Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Friends Work For The National Health

It is that time of the year, dear blog reader, where this very weekend the vast majority of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's closest chums are all in Los Angeles (where the temperatures in the next couple of days are predicted to reach ninety degrees or more) for the annual Gallifrey One convention. Meanwhile, this time around, yer actual Keith Telly Topping ... isn't. He is, in fact, currently in Stately Telly Topping Manor, polishing off this bloggerisationisms update and watching through the window - with the heating on full blast - as a sodding hailstorm hits The Estate. A necessary difference, I feel. Thus, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is, not to put too fine a point on it, as grumpy as fek with life in general at this particular moment in time. This may, or may not, be reflected in the bloggerisationisms which follow. You have been warned in advance!
Yer actual Peter Capaldi and Sir John Hurt his very self have loaned their support to the Wear Your NHS campaign, set up to raise awareness of the issues and challenges facing the NHS at present. The actors have been pictured wearing a Support Junior Doctors t-shirt, designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood. The Wear Your NHS campaign, spearheaded by Doctor Lauren Gavaghan, a Senior Registrar in Psychiatry in London, was started as a means to open up the issue of the junior doctors contract negotiations to the public. Junior doctors, working for the NHS in England, have this week been taking part in their second one day strike, in protest at changes proposed to their contracts by the government. The management insist the changes are 'needed' to 'provide a seven day health service in the future.' One or two people even believed them. The junior doctors are worried that the changes will spread overworked staff even more thinly and jeopardise patient health. Gavaghan wanted to encourage people to start thinking about the NHS as they might a shirt worn on their backs, something they may take for granted and only miss if it were gone. This latest stage of the campaign saw yer man Capaldi taking part in a spacial session with photographer Sarah Sheldrake. The pictures show The Doctor and twenty junior doctors, all from a range of medical specialities including A&E/Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatric Anaesthetics, GP, Rheumatology, Acute General Medicine, Intensive Care and Psychiatry, some senior in their specialities. On why he was supporting junior doctors, Capaldi simply said: 'It's a matter of trust.' The Twelfth Doctor was joined by The War Doctor in the photoshoot, with Sir John Hurt also taking part. John was, of course, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015 but is now doing well and in recovery following treatment. On why he chose to support junior doctors he said: 'The most important thing is that they are not to be mistrusted. They do not do this for fun. It is about medicine. Medicine shouldn't be anything to do with politics at all. Politics should be bending over backwards to support medicine.'
As the conflict between doctors and the Health Secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt continues, one junior doctor has grabbed the headlines with an eloquent interview on BBC News. On Sunday, on The Andrew Marr Show, the vile and odious rascal Hunt was read letters by junior doctors, including one from Doctor Rachel Clarke. Hunt claimed that the reason for the conflict was the British Medical Association union, who he called 'totally irresponsible.' Speaking later on BBC News, Clarke responded: 'It's extraordinary for me as a frontline Junior Doctor to hear my Health Secretary say that.' She added that she hoped he would take the concerns of frontline staff seriously, but instead 'he seemed there to have used my concerns as an opportunity to score a cheap political point at the expense of the BMA.' Clarke added: 'He says he cares about junior doctors' morale, so I can tell him now that the single biggest problem for my morale - the thing that is making me want to quit my profession at the moment - is not the BMA. It's nothing I hear from my union or read in the press. It is what he, my Health Secretary, says. It is the way he spins against us, he manipulates statistics against us and frankly he lies. One striking example being he claims to the media we would receive an eleven per cent pay rise in his contract. It sounded very slick, it was nice spin for the media. Every junior doctor in the country looked at the detail in his contract and saw that alleged pay rise was offset by stringent cuts in our pay elsewhere.' Pushed on the matter of the vile and odious rascal Hunt's honesty, or lack of it, she added: 'I'm saying he's lying.' Clarke's interview has been viewed over one hundred thousand times online since it first aired and the doctor has pursued a face-to-face interview with the vile and odious rascal Hunt so that he can address junior doctors' concerns and, perhaps, prove that he isn't a liar. It doesn't look likely to happen, however. Channel Four's Jon Snow revealed that he hasn't been able to secure an interview with the minister, despite asking every day since July 2013. Which suggests that the vile and odious rascal Hunt's attitude stinks worse than the world's smelliest toilet. As someone who has, in recent years, had plenty of opportunity to watch at very close quarters the workings of numerous health care professionals, this blogger would only add that he - genuinely - hopes the vile and odious rascal Hunt never has the misfortune to suffer from a really horrible ailment - like, you know, cancer of the arsehole for example. However, in the awful event that he does have need of urgent medical treatment, this blogger is certain that the care and support he would receive from the overworked, underpaid and vastly under-appreciated health staff would, hopefully, convince him that they are worth every single penny they get and, frankly, a damn sight more besides. That's if the vile and odious rascal Hunt chose to get his treatment on the NHS, of course. Which, as Health Secretary, one would hope he would.

​It was a successful night for the vile and odious rascal Hunt on Friday as he won The Last Leg's 'acclaimed' Dick Of The Year title for 2015 by a landslide. The Health Secretary beat US Presidential-wannabe - and hairdo - Donald Trump with over eighty per cent of the vote. The Last Leg presenter, the excellent Adam Hills even got the phrase 'dickhunt' trending on Twitter. Which is 'a thing' apparently.
The ONE Show topped Monday's overnight ratings outside of soaps attracting 4.35m to BBC1 from 7pm. It was followed by Inside Out, watched by 3.45m, EastEnders by 6.59m, Panorama with 2.60m and Crimewatch which instructed 3.10m punters not to have nightmares and that at 9pm. But, the big ratings news of the night was Channel Five's debut of the new series of The X Files attracting a whopping overnight of 3.17m viewers in the 9pm slot, the most-watched US drama launch on the network since The Mentalist in 2009. Prior to that, the documentary The X-Files Reopened was watched by eight hundred and fifty one thousand viewers at 8.30pm whilst Gotham, at 10pm, attracted eight hundred and twenty three thousand. So, a cracking night for Channel Five and, credit where it's due for picking up The X Files and broadcasting it so quickly. Monday remains one of BBC2's big nights of the week with the latest University Challenge quarter final - Liverpool's narrow victory over Newcastle - seen by 2.84m at 8pm, Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking having an audience of 2.66m at 8.30pm and Rick Stein's Taste Of Shanghai drawing 1.77m at 9pm. Aside from Emmerdale and Coronation Street's usual high Monday figures 6.59 million for the former and 7.75m and 7.35m for the latter's two episodes respectively), ITV had a decent night too with Griff's Great Britain seen by 3.15m and the latest episode of Benidorm pulling in 4.21m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Dispatches was watched by 1.35m at 8pm, after which Supershoppers had 1.40m and Royal Navy School topping the night with 1.75m at 9pm. BBC4 had a solid evening too, Grand Tours Of Scotland watched by three hundred and eighty thousand, Addicted To Sheep by five hundred and twenty one thousand and The Fruit & Veg Market by four hundred and twelve thousand viewers.
Happy Valley returned to BBC1 on Tuesday evening for a second series with a record overnight audience of 6.46 million viewers. Holby City was watched by 4.54m an hour earlier at 8pm whilst The ONE Show was watched by 4.33m. It was another strong night for BBC2, with Back In Time For The Weekend attracting an audience of 2.21m and the second episode of The Real Marigold Hotel pulling in 2.82m, down by three hundred thousand viewers week-on-week but still, comfortably, above the slot average. On ITV, The Kyle Files drew 2.05m, Sugar Free Farm was seen by 2.82m whilst Car Crash Britain continued to struggle with 2.33m at 9pm. Channel Four's best performing shows of the evening were The Secret Life Of The Zoo with 1.94m and The Supervet which attracted 1.38m. 'A social experiment' according to the producers and another - sick - example of poverty porn according to this blogger, Channel Five's The Great British Benefits Handout was watched by nine hundred and eighty seven thousand punters - who ought to be sodding well ashamed of themselves - at 9pm. Bargain Loving Brits In The Sun was seen by nine hundred and ten thousand.
ITV's familiar line-up of Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Midsomer Murders dominated a rather flat and dull Wednesday evening. Emmerdale attracted an overnight audience of 6.04m from 7pm, followed by 6.97m for Corrie at 7.30pm and 4.94m for Midsomer Murders at 8pm. On BBC1, The ONE Show had an audience of 3.66m at 7.30pm whilst the rest of primetime was taken up with the incredibly dull FA Cup Replay between Peterborough Poshies and The West Bromwich Albinos (which, of course, went to extra time and penalties before West Brom finally put 3.66m viewers out of their abject misery). The Great Interior Design Challenge kicked-off the evening's entertainment on BBC2 with 1.53m, followed by The One Hundred Thousand Pound House: Tricks Of The Trade (1.87m at 8pm) and How To Die: Simon's Choice watched by 1.06m from 9pm. On Channel Four, Posh Pawn attracted a fraction under one million viewers. Twenty Four Hours In A&E drew 1.69m whilst Bodyshockers had eight hundred and twenty nine thousand viewers at 9pm. Channel Five's The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door was seen by five hundred and fifty nine thousand. GPs Behind Closed Doors achieved the channel's biggest audience of the night, 1.44m, whilst Violent Child, Desperate Parents was watched by 1.28m at 9pm.
Once again, Death In Paradise saved BBC1 from a very disappointing Thursday evening. The popular Caribbean crime drama's latest episode attracted an overnight audience of almost exactly six million punters (6.02m) at 9pm. Earlier, The ONE Show did pretty well, with 4.18m viewers from 7pm, but both Dickensian (2.20m) and the very tired-looking Room 101 (2.40m) continued to struggle in their respective slots. On BBC2, The Story Of China attracted 1.30m at 9pm whilst Cats Versus Dogs: Which Is Best? concluded with an excellent audience of 2.30m (an eleven per cent share of the available audience) from 8pm. On ITV, to the massive disappointment of this blogger, who reckons it's about as funny as an afternoon at the genital torturers, the wretched, crass, laughless, Birds Of A Feather was watched by 4.26m overnight viewers. Who need to have a damned good look at themselves, frankly. Drama flop Jericho limped on with 2.46m at 9pm. The Channel Four documentary Britain's Weirdest Council Houses was seen by 1.51m at 10pm whilst, and hour earlier, Keeping Up With The Khans was watched by nine hundred and ninety two thousand viewers. Location, Location, Location drew 1.85m. On Channel Five, the opening episode of Inside The World's Toughest Prisons had an audience of 1.11m.
Things we learned from TV this week. Number one (from Cats Versus Dogs: Which Is Best?): That Chris Packham owns two poodles called Itchy and Scratchy. And a - really very nice - Jamie Reid 'God Save The Queen' print on the wall of his - rather lovely-looking - gaff.
BBC1's overnight ratings on Friday evening were dominated by EastEnders - watched by 5.91m viewers - and the latest episode of Shetland - which drew an audience of 4.19m. The ONE Show had 3,65m, A Question Of Sport 3.25m and Dickensian 2.25m. On ITV, the audience for Mr Selfridge now appears to have completely collapsed - the sixth episode of the, once-popular, period drama attracting only 2.54 million overnight punters. Very definitely going out with a whimper rather than a bang, it would seem. The Martin Lewis Money Show drew 3.29m. On BBC2, Mastermind was seen by 1.95m, What To Buy & Why by 1.65m and Earth's Greatest Spectacles by 1.60m. Qi was watched by 1.09m viewers. First Dates: Be My Valentine attracted 2.05m at 9pm on Channel Four, whilst the welcome return for a new series of The Last Leg had 1.54m. Bankrupt & Broke: When Celebs Go Bust was Channel Five's most-watched programme of the evening, with 1.22m. Lip Sync Battle's audience fell apart with no Celebrity Big Brother as a lead-in, this week, a mere six hundred and thirty eight thousand punters tuning in to the latest episode. On Sky 1, Stan Lee's Lucky Man drew three hundred and fifty one thousand overnight viewers.

