Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Post-Apocalypse, Wow!

Yer actual Peter Capaldi is, and has been, for many years, a massive fan of Doctor Who. You probably knew that already, dear blog reader - letters to the Radio Times as a fifteen year old, articles in fanzines et cetera. Anyway, the Oscar winner's passion for the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama is not only well documented, it was obvious from the moment when, on set in Cardiff, he started to speak about the upcoming series to a group of journalists. His love of the show as a youngling is a trivia nugget which the media has seized upon ever since he was first unveiled as The Doctor in August 2013. 'It was weird but wonderful. It wasn't what I signed up for!' Capaldi told a group of journalists on the subject of making his début live on television in front of a studio audience - and over six million viewers watching at home. 'I agreed to be [The] Doctor and they immediately said, "We're going to launch it live on television" - I thought it was going to be like Stars In Their Eyes; "Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be Doctor Who!"' Twelve months later and Capaldi has now shot his first series as The Doctor - a feature-length opener followed by eleven more episodes - but he insists that the stars haven't faded from his eyes just yet. 'I'm constantly amazed that it's me,' he admits. 'I wake up in the morning and I go, "I'm [The] Doctor - how did that happen?" - it's a huge privilege and hugely exciting. I remember when I first came on the TARDIS, I had to be very patient, because there were always very nice prop guys telling me how to work the TARDIS - I was like, "I know how to work it - I've known for a very long time how to work the TARDIS!"' Like any fan, Peter loves the resurgence of elements from Doctor Who's history. With both The Daleks and The Cybermen reappearing this year, he promised that his first twelve episodes will deliver many 'spine-tingling' moments. 'I think the great thing about Doctor Who is that its past is always present,' he says. 'No matter how modern and how different it thinks it is, there's always a moment when the past appears and when you get those moments right, it's very exciting!' Aged five when Doctor Who launched in November 1963, the series and its icons have been a part of Peter's life for as long as he can remember - even if he admits to straying from the show during his teenage years. 'You reach seventeen or eighteen and you start to get into sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll,' he noted. 'But I grew up in the 1960s, so I grew up with Doctor Who and The Beatles and Sunday Night At The London Palladium and school milk and bronchitis. It's part of my DNA.' The actor reiterates the buzzwords that Doctor Who fans have become familiar with since August last year. This is a darker Doctor - 'a slightly more mysterious figure' - and in case you haven't heard, flirting is off the table, at least with Jenna Coleman's Clara. 'He struggles to find himself, he struggles through all this wreckage,' Capaldi says. 'There are some tips of some icebergs that we see - which I can't really reveal too much about. Of the recent Doctors' perceived penchant for flirting with his companions, he adds: 'We don't do that, which is absolutely appropriate - but we have this other thing, which I really like. It's a strange, weird relationship, but because Jenna's so wonderful, I think we've found something that works.' Despite all the cosmetic changes, Peter insists that his Doctor is, at his heart(s), very much part of the same show that he watched and adored in the past. 'It's unmistakably Doctor Who - you wouldn't turn it on and think it was anything else,' he promises. 'The things I've always loved are still there. It's that relationship between the domestic and the fantastical, the dark and the light. It's the sense that there's a bridge. That a hand can be extended and you can step from the Earth - from the supermarket car park - to the Andromeda nebula or wherever.' As a fan himself then, is Peter at all nervous about how he'll be received by the hardcore when his first episode, Deep Breath, goes out on Saturday night? 'You do your best,' he says. 'I don't know whether everyone else will like it or not. It goes out in the world and then we'll see what happens. The nice thing about Doctor Who is, you know that somewhere, somebody loves you and will always love you. I'll be their Doctor.'
Meanwhile, Peter Capaldi his very self has revealed that among his deadliest foes are tight budgets, BBC politics and the paparazzi. At least, that's the way the Gruniad Morning Star chose to spin his comments. Peter told Radio Times that he wanted to bring back some of The Doctor's 'mystery and strangeness', which he said was hard in a fifty-year-old show, with an approach that was 'serious, but still quite comic', a 'more grown up Doctor' who was 'still mirthful. I don't know if it's quite fallen into place yet,' Capaldi said. 'I'm trying all the time to see what works and what doesn't work. Doctor Who is a very intense working experience because, like most things at the BBC, there's not quite enough money and money is time and there's really not quite enough time to do it, so you are always on the hoof, pedalling as fast as you can.' One of the BBC's most expensive shows – as well as one of its most money-spinning – Steven Moffat, has talked about how 'extraordinarily difficult' it was to make its feature length fiftieth anniversary special on an hour-long budget last year. Peter, the oldest-ever Doctor at fifty six, said he had been given advice about his new role by his predecessors, Matt Smith and David Tennant. Asked what they had told him, Capaldi said: 'Sometimes you're in the middle of a big production that has a lot of BBC politics and administration at work and it's a big commercial vehicle. But you're an actor and sometimes have to compare notes to see how the others might have felt about the things I am going through or am being asked to do. It's good to be able to chat to people who have been in the same situation.' Peter said he had 'a big talk' with his wife, the TV producer Elaine Collins, before accepting the role. 'David and Matt made clear to me that there are things that will change, that you have to be prepared for, like your visibility,' he said. 'I was happy walking down the street doing what I want to do without having paparazzi there. We agreed there'd be pluses and minuses but so much of it was unknown.' The much-anticipated new series will see The Doctor join forces with Robin Hood in an episode written by Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss. In another episode, The Doctor and his assistant Clara are miniaturised so they can go inside a Dalek that is 'so damaged it has become good', said Moffat. Peter said he was 'shocked' when he first entered the TARDIS to find 'it was just like a wardrobe, like something your dad had made. And there was a prop bloke and a smoke machine. When I had to step out of it, it was quite nerve-racking, but delightful as well.' The latest edition of the Radio Times continues the tradition of a Doctor Who cover for the new series, with Peter gracing the front as the magazine introduces readers to a new series and a new Doctor. Inside there is a new exclusive interview and cover short with Peter, plus a guide to all twelve of the episodes from Steven Moffat. The issue also advertises itself as 'a Blippar special' and includes additional Doctor Who content. If you have a mobile phone or an iPad. Of course, if you haven't got either of those things - like this blogger - then all of this is a bit frigging pointless, really.
Jenna Coleman her very self has described her Doctor Who role as a 'consuming' but a once in a lifetime opportunity. In an interview with the Independent Jenna admitted that although the job involves a demanding schedule, she knows it is something that will only happen once in her career. 'When I'm here in Cardiff, it's me and Peter, all day, every day,' she said. 'It's one of those jobs that will only happen once - the whole adventure that it brings. The key is not to worry about the future, and enjoy it.' She added: 'You keep having these out-of-body experiences, like finding yourself chatting to aliens.' Jenna said it was going to be hard for her to get back to normality after filming the popular long-running family SF drama series, especially after touring the world alongside Capaldi as part of promotions for the return of Doctor Who. 'It's going to be a proper shock to the system,' she said. 'We've been living in this mythical world for seven months - chasing things and green screens and aliens - and now we're going to go out into the real world.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has recently confirmed that Coleman will appear as Clara in the Doctor Who Christmas Special. The Daily Mirra, quoting an anonymous - and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - alleged 'source', have claimed that Jenna will then be leaving the TARDIS. Which may be true but I'd advise all dear blog readers to wait for confirmation for an organ of the media considerably more trustworthy than the Mirra. Jenna also described her new Doctor Who co-star yer actual Peter Capaldi as the opposite of his predecessor Matt Smith, saying that the two portrayals of The Doctor are completely different. 'I always thought Matt was so young-looking but had this older, wiser quality about him, whereas Peter is almost the opposite. Somehow he has this energy that is younger. Visually, obviously, it is very different.' The actress also revealed that her character finds it very hard to figure out the new Doctor, which results in 'a turbulent relationship' between the pair, initially. 'He brings out the control freak in Clara because she can't quite pin him down. It's always an interesting dynamic with The Doctor, anyway; one moment he's your friend, and in another moment he's this weird alien and in another moment he's being this annoying kind of toddler and you're the adult, and in the next moment he's playing the wise old grandfather.'

