Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week Thirty: They're Forming In A Straight Line

The BBC chose half-time in the World Cup final on Sunday night to unveil the first full sixty five second long Doctor Who series eight trailer; and if you weren't excited enough already by the prospect of the arrival of yer man Capaldi, dear blog reader, then there's probably something wrong with you. Opening with the voice of someone who sounds very familiar telling us viewers that 'life returns', we then see Peter's Time Lord who tells us: 'I am The Doctor. I have lived for over two thousand years. I have made many mistakes. It's about time I did something about that.' We also see Jenna Coleman's Clara asking him where they are going and the Time Lord's answer is bound to send a tingle up the spine of every Doctor Who fan: 'Into darkness.' By darkness he presumably means The Daleks, The Cybermen and a geet big nasty dinosaur which appears to be rampaging past the Houses of Parliament. Sexy. The BBC has already shown shorter trailers revealing a first glimpse of the new Doctor and Clara including variations of moments that are included in the latest, longer version. In the first Capaldi's Doctor is gripping a rail in a TARDIS console room which appears to be on fire and wonders: 'Clara be my pal - am I a good man?' Clara is then heard saying quietly: 'I don't know who The Doctor is any more.' In Sunday night's trailer the two are seated in the TARDIS with The Doctor asking the same question and Clara replying: 'I don't know.'
An hour earlier, the BBC continuity girl had announced that there would be 'something for all true Whovians' coming up at half-time in the World Cup final. Which was great, obviously, but this blogger can't help but wonder if The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat couldn't possibly - and, in the nicest way - have a quiet word with, you know, everybody else in the Beeb and let them all know that nobody - or, at least, nobody with an ounce of self-respect in their bodies - actually uses that perfectly hateful descriptor about themselves. Thanks in advance Steven.
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has described the recent online leak of scripts for the upcoming eighth series of Doctor Who as 'horrible, miserable and upsetting.'
Making a surprise appearance - alongside Jenna Coleman her very self - at the London Film and Comic Convention on Saturday, The Moffinator also expressed his gratitude to those fans who have avoided - and will continue to avoid - reading the five scripts. Or, at least, in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's case, who have avoided reading all bar the first six pages of Deep Breath out of curiosity and then thinking 'no more. I'm looking forward to this.' As previously reported, earlier this week BBC Worldwide - the Beeb's commercial arm - grovellingly apologised to the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's many fans and promised to investigate the 'security issue' which saw the first five scripts of the new series made accessible on the Internet. It is believed that the colossal blunder occurred in BBC offices recently opened in Miami. And, that the plank responsible for this malarkey is going to get his knackers kicked. Really hard. As well as his appearance alongside Jenna, The Moffat his very self also participated in a Sherlock panel alongside colleague Mark Gatiss and the drama's producer (and Mrs The Moffinator), Sue Vertue.
And then, Steven's day got even worse with the news that a rough edit of Peter Capaldi's first full episode as The Doctor was reportedly being traded on various - extremely naughty - pirate websites six weeks ahead of its scheduled transmission date. The Radio Times stated, in a rather self-important and nasty piece of quasi-journalism - that it 'has seen' the black and white footage branded with BBC Worldwide watermarks and produced a screengrab as proof that it 'had seen' it. This subsequently disappeared from the RT website, presumably after someone from the BBC asked them what the hell they thought they were doing using an image from a video file which was, effectively, stolen property. Numerous visual effects shots were said to be missing and the episode apparently used a placeholder title sequence from Matt Smith's last series. 'Nevertheless, it appears to be Peter Capaldi's first episode - Deep Breath - in its entirety,' the magazine stated. The episode appears to have surfaced through the same security lapse which emerged on Monday, where five scripts, as well as dozens of other BBC scripts, started to appear in public Google searches when being stored on BBC Worldwide servers. Five Doctor Who video files were also, apparently, listed on this server which is, presumably, where this footage has come from. As the very excellent Life, Doctor Who & Combom fan site noted: 'Peter Capaldi cannot get a break for his first series.' The incident is similar to the 2005 leak of Rose, the first episode of the new Doctor Who era starring Christopher Eccleston, which appeared online twenty days before broadcast. In that case, the leak was eventually traced to a Canadian third party. Commenting on the latest malarkey, a BBC spokesperson told the Radio Times: 'This is part of BBC Worldwide's ongoing security investigation into leaked unfinished Doctor Who materials. This content is currently being removed and originates from the same Miami server disabled last week, it is not a new issue. We'd like to thank the amazing Doctor Who fans who are continuing to keep fan sites and social media spoiler-free.'

Meanwhile, The Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has promised 'a big introduction' for yer actual Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who's feature-length series eight première. Entertainment Weekly has published an exclusive new photo from Moffat's Deep Breath - which will be broadcast on 23 August on BBC1 in the UK and BBC America in the US. 'I suppose it feels a bit like a character piece,' Moffat said about the extended episode. 'But there's plenty of action and nonsense and jeopardy, as there ever is in Doctor Who. It's a big introduction - he's the new Doctor. There's no point pretending that it's not the most interesting, dynamic thing that you've got to sell in that first episode.'
Sanjeev Bhaskar is the latest name to land himself a guest role on Doctor Who. The comedian, actor and writer will appear in series eight's finale, though details of his character are yet to be confirmed. 'I'm thrilled to have made a small contribution to and now be part of the Doctor Who universe,' he said. 'Another dream box ticked!' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat added: 'I'm completely thrilled that Sanjeev Bhaskar is coming to the aid of The Doctor. The danger is never deadlier than in a finale episode, and the Time Lord is going to need all the help he can get.' As previously announced, Michelle Gomez will also guest in the finale, which has been written by Moffat his very self and will reintroduce The Cybermen. Bhaskar is, of course, married to his former Goodness Gracious Me co-star Meera Syal, who previously appeared in Doctor Who in 2010.

The German broadcaster FOX have updated their online listings guide for August and indicate that Deep Breath, the opening episode of Doctor Who's eighth series, is provisionally scheduled for the 23 August at 9:00pm, local time. The BBC have yet to confirm the time that the episode will be shown on BBC1, but with FOX previously announcing their intention to simulcast the series, this would suggest that Doctor Who may be kicking off its 2014 series at 8pm in this country. It should be noted, though, that schedules may be subject to change as the broadcast date approaches and that the approximately seventy five minute episode may not be simulcast as anticipated; for the fiftieth anniversary, the similarly feature-length The Day Of The Doctor was shown from 7:50pm in the UK with a ten minute delay before commencing in Germany (at 9:00pm local time). FOX's schedules indicate that they also plan to broadcast Matt Smith's final three episodes, The Name Of The Doctor, The Day Of The Doctor and The Time Of The Doctor before the premiere itself, with the four episode marathon kicking off from 5:45pm local time. So, hopefully that'll be richtig lecker und Top Banana und völlig bis ihrer kollektiven Straße for all you German Doctor Who fans out there. All that, and the World Cup.

Celebrity Masterchef topped the overnight primetime ratings for a second night running on Friday evening. Watched by an average audience of 3.96 million at 8.30pm, BBC1's z-list celebrity cooking show was Friday's highest-rated show outside of soaps. BBC1's evening kicked off with 2.58 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 2.36 million for The Great Property Race at 7.30pm. Ahead of his final appearance as A pundit at this year's World Cup final on Sunday, the BBC paid tribute to Alan Hansen with a look back at his career. Unbelievable. Presented by yer actual Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen: Player & Pundit was watched by an average audience of 2.22 million at 10.35pm. ITV delivered consistently rotten ratings for its entertainment offerings outside of soaps, 3.1 million watching The Cruise Ship at 8pm and 2.26 million sticking around for a Doc Martin repeat at 9pm. The return of The Million Pound Drop on Channel Four was seen by eight hundred and thirty thousand punters at 8pm. The ratings picked up for Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown, which was seen by 1.43 million at 9pm. The evening ended with nine hundred and eighty thousand for this latest episode of Friday Night Dinner at 10pm. After an evening of athletics on BBC2, the night continued with 1.65 million for Gardeners' World at 9pm, followed by eight hundred and ninety thousand for Pipers Of The Trenches at 9.30pm. Big Brother continued to top the ratings on Channel Five, being watched by 1.16 million for this latest live eviction. On The Yorkshire Buses had an audience of 1,04 million at 8pm. BBC4's Britain's Most Dangerous Songs: Listen To Te Banned was among the highest-rated multichannel shows, attracting four hundred and sixty five thousand viewers at 9pm. Including this blogger, as it happens.

