Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pork Stuffing (& Other Piggery Jokery)

The X Factor dipped to a new Saturday low current this series, according to overnight data. The ITV singing contest was watched by almost exactly seven million overnight viewers - a drop of more than five hundred thousand compared to the previous Saturday's figures. Elsewhere on ITV, Keep It In The Family and Ram It Up The Bunghole averaged 3.28 million and 2.96 million respectively.
      The big news of the night, however - at least as far as most of the media and three quarters of the Internet was concerned - was Doctor Who's series nine premiere The Magician's Apprentice (which yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought was great incidentally) attracting a much lower-than-expected overnight of 4.58 million, down more than two million overnight punters from last year's series opener. Of course, was ever, context is everything. A final consolidated figure, including those who recorded the programme to watch later on various video-on-demand devices, will be released next week and is likely to show a substantial increase over that initial figure. Indeed, by close-of-play on Sunday The Magician's Apprentice had already risen in just twenty four hours by over a million further viewers using catch-up of one sort of another (and, not including those who watched the episode on iPlayer) and by Monday evening that figure had gone up by a further three hundred and fifty thousand. If last year is anything to go by, then the average Doctor Who episode had a 'Live +7' audience figure (ie. one that includes 'live' viewing, timeshifting and iPlayer viewing) which amounted to between thirty and forty per cent of its total, overall audience. Nevertheless, the reporting of The Magician's Apprentice's overnight was predictably hysterical in places - most notably, and disappointingly, by the BBC News website. One would have hoped that if any mainstream media outlet was going to do an article on TV ratings and use it as an opportunity to explain the subtleties of timeshifting and the way in which TV consumption and viewing habits are changing it would've been the BBC. That might be regarded as an opportunity missed. The episode still, comfortably, drew the highest audience for any programme on BBC1 all day; The National Lottery: In It To Win It was watched by 3.01 million whilst Casualty took a decent 4.34 million. BBC2 broadcast a night of repeats, with Dad's Army drawing 1.46 million from 8.30pm. On Channel Four, It Was Alright In ... The Sixties attracted 1.11 million in the 9pm hour. Channel Five's Celebrity Big Brother continued with seven hundred and seventy eight thousand at 10.30pm. Football League Tonight was watched by three hundred and forty three thousand earlier. The multichannels were topped by ITV4's coverage of the Rugby World Cup, gathering an impressive 1.61 million from 7.15pm.
Interestingly, The Magician's Apprentice enjoyed Doctor Who's biggest ever première in the states for the key demographic of adults aged eighteen to forty nine. Overall the episode had two million watching, with 1.1 million being in the demographic that TV advertisers are most interested in, nearly doubling the series eight average and making BBC America the third most watched channel in that demographic for the timeslot. The channel beat the big four broadcast networks and ranked only behind college football on ESPN and the finale of Sábado Gigante on Univision. Out of one hundred returning dramas, Doctor Who is one of just fourteen to show any growth from its prior season premiere. Sarah Barnett, President of BBC AMERICA said: 'Doctor Who is unlike anything else on television, a storied franchise that is as fresh and contemporary as ever, with brilliant writing and superb performances. We couldn’t be more thrilled that new and returning Doctor Who fans tuned into the live première in record numbers and we look forward to bringing more of The Doctor to this passionate audience.'
