Saturday, December 05, 2015

Hell Bent: You're Seeing Two Nightmares Collide

'Is it a sad song?' 'Nothing is sad till it's over. Then everything is.' 'What's it called?' 'I think it's called 'Clara'.'
'You don't like ending, Doctor ... It was sad and it was beautiful. And it is over. We have no right to change who she was.'
'Never be cruel and never be cowardly. And, if you are, always make amends.'
'Four knocks. It's always four knocks!'
'The Doctor does not blame Gallifrey for the horrors of the Time War ... He just blames you.'
'This is no time to play the fool.' 'It's the end of the universe, it's the only time I've got!'
'She been dead for half the life of the universe, if you try to change that you could fracture time itself.'
'When Time Lords die, their minds are uploaded to a thing called The Matrix. This structure is like a living computer that can predict the future, generate prophecies out of algorithms, ring the Cloister Bells in the event of impending catastrophe. The Sliders, they're just like the guard dogs, a firewall, projections from inside The Matrix itself. The dead, manning the battlements.' 'Was I supposed to understand any of that?' 'The Time Lords have got a big computer made of ghosts, in a crypt, guarded by more ghosts.' 'That didn't hurt, did it?' 'A tiny bit!' 'Why would a computer need to protect itself from the people who made it?' 'All computers need to do that in the end. You wait till The Internet starts. That was a war! ... A long time ago there was a student here at the Academy. He got in here, disappeared for four days, showed up in a completely different part of the city. He said The Sliders talked to him, they showed him a secret passage out. We just need the code.' 'What, and this kid told you the secret?' 'Ah, no, he didn't tell anyone anything, he went completely mad. Never right in the head again, so they say.' 'That's encouraging.' 'The last I heard, he stole the Moon and the President's wife.' 'Was she nice, the President's wife?' 'Ah, well that was a lie put about by The Sheboogans. It was the President's daughter. And, I didn't steal the Moon, I lost ...' 'I'd know you anywhere!' 'I was a completely different person in those days. Eccentric. A bit mad. Rude to people!'
'Stories are where memories go when they're forgotten.'
'... Then, I'm going to invent a flying submarine! Why? Because, no one ever has, and it's annoying!'
'Are all the bells ringing, the whole cloister?'
'How many regenerations did we grant you? I've got all night ... I'm Rassilon The Resurrected. Gallifrey is mine!' 'Lord President, with respect, get off his planet!'
'I heard The Doctor had come home. One so loves fireworks.'
'There's a sound you've been living with every day of your life that you've learned not to hear.'
'There was a saying in the Time War; "the first thing you notice about The Doctor of War is he's unarmed. For many, it's also the last."'
'We could talk to him. Words are his weapons, when did they stop being ours?'
    Well, dear blog reader, why change the habits of a lifetime? This blogger thought that was just great. 'You like a cliffhanger, don't you?'
'I was dead, why would you do that?' 'I had a duty of care.' Great, dear blog reader. Twenty four carat great. Is it nearly Christmas yet?
Plus, 'nobody move or the head gets it' will, this blogger confidently predicts, make your 25 December. And, you should trust me, dear blog reader, I'm a very well-respected Top Telly Tipper.
The BBC have announced the title of the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special. The Husbands Of River Song. And, here you can see the lady in question with one of said husbands. Or, possibly two. Doctor Who​ is scheduled to be broadcast in an earlier than usual slot - at 5.15pm - on Christmas Day.
The Lord Thy Steven Moffat (OBE) hadn't signed for a tenth series of Doctor Who when he wrote this year's Christmas special. The showrunner told the press that he thought the festive episode could be his last ever for the show. 'I hadn't signed for next year at that point,' he confirmed. 'I have now - unless they fire me, which would be quite sensible! I thought it might be the last one, so to get River in - that was bringing me full-circle. But also - much more importantly - I was very tired and [executive producer] Brian Minchin was going at me about what we were going to do for Christmas. And it just cheered me up, the idea that River could be in it. I hadn't written River for years and I love writing River.' Both The Moffat and his leading man, yer actual Peter Capaldi, insisted that this year's special will be more light-hearted than 2014's Last Christmas. 'Doctor Who's got to be a bit scary - but I think this is quite a funny Christmas special,' The Moffinator his very self said. 'Last year, Father Christmas was in it, but it was actually quite dark. This year, because the series itself goes quite dark towards the end, we bring it back up. It's Mr and Mrs Who back in action - it's mainly one long domestic in space, with a big robot.' 'It's more festive fare,' Capaldi added. 'Although I like a ghost story at Christmas - I think it should be scary. But this is much more fun, it isn't as frightening. It's certainly Doctor Who in a more comic vein, with lots of snow and Dickensian streets and monsters and flying saucers.' But while the tone might be different this year, Moffat insisted that he doesn't worry too much about making Doctor Who more accessible on Christmas Day. 'You do have to be aware that some poor bastards are dragged screaming into the living room to watch Doctor Who when they normally are excused that duty,' he said. 'So, you want to be accessible to them as well. But to be honest, I think Doctor Who fans like myself are always slightly worried about how accessible Doctor Who is, and the general audience have no problem understanding it. He's just a man in a box who travels in time and talks crap!'
Peter Jackson to direct an episode of Doctor Who? It's long been rumoured that the New Zealand director would love to find a small hole in his remarkably busy schedule making films about Hobbits and that to take on his favourite TV show (though, personally, this blogger will believe it when he sees it). This week, the director has posted a funny sketch on his Facebook page, featuring him and his daughter Katie. And Peter Capaldi. And a Dalek.
The BBC have released a video featuring many of highlights of their schedules over the festive period including, of course, The Doctor and River from the Christmas Day special.
This year's BBC1 idents are based around a well-known icon of Christmas, the Brussels Sprout. Launched after Tuesday's The ONE Show, a two minute video, Sprout Boy, introduces the eponymous star of the idents as he meets the characters of BBC Christmas television - including The Doctor. The video also features the voice of yer actual Peter Capaldi his very self as narrator.
Oh, and just in case you've forgotten, this is being broadcast on New Year's Day at 9pm. So, make sure you don't forget.
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch,meanwhile, has been nominated for best actor for his performance in Hamlet at the WhatsOnStage Awards, with the Barbican production up for a total of nine prizes. Benny faces competition from Bradley Cooper for his role in The Elephant Man, and James McAvoy, Mark Rylance and Alex Hassell for their performances in The Ruling Class, Farinelli And The King and Henry V respectively. Hamlet has the most nominations this year, alongside big musicals Kinky Boots and In The Heights, which also have nine each. The winners will be announced on 21 February at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
Looks like things have got off to a flying start for Jezza Clarkson and co, who are filming their new - as yet unnamed - Amazon Prime motoring show: 'Everything going very well on our first big shoot,' Jezza told his Twitter followers. 'Except two of us can't get to the location. And the one that can is broken.' It's comforting to know than in an every-changing world, some things remain reliably consistent.
Nothing to wear to that party that's taking place down the road this festive season, dear blog reader? What about a TARDIS dress? It's one of nine new - extremely expensive - designs made in partnership with the BBC with Hot Topic. They include TARDIS-themed dresses, matching coats and an Eleventh Doctor capelet​.
There's a superb piece on the BBC Genome blog site by Andrew Martin on the history of US shows broadcast on British television which this blogger thoroughly recommends to all dear blog readers. It covers everything you'd expect from The Fighting Texan, Hopalong Cassidy, I Love Lucy, The Phil Silvers Show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission Impossible, The Virginian, The High Chaparral, Alias Smith & Jones, The Monkees, Star Trek, A Man Called Ironside, Kojak, The Rockford Files, Starksy & Hutch, M*A*S*H, Roots and Dallas up to The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Twin Peaks. Except, possibly, The Sword Of Justice with Dack Rambo. Tragedy.
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) just managed to stay over seven million overnight viewers on Tuesday night. ITV's sick Victorian freak show brought in an average overnight audience of 7.05m at 8.30pm. On BBC1, The ONE Show was watched by 3.87m, EastEnders attracted 6.31m, Holby City was watched by 4.04m and Capital continued with 3.34m at 9pm. BBC2's MasterChef: The Professionals ​appealed to 3.06m at 8pm, followed by The Great Pottery Throw Down​ with 1.92m at 9pm and Mock the Week​ with 1.34m at 10pm. Earlier, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip was seen by 1.74m. Kirstie's Homemade Christmas​ nauseated 1.61m at 8pm on Channel Four, while Murder Detectives​ was seen by nine hundred and forty nine thousand at 9pm. On Channel Five, Loch Lomond: A Year In The Wild had an audience of 1.08m, Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Live continued to bore the pants off eight hundred and twenty thousand viewers and CSI Cyber had five hundred and thirty nine thousand.

