Friday, January 01, 2016

The Abominable Bride: Fourth Day, Five Day Marathon We're Movin' Like A Parallelogram

'The stage is set. The curtain rises. We are ready to begin.'
'Little use us standing here in the dark. After all, this is the Nineteenth Century!'
'I'm an army doctor which means I could break every bone in your body while naming them!'
'I've been making inquiries. Mister Holmes asked me.' 'Sherlock, how could you?' 'No, not him, the clever one!'
'Mrs Hudson, there is a woman in my Sitting Room. Is it intentional?'
'Fear is wisdom in the face of danger, it is nothing to be ashamed of.'
'Really Lestrade, a woman blows her brains out in public and you need help identifying the culprit?'
'Stranger things have happened.' 'Such as ...?' 'Well ... strange ...things.'
'Pass me your revolver I have an urgent need to use it!'
'I'm part of a campaign, you know? Votes for women.' 'Are you for or against?' 'Get out!'
'Speaking on behalf of the impossibly imbicilic Scotland Yard, that chair is definitely empty!'
'You're gambling with your own life?' 'Why not, it's so much more entertaining than gambling with others.'
'Every great cause has martyrs. Every war has suicide missions and make no mistake, this is war. One half of the human race at war with the other. The invisible army hovering at our elbow, tending to our homes, raising our children. Ignored, patronised, disregarded. Not allowed so much as a vote. But an army nonetheless, ready to rise up in the best of causes. To put right an injustice as old as humanity itself. So you see, Watson, Mycroft was right. This is a war we must lose.'
'His body was never recovered.' 'To be expected when one pushes a maths professor over a waterfall. Pure reason toppled by sheer melodrama. Your life in a nutshell.' 'Where do you pick up these extraordinary expressions.'
'I never say anything do I? According to you, I just show people up the stairs and serve you breakfast.' 'Within the structure of the narrative, that is, broadly speaking, your function.' 'Don't feel singled out Mrs Hudson, I'm hardly in The Dog One.' 'I'm your landlady, not a plot device! You make the room so drab and dingy.' 'Oh, blame the illustrator, he's out of control. I've had to grow this moustache just so people recognise me.'
'He said it was so simple I could solve it.' 'I'm sure he was exaggerating!'
'We all have a past, Watson. Ghosts, they're the shadows that define our every sunny day.'
'I saw you die. Why aren't you dead?' 'Because it's not the fall that kills you, Sherlock. Of all people, you should know that. It's not the fall, it's never the fall. It's the landing!.'
'Extraordinary!' 'Impossible!' 'Superb! Suicide as street theatre! Murder by corpse! Lestrade, you're spoiling us.' 'Where are we going?' 'The morgue, there's not moment to lose. Which one can so rarely say about the morgue!'
      This blogger thought that was great, dear blog reader. And, he'd particularly like to praise Doug MacKinnon's fluid, operatic direction of the piece. Well done, that chap.
Doug, it would seem, took particular delight in posting an image of yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self saying that line in ADR! And, quite right too. 'Time you woke up, Sherlock. I'm a story-teller, I know when I'm in one.'
'That's the trouble with dismembered country squires, they're notoriously so difficult to schedule .. Caught the murder, still looking for the legs. We'll call it a draw!'
    One final query; anyone else think Lou Brearly's moustache was far more realistic than Martin Freemans? Just me then?
Incidentally, dear blog reader, so you think parts of Doctor Who fandom whinging about how the show 'isn't as good as it used' to be is a recent phenomena, d'ya? Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Mai oui.
And, as for TV reviewers whinging about how Doctor Who 'isn't as good as it used to be'? Well, some of them have been at that malarkey since 30 November 1963.
Ah, TV viewers and TV reviewers, eh? A day simply wouldn't be a day for them if they didn't have something to whinge about, would it?
BBC1 utterly dominated the festive TV ratings for a second-night running on Sunday, as viewers couldn't get enough of And Then There Were None. The three-part Agatha Christie adaptation pulled in an impressive 5.14m overnight viewers at 9pm, having launched with six million punters on Boxing Day. Earlier in the evening, 4.95m watched Still Open All Hours at 8pm, with the David Jason comedy revival recreating its festive period success last year. The biggest audience of the evening came for Countryfile at 6.30pm, as 5.68m watched a review of farming across the year. Children's book adaptation Fungus The Bogeyman was a minor hit for Sky1, with the Raymond Briggs classic starring Tim Spall and that bloody awful Wood woman pulling in the biggest overnight audience of the year for the channel with six hundred and ninety six thousand viewers at 6pm. It also makes it the best-performing Christmas special on Sky1 since 2011. A one-off episode of Dragons' Den pulled in an audience of 1.94m for BBC2. at 8pm. This was followed by 1.4m for the second part of Gorilla Family & Me at 9pm. The channel's broadcast of The U2 Group: Innocence & Experience Live In Paris - which was initially rescheduled following the terrorist attacks in Paris in November - brought in four hundred and nineteen thousand viewers at 10pm to watch Mr Bonio out of the U2 Group, Mr The Edge out of The U2 Group and ... the other two out of The U2 Group play some rock tunes to some traumatised Parisians. The bastards. ITV - following their truly disastrous Boxing Day - again struggled to compete with their Sunday night line-up. A double-header finale for Jekyll & Hyde attracted risibly low audiences of 1.17m and 1.07m at 7pm and 8pm respectively. Chances of another series of the Charlie Higson fiasco? Not high, this blogger would have said. ITV's biggest audience of the night came from the Rafe Spall-fronted Harry Pride: Ghost Hunter, a more than decent drama but which was watched by an appallingly bad overnight of just 1.39m at 9pm. For all odious gnome Adam Crozier's whinging about the BBC needing to show 'distinctiveness' it appears that ITV themselves need to go back to the drawing board with regard to their drama output. The first episode of Walking The Himalayas was a hit for Channel Four, pulling in 1.66m at 8pm, beating ITV in primetime for the second time in two days. The 9pm episode of Homeland's season five pulled in nine hundred and thirty six thousand viewers, which was itself beaten by Channel Five's Most Shocking Celebrity Moments 2015, a near three-hour long clip-show looking back at the year's 'entertainment' stories (and one uses that word quite wrongly, of course). That attracted 1.07m glakes with nothing better to do with their time than watch rubbish the likes of this. Earlier in the evening, Channel Five's On Benefits: Cashing In For Christmas pulled in 1.09m viewers at 8pm. Eight Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown Christmas Special, featuring Katherine Ryan and Johnny Vegas, notched up seven hundred and seven thousand viewers for Channel Four at 10pm.
The final and consolidated numbers for the Top Twenty programmes, for week-ending Sunday 20 December are as follows:-
1 Strictly Come Dancing: The Results - Sat BBC1 - 12.47m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.97m
3 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 7.39m
4 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.28m
5 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 6.90m
6 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.82m
7 Luther - Tues BBC1 - 6.71m
8 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 6.57m
9 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Awards - Sun BBC1 - 5.86m
10 The National Lottery - Saturday Draws - Sat BBC1 - 5.82m
11 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.72m
12 Countryfile - Sat BBC1 - 5.01m
13 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 5.30m
14 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.74m
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.41m
16 Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 4.37m
17 Gogglebox - Fri Channel Four - 4.31m
18 DIY: SOS - Thurs BBC1 - 4.05m
19= Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 3.96m
19= The ONE Show - Wed BBC1 - 3.96m
ITV programmes marked '*' usually do not include HD figures, although this particular week that symbol is not applicable as there are only two ITV programmes on the list. These figures, as usual, do not include iPlayer or ITV Player viewers. The first Saturday episode of Strictly Come Dancing drew an audience of 12.23 million, whilst the Sunday finale of The Apprentice was watched by 6.52 million. With the end of the latest series of The X Factor and 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) now finished, it was a horrible week for ITV with only the five episodes of Corrie and six of Emmerdale achieving audiences of more than four million viewers across the entire week. Two of the network's more spectacular big budget flops, The Sound Of Music Live and Text Santa, could only attract 3.72 million and 3.23 million respectively (not including HD viewers). On BBC2, the three episodes of MasterChef: The Professionals drew audiences of 3.52m, 3.46m and 2.80m placing the series first, second and fifth in the channel's weekly list of most-watched programmes. In Back In Time For Christmas attracted 2.99m viewers, followed by Stargazing Live: Tim Peake - Brit In Space (2.85m), Simply Nigella (2.79m), The Apprentice: You're Fired! (2.29m), Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (2.28m), Porridge (2.13m), Only Connect (2.04m) and Mastermind (1.97m). Gogglebox was, as usual, Channel Four's top-rated broadcast, followed by Bear Goes Wild With Barack Obama (3.86m), a broadcast of the movies Home Alone (2.75m), The World's Most Expensive Christmas (2.51m), First Dates (2.38m) and The Supervet (2.32m). The movie Disney's Pinocchio was Channel Five's top performing broadcast of the week (1.37m), with The Dog Rescuers attracting 1.31m and GPs: Behind Closed Doors with 1.29m. This week's episode of The Big Bang Theory brought in a figure of 2.28m, by a distance the largest audience for a multichannel broadcast of the week. Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Super Sunday and Watford giving the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws a damned good trousers-down thrashing was watched by 1.05m punters. Live Ford Monday Night Football and Leicester City's win over Moscow Chelski FC which ultimately cost The Special One his very job attracted 1.01m punters. Sky Sports 2's coverage of Live World Darts bored the tits off one hundred and sixty three thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast, as usual, and with six hundred and three thousand punters. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama with 1.08m whilst Lewis was watched by eight hundred and eighteen thousand and Foyle's War by four hundred and thirty one thousand. The Bridge's third series on BBC4 drew audiences of 1.51m and 1.43m for its ninth and tenth - and final - episodes. The documentary Blood & God: The Making Of Spain was watched by six hundred and fifty eight thousand, whilst Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions had five hundred and thirty four thousand and Nat King Cole: Afraid Of The Dark was watched by five hundred and sixteen thousand. Queen: From Rags To Pompous, Bombastic, Tuneless Shite had an audience of four hundred and seventy seven thousand. Don't Tell The Bride topped BBC3's top-ten list (six hundred and thirty three thousand). Sky 1's most watched programmes were The Flash (1.30m), Modern Family (nine hundred and sixty three thousand) and Supergirl (eight hundred and sixty three thousand). Sky Atlantic's weekly-list was topped by The Affair (two hundred and ninety one thousand). The Last Panthers drew one hundred and nineteen thousand and an early episode of Game Of Thrones by one hundred and fifteen thousand. On Sky Living, Blindspot was watched by nine hundred and forty thousand and Criminal Minds by eight hundred and forty nine thousand. Elementary drew eight hundred and two thousand and Grey's Anatomy had four hundred and sixty three thousand. Sky Arts' Shane MacGowan: A Wreck Reborn had ninety eight thousand whilst A Kylie Christmas drew ninety two thousand. 5USA's Castle was watched by five hundred and thirty two thousand viewers, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit by three hundred and fifty one thousand and NCIS by three hundred and fifty thousand. FOX's American Horror Story: Hotel brought in two hundred and seventy two thousand and Da Vinci's Demons was watched by one hundred and forty eight thousand. NCIS also featured in the top-ten of the Universal Channel, on which How To Get Away With Murder drew an audience of one hundred and eighty four thousand whilst Battle Creek attracted one hundred and twenty one thousand. CBS Action's weekly-list was headed by Bad Girls (eighty nine ten thousand) and Ultimate Force (seventy nine thousand). On Dave, Storage Hunters UK was the channel's highest-rated programme, with five hundred and fifteen thousand. That was followed by Mock The Week (three hundred and eighty one thousand), Room 101 (three hundred and sixty two thousand), and Qi XL (three hundred and thirty six thousand). Drama's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries was watched by five hundred and nineteen thousand, Dalziel & Pascoe by four hundred and sixty eight thousand and New Tricks by three hundred and seventy nine thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programmes were Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (two hundred and twenty four thousand) and Jonathan Creek (one hundred and nine thousand). Watch's broadcast of Grimm was seen by four hundred and ninety three thousand. Yesterday's repeat run of Open All Hours continued with three hundred and ninety nine thousand viewers. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was watched by four hundred and forty two thousand punters. Fast N' Loud had one hundred and eighty seven thousand and Overhaulin' was seen by one hundred and thirty nine thousand viewers. On Discovery History, Who Was Jesus? topped the weekly-list with audience of twenty five thousand punters. Elite Forces drew twenty one thousand, as did Ultimate Warfare. On Discovery Science, Food Factory was watched by forty thousand punters. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme were Extreme Car Hoarders (forty nine thousand) and Wheeler Dealers (forty two thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Ultimate Airport Dubai which had sixty six thousand viewers. A Crime To Remember was ID's largest audience of the week (seventy seven thousand). CI's Homicide Hunters brought in sixty four thousand viewers. Eden's Attenborough's Natural Curiosities was seen by twenty six thousand. GOLD's top ten was headed by The Royle Family (two hundred and forty two thousand). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for The Middle (two hundred and twenty six thousand). On ITV Encore, the latest episode of The Frankenstein Chronicles was watched by two hundred and thirteen thousand viewers. True Drama's Due South had twenty two thousand followed by The Avengers (fifteen thousand). Your TV's Snapped: Killer Couples had fifty three thousand viewers. On More4, Father Ted was watched by three hundred and fifty nine thousand.

