Thursday, June 04, 2015

I Am An Astronaut (Exploring Uranus)

Doctor Who fans will be able to meet yer actual Peter Capaldi later this year at a special event. The Official Doctor Who Festival 2015 will feature appearances from the current Doctor and showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat, and will take place at the ExCeL in London on 13, 14 and 15 November. Tickets for the festival will go on sale on Friday at 10am, with a standard ticket costing an absolute packet. Children can go for slightly cheaper - but only slightly, whilst family tickets cost an arm and a leg. 'Special TARDIS tickets' will also come with a brochure, lounge access, front block theatre show seats and a Doctor Who goody bag. Don't even ask how much they'll cost, dear blog reader, when you find out, trust me you will crap in your own pants. Fans will get a closer look at the show's latest monsters, as well as exploring the sets and props of series eight and nine. The festival will include backstage areas with theatre shows, interactive workshops, shops and photo opportunities with the cast and crew. Yer actual Capaldi said: 'If having the world's favourite Time Lord back on screen every week isn't enough for you (and it's not for me) then The Doctor Who Festival in London is the place to be. I'll be heading there in November to join the fun and if it's anything like the fiftieth anniversary event, then prepare yourself for total Time Lord mania.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat added: 'I can't believe we're going to give away our secrets! This is the closest you could possibly get to finding out what happens on set and how this magical show is put together.'
During Sherlocked: The Official Sherlock Convention, which took place in April at The Excel in London, panels with cast and crew members over the two day event discussed many of the finer points of their characters and work on the series. But, none revealed more than co-creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat in a revelation which appeared to be news even to his wife and series producer, Sue Vertue, that he had written an extra scene recently for A Scandal In Belgravia. The opening episode from series two, which was filming in August 2011 and originally broadcast in the UK on New Years Day 2012 was based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story A Scandal In Bohemia and featured Irene Adler. In Doyle's version, Holmes is employed by the King of Bohemia to retrieve an incriminating photo of himself and Adler, but despite Holmes' disguises and intricate plans to locate the photograph he is eventually bested by Adler who not only escapes, but bids him farewell while dressed incognito in men's attire without Holmes even realising until it is too late. The Sherlock version, written by yer man Moffat, sees Adler play the game admirably with Sherlock before eventually being trumped, and the scandalous photograph of herself and a female member of the British monarchy, stored on a camera phone (along with lots of other naughty stuff), is confiscated by Mycroft Holmes, which ultimately leads to Adler being captured and sentenced to beheading in Karachi by terrorists. Although Moffat did include Lara Pulver's Irene Adler telling Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock, 'This is how I want you to remember me. The woman who beat you', after physically beating him with her riding crop, the episode came under criticism - most from Gruniad-reading whinging hippy Communists, admittedly - as unbeknown to John Watson and Mycroft, Sherlock did, indeed, come to Adler's rescue and save her from execution. Thus, it would appear that Irene never 'beat' Sherlock at his own game as she did in Doyle's original. However, this recent revelation shows that yer man Moffat had other intentions entirely and it has be the subject of wild speculation as to exactly what the pair got up to that night after he rescued her. In fact, even Benny his very self voiced his opinion on the subject to an audience during a sold out panel at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in October, 2012, 'Well, you say he was beaten by her, but do you know what they got up to in Islamabad? Because I do. There was no beating. It was all very loving.' Some people,who've clearly been thinking about this minor plot point far too much, have even suggested that Sherlock never visited Karachi at all and the flashback scene which was featured at the end of A Scandal In Belgravia was nothing more than a fantasy played out in Sherlock's Mind Palace. So what's the truth? Over to you, Steven Moffat: 'The scene does not take place in Sherlock's Mind Palace, nor could it,' Steven confirmed.'He's been told a lie about where Irene Adler is [by Watson], so he wouldn't have fantasied saving her from a terrorist cell, he had no reason to have to. No, he really does go and save her. Because, if you remember earlier on in the story, Irene says, "I make my way in the world, and my trick is I get people to be exactly where I want them, when I want them there. That's my super power. That's what I do." Sherlock a few scenes later says, "I'm the one guy you can't put a collar on" [but] at the very end, yep, he turns up dressed as an Arabian Knight and hacks up some terrorists, and Irene's sitting there going, "Oh yes! Talk to me, momma!"' Steven went on to explain that he wrote a further scene of what happens after they escape during the time he was writing His Last Vow, the final episode in series three. 'I actually wrote a scene about what happened afterwards, because I got so curious about it. I had Sherlock turning around after he had hacked up all the terrorists, still very cross, and saying, "I hope you don't think that this means I am in any way interested in you?" And Irene's already got a gun on him - as she picks up a gun from the floor - and says, "No, but I am going to need male costume to get out of here." And so, Sherlock is left naked and Irene runs off dressed as him. That's what I think would happen next. I only wrote it not that long ago, I just got so curious,' Steven admitted. 'It's not so much about what they did that night, it's what they said to each other. You can imagine him [being] so pissed off, because he lost again. Some people say he won; he lost, because he admitted he cared. Having hacked up terrorists with bodies all over the floor, him covered in blood, and he's trying to retain his dignity, saying, "I was passing and it was a night I thought I'd hack up some terrorists. Oh, you're here, I didn't know. I don't even like you. Don't pull a gun on me." [To which Irene replies] "Strip!" [Sherlock] "It's not fair. I saved your life!" Something like that happens between Irene and Sherlock every six months and that is their idea of a night of passion.' Which,of course, only leaves one question; could we, perhaps, see one of these bi-annual 'besting' sessions during series four, Steven? Much appreciated.
Vicious returned to ITV with its overnight audience a fraction up on its first series finale, according to overnight figures for Monday. Sirs Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi's camp-as-a-row-of-tents sitcom - which some people reportedly quite like but which this blogger thinks is a pile of stinking diarrhoea, personally - attracted 2.99m at 9pm. The final episode of the sitcom's first series one brought in an overnight audience of 2.77m in June 2013. Earlier, Johnny Kingdom's Wild Exmoor interested 2.72m at 8pm, while Off Their Rockers drew but 1.77m at 9.30pm on what was, overall, a pretty wretched night fr all channels, soaps aside. BBC1's Panorama was seen by 2.23m at 8.30pm, while Rome's Invisible City gathered 4.37m at 9pm to be, by a considerable distance, the most watched programme of the night outside soaps. Meanwhile, Sky Atlantic's Game of Thrones was watched by one million punters at 9pm. BBC2's Antiques Road Trip brought in 1.36m at 7pm, before Springwatch averaged 2.55m at 8pm, and Outbreak: The Truth About Ebola had eight hundred and eighty thousand viewers at 9pm. Episodes followed with seven hundred and twenty thousand at 10pm. On Channel Four, Dispatches had an audience of one million at 8pm while Gadget Man was watched by nine hundred and twenty thousand at 8.30pm. The latest episode of Benefits Street had 1.86m at 9pm and Man Down gathered nine hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. Inside Manchester's Midland Hotel was watched by nine hundred and ninety two thousand on Channel Five at 9pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.03m at 10pm.

Long Lost Family's return proved to be a modest overnight ratings hit for ITV on Wednesday. The Davina McCall-fronted series brought in 4.21m punters at 9pm. Earlier, The Cube attracted 3.07m at 8pm. On BBC1, DIY SOS: The Big Build interested 3.84m at 8pm, while Catch Me If You Can was seen by but 1.68m at 9pm. BBC2's Antiques Road Trip averaged nine hundred and forty thousand at 7pm, before Springwatch continued with 1.94m at 8pm and Modern Times was watched by six hundred and eighty thousand at 9.30pm. Newsnight followed with six hundred and fifty thousand at 10.30pm. On Channel Four, The Auction House had an audience of nine hundred and ninety thousand at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours in A&E had 1.75m at 9pm. The Job Centre was watched by six hundred and fifty thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Caught On Camera was seen by eight hundred and eighteen thousand at 9pm and Big Brother continued with one million viewers at 10pm. E4's US imports Jane The Virgin and Nashville brought in two hundred and eleven thousand and one hundred and eighty six thousand viewers respectively. Meanwhile, the final series of Sky1's Strike Back started with four hundred and twenty four thousand at 9pm.

