Saturday, October 04, 2014

Kill The Moon: Fate, Up Against Your Will, Through The Thick And Thin

'Hello Earth. We have a terrible decision to make. It is an uncertain decision and we don't have a lot of time ... An innocent life versus the future of all mankind.'
'How'd you like to be the first woman on the moon? Is that special enough for you?' So, it's another typical day in the TARDIS as The Doctor, Clara and, the space and time machine's latest occupant, naughty disruptive schoolgirl Courtney, arrive in the near future on a run-down space shuttle that is heading for the moon. Okay, Qi fans, one of the moons. Satisfied?
    Anyway, crash-landing on the surface, the travellers and a trio of rather startled astronauts (two of whom - including the great Tony Osoba - should really be wearing red spacesuits because we just know they're both going to be mutant spider food before half the episode's done) are confronted with the sight of a mining base that's full of corpses. Mexican corpses at that (expect some hippy Communist smear of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star to attempt to fold that part of the plot into the latest Top Gear controversy). And, vicious, spider-like creatures wait for them in the dark, ready to bite their bums. Or something. So, Alien-meets-The Thing, basically. Nowt wrong with that, of course. But, just when she needs him the most, Clara is left wondering whether The Doctor really is a good man after all - or even her friend.
'When I says "run", run.' 'Who made you boss?' 'Well, you say "run", then!' Horror as a specific motif in Doctor Who has been a mini-genre which has flourished during periods and been almost but not quite forgotten during others. For a couple of years in the late-1960 and - perhaps most memorably - three years in the mid-1970s horror was the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's go-to genre of choice. But, even in periods where other styles - such as comedy, melodrama or hardcore SF conceits - have, at least in the popular consciousness, held sway, a little slice of the macabre, the spine-tinglingly otherworldly, has never been far away.
    It's the old 'is Doctor Who becoming too scary?' thing, isn't it? The Tomb Of The Cybermen allegedly causing a spate of bed-wetting and having David Coleman getting all 'Oh! The humanity!' on Junior Points Of View in 1967. (Not since the Italians and the Chileans were kicking lumps out of each other at The Battle of Santiago in 1962 have so many 'quite extraordinary's been flung at the viewer with so little though for the consequences.) Or, evil plastic dolls coming to life in Terror Of The Autons and having questions asked about them in Parliament by gobshite, rent-a-quote MPs with nothing more important to occupy their time and interest despite their being a miner's strike in progress in 1971. Or, concerned letters to the Radio Times about Genesis Of The Daleks in 1975. Of course, as anyone over the age of around thirty knows full-well, Doctor Who has always been scary in one form or another. The series invented the - now clichéd - conceit of children 'hiding behind the sofa' and created two of the most sinister and memorable small-screen villains ever in The Daleks and The Cybermen. The Green Death, Planet Of Evil, The Caves Of Androzani, The Web Of Fear, The Brain Of Morbius, The Invasion, Inferno, The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Fury From The Deep, The Horror Of Fang Rock, The Ark In Space, The Seeds Of Doom, Terror Of The Zygons, Blink, Midnight, The Waters Of Mars, Hide, Listen and so many more of The Doctor's adventures in space and time have depended for much of their - often considerable - impact on both physically and psychologically terrorising their audiences. Just ask anyone 'of a certain age' what their memories of 'that Doctor Who episode with the maggots' is, for example and watch the sleepless nights in 1973 being recalled.
'Some decisions are too important not to make on your own.' In the 1970s, when Tom Baker was The Doctor and producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes were in charge of the production and busy scaring the buggering bejesus out of every ten year old in the land, self-appointed moral guardian Mary Whitehouse was getting her knickers in a right old twist and doing the whole 'won't someone please think of the children?' routine over the drowning scene in The Deadly Assassin. A year earlier, the Daily Scum Express's resident columnist (and ran gobshite) Jean Rook was writing articles criticising The Pyramids of Mars. In the mid-1980s the Colin Baker period was criticised by some for being too violent (including BBC1's then Big Kahuna Michael Grade, specifically over the hanging scenes in Vengeance On Varos). And, to be fair, criticised by this blogger for being, you know, crap. Such storms in a celestial teacups have happened at regular intervals in Doctor Who's fifty year history. They're happening now, on Twitter, apparently - as if anything talked about on Twitter has any merit whatsoever. They'll happen again in the future, no doubt. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
'Is that the best you could get?' 'Second-hand shuttle, third-hand astronauts.' And so to Kill The Moon. It was, reportedly, originally written by Wallander scriptwriter Peter Harness for Matt Smith's Doctor but arrived just too late for inclusion during series seven. An early working title for the episode was, it is alleged, Return To Sarn, though this was intended to be misleading to rumour merchants and spoiler-fiends by all accounts. When briefing Harness on how to write the script, executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat is said to have told him to 'Hinchcliffe the shit out of it for the first half', meaning, essentially, to make the episode as frightening as possible. The reference to Philip Hinchcliffe, who produced Doctor Who from 1974 to 1977 when the show was, many feel, at its most darkly atmospheric, Gothic and chilling was, clearly, deliberate and Harness seems to have understood his instruction to the letter. Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) called the script 'intense and emotional' whilst Harness has said that the episode would see 'a large change' for the show. 'I still don't know how people will take it. I'm in this kind of limbo now waiting for people to see it and I've no idea how it is going to go down.' Filming for the episode took place in Lanzarote, near the Volcán del Cuervo (Raven's Volcano) in Timanfaya National Park. The last Doctor Who episode to be filmed on the Canary Island was 1984's serial Planet Of Fire featuring Peter Davison's Doctor. Filming took place on 12 to 13 May whilst the park was closed to visitors, with locals reporting that the production team had 'erected a huge marquee, have trailers, toilets and a van.' Filming also took place at the Cardiff Bay Business Centre in Splott and St Illtyd's College in Cardiff on 20 May and at Aberavon Beach in Port Talbot the following day. Much of the episode's pre-publicity focused on its main guest-star, the very excellent Hermione Norris, a cult favourite from numerous British TV series over the last decades and a half like Cold Feet, Wire In The Blood and [spooks]. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self has loved Hermione to bits ever since a blink-and-you'll-miss-it early role in an episode of Drop The Dead Donkey twenty years ago.
