Thursday, February 19, 2015

Grim Satisfaction In The Dying Process

Michelle Gomez her very self is returning to the next series of Doctor Who. The popular actress will reprise the mad-as-an-angry-badger role of yer actual Missy in the opening episodes of series nine, which is currently in production and will be broadcast on BBC1 later this year. It has also been confirmed that the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama will return with a two-part premiere, with the first episode, as previously reportedly, entitled The Magician's Apprentice. Part two will be called The Witch's Familiar. Gomez said: 'Things have been a little beige since I left Missy behind, so I'm delighted to be putting my lippie back on. I'm positively dying to see The Doctor again!' Showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods before He) added: 'Everybody hide; Michelle Gomez as Missy was an instant hit last year, so she's straight back to plague The Doctor and Clara in the series opener. But what brings her back into their lives is the last thing they'd expect.' Jemma Redgrave's Kate Stewart will also join Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar' following her character's unexpected last minute survival in the 2014 series finale. Missy made a number of cameo appearances on the popular family SF drama last year, before being revealed as a female regeneration of The Master at the end of the series. Which caused the heads of some of the more conservative end of Doctor Who fandom (The Special People, basically) to explode with impotent fury as they considered releasing a protest record to whinge about this manifest badness ('this is not a joke/The Master is a bloke'). Other viewers, this one included, thought she was great. So, you know, it's all swings and roundabouts, innit? Missy was last seen apparently being vaporised in series eight's finale, Death In Heaven. But, as one of her - male - predecessors once noted: 'I'm indestructible, Doctor, the whole universe knows that.' Mind you, another one once 'drezzzzzzed for the occasion' so, you know, no one's perfect. It was recently confirmed that Blink director Hettie MacDonald will return to take charge of at least one episode of the upcoming series. The opening two episodes will also feature Kelly Hunter (who previously played The Shadow Architect in The Stolen Earth), Clare Higgins (Ohila in The Night Of The Doctor) and Jaye Griffiths. Other guest stars appearing in the series include Daniel Hoffmann-Gill, Jami Reid-Quarrell, Aaron Neil, India Ria Amarteifio, Joey Price, Dasharn Anderson, Harki Bhambra, and Demi Papaminas.
This Easter a college in Manchester is offering a crash course in the history of Doctor Who. Historian Michael Herbert will be teaching an eleven-week evening class on the history of the television programme, starting on 14 April at Aquinas College, Stockport. This course will look at the creation of Doctor Who by the BBC's then head of drama, Sydney Newman and producer Verity Lambert, in the early months of 1963. The course will then follow its history over the following five decades, including the Twelve Doctors from yer actual William Hartnell to Peter Capaldi his very self, the many companions and the role of producers and script editors in the programme including Lambert, Terrance Dicks, Barry Letts, John Nathan Turner, Andrew Cartmel and Russell Davies. The course will examine why Doctor Who was taken off the air in 1989 and how, it returned in 2005 to critical acclaim and is now watched by millions, both in Britain and abroad. Each week the course will view a number of classic episodes from each Doctor's era. The course will be led by Herbert who says that he watched the first episode, aged eight. Pfft, lightweight. The blogger was four. Anyway, Michael's pamphlet Doctor Who & The Communist: The Television Career Of Malcolm Hulke was published by Five Leaves Press in January.
A new Doctor Who comic uniting three of the more recent Doctors will be released by Titan Comics this summer. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mucker, the fantastically talented Paul Cornell, is scripting the five-part series, which will run weekly from mid-August till the end of September. The story will involve the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Broadchurch's overnight audience dipped again by around two hundred thousand viewers week-on-week on Monday. The ITV drama's penultimate episode was seen by an overnight average 5.67 million at 9pm. Earlier, Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's More Tales From Northumbria - in which Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's bare naked arse was, briefly, visible on the sands at Druridge Bay (and, jolly pert and shapely it was, too) opened with 3.61m at 8pm. BBC1's live FA Cup coverage of The Scum's 3-1 win over Preston Both Ends topped the night with 5.74m at 7.30pm. Later, an EastEnders 'special' (and, I use that word quite wrongly) of The Graham Norton Show had an audience of 2.21m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, University Challenge attracted 2.44m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.07m at 8.30pm. A Cook Abroad appealed to 1.49m at 9pm, while Vic and Bob's House of Fools returned for a second series with six hundred and sixty one thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Food Unwrapped drew 1.08m at 8.30pm, whilst the controversial even before it was shown UKiP: The First One Hundred Days was watched by only nine hundred and sixteen thousand punters at 9pm. Catastrophe failed to amuse five hundred and nine thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, My Daughter Stole My Husband was gawped at by 1.01m sad, crushed victims of humanity at 8pm, followed by Benefits Britain with 1.85m at 9pm and Ten Thousand BC with eight hundred and forty one thousand at 10pm. BBC3's Uncle returned for a new series with two hundred and forty six thousand at 9.30pm. E4's Taking New York dipped to just forty seven thousand at 9pm for its second episode. On FOX, The Walking Dead had an audience of four hundred and ninety five thousand at 9pm.
Former national heartthrob David Tennant has responded to critics of Broadchurch's second series - for there have been quite a few. The actor said that the drama has become a victim of its own success, adding that British viewers 'never allow lightning to strike twice.' He told the Press Association: 'I think we're a victim of our success to be honest. The first series was such an extraordinary thing. We never allow lightning to strike twice in this country, we just don't let that happen. So, inevitably there was going to be a certain amount of, "It's not as good as the first time." I think it is. I think it's a wonderful series that I'm very proud to be part of.' Asked about the final two episodes of the current series, the actor said that he is 'a vault of secrets', and refused to be drawn on further details.
Channel Four has so far received over fifteen hundred complaints over UKiP: The First One Hundred Days. The 'what-if' drama imagined a future scenario in which Nigel Farage party's won the general erection in May. An unlikely scenario, frankly. The docudrama used real-life archive material alongside scripted drama to show how British domestic and foreign policy could change with UKiP in power. Ofcom said that it has received seven hundred and thirty complaints following the broadcast on Monday, while Channel Four has received almost one thousand comments by Wednesday. Ofcom said: 'We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate.' A Channel Four spokesperson told the Digital Spy website: 'This rise of UKiP's electoral support is one of the biggest political phenomena in recent years and this is reflected in The First One Hundred Days, which used policies and statements made by the party and its members to create a fictional future where the party is in power. The programme was produced in accordance with the Ofcom Broadcast Code and its obligations to be fair, accurate and duly impartial. The election period set out in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code has not started. Channel Four has a role to encourage debate and engage viewers in political issues - and the schedule will include a broad range of programming in the build up to the election including news and current affairs investigations, a party leader debate and a major new political drama on the formation of the coalition government.' UKiP leader Nigel Farage - you might have heard of him, he's on television more often than Olivia Colman - criticised the programme on Twitter, describing it as 'a biased, partisan depiction' of his party.
