Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dirty Deeds Done Cheap

Yer actual Mark Gatiss has confirmed that he has 'just finished' writing the script for an episode of the forthcoming series nine of Doctor Who. The actor and writer told the Daily Torygraph that the script had been 'difficult' to finish. 'It has been a tough nut to crack, but I'm delighted with how scary it is. I can't say any more than that.'
Mark has also revealed that he based his Sherlock characterisation of Mycroft Holmes on Peter Mandelson - although, to be fair, this trumpeted 'exclusive' by the Gruniad Morning Star isn't really that much of a revelation since Mark had previously alluded to this in a commentary on the DVD for Sherlock's first series over four years ago. Still, it was nice to see the Gruniad trying their best to keep up (and, indeed, printing something which isn't related to Jeremy Clarkson for the first time in over a week). Mark plays The Prince of Darkness, who was one of the key architects behind New Labour, in the new Channel Four drama Coalition. But he said that his depiction of Mycroft - the older, smarter brother of Benedict Cumberbatch's detective in the hit series which Mark co-created with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat – was already inspired by Mandelson. 'I based Mycroft on Peter Mandelson. It was explicit even before I was going to play him,' the actor told Radio Times. 'Steven and I talked about how Mandelsonian Mycroft was. Conan Doyle says Mycroft is the British government. He's the power behind the throne.' Gatiss also complained that there was a 'massive satire gap' on British TV screens these days. 'John Cleese said satire is only possible under a really horrible Conservative government, which is what we have. There should be some very young people doing blistering satire – especially when you have people like Nigel Farage, who you could easily portray as Zippy, or Mister Toad, which is exactly who he is, come to think of it,' he said. 'It would need to be a really vicious satire – and I'm too old.' He said of Coalition, which looks at the formation of the current government: 'It's something we're going to be encountering very soon again. We'll have a minority Tory or a Labour/SNP government. But the world will be thinking, "That's not stable." And business confidence will leach away. As a politics junkie it's incredibly exciting, but the next election is also terrifying. It would be horrific if the only time the public don't change their mind on a by-election winning party is with UKiP.' Channel Four has moved Coalition back in its schedules - making way for the real-life leaders' pre-election interviews with yer actual Jezza Paxman. The drama will now be broadcast on Saturday 28 March at 9pm.

Radio Times readers have voted Blink as the best episode of Doctor Who in the modern era, in a poll conducted to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the relaunch of Doctor Who. The poll, which received over two hundred and eighty thousand votes, asked fans for their favourite episode of Doctor Who since it was relaunched by Russell Davies in March 2005. Blink topped the poll beating 2010’s Vincent & The Doctor into second place with the two-part The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End from 2008 in third position. Blink was first shown in June 2007 and was the tenth episode of the third series of the relaunched show. Starring David Tennant as The Doctor, alongside Freema Agyeman, as Martha Jones, the episode also featured Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow, who thwarted The Weeping Angels in their terrifying, BAFTA-winning début. The episode was written by the family F drama's current showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and directed by Hettie MacDonald. Speaking in the new issue of Radio Times, The Moffat his very self said: 'When I wrote it, I thought Blink was a perfectly serviceable script. Nothing special, did the job – which, back then, was to have a Doctor Who story needing only two days' shooting from David Tennant. I haven't read the script in a long time, but I'm pretty sure I'd think the same now. What made it a little bit magical was, of course, the work of others. Some days everything just works. Sometimes you just stand in the right spot, all the windows align and the sunshine reaches you. I don't think I can take a lot of the credit, but I'm very glad I was there when it happened.' Over the next ten days the Radio Times website will be marking the tenth anniversary of the modern Doctor Who with a mini-site celebrating The Doctors and companions from the last decade. There will also be rarely seen Doctor Who content from the Radio Times archive, quizzes and a 'special surprise' for Doctor Who fans on the actual anniversary itself, Thursday 26 March. Tim Glanfield, the editor on the website said:'Doctor Who is unique in the world of television in its ability to regenerate and continually produce fresh and exciting adventures in space and time that appeal to old and young alike. But no such regeneration was as significant as the 2005 revival which has seen the show under the stewardship of first Russell Davies and now Steven Moffat grow into a world beating powerhouse of quality British drama with an army of fans who will surely be celebrating many significant birthdays with The Doctor for (re)generations to come.' The other episodes in the top ten were The Day Of The Doctor, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, Army Of Ghosts/Doomsday, The Girl In The Fireplace (which yer actual Keith Telly Topping voted for, incidentally), Bad Wolf/The Parting Of the Ways, Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead and The End Of Time.

Doctor Who has won two awards at the Cardiff Life awards. For there is, indeed, such a thing, dear blog reader. Honestly. The Cardiff Life awards celebrate 'the very best businesses in the Welsh capital', as chosen 'by a panel of independent judges.' Any company in Cardiff can nominate its business and the entrants are judged by the panel of 'Cardiff experts' with the best one winning a small novelty prize. Apparently. The Doctor Who Experience has been awarded the title of 'Best in Leisure & Tourism' at the prestigious event, beating the other nominees - which were, if you're interested, St David's Hotel & Spa, Celtic Manor Resort, Radisson Blu Hotel and The Cardiff Story. I'm not making this up, dear blog reader, I swear to God. The Doctor Who Experience opened in the city in 2012 and was updated last Autumn in include Peter Capaldi's Doctor. Meanwhile the company Real SFX has been awarded the prize as 'best creative in the city'. Real SFX is the company set up by Danny Hargreaves, which has been providing Special Effects for Doctor Who since 2006.
The upcoming Sherlock special will be set in Victorian London, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, has confirmed. Last year, the BBC released an image of yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self in character as Sherlock and John in Victorian clothing whist location filming also appeared to show numerous characters dressed up like this was 1895 and all that. This led fans to speculate, obsessively, on the Interweb, about whether the special would be set in the past, or if the pair were merely dressing up to attend a fancy dress party.
But now, The Moffat has told Entertainment Weekly that the forthcoming Christmas special will be an historical adventure which 'stood alone' from the main series. 'The special is its own thing,' The Moffat told EW before attending a panel at the South By Southwest convention on Monday. 'We wouldn't have done the story we're doing, and the way we're doing it, if we didn't have this special. It's not part of the run of three episodes. So we had this to do it – as we could hardly conceal – it's Victorian. Mark Gatiss and me, we wanted to do this, but it had to be a special, it had to be separate entity on its own. It's kind of in its own little bubble.' The Moffat added that filming had been completed on the special and he was 'very pleased' with the results.
Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's More Tales From Northumberland (featuring Wor Geet Canny Robson Green his very self) added around seven hundred thousand viewers to top the ratings on Monday, according to overnight figures. The documentary series attracted 4.37m at 8pm, while Arthur & George followed with 3.34m at 9pm. BBC1's Match Of The Day Live was seen by 2.92m at 7.30pm as Reading set up an FA Cup semi-final tie with The Arse by beating former flavour of the month Bradford City three-nil. What Britain Wants: Somewhere To Work averaged 1.56m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, the latest episode of University Challenge interested 2.64m at 8pm, before Only Connect's audience dipped slightly week-on-week to 2.08m at 8.30pm. Kew On A Plate attracted an audience of 1.69m at 9pm. Channel Four's Food Unwrapped continued with 1.62m at 8pm, while Britain's Benefit Tenants gathered 2.36m at 9pm. The opening episode of Caitlin and Caroline Moran's autobiographical sitcom Raised By Wolves was watched by 1.26m at 10pm. It also featured the best line of dialogue on TV this year so far: ‘If I hadn't vomited my guts up on cheap cider night-after-night and been punched, hard, in the tit by a Goth in a mosh pit, I wouldn't be the woman I am today.' Heh. Meanwhile, Gotham's feature-length return to Channel Five brought in nine hundred and fifteen thousand punters at 9pm. Earlier, Police Interceptors continued with nine hundred and fifty thousand viewers at 8pm. On Fox, The Walking Dead was watched by five hundred and forty nine thousand at 9pm.
The BBC has defended its allegedly 'disruptive' FA Cup football scheduling. The broadcaster received an unspecified number of crass whinges after replacing Monday night's episode of EastEnders to show the match between Reading and Bradford City. The 'disruption' to schedules saw several programmes being moved or postponed to accommodate the broadcast, while the lateness of the scheduling changes meant that various printed TV guides contained incorrect information. Responding to these whinges, the BBC defended its decision in a statement, saying: 'The FA Cup is one of the biggest domestic footballing competitions in the sporting calendar and while we are pleased to be able to bring it live to our viewers, our commitment to broadcast it does mean that schedules are subject to change. As part of our contract with the Football Association, the FA Cup has a selection of set days and times in which we can schedule our matches and occasionally this, along with the fact that replays often have to be arranged at very short notice, means that we have to displace regular programmes on BBC1.

