Saturday, February 27, 2016

For Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep, So Runs The World

Let's start off the latest bloggerisationisms with one for all of From The North's Canadian dear blog readers - Hi Garth! Hi Eric! - Bell Media and BBC Worldwide North America have announced a new licensing agreement for Doctor Who in Canada, which will see streaming service CraveTV become the exclusive streaming service for the popular, long-running family SF drama in the the country. The agreement will see series nine made available this summer, with the previous eight series moving to the platform 'by the end of the year.' Series ten onwards will be made available after their full-season broadcasts on SPACE.
ITV enjoyed the upper hand on Monday evening's overnights; Two episodes of Coronation Street attracted 7.37 million viewers and 6.96 million at 7.30pm and 8.30pm respectively. Benidorm was watched by 4.08m whilst Griff's Great Britain had an audience of 3.09m. It was something of an up-and-down night for BBC1, with a strong start to the evening before audiences tailed off later. The ONE Show had 4.21m at 7pm, followed by Inside Out (3.35m) and EastEnders (an evening high of 6.82m). In Or Out: The EU Referendum had 2.20m at 8.30pm whilst a New Tricks repeat drew 2.40m from 9pm and, later, Cuckoo pulled in 1.3m. As usual, Monday was one of BBC2's strongest nights of the week, University Challenge attracted 2.96m for Peterhouse, Cambridge's victory of St John's, Oxford. Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking was watched by 2.50m, the second episode of the impressive The People Versus OJ Simpson had 1.60m (despite featuring Sarah Paulson playing an even more annoying character than she did in Studio Sixty On The Sunset Strip, which really takes some doing) and Qi XL was seen by eight hundred and ninety thousand punters at 9.45pm. Channel Four's Dispatches drew six hundred and sixty one thousand at 8pm, after which Royal Navy School brought in 1.72m, Supershoppers attracted 1.05m and worthless, unfunny Fresh Meat had six hundred and eighty seven thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, OAPs Make You Laugh Out Loud was watched by seven hundred and thirty thousand, Darin Morgan's stunning episode of The X-Files by 1.83m and Gotham by six hundred and twenty three thousand. Elsewhere, BT Sport 2's coverage of the FA Cup tie between Shrewsbury and The Scum had six hundred and ninety seven thousand. FOX's latest episode of The Walking Dead drew seven hundred and seventy five thousand at 9pm.

BBC1, as usual,had the better of Tuesday, The ONE Show being watched by 4.29m at 7pm, followed by Holby City (4.49m), EastEnders (6.59m) and Happy Valley (6.41m) at 9pm, a rise of one hundred and seventy thousand viewers on the previous episode. So much for that idiot from the Daily Scum Mail's claim - with no supporting evidence apart from a couple of whinging glakes on Twitter - that viewers were boycotting the gritty police drama because of sound problems. Not so much, it would seem. ITV's Tuesday night schedule problems continue; The Inspector Are Coming had 2.45m punters at 7.30pm and, believe it or not, Emmerdale aside, that was the highlight of their evening. The second episode of the utterly risible It's Not Rocket Science was seen by 1.62m overnight viewers, a drop of three hundred thousand from the previous week. That wasn't the worst of it, however. Heroes & Villains: Caught On Camera could manage but 1.31m at 9pm. The Great Interior Design Challenge attracted 1.67m at 7pm on BBC2. That was followed by Back In Time For The Weekend with 2.29m and Who's the Boss? which had seven hundred and eleven thousand at 9pm. On Channel Four, The Secret Life Of The Zoo was seen by 2.23m, First Contact: Lost Tribe Of The Amazon by 2.06m and a repeat of Gogglebox by eight hundred and forty nine thousand. Bargain-Loving Brits In The Sunon Channel Five had 1.14m at 8pm. The Great British Benefits Handout was watched by nine hundred and forty one thousand and Age Gap Love by four hundred and eighty nine thousand. BT Sport's coverage of The Arse getting taught a footballing lesson by Barcelona attracted nine hundred and fifty eight thousand.

The Brit Awards coverage drew a TV audience of over five million. The annual ITV coverage of the British Phonographic Industry’s back-slapping slavver-fest was watched by an average audience of 5.77 million between 8pm and 10.20pm on Wednesday night. The show, which was hosted by Ant and/or Dec for the second year, matched the overnight popularity of last year's event, which was notable for Madonna falling down a flight of stairs. Which, admittedly, was funny. In terms of overnights, The Brits narrowly fended off the final of BBC1's The Great Sport Relief Bake Off, which drew an average of 5.40 million viewers between 8pm and 9pm, to win its slot as Adrian Edmondson won the coveted - it says here - trophy. In 2014, The Brits slumped to 4.6 million overnight viewers, matching the record low set in 2006. It's largest recent audience was 7.3 million in 2003. The rest of ITV's night was taken up with its soaps, Emmerdale being watched by 6.2m and Coronation Street by 6.8m. Against that opposition, BBC1 struggled, The ONE Show pulling in a smaller than normal overnight of 3.6m and Tomorrow's Food drawing a mere 2.3m at 8pm. On BBC2, The Great Interior Design Challenge had an audience of 1.46m, The One Hundred Thousand Pound House: Tricks Of The Trade attracted 1.32m and One Child was seen by eight hundred and twenty three thousand. Posh Pawn kicked off Channel Four's evening with eight hundred and twenty two thousand whilst Twenty Four Hours In A&E was watched by 1.53m. A repeat of The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door had an audience of four hundred and ninety thousand at 7pm on Channel Five. GPs: Behind Closed Doors had 1.03m and Inside Buckingham Palace, 1.41m. BBC4's The Prosecutors was watched by five hundred and seventy five thousand.

On Thursday evening, BBC1's two episodes of EastEnders drew overnight audience figures of 6.38m at 7.30pm and 5.48m at 8,30pm with Room 101 attracting 3.30m sandwiched in-between. Subsequently Death In Paradise ended its current series with a total overnight of 6.17m viewers, marginally up week-on-week. Earlier, The ONE Show was seen by 3.95m at 7pm. On ITV, Tonight was seen by 3.05m, odious, wretched, unfunny Birds Of A Feather ended its series - hopefully, its last - with 3.37m and drama flop Jericho attracted a mere 2.47m at 9pm for its final episode. Still, bright side, that's twice the size of the audiences Beowulf has been pulling in if ITV are looking for a 'glass half-full' scenario. And, let's face it, they should be. Big Dreams Small Spaces drew BBC2's largest audience of the night, 1.64m, whilst The Story Of China had 1.20m. On Channel Four, Ugly House To Lovely House with George Clarke attracted 1.74m at 8pm, followed by Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown with 1.29m and The Great British Sex Survey with seven hundred and eighty one thousand punters. Channel Five's Winter Road Rescue was watched by 1.05m and Inside The World's Toughest Prisons had an audience of 1.10m.

BBC1's schedules for Friday were dominated by Six Nations Rugby Live and Welsh Wales's victory over a very disappointing French side. This was watched by an average of 4.77m from 7.30pm. ITV's Emmerdale drew 5.84m from 7pm. Later, the evening's two episodes of Coronation Street were watched by 6.58m viewers from 7.30pm and 5.55m from 8.30pm whilst, in-between, Best Walks With A View With Julia Bradbury continued to do decent business with 3.69m. Mr Selfridge, however, limped on with 2.45m at 9pm. On BBC2, the première of the movie Philomena was seen by 2.31m. Friday is, traditionally, one of Channel Four's strongest nights and this week was no exception; Gogglebox attracted an overnight of 2.89m at 9pm and The Last Leg had 1.46m an hour later. On Channel Five, That's So ... 1981 was watched by seven hundred and eight thousand, followed by NCIS: New Orleans with six hundred and thirty four thousand and NCIS with seven hundred and thirty three thousand. The latest episode of Stan Lee's Lucky Man attracted three hundred and fifty two thousand to Sky1. Eurovision: You Decide pulled in six hundred and seventy eight thousand viewers for BBC4 from 7.30pm. For context, that particular slot average is usually around one hundred and seventy thousand. Nevertheless, it's probably also worth pointing out that much play was made on Friday evening of the fact that the Eurovision programme was 'trending on Twitter' all night and yet, it's actual audience was smaller than that for a documentary about canals on BBC2 at the same time - Canals: The Making Of A Nation (1.45m). A jolly useful reminder to everyone at the Gruniad Morning Star - and at the BBC for that matterthat just because a few dozen people are wittering on about something on Twitter, it doesn't, necessarily, mean that it's getting a sizeable audience.

Wor Geet Canny Ant and/or Dec continued their thorough kicking of The Voice on Saturday evening. The second episodes of the new series of Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway attracted an overnight average audience of 6.97m from 7pm on ITV. Beginning at the same time, the latest (two-hour) episode of The Voice drew an average of 5.38m punters to BBC1. And, to anybody who did manage to sit through two hours of Paloma Faith dribbling on about nothing of any consequence ... why, for the love of God, why? That average actually improved during the second hour of the programme when its opposition for at least part of the hour was the odious, risible Take Me Out (3.61m). During the direct head-to-head between Saturday Takeaway and The Voice - 7pm and 8.30pm - The Voice's average was 5.17m million. Nevertheless, across all of primetime, BBC1 attracted a marginally larger share of the available audience - twenty three per cent against twenty one per cent for ITV. The night began badly for the BBC as the Dermot O'Dreary, if you will, 'vehicle', The Getaway Car after a three week break, was watched by a mere 2.32m. Yeah, that's been an expensive car-crash-and-a-half and no mistake. However, later the reliable Saturday night staples of Casualty (4.59m from 9pm), The National Lottery Live (3.69m) and Match Of The Day (3.09m) proved to be more popular than the odious, risible Take Me Out and The Jonathan Ross Show (a very poor 1.76m from 10pm). Earlier, during the afternoon, ITV's live coverage of Six Nations Rugby attracted 2.34m viewers for the Italy versus Scotland clash and 5.73m for England's victory over Ireland. On BBC2, Dad's Army was watched by 1.93m whilst Stag had an audience of 1.19m at 9pm. Channel Fours night began with Great Canal Journeys (nine hundred and fifty thousand) and continued with Poxy, Rotten, Nasty-As-Shat Penelope Keith's Horrific Little Englander Daily Scum Mail-Licking Hidden Villages (1.12m viewers, every single one of whom who should, frankly, be damned well ashamed of themselves for watching this rancid turd of a programme) and the movie Taken 2 (1.13m). On Channel Five, Can't Pay? Benefits Special was watched by six hundred and seventy thousand punters whilst The Championship: Football League Tonight had four hundred and forty two thousand at 9pm.  ITV3's latest Midsomer Murders repeat drew an incredible 1.26m. BBC4's latest two episodes of Trapped had overnight figures of six hundred and eighty four thousand and five hundred and seventy three thousand.

