Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thou Shalt Not Follow Lost Prophets: Making Plans Like Nigel

Have a gander, dear blog reader, at the new monster which will be appearing in Doctor Who this autumn. The BBC previously released an image of the armoured-plated alien killing machine shrouded in darkness, but this new on-set photo, unveiled on Thursday, gives fans their first clear look at The Doctor's newest - as yet unnamed - nemesis. Poldark's Ed Bazalgette - director of series nine's fifth and sixth episodes - is also pictured, reviewing some footage with the creature.
Mark Gatiss has confirmed that the upcoming Sherlock special will take place in 1895. The one-off Christmas episode had already been confirmed as being set in the Victorian era, but some fans had wondered in which exact year it would take place. 'I can correct something that has been misreported,' Gatiss told the BBC News website. 'The [episode] is set in 1895, not 1885.' Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self will return as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, but it will be a one-off conceit set in the past and will not be connected to the standard timeline of the BBC1 series. When asked whether the ten years between 1885 and 1895 makes a difference, Gatiss replied: 'It does, you wait and see, all the difference.' According to the Digital Spy website, 1895 was 'the year in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle attempted to kill off Holmes in The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes, only to later resurrect the character after a public outcry.' In actual fact, that's a right load of old toot; The Final Problem, the story in which Conan Doyle killed off Holmes and Moriarty was published in 1893. Pfft, amateurs.
Mark's follow Sherlock co-creator has told BBC Newsbeat that it is 'getting harder' to persuade yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch to do the show. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat says that this is because Benny and Martin Freeman his very self 'don't need it.' They both have successful movie careers which means that their schedules are packed. 'They don't need Sherlock any more. So we have to persuade them to do it - which is fair enough,' Steven noted. 'They are very serious about it, they do love it very much,' he added. 'I didn't think we actually thought we'd get a fourth series out of them.' The BBC news site notes that 'Moffat also writes and produces Doctor Who'- you knew that, right? - and said that it's usual to have to persuade actors to do shows. 'You still have to pitch it. It's not unreasonable. I still sit with Matt Smith every time and Peter Capaldi and say - this is what we're going to do,' he explained. 'They would like to know that we've got another bunch of stories that they would like to do. That's a fair question.' Despite being extremely busy Steven says both Benny and Marty are committed to Sherlock and genuinely enjoy filming it. 'The fact that the series is shorter and relatively quick to do works in their favour too. It's not like doing Doctor Who where you practically marry the show,' he said. 'It's round the clock, round the year and you get one day off a year and that's Christmas Day and it's sodding well on on that day anyway. Sherlock can go on for a long time because we just show up occasionally and do it. It's like a reunion party every time.' So is the end in sight? 'Truthfully not yet, I don't think. But then, I'm an optimist.'
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has given an exclusive video interview to YouTube channel Brilloxians, run by his son, Louis. In it, Steven explains why he left Twitter, what he most likes in a sandwich and reveals how Wicked Evil, Naughty Mark Gatiss often manipulates him with Maltesers. The bad, bad man.

Lara Pulver has said that she does not know if she will ever return to Sherlock. The actress made an 'uge impression which chaps (and, more than a few ladychaps) as Irene Adler in the second series opener A Scandal In Belgravia and appeared again in a brief cameo in a fantasy sequence in third series episode The Sign Of Three. Asked if we will ever see her character again on the drama, Pulver told Stylist: 'I honestly don't know. I was on holiday and a young fan came up and asked for an autograph and said, "You're filming the Christmas special right now, aren't you?" And I was like, "Erm, it doesn't really look like I am!" I'd prefer to be in one episode of that calibre than flit around in the background.' Lara has previously said that she would like to return to Sherlock, though the show's co-creators have said that any return for Adler must be story-led and not for the sake of giving lots of people The Horn. Although, to be fair, that is still a pretty good reason.
Penny Dreadful and Sherlock were the biggest winners at BAFTA's Television Craft Awards, honouring British TV talent from behind-the-scenes on Sunday evening. Sky Atlantic's supernatural horror Penny Dreadful, set in Victorian London, won for original music, production design and make-up and hair. Sherlock won the sound and editing awards in the fiction category. The popular drama has now earned nine BAFTAs in four years. Mackenzie Crook won his first Bafta, for comedy writing, for Detectorists, which he starred in with Toby Jones. Happy Valley writer Sally Wainwright was honoured in the drama category for her police thriller. The BBC drama is one of four programmes leading the nominations at next month's BAFTA TV awards, where it is up for three alongside The Missing, Line Of Duty and Marvellous. Staff on ITV talent show The X Factor won the entertainment craft team award, beating rival teams on BBC shows The Voice and Strictly Come Dancing. Other winners included the 2014 FA Cup Final coverage on ITV Sport, Channel Four's Grayson Perry: Who Are You?, ITV's The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies and Messiah At The Foundling Hospital (BBC2). Work on Doctor Who (sepcial, visual and graphic effects), Paedophile Hunter and Dispatches: Children On The Frontline on Channel Four, the BBC's Winter Olympics 2014 coverage and The Musketeers (BBC1) was also honoured. Hilary Briegel was handed the evening's special award, for her work as a vision mixer on programmes including Absolutely Fabulous, Only Fools & Horses, Newsnight, Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.

Safe House topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Monday. The Christopher Eccleston-led drama brought in 5.29m for ITV at 9pm. Earlier, Wild Ireland averaged 2.67m at 8pm. On BBC1, Ed Milimolimandi's hopeless interview with Evan Davis interested 1.97m at 7.30pm, while Panorama gathered 3.01m at 8.30pm. MasterChef continued with 4.63m at 9pm. A repeat of the BBC2 documentary The Mekong River With Sue Perkins appealed to nine hundred and fifty thousand at 7pm, before Alex Polizzi: Chefs On Trial was seen by 1.32m and Inside Harley Street continued with 1.10m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Food Unwrapped was watched by with 1.17m at 8pm, while Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours In Marrakesh brought in 1.03m at 8.30pm. Skint reached eight hundred and seventy thousand at 9pm and the latest episode of Raised by Wolves had an audience of six hundred and sixty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors attracted eight hundred and twenty seven thousand at 8pm, while Gotham drew six hundred and ninety nine thousand at 9pm. Person Of Interest continued with five hundred and eighty six thousand at 10pm. Meanwhile, a new Game Of Thrones had an impressive audience of 1.14m at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

Ordinary Lies topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps once again, according to overnight data for Tuesday. The BBC1 drama attracted 4.79m for its final episode, adding around three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week at 9pm. Later, Del Boys & Dealers was seen by 1.82m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Alex Polizzi: Chefs On Trial interested 1.41m at 8pm, while Back In Time For Dinner continued with 1.74m at 9pm. ITV's coverage of the Champions League tie between Barcelona and Paris St Germain averaged 1.89m between 7.30pm and 10pm. Channel Four's Plus Sized Wars interested 1.26m at 8pm and One Born Every Minute had an audience of 1.34m at 9pm. Ballot Monkeys was seen by eight hundred and ninety thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Britain's Horror Homes was watched by eight hundred and seventy four thousand punters at 8pm, while The Devil's Disciple brought in six hundred and seventy six thousand at 9pm. Family Secrets & Lies gathered five hundred and ninety six thousand viewers at 10pm.

