Thursday, November 27, 2014

Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Chad, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Tuvalu, Greenland, the Falklands Where Are Ya?

The forthcoming return of Sherlock has been previewed in a new photo. Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self appear in the picture, which was unveiled on Tuesday by producer Sue Vertue on Twitter. The actors appear in the classic, Victorian style of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories, rather than their usual modern day dress. The photo also sees the return of John's hilarious moustache last seen in The Empty Hearse. Sue did not reveal any further information as to why the pair appear dressed this way, but suggested that the outfits will feature in the upcoming special episode. The cast and crew assembled on Tuesday for the first read-through of the special episode, written by creators The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss his very self. Sherlock will return with a one-off special sometime in 2015, with filming expected to begin in January. A fourth series of three further feature-length episodes will then be filmed later in 2015 for broadcast early the following year.
Sherlock fans' obsession with the filming of the massively popular BBC detective drama has led directly to changes in the way the show is scripted and shot, according to Mark Gatiss. The phenomenon, known as 'Setlock', sees groups of enthusiastic fans gathering in their hundreds at shooting locations, using a Twitter hashtag to share photos of the on-set action and of stars including Benny Cumberbatch, Marty Freeman and yer man Gatiss himself, as well as information they have gleaned from the snatched of dialogue they overhear. And, while Gatiss says that he doesn't resent fans' enthusiasm, he admits that after three series it is now something which has to be taken into account during production. 'When we were filming Baker Street exteriors last time, the fact you've got about three hundred people behind crash barriers is interesting,' Gatiss tells the Radio Times. '[So] we have factored in trying to minimise large scenes outside. If you’re just drawing up in a taxi and running through a door, it’s easier but large dialogue scenes outside are quite tough.' Along with the risk of potential spoilers getting out, one of the main problems is the difficulty the actors face when performing in what Gatiss says amounts to 'a live studio audience' situation. 'First of all it gives a lot away, which is a shame, but also just in terms of concentration it's hard when you feel like you're being observed by more than just the crew.' A further complication of having so many members of the public in the vicinity of a shoot is that it can sometimes be impossible to avoid them turning up in the background. Eagle-eyed viewers watching the series three opener The Empty Hearse spotted a group of Sherlock fans briefly in shot in a scene filmed at a London tube station. Meanwhile, the most famous Sherlock moment so far – the detective's plunge from the roof of St Bart's Hospital – was filmed multiple times, with various red herrings thrown in, in order to avoid the real solution being leaked. Gatiss and series co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat even made a tongue-in-cheek reference to fans' obsession in the script by including two fake 'solutions' to Sherlock's death-defying escapade within in the episode itself. Mark and Steven have always been at pains to point out that they avoid reading any of the reams of fan-fiction which has sprung up around the show – but one way or another, there's no denying Sherlock fans are having a direct impact on the direction the series takes. Albeit, not an entirely welcome one. That's one of prices of success, one could note.
Doctor Who's Christmas special will be broadcast on 25 December on BBC America in the US it has been confirmed. The BBC's popular family SF drama's 2014 festive episode, written by The Lord thy God Steven Moffat, will be titled Last Christmas.

