Saturday, November 21, 2015

Face The Raven: Once Upon A Midnight, Dreary

'You can, and you will, or, this street will be over. I'll show you and all your funny little friends to the whole, laughing world. I'll bring UNIT, I'll bring The Zygons. Give me a minute and I'll bring The Daleks and The Cybermen. You will save Clara and you will do it now or I will reign Hell on you for the rest of time ... I can do whatever the Hell I like, you've read the stories, you know who I am. And, in all of that time did you ever hear anything about anyone who stopped me.' 'I know the Doctor. The Doctor would never ...' 'The Doctor is no longer here. You're stuck with me! And I will end you and everything you love.'
'The tattoo. It's a number and it's counting down to zero.'
'You've been Ret-Conned. Amnesia drug. Your pre-frontal cortex is marinating it.'
'You lot are always overlooking things. But, whole streets? That would be excessive, even for you?'
'My God, a whole London streets ups and disappears and you think it's a copyright infringement!'
'She enjoyed that way too much.' 'Tell me about it, it's an ongoing problem!'
'He's thinks I don't know. It's cute. He's got this whole secret room in the TARDIS where he collects references to you.' 'It's not cute, it's surveillance.'
'How long have you been here?' 'Since Waterloo.' 'The battle?' 'No, the station!'
'Don't worry, we're perfectly safe.' 'Yes, a phrase I usually find is followed by lots of screaming and running and bleeding.'
'Can I not be "Good Cop"?' 'Doctor, we've discussed this. Your face?'
'What Clara said, about not taking revenge, do you know why she said that?' 'She was saving you.' 'I was lost a long time ago. She was saving you. I'll do my best, but I strongly advise you to keep out of my way. You'll find that it's a very small universe when I'm angry with you.'
'Guess we're both going to have to be brave ... This is as brave as I know how to be. I know it's going to hurt you but, please be a little proud of me.' As usual, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought that was, like, great.
     'Liar! You always care ... Your reign of terror will end with the sight of the first crying child. And you know it ... You listen to me, you're going to be alone now. And you're very bad at that. You're going to be furious and you're going to be sad but, listen to me, don't let this change you. Whatever happens next, wherever she is sending you, I know what you're capable of. Don't be a warrior. Promise me, be a Doctor.' 'What's the point of being a Doctor if I can't cure you?' 'Cure yourself. You have to. You can't let this turn you into a monster.'
       And now, you must excuse this blogger, dear blog reader. He, ahem, ... has something in his eye.
The Doctor will be returning to his home planet in the Doctor Who series finale, as he comes face-to-face with his fellow Time Lords on Gallifrey. The episode, Hell Bent, will be broadcast on Saturday 5 December. 'If you took everything from him, betrayed him, trapped him, and broke both his hearts how far might The Doctor go?' said the BBC in its pre-publicity blurb. 'Returning to Gallifrey, The Doctor faces the Time Lords in a struggle that will take him to the end of time itself. How is The Hybrid? And what is The Doctor's confession?' Gallifrey was long thought to have been destroyed, but in 2013's fiftieth anniversary episode The Day Of The Doctor, it was revealed that the planet had actually been 'lost' in another dimension.
The BBC has confirmed that the final two episodes of series nine, Heaven Sent and Hell Bent will both run in extended timeslots. The penultimate episode Heaven Sent will be fifty five minutes long and has been confirmed for transmission at 8.05pm on BBC1 on 28 November. The series finale, Hell Bent will be in a sixty five minute timeslot starting at 8pm on 5 December. The two episodes will deal with the consequences of Face The Raven.
Wednesday of this week was, in case you didn't know dear blog reader, the fifty fourth birthday of The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE). Which came as a considerable surprise to those of us who always thought he was born on 25 December. But, there you go ... Many happy returns, Steven, and hopefully many future years in your current job(s). Mainly because you're very good at them but, also, because such a situation will really piss off a bunch of The Special People who, rather, deserve pissing off. This was a public service announcement.
Since taking control of the BBC family SF drama in 2009 The Moff has allowed a number of monsters from the original, pre-2005 series to return to TV screens, including The Zygons and The Ice Warriors. Steven now says that wants to come up with a story that would see Peter Capaldi come face-to-face with the ocean-dwelling Sea Devils, who were first seen battling Jon Pertwee in 1972. He is quoted as saying: 'The classic monster I always look at bringing back are The Sea Devils, the design of them is amazing, they are beautiful and bizarre. I haven't thought of anything to do with them yet. But I think they're quite extraordinary in their conception.' Yer man Moff always thinks about bringing back his favourite foes of The Doctor and has hinted he has plans for some ancient aliens to make appearances in series ten next year. He added: 'I have a very long list of monsters to bring back. As well as The Sea Devils I do have a couple of others in my mind, but I might be doing those so I'm not telling you what they are!' The Sea Devils were last seen in Doctor Who in the, not-very-good-but-not-as-bad-as-it's-sometimes-described 1984 four-parter Warriors Of The Deep facing off against Peter Davison's Doctor along with their reptilian cousins, The Silurians.
If you enjoyed last week's ​​Doctor Who​ episode - and one or two people seem to have, including this blogger who thought it was great - then the good news is that a sequel could be coming your way. And, if you didn't, tough. Yer actual Mark Gatiss revealed The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) has asked for a follow-up to Sleep No More. 'Steven's asked me if I'll write a sequel - I'll see if I can do that,' he said. 'If I can think of one, I would certainly like to do it, because I think the idea is good and the monsters are great.' The ambiguous climax to Sleep No More certainly hints at a return for the sinister Sandmen, with Gatiss hinting at a very different setting for the sequel. 'I suppose you'd have to think where else would they go?' he said. 'But The Doctor loses in this episode and that's an unusual place to be, so it sort of needs some closure.' Having written eight episodes of ​Doctor Who ​since the show's relaunch in 2005, Gatiss insisted that he still has 'plenty of ideas' for more scripts - though some are just 'nuggets, tiny things. I'd love to do a story about fracking - it seems to me like an incredibly ​Doctor Who idea,' he said. 'Because it's obviously a bad idea, no matter what the supposed rewards. As well as shale gas, maybe there's something else lurking under there. I'd like to do that. I'd call it, Frack Off & Die.' Gatiss also admitted that he wouldn't be adverse to adapting one of his previous ​Doctor Who ​works - the Big Finish audio play ​Invaders From Mars ​- for television. 'It's set on the night of Orson Welles' ​War Of The Worlds broadcast and there's a real invasion,' he explained. 'It came out delightfully for Big Finish thirteen years ago, but I think that'd be good. If you have a good idea, go back to it!'

The audience at The Fantastically Expensive Official Doctor Who Festival in London last Saturday was somewhat subdued, for obvious reasons given the horrific real-world events in Paris the night before. Doctor Who is a scary show, but those aspects pale in comparison to the news coming from the continent. Children and adults are now terrified of the same thing and it doesn't come from a distant planet – it's all too close to home. Radio Times asked yer actual Mark Gatiss what is the point of the show, when the real monsters are outside? Mark's reply was as beautiful as it was life-affirming: 'I would say surely the point of shows like Doctor Who is not to let the monsters in. I'm not a parent, but children pick up on things. They're much more aware of news and stuff than I was at that age, it's more pervasive on every platform. If they're just on Twitter looking for pictures of cats, they're going to find out what happened last night in Paris. But the point of Doctor Who is what it's always been. It's a healthy scare. It's not about traumatising children, it's a fun thing, a safe environment. Fundamentally this show is incredibly optimistic and in incredibly dark times it shines a beacon. Think of The Zygon story in the last two weeks. It's a wonderful example of the old "inform, educate and entertain". It's a great big story with what Steven calls "red calamari", body snatching and shape shifting, but contained within it is a fantastic metaphor for the refugee crisis and ISIS. And that's what we should be doing. It's lovely and moving. I was thinking about this a lot this morning, coming here. It's like that great film Sullivan's Travels, the Preston Sturges film, which I was watching again recently. It really reinforced my belief that there's nothing wrong with creating great, fun things. The world is in a terrible state. It's always in a terrible state, but it's in a particularly terrible state at the moment. If you let it all into your head, you would go crazy. You are actually benefitting everybody by trying to create something that will entertain them, distract them for a bit, take them out of themselves, and also to broaden their minds. It's a way for people to cope. It's lovely to see everybody here today, in such a mood of optimism, and that’s what the show has always done. They win if they terrorise us into stopping. They win if we cower. We have to, as Churchill said, "keep buggering on."' What he said, dear blog reader. What he said.
​Jenna Coleman her very self has spoken to the Digital Spy website about her decision to quit ​Doctor Who ​after three years - and the circumstances of Clara's exit. At last weekend's Official ​And Hideously Overpriced Doctor Who ​Festival, the actress revealed why now was the right time to depart the TARDIS. Jenna also reflected on her time working with two different Doctors and whether she would consider a return to the series.
Finally on the subject of Jenna's departure from the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama, this blogger is indebted to Cliff Chapman for the following, apt, observation: 'Many actresses who played Doctor Who companions, from Carole Ann Ford to Billie Piper and Freema Ageyman, upon leaving the show have found that they need to throw off the shackles of a wholesome family character by playing slutty, barely clothed nymphomaniacs, dressed in fishnets and doing sex scenes, sometimes with other girls, where you can even see their bottoms. Jenna must know she has fandom's support in whatever path her career goes down next.' Indeed. And, for some reason, this blogger is now really looking forward to Jenna's forthcoming appearance in ITV's Victoria. What?
​Speculation over who will be the next ​Doctor Who ​companion is currently rife - with Ingrid Oliver's Petronella Osgood topping (or, indeed, telly topping) many a fan poll in this regard. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), though, has suggested that the show's new co-lead will be an entirely new character - and Ingird ger very self has also played down rumours linking her to a permanent stay aboard the TARDIS. 'You're asking the wrong person,' the actress and comedienne, said at the Extremely Expensive Official ​Doctor Who ​Festival last weekend. 'At the moment, she's said that she's going to stay on Earth. She has a role there - quite a strong role in UNIT - so I don't know how that would work.' But Ingrid is keen to return to ​Doctor Who ​and encounter some more classic monsters after her clash with The Zygons. 'I would love to meet The Daleks at some point - that would be an insane "pinch-me" moment,' she said. 'But from new-Who, I do love The Weeping Angels, which I find psychologically terrifying. I'd like to do that - except I blink a lot!'
Doctor Who​ producers may have got jealous seeing Sigourney Weaver cameo in Doc Martin​, as they are apparently searching for their own Hollywood guest stars. Peter Capaldi has revealed that he was prompted to ask Tom Hanks if he could potentially star in the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama. 'I think Doctor Who is a great venue for any kind of actor,' Peter told ITV's Good Morning Britain. 'Funnily enough they were trying to persuade me to ... I was working with Tom Hanks last night and the producer was on to me saying, "Try and persuade Tom to come and be in the show." I did have a word with him but he is very busy at the moment.'
'Television is the route by which we map our lives. From the day we are old enough to understand words and pictures it is a constant companion, educating and entertaining us, helping us to understand the world around us – and firing our imaginations off into the far reaches of an infinitely varied universe. From Ace Of Wands to Worzel Gummidge, from Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) to Red Dwarf, from the moment Professor Quatermass' rocket ship returned to Earth, to the moment Ian and Barbara entered the Doctor's ship, fantasy television has had an extraordinary effect on our emotions and our intellect.' This week, this blogger got through his PDF contributors preview copy of JR Southall's epic and handsomely compiled You & Who Else. Published on 20 November and with all royalties donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust, this blogger has done the essay on The Signing Detective in the book in which one hundred and seventy TV viewers write about a particular series which meant a great deal to them. My God, it's massive (over eight hundred pages). I can't imagine how big the print version is going to be, or what, once you've read such a thing it could be used for. A doorstop, probably! You & Who Else is a unique history of sixty years of British fantasy television, and a definitive record of its place in our lives – as told by the people who saw it: the viewers. It includes, not only this blogger's six thousand words on his favourite subject (himself), but also essays by dozens of jolly good friends of yer actual Keith Telly Topping and lots and lots of other talented and enthusiastic contributors. Among the highlights I've picked out so far include properly sharp and well-observed pieces on The Changes (by Gary Russell his very self), Star Cops (Paul Watts), Escape Into Night (Paul Vanezis), The Quatermass Experiment (Anthony Brown), Department S (Chris Stone), The Year Of The Sex Olympics (David Barsky), UFO (Paul Mount), The Goodies (Steve Herbert), Quatermass (this blogger's old mucka, Ben Adams), Dangermouse (Jon Arnold), The Nightmare Man (Steve Roberts) and Ultraviolet (Sue Cowley) ... and that's just from a very basic skim-read of twenty or thirty random entries. If you love television - and, if you don't then why are you reading this blog? - it will, trust me, keep you entertained for weeks. Buy one, several or lots. That is an order.
Meanwhile, dear blog reader, this blogger has no idea who John Henry is - to the best of my knowledge, anyway - but Keith Telly Topping certainly can't fault the accuracy of the chap (or, lady if the name is a non-de-plume) if this Twitter posting is anything to go by.
Well, I don't like to brag, you know. Anyway ...

