Thursday, March 27, 2014

X Is For Xenophobia, X-Ray, Xylophone And X-Rated

Missed the photos of yer actual Peter Capaldi and his fab gear new sonic screwdriver which were doing the rounds on the Interweb earlier in the week, dear blog reader? Fret ye not ...
Yer actual Mark Gatiss has confirmed on Twitter that he is writing two new Doctor Who episodes. Mark his very self is scripting a pair of adventures for Peter Capaldi's Doctor, although he didn't confirm whether both will feature in the popular BBC family SF drama's upcoming eighth series. At a recent Q&A in Brazil Mark hinted that the novelist Jane Austen may be the next historical figure to feature in one of his scripts: 'One of the things which new Doctor Who sort of invented was the idea of a celebrity historical – Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill, Shakespeare. There's three writers there so I think Jane Austen stands quite a quite a good chance actually. He added: 'I'm not quite sure what the adventure would be. Maybe an alien posing as Mister Darcy.' The comedian, actor, novelist and scriptwriter has previously written six Doctor Who episodes and appeared on-screen in a seventh - 2007's The Lazarus Experiment. Mark recently told the Digital Spy website that Capaldi's Doctor brings with him 'a whole new set of rules. The Doctor is always The Doctor - but you can have a lot of fun playing with people's expectations,' Mark said. 'Everyone knows how the previous Doctor would react in any given situation - and now you just don't know!'
Meanwhile, if you're in a Doctor Who mood, allow yer actual Keith Telly Topping to point you in this direction. Because that's got to be worth thirteen minutes of anyone's time.
Yer actual MasterChef returned for its tenth series to top the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Wednesday. The cult cooking series attracted 4.33 million overnight viewers at 9pm on BBC1, which is around one hundred thousand more punters than last year's series opener. Earlier, Holiday Hit Squad brought in 3.50m at 8pm, while A Question Of Sport was watched by 2.16m at 10.35pm on what was, generally, a rather quiet night in terms of ratings. On ITV, Law & Order: UK bounced back by over a million viewers week-on-week, being watched by 4.11m at 9pm. The wretched Big Star's Little Star returned for a new series with 4.03m at 8pm. BBC2's Lambing Live interested 1.98m at 8pm, followed by The Greatest Knight with 1.17m at 9pm and the second episode of W1A, which dipped by three hundred thousand punters to 1.26m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Secret Eaters gathered an audience of nine hundred and twenty five thousand at 8pm. The much-trailed documentary Dead Famous DNA attracted an audience of eight hundred and eight thousand at 9pm and First Dates brought in seven hundred and fifty seven thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Killing Spree debuted with 1.08m at 8pm, followed by the latest NCIS with one million viewers at 9pm and Castle with five hundred and thirty nine thousand at 10pm.

