Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jesus Please Be Good To Us, Or We'll All Be On The News!

Those in the Doctor Who production office have been kind enough to release a couple of new images to tide fans over until we get the next glimpse of The Doctor and his friends. The forthcoming Christmas special, The Husbands Of River Song', sees Alex Kingston her very self return in the episode's title role, while there are guest appearances from Greg Davies and Matt Lucas.
Alex had yer actual Peter Capaldi and Davies in the palm of her hand at a photo call for the special  earlier this week. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) recently revealed what we can expect from the episode: 'Doctor Who's got to be a bit scary - but I think this is quite a funny Christmas special. 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!'
Doctor Who fans hungry for news on series ten will be interested to know that two new writers will be joining the production team. Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) made the announcement on Wednesday at a screening of this year's Christmas special. 'We're already moving [on the next series]; we've had meetings today with two writers who've never written Doctor Who before,' he confirmed. 'If I told you their names, your brain would explode,' he added.
The one hundred-page Doctor Who Magazine Yearbook 2016 has been released this week with all-new material, including exclusive interviews with stars Michelle Gomez, Ingrid Oliver, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), Mark Gatiss and Sarah Dollard, producer Derek Ritchie and directors Daniel O'Hara and Edward Bazalgette. Elsewhere in the issue, Peter Capaldi his very self shares his memories of the extraordinary photo shoot on Abbey Road, there is a look behind the scenes at November's Extremely Expensive Doctor Who Festival and the magazine pays tribute to the Doctor Who luminaries who died in 2015. The magazine is now available from all good newsagents - and some bad ones - for just a penny shy of six of yer actual English pound.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping went to see the 10am showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at The Gate on Monday. And, Keith Telly Topping his very self thought it was great, dear blog reader. Even better, in fact, than the really very nice beef curry Keith Telly Topping had for his dinner on Stowell Street immediately afterwards. That was great as well, but it didn't have Daisy Ridley or Harrison Ford acting their little cotton socks off in it. So, great but not that great.
The Apprentice​ bounced back in the overnight ratings as the candidates entered the interview stage on Wednesday night. Alan Sugar-Sweeie's BBC1 show attracted an average overnight audience of 5.68 million at 9pm. The spin-off You're Fired!​ was seen by 1.85m at 10pm on BBC2. What turned out to be the final ever episode of Cuffs​ brought in 3.16m earlier at 8pm. On BBC2, MasterChef: The Professionals​ continued with 2.93m punters at 8pm as Nick Bennett and Danilo Cortellini became the second and third chefs to qualify for the semi-final stage and Darren Sivewright, unluckily perhaps, missed out. That was followed by the harrowing documentary Love You To Death​ which had an audience of 1.12m viewers at 9pm. ITV's second episode of the drama Prey​ fell flat on its face with a very poor overnight of 2.45m at 9pm, while You Saw Them Here First​ completely failed to entertain 2.47m punters an hour earlier at 8pm.On Channel Four, the final episode of Peep Show​ was watched by five hundred and fifty seven thousand at 9pm. Earlier, Supervet​ appealed to 1.92m at 8pm, followed by Twenty Four Hours In A&E​ with 1.50m at 9pm. GPs Behind Closed Doors on Channel Five was seen by 1.19m.

So, as noted, Cuffs is not coming back to the BBC for a second series, the drama's cast have confirmed. The final episode of the police drama - which starred Ashley Walters, Peter Sullivan and Amanda Abbington - was broadcast on Wednesday night. After the episode ended, Abbington was the first to tweet to say it was 'the end of an era' and the cast are all 'gutted', adding: 'No series two. Sad day.' She posted this alongside a video of the cast locking arms. The BBC is yet to formally announce Cuffs' cancellation but, given the really not very good at all ratings it's been getting, it certainly shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
EastEnders topped the overnight ratings across all channels on Thursday evening. The BBC1 soap opera pulled in 5.82m at 7.30pm. BBC3's late night repeat of the episode added a further four hundred and fifteen thousand viewers at 10pm. Emmerdale attracted 5.78m at 7pm on ITV as Emma paid a surprise visit to Charity in prison, while 5.64 million watched a second episode at 8pm. Coronation Street had a rare night in third spot, claiming 5.55m at 8.30pm on ITV. Elsewhere on BBC2 MasterChef: The Professionals drew 2.85 million punters as Mark Stinchcombe and chirpy Cockney geezer Scott Barnard became the fourth and fifth qualifiers for next week's semi-finals. The Great British Bake-Off Christmas Masterclass had an audience of 2.1 million an hour later at 9pm. In a quiet night overall, First Dates (with 1.78m) was one of relatively few stand-out figures after it was moved to an earlier 9pm slot on Channel Four. Seven out of the night's top ten programmes were on BBC1 including DIY SOS: The Big Build with 3.74m which won the 9pm slot across all channels. On BBC4 the final episode of Frank Skinner and Suzy Klein's excellent three-part series What A Performance! Pioneers Of Popular Entertainment was watched by eight hundred thousand viewers.
The last Friday before Christmas's telly overnights - on an evening which, traditionally, seems many potential viewers going oot on the pop, getting pure dead slaughtered on cheap alcopops and ending the night up lying in the gutter vomiting a rich brown phlegmy mixture of vodka and chicken tikka masala - were steady if unspectacular. On BBC1, The ONE Show drew 3.53m at 7pm, followed by A Question Of Sport (2.97m), Citizen Khan (2.55m), Have I Got News For You (3.36m), Peter Kay's Car Share (2.32m), The Graham Norton Show (3.35m) and a repeat of Josh (1.06m). On ITV, the annual horrorshow (and drag) that is Text Santa drew 3.74m, more than six hundred thousand viewers down on last year's equivalent overnight figure. On BBC2, Tom Kerridge Cooks Christmas was watched by 1.08m, Mary Berry's Absolute Christmas Favourites had 1.57m, Mastermind drew 1.92m and An Island Parish: Falklands had an audience of 1.63m. Later, Alex Polizzi: Hire Our Heroes attracted six hundred and twenty nine thousand and The Clare Balding Show was watched by six hundred and sixty one thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's TFI Friday Christmas Special achieved 1.34m after which the latest episode of Gogglebox drew 3.43m and Alan Carr: Chatty Man was watched by 1.24m. Channel Five's Ice Road Truckers was seen by six hundred and forty nine thousand viewers whilst a broadcast of the movie Con Air brought in eight hundred and seventy thousand at 9pm. Also worth mentioning in passing, even though we at From The North don't cover daytime ratings very often is the continuing - and very satisfying - disparity between BBC1's Breakfast (the latest episode of which drew 1.57m) and ITV's most current breakfast telly flop Good Morning Britain (six hundred and fifty eight thousand). Looks like Susanna is discovering, as Chiles and Bleakley did before her, that getting ones greed right on does not always equate to people actually watching your boat race on the telly-box. Odd that.
