Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dedication!

Yer actual Peter Capaldi has accepted the Guinness World Records title for the 'Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Doctor Who Characters', at the La Mole Comic Con in Mexico City last Saturday. No, this isn't 1 April, and this was a real thing. Honest. No, really, yer actual Keith telly Topping isn't making this up. Anyway, someone should probably call up Roy Castle and tell him what these guys have. Peter his very self has been on a promotional tour to Mexico City, where the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama series is known as Doctor Misterio. After being mobbed at the airport, Beatlemania-style(e), Peter attended La Mole Comic Con where the record was attempted. What the previous record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Doctor Who Characters was, this blogger is, sadly, unable to tell you dear blog reader. All-in-all four hundred and ninety two Doctor Who doppelgängers, Daleks and Oods joined the actual Doctor his very self as part of the successful record attempt. Peter and Executive Producer Brian Minchin were in the city to celebrate the première of Doctor Who, series nine on NBC's channel Syfy. Doctor Who already holds the Guinness World Record as the Longest Running Popular Family SF Drama Series in the world whilst Doctor Who Magazine is the Longest Running Magazine Based On A Popular Family SF drama Television Series. Apparently. The fiftieth anniversary Doctor Who episode The Day Of The Doctor was named as the world's largest-ever simulcast of a TV drama at the time of its broadcast in November 2013 (although this blogger believes that particular record has since been broken. By CSI: Boise, Idaho. Or something).
Meanwhile, Peter has said the BBC should invest more in regional drama in a bid to better reflect the people who fund it. Which, one is sure, the BBC would love to do if they actually had a pot to piss-in followed the government's decision to inflict the cost of seven hundred million smackers per year on them to pay for pensioners licence-fees. Peter's comments come days after he accused the BBC of 'neglecting' Doctor Who, its second most profitable programme in terms of overseas sales and merchandising and the next series of which Peter is due to start filming 'imminently.' Asked by some trouble-maker of no importance at at the Radio Times what he would do if given control of an eight billion knicker budget to run the BBC (which is twice the actual annual budget size, incidentally), Peter said: 'I'd have more regional drama. As the BBC is paid for by the entirety of the nation, that should be reflected in its content more. High-quality writing and production should be both encouraged and experienced by people all over the country,' he added. Earlier this month, Peter was quoted - by some other trouble-maker - as saying that he was 'frustrated' with how Doctor Who had been handled by the BBC. 'The BBC is an incredible organisation but ... sometimes people there think "that's looking after itself." And it's not being looked after,' he told Newsweek. 'I think, maybe, their eye was taken off the ball, or the show was seen as a thing they could just push around. It's not. It's a special thing.' Peter added: 'If you're going to have a family show, I think you have to build up a little ritual around it – and that ritual usually starts with having it on at the same time [each week]. Even I didn't know what time it was on.' In recent days, Peter has revealed that the new Doctor Who companion has already been cast and about whom he said they she (or he) will bring 'a different take' to Jenna Coleman. Speaking to the Brazilian website Omelete [sic] - again, I'm really not making this up - he said: 'Clara had prior knowledge of The Doctor. It was conceived as a human connected to your timeline, and so had access to the cosmic nature of The Doctor. She understood a little about how he was. And, as she was already with Matt [Smith], she knew The Daleks and The TARDIS. Now we have someone who knows very little about The Doctor.' In his Radio Times interview, yer man Capaldi also said that the programme from his youth he would most like to see revived was Noggin The Nog. 'It's a strangely haunting show – I can still hear the music and see the characters. It's set in The North Lands and is full of snow and Vikings, so if it came back it would be more like Game Of Thrones.' Or, perhaps, Beowulf. Oh God, did I just say that out loud? Peter also paid tribute to Monty Python's Flying Circus's Terry Gilliam who, he said, was 'extraordinarily kind to me, for no reason and I'll never forget that. To me, the spirit of film-making is totally embodied in Terry Gilliam. He was very influential for me in a way he probably doesn't even know.' Well, he does now.
Amazon and BBC Worldwide North America have announced that Doctor Who will be available to stream exclusively from Prime Video in the United States, kicking off with the first eight of the post-2005 series from 27 March, with last year's series nine and the Christmas episode The Husbands Of River Song 'to follow in the autumn.' The show will be available to Prime members for no additional charge. Which is nice.
And now, dear blog reader, an important notice.
After three utterly wretched episodes, Monday night saw ITV's latest lack-of-adventure show come to a welcome conclusion as Davina McCall: Life At The Extreme (9pm) planted the former Big Brother presenter in another yawn-inducing environment for an hour of, you know, stuff. The 'grand finale' (and, one uses those words quite wrongly) managed to fight back against a downward overnight ratings spiral, with the fourth episode managing to pull in slightly more than the previous week, with 2.83 million viewers watching the presenter meet some monkeys while courageously dealing with humidity issues. As an indication of exactly how awful a night Monday was in terms of the TV schedules, this was the biggest audience in the 9pm slot across all channels. BBC1 was content with taking a night off and filled up its schedule with yet another repeat of New Tricks. The episode, from 2012, saw Dennis Waterman (who, of course, sings the theme song) and Denis Lawson take centre stage as they travelled to Scotland to solve the case of the butchered bookie. An audience of 2.52 million viewers watched it. Again. On BBC2, The People Versus OJ Simpson: American Crime Story saw prosecutor Marcia Clarke come under fire, with public opinion about her hairstyle and dress sense threatening to overshadow the case at hand. Plus the fact that Sarah Paulson plays her with a scowl on her mush that, one is sure, the real Ms Clarke would have struggled to match. That had an an audience of 1.21 million viewers. Elsewhere in the 9pm slot, Royal Navy School (Channel Four) extremely came to an end with its seventh and final episode. Like many Channel Four documentaries before it, the show allowed viewers into the classrooms, dorms and showers of new recruits, documenting every mishap and tantrum along the way. With predictably 'so what?' results. Opening with an overnight 1.8 million viewers, the camera-on-the-wall series stayed pretty much consistent throughout with the final episode watched by 1.57 million. Meanwhile, Channel Five was indulging in a slice of corporate propaganda with The Tube: Going Underground which, surprisingly, came from the makers of BBC2's far less forceful and far m,ore interesting The Tube from 2012. 1.44 million viewers chose to spend their evening travelling around the claustrophobic and, apparently, seriously outdated transport system. Earlier, University Challenge attracted 2.69 million viewers for BBC2 in the 8pm slot whilst Tales From Northumberland With Wor Geet canny Robson Green was seen by 2.90 million viewers for ITV. Secrets Of Cadbury part of Channel Four's -occasionally fascinating Dispatches strand alleged that a famous and world-renowned international conglomerate and well-known child poisoner lied to parliament about the future of Dairy Milk production and that Bourneville bars weren't even made in the town of Bourneville any more. These shocking alleged revelations rocked the world of the 1.74 million viewers watching, while BBC1's latest Panorma film, Too Poor To Stay Warm secured 2.40 million at 8:30pm. With regard to soaps, Emmerdale was seen by 6.04 million viewers at 7pm on ITV, followed by EastEnders at 8pm on BBC1, which took in 6.34 million viewers. But, it was a double dose of Coronation Street (ITV) that took the top spots, with 6.93 million viewers tuning in at 7:30pm and 6.32 million at 8:30pm. Also on BBC1, The ONE Show had 3.97 million at 7pm and Fake Britain 3.49 million half-an-hour later. On BBC2, This Farming Life was watched by 1.55 million at 7pm, An Island Parish by 2.08m at 8pm and Qi XL by 1.01 million at 9.45pm. Channel Four's The Food Chain drew 1.36m at 8.30pm. Police Interceptors had an audience of 1.01 million for Channel Five at 8pm. On the multichannels, a new episode of Bones was watched by two hundred and seventy two thousand punters at 9pm on Sky Living, ITV3's latest Lewis repeat attracted five hundred and seventeen thousand and BBC4's Art Of Scandinavia was seen by five hundred and fifteen thousand.

Tuesday night brought the opening episode of a new - and rather impressive - six-part prime time drama, The A Word, to BBC1 at 9pm. The family drama refreshingly didn't involve bleak urban setting, instead telling a tale of a family at breaking point, dealing with further pressure when the youngest member is diagnosed with autism. The drama saw the family struggle with five-year-old Joe's diagnosis while panicked grandfather - yer actual Christopher Eccleston - struggled to understand the situation. He never had such problems when he was flying the TARDIS. or, indeed, getting murdered down a back alley by Robert Carlyle for that matter. The sensitive subject matter and soapish family drama fared quite well with viewers, securing the biggest audience in its time slot with 4.73 million viewers. The next most watched show at 9pm belonged to ITV, as the second and final part of Speeding Wars which continued to document 'the ongoing battle of the UK's roads.' A really not very good at all 1.81 million viewers tuned in to the generic occupational documentary. On BBC2, the second episode the much more interesting Inside Obama's White House had 1.55 million viewers. Meanwhile, on Channel Four, the ninth series of One Born Every Minute with 1.64 overnight million viewers, the broadcaster's biggest audience of the day. At the same time on Channel Five there was another episode of the hope-vacuum that is Benefits By The Sea: Jaywick which depressed the shit out of nine hundred and twelve thousand punters. Earlier at 8pm, Holby City was watched by 4.35 million, by a distance the largest audience in the slot. On BBC2, Mary Berry's Easter Feast attracted 2.64 million viewers. There was little or no sadness on ITV as it was time to say goodbye to Ben Miller, Rachel Riley and Romesh Ranganathan and their hopeless light factual entertainment fiasco It's Not Rocket Science. The bizarre format opened with a risibly low 1.9 million viewers a few weeks back; this week's finale saw Rachel once again endanger her life on a high wire and pulled in 1.60 million viewers. It won't be missed. On Channel Four, the sixth series of sneering mental health 'entertainment' show Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners was watched by 1.32 million viewers, who really do need to take a good hard look at themselves in the mirror for watching tripe the likes of this, while Britain's Horror Homes (Channel Five) highlighted an attack of 'the dreaded Japanese knotweed' and was watched by 1.19 million. Earlier in the day, Paddy Kirk's latest romantic problems in Emmerdale (ITV, 7pm) secured Tuesday's third biggest audience with 5.81 million viewers. But it was Phil Mitchell's latest mid-week drink-binge on EastEnders (7:30pm) that took the day's top honours, with an overnight audience of 6.21 million viewers. Before that, The ONE Show had 3.84 million at 7pm whilst BBC2's This Farming Life drew 1.84 million. On ITV, The Inspectors Are Coming was seen by 1.95 million at 7.30pm. It was a good night for BBC4 with three of the top ten most-watched multichannel programmes, The Beginning & End Of The Universe (five hundred and fifty two thousand), a repeat of the excellent The Return Of The Flying Scotsman (four hundred and thirty two thousand) and The Brecon Beacons With Iolo Williams (also four hundred and thirty two thousand viewers). E4's The Goldbergs had three hundred and sixty one thousand, The Flash on Sky1was watched by three hundred and thirty two thousand and the same channel's opening episode of Ridiculous Ross Kemp's Britain attracted three hundred and twenty nine thousand punters an hour later at 9pm. Blindspot on Sky Living also had three hundred and twenty nine thousand whilst Drama's latest Inspector George Gently repeat was seen by five hundred and twenty two thousand punters. Meanwhile, in the battle for early morning supremacy, BBC Breakfast, as usual, drew twice as many punters as ITV's risible flop Good Morning Britain with 1.52m for the former and six hundred and forty thousand for the latter. Which, fair restores ones faith in humanity, somewhat.

The return of the popular MasterChef for a new series at 8pm on BBC1 attracted a more-than-healthy 4.79 million overnight viewers. It was also nice to see that most of the contestants seem to have learned from the experiences of previous MasterChefers who discovered that the bits of interviews where they bigged themselves up were always the bits that get used whenever they were about to have a twenty four carat disaster at the cooker. Thus, in this episode, the closest we got to a bit of crass chest-beating came from 'University Professor Cae' who, when asked that dreaded question by Gregg Wallace ('how far do you think you can go in the competition?') chose to plump merely for the semi-finals rather than anything further. And, despite a bit of flapping during the 'cook for the previous MasterChef finalists round', University Professor Cae comfortably made it through to the quarter-finals along with Julie and Chris. The one contestant to have a real nightmare was Yanique who, she claimed, would be 'going big or going home.' She went home. Ah, it's great to have MasterChef back; it's deliciously addictive to lovers of nice food and people getting themselves into buttock-clenchingly embarrassing situations in front of the nation. And speaking of buttock-clenching embarrassment, up against MasterChef on ITV in the 8pm slot, waste-of-space horrorshow (and drag) Big Star's Little Star had 3.22 million punters. The rest of BBC1's evening schedule included The ONE Show (3.50m at 7pm), Inside Europe's Terror Attacks (2.56m at 9pm) and A Question Of Sport (1.60m at 10.45pm). Emmerdale was watched by 5.93m at 7pm on ITV, followed by Coronation Street (6.31m) and the latest episode of Grantchester (4.51m at 9pm). BBC Breakfast maintained its comfortable beating of Good Morning Britain's bare bum with the latest face-off between the pair resulting in 1.67m for the BBC1 format and a mere seven hundred and eight thousand for the ITV flop. So, all of those stories you might see about how Piers Morgan has had a positive effect on GMB's ratings would appear to be, as with so much else involving the odious, oily twonk Morgan, nothing but half-truths and hot-air. And, speaking of flops, BBC2's Too Much TV continues to limp onwards with no sign of anybody coming along with a shotgun to put it out of its misery. Four hundred and forty seven thousand punters watched the latest episode at 6.30pm. This Farming Life attracted 1.48m at 7pm after which the latest Horizon documentary was watched by 1.11m, Employable Me had 1.22m at 9pm, Live From The BBC drew and audience of three hundred and ninety one thousand at 10pm and Newsnight was seen by four hundred and seventy two thousand at 10.30pm. Channel Four's night started, as usual, in deepest Cheshire, with Hollyoaks attracting eight hundred and eight thousand. The Supervet as watched by 2.01m from 8pm, followed by Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.05m) and Raised By Wolves (eight hundred and eighty three thousand). On Channel Five, The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door was seen by four hundred and nine thousand, GPs: Behind Closed Doors by 1.09m, Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords by eight hundred and forty seven thousand and Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! by seen hundred and eighteen thousand. The One Hundred on E4 had three hundred and twelve thousand viewers, Sky1's Arrow two hundred and eighty thousand and Sky Living's Madam Secretary one hundred and two thousand, all at 9pm.
BBC1's Thursday evening schedule was dominated by EastEnders - 6.01 million viewers at 7.30pm - and the second episode of the new series of MasterChef - 4.32 million from 8pm. The latter saw the very impressive Katie ('a class act' according to Gregg Wallace, we'll assume he was talking about her cookery skills) along with Mike and Natasha progress whilst septuagenarian Joe (who was, he said, doing this to show his grandchildren that cooking was easy) knocked out. DIY SOS: The Big Build drew 3.46m in the 9pm slot. On BBC2, the third series of the award-winning crime drama Line Of Duty began with a spectacularly good overnight audience of 3.19 million at 9pm. Earlier, Big Dreams, Small Spaces had 1.17 million at 7pm and The Secret History Of My Family was watched by 1.36 million an hour later. ITV's two episodes of Emmerdale attracted overnight audiences of 5.74m at 7pm and 5.04m at 8pm. However, the commercial network's The Cruise continued to shed viewers at an alarming rate, this week's fourth episode drawing just 2.75 million (albeit, that was marginal raise on the previous week's 2.48 million). Bear Grylls: Mission To Survive was seen by 2.05m at 9pm. On Channel Four, Ugly House To Lovely House With George Clarke had an audience of 1.53 million viewers at 8pm. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown drew 1.26 million an hour later. Like The Cruise, Alan Carr: Chatty Man was slightly up on last week's overnight figure, although six hundred and ninety thousand still isn't much to write home about considering the size of the average audiences the chat show was pulling in last year in its previous, weekend, slot. Definitely back to the drawing board there, one imagines. The Woman Who Smells Of Fish & Other Medical Mysteries kicked-off Channel Five's evening with eight hundred and twenty one thousand viewers - attracted by the perfectly extraordinary title rather than anyone else one suspects. Trauma Doctors: Every Second Counts continued with 1.07 million at 9pm. On Sky1, DC's Legends Of Tomorrow was watched by two hundred and eighty three thousand whilst Sky Living's latest episode of Elementary had one hundred and sixty one thousand. Digging For Britain on BBC4 drew one of the largest multichannel audiences of the evening, seven hundred and twenty two thousand.
EastEnders topped BBC1's Good Friday night schedule with an overnight audience of 5.38 million punters at 8pm. Earlier, The ONE Show attracted 3.84 million viewers and A Question Of Sport drew 3.15 million, whilst a spectacularly funny quarter-final episode of MasterChef - see below - was watched by 3.35 million and the opening episode of the second series of gentle comedy Boomers had 3.41 million at 9pm. The latter's not really this blogger's cup of tea to be honest, but it's got a lot of good actors in it and it's inoffensive in a kind of Last Of The Summer Wine for the Twenty First Century way. ITV had a very curious line-up with the usual Friday bucket load of soaps punctuated by two rather fishy offerings - British Whales at 8pm (2.40 million) and British Sharks at 9pm (1.61 million). Emmerdale had an audience of 5.02 million whilst the evening's two episodes of Coronation Street drew 6.25 million at 7.30pm and 5.67 million at 8.30pm either side of the fish. On BBC2, Mastermind attracted 2.04 million, Gardeners' World pulled in 2.17m, Springwatch At Easter had 2.12m whilst Qi was seen by 1.02m at 10pm. Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours in Seville's audience was nine hundred and fifty nine thousand punters at 8.30pm for Channel Four whilst Gogglebox was, as usual, the channel's highlight of the evening - 3.20 million - followed by The Last Leg with 1.21 million. On Channel Five, All New Super Scary Plane Landings was watched by 1.02 million and the movie Air Force One by 1.06 million. Stan Lee's Lucky Man on Sky1 had three hundred and sixty thousand whilst Sky Living's The Blacklist drew two hundred and one thousand viewers.

