Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Men Don't Know, But The Little Girls Understand

Filming has continued on the Doctor Who series nine this week. Neither Peter Capaldi or Jenna Coleman were, seemingly, on location for Friday's filming. Instead, a short scene was filmed with Jenna's stunt doubles (both male and female) standing in. Earlier in the week Jenna was spotted filming scenes at Tonyrefail School, which is once again standing in as Coal Hill School.
And, speaking of location filming, here's another snap of Martin Freeman on the recently completed Sherlock special shoot. Sans 'tashce, an'all.
Now. dear blog readers who are all of an anti-spoilers disposition should be well aware, the latest From The North blog update includes some. So, if you don't want to know the score, look away now.

Anyway, dear blog reader. Just in case you hadn't heard ...
More than ten million people tuned in to watch EastEnders' latest murder mystery storyline reach its climax on Thursday, with viewers finally learning who killed Lucy Beale. After a long-running storyline and fevered guessing, in a twist that seemed to have been, ahem, 'informed' - lock, stock and two smoking, as it were - by The Simpsons' Who Shot Mister Burns? Lucy's young brother, Bobby, was revealed as the dirty rotten killer. The eleven-year-old was found by his stepmother, Jane, clutching what appeared to be the weapon used in the grizzly crime. And, for one American teenager who happened to share a name with the character of the murderer, this was a sudden, and unexpected, opportunity for publicity which she eagerly grabbed with both hands. Wait till she finds out what Blackadder II made of girls called Bob. Anyway, the first episode of the two-parter, shown from 7:30pm, reached a peak overnight audience of 11.9 million viewers. The peak for the second episode at 9:30pm, which featured the actual murderer his very self being actually unmasked, had an overnight peak of 11.2 million punters. The first of two episodes, in which it was suggested that Jane her very self might have been the killer, had an overnight average audience of 10.8 million. But in the lengthy flashback episode which followed, returning to the night in 2014 when Lucy was done to death, it was revealed that Jane had only discovered her stepdaughter's body and that Bobby was the one what done the dirty deed. An average 10.3 million overnight punters stayed with soap for the revelation. Standing in the front room of their house, Bobby told Jane: 'Whatever she says, she started it. She made everyone unhappy.' One of the biggest talking points of the night, was the return of Ian Beale's mum Kathy (played by Gillian Taylforth), who had been thought to be dead for more than a decade after a car crash in South Africa.
Death In Paradise enjoyed a ratings boost on EastEnders' thirtieth anniversary night (in which Bob dun it), according to overnight figures. The popular Caribbean drama brought in 7.08 million viewers for BBC1 at 9pm to be the most watched show of the night behind EastEnders. Later in the evening, Question Time interested 3.01m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, The Great British Sewing Bee continued with 2.13m at 8pm, before the much-delayed documentary Reinventing The Royals appealed to 1.78m at 9pm and Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe gathered nine hundred and sixty thousand punters at 10pm. ITV's coverage of the Europa League match between the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws and Besiktas averaged 3.31m between 7.45pm and 10.15pm whilst most of the rest of the country was watching Bob doin' it on EastEnders. On Channel Four, the latest episode of Location, Location, Location had an audience of 1.23m at 8pm, while Cucumber lost a further two hundred thousand viewers week-on-week being watched by a mere three hundred and fifty thousand punters at 9pm. My Tattoo Addiction had seven hundred and ten thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole attracted six hundred and ninety seven thousand at 8pm and Britain's Biggest Primary School was watched by six hundred and forty two thousand at 9pm. The new season of The Mentalist continued with six hundred and twenty seven thousand at 10pm. On BBC3, Bangkok Airport brought in six hundred and forty thousand at 9pm. Sky Atlantic's latest episode of Fortitude had a slightly increased audience of four hundred and forty nine thousand at 9pm.
The BBC has revealed that it received four whinges that the broadcaster 'misled' EastEnders fans by giving 'false information' about suspects in the lead-up up to Thursday's 'Who Killed Lucy?' reveal. The bastards. How very dare they? Ofcom also stated that it had been sent five further complaints about the storyline, one of them over the fact there was no helpline available 'for those affected.' Affected by what, exactly, they didn't specify. Being murdered by your eleven year old brother, possibly. Just guessing. The Daily Record reports that the watchdog would 'evaluate' these whinges before judging whether to investigate further, not investigating further and then telling those who had whinged to fer Christ's sake grow the hell up and get a life. The on-screen revelations mark the end of a whodunit mystery which spanned ten months, beginning in April 2014 when Lucy's very dead body was found dumped on Walford Common.
Bear Grylls: Mission Survive opened to 2.91 million overnight viewers on Friday. The reality show, which sees eight z-list celebrities attempt to survive in the rain forests of Costa Rica, peaked with 2.98 million from 9pm on ITV. Earlier on in the evening, Barging Round Britain With John Sergeant was seen by an average audience of 2.6 million. The ONE Show was the evening's highest-rated show outside of soaps, attracting 3.83 million at 7pm. BBC1's evening continued with 3.37 million for A Question of Sport at 7.30pm, while The Musketeers played to 3.02 million. In-between EastEnders' Live Week went out on a high with the fallout from the reveal of Lucy's killer. The soap attracted 9.97m at 8pm on BBC1 as Jane reluctantly confirmed Bobby's guilt to the Beale family in a full live episode. After the main show, 6.45m watched EastEnders: Backstage Live, which featured immediate reaction from the soap's cast and crew. The companion show won the 8.30pm slot against ITV's Coronation Street which had a mere 5.03 million viewers, one of the lowest for an episode of Corrie in living memory. BBC1's evening ended with 2.94 million for The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip kicked off the evening with 1.52 million at 7pm, followed by 1.93 million for Mastermind and 1.48 million for Food & Drink. Italy Unpacked continued with 1.28 million, while repeat of one of he best episodes of the last series of Qi attracted 1.18 million. Gogglebox continued to score impressive ratings for Channel Four. The latest episode was seen by 3.35 million at 9pm. It was sandwiched between The Million Pound Drop with nine hundred and twenty thousand and The Last Leg with 1.29 million. On Channel Five, NCIS: New Orleans and the terrestrial début of NCIS's series twelve premiere were seen by respective audiences of nine hundred and thirty one thousand and nine hundred and ninety nine thousand respectively.
The undoubted highlight of the EastEnders: Backstage Live show, presented by Zoe Ball - which, for those who didn't see it, was every single bit as awful and worthless as Ball's previous foray into twenty-four carat live TV catastrophe Doctor Who Live: The After Party - occurred when the presenter was interviewing Adam Woodyatt. Many viewers, seemingly, were distracted by the fact that stood directly behind Zoe during the interview was a rather sinister-looking chap whom someone of no importance on Twitter dubbed 'The Creepy Man.'
Quite creepy, I'm sure you'll agree, dear blog reader.