Celebrity MasterChef topped a low-rated Thursday night's audiences outside soaps, overnight figures show. The BBC1 competition semi-finals episode attracted 3.90 million at 9pm. Earlier, Traffic Cops brought in 2.54m at 8pm, while Question Time interested 2.48m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Mary Berry Cooks appealed to 1.12m at 7.30pm, followed by the RHS Flower Show coverage with 1.51m at 8pm. The Honourable Woman continued with 1.54m at 9pm, and Mock The Week attracted 1.61m at 10pm. On ITV, the one-off documentary Champneys had an audience of 2.11m at 9pm. Channel Four's Amazing Spaces was watched by 1.04m at 8pm, followed by Embarrassing Bodies with one million viewers at 9pm. On Channel Five, Black Market Britain brought in eight hundred and thirty three thousand. OAPs Behaving Badly was seen by 1.69m at 9pm. On E4, The Big Bang Theory season finale drew 1.21m at 8pm, followed by How I Met Your Mother with eight hundred and seventy nine thousand at 8.30pm.

The second World Cup 2014 semi-final topped the overnight ratings on Wednesday evening. ITV's coverage of Argentina's penalty shootout win over the Netherlands scored 9.72 million viewers at 8.30pm. It peaked at 12.49m around 9.30pm. Earlier, You've Been Framed spectacularly failed to amuse 2.89m at 8pm. On BBC1, a repeat of Death In Paradise appealed to 2.21m at 9pm. BBC2's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show coverage continued with 1.89m at 8pm, followed by Coast Australia with 1.17m at 9pm and the Episodes finale with four hundred and eighty nine thousand at 10pm. On Channel Four, This Old Thing: Vintage Clothes Show gathered eight hundred and eighty six thousand at 8pm. One Born Every Minute interested 1.34m at 9pm. Channel Five's Brand New House for Five Thousand Pounds attracted six hundred and twenty six thousand at 8pm. Hotel Inspector Returns was seen by eight hundred and eighty five thousand at 9pm. Sky1's 24: Live Another Day was watched by two hundred and eighteen thousand punters at 9pm.

The World Cup third place play-off between Brazil and the Netherlands was watched by more than nine million viewers on ITV on Saturday evening, according to overnight figures. The game - in which the Dutch convincingly beat the hosts three-nil - averaged 7.3m from 8.30pm, and peaked towards the end of the match, as 9.09m tuned in at 10.30pm. On BBC1, Casualty took 3.82m from 8.30pm. Later, a broadcast of the first Pirates Of The Caribbean movie was watched by 1.54m. On BBC2, Dad's Army had 1.43m viewers from 8.30pm before The Men Who Made Us Spend had eight hundred and sixty eight thousand. On Channel Four, Grand Designs appealed to eight hundred and ten thousand from 8pm. Knight and Day, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, had an audience of eight hundred and eighteen thousand punters afterwards. The latest Big Brother was seen by eight hundred and seventy two thousand on Channel Five from 9pm. Preceding it was MH370: The Flight That Vanished with five hundred and ninety six thousand. At 10pm, The Trial of Gillian Taylforth was watched by four hundred and sixty seven thousand. ITV3's Endeavour repeat topped the multichannels with five hundred and sixty nine thousand from 9pm. An episode of Storage Hunters drew in four hundred and thirty one thousand from 7.30pm on Dave whilst Paolo Nutini's headlining set at the T In The Park festival was seen by three hundred and twenty two thousand from 10pm on BBC3.

Brazil's World Cup campaign came to a miserable end as the hosts were convincingly beaten by the Netherlands in the single most pointless exercise in world sport, the World Cup third-place play-off. Goals from Robin van Persie, Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum condemned Brazil to back-to-back defeats on home soil for the first time since 1940, following Tuesday's embarrassing seven-one loss to Germany in the semi-final. As an added insult, Brazil must now watch as their fiercest rivals, Argentina, take on the Germans for the chance to win the World Cup at Brazilian football's spiritual home, the Maracana, on Sunday. Having backed their side so vocally throughout, home supporters turned on Brazil on Tuesday, cheering opposition attacks and directing loud boos at their own players and their frustration continued in the capital, Brasilia. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari bore the brunt of their anger and his long-term future as national team boss must now be in doubt. Brazil's fans had packed homes, bars and fan parks to watch the action, leaving streets near empty, but the shock defeat by Germany left a question mark over how they would greet their team before Saturday's game. There was little indication in the build-up that their interest had wavered, as thousands descended on the Copacabana beach fan park in Rio, while the Estadio Nacional was close to capacity. When the teams emerged from the tunnel to go through their pre-match warm-ups, the players were greeted by loud cheers, which increased in volume when injured talisman Neymar appeared. The striker - who scored four goals before a back injury ruled him out of the Germany debacle - was wearing a full training kit, but watched from the bench as his team-mates went onto the pitch. It seemed the Brazilian fans were determined to support their team, but they also made it known they had not forgotten the spanking handed out to them by Germany as loud boos rang out when the names of Scolari and beleaguered striker Fred were read out. The hapless Fred was one of six starters against Germany who were relegated to the bench against the Netherlands and several players from Brazil's twenty three-man squad are likely to have played in their last World Cup. Whatever the future holds, it was briefly forgotten about before Saturday's game as players and fans once again sang the Brazil national anthem in unison. It was as rousing a rendition of the anthem as any throughout the tournament, but thoughts of redemption lasted barely three minutes, when Brazil captain Silva pulled back Robben and the referee awarded a penalty, which Van Persie expertly converted. Quite why Silva wasn't shown a straight red card was beyond the understanding of most observers since if that was the very definition of a goal-scoring opportunity, then what the hell is? The home fans were stunned into silence, but it was to get worse barely fifteen minutes later when they conceded a second. This time David Luiz - you know, the chap whom FIFA were bigging up as 'the player of the tournament' just a few days ago - committed one of the cardinal sins of defending when heading a tame clearance straight to Blind on the penalty spot. The Dutch midfielder steadied himself and found the top corner for his first international goal. Brazilian faces were sullen, perhaps fearful of similar capitulation that saw Brazil concede five goals in just fifteen minutes against Germany. They improved, slightly, as the half wore on, but it was not enough for the players to avoid being booed as they left the field at the break. The game slowed to a pedestrian pace in the second half, with Brazil fans continuing to boo Scolari every time the big screen in the stadium showed the sixty five-year-old's miserable face. Ramires flashed a shot wide before Oscar was booked for diving as Brazil strove for some way back into the game. Instead, though, Wijnaldum completed another sorry defeat for Scolari's side with a third goal in stoppage time. Echoing full-time in the defeat by Germany, the final whistle was greeted with a huge chorus of boos. It was a positive send-off for departing Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal - who had whinged before the game, rightly, about what an utterly pointless exercise the whole third-place play-off malarkey was and is - as he embarks on his next assignment, as manager of The Scum. But for Brazil, a tournament that started with optimism and promise for the five-time winners ended in frustration.

