Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What To Believe In, It's Impossible To Say?

That crazy auld chap Tom Baker has described 'BBC bosses' (whatever that means, executives, one imagines, only with less syllables), saying they were 'a bunch of monsters' who were no better than The Daleks. Who are, of course, fictional. Just in case you were wondering about that. The Mirra - so, nobody that you'd actually trust as far as you can spit - reports that the actor, who played The Doctor from 1974 to 1981, said at the launch of the Horror Channel's season of Doctor Who episodes: 'The monsters on Doctor Who were never so amazing as the monsters on the sixth floor of the BBC. There were some improbable looking people there.' There still are, matey. Have a look at Chris Patten's scowling boat next time you're in the building - Goddamn scary, so it is. The former Time Lord added: 'If someone gave me two wires now and said "You could blow up the BBC" I'd be tempted.' But Mad Tom, who quit after falling out with the show's then producer, John Nathan-Turner, admitted he didn't want to leave: 'I was always happy. I didn't want it to stop.' Indeed, the Radio Times reports that, having made a surprise appearance in November's fiftieth anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor, he would love to do more episodes: 'I turned down The Five Doctors [in 1983] because it wasn't long since I'd left – I had left Doctor Who because I think I'd run my course. I didn't want to play twenty per cent of the part. I didn't fancy being a feed for other Doctors – in fact, it filled me with horror. Now, of course, if someone asked me to do a scene with some other Doctors, I think, if they let me tamper with the script, it would probably be quite drole. I would think about that, yes.'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping would like to send his sincere best wishes to his old mucker Ben Adams who's feeling a bit poorly at the moment. Get well soon, old chap. Or, if it's a dodge to get off work - unlikely, but just about possible - then, in that case, get well extremely slowly.
ITV's Undeniable topped Monday's overnight ratings outside of soaps. The Claire Goose fronted drama's two-parter concluded with 5.4 million at 9pm, dropping around four hundred thousand from the previous week's opening episode. Earlier, I Never Knew That About Britain underwhelmed 2.9m bored punters at 8pm. On BBC1, Bang Goes The Theory was watched by 3.2m at 7.30pm, while Panorama was seen by 2.1m at 8.30pm. The Treasure Hunters gathered 2.7m at 9pm, and the final Michael McIntyre Chat Show of the current series dropped by three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 1.9m at 10.35pm. So, thoroughly rotten night for the Beeb there, then. BBC2's Great British Menu appealed to 1.2m at 7.30pm, followed by Restaurant Wars also with 1.2m at 8pm. Real Storage Wars interested a million punters at 9pm, while Rev had an audience of 1.2m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Shop Secrets brought in eight hundred and eighty one thousand at 8pm. One Born Every Minute continued with 1.8m at 9pm, followed by Eight Out Of Ten Cats with 1.1m at 10pm. Channel Five's Classic Car Rescue was seen by seven hundred and ninety one thousand at 8pm, followed by Britain's Crime Capital with seven hundred and three thousand at 9pm and Pickpockets & Proud with seven hundred and twenty five thousand punters at 10pm. BBC3's Brooke Kinsella documentary Can Criminals Say Sorry? appealed to three hundred and five thousand. BBC4's Only Connect topped the multichannels overall with eight hundred and one thousand at 8.30pm. Also, Martha Kearney's new four-part series, The Wonder Of Bees, began on BBC4 with seven hundred and forty eight thousand viewers, more than double the channel's slot average. On Sky1, the latest Game Of Thrones was watched by seven hundred and ninety two thousand viewers at 9pm. MTV's coverage of the 2014 MTV Movie Awards had one hundred and eleven thousand viewers at 9pm.

Martin Freeman his very self has spoken about his decision not to take on long-term television roles. The actor told Entertainment Weekly that he doesn't want to 'live in a part forever' and 'gets joy' from taking on a variety of roles. 'It's not like a life choice where I just want to live in a part forever,' he explained. 'That's the joy of the job for me: In a little while, I'll be playing somebody else with a different load of people.' Marty is soon to star in FX drama Fargo, which is inspired by the 1996 Coen brothers movie. On his decision to take the part, he said: 'When I was sent the script for Fargo, Joe, my American agent, said, "I know it's TV, but this is ten episodes - it's finite." The reason I've never gone for pilot season even as a younger actor, and wouldn't entertain that sort of thing now, is the idea of signing a piece of paper that binds me for six or seven years. So [Fargo] was already interesting. I read the script and that was enough for me. A very good script that only lasts ten episodes was like, "Great! That's right up my street."' He went on to say that he always looks forward to the end of a project so he can show it off to people. 'We all want to have the job done and go, "Look! Here's the thing", and we show it to people,' he said.

