Sunday, July 05, 2015

It's Only Me Pursuing Something I'm Not Sure Of

Doctor Who is bringing back Rachel Talalay to direct this year's series finale. The Tank Girl director was previously behind the camera for series eight's two-part closer, Dark Water and Death In Heaven. She will return to direct episodes eleven and twelve this year - written by Doctor Who's executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE).
Yer actual Peter Capaldi has promised 'an epic sweep' for the upcoming ninth series of Doctor Who. Returning for his second series as The Doctor, Peter told Entertainment Weekly that fans can expect 'old monsters and new ones. 'There is an epic sweep to this season and I think the villains and monsters reflect that,' he said. 'Great new ones, brilliant old ones, and some very scary creatures looming in stories with real emotional ambition.' Peer also hinted that his Doctor would be less curmudgeonly this time around - 'throwing himself into life with a new found hunger for adventure. He's in pursuit of joy and grabbing every thrill that he can along the way,' he said. 'But, I sense him running from something, that even he does not yet understand. [The opening episodes] place The Doctor in a conflict that is central to his being, as well as containing some subtle tributes to the 1960s and truly wonderful guest performances,' he said, adding that The Doctor will 'make a mistake that has cataclysmic repercussions.'
The Met: Policing London topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Monday. The documentary series continued with 4.05m at 9pm, gaining more than three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week. Earlier, Nigel Slater: Eating Together appealed to 2.46m at 7.30pm and Panorama drew but 1.76m at 8.30pm. On BBC2, Wimbledon's opening day highlights rounded up the events for 1.34m viewers at 8.30pm, before coverage of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Show brought in 1.23m at 9.30pm. Episodes followed with seven hundred and seventy thousand punters at 10pm, while Newsnight had six hundred and fifty thousand at 10.30pm. ITV's Countrywise averaged 2.40m at 8pm, before Vicious shed even more viewers, drawing just 2.17m at 9pm. Which was bad, but not a patchy on the properly awful audience It's A Funny Old Week attracted with all of the enthusiasm of a fart emerging from a pile-ringed anus - a mere 1.22m at 9.30pm. Jason, mate, fer Christ's sake, next time ITV offer you a format that's not only unoriginal but also unfunny, make an excuse and run. On Channel Four, Dispatches was watched by 1.09m at 8pm while The Real Story interested 1.71m at 8.30pm. Kevin McCloud's Escape To The Wild continued with 1.97m at 9pm and Man Down had an audience of five hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm. Big Brother remained steady - and, steadily rotten - with 1.09m on Channel Five at 9pm, while Under The Dome was watched by six hundred and forty eight thousand at 10pm.

The BBC's revamped Wimbledon highlights show has come under fire from newspapers - with an agenda - and 'some people on Twitter during the first week of the Championships. Because, as we all know, according to most of the media, Twitter is The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things instead of, you know, just a bunch of mouthy glakes whinging about shit. It appears that many tennis fans enjoyed the reliably straightforward nature of the previous format, Today At Wimbledon's replacement, Wimbledon 2day, hosted by Clare Balding. Still present are McEnroe and Lindsay Davenport as expert pundits, only they are not afforded the opportunity to be sharp and informative amid the 'interactive' features of the new format. 'Dumbed down' and 'full of gimmicks' according to detractors, Wimbledon 2day attempts to incorporate 'quirky skits' and 'fan interaction' with a chat show format played out in front of a live audience of fans who are made to stand in The Gatsby Club (one of Wimbledon's hospitality suites) clutching drinks and trying to catch the camera's eye over McEnroe's shoulder. The Daily Scum Mail's odious rancid pile of phlegm, Jan Moir was particularly scathing about the new show - so, no obvious sick agenda at work there then - arguing that the 'disastrous' new show was 'a travesty and a tragedy' more about Balding and 'silly features' than about giving the fans what they actually wanted – to watch some tennis. As though anybody gives a stuff about what those worthless pile of turds at the Daily Scum Mail think. About anything. 'Like some nightmarish cross between Top Gear and Play School, guests must chat to Clare while standing around one of those high top tables that are so popular in wine bars,' the vile and wretched Moir whinged. 'Precious little court action from the day's matches is shown. Instead of crisp analysis and lots of tennis, there are gimmicky items. Tennis fans who have been working all day, which means the vast majority of us, want to come home and watch a plain and simple, comprehensive round-up of the day's play. We want as many on-court highlights as possible and straight-forward scrutiny and expert opinion. What we don't want is Clare reading out inane tweets or talking over match play while rock'n'roll musik is played over her words.' Well, thanks for appointing yourself the spokesperson for a generation of tennis fans, you odious horrorshow (and drag). The Guardian Morning Star's Stuart Heritage was equally critical and dismissive, saying: 'Wimbledon 2day has a horrible name. But that's only part of the reason why everyone hates it – and, let's be clear, they really do hate it. They hate it because it can't decide whether it wants to be Top Gear or The ONE Show, when actually it should be a sober review of matches that people missed because they were working. They hate it because it has a shipped in a pseudo-studio audience who are only there to look bored and go "Weeeey" whenever prompted.' Thanks, Stu, but you can't have the job of being the spokesperson for a generation of tennis fans, that Jan Moir from the Daily Scum Mail already has it. Tough break. Inverdale fronted the much-loved Today At Wimbledon for a dozen years, a format which could easily have been continued with a fresh presenter. Indeed, even leading pundit McEnroe was seemingly left confused by the new show's purpose, saying 'this is so bizarre and crazy.' When later randomly asked by Balding if he'd ever had a beard, McEnroe responded bluntly, 'What the hell are you asking me about beards for?' So-called 'media insider' - whatever the fuck that means - Charles Sale claimed in another Daily Scum Mail column of the new show: 'There is much bemusement among the BBC's Wimbledon team as to why it was felt necessary to dispense with the successful highlights show hosted by John Inverdale for a woeful Clare Balding-presented programme that is being panned from all quarters. Such has been the criticism that Balding, a frequent Twitter user, hasn't been on the site since the hugely negative response to her new programme, which is the talk of Beeb personnel.' And, he's a 'media insider', apparently, so he should know. A BBC spokeswoman has defended the show, saying: 'The focus of the highlights show remains the tennis, which forms the vast part of the programme, along with analysis from expert pundits. This is a new look for the show which we expect to evolve as the fortnight progresses.'