It's very actual Martin Freeman – but not as we know him. The Sherlock star will soon be seen making a cameo in the BBC2 comedy Brian Pern: A Life In Rock. In the first episode of the show, which follows the earlier - acclaimed - BBC4 series based on the character, Marty plays himself playing a younger version of Pern in Stowe Boys – a West End rock musical about the band with a director played by Kathy Burke. Pern (the creation of The Fast Show actor Simon Day) is, of course, the former front man of the fictional progressive rock group Thotch – reuniting with his band mates for the musical before he's unexpectedly arrested by officers from Operation Bad Apples for a crime which, he claims, he doesn't know he's committed. Joining Marty on stage in Stowe Boys is the odious, risible, unfunny lanky streak of piss Jack Whitehall who has been cast as a younger version of Nigel Havers' character, Thotch keyboardist Tony Pebble. So, that's yet another one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's most favourite TV programmes that the wretched louse Whitehall has infested and, probably, ruined by his presence. Nice one, mate. What do you do for an encore, get a job on Doctor Who? No, yer actual Keith Telly Topping mustn't even joke about that sort of thing ... Anyway, while filming the episode, Marty was sporting the beard which he grew for his stage portrayal of Richard III which was running at Trafalgar Studios at the time. However, the comedy chooses to explain his facial hair by insisting that the actor was recording 'a fictitious biopic of Chas & Dave' at the time. Co-creator Rhys Thomas, who is esteemed by comedy fans for his star-turn as spoof radio presenter Gary Bellamy in Radio 4's Down the Line, has known Marty for a number of years, but he was still surprised that the Sherlock actor was able to find time to film his cameo for the comedy. 'I didn't think he was going to say "yes" because he's really busy,' Thomas told Radio Times. 'He was doing Richard III at the same time and I think he wanted a bit of a laugh. He loves music as well. He just did it for fun. Martin that day had a really bad back. He had hurt his back doing Richard III and he really put all his effort into it. He is one of the busiest people in the world and I thought the fact that he could come and give an afternoon to this was really nice of him and he had a really good time.'
And, speaking of odious, worthless, inept lanky streak of piss and scum of the virry Earth itself, Jack Whitehall, in an interview with the Digital Spy website, the talentless, unfunny waste-of-oxygen bell-end, horrorshow (and drag) notes, quite horrifically: 'I'd love to do Doctor Who.' Yeah, yer actual Keith Telly Topping should've probably seen that coming. 'I need to corner Steven Moffat,' the horrible Whitehall continued. 'He had Zawe [Ashton] and Michelle Gomez in the last series - they were both very good in it. I love Doctor Who and Peter Capaldi has been brilliant. I'd like to play a villain. My heroes are people like Jeremy Irons and Alan Rickman. I'd love to do my version of a Rickman villain. It would be Gruber-esque.' Oh bugger, this blogger knew he shouldn't have joked about such a potential scenario. So, having already shagged up two of this blogger's favourite shows - Qi and Have I Got News For You - in the episodes which he appeared in, and is about to shag up Brian Pern as well, now it seems the odious, unfunny waste-of-space has got his eyes on The Big One. Moffat, if you're reading this blog - and, yer actual Keith Telly Topping knows that you are - avoid corners at all costs. And, if he rings, don't take the call.
Catherine Tate has, apparently, ruled out a return to Doctor Who. Not that anybody had been suggesting that she would be returning to the show in which she last appeared in 2010. But, you know, just in case ...

ITV has commissioned a second series of Grantchester. James Norton and Wor Geet Canny Robson Green will return in a new run of the period crime drama, based on the characters created by novelist James Runcie, in 2015. The series follows charismatic priest Sidney Chambers (Norton) and Police Inspector Geordie Keating (Green) as they fight crimes together in the backdrop of Cambridgeshire in the 1950s. Lead writer Daisy Coulam will also return to work on the second series, while production company Lovely Day will produce. 'I'm delighted with how the audience have taken to Grantchester and I'm very happy that ITV have asked us to make a second series,' said Lovely Day's Diederick Santer. 'The show is a joy to make, so we can't wait to get back to working on it.' ITV's Director of Drama Steve November added: 'We received a tremendous audience reaction to Grantchester. It was so well received so it was an easy decision to commission a new series. We're looking forward to working with Diederick Santer and reading Daisy Coulam's beautifully written scripts.' Filming will begin in 2015, with further casting details expected to be made in the coming months.
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) came out on top over the overnight ratings on Monday. The ITV Victorian freak show show dropped over eight hundred thousand viewers from the previous Monday's episode and around five hundred thousand from Sunday's to an average 8.46 million at 9pm. Earlier, Countrywise brought in 3.11m at 8pm. On BBC1, Fake Britain interested 3.87m at 7.30pm, while Panorama brought in 2.15m at 8.30pm. A New Tricks repeat was seen by 2.49m at 9pm. BBC2's Strictly: It Takes Two attracted 2.14m at 6.30pm. University Challenge had an audience of 2.69m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.28m at 8.30pm. Posh People launched with 1.49m at 9pm, while Never Mind the Buzzcocks was seen by eight hundred and seventy six thousand at 10pm. On Channel Four, Dispatches drew eight hundred and eleven thousand at 8pm, followed by How To Sell Your Home with nine hundred and thirty three thousand at 8.30pm. New series Skint gathered 1.14m at 9pm. Channel Five's Loch Ness Monster: Missing Evidence was watched by an audience of 1.03m at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of Gotham with 1.18m at 9pm. On BBC3, Some Girls continued with four hundred and six thousand at 10pm, while Len Goodman and Lucy Worsley's Dancing Cheek To Cheek appealed to six hundred and seventy eight thousand at 9pm on BBC4. On FOX, The Walking Dead was seen by five hundred and fifty nine thousand at 9pm.

