Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I Can Stare For A Thousand Years

Death In Paradise​ returned for its fifth series to easily top the overnight ratings on Thursday night. The popular BBC1 Caribbean crime drama attracted an average overnight audience of 6.82 million at 9pm. This is down by around one hundred thousand punters from last year's series opener which was watched by 6.9m overnight punters in January 2015, but it demolished BBC1's slot average of 4.1m for the past twelve months. Earlier, Dickensian​ continued with 3.06m at 8pm. On ITV, the new period drama Jericho​ opened with 2.96m at 9pm. The ITV Studios period drama, set in the Yorkshire Dales in the Nineteenth Century, lost around seven hundred thousand viewers over the period that it was on-air, but still managed to top ITV's slot average of 2.7m. Worthless, laughless pile of steaming rancid diarrhoea Birds Of A Feather ​was also back for a new series - they really didn't need to have bothered - with 3.86m watching the thing at 8.30pm. Channel Five's Celebrity Big Brother​ dipped to 1.85m at 9pm while Britain's Bloody Crown had seven hundred and fifty one thousand. The Restoration Man drew an audience of 1.5m for Channel Four whilst Location, Location, Location had 2.13m. The second and final part of You Make Me Feel Like Dancing could only manage seven hundred and thirty thousand viewers for BBC2. This was three hundred thousand below last week's episode. World's Sneakiest Animals attracted 1.82m.

Celebrity Big Brother's first live eviction was seen by 1.71 million overnight viewers on Friday night as Winston McKenzie (no, me neither) was extremely evicted. An average audience of 1.59 million subsequently watched Lip Sync Battle UK on Channel Five. The Martin Lewis Money Show was ITV's highest-rated show of the night with 4.13 million, while Mr Selfridge was seen by 3.48 million. Football dominated the schedule on BBC1, and Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws's FA Cup encounter with Exeter City at St James' Park (no, the other one) drew an evening high outside of soaps of 5.33 million. That was sandwiched between The ONE Show with 4.34 million and The Graham Norton Show with 3.31 million. On BBC2, Celebrity Antiques Roadshow​ was seen by 1.55 million, followed by Mastermind with 1.7 million and What To Buy & Why with 1.6 million. The evening continued with 1.4 million for Royal Wives At War, while Qi rounded BBC2's evening off with 1.3 million. The première of Amy on Channel Four attracted 1.57 million at 9pm. It was preceded by Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Dinners with 1.41 million.

Comedy line of the week was from Qi. Alan Davies was in the middle of an extended rant about the various kitchen appliances he owns which issue a series - differently pitched - bleeps to let Alan know they've finished their various tasks. 'Jesus, it must be like living with Kraftwerk' Phill Jupitas observed.
The Voice may have brought in new judges in Boy George and that awful Faith woman, but the overnight audience for Saturday night's series première was down year-on-year. The fifth run of the BBC1 singing competition appealed to 7.12 million, according to overnight figures. Twelve months ago, the series four première was seen by 8.05 million. For comparison, the 2015 series of The X Factor began with 7.11 million on ITV. Earlier on BBC1, Celebrity Mastermind attracted 4.15m and Pointless Celebrities had 5.58m. After The Voice, Casualty and Match Of The Day (featuring yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved though unsellable Magpies latest inglorious, but wholly predictable, one goal defeat to Watford) drew 5.23 million and 3.06 million respectively. On ITV, Ninja Warrior averaged 3.89 million and Take Me Out failed to entertain 2.98 million. The Jonathan Ross Show followed with 2.06 million. BBC2's night began with Victorian Bakers (1.25m), followed by Dad's Army (1.95m), Live At The Apollo (1.24m), the opening episode of the, seemingly hopeless, Insert Name Here (nine hundred and forty nine thousand) and Qi XL (1.01m). Channel Four's Britain's Wildest Weather 2015 was watched by 1.44m whilst the movie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire had an audience of 2.05m. On Channel Five, Celebrity Big Brother managed 1.24 million.

War & Peace​ could be proving a bit too difficult and highbrow for some - bone-thick - viewers, as it lost around a million from last week's launch. That said, Sunday nights second episode still attracted a hefty audience for BBC1 with an average overnight figure of 5.33m tuning in at 9pm. Earlier, Countryfile​ was the biggest hit on Sunday evening across all channels with 7.40m punters at 6.30pm, followed by Still Open All Hours​ with 6.99m at 7.30pm and Antiques Roadshow​ with 5.47m at 8pm. So, a very strong night for the BBC. On ITV, the channel's latest colossal drama flop, Beowulf,​ dipped to 2.06m at 7pm, while reliable Endeavour​ rose to 4.75m at 8pm. Channel Four's Walking The Himalayas ​was watched by 1.61m at 8pm, followed by the really rather good Deutschland Eighty Three ​with eight hundred and thirty thousand at 9pm. On Channel Fie, Celebrity Big Brother​ continued with 1.81m at 9pm. BBC2's Dragons' Den​ attracted 2.56m at 8pm.