One of a trio of new posters for the hotly-anticipated X-Files mini-series hints at the revival of one of the show's most enduring plot points. While one image echoes the iconic 'I Want to Believe' poster which hung in Fox Mulder's office and another features a creepy alien hand, it's the third that is most intriguing. In the promo art, it appears that a human eye is being diluted by an X-shaped strain of the infamous Black Oil. Oooo. All this, plus From The North fave Gillian Anderson.
I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) ​lost over a million viewers from Sunday's launch, but was still, easily, the most-watched show on Monday night. Which is thoroughly depressing as it remains a stinking pile of rancid horseshit filth. An average overnight audience of 8.18m glakes tuned in to watch Lady Colin Campbell (no me neither) 'completely lose it' at 9pm on ITV. Apparently. On BBC1, Panorama​ brought in 2.83m at 8.30pm, followed by Crimewatch​ with 2.58m at 9pm. BBC2's Only Connect​ was watched by 1.81m at 7.30pm, while University Challenge​ was watched by 2.99m at 8pm as an impressive Newcastle University team beat Glasgow. Another half-hour of cookery masquerading as pornography on Simply Nigella​ was watched by 2.11m at 8.30pm, and Ben Whishaw's London Spy​ dipped by around eight hundred thousand viewers from the previous week to 1.73m at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Shoppers' Guide To Saving Money​ interested 1.26m at 8.30pm, followed by SAS: Who Dares Wins​ with 1.14m at 9pm and Fargo​ with four hundred thousand punters at 10pm. Channel Five's Police Interceptors​ attracted eight hundred and nine thousand at 8pm. On FOX, The Walking Dead​ continued with six hundred and seventy two thousand at 9pm.
The Divine Victoria Coren Mitchell must've been on the verge of popping when Monday night's episode of Only Connect was recorded judging by the size of her lady boobs. Which needed to be seen in widescreen. Well, either that or somebody had been inflating her with a bicycle pump. She even made a joke early in the episode about TV production's elongation of the gestation period of humans. Which was rather Meta, this blogger thought.
Over six million viewers watched the international football friendly between England and France on Tuesday night. An average overnight audience of 6.32m saw the game at Wembley on ITV, just four days after the Paris attacks. Prince William was in attendance at the match, which saw England win two-nil. Elsewhere, BBC1's finale of the Stellan Skarsgård drama River brought in 2.69m at 9pm. And, very good it was too, one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite dramas of the year, that. BBC2's MasterChef: The Professionals appealed to 2.59m at 8pm, followed by The Great Pottery Throw Down with 1.99m at 9pm and Mock The Week with 1.19m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Doctor In Your House interested 1.24m at 8pm, while Twenty Four Hours In A&E gathered 1.80m at 9pm. Catastrophe had an audience of six hundred and three thousand viewers at 10pm. Channel Five's Loch Lomond attracted 1.11m at 8pm, followed by Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Live with eight hundred and ninety six thousand at 9pm. On Sky1, Arrow's latest episode was watched by five hundred and two thousand.

This blogger noted with interest, and appreciation, that the crowd at the friendly international at Wembley on Tuesday were being encouraged to - and, indeed, impressively did - join in with the singing of 'La Marseillaise' along with the French fans to 'show solidarity' with the people of Paris over the attacks in their city last weekend. Nowt wrong with that, of course, it's a terrific tune, many people's favourite national anthem (this blogger included) and its use in Casablanca is, possibly, the finest ninety seconds in cinema history. But ... remember, it is a revolutionary battle cry, the lyrics of which speak of soldiers murdering citizens and the blood of the innocent washing in the streets. I always found its use as the intro to 'All You Need Is Love' rather ironic for exactly that reason. I dunno, I understood the symbolism and was with the concept one hundred per cent, I just wondered what someone - probably the Daily Scum Mail - would have said if, say, Bob Marley's 'I Shot The Sheriff' were sung at the funeral of a murder victim. I'm over-thinking this, yes? Aye, you're right, of course, dear blog reader. Congratulations to everyone who joined in. It somewhat restored ones faith in human nature. Marchons, marchons!
Lady Colin Campbell's latest jungle exploits on I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) blah, blah, blah, top of the Wednesday overnight ratings. The ITV show blah, blah, blah an average overnight audience of 7.38 million at 9pm. Blah. The Apprentice suffered a dip for its first episode opposite its reality rival, losing around eight hundred thousand week-on-week to 5.03m at 9pm. Earlier, Cuffs​ continued with 3.37m at 8pm. On BBC2, MasterChef: The Professionals​ had an audience of 2.91m at 8pm. Earlier on ITV, All-Star Mr & Mrs​ brought in 3.46m (16.6%) at 8pm. Channel Four's Grand Designs​ appealed to 1.23m at 9pm, followed by Peep Show​ with five hundred and eighty one thousand at 10pm and the return of Toast Of London​ with three hundred and eighty nine thousand at 10.30pm.

Once again, MasterChef: The Professionals provided huge entertainment on Wednesday with a couple of skills tests rounds that had five of the six experienced chefs taking part looking like amateurs as they attempted to come up with variants on Marcus's 'scallop three ways' and scowling Monica's 'sweet sauvignon glazed with fruits'. It turned into a car crash of outrageous proportions. Interestingly, the one chef who managed to pull it off and who, also, had a good subsequent signature meal test was Liam and his 'everybody look at me, me, me, me, me' socks. Blimey, really full-of-himself was this kiddie. 'I think I'm going to stand out in the competition. Chefs are getting too complicated these days. Keep it simple, that's definitely going to make me stand out.' For once, however, the usual expected MasterChef cliché of the contestant that bigs themselves up the most being the first to leave did not occur. Though, that was possibly due to the paucity of quality opposition on display in this particular episode than anything else. No doubt many viewers were thinking exactly what this blogger was thinking at the climax, 'We shall be watching Liam closely in future episodes to see if his high opinion of his own abilities proves to be justified.' And, as it happens, it didn't take long for us to find out. In the very next programme Liam, presented with an invention test task of knocking up a nice pudding, fell flat on his face with a muffled crunch and left the competition despite whinging that he had 'so much left to give.' Aw well, matey, them's the breaks.
I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) regained around five hundred thousand lost viewers on Thursday night for ITV. Spencer Matthews, Ferne McCann and Vicky Pattison's arrival in the camp (no, me neither) was seen by an average overnight audience of 7.81 million at 9pm. Earlier, Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs continued with 4.27m at 8.30pm. It was a geet piss-poor night for BBC1, with Watchdog bringing in 3.32m at 8pm, followed by Doctor In The House with 2.70m at 9pm. On BBC2's 2.84 million watched MasterChef: The Professionals and cocky, full-of-himself Liam's roasted and poached apple with a coffee and chocolate puree going down like a fart in a spacesuit with Marcus and scowly-faced Monica, while The Last Kingdom had an audience of 1.60m at 9pm. Russell Howard's Good News drew nine hundred and thirty thousand punters at 10pm. On Channel Four, The Secret Life Of Five-Year-Olds was watched by 1.98m at 8pm, followed by Kitchen Impossible with six hundred and thirteen thousand at 9pm and First Dates with 1.04m at 10pm. On E4, The Big Bang Theory attracted an audience of 1.28m at 8.30pm.

I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) again topped the overnight ratings for Friday. depressing, isn't it? The live episode attracted seven million viewers (all, presumably, with nothing better to do with their lives), although this was down by around eight hundred thousand from the audience on Thursday night. Which is a small crumb of comfort. BBC1's evening kicked off with 3.54 million for The ONE Show, followed by 3.05 million for Citizen Khan. Adele At The BBC attracted 4.54m at 8.30pm, Have I Got News For You had an audience of 4.32m at 9.30pm and The Graham Norton Show was watched by 3.55m at 10.45pm. On BBC2, Celebrity Antiques brought in 1.44m at 7pm, Mastermind had 2.01m (9.7%) at 8pm and An Island Parish: Falklands was watched by 1.47m at 8.30pm. Mr Portaloo's latest Great Continental Railways attracted 1.70m at 9pm and Qi had an overnight audience of 1.17m at 10pm. On Channel Four, TFI Friday drew 1.28m (6%) at 8pm and, as usual, Gogglebox topped the channel's Friday evening overnights with 2.47m at 9pm. Alan Carr: Chatty Man was seen by seven hundred and ninety thousand at 10pm. On Channel 5, the semi-finals of The UK's Strongest Man attracted six hundred and eleven thousand punters at 7pm and Ice Road Truckers was watched by eight hundred and six thousand at 8pm. NCIS: New Orleans brought in five hundred and forty nine thousand at 9.15pm, followed by NCIS with five hundred and seventy thousand at 10pm and NCIS: Los Angeles with three hundred and fifteen thousand viewers at 11pm.

