Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Woman Who Lived: Far-Diddly-Qua-Qua

'Last time I saw you, you were founding a leper colony. I was so proud of you.'
'Can't we share it? Isn't that what robbery's all about?'
'I don't even remember that name.'
'It's my Curio-Scanner. It scans. For curios. I've just realised how it got its name!'
'No one will know that a woman helped end The Hundred Years War.' 'You're immortal, not indestructible.' 'Ten thousand hours is all it takes to master any skill. Over a hundred thousand hours and you're the best there's ever been. I don't need to be indestructible. I'm superb!'
'All these people here, they blow away in a moment. You don't know what it's like.' 'I do know what it's like.'
'There's another bout coming. And a big fire that tears through London.' 'Excellent. Maybe I start it.' 'No, that was The Terileptils. Surgeon, scientist, inventor, composer, it's a fantastic CV.'
'What's wrong with Clara? Why haven't you made her immortal?' 'Look how you turned out.'
'Gallows humour can be tricky. But at least there's never a second house.'
'I'll be the Patron Saint of The Doctor's leftovers ... Enemies are never a problems, it's your friends you have to watch out for.'
​'You gad about, while I trudge through the centuries. Day by day. Hour by hour. Do you ever think, or care, what happens after you go away? I live in the world you leave behind. Because you abandoned me to it.' 'Why should I be responsible for you? I saved your life. I didn't know your heart would rust because I kept it beating. I didn't think your conscience would need renewing, that the Well of Human Kindness would run dry.'
'You've got your dad as your sidekick?' Well, dear blog reader, whaddya know, this blogger thought that was great. As usual. Next ...

'It's been the most controversial aspect of [Doctor Who's] series nine thus far,' reports the Radio Times. 'No, not the moment it looked like The Doctor was going to shoot a child in the face, but when he ditched his Sonic Screwdriver for a pair of Sonic Sunglasses.' As The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) noted, 'All credit to the Radio Times website - the opening para of this does sum up something truly terrible about Doctor Who fandom.' The lad certainly has a point. Speaking at MCM London Comic-Con, Steven addressed the - entirely media-created 'controversy'. 'I know there’s a petition to get rid of the glasses,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a very successful petition.' The Radio Times wondered if that was a joke or not. Steven, they added, offered an impassioned defence of his 'pro-glasses' agenda. 'I love the fact that people have risen up in anger over the sonic screwdriver,' he said, 'God knows how that lot would have got on when they introduced regeneration, or that Time Lords have two hearts. As of now every kid with glasses is Doctor Who! Kid whose parents don't want to shell out for a Sonic Screwdriver toy, just put on a pair of sunglasses, you're Doctor Who! And best of all, every pin-brained celebrity walking into a party with shades on is now cosplaying Doctor Who! If it pricks the pomposity of uber-celebs and turns an eye defect into a super power and confers star-magic on an old pair of sunglasses, what could be more Doctor Who than that?'

'I can exclusively reveal that the long wait for Sherlock will begin again in the late evening of 1 January,' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) revealed to an audience at ComicCon on Saturday. '2024,' joked the popular drama's co-creator Mark Gatiss, before producer Sue Vertue confirmed that the special 'will go out in America on the same day.'
The New Year's Day special of Sherlock - which will apparently be called The Abominable Bride - will also be screened in cinemas in China. It is as yet unclear whether other countries will follow suit although the report on the Radio Times website appears to suggest that they will. BBC Earth Films and SMG Pictures - the film and television production arm of Shanghai Media Group - will also collaborate on an unrelated feature film, Earth: One Amazing Day. The movie will be directed by Girl With A Pearl Earring filmmaker Peter Webber and will tell the story of one day in the life of the planet. It is slated for release in 2017.
Doc Martin was top of the overnight ratings tree on Monday night once again for ITV, attracting an average overnight audience of 5.83 million at 9pm. BBC1's highlight of the evening outside of soaps was Traffic Cops, which brought in 2.46m at 9pm which may give dear blog readers some idea of a generally shite night it was across the board. On Channel Four, Fargo returned for its - prequel - second season, being watched by six hundred and seventy two thousand punters at 10pm. On Channel Five, Britain's Most Shameless Mum was watched by 1.12m at 9pm. BBC3's new series of Stacey Dooley Investigates had six hundred and twenty thousand. On Sky 1, The Muppets debuted with three hundred and seventy one thousand at 8pm, followed by the return of Modern Family with four hundred and fifty five thousand viewers at 8.30pm. On FOX, The Walking Dead continued to bring in impressive overnight figures for a multichannel, as seven hundred and twenty five thousand punters watched the latest episode at 9pm.
ITV's popular, long-running detective drama Lewis proved the biggest overnight attraction on Tuesday night outside soaps on what was another rather quiet evening across all channels. The Kevin Whately drama brought in an average overnight audience of 3.79 million at 9pm. BBC1's new drama, River, inexplicably lost a million viewers week-on-week for its second episode, dropping to 2.84m at 9pm. This blogger resigned from the human race in protest, dear blog reader, but I don't think it did much good. On BBC2, James May's Building Cars Live appealed to 2.19m at 7.30pm, followed by The Naked Choir with 1.65m at 9pm. Channel Four's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners attracted 1.26m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours in A&E was seen by 1.88m at 9pm. On Channel Five, The Yorkshire Vet drew 1.33m at 8pm, while BBC3's Being Gay In Pakistan was watched by an audience of six hundred and eleven thousand viewers at 9pm. On E4, Empire had three hundred and twenty thousand at 9pm. On Sky 1, The Flash attracted four hundred and twenty six thousand viewers at 8pm.

The Apprentice climbed back to over six million overnight viewers on BBC1 on Wednesday night to witness Lord Sugar-Sweetie's third firing. The show gained around five hundred thousand viewers week-on-week to an average overnight audience of 6.07m at 9pm. Earlier, DIY SOS also proved popular with 5.71m at 8pm. On Back To The Future day, 1.05m people tuned in to watch Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to 2015 in Back To The Future 2 at 6.45pm on ITV2. This blogger thinks he speaks for everyone when he asks those in charge of things, where the hell are our hoverboards, eh? BBC2's Building Cars Live brought in 1.41m at 7.30pm, followed by The Apprentice: You're Fired! with 1.72m at 10pm. On ITV, All-Star Mr & Mrs failed to entertain 2.65m at 8pm, while Alexander Armstrong's Land Of The Midnight Sun attracted 2.28m with nothing better to do with their time at 9pm. Channel Four's Grand Designs interested 1.74m at 9pm. In the same timeslot, Channel Five's Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away was seen by 1.21m. On Sky 1, Arrow continued with the hundred and thirty five thousand at 8pm, followed by You, Me & The Apocalypse with one hundred and fifty two thousand.

