Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week Forty Eight: Blunt Instruments

Yer actual Peter Capaldi is, it would seem. rather shocked and stunned that his role in Doctor Who has seen him labelled a national heartthrob. 'I genuinely can't believe it,' the actor admitted to Mark Gatiss at a Sunday afternoon fundraising event organised by the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard and chaired by Gatiss, the Doctor Who and Sherlock writer. According to a submitted fan question, the current Doctor is considered 'gorgeous, hot and sexy' by certain factions of the Doctor Who fanbase. I'm guessing it's probably not The Special People. 'Are you aware that women are crazy about you?' asked yer man Gatiss his very self. 'What do you think about this? Does it bother you?' 'The only person that I want to love me is my wife,' responded the actor, before adding: 'If people enjoy my profile from the privacy of their own home, that's entirely up to you!' Capaldi – who married television producer Elaine Collins, in 1991 – admitted at a series eight screening earlier this year that he was still 'learning how to balance' his time between his new high-profile job and his family. 'I have barely had time to see my wife and daughter. I catch up with them and they tell me what plumbing needs doing. Trying to find your way through this maze can be quite difficult.' Mark Gatiss & Friends – held at London's Criterion Theatre to celebrate forty years of the helpline service – featured additional appearances from Andrew Scott, Amanda Abbingdon, Derren Brown, Sue Perkins and Miranda Richardson. All of whom featured in a rather lovely I believe they are called 'selfies'.
During the event, Capaldi also revealed that he would love to see The Doctor travel back to the 1960s to meet Martin Luther King. 'I don't see why The Doctor shouldn't be involved in the civil rights struggle,' he told Gatiss. On the much-discussed alleged 'darker' elements of Doctor Who series eoght, Capaldi his very self told a packed audience: 'I think we'd all agreed that Matt had been so wonderful and so delightful that the only thing you could do was to try and make a contrast with that. Because Matt was so beloved and so open, I felt I had to be a bit more closed. I think Steven and myself had a hand in how far we could go with that.' Specifically, it seems that Peter had one or two issues with the scripts: 'I would certainly sometimes find some material that I found a little weepy and seeking the audience's affection – and I would try and remove them. I don't want them to like me!' Though showing no signs of fatigue, Capaldi did hint that the demanding schedule on Doctor Who may be taking its toll: 'At the end of the day, the job is all-consuming, it's a factory – a Doctor Who factory! I get to run up and down corridors, escape through ventilation shafts and fight Daleks. But it is every day for eight months and you can get tired; you keep trying to come up with ideas. And sometimes you run out of ideas.'

Despite previously suggesting - albeit, probably only half-seriously - that it 'might' happen, it seems like The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat isn't ever going to deliver the fabled Sherlock/Doctor Who crossover which, allegedly, 'so many fans desire.' Admittedly, mostly of those being the sort of people that you'd normally cross the road to avoid. 'It can't happen,' the showrunner said at a Royal Television Society event earlier this week. 'There are certain rules I cannot break.' yer man Moffat's main concern is that Sherlock Holmes isn't real – at least, not to The Doctor. The writer explained: 'Sherlock Holmes exists as a fictional character in the Doctor's universe – he's even dressed up as him! I've always been moderately more in favour [of doing a crossover] than anyone else, but I think Mark Gatiss is right when he says it would just never be as good as you think it's going to be. You don't need both of those guys in the same show.' Moffat also said that the recent casting of yer actual Peter Capaldi had 'rescued' the series itself from possibly stagnating. 'A show dies when it's reliable like a pair of old slippers,' he explained. 'If any reviewer says that about a show, that show is gone within a year. Shows die when people say: "Oh, it's quite good. I quite like it." And the "new show" is old now, so this had to be a reinvention. The terrifying thing about Doctor Who is that you discover at the start of every new show that you have learned absolutely nothing at all, that it's brand new. It always makes you feel completely like "oh, I thought I'd got the hang of this but I have no idea what to do. I feel genuinely as inadequate and amateurish today as I felt on my first day,' he added. 'There isn't a paradigm episode that you keep remaking, they're all very different, the scripts, the effects, the sets, the design, the casting, everything is different every time, that's what makes it a great show.' Despite Doctor Who's worldwide success and huge merchandising Moffat says that there is never enough money: 'There's money – we don't have enough – and there's time – there's just no time. Every two weeks, we're making a new one! I don't think anyone feels that this is a limitless world, but it's trying to conceal those limits, trying to work intelligently within them. What is extraordinarily expert about all branches of our effects department is how creative they are within quite savage limitations.'

The Doctor Who series finale, Death In Heaven, had a final and consolidated ratings figure of 7.60 million viewers, an increase of 2.15 million over the initially reported overnight audience of 5.45 million which was so gleefully - and inaccurately - reported by the BBC News website a week ago. This is the tenth time in twelve episodes this series that Doctor Who's final ratings figure has included a 'timeshift' element more than two million viewers higher than the, initially reported, overnight figure. Additionally, the two episodes which didn't, quite, reach the two million mark still had a 'timeshift' increase of 1.9 million. It's also worth noting, of course, that none of this includes iPlayer viewers whose figures are not, as yet, included in BARB's ratings analysis. So, you may be wondering, will the BBC News website be reporting this with equal prominence to the original story? Will they shite as like.

Doctor Who's Christmas special has unveiled its first clip. The BBC broadcast the preview on its Children In Need fundraiser telethon on Friday. The footage features yer actual Clara (Jenna Coleman he very self) coming face-to-face with Santa Claus (played by the very excellent Nick Frost). Peter Capaldi's Doctor then arrives to cast doubt on Santa's motives.
Christian Today - no, me neither - is claiming that the fourth season of Sherlock 'has reportedly been pushed back to 2017.' Where exactly, they got this information from, they don't say quoting no direct source for the allegation. It's especially curious that, seemingly, no other media outlets appears to have pick on this 'reporting'; this blogger isn't saying, necessarily, that the claim is inaccurate but I'd like to hear it from somebody within the BBC before Keith Telly Topping believes it.
Having whinged like a dirty grumpy whinging whinger - and very publicly an'all - about the lack of commentaries on the Sherlock season three DVD back in January, this blogger would like to place on record his thanks to The Lord Thy God Steven and co from providing two excellent ones for the recently released 'Special Edition' which turned up at Stately Telly Topping Manor over the weekend (even if this blogger does have a mild objection to paying thirteen quid for three episodes that he'd already bought! The head of BBC Worldwide got a rather testy letter on that subject, as it happens.) What a really lovely package it is, put together with care and love.
The Fall returned to BBC2 with just under two-and-a-half million overnight viewers on Thursday. The Gillian Anderson crime drama brought in 2.48m at 9pm, which is down by over one million overnight viewers from last year's opener and finale - which both attracted around three-and-a-half-million in the spring. Earlier, It Takes Two was watched by 1.88m at 6.30pm, followed by The Great Interior Design Challenge with 1.62m at 7pm and MasterChef: The Professionals with 2.68m at 8pm. Russell Howard's Good News had eight hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. On BBC1, Watchdog appealed to 3.77m at 8pm, while David Attenborough's Life Story was seen by 3.16m at 9pm. Question Time brought in 2.26m at 10.35pm. ITV's For The Love Of Dogs topped the night outside soaps again with 4.04m at 8.30pm, followed by a Neil Diamond special with 2.83m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Amazing Spaces attracted 1.33m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours in A&E continued with 1.83m at 9pm. Babylon debuted its full series with five hundred and ninety eight thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Underground Britain interested six hundred and fifty six thousand at 8pm, followed by Caught On Camera with seven hundred and thirty eight thousand at 9pm and House Of Horrors with seven hundred and sixty eight thousand at 10pm. Sky1's latest episode of Arrow was seen by three hundred and forty four thousand at 8pm, followed by Forever with two hundred and seventy one thousand at 9pm.

Children in Need peaked with 9.81 million overnight viewers on BBC1 on Friday. The annual fundraiser attracted an average audience of 8.29 million from 7.30pm until 10pm. Average viewing figures dropped to 4.21 million when it switched to BBC2 for forty five-minutes from 10pm, while the final few hours were seen by 2.76 million. It was preceded by The ONE Show, which played to 5.32 million at 7pm on BBC1. Over on ITV, Secrets From The Sky was seen by 2.36 million at 8pm, while Lewis was watched by 3.51 million at 9pm. BBC2's evening kicked off with eight hundred and sixty thousand for The Home That Two Built at 7pm, followed by 1.27 million for Mastermind, nine hundred and thirty thousand for Tom Kerridge's Best Ever Dishes and 1.10 million for The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate. Gogglebox was once again Channel Four's highest-rated show, playing to 2.36 million at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with eight hundred and forty thousand at 8pm and eight hundred and ninety thousand for Alan Carr: Chatty Man at 10pm. On Channel Five, Rome: The World's First Superpower was seen by five hundred and forty thousand at 8pm, followed by five hundred and seventy three thousand for Alex Polizzi's Secret Italy and six hundred and eight thousand for Body Of Proof at 10pm. Family Guy on BBC3 was among the most popular multichannel shows, peaking with four hundred and eighty seven thousand at 11.40pm.

