Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Five Scripts A-Leaking, Seven Goals A-Scoring

Five scripts for the new series of Doctor Who have been extremely leaked online, seven weeks before the first episode is due to be broadcast. BBC Worldwide said that it was investigating what it described as 'a security issue around Doctor Who series eight where unfinished material has inadvertently been made public.' And, that when it finds the person responsible for this rank disgraceful kerfufflement then he (or she) will get his (or her) bollocks kicked - really hard - until he (or she) screams and bubbles and begs - begs - for mercy. Probably. Obviously, if it is a her, then there'll be something of a lack of bollock-kicking - for a couple of very good reasons - and some other form of extremely painful disciplinary action will have to be substituted instead. The statement urged fans not to distribute the spoiler material even if they, personally, have already sought it out. Of course, some of them will take absolutely no notice of this and will spoil away to their hearts content on a Doctor Who Internet forum like Gallifrey Base or on social media. Because, some people are like that. The series - which marks yer actual Peter Capaldi's début as The Doctor - is due to begin on BBC1 on Saturday 23 August. Confirming the leak, BBC Worldwide, the corporation's global merchandising arm, said: 'We deeply regret this and apologise to all the show's fans, the BBC and the cast and crew who have worked tirelessly making the series. We would like to make a plea to anyone who might have any of this material and [the] spoilers associated with it not to share it with a wider audience so that everyone can enjoy the show as it should be seen when it launches. We know only too well that Doctor Who fans are the best in the world and we thank them for their help with this and their continued loyalty.' It was the Bleeding Cool website which first broke the story, naming the five scripts in question in the process. Now, this is where it all starts to get slightly problematic as, yer actual Keith Telly Topping realises that even this bit, in and of itself, is quite possibly a 'spoiler' (minor, admittedly) to someone - even though it has been reported already in several other media sources - so, if you want to avoid the titles of episodes one to five for the forthcoming Doctor Who series (even though three of them have already been announced and all of them will be printed in the Radio Times before the episodes are broadcast) then you're advised to go no further.
Okay, don't say you were warned! Anyway, the website names the episodes in question as the previously announced Deep Breath by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, Into The Dalek by Phil Ford, the previously announced Robots Of Sherwood by Mark Gatiss his very self, Listen by Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) and the previously announced Time Heist by Steve Thompson. Mark Gatiss was, apparently, so annoyed by all this leaking malarkey that he took to Twitter and started quoting Patrick Troughton. And, that's never a good sign, dear blog reader!
Ain't that always the way, Mark? Anyway, the scripts were all watermarked with the name Marcelo Camargo. Who, exactly, Camargo is and what his connection to the BBC is, remains unknown at this time. According to the Radio Times, the scripts 'are understood to have been disseminated online after being sent to the BBC Worldwide’s newly opened Latin America headquarters in Miami for translation. "The opening episode is being simulcast globally so of course translations have to be prepared in advance" said a BBC source.' Even more alarmingly, not only were scripts leaked, but apparently video footage could have been as well. Fortunately for the BBC however, the footage was said to be 'not viewable' due to either the files being corrupted or security measures being in place which prevented them from being downloaded. The scripts appear to have been downloaded from the BBC Worldwide Miami site, which was left open to public indexing, meaning that scripts from Doctor Who, as well as from other popular BBC programmes such as Top Gear and Call The Midwife were accessible to anyone if they knew what they were looking for. The server has now been extremely 'taken offline.' The first episode of Doctor Who series eight - Deep Breath - is due to have its première at a screening in Cardiff on 7 August, after which Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat will take Doctor Who on a so-called 'world tour' leading up to the first TV broadcast. The scripts, beginning with the feature-length Deep Breath are, apparently, marked 'private and confidential'. Material from the series has, of course, been leaked before. In 2005 the entire first episode of the relaunched series, Rose, leaked onto the Internet pre-transmission and in 2013 the seventh series finale, The Name Of The Doctor, was released early due to a mistake in the American distribution of the series Blu-rays and DVDs. In May 2011, yer man Moffat criticised those 'who call themselves fans' who revealed crucial plotlines to other fans ahead of transmission. 'You can imagine how much I hate them,' Steven told BBC Radio 5Live. 'I wish they could go and be fans of something else.'
Of course, people react to the whole concept of spoilers in different ways and that's understandable. This blogger, for instance, remembers having a conversation with a friend a couple of years ago about this very subject when yer actual Keith Telly Topping was having a year of trying to know as little as possible about that particular forthcoming series of Doctor Who in advance - as an experiment to see if it had any sort of impact on this blogger's appreciation of the series as compared to others; it didn't, if I'm being honest. Keith Telly Topping's friend, very accurately, pointed that back in the 1980s, any information which one could gleam was absolute gold dust to many of us in fandom; we would break our backs to learn any tiny sliver of detail we could about episodes pre-transmission (unlike some in fandom, this blogger was never in a position to see scripts beforehand - except once; I was sent a fragment, like six pages or something, of one of the episode of The Trial Of A Time Lord about two or three weeks before it aired. That, at the time, was like having been given access to The Crown Jewels). So, personally, this blogger is not too bothered about spoilers, big or small but he does understand the annoyance and frustration of those who are spoiled without them having asked for it when something like this occurs. As it happens, Keith Telly Topping has seen the first few pages of the first script of this current leaked batch (he checked it out more from curiosity than anything else and, also, to see if he thought the script in question was kosher or not, as there had been some suggestions soon after the story broke that this was all a gigantic hoax. And, from a quick glance at the opening couple of scenes, Keith Telly Topping believes the script to be wholly genuine). Has looking at those six pages ruined 23 August for this blogger? Not a bit of it, dear blog reader, I'm looking forward to Deep Breath more than ever. It's Steven and Peter and Jenna, what's not to love? But Keith Telly Topping does, fully, appreciate the production team's barely contained incandescent fury at the leaking, apparently through someone's carelessness rather than deliberate spite. Keith Telly Topping is also sensitive to the feelings of those who don't want to know anything pre-broadcast. Some people even find things like episode titles and casting news to be spoilers. So, I guess the bottom line is if you have sought out and read these scripts then that's fine. If you haven't read 'em, equally fine. But, if you have read 'em, please avoid being a daft bastard and don't put any aspects of your recently gained knowledge in places where they might not be wanted. As a punch up the bracket often offends.

