Thursday, April 03, 2014

State Of Mind

The BBC have confirmed the actor Tom Riley is to appear in the third episode of the new series of Doctor Who. The actor played Leonardo Da Vinci in Da Vinci's Demons, the American historical fantasy drama series. Other roles include playing Romeo in St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold alongside David Tennant, Raymond Boynton in Agatha Christie's Poirot: Appointment with Death, Dave Beethoven in the BBC's Freezing and Laurence Shepherd in Monroe ITV's flop medical drama. He also appeared in Twenty Twelve. Describing himself as a 'massive fan' of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama, Riley said that he feels 'very excited' about his forthcoming appearance. You'll notice, dear blog reader, that nobody ever says, 'I've never watched the thing, to be honest', or 'Yeah, I've seen a few. I can't stand it. Bloody kids show! I'm only doing it for the money, to be honest' or 'I'm a working actor, pal, I do whatever scripts I'm sent. I'm not proud.' Keith Telly Topping - genuinely - wonders why that is? The new edition of Doctor Who Magazine reveals that joining Riley in the episode will be the terrific veteran actor Trevor Cooper, probably best known for his role in Star Cops, who last appeared in Doctor Who in 1985 when he played Takis in Revelation of the Daleks. Other guest actors include Ian Halland, who played director Richard Martin in last year's biopic-drama An Adventure In Space and Time, David Benson, who played Noël Coward in the 1998 comedy Goodnight Sweetheart, Sabrina Bartlett, who plays Hannah in Channel Five's Suspects and Roger Ashton-Griffiths, best known for numerous film roles, including Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm and Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York. The episode will be written by yer actual Mark Gatiss. Last week, Gatiss revealed on Twitter that he has been commissioned to write two new Doctor Who episodes. The Sherlock co-creator didn't confirm whether both will feature in popular family SF drama's upcoming eighth series or whether the second one is from the following year. The comedian, actor and novelist has previously written six Doctor Who episodes and appeared on-screen in a seventh - 2007's The Lazarus Experiment. The Gatiss episode will form part of the third production block of the series, directed by Paul Murphy, whose work includes Wizards vs Aliens, the wretched Trollied, Casualty, Waterloo Road and Grange Hill. The second episode of the third production block is episode six, which will be written by Gareth Roberts, whose previous stories include The Shakespeare Code, The Unicorn And The Wasp, Planet Of The Dead, The Lodger and Closing Time as well as a number of episodes of Sarah Jane Interferes. The guest cast for episode six include Nigel Betts, who played Eddie Hope in Emmerdale, Edward Harrison, who has appeared in many stage roles as well as appearing in Doctors, Andy Gillies, who appeared in Love Soup, Ellis George and Jimmy Vee, a veteran of Doctor Who whose previous roles include The Graske, The Moxx of Balhoon and Bannakaffalatta in Voyage Of The Damned.