This blogger is not the greatest fan of those endless bloody Buzzfeed 'lists of things that you could give a shit about'-type thingys, dear blog reader. Having said that, however, Twenty Five Times The West Wing Was The Best Show On Goddamn Television is a notable exception. (Or, actually, if we're being accurate about this, twenty four moments plus The Women Of Qumar.)
Reviving classic children's shows is all the rage at the moment, with Paddington, Thunderbirds, The Teletubbies and The Wombles all given a new lease of life in one form or another. Next up is Clangers, the show about pink, knitted, mouse-like whistling aliens created in 1969 by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. But fans of the gentle, surreal series can rest assured the Clangers have not been given a CGI makeover or modernised for their new CBeebies series which begin later this month. As its narrator Michael Palin explains: 'I'm very glad that they didn't make major changes to The Clangers [sic] because it's a lovely formula that works. I think part of what makes it work is that in some ways it's mundane – they use sort of tin-lids and elastic bands and all sorts of things to make stuff and I like that. I think that's encouraging children to think for themselves, not press a button and have it all done for them sort of digitally. There's definitely an element of the old technology to the Clangers' planet and the Clangers themselves. That appeals to me greatly. I loved watching The Clangers [sic] with our children,' Palin recalls. 'It calmed everything down and I think possibly these days when everything is such a rush and there are so many demands on our time, "Do this, do that, get that done, know about this, find out about that." The Clangers [sic] will be a little oasis of calm and that's what is so appealing.' Palin adds: 'I find the Clangers' world not only calming but therapeutic. There's a Zen dimension to it. For anyone who says things are getting on top of them I'd say, "Don’t spend thousands on a spa, just spend a weekend on the Blue Planet!"' The original series' twenty six episodes were narrated by Postgate – who died in 2008 – and Palin, who has not voiced a regular children's TV series before, said it was 'an honour' to be asked to take on the role and even his own children were impressed. 'I decided to do it without a second thought because The Clangers [sic] is special, there's nothing quite like that little world that was created by Postgate and Firmin all those years ago. I remember watching with my children and finding it just wonderfully peaceful with a little bit of wicked mischief to it throughout which was a very nice combination. To me it's one of the great classics, it's like being asked to be Biggles or something like that. I was honoured to be asked.' Jo Chalkley, one of the animators working on the series, came back into stop-frame animation from working on Lego computer games because of her fond memories of Clangers. She was relieved to find out they are, 'not wearing baseball hats and texting. It's like the original – it's just lovely.' Palins adds: 'The whole idea was to keep it as close to the original in the sense of the design and look of the planet', with the series filmed in the same twelve movements per second. 'They've made a new set of puppets that move cleverly [and] are quite complex creatures so you can get more movement out of them. But the sounds they make are the same, the people in their world are pretty much the same. The scripts are all freshly written but in the spirit of the old stories. So it's very much like picking it up where it left off and I quite like that as one of the great things for me about the Clangers is they seem to be completely timeless, they'll always be there, leading their lives and trying to get by day-by-day with their little problems that occur. There's a lovely feeling of permanence that's rather reassuring.' Postgate's son, Dan, who has written some of the scripts, said that when co-producers Coolabi and the BBC first talked with his family's company, Smallfilms, about reviving Clangers, 'I thought there might be a desire to speed things up and make things a bit more sugary, quick cutting and fast stories.' But, he was relieved when they said, 'no we don't want to do that, we want to keep that sort of nice mellow, gentle approach to it.' 'To do the new series it was naturally going to be something unknown, so many more people were involved, but I think it's come together fantastically well and have been delighted with the way it's turned out. I think we've kept all the ethos and values of the original and added it to it. I couldn't be more happy really.' Like Aidan Turner when he was chosen to play Ross Poldark, Postgate says that he felt 'a huge responsibility' to fans of the original series of Clangers. And to his father: 'I don't want to be the one where everybody goes, "Oh God what has his son done!"' All the Clangers now have an individual whistle – ranging from a small wooden one for Tiny to a large 1930s Bakelite model for Granny – so that children can differentiate between them more easily. With the help of Firmin, the show's makers, stop-frame company Factory, and puppet makers Mackinnon and Saunders have also created some new elements, which Firmin had already dreamed up but not had the resources to make before, such as Mother Clanger's garden and Major Clanger's workshop. As they have been asked to make fifty two eleven-minute episodes, the team have scaled up production with nine sets and around thirty five puppets so the six animators can work on episodes in parallel. The attention to detail is extraordinary. Hundreds of tiny working props, ranging from shears to radios have been created. The team even bought up the entire dye batch of a colour of wool called Old Rose to ensure repairs to the puppets during filming and in future would be done in exactly the same colour. 'You've got to make sure the puppets are robust and under HD you can see every flaw,' says Factory's managing director, Phil Chalk. Six knitters worked full time to make the pink skins which surround the sophisticated, mechanical inner workings of the Clangers, using three kilometres of wool. The skins were based – with a few tweaks – on the original pattern created by Firmin's wife in the 1960s and which will be available on the CBeebies’ Pinterest page. Although a certain amount of new technology is used, as with the painting out of the little rigs used to hold the Clangers to make them move, the stars in the background are made in the same way as in the originals – by drilling holes in the back of the set so light shines through. Familiar characters such as the Soup Dragon and the Iron Chicken remain, plus the music trees. Music – by long-time Monty Python's Flying Circus collaborator John du Prez – plays an even bigger part than before, with the whole score pitched in-line with the Clangers' whistles. CBeebies executive producer Jackie Edwards says: 'That's the beautiful thing about it, the programme is so rich because every single element has been thought through. It's a proper labour of love.' Dan Maddicott, the series producer for Coolabi who also plays the Clangers' whistles, adds: 'I've worked on a lot of programmes and this is really a happy series, everyone working on it almost feels privileged to work on it.' Chalk explains: 'A lot of the animators were inspired to get involved in stop-frame animation by The Clangers [sic]. So, to be part of the re-imagining is something else.' Were they tempted to use CGI? 'We would never have got the rights,' says Maddicott. 'It took a lot of discussion, not to persuade Peter and Dan but to be clear that we were going to do it properly. They would never have agreed to one mention of CGI.' Edwards adds: 'We wouldn't have bought it.' Chalk says: 'We have to be mindful of the target audience. This isn't a vanity project, we're trying to reintroduce a heritage brand to a CBeebies audience. It's got to be authentic because that audience have no preconceptions of what the Clangers are or where they live – it's completely brand new.' But with the 'heart and tone' of the original, explains Edwards. In the 1970s Clangers was not well known outside of the UK, mostly because it did not need additional funding. The TV market is very different now and the show has been pre-sold abroad, including funding from NBC company Sprout, to broadcasters including Australia's ABC network. It can travel easily as the different territories can add their own narrator. William Shatner is doing the US version – an inspired choice. Is Clangers' comeback part of a rekindled love affair with space, due to recent exploration programmes, or part of a wider trend for nostalgia on-screen? Palin says space is 'always fascinating for children', particularly now with pictures being sent from other planets, but also it could be just that the series 'were well done and they're much-loved. Around The Clangers' [sic] time was a golden age of children's television and that's been revisited possibly by the children who grew up then and remember it fondly and are now in a position to produce them or bring them back.' They may well have the chance with another, Ivor The Engine, as Dan Postgate reveals he 'might be able to so something' with the 1950s and 70s series about a Welsh steam locomotive, perhaps as live action, rather than animation. 'There are new techniques and ways of doing things that make the possibility there. I think there's a certain dramatic quality to Ivor The Engine. My dad was a big fan of Dylan Thomas and Under Milk Wood and I've got this sort of idea of looking at Wales in a quite mystical sort of way. I think there's something quite nice that could be looked at and expanded upon with all the eccentric characters involved. But not necessarily for children. Maybe something that could be for everybody. That interests me quite a lot. I was listening to Cerys Matthews signing the other day and I thought she'd be really good as Idris.' But, what about the urban myth that the original series of Clangers contained some - mild - swearing? Firmin clears that one up: 'I wish journalists would take time to look at the script which is reproduced in The Art Of Smallfilms, page one hundred and forty six. The line that has led to that myth is: "Oh, dammit. The B-thing's stuck again!" There was never another line like that and will never be. And it was whistled!'

