Thursday, May 15, 2014

Squares And Rhombuses

The comedian, actor and writer Frank Skinner is to take a guest star role in the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. Frankie will appear in one episode of series eight of the BBC's long-running family SF drama - the first with Peter Capaldi playing The Doctor. The Room 101 presenter, a long time fan of the show, said that he was 'beyond excited' at being given the role. 'It's no secret that Frank's been pitching vigorously to get into Doctor Who for a while,' said the show's executive producer, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. 'He's been volunteering to be "third monster on the left" as long as I've been in this job. But now, in Jamie Mathieson's sparkling script, we finally have a part that can showcase all of Frank's famous wit and charm. Hopefully he'll get out of my garden now.' Mathieson, a writer on Being Human, said that writing for Skinner was 'very cool' - as the comedian had inspired his own career. 'I was a stand-up for a living for quite a few years,' Mathieson wrote on his blog. 'When I was trying to figure out how to do it in 1996, his first two stand up videos were part of my boot camp, so there is a nice synchronicity for me to be writing lines for him to deliver nearly twenty years later.' As yet, no details of the character Frankie will play have been revealed. He previously appeared in the one-off comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, where he played a Dalek operator. Currently, the comedian is touring the UK with his stand-up show Frank Skinner: Man In A Suit. He also hosts BBC1's Room 101 and the Saturday morning Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio - for which he won a Radio Academy Award earlier this week. Talking about his role in Doctor Who, Skinner said: 'I love this show. I subscribe to Doctor Who Magazine, I've got a TARDIS ringtone, a five-foot cardboard Dalek in my bedroom and - when I got the call saying they wanted me to read for the part, I was in the back of my tour bus watching episode three of The Sensorites.' Oooo. Bad choice, matey. Are you sure you're a fan? He joins other previously announced guest stars on the series including Sam Anderson, Ben Miller, Keeley Hawes, Michael Smiley and Hermione Norris. The episode written by Mathieson will also feature the return of two more guest stars who have previously appeared in Doctor Who: Janet Henfrey was the fearsome Mrs Hardaker in the highly regarded 1989 adventure The Curse of Fenric and Christopher Villiers previously appeared opposite Peter Davison in 1983's The King's Demons. Other guest stars announced include David Bamber and Daisy Beaumont.

MasterChef rose in the ratings as it entered its final week, overnight data reveals. The popular BBC1 cookery competition was up around two hundred thousand from last Wednesday's episode to 5.1 million viewers at 9pm as big cuddly Angela Langford became the first of the final four to drop by the wayside, leaving Luke Owen, Jack Lucas and bookies favourites the delightful Ping Coombes still battlingly for the title. Earlier, Watchdog interested 4.1m at 8pm, while A Question of Sport was watched by 2.2m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Great British Menu was seen by 1.4m at 7.30pm, followed by Under Offer with 1.3m at 8pm. Coast Australia's opening episode fronted by Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair) with 1.7m at 9.15pm. Episodes' third series premiered with nine hundred and forty four thousand punters at 10pm. ITV's risible heap of stinking shat Big Star's Little Star was watched by the usual 3.3m sad, crushed victims of society at 8pm, followed by the final part of Billy Connolly's Big Send Off with two million viewers at 9pm. On Channel Four, Supervet appealed to 1.3m at 8pm. Twenty Four Hours in A&E gathered 1.6m at 9pm, while the spectacularly unfunny Derek fell to but six hundred and fifty eight thousand viewers at 10pm. Channel Five's NCIS had an audience of nine hundred and fifty thousand at 9pm, followed by Castle with five hundred and eighty three thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Orphan Black's latest got two hundred and one thousand at 10pm. Sky1's 24: Live Another Day rose over one hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to six hundred and fifty nine thousand at 9pm.

MasterChef climbed even further for its penultimate episode this series on Thursday, overnight data reveals. The BBC1 competition attracted 5.2 million at 9pm, up around two hundred thousand punters from the previous week's episode. Earlier, Food Inspectors was seen by 2.9m at 8pm, while Question Time interested 2.6m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, The Big Allotment Challenge concluded with 1.4m at 8pm. The documentary Thalidomide: The Fifty Year Fight gathered seven hundred and ninety four thousand viewers at 9pm. ITV's For The Love Of Dogs repeat appealed to three million at 8.30pm. Wanted: A Family Of My Own was seen by two million viewers at 9pm. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn continued with 1.4m at 8pm, followed by Heston's Great British Food with nine hundred and forty seven thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Trauma Doctors attracted a million punters at 9pm. Person Of Interest had an audience of six hundred and forty six thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Tyger Takes On ... was watched by four hundred and forty nine thousand at 9pm, followed by Jonah From Tonga with two hundred and seventy two thousand at 10pm. Lucy Worsley's BBC4 documentary The First Georgians concluded with seven hundred and seventy eight thousand viewers at 9pm. E4's The Big Bang Theory was watched by 1.2m at 8pm.