After a few weeks where it seemed that ITV's fortunes on Saturday evening were, roughly, equivalent to that of Hartlepool United, the very welcome return to the channel of Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway premièred to more than six million overnight punters and provided one of the biggest sighs of relief ever heard coming from ITV's executive offices. In a year so far in which a series of twenty four carat ratings disasters such as Harry Hill's Stars In Their Eyes and Planet's Got Toilets have stank up ITV's Saturday night schedules like a large mound of rotting rancid diarrhoea and made their advertisers decidedly twitchy, yer actual Anthony and/or December and their moderately amusing cheeky-chappie-doon-the-Bigg-Market schtick drew an overnight audience of 6.17m from 7pm for their popular variety show's first episode of a new series. It was, remarkably, the first time in two months that an ITV Saturday night primetime programme had attracted an audience of more than four million viewers. Saturday Night Takeaway didn't top the night, BBC1's The Voice comfortably remained out in front although the overnight audience for the first of the signing competitions 'blind auditions' rounds of 6.75 million was a series low and a considerable fall (of nearly two million viewers) from the previous week's overnight figure. Comparing the figures to the equivalent week in 2014, Takeaway is, roughly, level but The Voice is down by around half-a-million overnight viewers. Otherwise it was, again, a broadly solid night for BBC1 with The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List and Casualty pulling in 4.78m and 4.67m respectively. Match Of The Day featuring yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies' shameful, embarrassing, indefensible and utterly cowardly 'surrender before kick-off' at Sheikh Yer Man City, was watched by an audience of just under three million. On BBC2, How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson appealed to nine hundred and thirty seven thousand from 7.30pm. A Dad's Army repeat drew 1.63m and the excellent Reginald D Hunter's Songs Of The South had 1.42m. ITV's risible, hopeless Take Me Out was watched by 3.96m from 8.25pm, with The Jonathan Ross Show being seen by 2.35m afterwards. The finale of the wretched Planet's Got Toilets drew 2.82m. Channel Four's Homes By The Sea averaged six hundred and five thousand in the 7pm hour. The World's Weirdest Weather interested eight hundred and ninety thousand before an showing of Silver Linings Playbook attracted seven hundred and fifty nine thousand. On Channel Five, 9pm's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation continued with eight hundred and sixty six thousand. ITV3's Foyles War was the largest audience on multichannels with eight hundred and sixty thousand from 8pm.

