Sunday, February 01, 2015

I Got One Art O Level, It Did Nothing For Me

The cast and crew of Sherlock have been filming scenes for the upcoming Christmas episode in Bristol this week. And, Martin Freeman has, seemingly, lost his comedy 'tasche. Much to Mark Gatiss's amusement, it would seem.
Both the Bath Chronicle and the Bristol Post featured on-location reports from the shoot.
It has also been reported widely that The Black Adder's Tim McInnerny will be appearing in the special as Sir Edwin. Stephanie Hyam will also appear as a new character called Jane and David Nellist will return to the series for the first time since the opening episode as Mike Stamford.

Silent Witness outperformed Broadchurch in the overnight ratings for a second week running on Monday. The long-running BBC1 crime drama appealed to 5.53m at 9pm to be the highest-rated show of the evening outside of the soaps. Earlier, Inside Out was watched by 3.92m at 7.30pm, before the Panorama documentary Rescued From A Forced Marriage interested 3.11m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, University Challenge gathered 2.97m at 8pm, while Only Connect had an audience of 2.40m at 8.30pm. David Starkey's Magna Carta was watched by 1.51m at 9pm, before Odious, Unfunny, Lanky Streak Of Stinking & Rancid Piss Jack Whitehall's Worthless And Cancerous Backchat was watched by eight hundred and thirty thousand numskulls at 10pm. The second series of ITV's Broadchurch certainly seems to be dividing critics in a way that the first series didn't. The drama rose marginally from the previous week's overnight series low to 5.17m at 9pm. Earlier in the evening, Richard Wilson's On The Road interested 2.91m at 8.30pm. On Channel Four, Dispatches drew in 1.10m at 8pm, followed by Food Unwrapped with 1.51m at 8.30pm. The Undateables attracted 1.82m at 9pm, while the new - alleged - comedy Catastrophe averaged six hundred and seventy thousand punters at 10pm. Channel Five's Storage: Flog The Lot! had an audience of four hundred and sixty five thousand at 8pm. Celebrity Big Brother continued with 2.17m at 9pm and Got Hitched, Got Ditched drew six hundred and ninety seven thousand at 10pm. On E4, the latest episode of Revenge attracted two hundred and forty seven thousand at 9pm.

And, Silent Witness remained on top of the overnight ratings on Tuesday evening. BBC1's crime drama attracted an average of 5.58 million viewers at 9pm. Later, Count Arthur Strong was watched by 1.39m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Alex Polizzi: The Fixer interested 1.78m at 8pm, while the Holocaust Memorial Day documentary Touched By Auschwitz was watched by 1.17m at 9pm. ITV's River Monsters drew in 2.20m at 7.30pm, before Bad Builders: Bang To Rights gathered 2.29m at 8pm. Paul O'Grady's Animal Orphans appealed to 2.51m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Phil Spencer: Secret Agent averaged 1.11m at 8pm. Later, Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody interested 1.01m at 9pm and Ramsay's Hotel Hell attracted seven hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. Celebrity Big Brother continued on Channel Five with 2.39m at 9pm, while Britain's Flashiest Families drew in an average of nine hundred and seventy seven thousand at 10pm. Christ alone knows why. BBC3's Excluded: Kicked Out Of School was seen by three hundred and sixteen thousand at 9pm. On BBC4, The Children Of The Holocaust interested three hundred and sixty one thousand at 9pm.

Midsomer Murders was the most-watched overnight programme on Wednesday. The opening of a new series of the ITV crime drama was watched by 4.79m between 8pm and 10pm. BBC1's Pets: Wild At Heart was the drama's closest competition, with 3.78m at 8pm. Churchill: The Nation's Farewell followed with 2.72m at 9pm. On BBC2, The Great British Sewing Bee entertained 1.47m at 8pm, while singularly unfunny comedy Up The Women fell below one million viewers with eight hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. The period drama Wolf Hall lost a million overnight viewers for its second episode, which still averaged a more than decent 2.89m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Restoration Man interested 1.36m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours In A&E brought in 1.78m at 9pm. Bodyshockers attracted 1.04m at 10pm. Channel Five's Celebrity Big Brother continued with 2.48m at 9pm, followed by Age Gap Love with 1.17m at 10pm.

Death In Paradise was the clear winner in the primetime overnight ratings on Thursday. The BBC1 drama was watched by 7.01 million and attracted a thirty per cent audience share at 9pm. Earlier, the documentary Eat Well For Less interested 4.77m, while Question Time drew in 2.41m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Attenborough's Paradise Birds appealed to 1.95m at 8pm, before Modern Times averaged seven hundred and eighty thousand at 9pm. ITV's The Kyle Files was watched by 2.60m at 7.30pm, while Birds Of A Feather continued to hemorrhage viewers, being watched by 3.93m at 8.30pm. Bring Back Borstal continued with 1.70m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Location, Location, Location interested 1.69m at 8pm and The Mega Brothel had an audience of 1.19m at 10pm. The Russell Davies drama Cucumber fell to six hundred and sixty thousand for its second episode at 9pm. Cucumber's sister show Banana was watched by two hundred and twelve thousand on E4 at 10pm. Celebrity Big Brother continued on Channel Five with 2.71m at 9pm, while Botched Up Bodies attracted seven hundred and thirty five thousand at 10pm. Meanwhile, Sky Atlantic's new, much-trailed thriller Fortitude drew an audience of six hundred and sixty two thousand at 9pm, becoming the channel's most successful drama launch to date. It was nearly twenty times the normal ratings for that particular Sky Atlantic slot. Only Game Of Thrones regularly attracts a similar or greater overnight audience for the channel. The heavily-marketed Arctic circle murder mystery features an impressive international cast, including Stanley Tucci, Sofie Gråbøl, Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston and Jessica Raine. Fortitude was easily the most watched show in pay-TV homes on Thursday and came within a whisker of beating the 9pm competition on both BBC2 and Channel Four.
If you happened to be out and about in London on Tuesday, then you might have spotted an eight foot puppet polar bear roaming the streets of the capital to promote Fortitude. Well, it was either that or lots of people were on very hard drugs. The unusual commuter surprised travellers at Charing Cross Tube station, before the bear made its way to Hampstead Heath and the South Bank. The puppet took nineteen Hollywood prop specialists eight weeks to design and required two performers to control it using internal monitors and cameras. The performers reportedly studied the gait and movements of polar bears in advance, in order to make the stunt as realistic as possible. Although why they bothered is another matter entirely since most people have never been up close with a polar bear. And, those that have, usually don't live to talk about it. Fortitude premiered simultaneously in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy on Thursday through Sky Europe.
The ONE Show was the most watched show on overnights outside of soaps on a generally quiet Friday evening, with the BBC1 magazine show picking up 4.62m viewers at 7pm. 3.28m stayed with the channel at 7.30pm for A Question of Sport and 3.48m at 8.30pm watched Room 101. The latest episode of Benidorm was ITV's most watch overnight programme outside of soaps, attracting 4.49m. It was preceded by The Martin Lewis Money Show at 8pm with 2.95m. On BBC2, Mastermind had an audience of 2.31m at 8pm and was followed by Food and Drink at 8.30pm with 1.30m and The Big Allotment Challenge from 9pm, which attracted 1.40m. Channel Four's schedule was led by Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown from 9pm with 1.74m. Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Feast was watched by 1.26m at 8pm while The Last Leg drew 1.13m at 10pm. 2.59 million watched the Celebrity Big Brother Live Eviction as Nadia Sawalha left the house. The sick Victorian freak show was three hundred thousand viewers up on last Saturday's eviction. CBB was preceded by Ice Road Truckers at 8pm, which took 1.07m. Elsewhere, ITV3 led the multichannels with Agatha Christie's Marple at 8pm, taking five hundred and three thousand punters.

The Voice rose to a series high overnight audience on Saturday night, attracting nearly eight and a half million viewers on BBC1. The singing competition averaged 8.49m from 7pm, before The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List managed 4.77m. Afterwards, the latest episode of Casualty drew 4.73m. Earlier, Now You See It had 3.93m overnight viewers whilst the evening ended with 3.68m watching yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies giving Steve Bruce's relegation-haunted Hull City a damned good tweaking on Match Of The Day. On BBC2, a repeat of Dad's Army gathered 1.92m from 8.30pm. It was followed by The Secret World Of Lewis Carroll, which appealed to 1.21m. It was another truly rotten Saturday night for ITV where Harry Hill's Stars In Their Eyes hit the absolute depth with a truly risible overnight audience of 1.86m. 7.30pm's Planet's Got Talent was watched by an even more spectacularly piss-poor 1.62m, before Take Me Out and The Jonathan Ross Show drew 2.8m and 2.1m respectively. All four of ITV's primetime shows had their lowest audiences of the current series. Proving, perhaps definitively, that if you treat your viewers like lowest common denominator numskulls, eventually, they'll get sick and tired of it. On Channel Four, The World's Weirdest Weather managed 1.06m in the 8pm hour. A broadcast of the movie Ted had an audience of 1.8m. Channel Five's Celebrity Big Brother averaged 1.89m from 9pm. On the multichannels, ITV3's Foyle's War topped primetime with nine hundred and eighty five thousand punters from 8pm.