Press reaction to this year's Doctor Who series première was overwhelmingly - and pleasingly - positive, with most of the reviewers enjoying the storyline and the performances in the episode. Rare praise for the BBC came from some arsehole of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail whose reviewer thought 'Doctor Who was ridiculously good - a sharp, fast, thrilling, piece of historic, futuristic, television: the BBC at its best.' The Torygraph was less convinced by the episode's storyline but more by its lead actor. 'Rarely has a show been so dependent on the skills of a single actor - and Capaldi is a good one: able to bring just enough emotional depth to a comicbook caper to render it dramatic.' The Mirra thought the show belonged to Missy. 'Michelle Gomez steals the episode as the demented Time Lady who kills for fun and prances around in the face of greater evil.' While the Scum Express thought the episode should have been Peter Capaldi's first episode. 'The Davros genesis story is a stroke of genius by Steven Moffat. We've seen the maniacal Nazi-esque creator of the Daleks as a craggy old man, hellbent on destroying The Doctor, but rarely have we seen how the mad genius came to be. And that's exactly what fans got with this episode.' The Gruniad Morning Star also enjoyed Julian Bleach's performance as Davros. 'The bleak devastation he wreaks by the end of the episode is more powerful than any madcap plot to enslave the universe that has come before. And Julian Bleach, returning to the role, wrings every drop of menace,' wrote some Middle Class hippy Communist glake. The Evening Standard called the episode a 'gripping start to the latest series. Ray-Bans on, an electric guitar swinging from your neck. To the ever-expanding list of abilities that the last(ish) of the Time Lords has, we can now definitively add one more: Doctor Who can shred.' Patrick Mulkern in Radio Times called the young Davros a 'brilliant idea' and said the episode rattles along 'with barely a bum note', with the gradual reveal of Skaro being beautifully realised. In the US, Entertainment Weekly said 'From the minute the Doctor's sonic screwdriver flies through the air and lands at the feet of a child yet to be named, The Magician's Apprentice feels like coming home', while Forbes thinks the show is back to its rare form and called the opener 'an edge-of-your-seat thriller for recent Who fans and absolute magic for old-school Whovians.' In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald praised Michelle Gomez, 'A breathtaking performance as Missy, full of gasps, one-liners, moments that lurch from underplayed to overplayed in a breath.' CNET described the show as 'one of the most idea-packed and high-stakes episodes I can remember', while IGN said it was a 'cracking opener to the season with a combination of exciting action, creepy visuals, and tense situations.' TV.com said the 'episode made me care about Doctor Who and its characters by playing on the show's strengths - especially the relationship between The Doctor and The Master, who's still stealing scenes thanks to a perfect performance from Michelle Gomez.'
The Magician's Apprentice had an Audience Appreciation - or AI - score of eighty four. The Appreciation Index is a measure of how much the audience enjoyed the programme. The score, out of a hundred, is compiled by a specially selected panel of around five thousand people who go online and rate and comment on programmes. Any score above eighty for drama is considered to be 'good'. The score for this specific episode is slightly above the average of the previous series of Doctor Who which drew 83.3 per episode. Fifty two per cent of the viewers responding, 'strongly' agreed the programme was 'Fresh and New'.
There's a very good interview with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) on why he decided to bring Davros back in the latest Radio Times. Check it out here.
A further example of the way in which general viewing habits are changing could be found on Sunday evening, as Downton Abbey's return topped the overnight ratings, but also suffered a drop of eight hundred thousand punters from last year's series opener. The ITV costume drama averaged 7.39 million at 9pm, which is down from last year's equivalent overnight of 8.11m. Again, the BBC News website were on the case although this time, they seem to have discovered 'context'. Lordy, issa miracle. Earlier, The X Factor's Boot Camp stage also dipped by around one hundred thousand from the previous week's overnight audience to 6.84m at 7pm for its two-hour edition. On BBC1, Countryfile appealed to 5.42m at 7pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 5.67m at 8pm and the latest adaptation of The Go-Between with 2.56m at 9pm. BBC2's repeat of Top Gear attracted 1.04m at 8pm, while Special Forces was seen by 1.30m at 9pm and Match Of The Day 2 scored 1.85m at 10pm. On Channel Four, the second episode of This Is England '90 gathered 1.21m at 9pm, down around three hundred thousand from last week's opener. Channel Five's showing of the disaster movie 2012 attracted 1.12m at 6.30pm followed by Celebrity Big Brother with 1.10m at 9pm.