All of the episode titles for series eight of Doctor Who have been announced. Five days before the launch of the latest run, the titles were confirmed on The full episode details are as follows: Deep Breath written by Steven Moffat, directed by Ben Wheatley, Into The Dalek written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat, directed by Ben Wheatley, Robot Of Sherwood written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Paul Murphy, Listen written by Steven Moffat, the official BBC website. directed by Douglas Mackinnon, Time Heist written by Stephen Thompson and Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon, The Caretaker written by Gareth Roberts and Steven Moffat, directed by Paul Murphy, Kill The Moon written by Peter Harness, directed by Paul Wilmshurst, Mummy On The Orient Express written by Jamie Mathieson, directed by Paul Wilmshurst, Flatline written by Jamie Mathieson, directed by Douglas Mackinnon, In The Forest Of The Night written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, directed by Sheree Folkson, Dark Water written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay and Death In Heaven written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay.

New pictures from the Doctor Who series eight opener have been revealed this week. Here are but two of them.
Chris Addison is to appear in the upcoming eighth series of Doctor Who. The comedian previously appeared alongside Peter Capaldi in Armando Iannucci's political comedy The Thick Of It and the big-screen adaptation In the Loop. Addison - who was briefly tipped as a possible contender to play The Doctor last year (albeit, not by anybody that actually knew what the frig they were talking about) - will star in the two-part series finale Dark Water and Death in Heaven. Speaking to Radio Times, the Mock The Week regular said: '"Would you like to be in Doctor Who?" is the easiest question I've ever been asked. It's a thirty five-year dream come true - seven-year old me would be going off his nut and I'm not far behind. It's a great way to spend a couple of weeks, working with people I've always wanted to work with on a show I've loved all my life. My bucket list is quite a lot shorter now.'

