Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Don't Wanna Hear About The Muck You're Raking

The 'alternative' fiftieth anniversary special for Doctor Who, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, is to receive an official release on DVD, its co-star Colin Baker revealed at the Doctor Who Appreciation Society convention Myth Makers on Sunday afternoon. The actor reported that The Five(ish) Doctors would appear on an as-yet unscheduled special set featuring former Doctor yer actual Matt Smith. Baker played The Doctor - really badly - in two series in 1985 and 1986 (although, he wasn't helped by being served with some thoroughly wretched scripts, admittedly). No other details of what the set would contain are available at present, though it is likely to be released both on DVD and Blu-ray format later this year. The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot tells the story of the - increasingly desperate - attempts of 'classic' Doctors Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison (who also wrote and directed the - very entertaining - piece) to appear in the fiftieth anniversary adventure The Day Of The Doctor, and their various encounters and mishaps along the way.
FOX Germany have announced their intention to broadcast the next series of Doctor Who at the same time as or as near as possible to its transmission in the United Kingdom. The episodes, which will be available to watch in both a German-dubbed version or with the original English soundtrack, will be broadcast as close to the actual transmission on BBC1 as is practical - the UK schedules can vary from week-to-week depending upon other programming and events, whereas German schedules are 'less fluid' - as the press release cites, should the series be shown at 8:00pm in the UK then it would got out at 9:00pm in Germany. Marco de Ruiter, Managing Director for FOX, said: 'Wir sind stolz darauf, gemeinsam mit der BBC Fernsehgeschichte schreiben zu dürfen und die Kultserie Doctor Who erstmals als Globale Premiere in Deutschland, Österreich und in der Schweiz zeigen zu können - und zwar auf Deutsch und Englisch. Doctor Who fans sind ähnlich leidenschaftlich wie The Walking Dead fans, die jeder Tag schmerzt, den sie auf neue Episoden warten müssen. Wir freuen uns, ab sofort die Wartezeit gleich null setzen zu können.' Or, if you prefer it in English: 'We, together with the BBC, are proud to write TV history and broadcast the cult TV show Doctor Who for the first time as a global premiere in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – in German and English. Doctor Who fans are as passionate as The Walking Dead fans, who are in pain every day they have to wait for the new episodes. We are very happy to reduce the waiting time to zero.' The actual premiere date and time for the next series, beginning in August, has yet to be confirmed - although it will probably be either Saturday 23 August (Bank Holiday Saturday). In November, the channel narrowly missed being part of the global simulcast of The Day Of The Doctor, broadcasting the episode some ten minutes later at 9:00pm local time. Similarly, The Time Of The Doctor was broadcast about an hour later in Germany, though FOX were the first to show the festive episode after the UK. Doctor Who is currently a daily fixture on FOX, with the network at the moment in the middle of a repeat of series four. So, just another couple of weeks until they get to Let's Kill Hitler. Obviously.

The drama detailing the creation of Doctor Who, An Adventure In Space And Time, has been nominated for three prestigious Critics' Choice Television Awards. The drama itself has been nominated in the Best Movie category, where it faces competition from an episode of Sherlock as well as another BBC biopic, Burton & Taylor. David Bradley, who played William Hartnell in the drama, is nominated for Best Actor in a Movie of Mini-Series, while Jessica Raine, who played Doctor Who's first producer Verity Lambert, is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series. The Critics’ Choice Television Awards honour programs and performances that were broadcast between 1 June 2013 and 31 May this year and are voted for by American journalists who write about TV. The Awards will be presented at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Thursday 19 June in a ceremony hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. No, me neither.
Foxes has talked about her upcoming appearance on Doctor Who, revealing that she won't be playing an antagonistic character. Last week, it was announced that the pop music singer will make her acting debut in an upcoming episode of the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama. Foxes told BBC radio's Newsbeat: 'I'm not the villain.' She added that Peter Capaldi was 'really exciting and very confident. He's got a charisma and a charm that's very exciting and fresh,' she said. Foxes will perform a song during her appearance in the episodes, which she has revealed 'might be released' following its broadcast.

England's football friendly against Ecuador averaged more than 6.3 million viewers on Wednesday night, according to overnight figures. The match - which saw Wayne Rooney and Rickie Lambert score in a 2-2 draw - took 6.35m from 7.30pm on ITV, peaking around 9.30pm with 8.27m. On BBC1, Watchdog managed 3.36m in the 8pm hour. Del Boys & Dealers followed with 2.67m. BBC2's Great British Menu attracted 1.57m from 7pm. Springwatch and Coast Australia appealed to 1.93m and 1.54m respectively, before Episodes was watched by seven hundred and ninety thousand from 10pm. Mary's Silver Service was seen by six hundred and thirty two thousand between 8pm and 9pm, and Twenty Four Hours in A&E was watched by 1.71m afterwards. Channel Five's schedule included The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door (five hundred and thirty five thousand), Big Body Squad (six hundred and fifty seven thousand) and The McCanns and the Conman (seven hundred and fifty two thousand). ITV3's Lewis topped the multichannels with eight hundred and sixty six thousand from 8pm for the classic episode Falling Darkness. Sky1's 24: Live Another Day had an audience of four hundred and eighty one thousand in the 9pm hour, while season finales of The Tomorrow People and Bates Motel drew three hundred and eighty two thousand and one hundred and fourteen thousand viewers respectively on E4 and Universal.

Happy Valley rose by nearly a million overnight viewers for its finale on Tuesday. The BBC1 crime drama almost equalled its series high rating, rising to 6.2 million at 9pm. Later, A Question Of Sport was watched by 2.1m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Springwatch interested 2.2m at 8pm, followed by Welcome To Rio with 1.3m at 9pm. A Qi repeat had 1.3m at 10pm. On ITV, the documentary Quads: Our First Year appealed to 2.9m at 8pm. The Secret Life Of Babies brought in 2.6m at 9pm. Channel Four's Location, Location, Location gathered 1.4m at 8pm, followed by The Complainers with 1.1m at 9pm. Embarrassing Bodies Live fascinated six hundred and eighty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, The Dog Rescuers was seen by one million punters at 8pm, followed by the latest CSI also with a million viewers at 9pm. Inside Broadmoor intrigued seven hundred and seventy one thousand at 10pm. Sky Atlantic's Penny Dreadful continued with two hundred and eighty four thousand at 9pm.

ITV's The Secret Of Life Of Cats topped Monday evening outside of soaps, overnight data has revealed. The documentary attracted 3.6 million viewers at 9pm. Gino's Italian Escape was seen by 2.6m at 8pm. On BBC1, Panorama's Jimmy Savile special (and, one uses that word quite wrongly, of course) brought in 2.5m at 8pm, followed by Crimewatch with 3.6m at 9pm. BBC2's latest Springwatch episode appealed to 2.5m at 8pm. A Very British Airline debuted with 2.8m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Odious Full-Of-His-Own-Importance Jamie Oliver's Latest Crass Self-Publicity Vehicle About Money Saving Meals was watched by a mere one million viewers at 8pm, followed by the finale of The Island with 1.9m at 9pm. Bear Grylls: Born Survivor attracted 1.2m at 10pm. Channel Five's Illegal Immigrant & Proud interested nine hundred and sixty four thousand viewers at 9pm, followed by Inside Broadmoor with six hundred and ninety nine thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Barely Legal Drivers was watched by five hundred and ninety four thousand at 9pm. BBC4's Only Connect had an audience of seven hundred and twenty seven thousand at 8.30pm. On Sky Atlantic, Game Of Thrones' latest episode had nine hundred and fifty thousand at 9pm.

Countryfile came out on top of the ratings on a quiet Sunday, according to overnight data. The popular BBC1 nature series brought in 5.5 million at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with five million at 8pm. Dublin-based drama Quirke continued with 3.7m at 9pm. On ITV, Catchphrase pulled in 4.1m at 7pm. Michael Flatley's Night To Remember special was then watched by 3.4m at 8pm, followed by the James Bond movie Quantum Of Solace with 1.9m at 9.30pm. BBC2's I Bought A Rainforest appealed to 1.6m at 8pm. Britain's Greatest Pilots was watched by 1.5m at 9pm, while D-Day: The Last Heroes brought in 1.2m at 10pm. Channel Four's For The Love Of Cars gathered 1.4m at 8pm, while Fargo's latest episode was seen by 1.2m at 9pm. On Channel Five, the Jackie Chan movie The Medallion attracted nine hundred and twelve thousand at 7pm, followed by Resident Evil: Extinction with seven hundred and eighty five thousand at 9pm. BBC3 special The World Cup's Fifty Greatest Moments topped the multichannels with eight hundred and five thousand viewers at 8pm.