The final and consolidated numbers for the Top Eighteen programmes, for week-ending Sunday 3 January 2016 are as follows:-
1 Sherlock - Fri BBC1 - 11.64m
2 New Year's Eve Fireworks - Thurs BBC1 - 11.48m
3 EastEnders - Fri BBC1 - 9.40m
4 War & Peace - Sun BBC1 - 8.41m
5 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.12m
6 Mrs Brown's Boys - Fri BBC1 - 7.92m
7 And Then There Were None - Mon BBC1 - 7.66m
8 BBC News - Fri BBC1 - 7.03m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.00m
10 Emmerdale - Fri ITV - 6.90m
11 Still Open All Hours - Sun BBC1 - 6.59m
12 Billionaire Boy - Fri BBC1 - 6.34m
13 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 6.05m
14 Bryan Adams Rocks Big Ben Live - Thurs BBC1 - 5.75m
15 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.35m
16 Pointless - Wed BBC1 - 5.00m
17 Endeavour - Sun ITV - 4.83*
18 Dickensian - Fri BBC1 - 4.82m
These consolidated figures include viewers who watched the programmes live and on catch-up, but does not include those who watch on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via computers. Those ITV programmes marked * indicates that these figures do not include HD viewers. The Christmas ​episode of Sherlock was the most watched TV show of the entire festive period. 11.64 million people tuned in to watch yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman his very self explore the mystery of The Abominable Bride. The ninety minute special attracted overnight viewing figures of 8.41 million. This is the second largest final and consolidated audience for a Sherlock episode, behind the 12.7 million achieved by The Empty Hearse the opening episode of series three. It was a another complete horrorshow (and drag) of a week for ITV with, aside from various episodes of Corrie and Emmerdale and the return of Endeavour not a single programme on the channel attracting a consolidated audience of more than four million. The returns of Ninja Warrior and Take Me Out could only achieve 3.35 million and 3.24 million respectively whilst the much-trailed - and very costly - Beowulf opening episode had a laughably low 2.38 million punters. On BBC2, Jools's Annual Hootenany drew an audience of 3.08m. Dragon's Den was watched by 2.91m viewers, followed by Christmas University Challenge (2.88m), Dad's Army (2.34m), Gareth Malone's Great Choir Reunion (2.31m), Only Connect (2.27m), Charlie Brooker's 2015 Wipe (2.03m), Flog it! (1.92m), The Many Faces Of Ronnie Corbett (1.70m), Top Gear: From A To Z (1.67m), Qi (1.64m) and A Life On Screen: Stephen Fry (also 1.64m). Gogglebox was Channel Four's top-rated broadcast of the week (2.86m), followed by Walking The Himalayas (2.18m), new imported drama Deutschland Eighty Three (2.13m) and Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.03m). World's Strongest Man was Channel Five's best performing broadcast of the week (1.94m). ITV2's broadcast of Skyfall attracted 1.23m and the Sky Movies Premiere channel's showing of Kingsman: The Secret Service also drew an audience above the channel's usual average (1.22m). Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Super Sunday and the clash between Moscow Chelski FC and Stottingtot Hotshots was watched by 1.50m punters, the largest audience for a multichannel broadcast during the week. Sky Sports 2's coverage of Live Test Cricket and the final day of England's second test against South Africa was watched by four hundred and eighty three thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast, as usual, with five hundred and ninety thousand punters. The Monday Bank Holiday Gillette Soccer Special was seen by four hundred and seventy two thousand. Foyle's War was ITV3's top-rated broadcast with seven hundred and seventy six thousand. The return of The Young Montalbano on BBC4 drew an audience of 1.06m. Roy Orbison: One Of The Lonely Ones was watched by nine hundred and thirteen thousand, whilst Royal Institution Christmas Lectures had six hundred and seventy one thousand and Castles: Britain's Fortified History was watched by five hundred and eighty six thousand. The movies Toy Story II, Shrek The Third and How To Train Your Dragon topped BBC3's top-ten list (eight hundred and fourteen thousand, eight hundred and nine thousand and seven hundred and sixty nine thousand respectively). A top-ten which included not a single programme actually made for BBC3. Don't forget to close the door behind you when your arses get booted online in a few weeks time, chaps. You won't be missed by anyone that actually matters. A repeat of the Sherlock New Year special was watched by six hundred and fourteen thousand. Sky 1's most watched programme was Hawaii Five-0 watched by nine hundred and thirty eight million. A second showing of Fungus The Bogeyman (featuring that awful Wood woman) drew eight hundred and thirty three thousand. Sky Atlantic's entire weekly top ten-list was composed of episodes from Game Of Thrones (Sunday's one hundred and thirty three thousand was the highest). Thus giving yer actual Keith Telly Topping a chance to catch up with series five after he'd ploughed through the box set he bought himself for Christmas. Eee, them Lannisters, they're a right bunch of sod are they not? Anyway, on Sky Living, Blindspot was watched by nine hundred and seventy thousand and Grey's Anatomy by five hundred and twenty seven thousand. Scandal drew three hundred and ninety eight thousand. Sky Arts' Andre Rieu: New Year's Eve Punch had ninety four thousand whilst Beatles Stories was seen by eighty two thousand. 5USA's broadcast of the movie Zulu Dawn was watched by two hundred and seventy two thousand viewers, The Mysteries Of Laura by two hundred and fifty four thousand. NCIS was in the 5USA top ten and also featured in the top tens of FOX - which was headed by Tyrant (one hundred and twenty five thousand) - and the Universal Channel - on which Battle Creek drew an audience of one hundred and thirty six thousand. Yet another episode of NCIS - a different one, because they always are - was in CBS Action's weekly-list (ninety nine thousand). Bad Girls drew one hundred and six thousand. On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme with nine hundred and twenty two thousand. That was followed by Would I Lie To You? (three hundred and ninety one thousand) and Top Gear (three hundred and eighty four thousand). Drama's Judge John Deed was watched by four hundred and thirty four thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Death In Paradise (one hundred and forty thousand). Watch's broadcast of Dynamo: Mission Impossible was seen by one hundred and sixty eight three thousand and a repeat of the Doctor Who episode (Deep Breath) by one hundred and fifty six thousand. Yesterday's Porridge: Inside Out had an audience of three hundred and thirty five thousand viewers. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Divers was watched by one hundred and seventy five thousand punters. Alaska: The Last Frontier had one hundred and fifty seven thousand. On Discovery History, The Russian Revolution In Colour topped the weekly-list with audience of twenty eight thousand punters. Special Forces' Secrets drew twenty four thousand. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was watched by twenty nine thousand punters. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was, as usual, Wheeler Dealers (fifty nine thousand). In fact eight out of the top ten most watched programmes on the channel were repeat episodes of the popular car restoration show. National Geographic's top ten was headed by Terror In The Skies which had sixty one thousand viewers and UFO UK: New Evidence (fifty five thousand). Swamp Murders was ID's largest audience of the week (sixty six thousand). Eden's Africa was seen by sixty two thousand. GOLD's top ten was headed by Only Fools & Horses (three hundred and twenty three thousand). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Micky Flanagan:Back In The Game (one hundred and sixty nine thousand). Though Christ alone knows why as the chap is about as funny as a really painful afternoon at the genital torturers. On ITV Encore, Agatha Christie's Poirot was watched by fifty nine thousand viewers. True Drama's Danielle Steel's The Ring had twenty five thousand. Your TV's Snapped had sixty one thousand viewers. On More4, Come Dine With Me was watched by four hundred and seventy three thousand. A broadcast of the classic war movie Where Eagles Dare had one hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers on Spike. Cop Squad was seen by three hundred and seven thousand punters on Pick.