An average of eleven million overnight viewers watched the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday, according to overnight audience figures. The BBC1 dance competition drew 10.98 million punters in the first programme from 6.35pm, before 11.01 million showed up for part two from 9pm. The highest peak from both shows was 11.9 million who were watching when Katie Derham and Anton Du Beke were voted into fourth place at 19:40. The Wanted's singer Jay McGuinness (no, me neither) partnered by Aliona Vilani beat former soap actress Georgia May Foote and EastEnders' Kellie Bright to win the competition. The audience figures were up on last year, when around 10.2 million overnight viewers saw Caroline Flack triumph. Benefiting from no opposition from The X Factor this week, long-running medical drama Casualty rose to 5.69 million sandwiched between the two halves of the Strictly final. The National Lottery Results were watched by 5.91 million afterwards. Match Of The Day - featuring yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies totally failing to give also relegation-haunted Aston Villains a damned good hiding - drew an audience of 3.92m. On BBC2, a Porridge repeat was enjoyed by 2.03 million from 8.05pm. That was followed by the fascinating docudrama Rudolph Nurevey: Dance To Freedom (nine hundred and ninety seven thousand) and Qi Xl (1.04m). ITV's broadcast of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey managed 2.01 million, before The Jonathan Ross Show attracted a woeful 1.29 million. On Channel Four, the movie Star Trek averaged eight hundred and sixty seven thousand from 8pm. Football League Tonight attracted four hundred and ten thousand viewers on Channel Five. The multichannels were topped by BBC4's The Bridge, which was watched by seven hundred and seventy seven thousand and six hundred and eighty six thousand overnight viewers for the final two episodes of its third series.

Comedy moment of the week came from the Christmas episode of Qi XL - oddly, for once broadcast before the standard Qi episode which will go out on BBC2 on Christmas Day. Not specifically in anything anyone said, although there were plenty of terrific moments from Bill Bailey (looking uncannily like he'd just walked off the cover-shoot for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), Johnny Vegas and Jenny Eclair. Rather, it was a fashion statement which took the weekly prize. Just what the blithering fek was Stephen Fry wearing?! And, why, for the love of God, why?
The Apprentice​ final for this year was its lowest-rated since the show began ten years ago, having lost around eight hundred thousand overnight viewers from last year's final episode on Sunday night. The two-hour climax attracted an average overnight audience of 5.31 million at 9pm on BBC1, down from 2014's overnight of 6.18 million punters. However, the started of the show was delayed by nearly fifteen minutes by the climax of the Sports Personality Of The Year ceremony, and is therefore expected to get a bit of a bump when the consolidated ratings are announced in around a week's time. The Apprentice was, also, the night's most-watched show on iPlayer. Andy Murray's victory at the BBC's SPOTY awards topped the night overall, though this was also down by around three hundred thousand from last year, gathering 5.78m from 6.45pm. ITV's much-hyped The Sound Of Music Live​ experiment brought in an average overnight of 3.82m at 7.30pm. Not a very good return you might think considering the amount of money that ITV were reported to have spent on it. On BBC2, the first of several Christmas specials of University Challenge was watched by 1.63m at 7pm, while Channel Four's Bear Goes Wild With Barack Obama​ drew an audience of 2.74m. This is the highest overnight-rating for a show broadcast on Channel Four in the 8pm hour on any night of the week since Christmas Eve 2012, which saw the The Snowman & The Snowdog drawing an overnight audience of 4.9 million. Homeland​ continued with 1.05m at 9pm.

The final and consolidated numbers for the Top Twenty Two programmes, for week-ending Sunday 13 December are as follows:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.40m
2 The X Factor - Sun ITV - 8.82m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.06m
4 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) - Wed ITV - 7.47m
5 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.32m
6 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.10m
7 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 6.91m
8 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 6.30m
9 Emmerdale - Fri ITV - 6.29m
10 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 5.64m
11 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.46m
12 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.41m
13 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.30m
14 The Royal Variety Performance - Tues ITV - 4.94m*
15 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.94m
16 Gogglebox - Fri Channel Four - 4.67m
17 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.65m
18 The Hunt - Sun BBC1 - 4.54m
19 Capital - Tues BBC1 - 4.50m
20 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.20m
21 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.08m
22 Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.01m*
Those ITV programmes marked '*' do not include HD figures. These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. The Saturday episode of Strictly Come Dancing drew an audience of 10.96 million. The X Factor's Saturday night episode drew 6.76m viewers, one of the worst final and consolidated audience figures for Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' talent contest in years. On BBC2, the three episodes of MasterChef: The Professionals drew audiences of 3.37m, 3.27m and 3.13m placing the series, again, first, second and third in the channel's weekly list of most-watched programmes. In fourth place University Challenge attracted 3.04m viewers, followed by The Last Kingdom (2.75m), Simply Nigella (2.56m), The Great Pottery Throw Down (2.53m), The Apprentice - You're Fired! (2.40m), Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (2.12m), Dad's Army (2.12m), London Spy (2.06m) and Only Connect 1.97). Match Of The Day Live: The Third Round FA Cup Draw was watched by 1.83 million viewers and the Euro 2016 Draw by 1.64m whilst the latest episode of Qi drew 1.54m. On ITV, the first episode of the second series of Prey drew a rather disappointing consolidated audience of 3.50 million viewers. Gogglebox was, as usual, Channel Four's top-rated broadcast, followed by Alan Carr: Chatty Man (2.11m), broadcasts of the movies Aladdin (2.03m) and Red 2 (2.01m), First Dates (1.96m) and Twenty Four hours In A&E (1.92m). No data from Channel Five was returned to BARB this particular week. What, one wonders, are they hiding? This week's episode of The Big Bang Theory brought in a figure of 2.53m, by a huge distance the largest audience for a multichannel broadcast of the week. Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Super Sunday and yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable and, probably, relegation-bound) Magpies unexpected, but highly welcome, victory at Stottingtot Hotshots was watched by 1.35m punters whilst the previous day's Live Ford Saturday Night Football and AFC Bournemouth's shock win over The Scum attracted nine hundred and seventy five thousand punters. Sky Sports 2's coverage of Live FL72 and Sheffield United against Coventry City was watched by one hundred and ninety five thousand. Coverage of the NFL clash between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati was watched by ninety six thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast and with five hundred and twenty thousand punters. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama with eight hundred and eighty two thousand whilst Lewis was watched by eight hundred and one thousand. The Bridge's third series on BBC4 drew audiences of 1.47m and 1.41m for its seventh and eighth episodes on Saturday night. The documentary The Mary Rose: A Timewatch Guide drew five hundred and seventy thousand, whilst Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates & Rogues had five hundred and twenty four thousand and Railway Walks was watched by five hundred and twenty one thousand. Blood & Gold: The Making Of Spain had an audience of four hundred and seventy two thousand. Five 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 the movie Enemy Of the State. Sky 1's most watched programmes were The Flash (1.31m), Arrow (1.13m) and Supergirl (eight hundred and fifty six thousand). Sky Atlantic's weekly-list was topped by The Affair (three hundred and seventy seven thousand). The Leftovers drew one hundred and ninety five thousand and The Last Panthers by one hundred and nineteen. On Sky Living, Criminal Minds was watched by eight hundred and sixty four thousand and Blindspot by eight hundred and twenty four thousand. Elementary drew seven hundred and eighty one thousand and The Blacklist had seven hundred and thirty eight thousand. Sky Arts' coverage of The Forty Ninth Annual Country Music Awards had sixty three thousand whilst Johnny Cash: Song By Song drew sixty thousand. 5USA's Castle was watched by four hundred and eighty two thousand viewers and NCIS by three hundred and fifty one thousand. FOX's American Horror Story: Hotel brought in two hundred and sixty three thousand, a different episode of NCIS from the one in FOX's top ten (cos, they always are) was watched by one hundred and seventeen thousand as was an episode of Robot Chicken. NCIS also featured in the top-ten of the Universal Channel, on which Law & Order: Special Victims Unit drew an audience of two hundred and seventy thousand whilst Sleepy Hollow attracted one hundred and ninety one thousand and How To Get Away With Murder had one hundred and seventy one thousand. CBS Action's weekly-list was headed by Father Dowling Mysteries (one hundred and ten thousand) and High Chaparral (one hundred and one thousand). On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme, with three hundred and eighty thousand. That was followed by Blackadder's Most Cunning Moments (three hundred and fifty six thousand), Crackanory (three hundred and fifty one thousand), Dynamo: Magician Impossible (three hundred and twenty eight thousand) and Qi XL (two hundred and eighty nine thousand). Drama's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries was watched by five hundred and ninety one thousand, Dalziel & Pascoe by three hundred and ninety four thousand and Death In Paradise by three hundred and twenty thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programmes were Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (one hundred and seventy six thousand), a different episode of Death In Paradise (one hundred and sixty eight thousand) and Inspector George Gently (eighty five thousand). Watch's broadcast of Grimm was seen by four hundred and sixty eight thousand. Yesterday's repeat run of Open All Hours continued two hundred and thirty nine thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was watched by four hundred and eighty nine thousand punters. Fast N' Loud had three hundred and thirteen thousand and Gold Divers was seen by one hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers. On Discovery History, World War II In Colour topped the weekly-list with audience of thirty one thousand punters. Off The Rails drew thirty thousand, as did Vic Reeves' Rogues Gallery. On Discovery Science, Incredible Engineering Blunders Fixed was watched by thirty nine thousand punters. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was Wheeler Dealers (ninety five thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Ultimate Airport Dubai which had fifty seven thousand viewers. Nightmare Next Door was ID's largest audience of the week (fifty four thousand). CI's Homicide Hunters brought in sixty thousand viewers. Eden's Africa was seen by eighty three thousand and Planet Earth by twenty two thousand. GOLD's top ten was headed by Wallace & Gromit (two hundred and eleven thousand). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for The Middle (two hundred and sixty five thousand). On ITV Encore, the latest episode of The Frankenstein Chronicles was watched by two hundred and fifteen thousand viewers. True Drama's highest-rated broadcast was the movie My Husband's Double Life (twenty one thousand) followed by The Avengers (seventeen thousand). Your TV's Snapped: Killer Couples had sixty three thousand viewers.

The announcement has been a while coming, but Gotham fans don't have too long to wait until the second season of the cult drama arrives on UK screens. Channel Five has confirmed that the show will return to the network on Monday 11 January at 10pm. Of course, yet actual Keith telly Topping has been getting preview copies sent over from the States since September. Just a bit of bragging there. Sorry. Anyway, Gotham's second season is currently on its winter hiatus in the US until early 2016. Meanwhile, it was recently announced that Gotham is adding Breaking Bad actor Michael Bowen and Orange Is The New Black's Lori Petty as forthcoming guest stars. Petty will reportedly play a criminal consort who provides the young Bruce Wayne with 'some key information' in his quest for vengeance. We also already know that the great Paul Reubens will have a presence in season two as Tucker Cobblepot, Penguin's father, a role which he previously played in Tim Burton's Batman Returns.
Actor and children's TV legend Derek Griffiths is to join the cast of Coronation Street next year. The sixty nine-year-old will play retired mechanic Freddie, a pensioner who 'strikes up an unlikely friendship' with Kylie Platt. The actor was one the regular hosts of both Play School and Play Away during the sixties,seventies and eighties. His motorbike-loving character in Corrie will ride onto the Weatherfield cobbles in March. ITV said that Freddie 'finds new friends and a surrogate community' on Coronation Street following the death of his wife, a client of Kylie's at the beauty salon. Griffiths said: 'I remember being a young boy and watching Violet Carson on Coronation Street. She was a brilliant character that people loved to hate and, later when I became an actor and played the villain in panto many times, those are qualities I would bring to the role. When I came for my audition one of the first things I saw was a huge photo of Violet Carson on the wall. I am very much looking forward to walking in those hallowed footsteps.' Griffiths' acting work includes two years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, West End productions Miss Saigon and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and he has recently finished filming an appearance on Silent Witness. He was also the voice of SuperTed. Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn said: 'I was utterly delighted when Derek accepted this role and I can not wait to work with him and see him on the cobbles, it really will be a happy new year!'

