Saturday, April 02, 2016

Welcome To The Working Week I Know It Don't Thrill You, I Hope It Doesn't Kill You!

The threat from terrorists trying to launch a nuclear attack which would 'change our world' is real, President Barack Obama has said. Great. So, on that cheery thought, dear blog reader, here's the latest From The North bloggerisationisms. It's been nice knowing all of you.

The game appears to be very much on, judging by ​Sherlock​ co-creator Mark Gatiss' latest tweet. Mark - who plays Sherlock's brother Mycroft in the series (you knew that, right?) - tweeted: 'I spy series four' on Wednesday. He accompanied the post with a picture of a skull wearing a pair of spectacles which appears to be sat on Sherlock's mantelpiece.
This blogger's dear old friend, Greg Bakun - he of the well-excellent From The Archives website - has written a quite superb piece for the BBC Genome Blog on his lifelong love affair with British telly which yer actual Keith Telly Topping highly recommends all dear blog readers check out.
Anyway, dear blog reader, we start the latest bloggerisationisms update with a whole buckettload of yer actual ratings, starting with Easter Saturday. ITV, for the first time in a while, enjoyed an across-the-board primetime victory over BBC1 with a combination of Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - 5.16 million punters at the earlier-than-usual start-time of 6pm - and Live International Football - England's surprise 3-2 victory over Ze Chermans watched by 6.13m from 7.30pm. Later, The Jonathan Ross Show drew 2.09m at 10pm. BBC1's night began with yet another gross light entertainment flop aiming at being merely average and still missing the target by effing miles, the thoroughly wretched Can't Touch This which drew a satisfyingly rotten 2.86 million punters for its opening episode. Good. Hopefully, whichever clown on the sixth floor at Broadcasting House thought this utterly depressing lowest-common-denominator turd for Zoe Ball and Ashley Banjo to present was a good idea will be clearing out his or her desk jolly soon. I'd call it the Don't Scare The Hare for 2016 but, to be honest, it's not even that noteworthy. Up against the football from 7pm, The Voice had a week to forget with the first of the live shows drawing a current series low of 4.75m whilst, later the results programme at 8.55pm had 4.45 million. One wonders if ITV are now regretting buying the format for next year? The main episode also finished fifteen minutes earlier than advertised due to two contestants pulling out, one due to health issues and the other, in a blaze of tabloid publicity, for 'personal reasons' which, according to the Sun On Sunday involved the part-taking of Charlie. BBC1's poor night continued with The National Lottery Live (2.05m) and only recovered with Casualty (4.08 million at 9.40pm). Earlier in the day, James Martin hosted his final episode of Saturday Kitchen with 2.22 million viewers tuning in between 10am and 11.30am. On BBC2, another repeat of Perry & Croft: Made In Britain attracted eight hundred and fifty one thousand viewers at 8pm, followed by an episode of the pairs' masterpiece, Dad's Army (1.55m) and, at 9pm, the documentary Being The Brontës (eight hundred and ninety two thousand). Channel Four also broadcast a documentary, Shakespeare's Tomb presented by the historian Helen Castor which drew a more-than-decent 1.25 million at 8pm. The movie The Heat was seen by 1.08m an hour later. On Channel Five, NCIS: New Orleans had an audience of six hundred and one thousand viewers at 7.05pm, NCIS was watched by seven hundred and four thousand at 8pm and Football League Tonight had one hundred and ninety nine thousand punters at 9pm. Live Boxing from 9.40pm and the sad sight of Nick Blackwell ending the night in hospital, drew 1.10 million. Sky Sports 2's coverage of the England cricket team's victory over Sri Lanka to qualify for the World T20 semi-finals was watched by nine hundred and seventeen thousand viewers.

BBC1's classy espionage thriller The Night Manager averaged 6.61m viewers for its final episode, beating ITV's much-trailed Our Queen At Ninety by over a million overnight viewers to win the Easter weekend TV battle. However ITV's royal documentary, which began an hour earlier and drew 5.18 million, did beat BBC1's Antiques Roadshow, which averaged 4.87m. The Night Manager, an updated version of John Le Carre's 1993 novel, has been a huge hit with viewers and critics. Reviews have been positive for The Night Manager, starring Tom Hiddleston as the enigmatic Jonathan Pine, who goes undercover to try to expose the activities of billionaire arms dealer Richard Roper, played by Huge Laurie. The Daily Torygraph called it 'a superb climax', while pointing out that the ending, in which Roper loses his money and his liberty, differed from the novel's, in which 'Corky survived to expose Pine and thrash him to a pulp for days on end.' Producers told the newspaper that they did this to keep viewers 'on their toes.' The Gruniad Morning Star - who, in common with most newspapers seemed entirely unable to even mention The Night Manager without, in the same sentence alluding, yet again, how much it cost to produce - described the series as 'stylish and trenchant espionage drama of, no doubt, award-garnering brilliance,' but the reviewer suggested that Laurie's accent was 'too similar' to one he used thirty years ago in a sketch for A Bit Of Fry & Laurie, about about 'two testosterone-charged, Uttoxeter-based health club entrepreneurs.' Oh, sod off you worthless Middle Class hippy Communist tosser. The Daily Mirra wrote that the drama gave viewers 'palpitations' (presumably he asked all of them before making this claim?), before mentioning how much it cost and the Daily Scum Mail said it was 'an explosive mix of gore and subterfuge.' Before mentioning how much it cost. Even the Sun seemed to love it. Though, they also mentioned how much it cost. BBC1's night also included Easter Sunday's second-highest rated show, Countryfile with 5.76m from 7pm. Earlier, coverage of The Boat Races drew 2.99m from 2.25pm. On ITV, The Chase: Celebrity Special began a new series with 2.85m at 7pm. BBC2's night included Natural Born Winners (1.35 million) and Tribes, Predators & Me (1.20 million). On Channel Four Great Canal Journeys was watched by 1.13m, a repeat of Gogglebox had seven hundred and seventy eight thousand viewers whilst the second series of the drama Indian Summers continued to struggle with an overnight audience of just six hundred and eight thousand at 9pm for the third episode. Penn and Teller: Fool Us In Vegas was watched by seven hundred and forty seven thousand on Channel Five at 8pm whilst, the movie Due Date attracted seven hundred and ninety nine thousand. Marvel's Agents of SHIELD was seen by four hundred thousand punters at 9pm on E4.

