Friday, August 14, 2015

Why Be Difficult? With A Bit Of Effort You Can Be Bloody Impossible

'He hasn't got a plan yet. But he will have. And it'll be spectacular!' The latest trailer for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who was premiered on BBC1 on Wednesday evening. And, jolly exciting it looks too. 'It's just like the show, except with all the plot bits left out,' noted The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE). 'So, basically, just like the show.'
'Just The Doctor and Clara Oswald in the TARDIS ...' Wouldn't have it any other way.

BBC America have now confirmed that they will broadcast the premiere of the next series of Doctor Who 9:00pm Eastern time (8:00pm Central) on Saturday 19 September. BBC America is the first broacaster to announce a time for the episode, which sits in its now traditional evening prime-time slot on the channel; the BBC1 premiere itself is unlikely to be confirmed until a couple of weeks before transmission, but is expected to be broadcast either immediately before or immediately after the channel's other big Saturday evening show, Strictly Come Dancing.
Denmark is the latest country to have scheduled the 3D version of the Doctor Who series eight two-part finale Dark Water and Death In Heaven in cinemas. The two episodes, plus a series nine preview, will be shown at Cinemaxx cinemas in Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus on the 16 September (two showings at 6:00pm and 8:45pm). Denmark joins the United States (Fathom Events) and Canada (Front Row Centre Events/Cineplex Entertainment) in presenting the episodes in 3D in cinema. The episodes are not currently planned to be shown in the United Kingdom - you know, where we, via our licence fees, pay for the sodding programme in the first place - with a quote from BBC Worldwide to Sci-Fi Bulletin claiming: 'Due to the number of events taking place for Doctor Who this year including the Symphonic Spectacular and the Doctor Who Festival, we decided against showing the episodes in UK cinema.' Although, what the hell that has to do with anything is another question entirely.
Yer actual Mark Gatiss says that he is 'still amazed' by Sherlock's worldwide success. 'It's been an incredible five years - of course it has!' he said, reflecting on the half-decade since A Study In Pink. 'We had high hopes for it - and we were very proud of it - but we had no concept it would [become such a hit]. We've only made ten, and the tenth one hasn't even been on yet! But, it's extraordinary, the extent to which people have taken it to their hearts, and again, it's a BBC world beater. An absolutely amazing thing to have done, and to be part of. We're all constantly thrilled and amazed by people's enthusiasm for it - and we hope to carry on as long as we can.'
True Detective continued to drop in the ratings for its second season finale, according to overnight figures for Monday. The drama - which was nowhere near as good as the first series although not a complete write-off and, certainly, not as bad as some critics have suggested - concluded with a mere eighty five thousand overnight viewers at 9pm on Sky Atlantic. BBC1's Fake Britain topped the night outside of the soaps with 2.98m at 7.30pm, while a repeat of Sherlock entertained with 2.70m (13.2%) at 8.30pm. On BBC2, Great British Menu continued with 1.30m at 7.30pm, before the latest University Challenge was watched by 2.79m at 8pm and Only Connect appealed to 2.04m at 8.30pm. Life In Squares' overnight audience dropped to seven hundred and sixty thousand for its final episode at 9pm. ITV's Travel Guides also saw its audience fall, to 2.35m at 9pm, while Vet School interested 2.31m earlier at 8pm. The fact that a programme with an overnight of less than three million punters was, soaps aside, the most-watched programme across all channels probably gives dear blog readers an idea of just what a desperate and rotten night it was all round. September and some new shows, frankly, can't come quickly enough. On Channel Four, Flying To The Ends Of The Earth averaged 1.02m at 8pm, before Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody brought in 1.58m at 9pm and Brits Behind Bars was seen by 1.11m at 10pm. Channel Five's Stop! Roadworks Ahead interested eight hundred and six thousand at 8pm and Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild gathered 1.48m at 9pm. Under The Dome followed with four hundred and nineteen thousand at 10pm.
New Tricks topped the overnight ratings outside of soaps on Tuesday. The BBC1 series - now in its final series - brought in 5.69m at 9pm - an increase of more than three hundred thousand viewers from the previous week's episode. On BBC2, Great British Menu continued with 1.81m at 7.30pm, before The House That One Hundred Thousand Pounds Built appealed to 1.77m at 8pm and Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School interested 1.51m at 9pm. ITV's Love Your Garden gathered 2.73m at 8pm, while documentary Abducted averaged 1.06m at 9pm. Earlier, The Dales was seen by two million punters at 7.30pm. Channel Four's The Three Day Nanny interested 1.02m at 8pm and Christian Louboutin: The World's Most Luxurious Shoes was watched by 1.31m at 9pm. The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies lost viewers week-on-week on Channel Five with an audience of 1.10m at 8pm, while The Great British Benefits Hotel attracted the same figure, 1.10m at 9pm. The Boy With Giant Hands followed with one million viewers at 10pm.

The Great British Bake Off continued to dominate the overnight ratings on Wednesday and widdle all over the opposition from a great height despite losing around four hundred thousand overnight viewers from its opening episode the previous week. The 'drama and delights' of 'Biscuit Week' (I'm not making this up, dear blog reader), brought in an 'uge 8.87 million punters at 8pm, while Earth's Natural Wonders followed on BBC1 with 4.36m at 9pm. On BBC2, Great British Menu - no relation - appealed to 1.39m at 7.30pm, before Horizon averaged 1.02m at 8pm, and Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Inside The Post Office interested seven hundred and seventy thousand at 9pm. ITV's Foyle's War repeat was watched by 1.83m between 8pm and 10pm. On Channel Four, Supervet In The Field brought in 1.10m at 8pm, whilst One Born Every Minute followed with 1.29m at 9pm. Channel Five's The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door attracted 1.23m sad, crushed victims of society at 8pm while Undercover Benefits Cheat was seen by 1.51m people with nothing better to do with their lives at 9pm. Wentworth Prison continued with six hundred and thirty two thousand at 10pm. Why? No one knows. Meanwhile, E4's US imports Jane The Virgin and Nashville averaged two hundred and five thousand at 9pm and one hundred and ninety eight thousand at 10pm respectively.