 We try to balance the different needs of our audience by rescheduling the majority of affected programmes within the same week but we realise that not everyone will agree with all of the specific decisions taken.' The BBC was previously criticised for not broadcasting Bradford's game against relegation-haunted Blunderland last month. So, as usual it seems, the BBC can't do right for doing wrong. According to some bell-end berks of no importance.
Jason Manford's new BBC1 series topped the overnight ratings outside soaps on Tuesday evening. Ordinary Lies was seen by an average audience of 4.69 million viewers at 9pm. Later, the documentary Life After Suicide was seen by 1.34m at 10.35pm. ITV's coverage of The Arse's calamitous Champions League exit in Monaco scored 4.23m from 7.30pm. Which was slightly more than The Arse their very selves managed. On BBC2, Hairy Bikers and Lorraine Pascale Cooking The Nation's Favourite Food brought in 1.61m at 7pm even though the title was entirely misleading, given that nation's favourite food, in fact, comes from a takeaway. Back In Time For Dinner - this week featuring an appearance from Mary Berry - followed with 2.17m at 8pm. Horizon appealed to 1.03m at 9pm, while Nurse continued with but six hundred and sixty one thousand punters at 10pm. Channel Four's Secret Shopper gathered 1.26m at 8pm, while One Born Every Minute was watched by 1.54m at 9pm. A Gogglebox repeat had an audience of 1.10m at 10pm. On Channel Five, Costa Del Casualty attracted one million viewers at 8pm, followed by Benefits Estate with eight hundred and ninety one thousand at 9pm.
The Billion Dollar Chicken Shop launched with over three million overnight punters on Wednesday evening. The BBC1 KFC-based fly on the wall series attracted an average 3.35m at 9pm. Earlier, MasterChef topped the overnight ratings with 4.50m at 7.30pm. On BBC2, the first episode of this year's Stargazing Live - featuring a guest appearance by the legend that is Buzz Aldrin - appealed to 1.92m at 8pm, followed by Eat To Live Forever with 1.40m at 9.30pm. ITV's wreathed, horrific, maggoty, vile Big Star's Little Star failed to entertain 3.32m at 8pm and stank the gaff up, while DCI Banks continued with 3.95m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Three In A Bed brought in eight hundred and seventy five thousand at 8pm, followed by Twenty Four Hours in A&E with 1.56m at 9pm and First Dates with nine hundred and fifty four thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's GPs: Behind Closed Doors gathered 1.16m at 8pm, while My Violent Child had an audience of eight hundred and seventy seven thousand at 9pm. A Neighbours 'reunion special' attracted seven hundred and eighty nine thousand at 10pm. Terry Wogan's Ireland topped the multichannels with five hundred and forty eight thousand at 8pm on BBC 4.
The latest episode of yer actual MasterChef came out top of the overnight ratings outside soaps on Thursday evening once again. The BBC1 cooking challenge competition was seen by an average 4.47 million at 8pm, followed by The Truth About Sugar with 3.69m at 9pm. Question Time gathered an audience of 2.55m at 10.35pm. The second episode of BBC2's Stargazing Live appealed to 1.87m at 8pm, whilst churlish bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's misery-laden drama Banished continued with 2.28m at 9pm. On ITV, Tonight: The Food We Eat attracted 2.46m at 7.30pm, followed by Double Decker Driving School with 2.11m at 8.30pm and The Triplets Are Coming with 1.72m at 9pm. Channel Four's Supervet interested 1.37m at 8pm, while the much-trailed Trevor Phillips's Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True was watched by 1.44m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Britain's Worst Crimes was seen by seven hundred and thirty five thousand at 8pm, followed by Holiday Love Rats Exposed with seven hundred and eight thousand at 9pm. E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory was watched by 1.14m at 8.30pm. Sky1's Arrow continued with three hundred and forty seven thousand at 8pm, while Sky Atlantic's Fortitude brought in three hundred and thirty five thousand at 9pm.

Gogglebox's overnight ratings continue to rise on Channel Four, as 3.35 million watched the latest episode, Christ only knows why. This was up on the previous week's overnight figure of 2.41m. It was sandwiched between The Million Pound Drop with eight hundred and ten thousand punters at 8pm and the returning Alan Carr: Chatty Man, which had overnight ratings of 1.89 million at 10pm. BBC1's MasterChef was Friday's highest-rated overnight broadcast outside of soaps, attracting an average audience of 4.26 million at 8.30pm. BBC1's evening started with 3.89 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 3.21 million for A Question Of Sport at 7.30pm. The penultimate episode of The Musketeers averaged 2.67 million at 9pm - boy, did that drama format get really old, really quickly - an audience size also achieved by The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm. On ITV, Bear Grylls: Mission Survive had a, not very good, audience of 2.63 million at 9pm. It was preceded by 2.7 million for Barging Round Britain With John Sergeant. An average of six hundred and ninety thousand watched Britain's Got The Builders In at 7pm on BBC2, followed by 2.02 million for Mastermind. Gardeners' World attracted an evening high of 2.08 million for the channel at 8.30pm, while Stargazing Live was seen by 1.67 million at 9pm featuring highlights of the solar eclipse which occurred earlier in the day. A further 1.09 million watched Dara, Brain (no, the other one), Doctor Lucie and Chris wrap-up their fascinating annual excursion around the night's sky with Stargazing Live: Back To Earth immediately after. Dara's closing observation that 'it's been a long day, if there isn't a warm steak when I get back to the hotel, I'll kick off' brought some sniggering from the studio guests and audience. Yeah, okay, that was pretty funny. NCIS: New Orleans drew nine hundred and sixty one thousand on Channel Five at 9pm, whilst NCIS was watched by audience of eight hundred and thirty one thousand at 10pm.
Millions of people in the UK and Northern Europe glimpsed the best solar eclipse in years on Friday morning. A great swathe of the Earth's surface was plunged into darkness as the Moon came between us and the Sun. From an aeroplane above the Faroe Islands, a BBC camera crew captured startling footage of the event reaching totality at 09:41am. The deep shadow formed first in the North Atlantic and then swept up into the Arctic, ending at the North Pole. In all parts of the UK, the eclipse reached at least eighty three per cent, with the darkness peaking at about 09:35am. The precise timing and degree of the eclipse varied from location to location. For the Shetland Islands, the eclipse was at its height at 09:43 and was very near total, with ninety seven per cent of the Sun's disc obscured by the Moon.
For those caught under cloudy skies, the Internet was a good option to see the eclipse in all its celestial majesty. Scientific agencies had planes and even satellites gathering video to relay on the web and on television. In the UK, the weather turned out to be slightly better than anticipated, with clouds breaking in many places at just the right time. London and the South East, on the other hand, just saw their grey day get gloomier. Experiencing a genuine total eclipse required a trip North of the British Isles - such as the flight taken by a BBC camera crew and Stargazing Live's Liz Bonnin, above the clouds in the Faroes. 'We have a pretty spectacular view,' Bonnin told viewers. 'This is extraordinary.' That footage revealed interesting features of the eclipse, including a clear view of Baily's Beads. These are the sparkles of light seen at the very edge of the Moon, where its rugged landscape allows the last rays of sunlight to peak through before full obscuration. Few land areas were directly in the path of the Moon's deepest shadow - its so-called umbra - and seabirds probably had the some of the most dramatic eclipse experiences. The period of greatest darkness - nearly three minutes - occurred over a spot in the Norwegian Sea, a little below the Arctic Circle, at 09:46. Many professional and amateur astronomers positioned themselves in the Faroe Islands, where the capital city of Torshavn got totality for a full two minutes. And those who could not book a flight or a hotel for the Faroes went instead to Svalbard, where the capital city of Longyearbyen witnessed two and a half minutes of totality, starting shortly after 10:10. Irrespective of the cloud cover, scientists said that citizens could still help them with their research. A University of Reading team wants to learn more about how the atmosphere behaves as the Moon's shadow runs over the Earth. The National Eclipse Weather Experiment asked people to record conditions at their locality. Professor Giles Harrison explained: 'This is the first big partial eclipse to happen in the UK since 1999 and the next one isn't until August 2026, so this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. By observing what happens on Friday we are effectively turning the skies of Britain into a giant weather lab, giving us a rare chance to see what happens when you "turn down the Sun." This will give us a precious insight into how the Sun influences the clouds and wind, as well as more obvious effects, such as temperature. By improving our understanding of how the weather works, we're better able to predict it, meaning scientists can further improve weather forecasts.' One phenomenon the experiment hopes to investigate is the 'eclipse wind.' This refers to changes in the breeze that eclipse observers have reported as darkness falls. Oxford University scientists, meanwhile, are using the event to try to understand how eclipses affect electricity grids. The deep shadow will have reduced the output from solar panels, which now supply a significant proportion of power needs right across Europe. The researchers will look to see how this dip in performance impacted the stability of grid networks. Next year will have a total solar eclipse, too. That will occur on 9 March, and will cross Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and extend out over the Pacific. The UK will not experience a full solar eclipse on this scale again until 2026.
The first glimpse of the resurrected Clangers was given to viewers during the CBeebies Stargazing programme on Thursday night. And, on the strength of this short clip the new series, narrated by Michael Palin, appears to be every bit as charming and lovely as the Oliver Postgate and Peter Firman original. Aw, bless.
The Voice was watched by more than seven million overnight viewers on Saturday. The BB1 singing competition attracted 7.04m punters for its live quarter-finals from 7.30pm. The subsequent results show managed 5.76m from 9.35pm. These overnight numbers are an improvement in the series' performance year-on-year, with last year's equivalent quarter-finals drawing 6.21m for the main show. Earlier, the dramatic Six Nations Rugby finale with England beating France but, narrowly, failing to overtake Ireland's points difference peaked with a massive 9.63 million viewers at 6.50pm. The full match averaged 7.1 million viewers with the day's previous games - Italy versus Wales and Scotland versus Ireland - being watched by overnight average audiences of 3.1 million and 4.4 million respectively. BBC Sport's website saw big traffic numbers as well, with 8.22m unique users, breaking the previous record of 8.03m during the London Olympics. Elsewhere on BBC1, The National Lottery Live was seen by 5.12m from 9.25pm. On BBC2, a repeat of Dad's Army drew 1.35m from 7.45pm. The Dakota Fanning film Now Is Good averaged four hundred and seventy thousand later. Over on ITV, Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway continued with 5.47m from 7pm, before You're Back In The Room and The Jonathan Ross Show achieved 3.85m and 2.23m respectively. Channel Four's The World's Weirdest Weather was seen by seven hundred and forty thousand in the 8pm hour, with the drama-documentary Richard III: The Princes In The Tower featuring contributions from the likes of David Starkey and Janina Ramirez managing 1.22m afterwards. And, very good it was too. On Channel Five, the latest episode of CSI was watched by eight hundred and twenty four thousand from 10pm. The multichannels were topped by ITV3's Foyle's War, which averaged eight hundred and ninety six thousand from 8pm.