Once again, one of From The North's favourite exercises, watching MasterChef: The Professionals for the comedy value when the production team persuade a contestant to big themselves up and tell viewers how pure dead brilliant they are, only for their world to come crashing down with a muffled splat was - magnificently - rewarded on Tuesday. Cookery teacher Helen clearly fancied both herself and her chances, although the revelation that she is a vegetarian and has been since the age of ten brought to mind the spectre of Mad Veggie Jacqui from MasterChef a few years ago getting on everybody's tit with her ... ways. Never mind, Helen seemed bright and perky and, most importantly, very confident. 'I always wanted to be a chef,' she said, adding 'although I always considered myself an artist first.' Oh dear. The second she said that you knew her crepe suzette was flambéed. Or, not flambéed as it happened since, despite virtually jumping around the kitchen with joy when presented with scowly-faced Monica's skills test and the fact that it was 'something sweet,' what happened next was disaster movie pitched somewhere between The Hurt Locker and Towering Inferno. 'Look good to you?' asked Gregg Wallace as Helen scanned the ingredients she had to work with. 'Yeah, so far,' she beamed. The first few minutes seemed to go fine as she chatted merrily with the judges about how happy she was that she'd got this particular challenge. Her first pancake didn't work, though. Neither did her second. Then her pan started to smoke disquietingly and, as scowly-faced Monica later noted, Helen 'began to panic.' Gregg kept on, helpfully, telling her how long she had left like The Countdown of Doom as Helen's arse, visibly, fell out on national TV. With, literally, seconds to spare, she served up ... something, apologised, excused herself by claiming she'd had 'a panic crash' and then fell silent as Gregg and Monica looked at her plate as if they'd just been presented with a not particularly appealing egg and chips at the local café. Marcus Wareing meanwhile, with a face like glowering thunder, said that he found what she presented him with 'rubbery.' 'I completely screwed it up,' Helen said, miserably, in the post-match interview. 'I'm really disappointed in myself ... Didn't show what I could do at all.' One wonders how many 'artists' say that when they've just painted the bedroom ceiling? And so, yet again, we have an object lesson for anybody taking part in any of the MasterChef competitions but, perhaps especially, the 'professional' one. When the crew ask you, as you're about to be interviewed, 'just how good are you?' do not, do not, do not say you're the best thing since slice chiabatta. Because sod's law dictates the cheese and biscuits are about to arrive, along with the bill.

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) kept its lead over The Apprentice on Wednesday night, according to overnight data. The ITV show attracted an average audience of 7.91m from 8.30pm. There was drama on BBC1 in The Apprentice, where 4.57m saw Selina Waterman-Smith get fired and Scott Saunders also quit the programme despite being on the winning team. Down from the previous week's audience of 4.95m, the latest episode's figure sets a new series low for the show which, no doubt, put a geet big scowl on Lord Sugar-Sweetie's mush. Earlier in the evening, Cuffs was also down week-on-week attracted a mere 2.51m at 8pm whilst on BBC2, MasterChef: The Professionals was watched by 2.55m in the same time slot. That was followed by a behind-the-scenes look at the MP David Lammy's constituency surgery in This Is Tottenham, which attracted seven hundred and ninety three thousand viewers at 9pm. The Apprentice: You're Fired - minus Waterman-Smith, who 'declined to appear' on the spin-off show - was watched by 1.8m at 10pm. On Channel Four, Supervet was down on last week's overnight audience figure with 1.43m at 8pm, followed by Murder Detectives, which continued with 1.08m at 9pm. Peep Show limped on with but six hundred and seventy six thousand at 10pm, followed by two hundred and seventy four thousand for Jon Hamm's guest appearance on ​Toast Of London. Channel Five's Suspects continued with three hundred and twenty seven thousand at 10pm, with eight hundred and eighty eight thousand watching Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! earlier.

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 the most-watched overnight broadcast on Thursday night. The ITV show attracted an average audience of 7.6m from 8.30pm. On BBC1, Watchdog was down slightly on the previous week with 3.21m at 8pm and Doctor In The House attracted 2.53m at 9pm. MasterChef: The Professionals entertained 2.36m at 8pm on BBC2, which was, again, down week-on-week. That was followed by The Last Kingdom with 1.54m at 9pm. Channel Four saw The Secret Life Of Six-Year-Olds pull in an average audience of 1.57m at 8pm - up on the previous week's The Secret Life Of Five-Year-Olds - and Twenty Four Hours in A&E brought in 1.20m at 9pm.​ On Channel Five, Secrets Of Great British Castles interested five hundred and seventy three thousand at 7pm and Alex Polizzi's Italian Islands attracted nine hundred and nineteen thousand at 8pm. Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild was watched by nine hundred and thirteen thousand at 9pm and Homeless At Christmas brought in five hundred and sixty six thousand at 10pm.​ The series finale of Detectorists was watched by four hundred and seventy nine thousand at 10pm on BBC4