The BBC's Children In Need appeal has raised more than thirty two million knicker on the night. Sir Terry Wogan hosted the BBC1 event on Friday with Tess Daly, waste-of-space Fearne Cotton and Nick Grimshaw. The annual telethon saw Sir Bruce Forsyth returned to Strictly Come Dancing to help find a young ballroom champion. By the end of the show at 2am on Saturday morning, £32,620,469 had been raised. This is more than the £31.1m raised on the night of the 2013 event and the final total is expected to be higher once all donations are in. The money will help disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. The six-and-a-half hour extravaganza was broadcast from the BBC's Elstree studios. Over the course of the night, S Club 7 performed for the first time since 2003 on the show, while One Direction played on the set of EastEnders. But, it wasn't all banal, trite rubbish, there were a few good bits. Ian Beale encountered his late ex-wife Cindy, mother Kathy and daughter Lucy, while Pat Evans - who made her last appearance in January 2012 - also made a comeback. Other highlights included a new cartoon starring Tom and Jerry made especially for Children In Need. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, The Script and the cast of West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory performed. And Donny Osmond and the cast of musical Made In Dagenham also took to the stage. In a first for the gala, Gareth Malone and his all-star choir performed the Children In Need single, 'Wake Me Up'. Jo Brand, John Craven, Mel Giedroyc and Alison Steadman were among the members of the vocal ensemble. Other fundraising efforts included the fourth Children In Need rickshaw challenge, which saw six young people travel four hundred and fifty-mile journey across Britain. Ahead of Friday's gala, BBC Radio 2 had already raised more than six million smackers through a series of events, including a quiz night hosted by Ken Bruce, a performance of the West End musical Matilda and a series of live auctions.

Strictly Come Dancing rose to a series high on Saturday night, drawing more than ten million overnight viewers. The Blackpool special averaged 10.28m on BBC1 from 7pm. Afterwards, a new series of Atlantis premiered to 4.2m before Casualty was watched by 4.14m. ITV's The X Factor was watched by 7.5m from 8.15pm. The Chase had an audience of 3.36m from 7.15pm, while The Jonathan Ross Show managed 2.97m from 9.55pm. England's football team didn't leave Wembley pointless, but they might have been surprised to learn that there were more people watching Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman's Pointless Celebrities than there were following Wayne Rooney's one hundredth match. An average of 4.56 million tuned-in to watch England beat Slovenia 3-1 in btheir Euro 2016 qualifier on ITV. On the other side, Pointless Celebrities scored an average of 4.99 million. On BBC2, Flog It! Trade Secrets and Perry And Croft: Made In Britain averaged four hundred and forty three thousand and five hundred and sixty six thousand respectively. Dad's Army was enjoyed by 1.63m from 8.30pm, before a Qi XL repeat drew an audience of nine hundred and ten thousand viewers. Channel Four's Walking Through History attracted seven hundred and fifty seven thousand in the 8pm hour. It Was Alright In The 1970s followed with 1.32m. On Channel Five, the movie The Battle of Britain interested six hundred and fifty nine thousand.

The BBC has apologised after Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman swore during Saturday's live show. The head judge appeared to mutter 'a curse word' while praising the performance of Simon Webbe and his partner Kristina Rihanoff. Strictly presenter Zoe Ball said: 'Len got a little bit carried away with the excitement of the dance and I'm very sorry for the bad language.' The BBC1 show was broadcast live from Blackpool's Tower Ballroom.
Gillian Anderson has speculated on the future of The X-Files, stating that there is 'always a possibility' that the show could be revived in some form. Speaking on ITV's This Morning, the actress expressed an interest in returning to the SF franchise should another television series or movie be made. Anderson said: 'It's always a matter of it actually happening - and there's a lot that needs to happen between the idea and actually turning up on set, and I don't unfortunately have any control over that. But would I do it? I would, yes.' All of which is odd because, in the past, the status of any further X Files-related rumours regarding, for example, a third movie, have usually depended on the state of David Duchovny's career at the time. Anderson also praised the writing in the BBC crime drama The Fall, calling her character - Stella Gibson - 'fascinating. I know more about her than the audience does, but I'm still interested to learn more about her.' The actress went on to address some of the alleged controversy (for which read 'whinging from horrible Allison Graham in the Radio Times') surrounding its 'graphic nature' in the first series, stating: 'There were a lot of violent scenes. There was only one death in the whole first season, but I think what both compels people and was also the object of [some press] was the fact that there is an emotional truth there. There's something recognisable in the character, and it's more of a psychological thriller than a serial killer series. And that disturbs people, I think, more.'

And, thence, we come to the latest Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 22 November
Broadcaster Sandi Toksvig and stand-up comedians Bill Bailey and Jason Manford join regular panellist Alan Davies for another extended round of the comedy quiz with a difference Qi XL - 9:00 BBC2. Host Stephen Fry continues this series' exploration of subjects beginning with the letter L as he asks a range of fiendish questions about Lethal Things.
In Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History Of Science Fiction - 10:00 BBC2 - the historian Dominic Sandbrook (whose excellent White Heat yer actual Keith Telly Topping is currently re-reading) explores the many aspects of the genre and examines its impact on cinema, television and literature. He begins by looking at SF's enduring fascination with outer space, from Jules Verne's pioneering Nineteenth-Century vision of a voyage to the moon, to the universe George Lucas created for Star Wars. Along the way, he reveals how Stanley Kubrick made 2001: A Space Odyssey seem so believable and why a man in a dressing gown became one of SF's best-loved heroes in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Featuring contributions by yer actual William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker, Avatar's Zoe Saldana and author Neil Gaiman.
In the conclusion of a two-part Atlantis story - 8:15 BBC1 - Atlantis looks set to fall as Pasiphae continues to lay siege to the city. The last remaining hope rests with Jason, Hercules and Pythagoras, but they are far from home fighting a desperate battle of their own. As the conflict reaches a climax, Hercules makes a discovery that throws into doubt everything he once knew to be true - and looks set to change the course of the future for ever. Jack Donnelly, Mark Addy and Sarah Parish star in the fantasy adventure.

In Morrissey: Twenty Five Live - 9:00 Sky Arts 1 - the former The Smiths frontman celebrates twenty five years as a solo artist with a concert for an audience of eighteen hundred at the Hollywood High School in Los Angeles (home of some of Mozza's fanatical Latino fanbase) in March 2013. Featuring performances of 'Meat Is Murder', 'Everyday Is Like Sunday', 'Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want' and 'The Boy With The Thorn in His Side'. And a really piss-poor version of 'Still Ill' an'all. Bona drag.
Eden repeats all three episodes of Galapagos tonight - from 9:00. High-definition cameras and aerial photography techniques are used to explore the archipelago, which is rich in wildlife and made famous by Charles Darwin's On the Origin of the Species. This programme focuses on the geological history of the islands through the evidence of volcanic eruptions and examines what makes it unique. Tilda Swinton narrates.

Sunday 23 November
Remember Me - 9:00 BBC1 - is a new, much trailed, supernatural thriller, starring Michael Palin as an elderly man whose admittance to a nursing home triggers a series of inexplicable events. Tom Parfitt is moved into a residential home after faking a fall, and immediately strikes up a friendship with eighteen-year-old care worker Hannah, who is puzzled to discover he has brought nothing with him but an empty suitcase. His social worker brings him a photo to make him feel at home - but it's the last thing she ever does when she falls to her death from his third-storey window and he is found cowering in the corner of his room. Mark Addy, Jodie Comer and Julia Sawalha co-star.
In The Kennedy Detail - 9:00 Quest - former members of President John Kennedy's Secret Service discuss his assassination and the life of the first family, building on accounts from the book by special agent Gerald Blaine. There is a moving insight from Clint Hill, the man assigned to the First Lady's detail, who jumped onto the back of the limousine to shield the President and his wife from any further shots that may have been fired.

CIA director Lockhart arrives just as Carrie's investigation faces complications in the latest episode of Homeland 9 :00 Channel Four - with the troubled agent learning that Majid Javadi has hatched an audacious plan to intercept information he can sell on. Imported US drama, starring Claire Danes and Tracy Letts.
Bob Marley & The Wailers: Live At The Rainbow - 9:00 Sky Arts 1 - is a legendary June 1977 performance by the singer at London's Rainbow Theatre, filmed shortly after the release of his masterpiece LP Exodus. Accompanied by The Wailers, Bob performs well-known songs including 'No Woman No Cry', 'Exodus', 'I Shot The Sheriff', 'War', 'No More Trouble', 'Jamming', 'Get Up, Stand Up' and 'Trenchtown Rock'. An' ting.
Stone cold fox Suzi Perry presents action from the nineteenth and final round of the F1 season from the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battled for the title. For the first time ever, double points are on offer to the drivers in this race, adding to the excitement of the finale to what had been a closely fought championship. Hamilton led Rosberg by seventeen points, and a top-two finish would have guaranteed him a second drivers' title. With commentary by Ben Edwards and David Coulthard, and analysis from Eddie Jordan.