Doc Martin remained the top overnight attraction on Monday nights outside soaps, rising by around four hundred viewers from the previous week. The ITV drama starring Martin Clunes averaged 5.86 million at 9pm. Earlier, Britain As Seen On ITV appealed to 2.52m at 8pm. On BBC1, Rugby & The Brain drew 1.74m at 8.30pm, followed by All Change At Longleat with 2.83m at 9pm. BBC2's big night of the week saw University Challenge being watched by 2.91m at 8pm, while Only Connect had 2.19m at 8.30pm. Michael Mosley's Countdown To Life was watched by 1.56m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Jamie's Super Food brought in 1.24m at 8pm, followed by Food Unwrapped with 1.49m at 8.30pm and The Catch with eight hundred and twenty four thousand punters at 9pm. Channel Five's Police Interceptors was watched by eight hundred and ninety seven thousand at 8pm, followed by the latest Celebrity Big Brother with 1.32m at 9pm. On BBC3, Girls Can Code concluded with one hundred and twenty nine thousand viewers at 9pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes for week-ending Sunday 13 September 2015:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 12.00m
2 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 8.80m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.92m
4 Doctor Foster - Wed BBC1 - 7.58m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.43m
6 An Inspector Calls - Sun BBC1 - 6.82m
7 Doc Martin - Mon ITV - 5.95m*
7 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 5.76m
8 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 5.42m*
9 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.36m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.29m
11= Euro 2016 Qualifiers: England Versus Switzerland - Tues ITV - 5.08m
11= BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.08m
13 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 4.74m
14 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.61m
15 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.58m
16 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 4.56m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.81m
18 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.26m
19 Last Night Of The Proms - Sat BBC1 - 4.24m
20 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.11m
21 Eat Well For Less - Thurs BBC1 - 3.88m
22 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.70m
23 Ripper Street - Fri BBC1 - 3.59m
24 The Trails Of Jimmy Rose - Sun ITV - 3.53m*
Those programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. The Sunday episode of The X Factor drew an audience of 8.13 million. For BBC2, the second episode of Danny Baker's autobiography adaptation Cradle To Grave attracted 2.62m punters, whilst the audiences brought in by University Challenge (also 2.62m), The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (2.56m), Only Connect (2.42m), Gardeners' World (2.02m), The Hairy Bikers' Northern Exposure (two million viewers) and Bletchley Park: Code-Breaking's Forgotten Genius (1.95m) were also above-average for the network. The return of Gogglebox was a major boost for Channel Four, whose top-rated broadcasts aside from that were Grand Designs (2.97m), Hunted (2.61m), This Is England '90 (2.24m), Food Unwrapped (1.79m) and Location, Location, Location (1.72m). Channel Five's highest-rated shows were several episodes of Celebrity Big Brother (Thursday's 1.92m being, depressingly, the largest) and The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door (1.13m). BBC4's highest-rated show of the week was BBC Four Sessions (seven hundred and seventy eight thousand). Timeshift: A Very British Map also attracted a big audience for the channel (six hundred and ninety six thousand) whilst Canals: The Making Of A Nation drew five hundred and fifteen thousand. Sky Sports 1's coverage of Live Saturday Night Football - featuring the clash a'tween The Scum and Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws - was watched by 1.80m viewers. England cricket team's victory over Australia in Tuesday's fourth Live ODI Cricket had three hundred and two thousand viewers on Sky Sports 2. Gillette Soccer Saturday was, of course, Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast - four hundred and fifty one thousand. Endeavour was ITV3's top-rated programme (seven hundred and ninety three thousand), followed by Midsomer Murders (seven hundred and forty thousand) and Lewis (six hundred and ninety nine thousand). On ITV4, Cycling: Tour Of Britain Highlights attracted three hundred and forty seven thousand. BBC3's weekly-list was topped by Don't Tell The Bride (seven hundred and twenty one thousand). 5USA's Chicago PD attracted four hundred and forty eight thousand viewers. The opening episode Ballers (four hundred and ninety one thousand) was Sky Atlantic's weekly list-topper, followed by Ray Donovan (two hundred and forty five thousand) and Aquarius (one hundred and twenty seven thousand thousand). Sky Living's most-watched dramas were Madam Secretary (four hundred and seventy three thousand viewers) and Chicago Fire (four hundred and forty four thousand). Sky Arts' broadcast of the terrific documentary The Hollies Story: Look Through Any Window drew eight three thousand punters - mostly ageing Mods like this blogger and also stuck around for another showing of The Story Of The Jam: About The Young Idea which had sixty eight thousand. As did Bee Gees: One Night Only. Very under-rated act, The Bee Gees, this blogger has always thought. Anyway, On Dave, Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Good(ish) was the channel's highest-rated programme of the week - five hundred sixty five thousand - followed by Suits (four hundred and thirty thousand), Room 101 (three hundred and forty six thousand), Mock The Week (three hundred and twenty nine thousand) and Qi (three hundred and fifteen thousand). Drama's Dalziel & Pascoe attracted three hundred and sixty four thousand viewers. Watch's broadcast of The Strain was seen by four hundred and nine