An, alleged, 'top BBC source' - an anonymous, and therefore, probably fictitious one at that - has allegedly told the Independent that the corporation is planning to copy the format of Have I Got News For You, which responded to the sacking of Angus Deayton in 2002 by never actually replacing him, instead relying on a revolving door of guest hosts which changed for each episode. The corporation believe that if it worked for HIGNFY and the recently cancelled Never Mind The Buzzcocks, it can work for Top Gear. Interesting theory. Probably wrong, of course, but nevertheless, interesting. However, in order to create this scenario, the Beeb would need to keep hold of the remaining two presenters, Richard Hammond and James May. Both have stated their desire not to return in solidarity with their mate Jezza Clarkson, and both saw their contracts expire at the end of March. So, how will they do this? Seemingly, the Indi claim - thanks to their anonymous 'insider' - with the age-old solution: huge vast piles of wonga. Both presenters will, allegedly, be offered a million smackers a year deal to come back to Top Gear - an amount that the Beeb can justify on account of the huge amount of money the show makes for the corporation from syndication and merchandising. It remains to be seen whether Richard and James want to return without their amigo; May has previously said that it would be 'lame' to make the programme with 'a surrogate Jeremy', while Hammond is thought to feel the same way. Time will tell, dear blog reader. It usually does.

Wor Geet Canny Robson Green thinks that a US remake of his ITV series Wire In The Blood could be 'brilliant.' So could another ITV series for that matter although that's equally, unlikely to happen. The crime thriller (of which yer actual Keith Telly Topping was a big fan) was being eyed for an adaptation by ABC some time ago though the network later passed on the project. Wor Geet Canny Robson told the Digital Spy website that the drama - in which he played the criminal psychologist Tony Hill - still has the potential to be an American hit. 'The script was written - there was some amazing talk on who could play Tony Hill,' Wor Geet Canny Robson said. 'Everyone from Guy Pearce to Billy Bob Thornton They'd Americanise it [and] they'd do a brilliant job. American TV - the high-end stuff - is exceptional. They'd have made a great job of it, but it wasn't picked up - never mind.' Wor Geet Canny Robson also ruled out reprising the role if a US remake did make it to the screen. 'No, I've done that,' he said. 'I took that part as far as it could go.'

Steve Toussaint will fight crime alongside Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in the new series of Lewis. The Line Of Duty actor will star in the new series as Chief Superintendent Joseph Moody, Jean Innocent's replacement, who will clash with Robbie Lewis over their differing approaches to detective work. As previously announced, Angela Griffin will return to the series as Detective Sergeant Lizzie Maddox, while Clare Holman will also appear as Lewis's love interest, forensic pathologist Laura Hobson. Other new additions to the cast include Happy Valley's Steve Pemberton and The Hour's Helen Schlesinger, who will play Ian and Vivienne Tedman in One For Sorrow, the first episode of the new series. The couple have connections to the death of a psychology student and artist named Talika Desai and will face questions from Lewis and his colleagues. Ralf Little, Tim Pigott-Smith and Naomi Scott will also appear in the episode. The new series of Lewis is currently in production in Oxford.

Home Fires has been recommissioned for a second series by ITV. The World War II drama centres on a group of inspirational women at the heart of a rural Cheshire community, who bring the village together during difficult times. Samantha Bond, Ruth Gemmill, Claire Rushbrook, Frances Grey, Clare Calbraith, Fenella Woolgar, Leanne Best, Claire Price and Brian Fletcher star in the series which was created by Simon Block. ITV's director of drama, Steve November, said: 'We've been really pleased with how viewers have taken Home Fires to their heart. Through Simon's wonderfully observed scripts and the characters he's created, we've come to know real women who kept the home fires burning throughout the Second World War. Their war effort is an intriguing aspect of our national social history, and we're delighted the women will be reunited for a second series.'
Brian Pern is taking to the London stage to celebrate his illustrious forty-year career in The rock. Simon Day's musical comedy creation is heading to the Lyric Theatre on Monday 19 October for one-off event An Evening With Brian Pern. The character made his first appearance in BBC4 comedy The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern, as a founder of fictional prog-rock band Thotch and subsequently reappeared in a sequel on BBC2. As well as Simon Day, An Evening With Brian Pern - a mix of music and (presumably, really pretentious) chat - will also star Tony Way and Lucy Montgomery.
Yer actual Gary Lineker will reportedly sign a new non-exclusive contract with the BBC, after agreeing terms allowing him to front BT Sport's Champions League coverage next season. The Match Of The Day host's future with the public broadcaster had been the subject of some speculation - mostly from glakes who didn't know what the fek they were talking about - with 'reports' (for which read, rumours on the Internet) earlier this year that Lineker was 'having serious discussions' with BT Sport. The Daily Torygraph says that Lineker has now agreed to take a pay-cut in his new deal with the BBC, where he is expected to continue fronting Match Of The Day and their other football coverage. BT Sport is scheduled to unveil its talent line-up for the 2015-16 season next week, but earlier confirmed that Jake Humphrey has signed a new four-year deal. As part of the new contract, Humphrey's role has been expanded to include anchoring the pay-TV channel's coverage of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games.
The BBC's Director of Television Danny Cohen has suggested that programmes would have to be cut if the corporation was forced to bear the costs of free licence fees for the over-seventy fives or decriminalising evasion of the charge. At an industry event held at BAFTA in London on Monday, Cohen was asked about potential cuts to BBC revenues. 'If the BBC takes on more financial obligations we've got less money to spend on content. It's as simple as that,' he is reported as saying. 'If we took on one of those things, we'd just make less programmes. And that's something I think none of us want to do.' Asked of other plans to cut the budget, he said: 'Do I personally think we can keep salami-slicing the content budget? No. I think if there is a significant reduction in the licence fee, we are going to have a lot less content. Will we have to close services? Yes, I think so,' he said. With BBC3 due to go online in the new year, Cohen has previously said that sister channel BBC4 might follow the same route if its future funding was cut further. 'The reason we made this change for BBC3 is because we face a series of financial cuts the like of which the BBC has not had to cope with before,' he said last year. 'For BBC4, that means if future funding for the BBC comes under more threat then the likelihood is we would have to take more services along the same route. We will have to see what happens in the future with the licence fee whether we can keep BBC4.' The BBC took on a number of new funding responsibilities in the 2010 licence fee settlement, including the World Service, resulting in its seven hundred million quid Delivering Quality First cost-saving programme.
The X Factor may look a little different this year, with 'big changes' being promised as the show attempts to reclaim the ratings crown from Strictly Come Dancing. The series trailed its BBC1 rival by around a million viewers per episode last year, but executives are said to be keen to reverse that situation and are now planning 'numerous changes' in an effort to lure fans back. 'The show is twelve-years-old, and yes we want to win the ratings,' producer Mark Sidaway said while speaking at MBI's Creative Week event this week. Broadcast quotes him as continuing: 'We beat Strictly for a few years and now they're beating us. We want to be the biggest show and we need to look at what we want to do and seek to evolve.' Among the 'big changes' planned is a new-look judging panel, with potential replacements for departing Louis Walsh and Mel B.

Downton Abbey has been voted the best TV drama of 2014 at The Voice Of The Listener & Viewer Awards. Which only goes to prove the the general public know sod-all about anything. And, yer actual Keith Telly Topping - as a fully paid up member of the general public - thoroughly included himself in that assessment. Strictly Come Dancing picked up best TV entertainment programme from the consumer group, which champions public service broadcasting. Other winners included Martha Kearney and Professor Brian Cox, named best radio and TV presenter respectively. The Torygraph's radio critic Gillian Reynolds was honoured with the VLV Trustees' special award which recognised her contribution to public service broadcasting throughout her career. Now in its twenty third year, the awards ceremony was hosted in London by Radio 4's Today programme presenter James Naughtie. TV awards were also handed to BBC1's Countryfile, CBBC's Newsround, Springwatch and the BBC News Channel. The News Quiz won best radio drama and comedy programme, while Germany: Memories Of A Nation won best radio factual programme. BBC World Service was also honoured, as was Radio 3's Composer Of The Week. Neil MacGregor, who recently announced he was stepping down as director of the British Museum and has presented several TV and radio programmes on the arts, was honoured with a special award, as was TV doctor Michael Mosley. 'The wide range of nominations proposed by our members illustrate the tremendous quality and diversity to be found in UK broadcasting,' said VLV chairman Colin Browne. 'Winners tell us they particularly value these awards as they are chosen by the people who really matter - engaged listeners and viewers.'

