Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Privacy Is My Middle Name

Archival footage relating to Doctor Who is among thousands of films now available to view on the British Pathé YouTube channel, after the organisation decided to upload its entire catalogue in high resolution to the video-sharing website. British Pathé newsreels were once a staple part of going to the cinema, providing people with visual reports and features in the days before television news and, indeed, before many people had TVs. Now its collection of eighty five thousand films, spanning the years 1896 to 1976, has been released as part of a bid to enable the archive to be seen globally. Alastair White, the general manager of British Pathé, said of the unprecedented release: 'Our hope is that everyone, everywhere who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them. This archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that.' German online TV channel Mediakraft has managed the project and is to create new content with British Pathé material. It said: 'While the British Pathé archive is available online via their own website, going public on YouTube will create a new user experience. Viewers can comment, share and embed the historic videos and thereby add another dimension of context to the British Pathé archive. In addition, it is very likely that the community will find hidden gems in the enormous video library that have not been discovered by the archivists yet. British Pathé, Mediakraft and YouTube are very excited to see the interaction of the online video community with the fantastic archive of history.' Of particular interest to Doctor Who fans will be the film clip of the 1967-68 Schoolboys' and Girls' Exhibition at Olympia, which at the start briefly shows a Cyberman and Yeti with onlookers, as well as the 1959 film Park Rangers, in which a police box is put to its more regular use than travelling through space and time. Also in the archive is the 1955 newsreel Waistcoat Club Aka Waistcoats For Women, which includes footage of Jon Pertwee and Jean Marsh, who were married from 1955 to 1960, as well as Peter Cushing. The film states that the Pertwees were 'founder members of the club' in 1953. More offbeat Doctor Who-related newsreels show a radio-controlled Dalek (named Dodger) selling university rag-week magazines in Coventry in 1964 and another home-made Dalek plus robot and rocket in the back garden of the Sherlock family home in Horsham, which was filmed in 1967.

Meanwhile, yer actual Matt Smith has said that he is 'happy' to reprise his role as The Doctor for any future Doctor Who anniversary story. At a Wizard World Con panel recently, Smudger spoke fondly of working with David Tennant: 'It was a real historic moment for me. I always look at David and go, "Oh my God. It's Doctor Who! David is a great guy and a good friend. It was so fun. Doctors in the same room is just magic, isn't it!' He enthused: 'I’ll happily come back for another anniversary!' One imagines that The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat is in his secret lair planning such shenanigans as we speak.
Fargo debuted on Channel Four with over one million viewers on Sunday, overnight data reveals. Martin Freeman's US drama was seen by 1.6m viewers at 9pm. Earlier, Philip Glenister's new series For The Love Of Cars brought in 1.4m at 8pm. On ITV, Endeavour's series finale dipped by two hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 4.5m at 8pm. Catchphrase had an audience of 3.2m at 6.45pm, followed by Off Their Rockers with 3.3m at 7.30pm. BBC1's First World War drama, The Crimson Field dropped a further six hundred thousand viewers to 4.8m at 9pm. Countryfile topped the night overall with 6.3m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with five million punters at 8pm. Match Of The Day 2 scored 3.2m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Fifty Years Of Golden Sport on BBC2 interested 1.2m at 8pm, while the Dara O'Briain-fronted All About Two attracted 1.9m at 9pm. On Channel Five, the martial arts film Forbidden Kingdom was watched by nine hundred and thirty four thousands at 7pm, followed by Act Of Valor with seven hundred and seventy eight thousand at 9pm.

BBC1's new three-part drama Jamaica Inn opened with over six million overnight viewers on Easter Monday. The new adaptation of the Daphne Du Maurier classic, starring Jessica Brown Findlay was watched by 6.1m at 9pm. Earlier, the documentary Twenty Four Hours On Earth brought in 3.3m at 7pm, whilst a repeat of Miranda had an audience of 3.1m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, Great British Menu gathered 1.5m at 7.30pm, followed by Restaurant Wars with 1.3m at 8pm and Business Boomers with 1.4m at 9pm. Rev continued with 1.1m at 10pm. ITV's Tommy Cooper biopic Not Like That, Like This interested 3.2m at 9pm. It deserved far more. Earlier, I Never Knew That About Britain appealed to 2.8m at 8pm. It deserved far less. On Channel Four, Food Unwrapped's Easter special brought in 1.3m at 8pm, followed by One Born Every Minute with 1.7m at 9pm. Channel Five's Classic Car Rescue was seen by seven hundred and thirty four thousand punters at 8pm. Britain's Crime Capitals attracted five hundred and seventy thousand at 9pm, followed by Booze, Bust Ups and Brothels with six hundred and twenty seven thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Teen Killers: Life Without Parole was watched by six hundred and thirty five thousand at 10pm. On Sky Atlantic, the latest episode of Game Of Thrones climbed over one hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to nine hundred and twenty seven thousand at 9pm.