Meanwhile, The Great British Bake Off's Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will reportedly not be returning with another series of their ITV chat show. Mel & Sue's Ratings Fiasco, which launched in a blaze of publicity in January, failed to bring in big enough ratings for the channel, the Sun reports. Despite including one episode of the hosts involved in some naughty-BDSM malarkey. Which was nice. The show also featured lots of z-list celebrity guests, cooking and questions from the audience in a similar format to Mel and Sue's 1990s Channel Four format Light Lunch, but struggled to beat its competition in the 4pm slot. The difference, of course, was that Light Lunch was good. This, wasn't. A spokesperson has now confirmed that the show will not be returning, but said: 'Mel and Sue are great talents and we hope to work with them on other projects in the future.'
Who Do You Think You Are? returned with impressive overnight ratings on Thursday. The Great British Bake Off's Paul Hollywood's journey into his family's past brought in 4.13m at 9pm, while The Housing Enforcers interested 2.60m earlier at 8pm. BBC2's Great British Menu continued with 1.73m at 7.30pm, before Coast appealed to 1.64m at 8pm and Atlantic: The Wildest Ocean On Earth averaged 1.55m at 9pm. On ITV, Real Stories With Ranvir Singh gathered 2.39m at 7.30pm, while ITV's impossibly wretched 'z-list celebrity shepherding' show Flockstars was watched by a satisfyingly pathetic 2.05m at 8.30pm. One trusts the complete and total bell-end that dreamed up this particular work of lukewarm cum was clearing out his or her desk at ITV towers the next morning. The Wonder Of Britain followed with 1.06m at 9pm. Yes, dear blog reader, an ITV 9pm show had an overnight audience of a fraction over one million punters. Risible. Channel Four's Location, Location, Location was seen by 1.69m at 8pm and Very British Problems attracted 1.75m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Sinkholes: Buried Alive had an audience of 1.31m at 8pm, before Supersized was seen by eight hundred and sixty three thousand at 9pm and Person Of Interest had five hundred and forty five thousand at 10pm.

BBC1's Ripper Street lost roughly six hundred thousand overnight viewers week-on-week, as a reduced audience of 2.74 million tuned in to watch the Victorian crime thriller on Friday. Down from the previous week's 3.38 million ovenright average, Ripper Street was behind The ONE Show as Friday's highest-rated overnight programme outside of soaps. The ONE Show was seen by an average of 3.22 million at 7pm, while A Question of Sport followed with 2.32 million. BBC1's evening continued with 2.55 million for Would I Lie To You? at 8.30pm and ended with 1.46 million for Mountain Goats at 10.45pm. On ITV, Gino's Italian Escape: A Taste of the Sun was seen by 2.17 million at 8pm, while BBQ Champ attracted a piss-funny overnight average of 1.43 million at 9pm, down three hundred thousand punters week-on-week. This blogger laughed, and he laughed, and he laughed until he stopped. And then he laughed some more. Unsurprisingly, The Great British Bake Off: Extra Slice was BBC2's highest-rated show with 2.31 million at 9pm, almost a million viewers higher than its risible rip-off BBQ Champ. Just one more thigh-slappingly funny aspect of BBQ Champ's abject and hugely satisfying failure. Earlier in the evening, The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure was seen by eight hundred and thirty thousand, Great British Menu had 1.43 million, Mastermind drew an average audience of 1.72 million and Gardeners' World drew 2.1 million. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown was, once again, Channel Four's most popular show of the evening, playing to 1.67 million at 9pm. The Last Leg followed with 1.31 million at 10pm, while Celebrity Fifteen To One was seen by nine hundred and seventy thousand. Whitney & Bobby: Addicted To Love proved relatively popular for Channel Five, playing to 1.12 million at 9pm. Whitney Houston: Her Greatest Hits was then seen by five hundred and five thousand afterwards.

BBC1's Casualty once again topped the Saturday overnight ratings. For the second week running, the popular medical drama was seen by 4.2 million ovenright viewers at 9.10pm on BBC1. The channel's evening began with 3.34 million for Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade at 6.15pm, followed by 3.08 million for The National Lottery: Five Star Family Reunion. With highlights from matches including Sottintot Hotshots v Dirty Stoke, The Hamsters against Leicester and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies getting their arses twanked on a visit to Swansea, Match Of The Day rounded the evening off with 3.32 million. On ITV, You've Been Framed had an, easily pleased, audience of 2.04 million whilst Bradley Walsh's game show Keep It in the Family attracted 2.65 million at 7pm. The Saturday Night Story was seen by 2.3 million at 8pm, while The Bourne Supremacy drew 1.4 million viewers at 9pm. Gardener's World was seen by seven hundred and seventy thousand green-fingered punters at 6.30pm on BBC2, followed by five hundred and thirty thousand for Proms Extra and nine hundred and seventy thousand for Edwardian Farm. A repeat of Dad's Army was, as usual, BBC2's highest-rated show of the evening with 1.5 million, while VE Day: Remembering Victory pulled in 1.12 million. Channel Four's big weekend movie, Red, was watched by 1.16 million viewers at 9pm. It was preceded by Great Canal Journeys with seven hundred and thirty thousand and Tony Robinson's Walking Through History with seven hundred and eighty thousand. Channel Five's The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door and Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away drew respective audiences of six hundred and twenty nine thousand and eight hundred and twenty thousand, while five hundred and eighty three thousand viewers watched Football League Tonight. ITV3's Lewis was among the highest-rated multichannel shows with seven hundred and three thousand at 8pm.

