Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week Forty Three: Timeslide, Place To Hide, Nudge Reality. Foresight Minds Wide Magic Imagery

Strictly Come Dancing was, once again, Saturday night's most watched show, peaking with an overnight audience of more than nine million viewers. Strictly's Movie Week episode was watched by an average audience of 8.65 million from 6.30pm on BBC1, compared to 7.2 million for ITV's The X Factor from 7.30pm. The X Factor peaked with 8.03 million at 8.45pm, while Strictly Come Dancing had a peak audience of 9.23 million an hour earlier. BBC1 also scored something of a ratings success with Doctor Who and Mummy On The Orient Express, which picked up 5.08 million at 8.30pm, an increase of approximately two hundred and fifty thousand overnight viewers from the previous episode. Once again, a regular timeshift in the two million range should see the final, consolidated figures approaching the seven million mark. The episode of Doctor Who, incidentally, began at 8.37pm making it the latest ever start time for an episode in the series' entire fifty one year history. It had an AI score of eighty five, the long-running family SF drama's highest audience appreciation score since The Day Of The Doctor last November. Elsewhere on BBC1, Casualty played to 4.33 million at 9.35pm, a drop four hundred thousand overnight viewers on the previous, very well-trailed, episode. A repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys closed the night with 2.67 million at 10.45pm. On ITV, The Chase: Celebrity Special was seen by 2.82 million from 6.30pm, while 2.93m sad, crushed victims of society tuned in to watch the risible, rotten Through the Keyhole at 10pm. Dad's Army was BBC2's highest-rated show of the evening, achieving viewing figures of 1.53 million at 8.30pm. It was sandwiched between Penguins: Spy In The Huddle and Qi XL, which scored five hundred and sixty thousand and eight hundred and ninety thousand viewers respectively. An average of six hundred and sixty thousand watched Channel Four's showing of the 2011 movie Hanna at 9pm, while Grand Designs had an audience of five hundred and ten thousand at 8pm. Channel Five fared slightly better, attracting seven hundred and fifty nine thousand for 9pm movie Hang 'Em High and five hundred and forty thousand for JFK's Secret Killer: The Evidence at 8pm. ITV3's repeat of Midsomer Murders was among the most popular multichannel shows, playing to seven hundred and one thousand at 9pm.
The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing were virtually neck-and-neck in the overnight ratings on Sunday. The ITV talent show's first live results episode attracted an average audience of 8.49 million at 8.15pm. This is comparable with last week's ratings, which averaged pretty much exactly the same overnight figure. On BBC1, Strictly also attracted 8.49m at 7.15pm, dipping by over three hundred thousand from the previous week's week's results show. Elsewhere on ITV, Downton Abbey dropped by over one hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 7.32m at 9pm. The live Euro 2016 qualifier between Estonia and England scored 5.03m from 4.30pm - a damned sight more than England themselves managed, although thanks to Wayne Rooney's curling free-kick they did, at least, come away with the points - while Sunday Night At The Palladium had an audience of 4.13m at 7.15pm. BBC1's Countryfile appealed to 4.99m at 6.30pm, while Antiques Roadshow was watched by 4.96m at 8pm. Our Girl continued with 3.89m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Alan Carr's Deal Or No Deal 'special' - and, I use that word quite wrongly - was seen by 1.13m at 6.30pm, followed by Guy Martin's Spitfire with 1.79m at 7.30pm. Homeland returned for its fourth season with 1.27m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of Spider-Man 3 attracted 1.01m at 6.30pm, followed by 2012 with 1.12m at 9.15pm. BBC3's repeat of Saturday's Doctor Who episode drew a fraction over two hundred thousand viewers.

Gotham debuted with a sizeable overnight rating for Channel Five on Monday. The imported Batman origins drama launched with 1.73 million at 9pm. Earlier, Police Interceptors brought in seven hundred and sixty one thousand viewers at 8pm, while Under The Dome continued with seven hundred and seventy one thousand at 10pm. BBC1's New Tricks topped the evening's overnight ratings with 4.73m at 9pm. The Farage Factor appealed to 2.71m at 8.30pm, and Ten Years Of The Apprentice attracted 1.82m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, University Challenge enjoyed a bumper audience of 3.01m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.09m at 8.30pm. The Kitchen continued with eight hundred and eighty nine thousand at 9pm, while Never Mind The Buzzcocks was watched by eight hundred and ninety six thousand at 10pm. On ITV, Grantchester continued with 4.15m at 9pm, while The Undriveables was seen by 2.56m at 8pm. Channel Four's Comfort Food interested 1.17m at 8pm, followed by Gadget Man with nine hundred and ten thousand at 8.30pm. Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody had an audience of 1.64m at 9pm, while Eight Out Of Ten Cats drew an audience of nine hundred and seventeen thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Hotel Of Mum And Dad was seen by three hundred and eighty thousand.

Nasty bully boy thug Lord Sugar-Sweetie's The Apprentice achieved its best premiere rating since 2011 on Tuesday, according to overnight data. The BBC1 show's tenth series opener attracted an overnight audience of 6.66 million at 9pm. This is up from last year's 6.01m ratings, but still down from 2011's record of 7.8m. It is also up nearly a million from last year's finale score of 5.70m. On BBC2, the spin-off show You're Fired brought in 2.10m. Earlier, a repeat of Horizon: Cat Watch 2014 appealed to 1.11m at 7pm, followed by One Hundred Thousand Pound House: Tricks Of The Trade with 1.65m at 8pm and Human Universe with 1.58m at 9pm. It was a horrible night for ITV, soaps aside, with Wilderness Walks With Ray Mears attracting 2.23m at 7.30pm and Long Lost Family only managing 2.19m at 8pm. But, if you think that's bad, Spandau Ballet's True Gold 'special' (and, again, one uses the word 'special' in a way that it was, surely, never intended to be used) failed to entertain a risibly low audience of but 1.27m at 9pm. Yes, that's right, a 9pm show on ITV got an overnight audience of less than one and a half million and was beaten by both BBC2 and Channel Four. Which is funny. One imagines whoever it was that commissioned this turkey of a flop is clearing out his or her desk this morning and leaving the building post-haste. Or, getting the hiding of their lives from Adam Crozier. One or t'other. On Channel Four, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners attracted 1.58m at 8pm, followed by Gordon Ramsay's Costa Del Nightmares with 1.28m at 9pm. Channel Five's Jill Dando: Britain's Worst Crimes drew and audience of nine hundred and thirty four thousand sic voyeurs at 8pm. CSI continued with 1.17m at 9pm.

Here are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Five programmes for week-ending Sunday 5 October 2014:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 10.67m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 9.93m
3 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 9.66m
4 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 9.58m*
5 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.44m
6 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.75m
7 Cilla - Mon ITV - 7.68m
8 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 6.91m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.31m
10 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.24m*
11 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.75m
12 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 5.74m
13 Our Zoo - Wed BBC1 - 5.56m
14 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.47m
15 New Tricks - Mon BBC1 - 5.13m
16 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.10m
17 Our Girl - Sun BBC1 - 4.81m
18 The Driver - Tues BBC1 - 4.77m
19 Scott & Bailey - Wed ITV - 4.68m*
20 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.61m
21 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.44m
22 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.25m
23 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.20m
24 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.13m
25 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.98m
ITV programmes marked '*' do not include include HD figures. Doctor Who's final and consolidated figure for Kill The Moon included a timeshift above the initial 'live' audience of over two million viewers (2.03m to be exact), the sixth time in seven episodes this series that this has happened. Saturday evening's episode of The X Factor had a final rating of 8.16 million viewers. Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday episode drew 9.35 million. BBC2's highest rated programme of the week was University Challenge with 2.96m, followed by The Motorway: Life In The Fast Lane (2.57m), Qi (2.32m), Peaky Blinders (2.31m) and Sacred Rivers With Simon Reeves (2.19m). Only Connect was watched by 2.19m viewers. Channel Four's top-rated show was Gogglebox (3.02m) followed by Grand Designs (2.26m). Channel Five's best performers were Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away with 1.85m and CSI (1.79m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's largest rated programme with 1.11 million. Detectorists? drew BBC4's biggest audience of the week (seven hundred and eighty three thousand).