So, as noted, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's great guilty pleasure MasterChef was back on Wednesday evening with a fine opening episode that demonstrated many of the reasons why this barmy cookery show has become so addictive for many. 'Ten years, three wives, but only one co-judge,' Gregg Wallace said meaning, one imagines, that he's done a bit better at his working relationship with co-host John Torode than he has with his personal ones. Not the sort of confession you'd normally expect on prime time telly but then, MasterChef is an unusual programme at the best of times. The opening episode saw John and Gregg faced with six contestants and produced one potential star in the making - Robert, a fifty three year old professional dancer. Things didn't look promising for him when he became the first ever MasterChef contestant to include a packet of instant mash in his selected ingredients to make a potato pasta dish but whose food just seemed to get better and better as the contest progressed. He got through to the next round as did Holly - whose voice was really irritating, whose first comment to Gregg was the horribly smug 'I noticed at GSCE level I was ahead of everyone else. They were doing cupcakes and I was doing stuffed vine leaves' (ooo, get her!) and who, frankly, had a face like a smacked arse for most of the episode. But who, nevertheless, can clearly cook up a storm, and that. For the invention test, Holly did lamb burgers with a feta, tomato and mint salad, fried aubergine and a pomegranate and balsamic reduction. 'The work of somebody with a very good palate,' noted Gregg. 'I still believe Holly has a good palate,' he told John later, when they were deciding who to send packing. 'She's got a great palate,' agreed John after tasting her rosewater and cardamom rice pudding. 'We put Holly through here because we said she had a great palate,' he added, reasserting himself as the chief arbiter of Holly's palate. They seemed really impressed by said palate - mentioning it at least five times during the course of the episode. However, as so often in MasterChef, the real star of the show was the one contestant who, spectacularly and amusing, fell flat on their over-confident face. It seems the production team always take an almost perverse delight in picking out boastful and full-of-their-own-importance comments from a contestant who seems very good at bigging themselves up like there's no tomorrow but who, by the end of the episode, you just know will be skulking off home with their tail firmly between their legs having been made to look like a total plank on national telly. This is, also, one of the reasons why MasterChef is so Goddamn addictive. This time around, it was Rob (not to be confused with Robert) who was to be the chap with more egg on his face than in his cooking bowl as it were. Oh, he really thought he was it, this bloke. Or, at least, the production team appeared to want to make viewers think this judging from the editing choices which they made in the episode. A management consultant, Rob noted that he eats in lots of 'high class' restaurants and gets 'lots of ideas' from this. If that didn't put viewers collective back up from the off just as much as Holly's GCSE tales then Rob's effort in the first round, a 'deconstructed Beef Wellington', certainly managed it. Why in the name of Christ anybody would want to deconstruct a twenty four carat classic like a Beef Wellington was a question that Gregg Wallace actually felt compelled to ask. Rob's reply was: 'If you do Beef Wellington properly the pastry on the bottom is never quite right.' Gregg appeared a bit confused at this claim and noted that a mate of his 'not too far away' - standing about twenty feet across the kitchen with his usual scowl on his boat as it happened - would probably be able to knock up a pretty decent Beef Wellington without a soggy bottom. Rob looked entirely unconvinced. 'If he's in control of his food, he's going to produce a good dish,' said Torode. But, he wasn't and he didn't. 'The judges have probably had hundreds of Beef Wellingtons over the years,' Rob bragged to camera. 'But they've never had one like this.' That, at least it seemed, was entirely accurate. 'To take a grand classic and take it apart is a really dangerous thing to do,' noted yer man Torode. There were lots of uses of the word 'soggy' when it came to the judging. 'I wouldn't try to deconstruct a Beef Wellington' said Wallace. 'Leave it alone, it's done nothing to you.' Rob, of course, because he eats in lots of 'high class' restaurants, was having none of it, noting that the judges had been 'pretty intimidating' and adding that, normally, people were 'quite polite' when eating his food. 'They say "this is really nice, this is lovely"' he claimed. That's probably because, either, they're lying to you or because they're not professional judges in a cookery competition that's going out on national telly, pal. Just a couple of suggestions for you to slip into your organic toaster and see if they pop up brown. 'It's pretty rare to get somebody who is sitting there actually trying to find fault with your dish and pick holes in it.' Err ... not on MasterChef, it isn't. You have watched this programme before, right? Next, Rob presented John and Gregg with a lamb and aubergine abomination. 'Aubergines three ways' said India Fisher, huskily, in voice-over. None of which got either judge excited. Hardly surprising since it looked like a plate of inedible vomit, frankly. 'Rob, I've got to be honest with you, it doesn't say "come and eat me"' John noted when looking at the plate, adding, after tasting it, 'it's not a very successful dish.' 'Apart from the chutney, I find little to commend this,' added Gregg. Rob had a look on his face that screamed 'who are these foolish fools?' 'A little disappointed,' Rob said to camera, afterwards in the discomfort of the post-match dressing room when asked to explain himself. 'I thought it was a better dish than that.' Then he added, through gritted teeth one imagines, 'but Gregg and John know what they're talking about.' At that point the camera lingered on Rob for a couple of seconds as he looked like he was about to burst into tears. 'I don't think Rob's strong enough for this competition,' noted Gregg. 'I'm disappointed I'm going home early,' said Rob after getting shown the way out. 'I think I cooked some good food, so I can hold my head high.' No Rob, you really didn't? It's because your food wasn't any good that you were the first to get shown the door; not just first in the episode but first in the entire series. You need to hang your head in shame and return, ignominiously, to being a management consultant. One hopes you're better at that than you are at cooking.