The Interceptor is the BBC's attempt to emulate classic shows like The Professionals, says creator Tony Saint.Although whether The Professionals qualifies for 'classic' status is a matter, very much, of opinion. Saint revealed at a recent press screening that his new crime thriller was inspired by the 1970s action thrillers which he'd enjoyed as a boy. 'It's got action in it, it's got an element of humour in it - and it's got a double-act at the heart, so there's a buddy element to it, which harks back to classics like The Professionals and Starsky & Hutch,' he said. 'Kojak is another one - I think the balance between action and peril and fun, that's one of the big things [we tried to emulate].' Saint added that The Interceptor is designed to have 'a broad appeal' and 'target a wide range of ages. It'd be great to bring a younger audience to the show,' he said. 'By design, it's not excessively violent, the bad language is kept to a minimum and there's no sex to speak of at all.' The writer also name-checked the character of John McClane - the protagonist played by Bruce Willis in the 1988 action movie Die Hard and several, less successful, sequels - as an inspiration for The Interceptor lead character Ash (played by OT Fagbenle). 'John McClane does all these fantastic things, but you can see the toll it's taking on him as it goes on - he's not superhuman, at all,' Saint said. 'He's a hero that we can all relate to - and that's the idea behind someone like Ash as well.' An eight-part series, The Interceptor follows an elite unit taking down some of Britain's most wanted criminals using the latest tech and kick them in the knackers before sending them straight to the pokey. It premières on BBC1 on Wednesday 10 June at 9pm. To be honest, from the evidence of the trailer it looks more like Bugs: The Next Generation than Kojak, but, we'll give it a shot.
Marvel's Agent Carter has finally been picked up by a UK channel. FOX (digital channel 124 if you're not familiar with it and its endless, though welcome, repeats of NCIS and The Mentalist) has acquired the rights to the eight-part first season starring Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter. A TV spin-off from the Marvel movie Universe, Agent Carter will get its UK première in July. The first series sees Peggy working for the covert Strategic Scientific Reserve)while dealing with the loss of Steve Rogers - Captain America - and her male colleagues' chauvinist attitudes towards her and her very sexy ass. Jeff Ford - Managing Director of FOX International Channels UK - said: 'Marvel's Agent Carter is blockbuster Hollywood entertainment at its best. With high production values and a stellar UK and international cast, the series is the perfect addition to FOX UK's summer line-up, continuing the channel's commitment to bring exclusive, original and breakthrough series to a UK audience.' The series also stars Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark (Iron Man's dad), and James D'Arcy as Jarvis, Stark's butler and Peggy's ally. Marvel's Agent Carter has already been renewed for a second season by ABC, which will be broadcast in the US in 2016.
Has Fawlty Towers been the unlikely inspiration for possible crime, thirty six years after the John Cleese sitcom came to an end after two series? Fans will have spotted the connection on reading media reports (such as one in the Evening Standard) revealing that 'a thirty three-year-old man' allegedly pretended to be The Duke Of Marlborough and racked up a bill of more than eighteen hundred smackers at a luxury hotel in Kings Cross. If the chap was, indeed, a fraudster, the unnamed man may have been modelling himself on the self-styled 'Lord Melbury', a conman guest who in the first episode of Fawlty Towers in 1975 has fawning, snobbish Basil fooled but is exposed by Sybil.
And now, dear blog reader ...
ITV boss Peter Fincham has admitted that viewers should have been told that a stunt double dog was used by the winner of Britain's Got Toilets, prompting hundreds of whines from viewers with, apparently, nothing better to do with their time. As if anybody with half-a-brain in the head actually cares about such trivial nonsense. Britain's got morons, seemingly. Lots of them. The makers of the wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads talent content have grovellingly apologised for 'not making it clearer' to viewers that a lookalike dog was used for the high-rope walk by the winner of the competition, Matisse. Media regulator Ofcom has so far received two hundred and six whinges about the final, which was broadcast on ITV on Sunday night and was watched by a peak of more than thirteen million sad, crushed victims of society. And, on Tuesday, a national newspaper - well, if you can class the Sun as a newspaper - devoted its entire front page to this scandalous 'news'. ITV director of television Peter Fincham said tat the way the act was presented was a 'judgment call. In the semi-final it was made quite clear the other dog played a role in it,' he told The Voice Of The Listener & Viewer conference in London on Tuesday. 'In the audition it was made quite clear this was a dog act with a range of dogs. In hindsight, in the final it would have been better if that was clear.' But, Fincham pointedly declined to apologise to those who took such umbrage at this malarkey, saying: 'To be absolutely clear these things are a judgment call that producers make.' So, not my fault, the producer's fault. Nice bit of buck-passing there, Peteme auld cocker. It emerged on Monday that Jules O'Dwyer's winning act, Matisse, was substituted for a lookalike dog in the high-wire stunt which helped the animal and its owner to win the talent competition. O'Dwyer had appeared with several dogs in the semi-final of the show, but during the final, and unbeknown to viewers, a dog called Chase replaced Matisse in the tightrope act. The switch, according to the Gruniad Morning Star 'prompted a social media backlash' after O'Dwyer admitted substituting Matisse because he is 'scared of heights.' Sounds like a sensible dog to this blogger but, whatever. And, of course, as we all know, the Gruniad Morning Star believes that social media - and, specifically Twitter -is The Sole Arbiter On The Worth Of All Things. Others, this blogger included, believes that, on the contrary it's just some people making noise. 'Matisse is a little bit afraid of heights, so although he could officially do it, Chase is the action dog, so he plays the double for him,' O'Dwyer told ITV breakfast show Lorraine. O'Dwyer later said that she was 'shocked and surprised' by viewers' reaction. But, the accusations of 'fakery' will bring back unhappy memories for ITV executives, who paid out a record £5.7m fine in 2008 for 'seriously and repeatedly misleading' audiences over TV phone-in deceptions on hit shows including Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. Britain’s Got Toilets, one of ITV's most valuable and important formats, now faces a potential Ofcom investigation after complaints that 'millions of viewers' who voted for Matisse may have been 'conned.' Some might argue that they were conned into watching this arsehole crap in the fist place, but that's an entirely different argument and one, perhaps, best left for another day. The number of complaints is, the Gruniad confidently - and rather sneeringly - predicted, 'expected to snowball' with further press coverage of the fall out from 'the stunt.' O'Dwyer had narrowly won the public vote in Sunday night's final, winning two hundred and fifty thousand smackers and the chance to perform at The Royal Variety Performance. O'Dwyer and Matisse received over twenty two per cent of the votes while magician Jamie Raven got just over twenty per cent. Ofcom said that it would 'assess' the whinges to see whether a formal investigation of a potential breach of the broadcasting code was warranted. According to its code, broadcasters must not 'materially mislead the audience.' And, in terms of competitions 'broadcasters must ensure that viewers and listeners are not materially misled about any broadcast competition or voting.' A peak of more than thirteen million punters watched O'Dwyer and Matisse (and Chase) become the second (and third) dog act to win Britain's Got Toilets, following Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey (Pudsey was the dog, if you were wondering) in 2012. A spokesman for the producers of Britain's Got Toilets, which is made by Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's production company Syco and Fremantle Media said: 'The audience had previously seen from Jules's semi-final routine that she works with a second dog Chase alongside Matisse. For the final performance, as Jules has said publicly herself, Chase completed the tight-rope walking section of the act. During the competition viewers have seen that Jules's act involves a team of dogs, including Chase and Skippy, alongside starring dog Matisse, to perform her unique mixture of dog agility and storytelling. We are sorry if this was not made clearer to the judges and viewers at home during their final performance.'
Meanwhile, two days after this story broke, big-style(e) in the tabloids, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads finally broke his own silence over the revelation that there was a third dog involved in Britain's Got Toilets's winning act Jules & Matisse. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads revealed his 'frustration' over the controversy, but 'took responsibility' for what he described as 'a cock-up.' He also lamented that the show may have let dog trainer O'Dwyer down. 'The moment I found out I literally put my head in my hands. I spoke to a lot of people after, and I did raise my voice,' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads explained to the Mirra. 'But, it was mainly people owning up to it. They felt embarrassed, they felt frustrated, they felt stupid, but you've got to man up to this stuff.' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads also disclosed that he was 'really annoyed' with the situation before receiving frantic calls from producers. And, dear blog reader, you wouldn't like to see Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads when he's angry. 'I could hear in their voices, some were in tears, just mad at themselves,' he recalled. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads said that he spoke with O'Dwyer for an hour over the phone in an attempt to reassure and placate her, continuing: 'I feel that I let her down and that the show let her down. She shouldn't have to be in this position because she didn't do anything wrong. But I hopefully reassured her she should put on a very good show for the Queen. As she explained to me last night, "It wasn't just about me and Matisse, like Ashleigh and Pudsey." They should have been called Jules, Matisse & Friends.' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads added that O'Dwyer came up with 'Jules & Matisse' 'because she had no other name for the act, but wanted to show us that she was a multiple dog trainer.' Despite rumours that there will be 'multiple sackings' at ITV over this fiasco, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads reiterated: 'The producers are absolutely gutted. I was so depressed yesterday for the show, for Jules and for the producers themselves, because they are not horrible people. They made a stupid mistake on a live show. They didn't think about how it would appear. I was frustrated because I didn't really know what I was judging until afterwards so I felt like a bit of an idiot.' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads suggested that O'Dwyer should have brought Chase on after the final performance, explaining: 'That should have happened, one hundred percent, and she could have said, "Oh, by the way, Chase was the one doing the tightrope."' On taking responsibility for these shenanigans, Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads added: 'You've got to own up to your mistakes. The viewers have to trust us and know exactly what goes on. There was definitely no intention from the producers to hide this, that I do know. It wasn't one person saying "hide the dog", so I welcome any investigation so [Jules] can walk out with her head held high.' When asked for a comment, Chase said 'woof'.
And, on a somewhat related note, the 'revealing dresses' chosen by Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon - they're not dogs, incidentally - for the final of Britain’s Got Toilets have provoked almost two hundred whinges from viewers 'unhappy' with 'the amount of flesh on show.' Christ almighty, dear blog reader, let us once again simply stand up and salute the utter shite that some people chose to care about. Both judges opted for plunging necklines, which left some viewers whinging about the amount of cleavage for a family show that started before the 9pm watershed. And, other viewers, cracking one off at their tellies. Probably. Holden tweeted that her dress was 'inspired by the films Frozen and Cinderella.' Ofcom has so far received ninety whinges about Holden and Dixon's outfits, while one hundred have 'voiced concern' to ITV. 'Ofcom has received ninety complaints about the presenters' clothing on Britain's Got Talent on ITV,' said a rather weary-sounding Ofcom spokesman. 'We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not.' Before, presumably, telling the whinges to 'grow the fek up' or to us their remote controls, that's what they're for.
