Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Week Thirty Eight: Chosen Your Mask?

Yer actual Jenna Coleman has suggested a 'surprise' is coming up involving her character. The actress, speaking to Radio Times, refused to either confirm or deny rumours - started in the (always reliable, of course) Daily Mirra - that she is to leave Doctor Who at Christmas. 'There's lots of rumours,' she said. 'We've sat down with Steven Moffat and we've all decided we don't want anyone to know which way it's going. If you know I'm in the next series - or if you know I'm off - you'll know how the story ends. Because there's a surprise we've got coming, it's much better that nobody knows which way it's going to go.' Peter Capaldi recently addressed the rumours during an interview with that witless squawking glake Alex Jones on The ONE Show, saying: 'I'm not looking for a new assistant. I don't know where these rumours have started.' I do, Peter. In the Daily Mirra. Who, of course, know what they're talking about, Next.
Meanwhile dear blog reader, back in the BBC bar, mine's a Bailey's with ice, please.
Robot Of Sherwood, the latest episode of Doctor Who's eighth series attracted an average overnight audience of 5.22 million on Saturday from 7:30 pm. This represented a small increase over the previous week's overnight - roughly thirty thousand viewers. The episode had a twenty five per cent share of the total available audience. Given the two million plus video on demand timeshift figures for both Deep Breath and Into The Dalek, that should mean the final, consolidated audience figure for Robot Of Sherwood will be, comfortably, in excess of seven million. The episode drew an AI figure of eighty two, the same as Deep Breath. The X Factor again won the day with an overnight of 8.43 million watching from 8pm on ITV, a drop of half-a million from the previous Saturday episode. It is, however, an increase on both last Sunday's overnight audience and around six hundred thousand up on the equivalent (second) episode of the 2013 series. Also on ITV, The Chase: Z-List Celebrity (And I Used The Word Quite Wrongly) 'Special' drew 4.17 million viewers from 7pm whilst Through The Keyhole attracted 3.46 million from 9:20. Casualty was the second highest rated programme on BBC1 with 3.88 million watching. Earlier, the wretched, mind-numbingly useless tripe Tumble continued with 2.97 million from 6pm, while The National Lottery: In It to Win It attracted 3.08 million. BBC2 saw Proms Extra pull in an audience of four hundred and seventy one thousand from 7pm. A broadcast of the movie The Ides Of March took seven hundred and thirty one thousand from 9.15pm. A Channel Four repeat of Peter Kay: Live & Back On Nights (And, Still, Nowhere Near As Funny As He Thinks He Is) was watched by 1.22m from 9pm. On Channel Five, the latest Celebrity Big Brother episode drew 1.16m from 9.15pm.

Incidentally, just in case you missed it, dear blog reader, one of the highlights of Saturday's episode for many Doctor Who fans was the photo displayed in the spaceship's memory bank as an example of the fictional character of Robin Hood. It was a publicity shot of the late Patrick Troughton playing the role in Joy Harington's six-part 1953 BBC adaptation, Robin Hood. So, now you know. Quality moustache, an'all.
Strictly Come Dancing's launch episode easily beat The X Factor on Sunday evening, overnight data reveals. The popular BBC1 dance competition attracted 8.43 million overnight viewers from 8pm, with a peak audience of 8.61m at around 8.45pm. The figures are almost exactly the same as last year's overnight ratings for the opening episode, which launched on a Saturday evening. However, it had a higher audience share of forty one per cent this time around. ITV's The X Factor dipped by over a million viewers from Saturday's audience to 7.12m from 8pm, with a peak audience of 7.46m at around 8.45pm. One imagines that would've made Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef of Crossroads look like a bloke that'd ordered a bowl of porridge and been served a bowl of shit instead. Good. Encore. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef of Crossroads later took to Twitter to congratulate Strictly on its victory. Albeit, through gritted teeth. Paddy Considine returned for a new The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher with 2.42m at 9pm after The X Factor ended. On BBC1, Countryfile appealed to 4.65m at 7pm, while The Village continued with 4.18m. Channel Four's latest Time Team special interested eight hundred and thirty three thousand at 8pm, followed by the first of the two-part biopic drama Houdini with nine hundred and ten thousand punters at 9pm. On Channel Five, Celebrity Big Brother continued with 1.29m at 9pm. On BBC3 the repeat of Robot Of Sherwood had three hundred and sixty three thousand viewers.

England's Euro 2016 qualifier topped the overnight ratings on Monday. ITV's - piss-poor as always - coverage of the 2-0 victory over Switzerland scored 5.49 million from 7.15pm, higher than the ratings of last week's friendly match against Norway which was watched by 4.37m. On BBC1, Inside Out appealed to 2.68m at 8pm, followed by Panorama with 2.30m at 8.30pm. The latest episode of New Tricks was watched by 4.91m at 9pm. BBC2's Celebrity Antiques Road Trip interested 1.70m at 7pm. University Challenge was watched by 2.32m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 1.92m at 8.30pm. Alex Polizzi: The Fixer gathered 1.11m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Nasty Full Of His Own Importance Jamie's Rotten Comfort Food had an audience of 1.09m sad, crushed victims of society at 8pm, while Gadget Man attracted nine hundred and three thousand at 8.30pm. Cops and Robbers brought in nine hundred and twenty one thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Countdown To Murder garnered eight hundred and forty three thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest Celebrity Big Brother with 1.50m at 9pm. Under The Dome continued with five hundred and fifty nine thousand at 10pm. On E4, the latest episode of The One Hundred was watched by six hundred and sixty eight thousand at 9pm. Sky1's Duck Quacks Don't Echo was seen by two hundred and eighty three thousand at 8pm, followed by Fifty Ways to Kill Your Mammy with two hundred and thirteen thousand at 9pm.

Self-deprecating TV comedy line of the week came from the always reliable Victoria Coren Mitchell on the latest episode of the 'recently promoted to BBC2' Only Connect. After a question concerning spin macaroni, the divine Vicky noted: 'I've come across most types of pasta, as the viewers in HD can probably see.' Funny, but hardy an accurate assessment of the divine Vicky's fine and fulsome figure, I'd've said.
Meanwhile, at more or less exactly the same time as that was being broadcast, according to the Yahoo! Celebrity website, Victoria's husband, David Mitchell was getting abused (and, potentially, chinned) in public by EastEnders' actor (and I use the word actor, very loosely) and drunken lout Danny Dyer at the TV Choice awards ceremony. Fight! This blogger's money's would be on Dyer, dear blog reader. Because, in any altercation between a witty if somewhat smug chap like Mitchell and an ignorant, loud-mouthed overgrown bonehead school bully the likes of Dyer, the latter usually wins. Sad but true.
In the Club's final episode topped the ratings outside soaps on Tuesday, overnight data reveals. The BBC1 drama brought in 4.67 million viewers at 9pm, slightly down from the previous week's average overnight rating. On BBC2, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip appealed to 1.48m at 7pm, followed by One Hundred Thousand Pound House: Tricks Of The Trade with 1.91m at 8pm and Motorway: Life In The Fast Lane with 2.42m at 9pm. It was a true horrorshow of a night for ITV, soaps aside, with Wilderness Walks With Ray Mears attracting a meagre 1.92m at 7.30pm. Long Lost Family: What Happened Next was seen by but 2.56m at 8pm and, get this, Hot Tub Britain gathering a risibly low 1.60m at 9pm, being beaten not only by BBC1 but BBC2 as well. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn interested 1.39m at 8pm, followed by Don't Stop The Music with four hundred and twenty two thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Cowboy Builders interest seven hundred and sixteen thousand at 8pm, while the latest CSI was watched by 1.46m at 9pm. Celebrity Big Brother was gawped at by 1.52m sad, crushed victims of society at 10pm. On BBC3, Don't Tell The Bride amassed six hundred and ninety one thousand punters at 9pm, followed by Sexy Breasts with three hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. Dave Gorman's new series of Modern Life Is Goodish drew four hundred and seventy nine thousand to Dave at 10pm.

The Great British Bake Off climbed in the overnight ratings for a fourth consecutive week on Wednesday. The BBC1 cookery show was up by around thirty thousand viewers from the previous week with an overnight of 8.32 million at 8pm. Later, period drama Our Zoo dipped by around seven hundred thousand viewers from last week's opener to 4.30m at 9pm. On BBC2, Hotel India appealed to 1.25m at 8pm, followed by Horizon with eight hundred and eighty two thousand at 9pm. ITV's Celebrity Squares remake launched with 3.24m at 8pm, while Scott & Bailey returned with a disappointing 3.98m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Double Your House For Half The Money was watched by nine hundred and forty one thousand at 8pm, followed by Grand Designs with 1.93m at 9pm. Channel Five's Celebrity Big Brother live eviction episode was watched by 1.78m at 9pm. Wentworth continued with seven hundred and ninety five thousand viewers at 10pm.

