Saturday, April 18, 2015

Don't Go Down The Bingo, Mother, Father's Coming To Tea

The latest documents released by WikiLeaks have revealed the desire of Sony and BBC Worldwide to make a Doctor Who movie. Not, exactly in the same league as allegations of CIA atrocities in Iraq, is it? WikiLeaks have published thousands of e-mails and documents which the website 'obtained' - from where, they don't say - following a widely publicised cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment last year. Included in the release are a number of discussions between Sony executives about working with BBC Worldwide to produce a Doctor Who movie. In an e-mail to Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Michael Lynton, sent in January 2014, Sony's president of international production Andrea Wong suggested that although the BBC were 'interested' in the project it was 'the wrong time to push it.' She said that she'd had discussions with Danny Cohen, the Beeb's Director of Television. 'Just spoke to Danny Cohen re Dr Who. He said that while there has been tremendous interest (and pressure from BBCWW) to do a Dr Who film, the showrunners feel very clear that they don't want to do one at this moment. That said, over the course of the coming months, the showrunning team is coming up with an eight year timeline for the brand – laying out all that will happen with it. He says that a film will certainly be a part of that timeline. So the answer is that a film won't happen in the next year to eighteen months, but it is expected that it will happen after that within the eight year horizon. He expects the plan to be laid out by the end of the year.' Lynton replied asking if it would help if he met the showrunners when he visited the UK in March, but Wong advised him against the meeting. 'Spoke to Danny and he doesn't think it makes sense right now and actually might hurt our cause. He said that the creative team on the show have been having the movie conversation with BBC Worldwide in recent weeks and are very hot under the collar that their position on it is not being listened to or accepted.' Neither Sony or the BBC have responded to the specific leak though Sony has strongly condemned the release of material by WikiLeaks saying 'We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks' assertion that this material belongs in the public domain.' Quite how any of this trivial tittle-tattle meets the WikiLeaks definition of what is, and isn't, 'in the public interest' is difficult to work out. Especially since the majority of this is already public knowledge via Steven Moffat's most recent interview on the subject of any proposed Doctor Who movie and what criteria the BBC would need to have met for such a project to go ahead. Although having said that, the fact that the conversation suggests the BBC believe Doctor Who will still be up and running as a going concern in 2022 - as evidenced by this 'glorious eight year plan' malarkey - is, undeniably, very interesting for Doctor Who fandom  - if not for anyone else - purely on an 'oh, that's good to know' level.
Code Of A Killer topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Monday. The John Simm-fronted drama brought in 4.55m for ITV at 9pm. Earlier, Wild Ireland brought in 2.83m at 8pm. On BBC1, MasterChef continued with 4.29m at 9pm. It followed Suicide In The Family, which was watched by 2.39m at 8.30pm. Meanwhile, the return of Game Of Thrones to Sky Atlantic brought in an impressive 1.52m at 9pm. The figure is Sky Atlantic's best overnight performance to date, marking the moment the one-time cult hit went truly mainstream. The eagerly anticipated fifth series opener of the HBO fantasy drama hit had a 6.7 per cent share of the audience. It was a huge audience for Sky Atlantic, forty three times its slot average over the last three months. Unusually for the pay-TV channel, it also put it ahead of two of the five mainstream channels, including BBC2, which had 1.3 million viewers for new documentary series Inside Harley Street and Channel Five's own US import, Gotham, watched by eight hundred and two thousand viewers viewers. Game Of Thrones had more than twice the six hundred and seventy five thousand viewers for the equivalent broadcast of the opening episode last year. However, the fourth series opener also had an early morning simulcast, giving it a total first day audience of 1.2 million. The consolidated audience for the first episode, which will include people who recorded it and watch it over the next seven days, is likely to top three million. With more than twice the audience of Sky Atlantic's most popular homegrown drama, Fortitude, which began with an overnight audience of more than seven hundred thousand and a consolidated rating of 1.7 million, Game Of Thrones was, easily, the most popular programme broadcast on Sky Atlantic to date. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.28m, before University Challenge interested 2.71m and Food & Drink gathered 1.62m at 8.30pm. Channel Four's Food Unwrapped interested nine hundred and eighty thousand at 8pm, while Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours In Iceland transported 1.28m at 8.30pm. Skint was seen by 1.38m at 9pm, while Caitlin Moran's Raised By Wolves continued with six hundred and fifty thousand punters at 10pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors attracted eight hundred and fifteen thousand at 8pm. Person Of Interest had an audience of six hundred and three thousand at 10pm.
Ordinary Lies continued to top the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Tuesday. The BBC1 drama's overnight audience was down marginally on the previous week, but still pulled in 4.43m at 9pm. Later, Millionaire Basement Wars averaged 2.19m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.23m at 7pm, before Back In Time For Dinner interested 2.62m at 8pm and Britain's Favourite Foods - Are They Good For You? gathered 2.18m at 9pm. ITV's coverage of the Champions League tie between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid - with the punching and the biting and the elbowing and the kids getting sparked an' aal sorts - averaged 2.97m between 7.30pm and 10pm. Channel Four's Burger Bar To Gourmet Star dropped to six hundred and thirty thousand at 8pm and One Born Every Minute drew an audience of 1.36m at 9pm. My Big Fat Asian Wedding was seen by 1.10m at 10pm. On Channel Five, Britain's Horror Homes was watched by nine hundred through punters at 8pm, while Can't Pay? Final Demand Special brought in 1.17m at 9pm. Two Thousand Tattoos, Forty Piercings And A Pickled Ear was watched by eight hundred and thirty three thousand at 10pm.
MasterChef was the most watched overnight programme outside of soaps on Wednesday. The BBC1 cooking competition continued with 4.87m at 9pm. Elsewhere, Evan Davis's interview with oily and rancid coward David Cameron gathered 1.17m at 7.30pm and Secret Britain averaged 3.75m at 9pm. The first episode of ITV's Give A Pet A Home was - every bit as risible, horrifying and diarrhoea-smeared as expected - and was seen by a satisfyingly low audience of 2.53m at 8pm, while the channel's crassly Spitting Image-like Newzoids debuted to 3.34m at 9pm. The Delivery Man was watched by 2.45m at 9.30pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.17m at 7pm, before The Ladykillers: Pest Detectives attracted nine hundred and forty thousand viewers at 8pm and Kill The Christians averaged nine hundred and thirty thousand at 9pm. A repeat of Qi followed with eight hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm, while Newsnight was broadcast to six hundred and forty thousand. Channel Four's The Island With Bear Grylls continued to perform well with 2.21m for its third episode at 9pm. First Dates continued with 1.23m at 10pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door was seen by 1.18m at 8pm.