Monday 24 November
Victoria Coren Mitchell hosts the general knowledge quiz Only Connect - 8:30 BBC2 - as a trio of Qi researchers takes on three nightwatchmen, two teams who lost in the first round but now have a second opportunity to remain in the tournament. They must use patience, lateral thinking and sheer inspiration to make connections between groups of four things that may appear at first not to be linked, with one set of clues consisting of Joan Fontaine, Jack Charlton, Lucian Freud and Liam Gallagher. Famous brothers. Obviously.
Filmed for more than a year in the East Marsh area of Grimsby, the three-part documentary Skint - 9:00 Channel Four - is the follow-up to last year's series set in Scunthorpe. In the 1950s, Grimsby was the largest fishing port in the world, but the town has faced almost the complete loss of the industry and there are just four trawlers left. From fishermen out of work after a lifetime at sea, to people doing whatever they can to make ends meet, the programme highlights the reality of poverty for many people in the UK, and gives a voice to those suffering the impact of long-term unemployment.
In the second episode of Dancing Cheek To Cheek: An Intimate History Of Dance - 9:00 BBC4 - Len Goodman and Doctor Lucy Worsley examine how Britain's dance floors were revolutionised in the Nineteenth Century, as faster, more liberating dances replaced the stately varieties of old. Len visits a London gin palace that hosted many a working-class knees-up in the Victorian days, while Lucy attempts to play the Blue Danube waltz on piano.

Jim Gordon informs Captain Essen that his plan is to arrest Falcone and the Mayor on charges relating to the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne in the latest Gotham - 9:00 Channel Five. But, Gordon is told that he will be on his own if he pursues that course of action. Fish Mooney discovers Oswald Cobblepot is still alive and tells Falcone that she wants Gordon to pay for not killing Penguin when he had the chance. So, the psychopathic Victor Zsasz is sent into police HQ to deal with him. Meanwhile, Cobblepot becomes the master of his own destiny when he leads a group of Maroni's men to a warehouse owned by Falcone's ally Nikolai.
A Navy captain wearing a colourful costume underneath his uniform is shot and killed in a flower shop, and further investigation reveals he was leading a double life as a masked vigilante in a classic episode of NCIS - 9:00 5USA. Director Vance brings in Tony's ex-fiancee, journalist Wendy Miller, who claims the victim had been trying to expose a scandal, and as the team pursues the case, a real-estate scam is uncovered. Guest starring Perrey Reeves.
Tuesday 25 November
Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Tom Pinfold and Peter Ginn explore the art of medieval combat and the construction of a castle's defensive structures in Secrets Of The Castle With Ruth, Peter & Tom - 9:00 BBc2. They look at the ingenious features Thirteenh-Century builders came up with to withstand attack from a formidable array of siege engines, and explore the craft behind the weapons they had to resist, from trebuchets to crossbows. Ruth has a go at making cloth armour in the form of a gambeson, while Tom and Peter get to grips with constructing arrow loops, a key defensive feature of the castle walls.

Michael Grade explores the story of General Tom Thumb, who became a global celebrity due to his small stature, at just thirty one inches tall, and performed for President Lincoln and Queen Victoria in The Real Tom Thumb: History's Smallest Superstar - 9:00 BBC4. However, the presenter questions whether this was a tale of success or exploitation, since the man become famous only because of a disability, and asks why society remains fascinated by performers with unusual bodies.
In the second-to-last episode of The Missing - 9:00 BBC1 - in 2006, Tony and Emily's pleas to reinvestigate a suspect fall on deaf ears, prompting the anguished father to take matters into his own hands - leading to a violent confrontation. In the present day, Tony and Julien retrace their steps in Paris as they try to find a man they believe to be involved in Oliver's disappearance. Drama, starring James Nesbitt, Frances O'Connor and Tcheky Karyo.

It's the last week of the MasterChef: The Professionals heats - 8:00 BBc2 - and five more chefs enter the kitchen, with the first challenge giving them an hour to cook a signature dish that showcases what they can do, before one is asked to leave and never darken their door again. The remaining four contenders try to impress scary Monica Galetti by preparing a cuttlefish dish in just fifteen minutes. Then Marcus Wareing gives them sixty minutes to create a meal incorporating sweetbreads. The judges then decide which three will make it through to the next round.

Wednesday 26 November
Great Continental Railway Journeys continues - 9:00 BBC2 - as Michael Portaloo uses his 1913 copy of Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide as he travels through Spain and Portugal. Old Portsloo begins in the city of La Coruna, where he examines the Celtic roots of the Galician people and tries to master the bagpipes, before meeting walkers from all over the world on the pilgrims' trail to Santiago de Compostela. Heading across the border to Porto, Michael finds out about the origins of Britain's long alliance with the Portuguese, and finishes his journey in the capital Lisbon.
In a follow-up to July's Twelve Years Old And Caring For Mum, the documentary Through A Child's Eyes - 9:00 Channel Five - charts the struggles of children from three families coping with day-to-day life under challenging financial circumstances, featuring video diaries shot by the youngsters themselves. Lyndsey is ten and lives with her dad, grandmother and six siblings and money is tight since their small business closed last year, meaning that she cannot have many of the things her friends take for granted. When eleven-year-old Paige needs a hot shower she has to visit a friend's house as her mother cannot afford to fix their boiler, while eight-year-old Aniya always looks forward to her mother's benefits being paid so they can stop eating noodles.

The author gains a new admirer in Castle - 9:00 5USA - the shape of an intelligent and attractive insurance investigator while solving a case involving the theft of a priceless sculpture from a museum, a crime for which there are a number of likely suspects. Popular American crime drama, starring Nathan Fillion, with Kristin Lehman.
Floyd confronts Tiffany and Justin about their relationship and after the two boys gets into a fight in Waterloo Road - 8:00 BBC1. Tiffany worries her brother will spill the beans to Vaughan and Allie. The police descend on Waterloo Road when Kevin's computer hacking on a multinational organisation is traced back to the school, sparking a major security risk, and Sonya's short story looks set to jeopardise her friendship with Christine after it turns out she has drawn inspiration from her colleague's alcoholic past.

Thursday 27 November
Stella Gibson orders extensive surveillance on Spector's family in The Fall - 9:00 BBC2 - believing they will lead them to Paul, whose whereabouts remain unknown. As the search for Rose Stagg becomes ever more desperate, Spector directs his fury at Gibson after the two narrowly avoid meeting, trespassing into her private world and delighting in taunting and provoking her. Thriller, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan.
Peter Powell presents an edition of Top Of The Pops - 7:30 BBC4 - first broadcast 29 November 1979. Featuring performances by The Gibson Brothers, The Police, The Tourists, Pink Floyd, Blondie, Thin Lizzy, Rose Royce, The Moody Blues, The Skids, Status Quo and Dr Hook. Plus, dance sequences by Legs & Co.

Dramatic reconstruction bring to life one of the most bloody and violent chapters in British history in Britain's Bloodiest Dynasty - 9:00 Channel Five - as Dan Jones explores the lives of The Plantagenets, who ruled England and much of France during the Middle Ages. The historian begins with Henry II - the first king of the dynasty - a dashing and energetic warrior who transformed England from a violent and lawless state into the heart of an empire that would become one of the greatest that Europe has ever seen. However, his success was undone by a series of bitter betrayals.
David Attenborough's acclaimed documentary series Life Story - 9:00 BBC1 - charting the circle of life in the animal kingdom ends with creatures' attempts to rear their offspring, revealing the commitment involved and how for some parents it means risking their own lives. A turtle hauls itself up the beach to lay its eggs in a safe place, only for the tide to trap it behind a wall of coral. A mother bonobo in the Congo teaches its son the skills it will need to survive adulthood, bison protect their calves from the ever-present threat of wolves and a mother zebra has to lead its foal across a dangerous river.

