Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Like The Ball The World Is Round

Yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self are to travel around the globe for Doctor Who: The World Tour. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat will also join the pair on selected dates of the tour, which will begin in the UK on 7 August and finish in Brazil on 19 August. The tour will visit seven cities across five continents in twelve days, where they will attend fan events and media interviews. Of the tour, Capaldi said: 'It's fantastic that so many people across the world love Doctor Who. After eight months solid filming deep in the world of monsters, Jenna and I are thrilled to be heading for the Planet of Fans.' The Moffat added: 'I've always thought we'd all be a lot safer if The Doctor conquered the world, instead of The Daleks. Now with Jenna and Peter leading the charge, it looks like it's going to happen. I'll be bringing up the rear to handle the exposition scenes, and maybe carry some bags.' The tour will visit Cardiff and London before heading to Seoul, Sydney, New York, Mexico City and finally Rio de Janeiro. Nice work if you can get it!
Meanwhile, on Monday evening, dear blog reader, whilst he was hastily scribbling out From The North's Rik Mayall obituary, yer actual Keith Telly Topping also managed to suss out the Doctor Who question on the latest episode of Only Connect after just two clues. Meaning, presumably, that yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self is considerably better than both The Heath Family and The Software Engineers, neither of whom got it at all. Come on, guys, that one was piss easy, despite what The Divine Victoria might have implied to contrary. (It was particularly unfortunate for the young lass on The Heath Family team whose 'interesting fact'  as revealed by The Divine Victoria at the start of the episode was that she 'attends sci-fi [sic] conventions.' Not enough of 'em, clearly.) Mind you, to be scrupulously fair, that was just about the only question yer actual Keith Telly Topping did get right.
Perhaps inevitably whenever anyone reasonably famous dies, BBC Newcastle usually want yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self ('famous TV reviewer, local author and blogger, apparently') to come on air and talk about the departed and how great they were in their various fields. Thus is was with dear Rik Mayell whose sad and shockingly untimely demise this blog reported earlier in the week. This blogger, therefore, came thereupon to praise Rik and not to bury him when yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self appeared on the lovely and fragrant Jonny Miles's mid-morning show on Tuesday doing his usual inarticulate speech of the heart. And that. If you want to check it out, you can listen to the piece here for the next six days or so. This blogger appears on the programme approximately nineteen minutes and thirty seconds into the show, immediately after Yvonne Elliman.

Scheduled at Dave are deciding when to broadcast an episode of a show which Rik Mayall filmed before he died. The comedian recorded an episode of Crackanory, the grown-up version of children's story-telling show Jackanory, before his sudden death on Monday. A spokesperson for the channel said that they would discuss a suitable time to screen the episode with Rik's family before showing it as 'a tribute' to Mayall. Dave's general manager, Steve North, said: 'It was a complete privilege for Dave to work with Rik for Crackanory. Clearly at this tragic time our thoughts are with his friends, colleagues and family.' A spokesperson for Channel Four also spoke about the possibility of continuing the comedy Man Down without Mayall, who starred as the father of Greg Davies's lead character Dan. 'The tragic news of Rik's death is a huge blow for the show, and indeed for British comedy,' the channel said in a statement. 'We will be working with Greg over the next few weeks to see how the series will move forward.'

Meanwhile, congratulations to The Times for the following - probably unintentional - juxtaposition. 'I hope you're satisfied, Thatcher!'
Rik Mayall's wife has said that there is 'no explanation' for the fifty six-year-old comedian's sudden death on Monday. 'We don't know yet what happened,' Barbara Robbin told reporters. 'He had a strong heart so I don't think it was a heart attack. Maybe he had a fit, maybe it was his heart. We just don't know until the coroner's report.' Rik died on Monday at his home in Barnes, South London. Peter Richardson, the creator of The Comic Strip Presents ... said that his son was with the comedian 'an hour or so before he died.' He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Rik was 'just happily chatting away. It was very quick and we still don't know quite what happened but it was, you know, a seizure of some sort.' The comedian and actor, who was married with three children, was seriously ill for some time after a horrific quad bike accident in 1998, which left him in a coma for several days but he late made a complete recovery. Richardson added: 'At the time I don't think people thought he would survive that, but he lived for another sixteen years and it was just shocking that he was so happy and seemed very healthy when he did go.' Ben Elton, who co-wrote The Young Ones with Mayall and Lise Mayer, was also among those paying tribute. Calling Rik 'an inspiration', Ben said: 'I met Rik when I was eighteen and his friendship and extraordinary comic talent have been an inspiration to me ever since. I owe him so much. He changed my life utterly when he asked me to co-write The Young Ones with him and he was with me on the day I met my wife. He always made me cry with laughter, now he's just made me cry.' Rik, of course, played the pseudo-intellectual Cliff Richard-obsessive Rick in The Young Ones. The character's infatuation with Sir Cliff led to the first ever Comic Relief song - a chart-topping cover version of 'Living Doll' - in 1986. Cliff his very self also paid tribute to Mayall, saying: 'I became a fan of his when he was in The Young Ones and was always thrilled when he used my name during his series.' Stephen Fry wrote on Twitter from a transatlantic flight: 'Simply distraught to hear of the death of Rik Mayall. An authentic comedy genius and a prince among men.'