Now, sadly the usual weekly list of final and consolidated ratings figures (in this case, for week-ending Sunday 31 August 2014) is somewhat up the effing Gary Glitter this week as BBC1 have, for some reason, not reported the vast majority of their figures to the BARB. Which is Goddamn annoying. The best this blogger can cobble together for you, dear blog reader, is a - probably highly inaccurate - Top Five programmes:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 10.25m
2 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 10.09m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.84m
4 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 7.29m
5 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.15m
Obviously, due to the lack of the majority of BBC1 figures, this doesn't include the audiences for traditional big-to-medium-sized hitters such as New Tricks, EastEnders, Countryfile, Casualty et al. Hopefully, something vaguely approaching normal service will be resumed next week. Doctor Who's final figure, incidentally, included a timeshift over the initial 'live' audience of more than two million viewers for the second week running (2.1m). The Great British Bake Off's timeshift was of a similar size. BBC2's highest rated show of the week was The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (2.98m), followed by University Challenge (2.77), Hotel India (2.58m) and Gardeners' World(2.03m). Channel Four's best performer was Royal Marines Commando School with 1.87m. Channel Five's biggest audience was attracted by Celebrity Big Brother (2.14m), followed by CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with two million. On BBC4, the opening episode of Crimes Of Passion drew a fraction above one million punters. Lewis was ITV3's best performer with 1.14m.
The Horror Channel is to give remastered episodes of Doctor Who their first television outing. The seventeen remastered episodes - released on DVD by BBC Worldwide last year - will be shown on the Horror Channel from Monday 13 October. Launching with Mister Pertwee's Doctor Who and The Silurians serial (1970), the series will then lead into weekday double-bills in daytime and evening slots. Stories available to watch in October will include Inferno (a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, that one), Carnival Of Monsters, The Time Warrior (which, if you've never seen it and you enjoyed Saturday's Robot Of Sherwood, you will definitely love the mostest, baby), The Sontaran Experiment, The Sunmakers and The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. A canny collection. Alina Florea, the Director of Programming for the Horror Channel, said: 'It's been great to be able to offer our regular fans the classic Doctor Who content, but it's equally exciting to see Time Lord devotees flock to Horror Channel in greater number and take part in the various on and off air activities that resulted in a surge in viewership and social media interaction. With the newer batch of remastered episodes, there will be even more reasons for our viewers to tune in and stick around for more fright, thrill and shock.'

The forthcoming revival of the BBC's children's classic Clangers will feature that nice Michael Palin as its narrator it has been announced this week. Which is an interesting choice. Palin said of the show: 'The world of the Clangers is delightful and irresistible. It's a real pleasure and a great privilege to be a part of its return to television.' The show's executive producer Daniel Postgate, who is son of original Clangers co-creator and narrator the late Oliver Postgate, said: 'Michael Palin was my first and favourite choice, so of course I'm absolutely delighted. Among other things, he's been a warm and charming guide for us all in his extensive travels around this world, so it seems wonderfully appropriate that he should pack his bags once more, go off across the starry expanse of space and do the same for the world of the Clangers.' The new series of Clangers is scheduled to be broadcast on the BBC next spring.

And, speaking of TV icons, Sir David Attenborough his very self is to return to Australia's Great Barrier Reef for a new BBC series. The broadcaster previously filmed in Queensland for Zoo Quest in 1957. Attenborough explained to Radio Times that the new series will be largely filmed underwater. 'People say to me, "What was the most magical thing you ever saw in your life?" And I always say without a word of exaggeration, "The first time I was lucky enough to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef,"' he recalled. 'As I entered the water I remember suddenly seeing these amazing multi-coloured species living in communities, just astounding and unforgettable beauty. So I'm very excited to be returning to the Reef with all the latest technology and science to see one of the most important places on the planet in a whole new way."' The BBC stated that the programme will 'use pioneering camera technology and draw on the latest research to investigate the Reef in revelatory ways. Combined with David Attenborough's masterful storytelling on location and trademark engagement with wildlife, this series will provide a uniquely authored insight into a global treasure, and uncover the history and secrets of this richly bio-diverse landmark,' the BBC said in a statement.

A leather jacket worn by TV antiques dealer Lovejoy has proved a surprise hit at auction. The black jacket, believed to be one of four worn by actor Ian McShane in the hit BBC series, was on sale with a list price of six hundred smackers. But it was snapped up by a local woman for a thousand quid at the auction held by Mander in Sudbury. Auctioneer James Mander said: 'There is still a keen local interest as people remember it being filmed here.' The series was mainly shot in villages on the Essex and Suffolk border such as Long Melford and Belchamp Walter. It ran from 1986 to 1994.
Rona Fairhead, the preferred candidate to take over from Lord Patten as the new chair of the BBC Trust, spent Tuesday being quizzed by MPs over her appointment. Which, one trusts was as depressing an experience for Fairhead as it would have been for anyone else having to sit in the same room as those full-of-their-own-importance louse scum. Fairhead would be the first woman to hold the position. She denied claims that the government was determined to appoint a woman, telling the Culture, Media and Sport Committee: 'I felt the process was, for my mind, a standard process.' She also refused to pass judgement on her predecessor's job performance. Fairhead - the ex-head of the Financial Times Group - said it was 'public knowledge that mistakes were made' but added she had 'no intention of saying anything negative.' Patten, who was appointed in 2011, left the job of chairman on health grounds following major heart surgery. When asked what made her qualified to head up the Trust - the body in charge of overseeing the BBC - Fairhead said that she 'woke up and went to bed with the BBC', adding she listened to Radio 4's Today programme and watched the News Channel. She also told MPs she was a fan of Doctor Who as a child and would 'wake up early on Sunday to Match Of The Day' which she continued to watch with her children. 'I watch across the range of the BBC,' she added. 'Dramas - Sherlock is a massive favourite in our family - An Honourable Woman was fantastic. Some members of my family love The Great British Bake Off and we all watched Strictly this weekend.' On the recent scandal surrounding payoffs to senior BBC executives, Fairhead said the corporation had faced 'some legitimate criticisms of the process and the fact the payoffs were not made on contractual terms.' She added it was 'a difficult situation in a publicly funded body.' She was also asked about the Jimmy Savile fiasco which she agreed had shaken the public's trust in the BBC. 'Public trust for a public broadcaster is at the core,' she said. With the BBC's royal charter renewal due in 2016, Fairhead was also asked about the future of the licence fee, which she insisted is still the 'most appropriate way to fund the BBC. This is a significant charter review, we have to look at all the options,' she said. 'My strong opinion is that there are strong benefits from the licence fee,' but added the Trust had to be 'open to looking at others.' Asked if she felt the BBC offered valued for money, Fairhead said: 'To many, £145.50 is a lot of money, that said if you look at the services the BBC provides, my view is that it is good value for money.' But she added the corporation still had to be 'run efficiently and effectively.'

James Purnell, the BBC's strategy director, has said the 'sword of Damocles' is hanging over BBC funding with cuts to one of its biggest shows, EastEnders, reversed after viewers began to notice a dip in quality. Purnell said he was 'very happy' that the government had decided to bring forward a review of the licence fee which may pave the way for decriminalising non-payment. Purnell has previously said the step could cost up to two hundred million knicker a year. Asked about the threat to the independence of the BBC, Purnell, the BBC’s Director of Strategy and Digital, said that discussions about the future funding of the corporation had gone from a five to ten-year cycle to virtually every year. 'It's got nothing to do with this government, which has acted very properly in terms of saying charter renewal would start after the election,' Purnell told the Royal Television Society London conference on Tuesday. 'It used to be very clear every five or ten years we would have this discussion. Now it feels more year to year. It does feel [as if] there is a little bit more of a sword of Damocles than there once was.'