The Big Bang Theory's wedding episode brought in over a million overnight viewers on E4 on Thursday night. The popular US comedy's season nine premiere was, easily, the most-watched multichannel show, attracting an average overnight audience of 1.52m at 8.30pm. On BBC1, Watchdog appealed to 3.55m at 8pm, followed by Frances de la Tour's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with 3.20m at 9pm. BBC2's new epic series The Last Kingdom opened with a more-than-decent 2.02m viewers at 9pm, while Russell Howard's Good News returned with 1.07m punters at 10pm. On ITV, the third episode of the drama Unforgiven topped the night overall outside soaps with 3.78m at 9pm. Channel Four's Amazing Spaces interested 1.34m at 8pm, followed by the documentary My Son The Jihadi with 1.27m at 9pm and First Dates with 1.13m at 10pm.

Channel Four's Gogglebox was Friday evening's biggest overnight TV attraction outside soaps. A statistic which, surely, says something about ... soemthing, dear blog reader. Don't come to this blogger asking what, though. The TV show about watching TV shows was seen by an average audience of 3.5 million punters at 9pm. TFI Friday was watched by 1.48m at 8pm, while Alan Carr's Chatty Man followed with 1.21m. On BBC1, The ONE Show started the evening with 3.73 million, followed by A Question Of Sport with 2.7m at 8pm, and Still Open All Hours with 2.16m at 8.30pm. Have I got News For You had an overnight audience of by 3.99m at 9pm, whilst sitcom flop The Kennedys attracted 1.85m at 9.30pm and The Graham Norton Show had 3.3m from 10.35pm. On BBC2, The Great British Bake Off: Masterclass attracted 1.45 million at 7pm, Mastermind was watched by 2.07m at 8pm and Gardener's World by 2.27m at 8.30pm. The latest of Mister Portaloo's - really rather good - Great Continental Railway Journeys entertained 1.82m at 9pm, followed by 1.34 million for Qi. James Bond fever came to ITV at 9pm and the first hour of Skyfall which managed to attract 3.27 million at 9pm. Approximately 2.03 million stuck around the second half of the film at 10.45pm. Earlier in the evening, Diet Fact, Diet Fiction was seen by 2.73 million. On Channel Five, NCIS: New Orleans was seen by five hundred and eighty four thousand viewers at 9.15pm, NCIS attracted six hundred ad twenty one thousand at 10pm and NCIS: Los Angeles drew three hundred and one thousand at 11pm.
Comedy Line Of The Week came, as usual, from Friday's episode of Qi - and, despite Jezza Clarkson and Sheila Hancock being on epic form throughout, it was, actually, down to Jimmy Carr - something, admittedly, of an acquired taste although he's usually quite witty on his appearance on Qi. 'Here's a point about Hitler,' Jimmy noted. 'He's judged very harshly by history, but he did kill Hitler. Credit where credit is due!' Okay, that was funny.
Jezza's anger at having an answer he gave on an episode of Qi eleven series ago about Britain declaring war on Finland in 1941 being the only occasion in history when two democracies have commenced hostilities being used against him to deduct points was worthy of the price of the episode alone. It turns out that there have been a couple of others instances. A quiz show about the military was, inevitably, going to touch on firearms and yer man Clarkson came fully tooled up with an excellent anecdote about him, literally, not being able to hit a barn door when using an automatic weapon. 'Nobody could ever possibly get shot with an AK47,' he said, gesturing towards Jimmy Carr on the other side of the studio. 'If I aimed it at you, most of the audience would be history.' As Jimmy pointed out, this would qualify Jeremy for honourary membership of The A-Team as they were, also, notoriously rubbish at mowing down the enemy. When Stephen Fry presented the teams with a picture of two men hefting an enormous, cannon-like weapon, Jezza recognised it as a Punt Gun, popular with psychotic Nineteenth Century hunters keen on murdering entire flocks of wild fowl with but a single trigger-squeeze. 'I know you're a vegetablist,' Jeremy said to his teammate, Alan Davies. 'But if you hit a duck with one of those it vaporises it. Apart from licking grass, there's no nutritional value from an atomised duck.' During his recent appearance on Have I Got News For You, Clarkson appeared to be somewhat nervous whenever anyone mentioned his troubles with the Beeb. Throughout Qi - which, remember, was filmed several months earlier - on the contrary he appeared entirely comfortable with his status as a PC pariah. Describing Native Americans as Indians, he quickly added 'I've gone and trod on one of those landmines again.' But it turned out, he was assured by Stephen, 'American Indian' is, actually, a perfectly acceptable term amongst Native Americans themselves; it's only rite-on Middle Class white dudes in Los Angeles who are, seemingly, a bit touchy about using it. The main Native American political pressure group is, after all, called the Association of American Indian Affairs. Raising his eyebrows, Clarkson sighed and contemplated the Qi audience. 'It's a whole new world since I left.' Which, given that the episode was filmed in May just a couple of weeks after he did leave the BBC, was even funnier.

Strictly Come Dancing decimated The X Factor by nearly three million overnight viewers in the rivals' first proper Saturday clash of the year. The BBC1 dancing competition enjoyed an average audience of 9.32 million from 6.35pm. By contrast, ITV's The X Factor - broadcasting a ridiculously long two hours and twenty minutes episode - dropped to 6.35 million from 8pm. When the two programmes overlapped for twenty minutes, from 8pm, Strictly had 10.1 million viewers compared to The X Factor's 5.58 million. That is, of course, still a decent enough figure in this day and age, but it is, nevertheless, likely to put a reet scowl on the mush of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced chef off Crossroads. Which is a good thing. Elsewhere on BBC1, Doctor Who's The Woman Who Lived averaged a steady 4.39 million (and an audience appreciation index score of eighty one out of one hundred) and, later, Casualty drew 3.95 million. The National Lottery Live had 3.09m and Match Of The Day attracted 3.64m to watch Moscow Chelski FC lose at The Hamsters, Jose Mourinho lose his temper and hapless Tim Sherwood lose his job. ITV's The Jonathan Ross Show appealed to 2.33 million from 10.25pm. On BBC2, Great Continental Railway Journeys had eight hundred thousand viewers and Dad's Army 1.69m whilst Qi XL was watched by 1.13 million from 9pm. Later, the rain-curtailed coverage of the F1 US Grand Prix Qualifying 'highlights' - such as they were - drew 1.37m. Channel Four's It Was Alright In The 1980s interested nine hundred and thirty thousand punters. On Channel Five, Football League Tonight bought in an audience of four hundred and fifty nine thousand.
During BBC2's (none) coverage of the US Grand Prix Qualifying - due to rain - on Saturday they were reduced to sending poor Tom Clarkson into the crowd to interview some American F1 fans to fill up the programme's alloted running time. With predictably horrifying results featuring hideous over-exhuberence and mugging to the camera. It was exactly the sort of thing you'd expect, dear blog reader: 'Look at me, I going to holler, loudly, pull a gurning face, stick my tongue out, do the "Horned Beast" thing with my fingers like I'm at a heavy metal concert and make myself look like a twelve-year old on international television.' As Stephen Fry once said 'Americans are lovely but you do sometimes feel like asking ... "Do you have any grown-ups?"'
The X Factor regular viewership didn't appear to be all that fussed about the new live Judges' Houses weekend, as ITV's, once unstoppable, talent show lost around 1.2 million overnight viewers from the previous Sunday's episode. Even the BBC's long-runnning factual format Countryfile brought in a higher overnight audience this week. The X Factor attracted an average of 6.12m at 7.30pm, its second-lowest rated episode of the series so far. Its main rival, Strictly Come Dancing, averaged 8.66m for its weekly results show to top the night across all channels from 7.15pm. During the overlap between the two shows at 7.30pm, Strictly was seen by 8.79m, while The X Factor gathered 4.91m. Countryfile interested 7.05m from 6.30pm, while Antiques Roadshow had an audience of 5.57m at 8pm. The drama From Darkness continued with 2.88m at 9pm. On ITV, Jekyll & Hyde debuted with 3.15m at 6.30pm, while Downton Abbey was the second highest-rated show of the night with 7.23m overnight viewers from 9pm. Channel Four's Great Canal Journeys was seen by 1.43m punters at 8pm, followed by the latest episode of Homeland with seven hundred and sixteen thousand viewers at 9pm. On BBC2, Britain's Ultimate Pilot attracted 1.36m at 9pm, while Channel Five's coverage of The MTV EMAs was watched by four hundred and twelve thousand at 9pm.