Speculation is rife - at least in newspapers if not anywhere that actually matters - that a continuation of The Night Manager is already 'deep in discussion.' The author of the original novel, John le Carré, neglected to provide a sequel, but the acclaim for the BBC dramatisation, with its brilliant central performances by Tom Hiddleston, Huge Laurie and Olivia Colman, has been so great that everybody and their dog seems to have assumed the BBC want to go ahead and make one anyway. Le Carré himself has given no sign of planning a return to the 1993 story, his first post-cold-war novel, but according to the Radio Times, the BBC is 'in detailed talks' with the Ink Factory, the production company run by two of his sons, about a second series featuring some of the characters. The series, with its lavish settings and Hollywood production values attracted final and consolidated audiences of more than eight million viewers. It has regularly thrashed ITV's rival offering, Lord Snooty's Trollope adaptation Doctor Thorne, in the flagship Sunday night drama slot.
The final and consolidated numbers for the Top Twenty programmes, for week-ending Sunday 20 March 2016 were as follows:-
1 Happy Valley - Tues BBC1 - 9.34m
2 The Night Manager - Sun BBC1 - 8.56m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.06m
4 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.74m
5 Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway - Sat ITV - 7.12m
6 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 7.01m
7 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 6.73m
8 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.71m
9 Six Nations Rugby: France Versus England - Sat BBC1 - 6.42m
10 Grantchester - Wed ITV - 5.98m
11 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 5.37m
12 Sports Relief - Fri BBC1 - 5.23m
13 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.98m
14 Holby City - Tues BBC1- 4.74m
15= Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.55m
15= Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.55m
17 Shop Well For Less? - Wed BBC1 - 4.49m
18 The National Lottery:Saturday Draws - Sat BBC1 - 4.45m
19 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.37m
20 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 3.85m
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 third and final episode of Lord Snooty's Doctor Thorne had an audience of 3.42m (HD viewers not included). Big Star's Little Star drew 3.05m, The Cruise 2.87m and Davina McCall: Life At The Extreme but 2.25m. This blogger would love to tell you all, dear blog reader, what Beowulf achieved but, its audience figure was so laughably low that it didn't register on ITV's top thirty programmes of the week. On BBC2, Mary Berry's Easter Feast was watched by 2.99 million viewers, followed by University Challenge (2.79m), BBC2's forty minutes of Sport Relief (2.32m), Only Connect: Sport Relief Special (also 2.32m), Gardeners' World (2.23m), Tribes, Predators & Me (2.16m), Inside Obama's White House (2.11m) and The People Versus OJ Simpson: American Crime Story (1.92m). Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown To Off The Wall was watched by 1.29m and Brendan O'Carroll: My Family At War by 1.25m. Aside from Googlebox, Speed With Guy Martin: F1 Special was Channel Four's second largest-rated broadcast of the week (3.29 million), followed by Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.22m), Great Canal Journeys (also 2.22m), F1: Australian Grand Prix Highlights (2.14m), Ugly House To Lovely House With George Clarke (2.05m) and First Dates (1.97m). The second episode of series two of Indian Summers lost a quarter of its initial audience week-on-week, being watch by 1.48 million. Channel Five's top performer, by a distance, was the - rather disappointing - final episode of The X-Files (2.52m), whilst GPs: Behind Closed Doors had 1.38m and Gotham attracted 1.32m. Sky Sports 1's Live Ford Super Sunday and The Scum's victory over Sheikh Yer Man City in the Manchester derby was watched by 1.82 million punters. The day's earlier attraction - yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable and relegation bound) Magpies cowardly and disgraceful lack-of-a-performance in drawing with The Mackem Filth drew 1.13 million. Sky Sport 2's coverage of Live ICC T20 World Cup cricket and England's record-breaking victory against South Africa had four hundred and seventy six thousand viewers. England's defeat to the West Indies two days earlier drew four hundred and fourteen thousand whilst the clash between India and Pakistan was watched by two hundred and seventy nine thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast with four hundred and fifty two thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.11m). Lewis drew six hundred and two thousand and Foyle's War had six hundred thousand. A broadcast of Die Another Day - a rather under-rated movie in this blogger's opinion - headed ITV4's top ten, with three hundred and forty three thousand punters. A repeat on one of the funniest sixty minutes in the history of television, An Audience With Billy Connolly was watched by three hundred and thirty six thousand. 'Rumpty-tumpty-tumpty-tum ...' Worthless steaming pile of rank and stinking horseshit Celebrity Juice was ITV2's 'best' performer (and one uses that word quite wrongly) with 1.68 million viewers. All of whom need their bloody heads examined, frankly. The second episode of Houdini & Doyle topped the list for ITV Encore with a staggeringly awful ninety three thousand viewers. Sorry, how much did that one cost again? BBC4's latest imported Scandi-noir drama Follow The Money had audiences of eight hundred and fifty nine thousand and seven hundred and twenty six thousand for its first two episodes. The excellent Digging For Britain was seen by six hundred and twenty five thousand, Art Of Scandinavia by five hundred and fifty three thousand and The Other Pompeii: Life & Death In Herculaneum by five hundred and sixteen thousand. Darcy Bussell Dances Hollywood drew four hundred and eighty five thousand. As for BBC3 ... who cares? Actually, if you're really interested, a repeat of Don't Tell The Bride drew sixty eight thousand punters with nothing better to do to their Interweb browsers. Sky 1's most watched dramas were Stan Lee's Lucky Man (1.15m), The Flash (1.01m) and Hawaii Five-0 (nine hundred and twenty one thousand). Funny as a kick in the dong alleged 'comedy', Stella attracted eight hundred and thirteen thousand and DC's Legends Of Tomorrow, seven hundred and sixty seven thousand. Sky Atlantic's weekly list was topped by Blue Bloods (three hundred and fifteen thousand), One Hundred Code (one hundred and nine thousand) and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (one hundred and six thousand). The much-trailed Vinyl was seen by but seventy 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 eighty six thousand. On Sky Living, Blindspot drew nine hundred and thirty five thousand, Elementary had seven hundred and fifty nine thousand and The Blacklist seven hundred and forty four thousand. Sky Arts' latest broadcast of Pink Floyd: Delicate Sound Of Thunder had an audience of eighty five thousand. All of whom were, hopefully, every bit as amused as this blogger was - many years ago when he first saw it - by the moment in the middle of 'One Of These Days' where the camera catches some long-haired yuppie scum in the audience, presumably spliffed off his face and screaming to his mate 'look at that fucking pig!' Personally, this blogger doesn't think that's any was to talk about David Gilmour but, you know, hippies? What y'gonna do? Occupied had sixty nine thousand viewers. 5USA's broadcast NCIS was watched by four hundred and seventy thousand viewers. NCIS also featured in the weekly top tens of FOX - the latest episode of series thirteen attracting eight hundred and eighty two thousand punters - CBS Action and the Universal Channel. On the latter, Major Crimes drew an audience of two hundred and seventy six thousand. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's top ten also included new episodes of The Walking Dead (1.61 million) and Marvel's Agent Carter (three hundred and ten thousand viewers). On CBS Action, Bad Girls was seen by one hundred and sixty eight thousand. For Dave, Qi XL was the highest-rated programme with three hundred and eighty seven thousand punters. That was followed by Have I Got A Bit More News For You (three hundred and fifty six thousand), American Pickers (three hundred and twenty nine thousand), Alan Davies: As Yet Unfunny (three hundred and twenty two thousand) and Top Gear (three hundred and two thousand). Drama's Hetty Wainthropp Investigates was watched by three hundred and ninety eight thousand viewers - why for the love of god, why? - and Inspector George Gently by three hundred and eighty thousand. Inspector Alleyn Mysteries had three hundred and sixty thousand and Shetland, three hundred and forty five thousand. [spooks] drew three hundred and five thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Quantico (three hundred and eighty two thousand), followed by Rizzoli & Isles (three hundred and seventy six thousand), Castle (three hundred and fifty thousand), Murdoch Mysteries (one hundred and eighty five thousand) and Jonathan Creek (eighty four thousand). On W - the channel formerly known as Watch - the most-viewed programme was Grimm (three hundred and ninety three thousand). Yesterday's Forbidden History had an audience of two hundred and ninety three thousand viewers whilst David Starkey's Monarchy: The Windsors was watched by one hundred and ninety five thousand and Open All Hours by one hundred and eighty three thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush had an audience of two hundred and seventy nine thousand punters. Alaskan Bush People drew two hundred and twenty eight thousand and Mythbusters by one hundred and sixty four thousand. Discovery History's The Executioners topped the weekly-list with audience of twenty five thousand viewers. Cape Of Terror drew twenty three thousand and Britain's Secret Schindler had twenty one thousand thousand, as did Lost Temple To The Gods, JFK: Inside The Target Car and Secrets Of The Blitz. On Discovery Science, another - older - episode of Mythbusters was seen by twenty four thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes were Chasing Classic Cars (fifty one thousand), Fast N' Loud (forty four thousand) and Wheeler Dealers (thirty nine thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by BG: Life Of The Brain which had fifty thousand viewers and Air Crash Investigators (forty five thousand). Black Sails was seen by one hundred and fifty one thousand viewers on The History Channel. In Search Of Aliens was seen by forty one thousand on Military History. Evil Lives Here and FBI Case Files were ID's top programmes of the week (sixty thousand and fifty three thousand viewers respectively). Britain's Darkest Taboos headed CI's top ten (seventy three thousand). GOLD's repeat run of Mrs Brown's Boys was viewed by two hundred and thirty five thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and twenty nine thousand). Your TV's Snapped had seventy thousand viewers. On More4, The Good Wife was watched by seven hundred and sixty five thousand whilst E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory drew 2.30 million punters (by distance the largest multichannels audience of the week). The Horror Channel's broadcast of the 2010 movie Nude Nuns With Big Guns, attracted one hundred and forty five thousand curious viewers. And, hey, why ever not? Berkeley: A Country Estate was watched by ten thousand on the Horse & Country Channel. The Saturn V Story drew twenty three thousand on Eden. NASA'S Ten Greatest Achievements and Finding Life Beyond Earth both had twenty two thousand.

On Bank Holiday Monday, good God, ITV seem to have found themselves another drama hit at last. Rowan Atkinson's starring role in the latest TV adaptation of Maigret debuted with a more-than-decent 5.41m from 9pm. And it was pretty good as well. That followed ITV's tradition slew of soaps, Emmerdale being watched by 5.39m from 7pm and the evening's two episodes of Coronation Street attracting 6.73m and 6.58m respectively. In between, Further Tales From Northumberland With Wor Geet Canny Robson Green was seen by 2.85 million viewers. However, it wasn't all good news for ITV, oily odious Jeremy Kyle's stint standing in for oily odious Piers Morgan did nothing for Good Morning Britain's ratings - three hundred and forty thousand punters watched whilst, on the other side, BBC Breakfast had, as usual, three times the numbers - 1.12 million. In primetime, however, aside from EastEnders - 6.01m from 8pm - the Beeb didn't put up much of a challenge to ITV's dominance. The ONE Show attracted 3.35m, the nine hundred millionth repeat of Wallace & Grommit: The Wrong Trousers had 2.20m and the movie Avengers Assemble was seen by 3.08m at 9pm. This Farming Life kicked-off BBC2's evening schedule with 1.82m at 7pm. University Challenge: had an audience of 2.73m an hour later, followed by An Island Parish (2.21 million viewers), The People Versus OJ Simpson: American Crime Story (1.05m), Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man For Sports Relief (1.40m) and Qi XL (1.02m). Guy Martin's Wall Of Death Live drew an excellent 2.60 million punters to Channel Four from 7.15pm. A new series of The Island With Bear Grylls attracted 2.42m at 9pm (a figure almost exactly the same size as the average overnight audiences his recent ITV series was getting). On Channel Five, their latest show about benefit scroungers, Inside Buckingham Palace, was watched by seven hundred and ninety seven thousand. The Tube: Going Underground had 1.16m at 9pm.

Tuesday night again saw ITV score big with Live International Football coverage, albeit this time England's disappointing 2-1 defeat at Wembley to The Netherlands no doubt left 5.61 million punters less happy than they had been on Saturday evening. Up against that, BBC1's drama line-up of EastEnders (6.23m at 7.30pm), Holby City (4.06m at 8pm) and The A Word (3.95m at 9pm) held up moderately well, although the latter lost eight hundred thousand viewers week-on-week from its opening episode. On BBC2 This Farming Life was watched by 2.16 million at 7pm. Th channel's hit of the evening, Bake Off: Crème De La Crème was seen by 3.52m at 8pm whilst Inside Obama's White House drew 1.28m an hour later. Emmerdale had an audience of 5.71m on ITV pre-football whilst, on BBC1, The ONE Show had 4.05 million. Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners attracted 1.07m to Channel Four t 8pm, followed by One Born Every Minute with 1.42m and First Dates which had 1.24m. Britain's Horror Homes on Channel Five drew six hundred and ninety three thousand. Benefits By The Sea: Jaywick gave eight hundred and ninety eight thousand sick voyeurs their weekly dose of poverty porn form 9pm. The Beginning & End Of Tthe Universe on BBC4 was watched by four hundred and eighty four thousand. The Flash had three hundred and twenty nine thousand on Sky1 and Blindspot drew two hundred and twenty thousand on Sky Living, also at 9pm.

Wednesday evening's episode of MasterChef had an overnight audience of 4.88 million viewers on BBC1 and, some twonk of no importance at the Daily Mirra managed to get a story out of it by, essentially, reading what half-a-dozen other twonks on Twitter thought about Karen's 'deconstructed cheesecake.' This is journalism in the Twenty First Century, dear blog readers. Still, at least there wasn't any phone-hacking involved - as far as we know - so one might regard that as 'progress'. Not much progress, admittedly. Earlier, The ONE Show drew 3.26m viewers at 7pm. The opening episode of the horrifically lowest-common-denominator looking Secret Britain had 3.20 million at 9pm. On ITv Emmerdale was watched by 5.68 million whilst Coronation Street topped the night with 6.76 million and this week's exercise in slushy, mawkish and trite bollocks, Big Star's Little Star was seen by 3.18 million at 8pm. At 9pm, the latest episode of Grantchester attracted 4.41 million, more or less on par with the previous week's audience. BBC2's night included This Farming Life (1.36 million at 7pm), Horizon (1.07 million at 8pm) and Employable Me(1.28 million at 9pm). On Channel Four, The Supervet was watched by 1.83 million, followed by the terrifying President Trump: Can He Really Win? (1.53 million at 9pm) and another episode of the very enjoyable Raised By Wolves (six hundred and seventy four thousand). GPs: Behind Closed Doors drew 1.15 million to Channel Five at 8pm after with Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords was watched by 1.21 million. Live ICC World T20 on Sky Sports2 and England's win over New Zealand to qualify for Saturday's final had an audience of six hundred and thirty two thousand. E4's The One Hundred was seen by two hundred and eighty thousand whilst Sky1's Arrow attracted three hundred and twelve thousand, both at 9pm.