The Syndicate continued to top the overnight ratings outside of the soaps on Tuesday. The BBC1 drama continued with 5.03m at 9pm, while Imagine ... brought in eight hundred and fifty thousand at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Wimbledon 2day was watched by 1.36m at 8.30pm, while The Bank: A Matter Of Life & Debt interested seven hundred and ten thousand at 9.30pm. Newsnight followed with seven hundred and ninety thousand at 10.30pm. ITV's flop documentary series A Great Welsh Adventure With Griff Rhys Jones continued with 1.79m at 7.30pm while Love Your Garden dipped to 2.24m at 8pm. The 7/7 Bombing: Survivors' Stories was seen by 1.57m at 9pm. Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners averaged 1.21m for Channel Four at 8pm, while Child Genius had an audience of 1.24m at 9pm. On Channel Five, OAPs Behaving Badly was watched by seven hundred and thirty nine thousand at 9pm, while Big Brother continued with 1.19m at 10pm. E4's Empire brought in three hundred and ninety five thousand at 9pm.

England's injury time exit from the Women's World Cup brought in impressive numbers for BBC1, according to overnight figures for Wednesday. The team's semi-final defeat to Japan averaged 1.74m from 11.15pm. Earlier, Don't Tell The Bride continued with 2.63m at 8pm and the latest episode of The Interceptor brought in a mere 2.45m at 9pm. Not, quite, as staggeringly disastrous a flop of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell but hardly numbers that will have the drama department rushing to commission a second series. ITV's Long Lost Family topped the ratings across all channels outside of soaps, remaining consistent with 3.63m at 9pm. The Cube was seen by 2.88m at 8pm. On BBC2, Wimbledon 2day appealed to 1.30m at 9pm, before coverage of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show interested 1.07m and Newsnight followed with seven hundred and forty thousand punters at 10.30pm. Channel Four's The Auction House gathered 1.03m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours In A&E was watched by 1.50m at 9pm. Big Brother continued with 1.16m on Channel Five at 10pm. E4's US imports Jane The Virgin and Nashville continued with one hundred and twenty three thousand viewers at 9pm and two hundred and six thousand viewers at 10pm respectively.

Celebrity MasterChef topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Thursday. The z-list celebrity cooking series continued with 3.75m viewers at 9pm, following Britain Beneath Your Feet, which brought in 3.34m at 8pm. On BBC2, Wimbledon 2day was up three hundred thousand on the previous night with 1.71m at 8.30pm, before coverage of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show averaged 1.25m at 9.30pm, and Mock The Week drew 1.35m at 10pm. ITV's Tonight was watched by 2.31m at 7.30pm, while Big Box Little Box continued with 2.31m at 8.30pm. Superhospital was up next with 2.33m at 9pm. Channel Four's Dogs: Their Secret Lives had an audience of 1.16m at 8pm and The Tribe brought in 1.05m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Benefits: Thirty Seven Years On The Dole was watched by 1.04m at 8p, before Big Brother dipped to 1.07m at 9pm. Person Of Interest had six hundred and sixty thousand viewers at 10pm.

The latest Big Brother live eviction was seen by more than one million sad, crushed victims of society on Channel Five on Friday. An average overnight audience of 1.01 million tuned in to the Victorian freak show to watch another housemate leave the compound. BBC1's Celebrity MasterChef was the evening's highest-rated show, attracting 3.59 million at 8.30pm. BBC1's evening kicked-off with 1.77 million for The ONE Show at 7pm, followed by 1.7 million for a Would I Lie To You? repeat immediately afterwards. The night ended with 2.65 million for The Graham Norton Show at 10.35pm, which featured highlights from the previous season. On ITV, Gino's Italian Escape: A Taste Of The Sun was seen by 2.18 million and an old episode of Doc Martin played to 1.79 million. Tennis - and whinging, cos those two seem to go hand-in-hand dominated BBC2's schedule, with 1.3 million watching the latest episode of Wimbledon 2Day. The evening continued with 1.63 million for Gardener's World at 9.30pm and 1.15 million for RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was Channel Four's highest-rated show with 1.2 million, narrowly beating The Last Leg with 1.18 million punters.

Coverage of the Women's World Cup in Canada drew an audience of more than 1.4 million overnight viewers on Saturday. England's third-place play-off match against Germany averaged 1.44m from 8.30pm on BBC3. England eventually won 1-0 after extra time. Family Guy followed the football, as the 11pm and 11.20pm episodes were watched by 2.07m and 2.03m punters respectively. On the terrestrial channels, BBC1's coverage of Wimbledon continued with 4.17m across the evening from 5.15pm. BBC2's Wimbledon 2Day managed seven hundred and fifty four thousand from 8.30pm. ITV broadcast Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince, which averaged 2.3m. On Channel Four, Nasty Penelope Keith's Wretched & Awful Hidden Villages concluded with eight hundred and thirty threee thousand from 8pm, before the movie GI Joe: Retaliation attracted 1.92m. On Channel Five, the latest Big Brother 'highlights' appealed to eight hundred and ninety eight thousand in the 10pm hour.

The Sheridan Smith drama Black Work concluded with strong overnight ratings on Sunday. ITV's crime serial wrapped up its three-episode run with 5.14m at 9pm. Earlier, Catchphrase sent 2.44m punters to sleep at 7.15pm, while Surprise Surprise averaged 3.36m at 8pm. However, it was BBC1's Countryfile that was Sunday night's most-watched overnight programme, bringing in 5.48m at 7pm. Fake or Fortune? interested 4.85m at 8pm, while the 7/7 drama A Song For Jenny attracted 3.12m at 9pm. On BBC2 a broadcast of the notorious movie flop John Carter gathered 1.41m at 6pm, before a repeat of The Best Of Top Gear was watched by 1.86m at 8pm and the latest episode of Odyssey appealed to 1.09m at 9pm. Channel Four's Amazing Spaces: Shed Of The Year continued with 1.29m at 8pm, while Humans continued with 2.30m at 9pm. Big Brother rose to nine hundred and eighty two thousand on Channel Five at 9pm.

