Monday, August 10, 2015

Little Victories

England regained the Ashes after wrapping up a spectacular victory over Australia on the third morning of the fourth Test at Trent Bridge on Saturday. Which was nice The hosts took Australia's three remaining second-innings wickets in just thirty nine minutes of play to win the match by an innings and seventy eight runs, with Ben Stokes taking six for thirty six. England's second successive three-day victory over their oldest rivals gives them an unassailable three-one lead in the series with one match still to play. The margin of victory is all the more remarkable given that it is only nineteen months (five hundred and ninety nine days, in fact) since England were on the receiving end of a five-nil pants down belting in the last series in Australia. England have now beaten Australia in four consecutive home series - 2005, 2009, 2013 and this year - their best sequence since Queen Victoria was on the throne.
After scuttling out the Aussies for just sixty runs on day one, England made three hundred and ninety one for nine declared just before lunch on the second day, then reduced the tourists to two hundred and forty one for seven at the end of day two. On Saturday morning, Stokes, whose five-wicket haul on Friday afternoon had taken England to the brink of glory, picked up where he left off with a wicket in his second over of the day as Mitchell Starc nicked a ball shaping away from him to Ian Bell at second slip. Josh Hazlewood survived nine balls, but barely saw his tenth as a Mark Wood yorker uprooted his middle stump. And it was Wood who delivered the final blow as he shot one through Nathan Lyon's defences to shatter the stumps and bring Australia's last remaining batsman to his knees. The Durham bowler was mobbed by his ecstatic team-mates, who celebrated in a huddle before embarking on a lap of honour. England came into the series as overwhelming underdogs, despite some promising recent performances, after winning just one of their previous five test series. But under the stewardship of Australian coach Trevor Bayliss and his assistant Paul Farbrace, they stunned the Australians with their new-found aggression and vigour and put the convicts right in the their place. It began with fireworks and 'Land Of Our Fathers' on a damp Cardiff outfield and ended as a contest exactly one month later with Nathan Lyon's stumps splattering on a sun-kissed Saturday in Nottingham. This has been a series of unreal pace and unfathomable change, and its conclusion was entirely in keeping with what had gone before. After suffering a humiliating four hundred and five-run defeat as Australia squared the series at Lord's, England exploited seam-friendly conditions to maximum effect in successive three-day victories at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge. The difference between the two sides appears to be largely the direction in which they are travelling. England are a young side on the ascent whilst Australia's so-called 'Dad's Army' seem to be plummeting down at an alarming rate. Only one England batsman, Joe Root, has scored a century in the series thus far. It has not mattered, because whenever his team have needed a bowler, one of the attack has taken charge. In Cardiff it was Moeen Ali, seeing off Australia's best batsman. In the first innings at Edgbaston Jimmy Anderson took six for forty seven; in the second, Steve Finn six for seventy nine. At Trent Bridge it was the turn of Stuart Broad with that extraordinary eight for fifteen on Thursday and then Stokes with his Flintoff-esque six wickets in the glorious finale. It is the first time in test history that four different bowlers in a team have taken six wickets in consecutive innings. In contrast, Australia's bowlers have been soloists and occasionals. Australia have turned out to be far less than the side they clearly thought they were, but much of that comes down to England's planning and execution. Australia stubbornly stuck to their guns by repeating charging straight down the barrel of the opposition's arsenal, literally and metaphorically. England preferred a cerebral and subtle approach tactically as well as the unfettered - going round the wicket to nullify Chris Rogers, for example, putting a man in at deep point to catch Steve Smith, luring in the lunging opposition with full length and tempting angles. England have now won four consecutive home Ashes series for the first time since 1896 and have won five of the last seven Ashes series since 2005 after a period of eighteen years of total Australian dominance. The victory gives Alastair Cook his second Ashes success a captain and his fourth as a player, while Ian Bell becomes the first England player since Sir Ian Botham to be part of five Ashes-winning teams. Cook is the third England skipper, after WG Grace and Mike Brearley to captain his side to successive Ashes victories in England. Following the match, Australian skipper Michael Clarke announced his retirement from test cricket after the forthcoming final test. And then, he blubbed like a big girly-man whilst being interview by Michael Atherton in the post-match ceremonies. To be fair, there was a lot of that going about - Alastair Cook also got a bit choked up a few minutes later. Cheer up, mate, you won. Even on the day that the new Premier League season started, England managed to push cricket on to front pages as well as back, and made the game look like fun again. A summer of surprises has climaxed with smiles. The final test at the Oval starts on Thursday 20 August.
