Saturday, September 13, 2014

Listen: The Bigger The Doctor The Bigger The Bill

'Dont! Look! Round!'
'People don't need to be scared by a big grey-haired stick insect. But, here you are! Stay still! Shut up!' The idea of doing an episode of Doctor Who which either focuses directly or, at least alludes to, the central character's own private fears and traumas is something which successive productions teams have flirted with on many previous occasions going all the way back to The Edge Of Destruction in early 1964. The conceit is there, in different shades, in The Tomb Of The Cybermen and The Mind Robber, in The Mind Of Evil, Frontier In Space, The Green Death and in Planet Of The Spiders. It's absolutely central to The Brain Of Morbius, Planet Of Evil, The Pyramids of Mars and, especially, Image Of The Fendahl and also crops up, in part, in stories as diverse as Nightmare Of Evil, Terminus, The Greatest Show In The Galaxy, Dalek, The Satan Pit, Midnight, The Waters Of Mars, Amy's Choice and The God Complex. In this regard, Listen - the latest episode written by EMMY-and-BAFTA-winning showrunner, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) - is merely following in a long and fruitful line of thinking. One in which successive production teams have established that the best way to scare the audience is by - at least trying to - scare the living bejesus out of The Doctor his very self. And, in this case, it all beings with a single notion: 'I think everybody, at some point in their lives, has the exact same nightmare.'
'You wake up, or you think you do. And there's someone in the dark, someone close. Or you think there might be. So you sit up and turn on the light. The room looks different at night. It ticks and creaks and breathes. And you tell yourself there's nobody there. Nobody watching. Nobody listening. And you very nearly believe it.' Listen begins conventionally enough. Clara is on date with Mickey Smith-clone yer actual Danny Pink (no jokes please). It may be the single most important date in all of Time and Space, and that. Or, perhaps it isn't. Possibly it is of no significance whatsoever except to the two people involved. An inconsequential and fleeting click on the personal timelines of two random people with little in common except their ability to put their foot right in their mouth at the most inappropriate moment. But, where is The Doctor whilst all of this is taking place? In discussion about the construction of the episode, Steven Moffat said in an interview earlier this year: 'My impulse, starting in that, was just the idea, "What does [The Doctor] do when he's got nothing to do?" Because he'd throw himself off a building if he thought it'd be interesting on the way down. He's fascinated by anything. And, here he is with nothing to do, so he just goes out poking things with a stick until something bites it. I think that's quite interesting, isn't it? There's a thrill-seeker aspect.' Again, this isn't exactly new territory - The Doctor's hatred of boredom was mentioned in Vincent & The Doctor whilst The Doctor's Wife suggests that the TARDIS her very self specifically avoids letting The Doctor brood in the depths of his own self-consciousness by taking him where he needs to go even if it isn't, necessarily, where he wants to go. The TARDIS, in short, provides him with constant stimuli because, if it doesn't, there's no telling what he might get up to in acquiring some for himself. Or, what the consequences of that poking around with a stick in search of something to occupy his mind might be. But, for once even the TARDIS can't provide The Doctor with a revolution to start, a world to save or a galaxy to protect.