To some overnight ratings now, dear blog reader. Celebrity Big Brother was down on its last two launch shows on Monday evening, overnight data reveals. Channel Five's latest desperate z-list celebrity Victorian freak fiasco opened with an average rating of 2.24 million at 9.05pm. This is down on January's launch show overnight ratings of 3.18m and on last summer's opener figures of 2.66m. On BBC1, a repeat of Miranda had an audience of 2.49m at 8.30pm. New Tricks returned for a new - eleventh - series with 5.79m at 9pm, down nearly two million overnight viewers from its last series opener. BBC2's University Challenge had an audience of 2.55m at 8pm, while Food & Drink gathered 1.68m at 8.30pm. Michael Mosley's latest Horizon special interested 1.83m at 9pm. On ITV, Tonight: The Food We Eat appealed to 2.81m at 8pm. The latest episode of Long Lost Family was seen by 3.47m at 9pm. Channel Four's Food Unwrapped attracted 1.03m at 8.30pm, followed by Royal Marines Commando School with 1.44m at 9pm and My Online Bride with seven hundred and twenty six thousand punters at 10pm. Earlier on Channel Five, Police Interceptors brought in 1.05m at 8pm. E4's The One Hundred was watched by six hundred and ninety one thousand viewers at 9pm.

On BBC1, Antiques Roadshow was watched by 4.20 million at 7pm, while Countryfile topped Sunday night's overnight ratings with 5.12m at 8pm. The Village continued with 3.92m (18.3%) at 9pm, dropping around seven hundred thousand viewers from the previous week's series opener. Match of the Day 2 scored 2.39m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Tropic of Capricorn appealed to 1.23m at 7pm, followed by Dragons' Den with 2.65m at 8pm. James May's Cars Of The People brought in 2.60m at 9pm. On ITV, Come on Down: The Game Show Story was watched by 2.28m at 7pm. The Zoo had an audience of 2.15m at 8pm and The Great War attracted 1.44m at 9pm. Channel Four's The Mill was seen by 1.33m at 8pm, followed by Richard III: New Evidence with 1.45m% at 9pm. On Channel Five, World's Scariest Animals gathered seven hundred and five thousand at 8pm, while Jason Statham's Safe was watched by 1.75m at 9pm. On BBC3, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade attracted 1.30m at 7pm. Family Guy had an audience of 1.02m at 10pm.

BBC1's risible pile of rotten old pommel-horse shat Tumble grew its overnight audience on its debut on Saturday night. The z-list 'celebrity' gymnastics show was watched by an average of 3.30m across its ninety, thoroughly wretched, minute time slot, a small increase on the 3.16m who watched the first episode. The episode, which saw Andrea McLean become the first celebrity (and I use that word quite wrongly) to be eliminated, peaked with 4.13m. However, a Mrs Brown's Boys repeat won the day with its 4.80m average audience share. Sandwiched between the two, The National Lottery: Break The Safe secured an average audience of 3.44m between 8pm and 9pm. On ITV, the Ben Shephard-fronted game show Tipping Point: Lucky Stars, showing a week-on-week increase with 3.06m in its hour-long slot from 7.45pm. It was followed by All Star Family Fortunes which was watched by 2.76m. Earlier in the evening, You've Been Framed and Famous! attracted 2.32m. BBC2's coverage of the European Athletics Championships from 4.30pm to 5.15pm had an audience of 1.72m, while Dad's Army attracted 1.25m from 7.45 to 8.15pm. Meanwhile, Channel Five's coverage of day two of the Fifth Test, as England took control against a very poor India, secured nine hundred and seventeen thousand viewers. On the multichannels, Sky Sports 1 was watched by 1.13m between 4.45pm and 8pm, for the Premier League's return with The Arse versus Crystal Palace.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 10 August 2014:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 8.51m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.91m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.92m
4 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 5.97m
5 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.70m
6 The Village - Sun BBC1 - 5.26m
7 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 5.23m
8 In The Club - Tues BBC1 - 5.07m
9 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.98m
10 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.93m
11 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.63m
12 Long Lost Family - Mon ITV - 4.44m*
13 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.43m
14 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.40m
15 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.32m
16 Operation Wild - Wed BBC1 - 4.14m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.98m
18 Fake Britain - Tues BBC1 - 3.78m
19 Tumble - Sat BBC1 - 3.44m
20 Scrappers - Thurs BBC1 - 3.40m
Programmes marked '*' do include include HD figures. BBC2's highest rated programmes of the week was James May's Cars Of The People (2.79m), followed by and The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (2.56m), Dragons' Den (2.52m) and World War One Remembered From Westminster Abbey (2.46m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was Royal Marines Commando School with 2.44m followed by One Born Every Minutes (1.88m). CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was Channel Five's best performer with 1.90m. On BBC4, Inspector Montalbano led the way with seven hundred and ninety six thousand viewers. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's best performer with 1.05m. Family Guy on BBC3 was the most watched show on multchannels with 1.43.