Benidorm​'s return lost around a million viewers from the previous year's launch, while Silent Witness​ was the top overnight attraction on Monday night. The ITV comedy drama Benidorm​'s eighth series premièred to an average overnight audience of 4.58m at 9pm. This is down from 2015's opener which had an overnight of 5.61m. On BBC1, Silent Witness​ continued with 6.16m at 9pm, while Tracey Ullman's Show​ debuted with 2.85m at 10.35pm. Earlier, The ONE Show which featured the FA Cup Fourth round Draw was watched by a bumper audience of 5.50m, the hastily arranged David Bowie: Sound & Vision was seen by 4.50m and he night's episode of EastEnders attracted 7.26m.BBC2's University Challenge​ was seen by three million viewers at 8pm, followed by Only Connect​ with 2.44m at 8.30pm. Later, a repeat of the excellent David Bowie: Five Years had five hundred and ninety thousand whilst Channel Four's own Bowie tribute show, Starman had five hundred and fifty thousand viewers. Also on Channel Four's How To Lose Weight Well​ appealed to 2.03m at 8pm, while The Undateables​ brought in 1.59m at 9pm. New 'comedy' (and, one uses that word very loosely) Crashing​ started with five hundred and eleven thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, the latest Celebrity Big Brother ​was seen by 1.77m at 9pm, followed by the opening episode of the second series of Gotham​ with seven hundred and eighty nine thousand. On BBC4, Horizon had five hundred and sixty one thousand To Boldly Go, three hundred and twenty two thousand and Legends Of The Deep: Giant Squid three hundred and ninety thousand.

Tracey Ullman and the BBC are reported have agreed to make a second series of the comedienne's new sketch show even though it only launched on Monday night. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, 'it has emerged' that both parties have 'agreed in principle' to a second series of the show, although it is unclear at this point if it will be given a more prominent slot. While alleged 'sources' allegedly 'close' to the deal allegedly stressed that no contracts have been signed, it is allegedly understood - by the Gruniad if not anyone more important - that Ullman and the BBC have 'verbally agreed' that they want to do another series. The BBC has indicated it would like another outing of the show even before the first episode had gone out this week, according to one alleged 'insider'. The alleged 'source' allegedly suggested that Ullman was 'content' with scheduling of the show by the BBC even though the late slot was, the Gruniad claim, a 'surprise [to] some.' A BBC spokesman refused to confirm that the show was definitely coming back. They said: 'We are delighted with how well received the first episode has been, but it is far too early to confirm a second series.' Ullman became a star after she appeared in 1980s BBC sketch show Three Of A Kind with Lenny Henry (who used to be funny back then but isn't now) and David Copperfield (who was never funny in the first place), briefly enjoying a career as a pop star. She then moved to the US with her husband where she also found fame, reportedly becoming the highest earning British female comedian.

Celebrity Big Brother viewers have reportedly criticised Channel Five for showing Angie Bowie crying following the death of her ex-husband. Angie, who divorced the musician in 1980, was seen breaking down in tears in front of the cameras. Although producers told BBC Newsbeat that she had been informed of David's death 'off camera', viewers accused them of 'exploiting her grief.' Viewers were shown a short clip teasing Tuesday night's episode, where Angie was seen crying in the Diary Room. 'I haven't seen him in so many years, I can't make a big drama out of it,' she was heard telling producers. 'It just feels like an era has ended with his passing.' Angie, who is now sixty six, met David Bowie when she was nineteen and married him a year later in 1970. During her time in the Celebrity Big Brother house, Angie has spoken to her housemates about their relationship and claimed she hadn't seen her ex-husband in forty years. Although, it's not unfair to say that she has lived off being 'David Bowie's ex-wife' for most of that period. When looking at a picture of his marriage to Angela with a Q magazine journalist in 1997, David remarked that 'marrying that woman was the second biggest mistake of my life.' Sadly, the interviewer didn't follow up with the obvious question.
Silent Witness​ was easily the highst-rated show once again on Tuesday night for BBC1, while ITV had yet another horrorshow of an evening. The Emily Fox drama attracted an average overnight audience of 6.28 million at 9pm. Earlier, EastEnders was watched by 7.18m and Holby City by 4.83m. ITV may want to consider changing their Tuesday line-up, as The Kyle Files was watched by 1.76m, Trawlermen Tales​ brought in 2.16m at 8pm, followed by Saved​ with just 1.25m at 9pm. On BBC2, Victorian Bakers​ appealed to 2.19m, while the first episode of Stargazing Live​ was watched by 1.56m at 9pm. Channel Four's new Derren Brown special Pushed To The Edge​ was seen by nine hundred and forty two thousand at 9pm. Earlier, Tricks Of The Restaurant Trade​ was watched by 1.50m at 8pm and Travel Man​ interested 1.35m at 8.30pm. On Channel Five, Celebrity Big Brother​ had an increased audience of 2.20m at 9pm, followed by Secret Life Of The Family​ with nine hundred and fifty seven thousand viewers at 10pm. On BBC4 Natural World drew an audience of three hundred and ninety one thousand, The Queen's Castle was watched by six hundred and eighty one thousand and The Crusades had three hundred and thirty three thousand.