'I always knew you were stubborn, but fair. Now I seem to hardly recognise you. You're so aloof and arrogant.' The seventh and eighth episodes of the current series of Spiral were, perhaps necessarily, something of a wake for Pierre Clement whose death at the end of the previous episode hung like a shroud over the continuing drama. These were hard episodes for Joséphine Karlsson – and benefited from a truly superb performance from Audrey Fleurot. At her most vulnerable, the scene in which Joséphine is alone in her dead lover's apartment, putting a lock of her ginger curls into the pocket of the suit she has picked for him to be buried in and listening, over and over, to his heartbreakingly mundane and ordinary final telephone message to her was almost too painful to watch. It was a huge relief for the audience when Laure - both hugely out of character and yet entirely believably - turned up and took her former (and possibly future) nemesis for a - mostly silent - drink in the bar opposite just before Pierre's parents arrived at the apartment. 'Did he have a girlfriend?', 'I don't know' were, in the context of Spiral's continuing narrative, both the most dreadful and yet completely honest lines of dialogue imaginable. The complex interconnections between various strands of plot all started to come together: Joséphine's teenage client, Laetitia, is very in cahoots with Karen Hoarau, who has links with Zach the psycho-headbanger ATM robber, who is revealed to be the father of Lucie, Sandrine's illegitimate love child, found dead with her mother in a canal. Pierre's client Stéphane Jaulin is, currently, in nick for their murder though, it seems, Judge Roban is trying to do something about that. At last. In addition, Karen was fostered by Sandrine's parents and is the ringleader of the vicious gang of girl muggers who gave Laure a right good kicking at the beginning of this series. And that's before we get to Tintin revealing a link between the dodgy Libyan millionaire Trek Ziani and Dijbril. The latter of whom is now, at Gilou's request, also working with Zach. And Judge Roban is in a (co)charge of the investigation into both cases. I think that just about covers all the interconnected links. One has to feel some considerable sympathy for Gilou, though. After five years of borderline criminal behaviour in the cause of banging up bad'uns, the seemingly reformed inspector begins acting like a model officer only to, this week, find himself busted by internal affairs for trying to help out his boss, the loathsome Herville. The arrest comes at a particularly bad time for the investigation. According to Karen, Sandrine's father sexually abused her as a child, but he was not the father of Lucie. Instead that was Zach: when Sandrine was sent away to boarding school in her late teens, he was another pupil. Sandrine was not only letting flats to the ATM-raiders, but also buying mobile phones for them. But, her relationship with Zach at least explains why she was doing that. At the hotel, Laure was left to chase after Marouane on her own despite the many armed officers in close proximity and he was only captured because he couldn't find it in himself to shoot her with her own gun as she lay on the ground. Never has 'I am with child' been used more successfully as a defensive argument against being murdered in cold blood. Zach, of course, because this was only episode eight of twelve, managed to escape by firstly hiding under the stairs and then getting into a conveniently deus ex machina minibus that the police didn't, seemingly, think it was worth their while to search as it left the hotel car park. Still, Herville did at least recover the three hundred and fifty thousand grands worth of Euros which Zach had promised to the very scary-looking biker in the burger joint. Roban appeared thoroughly chastened by Marianne's long overdue departure. In fact, these episodes saw the gradual return of the Francois Roban we know from previous series - principled but not blinded by dogma and prejudicial ideas. The lone sane individual in a corrupt and rotten system. It was hard not to be impressed by his passionate urge to Joséphine not to give up on the law; 'Do it for yourself or do it for a distraction.' His visit to Jaulin, a man whom he has seriously misjudged with truly apocalyptic consequences for all, telling him to keep faith and lawyer up was similarly the Roban of old. His working with the feisty Judge Mendy looks like being a plot worth following too. The pair made a brilliant team during the raid of Ziani's house and one doesn't imagine the insidious Machard will be able to get away with too much sneeky malarkey against such a formidable alliance. It also seems as if Laure has finally come to a decision about her pregnancy: 'People do stupid things when they're hormonal,' Herville grumbles, chastising her in the most selfish and nasty way for not sharing details of her pregnancy with him. 'I didn't know if I was going to keep it,' she replies, honestly. Things were also softer between Tintin and Laure, which was a merciful change of pace. His pregnancy-spotting skills were particularly impressive: 'Look at the size of your boobs!' Unfortunately, while Laure seems more at peace having made her decision, Gilou, far from offering stability, is busy being arrested for conspiracy to receive stolen goods. Spiral continues to work as both classy, violent crime drama and a wryly witty soap opera of Parisian life. The only question now is, how on Earth is Gilou going to get out of this little mess.

Channel Four's crassly nasty variant of Celebrity Dwarf Tossing, The Jump returned for a second series with its highest-ever audience on Sunday evening according to overnight data. The risible z-list celebrity winter sports competition averaged 2.59 million at 7pm; this is higher than last year's début episode overnight audience of 2.30m. A shocking and utterly dispiriting indictment of the worst that the Twenty First Century has to offer, ladies and gentlemen. Come on, Britain, we're better than this, surely? Later, The Hotel gathered 1.18m at 8pm, followed by Our Guy In India with 1.99m at 9pm. Coverage of the Super Bowl attracted six hundred and sixty five thousand punters for the first three hours from 10.30pm. On BBC1, coverage of Novak Djokovic's Australian Open win over Andy Murray scored 3.20m from 8.15am. In primetime, Countryfile appealed to 7.61m at 7pm, while Call The Midwife easily topped the night with 8.94m at 8pm. Last Tango In Halifax rose week-on-week to 6.61m at 9pm for its series finale and Match Of The Day 2 scored 2.49m at 10.35pm. Which was almost as many as The Arse put past the hapless and relegation-haunted Aston Villains defence. BBC2's Motorway: Life in the Fast Lane brought in 1.31m at 7pm, followed by the latest episode of Top Gear with an overnight of 5.34m at 8pm for an Australian road trip themed episode and Kiefer Sutherland as the latest Star In A Reasonably Priced Car. Bet that'll have created a few sour and rancid faces at the Gruniad Morning Star. Dragons' Den attracted 2.33m at 9pm. On ITV, Get Your Shit Together drew a spectacularly poor 1.89m at 7pm, while All Star Family Fortunes brought in a not-much-better 2.34m at. Mr Selfridge's audience dropped even further to 3.12m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Hellboy II was watched by seven hundred and thirty six thousand at 6.45pm, while Celebrity Big Brother continued with 2.21m at 9pm.
Here's the consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes for the week-ending Sunday 25 January 2015:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 10.49m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.59m
3 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 9.15m
4= EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.46m
4= Silent Witness - Mon BBC1 - 8.46m
6 Death In Paradise - Thurs BBC1 - 8.45m
7 Still Open All Hours - Sun BBC1 - 8.39m
8 Broadchurch - Mon ITV - 7.90m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.67m
10 Last Tango In Halifax - Sun BBC1 - 7.57m
11 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.38m
12 The National Television Awards - Wed ITV - 6.75m
13 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 6.46m
14 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 6.41m
15 Wolf Hall - Wed BBC2 - 5.99m
16 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.92m
17 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.86m
18 FA Cup: Match of The Day Live - Fri BBC1 - 5.85
19 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 5.04m
20 The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List - Sat BBC1 - 4.90m
21 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.79m
22 Now You See It - Sat BBC1 - 4.64m
23 The ONE Show - Thurs BBC1 - 4.63m
24 Benidorm - Fri ITV - 4.60m*
As usual, these figures do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. Aside from Broadchurch, Corrie, Emmerdale, The NTAs and Benidorm, the only ITV programme across the entire week to get a consolidated audience of more than four million punters was Mr Selfridge (with 4.23m). For those who enjoy a reet good laugh, ITV's now legendary Saturday night flop Harry Hill's Star In Their Eyes drew a consolidated audience of less than two and a half million and didn't even make the ITV top thirty rated programmes for the week. BBC2, by contrast, had a spectacular week with the very unusual occurrence of two shows making it into the overall top twenty. Their highest-rated programme of the week apart from Top Gear and Wolf Hall was University Challenge with 2.97 million. Next came Dragon's Den with 2.88 million and Winterwatch with 2.76 million. Only Connect drew 2.45 million, followed by Two Ronnies: The Studio Recordings (2.01m), The Many Faces Of Dame Helen Mirren (1.93m) and Qi (1.85m). Walking The Nile was Channel Four's most watched programme (2.43m), followed by The Undateables (2.09m) and Holocaust: Night Will Fall (1.98m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were dominated by Celebrity Big Brother, the most watched episode being Tuesday night's 3.11m. Foyle's War was ITV3's most-watched programme with 1.01m viewers. yer actual Keith Telly Topping's current favourite drama on TV anywhere in the world, Spiral, drew BBC4's largest audience of the week (eight hundred and sixty four thousand for Saturday's first episode, eight hundred and fifty five thousand for the second), with The Hidden Killers Of The Tudor Home being watched by six hundred and thirty four thousand. Storage Hunters on Dave was seen by three hundred and sixty five thousand. The FOX Channel's latest episode of NCIS's series twelve attracted eight hundred and four thousand punters. The Universal Channel's most watched programme was Major Crimes with one hundred and forty thousand. BBC3's weekly best-of list was topped by Bangkok Airport (nine hundred and six thousand). A new episode of Bones was Sky Living's highest-rated show with nine hundred and twenty four thousand viewers.

