Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Young, Gifted & Back

Former [spooks] actress Hermione Norris has become the latest high-profile guest star for the next series of Doctor Who. The BBC has confirmed that Hermione will feature in an episode which is set in Lanzarote and written by Wallander's Peter Harness. The episode is the seventh into production in the current run, the first of a block of two to be directed by Paul Wilmshurst. Hermione is probably best known for her portrayal of MI5 agent Ros Myers in the popular and long-running BBC espionage action drama [spooks], and had other memorable roles as DCI Carol Jordan opposite wor geet canny Robson Green in the first three series of Wire In The Blood (a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, that one) and in the cult ITV comedy drama Cold Feet. She can currently be seen in the BBC's Sunday night period drama The Crimson Field. She said of appearing in Doctor Who: 'It's exciting to be part of such an iconic show, and one that my kids can watch!' Doctor Who's showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat added: 'It's a testament to the quality of Peter Harness's intense and emotional script, that we've been able to attract an actress of the brilliance of Hermione Norris. And for the first time since 1984, the Doctor Who production team is heading to Lanzarote. The Doctor is returning to the scene of an old adventure - but there have been sinister changes since his last visit.' The last Doctor Who story set in Lanzarote was the popular four-parter Planet of Fire, which saw the Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor take on his arch-nemesis The Master. Ellis George, Tony Osoba and Hebburn's Phil Nice will also appear in this new episode which is, as yet untitled. Osoba, best known for his long-running role in Porridge, will become one of a select handful of actors to have appeared in Doctor Who both during it's pre-1989 and post-2005 runs having previously appeared in Destiny Of The Daleks (1979) and Dragon Fire (1989). Jamie Mathieson has confirmed that he will also be writing a series eight episode, also to be directed by Wilmshurst. That bloody Moffat geezer, dear blog reader. He appears to be going out of his way to make series eight of Doctor Who especially for yer actual Keith Telly Topping, by hiring several of his favourite actresses. First Keeley Hawes, now Hermione Norris. Can we have Holly Aird or Nicola Walker next, please, Steven?! If they're available and willing, obviously, I don't want you to kidnap them and force them to appear against their will. Oh no. Very hot water. Anyway ...
Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has revealed that one of the key factors in choosing a Doctor is that they are 'attractive in a very odd way.' Writing in this week's Radio Times, the executive producer and lead writer says that the key to being The Doctor is that the actor chosen is 'carved out of solid star' – but, being conventionally good looking is a no-no. 'When you choose a Doctor, you want somebody who is utterly compelling, attractive in a very odd way,' writes The Moffat. 'None of The Doctors are conventionally attractive, but they're all arresting. Handsome men don't quite suit. Matt Smith's a young, good-looking bloke from one angle but is actually the strangest looking man from another. You need that oddity; you need somebody who is carved out of solid star, really.' The Moffinator his very self suggests that it was easy to cast Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and John Hurt because of their innate 'brilliance. Doctor Who is a whopping great star vehicle, despite the fact it changes star every so often. And so it really is built around the abilities, the charm, the magnetism of a succession of different actors. I've cast Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and John Hurt, but the truth is, they all cast themselves – the easiest thing to spot in the world is sheer brilliance.' Steven added that Capaldi was chosen because 'there is something about [his] demeanour, his eyes, his attitude – he's tremendously bright and that comes out on-screen.' Comparing Smudger and Peter, Steven added: 'I always thought Matt, while a very young man, had something of the demeanour of a much older man, whereas Peter is a man in his fifties but is terribly boyish and young at times. I like The Doctors to have mixed messages about what age they are – you can't really pin them down. The Doctors are all the same Doctor really, at the end of the day, but you can slide the faders up and down. And to emphasise the senior consultant over the medical student for once reminds people that he's actually a terrifying old beast. Typically, Matt's method would do that, too: occasionally just turn cold and you'd think, "You're not really a puppy are you?" Just like Peter Capaldi's Doctor will sometimes remind me he's a big kid at heart.' Moffat also reveals his anxieties about the fiftieth anniversary episode before it was aired. 'I can remember sitting with my wife saying, "I can't tell if it's any good any more, it could be rubbish – I'll have to leave the country. I'll have to fake my own death."'