The BBC Erection Debate coverage was the most watched overnight broadcast outside of soaps on Thursday. The David Dimbleby-chaired debate featuring five scum arguing why you should vote for them brought in 4.27m for BBC1 at 8pm, while the reaction show which followed averaged 3.53m at 9.30pm. And, the reaction was 'what a right load of disgusting scummish scum, don't vote for any of them, it only gives them ideas.' Question Time ended a night of political programming with 2.66m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics continued with 1.28m at 7pm, before Coast Australia was seen by 1.58m and churlish,bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's miserable-as-a-bag-of-misery Banished concluded with 2.02m at 9pm. All of whom, presumably, slit their own wrists immediately afterwards. Inside Number Nine had an audience of nine hundred and twenty thousand viewers at 10pm. ITV's Tonight gathered but 1.72m at 7.30pm, before Double Decker Driving School averaged 2.18m at 8.30pm and Ice Rink On The Estate had an equally unimpressive 1.32m at 9pm. The Supervet continued with 1.86m on Channel Four at 8pm, while The Island With Bear Grylls brought in 2.32m at 9pm. On Channel Five, The Hotel Inspector appealed to 1.02m at 9pm and The Mentalist brought in six hundred and thirty two thousand for its latest episode at 10pm. E4's latest The Big Bang Theory was watched by nine hundred and thirty two thousand at 8.30pm. Mad Men's final season brought in a mere sixty thousand Gruniad Morning Star readers in the same timeslot for Sky Atlantic.

Highlight of the Erection Debate was, undoubtedly, a bit at the end which proved that a picture can, indeed, tell a thousand words.
Nigel No Mates's comments during the televised debate about money 'going over Hadrian's wall' (from England to Scotland) inspired many comments on social media, as voters in both countries rushed to point out to the UKiP leader that the World famous Roman monument is actually miles away from the border between the two countries - it's eighty miles away at its East end,close to Stately Telly Topping Manor - and that any money 'going over Hadrian's Wall' would, actually, land in Cumbria or Northumberland. Both of which are in England, Nigel. Y'daft Southern bell-end.
Speaking of the forthcoming erection, it never ceases to be funny when Rachel Riley has the task of spelling out a rude word on the Countdown board. This time it was a stiff eight-pointer.
Have I Got News For You was Friday's highest-rated overnight show outside of soaps. BBC1's topical panel show was seen by an average of 4.61 million overnight viewers at 9pm. The figure is slightly up on last week's 4.57 million figure. The ONE Show kicked off BBC1's evening with 3.17 million viewers at 7pm, followed by 2.95 million for A Question Of Sport at 7.30pm. MasterChef continued with 4.33 million at 8.30pm, while a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys played to 2.94 million at 9.30pm. Featuring guests such as Carey Mulligan and Amanda Holden, The Graham Norton Show was watched by 2.91 million viewers at 10.35pm. Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis returned to a risible 2.41 million viewers on ITV at 8pm, while the second-episode-that-was-actually-the-first-episode of Slow Train Through Africa With Griff Rhys Jones (see below) was watched by 2.41 million at 9pm. On BBC2, Collectaholics finished with 1.10 million at 7pm, followed by 1.87 million for An Island Parish: Falklands and 1.92 million for Gardeners' World. Sex & The Church continued with six hundred and ninety thousand viewers at 9pm, while The Clare Balding Show could only attract six hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. Gogglebox continues to prove popular on Channel Four, with this week's episode drawing an average audience of 3.28 million at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with seven hundred and twenty thousand at 8pm and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with 1.17 million at 10pm. Channel Four's evening ended with Virtually Famous, which returned to three hundred and thirty thousand at 11.05pm. Secrets Of Great British Castles was seen by seven hundred and seventy eight thousand at 8pm on Channel Five, while a double-bill of NCIS: New Orleans and NCIS drew respective audiences of seven hundred and ninety eight thousand and nine hundred and twenty three thousand respectively.

In the latest episode of Have I Got News For You - presented by the virry Goddess on minxy terrificness that is Victoria Coren Mitchell - comedy line of the week came for good old reliable Paul Merton. 'One way to ruin both this programme and Top Gear would be for Ian [Hislop] and Jeremy Clarkson to swap places! What sort of car would Disraeli have driven?'
The divine Victoria her very self was, as usual on blisteringly outstanding form. 'According to the Green Party their tax on plastic bags will raise "perhaps one billion pounds." I like the word "perhaps!"'
ITV is 'investigating' why the wrong episode of Slow Train Through Africa With Griff Rhys Jones was broadcast on Friday last week. The show launched with its fourth episode, rather than the first. The series follows Griff's journey southwards from North Africa and - as usual, features the comedian and presenter talking very very fast in that odd uniquely Griff Rhys Jones-style (until, suddenly, he realises that he's talking too fast and deliberately slows down to a snails pace). But judging by the evidence of the first episode to be broadcast, watched by 2.4 million overnight punters, it appeared as though his journey had begun in Namibia. An ITV spokeswoman told Broadcast Now: 'The episode that played out last Friday did not correspond to the running order as billed and we're looking into how this happened.' Presumably, it was because some berk wasn't paying attention. Mind you, this is Griff Rhys Jones we're talking about, he does have the ability to put people to sleep if you're not careful. The series will now be broadcast in its original order, but with fourth episode left out. So, that won't be in the slightest bit confusing for any regular viewers it may still have by that stage.