The actor, writer and comedian Toby Hadoke is to give the last performance of My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver 'for the foreseeable future next month', he has announced. The show, which is as highly acclaimed as its antecedent, the cult hit Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, will be staged on Monday 19 May at Bollington Arts Centre in Cheshire, as part of The Bollington Festival.

In the least unexpected industry news of the year so far, BBC3 controller Zai Bennett is switching channels to run Sky Atlantic, home of Game Of Thrones and Mad Men, just weeks after the corporation confirmed his TV network was to become online-only. This blogger doesn't intend to make any jokes about rats leaving sinking ships since, to be honest, that's probably a very sensible place for a rat to be when a ship starts sinking but, it really is jolly nice to see that Bennett's commitment to the corporation lasted for all of four weeks after he found that he was getting his massively budget cut. Selfish wanker? You must be the judge of that, dear blog reader/ Bennett, who joined the corporation from ITV three years ago - and immediately cancelled just about all of his predecessors commissions, including this blogger's beloved Ideal, so I've always thought he didn't know his arse from his elbow - is, according to the Gruniad Morning Star 'understood' to have been 'courted' by 'rivals' after it emerged in March that the BBC3 channel is to close next autumn, provided the BBC Trust approves the move, with its budget cut as part of a strategy designed to save the corporation more than fifty million smackers a year, with thirty million going into BBC1 drama. He is due to leave around June and will then join BSkyB as director of Sky Atlantic – the UK home of HBO's output, as well as original commissions including The Tunnel and Nick Frost comedy Mr Sloane. Although, if I was involved in either of those shows, I would watch my back as Bennett has something of a history of dumping other people's ideas as soon as he gets himself a new desk. In his new job, Bennett will report to Sky director of entertainment channels, and BBC3's first ever controller, Stuart Murphy - the man who commissioned Ideal. Oh, the irony. Murphy said: 'I am delighted someone of the calibre of Zai has joined Sky to run Sky Atlantic. Having admired his work for many years, it's just great to now have him on the same team. Zai has huge experience in commercial TV and his innate desire to welcome and support creative risk is a perfect fit for Sky. With his new role at Sky Atlantic, we will give him the backing and platform to do at epic scale.' Bennett said: 'I've hugely enjoyed working at BBC3 but this felt like an opportunity I couldn't turn down. I leave BBC3 on top form with its highest ever viewing share and six nominations at this year's BAFTAs. I will miss working with the outstanding channel and commissioning teams, the BBC is lucky to be home to some of the most creative and inspiring people in television and it's been a privilege to learn from them in my time here.' The BBC director of television, Danny Cohen - another former BBC3 controller - said: 'Zai has been a fantastic controller of BBC3 and has led the channel to great success, in terms of quality, awards and audience performance. He's a true gentleman and I will miss working with him.' After the announcement about BBC3 going wholly online from autumn 2015, Bennett wrote that he found the decision 'slightly perverse' in light of the number of awards the station had won but said that he realised the 'BBC and its leadership are not trying to varnish this decision as being anything other than hard, but they believe within the current financial realities of the licence fee changes have to happen. What I want to stress is that BBC3 is not only still open, but thriving.' When he joined the BBC in 2011, BBC3's budget was about eighty eight million smackers. The budget of the online-only BBC3 from next year will be about thirty million notes. During his tenure Bennett's commissions have included a number of comedies including odious lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall's Bad Education, the army-based Bluestone 42, People Just Do Nothing, the - thoroughly rotten - Greg Davies and Helen Baxendale vehicle Cuckoo and the - equally rotten - The Revolution Will Be Televised plus Question Time spin-off Free Speech. Before he joined the BBC, Bennett was director of digital channels and acquisitions at ITV. Where he commissioned one of Kerry Katona's reality shows. 'Nuff said, really. He ran ITV2 for several years, increasing audiences and awareness through celebrities such as Katie Price and spin-offs from hit ITV shows such as Britain's Got Toilets and The X Factor. Other successes included ITV2's Celebrity Juice, The Only Way Is Essex and The Secret Diary Of A Call Girl. Bennett started his TV career in the post room at Carlton Television in 1995, occasionally delivering David Cameron's mail to him when the future Prime Minister worked as the ITV broadcaster's communications director. He was presentation scheduler for the launch of Channel Five in 1997, before joining ITV the following year.