The BBC is paying writers working on potential scripts for soaps such as EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty as little as the equivalent of two quid an hour, according to the head of the writers' union. Bernie Corbett, the general secretary of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, has written a letter to BBC Director General Tony Hall whinging about scriptwriters on so-called 'shadow schemes' for long-running TV series to be paid the minimum wage. To which, one hopes, Tony Hall replies 'okay then, we'll sack them all and they can go and work in call centres instead where the pay is much better.' Writers working on these schemes are paid a single script fee of one grand and are required to produce up to three drafts of a trial script over a three-month period, according to Corbett. There is no guarantee of a commission at the end of the scheme. Corbett said that the rate of pay works out at about £2.38 an hour. He said that the WGGB has 'repeatedly raised the issue' in meetings with BBC executives but there had been 'no progress. This is an issue of corporate citizenship,' said Corbett in the letter to the corporation. 'As a public corporation the BBC has social responsibilities. Paying writers below any recognised acceptable, or indeed legal, minimums is a breach of those responsibilities.'Yeah. Or, don't employ them at all. The WGGB is asking for the shadow scheme fee to be increased to two thousand eight hundred quid. 'We are acutely aware of the financial pressures on the BBC,' said Corbett. 'But our suggestion is only just over half the minimum fee that would be paid to the writer of a normal half-hour episode.' A BBC spokesman disputed the figures cited by the WGGB and said the shadow schemes had been helpful for writers looking to work on BBC shows. 'We're proud of our work training and supporting writers through these schemes which have been successful in helping writers to secure commissions on our shows,' said a BBC spokesman. 'We don't accept the figures cited in the letter but we had already scheduled to meet the the Writers' Guild at the end of this month for a further discussion about how these schemes operate and we will discuss the issues they raise then.' Corbett said that the shadow scheme system has been 'beset by problems' since it replaced the drama writers' academy in 2013. The academy, set up in 2005, allowed writers to undertake a twelve-week training period with an 'attendance fee' of about four thousand knicker. If a writer passed the trial period they were guaranteed a commission and paid at professional rates for the next twelve months.
And now, the story of the week. Soon to be former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is allegedly 'being investigated' by US officials as part of their inquiry into wholesale corruption and rotten doings at the heart of the world football body, US media suggests. The news came just hours after Blatter, to the surprise - but, delight - of millions, announced that he will be stepping down from his role. At some stage. US prosecutors launched an extremely criminal inquiry in FIFA last week, with seven officials arrested in Switzerland, part of a group of fourteen people indicted. Two days after the arrests, the the disgust of millions, Blatter was re-elected president of FIFA thanks to the rank and odious greed of many national associations, mainly in Africa and Asia. However, he said on Tuesday of this week that it appeared the mandate he had been given 'does not seem to be supported by everyone in the world.' Not that this is a new thing, of course, and it's never stopped him from being president in the past. Blatter said: 'FIFA needs profound restructuring.' He said hat he would continue in post until an extraordinary congress is called to elect a new president. No dates have been set, but it is expected to take place sometime between December 2015 and March 2016. 'I am the president now, the president of everybody,' Blatter said after winning a fifth term as FIFA's head last Friday. What would have sounded like parody coming from the mouth of anyone else served instead as an accurate reflection of his own vainglorious self-image. The dark storm of allegations which led to Blatter's dramatic resignation on Tuesday are only the most recent of the venal affairs to dog sport at the highest level. The allegations of bribery in Salt Lake City's successful campaign to host the 2002 Winter Olympics saw ten senior International Olympic Committee figures resign. But that was one event, at one moment in time. Football is the dominant global game. For more than a decade, its highest custodians stand accused of endemic and methodical corruption. The shock lies not in the charges themselves but in the fact that Blatter, master of perpetual evasion, not just a Teflon Don but a man so slippery even his own shadow struggles to cling on, has finally been brought down by them. Blatter has so far carefully avoided handing over a smoking gun. As mea culpas go, 'my mandate does not appear to be supported by everybody' is Sepp's equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction, an empty phrase that only hints at the naked scandal beneath. 'Crisis? What is a crisis?' he famously asked before being voted in unopposed four years ago. This last week alone serves as a neat summary: seven FIFA officials arrested in Switzerland at the request of the US authorities investigating corruption of more than one hundred million quid; reports claiming FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke was responsible for an alleged ten million payment of bribes over South Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup, Interpol put six men linked to FIFA on its 'most wanted' list, issuing international alerts for two former FIFA officials - including the odious Jack Warner - and four executives on charges including racketeering and corruption and a separate criminal investigation by Swiss authorities into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated. And there are scandals within the scandals. If the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup was not contentious enough in itself, in December last year FIFA chose not to release its own investigation into corruption. The report's author, American Michael Garcia, immediately resigned. Blatter said last week that he wanted to stay on at FIFA to 'lift the shadow' cast by those arrests, which would be like asking disgraced Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson to lead the 1989 Dubin Inquiry, the Canadian government investigation into drug abuse which followed his positive test at the 1988 Seoul Games. US officials quoted in the New York Times said THAT they hoped to 'gain the co-operation' of 'some of the FIFA figures now under indictment' on charges of racketeering and money laundering to try to build a case against Blatter. Earlier the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, who is involved in the US prosecutions, all said that they would 'not comment' on the Blatter resignation. In its prosecution, the US justice department said fourteen individuals were under investigation worldwide for allegedly accepting bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than a hundred million quid over a twenty four-year period. Two vice-presidents were among the seven FIFA officials arrested in Zurich. They all await US extradition proceedings. Brazilian footballing legend Pele told the BBC that the developments surrounding FIFA and Blatter 'surprised everyone. My position is like a player. I want to see football put people together, stop the war,' he said. 'FIFA needs honest people.' The arrests overshadowed the vote for a new president, which Blatter won, defeating his sole challenger, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan. Prince Ali withdrew despite forcing a second round, having lost the first by one hundred and thirty three votes to seventy three. Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998, said he would urge FIFA's executive committee to organise an extraordinary congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity. This will need to be done in line with FIFA's statutes and we must allow enough time for the best candidates to present themselves and to campaign.' Further allegations of corruption emerged on Tuesday shortly before Blatter's resignation was announced, with claims that FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke was linked to an alleged ten million dollars payment of bribes to the odious Jack Warner over South Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup. Both Valcke and Warner deny any wrongdoing. Well, they would, wouldn't they? A separate criminal investigation by Swiss authorities into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated is also under way. The FIFA president has previously survived repeated accusations of corruption against his organisation. So for him to go, just days after winning an election with a heavy majority, there would appear to be something significant happening behind the scenes. Th FA's Greg Dyke - a long-term Bltter critic - said in an interview with BBC 5Live: 'I don't believe a word of this. If he believes that why not step down last week when we asked him to? He was cock-a-hoop when he won and terribly arrogant. Clearly there is a smoking gun of some sort. This is nothing to do with Blatter being honourable. He hasn't been honourable for years.”' FIFA sponsors, including Visa, Coca-Cola and McDonald's, have welcomed Blatter's decision to resign. However, both Visa and Coca-Cola repeated warnings that they expected 'a swift overhaul' at FIFA. And, McDonald's said that it hoped this would be the first step towards 'gaining back trust from fans worldwide.' By hell, you really know someone has screwed up when McDonald's becomes a moral compass. The rising pressure from the US investigation into corruption looks the most likely source for Blatter's departure and hours after his resignation, reports emerged in US media that the FBI had begun investigating him directly. Speaking on stage, the seventy nine-year-old looked diminished, a far cry from his usual strutting, bombastic self. As he resigned, Blatter suggested he wanted to reform the sport before he handed over the reins to his successor.
Meanwhile, former top FIFA official Chuck Blazer has admitted that he 'and others' on the executive committee agreed to accept bribes in connection with the choice of South Africa as 2010 World Cup hosts. The American said he also facilitated bribes over the 1998 event. The admissions come in a newly released transcript from a 2013 US hearing in which he pleaded extremely guilty to ten charges. In another development, former FIFA Vice-President the odious Jack Warner, who is among those charged, said on Wednesday that he had documents linking FIFA officials to the 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago. 'I will no longer keep secrets for them who actively seek to destroy the country,' he said in a paid political broadcast on Wednesday evening. And so, the whole rotten house of cards starts to collapse and all of the greed monsters turn on each other to save their own skins. Or, something. Warner, who denies charges against him, said that he feared for his life, but would reveal everything he knows about the alleged corruption. Warner resigned from all football activity in 2011 amid bribery allegations and later stepped down as Trinidad and Tobago's security minister amid a fraud inquiry. A key figure in the deepening scandal, he said that he had given his lawyers documents outlining the links between FIFA, its funding, himself and the 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago. He said the transactions also included Blatter. The details of Blazer's guilty pleas came as prosecutors unsealed the transcript of the 2013 hearing in the Eastern New York District Court. The admissions are part of a sentencing deal with prosecutors. Blazer was the second highest official in FIFA's North and Central American and Caribbean region from 1990 to 2011 and also served on FIFA's executive committee between 1997 and 2013. To date, he is the highest placed FIFA official to Copper's Nark on his former mates. In the transcript, prosecutors refer to FIFA 'and its membership or constituent organisation' as 'a Rico enterprise' - a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organisation. Blazer says: 'Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.' Earlier on Wednesday, South Africa denied paying a ten million dollar bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 event. Blazer said that one of his co-conspirators received a bribe in Morocco for its bid to host the 1998 tournament, which was eventually awarded to France. He and others also accepted bribes in connection with broadcast and other rights to the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003, he added. Other admissions among the ten charges in the forty-page dossier include US tax evasion. Federal agents investigating the tax evasion had detained Blazer and he agreed to co-operate in the US investigations. He is said to have agreed to record his colleagues using a microphone hidden in a keychain. In addition to the US case, Swiss authorities have launched a criminal investigation into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated. Qatar has claimed there is no way it will be stripped of the right to host the 2022 World Cup despite the corruption probe.Foreign minister Khaled al Attiyah dismissed what he called 'a bashing campaign' as 'anti-Arab prejudice' and said that Qatar was 'confident' it could prove there had been 'no wrongdoing' in its selection.
Ryan Taylor has said that he was told he was being released by Newcastle in a phone call from John Carver, who then asked the player to pass the phone to his team-mate Jonas Gutierrez so that the Magpies temporary boss could tell him he was being released as well. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) United secured their Premier League status on the final day of the season. 'John Carver rang me and told me the club weren't going to offer me a new deal,' Taylor told Sky Sports News. 'Then he asked me to pass the phone to Jonas, which was unbelievable.' Taylor spent six years at St James' Park, while midfielder Gutierrez had been at the club since 2008. Gutierrez, who has fought testicular cancer, scored in the 2-0 win over West Ham which guaranteed Newcastle's Premier league status. Taylor said that he had 'some sympathy' for Carver. 'I spoke to him and he seemed upset about telling two good pros, who have been there a long time, that it's come to an end,' said the defender. 'I can't really blame John because he's under instructions on what to do.' Taylor and Gutierrez are currently in Belfast at a coaching course. Following confirmation of his release, Gutierrez took to social media and posted the following message: 'Thanks to all football fans and Newcastle fans for supporting me and trust in me. This is a way to demonstrate I always hear you. You are very important to me, football wouldn't be the same without you. All my effort and affection is for you.' He also posted a photo montage on Facebook before signing off with the following barbed comment: 'Two things I learn from my illness, how you can support a player (Newcastle fans) and how you leave a player alone (Newcastle owner).'