A film documentary tracing the reasons why so many TV programmes were destroyed and charting the worldwide hunt for Britain's lost television past, is looking for funding for release on DVD. The Native Hue Of Resolution was originally screened at the British Film Institute in London last December, documenting the twenty year search to find TV programmes missing from the official archives. Since the 1993 launch of the BFI initiative to find missing TV programmes, much progress has been made, however thousands of programmes remain missing, believed wiped, including - currently - ninety seven episodes of Doctor Who. The documentary from Farcical Films/Kaleidoscope, made especially for screening at BFI Southbank, traces the reasons why programmes were destroyed and charts the worldwide hunt for lost gems. Narrated by yer actual Peter Purves, it features contributions from, among others, Alan Bennett, Barry Cryer, Jasper Carrott, Peter Firmin, Paul Fox, Ray Galton, Alan Simpson, Hartley Hare, Terry Jones, Sue Malden, David Nobbs, Pete Murray and members of Pan's People. Produced by Kaleidoscope's Chris Perry, the film also features extensive footage found during production of the documentary, from programmes previously thought lost. It is now planned to issue the film on DVD and include a disc of extras of previously lost TV material. The project requires some seed funding and a Kickstarter project has been formed to raise money for the venture. Backers pledging twenty smackers or more will receive either a copy of the finished project, or an invitation to a launch event for the film in 2015. Those interested can find more details here. And, good luck to 'em, sounds like a jolly worthwhile endeavour.

The Doctor Who Appreciation Society is to honour the popular long-running BBC family SF drama's first producer, the late Verity Lambert, with a special event held at the Riverside Studios in London. Remembering Verity Lambert will mark the unveiling of a Blue Heritage plaque commemorating the work of one of the most significant and influential figures to work in British Television. The plaque will be on display at Riverside Studios until the venue closes for development in the autumn, when it will be placed into storage and then permanently mounted at the new Riverside media centre when completed. To celebrate the unveiling of the plaque, DWAS will be showing, by special arrangement with BBC Worldwide, Mark Gatiss' BAFTA-winning drama An Adventure In Space And Time, in high definition at Riverside's cinema, on the evening of 23 July, starting at 7pm. This will be followed by an interview with Verity's friend and long time colleague, and the director of the first Doctor Who story, Waris Hussein. Tickets for the screening are available free-of-charge directly from DWAS, details on the society's website, and will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis, with a special allocation reserved for DWAS members. To raise the funds for the plaque, DWAS will be hosting an auction via its eBay site, which will give Doctor Who fans the opportunity to bid for some collectable items donated by friends and fans.

The One Hundred scored E4's biggest ever programme launch on Monday, according to overnight figures. The imported post-apocalyptic drama attracted an average audience of 1.39 million at 9pm. It also, easily, the highest-rated multichannels broadcast for the day. On BBC1, John Bishop's Australia topped the night overall outside soaps with its first episode, bringing in 4.24m at 9pm. Earlier, How Safe Is Your House? appealed to 2.83m at 7.30pm, while Panorama attracted 2.20m at 8.30pm. The documentary Guilty By Association was seen by 1.77m at 10.35pm. BBC2's University Challenge documentary was watched by 1.31m at 7.30pm, followed by The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show coverage with 1.66m at 8.30pm. Scotland: For Richer Or Poorer interested 1.36m at 9pm, followed by a Qi repeat with 1.27m at 10pm. ITV's Countrywise appealed to 2.83m at 8pm, while a repeat of The Cube had an audience of 2.22m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Odious Jamie's Money Saving Tripe brought in seven hundred and seventy seven thousand at 8.30pm. The Lance Armstrong documentary The Armstrong Lie was seen by seven hundred and twenty four thousand viewers at 9pm. Channel Five's Police Interceptors attracted nine hundred and three thousand at 8pm, followed by Benefits Britain with 2.24m at 9pm and Big Brother: Power Trip with 1.31m at 10pm. On BBC4, the final of Only Connect was watched by eight hundred and thirty one thousand at 8.30pm, while Lucy Worsley's new series Tales From The Royal Wardrobe also interested eight hundred and thirty one thousand punters at 9pm.

The Wimbledon men's final attracted a peak audience of 9.86 million on Sunday, according to overnight figures. Novak Djokovic's victory over Roger Federer scored an average 5.89m from 1.45pm on BBC1. This was, obviously, down from last year's peak ratings of over seventeen million for Andy Murray's win. Countryfile achieved the best average overnight ratings of the evening with 6.72m at 7pm. Casualty brought in 5.12m, whilst the one-off Jimmy McGovern misery-fest drama Common was seen by 4.39m at 9pm. Who all probably wanted to slit their wrists afterwards. On BBC2, the British Grand Prix coverage attracted an average of 2.82m punters from 12pm. The Quest For Bannockburn continued with 1.26m at 8.15pm, followed by A Cabbie Abroad with 1.38m at 9.15pm. On ITV, Despicable Me was watched by two million viewers at 7pm, followed by The Nation's Favourite Motown Song with 2.13m at 9pm. And which was every bit as bad as this blogger had feared. Not the music, obviously, that was fantastic, but the programme itself which seemed to have been put together in fifteen minutes in somebody's shed. Channel Four's broadcast of Johnny English Reborn had an audience of 1.44m at 8pm. Highlights of Sean Lock's live comedy show attracted six hundred and thirty three thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Rush Hour drew seven hundred and ninety seven thousand at 7pm, followed by the latest Big Brother: Power Trip with 1.02m at 9pm.

Brazil's shock World Cup, if you will, müllaring by Germany easily topped the overnight ratings on Tuesday. The match scored an average 11.52 million viewers and an audience share of fifty one per cent from 8.30pm on BBC1. It peaked at 13.81m punters at around 10pm at the beginning of the second half. It is the 2014 World Cup's highest-rated match outside of England games on UK television. On BBC2, Mary Berry Cooks appealed to 1.02m at 7.30pm, followed by University Challenge with 1.42m at 8pm and Shopgirls with 1.17m at 9pm. ITV's Love Your Garden interested 2.65m at 8pm. A Benidorm repeat attracted 1.39m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Kirstie's Fill Your House With Crap For Free was watched by 1.27m at 8pm. Beauty Queen Or Bust brought in five hundred and fifty one thousand at 9pm, while Kitchen Nightmares had an audience of five hundred and five thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Dog Rescuers was seen by 1.18m at 8pm, followed by CSI with 1.11m at 9pm and Big Brother: Power Trip with 1.03m at 10pm.