The prospect of watching David Baddiel - last funny in the mid-1990s - and Richard Herring - also, last funny in the mid-1990s so it was a good pairing, frankly - spending as much money in as little time as possible drew a mere two hundred thousand viewers to Dave's new series, Twenty Four Hours To Go Broke on Tuesday. Bladdibub and Herring travelled to the Armenian capital of Yerevan for the opening episode of the Brewster's Millions-inspired show which was watched by a mere two hundred and thirteen thousand viewers from 10pm on Tuesday. It was down twenty per cent on the channel's three-month slot average. Another new Dave series, Sin City Motors, featuring Steve Darnell's efforts to make oddball cars out of junk, began with three hundred and fourteen thousand viewers at 8pm, down a whopping forty three per cent on the slot average. Other new series included Ben Fogle's Animal Clinic on Channel Five at 8pm, watched by eight hundred and six thousand viewers, down twenty per cent on the channel average. On BBC1 the Comedy Playhouse special Monks attracted a decent(ish) 1.8m at 10.35pm, albeit, it was every single bit as awful as this blogger had feared from the trailer. In terms of programmes which more than a handful of people actually wanted to see, elsewhere, the third episode of BBC1's Sally Wainwright drama Happy Valley had 5.7 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. It was up against ITV's eighty seventh broadcast of Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix, watched by 2.6 million viewers between 7.30pm and 10.10pm. On BBC2, the penultimate The Big Allotment Challenge appealed to two million punters at 8pm. Great British Menu also attracted two million at 7.30pm, while Watermen: A Dirty Business gathered 1.5m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Embarrassing Bodies brought in 1.2m at 8pm. Mister Drew's School For Boys interested 1.2m at 9pm, followed by Sixteen Kids And Counting with seven hundred and forty five at 10pm. On Channel Five, Ben Fogle's animal fiasco was followed by Behind Closed Doors with eight hundred and seventy one thousand at 9pm. The Mentalist continued with eight hundred and forty five thousand at 10pm.

Having fronted ITV's risible breakfast fiasco Daybreak along with fellow BBC traitor The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley two years ago, grumpy odious greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles has more right than most to comment on its successor, current flop Good Morning Britain. The presenter whinges to Mirra that the 'new national sport' is giving ITV breakfast shows 'a bloody kicking' - which is probably true, largely because it's very funny - adding: 'They just have to stick to their guns. It is a perfectly good show now, it was a perfectly good show when we left.' Which it wasn't, or anything even remotely like it - that's a rather interesting, Stalinist-like rewriting of history by yer man Chiles there, none of which explains, if it was so bloody brilliant why his and his orange mate got the sack in such a very satisfyingly public way. 'It wasn't getting the audience so they changed it,' he claimed, which actually, isn't true at all. It was terrible poxy rubbish, that was why they changed it would be far closer to the mark, matey. 'They are good broadcasters and they will find a way,' odious greed bucket Chiles added concerning the Good Morning Britain crowd. 'It seems to be national sport to give it a bloody kicking and having been on the end of that it is no fun. I am not enjoying watching them suffer now. They have just got to stick to it and they will be fine, it will come round, it just needs to be given time and it is difficult in the current climate.' And, he also whinged that he is still 'living with the trauma' of Daybreak: 'I haven't slept properly since,' he claims. And, we're supposed to, what, feel sorry for you, you greedy louse? Bollocks to that, pal, you should've thought of that when you left the BBC for mucho disgraceful wonga. 'It was a stressful time as you can imagine.' Greed bucket Chiles, who is travelling to Brazil to front ITV's - thoroughly wretched, as always - World Cup coverage, says of his other role, as a football host: 'Life is very straightforward. You get out of bed and go watch football then you broadcast about football then you go out and eat and drink and talk about football.' And, when you go to Tamworth for a cup tie, you get the fans chanting 'Adrian Chiles/Is a wanker,' at you into the bargain. Still, one imagines the pay cheque makes it all worthwhile.

Kayvan Novak and Bradley Walsh are to co-star in a new six-part BBC1 sitcom called Woody. Set on a fictional Spanish island, it follows the fortunes of the titular 'top undercover reporter' (played by Novak), who is forced to go on the run from the British authorities after being set up by his corrupt newspaper editor. He escapes to find the one man he can trust, his former mentor, Brutus, who is now running a bar. Subsequently, Woody ends up taking on investigations on the island, instigated by Brutus and using his astonishing ability to adopt a variety of guises. Novak said: 'Woody is the part I have dreamed of playing since I was a kid. That and Boba Fett.' Bradley added: 'To be working for the BBC, the iconic home of British sitcom is, for me personally, a lifelong ambition fulfilled. To say I'm thrilled is an understatement.' The show was commissioned following a successful pilot last summer. It is written by Neil Webster, co-founder of Would I Lie To You? producers Zeppotron and Charlie Skelton, who also worked on the show. BBC comedy chief Shane Allen said: 'Woody is a really ambitious, colourful, feel-good comedy with two lovable rogues at the heart of it in Kayvan and Bradley. They'll bring sunshine and laughs to BBC1.' Webster, who is also producing the show through his company, Happy Tramp, says: 'It's like all of my Fletch/Magnum/Minder dreams have come true at once. And we get to work in the sun.'

Finalists in BBC1's MasterChef might have a lot on their mind as the cookery contest enters its final stages this week. But now one of the regular guest judges on the show has 'hit out' at contestants who use square plates. As if it's anything to do with him what people eat off. William Sitwell - a right full-of-his-own-importance tosser with a smug face that could probably do with a couple of plates (square or round) containing a custard pie being thrust into it - who also edits Waitrose Kitchen magazine (which says it all, really), has called the modern tableware 'an abomination', reports the Torygraph. Sitwell threatened to throw a square plate back at a contestant who used one in a recent show – and has now offered an amnesty to members of the public who want to dispose of their square crockery. 'Square and rectangular plates are an abomination. Food should be served on round plates and not a right angle in sight,' he said. And once again, dear blog reader, let us simply sit back and marvel at the utter shite that some people chose to care about. 'If you have square plates, now is the time to be bold and cast them out,' he wittered. 'Bring them with you to the [Towcester Food Festival], hand them in and we will get rid of them for you by giving them to charity.' He added: 'A square plate is at odds with nature and Mother Nature produces ingredients that are many shapes – including round, but never square. Food that is presented on a round plate therefore has more affinity with the vessel on which it is presented. A chef who plates up on a square plate more often than not has their eye more on presentation than actual flavour and texture. The square plate is too frequently part of an armoury of a cook who is hoping to divert attention from their own inadequacy, in the mistaken belief that the squareness or indeed rectangular shape will lend the cook some kind of fashionable vibe. Except it is very much out of fashion, as pointless as the sprinkling of micro-herbs or grit.' Oh, has he finished. Good.