Comedy line of the week came, as usual, from Friday's Qi - a rather fine episode of the series, almost-but-not-quite spoiled by Susan Calman cackling her way through it like a hen about to lay a particularly odd-shaped egg. Given the fact that he's done a couple of (very impressive) documentaries on the episode's subject, mathematics, it was Alan Davies's chance to shine (and, yet, he still came last. What are the odds?) When Stephen Fry revealed that 'twelve plus one' and 'eleven plus two' not only add up to the same thing but, when written out, they're also anagrams of each other, Sandi Toksvig sneered that whoever worked that out really had too much time on their hands. 'These were worked out by Nelson Mandela on Robben Island,' said Alan, quick as a flash. Heh. That's his best joke in about three series!
Meanwhile, over on BBC1 on Have I Got News For You, we viewers were getting our first sight on TV in some months of a slimline, non-preggers Victoria Coren Mitchell. And, she was on her usual beguilingly sarcastic form, noting that one of those leading the fight against the terrorists in Europe is the Belgian Interior Security Minister, Jan Jambon: 'Showing defiance to Islamic State, even with his surname!'
And, this blogger is forced to note that, whilst Keith Telly Topping utterly loathes his politics and everything he stands for, Jacob Rees-Mogg continues, in his odd appearances on the topical comedy news quiz, to suggest he is one of Britain's sharpest comedy talents. Now, I fell like I need a shower, having said that. Anyway ...

Nearly four-and-a-half million punters watched yer actual Jenna Coleman's exit from Doctor Who, according to overnight viewing figures. Face The Raven drew an overnight audience of 4.48 million on BBC1, the third-highest overnight figure this series. The episode had an AI score of eighty four. Earlier, Strictly Come Dancing's Blackpool special appealed to a whopping 10.3 million. It, once again, easily spanked ITV's The X Factor's ass hollow. It had an overnight audience of 6.55 million. During the 8pm overlap, Strictly was just ending with 8.54 million as The X Factor opened its live show with 5.59 million. Elsewhere on BBC1, Casualty was watched by 3.88 million and Match Of The Day by 3.46 million to see yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies' latest gutless, cowardly 'surrender before kick-off' against Leicester City. We're going to get relegated this season, mark this blogger's words. Pointless Celebrities drew 5.1 million earlier in the evening. ITV's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) continued with 7.16 million. On BBC2, a Dad's Army repeat was watched by by 1.94 million and Qi XL attracted 1.22 million. Great Continental Railway Journeys had an audience of 1.02m. On Channel Four, Grand Designs: House Of The Year drew seven hundred and forty thousand whilst the film Red was seem by 1.35m. Channel Five's Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away pulle in six hundred and eighty nine thousand and Football League Tonight was watched by four hundred and fifty thousand at 9pm.
Strictly Come Dancing was, once again, top of the Sunday overnight ratings with a massive average audience of 10.82 million at 7.30pm for the Blackpool results week. Later, Antiques Roadshow was watched by 6.1m at 8pm and The Hunt attracted four million overnight punters at 9pm. The X Factor once again failed to trump Strictly, being watched by 6.66m at 8pm to see Anton Stephans leave the competition. Apparently. Earlier, Jekyll & Hyde attracted a mere 1.6m at 7pm. I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) was once again ITV's highest-rated overnight show, pulling in 8.77m viewers at 9pm. On BBC2, Robert Peston Goes Shopping saw 1.12m tune in at 7pm, Ireland With Simon Reeve attracted 2.39m at 8pm and Monty Don's Secret Garden was watched by 1.39m at 9pm. Channel Four's Building Hitler's Supergun: The Plot To Destroy London had an audience of 1.14m at 8pm and the latest Homeland episode drew 1.01m at 9pm. Fail Army was seen by three hundred and eighty nine thousand at 7.45pm, Impractical Jokers by but two hundred and eighty seven thousand at 8.30pm and Angels & Demons by nine hundred and sixty two thousand at 9pm on Channel Five.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings of the Top Twenty Three programmes for week-ending Sunday 15 November 2015:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.71m
2 I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) - Sun ITV - 10.93m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.33m
4 Children In Need - Fri BBC1 - 7.95m
5 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 7.68m
6 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.57m
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.55m
8 EastEnders - Fri BBC1 - 7.29m
9 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 7.03m
10 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.82m
11 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 6.73m
12= Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 5.75m
12= Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.75m
14 Unforgotten - Thurs ITV - 5.72m
15 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 5.61m
16 The Hunt - Sun BBC1 - 4.87m
17 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.86m
18 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.66m
19 Hugh's War On Waste - Mon BBC1 - 4.64m
20 The ONE Show - Fri BBC1 - 4.50m
21 Lewis - Tues ITV - 4.35m*
22 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 4.16m
23 Cuffs - Wed BBC1 - 4.13m
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 10.94 million. Doctor Who's timeshift over and above the initial overnight audience for Sleep No More was 1.62m (and, it's worth stressing once again that figure does not account for people who watched the episode on iPlayer). The X Factor's Saturday night episode drew 7.27m viewers. On BBC2, the opening three episodes of MasterChef: The Professionals drew audiences of 3.59m, 3.47m and 3.19m placing the series first, second and fourth in the channel's weekly list of most-watched programmes. The opening episode of London Spy drew 3.26m. BBC2's coverage of Children In Need was watched by 2.97m. University Challenge, on a normal week, the most watched show on BBC2 by a distance, had to make do with sixth in their top thirty this time around, with 2.88m, followed by The Last Kingdom (2.80m), the latest - semi-pornographic - episode of Simply Nigella (2.64m), The Apprentice: You're Fired! (2.58m), The Great Pottery Throw Down (2.24m), Strictly Come Dancing: It Tales Two (2.09m) and the Only Connect Children In Need Special (2.03m). Aside from Gogglebox, Channel Four's top-rated broadcasts included Dispatches: Aldi's Supermarket Secrets (3.38m), The Secret Life Of Four, Five & Six Year Olds (2.78m), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.58m), SAS: Who Dares Wins (2.21m) and First Dates (1.97m). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcast was Loch Lomand: A Year In The Wild (1.85m), followed by Can't Pay, We'll Take It Away (1.63m), GPs Behind Closed Doors (1.59m) and Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild UK (1.51m). An episode of The Big Bang Theory brought in a figure of 2.64m, by a huge distance the largest audience for a multchannels broadcast of the week. With no Premier League games to cover this week, Sky Sports 1's coverage of Live Grand Slam Of Darts was watched by three hundred and seventy six thousand punters viewers whilst the big (and I use that word quite wrongly) footie game of the weekend - Portsmouth versus AFC Wimbledon - attracted three hundred and thirty one thousand. Sky Sports 2's coverage of the first Pakistan versus England ODI attracted one hundred and ninety nine thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was, as usual, Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast, albeit with a smaller audience than usual due to the lack of Premier League action - three hundred and sixty three thousand punters. Even Kammy struggles to get excited on those sort of days. On Sky Sports F1's  Live Brazilian Grand Prix coverage was watched by six hundred and twenty nine thousand. ITV4's broadcast Moto GP Highlights had four hundred and twenty two thousand viewers. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama with nine hundred and ten thousand. The movie Billy Elliot was BBC4's most-watched broadcast with seven hundred and thirty two thousand. The second series of Arne Dahl continued with six hundred and forty thousand and six hundred and twenty six thousand for Saturday's two episodes. Detectorists drew five hundred and sixty seven thousand, whilst the excellen Digging For Britain had four hundred and sixty three thousand, The Last Days Of Anne Boleyn was watched by four hundred and twenty seven thousand, Horizon also by four hundred and twenty seven thousand and Natural World by four hundred and eighteen thousand. The first episode of Josh was BBC3's top-rated broadcast with five hundred and fifty one thousand in a top ten that, again, included five episodes of Family Guy. Sky Atlantic's weekly-list was topped by The Panthers (six hundred and twenty three thousand). The Affair drew four hundred and twenty four thousand. On Sky Living, The Blacklist had 1.04m (and a very fine episode it was too) and Criminal Minds was watched by nine hundred and one thousand. Sky 1's The Flash had an audience of 1.39m whilst Supergirl attracted 1.05m and Arrow nine hundred and thirty eight thousand. Sky Arts' Landscape Artist Of the Year had two hundred and twenty two thousand. 5USA's Castle was watched by five hundred and seventeen thousand viewers. FOX's The Walking Dead was the second most-watched multichannel show of the week, with 1.69 million viewers. American Horror Story: Hotel had two hundred and ninety eight thousand, Talking Dead was watched by two hundred and forty one thousand, Tyrant by one hundred and forty thousand, American Dad! by one hundred and thirty four thousand and NCIS by one hundred and thirty three thousand. CBS Action's weekly-list was headed by Bad Girls (eighty thousand). The Universal Channel's Sleepy Hollow had an audience of three hundred and thirty one thousand whilst Law & Order: Special Victims Unit attracted two hundred and forty two thousand. On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme, with four hundred and fifty three thousand. That was followed by Blackadder Back & Forth (three hundred and sixty five thousand), Have I Got A Bit More News For You (three hundred and thirty four thousand) and Qi XL (two hundred and seventy four thousand). Drama's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries drew four hundred and twenty nine thousand and Death In Paradise was watched by four hundred and two thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programmes were Rizzolo & Isles (four hundred and ninety nine thousand), Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (one hundred and sixty eight thousand) and Crossing Lines (one hundred and sixty three thousand). Watch's broadcast of Grimm was seen by five hundred and seventy two thousand and The Strain by three hundred and twenty eight thousand. Yesterday's repeat run of Porridge continued two hundred and fifty thousand. Please don't bring it back, Dick and Ian, this blogger is begging you! On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was watched by four hundred and sixty two thousand punters. Fast N' Loud had two hundred and fifty one thousand, Yukon Men one hundred and seventy six thousand and Tony Robinson's Wild West one hundred and seventy three thousand viewers. It was a good week for Old Baldrick his very self as, on Discovery History's Tony Robinson's World War I topped their weekly-list with audience of thirty nine thousand punters. Hitler's Henchmen drew twenty thousand, as did Seven Ages of Britain. On Discovery Science, How Do They Do It? and Mythbusters were both watched by twenty nine thousand punters. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was Bitchin' Rides (fifty seven thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Yukon Gold which had one hundred and one thousand viewers. Deadly Devotion was ID's largest audience of the week (fifty eight thousand). CI's Measuring Evil: Britain's Worst Killers brought in eighty six thousand viewers whilst Crimes That Shook Britain drew forty nine thousand, both well above the channel's usual average audience. Obviously, it's home-grown murder and mayhem that brings in the numbers rather than imported murder and mayhem. Eden's So You Think You'd Survive was seen by twenty three thousand. GOLD's top ten was headed by Mrs Brown's Boys (three hundred and thirty four thousand). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and thirty thousand). On ITV Encore, The Frankenstein Chronicles was watched by three hundred and fifty eight thousand viewers. TLC's weekly-list was topped by My Four Wives (one hundred and sixteen thousand). Your TV's Corrupt Crimes had forty six thousand viewers.