Things we learned from TV this week, number two (from Friday's episode of Qi): According to The National Museum Of Mustard in Middleton, Wisconsin, 'bathing in mustard is an English custom [practised] to this very day.' 'Every night, everyone in England asks their butler to draw them a mustard bath,' added Bill Bailey in a fantastically cod American accent after Stephen Fry had imparted this statement. If anyone from The National Museum Of Mustard in Middleton, Wisconsin happens to be reading this blog - for entertainment, information, education or, you know, a ruddy good laugh at how all the peasants in Europe live (and, hey, why ever not?) - please be advised, we don't, actually do that.
Saturday's overnights once again saw BBC1's schedules emerge with a significant lead over ITV, with a twenty six per cent share of the available primetime audience for the Beeb as compared to ITV's 13.6 per cent. The afternoon Six Nations Rugby double-bill saw France versus Ireland attracting 3.44m and then Wales versus Scotland being watched by 5.29m. The Voice attracted 6.46m around one hundred and twenty thousand viewers down on the previous week's episode. The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List was watched by 4.18m at 8.30pm, followed by Casualty with 5.01m and Match Of The Day - featuring yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable and seemingly relegation-bound) Magpies' latest shameful and cowardly capitulation against Moscow Chelski FC - attracting 3.22m. ITV's began at 7pm with Ninja Warrior which drew 4.06m. Worthless, lowest-common-denominator shat Take Me Out was seen by 3.24m and The Jonathan Ross Show had 1.75m. On BBC2, Rick Stein's India was watched by one million viewers. Later, at 6.30pm, Back In Time For The Weekend had an audience of 1.25m after which Henry VII: Winter King was seen by 1.26m, Dad's Army by 2.19m and The Real Marigold Hotel by 1.30m. Channel Four's decision to show the most pox-ridden, noxious, shitty, Daily Scum Mail-inspired  TV format ever devised, Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages, brought 1.28m viewers to the network at 8pm. Every single one of whom need to seriously look at themselves in the mirror and ask 'why?' The movie Escape Plan attracted 1.83m from 9pm. Earlier, Great Canal Journeys had an audience of eight hundred and nine thousand. On Channel Five, World War II in Colour drew five hundred and ninety one thousand viewers, Nazi Quest For The Holy Grail was watched by four hundred and eighty nine thousand and The Championship: Football League Tonight had three hundred and sixty two thousand. On the multichannels, ITV2's broadcast of Despicable Me had an audience of eight hundred and thirty four thousand. BBC4's new Scandiwegian crime drama import, Iceland's Trapped opened with nine hundred and thirty seven thousand viewers for the first episode and eight hundred and two thousand for the second. Nelson's Caribbean Hell-Hole: An Eighteenth Century Navy Graveyard Uncovered had three hundred and forty one thousand. On the soon-to-be-gone BBC3, Don't Tell The Bride was watched by one hundred and forty thousand viewers and Top Gear by two hundred and eighty three thousand.

Stephen Fry has, seemingly, ruled out any chance of a comedy reunion with his former collaborator, yer actual Huge Laurie, at least, in terms of a revival of A Bit Of Fry & Laurie. In an interview with Jonathan Ross broadcast on Saturday, Stephen said: 'We talk about it, we lark about when we're together, as we always have which is what the sort of genesis of that kind of thing is. But I think we both have this idea, I may be wrong, that sketch comedy is a young person's game.​'
BBC1's Sunday evening schedule overnights was headed by Countryfile which attracted an audience of 7.98 million viewers from 7pm. Call The Midwife was watched by 7.57m an hour later whilst The British Academy Film Awards drew 4.46m at 9pm, around four hundred thousand overnight viewers down on the 2015 ceremony. Earlier, Nature's Miracle Orphans was seen by 3.51 million. ITV's coverage of Six Nations Rugby and England's second victory of the season, over Italy, was watched by 3.05m. However, the commercial network's Sunday line-up continues to struggle with Planet's Got Toilets drawing a mere 1.67m and this year's most colossal drama flop Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands having a risible 1.46m at 7pm. Good old reliable Vera at least pulled in some punters with 4.76m from 8pm (for a rather good episode as well, as it happens). Later, Rookies had an audience of five hundred and ninety eight thousand. BBC2's Ski Sunday attracted 1.11m from 6.15pm. That was followed by Six Nations: Highlights (six hundred and sixty three thousand), Greece With Simon Reeve (an properly impressive 2.06m at 8pm), Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration On Earth (1.61m) and Match Of The Day 2 (2.43m). On Channel Four, the movie Mr Popper's Penguins attracted 1.03m, the latest episode of The Jump - from which, remarkably, no one ended up in traction - had 1.97m whilst Deutschland Eighty Three was seen by eight hundred and twenty one thousand. Channel Five's Sunday schedule was all movies, What A Girl Wants drawing nine hundred thousand, Jumper with an audience of eight hundred and twenty seven thousand and Homefront watched by 1.07m. On BBC4, Horizon drew three hundred and forty one thousand, The Sky At Night three hundred and thirty three thousand and Storyville: Decadence & Downfall - The Shah Of Iran's Ultimate Party three hundred and sixty two thousand.

The final and consolidated numbers for the Top Twenty Two programmes, for week-ending Sunday 7 February 2016 are as follows:-
1 Call The Midwife - Sun BBC1 - 10.05m
2 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 8.76m
3 Silent Witness - Mon BBC1 - 8.51m
4 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.38m
5 Death In Paradise - Thurs BBC1 - 8.14m
6 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.92m
7 The Great Sports Relief Bake-Off - Wed BBC1 - 7.48m
8 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 7.41m
9 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 7.13m
10 War & Peace - Sun BBC1 - 7.03m
11 Rugby Six Nations: Scotland Versus England - Sat BBc1 - 6.40m
12 Vera - Sun ITV - 6.35m
13 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 6.25m
14 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 6.18m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 6.11m
16 Shetland - Fri BBC1- 5.69m 17 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.48m
18 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.74m
19 Midsomer Murders - 4.72m*
20 Holby City - Tues BBC1- 4.53m
21 The National Lottery: Win Your Wish List - Sat BBC1 - 4.26m
22 The Real Marigold Hotel - Tues BBC2 - 4.23m
These consolidated figures include viewers who watched the programmes live and on catch-up, but does not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via computers. Those ITV programmes marked "*" indicates that they do not include HD viewers. Disappointing final figures continue for several (expensive) ITV dramas, including Mr Selfridge (3.37m) and Jericho (2.98m) whilst the sixth episode of Beowulf didn't register an audience large enough to make it into ITV's top thirty programmes for the week. On BBC2, aside from the continued success with The Real Marigold Hotel - achieving an audience of over four million for the second week running - Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking had 3.28m viewers, followed by Cats Versus Dogs: Which Is Best? (2.99m), University Challenge (2.91m), Back In Time For The Weekend (2.85m), Greece With Simon Reeve (2.59m), Dad's Army (2.31m) and James May's Cars Of The People (2.21m). The latest episode of Qi was watched by 1.45m. The Secret Life Of The Zoo was Channel Four's top-rated broadcast of the week (2.61 million), followed by Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.31m), Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown (2.11m), The Jump (2.05 million viewers and almost as many broken bones) and Location, Location, Location (two million). The final of Celebrity Big Brother was, inevitably, Channel Five's top performer (3.01m). Lip Sync Battle drew 1.56m, while the latest episode of Gotham had 1.45m. Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Super Sunday and coverage of Moscow Chelski FC versus The Scum was watched by 1.47m punters, the largest audience for a multichannel broadcast during the week. The same day's earlier Premier League game - AFC Bournemouth versus The Arse - attracted eight hundred and twenty three thousand, whilst the previous evening's Live Ford Saturday Night Football - Southampton up against West Hamsters United - was seen by five hundred and seventy eight thousand. Sky Sports 2's Live ODI Cricket and coverage of the first international between South Africa and England - won by the tourists under the Duckworth-Lewis system - was watched by three hundred and forty five nine thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast, as usual, with five hundred and fifty thousand punters. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated broadcast (a whopping 1.17m). Lewis drew seven hundred and sixteen thousand. A broadcast of Goldeneye headed ITV4's top ten (three hundred and seventy eight thousand). The Young Montalbano on BBC4 had an audience of eight hundred and forty two thousand viewers. Nature's Wonderland: Islands Of Evolution was watched by seven hundred and forty eight thousand, whilst The Meat Market: Inside Smithfield was seen by four hundred and seventy one thousand and Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered by four hundred and sixty nine thousand. Crossing England In A Punt had four hundred and forty five thousand and The Crusades: A Timewatch Guide attracted four hundred and thirty eight thousand. Traffic Cops (eight hundred and seven thousand) topped BBC3's top-ten list, followed by Family Guy (seven hundred and seventeen thousand). Sky 1's most watched programme was the third episode of Stan Lee's Lucky Man with a consolidated audience of 1.10 million viewers. Laughless, full-of-its-own-importance rubbish A League Of Their Own drew nine hundred and twelve thousand. And was about as funny as a damned good hard kick in the sack. As usual. Sky Atlantic's weekly list was topped by Blue Bloods (four hundred and ninety nine thousand). On Sky Living, Elementary was watched by eight hundred and fifty five thousand and Bones by seven hundred and ninety thousand, followed by Madam Secretary (four hundred and thirty thousand). Sky Arts' Occupied had eighty thousand and the second episode of The Nightmare Worlds of HG Wells had seventy two thousand. The History Of The Eagles drew sixty thousand. 5USA's broadcast Castle was watched by four hundred thousand viewers and NCIS by three hundred and seventy thousand. NCIS also featured in the weekly top tens of FOX - the latest episode of series thirteen attracting nine hundred and thirty five thousand punters - and the Universal Channel. On the latter, Major Crimes drew an audience of two hundred and two thousand. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's top ten also included Marvel's Agent Carter (five hundred and twenty four thousand viewers). Another channel in which NCIS cropped up in the top ten was CBS Action's, which was headed by Bad Girls with one hundred and thirty eight thousand. On Dave, Suits was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and forty three thousand. That was followed by Qi XL (two hundred and ninety nine thousand), Mock The Week (two hundred and ninety five thousand), Top Gear (two hundred and eighty six thousand) and Alan Davies: As Yet Unfunny (two hundred and seventy thousand). Drama's New Tricks was watched by four hundred and one thousand and Inspector George Gently by three hundred and eighteen thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Castle (four hundred and fifty five thousand), followed by Murdoch Mysteries (one hundred and eighty two thousand). Watch's Grimm was seen by five hundred and seven thousand. Yesterday's The Blue Planet had an audience of one hundred and seventy thousand viewers whilst David Starkey's The Monarchy: The Windsors was seen by one hundred and sixty six thousand, Rift Valley by one hundred and forty two thousand and Royal Cousins At War by one hundred and thirty three thousand. The World At War had one hundred and twenty six thousand viewers. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was watched by four hundred and forty three thousand punters. Mythbusters had two hundred and nineteen thousand. On Discovery History, Gunslingers topped the weekly-list with audience of thirty five thousand viewers. Air Wars attracted twenty six thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory USA was seen by forty eight thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes were Fast N' Loud (fifty nine thousand) and Wheeler Dealers (forty one thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Air Crash Investigations which had one hundred and twenty one thousand viewers and Primal Survivors (fifty seven thousand). The Curse Of Oak Island was seen by one hundred and thirty one thousand viewers on the History Channel. A Crime To Remember as Your Worst Nightmare were ID's top programmes of the week (seventy thousand and sixty two thousand viewers respectively). The Hatton Garden Heist: One Last Job topped CI's top ten (fifty four thousand), followed by Crimes That Shook Britain (fifty two thousand). GOLD's top ten was headed by Porridge (one hundred and forty one thousand). Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (five hundred and nineteen thousand). On ITV Encore, Vera was watched by one hundred and seven thousand viewers. A broadcast of Darkness Falls on the Horror Channel drew eighty five thousand punters. Your TV's Snapped had sixty seven thousand viewers. On More4, The Good Wife was watched by seven hundred and seventy three thousand.