'It's not easy bein' cheesy,' that 'righteous kitty' Chester The Cheetos Cheetah was often heard to say. That was certainly proved to be the case on Good Friday's first quarter-final episode of MasterChef. Set the task, by the food critic and arch scowling professional face-ache Tracey MacLeod, of preparing a meal 'based around cheese,' six contestants who had - to various degrees over the previous two days - looked reasonably competent suddenly - again, to various degrees - resembled roast chickens with their heads cut off. Sadly for him, this was especially true of University Professor Cae. (This blogger has always loved the way that the divine India Fisher's voice-overs on MasterChef are so vocation-centric; It's always 'Health Worker Jacqui has cooked ...' or 'Carpenter Brian's meal is ...' But, there was something genuinely mad-brilliant about constantly referring to Cae as 'University Professor Cae' about every twenty seconds.) He'd already shown a wee bit of flappability during his opening round on Wednesday, but, nevertheless, had got himself into the quarter-finals on the strength of his ability to knock up a more-than-decent pan-fried cod with garlic prawns and wasabi mash. So far, so good. However, he clearly fancied himself a bit, did yer actual University Professor Cae. 'I've caught the bug, I really want to progress to the semi-final,' he told Gregg Wallace. 'The guy likes to take a risk,' opined John Tordoe. 'And, I like a risky chef in MasterChef.' 'Today, I will not let a single mistake go onto the plate,' Cae boasted concerning his proposed dish of Gorgonzola ice cream with 'a modern and a classic' tarte tatin, salted caramel sauce and whipped hazelnut cream. Yer actual Wallace, who loves his puddings more than probably any man alive, noted that they had been presented with Gorgonzola ice cream on MasterChef before and, to put it mildly, it had not been a success. 'I'm scared to tell you how it turned out!' he noted. Cae, however, seemed biggly confident in his own abilities. 'Hopefully, this will excite things and turn you around.' Gregg grinned, nervously. Tordoe went a bit further: 'What I can't get my head around is the presentation of the dish. We've got a round disc of classic tarte tatin and then we've got this deconstructed apple ... thing going on. Plus Gorgonzola ice cream. Were's it all going? How's it all coming together?' 'In my mind, I know how this dish is going to look,' Cae told the viewers. 'And, if it's anything less, I'll be unhappy.' It was less and, one presumes, Cae was very unhappy. In answer to John's two earlier questions, where it was going was 'down the lavvy' and how it was going to look was 'a bit like stuff that usually goes down the lavvy.' As soon as they all started cooking, University Professor Cae's afternoon rapidly went tits-up as one thing after another went wrong. Which, after he'd said 'like an artist, I've got to paint that dish on a plate,' you kind of knew was coming. The producers of MasterChef, as previously noted many times on this blog, really seem to love including little moments of pretentious twaddle like that just before someone falls flat on their face with a muffled crush. Oh, it was properly painful to watch - albeit, like the world's worst car crash, you simply couldn't tear your eyes away from the screen. At times, in fact, it almost resembled the all time classic MasterChef meltdown from a few series back when poor Matthew's deconstructed Black Forest Gateaux got a bit more deconstructed than he, or anyone else, wanted. 'Are you wanting this to burn, Cae?' John asked, not very helpfully, pointing to a pan of burned offerings that Cae had, momentarily, taken his eye off. 'No, that's a mistake,' Cae said, with the first sign of panic in his voice. No shit? From there, it was all downhill faster than Franz Klammer going downhill really very fast indeed. 'I'll just have to start again,' Cae said. He did. That went wrong as well. Torode spotted it. 'I think Cae's in trouble,' he said, confidentially, to the camera. 'He's burned two lots of sugar, he's burned some sliced apples, he's struggling.' Just at that moment Cae gave an anguished little cry of 'it's all a mess' and went running past Torode in the general direction of the freezer. 'Told you he was in trouble,' John added. Listen, mate, nobody likes an 'I told you so' merchant! The sight of Cae frantically shaking a can of whipped cream in an effort to get it to squirt and then, a few moments later, even more frantically and somewhat pathetically pleading to anyone that would listen 'I need some spoons, quickly, two spoons, please!' told viewers than this one might be worth sticking around to see the conclusion thereof. Whilst Cae flapped and spent the final minute of the challenge desperate trying to get his tarte tatin out of the pan to which it was seemingly, glued, and onto a plate, the producers - quite wickedly, in this blogger's opinion - inserted a shot of one of the other contestants, Julie, who had already finished her (as it turned out, winning) effort, having a relaxed swig from a bottle of wine! That really did feel like kicking a chef when he was down. Just to make matters worse, Cae was then the first of the six quarter-finalists to be called upon to have his - thoroughly woeful and sad looking - plate of nosh judged. With his face screwed up like Albert Steptoe on a bad day, even the consoling words of one of the other contestants - 'I'm sure it'll be fine' - only seemed to be rubbing salt further into the wounds. Cae set his plate before Gregg, John and scowly face-ache Tracey MacLeod and, as he did so, a sad little dollop of not-especially-cheesy ice cream dribbled down the side of the bowl and plopped onto some unidentified brown stuff on the plate below. A perfect metaphor, one could suggest, for a perfect storm of culinary disaster. There's no need to dwell on the judges' subsequently comments - which were, predictably, bad. Cae knew he was out there and then but still had to spend the rest of the episode standing, disconsolately and red-faced, whilst the other five had their food commented upon. 'You had a bit of a 'mare, didn't you Cae?' Torode said, sticking the knife in and twisting it. A wonderful example, dear blog reader, of why MasterChef is such truly addictive telly. Where else are you going to see cruel and merciless comedy like that?



As if it hasn't got enough problems getting its daily hiding from BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain was taken off-air on Friday as a result of a fire at the ITV building. The London Fire Brigade confirmed that fifty people had been evacuated from the studios on London's Southbank after a blaze began in the first floor of the building. Four fire engines and twenty one firefighters were sent to tackle the 'small fire' and the LFB confirmed on their Twitter account that there were 'thankfully no injuries and everyone [got] out safely.' In a later statement, LFB said: 'Part of a post room on the first floor was damaged by fire. Around fifty people evacuated the building before the Brigade arrived. The fire meant that Good Morning Britain was taken off-air. Fire crews from Lambeth, Dowgate and Soho fire stations were at the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation.' GMB presenter Ben Shephard tweeted that it was 'unlikely' the show would return to the air that morning as the cast and crew took refuge in a nearby restaurant that opened early to accommodate them. An episode of Dinner Date was slotted into the schedules just after 7.30am. Shephard, Horrible Kate Garraway and newsreader Ranvir Singh kept viewers up-to-date on what was happening from outside the studios earlier in the morning and apologised for being off-air. In a video on GMB's Twitter account, Garraway said: 'There's five or six fire engines so they're treating it very seriously, which is comforting, isn't it?' Shephard later posted a photo of them posing with firemen from Soho Blue Watch, writing, 'Every cloud!'
The BBC have announced that Tim Roth and Samantha Morton will lead the cast for Rillington Place, which began filming this week in Scotland. The previously announced three-part drama is based on the real-life multiple murders undertaken by John Christie in Notting Hill in the Forties and Fifties. The subsequent tragic miscarriage of justice, which led to Timothy Evans being hanged for a crime he did not commit, contributed significantly towards the abolition of capital punishment in Britain in 1969. The great Tim Roth - one of this blogge'rs favourite actors - will play Christie, who lived at the infamous titular address with his wife, Ethel (played by Morton), from where he carried out his dreadful and wicked crimes. Newly-weds Timothy and Beryl Evans, played by Nico Mirallegro and Jodie Comer, fell prey to Christie's sinister influence after moving into a neighbouring flat. Writers Ed Whitmore and Tracey Malone said: 'This is a story you just can't look away from: an unlikely serial killer who orchestrated a devastating miscarriage of justice. It has drawn us in at every turn and has attracted an incredibly exciting level of talent who are as committed as we are to bringing it to life.' Well, presumably one of them said it, unless they chanted it together simultaneously like some form of gestalt entity. And, let's face it, that would be just weird. Rillington Place - previously the subject of a best-selling book by Ludovic Kennedy and a 1970 movie, starring Richard Attenborough - will be filmed at BBC Scotland's Dumbarton Studios and also on location in Glasgow and London. Sounds terrific.

There's no doubt about it, the best thing about Countdown is the possibility that a very rude word will be spelled out on the board every now and then and, on Tuesday of this week, viewers' patience for such an occurrence paid off. Rachel Riley was - once again - 'left red-faced' after the word 'cliteased' came up on the Channel Four quiz show.
Tom Hiddleston thinks that the only reason he's being tipped to be the next James Bond is because he plays the spy Jonathan Pine in The Night Manager. Speaking to Jimmy Kimmel on his US chat show, Tom said: 'I play a British spy in The Night Manager so people I think have made the link. As somebody who grew up with Sean Connery and Roger Moore, when you mention it there's a part of me that goes: "Really? Are you kidding?" But I feel like who's going to be the next James Bond is one of the nation's favourite pub conversations. It's up there with who's going to win X Factor and when is the England national side going to live up to its full potential.

Sarah Lancashire would be 'very keen' to work on a third series of Happy Valley, the programme's makers have said. It comes after a Sunday paper - not one that you'd usually trust as far as you can comfortably spit - reported that Lancashire, who plays Catherine Cawood in the popular drama, thought the second series was 'the end of the story' for the BBC1 drama. So, the Sunday paper was lying, it would seem. What a massive surprise. A spokeswoman for Happy Valley that said Sarah's comments were made 'several months ago' and that there had 'been discussions' since then between Lancashire and Sally Wainwright, the writer of the series. Wainwright has already said that she is 'on board' to write a third series - when she has the time to do so.
The BBC has attempted to bring to an end the long-running speculation about who is, as it were, in driving seat of the relaunched Top Gear. Chris Evans is taking what the BBC calls 'the creative lead' on the show but the BBC has named Clare Pizey, its one hundred and fifty thousand knicker-a-year head of factual entertainment, as the woman who will 'oversee the future' of its flagship motoring show – calling her 'the editorial lead.' So, clear as mud then? Chris is in charge unless Clare says he isn't. Pizey has been at the BBC for seven years and will take on 'editorial control of Top Gear,' the BBC confirmed. A BBC spokesman said: 'Clare is an experienced head of department whose credits include big must-see events such as Children In Need and Sport Relief. Clare will be responsible for the editorial content of Top Gear. She will continue to lead the factual entertainment department including overseeing Children in Need 2016.' Usually the person overseeing the show has the title of executive producer and one was, of course, appointed last year to Top Gear, Lisa Clark. But she left in 'mysterious circumstances,' with various newspapers - and her mate Bob Mortimer - alleging that she had flounced off in a huff after 'differences of opinion' with Evans and the team. Clark herself has maintained a dignified silence on the actual reasons for her departure. Evans has been driving the direction of the show but 'talent' cannot be executive producers at the BBC after the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand malarkey. There have been alleged 'wrangles' within the BBC over how those working on the show will be billed in order to accommodate the departure of Clark and the acknowledgement of Evans's contribution. At least according to the Gruniad Morning Star - who, obviously, have no sick agenda to rub like someone's rhubarb. Oh no, very hot water - although exactly which filthy Copper's Nark nitched this information to them, the Gruniad Morning Star don't say. An additional role of 'showrunner' has been created for series editor Alex Renton – who worked on the programme for ten years under the previous presentation team of Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. The corporation has also named a producer who worked on Derren Brown's most controversial stunt, Pushed To The Edge as the editor of the studio part of the series. Martin Dance has also worked on big events such as Comic Relief and Sport Relief.

