Sunday, February 08, 2015

Necessary Roughness

New location pictures have been released of filming on the Sherlock Christmas special in London. Both yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self were seen in Victorian-era clothing on a recreation of Baker Street. In some scenes, fake snow flurries were used to give the episode a festive feel. Filming has already been completed in Gloucester and Bristol, but fans are still in the dark over what, exactly, the Victorian element will be. It has been widely suggested that the special is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's Christmas short story The Adventure Of The Blue Carbuncle, after yer actual Mark Gatiss tweeted quotes from that particular story.
Broadchurch fell to a new overnight low on Monday. The ITV drama dropped by around four hundred thousand viewers from the previous week to an average of 4.76 million at 9pm. Earlier, Richard Wilson's On the Road brought in 2.86m at 8pm. BBC1's Silent Witness topped the night, rising by two hundred thousand week-on-week to 5.73m at 9pm. Inside Out appealed to 3.81m at 7.30pm, while the latest Panorama interested 2.77m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, University Challenge was watched by 2.93m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.28m at 8.30pm. The Davey Myers episode of A Cook Abroad gathered 1.56m at 9pm, while Odious, Unfunny, Lanky Streak Of Worthless, Rank & Rancid Piss Jack Whitehall's Backchat drew eight hundred and fifty thousand sad, crushed victims of society at 10pm. Channel Four's The Jump failed to entertain 1.76m at 8pm, dropping by around eight hundred thousand punters from the previous evening's launch episode. The Undateables was seen by 1.76m at 9pm, while Catastrophe had an audience of six hundred and thirty nine thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Celebrity Big Brother continued with its lowest overnight audience of the current series, 1.35m, at 8pm. Ten Thousand BC launched with 1.26m at 10pm.

It's certainly fair to say that Broadchurch's second season has disappointed many with its rather sprawling storyline. For what it's worth, this blogger broadly agrees with the Metro's TV critic, the great Keith Watson, who recently wrote in praise of the court scenes which, despite occasionally veering off into the realms of implausibility, 'reminds us of how Broadchurch can still exert an emotional grip. If only we didn't have to cut away to the Sandbrook story and its collection of unfeasible characters,' Watson continued. 'It's like they're from a different show.' So, there you go - it's all Eve Myles's fault. Officially.
Silent Witness rose by around three hundred thousand overnight viewers to top Tuesday evening's ratings. The eighteenth series finale of the popular crime drama brought in an average six million at 9pm on BBC1. Later, Count Arthur Strong was watched by 1.31m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Alex Polizzi: The Fixer appealed to 1.92m at 8pm, followed by Inside The Commons with 1.69m at 9pm. Rory Bremner's Coalition Report attracted 1.39m at 10pm. ITV's Deirdre & Me tribute was seen by 2.83m at 7.30pm. Bad Builders: Bang to Rights gathered 2.31m at 8pm, while Paul O'Grady's Animal Orphans interested 2.43m at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Jump continued with 1.84m at 8pm, followed by Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody with nine hundred and forty two thousand at 9pm and Gordon Ramsay's Hotel Hell with six hundred and forty six thousand punters at 10pm. Channel Five's Benidorm ER attracted eight hundred and five thousand at 8pm, while Celebrity Big Brother's latest episode had 2.26m at 9pm. Ten Thousand BC dipped to nine hundred and sixty one thousand for its second episode at 10pm. On BBC3, Excluded: Kicked Out Of School concluded with three hundred and thirty nine thousand at 9pm. On BBC4, Digging For Britain launched with seven hundred and fifteen thousand at 8pm, followed by Timewatch with seven hundred and two thousand at 9pm.

Match Of The Day Live topped the overnight ratings on Wednesday evening. BBC1's coverage of live FA Cup football and the match between Notlob Wanderings and the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws scored an average audience of 4.49 million at 7.30pm. ITV's Midsomer Murders dipped by five hundred thousand viewers from the previous week's series opener to 4.29m at 8pm. On BBC2, Alaska: Earth's Frozen Kingdom interested 2.35m at 8pm, followed by Wolf Hall's latest episode with 2.61m at 9pm. Up The Women was watched by eight hundred and twelve thousand and continued to be every single bit as funny as an afternoon at the genital torturers. And, speaking of unentertaining  and worthless shat, Channel Four's The Jump continued with 1.84m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours In A&E attracted 1.86m at 9pm. Bodyshockers followed with nine hundred and seventy two thousand punters at 10pm. On Channel Five, GPs: Behind Closed Doors appealed to 1.21m at 8pm, followed by Celebrity Big Brother with 2.34m at 9pm. Age Gap Love had an audience of eight hundred and sixty six thousand at 10pm.

Death In Paradise remained on top of the Thursday ratings despite a small week-on-week drop, overnight data has shown. The BBC1 Caribbean crime drama fell by around three hundred and fifty thousand viewers from the previous week to 6.64 million at 9pm. Earlier, Eat Well For Less interested 4.91m at 8pm, while Question Time brought in 2.58m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, The Great British Sewing Bee launched with 2.34m at 8pm, followed by Modern Times with seven hundred and seventy eight thousand at 9pm and Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe with nine hundred and ten thousand at 10pm. ITV's The Kyle Files appealed to 2.34m at 7.30pm, while the wretched, rotten as smelly fek Birds Of A Feather provided a wholly laughless half-hour for 3.75m viewers - all of whom should have known exactly what to expect from this pointless exercise at 8.30pm. Car Crash Britain gathered 3.02m at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Jump continued with 1.52m at 8pm. Cucumber continued to shed viewers faster than a ... big shedding thing, falling to but five hundred and ten thousand at 9pm - just over half of the 1.2 million overnight punters who watched the opening episode of the Manchester-set drama three weeks ago. That was followed by Married Behind Bars with five hundred and ninety two thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Secrets of Rome's Colosseum attracted seven hundred and eighteen thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest Celebrity Big Brother with 2.39m at 9pm and Botched Up Bodies with six hundred and twenty seven thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Bangkok Airport was watched by five hundred and thirty six thousand at 9pm, while E4's Brooklyn Nine-Nine drew four hundred and eighty six thousand at 9pm. On Sky1, Ross Kemp's Extreme World enthralled two hundred and seventy eight thousand at 9pm, while Sky Atlantic's Fortitude dipped by over one hundred thousand viewers from the previous week's opener to five hundred and one thousand at 9pm.

