Saturday, April 09, 2016

Enjoy Yourself, It's Later Than Your Think

Filming of the fourth series of yer actual Sherlock has begun this very week. The three new episodes of the massively popular drama - which drew consolidated audience figures of 11.6 million for its Christmas special, The Abominable Bride - will see Sherlock Holmes 'wrestling with some fiendish plots,' while John Watson 'grapples with becoming a father.' Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch said that he was 'genuinely thrilled' to be back filming the show, adding: 'I can't wait for everyone to see season four. But you will have to wait. Though not for long. And it will be worth it.' Co-creator Mark Gatiss, who was pictured with the series clapperboard, said: 'Here we go again. Whatever else we do, wherever we all go, all roads lead back to Baker Street - and it always feels like coming home. Ghosts of the past are rising in the lives of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, bringing adventure, romance and terror in their wake. This is the story we've been telling from the beginning. A story about to reach its climax.' One episode of the new series will be directed by a lady female for the first time. The very excellent Rachel Talalay, who has directed Doctor Who, The Flash, Tank Girl and The Wind In The Willows in a twenty five-year career in film and television in the US and Britain, will direct the first of the three feature-length episodes for BBC1.
Just after Sherlock kicked-off its series four filming, news was forthcoming of a fresh face joining Benny Cumberbatch, Marty Freeman et al on-set. Daniel Hoffman-Gill revealed on his Twitter account that he will be in the new series. Judging from the image he shared, he will make his appearance in the opening episode. He captioned the photo: 'Proud to be part Sherlock as well as Doctor Who. All I need now is Game Of Thrones and I've got the set.' Hoffman-Gill previously played Bor in Doctor Who last year and has also appeared in the ABC medieval comedy Galavant.
The former Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly has been cast as a teacher in the Doctor Who spin-off, Class. She will be joined by four newcomers who will play sixth-formers at Coal Hill School - Greg Austin, Sophie Hopkins Fady Elsayed and Vivian Oparah. Class creator Patrick Ness said: 'How lucky we are to get Katherine Kelly. She's been stunning in Happy Valley, The Night Manager and Mr Selfridge, just wait until you see her here.' Class marks the TV screenwriting debut of Ness, best known for his book A Monster Calls. It is of course, not the first time Coal Hill School has featured in Doctor Who - it was the setting for the very first episode in 1963. And many times since. You knew that, right? The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) added: 'There's nothing more exciting than meeting stars that nobody's heard of yet. We had the read-through of the first few episodes last week and there was a whole row of them. Coal Hill School has been part of Doctor Who since the very first shoot in 1963, but this new show is anything but history. Class is dark and sexy and right now. I've always wondered if there could be a British Buffy - it's taken the brilliant Patrick Ness to figure out how to make it happen.' Oh, Christ, no! Not another 'British Buffy'! What's that, the fifth? And, the previous ones have all been unutterably crap. Class is the latest of several Doctor Who spin-off shows aimed at younger audiences, including Totally Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Interferes. The eight-part series will be shown on BBC3 - which used to be a TV channel - later this year. As the title suggests, each forty five-minute episode will be set in a school in contemporary London, although most of the series will be be filmed near Cardiff.
Meanwhile here's a picture of national heartthrob David Tennant and yer actual Matt Smith 'having fun last weekend', apparently. And why ever not? They're entitled to it. And, they're both adults. Next ...
Meanwhile, yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Helen Mirren her very self are joining David Tennant and a host of other people in the BBC's live celebration of William Shakespeare's life and work later this month. Shakespeare Live! will be broadcast on the day of Shakespeare's birthday - and also the four hundredth anniversary of The Bard's death - 23 April. Tennant, who played the lead in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Richard II to widespread acclaim, and starred in both the stage and the televised version of the RSC's Hamlet in 2009, will host the gig. Cumberbatch's role has not yet been announced but he is expected to read sections from Richard III. The Sherlock actor appears as the king in a new adaptation of the play as part of the second batch of BBC2's The Hollow Crown history cycle. Other names announced as taking part include Gregory Porter, Rory Kinnear, Rufus Hound, Henry Goodman, David Suchet, Simon Russell Beale, Roger Allam, Antony Sher, Harriet Walter, John Lithgow, Alexandra Gilbreath, Tim Minchin and Anne Marie Duff. The performance in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon will be given in front of an invited audience, which will include The Prince of Wales who is President of the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Duchess of Cornwall, as well as RSC supporters, schools and - a few - members of the general public. Ones who don't smell, obviously. The event will be broadcast on BBC2 that evening at 8.30pm. The show will open with a rendition of 'Tonight' from West Side Story, choreographed by Will Tuckett and performed by nineteen musical theatre students from across the UK. Country duo The Shires will perform 'a special interpretation' of Shakespeare’s poem 'Under The Greenwood Tree', Henry Goodman and Rufus Hound will give their own rendition of 'Brush Up Your Shakespeare' from Kiss Me Kate and the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra will perform Duke Ellington's 'Such Sweet Thunder'. Akala and his award-winning music theatre production company Hip Hop Shakespeare will perform a brand new composition, Othello-inspired dance from the Birmingham Royal Ballet will feature whilst dancers from the Royal Ballet will perform a segment from Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet, accompanied by the sixty five-piece Orchestra Of The Swan. Musicians Rufus Wainwright, Gregory Porter and Ian Bostridge will also be offering songs inspired by Shakespeare. Tennant told an audience at the event's launch that the night was 'a variety bill, really' adding: 'Obviously the plays are a huge part of that. We will have some of the greatest classical actors around. But we have the other cultural arms he inspired, opera, ballet, hip hop.' He added that he first fell in love with Shakespeare when he was 'blown away' by a performance of As You Like It and was especially drawn to the clown character. 'I thought Touchstone was the coolest man,' he said. 'Through drama and ever since then Shakespeare has been a huge part of my life. It's cat-nip for actors.' The event is part of a raft of BBC programming this year in honour of Britain's greatest ever writer. These include Russell Davies' version of A Midsummer Night's Dream and the second series of The Hollow Crown history plays starring Cumberbatch his very self. Executive produced by Sam Mendes, the BBC2 adaptations will also star Judi Dench, Keeley Hawes, Sophie Okonedo, Hugh Bonneville, Michael Gambon and Tom Sturridge. They cover Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 (condensed into two parts) and Richard III. Davies' A Midsummer Night's Dream features Matt Lucas, Maxine Peake, John Hannah, Elaine Page, Richard Wilson and Bernard Cribbins and will be shown on BBC1. Other events include Shakespeare comedy Upstart Crow, written by Ben Elton - but, don't let that put you off - and starring David Mitchell as the playwright. Okay,yes, that might be a smug-fest too far, admittedly. Cunk On Shakespeare, featuring Philomena Cunk – who regularly delivers her Moments Of Wonder on Charlie Brooker's satire show Weekly Wipe – will also offer her own 'unique take' on his life and work.

