Thursday, April 10, 2014

No Need For The Black Maria

The vile and odious rascal Miller has - finally - been forced to resign as the lack of culture secretary over the controversy concerning her expenses. Whether the vile and odious rascal Miller will now be forced to pay back the entire forty five grand which a committee of MPs quite disgracefully let her off with, be deselected as an MP by her constituents and, indeed, after a forthcoming police investigation (and trial) be banged up in jail for 'expenses irregularities' remains to be seen. Though, this blogger wouldn't bank on it. In the Commons, the Labour leader Ed Milimolimandi accused David Cameron (and, by extension, the vile and odious rascal Miller herself) of 'just not getting it' - something of a catchphrase for Milimolimandi though, in this particular case, he's certainly got a point. And, of and having 'undermined trust in politics' with his bungled handling of the row. Cameron and the vile and odious rascal Miller seem to have been the only people in political not to have grasped just how much this issue has monumentally pissed off the vast majority of the country. Once again, politicians appear to be aloof and insensitive. And then they wonder why voters now, as a default setting, appear to regard the lot of them as scum. Sajid Javid has been named as the new lack of culture secretary, the MP for Bromsgrove having been promoted from his previous role as Financial Secretary to the Treasury. The vile and odious rascal Miller was cleared of funding a home for her parents at taxpayers' expense - even though, you know, she did - but was told to repay five thousand eight hundred smackers of the expenses she claimed. The independent parliamentary commissioner for standards had initially recommended that she repay over forty five grand. But the lower sum was approved by the Commons Standards Committee - mostly made up of the vile and odious rascal Miller's fellow MPs - which has the final say on whether to accept the commissioner's recommendations. This decision, needless to say, caused outrage and furious anger throughout the country; it also sparked a backlash across the political spectrum and led to calls for changes in how complaints against MPs are investigated and by whom. The committee also criticised the vile and odious rascal Miller's 'attitude' during the investigation, which it ruled was 'a breach of the parliamentary code of conduct.' The vile and odious rascal Miller sort-of apologised in the Commons, but was heavily criticised for both the brevity and rather dismissive nature of her statement - which lasted just over thirty seconds - and the clear lack of anything even appraoching contrition being shown. In a TV interview on Wednesday, the vile and odious rascal Miller dismissed speculation that she had been pushed into resigning by Downing Street, saying: 'I take full responsibility for my decision to resign. I think it's the right thing to do.' In a letter to the Prime Minister, the vile and odious rascal Miller claimed that the controversy over her expenses had 'become a distraction from the vital work this government is doing.' At Cameron's weekly question session, Milimolimandi stuck the knife in, saying: 'The reason the public was so appalled was that if it had happened in any other business, there would have been no question of them staying in their job.' He asked of the Prime Minister: 'Why was he the last person in the country to realise her position was untenable?' Well, the last other than the vile and odious rascal Miller her very self, obviously. On Tuesday night, the vile and odious rascal Miller had appeared to be involved in a desperate fightback against growing pressure on her to resign, as one of her aides reportedly canvassed backbenchers for support and then scuttled around London's TV studios, whingingly accusing the media of whipping up the row over the vile and odious rascal Miller's expenses 'in revenge' for press regulation and gay marriage. But, on Wednesday morning, with the row entering its seventh day and showing no sign of going away any time soon, the vile and odious rascal Miller's resignation was accepted by Cameron, who told the vile and odious rascal Miller that he was 'sad' at the circumstances of her departure and hoped she could make a return to the cabinet 'in due course.' The vile and odious rascal Miller's departure follows days of mounting public and political pressure on the lack of culture secretary to quit amid signs that she was losing what support she had among Tory colleagues despite - or, possibly, because of - Cameron's unwavering backing. In her resignation letter, the Basingstoke MP told Cameron that she was 'very grateful' for his stubborn support. 'But it has become clear to me that the present situation has become a distraction from the vital work this government is doing to turn our country around,' she added. She defended her work on press regulation - which her allies have suggested has resulted in a media 'witch-hunt' against her. 'Of course, implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson on the future of media regulation, following the phone-hacking scandals, would always be controversial for the press,' she wrote. 'Working together with you, I believe we struck the right balance between protecting the freedom of the press and ensuring fairness, particularly for victims of press intrusion, to have a clear right of redress.' Cameron, in his reply, accepting the resignation, told her that it was 'important to be clear that the Committee on Standards cleared you of the unfounded allegations made against you, a point which has been lost in much of the comment in recent days.' The standards committee, it should be noted, ordered her to repay a mere five thousand eight hundred smackers in over-claimed mortgage interest and to apologise on the floor of the House. Which she did. But, it was a rotten, mealy-mouthed, 'yeah, whatever'-type thirty second apology which satisfied no one and has been widely criticised by politicians of all side for both its tone and its brevity. Cameron wrote that he was 'personally very grateful for the support you have always given me, and which I am sure that you will continue to give.' On Tuesday evening, the embattled lack of culture secretary had seemed to try and launch a desperate fightback against the growing pressure upon her to resign, as one of her aides was reported by several newspapers to be canvassing Tory backbenchers for support and was then see touring TV studios to accuse the media of 'whipping up the row' over the vile and odious rascal Miller's expenses allegedly 'in revenge' for her support for press regulation and gay marriage. The vile and odious rascal Miller had issued a fresh apology to her constituents in Basingstoke, saying that she had let them down and was 'devastated' after she was ordered to repay thousands of pounds in expenses wrongly claimed for a mortgage. Whether she was actually devastated at getting caught was a question more than one voter could be excused for asking. But the mea culpa was coupled with a new defence of the vile and odious rascal Miller's conduct, just hours after several Tories had broken ranks to speak out against her publicly and Lady Boothroyd, a former Speaker of the Commons, said that the vile and odious rascal Miller's failure to resign was 'bringing parliament into disrepute.' 