Despite a genuine quality cast - Michael Gambon, Lindsay Duncan, Romola Garai, Bill Paterson, Tara Fitzgerald, Rachael Stirling, Matthew Macfadyen et al - the big-budget drama Churchill's Secret proved to be ITV's latest colossal drama flop on Sunday evening attracting an overnight audience of but 2.72m viewers from 8pm. It was, admittedly, always going to be a tough gig for Churchill's Secret - which was originally supposed to be shown before Christmas, certainly wasn't without merit and was, as you'd expect, superbly acted - when it had such a thoroughly wretched lead-in and when it was placed up against BBC1's all-conquering Sunday evening drama line-up of Call The Midwife and The Night Manager. The latter - which really is very good indeed - drew 6.25 million overnight viewers, up over one hundred thousand (and a couple of share audience points) on the previous week's première. Call The Midwife, meanwhile, also capitalised on the ultra-low rating ITV competition, increasing its overnight audience by over seven hundred thousand week-on-week to 8.45m from 8pm. Earlier, good old reliable Countryfile also pulled in big numbers, 7.95m, as the audience for its ITV opposition, the TV fiasco of the year so far, Beowulf: Return To The Drawingboard, collapsed completely hitting a series low of just nine hundred and nine thousand viewers at 7pm. That's a primetime ITV Sunday night drama drawing an overnight audience of less than a million viewers. If someone at ITV isn't getting their arse sacked for commissioning this aject turkey in the first place right about now then there is something very wrong with the world. To complete a thoroughly wretched night for ITV, Perspectives - albeit a repeat of Will Young's documentary about Rene Magritte - managed a mere three hundred and fifty eight thousand viewers from 10.25pm. All incredibly low ratings by ITV's standards on a night in which - to much crowing - Channel Four managed to outperform ITV across primetime (albeit, only fractionally). The Jump was watched by 1.87m viewers, tuning-in to see the latest batch of z-list celebrities risking spine-threatening injury just to get their faces on TV one more time. The movie The Wolverine drew 1.63m from 9pm. On BBC2 - which also gave ITV a run for their money - Dragons' Den was watched by 1.88m whilst Let's Play Darts For Sports Relief attracted 1.59m at 9pm. Now That's Funny! - which, it actually, wasn't - had eight hundred and seventy six thousand on Channel Five at 6.55pm whilst Capital One Cup Highlights - Sheikh Yer Man City's penalties victory over The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws - attracted seven hundred and seventy nine thousand (Sky Sports 1's live coverage of the match drew one of the biggest audiences for a non-terrestrial programme in months, 2.67m from 4pm). On multichannels, a new episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. on E4 had four hundred and thirty one thousand whilst Hawaii Five-0 on Sky1 drew an audience of five hundred and forty two thousand at 9pm, followed by NCIS: Los Angeles with three hundred and twelve thousand.
The final and consolidated numbers for the Top Twenty Seven programmes, for week-ending Sunday 21 February 2016 were as follows:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 9.66m
2= The Night Manager - Sun BBC1 - 8.25m
2= Happy Valley - Tues BBC1 - 8.25m
4 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.13m
5 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 8.11m
6 Death In Paradise - Thurs BBC1 - 8.00m
7 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.86m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.19m
9 The Great Sports Relief Bake-Off - Wed BBC1 - 7.12m
10 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.04m
11 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 6.57m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.97m
13 Shetland - Fri BBC1- 5.90m
14 Vera - Sun ITV - 5.32m*
15 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.29m
16 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.11m
17 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 4.98m
18 Midsomer Murders - 4.81m*
19 Holby City - Tues BBC1- 4.75m
20 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Wed BBC1 - 4.74m
21 Dickensian - BBC1 Sun - 4.66m
22 FA Cup Match Of The Day Live - Sun BBC1 - 4.64m
23 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.59m
24 Labour Party Political Broadcast - Wed BBC1 - 4.40m
25 The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List - Sat BBC1 - 4.29m
26 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.18m
27 Benidorm - Mon ITV - 4.15m*
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. On BBC2, Back In Time For The Weekend had 2,68 million viewers, followed by Match Of the Day: FA Cup Sixth Round Draw (2.56m), Dragons' Den (2.53m), the opening episode of The People Versus OJ Simpson: American Crime Story (2.44m), Big Dreams Small Spaces (2.13m), Dad's Army (2.07m) and Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration On Earth (1.99m). The latest episode of Qi was watched by 1.38m. Aside from Googlebox, The Secret Life Of The Zoo was Channel Four's top-rated broadcast of the week (2.42 million), followed by The Last Leg With Adam Hills (2.29m), Royal Navy School (2.26m), The Supervet (2.07m) and Location, Location, Location (two million viewers). The Jump dipped under two million for the first time in its current series - 1.88m. Has the novelty of watching z-listers risking life and limb worn off? If only wishing made it so. Channel Five's top performer, by a distance, was again The X-Files (3.58m), while the latest episode of Gotham had 1.46m. Due to this being an FA Cup weekend and, therefore, most of the Premier League teams being in Spain, Sky Sports 1's Live Football League Seventy Two coverage of Dirty Leeds versus The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters was watched by four hundred and six thousand punters. Sky Sports 2's Live T20 Cricket and coverage of international between South Africa and England was watched by three hundred and sixty seven thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast, as usual, with four hundred and eighty seven thousand punters - again, somewhat lower than normal due to this being a non-Premier League weekend. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated broadcast (a whopping nine hundred and eighty five thousand). Doc Martin drew four hundred and sixty thousand. A broadcast of the worst James bond movie by a country mile, Tomorrow Never Dies, headed ITV4's top ten (three hundred and ninety thousand). Another movie, White House Down was ITV2's best performer with seven hundred and sixty four thousand. Imported Icelandic drama Trapped on BBC4 had audiences of nine hundred and seventy one thousand and nine hundred and twenty one thousand viewers for its third and fourth episodes. The Bermuda Triangle: Beneath The Waves - which this blogger thoroughly enjoyed - was watched by six hundred and sixty six thousand, whilst Grand Tours Old Scotland was seen by four hundred and forty five thousand and The Inca: Master Of the Clouds by four hundred and forty two thousand. Bombay Railways had four hundred and thirty six thousand,d The Renaissance Unchained attracted four hundred and nine thousand and The Truth About Meteors: A Horizon Special drew three hundred and ninety five thousand. Perhaps inevitably, an episode of Family Guy (six hundred and eleven thousand) topped BBC3's final top-ten list in a week. Goodbye. You won't be missed by this blogger in the slightest. Sky 1's most watched dramas were Limitless (1.18m) and Stan Lee's Lucky Man (1.16 million viewers). Hawaii Five-0 drew nine hundred and thirty four thousand. Sky Atlantic's weekly list was topped by Blue Bloods (four hundred and ninety four thousand) and the opening episode of Alan Partridge's Mid-Morning Matters (two hundred and sixty four thousand). The much-trailed Vinyl was seen by one hundred and twenty six thousand. On Sky Living, Elementary was watched by eight hundred and Twenty nine thousand and Bones by six hundred and fifty thousand, followed by Madam Secretary (five hundred and one thousand). Sky Arts' The Seventies had one hundred and thirty five thousand and Occupied one hundred and twenty six thousand. The Bee Gees: One Night Only drew eighty thousand. 5USA's broadcast Castle was watched by four hundred and thirty seven thousand viewers and NCIS by three hundred and ninety one thousand. NCIS also featured in the weekly top tens of FOX - the latest episode of series thirteen attracting 1.01m punters - CBS Action and the Universal Channel. On the latter, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit drew an audience of three hundred and forty three thousand. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's top ten also included new episodes of The Walking Dead (1.64m, the largest multichannels audience of the week) and Marvel's Agent Carter (four hundred and ninety six thousand viewers). On CBS Action, Bad Girls was seen by one hundred and twenty three thousand. On Dave, Suits was the highest-rated programme with three hundred and ninety eight thousand punters. That was followed by Alan Davies: As Yet Unfunny (three hundred and eighteen thousand), Room 101 (three hundred and fifteen thousand), Qi XL (two hundred and eighty four thousand) and Mock The Week (two hundred and seventy five thousand). Drama's Dalziel & Pascoe was watched by four hundred and forty five thousand and Inspector George Gently by three hundred and eighty two thousand. Jonathan Creek had two hundred and eighty four thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Castle (four hundred and ninety nine thousand), followed by Murdoch Mysteries (two hundred and twelve thousand), Father Brown (one hundred and seventy one thousand) and Lie To Me (eighty eight thousand). Sherlock was watched by seventy four thousand punters. In the first full week after its rebranding, on W - the channel formerly known as Watch - Grimm was seen by five hundred and seventy eight thousand. Yesterday's David Starkey's Monarchy: The Windsors had an audience of two hundred and two thousand viewers whilst Wild Brazil was seen by one hundred and sixty six thousand and Waterloo Dead by one hundred and fifty three thousand. The World At War had one hundred and forty eight thousand viewers. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was watched by three hundred and forty two thousand punters. Mythbusters had two hundred and fifty eight thousand and David Baddiel On The Silk Road - which seemed to be trailed about every five across a variety of channels - was seen by eighty five thousand. On Discovery History, Gunslingers topped the weekly-list with audience of thirty five thousand viewers. Tony Robinson's Wild West attracted thirty thousand. Apollo 17: The Untold Story Of The Last Men On The Moon drew nineteen thousand. On Discovery Science, Mega Builders was seen by sixty eight thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes were the popular Wheeler Dealers (forty three thousand) and Fast N' Loud (forty thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Air Crash Investigations which had one hundred and twenty five thousand viewers and Primal Survivors (seventy eight thousand). The Curse Of Oak Island was seen by one hundred and seventy six thousand viewers on The History Channel. The Haunted and Evil Lives Here were ID's top programmes of the week (forty seven thousand and forty six thousand viewers respectively). Britain's Darkest Taboos topped CI's top ten (eighty seven thousand). GOLD's top ten was headed by Only Fools & Horses (two hundred and fifteen thousand) and The Tommy Cooper Hour (one hundred and forty nine thousand). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (five hundred and eighty nine thousand). On ITV Encore, Vera was watched by one hundred and fourteen thousand viewers. Your TV's Unusual Suspects had forty one thousand viewers, as did Snapped. On More4, The Good Wife was watched by seven hundred and forty one thousand. The Horror Channel's broadcast of one of this blogger's favourite movies of all time, Dr Terror's House Of Horrors, attracted one hundred thousand - very discerning - viewers. 'Aw man, you don't wanna play around with voodoo!'
The BBC has given TV executive a sneak preview of the new-look Top Gear – including footage of Chris Evans feeling sick after a high-speed drive and a race with a fighter jet. The corporation's commercial arm unveiled the teaser, which was about one minute and forty seconds long, to promote the new show to more than seven hundred TV buyers gathered at its annual programming Showcase in Liverpool. The footage included Evans being driven at breakneck speed around a racetrack by one of his co-hosts, the German racing driver Sabine Schmitz. He asked for the drive to be stopped mid-journey to be sick, although the segment ended before he was shown actually reintroducing his breakfast to the outside world. Schmitz and Evans were also seen racing a fighter jet at the 'Top Gun training base' in Nevada. Other highlights from the series, which is due to be broadcast in May, included Formula 1 driver Jenson Button taking Evans for a drive around the Top Gear track in Surrey. 'It went down a storm,' one - anonymous - TV buyer at the BBC Worldwide event on Monday night at Liverpool's Echo arena allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'The arena was packed and the clip was well received. There was a great reaction to it.' The event marked the first official appearance of Evans's 'magnificent seven' presenting line-up. Those in attendance included Matt LeBlanc, who in the video clip was seen braving the British weather in an open-top Reliant Rialto three-wheeler from London to Liverpool. The presenters drove into the arena in supercars, among them the Aston Martin DB10, which featured in the latest James Bond film, Spectre. Former F1 team boss and BBC presenter Eddie Jordan recorded a video clip from South Africa, where he was attending a charity event. The new series will see the Top Gear team head to locations including Norway, Kazakhstan, Scotland, South Africa, Morocco and Cuba. Meanwhile, before the series has even begun transmission, Sabine her very self, has already discovered what her old mate Jezza Clarkson would, no doubt, have warned her about - a completely made-up tabloid shit-scum non-story, on this occasion, from the Daily Lies. Ah, professional offence-takers with access to Twitter, where would we be without them?