The X-Files' US premiere on FOX is two weeks away but you don't have to wait any longer to see the opening scene. FOX has this week made the first minute of premiere episode My Struggle available online on its viral site. The scene shows Fox Mulder flipping through old pictures of past cases – as he lays out his personal history in voiceover. 'My name is Fox Mulder. Since my childhood I've been obsessed by a controversial global phenomenon - since my sister disappeared when I was twelve years old in what I believe was an alien abduction. My obsession took me to the FBI, where I investigated paranormal science cases through the auspices of a unit known as The X-Files. Through this unit, I could continue my work on the alien phenomenon, and the search for my missing sister. In 1993, the FBI sought to impugn my work by bringing in a scientist and medical doctor to debunk it, which only deepened my obsession for the better part of a decade, during which time that agent, Dana Scully, had her own faith tested. In 2002, in a change of direction and policy, the FBI closed The X-Files and our investigation ceased – but my personal obsession did not.' So, that's saved you watching two hundred and two episodews and two movies (one of them really bad) if you hadn't seen it before and wanted to catch up.
Gotham - which returns in the US next month - portrays Batman's alter-ego Bruce Wayne as a teenager - which means we're a decade away from seeing him don the cape and cowl. But Sean Pertwee - who, quite brilliantly, plays Bruce's bulter Alfred - told the Digital Spy website that the team behind the show are 'very much' committed to seeing the story through to its end. 'That's the extraordinary thing - it's real-time,' he said. 'It's the honour and the privilege of working on a show like this that we get the opportunity to discover these characters over twenty two hours per season. It's very succinct when you make a movie - you get one scene to tell a huge chunk of life sometimes. And now we're being given the opportunity - with extraordinary support from Warner Bros and FOX - to develop over, so far, nearly forty four hours of television.' Pertwee said that the fun of Gotham lies in reinventing elements of the Batman canon - since we think we know where the story ends up. 'Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon are deep, deep Batman fans and they work very closely with Geoff Johns - everything is given the okay by Geoff, who runs DC Comics. So they're very respectful of what the parameters are and where we can go with some of these characters. But Geoff has trusted in us, and let us redefine elements of it - of these characters that we know and love. We all know where they end up, but the fun is seeing them get there.' Two characters who will be looming large over the second half of series two are classic DC villains Hugo Strange (played by BD Wong) and Mister Freeze (Nathan Darrow). 'Freeze and Strange and people like that will start to be introduced,' Sean confirmed. 'And the second half of the season leans very heavily towards Indian Hill - which is like a Jacob's Ladder nightmare underground experimental lab.' Bruno Heller previously told DS that series two of Gotham was about 'getting it right' and improving on the first - though Pertwee insisted that the entire team is 'insanely proud of season one. But season two is phenomenally different in many respects,' he acknowledged. 'There's this feeling of confidence - a confident swagger or something. We're happy in our creation of Gotham now - it's almost like, "this is where we are", and the audience is now coming to us, in many respects. They accept us and they accept our world and our interpretations. It's really come together and it's been incredibly well-received, the second season, in America and we're very proud of it.'
Following its relocation to Berlin for the recently-concluded fifth season, Homeland's next run of episodes will take place in New York. Showtime President and CEO David Nevins confirmed at the TCA Press Tour on Monday that the drama would shoot in New York City and the state of Maryland. Nevins also confirmed that David Lynch is 'more than halfway through' filming the Twin Peaks revival. The project has had a rocky road back to the small screen, with Lynch at one stage dropping out due to budget constraints, before making a return to the production in May of last year. The new eighteen-episode series will see Kyle MacLachlan's Dale Cooper back in the lead role alongside a whole host of other favourites including Sherilyn Fenn's Audrey Horne.

When it comes to yer actual Charles Dance, what is dead may never die. Since kicking the bucket at the end of Game Of Thrones fourth series, the veteran character actor gone on to star in the Oscar nominated The Imitation Game, the somewhat less heralded Dracula Untold, and a good half-a-dozen TV dramas, including ITV's period piece The Great Fire, Syfy's Childhood’s End, the BBC's recent And Then There Were None and, currently, the WWI drama Deadline Gallipoli. In an interview with the Independent, Chas ruefully says that he wishes he could perhaps be offered something else. 'I'd like to play fewer villains,' he noted. 'I used to be a romantic leading man, years ago!' But Charles's longevity – his major breakthrough as a romantic lead was in The Jewel in the Crown back in 1983 – also brings understanding that this is how the business works. His success as Tywin Lannister in Game Of Thrones means that now casting directors tend to think of him the moment they are told they are looking for a Tywin Lannister-like figure. 'In this business you are what you are seen to be and if you are seen to be doing something reasonably well the chances are you will be asked to do it again.' Still, Charles admits to being pleased when people meet him and 'seem quite pleasantly surprised that I'm not like Tywin.' And, after all, Game Of Thrones put him in front of a new generation of TV viewers. And it's not a show that comes along very often, with Charles calling it 'a benchmark' to which all programmes will now aspire. 'The production values especially, and the quality of the writing. It's cinematic – there's some breathtaking stuff.' Will Deadline Gallipoli come near to that benchmark? Charles doesn't say, focusing instead on his fascination with the first World War and what he hopes is his ability to bring sympathy to his character, General Ian Hamilton. Many at the time viewed the General as an authoritarian with little regard for the lives to those serving under him, but Dance hopes his portrayal shows the man as less of a Tywin figure, and a bit more like his son Tyrion – caught between a rock and a hard place, following orders from up high, while trying to make sense of what was happening on the ground.

HBO is looking to bring back a gone-but-not-forgotten fan favourite, Deadwood, and to extend its current top series, Game Of Thrones, further than even the show's creators originally hoped according to the New York Times. Michael Lombardo, HBO's the president of programming at HBO, said on Thursday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that he had approved a movie follow-up to Deadwood, David Milch's poetically grimy western which ran for three series before ending rather suddenly in 2006. Milch will, reportedly, begin work on a script for the movie-length production, which will be broadcast on HBO, when he finishes work on his current project. 'David has our commitment that we are going to do it,' Lombardo told TV Line, who first reported the movie plan. 'He pitched what he thought generally the storyline would be and, knowing David, that could change. But it's going to happen.' Rumblings of a return to Deadwood have arisen periodically since the show's end, but they gained steam in August when Garret Dillahunt, an actor on the series, tweeted that he was 'hearing credible rumuors about a Deadwood movie.' One challenge would be to align schedules for Deadwood stars like Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Anna Gunn and Kim Dickens, who have all remained busy since the drama ended. 'I'm going to leave that in David's hands,' Lombardo said. He's confident he will be able to' make the scheduling work. Lombardo also told reporters that HBO was 'close' to a finalising a two-season extension for Game Of Thrones. The deal would add a seventh and eighth seasons to the epic fantasy series, which returns for a sixth series on 24 April. Three more series would take production of Game Of Thrones into at least 2018, though cable dramas, like Mad Men on AMC and HBO's own The Sopranos, have been known to split the broadcast of final seasons. That said, Lombardo did not say whether an eighth series of Game Of Thrones would be the last one and he has been open about his desire to keep Game Of Thrones, the most popular show in the cable channel's history, going for as long as possible. He has previously said that he'd like it to run for ten series. He first mentioned the likelihood of an extension last summer, though Dan Weiss and David Benioff, the creators, previously said that the show would go for seven series. Starting with the new run of episodes in April, Game Of Thrones will progress largely without the blueprint of the George RR Martin novels which inspired it — the show's narrative has surpassed that of Martin's A Song Of Ice & Fire series. Any hopes that the parallel strands of the Thrones saga would be at least somewhat contemporaneous were dashed last week, when Martin announced that he had missed his deadline to finish The Winds Of Winter, the long-awaited next novel, which means it will not be released before the new series of Game Of Thrones.