Wednesday evening saw the latest episode of BBC1's popular MasterChef in which all six contestants were very impressive to a greater or lesser extent so, unlike last week's heats, we didn't even have the glory that is some boastful schmuck bigging his or her self up only to be slapped down with a withering comment for John Torode or Gregg Wallace. Again, the series appears to have uncovered a couple of potential new stars in the making, in the shape of Michael and sexy Swede Sofia who both made it through to Friday's quarter final.
The following evening's episode was, also, a bit of corker with not two but three of the episode's contestants - 'business owner' (and, self-confessed 'disorganised' cook) Angela, lecturer Oliver and sales rep Wor Davey from the 'heed, whom, needless to say, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was supporting on geographical grounds quite apart from the fact that he seemed a bloody good cook - making it through to Friday's quarter final. However, again, the highlight of episode, as so often in the past, was the production team's decision to portray one of the amateurs as thigh-slapping comedy relief. In this case it was Verity (and her many tattoos), an IT recruitment consultant, who claimed that whilst the other contestants may have more experience, she had 'a lot of passion' in her corner. Sounding good so far. However, as all regular MasterChef viewers know by now, almost without exception, any contestant  interviewed during the opening 'Calling Card' round who bigs themselves up by telling the viewers how, like, totally 'mazing they are and how you ain't tasted nothing to compare with what they're going to serve up will, inevitably, fall flat on their face and be first out the door. It's predictable, but it's one of the things that makes MasterChef such compulsive viewing. Because, let's face it, nobody likes someone with a, perceived, inflated sense of their own importance. Back to Verity: 'I like to just mix it up a bit. I don't like to stick to one style or genre of food. I like to just invent randomly-amazing dishes,' she said. So, no obvious - and quite staggering - hubris there, then. Gregg Wallace looked a bit doubtful as he often does when claims like this are made by people who've just walked in off the street. 'Serious question. Does everyone always like [the dishes you create]?' he asked, not unreasonably. 'Yeah, Obviously. I wouldn't be here if they didn't,' claimed Verity. Perhaps, as with Rob last week, Verity's friends, you know, lie to make her feel better? It's certainly possible since her subsequent Moroccan-Thai 'fusion' dish appeared to leave both Gregg and John somewhat underwhelmed. 'Fusion, or confusion, whichever way you look at it' noted yer man Tordoe. Presenting it, Verity twisted her face almost as much as Gregg and John did when they were tasting it. 'They hated my mash. Ohmigod, that was a disaster, wasn't it?' she asked, afterwards. Err ... that would be a 'yes', Vezza, m'love. In the invention test, Verity went for the savoury box because, she confessed, 'I was too scared to see what was in the sweet box.' That, pretty much, cooked her goose as far as progressing in the competition was concerned. Or, in this particular case, cooked her chicken. And, cooked it a hell of a lot more than she did, as she presented an apologetic-looking pan-fried chicken served on spinach with a creamy white wine and mushroom sauce and a black pudding an rockfall fritter (no kidding!) Opening the chicken up, the judges found it pink and undercooked. 'Oh, and I cooked it for so long, as well,' whined Verity, miserably. Well, that's all right, then. Clearly any food poisoning which John or Gregg could, potentially, have suffered had they eaten it would just be in their imagination. 'It's not the most brilliant dish, is it?' asked John, resisting the temptation to note that a decent vet could've probably had that chicken back up on its feet again. Verity sadly agreed that it wasn't. 'I honestly never thought in a million years that would be pink in the middle,' she added. 'Pretty gutted, to be fair.' Ah well, it's back to cooking 'randomly-amazing' dishes at home, it would seem. Seriously, dear blog reader, comedy doesn't get any better than this.
MasterChef continued its ratings success for BBC1 on Wednesday with the highest overnight ratings of the series so far, according to overnight data. The cooking competition attracted 4.7m viewers at 8pm, bringing in 1.31m more than last Friday's episode. Earlier, The ONE Show was watched by 3.77m, while new series Monkey Planet had an audience of 3.36m viewers at 9pm. On BBC2, 1.74m were less-than-rivetted by the Nigel Fiasco and Prick Clegg debate The European Union: In Or Out? at 7pm, followed by Collectaholics with 1.41m at 8pm. ITV's horrifically terrible Big Star's Little Star pulled in 3.72m at 8pm, while Law and Order UK was watched by 3.84m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Secret Eaters continued with 1.03m, while seven hundred and fifty thousand tuned in to see the last in the series of First Dates at 10pm. Channel Five's documentary Killing Spree had five hundred and eighty six thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of NCIS which attracted 1.12m at 9pm. Five hundred and eighty two thousand caught to the latest episode of Castle at 10pm.

On BBC1, Shetland's latest episode dropped around three hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 4.18m overnight viewers at 9pm on Monday evening, while George Michael's concert at the Palais Garnier appealed to 1.25m at 10.35pm. BBC2's The Great British Sewing Bee brought in 2.81m at 8pm, followed by Horizon with 1.75m at 9pm and a repeat of The Sarah Millican Television Programme with 1.11m (at 10pm. ITV's, as usual, thoroughly wretched Champions League coverage of The Scum's 1-1 quarter final draw with yer actual Bayern München topped the overnight ratings overall outside of soaps with 5.86m from 7.30pm. On Channel Four, Kirstie's Best Of Both Worlds interested 1.13m at 8pm, while the opening episode of the new period drama New Worlds was watched by the neighbour of the beast, six hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers at 9pm. Eight Out Of Ten Cats was watched by six hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door intrigued 1.44m at 8pm. Largely because of the ludicrous title, one supposes - where the hell else are neighbours going to be other than next door, fool? That was followed by The Mentalist with 1.01m at 9pm and Law & Order: SVU with seven hundred and fifty six thousand at 10pm.