Which brings us to the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 25 May 2014:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sun ITV - 9.20m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.64m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.80m
4 Happy Valley - Tues BBC1 - 7.33m
5 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 6.70m
6 From There To Here - Thurs BBC1 - 5.51m
7 UEFA Champions League Final Live - Sat ITV - 5.11m
8 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.95m
9 Quirke - Sun BBc1 - 4.94m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.92m
11 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.90m
12 The British Soap Awards - Sun ITV - 4.87m*
13 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.80m
14 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.65m
15 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.58m
16 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.54m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.27m
18 Tonight - Fri ITV - 4.20m*
19 Del Boys & Dealers - Wed BBC1 - 4.11m
20 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 3.97m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include any HD figures. BBC2's top-rated programme of the week was The RHS Chelsea Flower Show with 3.04m viewers - in fact, all five nightly episodes topped two million - followed by Coast Australia (2.36m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was, as usual, Googlebox with 3.79m. The Mentalist was Channel Five's best performer with 1.72m. Once again, E4's The Big Bang Theory attracted more than anything which Channel Five pulled in all week (2.01m).

ITV's Vera will return for a fifth series in 2015. Filming has commenced in the North East on four new episodes of the popular detective series, with yer actual Brenda Blethyn reprising the title role. Joining Vera Stanhope in the next series will be Sergeant Aiden Healy, played by Stella's Kenny Doughty. Doughty replaces David Leon, who played Joe Ashworth. Series five will also feature the return of Jon Morrison as Kenny Lockhart. Cush Jumbo, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Riley Jones will also reprise their roles in the new episodes. Blethyn said: 'I am so happy to be embarking on series five of Vera and whilst I'll miss David Leon (Joe Ashworth finally got his long awaited promotion - Celine was delighted), I'm very glad to be reunited with Jon Morrison, Riley Jones, Cush Jumbo and our new member of the team Kenny Doughty. Northumberland, here we come.' Meanwhile, Doughty, added: 'I'm really thrilled to be joining Vera. It's such a fantastic show and I'm especially excited to be working alongside the lovely and brilliant Brenda Blethyn.' The first episode of the new series will see Vera and Aiden investigate a mysterious death at a caravan park. Filming on the fifth series will continue in the North East until autumn, with the episodes scheduled to be broadcast next year.

Today's blog update is dedicated to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's good mate Ben Adams who is, sadly, currently having some medical issues. Get well soon, mate. Otherwise, well I'm afraid ...
The first on-location photos from the second series of Broadchurch have been released. They show yer actual Arthur Darvill, national heart-throb David Tennant and the Goddess that is Olivia Colman her very self apparently visiting Danny Latimer's grave. A heavily pregnant Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan, who played Danny's parents - Beth and Mark - were also spotted. Writer Chris Chibnall told the Mirra last summer that the focus of the next series will be on how the shattered community of Broadchurch rebuilds itself after the grisly events which had viewers hooked for eight weeks and recently won three BAFTAs. He said: 'I mentioned to ITV that if people liked it, there was another very different story we could tell afterwards. I'm really thrilled we're going to tell that story, too.' Will Mellor, who played Steve Connolly in the first series, has suggested previously that there won't be another murder when series two comes to ITV. He said: 'I can't see it being about another murder because it will be a bit too coincidental. All I know is it's going to be a surprise because the writer always catches you out.'
ITV has revealed that its new pay-TV drama channel Encore will launch with shows including Broadchurch and Lucan. ITV Encore, which aims to be a showcase for 'the best of contemporary British ITV drama', launches exclusively on Sky channel 123 on 9 June. The centrepiece of the launch of the channel, ITV's first major return to pay-TV since the collapse of ITV digital more than a decade ago, will be the broadcast of Broadchurch for the first time since its original transmission on ITV more than a year ago. ITV has scheduled the award-winning eight part drama in double bills from Monday through Thursday. The broadcaster has also lined-up Mrs Biggs, which tells the story of Ronnie Biggs and The Great Train Robbery from the viewpoint of his former wife (an award-winning performance by Sheridan Smith) and the final four stories in David Suchet's twenty five years playing Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. 'Drama is a genre that we know audiences love and we have worked with some fantastic talent, both on and off screen, to build a really strong stable of series and serials over the years,' said the ITV director of television, Peter Fincham. 'ITV Encore will give viewers the opportunity to revisit, or indeed discover, a wealth of ITV drama from recent times.' The schedule will also include The Ice Cream Girls, adapted from Dorothy Koomson's novel, and biopic Lucan, starring Rory Kinnear and Christopher Eccleston. Whitechapel and DCI Banks will be shown from their first series. Later this year ITV intends to launch a a new female-focused, free-to-air channel, called ITVBe, which will become the home of shows including The Only Way Is Essex. So, that post-apocalyptic zombie nightmare will definitely be worth avoiding, then.

Dame Judi Dench is to star alongside yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch in a forthcoming BBC adaptation of Richard III after Benny ambushed Dame Judi during her appearance at the Hay Festival. What a chancer, eh? She was being interviewed by TV and theatre director Richard Eyre as the literature festival drew to a close. Benny - who had a front row seat - seized his chance during a question and answer session with the audience, asking Dame Judi to appear in the play. She replied 'Yeah!' So, that was that sorted, then. The actor, who will play King Richard III - now is the winter of his discontent and that - in the new film, has reportedly been 'pursuing' Dame Judi to appear alongside him for several months. But, when fans do that to Benny, it's called stalking and they get court orders taken out against them. No justice. After watching the question and answer session Benny joined Dame Judi on stage to perform short excerpts from plays including Antony and Cleopatra. The Sherlock actor had, as previously reported, been at the festival in Powys to take part in another event reading love letters on Saturday. Filming on the BBC's new production of Richard III is due to begin later this year. It is part of the Hollow Crown series of Shakespeare's history plays which were first broadcast on television in 2012. During Sunday's event Dame Judi also paid tribute to her brother, Jeffrey Dench, the Shakespearian actor who had been due to join her on stage but who died earlier this year. Dame Judi's appearance was one of the final events of The Hay Festival, which has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the small town of Hay on Wye for a celebration of literature and the arts.

The dry as a boned in the desert American comic Rich Hall is making another BBC4 documentary about his homeland. Rich Hall's California Stars is due to be broadcast next month and follows five other acclaimed documentaries which combined history, social portraits and popular culture. In the new ninety-minute film, the comic will explore how reality 'has never been good enough for Californians. They are always vaguely dissatisfied with themselves, their bodies, their spirituality, their government and their present car.' Made by Open Mike Manchester, the sister company of the Off The Kerb comedy agency which represents Rich, the film will trace the state's history from gold prospectors to dotcom marvels – as well as why it is a magnet for Mexicans. Hall's previous films are: Inventing The Indian, Continental Drifters, The Dirty South, the award-winning How The West Was Lost and You Can Go to Hell, I'm Going To Texas.

Law and Order: UK is to be 'rested' after its male lead, yer actual Bradley Walsh, announced that he was leaving the show. Based on the long-running American franchise, the UK version began in 2009 with Walsh in the role of police detective Ronnie Brooks. ITV said that the final episode of series eight, to be broadcast on 11 June, would be the last 'for the foreseeable future.' Bradley his very self said that he was leaving 'to pursue other drama projects.' The actor and presenter - who also hosts the popular ITV game show The Chase - was nominated in the best TV detective category at the National Television Awards earlier this year for his role. 'It's been an absolute pleasure to inhabit Ronnie's Mac for as long as I have,' Bradley said. 'Eight series is a wonderful achievement for everyone involved in the production. This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I hope one day to revisit him, but for now I'd like the opportunity to pursue other drama projects which ITV are developing.' He added: 'I'd really love fans of the series, old and new, to watch the final episode to give the series a fitting and proper send off.' Law and Order: UK regularly attracted more than six million viewers an episode when it launched in February 2009. The latest series, which began in March, has averaged between four and five million viewers. 'There may well come a time when we re-visit Law and Order: UK,' said ITV's director of drama commissioning, Steve November. 'For the moment, we'll be resting the series whilst we continue to refresh our drama slate.'

Jason Manford is to host a new ITV comedy pilot. A Funny Old Week will see the stand-up comic fronting 'a topical show' described as 'a hilarious look at the week's news from international political crises to bus stop disputes.' So, nothing at all like Have I Got News For You, then? The show will follow A Funny Old Year, which has been broadcast on the channel on the previous two New Year's Eves, starring guest comics and written by Andrew Bird and Gary Delaney among others. Last year, Manford piloted a similar topical show for ITV titled Good News, Bad News. BBC bosses were said to have been really rather vexed by this format, which was produced by Hat Trick Productions, the team behind the totally dissimilar Have I Got News For You. However, A Funny Old Week will be made by ITV Studios.