thousand. Yesterday's Raiders Of The Lost Past had an audience of one hundred and fifty nine thousand viewers, whilst a repeat of Tony Robinson's social history documentary Blitz Street drew one hundred and fifty seven thousand. Now that Marvel's Agent Carter has concluded, FOX's highest-rated shows were The Fixer (three hundred and twenty two thousand), American Dad! (two hundred and eighty one thousand), Family Guy (one hundred and seventy two thousand), Backstrom (one hundred and seventy one thousand) and several episodes of NCIS (Wednesday's being the most-watched with one hundred and twenty one thousand). Another episode of NCIS - a different one, obviously, as they always are! - topped CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and forty one thousand). The world's most-watched drama also featured in the top ten lists of both 5USA and the Universal Channel, the latter of which was headed by Major Crimes (two hundred and thirty three thousand). On the Discovery Channel, the popular Wheeler Dealers (helped by a really cool trailer using Roy Budd's Get Carter theme music) was watched by three hundred and ninety two thousand viewers whilst The Krays: The Prison Years (the trailer for which was soundtracked with Mary Hopkins' 'Those Were The Days', a necessary difference, one feels) had an audience of two hundred and forty six thousand. Deadliest Catch had two hundred and seventeen thousand, Running Wild With Bear Grylls two hundred and seven thousand (you'd think more people would want to watch Kate Winslett dangling from a clifftop and shitting in her own pants, wouldn't you?), Mythbusters one hundred and eighty five thousand and Alaskan Bush People one hundred and fifty seven thousand. An older episode of Wheeler Dealers also topped Discovery Turbo's weekly list (seventy nine thousand). A repeat of The Krays: The Prison Years also topped Discovery History's top ten with forty six thousand (which, for that channel is about double the size of the usual audience for its top-rated show). Greatest Tank Battles had twenty four thousand viewers. The Discovery Science channel drew fifty thousand viewers for How It's Made. CI's Unusual Suspects brought in sixty two thousand whilst Britain's Darkest Taboos drew thirty six thousand. ID's Evil Kin was watched by seventy nine thousand thousand and The Perfect Murder by sixty nine thousand. National Geographic's SOS had an audience of ninety nine thousand viewers and Eden's South Pacific was seen by thirty two thousand. The never-ending repeat run of Only Fools & Horses on GOLD's attracted two hundred and one thousand whilst Blaackadder's Most Cunning Moments had one hundred and thirty two thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and ninety thousand). On ITV Encore, Vera was watched by eighty seven thousand viewers. TLC's weekly-list was topped by Devious Maids which was seen by one hundred and fifty five thousand.

That Sherlock/Doctor Who crossover is 'not going to happen' according to The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE). Not that anybody with a single sliver of brains between their ears thought for a single second that it was ever going to. Speaking to Collider, The Moff said: 'That's a question that I get asked so often, and I can't keep answering it. It's all right for Doctor Who. That's fine. But it would change Sherlock's life, if he met The Doctor and knew that time travel was possible. He'd have to factor that into every crime he solved. And do we really think that Sherlock Holmes lived through a Dalek invasion? I don't think he did. I think he'd have mentioned it by now. It's not going to happen. That's just the truth of it.' On any possible interaction between the pair, Moffat added: 'I suspect it's a bit like when the Doctors meet. It's fantastic, at the beginning and then you think, "What the hell am I going to do with three of the bastards?" It's just weird. You don't really need more than one person like that in a show.'
The very excellent John Cooper Clarke - a particular favourite of yer actual Keith Telly Topping - was interviewed in the Metro this week and noted his pleasure that his poem 'Evidently, Chickentown' had been used in the penultimate episode of The Sopranos thus bringing his extraordinary body of work to wider - and younger - US audience. And truly extraordinary it was too. Asked if there were any other shows he fancied getting on, John replied: 'The Simpsons. I'd like to be Sideshow Bob's smarter brother!' Matt Groening, make it happen!
The Grand Dame her very self David Bowie has written the title song for Sky Atlantic's new John Hurt and Samantha Morton drama The Last Panthers – his first original music for a film or TV show for twenty years since The Buddha Of Suburbia. Bowie, who released his first studio CD for a decade, The Next Day, two years ago - and rather good it was too - recorded a new song for the diamond heist drama after a 'meeting of minds' with the series director, Johan Renck. Renck said: 'I was looking for one of the icons of my youth to write the music for the title sequence, but was presented with a God.' Renck, who has directed series including Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead as well as music videos by Madonna, Beyonce, Lana Del Ray and New Order, added: 'His first response was precise, engaged and curious. The piece of music he laid before us embodied every aspect of our characters and the series itself – dark, brooding, beautiful and sentimental (in the best possible incarnation of this word). All along, the man inspired and intrigued me and as the process passed, I was overwhelmed with his generosity. I still can't fathom what actually happened.' A six-part drama, The Last Panthers is a co-production between Sky and French broadcaster Canal+ and will be broadcast in November. It opens with a daring diamond robbery before delving into the 'dark heart of Europe where a shadowy alliance of gangsters and "banksters" now rule,' said Sky. Sounds pretty good. This blogger will probably watch that.

