Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Once & Future King

BAFTA Cymru took Doctor Who stateside to celebrate ten years of the revival of the popular, long-running family SF drama. The Welsh BAFTAs, in collaboration with BAFTA New York, announced a special screening in New York on Thursday 14 May. Two hundred and twenty people were treated to a screening of the episode Listen, starring yer actual Peter Capaldi. Chairman of BAFTA New York Charles Tremayne said: 'Doctor Who is such an iconic part of British television culture that it's always a privilege to celebrate its enduring success here in New York. The last ten years since the re-launch in Cardiff have been among the most memorable of its many years on-air.' He added: 'Apart from some great backstage stories, it will be great to hear from Steven how they keep Doctor Who so fresh and part of the zeitgeist around the world.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat added: 'I loved Doctor Who on screen, long before I ever worked on it, just as I loved New York in the movies long before I ever got to go there. It will be a pleasure to combine both fantasies.'
The Wales Online website,meanwhile, has reported that The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat is to continue as Doctor Who's showrunner for at least one more series. Speaking at the previously mentioned New York event, Steven was interviewed on stage by the journalist Jaci Stephen and you read her report on what they talked about, here. In this, Jaci confirms that Steven will be in charge of Doctor Who for series ten. Which is, of course, proper great news - not only because Steven is a fine and imaginative writer and producer but also, specifically, because this news will really piss off The Special People. And, that's always a good thing.
Further location photos from the current - ninth - series of Doctor Who, in production as we speak, have been published. Yer actual Peter Capaldi and that Ingrid Oliver have been spotted on the Knap at Barry. (Note, Osgood now seems to have moved on to the fifth/sixth/seventh Doctors' costumes judging by the question marks on her blouse.)
Meanwhile, Jenna Coleman her very self has been filming scenes in Cardiff.
Doctor Who is - as previously announced - bringing back Ingrid Oliver's Osgood character and a classic monster - and writer Peter Harness has promised an 'huge cliffhanger' for the two-part adventure. Harness - who previously wrote series eight's Kill The Moon - has scripted a second adventure for Peter Capaldi's Time Lord, which will reintroduce both Oliver's character and the shape-shifting aliens, The Zygons. 'It's a bit unbelievable to be bringing [The Zygons] back again - and also Osgood as well, another fan favourite,' Peter told the Digital Spy website. 'It's a privilege to be telling a story about those two, and I think it's quite an exciting story as well. Unfortunately I've got two fan favourites in my hands now, which can only set me up to disappoint people!' The ninth series of Doctor Who is expected to revive the two-parter format, with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat previously telling the same site that he is 'changing the rhythm' of the show. 'It's nice to do a cliffhanger,' said Harness. 'And I tried to do the biggest cliffhanger I possibly could.'
Yer actual Peter Davison has spoken about Doctor Who, saying that he believes it will 'go on indefinitely.' Peter - who played The Doctor between 1981 and 1984 - says that as long as people like Russell Davies and Steven Moffat continue to work on the show, he expects it to be around for the foreseeable future. The actor - seen below at a recent awards event with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and his son-in-law, David Tennant - was speaking to BANG Showbiz: 'I think it will go on fairly indefinitely. As long as there are people who are fans of the programme who keep on making the programme it will be fine.' He added: 'That's the reason it came back on-air and has been on TV for ten years. Russell Davies is a big Doctor Who fan; Steven Moffat is a big Doctor Who fan and I think those people understand the programme and understand that sometimes it has to re-invent itself and move on and do things differently and I think while those sort of people are at the helm then the show will continue.'
The Daleks have invaded Newcastle in advance of the forthcoming Doctor Who Spectacular, which visits the city on Thursday 28 May. Don't worry though, dear blog reader, they might, by the look of things, have taken the Quayside but they haven't reached Stately Telly Topping Manor. Yet. The Daleks were seen on the Millennium Bridge over the River Tyne threatening to exterminate passers-by and later up at the Metro Radio Arena where the show is set to appear in the half-term in a fortnight.
Sherlock fans, rejoice and start jumping up and down and waving your knickers in the air. Or,you know, whatever floats your boat. The fourth series of the hit BBC drama starring yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self will start filming in the spring of 2016. Co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat confirmed the news to press while speaking alongside his wife, and co-producer, Sue Vertue at the BAFTA winners press conference last weekend. Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has previously said that the series will represent 'an emotional upheaval' and leave fans 'desperate' for series five. He said: '[Series four] is going to be, I suppose you'd say, [about] consequences. Chickens come to roost. It's dark in some ways - obviously it's great fun and a Sherlock Holmes romp and all that - but there's a sense of things coming back to bite you.' Moffat and Mark Gatiss usually release a trio of teaser words in the summer prior to filming, which gesture towards the episodes' full titles ('Woman/Hound/Fall' for series two, 'Rat/Wedding/Bow' for series three). So, assuming that pattern will continue, we can probably expect to get series four's key words unveiled either at Comic-Con in July or the Edinburgh TV Festival in August. Before the fourth series hits the screens, of course, fans can look forward to the forthcoming one-off Sherlock Victorian special which will be broadcast around Christmas. The ninety-minute special will be completely separate from other episodes, with The Moffat describing it as 'its own little bubble.'
So, are you befuddled as to why Sherlock is heading back to the Victorian era, dear blog reader? Steven Moffat, of course, has the answer. The upcoming special - rumoured to be an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's Christmas story The Adventure of The Blue Carbuncle - will be a one-off set in 1895, with yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self playing 'period' versions of their characters. 'We've got, I think you can safely say, the Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson of a generation - we want to see them do it in the proper outfits, just once,' Moffat said at the BAFTAs. 'That makes them the only two who've done both [period and contemporary] - apart from Rathbone and Bruce, who we venerate, of course.' The Moffat admitted that he and Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss were 'giddy' on-set for the special. 'We were ridiculous,' he admitted. 'Running around, saying, "He's wearing the deerstalker! Look at that moustache!" It's very exciting.'
And, speaking of the BAFTAs, Ant McPartlin and/or Dec Donnelly picked up two prizes at the BAFTA Television Awards for the second year in a row last Sunday evening. The cheeky-chappie-doon-Th'-Bigg-Market-duo won best entertainment show and best entertainment performance for their ITV show Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. Picking up their first prize, Ant McPartlin told the audience: 'What a great start to the show - for us. We're delighted with it.' ITV's Coronation Street won best soap in the year it celebrated its sixtieth anniversary. Producer Stuart Blackburn dedicated the award to 'his friend and colleague' Anne Kirkbride, who died in January after forty two years playing Deidre Barlow. 'Sometimes people sneer at soaps,' he said, 'but we do some of the best moments on television.' Detective drama Sherlock won the Radio Times audience award, beating the likes of EastEnders, Strictly Come Dancing, The Great British Bake Off and Game Of Thrones. But its star, yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, who absented himself from the ceremony to look after his pregnant wife, lost out on the best actor prize for the third time. The honour went instead to the very excellent Jason Watkins, for his role in The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jeffries. The real-life drama, about the former teacher who was wrongly accused of the murder of his tenant, Joanna Yeates, also received the award for best mini-series. Best actress went to newcomer Georgina Campbell, who played a seventeen-year-old victim of domestic abuse in Murdered By My Boyfriend. After beating Keeley Hawes, Sheridan Smith and Sarah Lancashire, Campbell admitted that she had not written a victory speech, because she did not expect to win. One of the night's other big winners was BBC2's Marvellous, which told the story of Neil Baldwin, a man with learning difficulties who became kit man with Stoke City Football Club. It picked up best single drama, while Gemma Jones, who played Baldwin's mother, Mary, won best supporting actress. The seventy two-year-old said: 'I'd like to thank the real Neil [Baldwin] for allowing us to intrude on his extraordinary life.' At the beginning of the evening, BBC1 led the field with twenty three nominations. However, awards were more evenly distributed among the UK's major broadcasters. Channel Four received the most awards - six in total - including best feature programme for Grand Designs, which beat The Great British Bake Off. Sky News picked up the news award for its coverage of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, while BBC3 took home two prizes. BBC1's Happy Valley won best drama, while the comedy actor prizes went to Matt Berry for the vastly over-rated Toast Of London and Jessica Hynes for W1A. To rapturous applause, the actress told the audience: 'I'm from a single parent family. I'm really worried about the cuts that are coming in state education and to people in low income families, because I don't feel low income means low talent, low imagination or low intelligence.' Ooo, bit of politics there. Rather patronising as well, coming form a highly paid actress. Anyway, the awards, hosted by Graham Norton, were held at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Norton his very self received a BAFTA, for best comedy entertainment programme - dead-panning 'yay, me,' to the cameras. Addressing the audience, he said: 'Most of us, I'm sure, have been in great big stinkers - turkeys so big they wouldn't fit in a domestic oven. When you're in a turkey, you never blame yourself. It was badly written, it was badly scheduled. Equally, it stands to reason if you're in something good, it's nothing to do with you either!' In the international category, two of the four nominations went to streaming service Netflix, showing the increasing impact of non-traditional broadcasters. But the category was eventually won - and, rightly so - by the HBO series True Detective. Lifetime achievement awards were received by Channel Four newscaster Jon Snow and the screenwriter Jeff Pope, whose credits included the recent hit Cilla and the movie Philomena. Charlie Brooker led a celebration of television critic, broadcaster and poet Clive James. 'Summarising Clive James is a daunting task,' claimed Brooker. Well, smug - although not entirely unamusing - Australian git should probably do it. 'Throughout his career he's juggled popular appeal with the high arts. Not many people can claim to have hosted a mainstream Saturday night TV show and published an acclaimed literary translation of Dante's Inferno. Not even Nick Knowles.' Heh. Clive, who received a BAFTA Special Award earlier, was too ill to attend the ceremony but a film was shown documenting the highlights of his varied television career. 'I only wish I could be with you,' said the broadcaster, who has terminal cancer, in a brief video message. He said that he missed his television career 'sorely' but maintained he had made the correct decision when he retired when he did in 2001. Holding aloft his BAFTA trophy, he added: 'I've at last realised who that is. They've poured molten gold on a wax face mask of Benedict Cumberbatch.'