The Casual Vacancy's second episode dropped by nearly two million overnight viewers from the previous week's opening part. BBC1's adaptation of JK Rowling's novel brought in an average 4.78m at 9pm. Earlier, Countryfile appealed to 7.65m at 7pm. Call The Midwife remained easily on top of the Sunday overnight ratings list with 8.63m at 8pm, around three hundred thousand less viewers than the previous week's episode. On BBC2, the latest Top Gear attracted 5.27m at 8pm. And, very amusing it was too, despite only featuring Olly Murs as the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car. That was followed by Dragons' Den with 2.77m at 9pm and Meet the UKiPers - the documentary about featuring a former councillor who was expelled from the party after making 'deeply racist' comments - with 1.32m at 10pm. ITV's Get Your Shit Together was finally put out of its misery with a spectacularly dreadful 2.51m at 7pm, while All Star Family Fortunes didn't do much better, attracting but 2.65m at 8.15pm. Mr Selfridge continued with 3.51m at 9pm. On Channel Four, their epic, fourteen million quid drama Indian Summers dropped seven hundred thousand of its overnight audience from the previous week's launch episode, averaging 1.88m at 9pm. Auction House brought in 1.03m at 8pm. Channel Five's showing of Top Gun saw seven hundred and fifty seven thousand punters acquiring the need for speed at 9pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes for week-ending Sunday 15 February 2015:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 10.73m
2 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 10.10m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.86m
4 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 8.47m
5 Death In Paradise - Thurs BBC1 - 8.38m
6 Broadchurch - Mon ITV - 8.36m
7 The Casual Vacancy - Sun BBC1 - 8.26m
8 The Great Comic Relief Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 7.75m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.75m
10 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.39m
11 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 6.28m
12 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 5.88m
13 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.84m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.56m
15 Eat Well For Less - Thurs BBC1 - 5.29m
16 The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List - Sat BBC1 - 4.94m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.93m
18 Indian Summers - Sun Channel Four - 4.82m
19 Six Nations Rugby: Ireland Versus France - Sat BBC1 - 4.68m
20 Midsomer Murders - Wed ITV - 4.67m*
21 Benidorm - Fri ITV - 4.60m*
22 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.46m
23 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.36m
24 Wolf Hall - Wed BBC2 - 4.29m
These figures do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' also don't include HD figures. Aside from CorrieBroadchurch, Emmers, Midsomer Murders and Benidorm, no other ITV programme across the entire week achieved a consolidated audience of more than four million viewers (minus HD). Stinking lousy unfunny waste-of-space rubbish Birds Of A Feather was watched by 3.98m complete chebs whilst Mr Selfridge's audience dropped to 3.91m. Once again, neither of ITV's truly spectacular weekend flops, Harry Hill's Stars In Their Eyes or Get Your Shit Together, managed to acquire a consolidated audience of more than two-and-a-half million punters and neither made ITV's top thirty broadcasts of the week. Which rather restores ones faith in the general public, frankly. All Star Family Fortunes did, but only just (2.36m in thirtieth place). BBC2, enjoyed another good week. Their highest-rated programmes, apart from Top Gear and Wolf Hall, were University Challenge with 3.03 million, The Great British Sewing Bee (three million) and Dragon's Den (2.87 million). Only Connect drew 2.39 million, followed by Alaska: Earth's Frozen Kingdom (2.09m) and Alex Polizzi: The Fixer (2.08m). Indian Summers was, by miles, Channel Four's most watched programme of the week, followed by The Secret Life Of Four Year Olds (3.15m), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.50m) and Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown (2.22m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole (2.28m) and episodes of their trio of popular US imports, NCIS (1.72m), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.61m) and The Mentalist (1.56m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's most-watched programme with 1.14m viewers just ahead of Foyle's War (1.02m). The final two episode of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Spiral drew BBC4's largest audiences of the week (eight hundred and seventy four thousand for the second and final episode and eight hundred and fifty four thousand for the first), with the excellent Digging For Britain being watched by six hundred and thirty four thousand and Shakespeare's Mother: The Secret Life attracting five hundred and fifty nine thousand. The FOX Channel's latest episode of The Waking Dead's fifth series had 1.16m viewers whilst NCIS's twelfth series continued (a few weeks ahead of Channel Five) with six hundred and ninety one thousand. The Universal Channel's most watched programme was Major Crimes with one hundred and ninety nine thousand. BBC3's weekly largest-rated list was topped by Waterloo Road (seven hundred and forty five thousand). A new episode of Bones was Sky Living's highest-rated show with eight hundred and twenty five thousand viewers. Sky Atlantic's third episode of the drama Fortitude drew 1.10 million viewers on Thursday (the following evening's repeat added a further one hundred and thirty five thousand). Sky 1's most watched programme was The Flash (1.28m), followed by new episodes of Arrow (nine hundred and ninety five thousand) and Hawaii Five-0 (eight hundred and ninety nine thousand). None of the UK TV channels (Dave, Drama, Yesterday et cetera), appear to have presented BARB with their figures for this week.