And Then There Were None dominated the festive TV ratings for a third night running on Bank Holiday Monday, as the classy period crime drama's final episode brought in the biggest audience of the day outside soaps. The third part of the Agatha Christie adaptation attracted 5.31m at 9pm on Monday, meaning that its overnight average audience across the three episodes was around 52 million punters. Earlier in the evening, 3.82m tuned in to Celebrity Mastermind at 7pm on BBC1, with Tom Kerridge, Steph Houghton, Rob Delaney and Dominic Wood answering the questions. Or, in the case of Steph Houghton, usually failing to answer questions. Meanwhile, Wallace & Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf & Death attracted 2.97m at 7.30pm, whilst a repeat of Miranda was watched by 2.86m at 8.30pm. BBC2 also performed well across the evening, with 2.6m tuning in to watch Christmas University Challenge at 8pm, while Victoria Coren Mitchell's Only Connect drew 1.98m at 8.30pm. Elsewhere, the final episode of the current run of Countrywise brought in 2.39m at 8pm for ITV. Channel Four's Gogglebox 2015, which saw the regulars look back at the year, had an audience of 2.18m at 9pm. Earlier in the evening, The World's Most Expensive Food brought in 1.4m. Meanwhile, A Frozen Christmas was watched by six hundred and sixty six thousand punters at 7.30pm and Tattoo Fixers was seen by six hundred and sixty three thousand at 10.35pm. Channel Five's The World's Strongest Man brought in one million viewers at 6.55pm, while Building The Ice Hotel managed eight hundred and thirty one thousand at 8pm. The Frank Sinatra Story managed six hundred and thirty three thousand viewers at 9pm.BBC4's repeat of the opening two episodes of the 1976 Doctor Who four-parter The Face of Evil attracted audiences of one hundred and forty one thousand and one hundred and eighty three thousand punters/

The BBC1 documentary David Beckham: For The Love Of The Game performed well in the TV overnight ratings on Tuesday, coming second only to the channel's Celebrity Mastermind earlier in the evening. Beckham's documentary saw the former footballer take part in seven matches on each of the world's continents; 3.64m tuned in at 9pm. Meanwhile, 4.22m watched Celebrity Mastermind earlier in the evening at 7pm when Vincent Franklin, Christian Malcolm, Chris Warburton and Graham Fellows answered the questions. On BBC2, 2.38m saw the latest Christmas University Challenge at 7.30pm, followed by the first part of Gareth Malone's Great Choir Reunion at 8pm (1.97m). The rest of the evening on the channel was a Stephen Fry special, with the documentary A Life On Screen: Stephen Fry attracting an audience of 1.45m at 9pm, followed by a Fry-hosted edition of Qi at 10pm with panellists Sarah Millican and Josh Widdicombe watched by 1.42m. Elsewhere, The Amazing Spider-Man on ITV at 7.30pm, had a peak audience of but 1.96m. An Eight Out Of Ten Cats New Year Special led the night on Channel Four at 9pm where host Jimmy Carr and captains Sean Lock and Jon Richardson were joined by Joey Essex (no, me neither), Romesh Ranganathan, Isy Suttie and Richard Osman and an audience of 1.24m. The rest of the evening on Channel Four was dominated by repeats, with Inside Lego At Christmas drawing nine hundred and thirty nine thousand, The Supervet At Christmas interesting 1.16m and Jimmy Carr's Big Fat Quiz Of The Year watched by seven hundred and sixty thousand punters. A broadcast of the film adaptation of VC Andrews's Flowers In The Attic at 9pm was the highlight of the night on Channel Five with an audience of 1.11m, while Help! I'm Snowtrapped interested six hundred and forty six thousand at 8pm.

Stephen Fry has been reflecting on his decision to quit Qi. Stephen spoke about the career change on Tuesday's BAFTA Productions documentary Stephen Fry: A Life On Screen and revealed that he thought 'thirteen years is enough. It's been incredibly good fun and I wouldn't want to feel stale or for it to go sour on me in that sort of way, or for me to feel like I'm treading water or repeating myself,' he explained. 'Sandi Toksvig couldn't be a better choice so I'm very happy for the show to go on without me.' The hour-long documentary also featured contributions from Huge Laurie, Qi creator John Lloyd, Michael Sheen and Alan Davies. Davies​ said that he was 'saddened, but not surprised' by Fry's decision to leave Qi: 'I felt in recent years it's been a bit of a squeeze and we have to compact the recordings. We have to do three shows in a twenty four-hour period each week and it's pretty tough going.' A Life In Pictures also covered Stephen's friendship with Laurie. 'It was an act of creative falling in love. Comically falling in love. A genuine connection,' recalled Fry. 'The tragedy of it is, he went to America and got a job in a hospital, as a porter or something and now [he] busks for a living. It's such a pity, because he is actually pretty talented.' Huge his very self added: 'We realised that we made each other laugh a lot. I mean, we laughed just dawn 'til dusk. He had a tremendous sort of gravity even at that age of twenty. He seemed like a sixty-year-old at the age of twenty. He wore tweed and I think stiff collars and smoked a pipe. Ludicrously affected!' The documentary also featured topics including Stephen's quitting the West End production of Cell Mates in 1995 and playing his hero Oscar Wilde in the 1997 movie Wilde.

