Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense

It was but ten years ago this very week, dear blog reader, that the revived Doctor Who first began filming in Welsh Wales. On 18 July 2004, yer actual Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper her very self went a'fore the cameras to shoot the quasi post-apocalyptic opening sequences of Rose at Cardiff Royal Infirmary. The rest, as they say, is history. As if to mark the occasion, as previously reported by this blog, the show's production team took a day trip away from their Cardiff base this weekend to stage a Cyber-invasion on the streets of Old London Town. Braving properly blistering temperatures on one of the hottest days of the year so far, Saturday's location shoot saw The Cybermen stomping a path from St Paul's Cathedral, a London landmark which they last conquered during The Invasion, that well-remembered 1968 eight-episode story featuring Patrick Troughton's Doctor. Crowds of fans and otehr curious onlookers huddled behind hastily-erected barriers to watch the new Doctor, yer actual Peter Capaldi, and the episode's guest star Michelle Gomez filming on Peter's Hill, close to the Millennium Bridge, while a second unit worked nearby on close-ups of a number of marauding Cybermen outside the Cathedral itself. Doctor Who's regular choreographer Ailsa Berk was on hand to marshal a sweaty Cyber army into formation, while director Rachel Talalay darted back and forth from the actors to her monitor as she lined up the shots. The former Green Wing actress Gomez seemed to be absolutely relishing her role as the new villainess, The Gatekeeper Of The Nethersphere, even reportedly delivering a panto-style hiss in the direction of the assembled onlookers. Which went down very well, by all accounts. During breaks, yer man Capaldi took time to sign autographs and pose for a seemingly endless number of fan selfies. He even reportedly obliged when a passing female tourist with a map appeared to ask him for directions. 'Hop in the TARDIS, love, I'll run you over to Leicester Square as soon as I'm finished saving the universe,' he replied. Or something.
The armour worn by The Cybermen may protect them from bullets - unless they're made from gold, of course – but it doesn't, as far as we know, protect them from heat. One can, therefore, only pity the poor actors who turned out for filming at St Paul's on Saturday in full cyber-costume, as temperatures hit a sweltering twenty eight degrees. The filming, of course, sparked a social media frenzy. And lots of photo opportunities.
Meanwhile, coming this August ...
Oh, yes. Big dinosaur. And, as an added bonus, here's the cover of the new issue of the very excellent Doctor Who Magazine. I dunno about you, dear blog reader, but yer actual Keith Telly Topping is starting to get more excited by the minute. Is it nearly August yet?
The DWM also confirmed that a 'limited edition' fiftieth anniversary DVD and Blu-Ray box set will be released in the Autumn. Six thousand Blu-Ray's and four thousand DVD's will be released of the set, which was first rumoured back in February, when the BBFC rated and cleared several potential extras for release. As well as the fiftieth anniversary special, The Day Of The Doctor, its very self the set will include the series seven finale, The Name Of The Doctor and Matt Smith's final story, the Christmas special The Time Of The Doctor. Also included will be the so-called mini-sodes The Night of The Doctor with yer actual Paul McGann, the acclaimed and award-winning docu-drama on the creation of Doctor Who, Mark Gatiss's An Adventure In Space & Time which will be available on Blu-Ray in the UK for the first time and the long awaited relased in any form of the Peter Davison-directed spoof The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. Other extras include a large number of documentaries shown around the period of the show's fiftieth anniversary like Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide, Brian Cox's The Science Of Doctor Who, Doctor Who Proms 2013, another mini-sode The Last Day, The Day Of The Doctor cinema intros, deleted scenes, the two BBC America documentaries Tales From The TARDIS and Farewell To Matt Smith and some additional behind-the-scenes material. The set is due for release in the UK on 8 September. Needless to say, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is, definitely, havin' one of them.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is, once again, indebted to his good mate Danny Blythe for the following photo ... and the suggested caption 'BBC cuts begin to bite.'
Peter Jackson his very self is still hoping to direct an episode of Doctor Who, according to The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat. The executive producer said that Jackson's busy schedule with The Hobbit has so far delayed any possible involvement. 'He's still incredibly busy on The Hobbit,' Moffat told SFX. 'I've spoken to him face-to-face, and he would like to do one. He accepts that there's no money and that there's no time and it would have to be when he's available - and I don't think he's even been available enough to answer our e-mails of late.' The Moff continued: 'I think it will probably happen at some point. I mean, he can do what the hell he likes - he owns New Zealand! I think he's sincere in his Doctor Who fandom, to say the least. He's a nice guy, he quite often drops me a line after a show goes out. He's into it - it's just, "Can you make it work?" I think he would also like us to go and make it in New Zealand! And I'm like "Okay, I'd rather we just flew you to Cardiff!"' In December, Jackson told the Digital Spy website that his talks with yer man Moffat to direct an episode were serious. 'I would be very happy to,' Jackson said. 'I'd love to try my hand at television, because I've never had the discipline of having to shoot for those impossibly tiny schedules. I think I could do it okay now.'