'When you've grown up a bit you'll realise that everything doesn't have to be nice. Some things are just bad. Anyway, you ran away, it's none of your business.' So, anyway, we're on a trip to the dark side of the moon and let's start with the basics - Kill The Moon is quite, quite brilliant. Scientifically ludicrous, of course. I mean, every single bit as scientifically ludicrous as Space: 1999. No, really, it is. But, it's a very minor point concerning such a good episode. Both Harness and the episode's director, Paul Wilmshurst, leave an immediate and very positive stamp on the series. Kill The Moon's set up is done in a totally uncontrived and organic feeling Blink-style pre-title sequence - a message to Earth from Clara. There's a big decision to make, she notes to those who will receive the message. There are, also, forty five minutes in which to make it. If the wrong choice is made, everybody dies. As you might imagine, from there, we're in the middle of a proper white-knuckle helter-skelter ride. A right rip-roaring rollercoaster of a episode. A juggernaut of a plot that crashes on impact with the viewer like an eighteen-wheeler coming straight through your front window whilst you're in the middle of watching an episode of Call The Midwife. Whilst Listen was concerned with psychological horror and the long-running dreamscapes of some very personal fears, Kill The Moon is, broader and more universal in its targets. It is, to put it simply, a big, hairy, utterly terrifying fek-off monster tale with something very nasty indeed creeping about in the dark just out of ones vision. In this case that takes the form of spider-like creatures which, whilst frightening enough on their own, mask a big reveal at the episode's climax. Paul Wilmshurst is, it would seem, a big fan of both Alien and The Thing, filling the episode with cocky, smart, flashy Ridley Scott and John Carpenter riffs - and more than a few Kubrick ones too - and understanding an old, but very true, maxim that silence and stillness are often eerier and more disturbing than crash, bang, wallop and an overdose of action. If you happen to have even the slightest hint of arachnophobia dear blog reader, and you haven't seen the episode yet, then Kill The Moon is likely to get right under your skin. Wake up to reality, indeed. Wonderfully creepy, too, is Murray Gold's outré, left field score, easily the most unnerving and experimental that he's ever done for the series. More than all of those elements, though, this is the episode from the current series which most closely meshed the twin strands of 'monster of the week' and the ongoing story arc. Primarily, it's a standalone episode but Harness, nevertheless, manages to slot in one or two crucial knowing elements which feel like they are part of a broader, more elongated story. Any review of the episode must also, of course, include the usual nod in the director of yer actual Peter Capaldi who, as he has been in every episode this year so far, is fantastic. For all that, and for not the first time this series either, the episode belongs to Jenna Coleman, particularly during the last ten, emotionally exacting minutes - she absolutely nails the jimbuggery out of it. 'Do you have music in your head when you say rubbish like that? It was cheap, it was pathetic. No, it was patronising, That was you patting us on the back and saying "you're big enough to go to the shops on your own now, toddle along."' Eleven out of ten for Avocado here, no question.
'I've been in the future and the moon is still there. I think. You know the moon is still there, right?' 'Maybe it isn't the moon. Maybe it's a hologram, or a painting, or a special effect. Maybe it's a completely different moon.' 'But you would know. If the moon fell to bits in 2049 you'd have mentioned it. It would have come up in conversation!' Kill The Moon may well be the darkest story of the series yet - Listen runs it very close, it's true - but that isn't simply because of the creepy spiders and the more obvious, classic engines of destruction in its arsenal. While the episode may appear at its most basic level to be a classic Doctor Who base under siege story - The Ice Warriors or Fury From The Deep for the Twenty First Century, if you like - at its core lies one enormous moral dilemma for several characters, most notably The Doctor. The type of dilemma which questions humanity's nature and makes one wonder what we would do if faced with such an apocalyptic choice as this episode includes. In that regard, it's far closer to an episode like The Waters Of Mars than to more obvious visual similar conceits such as The Impossible Planet. As the former story memorably demonstrated, more often than not there are no easy answers in situations in which life-altering choices must be made and doing the right thing, even if it isn't - especially if it isn't - the easy thing is something that, when push comes to shove, is hard work. It's a very The West Wing or Buffy The Vampire Slayer type ethical dilemma sampled, beautifully and with very little need for a chisel or a hammer into Doctor Who's aesthetic worldview. What happens in this episode, one suspects, will have some major implications for Clara on her relationship with The Doctor in future episodes. But, whereas The Waters Of Mars dealt with The Doctor's dilemma about whether to meddle with a fixed moment in time, Kill The Moon shows us near enough the inverse side of the coin and the, arguably more chaotic, more dangerous situation which can occur when The Doctor is faced with a vital moment in flux. A point where, quite literally, anything could happen. How might The Doctor react to having the burden on his shoulders of an entire future?
'Meaning, Clara, that the moon, this little planetoid that's been tagging along beside you for a hundred million years, that's given you light at night and seas to sail on is in the process of falling to bits.' Continuity: In many ways, Kill The Moon is the most Doctor Who-like Doctor Who episode of the series so far, visually and conceptually recalling not only recent stories like the previously mentioned The Impossible Planet and The Waters Of Mars but, also, from a much older vintage, The Moonbase, Frontier In Space, The Seeds Of Death and Planet Of The Spiders. The grim, minimalist nature of both the shuttle and the moonbase itself - functional, bland, cramped - on the other hand is in somewhat stark contrast to most of the series' depictions of near-futurist design. One thinks only of stories like The Ambassadors Of Death, Warriors' Gate and Terminus for previous examples of grotty, lived-in space travel. The episode's central question - do I have the right? - is, of course, straight out of Genesis Of The Daleks. There are references to The Careatker ('she was in the TARDIS.' 'Doing what?' 'Throwing up.' 'Oh, her!'), Let's Kill Hitler ('we went to dinner in Berlin in 1937. We didn't nip out after pudding and kill Hitler. I've never killed Hitler and you wouldn't expect me to kill Hitler. The future is no more malleable than the past'), The Day Of The Moon ('one enormous thing for a thingy-thing.' 'So much for history!'), City Of Death ('is it a chicken?!'), Fury From The Deep, The Ark In Space (The Doctor's yoyo, plus his entire, breathtaking 'future history of mankind' speech, a 'Homosapiens Doctrine' for the Twenty First Century), The Invisible Enemy, The Day Of The Daleks ('she met this bloke called Blinovitch'), The Beast Below ('you go away. You go a long way away') and Doctor Who & The Silurians ('that's what you do with aliens, isn't it? Blow them up').