Bored, alone, and - as Clara correctly guesses - having been travelling on his own for far too too long, The Doctor finds that he's started talking to himself. That is himself, rather than another one of his selves, which would, at least, be a distraction of sorts. As both River Song and Donna, among others, has noted in the past The Doctor, when travelling alone, is a dangerous thing to be around. He needs companionship to keep him grounded. To keep him wise. To keep him sane. He begins to question why he's talking to himself. It's not an unreasonable question for a rationalist to ponder upon even though we all do it. (This blogger is doing it as he writes this review, dear blog reader, and I can assure you there is definitely no one else in Stately Telly Topping Manor. I mean, he certainly hasn't got a woman hiding under the bed. Oh no, very hot water.) So, just why do we speak out loud when we're alone? Is it, perhaps, because we're not really alone? And, if so, who, or what, is listening to us? All of this occurs in the first couple of minutes of the episode and, by the time the title sequence starts, Listen has already managed to deliver a precise little essay on its central theme. Everything from that point onwards appears to be an exercise in either proving (or disproving) The Doctor's notion that we are, none of us, ever really alone.
'What are you doing in here?' 'You said you had a date. I thought I'd better hide in the bedroom in case you brought him home. Bit early, aren't you? Did it all go wrong, or is this good by your standards?' Listen manages to be something of a paradox: both familiar and comforting and yet, also, in places genuinely very scary and disturbing. It's a clever construction, weaving together half-a-dozen different story fragments as the audience is taken on a rollercoatser ride, ricocheting and rebounding along numerous timelines - both personal and universal - and colliding with more than a few Steven Moffat clichés along the way. The concept of a creature which has the edge over humans on some visual or ephemeral level, rather than corporeal is, of course, hardly new - The Weeping Angels, The Silence, The Vashta Nerada, Prisoner Zero and The Doctor's 'deadliest enemy' from Amy's Choice all spring to mind here. What is the thing The Doctor is most afraid of? Is it hiding under his bed (as it was for Jeanne in The Girl In The Fireplace). Creepy nursery rhymes are something of Moffat-era staple too ('Did we come to the end of the universe because of a nursery rhyme?' asks Clara, horrified, at one point) whilst the feeling of dreaded isolation in childhood (which here, take on a very personal meaning for both Danny and The Doctor), mysteries and half-hidden laughter behind closed doors and an inevitable bit of time-based sleight-of-hand all point to various triumphs of the past from yer man Moffat. Indeed, the episode which Listen most obviously resembles (and, not just on some of its more easily-spotted levels but, often, far deeper and more complicated) is Blink. This episode, too, is about how terrifying the mundane, the ordinary, the normal can appear when glimpsed from the corner of ones' eye. About how the time is an abstract which can be changed by all manner of both deliberate and accidental incidents.
'The universe is dead. Everything that ever was is dead and gone. There is nothing beyond this door but nothingness forever. So, why's it locked?'
'Do you want some water for the table?' 'Oh, don't you worry, he'll probably dig for it.' But, Listen is far more than just Steve Moffat's Greatest Hits (volume 2). Listen is deeper, richer and more layered than merely a stadium rock gig. More a third-to-last-night at the proms, I'd say.Cue, bassoon solo. Or something. Listen is Doctor Who stripped down to its most basic components. No 'monster of the week' type shenanigans this week but, rather, an episode which depends upon a decent degree of psychological terror, playing on universal fears and primal emotional responses. It's Steven Moffat's best script for the show in at least a couple of years - The Day Of The Doctor a possible exception. The director, the excellent Douglas Mackinnon, presents a properly eerie and towering construction using every trick in The Big Fek Off Book Of Guaranteed Shocks. Mackinnon appears to understand better than most directors on Doctor Who of late that the first rule of frightening your audience is less is more. Thus, we have an eye-catching and well-constructed, visually appealing episode full of dramatic set-pieces and brilliantly understated moments. Viewers have been promised scary stories before during Steven Moffat's tenure (most notably last season's Hide which delivered up to a point) but Listen is the first episode in a while to fully follow-through on the premise. There are, in particular, two scenes which will likely have sent the younger part of the popular family SF drama's audience (and, maybe a fair number of the older ones as well) scurrying for the safety of behind the sofa.
The developing dynamic between yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Colman her very self is a sight to see, dear blog reader. And, I mean a sight to see. Each scene the pair occupy is worth its weight in dialogue gold, full of smart, witty word-play and a keen sense of characterisation. Pre-season, Moffat described this episode as 'the story of a date and The Doctor having what appears to be a mild nervous breakdown.' Which  is, actually, a pretty fair summation of Listen on one level. Yet, oddly, it's also the episode in which The Doctor is the most Doctor-like so far this series - there's the alienness of Deep Breath and Into The Dalek, sure (this new Doctor is hilariously inept at something his immediate two predecessors excelled at, reassuring small-talk in the face of oncoming danger), but there's more going on beneath the furious eyebrows and the caustic grin.

