Thursday, March 06, 2014

P Is For Passion, Pretence And Posterity

There is a wonderful story currently doing the rounds on the Interweb, dear blog reader, which is perhaps best summed up here. Seems yer actual Peter Capaldi isn't just a fantastic actor but, also, a rather wonderful human being into the bargain. Who'd've guessed? To sum up, Roxann is young Doctor Who fan who is autistic and whose mum took her and her sister along to see some location filming on the new series in Cardiff. Roxann, seemingly, had formed something of an attachment to Smudger's Doctor and her mum was a little unsure of how she'd react to Peter. This is what happened. Aw, isn't that brilliant? Top man, Peter Capaldi, top man.
BBC3 is to be dropped from TV schedules and will move online, as part of the BBC's on-going cost-cutting plans. If approved by the BBC Trust then this would mean the digital channel's output would only be available through the iPlayer service. If at all. BBC3's future had been alleged to be under threat in rumours which emerged earlier in the week after the Director General, yer actual Tony Hall, said that the BBC needed to save another one hundred million smackers a year. And, had ruled out any so-called 'salami slicing' – smaller reductions in budgets across the board – to make the savings which are required. Media correspondent David Sillito later confirmed to BBC News that the channel will be axed, with all of its programmes moving to iPlayer. The official announcement will take place on Thursday. The rumours had prompted a schlew of z-list celebrities and not particularly funny 'comedians' - almost all of whom have previously appeared or currently appear on programmes on BBC3 and, therefore, would seem to have a vested interest in its continued existence - to 'rally behind' the channel and have a right good bloody whinge on Twitter. Matt Lucas, for instance, tweeted that BBC3's closure would be 'really bad for new comedy.' Which is, quite probably, true although to be honest, apart from Ideal - cancelled way before its time by a BBC3 controller whose previous CV included commissioning a Kerry Katona reality show - this blogger is struggling to recall a single comedy that he, personally, enjoyed which BBC3 produced. Little Britain always left me rather cold, as did The Mighty Boosch, most of its sitcoms were about as funny as a kick in the Jacob's Cream Crackers and as for sodding Gavin & Stacey ... A BBC spokesman had previously claimed that 'nothing is off the table', adding that 'no decisions have been made' at this time about what was getting the chop and what wasn't. Which would now appear to have been not, strictly speaking, true. The reports followed a speech given by Lord Hall last week in which he said 'tough choices' would have to be made if the corporation is to meet its savings target. 'We are in the final stages of a budget process to find an extra one hundred million pounds of savings,' he said at the Oxford Media Convention. 'I will announce the outcome of those decisions in the next month.' Interestingly, most of the initial speculation had focused on the future of BBC4, rather than BBC3. In response to speculation over BBC3's future, the BBC's spokesman said: 'Tony Hall set out some of the very real challenges the BBC faces at his speech in Oxford. He made clear that we will face tough choices about our budgets.' The futures of both BBC3 and BBC4 have been much discussed as the corporation continues to implement cost-cutting measures in response to the - savage - licence fee freeze imposed upon it in 2010. According to industry magazine Broadcast, moving BBC3 online 'would amount to a sizeable step' towards delivering Lord Hall's one hundred million smackers savings target by 2016. The channel's service budget was approximately eighty five million quid in the 2013-14 financial year. The speculation followed the BBC's decision to broadcast select shows online ahead of their scheduled TV transmission, among them the latest sitcom from Peter Kay. Since its launch in 2003, BBC3 was the birthplace of numerous ratings successes, including Little Britain, Torchwood, Being Human and the previously mentioned waste-of-oxygen that was Gavin & Stacey. These were among the shows singled out by Lucas in a tweet proclaiming the channel to be 'the home of new comedy and drama.' His sentiments were echoed by that odious, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall: 'I really hope reports that the BBC may kill BBC3 are just rumours. Their support of new comedy in particular is vital.' It should be noted at this juncture that anything - and I do mean anything - which keeps lanky streak of rancid stinking piss Jack Whitehall off this blogger's TV screen is, frankly, to be welcomed and applauded rather than bemoaned. Russell Kane (very popular with students) was another to voice his stroppy, foot-stamping discontent over what right-shite state of affairs all this malarkey was. BBC 5Live presenter Richard Bacon suggested that BBC3 could spark 'a similar response' from viewers to BBC 6Music, the digital station which was saved from the axe in 2010 following a vocal campaign by listeners. Which is perfectly possible although it's difficult to see where else the BBC could find a hundred million knicker to save. 'BBC3 makes lots of great, clever, distinct programmes,' Bacon said. 'If the rumours of it being cut are true, we might need to retool that 6Music campaign. As a BBC employee, I can't get involved in campaigns so it's entirely up to you.' The BBC has previously reversed decisions to close both 6Music and the Asian Network radio service after concerted campaigning by supporters.
For what it's worth, in theory this blogger would shed not a single tear if BBC3 were to go. But then, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a fifty year old chap and is not BBC3's intended audience - the Digital Spy website's article 'seventeen reasons to save BBC3' contained just three programmes that this blogger watched with any regularly (Being Human, The Fades and Our War). Neither, he suspects, are the vast majority of those who would also happily see BBC3 killed. And, that is a very important point. It may well have been,as Digital Spy suggests, 'an easy target', but the channel has managed to deliver on its promise to attract a young following. Last year, according to the audience figures, it had the highest ratings among the sixteen to thirty four age group, even above Channel Four. It has also proved to be a great starting ground for young comedy writers and producers, introducing new talent to the screen. It has won awards (four BAFTAs in two years). It has also broadcast some genuinely excellent current affairs programmes and documentaries - the outstanding Our War for example - a production which, in and of itself, entirely justified BBC3's existence. Like it or not BBC3 serves - exactly - what it was set up to do, attracting a specific, younger, audience and for that reason no one should be celebrating its potential closure. Most of those who dislike it are exactly the sort of people that aren't a part of that audience. So, choosing to ditch BBC3 over BBC4 is, indeed, as Tony Hall suggested, 'a tough choice.' In BBC4's case, the argument is that it could, conceivably, be merged with BBC2 - not something this blogger agrees with, incidentally. This view has been voiced by a variety of industry figures like Dimbleby and Grade, most of whom, frankly, haven't got a frigging clue what they're wittering on about or have got some specific, sick, cheb-end agenda to push in making such comments. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping could certainly see BBC2 accommodating, say, BBC4 staples like Lucy Worsley, Janita Ramirez and Michael Mosley. It's going to be things like the - regular, and often brilliant - Friday night music documentaries, Danny Baker's discussion programmes and those little half-hour documentaries on boats, classical art and modern architecture which would likely be lost if BBC2 and BBC4 were to be conjoined at the hip. And, of course, BBC4's budget is considerably less than BBC3's, roughly forty nine million quid compared to eighty five million. Whether many of BBC3's current shows will find a home elsewhere is more debatable - although one imagines Russell Howard's Good News will probably find a place for itself at BBC2 - once it's had a token female comedian shoehorned into its format, no doubt. But, for Stacey Dooley et al, it could be the end of the road. It certainly does seem as though somebody within the BBC - at a reasonably senior level as well - was really pushing the story about BBC3 being the one at risk long before any confirmation was forthcoming; the Gruniad's initial article on it even contained more-or-less attributed quotes aside from speculative nonsense from an alleged 'corporation insider'. Maybe it's all a double-bluff or a 6Music-style attempt to get viewers mobilised against potential - highly political - closures. BBC3, for instance, certainly has an audience which is far more media-savvy and Twitter'd-up as it were than most channels. But, Tony Hall has said that a hundred million quid has to be cut and BBC3's budget accounts for eighty to ninety per cent of that figure so the maths may well be against it. As the Gruniad's Roy Greenslade notes: '[this is, probably] the least worst way of saving money.' Sad, dear blog reader, but we live in a shitty world.

