Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week Seventeen: Rhythmatic, Systematic, World Control, Magnetic, Genetic, Dement Your Soul

The fiftieth anniversary Doctor Who episode, The Day Of The Doctor, has been nominated in the 'Best of British' category at the 2014 Freesat awards. The awards celebrate all that's great about Free TV in the UK, and are judged by 'a panel of industry experts.' Sherlock has also been nominated in the same category. The awards are produced in association with the TV Times and the winners will be announced on 17 June 2014.
Television International Enterprises Archives Ltd have issued a statement on their Facebook page on the subject of some of the increasingly hysterical nonsense being spouted by certain members of The Special People (and one risible overgrown school bully in particular) concerning the potential discovery of more missing Doctor Who episodes. The company, led by Philip Morris, was responsible for the recovery of nine missing Patrick Troughton-era episodes last year, found at a relay station in the Nigerian city of Jos. Since then there have been many - entirely unsubstantiated and increasingly daft - rumours that more episodes have been found (either in Nigeria or in other places, Taiwan being the current favourite location for conspiracy theory nutters) but are being hidden away for some reason or other, prompting much discussion on Twitter, in fan forums and in other places where people who by-and-large know absolutely nothing about anything collect themselves together and talk shite. As yet, no more episodes have been confirmed as being found, much less returned to the BBC and, until such time as they are, this blogger is quite content to let TIEA get on with their job and, if they find anything else, good on 'em. Others, unfortunately, aren't and some of these individuals are currently stomping around like entitled, stroppy children demanding this that and the other from anyone that will listen (and, indeed, anyone that won't) and filling the Internet with much rancid tripe that would, actually, be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetically selfish. They're quite a sight, to be honest. The statement from TIEA pledges that they will endeavour to return any missing programmes they uncover while stating something which should be bleeding obvious to anybody with half a brain in the collective skull (but not, seemingly, to The Special People), that the recovery of old Doctor Who episodes is not the primary purpose of the company: 'TIEA understands the passion felt by Doctor Who fans and that looking for missing episodes of Doctor Who, plus many other shows, is an important - but tiny - part of the work that TIEA does,' the statement begins. 'The main aim of this organisation is to assist those archives whose own cultural heritage is under threat. If any programmes do still exist, TIEA will endeavor [sic] to recover them safely as with The Web Of Fear and The Enemy Of The World. TIEA are not sponsored by any organisation, we are a completely independent body we work alongside many organisations such as the BFI. However as much as people want specific programmes found wishing them into existence or starting rumors [sic] will not magically return them. Individuals trying to extract information which does not exist or is commercially confidential will be deleted unread any legitimate inquires for TIEA LTD services are welcome.' It's not hard to speculate that poor Phil Morris must be sick to the back teeth of Doctor Who fandom in general - because some of them are such a bunch of sour and rotten ungrateful sods - and might, in his darker moments, wish that he'd never begun his search for missing episodes in the first place. You have this blogger's sympathy, mate. Let me be absolutely clear about this, dear blog reader, no one - and I mean, no one - would be happier than yer actual Keith Telly Topping if Marco Polo was to turn up in, say, some Third World dictatorship and be returned to the BBC and released on DVD. But I'm not going to lose any sleep if it doesn't happen. It's been said before, dear blog reader, but it bears repeating, some Doctor Who fans are really unique - and not in a remotely good way, either. Give them a reason to celebrate and some of them will manage to turn it into an excuse for a good whinge.

Matt Smith his very self pays tribute to Doctor Who fans - well, the relatively sensible ones, anyway - in a clip from a new special which has been released online. Doctor Who: Farewell To Matt Smith will be broadcast on Watch at 5pm on Friday 18 April. In the two-minute clip, Smudger his very self thanks fans for their support: 'It never really grows old,' he says. 'I know it won't last forever so I try and live in the moment.' The UK premiere retrospective is a fond look back at Smudger's time on the BBC's popular and long-running family SF drama series, narrated by co-star Alex Kingston. Highlights from the actor's four-year journey in the TARDIS are intertwined with anecdotes from Smudger and his predecessor David Tennant, plus other cast members, writers, producers and z-list celebrity Doctor Who fans.

Karen Gillan has said that returning to Doctor Who for last year's Christmas special was 'surreal.' The actress reprised her role as Amy Pond in The Time of the Doctor, the final episode to feature her co-star Matt Smith his very self. Kazza recently told Entertainment Weekly that it 'felt weird' to be back on the Doctor Who set. 'It was such a surreal experience,' she explained. 'Because those were three very important years of my life on that TV show and then to go back and be on someone else's TARDIS was a really weird sensation.' She continued: '[I was] sort of on the outside looking in. But also, knowing that life is okay after you leave Doctor Who. It was just a really interesting experience and important to me that I was there for Matt's final moments in character.' She added that shooting Smudger's final scene was 'incredibly emotional. Everyone was crying! Everyone! Me and Jenna were hugging.'

MasterChef remained top of the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Thursday evening. The popular long-running BBC1 cooking competition was slightly down on Wednesday's overnight audience but up around one hundred thousand from the previous Thursday night's show, attracting 4.3 million punters at 8pm. In the episode, the impressive Ping and James progressed to the quarter final whilst the truly thigh-slapping comedy was provided by some of the series' finest ever hideous culinary disasters. From Judy - whose attempted lemon tart with raspberry coulée imploded and barely made it on to the plate, Rebecca - whose cured trout was virtually uncooked and produced a horrified scowl on Gregg Wallace's mush the likes of which hasn't been seen for many a long year - and, especially from Carl. This apparently 'wacky' personality who had featured extensively - and rather irritatingly - in the trailers for the current series managed to get through to the second round despite producing a rice pudding which was so dense it, quite literally, defied gravity when yer man Wallace held the bowl which contained it upside down. But, that was where his luck ran out. The faces of the three previous MasterChef finalists - Dean, Steven and sour-faced Shelina - and, indeed, of John and Gregg when they were presented with his horrific beans and sausage on garlic toast fiasco and his plum dumpling disaster of a pudding was worthy of an episode all to itself. 'It's like the worst thing I've ever tasted' claimed 2007 MasterChef winner Steven Wallis looking like he was about to spew. 'This is really awful!' 'Don't put it in your mouth' Wallace advised John Torode. 'It's horrendous.' It was, by a distance, the single funniest MasterChef moment since Matthew's legendary deconstructed Black Forest Gateaux car crash a couple of series back. Comedy, dear blog reader, just doesn't come any funnier than this. Later, the documentary Don't Cap My Benefits was watched by 3.6m at 9pm, while Question Time appealed to 2.3m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, the new series Digby Jones: The New Troubleshooter gathered 1.2m at 8pm, followed by the film The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas with 1.1m at 9pm. ITV's wretched, odious Ade At Sea brought in a satisfactorily rotten 2.4m at 8.30pm, followed by It'll Be Alright On The Night with 2.7m at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Hoarder Next Door fascinated 1.2m at 8pm. Fifteen Thousand Kids And Counting brought in nine hundred and eighty eight thousand at 9pm, while Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown had an audience of seven hundred and eight thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief was seen by seven hundred and fifty one thousand at 8pm, followed by Unseen Fred West Confessions with nine hundred and forty three thousand at 9pm. Running Riot: Britain's Teenage Crimes attracted seven hundred and thirty thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Jameela Jamil's Porn: What's the Harm? was watched by three hundred and twenty five thousand at 9pm.