The Jeremy Kyle Show has been reprimanded by Ofcom for an episode featuring a seventeen-year-old girl. The 23 September 2013 episode featured an older sister accusing her younger sibling, a seventeen-year-old, of theft and crack cocaine use. Kyle brought up the younger sister's 'reputation' and the fact that she had slept with thirty three men - prompting her older sister to describe her as 'a silly anorexic slapper' - and a lie detector test was carried out which suggested that the seventeen-year-old and her partner had stolen items from her mother's house. Quality television, dear blog reader. At one point, Kyle was forced to warn the older sister that he would not share the lie detector results with the audience if the older sister continued to make threats towards her sibling - though Ofcom took a dim view of the fact that this warning came two-thirds of the way through the confrontation. The show was cleared of breaching rule 1.28 - which orders broadcasters to take 'due care' of the 'physical and emotional welfare and dignity' of people under eighteen years old - and rule 1.29, which orders that under-eighteens must not be 'caused unnecessary distress or anxiety.' However, The Jeremy Kyle Show was considered to be extremely in breach of rule 2.3, which says 'material which may cause offence is justified by the context.' Making their decision, Ofcom acknowledged ITV's response that the younger sister was the one who contacted the programme in the first place - allegedly keen to prove her innocence in the theft although, really, probably more interested in getting her face on television - and the fact that she was 'offered care' before, during and after the show. The seventeen-year-old had also 'shown no concerns' about the content of the programme or her own well-being, ITV claimed. Despite deciding that the younger sister's distress was 'at the limits of acceptability', Ofcom found that 'on balance' the show was not in breach of the rules regarding the welfare of people under the age of eighteen. However, the regulator decided that viewers of the programme were not given enough information about the care being offered to the seventeen-year-old and could be concerned about her welfare. 'It is Ofcom's view that the level of care provided to the seventeen-year-old participant in this case, by [ITV], before, during and after production was not evident to viewers, who were not provided with adequate information to reassure them regarding her welfare and to minimise the offence caused by her humiliation and distress,' the judgement read. Ofcom also suggested that the older sister's welfare was seen on the show to be 'more important' - because she was pregnant - and said: 'It may have appeared to viewers that no individual support was being offered to [the younger sister] and, at the end of the segment, she appeared to be abandoned at a time when she particularly needed the support of those around her.' Ofcom acknowledged that ITV 'did not intend' to mislead viewers and did take 'adequate steps' to provide care to the seventeen-year-old, but said: 'ITV did not make any explicit reference to the support available specifically to the seventeen-year-old participant during production and afterwards. As a result viewers were not provided with sufficient information - and so context - regarding the steps that [ITV] had taken and had in place to ensure due care was taken over her emotional welfare and dignity, and to limit her distress.' Ofcom also pointed out that it has previously 'provided guidance' to The Jeremy Kyle Show to 'make sure' that viewers did not believe the welfare of the people taking part was compromised. 'Ofcom reminds broadcasters of the need to take particular care when including young people in programmes which include conflict and confrontation, to ensure that adequate information about how their welfare has been protected is provided to viewers so as to protect the audience from any offence that may arise from that young person's participation,' the report concluded.