And, so to the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 28 June 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.88m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.29m
3 Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 6.92m
4 Black Work - Sun ITV 6.78m
5 The Syndicate - Tues BBC1 - 6.49m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.13m
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.16m
8 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.85m
9 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.63m
10 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.56m
11 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.52m
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.51m
13 Celebrity MasterChef - Thurs BBC1 - 4.44m
14 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.40m
15 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.95m
16= The Met: Policing London - Mon BBC1 - 3.83m
16= The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.83m
18 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 3.71m
19 Humans - Sun C4 - 3.63m
20 The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins - Sat BBC1 - 3.57m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. BBC2's highest-rated weekly programmes - apart from Top Gear - were Japan: Earth's Enchanted Island (3.02m), followed by the opening episode of Odyssey (2.13m), Gardeners' World (1.85m), Mountain Lions: Big Cats In High Places (1.84m) and Sunday night's coverage of Glastonbury (1.83m). Aside from Humans, Channel Four's top-rated shows were Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.09m), the movie Taken 2 (2.02m) and Kevin McCloud's Escape To The Wild (two million viewers). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcasts were Psycho Pussies: When Cats Attack (1.78m) and Big Brother (1.45m). BBC3's coverage of the England Versus Norway match at the Women's World Cup was the most-watched multichannels broadcast (1.49m). More4's highest-watched shows were The Good Wife (five hundred and forty two thousand), Come Dine With Me (three hundred and ninety six thousand) and The Saboteurs (three hundred and ninety five thousand thousand). Midsomer Murder was ITV3's best-rated drama with eight hundred and eight thousand viewers. Lewis attracted six hundred and sixty nine thousand. BBC4's weekly list was topped by Saturday's Glastonbury coverage (eight hundred and eighty seven thousand) and Catching History' Criminals (six hundred and thirty one thousand). 5USA's Chicago PD attracted four hundred and eleven thousand. Penny Dreadful (four hundred and ninety nine thousand) and the opening episode of True Detective's second series (four hundred and seventy five thousand) were Sky Atlantic's chart-toppers. The Affair drew three hundred and ninety five thousand punters. Sky Living's most-watched programmes were Chicago Fire (four hundred and sixty two thousand viewers),Madam Secretary (four hundred and fifty six thousand) and Hannibal (three hundred and forty four thousand). On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme of the week - five hundred and twenty three thousand - followed by Top Gear (three hundred and fifty four thousand). Watch's Grimm had an audience of five hundred and twenty three thousand. With the current series of NCIS having ended last week, FOX's highest-rated shows were American Dad (two hundred and fifty one thousand) and Wayward Pines (one hundred and ninety three thousand). NCIS did top CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and ten thousand). The Universal Channel's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had one hundred and fifty five thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Fast N' Loud was watched by two hundred and eighty six viewers. Discovery History's codes & Conspiracies had an audience of by thirty six thousand viewers. On Discovery Turbo, Wheeler Dealers drew sixty seven thousand. CI's A Town & Country Murder brought in seventy one thousand. ID's Deadly Women was watched by seventy five thousand. National Geographic's Cabin Fever: Sky High Sanctuary had sixty seven thousand. Gold's The Interviews attracted two hundred and fifteen thousand punters. The thrilling Twenty/20 international between England and New Zealand was Sky Sport 2's largest audience with five hundred and ninety three thousand.

