Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Week Thirty Seven: Subvert Normality

We start with some ratings; 5.21 million overnight viewers watched Into the Dalek on Saturday evening, a share of 24.7 per cent of the total available TV audience. That's broadly a similar figure to the second episode of the last Doctor Who series, Dinosaurs On A Spaceship, which had an overnight audience of 5.3 million in September 2012. Into The Dalek achieved an AI score of eighty four, slightly up on the previous episode's figure of eighty two. Doctor Who was the second-highest rated programme of the night, which was comfortably won by the return of The X Factor on ITV. The latest series of the singing competition - which welcomed the return of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef from Crossroads and The Heaton Horror Cheryl Fernandez-Versini-Whatsherface - premièred to 9.03m from 8pm, a forty per cent audience share. Against Doctor Who, The Chase: Z-List Celebrity Special had an audience of 4.2 million. Into The Dalek did not appear to suffer any obvious loss of viewers during its fifteen minute crossover with The X Factor, with ratings broadly stable throughout the episode. Around two million BBC viewers then switched to ITV just as Doctor Who finished, which suggests that the crossover between the audiences of Doctor Who and The X Factor is, roughly, that. The second-highest rated programme on BBC1 was Casualty with 3.9 million. The X Factor's figures are slightly up from the previous year's launch, which managed an overnight of 8.78m. Elsewhere on ITV, Keith Lemon's Risible Tripe Through the Keyhole attracted a truly horrifying 3.69m from 9.25pm. Have you people no shame? Alleged BBC 'insiders' allegedly expect Doctor Who's figure to 'increase dramatically' (as, indeed, it did with the last episode, see below) once timeshifts are taken into account and the consolidated and final ratings are published in a week's time according to the Radio Times. And, its worth mentioning at after just one day, timeshifts has already added a whopping 1.3m to Into The Daleks' overnight figure (the audience as of Monday morning having risen to 6.48 million). Doctor Who's cause wasn't exactly helped by the almost total collapse of the audience for its lead-in show, the truly wretched Tumble which continued with but 2.74 million punters. It's to be hoped that whatever complete numskull within the BBC who thought that commissioning a piss-poor imitation of ITV's - already risible - Pro-Celebrity Drowning ('only, with gymnastics') was a good idea is currently clearing out their desk and saying goodbye to former colleagues. Even Pointless Celebrities, which preceded it, had more viewers (3.09m). Elsewhere, The National Lottery: Break The Safe managed 2.69m from 8.15pm. Match Of The Day averaged 3.62m and included as its lead match highlights of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies in an entertaining but frustrating three-three draw with Crystal Palace. On BBC2, Proms Extra 2014 drew in five hundred and seventy three thousand from 7pm and Andrew Marr's Great Scots: The Writers Who Shaped A Nation was watched by five hundred and forty four thousand from 9.15pm. Channel Four's Grand Designs repeated to six hundred and sixty two thousand before the movie Lockout had an audience of nine hundred and fifty six thousand. Celebrity Big Brother continued with 1.09m on Channel Five. Unfunny Professional Northern Berk Paddy McGuinness: Saturday Night Live was watched by three hundred and eleven thousand. The multichannels were topped by ITV3's Midsomer Murders with 1.01m from 9pm. The new BBC4 Swedish drama Crimes Of Passion took over its Saturday night slot with seven hundred and thirty eight thousand viewers.
Into The Dalek also averaged 1.1 million national viewers in Australia (these figures include the five capital cities and regional and rural viewers). It was the second highest rating drama of the day (after ANZAC Girls) and the ninth highest rating program of the day overall. Excluding regional and rural viewers, this story averaged seven hundred and forty eight thousand viewers in the five major Australian cities.

The X Factor dropped over a million overnight punters for its second show on Sunday. The ITV competition's first Sunday edition of the year dipped from Saturday's nine million to an average of 7.55m from 8pm. This is down from last year's first Sunday show's overnight ratings of 9.21m. On BBC1, Nature's Miracle Orphans brought in 3.86m at 7pm, followed by Countryfile with 5.13m at 8pm. The Village continued with 3.78m at 9pm and Match Of The Day 2 which had 2.65m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Equator With Simon Reeve interested 1.21m at 7pm, while Dragons' Den appealed to 1.54m at 8pm. Two Amigos: A Gaucho Adventure gathered 1.30m at 9pm and Him & Her's final series BBC2 première had an audience of five hundred and eleven thousand at 10pm. On Channel Four, the Time Team special, Secrets Of The Body Snatchers attracted eight hundred and thirty two thousand at 8pm, followed by the Ben Stiller comedy Tower Heist with 1.63m at 9pm. Channel Five's Celebrity Big Brother attracted 1.74m sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm, followed by the film Death Sentence with six hundred and ninety five thousand at 10pm.

New Tricks dipped from last week's audience but still easily topped Monday's overnight ratings. The BBC1 drama dropped around six hundred thousand viewers to 5.28 million at 9pm. Twenty One Up: The New Generation interested 1.80m at 10.35pm. Earlier, the new series Inside Out gathered 3.14m at 7.30pm, while Panorama brought in 2.52m at 8.30pm. BBC2's University Challenge was watched by 2.64m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect's BBC2 debut with 2.03m at 8.30pm. Alex Polizzi: The Fixer was seen by nine hundred and five thousand at 9pm. On ITV, Tonight: The Food We Eat appealed to 2.40m at 8pm. Long Lost Family concluded with 3.79m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Odious Nasty Horrible Jamie's Rotten Comfort Food was watched by 1.26m at 8pm, followed by Gadget Man with 1.06m at 8.30pm. Royal Marines Commando School continued with 1.53m at 9pm. Channel Five's Police Interceptors brought in 1.03m at 8pm. The latest Celebrity Big Brother had an audience of 1.58m at 9pm, followed by Under The Dome with seven hundred and eighty six thousand at 10pm. Sky1's Duck Quacks Don't Echo returned with two hundred and six thousand punters at 8pm, followed by Fifty Ways To Kill Your Mammy with two hundred and sixty thousand at 9pm.

BBC1's In the Club remained on top outside of soaps in Tuesday's overnight ratings. The drama's penultimate episode was up by nearly three hundred thousand viewers from last week to 4.74 million at 9pm. Later, Twenty One Up: The New Generation was watched by 1.65m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Young Vets brought in 1.34m at 7pm, followed by Tricks Of The Trade with 1.89m at 8pm and Super Senses with 1.33m at 9pm. On ITV, the documentary Harry At Thirty interested 3.07m at 8pm, while new 'special' (and I use that word extremely wrongly) Gems TV had an absolute 'mare at 9pm, attracting but 1.43m. Channel Four's Dogs: Their Secret Lives appealed to 1.33m at 8pm. Worst Place To Be A Pilot had an audience of nine hundred and ninety one thousand punters at 9pm and Hotel Hell was watched by seven hundred and sixty six thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Cowboy Builders brought in seven hundred and fifty eight thousand at 8pm, followed by CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with 1.42m at 9pm and the latest Celebrity Big Brother with 1.52m sad, crushed victims of society at 10pm.

