Thursday, August 14, 2014

Don't Bring Around A Cloud To Rain On My Parade

The BBC have confirmed the broadcast time for Doctor Who's post-apocalyptic series eight opener Deep Breath. Yer actual Peter Capaldi's début as The Doctor will be broadcast at 7.50pm on Saturday 23 August. Roughly eighty minutes in duration, the Steven Moffat-written adventure will conclude at approximately 9.10pm. Deep Breath has been allocated the latest time slot for a new series launch since Doctor Who returned to TV in 2005.
What's been described as a 'secret' trailer (the BBC's words, not this blogger's) for Deep Breath has also been made public this week. So 'secret' in fact that, you know, here it is. Yeah. Not that secret, obviously.
Meanwhile, yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self have been wowing them Down Under. The pair were almost matching the TARDIS for blueness as they continued their six-continents-in-ten-days world tour on Monday.
You could almost have believed it was Tyneside ... If it wasn't for the sunshine. Obviously.
Yer actual Peter Capaldi confirmed that shooting on the eighth series of Doctor Who was completed on Wednesday of last week ( 6 August) when he appeared alongside Jenna Coleman and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat at the BFI in London on the following day. In a Q&A session after the screening of Deep Breath hosted by Boyd Hilton, Peter was asked to sum up his Doctor in five words. He chose: 'Funny, joyful, passionate, emphatic, fearless.' Jenna Coleman rose to the challenge too, picking five different words: 'Enigmatic, mysterious, complex, warm, unmannered.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's five were: 'More Scottish than last time.' Factual as ever, Steven!
Meanwhile, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has revealed that Jenna Coleman will make an appearance in this year's Christmas special which, he added, starts filming in a matter of weeks. Rumours had circulated online - albeit, not started by anyone that you'd actually trust as far as you could spit - that the upcoming series could be Coleman's last. But in an interview with BBC Radio Wales last Thursday Moffat said: 'Peter and Jenna only wrapped on the show yesterday. We're not letting them off the hook because they're going to be doing the two premieres, then they're going off on the World Tour, then they're coming back to shoot Christmas. There's no let-up, not when you're on this show!'
Doctor Who fans should expect 'an action-packed and emotional finale' to series eight, director Rachel Talalay has said. Rachel was behind the camera for the final two episodes of the BBC's long-running family SF drama's new series and told the Globe and Mail that The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's scripts feature 'so much action and emotional material.' The film maker also promised that Peter Capaldi's 'slightly grumpier, more complicated' new Doctor will provide 'a strong contrast' to his 'young, romantic' predecessors. 'He was constantly worried he had eleven Doctors he might be mimicking,' Talalay revealed. 'But even when I saw the very first footage from the first episode. it was clear he knew exactly who he was as a Doctor.' The American director also admitted that she had 'campaigned' to land a job on Doctor Who but dismissed accusations - not made by anyone that actually matters, you understand - that Steven Moffat was 'pressured' to hire a woman. 'I said to Steven Moffat, "If I was to read the Internet I would believe you only hired me because you were pressured to hire a woman." He said, "I think they need to know I hired you because of your reel and your material and what we believed you would bring to it."'
Lightning apparently strikes twice - if you're at BBC Worldwide - as the Daily Scum Express and the International Business Times report that another episode from the new Doctor Who series - apparently, the second episode, Into The Dalek - has been, at least partially, leaked online. Worldwide issued a grovelling apology last month after scripts from the new series accidentally appeared on the web. Reports around the web claim that whoever was behind the latest leak 'got cold feet' and only a few per cent of the show were actually uploaded.
It sounds like a story-line from Doctor Who - a search is on in North Wales for the long-lost Yetis from the popular family drama. Actors who appeared as Yetis in the well-remembered 1967 series The Abominable Snowmen are being offered free tickets to a live screening of the opening episode of the new series. The location scenes of the episodes, starring second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, were filmed at Nant Ffrancon Pass in Snowdonia. The Yetis appeared in the six-part adventure and led to actors in padded fur-covered costumes roaming the North Wales countryside. Which, one imagines, must've been quite a sight for any passing rambler. Five of the episodes of The Abominable Snowmen are among the - to date - ninety seven episodes of Doctor Who which are, tragically, missing from the BBC archives. All that remains are episode two (which is properly terrific), together with two short clips from episode four, off-screen telesnaps and a reel-to-reel tape recording of the soundtrack, made by a viewer in 1967. Additionally, Frazer Hines and director Gerald Blake also made short silent home movies of the location filming which have been released on a Doctor Who DVD. Production photographs show the actor Reg Whitehead in the Yeti costume. Three other extras -Tony Harwood, Richard Kerley and John Hogan - are also credited with the role. The Odeon cinema at Eagles Meadow in Wrexham is also trying to trace anyone who played a role in the programmes shot in Gwynedd nearly fifty years ago, either as an actor, an extra or as part of the production crew. Manager Kenny Kempster said: 'There is already a phenomenal amount of interest in the live screening because Doctor Who has such a huge and loyal fan base who can't wait to see it on the big screen.'