Shetland remained on top in the Tuesday ratings outside of soaps, despite a drop from last week, overnight data reveals. The BBC1 drama dipped by around three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 4.47 million at 9pm. Later, Keeping Britain Safe 24/7 interested 1.49m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Lambing Live continued with 2.28m at 8pm, followed by The Great British Sewing Bee, which fell almost three hundred thousand to 2.56m at 9pm. On ITV, River Monsters interested 1.81m at 7.30pm. A repeat of Midsomer Murders gathered 2.22m at 8pm. On Channel Four, Kirstie's Best Of Both Worlds brought in 1.36m at 8pm, followed by Food Price: The Shocking Truth with 1.47m at 9pm. Documentary The Missing interested 1.09m at 10pm. Channel Five's Benidorm ER appealed to eight hundred and fourteen thousand at 8pm. The Mentalist was watched by eight hundred and seventy thousand at 9pm, followed by Law & Order: SVU with seven hundred and seventy one thousand at 10pm.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self is to play Hamlet on stage next year. The thirty seven-year-old will star in William Shakespeare's tragedy at the Barbican Theatre in London from August to October 2015. Lyndsey Turner will direct the play for Sonia Friedman Productions. Friedman said she was 'thrilled' to be producing the show, describing its star as 'one of the most gifted and exciting actors of his generation.' Best known for his role in the BBC's updated Sherlock Holmes series Sherlock, Benny was recently seen in Star Trek Into Darkness and Twelve Years A Slave and heard in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. You kew all that, right? He was last seen on stage in the National Theatre's 2011 production of Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle, in which Benny shared the roles of Frankenstein and his Monster with his friend Jonny Lee Miller. Turner was widely praised for her direction of Lucy Kirkwood's play Chimerica, while her revival of Sophie Treadwell's 1928 play Machinal recently ended an acclaimed run on Broadway. Booking details for the twelve-week run of Hamlet will be announced in May. Yer man Benny revealed last year that he would be playing the prince 'sometime in autumn on the London stage. It's a role I've been interested in for a long time,' he told the Daily Torygraph in 2012. 'I don't know if there is such a thing as a right age to play the part, but thirty six or thirty seven seems appropriate to me.'

Production has been confirm on the forthcoming twelfth - 'L' - series of yer actual Keith telly Topping's beloved Qi. Sixteen episodes (along with their extended XL versions) will be filmed between 6 May and 10 June ITV's London Studio (also known as ITV Towers) for broadcast on BBC2 during the autumn of 2014. Until then, you're stuck with repeats of Dave (and, of course, on BBC2 itself).
Paddy Considine his very self is to star in two new The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher episodes. ITV has ordered two new original TV movies, based on the book by Kate Summerscale. Considine will reprise the role of Jack Whicher in Beyond The Pale and 'Til Death Do Us Part - each two hours in length. The first film will see Whicher investigate threats made against the son of a powerful politician, while the second sees a case of divorce and adultery spin out into something far more complex. Award-winning playwright Helen Edmundson will script both films, which follow 2011's original The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher pilot and its 2013 follow-up The Murder In Angel Lane. 'We're delighted with the new Whicher scripts from Helen Edmundson,' said ITV's Director of Drama, Steve November. 'Paddy Considine is an extraordinary actor who brilliantly portrays Whicher's complexities, depth and vulnerability.' Speaking to the Digital Spy website last year, Paddy confirmed that he was keen to shoot more Whicher films. 'If everybody feels compelled to do it, I'd do it,' said the BATFA winner. '[We'd need] a good story - it's got to be a new landscape and it's got to open up for Whicher a little bit more. That would be the challenge.'

The BBC has outlined plans for its upcoming arts coverage. Director General Tony Hall stated on Tuesday that the corporation aims to increase its art output with its 'strongest commitment to the arts in a generation. The arts are for everyone, and from now on BBC Arts will be at the very heart of what we do,' he added. Productions from Glyndebourne and Shakespeare's Globe will be filmed for broadcast, along with Gemma Arterton's appearance in The Duchess Of Malfi at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The ONE Show will broadcast live from the Hay Literary Festival in May - with Alex Jones squealing out unintelligible babble at her usual rate of knots - while the makers of The Hollow Crown will reunite for filmed versions of Shakespeare's Henry VI and Richard III. The BBC Arts strand will be used on TV, radio and online via the BBC's iPlayer service. iPlayer will premiere BBC2 series The Story Of Women And Art, along with coverage of the Man Booker and Riba Stirling architecture prizes. The BBC's plans were unveiled on Tuesday at BBC Broadcasting House in London, with people including Arterton, Lenny Henry and Tom Hollander in attendance. 'We're the biggest arts broadcaster anywhere in the world, but our ambition is to be even better,' Lord Hall stated. 'We'll be joining up arts on the BBC like never before [and] working more closely with our country's great artists, performers and cultural institutions.' The BBC's arts coverage will include broadcasts from the Edinburgh Festivals, an online partnership with the Royal Academy in London, a relaunch of The Space with Arts Council England, BBC4's A Knight At The Barbican tribute to Sir Simon Rattle and a new drama strand for the channel titled Dialogues. As previously announced, a 'new take' on the classic documentary series Civilisation will be made, as well as a two-part Imagine programme about the novelist Philip Roth. There will also be a new animated film from War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and a Northern Ballet version of Three Little Pigs for the CBeebies channel. Radio coverage includes a night of drama on Radio 3 focusing on theatre company Paines Plough, and two weeks of dramas by first or second-time writers on Radio 4.

