Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Girl Who Died: Our Unsleepable Friend Gets The Message Of An Ill-Wind

They come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow. And all that.

'Doctor, help me! 'Yes, you're the very next thing on The List!'
'It's halfway up my leg.' 'Don't worry, it's probably just hungry!'
'I do have a plan.' 'So you kept saying. For two days. On a longboat.'
'People talk about premonition as though it's strange. It's not, it's just remembering in the wrong direction!'
'Go! Now! Go find Vikings on other planets. The universe is full of testosterone. Trust me, it's unbearable.'
'What are you going to do, raise crops at them?'
'I applaud your bravery but I deplore your stupidity. And, I will mourn your deaths which will be terrifying, painful and, without honour.'
'He's just warming up, he hasn't got a plan yet. But, he will have. And, it'll be spectacular.'
'A good death is the best anyone can hope for. Unless you happen to be immortal.'
'You're always talking about what you can and can't do, but you never tell me the rules.' 'We're time travellers. We tread softly. It's okay to make ripples, but not tidal waves.'
'Winning is all about looking happier than the other guy!'

This may surprise you all, dear blog reader, but yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought that was ...  bloody great. Not quite as bloody great as the last four episodes, admittedly, but still pretty bloody great in andof itself nonetheless.
      'I'm reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I'll bet that means something, it sounds great!' That is all.

Except to say that next week's episode looks, from the evidence of the trailer, to be uncannily like the movie Plunkett & Macleane. Which will mean that this blogger won't think it was great, he'll think it was fabulous. And a bloody good laugh.
       Come on, I'm working with the material I'm given, all right?
And now, dear blog reader ...
The website movieplot.com - no, me neither I'm afraid - has claimed that 'inside sources' have 'revealed' Peter Capaldi is, allegedly, set to hand over the keys to the TARDIS in the closing months of 2016, in an alleged two-part special allegedly set on the planet of The Cybermen. Which might or might not be true but, given that the entire article is based on unattributed comments from anonymous alleged 'sources' dear blog readers are - as usual - advised to treat all this with a vast salt-mine full of salt until such times as somebody vaguely connected to either the BBC or the production actually confirms some of this. The alleged 'news', they continue, comes two months after Private Eye exclusively 'revealed' - for which read 'alleged' - that there would be no full, thirteen episode series next year due to the BBC's (or, more specifically, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat's) commitments with Sherlock, something which the BBC have, pointedly neither confirmed or denied to date. 'We have since learned through private sources that the 2016 series will instead be comprised of three, seventy-five minute specials; with a final fourth special airing on New Years day 2017, where The Doctor will change his appearance once more,' the website claims citing no evidence other than these alleged 'inside' and 'private' alleged 'sources'. Who are also curiously anonymous. And, therefore, more likely than not fictitious. The specials, they allege, will begin in September 2016, with a story featuring The Autons 'set in dystopian Japan' and will also feature the show's first ever Halloween-centric episode. The TARDIS is then set to materialise on Mondas, the home-world of The Cybermen, for the final two-part story which will span over Christmas and New Years Day. The tale allegedly 'serves as a televised origin story for the men in silver, as The Doctor controversially goes back to their day of creation.' However it, allegedly, 'ends in tragedy, as the events that unfold force The Doctor to regenerate for the thirteenth time.' Interestingly, however, the author of this piece, one Keith Sorbet's only other contribution to that particular website appears to directly contradict the contents of this one. 'There is currently no word on who will replace Capaldi,' Sorbet concludes, 'however our sources indicate that legendary actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg is being eyed for the role.' Yes, of course she is. I think someone might have been having you on, there Keith, baby. I'll tell you what, dear blog reader, I've got more chance of being the next Doctor than Whoopi Goldberg. Next ...

Yer actual Maisie Williams hr very self has spoken about what a 'joy' it was to work on Doctor Who after coming across a string of 'badly written' female characters whose only job was to support the male star. Williams, who plays Arya Stark in HBO's fantasy epic Game Of Thrones, said: 'I didn't realise when I was younger that women were written so badly, but going further into this career I realised there are a lot of really bad characters, that it's not common to come across females who aren't just "the girlfriend". You can't pick and choose everything, but I hope to never have to play a character that is only there to benefit a male lead,' she told the new issue of Radio Times. In the same issue of the listings magazine, another British actress, Emily Blunt, said that constantly discussing sexism in Hollywood could make the problem worse. The Devil Wears Prada and Sicario star said: 'Sure, I've experienced sexism. But not that often any more. I do think I'm coming from a place of more confidence now because I've been doing this for fourteen years and my opinion is more valued that it used to be. But I sometimes feel that we can exacerbate the problem by talking about it more. I think you can keep talking about it and create more and more of a stamp of divide. I think we need to do more and stop talking about it.' Blunt, who - for some bizarre reason - apologised last month after saying that her newly acquired US citizenship was 'a terrible mistake', told Radio Times that initiatives like encouraging more female writers were the answer. 'We need to come up with practical solutions – like creating programmes to encourage female writers – rather than celebrating women who are already doing all right in Hollywood.' Bristol-born Williams appears in two episodes of Doctor Who, said: 'Peter [Capaldi] has been such a joy to work with. My brother was so excited when he heard I got the part, as was I. He's a wonderful, wonderful actor and I couldn't wait to meet him. He totally lived up to my expectations and I love that!' Williams was approached to play the character, Ashildr, a name derived from Old Norse which means 'battle God'. Showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) described these episodes, penned by Being Human's Jamie Mathieson, as 'the day when The Doctor remembers where he's seen his own face before.' Williams said: 'I didn't know much about it, but I knew they were introducing a new character to work closely with The Doctor. I'd got through [reading] the second episode and absolutely loved it! I was going to do a tape but ran out of time because I was in America shooting another film, so my agent worked really hard and sent over lots of clips and videos – they liked them and gave me the role.' Earlier this year Williams also took part in the Channel Four documentary Cyberbully, and says that being famous can be 'scary, but it's what you have to do.' She added: 'I've stopped reading what people think now. It's easy for people to have an opinion online when they don't realise that there's actually Maisie Williams who's reading that and crying.'
This month Doctor Who Magazine looks ahead to the return of one of Doctor Who's most popular monsters, in the forthcoming two-part adventure The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion. Episode writer Peter Harness tells the magazine: 'There was a certain amount of fan outrage when Death In Heaven saw the apparent death of Osgood. Ingrid Oliver’s character was an instant hit on her first appearance in The Day Of The Doctor. While there may not have been questions asked in Parliament about her death, there were definitely some furious tweets on the subject! But now she's back.' And, of course, The Zygons are back too. 'One thing I really had in my head when I was writing it was the Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, and I think that's why it originally had the title Invasion Of The Zygons. I thought that if aliens wanted to fight us and they were fighting us from a position of weakness, they would look at how we fight wars. The Zygons are not only stealing our faces, but they're stealing the ways in which we fight each other nowadays.'
Yer actual John Hurt has spoken of his delight on receiving the latest assessment of his fight with Pancreatic Cancer. The much-loved actor was diagnosed with the disease last Summer. However speaking at the Man Booker Prize ceremony on Tuesday night in London,he revealed he had recently been given good news by doctors. 'I had a final scan and saw my oncologist and it's all gone brilliantly. I am overjoyed, I am thrilled. It all looks great for the future, it's fantastic.' His agent Charles Macdonald spoke to to BBC Radio Norfolk telling the station that John had a very good meeting with his oncologist. 'Sir John has been given very good news by his oncologist but it falls short of an all-clear. Nonetheless it's very good news.' The actor, who was knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours list, said he was 'wary' of using words like remission, even if true. Around eight thousand people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year, making it the eleventh most common cancer.
A new - animated - trailer for the forthcoming revival of The X-Files debuted on US TV on Monday night. And it's undoubtedly the coolest one yet.
The Walking Dead gave FOX's UK digital channel its highest overnight audience ever on Monday night, bringing in an average of eight hundred and fifty four thousand punters at 9pm. The season six premiere episode was, easily, the most-watched Pay TV channel for its time slot, and is expected to have at least two million consolidated viewers based on previous performances. Elsewhere, Channel Four's z-list celebrity edition of First Dates was watched by 1.72 million people with nothing better to do with their time at 9pm after Food Unwrapped gathered 1.62m at 8.30pm. ITV's coverage of England's final Euro 2016 Qualifier - a 3-0 victory over a very poor Lithuania side - scored 3.98m on average from 7.15pm. A rather quiet evening all round saw BBC1's Inside Out as the channel's most-watched show outside of soaps with 4.06m at 7.30pm. Crimewatch was seen by 3.14m at 9pm. On BBC2, University Challenge - in an episode which, according to some Interweb type-people who appear obsessed with this sort of thing, featured a chap who seemed to be scared every time the buzzer went - was watched by 2.57m at 8pm, followed by Only Connect with 2.18m at 8.30pm. Channel Five's Autopsy: Joan Rivers interested 1.07m sad, crushed victims of society at 9pm.

