter. 'Working with you was such a joy but [not] nearly as joyful as being your friend.' Dean Butler, who appeared as Almanzo Wilder, said that Bull was 'a very generous, soft-spoken actor with a wonderful appetite for work. He always made it look so easy,' he added. Little House On The Prairie was based on the novels of Laura Ingalls Wilder about her family's life in the American West during the late Nineteenth Century. The show ran on the NBC network from 1974 to 1983 and picked up three Golden Globe nominations. A TV movie based on the series was made in 1984. Their nearest small town was Walnut Grove, where the Olesons ran the local store. Bull's lengthy screen career stretched back to the 1950s and included roles in the The Thomas Crown Affair, The Parallax View, High Plains Drifter, The Andromeda Strain, The Satan Bug, Doc on Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea and multiple roles in series like Mission: Impossible, MannixBonanza, Hill Street Blues and The Streets Of San Francisco. His last credited screen appearance, as an elderly farmer in the TV series Boss, came in 2011. Bull lived in the Motion Picture and Television Fund's hospital with his wife, actress Barbara Collentine. Katherine MacGregor, who played his on-screen wife Harriet in Little House On The Prairie, also lives in the residential facility.

Successful professional cyclists are seen as 'more handsome' than their struggling colleagues, according to new research. Carried out, seemingly, by extremely smart people with nothing better to do with their time. Women rated facial attractiveness among riders in the 2012 Tour De France, won by yer actual Sir Bradley Wiggins. The top ten per cent of performers were rated on average as twenty five per cent 'better looking' than the rest. The scientists concluded that humans have 'evolved' to 'recognise athletic performance in faces.' The research has been published in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters. Some biologists argue that evolution has shaped women to select mates on the basis that they would either make good fathers or would pass on good genes. Healthy, physically fit men would, on average, be seen as more attractive by women that fatty lard-arses who lounge around the house all day eating crisps. A number of other studies in recent years have suggested that women have a 'sophisticated radar' for athletic performance, rating those chaps with greater sporting skill as 'more attractive.' This new work, though, set out to test if the same applied to more inherent physical qualities such as stamina and endurance. Doctor Erik Postma, from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Zurich (for there is, indeed, such a thing), asked people to rate the attractiveness of eighty professional cyclists from the 2012 Tour De France. The cyclists were all of a similar physical stature, were tanned and around the same age. Around eight hundred participants were then asked to score the cyclist's attractiveness based just on their facial appearances. Their scores were excluded if they recognised the athlete. Postma then compared the attractiveness scores with the cyclists' performance in time trials and in the race itself which, at well over three thousand kilometres, is a renowned test of endurance and speed. 'To my initial surprise, I found a positive relationship between the two and it was actually quite strong,' he told BBC News. 'If we took the ten per cent best riders and compared their performance to the ten per cent worst, we found the best were on average twenty five per cent more attractive than the worst ones. We don't know what people are picking up in the faces that is signalling the riders' performance.' One element that significantly interfered with the overall results was contraception. Postma and his team found that women who were on the contraceptive pill were less likely to link attractiveness to performance. 'Typically, studies find that women using the pill have a reduced preference for masculine faces, and we found the same phenomenon: women on the pill had a reduced preference for faster cyclists,' said Postma. Many men argue that they find it difficult to rate the attractiveness of other males, but in the study the researchers found that men who took part had 'a fairly similar view' on who was handsome as the women and who a complete munter. This suggested that men do have this inherent ability to judge who is handsome, according to scientists - they just don't like to talk about it in front of other chaps - and the scientists believe it has evolved to help men 'rate their competitors.' The scientists say that smiling didn't make a big difference in the survey. Men who were beaming were rated as 'more likeable' but not, necessarily, as more attractive. Other scientists who looked at the study found the performance measures convincing. 'It summarises performance over a long time and should therefore be especially meaningful,' said Doctor Johannes Honekopp from the University of Northumbria. 'We should bear in mind that the sample is highly selected and should therefore show little performance variance in comparison to a more representative male sample of that age. This limitation should lead to a reduction in effect sizes. Any such effects might be stronger in a more representative sample.' And what about British favourites, such as Wiggo and leading sprinter Mark Cavendish? 'Unfortunately, Team Sky decided to wear sunglasses for their photos and to improve standardisation I decided to not include them. That is really a pity,' said Postma.

It is being reported widely in the sporting media that yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle's owner Mike Ashley is said to 'in no hurry' to find a replacement for the recently resigned useless clown Joe Kinnear for the post of Director of Eff-All at the club. Whilst on the one hand this will mean that, effectively, no one will be in charge of transfer and recruitment at United, on the other this does, at least, for once show The Toon establishing some form of internal continuity. Since no one has been doing that job for the last seven months either.

Wednesday was, sad to report, a reet rotten day, to be sure, dear blog reader. Over the weekend the Stately Telly Topping Manor office chair finally gave up the strain on having yer actual Keith Telly Topping sit his sizeable bottom upon it every day for the last five years and, with groan, snapped asunder. Sad though he was at the loss of an old friend, this was no problems, yer actual Keith Telly Topping said to his very self, as he ordered a new one off Amazon (a rather nice one an 'all). This duly arrived bright and early on Wednesday morning. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping then spent two bastard hours trying to put the fekker together. What great fun. Several bleeding fingers and numerous utterances of "why won't you fucking work?!" later, he just about managed it (albeit, he's still half expecting it to collapse at any moment). He then had to go out to the bank (far later than he wanted to because of his previously described chair-assembling duties) and, of course, as soon as he stepped out of Stately Telly Topping Manor and headed for the bus stop, it started to piss down with rain like The Flood. Within seconds yer actual Keith Telly Topping was soaked through to his vest. I hate life.

Let me introduce to you therefore, dear blog reader, Stephanie, the latest addition to Stately Telly Topping Manor's list of very lovely attractions. Hopefully, like Rebecca the sofa, Rachael the mattress, Charisma the armchair and Gillian the bicycle, Steph will not take too unkindly to being sat on by yer actual Keith Telly Topping for the next few years.
And, so we reach the next part of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's A To Z of Groovy Tunes. D, dear blog reader, is for ... well, dear blog reader. And also, for Delerium.

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