ITV is to revive fictional detective Maigret, with Rowan Atkinson playing the French crime solver. Atkinson will star in a pair of two-hour films - Maigret Sets A Trap and Maigret's Dead Man - both set in period 1950s' Paris. Stewart Harcourt will adapt Georges Simenon's novels for the screen. Atkinson said: 'I have been a devourer of the Maigret novels for many years and I'm very much looking forward to playing such an intriguing character, at work in Paris during a fascinating period in its history.' ITV's Director of Television Peter Fincham said: 'Maigret is a prestigious commission and we're delighted to be working with Maigret Productions, Ealing Studios and Rowan Atkinson, to bring these stories to screen for our viewers.' Before his death in 1989, Simenon wrote seventy five novels and twenty eight short stories featuring the laconic, pipe-smoking police detective Jules Maigret. The character has previously featured in a number of TV and radio adaptations, with perhaps the most famous being the BBC series of the early 1960s featuring the great Rupert Davies in the title role. More recently, Michael Gambon starred in a well-received Maigret series for ITV between 1992 and 1993. The two new Maigret films featuring Atkinson will go into production this September. Sounds very promising, that.
The Sunday Express has suggested that ITV 'may be ready' to commission a third series of Broadchurch. Which, given the fact that the drama is still pulling in consolidated ratings of seven million plus despite suffering from a concerted critical backlash (and, not an entirely undeserved one either, let it be noted), is hardly a surprise.

NCIS's Pauley Perrette has said that she cannot imagine ever leaving the series. Perrette - who has played the cult character of Abby Sciuto since the series began in 2003 - told the Digital Spy website that she has never contemplated quitting. 'I can't imagine a world without Abby in it,' she admitted. 'I don't think anybody else wants that world either. I mean, I'm certainly not going to be responsible for a world without Abby - I don't want that on my shoulders. Still, every day, I'm so grateful to have this job. Every time I get a new script, I can't wait to see what on Earth she's up to. People tell me constantly how much they love the character, and I say the same thing.' The actress also addressed the evolution of Abby's character, saying: 'I think it would let a lot of people down if we did [make] any drastic changes. The evolution of Abby is a very tricky thing because ... she's like an Anime, she really is like a cartoon character. When it comes to cartoon characters, you really don't want to see them change very much. If you take a comic book and you follow that same comic book to ten, fifteen, twenty years later, your character is pretty much the same and it's something that people feel so strongly about.' However, Perrette revealed that she is keen to see more of Abby's home life, which has mostly gone unexplored on NCIS. 'I've always wanted to see where Abby lives,' she said. 'We saw little Abby [in flashbacks] and Abby's childhood home. That would be interesting to me.' A number of Perrette's NCIS co-stars - including Michael Weatherly and Rocky Carroll - have also directed episodes of the popular long-running procedural series, but Perrette insisted that she has no desire to follow suit. 'Often some of the actors will direct, and somebody asked me if I wanted to direct NCIS and I said absolutely not,' she revealed. 'I'm so happy doing my job. I don't want to learn somebody else's job. I don't want to do anybody else's job. I want to go [on set], play Abby and really enjoy every single second of it.'
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet will be screened live in cinemas. The production will be broadcast across the world on Thursday 15 October as part of National Theatre Live. On the cinema screenings, yer man Benny said: 'It's just a great way of making the play accessible.' Tickets for the screenings will go on sale on Friday 16 March, with more details available on the National Theatre Live website. Hamlet will begin performances at the Barbican Theatre in London on 5 August. Lyndsey Turner's production of the Shakespeare play will have its official opening night on 25 August, with its twelve-week run concluding on 31 October.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has been watching a lot of The Professionals over the last week or so as the first series of the legendarily awful ITV terrorism thriller is currently being repeated on ITV4 in the afternoons. What can I say, dear bog reader? It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it. It must be said, though, that in places - maybe two or three times per episode on average - there will be something, a nicely shot action sequence, the odd line of dialogue or a quiet little introspective scene between Bodie and Doyle, seemingly specifically placed there for the sole purpose of reminding the viewer that the people making this show weren't complete idiots. However, there are times when such a theory becomes hard to justify. Case in point, the first series episode Stake Out shown on Friday of this week; a Dennis Spooner script, Pamela Stephenson playing a smack addict (and dental receptionist!) and the suggestion that the British military has, not only a Bomb Squad but, also a 'Nuclear Bomb Squad'! What's not to love you may wonder? Well, perhaps the fact that Tony Osoba's minor character - who is named, on-screen as 'Mark Taylor' - is, nevertheless, referred to on the end credits as 'Handsome Negro'. This was made in 1978, incidentally, not 1928.
When this blogger interviewed the very lovely Martin Shaw a few years ago when he was up in the area doing some episodes of George Gently, Keith Telly Topping left mentioning The Professionals right to the end because he knew what Martin's public reputation was like concerning the series. But, actually, in the event he was quite happy to chat about it. He said that he often used to read the scripts, roll his eyes, think of his bank balance and then just get on with it. But, he did have some fond memories of one or two of the directors he worked with - in particular, Douggie Camfield. Nevertheless, watching an episode like the risible When The Heat Cools Off earlier this week, it was amazing to think that Martin (and Lalla Ward, for that matter) actually had any sort of career after that nonsense.
And, still on the subject of television history ...
Renowned BBC broadcasters Huw Wheldon and Malcolm Muggeridge 'groped incontinently', it has been alleged in a new book about the corporation which also claims 'sexual harassment was routine' at the organisation in the 1970s and 1980s. BBC historian Jean Seaton makes the revelations - about, let us remember, two men who are now dead and can, therefore, not defend themselves against these allegations - in Pinkoes & Traitors: The BBC & The Nation 1974-1987, in which she writes that 'powerful men' at the corporation during this period 'abused their position' and one in a 'position of authority was known to 'proposition younger women, especially secretaries, for spanking sessions.' Of course normally, you have to pay good money for that sort of thing. Or, so they reckon. Anyway, having spoken with women who worked at the BBC at the time, Seaton says in her detailed account of some of the corporation's most 'difficult' years politically and socially that even 'the great Huw Wheldon and the apparently saintly Malcolm Muggeridge both groped incontinently.' Which, you can absolutely bet your last quid will be used by the BBC's many enemies in the Gruniad Morning Star and the Daily Scum Mail and the Torygraph and the Sun with their sick agendas to stir up trouble and create negative headlines about the BBC as it is now rather than as it was forty years ago. So, jolly well done there, Jean. Jolly well done, indeed. Wheldon, a D-day war hero and founder, in 1958, of the first TV arts programme Monitor, coined one of the phrases about the BBC which is still used today, about making 'the good popular and the popular good.' Muggeridge, a smug, self-righteous, sanctimonious prick, was a presenter and Roman Catholic journalist who, infamously, criticised Monty Python’s Life Of Brian in the BBC2 show Friday Night ... Saturday Morning without having actually seen it and who was big mates with Mary Whitehouse. Wheldon, who died in 1986, is commemorated in an annual Royal Television Society memorial lecture given in his name. Muggeridge, who served as a British soldier and spy during the second world war, died in 1990. Seaton told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'Huw Wheldon – a great public service broadcaster and Malcolm Muggeridge, the anguished voice of dissent of the time – were both gropers. Of course so were many other men in most other British institutions then. The term "sexual harassment" did not even exist to identify the problem until a bunch of academic feminists coined the term in 1974. Nothing excuses the behaviour, but the Middle Class, aspirant women who were transforming the BBC in the 1970s and 1980s were not damaged by it. Indeed they were on a crusade to stop it. They were confident well-educated young women feeling the reach of their power and loving every moment of the work they did in the BBC.' Seaton's book draws on previously unseen state and BBC papers, plus in-depth interviews. Although many women at the time of a BBC report in 1984 said they could 'cope with sexual harassment' the unnamed man 'in a position of authority' who propositioned women for naughty spanking 'changed women's attitudes', according to Seaton. A group of them complained to the BBC's head of personnel. According to Seaton, 'at first' senior BBC executive Brian Wenham 'dismissed the allegations as harmless' but when the group prepared to go to the BBC's governors, 'a compromise was found and the man was posted to a BBC job abroad with an expensive apartment in New York.' So, that should make him easy to identify, one imagines. Pinkoes & Traitors also claims that women working at the BBC found that 'men on the Today programme were "misogynist, courteous and patronising"' and that Robin Day, 'probably the greatest political interviewer of the period, was presenting World At One when [Joan] Bakewell was in the neighbouring PM office and said, "Tell me, Joan, when you interview men on your programme do they stare at your breasts?"' George Howard, who was the BBC chairman between 1980 and 1983 and, as was revealed in 2003, attempted to charge the BBC for what they believed was the use of a prostitute, also would 'demand "a pretty young journalist or producer" to sit next to' at dinners and was 'always touching up women', according to a secretary who worked at the BBC. Although the incidents happened many years ago, the culture and practices of the time at the BBC will be thrown into the spotlight due to the impending Dame Janet Smith Review, which was set up in 2012. While Smith is focused on the disgraced and disgraceful old scallywag and rotter Savile's sick and sordid activities – and, it is clear in Seaton's book that none of those she mentions were alleged to be child abusers – the terms of the reference of her review do 'consider whether the culture and practices within the BBC during the years of Jimmy Savile's employment enabled inappropriate sexual conduct to continue unchecked.' Wicked old bastard Savile himself is mentioned in Seaton's book but with reference to the fact that pretty much the only discussion about him within the BBC board of governors was how to ration his close personal friend Margaret Thatcher's appearances on his radio and television programmes. Other revelations in her book include the BBC keeping secret the fact that the then Lady Diana Spencer wept at the rehearsal for her wedding and that, in papers marked secret, the Labour government plotted to make the corporation part of general public sector expenditure and keep it on a tight leash through a licence fee that was renewed year-by-year and then month-by-month. The corporation also vetted staff extensively to counter accusations of 'treachery' from Thatcher and regularly swept the Director General and chairman’s offices for bugs.