There's a genuinely terrific review of Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This by the Gruniad's Lucy Mangan which was can cast your peepers over, here. 'Last night belonged to the Simon Nye-scripted drama Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This (ITV), which contained a performance by David Threlfall as the eponymous comedian that should answer the question of who will be receiving this year's BAFTA best actor award after Keeley Hawes has borne off her best actress gong for DI Denton in Line Of Duty. Not that Threlfall stood alone. There was Amanda Redman, as Cooper's fierce, brassy and devoted wife, Dove, who spent twenty years on tour with him before opting to stay home and make sure their children didn't go off the rails. Every scene they had together was infused with the mix of tenderness, bite and humour peculiar to the long-married – with a little bit more of the last, because he was Tommy Cooper and that was what she most loved about him. So did Mary, Cooper's mistress, exquisitely played by Helen McCrory, whom Cooper met at the BBC and almost literally laughed into bed. She was with him when he – famously – had a heart attack and died on stage in front of the audience and millions of television viewers during a broadcast of Live From Her Majesty's. Behind them stood a phalanx of perfectly turned supporting roles, including Gregor Fisher, delivering a blend of anger, weariness and dogged professionalism as Cooper's agent Miff Ferrie, Paul Ritter as his long time friend and gag writer Eric Sykes, and Jason Manford as the props man with the task of winkling their costs out of the man widely regarded – in a competitive field – as the stingiest person in showbiz. Together, they told the story of Cooper's rise and self-induced fall – via booze, cigarettes and perhaps an even deeper addiction to live performance, despite the accompanying stress and stage fright. It was funny – and not just in the recreated routines. "Do I look like one of the frigging Von Trapps?" said Dove when Tommy tried to persuade her to go back on the road with him, this time with the children. "You never miss a chance to attack that family, do you?" he replied. It wasn't a deflection or escalation of hostilities – it was played, like almost everything he said, for laughs, because it occurred to him, because it was a good line, because he couldn't waste it, because he was a comedian. In the course of its two hours, the drama hit all the main points and included all the main gags off-stage (Cooper tucking something into his driver's pocket, saying "Have a drink on me"; it turns out to be a teabag – Cooper's famous trick for getting out of giving tips) and on ("Bought a wooden leg for Christmas – 's not a main present, 's a stocking filler"). It resisted the temptation to glamorise or sensationalise his weaknesses – Cooper always rejected the idea that he was a Hancock-esque, tortured clown, and evidence suggests he was no more depressive or insecure than the average performer in the notoriously high-pressure field of comedy. Most satisfying of all was the fact that although Ferrie suggested Cooper's inability to be "off" when not performing might be one of the things exhausting him, the film as a whole suggested that the funny came as naturally to Cooper as breathing does to the rest of us and that trying to stop it would have been as counter-productive as stopping our lungs would be to us, which is surely closer to the truth. But Threlfall ... bloody hell. Threlfall. It was a performance that piled impossibility upon impossibility. Pitch-perfect reproductions of Cooper's acts were made funny in their own right. Then he was funny in the bits in between and charming, so you could see why Dove and Mary loved him, and love him for so long. When he hit Mary, when he began his decline into alcoholism, he kept your sympathy and you prayed for recovery even though you knew – even if you'd actually watched from your sofa with your parents and sister as I did on the evening of 15 April 1984 – the ending. It was a towering achievement, and Threlfall made it all look as effortless as Cooper did himself. Just like that.' Yep, that just about sums it up. As, indeed, does Kate Bellamy's piece in the Metro. Although, of course, the Daily Scum Mail found a different angle. As usual.
And, because this blogger needs very little excuse, here's what remains five of the funniest minutes in television history. Absolute genius.

Now, here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes for week-ending Sunday 13 April 2014:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 11.84m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.16m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.13m
4 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.10m
5 The Crimson Field - Mon BBC1 - 6.89m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.94m
7 Endeavour - Sun ITV - 5.48m*
8 Have I Got News for You - Fri BBC1 - 5.41m
9 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 5.39
10 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.37m
11 Shetland - Tues BBC1 - 5.29m
12 MasterChef - Thurs ITV - 5.14m
13 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.94m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.92m
15= BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.85m
15= FA Cup - Sat ITV - 4.85m
17 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.77m
18 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.52m
19 Law & Order: UK - Wed ITV - 4.42m*
20 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.29m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated show of the week was University Challenge with 3.42m viewers. Channel Four's highest-rated show was, again, Googlebox with 2.75m. Gypsies On Benefits & Proud was Channel Five's best performer with 1.87m.

