Thursday, April 24, 2014

Way Down Inside

The Official Guide To The 2013 Series of Doctor Who has been published by the Doctor Who Magazine. Researched and compiled by the very excellent TV historian and writer Andrew Pixley, it spans one hundred and thirty two pages and is the thirty seventh special edition from the Panini-owned title. Billed as 'the essential guide to Matt Smith's final season as The Doctor', the guide has in-depth articles covering the episodes The Snowmen, The Bells of Saint John, The Rings Of Akhaten, Cold War, Hide, Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS, The Crimson Horror, Nightmare In Silver and The Name Of The Doctor and, says DWM, is 'packed with previously unpublished photos, day-to-day details of Doctor Who's production and hundreds of fascinating new facts.' It is available from all good newsagents. And, some bad ones as well.
When yer actual Peter Capaldi was named as the new Doctor, it meant he had to abandon all his other acting commitments, which left the BBC's The Musketeers without a main villain. However, the writers weren't to know he was about to resign his position when they were scripting the first series finale – an excusable lack of foresight which meant that Cardinal Richelieu was denied a grand send-off during his final episode when it was broadcast last month. So, what will become of his character? 'Come the next series the Cardinal will be dead. He'll just be gone,' Tom Burke (who plays Athos) told Radio Times. 'We're all like, "Where's the Cardinal? Oh he's dead"' he continued. 'It's a great example of economic storytelling. Their new nemesis will be Rochefort, who's played by Marc Warren.' State of Play, Hustle and Mad Dogs star Warren officially joined the cast last month to play the BBC1 drama's replacement villain – a 'dashing and persuasive aristocrat with a talent for sword fighting and a taste for adventure.' Filming on the ten new episodes has already begun in Prague, with Burke's fellow Musketeers Luke Pasqualino, Howard Charles and Santiago Cabrera also reprising their roles.

Meanwhile Matt Smith - remember him? - has said that he does not plan to appear in Sherlock. The former Doctor Who lead was recently linked to the BBC1 crime drama - albeit, only by various over-excited media gobshites - after Sherlock co-creator and Doctor Who showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat said that he was 'not opposed' to the virry idea. Which some planks seemed to read as just another way of say 'yes, that's definitely happening.' Which, of course, it isn't. The words are different, for one thing. Speaking at The Wizard World Comic Con,yer man Smudger said: 'Listen, there's no room for me on Sherlock! They've got Benedict and Martin, that's quite enough peculiar Englishmen for that show. There's no room for another one.' Smudger, of course, famously auditioned for the role of John Watson, before Martin Freeman landed the part. Matt his very self got the role of The Doctor soon afterwards. In January, Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) said of the chances of reuniting with Smith: 'If there was a perfect part for him, there's no rule against it. We wouldn't want it to be stunt casting, because stunt casting doesn't work, so it would have to be just because he was overwhelmingly right for it. I love working with Matt. He's a phenomenal actor. I'd jump at the chance to work with him again. I don't know how likely that is to be on the set of Sherlock.'

Jamaica Inn dropped over one million viewers for its second episode on Tuesday, according to overnight figures. BBC1's historical Mummserset drama - which was 'hit with sound issues' on Monday night - fell to an overnight audience of 4.4m at 9pm. from the opening episode's 6,1 million. Which, of course, the Gruniad Morning Star tired to use as some kinda of post hoc ergo propter hoc thing in a particularly shit-stirring, trouble-making article. Yeah, it's Latin, look it up. Later, a BBC1 repeat of BBC3's excellent documentary series Life And Death Row interested 1.4m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, The Big Allotment Challenge dipped over five hundred thousand punters to 1.9m at 8pm. Earlier, Great British Menu gathered 1.8m at 7.30pm, while Watermen: A Dirty Business appealed to 1.7m at 9pm. ITV's coverage of Moscow Chelski FC's Champions League draw with Athletico Madrid scored 4.1m at 7.30pm. On Channel Four, Embarrassing Bodies fascinated 1.2m sick voyeurs at 8pm. The costume drama New Worlds' finale episode dipped to a new low of three hundred and twelve thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door fascinated 1.2m at 8pm, followed by The Mentalist with nine hundred and thirty five thousand viewers at 9pm and Law & Order: SVU with seven hundred and seventy nine thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, The Call Centre continued its, frankly baffling, popularity with 1.1m at 9pm.