Sunday saw the unstoppable draw of BBC1's Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow continue their hold on the nation's viewers. At 7pm, the rural magazine show dedicated its latest episode to grass and climate botherers, cows. The weekend's biggest audience watched as Matt Baker chatted with a farmer about the beef trade, while Charlotte Smith weighed up the pros-and-cons of indoor dairy herds, attracting 6.32 million viewers and a thirty three per cent share of the available audience. Afterwards, Fiona Bruce braved more 'everyday folk' from Harrogate (contradiction in terms, surely?) all of whom wanted their priceless family heirlooms valued. Not that they would ever think of selling them, of course but, you know, how much is it worth? The episode brought in 5.25 million overnight viewers. Later, Sunday's schedules across the channels was awash with new and returning drama. The biggest of the night was The Durrells, starring Keeley Hawes and based on the memoirs of Gerald Durrell, on ITV at 8pm. An impressive 6.02 million viewers tuned in to the period drama which saw the family swap life in Bournemouth for Corfu. Afterwards, on ITV there was the return of nostalgic Women's Institute drama, Home Fires (9pm). The tale of a picturesque Middle English village and its inhabitants of abandoned, if not especially desperate, housewives drew 4.85 million overnight viewers. Filling the Tom Hiddleston-shaped hole in BBC1's Sunday schedule was the thriller, Undercover (also 9pm), starring Sophie Okonedo and Adrian Lester. The drama, about a lawyer, her husband and their collective mountain of secrets, got off to a good start with 5.25 million. Also at 9pm, Channel Four's Indian Summers continued to limp along like a wounded dog with six hundred and forty thousand viewers. Earlier in the day, Paul O'Grady: The Sally Army & Me, the latest 'layering sentiment on with a trowel' vehicle for the professional Scouser was watched by 2.83 million viewers at 6pm on BBC1. ITV's The Chase z-list celebrity 'special' (and one definitely uses that word wrongly concerning a programme featuring the likes of Anthony Ogogo and Johnny Ball) drew 2.96 million at 7pm. On BBC2, The Secret History Of My Family had an audience of eight hundred and two thousand at 6pm whilst, later, Natural Born Winners was seen by six hundred and eighty thousand viewers at 8pm and Tribes, Predators & Me by 1.51 million at 9pm. Great Canal Journeys on Channel Four attracted 1.06 million at 8pm. Channel Five's schedule included such unutterably indescribable delights as the most misnamed programme in the history of TV comedy, Now That's Funny! (seven hundred and thirty thousand at 8pm) and Penn & Teller: Fool Us In Vegas (six hundred and fifty eight thousand at 9pm). Channel Four's afternoon live coverage of the Bahrain GP was watched by an average of 2.3 million with a peaked of 3.2 million viewers making it the most watched channel over the slot. This compared to a fraction over six hundred thousand viewers watching on Sky F1 as Nico Rosberg won and Lewis Hamilton came third. This was Channel Four's first live race of the new F1 season and it was one-and-a-half million punters down on BBC1's coverage of the same race in 2015. Last year's Bahrain Grand Prix was the fourth race of the season as opposed to second this time around and averaged 3.8 million overnight viewers when it was broadcast live on BBC1 on 19 April 2015. Last season's second race was in Malaysia on 29 March and drew two million viewers at the much earlier time of 7am, with 1.7 million watching an as-live replay on BBC1 from 2pm. Sky Sports2's coverage of the ICC World T20 Final had one of that channel's largest ever audiences, 1.12 million. All of whom, one suspects, were every bit as pissed-off as this blogger when Ben Stokes's arse completely fell out and he got hit for twenty four runs in the last over to hand West Indies the trophy. On Sky Sports1, Live: Ford Super Sunday was watched by nine hundred and fifty five thousand viewers from 12.30pm for the Leicester versus Southampton clash. The subsequent late afternoon game between The Scum and Everton had eight hundred and forty three thousand from 3.30pm.
Channel Four was pushing the boundaries of its alleged 'educational' remit on Monday night with the launch of a second series of torrid and universally-slated public shag-nasty show, Sex Box at 10pm. Like a late night version of ITV's The Cube, couples were invited to have a chat about their sexual habits before popping into what looks like an IKEA garden shed for two minutes of rumpy-pumpy on national telly. Originally launched in October 2013 to nine hundred and eighty thousand overnight viewers (most of whom, one suspects, were wearing dirty macs at the time) and general public derisiveness, the first series was broadcast for seven consecutive nights before wrapping things up (and, ahem, wiping things down afterwards). The second series, now presented by worthless waste-of-space all-purpose C4 bod Steve Jones and Goedele Liekens (no, me neither), didn't do much better than the first, the opening episode bringing in an overnight audience of eight hundred and thirty thousand viewers. Meanwhile, it was explosion time on Ramsay Street, prompting Channel Five to broadcast an hour-long episode of Neighbours in the 10pm slot instead of its usual place at 5.30pm. The extended edition was watched by nine hundred and eighty one thousand viewers, as the search through the charred remains for various Lassiters continued. Earlier at 9pm, ITV launched a new 'dark and gloomy' murder drama, with Anna Friel's Marcella treading that particularly modern brand of damaged detective. While the schedules have been awash with Scani-inspired Nordic noir of late, this new addition to the sub-genre got some help from Hans Rosenfeldt, the creator of The Bridge. The extremely violent drama saw Friel's ex-detective return to The Met after a number of years away, all the while battling some personal demons. As most detectives seem to these days. Well, it's a living, one supposes. The opening episode pulled in a strong audience of 5.81 million viewers and some good reviews (and one or two bad ones). Also at 9pm, on FOX, The Walking Dead wrapped up its sixth series with a feature-length episode including some shocking scenes. So, just a normal episode of The Walking Dead then? Never a stranger to controversy and what appears to be a commitment to ruthlessly upsetting their own fans, the episode finally saw the introduction of much-mentioned but never previously seen villain, Negan, and his barbed-wire baseball bat, Lucille. Seven hundred and ninety two thousand overnight viewers tuned in for an extended helping of trauma and mind-numbing violence. BBC1 saw Dan Snow digging up archaeology sites for an hour and a half from 8:30pm, with The Vikings Uncovered pulling in 3.10 million viewers. On BBC2, the jury in the 'trial of the century' began coming apart at the seams after eight months of being locked away, with the eighth episode of The People Versus OJ Simpson: American Crime Story drawing 1.01 million viewers. That was followed by Qi XL with eight hundred and ninety six thousand. The third series of The Island With Bear Grylls continued on Channel Four at 9pm, as the male and female tribes stumbled upon each other leading to a new world order/fresh dystopian nightmare. Or something. An audience of 2.16 million viewers watched as the dehydrated and starving survivalists went all Lord Of The Flies, resulting in a ten per cent audience share. At 7:30pm, BBC1's Tax Havens Of The Rich & Powerful Exposed - a timely Panorama documentary into the Panama Papers scandal was watched by 3.40 million viewers while Monday's other investigative show, Britain's Pensioner Care Scandal, part of Channel Four's Dispatches strand, brought in eight hundred and ninety six thousand at 8pm. A double helping of Coronation Street on ITV took the day's top two spots with the 7:30pm visit watched by 6.69 million viewers while the 8:30pm episode netted 6.39 million viewers. Earlier, Emmerdale pulled in 6.12 million viewers while the latest trouble and strife in Albert Square saw EastEnders attracting 6.30 million. The ONE Show had 3.66 million on BBC1 at 7pm. On BBC2, University Challenge drew 2.79 million at 8pm and An Island Parish: Shetland had 1.82 million half-an-hour later. Police Interceptors: Deadly Pursuit part of Channel Five's seemingly endless 'television without pity' was watched by nine hundred and sixty eight thousand, followed by The Tube: Going Underground with 1.32m at 9pm and Neighbours: Who Dies? (1.02 million) at 10pm. The Food Chain was seen by 1.25 million on Channel Four at 8.30pm. It was a world away from Top Gear's high octane car chases and general cocking about, but James May's latest TV project – in which he spent ten hours putting together the three hundred and thirty one component parts of a petrol engined lawnmower – was watched by more than four hundred thousand viewers on BBC4 at 9pm. Even May himself expressed fears that no one would watch the show, the first of the three-part James May: The Reassembler. But, Cap'n Slowly needn't have worried, the thirty minute-minute programme drew four hundred and forty four thousand.
ITV attempted to squeeze Vernon Kay and an overstuffed hoard of vaguely familiar z-list TV personalities into a Top Gear-shaped Mini, with the launch of automobile family fetish show, Drive at 9pm on Tuesday. Just a few weeks after the BBC tried something broadly similar with their own Saturday night flop, The Getaway Car. ITV's effort, deservedly, fared even worse than the crass Dermot O'Dreary vehicle. The loose concept, mainly involving random z-listers driving random cars, brought in just 1.89 million viewers to watch appearances from contracted ITV employees like Louis Walsh. It's hard not to snigger when a format so clearly ripped-off from something else popular on another channel and so obviously containing so little original thought to it goes tits-up. So, this blogger won't even bother trying. Meanwhile, BBC1's dysfunctional family drama The A Word (also 9pm) regain some momentum after the second episode suffered a noticeable drop in viewers. Tuesday's sometimes painful quality time with the Hughes family focused on struggling mum, Alison (Morven Christie). The drama, about a multi-generational family learning to cope with young Joe's autism opened with 4.7 million overnight viewers two weeks ago (and a consolidated figure of 5.9 million) but the audience fell by seventeen per cent for the second episode. The layered tale of parents' muddled attempts to do the best for their offspring jumped back slightly this week, with 4.18 million viewers up by around two hundred and sixty thousand viewers and comfortably winning the slot. Elsewhere at 9pm, it was all 'real life drama' programmes. On BBC2, the story of Barack Obama's time in The Oval Office came to an end after four episodes. The final chapter of Inside Obama's White House looked at how the second term was won, apparently spurred on by his tackling of feminist issues and Osama bin Liner's death and pulled in another consistent audience. With the début episode attracting 1.6 million, the finale managed a similar overnight audience with 1.47 million viewers. On Channel Four, One Born Every Minute was watched by 1.52 million viewers. There were more trying times on Channel Five as Benefits By The Sea: Jaywick followed some people attempting to kick the booze, with 1.07 million. After so many Bake Off inspired spin-offs, there was some genuine enjoyment to be had with the first official primetime companion. Last week introduced 3.5 million viewers to the new format with Bake Off: Crème De La Crème (BBC2, 8pm) borrowing heavily from MasterChef: The Professionals. Not that that was a bad thing, of course. This week's episode saw a team from the Armed Forces go up against an all-female group of hotel chefs to create some nice cakes, resulting in a slightly lower, but still very impressive 3.16 million viewers. The dependable drama of Holby City brought in 4.38 million viewers for BBC1, while the rest of the 8pm schedule was packed with reality property malarkey. ITV's How Not To DIY secured 1.93 million, Channel Four's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners attracted 1.04 million viewers while Channel Five's Britain's Horror Homes was watched by an audience of just six hundred and fifty nine thousand punters. The day's top performers were, as usual, the soaps; Emmerdale (7pm) secured 6.14 million while EastEnders (7:30pm) resulted in 6.28 million viewers. Completing ITV's usual horrific Tuesday night - Emmerdale aside - The Inspectors Are Coming, with 2.02 million, actually proved to attract the largest audience outside of soaps on the channel. ITV really can't be bothered with Tuesday's can they? The same schedule, the same style of show over and over again. And, the same, extremely satisfying, rejection by the viewing public. Scrappers was watched by 1.05 million on BBC2 at 10pm whilst Channel Four's First Dates had 1.24 million at the same time. Elsewhere, the second episode of James May: The Reassembler: saw an small increase on Monday's audience, with five hundred and three thousand viewers. Deadliest Catch made something of a splash on the Discovery Channel at 9pm with an excellent one hundred and seventeen thousand and another of Channel Five 'talking-heads clip shows' with about as much imagination behind it as ... something that hasn't got any imagination behind it whatsoever, Most Shocking TV Moments was watched by five hundred and thirty seven thousand punters with, it would seem, nothing better to do with their time or their brains.
Wednesday evening brought a close to the second series of ITV's Grantchester (9pm), with the latest episode continuing the success of the initial run. The drama, about a gruff cop, Geordie Keating (Wor Geet Canny Robson Green) and his unlikely sleuthing partnership with James Norton's local vicar, Sidney Chambers, opened to 5.2 million overnight viewers in October 2014 and acquired a solid audience with its mixture of Middle-England nostalgia and occasional topless male leads. Viewers had to wait sixteen months for another chance to escape to the pretty - but highly dangerous - Cambrideshire hamlet, which resulted in a slightly lower début overnight audience of five million viewers for series two. This week's episode saw Sidney's personal and professional life once again combust in a haze of whiskey-related madness, as his vicar mate ran off with a young girl, culminating in an emotional cliffhanging finale. Despite the large gap between series, the episode performed almost as well as the first series closer, with an overnight of 4.68 million viewers and a twenty two per cent share. On BBC1, the third series of Countryfile Goes Large, Secret Britain continued as the highly enthused presenters got all excited about visiting Kent. Why, no one knows? An audience of 2.70 million viewers watched as as a hyperventilating Chris Hollis 'discovered the secrets of the North Kent marshes' while Ellie Harrison climbed up a wind turbine. On Channel Five, real life horrorshow (and drag) Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords brought in 1.05 million viewers, while BBC2's eye-opening documentary Employable Me secured 1.27 million. At the same time on Channel Four was the impressive one-off The People Next Door, a Blair Witch Project-type drama about the horrors of urban living. Telling the tale of a young couple who move into a new home, only to record their every move once they are convinced bad things are happening in their adjoining neighbour's drum. The disturbingly, well-played out descent into paranoia and self-surveillance was watched by 1.42 million viewers. Earlier the latest episode of MasterChef attracted 4.83 million viewers on BBC1, comfortably winning the 8pm slot. Horizon: Oceans Of The Solar System was seen by 1.14 million on BBC2. ITV's wretched, odious, nauseating Big Star's Little Star saw yet more Z-list celebrity sprogs being shown off to the nation for, alleged, 'entertainment' resulting in 3.01 million viewers surrendering their collective intelligence to the wind. For shame, Britain. For shame. The Supervet drew 1.87 million viewers, while on Channel Four, the unprofessional human-menders of GPs: Behind Closed Doors was watched by eight hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers. ITV's soaps took the day's top spots with Emmerdale bringing in 5.45 million viewers at 7pm, while the haze of funny smelling smoke on Coronation Street (7:30pm) had 6.31 million. The ONE Show drew 3.89 million to BBC1 at 7pm. Mock The Week was seen by nine hundred and sixty thousand punters at at 10pm on BBC2, whilst Channel Four's Raised By Wolves had six hundred and sixty one thousand at the same time. Channel Five's Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! had eight hundred and seventy six thousand. The final episode of James May: The Reassembler drew the three-part series' largest overnight audience, with a fraction over six hundred thousand viewers.
After a spectacular cliffhanger Grantchester​ will be back for a third series. ITV has confirmed that the period crime drama starring James Norton and Wor Geet Canny Robson Green will be returning 'in 2017.' Series two may have been largely gloomy and sullen compared to the bright and colourful first series, but that hasn't kept viewers away (although some glake of no importance at the Torygraph clearly has an axe to grind). Based on The Grantchester Mysteries​ by James Runcie and adapted by Daisy Coulam, the series has become a hit since debuting in 2014. Coulam will also return as executive producer for series three, along with Diedrick Santer and Emma Kingsman-Lloyd. Further details including broadcast dates and casting will be made in the coming months.
Thursday evening saw the sixth episode of Bear Grylls: Mission Survive bring the format's second series to an end, with some good and bad news for its hard-working presenter. The finale saw three remaining random z-list 'celebrities' competitively crawling their way to glory and while the second run opened with 2.9 million overnight viewers a few weeks back, this week's finale saw a noticeable drop in the overnight audience. Thankfully, the closing episode didn't involve any piss drinking or colonic hydration tactics, with 2.10 million viewers watching - slightly less that the 2.2 million which watched Channel Four's The Island With Bear Grylls on Monday night. Whilst the latter was a more than decent figure for C4, just over two million on ITV really isn't. BBC1 claimed the 9pm spot with the magazine show How To Stay Young which featured Angela Rippon and one of the seemingly interchangeable Van Tulleken brothers delving into prosthetics and snake oil remedies to educate and inform the nation about the battle against ageing. An audience of a fraction under four million viewers watched as Chris Van Tulleken aged himself up from thirty seven to eighty with the aid of Hollywood make-up, while Angela attempted to convince people that freestyle dancing on The Morecambe & Wise Show was better that a trip to the gym. Sounds entirely believable. On BBC2, the third series of quality police drama Line Of Duty continued in its usual grisly but fascinating fashion, attracting 3.38 million viewers at 9pm. Following in the footsteps of recent outings such as Royal Navy School, SAS: Who Dares Wins and Royal Marine Commando School, Channel Four launched its latest addition to recruitment propaganda with British Army Girls also in the 9pm slot. Just over 1.13 million viewers watched a fresh group of recruits sign up for an intense fourteen weeks of training. At the same time, Channel Five's rip-off version of Twenty Four Hours in A&E, Trauma Doctors: Every Second Counts, was seen by 1.01 million punters. At 8pm, the latest episode of MasterChef on BBC1, was watched by 4.71 million viewers, whilst the excellent documentary Workers Or Shirkers? Ian Hislop's Victorian Benefits on BBC2 at the same time attracted 1.69 million. And, Hizza managed to make the vile and odious rascals Iain and Duncan Smith cry during it. So, you know, that was required viewing. For the first time in ages, MasterChef included a contestant with, editing choices suggested, a massively high opinion of themselves and their cookery skills that didn't fall flat on their own face at the first hurdle. Though whether Noma, who spent the entire episode bigging herself up about how much of a 'gift' she has and how her flavours are, like, totally 'mazing, deserves the faith she clearly has in her own ability future episodes would tell. As, indeed, the next episode did. Young Jen looked a bit of a star in the making though and, bonus, we had our first example in the current series of someone giving a rather bitter little post-ejection whinge, surgeon Kath saying that at least she hasn't 'crashed and burned' (which was true) and that her being the first person sent home had been 'a close run thing' (it really wasn't.) There was more rage fuel on offer on Channel Four, with the first episode of Millionaires' Mansions: Designing Britain's Most Exclusive Homes doing exactly what it says on the petrol can. An audience of 1.18 million viewers watched as the filthy rich had all their dreams realised with the commissioning of some outlandish furniture. If you missed it, dear blog reader, it was, trust me, every bit as horrifying as you'd expect. At the same time Channel Five didn't disappoint with My Face Won't Stop Growing ... And Other Medical Mysteries (I'm not making this up), with six hundred and forty nine thousand viewers. It was time to say goodbye to the staff of The Cruise at 8:30pm on ITV, with the sixth and final episode dealing with matters of the heart securing 2.81 million viewers. A double trip to Emmerdale helped bolster ITV's fortunes earlier with the 7pm episode netting 5.21 million and the 8pm episode drawing 5.45 million. BBC1's EastEnders took the day's top spot at 7:30pm, with scenes of Ronnie Mitchell's life becoming even more rubbish watched by 6.02 million viewers. Elsewhere, Alan Carr: Chatty Man is still really struggling in its midweek slot, the latest episode watched by a mere six hundred and ninety seven thousand punters on Channel Four at 10pm. On BBC2, Smug Stewart Lee's Really Unfunny Comedy Vehicle was watched by five hundred and ninety eight thousand Gruniad Morning Star readers. As usual. On ITV2, worthless waste-of-space tripe Celebrity Juice was seen by five hundred and ninety three thousand people with no sodding brains whatsoever. The Big Bang Theory (8.30pm E4) drew 1.22m million, comfortably the largest multichannel's audience of the day. On Sky1, DC's Legends Of Tomorrow was watched by two hundred and fifty one thousand at 8pm whilst, an hour later, Sky Living's Elementary drew two hundred and forty two thousand for an episode written by yer actual Keith Telly Topping's old mucker, Paul Cornell. This blogger always said he'd go far, that lad. Well done, Paul. Sky's new SF drama import Colony was watched by one hundred and thirty four thousand. ITV3's latest Lewis repeat drew five hundred and thirty seven thousand.
EastEnders had an overnight audience of 5.75 million viewers on Friday evening at 8pm as Ronnie tried to find out who had been harassing her. Which was harder than it sounded, as it turned out. A Would I Lie To You? repeat was watched by 2.85 million at 7.30pm. The latest MasterChef quarter-final attracted 4.29 million punters - slightly higher than usual on a Friday - as Jack (who has the misfortune to be a dead-ringer for odious lanky streak of worthless piss Jack Whitehall, poor chap, but can clearly cook), Jen (who was very impressive for a second episode running), Juanita (ditto) and Jacob (who makes weird dishes that, on the face of it, make no sense whatsoever but, nevertheless, manage to impress the judges every time) all qualified for the semis. Sarah and Noma got the boot. In the case of the latter, to a rather scowly-faced glance at John and Gregg as she left which, if looks could kill, might've seen the popular judging duo pushing up the daisies. Ooo, pure dead vexed so she was. The welcome return of Have I Got News For You (see below) drew 4.47 million at 9pm for an episode dominated by The Panama Papers. On ITV, Emmerdale had 5.37 million from 7pm whilst the evening's two episodes of Coronation Street were watched by 6.35 million and 5.48 million punters respectively. Best Walks With A View With Julia Bradbury drew 3.05 million whilst Billy Connolly Tracks Across America was seen by 2.68 million. BBC2's coverage of the Women's Football Euro 2017 Qualifier and England's draw with Belgium had 1.16 million from 7.30pm. After the footie, Two Doors Down, at 10pm, was seen by 1.01 million viewers. Channel Four's evening schedule included Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours In Dubai (1.26 million), Gogglebox (2.87 million at 9pm) and new alleged 'fly-on-the-wall comedy' Lookalikes (1.26 million). On Channel Five, The Search For Atlantis attracted six hundred and twenty thousand viewers and Cleopatra: Mother, Mistress, Murderer, Queen had six hundred and fifty two thousand at 9pm. On the multichannels, the latest episode of Supergirl attracted one hundred and ninety four thousand for Sky1 at 8pm whilst Sky Living's The Blacklist drew one hundred and sixty one thousand at 9pm.