Radio and television presenter Sandi Toksvig has questioned the recent BBC pledge to have no all-male guests on panel shows. The BBC's director of television, Danny Cohen, announced in February that 'we're not going to have any more panel shows with no women on them.' Which was, probably, well intentioned but now looks to be in danger of seriously backfiring on the poor lad. The historian Mary Beard has already suggested such a policy is not the way forward and now, in an interview with the TV Times, Toksvig - a regular guest on Qi, for example - said having more female hosts would be a better way of ensuring more women are represented on TV. Angling for Stephen Fry's job there, sand? 'If you get more female hosts, you'll have more women taking part,' she noted. Toksvig, who is the new Fifteen To One host on Channel Four, added: '[Female hosts] bring a different tone and make it easier for other women to feel comfortable about participating, so I would be a big fan of more female hosts on quiz shows.' Sandi also acknowledged a lack of older female faces on television: 'I'm fifty five, at a point where females tend to disappear from our screens.' Mock The Week host Dara O Briain had a right go at the BBC's no more all-male panel policy last month, saying that female guests on shows like Mock The Week now faced potentially be seen as 'token women.' In a Radio Times interview, O Briain said that stand-up comedy naturally tended to have a larger share of male comics. O Briain said: 'Legislating for a token woman isn't much help.' He added: 'It's remarkable that this amount of time is spent debating women on comedy shows rather than, say, Question Time. A certain number of women want to go into comedy and they should be cherished and nurtured, but you're not going to shift the fact that loads more men want to do it.' Several female comics, or in the case of that dreadfully unfunny Wood woman alleged comics, have whinged about 'testosterone-fuelled' shows (one imagines they're talking about Mock The Week here as it's impossible to imagine a show which is less testosterone-fuelled than Qi or Have I Got News For You. But, thankfully, nobody gives much a stuff what she thinks. About anything.

The writer and producer behind Men Behaving Badly are working on a new sitcom. Simon Nye and Beryl Vertue are currently creating a comedy set in a hotel. Radio Times reports that Nye has finished a script for Private Parts and is hoping to get a commission from the BBC. Nye has reportedly also made casting approaches. He told the magazine: 'Serious actors are desperate to do comedy, so we've got some good people lined-up."'Meanwhile, he also did not rule out a return for the classic 1990s sitcom, starring Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey. 'There's always the issue of how you'd cast it, but I'd never say no,' he added.
The long-running school TV drama Waterloo Road is to come to an end in 2015, the BBC has announced. The broadcaster said that it was 'incredibly proud' of the programme, but that it had 'reached the end of its lifecycle.' It said that Waterloo Road would not return after its tenth series. A new drama is being planned for the same slot. The show, first broadcast in 2006, is now filmed in Greenock, after moving from Rochdale in 2011. Made by Shed Productions, Waterloo Road is set in a challenging comprehensive school, with a cast that currently includes Laurie Brett, Zoe Lucker and Angus Deayton. Previous series have featured the likes of Angela Griffin, Denise Welch, Neil Morrissey, Eva Pope, Sarah Jane-Potts, Chelsea Healey, Wil Johnson, Robson Green, Mark Benton, Roxanne Pallett, Neil Pearson and, as she then was, Jenna-Louise Coleman. 'We are incredibly proud of Waterloo Road and would like to thank Shed Productions and all the cast and teams involved across the ten series,' said Charlotte Moore, BBC1 controller and Ben Stephenson, the controller of BBC Drama. 'However, we believe it has reached the end of its lifecycle and won't be returning after series ten finishes in 2015. On BBC1, it's important to make room for new drama and we are committed to commissioning new drama series for 8pm. There are some really exciting ideas currently in development but nothing to confirm yet.' There are twenty episodes of Waterloo Road still to run. Ten will be shown in the autumn, and a further ten - yet to be filmed - will go out in 2015. Donalda MacKinnon, the head of programmes for BBC Scotland, said: 'When we originally committed to making fifty hours of Waterloo Road in Greenock, we did so for a number of reasons which included boosting drama production skills here in Scotland, as well as improving training and development opportunities for the future. We were very pleased to significantly increase our commitment to seventy hours recently and that was partly thanks to the efforts of the Greenock community who helped make the move happen so smoothly and who made cast and crew so welcome. It's always sad when any long-running show comes to an end and I know the Waterloo Road team will miss Greenock - as will fans of the show. Our firm aim now, however, is to use that to continue growing the TV and the wider creative sector here in Scotland utilising the increased skill base arising from Waterloo Road to build up future home-grown culturally representative output.'

