Saturday, October 03, 2015

Under The Lake: I Feel Your Undercurrent Flowing

'Clara, why don't I have a radio in the TARDIS?' 'You took it apart and used the pieces to make a clockwork squirrel.' 'Because whatever song I heard first thing in the morning I was stuck with. Two weeks of 'Mysterious Girl' by Peter Andre' I was begging for the brush of death's merciful hand.'
'Can we go back to that place where the people with long necks have been celebrating New Year for two centuries? I left my sunglasses there. And, most of my dignity!'
'They wouldn't say "boo" to a goose. They're more likely to give the goose their car keys and bank details!'
'Hello! Did you want to show us this? It's very nice!'
'So, we are fighting an unknown homicidal force that has taken the form of your commanding officer and a cowardly alien, underwater and in a nuclear reactor? Anything else I should know? Has someone got a peanut allegy or something?'
'I like adventures as much as the next man. If the next man is a man who likes adventures.'
'I'm very sorry for your loss. I'll do all I can to solve the death of your friend-slash-family member-slash-pet.'
'I'm pretty certain it's not so they can all form a boy band!'
'Hello, sailors!'
'They're saying "the dark, the sword forsaken the temple."'
'Calm, Doctor! Calm! You were like this when you met Shirley Bassey!'
'They can walk though walls and they only come out at night!' Woah, base-under-siege. About effing time! Everybody chant, 'This blogger thought it was great.'

It seems that we won't be seeing more than one series of Doctor Who a year any time soon - not that anybody with a fraction of common sense or a basic understanding of the logistics of TV production thought for a single second that we would or could. Peter Capaldi has said that an increase in the number of episodes made would create 'casualties.' The actor told an audience at the Radio Times Festival last weekend that the cast and crew don't have enough energy to make more than one series a year. 'We've been going since 6 January and the crew, who are wonderful, are exhausted,' he said. 'There reaches a point where you can't drive people any harder. We do the best we can to produce our show to an immensely high quality. If you did it all year round there would be casualties. One of the casualties would be the quality of the show.' He added that executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) would not be able to commit to more episodes, saying it would compromise his vision. 'It's absolutely vital that we have Steven working on it and having a vision on the whole thing,' he said. 'He only has so much energy, I've only got so much energy. "You want people running on all cylinders. So it's not going to happen.'
Meanwhile, filming concluded this week on Doctor Who's Christmas Special, as this photograph, posted online by the episode's director, Doug MacKinnon, proves.
And now, dear blog reader, there's this.
The Digital Spy website's article Is Doctor Who In Serious Trouble? is this week's contender for, genuinely, the most pointless thing ever written. By anyone. Including everything by Jeffrey Archer. A couple of thousand words where three - 'no, it isn't' - would have done. Something this blog is, also, frequently guilty of, I confess. Next ...

BBC Worldwide have announced a new DVD box-set of Doctor Who adventures, featuring all of the Christmas Specials of the popular long-running family SF drama that have aired since 2005. A fantastic way to get gullible fans to buy nine episodes which they already own at least once simply to get their hands on the one - Last Christmas - that hasn't yet been released as part of a full series box-set. Jolly well done, there. You greedy bastards.
Jenna Coleman her very self, who recently announced she is leaving Doctor Who later this series, made some startling revelations while being interviewed by US talk show host Conan O’Brien this week. When discussing Doctor Who conventions and events, Jenna revealed that the previous weekend in Salt Lake City a fan had a somewhat unusual request for her. Whilst posing for a photo, the - female - fan asked Jenna to "Hit my bustle!" If this request wasn't odd enough - hell, it's America, they're pretty much all weirdos over there at the best of times, dear blog reader - it transpires that the fan's partner was on one knee proposing to her whilst Jenna's bustle-spanking session was taking place. Which, one hopes someone had the presence of mind to, you know, film. 'It was the most bizarre proposal that I was suddenly in the middle of!' Jenna added. 'I think she said, "Yes," so it's happily-ever-after!' And, what the pair of them - as consenting and now married adults - get up to on a Saturday night after watching the latest episode of Doctor Who in the privacy of their own dungeon is, one should note, entirely between them and their God. Discussing leaving Doctor Who, which Jenna will do 'at some point' during the current series, the actress confessed to stealing a few souvenirs from the set - a tradition which former Doctors Matt Smith and David Tennant also did, in their thieving ways. Jenna told O'Brien: 'I found a clockwork squirrel, so I've taken that. I also took my TARDIS key, so I can get back in. And, also a bit of the TARDIS that nobody knows yet but they will when they go back to start filming.' On the success and longevity of Doctor Who, Jenna made the somewhat shocking observation that 'the key to the show is do not apply logic, ever. If you don't apply logic, you will be fine.'
BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore has not ruled out the possibility of the lead role in Doctor Who being taken by a woman at some stage in the future. Moore said that the current incumbent, yer Peter Capaldi, had 'broken the mould' but said that she would never 'put a bar' on any specific future direction. Moore told Radio Times: 'Peter Capaldi is a fantastic Doctor and he’s broken the mould. But I'd never put a bar on [a female Doctor]. The great thing about Doctor Who is that anything is possible.' The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) said earlier this year: 'It's not an impossibility to have a lady Doctor. It is not a lock either. There is no guarantee. I wish sometimes that the politics of that would take a backseat and we'd just talk about the art, because it's not really about that. It's just about "would it work?" The day it will work is when somebody says, "That person would be amazing," and the most conservative, most traditional member of the audience says, "Oh God, yes. I would hate the idea of a lady Doctor, but that one would be great."' Elsewhere in the interview, Moore rejected criticism of BBC1's The Voice and defended the BBC's treatment of Tom Jones after he was dropped from the show. 'Unless you are saying that the BBC can't do talent shows at all, the way The Voice is made – its warmth and tone – is BBC in its nature. It is distinctive because of the way the BBC does it. And eight to ten million people rock up to watch Strictly and The Voice, so I know we're getting it right,' she said. She also defended the scheduling of Strictly Come Dancing, after ITV whinged that it was being used to 'clip the wings' of The X Factor. 'We're scheduling Strictly in the place we've always scheduled it and I think our audience expects it to be there at that time,' said Moore. 'I think it’s when the flagship entertainment show is expected to be shown on a Saturday night. There is no evidence that it's had any [negative] effect on ITV's entertainment over the years. Knowing that the BBC is giving people an alternative is absolutely right.'
Doctor Who is to get a new spin-off series aimed at 'young adults.' Class will mark the screenwriting début of author Patrick Ness, best known for his award-winning novel A Monster Calls. As the title suggests, the eight forty five-minute episodes will be set in a school in contemporary London - specifically Coal Hill, the school featured in numerous Doctor Who episodes from 1993 onwards. So, this is Grange Hill with aliens, basically. Cool. Sounds excellent and I say that as, clearly, not one of the intended audience. Mind you, the idea of getting 'young people' to watch something Doctor Who related, that'll never catch on. Ness said that he was 'thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe.' The show will be broadcast on BBC3 in 2016. 'I'm astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself,' said Ness, whose books include the Chaos Walking trilogy. 'There's so much room there for all kinds of amazing stories and to work with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin to find a place to tell one of my own has been an absolute joy. I can't wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-levels,' he said. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), who will be an executive producer on the new show, said: 'No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we're bringing his brilliant story-telling into Doctor Who.' Although set in London, it will be filmed in and around Cardiff, as is much of the main Doctor Who series. It will be the fifth Doctor Who spin-off following K9 & Company, Torchwood, Totally Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Interferes.

Of course, as you might expect, dear blog reader, when the BBC announced earlier on Thursday that they would be making 'a major announcement' in regard to the Doctor Who franchise late that evening, the series' fandom went into overdrive with all sorts of rumours flying around the Interweb about what this announcement may (or, as it turned out, may not) have related to; from the possible return of missing episodes to the potential unveiling of Jenna Coleman's replacement. So, when the announcement came that it was actually about a new spin-off show entering production, needless to say some whinging cheb-ends took right umbrage that the announcement wasn't what they'd been hoping for. All of which, yet again, goes to prove that Doctor Who fandom - or parts of it, anyway - are really unique. Give them a reason to celebrate and some of them will manage to turn it into an excuse for a right good whinge.
FX in India have announced that the latest series of Doctor Who will reach the country this Sunday evening. FX took up the mantle of Doctor Who in India in May this year, after BBC Entertainment ceased transmission in the country in 2012. Shown daily, viewers have been able to experience the latest adventures of The Doctor over the last few months, with the debut of Peter Capaldi this weekend as the channel shows the whole of the eighth series over the course of two afternoons - leading to the premiere of The Magician's Apprentice on Sunday 4 October 2015 at 11pm. The announcement means that India is now the ninth region in the world to see the new adventures of The Doctor, currently being enjoyed in Britain, America, Canada, Asia (on BBC Entertainment), New Zealand (on PRIME), Australia (on ABC), Benelux (on BBC First) and Finland (on YLE2). Denmark, South Africa and Germany are due to begin broadcasting the series in the coming weeks.