One point about BBC3's - potential - closure. If this were to happen that would mean, of course, that there would be no place on TV for any witless, embarrassingly wretched Zoe Ball-fronted Doctor Who: The After Party-type disasters. So, good. Let's do that, then. Just as a matter of pure disinterest dear blog reader if, as some of the less-clued-up members of its fandom seem to believe, Doctor Who were ever to be in danger of cancellation any time soon, the amount of coin it brings into the Beeb annually, in terms of merchandising and overseas sales, is roughly the same as BBC3's entire budget. One more brick in the 'Doctor Who has never been safer than it is right now' wall. Which is good news for us, but really bad news for Beeb3. You know what they say, dear blog reader, it's a jolly ill wind that blows nobody any good!

A final postscript on the BBC3 debate, and it's an entirely personal one. A few years ago this blogger did, as part of his weekly Top Telly Tips round-up, a preview of an upcoming episode of I think it was Live At The Apollo which, that particularly week, was featuring the comedian Russell Kane. Now, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has never been a particular fan of Russell's style of comedy - I don't think he's a bad person or anything, I just don't find his humour especially funny. In the same way that I don't find, for instance, Noel Fielding particularly funny just to take another contemporary - and BBC3-centric - example. It's a personal thing and, entirely, subjective - as with all critique relating to comedy - and this blogger is fully prepared to accept that the fault here, if indeed, there is any fault, is his and his alone. Other people may well think that Russell Kane is thigh-slappingly hilarious and they're not, necessarily, wrong. But, anyway, in the course of this (fairly neutral) preview of Russell Kane's forthcoming appearance on LTTA, Keith Telly Topping mentioned, in passing, that Russell appeared to be, in Keith Telly Topping's opinion, 'very popular with students'. Keith Telly Topping didn't say this sarcastically or mean it as, in any way, a slight on Russell's character, he merely stated something which he believed to be true from his own experience concerning the likes and dislikes of a few students in Keith Telly Topping's own broad circle of acquaintances. (Keith Telly Topping didn't, for instance, say that Russell was 'very popular with students' and then follow it with a mean-spirited punch-line like 'which, given the current state of education in this country, says much'). Nevertheless, within a couple of hours this blogger had received a message on Facebook - not a private message either, but posted on KTT's timeline for all to see - from Russell Kane his very self, chiding Keith Telly Topping for his comments and saying 'not just with students, with other people as well.' OooGet her! Yer actual Keith Telly Topping didn't really know how to respond to that, Keith Telly Topping not being used to z-list television personalities whinging about something that he's said about them on From The North. (It remains, to this day, the only direct complaint the blogger has ever had to any preview or, review, that he's posted online from a person directly involved with the programme in question.) So, Keith Telly Topping said nowt. That felt like the safest option, frankly. (To be honest, there were really only two ways one could have reacted and neither felt appropriate given the rather 'nothing' nature of the original comments: One being a very meek 'sorry I hurt yer feelings, Russell, I'll never do it again' the other, a pointlessly aggressive: 'Listen mush! See me, right, I'm a licence fee payer - you know, one of The Little People that pays your sodding wages, and don't you forget it or the Director General'll be getting an letter on his desk tomorrow about you.' As noted, dear blog reader, neither seemed especially applicable at that time.) It's also important to note that his comments weren't abusive or threatening. They just seemed rather ... petulant. Which isn't really what you expect from someone off the telly. Then, presumably, Russell found something far more important to do with his valuable time than to engage in a one-way conversation with a blogger about what sort of people his comedy is popular with. These days, Keith Telly Topping still uses the 'very popular with students' line whenever a programme featuring Russell is being discussed on From The North and, to be honest, these days it is, rather, said sarcastically. What can I say, dear blog reader, I have little or no defence. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is nothing if not a very small. There are geezers out there who once said something nasty to Keith Telly Topping in 1986 who still haven't got off his shit list yet. True story. Anyway, Keith Telly Topping thought, briefly about Russell Kane once having replied to him over such a, genuinely, innocuous line on Wednesday when yer actual Russell Kane's heartfelt 'oh woe is us' style-comments were being widely reported in the media in relation to BBC3 getting the chop (something which, as noted previously, Keith Telly Topping does not necessarily agree with - despite not being part of that channel's target audience - although he does understand the reason for the decision being taken in the first place). Keith Telly Topping thought about Russell Kane, dear blog reader. And he laughed. And he laughed and he laughed and he laughed until he stopped. And then he laughed some more. Far more than he's ever laughed when watching any of Russell's comedy on TV, let it be noted. Keith Telly Topping is sure that Russell and most of the other BBC3 regulars who were so quick to take to Twitter to whinge about the decision before it had even been officially announced will find plenty of other outlets for their work, possibly even within the BBC itself, and rightly so. But, thank you so much Russell. Thank you for providing me with the best laugh I've had in ages.