Friday 28 November
Alexander Armstrong takes a break from his Pointless podium to host tonight's Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1. Paul Merton, Ian Hislop and their guests - Josh Widdicombe and Germaine Greer - take a cynical look at the week's news stories, in the hope of raising a few laughs along the way. Widdicombe's having a busy night as he's also one of the guest on the latest Qi - 10:00 BBC2. Stephen Fry continues his exploration of subjects beginning with the letter L as he asks a range of fiendish questions on the topics of Love and Loveliness. Also joining regular panellist Alan Davies are the Irish actress and comedienne Aisling Bea and, first timer Tony Hawks.
In the early 1960s drum shop owner Jim Marshall launched what was, at that time, the loudest amplifier in the world an event which was widely perceived to be the birth of The Rock, as told in Play It Loud: The Story Of The Marshall Amp - 10:00 BBC4. Young musicians like Clapton, Townshend and Hendrix rushed to adopt the revolutionary Marshall sound and the electric guitar spoke for a new generation, while stacks and walls became an essential backdrop at concerts. The company was rescued from financial meltdown by comic exposure in the 1984 movie This is Spinal Tap and the electronic boxes were propelled to iconic status. This documentary charts the amp's history, with contributions from yer actual Pete Townshend, Lemmy and Slash, plus an interview with the founder himself.
To the news, now: The BBC has responded to fresh reports of plans by MPs to abolish the corporation's licence fee. A new report published by the Sunday Scum Express alleges that as many as fifty MPs are backing a plan to scrap the licence fee in favour of an opt-in subscription fee. The BBC has now offered a response to insist that the continuation of the licence fee remains 'vital' in keeping hit shows on the air. A comment published on the BBC's Media Centre website read: 'At just £2.80 a week the BBC Licence Fee is excellent value for money - only this weekend newspapers have been reporting the rising costs of subscription services. It's vital that programmes like EastEnders, Strictly Come DancingSherlock, Doctor Who and Match Of The Day can been watched by everyone - not a select few; and support for the Licence Fee has actually risen by twenty two per cent since 2004 and remains the most popular way of funding the BBC.' Sadly, the statement didn't go on to tell these fifty MPs to 'go fuck themselves' with their sick agenda. It didn't do that, of course, because the BBC is far too polite to do so, or anything even remotely like it. But, I'm not.

ITV has ordered a new supernatural crime drama. Midwinter Of The Spirit has been commissioned for three episodes, with production set to begin in Herefordshire in April 2015. The series will be broadcast on ITV Encore and is based on the novels of Phil Rickman. Stephen Volk will script the adaptation. The series follows country vicar, Merrily Watkins, who is one of the few women priests working as an exorcist in the UK. When a grisly murder takes place in her local area, the police come calling for her assistance. As Merrily assists DCI Annie Howe and DS Franny Bliss in their investigation, she leads them into a dark and dangerous world. ITV's Director of Drama Commissioning, Steve November, said: 'Midwinter Of The Spirit is a contemporary and edgy drama which draws upon dark, pagan forces which are intriguing and spiritually frightening. We're delighted to commission three episodes of a potentially returnable crime drama with a supernatural twist.' Sounds rather promising, that one. Always been a big fan of Stephen Volk's work. Phil Collinson will produce the series, alongside executive producer Kieran Roberts. Casting announcements will be made in due course.

And now, some properly great news. And, I mean, wonderful. Tumble has been dropped by the BBC and shovelled into the gutter along with all the other shite. The wretched, risible, worthless celebrity gymnastics competition - which was hosted by shrill, squawking waste-of-oxygen Alex Jones - will not return for a second series, the BBC confirmed despite a claim by Radio Times in September that this odious tripe was 'likely' to return for a second series. Which goes to show they haven't got a buggering clue, either. 'Whilst we are proud of Tumble and very grateful to everyone involved, we sometimes have to take difficult decisions in order to make room for new shows,' a spokesperson lied. In other words 'we're cancelling it because it was shit - and not even particularly original shit, at that - and no one watched it.' An alleged BBC 'source' also allegedly insisted that Jones is 'very important' to the channel. Why is, in and of itself, an interesting question. Tumble picked up an average audience of around three million punters across its six episodes, which were broadcast in August and September this year. So, good riddance to bad rubbish.

Charlie Brooker will return for a third series of Weekly Wipe in 2015. The broadcaster will host six more episodes of the topical series in January on BBC2, in which he tackles the latest television programmes, news events, games and films with his usual blend of sarcasm, more sarcasm and even more sarcasm. Talking heads Barry Shitpeas (Al Campbell) and Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan) will return for the new series, along with comedians Limmy and Jake Yapp. Brooker will also host his annual review of the year in Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe next month. The one-off hour special has yet to be given an official broadcast date, but it will be shown during the festive period. Brooker has also written a Christmas special of his Channel Four drama Black Mirror, starring Jon Hamm, Rafe Spall and Oona Chaplin.

BBC1 has announced three new factual entertainment series for 2015. Weight For Love is a four-part programme following overeating couples whose lifestyle is threatening not only their health but their relationships too. The couples will be separated for three months and will face dramatic intervention from a nutritionist and a psychologist, in order to help them lose weight before being reunited with their partners. The show will be produced by Renegade Pictures. Sounds utterly repellent. Britain's Secret Spending Habits is a two-part series from Garden Productions, uncovering Britain's attitudes to money and public spending habits. Some of the country's richest and poorest will have the opportunity to have their say on how the other half lives. Two people with very different views about money will get to swap lifestyles and experience how each other spends. Yeah, that sounds pretty wretched too. Best Day Ever is a heartwarming one-off sixty-minute programme (it says here) from Little Gem, celebrating 'Britain's unsung heroes' nominated by friends and family. The show will feature hidden camera ambush stunts on the unwitting nominees. 'Factual entertainment with purpose is a tone I want to see more of on BBC1, and I hope these new commissions will both reflect that and resonate with viewers,' said BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore.
Former radio DJ Chris Denning has pleaded guilty to further charges of abuse of boys aged nine to sixteen during the 1970s and 1980s. Denning pleaded very guilty at London's Southwark Crown Court to ten indecent assaults on boys, a charge of gross indecency with a boy and another of indecency with a boy under the age of fourteen. Denning, seventy three, had already pleaded guilty to twenty eight counts of indecent assault. He carried out this abuse over a twenty year period. Sentencing is due to take place at the same court on 9 December. Denning was first arrested by detectives from the Metropolitan Police's abuse inquiry Operation Yewtree in June 2013. Denning's forty offences were said to have been committed between 1967 and 1987 and relate to twenty six separate young male victims. Two counts of indecent assault on a male aged sixteen years or over between 1982 and 1983 were left to lie on file. Denning had previously been jailed for four-and-a-half years in the Czech Republic in 2000 for having sexual contact with under-age teenage boys. And, he was jailed again in 2006 for four years after pleading guilty to child abuse during the 1970s and 80s. Detective Chief Inspector Michael Orchard, from the Met's sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said of Denning's latest conviction: 'Christopher Denning is a dangerous, serial offender who committed numerous offences over a twenty-year period against a large number of young boys. One of these victims was as young as nine years of age. Denning's only redeeming quality is that he has not made his victims go through the trial process. I would like to thank the victims for their bravery and courage in coming forward. I hope that Denning's admittance of guilt is the first step in helping them move on with their lives.' Denning was one of the original line-up of Radio 1 DJs when the station launched in 1967. He was also the first announcer heard on BBC2 when the channel began broadcasting in 1964. Operation Yewtree is the Met's investigation into the allegations that have arisen since filthy old scallywag and right rotten rotter Jimmy Savile was accused of abuse.
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks was 'one of most charming women you could ever meet' but she also 'had a furious temper' and 'regularly swore at staff' when editor at the Sun, a jury has heard. The news editor of the paper claimed that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, then Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Wade, would 'fire off e-mails threatening staff with the sack' and would 'scream at staff she was unhappy with' like a demented mad woman. Chris Pharo, who is extremely on trial for an alleged conspiracy to pay public officials for stories, recalled how 'unsatisfied' Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was on one occasion with his list of suggested news stories reporters should be chasing that day. 'She screwed it into a giant ball and threw it in my face. She screamed: "If you can't find a fucking news list you can fuck the fuck off." She then slammed the door so hard she broke the handle and we couldn't get out and we had to be released by her PA from the other side.' He added that her incandescent fury 'let rip' on another occasion after the Scum of the World broke the news that David Blunkett had been having a secret affair with a married woman. 'It was Sunday, 9.30am in the morning; I received a text [which] had been sent to virtually every editor on the paper including the fashion editor. I am paraphrasing here, but it said: "The News of the World has got an agenda-setting front page story. If you fucking lot can't come up with the same stuff I'll fucking fire you all and replace you with them.' Pharo and five other current and former Sun colleagues are facing a variety of charges in relation to alleged payments to police and other public officials and other assorted badness. Charges which they all deny. Earlier on Friday morning they were cleared of an 'over-arching' conspiracy charge that they were paying backhanders to public officials for stories between March 2002 and January 2011 but they all still face further, specific, charges of alleged unlawful payments in a criminal trial at Kingston crown court. In the witness box, Pharo claimed that he had no training on the payment of public officials in the Sun over a career which spanned more than twenty years. The only training he did get was a two-day course on how to fire staff, he told jurors. He said, however, that in 2003, 'rather famously' well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Wade told a parliamentary select committee that the Sun did pay police officers. Pharo spent the first hour and a half of his testimony painting the picture of the Sun under well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks' predecessor, the odious, rat-faced scumbag and horrorshow Kelvin MacKenzie. 'Bullying and misogynistic behaviour' which would nowadays 'land the management in an employment tribunal' was 'common', he alleged. Pharo said that at the age of twenty three or twenty four he was offered 'a hugely significant promotion' to work for the paper in New York. It was a position which brought with it a pay rise of twenty five grand and was a job considered a stepping stone for high-ranking jobs back in London. Two weeks before he was due to leave, his partner, Kirsty, discovered she was pregnant. He phoned his boss who told him he could no longer go because it was 'a single man's job.' Neil Wallis, the associate editor, 'pulled me in, told me I was "a fucking idiot" and told me that she deliberately "set me up" by getting pregnant and I should get rid of her', Pharo said. Pharo added that Wallis later 'humiliated' him by making him the subject of the paper's Dear Deidre agony aunt column. Wallis ordered the prepared column to be scrapped and replaced by one about 'an evil conniving girlfriend who had got herself deliberately pregnant in order to crash this [the New York job].' Pharo claimed that MacKenzie had got Wallis to fire someone he didn't like, but Wallis fired someone else. 'It was a case of mistaken identity,' said Pharo. In his early career, Pharo said, he was sued by filthy old scallywag and right rotten rotter Jimmy Savile. He had written a front page story for the local paper where he started his career, the Bracknell News, revealing that Savile had joined the taskforce at Broodmoor hospital and was running it. Savile admitted that he had joined the taskforce but not that he was running the hospital and as Pharo's 'source' did not want to be named the paper paid out five hundred knicker to the albino paedophile. Pharo also claimed that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Wade had turned down the scoop about MPs' expense claims because she had spent so much on a book by former glamour model Katie Price. 'She told me she couldn't afford sixty thousand pounds because she had just spent two hundred and fifty thousand on Jordan's autobiography,' he said. Turning to reporters' claims for cash payments for 'confidential sources', Pharo said that he 'did not agree' with company policy as the system was 'ripe for abuse' and enabled 'potentially unscrupulous' journalists to 'trouser' the money. 'There was really no way of auditing it properly and it had been set up by the company to facilitate getting stories,' Pharo told jurors. He said that e-mails from reporters requesting cash payments for 'my top copper' or 'my eyes and ears at Sandhurst' had no credibility. 'The reality is journalists claim they have these contacts across the board. It's the way of bigging up their contacts.' He also described expense claims by journalists as fictitious. '[There is] more fantasy in journalist expenses than The Lord Of The Rings,' he said. The trial continues.