And so to the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Six programmes for week-ending Sunday 18 October 2015:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 10.85m
2 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 9.67m
3 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 8.61m
4 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.93m
5 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 7.91m
6 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Wed BBC1 - 7.77m
7 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.25m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.12m
9 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 6.56m
10 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 6.45m
11 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 6.07m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.55m
13 Rugby World Cup: Australia Versus Scotland - Sun ITV - 5.41m
14 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 5.27m
15 River - BBC1 Tues - 5.11m
16 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.82m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.56m
18 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.49m
19 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.44m
20 From Darkness - Sun BBC1 - 4.37m
21= Unforgotten - Thurs ITV - 4.34m*
21= Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.34m
23 Lewis - Tues ITV - 4.33m*
24 Euro 2016 Qualifier: Lithuania Versus England - Mon ITV - 4.14m
25 Watchdog - Thurs BBC1 - 4.10m
26 The National Lottery - Saturday Draws - Sat BBC1 - 4.07m
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. The Sunday episode of Strictly Come Dancing drew an audience of 9.46 million whilst BBC1's second episode of The Apprentice (broadcast on Thursday) had 7.22m. Doctor Who's timeshift over and above the initial overnight audience for The Girl Who Died was once again, for the fourth time in five episodes, almost exactly two 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 (2.78m), followed by The Great British Bake Off: Masterclass (2.53m), Only Connect (2.48m), Gardeners' World (2.43m), Harvest 2015 (2.41m) and The Apprentice - You're Fired (2.28m). Cradle To Grave was watched by 2.02m, The Celts: Blood, Iron & Sacrifice With The Goddess of Punk Archaeology Alice Roberts & Scottish Neil Oliver (And His Lovely Hair) by 1.90m and the return of Qi by 1.58m. Aside from Gogglebox, Channel Four's top-rated broadcasts included Grand Designs (2.47m), TFI Friday (2.30m), First Dates: Z-List Celebrity Special (2.29m), George Clarke's Amazing Spaces (1.94m) and Food Unwrapped (1.92m). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcast was Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away (1.54m) and Autopsy: Joan Rivers (1.31m). Sky Sports 1's coverage of Live Ford Super Sunday, and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies getting what is increasingly looking like being their only win of the season (against Norwich Canaries) was watched by seven hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers. Gillette Soccer Saturday was, as usual, Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast, with four hundred and sixty thousand punters. Saturday's exciting coverage of the final day of the first test between Pakistan and England had one hundred and eighty three thousand viewers before bad light stopped any chance of a result. ITV4's coverage of the Euro 2016 Qualifier between Italy and Norway had three hundred and ninety four thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and sixty thousand), followed by Foyle's War (six hundred and ninety thousand). The second series of BBC4's Arne Dahl began with the opening two episodes being watched by seven hundred and fifty four thousand and six hundred and thirty four thousand punters respectively. Dambusters Declassified drew four hundred and sixty four thousand whilst A Very British Romance With Lucy Worsley had four hundred and fifty thousand, Rich Hall's Inventing The Indiansdrew four hundred and forty eight thousand, Servants: The True Story Of Life Below Stairs was watched by four hundred and ten thousand and The Many Faces Of Les Dawson attracted four hundred and eight thousand. A repeat of Monday's episode of EastEnders was BBC3's top rated broadcast with five hundred and eighty thousand. 5USA's latest episode of Castle attracted six hundred and forty nine thousand viewers. Fighting IS: Big Phil's War (one hundred and eighty two thousand) was Sky Atlantic's weekly list-topper, followed The Leftovers (one hundred and fifty three thousand), Nurse Jackie (one hundred and three thousand), Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (eighty three thousand) and Aquarius (eighty two thousand). Sky Living's most-watched dramas were Chicago Fire (four hundred and seventy three thousand viewers) and Criminal Minds (one hundred and eighty two thousand). Sky1's The Flash was watched by 1.41m punters whilst the latest episode of Arrow was seen by 1.11m. Sky Arts' broadcast of Landscape Artist Of The Year drew one hundred and eighty thousand. On Dave, Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Good(ish) was, again, the channel's highest-rated programme - six hundred and sixty eight thousand - followed by Blackadder: The Whole Rotten Saga (three hundred and fifty nine thousand), Storage Hunters UK (three hundred and thirty three thousand) and Suits (also three hundred and thirty three thousand). Drama's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries drew four hundred and twenty seven thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rizzolo & Isles (six hundred and twenty five thousand). Watch's broadcast of The Strain was seen by three hundred and eighty three thousand. Yesterday's repeat run of Porridge had two hundred and forty five thousand. FOX's highest-rated show was a new episode of The Walking Dead (1.68m - by a considerable distance the highest-rated multichannels broadcast of the week). NCIS was watched by one hundred and fifty thousand. Another episode of NCIS - a different one, obviously, as they always are - also topped CBS Action's weekly list. 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit with three hundred and forty seven thousand). On the Discovery Channel, Wheeler Dealers was watched by four hundred and five thousand viewers. Alaskan Bush People had one hundred and forty five thousand, Gold Rush one hundred and twenty five thousand and Running Wild With Bear Grylls ninety three thousand. Naked & Afraid was seen by sixty four thousand viewers, a rather low figure considering the amount of trailers that they've been running over the past couple of weeks. How It's Made: Dream Cars topped Discovery Turbo's weekly list (fifty four thousand). Air Wars topped Discovery History's top ten with twenty two thousand whilst Seven Ages Of Britain, Off The Rails and Time Team all had twenty one thousand. The Discovery Science channel drew thirty eight thousand viewers for How Do They Do It?. CI's Unusual Suspects brought in seventy two thousand viewers whilst Monster In My Family: Robert Lee Yates drew sixty six thousand. ID's Hell House was watched by fifty five thousand and I Almost Got Away With It had forty six thousand. National Geographic's Yukon Gold had an audience of one hundred and two thousand viewers and Eden's Madagascar was seen by twenty three thousand. The third episode of Marley's Ghosts on GOLD's attracted two hundred and forty three thousand having - as this blogger predicted, lost a third of its initial audience in a fortnight. That's, basically, because it's about as funny and a knee in the nadgers. A repeat episode of Mrs Brown's Boys was watched by two hundred and ninety thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (four hundred and fourteen thousand). On ITV Encore, Vera was watched by one hundred and twelve thousand viewers. TLC's weekly-list was topped by Devious Maids which was seen by one hundred and sixty two thousand.