ABC's upcoming biblical drama series Of Kings and Prophets seems to want to be compared to Game Of Thrones. The trailer includes a twist on a familiar Thrones line ('All old kings must die') and the producers referenced Thrones repeatedly when talking to reporters at the Television Critics Association's press tour on Saturday. What is the period epic like, they were asked? 'It's suspenseful. It's extraordinarily violent. It's sexual. And it's a power struggle between two men. We don't view this as a revisionist history nor do we view it as a literal translation. We've sought to make the show modern. This is a non-dragon version of Game Of Thrones,' replied executive producer Chris Brancato. How big is the crew? 'We have as many as on Game of Thrones.' Why was the pilot reworked? 'Game Of Thrones tossed out its original pilot and started again and we guess for much the same reason.' And, so on. So perhaps the Game Of Thrones inspiration is why viewers are getting a sexy, lusty and flawed King David (played by Olly Rix). 'When you're talking about David, you're talking about a man who is revered by almost half the population of this planet,' said another executive producer, Reza Aslan. 'He is the model of kingship. He's not Israel's first king, but he's the world's first rock star. This is a man whose songs that he wrote three thousand years ago, we are still singing today. He's called "messiah" in the Bible. His blood courses through the veins of Jesus Christ. And yet, and I think this is what makes him so fascinating, he's deeply flawed. He's vain. He's vengeful. He's lustful. He kills his friends and betrays his wives and he had a lot of wives. But he also loves God and God loves him. In fact he's the only character in the entire Bible that God gives a nickname to. God calls him "The Beloved." And I think it's precisely that complexity of his character that will draw audiences to him, whether it's a faith-based audience or not,' Aslan added. Critics questioned whether a sexual scene in the pilot sent to reporters would even make it past broadcast censors. But afterwards, ABC's entertainment chief enthused about the show: 'They're really pushing the limits. We have high hopes.'

Robot Wars​ is returning to TV. BBC2 has reportedly commissioned a new six-episode series of the classic nineties entertainment format. In case you were too young to remember, Robot Wars​ saw groups of amateur mechanics and their machines fighting it out in a series of challenges to be crowned 'the ultimate robotic champion.' Trust this blogger, it wa, actually, a bit better than it sounds from that description. The new series promises 'more robots, more battles and more science' than before, and will be recorded in a purpose-built arena in Glasgow. It has yet to be confirmed whether long-time host Craig Charles his very self will return for the new series, or whether any of the 'house robots' such as Sir Killalot and Matilda will be making a comeback. Yer man Jezza Clarkson hosted the first series of Robot Wars​ which​ ran for six series on the BBC before moving to Channel Five for a further single series in 2003. Philippa Forrester, Julia Reed and Jayne Middlemiss also co-hosted the show at various times.

The cast for BB1's new thriller Apple Tree Yard​ will include Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin. The four-part drama, based on the psychological thriller by Louise Doughty, focuses on the suburban life of wife and mother Yvonne Carmichael​ (Watson), who embarks on an affair with a stranger (Chaplin). A downward spiral ensues from this decision and a violent act, ripping apart Yvonne's life. Also in the cast are ​Mark Bonnar, Adeel Akhtar, Lydia Leonard, Frances Tomelty and Rhashan Stone​. "'I am both relishing and daunted by the prospect of taking on this role; it's grown-up, steamy and of queasy moral complexity,' Watson said. The drama is written by BAFTA winner Amanda Coe, who said: "'Apple Tree Yard is that rare thing, a perfectly-executed page turner that's also a gripping exploration of the difficult moral choices we face in adult relationships​.'
David Coulthard has signed up to present Channel Four's F1 coverage, officially ending speculation that he might join the BBC's Top Gear team, as the company the former driver co-owns has picked up the contract to produce C4's coverage. Coulthard, who had been widely reported to be joining Chris Evans's team for the BBC2 motoring show which débuts in May, is the first presenter to be signed by Channel Four since it acquired the free-to-air rights for F1 coverage from the BBC in December. Channel Four has handed the F1 TV production contract to Whisper Films, which is co-owned by Coulthard and BT presenter Jake Humphrey, in which the broadcaster took a stake last August. 'This is an exciting time for the sport and an exciting time for Whisper Films,' said Coulthard. 'The F1 World has been incredibly impressed with what Whisper has delivered over the last five years and Channel Four's decision is testament to that. I'm looking forward to being part of an exciting new era for Formula 1.' Channel Four says that the contract was awarded 'fairly' following a competitive tender process 'with production companies with Formula 1 credentials', believed to include North One Television. The broadcaster said that 'a key factor' in awarding the contract to Whisper Films was because the company has hired Mark Wilkin, the editor of the BBC's F1 coverage, as programme editor. 'Whisper Films outlined an extremely impressive and exciting vision for their F1 coverage, with outstanding on and off-screen talent as an integral part of their pitch,' said Ed Harvard, Channel Four's head of TV events and sport. 'We are delighted that David Coulthard will be at the heart of Channel Four's coverage and look forward to announcing the full presenting team in the coming weeks.' In late December, Channel Four swooped to pick up the free-to-air TV rights to Formula 1 for the first time after a cash-strapped BBC moved to pull out of its deal three years early. The broadcaster struck a three-year deal with Formula 1 World Championship thought to be worth as much as thirty five million quid-per-year to air ten races per season from March 2016. The TV rights are thought to have cost about twenty five million smackers annually while television production, which Channel Four will put out to pitch, will cost about ten million knicker a year. Channel Four, which beat rival ITV by making a pledge not to broadcast advertising during live races, will also broadcast highlights of all twenty one Grands Prix and the equivalent qualifying sessions. It replaces the BBC, which has drastically cut back its sports rights portfolio in a bid to contribute to finding seven hundred million notes in savings across the corporation, which had signed a six-year deal to jointly broadcast races with Sky in 2012.