BBC director-general Tony Hall has defended Top Gear. Which, of course, caused much whinging from Middle Class hippy Communist Green Party fracking Gruniad Morning Star pond-scum lice. So, no change there, then. Mind you, it's about effing time that somebody in a position of authority at the BBC said something positive about a format which, let's remember, thanks to its massive overseas sales effectively pays for no only itself but also most of the BBC's comedy output, for example. Speaking to Radio Times, Hall said it is 'important' that the BBC 'doesn't have just one voice.' He explained: 'It's a programme loads of people love and it's important that the BBC doesn't have just one voice and I feel this about Top Gear. It's a different voice. Why wouldn't the BBC represent it on its output and be pleased to have it there?' Over the last twelve months, the motoring show has been at the centre of numerous - mostly media generated - controversies. Hall continued: 'My life and the BBC's life is not to be constantly out of trouble. In a way, we should be awkward, push boundaries with our journalism, our drama, our current affairs, our comedy, our entertainment having things to say. It's really important, that's what people expect of the BBC.' Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are reportedly close to signing a new three year deal with the BBC. The presenters are negotiating contracts to return for three more years of Top Gear and various other projects, according to the Mirra, a newspaper which, even more than the Gruniad Morning Star and the Daily Scum Mail, has spent most of the last year stirring up as much trouble as they can have given to them by Copper's Narks or make up themselves regarding Top Gear. The trio's contracts are due to expire in April and are seeking to extend their deals following the current twenty second series.

Among the other topics covered in Tony Hall's Radio Times interview were the 9pm watershed, about which he said: 'The watershed is still a useful way of judging the content and sensitivities and taste and decency issues. But has the watershed got a future in twenty or thirty years' time? I suspect not.' And, also BBC4. Hall confirmed that it is not going to go the way of BBC3. Which is great news.
If you happen spot a huge version of The Stig travelling across Britain on the back of a flat bed truck over the next few days, your eyes are not deceiving you. Giant Stig is due to depart from Top Gear HQ at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey and embark on a European tour in order to mark the launch of new global TV channel BBC Brit. He will travel to Amsterdam and Berlin, before arriving at his final destination in Warsaw. There, he will be erected beside the city's most famous landmark, the Palace of Science and Culture. The nine-metre model is made from fibre-glass and took a team of three sculptors over two months to design, construct and paint. The Stig's head and torso alone are the equivalent height of a double-decker bus. BBC Worldwide's chief brands officer Amanda Hill said: 'BBC Brit will be the new home of Top Gear in Poland, so what better way to mark this than by taking them a giant Stig. Fans will be able to spot him on the roads of England, Holland and Germany. He's impossible to miss!' BBC Brit will launch internationally on 1 February. The channel will offer primarily factual entertainment and will be the exclusive home of Top Gear.
A sixteen-minute excerpt of William Hartnell's Desert Island Discs episode has been found and put online. The actor played the first Doctor in Doctor Who from 1963 to 1966 (you knew that, right?) and he recorded his spot on what was then Roy Plomley's radio show on Monday 23 August 1965. 'This is the only extract the BBC has of this edition of Desert Island Discs and begins with the castaway's first choice of music,' notes current Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young at the start of the recording. Hartnell's favourite piece of music is 'The Spring Song from A King in New York' by Charlie Chaplin. His chosen book is English Social History by GM Trevelyan and his luxury item is cigarettes. During the interview, Hartnell talks about preferring horses to the theatre and running away from school at an early age with the hope of becoming a jockey. Desert Island Discs celebrated its seventy third anniversary this, having been running continuously on BBC radio since January 1942. Other rescued recordings feature author Reverend W Awdry, Dame Diana Rigg and Louis Armstrong. It is the first time the editions have been heard in more than forty five years. All the subjects were interviewed between 1964 and 1970 by Roy Plomley, with Thomas The Tank Engine author Awdry's 1964 appearance being the earliest. Awdry, Hartnell and Dame Diana were all personal audio recordings donated by listeners and have been carefully restored for the archive. The Rigg edition, first broadcast in 1970, had been saved on an old quarter inch tape. The Armstrong edition, which was gifted to him by the BBC after he recorded the programme in 1968, was donated courtesy of the research collections of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. In the programme guests chose the eight pieces of music they would take to a hypothetical desert island in the unlikely event that they were to be stranded there. Jon Pertwee and David Tennant have both also appeared in the series.

Meanwhile, another Doctor, yer actual Peter Davison has said that he 'has trouble' with the idea of a female-led Doctor Who. Not that there's currently a vacancy for the role, of course. Or that when one does eventually crop up that Peter his very self will have any say in the matter. Glad we got that one cleared up.
The second series of Broadchurch may have turned off some viewers with its perceived soapy transformation and lengthy and somewhat drab and predictable court scenes, but at least one sector of the country is, seemingly, still getting off on it: Britain's doggers. According to some 'online chatroom research' from the Sun (careful, you can get arrested if they find that sort of 'research' on your computers), the soaring cliffs of West Bay in Dorset, where the ITV crime drama is filmed, are the perfect backdrop for lovers of outdoor hanky-panky. The location has become so popular with sexual exhibitionists, the paper claims, that online forums are even giving advice about the tide so that al fresco boinkers don't get their naughty bits aal wet and that. One poster on the alleged - nameless, and therefore almost certainly fictitious - forum, allegedly said: 'Lots of great action in and around Dorset. Bridport picnic site is good and the cliffs near West Bay. I'll be down there with the missus later in the week.' Another alleged site allegedly stumbled upon by some Sun hack allegedly warned would-be doggers of the threat from passing hikers: 'There may be some passing walkers using the edge of the water as an alternative to the Dorset Coastal Path on top of the cliffs.' Hang on. Isn't the whole point of dogging to be seen by passers by? Anybody else getting a pungent whiff of made-up bullshit here?
The BBC has renewed its deal to show Premier League highlights on Match Of The Day for a further three years, until the end of the 2018-19 season. The agreement covers MOTD's Sunday morning repeat, MOTD2, Football Focus and a new midweek show on Wednesday nights on BBC2. MOTD, which is in its fiftieth year and MOTD2 have a combined weekly audience of nine million. MOTD presenter Gary Lineker said he was 'thrilled' with the news. Barbara Slater, the director BBC Sport, called the programme 'the most iconic brand in television sport,' which is hyperbole aside, probably a fair description. She added that it was 'very exciting' to be able to add a new midweek show to the mix that would reflect 'the continued appetite for Premier League action and analysis.' The BBC's Premier League programmes will also be available on the iPlayer. Reacting to Thursday's announcement, Director General Tony Hall said: 'Sport matters. It brings the nation together. It can break hearts and raise spirits. And because it matters to the public, it also matters to the BBC. That's why it's fantastic news that we have kept the Premier League highlights.' According to those wholly unagenda-based lice at the Gruniad Morning Star, ITV had 'seriously considered' mounting a challenge for the rights, which it last held between 2001 and 2004. But alleged, anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious, 'insiders' allegedly said that it had ultimately 'decided against' bidding. The rights to top-flight football highlights have switched between the BBC and ITV since Match Of The Day made its debut in 1964, ushering in a new age of regular televised football. But during the Premier League era, the BBC has held the upper hand apart from a three-year period from 2001 when ITV paid one hundred and eighty three million notes to acquire the rights and poached Des Lynam from the BBC in a high profile move to front it. And my, didn't that turn out to be be a great career move for Des. The Premiership, boldly scheduled in a 7pm early evening slot, failed to meet the high ratings expectations and was criticised for frequent advertising breaks and a lack of match action. After a few months, it was moved back to the more traditional Saturday post 10pm slot. Last week, ITV's lead football anchor - another former BBC defector - odious greed bucket and drag Adrian Chiles suddenly left the broadcaster 'in mysterious circumstances' and was replaced by BBC Radio 5Live's Mark Pougatch. Worthless waste of space Andy Townsend and Matt Smith (no, the other one) will also leave at the end of the current season for pastures new. The BBC is understood to be 'in talks' Gary Lineker about a new deal which would also allow him to front BT Sport's live Champions League coverage but remain the regular host of Match Of The Day and the BBC's FA Cup coverage, a deal which, it is suggested, would suit all parties.

