Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week Twenty Seven: Mothers Complain About How Hard Life Is, And The Kids Just Don't Understand

Further pictures have emerged online featuring yer actual Peter Capadli and Jenna Coleman her very self on the latest Doctor Who location shoot - the one with the miniaturised TARDIS exterior.
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat says that Sherlock and Doctor Who are successful in the US because they are 'quintessentially British.' The writer and producer joined Mark Sweney [sic] of the Gruniad Morning Star in the Speakers' Lounge at the Cannes Lions Festival to discuss the enduring appeal to people of all ages of the Sherlock Holmes stories and the Doctor Who series. Which you can watch here. The Moffinator (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) suggests that the relatively light production schedule for Sherlock – three episodes every couple of years – will ensure its survival. 'Had we done the conventional form of a TV series - which is to do runs of six or twelve [episodes] - it would be over by now, without doubt,' Steven added. 'It would be finished, because they would never commit that amount of time, that regularly, to a TV show.'
Paul McGann has reported that a sequel to last year's acclaimed Doctor Who anniversary special, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot has entered production. The actor, who appeared briefly in the original, was speaking at an event for Cambridge Union Society.
England's calamitous World Cup defeat to Uruguay was the most-watched TV programme on British telly for two years on Thursday evening. ITV's coverage of the game - which Uruguay won 2-1 - was watched by an average audience of 13.2 million overnight viewers, with an audience share of fifty five per cent from 7pm. It peaked with 19.8 million at around 9.30pm (just about the time, in fact, that yer actual Keith Telly Topping got back to Stately Telly Topping Manor from The Record Player. Whether the two incidents were connects is not, at this time, known. Or, indeed, cared about). That was the UK's highest-rated TV event since the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics. The ratings, of course, do not account for those who watch in bars or pubs. Elsewhere, overnight ratings were, predictably, somewhat lower than usual due to the football, with BBC1's Celebrity MasterChef dipping to two million at 8pm. BBC1's subsequent coverage of Japan verses Greece scored 1.8m at 10.35pm, almost certainly a victim of a general sense of depression and apathy after Roy Hodgson's men had, spectacularly, let themselves and their country down once again. On BBC2, Nature's Weirdest Events interested seven hundred and forty seven thousand punters at 8pm, followed by Fostering And Me with seven hundred and thirty seven thousand at 9pm. Mock The Week attracted 1.3m at 10pm. Channel Four's Amazing Spaces appealed to eight hundred and thirty six thousand at 8pm. Grand Designs brought in five hundred and nine thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Trauma Doctors had an audience of six hundred and fifty seven thousand at 9pm, while Big Brother: Power Trip got its usual 1.2m sad, crushed victims of society at 10pm.

In 2000, the pop stylist The Cuban Boys produced an ironic antidote to the usual crass triumphalism of songs about the England football team and their chances at major competitions. It was called 'Inertia Kicks' and contained the chorus: 'Losers/We're just a bunch of losers.' Not as memorable, perhaps, as 'Back Home', 'World In Motion' or 'Three Lions' (or 'England's Erie' or 'Vindaloo' for that matter) but it was a hell of a lot more realistic. This blogger mentions this because, as you might have noticed, Luis Suarez left England on the brink of yet another knackerless, post-apocalyptic zombie nightmare of a World Cup exit as his double strike gave Uruguay victory in Sao Paulo. The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws striker was making his return to football after a month out following knee surgery - and it proved to be bad timing for England and their coach, Roy Hodgson, as Suarez's brilliance was the difference between the two sides in a fiercely-fought encounter. Suarez put Uruguay ahead with a first-half header then scored a superb winner six minutes from time after Wayne Rooney's first goal at a World Cup gave England brief hope of avoiding a second successive Group D loss. For all the alleged potential of Hodgson's young side, a record of played two, lost two rarely adds up to anything other than swift elimination at the World Cup. There will be the usual excuses, of course - not enough English players at the highest level of the game in this country, too long a season, it's all the manager's fault for picking the wrong players, et cetera - none of which can hide the fact that, once again, England's overpaid, underperforming, pampered millionaires have let themselves, and their country, down big-style and failed to produce the goods when it actually mattered. They've got quite a habit of doing that, dear blog reader. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez claimed that Suarez would not be fully fit after missing their opening defeat against Costa Rica and he did not look it, but he still possessed too much guile and menace for an England team who never built on the promise they showed in losing to Italy. Rooney struck the bar and was England's main threat but Uruguay - or to be more precise, Suarez - produced the quality and clinical finishing that decides games such as this. As expected, Hodgson played Rooney in a more central role and moved Raheem Sterling wide - but England struggled to find the same energy levels that fuelled such a positive (albeit, ultimately defeated) performance against Italy. Daniel Sturridge and Sterling could not pose the same threat as they had in Manaus and it was Rooney who came closest with a free-kick just inches wide and then a header against the bar at the far post from Steven Gerrard's free-kick. England were nervous at the back and were fortunate to survive when Phil Jagielka's sliced clearance fell to Cristian Rodriguez, whose rising drive from the angle just cleared the bar with goalkeeper Joe Hart - who was probably thinking about his next shampoo commercial - beaten. Uruguay were the more ordered side and the goal duly arrived from the most inevitable source seven minutes before half-time as Suarez marked his return in style. Gerrard conceded possession in midfield and when Edinson Cavani delivered the perfect cross, Suarez pulled away from Jagielka to head across Hart before running to celebrate with the Uruguayan medical team who have nursed him back to fitness. England, as they did against Italy, responded strongly and Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera needed to be alert to block Sturridge at his near post. In a chaotic start to the second half, Suarez was wasteful as England appealed for offside and Cavani was guilty of a bad miss as he ran through on Hart. Rooney was almost the beneficiary of that escape when he found room in the area only eight yards out, but his shot was straight at Muslera. Hodgson, knowing what defeat would mean, made his first change after sixty four minutes by sending on Ross Barkley for Sterling, who had struggled to impose himself on Uruguay as he had against the Italians. England were moving into desperate times as the clock ran down - and it was Rooney who produced the goods with the equaliser fifteen minutes from time, tapping in from close range from Glen Johnson's perfect cross. Just as the momentum looked to be shifting towards England, Suarez was the tormentor again, latching on to the ball after Gerrard had lost an aerial challenge with Cavani, steadying himself before rifling an unstoppable finish high past Hart. It was the final word on this game - and on England's World Cup hopes. As The Cuban Boys alluded to all those years ago, some things never change. Just ask Bob and Terry.
A day later came the inevitable confirmation that England had, indeed, been extremely eliminated at the group stage of a World Cup for the first time since 1958 as Italy lost 1-0 to Costa Rica in Recife. It is the first time that the national side have been knocked out after just two matches. And, they ought to be sodding well ashamed of themselves They had needed Italy to win both of their remaining games to stand any chance of reaching the last sixteen. But Costa Rica's surprise, but entirely deserved, defeat of the Azzurri ended England's involvement, despite Gary Lineker wearing an Azzurri shirt and everything. The England team reportedly watched Friday's match from their hotel in Rio. And, it's fair to bet, by the end of the game they all had faces longer the Ruud Van Nistelrooy and John Terry put together.
Mind you, dear blog reader, if you think the British press are going to be hard on the England team for their disastrous 2014 campaign, that's nothing. Check out what the Brazilians made of us.
Cheeky sods! This blogger never expected England to last longer in this competition than Spain, dear blog reader. But, he certainly didn't expect that they'd be going home before Honduras. Or Iran. As Greavsie used to say, frequently, it's a funny old game.