The new Doctor, Peter Capaldi his very self, makes his debut as a Radio Times front cover star this very week - the second Doctor Who related cover this year so far as the show once again promotes the BAFTA Television Awards, which take place live on BBC1 on Sunday 18 May at 8:00pm. It is one of the nominees in the Radio Times Audience Award which is open to a public vote - The Day Of The Doctor is up against Broadchurch, Breaking Bad, Educating Yorkshire, The Great British Bake-Off and Gogglebox. Voting closes at midday on 15 May. There is a sixteen page guide to this year's BAFTA awards and the magazine also includes a feature on Doctor Who, with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat discussing writing The Day Of The Doctor, revealing how it was the most 'difficult' and 'terrifying' thing he has ever written.
It is the question every Sherlock fan is asking: how long do we have to wait until the next series? According to alleged 'sources' allegedly 'on the production team' and quoted by the Radio Times, the answer seems to be next year. Allegedly. As the producers seek to get the leads Benny Cumberbatch, Marty Freeman, yer actual Mark Gatiss and Una Stubbs in the same room as one another, Radio Times claims that it 'understands' a 2015 shooting date for series four with a broadcast at the end of the year is looking 'like more of a possibility.' Although to be honest, that scenario would be, within a few weeks, the schedule that most people had excepted given the gaps between series one and two and two and three. So, all this 'exclusive' nonsense isn't really such a revelation after all. 'It will not be this year – but 2015 is very much the hope and expectation,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said. Even before the last episode was broadcast it was the question many fans - who had to wait two years between the broadcast of series one and two and two three - had. When producer Sue Vertue was asked the question about timings at January's public screening of the Sherlock series three finale, His Last Vow, she gave the impression that viewers might have a shorter wait than last time to see the next run of the drama. 'We're working on dates,' she said, while her husband, Sherlock co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, promised: 'We'll get them made as quickly as we can.' Radio Times now claims 'the indications are that this means a year away.' 'Benedict and Martin are making some movies,' added Moffat his very self at the time. 'If you say "Who cares about movies?" I agree with you but they are doing them so we've got to schedule around that.'

And now, dear blog reader, this - I Am Sherlocked - is just what the world needs, enthusiastic TV fandom as expressed through the medium of modern dance. This blogger is all for it.

The Crimson Field bounced back in the ratings for its finale episode on Sunday, according to overnight data. The BBC1 drama gained around seven hundred thousand viewers week-on-week, attracting 5.1 million at 9pm. Earlier, Countryfile once again topped the night overall with 6.3m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 5.1m at 8pm. Alan Hansen's final Match Of The Day appearance and the last day of the 2013-14 football season scored 2.9m at 10.35pm as Sheikh Yer Man City clinched the premiership title. Unbelievable. On BBC2, The Best Of Top Gear attracted an audience of 1.2m at 8pm, while Hidden Treasure: The Comedy Vault was watched by 1.5m at 9pm. Qi XL was watched by 1.5m at 10pm. ITV's Catchphrase had an audience of 3.4m sad, crushed victims of society at 6.45pm, followed by the offensively rotten Off Their Rockers with 3.4m at 7.30pm. The latest episode of Vera climbed by around five hundred thousand punters from the previous episode to 5.6m at 8pm. On Channel Four, For The Love Of Cars appealed to 1.1m at 8pm, followed by the latest Fargo with 1.3m at 9pm. Channel Five's airing of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen thrilled seven hundred and seventy three thousand at 8pm. The Bucket List interested seven hundred and fifty seven thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest drew eight hundred and sixty four thousand at 8pm. In the Flesh brought in two hundred and ninety seven thousand viewers at 10pm.

Prey bounced back in the overnight ratings for its finale episode on Monday. ITV's crime drama gained back around three hundred thousand viewers from the last episode's audience, attracting 5.2 million at 9pm. Earlier, Gino's Italian Escape appealed to 2.4m at 8pm. On BBC1, Panorama interested 2.1m at 8.30pm, followed by DIY SOS: The Big Build with 3.8m at 9pm. BBC2's Nature's Weirdest Events was watched by 1.7m at 8pm, while This World gathered 1.3m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Britain's Most Extreme Weather brought in eight hundred and fifty seven thousand viewers at 8pm. Bear Grylls's The Island climbed slightly from last week to two million viewers at 9pm. New series Man Vs Weird attracted 1.2m at 10pm. Channel Five's DIY Dummies was seen by six hundred and thirty five thousand at 8pm, followed by The Greatest Ever War Films with five hundred and sixty eight thousand at 9pm. On BBC3, Barely Legal Drivers interested five hundred and fourteen thousand at 9pm. BBC4's latest Only Connect attracted seven hundred and ninety three thousand at 8.30pm, followed by the latest Hinterland with five hundred and three thousand at 9pm. On Sky1, the latest Game Of Thrones was watched by eight hundred and seventy two thousand at 9pm.

Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes for week-ending Sunday 4 May 2014:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 10.09m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.78m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.47m
4 Happy Valley - Tues BBC1 - 7.64m
5 Prey - Mon ITV - 7.15m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.80m
7 The Crimson Field - Sun BBC1 - 6.01m
8 Vera - Sun ITV - 5.99m*
9 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.74m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.40m
11 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.23m
12 MasterChef - Thurs BBC1 - 5.19m
13 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.10m
14 Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.87m
15 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.79m
16 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.56m
17 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 4.53m
18 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.38m
19 Match of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.91m
20 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 3.88m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's top-rated programme of the week was their coverage of the World Snooker Championship with 2.32m viewers followed by The Big Allotment Challenge (1.93m) and The Birth Of Empire: The East India Company (1.92m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was, as usual, Googlebox with 3.47m. The Mentalist was Channel Five's best performer with 1.77m.

David Mitchell is to star in a BBC Radio 4 comedy pilot. Mad Frankie Boyle has co-written the sitcom Blocked with fellow Scot Steven Dick, reports the Chortle website. The controversial comedian will not appear in the sitcom himself, the BBC has confirmed. Mitchell will lead the cast of the project as Felix, a formerly successful writer suffering from nihilism. Just like David Mitchell, in fact. Watson and Oliver's Lorna Watson will play his wife, Nettie, who co-runs a small theatre on the South Coast with Felix. Hebburn's Chris Ramsey will play the boyfriend of the couple's daughter, to be played by Poppy Rush. The pilot episode will be recorded at BBC Radio Theatre in London on 27 May.

Yer actual David Tennant will join Olivia Colman in the sequel to ITV's hit murder mystery Broadchurch, it has been confirmed. The former Doctor Who actor, who reprise his role of Detective Inspector Alec Hardy opposite Colman's Ellie Miller. He will return to the show after starring in its US remake. Broadchurch, about the death of eleven-year-old Danny Latimer whose body is found at the foot of a cliff on the Dorset coast, was ITV's biggest drama hit since Downton Abbey and the most popular new midweek drama hit for a decade. Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan, who played Danny's parents Beth and Mark Latimer, will also return to their roles, alongside Arthur Darvill as the local vicar, Paul Coates. The second series, which is set to begin filming in Dorset shortly, has been written by Chris Chibnall, who created and wrote the first series which won a hat-trick of awards at the Broadcasting Press Guild earlier this year. The Cihb has previously said that the new run will be 'completely different' to the first. ITV's director of drama, Steve November, said: 'We're delighted Broadchurch is back in production, but we're remaining tight-lipped about how the story develops. Suffice to say Chris has delivered as always and the scripts are just as exciting as the first series.' Executive producer Jane Featherstone of programme-makers Kudos said: 'The reaction to Broadchurch from UK viewers has been incredible. So we'd like viewers to enjoy the new series knowing as little as possible about what's to come and for the story to unfold in real time.' It was also announced that Charlotte Rampling will take a leading role in the eagerly-awaited return of Broadchurch. The broadcaster said Rampling would play a 'pivotal' role in the new series which begins filming in the next few weeks. Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television, also revealed details of two new dramas starring Martin Clunes and David Threlfall. A three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes' novel Arthur & George, starring Clunes as the Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Code Of A Killer, the true story of the first big case cracked through DNA profiling that will star Shameless actor Threlfall who was so good recently in the Tommy Cooper biopic Not Like That Like This. Rampling's Broadchurch role marks a rare venture onto the small screen for the acclaimed film actor, known for movies including The Night Porter and Woody Allen's Stardust Memories. 'We have another big story to tell this year and that meant finding exceptional actors for new roles,' said Chris Chibnall. 'There's none more exceptional than Charlotte: to be writing for her is a dream come true. Charlotte's character is an integral part of our new story.' In a career spanning five decades, Rampling's recent film credits include The Duchess opposite Keira Knightley, with TV work including the BBC's adaptation of William Boyd's Restless. Arthur & George is being adapted by Ed Whitmore whose previous credits include numerous episodes of Silent Witness and Waking The Dead. Code Of A Killer will star Threlfall as David Baker. It's written by Michael Crompton and directed by James Strong, whose credits include Broadchurch, Doctor Who and BBC1's upcoming Peter Bowker drama, From There To Here.

Meanwhile, FOX has given a first glimpse of yer actual Tennant and Anna Gunn in the US Broadchurch remake, Gracepoint. Which, this blogger confidently predicts, will be shit. Detective Emmett Carver (Tennant) and his partner Ellie Miller (Gunn) feature in the trailer, as the pair investigate the mysterious murder of a twelve-year-old boy in a quiet seaside town. The ten-episode series will also star Michael Peña, Nick Nolte and Jacki Weaver. Earlier this year, Tennant revealed that the pilot episode 'sticks very closely to the original' before 'extra twists and turns' are explored as the series develops. Why? Why for the love of god, why? Was the money really that unturndownable, Dave? Gracepoint will premiere on FOX this fall on Thursdays, following new episodes of Bones. The network has also revealed a first look at its other new dramas Wayward Pines, Empire and Hieroglyph.