We don't often cover US ratings on From The North - because, they're baffling to understand, frankly - but it's worth reporting that, this week Supergirl's audience was up slightly week-on-week, according to Monday's Nielsen figures (the American equivalent of overnights). Supergirl stopped two weeks of losses by rising one-tenth of a point to 1.8 (7.77 million) at 8pm on CBS, followed by Scorpion hitting 1.7 (9.16m) at 9pm and NCIS: Los Angeles with 1.3 (7.91m) at 10pm. Gotham matched last week's Neilsen score of 1.5 (4.35m) at 8pm on FOX, before Minority Report pulled in 0.7 (1.74m) at 9pm.
Meanwhile, FOX has become the first network broadcaster in the US to scrap the overnight ratings format in their performance figures. With many viewers now watching their favourite TV shows either on-demand or recording programmes to watch later, the ratings results from live viewing and overnights are, as readers of this blog will probably appreciate by now, a massivley inaccurate indication of how a show is actually doing. Deadline reports that the network's CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman have issued an internal memo in which they announced to staff that they will be dropping the overnight format 'immediately' with the exception of live events in an attempt to 'change the conversation.' 'The Live Plus Same Day rating does not reflect the way people are watching our series,' the memo says. 'It leaves out the vast majority of fans who choose to watch on DVRs, and virtually ignores those who stream our shows or watch on demand. And those viewers matter. Within a seven-day period, more than one-third of the broadcast eighteen to forty nine [age group] audience watches after the same-day window. Over thirty days, seven of our FOX series either double or more than double their same-day audience across platforms.​' Some US cable broadcasters are already using Live Plus Three instead and with FOX now on board, other network broadcasters could also follow suit.​ In Britain, of course, the only ratings figures you'll ever see published - except on blogs like this one - are overnights. However, the BBC have already indicated a shift in attitude within the industry by stating that they are more interested in 'Live Plus Seven' figures, which are made up by combining the consolidated ratings published weekly by BARB plus iPlayer figures. Although ITV are still focused on overnights - due in no small part to their reliance on advertising - it's notable that even they have started to mentioned consolidated audience figures in some press releases, particularly those involving The X Factor.

Speaking of Gotham, Mad-Bonkers Michelle Gomez's performance in this week's episode was a sight to see, dear blog reader. Plus, we hand another example of a previously noted phenomena, someone on the production team's love of British punk, post-punk and indie music with, this time, The Stranglers featuring on the soundtrack. Tasty.
Another series of True Detective may be on the way thanks to a new deal between HBO and its creator Nic Pizzolatto. HBO president Michael Lombardo announced on Tuesday that the network had signed a fresh development deal with the writer which will run until 2018. While HBO's statement does not include a specific commission of a third series of True Detective, such a project could be covered by the deal. Lombardo affirmed his confidence in Pizzolatto in a press release, calling him 'one of the most exceptionally talented writers and producers working today.' Series two of True Detective broadcast earlier this year was largely disliked by critics and viewers alike, a far cry from its EMMY Award-winning first series. This blogger thought there was too much plot, too scattergun in its approach and too many characters. It was an attempt to do a James Ellroy-style drama that didn't, quite, get it right. It wasn't an entire disaster and the massive fuck-off shoot out at end of episode four was five of the best minutes of TV this year, produced by anyone. And, it did get better as it went along. But, it was, nevertheless, something of a disappointment after the first series which had such focus.
ABC has announced premiere dates for its winter shows including Marvel's Agent Carter, and a finale date for How To Get Away With Murder. Chief among ABC's programming announcements include 'Thank God It's Thurdsay' shows Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder returning from hiatus on Thursday 11 February. How To Get Away With Murder keeps its 10pm timeslot until its finale on 17 March, with the Shonda Rhimes thriller The Catch replacing it on 24 March. Another major premiere will be the second season of Marvel's Agent Carter on Tuesday 5 January across two hours from 9pm. The popular series moves to a one-hour slot at 9pm the following week, as Peggy Carter takes up a new investigation in post-war Los Angeles. The series will be shown in the UK from 17 January on FOX.
National heartthrob David Tennant's been embracing his dark side to play Kilgrave, a mind-controlling purple-skinned villain in Marvel's Jessica Jones, which arrives this week on Netflix. Dangerous Dave told Radio 1's Newsbeat that he was attracted to the series as it is 'not what people necessarily expect if they've watched The Avengers movies and the Iron Man movies.' He also says he signed up without even knowing what happens to his character or whether there would be body paint involved.
David has also revealed that the third series of Broadchurch is currently being written. But the actor added that he is 'in the dark' about what will happen in the new episodes. 'I have absolutely no idea,' he said on Good Morning Britain. 'I don't know what [Chris Chibnall] will do, and I don't know what direction he'll take it in. I can't wait to read. There are scripts, I am told. There are two scripts, I think. But I have no clue what is in them. I don't suppose I'll know until next year sometime.' Olivia Colman previously confirmed that series three will film in summer 2016.

Now, dear blog reader here's the very excellent John Oliver giving forth a bit of yer righteous anger and withering sarcasm on the subject of the Paris Attacks and those unspeakable thugs responsible for these cowardly and wretched crimes. Be warned, this clip contains some strong - though entirely appropriate - language. 'Fuck these arseholes.' What he said.
From that, something very important, to this. Something ... not.
The BBC has announced that it is to remake The Good Life, Are You Being Served? and other classic sitcoms. Because, as previously noted, no one appears to have any original ideas in the television any more. New versions of Up Pompeii! and Keeping Up Appearances have also been ordered, with each show at a different stage of development, Broadcast reports. The series of thirty-minute 'specials' will mark the sixty years since Hancock's Half Hour 'became the first sitcom on British TV.' Which,it wasn't, although it was, probably, the first memorable one. BBC Productions comedy executive producer Ben Farrell is overseeing the projects. They become the most recent classic shows to be revisited by the BBC after the broadcaster announced last week that it was remaking Porridge. It was previously reported that Dick Clement and Ian La Franais are working on a pilot centred around Norman Fletcher's grandson, who will be serving time for computer hacking.​
James May has been talking cars during an appearance on This Morning. He stayed tight-lipped about most details of the Amazon Prime project, revealing only that it 'will start roughly in the autumn of next year' and that it still doesn't have a name yet. 'We don't know what it's called yet, we've had a lot of brainstorming sessions on names,' James said. 'It's actually very difficult to come up with a new name for something that hasn't already been bagged by someone else, unless you call your new show Shubbley-Doobley-Woobley or something like that! We genuinely haven't got a name.'
It came as a surprise to many when Stellan Skarsgård​ signed up to front a British television series, but the award-winning actor has explained that the changing face of cinema is what inspired him to tackle the BBC's River. Skarsgård​ told ​the Digital Spy ​website that there is less and less room for psychological drama like ​River ​at the multiplexes. 'There has been a structural change - very dramatically - in the last decade,' he said. 'The films that are made now, they either have a budget of one hundred million dollars or three million dollars. Everything in-between, that was character-driven, with the best actors/writers/directors, is gone, and all those talents are now going to television instead. The distribution systems and the cinemas have adopted to the blockbusters and they now get their main income from selling popcorn and if you don't make a film that sells popcorn, it's very hard to get it out there.' River ​casts the Swedish actor as John River, a disturbed police detective haunted by the death of his partner, played by Nicola Walker. ​Skarsgård​ explained that the six-part series allowed him to ​express emotion on-screen in a way that is often denied to male actors. 'Of course, if you think "playing a hero" is a great role, then the men get the great roles,' he said. 'They get to kill more people - but that does not, necessarily, mean it's a great role.​ Actresses get to show all the feelings they can muster, while men are more contained, trying to make sure that they have their balls in place. So it was nice at certain moments to just let go - let go of the facade and just open up, wide open.' He might have that opportunity again if River ​returns, though Skarsgård​ said that he currently considers the show to be 'a one-off piece. I don't understand how to continue it, but if Abi Morgan comes up with a very brilliant idea to continue the series, I would of course be interested.'
Cold Feet will begin filming in Manchester for its new sixth series in February 2016. Cold Feet previously ran for five series from 1997. The new series will be eight episodes long and feature all of the original actors bar Silly Little Helen Baxendale. Further casting will be announced at a later date.

Yer actual Idris Elba has hinted that Luther will have undergone something of a revamp when it returns. Though the third series of the hit BBC1 crime drama was expected to be its last, Elba's formidable John Luther will return to screens in December. 'I don't think Neil Cross or I were satisfied with the ending of the last one,' said the Golden Globe-winning actor. 'It felt like there were some unanswered questions. I don't think we ever really resolved whether it was going to be the end - I think that version of [the character of] Luther had stopped and now I think this version of Luther - which is slightly older and a little bit wiser - begins a next chapter. It has to be familiar - it feels very much like series one to three but, again, we've evolved,' he said. 'The whole show's grown a little bit.' John Luther's latest outing spans two episodes, with Elba arguing that a longer run wouldn't suit the series. 'It's really tough to sustain that sort of angst,' he argued. 'You'd have to dilute it to make it work and, honestly, I think you'd get bored of "story of the week" type drama in a show like this. I think the smaller bite-sizes are better and more impactful. There's no reason why we couldn't do another six-parter, but I suspect that would be the end of me!' Idris hasn't given up on the long-gestating Luther movie either, describing the new two-hour TV outing as 'a pilot for the film. We would love to get a film off the ground, but it takes time,' he explained. 'It's really about when Neil and I are ready to pull that off.'
Stephen Fry is to receive the Rose d'Or Award for Lifetime Achievement at a London ceremony next month. The award honours and recognises those who have made 'an outstanding contribution to broadcast entertainment' throughout their careers. Jean Philip De Tender, of European Broadcasting Union, said that Stephen represented 'all that is best about entertainment broadcasting.' Fry, who previously won a Rose d'Or as host of Qi, said he was 'honoured' by the award. Stephen's career took off in the mid-1980s with his comedy show A Bit Of Fry & Laurie, alongside his comedy partner Hugh Laurie. He went on to establish himself as a household name in series such as Blackadder, Jeeves & Wooster and dramatic adaptations such as Gormenghast. His film career has included Peter's Friends, Wilde and Gosford Park. More recently, he has fronted a number of acclaimed documentaries and currently voices the character of Colonel K in the new series of Danger Mouse. He also played the Master of Laketown in the film adaptations of Tolkien's The Hobbit. Stephen began hosting the BBC comedy game show Qi in 2003. Last month he announced he was stepping down from his role fronting the panel show after thirteen years. He will be replaced by Sandi Toksvig. 'Stephen Fry represents all that is best about entertainment broadcasting in the UK, throughout Europe and across the globe,' said De Tender. 'Not only has he entertained generations and made us laugh, he has also, through his documentary work, shone light on challenging issues such as mental health. It's only fitting that the industry will show its appreciation for him in London on 9 December with an award that represents the gold standard.' The Rose d'Or will present awards next month in six categories for television and online video and five categories for radio. Paddy O'Connell, who will host the award ceremony, said: 'Stephen Fry has tried to remember to be good to people and also that the industry is made up of many, many thousands of people who don't get the credit. For me, I'm pleased that someone who has tried to put in the occasional word for the work of others is being honoured in London.'