According to an - properly hilarious - ITV spokesperson a few weeks ago, odious grumpy horrorshow (and drag) Adrian Chiles gives their football coverage, 'the man-in-the-street angle that the BBC lacks.' Which, as previously noted, presumably explains why, whenever the Beeb and ITV both cover a match simultaneously, eight-out-of-ten punters prefer to watch Gary Lineker and co - you know, professionals - rather than a waste-of-space breakfast TV flop. So, once again this blogger is totally delighted to report that BBC1 thrashed ITV's bare bum red in the 2014 World Cup Final overnight ratings. A peak television audience of more than twenty million viewers watched Germany's thrilling extra-time win over Argentina (see below) and, as usual, the vast majority of them were watching BBC1. The coverage was seen by a peak audience of 16.7 million viewers on BBC1 at 10.30pm on Sunday evening. Another 3.8 million viewers were watching at roughly the same time on ITV, a peak audience across both channels of 20.5 million. ITV's five-minute peak, across the entire game, came towards the end of normal time with a fraction over four million punters at 9.45pm. And Adrian Chiles's mum, obviously. So four million and one. The BBC traditionally spanks ITV's ass hollow in such head-to-heads and this year was absolutely no different, with an average of 12.1 million viewers (just over fifty per cent of the available audience share) against ITV's thoroughly risible 2.9 million (but twelve per cent). BBC1's audience was slightly down on the 2010 final, Spain's 1-0 win over the Netherlands, which averaged 12.7 million viewers across the entirety of the BBC's coverage. ITV was up this year, albeit only marginally, from 2.8 million. The 2014 final itself, which kicked-off at 8pm, averaged 14.9 million viewers on BBC1 and 3.6 million viewers on ITV, a ratio of around four-to-one in favour of advertising-free BBC1. Although still a crushing win for BBC1 and a totla - albeit expected - humiliation for ITV, the ratio was a fraction better for ITV than 2010, when BBC1 had a match average of 15.1 million and ITV 3.3 million. BBC1 had a 32.4 per cent share of the available TV audience across the day on Sunday, more than three times ITV's ten per cent. ITV's all-day share of the audience did not suffer quite as much as in 2010, when BBC1 also had the British Grand Prix coverage on the same day, ITV sinking on that occasion to just 8.6 per cent of the audience, one of their lowest all day figures ever. Earlier on BBC1, Countryfile appealed to 4.5m punters at 6pm. On BBC2, the Richard Gere film Shall We Dance? brought in 1.28m at 7.30pm. A repeat of The Night Watch was seen by eight hundred and fifty three thousand at 9pm. On Channel Four, the 1997 movie Titanic attracted eight hundred and fifty thousand at 7pm. Channel Five's Big Brother continued with ... oh, who the hell cares, it wasn't many, anyway.

And, as the German national side claimed their fourth World Cup title, their supporters also broke a national viewing record, with a staggering 34.65 million watching on TV. That's just over eight six per cent of the available audience share. Seriously, you have to wonder what the other fourteen per cent of German TV viewers were watching.

Germany were crowned world champions for the fourth time as Mario Götze's extra-time winner beat Argentina in the World Cup final in Brazil. The German substitute demonstrated perfect technique and commendable calm to chest down André Schürrle's cross before volleying in with seven minutes left. Both sides wasted chances in normal time, Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi both dragging wide. Benedikt Höwedes hit the Argentine post with a header late in the first half, but it was Götze's volley which was the queue for wild German celebrations. Argentina, with skipper Messi looking subdued despite flashes of talent, could not respond and Germany claimed their first World Cup since they beat the same opponents in Rome twenty four years ago. The success means Joachim Löw's side have become the first European team to win the trophy in the Americas. Germany had to regroup after losing key midfielder Sami Khedira to injury in the warm-up - and his replacement Christoph Kramer to a blow to the head before half-time - but they shrugged off these setbacks to write another triumphant chapter in their sporting history. Argentina's fans were in the vast majority of a crowd that created a vibrant atmosphere inside the Maracana - although Germany were also well represented and had the support of many yellow-clad Brazil supporters who still turned up despite seeing their hopes of watching the hosts in the final dashed by that stunning semi-final beating. German supporters stayed in their places more than an hour after the final whistle as the victorious side indulged in lengthy celebrations of a win which vindicated the rebuilding plan put in place a decade ago when they suffered the humiliation of going out of Euro 2004 at the group stage, which resulted in then coach Rudi Völler's resignation. It was a process which has also seen Bayern München become one of the most pre-eminent club sides in European (and world) football and it was not an insignificant factor that seven of the winning German side play their club football for Bayern. Germany had reached the semi-finals of the previous two World Cups but have now managed the crowning achievement for Löw, who not only brought the trophy back to Germany, but also ended Europe's grim record in this tournament on South American soil. Argentina failed to have a shot on target in the entire game and four-time world player of the year Messi looked an increasingly jaded figure as the game went on. The Barcelona midfielder never stopped striving to carry his team over the line in the manner achieved by his predecessor Diego Maradona, who inspired a not particularly good Argentina side to their last World Cup when they beat what was then west Germany in Mexico City in 1986. For Germany this completes the transition for a group of emerging players such as Golden Glove winner Manuel Neuer, midfielder Mesut Özil, defender Mats Hummels, captain Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos and the injured Khedira. After destroying hosts Brazil seven-one in Tuesday's semi-final in Belo Horizonte, this was a game that required different qualities such as resilience and concentration - but Germany have those qualities in abundance and were never found wanting and their ecstatic celebrations at the end were in contrast to the bitter tears of the Argentines. And ominously, twenty two-year-old match-winner Götze symbolises the next generation of Germany players that coach Löw declared would dominate for ze whole vert for years to come when he addressed the media twenty four hours before this final. For now, though, they have another World Cup to celebrate and while it may not have been the extravaganza many hoped would crown this generally thrilling tournament, Germany were worthy winners. Argentina, with Messi's speed and sleight of foot posing problems for the previously untroubled Hummels in the early phases, had the game's first big opportunity courtesy of Toni Kroos' error. The Bayern München midfielder delivered a misplaced header which sent Higuain clear on goal but the striker did not live up to his elevated reputation with a horrible miscued finish that did not trouble Neuer. Higuain had the ball in the net soon after from Ezequiel Lavezzi's cross but he was clearly offside - although his prolonged celebration and then stroppy discombobulation when he finally spotted the flag suggested that he thought differently. As Argentina continued to trouble the German defence, it needed a crucial clearance from Jérôme Boateng on the goalline as Messi pulled the ball back for his in-rushing colleagues. It was not all Argentina though, and their keeper Sergio Romero was forced to make a fine save from substitute Schürrle - on for the concussed Kramer - a stop made even better as Özil ducked right in front of the unsighted keeper as the shot came in. The closest either side came to a goal was right on half-time, when Höwedes crashed Kroos' corner against the post with Romero well beaten. Messi had been threatening and he almost put Argentina ahead seconds after the break, only to pull a poor finish across goal with his normally lethal left foot. As the final entered the closing ten minutes, Kroos had Germany's clearest opening for some time but he sent a sidefoot finish off target after Özil had laid the ball invitingly into his path. So it was extra time - and while Rodrigo Palacio was off target when he lofted a finish over Neuer - Götze showed his class and composure to decide an increasingly attritional and somewhat tetchy game with the final flourish of quality this World Cup in Brazil fully deserved as its conclusion.

EastEnders actress Hetti Bywater will appear in an episode of Death In Paradise. The actress will make her first TV appearance since leaving the as Lucy Beale in the upcoming fourth series of the popular Caribbean crime drama starring Kris Marshall. Will Mellor, Outnumbered's Tyger Drew-Honey, Strictly Come Dancing runner-up Natalie Gumede and Downton Abbey's Amy Nuttall will also make appearances. Filming has begun in Guadeloupe for the fourth series, with Sara Martins and Danny John-Jules also returning as Camille and Dwayne respectively. However, Gary Carr has reportedly left the show, after the character of Fidel left Saint Marie for a new job. He will be replaced by Josephine Jobert as Florence Cassell. Don Warrington is expected to play a larger role this series as Commander Selwyn. Other guest stars will include Rosie Cavaliero, the excellent Simon Day, Leo Staar, Don Gilet, Katarina Cas, William Ash, David Bamber, Waking The Dead's Claire Goose, Sharon D Clarke, Hollyoaks actress Ali Bastian, Susannah Fielding and Amanda Root. Tyger Drew-Honey said of his casting: 'I am delighted to be a part of such a successful and original show and I can't wait to work with the fantastic cast and crew. Death In Paradise is very different from anything I've done before so it is the perfect choice as my first TV drama project since finishing Outnumbered. Filming on the sunny shores of Guadeloupe will certainly make a change from those leafy London suburbs that I've been used to.' Executive producer Tim Key added: 'We are thrilled to be back on set in Guadeloupe for the fourth series of Death In Paradise and are excited by the twists and turns in store for viewers this series. We continue to work with a whole host of talented and popular faces as guest stars and I am thrilled with the calibre of talent we have this year. We also welcome the wonderful Josephine Jobert. whose character Florence will provide fresh and captivating plot lines full of humour, intrigue and excitement.' Death In Paradise is expected to return to BBC1 in early 2015.