Catherine Tate's Nan​ went down like a sack of shite in the overnight ratings on Wednesday evening, pulling in an audience of under three million viewers for BBC1. The second of two 'specials' centred around the foul-mouthed pensioner was seen by 2.97m at 10.25pm - down slightly on the 3.14m who tuned-in for the first part on Sunday. Earlier in the evening, Great Barrier Reef With David Attenborough attracted 4.08m at 9pm, while ​Antiques Roadshow ​pulled in 3.65m an hour earlier. On BBC2, ​Charlie Brooker's 2015 Wipe ​was watched by 1.6m at 9pm, following the second of two ​Top Gear​ retrospectives at 8pm which had an audience of 1.25m. ​Big Star's Little Star​ was the most watched programme on ITV outside of soaps, being watched by 3.24m at 8pm, while ​Griff Rhys Jones was joined by 3.04m for an new episode of It'll Be Alright On The Night at 9pm. ​What Britain Bought In 2015​ with Mary Portas was seen by 1.64m at 8pm on Channel Four, followed by ​Twenty Four Hours In A&E​ and ​The Millionaire Party Planner​ with 1.52m and seven hundred and twenty thousand viewers respectively. Meanwhile, Ben Fogle's ​New Lives In The Wild​ concluded with an audience of six hundred and thirty one thousand punters at 8pm on Channel Five.

The New Year's Eve overnight ratings show that millions of Britons saw in 2016 by watching the fireworks on BBC1. A whopping 12.54m enjoyed the display over London at midnight, according to overnight ratings data. Meanwhile, the two separate parts of Bryan Adams Rocks Big Ben, which were separated by the fireworks, were watched by 6.08m and 6.82m at 11.30pm and 00.10am respectively. The New Year's Eve celebrations also took place on BBC2, with 2.91m tuning in from 11.10pm to watch Sir Tom Jones, Jeff Beck, James Bay and Jess Glynne perform on Jools' Annual Hootenanny. Earlier in the evening, 1.94m watched the ninth episode of Christmas University Challenge at 7.30pm. Gareth Malone's Great Choir Reunion also managed 1.5m at 8pm. Later, the Chris O'Dowd movie The Sapphires picked up nine hundred and seventeen thousand and Live At The Apollo was seen by 1.16m. Earlier in the evening on BBC1, 3.95m tuned in at 7pm for ​Celebrity Mastermind​, followed by 2.05m for a repeat of ​Roald Dahl's Esio Trot.​ ​Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie ​had an audience of 4.2m at 9.15pm, followed by 4.47m for The Graham Norton Show's New Year special with Jennifer Lawrence and Eddie Redmayne. On ITV, the documentary Panda Babies attracted 2.57m at 8.30pm and repeats of the wretched Birds Of A Feather and the Cilla Black episode of Oily Twat Piers Morgan's Life Stories were seen by 1.41m and nine hundred and sixty four thousand at 9.35pm and 10.05pm. Quietly New Year's Eve line-up there, ITV. Elsewhere, the two parts of The Nation's Favourite Bond Song picked up eight hundred and forty four thousand and seven hundred and eighty six thousand at 11.05pm and 00.10am respectively, while the ITV News at midnight picked up but a million punters. Channel Four's Celebrity Couples Come Dine With Me managed six hundred and nineteen thousand, TFI New Year's Eve was seen by 1.27m and Alan Carr's New Year's Specstacular attracted 1.33m (7.8%). A repeat of Channel Five's Britain's Best Loved Double Acts was seen by five hundred and twenty one thousand.

New Year's Day's Sherlock special was seen by a massive 8.41 overnight million viewers, making it the highest-rated show of the evening and, indeed, apart from the previous day's firework display, the highest-rated overnight audience of the entire Christmas and New Year period on British telly. Besting the 8.29 million posted by EastEnders earlier in the evening, the ninety-minute Victorian Sherlock special, The Abominable Bride, peaked with 8.65 million punters from 9.15pm. EastEnders also kicked off 2016 on spanking form as over eight overnight million viewers tuned in for the Carter family's extremely wet New Year wedding-related malarkey. The soap attracted 8.29m overnight punters at 8pm with 'an action-packed episode' (it says here) featuring Mick and Dean's lake showdown, Dean's arrest and Mick and Linda finally getting married. This was the drama's best overnight rating since 23 February 2015, when EastEnders broadcast the fallout from the show's thirtieth anniversary week. It was a good night for BBC1 all round, with 5.08 million watching Billionaire Boy at 7pm (many of whom, presumably, wondered who exactly it is that keeps giving David Walliams money to make crap like this). Dickensian continued with 3.96 million at 8.30pm and the Mrs Brown's Boys New Year special rounded the night off with 5.58 million just after 10.30pm. Incidentally, dear blog reader, this blogger is indebted to yer actual Nick Cooper for pointing out that Dickensian is 'clearly set no later than 1870, given that that's the year Dickens died. Funny, then, that in the Curiosity Shop there was a cap badge of the Gloucestershire Regiment, which was not formed until 1881.' Not 'funny har-har', you understand, more 'funny ... ish'. But, I digress. On BBC2, The Terminal was watched by an average audience of 1.52 million from 6pm, followed by 2.63 million for University Challenge and 1.26 million for ​The Many Faces of Ronnie Corbett. ITV's evening was dominated by soaps, but Gino's Italian Escape - Islands In The Sun was seen by 2.35 million viewers at 8pm, while The Big Quiz: Coronation Street Vs Emmerdale was watched by 3.03 million people with nothing better to do with their time. It was a closely fought contest on Channel Four, with Tangled boasting the highest ratings with 1.69 million from 6pm, followed by 1.43 million for Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Nonsense That Nobody Gives A Monkeys About and 1.49 million for A Good Day To Die Hard at 9pm. The World's Strongest Man final was Channel Five's highest-rated show with 1.52 million from 7pm. Christmas With The Double Acts and An Audience With Ken Dodd attracted seven hundred and forty seven thousand and eight hundred and ninety seven thousand viewers, respectively.

The X-Files drops some major spoilers in a twenty-minute behind-the-scenes featurette released this week by FOX. The network takes viewers to the set of its revival mini-series to reveal more information than ever before about the mystery ahead - and the state of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully's relationship. One of the bombshells dropped in the clip is the fact that Mulder and Scully's now-teenage son William is still alive, but the pair's time as a couple is long-since dead. 'Through the course of the show, when it ran for over two hundred episodes, the characters grew,' creator Chris Carter explains. 'Mulder and Scully for nine years had a platonic relationship. Even though we suggest that they had a child together, we never saw them as a couple until the second movie. When we come back to them in the new series, we will have been honest to their relationship previously, but we now find them in another state. Seven or eight years have elapsed. Time has been difficult for the relationship. We will investigate what's happened in that time.' There are also glimpses of the back-from-the-dead Lone Gunmen and an inside look at the lighter moments of the new series. Joel McHale takes centre stage as Tad O'Malley, a conservative newsman who guides Mulder towards a conspiracy involving alien abductee Sveta (played by Annet Mahendru). The X-Files returns on Sunday 24 January 2016 on FOX in the US.

