Monday, February 24, 2014

K Is For Killjoys and Knobheads

Let's start with a major bit of Doctor Who casting news: The BBC have announced that Samuel Anderson - best known for appearances in The History Boys, Gavin & Stacey and Emmerdale is set to join the cast of Doctor Who as a recurring character in series eight, which will also introduce yer actual Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. It has also been confirmed that Sam's character, named Danny Pink, is a teacher at Coal Hill High School, where The Doctor's current companion Clara Oswald - and original companions of the First Doctor, Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton - were also employed. On joining the show Sam said: 'I was so excited to join Doctor Who I wanted to jump and click my heels, but I was scared I might not come down before filming started!' He continued: 'It's a quintessential part of British culture and I can't believe I'm part of it. It's an honour to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and I can't wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat added: 'For the fourth time in Doctor Who history, Coal Hill School is coming to the aid of the TARDIS. In 1963 Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright accompanied the First Doctor. These days it's the turn of Jenna Coleman. And very soon now, Sam Anderson as Danny Pink will be entering the world of The Doctor. But how and why? Answers are coming later this year in Peter Capaldi's first series of Doctor Who.' Oh, you little teaser, Moffat, so you are! For what it's worth, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is delighted by this news. I always prefer a TARDIS crew of three. Dunno why, I just do.

More series eight casting news has also been announced for Doctor Who, with episode four reported to feature Robert Goodman (Gangs of New York, Game of Thrones) and episode five, co-starring Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch) and Pippa Bennett-Warner (The Smoke, Death In Paradise). Filming has recently begun on the fourth and fifth episodes of the eighth series of Doctor Who.

As noted in a previous blog update, Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway returned to ITV which 6.05 million overnight viewers on Saturday. However, it got badly spanked in the same timeslot by BBC1's The Voice, which continued to top Saturday night ratings with 7.25m watching as yer actual Kylie Minogue, Tom Jones, will.he.is and Ricky out of The Kaiser Chiefs completed their teams in the final round of blind auditions. National Lottery: Who Dares Wins brought in 5.37m punters at 8.30pm, while Casualty's latest episode attracted 4.83m at 9.20pm. On BBC2, 1.51m watched the highlights of Sochi 2014's penultimate day on Winter Olympics: Today At The Games at 7.10pm. A repeat of last Sunday's Top Gear followed at 8pm with 1.15m, whilst a very interesting edition of The Culture Show presented by Fake Or Fortune's Bendor Grosvenor pulled in 1.01m at 9pm. Back on ITV, odious, rubbish Take Me Out's current series, thankfully, came to an end with but 3.67m watching to find out which couples would be whisked off to the Isle of Fernando's. Good riddance to bad rubbish, frankly. 2.83m watched interviews with McBusted, risible, irksome lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall and Bradley Walsh on The Jonathan Ross Show at 9.50pm. On Channel Four, Tony Robinson's Walking Through History once again pulled in the channel's biggest primetime ratings of Saturday night with 1.22m. Thriller Hostages continued with five hundred and forty thousand at 9pm. The most successful overnight programme of the night for Channel Five was the last in a triple-bill of NCIS. The final episode of the evening pulled in seven hundred and sixty one thousand at 8.30pm. On BBC4, Salamander continued with seven hundred and sixty three thousand at 9pm, while the next episode attracted six hundred and seventy thousand viewers at 9.50pm.

Call The Midwife continued its dominance of Sunday nights on BBC1, according to overnight data. The period drama claimed back around four hundred thousand viewers from last week's audience to 8.80 million at 8pm. Earlier, Countryfile attracted another bumper audience, 7.19m, at 7pm, while The Musketeers continued with 4.52m at 9pm. On BBC2, Top Gear - featuring odious, irksome Jack Whitehall in the first of a new feature Lanky Streak of Piss in a Reasonably Priced Car - held steady at 5.55m at 8pm, followed by Dragons' Den with 2.86m at 9pm. ITV's Twatting About On Ice, not long for this world, continues to go out with a whimper rather than a bang, attracting 5.41m at 6.15pm, while the results show brought in 4.49m at 8.30pm. And, as usual, got its face flicked, really hard, by Top Gear. All-Star Family Fortunes spectacularly failed to entertain 4.47m punters at 7.45pm, while Mr Selfridge - recommissioned for a third series last week - continued with its recent, rather alarming, diminishing returns with 4.42m at 9pm, once again losing out to The Musketeers. Home to nearly all of the BBC's Winter Olympics coverage, it was the third weekend in a row that BBC2 has trumped ITV's all-day share of the audience, with 12.9 per cent of all viewing on Sunday ahead of ITV's 12.1 per cent. On Channel Four, a Time Team special interested 1.02m at 8pm. Comedy movie Bridesmaids was watched by 2.01m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of the SF thriller Daybreakers was seen by four hundred and seventy three thousand viewers at 9pm.