ITV is being widely tipped in the media to pick up the rights to broadcast Formula 1 races, as the BBC may back out of its existing deal three years early. The BBC currently shows a number of races live in addition to highlights of the rest of the season and ITV would follow this pattern, Broadcast speculates. It is claimed that the BBC is backing out of its seven-year deal - originally due to end in 2018 - as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures. The BBC obtained the rights to Formula 1 in 2009, signing a five-year deal after the sport had been broadcast for twelve years on ITV. At that time, ITV was in the third year of a five-year deal, which ended early as a result of the 'straightforward commercial decision.' The BBC signed a new rights deal in 2012 that was to split its coverage with Sky Sports between 2012 and 2018. Under the terms of that deal, BBC Sport has broadcast roughly half the races live, alongside qualifying and practice sessions from those races. Sky Sports shows all races, qualifying sessions and practice live. Its coverage - on its dedicated channel Sky Sports F1 - would be unaffected by any shift in free-to-air rights from BBC to ITV.
Josh Widdicombe's sitcom will return for a second series. BBC3 renewed Josh for six thirty-minute episodes following the broadcast of its first series finale this week. 'Writing and making Josh was the best job I have ever had so I am absolutely delighted that the BBC have given us the chance to make six more episodes,' the comic said in a press statement. 'I look forward to subjecting the characters of Josh, Kate, Owen and Geoff to further misfortune and adding more fuel to the social media love-in about Elis James's legs.'
EastEnders producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins has defended the soap's reputation for 'gruesome' Christmas episodes from whinging whingers. The BBC1 show gained its highest ever audience on Christmas Day 1987 when Dirty Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) served divorce papers on his wife Ange (Anita Dobson). Speaking at a press event showcasing BBC festive highlights, Treadwell-Collins insisted that 'upbeat Christmases' did not work for EastEnders. 'We have a tradition, back from when Den and Angie did those divorce papers,' Treadwell-Collins said. 'We tried to have a happy Christmas one year. Pam St Clement (who played Pat Butcher) told us that they did a happy Christmas one year where everyone hugged – it had the lowest ratings ever!' Sitting alongside cast members Danny Dyer, Laurie Brett and Richard Blackwood, Treadwell-Collins underlined his stance. 'People expect EastEnders to be a bit gruesome because you're arguing with your family, you're having often a dreadful day and you go, "Oh, God. At least I'm not a Beale!"' Dyer added: 'The beauty of EastEnders is that it is dark, we do dark so well so that when you have these light-hearted moments that are quite rare, you really relish them,' the thirty eight8-year-old stated. Treadwell-Collins promised fans an 'epic' Christmas to rival the live week of episodes that marked the soap's thirtieth anniversary in February. 'We decided to treat this a bit like we treated live week so it's epic; there are secrets, there are twists, there are a hell of a lot of stories going on and lots of surprises.' Not least the fact that two former characters are set to return in 2016. Christmas in Albert Square will be fraught for most of the residents. The Mitchells and the Hubbards will clash, the Beales will have worries of their own, the Slaters will gain a new family member as they are devastated by loss and the Carters will provide most of the fun, but there will be intense drama as rapist Dean (played by Matt Di Angelo) shows his true colours. In the new year, postpartum psychosis grips Stacey (Lacey Turner), Kat (Jessie Wallace) will find out about her secret son and Denise Fox (Diane Parish) will receive 'unwelcome news.' Returns include Sister Ruth (veteran actress June Whitfield), Phil's daughter Louise (now played by newcomer Tilly Keeper) and Glenda Mitchell (Glynis Barber). Plotlines which have carried on for months will see some sort of resolution over Christmas. Brett approved of the steady approach. 'You can't have everything instantly,' she said. 'We're not Instagram, we're not on Twitter, we are a television programme which you are seeing a family go through this amazing stuff. And that takes time.' Blackwood hailed the soap for 'a tremendous year. National Television Awards? EastEnders should just take a Hoover and Hoover up every award,' he stated. 'However long I'm supposed to be in the show, I'm privileged for that,' the actor said. Dyer added: 'This word "soap", I don't think it's a disrespectful thing. It's high class television now. I don't care what anyone says. There's a stigma towards it, but it's powerful stuff that you're watching and you're believing and that's the thing to it.'

It was inevitable, really, but Amazon has renewed The Man In The High Castle​ for a second season. It has become Amazon's most successful original drama to date and according to Deadline, the second season will be available to stream next year. Based on a novel by Philip K Dick​, The Man In The High Castle is set in an alternate present in which the Axis powers won World War II. In this world, America has been split between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan to create an oppressive dictatorship.​ Writer Frank Spotnitz has revealed that he already knows how the series will end, but doesn't yet know how many seasons it will run for.
Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga are to present a major ten-part BBC2 series on the story of art called Civilisations. The series will cover art's journey on a global scale from prehistoric times to the present day. It is nearly half-a-century since Kenneth Clark's ground-breaking series Civilisation, about Western art, which will inspire the new commission. Civilisations will cover art from Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. Historian Schama will present six programmes, while classicist Beard will present two, based on the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and its Chinese, Iranian and Mexican influences. Historian and writer David Olusoga, who is also making two programmes, will call upon his expertise in empire, military history and the relationships between global cultures. Director General of the BBC Tony Hall said: 'I remember the impact Civilisation had on me when I was in school: it was the start of a lifelong passion for the arts. Inspired by that great programme of the past, we want to excite a new generation.' Beard said: 'I remember watching the original Civilisation with my Mum and Dad and it feels pretty humbling now to be on the other side of the camera. But for me it's also exciting that in Civilisations we will be seeing ancient Greece and Rome in the context of early art across the globe.' Olusoga said it was art on television that inspired him as a youngster: 'When I was growing up on a council estate my family didn't have the money to visit galleries or museums but my mother was able to open up the worlds of art and culture to me through documentaries on the BBC, programmes that broadened my horizons and transformed my view of the world. Civilisations is the next chapter in that tradition of TV with the power to change lives.' Civilisations will be shot around the globe, filming in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Alongside the presenters it will also speak to local experts and artists. Filming begins in 2016 and the series is expected to be shown towards the end of 2017.
This blogger's old mucker Paul Cornell had written a superb blog on British SF TV drama which deserves to be released on DVD but, so far, hasn't been. Check it out.