The episode contains ghosts of the past and the future. In terms of continuity, that are references to: The Girl In The Fireplace ('everyone dreams about something under the bed!'), The Sensorites ('TARDIS telepathic interface. You're in mental contact with the TARDIS. So don't think anything rude!'), The Name Of The Doctor ('The TARDIS is extrapolating your entire timeline, from the moment of your birth, to the moment of your death'), The Rings Of Akhaten and Clara's childhood ('The West Country Children's home, Gloucester. By the ozone level and the drains, mid-nineties. You must have been here when you had the dream.' 'I've never been in Gloucester in my life! And I've never lived in a children's home.' 'You probably just forgotten. Have you seen the size of human brains? They're hilarious'), Mawdryn Undead ('Isn't it bad if I meet myself?' 'It's potentially catastrophic'), The End Of The World (psychic paper), Frontios ('The end of the universe?' 'The TARDIS isn't supposed to come this far, but some idiot turned the safeguards off!' And: 'Now look at him. Robinson Crusoe at the end of time itself. The last man standing in the universe. I always thought it would be me'), Inferno ('not a click or a tick'), Deep Breath ('Do you have your own mood lighting now? Because frankly, the accent is enough'), Logopolis (the Cloister Bell), The Time Monster (a long-overdue glimpse of The Doctor's childhood trauma), Robot ('Sontarans, perverting the course of human history!') and, most memorably, The Day Of The Doctor ('One day you are going to come back to this barn and on that day you are going to be very afraid indeed. But that's okay. Because if you're very wise and very strong, then fear doesn't have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind'). Others have noted a definite Quatermass or Sapphire & Steel feel to the piece whilst this blogger couldn't help but regard the references to the pipes as a direct allusion to 1992's notorious and disturbing nightmare inducer, Ghostwatch.
And, of course, the dialogue is great. Proper great: 'Question. Why is there no such thing as perfect hiding? Answer; how would you know? Logically, if evolution were to perfect a creature whose primary skill were to hide from view, how could you know it existed? It could be with us every second and we would never know. How would you detect it? Even sense it? Except in those moments when, for no clear reason, you choose to speak aloud.' And: 'I like a man who moves fast.' 'Yeah, I might go straight for extras. Afters! Dessert!' And: 'I'm not doubting the quality of your wells.' And: 'That's just how my face looks when he talks.' And: 'Why do you have three mirrors? Why don't you just turn your head?' And: 'It was a disaster and I am extremely upset about it, since you didn't ask.' 'Fine, I need you, for a thing!' 'I can't!' 'Of course you can, you're free. More than usually free, in fact.' And: 'Rode the first of the great time shots. They were supposed to fire him into the middle of the next week.' 'What happened?' 'He went a bit far.' Moffat ratchets up The Funny in places to great effect: 'Now don't get distracted, remember. You are flying a time machine!' And, upon discovering that not every book in the world is a Where's Wally? book: 'Really? Well, that's a few years of my life I'll be needing back!' And: 'He took my bedspread!' 'Oh, the Human race! You're never happy, are you?' And: 'Orson Pink?' 'Yeah, I laughed, too! Sorry.' At other moments, the script is deeply introspective and sonorous, full of depth and poetry and awe: 'What if every single living being has a companion. A silent passenger. A shadow. What if the prickle on the back of your neck, is the breath of something close behind you?' 'How long have you been travelling alone?' 