The final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Nine programmes for week-ending Sunday 16 February are as follows:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 10.15m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.66m
3 Death In Paradise - Tues BBC1 - 8.84m
4 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 8.77m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.62m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.58m
7 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 7.05m
8 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 6.87m
9 Inspector George Gently - Thurs BBC1 - 6.63m
10 Benidorm - Thurs ITV - 6.42m
11 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 6.39m
12 DCI Banks - Mon ITV - 6.37m*
13 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.34m
14 Midsomer Murders - Wed ITV - 6.17m*
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 6.04m
16 Birds Of A Feather - Thurs ITV - 6.02m*
17 Outnumbered - Wed BBC1 - 6.00m
18 Mr Selfridge - Sun ITV - 5.94m*
19 The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins - Sat BBC - 5.60m
20 Mrs Brown's Boys - Wed BBC1 - 5.43m
21 The ONE Show - Wed BBC1 - 5.01m
22= BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.79m
22= Benefits Street - Mon Channel Four - 6.01m
24 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.78m
25 Twatting About On Ice - Sun ITV - 4.74m*
26 British Academy Film Awards - Sun BBC1 - 4.73m
27= Pound Shop Wars - Thurs BBC1 - 4.72m
27= The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 4.72m
29 FA Cup - Sat ITV - 4.68m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated show of the week apart from Top Gear was University Challenge (3.40m), followed by some of their Winter Olympic coverage (3.05m) and Dragons' Den (3.00m). Channel Four's highest-rated show, apart from Benefits Street, was Peter Kay: Live And Back On Nights with 3.05m. And still, it was risible, irksome shat from a man who is, these days, about as funny as a punch in the sack. Worse, Jim Davidson: At Least I'm Not Boring was Channel Five's best performer with 1.45m. A fact which says just about everything one could possibly need to say about soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond's Channel Five, dear blog reader. Meanwhile, in really good news, the final episode of Pro-Celebrity Drowning had an audience (minus HD) of just 3.52m. As noted last week, this blogger wouldn't hold his breath waiting for a recommission of that one. BBC4's two episodes of new Belgian import Salamander were the most viewed programmes on multi-channels apart from E4's How I Met our Mother, watched by 1.16m and 1.11m respectively.

One of the creators of Spitting Image has said he does not believe television programmes broadcast in the UK today are truly satirical. John Lloyd, who also produced Qi and The Black Adder - and who seems to have turned into a right whinging old tosser in his advancing years - said BBC2's Mock the Week was 'merely rude.' Have I Got News For You provided 'great remarks', he said, seemingly rather grudgingly, but there were no 'considered' satires. Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye who was a writer on Spitting Image and a regular on Have I Got News For You, said Lloyd was 'unduly pessimistic.' And, sounding like yer grandad telling his old wars stories, to boot. Speaking to Radio 4's The World At One, Lloyd said: 'I don't see anything I would really call satire on television at the moment. Mock The Week can be very funny, but it's just rude boys, isn't it, poking fun at everybody. In the 1980s it was conviction politics, the Tories particularly, and Spitting Image was a conviction television programme. And it's interesting you don't get either now. There are very few conviction politicians it seems to me and very little conviction television.' A lot of the joy had gone out of television, he said. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the launch of Spitting Image. At its peak the show, broadcast between 1984 and 1996, drew audiences of fifteen million people to ITV. Hislop said: 'I think Lloyd's being unduly pessimistic. I think satire has a tendency to break out all over the place.' He cited the work of Armando Iannucci, Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker as more recent examples of successful TV satire. Spitting Image was, Hislop said, 'a Punch and Judy affair. Essentially the puppets couldn't really deliver a line,' he said. 'They looked great but they couldn't act.' In many of the sketches he created with co-writer Nick Newman: 'We just wrote at the bottom: "Puppets hit each other over head."' Satire was still available on television, said Hislop, but it was 'presented differently. Have I Got News For You is a sort of long-running soap opera and panel show but we manage to get some satire into it. There are other shows that do it as well. I think the days when a broadcaster said: "This is satire now. It's That Was The Week That Was. Put on your dinner jackets and listen" - You can't really do that any more. I think you have to be careful not to be sort of grumpy old man with a misty-eyed view of how great you were in the past and I don't want to be that,' said Hislop, rather perceptively. 'I was lucky enough to start work at Private Eye with people who had worked on That Was The Week That Was, and I used to say: "That was amazing," and they said: "It wasn't that good." These things are easily romanticised.'
Channel Five, the broadcaster put up for sale by current owner, the soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond, could soon be sold to Discovery Communications, the US-based media conglomerate which is controlled by John Malone. And, according to the Financial Times, Discovery is said to be 'in talks' with BSkyB to join in the bid. Citing 'people familiar with the matter' - anonymous, of course, and therefore almost certainly fictitious - the FT story claims that the British satellite broadcaster, controlled by billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch (whom no one is scared of any more), would take over Channel Five's advertising sales operation in the event of a successful takeover. However, bids for the channel, which are due to be received by next Thursday, may not meet Desmond's seven hundred million smackers valuation. The FT also points out that Malone and billionaire tyrant Murdoch )whom no one is scared of any more) are 'not exactly bosom pals.' Which, in and of itself, isn't exactly news since billionaire tyrant Murdoch doesn't have any bosom pals, just people who used to be terrified of him. But, now aren't. To billionaire tyrant Murdoch's reported chagrin, Malone built up an eighteen per cent holding in News Corp in 2006. To buy it back, News Corp had to sacrifice its controlling stake in DirecTV, the US satellite business. But BSkyB has enjoyed a long relationship with Discovery by carrying several of its channels on its pay-TV service. Other potential Channel Five bidders include BT, NBC Universal and Saban Capital, the investment firm founded by the Israeli businessman Haim Saban which owns Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster.