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) once again brought in over seven million viewers on Friday evening on ITV. An appalling indictment of ... something. Probably. An average overnight audience of 7.32m tuned in to cut a long story short and watch faded auld glam rocker Tony Hadley's elimination at 9pm. The ONE Show was BBC1's most watched show of the evening with 3.97m tuning in at 7pm. A Would I Lie to You? repeat attracted 3.21m at 7.30pm, Citizen Khan brought in but 2.24m at 8.30pm and Have I Got News For You was watched by 3.45m at 9pm. On BBC2, 1.81m watched Salford City's 1-1 draw with yer actual Hartlepool United in the FA Cup Second Round at 7.30pm on Match Of The Day Live. Mastermind had 1.14m. Gogglebox was Channel Four's most watched broadcast of the evening, although it was down on the previous week's overnight, with 1.98m watching at 9pm. Earlier, TFI Friday attracted 1.17m at 8pm and Alan Carr: Chatty Man attracted 1.03m at 10pm. On Channel Five, The UK's Strongest Man was seen by four hundred and thirty seven thousand viewers at 7pm and Ice Road Truckers brought in eight hundred and sixty one thousand at 8pm. NCIS: New Orleans drew six hundred and forty six thousand at 9pm, NCIS had seven hundred and thirty five thousand at 10pm and six hundred and thirty thousand viewers watched a second episode at 11pm.​ A BBC3 repeat of the Sherlock episode The Empty Hearse was watched by five hundred and twenty thousand.

​Doctor Who ended its - superb - ninth series with a fraction under four-and-a-half million overnight viewers on Saturday. Hell Bent averaged 4.47 million on BBC1 having begun slightly later than the advertised 8pm start-time. It episode had an AI score of eighty two out of one hundred. Strictly Come Dancing continued to dominate The X Factor, appealing to 10.4 million overnight viewers compared to 6.53 million for the ITV show. Elsewhere on BBC1, Pointless Celebrities was watched by 5.5 million viewers, Casualty drew 3.81 million and Match Of The Day had an audience of 3.21 million. 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) was seen by 7.34 million for its latest double elimination episode. The Chase: Celebrity Special brought in 3.26 million and The Jonathan Ross Show, 2.22 million. Meanwhile, BBC2's snooker coverage of the UK Championship managed to bore the tits off one million punters across the night. That utter nonsense was sandwiched in between repeat episodes of Dad's Army (1.04 million) and Qi XL (five hundred and fifty thousand). On Channel Four The Great Polar Bear Feast had 1.21 million at 7pm, followed by The World's Weirdest Weather (1.06m) and the movie Non-Stop (1.69 million). Channel Five's Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away drew six hundred and eighty nine thousand and Football League Tonight was watched by three hundred and twenty eight thousand viewers. On the multichannels, 9pm's The Bridge attracted seven hundred and seventy four thousand on BBC4.
Vicky Pattison is a Geordie Shore-type person, apparently, and 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) her jungle victory was seen by over nine million viewers on Sunday night. This, ladies and gentleman, is Great Britain in the Twenty First Century. Makes y'weep, doesn't it? Pattison's 'triumph' (and, one uses that word quite wrongly) was watched by an audience of 9.45m, according to overnight data. The figure was down on last year's finale overnight of 10.21 million viewers. Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancing maintained its commanding overnight ratings lead over The X Factor - although the ITV show reduced the gap week-on-week to 3.6 million against last week's four million. Helen George's exit on Strictly was seen by 10.15m punters between 7.15pm and 8pm, while Lauren Murray's departure from The X Factor brought in 6.55m between 8pm and 9pm. Elsewhere on BBC1, Countryfile was seen by 7.17m from 6.15pm, while Antiques Roadshow drew an audience of 6.15m from 8pm. David Attenborough's The Hunt continued with 3.97m at 9pm. Match Of The Day 2, featuring highlights of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable and probably relegation bound) Magpies totally expected 'we've decided to turn up this week because the cameras are here' 2-0 victory over the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws was watched by 2.19m punters. Must of whom, like this blogger, couldn't believe their eyes, one imagines. On ITV, meanwhile, Jekyll & Hyde continued to limp along with but 1.74m at 7pm. BBC2's, seemingly endless, snooker coverage sent 1.37m punters to sleep from 7pm, peaking with 1.63m at 10pm as Neil Robertson beat Liang Wenbo to take the UK Championship. The crowd went ... home. Homeland continued with 1.02m at 9pm on Channel Four, while the terrestrial debut of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained was watched by seven hundred and thirty two thousand from 10pm on Channel Five.