BBC1's new contribution to the genre of Lowest Common Denominator telly, the apocalyptic definition of 'wretched' Tumble premiered to more slightly more than three million sad, crushed victims of society on Saturday, according to overnight figures. The 'celebrity' (and this bloggers use that word quite wrongly) gymnastics show - which was, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has to report, every single bit as stinkingly rotten horseshit as one had feared in advance - averaged 3.16m punters across its arse-numbing ninety-minute timeslot from 6.30pm. God, it was tripe. That's an hour and a half of my life that yer actual Keith Telly Topping will never get back. The things I do so that you don't have to, dear blog readers ... It was followed by The National Lottery: Break the Safe (3.16m), before the latest episode of Casualty was watched by 3.99m from 8.50pm. On BBC2, Proms Extra drew four hundred and fifty seven thousand from 8.30pm and Melvyn Bragg's Radical Lives attracted four hundred and fifty five thousand from 9.15pm. ITV had a thoroughly dreadful night with - shamefully - neither Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (2.68m) from 7.45pm or All Star Family Fortunes (2.4m) managing to match Tumble. Channel Four's repeat of Grand Designs on 8pm was watched by 1.02m, before a terrestrial broadcast of the movie Immortals appealed to 1.46m. On Channel Five, the latest Big Brother was watched by and audience of eight hundred and sixty five thousand from 9pm. Earlier in the evening, test cricket highlights of England giving India a damned good innings and fifty four run twanking at Old Trafford entertained 1.01m and World's Worst Storms took four hundred and sixty eight thousand. On the multichannels, the return of The Simpsons drew five hundred and two thousand from 7.30pm on Sky1. The animated comedy was followed by the series premiere of Got To Dance - which had four hundred and thirty thousand from 8pm - and A Touch Of Cloth (two hundred and forty six thousand) from 9pm.

Tumble received what can charitably be described as 'mixed' reviews following its Saturday night launch. In so much as most of those who expressed a preference thought it was a lousy, risible stream of rancid diarrhoea but one or two, didn't. According to one critic, the show, in which ten z-list 'celebrities' seek to impress a judging panel with gymnastic and aerial routines, 'lacked distinctiveness.' Which is another way of saying it was smeggin' awful. Yet the Torygraph's Gerard O'Donovan nonetheless predicted it would 'grow in strength and confidence as it goes on.' The Daily Scum Mail's resident rottweiler, however, was as unimpressed as yer actual Keith Telly Topping, saying it proved reality television had 'hit a new low.' Thus meaning that yer actual Keith Telly Topping was, for once, in agreement with the Daily Scum Mail, something which makes this blogger loathe Tumble even more than he did previously on general principle. Tumble, wrote Jim Shelley, 'treated the viewers as if they were either young kids or just idiots.' Much as the Daily Scum Mail does, in fact. He went on to describe the programme as 'criminally unimaginative', 'unintentionally amusing' (which it wasn't) and full of 'tired' cliches. 'The main thing that is going to be taking a Tumble is the ratings,' he concluded. The Mirra's Mark Jefferies found the contributions of Nadia Comaneci and Louis Smith 'a little stiff', suggesting that Smith 'seemed to be lost for words - or realistic sentences. The judges could be sharper, perhaps a bit spikier and have fun with it,' he continued. 'They need to remember this is not a proper gymnastics competition for a world title but a bit of fun on the telly.' Fun? Fun? This blogger has had more fun spending an afternoon at the genital torturers. A pox on it, everybody who takes part in it and, especially, whatever cheb-end actually commissioned this turkey in the first place.

BBC1's period drama The Village returned for its second series with 4.62m overnight viewers at 9pm, down from last year's premiere ratings of 6.35m. Earlier, Antiques Roadshow appealed to 4.59m at 7pm, while Countryfile topped the ratings with 5.63m at 8pm. Match Of The Day returned with 2.36m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Tropic Of Capricorn drew 1.17m at 7pm, followed by Dragons' Den with 2.19m at 8pm and James May's Cars of the People with 2.43m at 9pm. The latter of which was, actually, rather good albeit one imagines some middle-class hippy Communist louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star will find something in it to whinge about. ITV's Come On Down: The Game Show Story was watched by 2.86m at 7pm. The Zoo gathered 2.05m at 8pm and The Great War, the best thing on any channel all evening, sadly, drew a mere 1.68m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Tom's Fantastic Floating Home interested six hundred and sixty seven thousand viewers at 7pm, followed by The Mill with 1.26m at 8pm and Child Genius with 1.50m at 9pm. Channel Five's Caught With Their Fingers In The Till was seen by nine hundred and forty five thousand at 8pm, while the latest Big Brotherwas gawped at by 1.16m voyeurs at 9pm.

ITV's Long Lost Family continued to top the ratings outside of soaps on Monday, according to overnight ratings. The Davina McCall-fronted series brought in 4.49 million at 9pm. Earlier, Countrywise was seen by 2.51m at 8pm. On BBC1, a repeat of Miranda had an audience of 2.48m at 8.30pm, followed by a rerun of Death In Paradise with 2.54m at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge drew 2.39m at 8pm, while Kate Adie's Women Of WWI interested 1.55m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Royal Marines Commando School attracted 1.99m viewers at 9pm, followed by Kitchen Nightmares with seven hundred and eighty three thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Police Interceptors continued with eight hundred and twenty eight thousand at 8pm. The latest Big Brother was watched by 1.06m at 9pm, followed by Seventy Stone: The Man Who Couldn't Be Saved with 1.12m at 10pm. On BBC3, Football Fight Club had an audience of five hundred and ninety two thousand at 9pm. E4's The One Hundred continued with seven hundred and forty thousand at 9pm.