'Will he be back?' 'If he says so, I suppose he will.' Harness, free from the chore of providing Kurt Wallander's trademark stoic grumpiness and lack of so much as an ounce of humour, proves himself to be a crackingly good writer of very naturalistic dialogue. Take: 'What is the matter with the moon?' And: 'Tell me there wasn't anybody inside that thing.' 'I could, but it wouldn't make it true.' And: 'You've got guns?' 'Not unless you brought some.' And: 'Little moments in which Big Things are decided. And this is one of them.' And: 'The moon isn't breaking apart. The moon is hatching.' And: 'We should be bouncing around this cabin like fluffy little clouds. But, we're not.' And: 'I think that is utterly beautiful.' 'How do we kill it?' And: 'You cannot blame a baby for kicking.' And: 'You want today to be the day life on Earth stopped because you couldn't make a decision?' But, amazingly, even among the darkness and shadows and, you know, the Zappy Starflake and the Spiders From The Moon, there are more than a few - wry and witty - laughs too. 'She took your psychic paper, she's been using it as fake ID.' 'To get into museums?' 'No, the buy White Lightning, or alcopops or whatever.' And: 'You'll just have to shoot us, then. Shoot the little girl first!' And: 'Kills ninety nine per cent of all known germs.' 'Good stuff Courtney, just don't try that at home.' And: 'Look at the size of it it, it's the size of a badger. It's a prochoriatic non-cellular lifeform with non-chromosomal DNA. Which, as you and me know ... well, not you and me, you certainly not, but you and me, yes. Scientists know, this is a germ.' And: 'My granny used to put things on Tumblr.' And: 'This is Ground Control.' 'Yeah, I can tell by your haircut!' And: 'Would you mind your language, please, there are children present.' And: 'I think that somebody deserves a "thank you."' 'Yeah. Thank you!'
And then there are the moments that people will remember for decades: 'Kill it. Or let it live. I can't make this decision for you.' And: 'It's time to take the stabilisers off your bike! It's your moon, womankind, it's your choice.' And: 'Tell me what you knew, Doctor, or I'll smack you so hard you'll regenerate!' And: 'Of course I know what  duty of care is.' And: 'Respected is not how I feel. I nearly didn't press that button, I nearly got it wrong. That was you, my friend, making me scared, making me feel like a bloody idiot. Don't you ever tell me to mind my my language. Don't you ever tell me to take the stabilisers off my bike and don't you dare lump me in with all the rest of the little humans who you think are so tiny and silly and predictable. You walk our Earth Doctor, you breathe our air, you make us your friends. That is your moon too and you can damn well help us when we need it.' And, most memorably of all: 'In the mid-Twenty First Century, humankind starts creeping off into the stars. It spreads its way through the galaxy to the very edges of the universe. And it ... endures until the end of time. And it does all that because one day in the year 2049 when it had stopped thinking about going to the stars something occurred that made it look up, not down. It looked out there into the blackness and it saw something beautiful. Something wonderful that, for once, it didn't want to destroy. And in that one moment the whole course of history was changed. Not bad for a girl from Coal Hill School And her teacher.' Yes. That.
'I don't like people being sick in my TARDIS. No being sick and no hanky-panky. Sorry, those are The Rules.' Superbly executed, brilliantly acted by all concerned - a special word here for Ellis George who easily pummels into the dirt any long-held fandom notions about child actors being 'unwelcome' in Doctor Who - and containing enough memorable bits to provide the current generation of younger fans with lots of 'do you remember the one where...' moments in decades to come, Kill The Moon arrives at the very moment where, like in 1967, and 1971, and 1975, and 1976, and 1985, questions are being asked by a few tight-arsed and squeamish bell-ends about whether Doctor Who is 'too scary'. The episode has many great things in it. and some truly terrifying ones; notably, Capaldi's polka-dot shirt. Horrorshow. Kill The Moon is scary. And bold and inventive and full of Big Issues and Big Moments and, so what if the science is rubbish - this is a TV programme about an alien with two hearts who can change his appearance travelling through time and space in a police box that's bigger on the inside than the outside. All of the science is rubbish! It's also, and this is much more important, mature, elegant, proper grown-up drama. It's Doctor Who striving for, and earning, its current 8.30pm time slot. In the same way that Neil Gaiman both matched and then, even exceeded, expectations with his first Doctor Who episode, so the energy, imagination and even surprising occasional slabs of caustic humour of Peter Harness's script reminds us all - if any reminder were needed - that we, as an audience, can experience new feelings and emotions, new thrills, new avenues to travel and new ways of being impressed, even when watching a fifty year old kids show about a mad man in a box. 'Everything's dangerous if you want it to be. Eating chips is dangerous. Crossing the road, it's no way to live your life.'
BBC Worldwide has announced that the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff will reopen on 24 October. The exhibition closed in August to allow for a regeneration which will see the addition of a new interactive adventure staring yer actual Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. Those taking part can follow The Doctor on a spectacular, adventure through time and space. Beginning in the Gallifrey Museum and journeying to the heart of the TARDIS, visitors will have to grapple with a threat which could destroy the universe. The exclusive adventure has been specially written for the experience by the very excellent Joe Lidster and directed by Paul Wilmshurst. The Doctor Who Experience boasts the world's most extensive collection of original Doctor Who props and artefacts. Highlights include a complete collection of The Doctor's costumes from 1963 to the present day, three full TARDIS sets, a fiftieth anniversary collection of Doctor Who stars handprints and a whole host of costumes from evil monsters to loyal companions.