A Channel Four programme in which gloriously dim waste-of-space Louise Redknapp tested alleged 'anti-ageing products' breached broadcasting rules after its 'expert dermatologist' was revealed to be a brand ambassador for one of the gadgets featured. How Not To Get Old, a six-part series which was broadcast on Channel Four last year, featured Redknapp - you know, Jamie's missus - and Doctor Samantha Bunting testing various surgical, therapeutic and cosmetic processes which claimed to help maintain a youthful appearance. A viewer complained to Ofcom that Bunting was a brand ambassador for the Philips ReAura home laser product, which was one of the products tested on the programme. Bunting described the device, which cost seven hundred and ninety nine smackers, as 'quite technical but pretty much a one-stop shop when it comes to tackling the first signs of ageing.' She added: 'As long as you do your research, assure yourself that you believe that this can deliver great results, and I'm confident of that, um, then I think it makes sense.' The programme did not disclose that Bunting is paid by Philips to act as an ambassador for the product. Redknapp was unable to use the product because of her skin type, so Channel Four used 'before and after' pictures of a close-up of a woman's face, provided by Philips, with a prominent caption telling viewers they were 'corporate images.' Although Bunting had confirmed to the programme makers, the independent production company Twenty Twenty, that she was a paid 'brand consultant', Channel Four claimed that it 'did not know this' until it was alerted to the fact by Ofcom following the lone viewer's complaint. Twenty Twenty blamed 'two mistakes by members of the programme team' for the information not reaching either Channel Four or its senior producers. It claimed that a press release stating that Bunting had endorsed the product was misunderstood 'by a junior member of [its] production team' who had taken the word 'endorse' to mean merely that Bunting 'had stated her approval of the device rather than was benefiting from a commercial association with it.' When a producer/director from the company had, subsequently, e-mailed Bunting, and she had confirmed that she was paid by Philips to act as a brand ambassador, Twenty Twenty shat themselves - allegedly - and told Ofcom: 'Regretfully, this information was not relayed to the series producer, either of the executive producers or [Twenty Twenty's] legal team despite them expressly seeking a response to that question.' Bunting told Ofcom that she was 'keen to emphasise that I declared my role as a brand ambassador for Philips ReAura from the outset.' Ofcom found that viewers' ability to distinguish between information and promotion was 'substantially impaired' by not being told about Bunting's relationship with Philips. It urged Channel Four, and all broadcasters, to review the demands put on independent producers to check contributors' commercial relationships. A Channel Four spokesman said: 'We note the final decision, in which Ofcom has recognised that they had no reason to doubt that Doctor Bunting's comments represented anything other than her genuine views. We will be reminding all of our independent production partners of the need to keep Channel Four informed about programme contributors' commercial arrangements.'

Ridiculous waste-of-space non-entity Alan Titchmarsh has 'hit back' at Jezza Clarkson after the Top Gear host claimed that gardening only appeals to older people. The Daily Scum Express 'reports' (that's tabloidese for 'writes a particularly trouble-making bit of shit-stirring nonsense') that yer man Jeeza wrote in his new book the pastime was 'a pointless way of passing the time until you die.' Sounds about right. Titchmarsh - who has made a television career from both digging and talking shite, often at the same time, responded by claiming that gardening was an 'energising' activity which helped 'broaden the mind' – in contrast to the fleeting thrills sought by petrolheads: 'Let's get this straight. For some, gardening is about growing geraniums, planting hanging baskets and tending window boxes – in the same way that, for some, driving a car is about getting into a Ford Focus and going down to the shops. But for others, gardening is not an especially sedentary pastime, it is a vital and energising involvement with the world that surrounds us. Gardens and open spaces lift the spirits, broaden the mind, heighten the senses and thrill every bit as much as the transitory roar of a Ferrari that is burning up fossil fuel and giving three middle-aged men an expensive kick that lasts a few minutes.' Jezza fans may remember that the presenter does have a taste for garden design – he installed an English Electric Lightning F1A jet fighter in the front garden of his Oxfordshire home. The stunt, filmed for his series Speed, ended when the council 'wouldn't believe my claim that it was a leaf blower', claimed yer man Clarkson.

Michael McIntyre says that his BBC1 chat show will be returning for a second series, something which was later confirmed by the Beeb itself. Why? Why for the love of God, why? The comic’s official Twitter feed announced to its one million followers over the weekend that the programme would 'return later in the year.' Critical reaction to the show has been, let's be charitable and called it 'mixed' - with many commentators finding it a shockingly banal and trivial waste of time and talent and reviewers slating the comedians' shallow interview technique which are almost, though not quite, as bum-squirmingly risible as Alan Titchmarsh. But BBC executives are thought to be quite pleased with the two million weekly viewers the show has attracted in final and consolidated ratings including those watching up to seven days after broadcast.
Plans to demolish Glasgow's Red Road flats live on TV will no longer go ahead. Five out of the six remaining tower blocks were due to be blown up as part of the Commonwealth Games 2014 opening ceremony. The stunt - which would have required eight hundred and eighty seven nearby homes to be evacuated from the surrounding area in preparation for the explosion - has been cancelled due to 'safety concerns', reports BBC News. Games chief executive David Grevemberg said in a statement: 'We made it clear from the outset the absolute priority was safety and that this event would only happen during the opening ceremony if it was safe to do so. Over the past few days it has become clear that opinions have been expressed which change the safety and security context. Glasgow 2014, games partners and key stakeholders, including Police Scotland and Glasgow Housing Association, are not prepared to allow what was proposed to be a positive act of commemoration to create risk for all concerned, including the communities of North East Glasgow.' The news comes after over seventeen thousand people signed an online petition to oppose the live demolition, citing safety concerns and questioning the choice to turn the pulling down of the flats into 'an entertainment spectacle.' It does seem a bit of an odd thing to include in what's supposed to be a celebration of the best that a city - and, indeed, a country - has to offer. The idea of slum clearance taking the place of fireworks just appears bizarre. The complex - which originally consisted of eight tower blocks - was built in the 1960s and housed over four thousand people. The buildings are being demolished as part of a regeneration project, with two of the tower blocks already having been brought down in 2012 and 2013. The demolition will be rescheduled to a later date.