Updated to add: It has been pointed out to the blogger that the photo image used to illustrate the UKiP complaints story above is not, in fact, one of Nigel Farage the leader of UKiP. Rather it is, actually, a photo of 'a Nazi'. All of us at From The North wish to apologise, sincerely, for any inconvenience, upset or embarrassment this mix-up has caused. To the Nazi. Next ...
BBC1's The Gift dipped in the ratings when going up against live football on Tuesday, overnight data reveals. The charitable series dropped by around four hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to an average 3.27 million at 9pm. Later, Count Arthur Strong was watched by 1.53m at 10.35pm. ITV's live coverage of the Champions League game between Paris St Germain and Moscow Chelski FC topped the night outside soaps with 4.33m from 7.30pm. On BBC2, Alex Polizzi: The Fixer appealed to 1.90m at 8pm, followed by Inside The Commons with 1.73m at 9pm. Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience gathered eight hundred and fifty two thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Can Property Pay Your Wages? was seen by 1.06m at 8pm, while The Romanians Are Coming interested 1.55m at 9pm. Kid Criminals was watched by nine hundred and seventy nine thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Costa Del Casualty brought in nine hundred and thirty six thousand at 8pm, followed by Killer Psychopaths with eight hundred and thirty three thousand at 9pm and Ten Thousand BC with six hundred and seven thousand at 10pm.

Moscow Chelski FC managed to claim a 1-1 draw in Paris when John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic combined for The Blues to take the lead against PSG. Whilst that certainly qualified as 'news', much of Twitter its very self was, as usual, positively awash with hyperbole, trivia and bollocks - in this case regarding the man who has replaced odious waste-of-space greed bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles as the host of ITV's football coverage. Mark Pougatch previously best known as a BBC radio host delivered a consummate performance in his début after having taken over from the rightly maligned greed bucket horrorshow and faceache, Chiles. Gone were the sarcastic and tragically unfunny alleged 'jokes' and the pointless, bland, banal questions to bemused-looking panellists from Chiles with Pougatch delivering a more professional presenting style and, seemingly, delighting the majority of fans on social media who expressed a preference. 'As far as stepping into someone's shoes goes, ITV's new football presenter, Mark Pougatch, did not exactly face the same pressure as the bloke who replaced John Squire in The Stone Roses', wrote the Gruniad Morning Star's Nick Miller; nice pop culture reference there, pal. He was called Aziz Ibrahim, incidentally. However, Miller then spoiled it by going on to suggest, quite entirely wrongly and against all evidence, that 'Adrian Chiles was not all bad.' Oh, yes he was, matey. Every single solitary bit 'all bad'. That's why ITV sacked his ass and sent him packing.
Meanwhile, more than nine million overnight viewers watched EastEnders go live on Tuesday, when fans may – or may not – have found out who killed yer actual Lucy Beale. The BBC1 soap had a near forty per cent share of the audience from 7.30pm - when it was up against the Moscow Chelski match - one-and-a-half million more than the number of overnight viewers who watched Tuesday night's episode the previous week. The episode featured live inserts as part of EastEnders' week-long thirtieth birthday celebrations, which will culminate in an all-live episode on Friday. But, there was some confusion over what Jake Wood's character, Max Branning, actually said to his daughter, Abi, during the episode's crucial live segment: did he say 'Lauren knows you killed Lucy' or 'Lauren knows who killed Lucy'? Because, that's quite a crucial difference. It was EastEnders' largest overnight audience for two years, since 9.2 million tuned in on 21 January 2013. Tuesday's episode was also nearly three million viewers up on the 2014 average for the soap's Tuesday night 7.30pm slot, watched by an overnight average of 6.1 million viewers last year. It also beat last year's Christmas special, with 7.4 million overnight viewers and the 2013 festive edition, with 7.7 million.
And, the drama wasn't just confined to the on-screen action, either. A fire reportedly broke out on the set of EastEnders a few hours after the live inserts broadcast on Tuesday. Firefighters were called to the set in the BBC's Elstree studios in Hertfordshire just after 23:00. Flames were reported in parts of a building on the Albert Square location. The fire, which did not cause any serious damage, is believed to have been started accidentally by a firework. The blaze, which was in the first floor and roof space of the building, was soon 'contained and extinguished' by crews, said Ian Parkhouse from Hertfordshire fire and rescue service. 'We're pleased that we were able to deal with this incident quickly, so it shouldn't affect the thirty-year celebrations taking place this week,' he added.
Of course, live TV episodes may be gimmicky but fans tend to rather like them because they inject that sense of potential jeopardy into traditionally slick and polished telly. And, this week's EastEnders episode are certainly living up to the hype. Following Tuesday night's possibly muffled line which left fans wondering who on earth did kill Lucy Beale, there was an even more prominent gaffe on Wednesday. Perhaps momentarily confused by the ages-old system of actors pretending to be other people for the purposes of entertainment Jo Joyner, who plays Tanya Branning, said Ian Beale actor's Adam Woodyatt's name by mistake. 'I couldn't miss your big day, could I?' she told Ian's wife Jane (Laurie Brett): 'Even if it does mean bumping into the bald ginger one. How's Adam?' she continued. Oops. Joyner, at least, was able to see the lighter side of her slip, tweeting afterwards: 'At least you know it's live!'
Crap overheard on Facebook this week. Number one: 'Am I the only person in the country who doesn't give a monkey's about who killed Lucy on EastEnders?' This blogger has seen at least three variations of that statement in the last twenty four hours. Which, obviously, leads to the reply 'no, you're not. There would appear to be at least two others who feel the same way out there and, quite possibly, a hell of a lot more (given that whilst eleven million people watched the episode in question, live, fifty odd million did not). However, you do appear to amongst the few who've actually attempted to prove you don't care who killed Lucy in EastEnders, by starting a thread on Facebook telling everyone how much you don't care about who killed Lucy in EastEnders. Which could, in and of itself, be indicative of a sort of caring.' Or something. Yer actual Keith telly Topping is overthinking this, isn't he? Next ...