Death In Paradise's successful third series ended with high ratings on Tuesday, according to overnight data. The popular BBC1 Caribbean crime drama topped the ratings overall with 6.8 million overnight punters at 9pm, up three hundred thousand from the previous week's episode. Later, Traffic Cops was seen by 2.3m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Permission Impossible brought in 1.29m at 7pm. The Great British Sewing Bee held steady with 2.5m at 8pm, followed by An Hour To Save Your Life with 2.08m at 9pm. ITV's Midsomer Murders repeat gathered 2.41m at 8pm. On Channel Four, Kirstie's Best Of Both Worlds appealed to 1.53m at 8pm, followed by The Taste with seven hundred and sixty six thousand at 9pm and Strippers with eight hundred and thirty two thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Benidorm ER was seen by seven hundred and fourteen thousand at 8pm, while The Mentalist attracted an audience of eight hundred and fourteen thousand viewers at 9pm. On BBC3, Hair continued with seven hundred and eighty five thousand at 9pm. The latest episode of Pramface was watched by five hundred and eight thousand at 10pm. Dave's Storage Hunters was watched by eight hundred and sixty one thousand at 8.30pm.

Mary Berry Cooks began with impressive ratings for BBC2 on Monday night. The Great British Bake Off judges's new series launched with 3.20 million at 8.30pm. Earlier, University Challenge was watched by 3.06m at 8pm, while Evan Davis's Mind The Gap: London Vs The Rest gathered 1.63m at 9pm. ITV's DCI Banks topped the ratings overall outside of soaps with 4.58m at 9pm. New series I Never Knew That About Britain opened with 3.54m at 8pm. On BBC1, Silk dropped over five hundred thousand viewers week-on-week from last week's opener to 4.13m at 9pm. Earlier, Panorama had an audience of 2.96m at 8.30pm. Channel Four's One Born Every Minute returned with 2.08m at 9pm. Eight Out Of Ten Cats had an audience of 1.02m at 10pm. Earlier, Food Unwrapped appealed to eight hundred and twenty four thousand at 8.30pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors attracted 1.09m at 8pm. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! brought in 1.92m at 9pm, followed by Caught On Camera with eight hundred and seventy nine thousand at 10pm. On Sky1, Modern Family pulled in five hundred and forty seven thousand at 8.30pm, followed by Moone Boy with two hundred and ninety six thousand at 9pm.