Stellan Skarsgård's BBC1 debut just edged out its rivals to top Tuesday night's ratings outside soaps. Abi Morgan's new drama, River was watched by an overnight average audience of 3.88 million at 9pm, beating ITV's latest episode of Lewis which attracted 3.55m in the same time slot. Earlier on ITV, z-list celebrity sports fiasco Eternal Glory limped on with a laughably piss-poor 1.78m at 8pm. On BBC2, Harvest 2015 brought in 2.29m at 8pm, followed by The Naked Choir with 1.61m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners appealed to 1.33m at 8pm, while Educating Cardiff continued with 1.12m at 9pm. Born In The Wrong Body had an audience of eight hundred and twenty four thousand viewers at 10pm. Channel Five's Yorkshire Vet interested 1.13m at 8pm, and CSI: Cyber was watched by six hundred and sixty two thousand at 10pm. On Sky 1, The Flash returned with five hundred and eighteen thousand viewers at 8pm.

'All murderers are punished eventually. Unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.' This blogger often whinges, dear blog reader, to anyone that will listen - and, indeed, anyone that wont - that there is simply nowhere near enough of From The North favourite Nicola Walker on his telly box. Imagine, therefore, this blogger's utter and barely contained joy at getting not one but two weekly doses of the divine Nic for next few weeks in both the Abi Morgan's new supernatural crime drama River and ITV's rather fine thriller Unforgotten. It's also, seemingly, a joy that is shared with the Daily Scum Mail's reviewer. Which proves that, like a broken clock, even the scummiest of louce newspapers can be right twice a day. 'She was singing, madly, to 'I Love To Love' by Tina Charles, and talking to the surly Swedish DI John River (Stellan Skarsgård) as if she were his daughter, patronising him but desperate to be liked. And then came the shock. Stevie was walking around with a hole in the back of her head the size of a frying pan. She was dead. She'd been dead all the time,' noted the paper. 'Here we had a miserable Nordic crimebuster whose partner was a ghost. River was a bizarre blend of Wallander and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased).' Yeah, pretty much. And, the problem with that is, what exactly? 'Writer Abi Morgan was so assured that she tripped us up with the same trick half-an-hour later. John River spent his evenings drinking alone and staring glumly out of windows, as all Swedish policemen do. But he lived with a young woman, apparently his daughter, who goaded him into life every morning - and who turned out to be another ghost, the shade of a victim in his current murder investigation. It wasn't explained why a Swede with heavy depression and an even heavier accent was working for the Metropolitan Police and it didn't matter. Nor did we need to ask why Thomas Cream, the infamous Nineteenth-Century Lambeth Poisoner, was an apparition lurking in the station cells, leaping out to taunt River. Eddie Marsan played the Victorian serial killer, speaking his arcane dialogue so well he ought to give lessons to the cast of Ripper Street. For all the press conferences and interview scenes, this was not really a police drama. It was a dissection of grief and of how life shrivels and unravels when brushed by death. Walker plays a similar role but a sharply different character in ITV's Unforgiven [sic], which launched last week: she's a senior detective, weighed down with experience, dragging her younger colleague along by the scruff of his neck as they investigate a forty-year-old crime. For fans of Nicola Walker, it’s going to be a great month. And for those who aren't fans - what's the matter with you?' Aye. What he said. Apart from the fact it's called Unforgotten not Unforgiven.
Stellan Skarsgård his very self has some strong opinions on the BBC. The Swedish actor said that the BBC 'cannot allow itself' to be quashed by the government. 'I don't think the BBC has the struggles - they've had struggles with the regimes in this country, that's different,' he said. 'It's so important for a society that wants to call itself civilised - and doesn't want to deteriorate - to have public broadcasting. The alternative is horrifying - because the alternative is 'the strongest survive. That means the one who sells his news best survives, which means we're gonna have FOX News all over the world. I mean, the stupidification of America. They have one hour every evening where you can see BBC News on PBS and that is the window of air when I'm in America. Now, of course, you can get a lot of information on the 'net, but that was the only time I could watch television and know I would get news, and not entertainment.' Skarsgård insisted that public broadcasting in the United Kingdom is 'something worth fighting for' and that it would be 'dangerous' not to support it. Testify, brother. 'If a country wants to be democratic, you have to have an educated electorate, and they have to be knowledgeable, and the only way to guarantee that is to have public television and public radio.' The Swedish actor was also not shy about expressing his views towards the current British government. 'I think the way you vote is despicable,' he said. 'We've had eight years now with a friend of David Cameron in Sweden - [Fredrik Reinfeldt, Swedish Prime Minister from 2006 to 2014] - and it has segregated the country badly.'

Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie's return for the eleventh series of The Apprentice wasn't the most-watched programme on Wednesday night, as the power of Princes William and Harry proved too much even for His Lordship his very self. The Apprentice attracted an average overnight audience of 6.35 million punters at 9pm on BBC1, which was down around three hundred thousand viewers from last year's series opener. However, that figure was up by three hundred thousand on the overnight for the first episode of the 2013 series. BBC2's new-look spin-off show You're Fired! brought in 1.87m at 10pm. The biggest hit of the night, however, was a 'special' (and, I use that word quite wrongly) DIY SOS featuring the two princes, as seven million brown-tongued slobbering punters tuned-in for a right good royal lick at 8pm. ITV couldn't compete with that, All-Star Mr & Mrs attracting but 2.75m at 8pm, followed by Land Of The Midnight Sun with a mere 2.65m at 9pm. Channel Four's Grand Designs appealed to 1.97m at 9pm, while Channel Five's Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away attracted 1.33m at 9pm. On Sky1, Arrow continued with four hundred and four thousand at 8pm, followed by You, Me & The Apocalypse with two hundred and twenty seven thousand at 9pm.

The Apprentice viewers may have been a touch upset with Dan's firing in episode one, as the series lost around eight hundred thousand overnight viewers for Thursday's follow-up. However, episode two did still top the night overall outside of soaps, as Lord Sugar-Sweetie's second candidate grilling brought in an average overnight audience of 5.52 million at 9pm on BBC1. You're Fired! was seen by 1.67m at 10pm on BBC2. Earlier, Watchdog appealed to 3.91m at 8pm, while Question Time had an audience of 2.38m at 10.35pm. BBC2's Cradle To Grave concluded with a two-parter, watched by 1.32m at 9pm and 1.19m at 9.30pm. On ITV, Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs rose by three hundred thousand punters week-on-week to 4.24m at 8.30pm, while Unforgotten dropped around seven hundred thousand from its premiere, the second episode being watched by 3.87m at 9pm. Channel Four's Amazing Spaces drew 1.60m at 8pm, followed by the Hunted finale with nine hundred and eighty eight thousand at 9pm and First Dates with nine hundred and seventy one thousand viewers at 10pm. On Channel Five, Chris Tarrant's Extreme Railways interested 1.02m at 9pm.