'This was a test of character for Brazil,' said the BBC commentator Steve Wilson about five minutes from the end of the first semi-final of the 2014 World Cup. 'And it was a one which they failed, miserably.' That wasn't hyperbole, incidentally, it was, if anything, a staggering understatement. Brazil's World Cup dreams ended shattered into fragments in rank, brutal humiliation as Germany inflicted their heaviest ever defeat in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday evening. God, it was funny. 'In twenty two years as a pundit and forty years in the game, I have never seen anything like it.' BBC pundit Alan Hansen was not alone in struggling to comprehend the nature of what went on there. A thunderous occasion which began with Brazil riding a tidal wave of emotion and national fervour was reduced to a complete and total post-apocalyptic nightmare as Germany were five-nil up inside twenty nine remarkable minutes in front of a disbelieving, tearful and, ultimately, rather angry Estadio Mineirao crowd. Brazil's players mourned the absence of the crippled Neymar before kick-off, but captain and defensive lynch-pin Thiago Silva proved to be a far bigger loss in the ensuing fiasco. The result was Brazil's first competitive home defeat in thirty nine years and the end of their hopes of making it to the World Cup final at the Maracana on Sunday in emphatic fashion. Instead, Germany will meet either Argentina or the Netherlands, who play on Wednesday in Sao Paulo. Thomas Müller gave the three-time winners an early lead before a period of utter chaos saw Miroslav Klose break the World Cup scoring record and then Toni Kroos add two more all in the space of one hundred and seventy nine seconds. The superb Sami Khedira added a fifth soon afterwards. Moscow Chelski FC striker André Schürrle, on as a second-half substitute, added two more after the break before Brazil's followers delivered what must be regarded as the defining insult to their own national team - cheering every German pass with an 'olé' and applauding their goals whilst roundly booing their own players; especially the hapless Fred. Many Brazil supporters, swamped with such anticipation as they gathered in their thousands around the ground hours before kick-off, were reduced to floods of bitter tears after less than thirty minutes and were reduced to such a state of shock that it was only at half-time they fully registered their first serious dissent. This calamity equalled Brazil's heaviest margin of defeat, a six-nil loss at the hands of Uruguay in the 1920 Copa America, but the impact of this reverse, not just on the world stage but in their homeland, will put this alongside the 1950 World Cup final defeat by the Uruguayans in Rio as, truly their darkest footballing day. Müller's early goal was a big enough setback in and of itself, but the manner in which Luiz Felipe Scolari's side then crumbled like a pile of damp cardboard in the space of just seven minutes is likely to be a matter of national debate - and national shame - in Brazil for years to come. This was Brazil's first defeat at home for twelve years. The country's media were in no doubt. GloboEsporte's headline called it The Disgrace Of All Disgraces. For the sports paper Lance! it was The Biggest Shame In History. There was a heavy police presence on the streets of the city in the hours after the game - but the majority of Brazil supporters were in no mood for rebellion. This was a nation in shock. The loss for a country built on sporting pride - and at their own World Cup - will be bad enough to take. The scale of defeat, however, will take the inquests to whole a new level. The statistics stacked up like pieces of rubble around the feet of Big Phil and his players. This was the first time a team had scored seven in a World Cup semi-final and the biggest defeat in one of these games since the then West Germany beat Austria six-one in 1954. After the match the victorious coach, Joachim Löw, strutted around like he owned the gaff - and who, frankly, could blame him? - noting that 'scoring three in four minutes the hosts were in shock. We were extremely cool and realised they were cracking up, and we took advantage of that.' He wasn't wrong in the slightest. The five-time champions' team coach bears the phrase 'Brace Yourself - The Sixth Is Coming.' The sixth did, indeed, arrive ... but only in the back of Julio Cesar's net. With all of David Luiz's defensive indiscipline offering rich pickings for Germany's speed and mobility, the game swiftly descended into a fiasco for Brazil. Luiz - to the ridicule of many in the game named earlier this week as FIFA's 'player of the tournament' - had the defensive frailties, which saw Moscow Chelski FC boss Jose Mourinho offload him to Paris St Germain tout sweet at the end of the recent season, cruelly exposed as he lost the ball in dangerous positions over and over again. The properly cowardly way in which he bottled out of a tackle with Khadira which, ultimately, led to the fifth German goal was the sort of thing one would criticise an eleven year old for doing in a school game and seemed to provide even more evidence that it wasn't just the Brazilian shirts which were yellow. Much has been made of the Brazil side's over-emotion during the national anthem - blubbing like big soft tarts and all that - and there was, in retrospect, an overblown public reaction to the absence of Neymar, injured in the quarter-final against Colombia, in the hour leading up to kick-off. Scolari led his players off the team coach wearing a white Forca Neymar baseball cap before captain Luiz and goalkeeper Cesar held up his number ten shirt during a stirring rendition of Brazil's national anthem. It was all downhill from there - and rapidly. The constant Brazilian hugging and 'team bonding' smacked more of insecurity and posturing. Germany, by contrast, were cold, clinical and magnificent. From the moment Müller was the beneficiary of dreadful marking to steer in Kroos's corner after eleven minutes, Brazil simply fell apart and it was an invitation Germany were not going to refuse as Klose scored at the second attempt to set a new World Cup record of sixteen goals in twenty three games. What followed was one of the most remarkable passages of play in any World Cup game, let alone a semi-final, as Germany did not just look like scoring on every attack, for a while they actually did. Throughout this World Cup there has been a suspicion that a mediocre Brazil defence has been disguised and that, eventually, they were going to come up against a team as ruthlessly efficient as the Germans who would take advantage of this. With the shield of Silva - easily their best defender - removed, they were simply taken apart by Germany, wilting under pressure and abject in coping with their attacking variety. To put it brutally, their arse fell out and they, metaphorically, curled up into a little ball and whimpered for their mummy. Kroos side-footed home a finish which Cesar touched but could not save, then the midfielder quickly added another when set up by the unselfish Khedira who was probably the best player on the park. Khedira scored the fifth before half-time in an example of the complete disintegration of Brazil's organisation, discipline and basic defence. He took the ball from Luiz after the curly-haired defender decided that tackling wasn't for him and then strolled towards the penalty area untroubled before exchanging passes with Mesut Özil to score a deserved fifth. It was only then, perhaps as full recognition sunk in, that Brazil's supporters started to deliver a toxic reaction to their team, with striker Fred singled out for particularly vicious treatment. The subject of, again, much criticism outside of Brazil during the tournament but stubbornly stuck with by Scholari, Fred quickly became a symbol for his own supporters of everything that had gone wrong with Brazil. Early in the second half he found himself outside the German penalty area with the ball at his feet but his shot was 'tame and weak' according to Steve Wilson, a description which might have been used to describe his entirely tournament. The ball dribbled towards Manuel Neuer who simply had to kneel down to pick it up. A smattering of boos quickly turned into a crescendo. Soon it was happening every time Fred touched the ball and then, the ultimate humiliation, even after her was withdrawn and replaced by Willian in the sixty ninth minute, the abuse didn't end. Shortly before the final whistle, the stadium's cameras caught a picture of a dejected looking Fred sitting on the Brazilian bench looking for all the world like someone had just kicked him, hard, in the knackers. It was relayed onto the stadium's big screen. The outpouring a bile and anger from the Brazilian crowd to the hapless centre-forward at that moment when he wasn't even on the pitch almost made one feel sorry for the chap. Almost, but not quite. Despite a lively start to the second half which saw Neuer distinguish himself with a couple of superb saves to deny Ramirez (who replaces the lumbering, ineffectual Hulk at half-time), Bernard and Dante, normal service was resumed as Schürrle finished off a fine passing move before drilling a near-post finish past Cesar, who - like his team - should have done better. But didn't. It was at around this point that the home fans, collectively, began to throw their support behind Germany, cheering passing moves and even breaking into applause for Schürrle's second goal - a beauty rifled into the roof of the net from an acute angle. Oscar's late strike was nothing in the way of consolation to them and the crowd turned savagely on their players - many of whom left the pitch in tears - at the final whistle. Scolari described it as 'the worst day' of his life and said that he took full responsibility. 'I will be remembered as the coach to lose seven-one but I knew that risk when I took the job,' said Scolari after the game. 'The person who decided the line-up, the tactics, was me. It was my choice. My message for the Brazilian people is please excuse us for this performance.' Many in Brazil, in their heart of hearts knew that their World Cup dream might have to end without the win that they so wanted. But, no-one could possibly have suspected for a moment that it would end like this.