Some - though, not many - viewers who tuned into the launch of Jamaica Inn were reportedly 'left frustrated' after 'struggling to make out the dialogue' in the BBC's new period drama. The first episode of the TV adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's classic Gothic novel, was broadcast on BBC1 on Easter Monday. Around one hundred viewers - out of an overnight audience of over six million, so less than a fraction of one per cent, in other words - whinged that they had to switch on the subtitles or turn up the volume to the maximum setting to understand what the cast was saying. Poor lambs. At least, this is all according to the Gruniad Morning Star so, obviously, it must be true. Unless it isn't. A BBC spokeswoman said that the corporation, which received a total of one hundred and seven complaints about the issue, was reviewing the episode following 'issues with the sound levels.' The comedian Al Murray was among those attempting to make a big deal out of this. 'Find out what happens next in Jamaica Inn by getting your ears syringed!', he wrote on Twitter. Which, as with most things Al Murray says was about as funny as a wart on the bollock. A couple of other rent-a-quote has-beens of no importance, including Arlene Phillips and that really annoying bloke the used to play Boycie on Only Fools And Horses and has made a career out of being 'that bloke who used to play Boycie out of Only Fools And Horses ever since also had their worthless Twitter comments reported. As if anybody actually cared what they think. About anything. There were also quotes from a number - well two, actually - other, anonymous, Twitter users, one of whom bewailed: 'Jamaica Inn mumble mumble. Couldn't understand a word of innkeeper. Terrible.' Oh, grow the fuck up. Emma Frost, who wrote the screenplay, suggested that 'a technical fault', rather than the way that the cast delivered the lines, was to blame. 'I'm told there was a major sound problem for tonight's broadcast of Jamaica Inn - not surprised you couldn't hear it,' she wrote. A BBC spokeswoman began by noting that the drama was watched by 6.1 million viewers. 'There were issues with the sound levels last night that we are currently reviewing ahead of tonight's episode,' she said. The Gruniad then - without any spectacularly sinister agenda smeared all over it, like rancid diarrhoea - noted: 'The complaints come almost a year after BBC director general Tony Hall said the corporation could look at how to stop actors "muttering" in its TV dramas. "I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man, but I also think muttering is something we could have a look at," he said. "Actors muttering can be testing - you find you have missed a line … you have to remember that you have an audience." He said that the corporation was addressing the problem of background music making it difficult for some, particularly older viewers, to hear what was being said.' Quite why then Gruniad felt the need to note all of this when, as Emma Frost has already said, the issue was a technical problem nothing to do with the cast's diction, is at this time unknown. Oh no, sorry, it isn't, it's because the Gruniad are a hateful bunch of middle-class hippy Communist lice whom this blogger would trust about as far as he could, comfortably, spew. Unless, of course, the Gruniad has evidence that Emma Frost is lying, in which case it might be an idea for them to present it or, otherwise, shut the fuck up. The drama, set in 1821 against the backdrop of the Cornish moors, was directed by Philippa Lowthorpe, whose credits include Call The Midwife. The three-part series follows Mary Yellan who is forced to live with her aunt and domineering uncle following the death of her mother.
Big pay packets for odious greed bucket breakfast presenters can switch viewers off shows, former TV-am presenter Nick Owen has warned. Owen's comments come as new ITV breakfast show Good Morning Britain gears up for its launch next week with hosts Susanna Reid, Ben Shephard, Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher. It is replacing notoriously amusing fiasco Daybreak, which was launched with great fanfare in 2010 with former The ONE Show hosts grumpy old greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles and The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley poached from the BBC on massive salaries which got their greed right on but which fell flat on its face with a muffled splat almost immediately. As the nation celebrated, the gruesome duo were extremely replaced just over a year afterwards following 'disappointing' - for which read bloody hilarious - ratings figures. Owen said: 'I joined TV-am after a raft of big names had failed - David Frost, Michael Parkinson, Anna Ford, Angela Rippon. They'd not caught on with the viewers at all. They'd been turned down by Terry Wogan and Michael Aspel, so I was filling in until they could find someone, basically. But because no one was watching, we could try things out. They hired Anne Diamond at my suggestion and we had a boy-and-girl-next-door thing.' He told the Radio Times: 'I think all these announcements about high salaries alienate viewers. Here's someone on one million pounds – you will enjoy them! Who can relate to a presenter like that?' Reid's pay packet hit the headlines after she defected from the BBC, although Gruniad claims to 'understand' that she is actually being paid less than many of her GMTV and Daybreak predecessors. There were reports that Reid was earning a million smackers by making the move but, the Gruniad claims that alleged 'sources' have allegedly said that her GMB contract is worth 'less than half that.' One alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'ITV are thrilled to have Susanna as part of the new GMB team. But stories that she is paid in the region of a million pounds are not true – it's far off this.' Meanwhile, the Gruniad claims to have 'learned' that GMB's new set will feature a large desk that the four presenters can sit around with breakout areas for the weather and a sofa for one-to-one interviews. The show will have 'a soft launch' on 28 April and be 'more news-based' but 'with human interest stories and entertainment and sport' given 'a renewed focus.' In the past Daybreak was criticised for the colour of its set and purple sofa. And for the fact that it was shit, basically. The sofa was subsequently replaced by a red one. That didn't change the fact that the show was still shit. According to alleged 'sources', GMB's set is 'more sophisticated', featuring 'more neutral colours and cream.' Executives are said to have 'spent time in the US' researching 'how shows work there', including ABC's Good Morning America, but used it to create a programme designed to appeal to a British ITV audience. Reid told Radio Times she will 'bring her journalistic background' to the more news-based show: 'At the age of forty three, I have got three children and I have been a journalist for more than twenty years, so I hope I know a few things about quite a lot of stuff. Of course, I will bring this side of me to the programme; as a journalist, you bring all of your experience.'
Play School celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this week. The show launched on 21 April 1964 and is noted for being the first programme to be broadcast on BBC2. Play School ran for twenty four years until 1988 and was fronted by presenters including Brian Cant, Carol Chell, Johnny Ball, Derek Griffiths and Floella Benjamin. The programme celebrated landmarks such as becoming the first children's programme broadcast in colour on BBC2 in 1968 and became the first children's show in the UK to feature a black host when Paul Danquah joined the team in 1965. To mark half-a-century since the show's launch, Play School will be part of a special exhibition commemorating Children's BBC called Here's One We Made Earlier, which is due to open in July at The Lowry in Manchester. The Children's Media Foundation are also supporting a special reunion of people who worked on the show. Former head of BBC Children's and Play School researcher Anna Home said: 'Play School was absolutely ahead of its time in terms of its content, production techniques and presenting style. You only have to look at today's children's programming to see how it has inspired generations of presenters and programme-makers way beyond it's twenty four years on-screen.' Former presenter Brian Jameson went on to create more recent CBeebies favourite Balamory, while Iain Lauchlan co-devised and produced The Tweenies.
Kara and Hannah Tointon have joined the cast of ITV's Mr Selfridge. The sisters will play siblings in the third series of the period drama, which starts filming later this week. Zoe Wanamaker and Waterloo Road's Leon Ockenden have also signed up to appear in the new series. Mr Selfridge's third series will be set in 1919, just after the conclusion of World War I. Wanamaker will play the Russian Princess Marie de Bolotoff, while Ockenden has been cast in the role of her son Serge, who is set to marry Harry Selfridge's eldest daughter Rosalie (Kara Tointon). Hannah Tointon will play Rosalie's rebellious sister, Violette. It will be the first time that the Tointon sisters have acted together on-screen.