Speaking of over-the-knee-spanky-spanky-malarkey, the final episode of Mel & Sue's Ratings Fiasco this week appeared to suggest that someone at ITV believes that's a perfectly acceptable example of late afternoon family entertainment. This blogger, he hastens to add, is not complaining, dear blog reader. Oh no, indeed, very much not. But one does have the rather depressing feeling that Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - will have been asked to 'investigate' this occurrence by some tight-arsed whinger.
And, lo, dear blog reader, an entire generation of British men - and more than a few women - 'of a certain age' who've had The Horn for those two ever since Late Lunch suddenly exploded. It's what they would have wanted.

From that load of old - faintly erotic - shenanigans, to this ...
FOX News anchor Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed to have reported from war zones and has made a series of exaggerated statements about his career, according to claims made in the Mother Jones magazine. The magazine accused O'Reilly of having 'his own Brian Williams problem', after the FOX News host was fiercely critical of NBC News anchor Williams, who was suspended for six months after he was found to have made exaggerated statements about his reporting. Mother Jones claimed that O'Reilly has described being under fire in 'war zones' in South America during the 1980s, when in fact he was miles away from any armed conflict. O'Reilly had 'repeatedly told his audience that he was a war correspondent during the Falklands war and that he experienced combat during that 1982 conflict,' said the magazine. But 'dramatic stories about his own war reporting ... don't withstand scrutiny' the magazine alleged, stating that O'Reilly had claimed to have behaved 'heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.' The Washington Post reports that in an interview, O'Reilly called the Mother Jones article a 'slander' (which it wasn't since it was printed rather than spoken and would, if untrue, be libel rather than slander) and labelled its co-author, the veteran reporter David Corn, as a liar and 'a guttersnipe.' In the interview, O'Reilly denied that he has ever stated he was in the Falklands. He said that he had been in Buenos Aires when Argentina surrendered and thousands of Argentinians stormed the presidential palace in anger over the capitulation. 'Troops fired at the crowd. I was in the middle of that carnage,' he said. 'In Argentina, I was in combat in the sense that bullets were being fired.' The Mother Jones claims come after NBC extremely suspended Williams for six months without pay after he claimed - among other exaggerations - that he 'came under fire' whilst flying in a US Army helicopter during the Iraq war in 2003. Williams has made other statements about his reporting experiences which appear to have been exaggerations. Williams's helicopter had not faced an attack, it was revealed, and he apologised to Iraq veterans saying that he had 'conflated' his memory of the event with that of another helicopter. The Mother Jones article alleges that in 2004 O'Reilly wrote a column about US soldiers fighting in Iraq, in which he said: 'Having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash.' It also said that while talking about the Boston marathon bombing in 2013, O'Reilly said: 'I was in a situation one time, in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands, where my photographer got run down and then hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete. And the army was chasing us. I had to make a decision. And I dragged him off, but at the same time, I'm looking around and trying to do my job. But I figure I had to get this guy out of there because that was more important.' In his own account of his time in Argentina in his 2001 book The No Spin Zone, O'Reilly does not relate his 'war zone experience.' Instead, O'Reilly reported that he arrived in Buenos Aires soon before the Argentinian junta surrendered to British Forces. He does not state that he was on the Falkland Islands, which are three hundred miles off the Argentine shore and about twelve hundred miles south of Buenos Aires. Mother Jones also suggested that O'Reilly 'exaggerated the violence' he saw when reporting from El Salvador during its bloody civil war in 1982. O'Reilly stated in his book that he visited a village which had been 'leveled [sic] to the ground' and there was no one 'alive or dead.' But in a ninety-second report for CBS News, residents could be seen walking around amid a handful of burned-out structures. O'Reilly responded: 'Everything I reported was true.' Corn, the Mother Jones co-author, said that he had attempted to reach O'Reilly before publication of the story on several occasions. 'O'Reilly more than once said he was "in a war zone." But, the war was on an island. It was not in Buenos Aires. It's like saying you were in a war zone during the Viet'nam War because you were in Washington.'