The number of viewer whinges over the audibility of BBC1 drama Jamaica Inn escalated - obviously, after the Gruniad Morning Star had run a series of shit-stirring trouble-making articles about it - with the second episode, as noted, also seeing a decline in ratings. Obviously, after the Gruniad Morning Star had run a series of shit-stirring trouble-making articles about it. They really are a piece of work those middle class hippy Communist maggots. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, dear blog reader, post hoc ergo propter hoc. What? No, this blogger didn't go to public school, he just watches a lot of The West Wing, that's all. By the end of Tuesday, the BBC had received seven hundred and seventy eight complaints about the show. Or, in other words, 0.0127 per cent of the audience for the opening episode. Are the words 'none story' applicable at this point do we reckon? The three-part adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel stars former the Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay. The BBC apologised on Tuesday, attributing the problems which some viewers (seven hundred and seven eight of them, to be be precise, some of whom also had access to Twitter which is always a dangerous thing) had understanding the dialogue to 'issues with the sound levels.' Some viewers whinged that they had to use subtitles to understand the actors' apparent 'mumbling', which one complainant suggested was 'was the worst [ever] heard in a TV drama.' Bit of an example of crass hyperbole there. On Twitter. How jolly unexpected. Everybody seemed to want to get in on the story with even yer actual Keith Telly Topping getting rung up by his local BBC radio station for comments. Should you have nothing better to do with your time, you can check out what he said here for the next seven days, dear blog reader from two hours and forty five minutes into the show. Or, from about five minutes earlier if you want to hear the legend that is Alfie Joey's Marlon Brando impression. Anyway, speaking to 5Live on Tuesday, the director of Jamaica Inn Philippa Lowthorpe claimed that she was more 'sad' than angry that the sound issues 'may have disturbed a few people's enjoyment.' Ben Stephenson, the BBC's controller, drama commissioning, said that the corporation was 'looking into' the sound issues which plagued the first episode. Despite efforts to improve the sound quality in Tuesday's second episode, nearly three hundred more people complained after its broadcast , no doubt stirred up by the trouble-making of some louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star. Stephenson said: 'I think actors not being clear is one part of it, but my understanding about the complaints about Jamaica Inn was more complex than that, so I think it's probably not right to just single out that, but clearly we want actors to speak clearly. Of course we want them to give brilliant performances and you've got to respect that, but if no one can understand what they're saying, then there's a problem,' Stephenson told the BBC News website. The BBC indicated it still did not know what the exact cause of the problem was, with 'a variety of factors' that could be to blame. The cast's strong West Country accents also played a part, with the dialogue of domineering uncle Joss Merlyn, played by Sean Harris, particularly hard to distinguish. People who worked on the show suggested on Twitter that it was a problem that arose between recording and transmission. 'The location recording was fine,' said sound engineer Matt Gill on Twitter.
Derek returned to Channel Four with over one million overnight viewers on Wednesday. Which, seemingly, proves that you can fool some of the people all of the time. The Ricky Gervais's nursing home sitcom which is about as funny as a nail in the knackers was watched by 1.5m at 10pm, one hundred thousand punters up from last year's launch episode. This blogger resigned from the general public in protest, dear blog reader, but I don't think it made much difference. Earlier, Secret Eaters continued with a million viewers at 8pm, followed by How To Get A Council House with 1.7m at 9pm. On BBC1, Jamaica Inn's final episode attracted 4.1m at 9pm. MasterChef topped Wednesday overall once again, climbing by around six hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 5.1m at 8pm, the highest overnight figure for the series so far in 2014. A Question Of Sport was watched by 2.2m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Under Offer intrigued 1.7m at 8pm, whilst the final episode of the three-part Ian Hislop's Olden Days appealed to 1.4m at 9pm. ITV's odious and wretched Big Star's Little Star had 3.7m at 8pm, followed by the latest Law & Order: UK with 3.4m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Killing Spree interested six hundred and thirty eight thousand at 8pm whilst NCIS attracted 1.1m at 9pm and Castle had an audience of five hundred and ninety seven thousand at 10pm.

Supporters of a campaign launched by the former alleged comedian Lenny Henry to change the law to boost the number of black, Asian and minority workers in the television industry say that they will consider boycotting the licence fee if the government fails to take action. Now, this blogger was always under the impression that encouraging other people to break the law was, in and of itself, an illegal act. Although it must be said that if yer man Henry were to end up doing stir for this, it would certainly be a hell of a lot funnier than anything he's said on TV since about 1983. Henry has launched a petition and e-mail campaign aiming to lobby the lack of culture minister Ed Vaizey about changing the law. Campaigners say that if nothing is done by broadcasters and the government and 'diversity continues to be a talking shop' they will consider boycotting the licence fee. In a 'call to action' appeal video made to kick off the petition, Henry urges people to sign an e-mail addressed to Vaizey which supports 'Lenny Henry's plan for UK TV channels to have ring fenced money for BAME [black and minority ethnic] productions and programmes as they do for the nations and regions.' Henry also asks the minister: 'Can you please tell me if you support this idea with regards to the BBC and other UK channels, and what else you are doing to make sure more black, Asian and ethnic minorities are employed in the media?' The video also features comments that have been made to people who have faced discrimination working in the media. They include 'Wow, I didn't expect you to speak so well', 'you're not the right profile to go out on a shoot' and 'you're not right for the lead but it'd be good to keep you in for colour.' Voiced by actors to avoid repercussions, a comment from one man was 'no, I can't sit in my cab and wait for Moira Stuart to come out, I work here', after it was assumed that because he was black, he was a taxi driver. Henry urges people to back the campaign, saying: 'All you have to do is sign, press send and, boom, Ed Vaizey's like, "Oh no, I can't see my desk."' Because, of course, it's a well known fact that pissing off the very people who have the power to help you achieve your stated aim is a sure fire way of getting them to do what you want. Henry's video appears on the TV Collective website – which has about sixty thousand members and is helping lead the campaign – along with a statement from Simone Pennant, a casting and development producer who founded the organisation. Pennant's statement says: 'As much as I am optimistic that Lenny's plan can instigate some real change, I'm also conscious that we've had similar moments many many many times before. So if the issue of diversity continues to be a talking shop, I for one will be seriously considering whether I will be renewing my TV licence. Will you be joining me?' If the meetings Henry and campaigners have scheduled with the BBC and the Department for Culture' Media & Sport over the next couple of months lead to nothing, Pennant told the Gruniad Morning Star then "maybe our next step is to ask if the licence fee is value for money and not pay the licence fee.' Course, you'll also have to get rid of your telly because, if you continue to watch TV programmes without a licence fee, you will be breaking the law and subject to a fine. And, possibly, jail. 'We are not encouraging people to engage in criminal activity,' she claimed. 'But if we are not getting value for money then will have to consider why we are paying for it.' At which point, it would be encouraging people to engage in criminal activity. Glad we got that sorted out. She claimed that the campaign will 'give it to July or August' to see if structural changes to the broadcasting industry are going to happen but, 'if not then we will have to consider our position and say it seems this issue is not being resolved – maybe our next step is to ask if the licence fee is value for money and not pay the licence fee.' Henry's proposal calls for BAME people to be treated as a 'metaphorical region' – pointing out that Scotland makes up about nine per cent of the population, compared with BAME's fourteen per cent – with ring-fenced money and a commissioner and executives located perhaps in Birmingham or Manchester. His 'roadmap', dubbed 'The Henry Plan', was outlined last month in a speech where he 'called for action' after revealing the situation has 'deteriorated badly' with the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic people working in the UK television industry falling by thirty one per cent between 2006 and 2012. Samir Shah, former BBC non-executive director and chief executive of independent production company Juniper, said it was 'time to make a decisive intervention.' Shah pointed out that it is 'happening elsewhere. Metropolitan police chief commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has recently called for a change in the law to allow the Met to take on one ethnic minority officer for every white recruit.' However, he warned Henry's proposal can 'expect trenchant criticism' from some within the industry who support the plan but fear 'tokenism' or that 'by identifying an amount of money as ring-fenced for BAME applicants, it absolves the others from any responsibility.' He said that critics should look at the success of the BBC's plan to increase the number of programmes from the nations and regions through structural change: 'The lessons of that success can be applied to address some of those fears.'