Jezza Paxman's final edition of Newsnight brought in over a million viewers on Wednesday, overnight data reveals. The BBC2 show was seen by 1.1m at 10.30pm, rising by several hundreds of thousands of viewers from its usual rating. Earlier, Tigers About The House appealed to 1.9m at 8pm, followed by Coast Australia with 1.3m at 9pm and Episodes with six hundred and eighty one thousand at 10pm. BBC1's World Cup coverage of Spain's exit scored eight million viewers at 7.30pm. The Trouble With Mobility Scooters intrigued two million viewers at 10.35pm. On ITV, All-Star Mr & Mrs was watched by three million at 8pm, while a Benidorm repeat attracted 1.7m at 9pm. The World Cup game between Cameroon and Croatia brought in 1.9m at 10.30pm. Channel Four's One Born Every Minute interested 1.4m at 9pm, followed by My Last Summer with six hundred and sixty five thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, My Violent Child gathered 1.3m at 9pm, while the latest Big Brother: Power Trip attracted 1.3m at 10pm. Sky1's 24: Live Another Day had an audience of four hundred and twenty one thousand at 9pm.

Paxo presented his final edition of Newsnight, after twenty five years fronting the programme. The broadcaster announced in April that he was leaving the show, saying that he wanted to 'go to bed at much the same time as most people.' During his tenure, the sixty three-year-old earned a reputation as one of television's most terrifying interviewers. The last edition included Jezza interviewing Boris Johnson whilst they rode a tandem bicycle. The pair are long-time sparring partners and have share a history of colourful Newsnight interviews. Paxo asked Johnson why the London bicycle hire scheme had been 'such a failure.' Later, Johnson said there would be 'a lot of people who are very sad to see him go because he has kept the nation entertained - if not always awake - for many, many years.' During the broadcast Paxo also interviewed Peter Mandelson, at one point asking the former Labour spin doctor if ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair had 'gone a bit nuts.' Yes seems to be the general consensus. One of Jezza's most famous interviews was with then Home Secretary Michael Howard in 1997, when he asked twelve times whether Howard had threatened to overrule prisons chief Derek Lewis. Towards the end of Paxman's final Newsnight broadcast, Howard appeared and was simply asked: 'Did you?' He replied: 'No Jeremy, I didn't, but feel free to ask another eleven times.' Paxo ended the broadcast with an allusion to the movie Network: 'In the tradition of deranged news anchors I ought to ask you all to go to your windows, throw them up and scream "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more!" But, this is England so I'm simply say thank you for watching Newsnight. I hope you continue to enjoy it. Goodnight and goodbye.' He was also known for presenting a brief weather forecast on Newsnight - 'shorn of the usual folksy nonsense about clouds bubbling up and advice about wearing woolly socks.' After the credits on his final broadcast, he appeared in front of a weather map and said: 'And tomorrow's weather - more of the same. I don't know why they make such a fuss about it.' God, we're gonna miss him so much!

On Friday, the World Cup continued with France versus Switzerland between 7.30pm and 10.15pm on ITV. The game, which France won 5-2, was seen by a baffling low average overnight audience of just 3.34 million, the lowest prime time rating of the tournament so far. A pity, as it was a properly terrific game (see below), albeit, those viewers who did stick with it had to suffer the clueless wittering of Adrian Chiles. So, you know, fair play to those who used their recording devices wisely. The late night game between Ecuador and Honduras was watched by 1.4 million from 10.35pm on the same channel. After picking up 3.91 million for the 5pm game between Italy and Costa Rica, BBC1's evening continued with 3.82 million for Celebrity Masterchef at 8.30pm. With guests like Wor geet canny Cheryl Cole and gurning buck-toothed cheeky-chappie Scouser John Bishop, The Graham Norton Show secured an evening high of 4.29 million viewers at 10.35pm. It was followed by 1.02 million for the penultimate episode of Uncle at 11.20pm. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip had an audience of 1.57 million at 7pm, followed by 1.35 million for Sea City at 8pm. Gardeners' World was watched by 1.56 million at 8.30pm, followed by eight hundred thousand punters for Seven Wonders Of Brazil at 9pm. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was Channel Four's highest-rated show of the evening, pulling in 1.18 million at 9pm. It was preceded by Celebrity Fifteen To One, which drew eight hundred and thirty thousand at 8pm. The first episode in the new series of Friday Night Dinner was seen nine hundred and ninety thousand at 10pm. The second Big Brother live eviction on Channel Five drew an audience of 1.09 million. Pauline was voted out with seventy nine per cent of the public vote, apparently. No, me neither.

'As a Newcastle fan, watching Cabaye is like seeing an ex-girlfriend who's lost a stone and looks even better than when she dumped you,' Graeme Swann, the former England cricketer and massive Newcastle United fan, tweeted earlier in the week after France's opening victory over Honduras. He meant it as a compliment (and, according to ITV commentator Sam Matterface, Yohan Cabaye saw it as such and was amused by it). No doubt thousands on Tyneside were feeling the same way after Cabaye was, again, central to a second superb France performance on Friday. Les Bleus all but secured their place in the last sixteen in the most emphatic manner as three first-half goals against Switzerland helped them to an easy Group E win in Salvador. The Arse's Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock with a stunning header before Blaise Matuidi blasted in the second just over sixty seconds later. Karim Benzema had a penalty saved and Cabaye hit the post from the rebound before the impressive Mathieu Valbuena added a third just before half-time. A second goal from Benzema (his fourth of the tournament so far) and another from Cabaye's former Newcastle's teammate Moussa Sissoko made it 5-0 before late consolation strikes from Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka gave the score a tinge of respectability. France's dominance was every bit as overwhelming as the scoreline at Arena Fonte Nova suggested. This blogger said after Les Bleus opening victory against Honduras that he intended to withhold getting too carried away until France had actually played someone of substance and that remains true as the Swiss were desperately poor, particularly in the first half. Les Bleus, seeking to reach a third final in five World Cups, annihilated a poor Swiss team and sent out a message of intent to their rivals. Didier Deschamps's side move to six points at the top of Group E, with a match against Ecuador on 25 June to come. Having self-destructed in South Africa four years ago, the French are clearly enjoying playing in South America. They have scored eight goals in their first two games and the way they dismantled Switzerland suggests they could be serious contenders in Brazil. The only slight downside for the French was a second yellow card of the tournament for Cayabe who, for the second game running, was at the heart of everything good they produced from midfield. It means that he will miss the game against Ecuador.