An unofficial blue plaque paying tribute Rik Mayall commemorating the time he 'punched his friend in the balls on a bench near this spot' has appeared in Hammersmith Broadway in London. The plaque's QR code links to the opening credits of Bottom, the slapstick sitcom starring Rik and Ade Edmondson, about two hapless flatmates who live on the dole in Hammersmith. In the opening credit sequence, Rik does indeed punch his friend Adrian in the bollocks.
Celebrity MasterChef's return on Tuesday evening - with it's dreadfully z-list collection of contestants - was down slightly on last year's opener, according to overnight data. The cooking competition was watched by 4.4 million viewers at 9pm, which was down around three hundred thousand from the opening show of the last series in August 2013. Later, Gary Lineker's Brazil special scored 1.8m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Springwatch appealed to 2.3m at 8pm, followed by Welcome To Rio with 1.8m at 9pm. The Fast Show special repeat was seen by nine hundred and thirty thousand at 10pm. ITV's repeat of Endeavour attracted 2.4m at 8pm. On Channel Four, Location, Location, Location interested 1.6m at 8pm, while The Complainers brought in 1.2m at 9pm. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares entertained nine hundred and twenty two thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Dog Rescuers was seen by 1.2m at 8pm, while the opening episode of a new series of CSI had an audience of 1.3m at 9pm.

Marcus Wareing will replace Michel Roux Jr as a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals. Roux quit the judging panel - which also features Gregg Wallace and sour-faced Monica Galetti - earlier this year, after a dispute with the BBC over his endorsement of a brand of potatoes. Wareing has two Michelin stars and has worked at some of the world's top restaurants. He said it was 'a true honour' to join the seventh series of the popular cookery competition this autumn. 'I have been watching MasterChef since I was a young kid at catering college and in more recent years I have enjoyed an established relationship with the programme,' said Wareing. 'To now become part of the show is hugely exciting for me. Michel has left big shoes to fill and I am delighted to be working with Monica and Gregg on a new journey of discovery to find the next generation of Michelin-starred chefs.' Wareing's own career started at The Savoy in London when he was eighteen and he earned his first Michelin star at the age of twenty five when head chef at L'Oranger. He worked with Gordon Ramsay for many years before a business disagreement in 2008 saw them go their separate ways. Among his current ventures are two top London restaurants, Marcus and The Gilbert Scott at the Renaissance Hotel, St Pancras Station. Gregg Wallace called Wareing 'one of the outstanding chefs of my era', adding: 'I'm absolutely thrilled to be working with Marcus.' Wareing has previously featured as a guest judge and has also judged on another BBC series Great British Menu, after winning the dessert course on the show in 2006. 'His experience of coming from humble beginnings in the North of England and making his way into the country's best kitchens, to then rise to be awarded two Michelin stars, is extremely inspiring and will speak to the young chefs who hope to follow in his footsteps,' said Karen Ross from production company Shine Soho, which makes MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and MasterChef: The Professionals.

David Beckham's BBC1 travel documentary topped the overnight ratings outside soaps on Monday. Into The Unknown attracted 4.6 million at 8.30pm, around two million punters higher than whatever was on in the timeslot the previous week. On BBC2, Springwatch appealed to 2.3m at 8pm, followed by A Very British Airline with 1.9m at 9pm. ITV's Coronation Street special Gail & Me: Forty Years On was seen by 2.7m at 8pm. Road Rage Britain gathered 2.7m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Breadline Kids was watched by nine hundred and thirty seven thousand at 7.30pm. Twenty Four Hours in A&E interested 1.5m at 9pm, followed by CCTV: Caught On Camera with eight hundred and ninety eight thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Big Brother: Power Trip had an audience of one million viewers at 9pm, followed by a 'live special' (and I use the word special quite wrongly) which also had an audience of a million sad, crushed gawping victims of society at 10pm. On BBC4, Only Connect (see above) attracted six hundred and forty three thousand at 8.30pm. On Sky Atlantic, Game Of Thrones was watched by eight hundred and sixty one thousand at 9pm.

ITV's Soccer Aid coverage was down by around four hundred thousand viewers from 2012's event on Sunday, according to overnight data. The four-hour charity snore-fest scored 3.9 million on average from 6pm. BBC1's F1 coverage from Canada attracted an average of 4.6m at 6.30pm. The drama Quirke dipped to 3.2m at 9pm. On BBC2, Tropic Of Cancer brought in 1.1m at 7pm, followed by I Bought A Rainforest with 1.2m at 8pm. Wildfires 2014 interested 1.3m at 9pm, while a Qi XL repeat was watched by 1.4m at 10pm. Channel Four's Born In The Wild appealed to 1.2m at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of Fargo with 1.2m at 9pm. On Channel Five, the two hundred and ninety fourth terrestrial broadcast of Dirty Dancing attracted an audience of 1.4m at 7pm. Big Brother continued with 1.3m at 9pm.