And, speaking of people who are too smug for their own good, Clive James is to leave his role as TV critic on the Daily Torygraph after three years. James has suffered ill health in recent years including leukaemia, kidney failure and lung cancer. There was no suggestion in the seventy four-year-old's most recent column, in the Torygraph's Review supplement on Saturday, that he was leaving. An alleged 'source' allegedly 'close to the Torygraph' was quoted by the Gruniad Morning Star as confirming James's departure, describing it as 'by mutual consent.' It is not clear whether he has written his last review for the paper. James, a prolific author and indescribably smug TV presenter whose career spans five decades, joined the Torygraph in 2011. He said in an interview two years ago, talking about his illness, that he was 'getting near the end' of his life. The Australian made his name as a TV critic on the Observer, which he joined in 1972 and remained for the next ten years. Selections from his column were later collected in three books.

Terry Gilliam has admitted that he finds the Monty Python's Flying Circus reunion 'depressing' – and admits that the team have 'sold out' with their farewell gigs. And, given that all of the tickets have been sold, he's certainly right in the latter regard. He added: 'With any luck, the Python shows [at the O2 Arena] will be cancelled.' The American said that he felt he was being 'dragged back' to Python, after working so hard to escape its shadow – and admits that the team are 'not as sharp' as they once were. In an interview with the Evening Standard, he said: 'It's good, seeing each other again, but then you realise that we're not as sharp because we like each other more. Probably. There's none of the tension that existed before, which was what seemed to fuel the stuff. It's harder to do comedy now anyway: we're older, we've become The Establishment we took the piss out of. Actually, the truth is I find it depressing that we're getting back together again.' Well, you didn't have to do it, mate, you could have said no. 'It's like, we worked so hard to get careers beyond it, to get to this stage, and now we're being dragged back again.' He said the most 'subversive' thing they could have done was not reforming. 'That's why I thought we were really good,' he said. 'But in the end we sold out.' Gilliam is directing the opera Benvenuto Cellini at the English National Opera next month and has been campaigning to get his latest movie The Zero Theorem into cinemas. 'It's too big a year of work,' he said. 'I'm not going to survive it. With any luck, the Python shows will be cancelled.'

The former BBC chief technology officer John Linwood has claimed that he was 'a fall guy' for the miserably rubbish one hundred million smackers Digital Media Initiative fiasco, which was scrapped last year by Director General Tony Hall. Linwood is claiming unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal in London after being extremely sacked by the BBC from his two hundred and eighty seven thousand quid-a-year job over the DMI debacle. However, giving evidence on Wednesday, he described himself as 'the admiral of the fleet' of the BBC's technology division, rather than 'the captain of DMI.' He estimated that the DMI project – which was supposed to make the BBC 'tapeless' – accounted for an average of around five per cent of his 'working time as CTO' and argued that in the four years he was at the BBC 'technology delivered hundreds of projects successfully.' Which is a little bit like that sketch from The Day Today in which Steve Coogan plays a head lifeguard at a swimming pool who lists all of the years in which he was in his job in which no one died. Except one, when someone did. The BBC argued that as Linwood was the project sponsor and chair of the DMI steering group he was, ultimately, responsible for the project and its subsequent abject failure. During his evidence to the tribunal, Linwood was asked about an internal e-mail which discussed a proposed 'plan B' to DMI that was being formulated after more than two years of delays had made the BBC nervous that the project would not happen. The corporation claims the e-mail – which referred to keeping information about the 'plan B' on a 'need-to-know-basis' – showed Linwood was 'secretive about the technological problems of DMI.' Linwood denied that. He told the tribunal: 'Alice Webb [the BBC North chief operating officer] discussed with me that [BBC North in] Salford was very nervous and were there any more delays they would like to have a fall back plan in place. The steering group was fully aware there was a fall back plan in place but at this stage I didn't want my team to be aware that we were putting a plan B in place. These people were working incredibly hard putting their heart and soul in this system and it would have been hugely demoralising to say, "Sorry guys, we're putting a plan B in place." What I didn't want was to have the development team being upset that all their work was being potentially replaced by a back-up plan.' He added: 'The delays were not all down to technology issues. Many of the delays were because of change or unclear requirements coming from [the BBC's production business].' However, according to evidence presented by the BBC, Linwood was contradicted by two former colleagues who he had asked the BBC's human resources director Clare Dyer to speak to on his behalf when his disciplinary process was being conducted. DMI consultant Alastair Ford told Dyer that the BBC's production business had 'not [been] fundamentally changing its requirements' while Linwood's colleague, director of supplier management and DMI programme director Peter O'Kane, told her that DMI 'is a failure without question, judged by delivery against requirements, time to deliver and overall cost.' The BBC argued that there was 'a loss of confidence' in DMI from some parts of the BBC that were supposed to be using the system, such as its information and archive department and said Ford told Dyer it always seemed to be 'close to' delivering on its promises but was 'set back' due to 'technical difficulties.' When asked if the technical lead for DMI, Dan Webb, was correct when he said that Linwood was the 'accountable senior person' for the project, Linwood replied, 'Yes.' Linwood is claiming that part of the DMI system – called 'production tools' – was delivered but BBC Vision was not using it as its requirements had changed. However production staff claimed the new system did not work as well as old systems DMI was supposed to replace and that they had problems using the new system. It also emerged in Linwood's evidence that he had been planning to leave the corporation for a job at Deutsche Bank before DMI was axed last May. The tribunal continues.