Ray Winstone - 'bet naaaaaah!' - will channel HG Wells in a new four-part mini-series on Sky Arts. The Nightmare Worlds Of HG Wells will see Winstone narrate the anthology series, which will contain four scary stories: The Story Of The Late Mister Elvesham, The Purple Pileus, The Moth and The Devotee of Art. Michael Gambon, Luke Treadaway and Sherlock's Rupert Graves will also guest-star in the drama. It has been written by Ideal's Graham Duff, and directed by Mad Dogs' Adrian Shergold. And, it sounds really good. 'One of my earliest memories is seeing row upon row of blue-covered HG Wells books on my granddad's bookcase and being fascinated by the strange and disturbing worlds inside them,' said Sky Arts director Phil Edgar-Jones. 'The team at Clerkenwell have brought four fantastic Wells short stories to life in a wonderfully realised, stunningly performed compendium.' Winstone follows the likes of Michael Sheen and Malcolm McDowell, who have previously played the author on-screen. The series will be broadcast on Sky Arts in 2016.
A TV drama made in Wales for American network FX has been cancelled after its first series. The Bastard Executioner, made at Dragon International Studios near Pontyclun, Rhondda Cynon Taff, has not been renewed after a slump in viewing figures. The Welsh government said that this series - and other locally produced dramas such as Da Vinci's Demons - showed Wales had the UK's 'biggest creative industries base outside of London.' The series has not yet been screened in the UK. Creator Kurt Sutter - previously of The Shield and Sons Of Anarchy - took out an advert in TV trade press to announce the end of the series. The Hollywood Reporter said that Sutter sent an e-mail to the Welsh-based cast and crew, praising them for their 'commitment and enthusiasm.' The Fourteenth Century period drama premiered in the US in September. Earlier this year the Welsh government supported FOX Television 21 as the company secured a long-term lease for the studios. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the series 'lost more than half of its audience through its first six weeks on the air, falling from four million combined weekly viewers for its 15 September premiere to just 1.9 million for episode six.'
From January, Channel Five is to begin broadcasting episodes of Neighbours on the same day as they are shown in their native Australia. 'For the first time it will actually be Christmas when it actually is Christmas (instead of February),' said Channel Five's Greg Barnett. He added that this move would also 'reduce online spoilers and piracy.' The current time lag between the UK and Australia is two weeks; to close the gap Channel Five will broadcast ten episodes of Neighbours between 7 and 18 December. Neighbours, Australia's longest-running drama, is currently shown twice a day ob Channel Five at 13:45 and at 17:30. The simultaneous broadcast will begin on 4 January 2016. 'At a time when online piracy can often mean hardcore fans' enjoyment of continuing drama is spoilt, this is great news for our millions of Neighbours fans,' said Barnett. He promised 'the new year [would] start with a bang for Ramsay Street rotter Paul Robinson.' Robinson, played by Stefan Dennis, has been with the show since its inception in 1985. Originally broadcast on BBC1, the Melbourne-based soap - which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary this year - moved to Channel Five in 2008. The soap, which at its peak drew a combined UK audience of nineteen million per day, has been responsible for launching the careers of Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce, Natalie Imbruglia, Alan Dale and Margot Robbie. It now reaches around 1.5 millions viewers daily. Channel Five also broadcasts fellow Australian soap Home & Away. The show currently runs eight weeks behind Home & Away's Australian broadcasts.
Comedy, entertainment and factual programming at the BBC will be hit by a twelve million knicker spending cut, but the corporation said that it would use money saved from dropping The Voice to making homegrown Saturday night shows. Unveiling full details of savings totalling one hundred and fifty million notes, the Director General, Tony Hall, also said that BBC News would see its budget cut by five million smackers. The BBC's online services are facing a twelve million quid reduction. The cuts are part of one hundred and fifty million knicker savings announced by Hall earlier this year as the BBC tries to close the 'iPlayer loophole' created by people having worked out that they do not need to pay for a licence fee if they only watching catch-up programming online. The corporation is expected to outline a further five hundred and fifty million smackers in cuts next spring. Hall said: 'The BBC has and is doing everything possible to make sure the impact on the public is minimised. Wherever possible we're targeting savings by creating a simpler, leaner BBC. But cuts to budgets for programmes and services are unavoidable. No Director General wants to announce reduced spending on services that the public love. This is very tough, but the BBC's financial position means there is no alternative.' How very Thatcherite. Spending on athletics and 'minority sports' is to be cut, with the BBC's Red Button services also facing the axe. The broadcaster will cut online news and make savings in overheads as it deals with a funding shortfall, but it has promised to protect spending on drama. A 'significant chunk' of the savings announced on Wednesday, amounting to thirty five million quid, came out of sports rights. The Red Button services, which replaced BBC Ceefax in 2012, offer news and sport text services and are particularly popular during big live events such as Wimbledon, Glastonbury and the Olympics. The corporation has struggled to compete for live sports rights against well-financed rivals like Sky and BT, leaving many to fear the future of free-to-air sports broadcasting. The corporation has already guaranteed the survival of some of its most popular sports programming, including Match Of The Day and Wimbledon. However, in June, it lost control of the rights to the Olympic Games from 2022 onwards, after US broadcaster Discovery, the owner of Eurosport, made a nine hundred and twenty million knicker offer for exclusive pan-European rights. BBC Online is facing losing more than five per cent of its two hundred and ten million quid budget and it may face further reductions as the corporation tries to identify an extra sixteen million notes in savings. In contrast, news has been relatively well protected, with the five million reduction amounting to less than on per cent of spending on news across the corporation's divisions. However, staff will be concerned about the impact of proposed changes in working practices and terms and conditions. Drama will also be protected from the current round of cuts.
John Sessions has criticised BBC 'management culture' as 'completely out of hand.' Sessions claimed that the BBC 'would have a better chance of survival' if it was not 'run like a private company.' He launched his criticism while promoting the forthcoming one-off BBC2 drama, We're Doomed! The Dad's Army Story. Speaking after a press screening of the drama in London this week, Sessions said that it had been shot on a 'tight schedule' of two weeks instead of four. He blamed the lack of money on management decisions such as the relocation of parts of the BBC to Salford. 'I wish the executives would stop building buildings,' he said. 'It makes me very cross because we have to try to do our job under much more pressure than we should have to deal with. I don't want to sound like some whinging old luvvie [heaven forbid] but the management culture at the BBC has become so pervasive and so money-monopolising that we are all doing these things on ridiculous schedules.' Sessions - the very definition of a whinging old luvvie - said that he hoped the current Director General Tony Hall would manage to 'cut this management tumour down' because 'it's got completely out of hand.' He went on: 'This is a public broadcasting corporation - not a PLC - and the more it is treated like a corporation the better it will be and more chance it will have of surviving.' A BBC spokesman said: 'We have cut senior manager numbers and costs by a third as part of our work to save one hundred fifty million from the total paybill. BBC North has allowed us to get closer to our audiences and has had a huge impact both economically and culturally. The relocation was done on time and under budget and BBC North is one of the BBC's most efficient centres delivering around one hundred and sixty eight million pounds cumulative savings to date.' Sessions said that he considered the licence fee good value for money: 'It's the price of a very serious Christmas shop. And for that you get the most wonderful stuff throughout the year. Of course great things still are made. The technical quality of things is beyond belief.'
The Chinese version of Top Gear has been watched by more than two hundred million viewers on TV and online, with the most popular episode to date the presenters racing across England, in vehicles including a tank, to attend a football match. The second series of the Chinese version of the BBC's motoring format, with a Taiwanese actor-singer, a TV host and a former top executive at an Internet firm taking the place of the, now former, British hosts Jezza Clarkson, The Hamster and Mister Slowly, launched on pay-TV cable and satellite service Shanghai Dragon TV on 19 October. The series, which is broadcast across China and Taiwan, has so far attracted an average TV audience to date of nine million viewers tuning into the first scheduled broadcast of each episode.
The fifth and most recent episode – in which the presenters race across the UK in vehicles not available in China in a battle for a single ticket to The Scum versus Everton – attracted a series high eleven million viewers. The TV viewing has been amplified by a huge online audience of one hundred and seventy three million across the series so far, aggregating figures from China's eight biggest video platforms including Tencent, Youku, Tudou, Sohu, Iqiyi and Baofeng. Paul Dempsey, president of global markets at BBC Worldwide, used the success in China to highlight the strength of the Top Gear franchise. Some observers question whether the loss of Clarkson, Hammond and May could damage the popularity and sales potential of the overall brand which makes between fifty and one hundred million smackers per year in revenues. 'The success of Top Gear in China once again demonstrates the unique appeal of the world's favourite motoring entertainment show,' said Dempsey. 'It's also testament to a successful collaboration between our own UK producers and their Chinese counterparts who have recreated a British institution for a whole new audience.' The collaboration was perhaps not so successful for series one, which averaged about half the TV viewing and drew only thirty three million online viewers in total, with all three hosts changed and elements of the format of the show overhauled for the second series. The BBC also gave the second series a major marketing push with a thirty foot high Big Stig given a Chinese visa' for six months to tour ten cities across China. The success of Top Gear has outstripped that of the third series of Sherlock, although the show has less China-wide appeal as it is the English version, which notched up about one hundred million views online.
Iain Lee has left his BBC Three Counties Radio show. The forty two-year-old clashed on-air with a Christian lawyer, calling her 'a bigot', during a heated debate on the subject of homophobia. Lee and the BBC later apologised, saying that the interview was 'at several points inappropriate.' The BBC has not confirmed reports that Lee was sacked, saying he would 'no longer be presenting his shows on the station,' and adding that it wanted to 'wish him well for the future.' Which will not be on the BBC. Make of that, dear blog reader, what you will. The - not-at-all-funny - stand-up and former presenter of Channel Four's The Eleven O'Clock Show interviewed Libby Powell, a lawyer from Christian Concern, a 'conservative Christian group' which opposes LGBT rights. For which, read, 'a bunch of ignorant Tory bigots using the Bible to perpetuate hate.' She appeared on the show to defend a reverend who was disciplined - rightly - for reading out passages from the Bible condemning homosexuality during a recent service at a prison. 'His message was one of repentance from sin and as part of the verses he read, he did mention homosexuality as well as a host of other sins,' she said. Lee stated: 'Homophobia is bigotry. Do you support bigotry?' to which Powell replied, 'This isn't homophobia, this is God's word.' Sadly, Lee didn't reply to this with something along the lines of: 'So, if you're so keen on God's word, Libby, why aren't you practicing Matthew 7:1 right now. Oh, and can I just ask, the blouse you're wearing, is it polyester and cotton? Because, if it is, according you Leviticus 19:19 you are an abomination thereunto and should be stoned to death. So, do you want to come into the car park and we'll see if we can find a few bricks?' That's the way to deal with hypocritical religious gobshites, use God's word(s) and their own 'chosing the bits that suit my agenda and ignoring the rest'-type malarkey against them. Instead, sadly, Lee lost his shit and, with it, his job. He went on to accuse Powell of 'not understanding' what bigotry was. Following the show, the BBC issued a statement to the LGBT website Pink News apologising 'for any offence that may have been caused.'
Australia will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 for the second time, organisers have confirmed. Despite the country not, actually, being, you know, in Europe. Believe me, this blogger has checked, I looked at a map and everything. The country will send an entry ten thousand miles to take part in next year's event in Stockholm. Eurovision said that Australia's involvement was 'an exciting step' towards making the contest 'a truly global event', as well as being a geographical anomaly. Guy Sebastian last year performed as an Australian wildcard entry, to mark the show's sixtieth anniversary and came fifth with his song, 'Tonight Again'. In 2015, Australia had a guaranteed spot in the final, but Eurovision said that in 2016 it would first have to compete in the semi-final stages. 'We strongly believe the Eurovision Song Contest has the potential to evolve organically into a truly global event,' said Jon Ola Sand, the contest's executive supervisor. 'Australia's continued participation is an exciting step in that direction.' The EBU Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, voted unanimously in favour of Australia's participation next year, but it has not yet been decided whether it would become a permanent participant. 'Europe and Australia have a lot in common in regards to cultural values,' said EBU governor Frank Dieter Freiling. 'The only right thing to do is to be inclusive. This is also a way for many Australians to re-connect with their European roots, and celebrate our shared cultural values and understanding through music.'
According to the Gambit website, 'unconfirmed reports' (for which read 'Internet rumours') are circulating that Pushing Daisies may be coming back from the dead on The CW network. The cult show - of which yer actual keith Telly Topping was a huge fan - originally ran from 2007 to 2009 on ABC. It had a strong fanbase, but fell victim, in part, to The Writers Guild strike that took place during the shows run and effectively knackered all of the momentum that had been building up during its first series so that, when it returned, half of the audience had gone on to something else. Show creator Bryan Fuller is, according to these rumours, 'attached' to the revival in some form, but no official announcement has been made nor has any comment emerged from anyone that actually knows what they're talking about. Still i8t'd be nice if it happened. we can dream, at least. Dreaming, as Blondie once said, is free.
If you've ever fancied yourself as the next Sherlock Holmes, Moriarty's Game might be just the very thing for you. HiddenCity has created an experience that will take you on a journey across London, following a series of cryptic clues in search of Moriarty's hidden safe house. Clues will be sent via text, and each correct reply will result in a new clue to puzzle through. Players could find themselves exploring townhouses, drinking in Georgian pubs, studying botanical books or delivering codewords. A press release describes the aim of the game: 'Professor James Moriarty invites you to celebrate the finest minds of London by solving his cryptic challenge, which he has personally prepared. Your goal is to find his London safe house. Succeed and he will present you an offer you won't refuse.' Tickets cost sixty smackers per team of four. Moriarty's Game begins on 2 December and runs daily until 31 March 2016.
Former President Martin Sheen has praised his son, Charlie, following the actor's confirmation tat he is living with HIV. 'I couldn't believe the level of courage I was witnessing,' The West Wing star said at an event in Florida. 'I hope that this day is the first day of the rest of Charlie's life as a free man,' the seventy five-year-old actor is quoted as saying by the Naples Daily News. Charlie Sheen ended days of intense media speculation by confirming he is HIV positive in a NBC TV interview. 'I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks and of sub-truths,' Sheen told Today show host Matt Lauer, adding that he was diagnosed four years ago. 'It's a hard three letters to absorb,' the fifty-year-old went on, saying his 'shame and anger' at the initial diagnosis led to 'substance abuse and fathomless drinking.' Now, though, he said that he felt 'the responsibility to better myself and help a lot of other people. With what we're doing today, others may come up and say, "Thanks Charlie, thanks for kicking the door open,"' he said in an interview broadcast on Tuesday. 'He had been leading up to this for several months and we kept encouraging him to do it,' Martin Sheen revealed at the Global Financial Leadership Conference on Tuesday. He kept backing away because it was like going to his own execution, I guess. It was the most difficult thing he'd ever done.' Sheen, who was appearing at a panel event with Kevin Spacey, said that he felt 'a great sense of relief' his son had chosen to make his public admission. 'I left him a message and I said that if I had that much courage, I would change the world.'
Spectre received broadly positive reviews when it came out last month - certainly, this blogger enjoyed it - but yer actual Pierce Brosnan has said he was not a fan of the latest James Bond movie. The former 007 admitted that the twenty fourth Bond adventure let him down after he was 'looking forward to it enormously. The story was kind of weak – it could have been condensed. It kind of went on too long. It really did,' he told HitFix. This, from the man who starred in the worst Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies. Alebit, this blogger -and, this blogger's bladder - will agree about the length of the movie - Brosnan added that he is not sure about the Bond franchise's recent leaning towards the feistier action of the Jason Bourne films. "[Spectre] is neither fish nor fowl,' he claimed. 'It's neither Bond nor Bourne. Am I in a Bond movie? Not in a Bond movie?' Brosnan did have something good to say about Daniel Craig's performance, though. 'He's a mighty warrior and I think he found a great sense of himself in this one with the one-liners and a nice playfulness there,' Brosnan said. 'Just get a tighter story, and he'll have another classic.' Such comments haven't exactly impacted Spectre's takings at the cinema, however. It broke all-time box office records in nearly every market in which it was released.
Meanwhile, the luxurious desert supervillain pad of James Bond latest nemesis is on the market - if you happen to have a couple of million smackers to spare. The Moroccan home of Oberhauser, played by Christoph Waltz in Spectre, boasts six bedrooms, two bathrooms, a swimming pool and a spectacular view of the Atlas mountains. The only question now outstanding is ... where does the cat sleep?
Adverts that really get right on yer actual Keith Telly Topping's tit-end, big-style. Number six: That entire naffing lousy series of Tescos adverts featuring a family that, if they lived next door to you, you'd move. Although, not before paying someone to, hypothetically, slap Ruth Jones - really hard - in the mush with a wet kipper whilst you were some distance away establishing an alibi for yourself. Ben Miller, hang your sorry head in shame, matey. Is money so tight since you left Death In Paradise that you are reduced to appearing in crap the likes of this?
The notorious computer hacking group Anonymous says that ISIS is their new enemy and has 'decalred war' on the terrorists. The hacking collective claim that they attacked the terror group's 'online presence', shutting down over twenty thousand websites which contain ISIS propaganda and, they says, there is more to come. The militants, however, have hit back at the attempts at declaring a cyber war with a media statement of their own, describing Anonymous as 'idiots'. The hacking group have promised to 'hunt down' militant jihadists online following the terrorist attacks in Paris. However, ISIS, who use a number of encrypted apps and Internet services to communicate and use social media under the radar, appear unimpressed with Anonymous' efforts.
The publisher of GQ magazine has been found very guilty of contempt of court over its coverage of the Scum of the World phone-hacking trial. GQ had created 'a substantial risk' the trial of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, convicted hacker Andy Coulson and others 'would be seriously impeded or prejudiced', the High Court ruled. The court heard that a GQ article, published by Conde Naste Publications Ltd, could have suggested to jurors that the Scum of the World's owners directed or knew about hacking. The disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World was closed in shame and ignominy in 2011 when - after several years of constant denial - its parent company finally admitted that phone-hacking at the newspaper had not merely been the actions of a lone 'rogue' reporter but, rather, loads of people. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was cleared of all charges after convincing the jury that she had no idea what was going on at the newspaper at which she was supposed to be the editor. She has since been re-employed by News UK. Coulson was extremely convicted of conspiracy to hack phones and was jailed for eighteen months. Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice, said that a future hearing would decide on the penalty for Conde Naste. The GQ article, written by Michael Wolff, appeared in the men's magazine in April 2014, when the Old Bailey trial had been running for more than three months. The case against Conde Naste was brought by the Attorney General, represented by Andrew Caldecott QC. 'The thrust of the piece was that [billionaire tyrant Rupert] Murdoch, proprietor of News International, was, or probably was, implicated in voicemail interception and that he should have been prosecuted and in his absence the trial had an air of unreality about it,' Caldecott had told the court at a hearing in July. He said that such suggestions had not been made by the prosecution in court. He also said the article implied defence lawyers had a 'hidden agenda' of 'protecting' billionaire tyrant Murdoch's interests and concealing his involvement. Adrienne Page QC, representing Conde Naste, said that the article was 'a highly subjective, personal and impressionistic sketch based upon the experience of visiting the trial courtroom.' But Lord Thomas, sitting with Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, ruled that the article was 'seriously prejudicial.' After the ruling, Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC said: 'While it is rare to bring proceedings against publishers, the GQ article went against the most fundamental principle of our criminal justice system; namely that everyone is entitled to a fair trial and it is not for the press to decide who is deserving of this protection.'