The Great Comic Relief Bake Off topped the overnight ratings on Wednesday. The second episode of the charity series attracted 7.02m at 8.30pm, while Room 101 followed with 4.22m at 9.30pm. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip continued with 1.40m at 7pm, before Alaska: Earth's Frozen Kingdom interested 2.38m at 8pm. The latest episode of Wolf Hall attracted 2.46m at 9pm. ITV's Midsomer Murders was watched by 3.66m at 8pm. On Channel Four, The Restoration Man appealed to nine hundred and ninety thousand at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours in A&E brought in 1.73m at 9pm. Junk Food Kids: Who's to Blame? had an audience of 1.33m at 10pm. GPs: Behind Closed Doors averaged eight hundred and ninety thousand for Channel Five at 8pm, before World's Biggest Hips attracted 1.05m at 9pm. Erin Brockovich was watched by three hundred and eighty eight thousand at 10pm.

BBC Worldwide has announced that it has secured 'strong' international sales of its acclaimed Wolf Hall. The period drama, starring Damian Lewis as Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, has been sold to ARTE for France and Germany, SVT in Sweden, DR in Denmark, YLE in Finland, BBC First covering Australia and co-production partners Masterpiece for the US. The announcement was made ahead of the BBC Worldwide Showcase 2015, which will be held in Liverpool between 22 and 25 February. The showcase is the biggest distributor trade event in the world and is designed to generate programme sales on behalf of the BBC and various British independent producers. President of global markets for BBC Worldwide, Paul Dempsey, said: 'The range and quality of this year's content slate will make for a special showcase and we can't wait to welcome a record number of international buyers to our flagship event for British TV exports.'
And now ...
The name Tony Hart has not reverberated around social media for several years. Certainly not since the popular children's television presenter and artist died in 2009. His name, however, became one of the most heavily discussed topics on Twitter on Sunday and Monday as a wave of people spread the news of his demise and scramble to pay tribute to him, seemingly, in the mistaken belief that it was 'news.' That was, perhaps, inevitably, followed by a second wave of comments, all mocking the first lot for being such stupid glakes, basically (sample: 'Tony Hart. So good, we mourned him twice!') The BBC were soon on the case on Monday, trying to find out just what the blithering fek was going on with all this malarkey. 'It appears that the confusion started on Sunday at 20:44 when Dan Huntley, a thirty three-year-old father of two from Kent, tweeted "RIP Tony Hart"', they suggested. About half-an-hour later Dan appeared to have discovered his mistake and acknowledged it online but, by that time, it was too late to halt the unstoppable tidal-wave of 'Psst, Tony Hart's died, pass it on' malarkey which, at one point, threatened to break the Internet. 'My Mrs just told me she saw a post on Facebook and assumed it was today he died,' Dan told the BBC. 'I loved Hartbeat as a child so I wanted to pay tribute. I didn't really think twice about it. However, when I was informed that he died six years ago, I remembered paying tribute on my own Facebook page [at the time]. I have no idea why it would suddenly start trending like that, unless it was a simple mix up like what happened with me.' Well, it's probably because most people on social media have the memory span of the average goldfish, a propensity for believing any old crap that they're told and have nothing better to do with their lives, if we're being completely honest about this. This social media user very much included.
Every straight kid's favourite lesbian, the very excellent Sue Perkins, will host a new format of Sky Atlantic's Thronecast series when it returns in April. The Game Of Thrones spin-off will be broadcast live in front of a studio audience following each new episode of the hugely popular HBO fantasy drama. Thronecast will launch with an hour-long special after the premiere of Game Of Thrones' season five on Monday 13 April. It will then continue with nine half-hour episodes accompanying each weekly episode. Sue will be joined each week by a panel including cast and crew members, celebrity fans and guest experts. Game Of Thrones 'expert', Jamie East, will also return to provide 'special reports' and audience interaction, along with previews of upcoming episodes and behind-the-scenes footage.
Jimmy Nesbitt begorrah, bejesus, where's me shillelagh, has ruled out an appearance in series two of The Missing. The acclaimed first series of BBC1's thriller followed Nesbitt's character, Tony, as he hunted for his missing son Olly. The next series will see Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) pursue a new investigation. Nesbitt confirmed to Radio Times that he will not be reprising his part in the new episodes. The actor also addressed the ambiguity surrounding the first series finale and the fate of missing the Olly. In the final scenes, a deranged Tony approached a young boy in Russia, whom he believed to be his son. 'I was talking to someone about the ending and I was saying it definitely wasn't Olly at the end,' Nesbitt explained. '[I thought] Tony is demented and Oliver is dead and the only place that Tony can find solace is in this demented world. And that was how I was playing it. But the director Tom Shankland arrived and said, "Oh no, that was Olly" - so there was an ambiguity to it.' The writing team of Harry and Jack Williams will return to write series two of The Missing - as with the first series, the new run will be a co-production between the BBC and US cable network Starz.
The Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star reading Green Party frackers at Channel Four News have been extremely censured by media regulator Ofcom for 'misleading viewers' in a report about policing. The Metropolitan Police complained last March over a story about an official review into possible police corruption. It has transpired that interviewees who were presented as members of the public in the story were, in fact, pre-selected and had ties with the broadcaster. Channel Four said it 'accepted' that the report 'fell below the normal standards.' The news broadcast in question was about a review into the investigation of the death of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Five people were asked for their reactions on the street in Brixton. One was identified as 'working for youth marketing agency Livity' - but, it transpired, that four of those interviewed, in fact, worked for the same organisation. The Channel Four reporter had previously been employed by the agency and the organisation also lists Channel Four as one of its clients. Ofcom there was 'a significant failure' because the broadcast made it appear that three of the interviewees were 'randomly selected members of the public.' The regulator said that broadcasters had a 'fundamental obligation to ensure that audiences are not misled by the manner in which news is presented.' It added that 'breaches of this nature are amongst the most serious that can be committed by a broadcaster because they go to the heart of the relationship of trust between a broadcaster and its audience.' And, it concluded that somebody in a position of authority at Channel Four News really ought to get their arse kicked, really hard, for such damn-fool shenanigans. Ofcom added: 'any unfairness resulting from the selection and presentation of the vox pops in the Brixton report was not capable of materially or adversely affecting viewers' opinions of the MPS in a way that was unfair. Therefore, overall, we did not consider that the MPS was treated unfairly in the programme as broadcast.' Channel Four said that the error was due to 'poor judgment by a junior reporter'. They failed to add whether this 'junior reporter' upon whom all of the blame for the incident was now being hastily dumped like a bucket of hot shite had been given the tin-tack or kicked, geet hard, in the Jacob's Cream Crackers and told not to do it again, or what. A Channel Four spokeswoman sneered: 'Ofcom accepted that all the individuals interviewed in this brief report were expressing their own genuinely held opinions on camera, which reflected similarly held views by many others - and has ruled that the overall twenty-minute item about The Ellison Review was duly impartial. Whilst we do not agree that the audience was misled in any meaningful way, we accept that the reporter's methodology was flawed - it was an error of judgment and we broadcast an apology and clarification about this within a week.'