David Thewlis will lead the cast of BBC1's new adaptation of An Inspector Calls. The actor will play the titular Inspector in the Aisling Walsh-directed drama, which will be shown as part of the channel's season of classic Twentieth Century literature adaptations. Thewlis will be joined by Ken Stott as Arthur Birling and Miranda Richardson as Sybil Birling. Chloe Pirrie, Kyle Soller and Sophie Rundle will also appear. Thewlis said: 'An Inspector Calls is a British classic and I am thrilled to be working on this beautiful screen adaptation with Aisling Walsh.' The adaptation will be produced by Drama Republic, who recently worked on The Honourable Woman for BBC2. Playwright Helen Edmunson will adapt the play for television. Lucy Richer, the Commissioning Editor of BBC Drama, added: 'The mysterious and elusive Inspector Goole has fascinated audiences for generations and David Thewlis is the perfect actor to bring him to life. We're delighted that he, Ken Stott and Miranda Richardson are heading up this stellar cast to bring one of the nation's favourite stories to BBC1.' An Inspector Calls was written by JB Priestley and was first performed in 1945. The play centres around an inspector's visit to a wealthy family's home as he interrogates them about the apparent suicide of a local girl.

The US adaptation of Mad Dogs will be its own unique story, executive producer Shawn Ryan has claimed. Ryan stated that although the Amazon Studios pilot shares 'similarities' with the British original, the American series will deviate from the source material. 'The pilot, while having many similar story beats to the UK version, also has some significant differences and those differences will only grow bigger until episode five, when it will be a completely new story with only the occasional nod to the original,' he told HitFix. Ryan - who is working on the Mad Dogs adaptation with Cris Cole, the creator of the original Sky1 drama - also discussed how the Amazon project came about. '[Sony] asked Cris and I if we would like to do an American version,' he recalled. 'Cris and I talked. For all that he liked about the UK version, there were also a lot of things he would want to do differently now. Back then, he never thought they would make more than four episodes, so he never really thought the back story through a lot. He liked the idea of starting with the original premise and then quickly splintering off into a completely new version. We also talked about how American men were different than British men, and how that might affect the show. He started to get really excited about the notion, which made me really excited.' The US Mad Dogs stars Ben Chaplin, Michael Imperioli, Steve Zahn, Romany Malco and Billy Zane.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry his very self are among signatories of an open letter asking the government to pardon forty nine thousand men who were prosecuted for being gay. Something which this blogger wholly backs although he rather wishes the signatories had, you know, bought a stamp and made it a closed letter which, he feels, are usually far more effective. Members of World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing's family have also signed the letter. Turing, played by Cumberbatch in the film The Imitation Game, was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 and subsequently killed himself in 1954. He was pardoned in 2013. The signatories have asked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other 'young leaders' to help with their campaign. Turing was granted a posthumous pardon by the Queen in 2013, four years after then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, offered 'an unequivocal apology' for the way in which he was treated by authorities at the time. Now campaigners want pardons for all of those who were convicted of similar offences. The letter, printed in the Gruniad Morning Star, states: 'The UK's homophobic laws made the lives of generations of gay and bisexual men intolerable. It is up to young leaders of today including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to acknowledge this mark on our history and not allow it to stand.' It describes Turing as 'one of the greatest heroes of the Twentieth Century' for helping to crack the German Enigma code and says that he was 'pivotal in the development of modern computers.' The letter continues: 'The apology and pardon of Alan Turing are to be welcomed but ignores over forty nine thousand men who were convicted under the same law, many of whom took their own lives. An estimated fifteen thousand men are believed to still be alive.' Benny, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Turing, and The Imitation Game's director Morten Tyldum are also joined as signatories by Turing's niece Rachel Barnes and Matthew Todd, editor of Attitude magazine. An online petition has also been launched at, with more than forty five thousand having signed it so far.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts are to host a special evening dedicated to Michael Palin. The Monty Python's Flying Circus star will discuss his career at the Life In Television event at BAFTA in London on Tuesday 17 March. Palin will speak about his five-decade career, including projects on TV, film and stage and as a writer, performer and presenter. Andrew Newman, Chair of the BAFTA Television Committee, said: 'From Monty Python to Ripping Yarns to GBH to Around The World In Eighty Days and beyond, Michael Palin has been a comedian, a writer, an actor and a factual presenter and has excelled at every one of them. We're excited to celebrate his remarkable career at this second event in our new BAFTA: A Life in Television strand. BAFTA: A Life in Television offers the chance to hear directly from unique talents and explore what makes them so special to British television.' Palin previously received a BAFTA Fellowship in 2013. He also won a BAFTA for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1988 for A Fish Called Wanda, while the entire Monty Python's Flying Circus team were honoured at the 1988 awards with the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema. Highlights from the evening will be streamed on BAFTA's online learning channel BAFTA Guru.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers could be forgiven for being baffled after subtitling mistakes transformed toddlers into ayatollahs and confused sources with sauces. The errors were highlighted in a report by communications watchdog Ofcom which said that people relying on live subtitles had an 'inferior' experience to other viewers. Other examples of mistakes included the Star Wars character Princess Leia being called 'Present Cesc lay ya' and lemon transcribed as 'lepl on.' The report also quoted examples of what it called 'serious recognition errors' including 'they need a man' instead of 'they need a mum' and 'be given to ayatollahs' instead of 'be given to our toddlers.' It said one hundred and fifty five BBC shows needed live subtitles, with fifty three on ITV, including programmes such as The Jeremy Kyle Show, The Graham Norton Show and Top Gear. Although, quite why the latter falls into this category since it isn't a live show but is pre-recorded, is a question well worth asking, I'd've said. The issue was previously taken up by former Home Secretary David Blunkett who criticised subtitling standards and quoted an example from football commentary where Manchester United's Patrice Evra's challenge on an opponent was rendered as 'the Arsenal player has been fouled by a zebra.' Although, quite how the hell Blunkett who is, himself, blind knows this to be the case has never been satisfactorily explained. Ofcom's report said: 'Live subtitling entails unavoidable delays which mean that speech and subtitling cannot be completely synchronised. Errors and omissions are also not uncommon. It is clear from viewers' feedback that, while subtitle users value the opportunity to watch live TV, they sometimes find live subtitling frustrating and, on occasion, unwatchable.' Rob Burley, from Action on Hearing Loss, said: 'With one in six people in the UK having some form of hearing loss, it's really important that the standard of subtitling improves. Our research shows that people with hearing loss find delays and inaccuracies are the biggest problems when using live subtitles, with simple mistakes changing the entire meaning of a news item or interview. We urge broadcasters and subtitling companies to invest in live subtitling technology to make viewing, for eight million people in the UK that use them, as accessible as it is to the rest of the population.' An Ofcom spokesman said: 'Improving the quality of subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers is an important focus for Ofcom. We now require broadcasters to measure the quality of live TV subtitles, which is helping us to identify how their speed and accuracy can be improved.'