'Perhaps I never have.' And: 'Let me tell you about scared. Your heart is beating so hard I can feel it through your hands. There's so much blood and oxygen pumping through your brain it's like rocket fuel. Right now you can run faster and fight harder and jump higher than ever in your life, and you're so alert it's like you can slow down time. What's wrong with scared? Scared is a superpower. It's your superpower. There is danger in this room and guess what, it's you.' Capaldi totally rocks it when he has dialogue like that to spout. This blogger especially enjoyed The Doctor's utterly hopeless efforts to reassure young Rupert that he's safe in his bed, although his subsequent bedtime storytelling technique ('Once upon a time. The end!') had more of a practised edge to it. One wonders if that's how he got Susan's mother and/or father off to sleep all those years ago ('dad skills!'). 'Is it possible we just saved that kid from another kid in a bedspread?' 'Entirely possible!' Yer actual Keith Telly Topping also had a definite soft spot for 'Is that what I look like from the back?' And: 'Nothing about any of this is any kind of joke!' And: 'Do you have any other way to make this any more surreal than it already is?' And: 'What kind of explanation would you like?' 'A reassuring one.' 'Well, the systems are switching to low power. There are temperature differentials all over this ship. It's like pipes banging when the heating goes off.' 'I always thought there was something in the pipes.' 'Me too.' And, Clara under the bed. Adored Clara under the bed.
I also loved the eerie, Radiophonic Workshop-style score. Loved Clara's mature, lyrical speech of empowerment to the terrified child in the barn ('fear makes companions of us all'). Loved Capaldi nicking the nightwatchman's coffee, as well. And, of course, the episode's big revelation that, in her own kindly and gentle way, it may have been his Impossible Girl her very self whose gift to a scared and lonely little Gallifreyan boy set him on his comsci mission all those years ago is a wonderfully sharp curve ball that few in the audience will have seen coming.
'Do you know why dreams are called dreams? Because they're not real. If they were real, they wouldn't need a name.' Listen is a fine episode, though it isn't perfect. With more than a few of its best ideas having been used before at some stage in the series past, that's only to be expected. Inevitably, there comes a sense of familiarity with some of the ideas which we've seen Steven use previously. Overall, though, this is a brave and jolly exciting episode from yer man Moffat and one with considerable strength and guts. It won't be to everyone's taste, of course and I can imagine there'll be some crass whinging from the usual suspects on a message board near you, dear blog reader, some time real soon. Go and check them out, dear blog reader, they're quite a sight. But, for those who are looking for a bit more insight into the complex mind of The Doctor (and, of the reasons why he is like he is), you really couldn't ask for more. 'What if there never was anything? Nothing under the bed, nothing at the door. What if the big bad Time Lord doesn't want to admit he's just afraid of the dark?' What indeed? Congratulations, Moffat, children all over the country tonight will be checking under their bed for monsters. Adults, on the other hand, will be checking for Jenna Coleman. Which is nice. Best episode of the series so far? Touch and go but, on balance, I'd say yes. And, it leaves only one question unanswered. Who moved the chalk?
To the ratings, now: BBC1's DIY SOS: The Big Build had an audience of 4.52m overnight punters at 8pm on Thursday, while Mary Berry's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? topped the night with 4.91m viewers at 9pm. Scotland Decides was watched by 1.59m at 10.35pm. BBC2's excellent Operation Stonehenge brought in 2.22m at 8pm, followed by Penguins On A Plane with 1.31m at 9pm. Mock The Week brought in 1.51m at 10pm. On ITV, Paul O'Grady's For the Love Of Dogs attracted 3.47m at 8.30pm, while drama Chasing Shadows dipped by around seven hundred thousand to a very disappointing 2.66m at 9pm. Channel Four's Location, Location, Location appealed to 1.36m at 8pm, followed by Educating The East End with 1.46m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors gathered seven hundred and thirty two thousand at 8pm. Celebrity Big Brother continued with 1.49m at 9pm, while Dallas was seen by five hundred and sixteen thousand at 10pm.