Steve Wilson might have had a moment of poetic brilliance towards the end of the match but, how disappointing it was to see him make such an elementary schoolboy-type error right at the start during the national anthems. For your information, Steve, the German national anthem is not called Deutschland über alles. It's never been called Deutschland über alles, not even when they used to sing the verse that includes the line 'Deutschland über alles' (which, incidentally, it has been illegal to sing in Germany since 1945). It doesn't actually, have a title - it's just The German National Anthem - although some people refer to it as Das Lied Der Deutschen (The Song of the Germans). Jeez, do some research for once, mate. Twenty seconds on Wikipedia would've told you all of that. Wilson subsequently apologised on Twitter for any offence caused. Just to be clear, Steve, there was no offence taken on this blogger's part. Just  a great deal of annoyance!
Anyway, here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Seventeen programmes, week-ending Sunday 29 June 2014:-
1 World Cup Live: Brazil Versus Chile - Post Match - Sat BBC1 - 9.05m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.15m
3 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 6.33m
4 FIFA World Cup 2014: Costa Rica Versus England - Tues ITV - 6.00m
5 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 5.88m
6 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.87m
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.35m
8 Emmerdale 9 Casualty - Sun BBC1 - 4.86m
10 Wimbledon 2014 - Fri BBC1 - 4.64m
11 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.12m
12 A Question of Sport Super Saturday - Sat BBC1 - 4.01m
13 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 4.01m
14 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 3.91m
15 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 3.89m
16 Holby City - Thurs BBC1 - 3.87m
17 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 3.84m
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not feature HD figures. For once, curiously, the BBC's post-match coverage of Brazil versus Chile received a higher average audience that the game itself (which had 8.48). One perfectly shocking statistic to chew over was the fact that iTV HD had more viewers watching the Netherlands versus Mexico game (1.44m) than watched England's pointless game against Costa Rica (1.30m) although, overall viewers across both ITV and ITV HD saw the England game emerge with - just - the highest average audience (six million viewers as opposed to 5.54m for the Dutch game). That, incidentally, is the lowest recorded consolidated audience for a game involving England at a major tournament since records began. Jolly well done, Roy, that's what I call 'managing expectations.' Elsewhere in the World Cup, BBc1's coverage of Ecuador versus France brought in 5.70m and the USA versus Germany match was watched by 4.54m. BBC2's top-rated programme of the week was the Sunday night coverage of Glastonbury with 2.08m viewers, followed by Gardeners' World (1.99m) and Shop Girls: The True Story of Life Behind The Counter (1.87m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was One Born Every Minute with 2.26m. Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole was Channel Five's best performer with 2.62m, followed by CSI (1.97m). Once again, let's all have a right good laugh that E4's The Big Bang Theory (1.80m) attracted a higher audience than any episode of Big Brother (the largest of which was Thursday's 1.57m). Which is, of course, very funny.

BBC2 is to bring Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales to television. A series of historical adventure novels written by the Sharpe creator, the books will be adapted for television by Good Cop writer Stephen Butchard. Eight-part drama The Last Kingdom - named for the first book in the series - will be made by Downton Abbey producers Carnival Films. Set in the year 872, the show will follow Uhtred - a hero raised by the same Vikings who slaughtered his Saxon parents. 'Cornwell's Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way,' said executive producer Gareth Neame. 'In the hands of Stephen Butchard we believe it will make original and engrossing television drama.'

Gracepoint will reportedly be broadcast on ITV later this year. The US remake of the ITV drama Broadchurch is expected to be shown in Britain after ITV signed a deal with FOX, according to Radio Times. The deal is said to have been agreed with producers Shine America and the US network, and the drama - which will be shit, incidentally, will broadcast in the autumn. However, it has not been confirmed which ITV channel will carry the show. Broadchurch will then return for a second series on ITV in 2015.
Dragons' Den regular Duncan Bannatyne has confirmed that he has decided to leave the show. The sixty five-year-old - one of only two remaining original Dragons - explained that he will quit after the current series has finished recording. Bannatyne suggested that he is leaving 'due to other business commitments' but also claimed that it is time for another business leader to take his seat. 'I have had the time of my life as a Dragon,' he said. 'I have made numerous investments and taken part in a landmark TV programme that has promoted entrepreneurship to an entire generation of Britons. However, after the 2014 recordings, I do not plan to make any further investments on the programme so I thought it fair to ask producers to offer my seat to somebody else. There are only so many times I can say, "I'm out."' Bannatyne also promised that his final series, which will kick off on 20 July, is 'full of exciting, high quality pitches', adding: 'I have made a number of investments and it really is must-see business TV.'
It just gets worse and worse for ex-Scum of the World editor and the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum' Andy Coulson. The convicted phone-hacking, currently doing eighteen months at Her Majesty's, is to appear in court on 6 August to face perjury charges over the Tommy Sheridan trial. Coulson has been indicted to appear at the High Court in Glasgow. The formal announcement follows his conviction in England last week on phone-hacking charges. Coulson was charged two years ago after being questioned in Glasgow in connection with the evidence he gave at the Tommy Sheridan trial in 2010. It is understood officials at the Crown Office in Edinburgh were awaiting the outcome of Coulson's trial in England before announcing any action they intended to take against him. The Prime Minister's former director of communications was extremely banged-up for eighteen months in stir at the Old Bailey for conspiring to intercept voicemails at the now-defunct, disgraced and disgraceful tabloid after an eight-month trial. A spokesman at the Crown Office said: 'The Crown Office can confirm that an indictment was served on Andrew Coulson today, 7 July 2014 and that a preliminary hearing is scheduled for 6 August 2014 at the High Court at Glasgow.' Still, one imagines attending court will be a nice day out for Coulson. Get him out of his cell for a bit of fresh air and all that.