Here, ESPNcricinfo begin the Ashes autopsy whilst the body is still warm, picking out five reasons why Australia lost. '"I can't wait to get over there and play another Ashes against England in their conditions after beating them so convincingly in Australia. It's going to be nice to go in their backyard. If we continue to play the way we have been playing over the last twelve to eighteen months, I don't think that they'll come close to us to be honest." That was Steve Smith's oft-quoted view of this series, stated to ESPNcricinfo while in India for the IPL. There was a sense of hubris about Australia all the way through the tour, even to the extent that the players refused to admit the jig was up when facing near impossible circumstances in Cardiff, Birmingham and Nottingham. Confidence runs deep in this Australian team, and at their best in Australia they have every reason to believe in it. But the hype should not extend to difficult assignments anywhere overseas other than South Africa. This was never more evident than in the bowling selections, where Peter Siddle's strong record in England was ignored in favour of Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc alongside Mitchell Johnson. The loss of Harris before the series was a grievous blow, but the selectors stuck doggedly to the view that Starc, Hazlewood and Johnson could blast England out, even after it was readily apparent that a cannier operator was required.' They've missed, of course, the sixth reason. Ryan Harris. And, the seventh. Brendon McCullum, the unsung hero of this glorious English summer.
The two great highlights of Sky's coverage of the final day of the test were, firstly, yet another example of dear old Nasser Hussain's inability to hang onto a catch since he's retired.
And then, Joe Root's uncanny impression of Sad Bob Willis to a, very wet, Ian Ward.
Current Doctor Who rumour doing the rounds - David Tennant and/or Paul McGann may (or may not) be appearing in the series nine finale. Collected details can be found here. The rumour(s) are based, seemingly, on not much actual evidence but, rather, a lot of wishful thinking. As usual, when it comes to rumours, until someone with the words 'BBC spokesman' attached to their moniker actually confirms (or denies) them then this blogger's default position is always 'make a sentence from the following words: "see it", "believe it", when I", "I'll"'!
Yer actual Mark Gatiss has urged the BBC to fight back against its critics - in fact, he wants the corporation to 'grow a pair of bollocks.' Well, it's about time somebody joined this blogger in urging the BBC to grow a pair and give those who would do it down a damned good bloodied nose for their blasted insolence. Yer man Gatiss was speaking to the Digital Spy website to promote the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? - which begins on Thursday and in which Mark appears tracing his ancestry. 'I say it at every opportunity - I'm proud to beat the drum,' he told the website. 'The BBC is obviously not perfect. It has the same problems it's had since its formation. It's a ramshackle, many-headed beast. It's frustrating to work for, it's infuriating to work for. But it's also wonderful to work for - and to appreciate as a viewer. We would be massively impoverished without it. It's absolutely typical that, in this country, it's "prophet without honour" - and we are in serious danger of losing it for no reason at all, other than envy and profit. It sickens me that you're not allowed to say that the people who are attacking it have a vested interest in its destruction. It's all cloaked under the disguise of "choice" and of "opportunity", but it's just people who want to destroy it because then they can make money instead. It's blindingly obvious and what the BBC needs to do - and is doing much more of - is just to grow a pair of bollocks and be robust about it and fight back!" BBC Director General Tony Hall spoke out in defence of the corporation's output last month, insisting that it still fulfils its public service remit. Gatiss told the website that the BBC's actions so far are 'not enough' and that it needs to 'take the fight to the enemy. We are better for the BBC - we are a better country for it,' he insisted. 'Everywhere else you go in the world, people respect and love the idea of it. You don't earn that kind of kudos easily. What you do easily is chuck it away - and we should be so, so careful at this point not to chuck it away.'

The overnight ratings figures for the opening episode of professional rank gobshite Katie Hopkins' talk show, If Katie Hopkins Ruled The World reveal it was watched by just sixty eight thousand viewers when it débuted on TLC on Thursday, despite having been the subject of more trailers than a large trailer park full of trailers. This risible audience figure was a stark contrast to My Fat Story, the vile Hopkins' previous show for the channel – which had an an audience of just over two hundred and fifty thousand for its début episode in January. Those who did watch this worthless excuse for a show – which saw Hopkins 'debating' issues (ie. shouting a lot) with a tragically z-list and desperate alleged 'celebrity' panel that included Gemma Collins (no, me neither) and Liz Jones (ditto) – gave it a mixed reception on social media. One viewer described the programme as 'a slow-motion train wreck.' Personally, from the twenty seconds of the damn thing that this blogger saw, that's being horrifically unkind to perfectly reasonable train-wrecks.
