Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keep Your Friends Close, And Your Enemies Closer

Series eight of Doctor Who saw yer actual Peter Capaldi take up the role of The Doctor, with an average consolidated audience of 7.4m viewers per episode in the UK. This an increase of thirty nine per cent on the overnight figures that were reported, crassly and without any contextualisation, by various parts of the media on the day after initial broadcasts. Including, most depressingly, the BBC's own website. (Dear blog readers should be advised that the original headline to this article when it appeared on 13 November was Steven Moffat Plays Down Who Ratings Slip - which Steven Moffat, in fact, did not do since there hasn't been a 'ratings slip' for him to 'play down' or anything even remotely like it. The article also included several inaccuracies not the least of which was flat out wrong overnight ratings figures quoted for Deep Breath. It was, seemingly, 'amended to clarify the context for the comments made by Steven Moffat' a day later. Presumably after the tosser that wrote it in the first place had been given the most spectacular bollocking of his or her lifetime by somebody in a position of authority at BBC News and told, next time, to stick to the bloody facts.) Anyway. these figures include the 9.2 million average audience that watched Deep Breath, Peter Capaldi's début episode, which is the highest audience figure for a single, non-special, episode of Doctor Who since The Eleventh Hour, the opening episode of series five (Matt Smith’s début) in 2010. The numbers show how Doctor Who has consistently achieved big audiences across its last four series – series seven also had an average consolidated audience of 7.4m per episode; series six attracted 7.5m and series five was viewed by 7.3m, entirely justifying Steven Moffat's recent comments that Doctor Who's audience has hardly changed during the last five years even if the way in which some of those faithful viewers consume the show has. There have, additionally, been over 18.9m requests to watch Doctor Who series eight on BBC iPlayer - an average of 1.6m requests for each of the twelve episodes. At the present time iPlayer figures are not included in the final, consolidated ratings released by the British Audience Research Board. In the US, consolidated figures for the first ten episodes have seen series eight experience a twenty three per cent uplift in total audience in 'Live Plus Seven' figures on series seven. The series eight première was the show's highest-rated series opening ever on BBC America, and is the first BBC Worldwide series ever to simultaneously hold the number one slot in the 'Main TV Season Charts' across all major Electronic Sell-through platforms in the US within forty eight hours of episode one's release on 24 August 2014. In Canada, on the Space channel, the first ten episodes of series eight have seen a twenty two per cent uplift in consolidated audience size on series seven. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat said: 'We never take it for granted, but the miracle has happened again - the nation has taken a brand new Doctor to its heart.' Danny Cohen, the Director of BBC Television added: 'It's been an outstanding debut series for Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who [sic] and I'm very grateful to Peter, Steven Moffat and everyone involved. In this new world, we only know the total viewing for a programme after thirty days - and in the case of Doctor Who this means that the drama is performing exceptionally well.' Doctor Who Extra, which offers viewers a behind the scenes look at making one of the nation's best loved family SF dramas has had 1.3m BBC iPlayer requests and reached 2.4m people on BBC Red Button to date.

Meanwhile, Peter Capaldi his very self has revealed that he turned down an audition for the Doctor Who 1996 TV movie. Paul McGann was eventually to play the eighth Doctor in the one-off - intended to serve as a pilot for a potential co-produced series. 'I knew I wouldn't get it,' Peter explained at an event this week to launch the Doctor Who series eight DVD box-set. 'I loved the show so much that I didn't want to have anything to do with it, unless it was going to be me [definitely playing the part]. I didn't want the disappointment [after] going through all the palaver - jumping through hoops for something I [knew I would] would never get.' Peter added that he feared he was not well-known enough at the time to be taken seriously as a contender to play The Doctor. 'It was an American pilot and I knew they would go for somebody who was well-known - which Paul was, and he was fantastic. So I said to my agent, "Thank you very much, but I don't want to go along."' Capaldi is not the only Doctor to have turned down the chance to audition for the role in the 1990s. After he was cast as The Doctor in 2004, Christopher Eccleston also revealed that he had declined an invitation to audition for the role in the TV Movie.
After more than fifty years, twelve lead actors and several hundred episodes, the legacy of Doctor Who has never been greater – and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat is feeling the pressure. Speaking at the panel to promote the series eight DVD, Moffat was asked by host Frank Skinner whether he ever feared 'crashing' the long-running series, having taken over the reins from Russell Davies in 2010. 'Yes of course you do,' Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) said. 'Any time you make a big shift in it or a big change in it, which we did this year, then you're properly worried – it's like you're curator of the crown jewels or something.' Still, yer man Moffat went on to explain how he put aside such concerns, which he considers an 'essential practice' to make the series: 'You have to shut that off in your mind,' he said. 'You've got to treat it like you own it – even though you don't. You have to sort of be bold with it, you have to sort of behave as if you were allowed to do this. If all you were ever doing is tending to the upkeep of the monument, then it's not gonna be a proper TV show.' These comments echo those made by Moffat last week, when he said that Peter Capaldi had 'saved the series' by forcing it to change. 'A show dies when it's reliable like a pair of old slippers,' he explained at a Royal Television Society event. 'If any reviewer says that about a show, that show is gone within a year.'
After the cliffhanger of Sherlock series three we all suspected that the next instalment of the detective drama – whatever form it might take and whenever it might be – was likely to address the apparent return of the late Jim Moriarty. Andrew Scott's BAFTA-winning mad-as-toast villain made an ambiguous appearance at the end of the final episode when the closing credits were interrupted to show Moriarty taking over television screens across Britain and repeating the question 'Did you miss me?' And when the titles finally ended there was a flash of the man himself, looking straight down the barrel of the camera. But after apparently shooting himself through the head at the end of the previous series, could Moriarty really still be alive? Or is it some trick from beyond the grave that, according to BBC1, will see Benedict Cumberbatch's detective returning from 'the briefest of exiles to face one of his biggest mysteries yet'? Whatever the answer, the Sherlock special – currently in pre-production and due to start shooting in January – will solve the mystery 'completely', co-creator Mark Gatiss his very self has told the Radio Times. But when Mark, Benny and co then turn their attention to series four, will the one-off episode (which may or may not be shown next Christmas) be the last we'll see of one of the best-loved villains in TV history? Gatiss's answer is as enigmatic and tantalising as you might expect: 'It's very hard to put a lid on Andrew Scott.'
I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) topped the overnight ratings on its return on Sunday. The crass, horrifyingly meat-head ITV reality show attracted an average audience of 10.07 million viewers at 9pm. That, in and of itself, is a truly dreadful indictment of something or other dear blog reader although, cause for at least a modicum of celebration, was the fact that this was the risible, odious, voyeuristic freak-show's lowest-rated launch episode for several years. It was down around 1.5m from last year's average ratings of 11.54m and also down from 2012's 10.26m. Earlier, The X Factor - featuring the first play of Band Aid Thirty - climbed by over a million viewers from the previous week to 8.20m at 8pm. This is the first time the show has attracted over eight million viewers in four weeks. Meanwhile, Keep It In The Family attracted 2.78m at 7pm. On BBC1, Strictly Come Dancing rose by around seven hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to 10.03m at 7.15pm, making it the highest-rated results show of the current series so far. Earlier, Countryfile appealed to 6.79m at 6.15pm, while the movie War Horse was seen by 5.05m at 9pm. BBC2's live tennis coverage scored one million viewers at 6pm, followed by Human Universe also with a million viewers at 7pm. Sue Perkins's Mekong River documentary interested 2.35m at 8pm, while World's Greatest Food Markets brought in 1.27m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Speed With Guy Martin continued with 1.51m at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of Homeland with 1.14m at 9pm. Channel Five's broadcast of Dumb and Dumber was watched by nine hundred and ninety eight thousand at 5.45pm.