Cilla Black's planned sitcom was scrapped because of co-star Paul O'Grady's health problems, Black has revealed. The Liverpudlian duo had been lined up to play siblings in Led Astray, a proposed BBC1 sitcom written by veteran duo Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. But O'Grady pulled the plug for fears the demanding schedule would have on his health. The fifty eight-year-old has suffered from heart problems over the years and was hospitalised in November after an angina attack, just days after filming the pilot. Cilla told the Daily Mirra: 'I was looking forward to the sitcom but the week after we filmed the pilot [O'Grady] had heart problems again and we talked it over and just thought, it's not worth the long hours. He put the kibosh on it. We just agreed that it was too much of a risk - a week later he was in hospital.' Writing on their blog, Marks and Gran – who also created the monumentally shite Birds Of A Feather – wrote that 'our audience in Elstree Studios appeared to love the comedy' – and said that more than eight thousand people had applied for the tow hundred and eighty studio audience tickets. They also whinged about the speed of the BBC decision-making process by reporting that it had taken nine hundred and forty five days from the time that the idea of writing a show for Cilla Black was mooted, to the moment that the pilot was completed.
Kate Middleton was hacked one hundred and fifty five times by a reporter on the Scum of the World who said that he snooped on her voicemails on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2005, the Old Bailey has heard. Clive Goodman, the paper's former royal editor, also revealed for the first time that he directly hacked the phone of Prince William, adding that police have failed to ask him a single question about it in the eight years since he was arrested on related charges. He told jurors that he hacked Prince William thirty five times, Prince Harry nine times and the Duchess of Cambridge one hundred and fifty five times. Goodman claimed that he was not asked about this by the police or any other similar authority when he was arrested on related charges in 2006 or at any time since since. 'I've never been asked before. The Metropolitan police, Crown Prosecution Service did not ask me these questions in 2006 and 2007. I've never been asked by any inquiry any time about this,' he claimed. He first hacked Middleton on 21 December 2005, the jury heard, and he continued to hack her on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day of that year. His first hack of Prince William was revealed to have taken place at the end of January 2006. Goodman told jurors: 'I'm really not the slightest bit proud of this. I don't want anyone to think I'm not ashamed.' He also hacked the phone of Kate Waddington, the personal assistant to Sarah Ferguson, one hundred and sixty times. Goodman also told jurors that Glenn Mulcaire, who was also arrested in 2006 for hacking members of the royal household and subsequently convicted of his crimes, used 'a special mobile telephone that had been built into a cashpoint' for some of his hacking. He added: 'Virtually every story in the paper was ground through the Glenn Mulcaire mill.' Under cross-examination by Timothy Langdale QC, who is acting for the paper's former editor and the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson, Goodman told the jury that he was 'not on trial' for hacking and that the prosecution had told him he would face no further charges on this offence. Turning to Langdale, he said: 'Now that you are asking them [the questions], I'm quite happy to get them out there and get everything in the open.' He claimed that he was being 'as honest and open' as he could be on the subject. 'My entire life has been exposed. I've never been asked these questions. Anyone who wants to ask me questions, they will get straight answers as indeed you are getting today.' He told jurors that Middleton, who was dating Prince Willliam in 2005, was 'a figure of increasing importance around the royal family. There were discussions of her and Prince William marrying, moving in, settling down. She had started receiving royal status around the royal family.' Langdale put it to Goodman that 'one of the things you must have been worried about more than anything else in 2006' was that it would be discovered he was hacking Princes William and Harry and Kate Middleton. Goodman denied this and said that his biggest fear was that he would have to 'carry the can' for all the activities of Mulcaire who was also arrested and jailed along with Goodman in January 2007 for hacking-related offences. 'I was terrified of the whole thing. I was more frightened of being blamed for Glenn Mulcaire's hacking,' he said. Jurors have previously heard that Kate Middleton and Prince Harry had been hacked. They have also seen an e-mails relating to alleged hacks of Prince William when he was at Sandhurst in 2006, but Goodman's evidence on Wednesday is the first time that it has been openly admitted. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have known each other since 2001 when they met at St Andrew's University and were exposed by the newspapers as a couple in 2004. The trial has already heard that personal messages left by Prince William for Kate Middleton in 2006 in which he called her 'babykins' were hacked by the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. Goodman was extremely jailed in 2006 after admitting being involved in the hacking of three royal aides, Prince Charles's communication secretary Paddy Harverson, the prince's aide, Helen Asprey and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, private secretary to Princes William and Harry. He was back in the witness box after an eight-week absence due to illness to finish his evidence. Because of the long lapse of time between the first part of his cross-examination, the judge opened proceedings by refreshing the jury's memory as to Goodman's previous evidence. Jurors were reminded that Goodman had claimed that Coulson had told him to tell police he was acting as 'a lone wolf' and that he had gone 'off the reservation' when asked about his activities in 2006. Coulson has been charged with one hacking conspiracy, a charge he denies. Police did not want the full extent of hacking known, Goodman claimed. He added that he has been 'completely open, honest and frank about phone hacking.' But, he told jurors, it was only because of questions in the present questions in the hacking trial, that he had named those he personally hacked. 'What I had done I had admitted to and paid an extremely high price for it,' he told jurors, reminding them that he was jailed for hacking offences in 2007. Compared with a senior journalist on the paper, Goodman had claimed that he was 'just a spear carrier' rather than 'the five-act opera' of hacking. He repeated an allegation he made the day previously that 'most' major stories in the Scum of the World came from hacking in one way or another. 'There was not a single significant story broken at the News of the World in the last couple of years' that the senior journalist had not got from hacked voicemails, he said. Goodman was jailed and dismissed in 2007 after he pleaded extremely guilty to hacking three royal aides. He was confronted about his hacking of Middleton and Princes William and Harry for the first time on Wednesday during cross-examination by counsel for Coulson, his then editor. Goodman replied: 'As I said yesterday I have been completely open and honest about the extent of phone hacking. The reason these things did not come into the public domain before was the police and CPS in 2006, 2007 decided they were not going to publish things to protect the discretion of the victims. The only reason they came up now is they were not out there in the public domain at the time.' He went on: 'Whatever I have been accused of I have admitted to and paid an extremely high price for it.' He has not been charged with hacking as part of the current trial but has been charged with two offences of conspiring to cause misconduct in public office by paying palace police for royal phone directories. He denies those charges. Langdale asked Goodman about a meeting he had following his imprisonment about his dismissal from the paper. Langdale asked why Goodman omitted information on his own hacking. 'Were you concerned not to tell them the full extent of your hacking?' Langdale asked. He added: 'The one thing you were not going to tell them was the extent of your activities.' Goodman denied this and said the information was 'not relevant' as the terms of the meeting related to the alleged knowledge Coulson had about hacking. He said that when he appealed against his dismissal after he got out of jail, he wanted others to 'admit their responsibility.' Langdale put it to him that after his arrest 'you've built up an increasing body of resentment which you did not possess at the time.' Goodman previously testified that Coulson was 'a friend' but when he became editor of the paper in 2003 he became aggressive and bullying, which Coulson has denied. Goodman told jurors that Coulson had kicked a desk when Goodman told him he couldn't go on a job to America because of child care. Goodman also said that he felt 'pretty much out of a job' when he was told another reporter would be going on the US royal tour and that he would be covering the young royals. Coulson has been charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office and conspiring to hack phones. He also denies all charges. Langdale challenged Goodman about an e-mail he had sent to his sister complaining after being challenged by the deputy managing editor of the paper about cash payments to his alleged sources. 'I feel like peeling his face right off his skull,' Goodman had said. 'More resentment building up?' asked Langdale. Goodman denied this was case, saying he was more 'frustrated' with the executive than angry. 'Is it correct Mr Goodman that you just resent any criticism of you at all?' Langdale asked. 'No, not at all,' Goodman replied, adding 'When you get things wrong you just take it on the chin.' The trial continues.

