Sunday, March 16, 2014

Week Thirteen: S Is For Semantic Spaces

One of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actresses, Keeley Hawes her very self is to take on a villainous role in Doctor Who - as a naughty banker. Terr, as the late comedian Mike Read would, perhaps, have said, riff and, indeed, ic. The actress will guest star in an episode in Peter Capaldi's first series as the Time Lord. 'Anyone watching the amazing Line Of Duty will know that Keeley Hawes is having one hell of year,' said Doctor Who showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. 'And now it's about to get even better as she achieves the greatest villainy yet attempted on Doctor Who: she plays a banker.' Yer actual Keeley, who previously starred in BBC dramas Ashes To Ashes, [spooks], Upstairs, Downstairs and Tipping The Velvet, will play Ms Delphox, who is described as 'a powerful out-of-this-world character with a dark secret.' The story, written by Steve Thompson, sees the new Doctor and his companion, Clara (Jenna Coleman), meet Ms Delphox when they arrive 'on a strange and puzzling planet.' The episode is directed by Douglas Mackinnon, whose previous work includes both Line Of Duty and Doctor Who. Yer actual Keeley her very self said: 'I am delighted to join Doctor Who and to be working with this incredible team. Ms Delphox is a great character and someone I've had a lot of fun playing.'
Meanwhile, here's the Digital Spy website's Ten Things You Didn't Know About Keeley Hawes. Seven of which, this blogger, actually, did know! So, sad but not totally sad. Nice to see a reminder of her wonderfully saucy appearance in james's 'She A Star' video. And, it's also a terrific excuse to include this photo again.
And, indeed, this one.
And, now we're done.

There has been a further announcement of casting for Doctor Who's series eight. And, in one case, yer actual Keith Telly Topping knew about it months ago but never said nowt. That's the kind of chap he is, right. Episode two of the new series - the one written by the very lovely Phil Ford and which is rumoured to be a Dalek episode, although that's still unconfirmed - will feature the excellent Ben Crompton playing a character called Ross. Ben is probably best known to dear blog readers for his role in Game Of Thrones (as Dolorous Tollett) although British dear blog readers may also be familiar with Ben from appearances in Clocking Off, Housewife 49, Pramface, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, a properly superb turn in the ITV drama Collision and, most notably, as the permanently 'on probation' Colin in the much-lamented BBC3 sitcom Ideal, a particular favourite of many of those involved with this blog. On the latter he worked with the Doctor Who episode's director, Ben Wheatley. The reason that yer actual Keith Telly Topping happened to stumble across this smidgen of news, around Christmas, is that he and Ben share a close mutual friend. But, being the good fanboy that he is, yer actual Keith Telly Topping remained pure dead schtum about it until the BBC confirmed the news. As he didn't fancy the idea of The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat coming around Stately Telly Topping Manor and kicking Keith Telly Topping's 'nads through his hat. Thankfully, that's no longer an issue now the news is out. Thus, From The North lost out of  - minor - scoop but yer actual Keith Telly Toppng's 'nads remained, mercifully, in tact. Also confirmed for a guest role in that episode, still as yet unnamed, is the great Michael Smiley - Spaced, Luther, The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern, Wire In The BloodUtopia - playing a character called Colonel Blue. Michael has also previously worked with Ben Wheatley on the acclaimed 2011 movie Kill List and in last year's even more acclaimed A Field In England. He's one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors and, also, a friend of a friend (the same mutual friend as Ben Cromtpn as it happens - small world!), although this blogger never even got a sniff that Michel was going to be in Doctor Who until rumours surfaced online a few weeks ago. Also confirmed are some additional cast members for the opening episode of the series, written by Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He). In addition to the previously announced returns of Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart and Dan Starkey - and a rumoured cameo by yer actual Matt Smith - the episode will also feature Emmerdale's Nigel Betts, Game Of Thrones' Tony Way and theatre actress Maggie Service.

Matt Smith his very self will be playing football for England when he takes part in this year's Soccer Aid. And he'll be facing a former nemesis in the shape of Michael Sheen - who provided the voice of the sinister House in The Doctor's Wife - at the charity event at Old Trafford on Sunday 8 June. Doors open at 5pm and kick-off is at 8pm (so, if you get there early, you can sit in the cold for three hours sipping over-priced Bovril), with the match being broadcast live on ITV. It is being held in aid of the global children's charity UNICEF, with Smudger signed up for Robbie Williams's England team. Meanwhile, Sheen is heading the opposing Rest of the World Squad. Before he became an actor, of course, Smudger's dream was to be a professional footballer, and he played for the youth teams at Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City. Sadly, the spinal condition spondylosis wrecked his sporting hopes, though the Premiership's loss was the universe's gain. However, Matt retains links to the game through his avid support for Blackburn Vindaloos and the 2010 Doctor Who episode The Lodger saw The Doctor leading the pub team The King's Arms to victory in a key Sunday morning clash.

BBC1's Holiday Hit Squad jointly topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Thursday with 3.44m at 8pm, along with Famous, Rich & Hungry at 9pm, which also had an audience of 3.44m. Question Time interested 2.34m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure brought in 2.15m at 8pm, followed by the film My Week With Marilyn with 1.37m at 9pm. ITV's coverage of Stottingtot Hotshots' Europa League loss to Benfica scored 3.13m at 7.45pm. Which was a lot more than Stottingtot Hotshots their very selves managed. On Channel Four, The Hoarder Next Door gathered 1.66m at 8pm, while Live From Space was seen by 1.40m at 9pm. How To Be A Billionaire had an audience of six hundred and eighteen thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief brought in eight hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm, followed by The Hotel Inspector with 1.33m at 9pm. Botched Up Bodies was seen by six hundred and fifty nine thousand at 10pm.