'I am pleased that the committee has fully dismissed all of the allegations made against me,' the vile and odious rascal Miller told her local paper, the Basingstoke Gazette, seeming to try and blame the entire mess on the Labour MP who had grassed her up in the first place and claiming - very unconvincingly - that the need to return five thousand eight hundred knicker to the taxpayer was 'a separate issue' which she had 'drawn attention to herself.' The readers of the paper were, it would appear, hugely unimpressed by this shallow and pathetically blame-shifting series of whinges - certainly if the comments section on the paper's website is anything to go by. Check it out, dear blog reader, it's a bloody good laugh. Few senior figures lined-up to defend the vile and odious rascal Miller, although Cameron continued to offer the lack of culture secretary his full support, something which may cause the Prime Minister considerable political damage in the short and medium term. A growing number of backbenchers, of increasing seniority were, on Tuesday, going on the record with various media outlets to condemn the vile and odious rascal Miller. As criticism from the Tory benches intensified, Mary Macleod, Miller's parliamentary private secretary, sent a text message to backbench colleagues saying that she believed there was a 'witch-hunt on Maria due to Leveson' and added: 'Maria would really appreciate your support.' One of these backbenchers promptly leaked the contents of this text to the Gruniad Morning Star. Which, to be fair, was also pretty funny. Macleod then toured the television studios to defend her boss, but appeared to stoke the row further by suggesting that the public 'did not really understand' the facts of the case - because we're all thick as pig's shit, obviously - and the media had 'a hidden agenda.' A tip for you Mary, love. When you - or your now-sacked mate for that matter - are in a hole, it's usually a good idea to stop digging. Speaking on Sky News - and later the BBC - Macleod insisted that the vile and odious rascal Miller had been cleared of all accusations - which does make one rather wonder exactly why the vile and odious rascal Miller was told to pay back money and apologise if she'd done nothing wrong - and claimed that the reason newspapers were pursuing the issue so vigorously was 'Leveson and probably equal marriage as well.' MacLeod said: 'Why do you think, when allegations are being dismissed, they are continuing this story every day? Why would they continue unless there was a hidden agenda – and it's not just me saying this, there's a lot of MPs saying this. Maria has a lot of support and I think she's a brilliant culture secretary. I think that the media role behind this is about Leveson. They are not treating her fairly.' At which point, she burst into tears. Probably. Alleged 'sources' allegedly 'close to' the vile and odious rascal Miller were quickly being - allegedly - quoted by newspapers distancing the vile and odious rascal Miller from her aide's intervention and saying that it was not made at the vile and odious rascal Miller's bidding but, rather, that Macleod had acted 'as an independent MP with views of her own.' The assertion came after the vile and odious rascal Miller's special adviser, Jo Hindley, was criticised for trying to 'flag up' a link between the lack of culture secretary's work on press regulation to a Daily Torygraph journalist who was investigating the vile and odious rascal Miller expenses. Cameron had been warned that the row was 'turning toxic' and that anger with the vile and odious rascal Miller's behaviour was about to come to a head at a meeting of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers which was scheduled for Wednesday evening. Some of the most stinging criticism came from Boothroyd, who said that the vile and odious rascal Miller should resign immediately 'as a matter of honour' - a ludicrous concept in this age of politicians who believe that honour was an actress who used to be in The Avengers - and that Cameron had 'made an error of judgment' by allowing the vile and odious rascal Miller to stay in her job. 'I think that it's not just a question of apology,' Boothroyd told the BBC's PM programme. 'It was an apology, it wasn't very fulsome, and as far as I understand it she's taken a very, very long time to deal with the commissioner for standards in the most churlish way, legalistic way. My concern is that parliament has taken hard knocks for a long time, [it's] done a great deal of damage and there is now time to try and repair that and this does not help at all. And I think it is a matter of honour.' A number of backbench Tory MPs had publicly criticised their senior colleague for the first time on Tuesday (all previous mutterings had been done off the record). These included Zac Goldsmith, who said that he was 'surprised' the vile and odious rascal Miller had not gone, Matthew Offord, who said the row was 'a real issue on the doorstep', the repellent bell-end Philip Davies, who argued it was 'damaging the reputation of the party' and Mark Field, who said the vile and odious rascal Miller's apology to the House had been 'unacceptably perfunctory.' Previously, the employment minister Esther McVey became the most senior Tory to criticise the vile and odious rascal Miller suggesting that her apology 'could have been better.' Nicola Blackwood, a Tory aide in the business department, indicated that she would be 'really quite worried indeed' if she was to find herself in the same position as the vile and odious rascal Miller and backbencher Jackie Doyle-Price argued that the vile and odious rascal Miller 'could not expect support' from her colleagues on the issue of expenses. Boris Johnson failed to answer the question of whether the vile and odious rascal Miller should keep her job during a BBC interview, telling the Today programme: 'I don't know the facts of the case in great detail, but it seems to me she is being hounded quite a lot and my natural sympathies go out to people in hounded situations – how about that?' The lack of education secretary the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove said that he was 'saddened' by the vile and odious rascal Miller's resignation. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'She has done some brave and right things, not least that equal marriage is now on the statute book.' Bloody hell, dear blog reader, if the only people sticking up for you are a Prime Minister whose best friends are mostly currently on trial over phone-hacking allegations and the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove, then you really are in trouble. The rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove, a former journalist himself and, therefore, double pond-scum, said that he 'would not criticise the press', but added: 'Over the course of the a last couple of days the pressure on Maria Miller grew more intense. Some of the criticism directed at her had been very personal, and it must have been hurtful.' The independent standards commissioner originally wanted the vile and odious rascal Miller to repay forty five thousand eight hundred smackers, but this was subsequently reduced to a mere five thousand eight hundred quid by the Commons standards committee of MPs. They knocked the four off, basically. This has led to calls for parliament to 'take a fresh look' at the system of policing MPs' conduct and a new mechanism for voters to be able to sack their MP in the event of any wrongdoing. 'Can I ask the leader of the House to take not only the mood of this place but also this country to make the necessary change we need?' Offord asked during a debate in the House of Commons called by Labour MP John Mann about the effectiveness of the standards regime. Kevin Barron, the Labour MP in charge of the committee, said that he was 'reviewing' the way it works, but Andrew Lansley, the leader of the House, defended the current system and argued against the idea of lay members having a greater role. Mann, whose complaint sparked the investigation into the vile and odious rascal Miller's expenses, welcomed her resignation. 'My reaction is it's about time too. Maria Miller should have resigned immediately and when she didn't resign, David Cameron should have shown a bit of leadership and he ... sacked her,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. 'There is a difference between loyalty and blind loyalty,' he continued. Yes. One word. 'Blind.' Next ... Voters were 'incandescent' about the vile and odious rascal Miller's expenses claims and Cameron's 'failure to act' had been 'incomprehensible to most people', Mann added. 'There's a word missing in British politics these days and that's honour, and I would define honour as: if you've done something wrong, as a cabinet minister, you resign - and if you don't resign you get sacked.'