Yer man Ian Hislop was on truly sparkling form again on the return of Have I Got News For You on Friday evening. Mind you, with material like he had work with this week of all weeks, he could hardly have failed, could he? Set up by guest host Stephen Mangan on the subject of The Panama Papers, Hizza resembled a clockwork toy that had been wound to maximum and then, simply, let go.
With his usual combination of delicious smugness and absolute moral superiority, Ian tackled the complex subject which has been headline news all week with a beautiful simplicity: 'Already, there are investigations in a lot of countries; a Prime Minster has fallen ... might be two! This is a fabulous story by a whistle-blower for a company in Panama and I do hope he's somewhere with a beard and a baseball cap hidden safely away having offended Putin, the Chinese, all Arab countries and David Cameron. It's eleven million documents proving that the idea the rich are an extraordinary elite who are constantly trying to evade giving any money to any society which they live in is entirely true!' 'It's not unexpected, though, is it?' noted Ian's fellow panellist, the German comedian Henning Wehn, who also shone: 'You didn't look at them and think "Oh, I would never have guessed that!" On the other hand, it does keep Britain safe, in a way. As long as the President of Bananistan has got his ill-gotten money squirrelled away in UK property they're not going to attack the UK. So eventually, you don't need MI5 or MI6 any more, all you need is Foxtons [the high quality London estate agents]!'
'It's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened on this scale,' added Hislop, warming to his theme. 'I'm sorry to be enthusiastic about it,' he said - rather unconvincingly - 'but, God, there details are fantastic! And, they've had a scalp; most journalism doesn't end up with a Prime Minister resigning but, in Iceland, ten per cent of the population went out onto the streets! That'd be the equivalent of five million of us going to Downing Street and saying "Give us yer dad's money back!" It's just an idea!' There followed a brief discussion of the Icelandic political crisis during which Ian asked Henning if he knew the name of the, now-former, PM of Iceland. 'Sven?' shrugged Henning. 'I get a German on and he does the racial stereotype jokes!' dead-panned Hislop. Mangan - who was also on good, albeit scripted, form - got in quite a good joke about the company involved in all this malarkey and shenanigans, Mossack Fonseca ('I believe Harry Redknapp once tried to sign him for Tottenham!') He then asked the question on everyone's lips, why is this embarrassing for our Prime Minister. Hislop was in like a shot. 'The Prime Minister's father was named in the papers and he ran an investment vehicle amusingly called Blairmore Investments, which is entertaining because it suggests you could move even more money offshore than [Tony] Blair did.' The fund was later moved to Ireland when Cameron became Prime Minister, Mangan said, quoting an alleged 'source' as allegedly saying this was, allegedly, 'because it was about to come under more scrutiny.' 'I would like to make it clear at this point,' Mangan added, 'that nobody has broken the law.' He then held a mock serious face for about five seconds whilst the studio audience roared with laughter. 'What about Jack The Ripper?' asked Paul Merton, finally getting his first words in over five-and-a-half minutes into the episode.
Back to Hizza: '[Cameron] was the Prime Minister who said "I want more transparency and I want less corruption." There were these very funny series of statements, starting with "this is a private matter." People said: "No, it isn't!" "Okay, it's not private, I will never - in the future - get any money from these offshore holdings." Then people said: "What about in the past, then?" I believe that the latest news is he's admitted there was thirty grand he's taken out of it and he sold the shares. So, he used to own some shares in Blairmore ... It does give the impression that the shares paid for his inheritance, his schooling and it's just that idea that we're all in it together ... if you happen to run a country!' At which point the other guest panellist, ex-UKiPper Suzanne Evans, joined in the fun: 'At some point during that [Cameron] said "put up, or shut up" which was like a Big Red Flag flying, When a politician says that, you know their back's against the wall.' 'Have you noticed that with other politicians?' Ian asked, which got possibly the biggest laugh of the episode. Mangan wrapped up the round thus: 'Cameron dealt with these embarrassing questions in a series of instalments. He said "it's a private matter."' After which they dug out a 2013 clip of Cameron commenting on the tax affairs of the comedian Jimmy Carr. 'Think of all those people who work hard, who pay their taxes and out of that post-tax income save up to go an see Jimmy Carr he's taking that money and stuffing it into something where he doesn't have to pay taxes. That is not fair.' Quite right, Prime Minister, it isn't. Although it should be remembered that shortly after he said all that, it was also revealed that Tory-voting Gary Barlow, a close personal chum of the PM, had also been named as someone involved in a tax avoidance scheme of some description and Cameron said nothing, even when asked specifically to do so. 'To be fair, whenever Cameron gives a speech, it's always free entry,' Henning added, in the interests of balance. He then went on to note that, when Cameron was asked about his tax affairs, even more embarrassingly for the Prime Minister, he was at the accountants Price, Waterhouse, Cooper, who have in the past, been criticised by a House of Commons Committee for 'facilitating tax avoidance on an industrial scale.' After that, the subject turned to the President of the United Arab Emirates who, the leaked papers revealed, has bought large amounts of London property as Henning alluded to earlier. 'He's bought 1.2 billion pounds worth including half of Oxford Street and bits of Mayfair. He didn't get the utilities or the stations, though, which are actually better value,' added Mangan. Then, they got onto the latest UEFA scandal, also linked to the leaked documents. 'They should have kept Blatter, I said that all along,' added Henning. 'UEFA did a deal on TV rights with an offshore company called Cross Trading - it's like The Night Manager, this isn't it? - which was a front for an alleged fraudster, the deal was signed by brand-new, squeaky-clean FIFA boss, Gianni Infantino.' And, that led into a round called Whose Bald Bonce Is This? 
      There was much else to enjoy in the episode though, perhaps, the finest one-liner of all went to Henning who, in reply to the missing-words round question 'Grandpa attempting to what gets it horribly wrong' asked if it could be 'justify the bombing of Dresden'?
Though Merton's reply to the same round's 'What now goes by a less insulting nickname' 'is it Fuckface McGhee?' was also worthy of note. It's great to have Have I Got News For You back. Twenty six years, fifty one series and still capable of half-an-hour of cutting edge satire like this.
David Cameron has said that he 'could' have handled the row over his financial affairs 'better,' telling Tory activists that it had 'not been a great week.' You think? Addressing the Conservative Spring Forum, the PM claimed that he would publish his tax returns 'later.' Whatever the hell that means. After a lengthy period whilst hoping that everyone will have forgotten all about it, perhaps? Downing Street was forced to make a series of 'clarifications' over Cameron's financial affairs after questions about his family's tax arrangements earlier in the week. A Downing Street spokesperson initially claimed that Cameron's tax affairs were 'a private matter.' Unlike, seemingly, Jimmy Carr's which the PM had no problem talking about to anyone that would listen three years ago. But, after a day of questions from the media about whether his family retained any interest in the fund, Downing Street took the unusual step of issuing a clarifying statement on Thursday saying that Cameron, his wife and his children 'do not benefit from any offshore trusts.' And, Cameron himself claimed that he had 'no shares or income' from offshore trusts. Downing Street then said there were 'no offshore trusts or funds' that the Prime Minister or his immediate family would benefit from 'in future.' This came after leaked documents revealed that Cameron's late father, Ian, was a client of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and used one of the most secretive - albeit lawful - tools of the offshore trade after he helped set up a fund for investors. On Thursday, the PM also 'clarified' that he had sold all of his shares in the offshore fund in 2010. The Gruniad Morning Star had no doubt of the leak's significance. What has 'broken out of the vaults of offshore legal specialists Mossack Fonseca is one overriding sense. The sense that normal rules do not apply to the global elite. In a new gilded age, taxes would - once again - appear to be for The Little People.' The paper continued: 'The evidence in The Panama Papers about secretive shell companies is damning on both the tax-dodging and the skulduggery fronts. No longer is this about faceless corporations and financiers, but about leading politicians and their circles, sometimes the same politicians who have been asking for all the sacrifices.' The Gruniad stressed that 'every case must be carefully judged on the specifics' and said that Cameron 'can fairly protest that the son is not responsible for the deeds of the father, especially not as he has taken some steps - such as banning the "bearer shares" that Cameron Senior's fund long ago used - to protect the public interest.' Even so, the father's dealings 'helped to pay the Prime Minister's school fees and swelled his inheritance' so 'Number Ten must understand that it will not do to dismiss the question of whether any Cameron family money remains tied up in the fund as "a private matter."' Or, as the paper's Roy Greenslade put it: 'On Tuesday, I wrote a blog item headlined Cameron feels the national press heat over The Panama Papers. It seems extraordinary, knowing what he knew, that he thought he could batten down the hatches and hope it would all go away. His admission that he had benefited from the company set up by his late father followed "three days of stalling and four partial statements" from Downing Street. The inevitable result was a crop of front page headlines, leading articles and analyses on Friday that have severely undermined the Prime Minister's reputation.' Commons leader Chris Grayling said he would not use questions over the Prime Minister's tax affairs as a weapon in the forthcoming European referendum campaign. 'Bad news of any sort for the Conservative party is never good news,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Those accusing Cameron of misleading the public were making 'a mountain out of a mole hill,' Grayling claimed. One or two people even believed him. Revelations about Cameron's financial affairs followed a leak of millions of documents held by the Panamanian firm. The documents, known collectively as The Panama Papers, revealed that Ian Cameron, had been a client of Mossack Fonseca when establishing a fund. The PM eventually stated that he had sold his shares before he entered Number 10 and had paid 'all UK taxes due' on profits from the thirty thousand smackers sale. He claimed that the fund had not been set up to avoid tax. Although the obvious question then needs to be asked why was it set up, if not to avoid tax? Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said, in his usual 'disappointed geography teacher' manner, that the PM had 'misled the public' and 'lost the trust of the British people.' He said Cameron's actions had showed there was 'one rule for the wealthy and another for the rest of us.' And, you've only just worked that out for yourself have you, Jezza? God, once in a generation mind, that bloke. Labour MP Jess Phillips also attacked Cameron's late father for not 'paying his fair share' of tax - saying that it was 'utterly disgusting,' in a blog for The Huffington Post. She said Cameron 'doesn't need our praise for paying his tax,' adding: 'He's not a very clever boy, he's a very average boy who used privilege rather than brains to get where he got.'
Let's leave the final word on this subject - for the moment, anyway - to yer man Jimmy Carr. Revenge, they say, is a dish usually best served cold. Or hot. Or, indeed, any way you fancy it where greed is concerned.
The return of Britain's Got Toilets was an overnight ratings winner for ITV, scoring almost double the viewers as the final of The Voice on BBC1. An average 8.33 million people tuned in to watch Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's TV talent search as it was broadcast, compared with an average 4.52 million who watched The Voice which is moving from the BBC to ITV next year. Viewing peaked at 9.6 million on ITV as thirteen-year-old Beau Dermott impressed the judges with her singing. Some 6.09 million saw Kevin Simm crowned the winner of the BBC's singing show and, if previous winners of The Voice are anything to go by, look forward to future of almost instant obscurity. Dermott secured a standing ovation and the first 'Golden Buzzer' from the Britain's Got Toilets judges - which gives her an automatic place in the live shows - following her rendition of 'Defying Gravity' from the musical Wicked. Which was, admittedly, very very good indeed, even an old cynic like this blogger is forced to confess. According to overnight figures, around forty per cent of all TV audiences were watching Britain's Got Toilets between 7pm and 8.20pm. When the programme finished, two million viewers appear to have switched over to The Voice for its final forty minutes during which the winner was announced. Simm, who was previously in the pop group Liberty X, beat runner-up Jolan. Although audience figures for the latest series of The Voice had started strongly with average overnight audiences in the high seven millions, ratings steadily declined in recent weeks with an overnight of a mere four-and-a-half million tuning into the semi-final last week. The Voice certainly wasn't helped by having a disastrous lead-in show, the hopeless Ball-and-Banjo-fiasco Can't Touch This, the latest episode of which drew a staggeringly poor 2.62 million punters. Later, Casualty attracted 5.02 million from 9pm whilst Match of The Day (featuring the latest pathetic, cowardly, embarrassing surrender before kick off by yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved, though unsellable and seemingly relegation-bound, Magpies) was watched by 3.91 million viewers. ITV, of course, have their very own Saturday night fiasco, the wretched You're Back In The Room watched by a mere 3.01 million from 8.25pm whilst the late film on ITV, The Fast & The Furious had 1.50 million. On BBC2, Dad's Army drew 1.4 million after which Golf or, hours of televised sky if you want to be pedantic, attracted 1.41 million between 7.30pm and Midnight. Channel Four's evening film entertainment, if that's the right word for Johnny English Reborn (probably not, on reflection) was seen by eight hundred and fifty thousand from 8pm, whilst the six millionth showing of Die Hard drew seven hundred and two thousand from 10pm. Earlier, on Channel Five Football League Tonight was watched by five hundred and forty thousand and NCIS attracted eight hundred and three thousand. BBC4's latest two episodes of Follow the Money had audiences of four hundred and twenty thousand and three hundred and sixty thousand respectively. Meanwhile, Channel Four's afternoon coverage of The Grand National was watched by 2.98 million viewers across its to and a half hours with a huge peak of 10.22 million for the climax of the actual race itself at just before 5.30pm.