The fifth series opener of US drama The Walking Dead has been watched by 17.3m people, breaking cable viewing records. It marks the biggest cable audience for a non-sports programme in the US, according to television viewing figures tracking company Nielsen. The post-apocalyptic zombie horror, which stars British actor Andrew Lincoln, held the previous record of 16.1m for its fourth season debut last year. The end of the series also set a new benchmark for a finale with 15.7m. Sunday's return to the air also triumphed in the valuable eighteen to forty nine age range with eleven million viewers. Its nearest scripted rival was popular comedy The Big Bang Theory, which pulled in 6.9 million people in that key demographic. The Waking Dead, which is shown on AMC in the US, is screened on FOX TV in the UK. Variety reported that the show also reached record levels for the number of people obtaining the show illegally, with piracy tracking firm Excipio logging 1.27 million downloads in the first twenty four hours after transmission. But the level of piracy for TV series Game Of Thrones pushes The Walking Dead into second place, with its fourth series premiere registering 1.86 million illicit downloads. It added that FOX has rushed the show to some one hundred and twenty five markets around the world in a bid to thwart piracy.
The BBC has launched a website where users can browse every edition of Radio Times going back to 1923, after completing an ambitious project to digitise every page of the TV and radio listings magazine. BBC Genome allows users to search by programme - four million four hundred and twenty three thousand six hundred and fifty four of them, to be exact - date or Radio Times edition, revealing a snapshot of the corporation's schedule on any given day in its ninety one-year history – and a fascinating insight into changing social and cultural trends over nearly a century. The listing for the first ever Blue Peter, broadcast on the 16 October 1958, runs: 'Toys, model railways games, stories, cartoons. A new weekly programme for younger viewers with Christopher Trace and Leila Williams.' On 22 November 1963, the day John Kennedy was extremely assassinated by a lone gunman - yeah, sure - BBC viewers may well have been watching the popular Scottish medical drama Dr Finlay's Casebook. After breaking in to scheduled programming between 7pm and 8pm with brief reports firstly that the president had been very shot and then that he was dead, BBC executives decided to continue with the planned Friday night line-up with Harry Worth in Here's Harry, prompting a flood of whinges from people with nothing better to do with their time than whinge. Still, Doctor Who was debuting the next day so that'll have cheered a few of them up. Probably. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping certainly would have been but, being a mere four weeks old at the time, he had other things on his mind. The archivists said that they expected searches for old Doctor Who episodes to prove particularly popular. Oh, they know fandom too well, it would seem! The BBC Genome project involved digitising four thousand four hundred and sixty nine editions of Radio Times from 1923 to 2009, with information after that point collated from online programme records. Digitisation of the Radio Times archive was completed last year but Thursday is the first time that it will be available to the general public. 'The publication of the BBC Genome marks a significant step forward in helping us to open up more of the BBC's vast and priceless archives to the public,' said Tony Ageh, the controller of archive development. Some of the listings records are inevitably inaccurate due to scheduled programming being postponed or cancelled to make way for coverage of major news events, such as the death of Princess Diana in August 1997. There are also eleven weeks where there is no information when the Radio Times was not published, between 1926 and 1983, for reasons including printing disputes, the 1926 general strike and 1947 fuel crisis. The BBC is aiming to update the records by allowing members of the public to click an 'edit' button and submit information and suggest corrections. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has already suggested a couple, like correcting a few spelling mistakes in their listings for 28 February 1974, for instance. Just being helpful, you understand. 'This information will be invaluable to anybody looking to discover more about the BBC and the wonderful and important broadcasts from years gone by and it will also be our first chance to invite them to help us establish where there are gaps in our information and knowledge about the breadth and depth of our enormous collections,' said Ageh. The corporation will then begin to be able to match its stock of physical programmes with the BBC Genome records to find out what shows are missing. 'It is highly likely that somewhere out there, in lofts, sheds and basements across the world many of these "missing" programmes will have been recorded and kept by generations of TV and radio fans,' said Hilary Bishop, editor of archive development at BBC Archive and Jake Berger, programme manager, Digital Public Space, in a blogpost. 'So we're hoping to use Genome as a way of bringing copies of those lost programmes back in to the BBC archives too.' Ultimately, the intention is that Genome will also provide photos, scripts and other materials held by the BBC. For the moment, it allows the BBC's own staff to download a PDF of the relevant Radio Times magazine however this facility is not currently available to others, although hopefully it will be eventually. The team added it also planned to add regional shows which are not yet included.
And,just in case you were curious,dear blog reader, this was the BBC line-up for 26 October 1963, the very day that yer actual Keith Telly Topping first slithered into this world.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mate Greg Bakun at his excellent From The Archives blog has written a lengthy and very insightful piece on the on-going saga of whether any more missing Doctor Who episodes have been recovered or not. One which I heartily recommend is worth a few minutes of your time, dear blog reader.
As executive producer and lead writer of Doctor Who, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat is used to fans expressing strong opinions on his work, for better or worse. But he's determined not to pander to them. 'You don't give them what you think they want. That would be mad! The only useful index you've got is what you would like,' said yer man Moffat, speaking during a panel session at the MIPCOM conference in Cannes this week. 'It's really a strange way to write a story, and an arrogant way to write a story: to give them what they want. You don't even know what birthday present to give the person close to you! How would you know what everybody wants?' he said. 'I honestly don't think anybody makes a film or television programme for any reason other than "wouldn't it be brilliant to get someone to pay me to do this?"' Steven made it clear that the latter statement was not about greed, but rather positioning himself as a uber-fan, trusting his instincts based on his passion for the show. Moffat sees one of Doctor Who's current strengths as its emotional grounding: it may go 'hell for leather on the sci-fi fantasy aspect' but never forgets to explore the characters immersed in that. 'It is frequently the intimate moments in Doctor Who that make it connect with its audience,' he said. 'It is sci-fi that people who don't like sci-fi watch. Although we never make any apology about Doctor Who being as science fiction as it gets. We don’t like to have a scene without a robot or a talking slug coming along!' Moffat also talked about Sherlock, and why he believed modernising it was the right move to take. 'Updating Sherlock Holmes, as we automatically update James Bond, was the right thing to do,' he said. 'Sherlock Holmes is meant to be pulpy and vital and new.' He admitted, though, to some nervousness in the run-up to the launch of the first series of Sherlock, however. 'There was a moment when my new version of Doctor Who was about to come out in the same few months as Sherlock was about to come out,' he said. 'And I thought "if I screw these up, all I'll have to do is shoot Daniel Craig in the face and I'll have screwed British culture!"'
Now, a couple of things spotted on US TV this week. Sometimes a television drama can benefit from a large dollop of serendipity and just happen to be shown at a time when real-world events make them stand out; case in point, this week's new episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - filmed some months ago, obviously - featured a plot about a plague-like outbreak in Las Vegas at the very moment when fresh Ebola cases are popping up around the world.
Speaking of which, the BBC has denied that there is 'a panic' over the Ebola scare in BBC buildings. Tuesday's Sun front page quoted alleged 'concerns' by newsreader Fiona Bruce and suggested that the corporation is 'alarmed' because staff fear that guests on various programmes could carry the virus. Bruce is quoted as saying: 'We have got make up artists who are saying, "Hang on, these people are just turning up in our chair. They have just come in from Guinea. Do I want to be touching them?" Which is not unreasonable.' In a statement, the BBC clarified that there was 'no widespread panic' and that it is working with Public Health England. 'There is no ban in place and people who do not have symptoms are allowed into BBC buildings,' the statement reads. 'Where people have been exposed to the virus but have not registered with public health authorities we recommend interviews take place by telephone or video phone. We're working with Public Health England.'

Meanwhile, returning to US TV the latest episode of Gotham included torch-song cover versions of Echo & The Bunnymen's 'Ocean Rain' and Siouxsie & The Banshees' 'Spellbound' followed by a cat-fight to the death between the two singers as to which one got the gig. You know, dear blog reader, if The X Factor was like that, this blogger might consider watching it.
Jason Merrells and Neil Morrissey will be among the actor to appear in Death In Paradise next year. Matthew Lewis, Michelle Collins and Sally Phillips will also feature in the upcoming fourth series, reports Radio Times. James Fox, Francis Magee, Nick Moran, Colin McFarlane, Jo Absolom and Gary Lewis have also been added to the guest cast list.