Crap overheard on Facebook this week: Number two. 'Just watched the final episode of Spiral. Never has a show so spectacularly jumped the shark as this.' Okay, you can all stop laughing now dear blog reader, the silly man (or woman) has gone away. And, bonus points to him (or her) for alluding to an Internet 'buzzphrase' which, thanks to its ludicrous overuse - by glakes - has now been rendered more or less meaningless.

US TV show Saturday Night Live celebrated its fortieth birthday with a three-hour special featuring guests like Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake kicked off the show with a medley of music, catchphrases and characters. Steve Martin, Taylor Swift, Tom Hanks, Sir Paul McCartney, Melissa McCarthy and Keith Richards also joined the party. Sir Paul performed an impromptu duet of 'I've Just Seen A Face' with Paul Simon. Other musical guests included Kanye West and Miley Cyrus. 'Tonight is like an enormous high school reunion,' host Martin said as the show began. Saturday Night Live has become a US TV institution and numerous cast members - including Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler and Kristen Wiig - have gone on to carve out Hollywood careers. Creator Lorne Michaels is widely regarded as one of the most revered producers in the business. 'If Lorne didn't have good taste, this would have gone away a long time ago,' said Mike Myers, whose Wayne's World sketches with Dana Carvey - which he reprised on Sunday - inspired the comedy film of the same name. De Niro proclaimed that SNL is 'still at it', adding: 'Forty years! That's like back when TV was still watched on TV.' A montage of audition tapes, including disappointing ones from Jim Carrey and Stephen Colbert, were also shown. A spoof news team made up of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin appeared together for the Weekend Update, with the top story being the SNL anniversary itself. 'Viewers of Saturday Night Live span several generations,' Fey reported. 'From the Baby Boomers to Generation X all the way to whatever you call the little dummies who are live-tweeting this right now instead of watching it.'

ITV is jumping into the gap left by Total Wipeout with a new show 'inspired' by an extreme assault-course game show from Japan. The show, called Ninja Warrior UK, will be hosted by Ben Shephard, The Saturdays' Rochelle Humes and ex-footballer and Sky Sports legend Chris Kamara and will feature two hundred and fifty contestants running, jumping and climbing their way through the challenging course. It is based on a Japanese show called Sasuke, which has already been a hit in the US and features what ITV describes as 'the toughest obstacle course ever seen on British television.' The broadcaster's commissioning editor for entertainment, Asif Zubairy, said: 'We are thrilled to be bringing Ninja Warrior to the UK. This exciting new format will showcase some inspirational achievements as well as hilarious mishaps on what promises to be the toughest course on TV.' The BBC's Total Wipeout, which relied on a similar blend of athletic ability and slapstick comedy, was dropped in 2012 after six series.

Rumours that the Waterloo 200 Committee, lead by the legend that is Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, will soon be producing yet another series of piss-poor TV adverts shown on the Discovery Channel in the afternoon, this one for a commemorative medal to celebrate the forthcoming forty first anniversary of ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Conext cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied.
Teletubbies creator Anne Wood has whinged that she is 'a bit sad' the hit 1990s children's show is being remade and that she will not be watching it. As if anybody actually gives a monkey's about trivia such as that. Wood told the Radio Times she is 'not a fan' of the trend for remaking old shows such as Dangermouse and Clangers. 'I'm a bit sad,' she whinged. 'It comes down to the times we're in: people feel safer remaking hits of the past rather than investing in something new.' Wood also produced hit show In the Night Garden. 'There are such a lot of programmes being remade and I just feel the children's television industry is worth more than that,' whinged Wood, whose new show Twirlywoos begins on CBeebies next week. 'It would be nice if more encouragement was given to new work.' Wood has been responsible for many of the UK's best-loved children's programmes and characters, including Roland Rat, Rosie & Jim and Brum. The original Teletubbies, starring Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, ran on the BBC from 1997 to 2001. Wood no longer owns the rights to the hit series, which she co-created with Andrew Davenport, as she sold them in 2013 to help fund new programmes. One does, rather, wonder if that's the reason why she's 'a bit sad' about the revival than any artistic concerns. She suggested that she would not be watching the new series, which is due to be shown on CBeebies later this year, adding: 'I couldn't bring myself to. I have nothing against them, it might be brilliant. They tell me they've got the best producer possible on it, so that's a good sign. But how could I watch it? All my programmes are like my children. It's like seeing a child remade in somebody else's image. So good luck to them.' Oh Christ, cheer up you silly bloody drama queen, you sound like you've just lost a quid and found a penny. Wood's new show Twirlywoos - 'a situation comedy for three to four-year-olds' - features four bird-like creatures called Great BigHoo, Toodloo, Chickedy and Chick. It uses stop-frame animation rather than hand puppets or people dressed in suits and is unashamedly educational. 'Educational ideas were present in Teletubbies and In the Night Garden but much more subliminally,' said Wood. 'This show takes in the latest educational research and builds a comedy around it - whereas in the past I've just made a comedy and just by chance some of these ideas happened to be embedded within it.'

The BBC is 'in discussions' with the Football Association about how to make it easier to choose the most exciting FA Cup fixtures to show live. The broadcaster received criticism - by whingers, mainly from the West Yorkshire area - for not showing Bradford City's 2-0 victory over relegation-haunted Blnuderland in the fifth round last Sunday, electing instead to show Aston Villain's tie against relegation certainties Leicester. In a statement, the BBC's football editor, Mark Cole, wrote: 'As the game unfolded yesterday at Valley Parade, we shared the frustration of fans and would have loved to have been broadcasting the match live. It's everything the FA Cup and our new comprehensive coverage is about. We are speaking to the FA about whether we can change this in the future, but understand it's tricky for them. Clubs understandably want to get plans for ticketing, policing and fans in place without waiting for ten days for TV companies to confirm their selections. But we hope there's a middle ground where we can get a little more flexibility to ensure we have as much chance as possible of capturing Cup classics like yesterday.' The BBC and BT had to make their fifth-round selections before the outcome of the fourth-round replays, which included The Mackem Filth playing at Championship side Poor Bloody Fulham Haven't Got A Chance. If the decision could have been delayed until the fixtures were known for certain, the BBC insists it would have chosen Bradford's tie against that shower from T'Dark Place. Cole wrote: 'That's the only reason why Phil Parkinson's side didn't get a live match this time round. We had to weigh up the options and given Sunderland's recent form, thought it was a realistic possibility of the match being League One against a Championship side. In this case it wouldn't have been much of a shock whatever the result and the winners would be guaranteed a live quarter-final, as Reading have done by progressing at Derby. If Bradford definitely had a home tie against Premier League opposition we certainly would have chosen to have the match live on BBC1.' Bradford’s dramatic victory was, in the event, shown first on Sunday night's Match Of The Day. In what appears to be a specific  - and, rather amusing - punishment beating for their constant crass whinging, Bradford will not be featured live on the BBC in the sixth round, either. Their home tie against Championship side Reading will go out, instead, on BT Sport. That's what you get for shouting the odds at BBC Sport, lads. A short, sharp reminder that you need them a hell of a lot more than they need you.