Yer actual Jenna Coleman is, as previously announced, soon to be leaving Doctor Who, but her next project will see the actress share the screen with some veterans of the BBC's long-running family SF drama's spin-off series. Torchwood's Eve Myles and Sarah Jane Interferes' actor Tommy-Lawrence Knight will join Jenna in ITV's new costume drama Victoria. The eight-part series - charting the early life of Queen Victoria - will also feature Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne, Victoria's first Prime Minister. Melbourne historically formed an 'intimate friendship' with the still teenage Victoria, with this becoming a popular source of gossip which threatened to destabilise the Government. Myles will play Mrs Jenkins, the Queen's dresser, while Knight has been cast as the hall boy, Brodie. [spooks] star Peter Firth, Being Human actor Paul Rhys and Outlander's Nell Hudson are also among the cast. Victoria has been written by the novelist Daisy Goodwin, in her screenwriting debut. Shooting begins later this month on the ninety-minute premiere and seven more hour-long episodes.
BBC4 is ramping up anticipation for the third series of The Bridge with a new trailer using Johnny Cash's cover of 'Hurt'. The promo for the Scandinavian thriller recalls the events of last series, with Saga Norén watching on as her partner Martin Rohde is arrested for murder. Saga (Sofia Helin) will be on her own this time, as she is thrust into a personal investigation into the murder of Helle Anker - a high-profile debater on gender issues. The brutal killing is only the first in a series of gruesome crimes, as the episodes will revolve around the concept and structures of family. The Bridge is expected to return in November.
Sky 1's new music panel show (that, obviously, isn't a complete rip-off of Never Mind The Buzzcocks) Bring The Noise hasn't even begun yet, but already on the strength of the trailers it looks like being the biggest loads of old stinking shit imaginable. Take, for instance, this 'wacky' clip of guest David Tennant and Ricky Wilson performing Elton John and Kiki Dee's 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart'. Horrific. Truly truly horrific. Are you really so desperate for the money since the last series of Broadchurch finished, Ten?
BBC1 will look to rival The Godfather and The Sopranos with a globe-hopping drama set in the world of organised crime inspired by the best-selling book McMafia. Made by the producers of Film4's acclaimed Boy A and BBC1's recent Sunday night drama, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, McMafia will tell the story of the near one billion quid 'global gang war' through the eyes of a Russian family living in exile in London. The BBC is hopeful that the series, expected to be six episodes, could be the first of many, with each episode likely to cost more than two million knicker. With a multinational cast still to be confirmed, programme-makers also hope it will have international appeal at a time when broadcasters, including the BBC, are increasingly looking to turn their dramas into global hits. Created and written by Hossein Amini, whose credits include the Ryan Gosling film Drive, and James Watkins, the drama will adopt a US-style 'writers' room' approach with several different authors on board. Amini said: 'I have always been a fan of mob sagas but Misha Glenny's McMafia is the first book I've read that captures the complexity and global reach of organised crime in the Twenty First Century. The lines between gangsters, bankers, politicians and spies has been blurred and the whole world has become a battlefield in this global gang war.' Glenny, the author of the novel, which looked at global crime and its far reaching influence, said: 'I am a huge fan of The Godfather, The Sopranos and, more recently Narcos. Hoss and James's brilliant reworking of McMafia takes this tradition onto a global canvas by revealing the immense possibilities open to an ambitious Russian crime family in an interconnected world.' The series will be made by Cuba Pictures, the production arm of literary and talent agency Curtis Brown, whose chief executive Nick Marston said: 'One of the ideas behind it is it will be the first British crime show with almost entirely international faces in it. It reflects the modern supercity of London which is where its hub is, although we go out to all different locations around the world. The hope is it will have international resonance, but it needs to be organic. It is about where business and crime meet.' Asked about comparisons with shows such as The Sopranos, Dixie Linder, who will executive produce the series alongside Marston and the BBC's Matthew Read, said: 'The one we hear more talk about is The Godfather. There are definite echoes – the son is trying very hard not to join the family – but we are not replicating that world.' Commissioned by BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore and the corporation's drama controller, Polly Hill, the BBC said McMafia would reveal the 'web of connections that join up money launderers in Dubai to cyber criminals in India, black marketeers in Zagreb to narcos in Colombia, Russian oligarchs in London to Bedouin smugglers in the Negev desert.' BBC1 drama has been made a priority by the BBC Director General Tony Hall and will benefit from thirty million quid of savings from the shovelling of BBC3 online. BBC1 has had several big hits over the last year including Poldark, The Missing and Doctor Foster. The writing team also includes David Farr ([spooks]), Peter Harness (Doctor Who) and Laurence Coriat, who wrote Michael Winterbottom's Wonderland. James Watkins said: 'The annual turnover of transnational organised crime is estimated at eight hundred and seventy billion dollars. Misha Glenny's brilliant book casts fascinating light on that huge hidden world and shows how terrifyingly close it is to us all.'