Have I Got News For You was, once again, Friday's highest-rated overnight show outside of soaps. Hosted by Stephen Mangan, the comedy panel show was seen by an average of 4.71 million viewers. The ONE Show opened the evening with 3.26 million viewers at 7pm, and was followed by 2.85 million for A Question Of Sport at 7.30pm. Ratings jumped to 3.95m for the latest episode of MasterChef - which saw Ping and Jack progress to the semi-finals at 8.30pm, while Outnumbered attracted 3.05 million at 9.30pm. BBC1 capped off the evening with 2.80 million for The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm. On ITV, The Cube: Celebrity Special - which featured a completely new use of the word 'celebrity', in this case to describe people of no inherent worth whatsoever - saw Joey Essex (no, me neither) and Coronation Street's Kym Marsh attempt to win two hundred and fifty thousand knicker for charity. The episode was watched by 2.91 million sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm. Elsewhere, Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis was seen by 2.61 million at 8pm. BBC2's highest-rated show of the evening was Mastermind with 2.40m at 8pm. It was closely followed by Gardeners' World with 2.34m immediately after. The evening continued with Natural World and The Trip To Italy, which attracted 1.55m and 1.08m viewers respectively. Gogglebox once again topped Channel Four's ratings with 2.01m at 9pm. It was followed by 1.44m for Alan Carr: Chatty Man at 10pm, while eight hundred and forty thousand watched Marvel's Agents of SHIELD at 8pm. The latest episode of Ice Road Truckers entertained seven hundred and fifty thousand at 8pm on Channel Five. It was roundly beaten by Gypsies On Benefits & Proud, which drew an audience of 1.45 million at 9pm.

TV comedy line(s) of the week this week came from the a'fore mentioned Stephen Mangan on Have I Got News For You: 'Accepting Maria Miller's resignation, David Cameron praised her achievements including the fact that, thanks to her, "many more people are now able to access super-fast broadband." Thus helping one hundred and eighty thousand of them to sign an online petition calling for her to quit. The only person to deliver a less credible apology this week was Oscar Pistorius.' And: 'The Daily Mail devoted eight pages of pictures of the royal prince. Which is fair enough, because no one's ever seen a fucking baby before.'
Britain's Got Toilets made a triumphant return to ITV on Saturday night, pulling in 10.5 million overnight viewers. Wee Shughie McFee's lack of talent show kicked off its eighth series with an audience share of forty five per cent when it was broadcast from 8pm, forty five minutes later than scheduled. Earlier on ITV, 4.93m tuned in to see Wigan Not Very Athletic take on The Arse in the FA Cup semi-final from 4.30pm. This went to extra time and penalties (which The Arse eventually won thus, probably, saved Arsene Wenger's job for another few weeks), and that resulted in Britain's Got Talent starting late and some people on Twitter getting really very very cross indeed with what a right shite state of affairs this all was. So, that was funny, at least. The new series Amazing Greys - featuring risible unfunny professional Northern plank Paddy McGuinness - made a reasonable start with 4.28m at 9.15pm. On BBC1, Pointless Celebrities was watched by 4.08m at 7pm, while 3.79m watched the latest episode of Casualty. Rob Brydon's new game show The Guess List, which was a thoroughly wretched as the trailers had led us to believe, kicked-off at 9.30pm with 3.1m. On BBC2, coverage from day three of Golf: The Masters pulled in 1.28m from 7.30pm. Channel Four's Grand Designs attracted six hundred and twenty thousand at 7pm, followed by the penultimate episode of US drama Hostages with five hundred and seventy thousand punters. The movie It's Complicated pulled in nine hundred thousand from 9pm. On Channel Five, Britain's Best Loved Double Acts had an audience of six hundred and seventy thousand from 7.15pm, while a repeat of Morecambe & Wise Live! 1973 entertained five hundred and seventy nine thousand at 10.10pm.

The Crimson Field dropped seven hundred thousand overnight viewers from the previous week's opener on Sunday. The BBC1 period drama was still the second most-watched show overall, attracting 5.4 million at 9pm. Countryfile remained on top of the ratings jungle with 5.8m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 5.2m at 8pm. Match of the Day 2 scored 2.7m at 10.35pm. On ITV, Endeavour dipped by around four hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 4.7m at 8pm. Earlier, Catchphrase managed 3.5m at 6.45pm. Off Their Rockers was watched by 3.8m at 8pm, while coverage of the 2014 Olivier Awards interested seven hundred and twenty two thousand at 10.35pm. BBC2's coverage of the Golf Masters attracted an average of 1.8m from 6.30pm. On Channel Four, Richard E Grant's Dirty Weekenders appealed to eight hundred and twenty thousand punters at 8pm. The movie The Three Musketeers was watched by 1.3m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Spider-Man 3 entertained 1.2m at 6.30pm, followed by Grown Ups with 1.4m at 9pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes for week-ending Sunday 6 April 2014:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.63m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.10m
3 The Crimson Field - Mon BBC1 - 7.83m
4 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.29m
5 The Widowere - Mon ITV - 7.24m
6 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 7.15m
7 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.87m
8 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 6.74
9 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 6.28m
10 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 6.22
11 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 6.02m
12 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.98m
13 Endeavour - Sun ITV - 5.76m*
14 Shetland - Tues BBC1 - 5.53m
15 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC - 5.50m
16 MasterChef - Wed ITV - 5.41m
17 Silk - Mon BBC1 - 5.33m
18 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.83m
19 The National Lottery: Saturday Draws - Sat BBC - 4.70m
20 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.60m
21 The Boat Race - Sun BBC1 - 4.51m
22 Law & Order: UK - Wed ITV - 4.29m*
23 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 4.28m
24 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.26m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated show of the week was Mary Berry Cooks and The great British Sewing Bee both with 3.35m, followed by University Challenge (3.30m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was Googlebox with 3.41m followed by Channel Four Racing's coverage of The Grand National (2.78m). E4's The Big Bang Theory out-rated everything on Channel Five, pulling in 1.85m. The Mentalist was Channel Five's best performer with 1.74m.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has ruled out the possibility of appearing in Doctor Who or the forthcoming Star Wars movie. Not that anybody with an ounce of credibility had actually suggested that either piece of casting was likely. But, you know what the Internet is like, dear blog reader? Benny has said in the past that he has no desire to play The Doctor, despite reports - again, not from anybody that actually knew anything about anything - that he was 'in the running' to take over from Matt Smith last year. The Radio Times reports that Benny 'further disappointed' fans at the Oz Comic-Con on Saturday by claiming that he will not feature in any role in the show. 'I'm never gonna play The Doctor - and nothing to do with the Whoniverse,' he said. The thirty seven-year-old also laid to rest rumours that he is attached to appear in the highly-anticipated seventh movie in the Star Wars franchise. 'I would've liked a part in JJ's new Star Wars but it won't happen, sadly,' he said.

The public was 'right' to judge the vile and odious rascal Miller for getting her expenses wrong and her resignation cannot be blamed on the media, Sajid Javid, the new lack of culture secretary, has said. Well, thanks for that vote of confidence, mate. But, we knew we were 'right' all the time. The reason we knew we were right is because, and I'll try not to use an baffling technical terms here, the public are voters, you know, those 'annoying little people' who pay your effing wages. And don't you damn well forget it. Javid, who stepped into the vile and odious rascal Miller's portfolio on Wednesday, defended media freedom and the right of the press to investigate wrongdoing by politicians and officials in his first appearance as lack of culture secretary on BBC's Question Time. 'The public were right to judge her on how she responded, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that,' he said. 'And, I don't think you can blame this on Leveson or the media or something. The media are a cornerstone of our democracy, their freedom is very important and if they want to investigate wrongdoing by politicians or any other public official they should do that and nothing should stop them from doing that.' He said it was important that the vile and odious rascal Miller had 'accepted she did wrong' and handed back the money 'like many other MPs did.' But, he added: 'I think the public, again, were rightly still outraged. There is still very raw anger, and I understand that. The other thing we must do is see what are the lessons we can learn from this and what more can be done to restore integrity because I think this shows that perhaps enough has not been done.' Oily David Cameron has already admitted that the MPs' ethics system 'needs further reform' after a backlash against the vile and odious rascal Miller's mortgage interest claims from before the expenses scandal. An independent commissioner found that the vile and odious rascal Miller should repay forty five grand and should reduce her claims because her parents were also living in the second home property, but a committee of MPs - disgracefully - reduced the amount she had to pay back to a mere five thousand eight hundred smackers. The lack of culture secretary was then told to say sorry in parliament, which she - soft of - did, but without any obvious contrition and many colleagues criticised the thirty four-second excuse for an apology. After five days of growing discontent within the Tories, the vile and odious rascal Miller said she would step down to 'avoid becoming a distraction' although neither she nor Downing Street would deny there was pressure from the top for her to resign.