And, I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was also the winner on Monday evening, overnight data reveals. The show dropped around eight hundred thousand viewers from Sunday's launch episode, but still attracted an average audience of 9.29 million at 9pm. Earlier, Countrywise brought in 2.97m at 8pm. On BBC1, a repeat of Room 101 was seen by 2.10m at 8.30pm, followed by a repeat of New Tricks with 2.87m at 9pm. BBC2's Strictly: It Takes Two attracted 2.14m at 6.30pm. University Challenge drew 2.64m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.07m at 8.30pm. Intruders continued with four hundred and seventy two thousand at 9pm. On Channel Four, Dispatches interested 1.14m at 8pm. How To Sell Your Home was seen by 1.18m at 8.30pm, while Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody had an audience of 1.04m at 9pm. Channel Five's documentary Jack the Ripper: Missing Evidence attracted nine hundred and ninety five thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest Gotham with 1.07m at 9pm and Under The Dome with six hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. On BBC4, Intimate History Of Dance appealed to 1.09m at 9pm.

The Missing dropped to below five million overnight viewers when it went up against live football on Tuesday. The BBC1 drama lost around eight hundred thousand viewers week-on-week, falling to 4.98 million at 9pm. ITV's coverage of the Scotland versus England friendly - which England won 3-1 - scored 6.19m from 7.30pm. On BBC2, MasterChef: The Professionals continued with 2.66m at 8pm, followed by Secrets Of The Castle with 1.24m at 9pm and The Walshes with four hundred and eighty four thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners attracted 1.21m at 8pm, followed by You Can't Get the Staff with nine hundred and fifty two thousand at 9pm and Gogglebox with 1.04m at 10pm.

Here are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Seven programmes for week-ending Sunday 9 November 2014:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 10.52m
2 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 9.95m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.08m
4 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 8.58m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.84m
6 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.72m
7 The Missing - Tues BBC1 - 7.66m
8 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 7.60m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.14m
10 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.08m
11 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.33m
12 The Royal British Legion Festival Of Remembrance - Sat BBC1 - 5.22m
13 Grantchester - Mon ITV - 5.14m*
14 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.98m
15 Lewis - Fri ITV - 4.87m*
16 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.71m
17 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 4.70m
18 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.49m
19 Life Story - Thurs BBC1 - 4.41m
20 Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.40m*
21= Gareth Malone's All Star Choir - Mon BBC1 - 4.33m
21= Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.33m
23 The Passing Bells - Mon BBC1 - 4.17m
24 Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph - Sun BBc1 - 4.01m
25 Gogglebox - Friday Channel Four - 3.92m
26 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 3.91m
27 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 3.90m
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not include include HD figures. As mentioned in the last bloggerisationisms, Doctor Who's consolidated figure for the series eight finale, Death In Heaven, included a timeshift above the initially reported 'live' audience of over two million viewers for the tenth time in twelve weeks (2.15 million, to be exact). The series' average timeshift across all twelve episodes of the series was 2.06 million. For the second week running, Saturday evening's episode of The X Factor had a final rating higher than the Sunday evening results show (7.85 million). Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday result episode, meanwhile, drew 9.69 million, meaning that the BBC show whipped The X Factor's bare ass on both Saturday and Sunday for the sixth week running. BBC2's highest rated programme of the week was MasterChef: The Professionals with 2.98m (all three episodes - on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - achieved audience figures in the 2.90 - three million range). University Challenge drew 2.92 million, followed by The Apprentice: You're Fired! (2.88m), Great Continental Railway Journeys (2.68m), The Mekong River With Sue Perkins (2.52m), Only Connect (2.28m), Peaky Blinders (2.24m), Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (2.15m) and Qi (2.07m). Gogglebox was Channel Four's largest-rated show, followed by the channels' broadcast of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2.67m), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.52m) and Speed With Guy Martin (2.12m). Channel Five's best performers were Gotham with 2.45 million, Black Market Britain Undercover Sting (1.66m) and Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away (1.63m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's most-watched programme with seven hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers. Detectorists drew BBC4's largest audience of the week (seven hundred and four thousand), followed by Inspector Motalbano (six hundred and sixty two thousand). E4's The Big Bang Theory had the biggest multichannels audience of all (2.47m). Sky 1's The Flash had 1.48m.