Britain's Got Talent dominated primetime on Saturday night with an overnight audience of more than 9.5 million punters. The ITV talent show averaged 9.54m from 8pm. Ninja Warrior UK appealed to 3.54m in the 7pm hour and the wretched-as-a-lengthy-dose-on-diarrhoea-and-vomiting Play To The Whistle managed to throw away a near ten million lead-in being watched by a mere 2.54m from 9.15pm. BBC1's already-cancelled Atlantis continued with 2.58m from 8.25pm. The National Lottery Live was watched by 2.52m before the latest episode of Casualty had an audience of 4.21m. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat entertained 1.24m and a screening of Jane Eyre averaged 1.05m. On Channel Four, The World's Most Extreme Bridges was seen by eight hundred and thirty seven thousand in the 8pm hour. X-Men: First Class followed with an audience of 1.08m. Channel Five's latest episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigationwas watched by seven hundred and forty one thousand viewers from 10.10pm.

Countryfile topped the overnight ratings on Sunday. The long-running BBC1 series continued with 6.30m at 7pm, while Antiques Roadshow followed with 5.58m at 8pm. Poldark dipped slightly for its latest episode to 5.41m at 9pm. On BBC2, coverage of World Championship Snooker appealed to eight hundred and ten thousand at 7pm. Coast Australia interested nine hundred and seventy thousand at 8.15pm, while Hunters Of The South Seas gathered 1.45m at 9pm. ITV's Celebrity Squares was seen by a rotten 2.04m at 7.15pm, while a feature-length episode of Vera had 4.41m at 8pm. And, for a second week running, contained no obviously geographical errors. So, that was good. On Channel Four, Ice Age: Continental Drift brought in 1.57m at 6.45pm, while Philip Glenister's For the Love Of Cars averaged 1.48m at 8pm. Indian Summers reached its climax with eight hundred and thirty thousand punters at 9pm. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Stolen were Channel Five's Sunday evening movie selections, with the former bringing in seven hundred and seventy one thousand at 7.30pm and the latter having an audience of eight hundred and five thousand at 9pm. BBC3's showing of Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom topped the multichannel ratings with six hundred and ninety six thousand at 8.15pm.

And, lastly, in our weekly ratings round-up, here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Five programmes, week-ending Sunday 12 April 2015:-
1 Britain's Got Talent - Sat ITV - 10.63m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.10m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.41m
4 Code Of A Killer - Mon ITV - 7.24m
5 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 7.19m
6 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 7.09m
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.90m
8 MasterChef - Sun BBC1 - 5.79m
9 Ordinary Lies - Tues BBC1 - 5.60m
10 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.29m
11= Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.09m
11= Vera - Sun ITV - 5.09m*
13 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.86m
14 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 4.78m
15 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.67m
16 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.69m
17= The Truth About Medicine - Thurs BBC1 - 4.44m
17= Channel Four Racing: The Grand National - Sat C4 - 4.44m
19 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.33m
20 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.30m
21 DCI Banks - Wed ITV - 4.25m*
22 The Boat Race - Sat BBC1 - 4.12m
23 Ninja Warrior - Sat ITV - 4.07m
24 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 3.95m
25 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.86m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's most-watched programme of the week was Back In Time For Dinner (3.25m) followed by University Challenge (2.75m), churlish, bitter old misery-guts Red Jimmy McGovern's Banished (2.72m), the channel's coverage of the US Open Golf championship (2.46m), and Gardeners' World (2.04m). It was a top week for Channel Four with two programmes making it into the national top twenty five. Aside from The Grand National and Gogglebox, their highest-rated shows were The Island With Bear Grylls (2.67m) and One Born Every Minute (2.08m). ITV's much-trailer Play To The Whistle brought in a satisfactorily rotten 2.79 million. Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.61m) and Gotham (1.56m). E4's The Big Bang Theory was the mutichannels second most-watched programme of the week (1.58m), beaten only by Sky Sorts1's Live Ford Super Sunday (1.95m). Foyle's War was ITV3's most-watched show with nine hundred and fifteen thousand viewers. Inspector Montalbano was, again, BBC4's highest-rated programme (six hundred and eighty one thousand), with The Normans achieving an audience of five hundred and thirty four thousand. BBC3's weekly ratings list was topped by the movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark (nine hundred and twenty four thousand) in a top ten that also included four other Hollywood movies and three episodes of Family Guy. And then people wonder why the channel is about to be shoved, unceremoniously, online to save money so that the BBC can make shows that viewers actually want to watch. 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura attracted five hundred and twenty five thousand, followed by Chicago PD (four hundred and forty one thousand). The Universal Channel's most-watched drama was Sleepy Hollow with one hundred and fifty seven thousand, followed by NCIS (one hundred and forty thousand). Elementary on Sky Living drew eight hundred and twenty one thousand, followed by Criminal Minds (seven hundred and sixty one thousand), Stalker (six hundred and seventy six thousand) and The Blacklist (five hundred and seventy nine thousand). Sky 1's The Flash brought in 1.13m. On Sky Atlantic, the latest episode of Fortitude attracted 1.06m punters. Dave is, of course, the only place on British telly that a chap - or a ladygirl for that matter - can, currently, watch Top Gear. Thus making it the greatest channel ... in the world. The highest-rated episode of the popular motoring show attracted three hundred and seventy four thousand Clarkson-starved viewers. Storage Hunters had three hundred and twenty thousand, Mock The Week two hundred and ninety seven thousand and Qi XL two hundred and eighty three thousand. Drama's Judge John Deed repeat was watched by four hundred and twenty thousand. Watch's Grimm had five hundred and forty one thousand. On FOX, the latest episode of NCIS season twelve drew seven hundred and thirty one thousand viewers. On Sky Sports News, Gillette Soccer Saturday had an audience of three hundred and sixty five thousand. Yesterday's Pompeii: The Mystery Of The People Frozen In Time was watched by two hundred and twenty three thousand.