Parks and Recreation is amongst a number of shows earmarked for the chop as US networks outline plans for the new season and beyond. NBC said at the weekend the forthcoming seventh series of Parks and Recreation will be its last but did give a starting date for the show. Drama Parenthood, also on NBC, has been given its the boot when its sixth series comes to an end. The news came as part of the US networks' competitive yearly programme launch. Each new announcement is of big importance to the channel-saturated US TV industry as the main networks not only vie for audience attention but also that of potential programme buyers from domestic cable channels. International buyers are also in the networks' sights, particularly when it comes to new shows. 'People have more control now than they ever had before and they're using it,' said Cindy McKenzie of Price Waterhouse Coopers' US Entertainment, Media and Communications practice. 'And we're still as an industry making decisions based on rules that aren't in play. The market is still there but it's not growing.' Parks and Recreation is a critically-acclaimed comedy show about a small-town parks department and local government, starring Golden Globes co-host Amy Poehler although, personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has never really seen what so many people seem to find so hilariously funny about it. The show won programme of the year at the AFI award in 2012 and has been nominated for best comedy at the Golden Globes. Other US to UK TV exports that will to come to an end following their forthcoming series include comedies Cougar Town and Men At Work, both on the US cable channel TBS. But the channel will be taking on American Dad from FOX - which has also - very amusingly - cancelled The X Factor USA. Elsewhere, shows that continue to go from strength to strength include legal drama The Good Wife, currently enjoying its fifth series and being renewed by CBS for a sixth. Crime drama The Mentalist has also been recommissioned for a seventh run. Comedy series Modern Family, shown on ABC, will be back for a sixth series and medical drama Grey's Anatomy will be carrying on for an eleventh run and Hawaii Five-0 for a fifth series. As previously announced, CBS has already renewed CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for a fifteenth series, NBC have recommissioned both The Blacklist and Hannibal and FOX have renewed Bones. Among the shows cancelled are FOX's Almost Human, NBC's Believe and Community, CBS's Intelligence and CW's The Tomorrow People.

The Blacklist ended its first series on Monday of this week with a properly 24-like tool-stiffeningly violent episode which saw the death of one major character and another two barely making it out of the season alive. And, even more importantly, in the closing moments, a couple of potentially significant developments in the Red-Liz back story. The one minus point of the episode was the scene in the hospital in which Liz and Ressler interrogate the man whom they believe to be a guard on the crashed prison plane about the mysterious Berlin. If it had been ripped off any more from Verbal's description of how Keyser Soze came to be from The Usual Supsects it would have carried its own chorus of 'Old MacDonald Shot Some Guys.' Seriously, all it needed to complete the allusions was a '... and like that, pfft, he's gone' at the end! It's a fabulous series, dear blog reader, and its worth following for James Spader's performance alone but, hey guys, get some original ideas, will ya.
Heroes Reborn, a spin-off of the US SF show, will feature characters from the original series, NBC has confirmed. 'Some familiar faces from the show are bound to drop in,' said NBC's entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt at a presentation in New York. 'We have a big mini-series called Heroes Reborn, based on one of NBC's strongest dramas in recent years.' The thirteen episodes are due to be shown in 2015. 'Its original creator Tim Kring will reboot the show,' added Greenblatt. 'Plus, we'll ramp into the show with an original online series prior to launch.' No further details about the casting have been revealed yet. Heroes was shown from 2006 to 2010. The first series was one of the finest opening years of any US TV drama in living memory. Thereafter, it went down the pan faster than a really big stiff rotten turd.

Tony Hancock has been honoured with a blue plaque outside his former London home on what would have been his ninetieth birthday. It has been placed outside 20 Queen's Gate Place, Kensington, where the lad himself and his wife, Cicely Romanis, had a flat. The Birmingham-born star of Hancock's Half Hour first made his name on radio before transferring to TV in 1956. After a lengthy battle with alcoholism and difficulties in his personal life he killed himself in Australia in June 1968. Hancock's Half Hour writers Alan Simpson and Ray Galton unveiled the plaque on Sunday outside the Grade II-listed building. During his time at the property, co-stars such as Sid James and Kenneth Williams were regular visitors and it was there that Hancock mapped out the story for his later film, The Rebel. Simpson said: 'Tony Hancock was the comedian's comedian. When we were writing Hancock's Half Hour he told us; 'You're the writers, you write, I'm the comedian, I'll comede." And boy, could he comede.' Galton added: 'We are delighted that English Heritage is celebrating Tony with a plaque. It is a little ironic that a man who steadfastly refused throughout his career to use any blue material should be remembered with a blue plaque.' English Heritage's blue plaque historian Howard Spencer said: 'This blue plaque recognises a colossus of comedy. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Tony Hancock became one of Britain's first comedy superstars - a radio and television phenomenon - and his influence is still apparent today.'