The Missing bounced back to top the overnight ratings on Tuesday outside soaps. The BBC1 drama gained back over five hundred thousand viewers from the previous week - when it went up against the England versus Scotland match - climbing to an average of 5.54 million at 9pm. ITV's Champions League coverage scored 4.33m from 7.30pm. On BBC2, MasterChef: The Professionals was watched by and average audience of 2.83m at 8pm, followed by Secrets Of The Castle with 1.56m at 9pm. Channel Four's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners appealed to 1.45m at 8pm, while The Paedophile Next Door drew 1.33m at 9pm. A Gogglebox repeat attracted 1.32m punters at 10pm. On Channel Five, Countdown To Murder brought in nine hundred and sixty seven thousand at 8pm, followed by Miracle Babies with nine hundred and twenty seven thousand at 9pm. On Sky1, The Flash's latest episode had an audience of four hundred and thirty five thousand at 8pm. Dave's final episodes of Storage Hunters UK were watched by four hundred and fifteen thousand at 8pm and four hundred and seventy thousand at 8.30pm.

The Apprentice bounced back week-on-week on Wednesday, overnight data reveals. The BBC1 bullying competition was up by around two hundred and fifty thousand viewers to an average 5.35 million at 9pm. BBC2's spin-off You're Fired gathered 2.20m at 10pm. On ITV, 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) easily topped the night, dipping by around two hundred thousand viewers from last Wednesday to 7.77m at 9pm. Earlier, Surprise, Surprise was watched by 3.53m at 8pm. BBC2's MasterChef: The Professionals appealed to 3.06m at 8pm, followed by Great Continental Railway with two million punters at 9pm. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn brought in 1.34m at 8pm, while Liberty Of London attracted eight hundred and thirty eight thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's Gibraltar: Britain In The Sun was seen by eight hundred and eighty nine thousand at 8pm, followed by Benefits Britain with 1.34m at 9pm. On the multichannels, Sky1's Champions League coverage scored five hundred and eighty thousand thousand at 7.30pm.

The latest episode of Gotham from the US - LoveCraft - continued the dark and gritty drama's impressive use of unusual and unexpected songs on its soundtrack - in the latest case, The Sex Pistols' 'New York' - featured a really rather charming double act between Young Master Bruce and Kitten Girl and had another glorious cameo from the teenage mad-as-toast Poison Ivy. But, best of all, it was properly great to see Sean Pertwee getting really kick-ass to the point where he was in danger of channeling his dad. This blogger was almost expecting a 'Hai!' at one point.
The BBC is preparing to announce how it will save more money, having already clawed back more than one billion quid a year through cost-cutting measures. A new report will say the corporation needs to save an extra four hundred million smackers a year by 2017. However, it warns that further cuts will have 'an adverse impact' on programmes and services. Suggestion that the cuts already made, hasn't. Which, of course, is not true or anything even remotely like it/ The corporation has already announced the intended closure of TV channel BBC3, which will move online. Which isn't great news although the fact that it will severely cut the amount of time that Russell Kane - very popular with students - will be on television is, of course, welcome. Some press reports have suggested that BBC4 could follow suit, but the BBC's director of strategy, James Purnell, refused to speculate on its future during an interview on Radio 4's Today programme. 'We don't want to close BBC4,' he said. 'What we're doing is making efficiency savings, and what we've published today is a document that shows that over the last few years we've saved about £1.1bn of our costs. By the end of this charter period, in two years time, that'll be £1.5bn - that's nearly half of the costs that we control at the BBC.' The BBC's report comes as it prepares to negotiate with the government for the renewal of its Royal Charter in 2016. Various scumbag Conservative politicians with a sick-agenda smeared all over their disgusting collective mush have 'hinted' the corporation could face further budget cuts, with the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Javid calling the £145.50 annual licence fee a 'large amount [that] needs to be looked at.' The BBC's report emphasises it cannot repeat previous one-off cost-cutting measures, such as the sale of London's Television Centre, which raised two hundred million smackers. It has shed more than a thousand staff and reduced the pay packets of its star performers by twenty two million quid since 2008. The report stresses that most of the cuts have been behind-the-scenes, with more than ninety per cent of the licence fee now spent on content. 'It is vital that as much of the licence fee as possible goes straight to the programmes and services audiences love,' said BBC finance chief Anne Bulford, launching the document. 'This report shows we've made great strides in becoming more efficient. We're doing far more for less.' 'Every organisation is wasteful,' said Purnell, 'but the fact that we've saved five per cent a year for the last twenty years has actually been a huge transformation in our productivity. The licence fee has been pretty much flat in real terms, and yet we've given people new services like BBC3, BBC4 and the iPlayer. That's been a huge improvement in the value people get, without them having to pay any more.'