Chris Evans, meanwhile, has found 'appropriate' nicknames for the show's former hosts, the cast of Rainbow. Which, one is sure, will help to endear Evans to the hundreds of million of punters worldwide who watched the BBC2 show when it was presented by Jezza,Hamster and Captain Slowly and get all of them on his side when his version begins in May. Evans also 'revealed' that he proposed a title change on the motoring series. He told that good and long-standing friend of the BBC, the Daily Scum Mail: 'Today, I will be mostly on my travels again, this time going to Venice with That Car Show. Good title, don't you think? For a car show. That's what I would have retitled Top Gear had Zippy, Bungle and George announced some irretrievable divine right over the original name. Either that or Carmageddon, which I've always fancied. And what a novel venue for a car feature - Venice. No roads! Should be interesting.' Well indeed. Let's hope he doesn't, you know, crash into a canal or something. Because that would be awful. Top Gear, featuring Evans, Sexy Sabine, Joey out of Friends, Mad Eddie Jordan, The Stig and ... a couple of blokes you've never heard of, will return in May.
Meanwhile, yer actual Jezza Clarkson has 'opened up' (or, 'talked about', as we normal people say) concerning his clashes with BBC executives, a year on from that infamous 'fracas' with producer Oisin Tymon. Following the incident in question, the former Top Gear presenter's contract was not renewed by the BBC and yer man Clarkson has made it clear that he is still 'in dispute' with the BBC, particularly singling out the corporation's former Director of BBC Television Danny Cohen. 'Danny and I were, and I suspect will remain forever, very far apart on every single thing,' Clarkson told The Times Magazine. 'Normally, you could find some common ground with somebody, but I think Danny and I could probably only get on perfectly well so long as we absolutely never had to think about each other for the rest of the time.' Jezza added: 'Because, I don't mind anyone having an opinion that's different to mine, just so long as they don't mind my opinion either. So long as it doesn't impinge on what I want to do.' Well, you could've always tried biffing the bloke on the conk to get your own way, Jeeza - that's work out so well for you in the past, hasn't it?
Lenny Henry - last funny, briefly, in 1983 - has been awarded a fellowship of the Royal Television Society alongside a judges award at the RTS Programme Awards. The actor - and former comedian - said at the London ceremony that he was 'surprised' to receive the fellowship, saying it was beyond his 'wildest expectations.' Henry won The Judges Award for his work 'raising awareness of diversity' within the industry. Other winners included actress Suranne Jones and presenters Ant and/or Dec. The latter, who won their first RTS award in 1995, took home the prize for best entertainment performance, but Dec his very self admitted that he had managed to break the award soon after receiving it. Jones won the best female actor award for her role in the BBC1 drama Doctor Foster, adding this to the National TV Award she won in January. Anthony Hopkins won the male actor award for BBC2's The Dresser. Emmerdale beat rivals Coronation Street and EastEnders to win best soap and continuing drama. The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies - which, let's remember, was broadcast in 2014 - followed its BAFTA success by winning two awards - best drama serial and best drama writing for Peter Morgan. Another double winner was alleged comedy series Catastrophe (although, personally, this blogger finds it about as funny as a pimple on the bell-end). The show's creators and stars Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney won best scripted comedy and best comedy writers. Michaela Coel, star of E4's also-not-even-slightly-funny comedy Chewing Gum, won The Breakthrough Award. ITV2's Release The Hounds beat The Graham Norton Show and The Last Leg to win best entertainment show. The horror-themed game show sees contestants pushed to the limit in tests taken place during the night in a remote forest with the judges remarking it was 'brilliantly made, with great production values which really move the genre forward.' Reggie Yates, who hosts Release The Hounds, won the presenter award for his - much more serious and worthwhile - BBC3 programme Reggie Yates' Extreme Russia. ITV's Judge Rinder beat This Morning to win the best daytime programme award, with judges calling it 'incredibly watchable, distinctive and entertaining.' Which, having seen it, it isn't. BBC1's DIY SOS: Homes For Veterans beat First Dates and SAS: Who Dares Wins to win the popular factual and features category. In other drama awards, Paul Abbott's No Offence won best drama series and Coalition won best single drama. Broadcaster and journalist Joan Bakewell received the lifetime achievement award at the ceremony, hosted by Richard Madeley.

Wolf Hall has picked up six nominations at this year's BAFTA Craft Awards, which honour television's behind-the-scenes talent. The series has been nominated in categories including drama writer for Peter Straughan and costume design. Fortitude, London Spy and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell have been nominated for four awards each. This year's ceremony will hosted by Stephen Mangan and held at The Brewery in London on 24 April. The screen adaptation of Wolf Hall, which was based on the Hilary Mantel novel, starred Damian Lewis (he's Henery VIII he is, he is) and Mark Rylance and was well-received by critics and viewers alike when it debuted in January last year and was this blog's winner of the Best TV Programme Of 2015 award. Which is far more prestigious than any number of BAFTAs. Completing its six nominations are recognitions for hair and make-up design, sound design, editing and photography and lighting. ITV's The Sound Of Music Live! has been nominated in three categories. Channel Four's This is England '90, a spin-off from Shane Meadows's 2006 film of the same name, also has three nominations. Casting director Nina Gold has already been announced as the recipient of this year's special award. Gold's credits include Game Of Thrones, The Theory Of Everything, London Spy and The King's Speech. It is the first time the special award has been presented to a casting director. Programmes that have been nominated for two awards include An Inspector Calls, Doctor Foster, Humans, The Hunt, Luther, Poldark and Charlie Hebdo: Three Days That Shook Paris. Catastrophe also receives two nominations. Other writer-performers to be nominated include Julia Davis and Barunka O'Shaughnessy for Hunderby and Peter Kay, Paul Coleman and Sian Gibson for Peter Kay's Car Share.

It's been nineteen years since Buffy The Vampire Slayer​ was first broadcast, but that doesn't mean that members of The Scooby Gang have stopped hanging out together, it would seem. Three of the cast - yer actual Charisma Carpenter, Nicholas Brendon and the Godlike genius of James Marsters - attended a fan convention in Paris last weekend and posed for a few photos for those Buffyphiles who were there.
Marathon man Eddie Izzard completed his challenge in South Africa to run twenty seven marathons in twenty seven days for Sport Relief last Sunday. The fifty four-year-old needed to run a double marathon on Sunday to complete his challenge beneath a statue of Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria. Eddie had attempted a similar feat in South Africa in 2012 but had to pull out for health reasons. The comedian's endurance feat raised more than one million knicker for the charity. The 2016 Sport Relief total currently stands at just a fraction under fifty seven million notes. 'That was very, very tough,' Eddie told reporters as he swigged from a celebratory bottle of sparkling white wine. Over the seven hundred and seven-mile route, Eddie battled through dehydration, heat exhaustion and sunstroke. He was forced to take an unscheduled rest day on the fifth day of the challenge, which meant that he had to complete two marathons on the final day. 'It's been the hardest thing I've ever done,' said a 'very tired' Eddie. 'Thank you to everyone who has donated [and] don't do this at home.'
An interview in which Stephen Fry suggested that if God exists he or she is 'utterly evil, capricious and monstrous' is among the programmes shortlisted for an award to celebrate excellence in religious broadcasting. Tony Jordan's The Ark and the BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet's documentary Children Of The Gaza War are also in the running for the 2016 Sandford St Martin awards, the organisers said on Monday. The Fry interview appeared on Ireland’s RTE television in February 2015. The broadcaster was asked what he would say to God if he met him. Stephen, who is of course, an atheist, said that in the extremely likely event that he were to meet a fictional construct, he would nevertheless, tell the deity (whom he played in BBC4's Holy Flying Circus): 'How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It's not right. It's utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?' He added that he would ask God: 'Bone cancer in children? What's that about? Because the God who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac. Totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him; what kind of God would do that?' Reasonable question. Answers on a postcard. The Right Reverend Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds and chair of the Sandford St Martin Trust, said that the awards were 'particularly important' in the context of the current BBC Charter renewal and the possible privatisation of Channel Four. 'The world needs to be interpreted, not just reported. And to do this effectively, the lens of those being reported needs to be looked through and understood. This means that religion needs to be taken more seriously by the BBC in its future shape and remit. Religion is a primary motivator of individuals and communities, inspiring and informing their political, economic, ethical and social behaviour,' he said. Lyse Doucet said: 'Religion, and belief in general, is one of the most important threads in some of the big issues of our time. People's faith is, in some places, divisive and destructive but in others it is a source of strength and solidarity. The awards recognise the growing importance of understanding all faiths and people of no faith.' The winners are due to be announced at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace, in London, on 8 June.

An episode of Call The Midwife, the hugely popular BBC drama about the travails of midwives in London's East End during the 1950s and 60s, is to be shot in South Africa. Filming for the episode starts in April, when several members of the cast are to fly south for a story set in the apartheid-era in 1962. The BBC is expected to pay no more than the usual fee for such high-end drama, about one million quid an episode, despite transporting the main characters from the drab surroundings of postwar working-class London. Although shrouded in secrecy, the storyline could involve the sisters at Nonnatus House visiting a similar religious establishment in South Africa. Racial and political tensions at the time included the first sabotage attack by Umkhonto we Sizwe, the militant wing of the African National Congress and a five-year jail sentence for Nelson Mandela after he was judged to have illegally left the country. Although based on an original memoir from Jennifer Worth about her time as a midwife in the East End before the contraceptive pill was widely available, the book only accounted for roughly two series of Call The Midwife. Season six, which will start in January 2017, has been written like the others by Heidi Thomas. So popular has it proved that there are tours of Call The Midwife locations, with fans visiting St Joseph’s Missionary college in London's Mill Hill as well as Chatham's historic dockyard, where many of the outdoor scenes are filmed. Its combination of heartache and uplifting heroism has helped turn Call The Midwife into one of the BBC's biggest drama hits. The season five finale attracted more than ten million viewers in March. The show has also proved a huge hit overseas. BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, has sold the previous five series to some two hundred territories, making it one of the corporation's highest earners alongside Top Gear, Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing and Sherlock. A spokesman for the series producers, Neal Street Productions, said that the exotic location will cost no more than the usual sets in London, Kent and Surrey. PBS, the American broadcaster, acts as co-producer to Neal Street and the BBC, which has had a string of hits in its drama department from last year's Poldark to January's War & Peace.

Game Of Thrones and Star Wars actress Gwendoline Christie will join Elisabeth Moss in the second series of Jane Campion’s critically acclaimed BBC2 drama, Top Of The Lake. Christie, who plays itinerant warrior Brienne of Tarth in HBO's popular fantasy drama Game Of Thrones, will take a leading role in the six-part sequel alongside former Mad Men and The West Wing actress Moss. Christie also appeared as stormtrooper leader Captain Phasma in JJ Abrams' record-breaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Although she was barely on-screen and unrecognisable under her character's chrome armour, she has confirmed that she will return in the next episode of the rebooted SF epic. Oscar-winning Campion will return as co-writer and co-director on the new series, Top Of The Lake: China Girl, which begins four years after the end of the first series, when an unidentified body of an Asian girl washes up on Sydney's Bondi Beach. Christie said: 'Jane Campion has been a major creative influence throughout my life and I could not feel more privileged to be working on the next instalment of her unique and enthralling drama, alongside the brilliant Elisabeth Moss.' Filming began this week on the new series, which will also feature David Dencik, Alice Englert and Ewen Leslie. A global co-production with partners in America, New Zealand, Australia and France, it will be broadcast on BBC2 next year. Moss said: 'I'm so excited to be back in Australia working with Jane on exploring this wonderful character. I can't wait for audiences to see where we take Robin's journey.' Made by See-Saw Films, the Oscar-winning producers behind The King's Speech, the first series of Top Of The Lake was shown on BBC2 three years ago, co-starring Holly Hunter and Peter Mullan alongside Moss as child crime specialist detective Robin Griffin. BBC executive producer Lucy Richer described the new series as 'a dark and beguiling story that takes detective Robin Griffin deep into the underworld of Sydney and to the limits of her own heart.' Top Of The Lake is made in association with BBC First in Australia, BBC UKTV in New Zealand, Sundance TV in the US, France's Arte and the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.