The X Factor topped Friday's overnight ratings outside of soaps with 6.01 million viewers from 9pm. Earlier on ITV, Gino's Italian Escape: A Taste Of The Sun was seen by 2.47 million at 8pm. On BBC1, The ONE Show kicked off the evening with 3.37 million, while A Question of Sport followed with 2.95 million. The latest Would I Lie To You? was seen by 3.18 million at 8.30pm, whilst the first of a new series of Have I Got News For You played to an evening high for the channel of 4.27 million and Big School continued to flop bigger than a big flopping thing being watched by 2.37 million at 9:30pm. With guests including Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Luke Evans, The Graham Norton Show ended the evening with 3.06 million at 10.35pm. Celebrity Antiques Roadshow began with 1.72 million at 7pm on BBC2 and Mastermind picked up increased viewers of 2.03 million - and yer actual Keith Telly Topping was impressed that he matched the lad whose specialist subject was The Rolling Stones in getting fourteen out of the fifteen questions right. Lorraine Pascale: How To Be A Better Cook was seen by 1.49 million (7.2%), Tom Kerridge's Best Ever Dishes continued with 1.42 million, Gardeners' World was seen by 1.95 million and the evening ended with 1.85 million for the start of a new series of Qi. Channel Four's Stars At Your Service opened with four hundred and fifty thousand at 8pm, followed by 2.13 million for Gogglebox and one million viewers for Alan Carr: Chatty Man. Body Of Proof was Channel Five's highest-rated show with seven hundred and sixty seven thousand, while the first of an NCIS double bill was seen by five hundred and fourteen thousand. ITV3's 8pm episode of Lewis was one of the more popular multichannel shows with five hundred and thirty thousand.

TV Comedy Line Of The Week came from the welcome return of Qi for its L series. After Wor Geet Canny Ross Noble had given a suitably weird answer to a question about his grandmother's alleged habits, Stephen Fry noted 'we don't know much about what goes on in The North East, but we hear things.' 'Mainly from you' added Alan Davies with expert timing! It's great to have it back.
Peaky Blinders was slightly up on its last episode upon its return to BBC2 on Thursday, overnight data reveals. The period drama attracted an average audience of 1.69 million viewers at 9pm. This is up by around fifty thousand viewers from its series one finale, but down over seven hundred thousand from its premiere episode last September. Billy Connolly's appearance on Who Do You Think You Are? topped the ratings overall outside soaps with 4.77m at 9pm on BBC1. Earlier, Your Home In Their Hands appealed to 2.61m at 8pm, while Question Time interested 2.27m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two drew 1.18m at 6.30pm, followed by Antiques Road Trip with 1.59m at 7pm and Judge Atlantis with 1.29m at 8pm. Mock The Week amused 1.43m at 10pm. ITV's For The Love Of Dogs gathered 4.10m at 8.30pm, whilst Lord Snooty's latest programme featuring him wandering around posh gaffs rubbing working people's nose in the fact that he and his chums have more money than them, Blenheim Palace: Great War House, brought in 1.42m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Location, Location, Location attracted 1.48m at 8pm, followed by Educating The East End with 1.33m at 9pm. Scrotal Recall débuted with six hundred and thirty six thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Benefit House: Me & My Twenty Two Kids attracted nine hundred and seven thousand at 8pm. No Foreigners Here: One Hundred Per cent British gathered seven hundred and eighty two thousand at 9pm, and Mummy's Little Murderer brought in six hundred and fifty six thousand at 10pm.

The BBC's Question Time has been criticised by the sister of Alice Gross after it featured a question relating to the murdered fourteen-year-old on this week's programme. Nina Gross said that an immigration debate arising from Alice's death was 'horrible' and 'extremely insensitive'. Latvian Arnis Zalkalns was named as a suspect by police before Alice's body was found in the River Brent on Tuesday. Alice was last seen on 28 August after leaving her home in Hanwell. Nina Gross wrote on Twitter: 'It is extremely insensitive to use my family's tragedy for political agendas and discussion. This is a time of grief for our family. In future, please respect our wishes as we grieve. This is a personal tragedy which we want to deal with privately, rather than fearing anyone using it for any political agenda. It is extremely insensitive to use my families tragedy for political agendas and discussion. This is a time of grief for our family. Now is not the time for these discussions.' In later posts directed at BBC Twitter accounts, she added: 'It is really insensitive and horrible that you have used our family's tragedy on Question Time.' A post on the show's Twitter account said: 'Dear Nina, we're sorry to hear this. We're really sorry for any hurt or offence caused by tonight's programme.' She replied: 'Thank you.' On the programme, presenter David Dimbleby said a question had been submitted by a member of the public to the panel referring to the 'hideous murder of Alice Gross'. The question was: 'Should there be freedom of movement including convicted criminals across EU borders?' The discussion lasted about eight minutes.

The Great British Bake Off equalled its highest ever overnight ratings on Wednesday. The semi-final of the popular BBC1 show rose by around half a million viewers from the previous episode, averaging 8.82 million at 8pm, a near thirty nine per cent audience share. This is Bake Off's highest overnight rating for the current series and equals the average audience of last year's final which was broadcast on BBC2. An Extra Slice gathered 1.49m at 10pm on BBC2. Later, Our Zoo continued with 4.50m at 9pm, while A Question of Sport was watched by two million punters at 10.35pm. BBC2's Long Shadow brought in seven hundred and twenty one thousand at 8pm, followed by Rwanda's Untold Story with six hundred and fifty six thousand at 9pm. On ITV, risible remake Celebrity Squares spectacularly failed to entertain as it flopped to 2.27m at 8pm. Scott and Bailey appealed to 3.81m at 9pm. Channel Four's Double Your Gaff For Half The Bread was seen by 1.09m at 8pm, followed by Grand Designs with 1.90m at 9pm. The Paedophile Hunter attracted 1.22m at 10pm. On Channel Five, Nightmare Neighbour Next Door drew 1.44m. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away interested 1.66m at 9pm, followed by Wentworth with six hundred and fifty seven thousand at 10pm. ITV2's The Job Lot was watched by two hundred and ninety five thousand at 10pm.