After a very open-ended, and to be honest, not really very good, finale to The X-Files​' mini-revival - which proved, among other things, that after twenty years, Chris Carter still cannot write realistic dialogue to save his life (five minute info-dumps in voice-over do not count as 'realistic') speculation has inevitably risen as to where the format will go next. However, Carter has confirmed that they are aiming to bring the series back and that another movie - the third from the franchise - 'could' be on the cards. '[FOX is] going to ask for more,' he told The Hollywood Reporter. 'The ratings were very good. They were happy with the show. I talked to Dana Walden today. She said they'd very much like more, but nothing's being negotiated yet.' Carter added that there is 'an appetite for more in the future, it's just a matter of figuring out how to get it done​.' The creator was asked about the prospect of more movies in the franchise, suggesting that the ending of the current season could open the door. ​'They're two different animals,' he said. 'The second movie, we tried to do something more akin to the television show. I think if we had to do another movie, it would have to be another tent pole movie - more in keeping with what we did with the first. I think there are a lot more X-Files to tell, certainly given this cliffhanger, so I think it opens up both the TV and movie parts of the franchise.​' However, Carter has seemingly poured cold water over Internet rumours of a spin-off for Lauren Ambrose and Robbie Amell. "'I really love those guys,' he continued. 'They're terrific actors and excellent to work with. It would be nice to include them. But, at the same time, we didn't make series deals with them. I can't imagine they're not going to be scooped up and be somewhat unavailable to us. It will just be practical about how we're able to work with them in the future.​'

Game Of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman has spoken about the controversial rape scene in series five of the massively popular fantasy drama. His Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken episode saw Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner) raped on her wedding night by Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). Some critics noted that the scene did not appear in George RR Martin's original novels, where Bolton is married to and assaults a different character - Sansa's best friend, Jeyne Poole, a character that does not appear in the TV version. Certain fans 'took issue' with the change from the book, though Martin himself accepted it. Others claimed that the actions were 'not in keeping' with Sansa's character not that she, as the victim in the scenario, had much say in what went down. On the director's commentary for the series five DVD, watched by Entertainment Weekly, Cogman said the reason for combining Sansa and Jeyne's characters was that it would be 'hugely dramatically satisfying' to have the character reunited with Theon and back in her occupied childhood home. 'We made the decision to not shy away from what realistically would happen on that wedding night with these two characters and the reality of the situation and the reality of this particular world,' he added. 'It would have been hugely satisfying [for Sansa] to have a shiv up her sleeve and gut Ramsay, but that's not Sansa. We can't all be Arya and, in fact, most people aren't Arya.' He continued: 'It was a very difficult scene for me to write. I've known Sophie since she was a kid. I think it was the attack on our motives behind it that upset me. Because I love these characters. I've spent the better part of the last decade with these characters and I love these actors. I love Sophie, I love Alfie, I love [Maisie Williams] and it's very personal to me. It's not an easy thing to put a character that I love through a scene like this.' On the suggestion that ending the scene focused on Theon's face rather than Sansa's took the story away from her, Cogman said: 'Theon's redemption journey is an element of the subplot. But if you really watch this scene it's played from Sansa's viewpoint, for the most part. The main reason we cut away at the end, frankly, is that this was Sophie's first scene of this nature and we didn't want to show the attack. And so, we cut to Theon to hear the attack. I understand why many people reacted to that, [thinking] we were making this scene about Theon and not Sansa. I'm sorry it was viewed that way. All I can say is it's certainly not my intention when I wrote it or when we were producing it. We could have stayed on her face of the entirety of the attack, that would have been a perfectly valid choice. To me it was about being respectful to Sophie.'

Regular dear blog reader Chris Stone informs yer actual Keith Telly Topping that he is 'very disappointed at the lack of outrage' on this blog over the subject of Mrs Tembe leaving Doctors. 'Please remedy this important issue in your next rant,' Christopher adds. Err ... okay. This blogger is outraged - outraged, y'hear? - about this malarkey and you should all, I dunno, write to your MPs about the matter. There, another satisfied customer.
There has been much speculation - albeit, not from anyone that you'd trust as far as you can comfortably spit - surrounding Maisie Williams's future on Doctor Who, but the actress has now confirmed that she won't be returning. 'I'm not going to be working on Doctor Who again,' she told BANG Showbiz. 'Everyone's hyping about it, which is very exciting, but I guess that's more of a publicity thing. But no, I'm not going to return, I have a lot of other really exciting projects lined up instead.'
Death In Paradise has been commissioned for a sixth series, with its lead, Kris Marshall, back on board. The popular BBC1 crime drama is getting another eight episodes, which will be broadcast next year. The renewal comes as Death In Paradise has just concluded its fifth series this week. Filmed on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Death In Paradise follows Saint Marie's police team as they solve murder cases. 'We've got more ambitious plans for series six, with a whole host of intriguing puzzles as well as the joy of working with our amazing cast and guest stars,' executive producer Tim Key said. 'We can't wait go get back to Guadeloupe and start shooting.' Joséphine Jobert and ​Danny John-Jules will also return to the show.
Risible Ross Kemp has been named in a report into the cause of a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2008. While filming his Sky documentary Risible Ross Kemp In Afghanistan, the former actor and his film crew witnessed a forty million quid Apache​ helicopter crash - and, apparently, his presence there was 'a distraction to the pilot.' The report said that the major cause of the accident was 'disorientation' experienced by the pilot when 'he entered a dust cloud during a transition.​"The Board believes that the crew lacked sufficient experience for the complex, high end, unsupervised operation, had become fatigued and were distracted at a critical juncture."' The report also suggested the filming of the documentary meant that the helicopter crew's focus was 'not on the task' at hand. ​'Whilst not a distraction at the time of the accident the Board believes it was a contributory factor to the overall focus of the crew.'
Former Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding has become the sixth contestant to drop out of Channel Four series The Jump because of injury. The thirty four-year-old said that she had 'no choice' but to leave the z-list celebrity skiing show because of a ligament injury. Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, actress Tina Hobley, former swimmer Rebecca Adlington, Linford Christie and some bloke you've never heard of have already pulled out with injuries of varying degrees of severity. Harding said she was thankful for the 'once-in-a-lifetime journey.' And, presumably, for making it out of the series with her spine in tact.
The broadcast of a programme in which the illusionist and master of prestidigitation, Dazzling Derren Brown, suffocated himself as part of trick has broken broadcasting rules. Something Wicked This Way Comes, shown on a Sunday morning, featured the illusionist putting a plastic bag over his head and walking on broken glass. Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom - who, let's remember are a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - said that children could have imitated Brown's 'clearly dangerous behaviour.' Although, why the Hell children would, they didn't say. Ofcom received five whinges about the show - first broadcast on Channel Four in 2008 - which was shown on UKTV's Watch channel on 6 December last year. UKTV said that the programme was broadcast 'in error' and was 'unsuitable for a pre-watershed transmission.' No shit? In the fourteen-minute segment, Dezza sought to demonstrate a technique to limit pain and bleeding. He placed a transparent bag over his head and sealed it while a member of the audience tapped out his pulse rate on a drum. Once his pulse had slowed to a virtual stop, Brown - who appeared to be in a state of semi-consciousness - removed the bag from his head and walked barefoot across a path of broken glass. At the end of the sequence, the camera zoomed on his feet to show that they had not bled as a result of contact with the glass. Remember, don't do this at home, kids. Because, it'll fekking hurt. Ofcom said: 'Plastic bags are a common household item that children frequently have access to without parental supervision. They also present a widely acknowledged risk of harm to young children. Therefore, Ofcom took the view that Derren Brown's use of a plastic bag to asphyxiate himself was likely to be easily imitable by children in a manner that was harmful. This was particularly because self-asphyxiation was presented as a way to carry out acts which would not normally be possible because of the bleeding and pain that resulted. Further in this programme no negative consequences of self-asphyxiation were identified.' That was Ofcom's Helen Flanders there. Won't somebody think of the children? The 'negative consequences' bit is particularly interesting. Presumably, if Dazzling Dezza had choked on the plastic bag and, you know, died, Ofcom would have been less concerned? Ofcom - a politically appointed qunago, elected by no one - also found that Brown's use of bad, naughty swear words (like 'shit', 'bugger', 'bollocks' and 'Piers Morgan', probably) during the segment breached the code on allegedly 'offensive' language before the watershed. UKTV said an internal investigation had revealed that 'due to human error' the programme was 'erroneously labelled' as being suitable for broadcast before the watershed. It said that it had 'implemented additional safeguards' to prevent the same mistake happening again. And, that the human who erred has had his knackers kicked until he promised not to do it again. Whether the five people - with, seemingly, nothing better to do with their time - who whinged to Ofcom over this matter are satisfied at having stirred up trouble over such trivia is, at the present time unknown. But, we can probably guess.
And so, sadly, to this recurring feature ...
A cross-party group of peers has told the government that there is 'no compelling case' for scaling back the BBC and it should continue to be a 'universal broadcaster' making popular programming for all. And, these people have only just worked this out? Jeez, is it any wonder why so many people in this country hold all politicians in such utter contempt? In one of the most robust defences of the BBC's output yet - and, about fucking time, frankly - the Lords communications committee said that there should be 'an overhaul' of how the corporation is held to account but there is 'no need for fundamental changes to the BBC's core mission.' The BBC's critics - none of whom, obviously have any sick agenda smeared an inch thick all over their disgraceful, shitty faces - have argued that the BBC should 'not compete' with commercial rivals in areas such as news and entertainment and should restrict itself to filling gaps in programming left by the market. Why the BBC should do this when its news gathering is respected the world over and when it created TV light entertainment before iITV were a gleam in the milkman's eye, they don't explain. Because, they can't. A government Green Paper on BBC charter renewal last summer included questions about whether the BBC's 'scale and scope' should be reduced - so, again, no sick agenda going down there, then - and a White Paper setting out the government's recommendations is due for publication this spring. However, committee chair Lord Best said that those who had provided evidence for the report thought the BBC was doing 'a pretty good job. [The BBC] should be held accountable, there should be a regulator to do that, but we don't want a revolution, we don't think there should be any big changes. We don't think the size, the scale and scope of the BBC should be cut down, that's not on our agenda.' The report also counters claims - made by no one you'd actual trust as far as you can spit - that the BBC is 'too big', arguing that it is 'comparatively small' when compared to competitors, 'in particular to new American entrants in the market such as Amazon and Netflix.' However, the committee said that there should be 'a root and branch review' of BBC accountability, to be conducted by an independent regulator that is expected to replace the BBC Trust. It says that the 'framework' by which the BBC's performance is judged should be 'clarified and simplified', with a renewed commitment to the principles outlined by BBC founder Lord Reith to 'inform, educate and entertain', which were 'well understood' by the public. It also recommends that the BBC should adopt the Public Service Broadcasters' purposes that cover ITV and Channel Four and are overseen by communications regulator Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - which is one of the candidates to take over regulation of the BBC from the Trust. However, it says the BBC must 'set the gold standard' among UK broadcasters, and because of its universal funding via the licence fee, the corporation has a further duty to represent minorities and the regions. The report tentatively suggests extending the Reithian principles to 'inform, educate, entertain and reflect.' The report also says: It was 'inappropriate' for the government to propose the BBC took on the seven hundred and fifty million knicker cost of providing free TV licences to the over-seventy-fives and for the BBC to accept the deal. In future, the level of the licence fee should be proposed by an independent regulator and negotiated, in public, with the Secretary of State, who would have the final say. The report also suggests that the regulator would propose a level for the licence fee and the Secretary of State would have to publish any reasons for not accepting it. The regulator would then be allowed to submit a second recommendation, but not a third. There is concern about the 'downward trend' in spending on BBC current affairs, with the committee saying it is 'vital that the BBC maintains both the quality and quantity of its output in these areas.' The BBC news operation is facing cuts of at least five million smackers as a result of attempts to save one hundred and fifty million quid across the corporation to make up for a shortfall in licence fee income and is expected to see further cuts due to the new funding deal and the over seventy-fives malarkey. The BBC should not reduce the scale or scope of its news operation 'on any platform' and should not close its dedicated twenty four-hour news channel, the report concluded. The next charter, due to start at the beginning of 2017, should be set for eleven years as opposed to the present ten to remove future negotiations from the election cycle. Subsequent charters should last for ten years, in part because the BBCs impartiality and independence 'could be undermined' if it came up for renewal more regularly.