Is it just this blogger or does anyone else think that the character Trevor Eve is playing in Unforgotten is, well, let's not beat about the bush here, based more than a little bit on Lord Sugar-Sweetie? I mean, always given the fact that Alan Sugar is not, as far as we know, a potential murder suspect. Obviously.
'Nicola Walker is haunting the whole of television at the moment (she’s in River on Wednesdays, and I think I spotted her driving a combine in Harvest),' sneered some glake on no importance at the Gruniad. 'But here, as DCI Cassie Stuart, she's the magnetic centre grounding this sprawling story. In its plotting, Unforgotten shares some of Broadchurch's irritating desperation to keep the viewer guessing – at this stage it seems as if everybody killed Jimmy Sullivan – but there is also something pretty taut and complex at work. We're proceeding toward the answers from two directions: forward, through the police investigation, and backwards, through the cracks in some carefully papered-over pasts. Nice hippy Lizzie uses her chunky rings to cover up the faded skinhead tattoos on her knuckles. Father Greaves has been cooking the parish books. Sir Philip (a menacing Trevor Eve) was always going to have a sleazy back story, Eric Slater (Tom Courtenay) obviously did something awful in his more ambulatory days, and his wife, when she remembers anything, remembers that. There may be a few rough patches in the script, but the acting carries you right over them. Everybody’s good, but especially Walker. If anybody deserves to be playing two cops on two different shows on two different channels, it's her.'

The return of TFI Friday was seen by an average audience of 1.89 million overnight punters on Friday night on Channel Four. Featuring guests such as The U2 Group - featuring Mister Bonio, Mister The Edge and ... the other two - and former comedian Steve Coogan, the Chris Evans-hosted show peaked with 2.15 million viewers. It was followed by Gogglebox at 9pm, which was the channel's highest-rated show outside of soaps with 3.65 million. Alan Carr: Chatty Man was watched by 1.19 million. On BBC1, The ONE Show attracted 3.33 million at 7pm, followed by A Question Of Sport with 2.79 million and 2.21 million for Still Open All Hours at 8.30pm. Have I Got News For You was, soaps aside, the night's highest-rated show across all channels, seen by 3.85 million at 9pm, while sitcom flop The Kennedys dropped to a miserable 1.64 million at 9.30pm and The Graham Norton Show drew 3.04 million after the news. The Great British Bake Off: Masterclass started BBC2's evening with 1.82 million at 7pm, followed by 2.28 million for Mastermind and 2.31 million for Gardener's World. Later in the evening, Great Continental Railway Journeys and the start of the new - M - series of Qi drew respective audiences of 1.78 million and 1.57 million. In between two episodes of Coronation Street, ITV's Cheap Food - What's the Cost? was seen by 2.44 million, while Odious Oily Twat Piers Morgan's Life Stories with Warwick Davis attracted a small average audience of 2.35 million. A triple-bill of NCIS: New Orleans, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles pulled in respective audiences of eight hundred and sixty four thousand, eight hundred and two thousand and three hundred and sixty one thousand viewers for Channel Five.

TV Comedy Line Of the Week came, perhaps inevitably, from the return of Qi. In a fine episode, featuring Lucy Porter, Wor Geet Canny Ross Noble and Alan Davies all on terrific form, nevertheless, it was Matt Lucas who got the the most outstanding moment. When asked by Stephen Fry 'what's the most deadly thing you can find in a doctor's waiting room?' Lucas rolled back the years to when he was in Shooting Stars - ie. the last time he was funny - with the reply: 'A copy of the Daily Telegraph?' The second most hilarious thing on display was, undoubtedly, Stephen's bow-tie. What the hell was that all about? When Matt Smith said 'bow-ties are cool', you should know, there are exceptions.
An overnight series high of 4.63 million viewers watched Doctor Who: The Girl Who Died, according to initial viewing figures, an increase of around three hundred thousand overnight viewers on the audience for the previous episode. The episode had an Audience Appreciation Index score of eighty two. Doctor Who was the second highest rated show of the day, behind Strictly Come Dancing which had a whopping average of 9.66 million viewers, the highest of its current series. Strictly's peak came around 8pm with 10.58 million punters. The episode attracted an overnight audience approximately five hundred thousand larger than the equivalent episode last year. Casualty was third on a strong night for BBC1 with 4.61 million watching and The National Lottery Live was watched by 4.09 million. Earlier Pointless drew an audience of 3.78m. Rugby scored highest on ITV, but with none of the home countries playing, just 4.01 million watched New Zealand defeat France from 7.30pm, before the new series of The Jonathan Ross Show debuted with 1.71 million. It was a bad night all round for Wossy, his latest in an overlong-series of James Bond documentaries, Spectre With Jonathan Ross had but 2.18m punters. The afternoon Rugby Word Cup coverage South Africa giving Wales a damned good shellacking attracted 3.71m. On BBC2, the latest Dad's Army repeat entertained 1.62 million whilst the first of a new series of Qi XL had eight hundred and eighty five thousand. On Channel Four, the supernatural thriller Beautiful Creatures appealed to six hundred and eighteen thousand from 6.45pm and It Was Alright In ... 1990s drew eight hundred and fifty six thousand. Channel Five's Now That's Funny!, as usual, failed to amuse seven hundred and forty one thousand desperate crushed victims of society in the 7pm hour. Football League Tonight later had an audience of four hundred and seventy three thousand. The multichannels were topped by ITV3's Midsomer Murders, which was watched by six hundred and eighty thousand from 8pm.
Strictly Come Dancing once again topped Sunday's overnight ratings, although its ITV rival The X Factor also enjoyed a broadly positive evening. BBC1's pro-celebrity dance competition jumped by around eight hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to an average overnight audience of 8.85 million at 7.15pm. The X Factor averaged 7.43m at 7pm, up three hundred thousand punters from the previous week. It peaked at around 8.45pm with 8.39m just after Strictly ended. During the overlap between the two, Strictly come out on top going 'cock-a-doodle-doo' all over Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' head with 9.01m from 7.45pm, with The X Factor being watched by 6.99m at the same time. Later on ITV, the audience of Downton Abbey's latest episode rose by around five hundred thousand week-on-week to 7.51m at 9pm. On BBC1, Countryfile appealed to 6.91m at 6.30pm, while Antiques Roadshow interested 5.99m at 8pm. From Darkness continued with 3.24m at 9pm. The evening ended with Match Of The Day 2 and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Magpies finally winning a match this season - giving Them Norwich Canaries right good 6-2 spanking - had just over two million viewers. ITV's afternoon coverage of the last two Rugby World Cup quarter final games drew 3.23m for Ireland's shameful capitulation to Argentina and 4.59m for Australia's highly controversial - but, very amusing - last-minute victory of The Scotch. On BBC2, Prawn Wars: Landward Special had eight hundred and eighty thousand, Earth's Wildest Waters eight hundred and forty two thousand and Britain's Ultimate Pilots: Inside The RAF 1.35m. Elsewhere, Homeland was watched by nine hundred and six thousand viewers at 9pm on Channel Four. Prior to that, China: Treasures Of The Jade Empire had an audience of 1.04m whilst, later, Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown had eight hundred and fifty thousand. BBC4's repeat of Rich Hall: Inventing The Indians was watched by three hundred and seventy two thousand whilst Dave's Blackadder: The Whole Rotten Saga drew three hundred and forty thousand from 9pm and Sky1's Zoo attracted two hundred and nine thousand viewers. .