Channel Five revealed earlier in the week that it had moved its new, risible, obnoxious post-apocalyptic zombie nightmare of a dating show Stand By Your Man on Friday to a later slot to give viewers 'an alternative to the World Cup.' And, indeed, an alternative to dignity or decency. The series, fronted by odious waste-of-space Brian McFadden and someone called Laura Jackson (no, me neither), kicked off the previous week in a 10pm slot to general viewer apathy, but was moved to 11.30pm on 20 June for people who aren't fans of the football. Or, you know, life. 'The only people who shouldn't be watching Stand By Your Man are fans of Ecuador or Honduras' waste-of-space McFadden told the Digital Spy website. Or, indeed, anybody with a sodding brain in their head. This blogger would love to tell you how many viewers chose to watch this wretched disgraceful abomination, dear blog reader, truly he would. But, the overnight ratings appear to have been so low that they didn't appear on the daily overview. One can't possibly begin to imagine why.
The series finale of Wallander drew an audience of five hundred and forty one thousand viewers on BBC4 between 9pm and 10.30pm on Saturday, according to overnight figures. In a generally quiet night for primetime, BBC1's coverage of the terrific World Cup match featuring Germany and Ghana, which ended in a dramatic 2-2 draw, dominated terrestrials averaging 5.81m. On BBC2, The Culture Show took seven hundred and eighty four thousand from 8pm and I ♥ 1996 was watched by six hundred and sixty five thousand viewers. Airing afterwards as part of a 1990s sitcom night, Gimme Gimme Gimme (seven hundred and forty two thousand), The Mrs Merton Show (six hundred and twenty thousand) and Game On (three hundred and ninety eight thousand) followed. On ITV, the feature-length documentary Our Queen appealed to but 1.64m from 8.30pm. Channel Four's The Restoration Man was watched by five hundred and thirty one thousand followed by Grand Designs with nine hundred and eight thousand. The movie The Hunger Games pulled in 2.21m from 9pm. The latest Big Brother highlights show (and I use the word highlights entirely wrongly) on Channel Five managed a mere eight hundred and sixty one thousand in the 9pm hour. Preceding it was The ABBA Years with five hundred and ninety seven thousand viewers. On ITV3, the repeat series of Doc Martin continued with seven hundred and fifty nine thousand from 8pm.

Louise Brealey has joined the cast of Ripper Street. The actress - best known for playing Molly Hooper in Sherlock - will taken on the role of a female physician in the Amazon Prime drama. 'I'm playing one of the first women doctors,' the actress told Radio Times. 'I'm really excited because I did history at university and I love a bit of research. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson blazed the trail in the 1870s and in the intervening decade or so a few extremely intrepid and unusual women started learning to be doctors themselves.' Lou's character, Doctor Amelia Frayn, will run the Obsidian Clinic in Whitechapel. She revealed: 'I'm dressed very soberly and the other girls are all so ravishing. I'm like a little Jenny Wren. Literally, where are my pretty feathers?!' The Victorian detective drama was axed by the BBC after two series due to declining ratings, but was subsequently picked up by on-demand service Amazon Prime Instant Video. It is currently being filmed in Ireland. 'Everyone's just delighted that it's got another crack of the whip,' Brealey added. 'They felt that they weren't quite done with it. I think it's that feeling when you've had half the biscuit and left it somewhere in the house: you can't quite rest until you've found it. So it's like they're all finishing off a custard cream with smiles on their faces.' Lou also revealed that she had never watched Ripper Street before her audition, due to early preconceptions. Which is fair enough, really, since very few other people watched it either. That's why it got cancelled in the first place. 'I just thought, "Oh God, not another show where it's a cast of blokes and all the women are doing is getting their tits out,"' she recalled. 'I couldn't be bothered. Then when I watched it, I thought - this is absolutely brilliant. I really want to do it! It's one of the best period dramas I've seen because it's a proper world. You really buy it.' Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg will all reprise their roles as Victorian crime-fighters Detective Inspector Edmund Reid, Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake and Captain Homer Jackson. New episodes of the show from producers Tiger Aspect and Lookout Point will broadcast exclusively to Amazon Prime Instant Video members in the autumn.

Blue Peter has introduced its new guide dog puppy, Iggy, to viewers. Following last week's announcement that he was on the way, viewers met Iggy, who was born on 19 April, for the first time on Thursday. And, even a bitter old cynic such as yer actual Keith Telly Topping has to admit he is quite cute.
Right, that's quite enough of that nonsense, let's have some Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 28 June
The Group C Winner will play Group D Runner-Up at The World Cup tonight (kick-off 9.00pm) as the round of sixteen gets under way in Brazil. Colombia are expected to top Group C after winning their opening two fixtures against Greece and Côte d'Ivoire and they have been in such fine form that they will certainly fancy their chances against whoever they end up playing. Group D featured Italy, Uruguay, Costa Rica and, tragically, England and the runner-up spot is still wide open at the time of writing, with the potential for it to be decided on goal difference. There is only one absolute certainty and that is that it won't be England. A place in the first quarter-final awaits the winner, which will be against a side from Group A or Group B in Fortaleza. In the event of extra-time and penalties, subsequent programmes are subject to change. Oh, and it's on ITV as well so, you know, sorry and all that. Earlier BBC1 has the opening second round game, between the Group A Winner and the Group B Runner-Up (kick-off 5.00pm).

Meanwhile, four thousand miles away in a muddy field in Somerset, Jo Whiley, Mark Radcliffe, wor geet canny Lauren Laverne and Huw Stephens present live coverage of one of the most talked about headline acts ever to grace Worthy Farm as American speed metal superstars (and, noisy fuckers, if we're being honest) Metallica take their place on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury - 9:30 BBC2. Bang your head in the privacy of your own living room, dear blog reader. Or, watch the football instead. There are also highlights of performances from the second full day at Glastonbury, including music by The Pixies (aw, yeah), MGMT, John Grant, Jack White, Lana Del Ray, Kelis, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters and The Manic Street Preachers, as well some bespoke acoustic moments and a peek at the late-night shenanigans which go on around the massive site under the cover of darkness. Other highlights can be seen at various times on both BBC3 and BBC4. Try and avoid anything featuring Fearne Cotton.

The titular detective suspects a connection between the death of a student with secret plans for advancement and the killing of well-known criminal-turned-author Nicky Turnball, who was in Oxford to speak at the Union in another well-remembered episode of Lewis - Old School Ties - 8:00 ITV3. As Robbie Lewis and James Hathaway eliminate suspects from a long list of the crook's enemies, the investigation brings Robbie into contact with old flame, Diane - who also happens to be Turnball's wife. Kevin Whately stars, with Laurence Fox, Rebecca Front, Clare Holman and guest starring wor geet canny Gina McKee and Owen Teale. One of the early episodes of the long-running crime drama and one of the best ones, as well.

Rupert Penry-Jones stars in an adaptation of John Buchan's much-filmed novel The Thirty Nine Steps - 7:00 Drama. In 1914, engineer Richard Hannay is bored and restless in London - until he meets Scudder, who claims to be a British spy. Does Richard shit in his own pants and run a mile as most of us would in the circumstances? Well, sort of. The running a mile bit, anyway. When the agent is killed in his flat, Hannay is thrown headlong into adventure, intrigue, mystery and all that malarkey. He is forced to go on the run under suspicion of grisly and 'orrible murder. Fleeing to Scotland, with police and spies hot on his tail, he teams up with feisty suffragette, Victoria Sinclair, and although they fail to hit it off, the couple become increasingly reliant on each other as they race to unmask a traitor and save Great Britain from German invasion. Action thriller, co-starring Eddie Marsan and Lydia Leonard.

