Sunday, February 07, 2016

All The Records Are Playing And My Heart Keeps Saying

Doctor Who and Sherlock executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has been presented with his OBE for services to drama. The award, announced in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours list, was presented to the writer by The Prince of Wales at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace this week. Steven (OBE) told the Daily Record that he was delighted to receive the award: 'It was very thrilling and formal and slightly, just very slightly, like being back at school. But nicer because everyone got a prize. Talking to other people before I came in, I kind of feel everyone's here for a better reason than me. I've got not one, but two dream jobs so to get this lovely thing for already indulging myself in public, seems like an excess of good fortune.' He said that it will be 'sad' to leave Doctor Who following the production of the next series, but that it will be exciting to do something new. 'Ahead of me this year I have fourteen Doctor Who and three Sherlock films, so the last thing I am doing is contemplating work beyond that. The reason you end up leaving Doctor Who, much as we all love it, is because it's all year round. It's a really tough gig.' The latter comment suggests that Steven's last Doctor Who episode will likely be the 2017 Christmas special.
Issue four hundred and ninety six of the Doctor Who Magazine interviews Sir John Hurt his very self and asks him about his return to the role of The War Doctor in a new audio series. It also asks what John's first reaction was when he was offered the part of The Doctor's secret incarnation? 'I said, "Doctor Who? I don't think that's really my sort of stuff." But, my wife was listening and when she heard that it was the fiftieth anniversary, she said, "You've got to be fucking joking! You're doing it!" So I've really for her to thank. I'm really pleased I did it, because it opened up a whole new era for me.'
ITV News At Ten's overnight ratings took a reet 'uge tumble on Tuesday night with almost four times as many viewers watching the rival BBC1 10pm bulletin. The relaunched ITV bulletin pulled in an average of but 1.2 million viewers, with an audience share of a mere eight per cent of the total available audience, compared with BBC1's Ten O'Clock News's audience of 4.7 million. News At Ten anchor Tom Bradby is currently on annual leave so his place was taken by Julie Etchingham. But, the main reason for the relatively low audience appears not to be who presents the bulletin, as it scored over two million viewers on Monday night. Instead the blame seems to lie with the piss poor performance of the show which preceded it, the aptly named Car Crash Britain: Caught On Camera. A new series looking at the testimony of victims of road accidents, it drew just 2.23 million punters between 9pm and 10pm. On BBC1, EastEnders was watched by 6.62 million overnight viewers, followed by Silent Witness with 6.30m at 9pm. Earlier, The ONE Show drew 4.51m and Holby City had an audience of 4.41m. The highlight of ITV's evening was Emmerdale with 6.23m. However, the following evening line-up - The Kyle Files (2.05m), Sugar Free Farm (2.82m) and the afore-mentioned Car Crash Britain - did little to help ITV's traditional Tuesday night horrorshow (and drag). By contrast, it was a terrific night for BBC2, with the opening episode of Back In Time For The Weekend attracting 2.4 million viewers and the second episode of The Real Marigold Hotel bringing in a properly outstanding 3.16 million viewers. Channel Four's The Secret Life Of The Zoo launched with 1.95m at 8pm, up a whopping forty three per cent on the slot's average over the last six months. The Supervet was watched by 1.09m. On Channel Four, Bargain Loving Brits In The Sun had an audience of 1.12m, whilst sick Victorian freak show Celebrity Big Brother had, depressingly, 2.20 million. On Sky Sports 1, coverage of Western Hamsters United versus Aston Villains Nil drew four hundred and sixty five thousand viewers and was beaten by Gillette Soccer Special on Sky Sports News which had an audience of four hundred and eighty two thousand.
Overnight audiences on Wednesday evening were topped by The Great Sport Relief Bake Off on BBC1 at 8pm, which rose to 6.11 million whilst featuring a genuinely bizarre line-up of bakers; the divine Victorian Coren Mitchell (why, Victoria,? Why, for the love of God, why?), Chris Karama ('Kammy, why you do this?'), former Girl Aloud Kimberley Walsh and former MP Ed Balls (little need to ask why either of those were so desperate to get their boat-races on the telly box, obviously). No, dear blog reader, if you were watching it, trust me, your evening meal had not been laced with LSD. Also on BBC1, The ONE Show had 3.51 million and Camila's Kids Company: The Inside Story was watched by 2.39 million at 9pm. BBC2's evening began with 1.16m viewers for The Great Interior Design Challenge. Later, The One Hundred Thousand Pound House had 1.10m whilst in the 9pm hour World War Three: Inside The War Room interested six hundred and one thousand. Midsomer Murders dominated ITV's schedule between 8pm and 10pm with an audience of 4.93m. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn drew nine hundred thousand and Twenty Four Hours In A&E had 1.79m. GPs Behind Closed Doors had an audience of 1.08m on Channel Five at 8pm, whilst Celebrity Big Brother was seen by 2.16m an hour later.
Soaps, as usual, dominated the overnight ratings on Thursday evening with EastEnders attracting 6.42 million to BBC1 at 7.30pm whilst Emmerdale (6.22 million) and Coronation Street (seven million overnight viewers) were ITV's top performing programmes. Aside from those, BBC1's always popular Death In Paradise continued to pull in impressive figures at 9pm with a slot-winning 6.19m and a twenty eight per cent share of the available audience. Opposite that, ITV's Jericho continued to struggle desperately with 2.34m. BBC1's Dickensian also had another poor night, with but 2.22m - going out with a whimper rather than a bang, it would seem - as did Room 101 which attracted 2.53m. On BBC2, the opening episode of the two-part Cats Versus Dogs: Which Is Best? - presented by Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin - once again proved the power of pets in ratings terms, gaining an overnight 2.5m viewers from 8pm. Prior to that, Sea Cities attracted 1.48m whilst, at 9pm, The Story Of China interested 1.22m. Worthless, disgraceful unfunny horrorshow (and drag) Birds Of A Feather was watched by 4.29m at 8.30pm on ITV. Shame on the lot of you. Location, Location, Location was Channel Four's highlight of the evening with 1.75m, followed by the much-trailed Keeping Up with The Khans (nine hundred and seventy five thousand at 9pm). Celebrity Big Brother was seen by 2.24m people with nothing better to do with their lives at 9pm. On soon-to-be-former BBC3, Traffic Cops drew six hundred and ninety one thousand viewers.
Sick Victorian freak show Celebrity Big Brother bowed out of its latest series - at last - with 2.52m sad crushed victims of society watching it on Channel Five. It was won by .... some bloke that you've never heard of and, in all likelihood, will never hear of again after the next few weeks. Unless, like many people who appear on reality TV shows, he now becomes a reality TV show regular, famous for nothing whatsoever, except for appearing on reality TV shows. This is the Twenty First Century, dear blog reader. We are all Thatcher's children now. Meanwhile, the drama Shetland on BBC1 won the 9pm slot with 4.28m overnight viewers. Earlier in the evening, The ONE Show was watched by 3.93m viewers, A Question Of Sport by 3.25m, Dickensian by 2.45m whilst EastEnders attracted 6.44m. At the same time on ITV, The Martin Lewis Money Show was seen by 3.29m. Later, Mr Selfridge continued to shed viewers like a dog sheds hairs, with 2.68m at 9pm. BBC2's most watched programme of the evening was Mastermind with 1.95m. The channel's evening also included What To Buy & Why (1.72m at 8.30pm), Earth's Greatest Spectacles (1.40m at 9pm) and Qi (1.12m at 10pm). On Channel Four, Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown increased its overnight audience to 1.71m. Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Fiasco drew 1.36m and The Last Leg had 1.04m. Elsewhere, on BBC3, the movie Up was watched by six hundred and fifty thousand viewers. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on ITV2 had three hundred and twenty one thousand. The latest episode of Sky1's much-trailed Lucky Man dropped to two hundred and sixty two thousand overnight viewers although, if previous weeks are anything to go by, that figure is likely to rise significantly on catch-up.