The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) confirmed to the Collider website that the one-off Sherlock special set in 1895 will be broadcast around Christmas. Which we all had suspected anyway so this is hardly qualifies as 'news', per se. 'It is a Christmas-ish special. It will be around that time of year,' he explained. 'I'm not being vague because I'm evil, I just don't know.' Moffat added that it definitely won't be on Christmas Day as it's 'too crowded', but it will be broadcast during the festive period, even though 'you could put it in the middle of summer and it would be fine.' He was also asked about the full fourth series, of Sherlock set to go into production in spring 2016, but revealed that he and Mark Gatiss haven't started working on it yet. 'Mark will be starting very soon, he may have started. I've got to finish my Doctor Who Christmas special and then I'll be straight onto Sherlock after that.' Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) did, however, suggest that the series will feature 'a couple of really quite strong surprises.'
Earlier this week, thanks to a couple of preview discs, this blogger caught up with the first two episodes of the new series of Gotham from the US. You'll be happy to know, I'm sure dear blog reader, that the Batman prequel remains as gorgeously mental as every and Sean Pertwee is still getting all the best lines (particularly one concerning kippers). It's nice to know that in an uncertain world, some things never change!
Call The Midwife has never shied away from serious issues, and episode one of the next series will apparently depict the birth of the baby born with disabilities caused by thalidomide, the anti-morning sickness drug that was prescribed to expectant mothers in the late 1950s. 'Since the series became established, people were saying to us, when are you going to do thalidomide?' writer Heidi Thomas told an audience at the Radio Times Festival last Saturday. 'It was something we wanted to do with the utmost sense of emotional and historic responsibility.'
One of America's most popular and well-liked dramas of recent years, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ended its fifteen-year run on Sunday night with a feature-length special entitled Immortality. It was all right although, to be honest, the plot would've comfortably fitted a standard forty minute episode, but seemed a bit stretched to death over an hour-an-a-half. CSI quickly became one of America's most-watched shows when it debuted in 2000, but like many former hits, it eventually faded after years of declining ratings and multiple attempts to reboot its cast. The finale got a more than respectable twelve million overnight viewers in America, but was beaten by ABC's new show Quantico. The finale mostly functioned as a piece of fan fiction — the most a network can do for a show which once served as its flagship product. The episode brought back many of CSI's original characters and had the central pair of Gil Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) resolving their long-dangling romantic subplot. It also served as cross-promotion for the show's one remaining spin-off, CSI: Cyber, with Ted Danson's character joining the spin-off's cast after four years on CSI.
Martin Clunes continued to rule Monday nights by topping the overnight ratings outside soaps with Doc Martin. The ITV drama was seen by an average overnight audience of 6.12 million at 9pm, rising by around three hundred thousand from the previous week. Earlier, Britain As Seen On ITV brought in 2.49m at 8pm. On BBC1, Room 101 was watched by 2.20m at 8.30pm, followed by All Change At Longleat with 2.65m at 9pm. BBC2's University Challenge was watched by 2.67m at 8pm, while Only Connect attracted 2.05m at 8.30pm. Countdown To Life continued with 1.14m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Jamie's Super Food appealed to 1.24m at 8pm, followed by Food Unwrapped with 1.66m at 8.30pm. The Catch had an audience of eight hundred and seventy eight thousand punters at 9pm and Sex Diaries: Webcam Couples was masturbated over by eight hundred and forty thousand people at 10pm. Channel Five's Police Interceptors was watched by eight hundred and sixty four thousand at 8pm, followed by the controversial Autopsy: The Final Hours Of Amy Winehouse with 1.08m at 9pm. On BBC3, the documentary KKK: Fight For White Supremacy was seen by nine hundred and seven thousand viewers at 9pm.

The final CSI episode had only only average figures for Channel Five on Tuesday night. The feature-length series finale, Immortality (see above) brought in an average overnight audience of nine hundred and forty five thousand viewers from 10pm. However, that figure is around four hundred thousand overnight viewers higher than the previous series final episode in May. Earlier, The Yorkshire Vet appealed to 1.05m at 8pm, followed by Body Donors with nine hundred and four thousand at 9pm. BBC1's penultimate episode of New Tricks rose slightly from the previous week's overnight audience to top the night across all channels outside of soaps with 5.38m at 9pm. Earlier Holby City was watched by 4.48m. On BBC2, The Hairy Bikers' Northern Exposure was seen by two million viewers at 8pm, while The Naked Choir continued with 1.78m at 9pm. ITV's Parking Wars attracted 2.37m at 8pm, while Bear Grylls's Britain's Biggest Adventures continued to struggle with just 1.25m punters at 9pm. On Channel Four, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners interested 1.15m at 8pm, followed by Educating Cardiff with 1.13m at 9pm. BBC3's Race Riots USA with Reggie Yates was watched by five hundred and ninety eight thousand viewers at 9pm.

The Great British Bake Off achieved its highest overnight ratings of the series so far as viewers discovered who had made this year's grand finale. The BBC1 bakery competition's chocolate-themed semi-final attracted a huge average overnight audience of 10.21 million at 8pm, peaking at 10.79m shortly before the end of the episode. This is the second-highest overnight ratings in the programmes history, beaten only by last year's final. Later, the Suranne Jones drama Doctor Foster continued the pull in impressive figures with 5.99m at 9pm whilst earlier in the evening The ONE Show was watched by 3.49m and Pound Shop Wars drew 3.27m. On BBC2, Welcome to the Mosque interested six hundred and ninety seven thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by Simon Schama's Face of Britain which was watched by eight hundred thousand at 9pm. ITV's All-Star Mr & Mrs spectacularly failed to entertain 2.85m (sad, crushed victims of society at 8pm, while Midwinter Of The Spirit continued to flop bigger than a big flopping thing with a mere 1.31m at 9pm. Which is a shame as it's actually a rather decent little thriller. The Champions League highlights scored 1.14m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Location, Location, Location gathered seven hundred and seventy eight thousand punters at 8pm, followed by Grand Designs with 2.08m at 9pm and Forced Marriage Cops with 1.01m at 10pm. Channel Five's Nightmare Neighbour Next Door attracted five hundred and forty six thousand at 8pm, while Can't Pay, We'll Take It Away brought in 1.25m at 9pm. Wentworth Prison concluded with five hundred and nineteen thousand at 10pm. Sky1's new comedy-drama You, Me & The Apocalypse launched with four hundred and thirty two thousand at 9pm.

The Pride If Britain Awards topped the overnight ratings on Thursday outside of soaps, but its audience was down from last year's broadcast. The annual charity event - hosted by Carol Vorderman - had an average overnight audience of 4.02 million at 8pm, down around five hundred thousand viewers from 2014's awards. On BBC1, Eat Well For Less appealed to 3.92m at 8pm, followed by Anita Rani's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with 3.73m at 9pm. Question Time brought in 2.28m at 10.35pm. BBC2's World's Weirdest Events was watched by 1.45m at 8pm. Cradle To Grave continued with 1.37m punters at 9pm, followed by Boy Meets World with eight hundred and eighty one thousand at 9.30pm and Mock The Week with 1.19m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Amazing Spaces drew an audience of 1.36m at 8pm, while Hunted continued with 1.05m at 9pm. First Dates was watched by nine hundred and fifty three thousand at 10pm. Channel Five's Building The London Underground interested seven hundred and thirty six thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by Chris Tarrant's new series Extreme Railway Journeys with seven hundred and fifty thousand at 9pm.

Jezza Clarkson's long-awaited appearance hosting Have I Got News For You was Friday's highest-rated show outside of soaps. The episode attracted 4.46m overnight viewers at 9pm. Earlier, The ONE Show had an audience of 3.43m viewers at 7pm, A Question Of Sport was seen by 3.79m at 7.30pm and Still Open All Hours pulled in 3.21m viewers at 8.30pm. New alleged 'family comedy' The Kennedys was watched by 2.58m at 9.30pm, while The Graham Norton Show averaged 2.85m at 10.35pm. On ITV, that all-important Rugby World Cup clash between New Zealand and Georgia was seen by an average audience of 3.2m peaking with 4.05m at 8.30pm. BBC2's The Great British Menu was watched by 1.99m at 7.30pm, Mastermind followed with 1.81m at 8pm, Gardener's World was seen by 2.09 at 8.30pm and The Great British Bake Off: Extra Slice drew 1.95 at 9pm. With 2.87m viewers, Gogglebox was once again Channel Four's highest-rated show. It was sandwiched between Jimmy Carr Does Deal Or No Deal with six hundred and eighty thousand punters at 8pm and Alan Carr: Chatty Man with 1.04m at 10pm. On Channel Five, an average audience of seven hundred and thirteen thousand watched NCIS: New 9pm. Eight hundred and eight thousand watched NCIS at 10pm.