HBO has commissioned two more series of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, quashing - seemingly unfounded - rumours that the comedian would replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Oliver launched Last Week Tonight in 2014 after seven years as one of Stewart's colleagues on The Daily Show. He was mentioned as a possible new host after Stewart announced last week that he is to stand down later in the year. But, the new HBO deal means that Oliver will present thirty five episodes of Last Week Tonight per year in 2016 and 2017. The announcement comes three days after his late-night chat show won the Writers Guild of America award for best comedy and/or variety series. Hugely popular in the US, Oliver rose to fame after joining The Daily Show as its 'Senior British Correspondent' in 2006. In 2013, he stood in for Stewart for eight weeks while the host was shooting a film. Oliver received many positive reviews, with some critics suggesting he should eventually succeed Stewart. Other possible contenders to replace Stewart include Tina Fey, Jessica Williams and Amy Poehler. 'We are incredibly proud to have John as part of the HBO family,' HBO president Michael Lombardo said. 'His unique ability to deliver socially significant commentary week after week, along with his innate comedic brilliance, puts John in a class by himself.' In the first season of Last Week Tonight, which ended last November, Oliver covered topics including net neutrality, Uganda's anti-LGBT laws, Miss America, climate change, FIFA corruption and civil forfeiture abuse by the police. The second series of thirty five episodes began earlier this month. The show is produced by the US arm of Britain's Avalon Television, and is broadcast on Sky Atlantic in the UK.
A Sun reporter has claimed to the Gruniad Morning Star that he felt 'sick' after well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks contacted him to 'give him tips' on how to get through a criminal trial he faced over an e-mail sent while she was editor of the paper. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks, who was cleared of phone-hacking and making corrupt payment charges after a marathon trial last year, allegedly told John Troup that he was 'in her thoughts' and, he claims, she gave him 'advice' on how to get over the shock of his trial. Troup said it was 'particularly winceworthy' given that he was charged because of a decision by the paper's publisher to hand over internal Sun e-mails to the Metropolitan police. The paper's former East Anglia district reporter was acquitted of a single charge based on one e-mail that appeared to link him to a payment request for a prison officer at White HMP Whitemoor in 2007. It was, apparently, for a four-paragraph story in 2007 about a prisoner suicide but it transpired during the trial that Troup didn't write the story in question. Troup claimed, bitterly, that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'did not show any interest' when he was 'dumped' after nineteen years on the paper, working on major stories including the Fred and Rosemary West murders. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was editor of the tabloid between 2003 and 2009 and was chief executive of News International when Troup was made redundant. 'Brooks? I don't remember hearing anything after I was made redundant,' he whinged. 'But, she sent me an e-mail along with some of my other co-defendants at the beginning of the trial telling me how I should approach the whole thing, how I was in her thoughts and then sent another one at the end telling me how delighted she was for me. It made me feel a bit sick to be honest,' Troup told Rom Latchem in an interview on the Internet station Fubar Radio. During the trial, one of Troup's co-defendants accused the Sun's publisher, News International, of being 'a copper's nark' by handing over millions of internal e-mails at the Sun in order to 'save the skin' of senior staff. Troup claimed that the charges were 'particularly galling' as he had been made redundant in 2010 by the Sun and was then sacked by the local council he was working for before having a chance to prove himself innocent. 'A lot of the evidence that came out at my trial was these payments had been signed off by people at editor level. People who appeared to have been exempt from the whole process of passing on info from the Management Standards Committee to the Met police,' Troup said. He added that he was 'stunned' to find himself under investigation – it transpired during the trial he had not even written the story at the centre of the case. He recalled how he received a call out of the blue from Metropolitan police detectives in 2013. 'I racked my brains to think if there was anything I might have a problem with and couldn't think of anything so I was quite stunned to be told the police wanted to speak to me. I, personally, have never done anything morally questionable,' he claimed. He said that he felt 'a sense of betrayal having run through brick walls for him for the best part of nineteen years' for the paper and that it was 'very difficult' to reconcile his and others' loyalty to the paper with the realisation that they had subsequently 'had been ratted out in the worst possible way.' He told how he was 'frogmarched' out of Uttlesford District council when he was charged in 2013, plunging him into 'a perilous financial state' as he faced a possible six-figure legal bill for his trial. 'I was summoned to a disciplinary meeting a couple of weeks later, but not before I had a call from the borough solicitor telling me that the disciplinary hearing I had been summoned to was likely to go against me and I might want to "consider my position." I said "what do you mean consider the position?" He said: "you might want to consider resigning." I said "I'm not resigning, I haven't done anything wrong." Looking back at it, it was a fairly cynical way to get me to forego any holiday pay and sick pay I night have been owed. But, I had my day in court, if you like. I had my disciplinary hearing, stated my case, based on the fact that everyone should be considered innocent until proven guilty, but they saw otherwise and I was dismissed.' Initially, the Sun did not cover his legal fees, but after the intervention of the new editor, David Dinsmore, the organisation decided to cover do so. Troup said that he 'found it difficult' to rely on billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch for funding. And we're supposed to, what, feel sorry for him? You were happy enough to take Uncle Rupert's shilling for all those years, mate, you should've known what to expect. Whilst on bail Troup made ends meet by working as a labourer on building sites and in a butcher's shop in Norfolk. Troup says that despite the 'nightmare' of the trial, he would like to work for a police force. 'Bizarrely, I'd still love to do a job in the communications team for a police force, not the Metropolitan police, they can go and whistle as far as I'm concerned,' he said. 'If I apply for a job, they would have to give me an interview but whether they'd give me a job or not? It's a shame because I really do believe in what the police do,' he said.