David Duchovny sounds up for making The X-Files' revival a semi-regular television event in the style of 24. Duchovny reunites with From The North favourite Gillian Anderson for a six-part mini-series next month – following years of speculation about The X-Files' future. Discussing the show with TV Line, Duchovny was asked if it is possible for The X-Files to become a semi-annual series for FOX. 'I don't see why not,' he replied. Well, there's the little fact that Gillian Anderson still does have a career, for one thing. 'But, we don't want to just make more episodes because we can. I'm not interested in that. And I don't think [Chris Carter] is interested in that. If Chris is re-inspired to start thinking about where to take the show and the characters next I'm sure we'd all listen.' Duchovny also spoke candidly about working once again with Anderson, with whom he had a infamously rocky relationship during the show's original run. 'We've been good for quite a while work-wise,' he claimed. 'Whatever difficulties we may have had over the years [stemmed from] what I said earlier about wanting to get off the show. The fatigue and a hot-house feeling of being in the same room with the same people for nine years. We're good now. We have a shorthand and I really enjoy working with her a lot. That was probably the easiest part of transitioning back into the show was our work together.'
Game Of Thrones was the most pirated TV show of 2015, TorrentFreak has reported, with the fantasy drama's season five finale downloaded an estimated 14.4 million times. Which is,of course, naughty and wrong and all that. And, anybody who tells you otherwise is a Communist. Or something. The show beat out its closest rival - The Walking Dead, which was downloaded 6.9 million times — to earn the dubious accolade for the fourth year in a row. TorrentFreak's data, published this week, indicates that two times as many people downloaded the season five finale of Game Of Thrones than were estimated to have watched it on TV at the time. HBO's show has always drawn particular interest from pirates, heightened further this year when four episodes were leaked onto the Internet before the season five première, but several other shows also found more of a viewership via torrents than they did on TV in 2015. Mr Robot, for example, only received an estimated 1.75 million viewers on TV in America, but its most pirated episode was reportedly downloaded three-and-a-half million times. Suits, too, found a slightly larger audience among the pirates, pulling in an estimated 2.38 million TV viewers, compared to the 2.6 million torrents estimated for one episode being downloaded. But while TorrentFreak notes that Game Of Thrones' finale got an estimated TV audience of 8.11 million, that figure doesn't take into account other methods of watching the episode legally. HBO broadcasts Game Of Thrones on its HBO Go streaming service for subscribers and, this year, launched HBO Now, a new service which allows those without cable subscriptions to sign up and stream its shows online. Entertainment Weekly says that these methods combined to give Game Of Thrones a more accurate per-episode viewership of twenty million viewers. While TorrentFreak suggests that TV piracy is rising, most of the other shows on its top ten list still notched far more estimated TV viewers than pirates. The most torrented episode of The Big Bang Theory, for example, was downloaded 4.4 million times - a fraction of the show's 18.3 million-strong TV audience. Similarly, The Walking Dead's most torrented episode took second place on 2015's top ten, but the 6.9 million total was less-than-half of the 15.78 million that watched the episode on TV.
This blogger must confess he has always been slightly guilty that he never got as heavily into Game Of Thrones early on as a lot of his friends did. It's been one of those series that yer actual Keith Telly Topping has caught one or two episodes of every season or so (often by accident) and, by and large, he's very much enjoyed what he's seen. But, it's such a densely plotted thing with so many characters in it that it's always been a bit off-putting trying to get into it as a latecomer: Plus there's the obvious thing of it including lots of really good actors all standing around speaking this odd, cod-Shakespearean dialogue ('Hence, Van Snowly The Bigg'un, Chief Snotgobbler to the court of King Varknogger The Optical Illusion did, thenceforth, go unto the Fields of Narg to do battle with the Wazzocks from beyond The Massive Shiny Pile' and all that). But, this blogger watched an early episode of the popular drama on Sky during Christmas week - it must've been an early one cos Seen Been was still in it - and he thought it was really rather good (a friend's description of the series not long after it started as 'I, Claudius meets The Hollow Crown with a splash of The Lord Of The Rings mixed in' appeared scarily accurate). So, yer actual Keith Telly Topping only went and picked up the Game of Thrones series one-to-four DVD box-set second-hand off eBay for twenty quid (p+p inclusive). Ordered on Boxing Day, it was, and this blogger was assured by e-mail that the earliest the package would arrive at Stately Telly Topping Manor would be 31 December ('probably later') only for it to turn up at 8am on the morning of 28 December. Who says the British postal service is shite? Well, most people do to be fair, but still ...
To date, this blogger has managed to get to the end of series two - and was surprised by how much of the popular fantasy drama he remembered; Keith Telly Topping would have put good money on having only seen, at most, two episodes of its first run but there were at least three, possibly four, where he thought 'Oh, I remember this bit.' Like episode two, for instance: Somebody getting their throat ripped out by wild dogs, a splash of anal sex, a bit of lezzing it up, somebody sneering about the Moon being an egg and poor little Maisie Williams being called 'a cunt' by a foul-mouthed ignorant youth. So, just like some of the more extreme corners of Doctor Who fandom, in fact ... Plus, getting to watch Seen Been having his head chopped off by the guitarist out of Dr Feelgood. Now, there's a line this blogger doesn't get to write very often in any context.
​ITV's new fantasy series Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands is 'much more' than 'Game Of Thrones for kids', according to Kieran Bew. One or two people even believe him. Bew - who plays the title character in ​Beowulf ​- claimed that the two shows only have 'hair and swords' in common and that it feels 'glib' to compare them. 'People are going to have a snap reaction - "Oh, this is Game Of Thrones-lite" or whatever - but there is an inevitability in making anything that you will be compared to the most successful thing that seems like it,' he suggested. 'Our show will inevitably be compared to [other] fantasy dramas, I get that, but then again, those things are inspired by [the poem] Beowulf - and [also] they are adult shows. People want to glibly compare you to things but we are different - we are a family show. Game Of Thrones is one of my favourite shows - we all love that show - but we are making a different show.' Based on the Middle English poem, Beowulf​​ will be broadcast early on Sunday evenings and is squarely aimed at a family audience - but Bew insisted that the pre-watershed slot is not, in any way, limiting. Albeit, if was for the disastrous Jekyll & Hyde. 'I think to be making a drama that has some restrictions is really interesting and helpful,' he said. 'I've done shows where people have said the violence and sex is too explicit - and even fans of the show have found it too much. I think if you are relying on sensationalist violence and nudity to tell your story, then you're making a different type of show.'
A new trailer for the Marvel Comics adaptation of Agent Carter has been released this week. The ABC drama's second season has Peggy Carter swapping coasts from New York to Los Angeles in the immediate aftermath of the Allied victory of World War II.
The week has also seen a new trailer for Supergirl's 2016 return is packed with just about everything a DC Comics fan could wish for.
Gotham - a particular favourite with all of us here at From The North - will return to British TV screens next month as series two is broadcast in the UK. Fans have had a long wait - well, this one hasn't, because he gets preview episodes sent over from the States, but ... 'the ordinary people' have, anyway - but the drama will return to Channel Five on Monday 11 January at 10pm. If you've missed Gotham the first time around you can catch up by watching it on Netflix. The series is based in Gotham City, set in the years before the teenage Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. The show instead focuses on police detective James Gordon and the origins of popular characters like The Penguin, Catwoman, The Riddler, Poison Ivy and The Joker. Series two has been labelled Rise Of The Villains and FOX's official publicity states: 'The stakes are higher than ever as Gotham explores the origin stories of some of the most ambitious and depraved super villains, including The Riddler, The Joker and Mr Freeze and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) uncovers more secrets from his father's past.'
Series three of the American crime drama The Blacklist is currently on its winter hiatus and its second half will premiere on NBC on 7 January. As fans wait for the show to come back, there has been plenty of information on the Interweb regarding what they can expect when The Blacklist returns. High among the potential spoilers is the real-life pregnancy of Megan Boone by his boyfriend Dan Estabrook. Showrunner Jon Bonkenkamp has said that they plan to write Boone's pregnancy into the series when the show returns. The latest reports about the second half of the show indicate that a series one semi-regular will be coming back to the TV series. Gina Zanetakos, played by Margarita Levieva, is rumoured to be returning in one of the episodes. Apparently, the first two episodes after the winter hiatus will be dedicated to the character of The Director, played by David Strathairn, as confirmed by Jon Bonkenkamp.
The creative team behind Castle have reacted to rumours that the popular crime drama will end this current series. The show is in the midst of broadcasting its eighth series and has dodged premature reports of cancellation at ABC for the last few years. Speaking to TV Line, showrunners Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter insisted that 'no decisions' have been made yet about Castle's future. 'The reality is that [the network execs] won't make that decision until very late,' Hawley explained. 'So, our plan is just to tell a satisfying story and try to wrap up the season in an exciting way.' Hawley went on to stress that the creative well is 'far from dry' for the Castle writing team at this point. 'We think the show has a lot of life in it as do these characters,' the writers stressed.
The Big Band Theory production is reportedly being sued over the used of the song 'Soft Kitty' in several episodes of the popular sitcom. The lullaby was created from a poem by Edith Newlin​ and was originally published in the book Songs For The Nursery School, but producers allegedly did not get 'correct authorisation' to use it. According to EW, Edith's daughters Ellen Newlin Chase and Margaret Chase Perry have filed a 'copyright infringement action' against CBS and the show's producers for use of the song. The lawsuit claims that in 2007, producers approached Willis Music, which had published the book which the lyrics originally appeared in and they gave permission for the show to use it. However, the claim states that Willis Music did not consult Newlin's heirs regarding the song, despite the book stating that she had the copyright. Newlin's daughters are apparently seeking unspecified 'remedies for wilful copyright infringement.' Or, lots and lots and lots of wonga, in other words.