TV comedy moment of the week, as usual, occurred on the latest episode of Qi - Messy. Stephen Fry told his guests the outrageous story of the Seventeenth Century highwayman and adventurer Captain Dick Dudley who sounds like a hell of a chap, frankly. Whilst on the run from the authorities for his naughty highwaymanesque ways and hiding out in Rome, Dick is reported to have bought a dead prostitute's merkin (that's a pubic wig for those who think it's a modern, Internet, name for Americans) from an anatomist. He then 'dried it well and combed it out' before, you'll like this bit, selling it to the Pope' claiming that it was 'a piece of the beard of Saint Peter' (this being the period when the trade in holy relics was all the rage). The Pope in question, Stephen added, was likely to have been either Clement X or Innocent XI given the timeframe of Dudley's life. 'Gullible IV,' suggested Alan Davies as a more likely candidate! 'The Pope put it on his mouth, kissed it multiple times and appeared to be thrilled with his purchase. Dick was paid one hundred ducats and, immediately, skedaddled out of Rome before anyone caught up with him and called his muff, sorry, bluff!'
Saturday's overnight ratings provided the BBC with another significant victory over their commercial rival, particularly during primetime when the shares of the available overnight audience showed BBC1 achieving almost double ITV's total figure (27.2 per cent for BBC1 as compared to 14.6 per cent for ITV). BBC1's impressive run of audiences began in the afternoon with the Six Nations Rugby double bill - France versus Italy (2.86m) and England's victory over Scotland at Murrayfield in The Calcutta Cup, watched by 6.30m (with a peak of 7.75m at around 6:15pm). The Voice had an overnight audience of 6.59 million from 7.15pm, slightly down on last week's overnight audience of 6.87 million. That was followed by Win Your Wish List (4.29m) and Casualty (5.12m) with Match Of The Day (3.67m) completing the evening for the channel. On ITV, Ninja Warrior at 7pm continued to perform reasonably well up against The Voice - 4.17 million viewers - but, thereafter, the night fell apart with the rotten lowest-common-denominator shat Take Me Out bringing in 3.43m people with nothing better to do with their time and The Jonathan Ross Show seen by but 2.06m from 9.15pm. Meaning that a forty five year old episode of Dad's Army on BBC2 has out-rated Jonathan Ross for the second week running in terms of overnight audiences. Wotten luck, Jonny. Broadly, it was a decent, if unspectacular night all-round for BBC2 with a solid eight per cent audience share across primetime. Earth's Greatest Spectacles was watched by 1.15m, a Back In Time For The Weekend repeat by 1.08m and King George & Queen Mary: The Royals Who Rescued The Monarchy by 1.70m. The night's highlight, as mentioned, was the latest Dad's Army repeat (2.39m from 8.25pm), followed by a repeat of The Real Marigold Hotel (1.36m) and Live At The Apollo (1.07m). On Channel Four, Walking Through Time was watched by 1.17m at 8pm whilst the movie Prisoners attracted 1.19m an hour later. Channel Five's The Championship: Football League Tonight had five hundred and two thousand viewers.

On a similar theme, BBC1's Sunday evening overnight ratings dominance continued as, once again, ITV's line-up flopped as spectacularly as a geet big flopping thing what has flopped in its floppiness. Beginning at 5.35pm, when Nature's Miracle Orphans' overnight audience of 3.62 million easily got the better of ITV's Catchphrase (1.97 million), each successive slot saw BBC1's programmes widdle all over ITV's collective head and laugh while they did so. Countryfile against won the night overall with 8.68m viewers from 7pm, followed by Call The Midwife (8.07m) and the final episode of War & Peace (5.66m). Against such a strong evening line-up, ITV had another horrorshow of an early evening - Planet's Got Toilets attracting a mere 1.87m and the latest episode of drama flop Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands having even less overnight viewers, 1.75m - before Vera brought a degree of respectability back to the channel with 4.68m. Albeit, it still got a damned good hiding from both Call The Midwife and War & Peace across the two hours from 8pm. On BBC2, Ski Sunday was watched by 1.08m from 6.15pm and Six Nations Highlights by five hundred and twenty one thousand. At 8pm, Greece With Simon Reeve drew 2.17m, then James May's Cars Of The People had 1.80m, Patrick Kielty's Mulholland Drive was seen by 1.05m and NFL Live: Super Bowl Fifty had an audience of seven hundred and eighty one thousand. The showcase game was won by the Denver Broncos who beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 just in case you missed it because you had to be up early for work. Or, indeed, if you did start to watch but then were sent to sleep by Coldplay's performance during the half-time show. And, if it did the latter, who in all honesty could blame you? On Channel Four, the ninety fourth broadcast of the movie X-Men had 1.05m, The Jump was watched by 1.90 million people who enjoy seeing z-list celebrities in danger of suffering horrific spine-threatening injuries and Deutschland Eighty Three attracted six hundred and ninety nine thousand viewers. Zoolander on Channel Five had an audience of seven hundred and eight nine thousand and The Internship was watched by nine hundred and forty eight thousand.

The final and consolidated numbers for the Top Twenty Two programmes, for week-ending Sunday 31 January 2016 are as follows:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun - 9.50m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.67m
3 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 8.24m
4 Silent Witness - Mon BBC1 - 8.13m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.87m
6 Death In Paradise - Thurs BBC1 - 7.78m
7 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 7.69m
8 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.15m
9 War & Peace - Sun BBC1 - 6.72m
10 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 6.64m
11 The Great Sports Relief Bake-Off - Wed BBC1 - 6.08m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.94m
13 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.54m
14 Vera - Sun ITV - 5.49m*
15 Midsomer Murders - 5.10m*
16 FA Cup Match Of The Day Live - Fri BBC1 - 4.95m
17 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.63m
18 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.48m
19 Holby City - Tues BBC1- 4.42m
20 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 4.41m
21 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 4.37m
22 Benidorm - Fri ITV - 4.31m*
These consolidated figures include viewers who watched the programmes live and on catch-up, but does not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via computers. Those ITV programmes marked "*" indicates that they do not include HD viewers. Disappointing final figures continue for several (rather expensive) ITV dramas, including Mr Selfridge (3.64m) and Jericho (2.88m) whilst the fifth episode of Beowulf again didn't even register an audience large enough to make it into ITV's top thirty programmes. It was also a bad week for Birds Of A Feather which drew a mere 3.37 million punters, well down on its usual audience figure. On BBC2, the first episode of The Real Marigold Hotel drew an outstanding audience of 4.13 million viewers. Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking had 3.33m viewers, followed by University Challenge (3.25m), Winterwatch (3.22m), Dragon's Den (2.68m), Trust Me, I'm A Doctor (2.13m), Dad's Army (also 2.13m) and James May's Cars Of The People (2.09m). The latest episode of Qi was watched by 1.34 million. All four nightly episodes of Winterwatch attracted audiences of more than two million. The Jump was Channel Four's top-rated broadcast of the week (2.41 million), followed by Location, Location, Location (2.31m), The Undateables (2.30m), the movie Now You See Me (2.10m) and Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.08m). Celebrity Big Brother continued to dominate Channel Five's week (Friday's finale was the highest-rated with 3.03 million). Lip Sync Battle had 1.62m viewers and Gotham attracted 1.58m. Sky Sports 1's Live Capital One Cup coverage of the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws's penalties victory over Dirty Stoke was watched by 1.25m punters, the largest audience for a multichannel broadcast during the week. The following evening's second semi-final in the same competition, between Sheikh Yer Man City and The Everton Toffees, attracted nine hundred and twelve thousand. Sky Sports 2's Live Test Cricket and coverage of the final day in the fourth test between South Africa and England was watched by one hundred and sixty nine thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast, as usual, with five hundred and fifty two thousand punters. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated broadcast with 1.12m. Lewis drew six hundred and seventy three thousand. Coverage of Darts: The Masters headed ITV4's top ten (five hundred and seventy one thousand). The Young Montalbano on BBC4 had an audience of seven hundred and forty four thousand viewers. Nature's Wonderland: Islands Of Evolution was watched by five hundred and seventy six thousand, whilst The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate was seen by four hundred and fifty nine thousand and The Natural World was watched by four hundred and forty four thousand. Russia's Lost Princesses had four hundred and thirty two thousand and Donald Campbell: Speed King attracted four hundred and ten thousand. Another showing of the movie Die Hard With A Vengeance (seven hundred and fifty eight thousand) topped BBC3's top-ten list, followed by Traffic Cops (seven hundred and twenty three thousand). Sky 1's most watched programme was the second episode of Stan Lee's Lucky Man with 1.23 million viewers. Hawaii Five-0 drew nine hundred and eighty thousand. Sky Atlantic's weekly list was topped by Blue Bloods (three hundred and fifty five thousand). On Sky Living, Blindspot was watched by nine hundred and ninety one thousand and Elementary by nine hundred and twelve thousand, followed by Bones (seven hundred and eighty five thousand), Grey's Anatomy (four hundred and seventy one thousand) and Madam Secretary (four hundred and eleven thousand). Sky Arts' Occupied had one hundred and nineteen thousand and the opening episode of the much-trailed The Nightmare Worlds of HG Wells by one hundred and twelve thousand. 