Tuesday, March 11, 2014

R Is For Righteous, Rotten, Risible and Right To Reply

Psst. Wanna see an on-location photo of yer actual Jenna Coleman from the new series of Doctor Who, dear blog reader? Your wish, as it were, is yer actual Keith Telly Topping's command and that.
Former EastEnders actor Steve John Shepherd is rumoured to be the new incarnation of The Doctor's nemesis, The Master. Albert Square's former bad boy might have more in common with the Time Lord's seminal foe than you may think, especially if a selfie posted by Shepherd – who played Michael Moon in the BBC soap – online is anything to go by. Looking light years away from the fastidiously dapper and clean-shaven Walford wideboy he portrayed between 2010 and 2013, the forty-year-old has grown himself a sinister beard which is something of a dead ringer for the 'rubbish' type sported by The Master in several of his previous incarnations throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, the photo appears to show the actor standing by a seaside outcrop which resembles the windswept South Wales coastline. Its upload date, 19 January, is also claimed to be 'around the same time' that the new series of Doctor Who was filming in Merthyr Mawr, just a short hop from both Porthcawl and Ogmore-by-Sea. This could add credence to the ongoing Internet rumours that Shepherd was up for the role, whispers which were inadvertently started by Shepherd himself late last year when he appeared on ITV's notorious breakfast flop Daybreak to reveal he was about to start work on 'a big project' in the New Year but 'couldn't go into the details.'

The final ever Twatting About On Ice episode attracted under six million viewers on Sunday, according to overnight data. The 2014 finale of the wretched and, thankfully now extremely cancelled, ITV pro-celebrity skiding-and-falling-over series was seen by 5.94 million viewers at 7pm, dropping from last year's overnight figure of 6.69m. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Later, Mr Selfridge rose by eighty thousand punters from last week to 4.58m at 9pm. BBC1's Call The Midwife remained on top of the evening's ratings once again for its finale episode of the series, but dropped by seven hundred thousand viewers from the previous week to 8.20m at 8pm. The Musketeers was up slightly from last week to 4.44m at 9pm, while Countryfile had earlier appealed to 5.78m at 7pm. On BBC2, the first of the two part Top Gear Burma Special was watched by 5.31m at 8pm, up by two hundred thousand from last week. Wild Burma: Nature's Lost Kingdom gathered 1.08m at 7pm, while Fast & Fearless intrigued 1.67m at 9pm. Channel Four's Crufts 2014 coverage attracted 1.25m at 7pm, followed by the romantic movie One Day with 1.04m at 9pm. On Channel Five, the Will Smith movie Hancock had an audience of nine hundred and fifty six thousand at 7.15pm. Blade Trinity followed with eight hundred and sixty five thousand at 9pm.

Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway pulled in its highest ratings of the current series so far, according to overnight data. The third episode of the current, eleventh, series attracted 6.65 million viewers when it was shown at 7pm on ITV. The long-running entertainment format was fifty thousand viewers behind the reigning Saturday night ratings champion The Voice, which once again topped Saturday's live and overnight viewing figures. The BBC1 talent show - which Russell Kane was whinging about earlier in the week - pulled in 6.7 million punters as contestants faced off for the second bout of battle rounds at 7pm. Casualty followed at 9.20pm with 5.03m, while 3.49m watched the football highlights on Match Of The Day at 10.30pm. This was significantly down on last week's figure, possibly because this time around there wasn't footage of a manager sticking the nut on somebody. Just a guess. On BBC2, Dad's Army entertained 1.38m at 8.15pm, followed by The Perfect Morecambe & Wise with 1.42m at 8.45pm. War drama Thirty Seven Days concluded with 1.27m at 9.15pm. On ITV, The Cube continued with 3.66m at 8.20pm, while the last in the series of The Jonathan Ross Show pulled in 2.58m with guests including Richard Branson, Jennifer Hudson, Davina McCall and Sue Perkins. Channel Four's coverage of Crufts 2014 brought in 1.12m at 7pm. US drama Hostages followed with six hundred and fifty thousand punters, while a showing of X-Men: The Last Stand was seen by six hundred and thirty thousand. On Channel Five, five hundred and ninety one thousand tuned-in to see Alexander Gustafsson take on Jimi Manuwa in UFC Fight Night Live from 9pm. Earlier in the evening, NCIS attracted five hundred and thirteen thousand and six hundred and twenty nine thousand at 7pm and 8pm respectively. BBC4's Salamander topped the multichannel ratings once again, with eight hundred and fifty two thousand for the first episode of the evening at 9pm. Seven hundred and eighty five thousand watched the second episode at 9.45pm. On ITV3, Endeavour attracted to seven hundred and ninety nine thousand at 9pm, while Rosemary & Thyme was watched by six hundred and seventy three thousand earlier in the evening at 7pm. BBC3 had an audience of six hundred and six thousand at 9.15pm with a showing of the Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory. Exactly the kind of cutting-edge comedy that BBC3 specialises in has been talked about so much this week ... by self-interest wankers.