The screenwriter behind the BBC's upcoming adaptation of War & Peace has revealed he 'sexed up' the series to keep viewers interested. ​Andrew Davies, who also wrote the acclaimed and award winning 1995 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice amongst many others in a glittering career, revealed that he included incestuous sex scenes between brother and sister Anatole and Helene Kuragin in an interview with the Daily Scum Mail. Smart move that, Andrew, because the Scum Mail are always so supportive of the Beeb. 'The brother and sister relationship is something that I made clearer, clearer than Tolstoy, it's subtlely​ referenced in the book absolutely,' he added. 'Another thing is that at some point in the book it said that Boris, who you saw in episode one looks very nice and sweet in his uniform, had become the acknowledged lover of Countess Bezukhov,' he added. 'That's all Tolstoy said but I thought that would make several little scenes, how it started, how it was in the middle and how she gets rid of him at the end. So that's something to look forward to.' When asked if he'd added more sex into the story, he said: 'Yes, it was all there, he just hadn't written the scenes and I couldn't see why so I did.' Lily James, Paul Dano and James Morton lead the all-star cast in the TV version of Leo Tolstoy's novel, which will br broadcast next year. Jim Broadbent, From The North favourite Gillian Anderson, Rebecca Front, Aneurin Barnard and Brian Cox (no, the other one) are also among the huge ensemble cast. Tolstoy's epic 1869 novel chronicles events surrounding the French invasion of Russia in 1812, as seen through the eyes of five aristocratic Russian families. The six-part series is directed by Tom Harper.
'Provocative' new programmes from Bitter Old Stalinist Jimmy McGovern and Joe Ahearne are among the BBC's latest drama commissions. Leading the pack for BBC1 is the six-episode Broken, from Cracker and Accused author and confirmed miserablist McGovern. One imagines that'll be laugh-a-minute stuff. Broken is the story of Father Michael Kerrigan and his Liverpool congregation, who are struggling with 'both Catholicism and contemporary Britain.' There's no news yet on whether the first episode coverage in the Radio Times will come accompanied by a free razor blade, but this blogger wouldn't bet against it. Ahearne's The Replacement is a three-part drama touted by the BBC as 'an exploration of the darker side of working women.' The series centres on pregnant architect Ellen, who develops a creeping suspension that her younger maternity cover at work has 'a sinister agenda.' The Replacement has been scheduled for filming during the summer 2016 in Scotland. Also in the works at BBC1 is the four-part Woman In White, 'a moody thriller filled with both romance and suspense in equal measure.' The television adaptation of Wilkie Collins'novel centres on the lonely Walter Hartright's life being forever changed after encountering an angelic figure on the railroad tracks late one night. David Thompson and Ed Rubin of production company Origin Picture said of Woman In White: 'We are so excited to be bringing a bold new version of Wilkie Collins' beloved Gothic classic to the screen.' Finally, the three-episode revenge tale Paula has been commissioned by BBC2. The playwright Conor McPherson's first television series is based around the conflict of a man and woman who first crossed paths in a passionate encounter. 'I'm delighted to be working with the BBC on this exciting three-part story and really looking forward to bringing it to audiences very soon,' McPherson said. These commissions come on the heels of BBC Drama head Polly Hill crediting streaming services with inspiring traditional TV networks to up their game.

There will be a new Indiana Jones film Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger has confirmed. Iger said that that a new adventure starring the archaeologist is 'on its way' in the wake of the huge success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Speaking to Bloomberg about Disney's acquisitions, such as Lucasfilm, Iger said: 'With George Lucas's Star Wars - and Indiana Jones, by the way, which will be coming - we have more great stories.' The last film in the franchise, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, was released in 2008. It was patchy but quite fun in places although Harrison For looked, frankly, bored in it. Co-creator Steven Spielberg recently said he had 'a fervent hope' that Indiana Jones Five would happen. Despite continued rumours that Chris Pratt could be taking on the iconic role, producer Frank Marshall previously insisted that only Ford can play Indy.

England claimed six wickets for just thirty eight runs on day five of the first Test against South Africa to seal an emphatic two hundred and forty one-run win in Durban. South Africa resumed on one hundred and thirty six for four in search of a distant four hundred and sixteen but lost four wickets for seven runs in the first nine overs. Moeen Ali removed danger man AB de Villiers with the third ball and Steven Finn finished with four for forty two as the hosts were all out before lunch for one hundred and seventy four. The second of the four-match series begins in Cape Town on Saturday. It was only England's second test victory away from home since 2012 and their largest in terms of runs against South Africa since the Proteas were re-admitted to international cricket in 1991. In contrast it was a fourth defeat in the last five tests for South Africa, whose position at the top of the test rankings is under increasing threat from India. The South Africans have gone seven matches without a test victory, which equals their longest run without a win since their re-admission. In the one hundred and thirty eight-year history of test cricket, only three teams have avoided defeat from being four wickets down on the final day. And it soon became apparent South Africa would not alter that statistic when their star batsman De Villiers missed a turning off-break from Moeen that was given out lbw and upheld on review. Having made that crucial breakthrough, Moeen then produced another wicket maiden in his next over, drawing Temba Bavuma out of his crease and allowing Jonny Bairstow to atone for his spurned leg-side stumping of De Villiers on day four. Bairstow calmly whipped off the bails to record England's first stumping for thirty eight Tests, since Mumbai 2012. After Finn bowled Dale Steyn, Moeen trapped Kyle Abbott LB as England grabbed the first four wickets of the day in quick succession. Chris Woakes captured his first wicket of the match when Dane Piedt was caught off the inside edge onto the pad and fittingly the final wicket went to Stuart Broad, who took four for twenty five in the first innings. After an hour and three quarters of play on the final day, Broad pinned last man Morne Morkel LBW to claim his three hundred and twentieth Test wicket. But it was Moeen, who finished with match figures of seven for one hundred and sixteen, who was named man of the match.
The BBC suffered an intermittent Internet services outage that took down its website, the BBC iPlayer and all other digital services provided by the domain. Users started complaining about the iPlayer and website issues in the early hours of the morning, with web service down detector indicating major issues from around 7am on Thursday. The website was showing 'five hundred error' code pages, with some parts of it intermittently loading and others completely offline, before it came back online shortly before 11am. The BBC reported that 'sources' within the organisation said it was a distributed denial of service attack but the BBC press office repeated that it was 'a technical issue' and refused to comment on the cause of the outage beyond that. It also confirmed services were now restored and operating normally. A DDoS attack overwhelms a website with traffic, preventing legitimate users from requesting pages and effectively taking it offline. They are usually used as as a form of protest but can be used as a smokescreen for further, more invasive cyberattacks. The corporation’s radio and television broadcasts were unaffected but many of the broadcaster’s digital services were taken offline. The BBC is in the process of migrating more and more of its traditional services to its website, including BBC3, which will become online only from February. The last major outage of the BBC's web services was in 2011 when the broadcaster's domain went offline for an hour due to 'technical problems.' Later in 2012 the BBC revealed that it had suffered from cyber attacks, which took its Farsi-language service in London and its telephone and e-mail services offline. In 2014 iPlayer was offline for almost a whole weekend due to a database fault.
​Downton Abbey creator and odious shit Lord Snooty has hinted that a job offer from Coronation Street might lure him back to acting. Don't do it on our behalf, yer Lordship, we can learn to live with the disappointment, honestly. Snooty has plenty of acting credits under his belt in Our Friends In The North and Monarch Of The Glen, but the appalling Tory snob has focused on writing in recent years. 'I'm a big Corrie fan,' Lord Snooty claimed to the Sun. One or two people even believed him.

More than nine thousand households in the UK still watch their television on monochrome sets. Although Britain completed the digital switchover a few years ago and many people now watch TV in HD or through tablets and smartphones, it has been revealed this week that there are still nine thousand three hundred and fifty six black-and-white licences across the UK. London has the highest number of 'mono licences', at two thousand two hundred, while Birmingham and Manchester also share hundreds of the old-fashioned TVs. The amount of black-and-white licences issued is gradually declining year-on-year. There were as many as two hundred and twelve thousand in 2000, with that number shrinking to ninety three thousand in 2003 and fifty thousand in 2006. Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: 'It's astounding that more than nine thousand households still watch on a black-and-white telly, especially now that over half of homes access TV content over the Internet, on smart TVs. Whether you have the latest 4K TV or a black-and-white set from the 1970s, however, if you are watching or recording live television, then you do need a TV licence.' Or, they'll kicked you geet hard in the knackers and slam you in the pokey. Television and radio technology historian Jeffrey Borinsky explained that black-and-white viewers just aren't ready to make the change to colour yet. 'There are hundreds of collectors like myself who have many black-and-white TVs; some of them are purists who won't have this new-fangled colour TV in the house,' he said. 'We like the glow of valves, rich sound and wonderful warm smell of these old sets. It's simply pure nostalgia and the joy of seeing old equipment still working in the Internet age.' Aside from the nostalgia factor, there is one major advantage to having a black-and-white TV: it's much cheaper. The 'mono licence' remains frozen at forty nine knicker until next year's BBC Charter Review, while a colour licence costs £145.50 a pop.