Luther is to be remade for US television by the FOX network. The BBC thriller starring Idris Elba is to be 'retooled' for American audiences - whatever the hell that means. Give him a guns, probably - with the project having received a put pilot commitment, according to Variety. This means that FOX will pay 'a significant penalty' if it does not broadcast the new Luther pilot, increasing its chance of being picked up to series. Elba will executive produce the remake, but is not expected to reprise the lead role. Starring the British actor as tortured police detective John Luther, the original series - created by Neil Cross - ran for three series on BBC1 between 2010 and 2013. And was really rather good.
Odious, unfunny, lanky streak of worthless pale piss Jack Whitehall has suggested that ITV should be 'made to answer' on the subject of how the controversial comedian Dapper Laughs managed to land his own TV show with the broadcaster. Oh, the irony. Oi, pot, there's kettle over here calling you black.
And, speaking of odious, horrible, full-of-their-own-importance glakes, millionaire horrorshow (and drag) Myleene Klass might have gained a lot of attention for herself after she 'went all Jeremy Paxman' on Ed Milimolimandi in a TV debate over the proposed mansion tax, but it seems to have rebounded on her, somewhat, with at least some of the audience. A number of viewers were, it would appear, so offended by the idea of a talentless, full-of-herself millionaire lecturing the Labour leader on his plans to imposed a tax on millionaires should Labour win the next election that they have started a petition aimed at getting her dropped from her advertising work with Littlewoods. Earlier this week, the thirty six-year-old former pop singer criticised the Labour leader over his pledge to impose a mansion tax during the ITV show The Agenda. Klass accused Milimolimandi of 'pointing at things and taxing them.' Many viewers have accused her of being 'deeply insensitive' during a time of supposed public austerity, especially since she herself has an estimated net worth of eleven million quid and, seemingly, has now cast herself as the spokesperson for other extremely well off people who may be asked to pay a bit more money to help those who are not so fortunate as them at some stage in the future. Obviously, she's decided that she was more photogenic than Gryff Rhys Jones. Having been accused of having extremely offensive opinions, some are now calling on Littlewoods, the company for whom Klass fronts a series of particularly obnoxious adverts, to drop the former Hear'Say poppet from their campaigns as a sign of respect to, you know, the rest of the country. The petition at the Change.org website argues that the company's pay-weekly customers are among the worst hit by economic hardships - something which Klass's argument that mansion tax is 'unfair' rather pisses in the face of. This will, of course, have as little chance of success as the - equally ludicrous - petition about getting the BBC to repeat old Doctor Who episodes mentioned on this blog a couple of weeks ago, albeit, in just one day the Klass petition had attracted fifteen times as many signatures as the other did in a fortnight. It reads: 'Myleene Klass has demonstrated unacceptable conduct and spoken unacceptably publicly in such appalling economic times. We the British public call upon you to make you position regarding the words of Myleene Klass clear and end your business relationship with her as the face of your brand. Miss Klass (estimated net worth eleven million pounds) showed a complete lack of class when she made comments about the unfairness of this tax on the super-wealthy of British society who make up less than 0.05 per cent of the population.' Littlewoods have apparently 'been made aware' of the campaign, but are yet to make any comments on the future of Klass at their company.
TV physicist Brian Cox (no, the other one) and the visual effects team behind the film Gravity will tell the story of the universe using cutting-edge augmented reality technology in a live show next year. Professor Coxy, effects wizards Framestore and film director Kevin Macdonald are using a system called Magic Leap. Magic Leap has not been seen in public, but reports suggest that its headgear projects images onto users' eyes. The show will be part of the Manchester International Festival next July. Titled The Age Of Starlight, it is one of the first three productions to be announced for the eighteen-day event. Also on the line-up are a ballet created by choreographer Wayne McGregor, musician Jamie xx and artist Olafur Eliasson and a family show telling the life story of children's TV favourite Mr Tumble.
Broadchurch will be back in the New Year, it has been confirmed. Detectives Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) will return to ITV in January 2015. 'There was a boy, and he was killed. I caught the killer. So why am I still here?' Alec asks in the third two-part teaser for the return of the popular crime drama, which was shown on Sunday. A follow-up teaser featured Miller saying: 'There was a boy, and he was killed. What happened then destroyed my family, my job and my town. So what do I do now?' Series one of Chris Chibnall's drama focused on a small coastal town in Dorset rocked by the murder of eleven-year-old Danny Latimer, as Alec and Ellie tried to track down his killer. Very little is currently known about the second series of Broadchurch, although Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan and Arthur Darvill are among those reprising their roles from the first series. Meanwhile, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Meera Syal, Eve Myles and James D'Arcy will join the cast for the new series.
The presenter of BBC4's recent Architects Of The Divine (part of the Gothic season), and the current repeat run on the same channel of the superb Chivalry and Betrayal is, of course, Doctor Janina Ramirez, whom we're all big fans of here at From The North. That is how she appears on Twitter, Facebook and in the credits of her previous TV work. So how did the commissioning editor, executive producer, producer/director and the rest of the team behind Architects Of The Divine sign off on a transmission version naming her as 'Nina' Ramirez? Was it somebody at BBC4's idea that if they start shortening everybody's name, they might attract da kidz, and that, innit?
Here's a really rather marvellous piece of journalism, about the unlikely - but, seemingly, sincere and warm - friendship which sprang up between the academic and broadcaster Mary Beard and the comedian Tony Law (both of whom we're, also, big fans of here at From The North). Does the soul good to read something like this every now and then, frankly.
Julian Assange's prolonged sojourn at the Ecuadorian embassy in London has inspired a new BBC4 sitcom. Asylum is described 'a satirical comedy about a government whistleblower and a millionaire Internet entrepreneur trapped together in a London embassy.' Presumably, any resemblance being, you know, entirely coincidental. Four Lions actor Kayvan Novak will star in the comedy, which he conceived with his Fonejacker producer, Tom Thostrup. Although, given the fact that he's already been the subject of a movie which even yer man Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't sell, one has to wonder if Channel Four really think they're going to be pulling in the numbers with this project. WikiLeaks founder Assange has been in Ecuador's London embassy for more than two years. He initially took refuge there in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces charges of sexual assault and other alleged naughty badness. Charges which, it is important to note, he denies. Asylum forms part of a series of shows created to mark the eight hundredth anniversary of the Magna Carta's signing. The Taking Liberties season includes a day of debate, a documentary filmed inside the House of Commons and a series on the struggle to win votes for women. Tony Hall, the BBC's Director General, said that he was 'delighted' to announce a season 'examining what Magna Carta's key themes of freedom, power and justice mean to Britain and the world today.' The corporation, he said, 'should be the place where the great events in our nation's history are commemorated.'