And so to the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Eight programmes for week-ending Sunday 11 October 2015:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 15.05m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 10.38m
3 Doctor Foster - Wed BBC1 - 10.09m
4 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 9.41m
5 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.57m
6 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 8.55m
7 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.26m
8 Doc Martin - Mon ITV - 7.19m
9 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.33m
10 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 6.05m
11 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 6.02m
12 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.92m
13 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.79m
14 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 - 5.66m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.43m
16 Unforgotten - Thurs ITV - 5.12m*
17 Rugby World Cup: Australia versus Wales - Sat ITV - 4.85m
18 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.71m
19 Gogglebox Special - Fri C4 - 4.65m
20= Lewis - Tues ITV - 4.51m*
20= From Darkness - Sun BBC1 - 4.51m
20= BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.51m
23 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.47m
24 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.26m
25 Euro 2016 Qualifier: England Versus Estonia - Fri ITV - 4.17m
26 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.96m
27 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 3.94m
28 Rooney: The Man behind The Goals - Mon BBC1 - 3.83m
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. By one hell of a distance, the final of Great British Bake Off is the most watched programme on British telly of the year so far and, to be honest, it's going to take something very special indeed to beat it. Just for context, that fifteen million figure is, approximately, a quarter on the population of the country. The Sunday episode of Strictly Come Dancing drew an audience of 8.68 million. Doctor Who's timeshift over and above the initial overnight audience for Before The Flood was a fraction over 1.75 million viewers (and again, it's worth stressing that does not count those watching the episode on iPlayer). On BBC2, University Challenge was, as usual, the most-watched broadcast of the week (2.96m), followed by The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (2.71m), The Hairy Bikers' Northern Exposure (2.51m), Gardeners' World (2.40m), Only Connect (2.39m) and and Great British Menu (2.37m). Cradle To Grave was watched by 1.95m and The Celts: Blood, Iron & Sacrifice With The Goddess of Punk Archaeology Alice Roberts & Scottish Neil Oliver (And His Lovely Hair) 1.87m. Aside from Gogglebox, Channel Four's top-rated broadcasts included Grand Designs (2.81m), Homeland (2.18m), Hunted (1.73m), George Clarke's Amazing Spaces (1.69m) and Food Unwrapped (also 1.69m). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcast was the film Parker (1.39m), Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away (1.38m) and CSI: Cyber (1.27m). The highest-rated multichannels broadcast was for ITV4's coverage of the Rugby World Cup game between New Zealand and Tonga (1.23m). Sky Sports 1's coverage of Live Euro 2016 Qualifiers and Poland giving The Republic Of Ireland a damned good hiding was watched by three hundred and eighty eight thousand viewers (three days earlier, two hundred and seventy one thousand had watched The Republic beat Germany). A Premier League-less Gillette Soccer Saturday was still Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast, albeit with a much reduced audience to normal - two hundred and fifty nine thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (seven hundred thousand), followed by Foyle's War (six hundred and eighteen thousand). BBC4's highest-rated show was, again, Canals: The Making Of A Nation with seven hundred and thirty one thousand, followed by Beck (six hundred and eighty one thousand), Legends Of The Deep: Deep Sea Sharks (five hundred and ninety thousand), Julia Bradbury's Canal Walks (five hundred and thirty six thousand), Planet Oil (four hundred and seventy one thousand) and A Very British Romance With Lucy Worsley (four hundred and twenty four thousand). For once, two or BBC3's top three rated shows were programmes which had actually been made for BBC3; We Want Our Country Back? was watched by nine hundred and twenty nine thousand whilst Is Britain Racist? had eight hundred and fifty three thousand. The rest of the top ten, as usual, was made up of repeats of EastEnders and Family Guy. 5USA's latest episode of Castle attracted four hundred and twenty two thousand viewers. The latest episode Ballers (two hundred and fifty eight thousand) was Sky Atlantic's weekly list-topper, followed The Leftovers (two hundred and thirteen thousand), Aquarius (eighty one thousand) and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (eighty thousand). Sky Living's most-watched dramas were Chicago Fire (four hundred and fifty two thousand viewers) and Unforgettable (four hundred and thirty two thousand). The second episode of Sky1's You, Me & The Apocalypse was watched by eight hundred and fifty one thousand punters whilst the latest episode of Zoo was seen by six hundred and forty two thousand. Sky Arts' broadcast of Landscape Artist Of The Year drew one hundred and sixty seven thousand whilst Pink Floyd: Delicate Sound Of Thunder drew eighty five thousand. All of whom saw the moment in the middle of 'One Of These Days' where some chap in the audience is picked out by the camera mouthing to his mate 'look at that fucking pig!' Personally, this blogger doesn't think that is any way to talk about Dave Gilmour but, you know, what y'gonna do? Hippies, eh? On Dave - that's, the channel Dave, not Dave Gilmour - Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Good(ish) was, again, the channel's highest-rated programme - five hundred and twenty five thousand - followed by Suits (three hundred and ninety seven thousand) and Dynamo: Magician Impossible (three hundred and thirty four thousand). Drama's New Tricks repeat attracted three hundred thousand viewers whilst The Inspector Lynley Mysteries drew two hundred and ninety three thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rizzolo & Isles (five hundred and forty one thousand). Watch's broadcast of The Strain was seen by three hundred and eighty thousand. Yesterday's Wild China was watched by two hundred and thirty thousand viewers whilst the beginning of their repeat run of Porridge had two hundred and twenty one thousand. FOX's highest-rated show was American Dad! (one hundred and sixty seven thousand). NCIS was watched by one hundred and forty six thousand. Another episode of NCIS - a different one, obviously, as they always are! - also featured in CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and seven thousand) although the top ten was actually topped by an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - the Star Trek show that got good the quickest and stayed good the longest - one hundred and twenty four thousand. NCIS - the world's most-watched drama as the production is proud to tell anyone that will listen - also featured in the top ten lists of Channel Five, 5USA and the Universal Channel (the latter's top ten was topped by Major Crimes with two hundred and thirty six thousand). On the Discovery Channel, Wheeler Dealers was watched by three hundred and eighty five thousand viewers. Alaskan Bush People had one hundred and fifty thousand, Running Wild With Bear Grylls one hundred and twenty nine thousand and Deadliest Catch one hundred and twenty six thousand. Naked & Afraid was seen by eighty thousand viewers, an oddly low total considering the amount of trailers that they've been running over the past couple of weeks. An older episode of Wheeler Dealers also topped Discovery Turbo's weekly list (forty seven thousand). Tanks topped Discovery History's top ten with twenty five thousand whilst World War II: In Colour has twenty thousand. The Discovery Science channel drew forty seven thousand viewers for How It's Made: Dream Cars. CI's Crimes That Shook Britain brought in ninety three thousand viewers whilst OJ Speaks: The Hidden Tapes drew eighty one thousand. ID's Britain's deadliest Women and Evil Kin were both watched by fifty seven thousand. National Geographic's Yukon Gold: Game Changer had an audience of seventy two thousand viewers and Eden's Survivors: Nature's Indestructible Creatures was seen by forty nine thousand. The second episode of Marley's Ghosts on GOLD's attracted two hundred and seventy seven thousand having - as this blogger predicted, lost a third of its initial audience in a week. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (four hundred and thirty seven thousand). On ITV Encore, Vera was watched by one hundred and two thousand viewers. TLC's weekly-list was topped by Cake Boss which was seen by one hundred and fifty seven thousand.