And lastly in the ratings, the final and consolidated numbers for the Top Twenty programmes, week-ending Sunday 29 November 2015:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.55m
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 - 9.97m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.77m
4 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.44m
5 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 7.43m
6 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.01m
7 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 6.65m
8 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 6.19m
9 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 5.87m
10 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.86m
11 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 5.81m
12 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 5.69m*
13 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.49m
14 Capital - Tues BBC1 - 4.96m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.92m
16 The Hunt - Sun BBC1 - 4.72m
17 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.50m
18 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.35m
19 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.24m
20 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.17m
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 10.92 million. Doctor Who's timeshift over and above the initial overnight audience for Heaven Sent was 1.69m (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 5.65m viewers, not counting HD viewers. For the second week running, the Sunday episode of The X Factor did not feature in ITV HD's top ten list so this blogger is unable to give you the programme's full audience figure at this time. On BBC2, the three episodes of MasterChef: The Professionals drew audiences of 3.56m, 3.20m and 2.72m placing the series, again, first, second and fourth in the channel's weekly list of most-watched programmes. University Challenge attracted with 3.13m viewers, followed by The Last Kingdom (2.63m), Simply Nigella (2.52m), coverage of The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (2.23m), Ireland With Simon Reeve (2.20m), Only Connect (2.19m), Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (also 2.12m), The Apprentice - You're Fired! (2.01m) and London Spy (2.0m). Qi drew an audience of 1.56m. Gogglebox was, as usual, Channel Four's top-rated broadcast (3.81m), followed by Guy Martin: Last Flight Of The Vulcan Bomber (2.82m), The Secret Life Of Four, Five & Six Year Olds (2.20m), The Supervet (2.20m), ISIS: The British Women Supporters Unveiled (1.76m), First Dates (1.70m) and Homeland (1.66m). Channel Five's highest-rated broadcast was the movie Disney's The Little Mermaid (1.46m), followed by Can't Pay, We'll Take It Away (1.38m). This week's episode of The Big Bang Theory brought in a figure of 2.73m, by a huge distance the largest audience for a multichannel broadcast of the week. Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Saturday Night Football and Leicester City versus The Scum was watched by 1.35m punters whilst the next day's Live Ford Super Sunday and Norwich City's clash with The Arse attracted 1.24m. Sky Sports 2's coverage of Live International T20 and England's victory over Pakistan was watched by three hundred and thirty one thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast and with eight hundred and seventy four thousand punters, this week it had more like its usual sized audience after two or three rather disappointing weekly figures. Enough to get Kammy geet ower-excited and make Jeff aal sarky and that. So, no change there, then. On Sky F1 Live Abu Dhabi Grand Prix coverage attracted four hundred and eighty thousand. ITV4's broadcast of Darts: Players Championship had three hundred and seventy six thousand viewers. God only knows why. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama with eight hundred and thirty thousand whilst Colditz was watched by seven hundred and forty nine thousand. The Bridge's third series on BBC4 drew audiences of 1.54m and 1.38m for its third and fourth episodes on Saturday night. Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates & Rogues drew five hundred and forty nine thousand, whilst Detectorists had five hundred and forty five thousand and Easy Listening Hits At The BBC was watched by five hundred and thirty six thousand. Nine episodes of Family Guy made up the majority of BBC3's top ten list for the week, whilst the most watched broadcast on the channel was a repeat of Tuesday's episode of EastEnders. So, in other words, not a single programme in the BBC3 top ten was actually made for BBC3. And, there are still people - mainly Gruniad Morning Star readers admittedly so no one that actually matters - who wonder why BBC3 is about to get a long-overdue shoving onto the online gutter along with all the other turds. Sky Atlantic's weekly-list was topped by The Affair (two hundred and ninety eight thousand). The Last Panthers drew one hundred and eighty seven thousand. On Sky Living, The Blacklist was watched by 1.09m and Blindspot was 1.03m. Elementary drew eight hundred and forty three thousand. Sky Arts' Landscape Artist Of the Year had two hundred and thirteen thousand. 5USA's Castle was watched by five hundred and twenty eight thousand viewers. FOX's The Walking Dead brought in 1.67 million viewers. American Horror Story: Hotel had three hundred and seventeen thousand, Talking Dead was watched by two hundred and forty three thousand, Tyrant by one hundred and seventy five thousand, Da Vinci's Demons by one hundred and seventy four thousand and NCIS by one hundred and twenty two thousand. CBS Action's weekly-list was headed by Bad Girls (one hundred and five thousand). The Universal Channel's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had an audience of two hundred and forty nine thousand whilst How To Get Away With Murder attracted one hundred and ninety one thousand and Sleepy Hollow had one hundred and seventy eight thousand. On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme, with four hundred and thirty eight thousand. That was followed by Qi (three hundred and thirty nine thousand), Alan Davies: As Yet Unfunny (three hundred and twenty four thousand) and Qi XL (three hundred and twenty thousand). Drama's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries drew five hundred and twenty seven thousand and Death In Paradise was watched by four hundred and thirteen thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programmes were Crossing Lines (two hundred and forty seven thousand) and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (one hundred and ninety nine thousand). Watch's broadcast of Grimm was seen by four hundred and seventy one thousand. Yesterday's repeat run of Open All Hours continued two hundred and eighty five thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was watched by four hundred and two thousand punters. Fast N' Loud had two hundred and thirty thousand, Alaska: The Last Frontier one hundred and seventeen thousand and Gold Divers one hundred and one thousand viewers. On Discovery History, The Falklands War topped the weekly-list with audience of thirty six thousand punters. Archery: Tales Of The Bow drew twenty seven thousand. On Discovery Science, How Stuff's Made was watched by sixty five thousand punters. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was, as usual, Wheeler Dealers (thirty four thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Yukon Gold which had ninety two thousand viewers. Nightmare Next Door was ID's largest audience of the week (forty five thousand). CI's Cosby: The Women Speak brought in seventy seven thousand viewers. Eden's Deadly Sixty was seen by thirty four thousand. GOLD's top ten was headed by Mrs Brown's Boys (four hundred and thirty thousand). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and forty six thousand). On ITV Encore, The Frankenstein Chronicles was watched by two hundred and forty seven thousand viewers. TLC's weekly-list was topped by My Four Wives (one hundred thousand). Your TV's Corrupt Crimes had thirty three thousand viewers.

Sir Bruce Forsyth will not be hosting Strictly Come Dancing's upcoming Christmas special for health reasons. The BBC said that the eighty seven-year old has not yet made a full recovery following surgery on an abdominal aortic aneurysm last month. Forsyth's medical condition was discovered following extensive checks after a fall at his home in October. The BBC1 special is due to be recorded next week and will be broadcast on Christmas Day. It has been decided that Forsyth is not up to the rigours of the filming schedule. 'The Strictly Christmas Special, which records next week, will be too early for Sir Bruce Forsyth to have made a full recovery from his recent operation,' said the BBC in a statement. 'Due to the long studio hours, he is unable to host the show but will still play a part in the production.' Forsyth will record a video message which will be played during the special.

Meanwhile, Len Goodman has defended Strictly following unsubstantiated claims in the Sun that the show is 'fixed.' Goodman said that he was 'saddened' by 'chatter' that the contestants were not fairly judged and said he was standing up for a programme 'that brings joy to so many millions of people.' Ola Jordan, a former professional dancer on the show who recently got the tin-tack from Strictly after ten years, appeared to make claims there may have been 'over-marking' by the judges during a Copper's Nark-style snitching session with the Sun earlier this month. Goodman told the Sunday Mirra: 'Believe me when I say the show is without question fair, honest and without agenda. My fellow judges and I have been accused of deliberately over and under marking some people - nonsense.' Peter Andre, who left the show last weekend, also backed Goodman's comments, saying of the claims: 'I have never heard or seen anything of the sort. People who have good dances in rehearsals get good marks. Take for example my Charleston dance a few weeks ago. I got two nines and two tens, but then my jive was not so good.'

The Great British Bake Off is getting a spin-off show in which professional pastry chefs will compete to prepare the best desserts. Bake Off: Crème De La Crème will be presented by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge. Fifteen teams of professional chefs will compete to produce the most impressive miniatures and showpiece desserts. The eight-part series will be shown on BBC2 next year. The chefs will work in teams of three and will come from famous hotels, top restaurants and patisseries, as well as the development kitchen of a leading supermarket, the armed forces and private clubs. Their efforts will be judged by three of the industry's most influential pastry chefs - Benoit Blin from Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons, Cherish Finden from The Langham Hotel in London and Claire Clark who has twice been named Britain's best pastry chef. The new show is being made by the same team who produce The Great British Bake Off. Love Productions promised 'tension and drama' as the chefs work together to 'show off their skills and creativity.' The winner will be the team who displays 'the precision of surgeons, the knowledge of chemists and the creativity of artists.'

Luther creator Neil Cross has been commissioned by the BBC to write a new 'pre-apocalyptic crime drama' set in contemporary London. Hard Sun will follow detectives Elaine Renko and Robert Hicks as they seek to enforce the law and protect their loved ones in a world that every day slips closer to certain destruction. Neil says that he has had the character and their world 'rattling round' his head for a while.