The future of ITV's Downton Abbey could be in doubt after it emerged that writer Lord Snooty has 'yet to commit' to a seventh series of the popular period drama. It follows tabloid reports that this autumn's sixth series could be the last after some of the show's younger stars were said to be 'in talks' to follow in the footsteps of Dan Stevens and pursue work in America. Joanne Froggatt, who plays Mrs Bates, Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) and Allen Leech (the now-departed Tom Branson) were all named in a report in the Daily Mirra as 'having meetings' with producers when they were in Los Angeles for the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards. Although the award-winning period drama still pulls in huge audiences for ITV and is not due to be recommissioned until the autumn, the report claimed that Lord Snooty wants to start writing his long-awaited US drama for NBC The Gilded Age. There has been periodic speculation about the future of Downton since the second series and, particularly, after executive producer Gareth Neame said last year: 'I'm not sure what its lifespan will be, but it won't be ten years. In the short term, I'm sure it's going to be around for a few more years, but I don't think it will be a show that will last that long. I want it to be a show that people enjoy when they're watching it now, and then, in ten years' time, they still look back on it incredibly fondly and remember it.' The Gruniad Morning Star quotes an alleged - anonymous - 'insider' as saying that makers Carnival and its parent company NBC Universal and ITV want to do more episodes – unsurprising given the huge audiences it generates in the UK and its popularity in the US - but the question is, does Lord Snooty? He is currently writing the sixth series of Downton, which is due to go into production next month and be broadcast later this year, but alleged - though curiously anonymous - 'sources' allegedly 'close to him' allegedly say that he will 'not necessarily' be writing The Gilded Age next. Allegedly. His agent declined to comment on whether or not he wants to write another series of Downton beyond the next one. Irish actor Leech has left Downton so it is no surprise that he is in talks about other roles but it is not known what is in store for Carmichael and Froggatt's characters this series as Lord Snooty has not yet delivered all the scripts. However, a spokeswoman for the show also pointed out that Downton films for six months of the year, leaving the cast 'plenty of time to do other work': Hugh Bonneville, for example, filmed two other projects, including BBC2 satire W1A, in the time between series five and six, while Michelle Dockery has filmed dramas such as Restless. The spokeswoman also highlighted the fact that Downton is only shown on eight Sundays of the year(plus a Christmas special), leaving forty four other available slots for other producers to fill. Downton's ratings have slipped a little with the premiere of the fifth series drawing an average audience of 8.4 million in September – the lowest series debut since the show's launch in 2010. But, it still does big numbers for ITV - its top-rated 2014 edition had a final and consolidated audience of 10.8 million viewers in early November, making it ITV’s highest-rating drama apart from Coronation Street. ITV usually recommissions the show on a yearly-basis, with negotiations – which are detailed due to the expense and talent availability – tending to start in early spring and be completed by November. Inevitably the network has been thinking about the future of the schedule without Downton, with alleged - although, gain, suspiciously anonymous - 'sources'allegedly saying that a number of independent producers have 'shows in development' which could fill the all-important Sunday night drama slot should Downton come to an end. Albeit, the hugely disappointing overnight figures for the once very popular Mr Selfridge's third series might give ITV pause for thought in this regard. An ITV spokesman said: 'We wouldn't comment on speculative stories about our programmes.'
Grumpy old gasbag professor David Starkey has described Wolf Hall as 'a deliberate perversion of history.' Which it, indeed, is. It's fiction. You know, 'made up stuff.' Jesus, has everybody taken The Stupid Pill this week, or what? The BBC2 drama combines Hilary Mantel's novel of the same name and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. Speaking to Radio 5Live, Starkey said that he had not read the books nor seen the BBC adaptation because he is 'someone who actually knows what happens' and is a 'massive believer in fact. Wolf Hall is a wonderful, magnificent fiction,' he noted. 'There is a difference between fact and fiction. The supposition has got to be controlled. If you're a novelist, you can imagine whatever you want. I gather Hilary Mantel has imagined this wonderful tender experience of Thomas Cromwell losing [his] wife and children and you have a great deal of emoting. This is total fiction. There is not a scrap of evidence for it at all. So the thing that's used to create Cromwell as a sympathetic character is totally fiction.' He added: 'Curiously enough, the man who had good relations with his children in a modern fashion, including giving his daughters an education as men, is the villain as he is presented in Wolf Hall - Thomas More. He really did have these affectionate relations with his children.'
Extremely sacked Coronation Street actress Katie Redford is said to be 'distraught' after being the, alleged, victim of alleged 'online abuse'. Although, one suspects that, actually, she's a bit more distraught about having lied to ITV and then been sacked after she got found out meaning that she's unlikely to get much work from the network any time soon. Because, that's something worth getting properly distraught over, one might suggset. It was announced earlier this month that Redford had been cast in the role of teenager bad'un Bethany Platt, with a press release from the production claiming that the actress was nineteen years old, based on what she'd told them. However, after online profiles suggested that Redford was, actually, twenty five - just two years younger than Tina O'Brien, who would have been playing her on-screen mother - Coronation Street producers made the hasty decision to sack her sorry ass and recast the role before Redford had even set foot on-set. Her agent, one Jo McLintock, has now attempted to defend her client with a, frankly, laughable series of comments to the press, insisting that it wasn't Redford's decision to lie about her age. Speaking to the Mirra, McLintock insisted: 'It wasn't Katie's decision to do that, it was us.' Ah. So, that's all right, then. That's theatrical agent Jo McLintock informing all broadcasters or stage productions that, if she ever sends along one of her clients for a part in a forthcoming drama, they may want to ask a few questions which they wouldn't normally ask about the veracity of what the actor or actress is telling them since their agent appears to have such a, self-confessed, economic attitude towards the truth. 'When she went to Corrie, she went in based on her CV. Her playing age is sixteen to twenty,' continued McLintock. 'We said "If they ask you your age, just let them believe you are nineteen."' Or, lie, in other words. 'Perpetuate a fraud' might be another way of putting it. Hey, Jo chuck, here's a tip. When you're in a hole, it's usually a good idea to stop digging. 'It is common knowledge, people do that all the time,' McLintock claimed, with no supporting evidence. 'Unfortunately they wrote in their press release that she was nineteen and we let it go out, thinking it would pass. Obviously it didn't.' Obviously. Because it wasn't true. McLintock also claimed that Redford has been the, alleged, victim of, alleged, 'horrific' texts, e-mails and phone calls, adding: 'Now she is distraught, really upset, There are some very jealous people out there.' Jealous of what, exactly, she didn't elaborate. Of someone telling lies and then being caught and sacked as a consequence of those lies, perhaps? How very odd. Mind you, there are, undeniably, some odd people out there. 'People are saying nasty things,' McLintock winged. Like, presumably, 'lying isn't very nice' or 'people who tell lies and then get sacked really don't have much to complain about.' Only, you know, with far worse spelling since this is people on Twitter we're talking about. 'We have told her to ignore them all,' McLintock added. Which is, one imagines, something that Redford might as well start getting used to since it's hard to see any broadcaster or production company forgetting about this fiasco any time soon or, as a consequence, wanting to be associated with her, at least in the short term, given all of the negative publicity the story has attracted. 'She realises a soap is not for her, she's not interested in soaps any more,' McLintock then, hilariously, claimed, which carried all the credibility of Jose Mourinho claiming Moscow Chelski FC didn't want to win the FA Cup anyway just after they'd been dumped out of the competition by third tier Bradford City. 'She said it felt wrong, even when she got it.' Ah, bless her, this woman is really trying so hard to put a positive spin on the entire fiasco. You've almost got to admire such abject verbal bollocks. Almost. Meanwhile, Lucy Fallon, who is nineteen - no, honestly, she actually is - has been cast in the role of Bethany and began filming on the ITV soap earlier this week. Her first scenes are expected to be shown in late March. Starring in her first TV role, Fallon admitted 'walking onto the set was surreal and nerve-wracking.' But, she added that everyone had been 'really welcoming.' Especially, one imagines, as she has, seemingly, told the truth about her age. 'I am thrilled to have been given this great opportunity,' said the Blackpool-born actress.

Idris Elba is to present a ground-breaking, interactive BBC documentary series called Story Of Now which explores some of the biggest questions facing mankind about its past, present and future. Using the latest video technology, the series allows viewers to explore hours of films and information from experts about twenty of the world's fundamental issues – from politics to religion, creation to consciousness. The experts include neuroscientist Doctor Molly Crockett, blind figurative painter Sargy Mann and social activist Naomi Klein and questions covered include did the universe begin with the Big Bang and is the sky really blue? Errr ... yes. It is. Next ... All the films are available on BBC Taster, the corporation’s new online platform for trying out digital content and emerging technology. What makes the Story Of Now films different is that viewers can search inside them by clicking on parts of the content. Producer TouchCast has used interactive video technology it developed which allows anything from the web – including video, games, web pages and live social content – to be experienced by the audience inside HD video and puts the viewing experience in their hands. The so-called 'videoweb' technology has been used recently by The Voice coach for his new music video. EMMY award-winning Elba joined the project after seeing rough cuts of the Story Of Now films last year and is working with TouchCast on other interactive programming. TouchCast Studios CEO and Story Of Now executive producer Paul Field said: 'Viewers not only experience the full richness of the web inside HD video, they can search inside it. Even subtitles feature keywords that link to more content that opens inside the films. We call this medium the videoweb and we believe Story Of Now can play a major role pushing the development of this new medium.' BBC history head of commissioning Martin Davidson said: 'The creative opportunities offered by interactive video are huge. Story Of Now has taken full advantage, seamlessly blending classic filmmaking with cutting edge technology, enabling us to reach new audiences with our world class content.'

Channel Four has, reportedly, dropped its alleged 'sitcom' London Irish. Because it was shite and no one was watching it, basically. The channel told Broadcast magazine that it has 'no plans' to 'move forward' with the series, which ran for six episodes in autumn 2013. A spokeswoman said: 'There are currently no plans for a second series.' London Irish - which starred Ardal O'Hanlon - debuted to a consolidated audience of 1.2 million viewers, but only averaged seven hundred thousand punters over the course of its six episodes.

The BBC is to tell Match Of The Day presenters and pundits to be careful about what they say after Phil Neville prompted complaints with controversial remarks about tackling, it has been claimed. The former The Scum, Everton and England player reportedly 'upset' some viewers when he suggested, during a recent Match Of The Day 2 programme, that he would have taken a player out of the game if he had seen them perform a pass without looking during a training session. His comments came after The Arse's Tomas Rosicky pulled off the feat during a clash with Brighton. Viewers heard Neville say: 'If that was a training session and somebody did that I'd be first over there and I'd probably look to two-foot him or take him out of the game. If somebody did that in training to me, winding me up, I would be straight in there. I'd smash them.' After receiving angry responses on Twitter, Neville went on to suggest that his comments were 'not to be taken seriously.'oh. So, that's all right then. Presumably, that's a defence that people charges with GBH will now be relying on in court. 'Honest, yer honour, me smashing that guy in the mush with a plank of wood, it was not to be taken seriously.'
A lingerie shop built for the TV adaptation of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy confused shoppers and raised at least one complaint, it has been revealed. For the filming of the BBC series, an underwear shop front was created in the Gloucestershire town of Painswick. But director Jonny Campbell said that some people confused it for a real shop and complained to the parish council. The author's novel is set in the idyllic fictional village of Pagford but reveals a town at war. The fake shop front for Samantha's Boudoir, built in the centre of Painswick in August, raised eyebrows among the village and had passers-by trying to shop for risqué underwear. 'There were a couple of occasions while we were filming where a couple of old ladies with white hair, a stick, were walking past and looking in the window and said "oh no, I've got all that stuff,"' said Campbell. 'And, someone came in and thought there was a sale on, so there were several people walking around.' The three-part mini-series, due to be shown on BBC1 next month, follows the intrigues and upheavals in a village community caused by a vacancy on the parish council. Although Campbell admitted that the confusion had been 'amusing', he added the boutique - run by character Samantha Mollison and played by Keeley Hawes in the drama - had not met with everyone's approval. 'They complained about it at the local parish council meeting. Said it was a disgrace,' he claimed. Rob Lewis, from Painswick Parish Council, confirmed that one lady had called the council to complain about the 'scantily clad' mannequins on display which were 'not appropriate for Painswick.' 'Once we explained that it was for a TV production, she seemed much happier,' he said. 'But as well as ladies wishing to visit the shop for its "closing down sale" - a number of ladies (and gents) have commented on what a shame the shop can't still be open.' The series, starring Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie and Rory Kinnear, was filmed over the summer in Northleach, Painswick and Minchinhampton in the Cotswolds. The Casual Vacancy will be shown on BBC1 in February.

A scummy group of right-wing scummy, disgusting pond-scum filth Tory pond-scum MPs alleged plotted to sabotage a BBC documentary about the House of Commons by knocking over a cameraman and forcing filming to be abandoned, it has been claimed. The film-maker Michael Cockerell snitched to the Gruniad Morning Star that there was 'a small group' of Conservative MPs who were unhappy that crew had been given unprecedented access to the Commons for the documentary, which begins on BBC2 next week. Cockerell claimed that a handful of backbenchers 'hatched a plot' to knock over a member of the production team who was filming on the floor of the Commons during Prime Minister's question time, forcing proceedings to be brought to a halt. But, the plan was thwarted after it was rumbled by Commons security and the filming, which took place over the course of a year, went ahead unchecked. The Tory MP Bill Wiggin is seen in the first episode complaining to the speaker, John Bercow, about the presence of a cameraman, but Cockerell said that Wiggin was not one of the MPs responsible. 'There was a plan by backbenchers to knock our cameraman over and proceedings would be suspended and we would be blamed for it,' said Cockerell at the programme launch on Thursday. 'It was thwarted. Security understood what was apparently planned and they averted it. These people know a lot about what's going on.' Cockerell, a veteran of many acclaimed fly-on-the-wall documentaries, said that it had taken months of negotiation to obtain access for the documentary, which was first proposed six years ago. He said that he did not know how the MPs had planned to topple his cameraman. 'Maybe go backwards and the cameraman might go backwards,' he said. Cockerell blamed a group of Conservatives who sit on the back of the government benches nicknamed The Berserkers. 'There were occasional times when MPs on the naughty bench or what Number 10 calls The Berserkers were not very pleased about our presence and thought we were getting in their way. The contrary was true,' he said. 'In parliament every day there are cunning plans by various groups, it is a place made for plotting and conspiracy. We heard of many plots throughout the whole of our time there – not necessarily against us – they were always plotting a coup one way or another. It's the nature of the place. The doorkeepers are eyes and ears of the place and the internal security system. The sergeant at arms is in charge of security and there is a sense they understood what they had planned, they averted it.' Wiggin, the Tory MP for North Herefordshire, is seen in the programme protesting to the speaker about the cameraman's presence behind him. 'Will you find a safe place for this camera crew so he can film without getting in our way?' The speaker replied: 'The camera crew is not interfering with the business of the House and everybody is safe.' So, that was Wiggo told right good and proper and no mistake. Cockerell said: 'I excuse Bill Wiggin. I'm not blaming him. That was not the event I am talking about.' He said that most MPs were happy to have the camera crew along. The opening episode of the four-part documentary, Inside The Commons, features oily David Cameron and equally oily Ed Milimolimandi talking about their experience of Prime Ministers' questions. The Prime Minister says: 'About five minutes beforehand you think, "Oh, you know, have I got to do this again?"' and he adds that it fills him with 'total fear and trepidation.' The Labour leader adds: 'I find the anticipation is worse than the reality.' The documentary also shows copies of the e-mails sent to Tory MPs ahead of PMQs suggesting 'friendly' questions about the Government's 'long term economic plan'. Cameron defends the planted questions. 'In politics you have go to try and have a clear message and in my team there are some messages we want to get across – we want a long term economic plan.' During the filming, some MPs publicly raised objections to the idea of being captured on camera going through the voting lobbies. Gerald Howarth, a Conservative former defence minister, worried that MPs could be filmed 'plotting' if the documentary crew were to be allowed access to this parliamentary procedure. 'In the lobby, right honourable and honourable members confer, often on sensitive matters, and in my humble opinion it would be quite improper for those conversations to be recorded,' he told the Commons last June. Well yes. Heaven forbid that the people who actually vote for these clowns should find out what they get up to. Another Tory MP, Heather Wheeler, mentioned a 'feeling among members that the television cameras are going perhaps too far, too fast.' The Speaker allowed the film crew access to many parts of parliament but put his foot down about some areas, including the Commons tea room, as he said he did 'not think that an honourable member consuming a cup of tea and beans on toast should be subjected to a film crew.' Why not, we fucking pay for them?