The next - 'L' - series of Qi will begin filming on 6 May. As usual, there will be sixteen episode in the series, with will be recorded during May and early June for a broadcast later in 2014.
The Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson has totally admitted that he 'rubber-stamped' a one thousand smackers cash payment to an alleged 'source' described by one of his Scum of the World reporters as 'a policeman.' The payment was purportedly made in exchange for a leaked confidential copy of a royal phone directory. But Coulson told the phone-hacking trial on Tuesday that he 'did not believe' his royal editor had got the book from a police officer when Coulson was asked to approve the cash for the leak of the Palace book. The former editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World told the court that the paper's then royal editor, convicted hacker Clive Goodman, was 'prone to, in my view, creating unnecessary drama' about his stories, was reluctant to go out of the office, and "was'a bit resentful' that he wasn't running the news desk. Coulson described Goodman as 'a tricky customer' and claimed that the more he worked with Goodman the more 'frustrating' his communications were. 'Clive was someone who was quite difficult to get a grip of,' Coulson added. In an e-mail dated 24 January 2003 Goodman told Coulson that 'one of the royal policemen has obtained the brand new green book, the telephone directory with all the home numbers of the royal family.' Goodman warned Coulson that 'these people will not be paid in anything other than cash because if they're discovered selling stuff to us they end up on criminal charges, as could we.' Coulson claimed that he 'did not recall' the e-mail but, after reading it as part of the preparation for his defence, he said that it 'brought back to me what it was like dealing with Clive Goodman.' Coulson had reacted immediately to Goodman's e-mail, firing off an reply two minutes after receiving it and sanctioning the one thousand knicker payment for the royal directory: 'This is fine. Didn't I sign off on purchase of green book quite recently tho [sic]?' He claimed in court that he 'rubber-stamped' the payment and 'should have challenged' the claim that the alleged source was an alleged police officer. But, he didn't. 'I did not believe Clive Goodman was paying a policeman. I still don't believe a policeman was paid and I think what I did was to fail to address it properly, but I didn't, because I didn't believe him and I rubber-stamped it,' Coulson claimed. The e-mail in question is at the very beating heart of one of the two charges against both Goodman and Coulson; that they conspired to 'cause misconduct in public office' by making unlawful payments to police officers. Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC has said that the e-mail 'demonstrates' that Coulson was totally aware that criminality was going on at the tabloid, a charge which the former editor of the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid vehemently denies. Coulson was also asked about an e-mail in which Goodman claimed that he 'scammed' information about Prince Harry's health from a private secretary at the Palace. Coulson claimed that he believed the word 'scammed' could have meant 'tricked' and that his response to Goodman showed he was 'slightly exasperated' with him. Coulson was asked about a second e-mail in relation to a purported payment request to 'a Palace cop.' He claimed that he did not think this alleged 'source' was actually a police officer either. Coulson also denied any knowledge of a 'new royal source' - which the jury has heard was the convicted phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire - which Goodman claimed to have in late 2005. The former editor claimed that he was 'under legitimate pressure' to come up with new stories, particularly about the 'younger royals' and Goodman came to him asking if he could put 'the new source' on a retainer. 'I was minded to agree with him,' Coulson said of the five hundred smackers-a-week payments the paper agreed to make as part of a trial known as The Alexander Project. Coulson claimed that Goodman 'did not divulge' the identity of his new source. 'Clive told me it was somebody who was close to the young royals who he thought over time might produce stories,' claimed Coulson who emphasised that it was 'a trial' which he, subsequently, 'ended.' Coulson claimed that he 'did not know' that the 'source' of a story about Prince Harry seeking help for an essay while at Sandhurst was, in fact, a hacked voicemail. He said that it looked as if Goodman had 'some sources', adding 'it was never that big of a story.' Coulson also denied that he 'covered up' phone-hacking at the Scum of the World - closed in shame and ignominy in 2011 - after Goodman and Mulcaire were arrested in 2006 for eavesdropping on royal household voicemails. He has also denied that he ordered Goodman to plead guilty to the offences following his arrest or to tell the police he was acting as 'a lone wolf', the mythical single rogue reporter on the paper which formed the basis of news Internationals' defence against phone-hacking charges for the next four years. Coulson told the jurors that 'nobody' at the paper knew at the time that voicemail interception was illegal and people were 'shocked' by what had happened. Not that ignorance of the law is any sort of defence, of course. Oh no. Very hot water. Coulson denied putting 'barriers' in the way of any police investigation in the aftermath of giving any 'statements, instructions or suggestions' to Goodman as to how he should approach his impending criminal trial, conviction and imprisonment. 'I didn't cover up anything,' claimed Coulson. 'I took the view that the police should go where the police should go.' Coulson described how the paper was 'plunged into a crisis' following Goodman's arrest in 2006. Anti-terrorism police arrived on the newsroom floor and - following a discussion with his bosses - Coulson was deputed to tell billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch what had happened. 'He was concerned,' Coulson claimed. 'He said the most valuable thing that a newspaper has is the trust of its readers, that's something that stayed in my mind,' Coulson continued. He added that he was 'shocked' by the unfolding events but that he' did not know' about phone-hacking until Goodman was arrested in August 2006. Coulson claimed he was at home when he got a call to say that his reporter had been arrested. 'It became apparent quite quickly that he had been arrested for voicemail interception,' Coulson said. He remembered that 'two others' were arrested on the same day and claimed that this was the first time he heard of Glenn Mulcaire. The jury has already heard Mulcaire was on a one hundred thousand quid-a-year contract with the paper; he pleaded extremely guilty to phone-hacking offences in 2006 and has done so again in the current trail. 'I do not believe I heard the name Glenn Mulcaire until after Clive had been arrested,' Coulson claimed. There was 'discussion' about the arrest at the paper and Coulson telephoned a News International executive - whose cannot be named for legal reasons. The executive was 'on holiday' at the time and asked Coulson to phone billionaire tyrant Murdoch personally to tell him the bad news. 'It was a very brief conversation with him in which I told him that Clive Goodman had been arrested. I was able to tell him a lot more at that stage and I told him and I said I would obviously keep him updated,' Coulson claimed. Coulson said that he 'recalled' speaking to a News International lawyer about the crisis. 'Nobody knew voicemail interception was illegal and I remember him explaining that. He said that that law [which] was apparently broken, he understood that was there in a large part as a piece of legislation that was there to help catch terrorists. He was shocked that this had happened.' Coulson said that he felt 'the most important thing was that was should not stand in the way of the investigation.' He was asked by his defence counsel if it occurred to him that the David Blunkett voicemails he had listened to two years earlier had come from hacking. Coulson said that he asked 'some executives' at the newspaper company and he was told there was 'no link' to Glenn Mulcaire. 'I asked if Mulcaire or Nine Consultancy had been involved in the David Blunkett story and there answer came back "no"' he claimed. Last week Coulson admitted that he had listened to voicemails which Blunkett left for Kimberly Fortier, in which he apparently declared his love for her. Coulson denied hindering or helping the police in their investigation, or telling Goodman that he had influence that could help him avoid a prison sentence. 'It was quite shocking. I wanted to make sure that the right thing was being done from the paper's perspective,' Coulson told jurors. 'Also I was concerned for Clive as his editor, my view was that we had some duty of care to him,' he said. Asked if he had 'launched an investigation' into hacking on the paper, Coulson responded: 'Rightly, or wrongly, I thought that wasn't for me to do. That was for the police to do and the company to decide how they wanted to handle it.' He said that he didn't 'put in barriers' to the police investigation, but 'equally I didn't think it was for me to take on the role of the investigator.' He denied claims made by Goodman in earlier testimony that Coulson had instructed him to plead guilty to the charges he faced as part of a bid to cover up allegations that phone-hacking was widespread at the paper and involved other executives on the newsdesk. 'No, I never told Clive Goodman that he should plead guilty. Nor did I tell him that he should plead not guilty,' claimed Coulson. He was then asked about a meeting with Goodman in a branch of Cafe Rouge on 14 August 2006, six days after the reporter's arrest. 'This has been presented as a series of statements, a series of instructions, demands, suggestions, that's not how I remember it,' claimed Coulson. 'Clive was doing most of the talking. The conversation was based around "how are you?"' Coulson admitted that he 'might' have told Goodman he was 'off the reservation' at some point. He added that Goodman was 'wrong' to claim that Coulson had told him to tell police he was acting as 'a lone wolf.' 'No, "lone wolf" is not a phrase I'd use,' claimed Coulson. Goodman also claimed in his testimony earlier in the trial that Coulson had indicated that he could influence the reporter's possible sentence. 'What influence would I have in preventing someone going to prison?' Coulson asked. 'There were anti-terrorist police on the newsroom floor, I had a reporter who was charged. I was feeling many things but I wasn't feeling influential.' Coulson said he suspected that Goodman had a tape recorder in Cafe Rouge. 'I remember he had a combat jacked on and he kept fidgeting in his pockets,' Coulson said. He told jurors that inquiries he made about Mulcaire's activities 'did not suggest' that anyone else was involved with him at the Scum of The World. Coulson had been told that Goodman had said there had been leaks between Mulcaire's company Nine Consultancy and others newsdesk executives. 'It was never said to me that that was evidence of their being involved in phone-hacking,' Coulson claimed. Coulson said he also 'had a conversation' about the alleged connections with Mulcaire with 'a News International lawyer' who also cannot be named for legal reasons. He claimed the lawyer told him 'it was not evidence at that stage that linked other news editors to voicemail interception.' Coulson later described Goodman's arrest as 'a disaster' for him and the start of a journey that cost him his job at the paper and - years later - as David Cameron's spin doctor and, if you will, 'chum'. The jury was shown an e-mail exchange between Coulson and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, then editor of the Sun, in which he protests about a leak to the Gruniad Morning Star on the day when Goodman was going to plead guilty. 'I just don't think it's helpful, not least as it's all going so well today.' Asked what he meant by 'going so well', Coulson said that he wondered if he had been sarcastic. 'It was a disaster for the News of the World, for Clive Goodman and, it turns out, for me.' He claimed that 'going so well' was a reference to the fact that the story hadn't 'exploded' in the media. Coulson referred again to the advice he had received from the News International lawyer when the company drafted a statement to be issued the day of Goodman's guilty plea. 'By this stage, there had been some discussion about these links in relation to other members of staff at the News of the World. The lawyer had made clear to me that there was no evidence that was voicemail interception,' Coulson alleged. An e-mail from a News International lawyer to Coulson warning that Goodman may 'stray off the preferred line' was 'nothing to do' with efforts to keep the former royal editor on a company line, he claimed. Coulson said that the 'worry' was that if Goodman made a press statement after his guilty plea, he might say things which were 'untrue', such as claiming that others were involved. Coulson claimed that he resigned as Cameron's spin doctor and, if you will, 'chum' in January 2011 because his ability to do his job was being 'compromised' by the continuing phone-hacking scandal. He told jurors that he took the decision to quit because he 'could not do the job' he was 'employed to do.' His resignation from a senior position was the second in the space of four years. In 2007 he quit as editor of the Scum of the World because, he claims, he felt it was 'the right thing to' do following the arrest and subsequent sentencing of the paper's royal editor Clive Goodman for phone-hacking-related offences. Coulson said that he could not imagine 'sitting at my desk writing a leader criticising a public figure or a politician when the paper itself had failed under my editorship.' Coulson told jurors that he had been hired by the Tory party after a meeting with George Osborne seven months later. 'Subsequent to that, I had a meeting with David Cameron and after the May local elections that turned into a job offer.' After the general election in May 2010, Coulson went to work in Downing Street but within months he left. 'There had been a long period of press coverage of issues relating to this trial and over a period of time I once again found myself in the position where I could not do the job I was employed to do so I felt I should resign,' Coulson said. He told jurors that he decided to resign from the Scum of the World over Christmas 2005 after discussions with his wife, Eloise. He told a News International executive two weeks before Goodman was sentenced at the end of January 2007. He recalled that billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch called Coulson just as he was driving out of the production plant in Wapping. 'He wished me well and I reminded him what he had said to me when I told him about the arrest of Clive Goodman and that had been part of my thinking,' Coulson claimed. During cross-examination by Goodman's counsel, Coulson denied that he was a bully but admitted that the 'culture' of newspapers in the 1980s and 1990s was 'temperamentally more aggressive' than it was now. The present trial, which has now been going for one hundred days, continues with no obvious end in sight.