Comedy line of the week, came from this week's long-waited return of Jezza Clarkson to the BBC, hosting Have I Got News For You. Guest Richard Osman, speaking about the recent VW emissions scandal, said that they could use with an expert on cars to discuss the story – he then turned to yer man Jezza and asked: 'Jeremy, have you got Chris Evans' phone number?!' After Osman teased the presenter again, fellow guest Camilla Long said: 'Go on Jeremy, punch him!' Clarkson, inevitably, bore the brunt of countless gags, but he appeared to take the jokes in good spirit and even got one or two witty one-liners in himself. Pretty decent episode, all told.
Doubtless to the relief of much of fandom (and the disappointment of a few people with an agenda), Doctor Who's overnight audience stayed steady from the previous week for Saturday night's Under The Lake, with 3.74m viewers. As usual, expect some whinging, some rather hysterical over-reaction and then, in about a week's time, a consolidated timeshift of something approaching a couple of million additional viewers (not counting the million plus that will have watching it on iPlayer) and pretty much total silence about that. The episode had an Audience Appreciation Index score of eighty four. Strictly Come Dancing, meanwhile, rose to nearly eight million viewers according to overnight data. The BBC1 show attracted 7.92 million and peaked with 8.95 million at around 7.30pm, despite competition from the Rugby World Cup. England XV's 'with a whimper not a bang' defeat at the hands of Australia had an average audience of 7.98 million on ITV, with a peak of 10.96 million towards the climax of the match at 9.30pm. Even The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat jokes with his Facebook followers that some people in his house were watching the rugby! The wretched Up The Arsehole then drew 2.07m sad, crushed victims of society with nothing better to do with their time at quarter past ten on a Saturday night. Elsewhere on BBC1, Casualty was watched by 3.77 million immediately after Doctor Who. The National Lottery Live was watched by 3.55m whilst the evening ended with Match Of The Day - including yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved though unsellable (and, seemingly, now relegation-bound) Magpies utterly cowardly and disgraceful 'surrender before kick-off' against Shiekh Yer Man City. On BBC2, repeats of Dad's Army and Cradle To Grave managed 1.47 million and five hundred and forty two thousand respectively. Earlier, Natural World had an audience of eight hundred and eighty two thousand. Channel Four's Z-List Celebrity Benchmark With Professional Northern Berk Paddy McGuinness appealed to but two hundred and eighty eight thousand punters in the 7pm hour, losing about half of its - already low - overnight audience from its opening episode the previous week. Britain's Best Loved Sitcoms drew six hundred and sixteen thousand and the movie Bridesmaids was watched by seven hundred and sixty eight thousand from 9pm. On Channel Five, Now That's Funny! - which to reuse a joke for the second week running, no it really wasn't - had six hundred and fifty three thousand and Football League Tonight interested three hundred and two thousand.
Just as the rugby was finishing on Saturday night, dear blog reader, there was a major incident in the street outside Stately Telly Topping Manor. Near Brigadier-General incident, in actual fact. Twenty minutes previously there had been lots of shoutin' and bangin' and smashin' and screamin' and ... more screamin' and then it went quiet for a bit. Then, suddenly, eight cop cars turned up with about twenty Law all running around for somebody to give 'a severe talking' to by the look of them. Quite right too. I believe it was what's often referred to on the Ten O'Clock News as 'a significant police presence.' Them, they got somebody, grabbed him on the corner after a short, informal conversation and bundled him into one of the jam jars with little fuss. A woman carried on shouting blue bloody murder for some considerable time. This blogger couldn't quite make out what she was saying but there appeared to be lots of uses of words that you definitely can't say on TV before nine o'clock. Somebody else spent quite a time arguing the toss with one of plod. I reckoned he was about fifteen seconds from getting his collar felt on general principle when, wisely, he decided to shut the hell up. There had been two surly looking youths arrested by this point at which point an ambulance turned up so I'm guessing there was some claret spilled. Eventually, after about half-an-hour, it ended as suddenly as it began. That was almost - almost, but not quite - as entertaining as Under The Lake. And, a hell of a lot more entertaining than the rugby. It was like an episode of Lewis. Only, more violent and with more swearing. And, set on a council estate in Newcastle rather than in Oxford, obviously. This place gets more like Mosul every day.

Strictly Come Dancing still had the edge over The X Factor in the ratings on Sunday, according to overnight figures. The BBC1 dancing competition's results programme appealed to 7.83 million from 7.15pm, while ITV's The X Factor rose to a Sunday series high of 7.12 million from 7pm. Strictly remained ahead of its rival across the, forty five minute, overlap. At 7.45pm, Strictly was being watched by 8.06 million compared to the 6.71 million watching The X Factor's Six Chair Challenge. Elsewhere on BBC1, Antiques Roadshow averaged 5.54 million and the new drama From Darkness began with 4.05 million. Meanwhile, Downton Abbey continued with an overnight audience of 6.91 million in the 9pm hour on ITV. On BBC2, Licence to Thrill: Paul Hollywood Meets Aston Martin both shook and stirred nine hundred and seventy four thousand from 8pm and Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week managed to attract 1.38 million afterwards. Channel Four's This Is England '90 concluded with 1.03 million. And, jolly superb it was, too. Earlier, Homes By The Sea and Secret History averaged seven hundred and thirty five thousand and 1.27 million respectively. On Channel Five, the Will Smith action movie Hancock interested five hundred and thirty nine thousand from 7.10pm and That's My Boy had five hundred and ninety one thousand from 9pm. On the multichannels, Rome's Lost Empire was watched by four hundred and fifty nine thousand on BBC4.

And so to the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Five programmes for week-ending Sunday 27 September 2015:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 11.09m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 9.31m
3 Downton Abbey - Sun ITV - 9.10m
4 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 9.06m
5 Rugby World Cup: England Versus Wales - Sat ITV - 8.76m
6 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 7.99m
7 Doctor Foster - Wed BBC1 - 7.64m
8 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.33m
9 Emmerdale - Fri ITV - 6.18m
10 Doc Martin - Mon ITV - 5.92m*
11 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 5.71m
12 New Tricks - Tues BBC1 5.69m
13 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.41m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.38m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.96m
16 Eat Well For Less - Thurs BBC1 - 4.89m
17 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.81m
18 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.69m
19= Cider With Rosie - Sun BBc1 - 4.51m
19= Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.51m
21 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 4.41m
22 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.31m
23 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 4.15m
24 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.95m
25 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 3.84m
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 9.22 million. Doctor Who's timeshift over and above the initial overnight audience for The Witch's Familiar was almost exactly two million viewers (again, that's not counting those watching the episode on iPlayer. On BBC2, University Challenge was the most-watched broadcast of the week (3.03m), followed by The Naked Choir With Gareth Malone (2.77m), Only Connect (2.41m), The Hairy Bikers' Northern Exposure (also 2.41m), Gardeners' World (also 2.41m), Cradle To Grave (2.18m) and The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (2.07m). Aside from Gogglebox, Channel Four's top-rated broadcasts included Grand Designs (2.45m), Hunted (1.99m), This Is England '90 (1.79m), George Clarke's Amazing Spaces (1.69m) and Food Unwrapped (1.68m). Channel Five's highest-rated shows were several episodes of Celebrity Big Brother (Friday's final watched by 1.93m being the largest), The Yorkshire Vet (1.29m) and NCIS (1.06m). ITV4's Rugby coverage of the France versus Romania match was one of the most-watched multichannels broadcast of the week with nine hundred and eighteen thousand. Lewis was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and sixty five thousand), followed by Foyle's War (seven hundred and eleven thousand). BBC4's highest-rated show was Canals: The Making Of A Nation with eight hundred and twenty eight thousand followed by Timeshift: The Engine That Powers The World (six hundred and nine thousand). Sky Sports 1's coverage of Live Saturday Night Football - featuring yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies for once not playing like a bunch of worthless, risible cowards against Moscow Chelski FC - was watched by eight hundred and twenty one viewers. Sky F1's Live Japanese GP attracted by one hundred and forty five thousand, whilst the Saturday qualifying sessions actually had a slightly larger audience, two hundred and two thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was, of course, Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast - six hundred and thirty five thousand. BBC3's weekly-list was topped by a broadcast of the movie Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (seven hundred and fifteen thousand) and repeat of Friday night's episode of EastEnders (six hundred and seventy five thousand). 5USA's latest episode of the excellent Castle attracted four hundred and seventy nine thousand viewers. The fourth episode Ballers (two hundred and fifty three thousand) was Sky Atlantic's weekly list-topper, followed by the movie Going Clear: Scientology & The Prison Of Belief (two hundred and twenty eight thousand), Ray Donovan (two hundred and nineteen thousand) and a repeat of Game Of Thrones (one hundred and seven thousand). Sky Living's most-watched dramas were Chicago Fire (five hundred and eight thousand viewers) and Unforgettable (four hundred and twenty eight thousand). On Sky1, Zoo was watched by six hundred and sixty four thousand punters whilst The Last Ship was seen by five hundred and ninety eight thousand. Sky Arts' broadcast of Painting drew fifty four thousand. Lenny Henry's Got The Blues had forty six thousand. Every one of whom, afterwards, had The Blues every bit as much as Len, one presumes. On Dave, Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Good(ish), which has been really good of late, was the channel's highest-rated programme of the week - six hundred and eleven thousand - followed by Suits (four hundred and thirteen thousand), Qi (three hundred and two thousand) and Room 101 (two hundred and seventy three thousand). Drama's The Last Detective attracted three hundred and four thousand viewers. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rizzolo & Isles (five hundred and twenty nine thousand). Watch's broadcast of The Strain was seen by two hundred and ninety one thousand, whilst Secrets & Lies had an audience of one hundred and seventy thousand. Yesterday's Alexander's Lost World was watched by two hundred and three thousand viewers, whilst Secrets of The Bible drew two hundred thousand and a repeat of one of this bloggers' favourite documentary series, The Planets, had one hundred and sixty two thousand. FOX's highest-rated shows were The Fixer (two hundred and fifty four thousand), Backstrom (one hundred and thirty six thousand) and several episodes of NCIS (Monday's being the most-watched with one hundred and thirty three thousand). Another episode of NCIS - a different one, obviously, as they always are! - topped CBS Action's weekly list (one hundred and nineteen thousand). The world's most-watched drama also featured in the top ten lists of Channel Five, 5USA and the Universal Channel. On the Discovery Channel, Wheeler Dealers was watched by two hundred and eighty eight thousand viewers. Running Wild With Bear Grylls had two hundred and forty two thousand, Deadliest Catch two hundred and thirty nine thousand and Alaskan Bush People one hundred and seventy eight thousand. Cafe Racer topped Discovery Turbo's weekly list (twenty seven thousand). Human Sacrifice topped Discovery History's top ten with twenty six thousand whilst Tony Robinson's World War I has twenty five thousand. The Discovery Science channel drew thirty three thousand viewers for How It's Made. CI's Crimes That Shook Britain brought in one hundred and sixty thousand viewers whilst Unusual Suspects drew fifty five thousand and Crimes That Shook Britain forty thousand. ID's Evil Kin was watched by sixty two thousand thousand and Murder Behind Mansion Walls by fifty five thousand. National Geographic's Ice Road rescue: Fire & Ice had an audience of seventy four thousand viewers and Eden's Wild Brazil was seen by twenty five thousand. The never-ending repeat run of Only Fools & Horses on GOLD's attracted one hundred and forty one thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and seventy nine thousand). On ITV Encore, Vera was watched by eighty five thousand viewers. TLC's weekly-list was topped by Body Bizarre which was seen by one hundred and thirteen thousand.