And, speaking of scum politicians, Labour's deputy leader and wannabe TV critic, Mad Hattie Harman, has written 'an open letter' to the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Javid. What the hell is it with open letters? Can't you people afford a stamp or what? Anyway, the subject of Mad Hattie's missive is Lady Noakes's role as deputy chair of Ofcom, with Hattie claiming that Noakes's 'clear' political bias breached the media regulator's need for impartiality. Harman, who is also the shadow lack of culture secretary, claimed that Noakes continued to take the Tory whip in the House of Lords and to act as a spokesperson for the Conservative party, sitting on seven committees, despite her appointment to Ofcom in June last year. The Labour MP said that Noakes's Twitter account contained a number of tweets criticising the Labour party and Ed Milimolimandi on issues including the economy, the mansion tax and the proposed TV leader debates. She asked the vile and odious rascal Javid, who was responsible for the appointment of Noakes, to reconsider her position at Ofcom 'as a matter of urgency. It is not as though she has just failed to resign the whip,' said Harman. 'There are clear breaches to be found on Baroness Noakes' Twitter account.' Because, as we all know, Twitter is the most important thing in the universe, bar none. Well, it is according to lots of silly people who work at the Gruniad Morning Star, anyway. 'She cannot be upholding the impartiality of the broadcasting regulator whilst tweeting pro-Conservative, anti-Labour material about TV debates. Ofcom is the regulator for our broadcast media. It is important that at all times the regulator maintains the highest level of political impartiality, but this is even more important with the election rapidly approaching. I would also ask that you note that Baroness Noakes has shareholdings in Verizon Communications Corp, a global communications and technology company. Dame Patricia Hodgson, the former deputy chair of Ofcom, was paid seventy thousand pounds for the role. Given the number of breaches of Ofcom policy and the clear bias that Baroness Noakes has shown at a personal and professional level, I would ask that you reconsider Baroness Noakes' position as Deputy Chair of Ofcom as a matter of urgency. I ask that you write to me about this matter immediately.' Top bit of quality snitching there Hattie. School sneak, was it? Noakes has, reportedly, agreed to stop posting political tweets after Harman's whinge about her being 'a Tory stooge.' On Thursday, a spokesperson for the deputy chair admitted that the comments she had made on Twitter were 'not appropriate' for an Ofcom board member.
A document allegedly showing that former Sun editor and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks 'personally authorised a cash payment' for a story was not disclosed to police investigating whether staff at her paper were paying bungs to public officials for tip-offs, a jury has heard claimed. The jury in the trial of four Sun journalists at the Old Bailey has also been told that the police were not initially investigating journalists at the paper until they were handed documents by the Sun publisher. The document bearing Brooks's signature was produced on Wednesday at the trial, by counsel for the paper's royal correspondent, Duncan Larcombe. It was dated 2009 and related to a payment for two hundred and fifty smackers for a story which, apparently, 'cannot be detailed for legal reasons' according to the Gruniad. The Sun's former newsdesk secretary, Charlotte Hull, was asked to identify the signature and confirmed it as that of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks. Mark Kandiah, the Metropolitan police officer in charge of the Operation Elveden investigation into alleged inappropriate payments to public officials at the Sun, confirmed that this document had not been part of the disclosures by the management and standards committee at News International, the paper's publisher. One wonders why? 'Have you seen this document before?' asked Richard Kovalevsky, QC for Larcombe. 'As far as your recollection goes, this was not disclosed to you by the MSC?' 'With the frailty of memory, that's right,' responded Kandiah. Earlier the retired police office told jurors that Operation Elveden was an investigation into alleged inappropriate payments to police. It had been set up in the summer of 2011 by the Met in the wake of Operation Weeting, its investigation into phone-hacking at the Sun's now-defunct News International sister title, the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. But it was not originally investigating payments by journalists at the Sun. 'In its earlier stage, it was specifically police officers [we were investigating] and it was subsequently expanded [to include journalists],' Kandiah testified. The jury heard that the MSC was set up by Sun proprietor billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch to investigate conduct at all his titles in his UK publishing operation, News International, in 2011. When Kandiah took over as the senior investigating officer on Elveden in September 2011 he learned that the MSC had already started The Sun Review. 'The MSC themselves initiated an internal review of the other papers: The Times, The Sunday Times and the Sun,' said Kandiah. 'This wasn't a matter for the police, this was something they undertook themselves.' He was asked by Larcombe's junior barrister, Jamas Hodivala, how the police ascertained the relevance of evidence if they did not have access to internal e-mails. Kandish said that the MSC decided what was relevant. Kandiah told jurors that a memorandum of understanding was entered into with News International which 'gave a framework for voluntary disclosure to the MPS.' He agreed that in building a case against the journalists on trial, some evidence may have flowed from the 'arrest and search operations' but 'the vast majority came from the [MSC].' He described this as 'less than satisfactory' but said the police had 'no other way' of getting such evidence. 'We looked at other options, there simply weren't other options,' he said. Police normally have to go to court to get permission to search a newspaper's operations because of the special protection given to journalists' sources. On trial are Larcombe, the Sun's deputy editor Geoff Webster, executive editor Fergus Shanahan, and the paper's chief reporter John Kay. All four deny conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. The trial extremely continues.

A former home of alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon's mother is to be sold at auction. The semi-detached property on Blomfield Road, in Allerton was home to Julia Lennon in the 1950s. Although John lived with his aunt Mimi and uncle George in Menlove Avenue, he would regularly visit his mother with his friends in The Quarrymen and practise playing his guitar at her house. It is due to go under the hammer with a guide price of one hundred and twenty grand at Liverpool Town Hall on 31 March. Geoff Guest, auction director for Venmore properties, said: 'We're very excited about this. John spent many years of his youth learning and practising his music under the direction of his mother, who was a great influence on his early musical career.' That was after she'd walked out on his as a five year old, of course. Lennon's half-sisters Julia and Jackie lived in the three-bedroom council house alongside their mother and her partner, John Dykins. The couple never married and Mimi is said to have referred to their home as 'the house of sin.' News of the auction comes three months after a home once lived in by Lennon's fellow band member, George Harrison, was sold for one hundred and fifty six thousand knicker. Other recent sales of Be-Atles memorabilia have included a toilet seat once owned by Lennon - which sold for nine thousand five hundred smackers - and one of his guitars.

And, speaking of people with tenuous relationships to The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, dear blog reader, you might have heard of them), Ted Robbins is reported to be 'in a stable condition' in hospital after collapsing on stage during a show at Manchester Arena, the venue has said. The performance of Phoenix Nights Live was cancelled after he fell to the floor during the opening night. Members of the audience were then asked to leave the venue. Robbins, fifty nine, who is Paul mcCartney's cousin (and, never ruddy shuts up about it) was described as 'a fighter' by his sister Kate. The actress, who was one of several family members at the show, tweeted: 'My brother Ted was taken ill on stage. He's been taken to a local hospital. Thank you for all your good wishes and concern.' She later added that Robbins' family were all with him at hospital. Although, whether than included Macca, she didn't say. A Manchester Arena spokeswoman said that the performance was stopped 'so we could get Ted the help he needed.' BBC journalist Ian Shoesmith was in the third row of the arena when Robbins collapsed shortly after the beginning of the second act, when he was performing on stage alone. He said: 'Everyone initially thought it was part of the act, but then my wife said: "No, this is real, this is serious." They brought the curtain down and then someone said everyone had to leave the building as there was an emergency going on. There was just a stunned silence.' The audience also included cheeky-chappie big-toothed Scouse funster John Bishop and Jason Manford, both of whom subsequently tweeted about the incident, offering their best wishes to their fellow comic. Robbins played the character Den Perry, the rival of Peter Kay's character Brian Potter in the Phoenix Nights TV show, in 2001 and 2002. Saturday night's performance was the first of fifteen shows which saw the original cast of the programme reunited. Profits from the event are going to Comic Relief. Robbins has also appeared in Brookside, Doctors, Holby City, Little Britain and Coronation Street. He is currently playing Barry Quid in the really crappy revival of Birds Of A Feather and The Governor in CBBC programme The Slammer. He also presents a morning show on BBC Radio Lancashire.

Former Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh has been awarded the freedom of her Lancashire borough. The actress, who played Hayley Cropper in the ITV soap, was described as 'a wonderful ambassador' for Hyndburn by Councillor Ken Moss. 'The Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour we can bestow and Julie Hesmondhalgh is most definitely a worthy recipient,' he said. Born in Accrington, the forty four-year-old is currently starring in Channel Four drama Cucumber.