The Conservative Party is alleged to be facing even further embarrassment over sleaze allegations in the wake of the vile and odious rascal Miller row after the parliamentary watchdog concluded another report into one of the party's former MPs which, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, is expected to be highly critical. The Gruniad says that it 'understands' (for which read somebody's told them) that Kathryn Hudson, the commissioner for standards, has completed a report into Patrick Mercer, the former shadow minister who allegedly failed to declare thousands of quid paid to him by a fake lobbying company set up by a BBC journalist. The report was, the Gruniad claim, sent earlier this week to the committee for standards, which is expected to release it with very few amendments imminently. Alleged 'sources' have allegedly told the Gruniad that the report will 'criticise Mercer for his conduct.' The report will also prove a test of the embattled standards committee, already under pressure for its handling of the vile and odious rascal Miller inquiry. Mercer, the MP for Newark, stepped down from the party's whip after accepting four grand from undercover reporters posing as lobbyists. He reported himself to the commissioner for standards after being accused of failing to declare two thousand smackers of the money within parliamentary rules and appeared to offer to secure a Westminster security pass for the lobbyist. The report will focus further attention on the system for assessing MPs' conduct after criticisms of the way that MPs on the committee had watered down Hudson's report into the former lack of culture secretary. While Hudson recommended that the vile and odious rascal Miller repay more than forty five thousand knicker, the committee agreed with Miller's own suggestion that she repay just five thousand eight hundred notes. David Cameron - eventually - said that he was 'open' to the system being reformed after a succession of Labour MPs criticised the way that MPs can overrule the commissioner's findings. Mercer was secretly recorded having a conversation with a journalist from Panorama, who was posing as a representative of a fake company seeking to hire the MP's services to lobby for Fiji's return to the Commonwealth. Panorama said that it had paid Mercer four thousand smackers for working two days a month and this money had 'not been properly declared' to the parliamentary authorities. Mercer said he agreed to be a 'consultant' for work outside parliament – which is permissible under parliamentary rules – and has 'taken legal advice' about the allegations. An MP is allowed to work as a consultant or be paid for 'advice', but is forbidden from acting as 'a paid advocate' – defined as someone taking 'payment for speaking' in the House of Commons. Under parliamentary rules, politicians are required to publicly declare all money they receive 'beyond their parliamentary salary', but there are certain types of paid work which they are not allowed to undertake at all. According to the rules, MPs should not be paid 'to ask a parliamentary question, table a motion, introduce a bill, table an amendment to a motion or a bill, or urge colleagues or ministers to do so.' Panorama said that the MP submitted five parliamentary questions as well as an early day motion – all in relation to Fiji. In opposition, Cameron had promised to reform the rules on lobbying, saying it was a 'scandal waiting to happen.' And, now it has. Contacted by the Gruniad, Mercer said that he was 'not aware' Hudson had completed the report.
The Great British Sewing Bee equalled last year's finale ratings on Tuesday, overnight figures reveal. BBC2's competition dipped by around one hundred thousand from last week's episode but held steady with its first series finale, attracting 2.7 million at 8pm. Earlier, The Great British Menu cooked with 1.8m at 7.30pm, while Battle For Britain's Breakfast brought in 1.0m at 9pm. On BBC1, Shetland dropped by around half a million punters to 4.3m at 9pm. Have I Got More News For You amused 2.3m at 10.35pm. ITV's Champions League coverage of Moscow Chelski FC's victory over Paris St-Germain scored the night's best ratings outside of soaps, attracting 5.2m on average at 7.30pm. On Channel Four, Kirstie's Best Of Both Worlds concluded with nine hundred and forty eight thousand at 8pm. The historical drama New Worlds continued with four hundred and ten thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door interested 1.5m at 8pm, followed by Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! also with 1.5m at 9pm. The Mentalist was watched by 1.1m at 10pm. On BBC3, The Call Centre returned for a new series with nine hundred and seventy nine thousand at 9pm. This is down from last year's launch of 1.05m. Sweat The Small Stuff - the best single reason for celebrating rather than bemoaning BBC3 getting taken off the telly - also returned to five hundred and one thousand punters at 10pm.