Over one hundred million people tuned in to Super Bowl Fifty on Sunday in the US, according to preliminary Nielsen figures. The NFL championship game posted an overnight audience of one hundred and eleven million punters at 7pm on CBS, its second highest rating ever.
The BBC has revealed its most popular programmes on iPlayer for December 2015, with The Apprentice, Doctor Who and Luther among those leading the pack. The Apprentice, in fact, held the top four positions - with episode nine being the most-requested programme with over 1.8m views. The first episode of Luther was the sixth most-requested show with over 1.4m, while the series finale of Doctor Who - Hell Bent - had over 1.2m requests to rank eighth. EastEnders was also incredibly popular, with episodes taking up half of the top twenty. The Christmas special ranks highest, at fifth place overall. The Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special also fared well at number twelve, as did the mini-series And Then There Were None at sixteen. Both The Apprentice and Doctor Who ranked highly in November too, with the former taking the top four spots for the month.
Game Of Thrones is on its way back - and now we have our first-look at what promises to be an epic sixth season with a series of promotional images released by HBO.
The Jump is rapidly developing a reputation for crippling many of the desperate z-listers who sign up to take part in it. As reported in this blog recently, actress Tina Hobley had to withdraw from the reality competition show after breaking her arm in two place in a fall during training. She was replaced by The Wanted's Tom Parker. No, me neither. Rebecca Adlington also pulled out of the show after dislocating her shoulder, with tragic reality TV regular Heather Mills announced as her replacement. Adlington told The Jump's host, Davina McCall, that the fall which caused her shoulder injury was 'literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me, it was worse than childbirth.' Worse, even, than getting spanked in the Olympic final by a fifteen year old, possibly? Then, on Sunday, Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle became the third celebrity to pull out of the current series, after being seriously injured. Tweddle had surgery on her neck after the fall, prompting a review into safety procedures on show by Channel Four. Tweddle had fractured vertebrae fused together and had a piece of bone taken from her hip as part of the operation. A statement from Tweddle's parents said: 'The early medical indications were positive as Beth was able to move her hands and feet, despite being in a lot of discomfort. At 8pm on Sunday night, Beth was taken down for surgery where they took a piece of bone from her hip and used it to fuse the two vertebrae that were fractured, along with pinning them together. It was a scary time for all of us and we're just very grateful that the operation was a success.' A Channel Four statement said that it had asked the show's producers to 're-assess every event and training plan.' A spokesperson for Channel Four said: 'All winter sports carry some element of risk but in light of the number of injuries this year, Channel Four has asked the producers to review safety procedures again to further reduce the prospect of accident.' The events on a new course were 'no more difficult' than in the previous two series and all competitors had 'undertaken a rigorous training programme to prepare them for the show', the spokesperson claimed. Later in the week, Mark-Francis Vandelli - who is a Made In Chelsea-type person, apparently - also left the series after fracturing his ankle, becoming the fourth z-lister to drop out of the competition because of an injury. Vandelli was taken to hospital after a fall whilst taking part in the show's Snow Cross challenge. By the end of the week, a fifth withdrawal - Linford Christie - had also taken place. On Tuesday, Eddie The Eagle Edwards claimed that the producers of The Jump were 'not solely to blame' for the celebrities injuries - emphasis on the word 'solely' one could suggest - suggesting that it was the contestants' own responsibility to train properly. 'They signed up for this, they're being paid for this. If they are hurting, it can often be self-inflicted,' he said in the Daily Scum Mail. Or, to put it another way, if you're so desperate to get your face on TV that you agree to appear on a show that requires you to, in Adlington's case at least, slide down the side of a mountain on a tea-tray, don't come running to us for sympathy if it all goes horribly tits-up.
Hannibal and Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller has found his next mission, as showrunner and co-creator of CBS' new Star Trek series. Fuller will serve as Executive Producer alongside Alex Kurtzman on the reboot of the SF classic, Variety has reported. A long-time fan of science fiction, Fuller began his career writing for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (the part of the franchise that got good the quickest and stayed good the longest) and Star Trek: Voyager (which was mostly shite). 'My very first experience of Star Trek is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls. Before seeing a frame of the television series, the Star Trek universe lit my imagination on fire,' said Fuller. 'It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand new iteration of Star Trek with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no Star Trek series has gone before.' The new series is set to début on CBS in January 2017, then move to CBS' All Access digital subscription service. It will be the first original series to launch on a broadcast network but be shown primarily on an SVOD service. 'Bringing Star Trek back to television means returning it to its roots and for years those roots flourished under Bryan's devoted care,' said Kurtzman. 'His encyclopaedic knowledge of Trek canon is surpassed only by his love for Gene Roddenberry's optimistic future, a vision that continues to guide us as we explore strange new worlds.' The creative plan is for the series to introduce new characters and civilisations, existing outside of the mythology charted by previous series and the current movie franchises. Star Trek will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Kurtzman's Secret Hideout production company. Kurtzman, Fuller and Heather Kadin will serve as Executive Producers. 'For the past fifty years, Star Trek has been a groundbreaking franchise that not only changed the landscape of television, but made a significant impact on pop culture,' said David Stapf, President of CBS Television Studios. 'When we began discussions about the series returning to television, we immediately knew that Bryan Fuller would be the ideal person to work alongside Alex Kurtzman to create a fresh and authentic take on this classic and timeless series. Bryan is not only an extremely gifted writer, but a genuine fan of Star Trek. Having someone at the helm with his gravitas who also understands and appreciates the significance of the franchise and the worldwide fan base was essential to us.' The latest part of the Star Trek franchise on TV is set to launch on the heels of the fiftieth anniversary of the original series première on 8 September 1966. So far there have been five Star Trek TV series, the first three of which were, by and large, bloody excellent. The last two, weren't. Alongside Michael Green, Fuller also serves as Executive Producer, writer and showrunner on Starz's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods, which will begin production in Toronto this April.