The final of Celebrity Big Brother was watched by 2.10m sad, crushed victims of society on a very below average Friday night, as Gary Busey was crowned the winner. Apparently. Outside soaps, BBC1's Would I Lie To You? was the most watched primetime show of the evening. Guest panellists Fiona Bruce, Micky Flanagan, Steve Jones and Claudia Winkleman entertained 2.79m from 8.30pm. The latest episode of Boomers also performed adequately, with an overnight average of 2.65m viewers at 9pm, while the new series of Big School continued with 2.34m from 9.30pm. On BBC2, The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice attracted 2.50m, as Jo Brand and co. look back at European cake week. From 9.30pm, Gardeners' World kept 1.89m of the audience. On ITV, Italian chef Gino D'Acampo ventured to Venice in his latest culinary adventure for Gino's Italian Escape, being watched by 2.41m. Andrew Flintoff was the subject of this week's Oily Twat Piers Morgan's Life Stories, which attracted a risible 1.85m from 9pm. On Channel Four, a new episode of Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was watched by 1.64m from 9pm. Alan Carr was joined by unfunny, smug, lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall, Jon Richardson, Matt Forde, oily twat Piers Morgan and Abbey Clancy in this week's episode of Chatty Man, which had an audience of 1.04m.

Mrs Brown's Boys is to return for two Christmas specials, it has been confirmed. The BBC announced on Twitter that Brendan O'Carroll's popular sitcom will be back in December for two new specials.

It hasn't received the most positive reviews - especially on this here blog - but the host of BBC1 rubbish gymnastics fiasco Tumble believes that it has been given a raw deal. Which it hasn't, that's probably why no one is watching it. The Sun reports that risible screeching horrorshow (and drag) Alex Jones thinks it's 'sad' that no one can write anything 'nice' any more – and expects the series to get 'slaughtered' as it winds up this weekend. Yes, it will. Because it's complete and utter lousy, worthless, tripe, basically. She said: 'You just think "God we have become a bitter nation that can't enjoy anything."' Well, nothing with you in it, anyway, you very silly little girl. The usual criticism about the quality of the z-alleged 'list celebrities' featured in the BBC's genuinely awful rip-off of Pro-Celebrity Drowning has also, seemingly, got Jones's back up. 'I think the roster was good,' she claimed, to the sound of incredulous laughter from throughout the land. Yeah, well, as a licence fee payer - you know, love, one of those annoying little people who pay you sodding grossly inflated wages and kindly don't you forget it - this blogger has but one thing to say about both you and your wretched, risible, odious horrorshow (and drag) of a show. Can we have our money back, please?
Timothy Spall and Matthew Macfadyen are to star in the Sky Living drama The Enfield Haunting. The three-part series will be a dramatisation of the strange events which took place at a house in Enfield in 1977. It will be adapted from Guy Lyon Playfair's book This House Is Haunted and is based on one of the most discussed recordings of alleged poltergeist activity in British history. Spall will play paranormal researcher Maurice Grosse, who is invited into a house after reports of a family being victimised by unseen forces. Juliet Stevenson will play Maurice's wife, Betty, in the drama, while Macfadyen will portray Playfair, a sceptical investigator who joins Maurice at the house. Spall said: 'I am very pleased to be taking part in The Enfield Haunting. Not only is it based on a supernatural happening, it is also a brilliant script that is full of emotional texture and develops beautifully into a human story. I am very much looking forward to working with the excellent team Sky Living and Eleven Film have assembled.' Macfadyen added: 'I'm very pleased and excited to be a part of this strange, unsettling and really quite moving story - and especially pleased to be working again with the brilliant Tim Spall.' The Killing's Kristoffer Nyholm will direct the series, from a script by Joshua St Johnston. The series is expected to be broadcast in 2015.