Sheridan Smith stars as Cilla Black in the forthcoming ITV biopic Cilla about the singer and the first publicity photos of the actress's transformation have been released. Tasty.
Ofcom is reported to be investigating Monty Python's final show after complaints over a lack of swearing. The farewell performance, which was broadcast live on Gold before the watershed on 20 July, received a total of thirty four complaints about 'cuts' and 'censorship', reports Press Association. An Ofcom spokesman said: 'All our licensees are required to comply with our broadcasting rules, which make clear that the most offensive language cannot be shown on television before the watershed. As a post-transmission regulator, we are not involved in editorial decision making and can only investigate programmes or take action against any channel after a programme is broadcast.' The live broadcast brought in record ratings for Gold when it aired, with an average audience of five hundred and ninety seven thousand viewers. Gold - which is part owned by BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial subsidiary - screened an uncensored version of the show two days later, after the watershed.
Miranda Hart has downplayed rumours that she will host a rebooted version of The Generation Game for the BBC. The classic game show, which has previously been presented by the likes of Sir Bruce Forsyth, Larry Grayson and (wretchedly) Jim Davidson, was reported earlier this week to be returning next year for the first time since 2002. Hart was rumoured to be 'in talks' for the role earlier this year and appeared on a one-off special of the show for Comic Relief in 2011. BBC1 Controller Charlotte Moore told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'It will be a modern reinvention of The Generation Game. Miranda will bring a very different flavour to it. Her wit and spirit behind it will naturally move it into the modern era. Miranda is brilliant at engaging with people, she loves that interaction. She'll be brilliant.' All of which appeared to suggest that Hart was signed up and total under contract. Moore added: 'I promise you it won't be predictable. It will feel absolutely rooted in the present day. Television is always reinventing things, every show has a great-grandparent that existed once. We all swim in the same pond.' However, Hart quickly downplayed the suggestions later on Twitter, writing: 'Apparently it's one hundred per cent cert I am doing Gen Game [sic]. First, I've heard of it. Mulling some ideas about it might be more accurate.' Moore also revealed in her interview that the former comedian Harry Hill - who used to be funny - has signed up for his first BBC show and expressed her admiration for Peter Capaldi's Doctor, who she described as 'utterly convincing. He's very witty but he's got this depth and intensity, the wisdom of years of time travel,' she added. 'BBC1 is all about cherishing these much-loved programmes and making sure they feel modern and in touch with the audience, and right at the top of their game. Sherlock has become part of the BBC1 story but when it began it was hugely risk-taking.'

Happy Valley has been renewed for a second series by the BBC. Sally Wainwright's popular drama series will return for a second run in 2015, with production beginning earlier in the year. The first series starred Sarah Lancashire as police sergeant Catherine Cawood, who crosses paths with former prisoner Tommy Lee Royce (played by James Norton), whom she believes is responsible for the death of her daughter. The six-part drama was a ratings winner for BBC1, attracting a consolidated audience of nearly eight million viewers over its six week run. The fact that it was pretty good helped. Executive producer Nicola Shindler said of the new series: 'Sally created a truly magnificent series with very real, complex characters, an engaging plot and breathtaking storyline. I am delighted that we will be able to delve deeper into Catherine's world in series two.' Charlotte Moore added: 'Sally Wainwright's sensational series gripped the nation. Visceral, emotional and provocative from beginning to end, it was fantastic to see our audience on tenterhooks, begging for more. The series is testimony to the creative ambition, quality and breadth of original British drama on BBC1 and I can't wait for the second series to return.' Wainwright is currently developing a third series of BBC1's Last Tango In Halifax.

The Wrong Mans is to return for a Christmas special later this year. And this blogger uses the word 'special' quite wrongly.

BBC2 has announced the production of a new drama Life In Squares, which focuses on the revolutionary Bloomsbury Group, a collection of artistic friends in the early 1900s who profoundly influenced Twentieth Century culture. The group included sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. The cast is led by Phoebe Fox and Lydia Leonard and also features James Norton, Sam Hoare and Ben Lloyd-Hughes. Edmund Kingsley and Ed Birch also star. Established actors appearing in the series include Eve Best, Catherine McCormack, Rupert Penry-Jones, Jack Davenport, Elliot Cowan and Andrew Havill. The drama documents the fraught relationship between Vanessa and Virginia and Vanessa's sexual alliance with gay artist Duncan Grant, following them and their group of friends through love, sex and artistic life in the early Twentieth Century. Each of the group wants to escape the confinement of Victorian England and pursue a life of creative freedom, in a lifestyle in which they 'lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles'. The story of their early years is told alongside the later lives of Vanessa and Virginia as they struggle to reconcile marriage, motherhood and success with loss, betrayal and mental anguish. Sounds cracking. Life In Squares is written by BAFTA-winning writer Amanda Coe and produced by Ecosse Films in association with Tiger Aspect. Executive Producer Lucy Bedford said: 'Life In Squares gets under the skin of the Bloomsbury group to lay bare the very human and emotional story of a group of people determined to find their own path in life. Locked in a perpetual struggle to reconcile their heads with their hearts, they loved and worked with great passion and forged lives that still resonate today. At heart, Life In Squares is about family; about the families we try to escape, the ones we end up creating and the different kinds of damage love can do.' Lucy Richer, Commissioning Editor for BBC Independent Drama, said: 'We are delighted to have assembled a magnificent team both on and off screen to make Life In Squares. The combination of Amanda Coe's stunning scripts, director Simon Kaijser and our talented cast will bring to life this extraordinary era in a unique, fresh and exciting way.' Filming has now begun in London and at Charleston Farmhouse in East Sussex.