TV hard man Danny Dyer is known as much for running off his north and south as he is for his film roles and it appears BBC bosses aren't all that happy about it. And now, it it would seem, the geezer is in danger of attracting the unwanted attention of a new, and far more deadly, foe. Really angry Cumberbitches everywhere. The EastEnders actor has reportedly had 'a sit-down meeting' with the show's producers over his Twitter battles, but the Daily Lies, quoting from an interview he gave in Woman magazine, reports him as saying that the online rows happen because he's not a 'posh boy' like Benedict Cumberbatch. And, to be fair, no one could possibly mistake him for that. 'They're taking a risk with me and that's what is going to make it exciting,' he said. On the subject of yer man Benny, Dyer added: 'There's definitely some snobbery. You've got actors like Cumberbatch, a great actor, but he's a posh boy playing posh boys. He does it well and doesn't get mocked for that. I play working-class people and I get mocked for it.' Yes. Because he's a good actor playing a type and you're extremely not. Dyer also, according to the Lies, 'hit out' at 'snobbery' within showbiz circles and said that he struggles with 'playing the game. I'm stereotyped, [Benny is] not. I've done plays at the National Theatre, come off stage and gone into the bar and I ain't got nothing in common with those people. When it comes to playing the game, I'm rubbish. The middle-class actors are better prepped at working the system, because they've got more in common with the decision makers,' he whinged. Dyer also claimed that EastEnders 'bosses' asked him to tone down his remarks on Twitter now that he is working for the BBC. He said: 'I sat down with the producers of EastEnders and the Twitter thing was one of their main worries. But they have to understand that they've brought me into the show for my brand and there's a side effect of that. They're taking a risk with me and that's what's going to make it exciting. It's tough landing as high profile [a job] as EastEnders because I have to be me but dumbed down, and I don't do that very well.' Others may, of course, disagree. A BBC spokesman suggested to the Lies that this was all a bit of a storm in a tweet cup. 'There's no truth in the story that Danny Dyer is in trouble with BBC bosses,' he said. Dyer was last heard of hiding from a gang of really vexed little girls who were not best pleased with his comments of yer man Benny.

Andi Peters has described Noel Edmonds's BBC buying plan as 'a ludicrous thing.' Yes, we know. Next ...
The BBC has axed long-running culture programme The Review Show. Sunday's edition of The Review Show on BBC4, covering Harry Hill's The X Factor musical I Can't Sing and BBC first world war drama The Crimson Field, will be the last, the corporation confirmed on Thursday. The programme began life as on BBC2 as The Late Show spin-off Late Review in 1994 and has been through various weekly incarnations since, before pitching up on BBC4 in a new monthly format about a year ago. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'The next Review Show is the last. The series has made a valuable contribution over many years but as outlined this week, the BBC has ambitious plans for arts on TV, radio and online. Review will continue to have a place across the BBC alongside more topical arts coverage.' There were fears that The Review Show's switch from BBC2 to BBC4 and a monthly rather than weekly slot a year ago signalled the death knell for the format, despite presenters Martha Kearney and Kirsty Wark staying with the programme. In its original format the show was was presented by Mark Lawson from 1994 until 2005, when Kearney and Wark took over, and in the early years often featured a regular panel of Tom Paulin, Allison Pearson and Tony Parsons. After The Late Show's demise in 1995 Late Review continued as a stand alone show in the late evening BBC2 line-up. It was renamed Review and made a short-lived moved to Sunday night in March 2000, before being rebranded Newsnight Review early the following year and switching back to Friday nights, when its frequency was doubled to fifty editions annually.