How very odd it was to hear the BBC using an instrumental version of New Order's 'Bizarre Love Triangle' as background music on their coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday. Rosberg, Hamilton and ... Suzi Perry? Perhaps this blogger is over-thinking this. The Grand Prix also provided the horrific sight of David Coulthard wearing day-glo lime green trousers. Post-apocalyptic zombie nightmare horrorshow (and drag).
Which brings us to the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 1 June 2014:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Mon ITV - 10.46m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.66m
3 Happy Valley - Tues BBC1 - 7.10m
4 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 6.53m
5 England Friendlies: England Versus Peru - Fri ITV - 6.36m
6 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 5.86m*
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.63m
8 BBC News - Mon BBC1 - 5.52m
9 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.14m
10 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.08m
11 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.70m
12 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.58m
13 Quirke - Sun BBC1 - 4.29m
14 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.22m
15 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Fri BBC1 - 4.08
16 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 4.07m
17 Pointless - Mon BBC1 - 3.97m
18 Catchphrase - Sun ITV - 3.80m*
19 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.76m
20 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.73m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include any HD figures. BBC2's top-rated programme of the week was Springwatch with 2.54m viewers - in fact, all four nightly episodes topped two million - followed by Coast Australia (2.17m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was The Island With Bear Grylls with 2.36m. NCIS was Channel Five's best performer with 1.55m. Once again, E4's The Big Bang Theory attracted more than anything which Channel Five pulled in all week (2.01m).

Kenneth Branagh is to return for a final series of Wallander. Filming will start on a fourth series of the crime drama in 2015, reports Radio Times. The BBC series - based on the popular Swedish drama of the same name and the original Henning Mankell novels - is likely to conclude with three more specials. The new series is expected to be a one-part adaptation of The White Lioness, followed by a two-parter based on Mankell's final novel The Troubled Man. BBC1's version of Wallander began in 2008, followed by subsequent series in 2010 and 2012.

David Mitchell and Robert Webb's alleged BBC2 'comedy' Ambassadors will not be back for a second series in its current format. Which is fair enough since it was about as funny as a kick in the stones with a big hard boot. But it could return as 'a drama.' Which, again, is fair enough. Since it certainly wasn't a comedy or anything even remotely like it. According to the Radio Times, production company Big Talk are believed to be 'in discussions' with the BBC about 'reformatting' the show. Ambassadors was written by Rupert Walter and James Wood, who also wrote BBC2 sitcom Rev. The show, which was broadcast in October on BBC2, contained 'strong dramatic elements.' Not that you'd have noticed them if you watched it, since you'd presumably, be searching - in vain - for laughs. David Mitchell told the Digital Spy website last year, that Ambassadors was actually 'very much on the drama side. I think the key distinction between a sitcom and a comedy-drama is that in a sitcom people are bad at their jobs, but in a comedy drama, they can be good at them,' he explained. Being even slightly funny also usually helps with regard to being a sitcom. Just thought I'd mention it, Dave. 'It's about some diplomats - I play an ambassador and Robert plays a deputy ambassador in a fictional -stan in South Asia. They're good at their jobs and under difficult circumstances they make all sorts of moral compromises under pressure from London and all that. It's credible, hopefully funny at times, but serious at times.'

Broadchurch's first series will include extra scenes upon its return to British telly later this week. The finale episode of the popular ITV drama will feature 15 minutes-worth of previously unaired scenes when it is broadcast on ITV Encore on Thursday. The new version will run for a total of eighty five minutes. It will be the first time the programme has be shown since its original - acclaimed - run on ITV last year. ITV Encore will broadcast all eight episodes of Broadchurch's first series upon its launch. Two episodes will be shown each night from 9pm. The service is available on Sky Channel 123, as well as Sky+ HD, Sky Go, Now TV, and Sky Store. Broadchurch's second series, which is currently being filmed, sees the return of most of the original cast, including David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan and Arthur Darvill. Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Eve Myles and James D'Arcy have also joined the cast. Meanwhile, Tennant will also star alongside Nick Nolte, Michael Peña and Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn in FOX's ten-part US remake Gracepoint. Which will be shite.

The Crimson Field has been cancelled after one series by BBC1. Writer Sarah Phelps confirmed the news on Twitter, saying that she was 'gutted' that the World War One drama won't return for a second run. Phelps is said to have planned for the drama to run for at least four more series, after the first series began in 1914, reports Radio Times. Oona Chaplin, Hermione Norris and Suranne Jones starred in the drama, which focused on the lives of medics and patients at a fictional field hospital in France. The BBC said in a statement: 'The Crimson Field was our landmark drama series that launched the start of the BBC's World War I coverage. We are very proud of The Crimson Field and are hugely grateful to all those who worked so hard on it. However in order to create space for new shows and to keep increasing the variety of BBC1 drama it will not be returning for a second series. Coming up this autumn on BBC1 further WWI drama content includes The Passing Bells and War Poems." Chaplin recently admitted that she had grown frustrated about the show's future, saying: 'The way these things are financed are so bloody complicated and ridiculous if you ask me. I am sure it must make sense for someone.'