5USA's broadcast Castle was watched by four hundred and one thousand viewers and NCIS by three hundred and sixty six thousand. NCIS also featured in the top tens of FOX - the fourth episode of series thirteen attracting 1.03 million - and the Universal Channel. On the latter, Major Crimes drew an audience of two hundred and nine thousand. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's top ten also included the opening episode to the second series of Marvel's Agent Carter (five hundred thousand viewers exactly). Another channel in which NCIS cropped up in the weekly top ten was CBS Action's, which was headed by Bad Girls with one hundred and thirty one thousand. On Dave, Sin City Motors was the highest-rated programme with three hundred and sixty thousand. That was followed by Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish (three hundred and thirty nine thousand), Storage Hunters UK (three hundred and thirteen thousand), Qi XL (two hundred and eighty seven thousand) and Top Gear (two hundred and sixty one thousand). Drama's New Tricks was watched by four hundred and thirteen thousand and Inspector George Gently by four hundred thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Castle (five hundred and fourteen thousand), followed by Murdoch Mysteries (two hundred and twenty six thousand). Watch's Code Black was seen by two hundred and nine thousand. Yesterday's Sounds Of The Sixties had an audience of two hundred and twelve thousand viewers whilst Wild China was seen by two hundred and ten thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was watched by four hundred and fifty three thousand punters. Fast N' Loud had one hundred and ninety seven thousand. On Discovery History, SAS topped the weekly-list with audience of twenty five thousand viewers, an audience total also achieved by Ultimate Warfare. On Discovery Science, Food Factory USA was seen by seventy three thousand punters. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes were Fast N' Loud (forty six thousand) and Wheeler Dealers (forty one thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Air Crash Investigations which had one hundred and seventy nine thousand viewers and Primal Survivors (sixty one thousand). The Curse Of Oak Island was seen by one hundred and sixty eight thousand viewers on the History Channel. Steven Avery: Innocent or Guilty? and A Crime To Remember were ID's top programmes of the week (one hundred and seventy six thousand and seventy thousand viewers respectively). Murder In Paradise topped CI's top ten (fifty two thousand). GOLD's top ten was headed by Do Not Disturb (one hundred and forty five thousand). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (four hundred and sixteen thousand). On ITV Encore, Downton Abbey was watched by seventy one thousand viewers. A rare broadcast of the 2010 remake of I Spit On Your Grave on the Horror Channel drew one hundred and eighty nine thousand punters. True Drama's Prince Charles & Prince William had fifteen thousand. Your TV's Snapped had eighty four thousand viewers. On More4, The Good Wife was watched by seven hundred and thirty one thousand, whilst Beatrix Potter With Patricia Routledge had five hundred and seventy thousand.

The BBC has announced a new drama based on the murders committed by the infamous serial killer John Christie in Notting Hill in the 1940s and 1950s. The three-part BBC1 drama is directed by Craig Viveiros, who also directed the recent remake of Agatha Christie whodunnit ... And Then There Were None. The drama, Rillington Place, is named after the street where Christie committed his dreadful and naughty crimes and lived with his wife, Ethel. It tells the story of the murders and the subsequent miscarriage of justice from the viewpoint of Christie, Ethel and their innocent neighbour Timothy Evans who hanged for the murders of his wife and daughter before Christie was brought to justice a'fore the beak and got a taste of the rope himself. The drama has been written by Ed Whitmore, who also wrote He Kills Coppers as well as numerous - excellent - episodes of Waking The Dead and Sea Of Souls and Tracey Malone, author of Born To Kill. It is being made by BBC Drama in association with Bandit Television, which is part of Endemol Shine Group. 'This has been a passion piece involving close relationships with the surviving family members which we have developed over several years,' said Phillippa Giles, managing director of Bandit. The events were turned into a film, Ten Rillington Place, in 1971 which starred Richard Attenborough, John Hurt and Judy Geeson. 'We are thrilled to be bringing this iconic story to BBC1,' said Hilary Salmon, head of BBC drama production. 'Ed Whitmore and Tracey Malone have written three brilliant scripts which really crack open the mysteries and motivations of the Christie case.' Meanwhile, in reporting this news, some arsewipe of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star opened with, quite possibly, the single most ridiculous claim in the history of Middle Class hippy Communist shat-for-brains tossers talking utter bollocks: 'The BBC is riding the Netflix Making A Murderer true crime wave with a new drama based on the murders committed by serial killer John Christie.' This blogger has asked Mark Sweeney, the author of this ludicrous idiotic claim, by e-mail, to produce - using graphs if necessary - some fragment of evidence to show that the BBC's decision to commission a historic crime drama based on a sixty five year old case which has already been the subject of at least two best selling book and one very widely-seen movie has anything whatsoever to do with Making A Murderer (a factual TV format which hardly anyone in the this county who doesn't live in Islington and read the Gruniad, has even seen). To date, this blogger has received no reply.
In a historic first, the BBC is broadcasting this weekend's ​Scotland versus England Six Nations rugby match into space. Major Tim Peake - and any aliens out there who fancy watching -​ will be able to tune-in to a live stream of the match from the International Space Station, where Major Tim is currently living for the next few months. This marks the first occasion that the BBC has ever broadcast direct to space. ​Philip Bernie, the Head of TV Sport for the BBC, said: 'We've always tried to push the boundaries of broadcasting at the BBC, and streaming to space is an exciting first for us. We knew Tim was a massive rugby fan and now he can join the rest of the nation watching Scotland versus England in the Six Nations.'
World War Three: Inside The War Room, which was broadcast on BBC2 this week, showed senior former British military and diplomatic figures discussing how they would react in a scenario where Russia invaded Latvia after Russian nationalists rose up and got aal stroppy and discombobulated like what they did in Ukraine. Officials in Moscow were also quick to get an 'uge chip on their collective shoulder and launched 'a barbed attack' on the Corporation, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov branding the show as 'trash.' Probably the only occasion in recorded history that the Kremlin and the Daily Scum Mail have ever agreed on anything.
Holby City actress Tina Hobley has been forced out Channel Four's ridiculous reality series The Jump after dislocating her shoulder. The channel has apologised, blaming 'human error' for the accident, which happened when Hobley was practising a ski-jump but was, reportedly, 'distracted' by crew members who hadn't left the landing area. The humans who erred have, since, been kicked jolly hard in the Jacob's Cream Crackers till their eyes watered. Allegedly. 'Tina's fall was caused by simple human error when members of the ground crew failed to clear the outrun,' Channel Four said. 'All those involved have been spoken to and extra procedures have now been put in place by the producers to ensure that this will not happen again.' Hobley told the Daily Mirra she was 'frustrated' at having to leave the competition early, particularly as it was not her fault. Sunday night's début episode of the current series saw the former Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington - you know, the one who got spanked by a fifteen year old - dislocate her shoulder whilst sliding down the side of a mountain on a tea-tray (or, 'doing the Skeleton' as it's also known). She decided to carry on in the competition following hospital treatment. What a real shame it is that Mad Frankie Boyle isn't on Mock The Week these days to pass comment on that. The Jump, currently in its third series and once described by a reviewer as ' a bonkers, scary mash-up of Big Brother and Ski Sunday', has a history of some of those z-listers and no-listers taking part in the show hurting themselves quite seriously. Which, to be fair, is quite funny.
It was nice to see a Doctor Who reference crop up in a recent episode of the US drama The Blacklist. However, yer actual Keith Telly Topping trusts all dear blog readers spotted the error when Aram Mojtabai tells a recently-returned-to-work Liz Keen that sitting around the office isn't really so bad as he has 'downloaded the fourth series of Doctor Who' on the FBI mainframe, before adding 'Tom Baker is amazing.' Yes, he certainly was, but 'the fourth series' ...? So, that'd be either 1966-67 (with William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton ... most of which no longer exists so it wouldn't take very long to download on ones - slow-running - home laptop, let alone a government mainframe) or, regarding the revived post-2005 series, 2008 starring yer actual David Tennant. Tom Baker's seven series (or seasons in US parlance) in the title role were numbers twelve through eighteen. You have to be kind of worried when one of the top computer experts currently working for the US intelligence services doesn't know something as basic as that! (Though, the idea of Aram getting together on his nights off from running Black Ops against international bastards for Raymond Reddington with other noted fictional Doctor Who fans in US TV drama like Tim McGhee from NCIS and the Leverage team for a Matt Smith marathon crowd is, admitted, a tasty one).