Meanwhile, in a small town in Dorset ...
To the ratings: ITV's Safe House topped the overnights outside of soaps on Monday. The final episode of the Christopher Eccleston-fronted thriller brought in n overnight audience of 4.46m at 9pm. Earlier, Wild Ireland interested 2.96m at 8pm. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip gathered 1.06m at 7pm, before The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge averaged 1.91m at 8pm and Seventy Million Animal Mummies: Egypt's Dark Secret was watched by intrigued nine hundred and ninety thousand at 9pm. Episodes followed with nine hundred and seventy thousand viewers at 10pm. Channel Four's Damned Designs was seen by 1.51m at 8pm, while sick poverty tourism Benefits Street returned for a second series with a depressingly large 2.51m punters at 9pm. The Night Bus was watched by eight hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, the latest episode of Gotham attracted eight hundred and thirty one thousand at 9pm and Person of Interest brought in five hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. A new episode of Game Of Thrones continued to be a ratings success for Sky Atlantic with 1.05m overnight viewers at 9pm.

The latest series of Big Brother's launch episode was up on last year's opening show, according to overnight figures for Tuesday. The Channel Five reality Victorian freak show returned with 1.70m at 9pm. The figure is up by three hundred thousand viewers on the corresponding overnight audience for last June's launch, but down on the overnight figures for the launch of Celebrity Big Brother in January, which attracted 3.09m. ITV's coverage of yer actual Barcelona's Champions League aggregate victory over Bayern München their very selves was the night's most-watched programme across all channels with 3.45m between 7.30pm and 10pm. A figure which, in and of itself, gives dear blog readers an idea of just what a shocking night it was all-round. On BBC1, Twenty Four Hours In The Past continued with 3.04m at 9pm, while Del Boys & Dealers gathered 1.51m at 10.45pm. BBC2's Antiques Road Trip interested 1.22m at 7pm, before The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge brought in 1.87m at 8pm and Wastemen was watched by 1.79m at 9pm. Kirstie & Phil's Love It Or List It was watched by 1.48m on Channel Four at 8pm. Meanwhile, No Offence shed seven hundred and thirty thousand viewers for its second episode, with 1.42m tuning in at 9pm. BBC3's Stacey Dooley Investigates averaged four hundred and sixty eight thousand punters at 9pm.

It is the most unlikely media-related u-turn since the Sun dumped page three – the Daily Lies has, seemingly, turned its back on Big Brother. The joke of a newspaper, Big Brother's most consistent arse-licking fan since it returned to television on Channel Five, tells its readers the show is 'in crisis' after 'half-a-million fans switched off.' The Lies suggests viewers are 'moaning' the new series is 'full of wannabes' and 'not real people' (although how that differentiates this particular version from previous series is not entirely clear). But, perhaps the paper's sudden change of heart should not be quite so unexpected – until last year both Channel Five and the Daily Lies were owned by soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond, before he sold the channel to MTV owner Viacom for four hundred and fifty million smackers in a deal completed last September. This is the first run of Big Brother since then (although there was a celebrity edition at the beginning of the year). An alleged - though, obviously, anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'TV insider' allegedly told the alleged paper that Big Brother is just a 'watered down version of the celebrity version. There's just as much egotism and attention-seeking but we don't know who any of these people are – so why should we care about them?' Good question, matey. We may see an echo of the media coverage of the show when it first aired on Channel Five in 2011 after it was axed by Channel Four, when it was largely ignored by all of the other tabloids apart from Desmond's Lies (and Daily Scum Express).
Inspector George Gently topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Wednesday. The popular BBC1 period crime drama brought in 5.45m for its latest ninety-minute episode at 8pm, while Peter Kay's Car Share - the funniest thing the comedian has made in a decade at least - continued strongly with 4.59m at 9.30pm. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip averaged eight hundred and thirty thousand at 7pm, before The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge interested 1.34m at 8pm. The Great British Garden Watch gathered 1.16m at 9pm. Rory Bremner's Election Report followed with 1.27m at 10pm. ITV's vastly amusing Wednesday night floppage - soaps aside - continue. Risible, mawkish and trite Give A Pet A Home was watched by 2.08m at 8pm, while Newzoids continued to shed viewers, being watched by a mere 1.56m at 9pm. Then, it got worse with The Delivery Man getting just nine hundred and thirty two thousand punters at 9.30pm. The World's Most Expensive Food was, if you will, devoured by 1.71m on Channel Four at 8pm, while The Island With Bear Grylls continued to pull in decent figures being watched by 2.22m at 9pm. That's higher than anything on ITV between 8pm and 10pm. Big Brother was Channel Five's highest rated programme of the night with 1.12m for its first highlights show at 10pm. Earlier, Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud was gawped at by eight hundred and nine thousand glakes at 8pm and Autopsy attracted nine hundred thousand punters at 9pm. Jane The Virgin'audience rose to one hundred and ninety nine thousand on E4 at 9pm, while Nashville's season three premiere was watched by one hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm.

Watchdog was the most popular programme outside of soaps on Thursday, according to overnight data. The long-running BBC1 consumer show, in which Claudia Winkleman recounted the horror of her daughter's Hallow'een burns, was watched by 3.69m at 8pm. Later, Shark brought in 3.07m at 9pm. Later, Question Time appealed to the last 2.88m million people in this country who aren't sick to bloody death with politics at 10.45pm. ITV's Tonight interested 1.90m at 7.30pm, while You've Been Framed!, as usual, failed to amuse 1.64m at 8.30pm. Fraud Squad continued with 1.87m at 9pm on a Thursday night which managed to make its Wednesday night look almost respectable. On BBC2, Antiques Road Trip continued with 1.14m at 7pm, before The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge gathered 1.72m at 8pm and The Game averaged 1.15m at 9pm. The final episode of W1A's latest series was watched by nine hundred and twenty thousand viewers at 10pm. Channel Four's Born Naughty? interested 1.90m at 8pm, while the penultimate episode of The Island With Bear Grylls drew 2.31m at 9pm. On Channel Five, 1.25m watched The Hotel Inspector at 9pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.14m at 10pm.

Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites opened to more than two million overnight viewers on BBC2 on Friday. The new cooking show was seen by an average audience of 2.3 million at 8pm. It was sandwiched between Antiques Road Trip with 1.09 million and Gardeners' World with 2.13 million. Britain's Greatest Generation and The Clare Balding Show were seen by 1.15 million and eight hundred and seventy thousand. Have I Got News For You was the evening's highest-rated show outside of soaps, securing 4.43 million at 9pm on BBC1. BBC1's evening kicked-off with 3.36 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, while 2.83 million watched A Question Of Sport immediately after. Repeats of The Vicar Of Dibley and Mrs Brown's Boys drew respective audiences of 2.5 million and 3.39 million. The Graham Norton Show ended the evening with 3.34 million at 10.35pm. On ITV, Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis continued with but 2.33 million at 8pm, while Man & Beast With Martin Clunes débuted with 2.72 million. The latest live episode of Big Brother attracted an average audience of 1.26 million to Channel Five. The returning Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown entertained 1.51 million at 9pm on Channel Four. It was sandwiched between Marvel's Agents of SHIELD with six hundred thousand punters and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with 1.11 million.

The BBC's fantasy flop Atlantis bowed out with just two and a half million overnight viewers for its final episode of Saturday. The feature-length finale of the not-even-remotely lamented BBC1 drama averaged 2.51m between 7pm and 8.30pm. Afterwards, The National Lottery: In It To Win It and Casualty were watched by 2.29m and 4.08m viewers respectively. The evening ended with 3.11 million watching Match Of The Day and yet another disgracefully cowardly and inept display by the the bunch of over-paid wastrels whom this blogger has spent his life supporting. This blogger can even be bothered to get angry any longer. Have fun in The Championship next year, boys. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat entertained 1.1m before the terrestrial début of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa managed a million punters from 9.20pm. Britain's Got Toilets continued strongly on ITV, earning 9.65m from 8pm. Ninja Warrior UK attracted 4.53m and Play To The Whistle carried on struggling with a mere 2.39m. On Channel Four, The World's Most Extreme ... averaged nine hundred and two thousand in the 8pm hour. The Hunger Games drew 1.06m afterwards. Channel Five's latest Big Brother episode was seen by but six hundred and ninety three thousand from 9.20pm, one of the lowest audiences for the Victorian freak show since Channel Five picked it up. CSI followed with six hundred and eight two thousand.

Countryfile was the most watched overnight programme on Sunday evening. The long-running BBC1 magazine show gathered 6.27 million punters at 7pm, while Antiques Roadshow appealed to 5.82m at 8pm. The opening episode of the BBC's much-anticipated adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - which yer actual Keith Telly Topping thoroughly enjoyed, incidentally - followed with a more than decent 4.53m at 9pm. Over on BBC2, Demolition brought in 1.61m at 8pm, while The Detectives interested 1.40m at 9pm. ITV's latest example of waste-of-space z-list tosh and nonsense Celebrity Squares continued with a satisfyingly rubbish 1.63m at 7.15pm, before Sunday Night At The Palladium drew 3.37m at 8pm. The period drama Home Fires dipped slightly week-on-week to 4.53m at 9pm. On Channel Four, For The Love Of Cars was seen by 1.03m at 8pm and Grayson Perry's Dream House had an audience of eight hundred and seventy thousand at 9pm. Big Brother's latest episode averaged 1.02m for Channel Five at 9pm while The Rock appealed to five hundred and thirty seven thousand at 10pm.
Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Three programmes for the week-ending Sunday 10 May 2015:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 11.02m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.70m
3 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.26m
4 Inspector George Gently - Wed BBC1 - 6.87m
5 Peter Kay's Car Share - Wed BBC1 - 6.30m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.15m
7 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 6.14m
8 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.97m
9 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.48m
10 The British Academy Television Awards - Sun BBC1 - 5.43m
11 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.39m
12 Home Fires - Sun ITV - 5.17m*
13 VE Day Seventy: A Party To remember - Sat BBC1 - 5.14m
14 Safe House - Mon ITV - 4.79m*
15= Pointless - Mon BBC1 - 4.62m
15= Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.62m
17 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.58m
18 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 4.47m
19 UEFA Champions League Live - Tues ITV - 4.27m
20 Shark - Thurs BBC1 - 3.99m
21 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 3.97m
22 The ONE Show - Thurs BBC1 - 3.72m
23Ninja Warrior UK - Sat ITV - 3.70m*
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. ITV's woes continue. Spectacular flops Play To The Whistle (2.41m), Weekend Escapes With Warwick Davis (2.10m) and Give A Pet A Home (a truly risible 1.87m) continue to provide more entertainment via their ludicrously low ratings figures than anything in the series' themselves. Much-hyped Spitting Image rip-off Newzoids continued to shed viewers faster than big hairy shedding thing. Neither it, nor the wretched, laughless 'comedy' The Delivery Man managed a consolidated audience of more than 1.85 million punters and didn't even make it into ITV's top thirty broadcasts of the week. BBC2's most-watched programme was their coverage of the final of the World Snooker Champiionship on Bank Holiday Monday (3.33m). An episode of Pointless bumped onto BBC2 due to the election coverage was watched by 2.82m. Inside The Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made had 2.49m, followed by Charlie Brooker's Election Wipe (2.27m), Gardeners' World (two million) and The Game (1.77m). Aside from Gogglebox, Channel Four's highest-rated shows were No Offence (3.19m), The Island With Bear Grylls (2.95m) and Love It Or List It (2.10m). Channel Five's top-rated broadcasts were the channel's popular US drama imports CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1.53m), Gotham (1.52m) and NCIS (1.30m) and The Hotel Inspector (1.44m). Sky Atlantic's Game Of Thrones was the mutichannels most-watched broadcast of the week (1.92m), followed by E4's The Big Bang Theory (1.82m) and the second episode of Sky Living's The Enfield Haunting (1.30m). Foyle's War was ITV3's most-watched show with six hundred and ninety seven thousand viewers. Inspector Montalbano was, again, BBC4's highest-rated programme (six hundred and thirty one thousand). All Aborad! The Canal Trip drew five hundred and sixteen thousand, Horizon (four hundred and ninety thousand) and Great Guitar Riffs At The BBC (four hundred and sixty two thousand). BBC3's weekly ratings list was topped, as usual, not by a programme they made themselves but, rather by the movie Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (eight hundred and fifty six thousand). A Sherlock repeat drew seven hundred and eight thousand. They didn't make that, either, incidentally. ITV4's most watched broadcast was coverage of the Europa League (four hundred and fifty two thousand). 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura attracted four hundred and fifty one thousand. Aside from The Enfield Haunting Sky Living's most watched programmes were Elementary (seven hundred and eighty nine thousand), Criminal Minds (seven hundred and fifty thousand) and The Blacklist (seven hundred and thirty five thousand). Sky 1's The Flash brought in 1.18m. On Dave, repeats of Mock The Week, Not Going Out and Qi XL were watched by three hundred and thirty nine thousand, three hundred and thirty eight thousand and three hundred and thirty five thousand punters respectively. The Pub Landlord Versus Nigel Farage had three hundred and one thousand. Drama's latest Judge John Deed repeat was watched by four hundred and forty seven thousand. Watch's Grimm had an audience of six hundred and three thousand. FOX's latest episode of NCIS's series twelve was watched by six hundred and seventy seven thousand. On Sky Sports News, Gillette Soccer Saturday drew four hundred and thirty thousand. On Discovery History, Special Forces' Secrets pulled in twenty four thousand viewers. The Discovery Channel's most watched shows were Gold Rush (four hundred and nineteen thousand) and Wheeler Dealers (two hundred and fifty nine thousand). CI's Crimes That Shook Britain attracted fifty eight thousand viewers whilst ID's Deadly Women drew sixty two thousand viewers. National Geographic's Car SOS was watched by seventy eight thousand. Yesterday's highest-rating show was Secrets Of The Bible (one hundred and ninety seven thousand).