BBC1's In the Club was watched by 4.25m overnight viewers on Tuesday. BBC2's Coast took 1.7m before Scotland Votes: What's At Stake For The UK? had 1.56m from 9.30pm. On ITV, Love Your Garden attracted 2.52m in the 8pm hour. Executed was viewed by 2.09m afterwards. Channel Four's Utopia series finale was seen by two hundred and ninety thousand from 10pm. Earlier, Kirstie's Fill Your House With Loads Of Crap For Free and Undercover Boss were watched by nine hundred and forty four thousand and 1.01m respectively. The latest Big Brother episode drew 1.24m on Channel Five. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had an audience of 1.13m in the 9pm hour. Masters Of Sex appealed to more than two hundred thousand viewers on More4. The drama, starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, attracted two hundred and twenty three thousand from 10pm. Elsewhere on the multichannels, the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla drew eight hundred and forty three thousand from 7.30pm. Sky Atlantic's Ray Donovan was watched by ninety four thousand from 10pm.

The Great British Bake Off continued with strong overnight ratings on Wednesday. BBC1's baking competition dipped by around three hundred thousand viewers from the previous week's launch episode, but still, easily, topped the night with an audience of 6.87 million at 8pm. Later, Clare Balding's Operation Wild dropped nearly seven hundred thousand overnight punters week-on-week to 3.02m at 9pm. On BBC2, The World's War continued with eight hundred and ninety six thousand following its delayed start at 9.30pm. Live athletics coverage from the European Championships where Britain enjoyed a second golden evening in a row averaged 1.86m from 4.45pm. ITV's One Hundred-Year-Old Drivers appealed to 3.42m at 8pm, followed by Secrets From The Clink with 1.93m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Double Your House For Half The Money And Get Your Greed On interested seven hundred and six thousand at 8pm, while One Born Every Minute took in 1.44m at 9pm. The Mimic drew four hundred and twenty three thousand viewers at 10pm. Channel Five's Grand Theft Auto: UK gathered 1.27m at 9pm, followed by the latest Big Brother with 1.33m at 10pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twelve programmes, week-ending Sunday 3 August 2014:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.34m
2 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 5.87m
3 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.76m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC2 - 5.54m
5 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 4.91m
6 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony - Sun BBC1 - 4.78m
7 Commonwealth Games - Fri BBC1 - 4.67m
8 Commonwealth Games Review - Sun BBC1 - 4.44m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.36m
10 Long Lost Family - Mon ITV - 4.16m*
11 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.05m
12 Holby City - Tues BBC2 - 3.50m
Programmes marked '*' do include include HD figures. Three episodes of EastEnders shown on BBC2 because of the continuing coverage of The Commonwealth Games were the channel's top-rated programme of the week - with 5.54m, 5.54m and 5.52m respectively - followed by Holby City with 3.50m viewers, Dragons' Den (2.59m) and The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway (2.40m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was Royal Marines Commando School with 2.55m followed by The Mill (1.85m). Autopsy: Karen Carpenter was Channel Five's best performer with 1.86m followed by CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.71m). On BBC4, Timeshift: Killer Storms & Cruel Winters led the way with seven hundred and eight thousand, followed by Inspector Moltanbano which was watched by seven hundred and seven thousand punters. Lewis was ITV3's best performer with 1.01m.

Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will front a new daytime talk show on ITV. Princess Pictures has renewed its relationship with the pair to launch the new studio-based series, Broadcast reports. The show is reportedly a co-production between Princess and Perkins's company Square Peg TV and is being lined-up for the 4pm timeslot. The Great British Bake Off hosts will interview alleged 'celebrities' and 'real-life characters' on the chat show, which is the pair's first daytime job since they jointly fronted Light Lunch and Late Lunch on Channel Four between 1997 and 1998. And, judging by the state of Sue's jeans in this recently publicity photo for Bake Off she, at least, could probably use the bread to buy a new pair.
More than three million UK households now subscribe to Netflix, according to new estimates. There are now twice as many subscribers to the online streaming service than there were at this time last year, with more than one in ten households being signed up. Research was undertaken by Enders Analysis and BARB on a sample of thirteen thousand five hundred UK households. It found that Netflix's subscriptions in Britain had risen to 2.8m in the first quarter of the year, with hundreds of thousands more in the following months. Leader Toby Syfret said of the research: 'Netflix has always been highly secretive and released very few details about its international streaming performance in individual countries beyond the general statement that it is seeing encouraging progress everywhere. Not since Netflix's announcement in August 2012 that its total subscriber base in the UK and Ireland had passed the one million mark, have we heard any numbers from the horse's mouth.' Amazon's subscription streaming service Prime Instant Video is currently less than half as popular as Netflix, according to the research findings, reaching 1.2m households. Netflix was also found to be making large increases among younger audiences, doubling the proportion of Amazon's sixteen to twenty four year old subscribers. BSkyB is currently the UK's biggest pay-TV provider with over ten million customers.

Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall will include a spoiler from the second series in an upcoming novel adaptation. Author Erin Kelly has revealed that 'a small clue' about the next series will feature in her book, which will be based on the ITV crime drama's first series. 'About three days before we went to press, Chris put in one tiny little clue about something that happens in series two,' Kelly told Radio Times. 'He asked me to add it in, literally just as we had the proof all laid out ready to go to press. It's something only the die-hards will pick up on but there's one line quite early on in the book that won't make sense to anybody. It's something very playful that he did right at the last minute.' Kelly said that she is 'looking forward' to seeing if anyone notices the spoiler, saying: 'It doesn't give anything away but I'm sure it'll get people talking. I'm going to be checking out the chatrooms to see if people have picked up on it.' The Ties That Bind author also praised the original series, adding: 'You tend to get this level of detail when it's fantasy or science fiction but when it's a straightforward classic British murder drama it doesn't usually attract that kind of fanaticism.'

This week's award for the most sneeringly shitty, middle-class hippy Communist piece of 'look at us, aren't we, like, so fekking clever, us' wank this week goes, as it has for just about every week for the last five decades, to the Gruniad Morning Star: 'In a shocking outburst last week, BBC director of television Danny Cohen was slated as "not a very huggable person" – despite all his recent efforts to warm up his somewhat saturnine and donnish image, those photos where he almost manages to smile, and the Who's Who entry beguilingly listing "pickle" and "giraffes" among more predictable recreations such as "meditation" and "contemporary art"' writes some cocksplash of no importance at the odious full-of-its-own-importance arse-roll substitute. 'Curiously enough, the charge of prickliness came disloyally from someone he only recently promoted: rookie BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw was recalling in the Observer how she reacted to Cohen telling her she'd got the job, by "leaping up to give him a hug", only to have to "stop mid-leap" when he said "we haven't told the other candidates yet." Also food for thought in the Observer interview was Shillinglaw’s vow to "vary the mix" at 10pm, currently dominated by "a fine generation of panel shows" but these "workhorses are ten, fifteen years old": a view likely to have caused the odd frisson in comedians who were counting on building up their pension indefinitely on Never Mind The Buzzcocks (eighteen years old), Qi (eleven) or Mock The Week (nine). Left unclear, though, is what's coming in instead – the sole clue was that she gnomically said "Ten o'clock is a place where BBC2 should show its knickers more", which suggests any replacement shows will be a good deal less blokeish.' You're not funny, you sneering waste-of-space scum. I know you think you are, but you're not.
Police have searched a Berkshire property belonging to Sir Cliff Richard in relation to an alleged historical sex offence. No arrests have been made and Sir Cliff, seventy three, who is currently abroad, has said that the allegation was 'completely false.' Police said the allegation involved a boy under the age of sixteen and dated from the 1980s. The BBC states that this relates to an alleged sexual assault at an event where American preacher Billy Graham appeared at Bramall Lane in Sheffield. The allegation is believed to have been reported to police recently. The search in Sunningdale was carried out by South Yorkshire Police, a spokesperson for whom told the BBC that it did not force entry to the property. The investigation is not connected to Operation Yewtree and police said that officers from that operation - set up by the Metropolitan Police to investigate hundreds of allegations in the wake of the Jimmy Savile fiasco - had been notified. Thames Valley Police said it had 'assisted' the South Yorkshire force with the execution of a search warrant at the property. Eight plain-clothed police officers in five unmarked cars arrived to conduct the search which ended at about 15:30 on Thursday afternoon. Sir Cliff has responded in a statement, which said: 'For many months I have been aware of allegations against me of historic impropriety which have been circulating online. The allegations are completely false. Up until now I have chosen not to dignify the false allegations with a response, as it would just give them more oxygen. However, the police attended my apartment in Berkshire today without notice, except it would appear to the press. I am not presently in the UK but it goes without saying that I will cooperate fully should the police wish to speak to me. Beyond stating that today's allegation is completely false it would not be appropriate to say anything further until the police investigation has concluded.' Sir Cliff's representative, Phil Hall, said that the singer would not be conducting interviews at this time. According to the BBC's Tom Burridge in the Algarve, the singer left his home there on Thursday morning and has travelled with his sister to another part of Portugal 'for a few days.' The singer, born Harry Webb, is one of the most successful British musicians of all time. He has sold over twenty million singles - more than any other male British artist - and is the only performer to have had at least one UK top five LP in each of the last seven decades. He has represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest twice and in 2013 released the one hundredth CD of his career. He was knighted in 1995 and performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace in 2012.
Andy Coulson is 'sleeping on a rubber bunk bed' in a category A prison, but is in 'good spirits' and 'coping well' with 'the bleak reality' of life inside Belmarsh pokey, his former cellmate and Scum of the World colleague Neville Thurlbeck said on Tuesday. Thurlbeck, the paper’s former chief reporter, made the comments after being released from prison, giving the first account of life inside for Coulson, the former Scum of the World editor and ex-communications chief (and, if you will, 'chum') for David Cameron who was extremely jailed for eighteen months in July for conspiracy to hack phones. After completing thirty seven days of the six-month sentence he was ordered to serve in prison for his part in phone-hacking at the paper, Thurlbeck said that he was 'thrilled' to be 'liberated' after the 'end of a long three year saga' that he hopes now to 'put behind' him. He called on the authorities to move Coulson from a 'harsh' category A prison, holding inmates including murderers, rapists and people who nick stuff from Marks & Spencers (probably) to an open prison where he can smell the flowers and that. Thurlbeck told the Gruniad Morning Star that both he and Coulson were forced to wear the prison uniform involving a 'cornbeef pink T-shirt and matching tracksuit bottoms' for the first two weeks - which is fair enough since the pair of them were, after all, convicted criminals - reported that their exercise consisted of 'walking in circles' in the prison yard, and that the 'Belmarsh diet' had helped him lose a stone. And we're supposed to, what, feel sorry for them? Separately in a blogpost, the paper’s former chief reporter claimed that he had spent twenty two to twenty four hours a day locked up with Coulson. A third former Scum of the World executive, Greg Miskiw, was also sent to Belmarsh at the end of the hacking trial last month but was in a separate cell. He was released along with Thurlbeck on Monday. Thurlbeck said: 'I don't wish to complain.' But, he did: 'I can disabuse anybody of the notion that it's a holiday camp. There are interminable hours of boredom and pain. The beds are made of what I can only describe as giant pencil rubbers and over time your hips and shoulders and elbows start to ache. It is pretty grim. It's what I expected but I am glad it's all behind me now.' Thurlbeck revealed that, contrary to reports - in the International Business Times if not anywhere that you'd actually believe - Coulson had not been attacked by a fellow inmate. Last month it was reported that Coulson had been injured after being pushed down a flight of stairs by a fellow convict. 'Despite being left in a "Category A" prison, Andy Coulson is in good spirits and is getting on well with his fellow inmates. Reports that he has been attacked are totally untrue,' said Thurlbeck. 'We would like to put the record straight on this.' Thurlbeck said that 'nothing but kindness' had been shown to them by fellow prisoners. 'I have witnessed nothing other than the hand of friendship to both of us,' he claimed on his blog. The Scum of the World trio were expected to be moved to an open prison within days of being dispatched to Belmarsh on 4 July. However Thurlbeck revealed this did not happen because the authorities did not categorise them, leaving Coulson in limbo and possibly in Belmarsh, the home of high security prisoners, for the remainder of his sentence. 'Andy Coulson is facing many months in a harsh category A prison because the prison has failed so far to categorise him as a category D prison, the lowest category for white-collar non-violent offenders. Without categorisation he cannot be moved to an open prison where he belongs and where the remainder of his sentence should be served. I feel very strongly about that as did many of his inmates at Belmarsh who felt that Andy was being treated extremely harshly and unfairly. He is in a prison with people serving life for murder, when on humanitarian grounds and under rules of the prison service he should be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in an open prison where his wife and young children can visit their father and see him existing in a dignified way,' said Thurlbeck. He refused to comment any further on Coulson, save to say that after two weeks they were given permission to wear civilian clothes. Thurlbeck revealed that his former boss opted for his 'splendid designer polo shirt and jeans while I remained in the prison uniform as I believe in dressing for the occasion.' Thurlbeck and Miskiw got six months porridge for their part in the phone-hacking conspiracy and were released early for good behaviour.

The Sun’s crime reporter is to be charged in relation to an investigation into alleged corrupt payments to public officials. Anthony France will appear before Westminster magistrates court on 21 August, the Crown Prosecution Service said. France faces two counts of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office between 31 March 2008 and 1 July 2011 and 19 July 2009 and 14 August 2009 respectively. Charges are being brought under Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden, which is being run alongside two other inquiries – Operation Weeting, which looked at alleged phone-hacking and Operation Tuleta, examining claims of computer hacking and other privacy breaches. The first charge states that France conspired with Timothy Edwards – a police officer previously charged in relation to Operation Elveden – and with 'others unknown' to commit misconduct in public office. The second charge states that France conspired 'together with others' to commit misconduct in public office.

Dynamo has confirmed that the upcoming fourth series of Magician Impossible will be the last. Speaking at the launch of the new episodes this week, the magician explained that the time feels right to bring a close to his hit Watch show.
It may be an idea for Sky News to employ subtitlers who actually watch Sky News, and aren't bad at differentiating between men and women. Life is frustrating enough for the channel's deputy political editor Joey Jones – who has been forced to toil solo through the summer as acting political editor, until Adam Boulton's successor, Faisal Islam (chosen back in March) takes up the post later this month – without a subtitle identifying him on screen as 'Jenny Jones.' Ouch.

As you probably know if you haven't been living in a cave for the last couple of days, Robin Williams - a particular favourite of this blogger - has been found dead at the age of sixty three, in what has now been confirmed to be a case of suicide. Marin County Police in California said that Robin had been pronounced dead at his home shortly after officials responded to an emergency call on Tuesday. Robin was, of course, one of the great stand-up comedians of his - or, indeed, any other - generation. He was also a superb actor, famous for such films as Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poets Society and won an Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting. His publicist said that he had been 'battling severe depression' for several years. In the past, Robin had talked of, and even joked about, his struggles with alcohol and drugs. During the late 1970s Robin had a severe addiction to cocaine. He was a close friend of, and frequent partier with, John Belushi and said that the death of his friend along with the birth of his own eldest son soon afterwards prompted him to quit drugs and alcohol: 'Was it a wake-up call? Oh yeah, on a huge level. The grand jury helped too.' He also once infamously described cocaine as 'God's away of telling you you have too much money.' Robin had recently returned to a rehabilitation centre to 'fine-tune' his sobriety, the Los Angeles Times reported in July. 'At this time, the Sheriff's Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made,' police said before later confirming that Robin had, seemingly, died from suicide. In a statement, Robin's third wife, Susan Schneider, said that she was 'utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin's family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.' Something which this blogger echoes. Robin is survived by Susan and his three children - Zak, Zelda and Cody - from two previous marriages. Born in Chicago in 1951, Robin joined the drama club in high school and was accepted into the Juilliard School in New York, the prestigious American academy for the arts where he was a contemporary and close friend of Christopher Reeve. There, Robin was encouraged by a teacher to pursue a career in comedy. After appearing in the cast of the short-lived The Richard Pryor Show on NBC, Robin was cast by Garry Marshall as the gobbledygook-spouting alien Mork in a 1978 episode of Happy Days after impressing the producer with his quirky sense of humour. According to legend when asked to take a seat he sat on his head at his audition. As Mork, Robin improvised much of his dialogue and physical comedy, speaking in a high, nasal voice. Mork's appearance was so popular with viewers that it led to a spin-off, the hugely successful sitcom Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982; the show was written to accommodate Williams's improvisations. Although he played the same character as in his appearance in Happy Days, the show was set in the present day, in Boulder, instead of the late 1950s in Milwaukee. Because of his success on television, throughout the next decade, Robin began to reach a wider audience with his stand-up comedy, including three HBO comedy specials, Off The Wall (1978), An Evening With Robin Williams (1982), and the brilliant Robin Williams: Live At The Met (1986), while continuing to act in such films as Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Mrs Doubtfire, The Fisher King, Hook, Jumaji, The Birdcage and as the voice of the genie in Aladdin. While many of his roles were in comedies, Williams won the Oscar in 1998 for best supporting actor as a therapist in Good Will Hunting. President Barack Obama was one of many offering condolences to his family when he said that Robin 'arrived in our lives as an alien - but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most - from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised on our own streets.' Fellow comedian Steve Martin tweeted that he 'could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.' Martin and Williams had appeared on stage together during an 1988 Broadway revival of Waiting for Godot. Robin was a member of the Episcopal Church. He described his denomination in a comedy routine as 'Catholic Lite - same rituals, half the guilt.'

Channel Four News has apologised after broadcasting a clip of Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam saying: 'Get a rope and hang me.' Channel Four News ran a report on the actor's death on Tuesday evening which included the clip from Good Morning Vietnam, the 1987 film in which Williams played a larger-than-life DJ on Armed Forces radio. In the clip Williams's character says: 'Why don't they get a rope and hang me?' Channel Four came in for criticism for the unfortunate juxtaposition from, you know, the usual suspects - some people on Twitter, if not anybody that actually matters. Although as the Gruniad Morning Star never ceases reminding us, Twitter is now The Sole Arbiter of the Worth of All Things. Channel Four News, which altered the tribute in the one-hour time-shifted broadcast of the news programme, subsequently apologised. 'We'd like to apologise for including what was an inappropriate line from Good Morning Vietnam in our play-out from tonight's programme,' the broadcaster said. 'There was no offence intended.' As anyone but the stupidest moron in all the world could've probably worked out without them having to be told that. Sadly, dear blog reader, the Internet appears to possess plenty of people who are just such numskull professional offence takers.

And, it wasn't just Channel Four who were getting this kind of lame-brained bollocks flung in their general direction. A 2011 episode of the cartoon comedy Family Guy concerning Robin Williams and featuring a failed suicide attempt (albeit, not by Williams) was broadcast on BBC3 just moments before Robin's death was announced. Viewers were 'shocked' over the 'uncanny timing' after watching the episode - Family Guy Viewer Mail #2 - where Peter Griffin is cursed with the ability to turn everything he touches into Robin Williams. At least, they were according to the Daily Mirra, so, really, they probably weren't' shocked' or anything even remotely like it. During the episode Peter tries to commit suicide in a desperate attempt to stop the clones appearing, before eventually chopping both his hands off to end the spell. 'The Internet is full of comments about the bizarre coincidence with most people calling it "weird" after watching it air on BBC3 at 11.25pm,' the Mirra claim. 'Full' in this case being about ten people with nothing better to do with their time talking about it. And, of course, with this being a story in which the BBC could, potentially, be criticised for something (for not being psychic in this case, seemingly), the Daily Scum Mail wasn't far behind in running the story. Williams died on Monday afternoon at his family home in California and the news broke around 11.50pm UK time, five minutes after the episode on BBC3 had ended. In the episode Peter is watching Williams - his favourite comedian - when another comedian, Jeff Ross, insults his hero. Peter runs outside in the middle of a thunderstorm and accuses God of hating Williams and wishing that everyone was the comedian before he gets struck by lightning. Upon waking up in the hospital, Peter discovers he has gained the Midas-like ability to turn everyone and everything he touches into Robin Williams. A spokeswoman for the BBC described it as an 'uncanny coincidence.'The episode ended just as the news broke about his death. This was a repeat that we have shown a couple of times before, so who could have planned that? It was scheduled more than two weeks ago so it is just an uncanny coincidence. Some of our people who work here noticed that the death of Robin Williams was announced just as this episode ended.' The spokesman added: 'It was due to be repeated on Friday but we will not be showing it now.' Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane said: 'The world just got a lot less funny. Robin Williams is a tragic loss.'

Meanwhile another person getting it in the neck over Robin Williams was the comedian Richard Herring who, according to a completely worthless piece of cut-and-paste nonsense in the Independent 'incurred the wrath of Twitter users after posting a perhaps ill-advised joke about the death of Robin Williams.' Although as one Indi reader quickly pointed out the 'droves' of Twitter uses whom Herring, allegedly, incurred the 'wrath' of and replied to him was, actually, five. I wonder if the Indi reporter, one Ella Alexander (no, me neither) remembers a time when journalists had to actually get up off their arses and go out and solicit quotes about a chosen subject instead of merely sitting in the office glued to half-a-dozen glakes wittering about something on social media. Which, let's remember, is The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things. According to middle-class hippy Communist gits like the Independent. Back, vaguely, in the real world, Herring also tweeted a link to an article he wrote for the Metro in March this year, in which he discussed how we 'need to talk about death more.' He said: 'I find the way that social media responds to death and disaster mainly bewildering. If a celebrity dies, it now feels that everyone has to write a post about it, even if they have nothing original to say. It's like we’re all the Prime Minister of our own little country and the world would be shocked and appalled if we didn't make some kind of statement.' Word.

More sad news now, Lauren Bacall has died at the age of eighty nine. With a movie career that spanned seven decades beginning with a memorable debut at the age of nineteen opposite her future husband, Humphrey Bogart, in To Have and Have Not Lauren was one of the last representatives of the golden age of Hollywood. More than fifty years after To Have and Have Not, The Mirror Has Two Faces earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. Lauren Bacall smouldered on cinema screens portraying a new type of femme fatale - independent, intelligent yet still utterly erotic. She became one of the most famous actresses in post-war cinema, renowned for her husky voice, the trademark look and her marriage to Bogart. She was born Betty Joan Perske in September 1924, in Brooklyn, to a Polish father and a Romanian mother. Her parents divorced when she was five and she took her mother's maiden name as her surname, although she added an extra 'l' to her mother's Bacal. Like many aspiring actresses, she financed her studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts by taking on part-time work, in her case as a theatre usherette and a model. Lauren became an overnight success when the director Howard Hawks realised his long-term ambition of turning a complete unknown actress into a star. Hawks' wife had spotted the aspiring Bacall on the cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine in March 1943 and recommended her to her husband. Hawks brought a different type of woman to the big screen, one who could hold her own with anyone and had as many dimensions and problems as her male counterparts. Known as 'Hawksian women', his characters were hugely varied. He renamed her Lauren and sent her for voice training to develop the low, sexy tones which became her trademark. Her first film performance, as the tough and tender dame in To Have and Have Not, became one of the most powerful debuts in film history. The film featured her legendary lines: 'You don't have to say anything and you don't have to do anything. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and ... blow.' One critic said that she was 'the toughest girl a piously regenerate Hollywood has dreamed of in years.' During the filming of To Have and Have Not, she and her co-star Humphrey Bogart began a relationship which led to Bacall, twenty five years Bogart's junior, becoming his fourth wife. Despite his no-nonsense physical on-screen persona, Bacall once said of her husband: 'Was he tough? In a word, no. Bogey was truly a gentle soul.' The couple went on to star in three more films together - Dark Passage, Key Largo and, most famously, The Big Sleep. In this classic film noir, Bogie and Bacall had an on-screen rapport that other Hollywood couples could only dream of. Yet, later in life, she refused to watch her early work, once reportedly saying: 'I can't bear to see myself looking young. It is a form of torture to be reminded of what used to be now I'm a wrinkly old woman.' During the late 1940s, Bogart and Bacall set up the Committee for the First Amendment. Established by some of Hollywood's biggest names, it was an attempt to counter attacks on Hollywood by the House Un-American Activities Committee. HUAC's infamous campaign to rid American cinema of anyone with allegedly Communist tendencies led to a blacklist of Hollywood writers and actors. Together with some fifty other celebrities, Bacall and Bogart flew to Washington DC in 1947 to lend support to those blacklisted but their efforts failed to end the persecution. Her career continued to blossom during the 1950s. She received good reviews for her performance in the jazz influenced film, Young Man With A Horn, where she appeared with Doris Day and Kirk Douglas. More plaudits followed for the 1953 film, How to Marry a Millionaire (alongside Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable) and Written on the Wind in 1956. However, Bogart, who was a heavy smoker and drinker, had been in failing health. He was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 1956 and died a year later. After Bogart's death she was briefly engaged to Frank Sinatra and, in 1961, she married another Hollywood heavyweight, Jason Robards. Bacall's film career faded somewhat in the 1960s but she made a triumphant transfer to the stage. She performed in the popular comedy Cactus Flower and the musical Applause, which ran for nearly two years and earned her a Tony Award for the best actress in a musical play. She was seen in only a handful of films during this period, mostly all-star vehicles such as Sex and the Single Girl (1964) with Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood, Harper (1966) with Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Julie Harris, Robert Wagner and Janet Leigh, and Murder on the Orient Express (1974). In 1964, she appeared in two episodes of Craig Stevens's Mr Broadway, the first Take A Walk Through A Cemetery with her then husband, Jason Robards. In the 1970s she wrote a remarkably frank autobiography called Lauren Bacall, By Myself, which went on to become a bestseller in several countries. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to her in 1963 and Harvard University named her Woman of the Year in 1967. She was nominated for an Oscar in 1996 for a more recent Hollywood role in the mother-daughter tale The Mirror Has Two Faces, opposite Barbara Streisand. In 2009, she received an honorary Oscar and joked: 'I can't believe it - a man at last.' Paying tribute to the actress on the night, Kirk Douglas described her as 'a pussycat' adding she had 'a heart of gold.' The first years of the Twenty First Century saw something of a revival in her film career with appearances in Dogville in 2003 and Birth a year later, in both films starring opposite Nicole Kidman. Proving age had not diminished her spirited nature, the veteran actress reacted badly when Kidman was described on TV as 'a legend.' Bacall replied: 'She's not a legend. She's a beginner. She can't be a legend at whatever age she is.' However, she told a press conference promoting the film at the Venice Film Festival that she and Kidman had 'a fabulous relationship.' Tall, elegant and determined with an acerbic sense of humour, Lauren Bacall brought a fresh knowingness to her roles. She appeared in some of the greatest films in Hollywood's golden era and helped to define the role of the strong, determined woman who knows exactly what she wants out of life, and knows just how to get it. Lauren was a staunch liberal Democrat, campaigning for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential election and for Robert Kennedy in his 1964 run for the Senate. In a 2005 interview with Larry King, Bacall described herself as 'anti-Republican. A liberal. The L-word.' She added that 'being a liberal is the best thing on Earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you're a liberal. You do not have a small mind.'

JJ Murphy, the veteran Irish actor who had just filmed his first scenes for Game Of Thrones has died. Murphy, eighty six, died suddenly on Friday at his home in Belfast. He had recently joined the cast for series five of the popular HBO fantasy series, which is largely filmed in Northern Ireland. He had been cast as Denys Mallister of The Night's Watch. The character was due to appear throughout series five and Murphy had been expected to film more scenes this summer. He also had a role alongside fellow Game Of Thrones actor, Charles Dance, in the upcoming Hollywood film, Dracula Untold. The movie was filmed in Ulster in 2013 with a budget of one hundred million quid, and is due to be released in October. Dracula Untold was not Murphy's first experience of Bram Stoker's creation as he played Van Helsing in a 1980 production of The Death Of Dracula at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Murphy was a well known figure in Ireland for his stage work having trained at the Old Group Drama School in the 1940s and as a member of the Lyric Players Theatre. His movie CV included appearances in Cal, Angela's Ashes and Faraway. Belfast born, Murphy leaves behind wife Mary, and two children, Joseph and Jane, and granddaughter Sarah-Jane.

The advertising watchdog has banned a hi-tech underwear brand – backed by Sir Richard Branson as 'underpants for superheroes' – from claiming its 'mesh of pure silver' can protect men's genitals from radiation emitted by mobile phones. Wireless Armour, which launched earlier this year via crowdfunding site Indiegogo, was named as one of Branson's top ten back-of-the-envelope start up ideas. In an online advert, Wireless Armour said that it uses a 'mesh of pure silver' woven into the fabric of each pair of underpants. This 'encases the user in a cage of metal' – a Faraday cage – which supposedly protects male fertility by stopping electromagnetic radiation emitted from wireless devices carried in a trouser pocket. The Advertising Standards Authority received a single complaint challenging Wireless Armour's claims. The company provided eight studies and three papers demonstrating the link between mobile phone radiation and male fertility. It also provided test results from a piece of the fabric that it uses to support its claims. 'None of the papers that had been provided demonstrated that mobile phone radiation had a proven negative impact on human male fertility,' the ASA ruled. '[We]concluded that the claims asserting a link between the two were misleading.' The ASA also dismissed the fabric test report because it was a sample, not a retail product. We therefore considered that the evidence provided was not sufficient to show that the product, when utilised by consumers, was able to prevent EM from reaching the genitals,' the ASA said. 'In the absence of any such evidence, we concluded that the claims were misleading.' The ASA banned Wireless Armour’s advertising campaign and said that it must have 'adequate evidence to substantiate the efficacy claims in their marketing in future.' In a blog last year, Branson referred to the company's products as 'underpants for superheroes. All men should take care of their precious crown jewels, so this sounds like a very intriguing invention I'd like to know more about,' he said.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, it's time for a bit of Northern Soul, I reckon. So, being the kind of helpful chap I am dear blog reader, here's some. No, fer fek's sake clap in the right place!

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