Meanwhile, the International Business Times has claimed that Coulson has 'allegedly' been attacked in prison by a fellow inmate. A story which, interestingly, no other media outlet appears to have reported. An alleged 'source' allegedly told the IBTimes (they're not alleged, they definitely exist) that 'Coulson's past quickly caught up with him' inside Belmarsh on Saturday, on only his second day in the tough Category A prison. The alleged attacker was an alleged criminal who once allegedly appeared in the pages of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World they claim. According to the alleged 'source', Coulson, was in the association area on his wing at Belmarsh, when he was 'approached and struck.' The alleged blow allegedly 'knocked his glasses off', it was claimed. 'It is understood Coulson did not report the incident to prison staff' IB Times continues. 'The person who did it was stitched up by the News of the World,' the alleged 'source' alleged said, adding: 'Coulson is now quietly *****ing himself.' Guesses as to what the word that the IBTimes can't bring themselves to print in full include 'knitting', 'gritting', 'slitting' and 'printing'. 'It was a harsh introduction to life behind bars for David Cameron's former media chief, who was found guilty of on one count of conspiracy to hack phones and jailed last Friday for eighteen months' they add. International Business Times say that they contacted the Ministry of Justice for a comment. A spokesman said: 'We do not comment on individual prisoners.' Or, indeed, 'made up shit based the alleged word of an alleged anonymous source' either.

And, speaking of 'made-up shit', yer actual George Clooney has received a thoroughly grovelling apology from the Scum Mail Online 'for any distress caused' by a story about his upcoming marriage to Amal Alamuddin. It follows the Scum Mail's publication of a report claiming that Alamuddin's mother objected to their marriage on religious grounds. The story, published earlier this week, led Clooney to accuse the Scum Mail of 'irresponsibility.' 'We accept Mister Clooney's assurance that the story is inaccurate,' said a statement from the Scum Mail Online. That's big of them. What a great pity they didn't, seemingly, bother to contact Clooney to see whether the story was true before they published it. 'We have removed the article from our website and will be contacting Mister Clooney's representatives to discuss giving him the opportunity to set the record straight,' the Scum Mail spokesperson added. Earlier this week, the Scum Mail claimed that Alamuddin's mother, Baria, wished her daughter to be married within the relatively small Druze community. The Druze are a religious sect with an estimated seven hundred thousand members, mostly in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan, whose beliefs are based on Islam but also incorporate elements of other religions. The report, published online on Monday and then in print in the Daily Scum Mail on Tuesday, in an amended form, alleged that 'close family friends' had told them Baria Alamuddin had been 'telling half of Beirut' that her daughter 'could do better.' In an angry piece published by USA Today, Clooney denied firstly his fiancée's mother was a member of the Druze community and asserted that she was 'in no way against the marriage.' He went on to accuse the Scum Mail of putting his family and friends 'in harm's way' and potentially 'inciting violence' with its 'completely fabricated' story. 'The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous,' the actor wrote. 'The Daily Mail has printed a completely fabricated story about my fiancée's mother opposing our marriage for religious reasons. It says Amal's mother has been telling "half of Beirut" that she's against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride. Let me repeat that: the death of the bride. None of the story is factually true. Amal's mother is not Druze. She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage.' But that, in his view, was not 'the issue.' After claiming that he is used to the Scum Mail 'making up stories' about him, he argued that 'this lie involves larger issues.' He wrote: 'The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous. We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal.' Clooney, whose father was a TV journalist and broadcaster, continued: 'I'm the son of a newsman; I accept the idea that freedom of speech can be an inconvenience to my private life from time to time.' But he was concerned by the fact that the Scum Mail's false story had been picked up by hundreds of other outlets, such as Boston.com, the New York Daily News, Gulf News and Emirates 24/7. He concluded his statement by writing: 'The Daily Mail, more than any other organisation that calls itself news, has proved time and time again that facts make no difference in the articles they make up. And when they put my family and my friends in harm's way, they cross far beyond just a laughable tabloid and into the arena of inciting violence. They must be so very proud.' He cited three 'idiotic' and false stories that the Scum Mail has previously 'fabricated' about him and Alamuddin: that she was pregnant, that their marriage will take place on the set of Downton Abbey and that he is running for political office. These are, he claims, stories 'they sit at their computers and invent.' Clooney's engagement to Alamuddin, a London-based barrister who specialises in human rights cases, was confirmed by her chambers in April. In its statement, the Scum Mail Online claimed that its story had not been 'a fabrication' but had been 'supplied in good faith by a reputable and trusted freelance journalist. She based her story on conversations with a long-standing contact who has strong connections with senior members of the Lebanese community in the UK and the Druze in Beirut. We only became aware of Mister Clooney's concerns this morning and have launched a full investigation.' One which will, hopefully, see the 'reputable and trusted freelance journalist' and her 'long-standing contact' named and shamed for lying.

Sherlock and Downton Abbey have been nominated for this year's TV Choice Awards. The shows both made the shortlist for Best Drama Series alongside Call The Midwife and Waterloo Road. Downton Abbey also picked up two acting nominations, with Allen Leech in the Best Actor category and for Joanne Froggatt for Best Actress. Leech will be competing with yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as David Tennant (The Escape Artist) and Bradley Walsh (Law & Order: UK). Also up for Best Actress are Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley), Laurie Brett (Waterloo Road) and Judy Parfitt (Call The Midwife). Happy Valley was recognised in Best New Drama with The Crimson Field, The Musketeers and The Widower. Game Of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory are up for Best International Show, while Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway will battle Celebrity Juice and Gogglebox for Best Entertainment Show. Elsewhere, Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks are competing for Best Soap. The mystery of Lucy Beale's death in EastEnders and Hayley's cancer plot in Corrie are fighting it out for the Best Soap Storyline award in a sort of 'which is best, murder or cancer?' type affair. It's a valid question, I suppose. The TV Choice Awards, hosted by David Mitchell, will take place on Monday 8 September at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