ITV has escaped a good old fashioned over the knee trousers down caning from Ofcom for broadcasting an uncensored bad naughty swear word on The Jeremy Kyle Show which was said in a strong Scottish accent. The offensive word - 'cunt', just in case you're wondering - was used during 'a heated exchange' between a woman and her ex-partner on the five-days-a-week freak show on 18 January. Is there any other sort of exchange on The Jeremy Kyle Show? This blogger always thought producers wouldn't let you go on unless you couldn't speak at less than one hundred and forty decibels. ITV admitted that the speaker's accent had meant the word had not been 'understood' prior to broadcast. It grovellingly apologised for any offence caused and said that it had received no complaints from viewers. According to Ofcom, ITV said that the show had been 'reviewed' by several people prior to transmission - including a Scottish member of the production team - but none of them had 'picked up' on the offensive word. They were 'alerted' to the use of the bad naughty swear word on the day of the broadcast by Scottish colleagues at STV - whom shall, henceforth be known as Snithcy McSnitcher, one imagines - and removed the particular episode from its catch-up service immediately. ITV said that the bad naughty swear word 'would not have been readily audible, or at least not readily understandable as such (other than to a small number of Scottish viewers), due to the speaker's accent and the casual rather than emphatic manner in which the comment was made.' Ofcom - which received two whinges from the public - said that although the word was 'an example of the most offensive language' it was 'not clearly audible. We noted that it was used during a heated exchange between two programme contributors, who were speaking very quickly,' it said. Ofcom said that given the steps ITV had taken to remove inappropriate material from the show - both prior to and after the broadcast - it considered the matter resolved. Ofcom also said it would not be investigating ten complaints relating to 'offensive language' used by Adele during The Brit Awards on ITV on 24 February, or sixty whinges relating to alleged 'nudity' in the same broadcast.
Some Jeremy Kyle fans - for, there are, indeed, such people dear blog readers - have been 'slammed' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised for being morons') on Twitter - which, as the Gruniad Morning Star never stop reminding is, in fact, The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things - after complaining that Tuesday's episode of the crass freak show was cancelled. This was in order that ITV could cover breaking news of the horrific - and, at the time ongoing - Brussels terrorist attacks. At least thirty four people died after a series of bomb outrages across the Belgian capital, including a suicide bomb attack at the airport which struck near the American Airlines check-in desk at 8am. ITV decided, as you would expect when a major news story of this kind was unfolding, to cancel the sick daytime talk show for those of the hard of thinking in order to stay with its breakfast news magazine programme, Good Morning Britain. One Twitter user with the screen name ChelseyNVOXO was not impressed with this malarkey and wrote a series of perfectly mind-numbing tweets beginning with: 'Why isn't Jeremy Kyle on? They've been showing the same thing all morning. It's boring now.' Later, she added: 'Also, it's in Brussels so why do we need to know about it lol?' Yes. I think it's the 'lol' when people are lying dead on the pavement that takes these comments out of the normal range of standard Twitter/Jeremy Kyle ignorant stupidity and into another - even more offensive - realm altogether. When other Twitter uses responded to her seemingly spectacularly callous tweets, she replied: 'How does it affect England? If a terror attack happened in England I doubt Brussels would care. But at the same time it doesn't affect me ... Sorry for not giving a shit about something that doesn't affect me.' As more and more people asked her if she was being serious and, if she was, how she slept at nights, she wrote: 'Dead bodies was the last thing I wanted to see at eight in the morning. Also, why am I going to care about people I don't even know?' Because, of course, all of the waste-of-space losers who appear on The Jeremy Kyle Show are close personal friends of Ms Chelsey. Another woman using the name Olivia Lavelle wrote: 'I'm extremely sad about Brussels but why have ITV not played Jeremy Kyle my one highlight of the day.' Listen, love, if The Jeremy Kyle Show really is one of the highlights of your day you might want to seriously consider having a good hard look at your life and doing something to improve it. The Lorraine Kelly show was also cancelled after just a few minutes to allow GMB's coverage to continue. The BBC also pulled their planned morning show schedule to continue with news coverage of the explosions.
Ofcom will not be investigating Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway for rewarding a 'lucky' viewer who lied to her boss. Barmaid Andrea won a free cruise on the 27 February episode of the popular variety show, when it was revealed that she had pretended she'd received a serious shoulder injury in order to take three months off from her job. She took a trip to Italy and drew a scar on her arm every day - wearing a fake sling to boot - to keep up the pretence that she was injured. But despite fifty six people whinging to Ofcom about how 'unfair' this was, the regulator said that it would be taking no further action, having 'assessed the situation.' Presumably because they have more important things to do with their time than waste it on rank bollocks nonsense the likes of this. Jesus, has everybody taken The Stupid Pill again this week, or what?
Doc Martin and Men Behaving Badly actor Martin Clunes has offered a tow grand reward to help find a stolen dog. Pippin, a cross between a Yorkshire terrier and a poodle - so, that would be a Yorkshire pudding, yes? - was taken from his home in Wigston, Leicestershire, last Tuesday. The fifty four-year-old actor met Pippin and his owner, Jane Wilson, on the set of Doc Martin while they were on holiday in Cornwall. The total has since doubled to four thousand quid as the family had already offered a reward themselves. Jane's son, Gareth, said that he contacted Martin's agent to help find Pippin after the actor showed 'genuine interest' in the dog when he met Jane a few years ago in Port Isaac. 'We are so incredibly grateful for Martin Clunes's help and wish to thank him from the bottom of our hearts. [His] intervention has been a ray of light in the clouds,' Gareth said.
John Cleese - who used to be funny once upon a time, albeit more recently than Lenny Henry - says that he 'may' sue an Australian theatre company for its 'shameless rip-off' of Fawlty Towers. The actor said on Twitter - you know, The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things - that the Faulty Towers Dining Experience did not seek permission to use the show's title, themes or characters. Cleese said that he had 'not received royalties' from the show, which reportedly makes over a million smackers a year. But, the production company behind the tribute show claimed that Cleese had 'known' of its existence 'for years.' Cleese tweeted that he was unaware of Faulty Towers' "astonishing financial success. Seems they thought that by not asking and by changing the 'w' to a 'u', they'd be in the clear! Hilarious,' he wrote. The dinner-and-performance show has been staged in Sydney, London and other destinations around the world for two decades. Production company Imagination Workshop said that it had made 'nothing like' the revenues reported by Fairfax newspapers in Australia. 'We are staggered by John Cleese's vitriol towards us and our tribute show,' it said in a statement to the BBC. 'We are not an unauthorised rip-off show - anyone who knows the law in this area will understand that we do not require authorisation to use the concept of Fawlty Towers. We are not the bad guys he is painting us to be. It is a shame he has chosen to air his frustrations so publicly rather than contacting us directly about this matter.' Cleese told Fairfax that he was 'amused' by 'the irony' of the production company publishing tough legal language on its website, warning off imposters. 'These people are shamelessly ripping off Connie Booth and myself and they are publishing aggressive threats against anyone else who would seek to rip them off in the same way,' he reportedly said.

Billie Piper and Laurence Fox are reported to have split up after more than eight years of marriage. A statement on Laurence's official Facebook page said that no-one else was involved and the couple needed 'space and privacy.' Lewis actor Fox and Doctor Who actress Piper married in December 2007 and have two sons together. 'Laurence Fox and Billie Piper have separated. No third parties are involved,' the statement read. 'For the sake of our family we request and appeal for space and privacy at this time.' Piper was previously married to Chris Evans. The pair separated in 2004 before divorcing in May 2007. From 2007 until 2011, she starred as escort Belle de Jour in the TV series Secret Diary Of A Call Girl and now plays the duel role of Brona Croft and Lily Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful. During her singing career she had three number one singles.
Elijah Wood has been cast in a new Dirk Gently series for BBC America. Based on Douglas Adams's comic novels Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul, Wood will play Gently's 'reluctant assistant' Todd. The comedic thriller will be written and directed by Max Landis, son of Trading Places and An American Werewolf In London director John Landis. The BBC ran a pilot and three-part adaptation of Dirk Gently starring Stephen Mangan on BBC4 from 2010 but was not recommissioned. Largely because, although the pilot was rather good, the subsequent series really wasn't. The new eight-part series will première on BBC America - part of the BBC's commercial wing - in the autumn. Further casting, including the character of Gently himself , has yet to be announced.
Sky has won exclusive rights to show Formula 1 racing from 2019, the first time that the vast majority of races will only be available to pay-TV subscribers. Sky already broadcasts all twenty one Grands Prix live, but Channel Four also has rights to show ten races a year after striking a three-year deal thought to be worth as much as thirty five million knicker a year. Channel Four had picked up the rights after the BBC exited its own deal with the sport's governing body early due to the impact of budget cuts. The new Sky deal, which runs until 2024, will see Sky broadcast the British Grand Prix on a free-to-air Sky channel available on services such as YouView and at least two other races on its yet to be launched Mix channel, which will be available to all Sky subscribers even if they do not take any of its sports channels. However, the remainder of the races each year will only be available to customers who pay for Sky Sports. Like this blogger, for instance. Which is nice. The chief executive of Formula 1 Group, Wee Bernie Ecclestone, said: 'I am delighted that we will continue to work together. Sky's commitment to the sport and standard of coverage is second to none.' The managing director of Sky Sports, Barney Francis, said: 'This is a brilliant deal that takes Sky's partnership with F1 to the next level. Since 2012, we have demonstrated unrivalled commitment to F1, offering fans innovations including a dedicated channel and the very best broadcasting talent. We are pleased to support F1 and look forward to working with them to progress, develop and enhance coverage of the championship during the agreement.'
The longest-serving FA Cup trophy has been valued at more than a million quid on Antiques Roadshow - making it the most valuable every item to feature on the BBC show. The cup was presented to winning teams from 1911 until it was replaced in 1992 by a new trophy of the same design. It was valued in an edition of the long-running programme recorded in Harrogate and shown on Sunday evening. The show's previous highest valuation was a million knicker for a model of Sir Antony Gormley's Angel Of The North sculpture. The cup valued by Antiques Roadshow expert Alastair Dickenson at Harrogate's Royal Hall was the third version of the FA Cup to be used. It was made by Fattorini & Sons in Bradford and - by complete coincidence - the first team to be presented with it were Bradford City, who beat yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though, even then, unsellable) Newcastle United in the 1911 final, after a replay. The original FA Cup trophy, presented at the first final in 1872, was stolen from a Birmingham shoe shop window in 1895 while being displayed when Aston Villa were holders. It was never recovered and, according to legend, was melted down by the thieves. The second was replaced by the Football Association after the 1909 winners, The Scum, made a replica and the FA realised that it did not own the copyright. The obsolete cup was given to Lord Kinnaird, who had been president of the FA for more than two decades. It was bought at auction for four hundred and seventy eight thousand smackers in 2005 by David Gold, then chairman of Birmingham City and now of West Hamsters United, and presented for permanent display at the National Football Museum, now based in Manchester. The replacement - the trophy featured on the Antiques Roadshow - was used for every final from 1911 until 1991 when it was decided it was too fragile to continue being used. It was succeeded by an exact replica but this was only used for two decades before also being retired because of 'wear and tear.' In 2014 another version was made by Thomas Lyte Silver, the FA's silversmiths and official restorers of silverware to Buckingham Palace. Despite its history, Dickenson claimed that the trophy's design suggested it had not been created to be a football trophy and was more likely designed as a wine or champagne cooler. 'Now I may be banned from every football ground in the country for saying this, but I suspect that this may have been an off-the-shelf piece, that it may not be specifically made,' he said. 'I think that because it has all these grapes and vines on it, it might have been a wine or champagne cooler. The hardest thing of all about this is putting a value on it. This is, alongside the Wimbledon trophy, the most famous cup in the country. I think, quite comfortably, this has got to be worth well over one million pounds - the highest ever value I have given on Antiques Roadshow.'
Batman Versus Superman: Dawn Of Justice has taken four hundred and twenty four million dollars at the box office worldwide in its first five days despite some poor reviews. Albeit, a couple of yer actual Keith telly Topping;s mates have been to see it and they reckon it's pretty good. And, I'd trust both of them and their opinions a hell of a lot more than I'd trust any critic. The global total - the fourth-highest ever - included one hundred and seventy million backs in the United States, a record for a March debut and the sixth-highest US opening weekend ever. Dawn Of Justice took over fifteen million quid in the UK - also a record for March. The film bringing the two superheroes together for the first time is a welcome success for Warner Brothers. The studio has been hit by a series of expensive failures such as Jupiter Ascending and Pan in recent months. The DC Comics adaptation, which cost more than two hundred and fifty million dollars to make, was Warner Brothers' second-highest international opening after Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
An 'entertainer' of some description has prevented a tabloid newspaper from printing details of his extramarital affairs in a case which is expected to trigger a fresh round of legal battles between celebrities and newspapers over privacy injunctions. The allegedly 'well-known' individual - who is referred to in the judgment of the case by the initials PJS - and his wife - referred to as YMA - are both described as 'public figures.' The man is reported to have had 'a three-way sexual encounter' with another couple more than four years ago. The couple approached the editor of the Sun On Sunday newspaper, Steve Kennedy, in January this year and told him about their relationship with PJS and demanded loads of filthy wonga for a classic tawdry 'kiss-and-tell' exclusive. The paper, which planned to publish the story, contacted the entertainer's lawyers, initiating the courtroom dispute. But the court of appeal ruled that the Sun On Sunday cannot publish the story because the entertainer, who reportedly has 'an open relationship' with his wife, had 'an expectation' that his sexual encounters would 'remain private.' The ruling implies a 'more expansive' interpretation of privacy in terms of sexual activity. The judge also considered the impact the likely 'media storm' would inflict on the young children of PJS and YMA. The anonymised judgment, released last week, comes amid a surge in contested cases involving the courts shielding celebrities' identity. This, however, is the first privacy injunction battle to reach the court of appeal since 2011. On the evening of Friday 18 January, lawyers for PJS and YMA applied for a ban on publication by the newspaper. They failed to persuade the high court judge at that time but were granted an interim injunction allowing them to appeal against the decision to the higher court. 'The claimant is in the entertainment business and is married to YMA, who is a well-known individual in the same business,' Lord Justice Jackson explained in the appeal court judgment. 'In 2007 or 2008 the claimant met AB. There is a conflict of evidence as to whether they met through a mutual friend or on Facebook. The claimant and AB had occasional sexual encounters starting in 2009. AB already had a partner, CD. In a text message exchange on 15 December 2011, the claimant asked if CD was "up for a three-way." AB said that CD was. Accordingly, the three met for a three-way sexual encounter which they duly carried out.' Sadly, there is no indication of whether it was a good three-way or not. 'After that encounter, the sexual relationship between the claimant and AB came to an end, but they remained friends.' Describing PJS and his wife as 'a committed couple', the appeal court judge observed: 'On the evidence of both of them, the claimant's occasional sexual encounters with others do not detract from that commitment.' Gavin Millar QC, for News Group Newspapers, had argued that because PJS and YMA had put details of their relationship 'into the public domain' themselves it was 'in the public interest' that the newspaper should publish an account of his sexual encounters with others. Whether they bothered to ask the public if they were interested in this tittle-tattle, he didn't say. 'Were the claimant and YMA presenting an image of monogamy to the world?' Jackson asked rhetorically before concluding: 'If the [Sun On Sunday] publishes the proposed story, this will not set the record straight in any material respect. It will simply reveal that one feature of the claimant's and YMA's long-term relationship is that the claimant is allowed to have occasional sexual encounters with others. That would provide supplementary information, but it would not correct a false image. "Kiss and tell" stories about a public figure which do no more than satisfy readers' curiosity concerning his private life do not serve the public interest.' Hugh Tomlinson QC, for PJS, said that his 'right to privacy' should be protected. Jackson agreed: 'The proposed story, if it is published, will be devastating for the claimant. There is also the position of the children to consider. The proposed article would generate a media storm and much public interest in the claimant's family. Even if the children do not suffer harassment in the short term, they are bound to learn about these matters from school friends and the Internet in due course. That is a factor to place in the balance.' The judge extended the interim injunction until 'any further order is made.' The number of claims coming before the courts had in recent years fallen away following The Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and restrictions imposed by senior judges on the granting of superinjunctions where even the fact that an injunction has been granted cannot be reported. Such injunctions have now begun to rise again according to the latest court statistics. Commenting on the case, Sara Mansoori and Aidan Wills from Matrix Chambers told the Gruniad Morning Star: 'This decision is likely to assist claimants – particularly high-profile individuals – who are seeking to prevent newspapers publishing details about their private lives. This case demonstrates that the courts are willing to take a liberal view of how an individual chooses to conduct his or her private sexual life.'