Journalist, broadcaster and stone cold fox Victoria Coren Mitchell made poker history on Sunday by becoming the first two-time winner of the European Poker Tour. She beat five hundred and fifty six competitors to win a cash prize of three hundred and ninety one thousand nine hundred and thirty two smackers and a watch worth more than four grand in Sanremo, Italy. Her victory came after a finale, in which she fought back from eighth place in the Tour, a week-long international tournament. Queen Victoria, who presents BBC4's quiz show Only Connect, previously won the competition in 2006. In doing so, she became the tournament's first female winner. Her second victory brings her lifetime winnings to one and a half million knicker, putting her in the all-time top ten female earners at the poker table. 'I bloody WON' she wrote on Twitter after defeating the Italian player Giacomo Fundaro. 'Sorry for that language on Easter Sunday. But I WON! That is at least partly thanks to the amazing support, God bless everyone.' 'People in poker know it's about showing a profit,' Victoria said as she accepted her trophy. 'The minute I won eight thousand Euros it was a good trip. But tens of thousands of people [on Twitter] got behind me. I thought I'd be happy with sixth, but also thought they'd be disappointed.' She added: 'I kept calling my husband during the breaks asking, "Is sixth place all right? Fifth place?"' Her husband, David Mitchell, added from the side of the stage: 'I thought perhaps I should have been saying, "You must be first"' Not, "Eighth seems great."' A member of the elite Team PokerStars Pro, Victoria is,of course, the daughter of the broadcaster Alan Coren and the columnist and critic Giles Coren. She writes weekly columns for the Gruniad Morning Star and Observer newspapers, and is a regular panellist on shows like Have I Got News For You, Qi and Question Time.