When Kate '’Mara lost her long battle with ovarian cancer last month, tributes poured in from those who had worked alongside the actress. Among the hundreds of messages of condolences was a brief tweet from the actor Ian Cullen, who became a household name in the 1960s as the popular police officer Joe Skinner in Z Cars. 'Deeply saddened to hear that we’ve lost Kate O'Mara,' Ian wrote. 'A very gifted and valiant trouper.' Privately, though, Ian was nursing a grief which is more profound than his quietly respectful message might suggest. Not only was he once O'Mara's lover, he was also the biological father of her late son Dickon, who killed himself in December 2012 after years of battling with depression and addictions to drugs and alcohol. Dickon's suicide just days before his fiftieth birthday left his mother racked with guilt in the last year of her own life, and his father filled with remorse about what might have been. For more than half-a-century, the actress kept the identity of Dickon's father a closely-guarded secret, but this week the Daily Scum Mail claimed an 'exclusive' in revealing the full story in an interview with Cullen. While O'Mara died broken-hearted at the loss of her son, Cullen, who attended her funeral last week, is also haunted by regrets that he was unable to save Dickon despite years of trying to help. Speaking to the newspaper, he said: 'What happened was tragic for everyone involved, but especially for Dickon and for Kate. Of course I have regrets. I look back and think how I could have handled the situation differently. Over the past year, Kate and I both blamed ourselves for what happened to Dickon.' The seeds of the tragedy were sown in Stratford-upon-Avon in the ­summer of 1962, where the County Durham born Ian, then twenty three, was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and earning plaudits for roles in plays such as The Taming Of The Shrew and Macbeth. O'Mara, then twenty five, was working backstage, waiting for her first big acting break which came soon afterwards in a production of The Merchant of Venice. They embarked on what the tabloid describes as 'a brief but passionate relationship', and when the season at Stratford ended, O'Mara found that she was pregnant. Ian remembers: 'Kate told me I was not to worry; that the father was an older actor and not a member of the RSC.' However, weeks after Dickon's birth, in January 1963, Kate wrote to tell Ian that, in fact, he was the father. 'Kate assured me that she was not seeking financial support, but was very anxious for Dickon to grow up knowing who his father was.' Ian agreed to this arrangement: 'When you are young you do daft things, make bad ­decisions, and then you have to live with them,' he explained. O'Mara, the daughter of an RAF flight instructor and an actress, was supported by her parents during Dickon's early years. As her fame grew, she fabricated an 'early, short-lived marriage' to cover up the stigma of single motherhood. Two years after Dickon's birth, she became pregnant again by another unnamed man and put the baby, a boy she named Patrick, up for adoption. Privately, she and Cullen remained in touch - she even appeared opposite Ian in a couple of episode of Z Cars in 1969. 'I saw them a few times when Dickon was small and too young to remember,' Ian noted. 'When Dickon began to ask about his real father, Kate telephoned to arrange for us all to meet. My future wife came too.' While O'Mara had something of a turbulent private life, Cullen's own domestic affairs were far more settled. He married the actress Yvonne Quenet in 1970 and they had three daughters. They settled near Guildford where, forty three years later, they are still happily married, running a local theatre company and helping to care for their grandchildren. O'Mara, meanwhile, married her first husband, the actor Jeremy Young, in 1971. Dickon called him 'Dad' and, for a while, took his step­father's surname. Not surprisingly, many came to believe that Young actually was Dickon's birth father and the pair remained close even after O'Mara and Young divorced in 1976. 'The secrecy surrounding Dickon and me made our relationship very difficult,' says Ian. 'I met Jeremy a couple of times. We got on fine, but Kate was nervous. My feeling was that although she wanted me to be available should Dickon want to meet me, she didn't want a three-cornered relationship. Dickon didn't call me Dad: he called me Ian. He regarded Jeremy as his father, not unfairly. Jeremy was there for him. They were very fond of each other. In a strange way that made it very difficult for me to intrude.' Over the years that followed, Ian had intermittent contact with Dickon, who accompanied his mother as she toured around Britain and, during the Dynasty years, to America. Not surprisingly, the contrast between this nomadic life and what Dickon saw as his real father's idyllic family came to torment him as he grew up. As a teenager, Dickon visited the Cullens on several occasions. 'He got on well with everyone,' Ian says. 'My girls adored having this fully grown-up brother coming into their lives - he taught them to skateboard - and I thought it was great too. He knew he had an open invitation to visit or stay with us at any time. But we would get to a point where we were having a relationship — and then he would back off and disappear. People loved him and he pushed them away and went back into his shell when he saw them getting too close. If we'd grown closer, it would have been a loving relationship because he was a very loving boy. He was very affectionate.' To outsiders, Dickon's life as the son of a famous actress must have seemed enviably glamorous. Away from the cameras, though, it appears to have been lonely and unsettling. After the end of O'Mara’s first marriage, in 1978, she began a nine-year relationship with journalist Steve Howard. In 1993, she married actor Richard Willis, eighteen years her junior. That marriage ended four years later. Dickon's relationship with Cullen, meanwhile, had dwindled to little more than occasional phone calls. He had begun smoking cannabis and drinking heavily. Having been educated privately, at Halliford School near Shepperton, Dickon decided upon a career in the theatre, becoming a stage manager, rigger and carpenter at the Royal Shakespeare Company. While there, twenty one-year-old Dickon met the actress Jenny Agutter, who was ten years his senior and the pair shared her London flat before splitting a couple of years later. Towards the end of that relationship, Dickon tried to take his life for the first time - an ominous foreshadowing of what would occur nearly three decades later. Today, Ian admits that he wishes he had tried harder with his son. 'My biggest mistake was that I opened my home and my family to him - but then I left it to him whether he wanted to come in or not. I used to say: "You don't have to come, you don't have to be part of us, but we are here for you if you want us." I wish I had pushed harder and been less passive. I opened the door to him - but I didn't push hard enough. I'm not criticising him, but he was muddled up and it was difficult for everyone. When he was lovely, he was lovely. And he was very clever. He was a wonderful carpenter. But then he was erratic and it would all collapse, and he would turn and reject everyone around him. He was fighting his own demons.' Dickon lived with his mother throughout most of his adult life while the actress attempted to wean him off drink and drugs and find him work. O'Mara was concerned enough about her son to employ a housekeeper to look after him at her cottage on the edge of the Blackdown Hills, ­whenever she was away working. Ultimately, though, the woman resigned saying that Dickon was 'impossible to control.' Then, in January 2009, when Kate was about to go on stage in Cheltenham, Dickon was nearly killed by a car as he walked his dog along a country road. He spent five months in specialist brain and spinal units, after which he stayed with Ian for a while. They were precious times for the father and son and Cullen arranged for Dickon to help backstage on a production that he was working on. As soon as the production ended, however, Dickon took off again. 'He went to see Jeremy,' says Cullen. 'I think Dickon felt he was being disloyal by spending so much time with me. He was very torn. He thought he was betraying Jeremy, but he still wasn't well after the accident. He did send me an e-mail not long before he died, saying I know you want a son but I've got a father. That was the last e-mail I got from him.' In 2012, as Dickon's mental health deteriorated and his addictions returned, Ian's final attempts to reach out to his son were rebutted. O'Mara meanwhile, who had embarked on yet another long theatre tour, as well as a trip to Spain for a cameo appearance in Benidorm, was battling double pneumonia. It was in October 2012 that police were called to her home after a furious row between mother and son. A weak and desperate O'Mara asked Dickon to leave but rented him a separate property in Stratford-upon-Avon. By the time of his suicide, she had been admitted to hospital with cancer. Dickon sent a final flurry of texts to his ill mother in the first week in December. His final message said: 'I wish the fucking car that hit me was going faster.' The same day he hanged himself in the garage next to his mother's house. Ian says that he heard about Dickon's death from newspaper reports and immediately telephoned O'Mara. 'It was a terrible, terrible shock and Kate was in bits,' he recalls. 'She blamed herself and I blamed myself. Kate and I didn't get it right and we were the adults. Even when Dickon was older, I was the adult and I should have been able to make it work. But I couldn't.' After Dickon’s death, Ian and Kate kept in touch, speaking occasionally on the telephone and via e-mail. But when O'Mara was moved to a nursing home in Sussex earlier this year, she was, says Ian, more ill than he realised. 'Three weeks before she died, I got my last e-mail,' he says. 'I kept asking if I could go and see her, but it didn't happen. She sent lovely cheerful, chirpy little e-mails. We were both there helping each other because we both felt bad. I felt bad from my point of view, and she felt bad from hers.' Cullen was among the forty mourners who attended the quiet service in Worthing. And while he has cried for the woman who bewitched him as a young man, he also speaks the the paper of closure. 'It may seem a strange thing to say but no one can be hurt any more. For Kate and Dickon, the suffering is over.'