Strictly Come Dancing professionals James Jordan and Artem Chigvintsev will not be returning to the popular BBC show this autumn, the corporation has confirmed. Jordan, a show regular for eight years, rejected the offer of 'a reduced role', taking part in one-off specials. Chigvintsev chose to stay in the US where he was on Strictly's US adaptation, Dancing With The Stars. This year's series will be the first to be fully co-presented by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly after Sir Bruce Forsyth his very self stepped down in April. Russian dancer Chigvintsev - who won the eighth series in 2010 with former EastEnders actress Kara Tointon - reached the final in December partnering soap star Natalie Gumede. Anya Garnis, who joined the show last year and partnered Casualty's Patrick Robinson, will also not return as a main dancer but will remain part of the choreography team. Jordan reportedly turned down the offer of a reduced role, which would not have seen him partnered with a celebrity on the main programme. Despite his leaving the show his wife, Ola, has signed up for another series which will see eight female and seven male professional dancers compete - including two new faces. Joanne Clifton will dance alongside her brother Kevin, who partnered with then BBC presenter Susanna Reid in 2013. They will be the first siblings to participate on the show. She will be joined by Tristan MacManus, who spent three years on Dancing With The Stars teaming up with celebrities including Pamela Anderson, the Goddamn Empress of Soul Gladys Knight and figure skater Dorothy Hamill. Other returning female dancers to Strictly include Australian Natalie Lowe, who was forced to pull out of the last series due to injury, Aliona Vilani, Iveta Lukosiute, Janette Manrara, Karen Hauer and Kristina Rihanoff. The male professionals are completed by Aljaz Skorjanec, long-time regulars Anton du Beke and Brendan Cole, Pasha Kovalev and Robin Windsor. Executive producer Louise Rainbow, said: 'We're delighted that Joanne and Tristan will be joining our fantastic cast of professional dancers this year and look forward to them becoming part of the Strictly family. A huge thank you goes out to both Artem and James for being hard working, dedicated dancers on the show, and we wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.'

ITV has denied a tabloid report that it was to axe Good Morning Britain, saying that it intends to 'support' the ailing breakfast fiasco 'for the long run.' According to a report in Monday's Sun, the month-old show is 'facing the axe', as audience ratings continue to lag not only behind its BBC opposition but, also, below those of its ill-fated flop of a predecessor, Daybreak. However, an ITV spokeswoman said that there are 'no plans' to scrap the show, which is fronted by a presenting line-up that includes star signing, greed bucket (and drag) Susanna Reid. 'We are in this for the long game,' the spokeswoman said. 'We are proud of the show, we are trying something new, and different.' The Sun had, allegedly, quoted a - suspiciously anonymous - alleged 'ITV source' allegedly saying that the show needed to average a fifteen per cent audience share and would get at least six months to prove itself, but that, if it failed 'it could just go and be replaced by cartoons.' Reid very very self, who was hired from rival BBC Breakfast following months of will-she-won't-she speculation that, frankly, bored the tits off just about everyone, has defended the show, saying that it was 'too early to judge.' No it isn't, dear blog reader. It's crap. Next ... 'There is a lot of focus on ratings, and comparing us to my alma mater on the other side,' she said her column in the Daily Mirra. 'But four weeks in is too early to judge.' The blogger repeats, no it isn't. She added: 'The team in front of camera and working hard behind it is terrific and I am lucky to be part of it.' And fantastically well paid, don't forget that part, Susanna. Since launching at the end of April Good Morning Britain has struggled, despite a high profile presenting line-up which also includes Ben Shephard, ex-Sky News presenter Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher. The show has averaged less than six hundred thousand viewers across its first month, 28 April to 28 May, with a fifteen per cent audience share. BBC Breakfast averaged almost 1.5 million viewers during the same period - a thirty seven per cent share of the available audience. Good Morning Britain's predecessor, notorious and spectacular flop Daybreak, managed an average of almost seven hundred thousand punters for the same period last year, a share of just over sixteen per cent. The new ITV show slumped to a record low of just two hundred and seventy thousand viewers last Monday, albeit with viewing impacted by the bank holiday.
The Thick Of It creator Armando Iannucci has joined those calling on the BBC to axe the licence fee in favour of subscription and pay for home grown programmes by 'ruthlessly' selling itself abroad. Iannucci, who created the character of Alan Partridge with Steve Coogan, said that the BBC could 'make a fortune' by switching to a subscription model. He said the corporation was 'on cracking form', highlighting shows such as the Gillian Anderson drama The Fall, odious unfunny lard bucket (and drag) James Corden's The Wrong Mans and BBC3's supernatural offering In The Flesh. 'The BBC would make a fortune if it ran as a subscription service abroad. It's revered across the world, and rightly so,' Iannucci said on Twitter. 'Money made from subscriptions abroad would fund even better programmes at home and take pressure off falling licence fee collection. If the international model works, BBC could replace licence fee at home with a subscription fee, set lower than current licence fee.' He added: 'Current exemptions would still apply, so no one would pay more for a subscription than they do now for a TV licence. The subscription would give you access to BBC archive too. We'd get a quality service at home, by ruthlessly selling ourselves abroad. Having lived abroad, I know many people (expats and locals) who would pay to access the BBC abroad (iPlayer PPV access).' Iannucci's comments come after he said in a London Evening Standard interview published on Monday that the licence fee model was 'being outmoded' by the changing way people are watching television. 'The BBC should make a mint from the brand internationally. It needs a new attitude that says it's not filthy to make money,' he said. 'As for the licence, you have people on laptops saying: "What is a television?" There will be a subscription model.' He echoed his previous comments in his BAFTA lecture two years ago, when he said that the corporation had to be 'more gung-ho' in taking on its critics. He also said that the BBC was 'not as bold as commercial rivals' such as US cable network HBO, for whom he makes political satire, Veep. 'HBO is on the side of the creative. It is a bit like how the BBC was ten or fifteen years ago when they said, "Oh yes, we trust you,"' Iannucci told the Standard. 'The BBC lost that with competition from Sky and Channel Four and started hiving off the commissioning side from the programming side. People were making decisions who hadn't come up through programming. But I'm optimistic now that, because Sky and Netflix and Amazon and YouTube are putting money in, people who make stuff are realising there's more than one game in town.' On the BBC's response to the recent controversy over Jezza Clarkson, Iannucci said: 'There is a lot of headless chickening going on. I will man the barricades for the BBC, they have been good to me, but they have a tendency when accused of a crime just to hand themselves into the police station. What is the worst that could happen if they were rude to the Daily Mail?' Iannucci first called on the BBC to launch an HBO-style subscription channel in 2008. His comments come with the future of the BBC and its funding up for grabs in the run-up to licence renewal in 2016. MPs have said the £145.50 charge could be decriminalised, a prospect that has been fiercely criticised by the BBC themselves which said it could cost it up to two hundred million quid in funding. Overseas viewers already pay for BBC programmes on the iPlayer, an annual pass for the global iPlayer costing as little as fifty two smackers a year. The BBC's director of strategy and digital James Purnell has warned against any move to introduce subscription payments, saying it would lead to 'first-and-second-class' licence fee payers and cost five hundred million notes to implement. 'You get into first-and-second-class licence fee payers, you would be taking stuff away from people which they value,' he said in April. 'You would only be reducing the licence fee by ten or twenty pounds.' He added: 'We don't think [subscription] would be simple at all. There are forty million Freeview sets out there, you would have to visit all of those. You'd have to put conditional access on them, give them subscription cards, and that would cost five hundred million pounds. We think the overall system would be more expensive to run than the licence fee, and we think that would be significantly worse than the current system.'

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, meanwhile, has raised the possibility that the BBC could be funded by something other than a licence fee, describing the current £145.50 a year compulsory charge as 'a means to an end, not an end in itself.' Mad Hattie's comments come in an interview in Total Politics magazine. Harman said: 'If there's a better way to have universal and a measure of independence from government in terms of the finance, if there a better way of doing that, let's hear about it. We haven't found it in the past; we might do in the future. Let's see. It's not easy to see what would be better than the licence fee, but that doesn't mean it actually shouldn't be looked at. Harman said other methods 'should be considered' for paying for the BBC, saying the current licence renewal process, due to be completed by the end of 2016, was 'an opportunity to re-examine' the corporation's funding model. But, she said the debate should not be at the risk of the BBC, which she said was 'not to be undervalued and undermined. The BBC is for everyone. What we are absolutely not up for is a kind of ideological attack on the BBC because it is a public sector broadcaster. The fact that it is a large public sector broadcaster is one of its most important attributes. That must be protected and we are absolutely unambiguous about that. There is an opportunity to consider change but in the context of very strong support.' Harman, who wrote to lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Javid last month warning the government that it 'must not allow political bias' to influence the appointment of Lord Patten's successor as chair of the BBC Trust, described it as a 'very important appointment at a very critical time for the BBC. It's one of those appointments that needs to be done not on a party political basis, and therefore a big responsibility falls on him to act in the public interest, not in a partisan way, so we've written to him to urge him not to behave like that,' she told the magazine. She said that the entire future of the Trust model was 'up for debate' in the wake of a series of scandals at the BBC, from the Savile fiasco to multimillion executive pay-offs. She said: 'What is the framework of the Trust? How are the people appointed? Should there be a trust? What is the division between the regulatory functions of the trust and the executive functions of the board? All of these things really ought to be looked at in the proper process of charter review, not plucked out.'

Journalists and politicians are well-known for enjoying the odd drink and, according to a Michael Crick feature in the Daily Torygraph, nowhere more so than the BBC Green Room after Newsnight had finished. The Channel Four News political correspondent spent nineteen years on the BBC2 programme and a lot of that time seems to have been spent boozing with the great and good of Westminster. A roll-call of political heavyweights includes Douglas Hurd, Mo Mowlam, Vince Cable and Kenneth Clarke – who, Crick says, regularly used to keep yawning researchers up until 1.30am while he polished off the plonk. Crick recalls how 'there seemed to be an endless supply of beer, wine and spirits.' But, all good things come to an end. 'By the time I left in 2011, the Green Room had changed dramatically. We didn't get sandwiches anymore; on Fridays we even had to share the space with the Newsnight Review staff, so there weren't enough chairs for everyone.'