ITV has recommissioned Endeavour​ for a fourth series. The Inspector Morse​ prequel starring Shaun Evans and Roger Allam will film a batch of new episodes in late 2016, before returning to screens next year. The new run will, like the most recent run of four episodes, be set in 1967. Endeavour's recently concluded third series attracted consolidated audience figures of around six million viewers per episode. ​'Team Endeavour looks forward to welcoming you back to Cowley Police Station early next year - when we reopen the 1960s casebook of Detective Constable Endeavour Morse and unravel a set of brand new murder mysteries' said Russell Lewis, who will, once again, write the new series.
Hayley Atwell has lined-up a new ABC pilot - which means the future of Agent Carter must be considered to be in doubt. Even as season two of the Marvel series is being broadcast on ABC in the US, Atwell has signed up as the female lead of the network's legal drama, Conviction. In something of a minor coincidence, Conviction casts Atwell as a lawyer named Carter who is blackmailed into heading up LA's Conviction Integrity Unit. Blackmail is illegal, incidentally, just in case you were wondering. Carter, the black sheep daughter of an ex-US president (no, not that one), 'must use her brilliant legal to investigate potential wrongful criminal convictions.' Sounds ... horribly unoriginal. Conviction comes to ABC from veteran Orange Is the New Black, House and Jessica Jones writer-producer Liz Friedman. Deadline reports that although it would be theoretically possible for Atwell to balance Agent Carter and Conviction, it seems unlikely ABC will renew the Marvel show. Atwell first played secret agent Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, later reprising the part for a short film, video games and her own TV series. Last summer, Atwell expressed hopes that ABC would let Agent Carter run for at least ten years. Instead, she looks like getting only two.
​Emma Bunton, Sara Cox, Rufus Hound and Aled Jones are set to host a new live BBC2 show called Too Much TV. Set to be broadcast Monday to Fridays, the series will inform viewers about what's on with added insight and opinions about the week's TV. Thus rendering this blogger utterly pointless. So, no change there, then. Two of the presenters will pair-up each day, with celebrity guests and first-to-air clips.
There's been a lot of rumours doing the rounds about Channel Four's Formula 1 coverage since it took over the free-to-air rights from the BBC. As speculation continues to mount over whom may be joining David Coulthard on the starting grid for the first race of the season next month, the broadcaster has confirmed one thing - that Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain' will be the soundtrack for its coverage. 'The Chain', of course, is almost as synonymous with F1 in the UK as racing drivers saying 'for sure' at least once during an interview, thanks to the BBC adopting an instrumental portion of the song as the theme tune for its coverage. Its familiar bassline opened the Beeb's ​Grand Prix​ coverage from 1978 until the end of 1996 when they lost the rights to ITV, who initially opted for a specially-commissioned track from Jamiroquai worth a reported one hundred grand. But, when the rights returned to the BBC in 2009, 'The Chain' did too.
Neil Gaiman's Likely Stories is coming to the Sky Arts channel, with a host of actors and comedians attached to appear in the four-part series. These include Tom Hughes, Johnny Vegas, George MacKay, Rita Tushingham and Kenneth Cranham. Yer actual Jarvis Cocker will provide the soundtrack to the series, due to be broadcast later this year. Likely Stories will be directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, the filmmakers behind the Nick Cave film Twenty Thousand Days On Earth. Neil Gaiman said: 'Short stories traditionally do not get a lot of love from television. I'm really excited to see what the team are going to do and make with Likely Stories. They've given it real thought and it feels like it's going to be something very, very special.'
Black Mirror ​has made another high-profile piece of casting with Bryce Dallas Howard​ signed up for an episode of Charlie Brooker's Channel Four anthology. The ​​Jurassic World ​actress will appear opposite ​Alice Eve in an episode directed by Atonement​'s Joe Wright, according to Deadline.
They feature prominently in Game Of Thrones and are one of Northern Ireland's most famous natural landmarks, but fans of North Antrim's Dark Hedges are reported to be 'concerned' that road markings painted 'by mistake' have spoiled the view. The iconic tunnel of trees on the Bregagh Road near Armoy features as The Kingsroad in the hit HBO fantasy television series. However, the Department for Regional Development has admitted that a contractor mistakenly painted white lines on the road under the trees. Presumably, the contractor involved, has now been handed over to the Lannisters to be dealt with. It is the second setback for the Dark Hedges in just over a week. At the end of January, Storm Gertrude ripped up two of the two hundred-year-old beeches which overhang the road and badly damaged a third. Whilst nothing can be done to replace the trees, the DRD has promised to 'rectify' the contractor's error. 'Following completion of a small resurfacing scheme along a two hundred-metre stretch of the Bregagh Road at the Dark Hedges, the white lining at the junction with the Ballinlea Road was extended in error,' a spokesperson said. 'The contractor has since been instructed to remove the line and we expect this to be completed by tomorrow. The white lining will be burned off by the contractor. Whilst there is the potential for some residual marking to the carriageway as a result of the removal, we are confident that, given the time of year and the number of vehicles using the Bregagh Road that any such marks will disappear soon. DRD will continue to monitor the condition of the surface over the coming weeks and will take further action to repair the road if necessary.' Heather Morrison of the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust - for, there is such a thing - told the BBC: 'I first saw the picture on Facebook - so I drove over to see it for myself on Sunday. When I saw the white lines I nearly died.' Nearly, but not quite - it's important to stress that. Because, had Heather actually died at the sight, that would've been news. Amateur photographer Bob McCallion has been photographing the Dark Hedges for twenty years. He said that the white lines were 'sacrilege. They've just considered the road to be more or less like any other road in the country,' he added. McCallion said that while he was glad the lines were being removed, a wider strategy was needed to preserve the trees. 'If you go there for the first time, you think they're still brilliant and they are. But if you have been following them [over time], you will see the deterioration in those trees,' he said. 'It's not Game Of Thrones' fault, it's the lack of strategy or facilities to cope with those visitors. There's a whole scenario that doesn't seem to improve year on year.'
The sports presenter Dan Walker has been announced as the new co-presenter of BBC Breakfast. He will replace Bill Turnbull - who announced that he was leaving the programme after fifteen years in September. Walker currently hosts Football Focus, BBC1's long-running Saturday lunchtime football show, and Afternoon Edition on Radio 5Live. He will co-present the daily morning programme from Monday to Wednesday partnering Louise Minchin. Walker said that he was thrilled to be joining the BBC Breakfast team. 'I have watched the show avidly over the years and am even looking forward to setting my alarm clock and doing what I can to make it even more successful,' he said. Walker's career began on Sheffield's Hallam FM Radio, before moving to Manchester's KEY103 radio station. After stints at Granada TV and on BBC North West Tonight, he joined BBC Sport. Turnbull will present his final show on 26 February with Walker starting his duties on 29 February. He joins a roster of presenters which also includes Minchin, Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty. Speaking about his predecessor, Walker said: 'It is an honour to be given this opportunity and to follow in the footsteps of someone like Bill Turnbull. The man has significant shoes to fill so I hope I can do as good a job as he did waking up the nation.' Walker will continue presenting Football Focus but will no longer be hosting Afternoon Edition in light of his new role.

With an impressive cast bringing John le Carré​'s popular novel to life, BBC1's ​adaptation of The Night Manager ​looks set to be unmissable. The six-part thriller - starring Tom Hiddleston and Huge Laurie - will première in the UK on Sunday 21 February at 9pm. ​Hiddleston plays Jonathan Pine - a former British soldier and hotel night manager recruited by British intelligence to help take down arms dealer Richard Roper (played by yer man Laurie). 'I was sent the first episode by my London agent, telling me that Simon and Stephen Cornwell – John le Carré's sons – were seeing who might be interested in a television adaptation of The Night Manager,' Hiddleston said. 'I read the first episode and from the very beginning, I was completely hooked into the story and the character. I fell in love with it immediately. The character appealed to me because I knew, as an actor, I was going to have to operate at the highest level of my intellectual and physical ability, because he is a field agent, but also has to be smart enough to go undercover.' Seeing ​The Night Manager ​realised on-screen has long been an ambition for Laurie, who originally attempted to option the book twenty five years ago, with the hope of playing Hiddleston's part himself. 'The character of Pine is a lost soul - I suppose that's one of the things I responded to when I first read the novel and kept on responding to whenever I've read it since,' Huge said. 'He is noble, courageous, decent, but also lost. He is looking for a purpose, and decides that he will risk his life to take on an enemy who is described to him by a lover as "the worst man in the world" – that is Roper's legend and that's what I've got to try and inhabit. But it's an ambiguous story in as much as Pine's original goal is to bring down this monster, but at the same time [to] resist the monster's charm. Because Roper gives his monstrosity and the evil things he does a kind of logic, even a glamour.' Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander and Elizabeth Debicki also star in The Night Manager. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Susanne Bier, the series will launch on AMC in US on Tuesday 19 April.​
​The second half of Bones' eleventh series will première on FOX in the US on Thursday 14 April 14​ it has been announced. The forensic drama continues mid-season, picking up from the dramatic events of The Doom In The Boom where it left off in December. In new episode The Death In The Defense [sic]'​, Jack Hodgins (TJ Thyne) is eight weeks into rehabilitation after the explosion and has to navigate in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, Temperance (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) investigate the death of a public defender with multiple past defendants with motives to kill her.
Channel Four has been named channel of the year at a television industry awards ceremony. It was one of seven prizes for the network at Wednesday evening's Broadcast Awards. Catastrophe picked up best comedy programme while The Paedophile Hunter was named best documentary. The Broadcast judges said Channel Four's output was 'at its strongest since Jay Hunt took over in 2011.' The channel performed particularly well in factual categories - winning in the news and current affairs category for Dispatches: Escape From Isis. It also picked up best popular factual programme for The Secret Life Of Four Year Olds and best documentary series for The Romanians Are Coming. The critical success come at an uncertain time for Channel Four. Last year, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said that it was looking at 'a range of options' for the channel's future after rumours that proposals to privatise the network had been put forward. It was not a clean sweep for Channel Four, however, as the station lost out in the drama category to BBC1's Doctor Foster, one of eight awards picked up by the BBC - the most for any network. The list of winners included a special recognition award for the BBC's long-running satirical news quiz show Have I Got News For You. The programme was commended by the judges for 'remaining reassuringly familiar, while somehow striking the right tone on many of the complex and upsetting news stories that have come its way.' Britain's Got Talent won best entertainment programme, one of only two wins for ITV, after a difficult year for its creator Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads as viewing figures for his other major ITV format, The X Factor, decreased significantly. Other winners at the ceremony, which was presented by Jonathan Ross, included Emmerdale for best soap and Peter Kay's Car Share for best original programme.

BBC Radio 1 presenter Ceallach Spellman is to join the cast of Cold Feet. A reboot of the ITV drama, which was originally broadcast from 1997 to 2003, is to be screened later this year. Spellman will take on the role of Matthew - the son of Adam and Rachel, played in the original series by Jimmy Nesbitt and the really annoying Baxendale woman. The character was last seen as a baby in the final episodes of the show's original run. Spellman said that he was 'so excited and somewhat humbled' to be joining for the programme's return. He described his casting as a 'wonderful opportunity to be part of this fantastic story which was so popular and successful fourteen years ago.' The twenty-year-old will be appearing alongside the programme's original cast members, including Robert Bathurst, Hermione Norris, John Thomson and Fay Ripley. A trained actor, Spellman has previously appeared in Waterloo Road and Channel Four's not-very-good drama Cucumber. But he is currently best known as the presenter of BBC Radio 1's The Number One Show, broadcast on Sunday afternoons. Fans of Cold Feet will recall Matthew's mother Rachel dying in a car crash at the end of the fifth series, after which his father left Manchester with his infant son. Spellman joked that he was 'particularly looking forward' to working alongside his on-screen dad, Nesbitt, 'even if he is a Man United fan.' The part of baby Matthew was originally played by Jacob Hughes, now a teenager living in Lancashire.