Channel Five has defended putting Helix on hiatus and shifting the SF series to a new channel. In a statement to the Digital Spy website, the broadcaster also addressed its decision to drop The Walking Dead, Once Upon A Time and other US drama imports. 'In our mission to bring fresh, dynamic content to viewers, not all our shows will succeed, and when shows under-perform then as a commercial channel we have to take action,' a spokesperson for the channel said. 'The shows which we have parted ways with in the past few months have not performed as expected, and so we have had to do exactly that.' Helix had been 'under-performing' in its Channel Five slot on Mondays at 10pm, the spokesperson said, and so will be shown on 5* when it returns 'later in the year.' The statement was also confirmed that Channel Five will continue to broadcast other international acquisitions including Under The Dome, Wentworth Prison, Love/Hate, CSI and Person of Interest. '[Those shows] are key parts of our schedule, and will be with us for the subsequent series,' said the spokesperson.

Odious risible oily twat Piers Morgan's prime-time talk show on US TV network CNN is, very amusingly, to end. Of course, presumably, that means the horrible, odious fraction of man will soon be back in the UK on a permanent basis. Not so good news. Damn. The former - sacked - Daily Mirra editor told the New York Times that it had been 'a painful period' for the show, which has suffered lacklustre ratings since it began. CNN's audience had tired of hearing a Briton weigh in on American cultural issues, he claimed, rather than just tired of him personally. Morgan said that he was 'in discussions' with CNN about a new role at the channel following the end of the show, probably in March. The forty eight-year-old replaced the veteran host Larry King three years ago and interviewed statesman and celebrities, including ex-President Bill Clinton and financier Warren Buffett. Oprah Winfrey was his first guest. But it was his outspoken remarks about gun ownership - ironically, about the one thing that many in this country agree with him about - that have garnered most attention in recent months. 'I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarising and there is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it,' he told the New York Times. He also claimed that he would like to do fewer appearances that have more impact. Interviews with major celebrities and powerful figures, would be 'better suited to what I do well', he said. CNN did not comment on Morgan's future with the channel. Earlier this month it emerged that Morgan had been questioned under caution by police over alleged phone-hacking at Mirra Group Newspapers. He has always denied any involvement in hacking. Prior to his move into TV, Morgan was editor at the Daily Mirra newspaper and was extremely sacked in 2004 after the paper published faked photos of British troops abusing Iraqi prisoners. That was funny. He went on to become a judge on Britain's Got Toilets before joining CNN.

Meanwhile, one of odious, risible oil twat Piers Morgan's biggest fans had this to say on the subject.
Something, I think we can all agree with. Next ...

NBC will revive Heroes for a limited run in 2015, it has been announced. A teaser for Heroes Reborn premiered on Saturday during NBC's primetime coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Heroes Reborn's 2015 premiere will be preceded by a digital series that will introduce new storylines and characters. It is not currently known if any original cast members will be back. NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke credited Heroes creator Tim Kring with having made 'an enormous impact' on 'the television landscape' with the original series. 'Shows with [this] kind of resonance don't come around often and we thought it was time for another instalment,' Salke said in a press release. She continued: 'We're thrilled that visionary creator Tim Kring was as excited about jumping back into this show as we were, and we look forward to all the new textures and layers Tim plans to add to his original concept. Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won't rule out the possibility of some of the show's original cast members popping back in.' Heroes originally ran on NBC from 2006 to 2010 and starred a huge cast including Hayden Panettiere, Ali Larter, Masi Oka and Zachary Quinto as people born with super-human powers. The first series was proper brilliant. The rest of it ... wasn't.