The Great British Bake Off's ratings on Wednesday were not dented by live international football coverage, overnight data reveals. The popular BBC1 bakery series actually climbed once again to a new overnight high of 8.29 million viewers at 8pm. Later, the new period drama Our Zoo launched to 5.07m at 9pm, while Fake Britain had earlier brought in 4.01m at 7.30pm. ITVs - wretched, as always - coverage of England's thoroughly depressing and disappointing 1-0 win over Norway (with a Wayne Rooney penalty, one of only two shots on goal that England managed in the entire game) bored 4.37 millipn punters utterly titless from 7.30pm. Which, of course, means that a programme featuring Mel and Sue and some people making cakes got twice as many viewers as Adrian Chiles. Laugh, dear blog reader? Laugh? This blogger nearly stopped. On BBC2, Young Vets attracted 1.46m at 7pm, followed by Hotel India with 1.22m at 8pm and Horizon with nine hundred and sixty seven thousand at 9pm. Channel Four's Double Your House For Half the Money appealed to eight hundred and thirty three thousand punters at 8pm, while Grand Designs interested 1.68m at 9pm. The Gypsy Matchmaker was seen by nine hundred and eighty three thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Countdown To Murder brought in nine hundred and twenty four thousand at 8pm, followed by Celebrity Big Brother with 1.62m at 9pm and Wentworth Prison with nine hundred and forty thousand.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 24 August 2014:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 9.28m
2 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 9.17m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.82m
4 New Tricks - Mon BBC1 - 7.23m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.85m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.42m
7 In The Club - Tues BBC1 - 5.75m
8 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.10m
9 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.0om
10 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 4.94m
11 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.82m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.43m
13 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.38m
14 Boomers - Fri BBC1 - 4.25m
15 The Village - Sun BBC1 - 4.13m
16 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.99m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.89m
18 Nature's Miracle Orphans - Sun BBC1 - 3.79m
19 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.74m
20 Long Lost Family - Mon ITV - 3.72m*
ITV Programmes marked '*' do not include include HD figures. Doctor Who's final figure included a timeshift over the initial 'live' audience of almost two and a half million viewers. Apart from various Christmas specials and the fiftieth anniversary episode, The Day Of The Doctor, this is the highest rating for the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama since Matt Smith's début episode The Eleventh Hour in 2010. The Thursday late night repeat of Deep Breath had an overnight audience of 0.12 million viewers, whilst the Friday evening BBC3 showing was watched by 0.32 million. The AI figure for the Friday repeat was eighty six (the initial broadcast having had a score of eighty two). The cinema screening of Deep Breath took five hundred and twenty two thousand nine hundred and eight quid at the UK box office over the weekend, making it the eighth highest-grossing feature of the weekend, despite only receiving one showing. 'Doctor Who isn't simply about the overnight audience and is incredibly successful with audiences on catch-up,' and alleged BBC 'source' allegedly told the Radio Times. 'It is our fourth highest rating drama title of 2014 so far after Sherlock, Call Midwife and The Musketeers.' Channel Four's highest-rated show was Educating Yorkshire One Year On with 2.24m, followed by Location, Location, Location (1.89m). Channel Five's best performer was Celebrity Big Brother (2.61m), followed by CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with 2.03. No data was available for BBC2 this week. On BBC4, the excellent documentary The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill led the way with eight hundred and six thousand viewers. Lewis was ITV3's best performer with 1.09m. Family Guy on BBC3 was the most watched show on multchannels with 1.36m, followed by E4's The One Hundred (1.31m).

Incidentally, dear blog reader, there is a rumour currently doing the rounds on the Interweb that The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat is leaving Doctor Who and will be replaced as showrunner for series nine by Anthony Horowitz. Albeit it's not from sources that you'd actually go out of your way to trust. Whether there is any truth in this rumour or not, this blogger hasn't the foggiest although I do know that Moffat has already used at least two interviews with DWM to allude to him having plans in place for series nine. Steven himself hasn't commented on these rumours as yet, of course, as he's currently in Los Angeles collecting and polishing his seven EMMYs. As ever, dear blog reader, one is advised to treat what appears to be  an example of somewhat agenda-encrusted groin-thrusting, with the contempt it deserves until told otherwise by somebody considerably more trustworthy than Bleeding Cool. Gosh, does anybody remember a time when fandom used to be peopled by grown-ups? No, me neither. Stupid question, really?
Then, the next day, Anthony Horowitz denied it. With one word - 'unlikely.' Odd, that since the originator of the rumour suggested he had it on 'good authority'. Not that good, clearly.

And from that lack of a bombshell to yer actual Top Telly Tips:

Saturday 6 September
'You will tell me everything that this Doctor knows about Robin Hood and his Merry Men.' He's wanted to do it for years, dear blog reader, and finally yer actual Mark Gatiss has got his own way and managed to write a Doctor Who episode featuring yet another British icon in Robot Of Sherwood - 7:30 BBC1. The Time Lord finds himself in Sherwood Forest, where he discovers an evil plan from beyond the stars to destroy Nottingham. Obviously to stop Cloughie taking Forest to two European Cups. I mean, this blogger can't think of any other reason why anyone would wish to destroy Nottingham, can you, dear blog reader? Anyway, The Doctor soon finds himself an ally - none other than yer actual Robin Hood his very self - but The Doctor struggles to believe that the mythical hero is, actually, real and the pair end up bickering like an about-to-be-divorced couple when they should be thwarting the intergalactic menace. Much to Clara's chagrin. Starring Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, with Tom Riley and the great Ben Miller as The Sheriff. Looks really good from the trailer though, whether the portions of fandom who've been tripping over themselves to praise Peter's new 'dark' portrayal will enjoy this one as much as the previous two episodes is another question entirely.
A bride-to-be goes missing the day before her wedding, and attending guests Puck, Einar and Christer are drawn into another investigation in Crimes Of Passion - 9:00 BBC4. The 1950s crime fighting Swedish trio find themselves - as usual - with no shortage of suspects, not least the bride's best friend, with whom Christer develops an, ahem, 'sudden rapport.' Two episodes in an he's already acquiring a bit of a reputation for doing that pretty much every case. However, everyone in attendance seems to have something to hide, leaving the would-be sleuths to work out whether any of their secrets are connected to the woman's disappearance or just, simply, secrets worth keeping. Scandiwegian noir mystery drama, starring Tuva Novotny, Linus Wahlgren and Christer Wijk. Välsmakande.