The final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Seven programmes for week-ending Sunday 2 March are as follows:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 10.65m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.32m
3 Death In Paradise - Tues BBC1 - 8.40m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.26m
5 Jonathan Creek - Fri BBC1 - 8.09m
6 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 8.06m
7 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.42m
8 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 7.28m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.97m
10 Inspector George Gently - Thurs BBC1 - 6.66m
11= Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 6.15m
11= DCI Banks - Mon ITV - 6.15m
13 Silk - Mon BBC1 - 6.13m
14 Outnumbered - Wed BBC1 - 6.04m
15 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 5.64m
16 The Musketeers - Sun BBC1 - 5.62m
17 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.45m
18 Twatting About On Ice - Sun ITV - 5.42m*
19 Pound Shop Wars - Thurs BBC1 - 5.29m
20 Mr Selfridge - Sun ITV - 5.22m*
21 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.16m
22 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 5.14m
23 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.08m
24= The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins - Sat BBC - 4.88m
24= The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.88m
26 Mrs Brown's Boys - Wed BBC1 - 4.82m
27 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.75m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated show of the week apart from Top Gear was Line Of Duty (3.34m), followed by Dragons' Den (3.26m), University Challenge (3.08m) and The Great British Sewing Bee (3.02m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was One Born Every Minute with 3.18m. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! was Channel Five's best performer with 2.06m.

It's always nice to see that Keith Telly Topping's views on a particular TV series are shared by his favourite TV reviewer, the Metro's Keith Watson. The latest in a long line of 'waddya know? Me too!' moments comes in Watto's review of True Detective: 'It’s been a while since I've had a proper man-crush on a TV character. But on current form Rust Cohle, as played by Matthew McConaughey in the compelling True Detective (Sky Atlantic) is joining Agent Fox Mulder, Dexter and Kasper from Borgen on a very select shortlist. Given a killer script to work with, McConaughey nails it, offering up a blistering annihilation of evangelical religion in the opening moments of episode three. Rust's loathing of the hallelujah crowd for their "transfer of fear and self-loathing to an authoritarian vessel" was a blackly humorous treat, delivered with deadpan intensity from a man for whom contentment is a distant stranger. No, he's not a cuddly character, this Rust who never sleeps. He articulates the ills of the world with the freedom of a man who no longer cares about being liked. Watching him at work is both liberating and naggingly depressing because, as we know from the fast forwards, no good will come of his alienated intelligence. Seriously, what's not to love?' What, indeed, he said!
In what may have been the biggest website failure of the young century, HBO GO, the cable channel's online streaming service, crashed on Sunday night, deflating the anticipation of excited viewers settling in to watch the season finale of True Detective online. What went wrong, you may ask? On Monday morning, HBO issued the following statement: 'Due to overwhelming interest in the season finale of True Detective, HBO GO was hit with an excessive amount of traffic soon after 9:00 PM ET last night. The issue has since been rectified and the service is now back to normal.' True Detective has enjoyed fantastic popularity in its first season, racking up almost eleven million weekly viewers in the US alone by the end of February, according to the The Hollywood Reporter. The company bills HBO GO as 'an alternative to live television' (that'd be 'dead television', presumably?) and access to it is restricted to HBO subscribers, who must pay a fee on top of a regular cable subscription. Whom one would assume, would have been totally God damn pissed off by this malarkey.
Incidentally, having now seen the full series of eight episode, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is ready to speculate that the biggest TV disappointment of 2015 is going to be True Detective series two. Because, there is no way on Earth it could, possibly, be any better than series one. You heard it here first, dear blog reader.
If you were watching Top Gear instead on Sunday night, dear blog reader - and, if you weren't, why the hell not, y'geet daft plank? - Jessica Raine, the lead actress in Call The Midwife, has exited the show after an emotional third series finale. Raine's character, Jenny Lee, quit her role as a midwife to begin working in a Marie Curie cancer hospital and to start a new life with Phillip Worth (played by Stephen Ashfield). The voice of the mature Jenny (Vanessa Redgrave) will still narrate future series of the massively popular BBC period drama, as it was explained that Jenny remained in contact with the staff at Nonnatus House and that she continued to share their stories with the world. Raine exited the show reportedly to pursue new acting projects after becoming something of a major star in the BBC1 period drama. She recently appeared in BBC2's Line Of Duty, and also in an acclaimed performance as verity Lambert in the Doctor Who biopic An Adventure In Space And Time last year (not to mention an appearance in Doctor Who itself. Raine will soon appear in the new Sky Atlantic drama Fortitude alongside Christopher Eccleston and Michael Gambon. It was an eventful series finale for the BBC drama as Miranda Hart's character Chummy Noakes lost her mother to cancer. Shelagh Turner (Laura Main) and Patrick Turner (Stephen McGann) were also successful in their attempts to adopt a baby. Meanwhile, Raine's character was shown growing tired of midwifery and discovering a new passion for helping the terminally ill. Call The Midwife will return for a Christmas special this year and a fourth series in 2015.