Don't expect yer man Jezza Clarkson to be any less controversial now that he's done with Top Gear - the broadcaster says her and his colleagues will be embracing the freedom of the Internet on their new motoring series. Which will, obviously, be of considerable relief to Middle class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star readers since it will give them something to whinge about. The 2016 series from Amazon Prime - as yet untitled - will reunite Jezza with his Top Gear cohorts James May and Richard Hammond. Writing in his The Sunday Times column, he insisted that there is 'no finger-wagging' now that the trio have moved away from the BBC - and broadcast television entirely. 'You 'can say what you want, because out there, in the free world, there's no Ofsted,' Jezza argued. Or, indeed, no Ofcom either. 'There's no finger-wagging.' Referring to a memorable moment in Netflix drama House Of Cards, he quipped: "Kevin Spacey spat on Jesus and no one batted an eyelid. Because the Internet, let's face it, is also showing a gentleman and a lady making sweet love in extreme detail.' Clarkson previously insisted that there would be 'no editorial pressure' on the new Amazon series, which will produce thirty six episodes across three years.
James May, meanwhile, has insisted that his upcoming motoring show with Jezza and The Hamster will form 'a credible rival' to Chris Evans's new-look Top Gear. The presenter said that he has 'no regrets' about leaving the BBC for the new Amazon Prime series, and looks forward to the two motoring shows facing off against each other. Speaking to 5Live, Captain Slowly said: 'Now [Top Gear is] being reinvented, I think, "Well, good look to them", because Chris will come up with something different [and] we'll come up with something different. As far as I can work out, no-one really loses out. We each have a credible rival to bounce off, so that's good fun and the fans get two shows to watch where there used to be one. What's not to like?' James went on to say that he believed 'all the right decisions' were made after Jezza's Top Gear departure, saying: 'I think it'll be healthy, to be honest. I don't really have any regrets about anything.' Elsewhere, Evans has apparently picked his Top Gear presenting team for the sixteen new episodes when it relaunches in 2016.
A man accused of killing four men by poisoning with the party drug GBH them appeared in the background of a Celebrity MasterChef episode in 2014. Stills taken from an episode of the BBC cookery show's ninth series - which was broadcast in June - appear to show Stephen Port serving pasta and meatballs to bus drivers at West Ham Bus Garage, in East London alongside celebrity contestants including JLS singer JB Gill (no, me neither) and former EastEnders actress Emma Barton. Port has this week been charged with four counts of murder and four counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm. The forty-year-old is accused of poisoning the four men between June 2014 and September 2015, after contacting them via online dating services. He appeared at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing via video link on Wednesday, speaking only to confirm his name. Port, of Cooke Street in Barking, was remanded in custody pending further preliminary hearings. A provisional trial date has been set for April 2016. The Metropolitan Police stepped up their investigations earlier this month after linking the deaths of twenty three-year-old Anthony Walgate in June 2014, twenty two-year-old Gabriel Kovari in August 2014, twenty one-year-old Daniel Whitworth in September 2014 and twenty five-year-old Jack Taylor in September 2015.
A sinkhole has opened up outside the Dad's Army Museum in Norfolk. The void, which goes under the road on Cage Lane, is about three metres long Norfolk County Council said. A lamp-post which was precariously close to the hole has been removed by workmen and the road has been cordoned-off. The BBC News website said that it had been unable to get in touch with the museum, but tht a volunteer allegedly told the Eastern Daily Press not to panic and said that the museum would be open as normal this Saturday before calling the reporter a stupid boy. Much of the original Dad's Army series was shot in and around the town, using locations such as Thetford Forest. An eyewitness, Gavin Hodge, said that he noticed the hole at about 1pm and added when he looked down it there was 'quite a void' filled with masonry and rubble. He added that he would have gone closer to it but he didn't think it was altogether wise. In a statement, Norfolk County Council said that they understood - from their sister Dolly - that 'part of [the sinkhole] is under the pavement which is starting to give way but it also stretches under the road, which is intact but beginning to crack. Tomorrow the county council is planning to fill in the gap and make it safe. We're then planning to resurface the road on Monday with the hope that the road can re-open in the afternoon. There is no obvious reason why this gap has opened up. Anglian Water have investigated and have confirmed there are no leaks that would have contributed to it and there's no recent history of similar problems in the vicinity. And, put that light out.' They continued that, contrary to rumours put about by one Private Fraser, no one is doomed.
Call The Midwife actor Stephen McGann - the youngest of the famous McGann clan - is taking his character Doctor Turner off the small screen and into the publishing world. The actor has written a nostalgic and historical 'diary' describing what life would have been like for the doctor working as a GP in the East of London in the 1950s. 'Patrick Turner is a fascinating, complex character that I've had the privilege to play for five years on television - so the chance to expand on his private thoughts and cares through writing about his experiences was not to be missed,' McGann said. Doctor Turner's Casebook will be released in January to coincide with the new series of Call The Midwife.

Are you looking for a reason to avoid watching this year's Royal Vareity Performance, dear blog reader? Other than, obviously, the fact that it will be a right stinking pile of risible shat, as per ususal? Well, how about the fct that odious, horrible unfunny waste-of-space rutterkin and lanky streak of rancid worthless piss Jack Whitehall is hosting it for one thing. If that doesn't make you want to avoid it like the plague, nothing will.
The BBC remake of the children's classic Clangers, which returned to TV this year, has been nominated for a British Academy Children's Award. The stop-frame animation is shortlisted in the pre-school animation category alongside Hey Duggee, Lily's Driftwood Bay and Channel Five's Peppa Pig. The BBC's Horrible Histories leads the shortlist with nominations in three categories. The awards will be handed out at London's Roundhouse on Sunday 22 November. Horrible Histories is a frequent nominee at the annual awards and, this year its Magna Carta special has been nominated in both the writing and comedy categories. Horrible Histories' star Jessica Ransom is also nominated, for her performance as Mary, Queen of Scots. Ransom faces tough competition from Gus Barry in Hetty Feather, Poppy Lee Friar as the eponymous Eve and the former comedian Harry Hill, who made his debut in the new BBC series in The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, which also receives a nomination in the comedy category, despite Hill's presence. BBC shows dominate the awards shortlist, with further double nominations for Operation Ouch!, Sam & Mark's Big Friday Wind-Up and Harriet's Army. BBC children's channels CBBC and CBeebies are both nominated for Channel of the Year, alongside Welsh-language channel CYW and Cartoon Network. Cartoon Network's Clarence and Adventure Time are both nominated in the International category, against Disney's Gravity Falls and Australian co-production Nowhere Boys. Big Hero Six, Inside Out, Paddington and Shaun The Sheep: The Movie are nominated in the Feature Film category. Shaun The Sheep also picks up another nomination for animation, where it is joined by Cartoon Network's The Amazing World Of Gumball, Strange Hill High and CITV's Mr Bean: The Animated Series. The November ceremony will be hosted by CBBC actor Doc Brown.

The playwright behind The Dresser has said that his apparent 'criticism' of the upcoming BBC TV adaptation was 'a joke' and that his quotes were 'wrongly reported.' Ronald Harwood was previously quoted by some newspapers - with an agenda - as saying he was only 'happy-ish' with the adaption of his play, which stars Anthony Hopkins, Ian McKellen and Emily Watson. At a BFI screening of the adaptation, Harwood had also seemingly suggested that he was, initially, reluctant to make a TV programme, saying: 'What I was keen on was it being revived in the theatre. But it didn't happen that way, and then they put pressure on me, and I thought, "Oh screw it."' The writer has now released a statement saying that he was 'being sarcastic' and he is, in fact, 'extraordinarily proud' of the TV production. 'The truth is that for a lifetime I've been burdened by my wit and intellect and while it doesn't always translate in print in our British press, it has served me well in many other ways, driving a fifty-year career,' he said. 'Please let me clarify any misconceptions that may have been wrongly reported today. I am honoured to have watched my friends, Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen deliver a masterclass in acting in Richard Eyre's majestic production of The Dresser, a play of mine which I hold dear for a number of personal and professional reasons.' He added: 'The true glory of this BBC production is that it has brought together on screen a dream cast that sadly one would never be able to see on stage. And while my sarcasm was taken out of context at the BFI screening ‪on Wednesday night‬, please let me say simply and clearly, I'm extraordinarily proud of Richard's glorious adaptation of my play and am very grateful for the BBC's support of my work.' Harwood finished by saying: 'I hope in the future, my sly smile on delivery and the roaring laughter from the audience triggers journalists at our esteemed publications to recognise my sense of humour.'