The final and consolidated numbers for the Top Twenty programmes, for week-ending Sunday 27 March 2016 were as follows:-
1 The Night Manager - Sun BBC1 - 9.12m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.03m
3 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.32m
4 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.66m
5 Our Queen At Ninety - Sun ITV - 6.53m
6 England Friendlies: Germany Versus England - Sat ITV - 6.24m
7 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 6.15m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.92m
9 The A Word - Turs BBC1 - 5.91m
10 MasterChef - Wed BBC1 - 5.58m
11 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.54m
12 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 5.52m
11 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.35m
13 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.26m
14 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.04m
15 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.03m
16 Grantchester - Wed ITV - 4.95m*
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1- 4.67m
18 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 4.34m
19 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.01m
20 Boomers - Fri BBC1 - 4.00m
These consolidated figures include viewers who watched the programmes live and on catch-up, but does not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Those ITV programmes marked "*" indicate they do not include HD viewers. Among ITV's other figures for the week, The Cruise had an audience of 3.81m, Big Star's Little Star 3.69m, Davina McCall: Life St The Extreme 3.39m, Bear Grylls: Mission Survive 2.92m, The Inspectors Are Coming 2.44m and It's Not Rocket Science a laughably piss-poor 1.86 million. On BBC2, the opening episode of series three of Line Of Duty was watched by an excellent 3.31 million viewers, followed by Mary Berry's Easter Feast (2.87m), University Challenge (2.85m), Gardeners' World (2.30m), An Island Parish: Sheltand (2.28m), Springwatch At Easter (2.19m), This Farming Life (2.04m) and The People Versus OJ Simpson: American Crime Story (1.90m). Qi was watched by 1.08m. Aside from Googlebox, Twenty Four Hours In A&E was Channel Four's second largest-rated broadcast of the week (2.46 million), followed by The Supervet (2.30m), Royal Navy School (2.13m), One Born Every Minute (2.10m), Dispatches: Secrets Of Cadbury (1.98m), Ugly House To Lovely House (1.88m), First Dates (1.87m) and The Last Leg With Adam Hills (1.80m). The third episode of series two of Indian Summers lost even more viewers, being watch by 1.31 million. Channel Five's top performer was The Tube: Going Underground (1.79m), whilst Live Championship Boxing had 1.49m and Gotham attracted 1.40m. With no Premier League football that weekend, Sky Sports 1's most-watched programme was Live Premier League Darts watched by two hundred and thirty six thousand viewers. Sky Sport 2's coverage of Live ICC T20 World Cup cricket and England's victory over Sri Lanka had nine hundred and forty nine thousand punters. India's victory over Australia had six hundred and three thousand. Gillette Soccer Special was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast with one hundred and thirty four thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (nine hundred and ninety one thousand). Rising Damp Forever drew five hundred and forty two thousand and Foyle's War had five hundred and thirty seven thousand. Snooker: Players Championship headed ITV4's top ten, with three hundred and ninety eight thousand punters. Worthless steaming pile of stinking diarrhoea Celebrity Juice was ITV2's 'best' performer (one uses that word quite wrongly) with 1.40 million viewers. All of whom need their bloody heads examined, frankly. The third episode of Houdini & Doyle topped the list for ITV Encore with a staggeringly awful one hundred and two thousand viewers. One of this blogger's favourite programmes, Digging For Britain, was BBC4's top-performing show with seven hundred and eighty five thousand. The channel's latest imported Scandi-noir drama Follow The Money had audiences of five hundred and ninety eight thousand and five hundred and fifty nine thousand for its third and fourth episodes. The Beginning & End Of The Universe was watched by five hundred and fifty eight thousand and Roman Britain: A Timewatch Guide by five hundred and fifty one thousand. Art of Scandinavia drew five hundred and twenty five thousand. As for BBC3 ... who cares? If you're really interested, a repeat of Don't Tell The Bride drew seventy four thousand punters with nothing better to do to their Interweb browsers. Sky 1's figures for the week were unavailable. Sky Atlantic's weekly list was topped by Blue Bloods (three hundred and forty one thousand), One Hundred Code (one hundred and fifty five thousand), Girls (one hundred and six thousand) and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (eighty seven thousand). The much-trailed Vinyl was seen by but sixty seven thousand whilst one of the daily repeats of the greatest TV show in the history of the medium that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title - The West Wing - was watched by fifty nine thousand. On Sky Living, Blindspot drew 1.02 million, Elementary had eight hundred and four thousand and The Blacklist six hundred and ninety seven thousand. Sky Arts' broadcast of Jesus Of Nazareth had an audience of seventy thousand. Stomp: Live had sixty three thousand viewers. 5USA's broadcast Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was watched by five hundred and forty thousand thousand viewers. NCIS drew three hundred and eighty eight thousand. NCIS also featured in the weekly top tens of FOX - the latest episode of series thirteen attracting eight hundred and sixty five thousand punters - and CBS Action. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's top ten also included new episodes of The Walking Dead (1.60 million) and Marvel's Agent Carter (three hundred and two thousand viewers). On CBS Action, Bad Girls was seen by one hundred and forty thousand. For Dave, Top Gear was the highest-rated programme with three hundred and thirty three thousand punters. That was followed by Mock The Week (three hundred and twenty thousand), American Pickers (three hundred and nine thousand), Qi XL (two hundred and seventy two thousand) and Have I Got A Bit More News For You (two hundred and sixty eight thousand). Drama's Inspector George Gently was watched by six hundred and forty five thousand viewers and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries by four hundred and fifty six thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Castle (four hundred and eleven thousand), followed by Quantico (four hundred and four thousand), Rizzoli & Isles (three hundred and seven thousand), Murdoch Mysteries (one hundred and ninety one thousand) and Sherlock (seventy nine thousand). On W, the most-viewed programme was Grimm (four hundred and fifty thousand). Yesterday's David Starkey's Monarchy: The Windsors was watched by two hundred and three thousand and Yellowstone by one hundred and eighty thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Alaskan Bush People had an audience of two hundred and thirty eight thousand punters. Mythbusters drew one hundred and fifty eight thousand. Discovery History's Revealed: Humayun's Tomb topped the weekly-list with audience of nineteen thousand viewers. Battlefield Mysteries drew fifteen thousand. On Discovery Science, The Unexplained Files was seen by twenty eight thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes were Fifth Gear (seventy four thousand) and Wheeler Dealers (fifty one thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Explorer Twenty: Fighting ISIS which had sixty two thousand viewers. Black Sails was seen by one hundred and sixty two thousand viewers on The History Channel. Caligula was seen by thirty two thousand on Military History. Death Row and Ghost Asylum were ID's top programmes of the week (fifty six thousand and forty five thousand viewers respectively). They Took Our Child, We Got Her Back headed CI's top ten (forty three thousand). GOLD's repeat run of Mrs Brown's Boys was viewed by two hundred and forty nine thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (two hundred and eighty nine thousand). Your TV's Snapped had sixty eight thousand viewers. On More4, The Good Wife was watched by seven hundred and fourteen thousand whilst E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory drew 2.69 million punters (by a huge distance the largest multichannels audience of the week). The Horror Channel's broadcast of the movie Black Death attracted one hundred and twenty nine thousand viewers. Farming Sunday was watched by nine thousand on the Horse & Country Channel. Ten Things You Didn't Know About Volcanoes drew forty one thousand on Eden.

Tom Hiddleston has seemed to rule out a further series of The Night Manager. It had been reported - albeit, not by anyone that you'd actually trust as far as you could spit - that the BBC was 'in talks' about a follow-up to the hit John le Carre adaptation. But Hiddleston, who played concierge-turned-spy Jonathan Pine, said: 'As it stands, Pine exists for six hours in a mini-series. The story feels complete. I only ever conceived of it as an adaptation of a complete novel. We made some alterations, we updated it so it had a political resonance and we changed the ending a little bit. I know the rumours about it extending, but none of that is real.' Talking while promoting the drama in the US, the Sunday Mirra also reported that Huge Laurie agreed with his co-star. The actor, who played arms dealer Richard Roper, said: 'It's based on a novel, we've got to the end of the novel and John le Carre has yet to write another novel. So in cold, practical terms, no, we're done.' The fate of Pine and Roper was left open at the end of the six-parter, leading some fans to hope they may return. And, others to simply be thankful for what they had. It had been reported in several newspapers - citing no supporting evidence - that the BBC was 'in talks' with production company The Ink Factory - which is run by two of le Carre's sons - about creating another series based on the characters. However, before the series was broadcast le Carre's son Simon Cornwell, who also served as executive producer on the drama, said such a move was 'unlikely. It's a lovely idea but le Carre has never allowed an adaptation that goes beyond the parameters of the original book. We're not ruling it out, but we're not ruling it in.'