Ever wondered what happened to the UK's piece of the Moon, dear blog reader? Four fragments of Moon rock which were given to Britain as a present. Newly-released National Archives' files reveal that three Prime Ministers were unsure of what to actually do with the official gift - which was given to the country by Richard Nixon. Nixon gave the then PM, yer actual Harold Wilson, the particles in 1970 - a year after man first landed on the Moon. They remain encased in a clear plastic sphere within Ten Downing Street. The fragments had been brought back by Apollo 11, the first manned moon mission, and were mounted on a display stand alongside a silk union jack which had also travelled to the Moon and back with astronauts Neil Armstrong ('he had balls bigger than King Kong') and Buzz Aldrin ('second comes right after first, right'). The files show a note from Wilson, who decided that the dust should stay at Downing Street 'in perpetuity' and another from his successor, Teddy Teeth, who was asked if he wanted it to remain in Downing Street to which he replied 'yes.' The pillared drawing room was suggested, in view of the stand's 'fairly modern design', but Teeth wrote: 'I will have a look. I don't much like the idea of it being in one of the public rooms' In the event the Moon dust was sent off on a tour of regional museums before ending up back at Downing Street. The truth, it seems, was that it did not look very attractive. In July 1979 - two months after her erection - Maggie Scratcher was told that the dust had been 'languishing in a cupboard', the files show. She was asked if she thought it should go to the Geological Museum on semi-permanent loan. 'Not yet,' the vile old Milk Snatcher wrote and, as a result, one official suggested it could go outside the Cabinet Room. The Moon dust issue raised its head again in 1984, when the it was mentioned to Thatch during a visit to the Science Museum. The files suggest that officials seem to have thought the museum was asking to have it permanently. Someone rang the museum's director - Dame Margaret Weston - to be told, effectively, thanks, but no thanks. The museum already had plenty of other Moon rocks. Dame Margaret likened it to 'another curiosity' in the museum's collection - a toothbrush once used by Napoleon. Last week the Downing Street press office confirmed the Moon dust is still at No Ten, but did not say where. In 2012 NASA disclosed that many pieces of Moon rock given away as gifts to other countries were now lost, stolen or missing or unaccounted for. So, at least we know where ours is. You know, in the event of The Moon People coming and wanting it back.
First priority for yer actual Keith Telly Topping in 2016, dear blog reader, get your ruddy hair cut, Telly Topping, you're starting to look like a member of Deep Purple. Second priority for 2016 for Keith Telly Topping, cheer-the-fek up, you look like someone who's just realised they look like a member of Deep Purple.
Some horribly sad news now, dear blog reader. The former Newcastle United goalkeeper Pavel Srníček has died at the age of forty seven, nine days after suffering a heart attack in his native Czech Republic. A huge favourite with Toon fans during his first spell at St James' Park between 1991 and 1998, Pavel collapsed whilst jogging on 20 December as reported in the last From The North blog update. He was taken to a hospital in Ostrava and placed in an induced coma. Tragically, he never regained consciousness. Pavel, who also played in England for Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth and West Ham United, made forty nine appearances for his country. His agent, Steve Wraith, said that brain scans on Monday had shown 'irreversible damage' and the decision 'had to be taken' to switch off the life support machine. He added: 'Pav passed away on the afternoon of Tuesday 29 December 2015, with his family by his side.' The son of a woodcutter, Pav joined United in January 1991, arriving on Tyneside from Banik Ostrava during Jim Smith's time as manager. With the club for an initial month's trial period, Pav made a handful of reserve appearances, impressing enough for United to complete a permanent transfer for three hundred and fifty thousand pounds. A former soldier, Pav had begun his playing career with the Czech army sides Dukla Tabor and Dukla Prague and was capped at U21 level by the Czech Republic. Although signed by Smith, Srnicek's first team début was under the newly-appointed boss Ossie Ardiles, in a one-nil home victory over Sheffield Wednesday in April 1991. While Kevin Keegan was in charge at St James', Pav helped the Magpies to win promotion to the Premier League in 1993 and was an integral part of the squad that established itself in the top flight and then came agonisingly close to winning the title three years later. He was also in goal as the Magpies returned to European competition in spectacular style for the first time in over a decade in 1993, beating Royal Antwerp by an aggregate ten-two scoreline. In all he made one hundred and ninety appearances for the club in all competitions. Although not a technically perfect keeper, Pav was big, brave and a quite superb shot-stopper, qualities which quickly saw Newcastle fans take Pav to their hearts. Wraith said that his final conversation with Pavel was about getting the 1995-96 squad back together one more time for a charity event next year. He added: 'We will make that happen and celebrate this great man's life together. United, fans and players alike.' Pavel returned to the club on a season-long deal in September 2006 as cover for the injured Shay Given and made another two first team appearances to go with those he played for United in the 1990s. Before his death, Pavel was working as the goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague and had been on Tyneside in the week prior to his collapse making a number of local media appearances to promote his recently published autobiography. There were touching scenes at St James' Park during Newcastle's game with Everton on Boxing Day when fans chanted 'Pavel is a Geordie' after hearing the news of his condition. In a statement, Newcastle said: 'The thoughts of everyone at Newcastle United are with Pavel's family, many friends, former colleagues and supporters at this very difficult time.' Pav also played in Italy for Brescia and Cosenza, in Portugal for Beira-Mar and in his native country for Banik Ostrava. Srníček played internationally for the Czech Republic, from 1994 until 2001, taking part in Euro 2000 and earning a total of forty nine caps. Steve Howey, who played with Pav at Newcastle, was one of numerous former colleagues to express their sadness at news of his death. Steve said it was 'a devastating day.' He told BBC Radio 5Live: 'There aren't enough words to describe such a wonderful, strong, lovely man. He was such a big, strong character and fantastic personality and I feel blessed that I was able to be a good friend. We've lost an amazing person, one of our own, and he'll be sorely missed.' Alan Shearer added that he was 'so very sad to lose my friend Pavel Srníček. My thoughts are with his family.' This blogger had the good fortune to meet Pav on a handful of occasions and found him to be a warm and generous man who always had time for supporters. From The North sends its sincere condolences to the Srníček family at this most distressing of times. The funeral will be held in his home town Ostrava on Monday 4 January.
Another of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's heroes also left us on Tuesday; John Bradbury, the drummer with The Specials, died at the age of sixty two.The ska group tweeted the news, saying: 'It is with deep regret that we say goodbye to our great friend, the world's greatest drummer, our beloved Brad.' A statement released by the Coventry band's spokesperson praised the musician's influence. 'Brad's drumming was the powerhouse behind The Specials and it was seen as a key part to the Two Tone sound.' Born in 1953, and influenced by early exposure to his hero, Booker T & The MG's drummer Al Jackson, John joined The Specials in 1979 and continued with the reversioned band - The Special AKA - who had an international hit with the anthemic 'Nelson Mandela' - one of the few songs which can, genuinely, lay a claim to having changed the world. He also headed up his own band, JB Allstars - a stylish soul revue influenced by Bradbury's enthusiasm for Northern soul - who released several singles on Two-Tone and RCA, most notably, a superb cover of 'Sign On the Dotted Line'. The Specials' representatives said that the drummer died in England but no cause of death was given. In a statement, his family said: 'It is with deepest regret that we have to announce the very sad news that our much loved husband and father John Bradbury passed away on Monday 28 December. He was much respected in the world of drumming and his style of reggae and ska was seen as genuinely ground-breaking when The Specials first hit the charts in 1979. He was an integral part of The Specials reforming in 2008 and toured with them extensively up to the present day. His contribution to the world of music can not be understated and he will much missed by family, friends and fans alike. It is the family's sincerest wish that they are allowed the time to remember him privately.' The news comes just three months after the band's trombonist, Rico Rodriguez, died. The band, famed for their 1960s mod-style outfits and furiously up-tempo mixture of ska, punk and pop, had seven UK top ten singles between 1979 and 1981 including classics like 'Gangsters', 'A Message To You Rudy' and 'Rat Race' and two UK number ones, 'Too Much Too Young' in 1980 and 'Ghost Town' a year later. The two LPs of the original line-up, The Specials and More Specials should, frankly, be in the collection of anybody who claims to know anything about music. Founder and songwriter Jerry Dammers dissolved the band in 1981 but, with a new line-up that included Dammers and Bradbury they re-grouped and continue to perform and record during the 1980s. Billy Bragg was one of the first musicians to pay tribute to Bradbury: 'A bad day for good music. First we lose Lemmy, now news that Brad from The Specials has passed away.' Like most of the band, Bradbury was born and brought up in Coventry where the band was formed in 1977.