Poldark stayed above six million overnight viewers for its third episode on Sunday evening. The BBC1 period drama dipped by around three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to an average audience of 6.24m at 9pm. Earlier, The Big Painting Challenge appealed to 3.63m at 6pm, while Countryfile topped the night overall with 6.38m at 7pm. Antiques Roadshow gathered 5.56m (24.1%) at 8pm. Match Of The Day 2 - which included an unexpected advert for the Royal Mail featuring Steven Gerrard (always remember to use a stamp) as The Scum beat the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws - scored 2.56m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Simon Reeve's Caribbean - taking the vacated Top Gear slot - was seen by 2.14m at 8pm, followed by Louis Theroux's By Reason Of Insanity with 1.91m at 9pm and Bluestone 42 with six hundred and thirty eight thousand at 10pm. ITV's The Chase drew 3.26m at 6.30pm, followed by Off Their Rockers with 3.25m at 7.30pm. All Star Family Fortunes had an audience of 3.65m viewers at 8pm, while Mr Selfridge continued with 3.29m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Great Canal Journeys interested 1.47m at 8pm. The latest episode of Indian Summers dipped to nine hundred and sixty four thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's showing of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle Of Life was watched by 1.06m at 7pm, followed by Alex Cross with eight hundred and twenty two thousand at 9pm.

To all American dear blog readers who may be wondering what all this Richard III malarkey is about - the simple answer is it's been that long since we last buried a monarch that we've had to dig an old one up to get some practice in.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes for week-ending Sunday 15 March 2015:-
1 Comic Relief: Face the Funny - Fri BBC1 - 8.48m
2 The Voice - Sun BBC1 - 8.27m
3 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 8.17m
4 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 8.12m
5 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.75m
6 FA Cup Match Of The Day Live - Mon BBC1 -7.31m
7 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.83
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.32m
9 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 6.24m
10 MasterChef - Thurs BBC1 - 6.14m
11 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.81m
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.58m
13 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.31m
14 Six Nations Rugby: England versus Scotland - Sat BBC1 - 5.25m
15 DCI Banks - Wed ITV - 5.14m
16 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.81m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.78m
18 The Great Comic Relief Bake Off: An Extra Slice - Fri BBC2 - 4.67m
 19 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBc1 - 4.59m
20 You're Back In The Room - Sat ITV - 4.24m*
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. The Saturday night episode of The Voice was watched by 8.03m. All three of MasterChef's weekly episodes had final and consolidated ratings figures of more than five million (5.14m, 5.31m and 6.14m respectively). On BBC2, apart from An Extra Slice, The Great British Sewing Bee was the most watched programme with 3.61m. As predicted in the last bloggerisation, the second episode of churlish, bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's awful misery-fest Banished had an audience which was considerably lower than the four and a half million that watched the series opener (3.29m). To lose a quarter of your audience in one week, Mister McGovern, could be regarded as carelessness. The Natural World film Galapagos: Islands Of Change drew 2.48m, University Challenge had 2.46m and Dragons' Den attracted 2.45m, followed by the Only Connect Comic Relief special (2.42m) and Gardeners' World (1.79m). In the Sunday Top Gear slot, Red Arrows: Inside The Bubble was watched by 1.42m, less of an audience than Monday evening's repeat of an old Top Gear episode which had 1.63m. And, if that's not embarrassing to the BBC, it should be. ITV's drama commissions continue to struggle with Arthur & George and Mr Selfridge being watched by a mere 3.67m and 3.64m respectively (minus HD figures). Gogglebox was, yet again, Channel Four's most watched programme of the week (3.64m), followed by The Billion Pound Hotel (2.68m), One Born Every Minute (also 2.61m) and Great Canal Journeys (2.55m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were Benefits Britain: Life On The Dole (1.76m) and the imported dramas CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.58m) and The Mentalist (1.54m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's most-watched show with 1.12 million viewers just ahead of Foyles War (1.06m). India's Frontier Railways was BBC4's highest-rated programme (nine hundred and thirty four thousand) followed by Great Continental Railway Journeys (five hundred and fifty one thousand) and Inside Claridges (five hundred and sixteen thousand). BBC3's ratings list was topped by Waterloo Road (seven hundred and eight thousand). The FOX Channel's latest episode of The Walking Dead's fifth series had nine hundred and forty eight thousand viewers whilst NCIS's twelfth series continued with nine hundred and one thousand. The Universal Channel's most watched show was Major Crimes with one hundred and ninety seven thousand. Elementary on Sky Living drew eight hundred and eighty three thousand, followed by Criminal Minds (eight hundred and sixty six thousand), Bones (seven hundred and seventy eight thousand) and The Blacklist seven hundred and seventy one thousand). Sky 1's The Flash had 1.12m. On Sky Atlantic, the latest episode of Fortitude attracted nine hundred and ninety seven thousand punters. Sky Sports 1's coverage of Aston Villains unexpected victory over yer actual Moscow Chelski FC had 1.44m, the highest multichannel audience of the week. Sky Sports 2's Cricket World Cup coverage peaked with England's properly calamitous loss to Bangladesh (two hundred and thirty three thousand). On Sky Sports News HQ, Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by four hundred and fifty eight thousand. A repeated episode of Qi XL had Dave's largest audience of the week (three hundred and eighty three thousand viewers). Drama's New Tricks was watched by four hundred and thirty nine thousand. A History Of Celtic Britain on Yesterday gathered two hundred and thirty thousand.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Nicholas Brendon has been detained by Plod after a disturbance at a Florida hotel, his third such arrest in recent months. The forty three-year-old actor was charged on Friday of last week with damage to property and 'criminal mischief' in his room at the Hotel Duval in Tallahassee, police said. Brendon, who according to press reports 'also stars in CBS series Criminal Minds' (in so much as he's appeared as a semi-regular in about twenty episodes over the course of the past eight years of the crime drama), posted a one thousand dollar bail on Saturday from the county jail. All of which is, of course, very sad although at least one should note that none of the Buffy cast have managed to get to Diff'rent Strokes levels. Yet. Nicholas reportedly damaged furniture, smashed a porcelain figurine, flipped over the bed and pulled the phone out of the wall in the room, according to court records. No one knows why. Brendon was also accused of clogging the toilet, causing it to overflow on to the suite's carpet. Ewww. The actor, who has battled long periods of depression, alcoholism and unemployment over the last decade, told the Tallahassee Democrat that the incident occurred after he took sleeping pills. 'I stopped taking my meds a while ago, which was a mistake,' Brendon told the newspaper. 'It culminated yesterday with my taking some sleeping pills and then going into a blackout.' He said that he would seek medical attention before meeting fans at a convention on Sunday. Brendon was accused in February of trashing his hotel room in Fort Lauderdale and, subsequently, refusing to pay the bill. In October last year, he pledged to go into rehab after he was charged with malicious injury to property following a fracas at a hotel lobby in Boise, Idaho. Last month he also split from his wife, Moonda Tee, five months after they married in Las Vegas.
Breaking Bad is - finally - to be shown on UK television in full, it has been revealed. All five seasons of the acclaimed AMC drama will be broadcast on the new digital channel Spike after its launch next month.