Mirra Group Newspapers has extremely lost its appeal over damages it must pay to eight victims of phone-hacking. The company had whinged that the £1.25m it was told to pay in total was 'out of all proportion' to the harm done. In May, Mr Justice Mann awarded mucho wonga in damages to the eight, including actor Shane Richie and ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, saying that the invasions of privacy were 'serious and prolonged.' The Mirra Group agreed that it should pay some coin which was big of it considering that it had spent the best part of a decade lying that it had never not done none of that there phone-hacking, no siree, Bob - but had disputed the amounts. In the Court of Appeal judgement, Lady Justice Arden said it was 'wrong' to look at the sums awarded without remembering that 'there were misuses of private information beyond our ability to know and count. In addition the circulation of the private information was to a very large number of persons and touched on the most intimate part of the lives of the some of the respondents,' she said. 'It understandably caused great distress.' In court, it also emerged there is to be a Victims' Right to Review of the decision last Friday by the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge ten individuals who worked for Mirra Group Newspapers with criminal phone-hacking offences. Gerald Shamash, the solicitor for Gascoigne and Alan Yentob, the BBC's former creative director, said that his clients were 'mightily relieved' with the ruling. Actress Sadie Frost won the largest compensation payment - two hundred and sixty thousand two hundred and fifty knicker. Richie, Gazza, Yentob, Lucy Taggart, Robert Ashworth, Lauren Alcorn and Shobna Gulati were awarded between seventy two grand and two hundred and one thousand smackers. The compensation to each exceeded the previous record for a UK privacy case - the sixty thousand quid the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World was ordered to pay to the former Formula 1 boss Max Mosley in 2008.
Oily dusgraceful twonk George Osborne met billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch - whom no one is scared of any more - twice in June, mere days before the Treasury foisted the controversial funding deal on the BBC in which the broadcaster was told it would have to pay the seven hundred million smackers cost of funding TV licences for the over-seventy fives. Although, of course, only someone with an interest in the barmiest of mad-crazy conspiracy theories would even dare to suggest that the two things are, in any way, linked. Perish the very thought. The chancellor also met 'senior News Corp executives and editors' four more times after the General Erection on 7 May before informing the BBC about the proposed funding settlement officially on 3 July, the Gruniad has claimed. The foisting of the licence fee funding on the BBC was publicly announced three days later. The records, published by the Treasury, do not give a precise date for the Murdoch meetings other than to say they were 'in June', and their purpose is described as 'general discussion.' And, clearly, not 'making plans to bowdlerise the BBC thus giving billionaire tyrant Murdoch greater power in the UK media market'. Obviously. Details about the funding settlement first emerged in the Murdoch-owned The Sunday Times on 5 July in an article headlined Osborne hits BBC to pay welfare bill. It quoted 'senior government sources' as saying that a 'deal' was close following meetings over the previous week between Osborne, the BBC Director General, Tony Hall, and representatives from the Departments for Work and Pensions and Culture, Media and Sport. As well as his meetings with billionaire tyrant Murdoch (whom no one is scared of any more), the chancellor also had lunch with News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson on 31 May and met the then Sun editor, David Dinsmore, the following month. Billionaire tyrant Murdoch's News Corp owns the Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times through its subsidiary News UK. They also used to own the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World before it was closed in shame and ignominy after being caught hacking the phones of literally hundred of people and then publicly lying about it for several years. During the same period between the erection and the funding deal, Osborne also met BBC executives twice, one meeting with Hall and on another occasion with the head of news, James Harding. Billionaire tyrant Murdoch's name appears earlier in the list than Hall’', suggesting that the chancellor met the News Corp mogul before sitting down with Hall to lay out his plans. The records also list a June meeting with the Sun, The Times and the Daily Scum Mail - all great bosom chums of the BBC, of course - and another with The Sunday Times, although who represented the newspapers is not stated. The only other newspapers Osborne met between the erection and the public announcement of the BBC funding deal were the Financial Times and the New York Times, according to the disclosure. Osborne, the Gruniad claim, is 'understood' to have 'been the driving force' behind the BBC settlement, which critics say should have been exposed to greater scrutiny from parliament and the public. It was, instead, announced as 'an agreed settlement' on 6 July, with the BBC told that it could increase the £145.50 licence fee by inflation if the broadcaster's scale and scope remained unchanged. Following the settlement, the chancellor was asked by then shadow culture secretary, Chris Bryant, to reveal whether he had met billionaire tyrant Murdoch in the run-up to the deal, arguing there was 'significant public interest' in early publication of meetings given the potential benefits to News Corp from a weakened BBC. The records, which run up until the end of September, also list subsequent meetings with the Torygraph chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan, the Gruniad Morning Star editor, Katharine Viner, and 'unnamed representatives' from the Evening Standard, as well as additional meetings with the Financial Times and with billionaire tyrant Murdoch. The chancellor also had dinner with both billionaire tyrant Murdoch and Thomson on 13 September and the following evening dined with Aidan Barclay, who manages the Torygraph as part of the UK business of his father and uncle, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay. Billionaire tyrant Murdoch's close relationship with the Conservative government was thrown into sharp relief during the phone-hacking scandal, when he told a Commons select committee hearing that he 'entered Downing Street by the back door' to meet David Cameron and celebrate the 2010 general erection result to avoid photographers. He also enjoyed similar access to Gordon Brown, he said. Cameron also met Dinsmore in June, as well as John Witherow, the editor of The Times and the BBC’s Harding, similar records reveal. He has since met Thomson and Dinsmore, this time accompanied by the newspaper’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn. He has also met Viner and the Gruniad's Jonathan Freedland and Patrick Wintour, as well as Hall in September. The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale, whose brief incorporates both newspapers and broadcasting, only held one meeting with senior representatives from the newspaper industry between the erection and the licence fee settlement, dining with weekday and weekend editors of the Mirra, Peter Willis and Alison Phillips, on 10 June. It was not until more than four months after the erection that he met representatives from News Corp newspapers, having breakfast with Dinsmore on 22 September and lunch with Witherow the following day. However, in June, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale met 'unnamed representatives' from Sky, which is thirty nine per cent owned by News Corp, and his special adviser, Mimi Macejkova, met the Sky chief executive, Jeremy Darroch. That month, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale also met the ITV chief executive, greasy gnome Adam Crozier and its chairman, former Tory minister Archie Norman, as well as their counterparts at Channel Four, David Abraham and Lord Burns. On Tuesday, analysis of ministerial meetings showed that Osborne met billionaire tyrant Murdoch (whom no one is scared of any more) three times for the year until May. In total, News Corp executives met ministers eighteen times over the year.