Cheryl Cole has signed a deal to return as a judge on The X Factor for a reported one and a half million smackers, it has been revealed. Ah Cheryl, love, they always say never go back. Ask Howard Kendall. Or Kevin Keegan for that matter.

Channel Four is to broadcast the TV adaptation of the Coen brothers' Oscar-winning film Fargo, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Sherlock's Martin Freeman. The ten-part series will have its US premiere in April on cable channel FX and be shown in the UK shortly afterwards. Set in Minnesota, it will focus on a small-town insurance salesman preyed upon by a manipulative drifter. Colin Hanks, The West Wing's Oliver Platt and Breaking Bad's Bob Odenkirk also have roles in the MGM Television production. Jay Hunt, Channel Four's chief creative officer, said that Fargo was 'a dark comedy, beautifully directed with a stunning cast.' Joel and Ethan Coen, whose 1996 film on which the series is based won Oscars for their screenplay and for lead actress Frances McDormand, are executive producers on the series. Freeman plays the role of Lester Nygaard, an insurance salesman based on the character played by William H Macy in the film. As well as Sherlock, the forty two-year-old is best known for his roles in BBC sitcom The Office and as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit film series. Thornton plays Lorne Malvo, a character the actor described as 'a mysterious stranger from out of town' at a Fargo press event in January. The fifty eight-year-old previously worked with the Coen brothers on their films The Man Who Wasn't There and Intolerable Cruelty.

BBC3 controller Zai Bennett has become the latest self-interest bell-end to whinge like a big kid about the manifest unfairness of life, describing the channel's move online as 'perverse.' And, the chances of Zai Bennett keeping his job much longer, do we think? Writing in the Gruniad Morning Star - the home of all good whinging - about the news that BBC3 will become an online-only offering from autumn 2015, Bennett pointed to the success of the channel among young people. 'We've rightly heard a lot about Gavin & Stacey, Little Britain and our recent comedy hits like Bad Education and The Revolution Will Be Televised, but let's not forget that BBC3 is also the only channel in the UK that makes documentaries and current affairs specifically for the young adult audience,' he claimed. Interestingly, the Gruniad chose to illustrate this story with a photo from ... Family Guy. 'nuff said, really. Not only that, but, frankly, Bennett will always be remembered as the frigging arsehole who, upon taking up his job, cancelled one of the most important and brilliant new comedy series BBC3 produced, Ideal so, to be honest, if he claimed black was darker than white this blogger would require a second opinion. 'From Our War to The Call Centre via Tough Young Teachers, BBC3 tackles the most serious of subjects, but delivers them in a unique way that young adult audiences find compelling,' Bennett whinged. He continued: 'Of course people don't like everything we do and we get things wrong - that's inherent in trying new things - but a good BBC3 is one that embraces its capacity for failure as much as success. In the past two years the channel, which is on a fraction of the budget of the big boys, has won the BAFTAs for comedy and drama as well as twice for best factual programme. When you add to that the numerous RTS, channel of the year and other awards that we've won, I do find it slightly perverse that I am writing about the fact the station will cease to be a linear channel from next autumn.' Bennett, who stressed that BBC3 is 'not only still open, but thriving', added that the channel has already been 'trailblazing' with its online content. 'To move wholly into this area BBC3 will have to embrace its creative, risk-taking nature more than ever,' he said. 'BBC3 has been amazing at growing talent; it now has to redouble its efforts. It will definitely be a smaller originator than it used to be with about half of its current budget, but that money can be focused on being the best in class rather than filling a linear schedule.' Bennett acknowledged that the strategy 'may not pay off', saying: 'Moving online puts BBC3 significantly ahead of where viewers currently are - that's an enormous risk, but that's part of what BBC3 is all about.' He added that BBC3 - which he described as 'the training ground for British television' - will 'need to keep nurturing talent' and continue to 'listen to its audience' over the coming months. 'The new BBC3 is yet to be fully formed,' he said. 'I hope it will embrace everything that has made the existing channel first class, but if it is going to succeed it will have to listen to its audience. They are shouting loudly and clearly right now that they aren't happy. There are petitions and campaigns exactly where you'd expect them to be for a youth channel - in social media. The BBC Trust is about to engage with audiences on these proposals. I hope they do so in a way this audience can easily interact with. The real test of the success of BBC3's next phase will be how it harnesses that engagement; listens and creates something people can feel passionate about. The audience have to have a say in shaping what comes next, and when it is up and running they need to have a constant and evolving conversation with it, informing everything it creates.' Bennett concluded that he is 'confident' BBC3 will 'continue to flourish', saying: 'I and the small but dedicated BBC3 team were all shocked, but it is heartening that after the news sunk in everyone talked about not only how to make this change work, but how to ensure the new BBC3 is world class.' Of course, Bennett himself won't be there to see the changes through. Oh, no. He'll have found himself a nice, well paid, job in the commercial sector long before that happens. Where he can go back to doing what he did at ITV2 and commissioning more programmes featuring Kerry Katona, no doubt.