In other news, we've had a few nice days weather-wise in the UK this last week, dear blog reader. You might have noticed. Don't get too excited, though. That was the summer, that was.
Whinging professional Northerner Christopher Eccleston has whinged that working-class actors are finding it tougher than ever to make it in the industry. The former Doctor Who and Our Friends In The North actor was brought up in the horrific slums of Salford. He warned that British culture has become 'bland' because of the dominance of actors from more privileged backgrounds than what he had. Although he always had shoes. And meat once a week. 'I still feel insecure, like a lot of my working-class contemporaries,' Big Ecc complained. 'I had a sense acting wasn't for me because I'm not educated,' he told Radio Times magazine. Eccleston, who left Doctor Who after one series as the Time Lord in 2005, said: 'I was a skinny, awkward-looking bugger with an accent, as I still am. British society has always been based on inequality, particularly culturally. I've lived with it, but it's much more pronounced now, and it would be difficult for someone like me to come through.' He added: 'You can't blame Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and others taking their opportunities but it will lead to a milky, anodyne culture. To an extent, that's already happened.' Eccleston, who is currently starring in the new ITV thriller Safe House, said: 'I confess I don't watch much film or television drama but I'm aware of the predominance of white, male roles. It's not just about the working class. There's not enough writing for women or people of colour. It frustrates me when they insist on doing all-male Shakespearean productions - a wonderful intellectual exercise, maybe, but it's outrageous because it's putting a lot of women out of work.' The actor, whose parents supported his ambition to become an actor, said that the 'Billy Elliot cliché is very offensive.' Eccleston previously said he left Doctor Who after one series because 'I didn't agree with the way things were being run, or like the culture that grew up around the series.' He said of the way he played the Time Lord: 'I wanted to move him away from RP for the first time because we shouldn't make a correlation between intellect and accent, although that still needs addressing. I hope I'll be remembered as one of The Doctors. I have no ill-feeling towards the character or the series. I don't watch it and am not keen to discuss it because I want this [interview] to be about Safe House. That's my mortgage.' Moving The Doctor away from RP for the first time? Chris has obviously never listened to his predecessor-but-one Sylvester McCoy too closely. Big Ecc was also asked about his one-series stint as The Doctor during a recent interview on BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends programme. 'I don't think it's important that I left - I think that it's important that I did it in the first place,' he said. 'I'm still there - I was in David Tennant, I was in Matt Smith, I was in Peter Capaldi. I'm always there in spirit.' Eccleston explained that he had originally volunteered himself for the role to Russell Davies because he 'wanted to try and learn a lighter way of being. I think I over-pitched the comedy,' he admitted. 'If I had my time again, I would do the comedy very differently - but I think where I did possibly succeed was in the tortured stuff - surprise surprise!' Eccleston explained that he had 'clashed' with 'three individuals at the very top of the pyramid' which ultimately led to his decision to leave. In an interview with the Daily Record, he went into greater detail about the circumstances of his departure from the series. 'I'd had enough,' he said. 'I wanted to do it my way, they wanted something else. We were never going to compromise so it was best to be straight about it and just go. It's very easy to stay in one job and make that your comfort zone, and I want to resist that temptation.'

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch's opinion on these particular views is not, at this time, known. But, we can probably guess.
David Harewood has joined the cast of ITV's upcoming epic drama Beowulf. The Homeland actor will play the warrior Scorann in the channel's re-imagining of the classic Anglo Saxon saga. Harewood joins the previously announced Kieran Bew as Beowulf his very self, William Hurt as Hrothgar and Joanne Whalley as Rheda. Created by James Dormer, Tim Haines and Katie Newman, the thirteen-episode series is set in the mythical Shieldlands, a dangerous land populated by both humans and fantastical monsters. And their mums. Also starring in the project are Ed Speleers, David Ajala, Ian Puleston-Davies, Ellora Torchia, Gisli Orn Gardarsson, Susan Aderin, Kirsty Oswald, Laura Donnelly, Edward Hogg, Alex Price, Jack Rowan and Itoya Osagiede. Filming on Beowulf began last month in County Durham - another wild and mythical place as far as most people in the broadcasting industry are concerned. And, indeed, in another country as far as Nigel Farago is concerned.

Disney XD has signed a deal to broadcast episodes of Doctor Who in the US. The network will broadcast series two to four featuring national heartthrob David Tennant - another 'skinny awkward-looking bugger' from North of Watford, Christopher - from May, Deadline reports. After Tennant's first episode as The Doctor is shown on 9 May, the series will continue on 13 June with eight episodes until 20 June.
The Musketeers creator Adrian Hodges has stepped down as showrunner ahead of the upcoming third series of the BBC's flop historical drama. Hodges adapted Alexandre Dumas's novel for BBC1, but revealed to the Geek Syndicate website that he will not return for the next run of episodes. 'I just felt that after the last season I was totally knackered,' he claimed. 'I love the show but it had been a very intensive four years really - and what I didn't want to do was go straight into developing a new season. I just didn't quite have the energy to do that.' The BBC was only able to recommission The Musketeers thanks to financial backing from BBC Worldwide and BBC America, who also contributed to the first two series as its woeful ratings in the UK certainly didn't justify another series. 'The Musketeers has delighted audiences at home and around the world and we're thrilled that we've been able to financially support bringing a third series to the BBC, with improved value for the licence fee payer,' a BBC Worldwide spokesman claimed, unconvincingly, back in February.
Prospective contestants on MasterChef have allegedly tried to expose themselves to host John Torode in the hope of getting onto the popular cooking competition, the restaurateur claimed to Alan Carr this week. 'I think a few people have tried to get their thrupennies out,' John said. 'This year there has been a couple who have danced around a bit and tried to look the part.' Quite why anyone would believe that whanging about their Cumberland sausage (or, indeed, their chipolata) in the MasterChef kitchen would make them a likely candidate for John's withering stare and Gregg Wallace's sarky comments is another matter entirely. There are, of course, undeniably some odd people out there in audienceland.