An Adventure In Space And Time and Broadchurch's Olivia Coleman are among the nominations for the 2014 International EMMY Awards, which feature nominees from nineteen countries. The Doctor Who biopic An Adventure In Space And Time competes in the TV movie/miniseries category with Alexander And Other Heroes (Brazil), Radio (Japan) and Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter (Germany). Coleman is among the nominees in the best actress category for her performance in ITV's Broadchurch. Also nominated is Tuba Büyüküstün in Twenty Dakika (Turkey), Romina Gaetani in Televisión Por La Justicia (Argentina) and Bianca Krijgsman in De Nieuwe Wereld (Netherlands). Educating Yorkshire is amongst the nominees for the non-scripted entertainment category, alongside MasterChef China, Missie Mosango (Belgium) and O Infiltrado (Brazil). Recently-cancelled Channel Four drama Utopia competes against Prófugos (Chile), The Tunnel (France), and Yae's Sakura (Japan) in the best drama category. Stephen Dillane's performance in The Tunnel earns him a best actor nomination alongside Claude Legault in Nineteen-Two (Canada), Pablo Rago in Televisión Por La Justicia (Argentina) and Xiubo Wu in The Orphan Of Zhao (People's Republic of China). British documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields In Sri Lanka is also nominated for best documentary along with Volta (Brazil), Frihet Bakom Galler (Sweden) and Phantoms Of The Border (South Korea). The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Hilton New York Hotel on 24 November.

As voting opens on the National Television Awards 2015 longlist, there are more than enough mouth-watering tussles in prospect before the shortlist is announced in January. First up is the battle of the Sherlock actors with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman joining a crowded field of fifty-plus hopefuls in the best drama performance category. Other names in the frame include Peter Capaldi who is competing against Jenna Coleman to make the shortlist for the same award. Happy Valley's Sarah Lancashire, Cilla star Sheridan Smith and Last Tango In Halifax pair Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid are also among the string of names in a particularly competitive longlist.
Yer actual Billie Piper says that she would have 'loved' a chance to share the TARDIS with Peter Capaldi his very self. 'I love Peter Capaldi, I think he's perfect,' The Piper told Radio Times. 'If he'd been my Doctor that would have been brilliant.' Not that she's complaining about the actors she did get paired with, of course. 'I'm also happy with my lot. I'm really happy with David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston,' she was quick to add, 'I mean, they were really good.' And, this is all 'news', apparently.

Channel Five has picked up the UK terrestrial rights to CBS spin off shows-NCIS: New Orleans and CSI: Cyber. The station has also renewed NCIS for future seasons. NCIS: New Orleans stars Scott Bakula as a special agent policing Crescent City, while CSI: Cyber stars Patricia Arquette as Avery Ryan, a Special Agent in Charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI in Quantico. 'CSI and NCIS are record-breaking franchises, it's great to be bringing the next instalments of both shows to Channel Five,' said the channel's head of acquisitions, Katie Keenan. 'Our viewers will love Patricia Arquette's show-stealing performance in CSI: Cyber and the fantastic ensemble cast led by Scott Bakula in NCIS: New Orleans. It's an incredibly special year to have two spin-offs of the world's most popular television franchises,' said Stephen Tague, Senior Vice President, Europe for CBS Studios International. 'Both CSI and NCIS are pillars of the Channel Five schedule and this deal gives loyal viewers access to the latest versions of these immensely popular programmes.'

Samantha Morton will star in BBC1's forthcoming adaptation of Cider With Rosie. The Golden Globe-winning actress has been cast as Annie Lee in the adaptation of Laurie Lee's much-filmed 1959 novel. Morton said: 'I am thrilled to have taken on the role ... as it is one of my favourite books.' Jessica Hynes will feature as Miss Crabby, while June Whitfield will play the role of Granny Wallon. Annette Crosbie and Billy Howle also appear, and will be joined by Archie Cox as Lol, Ruby Ashbourne Serkis as Rosie and Emma Curtis as Maj.

Colin Morgan, Katherine Parkinson and Tom Goodman-Hill are to star in new SF series Humans. A co-production between Channel Four and AMC, the drama is set in a world where the new must-have gadget is a 'Synth' - an eerily lifelike robotic servant. Parkinson and Goodman-Hill have been cast as a couple who purchase a Synth (played by Gemma Chan) but quickly come to regret their decision, according to Deadline. Merlin's Morgan will play Leo - a young man on the run, while Utopia's Neil Maskell is Pete Drummond - member of the Special Technologies Task Force. Will Tudor, Emily Berrington and the excellent Rebecca Front will also feature. Sounds very interesting, this one. An adaptation of the Swedish series Real Humans, the project was originally developed by XBox Entertainment, with AMC coming on board after Microsoft closed its production studios. Humans will start shooting later this year for a 2015 premiere.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has claimed that his female fans who write romantic fan-fiction featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson do so to 'remove the threat' of another female. Fans of the BBC drama have been writing slash-fic featuring the two characters in various romantic scenarios almost since the day after the first episode was broadcast, something which the actor discussed in an interview with Out magazine. Speaking about the detective's emergence as a sex symbol, Benny said: 'People keep coming up to me and saying, "Oh, he's so sexy, do you think [Sherlock would be] interested in me?" Do you not think he'd just look at you twice and tell you everything you hate about yourself and crumple you up like a little bit of paper and flick you away? He's a machine and brutal and ruthless and has no time for the distractions of your fawning. Because, you know, they either want to make John into a sort of cute little toy, or me into a cute toy, or we're fucking in space on a bed, chained together.' The actor continued: 'It's always, like, one of them is tired, one comes back from work, the other is horny, a lump appears in his trousers, and then they're at it. It's usually me getting it - I'm biting Watson's dog tags.' When the interviewer suggested that a gay relationship between the characters 'eliminates the threat' from the writer's fellow female fans, Benny is said to have 'enthusiastically' agreed, explaining: 'I think it's about burgeoning sexuality in adolescence, because you don't necessarily know how to operate that. And I think it's a way of neutralising the threat, so this person is sort of removed from them as somebody who could break their heart.'

When she appeared in Sherlock last January, Wanda Ventham delighted viewers and critics alike. So, any fans, old (like yer actual Keith Telly Topping who fell for her charms back when she was in The Lotus Eaters and UFO) or new, of yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch's mum will be delighted to hear she's set for a guest role in Holby City next week. Wanda will appear in BBC1's ongoing hospital drama as Myrtle McKee, treated by Dom (David Ames) and described as 'an older lady of voracious appetites' who 'leads a double life', meeting the needs of her husband before scurrying off to see her lover. It's not the first time a parent of Benny has appeared at Holby General – Ventham's husband, Tim Carlton showed up in an episode back in 2011.
Which brings us to the nest batch of yer actual Top Telly Tops:-

Saturday 18 October
Doctor Who - 8:25 BBC1 - is always exploring the nuts and bolt of time and space but rarely has it ventured into the other component of the acronym TARDIS (Relative Dimension). The clue is in the episode title, Flatline, as a new menace from a 2D plane assails locals on a Bristol housing estate, quite literally flattening them into the walls. 'Whatever they are,' says The Doctor, 'they're experimenting, testing, dissecting. Trying to understand three dimensions.' Separated from Clara, he has his own problems when the TARDIS its very self starts to shrink. After Clara stormed off two episodes ago, viewers might have wondered if they would ever see her again. However, one thing it proved is that here is a companion who is quite willing to speak her mind and is more than capable of going it alone. And sure enough, here she is, separated from The Doctor and facing a menace from another dimension, an enemy that exists beyond human perception. She has people to save - but how is it possible to hide when the walls provide no protection? Yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self star, with appearances from Christopher Fairbank (Auf Wiedersehen, Pet) and former Casualty actor Matt Bardock. Directed by Line Of Duty's Douglas Mackinnon - who did such a brilliant job with Listen earlier in the year - and written by Jamie Mathieson (who also scripted last week's Orient-Express excursion), Flatline is a tense and startlingly imaginative piece of television. It pokes fun at the Time Lord, gives Clara and graffiti artist Rigsy (Big School's Joivan Wade) a chance to prove their mettle, and invents a foe that is properly dimensionally transcendental.

Question master Stephen Fry continues the comedy panel quiz Qi XL's exploration of subjects beginning with the letter L as he asks a range of fiendish questions about Literature and Language - 10:30 BBC2 (the third change of slot for the series in as many weeks - does anyone get the impression that someone at the BBC doesn't want people to actually watch this show?) Stand-up comedian Lloyd Langford joins utterly worthless, full-of-his-own-importance lanky streak of unfunny piss Jack Whitehall, Only Connect hostess-with-the-mostess the divine Victoria Coren Mitchell and regular panellist Alan Davies. Thankfully, this week, it's not on opposite Doctor Who. Just fast-forward through the bits with Whitehall in them and you'll probably be okay.