The Great British Bake Off isn't just king of the Wednesday night ratings jungle - it was also top of the BBC iPlayer's most watched list in August. The first four episodes of the BBC1 show had a total of 7.3 million views combined. There were two hundred and seventy eight million TV and radio requests for programmes on iPlayer in August, which was up by eight per cent from the July figure. Two hundred and twenty six million of those were TV requests, which was up eleven per cent on July and up twenty four per cent on the August figure from last year. Other than The Great British Bake Off, the rest of the most watched shows were made up of EastEnders episodes, with Natalie Dormer's period drama The Scandalous Lady also claiming a spot in the top twenty. Elsewhere, dramas Partners In Crime and Ripper Street also proved popular. On radio, The Ashes coverage on Test Match Special continued to deliver the most-requested episodes in August.
His combination of loyalty and lust for Monty Burns have brought us plenty of laughs over the years on The Simpsons. Now it seems that Waylon Smithers is about to finally act on the affections for his millionaire boss. 'He gets fed up with Burns not appreciating him and considers his options' says the show's producer, Al Jean. Speaking to, Jean said: 'In Springfield now, most people know he's gay, but obviously Burns doesn't.' The show's twenty seventh season has just begun in the US and The Simpsons production team have been trying to generate some headlines through some of their recent storylines. There was uproar when it was alleged that Homer and Marge were going to separate in a plot line involving a character voiced by Girls actress Lena Dunham. Over the years, Smithers' sexuality has hardly been a thing of subtlety and it's, seemingly, only Monty Burns who is oblivious to Waylon's sexuality. For example, Burns on dogs: 'Dogs are idiots! Think about it, Smithers. If I came into your house and started sniffing at your crotch and slobbering all over your face, what would you say?' Smithers: 'If you did it, sir ... ?' There was also the sequence where Smithers dreamed about Burns bursting naked out of a birthday cake to sing him 'Happy Birthday' and another famous episode where Smithers goes on holiday and appears to be seen dancing in a gay bar.
David Walliams has, once again, got himself a plum role in a TV adaptation of one of his own books - this time Billionaire Boy. The comedian and writer will play 'dirty old dinner lady' Mrs Trafe in the BBC1 Christmas special. John Thomson, Rebecca Front and Warwick Davis will also star in the one-hour film about a mega-rich boy who longs for a friend. The BBC has already filmed adaptations of Walliams' bestsellers Gangsta Granny, Mr Stink and The Boy In The Dress.
The proposed cuts to the BBC represent a form of 'cultural vandalism', according to Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky, as he revealed that he had a 'real old barney' with the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale in a meeting to discuss the issue. Kosminsky said that 'voices were raised' during the encounter on Thursday of last week. He said that he came away feeling that the cuts to the broadcaster were 'ideological' and 'payback' for its election coverage, something which most other people had worked out long before now. Kosminsky said that the two men argued over whether or not the licence fee should be considered a tax, adding that the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale's line was that 'it is a tax and we do not like taxes.' 'I thought we were getting closer [to the truth], which was that the cuts were ideological,' he said. The filmmaker argued that the license fee could not be considered a tax because people without televisions and radios did not have to pay it. He also questioned why the government was seeking to cut an organisation that was 'a huge net earner that drives inward investment into the UK.' The discussion was finished 'with raised voices and a shouting match', Kosminsky revealed. 'The truth is that they cover [the cuts] with all of this talk about "difficult times." But, what I have been forced to conclude is that they have a rather extraordinary ideological objection. And, in there somewhere, is a bit of payback. We know they did not like the coverage of the election and the difficulty in setting up the debates. They are trying to eviscerate the BBC and it is not their BBC, it belongs to the British public. They are trying to dismember our BBC and it is for the British public to say no. I feel pretty angry – this feels like injustice and someone has to stand up and say that this has to stop.' Kosminsky’s comments came as another prominent TV figure – Russell Davies – struck a more pessimistic tone, saying that he believed the BBC was doomed. 'My take on it is that we've lost,' Big Rusty told the Radio Times Festival at Hampton Court on Friday. 'The problem is that this isn't the fight for the BBC,' Davies said. 'People keep on saying, "Oh I'd fight to death for the BBC." There isn't a fight. You can submit some opinions to the Green Paper. In ten years' time, everything we understand the BBC to be, will be gone.' The writer, added: 'What the government wants, and what is going to happen – because I honestly think this battle has [already] been lost – is we're heading towards some sort of subscriber service.' He called the threat to the broadcaster 'a disgrace.' Davies, whose other series include Queer As Folk and Cucumber, also addressed the revelation that the government has been considering privatising Channel Four, which is currently a publicly-owned, commercially-funded trust. 'The culture secretary John Whittingdale said in Edinburgh, "I'm not looking at privatising Channel Four." And now it turns out, of course, and we know this – yes they are looking at privatising Channel Four and the plans have been there for a long time.'

On a related note, Sir Bruce Forsyth has said that he would cut BBC3 and BBC4 if he were in charge of the BBC at a time of financial strain. So, it's probably a pretty good job that he isn't, in that case. The veteran broadcaster said that the BBC should 'be with us forever' but that it was in danger from 'having to spread too much money out over four channels.' His comments follow the BBC's recent absorption of cost of the TV licence for over-seventy fives and the World Service. Speaking at the Radio Times Festival on Sunday, Sir Bruce told the audience that we should 'value' the corporation's 'worldwide appeal.' He also had praise for the BBC's news coverage, but said: 'Do without three and four, and concentrate on channels one and two. That's what I'd do if I were Director General.' Also speaking about the BBC at the festival was the comedian and writer Barry Cryer. He said that the corporation was 'under siege' from hostile forces and needed to be 'preserved.' Cryer, a regular panellist on Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, talked about the government's review, the future of the licence fee and the BBC's range of services. He said that while he thought a lot of the corporation's problems were 'self-inflicted' he added 'if it's at the mercy of the politicians, God help us. We've got to hold on to it because it's public service broadcasting. I'm an idealist, we need to preserve it.'

Ofcom has taken the exceptional step of investigating a 'cash for access' sting on two former foreign secretaries by Channel Four's Dispatches despite receiving no complaints about the programme from viewers. The regulator announced on Monday that it had opened an investigation following 'criticism' of the programme's reporting of the allegations and after Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw were cleared by the parliamentary standards watchdog. Channel Four itself referred the 23 February broadcast, which was a joint investigation with the Daily Torygraph, to Ofcom which the regulator said it had 'taken into account' when making its decision. It is unusual, although not entirely unprecedented, for the regulator to take such a step in the absence of any complaints about a programme's content. The investigation is set to put Channel Four on a collision course with Straw, Rifkind and parliamentary authorities who found 'no breach of the rules on paid lobbying.' An Ofcom spokesperson said: 'Ofcom is investigating whether Channel Four's Dispatches programme broke rules requiring fairness in programmes. Once we have concluded our investigation into the broadcast we will publish our decision.' In a statement earlier this month, Daniel Pearl, Channel Four's deputy head of news and current affairs, said: 'This programme raised important questions which concern voters about how senior politicians are able to use their public office for personal financial gain. This is a matter of public interest and was a legitimate journalistic investigation. We're confident in our journalism and have decided to take the unprecedented step of inviting our statutory regulator Ofcom to investigate the report.' Ofcom's 'self-initiated investigation' will investigate whether the programme complied with rules in the broadcasting code which require broadcasters to 'avoid unfair treatment of individuals in programmes.' Ofcom said that there were 'exceptional circumstances' to prompt an investigation in the absence of a complaint to 'fulfil its general duty to secure the application of standards that provide adequate protection to members of the public from unfair treatment in programmes.' The parliamentary commissioner for standards cleared Rifkind and Straw, and said that the damage done to the former MPs could have been avoided if Dispatches and the Torygraph had 'accurately reported' the exchanges they had filmed. Kathryn Hudson, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, found that neither Straw nor Rifkind was in breach of the code of conduct or the rules of the house 'other than in Mr Straw's case by a minor misuse of parliamentary resources.' She said: 'The use of carefully selected excerpts from the recordings does not necessarily give the viewer a detailed understanding of the circumstances and the full evidence behind the interviews. This may result in the viewer being led to conclusions which do not stand up to detailed scrutiny.' The programme and Torygraph articles led Straw to suspend himself from the parliamentary Labour party and Rifkind to step down as the chairman of parliament's intelligence and security committee and as an MP. They alleged that Straw boasted to undercover journalists that he had operated 'under the radar' to use his influence and change EU rules on behalf of a firm that paid him sixty thousand pounds a year. A recording obtained with a hidden camera shows Straw saying: 'Normally, if I'm doing a speech or something, it's five thousand pounds a day, that's what I charge.' Rifkind reportedly claimed to be able to gain 'useful access' to every British ambassador in the world. Journalists recorded him describing himself as 'self-employed', even though he earned a salary of sixty seven thousand smackers as the MP for Kensington: 'I am self-employed – so nobody pays me a salary. I have to earn my income.'