The BBC has announced the first ever 'non-celebrity' edition of Strictly Come Dancing. No, not the current series - although, if you've seen the line up then a decent case could certainly be made for that. Rather, The People's Strictly will centre on six 'inspirational but everyday heroes and heroines from society' and will be broadcast as part of next year's Red Nose Day campaign in March 2015. Presented by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the contestants are to undergo four weeks of training, after which they will perform to the nation in the ballroom. BBC1's controller, Charlotte Moore said: 'BBC1 is the TV home of ballroom dancing, so where better to see deserving, real-life heroes and heroines experience the sparkling joy of Strictly - and all for such a great cause in Comic Relief.'
A former Daily Mirra and Scum of the World journalist has pleaded extremely not guilty to charges relating to allegations that he encouraged a Belmarsh prison officer to sell stories to the two papers. The prison officer, Robert Norman, from Swanscombe in Kent, also pleaded not guilty to one charge relating to allegations that he leaked stories for money over a six year period. Stephen Moyes, the journalist, pleaded not guilty to two counts at the Old Bailey on Friday. The first count is that he 'unlawfully incited' Norman to commit misconduct in public office between 30 April 2006 and 30 September 2008. He was also charged with 'intentionally encouraging an offence contrary to section forty four of the Serious Crime Act 2007' between 1 October 2008 and 1 May 2011 by 'intending to encourage or assist the commission of an offence namely misconduct in public office, did a series of acts capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of the said offence.' The details of the offence were that he 'persuaded Robert Norman, a public officer, namely a prison officer at HMP Belmarsh, to disclose details pertaining to HMP Belmarsh and that, secondly, he entered into an arrangement with Robert Norman for Robert Norman to be remunerated for that disclosure.' Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said that the charges were brought under two separate laws because the Serious Crime Act did not come into force in time for the alleged offences between 2006 and 2008. The charge was brought after an investigation by Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden into leaks to newspapers by public officials for stories. Norman pleaded not guilty to a single charge that he 'wilfully misconducted himself to such a degree to amount to an abuse of public trust.' The details of the charge were that he disclosed details pertaining to HMP Belmarsh to a journalist, namely Moyes, and that he entered into an agreement with the newspapers to be paid for the disclosures and thirdly, that he received those payments. The trial will not take place before Easter next year.

The court of appeal has found that a former lawyer at The Times acted 'recklessly' when the paper fought an attempt by an anonymous police blogger, Nightjack, to get an injunction to stop his identity being revealed. However, Mr Justice Wilkie and the Lord Justice of England and Wales found that the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal was 'wrong' to have ruled that Alastair Brett 'knowingly' misled the High Court during the case in 2009. The ruling cleared Brett of any suggestion of dishonesty in relation to the Nightjack saga. It emerged in 2012 that a Times journalist had hacked into the Nightjack blogger's e-mail to reveal his identity. Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, agreed with Wilkie's conclusions, saying that barristers and solicitors always have a duty 'to discharge not only the duties to his client but the duty to the court.' Thomas added: 'Misleading the court is regarded by the court and must be regarded by any disciplinary tribunal as one of the most serious offences that an advocator litigator can commit. Where an advocate or other representative or a litigator puts before the court matters which he knows not to be true or by omission leads the court to believe something he knows not to be true, then as an advocate knows of these duties, the inference will be inevitable that he has deceived the court, acted dishonestly and is not fit to be a member of any part of the legal profession.' The judgement followed an appeal lodged by Brett over a decision by the SDT last December to suspend him from practising as a solicitor for six months. The tribunal ruled that Brett knowingly allowed the High Court to be misled over the hacking of Nightjack's e-mail account by the then twenty four-year-old Times journalist Patrick Foster. This was rejected by the court of appeal, which instead substituted a finding that Brett had 'recklessly allowed the court to be misled.' Wilkie found that the SDT was 'fully entitled' to reject the claims by Brett that he 'did not understand' the full legal ramifications of what had happened until three years after the event when The Leveson Inquiry started. The judge said that he was 'in no doubt' the judge in the 2009 injunction proceedings was 'misled' by the account of how Foster had first identified Nightjack, claiming that he had used 'publicly available sources.' The SDT had heard how Foster had 'confided' in Brett that he had hacked the account of Nightjack and discovered that he was a detective constable with the Lancashire constabulary, Richard Horton. Foster had asked Brett for legal advice and was told that what he had done was 'totally unacceptable' and that the story was unpublishable from a legal perspective. Foster went on to discover that he could identify Horton through using publicly available information and a story was published after the High Court judge ruled an injunction was not justified. But the court in the 2009 proceedings was never told about the original hacking. Wilkie said that the judge had approached the case on the basis that Foster had 'unmasked' Horton's identity by using information already in the public domain. 'I am in no doubt that the court was misled,' he said in a judgment published on Thursday. This was because of a combination of a misleading witness statement by Foster, Brett's apparent denial that there had been any unlawful access to Horton's e-mail account and his subsequent failure to 'clarify the matter' following questions by the Nightjack blogger's solicitors. The judge found that Brett's claim of 'legal privilege' was 'not incompatible' with his duty not to knowingly mislead the court. 'The risk that the court might be misled, is not incompatible with the duty of confidentiality owed to a person who has disclosed material on an occasion of legal professional privilege.' He had a number of options including dropping its fight against Horton's injunction application, said Wilkie. This would not have involved breaking the confidentiality of the private conversation he had with Foster but it would have avoided the court being misled, he said. He added that Brett's 'focus on the issue' of the legal privilege of conversations between a journalist and an in-house lawyer was 'a red herring.' Brett said that he was 'pleased' the judges had ruled he had not 'knowingly allowed the court to be misled', adding that he 'could not quibble' with their conclusion his handling of the case was 'reckless' as he was 'under time pressures' during the period to the litigation. 'The important thing for media lawyers is that I think I have now established that in-house lawyers are not under a duty to snitch on journalists like Patrick Foster if they come seeking legal advice on a public interest story and tell you that they might have done something illegal,' he said. 'Patrick Foster was also a potential defendant like the editor in any privacy or libel proceedings as he was the author of the story. As such he was clearly entitled to seek legal advice and the SDT was completely wrong in finding that the in-house lawyer has a duty to tell a court everything that a journalist might have said when seeking legal advice.'