A fan who bombarded the BBC's Alex Jones with tweets declaring he was in love with her has been banned from any contact with the Welsh TV presenter. Shane Goldsmith sent the thirty eight-year-old The ONE Show presenter a string of messages for seventeen months and waited outside the BBC's headquarters to tell her that he loved her. A judge imposed a restraining order which also bars Goldsmith from the BBC's New Broadcasting House in Central London. Goldsmith was formally cleared of a single charge of harassment. Senior district judge Howard Riddle imposed the restraining order at Westminster Magistrates' Court, banning Goldsmith from having any contact with the presenter, her partner Charlie Thomson or her parents Alun and Mary Jones. Goldsmith, of no fixed abode, is also barred from going to any other place Miss Jones lives or works.
From The North understands that ITV’s z-list celebrity shepherding show Flockstars - the third worst TV show of 2015 - is unlikely to be returning for a second series. Dubbed Strictly Come Dogging by some phlegm of no consequence at the Gruniad Morning Star, the series picked up tiny audience and was widely ridiculed by just about everyone who saw a second of it. Former ITV director of television Peter Fincham said last year that it had 'got people talking' (mainly about how shite it was and whether the plank who came up with the format in the first place had managed to hang onto his or her job) so it might return. But, alleged - though anonymous - ITV 'sources' this week snitched to the Gruniad that there were 'no current plans for a new series with this format.' So, that's some good news, anyway.
Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan and German racing driver Sabine Schmitz are to join the new series of Top Gear. Motor journalist Chris Harris and TV presenter Rory Reid have also been signed to co-present the programme the BBC announced on Thursday. They will join Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc when the BBC2 programme returns in May. Sabine will become the show's first female presenter in fifteen years. The last was Vicki Butler-Henderson in 2001. Speaking about her new role, Schmitz said 'the chance to combine both driving and filming was too good an opportunity to pass up. I've appeared on Top Gear a few times in the past, so I know we're going to have a lot of fun,' she added. Schmitz has already been filming a sequence with Chris Evans for the new series that 'will leave even the most hardened speed-demons gasping for breath when it debuts on TV', the BBC said in a statement. Harris is well known for fronting various motoring programmes on YouTube. Referencing the show's cheeky and irreverent style, Harris said: 'I'm quite gobby and happy to get into trouble, so I'm hoping I can underpin the programme with journalistic credibility but still cause some mischief.' Reid was recruited from the show's 2015 public auditions, but previously presented for CNET's Car Tech channel and also had a starring role in Sky1's Gadget Geeks series. He said: 'When I submitted my thirty-second audition tape, I knew the odds were very firmly against me, as the auditions were open to absolutely everybody. To be the only person to make it through the open audition process makes me immensely proud.'
Meanwhile, Matt LeBlanc has been lined up for a new CBS comedy pilot. The new Top Gear co-host and Friends actor will star and executive produce I'm Not Your Friend, which sees him play a contractor who - when his wife returns to work - learns that raising his kids is more challenging than he expected according to The Hollywood Reporter. Written by That '70s Show duo Jeff and Jackie Filgo, the pilot has a series commitment penalty attached for LeBlanc, meaning that he will get paid a sizeable fee even if the pilot doesn't get a series. Nice work if you can get it.
And now ...
A group of British actors, including Dame Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, David Oyelowo, Sir Ian McKellen, Naomie Harris, Daniel Radcliffe and James Corden, have joined forces with directors Richard Curtis, Tom Hooper and Danny Boyle and violinist Nicola Benedetti to defend the BBC against further government attacks. Speaking in an independently made campaign film, Boyle reveals that he had wanted to praise the BBC in his 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, alongside institutions such as the NHS, but the BBC said he couldn't because it was broadcasting the event. 'We all share in something that is a national voice and a national consciousness, and that is why it is under attack from governments and politicians – and competitors, too.' The actors were recruited for The Great BBC Campaign by independent producers Charlie Parsons and Waheed Alli, a Labour peer. The celebrities agreed to lobby for the corporation because, they all say, it 'inspired' them. Dench tells how, as a child, she enjoyed being scared by radio drama Appointment With Fear. Corden thanks the BBC for his first small role, in The Vicar Of Dibley, while Coogan says: 'It is public philanthropy, serving the nation for its own sake.' The film, made by Simon Curtis, director of My Week With Marilyn, comes before the publication of a White Paper on the future of the corporation. 'The BBC can't defend itself and so we need to encourage government to resist the temptation to fiddle with it when they renew the charter,' said Lord Alli. 'Everyone has their favourite moments, whether they are Judi Dench or my nephew. It's lovely to hear all the great memories people have of the BBC, but we need to make sure the BBC doesn't become a memory. We need to fight for it.' Under the banner slogan 'Don't let the BBC become a memory. Fight for it', the contributors aim to underline a risk that 'significant changes' to the working basis of the national broadcaster would render it 'unrecognisable.'
Blue Peter's Lindsey Russell is to Zorb across the Irish Channel for Sport Relief. In one of the programme's oddest z-list celebrity tasks yet, Russell will be braving the British weather to cross the twenty miles of open water between Donaghadee and Portpatrick Harbour in a three-metre inflatable ball. The twenty five-year-old has already run the London Marathon and completed the Swiss Army's Mountain Marathon, but this could be her toughest challenge yet. Russell is currently in training with Professor Greg Whyte who has previously prepared Davina McCall and David Walliams for their Sport Relief challenges. The feat could take up to fourteen hours, the same amount of time it would take to swim the distance. 'I've been training for months for what will be the biggest and best challenge of my life, but I don't think anything can prepare me for what the Irish Sea has in store. Something I do know is that I'll give it everything I've got,' Russell explained. You can follow Russell's progress from 26 February, every Thursday on Blue Peter on the CBBC channel. 'The Wave Runner' task will be broadcast on 17 March. Her fellow presenters Barney Harwood and Radzi Chinyanganya have also been set a cycling challenge for Sport Relief, which runs from 18 to 20 March.
The new ITV director of television Kevin Lygo reportedly 'hit the ground running on his first day in the job.' At least, according to some louse of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star, anyway. 'The energetic Lygo went to visit ITV's news staff and even sent them a note that began: "Dear hard-working newsperson"' the Gruniad claim. 'He went on to big up those working in regional news and thanked them for all their hard work. Might there be more money for the regions after he said ITV should reflect the "diversity of life in the UK?"' Lygo also apparently watched ITV London and the ITV Evening News and visited beleaguered breakfast show Good Morning Britain. Ratings for GMB are currently rooted around the six hundred thousand mark – the same as they were almost two years ago when Lygo's predecessor Peter Fincham said they needed to improve - despite the occasional ITV claim that they have improved. Which, they haven't. .
Sir David Attenborough turned down the late Sir Terry Wogan for a presenting job, according to newly uncovered letters. And, this constitutes 'news', apparently. Sir Terry wrote to Sir David in 1965, at the age of twenty seven, asking to be considered for work at the BBC. But Sir David, who was controller of the newly-established BBC2 at the time, declined the request. He wrote back to say that the network already had chief announcer who was from Dublin. Sir David now says that he has 'no recollection' of the exchange. And, there's no reason on Earth why he should given that it took place over fifty years ago. The initial letter, published in this week's Radio Times, Sir Terry said that he 'should like to extend the sphere of my television activities.' He added that he wished to see whether 'the success which I have enjoyed in Ireland can be translated to British television.' At the time, Sir Terry was working for the Irish Broadcaster RTE. He admitted within the letter that his main reason for writing it was 'simply ambition' - nothing wrong with that, of course - adding that he hoped Sir David would be 'receptive enough of new ideas and personalities.' But Sir David replied: 'We do not have any vacancies for anyone with your particular talents and experience.' He went on to draw attention to a chief announcer on BBC2 - Denis Tuohy - who was also from Dublin. 'We would feel, other things being equal, that we should look for someone from a different part of the country if we were to make an additional appointment,' he wrote. When Sir David was informed by the Radio Times of the exchange, he said: 'Good Lord, he wrote to me asking for work? I don't remember this at all.' The natural history presenter said that he received more than ten thousand letters a year during his stint as a BBC executive. Sir David added that, despite meeting Sir Terry many times in subsequent years, the Irish presenter had never mentioned the rejection letter. Which proves what a class act Wogan was. But the eighty nine-year-old Attenborough stands by his decision. 'I think it was a perfectly reasonable answer. To have had two Irishmen presenting on BBC2 would have looked ridiculous.' He added: "This is no comment whatsoever on Terry Wogan's talents. It's just that I couldn't have had two Irish presenters.' After the rejection, Sir Terry turned to radio and a year later, in 1966, was offered a job presenting Midday Spin on the BBC Light Programme - which subsequently became BBC Radio 2.
The legacy of The Be-Atles - a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them, dear blog reader - adds nearly eighty two million smackers to the Liverpool economy each year, new research has suggested. The band's impact also supports over two thousand three hundred jobs in the city, claims the report commissioned by Liverpool City Council. Professor Simeon Yates, who was lead author, said the city needed to 'maintain standards' to boost tourism. Councillor Richard Kemp, whose ward includes Penny Lane called for tourism to 'percolate' from the city centre. His ward also includes St Barnabas Church, where the band used to perform, Quarry Bank School - which alcoholic wife-beating junkie John Lennon attended - and Dovedale School, also attended by Lennon and his band mate George Harrison (the intelligent one). Spreading tourism would 'decrease congestion in town', said Kemp, who added the Allerton Road area - near Penny Lane, where Lennon would meet band mate Paul McCartney (the talented one) to catch a bus to the city centre - could be developed as 'The Be-Atles Homeland Quarter'. The report said The Be-Atles-related economy was growing by up to fifteen per cent a year and that the band's songs were becoming 'increasingly popular' in Brazil and China alongside the more established fanbases in Europe, the US and Japan. The research, produced by Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool, is the first study of the contemporary value of the popular quartet who achieved worldwide fame in the 1960s. It also recommended the launch of a 'Be-Atles Legacy' group to 'develop the sector.' The city's mayor Joe Anderson said: 'Everyone knows The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) have had a big impact on the city's past, but now we know exactly what that is and what we can do, together with other stakeholders, to ensure their impact on the city's future.' And the moral of this story, dear blog reader? Never vote for anyone who uses the word 'stakeholders' instead of 'people who make money from us.' For, as The Be-Atles themselves once wisely noted, 'we all live in a Yellow Submarine.' And, I think we can all get our heads behind that way of thinking, dear blog reader.
The makers of TV show Glee - remember that one? It used to be the most popular thing in the history of popular things about four years ago - have extremely lost their appeal against a legal ruling which found in favour of a British comedy club chain of the same name. Comic Enterprises successfully argued in the High Court that Twentieth Century FOX's show breached its trademark right to The Glee Club name. The show's broadcaster appealed against the 2014 ruling, but appeal court judges dismissed their case as worthless. Not unlike the show itself, in fact. It is not yet clear whether the Glee show's name will have to be changed for future broadcasts in the UK. The appeal court judges are now due to consider whether EU trademark law affects the ruling which would therefore mean no change was required. Part of the film studio's argument was that it should not need to change the name, citing EU law which states a trademark must be 'a sign', in the sense of being a single sign and capable of being 'graphically represented.' The show's name, it said, did not fall into this category. As a result, the judges have asked the two parties and the UK Intellectual Property Office to enter their submissions on the issue by Monday when they will consider whether to send the case to the European courts. The television show was first broadcast in 2009 on the FOX Channel - part of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's media empire. Mark Tughan, owner of the comedy club chain, said that he received an eighty-page ruling from Lord Justice Lloyd Jones, Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Kitchin on Monday following the appeal hearing in November. Tughan said that the comedy club's trademark was registered in 1999 and that he started legal proceedings in 2011. The film studio is yet to comment on the appeal being thrown out and into the gutter along with all the other turds. Tughan, who tweeted his victory, told the BBC News website 'I feel vindicated, not only for taking the case in the first place but now that two courts have come to the same conclusion about the infringement on my trademark. One would hope that FOX would put down their weapons but they have shown no inkling of wanting to settle this.' He added that he was awarded 'some compensation' from the High Court hearing but added that he is yet to pursue what he feels he is 'entitled' to. The Glee Club opened in Birmingham in 1994 and now has branches in Cardiff, Nottingham and Oxford.
A poster for a Viet'namese restaurant in Glasgow, which featured the phrase 'Phat Phuc', has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority. Two whinges to the watchdog - by people with, one presumes, nothing better to to do with their time - claimed that the phrase, when spoken in English, sounded like a swear word. The Hanoi Bike Shop restaurant replied that the Viet'namese pronunciation was 'Fet Fook' and meant 'Happy Buddha.' The ASA said that the posters were 'unlikely' to cause 'serious offence' - or even mild offence, or any sort of offence whatsoever - to anyone with even half-a-brain in their head as it was 'obvious' that the pronunciation 'may differ.' The ASA ruling said that two posters for the noodle bar which had been seen on a train on 19 October and at a train station on 13 November, had been the 'focus' of the crass and ignorant - and, indeed, borderline racist - whinges. The poster showed slogans with text that stated: 'Phat Phuc. The Hanoi Bike Shop.' One whinger claimed that the poster was 'offensive' as it featured a slogan which, when spoken, 'sounded like a swear word.' Presumably the bell-end plank who made this whinge would would also like to see the words 'funk', 'shot', 'cult' and 'twit' also banned from all advertising. Moron. The other whinger suggested that it was 'inappropriate for public display' where children could see it because it featured a slogan that sounded like a swear word when spoken. Won't somebody think of the children! In relation to the first whinge, the ASA acknowledged that the phrase 'could' sound 'similar' to a swear word. The watchdog said: 'However, we noted that the Hanoi Bike Shop sold Far Eastern cuisine, which both posters had made sufficiently clear. In the context of the posters, we considered that viewers who might have been offended by bad language were likely to recognise that "Phuc" was from a reference to South East Asian language, was different from the expletive and would not necessarily be pronounced in the same way. We therefore, concluded that the posters were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.' On the second whinge, the ASA found: 'We considered that younger children who were unlikely to comprehend that "Phuc" was a Vietnamese word were also unlikely to read or pronounce it as the expletive. While some older children might have pronounced it as the expletive, given the context of an ad for a Vietnamese restaurant and that the word was taken from this language we did not consider that this made it unsuitable for them to see. We therefore concluded that the posters were not irresponsibly placed where children could see them.' Tragically, the ASA did not use the opportunity to name and shame the two effing planks who wasted the ASA's valuable time and resources having to deal with bollocks like this. An opportunity missed, one could suggest. Let us, however, once again, simply stand up and salute the utter crap that some people chose to care about.
Zalec, a small town in Slovenia, is planning to build a fountain that spurts out beer. The fountain will dispense a variety of local beers, with visitors invited to pay six euros for three thirty cubic litre drinks served 'in a commemorative mug.' Costing an estimated three hundred and fifty thousand Euros to build, local councillors hope the fountain will become a popular attraction and 'increase tourism' in the region, known for its hop plantations. Half of the funds are to be contributed by the local council, with the rest provided by commercial partners and public donations. The plans are not universally popular, however; at an extraordinary council session last week a third of delegates voted against the fountain, with opponents voicing objections to its proposed site and the fact that the required funds could be 'better used elsewhere' - such as in improving the state of water supply to local villages. However, two thirds of councillors voted in favour and the project looks set to go ahead, although it does not yet have a completion date.
Two recently-discovered hoards of Roman and Iron Age treasure have been put on display for the first time in a Liverpool exhibition. The artefacts, found in Cheshire, include rings, brooches and dozens of coins issued some two thousand years ago. Known as the Knutsford and Malpas Hoards, the treasure finds were uncovered in 2012 and 2014 by metal detectorists in the county. They will be on show at the Museum of Liverpool until 19 June. The treasure includes gilt 'trumpet' brooches, named after their open circular ends. These were sometimes associated with the Roman army, two silver finger rings, with decorative stone settings, possibly used as letter sealers, more than one hundred coins issued between 32BC to the late Second Century AD and Iron Age coins, including examples more usually found around Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. Liz Stewart, the museum's curator of archaeology, said the hoards will 'provide fascinating evidence about the wealth, trade, lifestyles and identities of people in the early Roman period.' She added: 'The hoards tell the story of the early history of the region, and point to links between the Cheshire salt fields and the coastal trading centres in and around Merseyside.' Experts at the museum believe many of the artefacts were probably buried for safekeeping.
A cricket team was bowled out for nought in just twenty balls in a county six-a-side indoor championships match. No batsman from Bapchild Cricket Club was able to get off the mark against Christ Church University in Canterbury. 'We couldn't believe it, all they needed to do was hit a wall to get one run,' Christ Church player Mike Rose told the Crawley Observer. Somerset club Langport set the record for the lowest recorded score when they were dismissed for zero in 1913. Wirral CC were bowled out for three in a Cheshire League Division Three fixture in 2014 - though they had eleven players and were nought for eight at one stage. And, Kent village team Saltwood CC scored two hundred and sixteen before bowling Martin Walters XI out for zero in just over eight overs during a match in 1964. In first-class cricket, the lowest score ever made is six - by The B's against an England XI at the old Lord's ground in 1810 - while New Zealand's twenty six against England in 1955 remains the lowest total scored in a Test match.
Bill Murray has offered to pay for mobile phones he allegedly threw from a rooftop California bar after their owners tried to take photos of him. Murray was reportedly 'annoyed' by camera flashes after fans spotted him at the lounge in the seaside town of Carmel. He is alleged to have grabbed at least two phones before throwing them. Police spoke to the actor but have decided not to press charges, media reports suggest. The owners were happy to be compensated rather than press charges, the TMZ website quoted police as saying. The website claimed the actor was 'hanging out' on Thursday at the Vesuvio rooftop lounge, 'a popular watering hole for celebs' whilst playing in an annual pro-celebrity golf tournament. Californian broadcaster KSBW reported that 'a tequila party' hosted by the actor and singer Justin Timberlake was being held at the venue. The owner of the restaurant told TMZ that Murray had 'not been drinking' at the bar but 'got angry' when 'a few patrons got star struck and took his picture. The flashes were going off only 10 feet away from Bill,' the owner said, 'and he got so angry he got up and chucked their phones off the second storey rooftop.' A police spokesman told People magazine that officers were called to 'a disturbance' but that Murray had already left by the time they arrived.
The partner of Sian Blake has been arrested by British police on suspicion of murdering the ex-EastEnders actress and their two sons. Arthur Simpson-Kent was arrested at Heathrow Airport after arriving back in the UK on a flight from Ghana. Blake and her sons, aged eight and four, disappeared on 13 December and were found buried in the garden of their London home on 5 January this year. The actress, who played Frankie Pierre in over fifty episodes of EastEnders in 1996 and 1997 and Zachery, aged eight and Amon, four, died from neck and head injuries, post-mortem tests have found. She had been suffering from motor neurone disease. Police officers arrested Simpson-Kent, the children's father, on a beach in Ghana four days after the bodies were found. He left the UK days after Blake and the boys were reported missing. Scotland Yard is under investigation by the police watchdog for the way it handled the initial missing persons inquiry and why it took more than three weeks to find the bodies at the actress' home in Erith.