A planned Discovery Channel stunt, which would have seen Joby Ogwyn launch himself off the world's tallest mountain in a wing suit, has been scrapped following an avalanche in the Himalayas on Friday 18 April which killed thirteen Sherpas. Ogwyn released a statement on Saturday. 'These men were the salt of the earth. Far better men than me. My heart is broken,' he said. 'Discovery Channel will not be going forward with Everest Jump Live,' explained network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg. 'Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Sherpa community.' The base jump from the mountain's twenty nine thousand foot summit was planned for 11 May and would have been broadcast live to the world. Nepali Sherpas have been guiding mountaineers to Everest's peak for nearly seventy years, yet Friday's accident was the most deadly in those decades. Although hundreds of climbers have reached the summit, over five per cent of all of those who attempt the climb will die.
The writer of BBC2's acclaimed Line Of Duty will write a new adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover as part of a season of classic Twentieth Century literature on BBC1 including Cider With Rosie and The Go-Between. Jed Mercurio will tackle the DH Lawrence classic, promising to 'dramatise its iconic themes in a fresh and original way.' It is twenty one years since the BBC's adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, starring Joely Richardson and Sean Bean and plenty of bonking. The Go-Between by LP Hartley, made into an award-winning 1970 film starring Alan Bates and Julie Christie, will be adapted by Adrian Hodges who most recently wrote The Musketeers. The season of nine-minute films will also feature Laurie Lee's Cider With Rosie, adapted by Ben Vanstone, and JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls, adapted by Aisling Walsh. BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore, who commissioned the dramas with BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson, said: 'These four classic novels each represent a real moment in our recent history when Britain was on the cusp of great social and cultural change. This season of films aims to explore and contextualise the enormous changes in the way men and women lived and behaved in the Twentieth Century. They all tell uniquely intense and personal stories about people living in Britain one hundred years ago.' Lady Chatterley's Lover will be made by Doctor Who and Sherlock producer Hartswood Films, in a co-production with Serena Cullen Productions and Cider With Rosie by Origin Pictures, which was responsible for BBC1's recent adaptation of Jamaica Inn. Stephenson said: 'Whilst each film will stand as a wonderful treat in its own right, themes about the role of women, class, sexuality and impact of the first world war will ebb and flow across them. I hope that viewed together these four masterpieces will present an intelligent and involving picture of what it was like to live in Britain one hundred years ago.' An Inspector Calls will be made by Drama Republic, with The Go-Between an in-house BBC drama production. Hodges said: 'Adapting The Go-Between has been a real labour of love. It's a book I've admired ever since I read it many years ago, and its subtle power and devastating emotional impact remains undiminished. Hartley's detailed portrait of class tensions, sexual betrayal and emotional devastation remains as powerful as ever. It has been a privilege to work on it and the fulfilment of a personal ambition.'