Sunday 29 June
The Group B Winner play Group A Runner-Up (kick-off 5.00pm) at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. While Brazil were expected to romp through Group A before the tournament began, they were one of three sides who stood a chance of qualifying for the last sixteen at the time of writing - despite winning both of their opening two games - with Mexico and Croatia also vying for a place in the knock-out stage. Mexico have featured in the last sixteen at every World Cup staged since 1990 and knew that a draw in their previous match against Croatia would see them continue that run at the expense of the Croats. Meanwhile, Croatia entered this tournament having only ever having reached this round on one previous occasion, when they went on to finish third at France '98, and have already proved that they are a side not to be underestimated, after performing well in defeat to the host nation, before beating Cameroon 4-0. Whichever of those three teams features in this match will face either The Netherlands or Chile, after both sides assured themselves of a place in the second round by winning their opening two matches over Spain and Australia, with their clash against one another set to decide who tops the group and who finished as runner-up. In the event of extra-time and penalties, as usual, be prepared for schedule changes. The BBC had that one but, again, be prepared for more Chiles misery in the evening as the Group D Winner play Group C Runner-Up on ITV (kick-off 9.00pm). This will feature the top team from England's group. So, that'll be either Costa Rica or Italy.

To mark the seven hundredth anniversary of Robert the Bruce's decisive victory in the First War of Scottish Independence at Bannockburn, Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair) and Tony Pollard attempt to pinpoint the location of Scotland's most iconic battlefield in the first of a two part documentary The Quest For Bannockburn - 8:00 BBC2. They do this because, well, Scotland aren't involved in the World Cup (although ,to be fair, by this stage neither are England) and what with an independence vote coming up and all that ... They are joined by historians, archaeologists and environmental scientists as they set out to gather evidence to chart the events that ended in an overwhelming Scottish victory over Edward II's English forces, helping seal Scotland's future as an independent kingdom and, ultimately, a steaming red hot poker up King Eddy's royal catflap. Historical fact, dear blog reader. Allegedly. There's also some stuff about a spider in there as well if I recall my O level history.

Eric Idle once joked that the Monty Python's Flying Circus team would only get back together if Graham Chapman came back from the dead. There's been no sign of a Lazarus-like resurrection from the pipe-smoking sixth member of the team and yet back in November the comedy group announced a one-off show at London's O2. Demand was so high that more dates were quickly added yet Cleese and co have been at pains to point out that this is not only a reunion - it's also a farewell. The Pythons have decided this will be the last time they'll work together as a group. In an Imagine documentary, imaginatively called And Now For Something Rather Similar - 10:35 BBC1 - Alan Yentob catches up with each member to give them, if you will, The Spanish Inquisition, talking about individual projects, including Terry Gilliam's move into opera, Terry Jones new movie starring Simon Pegg and Michael Palin's third volume of diaries. He also has exclusive access to the rehearsals for the reunions, which kick-off on Tuesday.

Tonight's Arena documentary - 9:00 BBC4 - is directed by yer actual Martin Scorsese and charts the literary, political and cultural history of the last fifty years from the viewpoint of The New York Review of Books, which began in 1963 (as did yer actual Keith Telly Topping) and has become one of America's leading journals. Co-directed by David Tedeschi, the film presents rarely seen archive material, interviews and contributions by the likes of James Baldwin and Gore Vidal.

Monday 30 June
Again, the BBC had the earlier of today's two World Cup matches as the Group E Winner play Group F Runner-Up in Brasilia (kick-off 5.00pm). France were widely predicted to see off competition from Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras to top Group E and, on the strength of their first two matches in which they strutted about like they owned the gaff, that looks likely to see them featuring in this game. And, if they are it's certain that the world's best national anthem will stir plenty of French hearts and more than a few cocks as well. Yet, they endured a miserable World Cup four years ago when also expected to progress, bowing out as a disunited camp without winning a match. It seems with the French of late, you get one really good tournament followed by a rotten one - winners in 1998, eliminated in shame and humiliation in 2002, runners-up in 2006 and slinking off back to Paris at the end of the first round after a player strike in 2010. Argentina were the favourites to win Group F, but the contest to join them was likely to be a close one and both Iran and Nigeria will fancy their chances of being involved in this match. Of the eight teams who could be involved in this fixture, only the Argentines reached this stage four years ago, recording a 3-1 win over Mexico. Later ITV have the Group G Winner versus Group H Runner-Up (kick-off 9.00pm). Which, if results go according to plan, could well feature a replay of the Battle of Stalingrad, Germany against Russia. Who will have the sourest face tonight, Angela Merkel or The Butcher of Grosny? Or, indeed, Adrian Chiles? Tune in to find out.

With the World Cup dominating the TV schedules, supermarkets are seeing a surge in demand for alcohol. Apparently. However, with some multipack offers working out at less than seventy pee for a can of beer, as well as deals on cider and vodka, there is concern that the wide availability of cheap booze may have a darker side, as Channel Four's Dispatches discovers - 8:00 - in a concerned, Gruniad Morning Star style. Alcohol-related crime, violence, accidents and disease are costing the UK billions every year, they claim. Antony Barnett travels around Britain examining how drinking habits have changed and investigating how companies have mobilised to fight off government attempts to clamp down on bargain prices.

A trio of computer experts take on three Europe enthusiasts in the second semi-final of Only Connect - 8:30 BBC4 - as Victorian Coren Mitchell challenges them to draw connections between a selection of subjects that, at first glance, seem to be totally unrelated. The topics include the Apollo 14 mission (that's the one when Alan Shepard played golf), Will Kempe's London-to-Norwich morris dance (the original nine day wonder) and the reign of Lady Jane Grey. Which lasted nine days. is the answer they all lasted nine days, Victoria? I'll take that as a yes.
South Yorkshire Police is struggling to rebuild a reputation forever tainted by their cowardly and criminal negligence at Hillsborough - justice for the ninety six - and the county has some of the worst crime figures in Britain. The body responsible for inspecting police forces has told the unit to improve those statistics or risk being taken over by government-appointed officials. Police under Pressure - 9:00 BBC2 - follows both officers on the ground and in more senior ranks as they attempt to meet the mandate with drastically reduced resources. However, as the pressure mounts so the cracks begin to appear.

Tuesday 1 July
The Group F Winner take on the Group E Runner-Up (kick-off 5.00pm) at Sao Paolo and live on bbc1. These two groups were, arguably, considered the weakest when the draw was made, and it would be a major surprise if Argentina were not involved as the winner of Group F, especially with the tournament taking place on South American soil. The last time that was the case was in 1978, when the Argentines hosted the event, and were eventually crowned champions in somewhat controversial fashion. For which read a series of cheats and dodgy dealings so blatant you almost have to stand up and applaud their audacity. Given that their group this time included Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nigeria, there may even be a danger that Alejandro Sabella's men reach this round a little undercooked, but there is also the possibility of them taking on an unheralded side from a group containing France, Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras. ITV have the final second round match between the Group H Winner and the Group G Runner-Up (kick-off 9.00pm).

The crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation celebrates its three hundredth episode with the team investigating a homicide which has ties to a cold case. Gwen Onetta is found bludgeoned to death in the home of millionaire Jack Witten, who thirteen years previously was accused of killing an eighteen-year-old drug addict whose body was never recovered. Although he claims to have been asleep upstairs when Onetta died, Sara is convinced that he has struck again. Guest starring Jason Priestley, with Marg Helgenberger returning as former CSI member Catherine Willows in flashbacks to the original case.