Ripper Street celebrated an overnight ratings victory for the second successive week on BBC1 on Friday. The Victorian crime thriller was seen by an average audience of 3.38 million from 9pm. BBC1's evening began with 2.29 million for Animal Super Parents at 7pm and continued with 2.8 million for Would I Lie to You? at 8.30pm. The night ended with 2.06 million for Room 101 at 10.45pm. On ITV, risible copycat tripe BBQ Champ featuring that utterly worthless horrorshow (and drag) Myleene Klass continued with truly laughable overnight figures of 1.76 million for its second episode, down by almost five hundred thousand overnight viewers week-on-week. To lose around one quarter of your initial audience, ITV, looks like carelessness. Or, you know, the fact that awful Klass woman is toxic to many viewers who simply cannot stand her or her full-of-her-own-importance strutting about like she owns the place. You'd think, after The Curiously Orange Christine Bleakley, they'd have learned their lesson. Gino's Italian Escape: A Taste Of The Sun was ITV's highest rated show outside of soaps, attracting 2.27 million at 8pm. The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure was seen by seven hundred and sixty thousand at 7pm on BBC2, while Great British Menu drew 1.2 million. Mastermind returned for a new series with 1.7 million at 8pm, followed by Gardeners' World with 1.91 million and The Great British Bake Off: Extra Slice with 2.13 million. Rick Stein: From Venice To Istanbul ended BBC2's primetime schedule with 1.42 million at 9.30pm. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was once again Channel Four's most watched show, playing to 1.39 million at 9pm. The Last Leg wasn't far behind, with 1.31 million at 10pm, while Celebrity Fifteen To One was seen by seven hundred and seventy thousand. Channel Five's highest-rated show was The Best Of Bad TV - something that particular channel knows all about - with six hundred and twenty eight thousand punters. Although, to be fair, at least they're no longer run by a soft-core pornographer, perhaps we should be grateful for small mercies. Weather Terror was seen by five hundred and seven thousand. With eight hundred and seventy eight thousand viewers, BBC4's Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All was among the highest-rated multichannel shows of the night.
Casualty appealed to more than four million overnight viewers on BBC1 on Saturday. The long-running medical drama was watched by 4.24m from 9.10pm, after The National Lottery: Five Star Family Reunion took 3.01m. And, the new football season kicked off with 3.35m viewiers for the return of Match Of The Day. Earlier from 6.25pm, the latest showing of Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom averaged 2.49m. On BBC2, a repeat of Dad's Army entertained 1.49m from 8.40pm, before Keira Knightley's The Duchess was watched by 1.11m. On ITV, Keep It In The Family began with 2.77m in the 7pm hour. The Cube followed with 2.35m and The Bourne Identity attracted 1.29m from 9pm. Channel Four's Homes By The Sea averaged eight hundred and four thousand in the 7pm hour. The A-Team movie attracted seven hundred and eighty four thousand later. On Channel Five, Killer Landslides had an audience of four hundred and fifty eight thousand and Football League Tonight opened with five hundred and seventy eight thousand. The multichannels were topped during primetime by an old episode of Lewis, which was watched by five hundred and eighty three thousand on ITV3 from 8pm.