MasterChef continued to dominate the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Wednesday. The BBC1 cookery competition was watched by 5.1m viewers at 8pm, while Secret Britain continued with 4.02m at 9pm. Earlier in the evening, odious right-wing scumbag Nigel Farago's interview with Evan Davis brought in an audience of 2.54m, nearly double the figures achieved by Ed Milimolimandi and millionaire Old Etonian David Cameron's respective interviews. The UKiP leader's encounter with Davis, during which Farago accused the Newsnight presenter of being a member of 'the liberal metropolitan elite', pulled in two and a half million punters, a fourteen per cent audience share from 7.30pm. Farago was up against ITV's Coronation Street, which attracted 6.3 million viewers. So, there you go - if Ken Barlow were running for office, we might as well not bother having a vote. On BBC2, Alex Polizzi: Chefs On Trial averaged eight hundred and twenty thousand at 8pm, before World's Richest Terror Army brought in 1.11m and a Qi repeat interested nine hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. Newsnight was seen by seven hundred and thirty thousand at 10.30pm. ITV's new Wednesday night line-up took a tumble on its second week. Which was far funnier than anything that the network has broadcast in years. Wretched, unoriginal satirical puppet show Newzoids could only manage an audience of 2.27 million viewers from 9pm, around a third down from it's overnight audience of 3.34 million last week. It was followed by maternity ward sitcom The Delivery Man - quite possibly the least-funny programme in the history of the medium - which, predictably, failed to deliver with a laughably piss-poor 1.39 million viewers; this was down more than a million from last week’s overnight audience. Neither were helped by the lead-in from risible waste-of-oxygen Amanda Holden's stinking rotten celebrity pet series Give A Pet A Home, which drew just 2.45 million viewers from 8pm, down from last week's 2.53 million. The Delivery Man was also beaten by Channel Four's The Island With Bear Grylls, now five episodes into its fourteen-part run and still pulling in decent figures for C4, in this case 2.06 million from 9pm. First Dates was watched by 1.09m at 10pm. On Channel Five, The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door brought in 1.40m at 8pm and Autopsy: The Last Hours Of Robin Williams followed with 1.51m at 9pm. Jane The Virgin premiered on E4 with three hundred and forty six thousand at 9pm, while BBC3's Reggie Yates' Extreme Russia drew two hundred and twenty six thousand at 10pm.

MasterChef (with five million viewers) beat Emmerdale (4.7 million) in the overnight head-to-head battle on Thursday evening in the 8pm hour. Overall, it was a truly rotten night for ITV with Double Decker Driving School attracting a mere two million overnight punters at 8:30 and Ice Rink On The Estate an even more risible 1.4 million at 9pm. And, if the bloke (and lady) at ITV towers who commissioned those two turkeys isn't clearing out their desk this morning then there really is something wrong with the world. Just to make a bad night even worse, ITV News At Ten then had a miserably piss-poor 1.2 million audience against 4.4 million for the BBC's Ten O'Clock News. In the nine o'clock slot, Crimewatch attracted 3.6 million on BBC1, The Island With Bear Grylls had 2.5 million for Channel Four (almost double ITV's audience at the same time) and BBC2's returning W1A was watched by 1.5 million.

With an average audience of 5.85 million, the Masterchef final was Friday's highest-rated overnight show outside of soaps. The final of the cooking competition peaked with an audience of 6.6 million as the winner, Simon Wood, was announced between 9.15 and 9.30pm. BBC1's evening began with 3.75 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 3.07 million for A Question of Sport at 7.30pm. Hosted by Stephen Mangan, Have I Got News for You continued with 4.74 million viewers at 9pm, which was up on last week's average of 4.61 million. The episode featured scheduled guest host Jeremy Clarkson looking uncannily like Steven Mangan, too. So, double bonus. Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen helped The Graham Norton Show secure ratings of 2.75 million at 10.35pm. On ITV, Weekend Escapes with Warwick Davis was seen by 2.27 million at 8pm, while Slow Train Through Africa with Griff Rhys Jones had an audience of 2.21 million at 9pm. BBC Two's Live Snooker: The World Championship coverage attracted an average audience of eight hundred and twenty thousand punters at 7pm. The evening continued with 1.64 million for An Island Parish: Falklands and an evening high of 1.8 million for Gardeners' World at 8.30pm. The 9pm showing of Sex & The Church was seen by seven hundred and thirty thousand, while The Clare Balding Show drew seven hundred an fifty thousand at 10pm. An average audience of 2.77 million tuned-in to Gogglebox on Channel Four at 9pm. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD and Alan Carr: Chatty Man, which drew respective audiences of six hundred and ten thousand and 1.16 million. Secrets Of Great British Castles was seen by six hundred and ninety two thousand at 8pm on Channel Five. It was followed by eight hundred and fifty six thousand for NCIS: New Orleans at 9pm and eight hundred and twenty seven thousand for NCIS at 10pm.

As noted, Simon Wood was crowned the country’s best amateur cook as MasterChef champion. The thirty eight-year-old data manager from Oldham fought off fierce competition from fellow finalists Emma Spitzer and Tony Rodd to lift the coveted trophy. All three had to prepare three-course meals to impress judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace at the end of the seven week competition. Wallace, in his discussions with Torode as they decided the winner, said of Wood: 'Simon is a class, class act.' Torode added: 'He just keeps on getting better and better.' Wood, who has dreamed of being a chef since he was eight years old, told the judges: 'I'm shaking inside. It's so surreal – you can’t believe how happy I am. It's life-changing, it's everything I wanted it to be, and more besides.' Wallace added: 'Simon is brilliant, he's an incredible talent. He came in here with enormous ambition, he wanted to cook like a chef, and right now he is. I have no doubt in my mind that Simon is going to have a professional career in food.' Viewers have seen Wood cook a celebratory dinner in honour of Sir Winston Churchill, travel across Europe to Sweden and cook on open fires without gas and electricity, cook exceptional fish for two-Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw, and in the penultimate show, cook for the Chef's Table, which was this year presided over by Massimo Bottura, the three-Michelin-starred chef at Osteria Francescana in Modena. Wood's winning menu in the final consisted of a starter of octopus, served with chorizo crisps, cannellini bean and chorizo salad, brunoise tomatoes and a sherry and smoked paprika vinaigrette. His main course was squab pigeon served two ways – roasted breast and a pigeon leg bon-bon - stuffed with pigeon leg meat, chicken, mushroom duxelle and armagnac, served with three types of heritage carrots, pommes parisienne, girolle and trumpet mushrooms, carrot purée, watercress and a cassis jus. The dessert featured lemon posset topped with citrus tutti-frutti, charred grapefruit and orange, a lime tuile, limoncello pistachio crumb, edible flowers, tarragon leaves and a 'lime air'. Or, 'air' as normal people call it. Wood's passion for cooking started when he won a competition to be anything for a day and chose to be a chef. He said: 'I have been cooking since I could reach the top of the oven and I always cooked at weekends with my grandma. When I was eight I won a competition where the prize was to have your dream job for the day. Mine was to be a chef. Thirty years later, who would have thought I would have the MasterChef trophy in my hands? I have four children and I became a dad at a young age, which meant I needed to secure a job where I could financially provide for my children, so my dreams of being a chef were always on the back burner. Then after years of sitting watching and wanting to try, but never quite being brave enough or the time not being right, I decided to stick my neck out and see if I had what it takes. I decided to enter to prove to myself I could compete with the best.' He is now planning a future in food. He said: 'My dream is to make a living doing something that I love: cooking, and hopefully give people a great memory and experience along the way.'