In November it was announced that the BBC would be making a TV adaptation of Phillp Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials. This week it has been revealed that screenwriter Jack Thorne will be scripting the drama series. Thorne was nominated for three TV BAFTAs last week in as many categories - best single drama for Don't Take My Baby, best drama series for The Last Panthers and best mini-series for This Is England '90. He said: 'It is such an honour and a privilege to be given this opportunity to delve into Philip Pullman's world. His Dark Materials [novels] are vast and glorious books full of beautiful characters and I'm going to work as hard as I can to try and do justice to them.' Pullman added: 'Jack is a writer of formidable energy and range and I've greatly enjoyed talking to him and learning about his plans for bringing His Dark Materials to the screen. I'm certain he will do a superb job and I look forward to seeing the whole project develop as he shapes the story.' Casting and production are due to start later this year.
Bad news if you're a fan of The Bridge - and, let's face it, if you're not then you don't deserve to live - the creator of the acclaimed Scandinavian crime drama has revealed that the upcoming fourth series of the show will definitely be the last. The final series of the popular murder mystery starring Sofia Helin was watched by two million viewers on BBC4, making it one of the most popular foreign dramas to be broadcast in the UK. But, speaking to the Gruniad Morning Star, Hans Rosenfeldt said: 'I think there will be a fourth one but that will be the last one. We have a storyline. It's a different place where they start, a very different place.'
The award-winning ​Peaky Blinders ​- a particular favourite of this blogger - is returning for a third series and we've only got a month to wait for it​. The BBC confirmed a May broadcast-date on Twitter - unveiling a moody new teaser featuring Cillian Murphy as the ruthless Tommy Shelby. An official BBC2 broadcast-date will follow in due course - though we do know that the first episode will be screened exclusively at the The Everyman Cinema in Birmingham on 4 May.
James May is shutting the company into which he 'funnels his multi-million pound earnings from activities including fronting and making TV shows including Top Gear' according to the rather typically sneering and offensively trouble-making shitehawk 'exclusive' article in the Gruniad Morning Star. This blogger particularly draws your attention, dear blog reader, to the use of the word 'funnels' and 'activities' as though there is something either illegal or immoral about making money from TV shows that lots of people enjoy. Oh, hang on, this is the Gruniad Morning Star we're talking about there, isn't it? James set up Blockhead & May in 2005, two years after he returned as a co-presenter on the second season of the revived Top Gear. The fifty three-year old has more than five million smackers 'in assets and cash as the company financial documents reveal.' As if that's any business of anyone and, in particular, some worthless twonk at the Gruniad.
James's assets are said to be worth 'almost' 5.4 million knicker and he paid one hundred and eighty thousand quid in corporation tax and VAT to HMRC. He has elected to voluntarily wind up the company which, 'like many stars', he uses to place earnings from activities including writing books and columns for magazines and newspapers, presenting fees for shows and TV production income. So, exactly what the story is, here, and why the Gruniad feel obliged to report this non-story are a couple of questions that would be well worth asking if, again, this wasn't the trouble-making, shit-stirring Middle class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star doing both the trouble-making and, indeed, the shit-stirring. Blockhead & May, of which James is listed as sole director, says its nature of business as 'motion picture production activities' and 'artistic creation.' The closure of the business follows the formation of a new company with his former Top Gear co-hosts yer man Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and ex-Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman. The quartet set up W Chump & Sons in July last year as they struck a deal to launch a show to rival Top Gear on Amazon's video service. Which, oddly, despite the fact that it was worth loads of wonga to Jeeza, Hamster and Cap'n Slowly, the Gruniad didn't mention in a sneering and trouble-making way in their sneering and trouble-making article. Curious.
​In the least surprising bit of TV-related news since ITV cancelled Jekyll & Hyde, Jericho has been axed by ITV after just one series following piss-poor ratings. Albeit, nowhere near as poor as the ratings that Jekyll & Hyde, Beowulf and Houdini & Doyle managed. Just, you know, for a bit of context. The Jessica Raine​-fronted period drama series failed to make an impact with viewers and repeatedly had it bare-ass beaten by BBC1's Death In Paradise. A spokesperson for the broadcaster told the Sun: 'ITV regularly refreshes its drama portfolio and consequently Jericho isn't returning to the channel.' Which, if you look up 'reasons why TV shows get cancelled' on Google, you'll find that excuse a very close second behind 'it was shit and no one watched it.' Created by Doctor Who and Sherlock writer Steve Thompson, the eight-part series ​followed a community of pioneers, settlers and outcasts, many of whom had secrets to hide. Jericho was also hugely expensive to make, as producers had to build an entire shanty town set in the Yorkshire Dales for filming.
Miranda Hart is to return to the BBC's Call The Midwife for the 2016 Christmas special and the sixth series, which is expected to be shown in 2017. Hart will again, play the period drama's popular character Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne. Hart, who had been in the show since it began in 2012, left during series four due to her other work commitments. The drama is based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth and revolves around the work of midwives in East London in the 1950s and 60s. A spokesman for the drama's production company said that everyone on the team had 'been bursting to share the news' of Chummy's return. 'We're thrilled to be once again featuring Miranda Hart and her fabulous blend of warmth, strength and vulnerability, as Chummy gets to grips with the medical and social challenges of the 1960s,' he said. Hart, who became a household name for her hit sitcom Miranda which ran from 2009 to 2015, spent much of 2014 on tour with her one-woman show. She then expanded her repertoire by turning to Hollywood and appeared in 2015's action film Spy, alongside Jason Statham, Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law. However, Hollywood's gain was Call The Midwife's loss as it meant that Hart was forced to miss most of series four, series five and last year's Christmas special. Her absence had to be written into the storyline which saw her moving to a mother and baby unit. At the time, Hart said: 'I am very sad not to have been able to be involved in series five but, on the plus side, maybe Chummy can come back in the next series an enlightened, crazed sixties hippy, having an affair with Paul McCartney.' Call The Midwife, which has won a handful of awards and has been nominated for two TV BAFTAs, also stars Helen George, Jessica Raine, Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris and Bryony Hannah. In series six, the midwives will be seen working partly in South Africa, where filming in Cape Town has already begun.
There's a new crime drama coming to ITV, with Karla Crome, Philip Glenister and Noel Clarke among the cast. Six-part thriller The Level - from the BAFTA-winning independent production company Hillbilly Television - has already started shooting in Brighton and London. A synopsis for the show reads: 'Detective Sergeant Nancy Devlin (Crome) has a secret double life. Her exemplary police career masks a covert attachment to shady businessman and drugs trafficker, Frank Le Saux (Glenister). Inextricably linked to Frank from childhood as the father of her best friend, Hayley (Laura Haddock) and the father figure she herself craved, Nancy has been playing a dangerous game to ensure that Frank always remains off the police radar. Nancy soon finds herself at the centre of an investigation which puts her at risk of exposure and sees her stalked by a killer intent on destroying her.' Robert James Collier, Lindsey Coulson, Gary Lewis, Jo Absolom, Amanda Burton and Ruth Madeley have also signed up to the project which, from that description sounds rather good. Gaby Chiappe wrote the series with Alex Perrin, while Polly Leys, Kate Norrish and Jane Dauncey will produce The Level
In case you missed it over the weekend,dear blog readers, The Simpsons' Waylon Smithers has finally come out as gay after twenty seven years in the closet on the popular cartoon sitcom. The episode in question was broadcast in the US last Sunday night and it apparently came about thanks to the son of one of the show's writers. Rob LaZebnik, who is also a co-executive producer on the long-running animated series, has a twenty one-year-old son, Johnny, who is gay. 'I thought "What better way to tell my son I love him than to write a cartoon about it?"' LaZebnik told the New York Post. Johnny added: 'The revelation that my father loves me is not much of a revelation, thankfully. He's unbelievably accepting.'
Hannibal may be over for now, but Hugh Dancy has once again said he would be 'open' to a revival. The dark psychological thriller series, particular favourite of this blogger, which also featured Mads Mikkelsen as the title character, ended after three seasons on NBC. Despite Dancy now being busy with his new show The Path on Hulu, the actor would be keen on revisiting Hannibal in a few years' time. '[Bryan Fuller] has got plenty on his plate and everybody is busy, which is fantastic, but I think we're in a place where we can say, "Okay, let's see what happens in four years,"' Dancy told Collider. 'If we're able to revisit it, maybe it would be different. I don't know what shape it would take. I've said many times, and it's completely true, that I would love that. If we were able to come back, maybe taking a few years away for it to reform itself might be the best thing that could happen for it.' Dancy added: 'I certainly think it's warranted, just by where we got to in the story. Sure, you could start a fourth season, or whatever it would be, with a big splash and see what happens when they hit the water, but I think it would be more interesting to find them a few years down the line.'
Coronation Street actress Beverley Callard is set to return to the ITV soap next month after revealing she had 'hope' in her battle with depression. The actress tweeted last week that the medication she was taking had stopped being manufactured. A 'source' for the production then confirmed that she would be 'taking time off' from her role as Liz McDonald in the long-running ITV drama. An ITV spokesperson said that Callard was set to return to work 'in May.' Callard confirmed this to a fan on Twitter. She said that her medication had been pulled from production as it yielded 'no profit' and added: 'Saw a new doctor today. Got hope!'

Russian President and homicidal psycho slapheed Vladimir Putin has said that he enjoyed the BBC's recent TV adaptation of War & Peace. Speaking at a media forum held by the All-Russian Popular Front, the president said that he loved 'patriot films,' specifically the 1966 Oscar-winning Russian language version of Tolstoy's classic. But, Putin said he was also impressed by English language versions of the novel - especially the BBC's recent version starring Lily James and James Norton. He said: 'I also watched it and I liked it. It seems to me that they were able after all to capture the Russian soul, the epoch and the depth of Tolstoy's thought.' Whether the Beeb themselves were happy at this ringing endorsement from The Butcher Of Grozny is not, at this time, known.
Given what they've been through in recent years, one would forgive the Eastenders' Beale family if they were yearning for a quiet life. Happily for viewers, however, that's not what producers have in mind for them, as they're set for 'an explosive storyline' involving the return of 'two familiar faces.' And, while the powers that be won't give any further details of what will happen, they have revealed the returners are John Partridge and Lynda Baron, who will reprise their roles as Jane Beale's brother Christian and mother, Linda. Christian has not been away from the Square too long, as he returned last summer for Ian and Jane's wedding in the thirtieth anniversary live specials, but Linda was last seen in 2009, when she left for Florida with her husband, Roger.
There's a new McDonald's advertising campaign on TV at the moment, you've probably noticed (let's face it, it's hard to miss it). The adverts are promoting the fast food chain's new collaboration with Monopoly, and feature actress, model and stunt person Gemita Samarra who has previously appeared, briefly, in Game Of Thrones.
Some BBC Breakfast viewers apparently thought they spotted 'a ghost' on the programme on Wednesday morning according to Metro. But, they didn't. Because ghosts don't exist. During an interview with the actress Jo Horton, who was on the programme to promote the Channel Four drama The People Next Door, a black shadow appeared to cross in front of the camera. Hopes of a close encounter of the spooky kind were quickly dashed, as a BBC spokeswoman explained: 'This was an effect on a filter of the camera relating to the lighting switching on. You can see a red spotlight at the top of the screen changing to a star effect, so it's just a technical thing.' Tragically, the BBC spokeswoman didn't go on to ask Metro 'don't you have any real news to be reporting then?'
Good news Taylor Lautner fans - all three of you - the BBC3 comedy Cuckoo has been recommissioned for another two series. The final episode of the third season was broadcast this week on BBC1 after premièring on BBC3 online and now Taylor, Greg Davies, Tyger Drew-Honey, Esther Smith and silly little Helen Baxendale will return for two further series. Dan Hine, executive producer for Roughcut Television which produces the show, said: 'The response to this series has been outstanding, which is testament to our hugely talented cast and crew. We can’t wait to engineer another few rounds of mayhem for Dale, Chief Ken and the rest of the Thompson clan.'
There's also some good news - and some bad news - for Happy Valley fans, Sally Wainwright's award-winning drama will probably return for a third series on BBC1 but probably not until 2018. ​However, any hypothetical third series could reportedly feature eight episodes instead of the usual six. Speaking to Newsweek, RED Productions founder Nicola Shindler said that the next run of the show will only happen when creator Wainwright is ready to write more episodes. 'Everyone's committed to it and is happy to do it. But it depends on the stories from Sally, when she's ready to write it and we won't move forward with it until she's [ready].' When asked if it could be up to two years before we see a new series, she said: 'I don't think it'll be before that, let's say that.'
The BBC will send four hundred and fifty five staff to cover this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro – forty per cent down on the number it employed for London 2012. The BBC acknowledged to some Middle Class hippy Communist louse at the Gruniad Morning Star that its staff numbers 'often attracted criticism' - usually from Middle Class hippy Communist lice at the Gruniad Morning Star and jack-booted bully boy scum thugs at the Daily Scum Mail - and said its 'total deployment' was one-fifth of the number being sent by US broadcaster NBC. The number of accredited staff is down on the seven hundred and sixty five who covered the 2012 Games and slightly fewer than the four hundred and ninety three who flew to China for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Alongside its coverage on TV and radio and an expanded digital offering through its interactive red button service, each individual sport will be streamed online. But there will be no repeat of the - hugely successful - experiment four years ago when the BBC responded to a first home Olympics for more than sixty years with up to twenty four channels of sport in cable and satellite homes. The BBC's director of sport, Barbara Slater, also pointed out that about seventy per cent of the BBC's personnel would be freelance, 'part of the BBC's commitment to supporting production talent across the UK media industry. We know that staff numbers can often attract criticism, but to put these into context we are deploying about one-fifth the size of the team of the US broadcast rights holder,' said Slater. 'We are planning to deliver roughly the same volume of output as London 2012 but with four hundred and fifty five accredited staff being sent to Brazil – around forty per cent below the total number of accreditations for London 2012 and thirty five per cent below Glasgow's Commonwealth Games in 2014. We have purposefully re-prioritised resources over the last four years to ensure we deliver the best possible coverage of Rio 2016. The presenters, commentators, reporters and pundits that lead our coverage require the support of a wide array of production and technical staff. The days are long, intensive and high-pressured, with the majority of staff working from the international broadcast centre alongside the rest of the world's media. As with Euro 2016, we are working in partnership with other broadcasters to share presentation facilities and maximise the efficiency of our production operations. As technology develops we expect to locate more of our major event production (and staff) in the UK without undermining the quality of coverage. But some of the technology we need to use is not broadcast-ready yet.' Last year the BBC lost control of the future destiny of games coverage after Discovery won the pan-European rights from 2018 onwards, and 2022 in the UK, in a nine hundred and twenty million smackers deal. But, the Olympics will remain on the BBC until at least 2024 after the corporation agreed a deal with the US broadcasting giant to sub-license the rights for the 2024 games.
ITV announced on Friday that it has poached the BBC's head of drama as part of a reorganisation of its senior programming team. The departure of Polly Hill from the BBC, where she was responsible for Poldark and Wolf Hall among others, will come as a blow to the corporation, which has made the genre a key part of its recent channels launch. After weeks of negotiating, new director of television Kevin Lygo is understood to have offered Hill twice her BBC salary in an effort to entice her to the commercial broadcaster. Hill's appointment comes amid a huge changing of the guard at ITV - which is also set to fill important vacancies in factual, entertainment and drama. Lygo, who was revealed as the replacement for Peter Fincham in January, has created a new structure following the departure of director of entertainment Elaine Bedell in January, head of factual Richard Klein in February and director of drama Steve November earlier this month. It is understood that Sue Murphy - managing director of the maker of many of Gordon Ramsay's shows Optomen - is to take one of the factual roles created after Lygo separated out Klein's old job into factual and factual entertainment. Her background includes being head of features and factual at Channel Four where her shows included popular series such as Embarrassing Bodies, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. In entertainment current commissioning editor Peter Davey and ITV Studios entertainment Shu Greene are expected to take the top jobs, with Greene's background at Simon Cowell's company Syco TV and experience executive producing The X Factor and The X Factor USA no doubt proving particularly useful. Lygo was less successful in courting the BBC's acting controller of factual, Alison Kirkham, whom he is understood to have also approached for a role at ITV.