Molly Smitten-Downes has spoken about her disappointment at her risible Eurovision placing. The twenty seven-year-old performed 'Children of the Universe' at the annual song contest over the weekend and was placed a laughably piss-poor seventeenth out of twenty six. Speaking to the Digital Spy website, Molly admitted that she got 'caught up' in the hype surrounding her and her song. 'We tried to keep our feet on the ground and not get sucked in to [the hype], but you do,' she explained. 'I think all of us were hoping for the top ten and we thought we were going to do that. It wasn't just our press, it was European press and bloggers saying we were the favourites, and it just seemed very real. So I guess, yeah, we were disappointed.'

Good Morning Britain's Ben Shephard has criticised media coverage of the show for focusing on co-presenter Susanna Reid's legs. The Daily Scum Mail along with other - slightly less scummier - newspapers have claimed that viewers complained Reid's legs could not be seen due to the desk-bound set of the new ITV breakfast show. Chris Evans went further on Monday night, introducing Reid at the Radio Academy awards as 'the former breakfast queen of British television.' Shephard has now hit back, reports the Mirra, saying he can't believe the media's obsession with Reid's legs: 'I find that extraordinary that people say that. It beggars belief. Susanna is an incredible journalist, who has worked for twenty-odd years in this industry yet seemingly her legs are more important. There is quite a lot more happening in the world.' He also said it could take time for Good Morning Britain's ratings to increase from their current level of around six hundred thousand – less than half the ratings of rival BBC Breakfast which Reid left to take the ITV gig. He added: 'Any TV show is hard to get right. When you launch a programme, it is an organic process. It is something that gets worked on for years and years and years. Good Morning Britain was very much about something that was going to grow over a period of time. We wanted to create a show that we are all very proud of.' Oddly, Shepherd never came to the aid of his Sky Goals Sunday co-host, Chris Kamara, when his legs were criticised by viewers. Mind you, Kammy has got fairly 'orrible big hairy pins.
Award-winning TV writer and comedian Caroline Aherne is recovering from treatment for lung cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support confirmed that the Fast Show and The Royle Family comedienne, who has previously had bladder and eye cancer, would speak at an appeal to improve cancer care in Manchester on 26 June. Caroline said of the appeal: 'I've had cancer and my brother's had cancer and we know how it affects people.' Nicola Cook, from Macmillan Cancer Support, said: 'Caroline's one of Manchester's own - she's loved here and people identify with her. We hope that if people see that Caroline is sitting down and talking to us then maybe they'll know that they can too.'
And, speaking of Good Morning Britain, in a seemingly desperate effort to drag in some viewers, on Monday it featured an interview with Freddie Starr. However, all didn't go according to plan. Starr stopped the interview with Susanna Reid after the Good Morning Britain host asked him about allegations of sex offences. Starr was arrested in 2012 but has recently been told that he will not be prosecuted over these allegations. Interviewing him at his home, Reid asked if Starr had done anything which 'could have been misinterpreted - in terms of your relationships.' Starr replied: 'Are you being serious?' before getting up, taking off his microphone and asking Reid to leave. 'I want to end this interview now,' he said. 'Of you'll leave my house, thank you.' The seventy one-year-old then stormed off in a huff but, later, resumed the interview, telling the presenter that the issue was 'still so raw.' Last week, the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was 'insufficient evidence' to prosecute Starr in relation to thirteen allegations of historical sexual abuse. There was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction in a fourteenth case, the CPS claimed, but this was not pursued because, it was suggested, it was 'not in the public interest' to do so. Whatever the Hell that's supposed to mean. Starr protested his innocence to Reid and described the nineteen months since his arrest as 'horrendous.' He claimed that he did not know the women who made complaints against him, describing them as 'just ghosts' and adding: 'This happened, like, fifty-odd years ago.' Speaking about the one allegation on which the CPS said it could have got a prosecution, he said: 'If they could have prosecuted me, they certainly would have done. They're just saying that to watch their own backs.' He told Reid that he had 'lost faith' in the justice system. 'It needs changing drastically,' he claimed. 'Just because you're arrested doesn't mean that you're guilty. You shouldn't be named until you're charged.' The presenter also asked about Starr's relationship with his former publicist, the convicted paedophile and filthy old rotter Max Clifford, who has been extremely jailed for eight years for a string of indecent assaults against girls and young women. 'Max Clifford was a different animal to me,' Starr replied. 'I didn't like Max Clifford. I didn't go out with him, I didn't do anything with him. It's got nothing to do with me.' After prematurely stopping the interview, Starr later returned with his wife, Sophie. 'It's hard to do an interview like this with it being so raw,' he explained. 'I've only been released three days ago. I'm just catching up on my sleep.' He also admitted that he had contemplated suicide. Mrs Starr said: 'It's changed him as a man. Even the little things, like with his daughter, at one point he was scared to even cuddle her because you've got the world judging you. I know Freddie will come back from this. I would say he is one of the most caring, gentle men that you can ever meet. He'd do anything for anybody. And the fact is that for him to be accused of this, thank God it is now over, people can start to see the true Freddie and not the person that was portrayed in the media because it's not him at all.'

A woman has claimed to a court that Rolf Harris assaulted her 'several times' as a teenager, including once when his own daughter was in the same room. The alleged victim, who cannot be named, claimed that she was 'scared' of Rolf and that his actions were 'creepy.' Rolf is alleged to have abused her from the age of thirteen at her home and his, as well as on holiday. The TV entertainer and artist denies twelve counts of indecently assaulting her and three other girls between 1968 to 1986. His alleged victims were aged between seven or eight and nineteen when the offences are said to have taken place. Seven of the twelve counts are alleged to have been carried out on the woman, who was friends with Rolf's daughter, Bindi. The woman claimed that once, while she was staying with the Harris family at their home in Berkshire, before she turned sixteen, Rolf performed a sex act on her while Bindi was asleep nearby. The two beds were 'close together' but Rolf did not seem inhibited by that fact, she told Southwark Crown Court. Rolf, from Bray in Berkshire, is also alleged to have assaulted the girl in her bedroom while her parents were downstairs, the court heard. After the alleged assault, Rolf 'started laughing and joking with everybody' in the living room, the woman told the court. The alleged victim, who was fifteen at the time, claimed it would make her feel 'anxious and panic-stricken' when she knew he would be coming to her house. The alleged assaults at her house are said to have taken place after the girl went on holiday abroad with the Harris family, having been invited by Bindi. She was thirteen at the time she alleges Rolf assaulted her in a hotel room when she was only wearing a towel. The woman, the first prosecution witness to appear in the trial, said Rolf gave her a 'pretty creepy' hug before the assault, which she said lasted 'for a few seconds.' Afterwards Rolf 'acted as if nothing had happened', the court heard. This alleged assault was before such offences abroad could be prosecuted in the UK, so it is not one of the charges against Rolf. He also allegedly assaulted her after she had been snorkelling while on the same holiday, the court heard. Six of the seven charges relating to the woman are for assaults which allegedly took place before she was sixteen. She claims that she consented to various sexual encounters with Rolf when she was an adult, but earlier the court heard she had felt 'unable to say no.' The alleged victim claimed that her sexual encounters with Rolf continued until she was twenty eight, saying she 'felt dead' on these occasions and 'did not know why' she let it continue, except that she was 'terrified' of him. She told the court about a time when she was around twenty four years old and she and the Harris family were visiting a mutual friend when she found herself alone with Rolf. She claimed that he assaulted her but a child, aged about eight, witnessed it and asked: 'Why have you got your hand down [the victim's] trousers?' 'Rolf said "no I haven't" and took his hand out quickly. He just carried on as normal,' she told the jury. The court earlier heard that the woman's father, on being told by his daughter about the alleged assaults, wrote to Rolf saying he was 'disgusted' and never wanted to see him again. The jury was told Rolf sent a reply, admitting a consensual adult affair and expressing his regret. The alleged victim said Rolf later came to visit her, apologised and said 'what have I done to you?' but denied their sexual relationship had begun when she was thirteen. Asked why she did not go to the police earlier, the woman told the court she was 'not strong enough.' But after seeing Rolf on TV at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 she decided she could not 'get away from this bloody man' who 'invades my home' via the TV. She decided she 'wasn't going to have any more of it' and called the police, she said. Rolf Harris denies all the charges. The case continues.

Meanwhile, convicted molester Stuart Hall was 'a calculating and predatory man' who raped and sexually assaulted two girls, a jury has been told. Hall is on currently trial at Preston Crown Court facing twenty charges of rape and indecent assault against two girls between 1976 and 1981. Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, finished his closing speech by telling the jury that Hall was 'guilty of each of the counts.' Hall denies all charges. Crispin Aylett QC, defending, opened his closing speech, saying: 'I'm now going to play my joker', in reference to Hall's most famous public role, as the host of It's A Knockout. It's nice to see that somebody finds a rape trial a place for humour, isn't it? The ex-presenter, from Wilmslow did not give evidence. Last year, Hall was extremely jailed for fifteen months for fourteen offences of indecent assault. His sentence was later extended to thirteen months at the Court of Appeal. The trial continues.