Doctor Foster's massive series finale audience made it the biggest new BBC drama of the year. A consolidated 10.1 million people tuned in for last Wednesday's nerve-shredding finale, making the infidelity drama the most-watched BBC show overall aside from the ongoing Call The Midwife. Throughout the series's run, more than eight million were tuning in on a weekly basis. 'I am stunned and delighted by the response to Doctor Foster,' actress Suranne Jones said of the record-breaking viewing figure. 'When I read [Mike Bartlett's] script I knew we had something special, but to get an audience reaction like this is amazing.' BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore also hailed the five-part drama as one of television's most 'gripping and emotional' shows of the year. 'It got the nation talking and it's been incredible to see the audience response, huge credit to Mike Bartlett's distinctive scripts and the sensational cast led by Suranne Jones,' Moore added.
Some properly awful news now, I'm afraid dear blog reader. National treasure Stephen Fry has decided to step down as the host of Qi. Which is not quite as big a 'but ... but ... but, that's not possible' moment as Jezza Clakrson leaving Top Gear. But it's fucking close. The comedian and author - who has hosted one hundred and eighty episodes of the show - is leaving the after the upcoming M series (which has already been recorded) and will be replaced by Sandi Toksvig. Whom this blogger quite likes, to be fair, but she's not Stephen Fry. There's only one of those. 'For thirteen years I had one of the best jobs on television,' Stephen his very self said. 'Behind the camera squadrons of quite extraordinarily brilliant researchers, programme makers and uniquely curious (in both senses of the word) people making that job so much easier. In front of the camera generations of lively minds and above all of course the wonder of nature that is Alan Davies. After passing the alphabetical halfway mark I thought it time to move on, but I will never cease to be grateful to John Lloyd for devising Qi and for everyone else for making it such fun.' Stephen only ever stepped in to host the pilot as a last minute replacement for Lloyd's original choice Michael Palin, but took to the role instantly and has brought the nation hundreds of memorable facts over the subsequent years. Including that they say of the Acropolis when the Parthenon is ... something about straight lines. Toksvig - who left Radio 4's The News Quiz earlier this year to set up the Women's Equality Party - revealed that Qi, on which she has guested many times, is her favourite show to watch, describing the hosting role as her 'dream job. Stephen has been utterly brilliant with the first half of the alphabet,' she said. 'Now I look forward to picking up the baton, mixing my metaphors and sailing towards the Land of Nod (ie. Z). Who knows what lies ahead? It should all be quite interesting.' Qi traditionalists - of whom this blogger counts himself as very much one - are assured that they needn't worry too much, as Alan Davies will be sticking around as a regular panellist. The show's creator John Lloyd described Stephen's exit as 'the end of an era', saying: 'It's been a thoroughly delightful experience. After more than forty years in broadcasting, Qi has been by far the most enjoyable show it has been my privilege to produce, and Stephen has been its big, beating heart. Though we are all very sad he's decided to move on, I am confident that we have found the perfect person to occupy his gigantic shoes. Sandi will be the first female host of a mainstream comedy panel show on British television - an appointment that is well overdue.' Lloyd said that Stephen had been talking about leaving the show 'for two or three years. It's tiring, everyone wants him, he is all over the world doing those extraordinary documentaries and he's got his own production company to run. We have had a great run, it's time to move on.' Lloyd described Toksvig as 'a national treasure. She is extraordinary,' he said. 'Obviously Stephen's shoes are enormous and Sandi is capable of filling them. She was the best chair The News Quiz ever had, I used to stop the car because I was laughing so much. We are blessed because we have got somebody who is so different [to Stephen] and yet will bring to the show the same kind of wonderful thing that Stephen does, the mixture of real brains and a hinterland of knowledge, plus this naughty sense of humour. It will also allow us to look at the format again and do things in a slightly different way. We are really gung-ho about it.' Toksvig, a Cambridge University contemporary of Stephen, said that the presenter was 'absolutely brilliant' in the Qi role and described it as her 'favourite television programme both to watch and be on. I love the accessibility of it,' she said. 'I have come away with nuggets of stuff about how extraordinary and wonderful the world is.' The brainchild of former Blackadder, Spitting Image and Not The Nine O'Clock News producer Lloyd, Qi began on BBC2 in 2003, switching to BBC1 for two years in 2008, before returning to BBC2. There are other BBC panel shows with women presenters – including Sue Barker on BBC1's A Question Of Sport and Victoria Coren Mitchell on BBC2's Only Connect, although neither are, strictly speaking, 'comedy' formats. Toksvig said: 'Victoria does a magnificent job, Sue Barker is a legend. It generates a different atmosphere I think, but I am in no way dissing the boys. We need both.' BBC2 controller, Kim Shillinglaw, said that Toksvig was 'exactly the kind of bright, brilliant company I want to see on BBC2.'
Meanwhile, here's Dave somewhat underplaying their comedy grief at the forthcoming loss of new Top Gear episodes.
The BBC's director of television Danny Cohen is to leave the corporation. Cohen was responsible for commissioning shows including Call The Midwife, Poldark, Last Tango In Halifax, Happy Valley and Car Share. 'After eight wonderful years at the BBC, it is time for my next big challenge,' Cohen said. 'In the last few weeks I've been approached about a number of exciting opportunities and I want to consider these in an open and transparent way.' Cohen joined the BBC from Channel Four in 2007, firstly working at BBC3 and went on to become BBC1 controller in 2010. He was promoted to the director of television post two years later. His job involved dealing with a series of high-profile disputes and criticisms. He took the phone call following Jezza Clarkson's handbags-at-ten-paces 'fracas' with a Top Gear producer, which led the presenter to leave the corporation. Cohen also apologised to Sir Tom Jones after the singer complained of 'sub-standard behaviour from the executives' when he was sacked as a judge on The Voice. In a statement, Cohen said: 'BBC Television is on brilliant creative form. I feel very privileged to have led television for the world's finest public service broadcaster and to have worked with so many smart and talented people. I'm very proud of the wide-ranging success of BBC Television under my leadership. There has never been a more exciting time for television and digital media. I'm looking forward to taking up a new leadership role in this age of intense creative and technological innovation.' Cohen will leave at the end of November. In August, he admitted that the BBC could not compete with the finances of Netflix, which meant the streaming service turned down the corporation's offer to co-produce new royal drama The Crown. The Gruniad Morning Star has reported he is 'considering offers from both UK and US companies' although who told those sneering Middle Class hippy Communists that, they don't say. BBC Director General Tony Hall described Cohen as 'one of TV's great talents' who had done 'an extraordinary job' in his time at the BBC. 'In a world of intense competition and choice, he has further enhanced the BBC's reputation for quality programming that is full of ambition and creativity,' Lord Hall said.

Outgoing Sky entertainment chief Stuart Murphy will try his hand at writing TV comedy and drama when he steps down later this year but has ruled himself out of the BBC's director of television job. Murphy, who has transformed Sky's homegrown output with shows such as the drama Fortitude, has signed an exclusive one-year development deal for Sky and has several projects in the pipeline. The founding controller of BBC3 who joined Sky six years ago, Murphy said: 'I totally love telly but there's other stuff I want to do in life, there are other things I want to try. I might be totally dreadful but I want to give them a go.' Murphy's exit immediately prompted speculation linking him to a return to the BBC. Murphy is the second senior British TV executive in a week to quit without an immediate job to go to. Asked about the BBC vacancy, Murphy said: 'no, it's not where my head's at. I don't want to go from one job that is brilliant but all consuming to another. I want to work at a different pace, I want an eclectic mixture of things I do in life.' So eclectic that Murphy, who is Sky's director, entertainment channels, said he would also be spending more time playing the clarinet and indulging his passion for classical music. Murphy has also set up a charity in Africa with his two teenage sons. 'I have written a comedy I am quite happy with and I am starting to write a drama,' said Murphy. 'I have really wanted to write a book for a while and this job is brilliant but if you do it correctly it is all consuming. It's brilliant Sky have said they will do a deal on that and I am really lucky that I can afford to take a few years off. I want to do something that I personally am in control of and can create. It might be totally dreadful but life is so short, there are lots of other careers I really want to try.' Murphy's departure follows the appointment at the beginning of this year of Sky veteran Gary Davey to a new role overseeing Sky's pan-European broadcasting business, excluding sport. He effectively replaced Sophie Turner-Laing who left Sky last year to become the chief executive of the merged Endemol and Shine global TV production business. Sky will not replace Murphy directly, with channel heads such as Sky Atlantic boss Zai Bennett and Sky 1's Adam MacDonald reporting to Davey. Murphy will leave Sky in November. More immediately, he is about to go on holiday to the French Caribbean with his children and ex-wife. 'I'm going to turn the mobile phone off and read political biographies,' he said. Sky has boosted its investment in homegrown productions in the last few years, up fifty per cent to six hundred million quid by the end of last year and also set out targets to improve its diversity more ambitious than the other mainstream UK broadcasters. Murphy said: 'There is never a good time to leave, if I don't do it now I am not going to do it for ten years. I feel like what I came here to do has sort of been done in a way. The Sky I'm leaving is a lot friendlier, a lot more embedded in British culture. It doesn't just buy in hits or steal hits, it creates hits.'