It was billed as 'David Beckham's epic journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest', but Michael Palin jokingly described the former England football captain 'a wimp' after Becks was rattled on his debut BBC1 travelogue by a frog, a snake and, more impressively, concerns about his hair. Beckham and three friends travelled to Rio de Janeiro, where they played beach volleyball with the locals, before journeying to the remote Yanomami tribe for the ninety-minute film masterminded my Beckham's marketing guru, Simon Fuller. The ex-footballer spent the night in the rainforest during the twelve-day trip – 'literally the middle of nowhere,' he said – accompanied only by his friends and two expert guides. Beckham achieved one of his ambitions, which was to find somewhere in the world where he was not recognised, and had to explain football to one of the locals. He said, rather wittily this blogger thought: 'It is the first time I have ever had to explain what soccer is to anybody. Apart from Victoria.' Now, that made me laugh. Beckham, who travels around much of the country on a motorbike, described some of the experiences as 'terrifying' and complained about the perils of having to sleep in a hammock. He is filmed being left shaken by a brightly coloured frog which appears on top of the tent and by a snake which he worries is on his back and is then seen slithering off into the jungle. The snake that is, not Becks. Palin, the Monty Python's Flying Circus comedian and veteran of numerous BBC travelogues -including one to Brazil - who interviewed Beckham at the programme launch on Monday, told him: 'You are a wimp really. David Attenborough would have interviewed it [the frog].' And Palin's Monty Python colleague Terry Jones would have eaten it, if it was crunchy. Beckham said: 'I wish the snake had been bigger. It was bigger than it looks on TV. I am not a big frog fan. It was bright orange and I was told it was pretty dangerous. I was a little bit nervous about that.' Before setting off on the journey Beckham was filmed being given advice by his wife. She asks him: 'What are you going to do with your hair, with all that humidity?' Beckham replies, much to the approval of his wife: 'I am going to wear a hat.' Seriously, dear blog reader, those two definitely have a future in comedy if they can produce material of this quality. Becks also related a tricky experience with one tribesman who was naked and covered entirely in black paint. Despite his misgivings about the sleeping arrangements, Beckham said that he wanted to do another travelogue 'without a doubt.' Whether it would be on the BBC remains to be seen. The documentary, David Beckham: Into The Unknown was jointly funded by the Beeb's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, BBC1 and Fuller's XIX agency. It has been sold to around fifteen countries so far. Fuller is understood to have first approached the BBC last year with the idea for the documentary, in the run-up to the World Cup later this month. Palin said that the programme showed aspects of Beckham which he had not seen before. While he said parts of it were 'more David Beckham than David Attenborough', he added that it was well shot and praised the footballer as 'a good observer.' The documentary will be broadcast on BBC1 next Monday and in Brazil on the same day.

It's been a busy few days for yer man Jezza Paxman. Not only did the outgoing Newsnight presenter enrage the UK's poets by claiming the form had 'connived at its own irrelevance' by not engaging with the public, he also took on a potentially more dangerous enemy – the Scots. The Independent reports that Paxo told BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live: 'Increasingly, since there is now such a head of steam in Scotland for hating the English, I describe myself as English, although I am in fact one quarter Scottish. It's interesting, isn't it, that in this union of supposed equals, only one side gets to vote on whether the union continues.' Pressed by presenter Aasmah Mir, Paxman qualified his comments: 'Hate is overstating it, and I apologise. But it is to do with a detestation of being ruled from London.' He went on to say: 'I would absolutely love to write a book on the Scots. We might start tackling some of the great sustaining Scottish myths, like the kilt, which was actually invented by an Englishman as far as I can tell. And the Highland clearances.' The Independent quotes a spokesman from the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign as saying the presenter's comments were 'mad as ever.' Yep, pretty much. And that's why we love him. Paxo also went on to criticise his BBC bosses on the Radio 4 show, saying the Newsnight hospitality room 'tends to be a disgusting basement with stained carpets, where very occasionally a glass of Moldovan riesling may be dispensed to some unfortunate guest. And there is a strictly rationed limit of about four bottles of whatever beer is cheapest at Costco.' Mad as toast, dear blog reader. We're gonna miss him so much when he goes.
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks's husband may have been "'foolish or stupid' but he is not a criminal, the jury in the phone-hacking trial has heard claimed. Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks was not trying to pervert the course of justice as it is alleged, when he hid material including computers and his pornography collection behind a bin at their Chelsea home on the day of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebehak Brooks's arrest in July 2011, the jury was told. His counsel, Neil Saunders, said that millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks accepts his actions were 'unwise' but he hid the material 'to save himself embarrassment' and 'to prevent the police getting hold of the only manuscript of a new novel he was writing.' This was not a crime, Saunders claimed, as none of the material could have been 'evidence of interest' to the investigation of his wife. Saunders told jurors that in order for the prosecution to prove its case against millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, 'you must be sure there is some additional missing property that has never been recovered.' He told the jury that it also had 'to be sure it's the direct responsibility of Charlie Brooks' and that the material 'contains something relevant to the police investigation into hacking or some sort of cover-up relating to the allegations.' Saunders attacked the prosecution's case as 'theory-driven and not evidence-led.' He told jurors that millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks made 'an impulsive decision' to remove his own property from the flat in Chelsea Harbour while his wife was being extremely detained at Lewisham police station on 17 July 2011. Among the items taken downstairs to the underground car park were a pornographic magazine, a large number of pornographic DVDs in a Jiffy bag and a Sony Vaio laptop which, it is claimed, held his manuscript. 'He had a Jacqui Smith moment,' Saunders said in reference to the former Labour Home Secretary. Millionaire Charlie Brooks was also worried that if the police found his pornography, the story would make its way into the media, the jury was told. Which, it did. 'His instinctive reaction was the police could easily leak this material to the press' because of the number of leaks about hacking arrests to the Gruniad Morning Star by a police officer, Sunders said. Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks has been charged with conspiring with others to pervert the course of justice by concealing material from the police. Saunders said that if this was correct he would have been 'involved in a military-style operation' involving a security man he had never met before, another who had been working for his wife for just three weeks and the head of security at international, Mark Hanna, who is his co-defendant. 'The prosecution theory is of a fairly complicated and carefully planned military-style operation involving many people embroiled in a web of deceit,' he said. 'The defence suggest you use your common sense and you will conclude this was not a clever plan but a man under pressure who made a foolish decision to hide his property,' he added. He told jurors that for the prosecution case to be proved they had to be sure that there was some additional property hidden that was never recovered and that it contained something 'relevant to the police investigation to hacking or some sort of cover-up relating to allegations. The motivation for protecting his own personal property were simple. They were vital for his work and some of the items could potentially cause obvious embarrassment,' he added. Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks's actions, he accepted, 'were unwise but they were not criminal. We say there is no evidence that anything was destroyed or permanently hidden,' said Saunders of millionaire Old Etonian Brooks, a racehorse trainer and close personal friend of the Prime Minister. Saunders asked jurors to remember hostile atmosphere in the days following the revelation that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked, which had emerged two weeks before well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks's arrest. His wife had become 'a figure of hate' and there were regular leaks to the Gruniad coming from the centre of the police investigation. Saunders claimed. 'Charlie Brooks accepts his actions were ill-thought-out, bluntly described by Laidlaw [well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks's counsel] as "stupid", we would suggest, but not criminal.' Saunders said that he was 'sure' millionaire Old Etonian Brooks would forgive him if he said his client 'wasn't academically gifted' but that 'over the years he has done well even if along the way there have been a few mishaps' including 'a dreadful column' in the Evening Standard and a string of failed business ventures related to horses. Jurors heard how he had become a stable lad at eighteen and was prone to 'daft moments' including the time he drank a pint of Fairy Liquid to 'rid himself of the excesses of the night before.' Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks and his wife, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and Hanna deny all of the charges against them.