Some American fans were, reportedly, a bit disappointed last month by the season finale of True Detective – 9:00 Sky Atlantic. And remember, as this is an anthology show with a new cast each year, the end of the season means we've reached the climax of Rust and Marty's story. It was too procedural and too conventional, the naysayers claimed. Not in keeping with what had gone before, they argued. Butm they wrong, and it is. The point, that the central characters have changed, seemed to have escaped the notice of those who had, perhaps, expected a climax more obviously left-field and who then whinged about it, loudly, to anyone that would listen. And, indeed, anyone that wouldn't. In the previous episode, we saw that the detectives' unhealable (often self-inflicted) scars and destructive impulses had left them both with nothing but the case that, for seventeen years, had run parallel to their mother of all mid-life crises. Now that they've hit rock bottom, they can - at last - try to solve it, edging towards a kind of redemption which sees the show dabble, pretty successfully, in brighter and more mystical philosophising. Ultimately, it makes sense and the final scene between two battered, bruised, but wiser survivors in, genuinely touching. To anybody with a heart in their chest, anyway. The investigation itself means True Detective is back in thriller mode - something it always did with consummate ease - as Marty and Rust track down Louisiana's answer to The Bogeyman. Director Cary Fukunaga sets himself and the show's production designers one final test: to surpass every creepy serial-killer lair ever put on celluloid and come up with something even more frightening than the cellar in The Silence Of The Lambs. Easy. As the former partners go back over the case files of the Dora Lange murder, a witness's description of a green-eared figure gives the pair new impetus when Hart makes a connection. After following the lead, the pair head out to a remote house in the bayou, where the crocodile shit floats thick. There, they finally encounter the scarred man they have been hunting for years, but he flees into a labyrinthine structure - with Rust in hot pursuit. Welcome, to the nightmare. Starring one last time, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

Earlier this year, for some never fully explained reason, the Drama channel stopped their repeat run of Waking The Dead in the middle of 2008's series seven. Tonight, thankfully, they pick back up more or less where they left off with one of the popular long-running BBC crime drama's most memorable two part stories, Sins - 9:00. The discovery of human remains - specifically, an extremely disembodied head - in an urban canal is linked to the unsolved, and very grizzly, murder of a hated prison governor fifteen years earlier. This leads Peter Boyd's Cold Case Unit to seek out the original suspects. Both of whom are, as it turns out, utter bloody psychopaths. However, it is not long before the prison psychologist, who is married to the victim's daughter, finds himself personally embroiled in the investigation. Meanwhile, Boyd launches a search for his missing teenage druggy son, Luke. Memorable storyline featuring the first appearance of crazy Ruth Gemmell as Boyd's nemesis, Linda Cummings, the completely mad murderess. Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, Tara FitzGerald, Wil Johnson and Felicite Du Jeu star, with a tremendous guest cast that also includes David Schofield, Michael Maloney, Alexandra Moen, Rob Dixon and Tony Maudsley.

Sunday 7 September
After completing their apprenticeship in the North, John Thomson and Simon Day travel fifteen hundred miles South, to Argentina's rugged Patagonia region and the foothills of the Andes in the second episode of The Two Amigos: A Gaucho Adventure - 9:15 BBC2. Throughout history this region has been a haven for those wanting to escape, including the infamous outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Fast Show stars visit the remote ranch where Butch and the Kid hid out more than one hundred years ago. The duo then arrive in the small town of Trevelin, where they meet Alejandro Jones, a fifth-generation Welsh gaucho who will be their new boss for a cattle drive down the rough terrain of the mountain pass.

Tonight sees the return of the Victorian crime drama The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher - 9:05 ITV - starring yer actual Paddy Considine for the first of two new episodes. Private detective Jack Whicher is hired by his one-time political master, the former Home Secretary Edward Shore, to investigate various threats made against his son, Charles, who has recently returned to London from India with his young family. Shore fears that entanglement in a scandal could have devastating repercussions for his own political career and, as a consequence, insists that the detective carry out his investigations without involving his former Metropolitan police colleagues, even after a brutal murder occurs. Whicher's relentless pursuit of justice takes him to the most dangerous corners of London's Docklands, but also brings him into contact with a woman who starts to melt his long-frozen heart to slush. Aw, bless. With Nicholas Jones, John Heffernan and Tim Pigott-Smith.

The Bronze Age was the time when the British landscape became civilised, in the broadest sense of the term, with fields, farms and the first roads. But, little evidence survives of what life was actually like for the Bronzies three thousand five hundred years ago. However, in 1992, archaeologists in Dover town centre unearthed something which shed more light on this mysterious era. Six metres underground they discovered the perfectly preserved remains of a large boat. In the latest Time Team special, The Boats That Built Britain - 8:00 Channel Four - yer actual Sir Tony Robinson joins a team of experts as they strive to reconstruct the Dover Boat - one of the world's oldest seagoing vessels - using only materials and tools from its era.

Houdini - 9:00 Channel Four - is the first of a two-part biopic drama following the life of legendary illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini from his humble beginnings at circus sideshows to sold-out concert halls and international celebrity status. As he finds fame, the illusionist and escapologist engages in espionage, battles fake spiritualists and encounters the greatest names of the era, from America presidents to Rasputin (there was a cat that really was gone) and a friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle. At least until Sir Arthur went a bit mental and started believing in fairies and all that. Adrien Brody takes the title role, with Kristen Connolly as Bess, the love of his life, and Evan Jones as his assistant and confidant Jim Collins.
As a curtain-raiser to the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, which starts in a couple of weeks, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman host a red-carpet event in which this year's alleged 'celebrities' are paired up with their professional partners - 8:00 BBC1. This year's line-up is the most underwhelming in some considerable time - I mean, it comes to a pretty sorry state of affairs when yer actual baldy Gregg Wallace is one of the most recognisable people in the damn thing. Anyway, the 'celebrity' (and this blogger uses that word quite wrongly) women shaking the booties down to the ground are Frankie Bridge from the girl band The Saturdays (no, me neither), 'tennis coach' Judy Murray - who is best known for being the mother of Andy Murray (I'm not making this up, honest) - This Morning 'reporter' and former Big Brother-type person Alison Hammond, Casualty actress Sunetra Sarker, simpering girlie singer Pixie Lott, TV presenter Caroline Flack and Mrs Brown's Boys actress Jennifer Gibney. The men donning their dancing shoes alongside Wallace are the former rugby player Thom Evans, ITV2-type person Mark Wright, EastEnders' Jake Wood, wildlife presenter Steve Backshall, Radio DJ Scott Mills, Bargain Hunt presenter Tim Wonnacott and former Blue singer Simon Webbe. Together, the - alleged - celebrities will give their first group performance, allowing a glimpse of their various talents. Or, you know, lack of them. Last year's winners Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec will also repeat their waltz and there is music by yer actual Smokey Robinson with Imelda May and Five Seconds of Summer. The other sound you might be able to hear during the episode is that of barrel bottoms being scraped.

Monday 8 September
A seventy nine-year-old woman with dementia runs away from her care home and turns up at a South London police station to report a murder - sparking a reinvestigation into the mysterious disappearance of her police officer husband in 1956 in the latest episode of New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. The official report into the man's death says that the victim fell into the river after one too many beers - but what secrets was this seemingly straight-as-they-come old-fashioned copper keeping, and from whom? Meanwhile, Steve's son is arrested for buying weed, bringing the retired officer face-to-face with his ex-wife - a woman he hasn't seen in ten years. Tamzin Outhwaite, Denis Lawson, Dennis Waterman and Nicholas Lyndhurst star, with a guest appearance from Julie Graham.

Abstract Artists In Their Own Words - 9:00 BBC4 - is a documentary revealing the varied ways in which British artists explored the idea of abstraction during the Twentieth Century, from Barbara Hepworth's geometric forms, to Anthony Caro's bold sculptures. The programme offers an insight into the ideas and working practices of some of Britain's most acclaimed artists, including Howard Hodgkin and Gillian Ayres and features additional contributions by the Royal Academy's Tim Marlow, art historian James Fox, Iwona Blazwick from The Whitechapel Gallery, broadcaster Andrew Marr and Irish writer Colm Tóibín.