The former Coronation Street actress Sarah Lancashire has whinged about the 'ludicrous prejudice' held against soap actors by 'some writers and producers' in the TV industry. Nameless, of course, put presumably ones that Lancashire herself went up for a job with and didn't get. (So, that would exclude yer actual Russell Davies, for one.) Lancashire starred as the barmaid Raquel in the ITV soap for six years until 1996, briefly reappearing in one episode in 2000. Now probably best known for Last Tango In Halifax, the actress told Radio Times magazine: 'Soaps are a double-edged sword. There can be prejudice from some writers and producers who feel you will lower the currency of their work if you've been in one. You have to rise above such ludicrous prejudice.' She added: 'Sometimes it's necessary for soaps to hang on to an audience by sensationalising, but it's a beast I don't understand any more, an art form that has fostered extraordinary talent. It's a great arena to learn your craft before you move on. There's no such thing as a "soap" actor, though. We're all actors and work across an enormous amount of media – radio, television, or standing outside a supermarket in a Weetabix outfit. I haven't done that, but when I see someone doing it, I think "There but for the grace of God ..."' So, 'some writers and producers' have a prejudice against those who appear in soaps, and Sarah Lancashire had a patronising attitude to jobbing actors in the promotions industry. Swings and roundabouts, innit? Mind you, it must be said there is a lot of truth in what she's saying, but it's still hard to get the pungent whiff of 'agenda' out of ones nostrils. Lancashire, who appears as a police sergeant in new BBC1 drama Happy Valley, added: 'I won't say I'd never go back to a soap because an actor's life is so precarious. You can have the most wonderful patch when everyone wants to work with you, and in the blink of an eye the phone won't ring for a month, even a year.' She told the magazine that it was not just actresses who experienced prejudice in their professional life as they got older. 'There's some truth that roles for older women are harder to come by, but it's wrong for actors to monopolise the ageist thing,' Lancashire said. 'In every profession you reach an age when people look at you suspiciously. Accountants, bankers, teachers are all pushed aside.' Lancashire, who is married to Peter Salmon, the director of BBC North, also said that young people 'get a raw deal' today and that she worried about how the future would pan out for her own children. 'They have so much choice, but very few opportunities,' she said. 'They compete for jobs, have to work with no pay and feel terribly grateful to people who would never have done that.' She added: 'It worries me because my children's prospects are so different to mine. I don't know if they'll ever be able to own a house, or if they'll be living at home when they're thirty five.'

Veep has been renewed by HBO for a fourth season.

The ability of MPs to scrutinise the media intelligently and knowledgeably - and, indeed, to walk in a straight line and talk at the same time - continues to give concern. Take, for instance, the Tory MP Simon Kirby's parliamentary question raised in the House just before the recent Spring recess inquiring about 'the level of income to the BBC from BBC Enterprises.' Broadcasting minister Ed Vaizey patiently had to explain to Kirby that: 'BBC Enterprises has been known as BBC Worldwide since 1995.' And to think, dear blog reader, a decent proportion of the people of Brighton Kempton actually voted for this know-nothing arsehole. It'd be funny if it wasn't so tragic.