MasterChef stayed on top of the Wednesday ratings outside of soaps, overnight data reveals. The BBC1 competition dipped by two hundred thousand from last Wednesday's audience to 4.5 million at 8pm as the very impressive Jack and Rani progressed to the quarter finals on Friday. The episode was also notable for the inclusion of Dawn who was described as a 'witchcraft merchant'. That's got to be a first for not only MasterChef but, indeed, all telly ever. Later, Monkey Planet intrigued 2.7m at 9pm, while documentary Marine A: Criminal Or Casualty Of War? gathered 1.2m at 10.35pm. BBC Two's new series Under Offer: Estate Agents On The Job opened to two million punters at 8pm, followed by Ian Hislop's - properly excellent - new series The Olden Days with 1.9m at 9pm. W1A concluded with 1.1m at 10pm. On ITV, the wretched Big Star's Little Startotally failed to entertain 3.6m at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of Law & Order: UK with 3.9m at 9pm. Channel Four's Secret Eaters interested eight hundred and fifty one thousand at 8pm. Dead Famous DNA had an audience of vie hundred and eighty two thousand at 9pm, followed by The Sixty Thousand Pound Puppy: Cloning Man's Best Friend with six hundred and sixteen thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, the delightfully named Raoul Moat: Northumberland Rampage was seen by seven hundred and thirty two thousand ghouls at 8pm, followed by Britain's Crime Capitals with eight hundred and twenty six thousand at 9pm. NCIS was watched by nine hundred and five thousand at 10pm, followed by the latest episode of Castle with five hundred and ten thousand at 11pm. Sky Sports 1's coverage of The Scum getting a good hiding off Bayern München topped the multichannels with 1.4m from 7pm.

Marc Warren has joined the cast of The Musketeers for its second series. The Mad Dogs actor will play the Comte De Rochefort - a dashing aristocrat with a very dark past. Warren's casting follows the news that Peter Capaldi will not reprise his role of Cardinal Richelieu, due to commitments to Doctor Who. Warren - an actor Keith Telly Topping has long admired - said: 'I'm delighted to be part of the BBC's stylish and exciting take on the Dumas classic. Once I've overcome my fear of horses, I'm sure it'll be a walk in the park.' BBC executive producer Jessica Pope added: 'Adrian [Hodges] and I were thrilled to welcome Marc to the cast. He's a clever and mercurial actor who will bring danger and charm to the role of Rochefort in equal measure.' Bar Capaldi, all of the show's central cast - including Luke Pasqualino, Maimie McCoy and Tom Burke - will return for series two.

Now, dear blog reader, you might want to have a gander at the following list to see if you fall into any of the categories on there.
Yeah. Looks like we're all fucked, then. Next ...

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has, this week, had something of a severe haircut, dear blog reader.
Hardly Earth-shattering news, I know, but this blogger thought one or two of you dear blog readers might be interested. No? Okay, suit yerselves then.

The new police telephone box in Boscombe was officially revealed to the public this week in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. Dorset Police Band entertained onlookers beforehand and then it was time for Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood to deliver a speech before unveiling the steel-framed construction, which is based on the iconic 1929 design created by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench for the Metropolitan Police and subsequently used in Doctor Who. Former Bournemouth FC centre forward Steve Fletcher was among those present, as were Inspector Chris Weeks and Sergeant Chris Amey, who both have responsibilities for the area and have previously spoken about the policing and tourism benefits of having the box. Also there was Dorset Police Federation chairman Tony Tester who, as he set off for the event, tweeted: 'Off to the launch of the new police box this morning by car not time travel.' Oh, witty. DFid you see what he did there, dear blog reader? Oh, and a Dalek turned up as well. That should keep law and order in Bournemouth.
Doctor Who has made the front cover of the Radio Times once again this week as the magazine celebrates this year's BAFTA Nominations. The Radio Times Audience Award is open to the public vote to decide which of Doctor Who (The Day of the Doctor), Broadchurch, Educating Yorkshire, Gogglebox, Breaking Bad and The Great British Bake Off is the most popular show. And, not 'the best British drama over the last year' as one - normally very accurate - Doctor Who website has claimed. Given that three of those nominated aren't dramas and Breaking Bad isn't, you know, British. As well as the latest Matt Smith/Jenna Coleman cover joining a Doctor Who collection way exceeding fifty in recent years, David Tennant has adorned over twenty himself, this time alongside Olivia Colman to represent writer Chris Chibnall's crime drama Broadchurch.
Game Of Thrones has been commissioned for two new series, producers have confirmed. 'Raise a glass of Dornish wine. Game Of Thrones is renewed for seasons five and six,' the show posted on its official Facebook page. It added: 'Send a raven and spread the word across the realm.' The season four premiere of Game Of Thrones gave HBO its largest overnight ratings since The Sopranos finale in 2007, it was announced earlier this week. An average of 6.6 million watched the US network for the hit fantasy drama. Game Of Thrones also secured its biggest ever rating in the UK, with 1.2 million tuning into Sky Atlantic across two broadcasts, one at 2am simulcast with the US. George R R Martin, the author of the A Song Of Ice And Fire series of novels upon which the drama is based, is also an executive producer on the show. He has previously hinted at the possibility of a feature film to round-off the adaptation of his books. The show also holds the record for the most illegally downloaded television programme. In 2012, one episode of Game Of Thrones allegedly racked up four million two hundred and eighty thousand illegal global downloads, according to the Torrentfreak website. That was slightly more than its estimated American television audience. Earlier this week the digital service for television channel HBO was forced to apologise to customers, after the site crashed following high demand for the series four premiere. HBO GO asked fans to wait for a later replay of the episode on the cable channel. Last month, the service also crashed after demand to watch the finale of True Detective.