Tonight's episode of The Secrets - 10:35 BBC1 - is the second of five one-off dramas focusing on the moral dilemmas which have to be resolved when secrets are unearthed. On the eve of their wedding, Tom confesses to his fiancée, Charlotte, that he was once accused of raping an ex-girlfriend - a case which went to court but was eventually dropped. Although she stands by her man, Charlotte soon finds her doubts about him growing. With the ceremony just hours away, can she bring herself to marry him? Sarah Solemani and Rupert Evans star. The third drama can be seen tomorrow.
Three historians take on a team from Oxford in the latest episode of Only Connect - 8:30 BBC4 - the quiz show which tests general knowledge and lateral thinking. The players must make connections between four things that may appear at first glance not to be linked at all, with one set of clues consisting of Guernsey, Jersey, Balaclava and Bikini. Yer actual Victoria Coren Mitchell hosts. Saucily, as always.

Tuesday 9 September
The CSIs are called in when sixteen-year-old Debbie Logan is found dead, with evidence of sexual assault, in a car parked on a desert highway in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - 9:00 Channel Five. They trace her movements to a nondescript building that turns out to be a brothel run by Madame Suzanne, and a shard of glass is discovered that matches a piece lodged in the victim's knee. The case takes a twist when it transpires that the victim's church minister father is a regular visitor to the naughty gaff. Guest starring Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks' Audrey Horne) and Jack Coleman from Heroes.
The Motorway: Life In The Fast Lane - 9:00 BBC1 - is a documentary series following one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Britain, as the M6 joins up with four other major routes. The men and women working behind the scenes spend their lives helping commuters get from A to B (albeit, often, via Z) as safely and as quickly as possible, overcoming everything from extreme weather conditions to difficult residents, on top of dealing with traffic of up to eight thousand vehicles an hour. Repairs to the road are the source of some major battles with local residents. Jim and Alan live twenty metres from a current stretch of roadworks and are repeatedly subjected to high levels of noise and flashing lights in the middle of the night. Unfortunately they are not the only ones having sleepless nights as safety inspectors work late shifts on the hunt for heavy-freight truckers breaking road restrictions.

Now Britain's most desirable status symbol, hot tubs have become big business. Apparently. No, this blogger hasn't got one and he doesn't know anyone that does. But then, yer actual Keith Telly Topping hasn't got more money than sense. Allegedly. Where were we? oh yes, Hot Tub Britain - 9:00 ITV. This documentary follows Dennis Holmes, his son Dan and son-in-law Ross Phillipson, who are the proud owners of the country's biggest 'hot-tub superstore', which has an annual turnover of more than ten million smackers. Cameras follow the men and their staff throughout the company's busiest period of the year - I'm guessing that's probably going to be summer. A wild stab in the dark, I know - but as the business grows, so too does the tension among the workforce. Why? You'll have to tune in to find out, dear blog reader. Plus, hot tubbers up and down the country reveal why they love the bubbles so much.

Marvin Gaye: Greatest Hits Live - 9:30 Sky Arts 1 - features the legendary late soul singer. Well, obviously, he wasn't late when he performed to a sell-out crowd at Amsterdam's Eden Halle in 1976 during his first European tour for ten years. Featuring 'Since I Had You', 'Let's Get It On', 'How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)', 'Too Busy Thinking About My Baby', 'What's Going On?' and 'Distant Lover'. Plus, Florence Lyles joins Marv to duet on 'Heaven Must Have Sent You'. Mercy.
Wednesday 10 September
Raiders Of The Lost Art - 9:00 Yesterday - investigates works by yer actual Leonardo da Vinci that have been lost or stolen, including the infamous occasion when the Mona Lisa was taken from the Louvre in Paris in 1911 - and Pablo Picasso was accused of the crime.

As Scott & Bailey returns for a fourth series - 9:00 ITV - a vulnerable young man is reported missing by his pub landlord boss. Syndicate Nine suspect Robin McKendrick may have been killed after a photo of him bound and gagged in a car boot appears online. However, the case takes an unusual turn when a body found in a flooded quarry turns out to be a woman's corpse. Meanwhile, battle-scarred from their conflict last year, Janet and Rachel are determined to move forward with honesty. The pair find themselves in front of the promotion board and pass with flying colours, leaving Gill with the task of choosing who stays on as sergeant at the department. Danny Webb joins a cast led by Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones and Amelia Bullimore.
Warwick Davis hosts a revival of the game show Celebrity Squares - 8:00 IVv - originally presented by Bob Monkhouse. Because, seemingly, nobody has any original ideas in television these days. The concept is based on Noughts and Crosses with a giant grid of nine boxes. The contestants say whether they agree or disagree with the general-knowledge answers given by the famous faces inside each box. If they are correct they claim that square, and the first to get three in a line wins the round and the money. One participant then goes on to play for the star prize. Tim Vine and Joe Wilkinson are the resident comedians taking their place on the grid each week, joined in this edition by unfunny, odious, full-of-his-own-importance lard bucket (and drag) James Corden, Catherine Tyldesley (who?), Jamelia (no, me neither), Tom Rosenthal, Charlotte Hawkins, Mick Miller and Sara Pascoe. God have mercy on their souls.
As the West Africa Ebola outbreak continues to claim lives, a Horizon special - 9:00 BBC2 - meets scientists and doctors from around the world who are looking for a cure to the deadly virus, and hears first-hand accounts of what it is like to catch - and survive - the disease. Good luck with that, chaps (and lady chaps). We're all counting on you before we start bleeding from our nipples.

Thursday 11 September
The food writer Mary Berry is one of Britain's best-loved TV cooks, finding fame thanks to her judging role on The Great British Bake Off. A self-confessed go-getter, she wants to trace her family tree to know where she gets her energy and drive from which she does in the latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are? - 9:00 BBC1. The journey begins in Bath, where Mary grew up, and takes her to Norwich, where both her grandparents lived. Along the way she uncovers ancestors including a bankrupt book-binder, a self-motivated corset-maker and a third who worked in a much more familiar profession.

Stonehenge is one of the most enigmatic and fascinating historical sites that this country has to offer, and that's largely for one reason - try as they might, historians and archaeologists have next to no idea what the hell the huge stone monoliths were actually for. Or, indeed, how they got there in the first place. There are no end of theories, of course, but none of them so far have been conclusive. That may all be about to change, however as we discover in the opening episode of the two part Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath - 8:00 BBC2. Recent revolutionary research has just been undertaken which, over the course of just a few years, has yielded some fascinating insights into the site and its long-hidden secrets. Drawing on this new data, archaeologists might finally be in a position to put to bed some of its mysteries, as this programme reveals the five-year project's findings.

While investigating the mysterious disappearance of sixteen-year-old schoolgirl Taylor, Sean discovers that she was a member of an online social network previously linked to several suspected suicides in the second episode of ITV's new crime drama Chasing Shadows - 9:00. He believes that a serial killer is posing in Internet chat rooms as a teenage girl to prey on vulnerable youths, making each of them look like they have taken their own lives. Gosh, the rotter. Using his unique pattern-reading intelligence and with the help of MPB analyst Ruth, the detective's net closes in - leading to a startling discovery. It says here. Reece Shearsmith, Alex Kingston and Noel Clarke star.