The publisher of the Daily Mirra, Sunday Mirra and the People has said it is 'too soon to know' how allegations of phone-hacking and bribery and corruption will progress, or what their financial impact is likely to be. 'The company also continues to challenge civil claims in relation to these matters,' said the publisher, in a trading statement on Thursday. 'The group will not accept wrongdoing and takes all allegations seriously. It is too soon to know how these matters will progress, whether further allegations or claims will be made, and their financial impact.' Chief executive Simon Fox could face questions on the claims at the company's annual meeting with investors on Thursday. Trinity Mirra also announced that Fox's digital transformation of Trinity Mirra is 'gathering pace', with online revenues up almost fifty per cent in the year to 27 April, helping counter a fall of nine per cent in advertising across its newspaper titles.
Rolf Harris said 'it takes two to tango' when confronted with claims of sexual abuse, the brother of one of his alleged victims has said. The man told Southwark Crown Court that the comment was made after he phoned Rolf and threatened him with 'physical violence.' The court has heard that Rolf admitted that he had an affair with the woman but denied it started while she was under age. Rolf denies twelve charges of indecent assault between 1968 and 1986. He is accused of assaulting four girls, aged seven or eight to nineteen at the time of the alleged offences. Seven of the charges relate to the woman whose brother has been giving evidence. The brother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court he phoned Rolf after his sister told him about the alleged abuse. 'I told him why I was angry. I said "you have abused my sister sexually,"' the man claimed. 'He said "it takes two to tango."' The alleged victim's mother told the jury that she remembered Rolf going upstairs to see her teenage daughter during visits to her home. The mother claimed that she was friends with Rolf's wife, Alwen, her daughter was friends with the couple's daughter, Bindi, and the Harrises would occasionally come for dinner parties. The mother said that she recalled one occasion when Rolf asked where her daughter was, then went to a sitting room to see her for between half an hour and an hour. 'I remember it once and I think there were other occasions,' she said. She added that her daughter was fourteen or fifteen at the time and she thought Rolf going upstairs was 'odd' but said she 'trusted him.' Asked if she had wondered what had been happening when Rolf went into the room with her daughter, she said: 'It was something that you didn't think about really.' The alleged victim earlier told the court that she had allegedly started drinking alcohol at the age of fourteen 'to cope', and her mother told the jury that she was unaware of the alleged abuse until her daughter was an adult and she confronted her daughter about her heavy drinking. 'She told me she had been abused all her life, which made me very angry,' the mother said. She added that she was 'completely amazed' by what her daughter told her, although she would not say who the man was. She continued: 'But I would not budge until she told me. She then said, "Rolf."' The alleged victim's father told the court that he was 'absolutely devastated and really couldn't believe it' and was 'very, very angry' with Rolf. 'I wrote him a letter expressing my disgust and saying that I really didn't want to speak to him or have anything to do with him again,' he said. Another of the alleged victim's brothers also gave evidence, saying he 'didn't dissuade her' when his sister said that she 'felt ready' to call the police, which he said happened two or three years ago. Earlier, a former school friend of the same alleged victim claimed that her friend told her Rolf was a 'dirty old man.' She said the conversation took place when they were both about sixteen and the alleged victim told her Rolf would make her sit on his lap so he could 'feel her up.' The woman said she was 'horrified' and told her own parents, but did not think it was 'her place' to call the police. The alleged victim denied that she and Rolf had a consensual relationship and also that she had made up the allegations. Under cross-examination, the woman denied defence claims that 'sexual chemistry' had developed between herself and the TV entertainer by the time she was eighteen. She also denied 'flirting' with Rolf. Sonia Woodley QC, defence counsel, suggested that the woman made up the allegations about Rolf abusing her to avoid being blamed for their consensual affair. 'What you did was to try and absolve yourself from blame and say that Rolf Harris had abused you, when in fact you knew perfectly well that you had a consensual relationship with him,' said Woodley. 'Once you had told that story you had to stick with it, didn't you?' The woman denied this. She said that she 'went along' with Rolf's 'advances' when she was an adult because she was 'scared of him' and was, at that stage, an alcoholic. Describing an alleged incident that took place at the woman's home when she was twenty eight or twenty nine, she told the court that she had only invited Rolf there because she wanted to talk to him about Bindi. Woodley asked the woman why she did not tell Rolf to 'mind your own business' when he asked where her bedroom was. The witness replied: 'I was drunk at the time. I was an alcoholic.' When Woodley claimed the sex act that then took place was with the woman's consent, she replied: 'I was drunk, I was frightened. I never said no to him.' The witness was also asked about an alleged assault during a visit to the Harris family at their home in Bray, when she was eighteen. She claimed that she was staying with the Harris family and alleges Rolf performed a sex act on her after bringing her a cup of tea in the morning. However, Woodley said 'sexual chemistry' had developed between the pair and suggested the witness had been flirting with Rolf because she was jealous that Bindi had become closer to another friend. 'I suggest that you consented to that, because there was at this stage in your life sexual chemistry between the two of you,' said Woodley. The witness again replied that this was not the case. The woman also told the jury that she had never tried to profit financially as a result of what had happened between her and Rolf. Woodley claimed that the woman had told Rolf to 'keep [his] eyes on the papers' after one occasion when he visited at her home, but the witness denied that, describing it as 'totally wrong.' The court had heard earlier that the woman accused Rolf of assaulting her while on holiday with his family but showed 'no hint of unhappiness' in a diary from the trip. The alleged victim claims that Rolf first abused her during the holiday, when she was thirteen, but said that she would not have mentioned it in her diary. In evidence, she previously told the court that she was scared of Rolf and that his actions were 'creepy.' Woodley asked her: 'You were going across the world with a man you were scared of and who was creepy. Why on earth did you go?' 'Because I wanted to go with Bindi,' she replied and added that she 'thought that Rolf wouldn't be around too much.' The witness was asked about one allegation - that Rolf indecently assaulted her under her towel after they had been snorkelling. Asked why she had made no reference to the incident with Rolf in the diary, she said: 'The day was great up until he got the towel and fondled me.' The woman claimed the first time Rolf assaulted her was after she had 'just got out of the shower' in her hotel bedroom during the same holiday. Woodley put it to her that 'nothing of that nature happened at all' but the witness maintained that it did. The alleged assaults happened before such offences abroad could be prosecuted in the UK, so they are not among the charges against Rolf. The witness claims that Rolf continued to abuse her for a number of years after the holiday, at her home as well as his. The trail extremely continues.