Labour has accused an 'ideologically driven' government of trying to 'bully' the BBC in the party's fiercest attack on the issue of public service broadcasting since the general erection. And, again, it's about fucking time. In her first major speech as shadow lack of culture secretary, Maria Eagle said that government ministers were trying to 'skew the political landscape for their own party political advantage' by threatening the BBC over funding and Channel Four with privatisation. And, again, we ask the question, you've only just noticed this Maria? Where the Hell have you been for the last five years? Eagle also accused the lack culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale of 'becoming distracted' by his support for a British exit from the European Union and called on the government to publish the White Paper needed to renew the BBC's royal charter by May 'at the absolute latest.' With the current charter ending on 31 December, she said that the government was 'fast running out of time' to allow enough parliamentary and public debate on such an important issue. Saying that the government had launched 'an ideological attack on public sector broadcasting and the BBC' because of their support for commercial broadcasting, Eagle added: 'They are engaged in an attempt, using the process of charter renewal, to make the BBC compliant as they carry out their plans to dominate the political landscape by using the power of the state to weaken any opposition they perceive to their planned political domination.' Appointed in January, she warned the Prime Minister, Chancellor and lack of culture secretary: 'Do not make the mistake of thinking you can get away with gutting the BBC in pursuit of your ideology or intimidating them politically just because you won the last election. Charter renewal is about making the BBC fit for the future not forcing it to do the will of the Prime Minister or Chancellor of the day,' she added. Eagle told a meeting of the Creative Industries Federation in London on Tuesday that the Tories' approach to the corporation was indicative of the party's 'broader desire' to 'end dissent.' She said that the BBC's independence had been 'compromised' by accepting the settlement, which involved the corporation agreeing to shoulder the seven hundred and fifty million smackers cost of free TV licences for the over-seventy fives. 'I believe that the BBC was wrong to agree to this – it compromises its independence, undermines its finances and makes the BBC look like an arm's length body of the DWP,' Eagle said. The shadow lack of culture secretary also argued that the next BBC charter should be 'at least ten years' in length, partly to remove it from the current electoral cycle in which the charter had to be renewed nineteen months after the general erection. She criticised plans to privatise Channel Four, the state-owned commercially funded broadcaster, and parts of the BBC, including its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, as 'simply nonsensical. Why severely weaken public sector broadcasting by privatising Channel Four and use charter renewal to attack the BBC? On Channel Four privatisation, I call on the government to see sense,' she said. Whether the government will do this, or what she and her party intend to do about it if they don't - which, they won't - since Labour are, currently, about as electable as a Monster Raving Loony Green Chicken Alliance, Eagle didn't say. This blogger suspects that's because she, actually, doesn't know. She also insisted that BBC Worldwide 'returns value to the BBC and therefore to the licence fee payer.' Eagle – who described herself as 'a critical friend' of the BBC (with critical friends like this, who needs enemies?) – admitted that the corporation could be 'overly bureaucratic' but said such that criticism paled into insignificance next to the attack on its independence. 'The BBC's independence from politicians is the most important thing about it,' she said. 'I, for one, intend to defend it, notwithstanding any individual instance of unfairness I might detect,' she said. While the corporation is often accused of bias by both Conservative and Labour parties, Eagle said, it faced a particular challenge in reporting the EU referendum. Eagle said that the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale's position on the EU makes it 'impossible' for him to stand up for the UK's creative industries and its arts and cultural organisations, all of which benefit hugely from EU membership. The vile and odious rascal Whittingdale has previously denied that his review of the BBC is ideologically driven. One or two people even believed him. He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show last year: 'I'm a huge admirer of the BBC. I've said many times that, at its best, the BBC is the finest broadcaster in the world, but every ten years the BBC's charter expires and that's the right time that we should look at what the BBC does, how it's financed, how it's governed and consider whether or not changes should be made.'

And now, dear blog reader, the second in From The North's new semi-regular series, 'Cool Motors Belonging To Cool TV (And Film) Characters'. Number two: James Bond's DB5. Just know that no matter who you are or how much coolness you achieve in life, dear blog reader, you will never be as cool as Sean Connery is in this photo. Sorry, but it's The Law.
Pointless will pass the one thousand episodes mark after a new batch of regular and celebrity episodes were commissioned. The BBC has ordered one hundred and sixty five more daytime episodes and forty five 'specials' of the primetime celebrity edition, with the multi-series deal seeing the quiz run through to the end of 2017. Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman will continue to host, and the one thousandth episode special will be broadcast on BBC1 later in the year. Armstrong said: 'I can't tell you how exciting it is for Richard and me to get a big recommission like this! I imagine it's probably fairly obvious how much we love making it - but to pass the one thousandth episode mark is a great tribute to a show that so many people work so hard on. Long may it prosper!' Osman added: 'I'm so delighted that the ridiculous rise and rise of Pointless continues. 'I can't wait to get back into the studio with my TV husband, Xander. I'm also excited to see what our sneaky producers have got lined up for our one thousandth episode.'
Samuel Anderson is trading in an, occasional, place in the TARDIS for the gritty Yorkshire streets in DCI Banks series five. Anderson is joining Alan Banks's crime-solving squad as Vince - while the new series will also include fellow Doctor Who actor Shaun Dingwall as Chief Superintendent Colin Anderson. Opposing Banks (Stephen Tompkinson) will be a career criminal and his long-suffering wife, played by Misfits' Shaun Dooley and The Musketeers' Maimie McCoy. Six new episodes of the ITV crime drama are currently filming in Yorkshire. In addition to a subplot of an uncatchable master criminal running through the series, there will also be two-part stories based on self-harm and a kidnapping in Leeds's Chinese community.
The upcoming 24 reboot has added twelve-time EMMY nominee former President Jimmy Smits to the cast. The actor has been cast as series regular John Donovan, who is described as 'a powerful US Senator with higher political aspirations.' He is also married to the former head of CTU (Miranda Otto), according to TVLine. Smits previously appeared in the likes of Sons Of Anarchy, LA Law, NYPD Blue, The West Wing, Dexter and, soon, ​Baz Luhrmann's new Netflix series​ ​The Get Down.