The BBC has extremely won a case against Russian TV channel RT, which claimed - entirely falsely - that the corporation had faked a report on Syria. The station suggested the BBC had 'staged' a chemical weapons attack for a news report and digitally altered the words spoken by an interviewee. The BBC, unsurprisingly, complained to Ofcom about this disgraceful slur, saying that the 'incredibly serious' allegations struck 'at the heart' of its obligations to accuracy and impartiality. Ofcom ruled that elements of the RT programme were 'materially misleading'. Or, in other words, they were lying. It also said the BBC had been treated 'unfairly' by the programme, called The Truthseeker, as it was not given a opportunity to address the allegations - and dismiss them with the contempt they deserved - before the programme was broadcast. Separately, Ofcom said that another episode of The Truthseeker was guilty of a further 'serious breach' of the broadcasting code. The episode, titled Genocide Of Eastern Ukraine, contained claims - against, seemingly entirely false - that the Ukrainian government was deliberately bombing civilians in the East of the country, had murdered and tortured journalists and carried out other acts such as 'crucifying babies.' Ukrainian army forces were accused of 'ethnic cleansing' and were compared to the Nazis in World War Two. The programme had 'little or no counterbalance or objectivity', Ofcom ruled. The only response to the allegations in the broadcast was in the form of a caption saying 'Kiev claims it is not committing genocide, denies casualty reports", which appeared on screen for six seconds. Ofcom said that viewers expected the programme to tackle controversial global events from a Russian perspective - but that it had broken a rule designed to ensure impartiality in coverage of controversial political subjects. TV Novosti cancelled The Truthseeker and removed all previous episodes from its website as a result of the complaints, Ofcom noted. The allegations about the BBC were contained in a thirteen-minute episode entitled The Truthseeker: Media "staged" Syria Chem Attack. Broadcast in March 2014, it opened with footage of wounded people lying on the floor of a room, while the presenter said: 'The British Broadcasting Corporation is accused of staging [a] chemical weapons attack.' Shortly afterwards, the presenter said: 'August 2013 and NATO leaders can't get the public onside for the imminent bombing of Syria. Suddenly the BBC says it was filming a small rural hospital and a game-changing atrocity happens right there the moment they were filming.' The programme went on to allege that the BBC altered an interview with a doctor, replacing the word 'napalm' with the phrase 'chemical weapon.' And it claimed that the BBC's report, by the journalist Ian Pannell, had resulted in 'a massive public investigation which made some extremely disturbing findings.' Ofcom said that the 'massive public investigation' was, in fact, three letters of complaint to the BBC by one Robert Stuart, alleging that several news reports from Syria had featured 'faked' footage. According to RT, Stuart's allegations remained 'unanswered' by the BBC - but the corporation told Ofcom that his complaints had, in fact, been 'denied and rejected with detailed reasons' before The Truthseeker was broadcast. Because they were crap. In its response to Ofcom, TV Novosti, which owns and operates RT, said: 'Stuart's investigation might fairly be described as "massive"' - which, it really can't - but it accepted that 'the description of Mr Stuart's complaint might have been misleading.' It maintained that the BBC's footage 'clearly was faked' - which it wasn't - adding that 'any damage to the reputation and good name of the BBC [was] self-inflicted.' Which it also wasn't. Regarding the accuracy of the BBC's reports, Ofcom said it was 'not possible or appropriate' for the regulator 'to attempt to prove or disprove the allegations made about the BBC.' The BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit found there were no grounds whatsoever to uphold any aspects of Stuart's complaint or of TV Novosti's repeating of those allegations. Instead, Ofcom said that its role was to rule on whether any elements of RT's programme were 'materially misleading.' Which they were. Ofcom said that the description of Stuart's complaint as a 'massive public investigation' had the effect 'of elevating the various opinions expressed to the firm conclusions of a significant and detailed official investigation.' It ruled: 'We did not consider that viewers would have clearly understood that the "massive public investigation" was a complaint by a [single] member of the public to the BBC which had been responded to, in detail, by the BBC and that it was also based on a number of online articles detailing individuals' opinions.' RT has been directed to broadcast a summary of Ofcom's decision that its programme was misleading. In response to the ruling, the BBC said: 'We welcome this decision not only on behalf of the BBC but of the victims of the attack we reported and the brave medics who struggled to save their lives. This impartial, fearless and award-winning reporting in Syria from Ian Pannell, Darren Conway and their team demonstrated the journalistic values which make us one of the world's most trusted news broadcasters.' Reacting to Ofcom's conclusion that RT had breached the regulator's code in four cases, editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said she was 'shocked and disappointed in Ofcom's decision.'
The BBC is regarded as the 'mother of all public service broadcasting' and should be protected from 'political meddling', a group of European media bosses has said. In a letter to the Gruniad Morning Star, the heads of seven Nordic public service broadcasters urged the UK to 'protect' the BBC's independence, saying that a diminished BBC would risk reducing Britain's standing in the world. They also noted that many foreign broadcasters – including their own – had used the BBC as a template. 'No creative organisation in the world is as well known and has such a reputation for quality as the BBC. That reputation reflects on Britain as a whole. Every day, all over the world, on all continents, the BBC's programmes and services inform, educate and entertain millions of people. The international standing of the BBC would be unthinkable without a broad remit at home. Diminishing the BBC at home risks diminishing Britain abroad,' they wrote. The letter was written in response to growing concern over the government's sick agenda-soaked plans for the BBC, which have already seen it told to take on the seven hundred million knicker cost of funding free licence fees for the over seventy fives. The BBC has said that the government's Green Paper on its future which questions the universal remit of the corporation, appears to 'herald a much diminished, less popular BBC.' Signatories to the letter included Cilla Benkö, Hanna Stjärne and Christel Tholse Willers, the Director Generals of Sweden's three public service broadcasters. They were joined by Maria Rørbye Rønn and Thor Gjermund Eriksen, the heads of public media organisations in Denmark and Norway, respectively. The other signatories were public service broadcaster Director Generals Lauri Kivinen of Finland and Magnús Geir Þórðarson of Iceland. Although quite why they sent the latter to the Gruniad instead of, you know, to the government where it might have done a bit of good is a question only they can answer. In the letter, they wrote: 'The idea of public service broadcasting was born in Britain. Free from political and commercial interests, its main pillar is independence and the idea of putting citizens first. Like the BBC in Britain, we Nordic public service broadcasters all rank among the most trusted media companies in our own countries, thanks to our independence. The BBC's independence comes from its institutional history and culture as well as from its regulatory structure, including how remit and funding decisions are made. Changes to the system should serve to strengthen the independence of the broadcaster, not weaken it. This is especially important in the case of the UK, as the British model is often viewed as a model for how the media should be organised in new democracies.' Speaking to the Gruniad, Benkö, who is also a European Broadcasting Union board member, said that she and her colleagues were 'concerned' about the discussions around BBC funding. 'Trust is a key word for a public service broadcaster. The funding has to be stable and long term and as far away from political influence as possible. There should be an open debate about it and, if any further changes are proposed, they should be put forward to the entire parliament for an agreement. We are also concerned about proposals that would hamper the possibility for the BBC to develop in all areas. A public service broadcaster has to be available to everyone, including to those who choose to consume media solely online or via social media.'

Jonathan Dimbleby is set to accuse billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire of 'seeking to destroy' the corporation so that it can profit from its demise. In a strongly-worded lecture, which he will deliver at the annual Prix Italia awards on Tuesday, the veteran broadcaster accuses the Sun in particular of 'cynically misrepresenting' the corporation to its readers because of its 'vested financial interest in reducing the BBC's scope and influence.' The seventy one-year-old – the son of BBC stalwart Richard Dimbleby and brother of presenter David – will say that his employer faces an 'era of extraordinary uncertainty.' In a broad-ranging speech seen, Dimbles attacks opponents of free speech around the world and claims that the BBC is one of the best defences against propaganda and falsehood in the Internet age. He also criticises its 'ideological opponents' on the Conservative backbenches, claiming that the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale has an 'agenda' - and a sick one at that - to 'cut the BBC down.' But, he reserves his strongest words for the BBC's 'enemies in the media', in particular Murdoch's British newspaper stable of The Times, The Sunday Times and the Sun. He will say: 'Principle among these [enemies] – but not alone – is News UK, which is owned by News Corp, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who owns FOX, which, in case you wondered, is the parent company of Sky.' Dimbleby is set to claim that billionaire tyrant Murdoch's newspapers 'deliberately exaggerate' and 'invent' BBC 'scandals' by drumming up fake controversy 'with the help of Conservative MPs.' He says that the row over the BBC's decision to broadcast an episode of Songs Of Praise from the migrant camp in Calais last month was a fine example of such 'biased reporting.' He says: 'Under the banner headline Hymnigrants – BBC BLASTED, the Sun reported: "BBC Chiefs spark outrage." Further down, it cited its source for the alleged "outrage" – its only source: a Conservative backbencher. Never mind that the Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the fact that Songs Of Praise was to celebrate the "love of Christ" in a makeshift Ethiopian church. Or that the programme contained no political content. The Sun's message was clear: the BBC is run by a bunch of lefties who are soft on immigration.' Dimbles will suggest the main reason for News UK's hostility to the BBC is commercial rather than ideological. He says: 'News Corp and its ilk have a vested financial interest in reducing the BBC's scope and influence in the hope that the edifice will tumble leaving a gaping hole in the market for them to fill. They and their cronies in Westminster care not a jot for balance or fairness but are doing their best to shape the outcome of the negotiations over the renewal of the BBC's charter – effectively its license to broadcast.' Dimbles will also criticise the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale. He will claim that the lack of culture secretary has an 'anti-BBC agenda' and that his panel of eight people to 'advise him' on BBC charter renewal 'have vested interests or roles in the media or private sector.' Dimbleby will assert that reducing the scope of the BBC to just a few genres such as news and drama would have 'disastrous consequences', adding: 'It would tailspin down into a broadcasting vortex.' Elsewhere in his lecture, Dimbles is set to claim that the West faces an 'insidious and growing' threat to free speech. He will attack laws that seek to curb the freedom of expression, including the UK's Public Order Act, and criticises University College London for pressuring Nobel-winning scientist Sir Tim Hunt to resign after making an apparently sexist joke. Dimbleby resigned his honorary fellowship at the university in June over its treatment of the biologist, who prompted 'a Twitter backlash' when he suggested women shouldn't work with men in the laboratory because they fall in love and cry. Although it later emerged that his comments were intended to be tongue-in-cheek, his resignation was accepted by UCL's governing body. In his speech, Dimbleby will accept Sir Tim's comments were 'a bad joke', but will say he was 'appalled' by the university's 'craven disregard for justice and fairness.'

Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox, who plays Rita Sullivan in the long-running soap, is in 'fine form' and 'poised' for Wednesday's live episode, a producer has told the BBC. It follows the Mirra's report that the production was 'in chaos' after eighty one-year-old Knox was forced to miss a 'crucial rehearsal' for the live show after falling ill. But assistant producer Ella Kelly told Radio 5Live that they had spoken to the actress and she would be taking part. The live episode is to help celebrate ITV's sixtieth anniversary. Coronation Street last broadcast a live episode to mark its own fiftieth anniversary in December 2010, attracting more than fourteen million viewers. Kelly told 5Live's Afternoon Edition on Tuesday that the cast and crew were all in 'fine form' and 'poised for the run-through tonight.' She added: 'There's just such a buzz in the building. All the actors in one space is just amazing.' Kelly also spoke about last week's announcement that producer Stuart Blackburn will be leaving at the end of the year and is being replaced by Emmerdale's Kate Oakes. 'There's no surprise, it's something that happens as part of these shows that people reach the end of their tenure,' said Kelly, adding: 'We're really sad to see Stuart go. He's just seen a wonderful exit for Hayley which brought regularly over ten million viewers, which is incredible, and two BAFTAs for us. So it's all mixed emotions really,' she said.