Chris Evans has rubbished scum tabloid claims that he will be replacing Jeremy Clarkson as the host of Top Gear. The Sunday Mirra - with no obvious sick agenda smeared all over its disgusting mush an inch thick - claimed, with no supporting evidence, that the BBC Radio 2 DJ has been 'lined-up' to front Top Gear later in the year. However, Evans refuted the reports on Twitter, writing: 'Hilarious story in today's paper re me replacing Clarkson on Top Gear. One hundred per cent not true. One hundred per cent never going to happen.' So, there you have it, dear blog reader. That's a right load of old effing toot, apparently. The Sunday Mirra completely making up a story? Lying, in other words? Who'd've ever thought it?
And on that bombshell - or, actually, what's the opposite of a bombshell? - here's some Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 13 September
The latest episode of Doctor Who - 7:30 BBC1 - is The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's Listen. So far, the latest incarnation of The Doctor (yer actual Peter Capadli, just in case you hadn't been paying attention) has dealt with steampunk clockwork 'droids in Victorian London, delved into the inner workings of a Dalek and forged an unlikely alliance with Robin Hood his very self. This week, during a trip with Clara to the end of the universe, he will come face to face with something (or someone) that chills him to the virry bone and that. But what in the wide, wide world of sport could possibly frighten a man who has spent most of his very long lives battling the galaxy's most terrifying aliens? Could it be ghosts from the Time Lord's own past - and, indeed, future - that send shivers down his spine? And what, exactly, happens when The Doctor is alone and afraid? Popular long-running family SF drama, co-starring Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson. Preceded by the mind-numbingly wretched Tumble, which ends tonight, to no great fanfare.

After deciding to spend the last few weeks of their summer vacation in Einar's childhood town of Skoga, newlyweds Puck and Einar find a young man stabbed to death with a dagger on their lawn in the third episode of Crimes Of Passion - 9:00 BBC4. Slow-paced but fascinating Swedish period crime drama, starring Tuva Novotny, Linus Wahlgren and Ola Rapace.
The - occasionally very funny - comedian Dave Gorman performs another round of witty stand-up shows in the second series of Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish - 10:00 on Dave. It begins as Dave (Gorman, that is, not the channel he's on) gets involved in shredding some naughty magazines, helps a gerbil to fulfil its destiny and is surprised by the pictures that develop from an old-fashioned camera he finds. Recycling pornography and babysitting a lost camera leads to an awkward encounter in Snappy Snaps. Gorman is that rare thing: a comedian who leaves you not only amused but, also, having something to think about. As evidenced by the highlight of this episode, a 'found poem' about the pros and cons of sat navs.

An anonymous e-mail leads the Cold Case Unit to wasteground in East London where the remains of a right-wing political activist are found in another classic two-part Waking The Dead - 9:00 Drama. Further research into the man's past reveals that he was not who he claimed to be and had a hidden agenda of his own. But who killed him, and why? Peter Boyd and his team soon find themselves knee-deep in skinhead culture. Detective drama, with Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, Tara FitzGerald, Wil Johnson and Felicite Du Jeu, guest starring Philip Whitchurch and Cyril Nri.
Sunday 14 September
Hired by West Country landowner Sir Henry Coverley, Jack Whicher takes on a seemingly straightforward case of infidelity, following his client's young wife as she meets her lover in London in the second The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher special The Ties That Bind - 9:00 ITV. However, when a key witness mysteriously fails to attend the divorce hearing, the investigation takes a dark twist, leading the private inquiry agent into the heart of the English countryside and to the most disturbing and destructive of secrets. Feature-length Victorian crime drama, starring Paddy Considine, with Helen Bradbury, Risteard Cooper and Alex Robertson.
Plans for a reservoir and dam throw the village into turmoil as Bill Gibby returns as the new councillor for Sheffield in the final episode of The Village - 9:00 BBC1. Grace and Bert provide John with the support he needs as his mobility and speech gradually improves, while Phoebe provides an unexpected source of therapy. Bert struggles to understand what happened between his mother and Bill, Martha and Eyre makes plans for the future and Caro makes it clear to Clem that she wants her son back. Period drama, starring Derek Riddell, Maxine Peake, Tom Varey and John Simm.

The legendary illusionist and escape artist conducts an epic battle against the spiritualists whose practices he believes to be fraudulent in the second episode of the really rather good Houdini - 9:00 Channel Four. As the Twentieth Century progresses and a more modern era overtakes the industrial age, Harry finds himself forced to come to terms with his new place in a fast-changing world. Conclusion of the two-part drama, starring Adrien Brody in the title role, with Kristen Connolly as Bess, the oman he loved, and Evan Jones as his assistant and confidant Jim Collins.

Presenter and art critic arty Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how three British artists - David Bomberg, Walter Sickert and Paul Nash - responded to the cataclysm of the First World War in British Art At War - 9:00 BBC4. He begins by focusing on the work of Paul Nash, who sketched the battlefields of Flanders, near Ypres, on 25 May 1917. He was so fixed on his work that he tripped and fell into a trench, breaking his ribs - an accident that went on to save his life and influence his later work.
Maggie Aderin-Pocock asks if humanity is alone in the universe as an array of new planets and stars are discovered thanks to instruments that are sensitive enough to detect the weather systems of other worlds in the latest episode of The Sky At Night - 10:00 BBC4. Plus, geneticist Doctor Adam Rutherford aims to define exactly what life is. Presented by Chris Lintott.

Monday 15 September
Sasha is forced to work with her ex-husband, the loathsome Ned Hancock, when their teams investigate the death of film critic Oliver Houghton, whose body was discovered floating in the Thames in the latest episode of New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. UCOS delves into the victim's past and explores his link to the murder of a conceptual artist twenty years previously, while Hancock's knowledge of London's hidden past proves invaluable when a piece of occult footage from the 1970s plunges the investigators into the macabre world of human sacrifice. Tamzin Outhwaite, Denis Lawson, Dennis Waterman and Nicholas Lyndhurst star, with a guest appearance by Barnaby Kay.

Three musicians take on a trio of Doctor Who fans - none of whom, to the best of his knowledge, yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows personally so, chances are they're relatively 'normal' - in the latest Only Connect - 8:30 BBC2 - the general knowledge and lateral thinking quiz. The players must make connections between four things that may at first glances not appear to be linked, with one set of clues consisting of Steve Jobs, Marcus Garvey, Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention and Mark Twain. I think the answer is something to do with reading your own obituary (before you've died, obviously)since I know both Garvey and Swarbrick did that. See, not just a pretty face. And,speaking of pretty faces, the Divine Goddess that is Victoria Coren Mitchell her very self hosts. Superbly and with wit and minxy sauciness. Which is always a good combination.

Subject to more trailers than the average Hollywood blockbuster, Sheridan Smith takes the lead role in Jeff Pope's three-part drama charting Cilla Black's rise to fame in the 1960s, Cilla 9:00 ITV. As the series opens, Priscilla White is a Liverpool typist with dreams of escaping the office and becoming a singer. It looks like her chance has come when she meets songwriter Bobby Willis, who claims to be in the music industry - so she's less than impressed to later discover his flash car is hired and he actually works in a bakery. Despite this inauspicious start, Cilla agrees to let him manage her, but will their arrangement still stand after her friends, a local beat combo with a bit of a following called The Be-Atles, help her land an audition with a genuine impresario, their own main man Brian Epstein? Aneurin Barnard, Ed Stoppard and John Henshaw also star.

The latest Storyville Web Junkies: China's Addicted Teens - 10:00 BBC4 - is a fascinating looking documentary revealing how Chinese authorities treat 'Internet addiction', a clinical condition which the country regards as a social menace of the highest order affecting its younger generation. As cameras capture the facilities that aim to 'cure' teenagers of their online obsessions and wicked ways through detox programmes, boot camp conditions and 'emotional counselling' (and, if all that fails, genital torture, probably), the film considers the future of China's technology-obsessed youth in the wider context of a society in flux.

Yer actual Bradley Walsh returns with The Crime Thriller Club - 9:00 ITV3 - the show which celebrates the very best of crime fiction and television. In the first episode, Bradley profiles Robert Harris, who wrote the bestsellers Fatherland, Enigma and Archangel - while Lucie Whitehouse's novel Before We Met is reviewed by Adele Parks, Mark Billingham, Val McDermid, Kate Mosse, Sophie Hannah and Peter James. Plus, the show goes behind the scenes of the new BBC crime drama The Interceptor, and two teams with an encyclopaedic TV crime and fiction knowledge go head to head for the Criminal Mastermind trophy.