Yer actual Joss Whedon has surprised fans by releasing his latest film online at the same time as it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Joss his very self, whose Avengers film made one and a half billion dollars at the box office and is currently the third highest grossing movie of all time, made In Your Eyes available to rent for five dollars. It is the second release from his 'micro-studio' Bellwether Pictures, after 2013's adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. 'It's exciting for us because we get to explore yet another new form of distribution - and we get five dollars,' he said. In Your Eyes is a supernatural love story, starring Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David as strangers who believe they share a telepathic connection. It is available to rent on the streaming website Vimeo, where fans have already left a number of positive reviews. Joss is, of course, a cult figure in the SF community, having created TV shows including Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse and the 'space western' Firefly (and its - flop - movie spin-off, Serenity). You all knew that, right? Daft question. Anyway, a co-writer of the original Toy Story, Joss was also a - much-admired - Hollywood script doctor on movies such as Speed and Twister, before being asked to direct Marvel's Avengers Assemble in 2012. The director has experimented digital releases in the past - his 2008 spoof superhero musical Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was one of the first high-profile Interweb series to gain a significant audience. He wrote and produced In Your Eyes, handing directorial duties to Brin Hill. Joss sent a short video message, apparently recorded on the set of Avengers sequel Age Of Ultron, to the Tribeca Film Festival. In it, he announced that the screening was 'not just the premiere of the film - it is the worldwide release date because, as of now, In Your Eyes is available on any Internet-capable device.' The choice of Vimeo, a distant rival to YouTube, as the film's distributor is a huge coup for the New York-based firm. 'This is the most high profile title we've had on the platform, definitely,' the company's Greg Clayman told Gigaom. 'The fact that people like Joss are starting to think about direct distribution and connecting directly with their fans is exciting for us, and a trend we think will continue. I like the surprise element,' he added of the film's stealth release. 'It's a non-traditional way, for sure, but hey, it works for Beyoncé.'
Former Scum of the World editor Andy Coulson has denied allegations that he was played a voicemail left on the phone of future James Bond actor Daniel Craig by the actress Sienna Miller. The Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Coulson was asked at the Old Bailey about claims earlier in the hacking trial by the former reporter Dan Evans. Coulson rejected Evans' assertion that Evans had played the message to Coulson in September 2005. Coulson denies the charges against him. Giving evidence for a fourth day, Coulson was asked about evidence given earlier in the trial by the ex-Scum of the World journalist. Evans had told the trial that Coulson knew all about his hacking activities at the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid, shut down in shame and ignominy in 2011 and had described a taped voicemail from Miller to Craig exposing their alleged affair as 'brilliant.' Evans, who has already admitted conspiracy to hack phones whilst working at both the Sunday Mirra and the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, said that the message led to stories about Miller and Craig. Timothy Langdale QC, defending Coulson, said: 'Dan Evans told the court that in September 2005 there was an occasion when he played to you a voicemail message left on Daniel Craig's telephone by Sienna Miller. Did any such incident take place?' Coulson replied: 'No, it did not.' The former editor of the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid claimed that he was at the Labour party conference in Brighton on the day that the message was said to have been played to him. Miller earlier told the trial that Craig was 'a close friend' with whom she had been 'speaking' during a difficult period in her relationship with Jude Law. Coulson said the Scum of the World's front page shitehawk 'exclusive' about Miller and Craig's alleged affair had also come in the same week he was overseeing a serialisation of the boxer Frank Bruno's biography. 'It was a long, complicated book serialisation. I remember the publishers insisted on making changes quite late in the day and I think the lawyers were involved as well. It took up a lot of my time,' he claimed. Coulson, who became Downing Street Director of Communications )and the Prime Minister's, at the time, if you will 'chum') after leaving the newspaper, told the trial that he 'believed' information about the alleged affair may have come from Miller's mother. 'People in and around celebrities - their relatives, their agents, their PRs - will talk to newspapers,' he suggested. 'It certainly happened during my career as a reporter and my career as an editor.' He was also asked about further claims made by Evans who told the trial that at a meeting in October 2004, before Evans joined the Scum of the World, he told Coulson that he could deliver stories using 'stuff with phones.' Asked if the subject of phone-hacking came up in any way at all during the meeting, Coulson claimed: 'Not that I remember.' Coulson extremely denies charges of conspiring to hack phones and conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office. Coulson has also denied bullying the Scum of the World reporter who was jailed for phone-hacking offences seven years ago and later branded a 'single rogue reporter' by News International. A story they stuck to so four years until the weight of evidence against them forced them to change their story in 2011. Coulson told the jurors that he 'liked' the royal editor Clive Goodman and did 'nothing to undermine or detract from' him when Coulson was the editor. Goodman who is also a defendant in the trial in relation to payments for royal phone directories, has already testified that Coulson turned into an 'aggressive' and 'bullying' boss man when he became editor of the paper in 2003. Goodman claimed that he was always being 'berated' by Coulson about his reporting and that it was intended to 'degrade' him in front of others. Asked on Monday by his defence counsel if he had ever bullied Goodman, Coulson replied: 'No. I am not a bully. If I made a remark in conference or was having a bad day and said something that I shouldn't have said – it's a newspaper – but if I realised it had happened I would apologise. I'm not afraid of apologising.' Coulson added: 'I do not wish to bang on about this, but it's quite important. I did nothing to undermine or detract from Clive Goodman.' It was put to him that Goodman had said his status in the paper's daily conferences was diminished as he was 'pushed down the list' of those who got to discuss their stories. Coulson said that it might 'seem like a small point', but that there 'might' have been one occasion when Goodman spoke after the Sunday magazine person but that this was unintentional. 'If that happened I'm very sorry about it, but it was not meant as a slur on Clive Goodman, far from it,' he said. Coulson added that he, personally, liked Goodman and that Goodman had had a good reputation on Fleet Street as a royal editor during the Princess Diana era, adding that Goodman was a good writer with 'a sharp turn of phrase.' Coulson promoted Goodman to assistant editor and gave him his own column, The Carvery, but said that he felt 'Clive always carried some disappointment that he wasn't running the news desk on the News of the World.' Coulson was asked if he knew that Goodman had tasked the convicted phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire to hack phones. 'Absolutely not,' he replied. Asked if he knew that Goodman 'had used hacking techniques to intercept voicemails', Coulson replied that he had not.
People who claim that they were sexually abused by dirty old scallywag and rotten rotter Jimmy Savile are being advised how they can claim compensation through adverts in two newspapers. Victims will be able to make claims against the Savile estate, the BBC and the NHS, with payments capped at sixty grand each. So far, about one hundred and forty people have come forward claiming they are victims of the former entertainer. In February, the High Court approved a compensation scheme of more than three million smackers. An inquiry by the Metropolitan Police has recorded more than two hundred sexual offences committed by Savile. The court ordered advertisements be placed in two national newspapers - the Daily Mirra and The Times - as well as papers on the Channel Islands, which Savile used to visit regular and, allegedly, indulged in much nefarious skulduggery whilst there. The adverts advise people who have not already applied for compensation to do so in the next six weeks; however, the scheme will stay open for claims for a year. The claims will be scrutinised by lawyers acting for the estate and for the claimants. The former DJ, who presented Top Of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It, died in October 2011 just before the sex abuse allegations came to light. He is alleged to have abused people over a sixty-year period and is, hopefully, currently burning in Hell for his wicked crimes. Alison Millar, of the law firm Leigh Day, told BBC Radio 5Live that victims would have to provide credible evidence of their abuse to be successful in a claim. She said: 'The fact that a compensation scheme has been approved doesn't mean that this is a guarantee that anyone who comes forward with a potential claim will get a payment. You will need some evidence to show that you were in a situation where Savile will have had the opportunity to abuse you.' Peter Garsden, president of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, told BBC Breakfast that the claims would be scrutinised with 'checks and balances.' He added: 'It's not a case of you simply having to fill in a form and you get some money.' One owuld hope not otherwise everybody would be applying. Peter Saunders, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said that he believed most of Savile's victims would not come forward because of the 'dreadful memories' of what had happened to them. He added: 'For those who do come forward they are absolutely entitled to some compensation. People who make legitimate claims for this money, one of the things it could do is it could buy them some very good therapy.' In January 2013, a Metropolitan Police report said that the dirty old scallywag and rotten rotter Savile had been a 'prolific, predatory sex offender' who was able to 'hide in plain sight' while abusing his many, many victims. A second report suggested that he could have been prosecuted in 2009 if victims had been 'taken more seriously.' A criminal investigation, Operation Yewtree, was launched in October 2012. Child protection consultant Joanna Nicolas questioned the way the compensation process was being handled, saying that going to the police should always be a victim's first port of call. 'It almost feels as though we are circumnavigating the important part to get quickly to where the lawyers come on board and where we start talking about money', she said. 'Compensation for victims is not the important part. For most victims, it's about the acknowledgement of what has been done.' As part of a review by the Met, local authorities are investigating claims that Savile abused children at upward of twenty children's homes and schools in England. The NHS is already investigating over thirty hospitals' with links to Savile after police passed information to the Department of Health.