Gypsy campaigners have extremely lost their high court challenge over Ofcom's handling of their complaint about Channel Four's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Mr Justice Ouseley on Friday dismissed a judicial review brought against the media regulator by The Traveller Movement, a charity supporting three hundred thousand gypsies and travellers. At a hearing in London at the end of last year, its lawyers claimed that Ofcom 'unlawfully dismissed' its complaint in November 2013 after conducting a 'procedurally unfair' investigation into accusations that the Channel Four programmes gave 'a negative portrayal' of Traveller communities and 'confirmed social prejudices' in a way likely to 'cause harm to children in those communities.' The charity had claimed that the Channel Four broadcasts of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma's Gypsy Girls had depicted children in a sexualised way and portrayed men and boys as 'feckless, violent and criminal.' Both series, but particularly Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, it alleged, 'strongly advanced' the 'untrue and highly damaging new racial stereotype' that the communities 'engaged in and endorsed violent sexual assaults of female children and young women' – grabbing – 'as a cultural norm.' But, Ofcom's counsel, Dinah Rose QC, told the judge that it was 'fully aware' of the sensitivity of potentially racially negative stereotypes and had conducted 'a careful and painstaking' investigation before concluding that the programmes did not breach the broadcasting code. Ultimately, it had concluded that Channel Four had not depicted such stereotypes but that the programmes were, in fact, 'a balanced portrayal' which 'offered considerable insight' into those communities, including the challenges they faced when dealing with such prejudice. Ofcom had 'examined in detail' the allegations about grabbing, sexualisation and the depiction of young men and boys and concluded that the programmes as broadcast did not perpetrate any such negative stereotypes and that the charity should quit their whinging. Rose said the campaigners' case in support of its bid to have the decision quashed was 'very narrow' and, significantly, there was no challenge to Ofcom's central findings. Adrienne Page QC, for Channel Four, said that there were no complaints from any of the participants in the programmes and Ofcom had found that the scenes were 'appropriately contextualised and justified.' The contextualising of the grabbing incidents had gone right to the top of the organisation and was the aspect which had received 'the most careful and intense consideration.' An Ofcom spokesperson said: 'The court has agreed that Ofcom thoroughly investigated the complaints made against Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma's Gypsy Girls. We are pleased our decision was upheld.'

A long-lost Sherlock Holmes short story has been rediscovered more than a hundred years after it was first published. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the story, titled Sherlock Homes: Discovering The Border Burghs And, By Deduction, The Brig Bazaar, in 1904 to raise money for a bridge in Selkirk. It was unearthed by town resident Walter Elliot who discovered it under a pile of books in his attic. He believes it may have lain there for almost fifty years. The thirteen hundred-word story was printed in a forty eight-page book of short stories, Book O' The Brig. It was put together by locals to raise money to replace a bridge over the Ettrick River which had been destroyed by floods in 1902. Conan Doyle, who was a regular visitor to the area, agreed to contribute a story. In it Holmes deduces that John Watson is going on a trip to Selkirk. Okay it's not, perhaps, quite up there with the curious case of the dog in the night but, still ... Elliot, a retired woodcutter, found the pamphlet tied up with string while he was clearing out his attic. He says that he cannot remember buying the book and thinks he must have got it from a friend. 'It was a varied book with lots of bits and pieces and stories,' he told the Daily Scum Mail. 'I have no idea how many they made and sold. I've had this book for about forty or fifty years. Usually people would throw out these books or sell them off. It has been in my family for quite a while now. I have no idea if it has ever been published - I've never seen it. I've always been interested in history and my family has always passed on stories and I suppose this was one of the stories that was passed down. He really must have thought enough of the town to come down and take part and contribute a story to the book. It's a great little story,' he added. Conan Doyle wrote the story shortly after resurrecting Holmes in The Adventure Of The Empty House following his apparent fatal fall a decade earlier in The Final Problem. At the time, the author was seeking to become a Liberal Unionist MP in the Borders. he was also at the height of his sporting career having made his first class cricket debut for the MCC in 1899. The booklet will be going on show at the Cross Keys Pop-up Community Museum in Selkirk. Whether yer actual Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat his very self will be doing an adaptation of that for the next series of Sherlock is, at this time, unknown. But, it's be really cool if they did.

Two 'forgotten' Harold Pinter screenplays, which were never made into films, have been re-made as radio plays by the BBC. The first is based on a Joseph Conrad novel called Victory, written in 1982. It will be broadcast by Radio 4 on Sunday followed by another work, The Dreaming Child, next Saturday. The network's commissioner, Jeremy Howe, described the productions as being both 'utterly different' and 'a treat for listeners.' Victory will be produced by Sir Richard Eyre and stars Mark Strong, Simon Russell Beale and Bjarne Henriksen from cult Scandinavian TV serials The Killing and Borgen. It follows the disenchanted life of Heyst, a mysterious Swedish Baron living alone on a deserted Island in the Eighteenth Century Dutch East Indies. The second adaptation, based on a short story by Out Of Africa author Karen Blixen, stars Last Tango In Halifax's Anne Reid and Rose Leslie from Game Of Thrones. London-born Pinter, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, died in 2008. He was most renowned for critically-acclaimed plays such as The Birthday Party and regular work writing screenplays including The Go-Between and The French Lieutenant's Woman. Radio 4 drama commissioner Howe said: 'It isn't often that you can announce the première of a script by the late great Harold Pinter, one of the leading dramatists of the Twentieth Century and then two come along, both wonderfully Pinteresque and both utterly different in tone and approach. This will be a treat for listeners.'