Sexy Suzi Perry - the only woman in TV history who looks as good in leather as Diana Rigg - has hinted that she has spoken to Top Gear producers about joining the show. Speaking on ITV's This Morning on Tuesday, the presenter said: 'You know what it's like when you work for a channel and you have conversations. But we don't know what's going to happen with that show. So until as a broadcaster you know what's going to happen with the show, I don't think you can really think very seriously about it.' However, she admitted that she doubts she would have enough time to film both Top Gear and the BBC's F1 coverage, saying: 'I'm away twenty weeks a year doing Formula 1. 'So unless someone has invented forty eight hours in a day. It would be pretty tough I think for me to do it.' When asked if she had once turned it down, Perry said: 'When they brought it back ten or twelve years ago, they didn't have the whole team assembled, so it wasn't true that it was those three - because if it had of been those three, I probably would have jumped on board. Jeremy [Clarkson] wasn't on board at the time and there was a lot of talk about it. I just didn't think that I could do it.' Perry added: 'I feel okay about it [now] actually because I think those three were incredible together. They made that show a success with Andy Wilman, it was about those three, I don't think it was particularly about the format, it was very much about their relationship together and that's what works. That's what's dynamite on television and that's what needs to be assembled. That's what Chris [Evans] has to do, he has to assemble a good team that works very well together and keep the good bits and freshen it up with some new bits.'
Deadline is reporting that Hannibal's cast and crew have been released from their contracts. In addition to other stumbling blocks towards making any potential fourth season of Hannibal, new contract deals would have to be negotiated with stars Hugh Dancy and Mad Mikkelsen - presuming it didn't interfere with their other potential upcoming projects. Showrunner Bryan Fuller, who has been asked non-stop about Hannibal's possible future since it was announced last week that NBC had declined to continue broadcasting the series, also seems to be shifting his focus instead to American Gods. Though he said recently that a fourth season of Hannibal would not interfere with his co-showrunning American Gods, he told Deadline: 'The question would be for the potential new distribution partner is how comfortable they are in waiting. Because I do have an obligation to American Gods and a passion for American Gods, so I absolutely want to service that in the way that it needs to be serviced.'
Bad times ahead for the BBC, it would seem. The corporation is to cut one thousand jobs because of a one hundred and fifty million smackers 'budget gap' in its licence fee income. An unexpected increase in the number of households saying that they do not watch live TV so do not pay for a licence has been blamed for the short-fall. Many cuts are to come from professional and support areas, while management structures will be streamlined. One wonders if any of those smears in local radio, for example, who were so sneering about Clarkson leaving Top Gear a few weeks ago are quite so bolshy now given that the BBC could probably really use that fifty million quid which they're going to lose when Chris Evans' reboot flops like a big flopping thing next year (Suzi Perry's involvement in it notwithstanding). Just sayin'. BBC Director General Tony Hall says that this will save around fifty million knicker a year so more cuts will come. Lord Hall said that the BBC was facing 'difficult choices' because of the 'tough financial climate.' He said that more than one million fewer people had a television set than was predicted in 2011, when a previous round of efficiency savings was implemented, so extra savings had to be found. 'Despite the progress already made, and the realities of the licence fee being frozen for seven years, a new financial challenge means additional savings must now be found,' he said. He added that decision-making had become 'too complicated' in recent times, as new services have been introduced, and that he wanted to cut these back to 'make things simpler', which 'inevitably would lead to fewer decision-makers.' Professional and support departments such as IT, human resources and engineering will be looked at closely to see where there is duplication, with the possibility of merging divisions across the BBC and its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. In announcing more than a thousand jobs cuts, Lord Hall said he recognised 'this is a tough message.' No shit? He said that the BBC had already made one an a half billion quid in savings, but because of the shortfall in licence fee income, more needs to be done. The four key areas for making the savings are: Merging divisions, bringing together teams in BBC and BBC Worldwide; Cutting management layers, reducing management levels from up to ten in places to a maximum of seven; Reducing management roles, bringing down the number of senior positions and simplifying procedures in professional areas including legal, marketing and finance. The BBC licence fee of £145.50 has been frozen for seven years and the process of charter renewal is only just getting under way in a hostile political climate. This will decide how the BBC is run when its current royal charter runs out at the end of 2016. Broadcast union Bectu said that whilst it supports the BBC's ambitions of 'simplification and standardisation', it is opposed to any compulsory redundancies. General secretary Gerry Morrissey said: 'We welcome the aims and the commitment to cutting the layers of management between the DG and programme makers, for example. That said it is essential, as in any programme of cuts, that staff and unions are fully involved in the consultation and that where jobs are closed that redeployment opportunities are maximised.'