Pregnant glamour model Josie Cunningham (no, me neither) – who, apparently, 'faced an online backlash' after revealing her plans to have an abortion in order to go on Big Brother – will reportedly not be asked to appear on the show. The 'fame-hungry twenty three-year-old' claimed the Channel Five reality TV series wanted to shortlist her as a contestant before realising she was pregnant, which prompted her plan to have an abortion. Cunningham, who also hit the headlines last year after controversially demanding a four thousand eight hundred knicker boob job on the NHS so that she could become a glamour model, made the shocking admission in an interview with the Sunday Mirra. Claiming that her 'career' was worth more than the life of her unborn child, she told the newspaper: 'I'm finally on the verge of becoming famous and I'm not going to ruin it now. An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won't have a baby. Instead, I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way.' Hopefully, she hasn't put down the deposit on that Range Rover just yet as TV bosses apparently fear working with her could now be 'a minefield', and are understood to have insisted that she will not appear whether or not she terminates her pregnancy. 'Josie is deluded if she thinks this will improve her chances of signing up, which were slim to non-existent to start with,' an alleged 'source' allegedly told the Sun. 'How can we work with her - or pay her - if she admits having an abortion to achieve that? It would be a minefield.' it's an age-old truism, dear blog reader, but it remains a fact; there are some good people in the world, there are some bad people, there are lots of people who are neither one thing nor the other but have the capability to be both. And then, there are some people who are just,quite simply, scum.

Zoo visitors were shepherded inside buildings after a 'tiger escape' alarm was set off - apparently 'maliciously.' An Easter egg hunt at Shepreth Wildlife Park, Cambridgeshire, was interrupted when the alarm sounded on Saturday. Staff said that it was set off maliciously and that the zoo's two tigers and one puma had not left their pens. So, presumably, all three of those are in the clear for setting the thing off, then. Rebecca Willers, curator, said: 'It was not done by accident. The button has a flap over it, so it was deliberate, but we did not catch the culprit.' About five hundred visitors were guided inside buildings at the zoo when the alarm sounded. The zoo said that the incident was over 'within minutes' when it was established that their three big cats - the tigers Amba and Rana, and Tige the puma - were still safely in their enclosures. Shepreth has three emergency 'panic buttons' in public areas at the eight-acre site. 'The public did superbly and were ushered into buildings, although a few didn't want to leave their picnics,' said Willers. 'We do regular drills when the public are here and we have no qualms that our cats will ever get out.' The park said that the Easter egg hunt resumed after a break of about fifteen minutes.