After ten years and a whopping one hundred and thirty five episodes, Andy Parsons is leaving Mock The Week. The comedy panel quiz regular has decided to focus on his Slacktivist Action Group podcast and a new live show. 'I'd like to thank all of the people I've worked with over the years on Mock and from the BBC,' Parsons said. 'However, when 'Unlikely Things To Hear In A Superhero Movie' comes around for the fourth time it is probably time to move on. Perhaps this will be an opportunity to make a female comedian a regular.' He continued: 'I, myself, am looking forward to chairing the new monthly show and podcast Slacktivist Action Group and delving a little deeper into the bigger issues affecting the UK. With what seems like an exciting time for politics in this country, this is something I'd like to focus more of my time upon, with a chance to host a show and set my own agenda. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish the BBC well in its fight to avoid even more damaging cuts - love it or lose it.' Parsons is currently on his one hundred plus date tour of Live & Unleashed - But Naturally Cautious, with two of the nights at Margate's Theatre Royal recently recorded for his fourth live DVD.
Keith Allen and Jill Halfpenny are heading to Guadeloupe for the upcoming series of Death In Paradise. Not Going Out's Sally Bretton will also join them in the popular crime drama's fifth series next year. Other guest stars for series five include Paul Nicholls, Emma Rigby, Heida Reed, Julian Ovenden and Neve McIntosh. They will join the likes of Kris Marshall, Danny John-Jules and Joséphine Jobert in the drama, which focuses on the criminal investigations taking place on the fictitious Caribbean island of Saint-Marie. Halfpenny said: 'It was such a treat to dip into the world of Death In Paradise. One of the great joys of my job is being able to film with such strong talent and in such gorgeous locations - this year has taken me to Chichester, Guadeloupe and I will end it in Leeds! You can't ask for more variation than that!' Tim Key, the executive producer of Death In Paradise said: 'We're delighted to be welcoming more fantastic talent to Guadeloupe for the new series. We're incredibly lucky to have such brilliant actors and actresses to accompany our equally brilliant regular cast.'
Meanwhile Danny John-Jules has promised Red Dwarf fans that series eleven of the cult SF comedy will go back to its early series roots. Which, hopefully, means 'when it used to be funny.' Ahead of the show's return in 2016, the actor told the Digital Spy website: 'It's going back to the old school, the four guys and loads of banter. That's what we want.' He continued: 'We did the first read-through. I got a sore throat, as my voice had to go two octaves for Cat's voice. I hadn't done that for four years! Basically, it's going back to have my teeth cast, and my head cast. I can't tell you why I had to have my head cast, but you'll be very pleased when you see it!' Danny also talked about a potential future storyline that may see The Cat finally find love. 'The Cat's a virgin! Let's just say that gets explored. The whole thing about his standing in the world of reproduction is definitely touched on.' He added that filming two series back-to-back was a relief, saying: 'I think that was a conscious decision. We've been trying to get the same guys in the same room for the last three years now and because of Craig doing Corrie and me doing Death In Paradise, and Chris and Bobby doing their shows, it's very difficult. Now it's happened and it was very wild!'
Kara Tointon is to play Maria when ITV stages a live production of The Sound Of Music this Christmas. The former EastEnders actress and Strictly Come Dancing champion will fill Julie Andrews' shoes in the broadcast, which will come from London's Three Mills Studios. She will be joined in the cast by ex-Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly as Baroness Elsa Schraeder, Downton Abbey's Julian Ovenden as Captain Georg von Trapp, and Alexander Armstrong as Max Detweiler. ITV's director of entertainment and comedy Elaine Bedell said: 'This is the first time in the UK that this type of project has been attempted - a musical drama both performed and broadcast live - but big ambitious live television events is what ITV does well.'
Yvette Fielding (remember her?) has 'slammed' (that's tabloid-speak for 'criticisied' only with less syllables) several reality TV shows, arguing that they 'set bad examples' for viewers. The former Blue Peter presenter began by taking issue with Big Brother, naming it as 'a TV turn-off' while talking to the Gruniad Morning Star. 'I know I swear when I'm scared on Most Haunted, but some of these characters on Big Brother - they're using the C-word in every other sentence,' she said. What, 'comatose'? 'Is there really any need for that?' Fielding continued by listing Geordie Shore and The Valleys as other programmes which she doesn't like. As if anyone is actually in the slightest bit interested in what Yvette Fielding has to say, about anything. 'I think that a lot of the problems with binge drinking and promiscuity are to do with some of these shows,' she said. 'They actually showed a girl weeing in the shower! It's too far. Bring back Mary Whitehouse!' Quite what Mrs Whitehouse her very self - a noted and very vocal Christian activist bigot - would have made of Fielding's own Most Haunted, a series which makes improbable (and wholly unsubstantiated) claims about the existence of ghosts and which has been caught, on at least one occasion, attempting to defraud the viewing public is another matter entirely.
And from that load of utter trivial crap to something that actually matters.
The BBC does not 'crowd out' rival TV channels or local newspapers, according to a report released by the BBC Trust. In a recent Green Paper, the government - who, of course, did not have any sick agenda in this matter - questioned whether licence fee-funded programmes and websites have 'a negative impact' on commercial media companies. The BBC Trust asked accountants KPMG to examine whether that was the case. The report said the recession and rise in Internet usage - rather than the BBC's local news websites - have hurt local newspaper revenues since 2007. In recent years, newspaper publishers have criticised the scale of the corporation's online news presence, claiming that it amounts to unfair competition. The corporation is currently negotiating with the government over the renewal of its royal charter. As part of the process, the government has published a Green Paper, which asked questions like: 'Is the BBC crowding out commercial competition and, if so, is this justified?' The KPMG report said that the decline in local newspaper circulations and advertising revenues 'can be explained by a combination of the economic recession and long period of slow growth which followed, and the steady rise in Internet penetration.' It concluded that, while there was 'some overlap' between local papers and the BBC's local online news, local papers 'provide a significant amount of additional content that is simply not available from the BBC website.' Social media and other local news websites - not just the BBC - could also have affected local newspaper circulations, it said, while websites like eBay and Gumtree have provided alternatives to classified advertising. 'For these reasons, there is good reason to suppose that the increased adoption of the Internet, and the way we all share information across it, has had a larger effect on local newspapers' performance than the growth of the BBC online in isolation,' the report said. 'The BBC's online presence (ie. BBC News website clicks) had no statistically significant effect when added to this equation.' Meanwhile, the report also found that there was 'no firm evidence' an increase in BBC entertainment or news TV programmes had a detrimental effect on the hours of such shows broadcast by commercial rivals. BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead said: 'The BBC operates in a vibrant market, not a vacuum, and this report finds that the current BBC does not freeze out commercial investment simply by existing. However, the Trust is also clear that, as a public service broadcaster with £3.7bn of public money, the BBC's effect on the market must continue to be carefully regulated to ensure a high quality range of media is maintained.' An ITV spokesman sneered: 'We will be studying this BBC Trust report into the BBC's market impact and its findings about the corporation crowding out the commercial sector.' Oh, I bet you will. Take your time with it and, if you struggle with any of the big words, ask an adult to help you out. You odious self-interest twats.