The divine Goddess that is Claire Goose and Matt Bardock have been cast in The Coroner. BBC1's new daytime drama stars Goose as a solicitor named Jane, who returns to her home town to take up the post of coroner. Soon, Jane finds herself investigating sudden, violent or unexplained deaths in the seaside town, and - together with Detective Sergeant Davey (Bardock) - attempts to solve cases in the name of justice. And, you know, stuff. The Coroner, produced and commissioned by BBC Birmingham Drama Village, begins filming earlier this month in Totnes. Goose, best known for Waking The Dead, said: "I am incredibly excited and proud to be working on this new drama. "I can't wait to be in Devon over the next few months. It's such a beautiful place, even more so at this time of the year."
Sky Atlantic has announced the UK start date for True Detective's second season. The HBO drama will arrive in this country just one day after its US première, being scheduled for Monday 22 June. Following the acclaimed Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson's story arc as troubled Louisiana detectives in season one - the best single drama on TV anywhere in the world in 2014 in this blogger's not in the slightest bit humble opinion - the crime drama returns with a fresh conceit and cast though, reportedly, 'based on a similar theme.' Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams lead the new season of True Detective, as it explores corruption amongst California law enforcement. A trailer for the forthcoming series has recently been doing the rounds. Which despite this blogger's scepticism that it couldn't possibly be as ground-breaking and tool stiffeningly stunning as the first series - actually looks really good.Don't you just hate it when that happens.
Amanda Holden has denied claims - albeit, claims by no one you'd trust as far as you could comfortably spit - that her nipples have been insured for two million smackers. And neither, apparently, have her brain cells, although she has roughly the same number of those as she has nipples. Of course, the chances of Amanda losing her nipples in, say, an industrial accident of some description are considerably less than the chances of her brains leaking out of her ear if she leans over to one side.
Although, if Amanda were to lose her nipples in some form on industrial accident, that would definitely be a case of Injury Lawyers For U, insured or not. Or, she could just get Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads to kiss it better. And the same goes for her brains for that matter.
Have I Got News For You's executive producer has explained that Jezza Clarkson will host the show 'when he's ready.' The presenter had been booked to appear on the BBC panel show next week - in what would have been his first television appearance since not having his contract renewed at Top Gear - but he pulled out of the scheduled appearance last week. Executive producer of the long-running comedy news quiz Richard Wilson (I don't believe it) has told the Gruniad Morning Star that Clarkson - seen right during his days in The Jackson Five - chose not to appear because he didn't feel the time was right. 'People pull out of the show quite frequently,' Wilson said. 'We do get people who are booked but can't do it. He's pulled out in the past because of filming commitments but he just doesn't feel the time's right to do it. I think there was a big flurry of press about him doing it because the billings went out to listings. I don't know if there was an official announcement saying he was doing it, but we just have to move on. We'll have him back when he's ready.'

And, in another non-story story run by the Gruniad - who don't seem able to get through a day without shoehorning nice, comfortable Middle Class hate figure Jezza Clarkson into their shitty rag - the second series of the BBC mockumentary W1A has 'hit the televisual nail on the head once again' with its opening episode featuring a controversial incident involving Jeremy Clarkson and the word 'tosser.' Writer John Morton came up with the plot a year ago, the Gruniad claim in a particularly sneering article atypical of their Clarkson coverage which, one imagines, goes down well with the hippy Communists in North London who read their rotten, squatting-on-every-fence newspaper - in which the BBC’s beleaguered head of values, Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) has to deal with Jezza hitting the headlines over his extensive use of the epithet in the hit BBC2 series Top Gear. As a result, the show features a BBC 'damage limitation meeting' during which the narrator, national heartthrob David Tennant, says, 'traditionally the first item on the agenda is Clarkson.' W1A's hapless intern, Will, has to watch four years' worth of Top Gear in order to count up the number of times Clarkson has said the word 'tosser' to see if it has 'breached guidelines.' However, as a reaction to the exit of Clarkson from Top Gear – which Morton snitched to the Gruniad took place on the very day that the W1A episode was being edited – the former Top Gear host's face had been pixellated from footage of the motoring show that Will watches and his name bleeped out. Morton said three changes were made following Jezza's departure from the the show. As well as the pixellation and bleeping, a line was added in which Tennant says, 'since the making of this documentary, certain events have happened as a result of which for technical reasons means we are unable to mention certain individuals by name.' Not something that the Gruniad has any problem with, seemingly, since they enjoy mentioning Clarkson on a daily basis. Morton explained: 'I wrote this episode back in July or August last year. The only thing we did [when editing] was to add one voiceover and bleep Clarkson, but not Jeremy, ridiculously, and clumsily pixellate his face. We hopefully made a couple of little jokes out of it. We weren't asked to make any changes at all [by the BBC]. The Clarkson thing is quite a minor strand. It was written six or seven months ago and all we did was a little tweak to acknowledge things that happened in the real world.' Morton has become renowned for his prescient writing in W1A. An episode of his Olympics comedy Twenty Twelve featured the Olympic countdown clock breaking, which then happened in real life. 'When you create a world that's in parallel to the real world you feel you sometimes get a feedback loop which you can't predict or control,' he said. The opening episode of W1A also features a Royal visit and the threat of the BBC losing the rights to Wimbledon - both potentially contentious issues for the real-life corporation. Morton said that he hoped the show, which returns to BBC2 on 23 April, would be 'ring-fenced' in the BBC's charter renewal, which takes place at the end of 2016 and which also runs as a theme throughout the programme. 'If W1A could become a little part of that conversation it could be interesting and funny,' he said. Yeah. Effing hilarious, mate. Glad you find the charter renewal so drop dead amusing.

The Conservative party has given its clearest signal yet that it aims to 'clamp down' on BBC finances in a manifesto that promises to freeze the licence fee ahead of charter renewal negotiations while continuing to 'top-slice' the annual charge to fund superfast broadband across the country. Just one more reason, if you actually needed one, not to vote for any Tory scum standing in your particular constituency, dear - British - blog reader. In a sign that the odious right-wing party believes suspected profligacy at the corporation could be a vote winner - with glakes - the manifesto promises the electorate that its negotiations with the corporation will 'save you money' as it will focus on providing 'value for money.' The BBC's Royal Charter - established in the 1920s - must be renewed by the end of 2016, leaving just nineteen months after an election for the 'comprehensive review' of the BBC's funding and structure. In a sign that there is still much to play for the details of the plans for the BBC adds 'pending charter renewal' to the promise to keep the licence fee frozen at £145.50 a year. So, in fact, the manifesto is simply confirming the status quo until the next charter period. The BBC has argued that further services will have to be cut if the licence fee continues to fall in real terms with BBC3 already earmarked for an online-only future in a bid to save money. The last charter renewal negotiations allowed one hundred and fifty million knicker for broadband roll out, money largely spent by BT. However, the manifesto appeared to offer support for the licence fee as the best way to fund the BBC.
Mishal Husain has been named broadcaster of the year at the London Press Club Awards. The host of BBC Radio 4's Today programme was nominated alongside colleagues Tulip Mazumdar and Alison Holt, as well as Channel Four's Matt Frei. Husain also presents BBC television bulletins, having joined Today in 2013. She has previously presented the Ten O'Clock News, Newsnight and Breakfast. She has reported from around the world including Pakistan after the death of Osama bin Laden, Cairo during the Egyptian revolution and China during the Beijing Olympics. 'It's wonderful and much deserved,' said the BBC's director of news James Harding.
There's a jolly fascinating piece in the Gruniad by Andy Hamilton and Robert Duncan on the creation and making of Channel Four's cult 1990s newsroom comedy Drop The Dead Donkey, a particular favourite of this blogger.
Midsomer Murders will return for an eighteenth series, it has been confirmed. ITV has commissioned six new feature-length episodes of the popular crime drama to be broadcast in 2016. Filming has already begun on the episodes, which will once again star Neil Dudgeon and Gwilym Lee. Manjinder Virk will join the cast as Doctor Kam Karimore, a pathologist who helps DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson in their investigations into the blood-soaked carnage of the small English rural town which has a crime rate greater than Baltimore. Executive Producer Jo Wright said: 'We are back for even more episodes next year thanks to ITV, which gives us the chance to explore more strange and entertaining tales of Midsomer life. And with a new pathologist who will cause DS Nelson trouble in more ways than one.'
On top of, rightly, getting criticised for messing up ITV's breakfast offerings, alienating Champions League viewers to the point where he, publicly, got his arse kicked into the gutter along with all the other turds and being the presenter chiefly responsible for Radio 5Live's current ratings slump, odious greed-bucket (and drag) Adrian Chiles has now been fingered for a long-ago celebrity interview fiasco. And the finger in question belong to his former joined-at-the-hip waste-of-space sofa partner horrorshow (and drag) The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley (who on this evidence is no longer even on first name terms with her former Daybreak oppo). 'I remember on The ONE Show, Morrissey came on,' the wretched Bleakley grassed like a filthy Copper's Nark to the Radio Times. 'His mum was a big fan of ours. But Adrian Chiles called his mum by the wrong name and he was quite upset! It was a complete and utter disaster after that.' Many would argue The ONE Show under the rancid and rotten coupling of Chiles and Bleakley was a complete and utter disaster long before that. Admittedly, not as amusingly huge and towering a complete and utter disaster as the programme they both abandoned The ONE Show to front, Daybreak. From which,of course, the gruesome pair where notoriously, and very satisfyingly, sacked.
And, speaking of utterly useless ITV breakfast flops, Susanna Reid has grovellingly apologised to viewers who tuned into Good Morning Britain on Monday after one of its guests repeatedly swore live on-air. Although, to be fair, it must be almost impossible not to swear if you find yourself on Good Morning Britain dear blog reader. You know your life has really hit the bottom when that happens. Reid and guest host, oily twat Piers Morgan, were interviewing daredevil climber Alain Robert, who is known as 'the French Spiderman' (or, you know, L'Homme Araignée Français if you want to be slightly more accurate), on the ITV show when he dropped the F-word. Twice. The scallywag. Oily twat Morgan asked Robert, speaking via a video-link from Dubai: 'You've done one hundred big climbs now, skyscrapers. How many times have you thought "I might die here"? How many times have you thought "This might be the moment I fall"' Robert replied: 'Many times. But the thing is, as long as you're not falling ... It's just like a fucking warning, like you're nearly falling. I'm quite good at that, just saving my ass.' Oily twat Morgan said: 'You see, you are a nutcase, but a brilliant nutcase. This world is full of brilliant explorers over the centuries and you're one of those guys. It's mad to normal people like us, but to you, this is what you love doing, isn't it?' Robert said: 'I think if I wasn't doing that kind of stuff, life would be boring. I need to feel pretty much dead to feel like that I am fucking alive.' At which point a panicking Reid said: 'Okay. Slightly more frank language at this time in the morning than we're normally used to on Good Morning Britain so apologies for that.' Oily twat Morgan, who is standing in for regular presenter Ben Shephard for the week, said: 'Did he just use the ...? He did, didn't he?', to which Reid replied: 'Well, I think we’ll just gloss over that, apologies.'
Almost a year on since the one million quid plus launch of Good Morning Britain figures released this week show that ITV's latest breakfast flop has pulled in even fewer viewers than its much-maligned predeceasing flop, Daybreak. Which is, frankly - and to use some Alain Robert-style language at this point, fucking hilarious! And, despite high-profile signings such as Susanna Reid from the BBC, GMB is still being regularly having its ass caned red raw by rival BBC Breakfast just as Daybreak was. The ITV show has averaged about five hundred and sixty thousand viewers since it launched last April, compared with a little more than six hundred thousand for Daybreak during the same time period the previous year. In comparison BBC1's Breakfast pulls in around 1.5 million on weekdays, even though some predicted it would suffer when it moved from the capital to Salford three years ago. Although ITV originally said GMB would 'break new ground' by 'being more news-focused', and comparisons with Good Morning America were made, the show appears to have moved back into what one industry expert called, 'the GMTV-comfort zone.' Originally launching with four presenters around a desk and seven hundred and ninety thousand viewers, increasingly it has reverted to type by focusing more on two presenters and simpering,bland interviews on the sofa. Alleged 'sources' allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star - tragically, that isn't alleged, it does exists - that despite executives visiting the US to study the success of Good Morning America, GMB has 'become more like the old GMTV' in a bid to recapture the axed breakfast brand's heyday. Perhaps it is no surprise as the editor and top executives running and in overseeing the show are all former GMTV staff and just six of the nineteen key on-screen presenters, editors and reporters are non-GMTV veterans. At the time it went off-air in 2009 having been axed following damaging evidence that it had deceived viewers more than thirty five million quid's worth of phone-in competitions, GMTV had about a twenty four per cent audience share. In contrast, GMB has averaged just more than fifteen per cent in the year to the end of March, although the broadcasting landscape has changed a lot in six years with more people getting their morning news from social media. It is understood that ITV has said it will give GMB another year to give it more time to build, rather than go through another expensive relaunch. Poaching Reid – who is thought to earn about three hundred thousand smackers a year – did not come cheap, neither did the new set, graphics and branding. ITV also said that for the first quarter of 2015, ITV's breakfast show's ratings have been up year-on-year for the first time in ten years. A spokeswoman said: 'Ratings for the first quarter of 2015 show that Good Morning Britain is up compared to the same period last year and March saw our highest full month audience figures yet.'Which proves that there are lies, there are damned lies and there are ITV statements. She added: 'ITV is pleased with the show and confident about it going forward. It is here to stay.' One or two people even believed her. It has continued experimenting to boost ratings such as bringing in oily twat Piers Morgan while Ben Shephard is on leave, although overnight figures show audiences have remained broadly the same. However, oily twat Morgan's arrival brought some publicity to the show which has more often than not hit the headlines more over Reid's wardrobe malfunctions than the content of the show itself. Good Morning Britain is too big for ITV for it to fail. Despite lower audiences than BBC's Breakfast it continues to be lucrative for ITV with competitions and advertising bringing in key revenue. Accounts filed for ITV Breakfast Broadcasting Ltd, which include the hopeless and not even remotely missed Daybreak and Lorraine Kelly's series Lorraine, show that in the year to 31 December 2013 turnover – which comes mostly from television advertising revenue and money from interactive services – was sixty seven million knicker, while operating profit was eight million quid. The financials for 2012 and 2013 seem to show that no matter what the content is on-screen, or how many people watch it, advertisers have continued to book slots around the show, even when Daybreak, was going through its much-derided 'purple phase'.

Yer actual Peter Davison, who celebrated his sixty fourth birthday earlier this week, is currently appearing in London's West End in the revival of the musical Gypsy. Peter plays Herbie in the show, which is based upon the memoirs of the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, and which is currently previewing at London's Savoy Theatre. The cast is led by BAFTA award winning actress Imelda Staunton who was asked to take on the role of Rose by the play's lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, after he saw Staunton's performance as Mrs Lovett in the 2012 production of Sweeney Todd.
And now,dear blog reader ... LPs we wish we had in our collection. Number Two:
Followed, inevitably, by number three:
You can put your hands up if you get bored with this joke, incidentally, dear blog reader.

Okay, you can all put your hands down now. Thanks.

Yer actual his very self was vexed on Thursday, dear blog reader. Pure dead hopping cross. Aal geet stroppy and discombobulated in his frothing anger. Verily, he had his mad reet up, so he did. The reason? Having dragged his sorry ass half way across Toon at the crack of dawn to do some swimming, he got there to find that the pool was shut because 'there's something wrong with the water.' Which, I think, is code for some inconsiderate twonk has just shat in the damn thing. Don't these people know this is the only form of exercise yer actual Keith Telly Topping gets? Anyone - and I mean anyone - who posts 'first world problem' to this will be 'instantly' killfiled, by the way. That is all.
This blogger is indebted to the divine Goddess that is Lisa Power for alerting me to the following Charity event, An Evening With John Hurt which will be taking place on 9 May in London (at The Tabernacle in Powis Square, specifically). Check out the website for further details and prices if you want to pop along.
In what is, perhaps, the least surprising media-related news of the year so far, Harry Hill's vile and wretched revamp of Stars In Their Eyes has reportedly been dropped by ITV after one series. Because it was shit and no one was watching it, basically. The show launched in January but struggled - hilariously - in the ratings and received many poor reviews from critics who considered that if this risible, laughless exercise had been any more of a dog, it would have shed. The Sun has now claimed that the show will not be returning for a second series. The report claims that while ITV executives were 'happy' with the show - and, if they were, that really does explain much - the low ratings and struggle to capture viewers mean that it will not be getting any more episodes. However, Hill is expected to maintain a relationship with ITV, with the report alleging that he recently filmed a pilot called Harry Hill's Tea Time. The show - apparently described as 'TV Burp meets cookery' - would see Hill preparing a three-course meal with a celebrity guest. Yeah, that sounds like exactly the sort of format to have viewers flocking back to to Harold.
Dave will follow Al Murray's Pub Landlord erection campaign in a documentary. A ninety-minute programme -as yet, seemingly, untitled - will feature highlights of the stand-up's campaign, which has seen him mount a challenge to UKiP's Nigel Farago. Richard Watsham, Director of Commissioning for UKTV, said: 'This documentary is an important step for Dave as we continue to broaden our offering and raise the ambitions of our originations. This is a bold statement about the direction of travel for commissions on Dave. I'm particularly pleased that The Pub Landlord has chosen to share his extraordinary story exclusively with our viewers.' Steve North, General Manager for Dave, added that there has been 'incredible interest and excitement' around the Pub Landlord's bid for political office. 'Dave viewers will enjoy being up close and personal with The Guv as he takes on all comers including Nigel Farage. As Dave increasingly commissions original programmes, we want to reflect major news and events on air but always in Dave's unique way,' he said. Murray recently kicked off his political campaign by travelling to Thanet District Council's offices in a fire engine. The one-off film will be shown on Dave on the night of the General Erection (7 May) at 10pm just after the polls close. But, whilst the pub' are still open. How bizarre.
Chris Evans has confirmed that TFI Friday's anniversary special will be broadcast on 12 June. The date was previously rumoured, but has now been confirmed by the presenter, who will celebrate the Channel Four show's twentieth anniversary with a ninety-minute episode. Evans also revealed that he had the 'first, proper grown-up production meeting' about the special this week. 'All went well,' he wrote on Twitter. 'TFI Friday will return - live 9pm, Channel Four, Friday 12 June for a ninety minute special.' Evans also shared another countdown video on YouTube titled 'TFI Friday - Fifty Nine Days To Go', featuring a number of clips from the Channel Four series which originally ran from 1996 to 2000.

More4 has acquired the rights to broadcast the Norwegian series Heavy Water War. The drama - known in Norway as Kampen Om Tungtvannet - tells the true story of how Norwegian saboteurs destroyed Nazi Germany's hopes of developing an atom bomb during the Second World War. The series covers key events in the 1930s and 1940s, which saw the Nazis come close to developing a nuclear weapon to use on their enemies. Espen Kloumann Høiner, Dennis Storhøi and Christoph Bach lead the cast, with Anna Friel starring in a supporting role. In uniform. Oh, God yes. Anyway, the opening episodes of Heavy Water War were seen by more than 1.2 million Norwegians when they premiered on NRK in January.
And now, Angie Dickenson on the back of a Vespa.
Bet that brightened up your day.

The Canadian filmmaker Paul Almond has died, aged eighty three. The director was behind the ground-breaking and long-running Seven Up! documentary, which focused on a group of fourteen British seven-year-olds. The 1964 special has continued every seven years since as the Up series. Almond co-created the project, before Michael Apted took over the series. Almond died on Thursday of last week in California from complications relating to a recent heart attack, his son Matthew said. Born in Montreal in 1931, Paul attended Bishop's College School, McGill University and Balliol College, Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics, Economics, edited the University magazine Isis, played for the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club and was president of the university Poetry Society. At the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he worked primarily as a director and producer, and also wrote several scripts. He did similar work in England firstly for the BBC and then for Associated British Corporation and Granada TV (where he created Seven Up!) before embarking on a career as a feature-length film-making. The filmmaker came up with the idea for Seven Up! with Granada producer Tim Hewat while discussing the British class system in a pub. Hewat is said to have remarked: 'Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man,' allegedly originated by St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Originally intended as a one-off, researcher Apted later revisited the children every seven years. Its most recent version Fifty Six Up was broadcast in 2012. Almond also wrote and directed a trilogy of films called Isabel, Act Of The Heart and Journey, which starred his second wife Geneviève Bujold. He also directed Sean Connery in a version of Macbeth in 1961, episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, ITV Playhouse, The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre, Armchair Theatre and Festival. After an absence from filmmaking of almost a decade, he went on directing three more films: Ups & Downs (1983), Captive Hearts (1987) and The Dance Goes On (1991), the later featuring Bujold, and their son Matthew Almond. He later wrote the Alford Saga, which contained eight novels based on the lives of his pioneer ancestors in Canada.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has taken the first true colour photograph of Pluto and its largest moon Charon – whilst speeding toward the dwarf planet at four kilometres a second. The - somewhat blurry - pictures were taken from around seventy million miles away. They were taken by the probe's six centimetre telescope, called Ralph. 'Scientific literature is filled with papers on the characteristics of Pluto and its moons from ground based and Earth orbiting space observations, but we've never studied Pluto up close and personal,' said John Grunsfeld, the associate administrator of the NASA Science Mission Directorate. 'In an unprecedented flyby this July, our knowledge of what the Pluto system is really like will expand exponentially and I have no doubt there will be exciting discoveries.' The New Horizons probe set off nine years ago (when Pluto was still classified as a planet), and so far has travelled more than three billion miles. The craft is the fastest human-made object to leave Earth's orbit and has picked up extra speed thanks to a gravity-assist flyby slingshot around Jupiter. It will encounter Pluto on 14 July this year. 'This is pure exploration; we're going to turn points of light into a planet and a system of moons before your eyes!' said Alan Stern, the New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Texas. 'This Twenty First Century encounter is going to be an exploration bonanza unparalleled in anticipation since the storied missions of Voyager in the 1980s.' As the probe flies by, the Ralph telescope should be able to pick up ground features on Pluto and Charon, as well as the dwarf planet's other four smaller moons. The spacecraft also has a larger monochrome camera for detail, as well as spectrometers, an ion analyser, and a dust analysis unit. The probe also carried a more unusual piece of cargo – human remains. Pluto was discovered by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, and New Horizons will carry an ounce of his ashes past his discovery and out into the rest of the universe. We can expect to get much better pictures of Pluto as the probe approaches, although getting them back to Earth is a slow and arduous process. Due to the huge distances involved, the probe can only send back data at a about one kilobite per second and the signal takes more than four hours to get back to Earth. Once past Pluto, the probe will explore the rest of the Kuiper Belt. NASA is using the Hubble telescope to scout out a possible route to other objects of interest, and the craft should be able to send data back for up to a decade to come.
Still in space, usually there's not much to see on Uranus according to astronomer Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley. But last year was its stormiest on record. Ever since its equinox in 2007, when the Sun shined directly on its equator, the solar sysstems' seventh planet has been becoming more active. Last year it hit a new peak. When analysing infrared images of Uranus, Professor de Pater's team noticed eight large swirling storms in its northern hemisphere in August 2014. One of these storms was the brightest ever observed. It reflected thirty per cent as much light as the rest of the planet, the team reported in the journal Icarus. Nobody had expected it, says de Pater. It shows how little we understand even about planets inside our own Solar System. The team analysed bright patches on images of Uranus. These spots of light represent clouds. They deduced how thick the clouds were, and how high up in the atmosphere. From the altitude they could then infer what the clouds were made of. The clouds they saw were extremely high up. As they rose ever higher, methane gas condensed into methane ice, causing the clouds to glow. Uranus takes eighty four Earth years to travel around the Sun. For half this time one of its poles is in darkness. But during the 2007 equinox each pole was equally lit up, and astronomers expected that this change in illumination would cause a particularly stormy year. While we frequently see images from Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus has only ever been fleetingly visited by one space craft, Voyager 2. But that was in 1986 and it only observed a 'featureless haze' of dense clouds. That's why scientists rely on images taken at the ground-based Keck observatory in Hawaii. Increasingly, they also combine these with images taken by amateur astronomers, as their telescopes are powerful enough to see Uranus.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's Freddie Parrot Face Davies singing Bill Owen's 'So Lucky'. And, why not? Well, there's several reasons why not, frankly, but we're stuck with it now.