Sir David Attenborough has been confirmed as the presenter of the follow-up to the BBC's groundbreaking 2006 hit Planet Earth. The eighty nine-year-old will present BBC1's Planet Earth 2 - snappy title, yes? - a series of six one-hour natural history programmes that will be broadcast later this year. 'I am very excited to once again be working with the Natural History Unit on its latest landmark series and am especially looking forward to getting out on location in the next month or so,' said Sir Dave. Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC TV channels and the iPlayer, said that the new series had taken three years to shoot, taking advantage of 'significant advances' in filming technology since Planet Earth was shown. 'A decade on from Sir David Attenborough's Planet Earth, this new series promises to be an extraordinary experience for our audience,' she said. The series, which originally used the working title One Planet, uses technology including ultra high definition filming, drones and remote recording. 'Ten years on from Planet Earth, it feels like the perfect moment to bring our audience a series of such ambition, which will change the way we see the natural world,' said Tom McDonald, head of commissioning, natural history and special factual formats at the BBC.
TV chef James Martin is stepping down as host of BBC1's Saturday Kitchen after ten years. He will leave the programme at the end of March, with guest presenters being used from April. Martin said that he was 'looking forward' to working on new projects - and having a lie-in on Saturday mornings. BBC Daytime controller Dan McGolpin thanked Martin and said that it was 'an exciting opportunity' to have new chefs presenting the show. Martin said: 'I would like to personally thank all the viewers for turning Saturday Kitchen into a three million-plus smash hit. I could not have done it without them. I would also like to thank the BBC and Saturday Kitchen for the great opportunity they gave me. It has been an amazing journey and I have been privileged to work with some of the world's greatest chefs and some of the greatest names in showbiz. I wish the new chefs every success. I am looking forward to getting stuck into my new projects and to lots of lie-ins on a Saturday morning.' Although, ever the opportunists, the Daily Mirra, seemingly, found an alternative set of reasons for Martin's departure. Which, obviously, they most certainly did not get from hacking anyone's phone. Oh no, very hot water. And then, a day later, came up with another - and, even more ridiculous - alternative story. Martin took over from Anthony Worrall Thompson as host in 2006.
Caitlin Moran has said that TV is failing to represent people on benefits as 'human' and is 'virtually ignoring' those from ethnic minorities, the disabled or people who aren't heterosexual. Writing in the Radio Times, Caitlin said that she had written the sitcom Raised By Wolves - one of this bloggers favourite TV shows of last year - with her sister Caz because growing up as children they had experienced the world through TV, as well as films, books and magazines, but had lacked examples of people in similar situations. She said: 'It's important that there's a proper representation in there, and that everybody gets to feel normal. If I was of colour or had a disability or a different sexuality I just wouldn't even bother turning on the television, because you feel invisible. The lack of working-class people in culture at the moment is notable. And when they are represented. Take Benefits Street. It's the only time I've seen people on benefits on television, but you didn't get to hear them talking about their ideas on philosophy or politics, you didn't get to see them being joyful – it was simply about surviving, and that made them look like animals. It didn't show them as human beings.' Benefits Street, which was extremely cancelled earlier this month after two series, has been criticised as 'poverty porn' which reinforces prejudice against those on benefits.
Jezza Clarkson has grovellingly apologised to Oisin Tymon - the Top Gear producer that he biffed on the conk - after settling a one hundred thousand pounds 'racial discrimination and injury' claim. Tymon launched the action against the presenter - and the BBC - after the infamous 'fracas' last March. 'I would like to say sorry, once again, to Oisin Tymon for the incident and its regrettable aftermath,' Jezza weaselled. 'I want to reiterate that none of this was in any way his fault. I would also like to make it clear that the abuse he has suffered since the incident is unwarranted and I am sorry too that he has had to go through that. I am pleased that this matter is now resolved. Oisin was always a creatively exciting part of Top Gear and I wish him every success with his future projects.' Might've been an idea to have apologised, specifically, for giving the chap a fisting, Jezza - that is, after all, the bottom line as far as the entire incident itself was concerned. Tymon's lawyers said that the case had been settled but did not give details of the settlement though, it is understood to be in excess of one hundred grand, an amount to which both Clarkson and the BBC are said to have contributed. That's licence fee payers money, of course, which should be used to, you know, make programmes. Quite why the BBC are paying so much as a penny over this issue when Jezza himself isn't, exactly, short of a bob or two (reported multi-million pound deals with Amazon, notwithstanding) is another question probably worth asking. At the time of the incident, Tymon told police that he did not wish to press charges. In the days following the incident he was, disgracefully, the subject of sustained abuse on social media over his involvement in the dispute. 'The action involving Mr Tymon has been concluded,' said Tymon's lawyer, Paul Daniels (no relation, one trusts). 'Oisin is keen to put the matter behind him now that it has been brought to a close. Oisin greatly appreciates all of the support he has received, including from the BBC.' Although that appreciation, seemingly, didn't stop him from trying to sue them. Interesting new use of the word 'appreciation' that this blogger hadn't, previously, come across, that. Anyway, 'we are pleased that matters have now been resolved,' said the BBC in a statement. 'Oisin is a valued member of the BBC who behaved with huge integrity in dealing with the very difficult circumstances last year - a situation in which, as Tony Hall has stated, he was completely blameless,' the statement continued. 'Oisin has made an important contribution to the BBC in his twelve years with us and we hope to see him continue to realise his potential in his role as a development executive. We believe Oisin has a very exciting future at the BBC.'
Bill Turnbull told viewers it had been 'a special honour' to front BBC Breakfast as he presented his final programme on Friday. He has been seen on the show since 1999 but announced in September he was leaving the programme. 'Whether you've been with us for the past fifteen years or just this morning, I hope you've found it worthwhile,' he said. Football Focus presenter Dan Walker will take Turnbull's place on the show. 'Thank you for letting me into your home in the morning, whether it's the kitchen, the living room, or - as I'm often told - the bedroom,' Turnbull said as he closed the programme on Friday. 'I've had a wonderful time with my friends and colleagues who have had a lot to put up with over the years. I've always believed it's a privilege to broadcast anywhere on the airwaves. To present this programme though has been a special honour.' Prime Minister Oily David Cameron was among those who praised the presenter in a tribute video. 'You've brought us the news from around the world, from war zones to the White House, but for the last fifteen years we've seen you presenting from one iconic location - the BBC Breakfast sofa,' Oily Dave said. He added that Turnbull would now be free to enjoy those 'long-awaited lie-ins.' Whilst Cameron and his Tory pals continue to dismantle the BBC. Many of Turnbull's co-presenters joined him on set to pay their own personal tributes to him. Weather presenter Carol Kirkwood concluded her segment by displaying 'Goodbye Billy, we love you and we will miss you' on her weather screen. 'I've learned a huge amount sitting next to Bill,' co-host Louise Minchin said. The programme's sports presenter, Sally Nugent, said: 'I am genuinely going to miss you terribly, it's going to be wonderful for you not getting up in the middle of the night, but you've been the most brilliant friend to work with.' The tribute video also suggested Turnbull had 'fourteen TV wives' during his time on the programme, referring to the multiple presenters he's worked with over the years. One of them, Sian Williams, said: 'We were sofa man and wife for more than a decade, we've known each other for over quarter-of-a-century, you're a kind and loyal friend, so thank you for that.' Asked to recall some memorable moments from his time on the show, Turnbull said: 'I remember nearly getting into a fight with a ventriloquist dummy called Bob. And here was a moment where I actually wore a sweater made from dog hair. I couldn't get the stuff off me for weeks.' Walker will join the programme from Monday, presenting from Monday to Wednesday with Minchin. Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty will continue to front the show in the second half of the week.
It's been almost three years since their last official performance, but now Flight Of The Conchords are finally ready to put the band back on the road. The popular duo are headlining the Friday night at Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island on 22 July, with many fans hoping this is just the first in what will hopefully become the full-scale reunion tour we've been promised for several years. The headline gig will be the pair's first official US show since playing the Funny Or Die Oddball Festival in 2013 and they're currently scheduled to play alongside acts including Father John Misty, Villagers, Raury and Ray Lamontagne. New Zealand duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie first introduced most of us to their comedy in 2007 when they starred in their own, self-titled HBO series. The pair have revealed they're working on a Flight Of The Conchords movie - but don't hold your breath, as Jemaine said last year that the big screen adaptation is 'definitely a couple of years away, at least.'
The BBC has called for stronger protection for digital TV services such as iPlayer to make sure Internet providers 'treat them fairly.' In its submission to Ofcom's once-a-decade review of UK communications, which was published on Thursday, the BBC said that the communications regulator and Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - needed to 'modernise' regulation and ensure that incoming net neutrality rules were 'enforced.' The corporation said that as technology advanced and more public service content from broadcasters such as BBC and Channel Four was consumed over the Internet, there was 'a greater chance of conflict' with those who provide the connections for them to reach their audiences. 'Public sector broadcasters could be increasingly exposed to this gatekeeper power, as the incentives of ISPs – and vertically integrated, converged platform operators in particular – are unlikely to be aligned with PSB objectives,' warned the report. 'Such a risk is exacerbated by a regulatory regime which is in need of modernisation.' The corporation also said that rules guaranteeing public sector broadcasters' prominence on linear TV guides should be 'extended to the web' and Internet providers should not be able to charge public service broadcasters for making their content available over the Internet. The UK's biggest broadband provider, BT, is investing heavily in its own TV service while dominant pay-TV provider Sky is moving aggressively into broadband. James Murdoch the Small, who returned as chairman of Sky last month, has publicly criticised the BBC in the past, saying its size and ambitions were 'chilling.' Which, coming from someone in a positive of relative power in billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's organisation would be truly laughable if it wasn't so sinister and twattish. The growth of Netflix in the US has also raised concerns about the power of Internet providers over content companies, after cable TV and broadband provider Comcast began slowing down connections to Netflix until the web TV company agreed to pay for fast access. Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - believes that demand for BBC content means providers are incentivised to offer high-quality access to content from public service broadcasters, in particular the BBC and says that there is no evidence they are abusing their position. It said in the review that, although the role of ISPs as gatekeepers was 'not currently a significant concern', it 'recognised' that developments in technology could 'change the balance of power.' The regulator is setting up a monitoring programme to track developments in the sector and will be on the look out for signs that providers are being discriminated against. Ofcom will have greater powers to enforce principles of net neutrality from April, when an EU-wide framework comes into force.
And now ...
An advert featuring a large bald man strutting down a street in hot pants and high heels - yes, that one - received the most complaints in 2015, the Advertising Standards Authority has revealed. The Moneysupermarket.com advert attracted fifteen hundred and thirteen complaints - from people with nothing better to do with their time, seemingly - with whingers citing its 'overtly sexual' content. Yes, cos there's nothing more sexy than a large bald man in hot pants, is there? Jesus, has everybody taken The Frigging Stupid Pill this week, or what? The ASA did not uphold the complaints. Chief executive Guy Parker said 'matters of offence' can 'grab the headlines' but most of their work is focused on 'tackling misleading advertising' and not dealing with utter nonsense like this. The body acknowledged that 'some viewers' - morons, basically - might have considered the TV and web advert, featuring a man dancing to 'Don't Cha' by The Pussycat Dolls with the tagline 'Dave, you're so Moneysupermaket' to be 'distasteful.' This blogger didn't, incidentally. War, sickness, oppression, bigotry - those are things which actually are 'distasteful' and are worth complaining about. The price comparison website commercial was not judged to be offensive or in breach of the advertising code. Sadly, ASA did not use this, seemingly perfect, opportunity to publicly name - and shame - the fifteen hundred plus glakes that thought this was an issue worth getting worked up about. Still, lets us, once again, stand up and salute the utter shite that some people chose to care about. A company spokesman said that the public feedback to the advert was 'overwhelmingly positive.' This blogger, incidentally, doesn't believe that either. Three adverts for the hotel website Booking.com, where the word 'booking' was seen to be used in the place of 'fucking', were the second, fourth and seventh most-complained about adverts of the year - with six hundred and eighty three, four hundred and seven and two hundred and one whinges respectively. Those complaints were not upheld either, with the ASA saying 'it was a light-hearted play on words that couldn't be mistaken for an actual swear word.' And, even if it could, who, honestly, gives a fek about such rank and abject trivia? The third most-complained about advert was a campaign for online payment site Paypal, which showed two children concerned their parents had not been shopping for Christmas presents. It received four hundred and sixty four complaints from people who 'expressed concern that the ad revealed the truth about Father Christmas.' The truth being that he doesn't exist and that lying to children about this is probably not a good idea since you'll get found out eventually. They were not upheld either - quite right, too - but Paypal independently changed the scheduling of the advert. Cowards. In fifth place was a poster campaign advertising a Protein World weight-loss product with the slogan: 'Are you beach body ready?' The poster, showing a woman in a bikini attracted three hundred and eighty whinges and the ASA told the company that due to 'concerns about a range of health and weight loss claims' it could not appear in the same format again. The ASA concluded the advert, which was defaced in some Tube stations was 'not likely to cause serious or widespread offence', however. Parker said: 'Our top ten for 2015 will no doubt get people talking about whether the ads are or aren't offensive, but there are important issues at stake here. Advertisers must take care not to cause serious or widespread offence, but we don't play a numbers game. And while matters of offence can grab the headlines, the bulk of our work is the less glamorous task of tackling misleading advertising. That's why we're taking a more proactive approach to address the issues which affect consumers the most before complaints need to be made.'