The presence of two of the least popular former MasterChef finalist - mad-eyed, scowly-faced 2012 winner Shelina and mad-a-fek militant veggie drama queen Jackie - judging this year's wannabes drew an overnight audience 4.40 million punters to BBC1 on Thursday evening. And both of them were every bit as annoying as they were when they were competitors themselves. It's nice that, in an uncertain world, some things never change. EastEnders attracted 6.09m at 7.30pm, The ONE Show 4.03 million half-an-hour earlier whilst DIY SOS: The Big Build was seen by 3.62 million at 9pm. Meanwhile, on BBC2, Line Of Duty goes from strength to strength. Now into its third series, the hard-hitting and award-winning crime drama actually did the unthinkable and won the first half of 9pm slot for BBC2 - beating both Beeb1 and ITV - and averaged an excellent 3.61 million, over four hundred thousand overnight viewers up on the previous week's series opener. It was a decent night all-round for BBC2 with Big Dreams Small Spaces drawing 1.17 million at 7pm and a hastily-scheduled repeat of The Many Faces Of Ronnie Corbett, broadcast as a tribute to the late, and much-lamented, TV icon was watched by 2.13 million at 8pm. On ITV, the evening's two episodes of Emmerdale were watched by 5.40 million and 5.41 million respectively. The Cruise had but 2.80 million at 8pm and Bear Grylls: Mission Survive a really not very good at all 2.17 million at 9pm. When, just to repeat, it was beaten by almost one-and-a-half million viewers by Line Of Duty. Channel Four's schedule included The Restoration Man (nine hundred and forty eight thousand viewers at 8pm), Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown (1.05 million at 9pm) and a still struggling Alan Carr: Chatty Man (five hundred and eighty eight thousand). BBC4's Ireland's Treasures Uncovered was one of the multichannel hits of the evening, attracting four hundred and eighty one thousand viewers. Medical Mysteries was watched by eight hundred and fifty thousand on Channel Five at 8pm, followed by Trauma Doctors: Every Second Counts with 1.09m at 9pm. To the shame of every single one of them, six hundred and thirty eight thousand clots with no brains between their ears whatsoever watched the vile Celebrity Juice on ITV2 at 10pm. Sometimes, this blogger despairs of his nation, dear blog reader, he truly does. The Big Big Theory, as usual, proved highly popular on E4, with 1.37 million. The latest episode of DC's Legends Of Tomorrow had two hundred and ninety two thousand on Sky1 at 9pm.
EastEnders topped BBC1's overnight ratings on Friday evening with an audience of 6.10 million viewers at 8pm. Earlier The ONE Show drew 3.85 million punters at 7pm and another last-minute change to the published schedule, an episode of The Two Ronnies Sketchbook shown in tribute to Ronnie Corbett, was watched by 3.97 million at 7.30pm. The second MasterChef quarter final episode had 3.90 million viewers at 8.30pm, followed by Boomers with 3.30 million at 9pm and a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys attracting 2.65 million at 9.30pm. On BBC2, Perry & Croft: Made In Britain was seen by eight hundred and fifty one thousand, Gardeners' World had 2.33 million at 8pm, Mastermind drew 1.63 million at 9pm and the new comedy 'about Scottish suburban life' Two Doors Down attracted a very decent 1.28 million at 10pm. ITV's night was, as usual, dominated by soaps, Emmerdale being watched by 5.53 million at 7pm and Coronation Street two episodes drawing 6.40 million at 7.30pm and 5.97 million at 8.30pm. Between those two episodes, Best Walks With A View With Julia Bradbury had 3.15 million whilst Billy Connolly's Tracks Across America was seen by 3.02 million at 9pm. Channel Four's schedule included Travel Man (1.04 million 8.30pm), Gogglebox (3.17 million at 9pm) and the series finale of The Last Leg With Adam Hills (1.39 million at 10pm). Earlier, Food Unwrapped was watched by 1.28 million. On Channel Five, That's So ... 1994 had an audience of five hundred and forty eight thousand, Police Interceptors pulled in five hundred and nine thousand and the movie The Last Stand drew five hundred and twenty one thousand. Sky1's Supergirl had two hundred and twenty two thousand whilst The Blacklist on Sky Living attracted two hundred and thirty two thousand, both at 9pm.

BBC1's early evening Saturday woes continue as Can't Touch This proved to be an entirely apt title for the majority of the viewing public who, seemingly, wouldn't touch the wretched Ball-and-Banjo vehicle with a sodding great bargepole. A total of 2.43 million overnight punters tuned in, four hundred thousand down week-on-week. Cant Touch This is looking like the biggest Saturday light entertainment turkey the BBC has produced since, ooo, The Getaway Car a couple of months ago. It was also another rotten night of The Voice which could only manage an average audience of 4.54 million from 7pm for its two hour long semi-final (and, even less, 4.27 million, during the ninety minute head-to-head clash with Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway between 7pm and 8.30pm). However, a breakdown of both ITV and BBC1 overnight figures for the evening suggests that viewers turned over to BBC1 straight after Saturday Night Takeaway finished and, thereafter, BBC1 held an average of over four million for much of the rest of the night. ITV's audience on the other hand simply sell apart. Once the series finale of Saturday Night Takeaway (5.74 million) had ended, at 8.30pm, You're Back In The Room could only average 2.98 million whilst The Jonathan Ross Show was watched by 1.89 million. On BBC1, Casualty had 4.62 million from 9.05pm and, later, Match Of The Day - featuring the latest gutless and inept defeat for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable and relegation bound) Magpies at Norwich - drew 3.40 million. BBC2's evening was dominated by Dad's Army (1.74 million) and a repeat of the award-winning documentary John Le Mesurier: It's All Been Rather Lovely (1.61 million at 9pm). Channel Four's broadcast of the movie Identity Thief was watched by 1.22 million whilst Channel Five's The Championship: Football League Tonight had four hundred and seventy thousand. Earlier, NCIS: New Orleans had an audience of seven hundred and ten thousand and NCIS eight hundred and fifty two thousand. On BBC4, the latest two episodes of importance Scandiwegian drama Follow The Money were seen by three hundred and eighty one thousand and three hundred and thirty four thousand viewers respectively.

'You look like the attractive yet non-threatening racially diverse cast of a CW show!' Supergirl and The Flash's highly-regarded crossover episode was a big hit with American viewers on Monday according to initial Nielsen figures. The CBS superhero drama climbed four-tenths of a point with an audience of 7.17m punters at 8pm, its best ratings since February. With Supergirl's Melissa Benoist and The Flash's Grant Gustin heading up the crossover event, World's Finest came complete with lots of flirty banter, heart-to-hearts about what it means to be a hero, and a trademark sneering villainesses. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought it was proper decent.
And, speaking of DC superheroes, the Batman origin story will continue on FOX as the network has ordered a third season of Gotham - one of this blogger's favourite US shows. So, jolly well done them. Whilst audiences have been slightly down on its first series, Gotham has still been doing a solid business in multi-platform viewing, averaging around nine million total US viewers in series two and has done particularly well with various male demographics. 'It takes a very special team to tell the tales of Gotham. For the past two seasons, Bruno, Danny and John have masterfully honoured the mythology of Gotham and brought it to life with depth, emotion and memorable high drama,' said David Madden, FOX's entertainment president.
A Blacklist spin-off series starring The X-Men's Famke Janssen is reportedly being considered by NBC. Janssen is set to debut in The Blacklist on 12 May as a character called Scottie Halsted, rumoured to be the mother of Elizabeth Keen's troubled husband Tom. NBC would only tell The Wrap that no pilot order for a Scottie Halsted series has been made 'at this time.' Janssen is probably best known for playing telekinetic mutant Jean Grey in The X-Men film series and also played Liam Neeson's on-screen spouse in the Taken movies. And Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye, obviously. More recently, she has guest starred in How To Get Away With Murder and led the cast of Netflix's horror series Hemlock Grove. The Blacklist - another US drama that this blogger particularly enjoys and which has already been renewed for a fourth series in the autumn - returns for the final few episodes of its third series on Thursday 7 April on NBC. It is broadcast on Sky Living in the UK.
It's certainly no secret that Game Of Thrones costs a lot of money to make, but have you ever wondered how much exactly? We now have the answer thanks to Entertainment Weekly, which reports that the budget for the upcoming sixth season of the massively popular fantasy drama was 'North of ten million dollars per episode.' Which certainly gives those British newspapers who've been whinging about the cost of The Night Manager something to think about. That's more than one hundred million bucks for the entire ten episode season. In the same issue of the magazine, Emilia Clarke 'hit out' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables) at whingers who accuse the drama of sexism. 'What's beautiful about Game Of Thrones [is] its depiction of women in so many different stages of development,' she said. Well yeah. That and all the nudity and violence, obviously.
Mark Rylance is facing competition from Luther's Idris Elba in the bid to be named best leading actor at this year's BAFTA TV awards. The pair are nominated alongside Ben Whishaw and Stephen Graham - for London Spy and This Is England '90 respectively - in the category. Sheridan Smith is in the running for the leading actress award, for her role as a woman with cancer in The C-Word. Wolf Hall picked up four nominations for the awards, to be held on 8 May. The historical drama is nominated in the best drama series category, alongside Humans, The Last Panthers and No Offence. It has also received nominations for Claire Foy's performance as Anne Boleyn and Anton Lesser's supporting performance as Sir Thomas More. Foy and Smith are joined in the leading actress category by Suranne Jones and Ruth Madeley, who are nominated for BBC1's Doctor Foster and BBC3's Don't Take My Baby respectively. Rylance, who won an Oscar last month for his supporting role in Bridge Of Spies, is nominated for his role as Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's right hand man. Doctor Foster, London Spy and This Is England '90 are nominated in the best mini-series category, as is Sky production The Enfield Haunting. The C-Word is up for the single drama prize, alongside BBC1's The Go-Between, Don't Take My Baby and Channel Four's Cyberbully. Sharon Horgan is nominated for the best female performance in a comedy programme award, for Channel Four's not even remotely funny Catastrophe. So are Sian Gibson, for Peter Kay's Car Share, Miranda Hart for Miranda and Michaela Coel for E4's Chewing Gum (which is, if anything, even less funny than Catastrophe). Hugh Bonneville receives a nomination for best male performance in a comedy programme, for W1A. Peter Kay is nominated in the same category for his own Car Share, alongside Javone Prince, for The Javone Prince Show and Detectorists' Toby Jones. Michelle Gomez gets a supporting actress nomination for her mad as toast Missy in Doctor Who, while big cuddly Adele's BBC music special gets a nomination in the entertainment programme category. The programme, which saw Adele sing and take part in sketches as well as be interviewed by Graham Norton, is up against Britain's Got Toilets, Strictly Come Dancing and TFI Friday's twentieth anniversary special. Lesser's competition in the supporting actor category includes Sir Tom Courtenay and Sir Ian McKellen, who are nominated for Unforgotten and The Dresser respectively. It is the first time McKellan, a two-time Oscar nominee and recipient of four BAFTA film award nominations, has been nominated for a BAFTA TV award. His role in The Dresser was, ironically enough, the same one for which Courtenay was nominated for a BAFTA film award in the 1985 movie version. The Great British Bake Off received its fifth consecutive nomination in the features category, an award it won in both 2012 and 2013. The BBC ratings winner is also up for the Radio Times audience award, announced on Tuesday, which will be decided by public vote. Channel Four dominates the reality and constructed factual category with nominations for First Dates, Gogglebox and The Secret Life Of Five Year Olds. ITV's I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) is the only non-Channel Four contender in the category BAFTA first introduced in 2012. Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Holby City go head-to-head in the soap and continuing drama category - an award that Coronation Street has won for the last two years. The international award, meanwhile, pits Netflix drama Narcos and Amazon Prime's Transparent against CBS show The Good Wife and BBC4's French import Spiral. Which should win but, probably, won't. Because people are stupid.
ITV's drama chief Steve November has become the latest executive to leave the broadcaster following the appointment of Kevin Lygo as director of television. November, formerly known as Frost, before he changed his name to match that of his new wife and children in 2009, has been at the company for sixteen years. His exit is the latest in a string of senior executive departures under Lygo's new regime. As well as November, the broadcaster has also announced in the past few months that entertainment chief Elaine Bedell and factual boss Richard Klein will both be leaving. November was appointed into the role in 2013, overseeing hit shows such as Downton Abbey, Doc Martin and Broadchurch, as well as new commissions including Cilla, Grantchester and Unforgotten. He was also the person who signed off on Jekyll & Hyde, Beowulf, Houdini & Doyle and Doctor Thorne just in case you're feeling sorry for the bloke. Before his current role he was head of continuing drama, a role that included oversight of shows such as Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders and Agatha Christie's Poirot. Prior to that he had produced both of ITV's flagship soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