Meanwhile, the jury in a trial at the Old Bailey have been ordered not to watch a BBC documentary on the royal family's relations with the media amid concerns it could prejudice a fair trial of the Sun's royal editor. In a written direction Mr Justice Saunders told jurors not to watch the programme, not to discuss it with friends, or to read any commentary in the paper. To do so, he said, could be 'contempt of court' which could 'result in a fine or imprisonment.' He told jurors that the programme 'deals with relations between the royal family and the press. Those relations play some part in this trial. It would be quite wrong if you were to take into account anything which was said on that programme when deciding this case. It will not have been considered in court,' he said. 'People who express a view in the programme could not be challenged on the view that they express. To avoid any risk of influencing your verdict you are not to watch it,' he said. The two-part documentary, Reinventing The Royals, has been promoted as an investigation into the twenty-year battle between the royals and the media, looking at their 'personal privacy and public image.' Mr Justice Saunders said he was 'concerned' that commentary in the programme could prejudice the trial of Duncan Larcombe and his co-defendants, a Sandhurst officer and his wife. Larcombe has been very accused of plotting together with the couple to cause misconduct in public officer in connection with alleged payments for stories about the royals. Opening his case, Richard Kovalevsky QC, told jurors that Larcombe had 'a moral code' which he 'applies strictly' in relation to reporting on the royal family. 'In my own view I don't think I have done anything wrong and I am still have yet to be convinced why I'm sitting here,' said Larcombe. He said that he believed the public had 'a right to know' about the lives of the second and third in line to the throne but there were limits which the Sun respected. 'Anytime I was asked to back off, I did. I have left countries.' He recalled how he was once asked to leave an island off Mozambique where Prince Harry was holidaying with his then girlfriend, Chelsy Davy. Larcombe had spent three hours making the journey to the island on a fishing boat and turned up 'looking like Robinson Crusoe.' Standing on the shore was Prince Harry's royal protection officer, Chris Tarr, whom Larcombe had met previously. Larcombe told jurors that he asked Tarr if he could get a ride back to the mainland in the hotel plane. 'Tarr started to laugh and said "can you help me? Do you know someone called Sarah Arnold from the News of the World?' 'What's the problem?' asked Larcombe. 'She's sitting over at the bar,' replied Tarr. 'She's here with the photographer and pretending to be on honeymoon, could you just have a quiet word with them and maybe they could go back to the mainland with you,' he said. Larcombe said that he 'felt awkward' but approached Arnold, who he knew, and told her: 'I have been asked to to mark your card that you're not on honeymoon.' He said that he got 'a very strange reaction.' She told him: 'I don't know that your talking about. This is my new husband.' 'I thought she had been drinking the seawater to be honest,' said Larcombe. He returned to the mainland and said that he thought the Scum of the World reporter later regretted that she didn't too. Larcombe told jurors of another incident in which the Sun handed photos of Prince William and Kate Middleton 'snatched' while they were on holiday in Mustique back to Clarence House. The photos, which he described as 'very intimate' were 'incredible.' The seller was looking for twenty five thousand smackers, but they could have been worth five hundred thousand, claimed Larcombe. The newsdesk had asked Larcombe to 'check out the source' of the photos but 'alarm bells started ringing' after he spoke to the man who had phoned the paper. 'He didn't sound like an Old Etonian who had been holidaying on the island,' said Larcombe. The paper quickly realised the photos, on a memory stick, did not belong to him and handed them to the prince. Later it transpired they had been stolen from Pippa Middelton's handbag, jurors were told. Larcombe said he 'stood by every single one' of the stories he had written during his time at the Sun and claimed that he followed a strict code of practice to ensure he didn't invade the princes' privacy. 'There aren't any official rules, but it's about building a relationship with them, they know they are going to be photographed, but also it’s about not being followed everywhere and having their lives ruined,' said Larcombe. He met the princes on many occasions and explained that on royal tours Prince William would join the press for a pre-arranged drink. He said that he joined his first paper a week before Princess Diana died and was 'acutely aware' of the press complaints commission code being updated to give the princes a media-free childhood that lasted until they finished their education. When he became royal editor of the Sun Prince William had just finished at St Andrews university and Prince Harry had finished school and was about to go to Sandhurst. Larcombe said this was 'a blank canvas' for the press as the PCC code had not been updated to account for the new era of princes in their adulthood. Larcombe recalled the 'intense interest' the paparazzi were taking in Middleton when she was dating Prince William and had seen her 'absolutely surrounded' by press and TV cameras on the street outside her flat on the day of her birthday. He said this 'heightened concerns' that there may be another Diana-style 'tunnel incident' and he suggested to his then editor well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks that they should embargo all photographs of Middleton which had been taken when she was not with William and his royal protection officers. 'I sensed very quickly that William and Harry hated the paparazzi. I thought the way they were being treated, there was real danger that in my view after this seven-year period [of press-free living] there was a fear … that because there were no proper guidelines, the fear was there could be another tunnel incident where the paparazzi can just chase them all round the world, hound them without any limits,' said Larcombe. He claimed that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'needed no persuading' to agree a self-imposed ban on paparazzi shots and the company announced it had 'banned' the use of all photos of Middleton taken while she was on her own, in all its titles. Larcombe has been extremely charged with conspiring to cause misconduct in public office along with three other senior Sun journalists. They all deny the charges. The trial continues.

Blood on the seats, vomiting in the aisles, a geet rive-on with kids getting sparked and all sorts and a man, allegedly, being 'glassed' by three women. No, it's not some kind of post-apocalyptic horror movie, but rather the first Valentine's Day screening of Fifty Shades Of Grey at a cinema in Glasgow. The man was, allegedly, 'attacked' by the group of women when he asked them to stop talking during the movie at the Grosvenor cinema in the city's West End. Michael Bolton was at the film adaptation of the EL James bestseller with wife Yvonne. He snitched to the Daily Record: 'Besides being the worst film I have ever seen, three women were getting arrested and put in a police van when we arrived. A woman came out the theatre and said that a guy had been glassed. One woman was in handcuffs and another two women were in tears. She said that three or four girls had been very loud and were shouting.' Mind you, given the subject matter of that particular movie, the handcuffs and the weeping could be seen as the end of a damn good night out. 'The man had asked them to shut up and he was glassed,' claimed Bolton. 'It's a cinema where you can buy drink. Only in Glasgow are police called to the cinema. This type of behaviour happens at pubs and nightclubs – but you don't expect that at a cinema.' Another, anonymous, alleged witness allegedly added: 'There were also several incredibly drunk women vomiting in the aisle and corridor and several complaints from the other screen about drunk and rowdy folk.' Police called to the cinema said that they had arrested three women for disorder and breach of the peace. The victim, who had gone to watch the film with his girlfriend, was reported to be 'not seriously injured', had not been 'glassed' (so, the woman who told Michael Bolton what happened, seemingly, lied) and didn't need any further treatment.