Tuesday 16 September
When the deaths of an Elvis impersonator and an impaled bird found nearby are linked to a chess tournament, Greg decides to call on his former chess mentor Paul Lomax for help in CSI: Crime Scene Investigations - 9:00 Channel Five. After speaking to the director of the competition, the team discovers that it is part of multi-city tour. Three other recent deaths are connected to the event when it becomes clear that each mimics a turn from a match played in 1998 - but will the CSIs track down the killer before another move is made? Crime drama, starring Ted Danson and Eric Szmanda.
Prestige Pawnbrokers boss James Constantinou has his work cut out sealing a deal with a pushy young entrepreneur who wants to borrow one hundred thousand smackers against his Lamborghini, while there's a shock in store for film director Ken Russell's ex-wife Hetty when she brings in a collection of family photographs in Posh Pawn - 8:00 Channel Four. A married couple become emotional as they look to pawn a large painting, a mum-of-three parts with her mother's diamond ring to support her kids, and long-term client Tauren risks losing his prized set of designer watches by falling behind on his loan repayments. And, this is 'entertainment', apparently.

World War One At Home: Dispatches from Tyneside - 8:00 BBC4 - is, as the title suggests, a documentary focusing on life away from the battlefields, being shown as part of the World War One At Home season. The lovely Chris Jackson from Inside Out - a former colleague of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, fact fans - follows a community project on Tyneside, aiming to create a unique picture of the impact of the First World War on those living and working in the area. Highly recommended.
The Leftovers - 9:00 Sky Atlantic - is a new imported drama set in a small New York community, where the locals are still coming to terms with an apocalytpic global 'event' three years earlier when two per cent of the world's population suddenly and mysteriously disappeared without trace. Police chief Kevin Garvey finds himself at the centre of the problems, having to deal with escalating conflict in the town while also tackling his daughter's rebellious and naughty streak. In the first episode, the townsfolk discuss whether to hold a tribute to the departed, while the appearance of a silent, white-clad cult causes great concern. As tension escalates, the lives of Laurie - an unexpected member of The Guilty Remnant - and Meg, a recently engaged woman, converge. Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, yer actual Christopher Eccleston and Liv Tyler star. Good cast, the opening episode is suitably grim and intriguing and, if it can manage to shake off the potential millstone of its pre-production description as 'this year's Lost', this one could be well worth an hour a week of your time. But, it's early days yet, and, remember, we said the same about Flash Forward.
Wednesday 17 September
Syndicate Nine find themselves dealing with a high-profile historical case after Mandy Sweeting's body is recovered from a quarry, twenty three years after she was first reported missing in Scott & Bailey - 9:00 ITV. However, Rachel's biggest challenge might not be dealing with the media attention or even re-interviewing bereft family members, but hiding her contempt for Rob Waddington's father, Frankie (former Coronation Street actor Ian Mercer), who led the original investigation. Meanwhile, Janet also has problems to deal with at home, as Elise moves in with her dad and his new girlfriend. But at least it inspires the detective to look at her own love life, as she confides in Rachel that she's started using dating sites. Crime drama, starring Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp, Amelia Bullmore, Danny Webb and Danny Miller.

In Oh! You Pretty Things: The Story Of Music And Fashion - 9:00 BBC4 - Wor Geet Luscious Lovely Lauren Laverne narrates a three-part documentary exploring the influence of musicians and designers on the coolest and craziest looks in Britain, and how fans emulated their idols. The first programme focuses on the golden years of the 1960s, when Mod legends The Small Faces became the best dressed band in England and The Be-Atles and The Rolling Stones embraced psychedelia. Because of all the very hard drugs they were taking. Probably.

The final episode of the excellent Raiders Of The Lost Art - 9:00 Yesterday - explores the work of Johannes Vermeer, focusing on the hunt for the Dutch painter's missing masterpieces.
When Martin Sixsmith wrote The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee, it inspired 2013's BAFTA-winning movie Philomena and generated fresh interest in the story of the woman who was forced by the Catholic Church to give up her son, Anthony, for adoption. In This World: Ireland's Lost Babies - 9:00 BBC2 - Martin investigates the Irish Catholic Church's role in a trade that saw thousands of 'illegitimate' children taken from their mothers and sent abroad. In Ireland and America, he hears the touching stories of lives that were changed for ever. He also discovers some of the tragic consequences that occurred when prospective parents were not properly vetted, and witnesses the struggle of a mother and child separated by continents who hope to find each other before time runs out.

Thursday 18 September
Inspector George Gently and The Professionals actor Martin Shaw is the latest celebrity to go in search of his roots in Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1. Martin is particularly interested in finding out more about his paternal grandfather Edwin, who was rarely spoken about by his family. The actor has only one photo of his ancestor, which shows him aged roughly seventeen and wearing a military uniform. By zooming in on the picture, Martin's brother was able to identify their grandfather's badge, which suggests he was in the Royal Marines. Meeting with a military historian, Martin tries to fill in the rest of the story, and in the process learns more about Edwin's role in defending Birmingham against German air assaults during the Second World War.
Sean looks into the case of Stephen Eli, a lawyer and single father who fits none of the five most common categories of missing persons in Chasing Shadows - 9:00 ITV. Investigating his last known movements, the detective spots a connection with two deaths at the hands of murderer Leonard Vance, who is now incarcerated in a secure psychiatric hospital. Sean believes Stephen could be Vance's third victim and heads to the institution with Ruth to conduct an interview. But can this dangerous man's confession be trusted? With Reece Shearsmith, Alex Kingston, Noel Clarke and Don Warrington.

As British athletes compete at the Special Olympics in Antwerp, Tonight: Against All Odds - 7:30 ITV - investigates the tough reality of life for people with learning disabilities. As many as nine out of ten experience harassment or violence because of their disability, and less than seven per cent are in paid employment. Fiona Foster hears the human stories behind the statistics and looks at how some of society's most vulnerable people are succeeding against the odds.
The average commuter spends ten thousand hours battling extreme weather, gridlock, overcrowding, signalling problems and traffic accidents throughout their lifetime. The documentary Britain's Craziest Commutes - 8:00 Channel Five - follows journeys made by some of the seventeen million people driving to work every day in the UK and the extraordinary efforts of a few workers to get to the office on time. One single mother has a three-hour commute from the Isle of Wight to London each day, a Scottish islander travels three hundred miles using three forms of transport to get to his office in Glasgow, while a man journeys from the South of France to Bristol every week at a cost of six hundred smackers. Even cyclists cannot escape the drudgery of the commute, with one Derbyshire man pedalling twenty eight miles to and from work whatever the weather - if only working from home was an option for everyone.

Friday 19 September
Rob Brydon hosts Would I Lie To You? - 8:30 BBc1 - the comedy panel show in which two teams headed by David Mitchell and Lee Mack try to hoodwink each other with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves. Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli, Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark and alleged comedians Adam Buxton and Rob Beckett are this week's guests. The biggest lie of all here being that someone reckons Adam Buxton is, actually, a comedian. Which he isn't. In fact.
They say age is but a number, and every year Joyce, Alan and the gang like to remind themselves of that by attending a 1960s-themed weekend at a seaside resort and partying their evenings away, as we find out in the last in the current series of Boomers - 9:00 BBC1. However, this time, Alan's in their bad books, having messed up the booking, leaving them with only two rooms between the six of them. Meanwhile, John is determined to prove he's not old and starts by taking on the climbing wall, and Carol bumps into an old friend, which could spell trouble for her relationship with Trevor. Comedy, starring Alison Steadman, Philip Jackson, Russ Abbot and Paula Wilcox.

And so to the news: Sherlock and EastEnders were among the big winners at the TV Choice Awards held at the London Hilton on Park Lane on Monday. It was a good night for the BBC all round as Happy Valley also scooped two prizes, including Best New Drama and Best Actress for Sarah Lancashire. Sherlock was named Best Drama Series, fending off competition from Call The Midwife, Waterloo Road and Downton Abbey. Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch won the Best Actor category beating, amongst others, former national heartthrob David Tennnat. EastEnders won four awards, including Best Soap. Ahead of the show's thirtieth anniversary next year, the production was also handed an Outstanding Contribution Award. Elsewhere, Game Of Thrones won Best International Show and Benidorm triumphed in the Best Comedy category.