A FAUX News programme which claimed that Birmingham was a city 'where non-Muslims just simply don't go' - instead of being merely a city with a couple of not-very-good football teams - breached broadcasting regulations and should have been corrected sooner, the media regulator Ofcom has ruled. The comments were made in an edition of the Justice With Judge Jeanine [Pirro] show about Islamic extremism which was broadcast four days after the attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Four people complained to Ofcom after the broadcast on 11 January, saying that the assertions were 'misleading' and 'potentially offensive'. Not to mention untrue and risible. The programme also suggested there were 'no-go zones' in Paris which French police were 'unwilling to enter' and where 'sharia law was imposed.' Which, there are not or anything even remotely like it. Ofcom said that the broadcast was 'materially misleading and had the potential to cause harm and offence to viewers' at a time of 'heightened sensitivity' following the Hebdo attack. It added that it was 'concerned that the licensee [FAUX News] had 'not acted sooner' to correct the - clearly inaccurate - statements or 'to broadcast an apology.' One of the programme's guests, Steve Emerson, an alleged 'except' on terrorism, said: 'In Britain there are not just "no-go zones". There are actually cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don't go in. [In parts] of London there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn't dress according to Muslim religious attire.' I think it's the repeated use of 'actually' that makes it comedy genius. Earlier Pirro asked another guest, Nolan Peterson: 'There are areas called "no-go zones" where apparently the French police will not go [and] Sharia laws [are] imposed. These are dangerous areas in the ghetto [Peterson indicated his agreement]. What can you tell us about those?' Peterson replied: 'There are basically portions of the banlieues, which are the French ghettos that the French authorities have abandoned. They don't provide an ambulance service, they don't provide police service.' FAUX News, following some days of being laughed at by everybody in the whole world, bar none, for the rank stupidity, eventually carried two apologies seven days after the initial broadcast in which they admitted to 'a serious factual error' that it 'wrongly let stand unchallenged and uncorrected.' It told Ofcom that there was 'always a risk involved when inviting guests to a live programme.' Particular guests who haven't got a frigging clue what they're talk about, one could suggest. The regulator didn't, seemingly, think much of that excuse and, in its ruling published on Monday, said that the programme was 'clearly misleading' and added it was 'particularly concerned about the context in which these statements were made at a time of heightened sensitivity in the wake of the Hebdo attack.' FAUX News has previously been found to be extremely 'in breach' by Ofcom on several occasions, including the broadcast of a live car chase in 2013. An Ofcom spokesperson said: 'Fox News' Justice With Jeanine Pirro [sic] was materially misleading and could have caused harm and offence to its viewers. Fox News broadcast two subsequent apologies but this was a serious breach for a current affairs programme.'

A friend and regular dear blog reader alerted yer actual Keith Telly Topping to this earlier in the week. And then, Colin wonders why he came thirteenth out of twelve.
Coming back from the shops on Tuesday morning this blogger passed the school at the top of the road where Stately Telly Topping Manor is situated and noticed a bunch of younglings on bikes in the playground weaving through traffic cones doing what yer actual Keith Telly Topping imagines is the modern equivalent of the Cycling Proficiency Test. Which, thanks to my mate Danny, I now know is called Bikeability. Eee, that takes this blogger back. Keith Telly Topping has still got the badge wot he received for passing his test in June 1973 (the very day that England lost to Poland in World Cup qualifier, as it happens. Odd the thing you remember, isn't it?)
On Monday, the Daily Scum Mail published astounding claims, apparently made in a soon-to-be-published book co-written by the former Tory party treasurer Lord Ashcroft.
The reports suggests that the book will allegedly 'quote' an - anonymous - alleged 'source' who alleges that the Prime Minister once belonged to an alleged 'debauched Oxford society' which, allegedly, specialised in alleged 'bizarre rituals and sexual excess' and that, allegedly, during his alleged initiation ceremony into this alleged society, the future Prime Minister (he's not alleged incidentally, he definitely exists) allegedly 'put a private part of his anatomy' into an alleged dead pig's mouth. Allegedly. It's the alleged pig this bloger feels the most sorry for, incidentally. Furthermore, the alleged 'source' of this allegation, allegedly claims to have allegedly seen alleged photographic evidence of the alleged incident with the alleged pig. Personally, this blogger can't see what all of the fuss is about over David Cameron allegedly fucking a dead pig. After all, he's been fucking sixty two million Britons for the last five years on a daily basis and nobody's said a word about that. That bit is also not alleged, if you were wondering. Of course the Prime Minister, or rather, his spokesperson, denied all of this embarrassing malarkey. Which was, perhaps, inevitable as it's difficult to see how the PM himself could deny the claims without sounding like a cross between Bill Clinton and Farmer Bob. And, obviously, the second there was an 'official' denial a non-story immediately became a full blown story, with some headline writers appearing to be having some creative fun in avoiding using porcine puns.
All of this does, however, somewhat call into question David Cameron's repeated claims in the past to have been such a big fan of The Smiths and The Jam in his younger days. Surely, he would have been more of a Pink Floyd man? Or, Pinky & Perky, perhaps? In fact, David Cameron is well know to be a keen cyclists, is he not? Suddenly it all starts to make sense, as the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day can now exclusively reveal.
After all, as one of Dangerous Dave's predecessors noted ...

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