Jonathan Creek was Friday's highest-rated overnight show outside of soaps for the third week running. Down slightly from last week's 5.57m rating, the third and final episode of the mystery series was seen by 5.41 million viewers at 9pm on BBC1. The channel started the evening with 3.91m for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 2.98m for A Question Of Sport at 8.30pm. Room 101 - with guests Sue Perkins and Bruno Tonioli - had an audience of 3.44m at 8.30pm, while a New Tricks repeat ended the evening with 1.85m viewers at 10.45pm. On ITV, Student Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages was the highest-rated show outside of soaps with but 2.62m at 8pm. The fourth episode of Edge Of Heaven suffered yet another dip in viewers, picking up 1.51m at 9pm. Mastermind was once again BBC2's highest-rated show of the evening, attracting 2.31m at 8pm. The evening continued with a strong showing for Gardeners' World at 8.30pm - 2.21m - before dropping to 1.48m for I Was There: The Great War Interviews. A Qi repeat was seen by 1.51m at 10pm, Newsnight picked up eight hundred and ten thousand viewers at 10.30pm, while a hastily scheduled showing of Tony Benn: Labour's Lost Leader was watched by four hundred and seventy thousand Gruniad readers. The latest episode of Gogglebox was Channel Four's highest-rated show with 2.15m viewers at 9pm. It was preceded by Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with 1.18m at 8pm and followed by The Last Leg with 1.21m at 10pm. The Plane That Vanished: Live was a ratings success for Channel Five at 9pm, seen by 1.29m gawping voyeurs at 9pm. On the same channel, Ice Road Truckers was watched by nine hundred and sixty eight thousand.

The Voice topped Saturday primetime ratings once again with an average of 6.7 million viewers and twenty nine per cent share of the available audience from 7.25pm, according to overnight data. The BBC1 show's first episode of knock-out rounds peaked at 7.7 million punters, marking an average increase of one million more viewers than last year's equivalent episode. Put it down to Kylie, obviously. The talent contest was followed by The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins with 4.77m at 8.40pm, while 5.17m tuned in to the latest episode of medical drama Casualty at 9.30pm. On BBC2, Dad's Army attracted the channel's biggest ratings of the evening with 1.7m watching at 7.30pm. The Perfect Morecambe & Wise continued at 8pm with 1.41m, while an episode of Qi attracted 1.29m at 9.30pm. ITV's Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway held steady in the ratings with 6.5m tuning in to see the duo 'prank' Holly Willoughby on the set of Surprise Surprise from 7pm. The Cube continued at 8.20pm with 3.79m, while the series two premiere of spy drama The Americans was seen by 1.16m at 9.20pm. On Channel Four, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returned after its mid-season break to four hundred and forty thousand at 7.05pm, followed by the latest episode of Hostages, which had four hundred and fifty thousand. A showing of Bradley Cooper's Limitless pulled in eight hundred and forty thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's triple bill of NCIS kicked off at 7.05pm with six hundred and five thousand. The next episode - at 8pm - scored the highest ratings of the three with six hundred and seventy six thousand. On multichannels, Salamander concluded on BBC4 with eight hundred and eighty four thousand tuning in for the penultimate episode at 9pm and seven hundred and ninety nine thousand watching the finale at 9.40pm. ITV3's Endeavour attracted seven hundred and eighty three thousand at 9pm, while BBC3 pulled in six hundred and sixty seven thousand with an episode of Top Gear at 8.20pm.

The Voice also came out on top for its first Sunday episode of the current series. The talent contest topped the overnight ratings with 6.90 million at 7.45pm. Earlier, Countryfile interested 6.34m at 6.45pm. Later, The Musketeers continued with 4.30m at 9pm, and Match Of The Day 2 netted 2.72m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Top Gear climbed to a new peak for its current series finale and second episode of their Burma special, 6.08m watching Jezza, Jim and Dick building their rickety bridge over the River Kok at 8pm. Nice ironic use of VU's 'Heroin' on the soundtrack too. Wild Burma gathered 1.41m at 7pm, and Fast & Fearless brought in 1.44m at 9pm. ITV's Catchphrase was watched 4.59m at 7pm on its return for a new series. The Prince Harry documentary South Pole Heroes attracted 3.11m at 8pm, while Mr Selfridge was seen by 4.54m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Live From Space concluded with 1.74m watching the three-hour special at 7.30pm. On Channel Five, Hellboy II had an audience of eight hundred and thirty seven thousand punters at 7pm, followed by Killer Elite with 1.32m at 9pm.
The final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Seven programmes, week-ending Sunday 9 March:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 10.09m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.42m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.60m
4 Death In Paradise - Tues BBC1 - 8.52m
5 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 7.65m
6 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 7.59m
7 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.54m
8 Jonathan Creek - Fri BBC1 - 7.18m
9 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 6.29m
10 Outnumbered - Wed BBC1 - 6.16m
11 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 6.03m
12= Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.98m
12= Twatting About On Ice - Sun ITV - 5.98m*
14 The Musketeers - Sun BBC1 - 5.69m
15 England Friendlies - Wed ITV - 5.61m
16 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.57m
17 Silk - Mon BBC1 - 5.42m
18 DCI Banks - Mon ITV - 5.35m*
19 Birds Of A Feather - Thurs ITV - 5.32m*
20 Mr Selfridge - Sun ITV - 5.19m*
21 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.02m
22 The National Lottery: Saturday Draws - Sat BBC - 4.93m
23 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.86m
24= Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.82m
24= Rugby Six Nations - Sun BBC1 - 4.82m
26 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 4.78m
27 Mrs Brown's Boys - Wed BBC1 - 4.60m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated show of the week apart from Top Gear was Mary Berry Cooks (3.71m), followed by Line Of Duty (3.46m), University Challenge (3.33m) and The Great British Sewing Bee (3.06m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was Gogglebox with 2.94m. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! was Channel Five's best performer with 2.19m.