Danny Baker's autobiographical sitcom Cradle To Grave looks set to return for a second series. Though the BBC is yet to make an official announcement, outgoing director of television Danny Cohen may have let the news slip on Twitter. When Danny tweeted that Cohen's 'work is done' after commissioning his sitcom in the first place, Cohen responded: 'With Series Two commissioned all is well.' Speaking to the Digital Spy website, a BBC spokesperson said: 'We are having active conversations about a further series of Cradle To Grave. It's too early to confirm any details.' Based on Danny's memoirs, Going To Sea In A Sieve, Cradle To Grave stars Laurie Kynaston as a young Danny, with Peter Kay as his father, Fred.
The lack of culture secretary has attempted to play down fears over the future of BBC music stations, calling them 'absolutely essential' to UK music. Yeah, we noticed, mate - what took you so long? The vile and odious rascal Whittingdale, who is overseeing the BBC's Royal Charter renewal, said that he wanted the BBC to keep providing services 'like Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio 3.' He spoke at an event run by UK Music, whose Let It Beeb campaign opposes any changes to BBC music stations. Jo Dipple, chief executive of trade body UK Music, said that the recording industry would be 'weaker without the BBC,' adding that threatened cuts were 'not worth the risk.' Sam Smith, who recently hit number one with his James Bond theme 'Writing's On The Wall', said that he was 'worried" about the impact cuts would have on young artists. BBC music is one of the main reasons I am actually here and where I am in my career,' he told the BBC News website. 'The thought of not having it and not having some of the programmes is worrying to me. I'm worried for the new artists and how they'll be heard and if they'll be heard.' The Pink Floyd's Nick Mason agreed, saying: 'There is no other radio opportunity for less-known bands.' He described the impact Radio 1 had on his own career, recalling the first time he heard 'See Emily Play' on the air. 'I suddenly began to realise that my career might last longer than three months,' he said. UK music is organising a petition to protect 'BBC music services' - signed by some of music's biggest names, including Sir Paul McCartney, New Order, George Ezra, Little Mix, Rita Ora, Jessie Ware, Paloma Faith, Disclosure, balding ex-milkman from Waalsend Sting, Chrissie Hynde, Annie Lennox and Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis. Another signatory is Sir Bob Geldof, who had strong words for the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale. 'Leave the BBC and British music alone,' he said in a written statement. 'You know nothing about either. Leave it to the people that do.' Sadly, he didn't follow that up by sticking one on the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale and making him bubble for his mammy. Which, some might regard as an opportunity missed. Don't come to this blogger seeking an easy answer to that question, no siree, Bob. However the risible full-of-himself rutterkin and turd Whittingdale appeared to attempt to weasel out of previous statements, telling an audience which included BBC Director General Tony Hall: 'Those of you who know me know that I'm a huge fan of music. I regard the BBC's contribution to music in this country as absolutely essential. I want the BBC to go on proving services like Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 - all of which cater for tastes which are not served by the commercial sector. In some ways, actually, my criticism of the BBC is that they don't do enough for music. Radio is very well served but [on] TV, I'd actually like to see a bit more. As long as I am secretary of state, I will continue to support the BBC in highlighting the incredible talent that we have in this country. I haven't seen your petition but I think I'd be very willing to sign it.'

Meanwhile, as the conflict between the government and the BBC continues, it has been revealed that the majority of the public are against the introduction of a new part-subscription service. The BBC Trust conducted a public consultation from 22 July to 18 September and also engaged in independent audience research, and its findings show that most people support a tweaked version of the licence fee. The wider public consultation of forty thousand respondents - including this blogger, as it happens - found that fifty three per cent of people who expressed a preference supported a modernised licence fee, which takes into account iPlayer services. Elsewhere, sixteen per cent voiced their support for a part-subscription model, while fifty three per cent were opposed to the idea. Just under three thousand people took part in an independent quantitative research study, with one hundred and twenty eight also taking part in qualitative focus groups. At an event on Friday, BBC Trust Chairman Rona Fairhead finally stood up and showed a bit of backbone, saying: 'The BBC has always been a universal public service broadcaster and the public have told us in their thousands that they want it to stay that way. They back a modernised licence fee over other ways of funding the BBC, and there are real concerns about any system involving subscription.'

The former Coronation Street set in Manchester is to be demolished, despite a campaign to save it. Developer Allied London bought the Quay Street site in a joint venture with Manchester City Council and plan to build flats, shops and offices there. The ITV soap was filmed there from 1982 until January 2014, when production moved to MediaCityUK at Salford Quays. Manchester City Council's planning committee voted to approve the redevelopment at a meeting on Thursday. The move comes despite more than two thousand people with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time signing an online petition in the hope of preventing the set from being knocked down. Campaigners had particularly called on developers to retain the Victorian terrace featuring the Rovers Return and the soap's corner shop in their regeneration of the thirteen-acre site. English Heritage rejected the application for listed status for the old Granada Studios site made by an anonymous individual in 2012 because it was 'not considered sufficiently historic.' The development will form part of the wider St Johns area, which is also set to feature a new one hundred and ten million smackers theatre and arts venue called The Factory.
It's the deadliest head-to-head since Tyrion Lannister's second trial by combat. But let us hope that author Bernard Cornwell's criticism of HBO's much-garlanded fantasy epic Game Of Thrones doesn't end with somebody's skull going all k-spaltty. Sharpe creator Cornwell, whose historical Saxon novels have been turned into an eight-part BBC2 drama, The Last Kingdom is,seemingly, no fan of the EMMYy-winning series based on George RR Martin's books. 'So many characters. So many strands. You have to have large sections where the plot is explained, just have to sit there and be told what's going on,' he told the Radio Times. 'This is very, very dull. So they put a lot of naked women behind it all. They're called "sexplanations" in the trade. My programmes won't need sexplanations.' Or, as BBC4 editor Cassian Harrison once said of Game Of Thrones: 'Boobs and dragons, you can't go wrong.' Cornwell hasn't wanted any say in the BBC's new adaptation of his work and hasn't read the scripts, seen the sets, or looked at any of the rushes. 'I'll watch it with the rest of you when it goes out on the BBC,' he said.
Supergirl is coming to Sky1 in the UK. Melissa Benoist will fly onto our screens from Thursday, 29 October at 8pm. This means UK audiences will get to see new episodes of Supergirl a mere three days after the US, where the show will premiere 26 October on CBS.
Meanwhile, it's terrific to see that one of this blogger's favourite US series, Gotham, has cast one of his favourite actors, the excellent Michael Chiklis as Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock's new hard-ass boss. Even better comes the news this week that Paul Reubens will be turning up later in the series playing The Penguin's father.
The BBC journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts has died. Lloyd-Roberts, who had acute myeloid leukaemia, received a stem cell transplant over the summer. A correspondent for BBC News, she had run a public appeal to find a donor and had been keeping a video diary of her struggle. In her most recent blog entry, from 21 August, she said that she had pneumonia and was confined to bed. She died on Tuesday evening at University College Hospital, London, following complications from the transplant. Lloyd-Roberts, who had also worked for ITN, reported on events in Syria, Burma and North Korea among many others, and campaigned for human rights. BBC Director General Tony Hall called her 'a pioneer video journalist' and praised her 'extraordinary determination' and courage. 'She went to dangerous places to give a voice to people who otherwise would not be heard,' he said. 'She was quite simply a remarkable woman who got remarkable stories. She will be deeply missed.' Sue Lloyd-Roberts was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College and St Hilda's College, Oxford. She worked as a journalist for ITN before joining the BBC, reporting on issues including human rights abuses around the world. In 2011, she was the first journalist into Homs - the so-called 'capital of the Syrian revolution.' Also during her career, she was sentenced in her absence in China to seven years in prison for her reporting and was one of the first journalists to report on the subject of female genital mutilation. She was appointed MBE and CBE for her humanitarian journalism. She also received the European Women of Achievement Award and won an EMMY for her reporting from North Korea. Sue was married to BBC producer Nick Guthrie and the couple had been living in Spain, where they ran a rural hotel. Earlier this year she said that she had 'always joked that the part of my brain that recognises fear doesn't exist.' Describing being shot at in Bosnia, she told the Daily Scum Mail that such situations make people 'scream or pray. But I picked up my camera,' she said. 'Concentrating on filming displaces you from what's going on. There is nothing better at dispelling fear than having something constructive to do.' She called her illness 'unnerving', adding: 'When I was working, the decision to go into a dangerous situation was a conscious one. Now it's different. My life is at risk and it's not of my choosing.'