Former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson 'abused his revered position in society' when he had sexual contact with a fifteen-year-old fan, a court has heard. The twenty eight-year-old ex-England player is on trial accused of sexual activity with a child. Prosecutors said that it was 'in a way that he knew was both morally and legally wrong.' The footballer denies two charges of sexual activity with a girl under sixteen. The alleged victim was fifteen in December 2014 when Johnson was living with his then pregnant partner, Stacey Flounders, in Castle Eden, County Durham, Bradford Crown Court was told. Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC said that the girl was 'a passionate Sunderland Football Club fan' - poor girl, she has this blogger's total sympathy - and Johnson was her favourite player. 'After matches, she would hang around waiting for a glimpse of him, wanting to get a photograph, often sporting a Sunderland shirt with Johnson's name emblazoned across the back,' Blackwell told the court. 'What has brought the defendant to this courtroom is a sexual desire for [the girl], an excessive arrogance and an unwarranted level of expectation.' The jury of eight women and four men was told that the girl had a picture on her Facebook page showing her 'wearing her Sunderland shirt, standing in the car park of the Sunderland football ground with the defendant, his arm around her. She had one enormous crush on him,' Blackwell said. 'He was her absolute hero. She idolised him.' The girl made a Facebook friend request to the footballer just before New Year 2015. The jury was read a series of messages between the pair in which Johnson arranged to meet her so he could 'sign a football shirt.' In the messages, the girl made it clear she was a Year Ten student and one month past her fifteenth birthday, saying everyone thought she looked older. The footballer had earlier this week pleaded extremely guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child and one charge of grooming. On Thursday, Johnson was very sacked by Sunderland shortly after pleading guilty to those two counts. The footballer's contract was terminated with immediate effect hours after he had been dropped for Saturday's Premier League match against The Scum. Sportswear firm Adidas has also cancelled its contract with the winger. After Johnson's arrest in March 2015, the club suspended him, but then lifted the ban following talks with his representatives and the Professional Footballers' Association. Whether all of the clubs whom the Mackems played in this period and took points off now intend to appeal to the Premier League over Johnson's involvement is not, at this time, known. In his last appearance for the Black Cats, Johnson - who played whilst on bail - scored in a two-two draw against the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws at Anfield. Johnson, who was born in Sunderland, began his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Sheikh Yer Man City and then to Sunderland for ten million smackers in 2012.
Filthy old scallywag and convicted kiddie-fiddler Rolf Harris is to be charged with seven counts of indecent assault, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. The CPS said it had 'carefully considered' evidence gathered and had authorised police to charge the eighty five-year-old former entertainer and beloved national treasure (until everybody found out what he'd been up to all those years). The alleged offences date from the period from 1971 to 2004 and relate to seven complainants aged between twelve and twenty seven at the time of the alleged incidents, the CPS added. Harris is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence for sex-related offences. He will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 17 March to answer for his alleged sick and sordid crimes. Harris denies the offences. In a statement, the CPS said that it had reviewed evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police as part of Operation Yewtree. 'We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged with seven counts of indecent assault,' it added.
A jury has awarded Kelli Peters, a former Parent-Teacher Association president from California, over two million dollars in damages last week after she became the apparent victim of 'an outlandish revenge' scheme hatched by two parents who thought she had insulted their son. The ruling draws a line under a bizarre feud which began in 2010, when Peters was overseeing an after-school tennis club at Plaza Vista Middle School in Irvine. Jill Easter arrived to pick up her son and, seeing he wasn't waiting in the usual place, blamed Peters for his absence. Peters responded that Easter’s son may have been 'a little slow' to line-up. Easter construed this as a comment on her son's intelligence, and shouted back 'I will get you' at Peters. She was, it seems, true to her word. In an interview with ABC News, Peters recounted how Easter and her husband, Kent, both of who are lawyers, wrote to the school's principal calling for Peters to be sacked from her voluntary position, accusing her of leaving their son 'unsupervised' and causing his 'anxiety attacks.' When the school failed to act, finding no evidence of any wrongdoing, the couple filed lawsuits against Peters, alleging that she had tried to kill Mrs Easter. Then, in February 2011, Kent Easter called the police and, using a fake name, claimed that he had seen Peters with drugs in her car. 'It looked like they had something tucked away in the car behind the seat,' he said using a fake Indian accent. 'Drugs. All over the place.' A police officer subsequently arrived at the school and told Kelli Peters to empty the contents of her car - and found a bag of marijuana, a pipe, and containers of Percocet and Vicodin. However, tests later found the Easters' DNA on the drugs and the call that had led to the search was traced to a location near Kent Easter's law firm. Kent and Jill Easter subsequently spent eighty seven days and sixty days in in the county jail respectively. In a civil case heard at the The Orange County Superior Court, the jury deliberated for less than hour before awarded extremely awarding Peters two million bucks in compensatory damages, plus costs.