The biggest fireball since the Chelyabinsk explosion plunged through the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean. The event, which has only just come to light, occurred off the coast of Brazil at on 6 February. As it burned up, the space rock released the equivalent of thirteen thousand tonnes of TNT. This makes it the most powerful event of its kind since an object exploded over Chelyabinsk in 2013. That blast was much bigger, releasing the equivalent of five hundred thousand tonnes of TNT. More than one thousand people were injured in that incident in February three years ago, most from flying glass from shattered windows. But the fireball over the Atlantic went utterly unnoticed; it burned up about thirty kilometres above the ocean surface, one thousand kilometres off the Brazilian coast. NASA listed the event on its Fireball and Bolide Reports webpage. Measurements suggest that about thirty small asteroids (between one metre and twenty metres in size) burn up in the Earth's atmosphere every year. Because most of the Earth's surface is covered by water, most of these fall over the ocean and do not affect populated areas.
With all the talk of one day launching a human mission to Mars, it still would take upwards of six months to reach the Red Planet from Earth. But NASA researchers are working on new laser technology that could allow a craft to reach Mars in as little as three days. Known as photonic propulsion, the system would works by using lasers to propel a giant sail. Rather than photons from the Sun's rays, the system would get a boost from Earth-based lasers, according to ScienceAlert. 'There are recent advances which take this from science fiction to science reality,' Philip Lubin, of the University of California Santa Barbara, said in a video about his NASA Innovative Advanced Concept for energy propulsion for interstellar exploration. 'There is no known reason why we can't do this,' he continued. 'There is a road map which you can look at in our paper to relativistic flight. The system is completely scalable modularly, built to any size you want from a tiny one to a gigantic one.' In his paper, Lubin acknowledges that the technology wouldn't immediately be used on a Mars mission. Instead, he suggests the system would work on a wafer-thin spacecraft that would be equipped with 'integrated optical communications, optical systems and sensors combined with directed energy propulsion. We have to radically rethink our strategy or give up our dreams of reaching the stars, or wait for technology that does not exist,' Lubin wrote in a paper about the technology. 'While we all dream of human spaceflight to the stars in a way romanticised in books and movies, it is not within our power to do so, nor it is clear that this is the path we should choose.'
Lubin and his team have received a proof of concept grant from NASA to demonstrate the system could work and he is already dreaming of one day sending these probes to the furthest reaches of the solar system. 'We could propel a one hundred kilogramme robotic craft to Mars in a few days. If you want to push something like shuttle class, it takes you roughly in order of month to get there,' he said. 'Within twenty five year light of Earth, there are actually quite a few potential exoplanets and habitable things to visit - that may be habitable. We don't know of course. There are many targets to choose from.'
The BBC repeatedly failed to stop 'monstrous' abuse by that dirty old rotten scallywag Jimmy Savile and the convicted kiddie-fiddler Stuart Hall because of 'a culture of fear', a report has claims. The Dame Janet Smith Review identified seventy two victims of right rotten rotter Savile, including eight who were raped, and twenty one victims of the disgraced and disgraceful Hall. She said that BBC culture of the time 'was deeply deferential' and that staff were reluctant to speak to managers about complaints. Director General Lord Hall said to the victims: 'The BBC failed you when it should have protected you.' The review found that while senior managers were 'not told' of complaints about Savile's behaviour because of 'a culture of fear' which Smith concluded still exists to some extent, BBC managers in Manchester were aware of Hall's conduct and yet did nothing about it. Hall was extremely jailed in 2013 after admitting indecently assaulting thirteen girls. Dame Janet said Savile, who died in 2011, and Hall were 'serial sexual predators' and the BBC had missed five opportunities to stop their misconduct. The inquiry spoke to one hundred and seventeen witnesses from the BBC who said they had 'heard rumours' about Savile. As, of course, did many people who worked in and on the fringes of broadcasting though, that's hardly 'knowing about' his horrifying and despicable crimes. The review cost six and a half million quid of licence fee payers money and its report is one thousand pages and three volumes long. Meanwhile, Lord Hall has said that DJ Tony Blackburn has 'parted company' with the BBC after 'failing to fully co-operate' with the inquiry. Lord Hall apologised to the victims and said: 'A serial rapist and a predatory sexual abuser both hid in plain sight at the BBC for decades. What this terrible episode teaches us is that fame is power, a very strong form of power and like any form of power it must be held to account. And it wasn't.' Soon-to-be-former BBC Trust chairwoman Rona Fairhead said that the corporation 'turned a blind eye, where it should have shone a light.' The investigation by Dame Janet, a former High Court judge, was set up by the BBC in 2012 to look at the corporation's culture and practices during the years it employed Savile - from 1964 to 2007. Referring to Savile and Hall, Dame Janet said: 'Both of these men used their fame and positions as BBC celebrities to abuse the vulnerable. They must be condemned for their monstrous behaviour.' The key findings of the report are: The victims of Savile in connection with his work at the BBC include eight people who were raped and one instance of an attempted rape. Others faced sexual assaults, the majority of the cases took place in the 1970s, the largest number of victims was in connection with Savile's work on Top Of The Pops, the youngest victim of a sexual assault by Savile was eight years old, eight informal complaints were made to the BBC. Two 'senior managers' are criticised for being 'aware' or 'probably aware' of Hall's sexual assaults committed on BBC premises. Dame Janet said there was a 'culture of separation, competition and even hostility between different parts of the BBC, so that concerns arising in one part would not be discussed with others. Staff were reluctant to speak out to their managers because they felt it was not their place to do so.' She said that celebrities were 'treated with kid gloves and were virtually untouchable.' Dame Janet's investigation into dozens of sexual assaults by Savile heard evidence from more than seven hundred people. They included two BBC managers who 'confronted' Savile over claims that he took teenagers home from Top Of The Pops. It does, rather, make you wonder how these men were able to get away with their terrible doings for so long. I mean, it's not as if they had friends in high and influential places, is it?
As noted, Tony Blackburn has 'parted company' with the BBC after, it is claimed, he 'failed to fully co-operate' with the Jimmy Savile inquiry. Lord Hall said that Dame Janet Smith's inquiry had 'rejected' Blackburn's evidence. Earlier, the ex-Radio 2 DJ said that the report contained details of an accusation that he was among a number of celebrities who had 'seduced' a fifteen-year-old girl. Blackburn denies the allegation and says that he was cleared of any wrongdoing at the time. Lord Hall told a news conference in the wake of the publication of Dame Janet's report: 'My interpretation is that Tony Blackburn fell short of the standards of evidence that such an inquiry demanded.' He said that it was 'one of the most important inquiries in the BBC's history and that has put an even greater responsibility on everyone who took part in that inquiry to co-operate fully and to be open. So many survivors and witnesses have honestly and openly co-operated fully - and at great personal cost to themselves. As Dame Janet has said, she's rejected [Blackburn's] evidence and she has explained very clearly why. I have to take that extremely seriously.' Blackburn says that the claim, made in 1971, was 'quickly withdrawn.' The girl at the centre of the allegation reportedly took her own life later that year. The son of a doctor from Guildford, Blackburn was the first DJ to broadcast on Radio 1 when it launched in September 1967. He spent seventeen years at the station and also presented Top Of The Pops many times during the 1970s and was a weekly fixture on Noel's House Party.
Blackburn said that neither Dame Janet's report into Savile, nor the BBC, had make any suggestion he was guilty of misconduct with the girl, nor did a coroner's inquest or a subsequent police inquiry. He says that, during her review, Dame Janet saw BBC records which allegedly showed he was interviewed about the girl's diary by senior BBC executive Bill Cotton and by 'a senior lawyer.' The DJ says he repeatedly told the review that he was never interviewed by either man. He said in a statement: 'They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs. Sadly what is happening to me now seems entirely in keeping with the past BBC culture of whitewash and cover-up.' He added 'material from so-called "secret BBC memos" from 1971 and 1972 has been published today as part of an attempt by the BBC to "prove" that I was interviewed about the Claire McAlpine allegations forty five years ago. In fact there is no secret at all about these documents. I was made aware of them in 2012 and, again, when I voluntarily gave evidence to Dame Janet Smith's enquiry. The evidence which I have her was with the full knowledge of their existence and comments. As I told her, and have repeated publicly since, the contents of these documents are untrue. It is simply not true that I was interviewed by anyone at the BBC in 1971 or 1972 about these matters. There is no possible reason for me to do anything other than tell the truth about these matters since there was never any inappropriate behaviour between myself and Claire McAlpine and the investigations that the BBC says took place all supposedly led to my exoneration. The complaint was withdrawn shortly after it was made and subsequent Coroner's and police enquiries also accepted there was no substance to it.'