In the latest episode of The Code - 9:00 BBC4 - racked with guilt that Jesse has paid such a high price for trying to help his investigation, Ned fears the worst when he discovers that his brother is missing. Australian suspense thriller, starring Dan Spielman and Adele Perovic. That's immediately followed by the next episode' Ned and Jesse flee, and they seem to be running out of options - their house has been ransacked, their phones bugged and their every computer stroke tracked. With nowhere to hide and no one to turn to, they find themselves with little choice but to hunt down the truth in Lindara, hoping it will save them.

It could be the beginning of the end for the Capone organisation when federal agents employ the services of Eli and Van Alden to help take it down in Broadwalk Empire - 9:00 Sky Atlantic. In Harlem, Chalky crosses paths with Narcisse in the hope of setting Daughter Maitland free, while Nucky turns to the bottle to soften the pain of a recent loss. Acclaimed US drama, starring Steve Buscemi and Michael Kenneth Williams.
Sunday 19 October
The shocking climax of the opening episode of the fourth series of Homeland - 9:00 Channel Four - was the kind of blow to the midriff that Homeland used to deliver on a regular basis. In the aftermath, Quinn and Carrie fly home, but the veteran hitman is more shaken than you'd expect. He starts to hit the bottle – and strangers. Carrie heads back to the States for an official inquiry, where she continues to struggle with her ambivalence toward motherhood. Meanwhile, Quinn spirals further out of control and a disgraced former case officer reveals disturbing new information. Starring Claire Danes and Rupert Friend.
The latest episode of the majestic Wonders Of The Monsoon - 8:00 BBC2 - focuses on the other side of the monsoon, as the winds bring dry air and drought. Budgerigars swarm in the Australian desert, gathering at a precious waterhole, and although birds of prey try to ambush them, they are mesmerised by the array of bright colours on show. On the island of Borneo, a bearded pig hunts for seafood on the beach, while in the Rajasthan desert, nomads haggle over the price of camels, which can provide vital transport during this lean season. The mugger crocodiles of Sri Lanka stalk the animals taking a much-needed drink and a young leopard learning to hunt discovers there is no such thing as an easy meal. Colin Salmon narrates. There is some compelling big cat footage, but just how the BBC film crew secured it might cause a few palpitations among the corporation's health and safety types.

Television's fascination with the Nazis shows no sign of abating as we pore over Adolf Hitler's medical records courtesy of his personal physician, Theodor Morell in Secret History: Hitler's Hidden Drug Habit - 8:00 Channel Four. There is a ghoulish fascination to be had in realising that the chief proponent of Aryan supremacy was a profoundly sick man with bad breath and stomach cramps who used pills made from the faeces of soldiers to keep him going. And he only had one. Allegedly. The other was in The Albert Hall, they reckon. Anyway, even more bizarrely, his cocktail of drugs included Crystal Meth, which powered his crazed speechifying. Obviously today nobody would attempt to paint Hitler in a positive light - because he was a fascist shithead, basically - but during the Nazi era, he rose to power and popularity for a reason. He was portrayed to the German people as a great man, one who was in control of his own destiny and that of his country, and who was infallible - all but a super-human. Unsurprisingly, this was far from the truth. However, the facts, which this documentary gleans from his physician's diaries, are more remarkable than any fiction. It transpires that the leader was in fact a hypochondriac and a nervous wreck, who became increasingly dependent on a cocktail of drugs including powerful stimulants and depressants - uppers and downers - as well as all manner of pseudo-medicinal ‘cures' for real and imagined illnesses.

In BBC Music John Peel Lecture 2014 With Iggy Pop - 8:00 BBC4 - the influential singer-songwriter delivers the annual lecture and discusses the subject of free music in a capitalist society. Plus, Wor Geet Luscious Lovely Lauren Laverne talks to Iggy about his musical legacy before a specially invited audience ask him questions. Like, for instance, why for the love of God did you do that episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Igg?

Monday 20 October
Back in 1983, sixteen-year-old Amy Taskerland was murdered on the night of the school disco. More than thirty years later, the unearthing of a time capsule and the discovery of her voice on a mix tape inside prompts Sasha Miller and her UCoS team to delve back into the case, starting by interviewing Amy's best friend Harriet and her former teacher Mister Hines in the latest episode of New Tricks - 9:00 BBC1. The recording features a strange mix of music and poetry, including words from a speech written in secret for the Queen for broadcast in the event of a nuclear war. But how did Amy get hold of a copy of that and, was its secret nature the reason she was killed? Elsewhere, Sasha enjoys her first romance since her bitter divorce, while Gerry goes on his future son-in-law's stag night. Amy Nuttall and the very excellent Jack Shepherd guest star. Last in the current series.

Heartbroken Sidney agrees to help parishioner Isabel prepare for her wedding to Arthur, the new man in town, but the bride's stubborn mother, Daisy, proves to be a big impediment to the occasion as she believes the groom is out to kill her in Grantchester - 9:00 ITV. When Daisy is then found dead, Mrs Maguire calls in Geordie to investigate and Sidney finds himself dragged into the case - despite vowing to leave police business behind and get on with his vicaring. While the victim seems to have died of natural causes, Arthur and Isabel are pushing for a fast cremation, suggesting the couple have something to hide. Jean Marsh and Isla Blair guest star alongside James Norton and Wor Geet Canny Robson Green.

Detective James Gordon heads out on to the city's streets on the trail of two child snatchers who are targeting homeless youths in the second episode of Gotham - 9:00 Channel Five. He hopes to uncover more information about Thomas and Martha Waynes' killer from one particular girl, Selina, who goes by the name of Cat as she always manages to fall on her feet. But, will she be able to escape the grasps of the criminals this time? Meanwhile, young Bruce tests his endurance for pain with a naked flame, only for Alfred to discover the burn on his charge's hand and reprimand the orphan. Elsewhere, Fish Moody unveils her plan to stake her claim to Gotham's underworld from mob boss Falcone, and Cobblepot hitches a ride back to the city following his fake assassination, but only after leaving a trial of victims in his wake. Crime thriller, starring Ben McKenzie, Camren Bicondova, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee and Jada Pinkett Smith.

In The Art Of Gothic: Britain's Midnight Hour - 9:00 BBC4 - arty Andrew Graham-Dixon examines England's Gothic Revival - an architectural movement that began in the mid-1700s. He starts by exploring its restrained aristocratic beginnings, then reveals how it went on to influence some of Britain's most famous artwork and buildings. The term Gothic might originally have been coined as an insult by Renaissance artists, deriding their predecessors' barbarian, gloomy works. But it took English Georgian aristocrats to reclaim it, creating new forms of literature and painting, and 'a new taste for terror and weirdness'. Plus, hanging around shopping centre's wearing black and looking miserable. From The Castle of Otranto to The Monk (a grisly tale of religious depravity) via paintings of nightmares and fake medieval follies, arty Andrew - who is, as always, very engaging - is positively gleeful as he describes the works that shocked the ladies and excited a sensation of terror in aristocratic young bucks.

Tuesday 21 October
Is mankind alone, or are there aliens out there, either waiting to be discovered, or on their way to find Earth? Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one) spends this episode of Human Universe - 9:00 BBC2 - asking such questions, and what he discovers may raise a few eyebrows. He begins by exploring the human race's efforts to find neighbours in outer space, including the launch of two golden discs containing a greeting from Earth in the 1970s on Voyager; they are still travelling and are now the most distant man-made objects from the planet. Brian also meets members of SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, who have been monitoring radio signals for fifty years without success, before discussing the ingredients needed to make an intelligent civilisation with astrophysicist Doctor Frank Drake. Brian observes that if, among the billions of habitable planets, we're not alone, the implications are huge. But then again, he says, if we are unique – the only place life got through the many bottlenecks to become multicellular, then intelligent, then create civilisation – then that's, perhaps, even more staggering. And, as he says simply, 'One of these statements is true.'

A special agent from the FBI's cyber-crime unit arrives to help the Vegas CSI team after the wife of a casino mogul is found shot dead in her bed in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - 9:00 Channel Five. While the team suspects husband Lee Berman wanted his wife out of the picture so he could be with a woman from a webcam sex-site they found on a laptop in the Berman's mansion, Agent Avery Ryan (guest star Patricia Arquette) suspects the case is more complicated than it appears. Ryan believes the answer lies in blackmail rather than an affair after working on another investigation in relation to 'Kitty' - the very camgirl in question. But who is the real woman behind the avatar? The back-door pilot for the forthcoming fourth series in the CSI franchise and, of course, that means using yet another Pete Townshend song as the theme music - in this case, 1967's wonderful 'I Can See For Miles'. This blogger still thinks they're missing a trick not going for 'The Real Me', personally.