Joanna Vanderham has been cast in BBC1's The Go-Between, which will form part of its season of classic Twentieth Century literature. Vanderham, who has appeared in The Paradise, Dancing On The Edge and Banished, will play Marian Maudsley in the film. She will be joined by Stephen Campbell Moore as Trimingham, Ben Batt as Ted Burgess and the great Lesley Manville as Mrs Maudsley. Jack Hollington will play Leo Colston, the young protagonist of the ninety-minute adaptation of LP Hartley's novel. The Go-Between follows Colston as an elderly man as he pieces together his childhood memories. He does this with the help of his diary from 1900, which he wrote at the age of thirteen. The film paints a picture of British life and social hierarchy at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Vanderham said of her role: 'I am so excited to have been asked to play Marian Maudsley in the BBC's new adaptation of this classic novel. I hope to bring the spirit of LP Hartley's iconic and wonderful story to life on screen along with the fantastic cast lined up for The Go-Between.' Executive producer Adrian Hodges said: 'It's always an exciting challenge for a writer to adapt a truly great novel and it's been my privilege to work on our new television version of Hartley's wonderful book. I'm thrilled with director Pete Travis's vision for the film and with the fresh and exciting cast we've assembled to realise that vision. I can't wait to see Joanna, Ben, Stephen and Lesley, along with the rest of our remarkable cast, bring these nuanced and delicately drawn characters to life and bring this moving story to the attention of a whole new generation of TV viewers. I feel very lucky to be part of such a beautiful and thrilling project.' The Go-Between is directed by BAFTA Award winner Pete Travis, produced by Claire Bennett and executive produced by Sue Hogg and Adrian Hodges. Filming is due to commence shortly and is scheduled to be shown in 2015. BBC1's season of classic Twentieth Century literature aims to explore the enormous changes in how men and women lived in the last century by looking at individual stories. Other films will include Jed Mercurio's adaptation of DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, Ben Vanstone's adaptation of Laurie Lee's novel Cider With Rosie and JB Priestley's play, An Inspector Calls.