BBC4 channel editor Cassian Harrison is just back from Copenhagen, where he has been checking up on the latest series of The Bridge, and is soon to attend a read-through of a potential successor to The Thick Of It. 'New writers, quite bold and exciting,' he notes in an interview with the Gruniad Morning Star. On Monday night he did the unthinkable, dismantling his channel’s branding and handing the precious between-programme idents to a bunch of artists including Turner prize winner Laure Prouvost. The results, to coincide with a new season of programmes about abstract art, will be weird and wonderful, and even 'laugh-out-loud funny. Too often the BBC is seen – and sometimes it can behave – as a bit of a closed shop, a walled garden,' said Harrison. 'It’s terrific to be able to get artists to do stuff directly for us in a really unmediated way.' With BBC1 ordered by the BBC Trust to take more risks, and BBC3 due to go online only next year, BBC4 is something of a beacon among the BBC’s on-screen offerings. The only one of its four TV channels to grow its reach since the start of the decade (albeit, watched by fourteen per cent of the population, also the smallest), it has done so on a dwindling budget of fifty million notes at the last count, compared to BBC2’s four hundred and two million, for example. New BBC4 commissions include a Brian Cox Night, in which the particle physicist will choose some of his favourite programmes and talk science with Brian Blessed, and a new documentary about Spike Milligan called Spike: Love, Life & Peace. But the programme Harrison is most excited about is Dancing Cheek To Cheek: An Intimate History Of Dance, fronted by Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman and From The North cult favourite yer actual Doctor Lucy Worsley her very self. With leading industry lights such as former BBC chairman - and total effing bellend - Michael Grade suggesting that BBC4 should be axed and its resources rolled into BBC2, what makes it a BBC4 show? 'The level of detail, the depth we go into in the subject,' said Harrison. 'A BBC4 programme when it is cooking on gas is just packed with information but presented in a really nice enjoyable way.' BBC4 has looked to tackle its dwindling budget with partnerships both inside and outside the BBC (with Welsh language broadcaster S4C, for instance, on Welsh language drama Hinterland, which will return for a second series). With its acclaimed (and expensive) run of biopics coming to an end with last year's Burton & Taylor, its new drama series will be a run of short-form two-handers, The Dialogues. 'It might sound a bit naive, but I genuinely think not having a lot of money fosters innovation,' said Harrison. 'We are innovating on all kinds of levels and one of those is finance.' The channel's biggest hitters remain its foreign dramas which have become a staple of its Saturday night schedule since The Killing, the acclaimed Danish thriller starring Sofie Grabol, began in 2011. Half of its top ten shows in 2014 to date are subtitled drama hits, including The Bridge which will be back for a third series next year, Borgen, French thriller Spiral, Salamander from Belgium, Sweden's Wallander and Inspector Montalbano and Inspector De Luca, both from Italy. Another of its top ten, the Victoria Coren Mitchell quiz show Only Connect, moved to BBC2 last week. Coren Mitchell, in her introduction, was moved to wonder what was on BBC4: 'Something about the Incas or folk music.' (not far off, actually. It was actually a Horizon repeat about asteroids.) Harrison said: 'There is a lot of talk around Game Of Thrones and Netflix, but what we have got on BBC4 is a really good network of European public service broadcasters working on a particular style and mode of drama which isn't happening anywhere else in the world. It's something we really want to treasure.' A big fan of Game Of Thrones, Harrison told the Edinburgh International Television Festival last month: 'Boobs and dragons, you can't go wrong.' New foreign drama will include political thriller The Code from Australia, starring Lucy Lawless, Cordon, a Belgian thriller about a deadly virus outbreak in Antwerp and 1864, its first period drama from Danish public service broadcaster DR responsible for The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge. Harrison will also shake up BBC4's music-heavy Friday night schedule with fewer archive-driven documentaries. He wants more live music and a more imaginative way of bringing stage performances to the screen, a key part of Director General Tony Hall's arts push, to 'reflect the intimacy and interactivity of sitting in a live theatre. It's about how do we manage to take a stage performance but make it feel bigger and more cinematic.' With BBC3 set to go online only next year, Harrison can offer no guarantees about BBC4's future, with negotiations around the BBC's charter renewal and licence fee negotiation due to begin in earnest after next year's general election. 'I don't think any bit of the BBC can promise anything at the moment. Charter renewal is always a big moment,' said Harrison. The BBC's Director of Television Danny Cohen, speaking earlier this year, suggested further budget cuts might mean BBC4 going down the same online only route as BBC3. 'I am really interested in what might happen with BBC3, what that might look like and the grammar of what that might be,' said Harrison. 'On the other hand I do think our transmission channels, BBC1, 2 and 4, what we put out on air is an incredibly valuable resource.'

It's been a staple of early afternoon TV viewing since 1982 and, now in it's seventieth series Countdown has entered the Guinness Book Of Record with the title of 'most series broadcast for a TV game show.' On Friday, the Channel Four word and numbers puzzler will broadcast its six thousandth episode and presenters Nick Hewer, Rachel Riley and Susie Dent will be officially given the award. Over the years, the show has delighted viewers with unintentional swearwords, with 2012 being a particularly bountiful year in that regard.
Indeed.

Now, talking about complete and total arse, Joanna Page has quashed any rumours of a new Gavin & Stacey series. Which is, obviously, the best news all year. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping likes this news. This is good news. Bring me more news of this kind.

And, as it happens, someone has. For it seems that odious, unfunny tripe-bucket of lard, post-apocalyptic horrorshow (and drag) James Corden has been confirmed as the new host of US network CBS's talk show The Late Late Show. Which will, presumably, mean that he'll be far too busy Stateside to inflict any of the utter shat that he so regularly fronts on British viewers. And that is thoroughly excellent news. I mean, top. Corden is a - bafflingly - big name in the UK since he made his name with the rotten Gavin & Stacey which he co-created and featured in, but he is still a relative unknown in the US. He will succeed Craig Ferguson who will step down from the show after a decade. Nina Tassler, chairman of CBS entertainment, said that Corden was 'a rare entertainment force who combines irresistible charm, warmth and originality.' She added that he was the 'ultimate multi-hyphenate – a writer, creator and performer who is loved and respected in every medium he touches.' Corden has just begun work on the second series of his self-penned series The Wrong Mans, co-starring and co-written by Mathew Baynton, which was co-produced by the BBC and US on-demand service Hulu. Corden, who will take over The Late Late Show next year, and was tipped for the job last month, said: 'I can't describe how thrilled and honoured I am to be taking over from the brilliant Craig Ferguson. To be asked to host such a prestigious show on America's number one network is hugely exciting. I can' wait to get started, and will do my very best to make a show America will enjoy.' So, can we all be really nice to Americans over the next few months in the hope that, unlike oily twat Piers Morgan, they'll actually keep this one.
Neil Wallis and Jules Stenson, the former deputy editor and features editor of the Scum of the World, are due to stand trial at the Old Bailey next year over an alleged conspiracy to hack phones. Sitting at the Old Bailey on Monday morning, judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said that the pair would stand trial there on 3 June next year. Wallis and Stenson have been charged with conspiring with former Scum of the World editor, the Prime Minister's former, if you will 'chum and convicted phone-hacker Andy Coulson, five other journalists from the paper, the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and 'other persons unknown' to illegally intercept voicemail messages 'of well-known people and those associated with them' between 1 January 2003 and 26 January 2007. Both men were arrested and charged as part of Operation Pinetree, a Scotland Yard investigation into claims that features staff at the now-defunct disgraced and disgraceful tabloid obtained information through phone-hacking. Their trial is expected to last between four and six weeks and they will appear at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing on 12 December. A trial date has also been set for a former Scum of the World reporter and a soldier accused of committing misconduct in a public office. Ryan Sabey and soldier Paul Brunt are accused of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office between April 2006 and November 2007. Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC told the pair that their trial would start there on 9 February. The pair were arrested and charged under Scotland Yard’s Operation Elveden investigation into alleged corrupt payments to police and public officials. Sabey now works at the Sun after joining the tabloid in 2009.

Spare a thought for Sky Sports, who did its best to prevent former Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger from swearing when he appeared on its F1 channel during live coverage of the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday. Unfortunately, in an incident which recalls Shaun Ryder's various appearances on TFI Friday back in the nineties, it didn't quite work out. 'I'm here with another legend – Gerhard Berger,' began Johnny Herbert, who was alongside his fellow ex-F1 driver, Damon Hill. 'Hello Johnny, hello Damon,' replied Berger innocently enough. So far, so good. 'First I have to tell you, you already told me, I should not use the word "shit"'. 'No, you’re not,' responded Herbert, looking slightly sick already. 'Nor "fuck"', continued Berger. 'My apologies for his language,' interjected an increasingly desperate Herbert, not quite adding 'he's a foreigner he doesn't know any better' but looking like he wanted to. 'Sorry, but I cannot behave, and I cannot do my best,' continued Berger, before a one-minute interview (rather shorter than intended, one imagines) continued without further incident. 'Just answer the question,' begged Herbert. Sky’s further apology for the 'colourful language' after the live broadcast on 22 June this year was enough for media regulator Ofcom to consider the matter resolved.