When Anna Friel's character emerges from a bath bruised and bleeding and with the walls covered in blood, it is clear that ITV's latest drama, from the creator of acclaimed Scandinavian murder mystery The Bridge, is no Midsomer Murders. Swedish writer Hans Rosenfeldt's first UK drama, Marcella, is also likely to be one of ITV's darkest, featuring a string of grisly killings, including a man suffocated in a plastic bag in close-up, and the crucifixion of a family dog. 'I understand that ITV is perhaps a little bit more family-orientated but they have been really good in keeping a lot of the dark stuff in there,' Rosenfeldt told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'We are crucifying a dog in an episode which we thought they would come back to us on but it's still there. It's a spaniel kind of dog and it's hanging on the inside of a door. It's quite beautiful.' The Bridge remains one of the UK's most popular foreign dramas, watched by two million viewers on BBC4 and ITV will be hoping some of its Nordic cool will rub off on Marcella. Friel stars as the eponymous Metropolitan police detective who suffers a mental trauma when her husband leaves her and she goes back to the force to investigate the return of a serial killer she failed to catch a decade before. Friel, the former Brookside and Pushing Daisies star most recently seen in the US drama Odyssey, said that the role took its toll. 'Sometimes it gets you down, [I have] been on the phone in a few tears,' Friel said at a launch for the new eight-part series. She said that she had time 'to let that go a bit. I have got a gorgeous little girl at home who doesn't want to see me depressed.' Comparisons with Saga, the Swedish detective played by Sofia Helin in The Bridge, will be inevitable. 'This is a more emotional piece than The Bridge,' said Rosenfeldt. 'Saga is not a very emotional character who copes quite well with her reality, whereas Marcella is pretty much all emotions, trying to cope with a new situation in life in which she is utterly alone.' In Saga and now Marcella, Rosenfeldt can lay claim to creating prime specimens of a new breed of strong female TV characters. 'It's a lot to live up to,' said Friel. 'The only way to do that is to have your own interpretation and try not to make comparisons. I love those performances. A light has been shone on female actors and they have been given a platform and it seems to be via a detective. I don't know why that is. I think because you have to be strong, you are dealing with death and murder and no matter what you are doing in your private life, you have got to do your job well.' After BBC2's serial-killer thriller The Fall, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan, was criticised - by utter fekhead glakes, mainly - for allegedly 'glamorising' violence against women - which it didn't or anything even remotely like it - Marcella's co-creator, Nicola Larder, said: 'We did say we don't want beautiful dead people. Murder is ugly and we wanted the emotional consequences to be looked at.' Tabloid previews of the drama, inevitably, have tended to focus on the opening bathtub scene – in reality only a few seconds long – and whether viewers see Friel naked or not. Rosenfeldt said: 'I have to say, and I might be way out of my depth here, I think it's a little bit more interesting in England than it would have been in Sweden. I think you're obsessed with sex and nudity. It wouldn't have been such a big thing in Sweden. She is naked but you don't see anything, it's not like full frontal nudity.' British tabloid newspapers 'obsessed with sex'? How very dare you, sir? Comparisons with The Bridge, the Swedish-Danish co-production which is set to return for a fourth series, are inevitable, acknowledged Rosenfeldt, whose favourite UK dramas include another ITV crime thriller, Wire In The Blood featuring Wor Geet Canny Robson Green. 'We wanted it to be something completely different so hopefully you will lose interest in comparing them after the first act,' he said. Its portrayal of a vibrant, colourful London is a world away from the washed-out tones of Copenhagen. 'Hopefully a lot of people will watch it who didn't see The Bridge,' he added. 'It was a big success on BBC4 but it was not that many viewers if you look at the massive drama hits in the UK.'

After months of hype, Top Gear fans have been given their first look at the new series. The sixty-second trailer features the team around the world in locations from Morocco to the United Arab Emirates, as well as an array of cars. There is also a glimpse of host Chris Evans feeling somewhat worse for wear trackside in California and co-host Matt LeBlanc driving a Reliant three-wheeler from London to Blackpool.
Bad luck continues to hit Top Gear, as a recent filming trip to Kazakhstan had to be called off. Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan and Rory Reid had hoped to film footage in the country, but the crew's connecting flight from Russia was cancelled, reports the Sun. Russian airline company Aeroflot is currently in a dispute with Kazakhstan, which resulted in the postponement. 'Through no fault of the Top Gear team, the airline carrying them was not permitted to fly from Moscow to Kazakhstan and so they returned to London,' a BBC spokeswoman explained. 'They intend to visit Kazakhstan in the future to shoot the planned film there. The BBC will be looking to recoup the cost of the flights.'
Dermot O'Dreary has said that he is 'really looking forward' to returning to The X Factor as its presenter - just a year after he left the ITV talent show and defected to the BBC to present The Getaway Car. As career moves go, that one's up there with Pete Best leaving The Be-Atles and joining Lee Curtis & The All Stars. O'Dreary said that he was 'very flattered to be asked back' - and, one imagines, very relieved - and was 'currently dusting off my dancing shoes.' And, this constitutes 'news' apparently.
Former soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond has sold his adult TV business, including the Television X and Red Hot channels, severing his last link with the adult entertainment industry that helped the Daily Scum Express and Daily Lies owner make his fortune. Desmond's company, Northern & Shell, announced on Friday that it had sold its adult broadcasting arm, Portland Television, in a management buyout worth less than one million smackers, twelve years after he sold his adult magazines. The deal also marks Desmond's complete exit from the UK television industry following the sale of Channel Five to Viacom for four hundred and sixty million knicker in 2014. Portland – a five-strong stable of two subscription channels, Television X and TV XXX, and three pay-per-night channels, including Viewers’ Wives and Red Hot – contributed less than two per cent of Northern & Shell's group revenues over the last three years. Desmond sold his adult magazine titles including Asian Babes and Big Ones for around twenty million notes in 2004.

