series nine episode guide includes teasers for each of the episodes in the series.
according to the Mirra. The same newspaper which dear blog readers may recall last year claimed Jenna was leaving in last year's Christmas special. And then, claimed that she wasn't. Having hedged their bets beautifully, they were eventually proved to be correct. Presumably, this is to become an annual thing until Jenna does eventually get herself another gig. Then they can claim 'we told you so'. Jenna's alleged departure from Doctor Who apparently coincides with the actress landing a major role, starring as a young Queen Victoria in a new ITV drama with a reported budget of ten million knicker. Earlier this year, ITV announced it was partnering with novelist Daisy Goodwin and the producers of Poldark for an eight-part series about Queen Victoria's reign. However, ITV has said it was not making any announcements about casting at this time and the BBC has also declined to confirm Coleman's possible departure from Doctor Who.
Then again, this blogger tends to think that most Doctor Who episodes are great; he's 'a Doctor Who fan' so that sort of goes with the territory, one could suggest. The last episode that yer actual Keith Telly Topping didn't think was great was Nightmare In Silver. The one before that, Victory Of The Daleks - both of which, to be fair, did have some nice ideas in them but were, Keith Telly Topping felt, somewhat let down in the execution. The one before that would've been Fear Her - which was, sadly, an unredeemed pile of diarrhoea. The one before that ...? I dunno, you're back to Paradise Towers Episode Four or something. Thing is, as noted this blogger finds most Doctor Who episodes to be great. It could be, of course, that he is someone who is, in general, far too easily pleased by the most trivial nonsense which masquerades as entertainment and, as a consequence, has critical faculties which are no indicator of the true worth of anything; that has certainly been suggested before by people - mostly now comfortbly on Keith Telly Topping's lengthy shit-list, let it be noted - who appear to have been personally offended by Keith Telly Topping saying 'I thought it was great' about an episode that they didn't particularly like. We'll leave the debate on why it should matter to anyone else, and why anyone, seemingly, would need to justify their own loathing of something simply because this bloger has stated he rather liked it for another day, I think. Alternatively, and this is the theory that this blogger personally prefers, it could be that Keith Telly Topping still gets the same little fanboy thrill now about a new episode of Doctor Who, at the age of fifty one as he did as a five year old watching Fury From The Deep in 1968. Some may consider that to be rather sad and they could well be right. But, arguably, it's no more sad than sitting watching a piece of family SF drama and gurning at the telly over how rotten it is and how this is violating ones Dalek-lovin' childhood when one could be out drinking alcopops, getting into fights in bars and then having some really disappointing sex instead. Don't come to this blogger asking for quick answer on that, dear blog reader.
Anyway, Doctor Who is back on Saturday. Great, eh? If your answer to that is anything other than 'Hell, yeah!' then you might want to consider alternative forms of Saturday night entertainment (for, such things do exist, apparently. I know, I was surprised as well). Or not. It is, after all, a free country. This blogger expects that on Saturday he'll be saying 'I thought The Magician's Apprentice was great,' too. Hence, a review could seem somewhat superfluous.
His test career ended a remarkable twenty seven years later at Old Trafford in searing heat against the fearsome West Indies team of 1976. He played far fewer tests - twenty two - than many felt he deserved, often being cynically axed by selectors as a seeming scapegoat for a particular England defeat - as in 1961 when he was dropped after playing an attacking innings in a losing cause against Richie Benaud's Australia at Old Trafford. He was selected for England's 1950-51 tour of Australia, having played little cricket the previous summer because of National Service but, after scoring one hundred and eight in his opening game against Western Australia, his tour turned into a disaster. It was 'like releasing a young colt after he had been in the stable all winter,' Brian said in his first autobiography Close To Cricket (he later wrote another one, in 1978, wittily entitled I Don't Bruise Easily). He took the blame for England's defeat in the one test that he played, was homesick and the senior players either ignored or insulted him: 'I remember lying in my bed in Sydney ready to curl up and die,' he wrote. But, of course, he didn't, he got knocked down but he got up again. And, he came back stronger. That was the story of Brian Close.
Recalled once more to play against Australia at Old Trafford in 1961, he incurred fierce criticism after being caught from a cross-batted swipe at one of Richie Benaud's leg-breaks as England failed to chase a winning total of two hundred and fifty six on the final day. For the next two years the test selectors ignored him. In 1963, however, captain Ted Dexter insisted that Brian should be brought back into the side to counter the menace of the West Indians and their terrifying pace bowlers Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith. For the first time Brian played in a full series, scoring three hundred and fifteen runs and doing particularly well at Lord's, where he made a gallant seventy in the second innings (his highest test score). His tactic of advancing down the pitch against Hall and letting the ball hit him looked suicidal, but it succeeded in putting the great fast bowler off his stride. Not madness or masochism, at least not in Brian's view, but a good way to avoid being leg-before-wicket. He was, famously, photographed the next day in the Daily Mirra covered in bruises. Nevertheless, Brian again found himself ignored by the England selectors again until he was summoned to the captaincy in 1966.