Countryfile continued to rule the overnight ratings roost on Sunday. The popular BBC1 series pulled in 5.66m for its latest episode, a thirty two per cent audience share between 7pm and 8pm. Later, Fake Or Fortune? appealed to 4.17m at 8pm, while the start of a new three-part adventure on Partners In Crime lost viewers for the third week running, albeit the 4.23m it attracted at 9pm was only marginally down on the previous week's overnight of 4.49m. On BBC2, Burma, My Father & The Forgotten Army interested six hundred and fifty thousand at 7pm, before Dragons' Den was watched by 2.74m at 8pm and Odyssey continued with 1.12m at 9pm. ITV's Nature Nuts With Julian Clary for the second week running drew fractionally more viewers. That said, its figure of 1.40m is still dreadful for a Sunday night ITV primetime show. Just, a fraction less dreadful that the numbers it pulled-in on its two previous outings. A Midsomer Murders repeat averaged 1.93m at 8pm. Channel Four's Secret History gathered five hundred thousand viewers at 7pm while Experimental was seen by four hundred and ten thousand at 8pm. The movie Zero Dark Thirty followed with seven hundred and fifty thousand at 9pm. On Channel Five, Police Interceptors: Unleashed had an audience of six hundred and ninety two thousand people with nothing better to do with their time at 8pm and Yes Man brought in 1.01m at 9pm. BBC4's Cilla Black tribute Cilla At The BBC was seen by nine hundred and fifty six thousand at 9pm, while ITV2's broadcast of Casino Royale was watched by eight hundred and eighty eight thousand in the same timeslot.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 9 August 2015:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 11.62m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.33m
3 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 7.32m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.06m
5 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 - 6.57m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.59m
7 Partners In Crime - Sun BBC1 - 5.45m
8 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.15m
9 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.98m
10 Earth's Natural Wonders - Wed BBC1 - 4.88m
11 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.69m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.52m
13 Ripper Street - Fri BBC1 - 4.44m
14 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.31m
15 Fake Or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 4.18m
16 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.90m
17 The Sheriffs Are Coming - Wed BBC1 - 3.88m
18 Rip Off Britain: Food Tues BBc1 - 3.65m
19 Dragons' Den - Sun BBC2 - 3.51m
20 The Housing Enforcers - Mon BBC1 - 3.43m
These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. Note, Partners In Crime (watched by 7.95m for its opening episode and 6.20m for its second) shed the best part of two-and-a-half million viewers over the course of two weeks. Once again, this blogger is forced to ask if it's possible that David Walliams isn't, actually, as popular as either most TV executives or, indeed, himself, seem to believe? Just a thought. We've reached, as previously noted, that time of the year where TV schedules tend to be full of all sorts of utter crap that networks find they've commissioned 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 another wretchedly poor week across the board. Nevertheless, once again the fact that ITV's top eleven broadcasts were five episodes of Coronation Street and six episodes of Emmerdale and, aside from The One & Only Cilla Black which was, not undeservedly, watched by 3.23 million punters, not one single other ITV programme managed to break the three million barrier, surely, says ... something. For the record, the channel's latest two 'quality' examples of lowest-common-denominator shite-on-toast - Flockstars and BBQ Champ - drew final and consolidated audiences of 2.05 million and, get this, 1.77 million punters respectively. Is it possible that awful Klass woman isn't, actually, as popular as most TV executives, not to mention herself, seem to believe? Just asking? By contrast, it was another quite good week - in relative terms - for BBC2. Dragons' Den continued to pull in impressive numbers, whilst the figures brought in by University Challenge (2.85m), The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (2.76m), Atlantic: The Wildest Ocean On Earth (2.38m), Only Connect (2.37m), Gardners' World (2.15m) and Are Our Kids Tough Enough?: Chinese School (2.08m) were also well above average. Nowt hat its biggest drama hit in years, Humans, has ended, it was a case of 'back to normal' for Channel Four. Its top-rated broadcasts being Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody (2.27m), the movie Life Of Pi (2.09m), Hunt For The Arctic Ghost Ship (1.97m) and A Very British Brothel (1.90m). The latest episodes of Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown and The Last Leg drew consolidated audiences of 1.76m and 1.72m respectively. Channel Five's highest-rated broadcasts were Undercover Benefits Cheat (2.06m), England on the brink of clinching the Ashes in Friday's Cricket On Five (2.08m), Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild (1.93m) and The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door (1.77m). Sky Sports 1's first Live Ford Super Sunday of the new season was the highest-watched multichannels broadcast of the week with 1.30m. Endeavour was ITV3's highest-rated programme (seven hundred and seventy one thousand), followed by Lewis (six hundred and twenty five thousand). On ITV4, the channel's James Bond week saw Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me watched by five hundred and seventy two thousand and four hundred and fifty nine thousand respectively. Nice to see Old Roge is still able to pull in the audiences. Live & Let Die, incidentally, had four hundred and fifty two thousand. 'Names is for tombstones, baby!' BBC3's weekly-list was topped by Don't Tell The Bride (eight hundred and ninety eight 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! BBC4's weekly list was headed by Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All (nine hundred and thirteen thousand) and Horizon (seven hundred and twenty five thousand), followed by Friday Night At The Proms (six hundred and forty three thousand), Mister Portaloo's Great British Railway Journeys (five hundred and ninety three thousand), The Young Montalbano (five hundred and eighty four thousand) and Pop Go The Sixties (five hundred and forty two thousand). 5USA's NCIS: Los Angeles attracted four hundred and seventy one thousand. The latest episodes of Banshee (three hundred and sixty thousand), True Detective (two hundred and forty five thousand) and Ray Donovan (two hundred and seventeen thousand) were, once again, Sky Atlantic's weekly list-toppers. The Brink was watched by one hundred and seventy two thousand. Sky Living's most-watched programmes were Madam Secretary (five hundred and nineteen thousand viewers), Chicago Fire (four hundred and twenty eight thousand) and Unforgettable (four hundred and nine thousand). Hannibal had two hundred and twenty nine thousand viewers. Sky Arts' coverage of the Cambridge Folk Festival drew sixty seven thousand punters. Sky 1's most-watched programme was The Last Ship with four hundred and fifty nine thousand. On Dave, Mock The Week was the channel's highest-rated programme - four hundred and fifty six thousand - followed by Storage Hunters UK (four hundred and thirty three thousand). Drama's Rebus attracted two hundred and seventy eight thousand. Watch's rebroadcast of One Born Every Minute had an audience of one hundred and twenty four thousand. Yesterday's repeat of Great British Railway Journeys drew two hundred and thirty four thousand viewers whilst The Queen's Mother-In-Law was watched by two hundred and nineteen thousand and Cilla's Unswung Sixties by one hundred and ninety four thousand. FOX's highest-rated shows were the fifth episode of Marvel's Agent Carter (four hundred and fifty one thousand), American Dad! (four hundred and two thousand), Falling Skies (three hundred and fifty one thousand), Murder In The First (two hundred and seven thousand) and several episodes of NCIS (Friday's being the most-watched with one hundred and sixty eight thousand). Another of the, seemingly endless, repeats of NCIS topped CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and twenty six thousand). The Universal Channel's list was headed by Rookie Blue (two hundred and seventy one thousand). On the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch was watched by one hundred and eighty five thousand viewers, the much-trailed Alaskan Bush People by one hundred and thirty four thousand and Cuban Shark by one hundred and two thousand. Discovery History's Unsolved History had twenty four thousand viewers, as did Time Team and More Industrial Relations. The Discovery Science channel drew forty thousand viewers for How It's Made. On Discovery Turbo, Wheeler Dealers had thirty five thousand viewers. CI's Unusual Suspects brought in seventy thousand thousand whilst ID's The Perfect Murder was watched by fifty eight thousand and Southern Fried Homicide by fifty one thousand. National Geographic's Wicked Tuna had an audience of seventy three thousand viewers. GOLD's, seemingly, never-ending repeat run of Only Fools &Horses attracted one hundred and seventy two thousand. Sky Sports 2's coverage of the fourth test at Trent Bridge in The Ashes - Live had an average audience of six hundred and forty seven thousand viewers on Friday (and four hundred and forty three thousand the following day to watch England wrap up their victory). On Sky Sports News, the welcome return of Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by three hundred and sixty one thousand. All of whom, as usual, witnessed Paul Merson being unable to string two words together, Phil Thompson talking through his nose and Champagne Charlie Nicholas still not knowing how to say the word 'situation' properly. Thank God for Jeff Stelling and Matt Le Tissier, that's all this blogger can say. On ITV Encore, Jordskott continued with one hundred and one thousand. TLC's opening episode of If Katie Hopkins Ruled The World drew one hundred and thirty two thousand sad, crushed victims of society. Roughly double the number who watched the episode live but still, one imagines, hardly enough to justify those one-hundred-billion trailers for the series that they've been running.