Tony Hall will launch a staunch defence of the BBC licence fee this week, suggesting there is an anxiety to privatise the corporation. About sodding time, frankly. The BBC Director General will use a speech in Oxford to hit back at critics including Lord Grade, a former chairman of the corporation and well known gobshite, who have called for the licence fee to be shared with other public-service broadcasters and producers – a concept dubbed 'top slicing' or 'contestable funding.' Hall will argue that sharing it with other organisations would weaken not only the corporation but UK broadcasting generally. His latest intervention heralds an intensifying of the debate about the BBC's future, as the corporation steps up its lobbying efforts ahead of negotiations with the government for a new ten year royal charter and funding deal. The BBC's existing charter and licence-fee agreements run to the end of 2016. He will also be aiming to move the debate on from a string of crises, pre-dating his appointment as Director General in April last year but which have dogged the BBC. 'Top-slicing means just that – less and less funding for content and services that we know people love,' Hall will tell the Oxford Media Convention on Wednesday. 'And by weakening the BBC, you also weaken the competitive intensity that underpins the success of UK broadcasting. Contestable funding feels like a solution in search of a problem. In the anxiety to privatise the BBC, this proposal suggests nationalising the rest of the sector. But, most importantly, the fragmentation of the licence fee risks de-stabilising a broadcasting model that works. A model that is based on competition for quality – but not funding – between public and private broadcasters.' In an earlier speech defending the BBC funding model in November, Hall said that the BBC must be more aggressive and 'less British' about using its own TV, radio and online services to make the case for the licence fee. There is said to be 'exasperation' among BBC executives with former senior corporation figures – and at least one, David Dimbleby, whom they currently employ – who have argued variously for its scope to be curtailed and funding to be shared with others. Dimbleby, the veteran BBC presenter, said it should 'pull back a bit' from some of the things it does and - idiotically - suggested a merger of BBC2 and BBC4. His comments came shortly after Roger Mosey, a former senior BBC executive who oversaw its successful London 2012 Olympics coverage, suggested that sharing the licence fee with other broadcasters 'might help promote pluralism and diversity.' Earlier this month, Grade told a Commons culture select committee hearing that the BBC was 'too big' and had become 'unmanageable', suggesting swaths of the organisation should be outsourced to the private sector. He also backed merging BBC2 and BBC4 and said that the licence fee should be shared with Channel Four. Hall will address the arguments made by Grade and others directly in his speech, the tone of which, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, is 'likely to raise the temperature in the debate about the BBC's future considerably.' He will say of the BBC's critics: 'Instead of saying that the licence fee is so bad that no one should have it, they have begun to suggest that the licence fee is so good that everyone should have it. They say the licence fee should be competed for and allocated to a range of providers. What purpose would this serve? Would it make the BBC more responsive and accountable? We are not a monopoly supplier of public-service broadcasting. We are subject to intense competition in a market where consumers can easily switch between providers. Would contestable funding mean more choice for audiences? Audiences have never had a greater, richer amount of media choice.'

The BBC has improved how it deals with audience complaints but must make the process easier, according to a BBC Trust review. Letters and online complaints were responded to 'much more quickly', although the Trust said that some complaints sent to BBC Online divisions were not being replied to. The findings followed the Trust's commission of a forty thousand smackers study by research company ICM, which tested the BBC's new complaints system, introduced in 2012. As part of a 'mystery shopping' exercise between last June and September, ICM submitted four hundred and ninety two fictitious complaints designed to resemble genuine complaints - so, whinging and frequently mental, in other words - and compared the BBC's responses to those in a similar exercise conducted in 2011. It found that satisfaction with the actual process of complaining increased across all three channels - web forms, letters and phone calls; satisfaction fell concerning the content of responses to online complaints, but they had significantly improved for responses to telephone and letter complaints; improvements must be made in the handling of complaints from people with a disability or special requirements - however the Trust welcomed the BBC's plans to make amendments in this area; improvements are also needed in the dealing of complaints sent directly to BBC programmes and independent production companies (instead of the central complaints hub), some of which were unanswered. Richard Ayre, chair of the Trust's complaints and appeals board, said: 'The BBC's programmes and services are loved by millions, but with that comes disappointment and anger if licence fee payers feel that their favourite programme has got something wrong. Those who feel strongly enough to complain deserve a response that is fast, appropriate and well-handled, and the BBC should be commended for the improvements made so far.' He added that he expected the Executive to focus on increasing satisfaction with e-mail replies, 'particularly as three-quarters of complaints to the BBC are now made via the Internet.' The corporation received two hundred and seventeen thousand five hundred and thirty two complaints in 2012 to 2013 in the first stage of the complaints process. Around five hundred advanced to the second stage, of which two hundred and eighty five were sent by complainants for appeal to the Trust in the final third stage. A new complaints system was introduced in June 2012 after BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said the process should be 'faster, simpler and easier to understand.'
Filming on the third series of House Of Cards has paused because of a dispute over taxation. The row is between the show's producers and the state of Maryland where the political drama is filmed. The production company, Media Rights Capital, say that they are considering filming elsewhere if the matter is not resolved soon. The show was due to begin filming this spring but has now been pushed back till June. It's been reported that the first series received eleven million dollars in tax credits from the Maryland state government, the second series getting fifteen million. Now, Media Rights Capital is asking for a further fifteen million bucks for the third season, but only half of that has been offered. Maryland officials say that more money is 'impossible.' Senior vice president at the production company, Charlie Goldstein, said that he wanted to make the state 'aware' the production is currently looking for other states to film in on 'the off-chance that the legislation does not pass, or does not cover the amount of tax credits for which we would qualify.' Film and television production companies are usually offered tax breaks in order to encourage them to film in a location to help boost the local economy. House Of Cards season two, staring Kevin Spacey, launched on 14 February and was recently revealed as Netflix's most-watched ever show. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is only now catching up on the first series after he saw the first three episodes on a plane from London to LA last week and was, properly, blown away by how good it is.

The producers of Downton Abbey 'still don't know' when the show will finish. Executive producer Gareth Neame told Vulture that he and show creator Lord Snooty will 'have to judge' when the time is right for Downton to end. 'We don't want to jump out of it too early,' he said. 'We are working on a great big hit show, and one doesn't want to stop working on a great big hit show until you're ready. We have to get out right before people realise they want us to get out. We [want to] quit while we're ahead, while people still love the show, and while we've still got stories to tell.'
EastEnders broadcasts a showdown at the Butcher household next week after Ian Beale decides to make a scene over Cindy's pregnancy. The drama starts when Ian (Adam Woodyatt) finds out that Cindy is expecting a baby and later discovers that she is in a relationship with Liam. Putting two and two together (hey, the lad runs a chip shop, he knows how to add up) following these two revelations, Ian storms straight over to confront Bianca. As Ian declares that Liam has got Cindy pregnant, a row starts involving most of the Butchers and Spraggans. But will the truth come out over whom, exactly, the daddy is? Oh, it's aal gonna kick-off big style with kids gettin' sparked and all sorts.
And so, dear blog reader, from one soap opera, to another.
Buckingham Palace allegedly offered the Scum of the World an 'exclusive' interview with Sophie the Countess of Wessex if the newspaper agreed to drop a 'fake sheikh' undercover sting about her PR company allegedly selling alleged access to the royal family, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks has told the Old Bailey. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told the phone-hacking trial on Friday that the disgraced and disgraceful Sunday tabloid was 'approached' by a 'former business partner' of the countess claiming that her PR company was 'offering access to the royals in some way.' The then editor asked reporter Mazher Mahmood to investigate the claim, which he did by going undercover as a sheikh - a regular disguise he used to get stories - with hidden cameras and listening devices. There was laughter in court as well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks described how Mahmood 'always told me it was imperative' for him to 'live the true life' of a millionaire Sheikh, including driving a Bentley, when he was undercover. Giving evidence in the witness box for a second day, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said: 'Although there was some evidence that this was a possibility [that the PR firm was selling access to the royals], I don't think Mazher's evidence proved the original allegation against the Countess of Wessex. It proved it against her business partner but I couldn't see from his videos that he had done that she [the Countess of Wessex] had sold access to the Queen.' Then well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks claimed that she rang the palace to 'alert' them to the investigation. 'They said to me "if you don't run it we will give you an interview with the Countess of Wessex", or I said "we won't run it if you give us an interview with the Countess of Wessex." The palace agreed with that,' she told jurors. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said that she agreed to take the interview because it was a 'big scoop next to [the Countess of Wessex's] ex-business partner was dodgy.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told jurors the countess had realised that she had been 'horribly indiscreet about the royal family and politicians' after realising that she had been duped. She proceeded to write letters of apology and these were leaked before the Scum of the World broke its story, giving the paper more justification to run the full tapes of the 'fake sheikh' article, citing 'public interest' for the subterfuge. 'She was particularly mean about Tony Blair, Cherie [Blair] and William Hague. So, she had been writing to them and these letters – so people would get a letter and this apology for a story they had not seen and these letters leaked out,' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said. 'What the Countess of Wessex had actually said and what was reported was far worse,' she recalled. 'It became another justification for running the original story.' The jury heard about an e-mail from well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks to Greg Miskiw, then head of the paper's investigations unit, saying 'all our entrapment and subterfuge must be justified one hundred and ten per cent so carefully, make sure everything we do is inside the law.' During her second day in the witness box, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks made frequent eye contact with the judge who occasionally interjected with jokes and his own questions. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told the jury how she had become anxious about payments made by the Scum of the World investigations unit which Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who has admitted hacking phones for the paper, after it agreed to pay seven thousand five hundred smackers for a story about Jamie Bulger's killers. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks repeatedly clashed with Miskiw over payments for a story that made a page lead but appeared in every other newspaper, she explained. 'It's madness,' she said. The alleged 'source' of the story, according to internal Scum of the World documents was 'Williams', an alias used by Mulcaire who had signed a contract for seven thousand five hundred knicker with Miskiw, the jury heard. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said that she did not know who Williams was but confirmed she sent e-mails to Miskiw warning him that the money would only be paid 'if you can afford it.' She had earlier sent an e-mail to Scum of the World staff warning of 'severe consequences' if budgets were exceeded. 'If you are over, it won't be paid,' she told Miskiw. The investigation into Bulger's killers was documented as 'project Emily and Alex' in the contract between 'Williams' and Miskiw. 'He paid seven thousand five hundred pounds for a page lead but everyone had it,' she wrote in an e-mail to the paper's managing editor, Stuart Kuttner, when the normal page lead rate was seven hundred and fifty smackers. 'Seven thousand five hundred pounds for a non-exclusive story,' she told the court, when asked about her e-mail to Kuttner, 'it's now getting ridiculous. I'm now more cross.' The trial continues.
Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis is to face a retrial on charges of indecent and sexual assault, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. The sixty five-year-old, from Mentmore, was found not guilty earlier this month of twelve counts of indecent assault. However, the jury at Southwark Crown Court was unable to reach a verdict on the two outstanding charges. Travis was given bail and is due back in court on 28 March. Appearing before Judge Anthony Leonard, prosecutor Miranda Moore QC told the court: 'The prosecution is seeking a retrial for two outstanding counts.' The BBC's home affairs correspondent, Danny Shaw, who was in court, said that the prosecution and defence agreed there would be a two-week trial, for which a date was to be set. Travis was accused of indecently assaulting ten women and sexually assaulting another in alleged incidents dating back to 1976. The outstanding charges relate to an allegation of indecent assault against a woman in the early 1990s along with an alleged sexual assault on a journalist in 2008.

A crew member working on a biopic about the musician Gregg Allman has died after being hit by a train during filming. Police in South Georgia said that the woman, whose identity has not been released, was struck after the crew for Midnight Rider placed a bed on the railway tracks in Doctortown. Wayne County Sheriff John Carter said that several other people had been injured, two of them seriously. The crew were testing cameras for a dream sequence, according to The Wrap. Midnight Rider, which is directed by Randall Miller, stars Tyson Ritter and William Hurt as younger and older versions of the Allman Brothers Band frontman, Gregg. None of the cast are believed to have been among the twenty people on set at the time of the accident, as filming was not officially scheduled to begin until Monday. However, Miller is understood to have been present. An eyewitness told Variety that, although the crew were expecting two local trains, a third had arrived unexpectedly. A warning whistle was blown, but they had less than a minute to react. As the crew rushed off the tracks, Miller and a photographer scrambled to remove the bed. Miller fell and had to be pulled to safety, according to the witness. They said that the train then hit the bed which 'exploded.' The debris struck and killed a second camera assistant. Rail company CSX said it was 'cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate. Initial reports indicate that at least three people were injured, one fatally,' said a statement. 'CSX personnel are working with first responders to meet the needs of those injured. A train was en route from Memphis to Savannah when the incident occurred.'