Bob Mortimer's health scare last year did more than just make him a married man - it also saw he and comedy partner Vic Reeves cancel the first leg of their twenty fifth anniversary tour, The Poignant Moments. So fans of The Bra Men, Mulligan & O'Hare, Wavey Davey, Judge Lionel Nutmeg, The Stotts and The Living Carpets will be happy to hear that the pair simply wouldn't let it lie and will be playing shows in the towns and cities that missed out last November and December. The Poignant Moments had rapturous reviews across the country when the show was revived earlier this year and Reeves said that they 'had forgotten how much fun it was' to do a live show, adding that he and Bob had 'got such a great response from our encouragers, we decided we had to go out and do it again.' Mortimer agreed that it had been enjoyable and added a teaser for the new shows with a typically absurd twist: 'We will be energised and plumptious due to a long summer spent wrapped in an oil soaked carpet. Talking of carpets, not only will we be singing about them but will also be wearing them in protest against the spread of laminate and ceramic flooring. Hope you will be able to come along and join in.' You lyin' get!
Australia's entry for next month's Eurovision Song Contest has been cleared of breaching rules on product placement. 'Sound Of Silence', performed by Dami Im, features the lyric 'trying to feel your love through face time,' which some people with more time on their hands than is truly healthy interpreted as a reference to Apple's video-chat service FaceTime. Eurovision rules specifically prohibit 'messages promoting any political cause, company, brand, products or services.' But, organisers say that the lyrics do not make specific reference to Apple's app. They said: 'The lyrics of the Australian song are presented as two separate words, "face time" and not FaceTime which is an Apple trademark.' Meanwhile, the Italian entry, '(I Can't Get No) Contraception' has been withdrawn after the Pope advised them to pull it out at the last minute. Yes, the old ones are always the best.
The Rolling Stones (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s) have confirmed that they are working on a new, blues-inspired CD for release this year. 'We're actually in the studio in the moment cutting new stuff,' yer actual Keef Richards told BBC 6Music. Rockin' Ronnie Wood added that the band recently 'cut eleven songs in two days. Just "bang" - like that. It was a surprise to us. We didn't intend doing it,' he told Matt Everitt. 'I wish I could play them to you now. I'm so excited about them.' The Rolling Stones haven't released a studio CD since 2005's A Bigger Bang, although they wrote two new songs for the 2012 compilation record Grrrr! The sessions have included new material and a series of blues covers, including songs by Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf. 'They sound so authentic it's frightening,' said Rockin' Ronnie. 'We didn't spend any time rehearsing them or anything. We just picked a song that suited Mick's harmonica or a guitar riff and they worked out pretty good. It was like, "this is what the Stones do, we play blues."' 'It's sounding really good,' added Sir Mick Jagger. 'We did one session before Christmas. We'll probably do more.' 'It's very easy and free,' said Charlie Watts. 'Keith plays the same now as he ever did. He sits there and plays a song and if something comes to him, he'll put that into it.' Wood said the new music would be released 'sometime this year,' while Jagger said the band would be announcing more shows in the coming months. 'We'll come back to the UK,' he said. 'It doesn't feel very long since we played [here] but actually it's ages ago now.' 'I think our main thing is playing live these days,' Keef added. 'Within the band, we always feel like the next show is going to be better. For a bunch of reprobates we have an incredible dedication to our job.' The band were speaking at the launch of Exhibitionism, a career retrospective at London's Saatchi Gallery. Billed as the largest exhibition of Stones memorabilia ever mounted, it includes a recreation of the studio where they recorded 'Sympathy For The Devil' and the band's filthy first flat in Edith Grove, Chelsea. It also includes key instruments, LP art, diary entries, tour posters and the band's flamboyant outfits. But, as Richards told 6Music: 'I don't remember wearing any of it.'
Bruce Springsteen has cancelled a concert in North Carolina, joining business groups in condemning a state law that rolls back protection for gay and transgender people. The law invalidated several local anti-discrimination measures that protected gay and transgender people. It also requires people to use public toilets that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates. Major companies like Apple and Bank of America have criticised the law. 'Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry - which is happening as I write - is one of them,' The Boss said in a statement. Good on ya, Bruce, mate, you tell 'em. 'It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.' Bruce and The E-Street Band were scheduled to perform in Greensboro on Sunday. On Tuesday, tech company Pay Pal dropped plans to expand in the state, pulling out about four hundred jobs. A television series for the streaming service Hulu decided to film in Canada rather than North Carolina because of the law. There have also been calls to move major sporting events out of the state including the NBA All-Star Game. Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican (and knobcheese by the sound of him), defended the law calling it 'common sense.' He claimed that news reports about the law and the backlash were 'smearing our state in an inaccurate way.' North Carolina is one of a number of states in the southern US that have recently considered or enacted legislation that many deem anti-gay. Last June, a US Supreme Court ruling made gay marriage legal nationwide. In response, conservatives have sought to enact protections for religious people who believe marriage should only be between a man and woman ('religious freedom' in this case, seemingly, including the right to ignore all of the bits of the Bible that they don't agree with. Like, Matthew 7:1, for instance). Last year, Indiana made changes to a 'religious freedom' law after business groups and others threatened to boycott the state. The updated law included language that prohibited discrimination of any kind.

The offices of European football's governing body UEFA have been searched by Swiss police. It follows the naming of ex-secretary general Gianni Infantino - now president of world governing body FIFA - in papers leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Meanwhile, a FIFA official also named in the papers - Juan Pedro Damiani - has extremely resigned. Infantino has denied any wrongdoing while UEFA says that it is helping the police with their inquiries. While working for UEFA, Infantino co-signed a television rights deal in 2006 with two businessmen who have since been accused by the FBI of bribery, corruption and other naughty doings. Cross Trading - owned by Hugo Jinkis and his son, Mariano - bought TV rights for UEFA Champions League football in 2006 for seventy eight thousand knicker and then immediately sold them on to Ecuadorian TV broadcaster Teleamazonas for two hundred and twenty grand. Cross Trading also paid twenty thousand smackers for the rights to the UEFA Super Cup, subsequently selling those to Teleamazonas for almost ninety thousand quid. The contract came to light after eleven million documents were leaked from Mossack Fonseca. A statement from Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General said a 'co-operative search' took place 'for the purpose of securing evidence.' It said that its criminal proceedings were 'connected' to the acquisition of television rights and were 'directed against persons unknown, meaning that for the time being, no specific individual is being targeted.' Key words, 'for the time being.' It added: 'The suspicion is based on the result of findings that have emerged from other proceedings, as well as the corresponding financial analyses carried out by the OAG. Current publications in the media subsequently revealed still other elements that made it possible to complement the existing findings in a decisive manner. The final impetus was provided, in particular, by confirmation on the part of UEFA that it had concluded contracts with Cross Trading SA.' UEFA initially denied doing business with any of the fourteen people who have so far been indicted by the FBI in its investigation into corruption in world football. It has now told the BBC that the TV rights were sold 'to the highest bidder' in 'an open and competitive tender process.' It also stressed that it has been 'conducting a review of its various commercial contracts' following the US indictments in May 2015. UEFA also backed Infantino, who left the organisation after being elected as FIFA president on 26 February, describing him as 'an outstanding member of UEFA staff for many years' and 'a man who has always acted with complete professionalism and integrity.' A senior FIFA 'source' has told the BBC that the 2006 deal 'should be examined' by the governing body's ethics committee 'in the interests of transparency.' There is no evidence to suggest Infantino - then UEFA's director of legal services - received a bribe relating to the contract with Cross Trading and no suggestion that Teleamazonas was in any way complicit in any wrongdoing. Cross Trading also has links to Damiani, who has already been placed under internal investigation by FIFA. On Wednesday, he resigned from FIFA's ethics committee. 'We can confirm that Mr Damiani resigned from his position as member of the adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee of FIFA,' panel spokesman Marc Tenbuecken told the AFP news agency in an e-mail. Leaked Panama documents suggest that Damiani and his firm provided legal assistance for at least seven offshore companies linked to Eugenio Figueredo, a former FIFA vice-president who was among the fourteen people arrested last May in Zurich as part of the US inquiry. The documents were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. BBC's Panorama and the Gruniad Morning Star newspaper are among one hundred and seven media organisations in seventy eight countries that have been analysing the documents.

And now, dear blog reader ...
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though tragically unsellable and seemingly, relegation-bound) Newcastle United have announced a profit of over thirty two million quid after tax, an increase of over thirteen million knicker on the previous year. Financial results for the year to 30 June 2015 show a cash balance of £48.3m. Turnover fell by less than one per cent and debt remained static at one hundred and twenty nine million notes. But, managing director Lee Charnley says that the club understand 'football and not financial results' are what fans want. Which, given that at the time of writing, the Magpies are currently second bottom of the Premier League and facing the drop, might produce little more than a hollow laugh from The Toon Army. 'We must remain positive and retain the belief that we can secure our Premier League status,' Charnley added. Yeah, well good luck with that mate, you're going to need it.
Two new studies confirm that multiple exploding stars, called supernovae, have showered the Earth with radiation within the last few million years. One study reports traces of radioactive iron-sixty, a strong indicator of supernova debris, found buried in the sea floor right across the globe. A second paper models which specific supernovae are most likely to have splattered this isotope across our historic, galactic neighbourhood. Both appear in the journal Nature. The periods of bombardment highlighted by the two teams do not coincide with any mass extinction events - and indeed, the predicted locations of the culprit supernovae are not quite close enough to unleash that level of destruction. But the blasts may, nonetheless, have affected the Earth's climate and thus, the evolution of life. Importantly, the two sets of results are entirely consistent, according to Dieter Breitschwerdt from the Berlin Institute of Technology who led the modelling research. His team has spent years studying 'the local bubble', a ballooning region of hot gas, six hundred light-years across, which surrounds the Solar System and dominates our stellar neighbourhood. It was formed, Breitschwerdt and his colleagues have found, by upwards of a dozen supernovae all blowing up within a nearby, moving clump of stars. Their new paper pinpoints those explosions. 'We now can make a table of the stars - what mass they had, when they exploded, and where they were,' he told the BBC News website. Specifically, his team calculated how much iron-sixty those supernovae would have sprayed into space - and how much the Earth could have swept up, based on the Solar System's path as it orbits around the Milky Way. The tiny quantities of this isotope found in the Earth's crust - first detected in samples from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in 1999 - show a peak at about two million years ago. So, do the closest explosions in Breitschwerdt's table match that peak? The nearest blast in the simulation took place 2.3 million years ago, and the second-nearest one-and-a-half million years ago. But a prolonged, recent scattering of iron-sixty is precisely what the other Nature paper reports, based on atom-counting measurements from one hundred and twenty sea-bed samples spanning the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Together, these new samples cover eleven million years of Earth's geological history - and they reveal an increased smattering of iron-sixty between one and three million years ago. 'We were very surprised that there was debris clearly spread across 1.5 million years,' said that study's lead author Anton Wallner, a nuclear physicist at the Australian National University in Canberra. 'It suggests there were a series of supernovae, one after another.' Wallner and his colleagues also detect a spike in iron-sixty a little earlier, between 6.5 and 8.7 million years ago - but it is the more recent deposit that aligns remarkably well with Breitschwerdt's simulation. Even the teams' predicted distances match: the simulations and the ocean-floor data both place the recent explosions three hundred light-years away, or less. The timing of the supernovae also has some fascinating implications: 'It's an interesting coincidence that they correspond with when the Earth cooled and moved from the Pliocene into the Pleistocene period,' Wallner added, referring to the epoch of regular ice ages that took hold some two-and-a-half million years ago. The idea that nearby stellar explosions could have triggered key transitions in our planet's natural history is not a new one. But it has found little scientific support over the years.

A copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, one of the most sought-after books in the world, has been discovered in a stately home on a Scottish island. This copy of the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, published in 1623, was found at Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute. Academics who authenticated the book called it 'a rare and significant find.' About two hundred and thirty copies of the First Folio are known to exist. A copy owned by Oxford University sold for three-and-a-half million knicker in 2003. Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford University, said that her first reaction on being told the stately home was claiming to have an original First Folio was: 'Like hell they have.' But, when she inspected the three-volume book she found it was authentic. 'We've found a First Folio that we didn't know existed,' said Professor Smith. The goatskin-bound book will now go on public display at the stately home for the first time. Adam Ellis-Jones, director of the Mount Stuart House Trust, said that the identification of this original First Folio was 'genuinely astonishing.' The discovery comes ahead of the four hundredth anniversary of the playwright's death in 1616. The First Folio, printed seven years after Shakespeare's death, brought together thirty six plays - eighteen of which would, otherwise, not have been recorded. Without this publication, there would be no copy of plays such as Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and The Tempest. The book is also the only source of the familiar dome-headed portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout. Smith, author of Shakespeare's First Folio: Four Centuries Of An Iconic Book, says that it is 'uncertain' how many copies were produced - although some put the figure at about seven hundred and fifty. About two hundred and thirty copies are known to still exist. The last copy found was two years ago, in what had been a Jesuit library in St Omer in France. The Isle of Bute discovery adds another, but there is uncertainty about where this copy had spent much of the four centuries since being printed. It had been owned by an Eighteenth Century literary editor and then appears in the Bute library collection in 1896. Alice Martin, Mount Stuart's head of historic collections, believes it was bought by the third Marquess of Bute, an antiquarian and collector, who died in 1900. The Trust, which runs the Gothic revival house, had been researching the collection of books, paintings and historic items and called in experts from Oxford to assess the authenticity of what had been claimed as a First Folio. Apart from its unique cultural value, verification makes the book extremely valuable in monetary terms. A copy owned by Oriel College, Oxford sold for about three-and-a-half million knicker in 2003, while another copy sold at auction in 2006 for about 2.8 million notes. Authenticating a copy involves a series of technical checks on, among other things, the watermarked paper and printing process. Imperfections are also part of the identification, as real copies can include the inky thumbprints of Jacobean printers. Misspellings also appear, sometimes corrected after proofreading. There is a stage direction in King Lear for instance which, in the early part of the print run, says rather cryptically 'H edis', which is then updated in later copies to 'He dis' before it is finally corrected to 'He dies.' Authentications are further complicated by high-quality reproductions produced by a Nineteenth Century craftsman, John Harris. He was hired by the British Museum to replace missing or damaged pages or sections of old books, including for First Folios - and was so skilled that it is uncertain how much of his work might now be accepted as authentic. Professor Smith suggests that not even all the officially catalogued First Folios may be authentic. The story of the First Folio, she says, usually focuses on the literary genius of Shakespeare, but the survival of his plays depended on the practical skills of the people who produced this book. 'The vast majority of plays from this period have been lost, because they were never printed,' she says. The preservation of much of Shakespeare's work depended on the publishers of the First Folio copying, collating and editing from whatever hand-written scripts and first-hand memories were still available in the 1620s. As Shakespeare's reputation grew, the value of the First Folio increased, with the book becoming highly prized by collectors. In the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries many copies were bought by US railway millionaires, financiers and oil tycoons. Ellis-Jones says that identifying a First Folio at Mount Stuart indicates how much remains to be examined in one of the 'last great unknown collections. We knew that we had special things here, but we keep discovering how special - because it's never been researched and never been in the public eye.' Martin says an 'abundance of mysteries' remain. 'We've got completely unexplored collections.' She says that there has always been something 'quite eccentric' about the house. As well as being an art collector, the third Marquess introduced exotic wildlife to the island, including kangaroos. The last of these exiled marsupials died when it was hit by the island's first car. Are any more First Folios likely to appear? 'I'm sure there are a few more out there,' says Smith. 'I don't think they're in people's lofts, even though it would be lovely and romantic. I think they're in libraries which have been neglected or forgotten, I suspect more will be in mainland Europe.'

Anyway, dear blog reader, yer actual's first - non-self employed - working week in a jolly long time was completed with a twelve till four shift on the counter for the first time (supervised, obviously) on Friday. It was exhausting and, for much of the time this blogger felt like an empty-headed dolt as he kept on forgetting bits of what he was supposed to say or do (annoyingly, it seemed to be a different bits each time!) But, it was also quite exhilarating in a way yer actual Keith Telly Topping hasn't experienced since the last time he had three white wines and a Bailey's in just over an hour and then tried to walk in a straight line. This blogger got the bus home and settled down upstairs with one of the huge mound of unread Mojo's he is currently ploughing his way through. It was a 2015 edition and the lead feature was the staff's one hundred favourite David Bowie songs each with a little rationale of why they were so groovy (or, in the case or about a dozen selected tunes, a big rationale of why they were so groovy). This blogger was just up to the top ten and wondering why, exactly, 'Time' was thirty eight places lower on the list than 'China Girl' was when a guy sitting opposite him - I'm guessing Malian or Ivorian, French-speaking African, anyway - noticed the magazine and said 'Ah, Daveeed Bowie! C'est magnifique!' and gave this blogger a little thumbs up. Made Keith Telly Topping's day, that did!
This blogger's weekly shop was done on the same day, albeit not without its manifest horrorshow (and drag) elements particularly in the cheese department. Yer actual's local ASDA was not only out of Emmental but, shockingly, it now 'doesn't stock' Port Salut and hasn't 'for ages'. How uncivilised. Right, that's this blogger back to Morrisons next time, then, free bus or no free bus.
A privacy injunction imposed by the court of appeal earlier this year has blocked the British media from writing about the alleged affair of a well-known celebrity's partner - a move that one tabloid is calling 'a farce of justice,' since the story has now been published in the US. The Daily Scum Mail, with wax exploding in its ears, published a spectacularly whinging front-page article on Thursday headlined Why The Law Is An Ass! The Scum Mail called UK privacy laws 'draconian,' accused rich and famous residents of 'hiding' behind injunctions to cover up any potentially unflattering story, dragged out a few quotes from that odious, gobshite Tory MP Philip Davies and, then, did a separate story concerning olive oil and a paddling pool. Use your imagination, dear blog reader. Under British laws, public figures may face criticism in the media - if a 'public interest' is considered to outweigh their right to privacy. If a court determines that there is no public interest to a story about a celebrity’s personal life (usually in the case of so-called 'kiss-and-tell' stories), an injunction may be issued to prevent the story from being published. In some cases, under what is called a super-injunction, even the existence of a court's decision itself may not be reported in the media. But with the advent of the Internet, British residents now have access to global media outlets which are not bound by these laws. In the US, for example, constitutional protections exist for a free press. The US media may cite a variety of newsworthy reasons to write about any person's private life, so long as the story is true. When writing about 'public figures,' the media has even more leeway; a celebrity can only prove libel if the story is not only false but they can also show that it was written with malicious intent. 'Details of the celebrity's infidelity and the threesome have been printed in the US and are available to three hundred and nineteen million Americans,' the Scum Mail whinged. 'Information was also immediately available on social media and the names were even published in search inquiry results on the British site of Google.' 'I would love to tell you who the celebrity is,' wrote the loathsome Scum Mail columnist and resident bigot Richard Littlejohn. 'But, I don't fancy going to prison.' In that case, we all think you should name him, mate, and do everyone a favour. We've all had a vote on this. According to court of appeal records, the Sun On Sunday planned to write about a person - who is described as 'well-known in the entertainment business' - and his partner. The court's ruling took place in January and was later reported by the Gruniad Morning Star after becoming public in March. The partner had, it is alleged, met up with another couple for 'a sexual encounter' in 2011. The couple, in January 2016, approached the Sun to tell about their experience. How much coin they expected to be paid for snitching up this 'exclusive', we don't know because they Sun have been notably coy about that part of the story. The newspaper's lawyers contacted the partner for a comment and he then started the court proceedings. '[The couple] maintained that they had not courted publicity about their private life,' the court records note. 'They said that the various press articles about them were substantially true. They had been in a relationship for many years. The relationship was an open one.' A judge initially sided with the newspaper, saying that the entertainer and his partner's 'public image of commitment' gave an 'element' of public interest to whether they had casual sexual encounters with others. The appellate court reversed that judgment. 'The claimant had an expectation that his sexual encounters will remain private,' the court said. 'The proposed story, if it is published, will be devastating for the claimant.' The court also said that if the story were to be published, it would put the couple's children at risk. 'The children would become the subject of increased press attention, with all that that entails,' the court said. 'Furthermore, 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.' Needless to say the Sun are Goddamn furious about all this. And so are the Mirra and the Torygraph. The man at the centre of the story has also spoken to several newspapers (the Mirra, for instance). He told the Sun: 'What about our human rights and freedom of expression?' And the opportunity to sell your story for huge oodles of wonga, too, obviously. 'It is not just about this story any more - it's a wider issue; and people like them should not be able to use the courts to stop this stuff just because they have got pots of money.' He claims that he feels 'bullied and harassed' by the star and alleges that he has been threatened with jail if he speaks out. Probably best not to, then. On Sunday, came the news that a Scottish newspaper had named the individuals in direct flouting of the court judgment. The Gruniad stated, rather sniffily, that the paper 'cannot be named for legal reasons.' But, you can buy it at any newsagent North of the border. Dominic Ponsford in the Press Gazette, meanwhile, had a somewhat different take on the story (and, a related one).

One of Sir Elton John's former bodyguards is reported to be suing the singer, alleging battery and sexual harassment. Sir Elt denies all of the charges, while his lawyer says they are baseless.' The man behind the allegations, LAPD employee Jeffrey Wenninger, claims that Elton touched him in 'an unwelcome and offensive' manner. According to court documents, the plaintiff 'recalls' being told such suggestive lines as, 'Say hello to Uncle Elton,' during the alleged inappropriate contact. The filing continues, 'these actions resulted in [the] plaintiff sustaining severe and ongoing physical and emotional damage.' Wenninger's plea for unspecified - though, one imagines massive - damages also includes lost wages and medical costs associated with the alleged battery and harassment. Orin Snyder, an attorney who represents Elton's record company, Rocket Entertainment Group, released a statement which stated: 'These claims are patently untrue and contradicted by numerous previous statements made by this plaintiff,' adding the claim that Wenninger is 'a disgruntled former security officer seeking to extract an undeserved payment.'