In Shopgirls: The True Story Of Life Behind the Counter - 9:00 BBC2 - the social historian Pamela Cox examines how the lives of women and the stores they worked in were revolutionised in the early Twentieth Century, revealing how female staff rebelled against poor working conditions and started to demand more from their employers. She learns about Margaret Bondfield, who went under cover in shops in the late 1890s to expose the harsh reality of life behind the counter and looks at Harry Gordon Selfridge's efforts to train his shop assistants to be modern businesswomen.

Lecter tests Will Graham to see if he has successfully crafted him into a killer and gently encourages Margot to hold on to her violent feelings toward her brother in the latest episode of Hannibal - 10:00 Sky Living. Meanwhile, Jack  Crawford examines a body bearing signs of both an animal and human attack, opening up some unnerving possibilities.

Wednesday 2 July
We take a break in the football today but, Celebrity MasterChef - 9:00 BBC1 - continues ever onward. Singer Kiki Dee, travel writer Charley Boorman and actors Jason Connery, Tina Hobley and Christopher Biggins are the latest batch of z-listers to compete in the fourth and final heat of the cookery contest. They begin by making their own version of fish and chips using the ingredients in the mystery box, before facing paying customers as they are sent to work a busy lunchtime service at two London restaurants. It's then back to the studio to come up with a two-course menu, the last chance to impress Gregg Wallace and John Torode before one of them is sent home.

Samantha Lewthwaite is one of the world's most wanted terrorists. The widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of the July 7 bombers, she claimed ignorance of her husband's lethal intentions, saying that she was a victim too. But, for the past three years, British, American and Kenyan security services have been after the so-called White Widow, who is now on the run in Africa, charged with conspiracy to cause explosions. How did this schoolgirl from a quiet Home Counties market town end up as a friend and confidante of some of the top echelons of al-Qaeda? Film-maker Adam Wishart has spent a year tracking down the real story of Samantha Lewthwaite, revealing her path to radicalisation and the hate preacher who inspired her in The White Widow: Searching for Samantha - 10:35 BBC1.

From false identities to bogus terminal illnesses, the documentary The Betrayers - 9:00 ITV - tells the stories of people who have been duped by loved ones. David Checkley swindled more than thirty women out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, using their money to fund a luxury lifestyle. Public school-educated Alistair Stewart posed as a billionaire former Goldman Sachs banker and conned property broker Nina Siegenthaler out of a million dollars, while the relatives of a dying man were targeted by Beth Hood, who faked cancer for her own gain. Narrated by Reece Shearsmith.

In the final episode of Coast Australia - 9:10 BBC2 - the team explores Western Australia's Coral Coast, where Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair) investigates why none of HMAS Sydney's six hundred and forty five crew members survived a battle with the German ship Kormora in November 1941. Xanthe Mallett heads to the Houtman Abrolhos islands to unravel the gruesome tale of the Dutch Batavia murders of 1629, while Tim Flannery finds life three billion years old in Shark Bay. Emma Johnston learns why the world's largest fish keeps returning to the crystal waters of Ningaloo Reef, and Brendan Moar catches up with coastal nomads living off the grid on the edge of the continent.

Thursday 3 July
Yer actual David Jensen presents an edition of Top Of The Pops - 7:30 BBC4 - which was first broadcast on 19 July 1979. Featuring performances by The Real Thing, Dave Edmunds & Rockpile (whom yer actual Keith Telly Topping saw live at right around the time this episode was being broadcast - and they were sodding fantastic), Darts, UK Subs, The Pretenders, The Knack, Sparks, The Boomtown Rats, The Dooleys, ABBA, The Korgis and Tubeway Army. Plus, dance sequences by Legs & Co. A reminder of a time when music was, mostly, good, and we didn't have young men with their baseball cap on backwards rapping about what they do to their bitches in the 'hood. And that.

As a young girl, Nessa Stein witnessed the assassination of her Zionist arms dealer father by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. Now in her thirties, she is at the forefront of the Middle East peace process. But, when her company awards a lucrative contract to a Palestinian businessman who is later found dead, she and her brother Ephra find themselves under the close scrutiny of Whitehall and MI6. The Honourable Woman - 9:00 BBC2 - is a new six-part political thriller written and directed by The Shadow Line creator Hugo Blick and starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stephen Rea, Eve Best, Lindsay Duncan and Andrew Buchan. Looks excellent.

Host Dara O Briain and regulars Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons are joined by Rob Beckett, Hal Cruttenden, Romesh Ranganathan and, this week's token woman, Susan Calman on the topical comedy quiz Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2. The panellists give their take on the week's major news stories and participate in a series of stand-up spots and improvised games.

Students are a curious breed, are they not dear blog reader? Why are they so bastard annoying? The Secret Life of Students - 9:00 Channel Four - is a documentary following the fortunes of twelve students embarking on their first year at Leicester University, capturing all the drama, gossip and goings-on as they get to grips with the reality of life away from home. The participants have agreed to have their texts, tweets, pictures, videos and status updates appear on screen, but how will their social media contributions correlate with their real-life experiences?
Friday 4 July
Well, thank God for that, dear blog reader, the World Cup resumes after a two day break with the first quarter-final (kick-off 5.00pm) covered by the BBC. Coverage of the match at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, will be between the two sides that came through the last-sixteen fixtures on Monday. This encounter will feature two sides from groups E-H, and therefore could involve the likes of France and Germany, who were expected to win their groups at the start of the tournament. The second quarter-final (kick-off 9:00) will be on ITV.

When a teenage prostitute is found violently murdered in Bradfield, clinical psychologist Tony Hill sees an immediate parallel with the terrible crimes committed by a serial killer, Derek Tyler (Andrew Westfield). The only problem is, Tyler is currently very confined in a high-security psychiatric unit for the terminally bewildered in what is, in this blogger's forthright opinion, the finest ever episode of Wire In The Blood - Torment - 10:00 ITV3. There can be no doubt that Tyler is innocent of the most recent series of crimes but the similarities with his previous murders - the women were all blonde, bound to the bed and cut numerous times with razor blades until they bled to death - are chilling and cannot be ignored. Is it a copycat at work, did Tyler have an accomplice or, is the answer even more complex? Tyler was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic but Tony soon realises that he wasn't hearing imagined voices telling him to commit the murders but, rather, was taking real instructions from someone with a sinister and twisted agenda. The case soon becomes personal for the entire murder squad when Paula McIntyre (the always excellent Emma Handy), working in an undercover sting operation to apprehend the killer, is kidnapped and may end up as the next victim. Meanwhile, Alex Fielding forms an uneasy alliance with vice squad officer Jan Shields (a great, dryly sarcastic performance by Siobhan Finneran) whom Tony doesn't trust for all manner of reasons. Classy, and really very well-made psychological thriller, starring Wor Geet Canny Robson Green and Simone Lahbib, based of Val McDermid's award-winning novel The Torment Of Others. Declan O'Dwyer's direction of the episode is also worthy of considerable praise. Highly recommended.
Sky Art 1 broadcasts highlights from the Download rock festival held at Donington Park in Leicestershire - 9:00 - where Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park and Aerosmith headlined the main stage, while there were also sets by Status Quid, Trivium, The Offspring, Twisted Sister (God, are they still going?), Behemoth and Bad Religion among many others. Unmissable. Probably.