Oscar winning actresses Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are to star in a TV series by Ally McBeal writer David E Kelley. Based on the book Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, it tells the story of three mothers with children in nursery school who get caught up in a murder mystery. The actresses will play two of those women, whose seemingly perfect lives unravel during a school fundraiser. The pair will also co-executive produce along with Kelley. The third leading role has yet to be cast. Witherspoon and Kidman's respective production companies, Pacific Standard and Blossom Films, had originally optioned the rights to the Australian author's book earlier this year as a feature film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comedy drama is being shopped to US cable networks and streaming services like Netflix as 'a limited series'. Although it could run as a one-off, a limited series offers the opportunity for a show to be renewed for further episodes if it goes down well with viewers, like CBS SF drama Under The Dome. Witherspoon last appeared on TV in 2000 in the US sitcom Friends, guest-starring as Jennifer Aniston's sister, Jill. She has also voiced characters in animated series King Of The Hill and The Simpsons. Kidman appeared in a number of Australian TV series at the start of her career including A Country Practice and Five Mile Creek. She starred in TV movie Hemingway and Gellhorn alongside Clive Owen in 2012, which earned her a best actress Golden Globe nomination. Witherspoon and Kidman are the latest A-listers try their hand at the small screen, joining the likes of Kevin Spacey, Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

The Cube is to return to ITV for a ninth series according to Broadcast magazine. The Phillip Schofield game show's latest run was filmed in September and will be shown in 2015.

Ed Sheeran, Take That and Ella Henderson are amongst those due to perform on this year's Top Of The Pops Christmas specials. Henderson, Sheeran, George Ezra and The Vamps will all perform on both the Christmas Day and New Year's Eve shows. The first show on 25 December will also feature performances from Tom Odell, Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne. The Vamps, Mr Probz, Sigma, George Ezra, Gordon City featuring MNEK, Rixton and Take That will also perform on the show, which will include the Christmas number one. The Script, Labrinth, Professor Green with Tori Kelly, Charli XCX and La Roux will then perform on the 31 December episode. One of two of whom, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self has actually heard of. When, exactly, did this blogger get so old and addled that he got out of touch with what the bright young people and the hippin' and the hopin' and the baseball cap on backwards and that are listening to? Oh, 1963. Fair enough.

Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads has denied that he and fellow The X Factor panellist Cheryl Fernandez-Versini have fallen out. The fifty five-year-old took to Twitter to say that the singer remains 'a great friend.' Which is, you know, such a relief cos we were all so worried that they may no longer be skipping through the daisies hand-in-hand any more. Meanwhile, Fernandez-Versini has reportedly ended her online friendship with former band mate Nadine Coyle, 'unfollowing' the Northern Irish singer on Twitter. And, this is Earth-shattering, post-apocalyptic zombie nightmare 'news', apparently.
Former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell has been ordered to pay three hundred thousand smackers in costs after he extremely lost his high court libel action over the so-called 'Plebgate' affair. Mitchell, the former Conservative cabinet minister at the centre of the long-running 'Plebgate' saga, lost the high court libel trial on Thursday in a ruling which leaves him facing an estimated total legal bill of perhaps as much as two million knicker, his political career in tatters and, with a scowl on his mush as if he'd just been sucking a lemon. In a devastating blow to the former chief whip, who reportedly had hoped to use a victory in the courts to revive his cabinet career, Mr Justice Mitting ruled that Mitchell did use the 'politically toxic' word 'pleb' during a heated row with police officers in Downing Street in September 2012, something which he had consistently denied ever since the incident. Outside the court, Mitchell told reporters that he was 'bitterly disappointed' with the ruling - not to mention, you know, skint, because of it - and that it had been 'a miserable two years' for him, but that he now hoped to 'move on' with his life. He had sued News Group Newspapers over a 2012 story in the Sun which claimed he had launched an 'offensive and arrogant' attack on Downing Street police officers who refused to allow him to cycle through the main vehicle gates, branding them 'fucking plebs.' NGN based its report, which it said was 'substantially true', on the account given in his log by PC Toby Rowland. Giving his ruling, Mr Justice Mitting said: 'For the reasons given I am satisfied at least on the balance of probabilities that Mr Mitchell did speak the words alleged or something so close to them as to amount to the same including the politically toxic word "pleb"'. The officer claimed that statements made by the fifty eight-year-old MP for Sutton Coldfield from December 2012 onwards falsely suggested he had fabricated his allegations. Mitchell, who resigned as whip a month after the altercation, constantly denied saying: 'Best you learn your fucking place, you don't run this fucking government. You're fucking plebs.' He claimed that he would never call a police officer a pleb 'let alone a fucking pleb' – though he agreed that he muttered: 'I thought you lot were supposed to fucking help us' – albeit not directly at the officer. Sadly for him, the judge did not believe him and has, effectively, called him a liar. Whether the statements which Mitchell gave in court, under oath, will now lead to subsequent charges of perjury is not, at this time, known. Though, if they are not, one does have to wonder why not, exactly. Mitchell had been in a hurry to get to the Carlton Club that evening and was expecting to be let through as he had been without difficulty that morning and after lunch. He thought it 'extremely odd' when Rowland issued him with a warning under the Public Order Act, but claimed that he apologised to the officer for his language the next day. Mitchell agreed that the chief whip's role required 'a mixture of charm and menace' and that he could occasionally 'be abrasive' - in other words stomp around like an overgrown school bully who think he owns the place - but claimed that he did not merit the 'extraordinary tsunami of vitriol which descended on my head over a prolonged period of time.' Once again, the judge, seemingly, disagreed. His counsel, James Price QC, claimed that 'a web of lies, deceit and indiscipline' by police officers led to a press campaign and public hostility and the version of the encounter which was leaked to the newspaper by a number of officers was 'wholly false.' Except that, the judge decided, it wasn't. Whether those officers will now be considering taking libel actions of their own against Mitchell for these comments, and others, is also, not known. 'In the end, the lies brought Mr Mitchell down, destroying a political career of twenty seven years,' Price said. And, we're supposed to, what, feel sorry for him? Statements supplied in court by a range of people, from the musician Sir Bob Geldof to painter and decorator Richard Robinson, attempted to show that Mitchell was not 'a Tory toff” who would think of putting someone down because of their class, social background or occupational status by use of a 'toxic and class-laden' expression like pleb, Price alleged. But Desmond Browne QC, representing Rowland, claimed that Mitchell was a 'Jekyll and Hyde' character whose 'capacity for menace' found its outlet in 'foul temper and foul language.' He said that the MP was regularly let through the vehicle gates, in the face of the security policy, because of the 'unpleasant fuss' he made about the issue. Browne said that the judge's findings that the word 'pleb' had been used after all was determinative of the entire litigation and that any defence of 'qualified privilege' or 'honest opinion' had 'no hope at all.' He said that Mitchell was the 'architect of his own misfortune.' Stig Abell, managing editor of the Sun, said: 'There has been a lot of speculation and comment about Mr Mitchell's outburst, and criticism of our newspaper. The judgment today lays all that to rest. Our article broke this important public interest story, and it has been independently and conclusively confirmed. The Sun can be proud of its journalism today.' Rowland said he did not know who Mitchell was when he saw the 'agitated' MP having a disagreement with a fellow officer and went to speak to him. 'I was perfectly calm, perfectly polite. It is quite common to have disagreements about entrances and times people can come and go.' He claimed that members of the public were 'within earshot' and 'visibly shocked' when Mitchell swore, which prompted the 'correct, proportionate and very necessary' warning. Rowland denied that his account was an invention to 'cover my arse' and justify giving a Cabinet minister a warning, maintaining that he recorded exactly what had happened while it was fresh in his mind. Once again, it would seem that the judge believed him and not Mitchell. In his ruling, Mr Justice Mitting said that PC Rowland was 'not the sort of man who would have had the wit, imagination or inclination to invent on the spur of the moment an account of what a senior politician had said to him in temper.' Which, if you look up 'back-handed compliments for police officers' on Google you'll find that one pretty near the top. The judge rejected the allegation that there was 'collusion' by the officers on the gate that night. Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: 'We are pleased that the judge has ruled in PC Toby Rowland's favour. Toby's name has been cleared and his integrity restored. Toby has conducted himself with dignity and professionalism in relation to this incident and subsequent inquiries and legal cases. It is important that this incident is now brought to a close to allow Toby and his family to look to the future.' Outside court, the BBC's legal correspondent Clive Coleman said that the ruling would be 'devastating' for Mitchell's reputation. And, for his bank account one imagines. The question of whether, having been accused by a judge of  being economical with the truth, Mithcell will resign from his parliamentary seat is also likely to be come an issue in the coming days.

