Saturday, April 04, 2015

Sniggers (With Attitude)

We begin the latest bloggerisationisms update with a thought for the day, dear blog reader: The Hundred Years War was, essentially, bookended by two of the great set-piece battles of Medieval history, Crécy (1346) and the much more famous Agincourt (1415). You've probably heard of the last one. Yer actual Kenneth Brannagh was in it. Anyway, both of these were won by the English, both demonstrated the significant military superiority of the longbow over the crossbow and both, most commentators agree, saw the effective wiping out of a generation of French nobility. Which, in and of itself, is quite funny. However, this presumably means that many of those who died at Agincourt were, in fact, the grandsons, great-grandsons and great-great-grandsons of some of the those who copped it at Crécy. Which, seems a bit careless, frankly. Even for the French. Wouldn't you have thought that as the French infantry charged up the hill at Agincourt and the skies suddenly blackened with the arrows of Henry V's archers one of the knights might have turned to his mates and noted: 'This is exactly how me Granddad went. I told you this was a bad idea.'

The BBC has announced that Game Of Thrones actress Maisie Williams her very self is to appear in a guest role in the next series of Doctor Who. Williams her very self is best known for her role as Arya Stark in the international fantasy drama series. She also starred in the one-off docu-drama Cyberbully and was cast as one of the leads of Carol Morley's The Falling. As well as being a three-time Screen Actors Guild Awards nominee, in February of this year Maisie was awarded with a Shooting Star Award at the Berlin Film Festival. On her first day on set, she said: 'I'm so excited to be working on Doctor Who as it’s such a big and important part of British Culture. I can't wait to meet the cast and crew and start filming, especially as we'll be shooting not too far from my home town.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat added: 'We're thrilled to have Maisie Williams joining us on Doctor Who. It's not possible to say too much about who or what she is playing, but she is going to challenge The Doctor in very unexpected ways. This time he might just be out of his depth and we know Maisie is going to give him exactly the right sort of hell.' Two more story titles have been released by the BBC for the forthcoming ninth series in addition to those already confirmed, The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar. The first is The Girl Who Died which has been written by Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) and Jamie Mathieson. Mathieson wrote the acclaimed series eight stories Mummy On The Orient Express - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping, that one - and Flatline. Also announced is The Woman Who Lived by Catherine Tregenna. Catherine previously wrote four episodes of Torchwood: Out Of Time, Meat, Adam and Captain Jack Harkness, which was nominated for the 2008 Hugo Award. These two episodes will be directed by Ed Bazalgette, currently earning rave reviews for his work on Poldark. Comedian and actor Rufus Hound - a long-time fan of the series - who recently appeared in Cucumber, also joins the guest cast alongside Siblings and Horrible Histories actor Tom Stourton, Ariyon Bakare, Simon Lipkin, Ian Conningham, Murray McArthur, Barnaby Kay, John Voce, and Struan Rodger.

Meanwhile, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has dismissed the chances of a Doctor Who movie happening any time soon. The show's executive producer questioned how a big screen outing for The Doctor would work, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. On the subject of a potential movie, he said: 'I don't think there is one. No one has ever squared the circle on that. How do we do this? How do we do it without leaching from the television series - which we're not allowed to do, because Doctor Who is public funded? If it's going to be a different Doctor, are we going to try and sell two Doctors at the same time? I know there's been loads of Doctors, but there's only been one at a time. You don't have a James Bond on television and one in the cinema. If he's the same guy, then when are we going to make that?' Moffat added that a Doctor Who movie would have to be 'colossal' in scope to impress fans. He explained: 'We're talking one of the biggest TV shows in the world. It can't just be a medium-size movie - it's gotta be a colossal movie. I've sat with people, saying - and in the end it's not my decision or my choice, I don't own Doctor Who - "Okay, explain to me how it's going to work." And nobody has an answer.' The Moffinator also said that Doctor Who will be broadcast for at least another five years. He told Doctor Who Magazine that he expects the show to 'do a minimum of fifteen' years, but is hopeful for much more. 'I thought it would last ten years,' Moffat said. 'I didn't think it would last ten years with BBC Worldwide trying to get me in a room to talk about their plan for the next five years. It's going to do a minimum of fifteen. I mean, it could do twenty six.' Steven added that 'there's nothing easy about doing Doctor Who', explaining that finding new actors is a difficult process. He said: 'That's not to say it's easy. It's not easy to find new people. It's not easy to find new Doctors. That could be the danger - that you start to think that it's easy. There's nothing easy about doing Doctor Who.' Moffat also talked about the show's viewing figures, noting that they are 'pretty much the same' since the popular family SF drama was rebooted ten years ago. 'Ten years on, our ratings are pretty much the same. Actually, internationally, bigger. No show does that. You're meant to go down. Doctor Who just stays. It's extraordinary!'

LPs we all wish we had in our collection. Number one: Tom Baker Sings The Hits Of Meatloaf.
The BBC have released a video clip of yer actual Peter Capalid surprising some of his younger fans - steady - and answering some of their questions. The event took place at the Doctor Who Experience on Cardiff Bay, to celebrate ten years since the relaunch of Doctor Who.

And, speaking of yer man Capaldi, here's young Eddie Arnold with his new best friend. This blogger is, incidentally, jolly grateful to his good friends Jon and Carolyn - Eddie's mum and dad - for allowing their child to be shamelessly exploited for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's benefit in such a manner. Good on ya, guys.
Now available for pre-order The Unofficial Doctor Who Book Guide - compiled by the very excellent Chris Stone - which yer actual has been reading a preview copy of over the past few days. Highly recommended and painstakingly researched it is too. Buy one, several or lots and tell 'em I sent you.
The BBC has released an official digital Doctor Who box-set via BitTorrent. Fans can download or stream a ten-minute preview of the first 2005 episode Rose and an introductory video from Peter Capaldi as a free bundle through the file-sharing network. To unlock the rest of the twelve-episode bundle, fans will have to cough up twelve dollars (that's about eight quid). Or, alternatively, you could just buy the DVDs. Bit of a radical suggestion, I know, but hey, that's yer actual Keith Telly Topping, full of such malarkey. The episodes included are: Rose, The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, The Girl In The Fireplace, Blink, The End Of Time (parts one and two), The Vampires Of Venice, The Doctor's Wife, The Rings Of Akhaten, The Day Of The Doctor and Listen. Very decent selection that, actually. Those willing to pay will also receive five more video introductions from yer man Capaldi, the documentary Doctor Who: Earth Challenge, and a PDF file of the original script for Rose. 'Our entire mission is to get content out legitimately to as many fans as we can around the world. We're in a lot of territories, but we're not everywhere and not everybody has access to paid-for TV,' Julia Kenyon, director of drama brands at BBC Worldwide, told the Gruniad Morning Star.
Yer actual Mark Gatiss has said that he would 'fight to the death' to save the BBC from cuts and negative attacks. Well, it's about time somebody working for Auntie showed a bit of backbone for a change. The Sherlock writer and actor told the Big Issue that the BBC is 'in serious danger' of being 'severely slimmed down.' He said: 'Death of a thousand cuts is what will kill the BBC. And it is a very, very dangerous situation we are in right now where the licence fee is being diminished, budgets are shrinking and it is under merciless, daily attack from [Rupert] Murdoch and other vested interests. It is imperfect, as all big institutions are, but if we lose it, we will have lost it forever. It stuns me. For the rest of the world, it is such a badge of quality, such a badge of honour. It opens doors and borders everywhere, yet it is a prophet without honour in its own land.' Yes, some of us have been saying this for, you know, years, Mark. Nice to have you on board at last. Gatiss added that a campaign must be launched to support the BBC and that ninety nine per cent of people would want it to be saved if asked. 'I don't mind if people think it is propaganda, because propaganda is what we need,' he explained. 'I am not saying this as a BBC worker - I am loyal to the BBC because it is one of the most important things in the world.'