Despite the ratings-grabbing title, the two-part Penguins On A Plane: Great Animal Moves isn't quite the action thriller that it sounds. Rather, it's a rather insightful and charming documentary revealing how thousands of exotic animals are moved around the world every day, and how they cope with being transported. First up, a flock of gentoo penguins get a luxury forty thousand quid container for their trip from New Zealand to Birmingham, while staff at the West Midlands Safari Park prepare to bid farewell to Pinky the two-ton hippo, who puts her trip to the south of France in danger by testing a reinforced crate to its limits. Plus, a beekeeper awaits a precious cargo of some eight million bees, which he hopes will help British fruit farmers.

Host Dara O Briain and regulars Hugh Dennis and Andy Parsons are joined by Ed Byrne, Gary Delaney, Katherine Ryan and Josh Widdicombe for the topical comedy quiz Mock The Week - 10:00 BBC2 - resuming the thirteenth series following a summer break. The panellists give their take on the week's major news stories and participate in a series of stand-up spots and improvised games.

Friday 12 September
The BBC appear to have found something of a surprise (minor) hit in the gentle comedy of Boomers - 9:00 BBC1. It's hardly reinventing the wheel but, at least it usually includes about three or four jokes per episode that are worth waiting for. In which regard, it has a great ration than entire series of most other sitcoms currently cluttering up the schedules. In the latest episode, Joyce and Alan have financial concerns and consider downsizing but - hoping to keep it quiet for the time being - they don't count on their friends being there when the estate agent arrives to look round. Maureen has finally decided to move elderly mum Joan into a residential home, while the men convince John that his sister-in-law's over-friendly behaviour is actually a form of sexual harassment and, having put up with it for 40 years, he decides it's time he finally spoke up. Starring Alison Steadman, Philip Jackson, Stephanie Beacham, Paula Wilcox, Russ Abbot and June Whitfield.

Rob Brydon hosts the welcome return f the comedy panel show Would I Lie To You? - 8:30 BBC1. In which two teams headed by David Mitchell and Lee Mack try to hoodwink each other with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves. You knew that, right? One of the world's least funny alleged comedians, Micky Flanagan, Fiona Bruce, Claudia Whatsherface and Steve Jones (no, not the former Sex Pistol, sadly) are first up, with stories including performing a striptease at a lacklustre hen party and saving P Diddy from drowning. And, if you enjoy that, as soon as it's finished pop over to Dave where you can watch another two episodes.
John Humphrys invites four more contestants to take their place in the famous black chair in Mastermind - 7:00 BBC2 - where they answer questions on the specialist subjects of US political TV series House Of Cards, FA Cup Finals at the old Wembley Stadium, the poet John Milton and the siege of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 1453. They then have a chance to demonstrate their general knowledge in the final round.

If you haven't come across it previously, Tyrant - 9:00 FOX - is a, really rather decent political family drama documenting the geopolitical strife and bloody conflicts surrounding the Al-Fayeed family, the ruling dynasty of the fictional Middle-East dictatorship of Abbudin. In this opening episode, Younger son Bassam Al-Fayeed returns to his homeland after a twenty-year exile in the US, bringing with him his American wife and children. However, it is not long before he is tangled in the web of intrigue surrounding his father's presidency. Starring Adam Rayner. It's from the makers of 24 and Homeland so, chances are, if you enjoyed the over-the-top testosterone-snorting tool-stiffening violence in those, you'll like this too.
To the news: BBC Worldwide has removed a 'gay kiss' in the Doctor Who episode Deep Breath for Asian broadcasters. Where vile and sick homophobia is still acceptable, seemingly. The cut scene shows the Silurian Madame Vastra kissing her human wife, Jenny Flint, in an attempt to save her life. The episode saw the pair at the mercy of deadly clockwork 'droids who can only detect living people if they are breathing. With Jenny no longer able to hold her breath, Vastra steps in to share her oxygen. However, the moment was edited out of a version of the episode broadcast on the BBC Entertainment channel in Asian countries like Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. As there is only one version of the show broadcast to the entire region, the scene is said to have been cut to comply with the MDA broadcast code in Singapore, where the Asian BBC Entertainment feed is relayed from. And, to repeat, where vile and sick homophobia seems to still be acceptable. Their broadcasting code states: 'Information, themes or sub-plots on lifestyles such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, paedophilia and incest should be treated with utmost caution. Their treatment should not in any way promote, justify or glamorise such lifestyles. Explicit dialogue or information concerning the above topics should not be broadcast.' According to an alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, quite possibly fictitious - BBC 'insider', a breach of this code would have left the Corporation's commercial arm BBC Worldwide liable for a fine, according to Radio Times. BBC Worldwide itself has not commented on the ethical problems of the cut - you know, that fact that it's unjustifiable - but a spokesman explained that, 'in order to comply with broadcast regulations in Asia where our BBC Entertainment channel airs, BBC Worldwide made a brief edit to the first episode of Doctor Who series eight, but did so without detracting from the storyline.' The censorship comes a week after Ofcom rubbished the complaints of six - sick homophobic scum - viewers who thought the kiss was 'inappropriate'. And told them to grow the fek up and get new brains because they ones they currently have are narrow and full of shit. Probably.

Rona Fairhead, ex-head of the Financial Times Group, is poised to become the new chairwoman of the BBC Trust. The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Javid said that Fairhead was 'the preferred candidate' to replace Lord Patten, who quit the post in May. Fairhead would be the first woman to chair the Trust, which is the body in charge of overseeing the BBC. She said that she was 'under no illusions about the significance and the enormity of the job' but was 'excited' to have the chance to lead the BBC. 'The BBC is a great British institution packed with talented people and I am honoured to have the opportunity to be the chairman of the BBC Trust,' she said. Fairhead was chairwoman and chief executive of the Financial Times Group between 2006 and 2013 as part of a twelve-year career with its owner, Pearson. In 2012, Fairhead - a non-executive director at HSBC and PepsiCo - became a CBE, receiving the award for services to industry. Earlier this year she was appointed a British Business Ambassador by the Prime Minister. Lord Patten, who was appointed in 2011, left the job of chairman on health grounds following major heart surgery. A BBC spokeswoman said there was an appointment process which still needed to be completed. 'But we welcome the announcement of Rona Fairhead as the preferred candidate for chair of the BBC Trust,' she said. 'We will comment further once the process is complete.' One of the hurdles that Fairhead still has to negotiate before being confirmed in the job will be facing questions from MPs on the Media Select Committee on 9 September. The appointment was ultimately decided by The Queen on a recommendation from the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Javid. The vile and odious rascal Javid described Fairhead as an 'exceptional' individual with a 'highly impressive career. Her experience of working with huge multinational corporations will undoubtedly be a real asset at the BBC Trust,' he said. 'I have no doubt she will provide the strong leadership the position demands and will prove to be a worthy champion of licence fee payers. I am sure that under Rona's leadership the BBC will continue to play a central role in informing, educating and entertaining the nation.' Being in charge of the BBC Trust is 'a big job', according to the BBC's media and arts correspondent David Sillito. 'You are overseeing the BBC, but you are also in many ways responsible for being the cheerleader, defending it when politicians have got something to say about the BBC,' he added. Negotiations are about to begin over the BBC's royal charter, which sets out the corporation's purposes and the way it is run. It is reviewed every ten years, and the current charter runs until the end of 2016.