And, from that malarkey, to the next batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 19 April
Pop Goes BBC2 at 10:30 is a documentary exploring popular music since 1964 through a selection of fifty moments from the BBC2 archives, featuring key live performances, excerpts from documentaries and iconic presenters in action on the channel. Including Joy Division's appearance on Something Else, The Stone Roses suffering a power failure mid-song on The Late Show ('amateurs!'), alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon reciting poetry with Dudley Moore on Not Only ... But Also, Jools Holland chatting to Amy Winehouse on Later and Patti Smith performing 'Horses' on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1976. Plus, clips from The Beat Room, Colour Me Pop, Ebony and Def II, as well as Glastonbury festivals over the years.

Britain's Favourite Detectives - 9:25 - is another of the desperately pointless Channel Five 'list TV' shows although this one does, at least, seem to feature a slightly better class of interviewee. We're promised 'a countdown of the nation's favourite crime solvers' as voted for by Channel Five viewers (all six of them) in an online poll. The list features those who work best alone such as Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot and Lieutenant Columbo, as well as duos including Morse and Lewis and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman's portrayal of Holmes and Watson in Sherlock. There are clips of the TV detective debuts of Pierce Brosnan and Bruce Willis, alongside interviews with Alan Davies, Felicity Kendal, Prime Suspect creator Lynda La Plante, Phil Davis and Una Stubbs.

Or, if you don't fancy either of those you might prefer with Dave's Qi XL marathon - four episodes from 8:00, most of them from the 'F' series.

Sunday 20 April
Dara O Briain hosts All About Two - 9:00 BBC2 - a quiz celebrating fifty years of BBC2 in which teams of celebrities answer questions about the channel's programmes and stars. The panellists are Mock The Week's Hugh Dennis, Deborah Meaden of Dragons' Den, Dave Myers of The Hairy Bikers, yer actual Professor Brian Cox, Goodness Gracious Me star Meera Syal and choirmaster Gareth Malone, with Pointless co-host Richard Osman on hand to supply extra facts and figures.
As plans to build a new Oxford police station lead Morse to question his place in the force, he investigates the case of Tommy Cork, a boy from a broken home who has disappeared in the latest episode of Endeavour - 8:00 ITV. Meanwhile, the body of disreputable journalist Eric Patterson has been found on railway tracks in mysterious circumstances. He was last seen embroiled in an argument with a council official about a company preparing to redevelop the site of Blenheim Vale, a disused correctional facility for boys. When a petty criminal with a connection to Blenheim absconds from an open prison, it sets off a chain reaction of Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, Anton Lesser, James Bradshaw, Jack Laskey, Sean Rigby and guest starring Gordon Kennedy. Last in the current series.

Fargo - 9:00 Channel Four - is a much-anticipated crime comedy-drama based on the Coen brothers' Oscar-winning 1996 film of the same name. It begins tonight with a ninety-minute feature length pilot episode. Yer actual Martin Freeman stars as small-town Minnesota insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, who is set on a path of destruction after an encounter with manipulative drifter, Lorne Malvo, played by the excellent Billy Bob Thornton his very self. Colin Hanks plays single father Gus Grimly, who must choose between his own safety and his duty as a police officer when he comes face to face with a killer. Also starring Bob Odenkirk, Allison Tolman and Oliver Platt.

In the latest episode of the cult hit Game Of Thrones - 9:00 Sky Atlantic - in King's Landing, Tyrion offers his assistance to Jamie, while Joffrey and his bride-to-be Margaery host a breakfast. Three proves to be a crowd at Dragonstone when Stannis loses patience with Davos, and the future continues to look grim for Theon as Ramsay Snow finds a purpose for his pet. North of the Wall, Bran sees clearly where he and his friends must go. As usual, this features lots of very good actors wandering around saying things like 'Verily, Glanfodring, the King's Snot-Gobbler did thence venture forth to the fields of Hypnopaedia, thereupon to do battle with the dreaded Glakes.' Don't think too much about it, dear blog reader, just dive in head-first and enjoy the scenery.

Monday 21 April
Jamaica Inn - 9:00 BBC1 - is an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's classic, and much filmed, 1821-set novel about a young woman who moves to live with her aunt at Jamaica Inn in Cornwall following her mother's death. In the opening of three episodes, when Mary arrives, she finds her aunt is no longer the vibrant beauty she remembers from her childhood, thanks to years of marriage to her bullying husband Joss. He, in turn, is revealed to be a dirty rotten smuggler, whose wild and naughty gang of scallywags operates along the entire Cornish coastline doing their nefarious badness and laughing at the King's Treasury Men for the foolish fools they are. Life at the inn soon challenges Mary's perceptions of morality as she lives among the smugglers in a lawless land - and despite knowing the gang of cutthroats and pillagers is to be trusted about as far as she can comfortably spit, she can't help but be drawn to her uncle's enigmatic - and broodingly sexy - younger brother Jem. Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay stars, with a stellar cast that includes Matthew McNulty, Joanne Whalley, Sean Harris and Ben Daniels. Looks proper good. Continues tomorrow.

Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This - 9:00 ITV - is a feature-length biopic of the much-loved comedian, written by yer actual Simon Nye and starring the great David Threlfall his very self. When Tommy's extensive touring starts to affect his home life and his health, his doting wife Gwen, whom he nicknames Dove, decides she cannot go on the road with him any longer, so he asks a young stage manager, Mary, to act as his assistant. Her unwavering support makes all the difference to the star's performances and the pair soon embark on an affair. For the next seventeen years, Tommy finds himself unable to choose between these two equally devoted women in his life, and his death - on live TV in 1984 - means he never makes that decision. Much like his brilliant trick of the wooden duck pulling a card from the pack whilst blindfolded. With Amanda Redman, Helen McCrory, Jason Manford, Gregor Fisher and Paul Ritter.

Luscious, pouting Suzy Klein examines the role music played as the Industrial Revolution developed and one generation's quest for pleasure and entertainment was replaced by the tough, hard-working attitudes of the next in the final episode of Rule Britannia! Music, Mischief and Morals In The Eighteenth Century - 9:00 BBC4. The disturbingly alluring presenter - the thinking man's crumpet for the Twenty First Century - considers how songs and compositions began to take on a moral purpose with the Romantic Movement in full swing, and how British emigrants exported folk music to America - before she wraps up the series with a look at Haydn's groundbreaking work The Creation. Skill.

Adam is shocked when he discovers that Nigel has reported him to the bishop for conduct unbecoming to a vicar in the latest episode of Rev - 10:00 BBC2. As Archdeacon Robert investigates the complaint, Adam begins to seriously doubt whether he is cut out to be a vicar after all. Guest starring Ralph Fiennes his very self.
Tuesday 22 April
Watermen: A Dirty Business - 9:00 BBC2 - tragically is not an expose into the alleged nefarious skulduggery and supposed rotten doings of yer actual Pete and Dennis Waterman. Oh no. Very hot water. Instead, it's a documentary following a the lives of people who work for a water company. This episode examines the problems caused by fat in the sewage system, with hundreds of litres of the substance poured down drains each week in the North-West of England. Plus, staff discover a housing development is being illegally supplied with water, and a one thousand foot pipe arrives from Norway at Liverpool docks for the local treatment plant.