Glasgow Rangers say that they will 'co-operate fully' with the investigation into the 'disgraceful scenes' following the Scottish Premiership play-off final. A violent on-field clash between Rangers defender Bilel Mohsni and Motherwell's Lee Erwin sparked a mass brawl at Fir Parkwith kids getting sparked an aal sorts. Police and the football authorities are reviewing the incident and the match delegate is due to deliver his damning report this week. Mohsni responded to a push by Erwin by aiming a kick and punch at the striker after last Sunday's clash which then descended into chaos and mindless violence. The second leg saw Motherwell preserve their Premiership status courtesy of a 6-1 aggregate victory. Mohsni also tussled with Motherwell's unused substitute Fraser Kerr. All three players were shown red cards by referee Craig Thomson after the match. 'Bilel Mohsni's behaviour was completely unacceptable and had his contract not now expired, the club would have started disciplinary proceedings,' Rangers said in a statement. 'The club will also assist with any investigation into the behaviour of Motherwell supporters and we would like to thank the Rangers fans who were excellent in showing admirable restraint despite severe provocation.' Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins said: 'Police Scotland will conduct a full review of the circumstances and liaise with the appropriate partners, and decide how best to take the matter forward over the coming days.' Rangers' manager, Stuart McCall, claimed that he did not see the incident, but acknowledged such behaviour was 'unacceptable.' Speaking after his side's 3-0 loss at Fir Park, he said: 'If he has thrown a punch that's disgraceful. But it's safe to say he won't be at the club next season. He's out of contract.' Oh, so that's all right, then. Not our problem now, pal. Motherwell boss Ian Baraclough said that the scenes detracted from 'a great day' for the Lanarkshire club. 'There's been an outpouring of emotions, shall we say, and it's gone too far,' he told BBC Scotland. 'Scottish football doesn't need it. There were two teams battling it out over one hundred and eighty minutes, they gave it absolutely everything. For one or two individuals to ruin it, tarnish it, is a shame.' Erwin appeared to shove Mohsni after the defender refused his offer of a handshake and describe his opponent's reaction as 'embarrassing' in a television interview, given with blood on his face. Motherwell fans spilled onto the pitch while the fight was going on and had to be ushered away by police and stewards as they goaded Rangers supporters. Former Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith believes it should be for the football authorities, not the Police, to deal with the matter. 'I think it was thuggery,' Smith told BBC Scotland. 'It's happened in a football match and the football authorities have to deal with it. I don't think the police should be involved.'
The BBC's director of news has defended crass and ignorant accusations that the corporation was biased in its general erection coverage, saying that it was 'scrupulously impartial.' James Harding said 'the fabled left-wing bias' was 'unfair and unfounded', and was 'hard to take seriously' given the eventual Conservative victory. He said that the argument the BBC was too right-wing made big Middle Class hippy Communists in the Gruniad Morning Star was 'equally implausible.' He added that although politicians of all parties had complained about the issue, the public had not 'in any meaningful numbers. I was quite astonished by the ferocity and frequency of complaints from all parties,' Harding said at a Voice Of The Listener & Viewer conference. 'I was struck by how many politicians and spokespeople paid lip service to the idea of the BBC's editorial independence, but, nonetheless, did think it was their place to say what should be leading the news.' During the erection campaign, UKiP's Nigel Farago whinged about his party's treatment at not being invited to the BBC's Question Time leaders' debate. 'I believe they are guilty of blatant prejudice,' Farago told LBC radio. Odious Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen also whinged over the audience composition for the Question Time special programme, which some newspapers - well, the Daily Scum Mail and the Torygraph, if we're being specific - claimed was 'biased' in favour of Labour and Liberal Democrat voters. 'This confirms what we have known for a long time - the unashamed left-wing bias of the BBC,' Bridgen whinged. Harding said tht he 'got it in the ear' from all political parties. 'Labour was angry about the focus on the SNP, the Tories regularly questioned our running orders and editorial decisions, the Lib Dems felt they weren't getting sufficient air-time and the Greens complained about being treated like a protest movement not a party,' he said. He added that it was an 'unhappy coincidence' charter renewal and the level of the BBC's future funding would be decided so soon after the erection. Harding said 'people from all parties made the connection between their dissatisfaction with the election coverage and the fact that the next government will set the licence fee.' The journalist admitted that the corporation - along with other media organisations - 'allowed the poll numbers to infect our thinking,' leading to 'too much co-alitionology. With the benefit of hindsight, we would all have been better off with less discussion of deals and allowed the dissection of policy to speak for itself,' he said. BBC figures showed the corporations' election coverage reached nine in ten UK adults in the last week of the campaign, with the BBC News website used by a record thirty one million global browsers on 8 May.
Davina McCall has 'hit back' at 'angry fans' who have 'slammed' her for 'controversial comments' made in a recent interview about the importance of keeping your man 'satisfied.' And, this shit is 'news', apparently. Clearly somewhat unprepared for the amount of overwrought online drama her latest interview with the Torygraph would spark, the TV presenter wrote an entire blog post to 'clarify' exactly what she meant and insist that she is not 'submissive.' As though anybody but the stupidest arsehole glake in the whole wide world actually gives a monkey's right bollock about such trivia. McCall talked about her sixteen-year marriage to Matthew Robertson in an, otherwise rather bland and nothing interview with the newspaper, and admitted that she loves 'keeping the fire alive in the bedroom. Matthew has strong views on underwear; you must keep your husband satisfied in the bedroom department, even if you're absolutely exhausted. Otherwise he will go somewhere else.' Upon seeing the ludicrous over-reaction to what she said, McCall claimed that her comments had been 'taken out of context', writing on her blog: 'I've got myself in a controversy!'