From The North correction: This blogger wishes dear blog readers to be aware that, in the preceding story about meetings between government ministers and billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch (whom no one is scared of any more), due to human error a photographic image of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch (whom no one is scared of any more) was, accidentally, replaced by an image of The Devil. This blogger would like to sincerely apologise for any upset or embarrassment caused. To Satan. Next ...

A special wall-coating designed to soak anyone who tries to urinate against it is being trialled by a London council. The liquid-repelling coating will be used at two popular drinking locations in Shoreditch and Dalston. Hackney Council spends one hundred grand a year cleaning urine off walls and pavements. Feryal Dermici, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: 'If the prospect of a fine doesn't put them off from weeing in the street, maybe the risk of getting covered in urine will.' The treatment creates a barrier that repels liquid, meaning that urine will bounce off the wall and back towards the offender. It is also intended to stop urine soaking into the wall, reducing stains and smells. A council spokeswoman urged people to enjoy themselves responsibly and 'think about the people living nearby.'
Oh dear, what can the matter be? Plucky pensioner Gladys Phillips didn't panic when she found herself locked in a public toilet for four days – she settled down to knit a scarf and munched on a packet of mint imperials. Gladys, eighty two, was out shopping in Felixstowe when, feeling the need to answer a call of nature, she visited a newly installed public loo off Hamilton Road reports the Suffolk Gazette. But she was unaware that the hi-tech convenience had not yet been officially opened to the public, and after forcing her way inside the door locked tight behind her. It was not until four days later when workmen came to finish the painting that Gladys was found sitting on the loo finishing off the last few stitches of her pink scarf. 'I was not really concerned at first when I couldn't get out,' Gladys said. 'In fact I was just relieved I'd managed to go to the loo. I kept banging on the door and walls, and shouting for help, but obviously no one could hear me. I realised I had to tough it out, and so I sat on the loo and began knitting. Luckily I had just been to the shops and picked up a new ball of pink wool, so I began making a scarf, which one of my lucky grandchildren will now get for Christmas. I had also popped into the sweet shop after collecting my pension, so I had a full bag of mint imperials to eat which kept my spirits up no end. The loo was very clean and cosy. I was able to sleep on my big overcoat and was lovely and warm and if I got cold I just sat under the hand dryer for a while. It was a great relief when the nice builder turned up and opened the door. He got quite a shock, I can tell you.' Gladys lives on her own and does not have a telephone, so her daughter, who now live in nearby Bury St Edmunds, had no idea that her mother was missing from home. 'They have now been on at me to get a phone installed at home – and one of these mobile phone things for when I'm out shopping. I suppose I shall have to catch up with the times.' A Felixstowe town councillor 'insider' allegedly said: 'We're glad Gladys is none the worse for her ordeal. The fact that she was quite happy in the loo for four days does, however, show how modern and hi-tech it is.' The convenience is now extremely open to the general public, but Gladys has promised not to stop for a cup of tea on future shopping trips, just in case she gets caught short again.

Katie Hopkins's TLC talk show If Katie Hopkins Ruled The World has, reportedly, been axed has been axed after just one series according to the Gruniad Morning Star. A spokesman told the newspaper that it had 'no comment' on whether If Katie Hopkins Ruled the World would return but, according to the newspaper, alleged - although anonymous - 'sources' allegedly say that Hopkins has allegedly been told that to never darken their door again. Tragedy.

The children's author Peter Dickinson, who twice won the Carnegie medal, has died on his eighty eighth birthday. The fantasy writer won the prestigious award in 1979 for Tulku and in 1980 for City Of Gold & Other Stories from The Old Testament. Peter wrote almost sixty books which have been translated into more than fifty different languages and was awarded an OBE for his services to literature in 2009. He died in Winchester on 16 December after a brief illness, with his family by his side. Philip Pullman was among the authors who have paid tribute to the Dickinson. 'I was very sorry to hear of the death of Peter Dickinson. He was a fine writer and a lovely man,' Pullman tweeted. Neil Gaiman added: 'The Weathermonger books hit me hard when I was a boy. [Peter] was a warm and satisfyingly brilliant writer. Giant Cold was a true dream. A real loss to literature. I wish I'd known him and my thoughts and love go to his wife, Robin.' Peter was born in Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia (now part of Zambia), the second of the four sons whose father worked for the Colonial Service. A vociferous reader as a child, Peter's parents moved back to England so that he and his brothers could attend school. Peter's father died suddenly but Dickinson entered Saint Ronan's Prep School in 1936 with financial support from the family. His novel Hindsight (1983) is based on the period he spent in Devon after the school was evacuated from Kent during the war. Peter later attended Eton College from 1941 and, after completing his National Service (in 1948), he studied at King's College, Cambridge, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951. For seventeen years he worked as assistant editor, resident poet and reviewer for Punch magazine. His first two novels - The Weathermonger and Skin Deep - were published in 1968 and were well received; the latter a mystery novel for adults and the former a classic science fiction work for children. He soon completed sequels to both and left Punch to be a full-time author in 1969. Peter's work broadly fell into three general categories: crime fiction for adults (including the James Pibble series which started with Skin Deep), stunningly good speculative and supernatural fiction for older children and simpler children's books. One of his other works was the collection Chance, Luck & Destiny (1975), which he called 'prose and verse, fact and fiction, on the themes of the title.' It won the second annual Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for children's non-fiction in 1977. Among his most famous works - and the one that yer actual Keith Telly Topping knew him best for - was The Changes trilogy comprising three books, The Weathermonger, Heartsease and The Devil's Children. It was adapted, in 1975, as the classic BBC children's series, The Changes. Another of Peter's acclaimed children's novels, Mandog (1972), was also adapted by the BBC. In 1982, Rankin/Bass Productions released The Flight Of Dragons, a made-for-TV animated film, aspects of which were based on Dickinson's novel of the same name. The character design in the film bears a resemblance to the illustrations in the book and one of the main characters is the author himself struggling to complete his text. Peter was the first person to win the Carnegie medal twice and was nominated for the prestigious medal nine times in all, including his last book In The Palace Of The Khans, which was published in 2012. He was the first, and so far only, author to win the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger award for two consecutive novels - Skin Deep in 1968 and A Pride Of Heroes in 1969. A pair of 'alternative history' novels, King & Joker (1976) and Skeleton-In-Waiting (1989), were based on the premise that Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence (1864–1892) survived and became king instead of his brother, George V. Peter was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and former chairman of the Society of Authors. For years Peter listed 'manual labour' as one pastime; in his later years, he amended this to 'bridge and gardening.' Peter married Mary Rose Barnard in 1953; the couple had two daughters and two sons including the author John Dickinson. Mary died in 1988. Some years earlier, Peter had met Robin McKinley, an American author of fantasy novels. After a long friendship, they married in 1991. Robin said in 2009 that she cannot judge the literary work of people she likes personally, but: 'Fortunately I had been passionately devoted to [Peter's] books years before I met him so I can merely go on thinking they're wonderful and he's brilliant now.' Peter is survived by his second wife, four children and six grandchildren.