Yer actual MasterChef will return to BBC1 later this month, the show's official Facebook page has revealed. Gregg Wallace and John Torode will start their search for the next cooking superstar on Wednesday 26 March at 9pm. 'Our culinary Dynamic Duo are making their way back to our screens for another series of MasterChef on 26 March! Time for some BBB ... BUTTERY BISCUIT BASE' reads a post on the Facebook page, alluding to Swede Mason's epic 2011 hit 'MasterChef Synesthesia'. MasterChef will be celebrating its tenth series with Wallace and Torode this year. Previous winners of the show have included Thomasina Miers, James Nathan, Dhruv Baker and Tim Anderson.

Some time ago, the late Tony Benn left a brief, humorous, message with Channel Four to be broadcast after his death. Which is was on Friday evening's Channel Four News. The short clip shows the veteran politician and activist thanking family members including his parents, his late wife Caroline, and 'all the many, many other people who supported me, encouraged me and taught me so much.' it ends with Tony telling the director that he will 'check it on transmission'! Meanwhile, in all of the rush of sound and fury following Tony Benn's death here's a couple of thoughts from yer actual Keith Telly Topping; this blogger - genuinely - admired the man and shared many of his political and social beliefs when I was a young man (and, to a certain extent still do with some of them). It used to hugely offend Keith Telly Topping whenever he saw anyone criticising Tony Benn's anti-war views (as was a common occurrence during the Falklands, for instance). Here was a man who flew for Bomber Command during the closing overs of WWII, if anyone had the absolute right to be vocally anti-war it was Tony Benn. However, despite some of the opinions you'll have seen expressed in part of the media he was not a saint and nor did everything he stood for make sense. He was, at least according to his diaries, someone who was prepared to see a thousand Newcastle shipyard workers (including this blogger's father as it happens) thrown on the dole over political rhetoric - Benn's notorious and very public row with Jim Callaghan in 1974 over Swan Hunter's having accepted a tender under Ted Heath's government to build a warship for Pinochet's Chile. Tony was also at one time, and this is something I don't expect to see mentioned in the Gruniad's obituary of him, close to and a very public supporter of Ceaucescu ('very modest mannered, very penetrating in his abilities, I liked him'). The point Keith Telly Topping is making is that, in life, few things are ever black and white. And, as a far better writer than Keith Telly Topping once noted, 'those that are, are usually Laurel and Hardy movies'.

And so to yer next batch of Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 22 March
The opening episode of BBC4's latest European import, Inspector De Luca - 9:00 - begins its narrative in Riccione in 1938. The body of a young prostitute is found on a beach not far from Mussolini's holiday residence. The local chief of police is terrified that the news may become public, so he attempts to draw the matter to a swift close by swiftly charging the woman's pimp with her murder. But, Inspector De Luca is unconvinced that the case has been solved. Could Il Duce his very self be involved in such ghastly horribleness? Classy period Italian detective drama, starring Alessandro Preziosi.

In 1995, Marty and Rust meet with Reggie Ledoux's cousin, the sinister and violent Dewall, to try to set up a fake drug deal, but he refuses in the latest episode of the superb True Detective - 9:00 Sky Atlantic. Marty follows Dewall and he and Rust find the Ledouxs' hidden meth lab deep in the heart of the bayou, where the cowshit lies thick. The detectives then make a further, shocking, discovery. In 2002, tensions rise within the Hart household as Audrey rebels against her father, while Cohle gets a surprise while trying to get a confession out of a suspected murderer. Thrilling, dark and intense crime drama, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
There's also another hugely impressive episode of Waking The Dead - 9:00 Drama if you're struggling to find anything else worthwhile (and, you don't have Sky so you can't watch True Detective). In Undertow, first shown in October 2005, Peter Boyd's Cold Case Unit finds evidence linking a soon-to-be-released benefit fraudster, Steven Hunt (a dryly sinister performance by Stpehen Moyer), with a string of murders. Unfortunately, the nature of their proof is entirely circumstantial - even though Boyd, Grace et al are absolutely convinced that it was him wot dunnit - and with only a short while to go until the end of the man's nine-month sentence, the detectives have their work cut out to solve the crimes before he is released and free to kill again. Detective drama, starring Trevor Eve and Sue Johnston.
Sunday 23 March
In the opening episode of Louis Theroux's LA Stories - 9:00 BBC2 - the controversial television reporter explores different aspects of Los Angeles, beginning by meeting the characters whose lives revolve around the city's neglected and feral dogs. Louis goes on patrol with a man on a mission to rescue some of the thousands of stray and ferocious pit bulls roaming the streets and meets hard-pressed staff at LA's largest animal shelter. Louis also encounters training gurus who claim to be able to take the ghetto out of the dog once it has been removed from that environment.
Martin Amis' England - 9:00 BBC4 - see the novelist, critic of contemporary society and professional misanthrope attempt to 'understand the concept of Englishness' by exploring how the country's loss of empire is linked to its citizens' attitudes to sex, binge drinking, football hooliganism, fair play, multiculturalism, the Royal family and the tabloid press. Oh Christ, that sounds like a right cheerful hour of telly. So, in other words, an - exceedingly wealthy - Oxford-educated upper middle-class man is going to tell us that the reason why Britain's council estates are full of obese, beer-swilling, foul-mouthed randy skinheed hooligan scum (and their pit-bulls) is because we lost India in the 1940s. Yeah, right. Much as this blogger is a, genuine, admirer of Amis's work (Keith Telly Topping thinks that London Fields is one of the greatest novels of the Twentieth Century), I find such a worldwide properly grotesque. As previously discussed on this blog, yer actual Keith Telly Topping does not believe that 'the nature of Englishness' exists, or ever has done, and would like anyone to actual define what such a conceit means. All yours, Marty.
To mark the seventieth anniversary of the famous breakout from Stalag Luft III, the documentary The First Great Escape - 9:00 Channel Five - uses original accounts and diaries to tell the story of events during the First World War which inspired a generation of British POW escapees. In 1918, a group of British officers set out to escape from Holzminden camp in Hanover, using cutlery as digging tools to create a tunnel and bed slats to shore it up, with twenty nine men making it to freedom on the evening of 24 July.
As usual on a Sunday there's also a full night of Qi XL repeats on Dave - from 7:20 - mostly from the 'I' series.