Russell Howard's Good News is to switch channels from BBC3 to BBC2. So, that's the first rat leaving a sinking ship, clearly. The weekly comedy show - occasionally must-see viewing but, mostly, a bit 'meh', frankly - has been 'promoted' after successful ratings on BBC3 since it launched in 2009. And, because BBC3 isn't going to be around much longer. Kim Shillinglaw, the Controller of BBC2, said: 'It is brilliant news that the wonderfully funny Russell Howard is coming to BBC2 and I very much look forward to welcoming his lively take on modern life to the channel.' Mark Linsey, the Controller of BBC Entertainment Commissioning, said: 'Five years ago, BBC3 spotted Russell's great talent, commissioned this brilliantly funny show, nurtured and cherished it and is now passing it on to BBC2 as a fully fledged hit.' Given that BBC3 'spotted' Howard's talent when he was a regular on BBC2's Mock The Week, one could argue he's merely ended up back where he started. Howard added: 'I'm really looking forward to the new series on BBC2. I can't wait to get started.' The show's ninth series will launch on BBC2 later this year.

The great Kim Bodnia has quit the cast of The Bridge after two series. The acclaimed actor will not appear as Martin Rohde in the Swedish-Danish co-production drama, but Sofia Helin will return as Saga Norén. The second series finale ended with Bodnia's character under arrest for murder, with his partner Saga realising that he most likely poisoned the man who killed his son in the first series. Bodnia is thought to have left the drama after a disagreement with the show's writers. 'We had different perceptions of the season's content,' Anders Landstrøm of Swedish producer Film Lance told Sydsvenskan. 'Bodnia was not happy with how the character evolved. It is a shame, but we must move on and accept it.' Portions of series three will have to be rewritten to incorporate Bodnia's exit, but Landstrøm added that 'the main story is intact.' Writer Hans Rosenfeldt said: 'We still have a lot to tell about Saga Norén, and now we can also introduce viewers to exciting new characters in The Bridge's universe and develop their relationships with each other. I promise that no-one will be disappointed.' Series three is expected to begin production in September, before it returns to DR1 and SVT in autumn 2015. It will then likely be broadcast on BBC4 in late 2015 or early 2016.

The BBC is to cut sixty five jobs in its radio division, the director of BBC Radio has announced. BBC Radio needs to save thirty eight million quid by 2017 and compulsory redundancies are likely, Helen Boaden told staff meeting at a briefing on Tuesday morning. The move is part of the eight hundred million smackers cost-cutting measures required by the BBC savings programme Delivering Quality First. About two hundred jobs, or fifteen per cent of all radio employees, will have been lost in period from 2012 to 2017. BBC Radio will be 'restructured' into two speech and pop music 'hubs'. Currently, each radio station is run separately. The speech and classical music hub will cover Radio 4, 4 4Extra, Radio 3 and BBC Proms, while the pop music hub will look after Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, Asian Network and 6Music. Each radio station will still have a separate controller but there will be more collaboration, for example on live events and commissioning. Listeners will 'not be affected' by the internal restructuring, as there are no on-air changes planned. Boaden said the reorganisation was 'essential' if BBC Radio was to 'preserve its distinctiveness' following the 2010 Licence Fee settlement. In which, the BBC got screwed with its pants on, in case you'd forgotten. 'BBC Radio is the envy of the world and our creativity is second to none,' she said. 'But we must also be as small as we can be, to meet our savings challenges and increase our agility in the digital world without losing our distinctiveness or damaging relationships with our many audiences.' Yeah. well, good luck with that. The licence fee, which is currently set at £145.50, was frozen in 2010, but the agreement runs out in 2016. A 2011 study by former Radio Academy boss John Myers, urged the BBC to examine 'the advantages' of operating the BBC's four popular music networks under one 'single tier management structure.' While the public would not expect the stations to be run cheaply, the report said, there was 'wasteful duplication.'

Kevin Spacey has denied rumours that he is due to play a villain in the next James Bond movie. Speaking to the BBC News website, the actor insisted that he has not been approached to appear in the next film of the long-running franchise, due to be released in 2015. 'I don't know why people keep writing about this,' Spacey said. 'I've been offered no role, I've never read a script. I'm not doing the next James Bond movie.' Spacey added that director Sam Mendes, who was behind the camera on the previous Bond movie, Skyfall, and has twice before worked with Spacey, has not approached him at all. 'Obviously if [Sam] wanted me he would've offered me the role,' he said. 'I don't even know if there is a role, frankly.' Spacey also discussed his reasons for creating Now: In The Wings On A World Stage, a documentary about his staging of Richard III. 'I suppose I wanted to make the documentary because so many people don't understand what theatre is like and what it takes to be an actor in the theatre,' he said. It was recently announced that Spacey's replacement as artistic director at the Old Vic will be Matthew Warchus.