The ITV network has suffered a three per cent drop in its audience share and a six per cent drop on its main channel after a string of factual and entertainment flops but reported a strong performance in advertising revenues earlier this week. Chief executive Adam Crozier said that improving the network's share of viewing was 'a key focus' for the broadcaster hit by strike action on Thursday in a dispute over pay ahead of its annual general meeting with shareholders. The company's shares were down more than three per cent in early trading. ITV said that 'net advertising revenues' rose twelve per cent to seven hundred and fifty four million knicker in the first three months of the year, adding that after 'stripping out' the 'benefit of acquisitions', its studios business also 'returned to organic growth.' But the broadcaster, which will lose its rights to the big-rating Champions League coverage at the beginning of the next football season, faces a tough challenge to turn around its declining audiences with its most popular drama, Downton Abbey, also coming to an end after the next series. ITV director of television Peter Fincham may look to Jezza Clarkson to turn around its fortunes after he met with the presenter and the former Top Gear team last week (see below). Britain's Got Toilets continues to perform well but Simon Cowell's other Saturday night talent show, The X Factor, is currently in transition after several years of declining ratings with a new look show to come in the autumn. ITV has had a handful of successful new dramas - and a couple of returning old favourites - over the last few months but it has also suffered a number of colossal factual flops, including Julia Bradbury's The Wonder Of Britain and has struggled to come up with new weekend entertainment shows with Get Your Shit Together, Planet's Got Toilets and Harry Hill's appalling reboot of Stars In Their Eyes all flopping bigger than Flopsy the Big Flopping Thing at the start of the year. The more recent fiasco that is Play To The Whistle has merely continued this trend. Its new Wednesday night line-up combining Amanda Holden's toxic Give A Pet A Home, spectacularly unfunny puppet show Newzoids and alleged 'sitcom' The Delivery Man is currently utterly failing to attract an audience. But ITV will see an audience boost in the second half of this year with live rights to the rugby world cup. ITV said that its key measure of net advertising revenue was expected to rise by about five per cent in the first half of the year, although advertising revenues across the ITV family of channels were down by five per cent in April and forecast to fall five per cent and up to seven per cent in May and June respectively due to tough comparisons after last year's football world cup. Crozier said: 'We've had a strong start to the year with further growth across all parts of the business.' This was, obviously, some new -and highly selective - use of the word 'strong' that most people with an understanding of the English language hadn't, previously, come across. He added: 'ITV family share of viewing was down three per cent in the first four months and improving SOV remains a key focus for the year.' The main ITV channel had a 14.7 per cent share in the first four months of 2015, down from 15.6 per cent in the same period in 2014. The ITV family of channels, including ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 as well as CITV, ITV Encore, ITVBe and its various other offshoots, fell from 21.6 per cent to 20.9 per cent over the same period. Crozier said: 'Our digital channels are growing audience share, up three per cent overall year-on-year and we are firmly focused on the main channel.' The group has been encouraged by the recent performance of prime-time programmes such as Britain's Got Toilets, Ninja Warrior and Vera and said that dramas, including Safe House, Home Fires and Code Of A Killer had been 'well received.' Which is true, albeit, they - along with their popular soaps, Coronation Street and Emmerdale - are just about the only things anyone is watching on ITV at present. ITV highlighted a number of high-profile dramas this year including Thunderbirds Are Go, The Good Witch, Texas Rising, Aquarius and Jekyll & Hyde. ITV saw pre-tax profits rise twenty three per cent to seven hundred and twelve million quid last year after net advertising revenues lifted six per cent to £1.63bn. The group has been reshaping its business to 'minimise exposure to volatility' in advertising markets by boosting spending on original content, buying up production companies to help produce programmes it can sell around the globe. ITV snapped up Talpa, the Dutch production company behind The Voice, in April in a deal that could cost up to seven hundred and eighty million notes.

Channel Four has been accused of 'killing animals to boost ratings' after contestants slashed the throat of a pig on its Bear Grylls reality show The Island which has attracted nearly five hundred whinges from viewers. Animal welfare groups including People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals - who are, obviously, not mental nor nothing - said that Channel Four had shown 'a callous disregard for life' on the show. Four women were shown creeping up to a sleeping pig before plunging a knife into its throat. The pig could be heard squealing throughout. It followed a previous episode of the show in which its male contestants accidentally killed and ate a rare species of crocodile. Channel Four said that it had so far received about four hundred and fifty whinges about the show, a large number of which are understood to relate to the pig and crocodile killings. Media regulator Ofcom said on Wednesday that it had received sixteen whinges about the show and was considering whether to launch an investigation. PETA director Mimi Bekhechi said: 'There is simply no excuse for this kind of callous disregard for life. TV producers and broadcasters can entertain audiences without resorting to cruelty to animals.' In the letter to Channel Four chief executive David Abraham, signed by PETA, Animal Aid, OneKind and Viva!, the groups whinged that they were 'outraged' to see that contestants 'were filmed slashing the throat of a terrified pig. Had this taken place in the UK, the contestants could face charges and, potentially, time in prison.'Yeah. But, it didn't. 'The producers revealed that the pigs had been shipped to the uninhabited Pearl Islands for the show, expressly so that they could be killed and eaten by contestants. Torturing and killing animals is a cruel way to attempt to boost ratings and sends an especially harmful message to your young viewers, who are greatly influenced by what they see on TV.' Suggesting that they believe a significant wave of pig killing is about to sweep the UK. Which, you know, would be ... newsworthy. 'It is this kind of outright disregard for animals that keeps caseworkers inundated with cruelty-to-animals reports year-round. We strongly urge you, as chief executive of Channel Four, to ensure that this kind of violence is never aired again by implementing a proper animal-welfare policy. We stand ready to meet with you about this important issue,' the whinge continued. Channel Four defended the scenes, saying that an important part of the show was finding out if the contestants were capable of 'hunting and killing for meat' and they had all been trained in killing animals humanely. 'An important part of the experiment was to find out if the men and women were capable of surviving alone and able to find sources of food, including hunting and killing for meat; a vital part of their survival as it is a source of valuable calories and protein,' said the broadcaster. 'All islanders were trained in the humane capture and dispatch of live animals and the animals were killed humanely.' The latest 'furore' - the word comes courtesy of the Gruniad Morning Star's reporting to this story - comes after Channel Four was forced to apologise last month after hungry male contestants on the show hunted down and ate a crocodile which was later revealed to be a protected endangered species. Channel Four said that it was 'a genuine and regrettable error' with a type of crocodile 'not known to be in the area or on the island.' The second series of the survival show, which was expanded to include women after the first series was criticised for only featuring men, is a big hit for Channel Four with overnight ratings of 2.5 million and consolidated audiences of more than three million viewers. It returned to Channel Four last month after a hit first series which won a BAFTA award last Sunday. Some critics accused the launch series of misleading viewers after it emerged that some of the contestants worked in the TV industry, had experience of survival or had worked with Grylls before. Producers also set up a water supply and transported two crocodiles to the island for food. Channel Four's head of factual entertainment, Liam Humphreys, later described the show as 'completely robust, there was no fakery. We explained we had a duty of care to keep the guys alive, it was the dry season and we needed to make sure they didn't run out of water. It's all in the voiceover”'

Conservative officials allegedly threatened the BBC with 'far-reaching reforms', such as changes to the licence fee funding system, if it did not alter the political balance of its coverage of the recent general erection campaign, Tom Baldwin, one of Ed Milimolimandi's senior advisers, has claimed. With no supporting evidence, it should be noted. Not that this blooger doesn't believe senior Tories would do such a thing but, you know, they have denied it. So, someone is clearly lying - it's just a question of which set of liars you trust more. Tough one, isn't it? Baldwin claimed that 'senior BBC executives and journalists' faced repeated threats during that campaign about what would happen if they didn't change their coverage. Baldwin made the assertion in a whinging Gruniad Morning Star article, one of the first comments on the much criticised campaign from Milimolimandi's own team. His claim was roundly rejected by Conservative officials. Baldwin alleged: 'BBC executives and journalists have told me that there were regular, repeated threats from senior Tories during this election campaign about "what would happen afterwards" if they did not fall into line.' He continued: 'It is a disturbing suggestion that a democratically elected government would seek to stamp on and silence dissent from an independent broadcaster.'Cos, of course, that's not the sort of thing Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell spent more than a decade trying to do, is it? Did you think we'd all forgotten about that nonsense, mate? But, Baldwin claims there 'has been a long-standing campaign by the Conservative party, fueled by the commercial interests of sections of the press, to attack the world's most successful state-funded public service broadcaster as a giant left-wing conspiracy.' He adds that although he has his own frustrations with the BBC, he describes it as an organisation 'too precious to lose', contending 'it has invested in fairness, seeks balance even when it is impossible to achieve, listens to and absorbs pressure from every political party.' A senior Conservative official said that Baldwin's allegations were 'complete and utter nonsense.' John Whittingdale, who has been a critic of the licence fee system, has been appointed lack of culture secretary, an appointment which has led some - right-wing - newspapers to claim the government is 'going to war' with the BBC. Front pages of the Torygraph, The Times and the Daily Scum Mail as well as the leader column of the Sun all sneeringly declared, with ill-disguised glee, that the appointment of the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale was 'a declaration of war' against the BBC which leaves the very future of the licence fee in doubt. Yet, according to the Gruniad, even senior - albeit, nameless - Tory 'sources' seemed 'somewhat taken aback' at the way the appointment of the vile ad odious Whittingdale – the veteran chair of the culture, media and sport select committee – was received by their friends in Fleet Street. 'I think there's a debate to be had about all sorts of things to do with the BBC [during charter renewal negotiations],' one alleged 'source'allegedly told the Gruniad, 'but, fundamentally, will there be a public service broadcaster largely funded by the public? Yes.' That debate – set to include an overhaul of BBC governance and the corporation's impact on the local newspaper industry – could be had 'without kneecapping the BBC', the alleged 'source' allegedly added. Some - unattributed - briefings have suggested that some Conservatives were unhappy at the stance taken by the BBC during the campaign, including over the handling of leader's TV debates. Baldwin, in common with many of Milimolimandi's staff, is being made extremely redundant and claims that responsibility for Labour defeat lies with him and all who took the decisions in the campaign. He had informed Milimolimandi he would not have stayed beyond the transitional months in Downing Street if Labour had won,he said. Baldwin revealed one reason he feels confident that the BBC does not contain a left-wing bias is that he fought and lost a daily battle with the BBC about its coverage of the campaign. He writes: 'Far from being in the pocket of Labour, the BBC was too easily swayed by newspapers that support the Tories and are heavily invested in Labour's defeat.' He claims that the party's 'biggest dispute' with the BBC during the campaign was over 'the prominence it gave to the idea of a deal between Labour and the SNP that was never on the cards. After the first two hundred and thirty seven incarnations on news bulletins, I struggled to see how this theme could be developed further, yet the BBC continued to lead with speculation about bizarre consequences of a Labour-SNP government for the economy, tax, and even road schemes. At no stage was there an examination of David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon and Nick Clegg's motives in playing tag-team with almost identical messages on the same non-existent deal. It was a scare-story based on a false premise and some badly flawed polls.' Baldwin's remarks about the polls suggests the Labour party was not overly influenced by internal party polling which was consistently less optimistic than national published polling. The party's internal polling showed crossover – the point at which the Conservatives overtook Labour – occurred in the wake of the party conferences in October, but then Labour clawed itself back into the lead in the first few weeks of the short campaign, possibly by offering reassurance on the deficit and immigration. That lead disappeared in the final week and its focus groups showed the party was being badly hit by the Tory warnings about the threat posed by the SNP. It tried to fight back in the final week with its own warnings about the threat to the NHS posed by a second Tory term, but the story gained little traction partly because the broadcasters had moved to a debate about how a new coalition would be formed, or whether Labour would form a minority government. Jim Messina, one of the Tory campaign managers, has agreed with Baldwin's analysis that broadcasters in the UK unlike in America are heavily influenced by the press. He told the Spectator's Coffee House blog: 'Our research showed when there were big stories or big moments, it was the press that drove that discussion and that is very different.' He also claimed on the basis of Labour's polling that the party leadership knew for some time the Conservatives were on course to win more than three hundred seats. In the Coffee House interview, Messina, a former aide to Barack Obama, said: 'We predicted three hundred and twelve seats that morning to Lynton [Crosby] and three hundred and sixteen was right in line with that, so it just kind of validated what we'd been seeing. I had thought we were three hundred and six [seats] with six days left. So that's all pretty much in-line with the exit poll.' He is scathing about the British polling industry listing several reasons why they make mistakes, including relying on a 2010 view of the electorate, failing to name the candidate in constituency polling, therefore failing to recognise the incumbency effect, too small sample sizes and failing to mix traditional phone polls with online polling. Messina said: 'It was so clear – especially for the entire last month – that they were wrong, but none of them wanted to hear about it. So the first thing to fixing a problem is admitting you have one.' There is deep scepticism in the British polling industry that Labour and the Conservatives had private polls way out of line with what they were publishing. The polling industry has set up an independent inquiry into how it managed to get the result wrong.

The BBC could lose the rights to major sporting events like the Olympics if the licence fee is cut significantly, the head of BBC Sport has claimed. According to that good friend of the Beeb, the Daily Torygraph, Barbara Slater warned of 'a tipping point' at which the BBC will not be able to afford top sporting championships. The BBC has the rights to the Olympics until 2020, as well as events like Wimbledon and the Six Nations. The current TV licence fee will remain at £145.50 until at least April 2017. The fee has been frozen since 2010, leading to real-terms cuts in departments like BBC Sport. Its cost will be reviewed in the next eighteen months, when the corporation's Royal Charter is renegotiated. The Torygraph reported that Slater, who was speaking at the paper's Business of Sport conference, predicted 'challenges around the licence fee going forward.' She said: 'Having had a number of years now flat licence fee, which has resulted in smaller budget for individual divisions such as sport, there is going to come a tipping point at which the BBC does need investment if it is going to continue to compete for, I think, events that people really treasure on the BBC, like the Olympics and some of the major championships. And, of course, we're exploring a multitude of different solutions to that, including sharing with other broadcasters. There is still a very, very significant investment that we're currently making. But, to see that on a significantly downward trajectory, I think, would be enormously damaging to the ecology of sports broadcasting.' Speaking at the same event, ITV director of sport Niall Sloane said that he supported the licence fee but criticised the way it was being spent. 'There is just far too much management [at the BBC],' he was quoted as saying by the Torygraph. ho, obviously, don't have any sick agenda at work in this regard. Oh no, very hot water. 'It's astonishing. And no matter how many people from the BBC tell you they've cut this and they've cut that, there are swathes of people doing jobs that don't need to exist and doing them in a mediocre way,' Sloane claimed. Although how, exactly, he knows this, he didn't elaborate. The debate follows the appointment of the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale as the new secretary of state for culture, media and sport. The vile and odious rascal Whittingdale has previously said that the licence fee is 'becoming harder and harder to justify and sustain' in its current form. In 2012, the BBC secured the UK's exclusive Olympic broadcast rights until Tokyo 2020. At that time, the deal was reported to have cost around sixty million smackers. The BBC also has exclusive rights to Wimbledon until 2017 and shares coverage of the football World Cup, European Championships and FA Cup as well as the Six Nations and Formula One.

Armando Iannucci is to direct a film based on the graphic novel Death of Stalin. Created by French writer Fabien Nury, the novel focuses on the final days of Stalin and the demise of the regime after his death. Iannucci, who created The Thick Of It and Veep, is expected to start filming next year.

After the success of Wolf Hall, author Hilary Mantel is having another novel adapted for television by the BBC. A screen version of 1992 French revolution novel A Place Of Greater Safety is currently in the early stages of development, Broadcast reports. The book is based on Georges Danton, Camille Desmoulins and Maximilien Robespierre's involvement in the French Revolution. The TV script is being written by Richard Warlow, creator and writer of Ripper Street. It will be produced by DNA TV Limited, a joint venture between DNA Films and the FOX Networks. Wolf Hall's executive producer Colin Callender has said that he is 'eager' to work on a sequel. The six episodes starring Mark Rylance, Claire Foy and Damien Lewis ('he's Henery the Eighth he is, he is') were based on Mantel's Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012) and its première was the most-watched drama launch on the channel in a decade. A second series would be based on the third and final instalment of her trilogy The Mirror &The Light, which is due for publication later this year.
Rylan Clark, Sarah Harding and Chesney Hawkes have been announced for Celebrity MasterChef's 2015 series. They are joined by Keith Chegwin, Yvette Fielding, Arlene Phillips and others for an 'only slightly less z-list than usual' tenth anniversary series of the cookery contest. Twelve episodes will be broadcast over six weeks this summer. The first four heat weeks will see judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace whittle down the twenty z-list celebrity entrants to eight semi-finalists. Finals week ends in a ninety-minute contest between the three remaining cooks, feeding an all-female Chef's Table hosted by Michelin starred Angela Hartnett.
Three further episodes of the next - M - series of Qi have been filmed in London this week. Medieval & Macabre will feature a second appearance this series by Matt Lucas, semi-regular David Mitchell and Australian comedienne Julia Zemiro. The third episode - as yet untitled - includes Bill Bailey, Sue Perkins and first time guest Romesh Ranganathan, whilst the fourth episode which, also, has not had its title announced, will see return appearances by Mitchell and Perkins and another new face for the show, Pakistani stand-up comedian Sami Shah. A further three episodes will be filmed on Monday and Tuesday of next week with filming scheduled to continue on the series' sixteen episodes until June.
It's good news for Twin Peaks fans as the cult drama's much-anticipated return is back on. Creator David Lynch tweeted that the series' revival on Showtime is 'happening again' - and with more than the nine episodes initially planned. Lynch - who reunited with the cast at a recent dinner - left the project earlier this year because of budget constraints. Showtime president David Nevins has confirmed that Lynch is to direct the entire series, which will now include more than the originally-announced nine episodes.

British fans won't have to wait for the new season of True Detective. Sky Atlantic has announced plans to simulcast new episodes of the cult crime drama alongside its US transmission on Monday 22 June at 2am. The series will also be broadcast in a yet-to-be-announced primetime slot. The second season of Nic Pizzolatto's series moves from the Bayou to California, with a whole new tale of corruption and consequences. California Highway Patrol officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) turns his community upside down when he stumbles upon a grizzly crime scene. The investigation of this crime will bring together local detective Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), corrupt cop Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and the weary gangster Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn). And, despite his reservations that it can't, possibly, be as good as the first series, this blogger has to note that the first trailers look fantastic.
Ripper Street will return for a fourth and a fifth series, after becoming the most-watched show on Amazon Prime Instant Video in the UK. Amazon resurrected the period procedural after it was axed by the BBC, with the third series - released in November - proving to be a success for the online outlet. Two further series have now been commissioned, with launch dates for both to be announced later this year. Series three will have its first terrestrial broadcast on BBC1 this summer. Ripper Street writer and creator Richard Warlow said: 'It is a great privilege to be asked to continue this journey through Victorian Whitechapel. I had always hoped that Ripper Street would live to follow the world of H Division right through to the end of the Victorian age itself; so with many great thanks to Amazon, and all those viewers who have taken Ripper Street to their hearts, it's a delight to have now been given that very opportunity.' Matthew Macfadyen, who plays Edmund Reid on the drama, added: 'I'm delighted to be embarking on another dose of Ripper Street - blood and guts, pocket watches and Victorian head-gear, wonderfully dark, moving and mysterious story lines from Mister Richard Warlow. Thanks Amazon.'
Woody Allen has admitted he made a 'catastrophic mistake' signing up to create a TV series for Amazon's online video service. The seventy nine-year-old was commissioned to write and direct the six-part untitled show earlier this year. 'I'm doing my best with it, but I should never have gotten into it,' he said at the Cannes film festival. 'I thought six half-hours would be a cinch, but it's not. It's very hard. I'm not good at it, I'm floundering.' He added: 'It could be a cosmic embarrassment. I just hope I don't disappoint Amazon.' When it was announced in January Allen was making the series, the director made similar self-deprecating comments about the project. 'I don't know how I got into this - I have no ideas and I'm not sure where to begin,' he said. The TV series - the first Allen has ever created - is due to be available to Amazon Prime subscribers in the US, UK and Germany next year.
Woody Allen is a big favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's good chum and sometime writing partner, the Housewives Choice Alfie Joey. And, so is the late Peter Falk, hence, this blogger was sure this article about a statue to the great Columbo actor being erected in Budapest would amuse him. And, it did. Installed in 2014 at an estimated cost of over sixty thousand dollars, the bronze statue was part of an overall rejuvenation project in the area, although exactly why the figure was chosen is a bit of a mystery. According to a quote given to the Wall Street Journal by Antal Rogán, district mayor at the time, Peter Falk may have been related to the Nineteenth-Century Hungarian political figure Miksa Falk, for whom the street is named, although he concedes that this connection has 'yet to be proved.' The American Falk, to be fair, was known to have had Hungarian roots through his grandparents on one side of the family, but has never been definitively linked to Miksa Falk's family. Still, this blogger reckons he deserves the statue for his work on Columbo alone.
BBC News reporter Norman Smith made an 'unfortunate mistake' during a report on former - and, probably, future - UKiP leader Nigel Farage on Thursday. The journalist was reporting on suggestions that Farage has turned the party into a 'personality cult' but, accidentally, used the word 'cunt' instead. At least, we're assuming it was accidental. Some might regard this as 'fair comment'.
The great Harry Shearer has indicated a contract dispute has led to him quitting The Simpsons after more than twenty five years. The actor tweeted that signing up to a new series would have stopped him from doing other work. Harry seemed to signal his exit by claiming that a lawyer for the executive producer said the show 'would go on' without him. In a follow-up tweet, Shearer mooted it was 'because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work.' Last week the FOX network confirmed it had commissioned two more series of the long-running animated sitcom. According to reports at the time, Shearer had yet to sign a new contract. Having wished executive producer James L Brooks 'the very best', Shearer went on to thank fans of the show 'for [their] support.' The seventy one-year-old provides the voices for such established Simpsons characters as rapacious billionaire tyrant Montgomery Burns, addled school principal Seymour Skinner and Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's hyper-religious neighbour as well as Kent Brockman, Waylon Smithers, the Reverend Lovejoy, Doctor Hibbert, Lenny Leonard, Otto Mann, Rainier Wolfcastle and others. The actor's other famous roles included bass player Derek Smalls in the celebrated, if you will, rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap and Richard Nixon in Sky Arts' Nixon's The One.
The fallout from Shearer's announced departure from The Simpsons has begun,amid claim and counter-claim, with showrunner Al Jean telling The Hollywood Reporter that he doesn't know why Shearer would want to leave the show. In a new interview, Jean said that Shearer was offered the same deal as the rest of the show's voice cast, all of whom extended their contracts for the next two years earlier this month. Jean goes on to reiterate that he doesn't know what, exactly, the show is preventing Shearer from doing and that he is allowed to record his voice parts over the phone, so he doesn't see what the big deal is. 'He lives in England. He does a radio show and a play about Nixon. I'm not trying to be argumentative but I have no idea what we're preventing him from doing. The time commitment for him is: there are twenty two reads, which you can do via phone. One hour per phone. He can record via phone, doing more than one episode at once, and pick those up within an hour or two. So, if you do that math, I don't know. This is why I'm really baffled. He's saying it's not the money, and it can't be money because there's not going to be a different offer he's going to get.' Unlike co-creator James L Brooks, who extended a friendly tweet to Shearer after the announcement, Jean doesn't seem like he has much patience for Shearer's position. Jean, who has already said that the show will recast Shearer's various parts, says that it would be 'very difficult' to find one person who could do all of the voices that Shearer does on The Simpsons and that, since the show has always tried to keep Shearer happy, they don't have any actors immediately lined-up to replace him. 'That's at least an issue for next week, if not later. It'll be done,' he suggests.

Rupert Everett is set to follow in the footsteps of yer actual Peter Capaldi and, less successfully, Marc Warren by playing the protagonist in the BBC drama The Musketeers' third series. Everett has been cast as Philippe Achille, Marquis de Feron - illegitimate brother to Louis XIII (Ryan Gage) and the corrupt Governor of Paris. Jamaica Inn actor Matthew McNulty will also join the cast as Lucien Grimaud, a money lender and vicious criminal who goes up against the Musketeers. The pair will join returning cast members Luke Pasqualino, Tom Burke, Howard Charles, Santiago Cabrera, Hugo Speer, Ryan Gage, Alexandra Dowling and Tamla Kari. The Musketeers creator Adrian Hodges will not return as showrunner for the third series, with Simon Ashford and Simon Allen serving as lead writers and Matthew Bird (whose previous work includes Fortitude and Death In Paradise) joining as producer. New episodes have been shooting in Prague since April.
Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have reunited for a new YouTube channel. The former - and, probably future - Top Gear trio are currently teasing their upcoming Clarkson, Hammond & May Live tour using the hashtag Back On The Road. In their first video, Jezza opens with a subtle reference to his departure from the BBC - 'Hello, I used to be Jeremy Clarkson' - while The Hamster and Captain Slow reckon that their new name 'will never catch on.'
Cardiff City cult hero Robin Friday is to be portrayed in a new film of his life by Sam Claflin. Friday played just twenty one league games for City in the 1976 to 1977 period, but his notoriety off the pitch and his ability on it made him one of the game's great characters. The biopic, which begins filming in September, is to be directed by Oscar-nominated film-maker Henry Alex Rubin. It is based on a biography of Friday - The Greatest Football You Never Saw - by music journalist Paolo Hewitt and ex-Oasis bass player Paul McGuigan. Friday's on-field performances were regarded as excellent, and he won Reading's player of the year award in both of his full seasons there, as well as being the leading goal scorer. However, his habit of unsettling opponents through physical intimidation contributed to a heavily tarnished disciplinary record. Friday was also known off the field for his heavy smoking, drinking, womanising and drug-taking. Following a number of incidents - including kicking Mark Lawrenson in the face (and, let's face it, we've all wanted to do that) - Friday retired from football in December 1977. He served a prison sentence during the 1980s for impersonating a police officer and confiscating people's drugs. He died at the age of just thirty eight in 1990 after years of drug and alcohol abuse. Cardiff-based band Super Furry Animals dedicated their 1996 single 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck' to his memory.
Jessica Raine and Clarke Peters have signed on to star in ITV series Jericho. The eight-part drama, also featuring Hans Matheson, comes from Sherlock and Doctor Who writer Steve Thompson. Set in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1870s, Jericho follows a community of pioneers, settlers and outcasts, many of whom have secrets to hide. Jessica - a particular favourite of all of us here at From The North for her work in Call The Midwife, Wolf Hall and, especially, An Adventure In Space & Time - plays Annie Quaintain, a woman who is 'left shattered and penniless' by her husband's death. Turfed out of her home and shunned by her former friends, she leaves for Jericho with her two teenage children in a bid to rebuild their lives. Peters is starring as railway agent Ralph Coates, who has 'a past that keeps him looking over his shoulder.' Ralph offers Annie a helping hand, leading Annie to open a boarding house for the navvy labourers in Jericho. Mark Addy, Lorraine Ashbourne and Amy James-Kelly will also appear in the programme, which will go into production later this month in North Yorkshire.
The global version of the BBC iPlayer is to close next month. The service, which allows viewers outside the UK to watch BBC programmes, including Doctor Who, for a subscription fee, will cease on 26 June. The service was available in Western Europe, Australia and Canada, although it never launched in the United States due to conflicts with some Pay TV channels which carry BBC America. Some of the BBC's best known programmes, including Top Gear and Sherlock were available along with archive shows such as Gavin & Stacey, Fawlty Towers, Planet Earth and classic episodes of Doctor Who. The closure was expected after BBC Worldwide announced in 2013 it intended to pull support for the Global iPlayer, saying it would instead focus on making material available via the BBC.com website. Users have been notified of the switch-off and auto-renewing subscriptions are being cancelled.

Sir Roger Moore has accepted undisclosed - although presumably, massive - libel damages over claims that he groped a woman while shooting For Your Eyes Only. The eighty seven-year-old also received a grovelling apology and his legal costs over a story which appeared, of course, in the Daily Scum Mail and on the Scum Mail Online in October 2014. Good gracious. The Daily Scum Mail saying something that isn't true? Wow, that's a first. The article reported baseless claims from an Australian magazine that the actor had groped a twenty one-year-old woman. Associated Newspapers' solicitor said that it 'acknowledged' the claims were untrue. 'The defendant apologises for any distress and embarrassment caused to Sir Roger and his family,' weaselled Martin Wood. Sir Roger was not at London's High Court on Wednesday for the settlement of his libel action. The actor's solicitor, Amy Bradbury, said that Sir Roger had been accused of groping Debbie Newsome while filming in Italy in 1981, as well as making 'a number of inappropriate physical and other advances. It was also wrongly claimed he had given Ms Newsome a gold bracelet covered in diamonds together with a bottle of expensive champagne and an inappropriate note during a party at which his then-wife was present.' The Scum Mail Online published a snivelling apology to both Sir Roger and Ms Newsome in March and has removed the offending article from its website. A former model and game show hostess, Debbie Newsome now performs in her native Australia in a Janis Joplin tribute act. In a recent TV interview, she described Sir Roger as 'adorable' and 'gorgeous' and said tht at she'd had 'the best time' shooting her small role as a woman James Bond bumps into while entering a flower shop in Cortina.

And, the Daily Scum Mail has also failed in a legal challenge to prevent JK Rowling from reading a unilateral statement in open court as part of a libel settlement against it. The Scum Mail paid 'substantial' damages and grovellingly apologised to the author last year over an article about her time as a single mother. But, the odious right-wing scum paper objected to some parts of the statement which she planned to make. However, the Court of Appeal has now dismissed the paper's crass whinging about a High Court ruling that she should be allowed to read the statement. Whether the Court of Appeal told the Scum Mail to grow the fek up and take their licking like a man is, as yet, unknown. No date has yet been set for the statement to be delivered though, given all this malarkey, it's probably going to be worth listening to. A spokesperson for Rowling said that the author was 'pleased' at the judgment. Which, one imagines, if you look up 'understatements of the year on Goggle, that one will be pretty close to the top. The dispute follows a 2013 article that suggested Rowling had told a 'false sob story' about being stigmatised by churchgoers in Edinburgh during the 1990s, before she found success with the Harry Potter novels. The writer said the newspaper's story was 'premised on a false picture' of an article she had written ten days earlier for single parents' charity Gingerbread. Rowling said that the Daily Scum Mail had been 'misleading' and 'unfair' - again, how very unusual - and had 'injured' her reputation and caused her 'great distress and embarrassment.' The Daily Scum Mail accepted that the author had not made any false claims, apologised and paid 'substantial damages.'

Will Daniel Craig be playing a stormtrooper in the forthcoming Star Wars film, or is Simon Pegg just pulling our leg? The Sun claims that Simon 'confirmed' Craig's role at the Man Up première in London on Wednesday. So, of course, if it's in the Sun it must be true. 'I wasn't a Stormtrooper. Daniel Craig, he was a Stormtrooper,' Simon is reported as 'letting slip' while fending off questions about his own apparent cameo role in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. 'I shouldn't have said that,' he added. Craig is rumoured to have an uncredited role in the film.
Kate Beckinsale has signed up to star in the fifth instalment of vampire action moviesaga Underworld. The franchise once again gets a new director, making it a different director for each film. Anna Foerster will be behind the camera the latest film, having previously worked as a cinematographer on The Day After Tomorrow, Aeon Flux and Alien: Resurrection.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self made one of his occasional appearance on BBC Newcastle's Alfie & Charlie At Breakfast on Tuesday, being interviewed - by Alfie and Charlie their very selves, obviously - on the subject of his health (or, you know, lack of it), swimming, and all that sort of whoo-har. It was to tie-in with a report on the increase in strokes amongst the populous, or something. If you want to check it out - and, Christ only knows why you should want to - it can be listened to on Listen Again here, about two hours, twenty six minutes into the show. The programme will be available for, approximately, the next three weeks.
Wednesday was yer actual Keith Telly Topping's first trip to the pool this week; twenty seventh lengths were done. And, in answer to yer actual Alfie Joey The Housewives Choice's question on the radio the day before, the first twenty six were, by far, the hardest. On Thursday, it was twenty eight lengths. That's TWENTY EIGHT LENGTHS. Seven hundred metres of freestyle faffing about. About half-a-mile of pro-celebrity drowning. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping must say, in his own bigging up, that it's not often he gets too carried away with his watery exploits; much of this boasting on Facebook and this blog is, clearly, couched in some considerable self-deprecation. Nevertheless, on Thursday morning, he did, for once, feel like A BIG FUNKY SEX MACHINE when he got out the pool, had a few minutes in the steam room and then went and had a shower. Not only that, dear blog reader, but he almost bellowed I AM A GOLDEN GOD! as he limped down Shields Road to Morrisons to buy some meat for us dinner. Almost. But, not quite. Twenty six lengths were undertaken on Friday. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping went a bit faster than usual at the start and, hence, by the end of that particular session Keith Telly Topping his very self was feeling - to quote Daddy Telly Topping when he'd just got home from a hard shift at the furnace - 'well jiggered'. Meanwhile, Keith Telly Topping's current flirtation with the Cap'n Boyd's Eye look continues unchecked by any consideration of how, frankly, daft it makes him look.
Boo and Pistol are, reportedly, leaving Australia. Johnny Depp's dogs, currently the world's most famous Yorkshire terriers, were preparing to take flight on board the actor's private jet on Friday. The pair were under threat of being, you know, killed after Australia's agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, accused Depp - who is currently filming the latest Pirates Of The Caribbean movie - of 'sneaking' them into the country illegally last month. Joyce told the BBC that he believed the dogs were leaving by private jet on Friday, which he said was 'the wisest move.' Certainly preferable to being, you know, killed.

Broadway hit Motown The Musical has found a home in London's West End, opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre in February 2016. Ooo, yer actual Keith Telly Topping might have to get the old Flying Scotsman down to The smoke to catch a performance of that. The show will chart the rise of the Motown organisation and its founder Berry Gordy, and will feature some of the biggest hits from the label (and, you know, Tamla, Grody, Soul, VIP et cetera), including 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', 'My Girl' and 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine'. Gordy, who has written the show, said: 'I am thrilled to be bringing Motown back to the UK, fifty years after our first visit back in 1965, when Diana Ross & The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and I came to London for our very first UK tour. Half a century later we are delighted to be returning.'
Mister The Edge out of The U2 Group has gone, quite literally, over the edge. The guitarist fell off the stage on the opening night of The U2 Group's world tour in Vancouver. The U2 Group were performing their encore - 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for' - at the Rogers Arena when the fifty three-year-old Mister The Edge out of The U2 Group took a tumble. Which was, to be fair, really funny. What he was looking for, clearly, has his footing, and he didn't find it.
The Goddamn King of the Blues, guitarist and singer BB King, has died aged eighty nine. King, known for his hits 'My Lucille', 'Sweet Little Angel', 'The Thrill Is Gone' and 'Rock Me Baby', reportedly died in his sleep in Las Vegas. Born Riley Ben King in Mississippi in September 1925, BB began performing in the 1940s, going on to influence a generation of musicians and work with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and The U2 Group. Once ranked as the third greatest guitarist of all time, he had been suffering ill-health in recent months. He was recently taken to hospital with a diabetes-related illness. Clapton posted a video tribute on Facebook to express his sadness at the death of his 'dear friend' and mentor. 'I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years, and for the friendship that we enjoyed,' Eric said. 'There's not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now, and there are not many left who play it in the pure way that BB did. He was a beacon for all of us who love this kind of music.' A former farmhand, BB was awarded his fifteenth Grammy award in 2009 for his CD One Kind Favor [sic]. He was also inducted into both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Rolling Stone magazine placed him behind only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman in its list of the one hundred greatest guitarists of all time. Until recently, King performed in at least one hundred concerts a year. He fused together both jazz and blues on his beloved guitar, a Gibson ES-355 he lovingly dubbed Lucille. In the early part of his career, he played to exclusively black audiences, but his heartfelt vocals and undeniable talent saw him embraced by a much broader fanbase as time went on - touring Europe extensively in the 1960s to enthusiastic, mostly white, audiences. Younger musicians such as Clapton and Steve Miller, who greatly admired his work, introduced him to a new generation of fans. While a child, he sang in the gospel choir at Elkhorn Baptist Church in Kilmichael. At the age of twelve he purchased his first guitar for fifteen dollars although another source indicates he was given his first guitar by the great Bukka White, his mother's cousin. In 1943, King left Kilmichael to work as a tractor driver and play guitar with the Famous St John's Quartet of Inverness, Mississippi, performing at area churches and on local radio. He performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program on KWEM in Memphis, where he began to develop an audience. King's appearances led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis and later to a ten-minute spot on the Memphis radio station WDIA. Initially he worked as a singer and disc jockey, gaining the nickname Beale Street Blues Boy. It was there that he first met T-Bone Walker. King said, 'Once I'd heard him for the first time, I knew I'd have to have [an electric guitar] myself. Had to have one, short of stealing!' In 1949, King began recording songs under contract with Los Angeles-based RPM Records. Many of King's early recordings were produced by Sam Phillips, who later founded Sun Records. Before his RPM contract, King had débuted on Bullet Records by issuing the single 'Miss Martha King' (1949). 'My very first recordings were for a company out of Nashville,' he recalled. 'I had horns that very first session. I had Phineas Newborn on piano; his father played drums, and his brother, Calvin, played guitar with me. I had Tuff Green on bass, Ben Branch on tenor sax, his brother, Thomas Branch, on trumpet, and a lady trombone player. The Newborn family were the house band at the famous Plantation Inn in West Memphis.' King assembled his own band; The BB King Review, under the leadership of Millard Lee. The recording contract was followed by tours across the United States, with performances in major theatres as well as numerous gigs in small clubs and juke-joints of the South. During one show in Twist, Arkansas, a brawl broke out between two men and caused a fire. BB was evacuated along with the rest of the crowd but went back to retrieve his beloved guitar. He said he later found out that the two men, who both died in the blaze, were fighting over a woman named Lucille. Hence, he named the guitar Lucille as a reminder not to fight over women or,indeed, to run into any more burning buildings. Following his first Billboard Rhythm and Blues charts number one, 'Three O'Clock Blues' in February 1952, BB became one of the most important names in R&B music in the 1950s, amassing an impressive list of hits including 'You Know I Love You', 'Woke Up This Morning', 'Please Love Me', 'When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer', 'Whole Lotta Love', 'You Upset Me Baby', 'Every Day I Have The Blues', 'Sneakin' Around', 'Ten Long Years', 'Bad Luck', 'Sweet Little Angel', 'On My Word Of Honor' and 'Please Accept My Love'. Always with a keen work ethic, 1956 became a record-breaking year, with an alleged three hundred and forty two concerts booked and three recording sessions across the year. That same year he founded his own record label, Blues Boys Kingdom, with headquarters at Beale Street in Memphis. There, among other projects, he produced artists such as Millard Lee and Levi Seabury. In 1962, King signed to ABC-Paramount Records. In November 1964, King recorded the acclaimed Live At The Regal LP in Chicgo. King gained further visibility among rock audiences as an opening act on The Rolling Stones' 1969 American Tour. He won a 1970 Grammy Award for the song 'The Thrill Is Gone', his version of the Broadway standard became a hit on both the pop and R&B charts. LPs such as Live At County Cook Jail and BB King In London followed in the 1970s. The latter included an all-star backing band of many of his British fans including Peter Green, Ringo Starr, Stevie Winwood and Steve Marriott. In 1974, he was one of a number of musicians who accompanied Muhammed Ali and George Foreman to Zaire to play a concert before The Rumble In The Jungle. BB's career was reignited in the late 1980s when he duetted with Mister Bonio out of The U2 Group on 'When Love Comes To Town'. At the turn of the millennium, aged seventy five, he once again achieved major commercial success with the Eric Clapton collaboration Riding With the King. In 2011, BB played at the Glastonbury Music Festival and the Royal Albert Hall in London, where he recorded a concert video. Early the following year King was among the performers of In Performance at the White House: Red, White & Blues. On 3 October 2014, King had to stop his live performance at The House Of Blues in Chicago. A doctor diagnosed dehydration and exhaustion, and the eight remaining shows of his ongoing tour had to be cancelled. 'King's is now the name most synonymous with the blues, much as Louis Armstrong's once was with jazz,' critic Francis Davis wrote in his 1995 book The History Of The Blues. 'You don't have to be a blues fan to have heard of King.' An FAA certificated private pilot, BB learned to fly in 1963 at what was then Chicago Hammond Airport. He frequently flew to gigs but, under the advice of his insurance company and manager in 1995, was asked to fly only with another certified pilot. King's favourite singer was Frank Sinatra. In his autobiography he spoke about how he was a Sinatra nut and how he went to bed every night listening to Sinatra's classic In The Wee Small Hours. Sinatra had gotten King into the main clubs in Las Vegas during the 1960s, He credited Sinatra for opening doors to black entertainers who were not given the chance to play in 'white-dominated' venues. King was married twice, to Martha Lee Denton from 1946 to 1952, and to Sue Carol Hall from 1958 to 1966. The failure of both marriages has been attributed to the heavy demands made on the marriage by his working schedule. It is reported that he fathered up to fifteen children and, as of 2004, had fifty grandchildren. He lived with Type II diabetes for over twenty years and was a high-profile spokesperson in the fight against the disease, appearing in advertisements for diabetes-management products.

Thus, reasonably obviously,for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's the Goddamn King Of The Blues his very self at his peak.

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