Sky has boosted its profits and reduced the rate of customers leaving to rival services, shrugging off fears that BT's poaching of the Champions League rights would hurt its performance. The pay-TV group increased total revenues by six per cent to £2.8bn and profits by ten per cent to three hundred and seventy five million smackers year-on-year in the three months to the end of September. Crucially, Sky reduced its churn, the rate at which customers leave the business, to 9.8 per cent – its lowest UK rate for the quarter in eleven years. Its UK and Ireland operation, which could have been hit by BT Sport airing the Champions League, added seventy seven thousand new customers. This was fifty per cent growth over the same period last year, the highest rate in four years. The company acknowledged that it had expected a 'tough trading period' but said the overall performance of the business, including its German and Italian operations, was 'excellent'. The UK business remains the powerhouse, reporting a twenty per cent increase in operating profits to three hundred and fifty eight million knicker in the quarter, helped by what the company said was a 'strong focus on costs.' Sky's German business reported revenue growth of eleven per cent but a small operating loss of eight million wonga, as a result of increased Bundesliga and Champions League costs. The business added ninety four thousand new customers. The Italian business saw revenues fall four per cent and operating profit slide by twenty four per cent to twenty five million notes as thirty seven thousand customers left the business. 'Italy delivered a resilient performance against a challenging economic backdrop and the loss of the Champions League rights on a platform that is more sports-focused,' the company said. Ian Whittaker, an analyst at Liberum, said that there are 'issues' over Sky's long-term profitability due to spiralling programming costs, especially sports such as Premier League. Average revenue per user, a metric that measures how profitable each customer is which is closely watched by analysts, remained flat at forty seven quid. 'We still have concerns that Sky's long-term profitability will never get to the heights to justify its valuation because of the pressures from increasing programming costs,' said Whittaker. 'We see evidence of this as ARPU continues to flatline, with ARPU flat in UK and Germany and falling in Italy over the quarter. Cost rights inflation and the uncertainty of further spikes in the major costs such as the Premier League rights will continue to drag on the valuation as they continue to display an inability to pass this cost through to customers.' Sky group chief executive Jeremy Darroch said that, overall, it was 'a strong start' to its new financial year. 'As these results show, we are delivering against a clear set of plans across Europe, and are well positioned for the growth opportunities ahead,' he said. Sky also announced that it has renewed a new five year deal with Sanzar, the body representing New Zealand, Australia and South African rugby, that will include the Rugby Championship as well as tours by England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland down under.

The family of a British journalist who was found dead at an airport in Turkey have said they believe no one else was involved in her death. Former BBC broadcaster Jacky Sutton who was the acting Iraq director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, was found dead at Istanbul's Ataturk airport overnight on 17 October. She had flown from London to take an onward flight to her base in Erbil in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Initial reports indicated that she had taken her own life after missing a connecting flight to Iraq and admitting she did not have enough money to pay for another ticket, but her family and friends were initially sceptical about this. But a statement issued by her family and IWPR said that they had reached 'a preliminary conclusion' that she acted alone. 'Based on an extensive review of the information provided by Turkish authorities, the family of Jacky Sutton and IWPR have reached the preliminary conclusion that no other parties were involved in her death,' said the statement. Sutton's sister, Jenny, added: 'The family is satisfied with the investigation undertaken by the Turkish authorities. We were deeply sceptical about initial reports. But based on the evidence we have seen, at this stage we believe that Jacky acted alone.' IWPR and Sutton's family said that they had reached their conclusion based on 'comprehensive CCTV footage' with no apparent time gaps, still photographs, witness statements, a viewing of the body by her sister and a site visit by IWPR. The evidence indicated that Sutton was alone and that there was no sign of struggle. She had two credit cards and a large amount of cash with her and there was no indication of theft or of any missing belongings. IWPR said that the Turkish authorities had co-operated fully and provided access to the complete dossier of evidence relating to the case, including copies of the CCTV images and all documentation. IWPR and Sutton's family said they would be seeking a further assessment from an independent investigative expert to confirm the findings once the Turkish investigation was complete. Sutton had worked as a producer for BBC World Service from 1998 to 2000 and served with the United Nations in numerous senior roles that took her from Afghanistan and Iran to West Africa and Gaza.

Sherlock and Spectre actor Andrew Scott is to star in the UK premiere of Richard Greenberg's The Dazzle. Andrew will play Langley Collyer with Luther's David Dawson appearing as his brother Homer, who became infamous for their compulsive hoarding. Simon Evans will direct the production, which runs from 15 December to 30 January at the Central St Martins School of Art in London.
Netherlands legend Johan Cruyff has been diagnosed with lung cancer. The sixty eight-year-old former Ajax striker was told of his illness this week after undergoing medical tests. Cruyff, a three-time Ballon d'Or winner, helped his country reach the World Cup final in 1974, where the Oranj (annoyingly) lost to West Germany on what was one of the worst days of the young Keith Telly Topping's life. I had ninety quid riding on that game. That was a lot of money for an eleven year old. Johan also won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax and went on to play and manage at Barcelona, with both clubs sending out messages of support. Former Ajax, Manchester United, Juventus and Fulham goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, now a director at the Dutch club, said: 'On behalf of the club, I wish Johan and his family a lot of strength and a speedy recovery.' Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu tweeted: 'Johan, you'll win this one too. The whole club is behind you.' While in charge at the Spanish club, Cruyff led them to their first European Cup win in 1992 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. They also won four consecutive La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994. Widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time - not least by this blogger his very self - Cruyff had a double heart bypass surgery in 1991. Having been a smoker, he gave up immediately after the heart operation and took to sucking lollipops in the dugout. He featured in a Catalan health department advert, saying: 'Football has given me everything in life, tobacco almost took it all away.' His last managerial appointment came with the Catalonia national team, where he was in charge from 2009 to 2013.