Coronation Street is to broadcast a special live episode to mark ITV’s sixth decade on-air. The longrunning soap, which also filmed live episodes to mark its fortieth and fiftieth anniversaries in 2000 and 2010, will broadcast live for one night next September. The 2010 episode, which featured a dramatic tram crash, won several awards for the Manchester-set show. Producer Stuart Blackburn, who masterminded Emmerdale's live special to celebrate its fortieth anniversary in 2012, said it was 'an honour to be at the helm' of Coronation Street for the occasion.
A British antiques expert who restored items for royalty was a child abuser involved in a notorious paedophile campaign group, the BBC has revealed. Keith Harding was active in the Paedophile Information Exchange, according to documents seen by the BBC. A former chairman of the British Horological Institute, he appeared alongside dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Jimmy Savile in a Christmas edition of Jim'll Fix It. Harding, who died in June, had been convicted of sex offences in the 1950s. A man who appeared on the Christmas 1980 Jim'll Fix It episode as a boy has claimed the feature was 'set up' by the production team, who approached the family and asked for a letter to Savile to be written. It has not been possible to establish the precise motive for Harding's appearance on the show. Richard Scorer, from the legal firm Slater & Gordon, which is representing nearly two hundred alleged victims of Savile, described the Jim'll Fix It revelation as 'extremely troubling. It is precisely the sort of allegation that the government child abuse inquiry needs to investigate in detail,' he said. Child protection campaigners have called for the official inquiry into historical abuse to examine the extent of Harding's business and political links. He was convicted of indecent assault against four children aged eight and nine in the late 1950s and was a 'Schedule One' offender - meaning that his convictions remained on his police file for life. But, he was later given the Freedom of the City of London and became a member of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, meeting business and political figures at the height of his career. The clockmaker and music box expert ran a museum regularly visited by children, despite social services allegedly 'being aware' twenty years ago of his previous convictions for child abuse. Harding's involvement with PIE, which campaigned for the age of consent to be reduced to four, has never previously come to light. BBC News says that it has seen 'confidential social services reports' from 1995 which confirm Harding's 'PIE involvement.' One of his former employees said that the clockmaker had described his role for the group as 'membership secretary.' Social services documents described his convictions as a 'real cause for concern' and warned that children should not be left unsupervised with him. In December 1980, the BBC's Jim'll Fix It filmed Harding at his workshop in Islington where he fixed a music box belonging to a thirteen-year-old girl whose letter was shown on-screen requesting the repair. She then appeared along with her younger brother in the studio with Harding and filthy kiddie-fiddler and sick bastard Savile. The girl's brother, Dean, who is now in his forties, has told BBC News the feature was, allegedly, 'set up' by the production team who instigated the item by approaching the family. He claimed: 'She was asked to write that letter. The way it came about was that my uncle was asked by his then girlfriend, who was a researcher at the BBC, if anybody in the family had a musical box. Obviously the letter must have been done after the facts.' Savile was one of Britain's most prolific sex abusers and is thought to have assaulted hundreds of people between the ages of five and seventy five over a fifty year plus period. Dean claims that he and his sister were chaperoned by a relative throughout their time on the programme and that nothing untoward took place. But, he described later learning about both Savile and Harding as 'very hurtful', adding: 'It takes away your childhood.' It is unclear what motivated Harding's appearance and who, if anyone, at the programme instigated it. Two - anonymous - 'sources' who worked on Jim'll Fix It at the time both said that they 'did not recall' the events leading up to Harding's appearance and denied knowing such 'set-ups' of guests ever took place. So, either they are lying, or this Dean character is, since both can't be correct in their assertions. The BBC said that it 'could not give a commentary' on the case as it was thirty four years ago but pointed to the current inquiry being carried out into dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Savile's activities at the corporation. In 1987, Harding moved to Gloucestershire where social services were, the BBC News website claims, 'aware' of his previous criminal convictions. Gloucestershire County Council declined to comment on the fact that he continued to run a music box museum in Northleach, which was regularly visited by children, until his death aged eighty two in June. A spokesman for the museum said that children were 'always accompanied by adults.' Harding also featured on the children's television programme All Over The Place, which visited his museum in 2012. PIE disbanded in 1984 and a number of its known members have since been convicted of sick and sordid child abuse offences. Speaking to social workers in the 1990s, Harding reportedly denied being a member of the group and said that he acted as a 'counsellor' to its members. But, a document held by police in the mid-1980s listed Harding as PIE member - number three hundred and twenty nine - next to his North London address. The Metropolitan Police's Operation Fairbank, which is investigating allegations of historical abuse, is understood to be 'aware' of Harding's background - albeit, the fact that the bloke is now dead does, sort of, make one wonder what exactly they're going to do if they find out that he was invovled in any filthy goings on. Dig him up and put him on trial, perhaps? In a statement, the BBC said: 'Today's BBC has appropriate safeguards in place to protect children and young people. Dame Janet Smith is making an impartial and independent investigation into the historical culture and practices of the BBC, which will identify lessons to be learned from the Savile period.' The Corporation of London said that Harding's vetting for the Freedom of the City was carried out 'by his livery company.' About eighteen hundred people receive the honour each year. The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers said that Keith Harding did not disclose his offences and was 'never involved in the running of the company.'
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks 'signed off' on 'virtually all' cash payment requests when she was editor at the Sun, it has been claimed at a trial of journalists on the tabloid accused of approving naughty payments to public officials for stories. The head of news at the Sun was asked by the trial judge on Tuesday afternoon what proportion of payment requests the editor refused to sign off. 'A very small percentage,' Chris Pharo replied. Asked whether he could 'give an idea' of the percentage, he said 'two to three per cent.' Pharo is on trial along with five other current and former Sun journalists for allegedly approving unlawful payments to public officials, a charge which they all deny. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, is not. Pharo said 'what you might get is a protracted process of her stalling on the payments', before clarifying to the judge that in two to three per cent of cases there would be 'no payment at all.' He was being quizzed by prosecutor Peter Wright QC, about an e-mail in February 2006 telling staff that, with immediate effect, no cash payments would be paid 'without Rebekah's approval.' Pharo had replied to the e-mail containing the edict, by saying this would 'dramatically increase my workload.' This was because up to that point, a cash payment could be approved by a deputy editor, he said. Earlier in the trial, Pharo had claimed that he had to deal with so many cash payment requests by his reporters that he spent half of his time in the editor's office. In a grilling by Wright, he was accused of creating 'a cock and bull story' to explain the paper's 'practice' of paying public officials at a criminal trial. Opening his cross examination, Wright put it to Pharo that the 'ends justified the means' at the Sun and there was a 'preparedness to pay public officials.' Pharo replied: 'That's not true,' Pharo claimed. 'I stayed silent at the police station, because I was absolutely terrified.' He went on to tell jurors that the company had decided to hand him and others 'to the police' and repeated earlier references to three million e-mails being deleted by the company. This, Wright put it to him, was what upset him. 'That's what grates you isn't it? That the company shopped you?' Pharo replied: 'No, what really grates me is that the company has provided a fraction of the evidence in this case and we fitted the bill.' Wright asked him how these missing e-mails could exculpate him, suggesting they were a 'smokescreen' in his trial. 'I simply don't think we're looking at anything like the full picture,' Pharo claimed. 'I am not using it as a smokescreen.' Wright went on to quiz him about the paper's decision to run a story Mumbai Raid Fear on Xmas Shoppers four years ago. The article reported that Metropolitan police firearms officers were 'patrolling shopping centres' including Westfield and Bluewater as fears that al-Qaeda might be inspired to commit a British version of a massacre by the terrorist attack in India. 'Did you consider it was for you to decide to jeopardise any on going operation that may be undertaken by counter terrorism in the metropolis?' Wright asked. 'I don't for any moment accept your [assertion] that [the story] would jeopardise a counter terrorism [operation] in the metropolis,' claimed Pharo. Pressing him on the issue, Wright asked him if it was not 'arrogant' of the Sun to decide it was in the public interest to reveal a confidential operation. 'No,' said Pharo, explaining that the story suggested the police were 'already deployed and active.' Pharo was being quizzed about the story in relation to an e-mail request for a payment of seven hundred smackers to a 'source' who was 'well-placed in the Met.' He also said that there were 'no instructions' at the paper after well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks told a parliamentary select committee in 2003 that the Sun paid police officers. He said that he was 'shocked' about what well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks said to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and that it caused 'a great deal of consternation in the office and the wider industry.' Presumably, since paying police officers for information was then and remains now extremely illegal. 'After that statement by Rebekah Brooks about the "we pay police officers", did anything change?' Wright asked. 'No,' claimed Pharo. He said that there was 'no legal guidance' given to reporters on the matter until The Bribery Act came out in 2010. The trial continues.