Victoria Derbyshire is to host a new daily show on the BBC News Channel. The broadcaster is leaving BBC Radio 5Live in the autumn, along with other presenters including Shelagh Fogarty and Richard Bacon. Her new programme will feature 'exclusive interviews, agenda-setting discussion and audience debates.' 'This is the TV programme I've always wanted to make,' said Derbyshire. 'It will include the kind of broadcasting I love doing - original journalism, stories that affect the lives of our audience, exclusive interviews, viewer debates and big breaking news. It's been a privilege to be able to build up such a strong relationship with the 5Live listeners over the last sixteen years and I hope to be able to do the same with audiences in our new venture,' she added James Harding, the director of BBC news and current affairs, said: 'Victoria has rightly won many awards for her ability to find the stories that matter in the lives of people in this country. We are very excited to bring her range of interests, determination to get to the bottom of the story, and her capacity to surprise, to a television audience.' Derbyshire joined 5Live in 1998, eventually co-presenting The Breakfast Show with Nicky Campbell and taking over the mid-morning show. Elsewhere, Matthew Amroliwala will leave the channel to become the new presenter of Global on the BBC World News channel. 'Matthew's experience, skill and gravitas have long been admired on the BBC News Channel and they will be enormously appreciated by the peak-time audience of Global,' said Harding. 'I have no doubt that he will thrive in this crucially important role.'
Two - somewhat z-list - female celebrities have claimed that they were sexually assaulted by disgraced and convicted kiddie-fiddler Rolf Harris. The Australian was extremely jailed on Friday for five years and nine months for preying on four young women. Now, Linda Nolan has alleged that - along with her siblings in The Nolan Sisters - she supported Harris on a tour of South Africa in 1975, when she was fifteen, when Harris hugged her in a backstage corridor in Johannesburg in an inappropriate manner. 'His arms were all over my back, right around me so his hands were touching the sides of my breasts,' she told the Sunday Mirra. 'He rubbed up and down and started kissing and licking the back of my neck. It was horrible and I was totally dumbstruck.' After trying to escape his clutches for a couple of minutes, Nolan claims, Harris stopped and 'laughed it off', telling her: 'Don't be silly, I'm only giving you a hug.' Vanessa Feltz, the television and radio presenter, claimed that she was also assaulted by the disgraced and disgraceful entertainer in May 1996 while interviewing him live for the On The Bed segment of Channel Four's Big Breakfast. She said that she was lying on the bed in a full-length evening dress with Harris sitting very close to her. His wife, Alwen, was in the studio along with the crew. 'I suddenly felt a rustling at the hem of my dress,' Feltz told the Sunday Scum Express. 'I was on live television so I could not look down, but I sensed that his hand was at the bottom of my dress and he was slowly gathering the fabric up and moving his hand higher and higher up my leg. He was carrying on talking as though nothing was going on, smiling and joking, as he moved his hand further up.' The presenter claimed that his hand reached her knee and then her thigh before getting inside the elastic of her underwear. Feltz said that she resorted to cutting to an advert break so that she could repel his advances. 'I have not a shadow of a doubt that he knew exactly what he was doing and he was getting excited about it, doing what he was doing while he was on live television.' Sadly, neither of these women chose to speak about the alleged incidents at the time they, allegedly, occurred and when they might have prevented future attacks on other women but, rather, waited - in Nolan's case for almost forty years - before making their allegations public. Pity that, really. That, as they say, is an opportunity very much missed.

Channel Five has escaped censure for running a string of adverts for gambling companies during a programme called My Spiral Into Debt Hell, which featured an online gambler who ran up huge debts and lost his home, family and job. The Channel Five programme focused on people suffering from debt problems, including one who ran up seventy grand of debt from online gambling and had 'lost everything' as a result. There were three advertising breaks during the programme and one when it ended, and all of these included commercials for either Rush Poker Mobile or Supercasino.com. The Advertising Standards Authority received thirteen complaints that the adverts were 'inappropriately scheduled' around the show. Channel Five said that the story showed gambling did not solve financial problems, but was likely to lead to difficulties and debt. The broadcaster added that the adverts were shown after the 9pm watershed and were aimed at an adult audience with 'an interest in contemporary issues.' NetPlay TV Group, which trades as SuperCasino, said that it was 'only made aware' of the title of the programme and that 'policies and procedures did not enable them to take an active supervisory approach to broadcasters and how they scheduled ad breaks.' The ASA said that the programme's content was 'anecdotal in nature, rather than providing practical advice to vulnerable indebted viewers. We acknowledged that the ads for online gambling were incongruous with the programme content,' the ASA added. 'But [we] considered the scheduling of those ads around the programme was not irresponsible, or an unsuitable juxtaposition that was likely to cause distress or offence to viewers.' The ASA ruled that the TV adverts did not breach its rules on social responsibility and scheduling, and therefore dismissed the complaints.

A painting revealed to be a Van Dyck portrait on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow has failed to sell at auction. The portrait had been expected to fetch up to five hundred thousand smackers at the Christie's sale. The Old Master painting was bought by Derbyshire priest, Father Jamie MacLeod, from an antiques shop in Cheshire for four hundred quid in 1992. It was identified as a Van Dyck after Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce spotted it during filming and thought it might be genuine. Bruce, who was making a programme about the artist at the time, asked art expert Phillip Mould to examine the artwork during an episode of the Antiques Roadshow, which was screened last December. After a lengthy restoration process, it was verified as authentic by Doctor Christopher Brown, one of the world's leading authorities on Van Dyck. The painting is believed to be a sketch for a work called The Magistrates Of Brussels, which hung in the city's town hall until it was destroyed by a French attack in 1695. Ahead of the auction in London, Christie's specialist Freddie de Rougemont said: 'The picture is of great importance as it provides a fascinating insight into Van Dyck's working method and also constitutes a significant surviving document for the artist's lost group portrait of The Magistrates Of Brussels.' At the same auction of Old Master and British Paintings, Saint Praxedis by Johannes Vermeer - one of the only two works by the artist which remained in private hands - was sold for £6.2m. It formed part of the collection of late American collector Barbara Piasecka Johnson with the proceeds going to her charitable foundation, Christie's said. There had been doubts about the authenticity of the work for some years, which Vermeer created in the early part of his career. But tests carried out on the paints used in the work were found to be consistent with other Vermeers.