Richard Osman has admitted that he expected Pointless to 'disappear' after one series. Osman, who has worked behind the scenes in television quiz shows for twenty years, will appear solo in BBC2's new quiz show Two Tribes from this week. However, he told the Digital Spy website that 'you never know' whether a new programme will take off or not. 'The only show I was certain was going to be a hit from our pilot onwards was Deal Or No Deal, I knew that was going to be a hit,' he said. 'I just thought, "There's no way this show is not going to do well." And apart from that you honestly can't tell. I thought Pointless would do its first series, thirty episodes, and then disappear. I thought it was quite unwieldy and complicated and who's going to get it?' Osman added about Two Tribes: 'My assumption would be it will fail because statistically most things do fail, but I would not have a clue. I liked it, I enjoyed it, but I've made shows before as a producer that I've liked and enjoyed that have done nothing, so it's meaningless.' Osman, who praised the new show's format and described it as 'clever and simple and engaging', admitted that it is 'scary' launching a new series rather than a reboot. 'Honestly the scariest thing is that you just don't know, and anyone who says that they do know is a liar,' he said. 'You put all of your heart in something, all of your soul into it, all of your effort into it, everyone tries their best, you get the best people you can, you do everything you can and then you just have to let it sail away and see if people watch it. That's scary. At least if you're relaunching Fifteen To One you can kind of go, "Well, it's not my format, if people don't watch it it's not my fault."' Osman expressed regret about the fate of Channel Four show Number One, hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy - 'I just think, "Oh, that was such a clever little show with a lot of clever little things in it"' - but he explained that sometimes the failure of certain shows can help future projects. 'We did a show with Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor called Beat The Nation, which was a perfectly neat show and again just didn't fly,' he said. 'But, actually, the scoring system we never forgot and recycled it and that's what Pointless is really. That was a show where you'd asked every question to one hundred people and all that kind of business, so even with some of the things that don't fly you tend to recycle the bits that you loved.' Osman also explained that sometimes he can predict a show's fate, saying: 'Sometimes you know when a show goes out that it's not going to work because it was difficult. When you were producing it, it wasn't quite right and the money wasn't right and you and the channel thought it was going to be something slightly different so there's a compromise and you can't get the right host. So, sometimes you know when a show goes out that you're sort of doomed and you know why. And again, it's no-one's fault, it's just one of those things. But mostly when you have a show you think, "Who knows?" And that's the case with Two Tribes - I'm proud of it and that's all you can ask for really.'
The BBC's news coverage of the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard's home was approved by the deputy news director and came amid increased pressure in its news operation to beat rivals to exclusive stories. The decision by BBC News to film and broadcast the search of the singer's home live from a helicopter flying above his Berkshire residence prompted accusations of a 'witch-hunt' - albeit, only by the Gruniad Morning Star so, frankly, not anybody that actually matters - and comparisons with the worst tabloid excesses. James Harding, the former Times editor who is the BBC's director of news and current affairs, was on holiday last week. Harding's deputy, Fran Unsworth, and members of the BBC's legal department reportedly contacted news teams to give the reports about Cliff the all-clear ten minutes before its coverage broke across TV, radio and online at 1pm last Thursday. According to the Gruniad, alleged 'insiders' said that the BBC's coverage reflected a drive by senior management to break more stories after BBC News found itself outgunned by ITV News, with its award-winning coverage of the Woolwich attack, and Channel Four News, which won acclaim for its Plebgate coverage. Harding has, the Gruniad claim, 'made clear' since taking charge of BBC News that it should be breaking more stories, setting the pace and 'driving the daily agenda.' Alleged 'BBC insiders' allegedly said that there was pressure on the corporation's domestic newsgathering to 'up its game', while its foreign operations were generally regarded as doing a good job. There was praise for BBC reporter Dan Johnson, who covers the North-East and Cumbria, who got the Richard scoop, but also alleged 'reservations' among some alleged 'insiders' that the live helicopter footage had been over the top. 'If one of the country's most famous recording artists has his property searched, then that has to be a story, but when you look at the level of detail of the coverage, it can look a bit insensitive,' one anonymous coward is quoted as allegedly saying by the Gruniad. A BBC spokeswoman said that the BBC had 'followed normal journalistic practice and agreed not to publish a story that might jeopardise a police inquiry. We have also confirmed that South Yorkshire police were not the original source for the story. The BBC has now received a letter from South Yorkshire Police regarding the situation and will respond in due course.' South Yorkshire police complained to the BBC, accusing it of breaking its own editorial guidelines after it found out about the police raid. Neither the BBC, which received the police complaint on Sunday, nor South Yorkshire police would comment on its content, but it is believed a focus of the complaint is the amount of time it took the corporation to confirm that details about the raid were not leaked by the force. Jonathan Munro, the former ITV executive hired by Harding as the BBC’s head of newsgathering, said on Twitter on Friday that there had been 'lots of [questions] re: original source of BBC News story on Cliff Richard. We won't say who, but can confirm it was not South Yorks Police.' Munro later retweeted comments by Lord Sugar: 'Can't see why police complaining about BBC over Cliff Richards [sic]. If the Sun tumbled on the story of the investigation, they would have run it.' Harding, who has taken a hands-on approach to the job he took on a year ago, has struck a very different tone to the BBC's former head of journalism Mark Byford in encouraging his journalists to be more aggressive in breaking stories. As its acting Director General in the wake of The Hutton Report in early 2004, Byford said the corporation should not be in the business of 'creating' news or competing with newspapers on exclusives.