Ripper Street is to launch its third series on Amazon in mid-November. The series will premiere with a double-bill on Amazon Prime Instant Video on Friday 14 November at 9pm. A new episode will then be released on the service at 9pm every Friday until its finale on Boxing Day. The series will subsequently be broadcast on BBC1 and BBC America sometime in 2015. Amazon members will also be able to view exclusive extended episodes of the series, including scenes which will not be shown on television. Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn and Adam Rothenberg will return for the third series of the Victorian crime drama. The gothic period thriller was cancelled by the BBC late last year due to falling ratings, prompting an outcry from fans. However, a new eight-episode series was commissioned thanks to a co-production deal between the BBC and Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Some middle-class hippy Communist scum louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star has written yet another hateful, agenda-soaked pile of diarrhoea about Jezza Clarkson. How very surprising. There must be a 'y' in the day. Next ...
A former Scum of the World news executive has extremely admitted that he was involved in phone-hacking, sixteen months after pleading not guilty to the crime in the Old Bailey. Ian Edmondson's dramatic about-turn marks the final chapter in the phone-hacking trial which ended in June with the conviction of the Prime Minister's former, if you will, 'chum', Andy Coulson the former Scum of the World editor. Edmondson spoke only to confirm his name and to say 'guilty' when asked to formally enter his plea. He was charged with conspiring to hack phones between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006 together with Andy Coulson and with the convicted hacker, Glen Mulcaire, the paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman, its former news desk executives Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup, the paper's former feature writer Dan Evans and 'other persons known and unknown.' Edmondson was one of the original eight defendants at the Old Bailey trial but was deemed 'unfit' to continue on the twenty ninth day of proceedings. Before he was released from trial, the jury heard how he was one of four news editors for whom the convicted hacker Mulcaire worked. Among the Mulcaire's targets that Edmondson was implicated in were Sienna Miller, her mother, her publicist and her former partner Jude Law, as well as his personal assistant. Edmondson worked for the paper in the 1990s and then rejoined the tabloid's news desk in 2004, becoming news editor in 2005, a position which he held until he was suspended in December 2010 and subsequently very dismissed for gross misconduct in January 2011. He was in charge of the news desk when Mulcaire and the paper's royal editor Clive Goodman were arrested in August 2006 on suspicion of hacking. Edmondson's suspension four years later came after three e-mails implicating him in Mulcaire's sick and sordid hacking ways came to light. These suggested that hacking was not confined to Goodman whom the company had claimed for four years was operating as 'a single "rogue" reporter' and led to the launch of Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard's phone-hacking investigation in January 2011. Mulcaire's The e-mails contained the mobile and pin numbers for Joan Hammell, a special adviser to Lord Prescott, former lack of culture secretary Tessa Jowell and minor royal Freddie Windsor. The jury heard that during Edmondson's reign on the news desk the paper was also hacking rival journalists on the Scum Mail on Sunday in an attempt to discover what they knew about Prescott's alleged affair with his diary secretary, Tracey Temple, in a 'dog-eat-dog' fight for stories. After the paper hacked Temple and her ex-husband and got nowhere, the prosecution said that Edmondson got hold of Hammell's number and passed it to Mulcaire. Mulcaire went on to obtain her pin and listened to forty five messages. He then e-mailed Edmondson telling him: 'This is how you can hack the phone so that you too can hear them', according to the contents of e-mails disclosed during the trial. 'In the dog-eat-dog world of journalism, in this frenzy to get the huge story and to try to get something other than everybody else, that is what you do, we suggest, if you are Ian Edmondson – you hack the competition,' prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told jurors in his opening speech. One defendant had claimed that hacking was so widespread that Edmondson was even accessing Coulson's own voicemail to find out which stories he favoured. When Mulcaire's home was raided by police in 2006, officers discovered a large cache of notes recording who had tasked him to hack phones, including 'Ian'. Edmondson's decision to plead very guilty means that eight of the ten so far charged and dealt with for phone-hacking at the Scum of the World have been convicted or pleaded very guilty.

Meanwhile, the first Sun journalist to be charged for payments to police for leaking stories will face a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict at the Old Bailey. Vince Soodin had been charged with conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office over a single payment of five hundred smackers to a police officer in Brighton in 2010. The jury returned on Wednesday to tell the judge that they could not reach a unanimous verdict and were discharged on Thursday afternoon having failed also to reach a majority verdict. Judge Gordon told the jury: 'Whether you can agree and it's clear that you can't, so be it. It happens sometimes and the procedure now is that I discharge you in giving a verdict in this case in your role. There is no point you struggling over this any longer.' Soodin was the second journalist to come to trial as a result of Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden investigation into unlawful disclosure of confidential information by public officials which has seen twenty three journalists charged. He had been arrested in August 2012 following disclosure by News International of e-mails between him and a police sergeant, James Bowes, of Sussex Police in June 2010. The officer had e-mailed the paper on Saturday 19 June using a false name 'Mike' with a 'tip-off' about a three-year-old boy who had been bitten by a fox at a children's party. Soodin was manning the news desk on his own that day and claimed that he sent off a 'stock reply' saying he would be happy to pay for the information. He later recommended that Bowes be paid seven hundred and fifty knicker, but this was knocked down to five hundred quid by his superiors. Soodin went on to corroborate the tip with a story appearing in the paper the following Monday but returned to Bowes for help in relation to the surname of the boy later that week. During the trial his counsel, William Harbage QC, told jurors that Bowes was treated like any other 'tipster' and that Soodin had been 'disarmingly open and frank' with his 'bosses' that the information had come from a police officer.

News International withdrew its application to recover the costs of the well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks trial after the judge started to explore the company's conduct in relation to the first phone-hacking scandal in 2006. In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, Mr Justice Saunders said that the company, now trading as News UK, had argued it would 'be wrong in law to take into account the position of News International as the owner of the News of the World or its conduct as relevant factors' in his assessment of a cost application. The judge wanted several questions answered. In the published judgment he said: 'The questions included some relating to the relationship between News International and the News of the World and the conduct of News International after the arrest and prosecution of Clive Goodman in 2006 up to the start of the investigation known as Operation Weeting.' The eight-month phone-hacking trial heard allegations of a cover-up following the arrest of the Scum of the World's royal reporter Goodman, who was extremely jailed along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2007 for hacking-related crimes. Saunders wanted to hear submissions from News UK on events between Goodman's arrest and the re-opening of Scotland Yard's hacking investigation, Operation Weeting, four years later in January 2011. The judge said that he had sought legal advice on News UK's response to his questions but, before he had received the submission from independent counsel, the publisher told him they 'would not be seeking the recovering of the costs that had expended in paying for the defence of the defendants.' It emerged at a hearing on Wednesday that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was dropping her application for costs because News UK, who indemnified her, decided that they were no longer going to seek reimbursement from her. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's legal costs were estimated to run to between five and seven million knicker. The judge heard on Wednesday that Cheryl Carter, well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's former secretary, and three security personnel, including News UK's head of security Mark Hanna, were also dropping their applications for costs. There were also cleared of any offences. Stuart Kuttner, the Scum of the World's former managing editor, and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's husband, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie, were also cleared. Kuttner was indemnified by News UK from January 2013 and is seeking one hundred and thirty five grand in costs incurred before that date. Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, who was not indemnified by News UK, is applying to recover half a million quid in costs, plus VAT. The legal submissions made by News UK in relation to the costs will not be made public, Saunders ruled, as they were 'not referred to in open court' and because the formal cost applications were never actually made.