Vas J Morgan, the, alleged, z-list 'celebrity blogger' currently accusing Tulisa Contostavlos of assault, has joined the cast of The Only Way Is Essex in Marbella for the wretched ITV2 reality show's 'summer special.' And, again, we use the word 'special' quite wrongly. Contostavlos is alleged by Morgan to have charged at him in 'a drunken and angry state' and punched him in the face during an altercation at the Chelmsford V Festival in August last year. The former X Factor judge and singer appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court in May, where she denied the allegations. Proceedings were adjourned and she awaits trial on 14 July.
After eight months of malarkey and shenanigans, the jury in the well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks trial has retired to consider its verdicts on a string of offences related to phone-hacking, corruption, perversion of the course of justice and other - alleged - nefarious skulduggere. They began their deliberations shortly after 3.30pm on Wednesday, bringing the lengthy trial, involving seven defendants including Andy Coulson, David Cameron's former spin doctor and, if you will, 'chum', to its final phase. They will consider verdicts on seven counts facing the seven defendants, including four charges against well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and three against Coulson. Mr Justice Saunders told the jurors to appoint a foreman and to take the time needed to reach their verdicts. 'What you have to do is to act according to your oaths, you have to reach true verdicts according to the evidence,' he said. He told them to 'put out of your heads anything you heard outside of court' and to 'concentrate your mind solely on the evidence.' He also asked them to put out of their minds anything they had heard on majority verdicts. 'It's been a privilege to work for you all,' he said before instructing them to gather up their belongings and asking them to retire to the jury room. They were given a three hundred and four-page electronic index to about thirty lever-arch files containing evidence relating to everything from ell-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's clandestine affair with Coulson, to transcripts of voicemails from Kate Middleton and David Blunkett's phones and notes of a conversation between well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and Tony Blair at the height of the phone-hacking scandal in 2011. The files also include copious evidence and phone records relating to Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator hired by the Scum of the World and documentation relating to internal meetings and communications with police and others by well-knownCrystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, Coulson and the Scum of the World's former managing editor Stuart Kuttner. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks denies four charges including a conspiracy to hack phones between 2000 and 2006 covering the period when she was editor of the Scum of the World. She denies a further charge that she sanctioned corrupt payments to a Ministry of Defence official for stories. She and her husband, the race horse trainer and millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, and the head of security at News International deny a third charge that they hid evidence from police investigating phone hacking in July 2011. She and her secretary Cheryl Carter deny a fourth charge that they removed seven boxes of archived material from News International that could have been relevant to the police investigation. Andy Coulson, formerly an editor of the Scum of the World denies three charges, one of conspiring to hack phones and two of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office by sanctioning payments to public officials for confidential royal phone directories. The former royal editor of the Scum of the World, Clive Goodman, his co-defendant on the second and third counts, also denies the charges. Stuart Kuttner, managing editor of the Scum of the World, is also alleged to have conspired to hack phones. When the trial opened Mr Justice Saunders told the jury that in this trial 'not only are the defendants on trial but British justice is on trial.' The jury has been down to eleven members since March when one juror was discharged after being excused for personal circumstances. They were sworn in on 29 October 2013 and have sat through almost eight months of written testimony and live evidence from witnesses ranging from police to celebrities such as Jude Law and Sienna Miller and to character witnesses such as the former archbishop of Canterbury.Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks started the trial on five charges but the jury are only considering verdicts on four counts. In February the judge told the jury there was 'no case to answer' on count four, which alleged that she unlawfully authorised payment to a public official for a photograph of Prince William in a bikini taken at a fancy dress party when he was at Sandhurst.

The senior BBC executive Alan Yentob is taking the Sunday Mirra to court over alleged phone-hacking. The veteran BBC creative director, who also presents BBC1's Imagine arts documentary strand, has lodged his compensation suit in the high court and will have a first hearing before Mr Justice Mann at 2pm on Wednesday, it has been confirmed. It is understood that his case relates to alleged hacking between 2002 and 2004. Gerald Shamash, from legal firm Steel and Shamash, is acting on his behalf. In the past he has represented other high profile hacking victims in the civil litigation against News International including Paul Gascoigne and Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell. Yentob decided to take the action against Sunday Mirra owner Trinity Mirra after being contacted by detectives working on Operation Golding, an investigation spun off from Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan police investigation into hacking at the Scum of the World. Yentob's action is not the first civil case mounted against the Sunday Mirra. Last November former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and three others were given the go-ahead to take action against Trinity Mirra. Eriksson is suing the publisher of the Daily Mirra and Sunday Mirra along with Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, ex-footballer Garry Flitcroft and Abbie Gibson, a former nanny fired by David Beckham over alleged phone-hacking. Yentob has been at the BBC for forty six years and has held some of the most important jobs in British television including controller of BBC1, controller of BBC2 and BBC TV’s director of programmes. He has been a stalwart of the UK arts scene and in the last fifteen years he has become a familiar face to viewers as the presenter of the Imagine series, and has maintained friendships with many of those he had made documentaries with and about, including David Bowie. Among the subjects covered by Imagine between 2002 and 2004 were Stella McCartney, Marlon Brando and John Coltrane. The BBC said that it was a private lawsuit taken by Yentob and had no further comment to make. 'The BBC is not involved in this,' said a spokeswoman.