Top Gear as we knew it may be over, but that hasn't stopped fans from revisiting Jezzay Clarkson's era via the BBC iPlayer. The final episode to feature Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May was the second most requested show on the catch-up service in July, with one million and forty four thousand requests. It was only beaten by the 3 July episode of EastEnders, which was requested one million one hundred and eighteen thousand times during the month. First episodes of period drama The Outcast and the new-look Dragons' Den also proved popular on catch-up during July.

Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch's turn in BBC Radio 4's Rumpole Of The Bailey helped the iPlayer's new service achieve one million downloads in less than a month. The BBC, which launched the new iPlayer radio download app last month, said that the Radio 4 drama output has proved to be the most popular to date. Radio 4 drama – which includes an adaptation of Diamonds Are Forever, Silk: The Clerk's Room and Cumberbatch's return as Rumpole – notched up more than eghty one thousand combined downloads. The BBC said that it is not possible to breakdown the individual programme downloads for all Radio 4 dramas. BBC Radio 1's Summer Mixes proved the second most popular radio show, with forty seven thousand downloads, while The Archers drew forty five thousand, including its Omnibus edition. 'We knew from the success of our podcast service that there was a demand to download BBC radio and music content to listen to whenever they wanted to,' said Andrew Scott, general manager for radio and music at BBC Digital (as opposed to the bloke who plays Jim Moriarty). The BBC said that the download service, which unlike streaming allows fans to listen to programmes and shows when they are offline, has proven to be most popular on Sundays at about 10pm as people prepare for the commute to school or work for the next week. The corporation added that only a quarter of the top twenty downloaded programmes were previously available as podcasts, which it adds, proves there is 'significant demand' for more BBC radio and music programmes offline. 'Hitting 1m downloads across the whole of BBC radio and music has far surpassed our expectations,' said Scott (no, the other one). 'We're looking forward to bringing audiences even more features like this over the coming months.'
The Stig has landed his own show on BBC1 now that he's finally free from Jezza, Hamster and Captain Slowly's evil grip. Or something. The Getaway Car, hosted by Dermot O'Dreary, will see couples 'battling it out in a series of driving challenges.' Sounds ghastly. 'Will the relationships between married couples, grandparents and grandchildren, siblings and best friends survive when they're behind the wheel facing all manner of tasks?' asks the publicity blurb. Perhaps, we'll never care. The best couples will face Top Gear legend The Stig in an attempt to win a prize. Still sounds ghastly. 'This is a show that's really about relationships,' O'Dreary claimed. 'We all think we are great drivers, but what tickled me most is seeing how people, who obviously love each other very much, speak to each other when they are behind the wheel of a car. It brings out the worst in all of us. But, in a fun way. It's a warm show that will stretch a family's patience with those they love most in the world. I had a whale of a time doing the pilot and now can't wait to make the series.' The Getaway Car - a twelve-part series, which BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore described as 'really fun' and 'adrenaline charged' but which, actually, sounds ghastly - will be broadcast on Saturday nights in 2016.
When Luther returns for a new two-part special, he'll be without his faithful oppo Justin Ripley for the first time. Ripley was killed off in the BBC thriller's previous series - in 2013 - but Warren Brown, the actor who played him, has insisted that he's happy to watch the new episodes as a fan. 'Luther's been a fantastic job for me,' he told the Digital Spy website. 'I've loved it from the beginning and made some great friends on it - Idris [Elba] and some of the other cast, and directors. Of course, I'd love to still be involved, but I was very happy leaving at that time and with such a great storyline that made such an impact, that Luther fans still talk about. Now I can watch this new series as a viewer, knowing nothing about it. I could've had access to the scripts, but I purposely wanted to watch it as a viewer. So I'm very much looking forward to that.' Game Of Thrones actress Rose Leslie and Darren Boyd will join Elba for the new series, while Michael Smiley and Dermot Crowley will reprise their old roles. The BBC is yet to confirm if cult favourite Ruth Wilson will also be back as Luther's love interest Alice Morgan.
Lord Snooty's Downton Abbey 'won't have happy endings for all its character', according to executive producer Gareth Neame. Although ,the fact that it is ending in the first place is cause for considerable happiness for this blogger who could never stand the thing. In an interview with the Grunaid Morning Star, Neame said that while not every story will be wrapped up favourably, the finale remains 'overwhelmingly positive'. He added that fans shouldn't expect an overly dramatic ending, such as a natural disaster or the demise of the household. 'The series is focused on the end of an era. The dying of the light. The slight sense of finality. It is not Downton pulling up the drawbridge, not a thunderbolt that destroys it,' he said, adding that 'the camera will move away' before the credits roll for the final time. 'We don't have to have completely happy endings,' he continued. 'But for the audience, it is an overwhelmingly positive show, even when melancholic.' And, for those wanting Lady Mary to find love, it sounds like you'll be satisfied as Neame says that is the 'main part' of the final episodes. Earlier this month, Neame insisted that there are 'no plans' for a Downton Abbey movie yet, but wouldn't rule out the possibility in the future.
The BBC has apparently axed Paul Whitehouse's Nurse television series after four episodes. Because it was shit and no one was watching it, basically. According to Whitehouse's comedy writing partner, Charlie Higson, who tweeted the news earlier this week, Nurse will return for another radio series but won't be appearing on TV again. Nurse was based on the acclaimed Radio 4 series of the same name, which follows community psychiatric nurse Liz (played by Esther Coles). The Fast Show's Whitehouse appeared as multiple roles including Liz's patients. The series was made up of four thirty-minute episodes and were broadcast in March 2015 on BBC2. To an audience of about four.
That new-look coaches panel for The Voice announced this week is causing all manner of stroppy discombobulation, with Sir Tom Jones claiming that he was dropped with no warning. The BBC announced that The Voice would be replacing Rita Ora and Tom with Boy George and Paloma Faith next year. Returning to the talent competition's judging panel will be Ricky Wilson and will.he.is. The announcement seemingly didn't sit well Tom, who has claimed that he was only informed he had been dropped on Thursday, the day before the announcement was made public. Jones wrote on Facebook: 'About The Voice UK: In good faith, as part of the team, I'd put the time in my schedule to be involved in series five, as I've done for the last four years. I've supported the show and the BBC since the beginning. I was told yesterday, with no consultation or conversation of any kind, that I would not be returning. Having been through plenty of transformations throughout the years, I support and admire creative change. But being informed, as a matter of duty and respect, is an important part of creative relationships. This sub-standard behaviour from the executives is very disappointing. I will always admire the courage of the performers who participate in the show, as well as all the production staff who worked tirelessly to make a great family viewing experience for the audience at home. I wish the show well.'