Britain's Got Toilets continued with a series high of nearly ten million overnight viewers on Saturday. ITV's lack of talent competition averaged 9.95m from 8pm and peaked, shortly before the episode's end, with 11.9 million. Ninja Warrior UK rose to 4.46m in the 7pm hour, whilst rotten a bag full of stinking diarrhoea Play To The Whistle could only manage a mere 2.42m from 9.15pm, throwing away a near twelve million lead-in for the second week running. Chances of a second series for that abomination? Not huge, I'd've said. On BBC1, Pointless attracted an audience of 4.11m, before Atlantis was watched by a horrendously low 2.39m from 7.45pm. And that, ladies and gentleman, is why it's being extremely cancelled and thrown into the gutter along with all the other turds. The National Lottery: In It To Win It attracted a not much better 2.75m, with the latest episode of Casualty having an audience of 4.38m. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat entertained 1.37m and Gallipoli: When Murdoch Went To War managed seven hundred and two thousand punters. Channel Four's The World's Most Extreme ... was seen by five hundred and fifty five thousand in the 8pm hour, before a terrestrial screening of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost movie Paul averaged nine hundred and ninety thousand viewers. On Channel Five, the latest CSI episode interested seven hundred and sixty nine thousand.

Poldark wrapped up its first series with strong overnight ratings on Sunday. The Aidan Turner-fronted period drama brought in an overnight of 5.87 million at 9pm on BBC1, adding more than four hundred thousand viewers week-on-week. Earlier in the evening, Countryfile continued to top the overnight ratings with 6.39m at 7pm, while Antiques Roadshow interested 5.78m at 8pm. On BBC2, coverage of World Championship Snooker was seen by nine hundred and forty thousand at 7pm, before Coast Australia averaged 1.02m at 8.15pm and Hunters Of The South continued with 1.14m at 9pm. ITV's wretched, risible Celebrity Squares remained consistent - consistently bad, that is - with an audience of but 2.04m for its latest episode at 7.15pm. The final episode of the current series of Vera followed with 4.70m at 8pm. On Channel Four, Three In A Bed was watched by six hundred and fifty thousand at 7pm, while For The Love Of Cars dipped to 1.22m at 8pm. Later, The Impossible drew 1.37m at 9pm. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and The Last Stand were Channel Fie's Sunday evening movie selections, with the former bringing in seven hundred and fifty two thousand at 7.15pm and the latter being watched by nine hundred and forty five thousand at 9pm.

It was really nice to see that the final episode of the current series of Vera included location filming not only in some of the more photogenic parts of the North East (the Millennium Bridge, the Baltic Restaurant on Gateshead Quayside et cetera) but, also, some of scummier parts of Newcastle city centre (Swan House car park) and the really run-down bit of South Shields sea front. So, one imagine this is one episode that - good as it was - the Northumbria Tourist Board won't be highlighting. Apparently, some of the episode was also filmed in and around Hartlepool, though this blogger is less familiar with Monkey Hanger territory. The popular crime drama has, incidentally, recently been recommissioned for another, sixth, series to be broadcast next year. Filming will, reportedly, begin in June.
Comedy line of the week came from the Metro's very excellent Keith Watson and his review of the final episode of Poldark: 'Principled, dashing, charismatic, a champion of workers'rights, a scourge of money-grabbing bankers ... How Ed Miliband must wish he was a bit more like Ross Poldark.'

Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Three programmes, week-ending Sunday 19 April 2015:-
1 Britain's Got Talent - Sat ITV - 10.89m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.31m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.33m
4 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 6.84m
5 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.61m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.41m
7 Code Of A Killer - Mon ITV - 5.92m
8 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.71m
9 Ordinary Lies - Tues BBC1 - 5.64m
10 MasterChef - Wed BBC1 - 5.59m
11 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.18m
12 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 5.15m
13 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.02m
14 Vera - Sun ITV - 4.96m*
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.70m
16 Match Of The Day Live - Sat BBC1 - 4.42m
17 Erection Debate - Thurs BBC1 - 4.35m
18 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.32m
19 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 4.31m
20 Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.22m
21 Formula One: The Bahrain Grand Prix - Sun BBC1 - 3.91m
22 Secret Britain - Wed BBC1 - 3.67m
23 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.57m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. Despite the return of Britain's Got Talent and a couple of impressive drama hits - Code of A Killer and Vera - ITV's general woes continue. Much-hyped Spitting Image rip-off Newzoids could only manage a final audience of 3.35 million, Ninja Warriors UK lost almost a quarter of its initial audience between its first and second episodes, finishing with 3.22 million and the least said about The Delivery Man (2.65m), Give A Pet A Home (2.50m) and Play To The Whistle (2.27m), the better frankly. BBC2's most-watched programme of the week was, again, Back In Time For Dinner (3.20m) followed by the thankfully final episode of churlish, bitter old misery-guts Red Jimmy McGovern's Banished (2.89m), Univeristy Challenge (2.88m), Britain's Favourite Food: Are They Good For You? (2.17m) and Gardeners' World (2.06m). Aside from Gogglebox, Channel Four's highest-rated shows were The Island With Bear Grylls (3.18m) and The Supervet (2.18m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away (1.35m), Gotham (1.34m) and CSI (also 1.34m). E4's The Big Bang Theory was the mutichannels second most-watched programme of the week (1.67m), beaten only by Sky Atlantic's Games Of Thrones (a hugely impressive 2.63m). Midsomer Murders was ITV3's most-watched show with nine hundred and seventy nine thousand viewers, followed by Foyle's War (seven hundred and forty two thousand) and Lewis (seven hundred and one thousand). Inspector Montalbano was, again, BBC4's highest-rated programme (seven hundred and sixteen thousand), with One-Hit Wonder Number Ones At The BBC achieving an audience of six hundred and twenty six thousand and The Plantagenets five hundred and forty two thousand. BBC3's weekly ratings list was topped by the movie Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom (seven hundred and eleven thousand) in a top ten which also included two other Hollywood movies and five episodes of Family Guy. 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura attracted four hundred and twenty nine thousand, followed by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (three hundred and eighty six thousand). Elementary on Sky Living drew seven hundred hundred and ninety five thousand, followed by Bones (seven hundred and thirty one thousand), Criminal Minds (six hundred and ninety one thousand) and The Blacklist (six hundred and fifty one thousand). Sky 1's Modern Family brought in seven hundred and fifty nine thousand. On Dave Qi XL drew three hundred and eighty five thousand. Drama's New Tricks repeat was watched by four hundred and five thousand. Watch's Grimm had an audience of five hundred and sixty six thousand. On Sky Sports News, Gillette Soccer Saturday drew three hundred and sixteen thousand. Unbelievable, Jeff. An episode of Discovery History's repeat run of Time Team pulled in twenty four thousand viewers.

It looks as if Top Gear fans have been turning to BBC iPlayer to get their required fix following Jezza Clarkson's recent exit from the show. The final two episodes of the curtailed series attracted an impressive 3.6 million requests on the catch-up service during March.Much to the chagrin of various people with an agenda writing for the Gruniad Morning Star, the Daily Mirra, the Daily Scum Mail and the Torygraph. Obviously.
Meanwhile, the BBC is to broadcast unseen Top Gear footage featuring Jezza Clarkson although, they haven't said when yet, merely that it will be 'definitely' this year. BBC2's controller, Kim Shillinglaw, confirmed that material filmed for the final three episodes of the motoring series will be shown by the broadcaster. Some time. Speaking about the footage, Shillinglaw said: 'There is no way I would not want the available material not to be seen by viewers. Top Gear is a show that I love, I genuinely watch it and I always have done.' Shillinglaw also confirmed that Top Gear would return 'in a new form' next year. 'We have got a great in-house team that has always made it and will continue to make it,' she said at a BBC event on Tuesday. Speaking about future presenters, she continued: 'I am not really thinking about it in terms of gender. I have done a lot with female presenters when I used to work in science. That was something that across the piece that I really wanted to tackle. It's a really open book on that. We will definitely look at women but it is not the driving priority. I have never approached an individual show thinking that is the way you cast it. It's not been an easy year but it's kind of creatively exciting what we are going to do, what we have to do. We have got to move the show on. That's what we are going to do.' Shillinglaw, who has been given the task of finding Jezza Clarkson's replacement, also stressed that Jezza had not been 'banned' by the BBC. 'It's serious and unfortunate what happened but there is no ban on Jeremy being on the BBC,' she said. 'It's a big deal what happened and Jeremy, as any human being would, needs some time.'