Mark's Sherlock co-star Louise Brealey has said that the forthcoming Victorian Sherlock special 'instantly felt right.' The actress, who appears as Molly Hooper in the series, told the Evening Standard that seeing co-stars yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self in period clothing 'wasn't strange at all.' She said: 'It was amazing to see Ben and Martin in the clothes you associate with Holmes and Watson. I thought it would feel like a jolt and look really weird, but almost instantly it just felt right. It wasn't strange at all.' Brealey also praised the technique of her co-stars, describing Benny as having 'technical brilliance. He has a technical brilliance that you then entirely forget when you're seeing his work,' she said, adding that Marty (seen below, ahem, fondling Lou's tit) is also an inspiration. 'The man's a robot, but in the most brilliant way. He's so precise - everything is thought through.'
BBC1's one-off special The Ark topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Monday. The ninety-minute drama - which starred David Threlfall and Joanne Whalley - was seen by 4.28m at 8.30pm. Earlier, Panorama interested 2.61m at 7.30pm. On BBC2, Racing Legends averaged 1.16m at 7pm, before University Challenge was watched by 2.89m at 8pm and the final of Only Connect interested 2.36m at 8.30pm. Kew On A Plate followed with 1.61m on 9pm. On ITV, Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's More Tales From Northumberland (featuring Wor Geet Canny Robson Green his very self) continued with 2.83m at 8pm, while The Mafia With Trevor McDonald lost almost one million viewers week-on-week for its second episode with 3.45m at 9pm. Channel Four's Food Unwrapped continued with 1.03m at 8pm and Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours In Barcelona drew 1.26m at 8.30pm. Britain's Benefit Tenants brought in 1.56m at 9pm, while the latest episode of Raised By Wolves had an audience of eight hundred and eighty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors was watched by seven hundred and seventy three thousand at 8pm. Gotham followed with eight hundred and seventy two thousand at 9pm and Person Of Interest was seen by six hundred and thirty five thousand at 10pm. On FOX, The Walking Dead's season five finale had six hundred and twenty four thousand at 9pm.

BBC1's Ordinary Lies fell below five million overnight viewers for the first time for its third episode on Tuesday. The Jason Manford-led drama averaged 4.51m at 9pm when up against ITV's coverage of England's international with Italy. Costa Del Sol: Last Brits Standing was seen by 2.41m at 10.45pm. On ITV, England's half-way decent draw in Turin was the night's most-watched programme outside of soaps, with an audience of 5.43m between 7.30pm and 10pm. On BBC2, Alex Polizzi: The Fixer interested 1.16m at 7pm, before Back In Time For Dinner was watched by 2.50m at 8pm and Dara & Ed's Great Big Adventure averaged 1.51m at 9pm. Nurse followed with seven hundred and forty thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Burger Bar To Gourmet Star continued with six hundred and seventy thousand punters at 8pm, while One Born Every Minute brought in 1.29m at 9pm. The latest episode of Teens gathered four hundred and twenty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Costa Del Casualty: Benidorm ER appealed to nine hundred and ten thousand viewers at 8pm. Forty Kids By Twenty Women was seen by seven hundred and fifteen thousand at 9pm, while Nanna Love: Fifty Shades Of Granny had an audience of eight hundred and fifty thousand voyeurs at 10pm. BBC3's World's Toughest Jobs was seen by four hundred and twenty eight thousand at 9pm.

Concerning ITV's - slightly better than it used to be because they've sacked Chiles's ass but, still not very good - coverage of the football, I wonder if anyone has ever told Ian Wright that if he shuts his bloody gob for two seconds his brain won't seize up as a consequence? Actually, no, that's a stupid question ... What brain? Oh, and Wayne Rooney used the phrase 'it was a game of two halves' during his post-match interview. Yes, young man. Of forty five minutes each. And, at the end, the team that scores the most goals will emerge victorious. Jesus, what a once-in-a-generation mind that kid has.
MasterChef was on top of the overnight ratings on Wednesday evening. The BBC1 competition brought in an average 5.53 million at 8pm, followed by The Billion Dollar Chicken Shop with 3.17m at 9pm. On BBC2, The Fixer appealed to eight hundred and eighty three thousand viewers at 7pm, while The Ladykillers was seen by 1.16m at 8pm and the Strangeways documentary by 1.41m at 9pm. ITV's Big Star's Little Star - every single bit as thoroughly stinking and wretched as usual - was watched by 3.47 million sad, crushed victims of society at 8pm, followed by the latest DCI Banks with 3.62m at 9pm. On Channel Four, How Safe Are Our Planes? interested nine hundred and eighty seven thousand at 8pm. Twenty Four Hours In A&E gathered 1.73m at 9pm and First Dates attracted 1.05m at 10pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door was seen by 1.41m at 8pm, followed by OAPs Behaving Badly with nine hundred and sixty seven thousand at 9pm and Grand Theft Auto: UK with six hundred and eighty one thousand at 10pm.

Comedy line of the week came from an unexpected place; Wednesday's episode of MasterChef. Former series winner, the lovely Thomasina Miers, acting as one of the guest judges, was presented with the impressive young Beth's menu which included pork tenderloin 'I love a bit of pig,' she noted. Don't we all, dear, don't we all? One really had to feel for another contestant - Dee - whose insistence on putting chilli in everything - including her pudding - didn't go down at all well with pretty much anyone.
The ITV Leaders' Debate - or, as Jeremy Williams put it, 'the worst episode of The Weakest Link ever' - brought in big numbers for the channel, according to overnight figures for Thursday. The seven-way debate was watched by 6.71m between 8pm and 10pm, with a further two hundred and seventy three thousand on ITV+1. The debate attracted almost three times the number of viewers that David Cameron and Ed Milimolimandi's Channel Four head-to-head did last week. The figures do not include a simultaneous broadcast on the BBC News Channel. Snap polls conducted after the debate offered a somewhat blurred picture of which leader came over best though it did undeniably confirm, for many, that all politicians are scum. Up against such nonsense, BBC1's MasterChef dipped to 3.93m for its latest episode at 8pm - its lowest overnight figure of the current series - while The Truth About Fat interested 2.96m at 9pm. Question Time gathered 2.67m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Coast Australia was seen by 1.35m, before churlish, bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's Banished continued to shed viewers faster than a very fast thing with 1.72m at 9pm. Inside Number Nine had an audience of 1.10m at 10pm. Channel Four's The Supervet was watched by 1.25m at 8pm, while Breaking Dawn - Part Two brought in nine hundred and fifty thousand punters at 9pm. On Channel Five, Caught On Camera had five hundred and ninety nine thousand at 8pm. Later, Glasgow's Killing Streets interested six hundred and forty two thousand at 9pm and The Mentalist continued with five hundred and fifteen thousand at 10pm. E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory had an audience of eight hundred and ninety thousand at 8.30pm. Sky1's Arrow continued with two hundred and seventy seven thousand at 8pm, while Sky Atlantic's Fortitude brought in two hundred and eighty four thousand at 9pm. The novelty certainly seems to have worn off regarding the latter.
So, dear blog reader, to sum up the leadership debate in case you missed it:-
David Cameron: 'I'm acutely aware of the housing problem in this country. For I, myself, own a mere four. Remember, I was a big fan of all the cool bands - The Jam and The Smiths - and I like football and The X Factor and a pint of beer. I'm a sound-bloke, me ...even though I went to Eton, have more money than you'll ever see in your life and am a close personal friend of a convicted phone-hacker.
Ed Milimolimandi: 'I am the son of an immigrant. So, that's why I think it's really important we close the door behind us and don't let anyone else in. Because, this is an issue that The People "care about", so we, as a party, are going to change our policy of fifty years standing to reflect that. Of course, we're not going to give a shit about any other issues that The People "care about" which aren't vote losers, like the fact that sixty per cent of The People apparently support the return of the death penalty. It's because we're shit-scared of UKiP, basically.'
Nick Clegg: 'I will say and do anything - anything - to get another lick of The Power. Doesn't Nick deserve another lick? Just a little lick? C'mon! C'mon! Give Nick another lick.'
Nigel Farage: 'People get me wrong, I'm actually a big fan of Europe. I can even speak German: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer." Does anybody fancy a pint?'
Nicola Sturgeon: 'Hoots mon, jings and crivens, Jimmy, it's Oor Oil, y'ken?'
Natalie Bennett: 'So, here's, like, the deal. If we all, like, go back to living like the people in Constable's The Haywain, everything will be, like, pastoral and, totally paradise on Earth. ISIS will simply disappear, a bit like Clarkson. Also, we will make buying the Gruniad Morning Star, like, totally compulsory. And, if people won't ... we'll organise a really hard-hitting campaign of T-shirts and quiche mornings.'
Leanne Wood: 'No, I don't know why I'm here either. I'd sooner be at the Arms Park watching The Manics. There's lovely, isn't it?'
I think that more of less covers it.
Eurovision's Greatest Hits was seen by an appallingly low overnight average audience of 1.89 million viewers on BBC1 on a depressingly poor Good Friday evening. Featuring the likes of Lordi, Conchita Wurst and Brotherhood Of Man, the concert peaked with 2.12 million at 10.15pm. Masterchef was the evening's highest-rated show outside of soaps, scoring average viewing figures of 3.54 million at 8.30pm. Yep, that's right, the best that anyone could manage was three and a half million overnight punters. The ONE Show began the evening with 3.4 million at 7pm, followed by 3.01 million for A Question of Sport. On ITV, Barging Round Britain With John Sergeant was seen by an average audience of 2.99 million at 8pm, while Bear Grylls: Mission Survive had an audience of 3.03 million at 9pm. BBC2's evening began with 1.01 million for Alex Polizzi: The Fixer Revisits at 7pm, followed by 1.84 million for An Island Parish: Falklands and 2.07 million for Gardener's World. Springwatch At Easter was seen by a BBC2 evening high of 2.25 million at 9pm, while The Clare Balding Show opened to 1.54 million at 10pm. Gogglebox continued to do well for Channel Four, achieving ratings of 3.07 million at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with six hundred and seventy thousand and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with 1.51 million. Channel Five's Secrets Of Great British Castle was seen by nine hundred and sixteen thousand at 8pm, followed by nine hundred and nineteen thousand for NCIS: New Orleans and nine hundred and two thousand for NCIS at 10pm.

The live final of The Voice was watched by more than six million people, overnight figures indicate. An average of 6.31 million punters saw Stevie McCrorie win the fourth series of the BBC1 singing competition. Last year, Jermain Jackman's victory was witnessed by an overnight audience of 6.6 million. Later, from 9.10pm, the latest episode of Casualty attracted 4.57m. On BBC2, a repeat of Dad's Army attracted 1.5m before Monteverdi In Mantua: The Genius Of The Vespers interested five hundred and three thousand in the 9pm hour. Including this blogger, as it happens - not the sort of thing I'd normally watch, but yer actual Keith telly Topping was waiting for the much-delayed Qi XL episode Long Lost which was broadcast immediately afterwards. That was watched by an audience of eight hundred and twenty thousand, whilst another repeat of Rik Mayall: Lord Of Misrule had five hundred and fifty thousand at 10.45pm. On a generally disappointing night for ITV, the latest series of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway concluded with 4.89m from 7pm. You're Back In The Room and The Jonathan Ross Show followed with 3.17m and 2.33m respectively. One imagines ITV simply can't wait for the return of Britain's Got Toilets next week. Earlier in the evening, the début of Thunderbirds Are Go managed 1.74m from 5pm (see review below). Channel Four's End Of The World Night averaged 1.09m between 9pm and 10.35pm whilst The Lakes: Walking Through History was watched by eight hundred and forty thousand. On Channel Five, the latest episode of CSI had an audience of seven hundred and forty one thousand from 10pm whilst, earlier, two episodes of NCIS drew three hundred and ninety thousand and four hundred and ninety thousand viewers. The multichannels were topped by a broadcast of Pretty Woman, which was seen by eight hundred and twenty five thousand from 9.10pm on BBC3. Sky Atlantic's The Following continued with but seventy two thousand punters in the 9pm hour. On BBC4, Wild China drew four hundred and twenty thousand, Inspector Montalbano five hundred and ninety thousand and Definitely Dusty three hundred and twenty thousand respectively.

So what, I'm sure you are wondering dear blog reader, did yer actual Keith Telly Topping make of Thunderbirds Are Go? Well, the first - and most important - thing to note is that yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self is not the intended audience for the remake of the much-loved Gerry Anderson puppet series and, neither are you lot, frankly! On the contrary, the intended audience are small people who are roughly the same age now as yer actual Keith Telly Topping was when he first watched the original in around 1969 or 1970 as an unhealthy six or seven year old. That's why all future episodes will be going out at 8am on Saturday mornings when yer actual Keith Telly Topping will be deep in his pit sleeping off a heavy Friday night. Probably. Nevertheless, yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought that the first episode of Thunderbirds Are Go was really rather good. Pleasingly so. He agrees entirely with the Daily Torygraph's reviewer, one Gerard O'Donovan, who described the remake as 'evocative' and 'wonderfully nostalgic.' This blogger isn't entirely clear why Brains suddenly has a Pakistani accent to go with his stammer but, hey, it's a very minor point. That linguistic curiosity apart, however, most of the elements presented were comfortingly familiar and, in this blogger's opinion, splendidly well done. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping, as a seven year old, used to run home from school - up Wharrier Street, along St Anthony's Road and up Wigmore Avenue - as fast as his little legs would carry him to catch episodes of Thunderbirds starting at 4pm on ITV (and, him being a fat kid, dear blog reader, that, in and of itself, was a sight to see, trust me). And, for a while, he wanted nothing more from his future life than to grow up to be the pilot of Thunderbird 2. That's if he couldn't be a top pop star like Mr Noddy Big Hat out of The Slade or playing on the left wing for his beloved - though even then unsellable - Magpies. So, frankly, some of these warm nostalgic feelings he has about Thunderbirds Are Go may be down to simple relief that the remake wasn't a right load of rubbish. But far more of it, I think, is the belief that seven year olds of today are going to love Thunderbirds Are Go the mostest, baby, just as much as this blogger his very self loved the original back in 1970. Plus, Rosamund Pike voicing Lady Penelope - what's not to love? The only other thing which could have made the experience of watching Thunderbirds Are Go aesthetically perfect would have been five minutes of Pinky & Perky singing 'Thank U Very Much' as a lead-in just like they used to when yer actual Keith Telly Topping was an out of breath seven year old who'd just got in from Wharrier Street Infants School. If you could arrange that for all future episodes, CITV, this blogger would be jolly grateful. PS: Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is fifty one.

Thunderbirds were definitely go on Thursday morning when one of the show's famous vehicles hit the Thames. The Thunderbird 4 model, which measures fifteen and is made from fibreglass, took a team of TV prop builders more than six weeks to build.
Poldark topped the overnight ratings on Easter Sunday. The period drama brought in 5.23m at 9pm on BBC1 - the latest episode being down more than one million viewers from the previous week albeit on a day when temperatures soared in the UK for the first time all year and many people chose to get themselves out in the sunshine. This blogger certainly did. Earlier in the evening, Antiques Roadshow interested 4.58m at 7pm, while Michael McIntyre's Easter Night At The Coliseum was watched by 4.25m at 8pm. How many of them actually enjoyed this unfunny mess is a different question entirely. On BBC2, Springwatch was seen by nine hundred and forty thousand at 7pm, before Caribbean With Simon Reeve drew 1.99m at 8pm and Louis Theroux: Transgender Kids averaged 1.68m at 9pm. ITV's celebrity series of The Chase continued with 2.79m at 6.30pm, while Off Their Rockers followed with 2.50m at 7.30pm. The first episode in a new series of Vera brought in 4.29m between 8pm and 10pm. On Channel Four, Three In A Bed continued with six hundred and ten thousand at 7pm and Great Canal Journeys interested 1.58m at 8pm. The latest episode of Indian Summers dipped to eight hundred and sixty thousand at 9pm. One wonders if C4 are now starting to regret being so quick to commission a second series on the back of strong numbers for the early episodes. Kelly's Heroes and Hummingbird were Channel Five's Easter Sunday evening movies selections, with the former bringing in five hundred and fifty eight thousand at 6.30pm and the latter entertaining eight hundred and fifty two thousand at 9pm.

The first annual geographical bollocks of the new series of Vera took an unexpected twenty five minutes to arrive on Sunday evening but, bless 'em, they got there in the end. 'They're at Haggerston sands' says a minor character, before the scene swiftly cuts to the seaside. Oh no they're not, they're at the Long Sands at Tynemouth (with a few shots conducted further along the coast towards Whitley Bay). You have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch yer actual Keith Telly Topping out, so-called Vera Stanhope. And they're still using that shot of a crew rowing the wrong way down the Tyne from last series as part of the title sequence. These, dear blog readers, are the sort of things that keep yer actual Keith Telly Topping amused on a Sunday evening! What do you mean, 'get a life'? If this blogger did, he genuinely wouldn't know what to do with it. The episode itself - Changing Tides - was quite good and, as usual, looked gorgeous (particularly the sequences filmed towards the end beside Tynemouth Priory overlooking King Edward's Bay). Not sure why the completely arbitrary shot of the Lindisfarne Causeway - twenty five miles away - was inserted at one point, however. Another case for Vera her very self to solve, clearly.
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Two programmes for week-ending Sunday 29 March 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.49m
2 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 7.76m
3 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.7om
4 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 7.26m
5 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 6.55m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.45
7 Ordinary Lies - Tues BBC1 - 6.40m
8 MasterChef - Wed BBC1 - 5.94m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.89m
10 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.68m
11 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.59m
12 Euro 2016 Qualifiers: England Versus Lithuania - Fri ITV - 5.53m
13 Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 5.49m
14 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 5.07m
15 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.98m
16 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.81m
17 DCI Banks - Wed ITV - 4.66m*
18 The ONE Show - Fri BBC1 - 4.62m
19 The Truth About Calories - Thurs BBC1 - 4.56m
20 The Mafia With Trevor McDonald - Mon ITV - 4.33m*
21 The Musketeers - Sat BBC1 4.18m
22 Gogglebox - Fri Channel Four - 4.17m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. All three of MasterChef's weekly episodes had final and consolidated ratings figures of more than five million (5.94m, 5.81m and 5.39m respectively). On BBC2, the fourth episode of churlish, bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's awful misery-fest Banished had an audience of 3.20m. The most-watched programme of the week for the channel was Back In Time For Dinner (3.52m). University Challenge drew 3.13m and Caribbean With Simon Reeve attracted 2.88m, followed by Only Connect (2.65m), Gardeners' World (2.22m), Louis Theroux: By Reason Of Insanity (also 2.22m), and Dara & Ed's Great Big Adventure (2.08m). ITV's drama commissions continue to struggle with Mr Selfridge being watched by 3.94m (minus HD figures). Odious, wretched, horrible, nasty, waste-of-space rubbish Big Star's Little Star was watched by 3.39m sad, crushed victims of society. Gogglebox was, again, Channel Four's most watched programme of the week, followed by Cameron & Milimolimandi Live: The Battle For Malarkey & Shenanigans & That (2.60m), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.41m) and One Born Every Minute (2.14m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were imports - Gotham (1.76m) and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.65m). E4's The Big Bang Theory was the mutichannels most-watched programme of the week (1.65m). Foyle's War was ITV3's most-watched show with nine hundred and five thousand viewers. Inspector Montalbano was BBC4's highest-rated programme (seven hundred and fifty seven thousand) followed by The Normans (seven hundred and seven thousand), India's Frontier Railway (seven hundred and six thousand) and the first episode of The Quizeum (seven hundred and five thousand). BBC3's weekly ratings list was topped by Live At The Apollo (six hundred and twenty four thousand). 5USA's Castle attracted five hundred and fifty nine thousand, followed by The Mysteries Of Laura (five hundred and fifteen thousand) and NCIS (four hundred and forty three thousand). The Universal Channel's most watched show was Sleepy Hollow with two hundred and eighty seven thousand. Elementary on Sky Living drew nine hundred and thirty two thousand, followed by Criminal Minds (eight hundred and two thousand) and The Blacklist (six hundred and fifty eight thousand). Sky 1's The Flash brought in 1.14m. On Sky Atlantic, the latest episode of Fortitude attracted eight hundred and seventy four thousand punters. Being that it's the only place on British TV you can watch Top Gear, Dave's repeat of the popular car programme was the second most watched programmes on the channel - four hundred and sixteen thousand viewers - beaten only by an episode of Qi XL (four hundred and thirty one thousand). Drama's New Tricks repeat was watched by four hundred and twenty six thousand. Watch's Grimm had five hundred and eighty thousand. Crisis drew an audience of four hundred and twenty eight thousand. Medieval Dead on Yesterday gathered two hundred and eighty one thousand. The Discovery Channel's Gold Rush was watched by three hundred and seventy eight thousand. None the Sky Sports channels returned any figures to BARB this week and neither did FOX.

The BBC's iPlayer service set a record in February, with four episodes of Top Gear attracting nine million views between them. Much to the chargin of various sneering arseholes with an agenda at the Gruniad Morning Star, the Daily Mirra, the Daily Scum Mail, the Daily Torygraph, et al, obviously. February was the iPlayer's best month ever for requests to TV programmes, with an average of 8.6 million per day. In total, two hundred and ninety nine million TV and radio programmes were streamed or downloaded in February, down on January's record three hundred and forty three million due to the shorter month. The figures highlight the huge popularity of Top Gear with viewers and the tough task the corporation faces after its decision to drop Jezza Clarkson following his 'fracas' with Oisin Tymon. Four episodes of Top Gear took the first, second, third and fifth slots in the list of February's most-viewed shows on the iPlayer. EastEnders helped the catch-up TV service to a record for the week of 16 February, with the 'flashback' episode in which Lucy Beale's killer was revealed attracting some two million plays. The iPlayer statistics for March, which will be released at the beginning of next month, are likely to show a decline in viewing because only two episodes of Top Gear were broadcast that month before Clarkson was suspended.

Top Gear's executive producer, Andy Wilman, is claimed to be working with BBC bosses to see what can be saved of the films shot for the three episodes of the show pulled after Clarkson's suspension. A large amount of footage had already been shot for the three programmes which had been due to be broadcast during March. Wilman is, the Gruniad Morning Star alleged, 'understood' to be working with BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw to see what material could be used and how it could be packaged. It remains to be seen whether Clarkson's former co-presenters, James May and Richard Hammond would return, in either a short or long-term capacity, or whether the BBC would broadcast footage of Clarkson already filmed following its decision not to renew his contract. Though, in the case of the former, James and Richard seem to be making light of their current, 'unemployed' status. Wilman issued a statement on Tuesday after a leaked e-mail he sent to more than one hundred people who worked on the show appeared to suggest that he was leaving. Wilman said it was 'not a resignation statement' but rather a 'private note of thanks.' The BBC said that Wilman was still a member of its staff and had not resigned. A long time friend and colleague of Clarkson, the pair reinvented Top Gear in 2002, since when it has become one of the corporation's most valuable global brands earning an estimated eighty million smackers in profit each year, watched by between six and eight million viewers on BBC2 and three hundred and fifty million people around the world. In his e-mail, Wilman said: 'I know none of us wanted it to end this way, but for a moment I'd like us to look back and think about just what an incredible thing you all had a hand in creating. When Jane Root gave us the green light in 2002, the brief was to reinvigorate a car show and get an audience of three million. What you all ended up making was one of the most iconic programmes in TV history, a show about cars that went global, won countless awards, was devoured by non-car fans and ended up in the Guinness Book of Records.' He added: 'We had a lot of laughs, we had a lot of tiffs. We went to amazing places and we went to some shitholes. We nearly killed a presenter, we had to run for the border. We started off with whoever we could get in the Reasonably Priced Car, and ended up with Tom Cruise. Our stint as guardians of Top Gear was a good one, but we were only part of the show's history, not the whole of it. Those two words are bigger than us. When you're feeling low in your working day at any point, look around at some of the crap on TV, then have a think about Top Gear, 2002 to 2015, and say to yourself: "I made that."' The e-mail was, immediately, leaked - by some snitching Copper's Nark - to the media. One wonders if it was the same individual who Copper's Narked Clarkson up to the Mirra last year over that unbroadcast footage? Seem to be a lot of leaks in the Top Gear office. Perhaps what they really need is not a new presenter but a plumber. Wilman said on Tuesday: 'The e-mail I wrote yesterday was not a resignation statement, and nor was it meant for public consumption. It was a private note of thanks to one hundred and thirteen people who have worked on the show over the years, but clearly one of those one hundred and thirteen is a bit of a tit, because they shared it with a website. I don't get this modern obsession with sharing, linking, forwarding, re tweeting; whatever happened to a private moment? And if I were to resign, I wouldn't do it publicly, I'd do it old school by handing in my notice, to someone upstairs in HR. I work behind the camera and I wouldn't presume for one moment to think people are interested in what I do. Now, everyone back to work.' Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC's former science and natural history chief who was put in charge of BBC2 and BBC4 last year, has been tasked by BBC Director General Tony Hall with reinventing Top Gear in 2016 and looking at 'how we put out the last programmes in the current series.'

Incidentally, regarding Clarkson's potential replacement on Top Gear, public - and, seemingly, serious - suggestions so far have included Sue Perkins, Clare Blading and 'a woman' (so, Ann Widdecombe, theoretically). Meanwhile, a group of feminists have, reportedly, formed a football team and want to get into the Premier League. The silly buggers, they've already got Queens Park Rangers, what more do they want?
UKTV have commissioned a life-size chocolate statue of yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, to promote its new on-demand channel. The perfect gift from any Sherlock fans with type two diabetes.
BBC's drama chief Ben Stephenson is to join JJ Abrams's Bad Robot Productions. Stephenson - who has been responsible for launching shows including Sherlock and Call The Midwife - will depart the BBC later this year after eleven years at the corporation. He has headed up the drama division since 2008 and has been credited with commissioning the likes of The Fall, Line Of Duty, Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley, The Missing and Luther. Ben will now take up the position of head of television at Bad Robot, which produces TV shows such as Person Of Interest and an upcoming adaptation of Michael Crichton's Westworld. Previous shows have included Alias and Lost, along with the Mission: Impossible and Star Trek film franchises. Ben said: 'Running BBC drama has been an honour – it's the most fun job in British TV. Whilst it's a massive wrench to leave I cannot wait to begin a new adventure in LA with JJ. I have long admired his work and am thrilled to be joining the Bad Robot family.' The BBC's director of television, Danny Cohen, said: 'Ben has made a truly extraordinary impact on the British drama industry in the last few years. The quality, range and ambition of BBC drama is testament to his creative power, strategic thinking and immense passion for great writing. The BBC owes Ben a great debt of gratitude and I will miss him greatly, personally and professionally.' This blogger will be particularly sorry to see Ben go as yer actual Keith Telly Topping has been a great admirer not only of many of the programmes Ben has commissioned but, also, of the way in which Ben has always been open and approachable and given good quote when needed. And also, the way in which he has conducted himself often in the face of ignorant and ridiculous criticism from glakes with an agenda. British television's loss is American television's gain.

Britain's latest national heartthrob, Poldark's Aidan Turner has many viewers swooning with his shirtless and skinny-dipping scenes in the BBC period drama. And now the thirty one-year-old actor has let slip the secret to his new found sex symbol status. Baby oil. Speaking to Katie Glass for The Sunday Times Magazine about his role as the rugged Captain Ross Poldark in the series, Turner explained: 'I just didn't see Poldark having a beer belly or being out of shape, given his lifestyle. In my next role, I want to grow a beard and put on loads of weight.' On the subject of the legions of loyal fans Turner has recently accrued, he continued: 'It's very sweet, very flattering. But to be fair, a lot of it's to do with the character. It's a romantic genre: Poldark's just that type of guy.' The Irish actor - previously best known for a similarly brooding and Byronesque role as a vampire in BBC3's Being Human - also admitted to using 'some kind of baby oil' and eyeliner but definitely no mascara for some of the smouldering scenes. Discussing the attention his torso has garnered from viewers, he added: 'I don't think about it. It's strange, I mean, would it be the same if it was a female lead role and she had a bikini scene on the beach? Would the papers show it the same way? Would the audiences feel the same? It's all light-hearted and kind, but would it be the same? I don't mind. It's fun and the tabloids can have the craic.' Discussing whether his actress girlfriend Sarah Greene gets jealous about all the female attention he's receiving, Aidan said: 'She finds it funny. Because it's ridiculous, isn't it? We don't take ourselves too seriously."'

House Of Cards has - unsurprisingly - been renewed by Netflix. The political drama series will be back for a fourth season in 2016, it announced on Thursday. Netflix also indicated that production on season four will likely commence over the summer. The most recent season of House Of Cards ended on a major cliffhanger involving the career ambitions of US president Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey).
The third series of Endeavour is now in production for ITV. Shaun Evans will return in the Inspector Morse prequel as Endeavour Morse, who was last seen being framed for a murder which he did not commit. Series two also saw Endeavour's mentor, Fred Thursday, (the excellent Roger Allam) being very shot in the chest. Confirmed to be returning are Jack Laskey as Peter Jakes, Sean Rigby as Jim Strange, Anton Lesser - so good recently in Wolf Hall - as Chief Superintendent Bright, James Bradshaw as Max DeBryn and Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil. Comprising of four two hour films, the third series will be set in 1967 with the first episode following the murder of a bus conductress on the night that she visited the local fairground. 'Our next quartet of mysteries will take the audience on a psychedelic Summer of Love fairground ride, filled with twists and turns, shrieks and scares,' said writer Russell Lewis. 'In particular, one encounter at a certain stately home will echo down the years, and have consequences that not even Endeavour Morse could have foreseen. The only constant is death. And Green Shield Stamps.' No date has been announced for Endeavour series three though it's likely to be in the winter.

Stephen Poliakoff's latest BBC drama will be set in the world of military secrets and national security in the aftermath of the second world war, starring Jim Sturgess, Robert Glenister, Angela Bassett and Alfred Molina. Close To The Enemy, a six-part series for BBC2, will follow the attempts of an army intelligence officer, played by Sturgess, to persuade a captured German scientist (Inglourious Basterds' August Diehl) to share his nation's secrets about the development of the jet engine. Set against the background of the emerging Cold War, it will be Poliakoff's first BBC drama since Dancing On The Edge. Which a lot of people thought was great but which this blogger considered to right load of old tripe. Ben Stephenson, the BBC's soon-to-be-former controller of drama commissioning, said that Close To The Enemy was 'a hugely compelling drama which shines a light on a fascinating piece of British history' with an 'amazing cast, wonderful design and original music.' The drama, set mainly in a bomb-damaged London hotel, will see army captain Callum Ferguson encounter a number of characters whose stories all intertwine. They include his younger brother, played by Freddie Highmore (best known for Bates Motel), who is struggling to deal with the trauma of the conflict and Molina's Foreign Office official who reveals some startling truths about the outbreak of the war. It will also star Alfie Allen, Wolf Hall's Charity Wakefield and Lindsay Duncan. Charlotte Riley plays an 'enchanting Anglophile American' engaged to Ferguson's best friend and Phoebe Fox, a woman in the war crimes unit fighting to bring war criminals to justice. Producer Helen Flint, a long-time collaborator with Poliakoff, said: 'Close To The Enemy is set in the transitional period of 1946 – the brutal second world war is finally over but the destruction of families and cities permeates everyone's lives. As the Cold War takes its hold in Europe and the public realisation that the atom bomb could be used by any government, our hero Callum passionately believes that to safeguard the future you mustn't heed the past regardless of how terrible it has been. However, as the story unfolds, he finds that he is compelled to look backwards and eventually realises that you have to judge (for good or ill) those voluntarily or involuntarily involved in order to actually have a safer world.' Written and directed by Poliakoff, whose other dramas include Gideon’s Daughter and The Lost Prince, filming will take place in London and Liverpool and began earlier this week. It will be shown on BBC2 in 2016. Close To The Enemy is made by Little Island Productions in association with Endor Productions. BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw said Poliakoff was 'one of the country's foremost writers and directors and I'm delighted he is creating this distinctive new piece for us.'

And now ...
Professional Scouser Paul O'Grady has, apparently, ruled out appearing on Strictly Come Dancing: 'I'd smash Craig's face in,' he claimed. Ooo. You, can't do that matey. You might get away with that sort of thing at ITV but, you get sacked for it at the Beeb.
Stan Lee, the comic book legend behind Iron Man, Spider-Man and The X-Men, will create 'a different kind of superhero' in a new TV series starring yer actual James Nesbitt as a detective who can control luck. Lucky Man, a ten-part series for Sky, will be made by the production company behind Downton Abbey. It will be the first UK television drama from Lee, who is ninety two and has been a familiar name to comic book fans for seven decades. Lee said: 'Luck has always been a fascinating subject to me, and I am excited to finally share that fascination with audiences around the world. With all the creative projects I have worked on, I sure am a lucky man myself.' Nesbitt, the former Cold Feet, Murphy's Law, Jekyll and Monroe star recently acclaimed for his role in the BBC1 thriller, The Missing, will feature as London murder detective Harry Clayton who is given a charm by a mysterious woman which enables him to make his own luck. The ancient bracelet signals a change in fortunes for Clayton, whose wife and child have left him and has run up a huge debt to an underworld crime boss who is threatening to kill him. Lucky Man, which will broadcast on Sky1 next year, will co-star Eve Best, who appeared in BBC2's award-winning The Honourable Woman last year, Sienna Guillory and Amara Karan, who starred in Wes Anderson's film, The Darjeeling Limited. It will also feature Omid Djalili, Darren Boyd, Jing Lusi and Kenneth Tsang. Executive producer Richard Fell said: 'Lucky Man is a different kind of superhero show – Stan has come up with an absolutely brilliant idea; something that we can all relate to. What if you could control luck? Would that be the greatest thing you could give someone, or their worst nightmare? It’s a twist which brings the whole superhero genre right back down to earth.' It is the latest in a burgeoning stable of TV superhero shows, that has grown to include Batman prequel Gotham, Arrow, The Flash, Avengers Assemble spin-off Agents of SHIELD and Captain America sibling Agent Carter starring Hayley Atwell.The TV version of Marvel's Daredevil will launch on Netflix on 10 April, one of a host of new Marvel superhero shows on the video-on-demand service, with a Supergirl pilot in the pipeline at CBS. Sky1 director Adam MacDonald described Lucky Man as 'mysterious, thrilling, energetic … a visually striking crime thriller.' Sky has looked to up its game in homegrown drama in recent years to match the best of its US imports, such as Game Of Thrones, which returns next month. Sky's twenty five million smackers Arctic Circle murder mystery Fortitude, which comes to an end next week, was the broadcaster's biggest homegrown drama to date, albeit ratings have slumped considerably in recent weeks. Lucky Man will be made by Carnival Films, owned by NBC Universal, in collaboration with Lee’s POW! Entertainment.

Speaking of the new version of Supergirl, the first pictures of Melissa Benoist in costume have recently been released. And, not unexpectedly, gone viral. Something which yer actual Keith Telly Topping is only too pleased to help with.
Gosh. She can certainly visit this blogger's Fortress of Solitude any time she likes.

Lord Snooty has expressed interest in doing a Downton Abbey spin-off set in the 1970s. Speaking at a Mencap fashion show in London, Lord Snooty said that he had 'ideas' for an offshoot for the ITV period drama. 'I think in ten years, it could be quite fun - when we have all forgotten about it - if it came back as Downton struggling in the 1970s,' he to the Mirra. Mind you, he said all this on 1 April so, you know ...
Amanda Holden has revealed that she has to wear nipple covers on TV. Insert your own punchline here.
Gold has ordered a new biography series about comedians - 'with a difference' it says here. The Interviews - a six part series - will focus on a different star in each episode by using their appearances on British chat shows. So, a clip-show in other words. Yes, that does sound different. Kenneth Williams, Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker, Les Dawson, Oliver Reed, Spike Milligan, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore will each feature in an episode of The Interviews, with Dawn French providing a voiceover for the series. Although whether Ollie qualifies as 'a comedian' per se is an interesting little side point. As well as using footage with interviewers such as Michael Parkinson, Terry Wogan, Melvyn Bragg, Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton, Michael Aspel, Des O'Connor and Mavis Nicholson, the series will use clips from personal documentary interviews and radio specials. Gold's commissioning editor Iain Coyle described the series as 'a compelling show that perfectly captures the personalities of our comedy legends.' Or, a clip-show. Whichever you prefer. Still, fair's fair, an hour of Pete and Dud is better than ninety nine per cent of anything else you'll find on telly any time soon even if it is all stuff you've already seen.
Atlantis will return to BBC1 next month. The fantasy drama will resume its second series on Saturday 11 April at 7.45pm. Based on the Greek myths, Atlantis was cancelled by the BBC earlier this year - because it was shit and no one was watching it, basically - but returns to broadcast its final seven episodes.
The BBC have announced that Bonnie Langford will be joining the cast of EastEnders. Presumably, they'll be hoping that her arrival will not have a similar affect on the continuing drama's audience size as her turning up in Doctor Who did in the mid-1980s. Cos, that would be terrible for all concerned.

Matt Le Tissier has confirmed that he will compete on Countdown. The former footballer took to Twitter to announce the news, revealing that he will film in the autumn. 'Passed my contestant audition for Countdown,' he said. 'Hope you've brushed up on the numbers, Rachel Riley.' Le Tiss appeared on the Channel Four game show back in 2009 as a Dictionary Corner guest, solving a maths puzzle which had stumped Riley. A - really rather decent - pundit for Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday (well, certainly better than his oppos Merson, Big Nose and Champagne Charlie in so much as, at least he can speak something which is almost recognisable as English), Matt spent his entire professional club career at Southampton. Where, annoyingly, he regularly scored properly spectacular goals against yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies. But, I'm not bitter about it. No, really. He also won eight England caps.
On the subject of the divine Goddess that is Rachel Riley, she has claimed in an interview with the Torygraph that, when she started on Countdown, she was earning 'less than forty grand a year.' Which is, obviously, a tragedy of almost Biblical proportions. Although some might consider that to be not a bad wage for, simply, being able to spell and count. Don't come to yer actual Keith Telly Topping looking for a short answer to that one.
The very excellent William Petersen is making his return to television as a series regular on WGN America's Manhattan. Petersen returns to TV after his celebrated EMMY and Golden Globe-nominated ten-year run as Gil Grissom in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. WGN America made the announcement on Thursday. Petersen will play Colonel Emmett Darrow, the 'enigmatic new ranking military officer at Los Alamos.' Manhattan is set against the backdrop of the greatest race against time in the history of science — the Manhattan Project mission to build the world's first atomic bomb. The series follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families in Los Alamos as they attempt to coexist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives. The show recently won the 2015 SXSW Jury Award for Excellence in Title Design. Manhattan will begin production on its second season in New Mexico in April for a 2015 debut on WGN America.
South African comedian Trevor Noah is to replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, the New York Times reported earlier this week. The thirty one-year-old made his debut as a contributor to the nightly satirical show last December. His first appearance took aim at racial tensions in the US, saying: 'I never thought I'd be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa.' Stewart announced that he would be stepping down from his role in January. He has hosted the influential comedy show for sixteen years. The presenter has yet to set a timetable for his departure, but the selection of a replacement should make the task easier. Producers will want to give Noah time to settle into this new role before next year's Presidential election. Speaking to the New York Times from Dubai, where he is currently on tour, the comedian expressed disbelief at his appointment. 'You don't believe it for the first few hours,' he said. 'You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you're in a place where you can't really get alcohol.' 'I'm thrilled for the show and for Trevor,' said Stewart in a statement. 'He's a tremendous comic and talent that we've loved working with.' He added that he 'may rejoin [The Daily Show] as a correspondent just to be a part of it!' Under Stewart's guidance, The Daily Show has become one of the most important political programmes on US television. Even though he insists that he is a comedian, not a serious journalist, Stewart's passionate monologues on politics, race and social injustice exert a real influence on political debate in the United States. 'He essentially invented a new way to deliver the news that spoke to a younger generation less trusting of the traditional sources but still very interested in the world,' said Dan Pfeiffer, an adviser to President Barack Obama, when Stewart announced he was quitting. As well as Stewart, The Daily Show has also nurtured the careers of comedians such as Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and, most recently, John Oliver - all of whom started off a reporters in the show's fake newsroom set-up before getting their own shows. Noah is a relative unknown in the States, but has hosted numerous television shows - including his own late night talk show - in his native country. It has garnered him an avid following on Twitter, where his two million followers will be aware of his ability to satirise the news without disengaging from the issues. Noah was previously the subject of David Paul Meyer's award-winning film You Laugh But It's True, which documented his career in post-apartheid South Africa. The comedian is better known in the UK where he has appeared on panel shows including Qi and Eight Out Of Ten Cats, as well as performing on the BBC's Live From The Apollo programme. He also performed at last year's Royal Variety Performance, where he spoke about his parents - a white Swiss man and a black Xhosa woman, whose relationship was illegal under Apartheid laws. His mother was fined and jailed by the South African government - Noah joked that he was 'born a crime' - and he grew up in a Soweto township. A TV career began when he landed a role on the soap opera Isidingo, aged eighteen, and he went on to host reality shows and radio programmes before becoming a stand-up. 'Trevor Noah is an enormous talent,' said Michelle Ganeless, president of Comedy Central, which broadcasts The Daily Show. 'He has an insightful and unique point of view, and most importantly, is wickedly funny. He has a huge international following and is poised to explode here in America, and we are thrilled to have him join Comedy Central.' Writing on Twitter, Noah added: 'No-one can replace Jon Stewart. But together with the amazing team at The Daily Show, we will continue to make this the best damn news show!'

Of course, typically, within just hours of this announcement, someone with a big nose and far too much time on their hands went back through Trevor's Twitter postings in the search of some controversy to make trouble. And, found something. You kind of knew that was going to happen, didn't you?

Broadcaster Stephen Fry has 'sworn off' Instagram, saying that he has been 'hounded off' the photo-sharing service. The fifty seven-year-old, who commands a huge following on social media, announced his departure by posting a blank image on Monday. 'Newspapers, as ever, suck all the joy out of everything,' he wrote. 'Closing down. It was, briefly, fun. Bye.'
Horrible, odious, sneering, full-of-her-own-importance fuck-faced horrorshow (and drag) Kay Burley will not face an Ofcom inquiry over her interview with an Islamic human rights advocate. Cerie Bullivant, from the group Cage, walked out of an interview with the horrible, odious, sneering, full-of-her-own-importance, fuck-faced horrorshow (and drag) Sky News anchor in February after taking issue with her questions. Horrible, odious, sneering, full-of-her-own-importance, fuck-faced horrorshow (and drag) Burley asked Bullivant for his thoughts on the recent ISIS beheadings and also asked whether he condemned the actions of Jihadi John. 'Your question is inherently Islamophobic and racist,' Bullivant replied, arguing that Muslims should not have to defend their humanity by condemning the 'brutal' actions of ISIS just as Christians don't have to defend the ludicrous actions of, for example, the Westboro Baptist Chruch. 'Nonsense, get over yourself,' horrible, odious, sneering, full-of-her-own-importance, fuck-faced horrorshow (and drag) Burley said. An Ofcom spokesperson said in a statement on Monday: 'Ofcom has carefully assessed a number of complaints about whether a presenter's questioning style was appropriate during an interview about executions carried out by ISIS. In our view, the interviewee was able to respond to the questions, despite the presenter's style and as a result we have not taken the matter forward for investigation.' So,in other words, the fact that horrible, odious, sneering, full-of-her-own-importance fuck-faced horrorshow (and drag) Burley is a rude, ignorant waste-of-space bullying smear whose interviews are always like that means that she can, seemingly, get away with anything she likes as far as Ofcom are concerned. That's good to know. Ofcom, remember, are a politically appointed quango, elected by no one. Last year, horrible, odious, sneering, full-of-her-own-importance, fuck-faced horrorshow (and drag) Burley was forced to grovellingly apologise after saying on-air that a Yes campaigner for Scottish Independence looked 'like a bit of a knob.' Although, whether she meant the apology or not is, legitimately, open to question.
The argument over a lack of steak and chips that led to the 'fracas' a'tween Jezza Clarkson and Oisin Tymon is 'just a slice of daily life' for embattled and hungry programme-makers working for the BBC, according to professional camera crews. Cuts to the food budget and the size of film crews on documentaries and factual shows mean that teams working on location must work twice as hard, without much to eat. This is the claim of Keith Massey, chairman of the Guild of Television Cameramen, who believes the empty larder at the end of a day's filming which so incensed Jezza that he went totally off-it is the sign of a widespread problem in the corporation. Speaking last weekend, he told the Observer Morning Star the declining support for pressurised television crews has finally inflicted a serious wound on the BBC. 'It is not acceptable to go round thumping people, but tensions are going to arise in a creative marketplace when people have been fighting the elements all day outside and then there is no hot food. We know, after all, that an army marches on its stomach,' Massey said. 'It is very disappointing that the BBC has lost one of its most valuable assets because of this sort of problem. On drama productions, budgets and staffing levels are still fairly protected, but factual programmes are suffering. Many news programmes are now down to the most basic single crew member, and it certainly affects the quality of what you can do.'

The Gruniad Morning Star's Jacquie Lawrence wants to know Where Have All The Lesbians Gone In TV & Film? Have you got them, dear blog reader? If so, please let Jacquie know as the poor lass sounds really distraught. This was a From The North public service announcement. Next ...

Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid had to rush off to change her dress during the breakfast TV show after suffering 'a wardrobe malfunction.' Viewers discovered that Reid, who blamed 'physics' for the tear, had disappeared from her desk after a news bulletin. John Stapleton told viewers that Susanna's dress had split 'spectacularly' and joked that being 'accidentally flashed' by his co-presenter was 'one of the bonuses of the show they don't put in the job description.' Luckily for Reid, her dress split while the cameras were not on her, but Horrible Kate Garraway explained: 'Susanna's just nipped out of the studio with a slight wardrobe malfunction. All will be sorted out although it has warmed John up this morning so he's very pleased about it. I won't go into any more detail but it was all marvellous for a moment there for you wasn't it!' Returning to the studio, a red-faced Reid said that she had been given a replacement dress which was almost 'exactly the same' as the one she had been wearing. 'A wardrobe malfunction is a very sweet way of saying it. My dress broke, literally,' she told viewers of the flop ITV breakfast show. 'During the news bulletin the back of it just completely split open. Behind the scenes the lovely wardrobe mistress was trying to sew me into the dress but I think physics and my sheer width was proving a bit of an obstacle.'
A local TV channel has grovelling apologised after one of its presenter used a bad and naughty swearword - one that begins with a 'c' and ends with a 't' - and, it isn't 'can't' in case you were wondering - to describe a colleague whilst live on-air. Helen McDermott, a former Anglia News and BBC Radio Norfolk presenter, used the crude sexually explicit term to describe Darren Eadie, her Mustard TV co-host. No, honestly, it's called Mustard TV. Don't blame me, I didn't name it. Anyway, the derogatory and taboo term was broadcast on the Norwich-based channel's The Mustard Show - look, I'm not making this up, honest - during a pre-recorded link. Managing director Fiona Ryder said: 'Helen and Mustard TV apologise for this lapse and any offence caused.' Eadie, a former Premiership footballer, began a link by saying the magazine show was 'big on history' and joked about McDermott being 'a relic.' McDermott responded by using the bad, naughty, swearword to introduce a package that former Norwich City and Leicester City player Eadie had recorded about fossils in Happisburgh, on the Norfolk coast. Ryder said: 'In a recent pre-recorded segment of a Mustard TV show, presenter Helen McDermott used inappropriate language in an exchange with a colleague. The segment was subsequently re-recorded, but the wrong edit of the segment was broadcast.' Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said that it had not received any complaints about the broadcast, as yet. Presumably, because no one was watching The Mustard Show at the time.

Cortana, could you get me the number for some really mean pipe-hittin' hombres as I'd like to hire them to administer a jolly harsh - but fair - and long-overdue chastisement to those smug fuckers Clean Bandit. For making that sodding annoying advert and other crimes against humanity. Thanks Cortona, you're a treasure.
EastEnders couple Kat and Alfie Moon are getting their own spin-off series. Jessie Wallace and Shane Ritchie, who play an often unhappy pair in the BBC soap, will star in a six-part series to be broadcast next year. Richie said: 'Both Jessie and I are absolutely thrilled to be given this amazing opportunity. To have a whole drama focused around Kat and Alfie is a huge honour for us both and we just can't wait to start filming.' Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said the two characters would temporarily leave Albert Square for a 'period of soul-searching and adventures in Ireland. In the next few weeks on EastEnders, viewers will witness several huge twists for Kat and Alfie Moon that will change their lives forever,' he said. 'Now is the perfect time to take two of EastEnders' most beloved and enduring characters out of their comfort zone as they head to Ireland to search for answers to some very big questions.' And Bjork. Probably. He added: 'My team here are very excited about creating a whole new drama that stands apart from EastEnders while taking our style of storytelling to a place of stories, myth, secrets and immeasurable beauty.'

Sherlock's executive producer and Hartswood Films founder - and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's mum-in-law - Beryl Vertue is to be given the inaugural lifetime achievement prize at this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival awards. Vertue – who has worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment including Kirk Douglas, Spike Milligan, Frankie Howerd, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Clunes – has also recently co-produced BBC's forthcoming adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, written and directed by Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio. She will be presented with the award at the festival ceremony on 27 August in recognition for the impact she has made on the television industry. As part of the introduction of the new award, Beryl will also give a keynote address. Vertue said: 'I am delighted to be honoured with such a prestigious award, and much looking forward to receiving it at the Edinburgh television festival, one of my favourite events.' Festival director Lisa Campbell, said: 'The theme for 2015's Festival is "Talent" and we feel that as a legendary producer and businesswoman who has worked with some of the biggest names in television for more than fifty years, Beryl is one of the ultimate names in global talent and we are delighted that she will be able to accept this prestigious award in the festival's fortieth year.' The festival has also announced a second new award category this year, for best online innovation.

Missing episodes of the BBC radio comedy Hancock's Half Hour will be brought back to life at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Four scripts will be staged at the Assembly Rooms in August, after being rediscovered by actor and rare book collector Neil Pearson. His finds led to a BBC Radio 4 series last year that recreated several shows whose recordings had been wiped. The Fringe show will feature four previously unseen scripts, Pearson told Scotland On Sunday. 'The scripts are as fresh and as funny as if they were written yesterday,' he said. 'As well as being quite hilarious reads, [they] are quite valuable artefacts, which link us not just to the period but the very time when they were recorded.' Pearson, who made his name in Channel Four newsroom satire Drop The Dead Donkey and the BBC's crime drama Between The Lines, came across the scripts as part of his other career as a book dealer. He acquired them through the estate of a freelance comedy writer and, while researching them, discovered that some were for episodes whose recordings were wiped by the BBC. His research concluded that twenty of the one hundred and three Hancock's Half Hour radio shows are missing, including three in which an absent Hancock was replaced by Harry Secombe. Radio 4 recorded and broadcast a number of the missing episodes to mark the comedy's sixtieth anniversary last year. Pearson says a second series if remakes is in the works. In Edinburgh, as on radio, the role of Tony Hancock will played by Pirates Of The Caribbean star Kevin McNally. 'When people come to the live show it will be as if you are attending the original radio recording in the 1950s,' said Pearson. 'The characters will have the scripts in their hands around a 1950s microphone, just as it would have been ­recorded at the BBC. We will have four absolutely unheard episodes that will be performed in two different shows, so people can come twice if they want.'
The Grand Dame Her Very Self David Bowie is co-writing a stage show inspired by The Man Who Fell To Earth, the New York Theatre Workshop has announced. The production, Lazarus, will feature new songs specially composed by Bowie her very self as well as new arrangements of some of her older material. Bowie is working on the project with Irish playwright Enda Walsh, who won a TONY Award for the musical Once. Lazarus is due to premiere in New York in the winter. The show is inspired by the 1963 novel, The Man Who Fell To Earth, by Walter Tevis, and centres on the character of Thomas Newton, played by Bowie in the - rather loose, but nevertheless fascinating - 1976 screen adaptation directed by Nicolas Roeg. It will be directed by the Belgian Ivo van Hove, whose recent London productions include Antigone, with Juliet Binoche, and the sell-out A View From The Bridge, starring Mark Strong. Bowie is not expected to feature in the cast. James C Nicola, the artistic director of the New York Theatre Workshop, said the show had been in 'secret development' for some years. He told the New York Times: 'It's going to be a play with characters and songs - I'm calling it music theatre, but I don't really know what it's going to be like. I just have incredible trust in their creative vision.' Nicola said that the show would not retell the story of the book and film, but would feature some of the same characters. Bowie surprised his fans in 2013 when he suddenly released a new single on his sixty sixth birthday - followed by a new CD - after a ten-year hiatus. And, even more remarkably, it was pretty good.

For the first time since last December, yer actual Keith Telly Topping managed to hit the thirty lengths barrier at the pool on Monday morning. Remarkable, especially considering that pretty much everything appeared to be against such a feat occurring that particular day (yer actual was feeling very unwhelmed and the pool was far busier than usual on a Monday morning at 7:30 et cetera). Yet, the feat was, indeed, managed. Thus, yer actual spent the rest of the day feeling fair Jacob's Cream Crackered but, you know, as happy as Pharrell Whatshisface, The Rolling Stones, The House Of Love, Altered Images, R.E.M and Bobby McThingy all rolled into one. It was back to twenty eight lengths on Wednesday. Keith Telly Topping probably had enough energy in him for another couple but, by that time, the pool was starting to get really packed and he'd already swam, twice, into a fat lass who was doing widths. He thought someone might get the wrong idea.
The lovely, but (allegedly) much-punched Cynthia Lennon, the first missus of alcoholic, wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon, has died at her home in Spain, her family have announced. A message on her son Julian's website said that Cyn died 'following a short but brave battle with cancer.' It added: 'Her son, Julian Lennon, was at her bedside throughout. The family are thankful for your prayers.' Born Cynthia Lillian Powell in Blackpool on 10 September 1939, Cyn grew up in the - rather posh - Liverpool suburb of Hoylake with her parents and two elder brothers and started at Liverpool College of Art in 1957 on the same day that Middle Class rocker and grammar school drop-out Lennon did. Cynthia met Lennon, allegedly, when he tapped her on the back in class and said 'Hi, I'm John.' The couple appeared to be mismatched but dated, off-and-on for the next few years until, eventually, Lennon got her up the duff and they married in August 1962 just before Be-Atlemania transformed her violent, drunken husband into one of the most famous men in the world. At the height of The Be-Atles' early success Cyn was, at the insistence of the band's management, kept in the background so that their legions of teenage female fans were not aware of her existence. She usually stayed at home bringing up Julian - who was born in 1963 - while The Fab Four toured the world, although she did accompany the group on their first trip to America in early 1964. The couple divorced in 1968 after Cynthia discovered her husband was involved in a torrid affair with Japanese conceptual artist Yoko Ono. Former Be-Atle Sir Paul McCartney said: 'She was a lovely lady who I've known since our early days together in Liverpool. She was a good mother to Julian and will be missed by us all but I will always have great memories of our times together.' Yoko Ono her very self added: 'She had such a strong zest for life and I felt proud how we two women stood firm in The Be-Atles family. Please join me in sending love and support to Julian at this very sad time.' Hunter Davies, who wrote the only official biography of The Be-Atles in 1968, described Cynthia as 'a lovely woman. When I was writing the book I spent two years with them, visiting her home and spending time with her. She was totally different from John in that she was quiet, reserved and calm. She was not a hippy at all. I think it was the attraction of opposites between them. When they got together at art school everyone was amazed - she was seen as refined and reserved and nobody thought they would last.' He added: 'John treated her appallingly. He slept with Yoko in their marital home and, as we discovered later, he also physically attacked her but she was loyal to him.' Answering questions in the Independent in 1999, Cynthia claimed that John never wrote a song specifically for her because it was 'too sloppy when you were young to dedicate anything to anybody. Macho Northern men didn't do that in those days. I can only muse about our time together and feel from the music.' Lennon himself subsequently admitted during one of his last interviews that his contribution to 1967's 'Getting Better' was directly influenced by his poor treatment of Cynthia ('I used to be cruel to my women, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved'). It's probably fair to say that several of his early love songs were also, at least in part, inspired by her. Cynthia twice published memoirs of her time with John - yer actual Keith Telly Topping once paid good money for one of these, 1979's A Twist Of Lennon, which had almost no literary merit to it, if I'm being honest - and, when she was publicising one of the books in 2005, she told Good Morning America that she 'couldn't resist being around him. You couldn't resist watching what he was up to,' she said, 'I mean, he was a total rebel. Everybody was amazed by him. I have read so many books and seen so many films and it's like we don't really exist. We are like walk-on parts in his life. We did spend ten years together', she added. After divorcing alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie Lennon, Cyn married three more times. The first two were in 1970, to Italian hotelier Roberto Bassanini and six years later to engineer John Twist from Lancashire. Both relationships ended divorce. She later married a former nightclub owner, Noel Charles, in 2002. He died in 2013.

One really has to hand it to the Sunday Sport, they always manage to bring you the stories that no one else dares to touch with a bargepole.
And finally, dear blog reader, given that this weekend is a special one for Christians and Lapinphobes alike, here's a special message from The doctor on the very subject.
The lad's got a point, you know, Happy Easter everyone.
For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, let's have a quality slice of yer actual Northern Sou, dear blog reader.

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