A Booking.com advert has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority following a number of hilarious complaints. The advert in question featured a voice-over used the word 'booking' in sentences such as: 'It doesn't get any booking better than this.' The ASA received two thousand three hundred and forty five whinges - all, seemingly, from rank glakes with nothing better to do with their time than whinge about trivial crap like this - about the cinema and television ads, with the majority of complaints believing the word 'booking' had been used in place of a bad naughty swear word. 'Fucking' to be precise. Some whingers also reported seeing the commercial during children's programming, or before a screening of a film such as Paddington and 'questioned the appropriateness.' However, the ASA did not uphold any of the complaints and said: 'The ASA acknowledged complainants' concerns that the substitution of the word "booking" could encourage children to swear. However, we considered "booking" was sufficiently dissimilar to "fucking" to be unlikely to be recognised as a reference to a swear word by those who were not already familiar with the word or associated phrases and, therefore, considered that children would infer that the term was being used as a reference to the advertiser's brand name.'
The former chief political commentator of the Daily Torygraph has called for an independent review of the newspaper's guidelines over its coverage of the HSBC tax scandal. Peter Oborne, who has resigned, claimed prominence was not given to the HSBC story 'because of commercial interests.' He told the BBC that an assessment of the relationship between advertising and editorial was needed. The paper said his earlier statement was 'full of inaccuracy and innuendo.' In a lengthy statement published on the Open Democracy website on Tuesday, Oborne - whose writing this blogger had always rather admired even if his politics stinks - explained he had already resigned from the paper 'as a matter of conscience' because of 'a number of its editorial decisions.' Oborne said last week's BBC Panorama investigation into HSBC was 'hardly mentioned' in the Torygraph compared to other papers where it got 'enormous play.' Speaking to the BBC, he urged the paper to explain itself and its editorial judgement. He said: 'The Telegraph must now call an independent review. It can't be done by the chief executive, he has been running the show, we need an independent outsider to come in and do a full assessment of the relationship between advertising and editorial. A fraud is being perpetrated on Telegraph readers who buy the paper expecting to get the news and instead get something that gives the impression it is vetted by the advertising department.' A Torygraph spokesman poo-pah'd the very suggestion and said that the 'distinction between advertising and our award-winning editorial operation has always been fundamental to our business.' Whatever the fek that means. They added: 'We utterly refute any allegation to the contrary. It is a matter of huge regret that Peter Oborne, for nearly five years a contributor to the Telegraph, should have launched such an astonishing and unfounded attack, full of inaccuracy and innuendo, on his own paper.' Meanwhile, the Gruniad Morning Star - the Torygraph's biggest market rival, interestingly - has claimed that HSBC put its advertising account with the newspaper 'on pause' during negotiations over last week's stories about the Swiss banking arm. Oborne claimed the bank needed to explain this, adding: 'There is a pattern developing here that when HSBC is being investigated the advertising dries up. They need to explain why they suspended their advertising in the Guardian last week and in the Telegraph three years ago.' Other Torygraph journalists have also reportedly snitched to the Gruniad and to the BBC's Newsnight that they 'felt discouraged' from writing 'uncomfortable' stories about a range of advertisers and commercial partners. These included the governments of Russia and China, a film distributor and RBS. The Torygraph refused to comment on the issues raised by Newsnight, but denied that advertising had 'affected' articles. More than a dozen current and recent Torygraph journalists have confirmed Oborne's concerns that the newspaper has 'a particular problem' maintaining the 'Chinese walls' that most newspapers manage to keep between their advertising departments and the work of their journalists. In one case highlighted by the BBC, the review for children's film Despicable Me 2 was bumped up from a two-star rating to three stars allegedly 'for commercial reasons.' The film's distributors had bought extensive advertising in the newspaper in the run-up to its launch, it was claimed.
A trainee plumber is suing an actor from the TV series Shameless over brain damage and partial blindness he suffered in a row over a mobile phone. Oliver Flint 'suffered grave injuries' after being thrown from the bonnet of a BMW driven by Elliott Tittensor, the High Court heard. The pair clashed outside a McDonald's in Kentish Town in 2010. Tittensor, of Greater Manchester, denies wrongdoing and is defending the claim for more than three hundred grand damages. A row erupted on 15 August 2010 when the then eighteen-year-old Flint's mobile phone battery ran out. He approached Tittensor - who played Carl Gallagher in Channel Four's Shameless - who refused to let him borrow his own handset, Flint's barrister Andrew Roy told the court. Roy told Mr Justice Edis that the actor swore at Flint after being asked to loan his phone for the second time. When the plumber 'responded by swearing back and slamming his hand on the car bonnet', Tittensor 'drove forward' and 'hit Mr Flint with the front of his car', the barrister said. William Norris QC, defending, denied his client was in any way to blame for Flint's injuries. He insisted that the plumber was 'wholly the author of his own misfortune', having 'accosted' the actor's then girlfriend, Skins star Kaya Scodelario. 'He was drunk and he stood in front of his car and tried to prevent him driving off, banging on the bonnet, then climbing on to it and attacking the windscreen,' Norris told the judge. Following the row, Tittensor, from Heywood, was fined seven hundred and fifty quid and given six penalty points by Highbury Magistrates' Court. He admitted driving without insurance, his policy having expired the previous month. But Flint, now twenty two, of Balmore Street, Archway, wants the actor to cough up damages for 'unlawful battery', claiming that Tittensor 'attacked him with his car before fleeing the scene', leaving him badly injured. Tittensor says he was 'acting in lawful self-defence.'
A music museum in Coventry is set to expand after attracting over four thousand visitors in a year. The museum in The 2-Tone Village said that it will create three more galleries dedicated to local music. The museum, which opened on Ball Hill in 2013, charts the area's musical past with exhibits from bands like The Specials and The Selecter. It said that the new areas of the museum will open in an adjoining premises in the spring. Much of the memorabilia on show has been donated by local people. Exhibits include the original master tapes from The Specials' first recording session and a platinum disc awarded to The Moody Blues. Financial director Julie Chambers said the museum's first year had been 'an astounding success. We expected to be in this position in possibly year three, but opportunities arose and we are looking at more great gallery space,' she said. 'It's very exciting.'