Senior Church of England figures have vigorously defended the BBC's decision to film an episode of Songs Of Praise at the migrant camp in Calais. The Right Reverend Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, said that he had been 'appalled' at the attacks on the broadcaster by various right-wing scum newspapers for filming at the 'jungle' camp. The segment will be featured on Sunday's programme. 'The decision to record in the Jungle of Calais, right at the heart of where migrants are trying desperately to find a new life in a place of safety, is absolutely the right one,' the Bishop wrote in a blogpost. 'Songs Of Praise usually gets slagged off for being ... er ... Songs Of Praise. Often the critique is that it is bland or anodyne. Well, not now it isn’t.' The Daily Scum Express and the Sun - who, obviously, had no sick agenda smeared all over their smug faces - both carried critical front pages of the BBC programme's decision to film in the church, which they claimed was 'a waste of licence fee money' and 'a highly politicised gesture.' Nice bit of Christian 'love thy neighbour' there from the Daily Scum Express and the Sun both of whom appear to have either never read Matthew 7:1 or, if they did read it, misunderstood it. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, made it clear in a tweet that he 'fully supported' the programme, as well as retweeting a positive piece from the influential Anglican blog, Archbishop Cranmer. 'What do they think the church is for?' Good question, Bish. If it's the Scum Express and the Sun we're talking about then, Tories, would appear to be the answer. 'It is for the poor and the vulnerable, it is to voice things that others cannot voice,' Baines told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'Everyone else seems to be allowed to be political apart from the church. Christian faith is about God in the real world, not relegated to some imaginary fairy land where it can't do any harm or embarrass anyone,' he said in the blogpost. 'If we don’t like being exposed to worship from Calais, then it is for us to face the hard question of why – not simply to project this on to the soft target of the BBC.' The corrugated iron church, known as St Michaels, is predominantly used by Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and was built over a weekend by a team of thirty volunteers. The programme will be presented by the broadcaster Sally Magnusson. An estimated five thousand migrants, displaced from countries including Eritrea, Libya and Syria, are living in several camps around Calais. The Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham, also mounted a passionate defence of the BBC on his blog. 'I want to applaud the BBC's decision to cross the Channel and broadcast from the Jungle,' he wrote. 'What's the answer to the scornful Pharisees at the Sun? It's pretty obvious. Just ask what Jesus would do. He would be in the Jungle, of course, just as he kept company with a lot of other people the establishment of his day found it difficult to tolerate.' The Baptist minister and prominent Christian commentator, Steve Chalke, wrote in an article for Christian Today that tackling 'a complex issue' like the migrant crisis in Calais was 'exactly what Songs Of Praise should be doing. Their brave and wise investment of a tiny part of the licence fee will only help us more clearly focus one of the growing moral issues that life in our, otherwise much sought after, globalised Twenty First Century world has created, and which none of us any longer can afford to ignore,' he said.

The BBC is looking to pull BBC3 from the airwaves by February 2016. Hurrah. This is great news. Let us have more news like this. In June, the BBC Trust provisionally approved moving the channel online - and now the BBC Executive has published its response. The BBC Trust had requested a response from the BBC Executive when its provisional conclusions were initially published. In order to encourage BBC3 viewers to migrate online, the BBC Executive has now pitched running a 'temporary transitional channel' from January 2016 until the end of February 2016 alongside BBC3 Online. It claims this 'would be the optimal way of moving audiences over to the online offering and would avoid additional costs in the region of four million pounds, compared with dual running of a full linear service to April 2016.' It also rejects the possibility of running a reduced BBC3 channel 'with fewer hours of first run originated content until the end of 2015-16' - since this would 'damage the BBC3 brand.' The fact that it has already been damaged, possibly beyond repair, by its association with bloviating rutterkin and lanky streak of worthless piss Jack Whitehall and that Russell Kane (very popular with students). '[This move] would potentially cause audiences to move away from the channel thus limiting the likelihood that BBC Three audiences would be willing to make the transition online,' the report reads.

And now ...
Anne Robinson believes that TV is 'primarily concerned' about beauty when it comes to women. Which may be true but, if it is, it fails to explain her own lengthy TV career when she's got a face like a smacked arse sucking a lemon at the best of times. Just saying. While the presenter thinks that women are judged by their looks, she told Radio Times that the same does not hold true for men.

Friends is set to stay on Comedy Central UK for another four years after the pay-TV channel secured a new deal, despite rumours that ITV or Netflix might look to steal the rights to the popular US comedy franchise. Comedy Central, which is run by Channel Five owner Viacom, has struck a deal with Warner Bros TV distribution to continue hosting re-runs of the ten series of Friends until 2019 in the UK. The show, which retains a strong fanbase even eleven years after the last episode was shown in the US, had been mooted as potentially 'a good fit' for ITV2 to look to take on to boost its schedule which is currently full of poxy shite reality shows and other brain-numbing ephemera. It is also thought that Netflix 'ran the rule' over the franchise to potentially boost its UK operation, at least according to the Gruniad Morning Star. And, of course, they know everything about everything. To mark the new deal Comedy Central is launching a week-long 'FriendsFest' that will see a venue in Brick Lane, turned into the 'ultimate Friends experience.' This will include the recreation of the set of Monica's apartment, an exhibition of original props and the famous orange sofa featured in the show's opening credits. It was Comedy Central that swooped on the franchise, when Channel Four's digital station E4 decided to 'shift investment' to new shows such as Zooey Deschanel's sitcom New Girl. 'Friends has become synonymous with Comedy Central in the minds of fans and so I'm thrilled we can continue to deliver them their favourite show,' said Jill Offman, managing director of Comedy Central UK. 'We are also investing in the brand off-air and can't wait to host FriendsFest, a week-long interactive experience in Central London this September.' Since snapping up the show in 2011, Friends has quickly become core to Comedy Central's schedule with 5.9 million viewers tuning in to catch a re-run of at least one episode each month. Despite the fact that the last new episode was made in 2004, Comedy Central says that the share of viewing of the Friends franchise has risen eleven per cent year on year so far in 2015.

Stargazers captured the dazzling display of the annual Perseid meteor shower as it reached its peak on Wednesday night. The display was widely anticipated this year as the shower coincided with a new moon for the first time since 2007, creating a darkened sky. People in the Midlands and the North of England had the best view of the meteor shower. Cloud cover spoilt visibility for some parts of Southern England and Scotland. The Perseids - which are pieces of Comet Swift-Tuttle - are active each year from around 17 July to 24 August, although for most of that period only a few meteors an hour are visible. The peak came overnight on Wednesday, with more than one hundred meteors an hour produced. The peak of the display occurs when the shower's 'radiant' - the point from which the meteors appear to originate - is highest in the sky. Professor Mark Bailey, director of Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, said the Perseids were 'one of the best and most reliable meteor showers of the year.' Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: 'The thing about shooting stars is they're a wonderful free spectacle we can all enjoy, assuming clear skies. The Perseids are usually fairly bright. Also, they tend to leave a trail, or train, behind them. You can see the train hanging there glowing in the sky for a few seconds - sometimes for several minutes - after the meteor has gone.' Marek Kakula, public astronomer at the Royal Observatory described the comet dust as 'travelling faster than the speed of a bullet. When they hit the atmosphere, they burn up in a little streak of light that lasts for just a few seconds,' he added. For most people, meteor showers are best viewed with the naked eye. Experts advise finding a dark location, away from artificial street light, and an unobstructed view of the sky.

Ten years ago Steve Harmison was giving Australia's batsmen sleepless nights, unleashing ninety miles per hour deliveries during an unforgettable summer of cricket which saw England regain the Ashes for the first time in eighteen years. On Saturday, the thirty six-year-old will take his place in the dugout at Woodhorn Lane - home of Northern League Division One football side Ashington AFC - in the FA Cup Preliminary Round as he continues his new career as a football manager. When England's cricketers wrapped up a two-one series win a decade ago they were given a rapturous reception by tens of thousands of fans in Trafalgar Square at the end of a victory bus parade. A Downing Street reception followed but there will be no fanfare for Harmy and his Ashington players if they see off Bradford-based Albion Sports at the start of the long road to Wembley. The ninth-tier club, whose average league gate last season was two hundred and twenty two, will still be another five victories from the first-round proper. 'If someone had told me in 2005 that I'd be manager of Ashington in the FA Cup ten years later I wouldn't have laughed at them,' Harmison, who took seventeen wickets during the epic five-match series a decade ago, told BBC Sport. 'It's my hometown club. I played for them before I became a professional cricketer. My dad, Jimmy, played for them, and my brother, James, plays for them now. Even when I was playing cricket for England I used to train with Ashington to help build up my fitness ahead of tours to Australia, West Indies and South Africa. I love being a football manager. It's a great challenge and I like being around non-league players for their enthusiasm. I can't wait for the FA Cup.' Harmy has been put in charge of a team from a town which produced England international Wor Jackie Milburn, as well his second cousins the World Cup-winning Charlton brothers, Bobby and Jack. The club from the former mining town in Northumberland, situated fifteen miles North of Newcastle, are nicknamed The Colliers and were elected to the Football League in 1921 before being voted out just eight years later. Between 1909 and 2008 they played their home games at Portland Park before moving to their current £1.2m Woodhorn Road base, where a two hundred and fifty-seater stand is due to open in October. 'Ashington's a tough place, a mining community,' chairman and local MP Ian Lavery told BBC Sport. 'I've heard people say that appointing Steve was a publicity stunt, but why would it be? We're ambitious and Steve is a sports star.' Harmy's England statistics make impressive reading. But the former bowler was playing football for Ashington before he was offered his first professional contract at Durham in 1996. 'Football has always been a huge part of my life,' added the lifelong Newcastle United fan, who was appointed Ashington boss on 8 February, along with coaches Ian Skinner and Lee Anderson. 'I saw the club was looking for a new manager and decided to put my name forward.' Ashington's hierarchy were so impressed with Harmison during his interview that they offered him the job on the same day. 'We had ten applicants including some from people who had played the professional game and others who were managing at a higher level,' added Lavery. 'We interviewed Steve, Ian and Lee on a Sunday afternoon in the Labour Party offices in Ashington. They were excellent - Steve oozed confidence. We said we'd get back to them and later that afternoon we called a board meeting and agreed that they were the right men to take the club forward. We immediately rang to tell them. Steve's a likeable lad, a real people person and very approachable. He'll stand in the bar after games and chat with fans.' Lying seventeenth in the Northern League table and on a six-match losing streak, The Colliers were heading for relegation and the tenth tier of English football when Harmy was appointed six months ago. But seven straight league and cup wins transformed the season and propelled The Colliers to mid-table respectability in the table. Another former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, a close friend of Harmisom's, made a guest appearance as an unused substitute for Ashington in a pre-season friendly against his own hometown club Preston North End on 29 July. Ashington opened their 2015-16 Northern League campaign with a three-one defeat at Washington on 8 August before losing by the same scoreline at home to Penrith on Tuesday. You have to go all the way back to the 1926-27 season to find Ashington's best FA Cup run, when they reached the third-round proper before losing two-nil to Nottingham Forest. More recently they came within ninety minutes of the first round before losing five-nil at Grimsby Town in 2011. Can Harmy inspire The Colliers to a memorable run this season? 'There are almost four hundred teams taking part in the extra Preliminary Round alone,' he said. 'Each one of them has a burning desire to play a full-time club in the first round. We are no exception.'

Motörhead frontman Lemmy has explained the ways in which a recent spate of illnesses have affected his lifestyle, including having to swap from whisky to vodka. Pfft. Lightweight.