Overheard on Sky Sports 2 during Day Three of the first test between England and India: 'That's one of his biggest problems, Ishant Sharma. No balls.' Blimey, that's a bit personal, Mikey Holding, isn't it?
And so, dear blog reader, to the next batch of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 19 July
Ahead of Wednesday's opening ceremony for The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the extremely shrill Welsh horrorshow (and drag) Alex Jones presents Live At Edinburgh - 8:30 BBC1 - an allegedly 'star-studded concert' in front of one of Scotland's most famous landmarks. No, not Sean Connery. In fact it's Edinburgh Castle which provides the backdrop as a wide range of musical acts perform on stage, including Motown legend Smokey Robinson (aw, yeah), Kaiser Chiefs, 1980s survivors Culture Club, torch singer Paloma Faith, pop-rock band OneRepublic, rap duo Rizzle Kicks with the hippin' and the hopin' and the baseball cap on backwards and that ('Shabba') and 2012 X Factor loser Ella Henderson (no, me neither). For those who prefer something a little more classical, the line-up also includes operatic quartet Il Divo, mezzo Katherine Jenkins, West End star Alfie Boe and South African opera singer Pumeza. The music will be interspersed with comedy, courtesy of Bill Bailey and Fred MacAulay and the programme also features the final leg of the Queen's Baton Relay before it arrives in Glasgow tomorrow. Hopefully, it'll be the Queen that will be running the final leg. That, dear blog reader, I'd watch.

The master of Gresham College, amateur astronomer Andrew Crompton, is extremely found dead at the Oxford University observatory and Robbie Lewis finds there are numerous suspects, from senior academics to college scouts in another classic Lewis repeat - Dark Matter - 7:00 ITV3. Laura Hobson's involvement with a local orchestra helps to her give the detective plenty of inside information on the complex relationships within the close-knit community, and James Hathaway's sharp mind cracks an astronomical conundrum as the team slowly unravels the riddle of the victim's death. Guest starring Sophie Ward, Diana Quick, Warren Clarke and Robert Hardy. Excellent Holst-inspired score as an added bonus.

If you missed it first time around earlier this year, dear blog reader, then you really need to make an appointment with the eight-part True Detective which starts a repeat run tonight at 9:00 on Sky Atlantic. One has to admire any drama which is even a fraction as wilfully odd, dark and thought-provoking as this. Rust (forget about his Oscar, Matthew McConaughey gives the performance of his life in this) and slightly jaded senior partner Marty (Woody Harrelson, who isn't bad either!) are a pair of oddly matched homicide officers in deepest Louisiana in 1995, working on the case of a woman found naked, tied to a tree and wearing a Satanic-style antler crown in a piece of visual imagery so nasty even Hannibal might think twice about including it. So far, so 9pm on ITV, you might think. But who killed her is just the quickly-forgotten starting point for a labyrinthine character study full of Southern Gothic lore and where the real villains might well be Rust and Marty themselves. Rust is a fidgety mess of grief for his dead daughter and cynical nihilism, while Marty has the more traditional male flaws of barely suppressed anger and not a small touch of emotional cowardice. What matters isn't really the case - although that gets more and more fascinating as the series progresses - but how it shows us the rotten heart of corruption and child abuse with tentacles that stretch into some high places. Regular flash-forwards to 2012, where Marty (now retired and working as a private detective) and Rust (a wild-haired, crazy-eyed drifter who has spent a decade on the fringes of society after some post-apocalyptic events in 2002 made him quit the police) are, themselves, the subject of FBI interviews. Something bad has happened and, something even worse is coming. The drama moves with the urgency of a tortoise, but McConaughey is a revelation, hypnotically convincing as a character who could easily have been absurd in lesser hands. The mood conjured up by director Cary Fukunaga (he did the Michael Fassbender Jane Eyre), lies somewhere between David Lynch, Terrence Malick and a scarier version of True Blood where all the bad stuff is done by - relatively - 'normal' people. It gives True Detective the appearance of a format that knows exactly what it's doing, even if it's not willing to give the viewer too much information too quickly. It's utterly compelling, twisted, dark, nasty and, frankly, unmissable.

Oasis: Standing On The Edge Of Noise - 9:00 Sky Arts 1 - documents an intimate gig the Manchester band played for a handful of fans in the rehearsal studio while preparing for the Dig Out Your Soul tour in 2008 shortly before Noel decided he'd had enough of Liam and went solo, It features some of their biggest hits as well as newer songs from the CD.

Sunday 20 July
To celebrate the start of the Commonwealth Games later this week, five presenters travel the globe to reveal natural beauty spots in seven of the Commonwealth's fifty three countries in Seven Wonders Of The Commonwealth - 9:00 BBC1. Dan Snow kayaks alongside bottlenose dolphins in Milford Sound, New Zealand and travels to Bangladesh to visit the world's largest mangrove forest. Nice work if you can get it. Anita Rani travels to the oldest, driest desert on earth, the Namib in Africa, where temperatures can reach fifty degrees centigrade - or effing bastard hot - then experiences tribal life in Papua New Guinea. Reggie Yates journeys to the largest uninhabited island in the Solomons, surrounded by pristine coral reefs, Denise Lewis experiences the Zambia's Victoria Falls, the most spectacular waterfall on Earth, and Clare Balding heads to the Inner Hebrides to retrace the footsteps of composer Felix Mendelssohn, who was inspired by the volcanic Fingal's Cave on Staffa.

Evan Davis presents the return of the business ideas contest Dragons' Den - 8:00 BBC2 - with Duncan Bannatyne having recently announced that this series will be his last. He is joined once again by Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Kelly Hoppen (mad hair!) and Piers Linney to evaluate a selection of pitches, including a toe-tapping routine that sees the Dragons up on their feet and getting their funk on.Or something. Plus, little cuddly Deborah goes for a slightly unconventional joyride and Peter thinks outside the frame with an offer the Den has never seen before. Will anyone be able to secure that all-important investment from the panellists?
In Rich Hall's California Stars - 9:00 BBC4 - the dry as the Mojave desert comedian considers the influence that California has had upon both America and the wider world as, at one time or another, it has been a hotbed for gold mining, silver-screen stardom, the dotcom boom, the music industry and hi-tech innovations. The presenter uncovers the reality of life in the Golden State, and gets to the heart of the great juxtaposition within its psyche - that its residents are largely unhappy with their own lives, yet believe they live within the 'land of dreams'.
Tonight also sees the return of the documentary Child Genius - 9:00 Channel Four following gifted youngsters taking part in a competition organised in association with Mensa to find the UK's brightest young mind. In the first stage, the contenders face two gruelling rounds - advanced maths, where questions are beyond many adults' capability, and memory recall, in which they have to memorise and mentally navigate four zones of the London Underground map. Aliyah's psychologist parents have devised a special training programme to give the nine-year-old optimum brain power, while piano prodigy Curtis, who has already completed the first year of a university degree at the age of ten, has been put forward by his mother and manager Hayley.

Monday 21 July
Deadly dangers in people's homes are the focus of How Safe Is Your Home? - 7:30 BBC1. That and, you know, scaring the buggering bejesus out of us all as a public service. So, thanks for that. In this final part of the three-episode series, Angellica Bell and a housing officer tackle a rogue landlord in Peterborough whose refusal to fix a family home is putting their health at risk, and she also joins Mark Clemmit at a house near Hull plagued by faulty electrics. Finally, the Clemmit and Mark Miller track down a builder who walked off a job in Leeds, leaving the owners with a dangerous property and tens of thousands of pounds in debt.