By about a million miles, the highlight of, to be fair, a rather Marmite-style Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on Wednesday evening was Big John Barrowman mincing about attractively in a garish purple tartan suit and, at the climax of his routine, kissing a male dancer in a metaphorical flashing neon signal to the forty odd Commonwealth countries where gay marriage is illegal that, in Scotland, at least, it isn't. In what was seen as a clear message to the forty two countries of the Commonwealth where it is still a crime to be gay to get their shit together, Glasgow-born John reached out to kiss the man before holding his hand during a sequence to celebrate Gretna Green, the village on the Scottish/English border which is remains a regular destination for eloping couples. For one moment, Glasgow became the world centre for tolerance and gave bigotry a healthy - old style - Glasgow kiss. Good on ya, John and good on the organisers for this moment of pure TV magic.
TV archivist Philip Morris, who was the man responsible for last year's discovery of nine previously lost episodes from The Enemy Of The World and The Web Of Fear at a Nigerian television station, on Sunday declined to confirm (or, to be fair, deny) whether he has found any further episodes of Doctor Who. Philip had been taking part in an online question-and-answer session at the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group on Facebook, answering questions submitted by members of the group earlier in the day. Thus meaning that all of the, you know, mental questions from The Special People were weeded out beforehand. Which was probably just as well. Asked to say whether or not he had found any further episodes, Philip told the group: 'A tricky one to answer. And fans will just want a yes or no haven't you or have you. But it's complex; all I can say is the wind is blowing the right way, be patient. I don't wish to jeopardise the ongoing project in any way. And [I] feel the fans of all lost TV will be very happy with the outcome.' Philip told the group about the dangers inherent in searching in unstable areas of the world for vintage television programmes, including his own encounters with bandits and armed militia and narrowly being missed by a mortar shell when he was in Syria a few years ago. But, he said, he had also been inspired by countries such as India, and Ethiopia, which are 'nations of very innovative people who find the most amazing ways of doing things with little funding.' Morris defended the statement he issued last year, before the return of The Web Of Fear and The Enemy Of The World, in which he declared that the missing Doctor Who episodes were 'all gone': 'It was a statement of fact,' he noted. 'All the original video recordings were wiped, all the known negatives were junked and all out of contract film copies sent to landfill. They are the facts, sadly. However moving on from that you have non returned prints. And things which people thankfully thought to take home.' Morris said that the two stories he personally would most like to see returned are episode four of The Tenth Planet and The Power Of The Daleks, as these are 'such key episodes.' However, he said that fans should not expect any news of any further finds in the near future. 'There are no announcements in the pipeline at present. It can sometimes be the wrong thing with ongoing work and investigation. An example would be during the last announcement I was in a very hostile part of the world and suddenly I was everywhere on TV, my anonymity was compromised, which made the team a target. So we must plan these things carefully for the greater good of the project and the safety of the personnel involved.' BBC Worldwide has previously stated to Doctor Who Magazine that 'BBC Worldwide does not have any of the ninety seven missing episodes of Doctor Who and none of them have been - or are being - restored for release. We are aware of these rumours and are keen to set the record straight as we don't want fans' hopes to be falsely raised.'