The BBC was 'far too complacent' in its handling of a failed IT project that cost licence fee payers £98.4m. The Digital Media Initiative was intended to move the BBC away from using and storing video tape. But it was scrapped, with almost no results worth speaking of, after five years of development. After investigating the demise of the project, the Public Accounts Committee has described the programme as 'a complete failure.' Chairman Margaret Hodge said the BBC needed to 'overhaul' its approach to such projects, to 'safeguard licence fee payers' money.' The BBC's then management originally approved DMI in 2006. It was supposed to produce new editing tools, an online archive of the BBC's programmes and a new database. Technology company Siemens was hired to develop the project in February 2008, and it was expected to be completed the following year. However, after a series of delays, the project was brought in-house. There, it continued to flounder like beached whale until last May, when the BBC's incoming Director General, Tony Hall, admitted that it had 'wasted a huge amount of licence fee payers' money.' The gross estimate of the amount spent on DMI was £125.9m, although the BBC claims to have recouped £27.5m of that. The BBC's technology chief, John Linwood, was extremely sacked in July 2013 over the project's demise. A previous report, by the National Audit Office, blamed 'confusion and a lack of planning' for the failure. It said that senior executives had 'failed to take control' of the project when it ran into trouble and 'did not appear to appreciate the extent of the problems until a late stage.' PAC published its own findings on Thursday. It reiterated several of the points raised in earlier reports and criticised the BBC for its failure to alert MPs of the problems. 'When my committee examined the DMI's progress in February 2011, the BBC told us that the DMI was "absolutely essential" and that a lot of the BBC's future was tied up in the successful delivery of the DMI,' said Spanker Hodgey. 'The BBC also told us that it was using the DMI to make many programmes and was on track to complete the system in 2011 with no further delays. This turned out not to be the case. In reality the BBC only ever used the DMI to make one programme, Bang Goes the Theory. The BBC was far too complacent about the high risks involved in taking it in-house. No single individual had overall responsibility or accountability for delivering the DMI and achieving the benefits, or took ownership of problems when they arose.' A BBC spokesman said: 'Tony Hall was right to scrap the DMI project when he took over as director general last year. As we said at the time, the BBC didn't get DMI right and we apologised to licence fee payers. Since then we have completely overhauled how these projects are delivered so that there is crystal clear accountability and transparency.' A spokeswoman for the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, said: 'As we have said before, this represented an unacceptable loss to licence fee payers. Acting on the conclusions of previous reports into DMI, we have strengthened reporting to the Trust so that problems are spotted early and dealt with quickly. We are also carrying out follow up reviews once projects are completed to make sure the lessons from DMI are being implemented.'

Daniel Craig has reportedly quit the courtroom drama The Whole Truth just days before he was due to begin shooting in Boston with co-star Renee Zellweger. Craig was set to play a district attorney and had been spotted preparing for the role at Boston's Suffolk County Superior Court last month. Producers have halted production on the film, according to the Boston Globe. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the start date has been moved back by three weeks. Directed by Frozen River's Courtney Hunt, the film was scheduled to being production on 14 April. It is thought Craig left the project on Sunday for reasons unknown at this time. The movie would have seen Craig appear alongside Zellweger and nineteen-year-old Gabriel Basso, previously seen as Laura Linney's son in TV series The Big C. The independent project was announced during the Berlin Film Festival in February. Craig will soon reprise his role as 007 in the Twenty fourth film in the James Bond franchise, due out next year. The forty six-year-old and his wife Rachel Weisz - who recently co-starred on stage in a Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's play Betrayal - were seen together on Monday at a charity gala in New York.

Paddy McGuinness went from Take Me Out to storming out on This Morning recently. The TV presenter's interview with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby to promote his new ITV show Amazing Greys was cut short – the second time that this has happened to him on the programme. Acting all A-list, the Sun reports McGuinness as saying: 'Again! Is that it? What were we playing that daft game for? We could have been having a chat! This has happened again. Unreal.' He then walked off the set. But, apparently, it was all 'a joke'. And, as with most 'jokes' that the plank McGuinness is involved in, it was about as funny as a rash on the bell-end.