Sky News is to be investigated by the media regulator for broadcasting images of one of its presenters handling a passenger’s belongings at the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash site. Ofcom received more than two hundred complaints after Sky News presenter Colin Brazier was shown picking through an open suitcase in a live broadcast from the crash site in Eastern Ukraine in July. The broadcaster was heavily criticised online and subsequently issued a grovelling apology. Brazier also issued a lengthy explanation of the context to his 'error of judgement' which, frankly, amount to don't cane me, miss, I was led astray by older boys. 'Ofcom received over two hundred complaints about this news report,' said an Ofcom spokesman. 'Having assessed these, there are grounds to investigate under our rule on potentially offensive material. As in all investigations, we will take relevant circumstances into account, including any action taken by the broadcaster, in reaching a decision.'
A Metropolitan police officer has been extremely jailed for twelve months for selling information to the Sun, it can be revealed for the first time. Thomas Ridgeway passed on two stories to the tabloid, one about an actor who tried to kill himself and another about alleged sexual activity by police officers at a pub, the Old Bailey heard. He pleaded guilty earlier this year but his crime and his sentencing in May could not be reported before now for legal reasons. His mother, Sandra Ridgeway, was sentenced to eighteen weeks in prison, suspended for six months, after pleading guilty on Monday to one count of aiding and abetting her son in his criminal misconduct. Prosecutor Stuart Biggs said that in Sandra Ridgeway's police interview she said that she had asked her son whether he should be doing this, to which he replied: 'Fine, police officers often sell stories.' When she pressed him on it, he told her 'Mum, trust me if anything comes from this, I would get is a slapped wrist from work.' Biggs said the story about the actor attempting to kill himself had appeared on the front page of the Sun on two consecutive days. 'It caused him to distrust those around him,' Biggs said, adding that this included the actor's friends, the police and the ambulance team, because he didn't know who had grassed the story up to the tabloid. At the Old Bailey on Monday, Sandra Ridgeway's counsel Kevin Baumber said that her son had accepted that he had 'dragged his mother' into the situation in which she now found herself by 'lying through his teeth' about the possibility that he might be committing a crime. He accepted that he had 'diluted the matter by calling it gossip' and 'abused the trust he had received' from his mother, knowing that she would do anything for him. Mr Justice Wide said that the offence warranted a custodial sentence but Sandra Ridgeway had led 'an impeccable life' and had overcome quite a number of difficulties in her life. Handing down a suspended sentence, Wide said that took her previous good character into account along with the length of time between her arrest and the hearing, noting that she was arrested in February 2013, almost seventeen months previously. It can be revealed that her son was not involved in attending the incident involving the actor, but had learned about it from colleagues. Sentencing her son in May, Judge Richard Marks QC told Ridgeway that he had betrayed the trust reposed in him by reason of his office, by providing confidential information for money. He said that 'this sort of offending' was 'far too serious to be dealt with in any other way than a sentence of immediate imprisonment.' The judge told him: 'It appears that in the aftermath of this incident, one of your colleagues said, "that will be in the Sun before long," and it was that which gave you the idea to sell the story.' He decided to involve his mother and to use her as a conduit to the paper. 'They were, not unnaturally, very interested in the story and paid your mother a total of sixteen hundred pounds, of which she gave you half.' One of the consequences of this publicity was that the individual in question, who was in a very vulnerable state of mind, became, as he put it, 'very paranoid' as to who had been responsible for the information getting into the press, the judge said. The actor also thought that the publicity and his concern surrounding it had hampered his recovery. The second offence, in July 2009, involved the Sun running stories about the alleged sexual conduct of off-duty Lambeth police officers and a police civilian employee at the Pineapple pub in Kennington. 'It appears that you learned of this as a result of gossip around the police station. You were not yourself present at the pub when these events are alleged to have occurred and, once again, you decided to pass this information to the Sun for financial gain,' said Marks. Again, Ridgeway involved his mother and as a consequence of two articles appearing in the newspaper, a total of a grand was paid for the information. Ridgeway confirmed to the newspaper the name of the civilian employee said to have been involved, as well as the fact that there was an internal police investigation. The judge said Ridgeway was of previous good character and had served with the police from September 2002. 'You have lost your career and lost your good character,' the judge told him. 'You effectively had two paymasters, as the prosecution put it – your employers, the Metropolitan police, and the Sun.' There were two aggravating features – the vulnerability of the actor and the fact that Ridgeway had involved his mother his his nefarious skulduggery. In mitigation, the judge said Ridgeway had been frank with the police and had pleaded extremely guilty straight away once he was pinched. He added: 'Nobody could fail to be impressed by the substantial amount of references with which I have been provided, and which speak about you in the highest possible terms.' He sentenced Ridgeway to twelve months on count one and three months on count two, with the sentences to be concurrent. Ridgeway's sentencing brings the number of police and other officials who have been sentenced for selling stories to newspapers to eleven.

Former Conservative MP (and plank) Louise Bagashite Mensch is fast building a reputation for a limited nuance in religious affairs - to go with her already well established reputation for being a shit-for-brain-numskull whose ability to open her mouth and put her foot in it is matched only by the literary worthlessness of her horrifying novels - after getting into a muddle during a heated Twitter exchange about Israel. The Sun columnist and wretched chick-lit author managed to offend both anti-Zionists and Zionists by claiming that she would block the founding father of Zionism from her Twitter timeline (despite the fact that he's been dead for over a hundred years). The gaffe came when this ridiculous fraction of a woman began tweeting over the weekend that she intended to mute the word 'Zionist' from her feed because it is often used to attack Jews. Zionist, of course, in the purest sense of the word, means anyone who believes that the state of Israel has a right to exist, but it has, undeniably, become a - mostly pejorative - term meaning supporting the actions of the Israeli government in many circles. Several Twitter users pointed out to Bagashite that this zero tolerance policy might mean that genuine Zionists, for whom Mensch has expressed support, would be blocked from her timeline. One Twitterer even noted that this would mean, for example, exclusion for Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the founder of the World Zionist Organisation and a key instigator of Jewish immigration to mandate Palestine. He died more than forty years before the state of Israel was established, but is widely considered to be one of its founding fathers - particularly in Israel itself where the name of the city Tel Aviv was the title given to the Hebrew translation of Altneuland, Herzl's 1902 book. But Bagashite, who gave up her seat in parliament for a move to New York with her family, said that she had never heard of Herzl. Just to be clear about this, someone who claims to know something about Israeli society and politics who doesn't know who Theodor Herzl is, is roughly equivalent to someone who claims to know a bit about British society and politics but who thinks that Churchill is 'that dog in the insurance adverts'. Ho yes. The gaffe follows a widely tweeted image from Bagashite's feed last week, when the forty three-year-old called for a US attack on Iraq to stop Isis jihadists advancing from and threatening minority communities in which she advised President Obama to 'kill them all.' Which wouldn't have been anywhere near so bad expect that it was directly opposite Bagashite's Twitter subheading, a quote from Pope John Paul II noting 'war is always a defeat for humanity.' Bagashiote was also left somewhat red-faced in February after naming a number of 'British Muslims' whom she claimed she respected, without realising that one of them is, actually, a Sikh. Mensch was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Corby from 2010 to 2012 but resigned, citing her wish to spend more time with her family rather than, as many believed, getting out before the voters of Corby kicked her arse into the gutter along with all the other worthless shite at the next general election. Presumably, on the strength of 'Iron, Lion, Zion', the late Bob Marley is also banned from Bagashite's Twitter feed. Which is, obviously, a tragedy. She might have learned something from him.