And, speaking of odious, risible Kerry Katona, the former reality TV regular's latest desperate attempt the shoehorn herself back into the limelight would seem to be, wait for it, another reality TV show. According to the Metro, odious, risible Kerry Katona 'thinks her family would make for a great reality TV.' Wow, what are the chances? 'It's madness in our house - you would be surprised,' Metro quotes her as saying. No, Kerry, we really wouldn't.

A report into how the BBC is funded has recommended arguing for the licence fee to be pegged to inflation from 2020, instead of the current freeze. The BBC commissioned the 'blue-skies' report to explore future funding options, featuring views from a panel of independent economists, media experts and academics. It also recommended making better use of commercial revenues to boost funds. The BBC denied claims that it backed the introduction of a subscription service. 'The report recommends that the BBC pursue an inflationary licence fee increase with greater commercial revenue. No subscription model is recommended,' the corporation said a statement. It follows a - seemingly shit-stirring - report in The Sunday Times (owner, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, whom no one is scared of any more) claiming the BBC was calling for the licence fee to be scrapped. The current fee has been frozen at £145.50 since 2010 when a deal was imposed on it by the current government. It is up for renewal at the end of 2016, with some media watchers suggestion negotiations could start as early as this year. However the BBC's report looked at ideas for funding beyond 2020. A draft version is claimed by The Sunday Times to have recommended the BBC consider coming out of public ownership and becoming a mutual, owned by its users, if an inflation rise for the licence fee was ruled out by the government. The Sunday Times had also claimed that the majority of a twelve-strong centenary review set up by James Purnell, the former Labour minister who is now the BBC's director of strategy and digital, supported the change. Though, if the BBC statement is correct then this would appear to be a right load of lies. It also reported that the review recommended freezing the licence fee until 2020. The BBC's royal charter, which sets out its scope and remit, and funding arrangement – both ten-year agreements – is up for renewal at the end of 2016. Tony Hall, the BBC Director General, and other senior executives have already begun making the case for licence fee renewal. The licence fee was frozen at £145.50 in the last deal thrashed out with the newly elected coalition government in October 2010 and will remain at that level until 2016, a sixteen per cent cut in real terms. The BBC also had extra funding commitments foisted upon it, including the World Service and Welsh language broadcaster S4C. Last week Hall argued that the 2010 funding deal was forcing the BBC to make tough choices, including the closing of BBC3. Danny Cohen, the BBC director of television, said that further funding cuts could also put BBC4's future in jeopardy. On Friday the lack of justice secretary, the vile and odious shiny slapheed Grayling, mooted the idea of making the non-payment of the licence fee a civil rather than criminal matter, to ease the pressure on courts. Cases of people accused of evading the annual fee accounted for more than one in ten of all criminal prosecutions last year – with one hundred and fifty five thousand punters being extremely convicted and fined. The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Miller, said that the proposal, backed by more than one hundred odious MPs, was 'an interesting idea' which could form part of negotiations over the renewal of the BBC charter. The corporation is also aiming to make more money through a revamp of the iPlayer which will allow viewers to access paid-for programmes from a new BBC download service. The idea of replacing the subscription service has been raised before. Last month former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross said that the current charter should be the last and it should be replaced with a subscription system. As though anybody gives a frigging shit about what Nick Ross thinks. About anything. Addressing a seminar discussion for the thinktank Civitas (no, me neither), he said: 'The licence fee has just reached the end of its natural lifespan. It's already eighty eight years old and she will be well into her nineties by the time of charter renewal.' At the time the BBC said a subscription model would lead to 'more expensive fees paid for by fewer people.'