In Every Breath We Take: Understanding Our Atmosphere - 9:00 BBC4 - science writer Gabrielle Walker reveals how humanity has acquired an ever-greater understanding of air, upon which its life depends. By tracing the development of early scientific studies into the natural world, the presenter reveals how people came to appreciate that plants are supported by carbon dioxide, nitrogen enriches the soil, and oxygen gives people the energy they need to stay alive.
Hood investigates the murder of a Kinaho girl who was secretly dating an Amish boy named Solomon - who happens to be Proctor's nephew in the third episode of Banshee - 10:10 Sky Atlantic. The crime sends shockwaves through the community, shattering the uneasy peace between the Amish and Native American residents, and the sheriff and his deputies ignore their lack of jurisdiction over the reservation to speak to a suspect.
The latest series dragged out of cold storage for a very welcome repeat by ITV3 is Bouquet of Barbed Wire, the 2010 remake of the 1970s drama based on the novel by Andrea Newman. The lives of Peter and Cassie Manson are turned upside down when their teenage daughter, Prue, reveals that she is pregnant by her teacher Gavin Sorenson. As well as Peter's aching fear that he has lost his daughter forever, he is rocked by the unnerving certainty that Gavin is on a personal mission against him. Starring Trevor Eve, Hermione Norris, pouty-faced Imogen Poots, Jemima Rooper and Tom Riley.
Tuesday 22 July
The team explores secret paths around the shores of the British Isles in the latest episode of Coast - 9:00 BBC1. Yer actual Nick Crane heads to Cape Wrath - the most North-Westerly point of the British mainland - to visit his favourite beach and learns how the area was once home to Britain's smallest school and why this wild landscape had to be abandoned. Meanwhile, Ruth Goodman reveals how a Victorian craze for collecting ferns drove genteel women to extraordinary lengths on the perilous paths along the sea cliffs of Devon, while Adam McIntosh follows a secret underwater path off the isle of Iona in search of green marble. Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair) is conspicuous by his absence.

A couple watch a human-sized hamster ball roll down the street and into their front yard, finding the body of a dead man inside in the opening scene of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - 9:00 Channel Five. So, just another typical day in Las Vegas with a Who soundtrack, in other words. The victim appears to have been extremely bludgeoned to death with ... a big fek-off bludgeoning instrument of some description whilst inside the ball, enabling the team to, for once, transplant the entire crime scene to the lab. Elsewhere, investigator Dawn Banks goes missing while working with Morgan on the case of a serial rapist. With Ted Danson, Elisabeth Shue, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Wallace Langham, David Berman, Jon Wellner, Paul Guilfoyle and Elisabeth Harnois. Guest starring ER's Sherry Stringfield.

BBC4 begins a repeat run of one of its greatest ever triumphs Chivalry And Betrayal: The Hundred Years War at 9:00. One hundred years is, of course, an approximation, as the war between England and France, longest of the Middle Ages and, in the words of its presenter 'the longest divorce in history'), lasted from 1337 to 1453, by which time the people who had begun the hostilities were long dead. It gave England such victories as Crecy and Agincourt, made the reputations of both Edward III and Henry V – and would give Shakespeare plenty of material. It also provided France with a national heroine in Joan of Arc. The terrific Doctor Janina Ramirez explores the lengthy conflict between England and France through the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. She begins by examining how Edward III led a crushing English victory at the Battle of Crecy in 1346, focusing on the role played by low-born archers, before moving on to the Black Prince's campaign of terror and guides the viewer through the saga of kings, knights, bloody battles and cultural triumphs in the first of three ravishingly shot films. If any programme justifies the continued existence of BBC4, it's this one. A triumph.

Lecter tells Will Graham about his gruesome plans for the discourteous Mason Verger, inadvertently stirring the profiler's murderous impulses toward the psychiatrist in the penultimate episode of series two of Hannibal - 10:00 Sky Living. Meanwhile, Jack Crawford grows impatient with The Ripper investigation and colludes with a surprise witness in an attempt to catch saucy Hannibal in the gruesome act. Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Larry Fishburne and Gillian Anderson.
Wednesday 23 July
Yer actual Gary Lineker, Hazel Irvine and Clare Balding present live coverage from Celtic Park, Glasgow, of the opening ceremony for The Commonwealth Games - BBC1 from 8pm. It's a ceremony which, we are promised, will feature more than three thousand volunteers to mark the end of the Queen's Baton Relay and the official opening of the games by Her Maj her very self. And then she'll fight The Crazy Dog with a brick in her handbag. Probably. A spectacular and colourful curtain-raiser is expected as Scotland celebrates hosting the event for the third time, and Glasgow for the first, while competitors from seventy one nations enter the arena in the Parade of Athletes, which marks the start of eleven days of competition. And that. Huw Edwards joins Irvine in the commentary box. Subsequent programmes subject to change if the athletes walk too slowly.

Photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and French director Luc Besson reveal the fragility of planet Earth by means of aerial footage taken in fifty four countries in Our Planet From The Air: Home - 9:00 BBC4. This 2009 film delivers alarming statistics about climate change and how quickly humans are transforming their 'home' into a place that could, eventually, become uninhabitable. Along with fascinating images, Home is a depiction of how Earth's problems are all interlinked.

Selina is forced to clarify her stance on abortion after the president suddenly announces he is against it in the latest episode of Veep - 9:35 Sky Atlantic. Desperate not to offend anyone, she meets pro-life and pro-choice advocates and tries to reassure them all that she is on their side. Meanwhile, Jonah sets up a political blog and lands a guest spot on a TV show after a series of passionate rants, leading Dan to go to extreme lengths to ensure he doesn't say anything negative about the vice-president on air. Armando Iannucci's satire, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
As the third series of the American political drama Scandal comes to Sky Living - 9:00 - the one-off special, The Secret Is Out, gives viewers the chance to catch up on all the main events so far. The programme looks back at the characters, rumours, lies and affairs that have gripped fans to date and explores questions such as 'Who is Quinn?' and 'Who shot Fitz?' Narrated by The West Wing's Josh Malina, who plays US Attorney David Rosen.

Thursday 24 July
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of ... , one of the sickest TV formats ever dreamed up, returns for a second series - 9:00 Channel Five. Doctor Richard Shepherd investigates further cases of alleged 'celebrities' who died unexpectedly, beginning with INXS frontman yer actual Michael Hutchence, who was found dead with a belt round his neck in his Sydney hotel room in November 1997. The forensic pathologist is helped by coroner Derrick Hand and psychologist Anjula Mutanda - all of whom should be bastard-well ashamed of themselves - to chart the events and consider the rock star's state of mind at the time - as that's anything whatsoever to do with them. There are detailed dramatic reconstructions and interviews with those who knew him. Or, at least, those who knew him and then agreed to take part in this thoroughly wretched piece of vomit. Quite what purpose any of this serves and who in the wide, wide world of sport would want to watch this grossly offensive invasion of someone's privacy is, perhaps, a question that some enterprising blogger should put to the produces of this travesty. You would have to be a brain-damaged moron or the victim of a cruel and unusual medical experiment to find anything worthwhile in this hour of everything that is wrong with television in the early years of the Twenty First Century, dear blog reader. Although the fact that it is being broadcast on a channel which, until recently, was owned by a soft-core pornographer, I guess means that we shouldn't be too surprised.

Hatton Garden has been London's jewellery quarter for more than two hundred years. Located North-West of the city, it's a half-mile stretch where millions of pounds of gold, silver and precious stones are bought and sold every day. The documentary Diamond Geezers - 9:00 ITV - goes behind the scenes, meeting the wheelers and dealers and bespoke designers working in the area, from a trader who conducts the sale of a diamond ring in the back of a taxi, to a metal reclamation expert who gives an insight into her often mucky job.

In Today At The Games - 10:40 BBC1 - Mark Chapman and Clare Balding present a round-up of the opening day's action at the Commonwealth Games, including swimming, triathlon and track cycling. The schedule at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre offered the home fans the perfect chance to celebrate a gold medal, with Michael Jamieson a genuine contender in the men's two hundred metres breaststroke after winning silver at London 2012, while the men's and women's triathlon races took place at Strathclyde Country Park and the first cycling finals were decided at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Plus, a look ahead to tomorrow's action, which will include the start of the boxing bouts. There's also live coverage of much of the action on BBc1 and BBc3 at various points during the day.

Friday 25 July
After telling the story of six London locations from Victorian times to the present day, the documentary series The Secret History Of Our Streets returns - 9:00 BBC2 - to look at the history of three archetypal streets in Scottish cities, at a time when the country stands on the brink of possibly leaving the United Kingdom. The first programme of the series focuses on Edinburgh's Moray Estate, which the Earl of Moray his very self commissioned the architect yer actual James Gillespie Graham to design in 1822 as an expansion of the New Town, and which remains one of the most upmarket and exclusive areas of the capital. Steven Mackintosh narrates.