James May has ruled out returning to the BBC show without Jeremy Clarkson, saying it would be 'lame' to do it with 'a surrogate Jeremy.' May said that the idea he would return alongside fellow co-host Richard Hammond with a new presenter in place of Clarkson was 'a non-starter.' But James said that he wanted to continue to work for the BBC and did not rule out the possibility of all three presenters one day returning to the show. 'Me and Hammond with a surrogate Jeremy is a non-starter, it just wouldn't work. That would be lame, or "awks" as Young People say,”' James told the Gruniad Morning Star. Quite what he was doing speaking to a reporter from that odious shit-rag which, with its sick agenda, has done more to cause trouble for Top Gear and its presenters over the last few years that even the Daily Scum Mail, is a question perhaps best left for another day. 'It has to be the three of us,' he continued. 'You can't just put a surrogate Jeremy in and expect it to carry on. It would be forced. I don't believe they would be stupid enough to try that. It doesn't mean I won't go back, we may all go back in the future. It might just be we have a break from it. I don't know.' James's reluctance to return without his former colleague increases the possibility that the motoring show will return next year with an all-new presenting line-up. It is understood there are currently no Top Gear talks ongoing with either Cap'n Slowly of The Hamster after their contracts expired last month. May said: 'It would be a bloody tough call to do Top Gear without Jeremy, that would be a bit of a daft idea. I don't think you could carry on with two people and put someone in as the new Jeremy because they are not going to be the new Jeremy. That would be short sighted and I don't think it would work. Virtually impossible. In the future when all this has blown over there might be an opportunity for three of us to get back together on the BBC to do Top Gear or a car show of some sort,' said May. 'The BBC haven't completely closed the door on Jeremy's return. They've not banned him or fired him, only "not renewed his contract" for the moment. It's a subtle difference but an important one.' May said that he saw it as 'a light kicking. Not excluding him from the club.' Clarkson, of course, wrote much of Top Gear, as well as co-presenting it, acting as a virtual executive producer and shorwunner on the show which he co-created with Andy Wilman in 2003. May said that there was 'nothing to rule out' reuniting with Clarkson and Hammond for a motoring show on a rival broadcaster. Clarkson has been linked to a move to big-spending US on-demand service Netflix which recently signed the producers behind the BBC's Blue Planet and Planet Earth to make a new natural history epic, Our Planet, in 2019. But May said that one or more of the presenters might have a non-compete clause which could hamper a switch in the short term. The presenter will return to BBC2 with a second three-part series of James May's Cars Of The People and said that he has 'one or two other projects' in the pipeline with the corporation. His other BBC2 credits include James May’s Toy Stories, Man Lab and Things You Need To Know. All of which were rather good (especially the former). He said that he would be 'happy' to return to film new links and studio footage for the three episodes of Top Gear which were pulled from the schedule following Clarkson’s suspension. Three unseen films have been shot featuring Clarkson, Hammond and May together, plus a handful of films with only one presenter adding up to between ninety minutes and two hours of unseen material. But May said that he had not yet been invited back to complete the re-edited programmes. 'The BBC still want me to make some documentaries for them, including about cars. I'm not out of making TV programmes about cars and motoring and car history.' With no Top Gear negotiations ongoing, May said he was 'rather enjoying' having time off. 'It may just be I don't do anything,' he added. Meanwhile, Top Gear's executive producer Andy Wilman has also quit the show. Wilman, who was a school friend of Clarkson, helped to reinvent the show and oversaw its growth into a globally successful format. The two school friends turned a dull and worthy motoring consumer programme in to an entertainment show which was funny, irreverent, highly-produced and a massive hit around the world. Top Gear is one of the BBC's most valuable formats, watched by more than six million viewers on BBC2 (plus million more on iPlayer), it is seen in more than two hundred countries around the world and generates between fifty and one hundred million smackers a year for the corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. Or, at least, it used to.

Outgoing Top Gear producer Andy Wilman has written a first person account of how the format was reinvented so successfully. Writing in this month's Top Gear Magazine, he paints a picture of a difficult and anarchic start and how Jeremy Clarkson was instrumental in saving the show from extinction. He describes how Richard Hammond nearly didn't make the cut following a dismal audition but pulled it back after 'he started to talk about his woefully unsuccessful career as a radio DJ, with the highlight being his late-night spot on Radio Cumbria, reading out the names of lambs that were up for adoption.' Part two will be in next month's magazine.

Jeeza, Hamster and Cap'n Slowly were spotted leaving Clarkson's London home on Friday lunchtime and seemed impressively unbothered by the amount of camera crews waiting for them when they emerged. The trio appeared to be in good spirits after the supposed 'secret' meeting, which is thought to be their first since all this crap started last month.
And, finally on the subject of Top Gear, the programmed has steered clear of any more controversy after the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said that it would not take action over a handful of crass and ignorant whinges about alleged 'bad language'. The episode broadcast on 1 March attracted eleven such whinges - that's eleven; from eleven people with, clearly, nothing better to do with their time than come up with this rank and agenda-soaked bollocks - concerning 'mild offensive language' before the watershed. Primarily the words 'arse' and 'bastard' apparently. Which, interestingly, are perfect descriptors for the eleven glakes that whinged about them. There were also a further seven whinges about 'a discussion on animal experiments.' I'm, genuinely, not making this up, dear blog reader. A spokesman for Ofcom said: 'We carefully assessed a number of complaints about offensive language and comments in this show and have decided not to take the issues forward for further investigation. In our view the use of some mild offensive language was consistent with audience expectations for this well-established series.' Ofcom also, allegedly, told the eleven whingers in question to 'grow the fek up' and to save their crass and pointless whinging for stuff that people actually give a buggering crap about. Not that they will, likely, take much notice, of course. Because, some people are just scum and love whinging. They're quite a sight, to be honest. The watchdog also received one hundred and thirty three whinges about the suspension of Jezza Clarkson and subsequent episodes not being screened, but they were not taken further on this either because they were 'not covered in Ofcom's remit.' Ofcom, of course, is a politically-appointed quango, elected by no one. Just, you know, for balance.
And, speaking of crass and pointless whinging, Sarah Parish thinks that the BBC didn't want to take the risk on a third series of Atlantis because it was 'an expensive show that didn't get a mass audience immediately.' The show was very axed in January ahead of the broadcast of the second half of its second series. Because it was shit and no one was watching it, basically. 'It's very sad,' Parish - who played Pasiphaë in the fantasy adventure - told Metro of the cancellation. 'The programme was cancelled because it was expensive to make and because it didn't get a huge audience straight away.' Which, just to repeat, isn't actually true. It was - as previously noted - cancelled because it was shit and no one was watching it - that's the usual reason why shows that get cancelled get cancelled. 'I think it was a risk the BBC didn't want to take, she added. 'I feel sorry for the fans because we had quite a big following.' Which it didn't. If it had, it might not have been cancelled because a few more people might have been watching it. They were loyal and very upset when they found out the programme had been cancelled. It was an exceptionally good format but it was a children's' show really and we were put on at 8.30pm, which is late for kids, plus we were up against The X Factor.' So, to sum up then, according to Sarah Parish, Atlantis was cancelled because either it was too expensive, or it was badly scheduled, or it was up against tough opposition. None of which are the actual reason why it got cancelled.

Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one) has signed up to host a new BBC2 panel show. The people's scientist will present a new series called Six Degrees, which tests the theory of six degrees of separation. The BBC announced this week that Foxy Cox will challenge a team of scientists and celebrities to work out how seemingly random things are connected, with BBC2 suggesting that this could be 'from Babbage to Buzzfeed, Lovelace to Linux.' Sounds ... a bit unoriginal but with some potential. The broadcaster added: 'The panel show will rejoice in the often serendipitous connections that have led us through the digital revolution.' Coxy, of course, has previously been a panellist on panel shows Qi and Would I Lie to You? but this will be the first that he has hosted.
The next - thirteenth - 'M' series of Qi and Qi XL will begin filming on 5 May. Once again sixteen episodes are scheduled to be recorded during May and June. From The North will be bringing you, dear blog reader, news of episode titles and guest casts as and when we learn them.
National heartthrob yer actual David Tennant has been signed up to host a celebration of William Shakespeare his very self to mark the four hundredth anniversary of the playwright's death. Shakespeare's dead? I didn't even know he'd been ill. The event will broadcast live, on BBC2 next April, from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. It will feature a variety bill inspired by Shakespeare and performed by 'major international talent.' It will celebrate Shakespeare's enduring influence on all of the performing art forms from opera to jazz and ballet to musicals. David joined the RSC in 1996 playing Touchstone in As You Like It. He went on to play one of the leading roles in Romeo & Juliet and Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors, for which he received a nomination in the 2000 Ian Charleson awards for Best Classical Actor under thirty. He returned to the RSC to play Berowne in Love's Labour's Lost and the title role in a much acclaimed production of Hamlet in 2008. In Winter 2012 he played the title role in Richard II. Tony Hall, the BBC's Director General said: 'Our ambition is to get more people excited about Shakespeare than ever before – through drama, great performance, documentary; festivals and social media too. We're partnering with talent right across the country and delighted to be working with the RSC. 2016 is going to be the biggest celebration of Shakespeare we've ever put on - for everyone.'

David's successor as The Doctor, yer actual Matt Smith is reported to be 'in the running' to play Prince Philip in The Crown - Peter Morgan's forthcoming television drama series which will explore the Queen's sixty-plus years on the throne. Mind you, this comes from the Daily Scum Mail so, frankly, I'd trust this 'report' about as far as this blogger could comfortable excavate the contents of his bowels. If reports are accurate - which they probably aren't - Smudger would play the Queen's consort, Phil the Greek, from the time of their wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1947 through to the early 1960s. Wolf Hall actress the very excellent Claire Foy has already signed up to play the Queen in the drama, which is being directed by Billy Elliot's Stephen Daldry.
The Honourable Woman's Hugo Blick is to write a new (probably over-complicated, but nevertheless fascinating) drama series for BBC2. Blick - who also scripted The Shadow Line - has created an as-yet-untitled thriller set in contemporary Africa. Details on the series are currently scarce, but it is said to follow 'a compelling set of characters caught up in a very human moral dilemma.' Blick is also known for co-creating BBC2's Marion & Geoff with Rob Brydon and for devising the channel's drama Sensitive Skin starring Joanna Lumley.

It was one of the most memorable TV images of the year: Aidan Turner half-naked and wielding a scythe in the opening episode of BBC1's Poldark. But the makers of the hit Sunday night period drama have declared themselves 'pretty innocent' over the much-discussed shirtless scenes which seem finally to have toppled Colin Firth's turn as Mister Darcy as television's most talked about romantic lead. His role as the smouldering Ross Poldark has catapulted Turner to fame but the actor said that he steered clear of the occasionally feverish viewer response. The drama's executive producer, Damien Timmer, told the new issue of Radio Times: 'Yes, the shirtlessness! But honestly, we were pretty innocent about the shirt-taking-off stuff. Ross does it in the book, he goes swimming, he washes himself clean. And he's a farmer, and it's very hot in Cornwall! Besides, we didn't audition him with his clothes off.' Turner said: 'It was quite odd to walk into a newsagent and see myself holding a scythe with a peculiar smile on my face. I don't feed it, you know. I think I could easily get addicted to Googling myself if I did start doing it, so I just stay out of that entirely. It's better not to know, sometimes. I don't read any press. I make it a thing.' The drama, which co-stars Eleanor Tomlinson as Poldark's maid, and later wife, Demelza, comes to an end on BBC1 on Sunday, having already been recommissioned for a second series after averaging over eight million consolidated viewers per episode. The series has been credited with boosting the tourism trade in Cornwall, where it is set and filmed, as well as – more surprisingly – a spike in interest in scything. Debbie Horsfield, who adapted Winston Graham's Poldark novels, said that she wanted to cast Turner from the start, saying he had 'certain traits, that kind of rebel/outsider element, the damaged person who's at odds with the whole world.' Timmer said Turner 'has that integrity in the way he plays Ross, he commits to it so completely; he is Ross in all of his complex brooding.' Turner said: 'When you're on TV, you might get stopped in the street the odd time, but I suppose it's how you handle it yourself. If you want your life to change, it can change, but if you don't want it to change, there are ways you can hold on to all of those things that matter.' He said of living in Dublin: 'It's fairly calm and relaxed. There's no mania – not that I can see.'

BBC4 has announced that Puppy Love will not return for a second season. In a statement issued on Friday, the channel confirmed that the sitcom - created by Getting On's Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine - had been cancelled. Because, let's all chants this together, it was shit and no one was watching it.

Nigella Lawson - she has her knockers - has signed up to return to BBC2 with a new cooking show. Lawson, who was last seen on UK television as a judge on Channel Four's ratings disaster The Taste, will front the new series, Simply Nigella. The show, which promises to 'focus on both meals for special occasions' and 'simple everyday meals', will feature a few recipes in each episode and have lots of shots of Nigella poking around in her own pantry. Oh yes. Lawson will talk about what the recipes mean to her, give tips on the simplest ways to make them and show us how to cook everything from brunches to bowl food. Plus, there'll be some finger-licking. Probably. 'It's about food that makes our life easier, that makes us feel better, more alive, and less stressed,' she said. The BBC has not yet set a broadcast date for Simply Nigella.
And, on a somewhat-related theme, The Hairy Bikers have launched a new BBC2 campaign to help lonely elderly people. Si King and Davey Myers new show Old School - inspired by their previous Meals On Wheels series - will see the popular duo linking up a local secondary school with pensioners who are feeling isolated. The campaign, said to be based on US and Japanese formats, will see Davey and Si bringing up to thirty retired people into a school. The Hairy Bikers are,according to the press release, hoping that not only will the school's pupils give the pensioners some comfort, but the retirees will help to teach the students a thing or two. 'This series is about two generations who have more in common with each other than they might at the start think - both groups are undervalued and often ignored by the rest of society, neither considered truly responsible for themselves - joining forces to demonstrate what they can achieve together,' the BBC said.
In January the news that Hannibal's third season was to be pushed back from its usual spring broadcast date on NBC, into a traditionally dreaded summer slot brought outrage and more outrage from the dark drama's legion of fans. The general assumption was that this was a network decision motivated by the show's low ratings and, obviously, the most pessimistic of fans worried that NBC were putting Bryan Fuller's masterful drama out to pasture. But Fuller has this week explained to the Digital Spy website that the decision was, actually, his and was made out of necessity, after an attempt to re-jig the show's production schedule had left the crew under unrealistic time constraints. 'We barely, by the skin of our teeth, were able to produce the first two seasons with a lot of hard work and a lot of people bending over backwards and contorting, because it's so hard to do a crafted television show in eight days [per episode],' Fuller said. 'It was eight-day episodes and then an additional day or two of second unit and massive overtime. But coming into the third season, which is our most ambitious yet, it was essentially trying to squeeze all of that into seven days, with no second unit, and it blew up in everybody's faces. It was one of those where I was saying, "This isn't gonna work," and then on day three of production I was like, "This really does not work", because we were not completing episodes. Scenes were getting dropped, shots were dropped, so in the editing room I was like, "I can't even put this together because there's not enough material." And I'd been squawking about that for four months, saying we're in trouble, and then finally after four months we realised where we were and had to push back, because the show wasn't done.' He added: 'I don't mind a summer schedule at all and it actually allowed us to fix our mistakes, of trying to simplify how we were producing the show, which was misguided.' Principal photography on the third season of Hannibal ended in Toronto this week and the season will now début on NBC in June. Which is good.

The website also has a fascinating piece featuring some spoilers for the forthcoming series, including episode titles. Seek it out if you don't mind being spoiled. In the interview, Fuller notes, concerning From The North favourite yer actual Gillian Anderson: 'Gillian has quite a big role in the first half of the season and she's hilarious. There's one episode in particular where she is laugh-out-loud funny, and I can't wait for people to see that because she's just a delight.'
Saucy Suzy Perkins has been confirmed for new BBC2 documentary series, Himalaya. The comedian, lesbian and presenter will host the show, travelling across the South Asian mountain range over the course of the series,in a similar format to last year's The Mekong River. Presumably, one bonus of this will be that Sue will be well out of the way of any outraged bell-end mental Top Gear fanatics with access to a computer for a few weeks. So, everybody wins. Himalaya With Sue Perkins is among a host of newly commissioned BBC2 documentaries announced this week. Also confirmed is This World: Children Of The Gaza War, which takes a closer look at the lives of young people affected by conflicts in the Middle East. Elsewhere, Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners will focus on the UK's dark history of slavery, while Let Us Entertain You will chronicle popular culture in post-war Britain. Other newly commissioned history documentaries include From The North favourite Professor Mary Beard's Meet the Roman Empire and , two more From The North favourites Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair) and The Goddess of Punk Archaeology Doctor Alice Roberts's Celts. Factual strand The Detectives follows a specialised Greater Manchester Police unit as they attempt to tackle sex offences, while Horizon: Cosmic Dawn explores the moment of first light in the universe, shortly before Bruce Forsyth was created. Nature documentaries Wildest Tribes, Atlantic: Earth's Wildest Ocean and Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands have also been commissioned.
Lord Snooty is 'taking a break' from Downton Abbey to work on a new ITV series. The writer and creator of ITV's flagship drama will work with the network on an adaptation of Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope. So, that should be worth avoiding, then.

A segment on ITV's This Morning offering viewers a lesson in 'bondage for beginners' has been cleared by the media regulator. Ofcom launched an investigation into the ITV daytime show following one hundred and twenty whinges from viewers about the item, which was inspired by the hit film Fifty Shades Of Grey. So-called 'sex expert', Annabelle Knight, talked Phillip Schofield and The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley through a selection of toys including blindfolds, a feather 'tickler' and a vibrating 'body wand'. A video clip also showed half-naked models cavorting on a bed. It was quite a sight, so it was. Asked about his views on a satin eye mask, Schofield said: 'Sorry, I was just watching the VT then – I got a bit distracted.' Ofcom investigated whether the item, which was broadcast on 3 February, was unsuitable for broadcast before the 9pm watershed. 'Following a careful investigation we concluded this programme didn't break broadcasting rules, after it aired a feature called "bondage for beginners", before the watershed,' said an Ofcom spokesman. Schofield had warned viewers that there would be a discussion about bondage equipment in the show, adding that it would be 'done in good taste.' Ofcom said that the segment was 'unlikely to have been seen by many children' and that the bondage discussion had been 'appropriately limited. The material was scheduled at a time when children were at school and clear warnings were also given in advance of the feature to protect any children who were not at school,' said the Ofcom spokesman. 'The feature itself was also appropriately limited in terms of detail.'
Plans to kick BBC3 online have been delayed as the corporation waits for the BBC Trust to approve its proposals. The channel was originally supposed to become an online-only brand in autumn 2015, but its boss said that the shift would not now occur until 'after Christmas. We won't be rushed. We will do what's right for our fans, not to satisfy deadlines,' said Damian Kavanagh. The Trust is expected to deliver its decision on the move in June. 'Once we have the Trust's final decision, we'll start doing more online and in social [media], building up to a move online,' Kavanagh told Broadcast magazine. 'You simply can't turn around something as ground-breaking as this overnight.' The youf-orientated channel was earmarked for closure as a linear TV channel by BBC Director General Tony Hall last year. Under current proposals, it will be remodelled as an online platform, offering tailored content based around comedy and 'thought-provoking programming.' Formats will not just live on iPlayer, but will be distributed on third party sites including YouTube and Facebook. The removal of the channel from digital terrestrial television will make room for the long-awaited BBC1+1 service, while CBBC will be extended by two hours in the evening.

Samuel West has claimed that a culture of 'low and unpaid work' in the arts is 'a time bomb' which will 'ultimately destroy the profession.' Writing in the acting union Equity's magazine, he called low pay or working for free 'a virus' that stifled diversity. He said it was the theatre industry's 'job' to 'hold a mirror up to nature.' Mind you, to be fair, Shakespeare said that first. 'Unless we keep the widest possible demographic, we are building a time bomb into the future of the industry,' he added. West, who recently directed April de Angelis's play After Electra in Plymouth, said 'actors should never be asked to work for nothing when other professionals in the production are drawing salaries.' He said the usual explanation that it will 'lead to visibility' should not be given 'when that usually depends more on backgrounds and contacts.' West, whose parents are the actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales, said it seemed like the industry based its 'economic model on those who can afford to live with their parents', which does not work. 'Talent is no respecter of postcodes, or how much your parents earn,' he said.
Waste-of-space right-wing scumbag and smear Nigel Farago has called for the BBC licence fee to be reduced and for many of its most popular programmes to be scrapped. The UKiP party leader, 'man of the people' (and drag) publicly stated in Rochester that the fee - currently at £145.50 - should be cut by two-thirds. 'Do I think the BBC needs to involve itself and engage itself in many other fields of entertainment and sport, given the whole world has changed with cable television and satellite television? No,' Farago said. 'I would like to see the BBC cut back to the bone to be purely a public service broadcaster with an international reach and I would have thought you could do that with a licence fee that was about a third of what it currently is.' Where, exactly, Farago got that figure from, he didn't say. So, there you go, boys and girls - Nigel Farago - who, obviously, doesn't have any person, sick agenda in this matter - does not think that the BBC should be producing Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Mrs Brown's Boys, Top Gear, Poldark, Call The Midwife or any other programme that gets millions of viewers. And, therefore under any hypothetical future UKiP űber alles government, large men would be sent around to Broadcasting House to break some fingers until Nige is satisfied. Yes, that's right dear blog reader, no more Doctor Who for you under Mister Farago. Even The Daleks couldn't manage that.
I'll tell you what, Nige me auld mucker, that single statement might just have lost you your chances of winning Thanet South in the forthcoming general erection. I'm not sure how many rabid Sherlock or Top Gear fans of a voting age there are in that particular constituency but, these people have long memories. The licence fee is frozen until 2017 at present, with the Conservatives indicating that they would retain the freeze and squeeze the BBC until it squeaks. For fun. Labour's Ed Milimolimandi said earlier this month that the BBC's licence fee settlement should be renewed. 'The BBC needs to take seriously the issue of management salaries,' he commented on the corporation's spending. 'All organisations should. But I think Tony Hall is taking it seriously.' But, I wouldn't get too excited about that since hapless Ed has about as much chance of being Britain's next Prime Minister as yer actual Keith Telly Topping does. And, trust me dear blog reader, I'm not about to tell you all to return to your remote controls and prepare for government.
Once again, dear blog reader, it has been pointed out to this blogger that a properly grievous error has occurred in the selection of a picture used to illustrate a particular story on From The North. Which is, obviously, of enormous and profound regret to this blogger. In a recent news item on the subject of Nigel Farago's opinions on the future of the BBC, we accidentally - and wholly without malice - included a photographic image which was not, in fact, that of the UKiP leader, 'man of the people' (and drag) but was, instead, a photograph of the former German chancellor Adolf Hitler (1889-1945). Who only had one. Allegedly. This blogger would like to, sincerely, apologise for any embarrassment or upset this mix-up caused. To Hitler.

Britain's Eurovision hopefuls Electro Velvet will make their TV debut on The Graham Norton Show. That's if Nigel Farago hasn't used his massive political influence to cancel the format in the mean time. The appearance will serve as a dress rehearsal for the duo, before they head to Vienna for this year's contest and their inevitable acquisition of 'nul points'.
Oily Piers Morgan, the former - extremely sacked - editor of the Daily Mirra and television host, has been questioned under caution for a second time about phone-hacking. The Metropolitan police confirmed that a fifty-year-old oily twat had been 'interviewed under caution' on Tuesday as part of Operation Golding, the investigation into allegations of phone-hacking at Mirra Group Newspapers. Morgan said in a statement: 'Some time ago I was asked to attend an interview with officers from Operation Golding when I was next in the UK. This was further to a previous voluntary interview I provided in December 2013. I attended that interview today. As this is an ongoing investigation, I am unable to comment further until its conclusion.' Morgan, who edited the Daily Mirra for nine years until he had his ass fired in 2004 and is now editor-at-large of Scum Mail Online in the US, has always denied that he was personally involved in phone-hacking. In an interview with the Gruniad Morning Star last October Morgan said: 'I've never hacked a phone nor told anybody to hack a phone.' Four former Sunday Mirra journalists, including ex-editor Tina Weaver and former Sunday People editor, James Scott, were arrested over alleged phone-hacking by officers from the Metropolitan police's Operation Weeting investigation in March 2013. No charges have yet been brought. Morgan, a former Scum of the World editor and hate figure for millions, took over at the Daily Mirra in 1995 and held the position until 2004 when he was sacked following the publication of hoax photographs which the newspaper had claimed showed Iraqi prisoners being abused by British soldiers. He later wrote a book about his career before pursuing a career in broadcasting and eventually landing his own show on US network CNN in 2011. Which was subsequently very cancelled. Because it was shit and no on was watching it. He appeared as a co-host on ITV's Good Morning Britain last week, but is usually based in the US. He is one of two men to have been publicly punched by Jeremy Clarkson although, interestingly, Jezza wasn't sacked for that one but was, instead, awarded an effing medal by the general public.
Former Radio 1 DJ and convicted sex offender Dave Lee Travis was 'financially ruined' by his lengthy legal battles, a court has heard. And, we're supposed to, what? Feel sorry for him? Travis - the self-styled 'Hairy Cornflake' - was extremely convicted in September having been found very guilty of indecently assaulting a woman. He was given a three month jail sentence suspended for two years. A hearing at Southwark Crown Court heard that he had racked up a taxi fare bill of four thousand four hundred and fifty six smackers during his trials. He was awarded travel costs, limited to the value of a day return train ticket and fifty knicker for a taxi plus hotel costs. Stephen Vullo QC, representing Travis, made the defendant's costs application and said his client had been 'financially devastated' by trials in February and September last year. 'He has no money left whatsoever,' he whinged. Although, one imagines it is highly unlikely that Vullo himself is working for nothing. 'He is now below zero,' Vullo continued. And, again, we're supposed to be sympathetic towards this convicted sex offender, are we? Vullo also claimed six hundred and thirty quid in hotel accommodation, and two hundred and forty six notes for travel to 'legal conferences' and asked for a total of five thousand three hundred and thirty two smackers towards Travis's costs. Judge Leonard ruled that Travis could claim the costs of a daily return train ticket from Aylesbury to Marylebone, which the judge said cost £61.40, as well as fifty quid a day for 'reasonable' taxi costs from the station. He allowed the hotel costs. Referring to Travis's alleged back problems, Judge Leonard said: 'His infirmity was such that the benefit from the train, to get up from his seat rather than remain in it, is something that could only have been achieved on a train, not a car.' The defence estimated that Travis travelled from his home in Aylesbury to court on thirty seven days, which means he could be entitled to around four thousand one hundred knicker. The number of days will be confirmed with the court at a later stage. Prosecutor Joshua Munro argued the costs were not 'reasonable' expenses for the taxpayer to fund. And, for what it's worth, this tax payer entirely agrees with Munro.

Game Of Thrones' Maisie Williams - soon to be seen in Doctor Who, of course - stars in the new movie The Falling, released this week, a study of mass hysteria at an all-girls school. Set in 1969 at a strict girls' school, the film tells of a mysterious fainting epidemic which breaks out in the aftermath of a tragedy. The idea for the movie, according to director Carol Morley, 'came to me over a decade ago, when a friend and I ended up in bursts of hysterical laughter on the phone.'
In advance of the forthcoming Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular which visits six cities across the UK from 23 May, artwork has been released to capture the monsters and characters from Doctor Who, alongside the musicians taking part in the tour. Paying homage (or, ripping-off, whichever you prefer) to the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP cover designed by Sir Peter Blake for The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them), the design features a range of characters, past and present.
The actor Rex Robinson has died at the age of eighty nine. Rex appeared in three Doctor Who stories during the early 1970s, all directed by Lennie Mayne. In 1972 Rex played Doctor Tyler in the well-remembered tenth anniversary story The Three Doctors, as a scientist who joined forces with The Doctor and UNIT to help defeat the renegade Time Lord Omega. He has a minor place in Doctor Who history being on the receiving end of one of the series' most quoted lines, as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has something of a fit of pique at The Doctor's laizzez faire attitude to UNIT's security. 'Liberty Hall, Doctor Tyler, Liberty Hall!' He returned the following year in The Monster Of Peladon, to play Gebek, a Peladonian trisilicate miner. His final appearance in Doctor Who came in 1976 when he played Doctor Carter in the Tom Baker story The Hand of Fear. Born in Derby in 1926, Rex also appeared in a number of classic British Television drama and sitcoms including The Troubleshooters, Gems, Bread, One By One, Only Fools and Horses, Just Good Friends, Are You Being Served?, Front Page Story, Terry & June, The Onedin Line, Softly Softly: Task Force, Warship, Upstairs, Downstairs, Callan, The Plane Makers, Ghost Squad and Champion Road. Other acting roles included appearances in Six Days Of Justice, Z-Cars, No Hiding Place, Within These Walls, The Professionals, The Big Pull, The Insect Play, Armchair Theatre, Yes, Minister, and the films A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. His final screen appearance was in 1989's Shadow Of The Noose before eyesight problems forced him to give up his acting career, although he did appear in two video documentaries about his time in Doctor Who, The Doctors Revisited and Omega Factor. Rex Robinson is survived by his wife, the actress Patricia Pryor, who also appeared in The Three Doctors.

If restrictions on Internet access, repressive laws from psychotic knobends and possible imprisonment for speaking your mind are not your thing, you might want to avoid a few states. According to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the following countries are the most censored in terms of press freedom and harassment of journalists as well as repressive laws affecting members of the public. Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Viet'nam, Iran, China, Burma and Cuba. Interestingly, this blog has been visited by people from all of those countries apart from North Korea. Yer actual Keith telly Topping obviously isn't subversive enough to get himself banned by even the world's most repressive regimes. What a tragedy. Surprisingly, perhaps, North Korea did not top the list with Eritrea in East Africa taking the number one spot. Saudi Arabia, which made headlines recently when a liberal blogger was sentenced to one thousand lashes, came third. You have to pay good money for that sort of thing over here, of course. China, which has battled with Google over censoring search results, also made the list.
A semi-professional footballer who played for Clitheroe FC has been sacked after a video emerged showing him having sex with an unknown woman in the manager's dugout while wearing official kit of the club. Jay Hart was filmed on Saturday afternoon following the Evo-Stik Division One North match at Mossley AFC. The video appeared on social media which led to Hart's identification. Hart could be heard laughing in the video, in which he is seen having - seemingly very enjoyable - sex with a blonde woman whose face cannot be seen, with his club T-shirt still on and tracksuit bottoms around his ankles. The striker came off the self-same bench in the seventy third minute for Clitheroe during the club's 4-1 defeat in their final away game of the season, at Mossley's Seel Park stadium and was named 'ladies day' in order to promote the club and attract more female supporters. Which may,or may not, have included the blonde woman. Since the video emerged, Hart has been sacked by the non-league club for 'bringing the club into disrepute.' Clitheroe chairwoman Anne Barker said in an official statement: 'Following a NON-FOOTBALL RELATED incident at Mossley AFC yesterday, Jay Hart has been dismissed from the club.' She added, as quoted by the Daily Scum Mail: 'I can't have somebody wearing the Clitheroe FC tracksuit bringing us down.' Or, indeed, it down. 'It has brought the club into disrepute and it's not proper for him to scupper our reputation. I expect our players to act professionally. It was brought to my attention on Saturday night and dealt with through the management. I did offer to speak to him myself but Simon [Garner, the manager] said he would take care of it.' Hart's girlfriend Bryony Hibbert, who is from Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire and has two young children, has criticised those who shared the video on social media and took to the Clitheroe Facebook page to vent her spleen in what she labelled as a 'disgusting' act. 'Have a bit of decency for the people it's affected,' Hibbert pleaded in a post which was later removed. 'Thank God my kids are too young to read. It's disgusting. I bet their families are far from perfect.' Garner, who signed Hart to the club, said: 'At the time of this unfortunate occurrence on Saturday, I wasn't there. I had already left the ground. I found out later on when I saw how it played out on Twitter. I'm disappointed but we can't control what the players do outside the time we are with them. They choose what they want to do. Unfortunately, Jason was wearing the club tracksuit and he knows he has let the club down, so the club has done what it has done. “He's disappointed it has gone this far. It's going to have consequences for him beyond leaving this football club; with his family and possibly beyond that. Football is only a small part of it. If he had thought about what would have happened when he did it, he wouldn't have done it. He will pay for it. When I spoke to him, he sounded very apologetic about it. I'm disappointed for him. He will regret what he did and it was totally wrong.'

Many people heaved out huge collections of VHS tapes, assuming they would be worth nothing once DVD took over (although not, it should be noted, yer actual Keith Telly Topping who still has a couple of thousand tapes littering up Stately Telly Topping Manor). If you are one of those who did, however, it might be an idea to look away now. Some old VHS tapes can now be worth up to a grand each, with a new and thriving collectors' market buying up unique films - with up to fifty per cent of films on VHS never having seen release on DVD. Dale Lloyd of Midlands VHS firm Viva VHS told the Torygraph, 'It's not just the films. A lot of the trailers that play beforehand are extremely sought after and could be lost forever if not preserved.' Lloyd screens selections of old, lost trailers at cinema festivals - and rents classic films. 'Fans of Richard Linklater can only own the brilliant SubUrbia on VHS. The same goes for Edgar Wright and his debut feature, A Fistful Of Fingers. Lloyd says that VHS collecting is still in its infancy - but some obscure films, especially horror titles, can already fetch enormous sums. Titles such as 1977's The Beast In Heat will fetch upwards of a thousand smackers each - and other horror titles such as Lemora Lady Dracula can also fetch huge sums.

Bruce Springsteen will honour The Who as they celebrate a half-century in music at a star-studded concert in New York next month. Springsteen is to present the band, led by frontman Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend with an award, while Joan Jett and Billy Idol are both set to perform at the event on 28 May.
In case you missed it, the enormous Eamonn Holmes grabbed even more air-time than usual when he walked in front of the camera during his colleague's weather report on Sky News this week. He unwittingly ambled across the weather map during the live report, and gave a little wave when he realise his error.

The Queen attended a ceremony marking the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign in World War One on Saturday. She was joined by Prince William and party leaders at a parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, ahead of a service at Westminster Abbey. A second day of services in Australia, Turkey and New Zealand were also held to mark the landing of allied forces in Gallipoli, one hundred years ago. The eight-month campaign on the Gallipoli peninsula, in the Dardanelles, part of modern day Turkey, was one of the bloodiest of the war and the first to involve ANZAC troops from Australia and New Zealand. Other events took place across the world during the course of the day. Descendants of veterans and representatives from countries involved in the operation attended the ceremony. At dawn on 25 April 1915, thousands of allied troops launched an amphibious attack on the strategically-important Gallipoli peninsula, which was key to controlling the Dardanelles strait, a crucial route to the Black Sea and Russia. The Gallipoli campaign is most frequently associated with the forces of the Australian and New Zealand army corps although more than half-a-million allied troops who were involved in the operation, more than four hundred thousand came from Britain. More than eleven thousand Australian and New Zealand troops were killed in the course of the campaign. Gallipoli holds a special place in Australian hearts. Many believe it was the event at which Australians proved heralded the young nation's emergence onto the world stage. After a failed naval attack, the Allies tried to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul) via the Gallipoli peninsula by land assault. British, French and their dominions' troops - including soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Canada - took part. They faced months of shelling, sniper fire and sickness, before abandoning the campaign. Forty five thousand Allied troops died for no obviously material gain, although the Turkish Army was tied down for eight months. Eighty six thousand Turkish troops are estimated to have died.

And, speaking of Her Maj, the first production photos of Dame Kristen Scott Thomas as Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan's The Audience have been released. The images also feature the great David Calder as Winston Churchill. The new production, which originally starred an Oliver Award-winning Dame Helen Mirren, is currently in preview at the Apollo Theatre and is running until 25 July 2015.
The Hubble Space Telescope has celebrated its silver anniversary with a picture featuring a spectacular vista of young stars blazing across a dense cloud of gas and dust. The Westerlund Two cluster of stars is located about twenty thousand light-years - or, a bastard long way - away in the constellation of Carina. Hubble was launched on Space Shuttle Discovery on 24 April 1990. Engineers expect the observatory to keep operating for at least another five years. 'Even the most optimistic person to whom you could have spoken back in 1990 couldn't have predicted the degree to which Hubble would rewrite our astrophysics and planetary science textbooks,' commented NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. 'A quarter of a century later, Hubble has fundamentally changed our understanding of our Universe and our place in it.'
Thursday was, of course, St George's Day, dear blog reader. So, to celebrate. here's a picture of St George his very self.
And that was, inevitably, followed on Friday by St Ringo's Day.
And finally, dear blog reader, Monday is the second anniversary of the death of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's mother. The following day is the twenty fourth anniversary of my father's death. Barely a day goes by when this blogger doesn't think about them, often at the most unexpected of moments. So, thanks to Tommy and Lily, for providing me with a stable, warm and happy upbringing which Keith Telly Topping always appreciated even if he didn't always say so.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a quality bit of yer actual Dan La Sac and Scroobius Pip his very self. Slammin'.

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