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch is to be immortalised in wax after Madame Tussauds revealed that the actor has already posed for two sittings for its sculptors. The museum said the waxwork will show the actor looking 'impeccably groomed' in 'a stylish dark suit.' Madame Tussauds said his 'immaculate red carpet style will be paired with a warm and relaxed expression, and his famous tousled hairstyle.' Work on the figure is already well under way and The Cumberbatch his very self has been heavily involved with the creation process. Benny has given two sittings for the studios team, during which hundreds of precise measurements and numerous photographs were captured to be used by the sculptors and artists. 'Finally I can photobomb myself,' he said. 'What a weird and wonderful compliment to be included in the ranks of talent already committed to wax. I've been accused of being wooden in my work but never waxy. The main privilege for me was the process and seeing the amount of exacting work and skill brought to every detail of this art form. It is a wonderful combination of old and new, hi-tech and lo-fi skills. Measurements, hand inserted individual hairs and sculpted features. As a subject, you stand still surrounded by sculptors, painters, photographers, measurers and a whole army of people who bring together your likeness. It's an extraordinary experience. Also my agents will be thrilled, they've wanted a clone of me for some time.' Ben Sweet, the General Manager at Madame Tussauds London, said: 'There is no denying that Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most in-demand actors of the moment. We have been lucky enough to work very closely with Benedict and his styling team to ensure that his figure is as realistic as possible. Our guests made it very clear they wanted to see him in the attraction, and we can’t wait for them to meet his figure later this year.'
Luscious, pouting sex-bomb Karen Gillan has starred in the new trailer for A Touch of Cloth. Kazza her very self plays the role of Kerry Newblood in the third series of the spoof crime drama, written by Charlie Brooker. She is attacked by a gorilla in the preview, which also sees Suranne Jones reprising her role as Anne Oldman and John Hannah returning as Jack Cloth. A Touch of Cloth will return on 9 August on Sky1.
BBC1's Crimewatch topped the Tuesday overnight ratings outside of soaps with 3.79m at 9pm. On BBC2, Hive Alive brought in 1.19m at 8pm, followed by Coast with 1.69m at 9pm. The shit that is ITV's Love Your Garden appealed to 2.44m sad crushed victims of society at 8pm, while a repeat of Fifty Six Up was seen by 1.91m at 9pm on what was, all round, a really rotten night on telly. On Channel Four, another brain-numbing episode of Fill Your House With Crap For Free interested 1.03m at 8pm, followed by the always uncomfortably sordid Undercover Boss with 1.13m at 9pm and Utopia with three hundred and eighty nine thousand punters at 10pm. Channel Five's Dog Rescuers attracted 1.17m at 8pm, whilst the latest CSI: Crime Scene Investigations was watched by 1.23m at 9pm. For what it's worth, yer actual Keith Telly Topping spent his night watching repeats of Qi XL and Have I Got A Bit More News For You on Dave and Chivalry & Betrayal on BBC4. I'm guessing this blogger had a hell of lot more fun with the Goddess that is Janina Ramirez her very self than those ITV viewers had stuck with that simpering waste-of-oxygen Titchmarsh.
Long Lost Family topped the Monday ratings outside soaps, according to overnights. The ITV series brought in 4.30 million at 9pm. Earlier, Countrywise was seen by 2.52m. On BBC1, Panorama appealed to 2.20m at 8.30pm, while John Bishop's Australia attracted 3.61m at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge was watched by 2.24m at 8pm, followed by Food & Drink with 1.65m at 8.30pm. Clothes To Die For was seen by seven hundred and thirty nine thousand at 9pm. Channel Four's Food Unwrapped interested 1.03m at 8.30pm, while the Royal Marines Commando School was seen by 1.83m at 9pm. Kitchen Nightmares had an audience of six hundred and ninety five thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors attracted six hundred and ninety three thousand at 8pm, while Benefits Britain was seen by 1.47m at 9pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Fifteen programmes, week-ending Sunday 13 July 2014:-
1 World Cup Final: Germany Versus Argentina - Sun BBC1 - 14.92m
2 World Cup Live: Argentina Versus The Netherlands - Wed ITV - 9.95m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.97m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.92m
5 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.10m
6 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.82m
7 Celebrity MasterChef - Fri BBC1 - 4.77m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.56m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.53m
10 John Bishop's Australia - Mon BBC1 - 4.47m
11 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.13m
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.04m
13 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.52m
14 A Question of Sport: Super Saturday - Sat BBC1 - 3.32m
15 Holby City - Wed BBC1 - 3.30m
Compared to the BBC's 14.92 million viewers for the World Cup final, ITV's - utterly wretched, as always - coverage of the same match drew a risible 2.34 million punters. So much for ITV's ludicrous claim that the odious greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Chiles' presentation has 'a man in the street quality' which the BBC lacks. The man in the street, it would seem, has spoken. Loudly. Elsewhere at the World Cup, BBC1's coverage of the astonishing Brazil versus Germany semi-final attracted in 13.46m viewers whilst ITV's broadcast of the (generally pointless) Third Place Play Off game between Brazil and The Netherlands was watched by 7.67m. BBC1's post-match show for the Brazil versus Germany game (10.35m) had a fraction more viewers than their post-match coverage of the final itself, and Alan Hansen's last moments as a BBC punters (10.31m). Now, here's a truly shocking statistic, aside from their coverage of the World Cup, and the regular six weekly episodes of Corrie and six episodes of Emmerdale not a single ITV programme drew a final and consolidated audience of more than three million viewers. Not one. I mean, for the sake of balance it is worth pointing out that figures were, generally, low pretty much across the broad during the week. But still, the fact that the 2.66m audience for Tuesday's ITV News was in fifteenth place on ITV's weekly ratings list must, surely, give someone at ITV Towers a moment's concern. Though it is, undeniably, well-funny that You've Been Framed (2.53m), Countrywise (2.51m), The Cruise Ship (2.49m), Tipping Point Lucky Stars (2.48m) and, fer Christ's sake, even Love your Garden (2.43m) all managed more than ITV's coverage of the World Cup final. Yes, dear blog reader, you heard it here first, ITV can get more people watching Titchmarsh than Chiles. And, if you don't find that thigh-slappingly hilarious then there's something seriously wrong with your sense of humour. BBC2's top-rated programme of the week was, again, the - really rather good - drama The Honourable Woman with 2.52m viewers, followed by coverage of The Hampton Court Flower Show (2.01m), Mock The Week (1.90m), Gardener's World (1.80m) and University Challenge (1.55m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown with 1.98m. Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole was Channel Five's best performer with 2.82m - which, again, just to repeat, was higher than any programme all week on ITV apart from two football matches, Corrie and Emmerdale - followed by OAPs Behaving Badly (1.97m) and CSI (1.83m). Once again, let's all have a right good laugh that E4's The One Hundred (2.05m) and The Big Bang Theory (2.02m) both attracted a higher audience than any of the week's Big Brother (Monday's 1.62m was the long-running Victorian freak show's highest rated episode of the week). On BBC4 Tales From The Royal Wardrobe had an audience of eight hundred and seventy six thousand viewers, whilst Only Connect attracted eight hundred and sixty two thousand.