When news of Charles II's death reaches Boston, Beth decides it's time to return to England in the final episode of New Worlds - 9:00 Channel Four. As she makes her way to Oxford, she is reunited with Abe, who has escaped from his jail cell and dedicated his life to spreading Colonel Sidney's revolutionary ideas. Meanwhile, Ned and Hope lead a group of young Bostonians fighting for an independent America. Historical drama, starring Freya Mavor, Jamie Dornan, Joe Dempsie, Jeremy Northam and Alice Englert.

The comedian is joined by guests Kevin Bridges and Sally Phillips to come up with answers to a variety of sports-themed conundrums, with assistance from maths professor Marcus du Sautoy in the latest episode of Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums - 10:00 Dave.

For the cultured among you, dear blog reader - hello Robert - you're in for a treat tonight. Antony Sher and Harriet Walter star in Gregory Doran's production of Shakespeare's tragedy MacBeth - 8:00 Sky Arts 2 - filmed at the Roundhouse, London.
Wednesday 23 April
John Torode and Gregg Wallace present the penultimate heat of MasterChef - 8:00 BBC1. Thought whether we'll get any comedy mishaps to match the glories we've already had in the previous three weeks is doubtful. The six hopefuls begin by dishing up their calling card, whilst India Fisher gets all husky on the voice-over. The calling card, of course, is a single plate of food showcasing the contestants talents - or lack of them - in the kitchen. That's followed by the invention test, in which the ingredients include rhubarb, lime, pomegranate and popping candy, or pollock (careful!), sausages, Parmesan and quail's eggs in the savoury box. After two cooks are sent home (usually the ones who've been shown bigging themselves up like they're the next Michel Roux in their pre-match interviews), things get serious, with the rest preparing a two-course dinner for 2007 MasterChef winner Steven Wallis, as well as Sara Danesin and Alex Rushmer, finalists from 2011 and 2010 respectively. All getting a free meal and then whinging about it. Nice work if you can get it. It's then down to the judges to decide which two will advance to Friday's quarter-final.

The 1851 census revealed that Britain had become the world's first urbanised nation, an epochal change which ushered in an idealised vision of the countryside that has been celebrated by some British writers, painters and musicians ever since. In his properly brilliant series Ian Hislop's Olden Days: The Power Of The Past In Britain - 9:00 BBC2 - yer man Hizza examines this rose-tinted view of the past in works by influential Victorian watercolourist Myles Birket Foster, whose paintings feature thatched cottages and apple-cheeked maids (who all look like they'd really enjoy taking it up, hard, the Gary Glitter. Allegedly) and the author JRR Tolkien, who portrayed the battle between the rural and the industrial in the fantasy world of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. Last in the series.

The first lady calls on the expertise of the crime-solving duo and the Jeffersonian team when a musician's body is found in a Washington DC community garden in the latest episode of Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. They learn the victim had recently signed a dodgy record deal with an independent label, leading Booth to blame the deceased's manager, but how does the man's huge following in the Philippines fit into the case? Meanwhile, Brennan makes a discovery about Wendell's health.

Game Face - 10:30 Channel Four - is a comedy, written by and starring Roisin Conaty, telling the story of Marcella as she tries to navigate her way through the world around her with the help of friends, a life coach and a driving instructor. It's Marcella's birthday and she's determined to turn over a new leaf, but after an awkward run-in with a childhood enemy, a few white lies, one drink too many and some dubious advice, her fresh start doesn't quite go as planned. With Alistair Green, Brendan Patricks, Cariad Lloyd and Caroline Ginty.
Thursday 24 April
The second episode of Protecting Our Parents - 9:00 BBC2 - explores the dilemma faced by elderly care services when trying to keep people living in their own homes, focusing on the case of Kathleen Price, who has lived with her husband Leonard in the same house in Birmingham for fifty years. Kathleen is bed-bound and receives social services' maximum support of four visits a day by carers, but in the past three months she has called 999 more than one hundred and fifty times asking for help. The hospital team tests her mental capacity to see if she understands the extent of her needs. A subject rather close to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's heart, this. Very worthy of an hour of your time.

Professor Richard Fortey examines the world of mushrooms in a specially built laboratory with the help of mycologist Dr Patrick Hickey in The Magic Of Mushrooms - 9:00 BBC4. Together, they reveal the ability of fungi to break down waste and sustain new plant life, keeping the planet alive. Richard also travels across Britain and further afield to reveal their mysterious life cycles and how they have the potential to open new frontiers in science, medicine and technology.

David Jensen presents an edition of Top Of The Pops from 26 April 1979 - 7:30 BBC4. Includes performances by Generation X, dreadful old hippies Supertramp, Eruption, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Racey, Amii Stewart, Boney M and The Monks (' looked her up and down she was a real disgace, I thought "nice legs, shame about the face!"' Plus, dance sequences by yer actual Legs & Co.

Jews On Bikes - 9:00 Sky Atlantic - might be the best name for TV programme in the history of the medium. This us a six-part documentary series following seven unconventional Jews as they take to motorcycles for a thirty-day, four thousand-mile journey through North America, offering an insight into their traditions, religion and sense of community. They begin by taking part in Toronto's Ride to Remember in memory of victims of the Holocaust, while plans to ride to Niagara are scuppered by torrential rain and they are forced to make the long trip by bus. There’s the 'liberal' female rabbi Anna, hoping to reconnect the group with their faith. That goes down very badly with proud but religiously apathetic Gary, however: 'I didn't come along to find religion, I came along to have a bike and hang out with some Jews. And Jews and religion don't necessarily go together.' Oy vey.
Friday 25 April
Actor Martin Clunes takes charge for another half-hour of laughs pulled from the news in Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - with the extremely oddball pairing of common-as-muck (but very funny) Johnny Vegas and exceptionally posh and bitchy journalist Camilla Long joining regular team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton to take pot-shots at the week's headlines and other stories.

Steve's assistant Kate joins him and Rob in Rome, where they also meet up with photographer Yolanda before visiting the Keats-Shelley Memorial House museum in the latest episode of The Trip To Italy - 10:00 BBC2. They go on to their next restaurant, where Emma has a bit of news for them, and Rob and Steve compete with each other doing Marlon Brando impressions. Comedy, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
Liz's search for Tom's true identity takes an international turn in The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living - involving a secret in Berlin and a mysterious key. Meanwhile Red tracks down professional kidnappers The Pavlovich Brothers - but rather than trying to stop their next hit, he's actually interested in enlisting their services for his own nefarious purposes. And, as usual, James Spader is fantastic in the lead.And, watch out for the thumb breaking scene, it'll probably make your eyes water as much as it does Bad Tom.

The last MasterChef quarter-final - 8:30 BBC1 - sees the four heat winners take on the fiendishly difficult palate test, recreating John Torode's Singapore Chilli Crab dish, having only had ten minutes to taste the dish and write down what they think the ingredients are. It's a tricky recipe with a fiery chilli and black-bean paste that also requires them to prepare and cook a whole crab. Sounds lovely. Can they rise to the challenge? They then rustle up a showstopping dish for the judges and food critic Kate Spicer, before finding out who has made it through to the semi-finals.