A typical full-time writer earns eleven thousand quid a year, according to research commissioned by the Authors' Licensing and Collection Society. Still, it's better than working in a call centre, eh? The number of those working as full-time writers has also dropped from forty per cent of all writers in 2005 to just over eleven per cent now. This blogger being one example. As, you know, man cannot live on royalties alone. Chief executive of the ALCS, Owen Atkinson, said the research by Queen Mary University of London, suggested these are 'concerning times.' The typical income of a professional writer in 2005 was over twelve thousand knicker. The 2005 comparison figures date back to the ALCS's last piece of research on authors' earnings, which was published in 2007. 'This rapid decline in both author incomes and in the numbers of full-time writers could have serious implications for the economic success of the creative industries in the UK,' Atkinson said. The novelist Joanne Harris, whose books include Chocolat and Blackberry Wine, said: 'It's good to see that finally we are becoming aware of just how little the average author earns. Not everyone can be a high-earning, high profile writer but all creators should have the right to be paid for what they do.' However there is some hope for writers' future earnings, with revenue from digital publishing on the increase. Digital publishing is now the third-largest sector in terms of financial importance to writers, behind books and magazines/periodicals and ahead of newspapers and radio, film and television. Self-publishing is also becoming an increasingly successful venture for writers. Some twenty five per cent of writers have self-published a work, with a typical return on their investment of forty per cent. Eighty-six percent said that they would self-publish again. Poet Wendy Cope said: 'Most people know that a few people make a lot of money. This survey tells us about the vast majority of writers, who don't.' Yeah. But, we do get invited to all the cool kids parties, which is something people who work in call centres don't. And that's the important thing.
Internet users need to be careful about falsely labelling politicians as paedophiles amid a frenzy of rumours on social media about alleged child abusers in Westminster, 'legal experts' have warned. As if anybody actually needed to make that point. And, in other news, the Pope is Catholic, apparently. And, 'legal experts' also suggest that it's probably unwise for anyone to go to their local bank with a sawn-off shotgun and try to rob it, since you get fifteen years in stir for that shit. Jesus, did everybody take 'the stupid pill' today, or what? Of course you don't claim someone is a criminal without some proof, unless you want to get extremely sued by the person you're accusing. Just months after the late Conservative peer Lord McAlpine settled legal action against a number of Twitter users for untrue suggestions that he was a paedophile, people are now, apparently, openly naming MPs and celebrities as suspected child abusers on the Internet. Yes. because some people are morons. Wow, what a revelation. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has announced an inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations by public institutions following the Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith fiascos, as well as accusations of a high-profile paedophile ring in Westminister involving more than a dozen people, some of the claimed to be amongst the highest in the land, and that. However, no politician has so far been arrested or charged with any related offence. Hugh Tomlinson QC, a leading privacy lawyer, said: 'The first point to make is that for many years there have been rumours about all kinds of individuals. Some of those will turn out to be false, and some to be true. Lord McAlpine is a very good example of the first and Jimmy Savile is a very good example of the second. But for people to report rumours in the way that some people apparently are doing online is extremely dangerous from a legal point of view. First of all it could prejudice any prosecutions. Secondly, it could expose them to defamation proceedings. If people are naming politicians as suspected paedophiles, it seems the McAlpine lessons have not been learned.' Yes, Hugh. Because, to repeat, some people are morons. Tomlinson said that child abuse is 'obviously an emotional subject where feelings run very high and where the consequences of a false allegation are extremely serious. A false allegation of paedophilia is so serious it could lead to someone having a mental breakdown, becoming the subject of vigilante attacks or even committing suicide,' he said. 'Victims should be going to the police and other people should not be making accusations simply on the basis of rumour.' Nigel Jones, of JMD Law, who brought the first Twitter libel case in 2011, also said that any Internet users posting allegations that 'have no foundation in fact' are being 'rather silly in light of the McAlpine case. Defamation on Facebook, Twitter, whatever social media site contains exactly the same penalties as if it appeared in a newspaper,' he said. 'The only difficulty we sometimes get is identifying the actual poster.' He said that comments 'may be libellous' irrespective of a person's number of followers, whether the claims are made to two or twenty million people. It comes as the House of Lords communications committee prepares to hold a hearing about abuse on social media on Wednesday. Lord Clement-Jones, managing partner of DLA Piper law firm and a member of the committee, said that he 'might raise the issue' in the session, where representatives of Twitter, Facebook, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service are due to appear. 'This must be the subject of discussion,' he said. 'I had thought of trolling as victimising individuals but Twitter is not necessarily replying to an individual, you could be talking to people at large. It is absolutely relevant that individuals are doing this kind of thing. This issue of how far is it tinged with criminality, I think that will be the question we really do need to talk about. Are all these allegations that people are making tipping over into criminality?' Downing Street has previously condemned the risk of 'trial by Twitter' after ITV presenter Philip Schofield ambushed David Cameron on live television with a list of suspected paedophiles which he claimed to have 'found' on the Internet. 'There is a danger if we are not careful that this can turn into a sort of witch hunt, particularly about people who are gay, and I'm worried about the sort of thing you are doing right now, taking a list of names off the Internet,' Cameron said at the time. Sir Brian Leveson, who conducted a public inquiry into the media, warned in 2012 that new laws might be needed to stop 'mob rule' and 'trial by Twitter' online, warning that the Internet had become 'a global megaphone for gossip.' No shit? As ever, dear blog reader, rest assured, this blog will deal only in facts and will report the news not 'made up stuff.' You know, like the Daily Scum Mail.

The excellent Rhod Gilbert has been named as the new permanent host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. His appointment ends the reign of guest hosts on the show, which began when Simon Amstell left the series in 2009. Gilbert, a noted music fan, will join returning team captains weirdo Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus for the popular music comedy quiz's twenty eighth series later this year. Filming for Never Mind the Buzzcocks will begin later this year, and the show is expected to return to BBC2 in the autumn.