Partners In Crime wrapped up its first three-part adventure with 4.49m punters on BBC1, according to overnight figures for Sunday. The figure was, for the second week running down, this time by around half-a-million on the number that watched episode two of the David Walliams and Jessica Raine series the previous week. Elsewhere, Countryfile topped the night with 5.95m at 7pm, while Fake Or Fortune? attracted 4.55m at 8pm and Match Of The Day 2 had 2.53m from 10pm. On BBC2, Dragons' Den continued with 3.11m at 8pm, while Odyssey was watched by 1.21m at 9pm. ITV's Nature Nuts With Julian Clary added two hundred thousand overnight viewers week-on-week to a figure of - a, still disastrously low - 1.39m at 7pm before a Midsomer Murders repeat had an audience of 2.14m between 8pm and 10pm. On Channel Four, The Dambusters' Great Escape gathered six hundred and forty thousand viewers at 7pm while Experimental interested four hundred and ninety thousand at 8pm. The movie Life Of Pi followed with 1.71m at 9pm. Channel Five's Police Interceptors: Unleashed had eight hundred and sixteen thousand at 8pm, while Takers brought in seven hundred and thirty one thousand at 9pm. Sky1's The Last Ship was watched by one hundred and twenty six thousand at 8pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 2 August 2015:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.21m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.51m
3 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.67m
4 Partners In Crime - Sun BBC1 - 6.20m
5 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.77m
6 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.36m
7= Ripper Street - Fri BBC1 - 4.92m
7= Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.92m
9 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.85m
10 Fake Or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 4.64m
11 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.41m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.30m
13 Humans - Sun C4 - 4.00m
14 Rip Off Britain Tues BBc1 - 3.90m
15 Crimewatch UK - Tues BBC1 - 3.53m
16 Dragons' Den - Sun BBC2 - 3.47m
17 Would I Lie To You? - Fri BBC1 - 3.38m
18 Traffic Cops - Thurs BBC1 - 3.31m
19 Fake Britain - Thurs BBC1 - 3.30m
20 The Housing Enforcers - Mon BBC1 - 3.29m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. Note, Partners In Crime (watched by 7.95m for its opening episode) shed over 1.7 million viewers (or, a quarter of its initial audience) in one week. Is it possible, that David Walliams isn't, actually, as popular as either TV executives or, indeed, himself, seem to believe? Just a thought. We've reached, of course, that time of the year where TV schedules tend to be full of all the crap that networks find they've commissioned and which have turned out to be complete turkeys and they want to get out of the way with as little fanfare as possible. As a consequence, this was a wretchedly poor week right across the board. Nevertheless, the fact that ITV's top eleven broadcasts were five episodes of Coronation Street and six episodes of Emmerdale and, aside from a repeat of Vera which was watched by 3.11m, not a single other ITV programme managed to break the three million viewers barrier, surely, says ... something about something. For the record, the channel's latest two 'quality' examples of lowest-common-denominator shite-on-toast - BBQ Champ and Flockstars - drew final and consolidated audiences of 2.32 million and 2.29 million punters respectively. And, every single one of those people should, frankly, be hanging their heads in shame. By contrast, it was quite a good week - in relative terms - for BBC2. Dragons' Den's return proved the highlight of the seven days whilst the figures brought in by University Challenge (2.76m), Trust Me, I'm A Doctor (2.61m), Only Connect (2.44m), Atlantic: The Wildest Ocean On Earth (2.44m) and Life In Squares (2.28m) were also well above average. Aside from its biggest drama hit in years, Humans, Channel Four also had a decent week; its top-rated broadcasts were the excellent documentary Prince Philip: The Plot To Make A King (2.27m). Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown (2.03m), One Born Every Minute (1.90m) and The Last Leg (1.76m). With regard to Humans, the series had a consolidated series average of 4.12m viewers per episode, compared to an overnight average of 2.38m. That means it's been timeshifting around 1.7 million viewers each week, a remarkably impressive figure and the sort of numbers one normally associates with the likes of Top Gear and Doctor Who. Channel Five's highest-rated broadcasts were Ben Fogle: Lives In The Wild (2.06m), The Nightmare Neighbours Next Door (1.74m), Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords (1.57m) and the Ashes coverage in Cricket On Five (1.39m). ITV3's Endeavour was the highest-rated multichannel programme of the week (eight hundred and sixty thousand), followed by Midsomer Murders (seven hundred and sixty thousand) and Lewis (seven hundred and thirty eight thousand). On ITV4, the movie Assassins was watched by three hundred and thirty one thousand whilst another film, US Marshals - which this blogger didn't watch because he's got it on DVD but it's a movie that yer actual Keith Telly Topping has always had quite a bit of time for - was in second place with three hundred and twenty eight thousand. BBC3's weekly-list was also topped by a movie, Little Fockers (eight hundred and forty three thousand) and, as usual, the soon-to-be-online-only channel's top ten was overloaded with several episodes of  Family Guy and American Dad! Albeit, this week, it did include one programme that was actually made for BBC3, the really very good documentary The Boy Who Wants His Leg Cut Off with seven hundred and ninety four thousand viewers. Perhaps, if those