Found on the Interweb this week. Number one: The greatest hotel sign ever, in the history of hotel signs. Bar none.
The most Earth-like planet yet has been discovered, scientists have reported in the leading journal Science. The rocky planet, named Kepler 186F, is close to the size of Earth and has the potential to hold liquid water, which is critical for life, the team says. Nestled in the Milky Way, it is part of a five-planet system which orbits around a cool dwarf star. It was spotted by the Kepler telescope, which has found nearly one thousand new worlds since its launch in 2009. 'This is the smallest planet we've found so far in the habitable zone,' said Professor Stephen Kane, an astrophysicist from San Francisco State University. Kepler 186F is about five hundred light-years - or, a fucking long way - away from the Earth. The researchers estimate that is a little bigger than our planet, with a radius that is about ten per cent larger than ours. Because of its size, the team believes it is likely to be a rocky planet. Professor Kane explained: 'There seems to be a transition that occurs at about one-and-a-half times the Earth's radius, such that if the planet is larger, then it starts to develop a very substantial atmosphere very similar to what we see in the gas giant planets in our own Solar System. And so anything less than one-and-a-half is probably more like a rocky planet that we are familiar with.' Kepler 186F travels around a small and cool star. That's cool in terms of temperature rather than, you know, coolness. Of the five planets in the system, its orbit is furthest out and lasts about one hundred and thirty days. The team believes that it has the potential to hold water because with this orbital path it does not journey too close to its star for any liquid to boil away or so far out that it would freeze. Scientists call this region 'the habitable zone.' Professor Kane said: 'Even though it is orbiting a star which is very different from our Sun, the planet itself - both in terms of size and the amount of energy it is receiving from its star - is the most similar planet to our Earth that we've yet discovered. That is great news in terms of looking for planets which might actually be similar to the Earth, especially as the kind of star it does orbit - which is a very small star - are amongst the most common in the galaxy. And if all of these very common small stars have lots of terrestrial-sized planets in the habitable zone then that is very good news.' However, these small stars also tend to be more active than stars the size of the Sun. So if Kepler 186F does have water any potential organisms would be bombarded with solar flares and radiation. The hunt for planets outside of our own Solar System has made remarkable advances in recent years. The first was found just twenty years ago; now, nearly two thousand have been spotted - many by the Kepler telescope. However, a planet which is the same size as Earth, orbiting a star like the Sun, at the same distance has yet to be discovered. Such a find will almost certainly come with future technologies. The European Space Agency recently approved the development of an orbiting telescope called Plato, which will be tuned specifically to detect true Earth analogues.

A man who has accused the movie director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him as a teenager has sued three more Hollywood figures, claiming that they also molested him. Michael Egan alleges that TV executives Garth Ancier, David Neuman and theatre producer Gary Goddard were part of 'an underage sex ring' in Hollywood. A lawyer for Goddard said that the complaint was 'without merit.' In allegations similar to those filed against Singer, Egan claims that he was 'lured into a sex ring' in 1999 by former entertainment executive Marc Collins-Rector, a registered sex offender, with promises of auditions for acting and modelling jobs. Egan alleges that he was forced to have sex with adult men at 'infamous and degenerate parties' in Hollywood and the abuse continued on trips to Hawaii, where he was inappropriately touched, made to consume alcohol and drugs and forced into sex. He is claiming ten million dollars in damages for battery, assault, invasion of privacy and 'intentional infliction of emotional distress.' The legal action was announced at a press conference in Los Angeles attended by Egan and his mother. 'Somebody has to stand up to these people. You can't change the stigma that exists in this world against childhood sexual abuse unless someone talks about it,' Egan said. His mother, Bonnie Mound, said that she had 'tried to help' her son contact police and the FBI to report the abuse fourteen years ago and questioned why the information that he is alleged to have provided did not result in criminal charges. 'It's not about money' she claimed. 'It's about disarming these paedophiles who use their wealth and power to escape justice.' Alan Grodin, a lawyer for Goddard - who has produced several Broadway shows and created attractions at Universal Studios - said that the executive had not yet seen the legal claim. 'Based on what we have heard, the allegations are without merit,' Grodin said. 'Once we have seen the complaint we will respond appropriately.' Ancier oversaw the launch of FOX television and later worked as an executive producer for NBC and BBC America. He is credited with creating The Ricki Lake Show and Twenty One Jump Street. Neuman is a former president of Walt Disney TV and chief programming officer at CNN. Last week, Egan filed a legal claim against Singer, alleging that the director forced him into sex during parties when Egan was seventeen-years-old. In response to the claim, the FBI said that it 'could not discuss' specifically what Egan told them, but denied that it had ignored any information about the director. Singer's lawyer said that the action was 'absurd and defamatory. We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated,' Marty Singer, who is not related to his client, said. He added that he would be 'bringing a claim for malicious prosecution" against Mr Egan and his lawyer.'

A thief's alleged attempt to distract a child during a robbery backfired when he made the mistake of switching off her favourite programme. Mia Cahenzli, who is one, alerted her sleeping mother Rachael Andrews to the assailant at their home in Darwin, Australia. The thief had reportedly switched over to Carton Network from the toddler's favourite show Sophia The First after entering the property via the rear door. When Andrews woke up the assailant had already made off with several items including her iPhone and some alcohol. The mother, who was 'sleeping in the living room' with her daughter at the time, was 'shaken up' by the incident. ‘I went and vomited, he could have killed me, it freaked me out,’ she told the Torygraph. Police confirmed that they were investigating the alleged burglary.
Beleaguered David Moyes, the soon to be sacked manager of The Scum, is taking flak from all and sundry these days – even the usually neutral BBC2. Moyes' endured yet another miserable afternoon on Sunday as his team lost 2-0 at his former club Everton to provide more ammunition for the 'Moyes Out' brigade and prompt more trolling of The Scum's notoriously fickle supporters on Twitter. And even the BBC joined in with a mischievous dig when announcing news of its snooker coverage as an alternative to highlights of Everton game which were being shown on on Match Of The Day 2.
For today's Keith Telly Topping 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's a tasty slice of Janet Jackson.

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