Tributes have been paid to broadcaster and journalist Kathy Secker after her sudden death ealier this week. Kathy was a household name in the North East, having been a Tyne Tees presenter for many years and hosting a dedication show on BBC Newcastle where, for a few years, she was a colleague of this blogger. She was also involved in the founding of the Grace House children's hospice in Sunderland. Her family said in a statement: 'We are all so shocked and sad and ask that we be left to grieve at this time.' Kathy joined Tyne Tees in 1976 and became presenter and news reader, then joined the BBC in 1994. Her pre-broadcasting career included stints as a secretary to an ear, nose and throat specialist, a bank clerk, a fashion model and an actress. BBC Newcastle's editor, Doug Morris, said: 'Kathy's passing comes as a huge shock to all of us at the radio station. She was a genuine friend to so many of us here and working with her was always such a pleasure. She was more than a professional broadcaster; she truly understood the connection between local radio and the audience and the companionship it provides.' Her family added: 'We know Kathy was held the hearts of many in the North East from her years presenting with Tyne Tees and BBC radio. To her family though she was just a much loved mum, sister, step-mum and Glamma.' By her own admission, the sixty nine-year-old was a late starter at just about every step of her career – not that age ever hindered or worried her. When she left school in Bedlington, Kathy went to work in a Newcastle bank, firstly as a secretary before qualifying as a cashier. She married her childhood sweetheart, Wally Secker, and it was he who persuaded her to try her hand at modelling at the age of twenty four. It was a successful move. 'I took the chance and left banking – it was very exciting to leave it behind and go into something else not knowing whether I was going to succeed or not. I was very lucky – one of a few girls to do well enough to stay in the region,' said Kathy at the time. During this period in the late 1960s and early 70s when the fashion industry was booming, Kathy was a top international photographic model. Her looks and personality opened the door of television advertising and soon she was the face of the Northern Gas Board. 'I never planned it – it just happened but it became the most successful campaign they ever had. Even today, many people of a certain age will remember the slogan "Come on in, you'll love it,"' she recalled. Kathy's time at Tyne Tees has also saw her in a newsreading role – again with no training at all. Her time at ITV saw her strike up her familiar partnership with Bill Steel which lasted until 1995 when she joined Tonight, and then presented North East On Sunday as well as having a regular consumer slot on North East Tonight, where she enjoyed 'exposing all the crooks and rogues.' Kathy is survived by her second husband, James, and three children.

Jimmy Hill, one of English football's most influential figures of the last fifty years, has died at the age of eighty seven. As chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association in the early 1960s he led the campaign for the scrapping of maximum wages for professional footballers. So, every time you see some waste of space cowardly mercinary turning out and massively under-performing for your club, dear blog reader, that one hundred and fifty thousand grand a week the chap is earning is, ultimately, Jim The Chin's fault. Just sayin', you know. The former Match Of The Day presenter made more than six hundred appearances on the programme. His other numerous roles in football included time spent as a player, manager, chairman and analyst. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008. In a statement, his agent, Jane Morgan, said: 'It is with great sadness that Bryony Hill and the children of Jimmy Hill have announced that Jimmy passed away peacefully aged eighty seven after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.' Tony Hall, the BBC's Director General, said: 'For generations of fans Jimmy Hill was an authoritative voice as both a presenter and analyst. He was committed to innovation in every aspect of the game, including broadcasting and always believed supporters came first. His influence lives on in the programmes we enjoy today.' Some of the other ideas which Hill helped make a reality included establishing a player's right to freedom of movement at the end of his contract and the introduction of the three points for a win system in the early 1980s. He also commissioned the first English all-seater stadium, introduced the first electronic scoreboard in 1964 and the first full colour match-day programme. Jimmy - and his trademark massive chin - was born in Balham the son of a milkman. Jim was a pupil at Henry Thornton Grammar School, Clapham. He then did his national service as a clerk in the Royal Army Service Corps in which he attained the rank of Corporal and was considered a potential candidate for officer training in the immediate post-war years. He first came to football as a fan, regularly watching football at local club Crystal Palace. In 1949 he played a few games for Folkestone in the Southern-league and had a trial with Reading. The offer of a first professional contract, however, came from Brentford, then in the Second Division. Jimmy spent two years at Griffin Park, playing eighty three league matches and scoring ten goals with the future England manager Ron Greenwood as a teammate, before Jim moved, in 1952, to Fulham who were also in the Second Division, for the fee of twenty five grand. He played nearly three hundred games for the Cottagers over the next decade, scoring fifty two goals as a tricky right-winger. Which, curiously enough, also neatly describes his later political affiliations. He set a club record scoring five times for Fulham in an away match against Doncaster Rovers. When Fulham reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1958, Jimmy scored in every round. The following season, however, as they achieved promotion to the top flight, he failed to get on the scoresheet at all until Good Friday, when he scored a hat-trick – all three with headers, from corners taken by Tosh Chamberlain – as the team came from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday six-two. In 1957 Hill had succeeded Jimmy Guthrie as chairman of the players' union, continuing the long fight for an end to the maximum wage. Encouraged by Cliff Lloyd, the union's secretary, Jimmy forced the clubs to capitulate in 1961, when his Fulham teammate Johnny Haynes became the first one hundred pounds per week player. Two years later another battle would be won when, after George Eastham had protested against Newcastle United's refusal to allow him to join The Arse, the clubs lost their quasi-feudal right to hang on to the ownership of players after the expiry of their contracts. In November 1961, after retiring as a player aged thirty three, Jimmy became manager of Coventry City. His time at Coventry was marked by great changes to the club which was nicknamed The Sky Blue Revolution. He introduced pre-match and half-time entertainment, provided free soft drinks and snacks for children, laid on a supporters special train to take fans to away fixtures, and even co-wrote the club song, sung to the tune of 'The Eton Boating Song.' His partnership with the chairman Derrick Robbins also led to a major redevelopment of Highfield Road, with two new stands being