On The Buses and Last Of The Summer Wine actor Stephen Lewis has died, aged eighty eight. His family has confirmed to multiple media outlets that Lewis died on Wednesday at a nursing home in East London. His niece, Rebecca, told the press that the actor remained in 'high spirits' in his last days, adding: 'He was always singing and joking.' Through more fifty years in front of the camera, Lewis was best known for portraying the dour, manically depressed bus inspector Blakey Blake in the ITV comedy On the Buses and its three spin-off movies. He also wrote several episodes for the show, including one of the best remembered, The Football Match. Stephen's other sitcoms included Don't Drink the Water, On the Buses' short-lived, Spain-based sequel and the BBC's railway-themed Oh, Doctor Beeching! Stephen would later become a regular presence on UK television on programmes like The Generation Game and, more recently, Last Of The Summer Wine in which he appeared for for almost two decades as the character of Smiler. He appeared as a guest in sitcoms such as One Foot In The Grave, 2point4 Children and Father, Dear Father and played the character of Alf, a comedy writer, in the second series of The All New Alexei Sayle Show. He also appeared in the acclaimed ITV wartime drama Manhunt in a rare villainous role. His other films include A Prize Of Arms, Negatives, Staircase with Richard Burton and Rex Harrison, Some Will, Some Won't, The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, The Last Remake Of Beau Geste, Personal Services and The Krays. He also appeared in two British sex comedies, Adventures Of A Taxi Driver and Adventures Of A Plumber's Mate. He was born in Poplar, in December 1926. His first job was as a merchant seaman; he reconsidered his vocation after he was persuaded to go to a performance of the experimental Theatre Workshop group run by the brilliant Left-wing director Joan Littlewood. After the performance, the audience was invited on to the stage to meet the cast and discuss the play. Lewis enjoyed the experience and, after turning up to others, got to know the Workshop well. Eventually, Littlewood, perhaps exasperated by Lewis's suggested stage directions, said: 'You're so blooming clever, why not do it yourself?' He agreed, auditioned and was offered a part. After a successful run, Littlewood asked Stephen if he would like to stick with the company but he said that he wanted to return to the sea. The director persuaded him to stay on the stage and he made his West End debut in Brendan Behan's The Hostage in 1958. In 1960, he wrote Sparrers Can't Sing, a play about life in the East End which relied heavily on actors' improvisations. It was a success and was released as a film (retitled Sparrows Can't Sing) in 1963, with a cast that included Barbara Windsor and Roy Kinnear – although even their talents could not sell the social realist dialogue to a global audience. As Stephen's career illustrates, a great number of the comedy stars of the 1960s and 1970s came from serious theatre, while television and film started to tap into a growing appetite for working-class drama and comedy. Throughout the 1960s, Stephen took a series of small roles in the likes of Armchair Theatre and Charlesworth culminating in a larger part in the 1969 television play, Mrs Wilson's Diary, alongside another Theatre Workshop regular, Bob Grant. That same year, Stephen landed a role in a new LWT series, On The Buses, which also featured Grant as a lascivious bus conductor teamed up with Reg Varney, his equally Dionysian driver. Although the show was undoubtedly crude and occasionally contained all of the prejudices of the era in which it was made, it offered genuinely witty reflections on the nature of 1970s class conflict. In the world of On The Buses, workers were constantly on strike and after more money; managerial characters such as Stephen's Blakey were exploitative snobs who thought they had authority just because they wore a badge. It was plain where the audience's sympathies were supposed to lie: many was the time that a bus ran over poor Blakey's foot or a bucket of water was tipped over his head. The cry: 'I 'ate you, Butler' was born of impotent rage. Stephen Lewis remained a committed socialist. In a stroke of irony, however, in 1981 he was hired to promote CH coaches, in the character of Blakey; it was the first private bus company to break the public transport monopoly of Cardiff city council. This was exactly the kind of Thatcherite revolution of which Blakey would probably have approved. In his diaries, Tony Benn recalled campaigning with Lewis in 1984, describing him as 'very direct' and 'extremely amusing.'

The writer David Nobbs has died at the age of eighty. David was best known for creating the comic character Reggie Perrin, played in the BBC series The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin by the late Leonard Rossiter. Nobbs created the hugely popular sitcom, which ran between 1976 and 1979, from his own series of comic novels. They followed the story of a stressed middle-aged middle manager, who is driven to bizarre behaviour and, ultimately, to fake his own suicide to escape the pointlessness of his job and life. The Yorkshire-born writer also provided comedy material for David Frost, Ken Dodd, Frankie Howerd and The Two Ronnies. Nobbs wrote over twenty novels during a prolific career which spanned nearly fifty years. He was born in Petts Wood, near Orpington in Kent, the only child of Gordon, a teacher at the City Of London School and his wife, Gwen. David's father’s school was evacuated during the war to Marlborough College and David became steeped in a carefree life of cricket, the adventure stories of WE Johns and Arthur Ransome and the Dick Barton radio series. He recalled: 'By the time I was ten or eleven my sense of humour seemed suddenly to have come to life. We were a very close-knit family as we listened to a whole succession of radio shows. We never mentioned love and affection. Our shared laughter round the snug coal fire spoke of these things for us.' After four years at Bickley Hall prep school, David was sent to Marlborough, where he absorbed influences like Aristophanes, Waugh, Wodehouse and Peter Ustinov and Peter Jones's radio comedy sketches in In All Directions. Aged fourteen he later revealed that he had been raped by an older boy which, he said, left him 'distressed rather than traumatised.' He speculated that it was a cause of sexual confusion for him in later life. After national service, he went to St John's, Cambridge, to read classics, although he soon changed to English. He wrote for Varsity and Granta magazines and his sketches were accepted for Footlights. On graduation in 1958, he joined the Sheffield Star as an apprentice journalist, and met Peter Tinniswood, with whom he would later form an occasional writing partnership. However, he realised newspapers were not his future after missing a scoop about an armed robbery. He and Tinniswood preferred discussing their writing. When one of his sketches was accepted for a revue, One To Another, at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, David moved to London, where he took a bedsit in a West Hampstead lodging-house and began a novel. His typing was noticed by one of his neighbours, the actress Phyllida Law, who invited him for tea and he gradually made other friends and helped out at the St Pancras Chronicle. Once, he was asked to take part in a police identity parade and was fingered as the villain. While his name made 'laughter ring through the police station', he wondered: 'Would I ever make people laugh on purpose?' Through a theatrical group, David met Mary Blatchford, a divorced mother of three and with fresh impetus, rang the satirical TV show That Was The Week That Was to ask about submitting a monologue. He was put through to David Frost, who remembered his name from Cambridge. 'Super to talk to you,' said Frosty and immediately sent a taxi for the monologue which Nobbs was offering. That became a way of life. Nobbs, however, remained ambivalent about Frost himself. The first Reggie Perrin novel refers disparagingly to Frost – and one Sunshine Desserts manager repeatedly says 'Super!' a clear parody of one of Frosty's best known affectations. With Tinniswood, David began working on sitcom ideas: some worked, others didn't, but it was experience, as was a first novel, The Itinerant Lodger (1965), with a central character and storyline that anticipated Perrin's preoccupation with shifting identity. Ostrich Country (1968) and A Piece Of The Sky Is Missing (1969) also featured daydreaming heroes. David married Mary in 1968 and they set up home in Barnet close to the home of his beloved Tottenham Hotshots. He wrote for Howerd, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, Ken Dodd, Dick Emery, Jimmy Tarbuck, Les Dawson and Tommy Cooper, of whom Nobbs said 'you don't need to like Mozart to admire his music.' One day David decided to try out one of his Frankie Howerd routines on Barnet Common. Two police officers soon jumped from a car and asked what he was doing. Startled, David flashed his Writers' Guild card and explained he was a writer trying out one of his scripts; they explained that they were after 'an escaped lunatic.' Various ideas – including a newspaper article about the preparations for the launch of a new flavour of jam ('Too fruity, not fruity enough, too bland, not bland enough, too blandly fruity, too fruitily bland, ad infinitum') – inspired the story of his fraught businessman, Perrin. He first wrote it as a half-hour teleplay – rejected by the BBC as not being 'topical' (this occurred a few months before the infamous disappearances of the MP John Stonehouse and Lord Lucan) – before it became the novel The Death Of Reginald Perrin. Caught in a hapless suburban existence, Perrin reflected a contemporary mood with his fervent hope to become more than 'just a product of Freudian slips and traumatic experiences and bad education and capricious pointlessness.' Although David had always avoided working in offices himself, he acutely described colleagues exchanging 'the sort of meaningful looks in which each knows that the other is being meaningful but doesn't know what they're meaning.' The novel's sequel, The Return Of Reginald Perrin (released in 1977 after the series had begun on TV), had the prescient notion of a firm called Grot whose things 'are of no value and sell in our shops at high prices to people who will find them of no possible use whatsoever.' After Leonard Rossiter's death in 1984, Nobbs wrote two further TV series resuscitating his reluctant anti-hero: The Legacy Of Reginald Perrin (1996), which brought together the rest of the original cast and was actually quite decent albeit with a massive Rossiter-shaped hole at its centre and Reggie Perrin (2009), a far less successful remake with Martin Clunes in the title role. David declined many suggestions for other shows he might like to write, including a series based around the Fawlty Towers waiter Manuel. Instead, he developed one Perrin character, the character's brother-in-law Jimmy, into Major Harry Truscott because he wished to work again with Geoffrey Palmer, whom Perrin had made a star. Script-edited by Nobbs' friend John Cleese, Fairly Secret Army (1984 to 1986) concerned an unhinged army officer's attempt to run a mercenary paramilitary outfit. It became a cult success, described by Nobbs as, 'a show which very few people watch, but which those few people like a great deal.' David and his wife moved to Hereford, where the marriage drifted into companionship and then to amicable divorce. In 1998 Nobbs married Susan Sutcliffe, whom he had met on a Yorkshire Television set while she was working as an extra, and they settled outside Harrogate. The locale provided the inspiration for A Bit Of A Do, set in a fictional Yorkshire town. It began as a series of plays set at social functions, then turned into a novel (1986) before in 1989 becoming a TV series with David Jason that attracted audiences of up to fifteen million viewers at its peak. The first of Nobbs's four semi-autobiographical novels about Henry Pratt (published between 1983 and 2006) was also televised. A 1981 play became a surprisingly affecting novel, Cupid's Darts (2007), about love across the generations between a philosopher and a 'darts-team groupie.' His last novel, The Second Life Of Sally Mottram, was published in 2014. Best of all, though, was the substantial memoir I Didn't Get Where I Am Today (2003, the title based on the catchphrase of another of Perrin's memorable character's, Reggie's boss CJ). It was an anecdote-rich view of a life well lived in a continually shifting post-war society, that recounts how its author avoided the fate which Reggie Perrin so feared, that his gravestone would record: 'He made one hundred and ninety six billion, four hundred and sixty five million, two hundred and eighty seven thousand six hundred and ninety six bulldog clips. And they were all exactly the same.' David is survived by Susan, and by four stepchildren.