The Swiss artist and designer of Ridley Scott's Alien, HR Giger, has died aged seventy four, a spokesperson at Giger's museum in Gruyere has confirmed. He died in hospital of Monday after he fell down stairs at his Zurich home. Born in 1940, Giger was best known for his 'Xenomorph' alien in Scott's SF horror masterpiece for which Giger won a visual effects Oscar in 1980. He studied architecture and industrial design in Zurich and was known for creating strange dreamscapes. Meticulously detailed, Giger's surrealist paintings were usually produced in large formats and then reworked with an airbrush and usually feature scenes of humans and machines fused together. Giger described his style as 'biomechanical.' One of his pieces in particular - Necronom IV - inspired the alien killer in Sir Ridley's hit movie. Giger also worked on Aliens 3 (1992) and, more recently, appeared in a documentary about director Alejandro Jodorowsky's unmade film of the book Dune. Giger's vision of a human skull inside a machine appeared on the cover of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's 1973 LP, Brain Salad Surgery. But, that was stinking hippy drivel and should be avoided by everyone. Giger also designed covers for Debbie Harry's solo LP, Koo Koo. A poster inserted into the LP sleeve of The Dead Kennedys' LP Frankenchrist attracted attention when it became the subject of a court case. A complaint about the image of rows of genitalia on the poster resulted in the band's vocalist Jello Biafra, being tried for 'distributing harmful material to minors' in 1986. The case was thoroughly dismissed as a waste of the court's time, and probably got the Kennedys more sales than they might, otherwise, have attracted. In 1998, Giger opened his own museum in Gruyeres, which alongside his own paintings and sculptures, displays works from his own art collection from the likes of Salvador Dali, Dada and Ernst Fuchs. The museum is run by the artist's wife, Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger. In December 2004, Giger received the prestigious award, La Medaille De La Ville De Paris, at Paris City Hall. Last year, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle, along with fellow inductees The Grand Dame Her Very Self David Bowie and JRR Tolkien. Giger's work has also been exhibited around the world, including recent retrospectives in Hamburg, Moscow and Istanbul.

ITV is going to Bring Back Borstal. In the latest sick example of dreaming up TV formats to satisfy the most basic instincts in a portion of viewers who should, probably, be locked up themselves, the four-part series will feature young male offenders living in a 1930s-style Borstal regime. The show, which will be broadcast in 2015, will explore whether young men can deal with the demands and punishments of the thirties and whether it would deter them from crime. Criminal, dear blog reader. Sick, and criminal.

Odious, risible waste-of-space Alan Titchmarsh has admitted that he was 'hurt' by the BBC's decision to give him the tin-tack from its coverage of this year's Chelsea Flower Show, which will return at the weekend without him for the first time in thirty years. The former Gardeners' World presenter claimed that he was made 'an offer I had to refuse' by BBC management, who decided to replace him as the programme's main presenter with Monty Don. Titchmarsh, who is also stepping down from his utterly trivial and worthless ITV chat show, said that he avoided 'jealousy and bitterness', but still whinged: 'Yes, I suppose I was hurt, because I know people enjoy you doing it as much as I loved doing it.' Oh dear, what a shame. Still, at least now Titchmarsh can piss off back to anonymity where he belongs. Which is good.