Channel Four News - a bunch of smug glakes who thinks they're so much more on the ball than everyone else - has removed a vox pop story purporting to represent the views of Brixton residents from its website, after it emerged that four out of the five people interviewed were, actually, from the same marketing agency. This story was widely reported in other smug organs of middle class hippy Communism, the Gruniad and the Independent. Now, that's irony. The story by Channel Four News reporter, Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, was broadcast on Thursday 6 March and questioned a number of alleged Brixton residents about their attitude towards the police, after the publication of an independent inquiry that found Scotland Yard had spied on Stephen Lawrence's family. Channel Four News took down the video from its website on Sunday after questions were raised about the report on a Brixton community news website. The report was filmed at a Brixton Unite day, which was jointly organised by Lambeth council and the police. The report included what was purported to be a vox pop interview with 'five members of the local community' in South London, asking them their views on community relations with the police. However, it transpired that four out of the five interviewee worked for Livity, 'a youth-focused marketing agency.' Only one of those interviewed was credited with having links to Livity in the report. The fifth person interviewed was Lee Jasper, the former chief race advisor to Ken Livingstone when he was London's Mayor. In a statement, Channel Four weaselled: 'This was a quick turnaround project, the journalist interviewed people who live, work or were born in Brixton – who also worked for Livity. They all expressed their own individual views. We accept we should have been clear they they all worked at the same place, we should have made further enquiries and we regret this oversight. The report was removed from the Channel Four News website yesterday.'
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks has extremely admitted to rubber stamping payments to military 'sources' whilst she was editor at the Sun at the Old Bailey phone-hacking trial. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks also admitted on Monday that she 'did not question' whether the 'source' of a series of stories that came from a reporter's 'ace military source' was a public official who could not be paid without the law being extremely broken. Crown prosecutor Andrew Edis, QC, quizzed well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks about a series of e-mails from the reporter in question requesting 'tens of thousands of pounds' for his 'military source.' She responded to one request for payment in under a minute and to another within two minutes, the jury was told. 'You really were just acting as a rubber stamp weren't you?' Edis asked. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'Yes.' The trial has already heard that the 'source', Bettina Jordan-Barber, worked for the army secretariat in Andover, where she had been specially vetted to have access to sensitive information so that she could prepare briefings for government ministers and the Ministry of Defence press office. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has been charged with authorising eleven payments totalling thirty eight thousand smackers to Jordan-Barber during her editorship between 2003 and 2006, a charge which well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has denied. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has told jurors that she 'did not know' who Jordan-Barber was and claimed that it 'never occurred' to her that the alleged 'source' may have been a public official when sanctioning the payments. During cross examination, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was asked whether she 'stopped to think' if the 'source' was a public official in the sixty seconds between the receipt of one of the eleven e-mail requests for payment and the reply. Edis asked: 'Did you think at all whether it was a public official?' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks responded: 'My assumption was it wasn't a public official.' Asked the question again, she replied similarly, prompting the judge to rephrase the question. Mr Justice Saunders asked: 'Did the thought actually cross your mind that this person was a public official?' Brooks replied: 'Probably not.' Edis then put it to her: 'You presumably knew all you wanted to know about this transaction because you approved it in less than a minute.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was also extremely accused by Edis of 'making the decision' to pay the public official, on one occasion, 'to give the paper a commercial advantage over its rivals.' The e-mail request related to information about a fatality in Afghanistan which would have been made public through the press office. 'There is no particular public interest in paying for that story, it was coming out anyway. The interest is purely yours, the commercial interest of your newspaper,' Edis said. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'I suppose, I would say it was a good story, yes.' She claimed that she thought the payment was 'not for the information that someone had been killed' but, rather, for a 'source' who made the 'connection' that the soldier had been Prince William's former army major. Earlier, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denied knowing that the Sun had paid a single 'source' at the MoD's press office more than eighty grand for stories. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told jurors that she had 'no idea' whom the 'source' was when a series of requests for payments were made by one of her reporters during her editorship of the paper. Under cross-examination about the authorisation systems at the paper for cash payments she said: 'They don't equal something dodgy going on.' Even though, as we now know, it clearly was. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks claimed that the reporter requesting the payments had 'a plethora of contacts in that area' and she would have 'assumed' that one 'source' described by him as 'an ace military contact' was different to a 'source' that he described in another e-mail as his 'best' military contact. 'I would not have assumed from the e-mails that [the reporter] was paying a public official because we would have a discussion about that,' she said. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has previously described the reporter as 'a story machine.' She claimed that she would have 'never questioned' who his confidential 'sources' were. Asked by Mr Justice Saunders if she would have ever asked the reporter 'what category of person he was getting information from?' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'No, I didn't.