Sky Sports is considering its inquiry into how it broadcast audio of Andrew Strauss using the naughty C-word (not 'caught') about Kevin Pietersen closed, reports the Daily Scum Mail. The presenter and former England captain was talking to his colleague Nick Knight during an advert break in the MCC's match against the Rest of the World at Lord's on Saturday which was broadcast by Sky Sports. Strauss became animated about Pietersen's influence on English cricket, describing him as a 'complete' naughty C-word. It's not 'centurion' either, by the way. Unfortunately the microphone was still on the commentary box and although Strauss's words did not go out on Sky Sports, itself they could be heard by users of the FOX Sports app which was taking a live feed of the coverage. Sky later tweeted an apology.
An American baseball fan is hoping that a mid-game snooze could net him a staggering ten million bucks after he launched what some might consider to be a frivolous lawsuit of the sort which brings Americans and their litigious ways into utter ridicule around the world. So, no change there then. One Andrew Rector, who is twenty six, fell asleep during the 13 April game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. It was nationally televised on ESPN and Rector was noticed by TV cameras and talked about, briefly, by commentators John Kruk and Dan Shulman as he snoozed in public. A viral video of Rector — titled Tired fan naps in the stand — was then published across the Internet. Rector has now filed a defamation lawsuit against the Yankees, MLB, ESPN, Kruk and Shulman. And, anybody else his lawyers - who are, clearly, not ambulance chasers and crass self-publicists - can think of. Probably. Rector is seeking ten million dollars - yes, ten million dollars - in 'damages' after the 'unending verbal crusade.' What 'unending verbal crusade' I hear you ask, dear bog reader? Why, the one which Rector and his lawyers - who, to repeat, are clearly not complete and total scumbag lice who would sue their own grandmother if they thought they'd make a quick buck - claim that Rector has been subject to. The Smoking Gun website has obtained a copy of the suite. It alleges: 'Announcers like Dan Shulman and John Kruck [sic] unleashed avalanche of disparaging words against the person of and concerning the plaintiff. These words, include but not limited to "stupor, fatty, unintelligent, stupid" knowing and intending the same to be heard and listened to by millions of people all over the world.' It continues: 'The defendant Major league Baseball continually repeated these vituperative utterances against the plaintiff on the major league baseball website the next day. These words and its insinuations presented the plaintiff as symbol of anything but failure. The defendant MLB.Com continued the onslaught to a point of comparing the plaintiff to someone of a confused state of mind, disgusted disgruntled and unintelligent and probably intellectually bankrupt individual.' Rector alleges that he was defamed by comments portraying him as 'a fatty cow that needs two seats' and a 'confused disgusted and socially bankrupt individual.' During a brief interview with The Smoking Gun, Rector's lawyer, Valentine Okwara, said that he would only answer press questions after each of the lawsuit's defendants had been served with a copy of the complaint. The only problem for Rector and his lawyers - who, once again, to be clear about this are certainly not, in any way shape or form, bullshitting cretins who should be sodding well ashamed of themselves - is that the ESPN broadcast didn't say any of the things alleged in Rector's suit or anything even remotely like them. Kruk and Shulman did make a bit of fun of the snoozy chap - saying that, perhaps, a sports arena isn't the best place to sleep and adding that Rector was 'oblivious' to the events happening on the field — but this was hardly 'the avalanche of disparaging words' claimed. Instead, it appears that Rector's suit is including what some - less than kind - online commenters said about him, and thus he is trying to blame the Yankees, ESPN and MLB et al for the reaction in the comment section. That's a precedent which, if it was to be decided in rector's favour, could have all sort of repercussions for the Internet and for the concept of freedom of speech generally. One part of the lawsuit criticises MLB for using a picture of two men kissing to imply that Rector is gay under the headline Sleeping Yankees fan cares not for your rivalry talk. However, that are from a parody site called NotSportcenter and not from MLB.com at all. Rector, seemingly, filed his lawsuit because people poked fun at him on the Internet. Now, after reading about the lawsuit, they're seemingly poking at him some more. It's a never-ending cycle of humour, dear blog reader.
A twenty seven-year-old British woman is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of attempting to smuggle twenty thousand Euro in her knickers to fund jihadists fighting in Syria. Nawal Msaad is alleged to have been taking the money to Turkey on behalf of her close friend, Amal El-Wahibi, whose Muslim-convert husband, Aine Davis, left London last July to pursue the jihadist cause, the court heard. Msaad was stopped by police as she approached the departure gate at Heathrow Airport on 16 January this year. She told officers that the three-day trip to Istanbul was 'a short break' to buy gold for her mother. Prosecutor Mark Dennis, QC, said: 'She was then taken to a private room where she pulled out a roll of banknotes from inside her underwear and handed it across to the officers. The banknotes were tightly rolled and were wrapped in cling film. It would appear that it would have been further hidden inside her body, wrapped in a condom.' Both Msaad and El-Wahabi are on trial accused of funding terrorism. They deny the charge. 'The allegation in this case is that each defendant, when becoming concerned in the arrangement of the smuggling of this money to Turkey at the behest of Davis, knew of, at the very least had reasonable cause to suspect, that the money was or might be used for the purposes of terrorism,' said Dennis. After her arrest, Msaad refused to explain why she had the money in her undies and gave 'no comment' during police interviews. She denied knowledge of any terrorist activities or their funding. Her mobile phone showed that Davis had sent her photos including a 'selfie' while he had been away, as well as videos containing jihadist propaganda, including one of 'a boy martyr' aged between ten and thirteen holding a Kalashnikov rifle, jurors heard. The trial continues.

Theatre audiences should feel free to express appreciation for a performer however they see fit, according to a leading star of the Broadway stage. 'If someone wants to applaud somebody, let them,' said Kristin Chenoweth. Her comments follow reports that yer actual Martin Freeman's performance as Richard III has been greeted by cheers and applause that some tight-arsed wankers have deemed 'inappropriate.' 'I get why they get their panties in a bunch but I just want people to go and experience the show,' Chenoweth added. 'A good actor is a good actor, and if people want to reward him or her they should.' Speaking ahead of a solo concert performance at London's Royal Albert Hall, the original star of musical smash Wicked admitted that audiences 'do give it away pretty easily now. I want to earn standing ovations and entrance applause,' said the forty five-year-old, best known to TV viewers for her roles in The West WingPushing Daisies and Glee. 'The more important question is, how do you feel when they leave? Did you feel moved, did you feel changed, did you enjoy it? That's the thing I'd want to know.' Fans of yer actual Marty Freeman have, apparently, been piling into previews of Richard III at London's Trafalgar Studios and 'failing to respect the etiquette' of waiting to applaud after scenes, breaking the concentration of one theatre critic and blogger. Well, how very dare they? Jeez, you pay twenty quid for a seat at the theatre you think it entitles you to enjoy it? Who do you people think you are? Claire Dikecoglu (no, me neither) said that she found such behaviour 'disruptive and unnecessary', adding 'I have no bigger pet peeve than everything getting standing ovations these days.' Quite who this odious fraction of a mouth is and why she feels that she has the right to dictate to paying members of the public how they should behave when she herself, presumably, gets in for nowt on a press pass is a question, perhaps, best left for another day when tempers have cooled somewhat. Maureen Lipman, about to star on the West End stage in Daytona, said that Freeman was 'bound' to bring 'new and youthful audiences' to see Shakespeare. 'It is not so much Richard III as Richard the rock concert,' said the actress. And, the problem with that is? Theatre critic Matt Trueman says it was a case of new people coming to the theatre who maybe 'weren't familiar' with traditional etiquette, but should be encouraged rather than turned away. 'I'd far rather we got new people into the theatre who find themselves swept away with the story than we got the same set of theatre-goers who know how to behave and huff at anyone who breaks that mode of behaviour. Theatres are often encouraging people to take a more active role, such as Punch Drunk where they want you to find stories and interact,' he says. Fellow critic Miriam Gillinson, meanwhile, whinged about 'celebrity actors' - whatever the hell that ridiculous description means - being 'hailed' by the audience 'just for being famous.' Which is, one could suggest, better than being ignored by audiences for not being famous. 'People just applauding at celebrities I find deeply frustrating,' she whinged. 'It's not useful and takes them outside of the play rather than help them to lose themselves in it - the Hobbit fans are not applauding Richard III, they're applauding Martin Freeman.' And, again, the problem with that is, exactly, you very snooty full-of-your-own-importance woman? Jesus, is it any wonder, dear blog reader, that theatre critics are one the few professions in the world to rate higher on the scale of 'people I'd just love to see trip over and fall in the gutter and get covered in shite' than both bankers and lawyers?
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day, let's have something wholly appropriate from the excellent james.

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