Monday 24 March
Jezza Paxman asks the questions as two teams battle it out in the first semi-final of the student quiz University Challenge - 8:00 BBC2. Both of tonight's teams won two encounters in the previous round to reach this stage, and now find themselves one win away from the series final.
Film-maker Morgan Matthews accompanies three Bigfoot search parties including Tom Biscardi and his team on their obsessive and highly competitive missions to find the elusive ape-like beast in the American wilderness in tonight's Storyville, Shooting Bigfoot: America's Monster Hunters - 9:00 BBC4. Focusing on the woodlands of Ohio and Texas, his documentary examines some of the strange rituals that take place during night-time hunts - and captures the bizarre outcome of a particularly close encounter.

Malcolm's financial problems begin to mount, leaving him under pressure and running out of ideas in the second episode of ITV's new thriller, The Widower - 9:00. He decides that he would be better off with Felicity dead and plans another fatal car crash so he and their son can start afresh, funded by her life insurance policy. Felicity's suspicious father, Brian, and sister, Jane, force Malcolm's briefcase open and unearth his grisly plot - but must act quickly to prevent it from being executed. Factual-based drama, starring Reece Shearsmith, Kate Fleetwood, James Laurenson and John Hannah.
My Spiral Into Debt Hell - 9:00 Channel Five - is a documentary which, as the title my have already lead you to suspect - examines the lives of four people who have suffered financial disaster. Debra from County Durham borrowed five hundred quid from a loan shark and ended up owing eighty eight grand and losing her house, while Justyn had secret debts of seventy thousand knicker that eventually cost him his career and his family. Single mum Candice moved home four times to try to dodge the bailiffs, but is now facing up to her debt and trying to rebuild her life, while Bryan owes forty two thousand smackers, has no intention of paying anything back and blames the banks for lending him the money in the first place.

Tuesday 25 March
In the opening episode of a new two-part Shetland - 9:00 BBC1 - a journalist dies in a suspicious car accident, and when it turns out he was an old friend of Perez, a forensic scientist is called in to ensure an objective view of the case. As the team awaits her results, they look into the reasons for the victim's return to the island, and find he was chasing a lead about plans for a controversial new gas pipeline. Was this the story that cost him his life? Douglas Henshall and Julie Graham star, with David Hayman, Nina Sosanya and Alex Norton.
Tonight sees the second episode of Food Prices: The Shocking Truth - 9:00 Channel Four - in which Jimmy Doherty concludes his investigation into why food prices have been rising. Taking some weekly shop essentials, he discovers that the cost of food reflects some of the big changes of the 21st century, from the rise of Asia to the power of the financial markets and from a growing population to volatile weather. He looks at how, over the past six years, the price of an average food basket has gone up by a quarter, and the UK's trend of importing half its food, making it more vulnerable to volatile prices.

In the second episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey - 10:00 National Geographic - astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson continues the documentary series, exploring the incredible ways that natural selection has changed the world.
Wednesday 26 March
John Torode and Gregg Wallace return to put more keen cooks to the test in the opening of a new series of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's great guilty TV secret, MasterChef - 9:00 BBC1. The first six hopefuls take on a new challenge in which they prepare their 'Calling Card', a dish which represents who they are and showcases their talent. This is followed by the infamous Invention Test, in which there is now a choice of two boxes of ingredients and the stakes are high because after that, two of the amateurs will be extremely going home. The remaining four then replicate the conditions of restaurant service as they rustle up dinner for three discerning guests - 2005 MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers, 2008 winner James Nathan and 2010 finalist Alex Rushmer. It's then up to John and Gregg which two will advance to Friday's quarter-final.
Thomas Asbridge examines the life and times of William Marshal, an English soldier and statesman who served four kings of England in the Twelfth and Thirteenth centuries in The Greatest Knight: William Marshal - 9:00 BBC2. The historian reveals how Marshal fought in battles across Europe, survived court intrigue and exile, put his seal to the Magna Carta and remained loyal to those he served through disaster and victory.

In the wake of the so-called 'Wingategate', Ian heads North to Salford to appear on Woman's Hour and faces tough questions from Jenni Murray about ageism and sexism regarding the appointment of female presenters in the latest episode of W1A - 10:00 BBc2. Meanwhile, the Britain's Tastiest Village team discovers at the last minute that the indisposed Clare Balding is unexpectedly available and keen to do the show - but she turns up unannounced for a production meeting and bumps into her replacement, Carol Vorderman. A big girly catfight (involving mud) soon follows. Or, maybe not. But, it'd be geet funny if it did. Spoof documentary, starring Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes.
Brennan is called for jury service in the trial of a footballer accused of killing his wife (who doesn't, in any way resemble OJ Simpson. Oh no, very hot water), but she's not convinced by the evidence presented in court and talks her fellow jurors into allowing him to walk free in Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. However, when a key witness is killed, she becomes convinced that the man has blood on his hands and works furiously to prove his guilt once and for all.

Thursday 27 March
Johnny Worricker goes on the run with Margot Tyrell across Europe, and with the net closing in, the former MI5 man knows his only chance of resolving his problems is to return home and confront prime minister Alec Beasley in the final part of The Worricker Trilogy, Salting The Battlefield - 9:00 BBC2. Concluding instalment of David Hare's spy trilogy, starring Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.
Mike Read hosts an edition of yer actual Top Of The Pops - 7:30 BBc4 - first broadcast on 29 March 1979. This includes performances by Racey, The Three Degrees, Rocky Sharpe & The Replays, Dana, Showaddywaddy, Kandidate and Black Lace. Plus, dance sequences by Legs & Co.