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell is to 'take a break' from the show to get help for 'personal issues' ITV has confirmed. Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster in the soap, is said to be 'seeking professional help', after he admitted to using cocaine. He only recently returned to filming after being cleared of child sex offences in September last year. The actor has starred in Coronation Street for more than thirty years. In episodes which have already been recorded, Le Vell will return to screens from late March and will then feature for around another six weeks. It is thought that he will be written out of subsequent plotlines. 'Coronation Street and Michael Le Vell have mutually agreed that he will take a break from the programme whilst he seeks professional help for personal issues,' an ITV spokeswoman said. The forty nine-year-old actor was found not guilty of twelve child sex offences following a four-week trial at Manchester Crown Court, During the trial, Le Vell's private life was scrutinised and he admitted to being an alcoholic who had cheated on his wife several times. Last weekend's Sunday Mirra featured an admission from the actor that he had snorted cocaine in the run-up to the trial. He told the newspaper he was 'ashamed' of his behaviour. 'I've always been dead against drugs and have turned them down in the past. I've seen what they can do to people,' he said. 'But I had never felt so low. I knew I was innocent but everything was closing in on me.'
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks has told the Old Bailey that she 'just lost it' when she heard her husband had hidden bags including his 'rather large porn collection' and that he could be arrested. The former News International chief executive told the phone-hacking trial that she 'first became aware' millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks had concealed the bags behind the bins in the underground car park at their Chelsea home the day after his wife had been arrested in July 2011. It was, she said, a 'monumental cock-up' by her husband at the end of a 'cataclysmic' week. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks had resigned two days earlier and had been 'marched out of the building' after the police threatened to 'send panda cars' to remove her from News International's headquarters in East London's Thomas More Square, jurors were told. She had 'paid a visit' to her lawyers, Kingsley Napley, on the morning of 18 July. It was a short meeting, she told the court, because she was 'exhausted' and 'physically gone' following her twelve-and-a-half-hour detention at Lewisham police station the previous day. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told the court that she was 'also conscious' she had to appear before a parliamentary select committee the following day and, when she arrived back at her apartment in Chelsea Harbour at 12.48pm on 18 July, she just wanted to go to bed. 'I just remember [the] overwhelming need to go sleep,' she told thecourt. Under examination by her defence counsel, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, she claimed that she had lunch and went straight to bed, and 'forced' herself to get up later that afternoon to prepare for the select committee hearing the next day. It was then that she learned her husband had hidden the bags - including a laptop and a collection of naughty DVDs - behind a bin in the underground car park. 'He told me everything at this point. He had hidden his - rather large - porn collection and was quite exasperated. Then he said to me the police had found his bags, so there was a chance that he could be arrested,' she said. 'I just lost it. It seemed like a monumental cock-up. The idea that the police were going to arrest him – I was to be facing parliament the next day. It was just the final straw in what had been quite a cataclysmic few days.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told the jurors that her husband, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie, was 'two sheets to the wind' when she returned early on Monday morning from Lewisham police station. 'It was a bit of a state. He was slightly the worse of wear from the amount of red wine he'd had and he was stressed.' Laidlaw asked whether there had been any discussion with millionaire Old Etonian Charlie previous to the concealing of the bags 'about any of that material or anything he had in mind about doing anything about it.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks responded that there had not. She was also asked if she 'instructed' her husband to conceal the bags. Again, she replied: 'No.' Earlier the court heard how 'stressed' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks had become in the preceding days and weeks, particularly after the closure of the Scum of the World on 10 July. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch had flown into the UK and had initially refused to accept well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's resignation. Instead, what was being discussed was 'a leave of absence.' On Monday 11 July well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said that she could 'barely function' and billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's son James Murdoch the small sent her home, directing her to switch off her e-mail and her phone. Earlier in the trial the jury heard how well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks had told the younger, smaller Murdoch how Tony Blair had phoned her that night advising her that she should have a 'Hutton-style' inquiry and to take a sleeping pill to avoid making short-term decisions which could create long-term problems. When she e-mailed Murdoch the small to convey the contents of the 'hour-long conversation with Blair' he had asked 'what are you doing on e-mail?' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks explained that he was asking why she was back in communication after instructions to get some rest rather than anything more sinister. She also revealed that she 'took Blair's advice and took sleeping pill.' During the week in the run up to her resignation, the leave of absence option was still being discussed at the most senior level. Some people in the company felt it would be 'better' if she faced the select committee the following Tuesday as a former employee and that she should resign. It was agreed that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks would resign on Thursday 15 July. The previous weekend more than a dozen executives had been in Oxfordshire at a friend's home preparing for the select committee the following week, the jury heard. After her resignation well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was told that she could not use the lawyer she expected to use when she attended a pre-arranged meeting at the police station the following Sunday because he, himself, had been 'interviewed under caution' in relation to another incident in the phone-hacking scandal. News International told her that she could no longer have the 'people' who had been helping her prepare for her parliamentary select committee, though she could have 'people' from the company's management standards committee. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said that she did not tell any of her security team about her visit to Lewisham ahead of her appointment in case it leaked out. 'It sounds silly now but at the time I was concerned about a lasting image of going into the police station,' she added. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch asked well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'not to resign' the day the Scum of the World closed. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks revealed that she had gone to her Oxfordshire home over the weekend to be with her mother, who had come from her home in Warrington to give her 'emotional support' during the crisis enveloping News International at the time. On the Sunday well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and her husband, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie went to the home of James Murdoch the small which was twenty five minutes' drive away close to Banbury. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks claimed that they discussed her future and the 'Sky situation', a reference to News Corp's crumbling BSkyB bid, and then 'waited for a call' to say that billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch had landed in Britain from the US. She told jurors earlier on Tuesday morning that she had considered resigning as soon as the Gruniad Morning Star reported that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked. She discussed it with both James Murdoch the small and with billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch over the phone, but the latter told her not to do anything until he arrived in London. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch (whom nobody is scared of any more) arrived on the afternoon of 10 July where he, again, refused well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's resignation. Asked by Mr Justice Saunders if she resigned at the meeting, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied that she did not. Asked by her counsel why the hell not, she said: 'Because he asked me not to.' In a morning of evidence that included details of texts from prime minister Tony Blair, the lack of education secretary the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove and TV presenter and oily twat Piers Morgan, there were 'three significant questions' relating to one of the four charges faced by well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks - that she conspired with her secretary Cheryl Carter to conceal notebooks from police investigation phone-hacking on Friday 8 July 2011. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has extremely denied the charge and three others. Asked whether she had given Carter any instructions to destroy notebooks on 8 July, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks claimed that she had not. Asked whether she had ever raised that topic with Carter she, again, responded 'No.' Asked whether she ever discussed it, she said 'No.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks described prosecution allegations that she instructed Carter to give her a false alibi two days before the Scum of the World's closure as 'ridiculous.' Asked by Laidlaw if there were 'any truth' in the allegations 'that you may have asked Cheryl Carter to lie about your movements at some point, getting her to say you were not at work' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks responded:'"No, I was very visibly at the office.' Laidlaw asked her how she felt about the suggestion that she would ask someone to lie. She replied: 'It's ridiculous. On 8 July I was in front of News of the World staff, an entire floor of News of the World staff. True to News of the World style, they had brought hidden cameras and listening devices – it went live on Sky News. I could hardly complain,' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said. The former editor of the Sun and the Scum of the World told jurors that her notebooks couldn't have been destroyed because she hadn't used such books since she stopped being a reporter and became an executive at the Scum of the World in the 1990s. After that she used A3 'art desk pads' where she would scribble things such as 'stories I liked' and notes of phone calls. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks claimed that she had worked with her secretary, Cheryl Carter, for sixteen years and described her as 'a friend.' She said that Carter was very 'friendly' and am 'open book' kind of person who helped run her life and frequently stepped in to help her personally as well as professionally. She also said Carter could be 'a bit scatty and forgetful.' To much laughter in the court, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks described how Carter had once told billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch that her boss had gone to a meeting in MFI and not MI5. This made billionaire tyrant Murdoch 'very angry' because he thought his top London executive had gone shopping. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks described how Carter had been instructed to tell billionaire tyrant Murdoch where she was if he called in. At the time MI5 required visitors to leave mobile phones in metal boxes so well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks would not be contactable and she did not want to give billionaire tyrant Murdoch the impression that she was unavailable. 'He was really angry, Cheryl couldn't understand why,' said well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks. She said that Carter was 'petrified' by billionaire tyrant Murdoch's reaction. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks also told the court that she had asked Carter to go to Oxfordshire the weekend the Scum of the World closed to look after her mother. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks explained that she couldn't spend time with her mother because of the ongoing crisis. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks also told the court that she did not undertake any investigation into phone-hacking when she became News International chief executive. On her first day of cross-examination in the phone-hacking trial, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks also said she never asked what private investigator Glenn Mulcaire had been doing when she was editor of the Scum of the World between 2000 and 2003. She also told the court that Max Clifford received a one million quid deal from News International to 'protect' the company from further lawsuits arising from Mulcaire's years of phone hacking. Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC put it to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks that on 2 September 2009, the day she assumed her role as NI chief executive, parliament was taking 'a very active interest' in the 'unfolding events' with a select committee hearing on phone-hacking. There had been an earlier hearing in July that year after the Gruniad reported that NI had made a seven hundred thousand quid payment to the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor. Edis asked her: 'Did you do any investigation about phone-hacking when you became chief executive officer?' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said that she did not. He then asked her what inquiries she made after she was briefed by police in 2006 following the arrest of Mulcaire and the Scum of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman, both of whom were later jailed. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said her assumption was that Mulcaire had worked 'as a private detective, tracing people and the like.' Edis responded: 'Your assumption? Did you ask anybody what he had been doing under your editorship?' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'We had lots of private detectives in newsrooms.' He asked: 'Did you ask anybody what he had been doing under your editorship of the News of the World?" Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'No, not specifically.' 'So you went to the police... [Mulcaire had been] on a retainer while you were editor and you never asked anybody what that was for?' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks responded: 'I did not need to know. He was working as a private detective.' She added that the police had not indicated there was any evidence of hacking under her editorship or that there was any evidence suggesting it involved more than the royal editor. Mr Justice Saunders intervened to ask well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks whether she 'wondered' what on Earth Mulcare might have been doing, that it might have been 'a risk' that he had been hacking that this was 'a possibility to rule out.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'I didn't think it happened and I did not believe it happened.' But, of course, it had. Earlier, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks conceded that News International entered a three-year deal with Clifford because Mulcaire had threatened to 'name names' if the PR man's claim against them for hacking went to court. Jurors were told that Clifford had 'fallen out' with the Scum of the World in 2005 after the paper had written a story about one of his clients, the odious waste-of-space and reality TV regular Kerry Katona, taking drugs. Edis put it to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks that Clifford was 'very cross about how one of his clients, Kerry Katona, had been treated' and had 'walked away.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks explained that Les Hinton, the company's then chief executive, had then banned the Sun and the Scum of the World from working with Clifford but that she was instructed to try and 'bring him back on board' after she became chief executive in 2009. 'I think all in all, it was just under one million pounds, that might have including the costs, over three years,' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said. Earlier, the trial heard that Clifford wanted an element of 'back pay' in his deal because he had lost out on any Scum of the World or Sun income for three years. Edis put it to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks that Clifford was not suing and that the company was under 'no legal obligation' to compensate him for loss of earnings during these years. 'He had no legal claim,' said Edis. 'No, he didn't but we wanted him to work with us again,' said well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks. Edis responded: 'What he had was a claim for his voicemail being hacked ... so this was a one million pound gift, wasn't it?' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks responded: 'But we got a lot of stories from it.' Edis then put it to her that the 'deal' with Clifford had the 'desired effect that Mulciare didn't name who had tasked him' to hack phones at the Scum of the World. The trial had heard that Mulcaire could have been forced to 'name names' if Clifford's claim for hacking had got to court. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks initially told the court that it 'might seem ridiculous' but NI paid large amounts of money for stories – it had once paid one million smackers for the rights to a David Beckham book. The prosecutor put it to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks that the deal was 'not in writing' and there was no way of compelling Clifford to produce stories for the company if he had failed to do so. Edis said the point of keeping the deal verbal was 'to disguise its real purpose.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denied this was the case and said she had dealt with Clifford 'over many years', and the company had dealings with him over forty five years and trusted him. Edis put it to her: 'You needed to stop Mr Mulcaire because you did not want the truth coming out.' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said: 'The civil liabilities had the potential to be damaging financially and reputationally. Glenn Mulcaire was, by anybody's standards, an unreliable witness and not knowing what he would say and the damage that would cause with the ever increasing civil liability exposure. We were protecting the company by settling with Mr Clifford.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told the court she would allow journalists to commit criminal offences to pursue a story 'if it was in the public interest.' She was asked whether she had specifically told journalists not to hack phones. 'I did not say that to my journalists,' she said. Edis said: 'Although you learned in the late nineties it was possible?' She replied: 'Yes.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denies two counts of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, one of which relates to her husband's concealment of bags on the day of her arrest. The trial continues.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, as you probably know dear blog reader, has been out of the publishing game for three or four years now. But, it's still remarkable that barely a month seems to go by without yer actual KTT his very self receiving an e-mail - usually via this blog - at Stately Telly Topping Manor from some youf or other (mostly, I should note, female and more often than not, from America) asking if yer actual Keith Telly Topping can send them ('as soon as possible' and, seemingly at Keith Telly Topping's own cost) a copy of Slayer. Since the e-mailer is, they claim, 'writing an essay' on some aspect of the television show Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and, according to the Internet, yer actual Keith Telly Topping seems to know what he's talking about in relation to this programme. One or two of these e-mails even end with the word 'please'. Most, however, don't. Keith Telly Topping's standard reply contains a link to the Amazon website where anyone interested can purchase a - used - copy of said guide for, like, one pence (admittedly with a couple of quid postage on top). I do, however, tend to end such e-mails saying that if there is anything which they want to know that isn't covered in the book, please do feel free to drop Keith Telly Topping another e-mail and he'll be glad to help if he can, time permitting. That's usually the last yer actual Keith Telly Topping ever hears from 'em. This week, however, he received a reply to his reply which began, charmingly, 'FUCK U [sic], U [sic] MONEY-GRABING [sic] BASTRD [sic].' Perhaps unwisely, Keith Telly Topping then sent his own second reply to the young lady in question's second reply pointing out, firstly, and not unreasonably Keith Telly Topping feels, that on a book which is on sale (second hand) for a penny he, personally, is very unlikely to make any money out of it. He did, however, withdraw his offer of any further assistance should the e-mailer require it and ended with the hope that the young lady in question 'gets an F' for her essay (if, indeed, such an essay exists, ever did exist or may exist in the future). Along with the observation that, if the spelling displayed in her e-mail is anything to go by, even an 'F' might be aiming a bit high. Gosh, dear blog reader, isn't the Internet full of such lovely, thoughtful people? When Keith Telly Topping were t'lad, if 'ee wanted to blag a freebie off an author, first 'ee had to lick t'road outside their 'ouse clean wi'tongue. What befuddles yer actual Keith Telly Topping isn't so much the obnoxiousness of such a reply - let's be fair, some people are just effing bellends by nature; this blogger may well be one of them! - rather it's the bewildering sense of entitlement that so may people seem to have these days. Case in point, Keith Telly Topping remembers a couple of years ago receiving a, broadly, similar request (I think that one was, also, concerning Slayer) and when he did his usual pointing out that the book was available and could be purchased very cheaply, he got an - admittedly not quite as badly-spelled or sweary - similar reply to the one from this week in which the person making that request said: 'I didn't want to buy the book, I just need it for a few days to get some facts from it.' Oh, so that's all right, then. Keith Telly Topping's reply was: 'I trust that the next time you hear a song you like on the radio, you'll be writing to the band in question asking them to send you a copy of the CD so you can take what you want from it?' Then, it struck yer actual Keith Telly Topping that, of course the person wouldn't do they, instead they'd just download it off an illegal torrent site somewhere. Bad example, clearly!
Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage are to go head-to-head on BBC television in a debate on Britain's future in Europe. God, bet that'll be riveting. The hour-long debate will be shown on BBC2 from 7pm on Wednesday 2 April, and will be hosted by David Dimbleby. Clegg's Liberal Democrats are the most pro-EU of the main parties at Westminster, while Farage's UKiP are a bunch of right-wing turds who advocate withdrawing from the EU and various other insane and cretinish malarkey. They have been involved in a growing spat over the issue, ahead of May's European elections. Oooo, pure dead vexed both of them are. Last month, Farage accepted Clegg's invitation to a televised 'open debate' on whether the UK should stay in the EU. The BBC said that the televised debate would take place in front of an audience 'selected by a reputable polling organisation to be demographically representative and with an equal number of people for and against British membership of the EU.' So, that'll be hippies versus skinheads, then? Great, it's like 1971 all over again. Questions will come from the audience members. Like 'why they fuck are we here?' presumably. James Harding, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, said: 'We are delighted to have negotiated successfully to broadcast this important debate. Europe is always a highly charged issue in British politics and this is a fantastic opportunity to test the arguments.' It comes as Clegg accused the UK Independence Party leader and his colleagues in the European Parliament of failing to 'stand up for Britain.' In a speech on the EU's role later, Clegg will say that Farage 'rarely' turns up to vote in Brussels and should 'get down to work.' But Farage said that some of the deputy Prime Minister's comments were factually 'quite wrong.' In a speech to the Centre for European Reform think tank later, the deputy Prime Minister will launch an attack on his rival, saying: 'Nigel Farage and deputy leader Paul Nuttall rarely turn up to vote in the European Parliament, despite being happy to take their taxpayer-funded salaries. UKiP MEPs refuse to roll up their sleeves and get down to work. Nigel Farage hasn't tabled a single amendment to EU legislation since July 2009.' Clegg, himself a former MEP, will acknowledge a need for some reform, saying: 'Where the EU has become intrusive, it needs to be pushed back. We want to keep the UK opted out of rules we believe are damaging, like the forty eight-hour cap on the working week in the Working Time Directive. Working with our allies, the UK is already taking action to cut excessive EU red tape, saving thousands of pounds for thousands of small business across Britain.' In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Farage explained: 'We're being told that UKiP doesn't spend enough time in the European Parliament. But the reason for that is that our objective as MEPs is not to keep voting endlessly for more EU legislation and to take power away from Westminster. Our view for fifteen years here has been we engage sufficiently here and we use that information to get a debate going back in the UK, and it seems to me that given the debate we are now having on the EU the UKiP policy has been pretty successful.' He also said that the group of MEPs that he leads, the 'Europe of Freedom and Democracy', had 'put down hundreds of amendments since 2009, so factually Nick Clegg is quite wrong in what he's saying here.' But he concluded: 'We don't believe [the EU] can be amended or changed. We want to get divorced from it so we can get back to running our own country.'