LEGO Dimensions has just got a lot more timey-wimey, apparently. The BBC has confirmed that Doctor Who sets will be available for the upcoming game. Iconic characters and elements from the popular long-running family SF drama will be included in the new game, which combines physical block building with console game play. The Doctor Who pack will include the latest Doctor played by yer actual Peter Capaldi, the TARDIS and K-9 figurines. The game's release is thought to coincide with the first official Doctor Who LEGO set, which will also launch later this year.
Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been confirmed to appear at this year's Glastonbury Festival, after the event revealed its full 2015 line-up. The anti-Putin activists will appear in conversation twice during the festival, on the Park Stage on Saturday 27 June and the Left Field the previous day. Burt Bacharach, The Proclaimers (aw yeah!), The Cribs and Wilko Johnson have also been added to the bill. They join Pyramid Stage headliners Foo Fighters, Kanye West and The Who. Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were released from a Russian prison last year after twenty one months, having been convicted of 'hooliganism' over protests in Moscow. They were among five members of the radical group to stage an obscenity-laced 'punk prayer' in the city's biggest cathedral. Billy Bragg, who hosts Glastonbury's Left Field, tweeted: 'Pleased to announce that Nadya and Masha from Pussy Riot will be speaking at Left Field, 1.30pm Friday.' The pair recently appeared as themselves in Netflix political drama House of Cards, where they staged a protest against fictional Russian president, the Putin-esque Viktor Petrov, at a dinner party. Glastonbury organisers revealed set times for all of the stages, including a mammoth slot for Friday night headliners Foo Fighters. They will play the Pyramid Stage from 21:15-23:45 - an hour longer than rapper West is scheduled to perform for the following night and thirty minutes longer than Sunday night headliners The Who. Surprise additions included a favourite of organiser Emily Eavis who tweeted: 'Very excited about Burt Bacharach!' He will play the Pyramid Stage, as will The Burtle Silver Band and ballet group The Michael Clark Company. Last week BBC Music announced it would broadcast thirty hours of TV coverage from Worthy Farm, as well as content for radio, the Red Button and online. It will kick off with The ONE Show's Chris Evans and Alex Jones, with Wor Geet Luscious Lauren Laverne, Jo Whiley and Mark Radcliffe fronting BBC2's coverage while Greg James presents on BBC3.