To the news, now: Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey has picked up another best actor award, this time for his performance in HBO's True Detective. The actor was honoured at the fourth annual Television Critics' Awards, which saw Breaking Bad take home the coveted best drama honour. McConaughey credited television with 'raising the bar for character-driven drama.' Fargo, inspired by the 1996 film, and prison comedy drama Orange Is the New Black dominated with three awards each. FX's Fargo - which is broadcast on Channel Four in the UK - won the award for best mini-series, beating the BBC dramas Dancing On The Edge, The Hollow Crown and Luther, as well as Bonnie and Clyde and American Horror Story: Coven. Fargo's Billy Bob Thornton, who plays the enigmatic Lorne Malvo, was named best actor in a mini series or movie - beating his co-star yer actual Martin Freeman. Their other co-star, Allison Tolman, won the best supporting actress in the same category. Orange Is the New Black won best comedy series, with additional awards for Kate Mulgrew, in the best supporting actress in a comedy category and Uzo Aduba for best guest performer in a comedy. Mulgrew shared her award with Allison Janney, who was honoured for her supporting role in comedy Mom. Janney - arguably best known for her long-running role in The West Wing - won a second award for best guest performer in a drama, with her turn in Masters Of Sex. 'This has been an amazing year for me,' Janney told guests at the ceremony in Los Angeles on Thursday. Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany beat high-profile competition including Robin Wright in House Of Cards and Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife, to score the lead drama actress win for the second consecutive year. The Good Wife, a frontrunner originally nominated in five categories, came home empty-handed. So too did Sherlock duo Marty Freeman and Benny Cumberbatch. Fellow Britons Michael Sheen, Matthew Rhys, Freddie Highmore and Hugh Dancy also lost out to McConaughey. Top Gear's The Stig character reportedly stormed out of the ceremony for comedy effect after the show lost out in the best reality series to Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

The very excellent Justin Moorhouse will join the cast of Coronation Street for a brief stint later this year. The actor and comedian will play Dean Upton, the landlord of Rovers Return's rival pub the Flying Horse. Dean will go head-to-head with Rovers Return landlord Steve McDonald (played by Simon Gregson) in a pub cricket match in scenes to be shown in August.
The Shield actor Michael Jace has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife in a Los Angeles court. Jace's bail was set at two million dollars and he was ordered to stay away from his two children if he is released. Prosecutors claim that he shot April Jace multiple times at their family home on 19 May, while the couple's young children were present. Jace called 911 to report the shooting, according to police, and was at the house when they arrived. The fifty one-year-old actor played Detective Julien Lowe in acclaimed FX series The Shield. On Wednesday, his lawyer, Jason Sias, said that his client might seek a reduction of his bail at a future hearing. He is due in court next on 1 August. Sias said the actor would not contest the order keeping him away from his children. 'Mr Jace is just concerned about his children,' he said after the hearing. Fire officials have released an emergency call from April Jace's father, in which he reveals that the actor told him he had shot his wife. The audio recording features an unnamed caller who explains to the operator, 'My son-in-law called me, and [texted] me and said come get the kids because he shot April, our daughter.' Her family have called her death 'a senseless act of domestic violence' and police are looking into whether financial or other domestic issues may have been the motive. April Jade worked at Biola University and had three sons, including two boys under the age of ten with Jace. They were unharmed and are now living with relatives. The couple were married for nine years while Jace, who has another child from a previous relationship, was previously married to Jennifer Bitterman. They divorced in 2002. The actor's other roles include a police officer in Southland and parts in Forrest Gump, State Of Play, Boogie Nights and Planet Of The Apes. The Shield ran for seven series, from 2002 to 2008, and won a Golden Globe for best television drama series in 2002.

Brad Pitt and yer actual Peter Capaldi are leading efforts to raise twenty million smackers to restore Glasgow School of Art's fire-hit Mackintosh building. Both have agreed to be trustees of The Mackintosh Appeal which the art school officially launched on Wednesday. Pitt is a well-known admirer of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scots architect who designed the iconic building. Capaldi his very self is a former art school student. GSA estimates the cost of restoring the building to be between twenty and thirty five million notes. The blaze, which destroyed about ten per cent of the building, including the Mackintosh library, broke out on Friday 23 May. In the immediate aftermath, GSA established a Phoenix Bursary scheme to help students affected by the fire to recreate lost work. The initiative attracted a seven hundred and fifty thousand knicker contribution from the Scottish government, which has also pledged five million quid in match funding towards the restoration costs. The UK government has also said it will make a contribution. Capaldi, who studied graphic design at GSA and graduated in 1980, said that he hoped funds could be raised to restore the Mackintosh building 'to its former grace. It always seemed to me, when I studied there, both as a student and as a child in Saturday morning art classes, an exotic place of the imagination all nooks and crannies, guarded by stern ancient statues and full of artistic possibilities,' he said. 'There is no greater symbol of the artistic spirit of Scotland than the Mackintosh building. But more than that it is a symbol of where art belongs, rising as it does out of the heart of a great city. A mighty castle on a hill, it is a part of me, and of all Glaswegians.' In a specially recorded message for the students, Peter said: 'I'm so sorry for all of you who have lost your degree shows. All I can say to you is that you are artists. This will only add to your story. You will be reborn, and rise from the ashes even stronger.' Brad Pitt's love of Mackintosh's work is well documented and he visited the architect's Hill House in Helensburgh, in the 1990s, returning again with his wife Angela Jolie in 2011 while filming World War Z in Glasgow. GSA director, Professor Tom Inns said Pitt and Capaldi would have an important role to play in the fundraising appeal. He added: 'We are delighted that both Peter Capaldi, one of our most celebrated alumni, and Brad Pitt, whose admiration for Mackintosh is well known, have both joined our campaign and will be Trustees on The Mackintosh Appeal.' Professor Inns said the immediate priority for the art school had been the impact on students but it was now time to look forward. 'We have been overwhelmed by the offers of support from around the world since the fire and are hugely grateful to all those people who have donated,' he said. 'This support, along with that of the Scottish government, has been vital. It has enabled us to put in place the Phoenix Bursaries programme to help those students who were most affected by the fire. We are now beginning to look forward to the work we will need to do to return the Mackintosh building to its former glory, and to make sure it continues to be a fit and inspiring place for our students to make work.'