So to the news: The BBC has announced full details of its new Poldark adaptation. Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson will lead the cast of the Cornish historical saga as Ross Poldark and Demelza. Warren Clarke (who plays Ross's uncle, Charles), Phil Davis (Ross's manservant, Jud) and Skins veteran Alexander Arnold (Ross's farm hand, Jim Carter) will also appear in the forthcoming drama.Winston Graham's Poldark novels were previously adapted by the BBC in a massively successful Sunday night series in the 1970s, with Robin Ellis cast in the lead role. Ellis - now seventy two - will also appear in the new series, taking on the part of Reverend Haise for two of the eight episodes. Executive producer Karen Thrussell said: 'We're so thrilled by the Poldark cast, and we feel particularly privileged that Robin Ellis has agreed to join this stellar line up - it's a great tribute to Debbie Horsfield's scripts. Robin is looking forward to returning to Winston Graham's world, and we will be welcoming him with open arms. We can't wait to start shooting next week and begin this epic journey in the stunning Cornish landscape.' Poldark will start shooting across Cornwall and and in Bristol from Monday and will be broadcast on BBC1 in 2015.

Colin Morgan is to appear in the second series of The Fall. The actor, best known for playing the title role in the popular Merlin will appear as Detective Sergeant Tom Anderson, an officer involved in the hunt for the serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). Irish actor Morgan will appear in the final three episodes of the new six-part run, his character working closely with the Goddess that is Gillian Anderson's Stella Gibson. 'I'm delighted to be joining the cast of The Fall for what is going to be an exciting and gripping second series,' Morgan said. 'Allan Cubitt has written exceptional material and I feel very privileged to be working with him and the very talented cast.' The Fall was recently nominated for two BAFTA awards - Dornan is in the running for the Leading Actor, while the show itself got a nomination in the Mini Series category. Twenty eight-year-old Morgan will next be seen in the co-production drama Quirke opposite Gabriel Byrne - the crime drama has been shown on RTÉ1 in Ireland but is yet to receive an airing on BBC1.

Kim Shillinglaw has been announced as the new Controller of BBC2 and BBC4. She will take over from Janice Hadlow, who stood down from the joint roles earlier this year. Shillinglaw is currently the Head of Science and Natural History Commissioning for the BBC and has commissioned two hundred hours' worth of TV each year. Programmes have included Stargazing Live, factual dramas The Challenger and Castles In The Sky, Trust Me I'm A Doctor, The Doctor Who Lecture, Frozen Planet and Horrible Histories. She said in a statement: 'BBC2 has always been one of the most creative channels in the world, with a huge range of quality programming. I'm delighted and honoured by the prospect of working with the best of our British talent and programme makers. I look forward to taking it and BBC4 to the next phase of great, thought-provoking and lively TV for British audiences.' Shillinglaw will now be responsible for the creative and strategic direction of BBC2 in conjunction with BBC4. BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen said: 'Kim has proved herself to be an exceptional creative at the BBC. She has an eye for scale and the bigger picture and seeks out distinctive, high-quality ideas. BBC2 is in fantastic shape and I'm looking forward to seeing the channel blossom further under Kim's leadership.' Whether BBC4 - the best TV channel in the world over the last few years - is also in 'fantastic shape' given recent events in another matter entirely.

Ian Hislop has mocked numskull Noel Edmonds's dam-fool attempts to launch a takeover bid for the BBC, claiming that the Deal or No Deal host's views on the institution were 'not really worth contesting'. Not that anybody with half-a-frigging-brain in their skull actually was. Edmonds has claimed that the licence fee needs to be scrapped and has made several public appearances dropping hints about a secret 'Project Reith' takeover of the broadcasting corporation. So secret that he can' stop talking about it. When asked about Edmonds's recent comments, yer man Hislop told the Digital Spy website: 'I thought 1 April had come early. I don't think I want to be working for Noel. Shall we be honest here? If it's Deal or No Deal, then it's a "no deal" from me. I'm not sure Noel's views are really worth contesting.' The Have I Got News For You regular and Private Eye editor said that people might accuse him of having a vested interest in the BBC and its method of licence fee funding, but joked that he would 'work for anyone. I'm not fussy,' he said. Hislop described the BBC as 'one of the final extraordinary institutions' and said that it is 'worth fighting to keep it. Although Private Eye has been pretty savage in its criticism, I think in life you criticise the things that are worth keeping. Things that you don't care about, you don't bother with,' he said. 'There are challenges ahead. It's had a terrible five years with management problems, the Savile problems and a real lack of confidence after the government interference after Iraq. But if you do look at the output of programming over that period, it's still pretty extraordinary. This year they had the Simon Schama documentary on the Jews, and I think that was one of the best documentaries that has ever appeared. The bulk of people who work there and who are producing programmes are really, really good. That would be my view.'

Gemma Arterton and Ryan Reynolds appear in new images from The Voices. The Quantum of Solace actress is seen as a decapitated head being fed by Reynolds's character in the promo photos released by Empire. The comedic thriller from Persepolis director Marjane Satrapi will premiere at Sundance London on 26 April. The Voices stars Reynolds as a disturbed factory worker called Jerry, who aims to woo a woman who works in accounting. However, he soon embarks on a murderous path after their relationship takes a sudden turn. The film is yet to receive an official release date in the UK. Michael Winterbottom's The Trip To Italy, Lenny Abrahamson's Frank and Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station will also screen at the 2014 Sundance London festival.
Stephen Colbert of the satirical news show The Colbert Report, is to replace David Letterman as host of CBS's The Late Show, the network announced on Thursday. CBS said that Colbert would replace Letterman when he stands down from one of the most coveted slots on US television in 2015, after twenty one years. Colbert hosts his Comedy Central show in character as a spoof conservative cable news anchor. CBS did not directly address the question of whether the character would live on, saying only that 'specific creative elements' would be announced 'at a later date.' 'Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,' said Leslie Moonves, president of CBS. 'David Letterman's legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today's announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.' Letterman announced that he was retiring from The Late Show on 3 April. Speculation had put Colbert as a front-runner to succeed him in recent days, ahead of Craig Ferguson, the Scottish comedian who hosts a chat show that directly follows Letterman. Media reports suggested that Ferguson's contract with CBS means that he will get 'a multi-million dollar windfall' if he was passed over for the job. So, one imagines Craig will be delighted by the new that Stephen has got the gig. Colbert, whose nightly show originated as a segment on another Comedy Central satirical news broadcast, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, said in a statement: 'I am thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth,' referring to one of Letterman's defining physical characteristics. CBS said in its announcement that it had reached a five-year agreement with Colbert and would announce the location of the show at a later date. 'Colbert's premiere date as host of The Late Show will be announced after Mr Letterman determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015,' CBS said. Colbert has been with Comedy Central since 1997 when he started as a correspondent on The Daily Show. He left in 2005 to create The Colbert Report. Both programmes built large audiences during the George W Bush presidency by tapping into exasperation with the Iraq war and other perceived offences out of Washington. The shows thrived on lampooning the mainstream media in an age when FOX News, the conservative cable news outlet, was also in the ascendant. While Stewart took a relatively direct approach to criticising the Bush administration and the media, Colbert added a twist: he assumed the character of a FOX News-style news host with borderline chauvinist political views. Faux news, if you will. The opening credits of Colbert's show feature a CGI bald eagle swooping over an American flag, which Colbert then grabs to plant gladiator-style in the middle of a fantasy news coliseum. Many guests are shouted down in disagreement by Colbert playing a conservative buffoon. But the satire can be much more biting for those with whom Colbert-in-character agrees. Bush himself met that fate in a moment that more than any other elevated Colbert's profile as an entertainer, at the 2006 White House correspondents dinner, an annual mixer of journalists and officials which Colbert was invited to host. Standing feet away from the president, Colbert delivered a damning tribute, ironically praising Bush for the most catastrophic of his policies, from Iraq to his handling of the New Orleans floods after Hurricane Katrina. 'I stand by this man because he stands for things,' Colbert said. 'Not only for things, he stands on things – things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares.' The performance was greeted with shock in official Washington and among members of the press corps but with hilarity by everyone else. Some have suggested that Colbert would be a risky choice for CBS, a risk-averse mainstream network. But it seems unlikely that Colbert would retain his character for his new role, which requires interviewing a wide slate of celebrities on the promotional circuit. It may be that elements of The Colbert Report survive as segments on The Late Night. Key to understanding the choice may be that The Colbert Report draws about half of its nightly 1.2m viewers from the key eighteen to forty nine age group desired by advertisers. The Late Show is not as good at drawing young people, proportionally speaking, but it attracts a much larger audience, about 2.9m viewers in total. One measure of Colbert's success at CBS will be his ability to continue to attract young viewers. The move is likely to come with a significant pay raise for Colbert, who made $4.5m in his Comedy Central job in 2012, according to the Los Angeles Times. Letterman's salary that year was thirty one million bucks, though he took a pay cut the following year. No details of Colbert's new contract have been released. Comedy Central also recently lost The Daily Show correspondent John Oliver to HBO, where he is soon to be seen hosting his own show starting on 27 April. 'Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades,' Comedy Central said in a statement, trying to put a brave face on. 'We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking Colbert Report and wish Stephen the very best.'