Saturday Kitchen is to be hosted by a string of celebrity chefs after presenter James Martin leaves the show, the BBC has said. Michel Roux Jr, Rick Stein, Masterchef judge John Torode and Lorraine Pascale are among the famous names set to take the helm over the next few weeks. Roux Jr said: 'I'm very much looking forward to being the first guest host of Saturday Kitchen. I've been a fan of the show for many years and can't wait to cook up some magic with some of the great chefs the show attracts.' This Saturday is Martin's last show as host. He has presented the show since 2006 and his final show finally gives viewers the chance to vote for him to experience either his own food heaven - butter - or his dreaded food hell - horseradish.
Channel Four chief executive David Abraham has warned the government against the privatisation of the broadcaster, saying that a partial sell-off would leave it with 'Two Weddings and Half a Funeral' and 'Formula 0.5.' Unveiling a Channel Four-commissioned report into its future sustainability on Wednesday, Abraham said that the publicly owned broadcaster was 'well-placed' to deal with global digital rivals such as Netflix and Amazon 'in a world-beating manner.' The report, by Ernst & Young, said that the benefits from privatisation were 'inherently uncertain' and warned of 'potential risks to [C4's] remit delivery' with any change of ownership. Unveiling the report in Shoreditch, Abraham said: 'One of the key tenants of any privatisation is that the service to the public would improve as a result. That case is still one that needs to be demonstrated. In truth it's still not quite clear what the problem is that's trying to be fixed. A further line of thinking has emerged in the last few months, well, if not full privatisation then maybe part privatisation may be an avenue to pursue,' he added. 'Our view is if full privatisation isn't palatable or necessary then we're not quite sure what part privatisation actually means. We don't believe part privatisation is the answer to the question about Channel Four's sustainability.' Abraham said it would be halfway house – 'neither one thing or the other' – and risked cutting the broadcaster in two, the equivalent of 'Six Years A Slave, Two Weddings & Half A Funeral, Channel Two News' and, in a reference to its most recent high profile acquisition, 'Formula 0.5.' The Channel Four boss said that the channel had been a disruption when it was created and 'would continue to live through disruptions' such as the challenge of Amazon and Netflix. 'Change per se does not frighten Channel Four,' he said. 'We are capable of dealing with very technologically advanced competition globally and doing so in a world beating manner.' The Ernst & Young report said the government should give 'considerable thought to the implications for remit delivery and the potential for organisational uncertainty' of any sell-off. 'Given government’s commitment to continued PSB status for Channel Four, any consideration of privatisation options needs to be accompanied by a clear statement of the problems that government is trying to address and the outcomes that government is seeking to achieve,' it said. 'In particular, there is a need to balance the potential (but inherently uncertain) benefits that privatisation may bring against the potential risks to remit delivery if Channel Four moves from a not-for-profit to profit-maximising status. Any privatisation process is also likely to be a complex one, and that complexity could create uncertainty within the current Channel Four organisation. It is important to minimise this uncertainty, in order to avoid risks to the public value generated by Channel Four's PSB remit and original content investment.' The report said 'young people's changing viewing habits,' with a trend away from linear to on-demand viewing, was 'a potential long term structural risk' to free-to-air broadcasters such as Channel Four. But it said Channel Four was 'already responding to this challenge' and said it was 'not clear [privatisation] would make any difference.' The report said Channel Four was 'in good stead' to cope with future challenges under its current model, assuming the business 'retains its current flexibility and ability to adapt.' It added that the regulatory environment 'may need to change' but 'should not require a wholesale shift away from the core Channel Four remit.'
The publisher of the Sun has recorded a loss of more than two hundred and fifty million smackers after making what is described as 'a huge write-down' and 'paying out further costs' associated with phone-hacking and payments to public officials. Which is funny. The Sun incurred one-off charges during the year ending June 2015 of two hundred and seventy seven million knicker in total once legal fees and compensation for loss of office was included. The bulk of the write-down – some two hundred and four million notes – relates to diminution of the value of the Sun's masthead, or publishing rights going forward. However, some fifty million quid has been 'set aside' to deal with the continuing cost of the phone-hacking scandal and legal fees involving payments to public officials. A further fourteen million smackers relates to activities of the controversial management and standards committee and further legal fees and damages. The write-down for the Sun comes after the billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch-controlled group had already spent three hundred and fifty five million knicker in legal fees due to phone-hacking, from closing the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World in shame and ignominy to settling compensation claims. It remains unclear why the Sun's publisher decided to write the publishing rights down to such an extent. According to the filing made to Companies House, underlying operating profits, excluding these exceptional charges, were £31.3m, down from £35.6m in 2014. Revenues were four hundred and fifty nine million knicker, down more than thirty million quid from 2014 due to declines in print circulation, partly offset by cover price increases and income from Sun digital subscribers. In November, the Sun scrapped its paywall in a bid to grow its online audience. Including the charges, the company recorded a loss of two hundred and fifty two million notes compared to the preceding year, when another one-off charge of £102.7m – which did not include any damage to the Sun's brand – resulted in a loss of fifty two million smackers.

Still on the subject of phone-hacking scum newspapers, the supreme court has extremely rejected a challenge by the publisher of the Daily and Sunday Mirra against the landmark £1.2m in damages awarded to eight phone-hacking victims, including Sadie Frost and Paul Gascoigne and told the Mirra Group that if they didn't want to get hit with such a costly slap on the wrist they probably shouldn't have done lots of naughty and illegal phone-hacking in the first place. Which is also funny. Mirra Group Newspapers took its case to the supreme court after an earlier bid was very rejected in the court of appeal last December. The supreme court said on Wednesday that it had, hilariously, refused the publisher's application to appeal. 'The court ordered that permission to appeal be refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law,' it said. The damages were awarded by the judge, Mr Justice Mann, in May last year to a total of eight victims, the largest award of damages made by the courts for a breach of a person's privacy. They also included former the BBC executive Alan Yentob, Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, flight attendant Lauren Alcorn, TV producer Robert Ashworth and EastEnders actors Lucy Taggart and Shane Richie. Frost was awarded £260,250 and Gascoigne £188,250 in compensation from Trinity Mirra. Ashworth, a former Coronation Street producer who told the court that phone-hacking had 'ruined' his media career and his marriage to the actress Tracy Shaw, was awarded £201,250 for the invasion of his privacy. Taggart received a £157,250 payout, while Richie got one hundred and fifty five thousand knicker. Gulati was awarded £117,500, Yentob eighty five grand and Alcorn £78,500. All of the awards were far higher than those handed out in a previous privacy case. Trinity Mirra issued a thoroughly whinging statement saying that it 'did not believe the ruling affected its previous estimate' that it would need to put aside forty one million smackers to cover further phone-hacking claims. The statement said: 'We have been informed this morning by the supreme court that they have refused our application for permission to appeal against the judgment of the court of appeal. We have throughout the legal process been resolving claims and will continue to make efforts to resolve all legitimate claims. There remains ongoing uncertainty in relation to how matters will progress. At this stage we believe there is no change to the provisions previously made in relation to resolving civil claims arising from phone-hacking.' The judge in his original ruling said that phone-hacking was 'part of a large-scale pattern of the unlawful obtaining of information' by journalists at the newspaper group. He said 'people whose voicemails were hacked for so often and so long, had very significant parts of their private lives exposed, and then reported on, are entitled to significant compensation.'
The name of a new polar research vessel will be chosen by a panel of experts, even if the public overwhelmingly votes to call it 'Boaty McBoatface.' Lord West, ex-First Sea Lord, said that he was rather proud 'silly names' had been suggested but, he hoped that none would be chosen. Which, if you Google 'backhanded compliments about the general public's sense of humour', you'll find that one listed pretty close to the top. The Natural Environment Research Council had urged people to name its ship in a competition - then almost certainly regretted having done so as 'Boaty McBoatface' easily topped the poll. The final name will be selected by the NERC, according to competition rules. 'Boaty McBoatface' is currently leading with more than twenty seven thousand votes, while the second place pick trails with around three thousand. The names Pingu, Usain Boat - which is, actually, far funnier than Boaty McBoatface - and 'It's Bloody Cold Here' have also been put forward. Lord West told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'It's a typical thing of the Brits going mad - normally silly season, rather than this time of the year.' He said the NERC had only expected 'marine research fans' to get involved. 'I think I would probably go for an Arctic or Antarctic explorer - that would be appropriate - bearing in mind this is a key bit of research where we are probably leading the world, and we should all be very proud of it. I'm rather proud that we have silly names going around, but I hope we don't select one.' The state-of-the-art two hundred million knicker vessel will be launched in 2019 to replace Royal Research Ships Ernest Shackleton and James Clark Ross. Launching the competition to name it last week, the NERC said it was looking for 'something inspirational' - something that would exemplify the ship's work. And, Boaty McBoatface doesn't? 'We are excited to hear what the public have to suggest and we really are open to ideas,' the chief executive said. On Sunday, the poll website crashed under the weight of people trying to cast their votes. James Hand, a former BBC Radio Jersey presenter, was behind the suggestion of 'Boaty McBoatface' but says that he has since apologised to the NERC. For being a plonker, basically. 'I've actually been speaking a bit to the people behind the website. I've apologised profusely. What I keep saying to people is, this is actually nothing to do with me. I made the suggestion but the storm that's been created, it's got legs of its own. I just feel it's a very British thing which a lot of people have pointed out.' Julia Maddock, acting associate director of communications and engagement at the NERC, responded to Hand's apology on Twitter, saying her organisation was 'loving it.' In another tweet, she wrote: 'We wanted people to talk about our ship and get involved. We are delighted!' Hand said that he was 'still thoroughly rooting' for his idea to be chosen but 'understood' the public's choices were 'only ever a suggestion.' In second place, with more than three thousand votes, is RRS Henry Worsley. Worsley died trying to make the first unassisted solo crossing of the Antarctic in January. Another of the more serious suggestions is RRS David Attenborough. The fifteen thousand-tonne, one hundred and twenty eight metre-long vessel is being built at Cammell Laird on Merseyside.

England held on to reach the semi-finals of the World cricket Twenty20 cup with an exciting ten-run win over Sri Lanka in Delhi. Sri Lanka looked well-beaten - a Sri Lankan spankin', if you will - after they were reduced to fifteen for four in reply to England's one hundred and seventy one for four, in which Jos Buttler plundered sixty six not out from just thirty seven balls. But the Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews hit five sixes in an unbeaten fifty four-ball seventy three to take the game down to the wire. Chris Jordan took two wickets in the nineteenth over and, with fifteen runs required off the twentieth, Ben Stokes' series of yorkers sealed a likely semi-final tie against New Zealand. Eoin Morgan's side will meet the Kiwis in Delhi on Wednesday if West Indies record an expected win against Afghanistan on Sunday. Sri Lanka looked all but beaten when their top four were removed inside the first three overs of the chase. But Mathews remained, rebuilding with Chamara Kapugedera, with the skipper offering a very difficult chance to a flying Morgan at cover when on thirty. That moment, with nearly twelve runs per over needed from the last nine, was the signal for Mathews to launch his assault on England's slow bowlers. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali were smashed for a combined sixty three from their four overs, including eight sixes. The pace bowlers had done the early damage for England and, with Sri Lanka needing forty from the final four overs, Morgan turned to Jordan, David Willey and Stokes. Jordan was magnificent, regularly finding the blockhole to first have Thisara Perera held at mid-off. Then, after Willey was hit for a six and a four by Dasun Shanaka, Jordan had the same man brilliantly caught by Joe Root at mid-off and then bowled Rangana Herath. Mathews was on strike for the final over, an injury to his left hamstring adding to the drama, but he could not find a boundary in the face of Stokes' accuracy. Stokes and Buttler had earlier walked off arm-in-arm at the end of England's batting effort, Stokes having hit the only ball he faced - the last of the innings - for six. With the ball not coming on to the bat, England made only steady progress in the first half of their innings - Jason Roy and Root sharing a partnership of sixty one in fifty one balls before both fell to the leg-spin of Jeffrey Vandersay. However, when Sri Lanka exhausted their slow bowling options, Buttler burst into life with slaps through the off side and two mighty straight sixes. In tandem with Morgan, who finally found a bit of form in the competition and made twenty two from sixteen balls, Buttler took seventy two from the final five overs. It was just enough to get England, champions in 2010, to only a second World Cup or World Twenty20 semi-final in twenty four years.
England's ladies also moved into the Women's World Twenty20 semi-finals with an easy sixty eight-run victory over Pakistan in Chennai on Sunday. After an opening stand of sixty eight with Tammy Beaumont (thirty seven), captain Charlotte Edwards batted through the innings for seventy seven from sixty one balls in England's total of one hundred and forty eight for five. West Indies' earlier win over India had meant that group leaders England would have risked elimination on net run-rate had Pakistan won in 18.1 overs or less. But Pakistan were bowled out for just eighty, with thirteen balls to spare. England's bowling heroine was off-spinner Laura Marsh, who had only arrived in India on Wednesday as a replacement for the injured Danielle Hazell, and was preferred to slow left-armer Rebecca Grundy as one of two team changes. After Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole struck with the new ball, Marsh put the brakes on and collected T20 career-best figures of three for twelve from four overs on her first full international appearance since August. The other change was enforced as illness ruled out vice-captain Heather Knight, handing an opportunity to all-rounder Georgia Elwiss, who also picked up two wickets.
In football, Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier scored their first international goals as England came from two-nil down to beat Ze Cherman in a friendly in Berlin. Which was as amusing as it was unexpected. Toni Kroos and Mario Gomez had put the hosts in control, as England lost goalkeeper Jack Butland through injury. But Harry Kane pulled one back with a superb solo effort and Vardy's audacious back-heel brought them level. Dier then headed in the winner to seal the comeback in injury time.
And, in other sports news - well, sort of - on Sunday Cambridge won The Boat Race. Oxford came second. There is no news yet as to who came third.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping had a bit of rather good news earlier this week,dear blog reader. This blogger been looking for a spot of part-time work for the last few months to supplement his self-employed income (just about sixteen hours a week or so, nowt drastic, like full time work). Having been self-employed for so long it actually proved far harder than he thought it was going to be; this blogger had a couple of interviews but it was always a bit odd when a prospective employer would ask 'when did you last work for an employer that wasn't you?' Anyway, after a couple of false-starts and cul-de-sacs, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has managed to find himself a little post that, seemingly, suits all parties concerned. A bit of retail counter work; the money always comes in handy and the hours are very good (four lots of four per week, mainly covering lunchtimes and as a consequence leaving this blogger plenty of time to pursue his, ahem, 'other activities').
Sir Paul McCartney his very self has filed legal papers in the US, as part of his ongoing attempt to reclaim the publishing rights to The Be-Atles' publishing back catalogue. Although Macca co-wrote most of the band's hits with the late alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon, he has never controlled the majority of the publishing. However, the US copyright act of 1976 gives writers the opportunity to reclaim the rights to their songs after fifty six years. The Lennon-McCartney catalogue becomes available in 2018 and Sir Paul has recently moved to recapture it. According to Billboard, Paul filed a 'termination notice' for thirty two songs with the US Copyright Office in December. Most of the songs date from the 1962 to 1964 period, although others come from much later in the band's career. Some of those, including 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road', are not due to become available until 2025. An alleged 'unnamed source' allegedly told the magazine that Sir Paul would, allegedly, only regain publishing rights for his half of the compositions. Furthermore, the act only applies to the US, so The Be-Atles' (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) back catalogue would remain in the hands of Sony/ATV in the rest of the world. Publishing rights determine how a song can be exploited - for example by licensing its use in a film, television programme or advertisement. The publisher shares any resulting royalties to the songwriters, helping Sir Paul to amass a personal fortune of seven hundred and thirty million knicker. Which, let's face it, the man deserves for writing 'Here, There & Everywhere' alone. But, the lack of control over the songs has long been a thorn in the musician's side. In the very early days of The Be-Atles career, their manager, Brian Epstein, persuaded Lennon and McCartney to form a publishing company with former singer-turned-publisher Dick James - explaining that it would be the easiest way for them to make money from their songs. Within a few years, the band had become bigger than Jesus (allegedly) and the publishing company - Northern Songs - was floated on the stock market. Lennon and McCartney ended up with a fifteen per cent share of the company, while James and his partner Charles Silver took thirty seven per cent between them as the company's chairmen. George Harrison and Ringo Starr were given a meagre 0.8 per cent - prompting the former to write the bitter 'Only A Northern Song', expressing his dissatisfaction at being considered a junior songwriter within the company. In 1967, after Epstein's death, relations between the band and James and Silver soured - and James abruptly sold the publishing rights to Lew Grade's ATV Music for one and a half million quid in 1969, without giving notice to The Be-Atles and robbing them of the chance to obtain the rights for themselves. Almost twenty year later, Michael Jackson bought the catalogue - which by that time also included songs by Little Richard, The Pointer Sisters, Pat Benatar and The Pretenders - for about thirty million quid, permanently souring his, up till then friendly, friendship with Sir Paul. 'I think it's dodgy to do things like that. To be someone's friend and then to buy the rug they're standing on,' Macca was quoted as saying in J Randy Taraborrelli's biography of Jackson. In 1995, Jackson sold half of his share in ATV Music to Sony. The Japanese multinational purchased the remainder of the late Jackson's stake earlier this month. While Sir Paul's motion to terminate copyright is likely to be successful, Lennon's share in The Be-Atles' songs will not return to his estate. His widow Yoko Ono sold the rights to his music to Sony/ATV Music in 2009, with those rights lasting the entire copyright's lifetime (seventy years).