The former legal manager at the Scum of the World, whose office safe contained transcripts of the former home secretary David Blunkett’s voicemails, had been told he will not face prosecution. Tom Crone, who was responsible for the tabloid’s legal affairs at the height of the phone-hacking scandal, was arrested more than two years ago on suspicion of being involved in the conspiracy which has seen the paper's former editor Andy Coulson extremely jailed. He was told by the Crown Prosecution Service on Friday that he will not face any charges in relation to two counts involving a conspiracy to intercept phone messages at the paper. 'After careful consideration it has been decided that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. This decision has been made in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors,' it said in a statement. The contents of his safe included the transcripts of voicemails left by Blunkett to Kimberly Quinn, a married woman with whom he was having an affair. During the phone-hacking trial, Coulson testified that he had told Crone about the hacking of Blunkett's messages in 2004. 'At the time of David Blunkett, there was no mention of illegality', Coulson claimed. The jury, seemingly, did not believe him.

The Liberal Democrats have demanded an official investigation into reports that an adviser to the Home Secretary Theresa May called Nick Clegg 'a wanker.' Which might, jus, be the first case in recorded history of a Tory being criticised for telling the truth.

A seventeen-year-old boy with an alleged fixation on the TV series Dexter has been jailed for twenty five years for stabbing to death his seventeen-year-old girlfriend and dismembering her body. Steven Miles, who was sixteen at the time of his horrible crime, killed Elizabeth Thomas at his family home in Oxted on 24 January. After stabbing her in the head and back, he dismembered her legs and arm, wrapped them in cling-film and put them in bin bags. The teenage politics student used saws and tools from his father's tree surgery business to cut up her body, which he had covered in a plastic sheet. Miles, who had been diagnosed as having an autistic syndrome, told his family that he had an alter ego whom he called Ed and who had instructed him to kill someone. When the defendant's sister returned home to the flat about an hour after the murder, Miles told her: 'Ed made me do something bad.' During the sentencing hearing at Guildford crown court, the court heard that Miles had a fascination with horror films and the macabre and had wanted to emulate the actions of Dexter, the titular character of a popular American TV series about a police forensics officer who is also a serial killer. The judge, Christopher Critchlow, told Miles: 'This is a case of the utmost gravity, the horrific features of which are rarely heard in any court. Nothing this court can say or do, no sentence this court can impose can alleviate the pain suffered by Elizabeth Thomas's family for a death in such a terrible manner. There must be a life sentence.' At the start of the hearing, the judge warned the court that the case involved details that were 'extremely unpleasant and may cause considerable distress to anyone listening', and he advised anyone of a nervous disposition to leave. He said that the killing was predetermined and he would have given a whole life term if the defendant had been an adult but, as Miles was a child, he was not allowed to pass that sentence. Critchlow said that eminent psychiatrists had agreed Miles was not schizophrenic and therefore did not have a defence of diminished responsibility. Miles showed no emotion as the sentence was passed. Lewis Power QC, defending Miles, described the murder as 'a chilling, blood-curdling and sustained' killing. He said that Miles had 'pleaded guilty to a horrendous crime which is beyond belief because of its horrific nature. This was a truly gruesome killing ripped from the pages of a hit TV script. The evidence points to the defendant trying to emulate the actions of the character Dexter, who he idolised. The case is a sad testament to the perils of how young people can become entrenched in modern TV blockbusters involving violence which shockingly led to a copycat killing in real life.' He said the 'phenomenon' of Ed was 'not fully understood' by psychiatrists but they agreed that the defendant was not psychotic.

A woman has been cleared of attempting to kill her mother by poisoning her diet coke in a plot said to have been inspired by the cult American TV show Breaking Bad. Kuntal Patel was accused of lacing her mother Meena's drink with a ricin-like toxin after she 'forbade' her daughter from marrying her fiance. Giving evidence in the trial, Patel admitted that she 'fantasised' about being a lead character in Breaking Bad, an obsession which drove her to pay nine hundred and fifty smackers in the virtual currency Bitcoin for a quantity of deadly abrin. 'It was like I saw myself to be some kind of Mexican drug warlord. I would think it through as if I was the main character in Breaking Bad,' Patel claimed in evidence at Southwark crown court. 'It was all a big mess.' Patel, a volunteer at the London Olympics, was found not guilty of attempted murder by a jury on Thursday. She had previously pleaded guilty to acquiring a biological agent or toxin. As her relationship with her mother came under increasing strain, Patel admitted that she e-mailed a poisons dealer in America to demand deadly toxins. In one e-mail. sent last December, she told her supplier that something 'must have gone wrong' because the 'target drank all' of the poison but was still alive. However, Patel told jurors that the e-mails were just part of a fantasy created to deal with the strain of her home life. The fantasy was alleged to have turned into a murder plot after she watched an episode of Breaking Bad when teacher-turned-drug-dealer Walter White kills a rival with ricin-laced tea. Explaining the e-mails to the poison dealer, Patel told the court: 'By this time, because of the messages I received from my mum and because I couldn't cope with it and I wanted to escape from it all, I started to fantasise about trying to kill myself or my mum,' she said. 'It was as if I was thinking through it as if I was in my own TV programme or a character in Breaking Bad. I was in a really strange place in my mind.' The two-week trial heard that Patel, who was brought up a strict Gujrati Hindu, had never had a boyfriend or a Valentine's Day card and was desperate to settle down and have children. Her profile on dating websites was written by her mother Meena, a magistrate who sits on the bench at Thames magistrates' court in Bow, who was described as 'highly manipulative and controlling'. Patel struck up a relationship with Niraj Kakad, who lived in Phoenix, Arizona, on the Asian dating website and the pair got engaged on Thanksgiving in November 2012. But her mother was 'hell-bent' on scuppering Patel's blossoming relationship and is said to have locked Patel in their home and beaten and bullied her in an attempt to break up the romance. Patel, a Barclays Bank graphic designer, was 'driven to despair' and began researching ways to kill herself – or her mother – on the Internet. Patel showed little emotion as she was cleared of attempted murder. She will be sentenced on 7 November for acquiring a toxin.