Kylie Minogue has confirmed that she is leaving The Voice. The judge - whose future on the BBC competition has been in doubt for some time - confirmed the news of her exit on Twitter and Facebook and blamed forthcoming her tour dates. When news broke that Minogue's Kiss Me Once tour could clash with filming for the 2015 series of The Voice, the BBC suggested that the schedule could be changed to accommodate her. However, Minogue tweeted: 'Due to timing of my tour I won't be back next season for The Voice. Thanks to all who supported! Hope to see you on my KMO tour!'
Rumours abound that Paramount is planning to turn its Jim Carrey hit The Truman Show into a television series. So, that would be a TV series about a film about a TV series. Or something. This follows news that Fargo is also being made into a small-screen venture. Paramount executive Amy Powell told US blog The Wrap: 'We have three buckets of content we're looking at which has been around for over one hundred years.'

Three al-Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt say that they are being 'held arbitrarily' after the prosecution's case against them turned out to include footage of a trotting horse from Sky News Arabia, a Somalia documentary from the BBC and excerpts of a speech by a Kenyan government official. Al-Jazeera English broadcasters Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed had waited over three months and four court sessions to see the videos which prosecutors said will 'prove' that the trio 'smeared' Egypt's reputation, doctored footage and 'helped terrorists.' But on Thursday – the fifth session of their trial – the only three videos provided by the prosecution to date turned out to all be filmed by networks other than al-Jazeera. The first was a package about horse welfare in Egypt by Sky News Arabia – and is believed to have been taken from equipment owned by Baher Mohamed. This was followed by footage from a press conference in Nairobi about last year's Westgate mall attacks and then a BBC Panorama documentary about Somalian bandits made by Peter Greste in 2011. Images of Greste's parents were also projected on to screen, after being taken from one of the reporter's bags. A former BBC correspondent, Greste is based in Kenya and was merely filling in for a colleague when he, Fahmy, and Mohamed were arrested in their hotel rooms last December. The footage was met with derision by the three journalists during a court recess. Mohamed Fahmy, a dual Canadian-Egyptian national and a former CNN journalist, said: 'Someone needs to answer for why we've been in prison for four months and there's not been a single bit of evidence.' Greste said: 'It's obvious the prosecutors have not even looked at our videos.' Fahmy argued that their continued detention despite a lack of evidence against them showed that they were being arbitrarily detained. 'This is arbitrary detention. It's not legal detention. Temporary detention is being used as punishment.' He added: 'If we are not released today, [this] is not a judge who is in charge of his own court.' But bail was again denied, leading Fahmy, as he was led from the courtroom, to claim that the judge was acting for political rather than legal reasons. Globally, the case is seen as an attack on press freedom. But in local media, the journalists are portrayed as terrorist sympathisers who skewed their coverage to favour the overthrown Muslim Brotherhood – a group now designated as terrorists. In Egypt, al-Jazeera's Arabic wing is seen as particularly biased – and it is not widely understood that the three jailed al-Jazeera English journalists work for a separate channel. Detained with them are five students with no connection to al-Jazeera who have repeatedly stated that they do not understand why they have been included in the trial. One of them, Khaled Raouf, has been on hunger strike for the past fifteen days to protest his incarceration – and as a result collapsed in the defendants' cage during proceedings on Thursday. Fahmy said that three hundred other detainees were also on hunger strike with him, in protest at the 'crimes against humanity taking place' inside their prison. At least sixteen thousand political dissidents have been arrested in Egypt since last July's regime change. After prosecution officials said that the remaining footage could not be viewed in court 'for technical reasons', the judge said it would have be viewed in private outside court – in the presence of defence lawyers, but not the defendants. 'This is ruining the image of Egypt,' shouted one lawyer, before the trial was adjourned until 22 April.