built. After winning the Division Three championship in 1963–64, and the Division Two title in 1966–67, Jimmy quit the club shortly before the start of the 1967–68 season as the club entered the top flight for the first time. He moved into broadcasting, acting as the technical adviser to the BBC's football-based drama series United! before becoming Head of Sport at London Weekend Television from 1968 to 1972 where he developed the science of match analysis on The Big Match and encouraged the employment of slow-motion replays, using them not just as a way of looking at highlights, such as goals, but to examine incorrect decisions by match officials. He also fronted ITV's 1970 World Cup coverage which, at his suggestion, used the first panel of football pundits. The legendary studio disagreements between Derek Dougan, Malcolm Allison, Paddy Crerand and others became cult viewing and Jimmy had, effectively, invented modern sporting punditry. Perhaps no incident better sums up Jimmy's multifaceted life in football than the one which occurred at Highbury in September 1972, after a linesman, Dennis Drewitt, had left the field with a pulled muscle during the match between The Arse and Liverpool. Since the match could not be completed without a full complement of qualified officials, an appeal was made over the tannoy. There to answer it, having attended the match as a spectator, was the familiar figure of Hill – a fully qualified referee. Changing into a tracksuit, he ran the line for the remainder of a match. Somehow, nothing could have been less surprising. Jimmy, who has a statue of him at Coventry's Ricoh Arena, went on to enjoy spells as chairman at Coventry, Fulham and Charlton. He moved to the BBC in 1973 where he became presenter of Match Of The Day until he handed over the reins to Des Lynam in 1989. As a pundit, Jimmy was never afraid to make criticisms, challenge referees' decisions or float theories - some brilliant, others just plain barmy. Lasting enmity North of the border came his way when he dismissed the sizzling shot with which David Narey gave Scotland the lead against Brazil in the 1982 World Cup finals as 'a toe-poke' (Brazil went on to win the game four-one which hardly salved the wounds of the enraged Jocks). He was appointed OBE for services to football in 1994. In 1999, Hill moved from the BBC to Sky Sports, where he fronted Jimmy Hill's Sunday Supplement, a weekly discussion show between Hill and three football journalists conducted over a Sunday breakfast, a format which is, with minor modifications, is still running. Married three times, Jimmy is survived by his third wife, Bryony and five children, Duncan, Graham Alison, Jamie and Joanna.
A German historian has unearthed Adolf Hitler's long-lost medical records, which seem to confirm the urban legend that he only had one testicle according to someone of no importance in the Gruniad. The records, taken during a medical exam following Hitler's arrest over the failed Munchen Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, suggest that he suffered from 'right-side cryptorchidism', or an undescended right testicle. Tragically, the records do not reveal whether Himmler had something simm'lar.
Astronomers have spotted a planet that is the closest potentially habitable world humanity has ever seen. The planet is around four times as big as Earth and sits perfectly within the so-called 'Goldilocks Zone' that would make it able to support life. Astronomers look for worlds that it in that perfect region, where it is not too hot or cold to support liquid water. And, also, shit porridge in the woods. Anyway, this is one of the first times that astronomers have spotted a planet near to us that has the kind of rocky, solid surface that is thought to be necessary for alien life. 'It is a particularly exciting find because all three planets are of low enough mass to be potentially rocky and have a solid surface, and the middle planet, Wolf 1061c, sits within the "Goldilocks Zone" where it might be possible for liquid water - and maybe even life - to exist,' said lead study author Doctor Duncan Wright in a statement. 'It is fascinating to look out at the vastness of space and think a star so very close to us — a near neighbour — could host a habitable planet.' Scientists might now be able to catch a view of the planet, helping them study its atmosphere and explore whether it might be able to support life. The team found three planets going around a star which is stable like our own but smaller and relatively cool. One of the planets, known as Wolf 1061c, sits squarely within the habitable zone. The team, from the University of New South Wales, made the discovery using the HARPS spectrograph, which is part of the European Southern Observatory's 3.6 metre telescope in La Silla in Chile. 'Our team has developed a new technique that improves the analysis of the data from this precise, purpose-built, planet-hunting instrument, and we have studied more than a decade's worth of observations of Wolf 1061,' Professor Chris Tinney, head of the Exoplanetary Science at UNSW group, said in a statement. 'These three planets right next door to us join the small but growing ranks of potentially habitable rocky worlds orbiting nearby stars cooler than our Sun.' Scientists will now hope that they can explore the planet’s atmosphere in more detail.

On Saturday evening, yer actual Keith Telly Topping spent some time up at Our Colin Telly Topping and Our Maureen Telly Topping's spacious and palatial Forest Hall drum. A first, proper, family get-together in ooo ... this decade, at least! Civilised and intelligent conversation mixed with the Strictly Come Dancing finale, a little wine - actually, a lot of wine - and a geet big lush bowl of garlic and ginger prawns with spring onions and rice. Well-tasty.
And now, dear blog reader, a new From The North series, Sub-Editors Go Mental. Numbers one to four.
Father Christmas came early this year for Kinks fans. Santa delivered the band's principal members, Ray and Dave Davies together on stage, for the first time in nearly two decades. At Dave's solo concert at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on Friday night, Ray appeared on stage with his younger brother for a powerful rendition of 'You Really Got Me'. The brothers have had a famously caustic sibling rivalry and haven't performed together in public since The Kinks played their last show in Norway, in June 1996. Both brothers have, on occasion, expressed interest in a reunion.
So, dear blog reader, among the various items on the Stately Telly Topping playlist this week have been this ...
And this ... (For about the first time in twenty years judging by the dust on the cover!)
And this ... (For the first time since ... last week.)
And this ...
This blogger has to confess, dear blog reader, that he was rather late in getting into The Broughts their very selves. It would've been late-90s/early-2000s whilst exploring a few 'suggested listening' columns in Mojo. Yer actual picked up this very CD and never looked back, really. A truly righteous noise, so it was. So, dear blog reader, for the latest Keith Telly Topping 45(s) of the Day, a double helping of Warwick's finest, yer actual Ed and his bloods. Starting with their most famous anthem.
... and concluding with something recorded in late 1969 in Abbey Road (presumably, whilst the Be-atles were down the corridor) yet which sounds like it could have been knocked up in a studio in New York last week. Sing, brothers, sing.