TV comedy moment of the week came from Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe: 'Channel Four's The Jump returned to wow viewers with its intoxicating blend of celebrity injuries and sleet. This years contestants include Joey Essex, a man so stupid you expect him to go up the slope cos he's never heard of gravity.' This blogger also enjoyed the suggestion that the difference between the first and second series of Broadchurch was: 'In Broadchurch one, the mystery is "who's the murderer?" In Broadchurch two, it's "what's the point?"' A quick top telly tip for yer man Chas, however. You wanna try cracking a smile occasionally, mate. Otherwise, one day, the wind might change and your face'll stay like that.
BBC1's coverage of England's Six Nations Rugby defeat of Welsh Wales was Friday evening's highest-rated overnight broadcast. The game which England won eighteen-sixteen was seen by an average audience of 7.31 million from 7.30pm. An audience of 4.3 million watched The ONE Show at 7pm, while 3.39 million watched The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm. On ITV, Benidorm was seen by 3.53 million at 9pm, while The Martin Lewis Money Show drew by 3.5 million at 8pm. The Big Allotment Challenge was BBC2's highest-rated show of the evening with 1.32 million at 9pm. It was preceded by 1.17 million for Mastermind at 8pm and 1.03 million for Food & Drink at 8.30pm. Rhod Gilbert Versus Kilimanjaro rounded the evening off with nine hundred and twenty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Four, the latest - rubbish - episode of The Jump was watched by 1.45 million viewers at 8pm, followed by 1.05 million for Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown and eight hundred and seventy thousand for The Last Leg. Celebrity Big Brother's live final was seen by 2.5 million people on Channel Five. With an average audience of eight hundred and two thousand, ITV3's 8pm showing of Agatha Christie's Marple was among the highest-rated multichannel shows.

Incidentally, in case you've been living in a cave for the last few days and haven't heard - and if you haven't, jolly well done, frankly - the former model, reality TV regular and waste of oxygen Katie Price won the Celebrity Big Brother final. And this is 'news' apparently.
The Voice rose once again to 8.7 million overnight viewers on Saturday night. BBC1's singing competition, which is having a great time at the moment, in no small part due to the lack of anything approaching opposition on ITV, averaged a series high overnight of 8.72m from 7.15pm. The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List followed with 5.25m, before Casualty managed 4.95m. Six Nations Rugby had 4.23m before the evening ended with 3.36m for Match Of The Day. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat appealed to 1.74m from 8.35pm. Qi XL continued with 1.26m. On ITV, it was another disastrous night with Harry Hill's Stars in Their Eyes and Planet's Got Talent being watched by audiences of 2.35m and 1.97m respectively. The latest Take Me Out drew 3.05m from 8.05pm, with The Jonathan Ross Show appealing to 2.24m afterwards. Channel Four's The World's Weirdest Weather was seen by eight hundred and fifty seven thousand in the 8pm hour, before a broadcast of American Pie: Reunion was watched by nine hundred and seventy four thousand. On Channel Five, a new(ish) episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had an audience of eight hundred and twenty three thousand from 10.15pm. ITV3's Foyle's War topped the multichannels during primetime, with nine hundred and forty thousand from 8pm.

Overnight ratings for Sunday's the BAFTA Film Awards were up on last year. Hosted by Stephen Fry, the annual event attracted 4.91 million punters at 9pm on BBC1, up from the previous year's overnight audience of 4.56m, but down on 2013's 5.38m. Earlier, Countryfile appealed to 7.6m at 7pm, before Call The Midwife remained comfortably atop the ratings pile with 8.81m at 8pm. BBC2's Top Gear entertained 5.36m at 8pm and put a scowl on the face of a few dozen loud-mouthed Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star readers (as usual), while Dragon's Den attracted 2.39m at 9pm. Match of the Day 2 - featuring yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies' dreadful last-minute capitulation to Dirty Stoke - brought in 1.77m at 10pm. On ITV, Get Your Shit Together hit a new low with 1.73m at 7pm. Which was a thousand times funnier than anything in the show itself. All Star Family Fortunes dipped to 2.25m at 8.15pm, while Mr Selfridge added around seven hundred thousand overnight viewers week-on-week to 3.88m at 9pm. The Jump continued on Channel Four with 1.88m at 7pm, while The Hotel interested 1.13m at 8pm. The documentary Our Guy In India attracted 2.06m at 9pm. Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous was watched by seven hundred and thirty seven thousand on Channel Five at 7pm while Bounty Hunters averaged seven hundred and forty nine thousand at 9pm.

Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo beat Lewis Hamilton to take the top spot on the Top Gear Star in a Reasonably Priced Car leaderboard. After an impressive lap, Jezza Clarkson told Ricciardo that he had driven the test track in one minute and 42.2 seconds, sending him to the top of the table and knocking World Champion Hamilton into second place.
And now, here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Three programmes for week-ending Sunday 1 February 2015:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 10.60m
2 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 9.58m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.20m
4= Death In Paradise - Thurs BBC1 - 8.69m
4= EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.69m
6 Silent Witness - Mon BBC1 - 8.17m
7 Broadchurch - Mon ITV - 7.98m
8 Last Tango In Halifax - Sun BBC1 - 7.90m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.71m
10 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 7.06m
11 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 6.56m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.75m
13 Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 5.72m
14 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.69m
15 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 5.42m
16 Midsomer Murders - Wed ITV - 5.38m*
17 Eat Well For Less? - Thurs BBC1 - 5.20m
18 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.12m
19 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.90m
20 The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List - Sat BBC1 - 4.83m
21 Benidorm - Fri ITV - 4.69m*
22 Wolf Hall - Wed BBC2 - 4.46m
23 Pets: Wild At Heart - Wed BBC1 - 4.42m
As usual, these figures do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' also don't include HD figures. Aside from CorrieBroadchurch, Emmerdale and Benidorm, the only ITV programme of the week to achieve a consolidated audience of more than four million viewers was the wretchedly wretched Birds of A Feather (4.22m) with Mr Selfridge dropping below the four million mark for the first time (3.99m). BBC2, enjoyed another bumper week. Their highest-rated programme, apart from Top Gear and Wolf Hall, was University Challenge with 3.10 million. Next came Dragon's Den with 2.80 million and Only Connect with 2.60 million. Mastermind drew 2.25 million, followed by Alex Polizzi: The Fixer (2.12m), Attenborough's Paradise Birds (1.98m) and the latest Dad's Army repeat (1.87m). The Jump was, disappointingly, Channel Four's most watched programme (2.85m), followed by Our Guy In India (2.76m) and The Undateables (2.41m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were, again, dominated by Celebrity Big Brother, the most watched episode being Thursday's 3.13m. Foyle's War was ITV3's most-watched programme with 1.11m viewers. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite drama on TV anywhere in the world at the moment, Spiral, drew BBC4's largest audience of the week (eight hundred and ninety seven thousand for Saturday's first episode, eight hundred and seventy nine thousand for the second), with Timeshift: Battle For The Himalayas being watched by five hundred and four thousand. A vintage episode of Mock The Week on Dave was seen by four hundred and seventy four thousand. Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled attracted three hundred and seventy one thousand. The FOX Channel's latest episode of NCIS's twelfth series had eight hundred and ten thousand viewers. The Universal Channel's most watched programme was Major Crimes with one hundred and sixty thousand. BBC3's weekly largest-rated list was topped by Bangkok Airport (seven hundred and seventy thousand). A new episode of Bones was Sky Living's highest-rated show with eight hundred and nine thousand viewers. Sky Atlantic's broadcast of the début episode of Fortitude drew a properly extraordinary 1.53 million viewers on Thursday (the following evening's repeat of the episode added a further four hundred and seventy three thousand). Sky 1's most watched programme was Hawaii Five-O (nine hundred and sixteen thousand). Murdoch Mysteries on Alibi drew two hundred and seventy four thousand viewers. Yesterday's Yellowstone was seen by three hundred and forty four thousand. BBC Parliament's fiftieth anniversary repeat of Winston Churchill's State Funeral had an audience of thirty eight thousand.