EastEnders actress Linda Henry, who plays Shirley Carter in the long-running soap, is to stand trial accused of racially aggravated harassment. Henry was charged following a row outside Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant in Greenwich, in London on 14 September. The fofty one-year-old has been ordered to appear at Bexley Magistrates' Court and will stand trial on 11 February. A spokesperson for the actress said: 'Linda will be defending the allegation.' A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said a not guilty plea had been entered in relation to the case. A Scotland Yard spokesman added that the actress had been charged with 'a racially aggravated public order offence' following an incident in Nelson Road. The actress, who has been charged under her married name of Valiris, is accused of 'using threatening or abusive words likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.' The BBC has not commented but it is understood Henry will continue filming EastEnders until her trial date. Henry has played Shirley Carter in the BBC series since 2006, and is also known for her role as Yvonne Atkins in prison drama Bad Girls.

A rare and valuable Shakespeare First Folio, regarded as the most important book in English literature, has been discovered in a small French town. The book had lain undisturbed in a library in Saint-Omer, near Calais for two hundred years. It was discovered by librarians planning an exhibition on the historic links between the region and England. 'The work has several pages missing, including the title page,' librarian Remy Cordonnier told the press. The loss of the first page and introductory material may have led to the book being catalogued as an unexceptional old edition, he added. The Folio collects thirty six of Shakespeare's thirty eight known plays for the first time and was originally printed in 1623, seven years after the playwright's death. Edited by his friends and fellow actors John Heminges and Henry Condell, it is credited with being the reason his literary legacy had survived. It is the only source for eighteen of his plays, including Macbeth. It is thought that eight hundred copies were produced, of which two hundred and thirty three are believed to still exist. New discoveries are made roughly once a decade and they are scrutinised by scholars for minor variations (each copy is marginally different) and what they might reveal about Shakespeare's intentions. They rarely change hands but one of the last Folios to be sold at auction, in 2006, fetched £2.8m. The copy discovered in Saint-Omer is one of only two known to reside in France. Cordonnier, who runs the library's rare books collection, said that he had not initially realised the significance of his find. 'I didn't instantly recognise it as a book of value,' he said. 'It had been heavily used and was damaged. It had seen better days. [But] It occurred to me that it could be an unidentified First Folio, with historic importance and great intellectual value.' The librarian contacted one of the world's foremost authorities on Shakespeare, Professor Eric Rasmussen of the University of Nevada, who happened to be in London working at the British Library. 'He was very interested by the elements I had sent him by mail and said he would come over and take a look,' said Cordonnier. Professor Rasmussen took the Eurostar to France last Saturday and authenticated the Folio within five minutes. 'This is huge,' he told the New York Times. 'First Folios don't turn up very often, and when they do, it's usually a really chewed up, uninteresting copy. But this one is magnificent. It was very emotional to realise we had a copy of one of the most famous books in the world,' said Cordonnier. #I was already imagining the reaction it would cause.' The Folio contains several handwritten notes, which may illuminate how the plays were performed in or shortly after Shakespeare's time. In one scene from Henry IV, the word 'hostess' is changed to 'host' and 'wench' to 'fellow' - possibly reflecting an early performance of the play where a female character was turned into a male. The library says that it has no plans to sell the book but intends to display it as the centrepiece of the forthcoming exhibition of its rare books by English authors. However, the Folio is not the rarest book the Saint-Omer library owns. It also has a Gutenberg Bible, of which fewer than fifty are known to survive.