In the latest episode of the cult hit Suits - 9:00 Dave - the dissolution of the firm Pearson Darby Specter begins and Mike asks Rachel to move in with him - but the pair are soon at loggerheads.
There's also another episode of the perfectly extraordinary Sex Sent Me To The ER - 10:00 TLC - featuring more tales of daft planks sticking things where they didn't oughta be.

Friday 28 March
Robert Plant: By Myself - 9:00 BBC4 - is described in pre-publicity as 'a revealing portrait of the artist who has been performing and recording for more than forty years' and who started out as the frontman for one of the loudest, smelliest rock and/or bands ever, Deed Zeppelin. Although Planty's aversion to the media's spotlight remains undiminished, this is a rare opportunity to hear what he has to say about his life spent in music, from his youth as a grammar school kid in Stourbridge, to the world domination via squeezing his lemon awl down his leg, baby. Including rare archive footage, much of it from Plant's private collection. The programme also reflects on his collaboration with country singer Alison Krauss, with whom he made the Grammy-winning CD Raising Sand, and his reunion with Jimmy Page.

That's followed by something even better, The Genius Of Bert Jansch: Folk, Blues & Beyond - 10:00 BBC4 - a celebration of the influential Scottish guitarist and songwriter and founding member of Pentangle, who died in 2011. Interviews and rare archive footage weave together performances from a multi-artist concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London. With contributions by Ralph McTell, Robert Plant, Donovan, Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler, Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Lisa Knapp and members of Pentangle.
Red takes a gamble to find out if an underground court avenging miscarriages of justice is real or a myth in The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living. Chilling stories about its merciless eye-for-an-eye attitude have kept criminals and law enforcers alike on their toes, but when a missing prosecutor returns after a twelve-year absence, Red is given the lead he needs to unravel the tale. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman makes Tom a tempting offer during a teachers' conference in Orlando. Guest starring Oscar winner Dianne Wiest.

To the news now: Sky will look to reunite Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy in a sequel to its serial killer thriller The Tunnel, its adaptation of Scandinavian crime noir, The Bridge. The Tunnel proved to be one of Sky Atlantic's most popular home grown dramas, - not that that's actually saying much, it's average audience being a mere five hundred thousand punters per episode. Hell, even Edge Of Heaven gets more than that. The broadcaster is now developing a sequel to The Tunnel, although it will not be an adaptation of the acclaimed second series of The Bridge, which recently ended on BBC4, but an entirely new series. It is thought likely - according to the Gruniad Morning Star anyway - that the sequel will focus on another murder investigation featuring UK and French locations, although Sky has not committed to a full series commission yet. Sky is keen to reunite Game of Thrones star Dillane, as the laid-back British detective Karl Roebuck and Poésy as his more repressed French opposite number, Elise Wasserman, after critical plaudits for the first series. From some of the half-a-dozen people who watched it. A Sky spokeswoman said: 'We are in discussion with Kudos and Canal+ about The Tunnel returning for a second series, but have no confirmed plans as yet.' The Tunnel lifted much of its plot - and some entire scenes - from the first series of The Bridge, which starred Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia. Unlike the original, in which a body is found in the middle of the Øresund Bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden, The Tunnel began with a murder investigation after a corpse is found midway between France and the UK in the Channel Tunnel. The drama began with an overnight audience of four hundred and thirty three thousand viewers which, although modest by mainstream terrestrial TV standards, was up almost fifteen hundred per cent on the channel's three-month slot average. Which, may give dear blog readers some idea how very few people normally watch Sky Atlantic, for all its admittedly good programming. It ended with two hundred and eighty thousand viewers last December. The Tunnel, made by Broadchurch producer Kudos in the UK and Shine Films France, boasted a number of firsts, including the first TV drama which is half in French, half in English, and the first to be allowed to film in the Channel Tunnel. Featuring the same 'odd couple' dynamic with the main characters as the original, it played up the culture clash between the French and the English detectives, in a similar way to how The Bridge highlighted differences between Denmark and Sweden. Speaking before the launch of the first series last year, Kudos chief executive Jane Featherstone said: 'The team took what was wonderful from [the original] and then forgot about it, in the nicest possible way, and made their own show.' A collaboration with French broadcaster Canal+, The Tunnel was the latest Scandinavian drama to be remade after the US version of The Killing. Which was shite. The Bridge was also remade in the US, where the body was found on the US-Mexico border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.

The makers of BBC3's Free Speech have denied censoring a debate about being gay and Muslim, saying that the topic was pulled because of 'security concerns' after threats were received by the mosque where the programme was filmed. The live show on Wednesday night prompted accusations of censorship - mostly from whingers at the Gruniad Morning Star, admittedly. So, no one that actually matters, in that case - after it postponed discussion of a question put by Muslim drag queen Asifa Lahore, who asked: 'One question I would like to ask the Muslim community is, when will it be right to be Muslim and gay?' Presenter Rick Edwards told viewers and the studio audience that the question would not be tackled until a later edition of the programme because Birmingham Central Mosque, where the programme was filmed, had 'expressed deep concerns with having this discussion here.' The chairman of the Birmingham mosque told Radio 4's Today programme on Friday that he had not been told the programme would discuss homosexuality until twenty minutes before it was broadcast. But a spokesman for the programme, made by Question Time producer Mentorn Media, denied that and claimed that 'discussions' had taken place two hours before its 8pm transmission time following threats received by the mosque in response to pre-publicity about the show. It said the mosque had previously not expressed any concerns about any issues which might be debated. 'As with all Free Speech programmes, parts of the programme are promoted on radio, online and on social media platforms ahead of transmission,' said a spokesman for the BBC3 programme. 'Content from a pre-recorded segment, which covered the topic of homosexuality and Islam, was played ahead of transmission on Radio 1 and on local radio. The mosque received threats which gave us cause for concern to the security of their community. Discussions took place within two hours of the programme being broadcast live as to the best way to proceed bearing in mind the security of the mosque and respect for their concerns over offending their community. As a result the production company, together with the BBC and the mosque, made a considered decision to postpone the debate of the topic until 25 March but agreed to show the pre-recorded segment. This was a decision taken responsibly, with a great deal of thought, consideration and respect and not in any way about censorship of an issue. We were transparent with the audience about the decision.' Edwards, who introduced the programme as 'the show which makes your voice heard in the national conversation' said: 'We were going to debate that question but today after speaking to the mosque they have expressed deep concerns with having this discussion here. They were happy for us to play that video and we will talk about it on our next programme on 25 March.' Some of the programme's eighty thousand viewers complained about the decision on Twitter. As though, once again, Twitter is The Final Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things. The programme spokesman added: 'BBC3's Free Speech is a news and current affairs discussion format based on topical issues some of which are a result of interest from our online community. The Birmingham mosque had offered the venue as a location for an episode. When asked if there were any issues for discussion that would be off limits, no concerns were raised. Neither the production company nor the BBC would have chosen a venue that unduly limits topics for discussion.' This appeared to contradict the Birmingham mosque's chairman, Moahammed Naseem, who told Today: 'It was rather surprising how the programme was conducted. The impression given was that BBC3 wanted to discuss immigration. All I know is all of the members of the committee who were there on that day were just informed twenty minutes before the programme started that they wanted to discuss homosexuality. How could I have an idea that there were other [topics] also that the BBC was thinking.'