Yer actual Catherine Tate is to take to the stage later this year, playing a woman who attempted to assassinate the US president Gerald Ford in 1975. The former Doctor Who actress will join Mike McShane and Andy Nyman in the Menier Chocolate Factory revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical Assassins. First staged in 1990, the all singing, all dancing show brings together people who have tried to kill various US presidents. Sounds like a smashing evening of family entertainment. Jamie Lloyd will direct the production at the South London venue. The director's recent credits include the Martin Freeman-led staging of Shakespeare's Richard III at London's Trafalgar Studios. Tate, who can currently be seen in BBC1's rotten a big stinking pile of smelly poo alleged 'sitcom', Big School, will play Sara Jane Moore in the show from 21 November until 8 February. Another performer will take over role for the rest of the musical's run, which concludes at the Menier on 7 March 2015. Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Beautiful, the hit Broadway musical about Carole King, will open in the West End next year. Based on the early life and career of the legendary singer-songwriter, the show opens at London's Aldwych theatre on 10 February.

Michael Sheen is to direct and star in a production of Under Milk Wood at the American theatre where Dylan Thomas first performed his most famous work, there's lovely, isn't it? Sheen will take the role of First Voice when the show is staged at the 92Y in New York on 26 October, the eve of the centenary of Thomas's birth. And, this blogger's birthday as well, just as a matter of pure disinterest if any dear blog reader was thinking of buying me a present. Anyway, the play will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio Wales. The all-Welsh cast, look you, will include Kate Burton, the daughter of yer actual Richard Burton who also performed the role taken in this production by Sheen. And, they were both born in Port Talbot, what are the chances? Thomas narrated the first read-through of Under Milk Wood at the 92Y in 1953, shortly before he died in the city. It was first recorded for radio in 1954, and has since been adapted for film and television. Sheen said: 'For a play that is set in a fictional Welsh village, Llareggub, written by a Welshman from Swansea, it seems strange that New York would be so associated with the play, but it's where it was first performed, it's where the only recording of Dylan Thomas performing it himself was made here. So to be able to go out on to that very same stage, stand or sit behind a lectern exactly where Dylan Thomas did it back in 1953, and all these later to be able to - not recreate that - but to perform it again and give it new life in the same place where it was first born really, then that's incredibly thrilling and very moving. And for it to go out at the same time on the radio in Wales, knowing that everyone in Wales will be able to listen to it at the same moment as people in New York are able to sit and listen to it as well, it's terrific.'

The leader of Britain's trade union movement has warned of creating a 'Downton Abbey-style' society in which social mobility 'has hit reverse.' That presumably means the country started promisingly but, got crap after a vaguely watchable first series, when it began to believe its own hype but that it remains bafflingly popular, particularly in America where they haven't got any history of their own, then? Sounds about right. Frances O'Grady argued that there was 'no sign of the economic recovery in most people's lives.' The TUC General Secretary also said that, under the coalition, 'class prejudice' was becoming 'respectable.' The Conservatives said the party would 'not take lectures from a cluster of union bosses on six-figure pay deals.' Which, considering the rest of us have had to take lectures from wretched, good-for-nothing buckets of shite like the vile and odious rascal Hunt, the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove and, especially, arrogant, pitiless full-of-himself slapheed scum bastard Duncan-Smith for the last four years, to be somewhat ironic and not a little hypocritical. This blogger couldn't possibly comment on that.

Olympic, World and European champion Magic Mo Farah became the first British winner of The Great North Run men's race for twenty nine years by holding off Kenya's Mike Kigen in a thrilling finish on Sunday. The pair fought it out for much of the race before Farah pulled clear in the final two hundred metres of the thirteen-mile course from Newcastle to South Shields. The thirty one-year-old set a new British half-marathon best of exactly one hour. Kenya's Mary Keitany set a new course record to win the women's race ahead of Britain's Gemma Steel. Steel's compatriot Shelly Woods won her sixth title in the women's wheelchair race, while the men's race went to Spain's Jordi Madera. Farah, who lost out to Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele in a sprint finish in last year's race, came into the event after missing the Commonwealth Games but winning double gold at the European Championships in Zurich. He and training partner Kigen pulled away at an early stage and, though Farah looked as though he was struggling at times, he stayed patient before making his move to become the first male home winner since Steve Kenyon in 1985. 'It feels great but I had to dig in deep out there,' Magic Mo told BBC Sport. 'Mike kept on pushing and I just wanted to hang on in there and I knew I had the pace at the end. I was surprised how well he was running. I didn't think I could run that fast but it is great to finish the season with a win. With two hundred metres to go I pushed but I didn't know how much I still had and as soon as I started to celebrate I saw Mike coming back at me again.' Farah's time improves his own best in the event - just one of his even lengthening list of British records which includes the fifteen hundred, five and ten thousand metres on the track and five and ten thousand metres on the road. But, he admitted that he had 'learned a lot' from an 'up and down year.' He added: 'Now I want to take a break and relax and get ready for the World Championships next year.' Keitany, the 2012 London Marathon champion who has returned from time off to have a baby, was well clear of the rest of the field and her time of 65 minutes 39 seconds beat Paula Radcliffe's 2003 mark by one second, while Steel set a new personal best of sixty eight minutes and eighteen seconds. About fifty seven thousand people took part in the race which was run for the first time in 1981. Organisers of the event named Tracey Cramond from Darlington as its millionth finisher. Brendan Foster, who co-founded the run, said he was 'immensely proud' that the millionth finisher milestone had been reached. This year, celebrity runners taking part have included former Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell, former athlete Iwan Thomas and BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth. Who looked well-fit.

England made a good start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign as two second-half strikes from The Arse's sixteen million quid new boy Danny Welbeck gave them victory in Switzerland in Basel. Manager Roy Hodgson needed his side to produce an encouraging performance and positive result after the misery of going out of the World Cup in Brazil at the group stage with a whimper in the summer - and this did the job on both counts. England were indebted to two vital saves by goalkeeper Joe Hart from Haris Seferovic and a vital goal-line clearance from Gary Cahill, but this victory was fully deserved and showed promising signs for the future. Switzerland - ninth in FFIA's (somewhat discredited) world rankings in August after reaching the last suxteen of the World Cup, with England twentieth - posed a threat but ended up being well beaten. The merits of Hodgson using a diamond formation, which suits Raheem Sterling, was shown as Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haw's youngster set up Welbeck's first goal just before the hour and was also involved as Anfield team-mate Rickie Lambert laid on the striker's second in stoppage time. England's defence - The Scum's Phil Jones in particular - still had moments of vulnerability but this meeting with Switzerland was regarded as the toughest assignment in the group which also includes San Marino, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia. With the post-World Cup apathy reflected in an attendance of just over forty thousand for England's (awful) friendly against Norway at Wembley last week, Hodgson could ill-afford a poor start to this Euro 2016 qualifying group. He had shown signs of strain after the Norway win - in particular a very tetchy press conference - but cut a more relaxed figure as England delivered a result and performance that lifted his, and the nation's mood. And as a signpost for the future, Hodgson has surely found a formation - with The Arse's Jack Wilshere at the base of the diamond and Sterling at its tip - that he should settle on as England negotiate a group which should be nothing more than a foundation for success in France. Sterling provided pace and strength, having a hand in both Welbeck goals, with England's pace on the counter-attack too much for Switzerland to handle. Wayne Rooney also thrived surrounded by speed and willing runners and England's new captain showed his usual willingness to take responsibility and do his share of the donkey work. Hodgson will also lean on those he has trusted in the past - and in Hart he found someone who excelled when called upon in Basel. England gave a first start to Aston Villains midfielder Fabian Delph and he emerged with much credit, although he must also reflect on a lack of discipline that earned him an early yellow card and running the risk of even further punishment.

Meanwhile, former England striker and part-timer Michael Owen says he believes the country has 'lost faith' in the national team. Speaking at the Soccerex Conference in Manchester, the ex-Liverpool forward (who also spent four years picking up wages for doing nothing but warm the treatment table at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved, though unsellable, Magpies) claimed that 'consistent failures' at major tournaments were to blame. For which, let us remember, that malingering, workshy Little Shit and his so-called 'golden generation' mates are largely responsible. Godeln generation? Golden shower more like.