It's been nine years since Top Of The Pops was cancelled as an ongoing weekly series and the BBC has apparently decided that now is the time to find a new weekly music show. Radio 1 and 1Xtra controller Ben Cooper is thought to be leading the hunt for a new format and is reported to be 'in talks with' producers and music industry figures. Cooper has yet to officially announce any plans, but the reports suggest that he is working to find 'the magic chemistry' for a show that would appeal to over-twenty fives. 'When people ask about whether Top Of The Pops is coming back, what they are really saying is, "When can we get a once-a-week primetime BBC1 music slot?"' Cooper told the Independent. Cooper explained that such a show would feature the biggest hits of the week from the UK and US and that ITV's purchase of The Voice allowed 'a new way' of showcasing talent. 'Like Radio 1, you need the big hits to draw in the audience that then can be exposed to the new music. It's a fragile ecology that will be right for that new music programme and is right for Radio 1. So we are not going to exclude Justin Bieber. [The Voice moving to ITV] does give you an opportunity, a moment in history, to go, "Right, let's crack this, what can we do to bring music and entertainment together for a primetime BBC1 audience? That's the Holy Grail' he added. However, he also said that copying the Top Of The Pops formula of having one performance after another would not work, as YouTube provides that for music lovers. He said: 'You want a moment that will feature on Gogglebox, that's what you are after, that family-on-the-sofa moment. Where, "You call this music?" will come from one side of the sofa and "But mum, it's the best" from the other.' A BBC spokesman added: 'There are ongoing conversations about the best way to complement Radio 1's Official Chart Show and reflect more new music on television.'

A man has been charged with the theft of Bill Bailey's tour van, which was taken while he was performing a show. The Mercedes Sprinter was half-inched from outside Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on 26 October. It was found three days later in Tuebrook, which led the comic to tweet his thanks to the police and the 'good people of Liverpool' for their help. But, not the thievin' bastards of Liverpool, one presumes. A thirty five-year-old from Merseyside has been extremely charged with robbin', theft of a motor vehicle and driving while disqualified. Bill's manager said when the van was found, it had suffered 'minor' crash damage.

Newsnight's political editor is to leave the BBC and join ITV News in the newly created role of national editor. Allegra Stratton's departure follows that of the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston, who was poached by the rival broadcaster last month. Stratton has been with Newsnight for almost four years. Before that she was the Gruniad Morning Star's political correspondent. The former BBC producer, who will take up her new role in the new year, said that she was 'thrilled' to join ITV News. 'It will be a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside such a strong team and I can't wait to get started,' he said. Geoff Hill, the editor of ITV News, said: 'I'm absolutely delighted that Allegra will be joining our newsroom. Ian Katz, editor of BBC2's Newsnight, said: 'We'll miss her greatly but wish her the very best in her new role.' Stratton's new role will see her reunited with Pestinfestation, whose appointment as ITV's political editor was confirmed in October. Rohit Kachroo will move from UK Editor to the newly created role of Security Editor.
Labour peer and film-maker Lord Puttnam has criticised BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead's handling of the BBC's licence fee deal, saying he would have resigned if put in the same position. Puttnam, who was previously deputy chair of Channel Four, said that the deal which saw the BBC accept the seven hundred million smackers burden of paying for over-seventy five'’s licence fees in July was 'a dereliction of process. I think the way it was done was shocking and I also know that unless the government realise that there is a point at which you will resign, they will push and push and push,' Puttnam said on Radio 4's The Media Show. 'I would sincerely like to think I would have resigned – I believe I would have done – but everyone's got to make their own judgment.' Fairhead and other members of the Trust have been criticised for accepting the deal rather than threatening to resign en masse, as previous members of the Trust had apparently done in 2010 when faced with a similar offer by the government. Melvyn Bragg, who is part of a review led by Puttnam into the state of UK public service broadcasting, last month accused Fairhead of an 'appalling dereliction of duty' over the deal. Fairhead has said that she 'felt it necessary' to follow the advice of the BBC executive to accept the deal and continue to fight for the BBC through the renewal of the BBC charter, which expires at the end of 2015. One or two people even believed her. Puttnam also said that the government's Green Toilet Paper laying out questions about the future of the BBC could 'accidentally' lead to parts of the corporation valued by the public being lost. He said: 'It is a slippery slope isn't it. [It is important that] you don't accidentally think this is an interesting marketisation process and three years later everything you valued has somehow slithered down the plughole because the market operates the way the market does. What I am saying is, accidents happen. If you pursue any form of ideological, not so much vendetta, just ideological desire for change for change's sake the slippery slope is always there to catch you.' He added that the 'tone' of the Green Toilet Paper, which includes questions about whether the BBC should continue trying to provide 'something for everyone', was 'deliberately hostile.' He said: 'I know how good civil servants are at drafting things. If you publish a Green Paper like that, someone has decided on that tone – that's not an accident.'

Sir David Attenborough has voiced concern about the BBC's future as he returns to film at the Great Barrier Reef, after nearly sixty years. 'If you lose the BBC, then I certainly would have lost a very important element of my life,' he said. 'The BBC has got enough problems trying to keep up with changing social demands let alone what politicians want,' Sir David added. 'If it doesn't have the support of the public, the BBC is lost but it doesn't mean that all of us, all the time think the BBC is wonderful. There are lots of things which could be better, there are lots of things that you could do more economically, more creatively but by-and-large it's doing pretty well. Every section of society, for one reason or another, should be glad that the BBC is there.' Sir David's new three-part series, which begins later this month on BBC1 sees him return to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Sir David first filmed on the Great Barrier Reef in 1957 as part of a documentary on birds. Now, he has returned in a state-of-the-art submersible, capable of diving beneath the waves to depths of almost one thousand metres. During filming, Sir David and the small crew on board the Triton set the deepest recorded manned dive below the reef.

Alan Yentob is to stand down from his senior management role at the BBC, saying that the media coverage surrounding the Kids Company scandal has become 'a serious distraction.' Yentob, who is the corporation's 'creative director', whatever that entails, will leave the one hundred and eighty three thousand knicker-a-year role later this month. 'The BBC is going through particularly challenging times and I have come to believe that the speculation about Kids Company and the media coverage revolving around my role is proving a serious distraction,' said Yentob. He added that he will continue to front BBC1's Imagine series and 'be involved' in TV production at the corporation. 'I have spoken to Tony Hall and told him that I think it best that I step down from my senior management role as creative director at the end of this year and focus on programme making and TV production – including, of course, the Imagine series,' he said. He will also continue to chair BBC Films. 'I love the BBC and will continue to do everything I can to ensure that it thrives and fulfils the great expectations we all have of it,' he said. Yentob had previously said that he would 'not remotely consider' resigning over allegations that he tried to influence the corporation's coverage of the scandal-hit charity Kids Company, of which he was the chairman. Yentob has been accused of a conflict of interest after making a phone call to Newsnight ahead of a report on Kids Company, as well as accompanying the charity's chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh to an interview on Radio 4's Today programme. Tony Hall reiterated that the corporation does not believe that Yentob abused his position by influencing the BBC's news coverage of the charity. 'For the record, BBC News considered whether Alan Yentob had influenced the BBC's journalism on the reporting of Kids Company,' said Hall. 'They concluded that he did not. Despite that, I understand his reasons for stepping down as creative director. He has been thinking about this carefully for some time and we have discussed it privately on a number of occasions.' Yentob had been known as the BBC's 'Mister Fixit', helping to steer the corporation through crises such as the Lord McAlpine and Jimmy Savile fiascoes. But, the ongoing fallout from the Kids Company scandal has made Yentob a liability at a time when the BBC is facing tough negotiations with government over a renewal of its royal charter. Hall attempted to shift the focus away from the scandal, pointing to Yentob's 'enormous contribution' to the UK creative industries in an almost fifty-year career at the BBC. 'Alan is a towering figure in television, the arts and a creative force for good for Britain,' Hall said. 'He has served the BBC with distinction in a number of different executive roles – all of which have been characterised by his energy, creativity and commitment to public service. He has an extraordinary roll-call of achievement.' Yentob has been at the BBC since 1968, served as creative director for a decade and presented almost two dozen seasons of BBC1's Imagine. The BBC Trust is currently investigating whether Yentob broke editorial guidelines over his involvement in the corporation’s reporting on Kids Company.