A TV advert for the payday loans firm Wonga has been extremely banned after the advertising watchdog ruled it confused the public about the interest rates that applied. The commercial featured a conversation between two puppets about the costs of a Wonga short-term loan. The Advertising Standards Authority upheld the complaints, saying that it was misleading by implying a representative APR of five thousand eight hundred and fifty three per cent was 'irrelevant'. The authority said the advert must not appear again in its current form. In the advert, the puppets said: 'Right, we're going to explain the costs of a Wonga short-term loan. Some people think they will pay thousands of per cent of interest. They won't of course - that's just the way annual rates are calculated. Say you borrowed one hundred and fifty pounds for eighteen days, it would cost you £33.49.' The Advertising Standards Authority received thirty one complaints about the advertisement. Wonga claimed that it was 'not fair or reasonable' to view the advert as confusing. The ASA disagreed. The company insisted that the information which appeared on screen had 'followed industry regulations' and was intended to 'clarify' the costs of a loan. The ASA said: 'Whilst we acknowledged that viewers taking out and repaying the loan within the stated time period would not repay five thousand eight hundred and fifty three per cent of the loan, we were nevertheless concerned that viewers would be left without a clear understanding of how the information in the on-screen text could be applied to a Wonga loan, given the ad's assertion that the representative APR was not indicative of the cost of the loan. We considered that, though it attempted to clarify the costs associated with a Wonga loan, the ad created confusion as to the rates that would apply. On that basis, we concluded that the ad was misleading.' The ASA also found that the representative example, including the representative APR, was not sufficiently prominent in the advert and that the ad irresponsibly encouraged viewers to disregard the representative APR.

Actress Patsy Palmer is to leave EastEnders after twenty one years of playing quick-tempered market stall holder Bianca Butcher. The forty one-year-old joined the soap in 1993, as Bianca Jackson. The BBC said that her character would not be killed off. Which is a real pity, but there you go. You can't have everything, dear log reader. Where would you keep it? A spokesman for the actress said that she was 'really sad to be leaving the show as she loves playing Bianca but she knows it's the right decision at this time in her life.' Palmer leaves the show in the autumn. 'We are so sad that Patsy has decided to leave us, but completely understand that it's the right time for her,' said the show's executive producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins. 'There's still a lot more to come from her on screen this year - and the door will be left wide open for her return. We won't be getting rid of Bianca's Puffa jacket just yet.' Palmer left the show once before, in 1999, when her character went to art college in Manchester. She returned for a one-off episode in 2002, before resuming the role full time in 2008. Bianca, like many of Albert Square's residents, has had her fair share of problems. Her storylines have included an abortion, infidelity, debt and a spell in prison. But she is perhaps best-known for her relationship with Ricky Butcher, played by Sid Owen. The couple's marriage in 1997 gave the BBC1 show some of its highest-ever ratings - in excess of twenty two million - although the ceremony was nearly cancelled after a riotous stag night. They divorced in 1999 but remarried when EastEnders turned twenty five in 2010. Outside the show Palmer has taken part in charity editions of Strictly Come Dancing and The Apprentice. She also runs a beauty company, Palmer Cutler, which sells self-tanning products. According to several newspapers, including the Daily Mirra and the Daily Scum Mail, Palmer plans to leave the UK this summer to 'pursue a career in Hollywood.' So, in that case, expect to see her turning up in panto in South Wimbledon sometime around Christmas 2014.

FOX has been left red-faced after a YouTube promo for the new series of 24 claimed that Donald Sutherland was going to be playing Jack Bauer rather than his son Kiefer. Planks!
The actress Katherine Heigl has sued a chain of US pharmacies for six million bucks in damages. She has accused Duane Reade Inc of using a picture of her leaving one of its shops in promotional material. The case was filed in a court in Manhattan, New York, on Wednesday. Heigl is famous for her roles in films including Knocked Up and Twenty Seven Dresses and also won an Emmy for playing the character of Izzie Stevens in the medical drama Grey's Anatomy. In documents submitted to the court, Heigl said that she was recently photographed by paparazzi in New York City as she left a Duane Reade pharmacy. She claims that the company is 'exploiting her image for commercial gain' despite her objection. Heigl's complaint also says that she plans to donate any damages she may receive to a charity that helps animals. Last year Heigl was named one of Hollywood's most overpaid stars, second only to Adam Sandler.

BBC1's Last Tango In Halifax is to be remade for French television. The romantic drama will be adapted by BBC Worldwide and production company NEWEN.