Yer actual Jeremy Clarkson could be in line to make a return to the BBC as a guest host on Have I Got News For You despite being likely to be sacked by the corporation next week. Jezza has been booked to present the third episode of the new series of the comedy panel show, due to return to BBC1 next month. Jimmy Mulville, managing director of Have I Got News For You's producer Hat Trick, said: 'We always have a field day with Jeremy. Maybe we will get the producer on so he can hit Jeremy live on television.' Asked whether Jezza would be allowed to take part in the BBC1 show, Mulville told a Broadcasting Press Guild breakfast on Thursday: 'I'm about to find out. As far as I'm concerned he is hosting Have I Got News For You in early May. The BBC haven't told me what to do yet. It'll be an interesting conversation.' One which, this blogger imagines, Mulville is probably going to be having about twenty seconds after Tony Hall announces Jezza's dismissal. Mulville added: 'I think he's a fantastic broadcaster and I concentrate on that. He's due to host the third episode.' Clarkson has been one of Have I Got News For You's most regular, and popular, guest presenters, appearing alongside team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop more than a dozen times since Angus Deayton's departure in 2002.

Meanwhile, various media organs have been vying with each other to dig up - usually with the aid of some top Copper's Narking from grasses - the most ridiculous Clarkson-related story they could find. Sky News was an early contender, just beating off a jolly fine effort from the Daily Scum Mail,  a completely sodding ridiculous one from the Digital Spy website and, a rather more thoughtful piece than one might expect in the Daily Mirra (which, obviously it's important to note, was not obtained by any of that there phone-hacking). Of course, it was so nice to see the Radio Times not even thinking about entering into these sort of crass, sensationalist games with their latest cover.
In the end, however, the single most ridiculous Top Gear-related story of the week, seemingly initiated by the Daily Lies - citing no evidence whatsoever - and then picked up on by the Daily Scum Mail, the International Business Times and, several other Internet sites that one would trust about as far as one can spit is the suggestion that the BBC thinks replacing Jezza with Stephen Fry on Top Gear is a goer. Err ... this blogger doesn't think so.
Top Gear could have continued with its current series following Jezza's suspension - but James May and Richard Hammond showed a rather impressive degree of loyalty and refused to film without their colleague a tabloid report has claimed. The Mirra - no friend of the production, let it be remembered - alleges that 'discussions' were held between the BBC and the two co-presenters about broadcasting the remaining three episodes of the series using predominantly pre-recorded segments. James and Richard would have filmed the studio sections between the two of them, but the presenters are said to have refused to work without Clarkson. The BBC has declined to comment on the report. Which, to be fair, since it's in the Mirra is probably a load of made up nonsense. Although at least it definitely wasn't obtained by any of that there phone-hacking. Oh no, very hot water.
The UK launch date for Castle season seven has been confirmed. The cult crime drama starring - Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion - will return to the Alibi channel on Wednesday 20 May at 9pm.

ITV will train a number of z-list celebrities to be shepherds as part of a new series. No, seriously. Flock Stars will see a group of eight allegedly 'famous personalities' head to the countryside to be trained by professionals, Broadcast reports. Why, no one knows. These clowns will learn how to handle their own sheep dog, and will have their skills put to the test in classic sheep dog trials at the end of the series. The eight will be reduced to three for the show's final - although, tragically, not by a process of natural selection involving very sharp farming implements - which will see one z-lister crowned 'Champion Flocker' 2015. The eight-part series is expected to be broadcast in a weekday timeslot, with a launch scheduled for July. The z-list celebrity line-up for Flock Stars will be confirmed in the coming months.
And, speaking of z-lisers, Michelle Keegan has said that she is 'really nervous' about being seen in her first television role since leaving Coronation Street. The alleged actress, whose role in BBC drama Ordinary Lies is her first since her exit from the ITV soap last summer, told the Daily Lies that she feels a huge amount of pressure to have her role well received. Well, yeah. Because, presumably, she'll actually be required to do some acting in this.
Jamie Dornan has defended the second series of The Fall. Not that it actually needed defending. The second run of BBC2's crime drama met with some (moronic) criticism - from arseholes and scum - for expanding its format beyond the search for serial killer Paul Spector (played by Dornan). Jamie has slapped down, harshly, on such arrant nonsense and insisted that The Fall needed a dramatic reinvention for it to continue beyond a single series. 'The thing is, the show had to develop and expand. You can't just regurgitate what you did in the first series,' he told the Gruniad. 'Some people's argument is that you should stop after the first series.' Dornan is confirmed to return for a third outing of The Fall along with From The North favourite Gillian Anderson, which he hinted might not be the end of the drama. 'I would happily play Paul for ever and one thing I'm learning is: "Ah, fuck it, you can't please everyone,"' he declared.
ITV has revealed the team of z-list celebrities who will be supporting the RSPCA in finding a home for abandoned animals in horrifying-sounding new show Give A Pet A Home. Julian Clary, reality TV regular Peter Andre (taking some time out from flogging cheap frozen food to the clinically obese) and Chris Kamara ('Kammy! Why you do this?!') will all be working at the Newbrook Farm Animal Centre in Birmingham. Where, hopefully, they will not be bitten by anything rabid, cos that would be terrible. They will be joined by Coleen Nolan, former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt (no, me neither) and former Olympic Gold Medallist Denise Lewis. Jesus, just when you think TV has scraped the bottle of the barrel along comes something to prove you, sadly, mistaken. The show will be hosted by Amanda Holden - oh, hang on, he's an even lower place.

Full-of-his-own-importance sneering Tory slaphead horroshow (and drag) Lord Snooty has claimed that Downton Abbey couldn't have been made by the 'interventionist' BBC. Speaking at an INTV panel in Jerusalem, Lord Snooty - with a look on his smug face, as usual, like someone who has just smelled some shit nearby - and executive producer Gareth Neame said that they never considered approaching the BBC with the period drama. 'It never occurred to me that we should take the show to the BBC because the BBC is where audiences around the world would expect to find the show, and I felt it wouldn't bring the changes we really wanted to make if we were on the BBC,' said Neame. 'The combination of that slot and network was sending a very different message of what the show would be.' Lord Snooty added that the BBC would have 'interfered' more with the production process of the series.
Big Brother has been renewed for a further three years by Channel Five. The sick Victorian freak show will continue to broadcast two series of Celebrity Big Brother and one series of the civilian version every year until at least the end of 2018.
Scripps Networks, the US cable TV company, has stepped up the pressure on BBC Worldwide to consider Scripps' five hundred million smackers bid to buy it out of pay-TV provider UKTV, which is currently a joint venture between the two companies. The US company has arranged a meeting with BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead, which will take place 'in the next couple of weeks' and at which Scripps will seek to convince her that its bid represents good value for licence fee payers, according to a sick, agenda-soaked piece of rancid phlegm in the Gruniad Morning Star. The bid was first reported by Gruniad in June of last year, when multiple bids by Scripps were said to have been rebuffed by BBC Worldwide. However, Scripps' interest in buying all of UKTV – in which it bought a fifty per cent stake for three hundred and thirty nine million knicker in 2011 – has not dimmed. The first role of the Trust, specified in the BBC's royal charter, is 'the BBC's stewardship of the licence fee revenue and its other resources.' An alleged 'source' allegedly 'close' to the negotiations allegedly said: 'Scripps executives are frustrated that BBC Worldwide does not appear willing to consider even the most lucrative of offers for UKTV. They feel that the next step has to be to convince the Trust to look into the bid.' Scripps has three representatives on UKTV's board of directors: Jim Samples, its international president, Joe Necastro, its chief development officer and Simone Nardi, its chief financial officer for international. In 2013, the last year for which figures are available, UKTV's revenues were a record two hundred and seventy eight million notes. UKTV has grown its audience share in recent years off the back of original programmes such as Dynamo: Magician Impossible and a rebooted Yes, Prime Minister. However it is understood, according to the Gruniad, that BBC Worldwide views its investment in UKTV, which it has held since the pay-TV company was founded in 1992 with the launch of the repeats channel UK Gold, as 'remaining sound'. UKTV is seen as providing an important window for British audiences to enjoy much loved BBC content, thus bringing wider benefits to the BBC and other rights holders. The profit share and dividends from UKTV are seen by BBC Worldwide as 'a significant and growing' part of its business. A BBC Worldwide spokesman said: 'We have no plans to sell our stake in UKTV – a successful business that provides ongoing strategic and financial benefits to BBC Worldwide' and indirectly to licence fee payers.' A spokesman for Scripps said: 'We are very happy with UKTV and our current joint venture partnership relationship with BBC Worldwide.' A spokesman for the BBC Trust said: 'Since taking up her role, the chairman has regular meetings with a range of media industry representatives and similarly she has an introductory meeting scheduled with Scripps. It is not the Trust's role to consider interest in BBC assets from third parties. Any such proposals would have to be put to the Trust by BBC management for approval.'