The BBC Trust has approved the corporation’s plans to scrap the BBC3 TV channel and make it online-only in a move set to save the corporation thirty million quid a year. In its first major decision since Rona Fairhead was appointed as chair of the Trust last September, the regulator recognised the 'clear long-term potential' in moving online, but admitted there were 'clear concerns' about the loss of services to the, allegedly, 'key' sixteen-to-twenty-four-year-old demographic as well as the BBC's ability to try out new ideas and develop new talent. In a blow to the corporation, the Trust rejected another proposal to launch a new BBC1+1 channel in place of BBC3 because of its 'likely impact on commercial rivals' including ITV and Channel Five. 'We want a strong, sustainable BBC which is innovative, distinctive and relevant and has clear boundaries with the commercial market,' said Fairhead. 'It is clear that the long-term future of broadcasting is online and the BBC needs to find new and exciting ways to help audiences make that transition, while bearing down on costs overall.' The closure of the twelve-year-old youth-oriented channel will save about thirty million notes a year, according to the BBC, which aims to redirect some of those savings into its drama budget for BBC1. The budget for the new online-only BBC3 will be cut to thirty million smackers. Although it points out that BBC3's audience is falling, the Trust suggested the BBC could run the online version and TV channel 'in parallel' for a yet-to-be decided period in order to 'address concerns' about the impact of its closure on young people and those without superfast broadband. In the Trust's own analysis, the BBC's reach among sixteen-to-twenty four-year-olds could fall by three per cent. Up to five per cent of black audiences and women in lower income households are also likely to be lost. On average, 11.2 million people watch BBC3 every week, with fewer than one million of that total claiming that they do not watch any other TV service. The Trust estimates that up to eighty per cent of the nine hundred and twenty five thousand audience who use no other BBC TV service could be lost. 'We know young audiences are already moving towards the online future, but we do recognise in the short term some of them will feel the immediate impact of the BBC3 proposals,' Fairhead said. 'We are therefore asking the BBC for commitments to ensure it uses the full range of its television services to better serve young people and others who make up BBC3's audience.' She added at a media Q&A that the decision had been 'finely balanced' but, in the end, cost pressures combined with a sense that the future was online weighed against the fact that the public value of the proposals was at best 'low to medium. We all know in the future that many more people will watch online. The BBC needs to adapt to that challenge to learn to make greater content online,' she said. 'Online is the way of the future. With the licence fee frozen in 2010 that cost pressure is really starting to bite. The fact is the BBC does not have endless resources.' The BBC will be asked to explore use of the spectrum left behind on the network once BBC3 becomes fully online now that the Trust has blocked its plans to show catch-up programmes on BBC1+1. Rejecting proposals for a sale of the BBC brand by two leading independent producers, Fairhead said: 'What may be left is some spectrum. If the BBC can find ways of finding value out of that we encourage them to do so.' ITV was one a number of commercial broadcasters that made submissions in opposition to the BBC1+1 channel, while Ofcom's assessment was that it would have had the 'greatest adverse market impact of any of the proposals.' 'We had previously stressed that we felt that it would be an inappropriate use of the licence fee to launch a highly competitive, peaktime repeat channel purely to gain audience share against other broadcasters,' said an ITV spokesman. 'We will be looking at the detail regarding the Trust's view on BBC3.' Asked why a proposal to 'purchase' the BBC3 brand by two independent producers was not considered in its report, Fairhead said it was up to BBC management to consider all proposals for spectrum use. But she added, 'It would be crazy to drop the brand. The BBC brand is not for sale.' BBC3 had built up a keen and responsive audience, especially for comedy, she said. The public value would be improved, she added, if the BBC met the conditions imposed to put more programming on BBC1 and BBC2 for young people and run the online and TV services in parallel. Under the current plans, BBC3 programming would change: 'There will be less light entertainment and reality television and more distinctive BBC3 content,' said Fairhead. 'Moving BBC3 audience online will have a short term impact. We recognise that this audience cares very deeply about BBC programmes that the BBC doesn't want to lose,' Fairhead added. 'In the long term we think it will help ability to create a genuine multimedia broadcaster.' Richard Ayre, a trustee, described the move online as 'a liberating opportunity' with new types of programming that is not restricted to twenty eight minutes. Conditions the Trust has imposed on the closure also include commitments to broadcasting programmes on BBC1 and BBC2 that appeal to a younger audience, including continuing existing BBC3 programmes. Although BBC3 shows such as Snog Marry Avoid have proved controversial, BBC3 has acted as a seed bed for new talent and ideas. The BBC must also promise to continue taking risks on new talent and ideas 'of the sort that BBC3 has been successful in developing.' Under BBC proposals, the budget for entertainment and features such as reality television shows will be scrapped, while the bulk of the remaining reduced budget of thirty million notes will be spent on drama and serious factual such as the award-winning Murdered By My Boyfriend. The budget for personality-led tripe such as Odious, Unfunny, Lanky Streak Of Rancid Piss Jack Whitehall & His Dad will be halved (sadly, it seemingly won't be done away with altogether), while scripted comedy including series like Cuckoo will see a twenty five per cent budget cut to about ten million knicker. Factual entertainment programme Don't Tell The Bride has already moved to BBC1 as part of the plans. Meanwhile, Russell Kane (very popular with students) has been told never to darken the BBC's door again. Hopefully. The corporation had intended to replace the BBC3 TV channel with a one-hour time-shifted version of BBC1, a move that most viewers seemed to think was a great idea since the BBC is the only broadcaster which does not, at the moment, offer a +1 service. However, this 'concerned' commercial rivals, who claimed it was a ratings-driven move - which it might be but, what the hell that had to do with them, or Ofcom, is another question entirely and one very much worth asking, this blogger reckons. The BBC Trust, showing the collective backbone of a mollusc. rejected the proposal, saying it has 'limited public value' (with is certainly not a view shared by this blogger) and cited 'a range of issues' including 'a lack of distinctiveness' and that almost a quarter of UK households would need to upgrade TV equipment to receive such a channel. Ofcom's market impact assessment concluded that a BBC1+1 channel would have 'a negative impact' on commercial rivals, 'capturing viewing share for the BBC at the expense of commercial channels and reducing the profitability, in particular, of ITV and Channel Five.' And, this is a bad thing? The BBC Trust accepted that other parts of the corporation's plans, including extending the CBBC children's channel by two hours to 9pm and developing the BBC iPlayer to include more online-only and third-party content. Such a move will allow BBC3's online only content to be seen more readily on the iPlayer. The Trust said the extension of CBBC's hours would 'expand choice for younger viewers, can be implemented at minimal cost and represents a good use of the licence fee.' Some of the thirty million wonga BBC3 budget will be redirected towards drama on BBC1, which currently has a budget of about one billion quid. The corporation, which announced its decision to close BBC3 in May 2014 but did not submit the proposals to the Trust until December, has until the end of July to respond to the findings. After public consultation the final proposal will be announced in the autumn. Under its original plans, BBC3 TV would have been switched off this autumn; this has been extended until January 2016, the last year of the current BBC charter. A BBC spokesperson said: 'We welcome the Trust's provisional conclusion, which is the next step in delivering our vision for a new BBC3. With a frozen licence fee and the BBC's income cut by twenty six per cent we have had to make some very difficult choices, however our plans will allow us to innovate with new ideas and new forms of content for younger audiences. We will now consider the areas the trust have asked us to address and respond in due course.'

An Ofcom review into public service broadcasting in the UK has raised concerns about a fall in spending on drama and children's programming. Investment in TV drama has fallen by forty four per cent since the last review in 2008. The report found that 'the drops in the levels of investment, particularly on ITV, are a concern.' The media watchdog's review found spending on children's programmes in the UK had also fallen from one hundred and three million smackers in 2008 to eighty eight million knicker in 2014. The BBC now accounts for ninety seven per cent of total public service broadcasting spending on children's programmes. Spending by ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five on children's TV has dropped by seventy four per cent to a mere three million notes in 2014. The review points out there is 'very limited provision of non-animation programming beyond the BBC.' The review found that, despite the success of big budget dramas like Downtown Abbey, Sherlock and Doctor Who, the amount of new UK drama being shown on the main channels has fallen from six hundred and twenty seven hours in 2008 to three hundred and seventy one hours in 2014. Although it noted that 'audience satisfaction with drama is stable.' The review found that - following the removal of specific quotas in 2003 - public service programmes in arts and classical music, religion and ethics, and formal education has significantly reduced. Ofcom is required by Parliament periodically to review how public service broadcasting is performing. Ofcom also warned broadcasters need to adapt as the trend towards online viewing grows. The politically appointed watchdog quango,elected by no one, found that unless the main TV channels adapt their business models, they would struggle to pay for public service programming in the future. Ofcom warned another challenge for the broadcasters in the future will be delivering news to younger audiences, as viewing of TV news has fallen by twenty nine per cent among people aged sixteen to thirty four. It also found that 'certain audience groups' were 'concerned' about how they were portrayed on screen - particularly people from BAME backgrounds or people with disabilities - either being under-represented or unfairly portrayed. However, the review found that general audience satisfaction was high with seventy nine per cent believing PSB was delivering on its purposes, such as delivering 'trustworthy news' and 'high quality programming' reflecting the UK. That figure is up from sixty nine per cent in 2008. The review also found PSB channels continue to make 'a significant contribution' to UK broadcasting. In 2013, they invested just over two billion quid in new UK programmes, not including sports content, compared to around three hundred and fifty million knicker from non-PSB companies. The main UK TV channels, BBC, ITV, STV, UTV, Channel Four, Channel Five and S4C, are all supposed to carry programmes with 'public service values' - although if you can find any on ITV, Channel Five and even Channel Four for much of the time, you're more observant than this blogger. Over half of all TV viewing is on these main channels - but that figure rises to more than seventy per cent when the time-shifted channels are taken into account.

The Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, has rejected demands from a cross-party group of MPs, including Boris Johnson and Alex Salmond, to stop the broadcaster using the term 'Islamic State' to refer to the terrorist group. Sadly, Tony stopped short of telling them to 'go fuck themselves' with their 'demands' but, one imagines, the implication was there in the rejection. The MPs made their demands in a letter following criticism of the BBC from oily David Cameron, who used an appearance on the Today programme on Monday to suggest that Muslim listeners would 'recoil every time they hear the words "Islamic State"' to refer to its 'appalling, barbarous regime.' Initiated by Rehman Chishti, the Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham, the letter urged the BBC to instead adopt the term 'Da'esh', based on Arabic acronym al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa'al Sham, which translates as 'Islamic State of Iraq and Sham', but is close to 'Dahes' or 'one who sows discord'. It was signed by one hundred and twenty MPs including Johnson and the chair of the home affairs select committee Keith Vaz. But the head of the BBC rejected the demands, saying that using 'Da'esh' would not preserve the BBC's impartiality as it risked giving an impression of support for the group's opponents, The Times reports. He is said to claim that the term is used pejoratively by its enemies. Instead, it is reported, Hall said the BBC would use terms such as the 'Islamic State group' to distinguish it from a true state, and continue to use descriptions such as extremist or militant for its members. Chishti told The Times that Hall's decision not to adopt the term 'Da'esh' was 'very surprising' and 'rather unacceptable', as it has been adopted across the Middle East and by the French and Turkish governments. Although, not by the British government, of which she is a member so, frankly, the more surprising thing here is Chishti's badgering the BBC about this rather than her own boss, oily David Cameron. In a Commons debate later on Monday on the UK's response to the Tunisia massacre, the Prime Minister said that it would even be 'preferable' for the broadcaster to use the term 'Isil' - which, frankly, sounds uncannily close to political interference in an independent broadcaster's right to freedom to speech - which is used by most UK politicians. The acronym is short for 'Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant', the description used by British security agency MI5. 'I personally think that using the term Isil or ‘so-called’ would be better than what the BBC currently does,' Cameron said. 'I don't think we'll move them all the way to Da'esh, so I think saying Isil is probably better than Islamic State because it is neither, in my view, Islamic or a state.'

Odious, full of his own importance smear Donald Trump has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Univision. The Spanish-language TV network had cancelled its contract to broadcast the Miss USA pageant which is co-owned by Trump. Univision had said last week that it would not broadcast the pageant because of what it called 'insulting remarks' about Mexican immigrants made by Trump. Trump has accused Univision of 'stifling his freedom of speech' in order to boost the Democratic Party frontrunner, Hilary Clinton. While announcing his candidacy for Presidency earlier this month, Trump had accused Mexico of sending 'rapists and other criminals' to the United States. He also pledged to build a 'great wall' on the US border with Mexico and insisted it would be paid for by Mexicans. He later insisted that he was criticising US lawmakers, not Mexican people. US TV network NBC has also said it would not be airing the Miss USA and the Miss Universe pageants both owned by Trump. Responding to the announcement, Trump said he would consider suing NBC.

The World Cup dream may be over for England's women's football team this year, but ITV is celebrating the game with a new drama. The channel is developing a show that focuses on the foundation of the first women's football team in 1894, Radio Times reports. Honeyballers will take a look at the lives of Nettie Honeyball and Lady Florence Dixie, who set up the British Ladies Football Club. ITV will explore the working relationship between Honeyball - who came from a working-class Northern family - and Dixie - a famous travel writer from an aristocratic background. England's Lionesses enjoyed a successful World Cup campaign this year, reaching the semi-finals before being eliminated by Japan. They subsequently won the - completely bloody pointless - third place play off with Germany after extra time thanks to a Fara Williams penalty. Oh, the irony.
Waste-of-space full-of-her-own-importance media personality Fearne Cotton has admits that She May Never Return To Work. Oh, the manifest tragedy. Anyway ...
Timothy Spall is reported to be 'in advance talks' to play the late Northern Ireland first minister the Reverend Ian Paisley in a film about his life. The Journey will tell the story of the former Democratic Unionist Party leader's unlikely friendship with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness. The film is being written by the County Down-born novelist and screenwriter Colin Bateman. Both Liam Neeson and Sir Kenneth Branagh were reportedly early contenders for the role. Filming is expected to start in Northern Ireland in late September.
Golfer Bubba Watson is to paint over the Confederate flag on the car from The Dukes Of Hazzard TV series, as part of a growing backlash against the rebel symbol from the US Civil War. The golfer, who owns the car, announced the move by tweeting that he believed 'all men are created equal.' The flag divides opinion in the US, symbolising racism to its many critics - and Southern heritage to its - sometimes white sheet-wearing, sister marryin', good ol' boy - defenders. The debate was revived by a recent gun attack on a black church in Charleston. The suspect behind the murder of nine churchgoers, Dylann Roof, appeared in many photos holding the flag. The Confederate battle flag became a potent symbol for the Southern states fighting the Civil War as they sought to break away from the Union. Many of those states now display the flag outside government buildings. It also appears on number-plates and is sold as a bumper sticker. And, a Primal Scream CD cover, but that's not important right now. It remains controversial, seen by some as an icon of slavery and oppression, while others say it symbolises their history and identity. And their Goddamn right to sing 'Freebird' in public. All twenty seven minutes of it. The Charleston attack has prompted fresh calls for displays of the flag to be curtailed, particularly in government buildings. Watson, the third-ranked golfer in the world and two-time Masters champion, said on Twitter that he would cover the flag on the car with the Stars and Stripes. 'All men ARE created equal, I believe that so I will be painting the American flag over the roof of the General Lee,' he said. The car was a centrepiece of the US TV show from the late 1970s. If you don't remember it, you missed nowt. Watson acquired the car in 2012, according to the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, in the latest example of From The North's occasional Only In America series, Maine State Police report that a man celebrating the Fourth of July holiday died when he tried to launch a firework off the top of his own head. Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said that a twenty two-year-old man from the town of Calais near the Canadian border had been 'setting off fireworks with friends' on Saturday evening in the backyard of one of his friends' home. McCausland added that the man placed 'a fireworks mortar tube' on his head and set it off. He died instantly. Police say the man and his friends had been drinking.