BBC2's Tom Hollander sitcom Rev never fails to capture the attention of the Archbishop of Canterbury. 'Great viewing,' says the current incumbent, Justin Welby after his predecessor, Rowan Williams, said it was 'really rather good.' However, Welby's praise is of the qualified variety, as he does not think Rev is entirely true to life. Well, it is only a sitcom. 'The show amusingly depicts some of the challenges facing clergy up and down the country. But while it's great entertainment, it doesn't truly tell the whole story,' Welby tells the new issue of Radio Times. 'I have a friend who runs a growing church in Reading city centre, filled with young people with no church background; I have another friend who has had to plan two new churches because his congregation is bursting at the seams. Other churches have few people but great impact, again with visionary and inspiring leadership. As with all of life, the picture is complex, but I see plenty of struggle and plenty of grounds for celebration. Therefore, while Rev is great viewing, it doesn't depress me quite as much as you might think!'
Rick Edwards (no, me neither I'm afraid) has whinged that the axing of BBC3 is 'not a very supportive move for young people.' Although, it's hard not to conclude that what he actually means is it's not very supportive of Rick Edwards' career, just like a lot of other self-interest waste-of-space tossers (some of whom are very popular with students) who've had plenty to say on the subject. Take your forthcoming unemployment like a man, Rick, and quit whinging.
Property presenters mumsy Tory Kirstie Allsopp and slapheed Phil Spencer will not be relocating from Channel Four in the near future as their exclusive deal has been extended until 2016. The broadcaster has re-signed them, with an option to extend their contracts until 2017. It is understood the deal includes two more series of popular property search show Location, Location, Location – which usually pulls in around two million punters per episode – that will take the long-running programme up to its nineteenth series. There will also be more dreary and laughable craft-based malarkey from Allsopp such as Kirstie's Crafty Christmas, which is made by Raise the Roof Productions – Allsopp and Spencer's own production company – along with Spencer's show Secret Agent, which is returning. An alleged 'source' allegedly said: 'Kirstie and Phil's deal is exclusive to 2016 with the option of extending to 2017.' In 2010, media reports claimed that the BBC had tried to recruit the pair but they decided to stay with Channel Four.
The seventieth anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings is to be marked by a series of programmes on BBC TV and radio. Chris Evans will broadcast his Radio 2 breakfast show live from the Normandy beaches on 6 June, while Huw Edwards will present the corporation's coverage of the day's commemoration ceremonies. A service of remembrance will also be broadcast live from Bayeux Cemetery. Sophie Raworth will present four BBC1 programmes about the event in the week leading up to the anniversary. On BBC2, historian James Holland will take a fresh look at the wider seventy seven-day campaign in one-off documentary Normandy 44. Other offerings on Radio 2 include a Jeremy Vine Show broadcast from HMS Belfast and a Friday Night Is Music Night episode from the Royal Albert Hall. Vine will host the event with Dermot O'Dreary and Louise Minchin, with performances from folk singer Seth Lakeman and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Radio 4, meanwhile, will broadcast D-Day Dames, a documentary about female US war correspondents working in London in June 1944. The 6 June channel crossing saw more than one hundred and fifty thousand Allied troops storm the beaches of France and marked the beginning of the end of World War Two. This year's commemoration ceremonies at Arromanches, will be the biggest since the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day in 2004. 'We all owe so much to the brave servicemen and women who took part in the D-Day campaign,' said Danny Cohen, the director of BBC television. 'It is a privilege to commemorate and mark this incredibly important anniversary with a range of programming across BBC TV, radio and online.'