Nigella Lawson - she has her knockers - has reportedly been prevented from boarding a flight to the US, after she admitted to drug use during a trial against two of her former aides last year. According to the Daily Scum Mail, the celebrity chef was due to fly from Heathrow to Los Angeles on Sunday, but was stopped at the boarding gate. The fifty four-year-old had tweeted on Sunday that she was 'preparing for a holiday', posting a photo showing a sun hat, a tube of Colman's mustard and a packet of Maldon's sea salt. It is claimed that Lawson had registered online for permission to travel to the US beforehand - as all travellers to the US have to these days - confirming that she has never been arrested or convicted of drug-related offences. Which, she hasn't. Although quite why she hasn't when she openly admitted to having broken the law by caning snow is a different matter entirely. Mind you, she would also have needed to confirm that she wasn't a member of the National Socialist Party of Germany between 1933 and 1945, that she'd never engaged in espionage or that she had never been involved in an actual of 'moral turpitude' as well. All of which, as far as we know, she hasn't. In January, the Metropolitan Police stated that Lawson would face no action over her past - self-confessed - drug use. However, US authorities are thought to have banned the airliner from allowing Lawson to travel to the country, as they can choose to bar visitors on drug offences, even if they have not, actually, been arrested or charged. Eyewitnesses claim that Lawson was alone and made it through check-in and security checks problem-free. Lawson is expected to appeal the alleged ban, but the process can take several months. Lawson's former assistants Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo claimed in court last November that the chef was a 'habitual' user of cocaine. When giving evidence, Lawson admitted that she had previously snorted Charlie, as well as 'infrequently' using cannabis in the final year of her marriage to the art dealer Charles Saatchi. However, she denied allegations that she was an habitual user of recreational drugs, telling the court: 'The idea that I'm a drug addict or a habitual user of cocaine is ridiculous. I don't have a drug problem, I have a life problem.' On 20 December, the Grillo sisters were found extremely not guilty of defrauding Lawson's ex-husband Charles Saatchi of six hundred and eighty five grand through unauthorised credit card and taxi spending.
James Rhodes has 'hit out' (the tabloid-speak for 'criticised' only with less syllables) at the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove while introducing his new series. Rhodes's upcoming Channel Four show, The Great Instrument Amnesty, sees the classical pianist attempting to find unwanted instruments to give to school pupils keen to learn how to play. However, speaking at Channel Four's factual showcase this week, Rhodes admitted that he was 'shocked' at the current state of music lessons in the country and had a reet go at the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove, the lack of education secretary. 'Music education in this country in the space of a generation has been obliterated,' Rhodes claimed. 'When I was a kid, it didn't seem to matter if you went to the posh school or the local comprehensive - there were music lessons, there were school orchestras, there were music classes, and it was an integral part not just of my life, but of the life of the school and the curriculum. [In a clip from my show], you can see them doing their version of Stomp using margarine tins and Celebrations tins - no Celebrations in them, just empty tins. The budget at that school was £2.20 per child per year for music. You can't get a Starbucks cappuccino for that. The school I'm working with at the moment is down in Basildon - their budget is quite literally zero. There are no instruments, there are no music teachers. There is occasionally music put on in the background of other classes, but there are no music classes at all.' Rhodes continued: 'Quite apart from the fact that the music business in this country is worth tens of billions of pounds every year, how many Adeles, how many - God forbid - One Directions, how many Simon Rattles are never going to see the light of day because it's been eradicated from the classroom so quickly? It's not even about having a career as a musician - I'm one of the lucky ones. But study after study has shown that music improves self-esteem, self-confidence, discipline, focus, literacy, numeracy. It works with a whole range of behavioural problems. And yet, because of people like Michael Gove - I'm sorry, I shouldn't swear, I wouldn't use that word again - and Ofsted, the focus is now exclusively on literacy and numeracy to the exclusion of everything else.' Rhodes also explained his 'musical amnesty', saying: 'I would like to end up in a place where every child in every school in this country who wants to learn a musical instrument is able to do that for free. And that doesn't mean sharing one guitar between five students for twenty minutes with a teacher who doesn't know how to read music. It means forty minutes, an hour a week with their own instrument, they get to take it home. Up and down the country, there must be tens if not hundreds of thousands of instruments that are just languishing unused or unloved, and I want to get all of those distributed and straight into the hands of kids who desperately want to learn. You should see their faces - these kids I'm working with, they're nine years old. They haven't even held a pair of castanets for two years. And you put it in their hands - everything changes.' Rhodes, who asked for help with the amnesty, concluded: 'What's happening is that we're not just sleepwalking into this position - we're hurtling at full pelt into a place where in a few short years - and acting's going the same way I think - the only successful musicians are going to be Etonions, Harrovians, Oxbridge-educated from a well-off family where Hero and Titan go twice a week to learn their fucking ukulele, and tens of millions of other kids don't get a look in. And it's not right and it's not fair. I'm very grateful to Channel Four and Fresh One for putting their weight behind this.' Rhodes is not the only Channel Four type person to set their sights on the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove of late; popular Educating Yorkshire teacher Michael Steer recently 'dedicated' the show's RTS Award to the politician by saying: 'I'd like to dedicate this award on behalf of all teachers to Michael Gove. And when I say dedicate, I mean the old Anglo-Saxon meaning. Insert it in your anus.'