Monty Python's Flying Circus is to be the focus of a new documentary commissioned by UKTV. Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live offers unprecedented access to the comedy ensemble, going behind-the-scenes of their 2014 reunion show. Roger Graef will direct the ninety-minute special, filming John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, with whom he has had a close relationship since the 1970s. 'With an unprecedented level of access and backstage material, this documentary captures the most anticipated comeback show in comedy history,' Graef said. There will also be rarely seen footage from their earliest stage shows in 1971 and Live At The Hollywood Bowl in 1980. The final stage show of Monty Python Live (Mostly) was broadcast live on Gold and attracted almost six hundred thousand viewers. And, several whinges either about the swearing or, the lack of swearing. As well as the documentary, Gold will also show a five-part series of Monty Python's Best Bits (Mostly), which will feature the best footage and insight from comedy names including Jim Carrey, Steve Coogan and Stephen Fry.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mate Paul Cornell has achieved 'a life's ambition' with an article in the new issue of Fortean Times. The article is about the history of Fortean themes in Doctor Who (the appearance of UFOs, ghosts, The Loch Ness Monster, et cetera.) It's based on a lecture that Paul delivered several years ago at the Fortean Times Unconvention, but has been updated to include the whole of the current series thus far.
Top Gear will receive its own French version. BBC Worldwide France announced that the new motoring show will start filming later this year. The format will remain similar to the UK version, but with some added French twists and new presenters. French channel RMC Découverte, which already shows the UK and US version of Top Gear, will broadcast the series in 2015. The Director of Entertainment Brands at BBC Worldwide, Adam Waddell, said: 'The French have some amazing roads and incredible scenery which is why Top Gear UK has often filmed there. Now French petrolheads are going to have their own version of the programme and I have no doubt that the hosts will bring their own personality and sense of humour to the new show. I can't wait to watch it develop.' Local versions of Top Gear are made in Australia, South Korea and the USA and a Chinese version is in the pipeline for later this year. All of which royally pisses off various nasty, waste-of-space middle-class hippy Communists at the Gruniad Morning Star. So, let's have more of that, then.

According to the Metro, the Curiously Orange waste-of-space horrorshow (and drag) Christine Bleakley says that she won't be moving to America 'when her fiancé, Frank Lampard, starts playing for New York City in the spring.' Which, obviously the Americans are all delighted about. It's not fair, though. They've spent decades sending us all of their crap, shouldn't they take her in reparation for, I dunno, The Dukes Of Hazard, or something?
Scourge of the Daily Scum Mail, yer actual George Clooney is to direct a film about the phone-hacking scandal which led to the closure of British tabloid the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. He will direct an adaptation of Gruniad Morning Star reporter Nick Davies' book Hack Attack, which follows Davies' investigation into billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's filthy media empire. Clooney said that it had 'all the elements - lying, corruption, blackmail. The fact that it's true is the best part,' he added. Davies' book, published earlier this year, followed six years of investigation of News Corporation and News International. It details how certain British newspapers hacked the telephone voicemails of celebrities, politicians, members of the royal family and the families of crime victims to gain private information for stories. The scandal forced billionaire tyrant Murdoch to close the Scum of the World in shame and ignominy in 2011 after it emerged that the tabloid had illegally accessed the voicemails of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. In June, former Scum of the World editor, and the Prime Minister's former, if you will, chum, Andy Coulson was extremely jailed for eighteen months for conspiring to hack phones and other nefarious skulduggery and dirty rotten badness. Ex-News International chief executive well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks was cleared of charges against her as the long-running phone-hacking trial at the Old Bailey came to an end. 'As the son of a journalist, George [Clooney] has a sharp interest in the role journalism plays in all of our lives,' said Michael De Luca, of Columbia Pictures - the studio behind the forthcoming film. 'With Hack Attack, George will explore the dark side of that world, a business where all of the rules of journalism are broken in the race for an easy and ever-larger payday.' Clooney earned an Oscar nomination for best director for his 2006 film Good Night, and Good Luck, about 1950s investigative news broadcaster Edward R Murrow. In the same year, he won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in Syriana. The fifty three-year-old will also co-produce the forthcoming movie with partner Grant Heslov through their studio Smokehouse, the company behind 2012's Oscar-winning movie Argo, and this year's critically ... what's the opposite of 'acclaimed' art heist caper The Monuments Men. Shooting on the Hack Attack adaptation is scheduled to begin next year.

ABC have released the pilot of Selfie, the new comedy starring yer actual Karen Gillan. Based on Pygmalion, Gillan plays Eliza Dooley, who is desperate to become famous via social media, but gets lessons in how to make real friends from an etiquette expert. She stars alongside Star Trek actor John Cho as well as Homeland's David Harewood in the series which debuts on ABC on 30 September.
North Korea has 'slammed' - that's, of course, tabloid-speak for 'went completely mental over' - a new British TV drama series featuring its nuclear weapons programme, urging the British government to scrap the 'slanderous farce' if it wants to maintain diplomatic ties. Hopefully, it will be told by Downing Street to go fek itself and the horse it rode in on. Opposite Number – a series commissioned by Channel Four and announced last month – features a British nuclear scientist character who is captured in North Korea during a covert mission and forced to help weaponise its nuclear technology. The ten-part series is written by Matt Charman - who, one imagines, will be first up against the wall should the Koreans ever invade - and will take viewers inside the 'closed worlds of North Korea' with 'opposing CIA and MI6 agents secretly deployed on the ground in Pyongyang, as the clock ticks on a global-scale nuclear crisis', according to Channel Four. The drama is 'nothing but a slanderous farce' to 'insult and distort' the North's nuclear capability, said some completely mental wanker from the country's top military body, The National Defence Commission. The North is already armed with 'unimaginably powerful nuclear weaponry' and has 'no need of foreign technology', the NDC spokesman claimed in a statement carried by the state news agency. In the English version of the statement, the official said that the programme was being 'orchestrated at the tacit connivance, patronage and instigation by Downing Street.' Which will probably come as a big surprise to Downing Street who, by and large, don't usually get involved in the writing and commissioning of TV dramas. The NDC called on the UK authorities to 'throw these reactionary movies into a cesspit and punish those behind the projects if it wants to help maintain the bilateral relations.' Which, frankly, sounds exactly like the sort of thing the Daily Scum Mail usually want the Tories to do to both the BBC and Channel Four. They're mental as well, by the way. The North has staged three atomic tests, most recently in 2013, and has often threatened nuclear strikes against major foes Seoul and Washington. Although the lack of any follow up to such blatant posturing suggests that, actually, they haven't got any nuclear weapons and are just a bunch of goosestepping bullies - with really small penises - who could do with being slapped down. Hard. The impoverished state, which is subject to heavy sanctions by the rest of the world, is believed to be attempting to develop a miniaturised nuclear warhead for use on long range missiles, but experts believe it is far from perfecting the technology. Well, at least, they hope it is. And, given what he's just written, yer actual Keith Telly Topping rather hopes that as well. The isolated Stalinist state also bristles at foreign movies mocking its leadership, especially the various nutter members of the Kim family which has ruled the country for some six decades with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult. In June, the North denounced a new Hollywood film about a bid to assassinate its leader Kim Jong-un (and his titchy todger) as 'a wanton act of terror' and warned of 'a merciless response' unless the US government banned the film. Which it hasn't done. So, where's this merciless response then, eh, big lads? The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as two tabloid TV reporters who land an interview with Kim No Dong in Pyongyang and are then tasked with killing him by the CIA. The North's United Nations envoy also lodged a formal protest at the UN against the movie, calling it 'the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism.'