Meanwhile there's news this week that Macca The Bassman his very self is set to join the cast of the upcoming movie sequel Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. According to Deadline, the former Be-Atle (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) is 'integral' to a new set-piece being added to the film, which has already finished shooting. It would be the franchise's third cameo from a major rock musician, after yer actual Saint Keith Richards' role as Captain Jack Sparrow's father in 2007's Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End, a role which he reprised in the fourth movie, On Stranger Tides. Richards is a member of The Rolling Stones (also a popular beat combo of the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s). Johnny Depp will reprise his role as Sparrow in the fifth film, spearheading a cast that includes returning cast-members Geoffrey Rush and Orlando Bloom, with Javier Bardem taking on lead villain duties. The film will be directed by Norwegian duo Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, best known for the Oscar-nominated drama Kon-Tiki. It has already been in the news after Depp's wife, the actor Amber Heard, allegedly attempted to illegally bring his dogs into Australia and got into all manner of trouble with some officious berk in the Aussie government over her rank naughtiness.
The band james will open the 2016 Glastonbury festival, singer Tim Booth has told BBC 5Live. The group - a particular favourite of this blogger for over two decades - whose hits include the indie dance-rock classics 'Sit Down', 'Come Home' and 'How Was It For You?', will be the first act on The Other Stage at 11am on Friday 24 June. 'We're going to cut the ribbon and smash the champagne on the ship,' said Booth, whose band have played Glastonbury on several previous occasions. It has become Glastonbury tradition for a big-name band to kick proceedings off. Kaiser Chiefs and The Charlatans have taken the slot in recent years. Adele, Coldplay and Muse will headline this year's festival in Somerset. Asked whether Adele was a suitable headliner, james' bassist, Jim Glennie, said: 'I don't know how you judge the suitability. They always want to take a risk, which is admirable, like stick Metallica on and see what happens. [But] the most interesting things happen maybe not on the main stage. I look more for things that are hidden away.' Other confirmed acts include PJ Harvey, Jeff Lynne's ELO and Jess Glynne. The festival traditionally waits until the final tranche of tickets have been sold, following the spring resale, before revealing its full line-up. Formed in 1982, james took almost a decade to achieve any national fame despite releasing some brilliant records. At one point, the band submitted themselves for medical experiments at Manchester General Hospital just to stay afloat, their original drummer quit because he was, he said, 'better off on the dole' and they almost split up after their record company, Sire, effectively gave up on them (whilst using all of their resources to fund Madonna's True Blue tour) but wouldn't release them from their contract. james decided to carry on after the success of their self-funded 1989 live LP One Man Clapping which had been intended to be a celebration of their farewell gig in Bath. Their wider breakthrough came with the indie anthem 'Sit Down' - a massive UK hit in 1991 - and its attendant LP, Gold Mother and the band became swept along with the Madchester scene which also produced The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses (both of whom had supported james earlier in their careers). But, james always had somewhat loftier pretensions, later working with Brian Eno on the experimental CD Wah Wah and finally breaking America in the mid-90s with Laid, the success of which saw them playing the Woodstock '94 festival. Their more successful records leaned towards mainstream rock and the band consistently scored top twenty hits throughout the 1990s with songs like 'Ring The Bells', 'She's A Star', 'Born Of Frustration', 'Sound', 'Say Something', 'Destiny Calling', 'Waltzing Along' and 'Tomorrow' whilst their Best Of CD was a massive seller at the turn of the millennium. This blogger saw james live half-a-dozen times between the mid-eighties and 2000 including one show at The Mayfair in around 1991 which might, just, be the greatest gig yer actual Keith Telly Topping had ever been to. God it was great. 'Johnny Yen', 'Stutter', 'Hymn From A Village' and an eighteen minute version of 'Sit Down' to finish. Magic. Yet they always had a sense of unfulfilled potential - perhaps because the music press had showered the band with hyperbole in their early days. At one point the NME opined: 'This is what The Smiths think they sound like.' (Interestingly, james supported The Smiths on the 1985 Meat Is Murder tour and were good friends with their fellow Mancunians. That was, until Morrissey wrote the hit single 'We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful' specifically about them!) It proved to be both a blessing and a burden for the group. 'Most of the time I feel really blessed,' Booth told music website Popmatters. '[But] on a bad day, we haven't done enough. We haven't achieved enough. We've been lazy.' He left james in 2001 to pursue a solo career - but the band reunited for a tour in 2007, which led to new recording sessions and several well-received CDs. Their latest, Girl At The End Of The World, was released last week and sees the band experiment with synthesizers and dance beats.

A mural of the late David Bowie which became a shrine to the musician after his death is to be listed by the council to ensure its long-term protection. The mural is on the side of Morleys department store in Brixton, the South London area where the then David Jones was born in 1947. Lambeth Council has said it is discussing with Bowie's family the possibility of a permanent memorial. Suggestions include renaming Tunstall Place, where the mural is sited - as Bowie Dtreet, presumably - and a statue to the musician. 'It is ultimately the family's decision as to what may be appropriate,' said Councillor Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth Council. 'We must respect that and be patient. Lambeth residents have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection visibly demonstrated by floral tributes, messages and people visiting the Bowie mural to pay their respects to this unique Brixton boy. We are also in contact with the Bowie fan club and other Brixton organisations who want to honour the memory and legacy of this extraordinary artist. We will share any word we get from his family that will determine what we do next,' she added. The council said that it would preserve messages left on the brick wall next to the mural - of Bowie in his Aladdin Sane period - and drawings and cards would be transferred to the council archives. Any remaining flowers near the mural will be removed next week, it said. Bowie died from cancer in January at the age of sixty nine. The mural was created by the Australian artist Jimmy C in 2013 after researching Bowie's life. 'There's not much street art out here, not compared to East London where I normally paint,' he told the Brixton Bugle newspaper. 'I found the wall and got the go-ahead from Morleys.'
As excuses for being late to school goes, this one takes some beating. Nine-year-old Xabi Glovsky stayed up late watching a Bruce Springsteen concert in Los Angeles last week. And, when he held up a sign asking for The Boss to sign a note for his teacher explaining why he was going to be late the next day, the musician was happy to oblige. 'Dear Ms Jackson,' it read, 'Xabi has been out very late rocking & rolling. Please excuse him if he is tardy.' Xavi's father Scott told his local newspaper that the note did come in handy - as Xabi didn't wake up until 10:45 the next morning - but 'with a big smile on his face.' Whether the teacher shared his happiness is not recorded.
Motown legend Smokey Robinson is to receive an award for his charity work. He is to be honoured by the MusiCares MAP fund, which helps provide addiction recovery treatment to people in the music industry. Smokey is going to perform at the event, alongside CeeLo Green, Kenny Babyface Edmons and El DeBarge. Whoever they are. He is receiving The Stevie Ray Vaughan Award, given to Pete Townshend last year, on 19 May.
Among the many items featured on the Stately Telly Topping Manor playlist this last fortnight, dear blog reader, we have the following ...
The final violent death throes of a star has been seen with visible light for the first time and provided a fresh mystery for astronomers. Scientists think that shock breakouts – a shockwave and flash of light that rocks a massive star just before it explodes into a supernova – allow the stars to finally explode, spewing out all the heavy atoms that exist in the universe. But, actually watching that process occur and seeing how it progresses, has proved elusive leaving scientists guessing about exactly how it happens. By sifting through three years of data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope, an international team of scientists have now seen the elusive shock breakout occur. The problem is, it seemed to happen in only one of two exploding stars observed. In data collected in 2011, they found two supernovae begin, potentially capturing the crucial moment. However only one star seemed to have produced the shockwave. An author on the paper, Brad Tucker from the Australian National University, said that this was 'a mystery.' He said the shockwave was thought to ripple across the surface and actually allow the supernova to explode. 'We've always thought that this is the physical mechanism that allows the star to blow up,' he said. 'So gravity collapses the core down and once the pressure is too much, you create a neutron star or sometimes a black hole, the rest of the energy rebounds and causes the star to blow up. It's been this fundamental thing that we've always thought occurs but we've never seen it take place.' Tucker added that it had been seen 'by chance' with x-ray telescopes before, but 'not in great detail.' The fact that one of the supernova they saw with Kepler had the breakout and one didn't means there is 'something to learn,' he added. Since the one star which didn't see the shockwave was bigger – about five hundred times the size of Earth's sun – it could mean the shockwave wasn't strong enough to escape the star's gravity. 'It could mean that the shockwave happened but it didn't have enough oomph to get out,' he said. Tucker noted that it was also possible that something like dust was blocking the view of the shockwave or, because it was further away (two thousand times further than the smaller one), it was just fainter and they had missed it. 'It's telling us something but we just don't know what it is,' he said. 'That is the puzzle of these results,' said Peter Garnavich, an astrophysics professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. 'You look at two supernovae and see two different things. That's maximum diversity.' The shock breakout itself lasted only about twenty minutes, so catching the flash of energy was a milestone for astronomers, where things usually happen on the timescale of years, centuries or even millennia. 'In order to see something that happens on timescales of minutes, like a shock breakout, you want to have a camera continuously monitoring the sky,' said Garnavich. 'You don't know when a supernova is going to go off and Kepler's vigilance allowed us to be a witness as the explosion began.' Tucker said that as they push through more data from the Kepler missions, scientists will 'almost certainly' see more of such events. He said that from five hundred galaxies they watched in the original Kepler mission, they found six supernovae, including these two. Kepler's second mission – called K2 – aims to watch five thousand galaxies, so that should increase the odds. 'While Kepler cracked the door open on observing the development of these spectacular events, K2 will push it wide open observing dozens more supernovae,' said Tom Barclay, director of the Kepler mission at NASA Ames. 'These results are a tantalising preamble to what’s to come from K2.' Steve Howell, project scientist for the K2 mission, said: 'All heavy elements in the universe come from supernova explosions. For example, all the silver, nickel and copper in the Earth and even in our bodies came from the explosive death throes of stars. Life exists because of supernovae.' The findings have been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.

Huge volcanic activity over three billion years ago appears to have altered the tilt of the Moon, according to new research. Scientists concluded that the celestial body may have once spun on a different axis after studying its North and South poles and finding that lunar ice was deposited in unexpected locations. 'The discovery of ice on the poles of the Moon was probably one of the most significant discoveries in lunar science ever,' said Doctor Ian Garrick-Bethell from the University of California, who was not involved in the study. 'This goes one step further.' The researchers concluded that the Moon's axis of rotation is now five-and-a-half degrees different from what it once was as a result of volcanic activity, which stemmed from a region of hot rock lurking deep beneath its surface. Orbiting the Earth at an average distance of three hundred and eighty five thousand kilometres, the Moon boasts some of the coldest spots in the solar system, with temperatures at its poles reaching below minus two hundred and forty degrees Celsius. The revelation came after a US and Japanese research team took a fresh look at data collected by the Lunar Prospector neutron spectrometer in the late 1990s. Such data had previously been used to map the presence of hydrogen deposits on the lunar surface and, because water is rich in hydrogen, had led scientists to conclude that they were made of ice. But scientists had been puzzled by that fact that deposits of hydrogen didn't tally with what would be expected from current lunar temperatures. The latest research suggests two of these deposits are not only offset from the Moon's current axis by around five-and-a-half degrees each, but are diametrically opposite to each other. That, the authors of the new study conclude, suggests that these deposits mark 'palaeopoles' - former North and South poles where ice formed billions of years ago. This change in lunar tilt, the researchers suggest, could have been triggered by change in volcanic activity more than three-and-a-half billion years ago - a period when a region on the near-side of the Moon known as the PKT erupted with the lava flows that formed the large, dark expanses of basalt visible from Earth. As the mantle deep within the Moon heated up, it expanded and decreased in density. According to models created by the authors of the new study, that could have been enough to change the Moon's tilt. 'It is like taking a football and removing a chunk out of one side - that would change how the football would spin in the air,' said James Keane, one of the researchers from the University of Arizona. As the volcanic activity dwindled, the Moon was eventually left with its current tilt of 1.54 degrees. 'The Moon cools very, very slowly so even though there is not enough heat to cause volcanism today there is still excess heat in the region,' said Keane. 'Presumably if the Moon had an infinite amount of time to cool off we would predict it would go back to that original pole.' Published in the journal Nature, the research offers fresh insights into the Moon's turbulent past, but it also heralds a new set of questions. As Garrick-Bethell points out, the Lunar Prospector data can only tell scientists about the presence of hydrogen. 'We don't know the physical nature of that hydrogen deposit,' he said. 'We think it is ice - we don't have any idea what kind.' What's more, the hydrogen deposits could have caught the Sun's rays, while impacts from asteroids might have been expected to have eroded the ice. 'There's a whole bunch of mysteries there,' said Garrick-Bethell. 'Are these ice deposits really billions of years old? How could they have survived that long?' Another puzzle lies in the fact that the scientists found two distinct palaeopoles, rather than a continuous path that might have been expected from a gradual change in the tilt of the Moon. Professor Ian Crawford, a planetary scientist from Birkbeck University, said that the study was 'persuasive.' But, he believes that to confirm the theory scientists should embark on developing a new series of instruments to probe the surface of the Moon. 'I think there is a very strong case for soft landing one or more spacecraft in these localities and drilling to depths of a few metres to confirm the presence of subsurface ice,' he said, adding that understanding ice deposits on the Moon could prove a valuable resource in future space explorations. Keane also believes that the palaeopoles could yield further insights. 'It might be a primordial sample of water ice, which we don't have on the Earth,' he said. This, he believes could offer scientists a chance to crack an abiding conundrum: where the Earth's water came from. 'This might be a place right in our backyard where we could go and sample that water and try to answer those questions,' he said.