A former editor of the Sun did not 'have the balls' to run leaked details of Labour's last budget, a jury at the Old Bailey was told on Thursday. The Sun had 'a tip-off' about an increase in duties on fuel, alcohol and cigarettes, and had prepared a double-page spread under the headline Don't Fudge It the day before chancellor Alistair Darling's speech in 2010. Clodagh Hartley, the paper's Whitehall editor at the time, told a jury that a senior colleague, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told her 'Dominic Mohan did not have the balls to run it' and replaced it with a story that included just two paragraphs from the tipster. The Sun journalist was in the witness stand in relation to a charge against her that she unlawfully and naughtily paid a government press officer working for Revenue & Customs who had given her the details of the Budget at a Starbucks cafe the night before the announcement. Hartley denies conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. The jury heard that Hartley believed there was 'massive public interest' in running the story before it was subjected to 'spin' by the government press office. She told the court that she was 'bullied' by a senior colleague and made to feel the 'most junior and lowly member' of the team even though she had landed what she believed to be a scoop. Hartley is extremely accused of arranging payments of seventeen thousand four hundred and seventy five smackers to HMRC press officer Jonathan Hall over more than three years, in exchange for a series of stories. Asked by her defence counsel if she thought that she was doing anything 'wrong' by arranging payments for the tips, she replied: 'Absolutely not.' Asked if she kept it from her superiors on the Sun, she replied: 'Not at all.' She told how a senior colleague had instructed her to 'find a different name' other than Hall to pay the tip fee. Hall then suggested his girlfriend, Marta Bukarewicz, who also denies conspiring to commit misconduct in public office. Hartley said the information – based on 'defensive lines' to be used by HMRC press officers – was supplied by Hall. But to her dismay, the potentially 'award-winning' scoop was edited down to a few tiny paragraphs in a spread focusing on the results of a poll of Sun readers. She reported a conversation with an anonymous senior colleague who 'said that Dominic Mohan did not have the balls to run it, which meant he did not trust that I had the correct information,' she claimed. 'He did not want to put details into the newspaper which were potentially incorrect. This is the conversation I had with [the senior colleague]. The phrase I have just used was [the senior colleague's] opinion of why Dominic Mohan had not run it, having spoken to Dominic Mohan several times at length the evening we had those details,' she alleged. Although she boasted in internal e-mails that she had 'got hold' of 'the entire budget', Hartley admitted to jurors this was 'a bit of an overbold claim, as I feel I'm fighting for my job.' She defended her wish to give Sun readers the inside story on the budget, before it had been formally revealed. 'We had the information, therefore it should be given to our readers as soon as possible,' Hartley argued. Hartley was asked about the pressured working environment and her strained relationship with the unnamed senior colleague. 'Pretty much after I started, he was bullying. I can't put it any other way. I thought that the exclusives like this helped as this was the currency he seemed to want. I was quite frightened of him but I tried to maintain a professional front and carry on.' The reporter said that she was 'treated very much like the most junior and lowly member of the team' by her senior colleague. She told jurors that she had spent a week investigating Labour candidates' constituency literature in the run-up to the 2010 election. Hartley was able to show that many MPs failed to reference PM Gordon Brown, 'perhaps out of embarrassment.' But after assembling the data, the senior colleague 'stole all the glory for it without doing the work.' She told jurors how the senior colleague - who is not on trial - was 'guilty of shifting the goalposts' and seemed to treat male journalists preferentially. He told her in 2010 that he was 'not worried' about her winning exclusives – encouraging her to get to know 'the beat' – but in 2011 he allegedly berated her for a lack of exclusives. Hartley also said that she had 'no idea it was in any way wrong' to request payments for Hall. She was told to change her source's name on the Sun's payment system, duly entering Marta Bukarewic, 'in the same way as Jonathan's details had earlier been inputted.' Asked why she thought 'bosses' had requested the name-change, Hartley replied: 'I didn't give it much thought, beyond anybody could see who was on the system – anybody being fellow journalists.' Hartley said that she would not be returning to journalism after her experience at the Sun ended in a court charge, but continued to robustly defend her work as 'in the public interest', exposing waste and inefficiency in government. The reporter was asked about a series of texts with James Chapman, the political editor of the Daily Scum Mail, in February 2011. Asked why she appeared to be feeding a rival newspaper a story provided by Hall, Hartley explained that she was on maternity leave and felt 'little loyalty' to the Sun after her 'poor treatment' by the unnamed senior colleague. 'By now, my appeal of my appraisal was very quickly knocked back and I had spent the intervening weeks writing memo after memo and dealing with it. It had been revealed to me that [the senior colleague] had said I would not be returning to that [Whitehall] job.' She also said that this same colleague 'had succeeded in stealing contacts from me on two occasions.' Hartley said that she was 'out of the loop' when Sun journalists began to be arrested, as she was organising her wedding in Ireland. 'I did not know at the time that it was illegal to pay police officers, soldiers,' she said. Hartley said she now knows 'it was being said that it was illegal to pay public officials.' Her barrister pointed out that paying public officials was not illegal per se, as the trial indictment shows. 'I thought that sources would be protected,' Hartley said of News International's decision to hand over internal e-mails to Scotland Yard. 'That was the journalist's duty.' Her counsel Alexandra Healy asked: 'Did you have any idea that it could be suggested that what you were doing was criminal?' Snivelling, Hartley replied, 'I had no idea it could be criminal.' 'Whatever the outcome of these proceedings, do you propose to return to journalism?' Hartley replied that she would not. The trial continues.