running the channel had spent a bit more time making programmes like this - and, stuff like Our War, for instance - and a damn sight less giving time and money to talentless arseholes like the odious, unfunny lanky streak of worthless and rancid piss Jack Whitehall and that Russell Kane (very popular with students), they might not be finding themselves about to be dumped into the ghetto of online broadcasting along with all the other turds. There, as they say, is perhaps an opportunity missed. BBC4's weekly list was topped by The Young Montalbano (six hundred and twenty nine thousand) and Egypt's Lost Cities (five hundred and ninety five thousand), followed by old Mister Portaloo's surprisingly good Great British Railway Journeys (five hundred and twenty six thousand), Life On A Mountain: A Year On Scafell (four hundred and sixty four thousand) and  the revealing BBC: The Secret Files (four hundred and twenty thousand). 5USA's Chicago PD attracted four hundred and eighty five thousand. The latest episodes of Banshee (two hundred and ninety three thousand), True Detective (two hundred and thirty six thousand) and Ray Donovan (two hundred and twenty thousand) were Sky Atlantic's weekly list-toppers. The Brink was watched by one hundred and ninety four thousand. Sky Living's most-watched programmes were Madam Secretary (four hundred and eighty three thousand viewers), Chicago Fire (four hundred and forty thousand) and Unforgettable (four hundred and twenty five thousand). Hannibal had two hundred and fifty seven thousand viewers. Sky Arts' broadcast of the movie Lady Chatterley drew ninety seven thousand punters. All of whom, one trusts, managed to get The Horn at some point whilst during it. Meatloaf: Live With The Melbourne Symphony was the channel's second-most watched programme with eighty three thousand. Interesting chap, Mister Loaf. He would do anything for love, he claims, but he won't do that. Slim, seemingly. On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme of the week - five hundred and ten thousand - followed by the opening episode of the 'a bit "meh"' Greg Davies vehicle Taskmaster (four hundred and twenty nine thousand), Would I Lie To You? (three hundred and eighty six thousand), the start of a new series of Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish (three hundred and eighteen thousand) and good old reliable Qi XL (two hundred and ninety nine thousand). Drama's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries attracted six hundred and thirty two thousand. Watch's rebroadcast of Derren Brown: Something Wicked This Way Comes had an audience of one hundred and forty three thousand. Yesterday's The Bermuda Triangle: Beneath The Waves drew two hundred and forty two thousand viewers. FOX's highest-rated shows were the - still rattlingly good - fourth episode of Marvel's Agent Carter (four hundred and seventy seven thousand), Falling Skies (three hundred and eleven thousand), American Dad! (two hundred and fifty six thousand), Murder In The First (two hundred and forty five thousand) and several episodes of NCIS (Tuesday's being the most-watched with one hundred and sixty four thousand). Another of the, seemingly endless, repeats of NCIS topped CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and thirty three thousand). The world's most popular drama also made the top ten of the Universal Channel's list, which was headed by Rookie Blue (one hundred and eighty five thousand). And the thing about NCIS is, every single time you turn on an episode on one of the half-dozen channels that it's on at any given hour of the day or night, it always seems to be a different one! I mean, I know they've made nearly three hundred but, still, that's just spooky. On the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch was watched by one hundred and eighty eight thousand viewers, the much-trailed return of Mythbusters by one hundred and sixty six thousand and Sons Of Winter by one hundred and forty nine thousand. Discovery History's Time Team was watched by twenty  five thousand punters. The Discovery Science channel drew forty eight thousand viewers for an older episode of Mythbusters than the one on the main Discovery Channel. On Discovery Turbo, Fast N' Loud had sixty three thousand punters and the, occasionally rather amusing Wheeler Dealers was seen by forty three thousand. CI's A Town & Country Murder brought in fifty three thousand whilst ID's Facing Evil was watched by seventy two thousand and FBI Case Files by sixty six thousand. National Geographic's Wicked Tuna drew ninety three thousand viewers. GOLD's Spike Milligan episode of The Interviews attracted three hundred and twenty two thousand. And very good it was too - particularly that clip of him being interviewed by Twenty Four Hours' Fife Robertson live on-stage in the middle of a performance of Son Of Oblamov in 1965. This blogger, a dedicated Spike watcher, had never even seen that one before. Sky Sports 2's coverage of the third test at Edgbaston in The Ashes - Live had an average audience of four hundred and seventy one thousand viewers on Thursday (and, curiously, only three hundred and eighty five thousand the following day to watch England win. Did you all have something more important to do that day, or what, people?) On Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Tonight was watched by one hundred and forty two thousand. They will be so glad that the football season has now started and Soccer Saturday is back so that their viewing figures will go up by something like four hundred per cent in that one slot alone. On ITV Encore, Jordskott continued with eighty nine thousand. TLC's Devious Maids was watched by one hundred and forty five thousand. Something called Curvy Brides (no, me neither) was watched by eighty five thousand. Why? Perhaps we'll never care.