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's psychological thriller anthology American Horror Story returns - 10:00 FOX - focusing on 1950s Jupiter, Florida, where one of the last American Freak Shows has opened its doors and the star attractions include conjoined twin with two heads. In the first episode, the police make a terrifying discovery at a local farmhouse, and the eccentric purveyor of the show senses a potentially lucrative opportunity. Starring Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange.
Anyone who has ever marvelled at the Gothic wedding cake that is the St Pancras hotel in London will delight in Dan Cruickshank's exploration of its history in Dan Cruickshank And The Family That Built Gothic Britain - 9:00 BBC4. The visionary behind its resplendent design was George Gilbert Scott, a Victorian architect who initially made his name, and his fortune, building workhouses and Reading jail. But he knew and loved medieval architecture and was an admirer of prominent Gothic revivalist Augustus Pugin. When the chance came to stretch himself, he seized it, resulting in St Pancras. But its flounces and scale were too much for some and, unhappily, it fell out of favour and into disrepair until its recent renovation. As Cruickshank - who is always watchable - wanders around pretty countryside on a steam train he digs into Scott's sometimes torrid and unhappy life, and the success of his son, George Jr.

Wednesday 22 October
Janet voices her concerns to Dodson about Gill's drinking, hoping it can be dealt with amicably, so she's unnerved when her observations are taken more seriously than she intended in Scott & Bailey - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile, just as Rachel feels like she's getting to grips with the sergeant's job, she makes a fatal error that puts Janet and Chris in danger. This week's crime story involves the discovery of a man's body on the moors. After it's found that he disappeared fifteen years earlier, inquiries lead to a nearby farm, where the detectives encounter something much more sinister than they could have anticipated. With Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp, Amelia Bullmore, Danny Webb and Pippa Haywood.

What do garlic, watermelon and beetroot have in common, apart from being edible and the fact that yer actual Keith Telly Topping doesn't like them (except garlic, he's okay with that)? The answer is that they are all said to be so-called 'superfoods' and are it is claimed, powerful in reducing blood pressure as we discover in Trust Me, I'm A Doctor - 8:00 BBC2. Seeing as millions of people suffer from alarming levels of stress - pfft, tell me about it, mate - guzzling these down could be beneficial - but are the claims valid? Doctor Chris van Tulleken is determined to sort out the fact from the hype in the second episode of this fascinating series. Th very excellent Michael Mosley also has food on his mind, and in his case it's something that many people crave - sugar. It's been suggested that it is as toxic as tobacco, but is that actually true? Michael visits leading experts to find out. Plus, Saleyha Ahsan explodes some of the myths surrounding the best way to treat burns.

Kevin McCloud revisits a memorable restoration project in the remote Creuse region of central France in the latest episode of Grand Designs - 9:00 Channel Four. Back in 2003, when Denise Daniel and Doug Ibbs gave up everything in the UK to start a new life abroad, they couldn't have known what was in store for them. Falling in love with a dilapidated manor house with just four crumbling walls and half a roof, they embarked on a mission to transform it; working day and night, doing everything themselves, year after year - until slowly but surely they created a magnificent edifice out of the ruins they bought off the Interweb. It's now the seventieth anniversary of the destruction of the original Nineteenth-Century building by the German army - the 'robbiel wrecking sods - and the house is finally finished. The couple spoke no French, had no experience of building and did almost all of the work themselves, with a freakish inability to get downhearted. When yer man Kev revisits today to see what they've been and gone and done with the gaff, they have restored the house's grounds, too and researched its history as a centre of the wartime resistance. It’s a very heartening tale.

In Forbidden History - 9:00 Yesterday - Jamie Theakston (remember him?) travels to Sardinia to meet the scientists and archaeologists who claim to have evidence which suggests giants once existed. Researchers have, they alleged, discovered 'abnormally large human skeletons' in networks of elaborate caves, mines and tombs in Sardinia, China, the United States, Northern India and South America. However, if the race did exist, it remains unclear as to why it has seemingly been eradicated from history.

Thursday 23 October
The legend that is dangerous Dave Attenborough launches his latest look at the trials of wildlife gazing at adorable young meerkats in Life Story - 9:00 BBC1. Don't be fooled, dear blog reader. He's just softening us up because the first chapter of his look at the struggles that animals face in nature takes us to the far less cuddly world of Greenland barnacle geese. These birds choose to nest on a four hundred foot high finger of rock. The trouble is, their two-day-old chicks won't be able to fly for several weeks and they need to get to the valley below to feed. So, following their parents, the tiny balls of fluff jump nervously off their ledge and – in a sequence that will have you flinching – pinball their way down the sharp rock face, bouncing and tumbling through one of nature's more painful rites of passage. Just like Homer Simpson when he fell down Springfield Gorge after catching Bart trying to jump it on his skateboard. Can they survive it? Well clearly, their parents did so, that's a point in their favour. And that's Attenborough's overall message here – that surviving to produce offspring is every animal's main task. Lion cubs, humpback whales and those meerkats all face their own tests in this classy first episode.

'And, what do you do?' 'Very bad things!' Arthur leads the titular Peaky Blinders in their plot to take over London's Eden Club, and an angry Sabini manages to convince Alfie to put their feud to one side and help him destroy the gang in the latest episode of the terrific Peaky Blinders - 9:00 BBC2. Tommy hires society darling May Carleton to train his race horse and they quickly form a close relationship, and he later discovers the truth about the mission he is being forced to undertake for Major Campbell. Is he on the verge of losing everything as he becomes embroiled in Campbell's political game? Back in Birmingham, Polly's son Michael soon discovers the dark side of the family business.

Andy Peebles was, famously, the last man to interview alcoholic, wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon in 1980. he also presented one or two episode of Top Of The Pops in his time. Take tonight, an edition first broadcast on 11 October 1979. Includes performances by The Dooleys, The Headboys (no, me neither), Chic, Dr Hook, Viola Wills, The Charlie Daniels Band, Errol Dunkley (aw, yeah, now you're talkin'), Cats UK, Dave Edmunds & Rockpile, Dana and The Police. Plus, dance sequences by Legs & Co.

Pudding Lane baker Thomas Farriner bursts into his sister-in-law's lodgings to wake his family and lead them to safety, but Sarah is nowhere to be seen in the second episode of The Great Fire - 9:00 ITV. Held in a private cell at Newgate Prison, she's waiting to be interrogated by, and at the mercy of, an utter cad and rotter, the thumbscrew-happy Lord Denton, concerning a possible Catholic plot against the king. And other nefarious naughtiness. Meanwhile, Samuel - having taken the time to bury his cheese (and no, that's not a euphemism for what you're probably thinking, dear blog reader), brings news of the rapidly spreading blaze to Charles, who surveys the damage from the safety of the other side of the river. One of the advantages of being king, one imagines, not being where something terrible is happening. From this vantage point, the monarch is shocked into action, ordering his advisers to compensate the public and tear down buildings to create firebreaks, but Hyde and Ashley-Cooper have other ideas.

Friday 24 October
Occasionally you have to wonder at whoever is in charge of Would I Lie To You?'s booking process - 8:30 BBC1. If you were searching for a quick-witted guest with a sharp sense of humour, would you immediately come up with the name of bushcraft expert Ray Mears? In actual fact he acquits himself very well in tonight's episode, especially considering he's sitting alongside fiercely comic guests such as Jo Brand. She comes up with a truly ridiculous story about hitch-hiking down to the coast on Christmas Day which could be the basis of a blood-soaked Quentin Tarantino film as well as one about squeezing through an ex-boyfriend's dog flap. Both will make you cry with laughter. Whether they're true or not, you'll have to work out for yourself. Once again the best exchanges, though, are between the peerless Lee Mack and the angrily logical David Mitchell. Carried away with his tale about a fox (illustrated beautifully by Rob Brydon doing an impression of Basil Brush), Lee says something which David pounces on with almost Poirot-like powers of deduction. Roisin Conaty and Paul Foot also appear.