It was a reminder of the similar situation thirteen years earlier when he helped to save the Lord's test. But, the 1976 session on the evening of the third day of the Old Trafford test in what proved to be his final test innings is probably what he will be remembered for. The second test, at Lord's, had gone well - Brian scoring sixty and forty six at number four to force the second draw of the series. The Old Trafford pitch however was 'cracked, often unpredictable' according to Wisden and baked hard during one of England's hottest summers. For want of anyone else, Tony Grieg promoted Brian to open along with the thirty nine year old John Edrich. More than once Brian buckled at the knees when hit by one of Mikey Holding's thunderbolts, yet he steadfastly refused to rub the spot where he had been hit. Pain, he insisted, was only in the mind. Brian recalled years later that after eighty utterly torrid minutes surviving everything that Holding and Roberts could bowl at him on that Saturday evening he and Edrich returned to the pavilion and an attendant asked him if he'd like a drink. 'Yes,' he said. 'A whisky. Make it a double!'
The England side Brian led at that time included such legends as Geoff Boycott, Colin Cowdrey, Tom Graveney and Ray Illingworth and he was hugely popular with the public. But he lost the England captaincy in 1967 in controversial circumstances after his Yorkshire side were accused of unsporting time-wasting tactics to avoid losing a County Championship match against Warwickshire. In addition the People newspaper made - never proven - allegations that he'd had an ugly confrontation with a spectator in the members' enclosure at Edgbaston. Brian denied this and remained resolutely unrepentant about the charges of time-wasting. The authorities at Lord's, however, were unimpressed and he was severely censured and dropped as England's captain for their forthcoming tour to the West Indies, something which Close described as 'bloody horribly unfair.' The suspicion remains - and Close's great protégé Ian Botham has voiced the opinion on more than one occasion - that some people in positions of authority at Lord's were merely looking for any excuse to get rid of Brian whose bluntness and hard professionalism 'didn't sit well' with some of the game's elite at that time.
Yet, Brian spent his last seven years at Yorkshire as captain from 1963, leading them to the County Championship in his first season and, also in 1966, 1967 and 1968. While inspiring both fear and respect, he also gave wholehearted loyalty to players who had gained his confidence. As Richard Hutton put it, the trust he generated 'made his verbal ear-bashings more tolerable.' Brian was also proved a shrewd judge of talent. Vic Wilson had advised the Yorkshire committee not to engage the young Geoffrey Boycott. Close insisted - perhaps to his subsequent regret - that Boycs should be retained. Brian was never a particular fan of one-day cricket, believing that it lessened players' abilities. Mike Procter noted in his autobiography that when Gloucestershire played Yorkshire in the John Player League in 1970, with Yorkshire three wickets down and needing six runs an over to win, word came from Close in the dressing room: 'No chance of winning this one, lads, just get some batting practice.' Brian would overcome his prejudices however and, in 1972, even captained England in three one day internationals against Australia in the absence of the injured Ray Illingworth.
During the following years, as captain, he helped to nurture the talents of a brilliant young side which included the likes of Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Vic Marks. The latter, now Somerset's chairman and a BBC commentator, told 5Live that Brian 'was a man of immense self-belief. And Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards thought the world of Closey. He could give you an immense dressing down, but it would be forgotten in a second.' Botham, in an interview with Sky Sports, described how Brian was once hit on the shin by a shot from the Glamorgan opener Alan Jones after Tom Cartwright 'had bowled his one half-volley of the season. When we went for lunch, there was blood coming out of the lace holes of Brian's boots. I said "are you all right, skipper?" He said: "Don't be so daft, lad, of course I am!" Back in the dressing room when he pulled up the leg of his flannels, he had a livid bruise and a four-inch gash on his shin. He still didn't say anything, he just had it stitched up, put on a clean pair of flannels and led us back out after lunch as if nothing had happened.'
'It's an honourable game and that's the way I was brought up.' Brian's seven hundred and eighty six first-class matches leave him tenth on the all-time list. His highly competitive spirit never forbade a drink with the opposition. Bomber Wells recalled how, when Gloucester played Yorkshire in the 1950s, 'you'd split into two parties. Fred [Trueman] would be one end of the bar, Closey up the other. You could have half-an-hour of Closey lambasting Fred, then when you got fed up with that you could go and hear Fred lambasting Closey!' Unlike many professional cricketers Brian did not lose his enthusiasm for donning his flannels even in retirement. Indeed, he was still to be seen at the crease as late as 2000, when he was almost seventy, when coaching Yorkshire's colts. He was also a fine golfer, who learned to play right-handed so as not to affect his batting and at one point had a handicap of three. At the end of the 1970s, Brian briefly served as an England selector. Back at Yorkshire, he became chairman of the cricket committee in 1984, attracting much controversy during the pro- and anti-Boycott years. Later, he led the Yorkshire Academy side nurturing further young talents like Michael Vaughan. 'Doesn't Mister Close swear a lot?' the young Ryan Sidebottom once reportedly observed. Brian, who lived in Baildon and was made a CBE in 1975. His death, on Sunday, came just four days after his beloved Yorkshire sealed their second successive county championship title and thirty second outright. He is survived by his wife Vivienne, whom he married in 1968, and by their son and daughter.
a song the sentiments of which Brian would, probably have approved. Tell 'em all about it, Ari.