In early 1962, just as Decca was decreeing that 'The Be-Atles have no future in showbusiness,' one junior producer at the BBC was preparing to give the young Liverpudlian beat combo a break. It was June 1962 and Peter Pilbeam and the BBC's other pop music producers in Manchester had gathered round to listen to the latest batch of audition tapes. 'If no-one liked a particular band, they failed,' remembered Pilbeam, when interviewed fifty years later. 'But all it took was for just one of the producers on the audition panel to pick up on a band and then they were in. I chose The Beatles,' he said. '[They] were definitely a breath of fresh air.' It's among a number of stories from former BBC radio producers and sound engineers which have been contributed to a new book. Rock On The Radio, written by former BBC recording engineer, studio manager and producer Bill Aitken, tells how a small group of BBC staffers championed the likes of The Beatles, Marc Bolan, Free and Queen, broadcasting their music to millions, often before they had recording contracts. 'I wanted to write the book for my grandchildren,' Aitken told Ariel. 'I worked with some of the biggest acts in the world when I was at the BBC, but I knew that some of my former colleagues had even better stories to tell. 'The book, which spans the pre-Beatles era to 1985's Live Aid, is about what turned out to be the development of UK rock music,' he continues. 'Some people might not like to admit it, but in many ways, this band of producers and studio managers at the BBC were leading the music industry - rather than the other way round.' The Be-Atles did five national broadcasts from BBC Manchester during 1962 and early 1963 they became really famous. The first four performances consisted mainly of cover versions. By the fifth show, in March 1963, all their numbers were Lennon and McCartney compositions, including 'Please Please Me' and 'I Saw Her Standing There'. Pilbeam's verdict on the band's first audition was: 'Paul McCartney - no, John Lennon - yes. Overall - yes' - a judgement which he sticks by half-a-century later. But, if the producer helped kick-start their careers, he wasn't quite so prescient when it came to his own finances. In the book, he recalled being asked by music publisher Dick James whether or not he should be interested in The Be-Atles. 'I told him he'd be a fool if he wasn't,' says Pilbeam. 'Then he told me he'd been offered their music for a publishing deal and he asked me if I wanted to buy in. I told him "no thanks." Of course, we're all wiser with hindsight.' Bill Bebb, for one, hadn't foreseen the stir that exciting young guitarist Jimi Hendrix would cause with his first session in Studio Two, located in the sub-basement of Broadcasting House. 'Jimi was freaking out in the studio,' the former producer revealed, before a 'very well spoken, very BBC' lady producer knocked on the door. She was producing a string quartet in the studio three floors above for the Third Programme, but Hendrix's full throttle electric guitar was interfering with the sound. Bebb politely assured her that there was only one more number to go. 'No, you don't understand,' the classical music producer explained, displaying remarkable self-control under the circumstances. 'We're not recording; we're going out live!' Top of Aitken's contributor wish-list was Jeff Griffin - the man responsible for leading the audio production team of Radio 1's In Concert series which, augmented by the video production crew from BBC2's Old Grey Whistle Test, later morphed into Sight & Sound and also covered Live Aid at Wembley. 'Before Jeff, the idea of putting a rock band on the radio for a whole hour was anathema,' explains Aitken. 'It was beyond people's ken.' But it was a suggestion that made perfect sense, Griffin told the author, to Led Zeppelin - a band 'frustrated by the straitjacket imposed on them by the three-minute singles format'. The producer recorded their first - and the BBC's first - Radio 1 In Concert in 1969. James Birtwistle, meanwhile, cast his mind back to Live Aid and a frantic message on talk-back that all the radio mics had gone dead ahead of the concert's finale. He grabbed one of the spare mics lying around backstage, checked it worked, then handed it to the nearest rock star - who happened to be David Bowie. 'Would you guys mind sharing?' Birtwistle ventured. 'To my relief, he just said, "Sure." And that was that.' Other tales include the BBC's six-month ban on The Rolling Stones after they reneged on a commitment to perform on Saturday Club in 1964 - apparently, over the size of the fee. 'I can't think of anyone who made it big at the time as a recording star who didn't record special live sessions and broadcasts for BBC Radio,' Aitken notes. Mike Robinson, meanwhile, harked back to an Arthur Brown performance, complete with fiery headdress, and a BBC fire officer who went 'ballistic'. Robinson, who went on to be the lead engineer on Live Aid, has died since the book was self-published on Kindle. 'We're all dying off now,' says Aitken. 'It's another reason why I wanted to write the book.' Some of his own memories make it to print, like the time he nearly joined Grimms - a seventies band featuring Mike McCartney. Aitken was working as assistant engineer on their session at the Paris Theatre, when he was asked to 'thrash about' on the drums while the lead engineer adjusted the sound levels. The drummer - the respected Mike Giles of King Crimson - hadn't turned up, so Aitken had to take the sticks again for the soundcheck, playing along with the band. 'I played a bit of drums,' he told Ariel, 'but not in the same league as Mike Giles.' After that, McCartney asked if he wanted the gig. 'Luckily, with ten minutes to go, Mike turned up,' sighs Aitken.

ITV is building up to the 2014 Brazil World Cup with a new animated football comedy from Simon Nye, the writer of Men Behaving Badly. Warren United follows the fortunes of Warren Kinglsey, an overweight kitchen salesman and dedicated football fan. Written by David Quantick and Dominic Holland, the show will feature the voices of Darren Boyd, Morgana Robinson, Morwenna Banks, Johnny Vegas and Eleanor Lawrence. The production comes from Baby Cow and Canadian animation house Smiley Guy. Henry Normal, the co-founder of Baby Cow productions, said: 'New animated narrative series in this country are so rare. So are comedies about football, while those about fans even rarer. On several counts, therefore, we're trying something unusual.' ITV's director of digital channels Angela Jain said: 'ITV4 fans love their football and boasting a stellar cast, Warren United is aimed squarely at them. It is about the tricky balance of being a committed fan and a family man - which will strike a chord with many football followers. The fact it's an animated comedy series about football makes it distinctive, and we're hoping viewers will take Warren, his family and his other love - Brainsford United - to their hearts.'