A mysterious haze high above Mars has left scientists baffled. The vast plume was initially spotted by amateur astronomers in 2012, and appeared twice before vanishing. Scientists have now analysed the images and say that say the formation, stretching for more than one thousand kilometres, is larger than any seen before. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers believe that the plume could be a large cloud or an exceptionally bright aurora. However, they are unsure how these could have formed in the thin upper reaches of the Martian atmosphere. 'It raises more questions than answers,' said Antonio Garcia Munoz, a planetary scientist from the European Space Agency. Around the world, a network of amateur astronomers keep their telescopes trained on the Red Planet. They first spotted the plume in March 2012 above Mars's southern hemisphere. Damian Peach was one of the first stargazers to capture images of the phenomenon. He told the BBC News website: 'I noticed this projection sticking out of the side of the planet. To begin with, I thought there was a problem with the telescope or camera. But as I checked more of the images, I realised it was a real feature - and it was quite a surprise.' The vast, bright haze lasted for about ten days. A month later, it reappeared for the same length of time. But it has not been seen since. An international team of scientists has now confirmed the finding, but they are struggling to find an explanation. One theory is that the plume is a cloud of carbon dioxide or water particles. 'We know there are clouds on Mars, but clouds, up to this point, have been observed up to an altitude of one hundred kilometres,' Doctor Garcia Munoz said. 'And we are reporting a plume at two hundred kilometres, so it is significantly different. At two hundred kilometres, we shouldn't see any clouds, the atmosphere is too thin - so the fact we see it for twenty days in total is quite surprising.' Another explanation is that this is a Martian version of the northern or southern lights. Doctor Garcia Munoz explained: 'We know in this region on Mars, there have been auroras reported before. But the intensities we are reporting are much much higher than any auroras seen before on Mars or on Earth. It would be one thousand times stronger than the strongest aurora and it is difficult to come to terms that Mars has such an intense aurora.' If either of these theories are correct, he said, it would mean our understanding of Mars's upper atmosphere is wrong. He hopes that by publishing the paper, other scientists might also come up with potential explanations. If they cannot, astronomers will have to wait for the plumes to return.

An alien star passed through our Solar System just seventy thousand years ago, astronomers have claimed. No other star is known to have approached this close to Earth. An international team of researchers say the star came five times closer than our current nearest neighbour - Proxima Centauri. The object, a red dwarf known as Scholz's star, cruised through the outer reaches of the Solar System - a region known as the Oort Cloud. Scholz's star was not alone; it was accompanied on its travels by an object known as a brown dwarf. These are essentially failed stars which lacked the necessary mass to get fusion going in their cores. The findings are published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. Observations of the dim star's trajectory suggest that seventy thousand years ago this cosmic infiltrator passed within 0.8 light years of our Sun. By comparison, Proxima Centauri is over four light years away. In the paper, astronomers led by Eric Mamajek at the University of Rochester, say they are 'ninety eight per cent' certain that Scholz's star travelled through what is known as the 'outer Oort Cloud' - a region at the very edge of the Solar System filled with trillions of comets a mile or more across. This region is like a spherical shell around the Solar System and may extend out to as much as one hundred thousand Astronomical Units (one AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun). The Oort Cloud is thought to give rise to long-period comets which can swing past the Sun when their orbits are disturbed. To determine the trajectory of the star, the researchers needed two pieces of information: the change in distance from the Sun to the star (its radial velocity) and the star's motion across the sky (its tangential velocity). Scholz's star currently lies twenty light years away. But it showed very slow tangential motion for a star this close. This indicated that it was either moving away from us or towards a future close encounter with the Solar System. The radial velocity measurements confirmed that the binary star system was actually speeding away from us. By tracing its movements back in time, they found its close shave with the Sun occurred some seventy thousand years ago. A star passing through the Oort Cloud could potentially play gravitational havoc with the orbits of comets there, sending them on trajectories into the inner Solar System. But Doctor Mamajek believes the effects of Scholz's star on our cosmic neighbourhood were 'negligible. There are trillions of comets in the Oort cloud and likely some of them were perturbed by this object,' he told BBC News. 'But so far it seems unlikely that this star actually triggered a significant "comet shower."' The effect of a passing star on the Oort Cloud is a function of the star's mass, speed and proximity. The worst case scenario for stirring up comets would be a slow-moving, massive star that came close to the Sun. Scholz's star came relatively close, but the binary system has a low mass and it was speeding by. These factors conspired to make its effect on the Oort Cloud very small. While this is the closest fly-by detected so far, Doctor Mamajek thinks it is not uncommon for alien stars to 'buzz' the Sun. He says that a star probably passes through the Oort Cloud every one hundred thousand years. But, he suggests an approach as close - or closer - than that made by Scholz's star is somewhat rarer. Mathematical simulations show such an event occurs on average about once every nine million years. 'So it is a bit of a strange coincidence that we happen to have caught one that passed so close within the past one hundred thousand years or so,' he said.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping decided to treat his very self on Tuesday evening to a takeaway from the local Cantonese. He went for dry and spicy deep fried salt and chilli pepper king prawn. Now, let it be noted at this point that yer actual Keith Telly Topping likes nowt more than a good spicy Chinese meal with plenty of eye-watering oomphf to it. Well, allow him to slightly qualify that statement, he likes nowt more than a good spicy Chinese meal with plenty of eye-watering oomphf to it up to and including the 'crikey, that's got a hell of kick to it, I'll be having that again,' level. The next level after that - which is, basically, 'I CAN SEE THROUGH TIME!!!!!' - is, perhaps, not so appreciated at Stately Telly Topping Manor. So, anyway, this blogger will let you all know when his eyes have stopped watering, dear blog reader. I'm guessing it'll be sometime around the weekend. The whole situation reminded yer actual Keith Telly Topping of a time when he went out for a Friday night on the Quay with some of the lads from work during in the 1980s and we all ended up in the Simla on Dean Street. Keith Telly Topping's old mate Mickey went off on one of his 'Oi! Gunga Din! Giz a one them, giz a one of them ... ah divvent knaa what it's called but it's the hottest one y've got!' routines. That turned out to be a perfectly lethal chicken Phal which looked, and this blogger is being perfectly serious when he says this, like Vesuvius mid-eruption. A bunch of the waiters were hanging around the bar sniggering and taking bets on how many mouthfuls Mick would manage to force down his neck before he needed medical assistance. Fair play to the lad, mind, he did finish it. Christ only knows what his bottom looked like the next morning, though. Japanese flag on the netty roll one imagines.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, Elmore James's got nothing on this boy.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I have to comment on the photo used to discuss UKIP:The 1st 100 Days and suggest ANOTHER clarification should be required; it's not Farage, it's not 'a Nazi' it looks to me like a surprisingly SEXY Nazi ;)