David Hockney has opened up his personal archive for the first time for a new feature-length BBC documentary. Hockney is being directed by Randall Wright, who made the acclaimed film Lucian Freud: A Painted Life. The documentary will be shown in cinemas in November before being screened on BBC2 in 2015. Controller of BBC2, Kim Shillinglaw, said the film will 'be a riveting and inspiring watch. David Hockney stands as one of Britain's seminal and most important artists, and I'm delighted to be showing this major film on him on BBC2.' With access to his personal archive of photographs and films, the documentary will aim to be 'a frank and unparalleled visual diary of his long life.' Mark Bell, head of arts commissioning for the BBC, called it an 'unprecedented' portrait, 'with unique access to his work, his archive and reminiscence from the people who know him best.' Randall, who won a Royal Television Society award for his Lucian Freud film, met David Hockney while directing the award-winning series Shock Of The Old.

Pakistan's national television channel is back on-air after security forces removed anti-government protesters from its headquarters in Islamabad. Troops were sent in to regain control from demonstrators who had forced their way into the PTV offices. Earlier on Monday, fresh clashes erupted between protesters and police in the capital. Protesters loyal to opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri want the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign. He denies corruption and electoral fraud. Both Khan and Qadri have 'urged calm' and asked their supporters to co-operate with the army. Demonstrators have been taking part in a sit-in in the capital for two weeks. A number of policemen are reported to have been injured in Monday's violence. Thousands of demonstrators - some wielding batons and throwing stones - moved on the main building housing Pakistan's federal bureaucracy and Prime Minister's House. Riot police were forced to retreat from the main road in front of parliament, Constitution Avenue. Protesters attacked vehicles and set fire to shipping containers placed on the street as roadblocks. Crowds of angry young protesters, many wielding batons, met little resistance as they stormed the PTV building. Private news channels showed live pictures of protesters shouting slogans and barging into recording studios and smashing equipment. Shortly afterwards troops arrived and peacefully escorted the demonstrators out of the building before transmissions resumed. On Sunday night protesters used trucks to smash through the outer fence of the parliament building, even though the building was guarded by troops. Demonstrators have been taking part in a sit-in in the centre of the capital for two weeks. Protests had been peaceful until Saturday, when violence broke out. Last year's elections marked Pakistan's first civilian transfer of power.

BBC News programmes could be hit by industrial action later this month over plans to cut more than four hundred posts, after union members voted to strike over the proposed cuts. The National Union of Journalists and broadcasting union BECTU said on Monday that their BBC members had voted in favour of strike action after management declined to give undertakings that there would be no compulsory redundancies and a freeze on external redundancies. The unions argue that given the high level of interest in applying for voluntary redundancy – four hundred and seventy volunteers, according to BECTU – which they put down to low morale within BBC News, the corporation should be able to avoid compulsory departures. James Harding, the BBC's director of news and current affairs, announced in July that the corporation was seeking forty eight million smackers in annual savings from the division, some as part of the ongoing Delivering Quality First cost-cutting initiative. A further four hundred and fifteen posts will be cut, but one hundred and ninety five new positions created, meaning a net reduction of two hundred and twenty full-time posts. Red Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ's general secretary, said: 'Morale is at a record low, with staff working in an atmosphere described by one journalist as one of "fear and loathing." Added to a process which is being mismanaged and where individuals are being treated appallingly, in a manner that is fundamentally inhumane, and the public will understand why NUJ members are saying enough is enough.' Luke Crawley, BECTU assistant general secretary, said: 'Given that the BBC has over four hundred and seventy volunteers for redundancy and one hundred and ninety five new posts to fill, it would be easy to give us the guarantees we are seeking. The fact that management refuses to do so raise fears amongst staff that the BBC is not committed to redeploying the maximum number of staff. The BBC should realise that rather than making redundancy payments to people who want to continue working for the BBC, licence fee payers' money should be saved by redeploying staff elsewhere in the corporation.”' A BBC spokeswoman said: 'BBC News has recently announced a savings programme of nearly fifty million pounds to address pressures from the licence fee settlement. The process of implementation, as relates to both restructuring and redundancies, has only just begun. We are aiming to work with colleagues across the BBC and with their union representatives in carrying through this challenging programme. We are disappointed that the unions have chosen to ballot for industrial action when the consultation process has barely started.' Up the workers, baby.