Meanwhile, the jury in the phone-hacking trial has been told not to 'envy' the lifestyle enjoyed the defendants and to remember that no one is so powerful that they can ignore the law. In his summing-up of the case, which is now in its one hundred and twenty sixth day, Mr Justice Saunders told jurors that 'everyone is entitled to their privacy' and not to have their phones hacked. He said that the jury should not to'be "dazzled' by the fact that some of the defendants, which include former Scum of the World editors well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and the prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson, were friends of politicians and other famous people and were in 'positions of influence.' The jury already knows that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks received 'advice' from Tony Blair at the height of the phone-hacking scandal. 'Some of those on trial enjoyed a lifestyle you can only dream of, not just in financial terms but influence they brought to bear,' Saunders said. 'They were friends of politicians, they are friends of the stars. Many people only get to see them in the cinema or the football pitch. You do not envy them their success or be dazzled by it. Respect their success but everyone is subject to the law of the land – no one is so powerful they can ignore the law.' Saunders gave detailed directions to the jurors on how they should consider each count against the seven defendants and addressed allegations by the prosecution that some defendants may have 'lied' or withheld evidence during police interviews that they later relied on court. He told jurors that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was being tried 'on a number of different bases', one of which was that at the very least she must have known that Milly Dowler's phone was hacked was April 2002 when she returned from holiday. She was editor of the Scum of the World at the time, but was away in Dubai the week it carried a story which contained references to the missing schoolgirl's voicemails. The paper was edited by her deputy, Coulson, who the judge reminded jurors had said he 'hadn't rated' the Dowler story and had moved it back in the paper between editions. Saunders said that if the jury was 'sure' that the prosecution's allegation that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks would have 'learned' about the Dowler story, and therefore the hacking, on her return from Dubai, it was entitled to conclude 'that Rebekah Brooks has lied in her evidence given on oath as she said she did not know phone hacking of Milly Dowler's voicemails until revealed by the Guardian on 4 July 2011.' Saunders continued: 'Mrs Brooks denied telling any lies about Milly Dowler in her evidence. You will have to decide about whether she has lied to you about when she became aware of the hacking of Milly Dowler. If you are not sure then you do not need to consider this direction any further.' Saunders told jurors it was 'not sufficient' for the prosecution 'to prove that Rebakah Brooks knew about phone-hacking.' He told them 'the charge is conspiracy, the prosecution have to prove not only knowledge but that she agreed to continue after she knew about it.' The judge also addressed the prosecution's assertion that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's former PA, Cheryl Carter, had 'lied' in a police interview, telling them that her boss was not in the office on 8 July 2011, the day she ordered seven boxes of notebooks to be removed from the News International offices. 'There is no doubt that she was wrong when she said that but there is an issue whether she was lying or made a mistake when she said that,' Saunders said. He told jurors that 'sometimes people tell lies out of panic, sometimes people lie because they think it's easier that telling the truth, some tell lies if they think it can help someone else.' Saunders also said that all of the defendants bar the paper's former royal editor were considered of 'good character' and had 'succeeded in life, no doubt through hard work and determination.' The jury would have to consider if they would have thrown all of that away to commit a criminal offence, he added. He said that Clive Goodman, the former royal editor of the Scum of the World, who is facing two charges, was not considered of good character because he had pleaded guilty to phone-hacking in 2006 and was jailed in 2007 for that offence. 'The mere fact of that conviction does not mean he is not telling the truth however,' said Saunders. The judge said the jury has to 'ignore the atmosphere' around the case highlighted by defence barrister Jonathan Caplan QC on Monday, as well as the 'vitriol' that has been levelled against well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Coulson in particular. 'Mr Caplan said it is not the most serious of cases, and that may be, but how serious a crime is is irrelevant to your consideration,' said the judge of the barrister representing the Scum of the World's former managing editor Stuart Kuttner. 'He suggested the case was politically charged and you should ignore the political charge behind this case, and of course that is right. He was saying do not be influenced by the trappings around the case and the media interest and the fact the case is at the Old Bailey.' He told jurors that the trial was to have been at Southwark crown court but it could not accommodate the electronic equipment needed for the trial or the amount of paperwork the jury has to consider. And the trial was being heard by a High Court judge rather than a district judge, rightly or wrongly, because it was deemed a 'high profile' trial. Saunders pointed out details of the defendants' personal lives have been raised in evidence, but had not been brought up simply for sympathy. 'Take no account of the vitriol levelled at Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson on Twitter and in other places,' he said. 'You all feel sympathy for Rebekah Brooks who had to suffer that abuse, but that can't affect any verdict.' He said that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's personal assistant Cheryl Carter's dreams of emigrating to Australia had been 'shattered' by the prosecution, Mark Hanna's life has been 'put on hold' and Stuart Kuttner has 'suffered ill-health' throughout the trial. 'Mr Coulson has suffered a dramatic fall from a career progress as a high-flier, as he undoubtedly was' Saunders said. But, he told the jury: 'None of this was attempting to court feelings of sympathy, that would be wrong. You have heard about it because it has some relevance to some aspect of the case.' Turning to police interviews in which defendants choice not to answer questions on legal advice, Saunders said: 'You must decide, in deciding not to answer questions, was the defendant doing that because of a solicitor's advice or are they simply hiding behind that advice to justify the decision not to give an explanation at that time.' And he also said that the evidence of Clive Goodman and Dan Evans against Andy Coulson needed to be 'treated with care.' Goodman pleaded guilty to hacking in 2006 and Evans has pleaded guilty to hacking as part of the current trial. 'It is suggested Clive Goodman had a reason of his own to implicate Mr Coulson on count one, the conspiracy to hack phones charge. He may be bitter at the way he was treated by News International and may be trying to present his involvement in phone-hacking in the best possible light.' He told jurors: 'Bear in mind the possible reasons Mr Goodman may have to give evidence contrary to the interests of Mr Coulson.' All seven defendants deny all charges against them. The trial extremely continues.
Rolf Harris's 'bear hugs' were 'paternal rather than sexual', a court has heard claimed. Joanne Charles, a friend of the eighty four-year-old's daughter, Bindi Nicholls, told Southwark Crown Court that his embraces were 'lovely' and 'affectionate.' She said that Rolf had displayed 'no interest' in a girl he is accused of molesting from the age of thirteen, and that he would 'run away' when his daughter's teenage friends had been together. Rolf denies twelve indecent assaults between 1968 and 1986. Asked by Sonia Woodley QC, defending, whether she remembered Rolf ever showing any interest in the alleged victim named in seven of the counts of indecent assault, Charles replied: 'No, I don't.' She added: 'When we were all together, I think we were too loud and too giggly and Rolf used to run away from the noise and the giggling. I think he thought we were all a bit too giggly, silly.' The witness said that the entertainer behaved 'the same way towards everyone' and would 'throw his arms around' people, 'even men. Because I had known him for so long, it was just like having my father put his arms around me and cuddle me,' she said. 'He's lovely. He was gentle and kind and a real softy. He was very, very tactile.' The court also heard from actress Rosemarie Ford, best known as the 'glamorous assistant' on TV's The Generation Game. Asked if she had ever seen Rolf do anything inappropriate, Ford replied: 'Absolutely never.' She added: 'I've been in the business a long time, you learn to recognise when people do have an inappropriate manner and I never ever saw that with Rolf.' Meanwhile, allegations that Rolf groped a make-up artist more than two dozen times have been dismissed as 'ridiculous' by his brother. Bruce Harris, ninety, gave evidence at his brother's trial via videolink from Sydney. Speaking about claims that his sibling inappropriately touched a woman repeatedly on a day in the 1980s, Bruce Harris said: 'It never happened.' The make-up artist, whom prosecutors have called as a supporting witness, previously told Southwark Crown Court that Rolf had been nicknamed 'The Octopus'. The woman was in her twenties at the time and claimed that she was 'repeatedly assaulted' while making a programme in Australia. Bruce Harris told court: 'That's ridiculous. He would never do that and I wouldn't let him do that, and he knew I wouldn't let him do that. That's just not possible.' Sitting as he gave evidence, he added: 'I would have shouted at him, I would have demanded that he stopped.' Bruce Harris also denied trying to influence another alleged victim, Tonya Lee. Lee, who has waived her right to anonymity, has claimed Rolf assaulted her when she was on tour in the UK with an Australian youth theatre group. Bruce Harris told court that he had spoken to the artistic director of that group, Kathy Henkel, to find out if she had witnessed any assault. He told jurors that he 'wasn't trying to get her to change her story' but'instead "trying to see whether she could back up what this girl was saying. I'm protective of my brother and I also wanted to see if there was any truth to what was being said. I didn't believe it,' he said. Bruce Harris told the court that he had become his brother's manager in 1981 and also took charge of his finances. 'Rolf has never shown any interest in the financial side of life,' he told the jury. The court also heard from Ken Jeacle, Rolf's former tour manager who began working for him in the early 1980s. He said that his former client was 'the highest-profile artist in the Australian variety scene' and his profile in his native country was 'just indescribable.' The case continues on Thursday.
There have been at least five hundred reports of abuse by dirty old scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Jimmy Savile, NSPCC research for Panorama has found. Most of the alleged victims were between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, but the youngest was said to be two. Although, one has to wonder about the accuracy of that particular claim. Meanwhile, leaked memos reveal the extent of Savile's influence at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, where he was appointed to lead a task force to reform the hospital. Panorama has been told about sixteen reports of abuse at the hospital. The Department of Health and the BBC are both due to publish reports into Savile's nefarious skulduggery and horrific and wicked ways later this year. Children's charity the NSPCC said that its helpline had received fifty more reports of abuse by Savile since its joint report with the Metropolitan Police was published in January 2013. These included reports from alleged victims themselves, people who knew alleged victims of abuse and people reporting information which was considered 'useful' to the ongoing investigations. The earliest incident dated back to the mid-1940s, with the most recent in 2007. The report says that most of the abuse took place on BBC premises, in hospitals and at children's homes. Peter Watt, director of child protection at the NSPCC, told BBC Breakfast that Savile saw himself as 'immune.' He added: 'Behind these statistics are individual children whose lives were ruined by a man who was an opportunistic sexual predator.' Meanwhile, a joint investigation by Panorama and Radio 4's The World At One has seen confidential memos which reveal how Savile 'took control' at Broadmoor in 1988. He was recommended by a senior civil servant to lead a task force to reform the hospital. His appointment was approved by Edwina Currie, when she briefly had responsibility for Broadmoor as health minister. Confidential government documents obtained by the BBC reveal that civil servants referred to Savile as 'Doctor Savile' and said that he was going through Broadmoor 'like a dose of salts.' Currie told the BBC: 'Our efforts to try to improve matters at Broadmoor came up against a very severe brick wall. And it was the senior civil servant in charge of Broadmoor who thought he might be able to do something. Bear in mind, Savile had been in and out for donkey's years. So why not ask if he could help to improve matters?' Indeed. And, also there was the fact that he was a close personal friend of the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as well. At the time Savile was appointed, the Prison Officers' Association at Broadmoor had just voted to take industrial action, but the documents show that Savile thought he could 'deal' with the dispute. He told Currie that he had 'discovered' some staff were sub-letting hospital housing and 'fiddling' their overtime claims. 'He made it quite clear, he told me, that he would use that against the staff if they misbehaved and didn't call off the overtime ban,' she said. Well, he wasn't known as 'Jim'll Fix It' for nothing, you know. 'I made a note of it at the time because I was so surprised.' Currie claimed that there were no complaints about Savile at the time. The BBC has learned that there have now been at least sixteen reports to the police of abuse by him at the hospital. Doctor Chandra Ghosh, who was a senior psychiatrist at Broadmoor, said that she understood why more people had not made official complaints. 'These were people that nobody believed. So if they had in fact turned round and said he had abused them or raped them, nobody would have believed them. You know, this was Mr Savile, you know, Jim'll Fix It,' she said. The BBC has spoken to a woman who was invited to Broadmoor by Savile to sing for patients as a fourteen-year-old. She claims that Savile indecently assaulted her at the hospital. The woman, who does not want to be identified, said: 'He gave me a cuddle and so he was touching my breasts and he kissed me and he tried to put his tongue in my mouth. It was the most scariest experience I think of my life. It was a very scary, horrible place.' West London Mental Health NHS Trust - which now runs Broadmoor - 'expressed sympathy' for any victims but said that it cannot comment while its joint investigation with the Department of Health is ongoing. It says any complaints involving dirty old scallywag and filthy rotten rascal Savile are 'part of that investigation.' The Department of Health is investigating thirty three hospitals' links with Savile. Reports are expected to be published shortly.