ITV is understood to have offered the role of political editor for its flagship News At Ten bulletin to Robert Peston, the BBC's economics editor. The appointment of such a well-known BBC presenter would be a coup for the commercially funded news channel which is, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, 'looking to beef up its flagship news bulletin.' The Pest, who has described the decision as 'agonising' according to alleged 'friends', is expected to make up his mind in the coming days. ITV has revamped its flagship news show with the appointment of Tom Bradby, who has known Peston since the BBC economics editor worked as the political editor at the Financial Times. The channel is looking to invest in the news show after years in which it has performed poorly against the BBC. Its typical audience is half that of the main BBC Ten O'Clock News. Earlier this year in an interview with the Radio Times, which first reported the job offer on Monday, Pestinfestation said that he was 'looking for another big challenge.' He said: 'I love the BBC. Going from print journalism to the BBC was a big change and I sort of feel that I wouldn't mind another big change, but I haven't the faintest idea what it would be.' He joined the BBC as business editor in 2006 and is best known for breaking a string of exclusives in that role starting with the Northern Rock affair. He was appointed economics editor in October 2013 but has a varied role at the corporation, recently presenting an interview show with Eddie Mair on Radio 4 and fronting several documentaries. Peston was understood not to have applied for the job of BBC political editor, which Laura Kuennsberg was promoted to this summer. In June, it was announced that Bradby was to become the ITV bulletin’s main presenter in a return to its 1990s format, with a single anchor rather than the duo of Julie Etchingham and Mark Austin. Etchingham is to continue to present some bulletins as well as international affairs editor Rageh Omaar, who currently presents some weekend bulletins, while Austen is to co-anchor the early evening news with Mary Nightingale. An ITV News spokesperson said: 'We're in the middle of a recruitment process for the ITV News political editor role so we won’t be commenting on speculation.'

Trevor Noah has had a mixed reception from critics as he made his debut hosting The Daily Show, replacing Jon Stewart who left last month. The South African comedian made a 'smooth transition' into the role on Comedy Central's satirical news show, according to Variety. Deadline called the evening 'mostly inoffensive but also mostly flat.' TV columnist Brian Lowry said that Trevor looked 'more at ease and in command than he ever did as a correspondent.' Stewart stepped down after sixteen years at the helm of the influential show and Noah's appointment was announced in March. 'No memories of Stewart and his storied reign have been usurped or replaced,' wrote The Hollywood Reporter, 'Nor, however, have they been sullied.' Daniel Feinberg added: 'The best and most honest thing you can say about Monday's premiere is: "He didn't break it." He also didn't try to.' Noah's opening monologue kicked off with a joke about growing up on the streets of South Africa, where his only two dreams were hosting The Daily Show and having an indoor toilet. 'Now I have both. And I'm quite comfortable with one of them,' he said. Paying tribute to Stewart he added: 'He was often our voice, our refuge and in many ways our political dad,' before joking, 'Now it feels like the family has a new stepdad. And he's black. Which is not ideal.' Deadline's Jeremy Gerard was not convinced by all of Noah's punchlines though. 'A joke about Whitney Houston was DOA, as was a tired play on AIDs versus aides, and still the smile never left Noah's face even as the words hobbled out and died. Those teeth need more bite,' he said. But, Gawker suggested that Stewart fans should stay happy, commenting: 'If you liked that Daily Show, this one has some very good news for you: it's basically the same!' The website said that many of Stewart's writing staff had stayed to help 'bridge the gap.' 'Noah opened with some Pope jokes that sounded like Jon Stewart bits delivered by an extremely handsome man with an accent,' Jordan Sargent wrote, concluding, 'it could have been a lot worse.' The Gruniad Morning Star's Brian Moylan had little time for Noah's 'toothless and unironic interview' with his first guest, the actor and comedian Kevin Hart. Although quite why anybody should be in the slightest bit interested in what some Middle Class hippy Communist wanker of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star thinks, about pretty much anything, is a question well worth asking at this juncture, I'd've said. 'His questions for Hart were such softballs that they may as well have been made out of cotton candy, inflated with helium, and let loose on a spring breeze,' sneered the risible Moylan, clearly relishing in his own cleverness. But, he added: 'Noah had an average first night, neither killing it nor completely embarrassing himself.'

Thunderbirds co-creator Sylvia Anderson has said that she considers is 'strange' to hear Lady Penelope voiced by Rosamund Pike in the current ITV reboot. The eighty eight-year-old producer and writer portrayed Lady Penelope in the original 1960s Supermarionation series. Earlier this year, a new version, Thunderbirds Are Go! launched on ITV with Oscar-nominee Rosamund playing the upper-class agent and David Graham reprising his role as her driver, Parker. The producers of the new CGI incarnation asked Anderson if she'd like a guest part. 'I said "yes, of course." I went up to do the recording and I sat next to today's Lady Penelope, who's fantastic; very graceful, very elegant. I'm her sort of dotty, great aunt. We had fun doing it actually.' A second series is due next year.
A reel-to-reel tape of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) performing at The Cavern in Liverpool (a small fishing village on the North Atlantic coast) in 1962 has been found after, reportedly, spending fifty years in a desk drawer, according to its owner. The tape features the popular beat combo playing two versions of one of their big stage numbers of the era, a storming cover of Richie Barrett's 'Some Other Guy', on 5 September 1962, six weeks before they had their first hit single. It was recorded after the group were filmed for Granada TV's Know The North some weeks earlier (at what was Ringo Starr's third gig with the group). But the sound quality on the original film was considered substandard and Granada sent a sound engineer back to the Cavern to re-record the audio, which could then then dubbed onto the film. Due to reported 'legal issues' with some of the other acts on the show, the programme was never broadcast although the footage of The Be-Atles performing the song was, eventually, shown over a year later, on 6 November 1963, on another Granada show, Scene At 6:30 with its original soundtrack (including the memorable shout at the climax of 'We want Pete!' from some anguished Pete Best fan in the audience). It has since become very widely seen in, for example, The Be-Atles own Anthology TV, video and DVD project and, for many years, was the only available version of The Be-Atles performing the song until one recorded for BBC radio in 1963 was released on 1994's The Be-Atles At The Beeb. The Be-Atles' manager Brian Epstein subsequently got five acetate discs pressed from the tape for his own purposes but the original tape itself was kept by TV producer Johnnie Hamp, who will auction it for charity in Liverpool on 4 November.
Jenson Button seems to be out of the running for the new series of Top Gear, after he signed a contract to drive for McLaren-Honda in the 2016 Formula 1 season. He had been 'tipped' to join Chris Evans in the show's new presenting line-up, albeit not by anyone with an ounce of credibility that actually knew what the hell they were talking about. In a statement Jenson said: 'Over the past month or so I have done quite a lot of thinking and it is no secret that I was, at one point, in two minds about my future.' He went on to say McLaren chairman Ron Dennis was 'both utterly determined and uniquely equipped to lead our team through its current difficulties to great successes in the future.' Plus, one imagines, quite a bit of wonga was involved.
The poet Ted Hughes was in bed with another woman on the night his first wife Sylvia Plath killed herself in 1963, according to a new biography. Sir Jonathan Bate, provost of Worcester College, Oxford, used new evidence - including Hughes' lover's diary - to piece together a timeline for Plath's final weekend. He had 'full access, unlike earlier biographers' to Hughes's archives in the US and also used British Library papers. The book also reveals that Plath sent Hughes an 'enigmatic parting letter.' It stated that she told Hughes she planned to leave the UK and never see him again, with the letter arriving two days before her death on the Friday afternoon, The Sunday Times reports. According to the biography, Plath - who had been estranged from Hughes for six months prior to her suicide - had assumed it would not reach him until the Saturday, however it arrived early 'because of a speedy second post.' A concerned Hughes then rushed to Plath's home in Primrose Hill with the letter, which she snatched away and burned. 'This was their final face-to-face which Ted turned into [his poem] Last Letter, which was only published in 2010,' said Sir Jonathan, adding: 'This explains that poem.' Last Letter begins with the line: 'What happened that night? Your final night?' It ends with the moment that Hughes is informed of Plath's death: 'Then a voice like a selected weapon or a measured injection, coolly delivered its four words deep into my ear: "Your wife is dead."' The biography claims that Plath rang Hughes the next day but his lover, Susan Alliston, answered. According to Alliston's previously unseen diary, she then handed the receiver to Hughes, who told Plath 'take it easy, Sylvie.' Hughes was with Alliston at a friend's flat in Bloomsbury on the Sunday when The Bell Jar author killed herself, according to Sir Jonathan, who also claims they were together when Hughes heard of Plath's death the next day. Other revelations in the biography concern a love triangle that Hughes was caught up in five years later, involving Assia Wevill, who also killed herself in 1969, Brenda Hedon and trainee nurse Carol Orchard, who was twenty at the time. Hughes 'could not decide' according to Sir Jonathan, who quotes a journal belonging to Hughes in which he called the women 'A, B and C.' Hughes wrote: 'Three beautiful women - all in love, and a separate life of joy visible with each, all possessed but own soul lost.' He then wrote a poem about his dilemma, which began: 'Which bed? Which bride? Which breast's comfort.' Hughes eventually married Orchard in 1970 and they were married until his death in 1998. She withdrew her support from the biography in 2013 over a dispute with the author. The book features several other women who claim to have had relationships with Hughes who are speaking publicly for the first time, including his first girlfriend, Shirley, from his university days at Cambridge. Sir Jonathan concludes that Plath's death at the age of thirty, and Hughes' subsequent guilt, were 'central' to the rest of his life. 'However hard he attempted to get away from it, he never could,' he wrote. Last week the book, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life By Jonathan Bate, was one of twelve works of non-fiction to be longlisted for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize.