The BBC is proposing to release confidential communications between its journalists and South Yorkshire police after being angered at comments by the SYP Chief Constable regarding its coverage of the raid on Sir Cliff Richard's flat. James Harding, the BBC's Director of News and Current Affairs, has written to David Crompton, head of the embattled police force which is also under fire over its disgraceful handling of the Rotherham sex abuse scandal, asking whether Crompton will authorise Harding to release e-mails, text messages and the contents of 'off-the-record conversations' between the two organisations. Stopping just short of calling Crompton and lying git, the letter was sent ahead of their joint appearance in front of MPs on Tuesday. It is understood that senior executives at the corporation are proper furious at various comments in a letter from Crompton to Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee and made publicly, particularly the suggestion that the BBC was involved in a 'cover-up'. Something South Yorkshire police themselves have plenty of previous experience in. In the event the committee appears to have believed the BBC rather than the pollis. The BBC acted 'perfectly properly' in its dealings with South Yorkshire police over coverage of the raid, according to Keith Vaz, summing up at the end of Tuesday afternoon's hearing on how the BBC got the story and was able to cover the raid as it happened. Vaz said that he and his select committee colleagues thought the corporation had 'acted perfectly properly in respect of this matter.' Earlier, Vaz had told the hapless Crompton that his force had shown 'gross lack of competence' in its dealings with the Beeb. Vaz was speaking after Crompton finally admitted that the BBC reporter pursuing the story found out about the planned raid from the South Yorkshire force. Crompton was also questioned about why his force decided to do a deal with the BBC journalist, Dan Johnson, and why it had not sought to talk to more senior figures at the corporation to prevent the story running. Tony Hall, the BBC Director General, appeared before committee after Crompton and said that if the police  had asked the corporation not to run the story, it would have obliged. 'Had the chief constable come to a news editor, head of news gathering, James Harding or myself and said to us "if you run this story you will hamper this investigation, it would be damaging to this investigation" we would not have run the story,' Hall said. 'I want you to be absolutely clear about that. We would not have run the story.' Hall added that Johnson went to South Yorkshire police to discuss 'a number of stories' and had received a tip-off from a source - which he will not reveal - referring to Cliff Richard. There was, he said, 'no hint in any of that of us knowing any more than the name Cliff Richard', the rest of the information, including the fact that a raid was planned on Richard's home was volunteered to the BBC by South Yorkshire police. 'The reporter didn't have a story until he went to South Yorkshire police, who then gave him a story,' Hall said. The broadcaster's head of newsgathering, Jonathan Munro, said that Johnson was even sent an aerial shot of the apartment block where Richard has a property by the police to help the journalist identify the right location. He said that the reporter denied having said anything about Operation Yewtree during his conversations with South Yorkshire police, or giving 'any clue' as to the source of his original tip off, and that had kept notes of his meeting with South Yorkshire police before the raid. 'Dan Johnson totally denies mentioning Yewtree by name or the Metropolitan Police force or indeed any other clue as to the identity of the source for the original story,' Munro added. 'I wasn't in that meeting with South Yorkshire police but I believe him to he an honest and professional journalist and he completely denies this.' Asked if sending a helicopter above Richard's residence to film the raid on 14 August was 'OTT', Hall said: 'The reporter was told by South Yorkshire police it would be difficult to get good shots from the ground, the operational decision was then taken to use a helicopter.' He added: 'Looking at the output was it used disproportionately? No. Was it, as some people say, running the search live? We weren't. The only live shots were run at 4.30pm when the cars came out.' He added: 'It was a proper story for us to cover, in the right matter, proportionately, which I think is what we did. I wasn't surprised the police didn't ask us not to broadcast the story.' Crompton, was roundly condemned by members of the committee. Crompton claimed that he feared if the force did not co-operate the BBC would run with the story and ruin his force's investigation. MPs expressed disbelief that Crompton, who criticised the BBC's subsequent coverage as 'intrusive', had not done more to try to prevent it from running the story - like speaking to someone i n charge. Vaz, said: 'We have been amazed at the sheer incompetence of the way this has been dealt with. Criminals must be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of dealing with your officers who appear to give in at the first opportunity. You blame everybody else but as far as you are concerned you did everything right.' Crompton said: 'We had a job to do. I apologise to Sir Cliff if we were insensitive about the way we did that. We had an investigation, the problem for us was that investigation could never be done in a low profile way because it was fatally compromised from the outset.' The singer's apartment was searched by officers from South Yorkshire and Thames Valley police as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on a boy at a religious event in Sheffield in 1985. Richard, who was on holiday in Portugal at the time of the search, has firmly denied any wrongdoing and has not, at this stage, been arrested or charged with any offence. Hall defended the scale of the BBC's coverage of the raid on 14 August, including the use of a helicopter, after critics accused it of participating in 'a witch-hunt' and behaving 'like the worst tabloid newspaper.' Hall said: 'In a variety of different ways allegations of sexual abuse going back many years are, regrettably, a matter of public interest. What you saw from the air was a number of police cars and you saw the scale of the operation.' Asked if he felt any sympathy for the singer because of the extent of the BBC's coverage, Hall said: 'Our job was to make sure what Sir Cliff had to say about the search and about his own innocence was properly reflected.' Harding, also denied Crompton's claim that Johnson had named the Metropolitan police, specifically its Operation Yewtree inquiry, as the original source of his story. He said Johnson 'did nothing to disclose his source.' Crompton claimed he did not 'escalate' the issue with the BBC management because he 'thought' they would run the story anyway. 'We were placed in a very difficult position because of the original leak,' he said. 'My concern was if we showed the BBC the door, the very clear impression which had been left was that they were likely to publish the story that would have impeded the investigation.' He added: 'I didn't have that much faith that we could trust it wouldn't be published. You only have to look at Leveson to find a number of examples that were core to that particular inquiry where the media decided to publish anyway. That was something very much in my mind.' Vaz said the way Crompton had described it 'sounds like blackmail.' Crompton replied: 'Blackmail is a very strong word. It put us in a very difficult position.' Crompton, who admitted he had been 'a little naive', said he was 'confident that we made the right decision in difficult and unusual circumstances.' Vaz told Crompton he had been 'more than a little naive.' He said the BBC had acted 'perfectly proportionately' in its reporting of the affair. South Yorkshire police has already complained to the BBC about its coverage before the hearing, claiming that an analysis piece posted on the broadcaster's website was 'an attempt to distance itself' from what had happened. In doing so, he used the horribly loaded phrase 'cover-up' - to the obvious glee of the Daily Scum Mail - and to the fury of the BBC who claims they did no such thing or anything even remotely like it. Ironic, really, considering the amount of cover-ups that South Yorkshire police themselves have been involved in relating to Hillsborough, for example. Justice for the ninety six, dear blog reader. Crompton argued that the analysis piece on the BBC website had 'given the false impression' South Yorkshire police had worked with the media outlet to generate publicity for the force. However, Vaz said that Harding has claimed the police chief has text messages and e-mails in his possession which would entirely disprove this argument. Agreeing to hand over the text messages and e-mails, Crompton somewhat defensively added: 'Texts and e-mails are read in the cold light of day. What you can not add to that equation by publishing them are any phone calls that may intersperse different texts or e-mails and some of that is key to where Mr Harding might be going. If you just read the e-mails you can get an impression. Unless you’re aware of some of the phone calls interspersed with the e-mails you don’t get the full impression.' Which rather sounds like a further attempt to blame anyone but himself for the fiasco. Crompton said that he, his head of media Carrie Goodwin, and the senior investigating officer Matt Fenwick agreed to make the deal with the BBC. He told the committee that he believed the leak had come from Operation Yewtree because 'the detail of the information was basically everything that we had, and we had less than two weeks before received that information from Operation Yewtree.' Once again, the BBC utterly deny this and, instead, claim that all Dan Johnson had before he spoke to South Yorkshire police's head of media, was Richard's name. Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioner, Martin Hewitt, has said the force is investigating whether the leak came from London. In a letter to the committee, he said: 'If our inquiries reveal that Yewtree, or any other Metropolitan police member of staff, is the source of the story to the BBC, then we will do all we can to identify them and hold them to account.' Further questions will be put to Crompton when he returns in front of the committee next week.

And, finally, Sky Sports News has apologised after it broadcast swearing and scenes of a football fan waving a large purple sex toy during its transfer deadline day coverage. Communications watchdog Ofcom could launch an investigation after an initially unspecified number of viewers complained to it about 'foul-mouthed outbursts' being broadcast live. Reporters covering the day’s events had to deal with crowds of rowdy supporters outside the grounds and had to apologise several times during the day for the swearing. The chaotic scenes included a fan who waved a sex toy at Sky Sports News's Alan Irwin when he was reporting on Tom Cleverley possibly leaving The Scum. A memorable moment to be sure. The reporter impressively managed to remain calm despite continued provocation from the fan, who was eventually removed by security. And, hopefully, taken around the back and given a damned good shoeing before being told to grow the fek up. In another incident, yhe alleged 'TV comic' Simon Brodkin - who is, frankly, about as funny as a good hard kick in the knackers - turned up in character as his footballer creation Jason Bent, claiming he had signed for Queens Park Strangers to 'play in the Premiership this season and in the Championship next season.' Ofcom said that 'about eight' viewers complained about offensive language. The complaints are being assessed before the watchdog decides whether to investigate the coverage. The channel said that it has not had any direct complaints itself. Its coverage, fronted by the odious Jim White, has a cult following among many football fans desperate to discover whom their team have signed before the closure of the transfer window. A Sky Sports News spokesman said: 'Millions of viewers followed our coverage of transfer deadline day, which included over two hundred and seventy live reporter updates from outside football clubs over the final twenty four hours. We apologise to those whose enjoyment was spoiled by a small number of incidents and we’re looking into ways to avoid this happening again in the future whilst ensuring fans remain a key part our live coverage.'

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