Vernon Kay was, apparently, meant to co-host The ONE Show with Alex Jones earlier this week but pulled out amid tabloid reports about his personal life. The presenter, who is married to Tess Daly, has denied 'sexting' former Celebrity Big Brother type person Rhian Sudgen (no, me neither). Kay said that texts have been 'taken out of context,' and that his wife was 'aware' of the communication. He added that he was 'trying to find answers to questions' he had since their flirty exchanges back in 2010. As to what occurs next in this breathless saga, in the words of Brucie, 'over to you, Tess ...'
Channel Four will not be showing the new series of Black Mirror after all. Despite denying recent claims that it could be about to lose broadcast rights to Charlie Brooker's anthology drama, the channel has now confirmed that Netflix has exclusivity. Although it reportedly put in a 'significant' offer, Channel Four was outbid by Netflix, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. ​'Black Mirror couldn't be a more Channel Four show,' claimed Channel Four chief creative officer Jay Hunt. Well, not any more it isn't, Jay sweetheart. You should, probably, have included the words 'used to be' in that sentence. 'We grew it from a dangerous idea to a brand that resonated globally. Of course it's disappointing that the first broadcast window in the UK is then sold to the highest bidder, ignoring the risk a publicly owned channel like Four took backing it,' she whinged. Channel Four said it has 'no plans' to secure terrestrial rights following the Netflix première, with an alleged 'insider' allegedly adding: 'We believe we are a home for first transmission content.' Production company Endemol Shine hit back at Channel Four, arguing that the broadcaster had opportunities to recommission the programme. 'It is unfortunate that having explored every avenue with Channel Four, an agreement was not able to be reached,' it said. 'Channel Four have had the opportunity to recommission since 2013 and passed on this and subsequent co-production options put to them. Only following this and the first series' exceptional performance when aired on Netflix, did Netflix offer a longer order of twelve [episodes] with an increased budget that allowed producers House Of Tomorrow to realise their ambitions for the series. Further efforts were made to try to reach a settlement regarding a UK window for Channel Four, but these were also sadly to no avail.' Which if you look up 'withering bitch-slap put downs' on Google, you'll find that one pretty near the top of the list. Brooker himself has yet to comment. Which is very odd, because he's normally got plenty to say for himself.
Drop The Dead Donkey's Jeff Rawle will be playing Albert Steptoe as part of BBC4's Lost Sitcoms series this summer. Classic episodes of Steptoe & Son - as well as Hancock's Half Hour and Till Death Us Do Part - are being recreated with stripped-down, minimalist sets in front of a studio audience, with a number of well-known faces on board. Rawle will be joined on Steptoe & Son by Ed Coleman as Harold, as they will bring to life one of the most successful double acts in the history of British television. The episode A Winter's Tale sees Harold desperate to go on a skiing holiday, but dreads the idea of his father there. Meanwhile, Jon Culshaw, Katy Wix and Kevin Eldon are starring in Hancock's Half Hour, with Kevin McNally in the role of Tony Hancock. And Till Death Us Do Part will see Simon Day –​ best known for ​The Fast Show​ and most recently seen in Brian Pern –​ taking on the role of Alf Garnett. Lizzie Roper, Sydney Rae White and Carl Au have also been cast. 'When the originals were made and then lost, no-one knew they'd go on to be such classic and well-loved series,' BBC's comedy head-honcho Shane Allen said. 'It feels rightful and respectful to bring them back to life with a new cast to be appreciated all over again for the brilliant writing they all contain.'
On a similar tack, the peviously announced Porridge revival is, tragically, 'well under way' and ​Kevin Bishop - yes, that Kevin Bishop - has reportedly landed the lead role of Nigel Fletcher​, ​Norman's grandson, who is behind bars for computer hacking. The one-off episode is set forty years after Nigel's grandfather served his time and will see the younger Fletch having to use his hacking skills to get a fellow criminal off the hook. Despite being written by the original series' creators, the great Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, this blogger sadly suspects that it will be every single bit as horrifying as it sounds.
Have I Got News For You is about to welcome its one hundredth guest host, Tracey Ullman. She will be hosting the Friday 15 April episode, with Andy Hamilton and BBC News' Clive Myrie as guests. This new series of the topical panel show also brings back fan-favourite hosts national heartthrob David Tennant, Jo Brand, Martin Clunes and Victoria Coren Mitchell, as well as newbies Katherine Ryan, Gary Lineker and Mad Frankie Boyle. The latter should be ... interesting.
From the TARDIS to Buckingham Palace: Jenna Coleman takes the throne in the first trailer for Victoria.
The BBC should be turned into 'a mutual organisation' and its board elected by licence fee payers, a pair of MPs has suggested. The broadcaster would 'benefit' from more 'direct ownership' by the people who pay for it, rather than the current system, which allows for too much government interference, Labour's Gareth Thomas and Tory MP Steve Baker said. One imagines that;ll make Baker about as popular as a doe of the pox with his fellow Conservatives. 'The BBC is a "public service" broadcaster,' Thomas and Baker wrote in a letter to The Times. 'It operates under a Royal Charter, agreed between it and the government, is governed by a Trust of the great and good appointed by ministers and is funded by the licence fee payers. But who, exactly, owns it? And, to whom is it accountable, not least over the expenditure of more than three billion pounds of our money? The BBC Trust is accountable to no one, really. This creates a vacuum into which political interference from the government (of any colour) can leak.' A mutual organisation is owned by those members who are directly involved in the business, such as employees or customers, rather than by outside investors. There has been speculation about what system might replace the current BBC Trust model. The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale has been accused of seeking to bend the broadcaster to his political will over proposals to set up a new board dominated by government appointees. His proposition was based on a report by the former chairman of Virgin Money & Prudential, David Clementi, which recommended that Ofcom - a politically-appointed quango, elected by no one - be given regulatory oversight of the BBC. The report also backed a unitary board 'charged with responsibility for meeting the obligations placed on it under the Royal Charter and agreement and responsibility for the interests of licence fee payers.' But it said that only half of the members should be appointed by the government. The two MPs believe that the proposed systems will not address the two main problems, as they see them: 'an ownership deficit and an accountability gap.' They wrote: 'More radical change is needed: the BBC should be mutualised. This would mean TV licence holders becoming members and owners of the BBC, thus solving the ownership deficit. These members would elect representatives to hold the executive management to account. Thorny issues such as executive remuneration and tough decisions about the prioritisation of constrained resources would be decided at an AGM open to all to attend in person or online. This would solve the accountability gap and would be a powerful bulwark against political interference. Mutualising the BBC would lend new legitimacy to the licence fee and bring the BBC and the audience together — an audience without which the BBC cannot flourish.'
The BBC is one of the Europe's leading public service broadcasters for digital innovation, a study suggests. The broadcaster – and its Finnish counterpart, Yle – have both 'adapted well' to the changing media landscape because they have invested in their mobile output and encouraged a 'pro-digital culture where new media are seen as opportunities rather than as threats.' According to research from the Reuters institute for the study of journalism, at Oxford University, released on Tuesday, the two broadcasters had embraced constant change and developed strong social media strategies. By contrast, their counterparts in France, Italy, Germany and Poland have had 'difficulties' because they were 'less well funded,' faced 'political pressure' or were 'operating in less technologically advanced markets' – among other barriers – the report's authors found. The report says that senior editorial staff at the BBC and Yle had 'recognised the importance' of continually adapting 'even when these changes involve hard decisions such as cutting legacy services to free up money for new initiatives' and laying off staff. They had also shown 'a willingness to experiment,' despite the knowledge that some of their initiatives would 'inevitably fail,' says the report. Overall the British and Finnish broadcasters had managed to attract online audiences more in keeping with their established offline reach than their European counterparts. Figures from Digital News Report 2015 – which were presented in the Reuters study – showed that forty eight per cent of the UK public used BBC online, making it the most popular source of news in the UK. The broadcaster was followed by Scum Mail Online, which accounted for fourteen per cent and Huffington Post and the Gruniad Morning Star online, which both held twelve per cent shares of the UK's online news audience, according to the figures. In addition, the data showed that twenty seven per cent of the UK population said that their smartphone was their main way of accessing online news, while they suggested that half of British smartphone users used the BBC News app. The report also found that 67.4 per cent of all statistics quoted in reports like this tend to be made up to prove a point. Allegedly. Doctor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, the director of research at the Reuters Institute – and co-author of the report – said: 'The media environment continues to change at a faster pace than public service media do. Most public service media are falling behind and are losing touch especially with younger audiences. To remain relevant and reach a wide and diverse audience, they need to be able to adapt much more quickly than they have in the past as digital media continues to evolve.'

Penn & Teller: Fool Us has, if you will, conjured up its new host. Alyson Hannigan will reportedly be replacing Jonathan Ross for the third season of the competition show, in which magicians perform tricks in an attempt to fool Penn & Teller their very selves. Whether Aly will also be replacing Rossy on The Jonathan Ross Show we don't know. But, this blogger  would certainly consider watching it if she did.
The UK's first all-female stunt display group has reunited for the first time after forty years. Motobirds formed in Leicester in the 1970s, performing death-defying stunts often with no safety equipment. Many of the young women answered an advert in the Leicester Mercury for girls to ride motorbikes. Now in their sixties, six of the original troupe were reunited for the BBC's The ONE Show after an appeal by group member Mary Weston-Webb. The Motobirds formed after one woman joined an all-male motorcycle stunt group and so impressed the manager that he advertised for riders. Weston-Webb, then Mary Connors, had never ridden a motorbike when she saw the advert in 1972, 'no experience necessary.' 'I had a very steady, boring job when I saw the advert. I truly believed it would be delivering pizzas. I went to this little place in Syston with a sign on the door that said "Stunt school for girls. Karate chop twice and enter" and I thought "Wow, this is amazing."' The group was given rudimentary motorbike training and within weeks was performing at shows around the country. Often wearing little more than a bikini and a short skirt, the motorcycle stuntwomen would leap over fireballs or smash through glass panes. Throughout the 1970s their reputation grew as they appeared on TV and attracted tens of thousands of spectators to shows across Europe. They began to broaden the stunts they performed, using cars and a human cannon and one annual attraction was an attempt to leap a river. Hosted in either Tewkesbury or Leicester, they tried - and failed - to fire someone across the Avon or Soar using a variety of different techniques. During one attempt, knowing the car would not make it across, the doors were removed - meaning it sank straight to the bottom and became trapped in the mud. On the final attempt, Weston-Webb's arm was in a cast and, knowing she needed to keep it dry, they 'souped up the catapult.' She reached the net on the opposite riverbank, only to bounce back into the water. Over the years, the Motobirds went their separate ways and, after a solo stunt career, Weston-Webb retired in the mid 1980s.
China's state news service wrote a post on Friday, criticising spoof news stories published on April Fools's Day as 'un-Chinese', according to AFP. The post on micro-blog Weibo declared: 'Today is the West's so-called "April Fools."' The occasion apparently 'does not conform with our nation's cultural traditions, nor does it conform with the core values of socialism,' it added. 'Don't believe rumours, don't create rumours and don't spread rumours,' it said. Or, you'll be shot. The post, however, ended with a smiley emoticon so, make of that what you will. Even the Global Times, a paper closely tied to the ruling Communist party, seemed to suggest Xinhua needed to lighten up, albeit on Twitter, which is not available in China. Dunno about anyone else but this blogger is with the Chinese on this matter.

Gruesome video footage has surfaced allegedly showing the moment when a Georgia man lost his leg whilst shooting a semi-automatic rifle at a lawn mower packed with several pounds of deadly explosives. Which is, when you think about it, a bloody daft thing to do and, frankly, asking for trouble. David Pressley can be seen moving closer and closer to the target as he peppers it with bullets in the video. Moments later, the lawn mower suddenly explodes, unleashing a plume of smoke and a shitload of shrapnel. Authorities said that one piece of shrapnel struck Pressley, severing his leg from below the knee, according to ABC affiliate WSB-TV. The video captures blood splattering across the camera's lens before Pressley yells, 'I blew my leg off!' Another voice says, 'Call an ambulance!' Sounds like an idea. Pressley's friends fashioned a tourniquet around his leg and drove him closer to the road, where he was picked up by authorities. He was eventually airlifted to hospital. Lydiah Mays, one of Pressley's neighbours, told WSB-TV that she heard the gunshots but 'wasn't concerned' until she heard the explosion. 'I heard him scream, and so I came downstairs and we were all like looking out the front window,' Mays said. 'You would've had to be on drugs or something to think it was a good idea to play with that and try to blow up a lawn mower.' You'd think. Tannerite - a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminium powder that explodes when struck by a high-velocity bullet - is normally used for target practice. The product's website instructs users not to place Tannerite inside, under or near 'any type of metal objects.' For every pound of Tannerite, experts advise standing one hundred yards away. 'Do not shoot targets larger than one pound unless it is required due to extreme long-range competition,' safety instructions on the Tannerite website instruct. Police say that Pressley used three pounds of the material and was only a mere twenty five yards away when the explosion occurred.
A woman wearing shorts and trainers in blizzard conditions and carrying only a selfie stick has been rescued from Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain. Sara Albone, twenty eight - mental age, four it would seem - claimed that she had decided to climb the mountain 'on the spur of the moment' (as you do) while she was taking part in a mountain biking tour of Scotland. But, according to the Daily Torygraph, she had only taken the light clothing for her bike trip - not the ice pick, rations and emergency shelter advised by experts for a trip up the snow-capped mountain. She, subsequently, began to develop hypothermia after 'becoming disorientated.' No shit? She was found 'purely by chance' while lost on the North Face of the four thousand four hundred feet peak, which has claimed the lives of several experienced climbers in recent months. The drenched and frozen woman was spotted by two male climbers who helped to warm her up and shared some of their dry clothes with her. Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team leader John Stevenson said it was 'ridiculous' to try to climb the mountain, where the summit remains in 'full-blown winter', without the right equipment or support. 'Being irresponsible means others have to go out of their way to help,' he said. Albone, from Brighton, apologised and thanked her rescuers who had walked her off the mountain because weather conditions were so bad she could not be reached by helicopter. Writing on a mountaineering forum, Albone said that they had been 'incredibly brave and kind,' adding: 'I think if it had not been for these guys I could have died. [I had] Just the stuff I had packed for the weekend and a stupid selfie stick. I kind of knew I was under-prepared and didn't actually intend on getting to the top. I just sort of thought, "oh I've got this far - it's not too bad - let's carry on."' Albone said that she planned to take a mountaineering course once she returned home. And, perhaps, a course in basic common sense too?