The BBC's Panorama is to 'scale back' its investigative journalism and feature more analysis and familiar faces such as Fiona Bruce following criticism of the corporation's current affairs output and an exodus of senior staff. Panorama, the world's longest running TV current affairs show has suffered falling ratings in recent years - albeit, it was never the biggest attractor of an audience - and will now feature more news analysis programmes examining the background to big stories, fronted by high profile figures including Today host John Humphrys and Bruce, who also hosts BBC1's Antiques Roadshow and the Six O'Clock News. The shift in editorial emphasis follows the departure of Panorama's editor and two of its deputy editors, and the decision earlier this year to make its four dedicated reporters, John Sweeney, Shelley Jofre, Paul Kenyon and Raphael Rowe, redundant. Alleged BBC current affairs 'insiders' allegedly described it as 'the most significant crisis to affect Panorama in anybody's memory' and 'a massacre.' At least, according to some louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star. Another senior current affairs producer allegedly said it was 'a complete tragedy' for the programme, which was first broadcast on the BBC in 1953. 'It will continue to do investigations but less often,' the Gruniad claim that an alleged - anonymous, and therefore, almost certainly fictitious - BBC current affairs source is alleged to have said. 'But if Panorama doesn't do investigations then what is its unique selling point? The programme is supposed to be about holding people in power to account.' Another alleged 'source' allegedly close to the programme allegedly said: 'People have been told it is not their job to right wrongs, but if Panorama is to be an institution then it has to be able scare people.' Panorama has scored some significant successes in recent years including its 2011 exposé of abuse at the Winterbourne View care home in Gloucestershire, where an undercover reporter recorded secret footage of patients being abused by carers. But its ratings have been in long-term decline, down twenty per cent last year to an average of 2.3 million viewers per episode. One programme, an hour-long 'cash for questions' scoop about the then Tory MP Patrick Mercer, was watched by only 1.3 million viewers despite boasting one of the biggest political scoops of 2013. A critical report by the BBC Trust earlier this year said that the corporation's current affairs output, including Panorama, was failing to stand out and was being outgunned by Channel Four's Dispatches. Panorama programmes have also attracted criticism, including last year's undercover trip to North Korea and its investigation into charities including Comic Relief, both of which caused rows which drew in the BBC Director General, Tony Hall. Alleged BBC 'insiders' allegedly believe that it may have suffered as a result of the controversy around the two programmes, as well as Panoramas investigation into the Newsnight Savile fiasco in October 2012, which was heavily critical of the rival BBC2 programme and senior corporation executives. All the senior journalists involved in the Savile programme are either leaving the BBC or have been moved to a new role. The change in direction on Panorama echoes a move in the late 1980s, under its then Director General John Birt and Lord Hall, who was at the time its director of TV news, to move away from investigative reporting to more analysis and issue-based programmes. Uncertainty continues to surround Panorama, with acting editor Ceri Thomas having to reapply for the role and its four-strong team of reporters likely to remain until next spring, nearly a year after they were told they were being made redundant as part of a forty eight million smackers cost-cutting package. Thomas, put in temporary charge of Panorama this year after previous editor Tom Giles was moved to a new job overseeing a report into BBC current affairs, is understood to want 'high end' impactful investigations which make headlines. But management is said to want to move away from mid-ranking investigations that fail to surprise or have a lasting impact, with a belief that some programmes over the last few years have not been strong enough for a prestigious BBC brand. Thomas, the BBC's former head of news programmes whose old role was in effect abolished in a shake up by BBC news chief James Harding nine days ago, is expected to apply for the role on a permanent basis. A BBC spokesman said: 'Panorama is and will remain the BBC's flagship investigative programme. We are keen to ensure that it has the resources to deliver regular, hard-hitting investigations. We also believe there is room for occasional news analysis programmes to help explain in greater depth developing or complex stories. Far from diluting the values which underpin Panorama we are confident that these changes will strengthen its impact for viewers.'

Ofcom's chief executive Ed Richards is to stand down after eleven years at the UK media and communications regulator, a politically-appointed qunago, elected by no one. Richards, who as Tony Blair's senior media policy adviser shaped the Communication Act which created Ofcom in the first place and then joined the regulator ahead of its launch in late 2003 as a senior partner, has been in the top job since 2006. Richards will stand down at the end of the year with headhunters Zygos hired to lead the search to find a successor by the new year. 'It has been a privilege to lead Ofcom during such an exciting and dynamic period in the evolution of the UK's communications sector,' said Richards. 'It is never easy leaving a job that you enjoy greatly but I have always felt that once I had completed eight years as chief executive this would be the right time to move on.' Richards replaced Stephen Carter as chief executive of Ofcom in 2006, having been made chief operating officer the year before. 'Ed has been an outstanding chief executive,' said the Ofcom chair, Patricia Hodgson. 'Under his leadership, Ofcom has helped to deliver superfast broadband, 4G, lower prices, innovation, competition, and sustainable public service broadcasting in the UK. He leaves an impressive legacy. On behalf of the board I would like to thank him for his enormous contribution.'