Channel Four has moved forward the broadcast of a documentary about Islamic extremism in the UK following reports that one of its subjects could be the Islamic State militant with a British accent featured in a video released by the group earlier this month. The documentary, called Jihadis Next Door, features extensive interviews from 2014 with Abu Rumaysah, who was named by some outlets as the masked man who appeared in the video. A Channel Four spokesperson confirmed the broadcast date had been brought forward to Tuesday 19 January because of Rumaysah's involvement. 'Given the revelation that one of the men filmed for the documentary is widely believed to be the new British "face" of ISIS propaganda, it felt timely to broadcast it,' said the spokesperson. 'The film provides a wider insight into how and why this individual and others like him became so radicalised. The film challenges the methods and motivations of fellow British-born jihadis.' Jamie Roberts, the director of the film, told the Radio Times that he was ninety five per cent certain' the person featured in the videos was Rumaysah, who, at the time Roberts interviewed him, was earning a living renting out bouncy castles for children's parties. Roberts added: 'It's the voice I've been listening to while editing this film, the voice I remember from [an interview in] the coffee shop.' Rumaysah was named in a number of media reports as the prime suspect in the search to identify the masked man seen issuing a statement addressed to David Cameron and overseeing the execution of five captives in the video released by ISIS. However, inquiries by the Gruniad Morning Star found Rumaysah's friends, family and associates were split over whether it was him or not and security agencies have refused to confirm or deny the identity of the person featured in the video. Roberts interviewed Rumaysah in January 2014, eight months before he was arrested on suspicion of encouraging terrorism and being a member of the proscribed group al-Muhajiroun. Whilst on bail in September that year, Rumaysah was able to leave the UK and travel to Syria with his family because police did not confiscate his passport. Roberts said of the interview: 'The talk was hard, but he didn't strike me as being hard in any way, I certainly didn't feel menaced by him. I thought, "Here you are talking about world domination and yet you have a bouncy castle business." I couldn't take him seriously.'

Bob Mortimer has been given the all clear to perform live. Bob and comedy partner Vic Reeves were due to kick-off their Poignant Moments: Twenty Five Year Of Reeves & Mortimer tour last November, but were forced to cancel several months of dates after Mortimer underwent a triple heart bypass. Doctors have now certified that Bob is fit to perform the second leg of the tour, which begins in Leeds on 30 January and runs for fifteen shows, ending with a two-night run at London's Hammersmith Apollo. Bob confirmed his return to the stage on Twitter, stating: 'Doctors just passed me fit to do second leg of tour next month.' Vic, who tweets under his real name Jim Moir, added: 'Yes, we're doing it. Here we come. Pull your pants up nice and high.' The tour, which celebrates the partnership over the past two decades, marks the pair's first live shows in twenty years.
A geet naughty tea-leaf who half-inched Bill Bailey's tour bus from outside a gig in Liverpool has been very jailed. Francis Whittaker took the bus from outside the city's Philharmonic Hall, where Bill performed in October as part of a tour. Liverpool Crown Court heard that the vehicle contained merchandise worth two thousand four hundred smackers and the comedian's personal belongings. Whittaker was extremely jailed for two years after pleading very guilty to burglary and two charges of vehicle theft. CCTV footage showed two men entering the theatre through a fire door, before Whittaker was seen leaving and driving off in the van, the court heard. An Apple laptop was also taken from inside the building. The Mercedes Sprinter bus was found three days after the theft in a Liverpool suburb with false number plates attached, the court heard. Whittaker, of West Derby, was arrested a week later. He also admitted taking a Vauxhall van containing tools worth twelve grand from outside the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool during an earlier theft in August. The court heard that Whittaker had forty two previous convictions for eighty four offences. Charlotte Pringle, mitigating, claimed that Whittaker's offending was 'linked to drug and alcohol issues', which he had 'tried but failed to address.'
The BBC is to develop a new topical comedy programme styled on late night American variety shows. The show, to be broadcast at 10pm on BBC2, will be modeled after US comedy big-hitters such as Saturday Night Live, The Late, Late Show and Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. Executives are reported to be aiming to produce 'an alternative to their stand-up and panel shows' by 'capturing topical edge and excitement of live comedy.' Channel controller Kim Shillinglaw and acting entertainment chief Alan Tyler have liaised with independent production companies in an effort to obtain a 'disruptive, opinionated format that offered the visceral thrill of the unfiltered which you often feel when you see comedy live.' The BBC also hope to find a format which produces 'potentially viral content', something which the likes of Fallon regularly achieve. The plans mark broadcasters' latest attempt to recreate the long-running SNL for British audiences, following Channel Four's Saturday Live in the mid-Eighties and other short-lived shows such as The Eleven O'Clock Show and Ten O'Clock Live. Saturday Night Live began in 1975, and has launched the careers of some of the most popular acts in comedy history. The British format is likely to be piloted later this year, with the BBC considering removing repeat broadcasts of the show throughout the week to 'encourage live viewing on the day' and to generate 'an unmissable quality.'

World football's governing body FIFA has dismissed secretary general Jerome Valcke. The Frenchman was provisionally suspended from football for his alleged involvement in a scheme to profit from the sale of World Cup tickets and other, alleged, naughty stuff. He was extremely released from his duties on 17 September after being accused of a series of FIFA ethics code breaches. Appointed in 2007, the former right-hand man of FIFA president Sepp Blatter - who is, obviously, not a complete crook - has denied any wrongdoing. 'The duties of the Secretary General will continue to be assumed by the acting Secretary General, Dr Markus Kattner,' read a FIFA statement. FIFA's ethics committee said on 7 January that it had decided to open 'formal adjudicatory proceedings' against Valcke after studying a report submitted by its investigatory chamber. Valcke has also been very accused of being party to a potential £6.8m bribe paid to the odious Jack Warner, the former head of the North and Central America football governing body CONCACAF, in return for his vote and backing to South Africa's successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup. FIFA's ethics committee has already recommended that Valcke should be extremely banned from all footballing activities for nine years. Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini - neither of whom, obviously and just to repeat, are complete and utter crooks - were both suspended for eight years in December following a FIFA ethics investigation for their own, alleged, dodgy doings. Valcke has now been sacked twice by FIFA. He joined the organisation in 2003 as director of marketing and TV, but was dismissed in 2006 over a scandal involving its long-time sponsorship partner Mastercard. He was found to have negotiated with Mastercard's rival Visa in violation of the former company's right of first negotiation, which cost FIFA ninety million dollars in a settlement.