Channel Five has commissioned more episodes of Suspects. The broadcaster originally ordered ten episodes of the semi-improvised crime drama and has already broadcast five. The five remaining episodes, plus some new ones, will now form series two in the autumn, with an all-new third series confirmed for 2015. Ben Frow, Channel Five's Director of Programmes, said: 'Suspects has been an incredible critical success for Channel Five and praised for its innovative and game-changing approach to procedural drama. We're thrilled by the reaction and are excited about commissioning a further series for later in the year.' Fay Ripley, Damien Molony and Claire-Hope Ashitey star in Suspects. Working without a traditional script, the cast improvise their dialogue and actions based on a detailed plot synopsis. Devised by Paul Marquess, the series is Channel Five's first original drama for eight years.

Meanwhile, odious risible right-wing has-been Jim Davidson and odious risible right-wing never-was Katie Hopkins will take part in the latest edition of Channel Five's series of live 'controversial' debates. No, this isn't the punchline to some Mad Frankie Boyle joke, dear blog reader. Sadly, it's for real. This is Britain in the Twenty First Century - are you watching, Martin Amis? Monday's The Big 'Can't Pay' Debt Debate: Live will be hosted by Nick Ferrari (no, me neither), and focus on the debt faced by families, who is to blame for this right shite state of affairs and how members of the public feel about the issue. As if anybody actually gives a shit how 'members of the public' (for which read 'the sort of people who watch Channel Five') feel about this subject or, indeed, any other. Davidson, who was previously declared bankrupt (which, to be fair, was funny - fair funnier than anything he's ever actually said in his career), will appear on the show alongside former footballer Lee Hendrie and Eddie The Eagle Edwards. Still sounding like a Mad Frankie punchline isn't it? You just need The Chuckle Brothers and Andy Townsend in there to make it perfect. Full-of-her-own-importance waste-of-oxygen Hopkins will also benefit us all with her sage wisdom alongside Liz Jones, Rosie Millard, Labour MP Paul Blomfield and the head of the British Bankers Association Anthony Browne. Channel Five's Guy Davies claimed: 'Viewers want to see these topics thrown into the bull ring, and broadcasting them live really makes Channel Five feel alive. These key issues attract heat and vigorous argument on all sides, and as before this debate will be raw, passionate and relevant.' Two points here, dear blog reader: Firstly, both bear baiting and cock fighting used to be very popular forms of entertainment for the masses until, you know, we learned better. And, secondly, Channel Five is owned by a soft-core pornographer, Richard Desmond. Enough said, really.