The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Miller, has been told to - grovellingly - apologise to parliament and repay five thousand eight hundred smackers following an inquiry into her expense claims during which she 'breached the MPs' code of conduct' by failing to fully co-operate. A report by the Commons committee for standards found that she had over-claimed the money on her mortgage in 2009. She has also been criticised for giving the committee and the commissioner for standards 'incomplete documentation and fragmentary information.' Not that she falsely claimed and then lied about this, of course. oh no, very hot water. 'We regret that she did not also provide the commissioner with the substantive information and supporting documentation she required,' the report concludes. However, the committee did not find evidence to back claims that she should not have housed her parents in a home for which she was claiming taxpayers' money. The committee has also found that a majority of her claims for mortgage payments were 'justified.' The vile and odious rascal Miller, who could still face a battle to hang on to her cabinet job, despite having received the backing of Downing Street in advance of the report, is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons at noon on Thursday. The vile and odious rascal Miller became MP for Basingstoke in 2005 and designated the house in Wimbledon as her second home, saying that she spent 'most of her time' in a rented house in her constituency. Between 2005 and 2009, she made claims on the Wimbledon home, but stopped claiming in the wake of the expenses scandal. According to documents filed in 2008, the vile and odious rascal Miller had a mortgage of around five hundred and twenty five thousand knicker on the house purchased in 1995 for two hundred and thirty four thousand quid. In December 2012, the Torygraph reported that the vile and odious rascal Miller's parents were living in the house. The rules relating to MPs' parents were clearly set out by the parliamentary watchdog in 2009, when John Lyon, the parliamentary commissioner for standards at the time, said that parents should not share a property funded by the taxpayer. Tony McNulty, the former Labour MP, resigned as a minister after letting his parents live in a taxpayer-funded house. Last week, it was reported that the vile and odious rascal Miller made a profit of more than a million notes on the property, which was sold in February. An alleged 'source' allegedly close to the vile and odious rascal Miller allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'It is not surprising that London houses go up in value well over a decade after they are first bought. It is also not unusual for people to move house.' The vile and odious rascal Miller said in a statement: 'I have accepted the committee's report in full and I will apologise. I am pleased that the committee has dismissed the allegation made against me by a Labour MP.' Downing Street said that she had David Cameron's 'very strong and very warm support.' Whether that vote of confidence is of the same kind that football managers often received from their chairman a couple of weeks before they get their arses kick, hard, out the door remains to be seen. The prime minister's spokesman said the approach she was taking - accepting the report and grovellingly apologising and pleading not to be caned because she was 'led astray by older boys' - was 'absolutely the right one.'