Sir Michael Parkinson has confirmed he has been given an all-clear by doctors after two years of treatment for prostate cancer. 'I have the all clear as regards my prostate cancer,' he said 'That has been the case for quite a time now.' The eighty-year-old former chat show host revealed he was receiving radiotherapy for the condition in 2013. Two years on, he said he still needed to have regular tests and have the 'occasional' blood transfusion but that his current job of giving away free pens to pensioners on afternoon telly shouldn't be affected by this. The transfusions, he told the BBC, are 'to deal with a problem with anaemia which I have always had and which was exacerbated by the radiotherapy. Hopefully the gap between transfusions will get longer and maybe finally disappear altogether,' he went on. 'Otherwise I am feeling well and still have the odd gentle workout.' The BBC News website asked Sir Michael for an update on his condition after he was quoted in the Daily Scum Mail as saying that his doctors had 'got rid of the cancer.' Presumably, they also asked Parky what a good old Barnsley socialist lad like he was doing talking to the Hitler-supporting Daily Scum Mail. And, if they didn't, they should have. The broadcaster was diagnosed after a routine health check in May 2013 but said at the time that he would be 'around for a while yet.' Sir Michael's television career spanned fifty years and saw him interview high-profile guests such as Muhammad Ali and Sir Elton John. He announced his retirement in 2007. Except for giving away pens to pensioners, obviously.

Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes suffered no injuries after going missing from his home in Majorca for several hours on Tuesday. The eighty one-year-old, who has Alzheimer's, will continue to be monitored by doctors, his agent said, but is 'as well as can be expected.' Police spent Tuesday searching for Noakes after being alerted by his wife, Vicky, at about 9am local time. He was spotted by a helicopter nearly ten hours later close to his home. His wife said that search parties had looked in the area where he was eventually discovered earlier in the day but failed to spot him because he was 'in the bottom of a storm drain and had fallen in amongst long grass there.' The TV presenter was taken to hospital, where he stayed for the next three days because of his age and dehydration caused by the hot weather. 'I would like to say that the emergency services have been really excellent and pulled out all the stops, and they were greatly helped by our friends and local people,' she said. Noakes worked on Blue Peter for twelve years from 1966 to 1978 and remains one of its best-loved presenters. He moved to Majorca with his wife in the 1980s, after a round-the-world yacht trip was cut short by a giant wave, which badly damaged their boat off the coast of North Africa. They had embarked on the trip after Noakes quit Blue Peter in 1978, and Go With Noakes eighteen months later. Noakes trained as an aircraft engine fitter before training as an actor.

CNN has withdrawn a video after a member of their staff at the Pride parade in London mistook a flag showing sex toys for that of Islamic State. In an 'exclusive' report on Saturday, the CNN anchor, Suzanne Malveaux, claimed: 'The Isis flag amongst a sea of rainbow colours was spotted by a CNN international assignment editor.' CNN journalist Lucy Pawle told viewers that she had seen 'a man dressed in black and white waving what appeared to be very bad mimicry, but a very clear attempt to mimic, the Isis flag – the black and white flag with the distinctive lettering.' She added: 'I mean, if you look at the flag closely, it's clearly not Arabic, in fact it looks like it could be gobbledygook, but it's very distinctive – the Isis flag.' Pawle said she was 'the only one' to have spotted the 'distinctive' banner. She continued: 'I seem to be the only person who had spotted this, and nobody seems to be raising any questions or pointing it out, so I immediately went to an events organiser who said he didn't know anything about it. I also spoke to the police nearby, who weren’t aware either.' CNN took down video of the report from its website on Saturday afternoon after being ridiculed on social media. There's a very good piece from the Washington Post interviewing the chap who made the flag here.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's continued facial growth has forced a necessary change in From The North's 'separated at birth' strand. From yer actual Ollie ...
... to yer actual Gerry.
And, here's a picture from 1968 of yer actual Keith Telly Topping with Peter and Mike (his two favourite monkeys, if you will). I really like that coat, dear blog reader. I wonder what ever happened to it.
Sir Paul McCartney features on the front cover of this month's Esquire magazine and, in an in-depth interview, he talked about embracing his Be-Atles heritage, life before fame and whether it's time for him retire. 'Sit at home and watch telly? That's what people do, man. Gardening, golf? No thanks. Occasionally, I do think, "You should have got fed up by now, you should be jaded." My manager, who I don't have any more, glad to say, suggested quite a long time ago that I retire at fifty. He said, it's not a good look. I went, "Oh, God, he could be right." But then I still enjoy writing, I still enjoy singing. What am I gonna do? You see so many people who retire and then immediately expire.'
Bruce Springsteen became an honorary Beach Boy on Wednesday when he made a surprise appearance at a Brian Wilson concert in New Jersey. The Boss joined Wilson and his band on stage at the PNC Banks Arts Center in Holmdel, strapping on his guitar for a rendition of 'Surfin' USA' and singing back-up on 'Barbara Ann'.