Kit Harington has featured in a new photo from Spooks: The Greater Good. The Game Of Thrones actor stars as an MI5 agent in the big screen spin-off of the BBC spy series [spooks], while Peter Firth reprises his role of MI5 chief Harry Pearce. Original series director Bharat Nalluri will be behind the camera on the movie version, which began shooting earlier this year. Jennifer Ehle will also star. The story will be centred on terrorist, Adam Qasim, who escapes from MI5 custody during a handover to the head of counter-terrorism. When Pearce vanishes, his protégé, Will Crombie is tasked with finding out what happened as the clock ticks down to an attack on London. Spooks: The Greater Good is written by Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent, and will be produced by Kudos' Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett, as well as Shine's Ollie Madden. [spooks], known as MI-5 in the US, ran for eighty six episodes from 2002 to 2011. It also spawned a short-lived spin-off, [spooks]: Code 9, in 2008. Matthew Macfadyen, David Oyelowo, Keeley Hawes, Jenny Agutter, Rupert Penry-Jones, Richard Armitage, Nicola Walker, Sophia Myles, Hermione Norris and Lara Pulver were amongst those who starred in the popular espionage drama over its ten series.
Andy Coulson has denied his affair with colleague well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks 'breached professional standards.' The former Scum of the World editor and the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' claimed that it was 'wrong' and 'shouldn't have happened' as he gave evidence in the phone-hacking trial for the first time on Monday. But, he told the Old Bailey the pair's 'closeness' had not 'unduly affected' their working relationship. The prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Coulson denies conspiracy to hack phones and conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Coulson also told the jury that he considered the one hundred and five thousand smackers annual contract paid by the Scum of the World to private investigator and convicted phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire's company 'wasn't a lot of money in the business. We paid double that, I think, to the astrologer,' he claimed. Coulson was asked about a proposed fifty per cent cut to the payment to Mulcaire's company Nine Consultancy for 'special inquiries' in the newspaper's 2005-06 budget. He told the court: 'I assumed the description special inquiries meant finding people, looking for people, possibly surveillance in the main and that Nine Consultancy was part of that process.' He added that it was 'not an area' he was 'particularly interested in.' When he was asked if he had ever used private investigators at the Sun, he replied: 'Not that I can remember, no.' Coulson added that it was only when Mulcaire was arrested in connection with phone-hacking in 2006 that he heard Mulcaire's name for the first time. Asked about the amount the company was paid, he replied: 'I would not suggest that one hundred thousand pounds is not a lot of money but in the context of a thirty two million pound budget it's not a massive sum.' Coulson is the last of seven defendants, who deny all charges against them, to give evidence. Coulson said the affair with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was 'not by any means continual' and that there were 'very long periods' in which they 'remained friends and colleagues. There was an affair that started in 1998,' he claimed. 'It ended quite soon after but it did re-start, as the court has heard.' The pair had first 'got to know each other' in 1996, becoming professional colleagues two years later when well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was made the Sun's deputy editor - Coulson was also working at the newspaper at the time. In 2000, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks became editor of the Scum of the World while Coulson became her deputy. When she left to edit the Sun in 2003, Coulson took over at the helm of the Scum of the World, staying in the role until 2007. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks became News International chief executive in 2009. Coulson said of the affair: 'I don't want to minimise it or excuse it. It was wrong and it shouldn't have happened and I take my full share of responsibility for the pain it has caused other people, not least my wife.' Coulson's counsel, Timothy Langdale QC, said: 'In particular, it has been suggested as a result of the closeness of your relationship you would share sensitive or exclusive stories.' But Coulson replied: 'No, that did not happen. With the caveat, unless on very particular occasions there was a pre-determined deal when there was a share between the two papers.' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denies conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Coulson also told the Old Bailey jury he had not spoken to David Cameron since shortly after resigning as Downing Street director of communications. The court heard Coulson and Cameron's families had spent a weekend together following his 2011 resignation. When Langdale asked if the invitation to stay with the Camerons had been made before he stepped down, the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' replied: 'That's right, I haven't spoken to him since.' Coulson told the jury of his career in journalism, saying that he 'fell in love' with it as a teenager. He said: 'I was all set to join the air force - my father was in the air force and one of my brothers. I got some work experience on the local paper via a friend and fell in love with it, really.' When he left school at eighteen, he started work at the Basildon Evening Echo and then went on to the Sun at the age of twenty one. From there, he moved to the Scum of the World. He was in charge of the newspaper in 2002, when the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone was hacked, as well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was on holiday. Coulson resigned from the Scum of the World following the conviction of Mulcaire and the tabloid's former royal editor, Clive Goodman for phone-hacking. He then became director of communications and planning for the Conservative Party. Following the 2010 General election he became David Cameron's director of communications. He resigned from that position in January 2011 and was arrested in connection with phone-hacking in July that year, before being charged in July 2012. Coulson denies one count of conspiring with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, former Scum of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner and others to hack phones between 2000 and 2006. He also denies two counts of conspiring with Goodman and others to commit misconduct in a public office.
Jurors trying the publicist Max Clifford must ignore sex offence allegations against other 'high-profile figures', a judge has told Southwark Crown Court. Anthony Leonard QC, summing up the case, said that the Jimmy Savile fiasco had 'spawned a number of inquiries into various people. All are irrelevant in your considerations of this case,' he said. Clifford, from Hersham in Surrey, denies eleven counts of indecent assault relating to seven alleged victims. The accusations concern alleged offences between 1966 and 1984. 'You must ignore any reports you have read in the past or during the trial about the defendant,' the judge said. 'Come to your verdicts based fully on the evidence in court.' As he began his summing up, he told jurors to disregard 'all other cases' including a 'recent high-profile trial involving an MP.' On Thursday, the former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans was cleared of a string of sex abuse charges, including one of rape. The rape claim was one of several allegations made by seven men against the former Conservative MP during a five-week trial at Preston Crown Court. The jury has heard much about the size of Clifford's penis. Or, you know, lack of it, depending on who was giving evidence. Jurors have been told by witnesses that he has 'a micro-penis', though one woman told the court it was 'enormous.' Sadly, no one, seemingly, had the wits to produce the penis itself in evidence and see if, ahem, it stood up in court. Anyway, for the defence, Richard Horwell QC told the jury that an agreed fact in the case was that a doctor, who had measured Clifford's penis, declared it 'within the average range for a Caucasian male of Mr Clifford's age.' On Monday, the judge said that the issue had caused 'hilarity' during the case 'in part, I suspect, due to embarrassment from talking about the topic.' Yes. In part. The defence team said that the 'differing lengths' recalled by the women suggested they had not seen Clifford's penis. The judge said the prosecution's view was that 'the length of a penis, to coin a phrase, is "in the eye of the beholder."' Which, certainly suggests some decent length if he could get it up that high. The judge also told the jury that they should consider why the alleged victims had not complained to police until after the scandal involving naughty old scallywag and rotten rotter Jimmy Savile hit the news. The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