A man has been sentenced to thirty two months in pokey for selling illegal TV set-top boxes online. The boxes contained hardware which enabled users to watch Virgin Media television services without subscribing. Mark Brighty from Leicester was arrested following an investigation by the Federation Against Copyright Theft and Leicestershire Police. FACT said that he had sold up to three hundred of the devices, which he imported from China. Officers found the boxes, which he was selling for forty smackers each, alongside six hundred knickers worth of cocaine at his property earlier this year. Brighty pleaded very guilty to two charges under the UK Fraud Act as well as possession with intent to supply a Class A drug. 'Intellectual property crime is not a victimless crime - it costs the creative industries and the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year,' claimed Kieron Sharp, director general of FACT. 'This case demonstrates that copyright theft is often considered by criminals to be a low risk activity with high returns and so is often used to fund other serious organised crime; in this case dealing Class A drugs.'

A Tennessee woman who was found by police to have a loaded gun hidden in her vagina has been sentenced to three years in The Big House. Dallas Archer admitted to one count of bringing contraband into a penal facility after a traffic stop in Kingsport in April last year. Female corrections officers performed a jailhouse search on Archer, who was then nineteen years old, after 'detecting an unknown object in her nether regions.' They discovered a loaded, five-shot, four-inch .22 calibre mini-revolver in 'her body cavity.' Upon investigation, they discovered that the gun had been stolen a year earlier from a retiree's car. An official at Sullivan County Court told Sky News on Thursday that Archer had also pleaded extremely guilty to other offences. These included marijuana possession, driving without a licence or proof of insurance, vandalism and failure to appear. Archer's lawyer Daniel Cantwell said that his client was sentenced to an additional three years of community corrections on the other charges and two years' probation. Asked why she hid a gun up her lady front bottom, he said: 'I have never got an answer for that. I don't know. I think it's just because she was high.' This isn't the first time that a female suspect's been been apprehended with a gun concealed in her crotch. In September, a Texas woman was allegedly found with a semi-automatic Smith and Wesson pistol hidden in her private parts. And, two years ago an Oklahoma woman was sentenced for concealing a loaded revolver in her vagina. So, let this be a lesson to any potential crims who happen to be reading this blog. Don't pick up that gun, you guys. Not only it is naughty and wrong but, you don't know where it's been.
Meanwhile, a woman who pretended to be a man in order to trick her female friend into having sex with her has been jailed for eight years. Gayle Newland claimed she was a man called Kye Fortune and wore bandages across her chest to fool her friend, Chester Crown Court heard in September. The couple had sex some ten times before the complainant took off her blindfold and discovered that 'Kye' was actually Newland and she was wearing a prosthetic penis. The twenty five-year-old, who had been convicted of three counts of sexual assault in September, had been accused of having 'serious personality issues' by Judge Roger Dutton. No shit? She admitted to creating a fake Facebook profile in the name of Kye Fortune, but she claimed that her accuser always knew she was pretending to be a man. Newland had told the court that it was 'part of role play' because they both 'struggled with their sexuality.' Kye sent a Facebook friend request to the complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and the pair went on to talk for 'hundreds' of hours online and over the phone, with Newland disguising her voice. Kye told the woman that 'he' had been involved in a car accident and was diagnosed with a brain tumour, claiming that, due to hospital treatment, it was not possible to meet in person. Then Kye 'introduced' the complainant to his 'best friend', Newland, and they met in person and became close. The complainant said that she would sit blindfolded as the pair watched TV and sunbathed together. As you do. She told the court: 'Every time I met up with Kye Fortune I either had the mask on already or he would wait outside the door and I would put it on. I was so desperate to be loved. It's pathetic, so desperate for love.' Newland's legal team argued that the complainant's account was simply 'impossible to believe' and that a woman of her sexual experience could not have been tricked into thinking she'd had sex with a man. Judge Dutton said: 'These offences are so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence would in any way properly reflect the serious nature of your conduct. As an aspect of mercy I do not increase the starting point beyond eight years.'