The publisher of the Sunday Mirra and Daily Mirra is reported to be facing compensation claims over alleged phone-hacking from at least a dozen new litigants including Cilla Black and the actor Christopher Eccleston. Other claimants against Mirra Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of Trinity Mirra, incldue Davina McCall, EastEnders actor Jessie Wallace and Paul Gascoigne's former wife Sheryl according to the Gruniad. Documents lodged at the high court in London also reveal that there have been at least another thirty six claims for compensation for alleged phone-hacking made against News UK subsidiary News Group Newspapers, publisher of the Sun and the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, since January this year.

Tommy Sheridan, the former member of the Scottish parliament jailed in 2011 for perjury, is to launch a new bid to overturn his conviction. He is planning to take his case to the Scottish criminal cases review commission in a fresh attempt to clear his name. Sheridan served just over a year of a three-year sentence after being convicted of lying under oath during his successful defamation action in 2006 against the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. The paper had published allegations about his private life, which included claims that he visited a swingers' club and cheated on his wife. He was awarded two hundred grand in damages after winning his case at the court of session in Edinburgh. But he was then tried and convicted in 2010 of perjury at the high court in Glasgow. He maintained his innocence and has done so ever since. He was refused leave to appeal against the conviction, but judges ruled that his case was 'not arguable.' In cases where there has already been an unsuccessful appeal, or leave was previously refused, the only route back to the appeal judges is via the SCCRC. Sheridan, who will argue that he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice, is set to lodge a submission and supporting documents with the SCCRC in Glasgow. The commission will firstly have to decide whether to accept the application. If it does, it then has to determine whether there may have been a miscarriage of justice, a process which usually takes a few months. If the commission decides there may have been such a miscarriage, it would then refer it back to the high court, and the case proceeds like a regular appeal. Sheridan said: 'I am supremely confident my 2010 conviction will be quashed. It was unsafe and unsavoury. We now have the proof required to expose the extent of the fit-up I was subjected to. The truth will out.'

The Press Complaints Commission - soon to be done away with but still grimly hanging on for dear life - has 'resolved' two complaints against the Daily Scum Mail and Daily Torygraph. As this blog reported at the time, the newspapers both claimed - entirely wrongly - that the BBC had accommodated the sixty five-person crew of its TV programme Lambing Live in hotel rooms costing two hundred and seventy nine smackers per night. In other words, they lied. In fact, the real cost to the BBC was fifty eight knicker a night. Not two hundred and seventy nine quid. Fifty eight is considerably less than two hundred and seventy nine, dear blog reader, just in case you were wondering. One William Hesselmann (no, me neither) complained to the PCC about the 'inaccuracies' (for which read lies) in the newspapers. He pointed out, correctly, that they were both in breach of clause one of the editors' code of practice. Which states that newspapers should not tell lies. The Torygraph weaselled to the commission that it had put the two hundred and seventy nine smackers allegation to the BBC before publication but the corporation had not replied by the time the article was posted on its website. So, effectively, they were saying it was the BBC's fault that they lied. Once the BBC had informed it of the real price, the paper claimed that it immediately updated its online article and published a footnote explaining the error of its ways. It also deleted the reference to two hundred and seventy nine knicker, which appeared in its original headline: BBC's Lambing Live criticised after sixty fve-strong film crew stayed at luxury two hundred and seventy nine pounds-a-night hotel for week. As for the Scum Mail as you'd possibly expect, the situation is somewhat different. As you can see from the still false headline below, which was screen-grabbed by somebody at the Gruniad Morning Star on 10 June. It also claimed that the BBC had informed it of the real cost only after the publication. Once they had, the Scum Mail published 'a letter' from the BBC and told the PCC it had 'amended' its online article, adding the following footnote: 'The BBC asks us to point out that in fact the BBC paid fifty eight pounds per night, not the two hundred and seventy nine pounds quoted. This rate amounted to a discount of around fifty per cent off the standard rate, substantially less than other hotels in the area and within the BBC expenses policy. Having the team stay in one location simplified travel arrangements to and from the farm. They also say that a crew of sixty five is typical for a production of this kind. The article was updated after the BBC provided further comment on the price of rooms following publication.' Fair enough, you might think. But if the Scum Mail now knows it was fifty eight quid and not two hundred and seventy nine, why - as of Tuesday morning - was it still headlining the article with the inaccurate figure? Perhaps Mister Hesselmann, who would appear to have 'agreed' to the resolution of his two complaints, might like to make yet another complaint? Or perhaps not since, seemingly, the Daily Scum Mail can say whatever the hell it likes, no matter how inaccurate, and the PCC can't do anything about it except piss into the wind. Possibly their replacement will have more power to put a stop to this kind of bare-faced lying in future. But, I wouldn't bank on it.
ASDA was absolutely rammed on Monday morning, dear blog reader. Almost entirely with chaps with large bellies and tattoos wearing no tops and shorts which left little to the imagination and all of whom seemed to have their trolleys full with cans of Red Stripe. Anybody would think the weather had turned nice and the World Cup starts this week. Oh, hang on ...
And, here's the great John Oliver on Last Night, Tonight on that very subject. The lad's certainly got a point with regard to the 'comically grotesque' FIFA, of course. Case in point. FIFA's president, that odious appeaser of corruption Sepp Blather, has claimed that allegations surrounding the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid are 'motivated by racism.' Qatar was chosen as host in December 2010 but corruption claims have prompted FIFA to begin an inquiry. 'There is a sort of storm against FIFA relating to the Qatar World Cup,' the odious Blather said. 'Sadly there's a great deal of discrimination and racism.' FIFA will rule on the validity of the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in September or October. At that point, the president of football's world governing body said, the 'matter will be closed.' Speaking to African football officials in Sao Paulo, Blather confirmed that the latest allegations 'would be discussed' at the FIFA Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. He said FIFA 'needed to combat anything that smacks of discrimination and racism', adding: 'It really makes me sad.' At its general assembly in Sao Paulo, the Confederation of African Football condemned 'the repeated, deliberately hateful, defamatory and degrading attacks by some media, notably British, on the image and the integrity' of CAF, its members and the 'entire African continent.' CAF added that it would urge the executive committee 'to file a lawsuit, if necessary, so that the authors of this smearing and defamatory campaign against African football leaders are brought to book.' Qatar overcame competition from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to be named as 2022 hosts. But the bidding process has been hit by a series of corruption claims. American lawyer Michael Garcia is currently involved in an independent investigation into the bidding process and is due to deliver his report to FIFA in mid-July. The odious Blather told delegates from the Asian Football Conference that Garcia would also speak at FIFA's congress to update delegates on his inquiry. Garcia is said to be investigating everyone connected with the bidding process for both the 2018 World Cup, to be staged in Russia and the 2022 event. Qatar's World Cup organising committee continues to reject claims of wrongdoing and says it is confident the vote was won fairly. One or two people even believed them. Whether Garcia's report will be the whitewash that many within the game expect is another matter entirely.