Some truly dreadful news now. The Australia test cricketer Phillip Hughes has died aged twenty five, two days after being struck on the top of the neck by a ball during a domestic match in Sydney. Australia team doctor Peter Brukner said that Phillip had died in hospital, never regaining consciousness. Hughes, who also played for Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire, was hit by a delivery from bowler Sean Abbott. 'It's an understatement to say we're completely devastated,' said Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland. 'The word tragedy gets used too often in sport, but this freak accident is a real life tragedy.' Australia's captain Michael Clarke read out a statement on behalf of the Hughes family at a news conference held at St Vincent's Hospital, where the player, who would have been twenty six on Sunday, was being treated. Speaking on behalf of his parents Greg and Virginia, sister Megan and brother Jason, Clarke said: 'We're devastated by the loss of our much-loved son and brother, Phillip. It's been a very difficult few days. We appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public. Cricket was Phillip's life and we as a family shared that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent's Hospital and Cricket New South Wales medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip.' Hughes had been wearing a helmet but the ball struck him at the top of the neck, causing the injury. He had CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at the ground before being taken to St Vincent's, where he had a ninety minute operation to relieve pressure on his brain. But his death was confirmed in a statement on Thursday. 'It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughes passed away,' said Brukner. 'He never regained consciousness following his injury on Tuesday. He was not in pain before he passed and was surrounded by his family and close friends. As a cricket community, we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip's family and friends at this incredibly sad time. Cricket Australia kindly asks that the privacy of the Hughes family, players and staff be respected.' Speaking at the news conference, Brukner explained that Hughes had died as a result of 'vertebral artery dissection.' He said the artery had been compressed, causing it to split and leading to a 'massive bleed' into the brain. Brukner said the injury was 'freakish', adding: 'Vertebral artery dissection is incredibly rare. If you look in the literature, there is only one hundred cases reported. There is only one previous example caused by a cricket ball.' The Australian flag was lowered to half-mast over the Sydney Cricket Ground where Hughes suffered the horrific injury. Flags were also lowered at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott paid tribute to Hughes, describing him as 'a young man living out his dreams. His death is a very sad day for cricket and a heartbreaking day for his family. What happened has touched millions of Australians,' he said. 'For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration. He was loved, admired and respected by his team-mates and by legions of cricket fans.' The England team also released a statement on Twitter, writing: 'Our deepest sympathies go out to Phil Hughes' family, friends and team-mates at this incredibly sad time. Phil was admired and respected by all he played with and against and will never be forgotten by the cricket community.' Giles Clarke, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, added: 'He was an extremely popular and hugely respected cricketer in England and Wales not only as a successful tourist with various Australian teams but also as a wonderfully talented county player with Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire. He will be missed throughout the world of cricket and today our thoughts are with his family and all those involved in Australian cricket.' Hughes, who had played twenty six tests, made his debut at the age of ywenty against South Africa in 2009. In only his second match, he became the youngest batsman to post two centuries in a single test. He played county cricket for Hampshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire and shared in what was at the time a world record tenth-wicket partnership of one hundred and sixty three with Ashton Agar against England in the 2013 Ashes series. He has been tipped for a recall ahead of the upcoming series against India, which is due to start next week. Cricket Australia had already decided to abandon the latest round of Sheffield Shield matches following the injury to Hughes. After his death was announced, cricket officials from Pakistan and New Zealand chose to postpone the second day's play in the third and final test between the two countries. A two-day tour match between a Cricket Australia XI and India, scheduled to be played in Adelaide on Friday and Saturday, has been cancelled. The death of Hughes has inevitably sparked further discussion about player safety in cricket and the use of helmets. 'It's an incredibly safe game, but I think this will shake batsmen slightly out of what might have been complacency,' said former England captain and opening batsman Michael Atherton. 'I wore the same helmet for ten years. I never changed it. I didn't give it much thought really. If there is that kind of complacency that I was guilty of, then I think people will be shaken out of that.'