Worthless MOR rockers Coldplay have gone to the top of the UK CD chart after their Super Bowl performance on Sunday. Which is, obviously, appalling news. Everytime a Coldplay record is sold, dear blog reader, another kitten dies.
A goat has been arrested in India accused of repeatedly damaging a judge's garden by eating flowers and plants. The animal, called Babli, and its owner Abdul Hassan were taken into custody in Chhattisgarh state after the judge, who is a neighbour, filed a complaint to the police. Who, obviously, don't have anything better to do with their time, it would seem. Hassan has been charged with damaging and destroying others property and trespass - and faces up to two years in pris if found guilty. Judge Hemant Ratre had been angered by the animal trespassing and issued an arrest order. He claimed that the female goat often scaled the boundary wall and devoured flowers and vegetables on his property. Hassan has admitted the creature's guilt and promised it would not damage the garden again. 'My goat has been brought to the police station. It ate up the flowers and vegetables on the lawn of the judge,' he said. The man and his animal have now been released on bail. TV footage showed the goat now tethered to stop it escaping. Assistant sub-inspector R Srivastav said: 'The goat's owner has been told several times by the judge's representative not to let the animal graze on other people's lawns. The goat would eat up all the plants. We received a written complaint from the judge's office on the basis of which we have registered a case. An investigation is on and the goat has been arrested.' That'll teach it. Bloody kids.
Keen astronomers still have time to see five planets in the night sky, in a rare alignment which has not happened for more than a decade. For the first time since 2005, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can all be seen together. The alignment was first visible in Britain just before dawn on 20 January. The alignment will continue until the morning of 20 February. The planets form a diagonal line from the Moon to the horizon and with clear skies and good eyesight, should be visible with the naked eye. People hoping to catch a glimpse of the alignment should choose an open spot, away from tall buildings and city lights to avoid light pollution. Mercury will appear just three degrees above the horizon – the equivalent of three thumb widths with an outstretched arm – so will be the trickiest planet to spot. Jupiter and Venus will appear side-by-side over the next two nights, according to astronomers. The best time to see the alignment is around 6.45am in the morning, just before dawn. It is best to try and see Venus, as it is the brightest object in the night sky apart from the Moon, before looking for the rest of the planets. Four of the five have already been visible in the early morning sky in recent weeks, but Mercury joined them for the first time on 20 January. The stars Antares and Spica will also be visible in the same patch of sky. Doctor Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society said spotting Mercury would be 'a challenge' as it will be close to the horizon, but the other planets should be 'easy' to see before dawn. 'There will be a dance of the planets and now is the time to get out and have a look,' said Doctor Massey. 'It will be well worth getting up for. People will struggle to see Mercury, it will probably just look like a star but if we get good weather we should be able to see Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter well. But people should have a shot at seeing them altogether.' He added: 'Venus will be very obvious in the South East and Saturn will be a little bit higher up to the right. Further over at due south, you’ll see Mars and way beyond in the South East will be Jupiter. They won't be in an exact straight line, because you virtually never get that in astronomy. They will be more scattered.' Massey added: 'If you have binoculars you will be able to see Jupiter’s moons and the red tinge of Mars. You probably won't be able to see Saturn's rings but it will have a funny shape because of the rings which you should be able to pick out. If you are using binoculars it's important not to look towards the sun when it rises.' If you fail to catch the alignment this month, it will happen again in August of this year although the late days of summer are likely to make it even more difficult to see in Britain. After that, the five planets will not be seen together again until October 2018.
Ground controllers say that it is time to give up hope of ever hearing again from the comet lander Philae. The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission dropped the robot onto Comet 67P in November 2014. But after a troubled landing and sixty hours of operation, there has largely been radio silence from Philae. The German Aerospace Centre, which led the consortium behind Philae, said that the lander is 'probably' now covered in dust and 'too cold' to function. 'Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Centre is almost zero, and we will no longer be sending any commands,' said Stephan Ulamec, the lander's project manager at DLR. The probe's historic landing famously happened several times in succession - with its first bounce looping nearly one kilometre back from the comet's surface and lasting a remarkable one hundred and ten minutes. When it finally settled, its precise location was unknown but images and other data suggested it was sitting at an awkward angle, in the shade. That meant Philae's scientific activities were limited to a single charge of its solar-powered batteries. On several occasions, attempts to contact Philae - via the Rosetta spacecraft, still orbiting Comet 67P - did receive a brief response. But the last such contact was on 9 July 2015 and the comet is now hurtling into the much colder part of its orbit, plunging to temperatures below minus one hundred and eighty degrees centigrade at which the lander was never designed to operate. 'It would be very surprising if we received a signal now,' Doctor Ulamec said. While there is always hope, there is also the reality of the frigid conditions of outer space. Ultra-low temperatures in the shade on Comet 67P have likely buckled and snapped some of Philae's components. While many of the lander's parts were designed for this harsh environment, there were certain electronics kept in 'a warm box' that have now unquestionably been pushed beyond their 'qualified' limits - including the on board computer and the communications unit. We can't know for sure why Philae stopped its intermittent calls home. It could be covered in dust, it could have been bumped by a jet of gas into a new position that obstructs its antenna. But the chances that we will hear from it again appear very slim. It would be great to get a celebration picture of it on the surface, taken from the Rosetta mothership as it moves in closer to the comet this year. But this again seems a long shot. Rosetta has imaged the little robot's presumed position before from inside a distance of twenty kilometres and seen nothing convincing. To go even closer, for better resolution images, takes the probe into a region where the lumpy gravitational field of the irregular-shaped comet becomes hard to navigate. And that is a risk that controllers really don't need to take. Rosetta and its ongoing science observations at 67P really are the priority. The very best of this science may be acquired in September when the spacecraft spirals down to try to make its own 'landing' on the comet. The finesse with which the European Space Agency team in Darmstadt is able to fly Rosetta promises to make this event just as thrilling as the descent of Philae back in November 2014. Speaking to Radio 5Live, the European Space Agency's senior science advisor Mark McCaughrean said today's news was sad but inevitable. 'It's a sad day, of course. Philae certainly captured the imagination around the world back in 2014. But all good things come to an end. In fact, if it had landed properly on the surface in the first place, it all would have been over last March because Philae would have overheated.'