David Duchovny has insisted that he and Gillian Anderson are not dating. This blogger is not sure who stated that they were, and based upon what, but as far as the Digital Spy website are concerned, this constitutes 'news', apparently. Still, it gives yer actual Keith Telly Topping another excuse to dig out this image. Gosh, don't they look young?
There is a reason why no one has seen the original Game Of Thrones pilot episode, it was alleged to be 'a complete piece of shit.' This was the verdict from friends of the popular fantasy drama's creators, Dan Weiss and David Benioff. The two men have been speaking about the episode, which was shot in 2009 but has never seen the light of day. In an interview on the Scriptnotes podcast, they recalled screening the pilot for their friends, and that it did not go down well eben with such an audience. 'Watching them watch that original pilot was one of the most painful experiences of my life,' says Weiss. Benioff has similar memories: 'I was taking notes and I had this yellow legal pad and I just remembered writing in all caps, "massive problems."' Scriptnotes co-host and the duo's friend Craig Mazin, who was invited to the screening, was at a loss for constructive criticism, telling them simply: 'Change everything.' To their credit, the duo actually did. 'Director Tom McCarthy was replaced by television veteran Tim Van Patten and a reported ninety per cent of the pilot was reshot and restructured,' the site notes. One reported problem with the episode as originally shot was that it wasn't clear that two of the leading characters - Jaime and Cersei Lannister - were siblings and thus lost the impact of their incestuous relationship. Replaced director McCarthy - recently nominated for an Oscar, of course - appears to bear no grudges, telling AV Club a few years ago: 'They had to change some locations and they did quite a bit of work on it since I left. I'd like to think I had some impact on it, but I don't think much of that is mine any more.'
FOX has débuted a new promo trailer for the second half of Gotham series two, which you can watch here, dear blog reader. Among the villains featured is House Of Cards' Nathan Darrow as Victor Fries (Mister Freeze).
Now, dear blog reader, tragically dozens - probably hundred - of people around the world will die or be seriously injured in horrific car crashes today. Fortunately, of course, it won't be either of these two gentlemen. So, clearly, that's an 'uge relief for everyone, yes?
​Jo Brand's walk for Sport Relief​ turned out to be wetter than she expected, as she 'pissed all over her clothes' during the challenge. The comedienne, who appeared on Saturday's The Jonathan Ross Show, took on the task of walking one hundred and fifty miles, coast-to-coast from Hull to Liverpool last month. Speaking about the conditions during her walk, Brand told Ross: 'It hurt after about an hour so I was thinking in about five days' time, I'm going to be in a right state. And, I was. I got up about half-five, started walking maybe quarter-to-seven. We finished nine at night.' She added: 'There was one moment when I stopped for a wee in the woods and pissed all over my clothes. It was a mistake, I squatted at the wrong angle or something, so there were times like that.'
And now ...
ITV says that The X Factor will continue 'into 2017 and beyond.' This ends much media speculation that the talent show could be rested following relatively poor ratings over the last four series and The Voice switching to ITV from the BBC. An ITV spokesman said: 'The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent contracts come up for renewal after the latest series air later this year and we fully intend to continue with both shows into 2017 and beyond.'
Chris Evans is to unveil the new-look Top Gear for the first time at the BBC's biggest annual event in a crucial pitch to international television buyers. BBC Worldwide has called in Evans to front the official unveiling of the show in a PR offensive to win over more than seven hundred programming buyers which have made Top Gear a fifty million plus smackers-a-year global juggernaut for the corporation. Evans will headline BBC Worldwide's annual showcase, which takes place in Liverpool later this month, in a test of the new-look show's popularity following the departure of Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Evans has spoken about the show at events in San Francisco and Cannes, but the BBC's event will mark the first time he will unveil the new Top Gear. 'The event signals the international trade launch of the new look Top Gear,' said BBC Worldwide. 'More than seven hundred international television buyers will get the chance to see Chris Evans offer a glimpse of what's in store for the new series of Top Gear.' Despite the trade show marking the most important sales pitch for the show ahead of its TV début in May, BBC Worldwide is understood to have decided not to sweeten its pitch to buyers by showing the first episode, or even any significant clips from the new-look Top Gear.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that yer actual Matt LeBlanc is to be one of the new presenters of Top Gear when the motoring programme returns. The US comedy actor will be the show's first non-British host in its thirty nine-year history. 'Matt's a lifelong fellow petrolhead and I'm thrilled he's joining Top Gear,' said Evans of his new on-screen colleague. Additional Top Gear cast members will be confirmed shortly, the BBC said. 'As a car nut and a massive fan of Top Gear, I'm honoured and excited to be a part of this iconic show's new chapter,' said LeBlanc. The forty eight-year-old is best known for his role as  the nice-but-dim Joey Tribbiani in Friends and has, more recently, been seen, as an exaggerated version of himself, in the BBC2 sitcom Episodes - in which, it must be said, he's very good. 'Acting out our craziest car notions on screen is a dream job and I know we'll both be debating some epic road trip ideas,' continued Evans in a statement. 'We can't wait to share what we've been up to on screen later this year.' LeBlanc said he could 'not believe the response' to the news. 'I knew Top Gear was a big show,' he said when appearing on Evans's Radio 2 Breakfast Show on Friday. 'But, wow, I was on the front page of the New York Times. There was so much I couldn't read it all. Thanks to Top Gear and the BBC, my day has been ducking paparazzi all day long.' LeBlanc has previously appeared on Top Gear on its popular Star In A Reasonably Priced Car segment - which is rumoured to still be part of the revised show's format - and holds the record for the fastest ever celebrity lap. Alan Tyler, the BBC's acting controller for entertainment commissioning, called LeBlanc 'a class act and a brilliant signing.' Last year the actor presented Top Gear: The Races, a stand-alone spin-off made for BBC Store, the corporation's digital download service.
As rumours circulate that yer actual Eddie Jordan could be another signing for the new Top Gear, albeit not from anyone that you'd trust as far as you can comfortably spit, The Edster's former BBC F1 colleague The Goddess That Is Suzi Perry used her Friday night on Twitter to clear up three rumours about her own forthcoming job prospects. The presenter was asked by one follower if she would be up for joining Top Gear. Suzi chose to tackle Top Gear and other hot rumours of her joining either Channel Four's Formula1 presenting team by simply tweeting: 'No! Not C4 or TG!' Subsequently, Suze also played down any potential links to former-Top Gear presenter Jezza Clarkson's new Amazon format. 'No, not that either,' she insisted. Damn.
According to an interview with the Torygraph - always very sympathetic to the Beeb and all its works - Andrew Davies has claimed that he wishes he had 'made War & Peace longer. I'm beginning to wonder if we might have done eight hours rather than six. There are some scenes that we had to drop. I decided it. It's my own fault.' As someone who has, actually, managed to get all the way through Tolstoy's monster novel once in his life (a long time ago, admittedly), this blogger's opinion is, 'the shorter, the better.' Hence, he's really rather enjoyed Davies's current six hour adaptation.
Dara O Briain is to host the new series of Robot Wars alongside the Irish broadcaster Angela Scanlon. The pair will be at the helm when the show returns to BBC2 after an absence of more than ten years. The series will be filmed at a purpose-built fighting arena in Glasgow. Mock The Week presenter and comedian O Briain said he was 'thrilled', while Scanlon said that she could not wait to 'see the robots in all their metallic glory playfully destroying each other.' The six-part series will be shown on BBC2 with Jonathan Pearce commentating - as he did on the original series, fronted at various times by Jezza Clarkson and then Craig Charles. O Briain said: 'For too long, the schedules have cried out for a show in which dedicated amateurs, toiling day and night, handcraft sophisticated automatons built on the delicate interplay of hand-wired servo motors with custom-built circuit boards and fingertip motion control, just to see them get smashed to pieces by a dustbin carrying a massive hammer. It's war, and how I love it so.' The new Robot Wars will see inventors pitting their robots against each other, as well as having to avoid the more powerful house robots. It promises technological advances from the original series, which ran on the BBC from 1998 to 2002, as well as state-of-the-art cameras showing the fights in detail. Scanlon, who has worked for Irish broadcaster RTE, said: 'I'm so excited to be joining such a legendary show that, after all this time, still manages to make people squeal with joy.' Pearce, a commentator on Match Of The Day - albeit, not a very good one - said that he was 'delighted to be involved and back among the cut and thrust of the robot battles.' BBC2 editor Adam Barker said that the presenters were 'the perfect team to bring to life all the excitement and drama from the arena.' The series was last broadcast from 2003 to 2004, on Channel Five.