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini's friendship is set to be explored in a new drama. Houdini & Doyle - which is, hopefully, a working title - is a ten-part supernatural crime drama inspired by the pair's real-life friendship, according to Deadline. ITV has picked up the series in the UK, while FOX will broadcast episodes in America and Shaw Media in Canada. World famous illusionist Houdini and Sherlock Holmes creator Doyle found friendship in the early 1920s via their mutual interest in spiritualism, although they subsequently had a bitter public falling-out when Doyle refused to believe that Houdini's abilities were mere illusions. From the beginning, it was an unlikely friendship, established according to Houdini's account, around a mutual interest in the possible existence of an afterlife. Both men were besotted with their late mothers. After the death of his mother, Houdini had experimented abortively with seances. In Conan Doyle's case, following the death of his mother, his wife Louisa in 1906 and his son, Kingsley, just before the end of the First World War Doyle sank into a deep depression but found solace supporting Christian spiritualism. He hoped that his new companion would explore what seemed to Conan Doyle to be astounding psychic gifts. Unfortunately, Houdini's illusionist training and natural scepticism made him unsympathetic to the question of supernatural phenomena in general and spiritualism in particular - he, famously, devoted much of his energies toward debunking fake psychics and mediums, a pursuit which inspired latter-day stage magicians like James Randi and Derren Brown. The fictional series will see the duo work together on supernaturally-tinged crimes, despite their differences. Sounds rather bizarre - a sort of historical The X Files, actually - but it could work if the casting is right. House creator David Shore is executive producer on the project alongside his former colleague David Hoselton, who will serve as lead writer. The friendship between the two men was previously touched upon in History's recent Houdini mini-series, starring Adrien Brody and David Calder and in the 1976 movie The Great Houdini (with Paul Michael Glaser as Houdini and Peter Cushing as Doyle).

Cheryl Whatsherface-Fiasco has claimed, in an interview with the Torygraph, that 'there are downsides to having money.' Well, if she's that broken up about it, this blogger will gladly volunteer to take some off her hands to reduce her misery and increase his own. Serious offer, Chezza, yer actual Keith telly Topping is a Walker lad. You know us, we're all as honest as the day is long (the longer the daylight, the less we do wrong).
For Tony Hall, 'ever-nostalgic for his previous BBC spell serving under John Birt', according to another spiteful, sneering, agenda-smeared piece by some cock of no importance at the Gruinad, the past fortnight has been 'rich in signs that he is succeeding in bringing the late 1980s and 1990s back' – from the reworking of the former DG's splitting of the BBC into broadcast and production divisions (in Hall's freeing up of BBC Production) to the announcement of new series (at a showcase he attended) by comedians who first emerged back then. 'Even last week's news of a "fracas" involving a seething BBC figure allegedly behaving aggressively towards a junior colleague may have triggered joyous 1980s memories,' this louse sneered. 'For it was in 1988, when Birt had recently arrived from ITV and Hall was a high-flier in the BBC news empire, that a frustrated Mark Thompson (then editing the Nine O’Clock News) is said to have sunk his teeth into an underling's arm in the newsroom – 'horseplay', the Beeb insisted once the story emerged much later when Thommo was Director General, but at the time his victim wrote that he had to 'pull my arm out of his jaws, like a stick out of the jaws of a labrador.'
An alleged undercover police operation that, allegedly, gathered alleged 'evidence' of filthy and disgusting child abuse by Big Fat Cyril Smith and 'other public figures' was, allegedly, scrapped shortly after the MP was arrested, BBC's Newsnight has been, allegedly, told. The big fat Liberal MP, who died in 2010, was, allegedly, held during a 1980s probe into alleged 'sex parties' with teenage boys in South London, an alleged 'source' allegedly told the programme. Presumably, it took a few people to 'hold' him since he was such a size, obviously. Smith was, allegedly, released within hours of allegedly being taken to an alleged police station. The Met is allegedly looking into the alleged handling of alleged historical child sex abuse cases. The force would not allegedly comment on the alleged details of the allegations about Smith put to them by Newsnight. A spokesman for the Met said it was 'investigating allegations that police officers acted inappropriately in relation to non-recent child abuse investigations' however, and asked for anyone with information to 'come forward.' Alleged information was snitched to Newsnight by a former officer, who is allegedly 'familiar with the original investigation' and its alleged sudden closure. The order to scrap the inquiry, made after Smith and 'others' had been arrested, allegedly came from an alleged senior officer whom the undercover team had allegedly never met, according to the alleged 'source'. Allegedly. Officers were then, allegedly, ordered to hand over all of their alleged evidence - including notebooks and video footage - and were, allegedly, warned to 'keep quiet' about the alleged investigation or allegedly face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act, it is alleged. The Official Secrets Act itself is not alleged, it definitely exists. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self once signed it as it happens although not, he hastens to add, in relation to these particular allegations. And, therefore, he feels entirely free to report these alleged allegations in their alleged fullness. Newsnight has allegedly been told that the intelligence-led operation is allegedly believed to have started in 1981. That year, also, wasn't alleged - stuff happened during it including, but not exclusively, Botham's Ashes, the Royal Wedding, The Jam getting to number four in the UK charts with the excellent 'Absolute Beginners', yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though, even then unsellable) Magpies getting dumped out of the FA Cup fifth round by fourth division Exeter City ... and, other stuff. Probably. The alleged investigation allegedly involved an alleged team of alleged undercover regional crime squad officers, including some, allegedly, from Yorkshire (again, not alleged - it's a county. I've been there) who were, allegedly, based in London for the, allegedly secret, inquiry. The alleged detectives were allegedly stationed at Gilmour House, a large police headquarters building in Kennington. The alleged team allegedly targeted 'six or more' alleged addresses in the alleged South of the capital. One alleged focus was, allegedly, a flat in Coronation Buildings, Lambeth - a run-down tenement block less than a mile from the alleged House of Commons.
    During an alleged three-month inquiry, officers allegedly working in alleged shifts allegedly gathered an allegedly 'substantial amount' of alleged evidence of alleged men abusing alleged boys aged about fourteen, the BBC alleged. That alleged evidence allegedly included alleged pictures and alleged video allegedly taken from inside the alleged flat, as an alleged hidden camera had allegedly been installed with, allegedly, the help of an alleged caretaker. Big fat Smith is alleged to have been one of those allegedly dirty old fuckers caught on camera about their sick and filthy doings, another being an allegedly 'senior member of Britain's intelligence agencies.' According to an alleged account given to the BBC, Smith was later 'seized' at a property in Streatham, where he had, allegedly, been taking part in a disgraceful and sordid 'sex party' with 'teenage boys.' Allegedly. It is alleged that after he was pinched by the bobbies, he was taken to the Cannon Row police station opposite the House of Commons. But it was further alleged that he was released later that night and a duty sergeant who, allegedly, wanted to keep him in custody was allegedly 'reprimanded.' Although, reprimanded by whom and what form this reprimandation took had not been alleged. The BBC said it had also been told that, as well as big fat Smith and the member of the intelligence agencies, the alleged undercover team also had alleged evidence about the alleged involvement of two senior police officers. The squad allegedly believed that boys from care homes were being 'provided to order' for these sick and disgusting 'sex parties', but the alleged inquiry was, allegedly, abruptly shelved after the intervention of 'a senior officer'. The team was, allegedly, called together at Gilmour House and, allegedly, told by this alleged senior officer - whom they had, allegedly, never met before - to hand over their alleged notebooks, alleged photographs and alleged video footage. They were, allegedly, read passages from the Official Secrets Act - not alleged, remember - to, allegedly, deter them from allegedly speaking out, according to one alleged account. There was an alleged 'row' at the police building but the alleged inquiry was nevertheless allegedly closed down and officers were allegedly assured Smith 'would not be playing a role in public life any more.' In fact, he continued to serve as MP for Rochdale until 1992. Newsnight's alleged 'source' allegedly spoke to the programme through an alleged 'intermediary' and is allegedly to be 'fearful of repercussions' because of the alleged scale of the alleged cover-up. The BBC allegedly first approached the Met about the claims in January, but the force has, allegedly, 'refused to be drawn' into providing any alleged details on any alleged live inquiry.
     Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP who has worked to expose big fat Cyril Smith as an alleged prolific paedophile and kiddie-fiddler, said: 'Time and again what we have learned more recently is that a number of police officers investigated Smith, up and down the country, and those investigations were quashed and officers were told to stop investigating. It is my view that Smith was being protected and being protected by some fairly powerful people. He was protected because he knew of other paedophiles in the networks in which he operated and had he been prosecuted, then I think those other people would have been named by Smith and that's why they ensured that he was never put before the courts.' Newsnight allegedly asked the former Scotland Yard detective Clive Driscoll, who investigated allegations of child abuse in Lambeth in the 1980s and 1990s, to examine the fresh allegations. 'I looked at them as I probably would have done when I was a police officer and, on the balance of probabilities, you would have to say they appear very credible,' said Driscoll, the officer whose inquiry led to the conviction of Stephen Lawrence's killers. 'Certainly the timing and the type of allegations that are made are ones that the Met would take very, very seriously.' He described the alleged claims as 'very credible and very frightening. If you take all of the information that appears to be out there together it does look like collusion with police officers and other agencies to prevent what is a straightforward criminal case,' he added. Another Labour MP, John Mann, who was also a councillor in Lambeth in the 1980s, said of the allegations: 'It tells me the cloak of secrecy needs to be taken away but also suggests that there were people with things to hide at the time. For whatever reason, whatever judgement was made, there was a cover-up at the time. I don't know why, but it has happened time and again looking at these historic sex abuse cases and prominent people that files disappeared.' A cold case unit is to investigate claims that the police released Smith after child pornography was found in the boot of his car. It is understood that the MP was stopped on the M1 in Northamptonshire during the 1980s. But he was released from police custody after making a telephone call 'to an unidentified third party in London', it has been claimed. Northamptonshire Police is 'probing the circumstances' around the arrest.

In a related story it has emerged that Margaret Thatcher - tragically, she wasn't alleged - was 'made aware' of child abuse allegations involving big fat Smith before he was knighted in 1988, Cabinet Office documents have shown. The papers, first released to the Scum Mail on Sunday, also show that the then Prime Minister - a close personal friend of dirty old scallywag and right rotten kiddie-fiddler Jimmy Savile, remember - was 'warned' that the award could risk 'the integrity of the honours system.' The newspaper has complained over the time it took to release the documents, which followed five separate requests. But the Cabinet Office claimed that there had been 'no cover up' of the information. And, one or two people even believed them. The dossier on the decision to confer a knighthood on big fat Smith runs to nineteen pages. It includes one undated letter marked 'secret', from Lord Shackleton, a member of the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee. This was sent to The Thatch and included a warning of 'the risk that such an award could give rise to adverse criticism.' Shackleton wrote that police had investigated Smith in 1970 for 'indecent assault against teenage boys' between 1961 and 1966, but the director of public prosecutions had decided 'there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.' He went on to note that the case had been reported, albeit only in the Rochdale Alternative Press and Private Eye. 'One may regret this kind of press reporting,' he said, rather snootily dear blog readers may feel, 'but it could be revived if an award to Mr Smith were made,' he added. Shackleton said it would be 'slightly unfortunate' if this 'episode' stopped Smith receiving the honour. However, he added: 'We felt it right to warn the honours system would be at some risk if the award were to be made and announced.' A second note to the Prime Minister, dated May 1988, said that the committee had 'some hesitation' about awarding the knighthood but 'so far as we believe and have been able to ascertain, his past history or general character does not, in all the circumstances, render him unsuitable.' And the committee's secretary said, in another letter, that Smith had been given the 'benefit of the doubt' because he had not been prosecuted. Another document in the dossier, from then Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robin Butler - now Lord Butler of Brockwell - shows that he wrote to the DPP on the committee's behalf, requesting 'more information' about Smith. He said: 'The case for taking the exceptional step of writing to you in this way is to protect the Prime Minister (and The Queen) while also being fair to Mr Smith.' The committee, he wrote, wanted to know 'whether the case against Mr Smith was not well founded: or whether it was a sound case, but that the evidence was not likely to stand up in court.' According to the Scum Mail, the file does not record any reply from the DPP. A Cabinet Office spokesman said: 'There is no cover up nor was the Cabinet Office forced to release this information by the Information Commissioner. This is a sensitive and complex case and it is right that we considered advice from a range of officials. After considering the advice, the Cabinet Office decided to disclose information.'

The police watchdog is currently investigating alleged corruption and other alleged naughty and bad doings in the Metropolitan Police, including claims that it covered up child sex offences because MPs and police officers were involved. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating fourteen referrals spanning four decades. It said that the claims were of 'high-level corruption of the most serious nature.' The Met said it had voluntarily referred the allegations, which arose from an investigation launched in 2012. The investigation, known as Operation Fairbank, is looking into historical child sex abuse claims involving politicians and other establishment figures. Allegations, dating from between 1970 and 2005, being considered by the IPCC include: a potential cover-up linked to 'failures to properly investigate child sex abuse offences in South London and further information about criminal allegations against a politician being dropped'; a claim that an investigation into young men being targeted at the Dolphin Square flats in Pimlico was halted because 'officers were too near prominent people'; an allegation that a document from the Houses of Parliament was found at a known paedophile's address linking 'highly-prominent individuals', including MPs and senior police officers, to a sick and disgusting paedophile ring but that no further action was taken; alleged alteration of a child sex abuse victim's account to remove the name of a senior politician; alleged child sex abuse by a senior politician and a subsequent cover-up of the alleged crimes; claims that a surveillance operation of a child abuse ring was shut down due to 'high-profile people being involved' and an allegation that police officers sexually abused a boy and carried out surveillance on him. The former Daily Mirra crime correspondent Jeff Edwards has recently been contacted by the police. He says that he was alleged told by a detective in the 1980s that an alleged investigation into paedophiles was closed down on the orders of a senior politician. 'I think this was a cynical cover-up,' Edwards said. 'There was no doubt in their minds the way they would deal with this was simply to expunge it from the record. As far as they were concerned they could make it go away forever. Having looked and heard other evidence, spoken to other police officers and those in authority who were stopped from investigating, without question there were repeated attempts, successfully at the time, to stop investigations into prominent people and MPs involved in child abuse,' he said. A further two referrals of a similar nature have been received from the Met and are being assessed, the IPCC said. The force said in a statement it 'recognised the severity of the allegations, and the importance of understanding whether or not our officers had in the past acted inappropriately.' The other allegations which form part of the IPCC investigation are: an allegation that an investigation into a paedophile ring that led to a number of convictions did not take action 'in relation to other more prominent individuals'; a claim that a politician spoke to a senior Metropolitan Police officer to demand 'no action was taken' regarding an alleged paedophile ring in Westminster in the 1970s; a claim that a dossier of allegations against senior figures and politicians accused of being involved in sick and wicked activities was taken by Special Branch officers and never seen again; allegations that a senior officer instructed that a sexual abuse investigation should be halted, with the order having come from 'up high' in the Met; an alleged conspiracy within the force to prevent a politician suspected of offences from being prosecuted and child sex abuse allegations against a former senior Met Police officer with other 'members of the establishment', including judges, alleged to have been involved. It is claimed no further action was taken.

The BBC has commissioned a documentary investigating the impact of child sexual abuse on its victims, including those assaulted by dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Jimmy Savile. Abused: The Untold Story will examine how the Savile fiasco and subsequent Operation Yewtree arrests changed people's understanding of child abuse. Olly Lambert, whose credits include the award-winning Syria: Across The Lines, will direct the ninety-minute film. Lambert called the Savile revelations 'a watershed moment' for the UK. 'What is now being revealed is not just the shocking events themselves, but the extraordinary and complex ways in which they have shaped entire lives,' he said. Dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Savile was revealed, after his death in 2011, to have been a prolific sexual predator who abused adults and children across the country. The NSPCC said that dirty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Savile was 'one of the most prolific sex offenders in its history.' The revelations prompted the Metropolitan Police to launch Operation Yewtree, set up to investigate historical sex offences and other sick doings. Cases that emerged as a result of investigations into dirty old scallwayg and right rotten rotter Savile, but were unconnected to him directly, included those against jailed sex offender and odious bastard Max Clifford, convicted kiddie-fiddler Rolf Harris and self-styled hairy, if you will, cornflake and convicted groper Dave Lee Travis. Separate investigations were launched into allegations of indecent assault by Stuart Hall and ITV weatherman Fred Talbot, both of which very resulted in convictions for kiddie-fiddling. The BBC documentary was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, who said it would 'give a voice to those who have lived through sexual abuse and finally feel brave enough to speak out. This is a timely and meaningful subject that matters, a story of our time that has fundamentally changed the way we deal with abuse in modern society. We need to understand it to expose it,' she said. It is due to be screened next year. Meanwhile, a report into how dirty old sod Savile and wicked fekker Hall carried out abuse whilst at the BBC is due to be published in May. Dame Janet Smith's investigation has interviewed three hundred and seventy five witnesses in connection with Savile and more than one hundred about Hall.