And now, dear blog reader, here's ...
One Direction cancelled a Belfast concert at the last minute earlier this week after band member Liam Payne 'became sick' and could not go on stage. They had been due to play the first of three gigs at the SSE Arena on Tuesday night. The cancellation announcement was made at about 9pm, when most of the audience was already inside the venue. Nine o'clock? On a school night? Anyway, disappointed fans reported booed as staff instructed them to leave the venue forthwith. One witness claimed that 'hundreds' of 'girls and women' had been 'left weeping.' Mind you, just imagine what they'd've been like if the gig had gone ahead.
A one hundred and sixty five-year-old law which threatens anyone calling for the abolition of the monarchy with life imprisonment is, technically, still in force – after the Ministry of Justice admitted to wrongly announcing that it had been repealed. The Treason Felony Act 1848 has been the subject of repeated legal confusion during this century. It was the subject of a high court challenge by the Gruniad Morning Star in 2003. And, challenged in song by The Smiths and The Stone Roses. This week, in a footnote to a list of new offences, the MOJ said that the powers in section three of the act had, finally, been swept away in a belated, legislative pruning of unwanted - and ludicrous - laws. The act – which makes it a criminal offence, punishable by life imprisonment, to advocate abolition of the monarchy in print, even by peaceful means – has not been deployed in a prosecution since 1879. The Ministry of Justice said: 'Section three of the Treason Felony Act 1848 has not been repealed. The Ministry of Justice has removed this publication and is reviewing its contents.' That means that, in theory. to 'imagine' overthrowing the Crown or waging war against the Queen, as the wording of the act describes, could still result in a life sentence. Which is jolly bad news for Morrissey, obviously. And, for anyone else who regards the idea that, in the Twenty First Century, we still have a band of workshy parasites whose lavish lifestyle is paid for by the working people of this country. That Mister Iain and Duncan Smith really ought to do something about those lot of benefit scroungers. Anyway, in 2001, the Gruniad Morning Star, which had launched a campaign for the establishment of a republic, initiated a legal challenge against the antique statute on the grounds that it prevented freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Human Rights Act 1998. The law lords dismissed the newspaper's case on the grounds that it was unnecessary. And, because the Gruniad are a bunch of Middle Class hippy Communist wankers. Probably. Lord Steyn explained: 'The part of section three of the 1848 Act which appears to criminalise the advocacy of republicanism is a relic of a bygone age and does not fit into the fabric of our modern legal system. The idea that section three could survive scrutiny under the Human Rights Act is unreal.' But, he added, courts should not be used as 'an instrument [to] chivvy parliament into spring-cleaning the statute book.' Among three hundred and twenty seven offences that have recently been purged from the statute book was that of it being a criminal offence to be 'an incorrigible rogue', under the Vagrancy Act 1824. Which was a huge relief to this particular incorrigible rogue, let me tell you dear blog reader.
The Irish comedienne Eleanor Tiernan has told the Mirra how she was 'surprised' when her 'court reporting' went viral. Clips of Eleanor playing the part of the straight-faced RTE court reporter, Ursula McCarthy, picked up a huge following on the Interweb with many viewers of the clips reportedly believing that the spoof reports, from RTE satirical comedy show Irish Pictorial Weekly - like this one. And, this one - were genuine Irish local TV news items. Eleanor told the paper: 'I thought it was interesting what the branding of television can do – when people saw it on television they knew it was a joke. But when you took the branding off it, it was very easy to trick people. We are just used to this particular format of news being generated and when you mimic it people can get tricked into believing it.' And here, dear blog reader, this blogger has to be honest and note that when he saw one, at first he was entirely tricked too, describing the piece, on a friend's Facebook page, as 'possibly the greatest thing ever. And not just on TV either.' Mind you, dear blog reader, there are also people out there who believe this news item isn't real.
According to this article in the ever-reliable Independent, 'cheese triggers the same part of brain as hard drugs a new study has found.' This obviously explains why our major cities are full of scruffy-looking urchins sitting in the gutter asking passers-by for ten pence 'for a hit of Red Leicester'.
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott were on Chris Evans' Radio 2 breakfast show on Friday morning, when Adele mentioned hat the first concert she ever attended was by their former band, The Beautiful South. 'It's incredible,' Heaton said afterwards. 'I was quite flattered because she's such a brilliant singer. Did she say she was three at the time?' 'Yes, she was three,' confirmed Abbott. 'Apparently one of her parents snuck her in underneath a coat.' 'Well then,' Paul noted, 'she owes me the price of the ticket. Unfortunately that was only two pounds back then!' This blogger would just like to confirm at this juncture that of the, I think seven, occasions that he saw The Housemartins live, yer actual Keith Telly Topping paid for his entry on every single occasion (even the time I could've got in for nowt when me and my mates had a kickabout with PD and Fatboy Slim in the Riverside Car Park). And, they were all a hell of a lot more than two quid, as these ticket-stubs prove!
Johnny Marr has announced the death of The Smiths' first manager Joe Moss. 'Joe was a one-off, an amazing person and totally unique,' Johnny said on his website. 'He started looking after me when I was seventeen - it was Joe who put the idea in my head to go and knock on Morrissey's door. He invested his time and money in us when no one else wanted to know, and his belief in us kept us going. Without him there wouldn't have been any Smiths. He was an original beatnik and a true bohemian, respected by all. Everyone who met him loved him; he can never be replaced.' Joe was already a legend in Manchester by the start of the 1980s, which is when he and Johnny Marr first met: a patron of the famed Twisted Wheel soul club, and an instigator of the pioneering store Eighth Day, Moss had turned his love of street fashion into Crazy Face, an influential clothing line with a store in the city's Chapel Walks. Johnny worked in the clothes shop next door and, at the age of seventeen, introduced himself to Moss as 'a frustrated musician'; the pair quickly became close friends, with Marr moving in to the Moss household and being placed in charge of a new Crazy Face store underneath the label's Portland Street headquarters. Moss mentored and encouraged Johnny's musical ambitions and, when The Smiths came together, he supplied the group with space at Portland Street to rehearse at, and a PA for them to play through, he bought them a van, guided the group through their first live shows, secured record contracts with Rough Trade, publishing and agency deals, and helped hire a dedicated crew. He left the group unexpectedly in late 1983, while 'This Charming Man' was riding high in the charts and with their debut LP completed, on the eve of The Smiths' first trip to America. After The Smiths, Moss helped to reinvigorate the Manchester scene of the 1990s by promoting shows at The Night & Day Café on Oldham Street. He resumed managing with the group Marion, whose 1998 CD The Program was produced by Johnny Marr; he also managed Haven, again enlisting Johnny as a producer. In 1999, Joe resumed his role as Johnny Marr's manager, a position he retained until his death. Drummer Mike Joyce tweeted: 'Joe Moss looked after us. He gave us a place to play and a brilliant mind to learn from. Joe was a giver. Joe loved us and we loved Joe.' He is survived by his wife Sarah and his children David, Rachael, Ivan, Stella and Edie.

Today, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self has mostly been playing this -
And this -
... at a volume so as to make the very walls of Stately Telly Topping Manor shaketh like a jelly what has been attatched to the mains. So, no change there, then.

And so, dear blog reader, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. The Devil take your stereo and your record collection. And that.

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