A TV presenter working for the Kremlin-funded broadcaster Russia Today has denounced as 'wrong' the country's 'military intervention' in Ukraine. 'I can't stress enough how strongly I am against any state intervention in a sovereign nation's affairs,' Abby Martin declared in her news programme. RT said that it 'respected' Martin's views, and that she would not be reprimanded. Just, you know, stabbed in the leg with a poison-tipped umbrella. Or something. Armed men dressed in what appear to be Russian uniforms have surrounded army bases in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and started strutting around like they own the gaff. The Southern region has become the major focus of post-uprising Ukraine, with Kiev accusing Moscow of 'invading' Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the butcher of Grosny, has denied the presence of his troops in the peninsula, saying those surrounding military bases were 'pro-Russian self-defence groups.' And, not at all the Red Army. Oh no, very hot water. Martin made her remarks at the end of her Breaking The Set show, broadcast from a studio in Washington. 'Just because I work here doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence,' she claimed, adding: 'What Russia did was wrong.' The outspoken presenter admitted that she did not possess in-depth knowledge of Ukraine's history or 'cultural dynamics', but insisted that military intervention was not the answer. 'I will not sit here and apologise for, or defend, military aggression,' she said. Martin also criticised press coverage of the Ukrainian crisis, calling it 'rife with disinformation' and 'disappointing from all sides of the media spectrum.' In response to the journalist's on-air statement, the Russian TV channel said: 'Contrary to the popular opinion, RT doesn't beat its journalists into submission, and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on-the-air.' Presumably, they said all this as they was searching for something to give Martin a damned good shoeing with. The broadcaster added that it would send Martin to Crimea to 'give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicentre of the story.' Thereafter, it is expected that she will become the news anchor for Serbia Today in tandem with becoming prisoner number 6428713.

The trial of al-Jazeera journalists accused of aiding a terrorist organisation is due to resume in Egypt. In all, twenty people - including former a BBC correspondent, Peter Greste - are on trial, but six are in absentia. Al-Jazeera denies that eleven of the defendants are among its employees. They all deny charges of supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The trial is widely seen as a test of Egypt's army-backed government and its attitude towards freedom of the press. The government and its supporters have accused international news networks of bias in their reporting of the ongoing political crisis. People in cities across the world have been staging protests in support of the journalists since the trial opened last month. They are demanding the release of Greste, an Australian al-Jazeera English reporter, as well as Egyptian-Canadian Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed and Egyptian al-Jazeera Arabic reporter Abdallah Elshamy. The first three were seized in a raid at a Cairo hotel on 29 December, while Elshamy was detained in the Egyptian capital on 14 August. Fahmy and Mohamed are among sixteen Egyptians charged with 'belonging to a terrorist organisation' and 'harming national unity.' And, 'looking at us in a funny way', presumably. Greste and three other foreigners who have left the country - British al-Jazeera reporters Dominic Kane and Sue Turton, and the Dutch newspaper and radio journalist Rena Netjes - are accused of 'collaborating with the Egyptians by providing them with money, equipment, information' and 'airing false news.' Those present at the start of the trial pleaded extremely not guilty to all charges. Al-Jazeera cameraman Mohamed Badr was released last month after seven months in detention.