And now for a new semi-regular From The North feature, 'Great title sequences from a time when ITV used to make programmes that had some vague public service value.' Number one, World In Action.
Number two. Weekend World. Nowt like a good bit of 'Nantucket Sleighride' to brighten up a dreary Sunday with Brian Walden.
Number three. The World At War. A twenty-four carat masterpiece - and, still playing, daily, on the Yesterday channel if you've never seen it.
Number four. This Week.
An anonymous donor with reported links to John Logie Baird's home town has stepped in to ensure a historic recording of the TV pioneer's first transmission of trans-Atlantic TV pictures will stay in Scotland. The 1927 footage, preserved on a phonovision shellac disc, is the world's oldest surviving 78rpm piece of video. It features Logie Baird's ventriloquist dummy Stookie Bill, which he used when developing his invention. The recording will now be stored at Glasgow University. It was part of a collection which was made the subject of an export bar in April of this year, following fears that the collection would go to an overseas buyer when it was put up for sale. With the bar on exports set to expire on 29 September, the university has confirmed that it is buying the collection with the help of an anonymous local businessman. The donor lived for twenty years in Logie Baird's home town of Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute and wanted to keep the collection in the UK. 'I am delighted the collection has been saved and is now coming home,' said the anonymous donor, anonymously. 'It charts such an important period of modern engineering history so I felt it could not, and should not, leave these shores to move abroad. It needs to be shared for future generations,' he continued. 'John Logie Baird was a Helensburgh man and a Scottish pioneer who helped change the world, and with his ties to the University of Glasgow. It is only right and proper that this important collection should be coming to the university and hopefully it will help inspire future pioneering engineers.' The collection also includes the log books used by Benjamin Clapp, Logie Baird's assistant, while conducting Logie Baird's transatlantic television trials. The books also contain the world's first known use of the acronym 'TV.' The lack of culture minister, the vile and odious rascal Vaizey said: 'It's fantastic news that the John Logie Baird collection has been saved for the nation. He and his team made the UK a world leader in 1920s television technology, including the first-ever transmission of transatlantic television pictures. This collection will be incredibly important for the study of the history of television, and I'm delighted that it will remain in the UK.' Logie Baird was an engineering student at the University of Glasgow from 1914 to 1915, when he tried to enlist for war duties but was turned down on health grounds. He gave the world's first public demonstration of television in London on 26 January 1926. In 1927, he transmitted a long-distance television signal over four hundred and thirty miles of telephone line between London and Glasgow. This was the world's first long-distance transmission of television pictures. The phonovision disc was recorded during later experimental trials. It was transmitted on 9 February 1928, marking one of Logie Baird's earliest television broadcasts.
Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks was prone to 'furious outbursts' when editor of the Sun and would often 'deluge the news editor with abusive e-mails' throughout his working day, a court has heard claimed. The paper's former head of news, Chris Pharo, told a jury at the Old Bailey that well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike was once so angry that she called her top executives 'a bunch of fucking cunts', telling them if they couldn't get some 'proper stories' on a news list quickly, they could all 'fuck off.' She then flounced out of the meeting room, breaking a door handle as she slammed it, he alleged. 'She could occasionally be fine, but more often then not, she was nothing short of a nightmare,' he said. 'I very frequently received up to twenty abusive e-mails starting at 7.30am in the morning when she had the papers delivered to her home. They would continue throughout the day and occasionally you would have an explosion in conference and afterwards she could sulk for days over a missed story.' Pharo recounted one incident when well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks allegedly 'flew into a rage' when that day's news list was not good enough. 'She gathered not simply that one, but all the copies of the news list, and screwed them into a giant paper ball and threw them in my face,' he added. 'She said "if you can’t put together a fucking news list in the next fucking hour, you can fuck off." She stormed out of the room. She slammed the door so hard she broke the door handle and her PA had to come from outside to let us out.' Pharo said that he then received an e-mail, copied to all staff at the Sun, saying: 'Have any of you got a story because my idiot news editor can't find out.' He said he had also witnessed well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks throwing a phone and a water bottle at a senior Sun journalist and alleged that she had a punchbag installed in her office 'to release her tension.' Pharo is currently on trial with a senior Sun reporter, Jamie Pyatt, accused of paying a Surrey police officer for inside information on investigations and z-list celebrity arrests. Pharo, who was in charge of the news desk throughout well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks' editorship at the Sun, said that the Scum of the World scoop about David Blunkett's affair led to well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks sending senior colleagues a text the following morning. 'It said something along the lines of "yet again I've picked up this morning's News of the World and it contains another agenda setting story. If you fucking cunts aren't capable of matching them, I'll sack the lot of you and replace you with them."' He said of the Sun's owner, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch: 'It's very much his personal fiefdom. Without the Sun and the success of the Sun in the 1980s and 90s, there would be no Sky. It was the cornerstone of his empire. You were never left in any doubt who was in charge. There was the editor, and beyond the editor there was Mister Murdoch.' Pharo said well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was 'under pressure' to deliver from billionaire tyrant Murdoch, who treated her like 'a surrogate daughter. Murdoch periodically rang her up, often several times a day if he perceived a story was not good enough, we weren't doing well or the paper wasn't looking good,' he claimed. 'He put pressure on her and she passed that down.' Pharo said that he was once offered a job as news editor at the Sunday Mirra, but well-known Crystal Tipps editor Brooks managed to talk him out of it by offering him the future role as news editor of the Sun. Pharo told the court that the Sun had an advert on page two offering to pay cash for stories and he claimed that he had 'no role' in deciding if a 'source' would be paid for any story. He told the court that he had 'never heard' of the identity of Pyatt's source and would not have asked the senior reporter to name him. 'When you received the e-mails from Jamie Pyatt, had you any idea he was referring to just one identifiable officer as the source of all these stories?' asked his barrister, Nigel Rumfitt QC. Pharo replied: 'No, I hadn’t.' Rumfitt continued: 'In playing your part, did you intend to encourage the source on particular stories to provide further stories by misconducting himself as a police officer in the future?' Pharo replied: 'No I didn't.' He claimed that no journalist would ever reveal their sources 'in any way shape or form', adding: 'I never asked the question because I would never receive the answers.' He told jurors that the whole system of cash payments that had been running for three decades was an 'annoyance' to him but claimed that if he had tried to change it, he would have lost his job. On the subject of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks he said, rather bitterly: 'She is now back in her job as chief executive of the company and I'm here answering these questions.' He went on: 'I hated the system. It caused me trouble all the time. It made me uncomfortable about the fact there was a lot of cash flying around the office – accusations people were pocketing it.' Asked by the prosecutor Julian Christopher QC why he did not just leave, Pharo said: 'I always loved the Sun. I loved the newspaper. It’s a great place to work. I miss it every day.' Christopher quizzed the defendant on e-mails from a female journalist asking for payment to 'a Chelsea copper over a four-paragraph story from the Manchester area. Pharo said that journalists often made 'lurid claims' about their sources but it was 'pointless' challenging them and in this particular case he would not have 'wasted too much time' on it. Asked if he thought police officers could be legitimate 'sources' in any circumstance, he said: 'I did not authorise these payments. Personally, I think there are occasions when paying a police officer is legitimate – if the story is dramatically in the public interest, if the police officer hears a piece of gossip in the pub or at a football match or any of those examples. I believe there are legitimate reasons, yes.' The trial extremely continues.

Former Scum of the World 'fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood has been extremely charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice over the trial of the singer and TV personality Tulisa Contostavlos, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. A drugs case against Contostavlos collapsed in July last year. The reporter has been charged alongside Alan Smith, who was his driver. Mahmood said in a statement that he would deny the offence and 'vigorously contest it at court.' He is alleged to have 'misled' (ie. lied to) the court during Contostavlos's trial at Southwark Crown Court. Nick Vamos, of the CPS, said: 'After carefully considering all of the evidence the CPS has decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to charge both men. This decision comes after it was alleged that Mister Smith agreed with Mister Mahmood to change his statement to police as part of a trial in July 2014, and that Mister Mahmood then misled the court.' Mahmood and Smith will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court a'fore the beak on 30 October.