Odious unfunny lard bucket (and drag) James Corden, who made his name on BBC3 with one of its biggest hits, the thoroughly shit Gavin & Stacey, has backed the corporation's decision to axe the youth-oriented TV channel. Which, one could suggest, shows that - like a broken clock - even James Corden is right every once in a while. Corden conceded he was probably 'in a public minority' as he said the closure of the channel 'did not matter' because its content would be available online. Corden said that he was satisfied because 'there is still a commitment to it as a channel and there's investment in young writers and young performers and young directors, and its programmes are aimed at a new and fresh audience.' He added that in fact online was the best place for the channel to be because 'that's how people are consuming their TV now' – particularly 'a younger audience, who are going to university with a laptop and maybe not a TV.' The decision to close BBC3 next autumn triggered protests from some of its biggest - and most self-interested and loud - alleged 'talent', including the lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall and Russell Kane (very popular with students). So, nobody that actually matters, in that case. An online petition to save BBC3 has gathered more than two hundred and twenty five signatures. But the BBC says the decision is necessary to save a further one hundred million smackers a year at a time when the licence fee is frozen until 2017. The BBC has said the move, which will see BBC3's programme budget cut from eighty five million to twenty five million knicker, would 'save millions.' Director General Tony Hall called the plan 'financially necessary' and said thirty million quid of the savings would be reinvested in BBC1 drama. Gavin & Stacey launched on BBC3 in 2007 and Corden has since gone on to win further critical acclaim and awards with the lead role in the National Theatre's One Man, Two Guvnors. The actor's latest series on BBC2, the absolutely wretched alleged 'comedy thriller' The Wrong Mans, co-written with Mathew Baynton, was co-produced with the US video-on-demand service Hulu. The pair are, tragically, working on scripts for a second series. Speaking after appearing at the Ad Week Europe event in London on Wednesday, Corden said: 'People say: "Oh, but would you be happy for your show to go on BBC3 if it was just online?" If I was sat here telling you I had just signed a huge deal with Netflix you'd be going: "Wow, that's amazing." You can't see it as "it's no longer a channel because it's not on TV." Providing they still invest and it's still a commitment to make new and interesting shows, then its audience will find them in the same way you and I enjoy House Of Cards.' He added: 'BBC3 even started their biggest shows, like Jack Whitehall's Bad Education, they premiered on the iPlayer a week before it went on TV. I think it should always be at the forefront of what is fresh and exciting, and therefore it should be the first channel to exist online.' The BBC's director of television, Danny Cohen, has admitted that the closure of the TV channel is 'a risk' because online services such as the BBC's iPlayer are still only responsible for a fraction of total TV viewing. The corporation said its hand was forced by the need to make further savings as a result of the 2010 licence fee settlement which it had imposed upon it by the government, with drama on BBC1 made a priority for investment. The online-only BBC3 service will have a budget of around thirty million quid, similar to BBC4's, but down from a projected budget for 2015-16 of around seventy five million quid. 'The truth is I don't know if Gavin & Stacey would be commissioned by BBC3 today,' Corden said. 'The channel has changed. It was 2007 that we made that show. It has a much younger outlook [today]. Our show and Nighty Night and things like that, those shows don't tend to be on BBC3 right now. They would probably be on BBC2 or BBC4. It's always changing.'
The husband of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks told her security chief that he wanted to hide his pornography collection on the day that she was arrested, the Old Bailey has heard. Mark Hanna, the head of security at News International, told jurors at the phone-hacking trial on Wednesday that millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks explicitly told him that he had 'hidden pornography behind bins' in the underground car park at the couple's Chelsea Harbour home on 17 July 2011. 'Once it became apparent what it was, it was no great surprise that he didn't want it to fall into the hands of the police or Rebekah,' said Hanna. The fifty-year-old former soldier had driven millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks's car from their Oxfordshire home that morning and had arrived in Chelsea Harbour at 2.06pm, two hours after well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks had been driven to a pre-arranged appointment at Lewisham police station where she was extremely arrested. Hanna drove down to the car park where millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks was waiting for him, following 'a brief phone call.' Earlier that day Hanna told jurors that millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks had asked Hanna to look after a bag in the back of the Range Rover. He could not recall exactly what he said, but believed he 'probably would have acknowledged' that and said 'okay'. When the pair met in the car park, millionaire Old Etonian Brooks 'indicated towards where the bins were' and 'indicated there was some property by the bins' and 'indicated he wanted me to look after that too', Hanna said. 'He explained he had left it over there and indicated what it was and again that it was his own personal property and that it was pornography,' claimed Hanna. He was giving evidence for a second day to defend a charge, which he denies, that he conspired with millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, and other security personnel, to hide material from the police investigating the News International chief executive. Giving his account of what happened in the underground car park that day, Hanna told jurors that he 'went over to the bins' and spotted millionaire Old Etonian Brooks's property – a Jiffy bag and a Sony Vaio computer. 'I flipped the lid of the Jiffy Bag and could see it's porn,' he claimed. He then returned to News International's headquarters at Thomas More Square in East London and placed it in the 'lost and found' property area. Before arriving, he rang a member of staff at the security concierge and asked her to bring down some black bin bag liners and some Sellotape. He went there because it was 'secure and central and convenient' for millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, who 'wanted the property back.' Asked why he did not take it home, Hanna claimed it was 'slightly embarrassing.' The jury had previously heard that millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks had asked Hanna to 'look after' two bags in the back of his Range Rover earlier that day – a brown satchel and a black nylon brief case. Handed both items in court on Wednesday, Hanna said that he recognised the first but not the second bag. He also testified that he had not seen the black briefcase, which was later found to be in the bin liners the next day when the attempt to hide the porn and computers backfired, after they were found by the cleaners. At 5.30pm Hanna received a call from millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks asking for the property back and a security guard was dispatched to Thomas More Square to collect it. He got stuck in traffic and by 8.30pm another security guard was on his way to the News International offices. He was also asked to fetch some pizza after a request to Hanna from millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks. Millionaire Old Etonian Brooks testified earlier this week that he and 'a friend' drank six bottles of wine on the evening of his wife's arrest. He recalled that his friend Chris Palmer went downstairs to the car park to 'collect the pizza' but that he did not think about his bags until the next morning. The trial extremely continues.