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was asked if she had ever considered that the 'number one contact' the Sun was paying was 'pretty well placed' to get stories from abroad and Sandhurst. She said: 'Probably not.' She claimed that she trusted the journalist and was 'not looking for wrong-doing' when she received the e-mails. 'So you decided not to do your job because you thought he was doing his, is that what it comes to?' Edis said. She replied: 'I think I was doing my job.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has also denied paying a serving police officer for a story while she was editor of the Sun or 'inventing' rules governing payments as part of her defence strategy for the trial. The former News International chief executive told the Old Bailey that she 'never knowingly' paid, or sanctioned payment to, a police officer for information they had obtained on duty. On her twelfth day in the witness box, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks claimed the paper 'may' have paid officers for information, such as 'gossip about a neighbour', that he or she may have picked up whilst off duty. 'I do not think the Sun, to my knowledge, made any corrupt payments to police officers during my editorship,' she told jurors. Under cross-examination by prosecutors, she was shown an e-mail from a Sun journalist requesting cash for stories that came from 'a contact' who was described as 'a serving police officer', for a story about the Mayor of Tetbury involved in 'wife swapping.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told the court that she 'couldn't remember' the e-mail but, reading it now, it 'could' be an example of a payment made for a story that had nothing to do with the officer's work. Edis questioned whether there was 'a written rule' about this distinction handed down to reporters at the Sun. Edis suggested to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks that the 'special arrangements' for paying police officers for off duty material was 'an invented hypothesis' created to justify a series of e-mails now before the court between Sun reporters and her and other senior staff regarding alleged extremely corrupt payments. 'Is your evidence about this just invented around e-mails?' Edis asked. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks responded: 'It is not invented around e-mails.' She added: 'I just wanted to make sure that I was absolutely accurate and said that occasionally it might have happened that a serving police officer might have given the Sun some information.' Interrupting well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, Edis put it to her: 'Anything might have happened. We are concerned with what did happen.' He repeatedly asked her to specify where the rule was written down distinguishing between payments to police for stories off duty from on duty. 'Where did you get it from?' Edis asked. 'Maybe the lawyers told me, I can't remember, maybe a law was passed,' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied. 'It was just accepted,' she claimed, adding 'I never, knowingly, sanctioned a payment to a police officer.' Edis asked: 'Do you know there was no written rule to your journalists which said we do not pay police officers for information they have learned in their duties?' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks replied: 'There isn't one journalist in Fleet Street who does not know you don't pay police officers.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was then shown a series of e-mails from Sun reporters and picture desk staff requesting payments to people who either appeared to be police officers or public officials. One e-mail in April 2006 referred to 'a serving police officer' who had 'supplied tips' in the past. It also stated that the news and picture desk had already agreed to pay the source one thousand knicker. Another e-mail to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks in April 2006 asked her to authorise a cash payment for one grand 'for first pic [sic] of cop killer Steven Graham.' The journalist said 'the guy who got us the picture works at Sandhurst', the military academy, and he 'didn't want it traced back to him.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks again claimed that she 'did not remember' responding to the e-mail and had to check whether the sender, Alex Dobisz, was a male or female when she was shown the e-mail during preparation for the trial. She said in this kind of instance she would have had to assess whether there was 'a public interest defence' for paying a public official. The jury was shown another e-mail, sent three months later, from another Sun journalist seeking four thousand smackers 'for a picture of Prince William at a James Bond party dressed as a Bond girl.' The journalist told well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks his 'source' was 'an instructor at Sandhurst' where Prince William trained and that the picture came from 'a fellow instructor' who 'happened to be the prince's platoon commander.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks claimed she would 'never in a million years' have thought a platoon commander would have been selling information or had 'a side deal' with the Sun and believed that the money went to 'the other chap, the unspecified chap' whom the journalist said was his 'source'. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks has already been acquitted on a fifth charge in relation to the picture of Prince William after the jury was directed to find her not guilty of the charge by the judge. The jury was shown a further e-mail about Prince Harry in Afghanistan relaying information that, the reporter says, came from 'my guy serving alongside him.' Edis asked well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks if she ever asked the reporter who this 'source' was, given the rules around paying public officials. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks once again claimed that she 'could not remember' but said that the paper had 'a lot of sources in the army' including journalists embedded with regiments in Afghanistan. Edis put it to her that public interest was not, in fact, a consideration when it came to paying for stories from police or public officials. 'None of these people who write these e-mails ever said anything about the public interest, ever said: "Listen boss, it would be in the public interest to make these payments because of A, B, C, D or E?"' Edis said. 'It's almost as if they don't know the public interest is the basis for which you make your decisions,' he added. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said the department heads at the newsdesk or picture desk 'made such assessments' all the time and the editor would have been involved when there was 'a risk of prosecution' such as the time when the Sun paid a public official for a story revealing that Saddam Hussein was threatening to swamp the country with anthrax. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks totally denies four charges including one that she unlawfully conspired to pay public officials for stories. The trial continues.