Soon-to-be-former (but not soon enough) FIFA president Sepp Blatter - who is, quite clearly not sleazy and corrupt in any way shape or form - says that he will not resign despite major sponsors Coca-Cola and McDonald's calling for him to step down immediately. American drinks company Coca-Cola said: 'Every day that passes FIFA's image and reputation continues to tarnish.' Fast-food chain McDonald's said that Blatter's resignation would be 'in the best interest of the game.' And, by hell, when McDonald's reckons you're becoming bad for their image you know you're in trouble. Blatter was, last week, extremely placed under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities. He denies any wrongdoing. Well, he would, wouldn't he? He is very accused by Swiss prosecutors of signing a contract that was 'unfavourable to FIFA' and making a 'disloyal payment' to UEFA president oily Michel Platini. In a statement released through his lawyers on Friday, Blatter said that resigning now 'would not be in the best interest of FIFA, nor would it advance the process of reform.' For which read it would 'not be in the interests of Sepp Blatter'. Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as president of world football's governing body in May, but the vote was overshadowed by arrests of a number of FIFA officials. The United States indicted fourteen current and former FIFA officials and associates on charges of 'rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted' corruption following a major inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Blatter later announced that he would be stepping down as president, but not until February 2016, and last week said he would not be resigning despite criminal proceedings being opened against him. Blatter has said the 2011 one and a half million knicker payment made to Platini, the head of European football's governing body, was 'valid compensation and nothing more.' Platini has claimed that he received the payment for 'work' as Blatter's 'technical advisor' between 1999 and 2002 and has written a letter to UEFA members denying any wrongdoing. The contract described by Swiss prosecutors as 'unfavourable to FIFA' is thought to refer to a 2005 TV rights deal between FIFA and the odious Jack Warner, the former president of Concacaf, the governing body of football in North and Central America and the Caribbean. According to an investigation by Swiss broadcaster SRF in September, the deal allegedly resulted in a multi-million pound profit for Warner's company. Meanwhile, a separate Swiss investigation is looking into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which will be held in Russia and Qatar respectively.

He may never have achieved the highest office in the land, but Denis Healey, who has died aged ninety eight, will go down in history as one of the most memorable figures in post-war British politics. For many, the defining moment of his career came in 1976, when, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was forced to apply for an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund in an effort to save the pound from collapse. In September of that year, he abandoned a planned trip to Hong Kong, as he was about to board his plane at Heathrow, because the markets were so nervous. Three months later, he pushed through an emergency package of spending cuts and tax rises to comply with the IMF's demands. It was seen by Labour's opponents as a moment of national shame that shaped the Thatcherite decades to come - but there was far more to Denis Healey, later Lord Healey of Riddlesden, than the anguished, but defiant, figure that piloted Britain through one of its worst financial crises on the Twentieth Century. An intellectual heavyweight, who had a range of interests that stretched far beyond the narrow world of Westminster politics, he was known for his tough, no-holds-barred style of debate. His relish for the cut-and-thrust of politics served him well during long periods in government in the 1960s and 1970s, and in the internal struggles that re-shaped Labour during its years in opposition in the 1980s. His trademark bushy eyebrows, colourful turn of phrase and expertise on a range of musical instruments, including the piano and double bass, made him a regular fixture on television and a favourite target of impressionists (Mike Yarwoood even gave him a catchphrase - 'what a silly billy'). But he had a sharp mind and could fell opponents with a devastating one-liner, once likening debating with his Tory opponent Sir Geoffrey Howe to being 'savaged by a dead sheep' and accusing Margaret Thatcher of 'glorying in slaughter' during the Falklands conflict. He was equally adept at rallying the Labour troops with a well-turned phrase, telling a party conference in 1973 there would be 'howls of anguish' from people who were rich enough to pay more than seventy five per cent tax on their last slice of earnings. He topped this the following year, shortly before an election, by threatening to 'squeeze property speculators until the pips squeak.' But, like many politicians of his era, his ambitions and ideals were often frustrated by the daily grind of crisis management as the economy lurched from one disaster to the next. Denis Winston Healey was born on 30 August 1917 in South London. His father became head of Keighley Technical College when Denis was a child and the family moved to Yorkshire. From Bradford Grammar School, he won a scholarship to Oxford, taking a first in classics at Balliol. At Oxford he developed an enthusiasm for Marxism, but in 1940 he joined the army, and served with distinction in combined operations in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, ending the war as a major and with a Mention in Dispatches as a Beach Master during the Anzio landings. After the war Healey joined the Labour Party's international secretariat, where, under the influence of his hero Ernest Bevin, he lost his Communist sympathies. He had tried for Parliament in 1945 and in 1952 was elected as one of the MPs for Leeds. When Labour gained power in 1964, he became Defence Secretary, reforming and reorganising the services and the Territorial Army. He met resistance - especially his plans to cut navy spending - but was very much in charge and gained the respect of the forces top brass. Healey presided over Britain's withdrawal from East of Suez, forced upon the government for economic reasons. In opposition as Shadow Chancellor, he told the 1973 party conference that Labour would 'help the poor and tax the rich' - until it hurt. But when he became Chancellor in February 1974, he did not bring in a promised 'wealth tax.' He had to struggle with the October 1973 rise in oil prices and a balance of payments crisis, and for five years waged a battle, in budget after budget, on spiralling inflation, rising unemployment and public spending. After three years he managed to get inflation on a downward path - but at the cost of much unpopularity. Wage controls and expenditure cuts were not acceptable to the Left and when, in 1976, the pound dropped and he had to seek a loan from the IMF, he turned back from Heathrow and rushed to the party conference. He justified his strategy in a courageous, but much-heckled, speech. 'It means sticking to the very painful cuts in public expenditure on which the government's already decided,' he told conference. 'It means seeing that increase in our output which has now begun goes not into public or private spending, but into exports or investment.' That didn't go down well with the Trots. Healey later called that 'the most harrowing day' of his life. But he thrived on crisis and took pride in what he called 'doing the dirty work for socialism.' In the leadership contest of 1976, held after Harold Wilson's resignation, he was way behind James Callaghan, but in 1980 when Callaghan stood down, Healey led on the first ballot, and finally lost to Michael Foot by a mere ten votes. Had he won, the defections to the SDP might never have happened. The following year the party was split again when Tony Benn challenged him for the deputy leadership; Healey just won, by under one per cent. He continued as Shadow Foreign Secretary, but some of his statements, such as the 'glorying in slaughter' comment, brought embarrassment and apology. Even though history records he was probably right. Healey once admitted that being an intellectual in politics had its drawbacks. 'I don't think it's so much that I'm too-clever-by-half, as has been said about some politicians,' he once said, 'I think that it's sometimes I do say what I think without calculating the consequences and this is very damaging for a politician.' Denis Healey stood down at the 1992 election after nearly forty years as a Leeds MP, and went straight to the Lords. He was a big personality, with wide interests: a musician, a gardener and a keen photographer; he read widely, he wrote books, including a much-admired autobiography, and he continued to write and lecture on strategic aspects of a fast-changing Europe. Lord Healey was respected, rather than loved, by fellow politicians and was always something of a loner. He never bothered to court the left of the party and they, in turn, never backed him. But few could rival him in stature, in breadth of knowledge, and in cheerfully taking the knocks of political life.