The director Jack Gold, whose work included Goodnight Mister Tom and The Naked Civil Servant, has died aged eighty five. A four-time BAFTA-winner, Jack began his career at the BBC and worked as editor on the Tonight news programme. His movies included thriller The Medusa Touch, starring Richard Burton, but he was best known for his acclaimed TV work spanning several decades. He worked regularly with the actor John Thaw, directing episodes of Inspector Morse and Kavanagh QC. And it was the duo's work together on the made-for-TV film adaptation Goodnight Mr Tom that gave ITV one of its most popular hits. The much-repeated film, set during World War Two, starred Thaw as the cantankerous Tom Oakley, whose cosy life is disrupted by the arrival of a nine-year-old evacuee. It was named the most popular TV programme of 1998 at the BAFTAs for that year. Gold began working as an assistant studio manager for the BBC in 1954. After two years he transferred to the Tonight programme where he made his name and won his first BAFTA for a programme about fox hunting, Death In The Morning presented by Alan Whicker. During the 1970s he alternated between film and TV projects. While never attaining the recognition of his contemporaries like Ken Loach and Michael Apted, Jack worked with distinction as a director, even having a major place in TV history as, he was proud to claim, the first BBC director to use hand-held cameras. He graduated to feature films in 1968 with The Bofors Gun, the military drama that John McGrath had adapted from his own play about soldiers doing national service in peacetime Germany. Jack went on to direct several more features, including the First World War film Aces High and the Peter O'Toole vehicle Man Friday. But Jack was, he admitted, wary of the values and glitz of the film industry. His film-making was unshowy and realist, with a decided preference for character over action. Like Ken Loach, he was also a committed socialist – he even wrestled with his conscience before making a film about starving people in India because he knew that he would inevitably be consuming the food that his subjects did not have. While others, including Loach, Apted and Ken Russell, made their mark initially in television in the 1960s and then found their own particular niches in cinema, Jack returned to television and made most of his most notable work for the small screen. The distinguished critic Alexander Walker wrote in his book Hollywood, England: The British Film Industry In The Sixties: 'It's important to stress that such a return [from films to television] in no way connotes failure for him, for it is his commitment to the audience in the widest social sense which is best fulfilled by the little screen: it reaches a population of stupendous numbers.' His most acclaimed work of the period was on TV, with The Naked Civil Servant starring John Hurt as the flamboyant Quentin Crisp. It earned Gold another BAFTA - this time the Desmond Davies Award for special contribution to TV. Other television credits include The Visit, Call The Gun Expert, Tom Clarke's Mad Jack, Alan Bennett's My Father Knew Lloyd George, Walt King Of The Dumper, The Gangster Show: The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (featuring a memorable performance from Nicol Williamson in the Hitler-like title role), God Bless Thee Jacky Maddison, Charlie Muffin, Stocker's Copper, Me & The Girls, Ball-Trap On The Cote Sauvage, Country Matters, the documentary Dowager In Hot Pants, Red Monarch, Catholics: A Fable Of The Future (starring Trevor Howard, Martin Sheen and Cyril Cusack), Good & Bad At Games, the BBC Shakespeare productions of The Merchant Of Venice and Macbeth - the latter also featuring Williamson - as well as the made-for-TV adaptation of Graham Greene's The Tenth Man, with Anthony Hopkins. Jack's long and successful working relationship with John Thaw over several films and TV series - including the final episode of Inspector Morse - was reflected in his decision in 2002 to personally oversee ITV's tribute documentary to the actor following Thaw's death. Jack is survived by his wife, the actress Denyse Macpherson and their three children, Jamie, Nicholas and Kathryn, seven grandchildren and a great-grandson.

For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, what's needed here is, clearly, some love, peace and harmony. Just, not yet.

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