Sir David Attenborough's new series is to be broadcast on Sky this Christmas. The three one-hour episodes of David Attenborough's Conquest Of The Skies will be shown in 3D. Using macroscopic and high-speed filming techniques, the programme will explore the worlds of nature's greatest flying creatures. Attenborough will travel to China, Rome, Scotland, Ecuador and Borneo to study gliding reptiles, parachuting mammals and birds. Speaking about the series, the eighty eight-year-old presenter said: 'The story of evolutionary flight is one I've always wanted to tell in 3D. It's a wonderful subject and a very exciting project but technically it is a huge challenge, especially in 3D.' Meanwhile, Sky commissioning editor Siobhan Mulholland added: 'David's passion for innovation and masterful storytelling continue to deliver entertaining, insightful and immersive shows which we know Sky customers love so we're thrilled he's taking to the skies - so to speak - to explore the world of flight in dazzling new depth.'

Sebastian Faulks is to write a new drama for the BBC. Based on his 2001 novel On Green Dolphin Street, the ninety-minute screenplay will be Faulks's first for television. The plot is described as an 'epic love story' set in Washington, DC in the 1960s amidst the backdrop of the Kennedy and Nixon presidential campaign trail. Broadcast reports that the novelist is working with Rachel Wagstaff on the project from Eleventh Hour Films. The two previously collaborated on the stage version of Birdsong. Faulks is quoted as saying: '[Screenplays are] a very different form from the novel and a very challenging one.'

Big Lucy Lawless has been cast in Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Details on the part the popular actress will be playing - or, whether or not it will involve any nekked scenes of the kind so enjoyed by visitors to this blog, seemingly - have not, at this time, been revealed. However, the character will appear in the upcoming second season of the Marvel superhero series, reports TVGuide.
The BBC is planning to respond to fresh calls for more variety in its Saturday programme schedules with exactly that: more variety shows. A pilot for a format called Nina Conti's Va-Va-Riety is to be recorded live for BBC2 in a London theatre on 28 July. Compered by the ventriloquist and stand-up comedienne, it is billed as 'a mix of cabaret, burlesque, magic, musical comedy and circus performance.' Sounds promising. Conti has also been singled recently out by the BBC's head of entertainment, Mark Linsey, as one of the talents who will help to increase the number of female comedians on screen. An attempt to harness the old-fashioned appeal of music hall, sprinkled with some of the glamour of cabaret acts, could answer some of the criticisms levelled by the BBC's first full review of television output, published last week, which exposed an audience demand for shaking up the schedules on Saturday nights. The report, by the BBC Trust, found that many viewers were 'fed up' with the stranglehold of long-running dramas, such as Casualty and Waterloo Road, on the BBC1 evening schedules, but also felt that both BBC1 and BBC2 were 'too prim and middle-class' in tone. In the last three years, the channel's reach in lower-income homes (ie. 'common working people from council estates') has fallen by three percentage points and by five among black, Asian and mixed ethnicity viewers. Some of the blame has been pinned on BBC1's Saturday night line-up. The report said: 'BBC1 was felt to offer less breadth across its entertainment programming, with issues around the Saturday night schedule significantly influencing perceptions.' The BBC hopes to alter this impression by finding presenters with wider appeal. Also in development is a new comedy chat-show called Delete, Delete, Delete in which the Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert questions two 'celebrity' guests about 'the wilder shores of their Internet history.' The producer has explained that the show will involve Gilbert asking his guests questions such as, 'What on Earth were you thinking?' The BBC is also filming a new daytime quiz show called Decimate to be presented by EastEnders actor Shane Richie, to be broadcast in the autumn. This pits three contestants against each other to maintain a twenty grand Wall of Cash over four rounds. The success of any of these entertainment formats could see them rolled out later for a prime-time series on BBC1 or BBC2. Going in straight on Saturday night on BBC1 remains the big risk, although there is no lack of nerve according to Andrew Newman, the chief executive of Objective, which makes ITV's Saturday night show The Cube and made BBC1's recent Saturday night show Reflex and the relatively successful John Bishop's Britain. 'We are developing two new entertainment shows for BBC1 on Saturday nights. They are trying all the time. So it is a perception thing,' he said. 'The challenge is to make new shows that are not singing or talent elimination,' added Newman, who is chair of BAFTA's TV committee. 'But you never know where the next great Saturday night show will come from. Will it be physical, mental, or a panel show? I go to meetings with TV commissioners, and the truth is I don't know. But it is the holy grail. A family show can get a ten million plus audience.' Newman suspects the BBC receives the bulk of criticism because it is in the public eye and finds it harder to justify spending on entertainment than it does on drama, where there have been recent hits such as Happy Valley. 'There is a little bit of snobbery about entertainment. But BAFTA gave its special craft award to Strictly Come Dancing this year, for its choreography, the costumes, the make-up. It is at the top of its game, and has sold round the world.' Three years ago, the BBC bid successfully against ITV for The Voice, due to a perceived need for a musical talent show in its schedules. In January, it tried out Reflex, a game show which tested contestants' reaction times. Before that in 2013 it cancelled two series, the thoroughly wretched I Love My Country and the not much better That Puppet Show. The quiz show Pointless has been given a showbiz treatment, as Pointless Celebrities, and Lee Mack's All Star Cast, in which the Not Going Out comedian presided over a mix of chat, music and comedy, was given a later Saturday night outing.

Fargo is set to return for a second series, but it will have a new cast. The first season of the drama received eighteen EMMY nominations, including one for best TV mini-series and best actor nominations for both Billy Bob Thornton and yer actual Martin Freeman. Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks were also nominated for best supporting actress and actor, respectively. However, FX Network has confirmed that none of the original cast will be returning for the next series, which is due to be broadcast in 2015. 'It is a new cast of actors, which is kind of heartbreaking from my standpoint given how much I loved the actors,' said the network's chief executive, John Landgraf.

The pilot for Josh Widdicombe's sitcom Josh is now available on BBC iPlayer. The 'semi-autobiographical' sitcom sees Widdicombe star as himself, alongside Jack Dee and Elis James. Josh finds Widdicombe recently dumped by his fiancée, forced to return to his old flat-share. The show is part of the BBC's Comedy Feed strand. Widdicombe will also co-host the new celebrity series of Fifteen To One with his The Last Leg co-stars Adam Hills and Alex Brooker.
A film based on Pudsey, the dancing dog winner of Britain's Got Talent, has spectacularly flopped bigger than a big fat flopping thing at the UK box office. The alleged comedy, featuring the voice full-of-himself David Walliams, earned but four hundred and forty six thousand quid, taking an average of just a grand in each of the four hundred and three cinemas where it screened. Which is, frankly, fucking hilarious.
It's a piece of TV history - albeit, a vastly over-rated one - the home where Gavin & Stacey was filmed. Now, loyal fans of the alleged sitcom have the chance to buy it, after it went on sale this week for one hundred and twenty five thousand notes. The house where Stacey (played by that really annoying lass with the really annoying voice who couldn't quite manage to ruin The Day Of The Doctor) live in Barry was often featured in the programme and thirteen thousand sad, crushed victims of society have visited it. That, in and of itself isn't all that remarkable, the fact that someone actually counted them, is, however. Owner Glenda Kenyon said: 'I feel it's time for a change so I'm moving to Swansea.'

Evan Davis is to replace Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, the BBC has announced. The massive-eared Today presenter was the BBC's economics editor for six and a half years and previously worked for Newsnight from 1997 to 2001. The news was revealed on the day the BBC's annual report was published. It also stated that audiences spent eighteen and a half hours with the BBC each week. That is about an hour less than the 2012-2013 period. The figure includes radio, TV and online usage. But the report also noted that ninety six per cent of UK adults still use the BBC each week. Speaking about his Newsnight appointment, Davis said: 'I can't deny that I feel terribly sad to be leaving the Today programme. But at the same time, how could I turn down the offer of this role on Newsnight, treading in the footsteps of some of the best television presenters in the business? While it is a scary prospect, it will be an adventure and a challenge, and I hope the viewers will be happy with the result.' BBC Director General Tony Hall described Davis as 'an outstanding journalist' and 'an extraordinary, clever and intelligent interviewer.' Lord Hall added: 'It's been a fantastic year for the BBC with ninety six per cent of the UK choosing to watch, listen or use BBC services. But I think we can do better and this year we've announced how we are going to change the BBC to produce more distinctive programmes, ensure the BBC truly reflects all of our audiences and provide even better value for money.' The total spend on the BBC's on-air talent, earning more than five hundred thousand smackers, totalled £11.6m - a seven hundred grand reduction on the amount spent on star salaries in 2012-2013. Lord Hall said that the drop in the total time audiences spent with the BBC each week was, at least in part, due to bumper viewing for major events including the London 2012 Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee during the previous accounting period. BBC1 was down twenty one minutes a week per average viewer, to seven and a half hours. BBC1 channel controller Danny Cohen said that it had been challenging to meet audience expectations following funding cuts, resulting in an overall reduction in spend across television and radio. 'There's no doubt if you take twenty six per cent of your spending out you are also going to have an impact on how people feel about [the services],' he said.

Channel Four has renewed Fifteen To One for a second series. Sandi Toksvig will return to host the daytime quiz show, which will start filming in Glasgow in August. Forty episodes were commissioned by Channel Four's Madeleine Knight and will be recorded at the BBC Pacific Quay studios. The show's move to Scotland will form part of Channel Four's plans of widening its supply base across the UK. Originally running from 1988 to 2003 (yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self appeared on an episode in 1990), Fifteen To One returned to screens in April.

US drama Tyrant has stopped filming in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv because of the current conflict in Gaza. 'Tel Aviv was under missile fire and people were running into bomb shelters,' producer Howard Gordon said. 'I don't think anybody felt physically threatened, but it was not conducive to shooting,' he added. Possibly 'shooting' wasn't the most appropriate word Howie could've used in that sentence one would venture to suggest. Production on the show has been moved to Istanbul in Turkey, where the remaining two episodes of the first season will be filmed. Cable channel FX, which makes the show, said 'although we have been assured that Tel Aviv continues to be a safe location, we felt the cast and crew would be more comfortable being outside of Israel.' British actor Adam Rayner stars in the drama as the son of a fictional Middle East dictator who returns after living in the US for twenty years. Other cast members have used social media to air their feelings about working in Tel Aviv during the conflict. Actress Jennifer Finnigan tweeted: 'Please pray for peace tonight, it is so eye-opening and heart-breaking (and scary) to witness this first hand.' Tyrant's producers said they were' monitoring the situation' and hoped to return to Israel to continue working there in future.

Oscar-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins has been cast in a proposed television remake of the 1970s SF film, Westworld. The original featured Yul Brynner as a malfunctioning android cowboy who begins attacking guests at a hi-tech theme park. In the HBO pilot, Sir Anthony will play Robert Ford, described as Westworld's 'brilliant, complicated chairman.' The project is being developed by JJ Abrams' production company Bad Robot. Which is, you know, fitting if nothing else.

Sky News reporter Colin Brazier has admitted that he was 'wrong' to handle victims' belongings at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine. Writing in the Gruniad morning Star, the journalist said that the site was 'unchecked' and he was 'free to walk around at will.' But, he called his 'gaffe' a 'serious error of judgement' and claimed that he cried on-air after seeing a child's flask. More than one hundred people have reportedly complained to media watchdog Ofcom after Brazier's live Sunday lunchtime broadcast. The complaints are currently being assessed before the broadcasting regulator decides whether to launch an investigation. The report showed Brazier pick up items from an open suitcase. He dropped them back into the luggage saying 'we shouldn't really be doing this I suppose, really.' A Sky News spokesperson said that both Brazier and Sky News 'apologise profusely for any offence caused.' There's that bloody phrase again, 'for any offence caused', not 'for doing something he shouldn't have been doing and that he was probably taught not to do on Day One of journalism school.' Writing his own version of events following a vociferous backlash on social media, Brazier claimed that other journalists were acting on the freedom they had on the crash site, and that he 'foolishly took that as a precedent.' Which is as close as you'll get to 'don't cane me, miss, I was led astray by older boys' without actually using those words. He claimed that the moment he realised he was doing something wrong 'came too late' and just afterwards he began crying, which was not picked up on poor quality replays of his report on the Internet. 'At the weekend I got things wrong. If there was someone to apologise to in person, I would,' he wrote in his article. Well, there's the families of ten British people on boards the plane, matey, that might be a good start. Brazier added that his on-air apology was 'only selectively quoted by those determined to see what I did as a powerful example of journalistic vulturism.' Oooo, get her. He said in a live and open-ended item from Ukraine, there was 'no obvious frame of reference' but the crew chose 'to avoid pointing a live camera anywhere a corpse might be seen.' Brazier described how he reported from the site of another air disaster at Lake Constance in 2004, where 'within hours police had sealed off a sterile area and no journalists were allowed in, while forensic investigators and recovery teams went in.' So, again, this wasn't Brazier's fault. it was, in fact, everybody's fault but his. It was the fault of those who didn't close off the area to scum journalists whose moral compass has gone walkabout, it was the fault other journalists whom Brazier, merely, followed like a sheep and, most of all, it was the fault of the one hundred complainants whose 'offence' Brazier and the Sky News spokesperson appear to suggest, is questionable. Brazier described the Ukraine site as 'a lawless war zone' where journalists where 'not kept at bay.' Certainly not by their own sense of moral decency. Well, at least one journalist wasn't.

BBC1 has announced new documentary series Scrappers. The six-part show will detail the lives of a couple at the helm of a multi-million pound scrap business. Terry and Lindsay Walker, owners of Bolton's Metro Salvage scrapyard, attempt to balance business and home life, and keep their unpredictable workforce motivated in the series. The show sees the couple try to find ways of making the scrapyard more profitable, discuss redundancy packages while on date nights and go on holiday in Tenerife, only for Terry to spend most of his time there watching CCTV footage from the yard on his phone.

Carol Vorderman has been ranked top of the bottoms - for a second time. The former Countdown co-presenter is the first person to take The Rear Of The Year title twice. The male winner of the prize thsi year is the singer Olly Murs. The duo were chosen in a public poll for the annual - rather purvy but, still, quite fun - award, with organisers saying that they received more than ten thousand votes. Carol said: 'I am both surprised and flattered to win the award for a second time - particularly at this stage of my life.' The Rear Of The Year award is not to be confused with The Arsehole Of The Year award. That has been won by the Daily Scum Mail's editor, the vile and odious waste-of-space Dacre. For the twenty seventh consecutive year.
Richard Madeley's début novel could be made into a TV drama. The former This Morning presenter is reported to be 'having discussions' with two independent production companies about a TV adaptation of Some Day I'll Find You. 'I have had a couple of meetings with a couple of specialist independents, although I know that this sort of thing can move very slowly,' Madeley told Radio Times. Madeley is yet to reveal what channel he has in mind, or whether or not he will handle the adaptation of the romantic novel about a missing WWII pilot. Elsewhere, Madeley said that he has 'no intention' of returning to full-time TV presenting, despite a few offers. 'I just seem to keep people's seats warm, and it's lovely after all those years of the responsibility, of carrying the load,' he continued. 'I've had two approaches to do kind of a magazine-formatted network TV show, Monday through Friday, and I had no hesitation in saying, "Thank you but no thank you."