Yer actual Brian Blessed has 'been compelled to withdraw' from the Guildford Shakespeare Company's production of King Lear, on doctor's advice. The seventy eight-year-old collapsed on stage during a performance last week with an apparent heart problem, but later returned to finish the performance. A statement from the show's producers said that Big Shouty Brian had now been advised by his specialist not to continue. It said that the actor's heart condition 'is more serious that he was aware. On the advice of his specialist, and with a broken heart, Brian has therefore been compelled to withdraw from the production of which he is so proud,' said the producers of the play at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford. 'He is immensely grateful for the support he has received from The Guildford Shakespeare Company. Mr Blessed will be making no further comment at this time.' According to a follow-up post on the company's Facebook page, the production will continue to run with classical actor Terence Wilton in the lead role until the end of the run on 14 February. Brian fainted during a performance on 19 January, not long after the play had started and fell off a raised platform. After being assessed by a doctor, a twenty-minute rest and a nice cup of hot sweet tea, he then returned to the stage. Matt Pinches, producer for the Guildford Shakespeare Company, said: 'Our warmest and sincerest thoughts are with Brian and his family. It has been an absolute honour to work with such a great talent and we wish him all the very best for the speediest of recoveries.'

Robbie Coltrane has been admitted to hospital in Orlando after falling ill with flu-like symptoms during a flight. Paramedics met him off the flight from London and rushed him to hospital where doctors said that he would remain overnight. Coltrane's agent told the BBC that the actor was 'resting' and would 'be fine', but that more information on his condition was not yet available. He had been travelling to a Harry Potter convention at Universal Studios. Entertainment website TMZ - which first reported the news - claimed that Sir Michael Gambon was also on the flight. Coltrane's UK agent, Belinda Wright, told the BBC that US media reports that an eyewitness had tweeted about the actor allegedly 'drinking heavily' in a Heathrow Airport lounge before boarding his flight were 'not correct' and 'completely untrue'. Which appears to suggest that Coltrane's agent is accusing the Twitter snitch of being a lying liar as well as a Copper's Nark. The response of the Twitter snitch to this clear sleight on their character is awaited with some considerable anticipation. Coltrane, his agent said, had 'struggled' to make his flight as his connecting flight from Glasgow had been delayed due to snow.

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has been extremely arrested in California after a bar fight, police said. Officers were reportedly called to The Corkscrew Saloon on the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley National Park shortly after midnight on Tuesday. Inyo County Sheriff's Office said that Terence Michael Butler was arrested for 'misdemeanour assault, public intoxication and vandalism.' That's rock and roll, ladies and gentlemen. He was subsequently released after 'detox and citation', police added.

One of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actresses, Geraldine McEwan, has died aged eighty two, her family have confirmed. She died on 30 January following a stroke at the end of October. The BAFTA award-winner had a long and successful career in theatre, television and films. She appeared in the title role of ITV's Agatha Christie's Miss Marple from 2004 until 2009. In 1991 she took the BAFTA TV award for best actress for her role as Jess's mother in the TV adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's coming-of-age novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Her son, Greg, and daughter, Claudia, said in a statement: 'Following a stroke at the end of October and a period in hospital, Geraldine McEwan passed away peacefully on 30 January. Her family would like to thank the staff at Charing Cross Hospital who cared for her incredibly well.' Geraldine was born in Old Windsor and was married to Hugh Cruttwell, a former principal of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts from 1953 until his death in 2002. She was appointed as an assistant stage manager at the Windsor Theatre Royal at the age of fourteen, making her stage début there in October 1946. Her West End début followed in 1951 and she spent several seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1950s and 1960s. She appeared with Kenneth Williams in the original 1965 production of Joe Orton's Loot, which closed at the Wimbledon Theatre before reaching London. She worked more than once with Laurence Olivier on both stage and screen, including Dance Of Death staged by Glen Byam Shaw for the National Theatre at the Old Vic in February 1967. A film version of this production was released in 1969. She famously took the lead role in the television adaptation of Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1978). McEwan was reported to be Spark's favourite actress in the role, the character having previously been portrayed in films by both Maggie Smith and Vanessa Redgrave. Geraldine's other work for television in the period included roles in The Barchester Chronicles (1982) and the comedy of manner Mapp & Lucia (1985-86) with Prunella Scales. She also appeared in box-office hits such as Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves in 1991, which saw her play evil witch Mortianna alongside Kevin Costner. Her CV also includes appearances in The Man Without Papers, Away from It All, Come Into The Garden, Maud, Red Dwarf, Mulberry, Thin Ice, the 2004 adaptation of Carrie's War, Ken Branagh's Henry V and The Magdalene Sisters. The actress, who was born Geraldine McKeown, also won many awards for her theatre work, collecting two Evening Standard Best Actress Awards: in 1983 for The Rivals and in 1995 for The Way Of The World. She was reported to have declined an OBE, and later, a DBE (in 2002), but never responded publicly to these claims. When she announced that she was retiring from the role of Miss Marple in 2008, she said: 'Of course, it is terribly disappointing to have to pass the baton on, but it has been a marvellous experience to inhabit this role for the last few years.'

A man who forced his way into a studio of Dutch news broadcaster NOS with a fake gun has no known links to terrorist organisations, police say. The nineteen-year-old was extremely arrested after reportedly warning of bomb and cyber attacks and demanding air-time. A police statement said that he later admitted making the threats up and claimed he was acting alone. The man's motive remains unclear. It comes at a time of heightened security in Europe following the attacks in Paris. NOS's main evening bulletins were cancelled after the intruder broke in on Thursday. Staff were evacuated from the building in the Media Park in the city of Hilversum. The man, smartly dressed and carrying what appeared to be a long pistol, paced around a studio and reportedly wanted ten minutes' airtime. Footage broadcast by NOS after the incident shows the man - looking, frankly, a bit mental - saying: 'The things that are going to be said - those are very large world affairs. We were hired by the security service.' Armed police stormed into the studio and overpowered the man without shooting him in the face and asking questions later as many armed response units would have. Footage shows the officers shouting: 'Drop it! Get on your knees!' Which he did. In some haste. Police then slapped on the cuffs and took him away for, presumably, a damned good kicking in the local cop shop. That'll teach him. Prosecutors later said that the man, aged nineteen and from the town of Pijnacker near The Hague, was a complete plank and was in police custody. He was being held on suspicion of making a threat, weapons possession taking a hostage and being a stupid fucker, officials added. Dutch media reported that he was believed to be a student at a technical university and had been living with his mother and stepfather. A threatening letter the man allegedly gave to staff, warning of bomb and cyber attacks if he was prevented from going on-air, has been published on the NOS website. A reporter who spoke to the man said he had claimed to be from a 'hackers' collective', according to the AP news agency. Security has been tightened across Europe in recent weeks after jihadist attacks on the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, police officers and a kosher supermarket in Paris left seventeen people dead.

John Carver claimed victory in his first game since being confirmed as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle head coach as relegation-haunted Hull City's losing run continued and Steve Bruce spent another Saturday afternoon with a face like a smacked arse. And, let's face it, that's always funny. Remy Cabella's twenty-yard strike gave the Magpies the lead at the KC Stadium before Hull's Ahmed Elmohamady had a goal ruled out for a clear handball. Sammy Ameobi's long-range goal gave the away side a firm grip on the game and Carver's team sealed the win with twelve minutes to go courtesy of a deflected finish from substitute Yoan Gouffran. In this fixture last season, then-Newcastle boss Alan Pardew infamously head-butted Hull midfielder David Meyler reet in the mush in the 4-1 win for United. Pardew's recent departure to Crystal Palace took the off-field heat out of the contest and focused attention on the pitch, where the away side were again vastly superior. Newcastle are now eleven points above their opponents, who remain firmly rooted in the bottom three and were once again toothless in attack despite the return of Abel Hernandez and Nikica Jelavic. Bruce revealed before the game that Hull had agreed a fee for Lokomotiv Moscow's Senegalese striker Dame N'Doye and his arrival cannot come soon enough for them. Newcastle struggled for the first quarter of the game but Hull's continued inability to turn chances into goals meant the home side quickly lost their initial positivity. Newcastle capitalised on this either side of half-time as Cabella created room for himself and fired in from outside the box for his first Newcastle goal in the fortieth minute before Ameobi drove home from even further out soon after the break. Hull battled for a way into the game and came close when Fabricio Coloccini almost sliced a clearance into his own net and Jelavic failed to steer Gaston Ramirez's saved shot into an empty net. But their fate was well and truly sealed when Gouffran was given acres of space to fire a shot that deflected off Elmohamady, over the unfortunate Allan McGregor and into the net. It was the Magpies first win since their 3-2 victory over Everton on 28 December.

And finally, is this the greatest headline in the Metro ever?
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's something extremely Special. AKA.

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