There's a superb article on the BBC News website written by Bethan Bell on the experiences in both World Wars of the late Arnold Ridley - a particular favourite of this blogger - which I urge all dear blog readers to have a quick gander at. A man who survived The Somme, Dunkirk and the loss of a potentially comfortable retirement and who, in his late seventies, found a fame he never sought. What a chap.
The Interviews is coming back for a second series on G.O.L.D. The show follows the life and careers of legendary comedians through their various chat show appearances. Tamsin Greig will narrate the series, taking over from Dawn French. The new episodes will focus on the likes of Sir Bruce Forsyth, Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd, Barry Humphries, Kenny Everett and Julie Walters. 'As a gentleman of a certain age, these documentaries are a unique opportunity to get some perspective, and celebrate, some of the amazing comedic talent that I grew up with,' G.O.L.D commissioning editor Iain Coyle said. 'Not only are they fascinating and funny but often very moving too, a real credit to the production team.​' ​The first series included subjects such as Kenneth Williams, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and The Two Ronnies.​ The second series of The Interviews will start on G.O.L.D on 16 March 16 at 10pm.
The proposed Cruel Intentions TV sequel which had been much discussed in the industry media over the last week would not be complete without some of the original movie cast and it appears as though at least one of them has been approached. Sarah Michelle Gellar who played the beautiful - but ultimately evil - Kathryn Merteuil, has reported been offered the chance to reprise her role in the series, according to Deadline. Which, given that Gellar's career currently appears to be stuck right in the doldrums, one would imagine she'll be snatching their hands off.
Netflix has ordered ​three ​more seasons of ​Orange Is The New Black​. It is the biggest commitment Netflix has ever made to one of its original series - ensuring the show's future through to its seventh year. Executive producer and showrunner Jenji Kohan has signed up to remain with the series for all thirty nine new episodes. 'Jenji and her team have produced a phenomenal and impactful series that is both funny and dramatic, outrageous and heartfelt,' said ​Cindy Holland, the Vice President of Original Content at Netflix.​
Foyle's War actress Honeysuckle Weeks must wear an electronic tag after she was caught being naughty and speeding in her BMW with a child in the back without a proper seatbelt. The thirty six-year-old, who was already banned from driving, must adhere to a four-week curfew forcing her to stay at home at night, magistrates have ruled. Weeks, who played Samantha Stewart in the ITV wartime crime drama, broke the fifty miles per hour limit on the A3 in London on 17 August last year. It then emerged that she had already had her licence extremely taken away and police found the child in the back of the car was not wearing the regulation seat belt. Weeks has one child, Wade, born in 2011, but it is not clear if her four-year-old was the child involved. Weeks, of Harrow, appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates Court under her married name of Stormonth-Darling and pleaded extremely guilty to driving while disqualified from driving, reports the Daily Torygraph. She was given an electronic ankle tag stopping her leaving home between 9pm in the evening and 7am the next morning and was disqualified from driving for four months. Weeks also admitted speeding and was fined two hundred and fifty smackers, with eighty five knickers costs and ordered to pay a sixty quid victim surcharge. Although, it's not entirely clear who the victims in this case was. The actress, who went to Roedean the elite girls' school in Brighton, and studied English at Oxford, dated Hugh Grant in 2000.
Friday of this week saw the confirmation that Bryan Singer is to direct a feature film of the Jules Verne classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, after signing a deal with FOX. Last autumn, on his birthday, the X-Men director posted an image of a script he had written based on the book.
BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead has warned the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale not to ignore the views of the public amid reports that some of the one hundred and ninety thousand responses to the government consultation on the BBC were 'too left wing.' In a letter to the vile and odious rascal, Fairhead writes that she is 'very concerned' that some of the responses since the Green Paper on the future of the BBC was launched last year 'might' be ignored. 'A number of people have raised with me their concerns that the views of the British public will not be taken into account,' she writes, referring to various newspaper reports that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport was preparing to launch its own inquiry amid 'concerns' that the consultation into the future of the corporation had been 'hijacked by a left-wing campaigning group.' In a letter which begins 'Dear John' sent on 3 February, Fairhead writes: 'I was very concerned to see it suggested in the press – not attributed to you - that some of the one hundred and ninety thousand responses to your consultation might be ignored. I am sure you will agree that the volume of responses to both our consultations shows the strength of interest and feeling that there is about the future of the BBC.' The volume of responses is the highest response ever to a government consultation exercise on the BBC, and second only to the record-breaking level of reaction to the proposals on gay marriage according to the Gruniad Morning Star. As part of the consultation exercise on the Green Paper, the Trust has published the views of over fifty thousand members of the public. 'The results are clear – although the public expects the BBC to improve in a number of areas, their overall message is one of extraordinary support for the mission, purpose and shape of the BBC.' However, a report in the Daily Torygraph two weeks ago suggested that the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale was to launch his own study because 'ninety two per cent of all responses were sent via Thirty Eight Degrees, a "campaigning community" that specialises in organising mass e-mails to MPs.' All of which are routinely ignored, just like all Internet campaigns, obviously. The Torygraph report goes on to suggest that the community has been told that the government plans to 'rip out the heart of the BBC.' And this is surprising because ...? A spokesman for the DCMS claimed - unconvincingly - that the department would 'consider every response.' Just before the reports, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale told parliament that his team is 'committed to reading and analysing' every response. It is the Trust's role to represent the licence fee payer in the debate about the future of the BBC. Fairhead was also brought into the last-minute deal hatched behind closed doors last July which saw the BBC agree to shoulder the burden of free licence fees for the over seventy fives. The secret nature of the deal embarrassed the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale who, as chair of the lack of culture media select committeee, had made a point of urging open consultation over charter renewal. 'I know from the conversations we have had since your appointment as Secretary of State that you are committed to an open and transparent process for the BBC's charter review,' wrote Fairhead. 'You have also said that you want to engage the public in that debate.'
Lord Lucan is now presumed to be very dead, a High Court judge has ruled. A death certificate has been issued forty two years after the peer vanished on the night that his children's nanny Sandra Rivett was bludgeoned to death in a sick frenzy in London. Lucan, whom a Coroner's Court later decided had been responsible, was declared dead in 1999, despite dozens of unverified sightings over the years, but the new ruling gives his son the right to finally inherit the family title. Lucan's son, Lord Bingham, said: 'I am very happy with the judgment of the court in this matter.' Speaking outside the court, he added: 'It has been a very long time coming.' Sandra Rivett's son, forty nine-year-old Neil Berriman said: 'I think [Lucan is] dead. It is fantastic and I am very pleased for [Bingham].' Lucan disappeared on 7 November 1974, the night that Sandra Rivett was murdered in the basement of Forty Six Lower Belgrave Street in Belgravia. He then drove to a friend's house in East Sussex in a borrowed car, which was later found abandoned in Newhaven with bloodstains inside. The mystery of his whereabouts excited decades of speculation, several books and at least one TV drama (ITV's Lucan starring Rory Kinnear). Lady Lucan said at the time of the killing that her husband admitted to being the one who had committed the awful crime, although he claimed in a letter written to police, that it was 'a mistake.' It has been reported that Lady Lucan believes Lucan jumped to his death from a ferry leaving Newhaven sometime on 8 November 1974. The first alleged sightings of Lucan occurred soon after the murder. In January 1975 he was supposedly spotted in Australia and five months later he was apparently seen in France. Police in Cape Town went so far as to check fingerprints on a beer glass that was reputedly held by the peer. In 2012, Lucan's brother, Hugh Bingham, said he was 'sure' the missing peer fled to Africa following the nanny's murder. But Bingham added that he was unsure if his sibling was alive or dead. The author of one book claimed an intruder murdered the nanny and attacked Lady Lucan but this is not a widely held belief. In another book, a former senior Scotland Yard detective suggested that Lucan fled to Goa where he lived 'a hippy lifestyle' as Barry Halpin until his death in 1996 though this theory also seems to have been discredited. Other alleged 'sightings' of Lucan located him in an ex-Nazi colony in Paraguay, a sheep station in the Australian outback, backpacking on Mount Etna and working as a waiter in San Francisco.