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini - neither of whom are, obviously, complete crooks - have extremely lost their appeals against their ninety-day bans by FFIA but both vowed to fight on to overturn the provisional sanction. Football's world governing body confirmed on Wednesday that its appeal committee had very rejected appeals lodged by its suspended president and vice-president against last month's decision by its ethics committee. That committee, understood to be pursuing multi-year bans against the two most powerful men in football, issued provisional suspensions last month after Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against Blatter over a £1.3 million payment to Platini. The appeals committee upheld that sanction, which currently prevents Platini standing for election to succeed his former mentor at February's extraordinary FIFA congress. Both men condemned the verdict of the appeal committee, claiming it had taken more than two weeks for it to inform them of its decision and vowing to pursue their cases at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Branding FIFA's investigation against Platini, 'uniquely one-sided, unjust and biased', the UEFA president's lawyers said: 'It is also organising – and is no longer even hiding it – a deliberate and unacceptable strategy of delaying Michel Platini's campaign for the FIFA presidency. He has full trust in CAS to re-establish all of his rights.' Blather's attorney highlighted that the ban imposed on his client was 'ex parte [one side] action', insisting there was 'no evidence' in the proceedings of 'any improper motivation or purpose for the agreement between FIFA and Mr Platini.' He added: 'The appeal committee rendered this decision on 3 November but released it only today, over two weeks later. President Blatter is committed to clearing his name and hopes this inexplicable delay is not an effort to deny him, during his elected term, a fair hearing before a neutral body. President Blatter will continue his appeals and looks forward to the opportunity to be heard, including through the presentation of evidence and argument of counsel, and thereby demonstrate he had engaged in no misconduct.' Blatter and Platini's bans were applied pending full investigations into a payment made by the former in 2011 for work done by the latter nine years earlier. Both men deny wrongdoing, though they have acknowledged there was no written contract for the previously unclaimed salary. A full hearing into the matter is expected to take place before the end of the year, the verdict for which can also be appealed to CAS.
A football fan has been arrested for allegedly trying to punch Crystal Palace's eagle mascot. Police said that Kayla, an American bald-eagle, was 'targeted' after violence broke out at a Palace home game against Charlton Not Very Athletic in September. A thirty four-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and attempted criminal damage. Six other men were also arrested on Wednesday in connection with the violence, Scotland Yard said. Kayla has been Palace's mascot since 2010 and flies around the stadium at every home game. The nineteen-year-old female is based at Eagle Heights sanctuary in Eynsford, Kent. She is originally from Canada but was brought to the UK after she became 'too aggressive' to remain at her previous home, according to her owners. Kayla also appeared on the front cover of US rockers Kings Of Leon's CD, Only By The Night. She has continued to perform her match day duties since the Capital One Cup game against Charlton, which Palace won four-one.

After showing her tummy and boobies in a cut-out white dress at a party on Thursday of last week (apparently), Ireland Baldwin went a step further and bared her nearly-naked bottom in a Instagram photo on Friday. This blogger has absolutely no idea whom Ireland Baldwin is or what, exactly, she does in life to justify her existence but, nevertheless, she undeniably has a very nice arse.
And, following that, who'd like to see a picture of a pair of tits? Okay ...
What? Oh, all right then ...
Happy now?

Oxford University women's rugby players have, this week, striped off ahead of their Twickenham debut against Cambridge. To raise money for charity. Or something. And, hey, why not?
There really are very few sports that couldn't be, theoretically, improved with a bit of gratuitous nudity.

Scientists used to think that things were pretty stable and uninteresting over in the Southern hemisphere of Uranus. In fact, they thought it was one of the calmest regions of any of the gas giants. But in analysing images taken nearly three decades ago by NASA's Voyager-2 spacecraft, researchers think that they have found a plethora of activity - which could  indicate that there's something unusual about the planet's interior. If you look at these old photos of Uranus, the planet appears to be a stark, featureless ball. And even to scientists, who were able to identify more lively features of the gas giant, it was still considered pretty bland. But when University of Arizona astronomer Erich Karkoschka took another look, he saw a different story. He presented his findings this week at the meeting of the Division for Planetary Science of the American Astronomical Association. Karkoshchka believes that Uranus's Southern hemisphere rotates in a way never before seen in gas giants. A gas planet's thick atmosphere, filled with clouds, typically shows the same rate of rotation at the top and bottom. But on Uranus, it seems, the Southern hemisphere is cycling much more quickly than up North - as much as fifteen percent faster. 'The unusual rotation of high Southern latitudes of Uranus is probably due to an unusual feature in the interior of Uranus,' Karkoshcka said in a statement. 'While the nature of the feature and its interaction with the atmosphere are not yet known, the fact that I found this unusual rotation offers new possibilities to learn about the interior of a giant planet.' Data on gas giants in general are few and far between, so anything that Karkoshcka can glean about Uranus's core would help scientists understand the other planets like it. Most of the more than a thousand planets discovered around other stars are similar in size to Uranus,' Karkoschka said. 'They are too far for us to be able to measure their rotational profiles for the foreseeable future, but with an improved knowledge about Uranus, we might be better able to draw conclusions about their interior structure.' The the most interesting aspect of the work is that it relies on old images. Voyager-2 is, of course, long past Uranus these days, but Karkoshchka has shown that its old photos are worth another visit.

With a career ranging from Bollywood to Broadway, from TV soaps to sitcoms, Saeed Jaffrey - who has died at the age of eighty six after collapsing from a brain hemorrhage at his home - was a versatile, charismatic and hugely popular actor. Saeed is one of the few actors who found fame and success in both India and in the West. He was 'a small man with a large physical presence' who 'leaks expressiveness from every pore', according to the Independent in 1999, and often specialised in playing naughty uncles and rich fathers. In India, he was known for performances in classic films like The Chess Players, Masoom, Henna and Dil. Meanwhile, there were parts in colonial dramas like The Jewel In The Crown, Gandhi and The Far Pavilions, plus the groundbreaking British Indian sitcom Tandoori Nights, the London-set film My Beautiful Laundrette and the popular ITV soap Coronation Street. Saeed was born into a Punjabi Muslim family on 8 January 1929 in Malerkotla. He was the eldest of four sibling. At that time, his maternal grandfather, Khan Bahadur Fazle Imam, was the Dewan or Prime Minister of Malerkotla. Saeed's father, Doctor Hamid Hussain Jaffrey, was a physician and a civil servant with the Health Services department of the United Provinces of British India. Jaffrey and his family moved from one medical posting to another within the United Provinces, living in cities like Muzaffarnagar, Lucknow, Mirzapur, Kanpur, Aligarh, Mussoorie, Gorakhpur and Jhansi. Saeed was fascinated by early screen classics as a child and practised impersonations of their stars for his classmates. After university, where he got a first in English Literature, he joined All India Radio before setting up his own English language theatre group in Delhi in 1951 to perform work by the likes of William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Dylan Thomas. It was through this group's 1954 performance of The Eagle Has Two Heads that he met and fell 'madly' in love with young actress Madhur Bahadur. Saeed persuaded Bahadur to cross the Atlantic with him and the couple married and settled in New York, where Jaffrey studied at the Actor's Studio with classmates that included Marilyn Monroe. He went on to become the first Indian actor to tour Shakespeare around the US and to star on Broadway. Renowned for being a bit of a womaniser, the actor said that he found 'temptation all around' in the city and the couple's relationship ended when he had an affair with a dancer from an Indian troupe. 'Our marriage was like a fragile house of cards,' he said. 'With the first strong wind that blew, it collapsed.' His wife left him, taking their three children with her. But she kept his name - and Madhur Jaffrey went on to become a celebrated food writer and broadcaster. Saeed was not modest about his sexual exploits. 'Scores of ladies have come into my life and gone away happy,' he said, boasting about sleeping with twenty one women in twenty one nights after his marriage ended. 'I have spread a lot of love.' His recording of Kama Sutra, Art of Love, was listed by Time magazine in February 1967 as 'one of the five best spoken word records ever.' After the divorce, Saeed moved to England, but his early years in London proved difficult for the already accomplished actor. To supplement his work at the BBC's World Service, he took up a job as a sales assistant at Harrods. Saeed found the job bearable, except for the embarrassing occasions when an old celebrity acquaintance came into the store. 'My former co-star Ingrid Bergman came in one day. I didn't want her to feel sorry for me, so I put on my jacket and tie and acted like a customer,' Jaffrey said. 'Ingrid said "Oh Saeed, how lovely to see you, are you buying up Harrods?" When in fact, I had about two pounds in my pocket.' But the hard times did not last long as he began winning roles in West End plays like Kindly Monkeys and On A Foggy Day. His first major film role was as Billy Fish in John Huston's 1975 India-set The Man Who Would Be King, co-starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery. Saeed fondly remembered how Caine argued that his fellow actor should get equal treatment after Huston, Caine and Connery all got chairs with their names on the back, while Saeed was only given a stool. The stool remained for ten days 'maybe because of some prejudice', Jaffrey said. Then Caine 'erupted' on his behalf - and a chair bearing Jaffrey's name arrived fifteen minutes later. Saeed played an instrumental part in bringing together film makers James Ivory and Ismail Merchant and acted in several of their films such as The Guru (1969), Hullabaloo Over Georgie & Bonnie's Pictures (1978), The Courtesans Of Bombay (1983) and The Deceivers (1988). Saeed starred in his first major Indian film two years later, appearing as a chess-obsessed nabob in The Chess Players, which also featured Richard Attenborough as a British general. Jaffrey's performance won a prize at India's Filmfare Awards and the role led him to star in other hit Indian films including Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Henna and Chashme Buddoor. He starred in more than one hundred Bollywood films in all, once describing how an actor could shoot scenes for two or three different films in one day. 'You don't have any credibility unless you are working on twelve films at the same time,' he said. Meanwhile, the Attenborough connection led the actor and director to cast him as politician Sardar Patel in the 1982 film epic Gandhi. Saeed's relationship with director David Lean on the 1984 version of EM Forster's A Passage To India, however, was less happy. The actor was not pleased that Lean split his part into two. He complained that 'the more interesting lines were given to Art Malik, a North Londoner who had to put on a phoney accent.' But, there would be lots more roles. On TV, he appeared in Granada's The Jewel In The Crown, the Channel Four sitcom Tandoori Nights, Staying On with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson, and The Far Pavilions with Omar Sharif and Sir John Gielgud. In 1999, he appeared in Coronation Street as corner shop owner Ravi Desai. On film, he earned a BAFTA nomination for playing a Thatcherite Pakistani businessman in 1985's My Beautiful Launderette and was nominated for the Genie awards - the Canadian Oscars - for 1992 film Masala. He was also a familiar voice on radio, appearing in scores of dramas on Radio 4, the World Service and Asian Network. They included the 1997 radio adaptation of Vikram Seth's novel A Suitable Boy, in which Saeed played all eighty six characters. He remarried in 1980 to Jennifer Sorrell, who was also his agent. In 1995, he became the first Asian actor to receive an OBE for services to drama. Saeed had three daughters from his marriage to Madhur Jaffrey: Zia, Meera and Sakina. Saeed's autobiography Saeed: An Actor's Journey (1998) describes their relationship during the early years of his life. Sakina Jaffrey is also an actress and acted alongside her father in Masala.