A woman has broken her pelvis and her legs in a twenty five feet fall down a lift shaft in a Starbucks coffee shop. She plunged down the shaft at a branch on High Street in Solihull and had to be rescued by firefighters. The woman, who is said to be in her twenties, is now being treated in the trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, West Midlands Ambulance Service said. Although, obviously, they're bloody painful. The Starbucks coffee branch will remain closed until an investigation into how the incident happened is completed. A spokesman said they were 'shocked and distressed by this terrible incident,' adding they were 'working closely' with authorities. The Health and Safety Executive said it was 'a matter for the local authority' and not them.
A suspect found a creative place to hide during an Alabama drug raid, but investigators say that it was his snoring that did him in. Brookside police said in a news release that about one hour and forty five minutes into searching a house, investigators heard a snoring sound coming from the clothes dryer and found one Michael Christopher Davis curled up inside the appliance. The thirty three-year-old suspect told police they had spent so much time searching the home Wednesday afternoon that he fell asleep. Brookside police Chief Jason Springfield said Davis' arrest came after 'multiple people inside and outside' the home 'attempted to run away from authorities' who had arrived to search the house.

A teenage boy has been arrested over the alleged theft of a fibreglass and metal spaceship from outside the UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico. The model has been a fixture in Roswell, where it was mounted outside the museum before a recent snowstorm damaged it. It was being stored behind the museum when it was stolen on 19 March. Police said that three people could be seen in surveillance video hauling the spaceship off in a pick-up truck. Officers say they are still searching for two other suspects. They are said to be small, grey, with big black eyes and massive heads and were last see heading out of town on the back of a flying saucer.
A fugitive with 'a nasty bite' is at large and should not be approached, it has been warned. Thousands of miles from its native North America, a raccoon has been photographed in the Scottish wild by a camera trap set up to record images of the elusive Scottish wildcat. The footage revealed the furry mammal foraging in woodland near Garve in the Highlands. Members of the public have been warned not to approach it. Conservation body, Scottish Natural Heritage, said it plans to trap and rehouse the raccoon. SNH wildlife and non-native species manager Stan Whitaker said: 'Raccoons could cause millions of pounds worth of damage per year to the Scottish economy if they became established here. They could also cause significant damage to our native wildlife by preying on birds, small animals and amphibians. Raccoons aren't dangerous but they may give you a nasty bite if cornered. The raccoon that has been recorded is an adult and roughly the size of a domestic cat.' SNH said that raccoons have been identified in Scotland as one of the top fifty invasive, non-native species most likely to be introduced and 'cause negative impacts.' They are currently kept as pets and zoo animals and there have been several escapes in the last few years. Anyone who spots the raccoon is asked to report it immediately to the Scottish Environment and Rural Services.
A man chewed off his fingertips during a traffic stop in Ohio to try to keep police from finding out that he was on Tampa's most wanted list. According to WEWS-TV, Kirk Kelly was in the rear passenger seat of a car which was pulled over in a traffic stop last month. Officers determined that Kelly had warrants for his arrest in Florida for racketeering, as well as gun and drug charges. WEWS reports that Kelly will serve time in Summit County, Ohio before being extradited back to Florida.
A report of armed men near seen an Arkansas elementary school led to a campus lockdown before police confirmed that the three men were actually pest control employees chasing squirrels. A teacher at Gardner STEM Magnet School in Hot Springs saw the men about 8am on Wednesday and notified administrators. According to a statement from the Hot Springs Police Department, the teacher said it looked as though three men were carrying rifles and running toward the school. Officers determined the men, who were carrying pellet guns, were employees of a pest control company hired to 'eradicate' squirrels at a neighbouring apartment complex. Police say the employees fired a shot at a squirrel, missed and chased the squirrel onto school property.
Police in Warren are looking for the person or persons who broke into a truck at a warehouse and stole thirty three cases of Whoppers. Police said that they are looking for the, ahem, hamburglars (sorry) who found the truck parked on Ryan south of Ten Mile on Friday night. According to the truck driver, he parked and was waiting to make a delivery when he 'fell asleep.' When he woke up, he went to move the truck and noticed that the lock was broken and someone had broken in and stolen thirty three cases of Burger King's trademark burgers. Which sounds entirely believable. Police hope that someone saw the - presumably, very hungry - thieves and are asking anyone with information to let them know. They are also still questioning the driver of the truck.
The owner of 'gourmet' burger and chicken restaurant in Wales has hit on a novel idea to boost trade - he's offering a discount to anyone with red hair. Mark Linaker, who describes himself as 'a former ginger,' says that Ginger's Grill in Prestatyn will be 'giving something back' to the area's beleaguered ginger community. 'I feel that gingers deserve a break,' Mark told Wales Online. 'As one of my friends said to me, gingers have been getting stick for a long time now so it is time they got something back.'
London's Almedia Theatre has announced Sherlock star Andrew Scott is to appear in its production of Hamlet next Spring, opposite Juliet Stevenson (who, one presumes in playing Gertrude rather than Ophelia cos, she's a bit old for the latter). Andrew - who has a cult following for his mad-as-toast performance as Jim Moriarty in the popular BBC drama - is following in the footsteps of his Sherlock co-star yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch, who appeared in another production of Hamlet at the Barbican last year.Which was very good by most accounts.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved BBC Newcastle has announced that Wor Geet Canny Luscious Lauren Laverne will be the new voice of the station. Laverne has recorded a number of jingles and idents which will be played on the station from 2 May. The 6Music DJ and former member of the - really rather terrific - Mackem girl-group Kenickie has already recorded the series of jingles which will be used at various points across the station, including idents for shows, travel jingles and 'various calls to action.' Wor Geet Canny Luscious Lauren takes over from the lead singer of ACDC, Wor Geet Canny Brian Johnson, who has been the idents voice of BBC Newcastle since 2013. Wor Geet Canny Luscious Lauren he very self said: 'I am thrilled that BBC Newcastle asked me to be their voice of the station. I have enjoyed listening to Brian's voice on the station over the last few years and it's an honour to step into his shoes. I hope I have injected some of my own personality into the jingles and look forward to hearing myself as I drive around the North East.' The very excellent Doug Morris, the Managing Editor of BBC Newcastle (and, the world's biggest Who fan) said: 'I am a big fan of Lauren’s work and after she presented our People's History Of Pop programme, I was delighted when she agreed to bring her voice to BBC Newcastle. Brian Johnson has done a great job, but the time is right for him to pass the baton on to Lauren who has brought her unique style and energy to the station.' Lauren can be heard on BBC Newcastle from 2 May, and Brian's last links will be heard the day before. Record them now whilst you have the chance. Prior to Brian, Matt Baker, presenter of The ONE Show, provided the voice of BBC Newcastle. BBC Newcastle has been broadcasting since 1971 - including a ten year period where yer actual Keith telly Topping his very self was an occasional feature! - and is currently the most popular BBC Local Radio station outside of London. Regular presenters include Keith Telly Topping's old mucker, oppo and occasional writing partner Alfie Joey and the very excellent Charlie Charlton, Gilly Hope, Simon Logan, Nick Roberts, Anna Foster, Jon Harle, Helen Richardson and Stephanie Finnon. Latest figures show the station has a weekly reach of around two hundred and seventy thousand listeners.

Now, dear blog reader, here's a very special moment captured on film; the last known photograph to be taken of the alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon and his former songwriting partner, Paul McCartney (MBE) taken in Los Angeles in 1974. Massive fares, a horrible moustache and two men in their thirties snowflaked off their tits. The seventies in a nutshell, in fact.
We should shine lasers into space if we want to hide our presence from aliens, two US-based astronomers suggest. Who are, obviously, not mental, nor nothing. I thought the whole idea was that we wanted to find aliens, nick their technology and, as it were, conquer the cosmos. The beams could compensate for the dip in light the Earth creates when it passes in front of the Sun, as viewed from far-off worlds, the scientists contend. These are real scientists, incidentally, they've got letters after their name and everything. A number of researchers have 'questioned the wisdom' of advertising our existence to the galaxy. They fear that if aliens did visit us they might not be very friendly and could introduce disease. Or, you know, big fek-off ray guns which they will use to enslave us and make us work in their giant sugar mines. Or something. The analogy, they say, is Europeans arriving in the Americas in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth centuries. The contact wrought havoc in the health of indigenous populations. Yeah, but we got tobacco and potatoes out of the deal so, you know, what's the problem? David Kipping and Alex Teachey from Columbia University in New York - who, just repeat, are definitely not mental - say that if we are fearful of a similar outcome from an alien encounter then lasers 'offer a solution.' The team has calculated what would be required to cloak the Earth and published the concept in a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It 'perverts' the technique scientists already use now to look for distant planets around other stars. This method relies on staring at these suns, hoping to catch an object passing in front. When such a transit occurs, there is a tell-tale decrease in starlight. The US space agency's Kepler telescope has identified more than a thousand planets this way. If intelligent civilisations are out there, and mathematically, the chances are that they are, it is safe to assume they too will be looking for other worlds - like ours - using the same idea, believe Kipping and Teachey. According to the pair's calculations, emitting a continuous thirty-megawatt laser for about ten hours, once a year, would be enough to distort the characteristic dip in light when Earth transited the Sun, as viewed from an alien Kepler telescope. Or, beam a performance ofTop Rock Group The Whom doing 'Won't Get Fooled Again', that should suffice. And, if the lasers don't baffle 'em, Roger's scream will put the shits right up them and send them off back to the Orion Nebula with their tail between their legs. If they have legs. Or tails. Obviously. 'It doesn't have to be one huge laser; it could be an array positioned around the Earth. Or you could put it in space as a satellite, and we've calculated that the International Space Station already collects exactly the amount of energy we would need,' Professor Kipping told BBC News. From his padded cell in Arkham Asylum. Probably. Professor Kipping concedes, however, that a laser cloak that covers all wavelengths, not just the visible colours, would need 'a very large array' of tuneable lasers with a total power of two hundred and fifty megawatts. But, an alternative might be to use a laser simply to disguise the interesting aspects about Earth - features in its atmosphere that betray the fact that life exists here. These are a suite of gases that include oxygen, ozone and methane. 'If we just cloaked out those biosignatures then another civilisation might detect our planet through a transit, everything would add up, but Earth would appear as a dead world and they'd soon lose interest,' Professor Kipping added. Which, would've certainly come in handy in the past whenever The Daleks have invaded. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective term used to describe positive efforts to detect and contact alien life. A number of experiments are currently under way that are trying to see if aliens are actually signalling us with lasers. But, just as with the attempts to detect the radio transmissions from aliens, this 'optical Seti' approach, as it is known, has also found nothing of interest among the stars. Yet.