Astronomers have published new images of a bright jet of material, long enough to cross the Milky Way three times, fired into space by the black hole at the heart of a distant galaxy. The observations confirm the existence of a second jet, blasting in the opposite direction. The study uses this galaxy, Pictor A, to test ideas about what makes jets like these emit very bright X-rays. It appears in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. To make their observations, the team combined fifteen years of X-ray data, from NASA's Chandra space telescope, with images taken in radio wavelengths by the Australia Telescope Compact Array. Chandra has been in orbit since 1999 and interest in Pictor A was sparked right back at the beginning of its mission, according to Martin Hardcastle from the University of Hertfordshire. 'The early images from Chandra showed there was this very bright jet,' Professor Hardcastle, the study's lead author, told the BBC. 'At that stage we didn't really understand it, because the data were good enough to make an image of the jet, but not to do this kind of detailed analysis.' The new images have five or six times the resolution of our previous best views of Pictor A, he added, meaning that new features can be detected and the physics of the jet probed in detail. Most big galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their centre, and Pictor A - five hundred million light-years from Earth - is no exception. In its case, the immense quantities of stuff swirling towards the black hole release so much energy that a beam of high-energy particles is spat across space, at very nearly light speed. A second jet, fired in the opposite direction, was only an indistinct shadow in previous images, Hardcastle said. 'In some work we did on an interim version of this data set, we thought we could see it. But now it's definitely there.' This 'counterjet' appears much fainter than its twin and the team believes this is because it is moving away from us, at the same breakneck speed. According to the principles of relativity, this makes it look dimmer. 'It's like the Doppler effect only more so,' said Hardcastle. 'In special relativity it actually effects the amplitude as well as the frequency of the emission.' Blooming outwards from the twin beams are two clouds of hot material, clearly visible in the radio wave images.

The Luxembourg government has signalled its intention to get behind the mining of asteroids in space. It is going to support research and development in technologies that would make it possible and may even invest directly in some companies. The Grand Duchy will also put in place a legal framework to give operators who are based in the country the confidence to go about their business. Former European Space Agency boss Jean-Jacques Dordain is to be an adviser. He told reporters on Wednesday that space mining was 'no longer science fiction in the pages of a Jules Verne novel', that the basic technologies - of landing and returning materials from asteroids - had 'essentially been proven.' And, he urged European entrepreneurs to follow the example of start-up American companies that had already begun to consider how they could exploit the rare elements and other valuable resources in space bodies. 'Things are moving in the United States and it was high time there was an initiative in Europe, and I am glad the first initiative is coming from Luxembourg,' he said. 'It will give no excuse for European investors to go to California.' Two notable American companies, Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, have begun assembling teams to design spacecraft systems that can survey potential targets and eventually grab ores at, or just below, their surface. Last year, their activities were bolstered by US legislation that sought to cement the rights of any American operations that started to exploit asteroids. Some commentators at the time suggested this legislation might be in contravention with the UN's Outer Space Treaty, signed in 1967. But, Luxembourg's economic minister, Etienne Schneider, is 'relaxed' about the move. 'These rules prohibit the appropriation of space and celestial bodies but they do not exclude the appropriation of materials which can be found there,' he said. 'Roughly, the situation is equivalent to the rights of a trawler in international waters. Fishermen own the fish they catch but they do not own the ocean.' Although a small nation, Luxembourg has a prominent position is space activity. It is the headquarters of SES, the world's largest commercial telecommunications company, which relays thousands of TV stations around the world. Intelsat, the second biggest company by revenue, also has offices in the country. Plus, more importantly, it's fucking loaded.

Two stuntmen have been injured after a motorbike back-flip went wrong at the SSE Hydro arena in Glasgow. The Nitro Circus performance at the SSE Hydro was halted on Thursday night after three people and a bike rider fell off during an attempted stunt. All four came off when the bike failed to clear a ramp. The two injured men were later taken to hospital. The three passengers had been thought to be audience members but the BBC says it understands they were 'part of the act.' All four people on the bike had been wearing protective suits and helmets. The BBC has been told that although they were announced to be audience members they were actually stuntmen. Both injured men were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. One is believed to have a hip injury, the other facial injuries. At least one audience member filmed the incident on a mobile phone. On the video, which was later posted on social media, the MC of the event can be heard saying: 'That is the worst crash we have ever had.' The show was paused while workers and medical staff rushed to the scene and the MC added: 'It's obviously not planned - occasionally something can go wrong. It's not meant to go wrong so we're taking a moment.' In the aftermath of the accident, one of the three passengers and the bike rider were able to walk away. The Scottish Ambulance Service said that it took one male patient to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The other casualty was taken to the same hospital by the venue's private ambulance. An audience member told the BBC that 'everybody who was able was on their feet and cheering the four people on the bike.' He said: ;To be honest the fall didn't look too serious but when one of the riders didn't get up you knew something was wrong. A team of about twenty people swarmed out of nowhere to help. I think the audience didn't know how to react. The announcer kept on talking, calming the situation and reassuring everyone that the riders will receive the best medical attention.' Nitro Circus, which describes itself as an action sports entertainment company, is currently touring across Europe.

A father of three is reported to have choked to death as he tried to eat a McDonald's cheeseburger in one mouthful, an inquest has heard. Darren Bray, of Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, blacked out as he ate the ninety nine pence burger 'following a night out with friends' in October 2015. Cardiff Coroner's Court heard that Mister Bray, who 'had been drinking, but not enough to affect his judgement,' died from a blockage to his airway. A 'death by misadventure' verdict was recorded. The hearing was told that Bray said 'watch this' to his friends as he squashed the burger in half and put it in his mouth.
Police are taking 'no further action' after failing to find any evidence to substantiate a complaint of a man breaking into a house and committing 'a sexual act' over the bed of a sleeping couple. Officers were called to a house in Eccleshill, Bradford, on 26 January, after a report of 'a suspicious incident.' They found the door of the house was insecure but there were no signs of a forced entry. House to house inquiries were made but no residents reported anything suspicious. A sample of stained bedding was taken away and analysed and found 'not to be semen or saliva.' It is now thought that the stain could have been cat sick. A spokesman for Bradford Police said: 'This is not being classed as a burglary. No further action is being taken at this time.'
A Wetherspoons had to be be closed after a diner complained that a rat ran up his trouser leg and stole a chip out of his hand. Reece Coombs, from Trowbridge, was dining out with his partner, Lucy Wrenn, when the rodent reportedly scampered up his leg and stole the chip, the Bath Chronicle reports. As a result, customers were ushered out of the Albany Palace pub and the establishment was closed for thirty minutes while staff 'dealt with the problem.' With a cricket bat, one supposes. 'My partner was eating his chips with his meal when a rat ran up his leg, took the chip from his hand and ran off!' Wrenn told the Chronicle. 'All we got was a refund, which was going to be a part-refund for the food we were waiting on, until I saw about the rushed drinks and incomplete, potentially contaminated starter we had.' A spokesperson for Wetherspoons confirmed that there was a rat in the kitchen (what am they gonna do?), but did not say whether or not it ran up a customer’s leg. Or, indeed, how dey fixed dat rat. Oh, yeah, yeah.
An Italian woman is reported to be facing the prospect of a maximum six-year prison sentence because she doesn't do enough housework. Her husband is accusing her of 'mistreatment of the family' over her failure to do the cooking and cleaning. He accused his wife of 'poor management of the household chores' according to Il Fatto Quotidiano, which added that a lot of food allegedly ended up being 'wasted' because it 'hadn't been eaten.' The husband - whom the report does not name - has also claimed that his wife kicked him out of the bedroom and that he had been 'insulted by two years of negligence' and being 'forced to live in conditions with poor hygiene.' The woman will go on trial on 12 October.