Channel Four News has turned down an interview with the Prince of Wales after refusing to sign what it described as a 'draconian' contract with 'a string of demands' including the pre-vetting of all questions and the right to control editing. The extremely tight level of control and censorship has not stopped some outlets from broadcasting interviews: Sky News ran an interview with Chas his very self late last month covering topics including global warming. A spokesman for Sky News refused to comment on the broadcaster's decision to agree to the terms laid down by Clarence House. However, Channel Four News suffered from no such reticence saying that it felt it could not conduct an interview under such terms, which included a fifteen-page contract full of limitations and restrictions. It cancelled an interview with the Prince which was due to be conducted by Jon Snow on Sunday at the British ambassador's residence in Paris, on the eve of the Paris climate change talks. The decision to pull out of the interview would have ultimately been made by Ben De Pear, the editor of Channel Four's flagship news programme. Channel Four News said it would be happy to carry out an interview but not with such a restrictive contract. 'We do not sign pre-interview agreements and interviewees appear on Channel Four News on that basis,' said a spokesperson. 'We would still be delighted to interview Prince Charles.' It is not clear if other media outlets have agreed to run interviews with Prince Charles. The contractual stipulations surrounding Prince Charles were first made public by the Independent, which cited clauses in the contract such as: 'if the interviewer goes off script, Clarence House staff present have the right to intervene and halt filming.' A spokeswoman for Clarence House said that the Prince of Wales received 'hundreds' of requests for interviews and no media outlet was 'obligated' to sign the standard contract. 'The issuing of broadcast contracts is standard practice across the royal households,' said the spokeswoman. 'The Prince of Wales receives hundreds of requests for interviews from media organisations around the world. No media organisation is under any obligation to approach the Prince of Wales for an interview or enter into a contract negotiation.' She added that the restrictions were to 'ensure factual accuracy. All broadcasters that do [an interview], are keen to ensure that they do not breach any of the relevant broadcast rules and go to great lengths to protect their independence in this regard,' she said. 'The contracts are put in place to ensure factual accuracy and protect the broadcaster as well as the interview subject.'

US network HBO says it would be 'premature to comment' on a court case against it and other major TV studios by a group of production assistants. A lawyer in New York told BBC Newsbeat that more assistants are joining a case against the firm and other major television studios. The assistants claim the studios owe them 'overtime' for work which includes blocking off parking for TV shoots. Lawyer James Vagnini says that papers have been filed at a New York court. He told Newsbeat, in an e-mail exchange, that he 'understands' the assistants work on popular shows like Girls, The Leftovers, Boardwalk Empire, Vinyl and all of the various Law & Orders series filmed in New York. The assistants duties reportedly include putting up fliers the day before a film crew heads to a neighbourhood, blocking off parking with cones, making sure the site is 'safeguarded' before filming begins and making sure no-one occupies parking spaces at any time during the day. In total, Vagnini says that his clients have launched four different cases against studios. In a statement, HBO said: 'It would be premature to comment as we have not been served with the lawsuit.;

Sky1 has snapped up the rights to Don’t Tell The Bride, the latest BBC3 series to move to another broadcaster following the decision to make the channel online-only. Sky1 has struck a deal to initially broadcast two series, in which grooms organise the entire wedding day for their bride, from next summer. The show has been shown for ten series on BBC3 and one on BBC1 in June and is said to be very popular for people who can't afford a real brain, but its future was uncertain after the corporation said late last year that it would 'not look to recommission' programmes such as Don't Tell the Bride and Snog Marry Avoid? when BBC3 gets shovelled online along with all the other shit. The move was thought to have been instigated by the show's production company, Renegade Pictures, part of Warner Brothers Television, with the Sky deal coming just days after the BBC Trust confirmed the closure of the BBC3 TV channel early next year. Sky has said that the show will be 'pacier in format' than it has been on the BBC. However, the broadcaster promised 'not to tamper' with the formula of the show too much. 'Fans can expect the usual traditions along the way: bad budgeting, hideous hen-dos, the odd disgruntled mother of the bride and a healthy dose of bridal bling to satisfy even the most die-hard Don't Tell The Bride fans,' said Sky. It is thought that about two-thirds of fans of the show are already pay-TV subscribers. 'Many of our customers are already huge fans of the show so we're delighted to be giving the brand new series a home on Sky1,' said Adam MacDonald, director of Sky1. 'Charting wedding dramas for nigh on a decade, Don't Tell The Bride is best-in-class family-friendly entertainment and a British TV institution to boot.' Sarah May, the executive producer at Renegade Pictures, said: 'I've been part of this show since the very first episode. It's the dreams and expectations of the young couple brave enough to take on the Don't Tell the Bride challenge that really makes this series what it is and will continue to be the foundation of the show as it moves to Sky.'
ITV has apologised for showing a news item about Lenny Henry receiving a knighthood which briefly featured footage of the TV cook Ainsley Harriott. The mistake was picked up by a number of viewers, among them Sanjeev Bhaskar, who suggested that the broadcaster had 'misunderstood diversity issues.' ITV News blamed the mistake on 'an error in the production process.' Henry - who did not apologise for last being funny in 1983 - said that he was 'very thankful' to receive a knighthood from the Queen for services to drama and charity. The Comic Relief co-founder has often spoken out on the subject of diversity in the media, a topic he was again asked to comment about on Friday. 'We've made progress as far as on-screen representation is concerned,' said the fifty seven-year-old following the investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle. 'But there's a lot of work to be done in the furthering of diversity behind the camera.'