Yer actual Loic Remy scored a stoppage-time winner as Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle ended their recent horrible run of four successive home league defeats by beating the Aston Villains at the Cathedral of Dreams, St James' Park on Sunday. Gabriel Agbonlahor went close for the Second City Scum with three first-half shots before Papiss Cisse tamely side-footed a Remy pass over from ten yards at the other end, looking for all the world like a man who just wished the ground would swallow him up. Remy was found by Luuk De Jong's pass late on only to shoot against a post. However, he atoned for his woodworking when he latched onto De Jong's deflected shot, cut inside Ron Vlaar and - with the one bit of proper class in a perfectly dreadful game between two sides who look like they were both frightened to lose - fired calmly into the net. The relief around St James's was palpable. Remy's effort was Newcastle's first league goal at home in five games and provided Alan Pardew's side with their first win at St James' Park since a 5-1 hammering of Dirty Stoke on Boxing Day. Since then, a point at Norwich and a win at The Hamsters have been United's sole highlights in a run in which they have taken but four points from a possible twenty four and been knocked out of the FA Cup by Cardiff. The victory took the Magpies back into eighth place in the Premier League and, also, to the forty-point target which Pardew had set his side as they helped erase the memory of their recent truly awful form. To be fair, they haven't exactly been helped by a series of injuries and suspensions (not to mention the sale of key midfielder Yohan Cayabe during the last week on the January transfer window) though these things, in no way, should be used as an excuse for their 'surrender before kick-off' in their last home game against Stottingtot Hotshots a fortnight ago. The whole lot of them should've been dragged through the streets and bastard-well horsewhipped for that performance. The Villains have now lost three of their last four Premier League games and lie just four points from the relegation zone. Shame, eh? Ultimately, Remy proved the difference between the two sides and his return to the Newcastle eleven - after stupidly getting himself sent off and incurring a three-match ban - along with centre-back and skipper Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheick Tiote, was key for the home team. Villa, playing their first game following a training break in Portugal, are renowned for their threat on the counter-attack and the Magpies struggled to deal with the pace of their attacks in the opening half. Agbonlahor was a particular threat for the visitors and he had the goal in his sights when he gathered a Fabian Delph cross, only to see his guided twelve-yard shot parried by Tim Krul. Almost immediately, Agbonlahor sent a fizzing twenty five-yarder just over after Newcastle failed to close him down. It was Coloccini's return - alongside the impressive Mike Williamson - which appeared the crucial one at that stage. The Argentine dived in to deflect yet another Agbonlahor shot wide as Newcastle hung on in front of an anxious home crowd. Cisse had a great chance to settle those nerves on the stroke of half-time but showed the sort of finishing to be expected of a forward with just one goal in twenty two previous top-flight outings. The poor lad's confidence, frankly, looks shot to shit. Tiote slid a pass through to Remy and he squared a ball that Cisse side-footed over from ten yards. On the other side of the break, Yoan Gouffran dragged a shot wide. Newcastle thought they should have had a penalty for a clear Leandro Bacuna handball which was missed by the referee Martin Atkinson who, despite being close to the incident, appeared to be suffering from temporary blindness. It looked as if Remy would finally end Newcastle's goalscoring drought when De Jong robbed Vlaar and laid off a pass to the France international, only for his shot to smack back off a post. But, Newcastle were the side exerting all the pressure in the final stages and they were eventually rewarded when Remy scored his twelfth league goal of the campaign. To which fifty thousand punters collectively sighed 'thank Christ for that.'

A television channel delayed transmission of a Scottish Premiership football match until after the watershed because of the amount of swearing which could be heard from fans. Jings. Ross County's match with St Mirren was supposed to have been broadcast 'as live' by BBC Alba at 17:30 on Saturday. But the transmission was delayed until 22:55. The channel had been 'concerned' that the amount of bad language audible would have breached Ofcom guidelines. BBC Alba, which is the BBC's Scottish Gaelic language channel, had been scheduled to broadcast the match in its entirety shortly after the final whistle. But it decided to delay the transmission after realising that bad language could clearly be heard on its microphones, which were placed around the ground. A tweet by the managing director of mneTV, which was producing the broadcast for BBC Alba, said: 'Unfortunately The Staggies veres St Mirren won't transmit on BBC Alba at 5.30pm due to bad language from crowd. Will be on at 11pm. Sorry.' The message was retweeted by BBC Alba's official feed. A spokeswoman for BBC Alba said later that the delay to the transmission had 'allowed producers to edit out the bad language.' She added: 'In compliance with the rules set by Ofcom, where no programme that carries offensive language can be broadcast pre-watershed, BBC Alba had no choice but to defer broadcast of today's Ross County versus St Mirren match until post-watershed due to bad language picked up from the crowds.' More than three thousand punters attended the game at the Global Energy Stadium in Dingwall, which Ross County won 2-1. Ross manager, Derek Adams, and his St Mirren counterpart Danny Lennon had to be pulled apart after confronting each other on the touchline as tempers frayed during the match. They were both sent to the stand by referee, Willie Collum. BBC Scotland sports reporter Jim Spence later tweeted: 'Bad language delays transmission of BBC Alba Ross Co versus St Mirren game tonight. That's ###@@@€€€€#### ridiculous.' Which one presumes, he thought was effing hilarious. Even though it wasn't.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's A To Z Of Groovy Tunes. What's K for, dear blog reader? Well, Keith, obviously.

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