Three Sun journalists and one former Daily Mirra journalist appeared at Westminster magistrates court on Monday on charges connected to alleged payments to public officials for stories. The Sun journalists Tom Wells, Neil Millard and Brandon Malinsky and Graham Brough, formerly of the Mirra, are among eight charged as part of Scotland Yard's investigation into unlawful and naughty payments made by newspapers for stories. Reggie Nunkoo, Mark Blake and Rosemary Collier, whose jobs have not been identified by the Crown Prosecution Service, also stood alongside them in the dock accused of various sorts of misconduct. The eighth individual to appear was named as Sam Azouelos, a Met officer who faces one count of misconduct in public office between 3 July 2006 and 30 April 2010. They are among fifty two journalists and public officials to be charged and eighty four individuals to be arrested since Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden was launched in 2011. Wells, the Sun's home affairs correspondent, is facing three counts of conspiring to cause misconduct in public office in a period spanning 2008 to 2010. He is to be charged alongside Blake with 'unnamed others' and with a single public official who has not been named. Millard, a Sun reporter, is facing three counts of conspiring to cause misconduct in public office between 2010 and 2011. He has been named alongside Malinsky in relation to one count of conspiring with Nunkoo. On the second count, Millard has been accused of conspiring along with Wells and 'unnamed others', while the third count he is facing with Collier, whose place of work has not been provided by the CPS. Brough, the former Mirra journalist who left the paper in 2010, has been told he will be summoned to appear in court in relation to a conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office alongside Nunkoo over an alleged offence that took place between 2010 and 2011.

After an incident last year in which a Peppa Pig theme park's Facebook page was hacked, the popular cartoon porker is in the headlines again, this time over alleged bad language. The Sun claims that a toddler from Cardiff 'shocked her parents' by saying what sounded like the F-word after watching the show on DVD. Natalie Cox, who alleged her daughter repeatedly said 'fucking gazelles', told the paper: 'I couldn't believe my ears. She kept saying it over and over. I took the children out of the room and put on the DVD. One of the characters clearly says it. How on Earth did it get past the editors?' Actually, one of the characters doesn't say that or anything even remotely like it. In the episode in question, playgroup teacher Madame Gazelle has a leaving party and Welsh father Mister Rabbit mentions that she used to play in a pop band called 'The Rockin' Gazelles'. A Peppa Pig spokesman oinked: 'Any misunderstanding is unintentional.' Albeit, hilarious.

And, speaking of Rockin' Gazelles, in the latest Keith Telly Topping's A To Z Of Groovy Tunes, dear blog reader, R is for The Ruts.

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