One of the Dalek props, used in Mark Gatiss's 2013 drama based on the creation of Doctor Who, An Adventure In Space & Time, it to go up for auction next month. The Prop Store Entertainment Memorabilia auction, will be held on the 23 September at the BFI IMAX in London. A free preview exhibition will also take place in the run-up to the auction, opening on 9 September to the public and showcasing over two hundred and fifty pieces of the collection on offer. The Dalek, 'Dave', which has a guide price of four thousand to six thousand knicker, was based on the original Dalek design by Raymond Cusick, first seen in 1963. Also up for auction is a shooting script from the docu-drama. Other SF-related items in the auction include one of the late Leonard Nimoy's Spock costumes from Star Trek, a Stormtrooper Helmet from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and the late Christopher Reeve's Superman tunic. Two of the lesser expensive lots in the sale are a helmet worn by one of The Knights Of The Round Table (they dance when'ere they're able) from Monty Python & The Holy Grail estimated at two to three hundred smackers and a lot of 'Quad Posters' from Blade Runner's original 1982 theatrical release, estimated to sell for two hundred quid.
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has pleaded with fans outside the Barbican Theatre in London not to film his stage performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet. In a video shot outside the stage door, Sherlock star Benny told a crowd of supporters about 'cameras and red lights' he spotted in the audience. 'It may not be any of you here but it's blindingly obvious,' he continued, adding it was 'mortifying.' The actor is starring in a twelve-week run of the play. Although some on-the-day tickets have been made available, the one hundred thousand advance tickets were snapped up in minutes when they were released in August last year. Some tickets are currently being offered for up to sixty hundred and fifty smackers on 'secondary-ticketing sites', another phrase for legalised touts. In the video clip, which was shot post-performance, Benny said: 'I can't give you what I want to give you which is a live performance that you'll remember, hopefully, in your minds and brains whether it's good, bad or indifferent, rather than on your phones.' He added, 'there's nothing that's less enjoyable or supportive as an actor on stage experiencing that.' The actor, told the assembled fans that they could feel 'free' to take pictures of him outside of the auditorium. 'What I really want to do is try and enlist you. I don't use social media and I'd really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, and hashtag this.' Benny his very self is not the first actor to have criticised fans for using mobile phones during a performance. In 2013, James McAvoy scolded an audience member whom he caught filming his performance of Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios. Last year, during a performance of Clarence Darrow, Kevin Spacey was distracted by a ringing phone at London's Old Vic theatre. 'If you don't answer that, I will,' he said. The comedian Jimmy Carr has noted that when he sees someone at one of his shows filming the performance he has an overwhelming urge to ask them, 'what, is now not a good time for you?'
And now ...
According to reports a recent article in Tech Crunch has highlighted the 'wide variety of tech start-up companies that are eschewing meat and dairy and working to produce delicious foods without animals.' Oh, great. So, now we're going to have loads of unemployed cows, sheep, pigs and chickens signing on at the local Job Centre and being a drain on society. Hampton Creek Foods, the report adds, offers 'Just Mayo', 'an innovative new product' which 'replicates the taste and texture of traditional mayo.' So, horrible, basically. Not a big fan of mayo is yer actual. Beyond Meat makes 'plant-based burger patties' that 'pack just as much protein and iron as their meaty counterparts as well as tons of omegas and antioxidants.' But taste like The Ground, in all probability. And 'Impossible Foods creates vegan meat products, including cheeseburgers, from vegetables.' It'll be 'alcohol-free lager' next, dear blog reader, mark my words.