The Sun came into possession of a Labour MP’s mobile phone after a thief smashed the window of her car and stole her handbag, a jury has heard. Siobhain McDonagh had parked her car in Tooting in October 2010 and had left her handbag inside, which contained, among other things, her mobile phone which was not password protected, the jury at the Old Bailey was told by the prosecution opening the case against Sun journalist Nick Parker. Within minutes the car window had been smashed and the phone was stolen, along with the rest of the contents of her handbag, Michael Parroy QC, said. Some forty five minutes later, the alleged thief, Michael Ankers, 'was using the handset with his own SIM card in it, having on his own account thrown away the SIM originally in the phone', Parroy said. The next day Ankers contacted the Sun and told them that he had acquired the phone of an MP. He claimed that he had 'found' the phone on the tube. An arrangement was then made that Ankers would meet the Sun reporter Nick Parker, at a hotel in Richmond, the jury was told. Parker is on trial for five alleged offences including 'dishonestly receiving stolen goods', and of unlawfully accessing the phone between 17 October and 21 October 2010. He has denied all the charges. Ankers has been very charged with theft of the phone and of 'dishonestly receiving stolen goods', charges which he also denies. Parroy said that at the meeting Parker, 'either personally, or via a technician, downloaded the contents of the phone onto his own laptop or more likely, read what was on the phone and typed the contents into his own laptop. Both of them knew they had no business whatsoever going into the phone, looking at its contacts, e-mails et cetera,' the prosecutor said, going on to add that the next day, Parker met Ankers again with a photographer accompanying him, by which time the phone had been handed in to the police. 'He arranged that meeting to be photographed because he thought the phone to be stolen,' said Parroy and therefore must have known he was 'acting dishonestly.' Parroy told jurors that Parker was 'not entitled just because he is a reporter, to interrogate someone’s else’s phone he has no business to have in his possession at all.' Parker has also pleaded not guilty of aiding and abetting a police officer, Alan Tierney, whom the jury heard had previously pleaded very guilty to misconduct in public office in 2009. In addition, the Sun journalist has pleaded not guilty to a fifth count, one of aiding and abetting a prison officer, who was charged with misconduct in public office in 2007. Lee Brockhouse, an office at HMP Swaleside, is on trial with Parker at the Old Bailey, as is Ankers. Brockhouse is accused of entering into an agreement with the Sun and disclosing confidential information to the paper in exchange for money. Parroy told jurors that Parker 'knew perfectly well that Tierney was a police officer' and that, as a public servant, he had no lawful right to sell stories to the press. 'Nonetheless, Parker was prepared to encourage the officer to act in this way so he could buy the stories for his paper,' said Parroy. Brockhouse has also been charged with selling stories to the People newspaper, which he also denies. Parroy said that Brockhouse and Tierney 'felt safe, no doubt' in dealing with the Sun because they knew the press policy was to keep sources confidential. But, he said, while a free press was an essential part of a free society, it did not mean the press were 'above the law' or that public servants were entitled to sell information they get as part of their jobs to newspapers.

Paul O'Grady has settled a phone hacking claim against the publisher of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. O'Grady received what was described as 'substantial' damages as part of the settlement, the High Court in London heard. News Group Newspapers - formerly News International, owned by billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch. Whom no one is scared of any more - accepted that O'Grady's voicemail had been extremely hacked and that there was 'a misuse of his private information.'