Newcastle United have agreed a twelve million quid fee with Swansea City to sign the England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. The twenty three-year-old had a medical at St James' Park before a deal was completed on Tuesday between the Premier League relegation rivals. Shelvey, who signed a four-year Swansea extension in 2015, is the first player to leave since Alan Curtis took charge. Shelvey is Newcastle's second January signing after Senegal midfielder Henri Saivet's arrival a day earlier. The twenty five-year-old, who played for Senegal at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, joined from Bordeaux on a five-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee after helping the French club win Ligue 1 in 2009. Shelvey joined Swansea from Liverpool for an initial fee of five million smackers in July 2013 and helped the Swans to their highest Premier League finish, eighth, in the 2014-15 season. The former The Arse and Hamsters youth team player featured in Swansea's Europa League campaign in 2013. Shelvey has now won six England caps.
Meanwhile, Paul Dummett's late strike rescued a point for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable, and possibly relegation-bound) Newcastle United as The Scum missed the chance to go level on points with fourth-placed Stottingtot Hotshots. It was a remarkable end to a game which had seen the away side lead twice. Wayne Rooney's penalty and Jesse Lingard's finish put The Scum two goals up before Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic's penalty levelled the scores. Rooney's second goal looked to have won it for sour-faced Louis Van Gaal's side but Dummett salvaged the draw in the last minute and wiped the smug smile right off Van Gaal's boat race. The point earned was not enough to lift Newcastle out of the bottom three - they remain a point and place behind seventeenth-placed Swansea - but it represented a notable improvement following three successive 1-0 league defeats. For Van Gaal's side, it was a case of two points lost and a step backwards after back-to-back Premier League and FA Cup victories had offered improvement on a winless December. Following widespread criticism over The Scum's attacking prowess, in a season that had seen them score a mere twenty four goals in twenty league games prior to Tuesday, Van Gaal himself admitted on Monday that he has been 'very bored' at times watching his side this season. He can have no such complaints after this hugely entertaining, see-saw game, which produced some of their best attacking play of the season. Rooney gave The Scum the lead from the spot after Mike Dean's controversial decision to award a penalty. Dean harshly penalised Chancel Mbemba for handball from a corner, a header from Marounane Fellaini striking the defender on the arm from point-blank range and prompting no appeals from the visiting players. An incensed home crowd were then frustrated still further by what appeared to be a valid penalty appeal for a challenge on Daryl Janmaat which was rejected, before Georginio Wiljnaldum got into the area but could only shoot weakly against David De Gea. But it was Rooney's role in setting up Lingard for the second - holding the ball up before rolling a perfectly timed pass into the winger's path for a low, angled finish - and his superbly struck twenty-yard second, after Memphis Depay's shot had deflected to him, that showcased the thirty-year-old's talent, the latter even drawing a rare smile from his manager. One that wiped off his face moments from time by Dummett. However, The Scum's attacking display was let down by key misses from Lingard, who blazed over from inside the box with the score at two-one and Fellaini, who headed straight at Rob Elliott from close range when his side led three-two. Ultimately, though, Van Gaal will be left bemoaning an area in which his side have largely excelled this season, as a series of defensive lapses cost them victory. Georginio Wijnaldum scored his eighth goal of the season (all of which have come at St James' Park), finishing with a shot from close-range following Aleksandar Mitrovic's downward header. Newcastle have been one of the early movers in this transfer window, signing midfielders Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey, both of whom greeted the crowd before kick-off. But on the evidence of this display, at least, most of the current squad are not lacking in fight. At two-nil down they refused to crumble, hitting back soon after Lingard's goal as Wijnaldum made no mistake from twelve yards after latching on to Mitrovic's header. The supplier turned scorer after the break to make it two-two, dusting himself off after being grappled to the ground by Chris Smalling in the box to roll in his fourth goal of the season from the penalty spot. Even when they fell behind again with eleven minutes to go, The Magpies dug deep and were rewarded when the away side failed to properly clear a ball into the box and Dummett's fierce strike from the edge of the box found the net via Smalling's chest.
Department of Health staff intervened to stop a Sky News journalist from asking one of its advisers why the vile and odious rascal Hunt was not giving interviews on the eve of the junior doctors' strike according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Following requests from journalists for the vile and odious rascal Hunt to talk about the strike, the department put forward Professor Sir Norman Williams for a pool interview with Sky News correspondent Darren McCaffrey to be distributed to news outlets on Monday evening. After asking where the vile and odious rascal Hunt was, and being told by Williams that he was 'at his desk' at the Department of Health, McCaffrey asked whether 'it's good that doctors on the eve of a strike and indeed the people that use the NHS aren't able to hear from the Secretary of State?' Before Williams could answer, a Department of Health aide could be heard intervening to stop the line of questioning, saying: 'Hang on a second, we're not doing this nonsense.' He then says 'we agreed a series of questions', prompting McCaffery to respond that he hadn't agreed to any line of questioning. The exchange was later broadcast on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show and then shared by junior doctors and others on Twitter. The Department of Health refused to comment on whether it was normal for aides to intervene to block reporters' questions, but pointed to the vil and odious rascal Hunt's subsequent media appearances on the day of the strike itself. McCaffrey wrote in a post on Sky's website on Tuesday afternoon: 'It was a reasonable enough question on the eve of the junior doctors strike, although it appears the Department of Health didn't feel quite the same way.'