The BBC's hiring of two more ITV News staff, including Lucy Manning, just days after it emerged that the corporation's journalists face hundreds of further job losses is claimed to have 'prompted outrage' in the newsroom. At least, according to a typically shit-stirring piece in the Gruniad Morning Star. At what the hippie Communist middle-class trouble-making rag describes as a highly-charged meeting held on Thursday at the BBC's new Broadcasting House headquarters in London, members of the National Union of Journalists whinged about 'additional layers of management' being created and hirings being made from outside the corporation at a time when BBC News faces five hundred job cuts and a ballot for industrial action over a one per cent annual pay offer. According to alleged - though, of course, anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - BBC 'insiders', the meeting was 'one of the angriest and most impassioned' in recent times. Alleged BBC newsroom 'insiders' have, the Gruniad claim, 'reacted angrily' following the latest in a string of hirings from outside the organisation over the past year, since former Times editor James Harding was appointed director of news and current affairs. On Monday, it was revealed that Manning and Ed Campbell, the ITN senior news editor who worked with her and the team behind News At Ten's BAFTA-winning coverage of the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich and on coverage of the Jimmy Savile fiasco, will be joining the BBC as special correspondent and editor, respectively. After Manning and Campbell's hirings were announced, one soon-to-be-former BBC journalist posted on Facebook: 'So Jonathan Munro [the BBC's head of newsgathering, formerly at ITV News] has just appointed two of his mates to the BBC – without an interview process – at a time of massive job cuts. He's turning the BBC into a place where it's "jobs for the boys."' or, you know, girls in Lucy's case. Obviously. Another alleged BBC 'insider' turned Copper's Nark and, allegedly, snitched to the Gruniad: 'There is outrage at what has happened. It is the lack of competitive process. We see cuts in budgets, recruitment processes having a coach and horses ridden through them, and layers of new management added – there is almost a parallel organisation in the newsroom with some managers' job descriptions overlapping.' However, a BBC spokesman said: 'Mind your own effing business you hippie Communist knobends.' Well, no, they didn't, but it would have been an excellent laugh if they had. Instead, because they're far too polite to tell it like it really is, they said: 'We ensure we fill roles competitively using a variety of different recruitment methods. On occasion, on-air reporters or other key editorial staff have been recruited in a different way, but always within the proper recruitment process.' Personally, I think 'mind your own effing business you hippie Communist knobends' would have been better but, hey, that's just this blogger's opinion. Swings and roundabouts, innit? There has, the Gruniad claim, been 'increasing unrest' among BBC News journalists over the past six months over the number of external appointments. These have included Keith Blackmore from The Times to become managing editor, news, along with Munro from ITV News. Other hires from ITV include Penny Marshall (education editor), Toby Castle (BBC deputy news editor) and Laura Kuenssberg, who is now on Newsnight. Newsnight has also hired policy editor Chris Cook from the Financial Times, economics correspondent Duncan Weldon – who is a former adviser to Mad Hattie Harman and senior economist at the Trades Union Congress – the Gruniad's investigations editor Nick Hopkins and special correspondent Katie Razzall from Channel Four News. Harding also hired Ian Katz, the former Gruniad Morning Star deputy editor, to edit Newsnight last summer. Sue Harris, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said that there was 'no doubting' the competence and experience of the staff being hired by the BBC. However, Harris added: 'It is a complete waste of licence fee payers' money because there are already many really competent, experienced journalists working for the BBC who make the organisation internationally renowned. It is totally unnecessary at a time of austerity within the BBC to bring in new people and a layer of management when the BBC already has extremely able and gifted people there. The BBC is not a commercial operation and public money should not be squandered.' According to the snitching of another alleged 'source', more senior managers are being hired, despite director general Tony Hall telling the culture select committee in October: 'I do want a slimmer BBC with the appropriate number of managers.' The alleged source allegedly claimed it is allegedly creating an alleged environment where staff allegedly feel that they are having more alleged tiers of management allegedly created above them and that even if they work hard, they may not alleged be rewarded with a move up the alleged ladder. The corporation's human resources guidelines say 'it is never appropriate to "give the job to somebody's friend." But these "cappuccino interviews" are very common in the BBC aren't they? These are not BBC policy - it is important that BBC recruitment procedures are followed and appropriate non-discriminatory selection criteria applied.' In another meeting of senior BBC News executives, held on Wednesday, the issue was also discussed but the point was made that, despite the wealth of talent inside the corporation, sometimes it needs to recruit 'excellent people' from outside the corporation as well. It is a tense time at BBC News, with Harding keen to make changes to the organisation, and also having to find the division's contribution to the corporation's savings of eight hundred million smackers a year by 2016-17. Members of the NUJ are to be balloted over industrial action after passing a motion calling for an overhaul of the pay gap with programme-makers and senior management. They have turned down a one per cent annual pay-rise offer made by the BBC, which union members dismissed as 'derisory.'

Former President Martin Sheen is to join Jane Fonda in her forthcoming comedy series on Netflix. The show, called Grace and Frankie, is about rival women who forge a relationship after their husbands fall in love with each other. Sheen will play Robert, the husband of Fonda's onscreen character, Grace. Lily Tomlin will co-star as Frankie, reuniting the two actresses more than thirty years after the movie Nine To Five. Fonda and Tomlin appeared with Dolly Parton in the 1980 comedy hit. Sheen recently appeared in several episodes of his son Charlie Sheen's comedy series Anger Management. But on TV, he is most notable for playing President Bartlet in the acclaimed and award-winning White House drama series The West Wing, which ran from 1999 to 2006. On the big screen, he is famed for stand-out roles in Apocalypse Now, Badlands and Gettysburg. Netflix has ordered thirteen thirty-minute episodes of Grace and Frankie - written by Friends creator Marta Kauffman - which will be released in 2015. With more than forty four million subscribers worldwide, Netflix continues to boost its offering of original programming in an attempt to increase its customer base. It has already had considerable success with shows such as EMMY-winning political thriller House Of Cards and prison drama Orange Is The New Black, the second series of which has just been released. Now, with commissions such as Grace and Frankie, the video-streaming service is looking to boost its original comedy catalogue. Its rivals Amazon and YouTube have also recently forayed into original programming, with Amazon Studios commissioning a new drama from The X Files creator Chris Carter and a comedy starring Gael Garcia Bernal.

The BBC has announced new measures to improve the representation of the Black, Asian and minority ethnic community, including a new executive development scheme and a ringfenced commissioning fund. Other measures announced on Friday include more training internships for BAME graduate trainees, an assistant commissioner development programme for people from diverse backgrounds and new on-and-off-air diversity targets. BBC director general Tony Hall, unveiling the BAME proposals at the EastEnders set in Elstree on Friday morning, also announced that he would chair a new independent diversity action group to advise the BBC. The panel of experts will feature the actor and former comedian Lenny Henry (last funny, briefly, in the mid-1980s), an outspoken critic of the BBC in recent months over its failure to promote BAME diversity. Others will include multiple Paralympic wheelchair racing gold medallist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, broadcaster Lady Benjamin and footballer Jason Roberts. 'The BBC gets much right on diversity, but the simple fact is that we need to do more. I am not content for the BBC to be merely good or above average,' Hall said. 'I want a new talent-led approach that will help set the pace in the media industry. I believe in this and want our record to be beyond reproach. That won't be achieved overnight, but the package of measures I've put in place, alongside the support we'll get from leading experts, will make a tangible difference. We will review progress regularly, and if we need to expand our approach even more, then we will.' The BBC's drive to improve the organisation's diversity includes a new senior leadership development programme, to be overseen by Hall and offering six people from BAME backgrounds experience working at the most senior levels of management at the corporation. They will receive additional training and support from the Clore Leadership Development Programme with the aim for them to become senior broadcasting industry executives. A two million quid Diversity Creative Talent Fund is to be established to help address BAME portrayal in BBC programmes by supporting the development of ideas across all genres. The ringfenced money will be switched from other budgets and be available to BAME writers, talent and production staff from 1 September. Other new diversity measures include an assistant commissioner development programme, a twelve-month scheme for six candidates from diverse backgrounds to work in comedy, drama, factual, daytime and children's. In addition the BBC will be taking on twenty BAME graduate trainee interns from the Creative Access Programme, while continuing its partnerships with the Stephen Lawrence Trust, the Mama Youth Project and its own apprenticeship schemes. The BBC has set a new target of increasing on-air BAME portrayal from ten to fifteen per cent, with specific targets for London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester to reflect the local populations' ethnic mix. Off-air, in addition to existing targets – to have 14.2 per cent of all BBC staff from BAME backgrounds by 2017, and ten per cent of those in 'leadership' roles – the BBC is committing to increasing BAME staff in senior pay grades in the most relevant areas of TV and radio production, broadcast journalism, commissioning and scheduling from the current 8.3 per cent to ten per cent by 2017 and fifteen per cent by 2020.