Peter Dimmock, the first presenter of Grandstand, Sportsview and The Sports Personality Of The Year awards, has died aged ninety four. Peter joined the BBC as head of outside broadcasts in 1946, and was responsible for bringing the Queen's coronation to the nation's screens. A former Royal Air Force flight lieutenant, he worked for the Press Association before thirty one years at the BBC. BBC Director General Tony Hall described Dimmock as 'a true pioneer.' He added: 'As the man who oversaw coverage of the Queen's coronation, he was also responsible for a seminal moment in British broadcasting history. Peter's broadcasting mirrored the man - charming, warm, and authoritative.' Former BBC1 controller Sir Paul Fox said Dimmock had 'introduced the British public to television' and 'led BBC Sport to some of its greatest successes. He persuaded the people who mattered that the coronation of the Queen should be televised, thereby ensuring the arrival of television in this country. More than twenty million watched the coronation, the majority outside their homes. Within twelve months, television licences had doubled.' The Queen's coronation at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953 was the largest outside broadcast the BBC had ever undertaken. It was also the first time a television audience for an event of national importance had exceeded the number of people listening on radio. Peter produced the coverage but later revealed that he had also needed to use his powers of persuasion to be allowed to film the ceremony. In an interview with the BBC detailing the corporation's history, Dimmock recalled: 'Winston Churchill was against it, several of his government were against it and I don't think the Queen was even asked at that stage. We performed every trick in the book because people wanted to see and deserved to see the coronation. Eventually we persuaded Bernard Norfolk, who organised the coronation, the Queen's press secretary Richard Colville and the Archbishop of Canterbury to let us have a trial of the camera. But there was a rule that no camera could be closer than thirty feet from the Queen. I got a girl to walk down the aisle as though she was the Queen, but used a two-inch lens - the widest there was - and she looked a mile away. They were happy with that, but what they didn't know was that I was going to use a twelve-inch lens that would give the best close up of the Queen that there had ever been.' In 1954, Peter moved from his role as a director and went in front of the camera to present a new sports programme called Sportsview, which became Sportsnight in 1968. With his distinctive moustache, Peter became a familiar face in millions of households. And, as he explained, the new venture could not have had a better start. He added: 'Luck was on our side because on the night of the first edition Roger Bannister was attempting the first sub-four-minute mile in Oxford. When he did it, we hired a racing driver to get him back to the studio before the end of the programme. Roger said it was the most horrific car journey he had ever experienced, but we got him there and I interviewed him. That kicked it off to a good start.' Peter was the first presenter of the Sports Personality Of The Year award ceremony in 1954. He also fronted the first television coverage of the Grand National in 1960 after persuading Aintree racecourse owner Mirabel Topham to allow the race to be televised after many years of trying. Two years earlier he had teamed up with producer Paul Fox to launch Grandstand, hosting the first two editions before being replaced by David Coleman. Peter said: 'Paul had this good idea to link live outside broadcasts from a studio so we could give half-time football results, racing results and various items from throughout the afternoon. And then, of course, the most important thing of all, the full-time results on the teleprinter with everyone sitting at home with their coupons seeing the results as they came up. I think one of the reasons why Paul asked me to introduce it was because if it went wrong then "Dimmock will carry the can." But the only real thing that happened was when I said, "now we leave Ascot to go to the World Amateur Golf Championships at St Andrews and up came Harringay show jumping." But we got over that and it was obvious when we got it off the ground and David joined us that it was going to be around for a long time.'

The British Film Institute has uncovered what is believed to be the earliest known interracial kiss on British TV. The play You In Your Small Corner was first broadcast live on ITV in June 1962 and has not been seen on TV since. A copy was rediscovered in the BFI's National Archive. It was broadcast earlier than an interracial kiss on Emergency Ward 10 in 1964 and an even more famous one on Star Trek in the US in 1968. The kiss on Emergency Ward 10 between Joan Hooley and John White had been thought to be the first interracial kiss on a TV series in the UK. You In Your Small Corner was an adaptation of a play by Jamaican-born Barry Reckord that had been performed at the Royal Court. The playwright's brother, Lloyd Reckord, played a young man who travels to England from Jamaica to stay with his aunt in Brixton before heading to Cambridge to study. Elizabeth MacLennan played the white woman with whom he became involved. The play looked at the subtleties and difficulties the couple faced across race and class. BFI creative director Heather Stewart called it 'an important rediscovery' of 'a ground-breaking' TV play. 'It demonstrates the role of progressive television drama as a reflection of our society and underlines the vital work of the BFI National Archive as the guardian of our national memory,' she said. 'Fifty years on, diverse on-screen representation is still an urgent issue and we must continue as an industry to affect much-needed change.' The play will be screened to audiences at a Race & Romance on TV panel at the BFI on 24 November.
Jos Buttler hit England's fastest one-day international century to lead them to an eighty four-run win over Pakistan in Sharjah and a three-one series victory. Buttler reached three figures in forty six balls, beating the sixty one-ball hundred he made against Sri Lanka in May 2014. The wicketkeeper hit ten fours and eight sixes in his one hundred and sixteen not out from fifty two balls as England posted three hundred and fifty five for five. Pakistan briefly threatened a thrilling chase, but were bowled out for two hundred and seventy one, with Moeen Ali taking three for fifty three. Buttler's effort was the joint-seventh fastest in the history of ODI cricket and the quickest against Pakistan. He has now scored the three fastest England centuries in the fifty-over game, along with a sixty six-ball hundred against New Zealand in June. That was Buttler's last score of fifty or more in all international cricket, a run of poor form which saw him dropped from the test side for the third match against Pakistan earlier this month. The record for the fastest hundred in ODIs is the thirty one-ball effort of South Africa's AB de Villiers made against West Indies in Johannesburg in January. Buttler's display of devastating hitting was all the more remarkable considering he did not arrive at the crease until thirty sixth over. Promoted to number four after England were given a solid start by Jason Roy's maiden international century and Joe Root's seventy one, the right-hander wasted little time in signalling his intentions, slog-sweeping Shoaib Malik for six from only the tenth ball he faced. Brute force over the leg side was a feature of the twenty five-year-old's innings, with six of his eight sixes clearing the ropes in the direction of deep mid-wicket. He also showed flashes of ingenuity, playing scoop and ramp shots, as well as one incredible reverse-sweep for four off the pace of Anwar Ali without needing to move his feet. Anwar was again the bowler when Buttler moved to a century with his third six in four deliveries. In all, he hit seventeen of the last thirty four balls he faced to the boundary and went from fifty to one hundred in only sixteen deliveries as England added one hundred and twenty nine runs in the last ten overs. Buttler stole the show, but his star turn was crammed into a fifteen-over period of an entertaining series finale. Right-hander Roy overcame some early frailty outside off stump to reach his first ODI hundred in his fifteenth match, an innings that accelerated with straight and on-drives. Support came from Root, who was at his free-scoring best until he fell seven runs after Roy was caught at long-off. That was part of a brief Pakistan period of pressure, which halted by Buttler's brilliance. Still, on a pitch perfect for batting, the hosts showed the will to chase their huge target, with captain Azhar Ali making forty four from thirty two balls, Babar Azam a run-a-ball fifty one and Malik most impressive for a thirty four-ball fifty two. However, wickets fell too regularly for the hosts to ever be truly in contention. Mohammad Hafeez was run out in calamitous circumstances and almost all of the rest holed out. In the end, what is only England's third ODI series win since February 2013 was sealed in comfort.

Meanwhile, according to the Daily Scum Mail, England's victory over Pakistan in the third one-day international in Sharjah last Tuesday is being investigated for corruption. Following what the newspaper describes as 'an erratic performance by Pakistan' it is understood that investigators from the ICC's anti-corruption unit have requested data from international betting markets about irregular betting patterns. England won the match by six wickets after Pakistan collapsed from one hundred and thirty two for two to two hundred and eight all out, including three farcical run-outs. They then dropped three catches in the field and missed a stumping. 'Officials were tipped off after the toss in Sharjah that the illegal Indian betting market, worth billions of dollars per game, was expecting Pakistan to under perform,' the newspaper's Ed Hawkins claims. 'Rumours were rife among bookmakers in the country, and the ICC received intelligence that there could at least be an attempt to manipulate the betting odds in favour of syndicates who would be betting huge sums.' Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said on Friday night: 'I am aware of these allegations. We may have lost [in Sharjah] but we lost fair and square. I'm satisfied my players have done nothing wrong, and that there is nothing in these allegations.' ICC chief executive David Richardson told the BBC's Test Match Special: 'I wouldn't be suspicious of that game.' He added that Pakistan had reported approaches from bookmakers in recent times.

Associated Newspapers has - very satisfyingly - lost its challenge to a High Court decision to award ten grand privacy damages to the Goddamn Modfather his very self, Mister Paul Weller. It has also been refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Which is the legal equivalent of a good hard punishment backhanded slap across the chops and the words 'do! as! you! are! told!' Paul and his wife won the damages last year after pictures of Paul's three youngest children were 'plastered' on the Scum Mail Online in 2012. The couple complained that the un-pixellated shots were 'plainly voyeuristic.' They sued Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Scum Mail, the Scum Mail on Sunday and Metro, for misuse of private information on behalf of their daughter Dylan, who was sixteen when the pictures appeared online, and twin sons John-Paul and Bowie, who were ten months old. Associated Newspapers appealed the ruling because, it whinged, it created what was effectively an 'image right' - that is, giving legal control to the subject of the photograph - for the first time and this would have far-reaching adverse effects on the freedom of the UK media. However three High Court judges totally dismissed the appeal and refused Associated Newspapers permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Seven paparazzi photos were published in October 2012 under the headline A family day out: Paul Weller takes wife Hannah and his twin sons out for a spot of shopping in the hot LA sun. A photographer had followed the family on a shopping trip in Santa Monica and took photographs without their consent despite being asked to stop. Lawyers for Scum Mail Online had argued, fatuously, that the publication of the images was 'entirely in line' with the law in California where they were taken by a freelance photographer. The judges agreed the images could have been published legally in California, but said that their appearance in the UK violated the right to privacy enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. Since their win at the High Court, Hannah Weller has campaigned to stop papers publishing photos of children without their parents' consent.
Among the several things on the Stately Telly Topping Manor playlist this week, dear blog reader, has been this. And, you know, why not?
'If Danny Pink can do it, then so can I. Die like I mean it. Face the raven.' It's been a jolly good week for The Stranglers, dear blog reader. Firstly, they got some royalties after 'Peaches' was featured in the soundtrack of the latest episode on Gotham and, now, they're Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day. Now that's what I call an unkindness.