Meanwhile, the odious Blather has been urged to quit next year because of the damage that continuing corruption allegations have inflicted on football's governing body. Michael van Praag, boss of the Dutch Football Association, told Blather he should not seek re-election in 2015. 'Few people still take FIFA seriously and, however you look at it, Blather is mainly responsible,' said Van Praag. Greg Dyke, chairman of the English FA, said Blather's response to corruption claims over Qatar 2022 was 'worrying. These allegations need to be properly investigated and properly answered,' said Dyke. 'Mr Blatter, many of us are deeply troubled by your reaction to these allegations.' Addressing Blather at a meeting of European football officials in Brazil, Van Praag said: 'You are not making things easy for yourself and I do not think you are the man for the job any longer. FIFA's image has deteriorated because of everything that's happened in recent years. People link FIFA to corruption and bribery and all kinds of old boy's networks.' Dyke told assembled journalists he had informed Blather at Tuesday's meeting that Blather's remarks about racism were 'totally unacceptable.' He added: 'The allegations being made are nothing to do with racism. They are allegations about corruption.' Blather was also urged to step down by UEFA vice-president David Gill. He said it was 'disappointing' Blather had decided to run again. Asked whether he thought Blather should step down next year, Gill added: 'Personally, yes. I think we need to move on.'

Brazilian riot police have used tear gas against protesters in Sao Paulo, three days before the World Cup opening game in the city's main stadium. Which makes an interesting change from using it against England supporters. The BBC's Katy Watson at the scene said that about three hundred demonstrators were there and helicopters circled overhead. Sao Paulo metro workers, who called the protest, have since suspended a strike over demands for a salary increase. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that she would 'not allow' violent demonstrations to mar the World Cup. The strike, which began last Thursday, has caused widespread disruption in one of the world's most congested cities. A union spokeswoman told the BBC on Monday that they had suspended the strike for two days to allow for negotiations and that protesters would meet again on Wednesday to consider their position. If staff threatened with dismissal were not reinstated, she added, the protest would resume on the opening day of the World Cup.