Richard Osman has landed his own BBC quiz show. Osman will host new daytime series Two Tribes, which sees seven contestants being split into two teams based on what they have in common. Given the fact that there's seven of them, doesn't that mean one team will be bigger than the other? I think I might have spotted a minor flaw in this, otherwise, flawless format. Before the episode, the contestants are asked hundreds of 'probing, funny and surprising' (and, possibly, damned intrusive) questions about themselves - and each round, they will be split into two tribes depending on whether they answered yes or, indeed, no. The two teams will then face sixty seconds of general knowledge questions, with the losing tribe being forced to face the buzzer - and the last person to buzz in with a correct answer is eliminated. Eh? Bloody hell, this sound mores complex than 3-2-1. New tribes are created in each round, until the final two players left in the game go head-to-head - in a naked mud wrestling contest - for a cash prize. Or something. Executive producer James Fox described Two Tribes as 'a brilliantly play-along game as you root for the tribe you belong to and answer lots of quick-fire general knowledge questions.' He added: 'We're really looking forward to seeing Richard come out from behind the Pointless desk to front the show and get to know the contestants like never before.' Two Tribes will broadcast thirty episodes on BBC Daytime later this year.
Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of indecent assault against a woman, aged over sixteen, in January 1995. Travis entered the plea at Westminster Magistrates' Court in Central London. It comes after he was cleared of twelve counts of indecent assault in February. He was told to appear for a further hearing at Southwark Crown Court on 8 May. The Crown Prosecution Service said last month that it had authorised police to charge him with the alleged offence. He also faces a retrial on two outstanding charges. Dressed in a blazer, white shirt and black trousers, Travis, who appeared under his real name David Griffin, was asked to enter his plea and answered: 'Not guilty.'