The New Horizons probe has at last returned some of the super-sharp pictures it took of Pluto during its historic flyby in July. The images released by the US space agency on Friday show details on the surface of the dwarf planet at a resolution better than eighty metres per pixel. On Earth at this scale, one could easily discern a city park. With New Horizons, we see crystal clear views of mountains, craters and smooth ice fields. 'These close-up images, showing the diversity of terrain on Pluto, demonstrate the power of our robotic planetary explorers to return intriguing data to scientists back here on Planet Earth,' said John Grunsfeld, the head of NASA's science directorate. 'New Horizons thrilled us during the July flyby with the first close images of Pluto, and as the spacecraft transmits the treasure trove of images in its onboard memory back to us, we continue to be amazed by what we see.' The probe got to within about twelve thousand kilometres from the surface of the planet and acquired a mass of pictures and other instrument data.
A high-ranking FIFA official has been identified by the FBI as a suspect in a £6.6m bribe paid in return for votes for 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa. A new indictment from the US Department of Justice refers to the official as 'co-conspirator seventeen'. He is not named. It states that he made three payments to the now-disgraced former FIFA vice-president the odious Jack Warner. The indictment emerged the day after sixteen officials were charged by authorities investigating corruption at FIFA. FIFA vice-presidents Alfredo Hawit and Juan Angel Napout were among that group and have since been suspended from all football-related activity for ninety days. The pair were extremely arrested in Switzerland on Thursday at the request of the US authorities, on suspicion of accepting millions of dollars of bribes. The new indictment states the £6.6m paid was in return for World Cup votes by Warner and his deputy Chuck Blazer, who has pleaded very guilty. In September, Warner was banned from football for life as FIFA's ethics committee ruled he committed 'many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly.'

Morrissey has won this year's Bad Sex in Fiction award for his debut book, List Of The Lost. The judges said that they were 'swayed' by an 'ecstatic scene' involving two of the lead characters. The book contains the lines: 'Eliza and Ezra rolled together into one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, shouting and screaming.' Cor. One gets The Horn just thinking about it. Mozza his very self was unable to attend the ceremony 'due to touring commitments.' The former Smiths frontman was also unavailable for comment - which is odd because he's normally got loads to say for himself - but four hundred guests did show up to toast him in his absence at the aptly named In & Out (Naval & Military) Club in London on Tuesday. List Of The Lost, which was gained largely negative reviews when it was published earlier this year, follows four Boston relay runners who are cursed by an old man in the woods. Other lines include: [They] pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil.' Morrissey's work triumphed over a varied shortlist, which included George Pelecanos's The Martini Shot, Joshua Cohen's Book Of Numbers and Erica Jong's Fear Of Dying, which included the line: "You raised the kundalini ... like an electric snake in your spine.' Previous winners of the prize, established by The Literary Review in 1993, include Melvyn Bragg, Norman Mailer and AA Gill. The award's aim is to draw attention to poorly written passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them. It doesn't cover pornographic or erotic literature.