The singer and songwriter Lynsey de Paul has died at the age of sixty four, following a suspected brain haemorrhage. De Paul, who represented the UK in the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Rock Bottom', had five top twenty chart hits, including 1972's 'Sugar Me'. She became the first woman to win an Ivor Novello award for songwriting. 'Although she was small in stature, she was very big in positive personality,' said her agent Michael Joyce. 'She was always so positive about everything.' De Paul, who broke into the music scene in 1971, followed up 'Sugar Me' with 'Getting a Drag', which reached number eighteen in the charts. Her 1973 hit 'Won't Somebody Dance With Me?' won her an Novello award. A second followed a year later for 'No Honestly' a top ten hit which was also used as the theme tune to the ITV sitcom of the same name, starring Pauline Collins and John Alderton. De Paul also wrote the theme to Esther Rantzen's BBC1 series Hearts Of Gold. De Paul never married but was romantically linked to a string of well-known men including Sean Connery, Dudley Moore, Roy Wood and Ringo Starr. An interview with the Scum Mail in 2007 revealed that she had five offers of marriage, including one from the actor James Coburn and another from Chas Chandler, the former bassist with The Animals. Lynsey was born in Southwark to Meta de Groot and Herbert Rubin, a property developer, she grew up in a Jewish family in Cricklewood and attended South Hampstead High School followed by Hornsey College of Art, now part of Middlesex University. Starting a sleeve designer, she began songwriting in the early 1970s, initially providing co-written songs for others including the actor Jack Wild, Barry Blue and, most notably, The Fortunes (she co-wrote their 1972 hit 'Storm in a Teacup'). A few months later she gained notice as the performer in her own right with 'Sugar Me' which was not only a big hit ,in Britain and across Europe but, was also covered in the US by Nancy Sinatra and Claudine Longet. Lynsey reached the height of her popularity in the mid-1970s, with number one hits in Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands and her Eurovision song, 'Rock Bottom' a duet with fellow songwriter Mike Moran. However, her popularity waned in the late 1970s although she continued to compose and perform, famously singing her own song at the Conservative Party conference in 1983. She also starred in celebrity quiz shows such as Blankety Blank and more recently, reality shows including Cash In The Attic and Come Dine With Me. In 1992, De Paul presented a documentary about women's self-defence, called Eve Fights Back, which won a Royal Television Society award. The singer had spoken previously of her abusive childhood, and her history of violent relationships. Her niece, Olivia Rubin, told The Times that her death was 'completely unexpected', adding: 'She was a vegetarian, she didn't smoke, she didn't drink - she was amazing, in fact.'

Yer actual Kate Bush has performed the last of a series of twenty two comeback concerts in London, suggesting it will be 'a while' before she appears on stage again. Well, since it's been thirty five years since her last series of shows, I don't think too many people were expecting another one next year, to be fair. 'We're all really sad as it's the last night,' she told the audience at Hammersmith on Wednesday. 'I'm going to miss everyone so much.' Almost eighty thousand tickets were sold for the fifty six-year-old's five-week residency. The strain of performing live for the first time in thirty five years appeared to have had little effect on the singer, who was in fine voice throughout her three-hour set. As previously reported, the concert combined renditions of hits including 'Running Up That Hill', 'Hounds of Love' and 'King Of The Mountain', with elaborately staged versions of song cycles from her Hounds Of Love and Aerial LPs. The evening ended with a special shout-out to performer Charlotte Williams, whose portrayal of a wooden puppet who comes to life was described by Bush as 'our secret weapon. Every night she has played this part for us and up until tonight she's never had a round of applause,' said the singer. The show ended with a performance of the 1985 single 'Cloudbusting' and a lengthy standing ovation, during which Bush was presented with numerous bouquets. 'Thank you again everyone for sharing this with all of us,' she told the audience, blowing kisses as she took her leave. No further concerts are scheduled, though there has been speculation that one or more of the shows had been filmed last month for a future DVD release. Wednesday's audience largely obeyed the singer's request to refrain from taking photographs or recording footage on their phones during the performance. Despite this, excerpts from previous shows have surfaced online. The run has not been without the occasional hiccup, with one concert in September delayed by more than an hour by a power cut. One Twitter user saw the funny side, noting that the hold-up had risked causing 'the most middle class riot ever.'

And speaking of Katie her very self, on Thursday evening yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player at the Tyneside and, it just happened to be The Bush's own The Whole Story. Which was nice.

Meanwhile ...
To which the only thing to add, really, is ...
Ahem. Sorry.

A silent Sherlock Holmes film made in 1916 and featuring the only screen performance by William Gillette has been found in the French film archive. The film, thought to have been lost forever, had been wrongly catalogued decades ago by staff at the Cinematique Francaise. The American actor Gillette made his name as Holmes mainly on stage, bringing his trademark deerstalker and pipe to life for the first time. The movie is being restored and will be shown at a French festival next year. It is due to be premiered in the US at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in May 2015. Gillette, who died in 1937, gave what was seen at the time as the definitive portrayal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary sleuth, adopting many of the traits that have been seen since and survive to this day. He was also a playwright, and wrote the story for the 1916 film which was simply entitled Sherlock Holmes. It was made in Chicago in 1915 at the Essanay Studios, which is best known for a series of short Charlie Chaplin films made around the same time. The feature-length film contained elements from various Conan Doyle mysteries featuring the famous detective, and was presented in promotional material as being in seven acts. The version uncovered in Paris had captions in French and was ready to be colour-tinted specifically for the French market at the time. It had been mixed up with some other unrelated material and not been labelled properly. Staff at the archive came across it while working on an extensive project to catalogue the thousands of nitrate film reels in its collection. Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film at the British Film Institute, said it was 'top of the list' in the canon of missing Sherlock Holmes films, so is 'a pretty exciting find. This also connects with Victorian theatre which is more obscure than early film. It's exciting to get Gillette in particular. He made Sherlock Holmes a character for the first time rather than a caricature and it's amazing how much we think of him was based on Gillette's image. Quite often discoveries are made in plain sight like this. Collections have cans that just say "film" on them and you don't know what's in them until you get them out, which can be very time consuming.' The restoration, which is being carried out in Bologna, will strive to show the film as it was originally intended, added Dixon who noted that the BFI is hunting for a 1914 adaptation of A Study in Scarlet - the first British film portrayal of the character - and said the latest discovery could help its ongoing search.

And finally, dear blog reader, for the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, the question of the day, as it were. Tell 'em all about it, Mister Echo.

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