BBC3 has announced TV commissioner Sam Bickley will become the channel's acting editor when Zai Bennett leaves to join Sky Atlantic next month. She is currently in charge of commissioning documentaries for the channel including Extreme OCD Camp and Unsafe Sex and the City. BBC3 will be relaunching as an online only channel in Autumn 2015. However the BBC says that Bickley will be charge of running it the TV channel 'as normal' in the coming months. 'Zai and the team have built a vibrant, exciting and diverse BBC3 with amazing reach and I feel privileged to be asked to follow in his footsteps,' said Bickley in a statement. 'I will continue to navigate Three through the year ahead with some amazing new shows to come.' Bennett announced in April that he was leaving the BBC to become director of Sky Atlantic, just weeks after Director General Tony Hall revealed that from next autumn BBC3 will only be housed on the iPlayer. The BBC plans to save millions by cutting the channel's programme budget from eighty five million smackers to twenty five million, with thirty million knicker of the savings going to BBC Drama. Bickley is also joint head of BBC1 documentaries and will continue in that role. The BBC's Director of Television, Danny Cohen, said that she has 'a deep understanding of the BBC3 audience and a passion for reaching young viewers' and that her skills and experience could be put 'to powerful use.'

Mad Men creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner is to be honoured with the 2014 International Emmy Founders Award. He will be presented with the award on 24 November at the International Emmy Awards Gala in New York. Bruce L Paisner, president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, said that Weiner had created 'a global cultural phenomenon.' The advertising agency drama set in the 1960s will end next year. Paisner added that Mad Men had 'dramatically changed the television landscape.' The seventh series of the award-winning US drama has been split into two parts - the first batch of episodes has just aired, with the final seven to be broadcast in 2015. Weiner said that the two-part season would enable 'a more elaborate story' to be told. Previous seasons of Mad Men have spanned thirteen episodes. The decision to split the last season and delay the finale follows the strategy cable network AMC took with its other successful drama, Breaking Bad, whose final season was also divided into two parts. Mad Men, which began in 2007 and stars Jon Hamm as Don Draper, has won four Emmy awards for outstanding drama series. Weiner was previously a writer on The Sopranos. He recently wrote and directed his first feature film, You Are Here, starring Owen Wilson, Zack Galifianakis and Amy Poehler, which will open later this summer. Last year's International Emmy Founders Award went to JJ Abrams.

It is feared that millions of TV viewers across the world will not be able to see live images of the seventieth anniversary celebration of D-Day because of a decision by the French to charge international news agencies for access. Two French broadcasters - the public service, France Televisions and the private station TF1 - have been granted exclusive live rights to Friday's commemoration. The two companies are seeking nearly two hundred thousand Euros from Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press, Reuters and ENEX (a global network of private TV outlets), for the rights to re-transmit the ceremonies live, including online. All four companies have challenged the proposed fees, insisting that access to ceremonies should be free. They will be attended by nineteen heads of state, including the Queen and US president Barack Obama. The agencies have pointed out that D-Day veterans who are unable to travel to Normandy could be among those who will be deprived of the opportunity to watch ceremonies intended to celebrate their heroism and the sacrifice of their comrades. 'The commercialisation of this historic event is shocking,' said Philippe Massonnet, AFP's global news director. It is claimed that the decision to charge for access was made in the office of French president François Hollande. AP's executive editor, Kathleen Carroll, accused the French of charging 'prohibitive sums.' She said: 'We are dismayed that the Élysée Palace is denying the Associated Press and other international news agencies fair access to live broadcast coverage of D-Day commemorations.' The agencies have lodged a formal protest with the French presidency and are continuing to lobby for a last-minute change of policy. Both TF1 and France Television insist that the fee is reasonable. Yannick Letranchant of France Televisions said access for an agency would cost about thirty two thousand Euros for the day. TF1's deputy news director, Catherine Nayl, explained that the channels would have to spend 'several hundreds of thousands of Euros' to cover the event. 'Active discussions' are reportedly being held between the French broadcasters and the agencies are reported to be continuing in the hope of agreeing a last-minute deal. The Queen will attend the principal international D-Day ceremony on Sword Beach, where thousands of British soldiers went ashore on 6 June 1944. She will then make a state visit to Paris.
Endemol has teamed up with an international space programme to establish a human colony on Mars it has been claimed. The company's Darlow Smithson Productions subsidiary will work with Mars One, which trains astronauts on the future project. DSP aim to produce a 'worldwide TV event' focusing on candidates as they get ready for the mission. Endemol and Mars One have claimed that human colonies on Mars can be completed, but that there would be no return trip to Earth. The project will include seven hundred and five candidates chosen from over two hundred thousand applicants, who have applied to live the rest of their lives on Mars. They will be tested using an intense programme run by scientists and astronauts. 'Bringing the story of our incredibly brave aspiring Martians to the world now officially begins with what we feel is a perfect partnership,' said Mars One co-founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp of the DSP partnership. 'Our team felt all along that we needed a partner whose strength lies in factual storytelling to an international audience. DSP will provide that to Mars One, while allowing our selection committee to maintain control of the applicant selection process.' DSP's Iain Riddick said: 'It is a great privilege for DSP to be chosen to exclusively follow the incredible journeys of those who will make humankind's first footprint on Mars. This has to be the world's toughest job interview for what is without question a world-first opportunity and the human stories that emerge will captivate and inspire generations across the globe.' Endemol's Zeppotron offshoot previously created the hoax show Space Cadets for Channel Four in 2005. The show featured contestants duped into believing they were being trained as astronauts in Russia without ever leaving the country.

According to numerous press reports, like this one in the Gruniad Morning Star and this one in the Daily Scum Mail, England's players will be 'expected' to sing the national anthem before games at the forthcoming World Cup. If true, then this 'expectation' is one of the most sick and most wicked things this blogger has come across in a very long time, dear blog reader. That's, to repeat, if it's true. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping had always believed - wrongly, as it turns out - that we live in a democracy in Great Britain where freedom of political and spiritual beliefs as well as freedom of action (within, of course, the boundaries of the law as it currently stands) is something of a given. It would seem not. So, as in totalitarian knobcheese dictatorships like China and Iran (and, historically, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany) our sportsmen and women are now, apparently, 'expected' to show their blind allegiance to the head of state. And, in the most Stalinist way imaginable, by 'a public show of loyalty', no less. Presumably those England players who are 'expected' to sing the national anthem but chose not to - as is their right - will, subsequently, be dropped from the side, suffer public humiliation for their Thought Crimes which will, then, be followed by a lengthy spell in the salt mines as 'correction' for their 'unpatriotic' ways. And that's before we get onto the fact that the song in question is both crassly jingoistic and racist (check out the anti-Scots fourth verse for proof of that). It's odd, isn't it, whenever we see images of one hundred thousand North Koreans in Pyongyang in a public show of glazed-eyed sycophantic brown-tongued 'deference' to Kim Jong Un we see it for what it is, an example of ludicrous - and quite sinister - state control. And, we repulsed by it. Yet, when between one and eleven Englishmen may (or may not) wish to have the right not to do something similar, they're criticised for it. Did we fall asleep and wake up in 1984? Didn't we fight a war in the 1940s in support of the values of freedom to do - or not to do - whatever the hell we liked and against being forced into just this kind of lickerty-split cow-towing to authority, or did I just dream that? What next, I wonder ...? Well, this is the sort of thing we end up with when we start down that slippery slope.
Chebend and plank Simon Brodkin was 'led away by police' after attempting to gatecrash the England Football squad's departure from the UK. The alleged comedian and self-publicist – who is probably best known for his alter ego Lee Nelson, although this blogger has never met a single person who thinks he was or is in the slightest bit funny – tried to join the players as they headed to the World Cup from Luton Airport on Sunday. Sadly, he wasn't shot in the face by armed officers on the lookout for potential terrorists. Or luckily. One or the other. I'll leave it up to you to decided on that one, dear blog reader. Brodkin was dressed in near identical suits to the players and tried to mingle with them as they awaited their luggage to be removed from the coach which had dropped them off at a private terminal. Brandishing a passport, he was said to be 'in the guise' of another of his - really dreadfully unfunny - creations, Jason Bent, a 'bland and unintelligent Premier League footballer.' Reports say that he was first spotted by captain Steven Gerrard, after which members of security and local police intervened. Players including Jon Flanagan, Ross Barkley and Daniel Sturridge were said to have been 'perplexed' by the comic's intervention. Brodkin was spoken to by a police officer before leaving the area. Posting on the Twitter account he set up as Bent, he said: 'Gutted Roy [Hodgson] wouldn't let me on the plane to Brazil. I don't know what to tell the Malaysian betting syndicate now.' It is not the first time that Brodkin has tried such a witless stunt. In April last year, he was given a six-month conditional caution after getting on the pitch at Goodison Park and warming up with the Shiekh Yer Man City team before their Premiership clash with Everton.

Not for the first time Mad Roy Keane has caused a degree of turmoil on the eve of a World Cup, after deciding not to travel to Brazil as a pundit for ITV in order to 'focus on his coaching ambitions.' In contrast to the situation in 2002 when, as Ireland's captain, he had a furious bust-up with the Republic's manager, Mick McCarthy, and was sent home, his parting with the broadcaster was understood to be 'amicable.' Well, as amicable as anything involving Roy Keane ever can be, one supposes. Keane appeared at the ITV World Cup launch a fortnight ago alongside fellow pundits who include Lee Dixon, Gus Poyet, Fabio Cannavaro and his Republic of Ireland managerial colleague Martin O'Neill who has defected from the BBC to ITV. The former midfielder for The Scum has been 'well-received' as a pundit for ITV the network claimed, with his 'forthright opinions and acerbic wit' allegedly 'becoming a key feature' of its Champions League and England coverage. He appeared alongside O'Neill at a breakfast event in London where he revealed that he had decided not to travel to Brazil in order to concentrate on his coaching career. The former Blunderland and Ipswich Town manager has been strongly linked with an assistant's role at Aston Villains, which it is believed he would be able to undertake in addition to his Ireland job. It is understood that ITV have 'left the door open' for Keane to return to the punditry sofa, should he wish. 'Roy has been a tremendous part of our pundit team in recent years, but we fully understand his decision to concentrate wholly on his coaching,' an ITV spokesperson said. 'We wish him every success for the future.' ITV, which shares the rights to the World Cup with the BBC, will broadcast the opening game between Brazil and Croatia on 12 June and has chosen to show England's second and third group games against Uruguay and Costa Rica.

And, if for no other reason than yer actual Keith Telly Topping thinks it's hilarious, here's another excuse to show that photo of the time Alan Shearer got Keano sent off when The Scum played this blogger's beloved Magpies at St James' in 2001. According to legend, with The Toon winning 4-3 in the last minute of a pulsating Premier League clash, the ball went out of play for a throw-in to The Magpies. Keane hurried to retrieve it and then held the ball out for Shearer. 'Would you like me to sign that for you, son?' Alan is reported to have asked; at which point Keane - as was his way - went totally off it. God, it was funny.
The World Cup hasn't even started yet and, already, England are in danger of becoming an international laughing stock. So, no change there, then. This time, however, it's not even on the pitch. The Football Association made an 'uge error when they issued the team-sheet for England's World Cup warm-up match with Ecuador. England were held to a 2-2 draw by their fellow World Cup qualifiers in an entertaining, if somewhat heated, clash in Miami, during which Raheem Sterling and Antonio Valencia were sent off. But that flashpoint – which saw Ecuador’s Valencia strike Sterling in the face after a rather rash late tackle by the Liverpool winger – was not the biggest talking point of the night. The daftest lapse came courtesy of the FA, who listed every England player's passport number and date of birth on the team sheets which were handed around the press office. An incredible security breach and one which could, feasibly, lead to identity theft on an unprecedented scale. Though, to be fair, if anyone can afford to have their identities stolen, it's probably twenty three overpaid professional footballers. The FA admitted the error and said that it would 'investigate.' It wasn't the only breach - captain Frank Lampard had his signature displayed on the paperwork, which was obviously meant for official eyes only but ended up being distributed en masse. Hopefully England will hang around in Brazil long enough to get replacement passports sorted out.
So, as noted, Raheem Sterling got himself sent off and Wayne Rooney scored as an experimental England side drew 2-2 with fellow World Cup finalists Ecuador in Miami. More worrying for England manager Roy Hodgson - apart from the squad's passport numbers being printed on the pre-match team-match sheets - was a knee injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after he collided with an opposing player in the sixty third minutes which saw him replaced by Jon Flanagan. England fell behind early on when Enner Valenica powered home a header on eight minutes, but England eased themselves in front courtesy of goals from a Wayne Rooney tap-in and a Rickie Lambert drive. Substitute Michael Arroyo slammed the ball high into the net from distance on seventy minutes to earn Ecuador a draw with James Milner and Jack Wilshere failing to close down space in time. Sterling replaced Rooney on sixty four minutes, but was sent off fourteen minutes later for a rather reckless attempt at a tackle on Antonio Valencia, who joined him in departing after grabbing the Liverpool winger and trying to throw him to the ground. Fortunately for Hodgson, the red card won't count ahead of the World Cup. It remains to be seen if Oxlade-Chamberlain will recover in time for their opening Group D match against Italy in Manaus a week on Saturday.

Odious worthless greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles knows all too well how it feels to be mocked on social media as a regular feature during ITV's coverage of a big match. But, he got off to the worst possible start as England drew with Ecuador on Wednesday, making an hilariously stupid blunder almost immediately. The gaffe-prone grumpy presenter will lead ITV's -thoroughly wretched - coverage of the World Cup in Brazil, but blunders have become a standard part of his repertoire. Indeed, Chiles got well ahead of himself as he opened up coverage of England's match in Miami by lamenting the weather in ... Rio – only to hastily realise, to his horror, that the game was in fact in the USA. The embarrassing gaffe was swiftly picked up on social media with fans roundly deriding the presenter, who was plucked from the BBC on a big-money contract by ITV to, among other things, front their football coverage. It's far from the first time that Chiles has made a high-profile mistake when attempting to be humorous. The former - sacked - presenter of breakfast TV fiasco Daybreak also famously once promised anyone who was 'still awake' during the dour FA Cup tie between Fulham and Sheffield United covered by ITV to write in and he would 'send them a fiver.'

The Stevie Wonder song 'Another Star' has been chosen as the BBC's theme music for its World Cup coverage in Brazil. The song originally featured on the singer's Songs In The Key Of Life LP in 1976 and was also released as a single in the UK the following year. It will feature in the opening sequence for all the BBC's World Cup programming and will make its debut on a preview show for the competition to be screened on Wednesday on BBC1. Stevie, who plays an outdoor concert on Clapham Common on 29 June, saw a recent spike in sales for the song when he played it at the Grammy Awards in January as he performed alongside Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams. The inclusion of the song in the BBC's coverage is said to be the first time the sixty four-year-old has allowed his music to be used in such a way. For the South African tournament in 2010, the BBC's coverage featured a specially commissioned piece by the London band Dallas Guild. Other notable years have included Pavarotti's rendition of the aria Nessun Dorma for the 1990 finals in Italy and Fauré’s Pavane for the 1998 tournament in France. Ian Finch, senior producer for BBC Sport who looks after the music, said: 'This song perfectly captures the feel good, carnival atmosphere we will bring to our viewers during the World Cup this summer. It is very rare for an artist of this stature to approve the use of their music in this way, so we are thrilled and honoured to have the opportunity.'