Michael Palin became the modern-day Phileas Fogg solely because of the BBC's penny-pinching ways, he has claimed in an interview with the Travel Channel. The former Monty Python's Flying Circus comedian has previously admitted that he was not first choice for the job presenting Around The World In Eighty Days in the late 1980s – but now he had suggested why the Beeb missed out on its top pick; because of its refusal to stump up for some posh nosh. Alan Whicker had been lined up for the spot but, Palin claims: 'He didn't do it because they took him for lunch to the Pizza Hut in Shepherd's Bush.'
Louise Minchin is reportedly being considered as Susanna Reid's replacement on BBC Breakfast. The stand-in presenter on the BBC1 morning programme is said to be 'in line' to take over from Reid full-time, according to the Sunday People. So, that almost certainly means that someone else will get the job seeing as how if the People informed the world that black was darker than white, this blogger would want a second opinion. Minchin is currently sitting in for Reid, who recently got her greed on, big-style and signed up to host ITV's Good Morning Britain later this year.
The Wicker Man is being considered as a TV series, according to Red Productions. Which, in this blogger's opinion is a fantastically bad idea but, nobody ever listens to me, so what the hell. The company is said to be 'keen' to adapt movies such as the cult 1973 horror classic for the small screen, after being acquired by Studio Canal last year. The acquisition means that Red now has access to the company's vast film library, including The Wicker Man and the 1963 movie Billy Liar. Red's managing director Andrew Critchley told Broadcast: 'One of the films we're looking at is The Wicker Man, as well as Billy Liar. This is one part of a fairly substantial expansion ambition that we have while keeping our domestic projects going.' Peter Schaffer's The Wicker Man, which starred Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee, tells the story of a Christian police officer investigating the disappearance of a young girl on a suspicious Scottish island community. And, ends with him getting burned as a sacrifice. The movie gained a twenty four carat cult following after its release in the 1970s and spawned a - really, genuinely dreadful - 2006 remake starring Nicolas Cage. Christ, dear blog reader, if you've never seen that one, count yourself very lucky indeed. Based on Keith Waterhouse's 1959 novel, Billy Liar focuses on imaginative young man William Fisher as he dreams of leaving his unrewarding job as an undertaker to become a comedy writer in London. Originally adapted into a play, co-written by Waterhouse and Willis Hall, it subsequently became a movie and then an award-winning stage musical (Billy, co-written by John Barry and Don Black). It has already been adapted as a TV series once, in 1973, by LWT and starring Jeff Rawle and Colin Jeavons.
Princess Diana allegedly sent the Scum of the World a confidential Buckingham Palace phone book and then personally called the paper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, to 'recruit him as an ally' against Prince Charles, an Old Bailey jury has heard. The claim was made by convicted phone-hacker Goodman on the same day as he spoke of bullying he had suffered at the hands of his editor, the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson, as Goodman gave evidence in the phone-hacking trial. The jury has heard that when Goodman was originally arrested for phone-hacking in August 2006, police found fifteen royal phone directories in his home. He is now charged with obtaining three of them illegally by paying a public official. Goodman told the court that one of the fifteen directories arrived in his pigeon hole in an envelope which was addressed to him by name. Shortly afterwards, he told the court, the Princess of Wales phoned to ask if he had received it. The journalist also claimed he was not the only reporter to whom Diana spoke. She was 'very close' to Richard Kay, who worked for the Daily Scum Mail and to Andrew Morton who went on to write a biography of her, Goodman claimed. He added: 'She was at the time going through a very, very tough time. She told me she wanted me to see this document to see the scale of her husband's staff and household compared to the scale of hers. She was in a very bitter situation with the Prince of Wales at the time. She felt she was being swamped by the people close to him in the household. She was looking for an ally to take him on, to show just the kind of forces that were ranged against her, to put the press on her side. We were quite a powerful organisation.' Goodman said that two of the other directories had been given to him by 'a senior valet' to Prince Charles, whom he identified as Kenneth Stronach. He told the court that Stronach's son had started selling him royal stories on his father's behalf but that the valet had then started to deal with Goodman direct. He had been hoping to negotiate a book deal and provided the directories as a sign of good will. 'It became clear he was thoroughly fed up with working for the royal family and for the prince in particular,' Goodman claimed. Goodman told the jury that he had been 'well thought of' as the Scum of the World's assistant editor, specialising in royal coverage, until the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Coulson took over as the tabloid's editor in January 2003. Previously, Goodman claimed, he had 'got on well' with Coulson. 'Then my relationship with him changed. He became more aggressive, more combative, more bullying.' The lack of culture of the paper under Coulson had been 'extraordinarily competitive, very fast, quite bullying and menacing.' Goodman claimed that one - unnamed - senior journalist had 'sidled up to' him after a conference at the beginning of the working week and told Goodman his ideas were not good enough: 'Listen, Clive. It's a big story, or the Big Issue.' This same journalist, he claimed, was so competitive that when he heard that the paper's undercover specialist, Mazher Mahmood, was planning to 'expose' a famous model who was working as a prostitute, he had secretly called the model's agent to warn her. In the same way, Goodman said, one of the executives, Alex Marunchak, had hired a company called Southern Investigations to follow him in the hope of identifying one of his contacts so that he could either blackmail the contact into working for him or else simply expose him as a source. Under the new editor, Goodman claimed that he personally suffered three demotions. First, he had been downgraded by Coulson's deputy, Neil Wallis, who 'did not like his work' or the way he did it. 'He came up in the 1980s under Kelvin Mackenzie at the Sun – everybody shouted all the time and screamed at each other. Very, very aggressive. That was part of the Neil Wallis approach to journalism. Full stop,' Goodman told the court. The result, he claimed, was that in the 'pecking order' in daily conferences, instead of being allowed to speak third or fourth, Goodman found himself relegated to speak 'after Jamie Oliver's recipes' or 'sometimes not at all.' He had been told he could no longer work directly for the editor but must take orders from the newsdesk. Then, he told the court, when he was unable to go on a royal trip to the United States, Coulson had been 'very cross' with him and had appointed a new royal reporter, Ryan Sabey, who was given the job of covering stories about the younger members of the royal family, including Prince William and Prince Harry. 'That was forty to sixty per cent of royal coverage. It left me wondering where I was,' Goodman said. Coulson had often berated him for the quality of his stories and had excluded him from the paper's leader writers' conference although he was supposed to be one of the leader writers. 'These things sound petty,' he told the jury, 'but they were meant to degrade you in the eyes of the people at the paper.' Goodman and Coulson both deny two counts of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