Robert Peston devotees who missed his appearance last week on Only Connect should at once track it down on iPlayer, as there was a classic Pestoninfestation moment to savour. Appearing in a Children In Need celebrity special of the popular lateral thinking quiz, the BBC economics editor was generally off the pace but suddenly sharpened up for a question about the way one drinks tequila. Why was he so expert on this topic, presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell wondered. 'Actually, most breakfast sequences, before I go on the Today programme, a quick shot' Pesto offered by way of explanation.
Alex Salmond has been labelled a 'paranoid loser' by a former BBC chairman, following the former Scottish National party leader's whingy criticism of the corporation's coverage of the Scottish independence referendum. Sir Christopher Bland urged the BBC to mount a robust defence of its journalism, after Salmond compared the corporation's independence referendum coverage to a 'state broadcaster' screening 'propaganda.' 'I haven't yet seen, other than the rather feeble [BBC] corporate affairs response, somebody taking him on and saying "really, Salmond, you're a paranoid loser and you really shouldn't insult the BBC like that,"' Bland told The Voice of the Listener & Viewer autumn conference in London on Tuesday afternoon. Salmond, speaking to the Daily Record on Monday, accused the BBC of helping to secure a 'No' vote in September's Scottish independence referendum. 'There is a difference between being a public service broadcaster and a state broadcaster, and I don't think the people at the top of the BBC understand the difference. That is a tragedy,' he said. Bland, who chaired the BBC board of governors between 1996 and 2001 and is also a former BT chairman, was speaking at a VLV conference session on the challenges facing recently appointed BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead. Bland said that the Trust should not defend the indefensible over charter renewal. 'I don't think the existing structure of the Trust and the BBC is defensible. All organisations tend to perpetuate themselves; it would be a great thing if the Trust could say "This isn't working, here is how it should work going forward." A different model, plainly, is needed.' He advised Fairhead not to appear on the Today programme on Radio 4 or BBC2's Newsnight: 'Don't think these people are your friends – they are not.'

Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group has been been injured after falling off a bike in Central Park, New York. Tragically, it wasn't very serious. It is believed that Mr Bonio out of The U2 group toppled off his bicycle when he was unbalanced due to his towering ego. The U2 Group revealed on its website that Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group will require surgery on his arm 'to repair it.' Whether this will also involve sewing up his gob to shut the fucker up for a bit is not, at this time, known. The U2 Group featuring Mister Bonio, Mister The Edge and ... the other two out of The U2 Group were due to start a week-long residency on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, which they had to postpone. 'We're sure he'll make a full recovery soon, so we'll be back!' said the statement from Mister The Edge out of The U2 Group and the other two out of The U2 Group. 'Much thanks to Jimmy Fallon and everyone at the show for their understanding.'
EastEnders has been praised for the handling of a prostate cancer storyline. Prostate Cancer UK has said that the BBC1 drama is helping to 'break down one of the biggest taboos around men's health.' Viewers discovered this week that Timothy West's character, Stan Carter, has prostate cancer, after he told his family he had refused treatment for it. The charity has hailed the plot as a 'potential lifesaver.' Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: 'When EastEnders first hit our screens thirty years ago, prostate cancer just wasn't talked about. It was a dirty little secret "down below". Treatment options were extremely limited and survival rates were terrible. Things are getting better, but we have a way to go. Some men, like Stan, are still reluctant to talk about prostate cancer, and reach out for help.' The charity's Karen Sumpter, who advised the show's writers on the storyline, said that they had 'done a fantastic job of presenting the real issues men face.' Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in UK men, with forty thousand new cases diagnosed every year. It develops very slowly so there may be no signs of any symptoms for several years. Earlier this year, EastEnders also tackled the subject of breast cancer when Carol Jackson - played by Lindsey Coulson - was diagnosed with the illness. She was also identified as a carrier of the gene-mutation increasing the risk of developing the disease. Her daughter, Sonia, tested positive as a carrier, leaving her to consider potentially invasive procedures to prevent the development of breast cancer.
Ofcom is to investigate EastEnders over a storyline in which Linda Carter, the Queen Vic landlady, was raped. More than ninety people - presumably with nothing better to do with their time - complained to the media watchdog and several hundred viewers also whinged to the BBC over the episode screened on 6 October and what a right shite state of affairs all this malarkey was. Or something. The BBC has defended the storyline as part of the soap's 'rich history' of portraying difficult issues. The broadcaster said it had been careful to avoid any graphic depictions. The show's makers also contended that the attack was 'implied and was not explicit.' Separately, Channel Five has been censured by Ofcom over swearing on three shows - Big Brother, It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief and and The Hotel Inspector Revisited, all of which were repeated during the daytime. The broadcaster admitted that 'human error' meant it had failed to broadcast a warning over offensive language prior to a screening of It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief at 10:30am on 22 March, 2014. The channel said that as a result of this error, it had reviewed its internal records to ensure that all pre-watershed versions of programmes were correctly labelled and reviewed by its compliance team. And, that the human who erred has since been taken to the woodshed and given a jolly good smacked bottom. Allegedly. All screenings were daytime repeats of evening shows and Ofcom ruled that the channel did not take 'appropriate steps' to avoid frequent use of offensive language before the watershed. Which, let's face it, is a fekking serious offence. Three people - who, definitely, had nothing better to do with their time - complained to Ofcom about a Big Brother episode screened at lunchtime on 7 August, which involved a conversation between five of the housemates. Ofcom noted fourteen instances of different variations of the same swear word within a fifty-second part of their conversation. The fact that there were fourteen naughty words used isn't the most surprising thing here, the fact that someone actually counted them, this blogger would suggest, is. Channel Five claimed that 'none of the language identified was used in connection with violent or particularly aggressive behaviour.' The tone of the conversation was 'light' and 'in-keeping with the kind of banter' which was frequently heard in the house 'when alcohol had been consumed,' the broadcaster added. A sodding likely excuse.
And, speaking of bad naughty language, and shit, Band Aid is back – you might have noticed, dear blog reader. And, of course, so are Bob Geldof's passionate, expletive-ridden television appearances. The musician famous for supposedly telling TV viewers in 1985 to 'give us your fucking money' – even though that is, actually, a misquote – was taken off-air by Sky News on Monday when he said the incredibly naughty word 'bollocks' twice during a short period of time. The scallywag. Sky News presenter Jayne Secker asked Geldof to respond to critical reactions to the re-recording of 'Do They Know It’s Christmas?' for victims of Ebola: 'A lot of people are saying, "look at all the people in that room, a lot of wealthy people, if they all paid their taxes in the right way, we wouldn't need these kind of fund-raising singles,' Secker said, not unreasonably, actually. 'What would you say to that?' she asked. The answer was nothing if not predictable from Saint Bob. 'I think they're talking bollocks,' Geldof responded. Fair enough. Next ... 'That’s pretty colourful language. If you could not use any more, we'd appreciate it,' Secker continued - some hope - before asking Saint Bob to respond to criticism from Ian Birrell, founder of the Africa Express project, who described the entire Live Aid Project as 'patronising and perpetuating myths again.' Oh, that's asking for trouble. 'Complete load of bollocks,' Geldof replied, prompting Secker to swiftly wrap up the interview: 'Okay, I'm afraid we'll have to apologise for that language again and there we will leave it. Sir Bob Geldof, thank you very much for joining us today.' Geldof's rant during the original Live Aid broadcast in 1985 made television history. 'Get your money out now,' he shouted at viewers. 'There are people dying now, so give me the money.' Geldof swore at one point in the broadcast, saying 'fuck the address, let's get the numbers,' but this is often misquoted as him having said 'give us your fucking money.'
Veteran actor and presenter Bernard Cribbins has been awarded the annual JM Barrie Award for a lifetime of unforgettable work for children on stage, film, television and record. The Action for Children's Arts JM Barrie Award is given annually to a children's arts practitioner or organisation whose work, in the view of ACA, will stand the test of time. The JM Barrie Award was formerly the ACA Peter Pan Award, presented as part of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity Awards. Bernard has featured in many iconic BBC Children's programmes over the last forty years, including Jackanory, The Wombles and, most recently, Old Jack’s Boat on CBeebies. In 2007 he appeared in the Doctor Who Christmas special, Voyage Of The Damned, playing Wilfred Mott. The character returned in several episode of series four where it was revealed that Wilfred was the grandfather of Donna Noble. Bernard's first contact with Doctor Who came in the 1966 feature film Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 AD, where he played Tom Campbell alongside Peter Cushing's portrayal of The Doctor. The award was presented at Broadcasting House at a ceremony attended by the BBC's Director General Tony Hall and a range of Bernard's colleagues from across the decades, including Chris Jarvis, CBeebies presenter and writer on Old Jack's Boat, the actress Jan Francis, former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan and Kate Robertson, daughter of Elisabeth Beresford, the creator of The Wombles. Messages were received from Sir George Martin, Russell Davies and John Barrowman. Also in attendance were Jenny Agutter and Gary Warren, who appeared in The Railway Children in the 1970 film, which co-starred Bernard as the station master Albert Perks.