A code of conduct has been emailed to all Conservative MPs and their staff setting out how they should behave in the office. It sets out 'best practice' and a grievance procedure - but it is up to individual MPs whether or not they actually adopt it. An alleged Conservative party 'source' allegedly confirmed to the Gruniad Morning Star that the code would be voluntary. It follows a Channel Four News report which, they claim, identified a 'climate of sexual harassment' in Parliament. Channel Four News alleged that it had interviewed seventy people from 'all political parties and sexual orientations' and claimed that incidents of sexual harassment and abuse of power in Parliament were 'commonplace.' Young men were more likely to be sexually harassed than women, it concluded. A Conservative spokesman said: 'The code of conduct acts as a basic statement of what should be best practice in the workplace for Conservative members and their staff. It explains the rights and responsibilities which are expected of both the employer and the employee. The grievance procedure is available for staff to use if a grievance arises with their MP as employer. It protects both parties involved, brings with it consistency and fairness, and in doing so upholds the reputation of the Party and of Parliament. It is based upon a three stage process of mediation, grievance hearing and appeal. The process conforms to relevant employment law, ACAS guidance and HR best practice and is added as a schedule to the contract of employment.' In a statement, the Commons Speaker John Bercow said that bullying and harassment in the workplace was 'completely unacceptable' and that he would now look into whether procedures in Parliament were in need of reform. 'People are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect as they carry out their work,' he said. 'The experience of working in Parliament for an MP should be positive and fulfilling. Time and again, people have told me how fortunate they feel to work here. That said, having learned for the first time this afternoon of these allegations, I will consider if there are lessons for the House of Commons to learn or procedures to be reformed. MPs are self-employed and employ their staff directly. The House, therefore, is limited in its ability to intervene in cases in which allegations of bullying or harassment by MPs of their staff are concerned. These cases are clearly a matter for the political parties.'
The mother of the murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne has described well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks as 'a sweet-natured woman' who helped her through a 'traumatic' period of her life. Sara Payne said that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was 'constantly' at her side and 'available' after the disappearance of her eight-year-old daughter, who was last seen alive at her grandparents home in Sussex in July 2000. Giving evidence as a character witness in the Old Bailey phone-hacking trial, Payne described how well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'made arrangements' to visit her home when her daughter vanished and that she had been told that this was an 'unusual' thing for the then editor of the Scum of the World to do. 'I can't really describe what was going on at the time. It was traumatic, Sarah was missing. We had a very ordinary life, life just revolved around the family. We went from that to being the first headline of news in Japan, it was a crazy world,' said Payne. She told how she and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks came up with the idea of Sarah's Law, to deal with sex offenders and how well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'worked tirelessly behind the scenes' with politicians, rival newspapers and ensured the competition was taken out of the story. 'Rebekah was always in the foreground too, she was one of those people I could call at 2am,' Payne claimed. Asked by well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's counsel Jonathan Laidlaw what she thought of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks on a personal level, Payne said: 'Really sweet, very sweet-natured. We both have a certain straightness about us – we like to speak directly about things.' Payne had been called as a character witness for well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's co-defendant in the hacking trial, the former managing editor of the Scum of the World, Stuart Kuttner. She told the court how Kuttner had become the 'point of contact' for her during the campaign for Sarah's Law and how they had become 'good friends' as a consequence. They were in contact 'constantly', she said. Payne said Kuttner was a man of 'the highest" integrity', adding that she had met many people whom she would not have met because of the death of her daughter from 'high-court judges to the man who makes the tea in the House of Commons. Day or night, Stuart has been with me throughout many, many things,' she said. Earlier the jury heard from Lord Black of Brentwood, the former director of the PCC and executive director of the Torygraph Media Group, who was also called by Kuttner's team. Black said that he had met Kuttner when he was appointed to the PCC in 1996 and was a 'raw recruit' and had a 'steep learning curve' ahead of him. Black was told by the then chairman of the PCC Lord Wakeham that Kuttner was one of the first people he should contact because 'he is vital in making the PCC work, drawing up the code and an enormously important figure in the newspaper. Stuart would have been always, virtually always, the first person I would talk to – "this is a problem, how are we going to manage it?"' he said. 'He's intrepid in the pursuit of truth, courageous in pursuit of stories. He is also immensely professional and would never ever play fast and loose with the rules,' claimed Black. 'He is somebody who did just not talk about the laws and about ethics, he believes in them … they were in his DNA.' The former managing editor of the Scum of the World said he was as likely to 'fly to the dark side of the moon' as to withhold information from police about Milly Dowler's voicemails. Giving evidence for the fifth day at the hacking trial, Kuttner denied he failed to pass on a new lead on the missing schoolgirl's whereabouts after the paper had hacked into her phone and learned that someone had phoned her about a job interview in Telford. Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire hacked into Dowler's phone for the Scum of the World after she went missing in 2002, the court heard. Kuttner then alerted police to a voicemail message suggesting Dowler may have been alive, but only after journalists had been dispatched to Telford in an attempt to track her down, prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said. Cross-examining, Edis asked Kuttner: 'How did you think the News of the World had come by the message?' Kuttner claimed: 'I have no recollection.' He said that he passed on the information he had to the police. 'I also saw in the weeks following the disappearance of Sarah Payne, I saw the effect of a missing child on a family. If the suggestion being made about me is that I sat on, withheld, delayed passing on information that might lead to the missing school girl, I could not refute that more strongly. Why would I do it? For the sake of a story on page ...?' Mr Justice Saunders intervened at this point to put it to him that Finding missing schoolgirl might be a front-page story. Kuttner responded: 'Hold up information from her parents, sir? I would no more do that than fly to the dark side of the moon.' The jury has previously heard that Kuttner knew the tabloid was 'in possession' of a recording of voicemails left on her phone after she vanished and that he passed the information on to Surrey police in a telephone call on 13 April 2002, the day before the paper published a story including references to the voicemails. Kuttner has said, repeatedly, that he did not know the voicemail had come from hacking and that he was 'unaware' of the practice at the paper. The jury has also heard the claim that Kuttner has 'suffered memory loss' as a result of a brain stem stroke. Under repeated questioning from Edis about the contact with the police, Kuttner said: 'You have made a number of references to my health. If I remember eight, nine, ten years on [from] these events, I would not have hesitated giving the police the fullest information, I would not have hesitated for one moment.' Edis put it to him: 'But you did have recollection of contacting the police, didn't you? It is not the case that your whole memory had been wiped out by ill health because you did remember contacting people when interviewed and before you were shown any documents didn't you?' Kuttner claimed that he 'wouldn't argue with that.' 'You must have known that somebody had unlawfully intercepted this phone?' asked Edis. 'No, I don't accept that,' replied Kuttner. Edis then referred back to a statement given to the trial that Kuttner had made a call to one Mark Hancox at Monday's Recruitment Agency in the Midlands on Saturday 13 April, 2002. Mulcaire had picked up a voicemail on the afternoon of Friday 12 April, mistakenly left on Dowler's phone about a possible job in Telford. The paper promptly dispatched reporters to the town. Hancox said that the caller had 'said he was an editor, or editor-in-chief, or high-ranking employee' of the Scum of the World and, subsequently, believed the voice of the caller to be Kuttner's. Kuttner said: 'I have made an admission to that effect [that he made the call to Hancox] but I have no recollection [of it].' 'If you did make that call, you must have known that the News of the World, without telling police, was investigating the voicemail?' Edis asked. 'Although I have made an admission as to making that call, I have no recollection,' Kuttner claimed. 'If I had information there was any possibility that Milly Dowler was alive and well and in the Midlands, or wherever Telford is, my first and natural instinct would be to telephone the police.' 'Why were you phoning Mr Hancox?' asked Edis. 'I have no recollection of making that call and if I made that call,' replied Kuttner. Asked 'did you ask anyone where have you got this' voicemail, Kuttner replied: 'I don't know.' He said that he was 'trying to be as helpful as possible', but as he had no recollection, the best he could do was 'reconstruct' a 'possible scenario.' Earlier this week Kuttner testified that he believed it was the paper's then chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, who had told him about the voice message. Asked if he had asked Thurlbeck about the voicemail, Kuttner said: 'I have no recollection of Mr Thurlbeck telling me that or anyone had hacked the telephone.' It was then pointed out to Kuttner that Thurlbeck had told police himself that the voicemail had been hacked and said it might 'seem a bit strange' that he didn't tell his managing editor. 'This one was no secret, [Thurlbeck] told the police because it was thought to be in the public interest,' said Edis. 'It wasn't thought by me to be in the public interest. I do not accept it was in the public interest,' said Kuttner. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was the editor of the paper at the time the Scum of the World published a story about Dowler mentioning her voicemails. The jury has heard that she was on holiday in Dubai at the time but had made 'several phonecalls' to the paper during the period in question. Kuttner, who was managing editor of the tabloid for twenty two years and worked with 'twelve to fifteen editors' was asked: 'Was this a story in which the editor personally was interested?' He told jurors that: 'An editor in my experience was interested in most stories in his or her paper.' Kuttner and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks both deny charges that they conspired to hack phones. Kuttner has also denied he tried to keep convicted phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire 'sweet' by continuing to pay him after Mulcaire was charged with phone hacking-related offences in 2006. Jurors at the Old Bailey heard that Kuttner was 'advised' by a News International lawyer that it 'would be logical' to continue paying Mulcaire until after he was sentenced on 26 January in 2007 as this would 'keep him non-hostile.' Asked what the words 'keep him non-hostile' meant, Kuttner said: 'It could have been keeping him from talking to others.' Counsel for Clive Goodman, the paper's former royal editor who was also convicted of phone-hacking in 2007, put it to Kuttner that paying Mulcaire beyond sentencing was to stop him from 'going public' about a 'side deal' he had done with Mulcaire in late 2005 to pay him five hundred smackers a week to 'snoop' on the royal family, a deal known as 'The Alexander Project.' Kuttner claimed he 'didn't know' what he thought 'non-hostile' meant, but that he 'accepted' the view of the company lawyer. Goodman's lawyer claimed that Kuttner knew full well about The Alexander Project because he, ultimately, approved it and that the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson had approved it. Kuttner replied: 'I reject what you just said.' He was then asked: 'Mr Goodman went to see you in your office and asked if you had spoken about the new project with the editor and you said "yes, I have."' Kuttner claimed that he 'did not remember.' He added: 'Unfortunately, Mr Goodman deceived the newspaper for which I remain extremely sorry. I was not party to any of it.' Kuttner was also asked about making 'unannounced visits' to the homes of staff who were sick. He said that he thought he might have done so 'on occasion' when there was 'extended leave.' He was questioned extensively on his reasons for collecting Goodman from the police station on the day of his arrest. Goddman's lawyer put it to Kuttner that his 'sole purpose' was to 'obtain information' about the police investigation and find out if the police had 'mentioned anyone else' in relation to hacking apart from Mulcaire and Goodman. Kuttner denied this and claimed that he was going just as he would do if a senior colleague 'was in hospital or had been in an accident.' He was, he said, 'trying to put the arm of the company around them.' Goodman has been charged with conspiring to pay public officials for royal telephone directories, a charge which he denies. On Thursday afternoon, the former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, appeared in court as a character witness for Kuttner. They met in 1999 when Carey approached billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch about getting a booklet he was writing published in the Scum of the World to coincide with the new millennium. Carey said that he 'didn't hear anything for a while' from the paper but a few months later two men, one of whom was Kuttner, turned up at Lambeth Palace to talk to him about it. He said that he and his wife 'formed a strong friendship' with Kuttner since then. He claimed Kuttner was 'a man of integrity' and that he was 'a great encourager' of people. 'He is a very penetrating journalist and I enjoyed working with him and learning the skill of writing for a popular paper.' Kuttner denied that Mulcaire's company had been hired on one hundred thousand smackers a year 'specifically' to hack phones. 'If he was it was absolutely without my approval or knowledge in any way at all,' he claimed. Andrew Edis put it to Kuttner that a newsdesk claim that hiring Mulcaire would 'deliver' Kuttner the savings he requested had 'failed' as internal accounts show the expenditure on detective agencies continued in parallel with the phone-hacker. A spreadsheet shown to jurors suggested that two detectives were paid in excess of two hundred and fifty grand between 2003 and 2007. Kuttner said: 'Any suggestion whatsoever that I was party to any phone-hacking activities or phone-hacking system by Mulcaire or anybody else is utterly without foundation.' Kuttner was also accused of leaking a rumour about a suicide attempt by Princess Diana to a rival newspaper leading to a row with the paper's royal reporter. Counsel for Goodman put it to Kuttner that the 1992 row 'soured' relations between the two and was the reason why Kuttner gave evidence which was not 'remotely complimentary' about the former royal editor in testimony earlier in the week. 'You bear some animosity towards Mr Goodman, don't you?' asked David Spens, QC. 'You had a difficult relationship with him from 1992, didn't you?' Kuttner said that he did not bear any animosity towards Goodman but did say that 'his performance in latter years was disappointing.' Spens put it to Kuttner that they 'clashed' after Kuttner asked Goodman to 'assist' a friend, a journalist called Nick Davies, 'providing background and stories' for a biography he was writing on Princess Diana which was designed to 'match' one being written by Andrew Morton. 'One of the rumours about the forthcoming Morton book was that it would contain a suicide bid by Princess Diana.' 'I don't remember that,' claimed Kuttner. 'You asked him about it. I'm going to suggest that he said nothing and you persisted with asking him for details with the result that he said it would most likely be the sort of story which would be impossible to prove.' 'I don't remember. None of that rings any kind of bells,' claimed Kuttner. 'That very story you knew was not true, but made up as an example of what might be in Mr Morton's book, actually appeared as fact in a feature in a rival newspaper,' said Spens, referring to an article by Davies. Kuttner claimed that he 'didn't remember.' 'Mr Goodman was furious with you and had a row with you that you had leaked what he had told you to Nick Davies,' said Spens. Kuttner replied: 'If your suggestion is an accusation that I leaked information, it is completely and utterly false. I did not then or at any time leak information.' In his testimony on Wednesday, the jury heard repeated criticism of Goodman's performance and had heard Kuttner describe him as 'an enigma' who 'didn't like going out of the office' for stories. Goodman has not been in court because of ill health, but has been shown a transcript of proceedings to allow him to defend himself. Spens opened his cross examination by putting it to Kuttner that he had 'not a good word to say' about Goodman and that he had said nothing 'remotely complimentary' in his evidence over the past three days. 'I disagree,' said Kuttner, denying that was the case. Spens reminded Kuttner that earlier in the week he had told jurors that he was 'unaware' that alleged 'sources' were 'paid in false names.; Spens put it to Kuttner that, in fact, the 'practice was widespread' at the Scum of the World since he joined the newspaper in 1986. Kuttner replied: 'That's not so.' Spens then put it to Kuttner that the deputy editor of the Scum of the World, Neil Wallis, was called 'Wolfman because he was known for his aggressive, hard approach to those who was junior to him.' Kuttner said: 'He was very focused, very direct and sometimes quite tough.' 'He was a bully wasn't he?' Spens asked. Kuttner replied: 'Not in my experience, no.' 'He would shout at people, wouldn't he?' 'Occasionally, yes. Quite a lot of shouting goes on in newsrooms,' Kuttner claimed. 'But he in particular?' asked Spens. 'Perhaps more than most.' Spens described a 'secret room', which the jury has previously heard of, where the paper's big exclusives would be sub-edited and produced to prevent leaks. 'Neil Wallis shouted so loud when he was in there, everyone in the office could hear about the secret stories that were being talked about in the room,' Spens suggested. He added that the room had to be 'soundproofed' as a result. Kuttner said that he did not know anything about the room being soundproofed. Kuttner has been charged with conspiring to hack phones, which he denies and Goodman, who has already been convicted in 2007 of a hacking-related offence, is on trial for allegedly paying public officials to obtain royal telephone directories. The trial extremely continues.