Uli Hoeneß is to resign as Bayern München president and chairman in the wake of his conviction for extreme tax evasion. The sixty two-year-old, who played for Bayern from 1970 to 1979 before retiring through injury, will not appeal against his three-and-a-half year jail sentence. 'Tax evasion was the biggest mistake of my life,' he said in a statement. 'Bayern München is my life's work and will also remain so.' Hoeneß was found extremely guilty of evading taxes worth twenty seven million Euros. As a player Hoeneß won the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup with West Germany and three successive European Cups with Bayern from 1974. Following his retirement he was appointed general manager at the German giants, who have reached three of the last four Champions League finals and won the tournament last year at Wembley. He was initially charged with evading three and a half million Euros in taxes but then admitted to another fifteen million Euros and was found extremely guilty of 'seven serious counts of tax evasion.' In a statement on the Bayern München website he said: 'After discussing the matter with my family I have decided to accept the judgment. This corresponds to my understanding of integrity, decorum and personal responsibility. Evading tax was the biggest mistake of my life. I accept the consequences of this mistake. Furthermore I hereby resign the offices of president and chairman with immediate effect. By doing so I wish to avert further damage to my club. I will continue to be associated with this magnificent club and its people in other ways for as long as I live. I wish to thank from the heart my personal friends and all followers of Bayern München for your support.'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows, dear blog reader, that it is wrong to mock the afflicted. But, there following banner spotted amongst crowing Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws supporters at Sunday's three-nil win over The Scum at Old Trafford probably qualifies as the exception that proves the rule.
UK TV advertising is forecast for a football World Cup-related ten per cent year-on-year boost in May and June, helping to create a 'blockbuster' second quarter of 2014 for revenues. The ten per cent revenue bump in May, the month before the World Cup, is expected to come from advertisers in the healthcare, fashion and beauty sectors keen to avoid the clutter of advertising around the World Cup the following month, according to media-buying agency estimates. A raft of campaigns for alcohol, car and sport-related brands are expected to help inflate a ten per cent year-on-year increase in TV advertising revenues in June, a month in which advertising spend usually decreases ahead of the summer holiday period. ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five are expected to benefit in May as advertising campaigns not aimed at the football-loving demographic will be shifted from June. ZenithOptimedia is forecasting that May and June will report uplifts in TV advertising for 2014, although July, currently estimated to be up five per cent on the year, could also be a boom month should 'England make a good showing in the World Cup', according to the agency's trading director Duncan Cocker. Chris Locke, group trading director of Starcom Mediavest Group, said: 'Television will be blockbuster across the three months of Q2. The advertisers in May will also be retail brands taking advantage of the two bank holidays. In June, the heavy advertisers will be the sports brands, soft drinks, cars, bookies and fast food.' Another alleged media buying agency 'source' allegedly said: 'A lot of brands want to be away from the World Cup. There is a tendency from any brand that is female-targeted to move spend to a the month before a World Cup.' 2014 has witnessed a strong performance in the UK TV advertising market to date. According to ZenithOptimedia, January and February were up fourteen per cent and nine per cent respectively. March is expected to be down three per cent on the year, while April is set to be up sixteen per cent. ITV is expected to outperform its rival broadcasters in June in terms of advertising revenues, as it is screening half of the World Cup matches live. Meanwhile rival media is hoping to capitalise on the higher TV prices in May. Jamie Lindsay, managing director of outdoor company Amscreen, said: 'I think this presents an opportunity for digital out of home, because we can be fleet of foot in May where we can be potentially be competitive on price.'
West Bromwich Albinos have extremely sacked Nicolas Anelka for gross misconduct after the striker announced that he was quitting the club on Twitter. Anelka wrote on social media he was leaving with 'immediate effect' after failing to 'reconcile differences' with the Albinos over his 'quenelle' gesture. The Frenchman was banned for five games and fined eighty grand by the Football Association for making the sign after scoring against The Hamsters in December. The club is sacking him for his conduct that day and for his subsequent social media outburst. They have given him fourteen days' notice of the termination of his contract. He had been suspended by the Albinos while the club carried out its own internal investigation. Earlier on Friday, Anelka used social media to announce that he was 'leaving' the club immediately. He wrote: 'Following discussions between the club and myself, certain conditions have been set for me to rejoin the group, which I can't accept. In order to preserve my integrity, I've terminated my contract with West Brom with immediate effect.' However, West Bromwich Albinos responded by releasing a statement saying 'the termination was invalid as it was not conducted under the correct legal process.' The statement also detailed the conditions Anelka needed to meet to enable his club suspension to be lifted. It read: 'The club required Nicolas Anelka to apologise to it, its supporters, sponsors and the wider community for the impact and consequences of his gesture made on 28 December and secondly, that he accept a substantial fine. The club considers the conduct of Nicolas Anelka on 28 December, coupled with his purported termination on social media, to be gross misconduct.' The striker, who joined the Albinos in the summer on a twelve-month deal, would only have been eligible to play in the club's final five Premier League games due to his ban. He was given the punishment by the Football Association's independent regulatory commission for making the controversial gesture, described as an 'inverted Nazi salute.' He denied his use of the sign was intended to be anti-Semitic and the commission reported it did not find he was 'an anti-Semite.' However, Anelka claims he made the gesture in support of his friend Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, a French comedian who has been convicted seven times of anti-Semitic crimes. The FA had initially wanted a tougher punishment for the player but opted not to appeal against the decision.

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player at the Tyneside. This week, it was one of the biggest selling records of the 1970s, The Carpenters' Singles 1969-1973. In a very easy listening style(e). There was also be a buffet and bar. The evening itself was, as usual, effing fantastic. And yer actual (with his regular team mates, Christian and Vicky) yet again won the quiz. But, this week, instead of five English pounds, all he had to show for his efforts was a packet of Tuc biscuits. These ones, in fact
Lynda Bellingham has said that her treatment for cancer is 'going swimmingly.' The sixty five-year-old, who disclosed she had been diagnosed with the disease last summer, said that her acting career was 'on hold' while she had chemotherapy. 'I'm still at it all, getting out there and giving it some welly,' she added at a ceremony to receive her OBE at Buckingham Palace. Bellingham has not disclosed the details of her illness. She said that she was 'busy with charity work' while her screen career is taking a back seat. 'It's been well documented I'm dealing with cancer and having chemotherapy so unfortunately my acting career is on hold - in the sense that I need to pay attention to the chemotherapy really, but hopefully eventually one will get back into it.' Speaking after her investiture ceremony overseen by the Prince of Wales, Bellingham added: 'I'm having treatment it's all going swimmingly, but it obviously becomes part of your life and you have to deal with it, so that's what I'm doing. I've got lots to be doing, lots of charity work. I only mention the cancer because you have to get into a routine with that and work your life around that - once you've factored it in then you work around it.' The actress was forced to pull out of a UK tour of Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman, but vowed to appear in the show after dealing with her illness. Bellingham, whose career credits also include TV drama All Creatures Great and Small and the stage version of Calendar Girls, is also working on a second novel. Her debut, Tell Me Tomorrow, was published last year.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's A To Z Of Groovy Music, dear blog reader, S is for The Shamen.

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