Six possible victims of the former Scum of the World undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood contacted lawyers within hours of the broadcast of a Panorama programme exposing his alleged stings and revealing his face. Mark Lewis, the lawyer who represented scores of celebrities in phone-hacking claims has, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, been approached by fourteen potential clients, six of them within twenty four hours of the twice-postponed programme revealing the Fake Sheikh's undercover methods being broadcast on Wednesday night. Lewis's existing clients include the former soap actor John Alford and former model Emma Morgan, both of whom gave interviews to BBC reporter John Sweeney for the Panorama film. Murray Harkin, a former business partner of Sophie, the Countess of Wessex – who was forced to leave his job after Mahmood reported comments that he made about cocaine and gay parties, as well as his offers to arrange for the countess and her husband, Prince Edward, to endorse business deals – has also taken legal advice. Harkin told the Gruniad that he was 'keeping a watchful eye' on the case. 'I lost everything. I had a very successful business which was just about to be sold and I walked away with a few thousand quid and my career in tatters.' It emerged on Thursday that no file has yet been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service by the Metropolitan police, which is investigating Mahmood on suspicion of perverting the course of justice following the collapse of a trial involving Tulisa Contostavlos. In July, Mahmood was suspended by the title that replaced the Scum of the World, the Sun on Sunday following the collapse of the trial. The judge in the case suggested that Mahmood had attempted to persuade a witness to change his evidence and then lied about it under oath. Mahmood has denied acting improperly, saying that he is 'helping with any police inquiries' and that Panorama's account of events is wrong and misleading. And, hilariously, 'not in the public interest'. Asked why no file had yet been sent to the CPS, the Met said that it would be 'inappropriate' to comment on an ongoing investigation. Mahmood claims that he used 'legitimate methods', which helped secure about one hundred convictions during his thirty-year career, largely through his posing as a member of Arab royalty. The CPS confirmed on Thursday that it had identified about thirty cases in which Mahmood had given evidence and was 'considering the next step.' Panorama also alleged that a murder inquiry in 1999 revealed links between corrupt police officers, a firm of private detectives called Southern Investigations and tabloid journalists including Mahmood. One document seen by Panorama said: 'Source met Maz, a News of the World reporter on this occasion Maz was with a plainclothes officer. The officer was selling a story to Maz.' Mahmood insists that he has never bought stories from police officers. The documentary, Fake Sheikh: Exposed, also alleged that police officers and prosecutors knew about Mahmood's dodgy methods but failed to investigate properly raising, yet again, questions over the relationship between the police and the Scum of the World, where Mahmood made his name from 1991 until its closure in shame and ignominy in 2011. Police said: 'If we receive any evidence to suggest that there has been police corruption or malpractice then it will be investigated.' Some of those caught in alleged sting operations by Mahmood were also targeted by phone-hackers. As well as making claims against Trinity Mirra, it is understood that former England football coach Sven-Göran Eriksson has made claims against News Group for being hacked. After details of his affairs with the actress Ulrika Jonsson and Faria Alam, the former FA assistant, Sven was then the target of an elaborate sting in which he told Mahmood that he would quit England if they won the World Cup and was prepared to become the five million smackers-a-year manager of football club Aston Villains. Having told Panorama that the damage the alleged entrapment has caused was 'much, much bigger, far more serious, than phone-hacking ever was', Lewis explained how people could be swayed by the kind of entrapment alleged to have been carried out by Mahmood: 'All human beings have a price. If somebody came to me today – provided they weren't wearing an Arab headdress – and said the approach was on behalf of News Corp and they wanted an ethical lawyer to come in and check they weren't doing anything wrong and there was a five million pounds sign-up fee, I'd probably do due diligence.'

And, speaking of scum newspapers wallowing in filth, the Daily Scum Mail faces a potential legal bill that could be as high as three million notes, believed to be among the highest since controversial no-win, no-fee agreements were introduced, after libelling a businessman. The case relates to Andy Miller, a friend of the former Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who has been locked in a legal battle with the Daily Scum Mail for six years. Over this period Associated Newspapers, the owner of the Scum Mail, appealed against several legal judgments in Miller's favour. The conflict began when the paper ran a front-page story in October 2008 under the headline Met Boss in new 'Cash for friend' storm, effectively accusing Miller of winning a lucrative IT contract with the Met unfairly through his friendship with Blair. Miller, who says that the legal battle has 'ruined his life', strongly disputed the story. He sent a lengthy e-mail to the Daily Scum Mail's editor the odious and horrible Paul Dacre outlining why the article was wrong, asking for an apology and total legal costs which he wrote 'may end up somewhere between thirty and forty thousand pounds.' But, when he did not get what he felt was a satisfactory response, Miller started libel proceedings in September 2009. The Scum Mail decided to fight the case but in December 2012, Mrs Justice Sharp extremely ruled in favour of Miller, saying that he had 'suffered considerably' as a result of the front-page publication by the poisonous, fascist-supporting right-wing rag written by shite-scum filth which caused 'substantial aggravation.' She awarded aggravated damages, with a total sum of sixty five grand. After Miller won his case a three-paragraph apology was put in the Daily Scum Mail - at the bottom of page forty one - which he considered to be unfair given the front-page prominence of the first story. Associated Newspapers sought to fight the case all the way up to the Supreme Court. However, last month, the court wasn't having it and ruled against the paper's application for permission to appeal on the grounds that it did not raise a point of law of general importance. Miller's lawyers, Simons, Muirhead and Burton, agreed a conditional fee agreement to act on Miller's behalf. Miller had to take out insurance to cover his legal fees in case he lost. Owing to the length of the case the overall legal costs to both sides could be as high as three million smackers. The exact breakdown is not clear, though Miller believes two million of them relate to his lawyers’ costs alone. Miller, who remains good friends with Blair, says that the story and subsequent battle for redress has affected his health. 'How could it possibly be that a newspaper which cares about truth and accuracy is happy to go through this legal process after I wrote saying "you're wrong" to Paul Dacre. We're nearly two years on after Leveson. For goodness sake, what has changed?' Good question, that. Keith Mathieson, lawyer for the Scum Mail, sent an e-mail this week to Miller refusing any further redress. 'The Daily Mail reported the outcome of the action already. It also reported the outcome of the appeal to the court of appeal. In those circumstances, ANL [Associated Newspapers Limited] has discharged its obligations under the code of practice. Indeed, it has arguably gone further than required. We can see no basis for requiring the Mail to report the outcome of ANL's unsuccessful application to the supreme court and it does not intend to do so.' Of course, that doesn't stop other newspapers from doing exactly that. Take, the Gruniad Morning Star, for instance. Miller is pressing the Scum Mail further for a prominent apology and considering taking the matter up with new press regulator IPSO. Not that that'll do much good, one imagines since they're every single bit as toothless as their predecessor, the PCC.

The BBC's flagship worship show, Songs Of Praise, is updating its programme as part of a relaunch. From Sunday it will drop its traditional format of an Anglican service recorded in a cathedral, parish, or other church. Each edition will now feature a range of churches, locations, congregations and choirs. The BBC's head of religion and ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, said a 'different form of Christianity' had emerged in the UK. The show will also change to a magazine format that reflects what the programme describes as the reality of Christian faith across the country. This is not the first makeover for Songs Of Praise - which was created in 1961. Over the years, the face of Christianity in Britain has changed significantly, along with the UK's population, and the programme's audience has aged. It is now in its mid-seventies. In contrast, increased immigration - for example from Eastern Europe - has led to the growth of younger congregations, such as those at Catholic churches and at Pentecostal and black majority churches. Ahmed said: 'At the heart of this, really, is the fact that Christianity has changed in Britain. Songs Of Praise has been going for over fifty three years, and no TV show can stay the same for ever.' He added: 'We want to appeal to a different Christian audience, who may not necessarily have seen themselves every week on Songs Of Praise in the past. Sometimes you have to find a way of reaching out to that audience to say, "this really is for you."' In the new format, rather than going to one church a week, the programme will feature music performances from various different denominations, and different presenters for some of the segments. Those who have grown up watching Songs of Praise say they are looking forward to a more inclusive programme each week. The programme's first episode in the new format will be presented by Connie Fisher, the Welsh singer who won the BBC show, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? It will include a segment presented by Paralympian Ade Adepitan, and seven songs broadcast from different venues, including a Catholic cathedral, a Pentecostal church, and a Salvation Army training college. 'Lord, You Are Good', a song by Grammy Award-winning artist Israel Houghton, will also be performed at the Birmingham Christian Centre, an inner-city Pentecostal congregation. Nicholas McCarthy, a pianist born without a right hand, will perform 'Ave Maria' from the crypt of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Another song will come from the Salvation Army's training college in Denmark Hill, in South London. Next week's programme will include songs from Ruach City Church, a gospel congregation in Brixton and Canterbury Cathedral, as well as a performance by Dona Oxford, the American soul singer. There will also be more segments every week featuring current issues that affect the faithful, such as the persecution of Syrian Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The change was welcomed by the Church of England's Director of Communications, the Reverend Arun Arora, who said: 'The new format will welcome in something about people living out [their] faith, day-to-day, week to week, not just on a Sunday - and how their faith informs their approach to life and how their faith transforms lives.' The programme will still feature the more traditional choirs and hymns of worship for its current audience, in the hope that it will be able to celebrate many more years in good voice. But Ahmed, the BBC's first Muslim head of religion, said the new Songs Of Praise would not include other faiths. 'Not in a million years. There are lots of other multi-faith shows on the BBC, but Songs Of Praise is a Christian music show. Though if you come to it as not a Christian, you'll also get something out of it.'