Three children now have permanent ink on their ankles after their mother allegedly allowed her boyfriend's brother to give them tattoos. According to KTBC, the children's father noticed the tattoos after he picked them up from the woman's house in Lago Vista, Texas. The children, all under the age of thirteen, got tattoos of an infinity sign, a cross and a heart with an arrow through it. When asked by police, the children said that their mother, Ashley Weir, told them to get the tattoos but 'not to whine or cry.' She was also allegedly drunk when she arrested. Weir's boyfriend's brother, the tattoo artist, is also a registered sex offender, according to the report. Weir was extremely arrested for allowing tattoos prohibited for certain persons, which is a misdemeanour punishable by up to three years in pris. She is also likely to be charged with being 'one bad mother.'

A cat that had been missing for more than a year in Toton was finally found this week, living and dining sumptuously inside a pet food warehouse. Workers at the Kennelgate Pet Superstores warehouse in nearby Stapleton had been trying to catch the culprit for a week after they spotted evidence of a cat living among the stacked boxes of food. The cat - a Norwegian Forest Cat named Clive - was finally captured Wednesday using a trap loaned by Cats Nottingham Rescue, Kennelgate said in a news release. 'It's a mystery as to where he has been over the past fourteen months but we think he couldn't of ended up in a better place what with all the free pet food he could dream of, not forgetting the odd warehouse mouse!' the company said. Clive's owner, Tanya Irons, told the BBC that she'd assumed that Clive - who was just nine months old when he vanished - had been taken in by a new owner. 'I can't believe he's so porky,' she said. Kennelgate said the incident 'really does go to show the importance of micro-chipping your pet.'
An airliner flying from Hawaii to Japan was forced to turn back and land in Honolulu after a passenger insisted on 'doing yoga' in the galley in defiance of the crew, an FBI spokesman said on Thursday. Hyongtae Pae was charged in federal court on Monday with 'interfering with the crew of an aircraft' (and 'doing yoga in public', probably) in connection with the disturbance last Saturday aboard United Airlines flight Nine Zero Three bound for Tokyo's Narita airport. Pae reportedly ignored crew instructions and, during meal service, headed to the galley in the back of the plane to 'meditate and do yoga,' according to an affidavit filed in federal court. When his wife, who was travelling with him, tried to persuade him to sit down, Pae reportedly grew agitated, pushing her and yelling 'I wanna do yoga.' Or something. Several US Marines who happened to be on the plane helped the crew to 'escort' Pae to his seat, said Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Tom Simon, a spokesman for the agency's Honolulu office. 'While yoga and meditation can be beneficial activities, it doesn't negate the need to obey flight crew instructions while in the air,' Simon said. 'The fact that the defendant's alleged misconduct caused the flight to be turned around in the air gives you an idea of the seriousness of this situation,' Simon said. Pae, a retired farmer, was headed home to South Korea, via Japan, and was sleep-deprived after his first visit to Hawaii, his attorney, JT Kim, told Reuters. 'He was trying to calm himself down,' Kim said. 'I guess that's why he wanted to do some yoga, to calm himself down.' Well, fighting with marines can also be calming in certain circumstances. Once they've punched you unconscious. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Pae to be released on bail of twenty five thousand bucks, but told him to turn over his South Korean passport and stay on the island of Oahu. If convicted, Pae faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in the state pen. Where he can do yoga to his heart's content. So, you know, bonus. There, he could be joined by all of the people jailed if a Republican state representative - who is, clearly, not mental nor nothing - gets his way and makes the wearing of yoga pants illegal.
A man who picked up and licked a toad as he 'danced by himself' (this blogger doesn't think that's a euphemism for anything) was extremely put in jail after he ignored a request from disbelieving police officers. Richard Mullins allegedly refused to leave JJ's Sideout Bar & Grill in the city of La Porte in Indiana and management called in plod, WNDU reported. Mullins had been refused entry to the gaff as he was 'barefoot and unable to produce identification.' After being escorted from the nightclub, he reportedly 'began dancing on his own in the car park.' Again, not a euphemism, we presume. He was then 'escorted to the pavement' by staff but 'continued to dance.' 'The subject then reportedly picked up a toad and was licking it prior to our arrival,' Officer Vincent Bowman wrote on his charge sheet. When questioned by police officers as to why the hell he doing such a thing, Mullins allegedly had 'a blank look on his face but no pupil dilation to suggest he was under the influence of any drugs.' He was warned that if he entered the club's property he would be arrested for trespass. 'Rick seemed to understand as when he was dancing he would walk right up to the property line that we pointed out and then walk back,' Bowman wrote. However after a few minutes, Mullins returned to the bar's parking lot and continued dancing with himself. When officers approached him, 'he was holding another toad' in a suspicious manner and looking a bit shifty. He was arrested and charged with misdemeanour trespassing and taken to the LaPorte County jail to be held before a court appearance on 30 June. Police have not specified what type of toad it was that he was licking. Although they did note that it had a look on its face like it was owed an explanation.
And still on the subject of 'dancing', a man who was 'seen dancing to music' on top of a police car in Florida was quick to explain why to puzzled officers. Christian Radecki was spotted dancing to the self-righteous brothers Hall & Oates' 1977 hit 'Rich Girl' and to stinking old hippies Supertramp's 1979 song 'Goodbye Stranger', reported WPTV. The forty four-year-old told Lee County Sheriff's Office that he was 'warning children about vampires.' And, definitely wasn't high. Radecki, a convicted sex offender, drove his car up to the rear bumper of a police SUV and with his car radio blaring, climbed on top of the police car and started dancing. As you do. Radecki was very arrested and charged with disturbing the peace, criminal mischief and having a really poor taste in music.
The diminutive human species nicknamed 'The Hobbit' is older than previously recognised, scientists now say. The discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2003 caused a sensation because it seemed the creature could have been alive in the quite recent past. But a new analysis indicates the little hominin probably went extinct at least fifty thousand years ago - not the twelve thousand years initially thought to be the case. Researchers report their revised assessment in the journal Nature. Professor Bert Roberts, from the University of Wollongong (who is also in charge of the sheep dip, probably), said that the new dating actually resolves what had always been a head-scratcher: how it was possible for floresiensis to survive for thirty to forty years after modern homo sapiens are believed to have passed through Indonesia. 'It now seems we weren't living alongside this little species for very long, if at all. And once again it smells of modern humans having a role in the downfall of yet another species,' he told BBC News. 'Every time modern humans arrived somewhere new, it tended to be bad news for the endemic fauna. Things would go pear-shaped pretty quickly.' Although, quite why that hasn't been the case in certain Southern states of the US is, at this time, unknown.
Hello! magazine has grovellingly apologised for running 'an exclusive' interview with George Clooney which, the actor, says was 'completely fabricated.' The gossip and tittle-tattle magazine claimed that it had purchased the interview from 'an entertainment news agency' called Famous, which they have worked with in the past. Hello! said it thought the article was accurate and has now removed from piece from its website. Clooney said that the alleged interview never took place. He added in a statement: 'The problem is that I have not given an interview to Hello magazine and the quotes attributed to me are not accurate. In my experience, being misquoted is not unusual but to have an "exclusive interview" completely fabricated is something new. And a very disturbing trend.' The interview was a piece about how George and wife, Amal, make their long-distance marriage work. It was picked up by Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, the Sun and the Evening Standard. Hello! said that it was 'dismayed' to hear the interview was not authentic. 'The Hello! Group can only express its deepest respect for both Mister Clooney and his wife, Amal, and its sincere commitment to respectable and accurate journalism,' the statement read. Almost certainly the first occasion in recorded history that the words 'Hello! magazine' and 'respectable and accurate journalism' have appeared in the same sentence and, quite probably, the last too. In 2014, the Daily Scum Mail also grovellingly apologised to Clooney about a story which they ran about his wife's mother claiming that she 'opposed' her daughter's wedding. He called the story 'false' and 'irresponsible.' Which, given the fact that it was in the Daily Scum Mail many may arguer was stating the bleeding obvious.
And now, dear blog reader, we start on a whole heap of very sad news. The Sherlock Holmes actor Douglas Wilmer has died at the age of ninety six. Douglas wore the famed deerstalker in the mid-1960s to play Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character in a widely-acclaimed BBC series. Douglas died in hospital in Ipswich on Thursday after suffering from pneumonia, Roger Johnson, a spokesman for the Sherlock Holmes Society Of London, confirmed. 'He was a great actor, he was a gentleman, he had a long and distinguished career,' Johnson said. Wilmer first appeared as Holmes in 1964, with Nigel Stock as his - thick-as-two-short-planks - John Watson. After he left the show he was replaced by Peter Cushing - but Douglas retained his affection for the character throughout his career. In 1973, he played French detective Professor Van Dusen in the series The Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes and in 1975 he returned to play Holmes himself - this time in a supporting role - in the Gene Wilder movie The Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother. And in 2012, at the very end of his acting career, Douglas made a cameo appearance in The Reichenbach Fall episode of Sherlock as an irate old man at The Diogenes Club alongside current Sherlock and John pairing of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The Sherlock writer, producer and actor Mark Gatiss shared a photograph of himself with Douglas on-set. Mark tweeted: 'An honour to have known dear Douglas Wilmer. A Sherlock for all seasons. The work was something, the man was all.' Aside from his starring role as the fictional detective, Douglas had a number of film and TV roles in a career that covered almost seventy years. Sir Roger Moore praised the parts Douglas played in the 1982 James Bond film Octopussy and in Moore's TV series The Saint, calling him 'a fine actor' and 'joyous' to work with. Douglas was born in London and received his education at King's School, Canterbury and Stonyhurst College. Whilst in training as an actor at RADA, he was conscripted into the army for military service with the Royal Artillery during the war. He was posted to an anti-tank battery and saw service in Africa with the Royal West African Frontier Force. He was later invalided out of the Armed Forces having contracted tuberculosis. He made his stage debut in 1945 in repertory at Rugby. Thereafter, he appeared frequently on the London stage, mainly in classical and Shakespearean roles. He made his first major film appearance in Laurence Olivier's Richard III and appeared in a large number of films. They include The Battle Of The River Plate, as Al-Mu'tamin in El Cid, Cleopatra, The Fall Of The Roman Empire, as Khalifa Abdullah in Khartoum, Patton, Cromwell and Antony & Cleopatra. Other appearances include the classic Jason & The Argonauts (as Pelias), the Pink Panther movies A Shot In The Dark (1964) and Revenge Of The Pink Panther, Hammer's The Vampire Lovers (1970) and The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad. He also played Sir Denis Nayland Smith in two of Harry Alan Towers' Fu Manchu movies The Brides Of Fu Manchu (1966) and The Vengeance Of Fu Manchu (1967). His television credits include The Adventures Of Robin Hood, The Troubleshooters, The Avengers, The Baron, UFO, and Space: 1999. His autobiography Stage Whispers was published in 2010. Douglas lived with his wife, Anne, in Woodbridge where, during the 1980s he also ran Sherlock’s Wine Bar.