The Independent has claimed that a man has been jailed after tagging himself in Facebook photos showing him taking part in a riot. Robert Darragh, from the Shankill area of Belfast, allegedly took part in a riot during a clash between Nationalists and Unionists during the Loyalist marching season in Northern Ireland last year. Twenty nine police officers were injured during the disturbance as they were pelted with bricks, bottles and other missiles. Belfast Crown Court heard that during the disturbance, Darragh kept his face covered 'to avoid detection' and so he 'could not be identified from CCTV footage.' However, as part of their investigation, police officers looked through photos on social media sites to find images from the riot. Darragh had, seemingly, tagged himself in a Facebook photo showing him participating in the disturbance. The tag linked to his profile page, from which officers were able to find his full name and address. He was subsequently extremely arrested and admitted one charge of participating in the riot and another of being a daft plank. He has been given a two year prison sentence.
Geordie and Mackem ladies top 'a league table' of Britain's most drunken women. Figures obtained from police forces across the country show that Northumbria Poliss handed out more on-the-spot fines to drunk lasses than any other according to the Evening Chronicle. They have been slapped with more eighty knicker on-the-spot fines for 'nuisance public boozing' than females in any other region in the country. So, congratulations girls, nice to know there's something that this region is best at since our football teams are doing so rotten-bad at the moment. A total of four thousand six hundred and twenty nine fines were dished out by the bobbies patrolling Newcastle and Sunderland, in six years. The second worst-hit area was Lancashire, which includes the hen-party mecca Blackpool, with three thousand five hundred and ninety six fines. In third place with three thousand four hundred and ten cash penalties was Merseyside, where Liverpool city centre's array of bars and clubs lures thousands of party girls each weekend. All top three regions were well ahead of fourth-placed London, despite having far smaller populations than the capital. The rise in anti-social drunkenness by young women has been blamed on cheap booze in bars and 'pre-loading' with supermarket drink before hitting town. An alleged police officer allegedly told the newspaper: 'Women now can be just as bad as blokes – if not worse – for late-night drink-fuelled antics.' This rather snitchy - if nameless and, therefore, quite possibly fictitious - officer allegedly added: 'Just a few years ago women in a group might have acted as a calming influence on a party out for the night. Now in some towns a group of girls on a serious drinking session can be worse than the men. They can get into all sorts of trouble and end up injuring themselves, losing or damaging their own property – or worse. A lot of the problem is down to cheap drink, with women often getting drunk from alcohol they consume at home before they even hit the town centre. People laugh at the pictures of half-naked women lying across pavements paralytic from booze. But it isn't funny and can end up having really serious consequences for the person concerned.' In January, a passenger who forced a flight to Newcastle Airport to land was banned and fined almost seven grand. The forty two-year-old, from Sunderland, received a lifetime ban from Jet2 and fined six thousand eight hundred smackers for costs incurred after a flight from Tenerife to Newcastle was diverted to Ireland on New Year's Day. And, over the Easter weekend a woman was photographed appearing to be relieving herself into the Tyne. Oi, cut it out, darlin' some of us drink from there, you know? The picture, showing the woman squatting with her pants down over the railings next to the Millennium Bridge in broad daylight, was shared thousands of times on social media. It prompted Northumbria Police to issue 'a stark warning to revellers.' Officers said that she could have faced criminal proceedings if a complaint had been made. But, it wasn't.
Sex workers are the secret keepers of the intimate world, but some of them have been spilling the beans on the odder requests that they've encountered. From feet fetishes to elbow rubbings, the unusual revelations shine a light on what people are prepared to pay strangers for - but perhaps not ask from their own partners. Sharing on a Reddit forum, one poster said: '[I] had a very muscular guy come in who would shower, then once he was clean, would flex and want me to sink my teeth into his muscles and gnaw gently.' She admits it was 'surprisingly fun.' Another - male - worker shared the following odd story: 'I used to do [camera] shows in college. One guy paid for a private show and asked me to take my laptop to the bathroom and completely submerge myself in water for as long as I could. I was under for maybe forty five seconds and when I came up he had left the room. I still wonder what he got out of that.' A waitress at a strip club claimed 'one dude came in and asked girls to let him rub their elbows.' And, when it comes to the professions, how about a sexy dentist: 'I had a guy lay me out on the table, take my shoes off, get out a set of dental picks and mirrors and an electric toothbrush, and do a "dental exam" on my feet. For an hour. Checking for "cavities," "polishing," "flossing," et cetera. I was supposed to play the whole thing straight as if it was really my teeth he was examining.' Some volunteered tales they had allegedly been told by others. 'I had a friend who was a sex worker,' one claimed. 'My favourite story from her was a client who wanted her to stand in a corner, facing the wall, wearing nothing but combat boots and reading from Ulysses.'
Hollywood actress and professional loon Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed her latest unusual beauty regime: letting herself be stung by bees. She claimed that the treatment - apitherapy - had been used for thousands of years but had 'fallen out of fashion' in recent times. In an interview with the New York Times where she shared beauty advice, she described herself as being 'generally open to anything. I'm always the guinea pig to try everything. I've got to try them all.' The forty three-year-old said that apitherapy is used to 'get rid of inflammation and scarring' and that it was 'actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it's painful.' Well, of course it is, you daft plank of a woman. Apitherapy also covers the use of honey for medicinal purposes as well as being stung - 'bee venom therapy.' It involves angering the bees so that they sting a person on the affected area of the body. Not that Gwyneth Paltrow needs to do anything to annoy bees (or anyone else for that matter), the fact that she exists is, surely, enough? Any benefits from apitherary have not been scientifically proven. You don't say?
A prank caller convinced employees of a Coon Rapids Burger King outlet to smash all of the windows of the restaurant 'to keep the building from exploding,' Minnesota police say. The incident reportedly happened on Friday evening at the Burger King on Northdale Boulevard. According to police, employees received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Coon Rapids Fire Department. The caller claimed that the restaurant was 'pressurised' and 'could explode,' so the employees needed to break the windows to 'relieve the pressure.' The employees believed the caller and, thereafter, broke multiple windows, complying with these - seemingly very reasonable - instructions. Police believe the call was 'a prank' - you think? - and an investigation is under way to determine who made the call. Although, the fact that the building didn't subsequently explode does leave open the possibility that it was genuine. A slim possibility, perhaps, but, there you go. KFOR-TV reports that a similar thing happened at an Oklahoma Burger King also on Friday, costing the restaurant thousands of dollars' worth of damage.
A woman who was badly bitten by a three-legged tiger after she got inside a zoo so she could 'pet' the animal has pleaded extremely guilty to trespassing. And even more guilty to being a stupid twonk, obviously. Jacqueline Eide admitted entering Henry Doorly Zoo, in Omaha, Nebraska after 'a social function' last Halloween. Meaning, she was extremely pissed at the time. She was bitten by a Malayan tiger called Mai when she reached into the animal's exhibit. Eide then ended up in Creighton University Medical Centre with 'a severe trauma' to her hand. Police said that she 'acted aggressively' and 'appeared to be intoxicated' when officers were called to the hospital to ask her what the Hell she thought she'd been doing. At the time, zoo executive director Dennis Pate said additional cameras were being installed as a result of the incident. Mai has been at the zoo since 2003 and is 'very friendly, which is odd because she came from the wild,' the zoo added. In court on Monday, Eide was fined two hundred and fifty bucks and ordered to pay costs.
Local newspapers are often the source of deliciously weird news, but the latest story to come out of Cheltenham is, perhaps, the best scoop we at From The North seen in a good long while. The Gloucestershire Echo wrote a story about a dropped bag of KFC chicken. An eagle-eyed journalist spotted the potential for a human-interest tale when he or she saw a load of chicken and chips strewn across the road on Cheltenham's St George's Place on Thursday morning. The reporter also managed to locate a torn KFC carrier bag on a nearby street which was, seemingly, related to the tragic incident. One imagines his or her parents are so proud of this triumph of journalism. A Pulitzer Prize can, surely, only be a chicken drumstick away. In a bizarre editorial move, the local news site hunted for the unlucky diner who dropped their dinner on the pavement and, eventually, tracked him down, getting a second story out of that. And then people wonder why local newspapers are having such a hard time at the moment with public service journalism gems like this. This latest story is almost as captivating as 2013's Is this the biggest chip in Gloucestershire? which caused a lot of buzz in Cheltenham about a particularly large chunk of fried potato. Not a lot goes on in Cheltenham, dear blog reader, as you've possibly guessed. Very nice place, don't get me wrong, but a bit on the quiet side.
Three restaurants in the Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have found that 'employing' robot waiting staff was more trouble than it was worth. Of the three establishments, two have closed down, while the third has sent all but one of their robots back and reverted to human servers, the Workers' Daily newspaper reports. While the robot waiters were 'an excellent gimmick' to get customers through the door, they were not quite so good at their programmed task of serving food and drink to customers, according to staff. 'The mobility of the catering staff was great, we initially recruited six for service, but after a year we only retained one,' says a hotpot restaurant supervisor named Ms Liang. Another human employee at one of the restaurants says the robots simply didn't have 'the same capabilities' as their flesh-and-blood colleagues. 'Their services were limited. They couldn't pour water for customers, nor could they take orders,' the staff member tells Workers' Daily. The current state of robotics and artificial intelligence means that the technology is not quite advanced enough for robot waiters to work effectively, one expert notes. Quoted by the Shanghaiist website, Zhang Yun, a specialist at Guangdong University of Technology, says that while robots are good at repetitive tasks in manufacturing, they're still unable to perform autonomously in jobs such as waiting which require interaction with unpredictable humans.
A Florida pawn shop owner says that thieves used a bra to steal about three thousand six hundred dollars worth of jewellery. The owner of Jax Jewellery & Pawn in Jacksonville said the pair of very naughty women stole five gold chains and a charm. 'There she goes again. Right in her blouse,' said owner Philip Frey as he watched the surveillance video. The video appears to show a woman in a white shirt slipping jewellery into her bra on at least four occasions whilst her accomplice chatted to a store employee. 'These are professionals and that's the bottom line,' said Frey. Top line, surely? The heist took half-an-hour from start to finish. 'Number one, we want them caught. But at the same time, we want to provide other shopkeepers in the community, this is happening. This is something new. They need to know about it,' said Frey.
An employee of the Spielothek Casino in Halberstadt, Germany, heard ticking and humming noises coming from a men's bathroom rubbish bin Tuesday and immediately called the police, The Local reported. Officers evacuated dozens of punters from the casino and from adjacent shops, blocked off the street and called in the bomb squad. They eventually found something not-quite-so-explosive in the bin: a penis ring which was still vibrating. An official told the German publication Volkstimme that the department had to react 'on the safe side.' As for the offending battery-powered sex toy which caused all the shenanigans, no one knows how it got there. 'This is something I have never seen in thirty six years on the force, that just tops everything,' the chief superintendent told Volksstimme.
Nineteen-year-old Sean Williams took the term 'busting ass' quite literally while having some particularly energetic anal sex with his lover, twenty six-year-old Tamela Martin. Tamela was reported to have called 911 after Williams 'caused her buttocks to explode' while they were having sex, ahem, 'doggy-doggy style.' The lady claimed that when they were coitally entwined, as it were, Williams started 'pounding her aggressively.' She said that she asked Williams to stop because 'something didn't feel right.' She added: 'We was doing it and then he flipped me over and began to tear it up from the back. [I] asked him several times to be gentle, then I began to beg him to stop. That's when he started going harder. I felt pressure building up in my booty and it felt like my booty was trippling in size, I felt the skin stretching. It was a pain I never experienced.' Tamela was later rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital. She had recently received buttock-enlargement injections and said that she was 'well aware' of the risks involved in taking it up the bottom. Williams, however, has been charged with assault as police claim he ignored Tamela's pleas to stop during sex and is, therefore, culpable. Officer Doug Davis of DeKalb County Police Department said: 'Even though she knew the risks, Sean Williams was still arrested because he was asked to stop and he disregarded the victim's request. This has got to be the strangest assault case I've encountered.' Williams has been charged with one count of Sexual Assault and one count of Aggravated Assault. One of Sean's relatives released a statement to Radar saying: 'He is the first dude to go to jail for bussin' a bitches ass. I mean, he literally beat that ass flat. He must have been slam-fuckin' her. I hope the judge goes easy on him.'

A woman accused of starting fires in her apartment was 'burning love letters' from her ex-boyfriend after she discovered that he was gay and cheating on her, the woman's defence attorney claimed. Lakishette Williams appeared for a bail reconsideration hearing on Friday - four months after she was charged with aggravated arson over the incident. Police said at the time that they arrested Williams at her apartment on North Gouverneur Avenue in Trenton, New Jersey and found that she had started fires in two rooms. Prosecutors said that police 'found evidence' of the first fire on a stove-top in the kitchen where they discovered 'remnants of charred paper' on a burner. After investigating the rest of the apartment, they found broken glass and evidence of 'more burned papers' in the living room and an aerosol can nearby, prosecutors said. They added that the building held other apartments, including one that was occupied when Williams lit the fires. Prosecutors believe Williams intended to damage the building. Caroline Turner, an attorney representing Williams, claimed that Williams wasn't trying to set the apartment on fire - she was simply burning love letters from her ex-boyfriend. Williams had recently discovered online that the man was gay and in relationships with other men, Turner added. Distraught over her failed relationship, the twenty five-year-old mother of two decided to get rid of the love letters, Turner said. 'She was devastated.' A judge decided to maintain Williams' bail at thirty five thousand dollars, which he reduced from the initial fifty thousand during an earlier bail hearing in December.
Five men have received very stiff prison sentences - of between sixteen and forty four months porridge - for the theft of a trailer containing up to twenty thousand quid's worth of Jammie Dodgers®™. The trailer was taken from Burton's Food Factory in Torfaen on 17 June last year, after the gang had travelled from Liverpool to Gwent to carry out their heinous crime, Cardiff Crown Court heard. The thieves gained access to the factory in stolen vehicles, posing as DHL delivery staff. The trailer was later found abandoned in a lay-by on the M62, with all the contents emptied. The Independent reports that as the defendants left the dock, one was heard to say: 'Does anyone want a biscuit?' Oh, how arch. There'll be no nice jam biccies for you in The Big House, my lad! It's all plain digestives in there.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I see that Wee Shughie McFee has claimed he was 'staggered' to see that Countryfile had beaten his eXecrable Factor in the ratings last year. Claiming that 9m viewers for Countryfile showed that TV was heading in the direction of appealing primarily to older viewers....as if he's some strutting 20-something cock of the walk! No Simon, Countryfile beat you in the ratings because The X Factor is staler than a tramp's breath. Age has nothing to do with it.

Once again, I have put my fingers in my ears and gone la-la-la in the face of your comments regarding the brilliant Stewart Lee. Still, each to their own :)