The chief executive of Discovery has held talks with potential partners about launching joint bids for premium sports such as the Premier League TV rights. The owner of the Discovery factual channel, the new majority shareholder in Eurosport, is 'aggressively eyeing the UK market', its biggest outside the US, including bidding for Richard Desmond's Channel Five.

Tom Courtenay and former This Morning presenter Fern Britton are to feature in religious programmes to mark the Easter holiday, the BBC has announced. Britton will host The Great North Passion on BBC1, an outdoor retelling of the Easter story on the South Tyneside coast. Courtenay, meanwhile, will travel to Bradford to appear in a Palm Sunday edition of Songs Of Praise. US singer Beth Nielsen Chapman will also feature in the 13 April broadcast. Good Friday - 18 April - will see Diane Louise Jordan joined, on Radio 2, by the actor Stephen Tompkinson for 'an evening of music and poetry' from Winchester Cathedral. On Easter Sunday, meanwhile, Clare Balding will broadcast Good Morning Sunday live from Canterbury Cathedral. Her guests on 20 April will include Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Sheila Watson. Other radio offerings include a performance of Bach's St John Passion on Radio 3, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and 'a personal meditation on the Crucifixion' by John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, on Radio 4. 'Easter is the cornerstone of Christianity and our programmes across the BBC both mark and celebrate its significance,' said Aaqil Ahmed, head of BBC Religion and Ethics. In 2012, Britton hosted a contemporary retelling, in Preston, of the last hours of Jesus's life. Bradford provided some of the settings for 1963's Billy Liar and 1983's The Dresser two of actor Courtenay's most celebrated films.

Brian McFadden has signed up to present Channel Five's new dating show Stand By Your Man. So, that'll be worth avoiding, then.

BBC2 satire W1A may operate in a parallel universe to the actual BBC, but that hasn't stopped the Beeb being nervous about how the corporation might be perceived. Episode two, which was broadcast on Wednesday, featured head of values Ian Fletcher travelling to the BBC's headquarters in Salford to appear on Radio 4's Woman's Hour. However, the carriage given to the W1A production crew by Virgin to film Ian preparing for his grilling by Jenni Murray was (horrors!) a first class one. Keen to reassure licence fee payers that BBC staff do not routinely travel to Salford first class, the crew removed all the luxury trappings such as curtains, free newspapers, cutlery and plates and head protectors to make it look like a standard class carriage. It even added extra commuters and used tight camera angles to make the carriage appear more cramped. Mind you, this is all according to some middle-class hippy Communist louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star so, it's probably all lies.

Nick Frost is set to star in his first American sitcom. The Hot Fuzz, The World's End and Cuban Fury actor has signed up for the pilot episode of the FOX comedy Sober Companion. Nick is to play an ambitious, but drink-addicted lawyer, who is given a court-appointed guardian to take control of his life for ninety days to 'put him on the straight and narrow.' The sober companion his very self will be played by Justin Long, whose credits include Jeepers Creepers, Galaxy Quest and Dodgeball. The show us written and run by by David S Rosenthal and Jennie Snyder Urman, who previously worked together on 90210.

6Music presenter and former Pulp singer yer actual Jarvis Cocker has defended plans to axe BBC3, saying 'young people don't watch television.' It is 'all about tablets for them so we shouldn't be too bothered,' the musician and broadcaster told Radio Times. Earlier this month the BBC's Director General Tony Hall announced plans to make BBC3 available only online, subject to approval by the BBC Trust. He said the cost-cutting plans were 'financially necessary.' Whilst many full-of-their-own-importance gobshites like odious lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall and that Russell Kane (very popular with students) have whinged like big girls about the decision (mainly because it will affect them personally rather than any genuine interest in the viewers, one suspects) other high-profile names have been supportive of the move. 'BBC3 as a channel should always be at the forefront of things that are new and exciting,' said unfunny berk James Corden. 'So long as BBC3 keeps making interesting shows and good shows that are aimed at a young audience then that audience will find it.' At the launch of the new BBC Arts programme, Hall said BBC3 remained 'key' to the corporation's future. He said iPlayer would help 'engage with audiences', as would the eventual broadcast of some BBC3 programmes on BBC1. Asked by the Radio Times website whether the BBC, or its current system of funding through the licence fee, would eventually end if young people stopped watching television in large numbers, Cocker said: 'We mustn't worry about that. We should worry about what we do now. If the next generation want the BBC, they will have it.' Cocker is currently on a sabbatical from his Sunday evening 6Music show, with Iggy Pop standing in for him. He told Radio Times that he was taking a year away from his presenting duties on Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service, in order to 'find out if I have any creative energy left.' He is working on new music but ruled out a Pulp reunion. 'We have done that, we won't do it again,' he said. 'But hopefully I will find a way of inflicting any new music on an unsuspecting public.'