Cheryl Cole has confessed that her massive arse tattoo cost roughly the same as small car. '[Nikko Hurtado is] an exceptional artist and he was worth it,' The Heaton Horror claimed. 'It was in the thousands, probably the cost of a small car.' Personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping thinks he'd sooner have, say, a Fiat Panda than a massively disfigured rear-end.

Patsy Byrne, best known for playing Nursie in Blackadder II, has died aged eighty. She died on Tuesday at Denville Hall, a retirement home for actors, in Hillingdon. The Kent-born actress joined the Royal Shakespeare Company after drama school and took on numerous TV and theatre roles. She played Nursie - the nice but dim-witted nursemaid to Elizabeth I - in the second series of BBC comedy The Black Adder in 1986. Patsy was born in 1933 and was educated at Ashford School for Girls. She then studied drama at Rose Bruford College before joining the RSC playing parts such as Maria in Twelfth Night and Gruscha in The Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Aldwych Theatre in the early 1960s. She made her screen debut in a 1962 BBC adaptation of The Cherry Orchard. In the 1980s she also worked at Chichester Festival Theatre. Her other screen roles included the ITV sitcom Watching and the classic police series Z Cars. She also made appearances in Casualty and I, Claudius, was Marian's mum in her Blackadder co-star Tony Robinson's comedy Maid Marian & Her Merry Men, played Mrs Nubbles in the BBC's 1979 adaptation of The Old Curiosity Shop and starred opposite Rex Harrison in Chekov's Platonov (1971). She also starred as Betty the Tea Lady in the BBC children's programme Playdays. Her CV also included appearances in Doomwatch, Headmaster, Hazell, The Devil's Crown, Educating Marmalade, The Setbacks, A Dorothy L Sayers Mystery, Early Travellers In North America, Stealing Heaven, Inspector Morse, Les Misérables, David Copperfield and Kevin & Perry Go Large and numerous radio plays. Her final appearance was in an episode of Holby City in 2006 although she did appear in the Blackadder twenty fifth anniversary documentary The Whole Rotten Saga in 2008. She was able to do the splits well into her sixties, a talent which she showed off when she played Malcolm's domineering mother in Watching. Patsy was married to Patrick Seccombe from 1967 until his death in 2000. Her death came just over a week after Rik Mayall, who shared screen time with her as Lord Flashheart in Blackadder II, died suddenly at his home in London. Written by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis, the sitcom ran for four series between 1983 and 1989 and a reunion special in 1999. It followed the exploits of Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder character through various historical periods.

The songwriter Gerry Goffin, who wrote numerous chart-topping songs with his then-wife Carole King, has died at the age of seventy five in Los Angeles. Gerry wrote dozens of hits over two decades, including 'The Loco-Motion', 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow', 'Up On The Roof', 'It Might As Well Rain Until September', 'I'm Into Something Good', 'Halfway To Paradise', 'Some Kind Of Wonderful', 'Yes I Will' and '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman'. He was inducted, along with King, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In a statement, King said that Gerry was her 'first love' and had 'a profound impact' on her life. 'His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn't know how to say.' Born in the New York borough of Brooklyn in 1939, Goffin married King in 1959 when he was twenty and she was seventeen. They had their first hit, 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow', sung by The Shirelles, shortly afterwards. Following their divorce in 1968, Goffin continued writing songs, including Whitney Houston's 'Saving All My Love For You', in 1985. He is survived by his wife, Michelle Goffin, who confirmed that he died from natural causes. He had five children and six grandchildren. A statement from the Recording Academy, which presented him and King with a Trustees Award in 2004, called Goffin a 'legendary songwriter' and 'profound' lyricist. 'His prolific career has left an indelible mark on our culture, and his exceptional legacy will continue to teach and inspire many generations to come,' said Neil Portnow, the Recording Academy's president. 'Our music community has truly lost one of its finest, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family, his friends, and all who have benefited from and have been moved by his extraordinary and heartfelt talent.' Gerry was behind dozens of hits during his career and co-wrote seven songs that topped the US charts, including Diana Ross' 'Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To?)' He also co-wrote 'Goin' Back', a hit for both Dusty Springfield and The Byrds, The Monkees' 'Pleasant Valley Sunday', 'Sweet Young Thing', 'Take A Giant Step', 'Sometime In The Morning' and 'Star Collector', The Everly Brothers' 'Crying In The Rain', The Crickets 'Don't Ever Change', Bobby Vee's 'Take Good Care Of My Baby', Little Eva's 'Keep Your Hands Off My Baby', The Crystals 'He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)', The Chiffons' 'One Fine Day', The Animals' 'Don't Bring Me Down', Gladys Knight & The Pips' 'I've Got To Use My Imagination', Marianne Faithfull's 'Something Better' and 'Chains', originally recorded by The Cookies and later covered by devoted Goffin and King fans The Beatles. There is a wonderful - though, almost certainly apocryphal - story told in Ken Emerson's book Always Magic In The Air about the night that Gerry and Carole met The Fab Four at a New York hotel on The Beatles first visit to America in February 1964. Alcoholic, wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon allegedly spent most of the evening trying to get into Carole King's knickers until she mentioned to him in passing that she was, in fact, married. Lennon feigned surprise, telling her that he had simply assumed she and Gerry wrote songs together as he did with Paul McCartney. 'We're not married, if you were wondering,' he is reported to have said. Gerry and Carole divorced in 1968, after having two children including the singer-songwriter Louise Goffin. Their story is told in hit Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Story, which won two Tony Awards earlier this year. The musical shows the couple composing their songs at the Brill Building publishing company in Manhattan that also employed Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil among others. 'Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come,' said King. 'His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship.' She added: 'If you want to join his loved ones in honouring him, look at the names of the songwriters under the titles of songs. Among the titles associated with me, you'll often find Gerry's name next to mine.' Gerry, whose final CD Back Room Blood was released in 1996, was working as an assistant chemist when he met King at Queens College. He told Vanity Fair in 2001: 'She was interested in writing rock and roll, and I was interested in writing this Broadway play. So we had an agreement where she would write the music for the play if I would write the lyrics to some of her rock and roll melodies. And eventually it came to be a boy-and-girl relationship. I began to lose heart in my play and we stuck to writing rock and roll.' Gerry struggled with mental health and drug problems during their marriage and at one point Carole made a decision to admit him for electro-shock therapy, an experience which she talks about in her memoir A Natural Woman. His daughter Louise said that her father 'wore his heart on his sleeve, and I am deeply blessed to have had a father who could so easily make the world laugh and cry with just a spiral notebook and a pen.' Composer and pianist Barry Goldberg, who wrote many later songs with Goffin - including Manhatten Tranfer's 'It's Not The Spotlight' - also paid tribute. 'Gerry was one of the greatest lyricists of all time and my true soul brother,' he said. 'I was privileged to have had him in my personal and professional life.'

Which, of course, brings us to the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. To be honest, dear blog reader, it could have been any one of a couple of dozen twenty four carat masterpieces from the pen of Gerry Goffin but, in the end, I've gone for this one. Sing, Mickey.
And, just in case you've never heard it, here's Carole's demo of the same song. Which is simply stunning.

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