Ashley Cole is to be questioned by police over claims he assaulted a TV presenter in an American nightclub. The Moscow Chelski FC footballer, who is in the United States after - amusingly - failing to be selected for the England World Cup squad, is to be interviewed by the Los Angeles Police Department in connection with the alleged battery. Cole is reported to have thrown champagne over Donatella Panayiotou, shouting: 'You know what this is for?' Panayiatou, reportedly slapped Cole during the brawl and both parties hurled abuse. The presenter, who is the daughter of nightclub millionaire Angelo Panayiotou, told police officers that she was 'pushed and shoved' during the argument, which she said resulted in her throat piercing being ripped out. The incident was witnessed by dozens of partygoers, with one saying it resembled 'a saloon bar brawl. The whole bust-up came out of nowhere,' the - anonymous - clubber told the Mirra. 'Ashley's group were spending a fortune knocking back the drinks. At one point Ashley and Donatella were at the same table and drinking happily.' Another witness added: 'Donatella was stunned by his outburst. They went at each other and had to be separated.' Panayiotou, who has appeared on the ITV series Young, Posh and Loaded, GMTV and Loose Women, declined to give details about the fight but told the Mirra: 'There was an incident and it is now in the hands of the police authorities following a formal complaint of assault against Ashley Cole.' One of the TV presenter's alleged friends allegedly said that the alleged incident 'may be connected' to 'a tryst' between Panayiotou and Sheikh Yer Man City winger Scott Sinclair, who is a friend of Cole's. Cole is expected to leave Moscow Chelski FC this summer after eight years. He had hoped to join a US club in Major League Soccer, but if charged and convicted, Cole's dream of a lucrative American career could be over. Which would, admittedly, be really funny. In the US, a simple battery conviction carries stiff penalties including up to six months in the county jail, community service and a maximum fine of two thousand bucks or probation for up to three years following a conviction.

Meanwhile, complete and total tragedy has stuck the World Cup on the eve of the tournament. Jennifer Lopez has reportedly pulled out of performing the official World Cup song at the opening ceremony. Oh, no. What are we gonna do now? Officials said that the singer could not attend Thursday's show because of unspecified 'production issues.' Lopez was due to perform alongside the rapper Pitbull (no, me neither) and the Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte, with whom she has recorded the song 'We Are One (Ole Ola)'. Pitball and Leitte will, apparently, go ahead and perform accompanied by drummers Olodum. 'For production issues, Jennifer Lopez, one of the artists of the official song 'We Are One', will not be able to perform at the World Cup opening ceremony,' said a statement from FIFA. The twenty five-minute ceremony in Sao Paulo will feature six hundred artists, including acrobatic gymnasts, trampolinists, marshal arts-style performers and stilt walkers. Last week, Lopez said that she was 'thrilled' to have been given the chance to perform at the opening ceremony. Lopez's cancellation comes amid protests and strikes in Brazil, where some are unhappy about the amount of money being spent on the tournament. The action has been on a smaller scale to the mass protests last year, which delayed the building of stadiums and key infrastructure projects. However, a poll by the Pew Research Centre suggested that sixty one per cent of the Brazilian public now felt that hosting the World Cup had been a bad idea, as it diverted money from public services such as healthcare.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United have signed midfielder Jack Colback on a free transfer from their bitter North-East rivals, Blunderland. Colback has agreed to leave The Stadium of Shite and sign a long-term deal at St James' Park after his contract with The Mackem Scum expired. 'To come to the team I supported as a boy, my home town team, will be really special for me,' claimed Colback. Blunderland trained Colback from the age of eight and said that the move left 'a bitter taste' because they could not recoup their 'significant investment.' Colback becomes the first player since Lionel Perez in 1998 to leave Blunderland for the Magpies, although the likes of Paul Bracewell, Lee Clark, Barry Venison, David Kelly, Bobby Moncur, Len Shackelton and Stan Anderson have previously represented both clubs with great distinction. And then there was Titus Bramble who, merely, represented both clubs. The Killingworth-born twenty fout year-old joined The Mackem Scum at the age of ten and has made over a century of first team appearances since his debut in May 2010. Previous to that Colback had spent some time on loan at Ipswich Town. In a hilariously whinging statement, The Mackems whinged that they had 'agreed to all of the terms demanded' by Colback and, at the player's and his representatives' request, put talks over his future on hold until the club's Premier League status was secured. They will receive no compensation as Colback is older than twenty four, the age at which a fee is no longer payable to a club for their work in developing young talent. 'To our dismay, however, we were subsequently never given the chance to negotiate with him to stay,' the club added. Colback, who can operate at full-back or in midfield, played thirty three times in the 2013-14 season as Blunderland avoided relegation with five wins and a draw from their final six league games and reached the final of the League Cup. In all, he made one hundred and fifteen league appearances for The Mackems. He added: 'If you asked fans around the world the one thing they'd like to do before they die, it would be to play for the team they support and I've got the chance to do that. I've only got good things to say about Sunderland. They gave me my chance and I want to thank the fans and the club for all their support.' Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, who signed Spanish striker Ayoze Perez on Friday, described Colback as 'versatile' and 'a great passer.' At least, we believe that's what he said. 'He's also a local lad and knows exactly what playing for this club means,' said Pardew.

Morrissey has cancelled the remainder of his US tour after reportedly being treated in hospital for a respiratory infection. The former Smiths singer was in the middle of a thirty-day tour when he was rushed to hospital in Boston on Saturday, according to a statement. The medical attention 'was not enough to shake off the virus, the recovery time for which is too lengthy to meet the final nine shows of the tour.' Mozza also cancelled twenty two American concerts last year due to ill health. His ailments included pneumonia, an ulcer, the throat condition Barrett's oesophagus and anaemia.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's the Godlike genius of Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66. You'd better get used to this one, dear blog reader, because it's likely to be cropping up on all manner of football montages for, ooh, the next month at least.

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