The former Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Criminal Minds actor Nicholas Brendon has been arrested yet again after allegedly choking his girlfriend after an argument. Nick, of course, played Xander Harris - superbly, let it be noted - in Buffy from 1997 to 2003 and then had the occasionally recurring role of Kevin Lynch in a number of episodes of Criminal Minds between 2007 to 2014. He faces charges of robbery, obstruction of breathing and 'criminal mischief' after the 'altercation' with his girlfriend at a hotel, according to Saratoga Springs Police Department in New York. He was released from jail after posting a twenty thousand dollar bond. It is Brendon's fifth arrest in the past year. Sad  - in every sense of the word - doesn't begin to describe it.
The Daily Scum Express appear to have identified an entirely new potential demographic for the scummy right-wing newspaper (owned, of course, by a soft-core pornographer) to target. Their article 'Green goddess' Carol Kirkwood pours curvaceous figure into zesty lime dress for forecast seems to be aimed almost exclusively at that curious subsection of TV viewers who watch BBC Breakfast's weather inserts for the purpose of cracking on off. And, hey, why ever not - every man (or, indeed, woman) must have their hobby.
Luscious sexy stunna and From The North favourite Keira Knightley made her first appearance on Broadway this week in Therese Raquin, a stage adaptation of the Emile Zola novel. But, the performance was interrupted almost as soon as it had got under way by 'a fan' (or, 'a complete and total nutter', use your own judgement on that one, dear blog reader) who shouted at Keira from the balcony. The terrific Reel Life With Jane website recounted how 'a young man in the balcony leaned over the front railing and screamed, "I love you! Will you marry me?"' Whether Keira accepted the proposal or, politely, declined, it is not revealed (hopefully, it would've been the latter as yer actual his very self still has some designed on making the divine Ms Knightley a future Mrs Telly-Topping. But, that's another story and, this time, the FBI can't touch me for it). Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, the man then, reportedly, walked up to the next level and yelled: 'Five seconds is too long to wait for a response!' This chap - who is, clearly, not a gross attention whore and arsehole, oh no, very hot water - then threw a bouquet of red roses onto the stage. Nah. Too needy, mate. 'At that, security finally grabbed him, as well as his "friend", and escorted them hurriedly down the stairs, as the audience cheered and applauded,' the website recorded. 'Gabriel Ebert broke character, walked over to the bouquet on the stage and kicked it into the wings, as Keira followed him. Again, the audience clapped and cheered.' The actors then left the stage for a few minutes before resuming the performance.
The veteran actor Warren Clarke died 'penniless', it has emerged. According to the Daily Torygraph, Warren, who was the star of TV dramas like Dalziel & Pascoe, left an estate of just over thirteen grand. Which is a curiously inaccurate definition of what the word 'penniless' actually means. 'With considerably less coin than you might have expected' is probably closer to the truth. The Oldham-born actor - a particular favourite of many of us here at From The North - died in his sleep in November last year, following a short illness at the age of sixty seven The released records showed that he made his will four years prior to his death, and left his watches to his son, Rowan. He had a career that spanned fifty years, including starring in many movies and a wealth of TV series. But he had often spoken about the 'poor wages' afforded jobbing actors, and that while he was filming the acclaimed BBC series Nice Work, his bank card was rejected. In an interview, he said: 'In those days the BBC didn't pay you until you had done the first studio recording, so I had been working on the show for two months without any money. I went to the cashpoint, put my card in the machine and it spat it out. A few months later, I noticed that my wife wasn't wearing her engagement ring. I asked her where it was and she explained it was being repaired.' As well as a high-profile TV career, his final performance being in the BBC's Poldark, Warren also starred in a host of movies, including A Clockwork Orange, Anthony & Cleopatra, Hawk The Slayer, Ishtar and Firefox.
A simple - apparently uncontroversial - comment on Facebook by yer actual Keith Telly Topping's close personal chum, yer actual Ben Adams about what a great year for music 1986 was, led to a lengthy discussion about that year's John Peel's Festive Fifty and, ultimately, to yer actual digging this out to play for the first time in about fifteen years. For which this blogger entirely blames yer actual Benjamin and Simon Irvine his very self. You're both very bad men.
To which Simon replied: 'I take full blame and responsibility especially if the next blog features a leather trewed spikey haired Mr Telly-Topping.' Your wish, and all that ...
And now, dear blog reader, Records We Really Wish We Owned.
A popular beat combo that were named, seemingly, after a comment once made by an ex-girlfriend of this blogger. Next ...

Just to note, this is a bit of a Sunday morning ritual at Stately Telly Topping Manor. And, why not?
The very excellent JR Southall is currently in the process of putting together a fascinating-looking anthology work entitled You & Who Else which will feature essays by various fan writers - including a large number of close personal chums of yer actual - on television programmes which mean a lot to them ... apart from Doctor Who. I know, I know, it's something of a surprise that life does exist beyond the TARDIS walls, it would appear. And, somehow - through a combination of flattery and threats of sickening violence - he has managed to wangle a (very wordy) piece out of this blogger on the subject of The Singing Detective, a series what looms large in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's legend. 'What we are creating is a book about the people who watch the programmes, as much as it is about the programmes themselves,' notes JR which, hopefully, will help to explain why much of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's essay is taken up with extracts from his 1986 diary as well as a discussion on the importance on Dennis Potter in this blogger's life and work as an author, journalist and broadcaster. True story.
Anyway, the book is, currently, still in preparation but will be released shortly(ish) and, when it is, this blogger will be notifying y'all of this fact. And, I expect you all, dear blog readers, to buy at least one copy - the proceeds of which go to a very excellent cause, The Terence Higgins Trust - and possibly several. That's, obviously, because you're all lovely and have wonderful taste. And, if you don't, this blogger will come round your gaffs and stamp on your fingers. And, you really wouldn't want that, trust me.

A leopard searching for a drink got its head stuck in a metal pot after exploring a village in the North of India. The animal seemed to remain calm as it walked around and tried to get the pot off his head. Meanwhile, locals in Sardul Kheda, Rajasthan, watched from a distance, some taking photos on their mobile phones. The town's forest authorities took more than six hours to tranquilise the leopard and set it free, according to local media.
A wife has filed a lawsuit against her former employer for, allegedly, firing her husband for farting too much at work. Richard Clem and his wife, Louann, both worked for Case Pork Roll Company of Trenton, New Jersey. He was fired for his supposed flatulence, according to court documents. Louann Clem claims in a court filing that her husband's termination was 'a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.' Richard Clem supports the lawsuit and is taking legal action of his own through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 'When the suit was filed, I didn't know it would go viral,' Clem told The Huffington Post. Really? What part didn't you expect people to find fascinating? Richard started working at Case Pork Roll in 2004 as a comptroller and believes that he did a good job. 'I brought them into the Twenty First Century,' he claimed. Clem underwent gastric bypass surgery in October 2010 but also suffered some embarrassing side effects, including 'extreme gas and uncontrollable diarrhoea.' In 2013, Clem's symptoms worsened, which caused 'significant disruption in the workplace,' according to the suit. Louann Clem, who began her job at Case Pork Roll in 2008, said that company president, Thomas Dolan, repeatedly complained about her husband's ghastly guffing. The suit alleges that Dolan made Richard work at home and made several comments about the odour that was constantly emanating from his bottom. Richard was fired from Case Pork Roll on 28 February 2014. Louann Clem quit the same day 'because of the harassment and discrimination her husband faced as a result of his disability and the resulting symptoms.' The Clems' lawyer, David Koller, said that his client's 'gastrointestinal disorders' may be getting headlines, but 'aren't the key part' of the case. No, but they are the funny part. 'Flatulence and farting is the sexy part of the story, but my client suffers from obesity, which is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act,' Koller told The Huffington Post.

Pluto's major moon, Charon, takes centre stage in this week's release of new pictures from the New Horizons mission. The latest images are both the most highly resolved and the best colour views that we have seen so far. The US space agency mission is in the process of downlinking all the data it gathered during its historic flyby of Pluto on 14 July. It is expected to take well into 2016 to get every bit of information back. The slow drip feed is a consequence of the vast distance to New Horizons, which continues to push ever deeper into the outer Solar System. The probe has already gone one hundred million kilometres beyond the dwarf planet since the flyby, putting it some five billion km from Earth. But as slow as the data is in coming back, the scientists could not be more thrilled with its quality. Researchers feared this object, which is half the diameter of Pluto, might have been quite dull compared with Pluto. Instead, they see some fascinating and diverse surface features: craters, mountains, battered and crumpled Northern highlands, and smooth, rolling southern lowlands. What particularly catches the eye is the vast system of fractures and canyons stretching around Charon's middle. It is evidence, the New Horizons team says, of a colossal geological upheaval in the moon's past. 'It looks like the entire crust of Charon has been split open,' said John Spencer, a senior scientist on the mission from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. 'With respect to its size relative to Charon, this feature is much like the vast Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars.' Researchers have done a count of craters and find the smooth southern plains, which have been dubbed Vulcan Planum, to have fewer large impact sites, indicating their relative youthfulness. The smoothness of Vulcan Planum is itself a clear sign of wide-scale resurfacing, they say. The team is toying with the idea that a kind of cold volcanic activity, called cryovolcanism, may have been responsible.
The team behind NASA's Dawn mission to Ceres has released striking new images, but remains unable to explain the dwarf planet's most intriguing mystery. Bright spots within a 90km-wide crater have baffled scientists since the probe spied them on its approach. Now in orbit around Ceres, Dawn is gathering detailed data about the world's geology and its composition. Mission researchers described the latest images at the European Planetary Science Congress in Nantes. Currently, their best guess to account for the spots is an expanse of some type of salt - but this is speculation. 'We haven't solved the source of the white material,' said the mission's principal investigator Chris Russell from the University of California. 'We think that it's salt that has somehow made its way to the surface. We're measuring the contours, trying to understand what the surface variations in that crater are telling us.' Ceres is a nine hundred and fifty kilometres-wide dwarf planet sitting in the Solar System's asteroid belt. Dawn is currently orbiting it at a distance of fifteen hundred kilometres and imaging the entire surface every eleven days. It was eight years ago this week that Dawn blasted off on its mission from Cape Canaveral. Before arriving at Ceres six months ago, the spacecraft dropped in on the asteroid Vesta for just over a year in 2011 and 2012. The latest release of data includes a new topographic map, showing the shape of Ceres' entire surface in the most detail yet. 'The irregular shapes of craters on Ceres are especially interesting, resembling craters we see on Saturn's icy moon Rhea,' said deputy mission chief Carol Raymond from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 'They are very different from the bowl-shaped craters on Vesta.' In October, Dawn will start dropping to its final target altitude of three hundred and seventy five kilometres for an even closer look at Ceres. This will be its final home. Even after it ceases operations in mid-to-late 2016, the probe is expected to stay in this stable orbit and become a permanent fixture in the dwarf world's sky. 'We're not going to leave Ceres. We're going to stay in Ceres orbit forever,' Professor Russell said.
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, a tale of watery love.

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