James Alexander Gordon, one of the most recognisable voices in British broadcasting, has died aged seventy eight. Gordon read the classified football results on BBC radio for forty years before stepping down in 2013. He retired following throat surgery after he was diagnosed with cancer. Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: 'A voice we all know, the voice of the football results, James Alexander Gordon has died. Tottenham Hotspur 1, Newcastle United 1.' Nicknamed Jag, Gordon attracted an army of followers with his distinctive Scottish accent and unique style - which involved altering his tone of voice to indicate whether a result was a home or away win, or a draw. Richard Burgess, head of BBC Radio Sport, said: 'James was an iconic radio voice, who turned the classified football results on BBC radio into a national institution. He was also a true gentleman, who was loved and admired by his colleagues. He took enormous pride in his work and I know he was greatly touched by all the tributes he received upon his retirement last year.' Former England defender Jimmy Armfield, a Radio 5Live colleague of Gordon, was among the many football personalities to pay tribute. '5Live and the football results have lost a friend today,' Armfield told Listeners. 'I can remember before I joined and he came to the BBC that the style was more regimented. He put a different slant on to it. He went up with the voice and down with the voice. He seemed to pitch it just right. He did it all with perfect enunciation. That lovely voice, with the little trace of Scots in it, with the highs and lows. He knew when to lift it and put it down. He really was something special. People used to mark the pools coupon with the football results. James knew that. He always gave them time to find out whether it was one, two or an X for the football pools. It wasn't the same picture at all when he started out. There was no satellite broadcasting. Matches weren't shown as they are now. Everything came down the line on the radio. He was the first point of contact for who had won. James knew it all. He had it all weighed up. He was the consummate professional.' Former Liverpool and Ireland defender Mark Lawrenson, now a BBC analyst, told 5live: 'When James Alexander Gordon started, there were nothing like the same outlets. There weren't ten reporters at every game. Sometimes you had to wait until James Alexander Gordon for the definitive result.' BBC Radio 5Live's senior football reporter Ian Dennis added: 'For a generation of football lovers, James Alexander Gordon's voice was Saturday afternoon for the complete picture. You heard the theme tune for Sports Report and then you heard his voice.' Gordon's legion of followers included the comedian Eric Morecambe - on whose early-career BBC radio show Gordon had been an announcer. In a 2012 interview, Gordon said that Morecambe always greeted him with a famous tongue-twister scoreline involving Scottish sides East Fife and Forfar - one which never happened, yet became closely associated with the BBC's voice of the classified football results. 'Eric never called me James,' Gordon recalled in 2012. 'Whenever I saw him over a twenty-year period, he would say "East Fife four, Forfar five." I've got a tape of that.' When Morecambe died in 1984, Gordon received a tribute from the comedian's wife Joan. He said: 'After his funeral, his wife said there was only one thing she would like to have had - me saying "East Fife four, Forfar five." It was quite sweet.' Gordon, born in Edinburgh in 1936, contracted polio when he was six months old and spent much of his childhood in hospital. He worked in the music business before moving into radio, promoting artists such as Bert Kaempfert and James Last. In 1972, he joined the BBC, reading the news and presenting various programmes on Radio 2 - even Newsbeat on Radio 1 - before he began reading the classified football results in 1973. At the time, he was a BBC Radio 2 staff announcer, and revealed in 2012 that his chance came unexpectedly when he was summoned by his boss. 'He came in and said: "Jag, footy,"' Gordon recalled. 'I said: "I beg your pardon?" He said: "Jag, footy." I wondered what the heck he was talking about. It was the football results. I was terrified at first, but I put my heart and soul into it and have loved it ever since. Such fun getting it right. The most important thing, though, has been making it exciting for the listener.' Having been diagnosed with cancer, Gordon had surgery in 2013 to remove his larynx, which meant his voice was no longer strong enough to broadcast. He was replaced by former Radio 4 newsreader Charlotte Green. Gordon, who lived in Berkshire, is survived by his Julia, their son, David and two grandchildren, Molly and Martha.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's yet another Northern Soul masterpiece. This time, from Chuck Wood.

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