UKiP leader Nigel Farago has rejected claims that he might have abused EU expenses, describing them as a 'politically motivated attack.' The Times claimed that a former party official had filed a complaint to the EU's anti-fraud body over Farago's use of the 'general expenditure allowance.' The UKiP leader rejected suggestions that he had broken the rules on MEP allowances. 'I am taking legal advice. I think this is completely and utterly outrageous,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Although, oddly, he seemed quite happy to joke about the subject on last week's Have I Got News For You whilst simultaneously doing his 'I'm a sound bloke with a good sense of self-deprecating humour, me' routine. Strange, that. The Times said Farago received fifteen grand a year to run his constituency office in Bognor Regis - but that the office itself had been provided rent-free by UKiP supporters. It alleges that a former office manager claimed that the premises cost only about three thousand pounds a year to run. The EU does not demand a detailed breakdown of office expenditure but Farago insisted that the running costs were about a grand a month. The UKiP leader said that MEPs were given 'recommendations' about what the allowance can legitimately be spent on, such as the running of an office, mobile phone or hotel bills, but did not have to provide receipts. 'We do not claim expenses for running an office or any other activity that takes place within the United Kingdom. We get an allowance, a fixed-rate allowance, and we can spend it how we see fit,' he told Today. He said that he had 'always been open and unashamed' about using the allowances and expenses provided to him as and MEP to campaign for Britain's exit from the European Union but that he would 'do so within the rules of the Parliament.' He described The Times report as 'yet another politically motivated attack from what is the establishment newspaper.' He said that he would be happy for his accounts to be audited by an independent accountant 'if that would solve the argument', adding: 'UKiP don't want any of these allowances. We don't want British MEPs costing the taxpayers all this money.' Earlier UKiP issued a statement saying that the allegations 'lack substance' and said that the office allowance was used in part to pay for additional premises.