The former producer of Jim'll Fix It has claimed that he told staff on the show that filthy old scallywag Jimmy Savile should not be left alone with children. But, Roger Ordish said that the warning 'would have applied to any presenter' and was not based on a concern that young people would be harmed by Savile and his wicked ways. In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ordish - who produced Jim'll Fix It for its whole nineteen-year run - said that he 'remembered' telling staff Savile should not be left alone with youngsters. But, he said that the advice was not based on a fear 'something awful' might happen but, rather, a rule that children should always be chaperoned. He also said that Savile's presence could be 'unnerving' and 'frightening' for some young people. Particularly, one imagines, those he was sexually abusing. In her review Dame Janet Smith described Ordish as 'honest and decent', saying that she was satisfied he had not been aware of any criminal conduct by Savile. The report found Savile would commit sexual assaults 'whenever the opportunity arose' and incidents took place 'in virtually every one of the BBC premises at which he worked.' His usual tactic with young girls - and, in some cases, boys - was to 'groom' them by inviting them to watch him perform on-set and then make a sexual approach in his dressing room, the report said.
The undercover reporter known as The Fake Sheikh has denied conspiring to pervert the course of justice over the case of pop star Tulisa Contostavlos. Mazher Mahmood is alleged to have misled the court during the collapsed drug trial of the former N-Dubz star and X Factor judge. The reporter, infamous for his stories for the Sun on Sunday and, previously, the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World is very accused with Alan Smith, a retired driver from Dereham, Norfolk. The charge states that between 22 June and 22 July 2014, Mahmood and Smith 'conspired together to do an act', namely that Smith would change a draft statement to police, with the intention to pervert the course of justice. The defendants appeared for a plea and case management hearing at the Old Bailey before the recorder of London, Nicholas Hilliard QC. The judge set a trial date of 19 September, with a pre-trial review at the Old Bailey on 10 June. Both men, who deny the charges, are on unconditional bail.
An extremely rare and valuable Be-Atles record which was found in a loft is to be auctioned next month. Described as 'a Holy Grail item', the 1962 ten-inch record of 'Till There Was You' and 'Hullo Little Girl' lay forgotten in the home of Les Maguire for decades. Maguire, the keyboardist in fellow Liverpool act Gerry & The Pacemakers, said that it could be seen as the record 'that sparked The Be-Atles' success.' The Be-Atles, in case you're wondering, were a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them. The acetate bears the handwriting of The Be-Atles' manager, Brian Epstein. A conservative estimate is that the seventy eight RPM record - the first Be-Atles disc to be cut before the band signed for EMI in 1962 - will fetch upwards of ten grand when it is auctioned, although it is such a rare item that it is difficult to predict what the exact sale price will be. The record - labelled as being the work of 'Paul McCartney & The Be-Atles' - was made at the HMV store in Oxford Street in London and presented to future Be-Atles producer George Martin in a bid to secure the band a recording contract with Parlophone. It is believed that the recordings of the two songs - one a standard from the Broadway musical The Music Man, the other a song written by the alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon which was, subsequently, given to the group The Foremost for their first single - came from The Be-Atles unsuccessful January 1962 audition tape at Decca. Maguire was, reportedly, given the disc by Epstein in 1963 after it had been returned to him by Martin. 'I've never been a big fan of memorabilia, but people seem to like it,' he said. 'It's no good to me so I've given it to my granddaughter, who is hoping to buy a house after passing her accountancy exams. I hope it goes for a good price.' Be-Atles historian, Mark Lewisohn said in his book, Tune In, that the uniqueness of the disc is 'enhanced by Brian Epstein's handwriting on the labels and the recognition of what it led to.' Despite initial reticence from Martin, The Be-Atles signed to EMI in May 1962 before going on to become one of the most successful and influential bands of all time. You know that, right? The recording is, Lewisohn wrote, one of the 'rarest and most collectable of all Be-Atles records.' Ian Shirley, editor of Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide, described the disc as 'a Holy Grail item.' 'Till There Was You' - which was written by Meredith Willson in 1957 - was misspelled as 'Til There Was You by Epstein. it was, subsequently, rerecorded by The Be-Atles on their second LP, With The Be-Atles, in 1963. Shirley said it would 'fascinate Be-Atles collectors worldwide' and would 'no doubt attract bids from those with deep pockets.' The sale is to take place at Omega Auctions in Warrington on 22 March and will be broadcast live online for worldwide bidding.
The original suit worn by yer actual George Harrison - the intelligent one - on the cover of The Be-Atles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP is to go on public display for the first time. The peach outfit will form part of the V&A's You Say You Want A Revolution? Records & Rebels 1966-70 exhibition. Opening in September, it aims to explore the impact of the late 1960s counterculture upon the present day. Other items in the show include a piece of Moon rock, a rare Apple One computer and shards from Jimi Hendrix's guitar. The exhibition has been put together by Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, who also co-curated the V&A's highly successful David Bowie exhibition in 2013. It will focus on the places and events - such as London's Carnaby Street and UFO Club, the Paris protests of May 1968 and the Woodstock Festival of 1969 - that helped define the period. Harrison's suit is being loaned by his widow, Olivia, along with the musician's sitar, letters and a diary about the recording of the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club LP. Broackes recalled the moment she was shown the suit for the first time. 'It was put on a table and looked beautiful - it had a hat with a feather and special cuffs. To see the whole thing laid out together is incredibly exciting.' Other Be-Atles items on display include alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon's lime green Sgt Pepper's outfit - which has been on display previously - and handwritten lyrics for 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.' The exhibition's launch event took place at The Bag O'Nails club in London's Soho where The Be-Atles, The Who and The Jimi Hendrix Experience played, and where Sir Paul McCartney met his future wife, Linda Eastman, in 1967. Martin Roth, director of the V&A, said: 'There is nothing about our lives today that wasn't affected by the political and social changes that happened then.' The V&A is also borrowing more than two hundred vinyl LPs from the collection of the late BBC broadcaster and national treasure John Peel which will 'form the spine of the exhibition.' Headsets worn by visitors will provide an audio guide which changes the sound according to the visitor's position in the gallery.
The Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan has been ordered to give six thousand Euros to charity after head-butting and spitting at an Irish police officer. O'Riordan was arrested at Shannon Airport in November 2014 when she was taken off a flight from New York after an alleged 'air rage incident.' As she was being detained, O'Riordan allegedly told officers that she was 'an icon' and 'the Queen of Limerick.' Ooo, get her. Last December, she extremely admitted three charges of assaults and one of obstructing an officer. She was diagnosed as suffering bipolar disorder after the incident. News on whether O'Riordan has also been charged with two decades of 'making shite records' is not, at this time, known.
A picture rumoured to be Ronda Rousey's bare bum has 'sent the Internet into meltdown' but there is some debate over whether it is actually her. Apparently. This is according to the Daily Mirra, incidentally. This blogger has absolutely no idea whom Ronda Rousey is, or what she does to justify her existence (apart from, allegedly, posting pictures of her bottom onto the Interweb, obviously). But, since it appears to be a very nice bottom (even if it isn't hers), From The North is delighted to share it with you, dear blog reader.
Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell has tweeted that she is 'very sore' after attempting to cross the Irish Sea in a giant inflatable ball. And failing. Thus proving that man - or, in this case, woman cannot walk on water, Although, to be fair, one bloke managed it a few years ago. Russell had been attempting to 'zorb' between Northern Ireland and Scotland to raise money for Sport Relief, but had to call off the attempt 'due to bad weather.' She managed to travel seventeen nautical miles before the attempt was abandoned.
Gianni Infantino has succeeded fellow Swiss Sepp Blatter as president of world football's governing body FIFA. The UEFA secretary general polled one hundred and fifteen votes, twenty seven more than closest rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa who had been the pre-vote favourite. Infantino is a forty five-year-old lawyer from Brig in the Valais region of Switzerland, less than six miles from Blatter's home town of Visp. He entered the presidential race when it became clear that Michel Platini, boss of European football's governing body could not stand. 'I will work tirelessly to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football,' he said. 'This is what we want to do.' He added: 'I feel a lot of emotion and have not realised yet what has happened today. It is still very fresh and it's been a long and exciting journey and I probably need some time to chill out and see what has happened.' The first round of voting failed to determine an outright winner, though Infantino led with eighty eight, three more than pre-vote favourite Sheikh Salman. Not since 1974, when Joao Havelange of Brazil beat thirteen-year incumbent Sir Stanley Rous, had a second round been needed. Meanwhile, Blatter and Platini - neither of whom are complete crooks, obviously - have had bans from all football-related activities upheld. The suspensions were reduced from eight to six years by FIFA's appeals committee. Both were found very guilty of breaches surrounding a £1.3m 'disloyal payment' to Platini. They have both denied any wrongdoing - one or two people even believed them - and have said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Blatter and Platini claimed that the payment honoured a verbal or 'gentleman's agreement' made in 1998 for work carried out by the Frenchman when he was a technical advisor for Blatter. Blatter added in a statement that he was 'very disappointed by the appeal committee of FIFA.' Which is, obviously, sad. Platini, claimed it was 'insulting and shameful' and 'a political decision.' The bans were reduced by two years after the committee considered the duo's 'activities and services rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football.' FIFA boss since 1998, the Swiss had already announced he was quitting after reports emerged that he was under criminal investigation in the United States. Platini had been tipped as a future leader of football's world governing body and is a three-time European Footballer of the Year. He is also a former captain of France and has been in charge of UEFA since 2007. In a statement released after the announcement, Platini said that the accusations were without foundation and 'completely made up beyond reality.' He said the communication of the decision was done with 'an unbearable arrogance' and that Friday's congress would be remembered, in history, with 'the mark of illegitimacy. I am the victim of a system which has only had one goal - to stop me standing for the president of FIFA,' the Frenchman whinged.