Of course, being Friday night, it's full-on comedy night of the BBC. Writer, TV presenter, poker millionairess and Goddess Victoria Coren Mitchell takes charge for another half hour of laughs pulled from the headlines in the latest Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1 - with comedienne Katherine Ryan joining team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton to take potshots at the week's stories. Then, there's Not Going Out - 9:30 BBC1 - in which a wealthy new couple move into the apartment block and soon find out that sharing a building with Lee and Lucy is anything but straightforward. The fun begins when Lee somehow manages to bag an invitation to a christening party being thrown by the couple - sending him and Lucy on a last-minute gift-buying trip, during which they make every wrong decision humanly possible to find the perfect present for the baby who seems to have everything. Hugh Dennis and Abigail Cruttenden join the cast, with Lee Mack, Sally Bretton and Katy Wix. And finally, Sue Perkins appears to take the edition latest episode of Qi - 10:00 BBc2 - incredibly seriously, listening intently to Stephen Fry's elucidations as if she was the classroom's top swot in an episode dedication to Levity, Levitation & Lights. That is until he poses the question how did Chicago get screwed up, to which she flippantly replies: 'They put Catherine Zeta-Jones in it.' The lavatorial round may send one running towards the smallest room because the explanation is so nauseating even the panellists - including Frank Skinner - shriek in horror. But stick around for the quantum levitation demonstration. It's childishly and joyously brilliant. Josh Widdicombe's correct when he says: 'That would be the best Christmas present in the world!'

James Hathaway appears to have got over his fear of Robbie Lewis treading over his newly promoted toes in the latest Lewis - 9:00 ITV. Their opposites have attracted so often in the past, and there seems no reason to suspect that they won't now that the younger man has got used to the idea of his former mentor coming out of retirement to lend him a hand. Even Sergeant Maddox isn't getting on Hathaway's nerves quite as much as she used to, so this rejuvenated trio sets out to discover who murdered American classics student Rose Anderson, whose body has been hauled from the canal with neck and abdomen wounds. Nevertheless, a few red herrings threaten to get in their way of landing the killer. Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Angela Griffin, Clare Holman and Rebecca Front star with a guest cast that includes Andrea Lowe and Clive Merrison.

Disturbing events give cause for concern when a series of seemingly non-violent people become killers in The Blacklist - 9:00 Sky Living. As Red and Lizzy investigate in their own unique way, it appears that a dangerous - and, possibly, government-backed - social experiment may be to blame. Meanwhile, Red has a proposition for Naomi and her husband. The wonderful Paul Reubens makes his second guest appearance of the season as a criminal fixer.
To the news: An attempt has been made to steal the Lancashire seafront statue of comedy legend Eric Morecambe. Police believe someone tried to saw through one of the legs of the statue on Marine Road Central, Morecambe, over the weekend. The council has now removed the statue and the area has been fenced off. A thirty two-year-old man from Morecambe has been arrested on suspicion of attempted theft. Police are asking for any witnesses to contact them. The statue of the late much-loved comedian - who, with his partner Ernie Wise formed probably the most famous double act in British comedy history - was unveiled by the Queen in 1999.
Whinging old gasbag John Cleese has said that new television comedy 'pales into insignificance' when compared with 'the greats, such as Buster Keaton.' You know, in exactly the same way that your dad used to tell you that The Clash and The Jam weren't as good as Bing Crosby. Or indeed that Monty Python's Flying Circus wasn't as good as Arthur Askey. Yes, dear blog reader, John Cleese has become your dad. Bet you're delighted about that. The seventy four-year-old said the amount of 'brilliant new stuff' today is 'small' and that he has 'seen most of it before.' Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cleese added: 'When you've been doing comedy for as long as me, you really know most of the jokes.' But, he did have some kind words to say about Bill Bailey and Eddie Izzard - neither of whom are, exactly, 'new' per se, albeit both are, of course, brilliant comedy talents. 'This lights you up because these guys have done something new and brilliant and that's marvellous,' he said. Cleese told his audience that 'great old comedy' from Keaton and the Marx Brothers was 'difficult' for new comics to live up to. 'You don't expect anything great - you turn on, you watch it for a few minutes and you think, "It's fine, I've seen something like this before and it doesn't excite me,"' he added. But the comic actor said that other areas of life still made him laugh - notably politicians. 'What was happening at the Scottish Referendum was absolutely hilarious,' he said. Cleese was in Cheltenham to promote his new memoir So, Anyway.
A Virgin Media TV advert featuring yer actual David Tennant has been banned after rival BSkyB complained about the use of a Sky Sports football clip. The TV campaign featured the Doctor Who and Broadchurch actor promoting Virgin Media's Big Kahuna Bundle. Virgin Media's advert pushed its 'quad play' package of products – including TV, superfast broadband, mobile and landline – claiming it was significantly cheaper than a comparable bundle from BSkyB. In the advert, Tennant was seen with a large wall-mounted TV screen behind him that showed a football match on Sky Sports. BSkyB complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the TV ad misleadingly implied that Sky Sports was included in the thirty quid-a-month price Virgin Media advertised. A member of the public - presumably, with nothing better to do with his or her time - also whinged that the advert misleadingly implied line rental was included. Virgin Media said there was on-screen text saying that Sky Sports was not included in the price advertised, and it was on screen for 'nearly twice as long' as the channel's logo appeared. The ASA disagreed and said the text was 'not very noticeable', unlike the 'prominent display' of the Sky match. It concluded that it misleadingly implied it was included in the cost. The ASA also upheld BSkyB's two other complaints saying that the £49.95 installation fee was also not given 'sufficient prominence' and that it also misleadingly implied that a £15.99 a month line rental was included. 'The ads must not appear again in their current form,' said the ASA. 'We told Virgin Media to ensure that ads were not likely to mislead consumers in future and to ensure that material information was given sufficient prominence.'
Paddy Considine has confirmed that his ITV drama The Suspicions of Mr Whicher will not be returning in the future. The actor and director first starred as the titular character Jack Whicher in 2011's The Murder At Road Hill House, before returning last year in The Murder In Angel Lane, and two future feature length episodes, Beyond The Pale and The Ties That Bind in September this year. Writing on Twitter, Paddy said: 'Mr Whicher will not be returning. To those who enjoyed it and tuned in, a big thank you. Onwards!'

The Musketeers and Mr Selfridge are amongst the TV programmes which have helped drive a five per cent rise in British TV exports, a new report has revealed. The findings by PACT, which represents independent television producers, have shown international sales in 2013-14 of £1.28 billion, up from £1.22bn in 2012. The biggest increase in demand for British TV has come from China, which has seen its worth increase by forty per cent to a total income of seventeen million knicker. The US is still the biggest market for British programmes, up ten per cent to five hundred and twenty three million notes. PACT's John McVay said that the UK Television Exports Report showed British television productions 'remain amongst the most highly regarded and sought after globally' and were 'the envy of the world'. High-end dramas like the BBC's Sherlock, Atlantis and The Musketeers and ITV's Mr Selfridge helped ensure exports of finished television programming remained the UK's largest source of revenue, worth six hundred and forty four million smackers. The report goes on to state that sales of digital rights to subscription services saw the biggest percentage increase - a seventy two per cent rise from twenty nine to forty nine million quid. 'We're not always the best at celebrating our successes in this country,' said BBC Worldwide's Paul Dempsey. 'This survey is a timely reminder that viewers in Shanghai or Seattle are just as likely to be talking about great British shows as commentators here are to be talking about the latest US TV blockbuster.' Sales to Australasia saw a fall of ten per cent to ninety five million knicker, though the territory remained the UK's second biggest export market. The biggest drop in TV exports was to Spain, a drop from of seventeen per cent.

Kerry Howard has revealed that she will star opposite her brother, Russell, in a new TV project. The Him & Her actress and her sibling - seen below, with their mum - will appear on-screen together for the first time in the comedy one-off.
Frank Skinner is to return to host Room 101's fifteenth series. The comedian, actor and writer, who has presented the comedy show since 2012, will host a new eight part series for BB1. Jack Dee, Gary Lineker, Bob Mortimer, Jonathan Ross and Tim Vine are among the confirmed guests for the forthcoming series.

Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey are to revive their Men Behaving Badly characters for a charity sketch written by the sitcom's original creator. The sketch, part of Channel Four's Stand Up To Cancer night on Friday, marks the first appearance of Clunes' Gary and Morrissey's Tony since December 1998. Written by Simon Nye, it will see the pair discussing testicular cancer. Will Ferrell, singer Taylor Swift and yer actual Martin Freeman will also feature in the live telethon. Hosted by Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Doctor Christian Jessen, the charity evening will seek to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. The first Stand Up To Cancer telethon took place in 2012, drew an audience of 7.8 million and raised eight million quid. An image from the Men Behaving Badly sketch shows Morrissey and Clunes pictured next to blow-up dolls bearing the faces of former co-stars Leslie Ash and Caroline Quentin. Well, we think the one on the right is Quentin, though it actually looks more like Bill Oddie.
Stephen Fry says that the idea of death is never far from his mind. The author, presenter and actor – who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of thirty seven - has attempted to take his own life on at least two occasions. 'You think about death all the time even when you are not feeling suicidal,' he said. 'You are constantly aware of death, your own death and how welcome it would be. When you feel you can't go on, it’s not just a phrase. It's absolutely real. It won't leave you it's always there niggling away.' Stephen adds that he still suffers from serious self-esteem issues despite the fact that he is a beloved national icon. '[My self-esteem] is absolute zero because I'm a complete wanker, and an arsehole,' he told Australian Yahoo. 'You almost have a Tourette's view of yourself.' He is known for his ardent campaigning in raising awareness and changing wrong perceptions of mental health issues, becoming president of charity Mind in 2011.

Australia's Ten Network has grovellingly apologised for broadcasting sexist questions on Family Feud after the long-running game show implied that a woman's job was cooking and cleaning and a man's job was building and plumbing. Host Grant Denyer asked contestants to 'name something people think is a woman's job' and the 'correct answer' according to a survey of one hundred people - the majority of whom were sexist gits, seemingly - was cooking, followed by cleaning, nursing, hairdressing, domestic duties, dishes, receptionist and clothes washing. Not, you know, Prime Minister. Or chief executive of a national television network. The contestants – two families pitted against each other in trying to guess the most obvious answers in a former made fmaous in other countries, including the UK, as Family Fortunes – suggested ironing and childcare as suitable jobs for women. Earlier, Denyer asked them to 'name something people think is a man's job' and the 'correct' answers were: builder, plumber, mechanic, carpenter and being a tradesman. Which is bad although, perhaps, not quite as bad as the infamous episode of Family Fortunes where les dennis asked one family to 'name a bird with a long neck' and was given the answer 'Naomi Campbell'. Ten may be the only Australian network with a female head programmer, in Beverley McGarvey, but that clearly didn't help when the programming department cleared the episode of the pre-recorded show for broadcast. After an outcry on Twitter on Wednesday nights viewers labelled the show as misogynist, Ten issued a statement on Thursday morning. 'Network Ten apologises for including two questions relating to what people think is a man's job and a woman's job in the episode of Family Feud which aired last night,' a spokesman said. 'The questions were ill-advised and should not have been included in the show. The survey results are determined by one hundred people and we understand they are not reflective of all Australians.' Just one hundred Ockers was reckon a Shielas' place in it the kitchen, seemingly. Fair dinkum.
ITV's remake of the classic TV show Thunderbirds received its first public screening this weekend at the MIPJunior television industry conference in Cannes. Thunderbirds Are Go! blends modern computer-generated animation technology with traditional live-action models, with the divine Goddess that is Rosamund Pike providing the voice of Lady Penelope. Sold. On that alone. The new show will be broadcast in 2015 as twenty six episodes, with a cast also including Fonejacker's Kayvan Novak and Game Of Thrones' Thomas Brodie-Sangster, with the original voice of Parker, David Graham, reprising his role. ITV Studios is working with New Zealand-based Pukeko Pictures and Lord Of The Rings special effects studio Weta Workshop on the new series, which will debut exactly fifty years after the original. 'It's a lament of mine that due to 3D filmmaking and the advent of CGI, miniatures are beginning to be lost from the world,' said Richard Taylor, executive producer and co-owner of Pukeko Pictures and Weta Workshop, before the premiere. 'But I knew that I wanted to make a remake of Thunderbirds with miniatures, paying homage to the original show.' The stakes are high for the new project, after a live-action film in 2003 that received a piss-poor response from critics and fans alike, including Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, who famously described it as 'the biggest load of crap I have ever seen in my life.' ITV Studios' Giles Ridge, executive producer on Thunderbirds Are Go!, said before the premiere that the company has 'worked hard to' ensure the new series does not meet a similar response. 'One of the biggest challenges of a remake is finding the right balance between refreshing the series for a new audience of children and keeping the DNA of the original that made it special in the first place. And I really hope that we've done that well,' said Ridge. Based on the evidence of the episode shown at MIPJunior, even the most sceptical fans of the original show will rather enjoy Thunderbirds Are Go!. The plot sees the Tracy brothers exploring a disused mine showing a worrying radiation levels. The set pieces are very good: from Thunderbirds 1 and 2 blasting out of Tracy Island and screaming across the ocean to Scott Tracy being whirled around by a killer robot. The little touches are noticeable too: some nifty Minority Report-style computer visualisations back at base, with nods to the show's history – the first 'F.A.B.' comes about five minutes in – without feeling overly shackled by it. Judging by the episode shown in Cannes, the decision to combine computer animation and real model sets has paid off. Not everything was revealed in the premiere episode, of course: Lady Penelope or Parker were both absent, for example, and only two of the Thunderbirds vehicles were seen. The impact of new characters – Kayo and Colonel Casey are the ones announced so far by ITV – will also have to wait until the show debuts. However, the premiere bodes well for the new series. The critical audience for Thunderbirds Are Go!, of course, isn't people old enough to remember the original (like this blogger), but the new generation of children that its remake is aimed at. They'll deliver their verdict in 2015, when the series is broadcast.
Six former and current journalists from the Sun newspaper went going on trial on Monday accused of plotting with public officials in pursuit of exclusive stories over nine years. The group are variously charged with extremely conspiring to commit misconduct with police officers, members of the armed forces, prison officials and staff at Broadmoor hospital between March 2002 and January 2011. On a charge sheet containing nine separate counts, news editor Chris Pharo faces a total of six charges of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office while ex-managing editor Graham Dudman and ex-Sun deputy news editor Ben O'Driscoll are accused of four. Reporter Jamie Pyatt and picture editor John Edwards face three counts each and ex-Sun reporter John Troup is accused of two counts of conspiring to commit the same offence. They were in the dock at Kingston crown court alongside former Surrey police officer Simon Quinn, who is charged with committing misconduct in a public office by selling information about celebrities as well as high profile criminal investigations between 2000 and 2011. The charge states that Quinn, of Littlehampton, sold information to the Sun about Mick Hucknall, Chris Tarrant and Dane Bowers as well as details of the Milly Dowler murder hunt and the M25 rapist Tony Imiela case. He denies the charge. Pharo, Pyatt, O'Driscoll, Edwards, Dudman, and Troup have also denied the charges against them. A jury wase sworn in on Monday before prosecutor Peter Wright QC opened the case on Tuesday at Kingston Crown Court. The trial being heard by judge Richard Marks QC could go on until Christmas. The defendants are on bail.

Meanwhile, a former Sunday Mirra journalist has been charged with phone-hacking offences allegedly committed more than thirteen years ago. Graham Johnson will appear before Westminster magistrates' court on 6 November extremely charged with intercepting mobile phone voicemails between 31 August 2001 and 22 October 2001. Johnson is the second former Sunday Mirra journalist to have been charged with alleged hacking offences and other, alleged, nefarious and naughty skulduggery, shenanigans and malarkey. Dan Evans pleaded very guilty to hacking at the Sunday Mirra and Scum of the World between 1997 and 2006 and for six years was the paper's investigations editor.