Northern Soul: Living For The Weekend - 9:30 BBC4 - is a look at the rise, fall and then re-birth of the music and dance movement which took place across the North of England during the mid-to-late 1970s. Archive footage and vivid first-hand accounts reveal the dynamic culture of fashions, dance moves and musical obsessions that were all fuelled by a unique style of black American soul music based on heavy beats. Worth it, not just for the wonderful music but also for the wonderful footage from Tony Palmer's well-remembered This England documentary of geezers throwing some serious shapes at the Wigan Casino circa 1977. Skill. With contributions by Richard Searling, Ian Levine (just don't get onto the subject of missing Doctor Who episodes and you'll be all right), Colin Kurtis, Kev Roberts, Pete Waterman, Peter Stringfellow and many others. Hugely recommended. That's followed by Motown At The BBC - 10:30 - a compilation of studio performances by some of Tamla-Motown's greatest artists, originally broadcast to mark the record label's fiftieth anniversary in 2011. Featuring Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Temptations, yer actual Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Jackson Five (back when little Michael was, you know, relatively normal), The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder his very self.

An eleven-year-old girl is snatched from a troubled housing estate, presenting a fresh challenge for clinical psychologist Doctor Tony Hill, who sets about trying to build up a profile of her abductor before time runs out in The Colour of Amber the latest Wire In The Blood repeat - 10:00 ITV3. Alex Fielding launches a public appeal - an Amber alert - while Tony builds a profile of the likely suspect. A distraught mother identifies the missing child as her daughter and police arrest a known paedophile who lives on the same estate, but there are no leads, until the body of a young girl is discovered and the team is left racing to save another innocent life. Wor geet canny Robson Green and Simone Lahbib star along with Emma Handy, Mark Letheren and Mark Penfold.

And, there's always Monty Python Live: One Down, Five to Go - 7:30 GOLD - yet another broadcast of the final ever Monty Python's Flying Circus gig (allegedly) from the sold-out O2 in London first shown last Sunday. The performance, which because it's first half is pre-watershed, is the edited version with all the, ahem, 'naughty bits' cut out in case Ofcom decide to get medieval on GOLD's sorry ass, features classic sketches and songs performed by John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Carole Cleveland (and some other people). With special guests and an appearance, from beyond the grave (well, on film, anyway), of the late Graham Chapman. Don't miss this or there'll never be another chance. At least, until they next need some money because Cleese has got himself another divorce, or something. Cynical? Moi? Oui, mon petite fromage.
To the news, now: A host of British talent have been nominated at this year's Primetime EMMy awards. Sherlock's yer actual Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch his very self, Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery and Chiwitel Ejiofor were among the nominees announced in Los Angeles on Thursday. Fantasy drama Game Of Thrones led the way with nineteen nominations including best drama series. The TV version of 1996 film Fargo scored eighteen nominations, including both Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton. Freeman had a second nomination for best supporting actor in a mini-series or movie for Sherlock: His Last Vow. The BBC drama is also up for best television movie, with whilst Cumberbatch is nominated in the mini-series or movie lead actor category. He will go up against Freeman and Thornton for Fargo, Mark Ruffalo for his part in AIDs drama The Normal Heart and fellow Britons Ejiofor and Idris Elba for their respective roles in Dancing On The Edge and Luther. British actresses also received nominations in the mini-series or movie categories. Helena Bonham Carter is nominated for her portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor in BBC4's Burton & Taylor, with Minnie Driver also up for her role in pregnancy drama Return To Zero. Downton Abbey actresses Dame Maggie Smith and Joanne Froggatt will also go up against Game Of Thrones' Lena Headey for the supporting actress in a drama series prize. Matthew McConaughey landed a nomination for his acclaimed role in the crime drama True Detective. The actor, who won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club in March, is nominated for best actor in a drama series, alongside his co-star, Woody Harrelson. They will compete against Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad, Jeff Daniels for The Newsroom, Mad Men's Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey for House Of Cards. The coveted best drama series award will see Game Of Thrones facing Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, House Of Cards, Mad Men and True Detective. Sitcom Modern Family will be hoping for a fifth consecutive best comedy series prize, facing competition from The Big Bang Theory, Louie, Orange Is The New Black, Silicon Valley and Veep. Ricky Gervais is nominated for lead actor in a comedy series against Louis CK for Louie, Don Cheadle for House Of Lies, Matt LeBlanc for Episodes, Shameless's William H Macy and Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory. Taylor Schilling's nomination in the lead actress in a comedy series for Orange Is The New Black was one of twelve for the Netflix prison series. The online streaming company more than doubled its nominations from last year, scoring thirty one in total with political drama House Of Cards also earning thirteen nominations. The awards will be handed out at a Los Angeles ceremony on 25 August.

The creator of Halle Berry's new US TV drama Extant has revealed that he was inspired by Doctor Who. Mickey Fisher - who wrote the Extant pilot - explained that the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's 'great heart' was something he was keen to replicate in his CBS series. 'While I was writing the pilot, because I'm a big Doctor Who fan, I had a Post-It note on the corner of my monitor that said, "WWSMD - what would Steven Moffat do?" - because I think he is a great writer.' Fisher revealed. 'I would look at that every now and then when I got stuck and I would ask myself that question, "What would Steven Moffat do?" - and the answer was always that he would just write it better!'

BBC Director General Tony Hall has proposed introducing an open market for programme-making at the corporation. He said that the system which ensured that half of all BBC TV programmes were made in-house should end. But Hall added that the BBC should be able to make programmes for other broadcasters in return. However, this would require changes to the BBC's Royal Charter and will not be introduced until after the charter's renewal in 2017. The cost of the licence fee, or how it might evolve, will also be decided in talks leading up to charter renewal. In a speech delivered in London on Wednesday, Lord Hall also indicated that other areas of the BBC could open up to competition where appropriate. 'Proper competition and entrepreneurialism requires a level playing-field,' he said. 'We should have regulation in the TV supply market only where it's needed so that we can let creativity and innovation flourish. First, we must guarantee the secure supply of brilliant and innovative new programmes across the full range of BBC broadcasting. And that includes the sort of programmes that don't have global commercial appeal as well as those that do. I want our commissioners to be able to choose from the best ideas, from independent producers and BBC Production. They must have them at a price we can afford. This is about us having the next Sherlock, the next Strictly, the next Springwatch and the next Shetland – a fantastic mix from independent and BBC producers. It is also about us having challenging factual programmes that over time the market may no longer find it attractive to supply. And the live skills that allow us to cover, say, a national funeral at a moment's notice.' He said that the proposals would help smaller, independent production companies to make programmes for the BBC, but stressed that BBC Production would also be able to produce for other broadcasters as part of levelling the playing-field. 'This move is a symbol of my confidence in the BBC. Confidence in its ability to keep changing, keeping doing better. And confidence in the future of BBC Production. This is the team that created Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, Frozen Planet and The Thick Of It. The team that created Mrs Brown's Boys, Miranda, Bluestone 42, Our War and Brian Cox’s Wonders Of The Universe. The team that delivers the Proms, the World Cup, the royal wedding, and our coverage of the World War One Centenary. That track record gives me great faith in its future. It is also a reminder that it would be extremely odd to ban the BBC, one of the world's great programme-makers, from making programmes. Put it another way, I do not believe that the BBC's future is as a publisher and broadcaster only. We've got great talent at the BBC. I want them to want to stay here, to bring their best ideas to us. I want them to know that BBC Production will be the place to do their best work, to take risks. That it will offer them the broadest range of creative opportunities.' The BBC currently enables external production companies to bid for a certain amount of output, while ring-fencing around half of its programme-making within the BBC. The number of hours fluctuates according to scheduling and audience demands, but constitutes around twenty five per cent of all BBC programming.