Yer man Jeremy Paxman is to make his Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut. The Newsnight and University Challenge presenter will put on a one-man show for a week at The Pleasance Theatre; yer actual Keith Telly Topping appeared there in Monopolise! in 2012, dear blog reader. Just thought I'd mention it as it's likely to be the only time in his life that Keith Telly Topping will be able to claim he played a gig before Jezza Paxman! Radio Times reports that PAXO will be an hour-long show, in which Jezza his very self will discuss topics involving 'pogonophobia, underpants and the human condition.' 'I have no idea why I'm doing this. Some fool said you only regret the things in life that you don't do. But I'm regretting this already,' he said. Director Sarah Esdaile said of the show: 'I am looking forward very much to harnessing Jeremy's positive mental attitude, and giving our audiences in Edinburgh a little insight into the enigmatic Mr Paxman and what makes him tick.' Audience members will also be given 'the opportunity to quiz the grand inquisitor.' Paxo's show will run from Monday 18 August to Monday 25 August.
The former managing editor of the Scum of the World has said that he knew Milly Dowler's voicemail had been hacked after the schoolgirl disappeared in 2002. Stuart Kuttner said he knew the Scum of the World was 'in possession' of a recording of her voicemails, including a purported interview offer for a factory job in Telford. Kuttner claimed to jurors at the Old Bailey hacking trial that he passed the information on to the police at the time and, if faced with the same situation, he would 'do it again today.' But Kuttner also claimed that he did not know Glenn Mulcaire, who has already pleaded extremely guilty to hacking Dowler's phone, had accessed her voicemail when Kuttner contacted Surrey police who were leading the search for the missing schoolgirl in April 2002. In the witness box for the second day, Kuttner confirmed that he had telephoned Detective Sergeant Kevin McEntee on 13 April that year and told him the Scum of the World was 'in possession of a recording of a voicemail from Milly Dowler's mobile.' Asked by his defence counsel, Jonathan Caplan, if he had any 'involvement' in the 'accessing of her voicemail,' Kuttner responded 'Absolutely not.' 'Did you agree in advance that someone at the News of the World should access her voicemail?' Caplan asked. 'No, I did not,' replied Kuttner. 'Did you know that Mr Mulcaire accessed her voicemail?' he was noted. Again, he denied this. He was asked who told him that her voicemail had been accessed. Kuttner claimed that he could not be certain, but documents he has seen since his arrest in 2001 'suggested that it was a News of the World staff member called Neville Thurlbeck.' Asked what Thurlbeck said to him, Kuttner responded: 'Whatever he would have said to me, what I did was I passed it on to Surrey police.' The jury has previously heard that the Scum of the World believed it had information that Dowler had ran away from home and applied for a job in the Midlands. The paper reported 'a new twist' in the hunt for Dowler 'when it emerged that messages had been sent to her mobile phone after she had vanished.' When told by police that they appeared to be a victim of a hoaxer, the paper changed its story, removing the reference to the voicemails and reporting a 'hoax outrage.' Asked if he was 'aware of any changes between the second and third editions' of that day's paper, Kuttner replied: 'I don't know,' adding 'But, I think I would have been.' Kuttner has been charged with a single count of conspiring with others, including Thurlbeck, to intercept voicemails. He denies the charge. Thurlbeck has already pleaded guilty. Caplan asked if Kuttner knew if the hacking was 'a one-off incident' or whether there was 'a system' in place at the paper. Kuttner replied: 'No, I don't know.' 'Did you believe that voicemail was being regularly hacked at the News of the World?' 'I certainly did not know,' Kuttner claimed. Asked if he was aware of any other occasions when the Scum of the World had been involved in 'the publication of other people's voicemails,' Kuttner said: 'No, I was not. My role may have changed from journalist to managing editor, but it is not a form of newspaper work or journalism that I recognise,' he claimed. Kuttner said that the first he knew of the arrest of the paper's former royal editor, Clive Goodman, in August 2006 in connection with phone-hacking was when he got to work that day. Security guards at the gates of News International in Wapping told him there were 'police officers in the newsroom.' He said that he went in and saw 'two or three police officers in the area of Clive Goodman's desk. They wanted to search his desk and his computer.' Kuttner told jurors: 'I had no suspicion [that Goodman was hacking] whatsoever; complete and inexplicable surprise. I did not understand what was going on.' Goodman was extremely jailed in January 2007 for phone-hacking offences along with Mulcaire. Earlier, Kuttner had denied 'concealing' payments for Mulcaire from 'Mister Rupert Murdoch' in order to dodge any 'awkward questions' about his nefarious skulduggery. Kuttner, has also denied 'cooking the books' to get a one hundred thousand smackers-a-year contract with Mulcaire through the accounting system without any 'awkward questions' being asked by his bosses. He has also denied the allegation that he knew about Mulcaire's activities, or that Mulcaire had been hired to get 'cheap stories' by hacking into the voicemails of royals and celebrities. 'The idea that I would conceal payments from the management of the company, whether it was Rupert Murdoch, or managers, or the chief finance officer, is utterly baseless,' he told a jury. Raising his head to turn to Mr Justice Saunders: 'It's not me. I did not do that in this case or in any case.' Giving evidence for the second day at the Old Bailey hacking trial on Tuesday, Kuttner also said that he 'assumed' two company names - Euro Research and Nine Consultancy - used by Mulcaire for his nefarious activities, were 'legitimate research agencies' which carried out 'normal tracing of people of interest' to the newspaper. He also denied knowing of two aliases used by Mulcaire for payments at the paper between 2000 and 2006. Kuttner has been charged with a single offence of conspiring to hack phones during those years, a charge which he denies. Caplan opened his second day of defence with a lengthy question encapsulating the prosecution's case against Kuttner. 'That you knew about Glenn Mulcaire from the beginning; that you knew that his company was being paid to hack voice mails on mobile phones of celebrities, princes or anyone of note so that cheap stories could be gleaned from the messages that were listened to. And that was the true reason Euro Research or Nine Consultancy were being paid as much as one hundred thousand pounds a year. And in order to conceal the high annual costs which were being paid to Mr Mulcaire, the contract which might otherwise have led to awkward questions from News International executives, you authorised separate weekly payments rather than refer up the annual gross value of the contract in order to, to use a phrase used by the prosecution, that you could cook the books.' Caplan then turned to Kuttner and asked: 'In relation to these allegations is any of them true?' Kuttner replied: 'They are, from start to finish, completely false.' The jury had heard previously that Mulcaire was paid two thousand and seventeen quid a week and that the prosecution's case is this was to disguise an annual contract worth more than one hundred grand which would have broken the Scum of the World's internal rules for expenditure limits. Newsdesk journalists were limited to individual unauthorised payments of two thousand smackers while Kuttner was required to seek authorisation from senior News International executives for any payments exceeding fifty thousand notes. Kuttner was then asked if he knew what Euro Research and Nine Consultancy, companies used by Mulcaire did for the Scum of the World, were: 'I thought they were, or it was, a research agency such as we used similar agencies for many years before,' he said. Caplan asked Kuttner about two aliases used by Mulcaire – Jane Street and Paul Williams. The former, Kuttner claimed, he had not heard of but the second name he knew of from a House of Commons select committee investigation in, he believed, 2009. Kuttner was also asked about an internal memo in 1999 to the then news editor about a fourteen thousand quid-a-month expenditure on 'research and special inquiries.' Kuttner claimed that he had been described as 'a veteran' in the press and that although some said his methods were 'old fashioned', he believed journalists should go out and do their own research, knock on doors, check electoral registers, court records and the like. 'I was absolutely sure a reduction could be made if staff could make inquiries by themselves.' The trial extremely continues.