The European and Russian space agencies are to send a lander to an unexplored area at the Moon's south pole. It will be one of a series of missions that prepares for the return of humans to the surface and a possible permanent settlement. The spacecraft will assess whether there is water and raw materials to make fuel and oxygen. The mission, called Luna Twenty Seven, is set for launch in five years' time. The mission is one of a series led by the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, to go back to the Moon. These ventures will continue where the exploration programme that was halted by the Soviet Union in the mid 1970s left off, according to Professor Igor Mitrofanov, of the Space Research Institute in Moscow, who is one of the lead scientists. 'We have to go to the Moon. The Twenty First Century will be the Century when it will be the permanent outpost of human civilisation and our country has to participate in this process,' he told BBC News. But, unlike efforts in the 1960s and 70s, when the Soviet Union was working in competition with the US, he added, 'we have to work together with our international colleagues.' Bérengère Houdou, who is the head of the lunar exploration group of at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre outside Amsterdam, has a similar strategy. 'We have an ambition to have European astronauts on the Moon. There are currently discussions at international level going on for broad cooperation on how to go back to the Moon.' One of the first acts of the new head of the European Space Agency, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, was to state that he wants international partners to build a base on the Moon's far side. The initial missions will be robotic. Luna Twenty Seven will land on the edge of the South Pole Aitken basin. The south polar region has areas which are always dark. These are some of the coldest places in the Solar System. As such, they are icy prisons for water and other chemicals that have been shielded from heating by the Sun. According to Doctor James Carpenter, ESA's lead scientist on the project, one of the main aims is to investigate the potential use of this water as a resource for the future, and to find out what it can tell us about the origins of life in the inner Solar System. 'The south pole of the Moon is unlike anywhere we have been before,' he said. 'The environment is completely different and due to the extreme cold there you could find large amounts of water-ice and other chemistry which is on the surface and which we could access and use as rocket fuel or in life-support systems to support future human missions we think will go to these locations.' Back in the heady days of the Apollo missions, it seemed almost inevitable that those astounding-but-brief trips to the Moon would be followed by something more permanent. But the notion of colonies soon proved to be science fantasy. After the last of twelve astronauts left their boot prints in the lunar dust in 1972, the US government and taxpayers collectively declared, 'been there, done that.' America had scored a dazzling point over the Soviet Union but at eye-watering cost, so the final three planned Apollo missions were cancelled. For a while, our nearest neighbour in space seemed rather unappealing. But then, over recent years, came a series of discoveries about the lunar dust itself, suggesting that the Moon holds water and minerals that could conceivably help support a settlement, if anyone has the appetite to pay for it. So a new batch of missions is under way. China seems to be particularly eager, launching increasingly capable robotic craft that could pave the way for human flights, sometime in the 2030s. In all probability, the next boots on the Moon will be Chinese. One of China's leading space scientists told me how he even envisages opening lunar mines to extract valuable resources such as Helium-3. Throughout history, humanity has gazed at the Moon through different eyes. In the 1960s, it was the scene for Cold War rivalry. Now it is seen as a potential staging-post for longer journeys and as a rock waiting to be dug up and exploited. Professor Mitrofanov says that there are scientific and commercial benefits to be had by building a permanent human presence on the lunar surface. 'It will be for astronomical observation, for the utilisation of minerals and other lunar resources and to create an outpost that can be visited by cosmonauts working together as a test bed for their future flight to Mars.' The south pole of the Moon is unlike anywhere we have been before. ESA and its industrial collaborators are developing a new type of landing system able to target areas far more precisely than the missions in the 1960s and 70s. The so-called 'Pilot' system uses on-board cameras to navigate and a laser guidance system which is able to sense the terrain while approaching the surface and be able to decide for itself whether the landing site is safe or not, and if necessary to re-target to a better location. Europe is also providing the drill which is designed to go down to two metres and collect what might be hard, icy samples. According to Richard Fisackerly, the project's lead engineer, these samples might be harder than reinforced concrete and so the drill will need to be extremely strong. 'We are currently looking at the technologies we would need to penetrate that type of material and are looking at having both rotation and hammering functions. The final architecture has yet to be decided - but this combination of rotation, hammering and depth is a step beyond what we have already flown or is in development today,' he told BBC News. ESA will also provide the onboard miniaturised laboratory, called ProSPA. It will be similar to the instrument on the Philae lander, which touched down on the surface of Comet 67P last year. But ProSPA will be tuned to searching for the key ingredients with which to make water, oxygen, fuel and other materials that can be exploited by future astronauts. The instrument will help scientists discover out how much of these critical resources are under the surface, and, crucially, whether they can be extracted easily. Europe's participation in the mission is due to receive final approval at a meeting of ministers in late 2016. It has the strong support of ESA and Roscosmos hierarchy and the scientists involved in Luna Twenty Seven are confident that it is not a question of if but when humans go back to the lunar surface.

Sherlock's Amanda Abbington has got herself into a very different sort of detective work in the new BBC1 drama Cuffs. The trailer for the forthcoming crime drama has just been revealed, with Amanda appearing alongside Top Boy's Ashley Walters, Shaun Dooley and Jacob Ifan.
ITV has been ordered by the High Court to pay more than four million knicker in damages in a case involving Peter Andre's reality show. The ruling followed the court's rejection last week of Andre's claims of death threats from Neville Hendricks, producer of his TV show. ITV cut ties with Hendricks for breach of contract as a result of Andre's claims. But, calling Andre an 'extremely unsatisfactory witness' - and, not a very good singer either, probably - the court said that ITV2 would have to pay 'substantial' damages to Hendricks' company. Hendricks had been seeking damages for 'lost profits' of up to seven million smackers. His company, Mr H TV, produced Andre's The Next Chapter series and Here To Help, along with Kerry Katona's reality projects, working closely with the singers' manager Claire Powell, head of CAN Associates. Powell and Hendricks' had what was described as 'an on-off relationship', before an acrimonious split in 2011. Powell's relationship with Katona also broke down, amid false rumours that Katona was having an affair with Hendricks. He believed that the rumours were being spread by Powell. Around the same time, Hendricks set up a Twitter account from which he tweeted or engaged in conversations giving intimate details of Andre and Powell's private lives 'in the most scurrilous and vitriolic terms,' said the judge. Andre's solicitors wrote to Mr H TV, saying he 'wanted no further dealings' with the company. The judge said the letter was 'almost certainly' responsible for ITV2 terminating its agreement with the production company. ITV2 also wanted to terminate its contract over a proposal that Katona would appear on Celebrity Big Brother on Channel Five, claiming it breached an 'exclusivity' clause. One could, perhaps, note at this juncture that any broadcaster which is happy to sign and 'exclusivity' clause with Kerry Katona fer Christ's sake, frankly, deserves everything they get in return. Mr Justice Flaux called Hendricks 'an honest witness' and 'a respected producer' of a 'particular genre of television, which in a very real sense, he had devised.' He also dismissed Andre's accusations that the tweets constituted a real threat, although they were 'offensive and expressed in foul language.'