An estimated average of one hundred and fourteen million people watched last Sunday's Super Bowl on NBC, according to initial US overnight figures. The game set a new record for the most-watched event in American television, beating last year's audience of one hundred and twelve million. Viewing peaked at just under one hundred and twenty one million during the last quarter, which saw the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks twenty eight to twenty four. Some one hundred and eighteen and a half million watched Katy Perry's half-time show in which the singer, in the words of Charlie Brooker, 'performed a medley of her greatest hit' - three million more than last year's show with Bruno Mars. Ratings compiler Nielsen said that the twelve-minute performance - which also featured Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot - attracted the biggest half-time audience for a Superbowl since 1991. NBC said the actual audience for the broadcast was likely to have been far higher because official ratings did not count people watching in locations such as sports bars, alleged 'respectable' businessmen's clubs and, you know, brothels.
Details of the Top Gear arena tour have been revealed. As the presenting trio of Jezza Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond travel around the country, fans will be treated to supercars, stunts and plenty of competitions. Much to the scowling red-faced annoyance of all Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star Green Party frackisation-hating pond scum everywhere. So, excellent. Let's have a lot more of that, then. The live arena shows will involve The Hamster and Mister Slowly competing to make a smaller car than the P45, while two custom built BMW M3s will be covered in over six hundred metres of LED lights. Other stunts include the world's largest Cage Of Death, which sees seven motorcyclists circling the giant globe. The Top Gear tour will be the first time the stunt has been seen in Europe. The Stig will also take on the presenters in a Reliant Robin race, as Jezza races a member of Team GB while sitting in a supercar. Clarkson, May and Hammond will also attempt to settle the rivalry of who the best driver is among them in a dramatic Who's The Hardest test. The trio have been given a budget to find the best drift car and whoever performs best on the night wins. Creative Director Rowland French said: 'Top Gear Live has never toured like this in the UK before and we're really excited about coming back to the UK because it's Top Gear's home. We've got a whole new show and a load of challenges, stunts and surprises that we can't wait to show the audience for the first time.'

There's a very good piece in the Radio Times this week concerning The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and Big Rusty Davies's recent debate in the pages of Doctor Who Monthly about The Doctor's various marriages, which you can read about here.
Yer actual Stevie Fry has addressed the possibility of a Bit Of Fry & Laurie reunion. During this week's episode of The Jonathan Ross Show, Stephen said he would 'never say never' about such a conceit, but admitted that both he and Huge Laurie see sketch comedy as 'a young person's game. We do miss it,' Stevie admitted. 'I see [Huge] as often as possible and we just fit right back into our old modes of speech and silliness. And it's divine. We talk about [performing together again] but, generally speaking, [we] feel that sketch comedy is a young person's game.' The Qi host and national treasure continued to tell Ross: 'Never say never. We talk about it. Who knows? Maybe I think the thing we'd most like to do - because it's somehow just more direct and fun than recording sketches in a studio - is to go on the road and play theatres and things, not necessarily stadiums exactly but nice [venues].' Stephen will host the BAFTAs for the tenth time on Sunday night and admitted that he still gets nervous about hosting the event. 'I still get a kick,' he added. 'I have to be honest, whenever I stop getting nervous, I get a round of nervousness saying "why aren't you nervous? For heaven's sake be nervous" then I get almost sick with fear.'

'Solidarity among widows!' BBC4's Saturday night included another two terrific episodes of Engrenages in which, Gilou got deeper and deeper into the shit, Laure and Joséphine formed an unlikely alliance, Monsieur Le Judge found someone almost as incorruptible as himself to work with and, quite unexpectedly and out of left-field, Herville, apparently, discovered a conscience and suggested that doing the right thing, even if it isn't the easy thing, is preferable to naked ambition. Who'd have expected that? Laure's boys now seem close to apprehending the killer, particularly as, by the end of episode ten, Gilou is back on the streets. It was, nevertheless, an unusually particularly violent and desperate pair of episodes (even for Spiral) with one fatal beating, a truly horrific bent-over-the-desk-and-taken-from-the-rear-rape and a non-fatal but nevertheless very nasty rottweiler attack. And, given that two of those incidents happened to the same character it's fair to say that Kim, in particular, was having a really bad day or two. Of course, this wouldn't be Spiral if the audience wasn't given the opportunity to despair at the depths of human depravity once in a while, but three times in one episode is pushing things. Tintin meets with Bensimon to arrange the illegal printer-cartridge deal. He doesn't have Gilou's 'gamekeeper-turned-poacher' criminal edge to him, but he pulls off the meeting impressively. Zach tells naughty Karen and slightly-less-naughty Laetitia to get the time of departure for the lorry carrying the haul. In the course of getting obtaining this information, Laetitia's last-minute replacement, Kim, is brutally raped by Pascal, the warehouse insider. The subsequent raid on the lorry fails in its main objective of arresting Zach who, unknown to Laure and her team at the time, has been beaten to death by the biker gang for debts unpaid. Eventually, the CID team track a lead on a stolen (but, not really stolen) car to the Étoile estate. As they question Kim's dodgy, insurance fraudster mother of a mother, Karen sets two really mean dogs on Kim. With rather bloody consequences. Herville, meanwhile, is with the repulsive pair of Lenoir and Foucart in which they discuss stitching Gilou up like a kipper, Tommy Nutters. It seems straightforward enough at first with plenty of mutual arse-licking and the getting of dodgy stories extremely straight. Herville is offered the promotion out of CID he desperately wants, to head up the Armed Response Unit as an incentive to be his bosses lackey. But, shockingly, he refuses to throw Gilou to the wolves. 'Getting promoted for shafting an officer,' he ponders. 'I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror in the mornings.' Good on ya, mate although it should be noted, it's a pity it's taken him the best part of two series to get to that point. Still, you know, better late than never. There's also the continuing, very complex shenanigans surrounding Roban and Mendy's investigations into Ziani and Joséphine finding herself drawn deeper into Edelman's sinister machinations as a spectacularly intricate sideshow. Spiral, dear blog reader. Dark as ever and, this week, about twice as nasty as usual. It continues to be the crime drama that shows all the others how it's done.

It was properly fantastic this week to see one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actresses, The West Wing's Janel Moloney, making an all too rare US network appearance in the two-part return of The Blacklist as a shady CIA-type individual.
Meanwhile, over at the Top Gear test track ...
Next, didn't anyone ever inform daft plank Amanda Holden that it's, generally, a good idea to wear a bra when it's a bit chilly outside?
Quick, put them away, love, before Elephant Head comes out and starts singing. Oh, too late ...
The BBC announced last month that its Saturday fantasy drama Atlantis would not be returning for a third series. Because it was shit and no one was watching it. That's the usual reason why shows get cancelled. Now, Jack Donnelly has told the Digital Spy website that he is 'gutted' about Jason's journey being left 'up in the air.' Well, maybe if you'd managed to get a few more people watching it, Jason's fate might have been somewhat different, matey. That's showbusiness for you.