Scientists are claiming a 'stunning' discovery in their quest to fully understand gravity. They have observed the warping of space-time generated by the collision of two black holes more than a billion light-years from Earth. The international team says that the first detection of these gravitational waves will usher in a new era for astronomy. It is the culmination of decades of searching and could ultimately offer a window on The Big Bang. The research, by the Ligo Collaboration, has been published this week in the journal Physical Review Letters. The collaboration operates a number of labs around the world that fire lasers through long tunnels - very Freudian - trying to sense ripples in the fabric of space-time. Expected signals are extremely subtle and disturb the machines, known as interferometers, by just fractions of the width of an atom. But the black hole merger was picked up by two widely separated Ligo facilities in the US. The merger radiated three times the mass of the sun in pure gravitational energy. 'We have detected gravitational waves,' David Reitze, the executive director of the Ligo project, told journalists at a news conference in Washington DC. 'It's the first time the Universe has spoken to us through gravitational waves. Up until now, we've been deaf.' Professor Karsten Danzmann, from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and Leibniz University in Hannover, is a European leader on the collaboration. He said that the detection was one of the most important developments in science since the discovery of The Higgs Particle and was 'on a par' with the determination of the structure of DNA. 'There is a Nobel Prize in it - there is no doubt,' he told the BBC. 'It is the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves; it's the first ever direct detection of black holes and it is a confirmation of General Relativity because the property of these black holes agrees exactly with what Einstein predicted almost exactly one hundred years ago.' That view was reinforced by Professor Stephen Hawking. Speaking exclusively to the BBC News website he said that he believed the detection marked 'a moment' in scientific history. 'Gravitational waves provide a completely new way at looking at the Universe. The ability to detect them has the potential to revolutionise astronomy. This discovery is the first detection of a black hole binary system and the first observation of black holes merging,' he said. Although, obviously, he said it in that unique Stephen Hawkings voice. 'Apart from testing [Einstein's Theory of] General Relativity, we could hope to see black holes through the history of the Universe. We may even see relics of the very early Universe during The Big Bang at some of the most extreme energies possible.' Team member Professor Gabriela González of Louisiana State University said: 'We have discovered gravitational waves from the merger of black holes. It's been a very long road, but this is just the beginning. Now that we have the detectors to see these systems, now that we know binary black holes are out there, we'll begin listening to the Universe.' The Ligo laser interferometers in Hanford, in Washington and Livingston, in Louisiana, were only recently refurbished and had just come back online when they sensed the signal from the collision. This occurred at 10.51 GMT on 14 September last year. On a graph, the data looks like a symmetrical, wiggly line that gradually increases in height and then suddenly fades away. 'We found a beautiful signature from of the merger of two black holes and it agrees exactly - fantastically - with the numerical solutions to Einstein equations. It looked too beautiful to be true,' said Professor Danzmann. Professor Sheila Rowan, who is one of the leading UK researchers involved in the project, said that the first detection of gravitational waves was just the start of 'a terrifically exciting' journey. 'The fact that we are sitting here on Earth feeling the actual fabric of the Universe stretch and compress slightly due to the merger of black holes that occurred just over a billion years ago - I think that's phenomenal. It's amazing that when we first turned on our detectors, the Universe was ready and waiting to say "hello,"' the Glasgow University scientist told the BBC. Being able to detect gravitational waves enables astronomers finally to probe what they call 'dark Universe' - the majority part of the cosmos that is invisible to the light telescopes in use today. Not only will they be able to investigate black holes and strange objects known as neutron stars (giant suns which have collapsed to the size of cities), they should also be able to 'look' much deeper into the Universe - and thus farther back in time. It may even be possible eventually to sense the moment of The Big Bang. 'Gravitational waves go through everything. They are hardly affected by what they pass through, and that means that they are perfect messengers,' said Professor Bernard Schutz, from Cardiff University. 'The information carried on the gravitational wave is exactly the same as when the system sent it out; and that is unusual in astronomy. We can't see light from whole regions of our own galaxy because of the dust that is in the way, and we can't see the early part of The Big Bang because the Universe was opaque to light earlier than a certain time. With gravitational waves, we do expect eventually to see the Big Bang itself,' he said. In addition, the study of gravitational waves may ultimately help scientists in their quest to solve some of the biggest problems in physics, such as the unification of forces, linking quantum theory with gravity. At the moment, the General Theory Of Relativity describes the cosmos on the largest scales tremendously well, but it is to quantum ideas that we resort when talking about the smallest interactions. Being able to study places in the Universe where gravity is extreme, such as at black holes, may open a path to new, more complete thinking on these issues. Scientists have sought experimental evidence for gravitational waves for more than forty years. Old Einstein himself - you better watch out, you better beware, Albert said that E=MC² - actually thought that a detection might be beyond the reach of technology. His Theory of General Relativity (1905) suggests that objects such as stars and planets can warp space around them - in the same way that a snooker ball creates a dip when placed on a thin, stretched, rubber sheet. Gravity is a consequence of that distortion - objects will be attracted to the warped space in the same way that a pea will fall in to the dip created by the snooker ball. Einstein predicted that if the gravity in an area was changed suddenly - by an exploding star, for example - waves of gravitational energy would ripple across the Universe at light-speed, stretching and squeezing space as they travelled. Although a fantastically small effect, modern technology has now risen to the challenge. Much of the research and development work for the Washington and Louisiana machines was done at Europe's smaller GEO600 interferometer in Hannover. 'I think it's phenomenal to be able to build an instrument capable of measuring [gravitational waves],' said Professor Rowan. 'It is hugely exciting for a whole generation of young people coming along, because these kinds of observations and this real pushing back of the frontiers is really what inspires a lot of young people to get into science and engineering.'

Bruce Springsteen will release his autobiography later this year. The singer has spent seven years writing Born To Run, which he has promised will 'show the reader his mind', charting his personal struggles and how they inspired his award-winning career. Publisher Simon & Schuster called The Boss 'a captivating storyteller with a unique way of expressing himself.'

The production company behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens is being prosecuted over the incident in which Harrison Ford broke his leg. The actor was struck by a hydraulic metal door on the Pinewood set of the Millennium Falcon in June 2014. The Health And Safety Executive has brought four criminal charges against Foodles Production (UK) Ltd - a subsidiary of Disney. Foodles Production said that it was 'disappointed' by the HSE's decision. Following the incident, Ford was airlifted to hospital for surgery. After an investigation, the HSE said that it believed there was 'sufficient evidence' about the incident which left Ford with serious injuries, to bring charges relating to alleged health and safety breaches. A spokesperson added: 'By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers - this is as true on a film set as a factory floor. Foodles Production is the company responsible for producing Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens and, as such, is culpable under health and safety law.' Representatives of the production company will appear up a'fore the beak at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 12 May.
An historic E-type Jaguar that needed almost three thousand hours of restoration will go on display at the London Classic Car Show later this month. Chassis Number Fifteen was the fifteenth right-hand drive fixed-head coupe E-Type to leave Jaguar’s production line in 1961 and was used as a press car at the Scottish Motor Show held at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, in November that year. The car then moved on to private ownership and went missing for decades until the Classic Motor Cars company discovered it in a barn in France, in late 2013. Two thousand nine hundred and fifty six were spent restoring every nut and bolt of the E-Type at CMC's workshops in Bridgnorth, saving as much of the original car as possible and reviving it to near original condition. Nick Goldthorp, Managing Director of Classic Motor Cars, said: 'We found Chassis Number Fifteen in Cernay, a French town close to the border with Germany. It had been owned by the same person since 1976, who dismantled it probably some twenty years ago and that is as far as he got. The car was underneath some covers in a garden, very rusty and corroded – there was even a bird's nest in the rear quarter. We carried out a full nut and bolt restoration, which proved to be quite a challenge due to the sorry state in which it was found.' Nick said: 'No detail was too small and extensive work has been carried out in the paint and trim shops so that the car can now boast its original colour combination of pearl grey exterior and light blue interior, being the only one produced in those colours in 1961. This was one of the six E-Types on display at the 1961 Scottish Motor Show. After restoring it to its former glory, we thought it was only fitting that the car returned to the centre stage fifty five years later and what could be better than the London Classic Car Show.' CMC will have the car on display at their stand at the London Classic Car Show at the ExCeL centre in London between 18 and 21 February.
A couple of weeks ago, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping only went and lost a pair of black suede gloves what he owned somewhere during his daily wanderings. Over the course of the next few days he revisited half-a-dozen of the places that he'd been to on the day in question but, sadly, it was all to no avail. Under normal circumstances, this blogger wouldn't really have been all that bothered - they're a nice pair, certainly (Finnish made, as it happens), but Keith Telly Topping has got two or three other nice pairs - but, it just so happens that these gloves were a present from Keith Telly Topping's late mother. In fact, they were probably the last thing that she bought for him before her final illness in 2012. So, Keith Telly Topping was, not to put too fine a point on it, Goddamn gutted and genuinely upset with this right shite state of affairs (mainly at his own plankishness in losing them in the first place, let it be noted). On Thursday of this week, however, Keith Telly Topping was in the local rent office paying his dues on Stately Telly Topping Manor and he happened to ask: 'I didn't, by any chance, leave a pair of black suede gloves here the last time I was in, did I?' 'Are these them?' asked the young lass on the counter and, lo and behold, they were. Like a geet soft glake, yer actual Keith telly Topping spontaneously burst into tears at that point. I know, dear blog reader, trust me, I know, it's sodding ridiculous, isn't it? How do we get so connected to ... 'stuff' if there's a sentimental attachment to it. This blogger eventually pulled himself together, but he imagines all the staff in the office that afternoon would have been saying 'hey, that Mister Telly Topping's a soft git, isn't he?!' And, quite right too!
Having just finished ploughing his way through a re-read of the best ever David Bowie book, Nick Pegg's glorious The Complete, this blogger has now started on what is probably the second best, Peter Doggett's Revolution In The Head-esque The Man Who Sold The World. And, why not?
Meanwhile, here's some of what's been on the Stately Telly Topping playlist in the last week.
Which brings us to the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader. A little piece of Northern genius.

1 comment:

mezzaninedoor said...

Thanks for keeping the Topping eye on the odious and vile SOH Hunt. He is truly the vilest of politicians, though currently still only at #2 to IDS, who gives me IBS just thinking about him.
Otherwise I would comment that I think Bryan Fuller bodes well for the new Star Trek, quality should be easier as well as I guess it will be series of 10,13,16 episodes not 26 as on demand first for CBS.
He's also good news for American Gods and the news of a Neil Gaiman series for Sky Arts is top as well as long as Neil Gaiman gets to write a Capaldi episodes before Capaldi is finished as well.
Thanks Keith as ever a top read.
p.s. I like Dickensian, its been fun