Andrew Davies, the television dramatist behind such hit adaptations as Pride And Prejudice, Bleak House and House Of Cards, is to be honoured at this year's Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. The seventy seven-year-old will receive the Harvey Lee award for outstanding achievement to broadcasting at this year's event in London on 28 March. Davies' other successes include Little Dorrit, Middlemarch, A Very Peculiar Practice and Mr Selfridge. His latest drama, about fellow Welshman Dylan Thomas, will be broadcast in May. A Poet In New York, which will have its premiere on BBC1 Wales before screening on BBC2, focuses on the poet's fateful final visit to America in 1953. Rev star Tom Hollander plays Thomas in the seventy five-minute drama, produced to mark the centenary of the Under Milk Wood writer's birth. Davies, who is currently adapting Tolstoy's War And Peace for the BBC, will attend Friday's awards lunch at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. He received a BAFTA Fellowship in 2002 and a lifetime achievement award from the Writers' Guild of Great Britain in 2009. John Humphrys was the last recipient of the Harvey Lee award, named in honour of the former Daily Torygraph media correspondent and Broadcasting Press Guild chairman who died in 1991. The awards, now in their fortieth year, are voted for by BPG members - journalists who specialise in covering television, radio and the media for newspapers, broadcasters, trade journals and websites.

Channel Four has announced that Tessa Ross is to stand down as controller of film and drama at the network. Ross will join the National Theatre as chief executive, replacing Nick Starr from November. She will work alongside outgoing director Nicholas Hynter before fully taking up the role in April 2015, with Rufus Norris replacing Hynter. Lisa Burger will remain as the NT's chief operating officer. Tessa Ross joined Channel Four in 2000, before becoming head of Film4 in 2003. She was later appointed controller of film and drama in 2008. During her time at Film4, she was involved in developing and financing films including Twelve Years A Slave, Slumdog Millionaire, The Last King Of Scotland and The Iron Lady. She was previously head of drama at the BBC's independent commissioning group, launching shows such as Clocking Off and Playing The Field. Ross was also on the National Theatre's board from 2011 to 2014, and was previously a governor at the National Film and Television School and the British Film Institute. National Theatre chair John Makinson said: 'The National has grown enormously in scale and complexity under the leadership of Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr. We are both a national and an international organisation, with a global audience of four million. Tessa's international experience and reputation as a producer and executive need no introduction, and her partnership with Rufus Norris will give us the strongest possible platform on which to extend the National Theatre's creative and commercial leadership.' Norris added: 'I am both thrilled and honoured that Tessa Ross is coming to join us at the NT, and to be my partner at the helm of this unique organisation. She is an extraordinary woman: a world-class producer, a tireless supporter and promoter of both emerging and established artists, a great manager and businesswoman.'

Yer actual Eddie Izzard is to perform his stand-up show in three languages in one night. Steady Eddie has scheduled three back-to-back performances of Force Majeure at Yale University on Friday night; first in German, then in French and finally in English. Each show at the Connecticut university's Whitney Humanities Centre will last an hour – and is free to attend. The English version at 9pm sold out quickly, but tickets are still available for the others at 7pm and 8pm. Eddie performed a run of German gigs in Berlin earlier this year, after a similar engagement in Paris in 2011. He said: 'In my show I say I'm on the fifth floor, cooking something, and I need to get the steam up to the tenth floor. I need to cook my German up.' It was also revealed that Eddie will be performing the French version in Normandy on the seventieth anniversary of D-Day in June. The People's Action Transvestite has previously donated what charity organisers called 'an eye-watering' sum to help ensure that seven hundred veterans of the Normandy landings can make the trip to the beaches to commemorate the date.