Filming has begun on a fourth series of ITV's Scott & Bailey. Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp will return for a fourth run of the crime drama, which is expected to be broadcast later in 2014. The series is shooting in Oldham and Manchester for eight new episodes, which will see both characters vying for promotion to Detective Sergeant. Amelia Bullmore will also return as DCI Gill Murray, while she will write four of the scripts as well. Former Coronation Street actor Lee Warburton will write two episodes, and Emily Ballou will write the remaining episodes. Danny Webb has joined the cast as DC Chris Crowley, while Danny Miller returns as DS Rob Waddington. Co-creator Sally Wainwright will executive produce along with RED Production Company's Nicola Shindler and former producer Tom Sherry. 'We're thrilled to be producing a new series of Scott & Bailey,' said Shindler. 'It's rewarding to think the public have become so familiar with the characters and taken them to heart. With this new series, we have the chance to explore great story ideas and continue developing those characters,' she added.

Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox has denied drinking and driving. Knox, who plays Rita Tanner in the ITV soap, was charged after being held at a police station in Knutsford on 10 March. She had gone there after her daughter, Maxine Ashcroft, was earlier arrested for the same offence. Knox, who was represented by lawyer Nick Freeman will go on trial in July at Macclesfield Magistrates' Court. The exact date of the trial has yet to be confirmed. Ashcroft, from Lechlade, Gloucestershire, was banned from driving for two years in a hearing at the same court earlier this month.

Channel Four has announced a brand new documentary series about the NHS. NHS: The Cost Of Living will examine the National Health Service and the decisions made regarding which patients are paid for. The series will follow different patients with a range of medical conditions, who are all seeking treatment from the NHS. The interactive format will allow viewers to decide which patients are likely to receive treatment and how the NHS should spend its funds. Head of documentaries Nick Mirsky said of the show: 'The series will reveal the costs of each patient to the NHS and explore the complex ethical and financial dilemmas faced by clinicians as these become an increasingly prevalent factor in the care they are able to offer patients. NHS: The Cost Of Living will ask viewers - would you make decisions differently about where and how the NHS spends its money if you knew the full emotional, social and medical context of each treatment? We can't afford to provide all the medical treatment that we would like to. In the debate programme, we will ask our viewers where and how we draw the line - who should receive it and who should be denied.' It will be a four-part series, followed by a live debate about the questions raised on the show.