Even Sherlock Holmes couldn't, quite, resist the charms of the seductive, dangerous Irene Adler. Indeed, if Benedict Cumberbatch his very self it to be believed, the night that he rescued her from a potential beheading in Pakistan he took her, roughly, up the Khyber Pass. Anyway, actress Lara Pulver her very self only has eyes for one man: Homeland star Raza Jaffrey. The thirty four-year-old actress is getting married to Jaffrey, thirty nine, and the couple are planning a Christmas wedding in the UK before they return to their home in Los Angeles. Jaffrey, who plays intelligence officer Aasar Khan in Homeland, bashfully revealed the news to the Evening Standard, saying, 'Lara is such a fantastic girl, she really is, and we are really excited about getting married this year.' Bless 'em.
A roadside bench matching the one that featured in the opening credits of the BBC sitcom Bottom has been officially unveiled in London. It follows an online campaign by fans after the death of Rik Mayall. The show's star said shortly before he died in June that he was sad to see the bench had been removed. Now after a petition by seven thousand fans, Hammersmith Council has replaced it, with the inscription 'In Memory of The Man, The Myth, The Legend.' Mayall, who was fifty six when he died, had appeared in a string of hit TV comedies, including The Young Ones, Blackadder II and The New Statesman. Fans who had campaigned for the return of the 'Bottom bench' gathered to witness the official unveiling on Friday along with local and national media. The opening credits of the cult BBC series show Mayall and his co-star, Adrian Edmondson, bickering and then attacking each other on the original bench. The idea of having a memorial on that spot was inspired by a BBC interview, in which Rik described his disappointment upon discovering that the bench had been removed. The memorial bench is situated at the junction of Queen Caroline Street and Hammersmith Bridge Road. A tribute written by Mayall's Young Ones co-star Nigel Planer was read at the official unveiling, along with those from fans of the comedian. The crowd also sang 'The Young Ones'. Aw, bless 'em.
The Philae lander on the distant comet 67P has sent another stream of data back to Earth before losing power. The little probe delivered everything expected from it, just as its failing battery dropped it into standby mode. Philae is pressed up against a cliff. Deep shadows mean it cannot now get enough light on to its solar panels to recharge its systems. The European Space Agency fears this contact may have been the robot's last - certainly for a while. A tweet from the official Philae lander account said: 'I'll tell you more about my new home, comet 67P soon ... zzzzz.' Philae descended to the comet's surface on Wednesday - the first time in history that a space mission has made a soft landing on a comet. The next opportunity to talk to Philae was set to begin at around 10am, when the orbiting Rosetta satellite - which delivered it to the four kilometre-wide 'ice mountain' - was due to come over the horizon. But with only 1.5 hours of sunshine falling on the robot during the comet's twelve-hour day, it seems doubtful the battery will have recovered enough performance to complete the radio link. Engineers did manage to maximise the possibility of it happening, though, by sending a command to reorientate the lander. This involved raising Philae by four centimetres and rotating its main housing by thirty five per cent. This will ensure the largest solar panel catches the most light. Even if the probe falls silent over the weekend, researchers say they are 'thrilled' with the amount of data already acquired. Stephan Ulamec, lander manager, said: 'Prior to falling silent, the lander was able to transmit all science data gathered during the First Science Sequence. This machine performed magnificently under tough conditions, and we can be fully proud of the incredible scientific success Philae has delivered.' Professor Mark McCaughrean, ESA's senior scientific advisor, told the BBC that the agency was 'hugely happy. All of the science instruments on board have done all the work they were supposed to do, so we have huge amounts of data back on the ground now, which is really exciting,' he said. 'Philae could come back later as we move closer to the Sun and we get more light on to the solar panels up against the cliff we're at here in the shadows.' In the latest tranche of data are the results from the drilling attempt made earlier in the day. This had been an eagerly anticipated activity. Getting into the surface layers and bringing up a sample to analyse onboard was seen as central to the core mission of Philae. Controllers say Cosac, the Philae laboratory that was due to receive the sample, downlinked its data, but that its contents had yet to be assessed. Among other returns, Philae took another picture of the surface with its downward-looking Rolis camera. It also exercised its Consert instrument. This is an experiment that sees Philae and Rosetta send radiowaves through the comet to try to discern its internal structure. And it has the additional possibility of being used to help triangulate a precise position for Philae on the comet's surface. This is still unknown. Although the robot hit the centre of its intended landing zone on Wednesday, it then bounced twice before coming to a stop. Knowledge of that final resting location would enable engineers better to understand its predicament and the prospects for future contact if lighting conditions somehow change on 67P. This could happen as the comet moves through space on its journey around the Sun. It will have the equivalent of seasons and this could play to Philae's advantage by altering the angle, timing and intensity of the sunlight hitting the solar panels. Philae was launched from Earth, piggybacked to the Rosetta satellite, in 2004. The pair covered 6.4 billion kilometres to reach Comet 67P out near the orbit of Jupiter. Scientists hope the investigations at the rubber-duck-shaped ball of ice and dust can provide fresh insights on the origins of the Solar System. Whatever happens to Philae, Rosetta will continue to make its remote observations of 67P.

The Football Association has been urged to lobby UEFA for a European boycott of the next World Cup - unless FIFA implements meaningful reform. Which, they're obviously not going to because they're run by a cabal of thieves and criminals. So, that's a bit of a non-starter, frankly. Former FA chairman David Bernstein said that it was 'time for drastic action' against football's world governing body. 'England on its own cannot influence this,' he said. 'If we tried something like that, we'd be laughed at.' He suggested that a World Cup would be weakened without Europe's top teams and that a boycott would have public backing. 'If I was at the FA now, I would do everything I could to encourage other nations within UEFA - and there are some who would definitely be on side, others may be not - to take this line,' he added. 'At some stage, you have to walk the walk, stop talking and do something.' Bernstein said that he also wanted FIFA's president, the odious Sepp Blatter, to step down but described him as 'formidable, very shrewd, very smart', conceding it would 'not be easy' to bring his reign to an end. In an interview, the seventy one-year-old also said: FIFA is 'a totalitarian set-up' which reminds him of 'the old Soviet empire' and is 'beyond ridicule'; that the credibility of football is 'suffering enormously' under the current FFIA regime and that choosing Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup was 'one of the most ludicrous decisions in the history of sport.' Bernstein chose to speak out after a report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups cleared Russia and Qatar of any wrongdoing but was critical of England, accusing the FA of 'flouting bid rules' in its failed attempt to win the right to stage the 2018 event. Yet less than four hours after the document's release, it was questioned by Michael Garcia, the man who had conducted the two-year investigation into corruption claims. The furore surrounding the report is the latest controversy to hit football's world governing body, which has been riddled with allegations of power, corruption and lies in recent times. Now Bernstein, who led the FA for three years from January 2011, wants FIFA to change its ways or face a challenge it finds impossible to ignore. When asked again if he was calling for the FA to unite with UEFA to boycott the World Cup, he replied: 'Unless [FIFA] could achieve the reforms that would bring FIFA back into the respectable world community, yes I would. It sounds drastic, but, frankly, this has gone on for years now. It's not improving, it's going from bad to worse to worse.' He said that there were fifty four countries within UEFA and described Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Holland as 'all powerful.' He added: 'You can't hold a serious World Cup without them. They have the power to influence if they have the will.' Similar views have been expressed over the weekend by German Football League president Reinhard Rauball, who suggested UEFA could leave FIFA if the findings of the two-year investigation into corruption claims are not published in full. As for criticism of England by the FIFA report, Bernstein accused football's world governing body of 'trying to deflect attention' from its own failings. 'I don't think much to these accusations,' he said. 'I don't think we should get away from the real issue. The real issue is FIFA governance and trying to achieve real change. But it won't happen easily. FIFA is sort of a totalitarian set-up. Bits of it remind me of the old Soviet empire. People don't speak out and if they do they get quashed.' Bernstein also described the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, where blistering summer temperatures means the event could be switched to winter, 'as one of the most ludicrous decisions in the history of sport.' He added: 'You might as well have chosen Iceland in the winter. It was like an Alice in Wonderland sort of decision. The attempt to change the timing is also absolutely wrong.' He felt the decision to choose Qatar as 2022 hosts could come under further scrutiny. 'There's also a background of political, social and employment issues that keep emerging and I think there's a danger that FIFA and football might be embarrassed by what emerges in the coming years,' said the former Sheikh Yer Man City chairman. 'It's certainly not sour grapes. England didn't lose to Qatar, we lost to Russia. Qatar is clearly a totally unsuitable place to hold a World Cup.' Bernstein also revealed he has quit FIFA's anti-discrimination taskforce. He described it as 'ineffectual' and wishes to end his ties with FIFA. Explaining his decision to leave the taskforce, which was introduced in 2013, Bernstein said: 'I've resigned for two reasons. Firstly, the body has been pretty ineffectual. I've been on it for more than a year and we only had one meeting. Secondly, because frankly I don't wish to be personally associated with FIFA any further. FIFA sets up these things - and we've seen it with their regulation - that look good in theory but don't seem to do very much in practice.'