Yer actual Stephen Fry is set to narrate a musical broadcast of one of the UK's first same-sex weddings since the equal marriage bill passed. Called Our Gay Wedding: The Musical, the sixty-minute television special will be broadcast by Channel Four. West End star Nathan Taylor and composer Benjamin Till are writing the music and lyrics for the nuptials, which will sung during vows and readings. The musical will reportedly feature 'guest stars and showbiz legends', accompanied by Fry's commentary and introductions. John Hay, commissioning editor for arts at Channel Four, said of the planned special: 'We are proud to be marking a huge milestone for gay rights - a cause that has long been close to Channel Four's heart.'

The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has tweeted a parody photo of Ellen Degeneres's Oscars selfie. The original photo went viral on Sunday, after the Oscars host took a group photo with the likes of Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong'o, Bradley Cooper, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey. Shortly after the picture was submitted, Twitter experienced intermittent outages for around twenty minutes. Sadly, that didn't last. Four days after the photo was originally posted, it has notched up over three million retweets. Posted to Homer Simpson's official Twitter feed, Groening's version of the photo is referred to as 'the ugly true story of that Oscar selfie', featuring the stars in Simpsons-style animation, with characters Homer and Bart Simpson in the frame. Several other parodies of the photo have been posted since it went viral, including a recreation by the BBC Breakfast team.
The actress Prunella Scales has 'a sort of mild Alzheimer's', her husband Timothy West has revealed in the Radio Times. In the couple's upcoming More4 programme, Tim and Pru's Slow Boat, West says that his wife 'can't remember things very well.' Scales, eighty one, said it won't stop her from performing: 'I always say I want to die on the eighth curtain call.' The Alzheimer's Society thanked West for 'raising awareness. Their recent adventure navigating Britain's canals shows that it is possible to live well with dementia and plan to carry on enjoying life.' A transmission date for the series has yet to be announced. West, who has recently been appearing in EastEnders, says in the programme: 'She can't remember things very well, but you don't have to remember things on the canal. You can just enjoy things as they happen - so it's perfect for her,' adds the actor. The show will see the pair embark on four canal journeys across the UK. Dementia is difficult to diagnose, particularly in its early stages and there are many different types of the illness. Rebecca Wood, chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, the UK's leading dementia research charity, said: 'It's always sad to learn that a much-loved public figure is living with Alzheimer's, and this news will have touched the hundreds of thousands of families across the UK who are facing a similar struggle. By speaking out about their experiences, the couple have helped bring dementia into the spotlight, in turn helping to tackle some of the stigma that still surrounds the condition. We are grateful to them for helping to bring attention to the many challenges faced by people with Alzheimer's disease.' She also said that West, seventy nine, had backed the charity's calls for increased funding for dementia research in the past.

Mark Lawson, the presenter of BBC Radio 4's Front Row, is to leave the nightly arts programme after sixteen years. The broadcaster's departure follows allegations of bullying among several staff in the BBC Radio arts unit, which makes programmes including Front Row according to the Gruniad Morning Star. 'The claims of bullying are understood to have been made in a collective formal complaint by the National Union of Journalists,' the Gruniad alleges. Lawson, who also writes for the Gruniad, is understood to have denied any suggestion of bullying, though he has acknowledged that there were 'editorial arguments.' Lawson has been away from the programme for a month on what were described as 'medical grounds.' He said he was 'taking a break' from live radio journalism but hoped to return to Radio 4 at some point in the future. The fifty one-year-old, who is one of the BBC's most prominent arts broadcasters on radio as well as BBC2 and BBC4, said in a statement: 'The BBC and I have agreed that I should step down as presenter of Front Row and for personal reasons I shall be taking a break from live daily radio journalism. It has been an extraordinary experience and privilege to work on the programme for sixteen years and I very much hope to be able to return to work on Radio 4 in the future.' Lawson, who has written several plays for Radio 4 and four novels, has conducted around three thousand interviews for Front Row and has been the programme's main presenter since it started in 1998. Following his departure, the BBC said the programme, which is broadcast on Radio 4 from Monday to Friday, would be presented by John Wilson and Kirsty Young, alongside guest presenters such as Tom Sutcliffe. The Radio 4 controller, Gwyneth Williams, said: 'Mark has been an outstanding presenter of Front Row and we hope to work with him again in the future on Radio 4.' Asked about the allegations of bullying by the Gruniad, a BBC spokesman said: 'We don't confirm or comment on HR issues.' He added: 'We can confirm that Mark Lawson is leaving Front Row. He has been away from the programme for a month on medical advice.' A new series of the presenter's BBC4 interview show, Mark Lawson Talks To ..., is due to start next week. Lawson presented The Late Show on BBC2 in the 1990s and The Late Review, which became the Newsnight Review and The Review Show, which moved from BBC2 to BBC4 last year. Bullying at the BBC was a focus of a report by the barrister Dinah Rose QC published last year, which concluded that there were 'widespread allegations' of bullying and 'an inadequate complaints procedure.' The BBC arts unit complaints were, the Gruniad hastily note, 'unrelated to the Rose review.' On Front Row, which replaced Radio 4's arts programme Kaleidoscope, Lawson interviewed stars such as Dame Helen Mirren, Woody Allen and Russell Crowe, who famously stormed out of the Radio 4 studio after Lawson said he sounded 'a little Irish' in his film portrayal of Robin Hood.