If and when the space tourism industry takes off, Saturn's moon Titan ought to be one of our first destinations — especially after all of the glorious images released by NASA's Cassini team this week. Several new infrared composites of the icy moon allow us to peer beneath its smothering haze. And, if you squint a little, you can see something amazing on the surface. There is an epic eleven thousand foot ice mountain located near Titan's equator. Discovered using the Cassini probe's radar instrument, which bounces radio waves off the satellite's surface to measure topographic changes, the mountain sits amid a rugged trio of peaks known as the Mithrim Montes. Together, they speak to the dynamic geologic processes constantly reshaping Titan's surface. 'It's not only the highest point we've found so far on Titan, but we think it's the highest point we're likely to find,' Stephen Wall of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. Wall and his collaborators shared the news of Titan's latest winter mountaineering prospect at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas this week. For over a decade, the Cassini probe has sailed in and out of Saturn's ring system, taking images and collecting data on the gas giant and its dozens of moons. The largest of those moons, Titan, is hands-down one of the strangest places in our Solar System. A bone-chilling minus two hundred and ninety degrees Fahrenheit on the surface, one would imagine a cold, dead wasteland. Instead, Titan is covered in frothy oceans and flowing rivers. A thick, perennially cloudy atmosphere rains methane down on the surface, sculpting ridges and valleys. And, with mountain ranges that rival those on Earth, the case for tectonic activity on Titan is now stronger than ever. Cassini's numerous fly-bys have allowed us to piece together a global picture of the moon. It hasn't been easy. Because it's so cloudy, the only way to visualise the surface the way our eyes see things (via reflected sunlight) is in the infrared spectrum. The images at the top represent the culmination of eleven years' worth of data, collected by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer between 2004 and 2015. By mapping the moon at several different wavelengths, we can more easily spot strange and intriguing places on the surface.
And now, dear blog reader ...
This store was, seemingly, trying to be helpful in letting customers know when it would be open over the Bank Holiday weekend, but many have pointed out the unfortunate use of their tag line.
Women in Salerno could be hit with a four hundred quid fine if they act like 'indiscreet and brazen prostitutes' as civic leaders look to clean up the city ahead of peak tourism season. The new rules mean that women wearing skimpy skirts, high heels or 'acting flirtatiously' could be hit with a fine for 'violating urban decorum'. The law is aimed at cleaning up the streets of the - very pretty - coastal resort of Salerno following a steep increase in the number of prostitutes in the city. A Salerno council spokesman said: 'Unfortunately, you can't fine somebody for the intention to prostitute - which makes it difficult to counteract the phenomenon. Instead, we are encouraging police to fine indiscreet and brazen prostitutes for violating urban decorum.'
A man has revealed that he was arrested while taking his daughter to school after failing to return a VHS movie he rented in 2001. James Meyers posted a video on his YouTube channel describing the moment when he was pulled over on Tuesday in Concord, North Carolina, for a broken taillight. But, after officers ran his licence he was asked to 'step out of the vehicle' and informed there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest from 2002 for not returning the movie Freddy Got Fingered to a rental store in Kannapolis. No, this isn't a joke, there really is a movie called Freddy Got Fingered and there really is a town called Kannapolis. This blogger was surprised as well. Meyers said tht he initially thought the officer was joking. He was subsequently allowed to drop his daughter off at school and go to work after agreeing to turn himself in to police later that day, but he was then arrested. He said: 'The officer said "I don't know how to tell you this but there's a warrant out for your arrest from 2002. Apparently you rented the movie Freddy Got Fingered and never returned it."' Frankly, this blogger reckons he should've got life for renting Freddy Got Fingered in the first place but, that's probably one good reason why yer actual Keith Telly Topping holds no law-making role. The rental store has since closed, but Meyers has been given a court date of 27 April. He could face a fine of up to two hundred dollars if convicted. Tom Green, who starred in and wrote Freddy Got Fingered, said he would help out Meyers financially. Which is nice.
Two Indiana bakeries share a love for four-sided doughnuts but one of them believes that there is room for only one square doughnut-maker. According to the Post-Tribune, Valparaiso-based Family Express asked a court Thursday to declare that it can continue to call its products 'Square Donuts.' But Terre Haute-based Square Donuts, which has been making its own square doughnuts since the 1960s and has nine locations, wants Family Express to stop. Family Express started making its version in 2005 and, a year later, Square Donuts sent Family Express a cease-and-desist letter. The disagreement fermented quietly for several years until Square Donuts in 2013 trademarked its name.
Police in Massachusetts have charged a man they claim got so angry when he found out that his local Taco Bell was closed that he sped off in his car, crashed into a free-standing ATM building and knocked himself unconscious. Police say that Derrick LaForest pulled up to the drive-thru in Pittsfield at 1:30 am on Thursday and, when no one came to serve him, honked his horn for two minutes. The Berkshire Eagle reports that after a worker told him the restaurant was closed, he tore away at high speed, struck a curb, lost control and smashed into the building. Well,we've all done it. He then refused medical attention. LaForest told police that he 'didn't remember' hitting the building. He has been released on five hundred dollars bail after pleading not guilty to reckless operation and vandalism.
Investigators say that a robber considerably helped them out when he apparently dropped his own wallet with his identification in it as he and two accomplices tried to take money from men outside a Florida Panhandle bar. Twenty-eight-year-old Devonte Levoris Pace was extremely arrested in Panama City on Tuesday following the armed robberies on 16 January. The News Herald reports that Pace and two other suspected robbers were captured on surveillance video robbing the men, who were in a vehicle outside the bar. According to police reports, the trio walked up to the men, pulled a gun and demanded their wallets. About six hundred dollars in cash was stolen. The wallet left behind helped the police to arrest Pace and charge him with the robbery and, also, being a daft plank.
Kazakh officials and their visitors will have to leave their smartphones at the door of government buildings from 24 March in line with a new policy aimed at preventing leaks of sensitive documents, an - ironically - leaked document showed on Thursday. The memo cites 'increasingly frequent cases of confidential information being leaked through the WhatsApp mobile application' and instructs public servants to use only basic mobile devices with no cameras or Internet access, government sources told Reuters.
As Christians around the world celebrate the alleged resurrection of Our Lord this Easter, one church narrowly avoided unfurling a banner in honour of 'Chris.' Luckily, the printer spotted the mistake and rectified it before it was handed over to the church. The amusing Easter poster typo proudly declaring 'Chris is risen', has been widely shared on Facebook. 'It was a funny error [the printer] spotted and rectified in time,' explained Ned Lunn of Acomb Parish Church in North Yorkshire. 'He promptly corrected [it] and gave me the proper ones. He is a great small business with a great sense of humour.' The church had ordered four of the signs for Easter but explained a 'mix-up' at the printers led to the mistake. Reverend Lunn, the assistant curate at the church, said he was 'amused' by the 'honest' error. In fact, the only person who seemingly didn't see the funny side of it was Chris his very self. Who was still in his pit and had not risen at all.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended the British Kebab Awards on Wednesday ... to encourage people to eat salad. Yeah, good luck with that, Jezza. Corbyn was at the ceremony to present the award for Outstanding Contribution to the British Kebab Industry, claiming to be an 'aficionado of kebab shops' despite having ditched scoffing animal flesh many years ago. Instead, the sixty six-year-old likes to order falafel from his local kebabby when he's feeling a bit peckish - with lots of garlic sauce, as he told Steerpike.
A Canadian woman has claimed a frozen lump of excrement from a plane passing overhead ripped through the roof of her mother's house. Stephanie Moore said that she was woken up by 'a crashing sound' and saw 'a huge hole' in the ceiling in the hallway - less than fifteen feet from where she was sleeping. The thirty six-year-old teacher had been staying with her mother overnight after returning from a trip to Cuba. After the incident, she said that she found pink insulation, drywall, ceiling material and shattered bits of wood on the hallway floor in a puddle of water. In the morning, daylight could be seen shining through the hole which was around one metre in diameter and the crash had caused damage to the roof's planking and shingles. Moore told CBC News: 'At first I thought it was just damage to the ceiling. I couldn't tell it went right through the roof when I first saw it.' She said tht both the insurance appraiser and roof repairmen who visited the next day said it was the 'strangest thing they had ever seen.' The roofer who inspected the damage said there was no rotting wood in the roof and before the incident the outer shell of the house was solid.
On Monday of this week, police were called to a Louisiana Walmart under the suspicion that a customer was shoplifting food. According to the complaint, a Walmart worker radioed security about a 'suspicious' woman acting suspiciously 'in the meat aisle.' Security cameras filmed thirty three-year-old Shaniqua Johnson shoving sausages under her shirt. CCTV footage then shows the woman walking to the store's bathroom, where she remained 'for at least thirty minutes.' A male security guard then claims that he knocked on the bathroom door several times but the woman did not respond. He announced that he was entering and, what he found behind the door of the unlocked stall is something he said will 'haunt his dreams forever.' The security guard reports when he entered the stall, Johnson was 'inappropriately pleasing herself' with a Jimmy Dean package of sausage. He said that when he entered 'she didn't even stop. She just stared at me and kept going.' Shocked, and also frightened for his safety due to the fact that Johnson is 'a big girl,' the security guard said that he ran out until police arrived. When they did, female officers entered the restroom with Johnson still 'putting in work with the sausage.' All in all, it reportedly took seven police officers to 'restrain' Johnson and pry the victimised sausage from her hands. Johnson was arrested and taken into custody where she was charged with shoplifting, indecent exposure and resisting arrest. Walmart management said that 'in no way' do they 'tolerate this type of behaviour.' They have a strict policy against shoplifters and a sign on the bathroom door that clearly reads, 'No merchandise allowed beyond this point.'
A Canadian man caught smuggling nearly forty turtles in his pants has been fined three thousand five hundred Canadian and placed on probation for two years. Dong Yan was convicted of illegally importing reptiles. During an inspection at the Niagara border crossing in June 2014, Canadian border officials discovered thirty eight turtles strapped to Yan's legs. Yan is also prohibited from owning turtles and tortoises for ten years. Or, from putting any down his keks for life. Officials say live specimens are often sought for use in the pet and food trade.
A woman in Florida was arrested after reportedly filming herself having sex with her two pet dogs. Miranda Johns, twenty one, was very arrested by Collier County deputies on Monday and charged with three counts of engaging in sexual conduct with an animal, NBC2 reported. Authorities were interviewing her boyfriend about an alleged sexual battery case which involved Johns, when he denied harming her. Instead, he showed deputies videos that she allegedly sent him of herself apparently engaged in oral sex with two dogs that are believed to be her pets. In addition, Johns also allegedly texted images of the encounter to the man. She was released on six thousand dollars bond from the Collier County Jail.
Convicted sex offender and very naughty man Adam Johnson has been extremely jailed for six years for grooming and sexual activity with a girl aged fifteen and will, tonight, be slopping out before curfew. Sentencing the ex-Sunderland player, Judge Jonathan Rose told him that he had abused a position of trust and caused his victim 'severe psychological harm.' The judge told Johnson that he had engaged in sexual activity with her knowing she was under sixteen. It can now be reported that police found extreme pornography involving animals on Johnson's laptop. The matter is not being taken any further, Bradford Crown Court heard. The sexual activity with the girl happened in the footballer's Range Rover in January 2015 after he had groomed her using social media apps. Judge Rose told the former footballer, who played twelve times for England, that there had been 'an abuse of trust - you are trusted by young fans to behave properly.' He said: 'She had only just turned fifteen when you began grooming her, because, as you were to admit, you found her sexually attractive.' The judge told Johnson that the offences happened 'at a time when you were engaged in frequent sexual intercourse with multiple partners.' At the start of his trial last month, Johnson admitted to grooming the girl and one charge of sexual activity, relating to kissing her. He was found very guilty of sexual touching but cleared of one charge relating to another sexual act. Judge Rose said that Johnson had 'every opportunity' to enter guilty pleas to the charges which he finally admitted. He ordered the footballer to pay fifty thousand smackers of the prosecution's sixty seven thousand quid costs. During the three-week trial the jury heard that the former winger met the girl after agreeing to sign football shirts for her. He admitted to kissing the teenager but told the jury an encounter in his Range Rover 'went no further.' They did not believe him. The girl told the court that Johnson had 'put his hands down her pants' and she performed a sex act on him. The jury cleared Johnson over the sex act claim but convicted him by a ten to two majority on the sexual touching charge. Restrictions have now been lifted that prevented it being reported that, when Johnson was arrested, police found medicines in a safe indicating that he may have been suffering from sexually transmitted infections. In a victim impact statement read to court, the girl said that she had been forced to endure 'thousands' of malicious and slanderous remarks on social media and had been approached by a stranger asking about her relationship with the footballer. She felt 'at risk' going out and her schoolwork had suffered 'massively', the court was told. 'I have entered many dark places over this twelve-month period,' she said. 'Ultimately, it was like I was being taunted as if to say he could do what he wants and get away with it.' In another statement to the court, the girl's mother said that there 'had been no winners' and defended the decision to report the matter to police in order to 'protect other vulnerable children.' She stressed that the family had never sought financial gain. Earlier, Doctor Philip Hopley, a consultant psychiatrist giving evidence for the defence, told the court: 'This is a man who, at the age of twenty eight, is socially and psychologically immature.' The doctor said he found 'no evidence' in Johnson of an attraction to pre-pubescent children or 'sexual perversion.' Speaking after Johnson was sentenced, Detective Inspector Aelfwynn Sampson, of Durham Police, said: 'Fame, celebrity and a position of power does not give you the right to break the law in pursuit of whatever you desire. This girl should have been safe but she was used by the public figure she looked up to most.' Outside the court, Gerry Wareham from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'Adam Johnson exploited a young star-struck fan, actively grooming her over a number of months in single-minded pursuit of his own sexual gratification.' Earlier, the court was told that the player had lodged an appeal against his conviction for sexual activity with the girl. Johnson has 'damaged the reputation of football' and his chances of ever playing again were 'very remote,' according to Professional Footballers' Association chairman Gordon Taylor.