A Channel Four show which attempts to sequence the DNA of historical figures from Adolf Hitler to Marilyn Monroe claims to have discovered what could have caused Elvis Presley's early death. Dead Famous DNA has already hit the headlines after it emerged that producers had paid the historian and convicted Holocaust denier David Irving thousands of pounds for a lock of what was supposed to be the hair of Adolf Hitler (who only had one). At an advance screening on Tuesday of the first episode in the new series, it was revealed that tests have also been performed on what could be bone from the Nazi scumbag's ribcage, while producers have discovered that the hair which they paid Irving three grand for had not come from the German dictator at all. DNA analysis on a hair sample thought to have come from the king of rock n' roll his very self, which was bought from a friend of the singer's barber, has revealed that the singer could have suffered from a heart muscle disease. Which is a different theory to that given by Presely's doctor, Nick Nichopoulos ('hi, doctor Nick!') that yer man Elv died from a serious bout of constipation. The DNA results – analysed by doctor Stephen Kingsmore in Kansas – showed mutations, known as 'variants', which cause migraines, glaucoma and obesity. Presley, a junk food addict who relied heavily on prescription drugs, was known to have suffered from headaches, bad eyesight and ballooned in weight towards the end of his life. Scientists also found a 'crucial' variant known to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a heart muscle disease that causes thickening of the heart and weakening of the heart muscle. Presley displayed many of the symptoms of this disease, including an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, fainting and high blood pressure. The singer was found dead in 1977 at the age of forty two slumped in a lavatory at Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Which, whatever way you look at it, isn't a good way to go. Producers said that although it was officially known that Presley died of heart failure, the cause of this was still 'subject to speculation' and had fuelled 'a melting pot' of 'conspiracy theories.' Or, indeed, constipation theories in doctor Nick's case. Kingsmore, director of the Centre for Paediatric Genomic Medicine at the Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, described the results as 'a smoking gun.' He said that the results indicate it could be unfair to blame the singer's lifestyle for his death. Presenter Mark Evans said: 'For years, Elvis has been blamed for his own death, for overeating or overdosing on drugs. Both of these addictions wouldn't have helped. But it seemed Elvis had a flaw in his DNA.' Producers have sent the results to Presley's daughter Lisa Marie, but said that they have not heard back from her. Evans said that they were 'very, very confident' that the sample of hair had come from the singer, after spending three years doing their research. 'I'm massively confident that it's Elvis' DNA but I can't prove it,' he said. 'I can't tell you one hundred per cent that is Elvis' DNA. That's not possible.' The show also attempts to examine the DNA of Charles Darwin and from King George III, the latter from a hair sample which turned out to be from a wig. Most controversially, they're also trying to get Hitler's DNA. Producers would not confirm whether the bone sample, said to be from Hitler's ribcage, turned out to be genuine and defended the decision to seek his DNA. Results of scientific testing on the bone, which was given to the show's presenter by an unidentified man, will be revealed in later episodes. 'The one thing that no-one has ever, ever looked at is the one bit of him that he couldn't fabricate, he couldn't influence. He couldn't not change his DNA. His DNA was what he was. The DNA can't lie,' said Evans. Channel Four said that Irving sold them the hair sample 'in good faith' but their view of the science 'strongly suggests' that it was not Hitler's barnet. Evans said that he was 'proud that Channel Four has had the balls' (or, in Hitler's case, the ball) to tackle 'an incredibly difficult subject' and that the series would help 'stimulate a debate on the issues (surrounding) human genomes.'

A secondary school maths teacher has used the power of Game Of Thrones plot spoilers to control noise levels in his class, reports the Independent. When faced with a noisy auditorium, the teacher allegedly 'threatened to write the names of all the characters who die in Game Of Thrones series three on the board.' After discovering the majority of his students watched the popular fantasy series, the - nameless and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - teacher allegedly said: 'I've read all the books. If there is too much noise again, I will write the names of the dead on the board.' The Belgian newspaper nieuwsblad reports him as saying: '[The dead characters] are enough to fill the whole year and I can even describe how they die.' When some students did not take the threat seriously, he began to write the names of those killed on the board, to the dismay of students who apparently 'sighed in disgust.' The class was then, reportedly, silent for the rest of the lesson, according to the pupil who first wrote about the anecdote on a French Internet forum.