England's cricketers rounded off their international summer with a thrilling three-run victory over India in their one-off Twenty20 international at a rocking Edgbaston on Sunday. The match went to the final ball but Indian captain Mahendra Dhoni failed to hit the six which would have won the game for the tourists. A blistering seventy one from thirty one balls from captain Eoin Morgan had lifted the hosts to an imposing total of one hundred and eighty for seven. Virat Kohli put India on course with a quick fire sixty six but fine death bowling by Steve Finn, Harry Gurney and Chris Woakes sealed England's win. With twenty six runs required from the last two overs and expert finisher Dhoni at the crease, India appeared favourites. But Gurney, playing only his second T20 international, bowled a tight penultimate over to restrict the tourists to just nine. Dhoni smashed the first delivery of Woakes's final over for six only to turn down two easy singles from subsequent balls. It left India needing five from the final ball for victory or four to force a Super Over. When the skipper picked out Moeen Ali at deep square leg, England were able to celebrate a nail-biting victory to the disappointment of the vast swathes of noisy Indian fans in the stands. 'We got a very good score, but felt India would be hard to stop,' said Morgan. 'Woakes, Finn and Gurney held their nerve - they were exceptional. India get a lot of support up here, but hopefully the home fans are going home happy. I've gone through tough times, but always come out on the right side. The belief was there.' The riveting contest marked the end of a tour in which England fought back from one-nil down to win the Test series three-one but were then heavily beaten by the same scoreline in the five match one-day series. England were indebted to Morgan, whose return to form after a disappointing one-day series will have delighted coach Peter Moores as he plans towards the Sri Lanka one-day tour in November and December, and next year's World Cup. The Dublin-born left-hander smashed seven sixes and three fours as England pummelled eighty one runs from their final five overs. Morgan's knock reinvigorated an England innings that had been in danger of stalling when Joe Root was out for twenty six to leave the hosts on eighty five for four in the twelfth over. Surrey opener Jason Roy nonchalantly reverse swept his second ball in international cricket for four but could only manage another four runs before pushing Mohammed Shami to Ajinkya Rahane at cover. Moeen Ali - who was disgracefully booed throughout the match by some of the Indian supporters, seemingly because of his Pakistani heritage - fell for a duck, Alex Hales was brilliantly caught by Rahane for forty and Root lashed debutant spinner Karn Sharm to deep midwicket for twenty nine. Jos Buttler lacked his characteristic fluency as he laboured to ten off ffteen balls, but Ravi Bopara (a bright and inventive twenty one not out) teamed up with Morgan to fire England to an imposing score. India overcame the early loss of Ajinkya Rahane - bowled round his legs by Moeen - with a partnership of seventy nine between Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan (thirty three). Kohli struck nine fours and a six in his first half-century of a difficult summer, but after Dhawan had been bowled by Woakes, he holed out to boost England's chances. Suresh Raina was bowled by a Gurney yorker for twenty five and Ravindra Jadeja ran himself out for seven. That left Dhoni as India's best hope - but for once even he could not drive his team over the line. 'I missed two balls that I could have hit over the boundary, but hitting seventeen in the last over is difficult,'claimed Dhoni. 'It was a good chase, One hundred and eighty is a tricky score in T20 cricket. We gave away too many runs at the death, but bowled well in the middle overs. Overall, it's been a good tour for us. The atmosphere in the dressing room has been good.' Earlier, Lauren Winfield struck her highest international score as England's women beat South Africa by eight runs to complete a three-nil Twenty20 series whitewash. Winfield spanked a superb seventy four off sixty balls to help England recover from the early loss of captain Charlotte Edwards and post one hundred and twenty six for six. South Africa made a bright start with the bat and kept the match alive into the final over. But two wickets for Jenny Gunn and some fine fielding saw England home.

Alex Gidman and Gareth Roderick shared a county record third-wicket stand of three hundred and ninety two for Gloucestershire on day one of their country championship division two game against Leicestershire at Nevil Road. The pair came together on forty seven for two after Will Tavare edged behind and Chris Dent was caught at second slip. But, in four hours, they surpassed the three hundred and thirty six partnership set by the legendary Wally Hammond and Bev Lyon, also against Leicestershire back in 1933. Ollie Freckingham finally got Roderick for one hundred and seventy one but Gidman's unbeaten two hundred and twenty one saw them to the close on five hundred and thirteen for five. Freckingham's intervention, thanks to a Ned Eckersley catch, saw Gidman and Roderick - who both made career-bests - fall just three runs short of equalling their county's record for any wicket. Despite missing out on that record, Gloucestershire, who elected to bat, have put themselves into a commanding position going into the second day against bottom club Leicestershire, still looking for their first Championship win in two years. After Roderick fell, Gloucestershire lost two late wickets in Hamish Marshall and Ian Cockbain, but still surpassed five hundred.

Now, dear blog reader, we're still vaguely on a sporting theme. Not that yer actual Keith Telly Topping wants to boast nor nowt, but ... (no, hang on, who am I kidding? Of course he want to brag from the highest rooftop). Anyway ... yer actual Keith Telly Topping's new British, European and Commonwealth PB in his on-going 'seventeen stone messing about in water to try and do something about this bad back' malarkey is, as of Wednesday morning ...
Well, this blogger was pretty impressed with that, I dunno about you, dear blog reader. Just a couple of months ago, he could barely manage six without needing oxygen at the end of it.

Germany's Marcel Kittel won a thrilling sprint finish in Liverpool in the opening stage of the Tour of Britain. Italy's Nicola Ruffoni was second, ahead of Britain's Mark Cavendish, who contested the sprint despite crashing into a car early in the stage. Defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, of Team Sky, finished in the peloton. Cavendish, who hit a car while trying to avoid another car that braked suddenly, said: 'I hit it with my left leg and I was down on the road.' He added: 'I felt immediately a lot of pain on my quadriceps. At that point I wasn't planning to sprint. But after a couple of laps we decided to just try anyway, but sprint seated because I was in pain. I still got third, but it's a shame because I really wanted to try and win in front of the British public. I really hope that the luck turns in the next days.' Giant-Shimano rider Kittel said: 'It is good to win the first stage and to see the reaction from the crowd.' The eight-lap, one hundred and four kilometre race around the city centre, which started on The Strand and continued into Sefton Park, was watched by thousands of spectators on a gloriously sunny day. It had been expected to be a showdown between Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) - who has won twenty five Tour de France stages - and sprint rival Kittel and the fans were not disappointed with the pair lunging for the line. In the end Cavendish, who said last week that he was not in peak condition as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery after crashing out of the Tour de France earlier in the summer, did not quite have enough to get past Kittel. The German clearly enjoys racing in Britain - he won two of the three Tour de France Grand Depart stages which finished in Yorkshire and London, on his way to winning four in the race. He picked up ten bonus seconds for winning the stage and leads the overall standings by one second from Italian Sonny Colbrelli, who was in the breakaway and picked up nine bonus seconds in intermediate sprints. Wiggins, looking to become the first rider to win successive Tour of Britain titles since the race was reintroduced in 2004, began well and looked comfortable as he stayed at the heart of the peloton. Monday's second stage is a two hundred kilometre race from Knowsley to Llandudno and the Tour then heads south through Wales and visits the south and west of England before ending with two stages in London on 14 September.

Italian Gianluca Brambilla and Russia's Ivan Rovny have been disqualified from the Vuelta a Espana after coming to blows during Monday's sixteenth stage. Both men landed punches on each other as they rode among a - somewhat startled - breakaway group of thirteen riders on the one hundred and sixty kilometre stage from San Martin del Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona. It was, in short, a geet rive on, like, with kids getting sparked and all sorts and that. Which is all well and good but it's not, really, what you expect to see in the middle of a bike race. Alberto Contador won the stage after seeing off Chris Froome on a summit finish to increase his overall lead to ninety six seconds over Alejandro Valverde. Froome finished fourteen seconds behind. Tinkoff-Saxo's Rovny needed a new pair of sunglasses from his support team after they were broken in the altercation with Brambilla. Omega Pharma-Quick-Step rider Brambilla was in a leading group when he was forced to quit after 'a short discussion' with race organisers, raising his arms up in the air in frustration and threatening to get aal stroppy and discombobulated in his incandescent fury. A short time later Rovny also dropped out of the main pack after being told of his punishment by his team. Brambilla subsequently apologised for his actions in a tweet. 'I'm sorry. This situation shouldn't have happened. For my part in it, I apologize to OPQS, race organizers, and the fans,' he wrote. Contador's win saw him move a huge step closer to claiming his third Vuelta victory. The Spaniard was able to go with Froome when the Team Sky rider made his move with just four kilometres remaining of the long climb to the finish line. The two managed to distance themselves from the chasing Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez but it was two-time Tour de France winner Contador who had the stronger finish.