Ofcom has opened a - long overdue - investigation into how the Premier League sells live TV media rights for its football matches in the UK. It follows a complaint from Virgin Media, which said that more matches should be available for live broadcast. In a statement, the Premier League said the way it sold its audio-visual rights was 'compatible with UK and EU competition law.' BSkyB and BT share the rights to televise Premier League football games. The price for the latest rights deal - covering 2013 to 2016 - rose by seventy per cent to three billion smackers when it was announced in 2012. The Premier League will soon be starting the bidding process for the next tranche of rights from 2016 onwards. Virgin claims that the current arrangements 'for the "collective" selling of live UK television rights by the Premier League for matches played by its member clubs is in breach of competition law.' In particular, it has raised concerns about the number of Premier League matches for which live broadcasting rights are made available. Ofcom said: 'Virgin Media argues that the proportion of matches made available for live television broadcast under the current Premier League rights deals - at forty one per cent - is lower than some other leading European leagues, where more matches are available for live television broadcast.' Virgin argues that this 'contributes to higher prices for consumers of pay TV packages that include premium sport channels and for the pay TV retailers of premium sports channels.' Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media's chief executive, called Ofcom's investigation 'welcome news. The fact remains that fans in the UK pay the highest prices in Europe to watch the least amount of football on TV. Now is the right time to look again at the way live rights are sold to make football even more accessible,' he said. 'We look forward to working constructively with the Premier League, the wider industry and Ofcom to ensure a better deal for football fans.' In a statement, the Premier League said: 'We note that Ofcom has launched an inquiry. Ofcom has stated that this is at an early stage and it has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of any infringement. The Premier League currently sells its audio-visual rights in a way that is compatible with UK and EU competition law and will continue to do so.' Ofcom said that the investigation would be carried out 'under the terms of the Competition Act.' It added that it was 'mindful of the likely timing of the next auction of live UK audio-visual media rights, and is open to discussion with the Premier League about its plans.' Ofcom also said it would look at the issue of how many games are moved from their traditional 3pm kick-off times on Saturdays, because of TV scheduling needs. As part of this, it will approach the Football Supporters' Federation and certain other supporters' groups to understand their views. Malcolm Clarke, chair of the Football Supporters' Federation, said: 'Premier League football might be a global phenomenon but without fans in the stands, it wouldn't have the same appeal. People want to see the world's best players, but they also want to see stands packed to the rafters with fans. That vibrancy is a key part of the TV "product." Ofcom also acknowledges the importance of Saturday 3pm kick-offs to fans. All-too-often TV's needs come before match-going supporters as games are shunted around the calendar.'

[spooks]: The Great Good has been confirmed for release next year. The spy thriller, based on the BBC and Kudos Film and Television's long-running TV series, will open in UK cinemas on 8 May 2015 through Pinewood Pictures. Game Of Thrones actor Kit Harington will lead the cast of the movie, with [spooks] veteran Peter Firth reprising his role as Harry Pearce.

A blue plaque has been unveiled in Torquay to mark the birthplace of Peter Cook. Widely regarded as one of Britain's greatest comedians - and, a particular favourite of this blogger - Peter was born in Middle Warberry Road in November 1937. The son of a diplomat, Peter is best known for co-writing and starring in the 1960 satirical review show Beyond The Fringe and, for his work with Dudley Moore. Cook died in 1995 from complications relating to liver disease, aged fifty seven. The plaque was unveiled by the Torbay Civic Society. Society chairman Ian Hanford said that Cook's parents had been working in Africa but moved to Torquay, ensuring their son was born in England. Becky Bettesworth, who lives in the house on Middle Warberry Road, said that her family was 'so excited' to learn Cook had been born there. Peter rose to prominence with Beyond The Fringe, which also featured Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller. It had great success in the West End and later on Broadway. He then went on to run satirical magazine Private Eye and also opened The Establishment, London's first satirical nightclub, in 1961. Cook had success with Dudley Moore during the 1960s and 70s in shows including Not Only ... But Also. Peter maintained connections with Torbay throughout his life. He was a fan of Torquay United - as well as, more famously, Spurs - and married his third wife at Oldway Mansion in 1989. Hanford said Peter was 'absolutely besotted' with The Gulls and often wore a club scarf on stage.
Prolific TV writer and producer Glen Larson has died at the age of seventy seven. The executive was responsible for a string of action-packed hits, including Knight Rider, Magnum PI, Quincy ME and the original Battlestar Galactica. Knight Rider's David Hasselhoff paid tribute on Twitter, saying that Larson had 'seven TV series at one time! Without him there'd be no KITT and Michael.' Larson died of oesophageal cancer at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center on Friday night. Also an accomplished singer and composer, he co-wrote the theme songs for many of his shows, including the frequently sampled tune from Knight Rider and the orchestral score for Battlestar Galactica. He was nominated three times for an EMMY, once for a Grammy (for Battlestar Galactica), and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985. Larson was born in January, 1937, to a Swedish immigrant mother and a Swedish-American father in Long Beach. His entertainment career started in the 1950s, when he was a member of the all-male singing quartet The Four Preps. He helped write and compose some of their hits, including 'Twenty Six Miles (Santa Catalina)', 'Big Man' and 'Down By The Station'. Where he would make a lasting mark, however, was in television during the 1960s and 70s. After working as a writer for Quinn Martin on productions including The Fugitive (where he had his first writing credit), Larson signed a production deal with Universal Studios. His first hit series was Alias Smith & Jones, a popular Western starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy which described the activities of outlaws Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, concentrating on their efforts to go straight. By 1968, Larson had worked his way up to an associate producer on the series It Takes A Thief and quickly rose through the ranks to produce some of the biggest TV shows of the time. At one point, he had five shows airing at one time, his son said. A list of nearly four dozen TV credits also includes The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, BJ & The Bear, The Fall Guy, McCloud, The Virginian, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Sword Of Justice and Buck Rogers In The Twenty Fifth Century. Glen is survived by his wife, Jeannie Pledger, his brother, and nine children from two marriages.