Now TV, an Internet streaming service powered by Sky, has said it will refund customers after a number of people experienced viewing problems during the final day of the Premier League season. Angry users took to Twitter to whinge about the problems. Issues included interruptions and an 'oops something went wrong' message. The firm apologised and said it would be 'contacting all sports pass customers automatically to provide a refund or a replacement pass. You don't need to do anything to make this happen,' it said. The company also said that the problem - which affected viewing for about an hour - had not affected all customers, adding: 'The service is now back up and running. We're really sorry for any interruptions to your viewing this afternoon. We'll keep you updated on what we're doing to make things right via this topic.' Now TV allows customers to pay per day to watch extra Sky services. Sky said it 'did not disclose customer numbers for Now TV', therefore it is not possible to say how many people were affected. A Sky spokesperson said: 'We're sorry that some customers were unable to watch Sky Go or Now TV for around an hour this afternoon and we apologise for any frustration that caused. Our technical teams worked to restore the service for everyone as quickly as possible.' The company said it was still 'investigating the issues experienced and while we're looking into it can't give any further details at this stage.' The firm's reaction came as Sheikh Yer Man City were crowned Premier League champions after beating West Ham United on the final day of the season.
Ross Barkley has been selected in Roy Hodgson's England squad for the World Cup, with his teenage Everton team-mate John Stones on standby. Barkley, who has three caps, is joined by Southampton trio Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw. The Scum's Michael Carrick and Moscow Chelski FC's Ashley Cole have been left out of a youthful squad of twenty three. 'There were a number of decisions which were not easy to make,' said Hodgson. 'I hope the squad will give a good account of itself and they won't let the country down. Do I believe the squad can win the World Cup? Yes, otherwise what is the point of taking a squad to the World Cup. But they are empty words as, if you ask other coaches, they will say the same.' England begin their World Cup campaign against Italy in Manaus on 14 June, before further group matches against Uruguay and Costa Rica. Hodgson confirmed that centre-back Stones, aged nineteen, will replace The Scum's Phil Jones if Jones fails to recover from a shoulder injury. Stones is joined by Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws defender Jon Flanagan, Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy, West Ham striker Andy Carroll, Toronto forward Jermain Defoe, Carrick and Tom Cleverley on a standby list of seven players. Carrick, who has won thirty one caps and last featured for his country against Poland in October, said on Twitter: 'Disappointed to be left out of the squad, World Cups are special and to miss out hurts. Want to wish the boys the very best of luck.' Liverpool, who finished second in the Premier League, are the most represented club in the squad, with five players in Hodgson's twenty three. West Bromwich Albinos goalkeeper Ben Foster has been selected alongside Glasgow Celtic's Fraser Forster as cover for number one Sheikh Yer Man City's Joe Hart. Foster, who made himself unavailable for international football between May 2011 and February 2013, has not started for his country since 2010. Hodgson has also included Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson and The Arse's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere in a relatively inexperienced squad. Moscow Chelski FC's veteran midfielder Frank Lampard has been included, with captain Steven Gerrard, Phil Jagielka, Lambert, and Foster, the only other over-thirties in the squad. Only six of the squad have been to a World Cup before. 'Frank has been the captain of the team at times during my two years and vice-captain to Steven Gerrard,' said Hodgson. 'He still plays a very important role in his club side and his leadership qualities and ability as a player mean he fully justifies his position. We are not thinking about Euro 2016. That is a long way off. This tournament means everything to us. We want to do very well in it so our focus is on this tournament. I refute any claims that some of these players have been selected because of 2016. They are selected because of 2014 and I think that they can do well.' Oxlade-Chamberlain has been picked despite not playing since 20 April because of a groin injury, while his Gunners team-mate Wilshere has recovered from a foot injury. There had also been doubts over the fitness of The Scum pair Wayne Rooney and Jones after their struggles with groin and shoulder injuries respectively. Both players missed their side's final Premier League match at Southampton, although interim Scum manager Ryan Giggs, said that they would be fit for the World Cup and they have been selected. Stottingtot Hotshots defender Kyle Walker who has played ten times for the national side, has not been selected after being ruled out with a pelvic injury since 13 March. His absence means this is the first time since 1954 that Tottenham have not had a player in an England World Cup squad. Barkley made his England début in the 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Moldova in September and has impressed for Everton in the Premier League this season. He has made thirty eight club appearances this campaign, scoring seven goals, helping the Toffees to Europa League qualification. Stones earns a place on the reserve list despite not figuring in any of Hodgson's previous squads and only making his Premier League début in September. He moved to Goodison Park from Barnsley in January 2013. Cole retired from international football on Sunday after being told Southampton's eighteen year-old Shaw had been selected in his place. Shaw, reportedly the subject of a twenty seven million quid bid from The Scum, made his England début in March. Hodgson said: 'One player has one hundred and seven caps and one has many caps to come. It was a hard job to ring Ashley and I can only be unbelievably grateful for the gracious way he accepted the decision. Circumstances will prove whether the decision to take the younger player was the right one or not.' Shaw's Saints team-mates Lallana and Lambert will also be experiencing a major tournament for the first time. Shaw is the third-youngest England squad member in World Cup history after Theo Walcott in 2006 and The Little Shit in 1998. Midfielder Lallana, is the subject of a bid from Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws after scoring ten goals in forty two appearances this season and earning three England caps. Lambert was selected ahead of Andy Carroll whose season has been blighted by injury. England will play a friendly at Wembley against Peru on 30 May and Hodgson then has to confirm his final twenty three-man squad selection on 2 June. After that, the national side will play Ecuador on 4 June and Honduras on 7 June in two friendlies, both of which will be played in Miami, before the World Cup starts on 12 June.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's something for Roy.

No comments: