Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Dream I'm Your One & Only

Cult SF drama The X-Files is to return to TV after a thirteen-year hiatus. This is proper good news, dear blog reader. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping likes this news. Bring him more news such as this. Yer actual David Duchovny and From The North favourite Gillian Anderson her very self will reprise their acclaimed roles as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully for a six-episode mini-series. Creator Chris Carter will be at the helm when production starts this summer. It is not yet known when the series will be broadcast. The award-winning drama, which ran for nine seasons from 1993-2002 (the vast majority of which were really very good indeed, although there was about a year and a half around the time that Duchovny left where most of those involved, both in front of and behind the camera, seemed to be phoning it in somewhat), saw arch-believer Mulder and sceptical Scully investigate unsolved mysteries and paranormal cases. More than two hundred episodes of the The X-Files were made, making it the longest-running SF series in US network TV history at that time. Two feature films based on the series were also made - in 1998 and 2008 - one of which was very good. The other, really, wasn't. Additionally, there's a quite spectacularly superb unofficial programme guide to the first five seasons and the first movie which is very available for Kindle download for just five of your English pounds and which this blogger recommends highly. Go on, buy it, you know you want to. Carter said: 'I think of it as a thirteen-year commercial break. The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories.' Dana Walden and Gary Newman, of FOX Television Group, said: 'We had the privilege of working with Chris on all nine seasons of The X-Files - one of the most rewarding creative experiences of our careers - and we couldn't be more excited to explore that incredible world with him again. The X-Files was not only a seminal show for both the studio and the network, it was a worldwide phenomenon that shaped pop culture - yet remained a true gem for the legions of fans who embraced it from the beginning. Few shows on television have drawn such dedicated fans as The X-Files and we're ecstatic to give them the next thrilling chapter of Mulder and Scully they've been waiting for.'

Meanwhile, Judith Woods of the Torygraph - who sounds proper filthy if this piece is anything to go by - has conducted a flirty, innuendo-filled interview with From The North fave Gillian which this blogger urges all readers to have a gander at. Subjects covered include The Fall, Gillian's recent appearance on Top Gear and lesbianism. Sex and drugs and rock and roll in other words. Sorted.
Yer actual Peter Capaldi presented a 'special birthday surprise' to children at the Doctor Who Experience earlier this week, celebrating ten years since the series' return, a t'were, from the wilderness. Those of a nervous disposition may want to give the singing a miss.
It only seems five minutes dear blog reader but it was, in fact, ten years ago on the 26 March 2005, that Doctor Who was reborn, in a new century, with a new Doctor and for a new generation. And, for the old one come to that. In 2005 the BBC's long-running family SF drama had been absent from television screens for most of the previous fifteen years. 'Rested' (ie. cancelled) in 1989, the series was nought but a nostalgic memory for a generation of viewers who grew up in the sixties, seventies and eighties. To some punters - far more than you'd think, frankly - it was remembered with some derision, talk of shaky sets and implausible monsters was apparent when the series was mentioned or used as punchline by not-very-good comedians. But, to others - this blogger very much included - it was recalled with great affection, engendering warm feelings of affection with memories of cold winter evenings in front of the telly spent in the company of family or childhood friends. That's, when there wasn't a power cut cos the miners were on strike, obviously. When the series was dropped from the schedules it had very few friends at executive level at the BBC. The series was, generally, considered to have run its course, was viewed with some embarrassment and its fandom was genuinely and actively despised and subjected to crass ridicule as a bunch of tragic anoraks. Sad, but true. Very few people at the BBC thought it would ever return. In 1996 an attempt was made to relaunch the series via a flashy American co-production. The ninety-minute TV movie made by FOX was reasonably well received in the UK, but was not successful enough for the producers to commission further episodes. To many this was the final nail in the coffin for the show on television. A series of 'keeping the faith alive' fiefdoms existed, of course, including Virgin and BBC books (some of them written by this blogger as it happens), fanzines, websites, Big Finish audio plays and the like but, in the early years of the new century - despite what some revisionists in fandom may try to convince you - Doctor Who as a format was a television show that the BBC used to make and with a worldwide fanbase which could be counted in the thousands rather than the millions. But, things change and the TV landscape of 2003 was very different from that of 1989. TV was now, by and large, being run by the sort of people who had grown up with Doctor Who. Those who remembered how exciting Saturday evenings could be, when The Doctor would battle enemies on a weekly basis, sandwiched between episodes of Basil Brush and The Generation Game. Or, between Rolf On Saturday, Ok? and Jim'll Fix It if you prefer. Yeah, actually, let's stick with the former rather than the latter. BBC1's then controller, Lorraine Heggessey, a self-confessed fan of the original series stated publicly that she wanted the show back on her network and back on Saturday evenings at that. Many doubted it would happen, but on Friday 26 September 2003 it was confirmed. Doctor Who would return. The man entrusted with the regeneration was Russell Davies, whose was previously best known for creating the seminal Channel Four drama Queer As Folk, about gay life in Manchester. Big Rusty was joined as Executive Producer by Julie Gardner, who had just returned to the BBC to produce the David Tennant drama Casanova, following a spell working with Davies at London Weekend Television. Also on the team was Mal Young, who had produced the Channel Four soap Brookside, again, working with Davies. Once it was known the series would returning, speculation began on who would play the enigmatic ectopic Time Lord. Paul McGann was a tipped contender, having played The Doctor in the 1996 TV movie, while the bookmaker William Hill made the comedian and actor Alan Davies the eight-to-one favourite to win the role (largely, it appeared, because he had curly hair just like Tom Baker). Richard E Grant was stated to be an option, as was Sean Pertwee, son of the late third Doctor. Tom Baker announced to BBC London News that Eddie Izzard would win the role. (Eddie himself later suggested that his being linked with Doctor Who was, solely, on the grounds that he was perceived to be 'a bit weird'!) According to the Torygraph, Bill Nighy was the choice of Davies and had been offered the role, while the Daily Mirra said that, no, it would definitely be EastEnders actor Shane Richie. Which, obviously, they most certainly didn't get from hacking any phones. Oh no, very hot water. On Friday 19 March 2004 it was announced that the acclaimed actor Christopher Eccleston would take on the role, with Davies telling the press: 'We considered many great actors for this wonderful part, but Christopher was our first choice. This man can give the Doctor a wisdom, wit and emotional range as far-reaching as the Doctor's travels in time and space. His casting raises the bar for all of us. It's going to be a magnificent, epic, entertaining journey, and I can't wait to start.' Two months later Big Ecc was joined by yer actual Billie Piper who was cast as The Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler. Billie was previously best known as the youngest female singer ever to début at number one in the UK singles chart. Over the next few months more actors joined the cast, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet's Noel Clarke would play Rose's boyfriend Micky Smith, Camille Coduri would play Rose's mother while John Barrowman was cast as Captain Jack Harkness. Old monsters would also be returning, with a very public battle taking place over the use of The Daleks in the new series. An agreement was finally reached in August 2004 with the Terry Nation estate allowing the Daleks to meet the new Doctor in an episode written by Rob Shearman. The series launched on BBC1, in a blaze of publicity, on Saturday 26 March 2005. Viewers were warmed up with a preview at 5.25pm when Doctor Who: A New Dimension gave a taste of the series. After Strictly Dance Fever with Graham Norton, the British public finally got to meet the new Doctor at 7pm, when the episode Rose was screened. A technical error a few minutes into the programme caused audio of Norton to be overlaid onto a few seconds the episode, much to the distress of the production team. Here, long-time fan Peter Capaldi recalls the thrill of watching that episode. 'When Doctor Who came back in 2005, nobody new that it would work. But as soon as the credits rolled and that theme music began, there were hairs on the back of the neck standing up, and excitement.'

Ten years after yer actual Christopher Eccleston grabbed Billie Piper's arm in the basement of a London department store (which was, actually, in Cardiff) and told her to 'Run!' from The Autons, Doctor Who is still going strong, as one of the great TV success stories of the past decade. Doctor Who Magazine celebrates this milestone with a special commemorative issue this week which comes with a choice of four different covers, each one featuring one of the recent Doctors – Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi.
There's a report on some location filming for the forthcoming ninth series of Doctor Who at the Wales Online website, including a few rather shaky pictures.
Big Finish Productions has announced that its licence from BBC Worldwide to make original Doctor Who dramas on audio has been extended until 31 March 2020.

There is still no confirmed broadcast date set for the fourth season of Sherlock, but in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat did offer some vague clues to tease fans. 'There are some answers coming to questions nobody has asked,' he said. 'We're very exultant about a little thing we've set up that no one is talking about.' That statement follows his cryptic remarks from backstage at the 2014 EMMYs, when he told reporters: 'We have a plan to top [last season]), and I do think our plan is devastating. We practically reduced our cast to tears by telling them the plan.' Diehard fans of the show are sure to be 'desperate for series five' after they're through with four, Steven said. 'We're certainly going to put them through the mill. It's going to be more of an emotional upheaval.' In the interview, Moff also discussed how this coming season will be different from past seasons, how he feels about Sherlock and John Watson fan fiction and the non-existent possibility of a Doctor Who/Sherlock crossover. Moffat explained that each season of Sherlock has a different theme. 'The first series was all about the beginning of their friendship. Second about the formative stages, the love and fear and loss and all that. The third was good days, me and my pal and my pal's wife,' he said. Season four is 'going to be, I suppose you'd say "consequences". Chickens come to roost. It's dark in some ways - obviously, it's great fun and a Sherlock Holmes romp and all that - but there's a sense of things coming back to bite you.' He continued: 'It's hilarious and exhilarating some days, but some days it’s going to be bloody frightening.' The showrunner addressed the fan-fantasy of a crossover episode for the two series he oversees. Moffat said he's 'more open' to the idea of the merger than the rest of his colleagues. 'If people want to, we should give it to them,' he said. 'But, I got persuaded by Mark, Benedict, Sue and Martin saying, "Look, it will never be as good as they think it's going to be," and then I say, "Yes, but we'll just bang it out and make it as good." "Yeah, but you can't give everybody everything they want all the time." I'm in the camp of giving them everything they want. But I think they're sane and right and I'm just a tart.' As for the abundance of fan-fiction which places Sherlock and John in a close and personal relationship of the 'touching each others bottoms' kind, Moff doesn't disparage it. 'It's creative and exciting,' he said. 'I refuse to mock it because I'm a man who writes Sherlock Holmes fan fiction for a living!' You can read the full interview here.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch found his very self sitting next to Robert Lindsay at the funeral of Richard III earlier this week. Both, presumably, got better seats than Lord Snooty and John Sergeant since they were close personal friends of the deceased monarch and - alleged - child murderer. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, incidentally, wasn't invited. Well, to be fair, I didn't even know the chap had been ill.
Trevor McDonald's new ITV documentary came out on top of the overnight ratings outside soaps on Monday. The Mafia interested an average audience of 4.27 million at 9pm. Earlier, Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's More Tales From Northumberland (featuring Wor Geet Canny Robson Green) appealed to 3.14m at 8pm. On BBC1, Inside Out brought in 3.47m at 7.30pm, while Panorama was watched by 2.03m at 8.30pm. A repeat of New Tricks gathered 2.85m at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge had an audience of 2.96m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.45m at 8.30pm. Kew On A Plate attracted 1.57m at 9pm, while Vic and Bob's House Of Fools was watched by six hundred and nineteen thousand at 10pm. On Channel Four, the latest Dispatches had five hundred and one thousand at 8pm, followed by Britain's Benefit Tenants with 1.69m at 9pm and Raised By Wolves with eight hundred and twenty two thousand punters at 10pm for an episode that wasn't as good as last week's but was still pretty good. Channel Five1's Police Interceptors brought in nine hundred and fifty eight thousand at 8pm, while the latest episode of Gotham drew nine hundred and thirty eight thousand at 9pm. Person Of Interest kicked off a new season with seven hundred and sixteen thousand at 10pm. On FOX, The Walking Dead's latest episode attracted four hundred and ninety nine thousand at 9pm.

Jason Manford's Ordinary Lies topped the overnight ratings outside soaps on Tuesday evening. The drama added almost four hundred thousand viewers for its second episode and was watched by 5.08m at 9pm. Call Security followed with 1.62m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, The Great British Bake Off Easter Masterclass appealed to 1.73m at 7pm, while Back In Time For Dinner rose to 3.06m at 8pm. Later, Dara and Ed's Great Big Adventure had an audience of 1.99m at 9pm. Nurse continued with nine hundred thousand viewers at 10pm. ITV's River Monsters averaged 1.91m at 7.30pm, while Midsomer Murders gathered 2.07m between 8pm and 10pm. On Channel Four, Burger Bar To Gourmet Star was seen by 1.15m at 8pm, before One Born Every Minute with 1.55m at 9pm. Teens started with four hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Costa Del Casualty attracted 1.01m at 8pm, followed by Breaking The Law with one million viewers at 9pm. BBC3's World's Toughest Jobs was seen by four hundred and fifty three thousand at 9pm, while E4's The One Hundred was watched by five hundred and twenty three thousand in the same timeslot.

MasterChef topped the ratings overnight on Wednesday evening outside of soaps. The BBC1 cooking competition continued its recent ratings success with 5.23m at 8pm, while The Billion Dollar Chicken Shop followed with 3.05m at 9pm. BBC2's The Lady Killers: Pest Detectives interested 1.29m at 8pm, before Hillary Clinton: The Power Of Women gathered eight hundred and thirty thousand viewers at 9pm, and a Qi repeat was seen by nine hundred and forty thousand at 10pm. The latest edition of Newsnight followed with eight hundred and thirty thousand at 10.30pm. ITV's appallingly wretched Big Star's Little Star spectacularly failed to entertain 3.52m sad, crushed victims of society at 8pm, while DCI Banks continued with 4.07m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Three In A Bed continued with seven hundred and sixty thousand at 8pm and Twenty Four Hours In A&E averaged 1.85m at 9pm. First Dates drew an audience of 1.15m at 10pm. Channel Five's GPs: Behind Closed Doors interested 1.17m at 8pm, while OAPs Behaving Badly was watched by eight hundred and eighty eight thousand punters at 9pm. Slaughtered At The Murder Hotel attracted four hundred and twenty five thousand at 10pm. The first episode of The Quizeum topped the multichannels with six hundred and ninety seven thousand at 8.30pm on BBC4.

Oily coward David Cameron and complete and utter plank Ed Milimolimandi's live political grilling was a minor ratings hit for Channel Four, according to overnight figures for Thursday. Cameron & Miliband Live: The Battle For Number Ten was the second most watched programme in its timeslot, gathering 2.41m at 9pm. A further three hundred thousand watched the broadcast on Sky news. Earlier, Richard III: The King Laid To Rest averaged nine hundred and sixty thousand at 8pm. BBC1's MasterChef continued to top the ratings outside of soaps with 5.07m at 8pm, while The Truth About Calories was watched by 4.01m at 9pm. Question Time followed with 2.62m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Natural World continued with 1.24m at 8pm, before bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's misery-laden Banished depressed 2.13m at 9pm and Inside Number Nine returned to 1.10m at 10pm. ITV's Tonight: The Pension Revolution could only manage 2.63m at 7.30pm, whilst the much-trailed Double Decker Driving School attracted 2.75m at 8.30pm. And, it was every single bit as bad as those trailers had suggested it would be. The concluding episode of The Triplets Are Coming! was watched by 1.66m at 9pm. On Channel Five, The Killer Next Door: Countdown To Murder was seen by eight hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm, followed by Holiday Love Rats Exposed with seven hundred and sixty one thousand at 9pm. The Mentalist continued with five hundred and forty thousand at 10pm. E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory had an audience of nine hundred and twenty one thousand at 8.30pm. Sky1's Arrow continued with three hundred and six thousand viewers at 8pm, while the latest episode of Sky Atlantic's Fortitude brought in three hundred and thirty six thousand at 9pm.

More than four hundred people complained to media regulator Ofcom and Channel Four about perceived bias in the treatment of either Ed Milimolimandi and/or oily coward David Cameron in the first of the TV leader events on Channel Four and Sky News. Ofcom said it had received one hundred and ten complaints about 'alleged bias' in the treatment of the two party leaders by the presenters, former Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman and Sky News anchor horrible waste-of-space smear Kay Burley. Channel Four said that it had received around three hundred whinges by Friday morning, with another thirty complaints to Sky News. Several media commentators and many people on Twitter complained that the odious horrorshow (and drag) Burley had been 'tougher' in her treatment of Milimolimandi during the 'town hall' section of the programme that she moderated, in which questions were asked by the studio audience. Burley repeatedly asked Milimolimandi about his relationship with his brother, David, after he beat him to the Labour party leadership, at one point telling him: 'Your poor mother.' An Ofcom spokesperson said: 'We are assessing the complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate.'
The Musketeers closed its second series with an overnight audience of under three million viewers on BBC1. The final episode attracted an average audience of 2.78 million from 9pm. Will it be back for a third year? One wouldn't put too much money on it, frankly. It was preceded by MasterChef, which had an audience of 4.47 million viewers. BBC1's evening kicked off with 4.59 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 3.84 million for the latest episode of Room 101 at 7.30pm. The evening ended with 1.52 million for a repeat of New Tricks at 10.35pm. ITV scored a ratings victory on Friday evening, as an average of 5.21 million viewers tuned-in to watch the Euro 2016 qualifier as England gave Lithuania a damned good hiding (see below). On BBC2, an improved audience of 1.05 million watched Britain's Got The Builders In at 7pm, followed by 1.99 million for An Island Parish. Gardeners' World secured an evening high of 2.34 million for the channel at 8.30pm, while Mastermind was seen by 2.04 million immediately after. Despite a slight dip in viewers, Gogglebox comfortably remained Channel Four's highest-rated show, pulling in average audience of 2.96 million at 9pm. The return of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD drew but seven hundred and fifty thousand at 8pm, while Alan Carr: Chatty Man dropped to 1.45 million viewers. Channel Five's showing of NCIS: New Orleans entertained seven hundred and forty six thousand at 9pm, followed by seven hundred and sixty one thousand for NCIS at 10pm.

The Voice had a dip in viewers for its live semi-finals. BBC1's singing competition was watched by 6.31 million punters from 7pm according to overnight figures, down from 7.04m the previous week. Casualty followed with 4.81m, before The National Lottery Live appealed to 3.52m. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat was watched by 1.54m from 7.35pm. A broadcast of the Bruce Willis film Looper averaged 1.05m. On ITV, Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway continued with 5.66m from 7pm. You're Back In The Room drew 3.98m afterwards and The Jonathan Ross Show had 2.51m from 9.25pm. Channel Four's much-trailed feature-length drama Coalition as watched by eight hundred and eighty one thousand from 9pm. Earlier, The World's Weirdest Weather was seen by eight hundred and twenty six thousand. On Channel Five, the latest episode of CSI had an audience of eight hundred and eighty three thousand from 9.55pm. The multichannels were topped by ITV3's Foyle's War, which attracted seben hundred and sixty four thousand from 8pm. A double bill of The Following one hundred and one thousand and eighty four thousand averaged for its 9pm and 10pm episodes respectively on Sky Atlantic.

Poldark continued with more than six million overnight viewers for its fourth episode on Sunday. The latest episode of the BBC1 period drama was watched by 6.29m at 9pm. Earlier, Countryfile interested 5.78m at 7pm and Antiques Roadshow had an audience of 4.67m at 8pm. On BBC2, The Sea King: Britain's Flying Past appealed to nine hundred and forty thousand at 7pm, before Caribbean With Simon Reeve averaged 2.58m at 8pm. Louis Theroux: By Reason Of Insanity concluded with 1.98m at 9pm. A z-list celebrity 'special' (and, this blogger uses that word quite wrongly) of ITV's The Chase drew 3.12m at 6.30pm, while Off Their Rockers continued with 3.20m at 7.30pm. Mr Selfridge concluded its third series with 3.42m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Great Canal Journeys interested 1.24m at 8pm. The latest episode of Indian Summers dipped to but nine hundred thousand at 9pm. Channel Five's documentary World's Scariest Animal Attacks brought in seven hundred and sixty five thousand at 8pm. The movie Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters attracted 1.26m at 9pm, before Step Brothers was watched by four hundred and forty one thousand at 10.45pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Three programmes for week-ending Sunday 22 March 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.37m
2 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 8.147m
3 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 7.80m
4 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.62m
5 Six Nations Rugby: England Versus France - Sat BBC1 -7.15m
6 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 6.57
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.46m
8 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 6.40m
9 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 6.23m
10 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.71m
11 Ordinary Lies - Tues BBC1 - 5.65m
12 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.33m
13 The National Lottery: Saturday Draws - Sat BBC1 5.26m
14 MasterChef - Thurs BBC1 - 5.21m
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.81m
16 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 4.44m
17 Gogglebox - Fri Channel Four - 4.42m
18 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.40m
19 DCI Banks - Wed ITV - 4.38m*
20 Eclipse Live: A Stargazing Special - Fri BBC1 - 4.21m
21 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.16m
22 The Truth About Sugar - Thurs BBC1 - 4.09m
23 You're Back In The Room - Sat ITV - 4.06m*
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. The Sunday night results episode of The Voice was watched by 6.82m. All three of MasterChef's weekly episodes had final and consolidated ratings figures of more than five million (5.14m, 5.21m and 5.12m respectively). Ireland's Six Nations Rugby victory over Scotland drew 4.44m. On BBC2, the third episode of churlish, bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's awful misery-fest Banished had an audience of 3.23m. University Challenge drew 2.78m, Back In Time For Dinner was watched by 2.53m and Caribbean With Simon Reeve attracted 2.46m, followed by Only Connect (2.36m), Louis Theroux: By Reason Of Insanity (2.32m), Gardeners' World (2.20m), Wednesday's episode of Stargazing Live (2.06m) and Mastermind (2.04m). ITV's drama commissions continue to really struggle with Arthur & George and Mr Selfridge being watched by a mere 3.49m and 3.88m respectively (minus HD figures). Gogglebox was, again, Channel Four's most watched programme of the week, followed by Britain's Benefit Tenants (2.71m), One Born Every Minute (also 2.15m) and the return of Alan Carr Chatty Man (2.08m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were all imports - Gotham (1.83m), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.62m), NCIS: New Orleans (1.33m) and Neighbours (also 1.33m). E4's The Big Bang Theory was the mutichannels most-watched programme of the week (1.82m). Foyle's War was ITV3's most-watched show with 1.04 million viewers just ahead of Midsomer Murders (nine hundred and forty one thousand). India's Frontier Railways was BBC4's highest-rated programme (eight hundred and twenty seven thousand) followed by Inspector Montalbano (six hundred and thirty three thousand) and Terry Wogan's Ireland (six hundred and six thousand). Seven of the top ten most-watched programmes in BBC3's ratings list were episodes of Family Guy (Friday's episode drew five hundred and fifty three thousand). The FOX Channel's latest episode of The Walking Dead's fifth series had 1.08m viewers whilst NCIS's twelfth series continued with eight hundred and sixty nine thousand. 5USA's The Mysteries of Laura attracted five hundred and seventy eight thousand. The Universal Channel's most watched show was Law & Order: Special Victims Unit with one hundred and sixty five thousand followed by How To Get Away With Murder (one hundred and twenty four thousand). Elementary on Sky Living drew nine hundred and twenty three thousand, followed by Criminal Minds (seven hundred and fifty nine thousand), The Blacklist (six hundred and sixty four thousand) and Bones (six hundred and sixty thousand). Sky 1's wretchedly unfunny Stella had an audience of nine hundred and fifteen thousand, whilst Hawaii Five-0 brought in nine hundred and one thousand. On Sky Atlantic, the latest episode of Fortitude attracted 1.03m punters. Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Super Sunday was watched by 1.80m. Sky Sports 2's Cricket World Cup coverage peaked with Australia's Quarter Final victory over Pakistan (one hundred and sixty nine thousand). On Sky Sports News HQ, Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by four hundred and eighteen thousand. Sky Sports F1's overnight broadcast of the Australian Grand Prix attracted a mere twelve thousand punters, although subsequent repeats over the next few days increased that number considerably. Being that it's the only place on British TV you can watch Top Gear at the moment, Dave's repeat of the popular car programme's Africa Special was watched by four hundred and nineteen thousand viewers. The 'home of witty banter's other BBC imports, Mock The Week, Would I Lie To You? and Qi XL were watched by three hundred and sixty six thousand, thee hundred and fifty three thousand and three hundred and forty three thousand respectively. Drama's New Tricks repeat was watched by four hundred and twenty seven thousand. Watch's Grimm had five hundred and twenty seven thousand. Crisis drew and audience of three hundred and eighty one thousand. Africa on Yesterday gathered three hundred and five thousand. Discovery History's repeat run of Time Tea Digs peaked with Friday night's episodes (both thirty one thousand). The Discovery Channel's Gold Rush was watched by three hundred and eighty thousand.

The first trailer has been released for the forthcoming James Bond movie Spectre. And, here it is. 'You're a kite, dancing in a hurricane Mister Bond.' Well, I don't know about anybody else, dear blog reader, but yer actual Keith Telly Topping has got The Horn after watching that.
Some terrific news now, dear blog reader. The vastly over-rated snob-fest Downton Abbey's upcoming sixth series will also be its last, ITV has confirmed. The broadcaster has announced that the period drama will broadcast its final episode during the Christmas season. The last episode of sneering Tory snob Lord Snooty's drama will follow an eight-part series, which is scheduled to be shown this autumn. Lord Snooty said: 'The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard. People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea. Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain. But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience. I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment.'
Tracy-Ann Oberman has joined the cast of New Tricks. The actress will become a regular on the upcoming final series of the long-running drama. Oberman will play Fiona Kennedy, a forensic pathologist and partner to Nicholas Lyndhurst's character Danny Griffin. Oberman said: 'I'm delighted to be a part of the final series for such a well-loved show - especially playing a feisty, smart woman like Fiona. The production has pulled out all the stops to make this a fantastic finale for the fans, and the cast and crew are a joy to work with.'
A rumour (or, for our American dear blog readers, rumour), is currently doing the rounds that CBS may - that's may - be developing a new Star Trek TV series, a decade after the last of the franchise's last TV format, Enterprise, flopped like a big flopping thing. Details can be read here. Bear in mind that this is just a rumour - with a 'u' - before you get too excited.
Cheerless cynical Charlie Brooker is to host a 'General Erection special' of his Weekly Wipe series. Election Wipe will see Chaz give his 'unique take' on the erection campaign process, where he will be joined by regulars Morgana Robinson, Philomena Cunk and Barry Shitpeas. The sixty-minute episode will be broadcast on BBC2 in the run-up to the erection, which takes place on 7 May. Brooker said: 'At a time of great political uncertainty it'll be an honour to bring some much-needed confusion to the national debate. Since our show transmits in the run up to the election, it will have to adhere to strict impartiality rules - which means it will, by law, be equally disparaging to all parts of the political spectrum.' Jack Dee will also host a three-part series titled Election Helpdesk, which is based on his Helpdesk live show. The comic will act as an 'agony uncle' for a live studio audience to help them with their issues relating to the erection. He will be joined for four 'comedic' guests, while nothing will be written in advance. Much like a lot of comedy of TV at the moment. Jack and the panellists will not know in advance what the audience's questions will be.

Colin Baker is to star in a film depicting the discovery of the remains of Richard III. The late monarch's skeleton was, famously, found under a Leicester pub car park in 2012. He was the last English King to die in battle, at Bosworth Field in 1485 during the last act of Wars of the Roses. After which, a combination of Tudor propagandists, William Shakespeare and The Black Adder really rather fucked up his reputation for most of te next five hundred years and painted him as a deformed, wicked child murderer. Richard was extremely buried at Leicester Cathedral earlier this week. Yer actual Benny Cumberbatch was there. Keith Telly Topping his very self wasn't. But, he not bitter about it. Channel Four announced that Baker would play the lead in a one-off film about the discovery of Richard's bones via Twitter. Baker, of course, played The Doctor in Doctor Who between 1984 and 1986. Really, really badly.

Doc Martin has been recommissioned for a seventh series by ITV. Martin Clunes will return as Martin Ellingham in eight more episodes of the popular comedy drama set in Cornwall. Filming has begun in Port Isaac, with Caroline Catz, Dame Eileen Atkins, Ian McNeice, Joe Absolom, Jessica Ransom and John Marquez all making a return. The series is expected to début in the autumn. Series six saw Martin and Louisa (Catz) finally get married, but a life-threatening incident saw Louisa taking their son James Henry to live with her mother in Spain while they worked out their issues. Martin Clunes said: 'I'm thrilled to be back on the beautiful North Cornish coast to shoot series seven of Doc Martin. The Doc has some serious work to do if he is going to persuade Louisa to come back.' 'We're delighted Doc Martin is returning,' said ITV's Steve November. 'Martin has created a unique and very watchable character who for all his faults is hugely appreciated by the audience. We look forward to working on the series with the Buffalo Pictures production team.'

Family Guy is to move from BBC3 to ITV2 in the autumn. ITV has confirmed that Seth MacFarlane's popular cartoon will première new episodes exclusively on the digital channel in a multi-year deal, beginning with its upcoming fifteenth season. The BBC previously stated that Family Guy will remain on the channel until 2017. Double bills are currently broadcast daily on BBC3 from 11pm. After news of the deal broke, the BBC confirmed the move but underlined that season fourteen would be shown on the BBC alongside the thirteen existing seasons until 2017.

The X Factor's executive producer has promised 'exciting changes' to the show this year. Richard Holloway suggested that producers are considering 'adapting the format' and changing the judging line-up to attract viewers. 'There will be some exciting changes,' the Daily Mirra quotes him as saying. 'The name of the show will stay the same but we are looking at format and the judges. There will be some surprises this year. But I can't go into detail.' After revealing that discussions with last year's judges - Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads, Cheryl Whatsherface-Thingy, Mel B and Louis Walsh - will begin next month, he said that Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is the only certainty to remain on the panel. 'It is safe to say Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is staying,' he noted. Soon afterwards it was announced that Dermot O'Dreary will no longer host The X Factor after eight years on the programme. Which is, obviously, a complete and utter tragedy of mesmeric proportions that even managed to push Jezza Clakrson off the front pageof some tabloids. 'After eight wonderful years on The X Factor it's time for me to move on,' O'Dreary said in a statement.
Morrissey pulled out of a scheduled appearance on Alan Carr: Chatty Man. The singer had been due to be interviewed on Friday's episode of the Channel Four talk show, but withdrew the previous day due to 'transport issues' from Belfast to London. And because he had a cat on his head. Probably.
And, now ...
The BBC has announced that it is revamping its Red Button service for Internet connected television sets. The broadcaster's Connected Red Button platform will be rebranded as Red Button+ in April, and gain a range of additional features in the process. Users will be able to access BBC iPlayer with a familiar press of the red button on their remote control, and the amount of live-streamed content on offer from BBC Sport will be increased. Viewers can also call up news stories, video highlights and weather forecast information without leaving the channel they are watching. Those who prefer the original Red Button service will find the option to revert back to it in the settings menu.
Thunderbirds Are Go will premiere at the beginning of April. The reboot of the classic television series will launch on ITV on Saturday 4 April at 5pm, according to the Radio Times.
The Walking Dead's upcoming spin-off will officially be titled Fear The Walking Dead. Co-creator Robert Kirkman announced the title on Twitter on Friday and hinted at further announcements to come.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's excellent friend Greg Bakun has written a superb article on his From The Archives blog concerning the BBC's 1960s Douglas Wilmer Sherlock Holmes series which has recently been released on DVD. Check it out.
And, on a somewhat related note, another old chum of yer actual, the very lovely Paul Condon, has edited a new book which will be published later in the year called 1001 TV Shows You Must Watch Before You Die. Which, obviously, should be of considerable interest to pretty much everyone reading this blog. Not the dying bit, clearly. Dunno 'bout you, dear blog reader, but yer actual Keith Telly Topping thoroughly plans on watching a damn sight more than one thousand and one shows before he kicks the bucket and joins the great viewing public in the sky (one trusts they've got HD in heaven). Anyway, the book also features contributions from several of yer actual's mates and is thoroughly recommended (and, I'll be seeing if I can blag a preview copy sometime a bit closer to publication so I can review it, here). 1001 TV Shows You Must Watch Before You Die can be pre-ordered here and comes with a foreword from The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat his very self. Tasty.
A vision mixer who had a long career at the BBC will be honoured at the BAFTA Craft Awards on 26 April. Hilary Briegel, who has worked on Absolutely Fabulous, the Beeb's Wimbledon coverage, Newsnight and numerous Olympic Games, during her thirty two-year career as a vision mixer at the BBC will receive a special award at the event which recognises behind-the-scenes talent in British television. Briegel says tat she is 'extremely honoured to be receiving this special award', the first time it has been bestowed on a vision mixer. 'Over the years, I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked on such a variety of wonderful programmes with so many talented production teams. Through their confidence in my vision mixing, I have been able to develop my craft within this industry.' Briegel joined BBC school radio in 1971 as a production secretary, becoming a studio manager at Broadcasting House and Bush House and then a trainee vision mixer in 1978. She has worked across sitcoms, live events, entertainment, opera, ballet, music, news and children's programmes. Some of the memorable TV moments that she has been part of include the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, every Olympic Games since 1984, every Remembrance Sunday since 1987, every Wimbledon since 1989, Princess Diana's funeral in 1997 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Briegel left the BBC in 2010 and is now freelance.

Stephen Fry, who played Clyde's butler Randolph in CBS's first Super Clyde pilot, will not be reprising the role in the recently ordered second pilot. Instead, Atlantis and Game Of Thrones actor Mark Addy has been cast in the comedy, marking his first regular role on a US sitcom since Still Standing in the early 2000s. Written by Greg Garcia, Super Clyde is a single camera comedy which follows Clyde, a meek, unassuming fast-food worker who finds his calling as a superhero after inheriting a vast fortune. CBS Television Studios and Garcia's Amigos de Garcia company are co-producing.
Yer actual Bill Bailey has announced a twenty two-date London West End residency starting in December. The comedian's Limboland show will run at The Vaudeville Theatre in The Strand, from 14 December to 10 January 2016, excluding 17, 21, 24 and 25 December and 1 and 4 January. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be attempting to obtain some tickets for one of those. Bill says that the show's subject is 'the gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are.' It includes stories about his travels around the world, including a disastrous trip to Norway to see the Northern Lights and other experiences which demonstrate how the world 'doesn't match up to our expectations.' We're all with ya Bill. Musical elements will include Bill's take on the classic protest song, a country ballad 'played on a Bible' and a 'fabulously downbeat' version of 'Happy Birthday'. It will be Bill's fourth foray into the West End, following the success of previous shows Part Troll, Tinselworm and Dandelion Mind. The show will also tour the UK during October and November.
Channel Four has commissioned new factual programme The Diner. The upcoming series, consisting of four hour-long episodes, will explore the hurdles faced by people with disabilities and mental issues when finding employment. Michelin chef and former MasterChef: The Professionals presenter Michel Roux Jr will mentor various people with long-term conditions as they are trained, undertake work experience and ultimately attempt to secure employment in the hospitality business. Michel said: 'I am passionate about the restaurant industry, and in my mind there should be no barrier to work. I'm thrilled to be part of a project that celebrates people's abilities, challenges and perceptions, and will hopefully transform lives.' Lucy Leveugle, Channel Four's commissioning editor for factual entertainment, added: 'Michel Roux Jr will be a wonderful mentor to our contributors on their journey, and I am excited to see how they progress in the scheme as they live and work together. Talent can come from what might seem to some as the most unlikely of places, and this series is about people who are following their dream - that of getting a job.' The series is being produced by Twofour Wales.
The influential folk guitarist John Renbourn has died aged seventy. The musician was found at his home in Hawick in the Scottish Borders on Thursday after a suspected heart attack. Renbourn teamed up with fellow musicians, including guitarist Bert Jansch who died in 2011, to form The Pentangle in the late 1960s. His manager, Dave Smith, said John had been 'a huge character.' He said: 'He was always playing and teaching. That is what he loved doing and he never stopped.' Renbourn recently appeared on BBC 6Music where he was interviewed by Cerys Matthews. He described growing up in a musical house: 'My family all played something. There's a picture of me when I was about five playing on the banjo, so I went through all kids of stuff, all sorts of music. It was just in the early sixties that I was faced with the terrible dilemma of having to get a job and finding myself preferring to travel and play.' Renbourn had an unusual technique whereby he used three fingers on the right and a thumb to the guitar, with filed down pieces of table tennis balls stuck on as artificial nails. 'People tell me I'm living in the dark ages, I'm scorned for using these old ping pong balls,' he said. 'But they work, there's nothing too much wrong with them - apart from the fact that they're flammable.' He did admit that they occasionally fell off. 'The Pentangle came out of retirement and we were playing a very big show at the Barbican and as I was playing, one fell off. I was clever and I had some superglue with me and another one under the chair. I stuck it on, but I didn't know if the glue was coming out or not, so I bit the top of the superglue, and I stuck my lips together.' Born in London in 1944, John studied classical guitar at school and, like many guitarists of his generation, played in skiffle bands before graduating to rhythm and blues and then developing a style based on his hero, the Scottish folk guitarist Davey Graham. Renbourn briefly played in an R&B band while studying at the Kingston College of Art. Although the British folk revival was under way, most folk clubs were biased towards traditional, unaccompanied folk songs and guitar players were not always welcome. However, the Roundhouse in London had a more tolerant attitude and there, John joined blues and gospel singer Dorris Henderson, playing backing guitar and recording two LP with her. One of the best known London venue for contemporary folk music in the early 1960s was Les Cousins on Greek Street in Soho, which became the main meeting place for guitar players and contemporary singer-songwriters from Britain and America. Around 1965, Renbourn teamed up with Bert Jansch who had just moved to London from Edinburgh. Together they developed an intricate duet style that became known as 'folk baroque.' Their 1966 LP Bert & John is considered something of masterpiece and is a particular favourite of this blogger (especially the glorious 'Stepping Stones'). Renbourn also released several solo LPs on the Transatlantic label during the 1960s - the first, John Renbourn, appeared before his work with Jansch and mixed his own songs with adaptations of traditional folk and blues like 'Motherless Children'. Two of these in particular, Sir John Alot (1968) and Lady & The Unicorn (1970), sum up Renbourn's playing style and varied material from this period. The former featured a mixture of jazz, blues and folk playing alongside a more classical style whilst the latter was heavily influenced by Renbourn's interest in traditional folk music. In 1967, Renbourn also started playing and recording with Jacqui McShee. Together with Jansch, bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox, they went on to form the folk 'supergroup' The Pentangle. They became very successful, released five LPs between 1968 and 1972 including the transatlantic hit Basket Of Light (another favourite of this blogger) and toured America in 1968, playing at Carnegie Hall and the Newport Folk Festival. Renbourn went on to record more solo LPs in the 1970s and 1980s. Much of the music was based on traditional material with a Celtic influence, interwoven with other styles. He also collaborated with American guitarist Stefan Grossman in the late 1970s, recording two LPs with him, which at times recall his folk baroque days with Jansch. In the mid-1980s John went back to the university to earn a degree in composition at Dartington College of Arts. He also added acoustic guitars for the movie soundtrack Scream For Help, a studio project with his neighbour John Paul Jones. He received Grammy nominations for 1981's Live In America with The John Renbourn Group and for 1983's Wheel Of Fortune, his collaboration with The Incredible String Band’s Robin Williamson. In 1988, Renbourn formed Ship Of Fools with Tony Roberts, Maggie Boyle and Steve Tilston. They recorded one eponymous LP together. In 2007, the original members of The Pentangle were reunited to receive a lifetime achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Renbourn was also awarded the lifetime achievement award at the Ards Guitar Festival. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.

Doctor Who's longest serving producer, John Nathan Turner, is to be honoured by the City of Brighton, with a new bus named after the former resident of the South coast city. The final decision to honour the producer was taken by public vote, with Nathan Turner's name being one of nine selected from a shortlist of thirty one people. An additional fifteen names were selected from over one hundred submissions. Nathan Turner lived in the city for many years, including the period in which he was overseeing Doctor Who from 1980 to 1989. His name will now go on one of the twenty four new Coaster buses to be deployed on route twelve, that travels east along the Sussex heritage coast towards Eastbourne. The buses come with a host of new features including low emission 'Euro Six' engines, free Wi-Fi, an upper deck table with USB charge points, softer seating, 'talking buses' with next stop information and real time tracking of bus locations. Others famous residents of Brighton and Hove being honoured under the scheme include the author Rudyard Kipling, the actress Dame Anna Neagle and the former voice of the speaking clock Brian Cobby.

Yer actual Jeremy Clarkson his very self is not having his contract renewed by the BBC and will not be returning to Top Gear. If you hadn't heard, you can read more about this ... pretty much everywhere.
Jezza's exit from the BBC has claimed another casualty - a running gag in BBC2's satirical comedy about the corporation, W1A.The award-winning sitcom, which returns to BBC2 next month, had to be hastily re-recorded to update a storyline about the former Top Gear presenter in its opening, hour-long episode. No reshoots were required but a change was required to the commentary, provided by national hearthrob David Tennant. Alleged 'insiders'allegedly snitched to the Gruniad Morning Star that the change was 'to reflect Clarkson's updated status' after the presenter, who does not appear on screen, was featured in a storyline in the opening episode referencing 'damage limitation'. The joke, the Gruniad claim in a hideously atypical sneering piece, 'makes it to the final edit, but in a different form.'

And, lastly, on the subject of Jezza being shown the way out, one observation. When Sky News doorstepped James May for his reaction, could Captain Slow have been wearing a more disturbingly odd choice of hat? This blogger doesn't think so.
Harry Kane scored seventy nine seconds into his England debut and Wayne Rooney moved a step closer to Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time goalscoring record in a routine Euro 2016 dismissal of Lithuania at yer actual Wembley. Kane - with twenty nine goals for Stottingtot Hotshots this season - emerged as a substitute after seventy minutes with England already on the way to a fifth win from five qualifiers with goals from Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling. The stage was set for the twenty one-year-old but even the man with the Midas touch in front of goal this season would have struggled to believe he would score with his third touch as a full England international, heading in Sterling's cross at the far post. It was the final flourish on an England win that was little more than a formality in a group which surely provides the safest of passages to France next summer. Rooney got the night off to the perfect start when he headed his forty seventh goal for England after only six minutes, leaving him just two adrift of Charlton's tally ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Italy in Turin. England's captain also hit the woodwork twice before man of the match Welbeck, who deservedly kept his place despite public and media clamour for Kane's inclusion, headed a deflected second just before half-time. Sterling was rewarded for a lively performance with his first England goal - but it was Kane who did what he has been doing all season and stole the show with a predator's effort as part of a confident cameo. Hodgson refused to rush Kane into his England starting line-up despite his golden run of form at White Tart Lane but he will be delighted that Kane has demonstrated, albeit briefly and against desperately poor opposition, that he is an added weapon in his attacking armoury. In the wider context of Euro 2016, Lithuania provided further proof of how England have been handed a gloriously favourable group in which to continue their rehabilitation following the World Cup debacle in Brazil. There could never be any excuses for not reaching France.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was struck on the back of the head by a flare as their Euro 2016 qualifier with Montenegro in Podgorica was abandoned. Akinfeev was hit in the first minute of the Group G clash at the Gradski Stadion and was taken off on a stretcher and then substituted. After a thirty five-minute delay German referee Deniz Aytekin restarted the match. But the game was abandoned in the second half at 0-0 after a brawl involving players and coaching staff. UEFA says it will wait to receive reports from the delegate and referee before opening disciplinary proceedings and throwing the book at those it considers responsible. The start of the second half was delayed by eighteen minutes because of disturbances and fighting then broke out when Roman Shirokov's sixty sixth-minute penalty was saved by Montenegro goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic. Aytekin then led the players from the pitch for a second and final time.

Meanwhile, does anyone else think that, frankly, it's about high time that somebody noticed.
Quite right. And, finally, for the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, we've got Catatonia. What else do you think we were going to use, this of all weeks? Tell 'em all about it, Cerys.

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