As noted, the legendary Motörhead frontman Lemmy died aged at the age of seventy on Tuesday, a mere two days after learning that he had cancer. Lemmy formed the band in 1975 and recorded twenty two LPs, including Ace Of Spades, as he became one of music's most recognisable voices and faces. The band said on its Facebook page: 'Our mighty, noble friend Lemmy has passed away after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer.' Few musicians have walked the rebel's walk with as much conviction as the Motörhead frontman. Despite his high-profile image as a hell-raiser, though, Lemmy's influence as a musician and songwriter should not be underestimated. His bass guitar style was unique, combining a heavily distorted tone with chords for a sound that more resembled the rhythm guitar - the instrument on which he began his career as a musician. The amphetamine-fuelled tempo of Motörhead's songs in the 1970s and 80s made the band – in any of its many line-ups – stand out from the more leisurely heavy-metal sound of the day, inspiring younger admirers such as Metallica. Despite the rawness of his music, Lemmy's melodies were indebted to classic 1950s rock'n'rollers such as his heroes, Elvis, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, giving Motörhead a recognisable and popular sound. Indeed, Lemmy always insisted that Motörhead were a straight rock'n'roll band, while all around him critics and fans told him that he played heavy metal. Lemmy expressed his views of the world with great venom and precision on LPs such as Overkill (1979) and Iron Fist (1982), with audiences responding with enormous enthusiasm to songs such as 'Ace Of Spades', 'Bomber' and 'I Got Mine' plus the band's covers of the likes of 'Leaving Here', 'Louie Louie', 'The Train Kept A-Rollin' and 'Please Don't Touch' (a huge hit in 1981 in collaboration with the all-female metal band Girlschool). While Motörhead's songs were often a simple celebration of debauchery ('Born To Raise Hell') or a general hatred for authority ('Eat The Rich'), Lemmy also addressed subjects such as war ('Get Back In Line') and child abuse ('Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me'). Never afraid of taking a stand about any issue that interested or irritated him, Lemmy committed his views on a variety of subjects for posterity in his 2002 autobiography, White Line Fever, and in an eponymous documentary released in 2010. Unusually in the field of music, Lemmy was a thinker, debater and philosopher of great intuition and compassion. Interviewers were routinely surprised by Lemmy's keen understanding of social and political issues, although he was far from optimistic about the progress of mankind. 'The world's going to end up with everybody sitting in their room punching keyboards,' he said. His antagonism towards religion (he was, he said 'healthily agnostic'), governments and indeed any established authority was always abundantly clear. Lemmy was a true rock legend, his mutton-chop whiskers, large facial wart and high microphone position making him one of the most instantly recognisable figures in the business. He is credited with introducing punk sounds into the heavy metal mix, paving the way for a generation of thrash and speed metal followers. Off-stage he gained a reputation for a prodigious intake of drugs and alcohol as well as a sex life every bit as frantic as his music.
Lemmy was born Ian Fraser Kilmister in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, on Christmas Eve 1945. His father, a former chaplain in the Royal Air Force, separated from his mother when Lemmy was just three months old. 'I don't recall what my first word was,' Lem later told the Seattle Times. 'But it was very loud.' His mother and grandmother moved to nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, then to Madeley and, when Lemmy was ten, his mother re-married the former Plymouth Argyle professional footballer George Willis, who already had two older children from a previous marriage. The family moved to a farm in Benllech in Anglesey with Lemmy later commenting on his time there: 'Being the only English kid among seven hundred Welsh ones didn't make for the happiest time – but it was interesting from an anthropological point of view.' He attended Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones school in Amlwch, where he first gained the nickname Lemmy, although he claimed for the rest of his life to be unsure as to why he got it in the first place; it would later be claimed - though never confirmed - that the name originated from the phrase 'lemmy a quid 'til Friday' because of his constant habit of borrowing money from people to feed his growing addiction to playing slot machines. Lem soon started to show an interest in rock and/or roll music, girls and horses. By the time he left school his family had relocated in Conwy. There, he worked in a variety of menial jobs including one at the local Hotpoint electric appliance factory, while also playing guitar in the evenings for local bands such as The Sundowners and spending time at a horse riding school. 'People who work in a factory, or some awful fucking mind-numbing job like that - cause I worked in a factory, I know what it's like; it's fucking awful. Most people have to do that kind of job they hate every day of their lives. Can you imagine what that must be like? You have to submerge your intellect completely and just che cha and all that,' he would recall in his autobiography. 'So, at the weekend, they want to hear something that tears the heart out of them and gives it back better ... As you go through life's rich tapestry, you realise that most people you meet aren't fit to shine your shoes. It's a sad fact, but it's true. A good friend is someone who'd hide you if you were on the run for murder. How many of them do you know? In my life so far, I have discovered that there are really only two kinds of people: those who are for you and those who are against you. Learn to recognise them, for they are often and easily mistaken for each other.'
Lemmy saw The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) perform at the Cavern Club when he was sixteen and then learned to play guitar to their first LP, Please Please Me. 'The Beatles were hard men too,' he wrote. 'Brian Epstein cleaned them up for mass consumption, but they were anything but sissies. They were from Liverpool, which is like Hamburg or Norfolk, Virginia - a hard, sea-farin' town, all these dockers and sailors around all the time who would beat the piss out of you if you so much as winked at them. Ringo's from the Dingle, which is like the fucking Bronx. The Rolling Stones were the mummy's boys - they were all college students from the outskirts of London. They went to starve in London, but it was by choice, to give themselves some sort of aura of disrespectability. I did like The Stones, but they were never anywhere near The Beatles - not for humour, not for originality, not for songs, not for presentation. All they had was Mick Jagger dancing about. Fair enough, The Stones made great records, but they were always shit on stage, whereas The Beatles were the gear.' At the age of seventeen, Lemmy met a girl named Cathy and followed her to Stockport, where she had his son, who was later put up for adoption. In the 2010 documentary film Lemmy, the musician mentioned having a son whose mother had only recently 'found him' and 'hadn't got the heart to tell him who his father was.' In Stockport, Lemmy joined local bands The Rainmakers and then The Motown Sect who playing the tough Northern club circuit for three years and built up a solid local following. Wanting to progress further, in 1965 he joined The Rockin' Vickers, another popular live act, who signed a deal with CBS, released three singles and toured Europe extensively, reportedly being the first British band to visit Tito's Yugoslavia. The four-piece played furious covers of songs like 'Shake, Rattle & Roll', Neil Sedaka's 'I Go Ape' (a version of which was released as a single under the more establishment-friendly name The Rockin' Vicars), 'It's Alright' and 'Baby, Never Say Goodbye'. 'We were modelled on The Who to a large extent,' Lem recalled. Living in Manchester, Lemmy got involved with a girl called Tracy who bore him a son, Paul, although Lemmy would not have any involvement with Paul until the boy was six. Leaving The Rockin' Vickers, Lemmy relocated to London in 1967. He shared a flat with Noel Redding, bassist of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and with Neville Chesters, their manager. He got a job as a roadie for the band - 'worth it cos I got to see Jimi every night' he said. 'When he performed, he was magic. You would watch him and space and time would stop. After he played, we would have to repair his fuzzboxes because he'd just stomp all over them. And they'd go into bits all over the stage and you'd have to go find the bits and put them back together. Fucking murder. He was supposed to be a showman but I think he eventually got sick of it and when people moaned at him, he'd go into this kind of imitation Jimi Hendrix routine. That was a shame. But Jimi was a really nice guy. And very courteous. If a woman came into the room, he'd shoot to his feet and get a chair out for her. He was old fashioned like that. Good manners don't cost nothing.' Lemmy also said that he had few memories of the period: 'There was a lot of acid about. It's a bit difficult trying to remember things when there are dragons coming out of the walls at you! Hendrix brought them back in his suitcase and just handed them around the crew. I was with him for eight or nine months, just lifting and dragging - nothing that required talent. I was pissed off when he died, I was going to audition for him that day!' In 1968 Lemmy joined the psychedelic rock band Sam Gopal and recorded with them for the LP Escalator and the single 'Horse'. After meeting Simon King in a Chelsea shopping centre in 1969, he joined the band Opal Butterfly, but the group soon folded, having failed to raise enough interest with their singles.
In early 1972, Lemmy joined his old mate King, Dave Brock, Nik Turner et al in the space rock band Hawkwind, who were then based in Ladbroke Grove, as a bassist. He had no previous experience as a bass player, but quickly developed a distinctive style that was strongly shaped by his early experience as a rhythm guitarist, often using double stops and chords rather than the single note lines preferred by most bassists. His bass work was a fundamental part of the classic Hawkwind sound during his tenure, perhaps best documented on the huge-selling 1972 live double LP Space Ritual. He first appeared on the band's third LP, Doremi Fasol Latido (1972) - which concluded with his song 'The Watcher' - and also on 1974's Hall Of The Mountain Grill (on which he co-wrote 'Lost Johnny' with the journalist and musician Mick Farren) and 1975's Warrior On The Edge Of Time.
It was during the sessions for the latter that Lemmy produced 'Motörhead', a song written during a drug-fuelled five day stay at the notorious Hyatt Hotel hotel in Los Angeles. 'I was on tour with Hawkwind in 1974, we were staying at the Riot House and Roy Wood and Wizzard were also in town. I got this urge to write a song in the middle of the night. I ran downstairs to the Wizzard room, got Roy's Ovation acoustic guitar, then hurried back to mine. I went on to the balcony and howled away for four hours. Cars were stopping and the drivers were listening, then driving off and there I was yelling away at the top of my voice.' The title of the song was, of course, American slang for a speed freak. 'The six thousand miles was a reference to Los Angeles and the rest [of the lyrics] is self-explanatory. And yes, I am the only person to fit the word "parallelogram" into a rock'n'roll number! I'm very proud of that.' The song first appeared on the B-side of Hawkwind's 1975 single 'Kings Of Speed'. Lemmy had also sung lead vocals on the band's biggest hit, 'Silver Machine', after a previous effort by the resident poet, Bob Calvert, was deemed too weak. 'It sounded like Captain Kirk reading 'Blowing In The Wind',' Lemmy later recalled. 'They tried everybody singing it except me and the drummer. Then, as a last shot they said, "Try Lemmy." And I did it in one take or two.' The song was a top three hit in the UK 1972 and the film clip of the band performing it at Aylesbury Friars Club is just about the only visual document of the Space Ritual era Hawkwind at their peak. Suddenly, Lemmy became the face of Hawkwind rather than just the bassist. 'I'd only been with them about six months,' he related. 'It really pissed them off! Then there was a picture of me, on my own, on the front of the NME. They couldn't stand it!' Yet Lemmy wholly bought into the group mentality of the band. '[Hawkwind] weren't the gentle sub-acid Moodies we were made out to be,' Lemmy recalled. 'We were a black fucking nightmare. A post-apocalypse horror sound-track. We wanted to make people's heads and sphincters explode!' The chemistry was perfect: 'That was the only time in my life I had musical telepathy with another person. Me and Dave [Brock] could have our backs to each other and make the same change. As soon as I stopped taking acid, it went! But in those early days we were always smashed. You just learned to function that way. Of course, Nik [Turner] couldn't do it straight or smashed. He thinks he's a free spirit playing impro-fusion jazz, but in reality he's just a second-rate sax player. But, he looked great - it was like having a Viking fucking berserker on stage!' Lemmy was especially close to the band's electronics wizard and keyboard player Dik-Mik Davies, a fellow amphetemine-head and, on tour, Lemmy shared a room with Hawkwind's legendary dancer, the awesome Stacia Leach. 'A great bird. And no, I never shagged her. We were pals,' he would always claim. 'That's not what he told us!' one of his former bandmates confided to Hawkwind's biographer Ian Abrahams in 2005.