Duran Duran have taken legal action against the US company charged with running their fan club over unpaid revenues, court papers have revealed. Wait a minute, Duran Duran still have a fan club? Duran Duran still have fans? You learn something new every day.
George Clooney clearly enjoyed his recent significant and vastly amusing be'atch-slapping of the Daily Scum Mail. He told Variety, the US entertainment trade magazine: 'It's just fun to slap those bad guys every once in a while, knock 'em around.' You may recall that the Scum Mail's website ran an article falsely claiming that the mother of Clooney's fiancée, Amal Alamuddin, had objected to their upcoming marriage. The publisher subsequently deleted the article and, eventually, and rather through gritted teeth, gave a sort of non-apology apology to Clooney. The actor is quoted as saying: 'I would sit with my friends and we'd just go, "So they just sat at a computer and just went, okay, this is what I'm gonna say today." I mean, literally, because you just go "There isn't, literally, an element of truth in this." You just laugh, and let it go. I'm used to it after all these years. But the thing that bothers me is how much the Daily Mail is now bleeding into American press and becoming a source for some pretty legitimate newspapers. So that's the thing that worries me.' Clooney continued: 'Those are really bad guys and they do tend to tee off on everybody. It's fun when you can go, "Well, this one, I know I have all the facts right." Usually the argument is, "Hey, we're not gonna tell you our source" and, "Prove it". And, when they actually do it themselves it's so great. You go, "okay, well you obviously just screwed this [up], so I think I can get you now."'