The Cavern Club in Liverpool is taking the Hard Rock Cafe to court in a battle over who owns the rights to use the Cavern name in the US. The club became legendary as the regular venue of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) and other Merseybeat groups in the early 1960s. The Hard Rock Cafe chain filed for the Cavern Club trademark in the US in 1994 and has its own Cavern Club in Boston. The Liverpool Cavern's Dave Jones said it was 'an outrageous insinuated claim to an association with fame that has nothing whatsoever to do with them.' The Be-Atles played at the original Cavern around two hundred and ninety times between 1961 and 1963 as they were on the road to stardom. But the underground club was extremely demolished after it closed in 1973 and was built over by a car park. A replica was built roughly on the same site in 1984 and now attracts three quarters of a million Beatles fans every year. Mostly very earnest ones from Japan, it has to be said. In 2011, a US trademark authority rejected an application by Cavern City Tours, which owns the current Cavern Club, to cancel the Hard Rock Cafe's trademark. The Liverpool company, which has notorious alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon's half-sister Julia Baird as a director, is now taking the case to a federal court in Orlando, where the Hard Rock chain is based. Cavern City Tours attorney Paul Rapp (fantastic name, by the way) said that the federal action was 'basically an appeal' of the earlier trademark ruling. The Hard Rock Cafe's Cavern Club in Boston provides 'billiards, live music and special events', it says, while a Cavern room in its Las Vegas outlet holds meetings and receptions for up to sixty people. Rapp claimed the chain obtained the trademark 'to keep the Cavern from entering the US market.' Cavern City Tours has previously said it planned to open venues in the USA, Spain and Brazil and has already licensed the Cavern name for nightclubs in Australia and Argentina. The two sides will submit motions to the court in early June, with a trial scheduled for 'early winter.' Jones said: 'If this dispute is not put right, perhaps in some decades time kids might be confused into believing that the four lads who actually changed the world from a cellar bar in Liverpool instead started out at a Hard Rock. And that would be a travesty of history and a tragedy for music heritage.'