In 1975 Lemmy was controversially fired from Hawkwind after he was arrested at the Canadian/US border in Windsor, Ontario, on drug possession charges; he spent five days in jail before being released without charge as the Windsor Police had arrested him for suspected possession of cocaine and, after testing the evidence, it turned out to be merely speed. According to Canadian law at the time, since the drug was not the one police thought it was, he couldn't be charged with anything and he was released. Nevertheless, anticipating future problems with touring visas, the band led by Dave Brock took the decision to sack Lemmy (one Brock later seemed to regret). 'Being fired from Hawkwind for taking drugs is like being pushed off the Empire State Building for liking tall buildings,' Lemmy noted many years later. Despite the fall-out, however, Lemmy always had fond memories of his time with the band and would, over the next thirty years, occasionally reappear for one-off gigs. 'In Hawkwind I became a good bass player,' he told Classic Rock magazine in 2012. 'It was where I learned I was good at something.' Lemmy next decided to form his own band, 'so that no-one can fire me again.' He went on to form the 'loudest, nastiest, most horrible band in the world' initially called Bastard with guitarist Larry Wallis (former member of the Pink Fairies, Steve Took's Shagrat and UFO) and drummer Lucas Fox. Lemmy's connection with Took (formerly of T Rex) was not limited to Wallis, as they were close friends and Took was the stepfather to Lemmy's son, Paul. When Lemmy's manager informed him that a band called Bastard would never get a slot on Top Of The Pops, Lemmy changed the name to Motörhead – the title of the last song he had written for Hawkwind. From early on, he was clear about exactly which musical direction the band would take. 'Very basic music - loud, fast, city, raucous, arrogant, paranoid, speed-freak rock n roll. It will be so loud that if we move in next door to you, your lawn will die!'
The beginnings of the band were not auspicious. Lemmy claimed that they were so badly off they had to steal equipment and they practised in a disused furniture warehouse. Wallis and Fox were replaced with guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke and drummer Phil Philthy Animal Taylor and with this line-up the band began to achieve considerable success. Lemmy's guttural vocals were unique in rock at that time and they would not be copied until the rise in popularity of punk a year later. In fact the band's sound appealed greatly to both Lemmy's original fans, heavy metal kids and even to fans of punk rock. Lemmy asserted that he generally felt more kinship with the punks than with metalheads; he even played with The Damned for a handful of gigs when they had no regular bassist after Captain Sensible's departure in 1978. At this time Lemmy changed his legal name back from Willis to Kilmister and he also attempted a reconciliation with his biological father, though it turned out their relationship was not repairable. Lemmy later described his father as 'a nasty little weasel of a man.' The band's success peaked between 1980 and 1981 with a number of UK chart hits, including the classic single 'Ace Of Spades' ('I know I'm goin' to lose, and gamblin's for fools, but that's the way I like it baby, I don't want to live forever!') and the number one selling live LP, the fearsome No Sleep 'til Hammersmith. Motörhead have since gone on to become one of the most influential bands in heavy metal. Despite Motörhead's many member changes over their forty-year history, the line-up of Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee remained constant from 1995 to this year. Lemmy worked with a number of other musicians over his career. He wrote the song 'R.A.M.O.N.E.S' for The Ramones, which he would play in his live sets as a tribute to the American punk band. He was brought in as a songwriter for Ozzy Osbourne's 1991 No More Tears LP, providing lyrics for the songs 'Hellraiser' (which Motörhead would later record), 'Desire', 'I Don't Want To Change The World' and, most famously, the single 'Mama I'm Coming Home'. Lemmy noted in several interviews that he made more money from the royalties of that one song than he had in his entire career with Motörhead. After being diagnosed with type two diabetes in 2000, for which he was hospitalised briefly, Lemmy again appeared with Motörhead at WrestleMania Seventeen. In 2005, Motörhead won their first Grammy award in the Best Metal Performance category with their cover of Metallica's 'Whiplash'. 'It's about bloody time,' was Lemmy's response. 'Nobody deserves it more, although I'm too modest to say it.' From 1990 he lived in Los Angeles, most recently in a two-room apartment two blocks away from his favourite hangout, The Rainbow Bar & Grill. Lemmy also made several appearances in film and television, including the 1990 science fiction film Hardware and the 1987 comedy Eat The Rich, for which Motörhead also recorded the soundtracks. In the 1980s Motörhead were the musical guests on the cult British TV show The Young Ones. In the 1994 comedy Airheads (in which he is credited as Lemmy von Motörhead), one scene involving Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi, has Brendan Fraser's character, Chazz talking to an undercover cop who is pretending to be a record executive; Chazz asks him, 'Who'd win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?', the cop replies, 'Lemmy', to which Buscemi's character, imitates a game show buzzer and the cop quickly changes his answer. 'Wrong, dickhead, trick question. Lemmy is God.' Lemmy appeared in the film and shouts out (truthfully) that he edited his school magazine as other people in the crowd admit to various geeky pastimes from their youth. Lemmy has also appeared in several movies from Troma Entertainment, including as the narrator in 1996's Tromeo & Juliet and as himself in both Terror Firmer and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV. He had a cameo role in the film Down & Out with The Dolls' (2001), appearing as a lodger who lives in a closet. The rockumentary film Lemmy was directed and produced by Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski in 2010. It consisted of a combination of sixteen mm film and HD video footage, produced over three years and featured interviews with many friends, peers and admirers. In a Channel Four documentary called Motörhead: Live Fast, Die Old, broadcast in August 2005, it was claimed that Lemmy had 'bedded' in excess of two thousand women. Lemmy himself however stated: 'I said more than a thousand, the magazine made two thousand of it.' In the documentary, he explained that while in school he noticed a pupil who had brought a guitar to school and had been 'surrounded by chicks.' His mother had a guitar, which he then took to school, even though he could not play it, and found himself a similar object of attention by girls: 'In those days just having a guitar was enough.' Lemmy was well known for his lifelong large intake of alcohol. In Live Fast, Die Old, it was revealed that he drank a bottle of Jack Daniel's every day and had done so since he was thirty years old. In 2013, however, Lemmy stopped drinking for health reasons. During Lemmy's time with Hawkwind, he developed an appetite for amphetamines and LSD and was to become renowned for his use of the former. Before joining Hawkwind, he recalled Dik-Mik visiting his squat in the middle of the night and taking speed with him. They became interested in how long 'you could make the human body jump about without stopping,' which they did until Mik ran out of money and wanted to return to Hawkwind, taking Lemmy with him. 'I first got into speed because it was a utilitarian drug and kept you awake when you needed to be awake, when otherwise you'd just be flat out on your back. If you drive to Glasgow for nine hours in the back of a sweaty truck you don't really feel like going onstage feeling all bright and breezy. It's the only drug I've found that I can get on with, and I've tried them all – except smack and morphine: I've never "fixed" anything.' In November 2005, he was invited to the Welsh Assembly as a guest speaker by Tory member William Graham. Lemmy was asked to express his views on the detrimental effects of drugs and called for the legalisation of heroin: 'I have never had heroin but since I moved to London from North Wales in 1967, I have mixed with junkies on a casual and almost daily basis,' he said. 'I also lived with a young woman who tried heroin just to see what it was like. It killed her three years later. I hate the idea even as I say it, but I do believe the only way to treat heroin is to legalise it.' He stated that legalisation would eradicate the drug dealer from society. On a 1988 tour of Finland, Lemmy was asked by a journalist why he had kept going for so long. 'We're still here,' he replied, 'because we should have died a long time ago but we didn't.' On another occasion he said: 'I don't do regrets. Regrets are pointless. It's too late. You've already done it, haven't you? You've lived your life. No point wishing you could change it.' His autobiography, White Line Fever (co-written with Janiss Garza), published in 2002, is full of Lemmy's trademark humour and an often surprisingly liberal and humane philosophy on life's rich tapestry. 'Death is an inevitability. You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don't worry about it. I'm ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn't complain. It's been good.' In another section of the book, he noted: 'If you didn't do anything that wasn't good for you it would be a very dull life. What are you gonna do? Everything that is pleasant in life is dangerous. Have you noticed that? I'd like to find the bastard that thought that one up.'

So, for today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, dear blog reader, here's two versions of the same tune from the very Lemster his self. This one.
And, this one.

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