ITV has confirmed the launch date for ITV Encore. The new pay channel, which will be dedicated to the broadcaster's best drama output, will debut on 9 June this year on Sky Channel 123. Initially expected to launch in 2015, ITV Encore will be ITV's first new channel in eight years and is part of a four-year partnership with Sky. ITV's chief executive Adam Crozier said in a previous statement: 'A key part of our strategy is to become the most-watched, most-loved and most-talked-about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK. ITV's brilliant dramas contributed to a fantastic on-screen performance last year - we had three out of the top five dramas in 2013, which helped us increase our share of viewing on the main channel for the first time in a decade. ITV Encore is right in line with our strategy of growing non-advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama.' Further details about ITV Encore, including its scheduling and broadcast hours, will be announced in the near future.
The investigative reporter behind ITV's investigation into dirty old scallywag and rotten rotter Jimmy Savile has said that the industry needs to do more to 'challenge itself' and those in authority to prevent a repeat of the child sex abuse scandal. Mark Williams-Thomas said that he was currently investigating two public figures, one of them believed to be in the media, and had passed the allegations to detectives investigating historic sex abuse. Williams-Thomas, a former detective, said: 'The industry needs to challenge itself more. I thought there was going to be a massive shift, a change in approach to investigative journalism. I'm still questioning whether that's happened. The reverse may have happened, people are thinking "can we go there again, can we take the risk?"' Asked if a Savile-type scenario could happen again with another public figure, he said: 'Yes it could. There are people out there with elevated status [and] authority that enables them to have power above and beyond what it should be. Some of that has been challenged, the police and the CPS are upping their game. There are a couple of people I am looking into.' Williams-Thomas told the Ad Week Europe conference on Tuesday that the police were focusing on 'two individuals.' He claimed: 'There are stories that are suppressed by the media, suppressed by organisations because individuals are too powerful. I think the media has got bolder in terms of what it is taking on, in some degree. In other ways, the media has gone back. It's too worried about doing some of this stuff.' Williams-Thomas said that he gave evidence to the BBC internal review being overseen by Dame Janet Smith last week. 'Its terms of reference are so very narrow,' he said. 'Someone needs to pull all the investigations together. I have got more information that no one will investigate because it doesn't fall under anyone's criteria. We know far more than will ever be out there in the public domain.'

A senior BT executive has questioned the 'strategic value' and seven hundred million quid price tag for soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond's Channel Five, effectively ruling out the telecoms giant as a serious bidder for the broadcaster. John Petter, the head of BT's consumer arm, speaking at an Ad Week Europe session in London on Tuesday, said that he 'could not directly comment' on speculation about BT's participation in the Channel Five auction. However, he did say that there was 'not a lot to hang your hat on' at Channel Five and that there are 'not many strong programme formats.' Are there any? When further questioned as to whether this view would rule BT out as a Channel Five suitor in the short term, Petter said: 'It counts us out for any term.' Bidders will have to 'put up or shut up' with full, binding bids by 14 April, with Discovery and UKTV co-owner Scripps mooted as interested parties. Until the bids are officially submitted there is no definitive way of knowing if Petter's comments are not potentially part of a bid tactic to publicly put pressure on Desmond and his bankers, Barclays, over price. BT's apparent lack of appetite for the broadcaster will be a blow to soft-core pornographer Desmond, who acquired the business for just £103.5m almost four years ago. He is targeting a seven hundred million quid sale price for Channel Five, ten times its estimated profit of seven million knicker this year. Desmond had hoped that the fierce rivalry between BT and BSkyB might result in a bidding war for Channel Five, with each looking to deny the other of a potentially strategically important TV asset. BSkyB is thought to have an agreement with US factual broadcaster Discovery Communications, regarded as the frontrunner to snap up Channel Five, to handle its advertising sales in the event of a deal. A Sky bid for Channel Five is regarded as unlikely, with alleged 'sources' allegedly suggesting that the satellite broadcaster's biggest shareholder, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Twenty First Century Fox, wants to keep its 'regulatory powder dry' for a renewed run at taking full control of the company. There have also been rumours that MTV-owner Viacom may not be progressing with a full bid, although this has not been confirmed, taking out another potentially key suitor. Rumours have emerged that Desmond might also be looking at other options such as a flotation of Channel Five. Some believe the timing of rumours about other potential plans indicates that serious interest in the broadcaster is waning.