From one disgraced and disgraceful ex-footballer, to a man who brought nothing but credit, style and grace to the beautiful game. Johan Cruyff - in this blogger's not in the slightest bit humble opinion the greatest footballer that yer actual Keith Telly Topping ever saw - has died from cancer aged sixty eight.
   Johan, who made his name as an inspirational forward with Ajax of Amsterdam and Barcelona, was European footballer of the year three times. He won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax from 1971, coached Barcelona to their first European Cup triumph in 1992 and, as captain, helped the Dutch national side reach the 1974 World Cup final. Where they promptly broke the heart of every ten year old in Europe by losing to the Germans! The Dutch FA said: 'Words can hardly be found for this huge loss.' It added that Johan was 'the greatest Dutch footballer of all time and one of the world's best ever' and wished everyone 'a lot of strength in this difficult time.' King Willem-Alexander said that the nation had 'lost a unique and brilliant sportsman.' He added: 'He was a Dutch icon. He belonged to us all.' The Netherlands' friendly international against France on Friday evening stopped after fourteen minutes for a minute-long silence in tribute to Cruyff, who wore the number fourteen shirt throughout the majority his career as a player. Barcelona FC expressed their 'pain and sorrow' at the news of his death, adding: 'We will always love you, Johan.' Pele said that Cruyff 'was a great player and coach' who leaves 'a very important legacy.' Sheikh Yer Man City-bound manager Pep Guardiola, who played under Cruyff at Barca, said that his former manager and mentor 'painted the chapel and Barcelona coaches since have merely restored or improved it.' David Beckham called Cruyff 'a true hero' who was 'not just one of the best footballers in the history of the game but also one of the greatest men and nicest person you could meet.' Gary Lineker, who also played for Cruyff at Barca, added: 'Football has lost a man who did more to make the beautiful game beautiful than anyone in history.' Considered to be one of the most influential figures in football history, Cruyff's style of play and his football philosophy has significantly influenced many notable managers and players - Guardiola, Frank Rijkaard, Michael Laudrup, Arsène Wenger and Eric Cantona. Ajax and Barcelona are among the clubs that have developed youth academies based on Cruyff's coaching methods. His coaching philosophy helped lay the foundations for Ajax's international revival under Louis Van Gaal in the 1990s and Spanish football's successes at both club and national level from 2008 onwards have been cited by many as evidence of Cruyff's lasting impact on contemporary football. Johan scored two hundred and ninety three goals in five hundred and twenty appearances for five different clubs - including two hundred and four in two hundred and seventy six games while winning eighteen trophies in two spells at Ajax. He scored thirty three goals in forty eight internationals for the Dutch national side which only lost once in the seven year period from 1970 whenever Cruyff played. Johan was one of football's greatest and most significant figures. The proof lies in two phrases with which he will always be synonymous. One is totaalvoetbal - 'Total Football' - the style epitomised by the Netherlands team, with Cruyff as captain and the centrepiece, that reached the 1974 World Cup final under coach Rinus Michels before losing to West Germany in the final. It was a philosophy based on the theory that any outfield player could play in any position on the pitch with comfort. Under his mentor, Michels, Cruyff was the embodiment of the supremely skilled, multi-purpose footballer. At that same World Cup, Cruyff invented a piece of skill which became his calling card, 'The Cruyff Turn', when he bamboozled Sweden defender Jan Olsson with a touch of football ballet, allowing him to drag the ball behind his standing leg with the inside of his foot. It combined instinct, quick thinking, athleticism and natural ability. In other words, it was Johan Cruyff in microcosm. Every kid in the Britain was soon trying it out in the playground. Some of us got quite good at it. Most tripped over the own feet in the attempt.
Hendrik Johannes Cruyjff was born on 25 April 1947 in Amsterdam, in a street just five minutes away from the AFC Ajax's stadium. Johan was the second son of Hermanus Cornelis Cruyff and Petronella Bernarda Draaijer, from a humble, working-class background in East Amsterdam. Encouraged by his influential football-loving father and his close proximity in Akkerstraat to the De Meer Stadium, Johan played football with his schoolmates and his older brother, Henny, whenever he could, and idolised the prolific Dutch dribbler, Faas Wilkes. In 1959, Cruyff senior died from a heart attack. Viewing a potential football career as a way of paying tribute to his father, the passing inspired rather than deterred the strong-willed Johan. His mother began working at Ajax as a cleaner, deciding that she could no longer carry on at the family's grocer's shop without her husband. In the future, this would make Johan near-obsessed with his family's financial security but would also give him an appreciation for hard work and determination. His mother soon met her second husband, Henk Angel, who was a groundsman at Ajax and would prove another key influence in young Johan's life. Johan played for Ajax from 1957 to 1973 and again from 1981 to 1983. He joined the club's youth system on his tenth birthday and made his first team debut, aged seventeen, in November 1964 in the Eredivisie, against GVAV, scoring the only goal in a 3–1 defeat. That year Ajax finished in their lowest position since the establishment of professional football in Holland, thirteenth. Cruyff started to make an impression during the 1965–66 season and established himself as a regular first team player after scoring two goals against Door Wilskracht Sterk in the Olympic Stadium in October 1965. In seven games that winter he scored eight times and in March 1966, he scored the first hat-trick of his career in a game against Telstar. Four days later, in the cup against Veendam in a 7–0 win, he scored four. Cruyff, under the tutelage of Rinus Michels, helped Ajax to thrash Bill Shankly's great Liverpool side 5-1 in a European Cup tie in December 1966, also scoring twice in the second leg, a 2-2 draw at Anfield. In the 1966–67 season, Ajax again won the league championship and also the KNVB Cup, for Cruyff's first double. Johan ended the season as the leading goalscorer in the Eredivisie with thirty three. As a Dutch international, Cruyff played forty eight matches, scoring thirty three goals. The national team never lost a match in which Cruyff scored. In September 1966 Johan made his debut for the Netherlands in the Euro 68 qualifier against Hungary and scored in a 2-2 draw. In his second game, a friendly against Czechoslovakia, Cruyff became the first Dutch international to receive a red card after retaliating when a defender kicked him. The Dutch Football Association promptly banned him from several Ajax games but not from internationals. They knew they needed him. Accusations of Cruyff's 'aloofness' were not rebuffed by his habit of wearing a shirt with only two black stripes along the sleeves, as opposed to Adidas' usual design feature of three, worn by all the other Dutch players. Cruyff, however, had a separate sponsorship deal with Puma. From 1970 onwards he always wore the number fourteen jersey for the Netherlands, setting a trend for wearing shirt numbers outside the usual starting line-up numbers. Cruyff won the league for the third successive year in the 1968 season. He was also named Dutch footballer of the year for the second successive time, a feat he would repeat in 1969 when he led Ajax to their first European Cup final, although they lost, heavily, to AC Milan. According to the author David Winner in his superb book Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football: 'Johan Cruyff's miracles in Amsterdam were many. He and his coach Rinus Michels (a sort of John the Baptist figure) raised Ajax from obscurity. More important, they invented a new way of playing. Cruyff became the greatest exponent and teacher of totaalvoetbal. His vision of perfect movement and harmony on the field was rooted in the same sublime ordering of space that one sees in the pictures of Vermeer or church painter Pieter Jansz Saenredam. It was the music of the spheres on grass.' In a league game against AZ '67 in November 1970, Cruyff scored six goals in an 8–1 victory and, after winning a replayed KNVB Cup final against Sparta Rotterdam, Ajax won in Europe for the first time. On 2 June 1971, at Wembley, Ajax won the European Cup against the Greek side Panathinaikos 2–0, in the process becoming one of the cult teams of the early 1970s, to impressionable youngsters across the continent and, particularly, in Britain where we just couldn't get enough of Cruyff, Ruudi Krol, Johan Neeskens, Ari Haan, Johnny Rep et al.
1972 was a particularly successful year for both Ajax and Cruyff. The club won a second European Cup, demolishing Internazionale 2–0 in the final, with Cruyff - in outstanding form - scoring both goals. This victory prompted Dutch newspapers to announce the demise of the Italian style of defensive football in the face of totaalvoetbal. Johan also scored in the 3–2 victory over ADO Den Haag in the KNVB Cup final. In the league, Cruyff was the top scorer with twenty five goals as Ajax, again, became champions. In the autumn, Ajax won the Intercontinental Cup, beating Argentina's Independiente over two bruising legs and then, in January 1973, they won the European Super Cup beating Glasgow Rangers. A week later, against Go Ahead Eagles in a 6–0 win, Cruyff scored four. The 1972–73 season was concluded with another league championship victory and a third successive European Cup with a 1–0 win over Juventus in the final. It was those halcyon early seventies days that the man called 'pythagoras in boots' by the British sportswriter David Miller established a reputation that will live on wherever football is played. Cruyff's international career reached its zenith in West Germany in 1974, when the Netherlands - who had qualified for the finals for the first time - carried all before them through the various group stages playing a brand of free-flowing, attacking football that won the hearts of every neutral. Tragically, they fell at the final hurdle, losing 2-1 to the hosts in Munich's Olympic Stadium. In a series of displays that illuminated the tournament, opponents were dismissed with style and panache, including the holders Brazil who, in an ironic reversal in styles, effectively attempted to kick Cruyff and his colleagues of out the tournament. It was to no avail as Cruyff's athletic, stretching volley helped secure a 2-0 win. In the final, Cruyff's raking run from the kick-off saw referee Jack Taylor award a penalty inside the first minute, Johan Neeskens put the Dutch ahead and goalkeeper Seep Maier was the first German to touch the ball when he picked it out of the net. In act of confidence bordering on arrogance, several of Cruyff's side appeared to then attempt to humiliate the Germans rather than beat them - for a variety of different reasons, at least some of which may have been related to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during the war and the events of the starvation winter of 1944-45. It was a fatal error as the side widely accepted as the best in the 1974 World Cup allowed Helmut Schoen's team to recover and, ultimately, win 2-1. It was a missed opportunity for Cruyff to claim the greatest prize of all and it would never come again as he shocked the game by announcing his retirement from international football in October 1977. Various theories abounded as to why he did not wish to play in the World Cup in Argentina the following summer; from fear of kidnapping attempts to disapproval of the Argentine military dictatorship being two of them. In 2008 Cruyff told the journalist Antoni Bassas in Catalunya Ràdio that he and his family had been the subject of a kidnap attempt in Barcelona a year before the tournament and that this had caused his international retirement. 'To play a World Cup you have to be two hundred per cent okay, there are moments when there are other values in life.' How his country needed him as they reached another final with a side composed of many of the survivors of 1974 but, once again, controversially lost to the hosts, 3-1 after extra-time. Cruyff was, unquestionably, the greatest among a collection of great players but he was a man apart on and off the pitch. The team orchestrator, Cruyff was a creative playmaker with a gift for timing passes. Nominally he played centre forward in this system and was a prolific goalscorer, but would often drop deep to confuse his markers or move to the wing to great effect. Former French international Eric Cantona said; 'I loved the Dutch in the 1970s, they excited me and Cruyff was the best. He was at the heart of a revolution with his football. Ajax changed football and he was the leader of it all. If he wanted he could be the best player in any position on the pitch.'
In the summer of 1973, Cruyff was sold to Barcelona for six million guilder, a then world record transfer fee. On 19 August, he played his last match for Ajax as they defeated Amsterdam 6–1. Johan helped Barce to win La Liga for the first time since 1960, along the way defeating their deadliest rivals Real Madrid 5–0 at the Bernabéu during his first season. A New York Times journalist wrote that Cruyff had done more for the spirit of the Catalan people in ninety minutes than many politicians in years of struggle. In 1974 Cruyff was crowned European Footballer of the Year. During his time at Barcelona, Cruyff scored one of his most famous goals, the so-called 'Phantom' Goal. In a game against Atlético Madrid, Cruyff leapt into the air, twisted his body so he was facing away from the goal and kicked the ball past Miguel Reina in the Atlético Madrid goal with his right heel. Cruyff also played two games with Paris Saint-Germain in 1975 during a Paris tournament. He had agreed because he was a fan of designer Daniel Hechter, who was then president of PSG. In the aftermath of the, at the time unpublicised kidnap plot, at the age of thirty two, Johan signed a lucrative deal with the Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League in 1978. He stayed at the Aztecs for only one season, but was voted NASL Player of the Year. The following season, he moved to play for the Washington Diplomats. In January 1981, manager Jock Wallace of Leicester City made an audacious attempt to sign Cruyff. Despite negotiations lasting three weeks, in which Cruyff expressed his desire to play in England, a deal could not be reached as he instead chose to sign with Spanish Segunda División side Levante. He then returned to Ajax for two seasons. Contrary, complex and self-confident as ever, he reacted to Ajax's failure to offer him a new contract in 1983 by moving to their arch-rivals Feyenoord. Partnered up front by a young Ruud Gullitt and with his old international team mate Wim Van Hanegam pulling the strings in midfield, the Rotterdam club won their first Eredivisie title in a decade in 1983-84 as part of a league and cup double. Because of his performance, Johan was voted as Dutch footballer of the year for the fifth time. At the end of the season he announced his retirement and ended his playing career in May 1984 with a goal against PEC Zwolle. The love affair with Ajax was soon rekindled when he took over as coach. His innovative thinking and his ability to connect his ideas to young players came to fruition in the 1987 European Cup Winners' Cup Final with a 1-0 victory over Lokomotiv Leipzig. Cruyff's side had the skills of the young Aron Winter and Dennis Bergkamp alongside the brilliance of Marco van Basten and the experience of Arnold Muhren. In 1988, Cruyff returned to Barcelona as manager. At Barce, Cruyff brought in players such as Pep Guardiola, José Mari Bakero, Txiki Begiristain, Ion Andoni Goikoetxea, Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup, Romário, Gheorghe Hagi, and Hristo Stoichkov. And, he played Gary Lineker on the right-wing, much to the latter's chagrin! Cruyff's Dream Team won La Liga four times between 1991 and 1994, and beat Sampdoria in both the 1989 European Cup Winners' Cup final and the 1992 European Cup final at Wembley. Barcelona also won a Copa del Rey in 1990, the European Super Cup in 1992 and three Supercopa de España as well as finishing runner-up to The Scum and AC Milan in two further European finals. La Masia, Barcelona's youth academy, was the brainchild of Cruyff. In 1979 Cruyff wanted to establish a copy of the Ajax Academy in Barcelona. His proposal was accepted by the president Josep Núñez. With eleven trophies, Cruyff was Barcelona's most successful manager, though he had since been surpassed by his former pupil Guardiola who achieved fifteen. Even in retirement, Cruyff remained a keeper of Barcelona's flame when it came to tradition and playing style - his word often regarded as law. When people describe football as 'The Beautiful Game', Johan Cruyff is one of those who helped create this image. Cruyff used to smoke twenty cigarettes a day prior to undergoing double heart bypass surgery in 1991 while he was the coach of Barcelona, after which he gave up smoking. He also led the anti-smoking campaign developed by the Health Department of the Catalan autonomous government. Cruyff juggled a cigarette pack in an anti-tobacco video sponsored by the Catalan Department of Health. At the end of the advert, he warned the public: 'Football has given me everything in life, tobacco almost took it all away.' He was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2015. In December 1968, Cruyff married Danny Coster. He and Danny had three children, Chantal, Susila and Jordi. Cruyff named his son after the patron saint of Catalonia. This was seen at the time as a deliberate provocative gesture towards the then Spanish dictator, General Franco, who had made all symbols of Catalan nationalism illegal. Johan's decision to go to such lengths to support Catalan nationalism is part of the reason he is such a hero to Barcelona supporters. Although, the fact he was one of the greatest players who ever lived probably helped. Jordi Cruyff was fine player himself, for Barcelona (while father was manager), The Scum, Alavés and Espanyol. Johan's grandson, Jesjua Angoy, currently plays at Dayton Dutch Lions.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader, yer actual his very self has - thanks to the unnecessary kindness of his good mate Gentleman James - been listening to every single David Bowie a-side (and b-side) in order. So, this one - from the summer of 1974 and from Dutch telly, as it happens - is for Johan Cruyff. Strut your funky stuff, you Godlike genius.

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