A forty two-year-old woman has been arrested by detectives investigating alleged corrupt payments to public officials. Scotland Yard said that the former public official was arrested at 6.10 on Friday in a dawn raid at her home in South London on suspicion of misconduct in public office. Officers also arrested a thirty seven-year-old man at the same address on suspicion of possession of class A drugs. Both were taken to a South London police station for questioning. The arrests are the eighty fifth and eighty sixth made as part of Operation Elveden, the Yard's investigation into claims that journalists paid public officials for information. That inquiry is being run alongside two other inquiries - Operation Weeting, which looked at phone-hacking, and Operation Tuleta, examining claims of computer hacking and other privacy breaches and nefarious skulduggery.

Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus appears naked on the cover of the new Rolling Stone magazine, with a fake tattoo of the US constitution across her back. But keen political historians have noted that it shows signed by revolutionary John Hancock – when in fact Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, not the constitution.
Mars, Earth and the Sun aligned in a rare 'opposition of the planets' earlier this week, something which only happens once every seven hundred and seventy eight days. And, it came six days before a full lunar eclipse occurs when the entirety of the moon will be shaded by Earth and appears as an eerie reddish colour, the so-called 'blood moon'. Interestingly, this month's eclipse is the first of four consecutive blood moons occurring at approximately six-month intervals — a phenomenon called a tetrad. In addition to the two totalities occurring this year, there will be two more in 2015, on 4 April and 28 September. Some Christians - of, fucking nutters as they're more commonly known - believe the phenomenon represents the End of Days and the second coming of Christ. But, they don't.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, what say you to a mighty slab of yer actual M/A/R/R/S.

2 comments:

Greg said...

Just as a friendly reminder, to those who care, not everyone in Minnesota speaks with that horrible accent you hear in Fargo. Only 97%.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping said...

Yah. Sure. Y'betcha.

xx