Do not be alarmed, people of Britain, but we are reported to be in the midst of 'a biscuit drought.' Floods which followed the storms Desmond and Eva forced the closure of the United Biscuits factory in Carlisle in December. Ever since, there has been a notable absence in shops of such British household staples as Crawford's Custard Creams and McVitie's Ginger Nuts. And though United Biscuits has recommenced production on some of its lines, it anticipates 'several months' of biscuit shortages. 'Due to floods in Carlisle we are experiencing a shortage of a number products under the McVitie's, Jacob's, Carr's and Crawford's brands,' United Biscuits said in a statement last month. 'We apologise if consumers are finding it difficult to get hold of some of these products and we are working hard at our Carlisle site to resume normal service as soon as possible.'
A tiny wooden box with its contents still inside, an intact pot and animal bones are some of the first items unearthed inside a roundhouse at what has been dubbed 'Britain's Pompeii.' The UK's 'best preserved Bronze Age dwellings', found at a Cambridgeshire quarry, date from about one thousand to eight hundred BC. They were preserved in silt after falling into a river during a fire. The 'delicate task' to uncover the contents has just begun but the finds have been called 'amazing artefacts.' The two or three circular wooden houses uncovered by archaeologists were built on stilts, and formed part of a settlement partially destroyed by fire three thousand years ago. Using a specially-built wet sieving station the team can examine sediment from inside one of the houses and ensure that 'even the tiniest vertebrate remains and glass beads' can be recovered The site, at Must Farm quarry near Whittlesey, has been described as 'unique' by David Gibson, from Cambridge Archaeological Unit, which is leading the excavation. Most Bronze Age sites have no timber remaining, just post-holes - but here, the stilts, roof structure and walls have been unearthed. It is thought the roof fell in during the fire, covering the contents of the houses. Much would have been preserved as it sank into the Fenland silt. Only a small section of one of the house interiors is being examined at the moment. One of the first items found was 'a very small, delicate wooden box that is mostly complete.' Archaeologists said that they were 'thrilled' to discover such a well-preserved artefact. The contents appear to be inside still, but work to examine what those might be will not take place until next week. An intact 'fineware' pot and animal bones have also been found, all of which must be 'meticulously' cleaned and documented. The 'cluster' of fish and animal bones uncovered inside 'could have been the kitchen waste of the time,' they said. The team is currently about half-way through the eight-month dig to uncover the secrets of the site and the people who lived there. Although they are in the very early stages of examining the house interior, the quality and quantity of what has been uncovered so far has left archaeologists 'very excited.' The site has the 'potential for more uncommon household objects including tools, cutlery and even furniture,' they added. The excavation is being jointly funded by Historic England and quarry owner Forterra.
The African News Agency reports that in Johannesburg, the ANC Women's League said that it was 'appalled' by the behaviour of a group of women who publicly bared their bottoms in protest at the ANC Tshwane regional offices. On Monday a group of about sixteen women, who are all said to be members of the ANC, suggested that they were 'demonstrating their grievances' against the outcome of a party meeting. The women claimed that bouncers armed with pangas and firearms stormed their meeting, which was held at Lebelo Primary School in Hammanskraal on Sunday. The women said that they were 'forcibly prevented from the voting process' to elect a new branch committee. But the ANCWL claimed that the demonstration 'was in bad taste and displays a moral decay that emanates from foreign tendencies within the ANC such as factionalism and clique politics.' They added that the reasons for the protest 'could never justify such behaviour', which it said sought to 'undermine' the ANC and its processes. 'The ANC has internal channels and procedures that could have been followed to lodge a dispute on the said outcomes. There are no individual members who are above the organisation and all members must follow the appropriate channels to lodge a dispute,' said the ANCWL in a strongly worded statement issued by Meokgo Matuba, the league’s Secretary General. 'As the ANCWL we are disappointed by this behaviour and it’s anti-ANC. Members of the ANC should display discipline, lead society and not initiate unethical acts of indecent exposure. Women must always carry themselves in an exemplary manner in society.'
An Andalusian footballer has reportedly been handed a one year ban after slapping a female linesman. With his penis. The player - whom media reports have not named - was also given a four hundred and sixty eight Euro fine for the incident, which occurred during a match between Granada-based Celtic De Pulianas and Gabia CF on 15 November last year. He was further told not to be such a daft plank and keep it in his pants in future. The Competition Committee of the Andalusian Football Association described the player's actions as 'performing a public act of common knowledge which was completely undignified and disrespectful to the assistant referee and the crowd present at the game.' The player's club was spared punishment because they immediately sacked the player in question. The offender was attending the Andalusian Second Division match as a spectator and apparently became so enraged with the assistant referee's performance that he hit her with his penis. Where, specifically, this fellah, hit the poor unfortunate lady with his dick (which, one imagines, is probably pretty small), the reports do not state. In a match report, the referee Jesús Lorenzo Rodríguez said that the man 'invaded the pitch and approached assistant number one and tried to hit her with his penis, which he had pulled out beforehand. He was wearing the team’s tracksuit and I recognised him from when I'd refereed in the past.'
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved, though unsellable (and, possibly relegation-bound) Newcastle United produced one of their best displays of a thoroughly miserable season as they beat West Bromwich Albinos one-nil to move out of the Premier League bottom three. Which made a nice change from some of the utterly cowardly and spineless performances the overpaid shower have been putting in of late. Aleksander Mitrovic scored the only goal in the thirty second minute at St James' Park, when he slotted home from inside the area. The Magpies also went close through new signing Andros Townsend, whose shot hit the post, whilst Albinos keeper Ben Foster denied Mitrovic. The Baggies best chance fell to James McClean, whose goal-bound shot was brilliantly blocked by Steven Taylor, playing his first game since August. The Magpies are at Torpedo Stamford Bridge to play Moscow Chelski FC next Saturday.
An Australian cricketer has received a six-month ban for placing bets totalling fifteen Australian dollars (roughly seven quid) on a test match between Australia and New Zealand. Piepa Cleary, nineteen, who plays for Perth Scorchers in the women's T20 Big Bash League, was fond very guilty of breaching Cricket Australia's strict anti-corruption code. 'Bets totalling £7.60 might seem small but it doesn't matter,' said the CA Integrity Unit boss Iain Roy. Who sounds like a right good laugh. Cleary is the second female Australian cricketer to receive a ban for betting. In December, Angela Reakes, who plays for ACT Meteors in the Women's National Cricket League, was given a two-year suspended sentence for bets totalling nine Australian dollars during the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Cleary also received a further eighteen-month suspended sentence after CA said that she had received 'face-to-face anti-corruption training' two months before she placed the bets. Roy added: 'We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of gambling on cricket by players in order to protect the integrity of the game.'

England's cricket side have taken a two-nil lead in the five-match one-day series in South Africa with a five-wicket victory at Port Elizabeth. AB de Villiers top-scored for South Africa with seventy three off ninety one balls as they posted two hundred and sixty two for seven on a slow pitch, England left-armer Reece Topley claiming four for fifty. In reply Alex Hales became the first batsman to be dismissed for ninety nine in both one-day and Twenty20 internationals. But Jos Buttler followed his stunning century in the first match of the series with an unbeaten forty eight, he and Moeen Ali putting on sixty one runs in just thirty balls as England won with twenty two balls left. There were also useful contributions from Joe Root (thirty eight) and Eoin Morgan (twenty nine). The St George's Park surface was not as conducive to shot-making as the Bloemfontein track on which England hit fifteen sixes and amassed three hundred and ninety nine runs in the first match on Wednesday. They lost three wickets inside seven overs mid-innings, but Buttler was coolness personified, hitting three successive sixes in the closing stages to give a strong advantage into the third match in Centurion on Tuesday. England lost Jason Roy in the third over and it prompted Joe Root and Hales to curb their natural attacking instincts. Their calm second-wicket partnership of ninety seven in just under twenty three overs contained only six boundaries but kept England in touch at one hundred and eleven for one after twenty five overs compared to South Africa's one hundred and fourteen for three at the same stage. When Root played on to his stumps for thirty eight, England skipper Eoin Morgan brought himself in at number four, deciding his busy style of play against the spinners would be better suited to the slow, low pitch than Buttler's daring brand of strokeplay. With ninety four needed from as many deliveries, Morgan hoisted Morne Morkel towards long-on and De Villiers took a perfectly judged catch. Ben Stokes also came in ahead of Buttler and successfully overturned a strong LBW dismissal third ball from Imran Tahir as replays showed the ball pitched outside leg-stump, the third unfortunate decision made by South African official Johan Cloete. But the left-hander had still to score when he got an inside edge on to his stumps off Morkel in the next over. The stage was set for Buttler, at number six instead of number four as he was in the first match, with eighty seven needed from eighty balls. Man-of-the-match Hales, who made only one hundred and thirty six runs in eight innings in the test series, looked certain to record his second ODI century but his composed one hundred and twenty four-ball innings ended in the forty second over when the ball brushed his bat in his follow-through and glanced to the keeper. However Buttler, who earlier in the day was bought for what now seems a bargain three hundred and eighty five thousand smackers by Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League auction, bided his time before hitting three successive boundaries off paceman Kyle Abbott. Demonstrating more clinical hitting, he then hit spinner Tahir into the leg-side and down the ground for three massive sixes to take England within eight of victory. Moeen ensured the win with successive fours off Morkel in the next over.