Move over the late David Coleman, it would seem football has a new sultan of slip-ups. ITV anchorman the odious greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles features twice in the top ten list of pundits' bloopers for the season as chosen by a fantasy football firm. His ill-advised joke at the expense of Polish builders during an England match came in at number four. A quip made while a boring draw was in progress took the number six spot after he said that anyone who was still bothering to watch the game on TV should write in and they'd get a fiver. Topping (or, should that be Telly Topping?) the chart of foot-in-mouth foul-ups was the Southampton legend Matthew Le Tissier with this gem on Sky Sports's Soccer Saturday: 'Who'll win the league? It's a coin toss between the three of them?'

The broadcaster Michael Buerk, has criticised female television presenters and news readers, arguing that those given jobs because they 'look nice', should not complain about ageism when they lose them. Buerk, sixty eight, condemned the role of presenters as 'a very recent job description dreamed up to describe somebody who fronts a programme without any special reason for being on it.' He said that he felt it was 'fair enough' for TV bosses to get rid of older employees and 'prune the raspberries to make way for new growth.' Writing in the Radio Times, Buerk criticised employees who whinged, 'cried ageism' and went to tribunals if they were sacked. 'If you got the job in the first place mainly because you look nice, I can't see why you should keep it when you don't,' he said. 'As the wonderfully acerbic Anne Robinson said, "The viewers don't want to watch ugly."' Buerk was writing in the Radio Times in light of new ITV game show, Amazing Greys, which sees young contestants take on some of Britain's most talented pensioners for a change to win ten grand. Buerk's comments are likely to pit him against the likes of whinging Selina Scott, who has spoken out about ageism on television. Scott reached a settlement with Channel Five understood to be worth around a quarter of a million quid in 2008, after launching a legal action for age discrimination. More recently, former BBC presenter Miriam O'Reilly won her tribunal case for age discrimination in 2011, after she was dropped from BBC1's Countryfile. Buerk discussed his own career in the 1980s, describing how he felt he was 'washed up', as television suddenly became about 'yoof. The BBC's bosses dropped the lofty Oxbridge langour that had been their trademark to set off in hot pursuit of our children,' he said. 'They talked, incomprehensibly, about "focused subgenre slates", which turned out to be management bullshit for cutting edge tripe like Snog, Marry, Avoid. Overnight, to wear a tie or read the Telegraph was career death.' Buerk argued the 'worm has turned' with older presenters becoming surprisingly 'trendy' again, quoting seventy five-year-old David Dimbleby, eighty six-year-old Bruce Forsyth and seventy nine-year-old Mary Berry as prime examples. 'The old faces are back on TV, and not because they're facing historical sex offence charges,' he said, somewhat tastelessly. Buerk claimed that television is now aimed at much older audiences, citing most of BBC1 and BBC2 audiences as over the age of fifty five. Speaking in an interview by Burke for the Radio Times, Sue Ayton, the veteran agent to many older presenters including Angela Rippon, agreed that the situation had changed. 'A couple of years ago, if you went in with an idea for a show with older presenters aimed at older people, they would laugh like hyenas and show you the door. Now that's all changed. They've realised they've been ruling out programmes people want to watch,' she said.

England captain Charlotte Edwards has become only the second woman to be named as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year. Edwards has won five Ashes series, the World Cup and the World Twenty/20 in an eighteen-year international career. The 2014 list also includes England batsman Joe Root, Australian paceman Ryan Harris and opener Chris Rogers, plus Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan. The coveted awards, which began in 1889, are a central feature of the annual Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, the one hundred and fifty first edition of which was published on Wednesday. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has it on subscription, dear blog reader. It gets me through the long winter nights. Claire Taylor, Edwards's former team-mate, was the first woman to be included on the list, in 2009. Edwards said: 'Since I was a child I've looked at the Wisden - my dad always had it every year. To be in the 2014 edition is a very proud moment for me. I'm honoured to think I'm in an illustrious list of players from the past.' The Cricketers of the Year list are selected by the editor, based primarily on their performances in the previous English season and cannot have been chosen before. Edwards led England to an Ashes series win against Australia on home soil last summer and retained the trophy down under over the winter, unlike her male colleagues. She has won two hundred and seventy seven international caps - twenty one Tests, one hundred and seventy eight one-day internationals and seventy eight Twenty/20 internationals - a women's cricket record. Wisden also celebrates the five greatest female cricketers in history, including England's all rounder of the 1970s Enid Bakewell and names the South African pace bowler Dale Steyn as the Leading Cricketer in the World. In the Notes by the Editor section, Lawrence Booth accuses the boards of India, England and Australia of 'colonial-style divide and rule' after they gained more power in changes to the structure of the International Cricket Council. 'Cricket is appallingly administered,' he writes. 'It was hard to read this any other way: the rich would be getting a whole lot richer.'

So, to Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's yer actual Chad Jackson. And that's what's happenin'.

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