Yer actual Roger Daltrey has thrown his weight behind plans or an international model railway museum. Roge, it seems, is backing plans for a two and half acre site in Ashford, Kent. 'The great thing about model railways is you can be doing a bit of woodwork, a bit of painting, a bit of this, a bit of that, and have fun with your mates,' he is quoted as saying.
The actor Rhys Ifans and former 'entertainer' Michael Barrymore have both settled their phone-hacking damages claims against billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's organisation. The pair received what are described as 'substantial' undisclosed damages, their legal costs and, allegedly, 'sincere' apologies from News Group Newspapers. The settlements, announced at London’s high court on Tuesday before Mr Justice Mann, are the latest in the civil litigation against NGN, the News UK subsidiary which published the now defunct Scum of the World. Barrymore, who attended court, said outside: 'It is nice to get to this point. It has taken thirteen years. It is a shame it was not dealt with quicker. I want to move on and forget it.' He added: 'I do not believe journalists should be restricted. When they get it right they get it right, but when they get it wrong they should apologise a little bit quicker.'
Police and prosecutors are discussing whether any legal action could follow the collapse of the trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos, which was abandoned after the judge ruled that the Sun on Sunday's veteran investigative reporter Mazher Mahmood was 'likely to have lied' about talking to another witness about changing their evidence. The trial judge, Alistair McCreath, has the discretion to write to the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to suggest that Mahmood should be investigated for perjury. It is not known if he will do that and the Crown Prosecution Service said that no letter had been received as yet. A Metropolitan police spokeswoman said that the force was 'in touch with the CPS', but that 'no decisions had been reached.' She said: 'We are aware of the court decision and we are in contact with the CPS to consider any response and the next steps to take.' McCreath issued a damning ruling about the actions of Mahmood, better known as The Fake Sheikh after one of his common disguises, as he dismissed the jury at Southwark crown court on Monday morning, a week into Contostavlos's trial for allegedly brokering a cocaine deal. McCreath said that it 'seemed likely' Mahmood had falsely denied, during a pre-trial hearing, that he had pressured his driver about evidence which showed that Contostavlos was opposed to drug use. Mahmood changed his account during cross-examination last Thursday. There were 'strong grounds for believing Mr Mahmood told me lies' about his dealings with the driver, Alan Smith, the judge said. He added: 'Secondly, there are also strong grounds for believing that the underlying purpose of these lies was to conceal the fact that he had been manipulating the evidence in this case by getting Mr Smith to change his account.' McCreath ended by saying that his decision should not 'bind any court which may (or may not) be called to consider this matter in a different context', words that seemingly anticipated a possible perjury hearing. Mahmood, who made his name with the Scum of the World, often dressing up as a rich Arab to persuade the famous or the gullible to incriminate themselves and divulge their secrets on tape via elaborate subterfuge, has been suspended by the Sun on Sunday pending an investigation. His front-page story in the Sun on Sunday in June last year accused Contostavlos of arranging an eight hundred quid cocaine transaction, with the front-page headline Tulisa's Cocaine Deal Shame. Contostavlos insisted throughout that she had been unfairly entrapped by Mahmood, who gained access by posing as a wealthy Hollywood film producer interested in casting the singer as the lead in a major film, purportedly opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and for a supposed fee of more than three million smackers. She said that she had merely been playing up to 'a bad girl' role she believed the producers were seeking. Her friend and co-defendant, Michael Coombs, a rapper with the stage name Mike GLC, had pleaded guilty to supplying the cocaine to Mahmood, but these charges were also dropped. After the case was dismissed, Contostavlos condemned the 'horrific and disgusting entrapment' by Mahmood and his newspaper, which faces a claim for potentially massive court costs. She said: 'Mahmood has now been exposed by my lawyers openly lying to the judge and jury. These lies were told to stop crucial evidence going before the jury.' Smith had been 'pressurised to change his statement to strengthen Mahmood's evidence', Contostavlos said, adding: 'Thankfully, the lies have been uncovered and justice has been done.' The collapse of the trial is a catastrophic result for Mahmood, a paradoxical figure who relishes his high profile while also taking extraordinary measures to avoid being photographed. He was allowed to give evidence in court behind a screen, a courtesy previously extended when he spoke before The Leveson Inquiry. A Sun on Sunday spokesman said the paper took the judge's remarks 'very seriously' and had suspended Mahmood. The spokesman added: 'We are very disappointed with this outcome, but do believe the original investigation was conducted within the bounds of the law and the industry's code. This was demonstrated by the CPS decision to prosecute.' Using the guise of Samir Khan, Mahmood courted Contostavlos by flying her to Las Vegas for meetings, and also taking her to dine at London's Metropolitan hotel. After the meal in London, Contostavlos was driven home by Smith and told him that she had seen the terrible impact of drugs and did not approve of them – a conversation which he recounted to police. At a pre-trial hearing at the end of last month, Mahmood denied discussing that statement with Smith, particularly whether the anti-drugs comments might undermine the case. Under cross-examination last Thursday, Mahmood conceded that he had in fact received an e-mailed copy of the statement three days before the pre-trial hearing and had spoken to Smith about it. This prompted the judge to intervene, saying that this apparent 'manipulation of the evidence' meant he had three options. either to order a retrial, to allow 'bad character evidence' against Mahmood or to drop the case entirely. After an adjournment until Monday morning, McCreath called the trial off. Mahmood, he told the jury, was 'key to the case' as 'the sole progenitor' of the prosecution as well as the only investigator and prosecution witness. In a thinly veiled condemnation of the Sun on Sunday's tactics, McCreath said Mahmood was 'someone who appears to have gone to considerable lengths to get Ms Contostavlos to agree to involve herself in criminal conduct, certainly to far greater lengths than would have been regarded as appropriate had he been a police investigator.' The case is yet another embarrassing blow for billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News UK and the retrospective reputation of the Scum of the World. The disgraced and disgraceful tabloid was closed - in shame and ignominy - in 2011 in the wake of revelations about their sick phone-hacking ways, which led to the paper's former editor Andy Coulson being extremely jailed earlier this month.
The government is to introduce a new policy which will see persistent illegal file-sharers receive e-mails attempting to 'dissuade' them from their persistent illegal file-sharing ways. Called 'The Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme' or 'V-Crap', which seems very apt, the system has been agreed by Internet service providers and content creators. Those that are committing piracy will see a maximum of four e-mails a year sent to them warning them about their actions and what a bad thing it is and that. The government, however, will take no action if they are ignored. Thus rendering the entire process utterly pointless. Like much the government does.

A drunk man who groped a woman 'as a joke' quickly had the smile wiped off his mush when she turned out to be an off-duty police officer. Michael Hayes grabbed a fist full of the woman officer's bottom as she walked along the road, but she confronted him and then chased him when he tried to run off. He later apologised, claiming he 'did it for a dare.' Hayes, of Wallington, admitted sexual assault at Westminster magistrates' court. he will be sentenced on 12 August.

A pine tree planted in 2004 in memory of the late former Be-Atle George Harrison in a Los Angeles park has died after being infested by beetles. And, if the irony of that doesn't make you snigger, dear blog reader, again there would appear to be something wrong with your perception of what is and isn't funny. The sapling was planted in the city's Griffith Park near to the observatory - a lovely spot that yer actual Keith Telly Topping has visited several times and not all that far away from the spot where he was involved in a (minor) car crash on the very day that yer actual George Harrison died. As Walt Disney used to note, annoying, dear blog reader it's a small world. George - a one-time member of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) - died in 2001 and spent his final days in LA. He was also a keen gardener. Council officer Tom LaBonge told the LA Times that the memorial had grown to more than ten feet tall by 2013, but the tree beetle attack had 'overwhelmed' it. A new tree will be planted at a date yet to be decided. A small plaque at the base of the tree read: 'In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener.' It also quotes the guitarist and singer-songwriter himself: 'For the forests to be green, each tree must be green.' And, free of beetles, obviously.

Which, this blogger supposes, brings us neatly to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And some sage environmental advice of the kind what you often get in the Gruniad Morning Star. If you're going to drive a car, dear blog reader, you're going to need some petrol. So, remember the trees and, make it unleaded.

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