Robert 'Throb' Young, the guitarist who helped Primal Scream to rock superstardom in the 1990s, has died. He was widely reported to have been forty nine years old although there is some doubt about his exact age as most histories of the band had previously stated that he was a contemporary and school-friend of lead singer Bobby Gillespie who is, very definitely, fifty two. Throb founded the band with Gillespie and Jim Beattie in Glasgow in 1982. After several years of minor success on the indie circuit with their rather fey and introspective but nevertheless attractive and catchy, Byrds-influenced pop singles ('Velocity Girl', 'All Fall Down', 'Gentle Tuesday' and the 1987 LP Sonic Flower Groove) The Primes hit the big-time with their psych-pop masterpiece Screamadelica in 1991, which included the hits 'Movin' On Up', 'Come Together', 'Higher Than The Sun' and, most notably, the anthemic 'Loaded'. Screamadelica, a massively influential slab of rock-dance crossover which mixed gospel, ambient, funk, psychedelia and hard rock won the first Mercury Prize in 1992. It also found a huge audience across fans of several genres and is, quite possibly, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite CD of the 1990s. Throb provided the vocals for Screamadelica's acid house cover ofThe Thirteenth Floor Elevators' 'Slip Inside This House'. The group continued producing a series of fine CDs over the next decade including the Rolling Stones-influenced Give Out But Don't Give Up (1994), the Krautrock-style 'anarcho-syndicalist speedfreak road-movie' Vanishing Point (1997) and XTRMNTR (2000) although none ever had quite the same impact or the widespread appeal of Screamadelica. Young left the group in 2006 after the release of Riot City Blues to deal with what Gillespie described at the time as 'problems in his personal life.' His former bandmates paid tribute to Young, calling him 'a beautiful and deeply soulful man.' A statement from Gillespie, guitarist Andrew Innes, keyboard player Martin Duffy and other current members of the group said: 'We have lost our comrade and brother Robert Young. He was an irreplaceable talent, much admired amongst his peers. He was a true rock and roller,' it added. 'He had Heart & Soul tattooed on his arm and I'm sure on his heart too. He once said to me, "When we go on stage it's a war between us and the audience." He never let go of that attitude.' The statement concluded: 'Our love and thoughts are with his sons, Brandon and Miles, and their mother Jane, his wife Rachel, and his immediate family.'

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, mind the Gap Band.

1 comment:

fatoldtart said...

The first real science fiction Doctor Who for a long time. Lots of echoes of great novels. Back to the glory days!