The list of celebrities taking part in the latest Pointless specials has been announced. Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman will be joined by 'famous faces' for six new primetime episodes of the hit game show, kicking off on Saturday 12 April. The first special will have a 1970s theme, with yer actual Roy Wood and Rick Wakeman his very self facing actors Paul Henry (Benny in Crossroads), Madeleine Smith, Sally Thomsett and Anna Karen and children's television stars Ed Stewpot Stewart and Sally James. Elsewhere, Sir Geoff Hurst and George Cohen MBE will team up in the World Cup special, facing Peter Shilton and Steve Bull, Hope Powell and Casey Stoney and Graeme Le Saux and commentator Jonathan Pearce. The Eurovision Pointless special has Bucks Fizz's Cheryl Baker and Mike Nolan trying to prove they're no as thick pig's shit against Martin Lee and Sonia Evans, Dana and Johnny Logan and Jemini's Chris Cromby and Gemma Abbey. No, me neither. Stars from The Bill and Bad Girls will face Crimewatch's Donal MacIntyre and Sue Cook and authors Laura Wilson and Mark Billingham in the crime special, while the comedy special will pit Tim Brooke-Taylor and John Bird against Richard Herring and Rhona Cameron, Don Warrington and Ray Burdis and Dom Joly and Robert Llewellyn. Finally, the medical special will see Casualty's Ian Bleasdale and Sunetra Sarker battling The ONE Show's Dr Sarah Jarvis and George Layton, Doctors and Holby City actors Ian Kelsey and Paul Bradley and Duncan Preston and Nichola McAuliffe.
Channel Four has made a not-so-big discovery in the latest episode of its Dead Famous DNA series - the remains of Napoleon's 'very tiny' penis. Mark Evans's show features a team of scientists attempting to extract DNA from the relics of some of history's most famous figures, including Adolf Hitler (who only had one), Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. This week's episode features a trip to New Jersey that brings host Evans face-to-face with Napoleon's titchy willy. The penis was bought in auction in Paris in 1977 and has since been bequeathed to Evan Lattimer by her father. On presumes Evan said 'thanks dad' when being handed the member. 'He bought it, he never showed it to anyone, he never told anyone. He just took it, put it under the desk and there it was,' claims Evan. The penis is believed to have been cut off during Napoleon's autopsy by 'a resentful doctor.' The item is an inch and a half long. 'It's very small, but it's famous for being small,' says Evan. Hey, maybe it was a cold day, come on, give the lad the benefit of the doubt. 'It's perfect structurally, the university have done X-rays and examinations and it's obviously what it is.' Speaking about the discovery, Evans said: 'I've seen a lot of penises, from a Chihuahua to a Sperm Whale. This is so withered. The last place I would have expected to find it is in New Jersey. It's strange how the withered penis has ventured further around the world than Napoleon ever did.' Not tonight Josephine, somebody's cut me bloody knob off. Or something.

And now, dear blog reader a new semi-recurring feature on From The North, Great Moments of The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer. Starting, fairly predictably, with number one: Health & Safety At Work. 'Hey! You! Don't you know that the ceremonial feeding of fresh cream fancies over distances greater than a furlong can lead to loss of respect from boxing promoters?'
Followed, fairly obviously, by number two: Uncle Peter's Band, featuring a very young Steve Coogan - as the lead singer of Go West. And a not much older Martin Clunes - as Phil Spector.
And then, of course, there's number three. Slade In Residence, episode one. 'Get down and get with it!' And yes, that is Charlie Higson as Roy Wood!
Following on from sacked former tabloid editor Piers Morgan's - very amusing - exit from CNN, another British wannabe's show has bitten the dust on US television as NBC has decided to scrap Trisha Goddard's talk show after just two series. With recent ratings falling to as low as seven hundred and sixty thousand, it's perhaps no surprise that executives chose to pull the plug. However, it seems Trisha had already worked out the complexities of the industry across the pond and was probably prepared for the worst. The Sun reports her as saying in January: 'If you rate, you stay. If you don't, you go.' Yep, that's pretty much the size of it. Just ask Piers. Or, possibly, don't as he seems a wee bit touchy about his sacking.

The owner of a painting that he believed was by Marc Chagall has given up on his fight to save it from being destroyed. Martin Lang, a businessman from Leeds, sent the painting to be assessed by the Chagall committee in Paris, but they declared it a fake and kept it. Under French law, forgeries can be confiscated and destroyed. Lang paid one hundred grand for the work in 1992. He originally wanted it back but has now said he will 'walk away totally disillusioned with the French.' He wouldn't be the first. The case was featured on BBC1's Fake Or Fortune in February, when experts informed Lang that his work was painted after the 1930s. The painting of a reclining nude was dated 1909-10. Chagall died in 1985. The artist, an early modernist, experimented with various styles including cubism and expressionism. Lang said he had been issued with a writ by the Chagall Committee, which controls the artist's estate and wants the painting destroyed. 'They're trying to get a hearing but I've said I don't want to go along that route,' Lang said. 'I don't see there's a point. It's a lost cause, so I've just said, "No, it's not worth it." There's no point contesting [it]. It's in France, it's a French court, they will come back on their side. It's a terrible shame.' A spokeswoman for the committee said that the matter was 'in the hands of the courts. There has never been any doubt that this work is a counterfeit,' she said. 'It's very evident.' Asked whether the court would now decide if it would be destroyed, she said: 'There is a whole procedure going on now but that is part of the procedure, yes.'

So, after twenty six consecutive bloggerisationism updates featuring yer actual Keith Telly Topping's A To Z Of Groovy Tunes we return you, dear blog reader, to an old favourite. Yes, Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is extremely back. Tell 'em all about it, Nenah.

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