And, speaking of dodgy politicians, Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi must do one year's community service over tax fraud, a Milan court has ruled. Berlusconi - once, infamously, described by Mad Frankie Boyle as 'the sort of man who if you told him to go fuck himself, would give it a go' - was extremely convicted of tax fraud last year in connection with TV rights purchased by his firm Mediaset in the 1990s. The alternative to community service had been house arrest. It is not yet clear what form his community service will take, although having to clean netties would, undeniably, be hilarious. The seventy seven-year-old billionaire tyrant has been embroiled in a string of court cases. He was spared prison in the Mediaset case because the Italian legal system is lenient to the over-seventy's. Italian media reports say that he is likely to work one half-day a week at a home for elderly and disabled people near his estate outside Milan. He will be subject to a curfew and banned from meeting people with criminal convictions - a measure which applies to at least one of his associates, AFP news agency reports. Berlusconi has always denied the charges, accusing left-wing judges of a witch-hunt aimed at neutralising him as a political leader. He is still leader of Forza Italia, the main conservative opposition bloc, but he is barred from standing in next month's European elections. Last year he was convicted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his powers, which brought him a lifetime ban from public office. He was also expelled from the Italian Senate. He is appealing against the underage sex conviction, in a trial known as the 'Ruby' case. He is also currently on trial for allegedly bribing a centre-left senator to switch sides.

The actress Edna Doré, who was best known for her role as battleaxe Mo Butcher in the BBC soap EastEnders, has died aged ninety two. Her agent, Belinda Wright, told the BBC News website that Edna died peacefully in her sleep on Friday. The actress played Mike Reid's on-screen mother between 1988 and 1990 - a role which saw her character diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. As well as her soap opera stint, she also starred in Mike Leigh's High Hopes and Gary Oldman's Nil By Mouth. Wright paid tribute to Doré saying: 'I'd known her for more than thirty years and she was a wonderful actress and great fun.' Born Edna Gorring and raised in Bromley, she began her career as a chorus girl with the Entertainments National Service Association during World War Two before spending almost twenty years in repertory theatre, as well as another decade at the National Theatre. In the 1960s and 1970s she also appeared in the West End, playing Mrs Sowerberry in Oliver! at the Albery Theatre and Mrs Crabtree in Billy, starring Michael Crawford. Doré's television roles began in 1959 and over the decades she appeared as a character actor in a diverse number of shows including Dixon of Dock Green, Z Cars, Open All Hours, The Bill, Love Hurts, Men Behaving Badly, Casualty, How To be A Little Sod, No bananas, Doctor Who (the 2006 episode Fear Her), The Liver Birds, The Duchess of Duke Street, Tenko, Peak Practice, Gavin & Stacey and Shameless. She also appeared in BBC bingo comedy Eyes Down, which ran for two series in 2003 and 2004. Paul O'Grady, who starred opposite Doré in the sitcom, paid tribute to the actress on his BBC Radio 2 show on Sunday, describing her as 'a remarkable lady. I've never had so many laughs, she was just a bundle of fun,' he said. 'We got sent home from rehearsals one day for laughing. I won't tell you why but Edna said: "In my seventy years in the business, I've never been sent out of rehearsals." She had a remarkable career. She might be gone but she's not forgotten by me. I had a ball with Edna, what a laugh she was.' Doré's appearance in EastEnders coincided with her performance in Leigh's 1988 film High Hopes, for which she was named best supporting actor at the European Film Awards. At the ceremony in Paris, she was called to the stage as 'Edna Door'. As she left clutching her prize she muttered: 'You'd think that at least in Paris they'd pronounce my bloody name right.' She worked with Leigh three times, taking small roles in his 2002 film All Or Nothing and 2010's Another Year. As well as Nil By Mouth, Doré's other film appearances included Les Miserables (1998), Tube Tales (1999), Goodbye Charlie Bright (2001) and the Ray Winstone drama Firty Four Inch Chest (2009). Writing in the Gruniad, Leigh said the actress 'swore like a trooper, smoked like a chimney and didn't suffer fools.' Which is usually obituary code for 'was a right intolerant sod' but here seems to be used as a more neutral descriptor. 'She initially approached the rehearsals for High Hopes with a healthy scepticism, but once she trusted having no script, improvising in character, and me, she entered into the spirit of the thing with unbounded enthusiasm, even playing some scenes with her teeth out. She was very funny - her filthy jokes were legendary. We will all miss her no-nonsense wit, her generosity, and, above all, her uniquely truthful acting.' The actress married fellow actor Alexander Doré in 1946. He died in 2002. She is survived by their son, Michael.

The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day features a right nice slice of Suede.

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