In calling for the organisation he used to lead to unite with UEFA and lead a boycott of the World Cup - as well as a breakaway from FIFA - Bernstein has dared say what many have no doubt been thinking. After all, if the FA are so outraged with the world governing body's handling of the investigation into the bidding for the next two World Cups - and, they damn-well should be - then why not take drastic action and salvage some dignity by voting with one's feet? Sadly for the FA, there are plenty of reasons and, most of them are financial. Firstly, with two hundred and sixty seven million smackers of debt still to pay off for the seven hundred and fifty seven million knicker Wembley Stadium, the FA simply could not afford to lose the revenue that comes with hosting World Cup qualifiers, not to mention the sponsorship that results from contesting one of the world's most fabled sports events. Breaking away from FIFA would have major ramifications, too. A place on the International Football Association Board - the game's law-making body - would be sacrificed, for instance, while England representative teams at every age group would be unable to compete in their respective world championships. As Bernstein himself suggests, the FA would never dare to go it alone. It would need the support of UEFA. But there are encouraging signs on this front. Over the past weekend, the president of the German Football League warned that UEFA's fifty four member nations could quit FIFA if Michael Garcia's full report into the 2018 and 2022 World Cups is not fully published. Certainly, at a time when European football is already furious with Sepp Blatter - for standing for a fifth term as FIFA president after promising not to and for being expected to entirely rearrange its calendar to accommodate a winter World Cup in Qatar - you may think a breakaway has never been more likely. After all, Europe has the Champions League and the European Championships, which attracts the best of the global talent pool. Then there is the Nations League, which, from 2018, will attempt to make international friendlies more significant. But it's unlikely that this new format will be extended to fill the vacuum left if European countries refused to take part in the World Cup. With Russia hosting the next World Cup, it is hard to see them feeling the need to join a European rebellion. As for Spain and Portugal, they have no problem with the report into allegations of World Cup corruption, not after they were cleared of any wrongdoing over their bid for the 2018 World Cup. Then there is UEFA president, oily little glake Michel Platini. Having voted for Qatar as 2022 World Cup hosts, it is not easy to see why he would back a boycott. And if UEFA is so upset with Blatter, why isn't it putting up a credible challenger to him? Why, for example, is Platini himself not standing? It's hard not to take the view that UEFA will try to use FIFA's current meltdown, not to turn its back on football's world governing body, but to strengthen its power and influence, especially when it comes to the presidential election next year and negotiations over 2022 scheduling. Which, in and of itself, isn't an entirely healthy option. The FA knows this and that is why its plan is to bring about change from within. Next year, it hopes to get its vice-chairman David Gill - already a member of UEFA's executive committee - on to the FIFA executive committee as the home nations representative. If the FA was to suddenly agree with its former chairman Bernstein and call for a boycott on moral grounds, it would stand accused of hypocrisy. After all, according to FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, Garcia found that England's own twenty one million quid bid for the 2018 World Cup was guilty of breaking a few bidding rules. And let us not forget that, as recently as 2010, the English FA's bid team ludicrously attacked the BBC as 'unpatriotic' over a Panorama programme which looked into allegations of FIFA corruption - more or less exactly the same allegations that the FA is now voicing itself - such was its grovelling desperation to land the game's show piece event. Would Bernstein and the man who replaced him as FA Chairman Greg Dyke be this outraged by FIFA if England had won the vote? And would there by quite so much current media scrutiny of the 2022 World Cup hosts if Australia or the USA had won, rather than Qatar? Almost certainly not. Given all this, how easily could the FA claim the moral high ground? One can understand why the FA feel hard done by following the FIFA report into World Cup corruption. Much of it is simply inexplicable. Why, for example, was the English 2018 bid criticised when it was so obviously more open and transparent about what it did than the 'highly uncooperative' Russians, for instance, whose computers were destroyed along with any potential e-mail chains? How can England be admonished for their thirty five thousand dollars sponsorship of a Caribbean Football Union gala dinner in the hope of gaining the support of the odious Jack Warner when Qatar got away with a $1.8m sponsorship of the CAF Congress in Angola shortly before the 2010 vote? Why did Eckert take it upon himself now - before Garcia has even had the chance to open proceedings against individuals suspected of wrongdoing - to recommend there was 'no need' for any kind of re-vote? Why was the evidence from alleged whistleblowers dismissed so readily? Why - short of crass and brown-tongued arse-licking was Blatter praised in Eckert's concluding sentences? And what exactly is it about Eckert's summary that Garcia has such a problem with? These questions have left FIFA in apparent meltdown, the credibility of its landmark investigation - something that was meant to restore faith and trust in a scandal-plagued organisation - in tatters. Its next move will be interesting, but football's world governing body will no doubt come under increasing pressure to publish the full Garcia report. Nevertheless, thanks to FIFA's 'Financial Assistance Programme' - the hundreds of millions of pounds that it hands out to regional confederations and national associations in the form of 'development' payments - Blatter knows he has solid support in Africa, Asia and South America. A European breakaway would simply be portrayed as a selfish (possibly racist or colonialist) move by the wealthiest region in the sport. Blatter will not lose any sleep over what his old adversary Bernstein says. Or about current FA chairman Greg Dyke calling the Eckert report 'a joke.' Rumours coming out of the United States that the FBI are keen to press ahead with their own investigation into senior FIFA officials, however, should concern him far more. So should the fact that Dubai-based airline Emirates recently ended its sponsorship deal with FIFA, with South Korean electronics giant Samsung expected to follow suit. The continuous loss of the sponsors which generate billions of pounds for FIFA, rather than the threats of former FA chairmen, are what would really rattle Blatter. It's a horrifying thought that one of the few things which would likely cause change at FIFA is if their major sponsor Coca-Cola decided to develop of conscience. And, of course, we all know that's very unlikely to happen. Three years ago, when he was FA chairman, Bernstein made a lone appeal to postpone the unopposed re-election of Blatter in the wake of serious bribery allegations involving FIFA executive committee members Mohamed bin Hammam and the odious Warner. The rebellion failed and left the FA more isolated than ever. Just like then, Bernstein may now win praise for his principles, but this latest stand will almost certainly meet the same fate.

A guitar once owned by alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon is expected to raise more than four hundred thousand quid at auction. The Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 model was played by Lennon when The Be=Beatles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) recorded 'Paperback Writer' at Abbey Road in 1966. It is being sold by the late Be-Atle's cousin David Birch, who was given the guitar a year later. A live auction will be held at Le Meridien hotel in Central London on 23 November. The guitar was developed in the 1950s and was favoured by many rock and/or roll musicians including Carl Perkins, Bo Diddley, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Hilton Valentine of The Animals, Steve Marriott of The Small Faces, Mike Nesmith, Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison of The Velvet Underground, Neil Young and, probably most influentially, Lennon's bandmate yer actual George Harrison. It is described on auction website as 'one of the most significant of John's guitars to come on to the market in the last thirty years.' Even though, according to Andy Bubiuk's definitive book on The Be-Atles instruments, Beatles Gear, he only ever used it in the studio on a maximum of two songs ('Paperback writer' and it's b-side, 'Rain'). The website claims that it was played 'whilst the group were approaching the peak of their recording powers.' Which, to be fair, is probably true. They were a bit good in early 1996. The guitar comes with photographs of Lennon playing it with the rest of the band (note that, in these, Harrison is playing a Burns Nu-Sonic which, similarly only featured among the band's great during this short period). Recent auctions of other Beatles memorabilia have included the front door of a Liverpool home once lived in by yer actual Paul McCartney, and jackets worn by Harrison and Ringo Starr his very self.
On last Thursday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended Uncle Scunthorpe's latest Record Player event at the Tyneside. And a proper right good'un it was an'all, featuring a conceptually brilliant face-off a'tween Echoes Of The Sixites and Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass) (the proper UK version). One of the best RP's ever, frankly. Two great records, a magnificent slide show - with a interestingly horrifying subtext of spousal abuse running right through the first part of it, at least - and then a quiz that we weren't even going to have until Chris Barron said 'let's do it so we can beat Keith and Christian.' Well, dear blog reader, that was war! Plus, a pointless discussion about what was The B-52's worst moment to cap it all off. What do you mean 'get a life'? What's the point of that? If I had one, I'd only waste it.
So, for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33(s) of the Day, there's a bit of this.
And a bit of that.

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