And, on the subject of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, her husband, completely skint Old Etonian Charlie Brooks has lost his bid to recover the six hundred grand in legal fees he incurred as a result of being a co-defendant in the phone-hacking trial. Mr Justice Saunders also ruled on Wednesday that he was rejecting the application for costs by the Scum of the World's former managing editor, Stuart Kuttner. The judge said he was 'satisfied that the defendants' conduct brought suspicion on themselves and misled the prosecution into thinking that the case against them was stronger than it was.' Former millionaire Old Etonian Brooks, a racehorse trainer, was acquitted along with his wife and Kuttner in June after a marathon eight-month trial. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks dropped her own application for an estimated seven million smackers in costs in June after it emerged that News UK (formerly News International), which had indemnified her, was 'no longer looking to recoup its costs.' For a variety of reasons. Her husband was not indemnified by News UK and was cleared of a conspiracy to extremely pervert the course of justice after stashing a laptop and other material - including a stash of porn DVDs - behind a bin the day his wife was arrested. Kuttner was indemnified by News UK for part of his costs and was seeking one hundred and thirty thousand knicker in costs relating to the early days of the police investigation before his former employer stepped in to support him. The judge said that completely skint Old Etonian Brooks's barrister had conceded in the trial that the court 'could properly conclude that Mr Brooks did bring suspicion upon himself.' Saunders said that he made his judgment on the basis that completely skint Old Etonian Brooks did not intend to mislead the police when he hid material on the day of his wife's arrest. He said he also accepted that 'in light of the verdicts that Mr Brooks did not get rid of anything material to the Weeting or Elveden inquiry.' Saunders said that he 'accepted' completely skint Old Etonian Brooks hid the materials, which included a number of pornographic DVDs, for the reasons he gave during the trial. Completely skint Old Etonian Brooks had claimed that he needed one of the computers for work as it contained a manuscript for a novel and he did not want the police to confiscate it as part of the search conducted on their home the day after his wife's arrest. 'It was, however, incredibly stupid, as he himself has accepted, and gave rise to justifiable suspicions as to his conduct and the conduct of a number of others,' said Saunders in his ruling. 'I am quite satisfied that Mr Brooks brought suspicion on himself and others.' The judge added that completely skint Old Etonian Brooks's 'anger' about a separate dawn raid by the poliss months later at the Oxfordshire home he shared with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks was 'not justified' when viewed objectively. As completely skint Old Etonian Brooks had hidden material previously, the police could not have given him advance warning of a search because of 'an unacceptable risk of any incriminating material being spirited away.' The trial jury heard that completely skint Old Etonian Brooks had 'decided not to answer questions' during his police interview on advice from his lawyers. Saunders said that solicitors frequently give this advice, but noted that they 'do not know the truth.' He went on to note: 'Mr Brooks knew that he was entirely innocent. Mr Brooks knew that there was no risk to him or anyone else in answering all of the police questions entirely honestly because he had done nothing wrong and telling the truth might have had the result of clearing the matter up completely.' Saunders noted that completely skint Old Etonian Brooks 'is a very intelligent man' and 'was not intimidated by being interviewed by the police.' He said that completely skint Old Etonian Brooks's barrister had argued in court that even if Brooks's 'failure to answer questions had mislead police into thinking the case against him was stronger than it was, that impression was dispelled' by a detailed letter to the Crown Prosecution Service following his arrest. In conclusion Saunders ruled: 'He is innocent of the charge he faced. It was does not automatically follow that he must recover his costs and this is one of those cases where, for the reasons I have given, it is not appropriate that he should.' Saunders's ruling on Kuttner revolved around the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone and the decision by the Scum of the World to dispatch a squad of reporters and photographers to the Midlands after hearing a voicemail on the missing schoolgirl's mobile apparently showing she may have been interested in working for a computer company in Telford. The judge noted that the team had been sent to the Midlands on Friday and had approached the recruitment agency which had left the message, mistakenly, on the murdered teenager's phone. 'Neither the police nor Milly's family had any idea what was going on,' Saunders observed. He said that the accessing of Milly's phone was a criminal offence and should not have happened and the Scum of the World should have told the police 'immediately what they had discovered and not waited to see if they could find Milly Dowler.' Saunders said that 'on the unchallenged evidence,' Kuttner delayed telling the police about the voicemail which may have been a new lead in the search for the teenager. He also noted that Kuttner 'did nothing to ensure' that hacking did not happen again on the paper after he had learned about the Dowler voicemail. Nor did he endeavour to investigate the extent of the hacking on the paper. 'I am sure on the evidence that I have heard that Stuart Kuttner did bring suspicion on himself by his conduct in relation to the Milly Dowler investigation. His conduct thereafter was such as to make the prosecution believe that their case was stronger than it really was. In those circumstances it is appropriate that I exercise my discretion to refuse to make a defence costs order.'

A demand for entertainment on-the-go helped BSkyB to report slightly better-than-expected first-quarter profits in its final results before it expands into Europe. The pay-TV provider agreed in June to pay £4.9bn to buy billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Sky Deutschland Uber Alles and Sky Italia to take its hunt for growth abroad by creating a media powerhouse with twenty million customers. BSkyB has decided its future growth lies in creating a European pay-TV leader that will operate in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, after encountering its toughest market conditions in its twenty five-year history. On Thursday the group posted results for the three months to the end of September showing a record three hundred and nine thousand users signing up to its Sky Go Extra service which allows subscribers to watch programmes on phones and tablet computers when away from home. It added forty six thousand net new TV customers and seventy five thousand new broadband customers, lifting adjusted operating profit by eleven per cent to three hundred and sixteen million smackers, slightly ahead of forecasts of three hundred and thirteen million.
The Green Party has written to broadcasters warning that unless it is given an explanation within two days for its planned exclusion from the general erection TV debates it will have 'no alternative' but to 'start a formal legal process.' And, if that doesn't work - which it probably won't - it will organise a series of quiche mornings and an aggressive tee-shirt campaign. Failing that it will stamp its collective foot and hold its collective breath until it turns, collectively, blue. Allegedly. The party also 'demanded' - demanded, I say - a meeting with the broadcasters 'within a fortnight' where it will seek to explain why it believes the exclusion is unfair. Big demands being made by a party which currently has but one MP. It is to be hoped that all of the broadcasters tell these jumped up middle-class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star-reading wastes-of-oxygen where to go and what to do with themselves and the horse they rode in on. Frack off, basically. On Monday the broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Sky – set out a complex schedule for the TV debates that would allow UKiP to participate in one of three proposed programmes, and the Liberal Democrats in two.

And now ...
Odious, horrible oily twat (and drag) Piers Morgan has spent a bitter week hitting out at his former CNN colleague Anderson Cooper, blaming the dismal ratings for Piers Morgan Tonight on Cooper's poor lead-in. On Thursday of last week, CNN hit back, calling Morgan's behaviour 'sad' and accusing Morgan of denigrating Cooper in an attempt to get himself a new TV job. The flame war started with an interview Morgan gave to Politico, published on 2 October. 'Could I have done with a better lead-in?' he said. 'Yes. Anderson is a great field reporter, but does he drive big ratings at CNN, outside of a big news cycle? I don't see any evidence of it.' The bitching continued with a column Morgan wrote for The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, where he described Cooper as 'stiff in a studio' and said that his show gets 'annihilated in the ratings' by FOX News's Bill O'Reilly. Morgan said that he blamed Cooper for 'not bringing in a strong enough audience' for his AC360 show, who would then go on to watch Piers Morgan Tonight. He expanded on his relationship with Cooper in an interview with Access Hollywood. 'I don't get on that well with Anderson, never had that much to do with Anderson,' Morgan said, continuing: 'It's not to denigrate Anderson who is a very, very good field reporter. But to me as a studio star, he's not really what CNN needs.' Oooo. Get her. Morgan also suggested that CNN should have hired Megyn Kelly, the FOX News anchor whose show is broadcast at 9pm, the slot formerly occupied by Morgan on CNN. On Thursday, CNN spokeswoman Megan Rivers retaliated, in a statement first obtained by Politico which said: 'For the two-and-a-half years that AC360 served as the lead-in to Piers Morgan's program [sic] on CNN, it always delivered a higher rating than Piers' program. And, for the seven months that Piers Morgan's program led into AC360, 360 always delivered a higher rating than Piers' program. It is sad that Piers is trying to find a new job by misrepresenting how he performed in his old one.'
Author David Peace has donated the stage rights to The Damned United, his novel about Leeds United, to a Leeds theatre company that has lost its annual Arts Council England funding. The acclaimed novel - well, acclaimed by everybody except The Clough family and Johnny Giles, anyway - followed Brian Clough's brief, forty four day, spell in charge of the football club in 1974. It's a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping who can quote whole passages of it on request. It will now be staged by Red Ladder theatre company, whose one hundred and sixty-a-year grant is due to end in 2015. Peace said Red Ladder had been 'so helpful and inspiring' to him. The Damned United has already been adapted for a feature film, which starred Michael Sheen as Cloughie and was released in 2009. Peace has sold the stage rights to Red Ladder for a nominal fee of £3.68 - a penny for each of the book's three hundred and sixty eight pages. Red Ladder was formed in 1968 and regularly tours the UK, with its plays often delivering a left-wing political message. But its future was left in doubt after the Arts Council announced it would scrap the company's annual funding from next April. Monty Python's Terry Jones and comedian Phill Jupitus have also loaned their support to the company, which is running a fundraising campaign under the slogan Save Red Ladder.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self started the week off with a British, European and commonwealth All Comers PB, dear blog reader.
Mind you, he needed oxygen afterwards.

Which brings us to the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. B.A.D, meaning good. Obviously. Sing, Michael, sing.

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