Fans following this year's Formula 1 season coverage on the BBC will be able to choose from a selection of different cameras for viewing the action. BBC Sport will provide unprecedented live streams from several parts of Grand Prix tracks on web-enabled devices. There are now five different video options on top of the usual live TV coverage, with viewers able to watch from the pit-lane camera, follow the driver tracker or watch a stream from on-board cameras. Options to watch TV pictures with Radio 5Live commentary over the top and a timing screen are also available. The all-access coverage will be open to audiences through the BBC Sport website and via the BBC Sport apps for mobiles, tablets and connected TVs. The live pit-lane camera will also be available through the red button. For race weekends hosted by Sky Sports, the BBC's website will include live audio from Radio 5Live alongside text commentary. Highlights will be accessible after all sessions and connected TVs will also include on-demand video highlights after each session, along with race reports and analysis. 'We are all excited about the new F1 season on the BBC,' the corporation's head of F1 Ben Gallop said. '2014 sees new faces to complete our first-rate team and a stronger digital offering to our output than ever before, which really puts users in control of the action. This season has already got everyone talking, with intriguing technical changes and team line-ups, and we're looking forward to bringing that in all its glory to our audiences.' The divine Goddess that is Suzi Perry will present the BBC's coverage, accompanied by chief analyst Eddie Jordan, expert analyst Allan McNish, commentators Ben Edwards and David Coulthard and pit lane reporters Lee McKenzie and Tom Clarkson.

England boss Roy Hodgson has defended Tom Cleverley after a ludicrous online petition was set up calling for The Scum midfielder to be banned from selection for his World Cup squad. The petition, which accuses Cleverley of 'inept' displays, has gained over ten thousand signatures since it was posted. It was, presumably, set up by the same sort of self-entitled effing arseholes who want to see Steven Moffat sacked by the BBC for the utterly dreadful crime of 'producing a TV show in a way I don't like.' The Special People, in other words. Hodgson, who has included the twenty four-year-old in Wednesday's squad to face Denmark, said: 'It doesn't impress me. He deserves to be in this thirty-man group. He's done an awful lot of good.' Cleverley has been part of The Scum side which has struggled in manager David Moyes's first season (and, possibly, only) in charge and sit seventh in the Premier League table. But Hodgson said: 'I don't think it's correct people should single out one player for Manchester United's lack of success this season. I would like to think that I'm not going to have the England team selected in the future by petitions from various people who are holding it against one person for a team's lack of success. You can't expect a football coach to have any sympathy with it.' While Hodgson is adamant Cleverley warrants his place in the party to face Denmark at Wembley, he added that he can offer 'no guarantees' that the midfielder will make his final party for this summer's finals in Brazil. He added: 'Whether he'll make the twenty three or not will of course depend on a lot of things, not least of all how he does in the next couple of months. But that doesn't just apply to Tom Cleverley, that applies to a good many players. I'm disappointed that Tom, as a sensitive young man, has got to bear that burden. But I know one thing, he will come through it and when he does come through it and Manchester United start winning again and he's starting to get praise for his performances, he'll be stronger for it.'

Paddy Power's controversial advertising campaign featuring Oscar Pistorius, which offers 'money back if he walks', is to be investigated by the UK's advertising watchdog after receiving nearly fifty complaints. The adverts, which offer refunds for losing bets if the South African Paralympian is found not guilty of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been criticised for being in appallingly bad taste. The Advertising Standards Authority received forty six complaints in two days and has now decided to launch a formal investigation. The investigation will centre on whether Paddy Power breached advertising rules around causing offence. The print advertising campaign shows the head of Pistorius superimposed on a statue of an Oscar award. Next to it, the advert states 'It's Oscar Time. Money back if he walks. We will refund all losing bets on the Oscar Pistorius trial if he is found not guilty.' On its website, Paddy Power encourages 'savvy punters' to take 'a courtroom flutter' adding 'who can tell at this point what will unfold? But one thing's for sure, trial verdicts don't come much bigger than this.' Just hours after the advert appeared in newspapers and on social media a petition to halt it was launched on Change.org, which has now attracted more than one hundred and ten thousand signatures. The woman who started the petition wrote on Tuesday in a Gruniad Morning Star comment piece: '[The trial] is a huge global moment, but also a story of the tragic loss of Reeva Steenkamp. To bookmaker Paddy Power, it's an opportunity to make a few quid and tell some sick jokes. It must drop the bet, apologise for the adverts and give a donation to an organisation working with victims of domestic violence.'

On a similar theme, the BBC has apologised after a local radio station played the sound of a screaming woman and howling dogs over a report on the Oscar Pistorius trial. A 'technical glitch' (allegedly) meant that after the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire reporter announced that the South African Paralympian had pleaded not guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, listeners heard the sound of dogs howling. As the presenter said 'he admits shooting Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year', a woman’s screams could be heard. There was then what sounded like booing. Listen to it, here. The show's host Vic Minett said after the incident: 'Apologies for a couple of technical problems during that news bulletin. A few odd things sneaking in there.' A BBC spokesperson said: 'There was a technical mistake where sound effects being prepared in another studio for an unrelated item were accidentally broadcast over the news bulletin. We apologised for the error immediately afterwards.'

For once yer actual Keith Telly Topping couldn't decide whether P, in Keith Telly Topping's A To Z Of Groovy Tunes stood for The Passions, The Pretenders or The Paris Angels. So, in the end, he concluded that, actually, it stood for all three of them.
The next Keith Telly Topping's A To Z Of Groovy Tunes will, of course, be O. Which is for 'Ohmigod, I forgot about "O"'.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Russell Kane's a deeply unfunny tosser. That aside, I'd really hate to see BBC3 go; the documentaries alone are worth keeping the station going (Our War, Growing Up With Downs, Don't Call Me Stupid, Junior Doctors to name but a few) and the notion that the channel that gave us (but then stupidly took away) Ideal being no more is rather saddening really.