Sour-faced grumpy child and bad loser Lewis Hamilton took a crucial victory in the Italian Grand Prix after Nico Rosberg made a mistake under pressure from his Mercedes team-mate. Hamilton fought back after a poor start from pole position, caused by a glitch in his start procedure, dropped him to fourth early on. He had just closed to within a second of his sister Mercedes when the German ran wide at the first chicane. Victory in Monza reduces Hamilton's deficit in the title race to twenty two points. Behind the two Mercedes drivers, Felipe Massa drove steadily to third place as his team-mate Valtteri Bottas recovered in impressive style from a poor start to take fourth on the day that Williams confirmed both will stay on next season. The win will be a significant psychological boost to sour-faced grumpy child and bad loser Hamilton and a corresponding blow to cocky-dan full-of-himself Rosberg. The German was already under the spotlight after being criticised by his team for causing a collision between the two at the previous race in Belgium. And he received boos from the gathering crowd below the podium as he gave his post-race interview, as he had two weeks' previously at Spa. Not a popular chap is yer actual Rosberg. Despite the crowd reaction, and two weeks' of heated conversations between Hamilton and Rosberg, the German said: 'Lewis drove a great race and he deserves it today.' The race seemed to be falling into Rosberg's lap as Hamilton's car was slow away from pole position and he was swamped by the field, falling behind his team-mate, McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Massa. Hamilton, however, was soon pushing hard to make up lost ground. He took advantage of Massa, passing Magnussen at the second chicane on lap five to grab third from the Dane at the first Lesmo corner on lap five. And five laps later Hamilton pulled a superb move on Massa, holding the outside line at the first chicane and grabbing the place into the second, left-handed part. At that point, Hamilton was just over two seconds behind Rosberg and he inched closer as they traded lap times to be 1.3 seconds behind when Rosberg made his only pit stop on lap twenty four, his position as the lead car giving him priority on pit-stop timing. Hamilton was still almost two seconds behind when he rejoined after his own stop a lap later. He was warned by his engineer that the 'race will be at the end - look after your tyres' but chose to ignore the advice, instead making his move when his tyres were in their best condition. He cut into Rosberg's lead, reducing it from 1.8 seconds on lap twenty six, to 1.3 a lap later and then 0.7 second with a new fastest lap as they crossed the line at the end of lap twenty eight. A few hundred metres later, Rosberg braked too late into the first chicane and was forced to take to the escape road, Hamilton taking the lead as his team-mate negotiated the bollards before rejoining the track. It was the second time in the race Rosberg had made the same mistake, the first coming on lap nine. Hamilton said: 'The car felt good and it was the closest I'd been and during the previous stint. I knew when I was behind others on the older tyres, it was very hard to stay with him so I knew the only chance would be at the start so I took it.' Hamilton extended his lead in measured but inexorable fashion over the next few laps to four seconds, where it stabilised until the Englishman locked up a front tyre going into the first chicane with three laps to go. That cost him half a second but Hamilton had everything under control to take his sixth and arguably most important win of the year. 'It was just that Lewis was quick,' added Rosberg. 'Coming from behind, I needed to up my pace and as a result went into the mistake. That was very bad, and that lost me the lead. But second place is a good result and there are still a lot of races to go.' 'Rosberg is putting a brave face on it,' BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard said, 'but that has to hurt.' Behind the top three, Bottas had to thread his way through an epic multi-car fight between the Red Bulls, McLarens and Sergio Perez's Force India that see-sawed throughout the race. It was eventually won by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who passed team-mate Sebastien Vettel with a brilliant dummy into the second chicane with six laps to go. Vettel held on to take sixth ahead of Magnussen, Perez and the second McLaren of Jenson Button. But Magnussen was later demoted to tenth behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen following a five-second penalty for forcing Bottas off the track in a battle at the first chicane. Raikkonen's two points signified a dismal day for the team at their home race, which saw team-mate Fernando Alonso retire with a hybrid system failure, his first mechanical retirement since 2009. Alonso had been in the battle with the Red Bulls, McLarens and Perez before he pulled off shortly after half distance at the first chicane. He acknowledged the cheers of the crowd as he walked back to the pits but the Italian team will be hurting from such a poor performance. 'We have to recover from this,' Alonso said.

The first LP in five years by veteran Irish rockers The U2 Group has been offered for free to the five hundred million users of Apple's iTunes service. The surprise announcement was made at a California event where Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the firm's latest iPhone and a new smartwatch. The U2 Group also performed live at the event. Mister Bonio out of The U2 Gorup described the release of the eleven-song LP, Songs Of Innocence, as 'kind of mind blowing. [It is] the most personal album we've written could be shared with half a billion people - by hitting send,' Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group said. 'If only songwriting was that easy.' As usual, the other members of The U2 Group, Mister The Edge out of The U2 Group and ... the other two said nothing. The U2 Group's last LP, No Line On The Horizon, hit the top spot in the UK charts in 2009 and eventually surpassed five-million-sales worldwide. However, Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group was quoted as saying that he was 'disappointed' with the response and told the Gruniad Morning Star that year that he be a'feared that the 'concept' of an album was 'almost an extinct species.' The U2 Group is famed for producing some of the landmark LP of the 1980s and early 1990s, including OctoberThe Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. And for being a decent enough band considering they spend most of their time with their collective head up their collective arse. There had been 'some speculation' this year - albeit, not from anybody that you'd've actually heard of - that The U2 Group were planning a new CD. However, the free release at the Apple event had not been anticipated.
Yer actual David Bowie has announced a new single and career-spanning box set. The Grand Dame Her Very Self confirmed that brand new single 'Sue (or In A Season Of Crime)' backed with another new song, 'Tis A Pity She's A Whore' (both co-produced with long-term collaborator Tony Visconti) will be taken from the upcoming retrospective collection Nothing Has Changed. The box-set will work backwards chronologically to comprehensively document fifty years of The Grand Dame's material, from the new single and 2013's James Murphy 'Hello Steve Reich Mix' of 'Love Is Lost', to David's first single, 1964's 'Liza Jane' when he was still Davy Jones and had a really rather nice pageboy haircut like Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. It will also feature previously unreleased material from his 'lost' (or, unreleased, anyway) 2001 CD Toy. The collection's title is taken from the lyrics to Bowie's song 'Sunday' from his twenty second studio LP Heathen. The box set is comprised of a three CD set, a two CD set, a double vinyl and a digital download. Quality song selection albeit, wot, no 'John, I'm Only Dancing'? Pfft. Definitive my arse!
And, finally
A woman has told a court that she was 'desperate' to get out of a dressing room where she was being assaulted by former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis. She claimed that Travis held the door shut and put his hand inside her trousers as they worked together on a production of Aladdin in the early 1990s. She said the attack stopped when one of the children's entertainers The Chuckle Brothers spoke outside the room. Travis denies two counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Southwark Crown Court that the attack happened after she went into Travis's dressing room. 'Dave Lee Travis was standing behind me with his hand on the door above my head, forcibly closing it,' she said. 'He then put his hand down the front of my trousers.' She added: 'It came as a complete shock. I was desperate to get out.' The woman, who was in her early twenties at the time, said she managed to open the door by a few centimetres and then heard a voice say: 'All right, Dave.' She said Travis let go of the door and she realised the person who had spoken was one of The Chuckle Brothers, Paul and Barry Elliot, who had both been walking past. The woman did not report the incident to the police until 2012 - more than twenty years after it allegedly happened. She told the court she was worried at the time that she would not be believed and could lose her job. 'Dave Lee Travis was the star,' she said. 'Accusing the main star in the show of doing something like that - how is that going to affect your career?' She said she agreed with a male colleague that she would not return to Travis's dressing room. Travis is being retried on two counts - one of indecent assault and one of sexual assault - after a jury failed to reach verdicts earlier this year. He also faces a further charge of indecent assault. The counts relate to separate victims and separate incidents in 1990-91, 1995 and 2008.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's something properly soulful.

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