It takes a celebrity both brave and very secure in their own status to first demand an apology from the media behemoth that is the Daily Scum Mail empire and then reject that apology as both insincere and deceitful. Unfortunately for the Scum Mail, George Clooney is both those things. Clooney rejected the Scum Mail's non-apology apology for publishing an entirely false story about his fiancée's mother, describing the paper as 'the worst kind of tabloid.' Which it is. Earlier this week, the actor said that the newspaper had published a false and irresponsible story about his fiancée, Amal Alamuddin. It claimed that her mother, Baria, had told 'half of Beirut' that she opposed the forthcoming wedding on religious grounds because she is a member of Lebanon's Druze community. After Clooney denounced the Scum Mail for fabricating a story which was inaccurate, the newspaper issued a sort of an apology on behalf of its digital division, Scum Mail Online and removed the offending and offensive article from its website. On Friday, Clooney rejected the paper's apology, accusing it of a 'cover-up' and of telling 'a premeditated lie', in a statement released to the newspaper USA Today. 'In the apology, managing editor Charles Garside claims that the article was "not a fabrication", but"'based the story on conversations with senior members of the Lebanese community,"' he wrote. 'The problem is that none of that is true. The original story never cites that source, but instead goes out of its way to insist on four different occasions that "a family friend" spoke directly to the Scum Mail. A "family friend" was the source. So either they were lying originally or they're lying now. Furthermore, they knew ahead of time that they were lying. In an article dated 28 April 2014, reporter Richard Spillett wrote in the Mail that "Ramzi, [Amal's father], married outside the Druze faith," and a "family friend" said that "Baria, [Amal's mother], is not Druze." The Mail knew the story in question was false and printed it anyway. What separates this from all of the ridiculous things the Mail makes up is that now, by their own admission, it can be proved to be a lie. In fact, a premeditated lie. So I thank the Mail for its apology. Not that I would ever accept it, but because in doing so they've exposed themselves as the worst kind of tabloid. One that makes up its facts to the detriment of its readers and to all the publications that blindly reprint them.' So intense was Clooney's second outburst that the Scum Mail unusually chose not to comment. The Gruniad Morning Star claims that the Scum Mail wishes 'to avoid a tit-for-tat battle with the Hollywood A-lister while an internal investigation into the story continues.' Another actor, Angelina Jolie, has also taken on the Daily Scum Mail. According to The Times, Jolie has launched legal action against the newspaper for publishing a video online, which it claims shows her while she was addicted to heroin during the 1990s. It is alleged that the video was taken by the Scum Mail from the National Enquirer, an utterly risible and worthless US tabloid which publishes celebrity gossip nonsense. The sixteen-minute video was said to have featured a conversation between Jolie and her father, Jon Voight, when she was in her early twenties. In it, the Scum Mail suggests that Jolie is speaking about her brother, James, and her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand. The actor is believed to regard the publication of the video as a gross violation of her privacy. It is said to have been recorded by Franklin Meyer who is described by the New York Daily News as a former drug dealer who has 'spent the past half-decade peddling gossip about dealing cocaine and heroin to Jolie in the late 1990s.'

Sebastian Coe, the double Olympic gold medallist who played a key role in delivering the London 2012 Olympic Games, is 'winning strong support among senior ministers' to succeed Lord Patten as chairman of the BBC Trust according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Coe is, the Gruniad claim, 'seen as the ideal heavyweight candidate for the one hundred and ten thousand pounds a year role, who would accept the need for substantial reforms when the BBC charter is reviewed after next year's general election.' But the former Conservative MP is also seen among ministers as a 'non-tribal Tory' who has 'a strong personal commitment' to the BBC dating back to his days as an international athlete in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The corporation showed a strong commitment to the sport in that era when it was less fashionable and provided a career for two of Coe's fellow athletes – Brendan Foster and Steve Cram. The strong support for Coe among ministers was highlighted, the Gruniad suggest, by the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston who on Thursday blogged that Coe is 'a virtual shoo-in' to replace his fellow Tory peer Patten as chair of the BBC Trust. The Spectator pointed out that Peston had just spent two days in India with George Osborne who knows Coe well from their time working with William Hague when Billy Fizz was Leader of the Opposition. Peston wrote: 'For the government, which for this sort of thing really means the prime minister and chancellor, Lord Coe is the outstanding candidate. So presumably they will find a way to get him over these many hurdles.' Bit of a mixed-metaphor there from old Pestinfestation given that Seb his very self was a middle-distance runner (and a bloody good one, let it be noted) not a hurdler. The Gruniad says it 'understands' that Coe is 'considering the BBC post seriously.' As opposed to considering it frivolously? He told the BBC last month: 'It is a very meaty job and I'm passionate about public service broadcasting. But the honest answer is I probably have a few weeks to think about it.' Coe is said to be far from decided about whether to put his hat in the ring, not least because he has expressed a strong interest in succeeding the former Senegalese long jumper Lamine Diack as president of the International Association of Athletics Federations next year. Coe, the double Olympic fifteen hundred metres gold medal winner feels strongly that he would like to repay a personal debt to the world of athletics and would be the first British president of the IAAF since Lord Burghley should he get the job. The 1928 Olympic four hundred metre hurdles gold medal winner held the IAAF post between 1946 and 1976, the year before Coe's international athletics career began. But the job criteria for the BBC Trust was changed last month, prompting speculation that the government was keen to 'accommodate' Coe who wants to 'maintain other interests.' The original job description on the Cabinet Office website said that the winning candidate would need to be able to work 'three to four days per week (or twelve to sixteen days per month).' This was later amended to include the words: 'However, suitable candidates able to offer a lesser time commitment will also be considered.' The experience of Patten, who backed George Entwistle as Director General only to see him fall within fifty four days, would be a strong reason for Coe to resist the BBC job. Coe would not want to be involved on such a day-to-day basis. But Coe's fellow peer, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, is according to the Gruniad 'seen to have taken such a strong command of the BBC as Entwistle's successor as Director General that Coe might be able to act as a hands off non-executive chairman.' Any successor to Patten would want to have clarity over their role and what the future holds for the BBC Trust, which replaced the Board of Governors in 2007 after the row over the BBC broadcast about the Downing Street Iraq arms dossier in 2003. This led to the resignation of the then Director General Greg Dyke and the chairman Gavyn Davies. In his blog, Pestoninfestation wrote that David Cameron and George Osborne are keen to reform the BBC Trust by handing its regulatory functions to Ofcom. This would allow the Trust to 'resemble something like the old governing board or even possibly a public company board, concentrating on oversight of senior executive appointments.' Such far reaching changes might make the BBC post more attractive to Coe who shares the view of Cameron and Osborne that the BBC is a vital national institution that must be protected, though by no means indulged.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United have signed Montpellier's attacking midfielder Remy Cabella for an undisclosed fee on a six-year deal. The twenty four-year-old, who has spent his whole career at Montpellier, was part of France's World Cup squad but did not play in Brazil. 'This is a move that I really wanted to make as I have heard nothing but good things about Newcastle United from everyone I spoke to,' he said. 'I wanted to join a great English club and that is why I have arrived here.' Cabella is the fourth player the Magpies have signed so far this summer, following Tenerife striker Ayoze Perez, Blunderland midfielder Jack Colback and Ajax forward Siem de Jong. 'Remy is a player who has been on our radar for a while and we are delighted to bring him to the club,' said manager Alan Pardew. 'He is a player who I am sure will excite our fans. He has flair, hard work and commitment, and is going to bring talent, energy and quality to St James' Park.' The sale of Mathieu Debuchy to The Arse is expected to be completed later this week, once his replacement has become Newcastle's fifth close season signing. A fee around five million quid has reportedly been agreed with Feyenoord of Rotterdam for their Dutch international right back Daryl Janmaat, who featured in five games at the World Cup Finals in Brazil for the Netherlands.