The actress Adrienne Corri has died at the age of eighty five. Adrienne played Mena in the 1980 Doctor Who story The Leisure Hive, the first of Tom Baker's last series in the role. The flamed-haired Adrienne was an actress associated with determined and feisty characters – often reflecting her own, up-tempo, personality. She appeared in a number of major film roles, and is probably best known for playing Mrs Alexander in Stanley Kubrick's controversial 1971 movie A Clockwork Orange. Many actresses had already turned down the role as she was involved in the film's more shocking scenes, including one which saw a gagged Adrienne stripped and raped by top Droog Malcolm McDowell as he sang 'Singing In The Rain'. It is still a difficult scene to watch but Adrienne retained a balanced perspective telling McDowell - with whom she later became a close friend - as they began filming, 'Malcolm, today you're going to find out I'm a real redhead!' The filming took all day and required scores of retakes: Adrienne was further annoyed when another brutal scene took four days to film. In that, she was punched thirty nine times by McDowell until he refused to continue. Adrienne Riccoboni was born to an Italian father and a mostly Scottish mother in Glasgow in 1930. During the 1930s, her father ran the Crown Hotel in Callander. In her youth she was a member of many local amateur drama groups and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, making her film debut was in The Romantic Age (1949) as 'a sexy schoolgirl; according to the Gruniad. She also played Lara's mother in David Lean's Doctor Zhivago and appeared in the Otto Preminger thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing and Jean Renoir's The River. Other films on her CV included Devil Girl From Mars, The Tell-Tale Heart, A Study In Terror, Madhouse and the Hammer classic Vampire Circus. She played Therese Duval in Revenge Of The Pink Panther. Her career in films was succinctly summed up by a movie magazine which described her as having 'no nice little-girl-next-door nonsense about her.' Corri was often seen on TV and made a strong impression in her first major role as the devious Milady de Winter in the BBC's 1954 adaptation of The Three Musketeers. Her other television credits include playing Angelica in Sword of Freedom, Grace Gould in A Family At War and Lady Rebecca In Lovejoy as well as appearances in episodes of UFO, The Troubleshooters, Adam Adamant Lives!, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Department S, You're Only Young Twice, Play For Today, The Champions, Paris 1900, One Step Beyond and, earlier in her career, a 1949 BBC adaptation of JB Priestley's Summer's Day Dream. Adrienne was acquainted with many of the leading figures in the British theatre, including Joe Orton. He recounted in his posthumously published diaries how he asked Adrienne advice on how best to end his relationship with his lover (and, subsequent killer) Kenneth Halliwell. Despite the arduous filming of A Clockwork Orange, she enjoyed a good relationship with Kubrick. She kept in touch with the director, who complained to her about the problem he had of losing socks whenever he did the washing, so one year for Christmas she gave him a pair of bright red socks, a humorous reference to her scene in Orange, where after Alex had finished snipping off her red pyjama suit, she was naked except for a pair of red socks. Her other great love was collecting fine art and, while appearing at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, Adrienne spotted backstage a portrait of the Eighteenth-Century actor David Garrick. She became obsessed with authenticating the work as being a genuine Thomas Gainsborough painted when the artist was just sixteen. The issue caused much debate in the art world and Adrienne wrote a book about the issue, The Search For Gainsborough (1984). In 1986, when Adrienne was appearing in Aberdeen, she was reportedly visited by bailiffs whom, she claimed, had been sent to seize her furniture. The dispute with the Alexandra Theatre over the portrait rumbled on until 1990 when the theatre gave the painting to Adrienne in an out-of-court settlement. She married and divorced the actor Daniel Massey (1961–1967). The marriage proved to be somewhat tempestuous, with Massey describing the relationship in the following terms, 'We were agonisingly incompatible but we had an extraordinary physical attraction.' She is survived by a son, Patrick and daughter, Sarah from a previous relationship, reportedly with the film producer Patrick Filmer-Sankey.
Ronnie Corbett's wife has revealed that he had been battling suspected motor neurone disease before he died earlier this week. Anne Hart told the Daily Scum Mail that Ronnie had been diagnosed in March 2015 after he 'started to feel unwell and found it hard to breathe and to lie down' around Christmas 2014. She told the newspaper that only family and close friends knew of his illness. 'He was not in pain and up to the last forty eight hours, he was fully conscious and aware of everything,' she added. On Tuesday, Ronnie went into a coma after his oxygen levels dropped and he was taken to Shirley Oaks Hospital in Croydon where he died on Thursday morning at the age of eighty five. As one half of The Two Ronnies, Ronnie Corbett was one of the UK's best-loved entertainers with a career spanning more than six decades. A combination of the rotund, jocular Englishman, Ronnie Barker, and the diminutive mischievous Scot, the pair would become known for their sketches, mock news bulletins and comedy songs. Their famous pay-off after every show was: 'It's good night from me ... And it's good night from him.' Neither comic played the straight man in the partnership, both seemingly more than content to share out the funnies between them and they worked together for more than thirty years until Barker's death in 2005. Born in Edinburgh to a master baker and his English wife, Corbett was schooled locally but shunned further education after a handful of performances in amateur theatrical shows at his church youth club convinced him he wanted to be an actor. He did his national service with the Royal Air Force and was, at only five feet tall in his stocking feet, the shortest commissioned officer in the British Forces. After moving to London, he made his first professional stage appearance as Ronald Corbett in Take It Easy in 1952. He was initially sensitive about his height, but as his career developed he made shrewd use of its comic potential. His film appearances included his debut in You're Only Your Twice (1952), Rockets Galore! (1957), Casino Royale (1967) and the cinema version of the farce No Sex Please, We're British (1973). On TV, he was a regular in Sheep's Clothing, It's Tarbuck and Crackerjack. In 1965 he starred with Danny La Rue and Barbara Windsor in cabaret at Winston's, La Rue's Mayfair nightclub, where he was seen by David Frost who asked Ronnie to appear in The Frost Report. It was there that he first worked with Ronnie Barker. Most of the writers - which included five of the future Monty Python's Flying Circus team, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Eric Idle along with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie - were Oxbridge graduates. But as former grammar school boys, Corbett and Barker were drawn together and were soon thought of as a double act. They famously appeared with Cleese in The Class Sketch, in which Corbett - representing the lower classes - got the magnificent pay-off: 'I know my place!' Of his relationship with Barker, Corbett said: 'We liked each other very much and Ron, I suppose was the brainier of the two of us as far as theatrical know how because of his writing skills.' The pair would get their own BBC show, The Two Ronnies, in 1971. It would run for sixteen years and became essential family viewing of thought of in the same breath as Barker and Corbett's comedy idols, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. One of their most famous sketches, Four Candles, was written by Barker showing off his natural gift for amusing wordplay. Walking into an old-fashioned ironmonger's store, Barker appears to ask for 'four candles.' Corbett gives him the candles but it turns out that Barker wanted 'handles for forks.' Or, there was the memorable Mastermind sketch, a particular favourite of this blogger. With a team of writers and the hugely talented Barker at his disposal, Corbett said that he was never tempted to sit down at the typewriter himself: 'I think it's a very brave thing to do, to write something down on a piece of paper and give it to someone and say, "I think this is very funny." It's bad enough getting up and doing it.' Corbett's most famous contributions to the show were his solo monologues, delivered from a chair, facing the camera. His attempts to tell a simple joke, usually with a deliberately corny punchline, were constantly disrupted by his going off tangent and relating other humorous incidents and telling the audience about all of the things the show's producer had been instructing him to do. The jokes could often last several minutes. Even after the show ended, with Barker's retirement in the late 1980s, it would be regularly repeated and enjoyed many festive specials. Both Corbett and Barker also enjoyed successful solo careers, the latter with the classic prison sitcom Porridge and Corbett in his own sitcom vehicle Sorry!, which ran from 1981 to 1988. In 2005, Corbett teamed up again with Barker for The Two Ronnies Sketchbook, featuring comedy sketches from their original series with newly-recorded linking material. The shows were recorded prior to Barker's death later that year from heart failure at the age of seventy six. Corbett led tributes saying: 'Ronnie was pure gold in triplicate - as a performer, a writer and a friend. We worked together since 1965 and we never had a cross word It was forty years of harmonious joy, nothing but an absolute pleasure. I will miss him terribly.' Speaking to BBC's Front Row in 2010, when he filmed a one-off BBC special The One Ronnie to mark his eightieth birthday, he said that he had never even entertained the idea of starting a partnership with another comedian. 'I suppose I avoided thoughts of it because it had been such a happy and supportive collaboration that we had, that I would miss his advice and his touch.' In 2006, he played himself in Ricky Gervais's comedy series Extras. A running gag in the show involved references to Gervais's character apparently losing his virginity to 'a women that looked like Ronnie Corbett.' The episode featured Ronnie being caught taking drugs at the BAFTAs. He also starred as himself in Little Britain Abroad and, in 2009, he co-hosted Strictly Come Dancing alongside Tess Daly for an episode when regular host, Corbett's close friend Bruce Forsyth, had 'flu. Ronnie was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to entertainment and charity. In May 1966, Corbett married the dancer Anne Hart; they had two daughters, actresses Emma and Sophie Corbett. Their first child, Andrew, had a heart defect and died, six weeks old, at St Thomas' Hospital, London. In his spare time. Ronnie was a beekeeper and kept hives at his second home in East Lothian. He was also a keen golfer and appeared in celebrity and pro–am events; in 2009, he made a documentary with Colin Montgomerie in which they played at Gleneagles. He was also a cricket fan, twice acting as president of the cricketing charity the Lord's Taverners (in 1982 and 1987).
Pianist Andy Thunderclap Newman, who gave his name to the one-hit wonders behind the 1969 chart-topper 'Something In The Air', has died at the age of seventy three. The song saw Thunderclap Newman - formed by The Who's Pete Townshend to showcase the talents of musicians Newman, John Speedy Keen and he teenage Jimmy McCulloch - spend three weeks at number one, fending off singles from The Beatles and Elvis Presley. The trio split in 1971 after releasing one LP, Hollywood Dream. Newman resurrected the band with a new line-up some years later. Mark Brzezicki, drummer with Big Country and the reformed Thunderclap Newman, said that the pianist was 'an unsung musical genius. He was an incredibly talented musician. He had his own unique, very individual piano-playing style. He was also incredibly intellectual, he knew a lot about everything. He was very wise, but also a very quiet and private man.' The Who also shared the news of Newman's death on their Facebook page, saying that it brought 'great sadness.'
Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day and Thunderclap Newman's finest three minutes and fifty seconds.

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