Kevin Spacey 'castigated' a theatre-goer whose mobile phone went off during the opening night of his one-man show. Which, sadly, wasn't as painful as it probably sounds. The Oscar winner is performing legal drama Clarence Darrow as he marks the end of his ten years as artistic director at London's Old Vic. During a scene in which Darrow, a civil rights lawyer, delivers a courtroom speech, a phone began to ring. Spacey turned to the audience and said: 'If you don't answer that, I will!' The audience applauded Spacey, who remained in character during the crassly ignorant interruption. The House Of Cards actor is stepping down from his role at the Old Vic in 2015 to be replaced by Matthew Warchus, the director of Matilda. In David Rintels' Clarence Darrow, Spacey has returned to a character he has previously played on stage, as well as in a film adaptation for PBS. But this is his first turn in a one-man play. His performance at the Old Vic has earned glowing reviews, with the Gruniad Morning Star saying Spacey gives 'a big, barnstorming performance as the famed American lawyer.' Michael Billington's review added: 'It is a mighty performance that brings out Darrow's bravura humanitarianism and it leaves one hoping that, even after Spacey hands over the Old Vic to Matthew Warchus next year, it will not be his farewell to the London stage.' In his four star review, the Torygraph's Charles Spencer said that Spacey 'prowls around the stage like a battered old prize fighter, constantly on the move as he buttonholes members of the audience, and radiates a charisma and dramatic attack that is often spellbinding.' He added: 'Thea Sharrock's production rarely loosens its dramatic grip, but it is the power and palpable humanity of Spacey's performance that makes this evening so special.' The Daily Scum Mail's Quentin Letts also gave it a four star review and lamented Spacey's departure from The Old Vic. "The London stage has been fortunate to have him and this cracking performance, despite a so-so play, sees him at the top of his art. Exit Kevin the king,' he wrote.

A poster advertising the singer Rihanna's perfume should be restricted to areas where children are unlikely to see it, the advertising watchdog has ruled. The Advertising Standards Authority found the image of the singer was 'sexually suggestive.' It shows Rihanna, apparently naked, sitting on the floor with her legs raised against a bottle of Rogue scent. Parlux Fragrances said that the nudity was 'not improper' and the image was not offensive, suggestive or demeaning. The ASA disagreed. They accepted that Rihanna was mainly covered and had a facial expression 'of defiance rather than vulnerability.' But it also said: 'While we did not consider the image to be overtly sexual, we considered that Rihanna's pose, with her legs raised in the air, was provocative. Because of this, and the fact that Rihanna appeared to be naked except for high heels, we concluded that the ad was sexually suggestive and should have been given a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.'

A sound recording of Sean Connery's first-ever lead TV performance, which was thought to have been lost forever, has been unearthed by the play's director. Connery played past-his-best boxer Mountain McClintock in the 1957 play Requiem For A Heavyweight, which was broadcast live on the BBC. Director Alvin Rakoff recorded the play for posterity and stored it in his attic where it remained for fifty five years. 'He was tall, good-looking and had charisma from the start,' Alvin said. Connery 'was an extra' at the time. 'One of those guys who rang every other day and asked: "Do you have any work for me?" I did a show called The Condemned, in which he played four of five parts for me - one was an old man who had been in prison for a long time and had gone a bit bonkers. I tried to get one of the other extras to do it and he wasn't quite right and Sean said: "I can have a go at that, Al."' Requiem For A Heavyweight was written for US television in 1956 by The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling and starred Jack Palance in the lead role. The play won a Peabody Award. Rakoff said it was his then girlfriend, the future Doctor Who actress Jacqueline Hill - who he had already cast in the BBC adaptation and whom Rakoff would marry the following year- who convinced him to cast Connery in the Palance role of a boxer who is told that he can no longer fight for health reasons. He told BBC News: 'I got a call from [Palance's] agent who said: "Jack ain't gonna show." Something better had come up and he didn't want to come to England. [Jacqueline] said, "Have you seen Sean? The ladies will like him", which was quite a remarkable statement but it was true, women adored him and so I called him and narrowed it to two fellows and Sean got it.' Because the play was broadcast live and no contemporary tele-recording was made, it had been thought the performance was lost until Rakoff, eighty seven, remembered the audio recording he had made during a recent interview and found it gathering dust in his London home. Speaking on his decision more than fifty years ago to make the recording, he said: 'I had suddenly thought: "Maybe this is an important piece," and I spoke to the man in the sound booth and asked him to do a reel-to-reel so he had an audio recording, and he did.' The British version was screened on 31 March 1957 on the BBC's Sunday Night Theatre anthology and co-starred Hill, the future Till Death Do Us part actor Warren Mitchell and another young actor, a friend of Connery's, Michael Caine. 'It went out on American television so there were commercial breaks and on the BBC there weren't any and Sean had a big costume change. I rang Rod [Sterling] and said we needed a new scene just to let him change. He said, rather nonchalantly, "I hear you can write Alvin, you write it." I cast two actors as has-been boxers who were struggling and Michael Caine was one of them. People in rehearsals watched the little scene and said: "That guy's going to go far."' The crackly recording of Requiem for a Heavyweight features Connery's unmistakably Scottish burr despite the character being written as an American. Rakoff said: 'We worked hard and long on the accent, he was trying but couldn't get rid of some of the Scottish-ness and in fact Michael Barry, who was the Head of Drama at the time came to rehearsals and he said: "Are you sure you want to go ahead with this guy, I don't think he can do it." I said: "Michael I can assure you he can do it."' In 1962, Connery became a household name when he played James Bond in his first big screen outing Dr No and would go on to become one of the biggest film stars of the Twentieth Century. Now in his eighties, Rakoff is still working and has just written the conspiracy thriller The Seven Einsteins. He and Jacqueline were married for thirty six years until her death in 1993.

A music company has lost its bid to win back the rights to thirteen Bob Marley songs after a court battle in London. Cayman Music had attempted to retrieve the rights to songs including 'No Woman, No Cry'. It claimed they were not included when it sold some of its rights in 1992 to Blue Mountain Music, as Marley, who died in 1981, had written them under other people's names. However the judge agreed the copyright had 'passed' under the 1992 agreement. Lawyers for Blue Mountain, who administer royalties for Marley's works, said that they 'accepted' the singer had 'falsely claimed' the songs - written during the period between 1973 and 1976 - had been composed by other people in an attempt to 'escape the automatic assignment of their copyright to Cayman.' But they said the 'plain intention' of the two companies' agreement was to 'transfer all rights', arguing on the 'straightforward application of ordinary principles of contract law' the claim had to be dismissed. In his written ruling, deputy High Court judge Richard Meade concluded that Cayman had 'no rights' to the songs because 'Marley did not publicly describe himself as the author. He deliberately mis-attributed their authorship to various friends and associates. It is clear that his object in doing so was to gain control of the copyrights in the works and gain remuneration from them.' He added that Marley claimed he had not been paid publishing royalties and 'thought he had a genuine grievance' against Cayman. The other songs involved in the dispute included as 'Crazy Baldhead', 'Johnny Was', 'Natty Dread', 'Positive Vibration', 'Rat Race', 'Rebel Music (Road Block)', 'Talking Blues', 'Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)', 'Want More', 'War', 'Who The Cap Fit' and 'So Jah Seh'.

And now, the first in a new From The North semi-regular series Great Moment In Qi. Number one: The 'Killer Mushroom Roulette' round.
Handwritten letters, notes, poems and sketches written by the alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon have exceeded pre-sale estimates at an auction at Sotheby's in New York. The Fat Budgie, a nonsensical poem, was sold for one hundred and forty three thousand dollars, having been valued at up to thirty five thousand. A handwritten manuscript of another poem, I Sat Belonely, went for one hundred and thirty seven thousand dollars, four times its estimate. The pieces, part of an eighty nine lot sale, come from Lennon's books In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works. A corrected typescript titled Neville Club has been sold for one hundred thousand dollars, several times above its high estimate of twelve grand. Sotheby's said that the sale represents the largest private collection of the former Be-Atle's work to come to market. It was previously owned by the books' British publisher, Tom Maschler.

And finally, dear blog reader, another new feature, Naughty Scallywags of Rock & Roll. In his excellent book Be-Atles Gear, the author Andy Babiuk writes about an incident which occurred on 5 October 1963 when The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) were on a mini-tour of Scotland and George Harrison's recently purchase Rickenbacker 425 guitar was nicked out of the back of The Be-Atles' van (presumably, whilst Neil Aspinall wasn't looking). Thankfully the guitar was soon recovered and the two scallywags what half-inched it were swiftly apprehended by The Rozzers and, after a night in the cells, ended up a'fore The Beak to answer for their crime. This was the same guitar, incidentally, which this blog recently reported was sold for fifty seven thousand dollars at an auction in New York. Scotland's Press & Journal reported the incident under the headline They Stole A Beatle's Guitar. The item continues: 'Two eighteen year old youths who stole a one hundred and fifty pound guitar belonging to The Be-Atles while the pop music group were in Glasgow appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday. The youths, James Armstrong and Thomas McNamara, had at a previous court appearance admitted breaking into a van on 5 October and stealing the guitar. What they did not know was that the van belonged to The Be-Atles and that the guitar was the property of George Harrison, one of the group. When the case came up originally the sheriff adjourned it so that he could study background reports. Yesterday, McNamara was committed for Borstal Training and Armstrong was put on probation for three years and ordered to find twenty five pounds security for his good behaviour. It was his first offence. Armstrong said as he left court that he was not a Be-Atle fan and, in fact, was not "with it."' I should bloody cocoa. Should've been transported to the colonies for that.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day dear blog reader, here's a very necessary reminder of what a genuinely fine, kick-ass little rock and roll band The Police used to be before their balding ex-milkman bass player tragically disappeared up his own arsehole.

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