The actor Edward Burnham died earlier this week at the age of ninety eight. Edward had two major roles in Doctor Who. In 1968 he played Professor Watkins, the uncle of Isobel, in four episodes of Patrick Troughton story The Invasion. He returned to the series at the end of 1974 in Tom Baker's début story Robot, playing Professor Kettlewell, the creator of the Experimental Prototype Robot K1. Born in Lincoln on Christmas Day 1916, Edward was an actor for over sixty years, appearing on television as early as 1938 in productions of The Marvellous History of St Bernard and The Swiss Family Robinson. In 1959 he appeared in the acclaimed science fiction series Quatermass & The Pit. Other roles followed in productions such as The Citadel, No Hiding Place, Harpers West One, The Rat Catchers, The Avengers, Z Cars, The Plane Makers, The Saint, Callan, Hadleigh, The Girls Of Slender Means, The Pallisers, The Search For The Nile, Churchill's People, Van Der Valk, Two Women, As Good Cooks Go, The Troubleshooters, Perils Of Pendragon, Suez 1956, Muck & Brass, Tales Of The Unexpected, Eh! Brian! It's A Whopper, All Creatures Great & Small, Nightingales, Black Books and Nicholas Nickleby. He also appeared in the movies To Sir, With Love, The Abominable Dr Phibes, The Hiding Place, Young Winston and Ten Rillington Place. In the early 1960's he played two roles, Doctor Dorking and Doctor Danvers-White, in Emergency - Ward Ten and in 1985 he played Mister Grimwig in Terrance Dicks's production of Oliver Twist. His last screen appearance was in the BBC's Swiss Toni in 2003. Until his death Edward was the second-oldest-living actor to have appeared in Doctor Who, behind centenarian Olaf Pooley.

The Irish singer and television entertainer Val Doonican has died at the age of eighty eight. His family said that Val had died 'peacefully' at a nursing home in Buckinghamshire. He had not been ill, but his daughter said that his 'batteries had just run out.' The performer was a regular fixture on British television with The Val Doonican Show which ran on the BBC from 1965 to 1986, featuring his own performances and guest artists. A version was also shown in the US in the 1970s on ABC. Val was also rarely out of the British singles and LP charts in the 1960s and early 70s with songs like 'Walk Tall' and the psychedelic easy listening classic 'Elusive Butterfly'. In the LP chart, he had five successive top ten records and, famously, knocked The Be-Atles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band off the top spot in late 1967 with Val Doonican Rocks, But Gently. Indeed, when yer actual Keith Telly Topping was but a wee lad growing up, we didn't have many records in Stately Telly Topping Manor but The World Of Val Doonican (Decca SPA3) was very much one of them. And, it was much played and much loved by this blogger in a completely non-ironic way. In a statement, Val's family said: 'He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and will be greatly missed by family, friends and his many fans.' Sir Bruce Forsyth also paid tribute saying 'he was a one-off. He was just a lovely guy. What you saw is what you got, this is a very sad day', he told the BBC. 'Although we never saw him very much in the last few years, I worked with him a couple of times and enjoyed that very much. He had this way of relaxing his co-stars and his audience and that went right through the screens into your homes. It's not simple to do what he did. To be relaxed as he was is an art. You can't go in front of millions of people on television and be that relaxed and that good.'
    Val was born Michael Valentine Doonican in Waterford in February 1927, the youngest of a family of eight children. In 1941 when he was still a teenager his father, John, died from throat cancer. Val would, movingly, recall his father, before his illness became known to his family, asking Val to collect wild flowers for him when Val appeared on Michael Parkinson's chat show in the 1970s. He then described how, many years later, he found in a book of Irish herbal remedies that the flowers he'd been asked to collect were believed to be a cure for cancer. After his father's death, Val had to leave De La Salle College to get factory jobs fabricating steel and making orange and grapefruit boxes to support his mother, Agnes. Doonican was from a musical family and began to perform in his hometown and in a summer season at Courtown Harbour. He soon featured on Irish radio and reportedly appeared in Waterford's first-ever television broadcast. In 1951 Val moved to England to join The Four Ramblers, who toured and performed on BBC Radio shows broadcast from factories. Doonican met the dancer Lynnette Rae when both she and The Ramblers supported Anthony Newley on a tour. Newley introduced them and the couple married in the early 1960s and had two daughters, Sarah and Fiona. Val's career took off after he was booked to appear on Sunday Night At The Palladium in 1963. An eight minute slot proved to be such a hit with viewers that it led him to be offered his own BBC show - for which he became known for his trademark rocking chair, colourful cardigans, melodious voice and witty banter - and kick-started his recording career. As he would later note, he became 'an overnight sensation ... after seventeen years in the business.' He filmed some twenty five BBC Christmas specials, which Val told the Daily Scum Express in 2013 he 'couldn't bear to watch. They became something of a national institution, attracting audiences of up to nineteen million. It felt embarrassing seeing myself. We'd sit as a family enjoying ourselves but as soon as my show started, I'd nip off to another room,' he said. He was sometimes compared to the American singer Perry Como, although he claimed that his main influence was his hero Bing Crosby. As it was a variety show, The Val Doonican Show also gave a number of other performers valuable early exposure, most notably the comedian Dave Allen with whom Val was a close friend. Val's other hits included 'The Special Years', 'What Would I Be?', 'If The Whole World Stopped Loving', 'Two Streets', 'Morning' and the theme tune of his TV series, 'Some Of My Best Friends Are Songs'. He also sang the theme for the film Ring Of Bright Water. He was equally well known for his recordings of comic Irish folk songs and music hall show tunes like 'O'Rafferty's Motor Car', 'Delany's Donkey', 'Paddy McGinty's Goat', 'The Juice Of The Barley', 'Marvellous Toy' and, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's particular favourite, 'The Jarvey Was A Leprechaun'. He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1970, Eamonn Andrews meeting him to present the famous red book at the eighteenth green of the South Herts Golf Club as Val, a keen golfer, finished playing a round. Val stopped performing in 2009 after more than sixty years in showbusiness. He is survived by his wife Lynn, daughters Sarah and Fiona and grandchildren Bethany and Scott.

So, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, here's Val's finest three minutes.

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