The Australian actor Bob Hornery has died at the age of eighty three. Bob appeared in the 1979 Doctor Who story The Horns Of Nimon where he played The Pilot. The actor was probably best known for playing Tom Kennedy in long-running Australian soap Neighbours. He was a long standing member of the Melbourne Theatre Company, first appearing in a 1961 touring production of Sweeney Todd. His last appearance for the company was in 2011 in The Importance Of Being Earnest. His sixty year career included TV roles in Sapphire & Steel, Orlando, Nicholas Nickleby, The Glynn Nicholas Show, The Troubleshooters, The Ugliest Girl In Town, Here Come The Double Deckers!, Dad's Army, Shelley and Thunderstone. Movie parts include roles in Crackerjack and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The actor died just two days before his eighty fourth birthday. Geoffrey Rush, Hugh Sheridan and Jason Donovan were among that paying tribute to Bob's life and career. 'Today we said goodbye to the Great Grandfather of Australian Theatre,' Sheridan wrote.

And, sadly another of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, Peter Howell, has died at the age of ninety six. Peter played The Investigator in the last episode of the 1972 Doctor Who story The Mutants. He was best known for his role in the 1960's medical drama Emergency Ward Ten, playing Peter Harrison in well over one hundred episodes. The doctor was the fictitious Oxbridge hospital's orthopaedic registrar and one of the many staff whose lives were featured alongside the stories of their patients' woes. Harrison supervised the hospital’s polio unit and, as a master of understatement, was memorable for the line: 'The next forty eight hours may be a bit tricky.' While other actors in the soap, such as John Alderton and Desmond Carrington, went on to become household names, Peter returned to character roles, often rather typecast as authority figures. In The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan's cult series using allegory to make a statement about the freedom of the individual, Peter appeared in a 1967 episode as a professor, teaching a speed-learning history course to residents of The Village as a mind-control exercise – it turns out that the professor is being controlled himself to deliver it. One of those great British character actors who seem to have been in pretty much everything, Peter's CV reads like a roll-call of just about every important TV series made in the UK during the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s. He had roles in - and the list is not complete by any means - Doctor Finlay's Casebook, Man From Interpol, Espionage, R3, The Avengers, Freewheelers, Dixon Of Dock Green, Unman, Wittering, Zigo, The Power Game, No Hiding Place, The Champions, Thirty Minute Theatre, Elizabeth R, The Root Of All Evil?, The Ten Commandments, Edward VII, The Mill On The Floss, Pride & Prejudice, Love In A Cold Climate, Death Of An Expert Witness, Crown Court, The Sweeney, The Brothers, Bill Brand, The Velvet Glove, Play For Today, Tales Of The Unexpected, The Professionals, Reilley: Ace Of Spies, The Old Men At The Zoo, Rumpole Of The Bailey, A Sort of Innocence, Our Mutual Friend, Jeeves & Wooster, The All New Alexei Sayle Show, Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Hippies, Silent Witness and Perfect Strangers. He played the governor upholding a brutal regime in the 1979 film Scum, starring Ray Winstone. It was a remake of Roy Minton's 1977 television play which was banned by the BBC because of its graphic portrayal of violence in a borstal. Peter – a lifelong campaigner for social justice – was particularly proud of this role because the film added its weight to a campaign he was involved in to abolish the borstal system, which came about in 1982. Peter Norman Bulmer Howell was born in London in 1919, the son of Owen, a solicitor, and his wife, Norah. He hated his time at Winchester, but it gave him a life-long love of cricket which would lead to his becoming a member of the MCC. To please his father he studied law at Christ Church College, Oxford, but left the course early when he was called up for wartime service in 1939. His experiences as a second-lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade shaped the rest of his life. Invalided out in 1943 with dysentery suffered during Montgomery's North Africa campaign, Peter never forgot the suffering he had seen – and the class divisions between officers and others. He was introduced to acting when his sister, Gillian, was training at RADA, which was looking for men to act in its productions to replace those away at war. A memorable time followed with the Old Vic company at the New theatre in 1943, following the bombing of its original venue. Peter took on small roles in productions such as Richard III, alongside Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and Sybil Thorndike, directed by Tyrone Guthrie. Politics played an important part in Peter's life. As well as being an active member of the Labour party and serving on the committee of the actors' union, Equity, he opposed the MCC's planned cricket tour of apartheid South Africa in 1968, which was eventually cancelled and campaigned for the lowering of the homosexual age of consent. He also helped to raise funds for the building of Watermans Arts Centre, near his home in Chiswick. His many radio roles included the Right Reverend Cyril Hood in The Archers and Saruman in the 1981 BBC production of The Lord Of The Rings. He also appeared as the bishop, alongside Johnny Depp, in the film The Libertine (2004). Peter died on 20 April 2015 after a short illness. In 1957, Peter married Susan Cheshire, who died in 1992. He is survived by their daughters, Polly, Tamara and Camilla and son, Benji.

The Rolling Stones have - finally - shared a rock 'n' roll treasure this week, releasing a long-unreleased version of 'Brown Sugar' featuring Eric Clapton on slide guitar. According the press release, the song - which also features Al Kooper on electric piano - was recorded during an 'impromptu performance' at Keith Richards' birthday party at Olympic Studios in 1970. The beefed-up 'Brown Sugar' will be included on the band's upcoming Sticky Fingers reissue, boasting a bumper crop of previously unreleased bonus songs - an acoustic 'Wild Horses' and alternate versions of 'Dead Flowers' and 'Can't You Hear Me Knocking' plus five songs recorded live from London's Roundhouse in 1971 - is due to hit the shops on 8 June.
Led Zeppelin are to unveil previously unheard songs recorded with Indian musicians during a visit more than four decades ago. The reworked versions of 'Friends' and 'Four Sticks' - are among the songs contained in the band's reissues of three studio LPs. The band's website said that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page 'took a fabled trip to India to perform with the Bombay Orchestra and now, for the first time, recordings from these sessions will be officially released with dynamic takes on 'Friends' and 'Four Hands' ('Four Sticks' from Led Zeppelin IV).' Band members visited India a number of time during the 1971-72 period on their tours in Asia and 'during one of those trips Plant and Page participated in a session with a group of veteran Bollywood session musicians that resulted in reworked versions of 'Friends' and 'Four Sticks'' according to Rezaul H Laskar in the Hindustan Times newspaper. 'Led Zeppelin had not officially released any tracks from the Mumbai session till now though several bootlegs have emerged of the recording. In one bootleg, Page can be heard explaining bars and scales to [late Indian flautist] Vijay Raghav Rao, who gamely tries to convey his instructions to the Indian musicians who had clearly never collaborated with rock musicians.' The songs will be contained in the reissue of Coda, the band's final LP which is being released in July along with 1976's Presence and 1979's In Through The Out Door all having been remastered by Page.
A woman allegedly performed a sex act on her boyfriend in the middle of a Radio 2 concert in Hyde Park, a court heard. According to the Standard, 'disgusted music fans looked on' as Lisanne Beck, forty seven, performed the sex act on her partner, Simon Murphy aged forty eight, as Paloma Faith 'entertained the crowd.' Are we absolutely certain, if they genuinely were 'music fans' that it wasn't Pamola Faith these people were 'disgusted' by? Just asking. One allegedly 'repulsed' witness filmed the couple doing the naughty on his mobile phone before Beck and Murphy, from Swansea, were, ahem, tossed out of the festival by security, the Old Bailey heard. 'Up until the sexual act I was amused to a certain extent,' said the chap who made the video. Well, yeah, it's only a natural reaction to film something you're 'repulsed' by on your phone, isn't it? Beck, a hospitality waitress, claimed that the video showed her trying to 'shake' her boyfriend, who is a gardener, awake rather than her, as it were, smoking his cornet and that she was 'bewildered' by the sex allegations. She said: 'I shook him on his legs and waist and said "wake up, get up."' Prosecutor Tom Cleeve replied: 'You shook his legs, that didn't work – what else did you shake?' Which, you know, is actually quite funny. Beck and Murphy deny outraging public decency on 14 September last year. The trial extremely continues.

A BBC journalist is facing disciplinary action - most likely a damned good slippering from the Beeb's Chief Royal Sycophant - for killing off the Queen on Twitter after apparently mistaking a rehearsal of the announcement of Her Maj's death for the real thing. The Corporation profusely apologised after Ahmen Khawaja, a broadcast journalist, sent a tweet saying: 'Queen Elizabrth [sic] has died.' It was sent during one of the corporation's regular rehearsals for royal deaths, but insiders said that Khawaja was not taking part in the exercise and appeared to have overheard the rehearsal and tweeted what she thought was breaking news. Khawaja had previously sent a tweet saying: 'Breaking: Queen Elizabeth is being treated at King Edward VII Hospital in London. Statement due shortly.' The King Edward VII Hospital, which has a long association with the Royal family, was part of the BBC script for its dry run. By sheer coincidence the Queen was, in fact, at the hospital for her annual check-up at the time, but alleged 'sources' allegedly said that Khawaja 'did not know this.' Khawaja's tweets were re-tweeted several times by her followers before she realised the mistake and deleted it, tweeting: 'False alarm: Have deleted previous tweets!' She then claimed that the original posting had been the result of 'a silly prank' after her phone was left unattended. By then, however, rumours of the Queen's death were spreading so quickly that Buckingham Palace felt it had no choice but to issue a statement denying the Queen was ill, or dead, breaking its own normal protocol of refusing to comment on speculation about the health of the Royal family. Khawaja describes herself as 'a multimedia producer' at BBC News, producing news bulletins for BBC Urdu's current affairs television programme Sairbeen. She also reports for its website and radio shows. The BBC carries out dress rehearsals for the event of the death of the Queen or other senior members of the Royal family at least once a year. Shortly before the erroneous tweets were sent out, Jonathan Munro the BBC's head of newsgathering had e-mailed staff to say: 'This morning we are carrying out a low key rehearsal for the way in which television might cover a Category One obituary. It's mainly a technical procedure looking at the use of the studio. It does not involve any sites outside New Broadcasting House and it will not include radio or online. This has been in the diary for some time - there is no editorial reason why this is happening now. Procedures have been put in place to isolate the rehearsal from any output. It will take place in Studio E whilst the Victoria Derbyshire show is on-air from Studio B. We will be using internal camera positions on the mezzanine, and in the Business unit. The exercise should be completed before 10:30, and the News Channel will return to E as scheduled at 11:00. It is essential that we can rehearse these sensitive scenarios privately. BBC Tours have been suspended, and the blinds from public areas including reception and the media café will remain dropped. I'd also ask for your help in refraining from any external conversations and all social media activity about this exercise. Your continued discretion will be greatly appreciated.'

Mind you, to be fair the lass is hardly the first person to make that mistake, as today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day ably proves. Doesn't it, Stephen?

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