A two-part BBC2 documentary about the Royal Family which was postponed over 'rights issues' will be broadcast from 19 February, the BBC says. Reinventing The Royals was due to be shown on 4 January, but was pulled from the schedule a few days beforehand after problems emerged regarding the use of archive footage. The documentary investigates the Royal Family's relationship with the media. A BBC spokesperson said all clearance issues 'have now been resolved' and the programme will be broadcast as originally intended. Written and presented by media analyst and Gruniad Morning Star journalist Steve Hewlett, the first episode will look at how Prince Charles hired the spin doctor Mark Bolland who worked to improve his public image following the death of the Princess of Wales. The series will also examine Princes William and Harry's relationship with the media following the death of their mother and how the monarchy has changed in the age of the Internet. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'The first episode of Reinventing The Royals will be broadcast on 19 February and it will be the one that we always intended to show.'

Sky1 has confirmed the launch date for the, much-trailed, new series Critical. The medical drama will premiere on the channel on Tuesday 24 February. The thirteen-part series is told in real-time like 24 and focuses on a hospital's trauma unit. The series is written by Line Of Duty's Jed Mercurio and reunites him with Lennie James, who stars as trauma consultant Glen Boyle. The show also stars Catherine Walker, Claire Skinner and Kimberley Nixon. The Critical cast is completed by Doctor Who's Neve McIntosh, Prasanna Puwanarajah, John MacMillan, Ellen Thomas, Mali Harries, Paul Bazely, Danny Kirrane, Peter Sullivan, Emma Fryer, Orion Lee and Juliet Oldfield. Critical is Mercurio's first medical drama since his work on Bodies in 2006. He also wrote the hugely under-rated Cardiac Arrest for the BBC between 1994 and 1996.
HBO will première the television version of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy this spring. EastEnders writer Sarah Phelps's adaptation of the novel will come to the US in a two-night premiere on 29 and 30 April at 8pm. The Casual Vacancy tells the story of the deep divisions which exist below the surface of the seemingly idyllic village of Pagford. Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear and Julia McKenzie portray some of the residents of Pagford in Phelps's version of the novel. The series will precede its US première beginning in the UK on 15 February on BBC1.
EastEnders producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins has said he will not bring minority characters into the BBC soap just to fulfil diversity quotas. He told the Radio Times defining such characters with plots around ethnicity, sexuality or disability would turn the soap into 'a blancmange. The day I start box-ticking is the day I leave,' he said. Last year, the BBC Trust said the show 'isn't a documentary and has to appeal to audiences throughout the UK.' Speaking last summer, Diane Coyle - the former acting head of the Trust - said 'there are almost twice as many white people living in [EastEnders'] fictional E20 as in real life E17', adding that the corporation needed to step up its efforts to reflect contemporary Britain. BBC Director General Tony Hall announced plans last year to increase the BBC's diversity, pledging that fifteen per cent of on-air staff would be black, Asian, minority or ethnic by 2017 - increasing it from the current eleven per cent. Although EastEnders has not been told it must meet any specific target, Treadwell-Collins said he would not adhere to one if asked to do so. 'As soon as someone starts imposing editorial decisions, we fight back, because we know what we're doing,' he said. During his tenure at EastEnders, Treadwell-Collins has overseen the introduction of two characters with disabilities, including market trader Donna Yates, in addition to a number of ethnic and minority characters. He also created the storyline in which Muslim character Syed Masood struggled with his faith and sexuality. Treadwell-Collins also recently cast Richard Blackwood in the soap, describing him as 'an authentic Londoner.' Michael Buffong, a former director of EastEnders, and now artistic director of black theatre company Talawa, said that reflecting the diversity of an area didn't necessarily have to be 'a box-ticking exercise. You can just do it because that's what it looks like,' he told the BBC. 'This argument about diversity and representation has been going on so long - we've tried everything else, we've tried waiting - why not have quotas? At least there will be a change.' He said that he would like to see greater representation on TV and across the entertainment industry as a whole. 'The answer is make programmes more diverse. Give black actors roles - it's not an incredibly difficult formula.' Last month, Channel Four announced its own new diversity charter. As well as setting employment targets, it also includes guidelines to ensure 'every new Channel Four commissioned programme in every genre works towards increasing diverse participation on and off-screen.' Sky also announced last summer its commitment to twenty per cent BAME representation in all new non-returning programmes and twenty per cent BAME writers on all team-written shows.

Benidorm has been recommissioned for an eighth series by ITV. The award-winning comedy will film its latest series on location in Spain later in the year.

Channel Four has shortened its new TV series Immigration Street after filming was disrupted by local residents. The station originally commissioned six episodes of the Benefits Street spin-off but now says that the series will be 'shorter than initially planned.' Attempts to film on Southampton's Derby Road last year were met with protests. 'While there were residents who wanted to share their stories, other elements on the street were determined to hinder filming,' a spokesman said. 'Because of the disruption this caused, Immigration Street will now be shorter than the initially planned six episodes.' The programme will be 'transmitted in the next few weeks', the spokesman confirmed. 'Despite objections from some local groups, immigration is too important an issue for debate about it to be silenced,' the station's representative added, rather haughtily. The announcement followed a protest on Saturday 31 January which saw Southampton residents demonstrate outside Channel Four's headquarters in London. Some Derby Road residents have raised concerns that the show - produced for Channel Four, like the controversial Benefits Street, by independent outfit Love Productions - will 'stigmatise' the area. When it announced the series, Channel Four said it would 'capture life on a street in Southampton where the mix of residents has been transformed over time and continues to evolve as a result of immigration. Cameras will follow the lives of some of the residents of Derby Road in the Bevois district of the city an ethnically diverse street where the majority of residents were not born in the UK.'
Some good news; Last Tango In Halifax has been renewed for a fourth series on BBC1. The channel confirmed that Sally Wainwright's popular drama will return for another run next year at the end of last Sunday's finale.
BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead has warned the government that there is no public appetite for political interference in the BBC in a bid to avoid a repeat of the 'shotgun' licence fee deal of 2010 which ushered in a new era of cuts at the corporation. Fairhead told the Royal Television Society on Tuesday that the BBC 'should be kept out of politics as far as possible' and suggested that scum politicians should cut it out and keep their noses sick agendas out of the BBC's face. She warned that the BBC would face 'vigorous attempts to influence it' in the run-up to the general erection with 'barbs from all sides about the impartiality of the BBC's coverage. The BBC must withstand that.' Fairhead's speech, which called for an unprecedented degree of clarity about what the BBC is for and how much it should cost, will be seen as an attempt to avert a repeat of the 'quick fix' licence fee settlement of five years ago which has caused so much chaos in the years since. The hastily negotiated deal, which followed frantic negotiations with the government and saw the corporation take on a range of new funding responsibilities including the World Service, was compared by its world affairs editor John Simpson to 'waterboarding'. Unveiling BBC-commissioned research which said fifty five per cent of people wanted the licence fee set by an independent body, against twenty three per cent who felt it should be the remit of government or MPs, Fairhead said: 'There was very little support for any government intervention in the BBC. People see a need for independent scrutiny and regulation, but they prefer this to be done by a separate body representing licence fee payers, not by government or MPs. Politicians need to understand that strength of feeling about independence. The BBC doesn't belong to the state.' With negotiations about the BBC's new royal charter and licence fee set to begin after May's general erection, Fairhead said it 'ought to be crystal clear what the BBC has agreed to do as part of its public service remit' following 'a proper public debate. That should include greater clarity about the costs that go with such purposes. If it continues to provide a world-beating World Service or World News, that has significant cost. We ought to be explicit about the deal that is being struck in any new charter and the financial consequences of it.' Fairhead, currently in the process of considering management's proposals to close the BBC3 channel, said that the majority of people saw the £145.50 licence fee as value for money but said there needed to be 'much better understanding of the trade-offs that will have to be made, what audiences expect of the BBC and what they are willing to pay.' Fairhead used the speech to say that the BBC should generate more revenue from its content through its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. She said one of her 'less pleasant surprises' when assuming the role was how little the BBC did to use data to understand its audiences and offer a more personal service to licence fee payers. 'The BBC is a long way behind the competition,' she said. Fairhead, the former chief executive of the Financial Times group who succeeded Lord Patten as head of the Trust last year, also said that the BBC had to look again at its role in education, hinting at an expanded role for the corporation. Fairhead said that the BBC had to 'be aware' of its commercial impact, including the local and national newspaper industry where she said the BBC 'has to show that it can be more open and collaborative. There remains a persistent refrain that the BBC is a difficult organisation to deal with. We've all heard the saying that partnership is something the BBC does to you rather than with you. It needs to become more agile - simpler to work in and to work with.' She said that she saw 'no public appetite' for a smaller BBC, as some critics - with a sick agenda - have called for, which she said, would 'not be the BBC as we know it. It wouldn't have the appeal to broad audiences, it wouldn't have the firepower to create great international journalism or world beating drama or achieve its public purposes.' ICM's polling of two thousand and eleven people drawn from the BBC Trust online panel showed that seventy nine per cent of people thought the BBC did its job to 'inform, educate and entertain' either very well or fairly well. Another eighteen per cent thought it did the job not very well or not well at all. What the other three per cent thought, or if they even understood the question, we simply don't know.