The long-running newspaper round-up, What The Papers Say, is ending, sixty years after it was first broadcast. The weekly programme analysing press coverage of the week's major stories is to come to an end next month due to cost-cutting, said Radio 4. What The Papers Say has been running on BBC radio since 2010 after being dropped from television a couple of years earlier. The programme had run as a TV series for fifty two years on various channels including Granada and Channel Four before it was cancelled by BBC2 in 2008. But, it was given a new lease of life on radio two years later when the then Radio 4 controller, Mark Damazer, decided to bring it back for that year's General Erection. 'For many journalists and political commentators, its demise will mark the end of an era,' according to some whinging glake of no importance in the Gruniad Morning Star. Most normal people, however, won't give a stuff. Its simple format – actors reading out some of the best quotations and coverage from the papers, framed with comments from a different journalist presenting the show each week – was 'required listening' for years, the Gruniad claim, with no supporting evidence. 'There has been speculation about how relevant the programme is in an era of declining print circulation,' the paper continues, rightly. Radio 4 also now has The Media Show, which often covers the press. In its heyday, What The Papers Say -TV version - was a tour de force in the newspaper industry, even spawning its own lively awards ceremony. But, the show has had a peripatetic life. It began on ITV and was made by Granada Television before moving to Channel Four when the channel launched in 1982. It was dropped by the commercial station seven years later but immediately rescued by BBC2. A Radio 4 spokesman said: 'Across the BBC we have to make significant savings and, whilst we're doing everything we can to protect the range and breadth of Radio 4's output, some on-air changes are unfortunately inevitable. From April 2016, Westminster Hour will be extended to finish at 11pm and we will broadcast special What The Papers Say episodes around selected editorial moments. We will continue to review the papers on Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme on Sunday mornings and look at the headlines on Today throughout the week.'

Irish actor Frank Kelly, best known for playing crazy old Father Jack Hackett in the comedy Father Ted, has died aged seventy seven. Frank had been a veteran of the stage and screen for sixty years. As well as appearing on the cult Channel Four sitcom, he had more recent roles in Emmerdale and Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie. The actor died exactly eighteen years to the day after the death of his Father Ted co-star Dermot Morgan. Frank revealed last November that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, although he said that he would continue to work. He had received the all-clear from bowel cancer in 2011 and was treated for skin cancer last year. He also, reportedly, had heart problems. Graham Linehan, the writer of Father Ted, paid tribute to the actor. 'Just hearing from various sources that Frank Kelly has passed away,' he tweeted. 'Terribly sad news.' There was far more to Frank, than merely playing a ranting old maniac (although he did it brilliantly). He had been a versatile television and radio star, stage actor, writer, satirist and singer in Ireland for more than thirty years before his breakthrough role. A gentle, urbane and analytical person, Frank once told the Gruniad: 'Father Ted is not a lampoon of the church at all. It's a dysfunctional little family and it's a very convenient umbrella to bring these people together under. Ted is a guy who is really trying to do it properly. He's very flawed because he's greedy and has a background of some embezzlement; he's weak. Dougal is a dum-dum, which you will get in any job. But my character is an exaggeration of a problem that exists within the church: superannuated, alcoholic, ancient priests who have to be looked after by younger men.' Born Francis O'Kelly in the South County Dublin village of Blackrock, to Charles and Cathleen, he stayed in and around the area all his life. He had five siblings and his father, known as CEK, was a well-known cartoonist and founder of the satirical magazine Dublin Opinion. Frank studied law at University College Dublin, where he spent much of his time with the drama society, prompting his decision that a career as an actor was preferable to that of a barrister. Out of work in the early 1960s, he was offered casual journalism shifts on the Irish Press and later the Irish Independent, then took a staff job on the listings magazine RTÉ Guide. He enjoyed the work but, 'I realised I'm permanent and pensionable and I've got a wife and kids and I'll never get out if I don't resign, because I want to be an actor.' Because of his flair for comedy and unrestrained all-or-nothing style, he gravitated towards the popular stage rather than the classics and worked as a feed for some of the great variety comedians of the day: Jack Cruise, Cecil Sheridan and Jimmy O’Dea. Gradually, television started to play a greater part in his career, first with RTÉ's Newsbeat, a news/satire show, then the hugely popular Hall's Pictorial Weekly, which ran for twelve years from 1970. It was in that show (plus the Glen Abbey Radio Show) that he created the characters that made him a household name in Ireland: a gallery of apoplectic farmers and incoherent backwoods politicians that may have been wildly over-the-top but was rooted in an authentic Irish rural eccentricity. His character Gobnait O'Lunacy went on to release the novelty record 'Christmas Countdown', a top thirty hit in the UK singles chart in 1984, leading to an appearance on Top Of The Pops. He also starred in the popular children's programme Wanderly Wagon, playing several parts and writing many of the scripts. His portrayal of an appalling priest brought worldwide recognition to this reflective, scholarly and rather diffident man, but his own strong faith he mostly shied from discussing. Frank's first film role was as a prison officer escorting Michael Caine out of a cell in The Italian Job (1969). He also appeared in Rat (2000) and as Pierce Brosnan's father in Evelyn (2002). In 2003 he had a major success as the Labour leader John Smith in the British television drama The Deal and he played the judge in Mrs Brown’s Boys D'Movie (2014). In 2010 he joined the cast of the ITV soap Emmerdale, playing Dermot, Declan Lacey's father, but left the series after a few months because he missed his family. He remained justifiably proud of his work on Father Ted and was always prepared to drop into character and shout 'Drink! Feck! Arse!' when spotted by excited fans in the street or at airports. The much-loved actor is survived by his wife of fifty one years, Bairbre, seven children and seventeen grandchildren.
The actor Jon Rollason has died at the age of eighty four. Jon will be best known to fans of Doctor Who for playing Harold Chorley, the television journalist who covered the attacks on the London Underground in the 1968 six-part story The Web Of Fear. The recovery of the majority of the story in Nigeria in 2013 gave a new generation of fans the chance for to appreciate Jon's contribution to the story. Jon Rollason was born in Birmingham in 1931, where he began his acting career working in the Birmingham Rep. In 1955 he got his first role on television, appearing in The Children Of The New Forest. Three years later he provided the narrator's voice for Karel Reisz's classic 'British Free Cinema' social documentary We Are The Lambeth Boys. In 1962 Jon played Doctor Martin King in three episodes of The Avengers. He also had recurring roles in Swizzlewick, Z Cars and Softly Softly before joining Coronation Street in 1966 as Dave Robbins, a teaching colleague of Ken Barlow. Jon's CV also included appearances in Act of Violence, The Terrorists, No Hiding Place, Our Man At St Mark's, Danger Man, The Baron, The Troubleshooters, Thirty Minute Theatre (in Derrick Sherwin's well-remembered 1967 play, The Metal Martyr), Take Three Girls, Barlow and Robin's Nest. Jon also wrote two episodes of Crossroads and in 1969 created a two-part series Special Project Air for the BBC, starring Peter Barkworth and produced by Doctor Who's Peter Bryant. He also wrote for the BBC series The Double Dealers and played Tony Wyman in the BBC Radio's thriller serial Paul Temple & The Margo Mystery. Jon died in hospital in Llandudno on the morning of 20 February. He is survived by his second wife, Janet, and three children.
The acclaimed cinematographer Douglas Slocombe has died at the age of one hundred and three, his family has said. Slocombe shot eighty movies, from classic Ealing comedies such as he The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts & Coronets, to three of the Indiana Jones adventures. Born in London in 1913, Doug began his career as a photojournalist for Life magazine and the Paris-Match newspaper before World War II. During the war he became a newsreel cameraman and in 1939 he filmed some of the earliest fighting of World War Two in Poland. On filming in Danzig in 1939 just before the German invasion of Poland, he recalled, with marvellously British understatement: 'The Eyemo [camera] was heavy and could be noisy. Once, I was in an auditorium filming a speech made by [Joseph Goebbels] when suddenly it decided to emit a huge snarling sound. Goebbels froze and hundreds of uniformed Brownshirts turned and glared at me in anger. It was not a comfortable moment.' The quality of that footage, which was used in Herbert Kline's documentary Lights Out In Europe, persuaded Ealing to employ him. 'I had no understanding of the concept of blitzkrieg. I had been expecting trouble but I thought it would be in trenches, like WWI,' he told the BBC in 2014. 'The Germans were coming over the border at a great pace.' After returning to England, Slocombe became a cinematographer for the Ministry of Information, shooting footage of Atlantic convoys with the Fleet Air Arm. At the war's end he went to work for Ealing Studios as a camera operator, making his debut as a cinematographer on the classic chiller Dead Of Night (1945). Slocombe is credited with giving Ealing's films their unique, realistic look. He left Ealing and went freelance, not wanting to be tied down to a single studio, and divided his time between England and America. He won BAFTAs for The Great Gatsby, The Servant and Julia, while his other work included Hue & Cry, The Titfield Thunderbolt, The Man In The White Suit, Mandy, The Young Ones, The L-Shaped Room, Roman Polanski's Dance Of The Vampires, The Lion In Winter, The Italian Job, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rollerball, Never Say Never Again and Lady Jane. Steven Spielberg chose Slocombe, then nearing seventy, to shoot Harrison Ford in Raiders Of The Lost Ark and then two further Indiana Jones films in the 1980s. His final screen credit was on 1989's Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade. The British Society of Cinematographers gave him a lifetime achievement award in 1995 and he was awarded an OBE for his services to the film industry in 2008. Despite failing sight, Douggie remained able to give interviews into his last years and was interviewed by David Ellis in a book entitled Conversations with Cinematographers in 2011, by French television and by the BBC on the invasion of Poland in 2014 and the history of British films in 2015. He was quoted in the latter interview as saying 'it's a weird feeling to have outlived virtually everyone you ever worked with.' Douggie's daughter, Georgina, said he died in hospital in London from complications following a fall at his home. 'He said the other day that he loved every day of his work, every day on the set,' said Georgina, a photographer. 'He really enjoyed his work and his life.'
For the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, spareth not The Rods.

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