Former BBC DJ Ed Stewpot Stewart has died at the age of seventy four, a few days after having a stroke. Rocky Taylor, a friend of forty years, said that the former BBC radio regular and Crackerjack presenter had died in hospital in Bournemouth. Stewart's former brother-in-law, Adriano Henney, tweeted to confirm the news. Director of BBC Music Bob Shennan said that Stewart had been a 'stalwart' of popular music broadcasting. Shennan said Stewart's shows had been 'enjoyed by millions' of listeners. Stewart's fellow DJ from his early days on pirate radio, Tony Blackburn said Stewart 'would be missed.' Another former colleague, David Hamilton, said Stewart 'was a little bit like a good wine; he just got better as time went on.' Hamilton said he spoke to his old friend 'just a few days ago.' He said: 'We used to play football together in the showbiz football team, we even once rode in a speedway race together at Wembley Stadium, so we've done a lot of things together. He was a really good guy, Ed, and I really will miss him.' Ed's younger sister, Sue Mainwaring, described him as 'hard-working, loyal and such a good brother. We had such fun. When he was on the pirates he had two weeks on and one week off - of which every weekend he'd invite everybody back for jazz sessions. Celebs used to come along, including Kenny Everett, David Hamilton, Tony Brandon. He loved jazz. He loved music.' She said that she had spent Christmas and New Year with Ed and other members of the family. Devon-born Stewart's broadcasting career spanned more than fifty years. He started out as an announcer, film critic and rugby reporter with Radio Hong Kong. In an interview with the Express newspaper in 2014, he said that he had returned to England five years later and joined pirate radio ship Radio London, based four miles off shore. He was one of the first presenters on Radio 1 when it launched in 1967 and went on to become a regular Top Of The Pops presenter in the 1970s. He was a Radio 2 presenter for fifteen years and during that time broadcast from the summits of Ben Nevis and Snowdon, Mount Vesuvius volcano in Italy, and also live from the Falkland Islands. On television, Stewart was best known for children's favourite Crackerjack. He hosted the show from 1973 to 1979. He was also a long-standing presenter of the children's radio show Junior Choice, which last broadcast on BBC Radio 2 over Christmas. In his sign-off at the end of his final programme, he thanked listeners, saying: 'I'll be with you whenever, but have a great Christmas Day, won't you, folks?' He attracted as many as seven million listeners with Junior Choice and Stewart will be remembered for his bright and breezy style, ushered in by the jaunty theme tune, 'Morningtown Ride'. He recorded interviews for the show with young patients in hospitals and recalled how his trademark jingle of a chuckling child was born out of such a trip: 'This eight-year-old boy who had been pulling at my shirt all day piped up and, with an infectious laugh, said, "'Ello, darlin'!" It was so spontaneous and I've played it ever since because everyone asks to hear him.' Stewart was born in Exmouth, the son of Ray Mainwaring, a Treasury solicitor, and his wife, Peggy. He was brought up in Wimbledon, attended St Edward's School, Oxford, and played the double bass in a jazz trio. When one of the group was doing national service in Hong Kong, in 1961 he invited Stewart to join him and a pianist there for a gig. Arriving to find the concert had been cancelled after the two others had been posted to Aden at short notice, Ed stayed and landed work with Radio Hong Kong under his real name, Ed Mainwaring. In 1965, he returned to Britain, used his middle name to become Ed Stewart and joined Radio London, one of the pirate ships operating legally from international waters to satisfy the thirst of a new generation for pop music that was not catered for by the BBC. Based four miles offshore, Radio London numbered among its DJs Tony Blackburn, John Peel, Kenny Everett and Dave Cash, who gave him the nickname 'Stewpot'. In February 1968, he replaced Leslie Crowther on Junior Choice, broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays. That year, credited as Stewpot & Save The Children Fund Choir, he recorded a charity single, 'I Like My Toys'. Stewpot (1970-71), his ITV children's show, featured mainstream pop acts of the day such as Pickettywitch, The Scaffold, The New Seekers, Marmalade, Blue Mink and Leapy Lee. It was followed by Play It Again, Stewpot (1974) which mixed pop stars and puppets. He was partnered by a rebellious robot in the BBC's Ed & Zed! (1970). Stewart's celebrity brought him plenty of guest appearances in other television shows such as The Golden Shot (1973), Bruce's Big Night (1978), Star Games (1979-80), Family Fortunes (1981) and Punchlines (1983-84). He was even ringmaster for broadcasts of Chipperfield's Circus (1973-75) and the children's magazine Look-In featured Stewpot's Look-Out and Stewpot's Newsdesk articles in the seventies. Out Of The Stewpot, his autobiography, was published in 2005. He played in show business football teams and was a lifelong Everton fan. He began supporting the Merseyside team in 1948 after,he said, feeling sorry upon seeing them beaten six-nil by Chelsea, the team his brother supported, at Stamford Bridge. Also a keen golfer, Stewart is survived by a son, Mario, and a daughter, Francesca, from his marriage to Chiara Henney, which ended in divorce and by four grandchildren.

There was, of course, another industry death this week, dear blog reader. One that got quite a bit of attention. You might have noticed. So, how does one even begin to sum up the life of David Bowie, the singer, songwriter, musician and actor who died on Monday at the age of sixty nine? Bowie was one of the most influential musicians of his era - or, indeed, any other - constantly re-inventing his persona and sound, from the late 1960s and his breakthrough hit 'Space Oddity', through Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, his glacial Berlin and proto-New Romantic periods and beyond. Where before, artists either evolved their musical style and appearance or remained unchanging for decades, David Bowie seemed to be in permanent state of revolution. He defied any label, music, fashion, sexuality: all were Bowie's playthings. He was, truly, an artistic chameleon. David's son, the film director Duncan Jones, confirmed the news and a statement was issued on his social media accounts. 'David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous eighteen-month battle with cancer,' it said. 'While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief.' There is literally no point in his blogger writing a lengthy obituary for David - as I did, briefly, think about attempting on Monday. Many others will have done a far better and more informed job over the last few days than yer actual Keith Telly Topping. I could tell you all my, oft-told, after dinner story of the time I stood next to David in the urinals at Abbey Road. And, in fact, I just have. This blogger's tribute to a man who, perhaps more than any other artist or group shaped the soundtrack of my life (and, yes, I am including The Be-Atles and The Rolling Stones and The Who in that) is to suggest this following, dear blog reader: I'd like you to play Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory (this blogger's own favourite), The Fall & Rise of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars, Aladdin Sane, Pin-Ups, Diamond Dogs, David Live, Young Americans, Station To Station, Low, "Heroes", Lodger, Scary Monsters, Let's Dance, 'Loving The Alien', 'The Buddha Of Suburbia', 'Strangers When We Meet', 'Hallo Spaceboy', 'I'm Afraid Of Americans', Heathen, The Last Day, Blackstar, ChangesOneBowie, 'The Laughing Gnome' ... Actually, come to think of it, especially, 'The Laughing Gnome'. Anything, in fact, from David Bowie's truly extraordinary discography. Except, perhaps, Tin Machine. And Tin Machine II. Oh, and Never Let Me Down! And, to reflect on what your life would have been like without the presence of this man in it for the last forty odd years even if you've never bought one of his records. We lost one of The Giants this week, dear blog reader. One of the towering figures of the Twentieth Century (in music and, way, way beyond). I really don't think any of us ever imagined what life would be like living in a world without David Bowie in it. Now, we've got that to look forward to. And, as sad as that prospect is, we've got this to look back on.
Anybody else notice whomsoever put that beautiful little collection together missed out The Buddha Of Suburbia? Just me then? The playlist at Stately Telly Topping Manor on Monday, meanwhile, consisted of this -
So, for the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, in tribute to the Grand Dame her very self, here's one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourites of his oeuvre. Not one of the first ones you'd think of, perhaps, but a bloody masterpiece all the same. Then again, it could have been any one of fifty or sixty songs from the entire range of David's entire career, from 'Liza Jane' to 'Lazarus'.

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