More than one million vinyl records have been sold in the UK so far this year - the first time the milestone has been achieved since 1996. The figures mark a largely unexpected resurgence in an industry now considered to be dominated by digital. Earlier this month, Pink Floyd's The Endless River became the fastest-selling vinyl release since 1997. The Official Chart Company told the BBC it will soon launch a weekly vinyl chart. 'In an era when we're all talking about digital music, the fact that these beautiful physical artefacts are still as popular as they are is fantastic,' said Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company. Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live's Wake Up To Money, he said: 'It's really remarkable. We're seeing it come back as a significant earner for the music industry as well. Only five years ago this business was worth around three million pounds a year. This year it's going to be worth twenty million.' However, music industry officials acknowledged that vinyl will likely remain a niche interest. Pink Floyd's accolade as the fastest-selling vinyl release this century came thanks to just six thousand sales - a tiny amount in comparison to the numbers amassed by digital formats. The best selling vinyl in that period was David Bowie's Nothing Has Changed. The total figures are expected to rise to around 1.2 million with Christmas sales, said Gennaro Castaldo from music industry body the BPI. 'Most of us did write off vinyl,' he told the BBC. 'Whilst the candle flickered and nearly went out, it didn't entirely go out. I think the start of the 2000 period, a few rock bands came along - The Killers, Arctic Monkeys - it's helped made vinyl cool again.' In 1996, it was Oasis' (What's the Story) Morning Glory? providing healthy vinyl sales. Thanks to a re-issue, the same LP is one of the best-selling of this year too - the LP is tenth in this week's chart. The market for vinyl appeared to be split into two distinct groups, noted the individuals interviewed by the BBC. They said one generation, which grew up with vinyl, liked to keep increasing their record collection by continuing to buy music in the format. Meanwhile, a younger generation has adopted vinyl as an antidote to the own-nothing trend of services like iTunes and Spotify. 'I think it's sort of a hipster thing,' remarked one shopper at Rough Trade East, a popular record store off Brick Lane in East London. 'Things that were cool decades ago, but fell out of fashion, are making a comeback.' One survey that seemingly backs up this train of thought was published in April this year, by the ICM Group. It suggested fifteen per cent of physical music - whether vinyl, CD or, less likely, tape - was bought with no intention of ever listening to it. Nigel House, co-founder of the Rough Trade retail chain, told the BBC he thought that the big record labels were pouncing on vinyl because it has become fashionable. 'The major labels, their albums are so expensive - twenty five pounds. You get someone coming in, they could buy ten CDs for a hundred pounds, or four vinyls. Yes, they are expensive. For me, I don't think that's good at all.' But he did welcome the resurgence, even if, as he put it, it was 'a drop in the ocean' of overall sales. 'Certain styles of music, they need that warmth. They need that feeling. Soul, reggae, hip-hop, even punk - they sound so much better on vinyl. Some records, I like the way they degrade. It's like a photograph fading, it's part of the whole beauty of vinyl.' Castaldo agreed: 'The difference between vinyl and other formats is that it's viewed as an art form, really - the audio quality, the sleevenotes, the cover art. Whilst other formats are being superseded every time technology improves, vinyl doesn't really fit into that category because it's more than that.'

On Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self will be attending Uncle Scunthrope's latest Record Player event that the Tyneside.
This week, it's the Goddamn Queen of Blue-Eyed Soul Dusty Sprinfield her very self and Dusty In Memphis. Tasty. So, that's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. Check it out.

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