Jimmy Ruffin, the Motown singer who scored his biggest hit with 1966's masterpiece 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?' has died at the age of seventy eight. News of his death follows reports last month that he was seriously ill and in intensive care at a Las Vegas hospital. Born in Mississippi, Ruffin moved to Detroit in the early 1960s and was signed to Motown's Miracle label before, later, becoming a mainstay of the company's Soul imprint. He moved to the UK in the 1980s, where he recorded songs with Paul Weller's Style Council and Heaven 17. Ruffin's other hits included 'I've Passed This Way Before', 'Gonna Give Her All The Love I Got', 'Farewell is A Lonely Sound', 'It's Wonderful (To be Loved By You)' and, post-Motown, 'Hold On To My Love', a top 10 hit in 1980. His younger brother, David, one of the members of the classic line-up of The Temptations, died in 1991 of a drug overdose, prompting his sibling to become an outspoken anti-drug campaigner. A family statement said that Jimmy was 'a rare type of man who left his mark on the music industry. We will treasure the many fond and wonderful memories we all have of him' the statement said. Motown's founder, Berry Gordy, said Jimmy was 'a phenomenal singer. He was truly underrated because we were also fortunate to have his brother, David, as the lead singer of The Temptations, who got so much acclaim' Berry told Rolling Stone. Jimmy's other credits include Jimmy Ruffin's Sweet Soul Music, a seven-part series he made for BBC Radio 2 in the 1990s. His last CD, There Will Never Be Another You, was released in 2012. Born in Collinsville, Mississippi, Jimmy began singing with his younger brother a gospel group, The Dixie Nightingales. In 1961, Jimmy became a singer as part of the Motown stable, mostly on other singer's sessions but also recording occasional singles for its small subsidiary label, Miracle. He was then drafted for national service. After leaving the army in 1964, he returned to Motown, where he was offered the opportunity to join The Temptations to replace Elbridge Bryant. However, after hearing his brother, David, they hired him for the job instead. Jimmy therefore decided to resume his solo career. In 1966, he heard a song about unrequited love written for The Spinners, and persuaded the writers - Willie Weatherspoon, Paul Riser and Jimmy Dean - and producer Mickey Stevenson that he should record it himself. His recording of 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?' became a major success, a top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic which propelled Jimmy into the A-league of Motown artists. Jimmy found success in the United States difficult to sustain, and began to concentrate instead on the British market. In 1970, 'Farewell Is A Lonely Sound', 'I'll Say Forever My Love' and 'It's Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)' each made the UK top ten and he was voted the world's top singer in one British music poll. He also teamed up with his brother David to record the LP I Am My Brother's Keeper, a modest success in 1970. He left Motown in the mid-70s and recorded for the Polydor and Chess labels, where he recorded 'Tell Me What You Want'. In 1980, Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees produced his LP Sunrise and the hit single 'Hold On To My Love', on the RSO label. In the 1980s, Jimmy moved to live in Britain, where he continued to perform successfully. In December 1984 he collaborated with Paul Weller and The Style Council for his benefit single 'Soul Deep', produced to raise money for the families of striking miners affected by the UK miners' strike. Jimmy was attracted to the cause as his own father had worked in the mines in Mississippi. He also recorded duets with both Maxine Nightingale and Brenda Holloway. Jimmy is survived by his children Arlet, Philicia, Jimmie, Ophelia and Camilla.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping was at a funeral on Tuesday morning, dear blog reader. An old friend of his late uncle, as it happens. And, a sombre and very cold affair (in every sense of the word) it was too. Still, it was nice to see Keith telly Topping's cousin, David and his family and Keith Telly Topping's mother's cousin, Selby, for the first time since, probably Mama Telly Topping's funeral eighteen months ago. On the way home, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was delighted to spot the Continental Christmas Market is now open at the top of Grainger Street, so he stopped and had a bratwurst with onions. Because he could. A day earlier, Keith Telly Topping had been to see Doctor Chris for his latest medical check-up. The general consensus being that yer actual Keith Telly Topping's back is, essentially, cattle-trucked beyond redemption but that everything else is, all things considered, reasonably okay. Including the fact that this blogger had lost nine pounds in weight since his previous check up around eight weeks earlier. That'll be a combination of all the swimming and those two days during the previous week when yer actual Keith Telly Topping didn't eat at all because he was spewing copious amounts of rich brown phlegm, like as not. (This blogger doesn't want to freak anybody out nor nothing but he'd been feeling really queesy all that day and, not to get too graphic, but the matter finally come to a head - and, you know, out of the head and into the toilet. It was a bit like a cross between that scene in The Exorcist and that scene in Jekyll where Tom Jackman tries to flush away a severed ear.) And, finally, in relation to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's continuing adventures in water, twice this week he's managed to do a full thirty lengths at the pool, having somewhat underperformed at the back end of last week. Due, mainly, to the spewing, and that.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a bit of righteous Hollies.

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