Football commentator Stan Collymore has been dropped by BT Sport from its coverage of this week's Scottish championship match between Raith Rovers and Glasgow Rangers. No jokes about their being 'dancing in the streets of Raith', please. The former Nottingham Forest, Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws and (very briefly) England striker revealed the decision on Twitter, claiming that it was 'better to be right than bury my head.' For a chap who once, allegedly, punched Ulrika Jonsson in a Parisian Bar and lost his job at 5Live after the Scum Of The World claimed he'd been involving in dogging, is a very high-minded stance and should be applauded. It follows yer man Collywobbles demand that Rangers' games should not be televised because of sectarian singing by a section of their fans, citing references in songs to 'Fenian blood'. Collymore wrote a series of tweets about the matter. One said: 'I can hold my head high and say I did the right thing to challenge hypocrisy amongst Rangers fans.' He urged his followers to show their support by signing a petition that calls for a boycott of the Glasgow club. How many actually did is not, at this time, known. A BT Sport spokesman, quoted by the Daily Mirra and the Gruniad Morning Star, suggested that Collymore had 'chosen the wrong forum' to discuss the issue, despite it being something which he, clearly, feels strongly about. The spokesman said: 'We did not agree with the nature of the debate on Twitter, which BT Sport was brought into without prior agreement. BT Sport does not agree with any form of racism and believes that it should not be tolerated in sport. It is a subject which should be tackled and discussed in the correct manner. BT Sport will raise and discuss the issue within its programming when relevant and in an appropriate manner.'

The Gruinad Morning Star's latest scummish anti-BBC shitehawk 'exclusive' can be read here, the perfectly shocking revelation that the BBC uses taxis to get its guests to and from the studio. So, obviously no quite sick agenda going down there, then. The BBC's response, though, is excellent - a satisfying back-handed slap right across the chops of this insolent uppity waste-of-space smear. A BBC spokesperson said: 'More than a third of taxis are to get guests to and from our shows and Guardian journalists and columnists are happy to use them when they appear on our programmes.' Get in! So, stick that in her pipe and smoke it you hypocritical, Middle Class hippy Communist pond scum louse. One wonders, incidentally, how much did the Gruniad Morning Star paid for taxis and other transport costs in the last year. This blogger very much thinks that we should be told. In the interests of balance, if nothing else.
A Canadian MP has offered one of the most original excuses ever heard for leaving parliament in a hurry - his tight underpants. His cut-price and, as it turned out, overly tight keks made it difficult for him to sit through a one-by-one vote, opposition MP Pat Martin told the bewildered Speaker. But, he did made it back in time to cast his ballot. A Twitter storm about not very well briefed MPs formed shortly afterwards. Martin drew applause and laughter from the chamber when he explained his temporary absence. 'They had men's underwear on for half-price and I bought a bunch that was clearly too small for me. I find it difficult to sit for any length of time.' The speaker of the house said that he initially ordered Martin to sit back down when he wanted to leave. 'I did not understand his explanation at the time and I am not sure I understand it now', he said.
Is there anyone else of the opinion that, in life, some people just ask for everything they get? Case in point.

The most curious incident occurred on Sunday night at Stately Telly Topping Manor, dear blog reader. This blogger had gone to bed relatively early to watch a film (2001: A Space Odyssey, if you're taking notes). Around eleven o'clock, just as HAL9000 was going off his rocker with Dave, Keith Telly Topping heard an odd noise outside his gaff - a sort of strangled cry, it was - and had a quick look through the bedroom window thinking it might be a burglar. Imagine, therefore, his considerable surprise and not insignificant discombobulation to find himself looking at a chap, half-hidden in the shadows on a bit of rough ground next to the Stately Telly Topping Manor's garden. The chap in question had his strides down around his ankles and was, ahem, how can one put this delicately, 'strumming his banjo' up against the garden wall without a by-your-leave. Dear blog readers, incidentally, would not believe the number of euphemisms Keith Telly Topping juggled with before getting to that one. Indeed, 'juggling his euphemism' was one of those considered and rejected. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping considered banging on the window but, in the end, he left the bloke to it. There's little enough pleasure in life without me spoiling what appeared to be a blissful moment for him. Plus, when you've gotta go ... Or, indeed, in this case come ...

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has resisted the overwhelming urge to go for something Bob-related and, instead, selected a twenty four carat blues masterpiece.

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