The latest episodes of The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy are piling up in Spanish TV studios, as a strike by voiceover actors enters its third week. Most foreign films and TV shows are dubbed on Spanish television and the strike by two hundred and fifty actors has delayed the broadcast of new episodes, leaving major networks showing reruns. With season four of Game Of Thrones due to be broadcast in early April, the actors are warning viewers of further delays if the strike continues. They have been working to secure a new collective agreement since labour reforms in 2012, said Juan Carlos Lozano of ADOMA, the union representing voiceover actors in Madrid. Faced with companies aggressively trying to undermine them by paying lower rates for the same work, they were left with few options but to strike, he said. Lozano has spent nearly twenty years lending his husky vocals to some of TV's most popular characters. When asked to name a few, he demurred, saying only: 'We all do a little bit of everything.' Last week, there was a setback for Lozano and his co-workers, when the third season of the fantasy series Resurrection was broadcast with an all-new cast of voices from Galicia. 'We had voiced it for two seasons,' said Lozano. 'We all felt really terrible.' He took some comfort in pointing out that advertisements for the show still featured the Madrid ensemble. The striking workers have now turned their attention to their competitors, striking a deal with their counterparts in Barcelona, who focus on dubbing over movies. 'We know that a few series have tried to get them to voice over, but they said no,' said Lozano. 'There's rumours of all sorts flying around.' He said the strike came 'at a sensitive time' for the industry, as some on social media argue that dubbing in Spain has made it harder to learn English. Lozano dismissed these concerns, pointing to the consistently large audiences. 'I think the majority of people aren't worried. If there wasn't a market, they wouldn't dub over.'
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks's former secretary has denied 'fabricating' a story in relation to events leading up to the closure of the Scum of the World in 2011, the Old Bailey has heard. Cheryl Carter told the prosecutor in the phone-hacking trial that she had been 'brought up well' and was 'not dishonest' and had 'not lied to police.' Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC put it to Carter that 'you have invented your memory of what happened since' the day she retrieved seven boxes of notebooks labelled as belonging to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks from the NI archive. Carter said that she never. 'That's totally wrong, you are wrong there Mr Edis with respect,' Carter said. He then put it to her that parts of her account given to police of events relating to the original archiving of the notebooks was invented memory. 'Mr Edis, I was dragged out bed at seven in the morning, I got watched while I went to the toilet, watched while I got dressed, told I would be handcuffed, put in a cell for four or five hours, I was cold, I was scared, yes I got things wrong but I did my very best for police,' Carter claimed, in her second day in the witness box. She requested the boxes from the archive on 8 July, two days before the Scum of the World closed and has told jurors that the boxes were 'mislabelled' and, in fact, contained about thirty of her notebooks containing cuttings of a beauty column she had in the Sun. Carter and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks have both been extremely charged with concealing the boxes - which have never been found. Carter denied that the timing of her request for archive boxes, two days before the Scum of the World closed in shame and ignominy, was odd. 'It never occurred to me, it was my stuff.' Edis also put it to Carter that an explanation that she was looking for documents to support her case in a trademark dispute in relation to a make-up brand she had launched had not been in her one hundred and fifty eight-page police interview. Carter claimed that she would not have thought of it at the time because she had no documentation or diaries to prompt her memory, but that she now had. Carter was accused of giving a 'dishonest' account of communications with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks after police turned up at her home in November 2011 to search for potential evidence in relation to the archive boxes. Carter told jurors that she had phoned well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks but had not told her that the archive books were labelled as belonging to the former chief executive. This was, Carter claimed, because 'she would have thought I was mad. She had no idea I had done that.' Asked if she had told well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks in the conversation if she had informed police she retrieved the boxes when she was at boot camp, Carter replied that she did not. Carter said she didn't 'feel she needed to tell' her about the conversation with police because she thought whatever they were investigating would be cleared up and the matter would go away. 'I'm going to suggest that evidence is dishonest,' said Edis. 'No Mr Edis, I'm not a dishonest person. I was brought up very well,' Carter claimed. Edis put it to her that she had not been asked to downsize material in the archive after receiving an e-mail from the NI archivist advising her they were moving the archive from Wapping to Enfield. 'No you are very wrong there,' Carter said explaining she had read the e-mail. Carter denies one charge of conspiring with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks to conceal material from police investigating News International between 6 July 2011 and 9 July 2011. The trial extremely continues.

Today, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's A To Z of Groovy Tunes reaches X, dear blog reader. And, as we all know, X is for XTC.

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