The government has been very satisfyingly defeated in the House of Lords after peers voted for an amendment backed by former BBC chairman Lord Grade preventing decriminalisation of non-payment of the licence fee before 2017. The Tory peer said that he was 'deeply concerned' about the potential impact of decriminalisation on the BBC's budget, which the corporation has said would cost it around two hundred million smackers per annum, and warned that 'dark forces' were at work. Mostly from his own party and their agenda-soaked scum mates in the Tory media, admittedly. The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Javid, set up an independent review into the issue, due to report this summer and government ministers wanted to keep open the option of taking swift action following its completion. But peers voted by one hundred and seventy eight to one hundred and seventy five in favour of a cross-party amendment co-sponsored by Lord Grade, to prevent any change before the next licence fee settlement begins in April 2017. The amendment to the deregulation bill was backed by peers including former Tory cabinet minister, Lord Fowler, Lib Dem former BBC children's television presenter, Baroness Benjamin and Labour former EastEnders actor, Lord Cashman. Lord Grade said: 'I would love to see the licence fee decriminalised, but there are risks in doing that. There are risks the enemies of the BBC will see it as an opportunity to then move the compulsory element of the licence fee and move the BBC to a subscription model which would completely undermine the whole concept of public service broadcasting. I think there are dark forces at work.' No shit, Sherlock? A BBC spokesman said: 'We are working with the government's review into licence fee enforcement and have always maintained that any changes to the licence fee system need to take into account the full effects on the BBC's income, and should only be made in tandem with the next licence fee settlement. Licence fee evasion is low, which maximises investment in the shows and services that audiences love and changing the system is likely to lead to higher evasion.' The government announced in September last year that it would bring forward a review into decriminalisation of non-payment of the fee, as part of the deregulation bill that gained cross party support. The vile and odious rascal Javid said: 'When over ten per cent of magistrates court cases concern this one offence, you have to ask whether the current system is really working. So that's exactly what I'm going to do.' Really exactly. The debate about the BBC's charter renewal and future of the licence fee will not begin in earnest until after the general erection in May. Lord Grade told peers that if the licence fee was to be decriminalised, it needed to happen as part of longer-term funding plans for the corporation so as not to interfere with the 'delicate financial arrangements for the BBC. We need to reflect on that in the context of charter review not in a hurried order from government just months away from charter review,' he said. Fowler said the most enthusiastic supporters of decriminalisation were opposed to the licence fee and described it as a 'mini-sideshow as far as they are concerned. They are opposed to the BBC as a public broadcaster and they advocate a subscription system.' Lord Cashman said it was an 'attempt to constrain the BBC – it is a seat belt wrapped over the BBC. It will stop them being able to do any long-term planning.' Baroness Howe, an independent crossbench peer who put forward the amendment, said: 'Under the current settlement the BBC has been able to plan its programme-making years in advance and budget accordingly. Any changes to the licence fee enforcement regime coming into effect before 1 April 2017 would have a significant impact on the content the BBC provides.' Labour peer, Baroness Corston, opposed the amendment: 'I know that fifty people a year are imprisoned because they don't pay a television licence,' she said. And, those of us who do are supposed to, what? Feel sorry for these criminals? Should that extend to other people imprisoned each year? Bank robbers, perhaps? Or, you know, politicians who fiddle their expense claims? 'They are not imprisoned if they don’t pay council tax and local authorities seem to survive,' this very silly woman added. 'We should not allow the continuing criminalisation of this penalty because of the malign effect it has on an admittedly small number of people. I do not think that the signal we are sending that the status quo is all right is acceptable.' But, of course, as we all know, the status quo is not all right. All of their songs sound exactly the same, for one thing.

Nadia Sawalha has said that she regrets taking part in Celebrity Big Brother 'one billion per cent.' And, again, the question must be asked, we're supposed to, what, feel sorry for her? One imagines the disgustingly large pay cheque she will have received for prostituting herself in the latest series of the sick Victorian freak show will have compensated, somewhat, for the self-imposed dignity-free zone experience. Speaking to Lorraine Kelly, Sawalha said that she had been 'decompressing' ever since leaving the house last week. Whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean.
Lily Allen has reportedly turned down an offer to appear on odious oily twat Piers Morgan's Life Stories. The singer tweeted Morgan to let him know, publicly, that she had received her 'annual' invite to appear on his thoroughly worthless show and that 'it's still a no' from her.

BBC2's new sitcom Boy Meets Girl, touted as the first British comedy to prominently feature transgender characters, has begun filming. The comedy follows Leo, who has a terrible day when he is fired from his job, given a hard time by his mother and forced to play gooseberry to his brother on a night out. However, his luck changes when he meets older woman called Judy. Leo finds himself deeply attracted to Judy and arranges to meet her again. Although his mother is unhappy about the age gap between the pair, Leo doesn't care what she thinks because he knows he has met somebody special. Harry Hepple will play Leo, Rebecca Root will play Judy and Denise Welch is Leo's mother, Pam. The cast also includes Janine Duvitski, Nigel Betts, Lizzie Roper and Jonny Dixon. Boy Meets Girl was created by Elliott Kerrigan and written by Kerrigan, Simon Carlyle and Andrew Mettam. It was discovered through the Trans Comedy Award, a BBC talent search which offered writers up to five thousand knicker for a script which promoted a positive portrayal of transgender characters. BBC Commissioning Editor Kristian Smith said: 'Boy Meets Girl is a heart-warming romantic comedy that draws on the glorious differences that shape all of us. It's a brilliant thing to be able to support comedy that is not only funny, but can also promote affirming messages of humanity and acceptance.' Filming is now taking place in Manchester and on location in the North East. No broacast date for Boy Meets Girl has yet been announced.

Heather Mills has said she would 'definitely' still be competing on The Jump if her prosthetic leg had not broken. Which is bit like Moscow Chelski FC suggesting that they would 'definitely' still be in the FA Cup if only they hadn't been beaten by Bradford City in the last round. Mills was training in the Channel Four show when her mechanical foot broke. A second one had to be found at short notice from a local man with size twelve feet. Which, to be fair, was fucking hilarious.
Ofcom will not be investigating a number of crass whinges it received about Rita Ora's cleavage when she wore a 'plunging' top on The ONE Show. Because, at least in theory, it has far more important things to do with its time than deal with utter trivial nonsense like that. Following the singer's appearance on the early evening magazine show on 5 January alongside her fellow The Voice coaches, Ofcom received thirty three whinges from viewers, who claimed that the outfit breached Ofcom's 'generally accepted standards' guideline. Ofcom has confirmed in its latest broadcast bulletin that it will not investigate the complaints further, writing: 'After careful assessment, Ofcom has decided not to pursue [the complaints] because they did not raise issues warranting investigation.' Which, appears to be a long-winded way of telling the wingers to grow the fek up and quit whinging. Tragically, they chose not to name and shame the thirty three individuals who felt that this was an issue that anyone, actually, gave a monkey's about. The BBC received a further four hundred and twenty four crass whinges from viewers about Ora's outfit, with many of these stating that it was 'inappropriate' for the time the programme was broadcast. The BBC responded by saying: 'The ONE Show allows guests to choose their own attire and pop stars often opt for something glamorous or striking. We didn't feel that Rita's outfit would be outside of most viewers' expectations of that of a major pop star, but we appreciate that tastes vary.'
Stephen Mulhern has said that ITV's Get Your Act Together hasn't got the reaction he wanted. Because it's shit, basically. Speaking to the Digital Spy website about ITV's latest crass, pointless z-list celebrity show, the presenter said that he would want to present a second series if one were to be commissioned. Which, hopefully, it won't be.
Convicted perjurer Jeffrey Archier, his 'fragrant' wife, Mary and their son, James, have settled their phone-hacking claims against the former publisher of the Scum of the World. The former Tory MP, author and convicted perjurer, his scientist wife and businessman son had decided to accept News Group Newspapers' offer of substantial undisclosed damages, the payment of their legal costs and an unqualified apology, said Hugh Tomlinson QC at London's high court. He told Mr Justice Mann that they had brought proceedings against NGN for misuse of private information, breach of confidence and harassment. None of the Archers were in court to hear the verdict. Tomlinson said that Archer - well known for his champagne and shepherd's pie parties (and his jail sentence, of course) - was 'of long-term interest' to NGN and was the subject of 'numerous articles' in the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World over many years. His wife and son were 'of interest' as a source of information about him. 'The defendant, over a considerable period, sought to obtain private information concerning the claimants by using the services of private investigators. The evidence has indicated that the claimants were of long-term continuing interest to the defendant. In or around June 2011, the claimants were contacted by officers at Operation Weeting. They were shocked and distressed by the discovery that private and confidential information relating to them had been located within documents relating to the police investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World.' He added that NGN had undertaken to the court not to access their voicemail messages, not to access or attempt to access their private information by unlawful means and not knowingly to publish information obtained by unlawfully accessing voicemail messages left for or by them. Antony White QC, for NGN, said that it offered its 'sincere' apologies for the damage and distress caused by accessing their voicemail, obtaining confidential information and having put Archer under surveillance. 'The defendant acknowledges that the information should never have been obtained in the manner it was and that the defendant is liable for misuse of private information and breach of confidence.'

Kevin Pietersen has agreed to be part of the BBC's radio coverage for the Cricket World Cup, with the former England batsman set to feature on Test Match Special from the quarter-finals onwards. Pietersen, who recently appeared for the Melbourne Stars at the Big Bash League, has been lined-up by the corporation to be a guest summariser after being left out of England's World Cup squad last month. 'I'm really looking forward to working with the Test Match Special team at the World Cup,' said Pietersen. 'I really enjoyed having a go at some commentary during the Big Bash and it will be good to return to Australia for the climax of what should be a really exciting tournament.' The BBC's head of radio sport, Richard Burgess, added: 'This is an ambitious year for cricket on BBC radio – with 5live leading the way with its biggest ever offer. We'll also have extensive online coverage including the introduction of cricket alerts on mobile so you'll always know when the latest wicket has fallen. Of course, it is the expert voices of our Test Match Special team who will be at the heart of our cross-platform offering including the likes of Jonathan Agnew, Geoffrey Boycott, Michael Vaughan, Phil Tufnell, Henry Blofeld, Ed Smith, Alison Mitchell and Isa Guha. I'd also like to welcome Kevin Pietersen to the fold for the Cricket World Cup and look forward to hearing him on TMS.'

ITV's This Morning has sparked a string of complaints from viewers with a segment on 'bondage for beginners'. The section – inspired by the upcoming Fifty Shades Of Grey movie – offered advice on sex toys and showed half-naked models cavorting on a bed in the background. Self-styled 'sex expert' Annabelle Knight talked Phillip Schofield and co-host The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley through a selection of toys including blindfolds, a feather 'tickler' and a vibrating 'body wand.' Schofield looked every bit as embarrassed as if someone had suggested that his historic relationship with Gordon the Gopher had been inappropriate when he warned 'sensitive' viewers about the upcoming piece, saying 'it will be done in good taste', as that witless flibbertigibbet, greed bucket, horrorshow (and drag) Bleakley tried,  wholly unsuccessfully, to stifle her inane giggling. Schofield then appeared somewhat tongue-tied as footage of models writhing on a bed was shown. Asked about his views on a satin eye mask, he said: 'Sorry, I was just watching the VT then – I got a bit distracted.' The show then featured 'intermediate' and 'advanced' sections featuring whips, vibrators and nipple clamps. Bleakley again, proved to be about as professional something which isn't professional in the slightest, sniggering like a gormless plank after being handed a pair of nipple clamps and adding 'I'll try them later.' Oh, if only she would. On her mouth. Inevitably, some viewers got rather stroppy over the timing of the segment, shown at 10.30am when children may have been watching. Although, those that were would have been playing the wag from school. An Ofcom spokesman said that it has received seventy four complaints from viewers and is currently assessing these before deciding whether to investigate.
Hello, hello, he's back (in jail) again. Convicted kiddie-fiddler and disgraceful old shite Gary Glitter has been found extremely guilty of historical sex abuse against three young girls between 1975 and 1980. The seventy-year-old former singer - real name, Paul Gadd - was very convicted of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one of having sex with a girl under the age of thirteen. Glitter, who denied all charges, was acquitted of three other counts at Southwark Crown Court. He was remanded in custody and will be up a'fore the beak for sentencing on 27 February. He could face a maximum of life in the pokey for the offence of having sex with an under age girl. The court heard that one victim was under the age of ten when Glitter tried to rape her in 1975. She said that the singer had crept into her bed as she slept and that, afterwards, she had felt 'ashamed and dirty' by the experience. As, indeed, does this blogger who has half a dozen of the bloke's singles in his collection. The girl only managed to escape Glitter's sick advances by 'moving away' and then wrapping herself in sheets and blankets. The victim told the jury that she had been to Glitter's mansion 'a number of times' as a child and that after the attack, a drunken Glitter had fallen asleep in the bed while she locked herself in a bathroom. Glitter also attacked two other girls, aged twelve and thirteen, after inviting them backstage to his dressing room. During the BBC News's coverage of the case on Thursday evening after the verdict has been announced, a number of Glitter's 1970s hits were - briefly - featured in the piece; one should, perhaps, be thankful that this is probably the last time you're ever likely to hear his very unfortunately-named 1972 single 'Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah!)' anywhere in public. Glitter - who once declared that he was 'the man who put the "bang" in "gang"' - had claimed throughout the trial that he could not have abused the girls in question because he had been 'cleaning his wig' at the time. That's not a euphemism for anything just in case you were wondering. The jury, seemingly, didn't believe a single word of such a load of old cock and bull nonsense and delivered very guilty verdicts. Glitter was cleared of two counts of indecent assault and one count of administering 'a drug or other thing' in order to facilitate sexual intercourse. The jury of seven women and five men had been considering their verdicts since Wednesday. Detective Chief Inspector Mick Orchard of the Metropolitan Police said Glitter had 'shown himself to be a sexual predator who took advantage of the star status afforded to him by targeting young girls who trusted him and were in awe of his fame.' Orchard added that Glitter's 'lack of remorse and defence that the victims were lying make his crimes all the more indefensible.' Glitter, the first person to be arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, had previously been extremely jailed for four months in 1999 after admitting possessing thousands of images of child pornography on his computer. After serving his bird, and appearing contrite as her appeared before the press, he then fled to Cambodia but was permanently expelled from the country in 2002, though no specific reason was given for his deportation to Viet'nam. In 2006 Glitter was convicted for molesting two Viet'namese girls aged eleven and twelve and other assorted bad naughtiness and jailed for three years. His sentence was later reduced by three months and he returned to Britain in August 2008 having been refused entry to Australia. Peter Watt, the director of national services for the NSPCC, said: 'Glitter was devious and manipulative throughout this trial. Thankfully the jury has seen through all the fake tears and his attempts to paint his victims as liars, gold diggers or opportunistic fantasists. He tried to portray himself as the victim in this case, as a remorseful, penitent man who had paid for his previous crimes but now faced malicious new allegations. It was just another performance. His previous convictions, including those for possession of more than four thousand indecent images of children and sexual assaults in Viet'nam, were indicative of a predatory sexual interest in children spanning decades.' Mark Castle, chief executive of the charity Victim Support, said: 'We hope this verdict will encourage people who have been sexually abused to speak out or seek help. Unless they have confidence in the criminal justice system, abusers like Paul Gadd will not be brought to justice.'
      Remember him this way, dear blog reader. Spending the twilight years of his wretched life behind bars for his sick and sordid crimes.
Meanwhile, convicted paedophile Rolf Harris has been interviewed under caution by police investigating further sex offences. Scotland Yard said that an eighty four-year-old was questioned at a police station in Stafford. He was questioned by detectives from Operation Yewtree, the investigation into sexual abuse allegations that have arisen since the death of dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Jimmy Savile. Harris was very jailed in July for over five years for twelve indecent assaults against four girls. He was interviewed under caution on Tuesday and Wednesday. Several well-known public figures have been jailed following trials brought under the Yewtree investigations. Full of his own importance PR figure Max Clifford and former BBC radio presenter Chris Denning were both successfully prosecuted. Ex-BBC Radio 1 host and self-styled 'hairy cornflake' Dave Lee Travis was given a suspended sentence for indecent assault following a similar investigation.

They are two of every TV news correspondent's worst nightmares: inclement weather and cheeky passers-by. So when the two combined, BBC News reporter Peter Henley could have been forgiven for being a little ruffled. Henley was reporting live for the BBC News channel on the upcoming election in Eastleigh, when an opportunistic local youth took one look at the sitting duck journalist, doing a piece-to-camera, took aim and landed a snowball on him. Instead of knocking Henley off his stride however, the snowball assault raised not even a flinch, with the BBC South Today political editor praised for remaining 'cool as a cucumber' throughout the ordeal. News on whether the cheeky young scamp what threw the snowball has been nabbed by the rozzers, given a good kicking down the station and prosecuted for his wicked crimes is not, at this time, known.
The producers of a popular television soap in Angola have apologised after an episode which showed a gay couple kissing caused outrage among viewers. State television said that it had suspended broadcasts of Jikulumessu for 'technical reasons.' Bloody hell, Channel Four thought they had it bad after that episode of Brookside. 'Many' viewers - sick homophobes, in other words - felt that the programme 'went too far' by showing two men kissing, although homosexuality in and of itself is not illegal in Angola. The programme was produced by a firm owned by the president's son. Jose Eduardo Paulino dos Santos, a leading artist better known by his stage-name Coreon Du, has been accused of promoting homosexuality in Angola, where many people - again, just to repeat, sick homophobes - hold 'conservative' religious and social values. His firm, Semba Productions, said that it was 'reviewing' the programme and it apologised for any offence caused. Jikulumessu has tackled socially sensitive issues, including polygamy, homosexuality and prostitution, with the aim of promoting dialogue and tolerance, it said in a statement. The programme was shown daily on prime-time television until broadcasts were suspended on Monday night. It was the second Angolan soap to feature prominent gay and lesbian characters but this was the first time a homosexual kiss had been aired.

A Japanese broadcaster has apologised to the family of a twelve-year-old singer, who was left in a coma after inhaling helium for a TV show. The girl, a member of the pop group 3B Junior, was taking part in a game which involved changing her voice when she fell unconscious on 28 January. It is thought that she suffered an air embolism, restricting the blood supply to her brain. She has not been named. As of Thursday, the girl has regained consciousness, Japan Today reported. However, she only has limited movement and cannot yet speak clearly. 3B Junior comprises more than twenty singers, all aged between ten and sixteen. A statement on their official website, said that the band were 'praying for a quick recovery' for their co-star. 'Our heart hurts,' it continued. 'We are very sorry about the accident.' Speaking to the press on Wednesday, executives from TV Asahi apologised to the girl and her family. They said that the canister from which she had inhaled the gas was marked 'for adult use only', but producers had 'overlooked' the warning. Managing director Toru Takeda said that he had delayed announcing the accident to the public because he expected the singer to make an earlier recovery. He only revealed the information after doctors saw signs of improvement, and he sought the blessing of the girl's parents first. TV Asahi added that an internal investigation would be conducted into the case. Local media have reported that police will also look into it. Takeda said that the TV show, entitled 3B Junior Stardust Shoji, was originally scheduled for broadcast on 24 February but may now be discontinued. Although inhaling helium from balloons is a common parlour trick, it can prove fatal. 'Apart from a high-pitched voice, potential health effects of helium are dizziness, headache and suffocation,' says advice published by the UK's Public Health Agency. 'Should anyone experience ill effects from inhaling helium, the advice is to get the person to breathe in fresh air immediately. If symptoms persist oxygen may need to be administered, so get medical help urgently.'

When it was announced that David Tennant was to make his début on the long-running Radio 4 panel show Just A Minute, host Nicholas Parsons said he thought the Doctor Who and Broadchurch actor an national heartthrob would 'do well.' Parsons waxed lyrical about Tennant's 'natural delivery', which he said would help him compete in the tricky contest in which the object is to talk on a given subject for sixty seconds without 'repetition, deviation or hesitation.' Well, it seems that Nicholas may have underestimated David's brilliance. In his first attempt, alongside experienced Just A Minute hands Paul Merton, Julian Clary and Stephen Fry, he smashed it according to the Radio Times. David managed to speak perfectly on the subject of Shakespeare's famous stage direction from The Winter's Tale 'Exit, Pursued by a Bear' in his first attempt, much to the delight of the studio audience. Although, he did say 'perhaps' twice and nobody buzzed him for repetition. He'd've never gotten away with that in Derek Nimmo's days! In the show, which will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Monday 9 February, David said at the end of the perfect round: 'Can I leave now before I ruin my record?'
One additional thing: He could've done with having a shave before the recording. I mean, this blogger realises it's only radio and all that but still, come on David, make a bloody effort, you look like a scruff, man.

Members of Pope Francis' sex abuse commission have criticised his remarks that it is acceptable for parents to spank their children, saying that there is no place for physical discipline and that the panel would make recommendations to him about protecting kids from all forms of corporal punishment. Unless it's between consenting adults and in the privacy of their own home. In which case, it's fine and the law can't touch you for it. Anyway ... the commission met with its full seventeen members for the first time this week and announced 'progress' Saturday on drafting policies to hold bishops accountable when they cover up for paedophile priests. It will also be organising seminars for Vatican officials on protecting children. But, they got an unexpected and urgent new task when Francis told a weekly general audience that it was 'permissible' for parents to give their children a good hiding so long as their 'dignity was respected.' What that means. Member Peter Saunders said: 'You don't hit kids.'

The filming of movie action sequences has been restricted by authorities in Paris following last month's terrorist attacks in the French capital. 'There's a problem with these action-type scenes, as the actors in uniform could be targets for terrorists,' said police commander Sylvie Barnaud. 'Also, the actors could pose confusion for the general public - during this highly sensitive period.' She said the use of fake weapons and pyrotechnic effects were also banned. Tensions remain high following the attacks in January which left twenty people dead, including three gunmen. Armed police and soldiers continue to guard sensitive sites, including synagogues, media offices and large shopping areas. Commander Barnaud said that she 'did not know' how long the filming ban could last, but added it was common sense: 'I was shocked to hear witnesses of the Charlie Hebdo attacks say on television "it seemed like a movie shoot to us."' Paris is a popular destination for film-makers, with its wide boulevards and dramatic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre pyramid. Official statistics provided by city authorities showed there were nine hundred and thirty film and TV shoots in Paris last year, including approximately twenty international productions. Recent box office hits which were filmed in the French capital include the Tom Cruise thriller Edge Of Tomorrow, Luc Besson's Lucy - starring Scarlett Johansson - and the first Taken film. Matt Damon's visceral car chase in his 2002 film The Bourne Identity remains among the city's most memorable action sequences, as is a similar lengthy chase sequence in 1998's Ronin. Agnes Nageotte of the Cinema Mission said the restrictions 'could have an impact on the big American productions. It's not the right moment to do it - even if Steven Spielberg wanted to film a big scene with police and a shoot-out in the streets in January, I'm sure it would not have got made,' she said. But Olivier-Rene Veillon, who heads the Ile de France Film Commission, told the New York Times, there was 'no impact on current productions', adding it was 'a quiet period' and the ban was 'perfectly manageable.'

Those who spread racial hatred online could be given 'Internet Asbos' banning them from sites such as Twitter and Facebook, under proposals to crack down on a 'disturbing rise in anti-Semitism' in the UK suggest MPs. And, for once that group of disgracefully self-interested pond scum are absolutely correct. Thus proving that, like a broken clock, everyone can be right at least twice a day if they try hard enough. The All-Party Parliamentary inquiry into anti-Semitism wants prosecutors to examine if prevention orders like those used to restrict sex offenders' Internet access could be used. The cross-party group also highlighted the use of sickening anti-Semitic terms online. The report said: 'Given the scale of social media content produced on a daily let alone minute by minute basis, we have some, albeit limited, sympathy for the companies that are responsible for hosting it. Whilst there is rightly an expectation on those companies to act as there is on government, police and prosecuting authorities, so too civil society has a crucial role to play.' Last week, a Community Security Trust report said anti-Semitic incidents in Britain had, appallingly, more than doubled to eleven hundred and sixyt eight in 2014. The trust - which monitors anti-Semitism in Britain - claims that this was its highest figure recorded since it began work in 1984. The Parliamentary inquiry was set up following a rise in incidents in July and August last year during fighting between Gaza and Israel. The MPs said that social media platforms had 'increasingly been used for the spread of anti-Semitism.' Their report suggested that the terms 'Hitler' and 'Holocaust' were among the top thirty five phrases used on Twitter during that period. Although, to be fair, a statement like 'hey, that Hitler, he was a right a bad'un, wasn't he? I mean, look at the Holocaust, for example' would qualify for inclusion in this statistic. As, indeed, would this blog's use of the two words just now in reporting this news. So, not every use of the words in question means that the user is a card-carrying member of the National Socialist Party. Just, you know, for a bit of balance here. A Populus poll accompanying the report also suggested a third of Britons - thirty seven per cent - believed the problem of anti-Semitism has got worse in the last decade.

According to that always reliable bastion of true and accurate reportage the Lies On Sunday, Mike Ashley wants to install Hapless Harry Redknapp as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies manager after Redknapp recovers from knee surgery. Christ, one hopes not.
For those who are wondering, for some reason that is not immediately apparently, Feedjit's live traffic map appears to have, ahem, disappeared from this blog (and, indeed, from many others) over the last week. So, whilst investigations into what's up with it continue, for those who are missing it and are desperate to know where From The North's readers are coming from, here's an recent update.
As in the past, we're still eagerly looking for some dear blog readers in Liechtenstein, the Federated States of Micronesia, Chad, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Tuvalu (and, indeed, most of the South Pacific islands), Greenland and the Falklands Islands. Among others. Come on guys, use your browsers wisely. Or, you know, if you haven't got any browsers, the trick is to bang the rocks together.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, we have a tasty little mod classic from just about the best thing to come out of Manchester in the 1960s (apart, perhaps, from Georgie Best).

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