A FOX News guest 'terrorism analyst' was arrested on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of falsely claiming to have been a CIA agent for decades, US prosecutors said. Wayne Simmons, of Annapolis, Maryland, bogusly portrayed himself as 'an Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer' for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 to 2000, the US Attorney's Office for Virginia's Eastern District said in a statement. Whether any of FOX News's anchors have been arrested and banged up with no mercy for fraudulently claiming to be journalists is, at this time, unknown. Simmons allegedly tried to use that claim to get government security clearances and work as a defence contractor. At one point he was deployed overseas as an intelligence adviser to senior military officers, the statement said. He faces charges of 'major fraud against the United States', wire fraud and making false statements to the government. He has appeared on FOX News as a guest analyst on terrorism since 2002 and has a wide presence among conservative groups. FOX News spokeswoman Carly Shanahan said Simmons had been a guest on the network and had 'not been paid.' The indictment said that Simmons falsely claimed on national security forms that his previous arrests and convictions were related to his CIA work and that he had held a top secret security clearance. The indictment also alleged that Simmons defrauded a victim out of about one hundred and twenty five thousand dollars through a bogus real estate investment. Simmons' Amazon profile claimed that he 'worked in anti-narcotics operations' and in 2004 was part of Pentagon programme for military and intelligence analysts. He is co-author of the thriller The Natanz Directive. Simmons is a contributor to the conservative publication Human Events, the profile added. He also spoke at a 2013 forum sponsored by the Citizens Committee On Benghazi probing the deaths of four Americans in Libya in 2012. The CIA said in a statement that it was 'working closely' with the Justice Department on the matter. It referred queries to the US Attorney's Office.

BBC and ITV have agreed a deal to show the next two European Championships. All fiftyone matches from Euro 2016 and Euro 2020 will be broadcast live across BBC and ITV, with coverage on respective online, digital and mobile services. Next summer's tournament will take place in France, while the 2020 event will be hosted in thirteen cities across the continent - with the final in London. The deal includes highlights, catch-up TV and full radio coverage rights for broadcast in the UK. France 2016 will be the first European Championship to feature twenty four nations, with England, Northern Ireland and Wales having all already qualified. London will also stage the semi-finals in 2020, with Glasgow, Dublin, Munich, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Brussels, St Petersburg, Rome and Baku making up the other host cities.

A woman wearing no clothes whatsoever destroyed a Subway sandwich restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska on Tuesday night. According to somewhat startled employees, the woman entered the restaurant on Tudor Road fully clothed at around 5 pm and went into the restrooms. When she emerged - two hours later - she was no longer wearing any clothes and began to break the furniture, pull down ceiling tiles and throw around the food, tables and chairs inside the restaurant. Police on scene told the local Channel Two News that the woman appeared to be 'on drugs' when she trashed the gaff. But, probably the most remarkable thing about this whole story is ... they have two channels in Alaska? Seriously? Anyway, Anchorage Police said the investigation is ongoing.
'Internet trolls' have reportedly 'derailed' a chap's, seemingly self-imposed, 'challenge' to spend four days locked in a room listening to nothing but Rick Astley's 1980s hit 'Never Gonna Give You Up'. The 'ordeal', also included him not speaking or washing and living on a diet of porridge, rice and water. Why the hell anyone would wish to do such a thing, and why anyone would troll them for doing so are questions, the answers to which are, quite simply, beyond the wit of this blogger. Thank you Internet, you've finally broken yer actual Keith Telly Topping's brain. Next ...

Patti Smith was moved to tears after a fan returned a bag of stolen goods to the singer, thirty six years after they went missing. Smith was giving a reading from her new memoir M Train at Illinois' Dominican University when the items were returned to her by fan Noreen Bender. They included a shirt worn for a 1978 Rolling Stone cover shot and a bandana given to her by her late brother. Bender said reuniting Smith with her stuff was 'the highlight of my life. The feeling of making your hero happy, it was a moment,' Bender told the Chicago Tribune. It is believed the items went missing in June 1979 when a Ryder rental truck, which was carrying forty thousand dollars in amplifiers, guitars and other musical equipment, was stolen from outside a hotel after Smith and her band played a show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. They are understood to have come in to Bender's possession many years ago, via the friend of a then roommate. 'I just thought, "Oh my God, these are her clothes and they still have her sweat on them,"' Bender recalled, on first receiving the singer's belongings. She added that she had long hoped to return the items to Smith but had not been able to find an appropriate occasion. A member of the university audience, who witnessed Bender returning the bag to Smith on Thursday, recorded the singer's response on an online forum: 'Patti looked inside and just froze. [She] pulls out these items of clothing and talks about them (the shirt she wore on the Rolling Stone cover, the Keith Richards T-Shirt you've seen her wear in a hundred photos) and then gets to the bottom of the bag. Here was a bandana that her beloved late brother had worn and then given to her, and she starts to weep. Before long, half the audience was crying with her.' Smith's brother, and manager, Todd Smith died in 1994.

The Tower Records building on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles was once a major landmark. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping used to spend lots of his holiday dollars there every February for about a decade. I can remember buying mt copy of Delerium's Semantic Spaces there, for example. It was saved from the threat of demolition last year and will now return to its full former glory for just one night, thanks to a new documentary about the brand. Colin Hanks' All Things Must Pass: The Rise & Fall Of Tower Records is a new documentary exploring the history and legacy of Tower Records, which began in California in 1960 and expanded nationwide, with international franchises, before going bankrupt in 2006. The documentary is out in theatres in the US this week, but is celebrating its premiere on Thursday before with a party at the old Tower Records site on Sunset, with a special performance from Eagles Of Death Metal, a side project of Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme. The building was almost demolished last year, but was saved by Gibson Guitars, which bought the site to run a storefront for its guitars and gear. Gibson is now working with the All Things Must Pass filmmakers to restore the iconic exterior sign for the night, bringing Tower Records back – if briefly.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping wishes to congratulate his good friends Ewan and Victoria who were married on Friday. This blogger spent a portion of Saturday afternoon in the Bacchus with the happy couple, and some friends, celebrating and having his first half-pint of lager in about three months. Which, to be honest, didn't really do him an awful lot of good. But, that's a minor matter.
And, on a similar theme, huge congratulations to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mate - and, sometime publisher - David Howe (seen here with his best man, Frazer, about to burst into a couple of choruses of 'Cum On Feel The Noize' by the look on 'em), who got married to his good lady, Sam, on Saturday.
As noted above, dear blog reader, Georginio Wijnaldum scored four goals as yer actual keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies trounced Norwich for their first Premier League win of the season to move off the bottom of the table on Sunday. Wijnaldum struck a composed first, added two headers and a superb long-range fourth in a fine all-round performance. Ayoze Perez stroked in the third for Newcastle and Aleksandar Mitrovic lashed in a spectacular fourth. For Norwich, Dieumerci Mbokani had poked in an equaliser to make it 1-1 and Nathan Redmond volleyed for 3-2 before the home side pulled away. An electrifying contest saw five goals scored in the space of twenty first-half minutes, although neither defence covered itself in glory. Mbokani managed to score from inside the six-yard box despite the close attentions of Chancel Mbemba and Fabricio Coloccini, while Wijnaldum was allowed two free headers and Redmond was also unmarked for his brilliant strike. Norwich could have had two more themselves but Robbie Brady and Redmond both hit the post. The priceless result gives Steve McClaren a first league win since taking over at St James' Park in the summer and eases the pressure on the former England coach, although Newcastle remain in the bottom three with a game against local rivals The Mackem Filth up next. The Magpies capitulated in the second half against Sheikh Yer Man City last time out, losing 6-1, but recovered by showing composure in front of goal against Norwich, scoring from all of their six shots on target. Despite the winless start to the season, before the game McClaren had insisted that his team were 'making progress' and the three points coupled with an impressive attacking display will vindicate at least some of that view. Defensively, though, he will still have concerns. The Magpies have now conceded nineteen goals in nine games, second only to Norwich (twenty) and the same as bottom side Blunderland. McClaren can take positives from the excellent link-up play shown by Moussa Sissoko and Wijnaldum, who combined for two of the goals. Sissoko, in particular, was a threat to Norwich all game and claimed three assists in total.

And so, dear blog reader, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the day. And, this time around it's three-and-a-bit of Morrissey's finest minutes. And also, a pretty useful one-word summation of the majority of his solo career post around 1991.
Hands up everyone who expected Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day to be this? Come on, dear blog reader, I'm not that obvious.

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