A young television actor has been cleared of raping a fourteen-year-old boy. Blackfriars Crown Court heard claims the actor - who cannot be identified because of his age - 'bullied' his alleged victim and used him 'for a sexual game.' The prosecution claimed that he attacked the boy to 'prove to his girlfriend that he was bisexual.' However, the defendant claimed their sexual activity was consensual. After almost five hours of deliberation, the jury cleared him of the charges which he faced; these were three counts of sexual assault and one of oral rape. The court heard claims that the actor twice attacked the teenager at a theatre, once while his girlfriend was present. It was also alleged that he held the complainant's hands together with just one hand while they were in a toilet at school and performed a sex act on him. The complainant, who was fourteen at the time of the alleged incidents, collapsed in the witness box as he gave evidence last week. Prosecutor Timothy Forster, in his closing speech, asked the jury to consider why the alleged victim would make up the sexual assaults, considering the visible strain he went through whilst giving evidence. Defence counsel Judith Khan QC said in her speech: 'There is a natural reaction of sympathy to someone who reacts to giving evidence in that way. But it is important to bear in mind that that reaction is not an indicator of truthfulness. A witness who may be lying or dishonest may react in the same way.' She said that the actor had told the truth in denying the charges. 'He volunteered the detail, it must have been excruciatingly embarrassing for him to give the detail, but give it he did,' she said.

Police say that a Tennessee teenager who was arrested for driving with a suspended license on Monday had a surprising concealed item about her personage. When a female corrections officer at Kingsport jail performed a search on nineteen-year-old Dallas Archer, she allegedly discovered an 'unknown object' lodged in the young woman's crotch. She alerted another female officer, who accompanied her during a further examination, according to documents obtained by The Smoking Gun website. The officers allegedly then discovered a loaded, five-shot, four-inch .22 calibre mini-revolver jammed up Archer's vagina. It turns out that the gun was stolen last year when John Souther's car was 'ransacked' in an auto burglary. Souther, a seventy-year-old retired car salesman, told TSG that he had make sure to give his stolen 'little fellow' a bath on its return. 'In bleach,' he added. It's probably seen worse, to be fair. Archer was extremely charged with gun possession and introducing contraband into a penal facility and was later released on six thousand dollar bond, according to Gawker. This isn't the first time that someone has, allegedly, been caught with a gun concealed in their nether regions. Last year, an Oklahoma woman was arrested with a loaded five-shot revolver sticking out of her vagina. 'It would seem to be a very dangerous place to carry a loaded firearm,' Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross told KFOR at the time. 'If it goes off, it's only going one place.' That woman, one Christie Harris, also had two bags of what turned out to be methamphetamine hidden in baggies up her anus, according to police.

Yer actual Led Zeppelin have unveiled two previously unheard recordings ahead of the reissue of the band's first three LPs in June. The two songs - a version of the blues classic 'Keys To The Highway', recorded in 1970, and an early version of 'Whole Lotta Love' from the previous year - are among dozens of previously unreleased recordings which the band will officially release alongside the reissues. The companion discs will feature alternative versions of songs, works in progress and live performances, all recorded at the time of the original LPs, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III. The songs had been carefully catalogued but then locked away in the the band's archive for decades. Guitarist Jimmy Page has spent two-and-a-half years combing through the vaults, listening to hundreds of quarter-inch tapes before choosing the best previously unavailable material. 'I don't want to die and have somebody else do it,' he said. 'I'm authoritative about what was done in the first place.' Page says that the new material 'deserves to be heard' because 'it's performance art.' It will give fans the first chance to eavesdrop on some of the band's key recording sessions. A medley of 'Keys To The Highway' and 'Trouble In Mind', due to appear on Led Zeppelin III, was recorded in 1970 at the Olympic Studios in Barnes, according to legend about half-an-hour after 'Hats Off To (Roy) Harper'. But it was never released. 'It was a particularly prolific time,' says yer actual Robert Plant, 'where we were learning about each other's capabilities. Jimmy and I were just fooling around with the stuff that we would play at home. We were just trying things out. Nothing was premeditated.' Led Zeppelin II will feature an alternate early take of 'Whole Lotta Love'. This is missing the first chorus and middle section in the familiar version of the song, as well as a slide guitar. 'You realise just how important all of those additional layers and the filigree work is,' says Page. 'There's all manner of bells and whistles to make it the song 'Whole Lotta Love' as we all know it.' Page says it is 'reassuring' revisiting the songs after all this time. 'It's undeniable that we were good,' he adds. 'The band was the real deal.' But the inevitable passage of time has given Plant a different perspective. 'My enthusiasm sometimes got in the way of finesse. I listen to it and go, wow, why didn't I shut up a bit?' he notes. 'I kind of overcooked it.' Page promises 'lots of surprises' on the three reissues, which are part of a plan to reissue all nine of the band's studio LPs in chronological order. But he has scotched rumours that there will be versions of songs featuring bass and keyboard player John Paul Jones on vocals. For a band that broke up in 1980, following the death of Bonzo, interest in The Zep remains intense. The surviving members reunited seven years ago for a one-off concert at London's O2. But fans will be disappointed if they are hoping there will be another one. Page says: 'I'm sure people would love to hear it. I'm not the one to be asking, I don't sing.' Plant, however, is unequivocal. The chances of the band performing live again are, he says, 'zero.'

Which, of course, brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. For those who need schoolin'.

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