Sky News has offered its 'sincere condolences' to the family of a woman who killed herself after being doorstepped by one of its reporters over allegedly abusive tweets which she had directed at the parents of Madeleine McCann. The news channel's crime correspondent, Martin Brunt, told an inquest that Brenda Leyland said she had thought of 'ending it all' but that she was 'feeling better now.' He said he believed the remark – made days after he had confronted her – was 'a throwaway line.' Leyland was found dead in a hotel room in Leicester on 4 October last year, two days after Brunt's report was broadcast on Sky News. 'I was devastated and I still am,' Brunt told the inquest at Leicester town hall. 'The enormity of what happened will always be with me.' Coroner Catherine Mason heard that Leyland was 'a proud woman' whose standing in her community meant everything to her and who suffered from depression and had made a previous suicide attempt. On 30 September she was approached by Brunt and a cameraman outside her village home in Burton Overy, after the journalist was given a dossier containing details of people allegedly posting abusive tweets about Kate and Gerry McCann, whose daughter Madeleine disappeared in Portugal in 2007. Leyland had posted or reposted more than four hundred tweets about the McCanns, the inquest heard. Brunt said that he identified himself and asked her: 'Why are you using your Twitter account to attack the McCanns?' At first she did not respond, then replied: 'I'm entitled to.' Which -so long as her posts were within the bounderies of the law as it currently stands, she was. 'I said: "Are you aware that your tweets are contained in a dossier that has been passed to Scotland Yard?"' Blunt claimed. 'She said: "That's fair enough."' Leyland then left, but on her return home later that day Brunt approached her again and she said 'Come in, Martin', which surprised him. During a thirty-minute discussion she explained her views on the McCanns and was clearly concerned about being exposed on television and identified. Brunt said that he explained the decision was not his. 'I did say I would keep her informed because I am aware of the impact such a confrontation can have on somebody,' he said. Brunt gave her his contact details and she contacted him the following day. Asked if there was anything in her voice to cause concern, Brunt said: 'No, but when I asked her how she was, she said: "Oh, I've thought about ending it all but I am feeling better. I have had a drink and 'I've spoken to my son."' He said he thought it was 'a throwaway remark.' He did not know of her medical history, he said. Sky News broadcast footage of Leyland, but did not name her or give details of where she lived, the inquest heard. Leyand's younger son, Ben, who was not present, said in a statement that Leyland was 'a loving mother', a proud and stubborn woman, and 'could not bear to think she could be disliked by those in her community.' He said that she suffered from extreme bouts of depression and anxiety and was on medication. Before the Sky News approach, she had been upset by a 'fractious' dispute with a neighbour over an issue concerning a wall. He had 'no doubt' from the panic in his mother's voice when she telephoned to tell him of the Sky News incident that 'this was the final straw that pushed her then to do what she did.' He said that his mother was 'completely destroyed' by what had occurred. He was trying to organise legal advice for her, he said. In her last e-mail to him, she said she felt 'cheerier.' When he could not reach her later, he and his brother and father thought that she had gone somewhere to 'lie low' as she had asked a neighbour to look after her cat for a few days. The inquest heard that between November 2013 and September 2014, using the Twitter ID @sweepyface, she had tweeted or retweeted two thousand two hundred and ten posts, of which four hundred and twenty four mentioned the McCanns. Her tweets did not constitute a criminal offence, the inquest heard. So, in that case quite why Sky News felt what she wrote was any of their - or anyone else's - business is a question that someone probably should answer. Brunt approached her after a dossier of tweets about the McCanns was allegedly passed to him by an alleged - though suspiciously anonymous - 'source', whose identity he declined to reveal. Possibly because he or she doesn't even exist. The coroner said that she could not compel Brunt to reveal his alleged 'source' and that Brunt was not accused of any criminal offence. Recording a verdict of suicide, Mason said she did not think that anyone could have known that Leyland had made a decision to take her own life. Jonathan Levy, senior manager at Sky News, squirmed that the approach was 'in line' with the broadcaster's guidelines on doorstepping and fucking up people's lives: deemed to be warranted when 'public good outweighed intrusion' and as long as the method was 'proportionate.' Leyland had not accessed Twitter after Brunt's approach and would not have seen 'disturbing' tweets about herself, which are being investigated, the inquest heard. A Sky News spokesman said: 'Brenda Leyland's tragic death highlights the unforeseeable human impact that the stories we pursue can have and Sky News would like to extend its sincere condolences to her family. The team at Sky News followed its editorial guidelines and pursued a story in a responsible manner that we believed was firmly in the public interest.'

The Hillsborough police match commander has agreed that his catastrophic failure to close a tunnel 'was the direct cause of the deaths of ninety six people.' Which is good of him although one does, rather, wish that he'd said all this twenty six years ago instead of spending the intervening years denying it. Still, better late than never. David Duckenfield also accepted that he 'froze' during the afternoon of the 1989 football disaster and that he lied to the then Football Association chief executive Graham Kelly that Liverpool fans had forced the gates open. 'That was a terrible lie,' he confessed. 'Everyone knew the truth. The fans knew we opened the gates. The officers knew we opened the gates.' Duckenfield was giving evidence for a sixth day at the new Hillsborough inquests in Warrington. He was being questioned by Paul Greaney QC on behalf of the Police Federation of England and Wales. Duckenfield had earlier denied claims that he 'bottled it' and 'panicked' as the disaster unfolded. The jury was told that the former chief superintendent had at least three minutes to 'consider the consequences' of opening an exit gate at the stadium, as a crowd of fans built up outside. Greaney suggested that 'a child of average intelligence' could have realised what would happen when the gate, which allowed up to two thousand fans to enter, was opened. But Duckenfield said that he 'did not think of it on the day' because of the pressure he was under. He had 'no idea' Liverpool fans would head through the gate for a tunnel which led to the already-packed terraces, he told the jury. When asked by Greaney if his failure to take steps to close the tunnel entrance was the direct cause of the deaths of ninety six people, Duckenfield replied 'yes sir.' The ninety-six Liverpool fans died after crushing at the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest held at Hillsborough. Greaney asked Duckenfield if he had been incompetent in his role on the day of the disaster. The retired officer answered: 'I think it is a view some would agree with, sir.' Greaney accused Duckenfield of 'concealing' his full knowledge of the geography of the ground from the jury, which he denied. When asked by the barrister if he 'simply froze', Duckenfield said he thought it would be 'fair to say that we were all in a state of shock.' It was the match commander's job to 'get past any feelings of shock', Greaney said. 'Yes, sir, but I am human,' Duckenfield replied. Earlier in the inquests, Duckenfield had finally admitted he had lied about fans forcing an exit gate open to enter the ground at the time of the incident. He issued a long apology to the families of the victims, who have been campaigning for twenty six years to establish more detail about what happened during the disaster. John Beggs QC, representing Duckenfield, said: 'I think you understand, don't you, why the delay in providing a more gracious and more full apology has caused to many both offence and distress? You understand that?' Duckenfield said that he did. The jury heard how the former police officer 'struggled to sleep' in the run-up to the 1989 Taylor Inquiry into the disaster and, at one stage, was drinking 'half tumblers of whisky' to 'find the courage' to read statements. The court heard he was medically retired from South Yorkshire Police in November 1991, two years after being suspended from duty. He was certified by a force doctor as 'unfit to undertake the duties of a police constable' and was diagnosed with 'severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.'

Anti-UKiP 'protesters' invaded a pub in South London where Nigel Farage his very self was having lunch on Sunday. Farago was in the Queen's Head in Downe with his wife and two young children at the time. Demonstrators reportedly first went to the George & Dragon, believing that to be Farago's local, before they tracked him down. Like blodhounds. Only, different. They said that they 'chased the family' out of the pub and jumped on the politician's car bonnet as he drove away. Farago later branded them 'scum' which, you know, takes one to know one and all that. Farago, who is standing in Kent's Thanet South constituency in May's general erection, said: 'I hope these "demonstrators" are proud of themselves.' Well, this blogger imagines that they are, Nige. Very much so. Next ...

A British Airways flight was forced to turn around and return to Heathrow because of a 'really smelly poo'. The plane was heading to Dubai on Thursday - a seven-hour flight - when the offensive dump was discovered. Abhishek Sachdev, who was on board tweeted: 'Insane. Our BA flight to Dubai returned back to Heathrow because of a smelly poo in the toilet.' He then Copper's Narked to a newspaper: 'The pilot made an announcement requesting senior cabin crew, and we knew something was a bit odd. About ten minutes later he said "You may have noticed there's a quite pungent smell coming from one of the toilets." He said it was "liquid faecal excrement." Those are the words he used.' So, diarrhoea, in other words. The plane had been airborne for just thirty minutes when the shit his the fan, as it were, and it was forced to turn round. The next available flight was fifteen hours later, so passengers had to be accommodated in a hotel overnight. Speaking to Radio 1, Sarah (last name unknown), who works for the airline said: 'When you're up at that altitude the cabin has to be pressurised so the problem is that anything like that is actually a health and safety problem because only fifty percent of the air is being recycled and cleaned.' In a statement, BA said: 'A decision was taken to return for the safety and comfort of our customers on board. We're very sorry for the discomfort to our customers. We provided them with hotel accommodation and rescheduled the flight to depart the next day.' The identity of the person that shat out the horrific item has not been made public although it is worth noting that, usually in these sort of situations, the one that smelt it, often dealt it. Allegedly.

Three very naughty judges have been extremely sacked after begin caught viewing pornographic material via their official judicial IT accounts, it has been reported. A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said that the pornography was 'not illegal' in content. Just, you know, sexy. However the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice concluded it was an 'inexcusable misuse' of their official accounts.
Police Five presenter Shaw Taylor has died, aged ninety. The broadcaster was best known for hosting the ITV crime show for thirty years from 1962. Taylor died at his home in Totland on the Isle of Wight on Wednesday, with his partner Shirley Ferrari at his bedside. The show was a precursor to the BBC's Crimewatch, in which Taylor asked members of the public to help solve crimes by contacting the programme and snitching up any blaggers they happened to know like a dirty stinking Copper's Nark. He later presented a spin-off show for younger viewers, Junior Police Five. The programme came about when Lew Grade, then running the London weekend commercial TV station, wanted a six-week filler to plug a problematic five-minute hole in his schedules. Within two weeks it was obvious that Police Five and Taylor were going to be a successful combination. Two of the three cases covered in the first programme were solved as a result of information snitched to the fuzz by viewers: a stolen car used as a getaway vehicle was recovered and abandoned baby twins were returned to their parents. Shaw was famous for using the catchphrase, 'Keep 'em peeled'. His friend, John Hannam, from Isle of Wight Radio, said: 'He loved his catchphrase being thrown back at him. He loved it if people called out in the street, he was in his element. He was one of the true gents of the industry, it was a privilege to know him.' The broadcaster also hosted several game shows including Password, Tell The Truth, Dotto, This Is Your Chance and, on radio, The Law Game. He began his career as an actor, appearing in The Vise, The Larkins, More Than A Robbery, The Dangerous Game, New Scotland Yard, Thick As Thieves, Romany Jones, Birds Of A Feather and the movies What A Carry On! and The Medusa Touch. In 2008, he appeared in the BBC drama Ashes To Ashes playing himself and he presented a new version of Police Five on Channel Five as recently as 2014 at the age of eighty nine. He became a TV and radio presenter in the late 1950s on shows like Glamour, Ladybirds, Thank Your Lucky Stars, The London Palladium Show, New Faces, It's A Celebrity Knockout, Punchlines and he long-running children's show, Number Seventy Three. He was awarded an MBE in 1986. Born Eric Taylor in the East End of London, he served in the RAF and later trained at RADA. Taylor in his later life became a supporter of local charities, helping to save the Isle of Wight's Shanklin Theatre from closure. He was also a keen bridge player and presented a TV series on the subject. Shaw is survived by his son, Richard, and by his partner.

A man who killed a member of the Fiennes family with a pair of scissors in a South London restaurant has been detained indefinitely in a secure hospital. James Fiennes, the cousin of the explorer Sir Ranulph and the actor Ralph, was stabbed three times on 22 April 2014. The Old Bailey was told that the killer, Nicholas Hunter, launched the unprovoked attack in The Tapestry after telling him: 'James, I'm going to have to kill you.' Hunter admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility. The aeronautical engineer, from Clapham, was said to be suffering from schizoaffective disorder and had denied murder. The court heard that Hunter bought a pair of scissors and went to The Tapestry bar and restaurant in Mortlake with his friend, Thomas Olsen. Prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC said that after the two men sat down, Hunter called out 'Hi James' to Fiennes, who was sitting nearby. Johnson said it was not believed the pair knew each other and it may have been the 'most awful, ghastly, coincidence' that the defendant addressed Fiennes by his correct first name. She said: 'Mr Fiennes walked over and asked where he knew the defendant in a polite fashion. The defendant then said: "James, I'm going to have to kill you."' The court heard that Fiennes thought it a joke before the defendant suddenly stabbed him wit the scissors. The Old Bailey heard that Hunter had been suffering from auditory hallucinations which, he claimed, told him to that he was 'a Glasgow hard man' and he wanted to kill the Queen. In a police interview, Hunter admitted stabbing Fiennes describing it as a 'complete explosion in my mind.' A post-mortem examination found that Fiennes died from bleeding and a scissor stab wound to the heart.

Yer actual Sir Paul McCartney is to induct his former Be-Atles bandmate Ringo Starr his very self into the Rock and/or Roll Hall of Fame. Starr is the last of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) to receive the musical honour. Sir Paul will usher in the seventy four-year-old at the thirtieth annual ceremony at The Rock and/or Roll Hall of Fame and Museum next month. The Be-Atles are already in the hall as a group, as are alcoholic, wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon, George Harrison and Macca as solo artists. Other inductees will include Green Day (why, for the love of God, why?), Lou Reed and Bill Withers. Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, Ringo said it meant 'recognition' of his solo work. He added: 'And it means, finally, the four of us are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even though we were the biggest pop group in the land.' Joe Walsh will perform some of Starr's music, while Withers' music will be performed by John Legend. It is not known if Withers himself, who quit the music business more than thirty years ago, will sing himself. Patti Smith will induct Reed, who died in 2013, while Beck will perform some of The Velvet Underground singer's music. Joan Jett, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and The Five Royales will also be elevated to the musical club at the Cleveland ceremony. Artists become eligible to enter the Hall of Fame twenty years after their first release. The Smith, incidentally, are not in The Rock and/or Roll Hall of Fame. Neither are The Jam. Or Joy Divison, Buzzcock, The Undertones, Kraftwerk ... Just saying.

Excellent stuff found on the Internet this week. Number one: Post-Punk Icons Reimagined As Marvel Heroes. Skill.
The name of one of English literature's most famous figures has been spelled incorrectly on a road sign directing people to the writer's former house. Now, that's irony. Visitors to the Jane Austen's House Museum saw the author's name had been misspelled 'Austin' and then snitched their observations up to the media. As you do. Madelaine Smith, who works at the attraction, said: 'It is one of those names you shouldn't spell wrong.' She said that she had contacted Hampshire County Council about getting the sign corrected. 'The council has been really helpful and really lovely,' she said. 'We have had a few people spot it.' She also pointed out another sign, next to the one for the museum, that had misspelled the name of the nearby village of Selborne. A Hampshire County Council spokesperson said: 'We've clearly made a mistake here and thank Madelaine Smith for pointing this out. We've made arrangements for the sign to be replaced as soon as possible.'
Facebook have released a full list of banned posts in their revamped community standards section that now includes 'fully exposed buttocks' and 'images of female breasts if they include the nipple.' So, yer actual Keith telly Topping guesses he'll have to post them here instead.
Sunday evening; a new moon and Venus over St Anthony's Estate at twilight from the back window of Stately Telly Topping Manor. (Ask if you need to know which is which.)
And now ...
Friday, in addition to witnessing the eclipse, was also International Happiness Day. Apparently. So, which daft plank thought that up, then?
After a disappointing, pain-curtailed trip to the pool on Friday, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was back on the horse on Monday morning (well, the seahorse, anyway) with a whopping twenty six - virtually pain free - lengths. Followed by an excellent, fattening, Full English which managed to pile back on all of the calories that he'd just got rid of. This, it should be noted, also included an accidental collision between yer actual Keith Telly Topping and another swimmer when, in attempting to do one of those fancy rolling turns (shan't be trying that again in a hurry), Keith Telly Topping planted his face squarely into the bum of the lass swimming in front of him. Fortunately, we both saw the funny side of it. And, it was a very nice bum as well so, you know, everyone's a winner.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, this is Garbage. I mean, it's good, but it's still Garbage. Clear?

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