Now, if you've ever wondered what you should do, dear blog reader, if you happen to be reporting live on Italian televsiion and some prat pokes you in the mush with an inflatable banana, allow this excellent chap to demonstrate one possible, very Damian Day-style, solution. Good on ya, mate although, to be honest, if it was me, I'd've done it thirty seconds sooner. Next ...
A 'Silly String shoot-out' at a Michigan Walmart store has turned,if you will, into a fight for justice after one of the two people arrested denied the charges and promised to fight them in court - likening herself to the 'star' of Making A Murderer. Samantha Christiansen and Derek Gomez, both of Muskegon, Michigan, were extremely arrested after spraying each other with the popular party decoration at their local store. According to a report by Michigan Live, the battle spread 'across multiple aisles before staff were able to call a ceasefire.' Mason County sheriff Kim C Cole told Michigan Live that the store's employees 'asked the pair to pay for the used cans,' but that 'they opted just to leave rather than pay.' He added that he was 'unimpressed' by the pair's actions: 'They're certainly old enough to know better,' he said. Christiansen is twenty six and Gomez twenty four. The pair were then arrested and jailed for third-degree retail fraud, a misdemeanor charge punishable by ninety three days in the County Jail, a fine of up to five hundred dollars or three times the cost of the items taken - whichever is the larger. However, in a public message on her Facebook page Christiansen disputed the story told by the media. 'Just so you know, we were kicked out for the silly string fight that occurred in one aisle and then the cops were called,' she wrote. 'Certainly did not "opt to leave."' And after a friend suggested she sue for 'editorial failings or defamation,' she replied, 'Yes, and the false police report that must have been made.' She added: 'We are fully prepared to defend ourselves as retail fraud, under MI legislation, is not what was committed.' In a post on her own Facebook wall two hours later, Christiansen likened herself to Steven Avery, whose 2007 conviction for killing Wisconsin photographer Teresa Halbach has been questioned by the Netflix documentary series Making A Murderer. 'We have gone global,' she wrote, 'I feel like Steven Avery'. She also quoted Gomez as saying, 'I always told my mom one day I would be famous...'
The astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who was the sixth man to walk on the Moon, has died aged eighty five. Captain Mitchell died at a hospice in West Palm Beach, Florida, one day before the forty fifth anniversary of his Moon landing, his family said. As part of the Apollo Fourteen mission in 1971, he spent more than nine hours on the Moon conducting experiments. He said that he had undergone 'an epiphany' in space and in later life revealed a belief that aliens had visited Earth. Mitchell's mission to the Moon was the fourth in the US Apollo series and the first to follow the ill-fated Apollo Thirteen which aborted its attempt to land after an oxygen tank explosion (and later became an Oscar-winning movie, just in case you've never seen it. It's very good.). Mitchell and his commander, Captain Alan Shepard, made it safely to the lunar surface. Their landing site was the Fra Mauro Highlands, a hilly area that was the intended target for Jim Lovell's failed Apollo Thirteen mission. During their thirty three hours at the site, Shepard and Mitchell astronauts collected over ninety pounds of Moonrock for examination back on earth and completed the longest moonwalk in history. Shepard also famously hit a golf ball reporting later that it travelled four hundred yards in the low lunar gravity. Mitchell brought home more than just Moonrock, telling reporters in the days after the mission that he said he had experienced 'an epiphany' in space and returned with 'an overwhelming sense of oneness, of connectedness.' Years later he wrote in his autobiography: 'It occurred to me that the molecules of my body and the molecules of the spacecraft itself were manufactured long ago in the furnace of one of the ancient stars that burned in the heavens about me.' Mitchell left NASA in 1972 and set up the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which aimed to support 'individual and collective transformation through consciousness research.' In 1974, he described his lunar epiphany to the New York Times: 'It was a sense of the Earth being in critical condition, a recognition of the massive insanity which had led man into deeper and deeper crises on the planet. Above all, I felt the need for a radical change in our culture. I knew we were replete with untapped intuitive and psychic forces which we must utilise if we were to survive, forces that Western society had programmed us to disregard.' Mitchell devoted much of his later life to studying the mind and unexplained phenomena. In 2008, he claimed that aliens had visited Earth and said he believed there was a government cover-up. 'I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we've been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomena is real,' he said in an interview with Kerrang Radio. 'It's been well covered-up by all our governments for the last sixty years or so, but slowly it's leaked out and some of us have been privileged to have been briefed on some of it.' Asked about the astronaut's unorthodox opinions, NASA said diplomatically: 'Doctor Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinions on this issue.' Unlike his post-NASA life, Mitchell took a very traditional route to becoming an astronaut. He flew fighter jets for the Navy before becoming a test pilot - a profession from which many of the early Mercury, Gemini and Apollo crews were drawn. He joined the astronaut corps in April 1966 as part of NASA's fifth astronaut intake (his contemporaries included Ken Mattingley, Charlie Duke and Jack Swigert). He was designated as back-up Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo Ten and then served as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo Fourteen, landing Antares on the luna surface. Apollo Fourteen was his only spaceflight. Of the twelve men who have set foot on the Moon, seven are still alive following Mitchell's death - Buzz Aldrin, Al Bean, Dave Scott, John Young, Charlie Duke, Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt.
For those who takes notes on this sort of thing - and, yes, this blogger knows exactly who you are - among the super-soar-away smash hit sounds on the Stately Telly Topping Manor playlist over the last week or two have been all of these fine works.
Yer actual Primal Scream have been announced as headliner at the Electric Fields festival in Scotland. The event takes place at Drumlanrig Castle at Thornhill at the end of August. Last month organisers announced that the major festival in Dumfries and Galloway, The Wickerman, would not take place this year. Meanwhile, two hundred and fifty acts over eleven stages have been lined up for this year's Eden Music Festival - also staged in Southern Scotland. They include Skye and Ross from 1990s trip-hop band Morcheeba, soul singer Andreya Triana and Craig Charles. The event takes place over three days in June, at Raehills, near Moffat. Not The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), obviously. Just Moffat.

The founder of the soul group Earth, Wind & Yer Actual Fire, Maurice White, has died in the US, his brother has said. Reece, seventy four died in his sleep in Los Angeles on Thursday morning. He had suffered from Parkinson's Disease for several years. His band had a series of superb funk hits including 'September', 'Boogie Wonderland', 'Shining Star', 'Fantasy', 'Got To Get You Into My Life' and 'After The Love Has Gone' during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The singer-songwriter was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1992 but his condition was reported to have worsened in recent months. Earth, Wind & Fire - who sold more than ninety million records worldwide - were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and Maurice was individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010. 'My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,' Verdine White, also a member of the band, told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes. That was the whole objective, to try to inspire young people to believe in themselves and to follow through on their ideas,' he added. 'We've touched so many people with these songs.' A former session drummer, White formed a band called Salty Peppers in the Chicago area in the late 1960s. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles, disposing of all of the band members except for his brother. third White brother, Fred, joined the band in 1974. They renamed themselves Earth, Wind & Fire after the three elements in his astrological chart, White being interested in astrology, Egyptology and Science Fiction, elements which became central to the band's visual image on stage. Many of the group's earlier hits were characterised by Philip Bailey's bright falsetto voice though Maurice himself was the dominant vocalist on most of their best known numbers. The band is perhaps best known for its exuberant, horn-driven mix of jazz, funk, gospel,disco and Big Band music played at concerts where they performed in glitzy costumes underneath multi-coloured lights. They played at many top venues including the Super Bowl and the White House. 'We live in a negative society,' White informed Newsweek at the peak of the band's success. 'Most people can't see beauty and love. I see our music as medicine.'
So, for the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's one of Reece's finest moments. Gentleman, it's been emotional.

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