Tulisa Contostavlos is reportedly finalising a deal for her own reality show. The N-Dubz singer is said to be developing a new documentary series on BBC3, according to the Mirra. And then people wonder why kicking BBC3 online and slashing its budget to next to nowt is regarded as such a ruddy good idea. The show would involve cameras following the twenty five-year-old throughout her day-to-day life. Riveting. The project - should it exist - is 'expected to air in late 2014' according to the tabloid. This is, obviously, somewhat dependent on the outcome of a forthcoming criminal trial. Contostavlos will next attend a hearing on 25 June in relation to her allegedly offering to broker a cocaine deal. The former X Factor presenter pleaded not guilty to the charge at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in December.

Activity on the Sun is sparking lightning strikes on Earth, a study suggests. Scientists have found that when gusts of high-speed solar particles enter our atmosphere, the number of lightning bolts increases. The research is published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Because solar activity is closely monitored by satellites, it may now be possible to forecast when these hazardous storms will hit. Which is very topical as, on Wednesday evening dear blog reader, there's was the loudest clap of thunder that yer actual Keith Telly Topping had ever heard in his entire life right over Stately Telly Topping Manor. It was so loud that it actually shook the windows of Stately Telly Topping Manor. This blogger is not ashamed to say that he var nigh crapped in his own pants and ran an effing mile. Thunderbolt and lightning were, indeed, very very frightening. Anyway, lead researcher Doctor Chris Scott, from the University of Reading, said: 'Lightning represents a significant hazard. There's something like Twenty four thousand people struck by lightning each year, so having any understanding or advanced warning of the severity of lightning storms has to be useful.' As the Sun rotates, the fiery ball of plasma hurls out charged particles that travel at between four and eight hundred kilometres a second. The arrival of these solar winds in the atmosphere can trigger displays of the Aurora Borealis, but this research shows how they could influence our weather too. 'The solar wind is not continuous, it has slow and fast streams. Because the Sun rotates, these streams can be sent out behind each other - so if you have a fast solar wind catching up with a slow solar wind, it causes a concentration to occur,' said Scott. The scientists found that when the speed and intensity of the solar winds increased, so too did the rate of lightning strikes. The team said the turbulent weather lasted for more than a month after the particles hit the Earth. Using data from Northern Europe, the researchers found there was an average of four hundred and twenty two lightning strikes in the forty days after the high-speed solar wind arrived, compared with three hundred and twenty one strikes in the forty days prior. The finding was surprising, said Scott, because it had been thought that an increase in the solar wind would have the opposite effect. He explained: 'It's unexpected, because these streams of particles bring with them an enhanced magnetic field - and this shields Earth from the very high-energy cosmic rays from outside of the Solar System - these are generated when supernovae explode, and they accelerate particles up to the speed of light.' Previous research has shown that cosmic rays from space can boost the rate of lightning, and it had been thought that an increased shielding effect from the solar particles would cause a decrease in the number of strikes. 'Instead what we actually saw was a marked increase in lightning. It turns out these solar winds bring with them a slightly lower energy population of particle - and these are enhancing the lighting rate,' Scott said. The team is not exactly sure of the mechanism, but said that the particles may be penetrating storm clouds, making it easier for them to discharge electrical energy as a bolts of lightning. 'What we need to do now is to track these energetic particles down through the atmosphere, to see if we can see where they end up,' said Scott. 'We know these particles aren't energetic enough to reach the ground, so they must be stopped somewhere in the lower atmosphere, and we need to know where this is.' However, while the questions of how still need to be answered, there is plenty of information about when the particles arrive, which could help with storm forecasting. 'These solar wind streams are very predictable. We know the Sun rotates every twenty seven days, so there is a very strong recurrence rate. If we see them at one time, we know twenty seven days later it will be back again,' said Scott. While the data was collected in Europe, the researchers believe the effect is global.

Alan Pardew will remain as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle's manager according to the club, who responded to rumours that they had been talking to other candidates with a flat denial. Reports in France last week suggested that the club's owner, billionaire tosser Mike Ashley, had been linked with St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier. Linked in what way, the rumours didn't say. Club officials 'clarified the situation' at a fans' forum on Monday outlining that 'incorrect media reports' would be 'looked at' by their legal team. Newcastle lost seven of their last eight league games and finished tenth in the premier League. It was a difficult finish to the season for The Magpies. They started 2014 in eighth position with thirty three points from nineteen games - only four points off a Champions League spot. But after the departure of influential midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris St-Germain at the end of the January transfer window, Newcastle's form fell apart dramatically, picking up only sixteen points from the following nineteen fixtures. Previously quite popular with the majority of supports, Pardew's personal standing amongst supporters also suffered. Banners calling for Pardew to leave were paraded at matches in the second half of the campaign, while the manager suffered the ignominy of a seven-game ban for hoying the heed on Hull's David Meyler during his side's 4-1 win at the start of March. The former Southampton and West Ham manager succeeded Chris Hughton as Newcastle's manager in 2010 and was then rewarded with an eight-year contract for guiding The Magpies to fifth place during the 2011-12 season. However, the following season was a disaster with The Toon finishing sixteenth and they struggled again during the latter half of the 2013-14 campaign.