Former New Order bassist Peter Hook is suing his ex-bandmates for millions of pounds in a bitter row over royalties. Hooky claims that he has lost out on more than 2.3 million quid since the three other band members set up a company without him to handle the band's income in 2011. Hook has accused Bernard Sumner and Stephen and Gillian Morris of 'pillaging' the group's assets. The trio say that they have 'treated Hook fairly' and that the guitarist's stake of the royalties is 'reasonable.' At a High Court hearing, Judge David Cooke ruled that Hook was not acting out of 'spite' and cleared the way for him to take his complaints to a full trial. The legendary Manchester band, formed by the surviving members of Joy Division in 1980, are known for hits like 'Blue Monday', 'True Faith' and 'Regret'. When their record label, Factory, collapsed in 1992, the foursome formed a company named Vitalturn to hold all of New Order's rights. Hook parted company with the band acrimoniously in 2007, but the other members carried on without him and continued to use the New Order name. Hook owns twenty five per cent of Vitalturn but was absent when the other three - who own the other seventy five per cent - set up a new company, New Order Ltd, in 2011. They granted the new company worldwide exclusive rights to the New Order name and the related sources of income for ten years. Hook's barrister Mark Wyeth QC said that the 'clandestine, premeditated and deliberate' move had cost the bassist £2.3m by October last year and his losses 'were continuing.' Wyeth said: 'It was as though George Harrison and Ringo Starr had got together at George's house one Friday night and had acted together to divest Paul McCartney of his shareholding in The Beatles. And didn't tell Yoko about it either.' So, to sum up then, according to this chap Hooky is Macca and Yoko? H'okay. New Order Ltd has generated £7.8m income over four years, the court heard. In a statement, the remaining members of New Order said that they were 'disappointed that Peter is pursuing this claim in this particular way.' They said the bassist still received 'his full share' of income from the band's back catalogue, adding: 'This dispute relates only to the share of income he takes from our work without him since 2011.' Hook receives 1.25 per cent of the band's royalties and other income from merchandising and performances. But he wants up to twelve and a half per cent. Wyeth said the dispute was 'not about musical direction or musical differences or personality clashes, but first and foremost about wrongdoers taking control of a company and stripping it of its property.' However, David Casement QC, for the other band members, said that they had acted in 'an entirely reasonable' way and that said Hook's complaints were 'completely misconceived.' The bassist was either intent on 'obstructing' the trio from continuing their success as New Order or wanted to 'rejoin the band', he told the court. The remaining band members say Hook left the band, and Casement told the court the musician had decided 'because of his non-inclusion to bring this claim in order to leverage some advantage from Mr Sumner and the rest of the band.' New Order's latest CD, Music Complete, was released in September and reached number two in the UK - making it their highest-charting CD since 1993. Judge Cooke rejected the notion that Hook's 'true motive was to get back into the band or spite the defendants, who are pursuing their careers successfully with the use of the name when he is not able to participate.' Since leaving New Order, Hook has toured with a new band under the name Peter Hook & The Light. Which essentially consists of Peter Hook and 'some other people' playing Joy Division and New Order songs. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping saw The Light - no jokes please - about eighteen months ago. They were all right.
A drum kit played by yer actual Ringo Starr on a number of The Be-Atles hits including 'Can't Buy Me Love' and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' has sold at auction for $2.1m. The Be-Atles, in case you were wondering, were a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them. Ringo his very self used the Ludwig kit in more than two hundred performances after taking possession of it on 12 May 1963. Last month, Julien's Auctions sold a drum head from a kit Starr played on US television show The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, also for $2.1m. The former Be-Atles drummer has put several memorabilia items up for sale. Also available is a guitar used by alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon, which he gave to Ringo in 1968, some of the drummer's signature rings and his own copy of The Be-Atles' White Album, marked as number 0000001. Part of the sale proceeds will go to the Lotus Foundation, founded by Ringo and his wife, Barbara Bach, which funds and promotes charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare. According to the AP news agency, the Ludwig drum kit was sold to Jim Irsay, owner of the American Football team Indianapolis Colts.
One of this blogger's favourite actors, Anthony Valentine, best known for playing the title role in the 1970s adaptation of Raffles, has died at the age of seventy six. Anthony, who had been suffering from Parkinson's disease, died 'peacefully' in the early hours of Wednesday morning, his agent, Derek Webster said. A child actor who worked extensively in television and film, Anthony went on to have a long and successful career on stage and screen which included credits as an actor, director and writer. But it was as an adult that he carved a niche for himself as a handsome leading man with, sometimes, a suppressed sinister undertone. In the BBC's war drama series Colditz, Anthony memorably played the Luftwaffe officer, Major Mohn. Along with the title role of the aristocrat jewel thief AJ Raffles it was his most well-known part. Webster described him as 'brilliant and talented. In 2012 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In spite of this diagnosis his sense of humour never failed him and he continued to live a full and happy life,' he added. Anthony's wife, the actress Susan Skipper, said: 'Tony was my best friend and it was a privilege to know, love and care for him.' The couple first met on Yorkshire Television's handsome adaptation of EW Hornung's Raffles in 1977 and then appeared together three years later in the television film of Ivor Novello's The Dancing Years. They married in 1982. Equity described Anthony as a 'fine actor and perfect gentleman.' He was also known to TV viewers for playing the ruthless upper-class MI6 assassin Toby Meres in the secret agent drama series Callan, alongside his close friend, the late Edward Woodward. Born in Blackburn in 1939, Anthony's parents moved to London when he was four and he attended school at Acton County Grammer. He began his acting career at the early age of ten and appeared in several BBC children's series during his youth. His early film roles included his debut in No Way Back (1949) and, aged twelve, in The Girl On The Pier (1953). He played Harry Wharton in the 1950s BBC adaptation of Billy Bunter Of Greyfriar School and, in 1958, appeared in a production of Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, with leading actors Laurence Olivier and Irene Worth, as part of the ITV Play Of The Week strand. He worked pretty much continuously from the 1950s onwards and had roles in countless TV dramas throughout the following six decades, including, and this list is by no means comprehensive, Stranger In The House, Vice Versa, Johnnie's Night Out, Rex Milligan,The Scarf, The Cornet Player, An Age Of Kings, A For Andromeda, Z-Cars, The Avengers, The Donati Conspiracy, Take Three Girls, The Expert, Softly, Softly, Department S, Justice, Budgie, Scobie In September, Codename, Space: 1999, Minder (as the recurring character of Maurice, a professional gambler), Tales Of The Unexpected, Airline, Bergerac, Robin Of Sherwood, Body & Soul, The House Of Eliott, The Fear, The Bill, The Case-Book Of Sherlock Holmes, Waking The Dead, Agatha Christie's Poirot, The Knock, The Commander, Nuremberg: Nazis On Trial, Lovejoy, New Tricks, The Detectives, Heartbeat, Casualty and Coronation Street. His last TV role was as a voice actor for the animated series Chuggington: Badge Quest in 2011. He also narrated the three Wildlife Explorer documentaries and had a small but memorable part as the South London bookie Joey Maddocks whom wicked Harry Flower sends Chas and Mad Cyril round to do a number on in the cult classic Performance (1970). His other movies roles included appearances in The Brain Machine, Fun At St Fanny's, The Damned, the notoriously so-bad-it's-brilliant low-budget z-movie horror Tower Of Evil (1972), Hammer's To The Devil A Daughter, Escape To Athena, The Monster Club, The Plague Dogs, The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission and Two Men Went To War. He was also the voice of 'Doctor X' on US hair-metal band Queensrÿche's 1988 LP, Operation: Mindcrime. But, we'll forgive him for that. Anthony was also a regular face on the London stage, his theatre credits included the premiere of Arnold Wesker's Chicken Soup With Barley and West End appearances in No Sex Please, We're British, Sleuth, Art, Half A Sixpence and Hans Andersen at the London Palladium. He also wrote and directed The Waiting Game.
And now, dear blog reader, to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's week with the NHS. On Monday of this week, whilst taking a bite out of an apple, one of this blogger's teeth cracked and half of it fell out (I know, I know, apples are supposed to be good for you. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping was a bit flummoxed by this discombobulation as well.) Anyway, this sort of thing has happened once or twice to this blogger in the past, and it always seems to occur around Christmas time when you can't get a dental appointment till sometime in the middle of January. So, you have to live with about four weeks of having a sodding great hole in yer tooth. Keith Telly Topping rang up his dentists more in hope than expectation but, whaddya know, they fitted him in straight away the next afternoon. I saw a dentist new to the practice, Jonny, young Chinese-British chap who was lovely, had a quick look and said 'yeah, no problem, I can fix that' and he then spent about half-an-hour, effectively, completely rebuilding that tooth, capping it, putting a filling in on the one next door, and giving Keith Telly Topping a full six monthly check up; you know, the sort of things that any other - private - dentist would have done one at a time over the course of several weeks to get a load of repeat fees. At the end, he said 'considering how badly you treat them, your teeth are actually in pretty good shape! We'll see you again in six months.' What a jolly nice man. Fair restored ones faith in human nature, that did. So, if anybody tries to tell you, dear blog reader, that the National Health Service (including its dental branch) isn't, like, the finest thing that this country has ever created (with the possible exception of the BBC), kindly tell them, with all the sincerity you can manage, to please fuck off!
Keith Telly Topping's week with the NHS, part the second. On Thursday evening, this blogger began to experience some, not inconsiderable chest pain. 'Oh no, here comes a long-overdue heart-attack,' he thought. This blogger decided to go to bed early and see how he felt in the morning. Only to then be awoken at 2am by what he was now convinced - because he'd been watched a few episode of House recently - was a massive dose of yer actual myocardial infaction. This blogger rang for an ambulance and quickly packed a bag not knowing whether what was to come would be a two hour visit to the hospital or a two week one. The paramedics arrived, checked me out and said that they thought it might simply be a chest infection but they wanted to take me in just to be on the safe side since Keith Telly Topping falls into a number of 'at risk' categories (type two diabetic, on medication for hypertension and with a family history of heart attacks). In the end, it did turn out to be a false alarm. It was something with a very long name - costochondritis - which means 'inflamation of the muscles in the area of the chest and around the heart.' After an EKG, blood work, chest x-ray, another EKG, a consultation with not one but two doctors, this blogger was pronounced 'alive and, not as unwell as you thought.' 'Next time, take two paracetamols and don't be a wuss...' was what they didn't say, but probably should have. (In actual fact, everyone concerned said that this blogger had done the right thing in dialing nine-nine-nine and that, essentially, you don't not piss about with chest pain. It might be nothing but chances are, it isn't.) Oh, and I have to say, if you ever want to see the very best and the very worst of what Britain in the Twenty First Century is all about, try spending six hours overnight in an A&E department. It's certainly an eye-opener. A couple of drunk-and-incapables, one of whom puked on the floor of reception, cops all over the place bringing in someone who'd been knifed (and calming down his, hysterical, mates), a filthy, stinking Harry Ramp (with about a million plastic bags) sleeping across five on the eight available seats. There was also a lass who'd, seemingly, been biffed in the conk on a night out with six of her, rather loud, mates and had blood all over her shirt who spent three hours whilst I was there effing and blinding that she wasn't being seen quickly enough. And then, there were the staff; overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated. Except by me, dear blog reader.
And so Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader. Featuring the Goddamn King of rock and roll his very self, yer actual Elvis. Sing, Elvis, sing as though your life depended upon it.

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