Ray Whelan, head of FIFA partner Match Hospitality, has fled to escape arrest in Rio over alleged illegal World Cup ticket sales, Brazilian police say. Police chief Fabio Barucke said that Whelan was 'officially considered a fugitive from justice.' Earlier on Thursday, a judge accepted an indictment for Whelan - who is British - and eleven others. An 'international gang' is said to have earned some fifty million quid per tournament and may have acted at four World Cups. The gang is believed to have been making money by acquiring and illegally selling on VIP tickets and hospitality passes. Whelan was first detained on Monday at the exclusive Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio and released after questioning. The other eleven suspects were arrested last week. In a statement after his arrest, Match Hospitality denied any wrongdoing by Whelan, and said that he would co-operate with any investigation. However, police in Rio said that they went to Whelan's room in the Copacabana Palace but he was no longer there and they were told he had left an hour earlier. Barucke said outside the hotel: 'We have security camera images of him exiting the hotel through a service door.' Brazilian newspaper O Globo, quoting police 'sources', said Whelan had 'fled the hotel' with his lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, who was now 'negotiating with officials' over the terms on which his client would present himself to police. After his initial arrest, Whelan was reported to have surrendered his passport and returned his FIFA credentials for the World Cup. Switzerland-based Match Hospitality - part of UK sports event manager company Byrom based in Cheadle - said on Tuesday that it was 'assisting the police investigation.' FIFA also said it continued 'to fully collaborate with the local authorities and will provide any details requested.'

Ghana's government has said it is 'scandalised' after two hundred Ghanaian World Cup fans asked for asylum in Brazil, saying they were Muslims fleeing religious conflict. A government statement said there was no religious violence in the country. The group are believed to be part of a government-sponsored delegation, mainly comprising supporters of the governing party. Ghana is seen as one of West Africa's most peaceful and prosperous countries. 'The basis for this alleged request is completely false as no religious conflict is taking place in Ghana,' said a statement from Deputy Information Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu. 'Ghana's mission in Brazil has been instructed to liaise with the Brazilian authorities to investigate the matter.'

The veteran actor Ray Lonnen has died at the age of seventy four. His most prominent roles include Willie Caine in the cold-war spy drama series The Sandbaggers (1978 to 1980) and as Harry Brown in the television miniseries Harry's Game (1982). Ray was born in Bournemouth where he attended the Stourfield School and drama school. At nineteen he gained his first acting job at a theatre in Belfast. His early television appearances include roles in The Power Game, The Saint, Mrs Thursday and Honey Lane. He then had a semi-regular role as Detective Sergeant (later Inspector) Terry Moffat in the British crime drama series Z-Cars between 1972 and 1977, He also appeared in the 1973 Doctor Who Frontier In Space in a CV that also included appearances in MenaceThe TroubleshootersThe Guardians, Holly, Harriet's Back In Town, The Protectors, New Scotland Yard, Hunter's Walk, Public Eye, Coronation Street, Rooms, Send In The Girls, Yellowthread Street, Rich Tea & Sympathy and The Bill. In 1984, Ray starred in another spy-themed drama series, The Brief, in which he played a British barrister who travels to Germany to represent a British soldier accused of espionage and treason. Aside from his lead roles, Rayu also continued to appear in guest roles throughout the 1980s, including episodes of The Gentle Touch, Hammer House Of Horror, Tales of the Unexpected, Lovejoy and the French film Mangeuses d'Hommes. He also voiced several characters in the children's animated series Budgie The Little Helicopter. The actor died on Friday after a three year long fight with Cancer. He was married to his second wife, the actress Tara Ward, who announced his death on Twitter.

The acclaimed actress Zohra Sehgal has died in hospital in Delhi at the age of one hundred and two. Zohra was, at the time of her death, the longest lived actress ever to appear in Doctor Who, featuring alongside the first Doctor William Hartnell in two stories. She played Sheyrah in the second episode of the 1965 four-parter The Crusade, as well as having a small role playing an attendant in three episodes of the 1964 story Marco Polo. Zohra was born in 1912, in Saharanpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the third of seven children. After attending Queen Mary's Girls College in Lahore she decided to pursue a career as a performer. She started her career as a dancer in Uday Shankar's troupe, performing in the United States and Japan. She went on to appear in numerous Bollywood films as a character actress with a career-span of over seventy years. The films she was part of, include Neecha Nagar, Afsar, The Mystic Masseur, Bend It Like Beckham, Dil Se ..., Saawariya and Cheeni Kum. Considered the doyenne of Indian theatre, she acted with Indian People's Theatre Association and Prithviraj Kapoor's Prithvi Theatre for fourteen years. Her first role for British television was in a BBC adaptation of a Rudyard Kipling story, The Rescue Of Pluffles. She anchored Twenty six episodes of BBC TV series, Padosi (1976) and appeared in It Ain't Half Hot, Mum and Mind Your Language as well as the films The Vengeance Of She and Tales That Witness Madness. She was signed by Merchant Ivory Productions appeareing in The Courtesans Of Bombay directed by James Ivory in 1982. This paved the way for the role which she will probably be best remember, Lady Chatterjee in the television adaptation The Jewel In The Crown in 1984. She went on to appear in Tandoori Nights, My Beautiful Laundrette, Bhaji on the Beach and many others. The actress received the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honour, in 2010. Zogra married Kameshwar Sehgal in August 1942. Future Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a family friend, was due to attend the wedding reception, but he was arrested by the British a couple of days earlier for supporting Gandhi's Quit India Movement. Zohra and Kameshwar had two children, Pavan Sehgal, a doctor works for the WHO amd Kiran a highly reputed Odissi dancer. In 2012, Kiran Sehgal, wrote her mother;s biography titled Zohra Sehgal: Fatty. Speaking on her one hundred and second birthday Zohra said: 'I am preparing myself for death. When I go to sleep, I try to keep myself smiling. So that when I die, I have a smile on my lips. I want an electric cremation. I don't want any poems or fuss after that. And for heaven's sake, don't bring back my ashes. Flush them down the toilet if the crematorium refuses to keep them. If they tell you that I am dead, I want you to give a big laugh.'

Tommy Ramone, the last surviving founding member of the seminal US punk rock band The Ramones, has died aged sixty two in New York. The drummer died in hospice care on Friday following treatment for bile duct cancer, American media reports. Born Erdélyi Tamás in Hungary in 1949, Tommy emigrated to the US with his family as a child in the 1950s. The original members of the band met in and around the middle-class neighbourhood of Forest Hills in the early 70s when they attended High School. Tommy started The Ramones with friends - Joey Hyman, Johnny Cummings and Dee Dee Colvin - in 1974. Adopting a street gang mentality to go with their 1950s-style leather-and-denim image the band reportedly named themselves after a pseudonym used by Paul McCartney in The Beatles early days and all four of da bruvvas used the surname. The band, with their mega-fast, direct, three chord garageband rock and roll, simple lyrics and striking visual imagery were regulars on the New York club scene - specifically at the legendary CGBGs - before being signed to Sire records and breaking internationally. They were particularly popular in the UK and have been credited with the invention of punk rock (although Iggy Pop might have something to say about that). Certainly, they were a huge influence of most of the new rock bands springing up in New York and London in the late 70s - most notably The Clash. Tommy was originally supposed to be the band's manager, but was drafted in as the drummer when Joey became the lead singer after finding that he couldn't keep up with The Ramones' increasingly fast tempo songs. 'Tommy Ramone, who was managing us, finally had to sit down behind the drums, because nobody else wanted to,' Dee Dee later recalled in his autobiography. Tommy remained as drummer until 1978, playing on and co-producing their first three - massively influential - LPs, Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket To Russia, as well as the live LP It's Alive. He was replaced on drums in 1978 by Marky Ramone, but still handled band management and co-production for their fourth LP, Road To Ruin; he later returned as producer for their eighth LP, 1984's Too Tough To Die. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Tommy wrote 'I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend' and the majority of The Ramones's most famous anthem of teenage rebellion, 'Blitzkrieg Bop'. He and Ed Stasium played all the guitar solos on the LPs which he produced, as Johnny largely preferred playing rhythm. In the 1980s Tommy produced the highly regarded Replacements LP Tim, as well as Redd Kross's Neurotica.

And so, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's the late and much lamented Tommy with his band of brothers, the late Joey, the late Johnny and the late Dee Dee at their one thousand miles per hour finest. It's hard to believe that all four of the men on stage in this remarkable bit of footage are no longer with us. They say 'live fast, die young' and The Ramones certainly did. Onetwothreefour.

2 comments:

fatoldtart said...

I'd rather outlive you, but if I go first, I'd like you to write my obit, based on your great lines here. Well said KT

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping said...

If you kick the bucket, Jeffrey, I'll be happy to write it!

xx