Transformers and Star Trek screenwriter Roberto Orci is to direct the next instalment of the Star Trek movie franchise, according to Variety. Orci had been had been campaigning to replace JJ Abrams as director for some time, the report said. Abrams, who directed the last two Star Trek films, is now at the helm of the new Star Wars movie. The, as yet untitled Star Trek 3 will be Orci's directorial début. Born in Mexico City, he has screenwriting and producer credits on projects such as the Transformers films, Cowboys and Aliens, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Mission: Impossible III. He co-wrote both of Abrams' Star Trek films. He is also writing the story for the third instalment, along with JD Payne and Patrick McKay. Casting details are not confirmed, but cast members including Chris Pine as Jim Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Mister Spock are expected to return. 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness made more than two hundred and seventy million smackers worldwide. It co-starred yer actual Benny Cumberbatch as Khan. The film was a follow-up to Abrams' hugely successful 2009 series reboot of the franchise.
Whilst the latest official unemployment figures released earlier this week show a moderate decline in overall trend (allegedly), the actual number of people out of work increased by at least one as Pippa Middleton has, reportedly, had her Daily Torygraph column 'cut' after a mere six months. 'The readers just weren't into it,' an alleged 'source' at the newspaper allegedly told Us Weekly and confirmed that the Duchess of Cambridge's sister - famous for 'having a nice bum', apparently, and not for much else - is getting the tin-tack. Or, in slightly less amusing terms, her contract is not being renewed. 'There was a lot of negative mail coming in after each column,' the alleged 'insider' allegedly added. 'There were too many off-limit subjects for her. They ran out of ideas.' While the Torygraph seemingly struggled with the content that Pippa could write about, she did pen an array of completely worthless columns on subjects as diverse as flipping pancakes and cycling underwater. In fact, she kicked off her gig with the paper after writing a story about boxing, which she called 'a pure but pleasing agony.' The thirty-year-old 'socialite' (that's a middle-class way of saying 'someone who's never had a proper job in their life') has been struggling to 'find her literary voice' despite, or perhaps because of, her royal connections. She published the party planning book Celebration through Viking Press, but because it did spectacularly poorly selling only eighteen hundred copies, there are 'no future plans' for other books. So, it's off to Reading Job Centre for you on Monday, Pippa. Remember to take your P45 with you. Place your bets now on the likelihood of Iain Duncan-Smith describing Pippa as a benefit scrounger, dear blog reader.
Yer actual Morrissey has been approached by the makers of The Archers to take a guest role in the long-running Radio 4 soap. The former Smiths singer is said to be 'fascinated' by the offer to take part in the series originally billed as 'an everyday story of country folk.' He would be the rural soap's latest celebrity cameo, after Olympic gold medal cyclist and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins, who appeared in March this year to coincide with Sport Relief. The Duchess of Cornwall also appeared on the show three years ago, whilst Princess Margaret featured in the show thirty years ago. Neither of whom, one imagines, the infamously anti-monarchist Mozza his very self would normally wish to be associated with. A prominent vegetarian and opponent of the livestock industry who has been known to ban meat products from venues at which he performs, Morrissey is no stranger to guest appearances. He appeared in Channel Four's Brookside spin-off South in 1988, in a scene where he was recognised by the character Tracey Corkill who gasps: 'I know who you are.' He responded: 'So do I.' If you've never seen it, dear blog reader, it was embarrassingly rotten. He revealed in his autobiography last year that he had been offered roles on BBC1's EastEnders, as Dot Cotton's 'so far unmentioned son' and Emmerdale on ITV. Of the EastEnders offer, Morrissey wrote: 'I would arrive unexpectedly in Albert Square and cause births, deaths and factory fires every time I opened my mouth.' He added: 'The most fascinating aspect of both offers is that somebody somewhere thought it a good idea.' Morrissey, who submitted a - subsequently rejected - script proposal to Coronation Street as a teenager before he found fame in The Smiths was also once offered a cameo on Friends in the US. Christ, that would've been worth watching! The BBC declined to comment, saying that it did not reveal details about future storylines on The Archers to avoid spoilers for the show's five million listeners. The offer was revealed on Morrissey fansite True To You, which is a semi-official site for the singer. Morrissey, who has just joined Twitter, recently announced a new work, World Peace is None of Your Business, his tenth solo CD and his first of new material since 2009's Years of Refusal.

On Friday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self will be attending Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at the jolly old Tyneside. No change there, you might think but ... hang on Keith Telly Topping I hear you goller, loudly, like a ... geet big gollering thing. No, no, no, no, no. Not Friday, Keith Telly Topping. Thursday is Record Player night, surely? A change in that could upset the natural order of things in the universe and lead all manner of dodgy shenanigans like floods, famine, tidal waves, volcanoes and Gatesheed getting back into the football league. Well yes dear blog reader, normally it is a Thursday event, but unfortunately Uncle Scunthorpe only went and screwed up the dates, didn't he? So, for this week only (and, one week later in the series as well), it's on Friday not Thursday. And, this week it's not one this blogger is particularly looking forward to since it contains the full-of-its-own-importance stinking hippy drivel and 'hey ma, look at me I'm being all symphonic and that' Tubular Balls. Personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping would far sooner dance Me Ol Bamboo down Northumberland Street, naked (and dead) than listening to such tripe but, since Keith Telly Topping has already paid his fiver, he will be going along. With an open mind ... and with several things to hoy at the screen for when it gets boring. Did we really fight The Punk Wars for this, dear blog reader? Never trust a hippy. And tell them to get a haircut an'all. Still, it shouldn't be an entirely wasted evening as Keith Telly Topping will be having a pre-match dinner with his good mate Christian at Pani's doon on High Bridge. Keith Telly Topping will be ordering Risott’e Gambaredda and a cheeky little merlot if you're taking notes.

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