The body of 1950s motor-racing legend, Juan Manuel Fangio, has been exhumed on the orders of a judge in Argentina. He ordered that samples from Fangio's body be taken to try to resolve paternity cases brought by two men - both in their seventies - claiming to be Fangio's sons. Fangio won the F1 world championship five times in the 1950s. He never married and did not declare any children, but his biographers say that he had 'a two-decade relationship' with a woman. Her son, Oscar Espinosa, had a brief spell in Formula 3 and was known by colleagues as Cancho Fangio. Another man, Ruben Vazquez, has brought a separate paternity claim. Vazquez said that he had no financial interests: 'I just want to be recognised for the Fangio surname.' Fangio, who died in 1995 aged eighty four, left his estate to a foundation and a museum which bears his name. His F1 record stood for decades until Germany's Michael Schumacher broke it in 2003.
The BBC will pay tribute to the late Cilla Black with a compilation of memorable appearances from the BBC archives in Cilla At The Beeb, due to be broadcast next Friday on BBC4. Having already become one of Britain's most popular singers, Cilla began her presenting career on the BBC in 1968. This tribute features her appearances on Not Only ... But Also, The Ken Dodd Show, Top Of The Pops and The Royal Variety Performance, as well as her self-titled series and her memorable 1973 duet with Marc Bolan on 'Life's A Gas'. There's no news yet on whether the show will feature clips from Cilla's appearance on a January 1971 episode of The Rolf Harris Show. But, it's unlikely.
Emma Bunton, formerly of The Spice Girls - they were a popular beat combo, m'lud - has flatly denied widely claims that the group had agreed to reunite for a tour next year. That bastion of truthful and accurate reportage the Sun reported that four of the five members would be getting back together in 2016 - without Victoria Beckham - for an international tour. But, it now appears that, as with much else published in the Sun, this was in fact about as accurate as a News International claim that phone hacking at the Scum of The World was the sole province of one 'rouge' reporter. Still, that gives this blogger the opportunity to publish the following photo of The Spicies at their peak in which you can clearly see Geri's knicker. Never a chore, dear blog reader, never a chore.
Beloved by Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad morning Star readers, the Dire Straits for the Twenty First Century, Coldplay, are reportedly 'looking at options' to rescue part of Kids Company and continue to provide support to hundreds of young people following the charity's sudden collapse this week. If one of those options includes the band being far too busy running the charity to make any more of their dreary, Christ-awful records then this blogger fully supports the chaps in this endeavour. Go for it, guys, a nation of music lovers is behind you all the way.

On Saturday morning, dear blog reader, Facebook asked 'today's the start of the Premier League season, what's on your mind?' To be honest, what was most on this blogger's mind was exactly what is on yer actual Keith Telly Topping's mind on the first day of every football season; wondering how long into the season it would be before Keith Telly Topping was forced to write the season off as another 'I can't wait for the season to finish' season in a forlorn hope that the next one might be a bit better. Which is, of course, never is. The record, incidentally, for his beloved (though unsellable) Magpies having a season written off on them was back in 1987, when the 'writing the season off' thing occurred 'before half-time on the opening day of the season when we were already 4-0 down at Everton.' This blogger's general default position on opening day is similar to that highlighted by the great Danny Baker in one of his - excellent - series of Own Goals & Gaffs video. I can't remember what the team was but, anyway, the was a clip of a team conceding an atypically daft own goal something like twenty seconds into a match which was, Danny confirmed, the opening day of that particular season. 'Watch the reaction of the crowd,' Dan tells the video's audience. 'There's a sort of resigned "oh, they've done that again" thing going on here! "It's going to be that sort of season."' And, it pretty much always is.
Having said all that, of course, here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader. I'm in love with the beautiful game, with no shame.
In the event, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved, though unsellable, Magpies began the 2015-16 campaign on Sunday with a reasonably entertaining 2-2 draw with Southampton at St James' Park. The Saints took the lead through a Graziano Pelle header after twenty four minutes before Papiss Cisse used his chest to convert a deflected cross before half-time. New fourteen million smackers signing Georginio Wijnaldum then scored on his Premier League debut to give Newcastle the lead early in the second-half. But, substitute Shane Long struck ten minutes from time, heading in a Dusan Tadic cross to equalise. Jack Colback produced a brilliant block to deny Sadio Mane who was clear on goal in the last minute and save a point for The Magpies. Steve McClaren will have learned a lot about his new team from today's game. For the majority of the first three-quarters of the game they were probably the better side but when McClaren made some changes, the momentum was lost. However, those seventy five minutes were, most of the crowd seemed to agree, better than just about anything they saw from Newcastle last season which suggests McClaren has something to build on here.

No comments: