Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Short Attention Span

Jenna Coleman her very self is only a few months removed from her heartbreaking Doctor Who departure - but could a return trip to the TARDIS already in the works? Yer actual Jenna reunited with her Time Lord, Peter Capaldi, at Awesome Con in Washington DC - where Peter appeared to let slip to the audience that Clara's mind-wipe of The Doctor in Hell Bent might not have been entirely successful. 'I'm not sure how successfully Clara was able to wipe his mind,' Capaldi told fans, before adding: 'I just ... I was about to tell you something I can't tell you.' He then revealed: 'I just shot something that Clara was still there in!'
It looks like we may well be getting a new Doctor Who episode from yer actual Mark Gatiss next year. In an interview with WhoSFX, Mark revealed that he was writing his 'ninth episode' whilst reflecting on his very first - 2005's The Unquiet Dead. 'It seems so natural now as I write my ninth episode – ten if you count the un-produced one – but the forty five-minute format took some getting used to,' he said. 'Growing up with four and six-parters and cliffhanger endings was how Doctor Who worked, so that was a challenge.'
A 1966 Dalek prop has sold for over thirty eight thousand smackers after attracting bids from around the world in a film and TV memorabilia auction. The sixty seven items being sold belonged to one man, whose wife said that he needed to get rid of them 'so they could downsize.' The words 'you're a grown man, get rid of this junk, for goodness sake,' were also, probably, used. Auctioneer James Lewis said that about thirty people - with more money than sense - 'fiercely contested' the prop and believes that 'it is a record for the highest price ever sold.' The huge collection of memorabilia sold for nearly ninety grand in total. Enough to buy a house. Or, a very nice car. A man from London - who did not wish to be named - bought the Dalek, beating bids from people in America, Australia, New Zealand and Belgium. Lewis said: 'Thirty eight thousand five hundred pound is an incredible price - more than double what was expected. It has beaten the record set in 2005, which stood at just over thirty six thousand pounds. I think the Dalek would have been back in use exterminating its owner if he hadn't agreed to sell his collection.' The lots also included a Cyberman costume from 'Doctor Who's Nineteenth season' (presumably from the 1983 The Five Doctor) which sold for two thousand knicker and a TARDIS prop from 'a stage show' (your guess is as good as mine, there are three or four to chose from) which fetched one thousand notes. Prior to the auction, the seller's wife said: 'There's no way that we can accommodate all of these things. The last thing I want is a Dalek in the bedroom. Everything has to go. We don't want any of it back. I'm locking my husband in a straitjacket in the garden shed so he can't bid on any of it again.' Sounds like a happy marriage there. If I was you, mate, I'd consult a divorce lawyer. The Dalek featured in the 1966 move Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 AD and was one of three props subsequently given away by Sugar Puffs in a competition to tie in with the release of the film. It was originally silver but has since been repainted red. In 1992 it made an appearance on the BBC show Summer Scene, where it chased a young Rob Brydon around the Ebbw Vale Garden Festival of Wales. Which, to be fair, we've all wanted to do as some stage in our lives.

Culverton Smith is the name of Toby Jones' character in the forthcoming series of Sherlock, according to the Cultbox website. Trailed by the show's creators as 'one of Doyle's finest villains' last month, it has now been confirmed that the tropical diseases expert from The Adventure Of The Dying Detective will be brought to life by Jones. Culverton Smith's grudge against Sherlock Holmes began when the latter suspected him of his nephew's murder in Arthur Conan Doyle's original story. Resolving to rid himself of this troublesome detective, Smith infected a spring-loaded pin with a deadly disease and posted it to 221B Baker Street with the intention of killing Holmes. The Great Detective, however, suspected the threat against his life and decided to feign infection in order to trap Smith and have him very arrested for the previous murder and other nefarious skulduggery and naughty doings. To ensure his faked illness ruse would work, Holmes first had to convince Doctor Watson, which he duly did, leaving Watson distraught at the prospect of losing his friend. Meanwhile, filming has been continuing in Wales this week on the series, with one photo showing a rather tired-looking Benny Cumberbatch on his way to the location getting a lot of coverage in some of the scummier end of the tabloid press.
And now, dear blog reader, the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Seven programmes, week-ending Sunday 5 June 2016:-
1 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 7.58m
2 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 6.81m
3 Emmerdale - Wed ITV - 6.10m
4 England Friendlies - Thurs ITV - 5.58m
5 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.06m
6 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 5.02m
7 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.68m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.43m
9 In The Club - Tues BBC1 - 4.42
10 BBC News - Mon BBC1 - 4.31m
11= Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 4.30m
11= Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.30m
13 Britain's Busiest Airport - Heathrow - Mon ITV - 4.07m
14= Referendum Campaign Broadcast - Tues BBC1 - 4.06m
14= Top Gear - Sun BBC2 - 4.06m
16 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.05m
17 Soccer Aid - Sun ITV - 3.95m
18 The Truth About Healthy Eating - Thurs ITV - 3.87m
19 Gogglebox - Fri C4 - 3.83m
20 Wallander - Sun BBC1 - 3.71m
21 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 3.69m
22 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.57m
23 The National Lottery: In It To Win It - Sat BBC1 - 3.56m
24 ITV News - Sun ITV - 3.42m
25 Tonight At The London Palladium - Wed ITV - 3.40m
26 The Great British Sewing Bee - Mon BBC2 - 3.38m
27 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.35m
These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched the programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after broadcast, but does not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. On BBC2, besides Top Gear - which saw its consolidated audience drop from 6.42 million for its opening episode to 4.06 million for its second - and The Great British Sewing Bee, the next most-watched programme was one of the nightly episodes of Springwatch with 2.80 million punters. The opening episode of the new drama Versailles was watched by 2.73 million and Gardeners' World attracted 2.30 million, followed by the latest Peaky Blinders (2.24 million), Britain & Europe: For Richer Or Poorer (2.18 million), City In The Sky (1.78 million), the movie Alice In Wonderland (1.66 million) and yer actual Dad's Army (1.63 million). The latest Qi XL repeat drew eight hundred and eighty thousand. Aside from Googlebox, Twenty Four Hours In Police Custody was Channel Four's second highest-rated broadcast of the week (2.38 million), followed by the movie Twelve Years A Slave (2.37m) and Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.13m). That Awful Keith Woman At Her Majesty's Service attracted 1.35 million. Why, Christ only knows. Channel Five's top performer was Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! with 1.82 million. The Hotel Inspector had 1.67m, The Yorkshire Vet drew 1.37 million, Karen Carpenter: Goodbye To Love was seen by 1.33m and the latest episode of Gotham attracted 1.22m. Sky Sports 1's most-watched programme was coverage pf Live FL72: AFC Wimbledon Versus Plymouth Argyle watched by two hundred and forty seven thousand viewers. Sky Sports 2's Live Test Cricket and England handing out a second successive Sri Lankan spankin' in the second test at Chester-Le-Street drew three hundred and eleven thousand. One of the Live T20 Blast games - the Roses match between Lancashire and Yorkshire - was watched by two hundred and forty six thousand. Sky Sports Tonight was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast with one hundred and twenty eight thousand. On Sky Sports F1, Classic Races: Portugal 1985 had an audience of twenty eight thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and eleven thousand). Foyle's War was seen by seven hundred and seventy four thousand and Lewis by six hundred and fifty seven thousand. Isle Of Man TT coverage headed ITV4's weekly top ten with seven hundred and ninety one thousand. Worthless steaming pile of rancid diarrhoea Love Island was ITV2's most-watched programme with 1.23 viewers. Vera headed ITV Encore's top ten with eighty six thousand viewers with Island At War seen by sixty two thousand. BBC4's new imported French drama The Disappearance had audiences of six hundred and ninety five thousand and six hundred and forty eight thousand for its third and forth episodes in a top-ten list which also included the movie Catch Me If You Can (six hundred and nine thousand), Julia Bradbury's Railway Walks (four hundred and fifty eight thousand) and The Richest Songs In The World (four hundred and twelve thousand). Secret Voices Of Hollywood attracted four hundred and seven thousand, Dan Cruickshank: At Home With The British drew three hundred and eighty four thousand, D-Day: The Last Heroes had three hundred and sixty three thousand and the excellent Suzy Klein series Revolution & Romance was watched by three hundred and fifty nine thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by The Flash (1.15 million), Hawaii Five-0 (eight hundred and fifty three thousand) and worthless pile of a stinking vomit A League Of Their Own: US Roadtrip (a satisfyingly smaller than usual eight hundred and seventeen thousand), followed by Arrow (eight hundred and three thousand). Supergirl had six hundred and fifty one thousand and Rovers five hundred and fifty one thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was topped, of course, by the latest Game Of Thrones (2.39 million, the highest-rated multichannel audience of the week, by quite a distance). The Monday repeat of the popular fantasy drama's previous episode had 1.20 million. Penny Dreadful was seen by four hundred and sixty nine thousand, Thornecast, by three hundred and eighty one thousand and Alan Partridge's Scissored Isle - which was, sadly, nowhere near as funny as Steve Coogan seemed to think it was going to be - by three hundred and nine thousand. The Tunnel had two hundred and eighty six thousand and Billions, a rather disappointing two hundred and two thousand given the fact that one appeared barely able to get through fifteen minutes of telly on any channel without seeing a trailer for the Damien Lewis drama. On Sky Living, The Blacklist drew six hundred and sixty four thousand, Blindspot had six hundred and forty four thousand, Bones, five hundred and sixty five thousand and Grey's Anatomy, four hundred and seventy seven thousand. Sky Arts' broadcast of History Of The Eagles - in which the late Glenn Frey comes over as the single most conceited and arrogant arsehole in the history of popular music - had an audience of seventy four thousand. The much-trailed Neil Gaiman's Likely Stories drew thirty five thousand. 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura was watched by five hundred and sixty five thousand viewers. NCIS was seen by four hundred and forty four thousand. NCIS also topped the weekly top tens of FOX - the latest episode of series thirteen attracting 1.01 million punters - and featured in the CBS Action list (eighty nine thousand), Universal Channel's list (seventy one thousand) as well as Channel Five's. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's list also included American Dad! (two hundred and ten thousand) and Family Guy (one hundred and twenty nine thousand). On CBS Action, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was seen by one hundred and five thousand. The Universal Channel's top ten was headed by Chicago Med (two hundred and fifty six thousand), Second Chance (one hundred and thirteen thousand) and White Collar (eighty thousand). On Dave, Room 101 was the highest-rated programme with three hundred and forty seven thousand punters. That was followed by Have I Got A Bit More News For You (three hundred and thirty four thousand), Storage Hunters UK (three hundred and eight thousand), Qi XL (two hundred and seventy seven thousand) and Would I Lie To You? (two hundred and forty one thousand). Drama's New Tricks was watched by four hundred and thirty nine thousand viewers. Dalziel & Pascoe had three hundred and seventy two thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Castle (four hundred and thirty eight thousand), followed by Quantico (three hundred and ninety two thousand), Death In Paradise (three hundred and five thousand) and Murdoch Mysteries (one hundred and eighty five thousand). Yesterday's repeat runs of Open All Hours and Blackadder Back & Forth were watched by two hundred and sixty seven thousand and two hundred and forty four thousand respectively. On the Discovery Channel, the new series of Wheeler Dealers continued with three hundred and seventeen thousand punters. Deadliest Catch had an audience of one hundred and twenty three thousand and Gold Divers had one hundred and twelve thousand viewers. Discovery History's The Executioners topped the weekly-list with twenty two thousand viewers ahead of The Real Dick Turpin (nineteen thousand) and Tony Robinson's Wild West (sixteen thousand). On Discovery Science, Food Factory USA attracted twenty nine thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes was another - older - episode of Wheeler Dealers (forty eight thousand). National Geographic's top ten was headed by Car SOS which had one hundred and forty three thousand viewers. On The History Channel, Vikings attracted two hundred and sixty seven thousand. UFO Files on Military History had fifty four thousand thousand whilst Ancient Aliens was seen by thirty four thousand. Copycat Killers, Ghost Asylum and Murder Among Friends were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (forty three thousand, forty two thousand and forty thousand viewers respectively). Behind Bars headed CI's list (seventy two thousand). The latest episode of GOLD's repeat run of Mrs Brown's Boys attracted two hundred and twenty eight thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for an old episode of Friends (one hundred and thirty seven thousand). Your TV's Snapped had seventy six thousand viewers. On More4, The Good Wife was viewed by seven hundred and eleven thousand whilst E4's latest episode of The Big Bang Theory drew 2.17 million punters (behind Game Of Thrones as the second-largest multichannels audience of the week). The Horror Channel's broadcast of one of the worst movies' ever made, Virgin Witch, attracted one hundred and thirty five thousand viewers. Bitten headed Syfy's top ten with one hundred and twenty three thousand. Deadly Sixty had thirty three thousand on Eden. Insane Pools: Off The Deep End was the Animal Planet's most watched programme with seventy seven thousand. On W, Grimm was seen by four hundred and thirty seven thousand and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders by three hundred and twenty six thousand. Say Yes To The Dress was TLC's most-watched programme (one hundred and twenty three thousand).
Strictly Come Dancing and 'other popular BBC programmes' may still be at risk of being axed under government plans to overhaul the corporation's governance, Labour has warned. The shadow lack of culture secretary Maria Eagle claimed that 'prescriptive requirements' in the BBC White Paper for charter renewal suggest that shows such as Countryfile and Doctor Who may also be under threat. The document's requirement for the BBC to be 'distinctive' and the suggestion that it could seek to rely on 'fewer high output long-term titles' give the impression it may forced to drop programmes which go head-to-head with commercial rivals, Eagle said. She urged the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale to 'give assurances' that Ofcom will not make the BBC stop making popular programmes off the back of these requirements. Opening an opposition day debate on the White Paper, Eagle said: 'The White Paper defines "distinctiveness" as being "a requirement that the BBC should be substantially different to other providers across each and every service," but that hardly really pins it down. Ministers must allay concerns that this could be interpreted as the BBC being forced to withdraw from anything its commercial rivals wish it wasn't doing for their own commercial gain. You have, in the past questioned, the "distinctiveness" of some of the BBC's most popular programmes, like Strictly Come Dancing. The White Paper says "the government is clear that it cannot, and indeed should not, determine either the content or scheduling of programmes." But it also sets out prescriptive content requirements for radio and TV. To take one example for TV, it demands "fewer high-output, long-term titles." So, you seem to be telling the BBC to stop producing much-loved shows like Countryfile or Casualty or Doctor Who that happen to have been produced for very many years. What reassurances can you give that you are not simply going to require Ofcom to make the BBC back off doing things you don't like on the basis of these extremely prescriptive requirements?' Eagle added: 'If the Secretary of State, who is a free marketeer by instinct, wishes to intervene by micro-managing the public sector elements of our broadcasting industry, he is making a very big mistake, as well as turning into a statist interfering minister who should just leave our broadcasters to get on with doing the job that they do so well. Particularly those who work in the BBC.' When the White Paper was published in May, the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale insisted the requirement to produce 'distinctive' content is 'emphatically not saying the BBC should not be popular.' Although what he meant by 'distinctiveness' is still clear, seemingly, only to himself and the various women he meets on Internet dating sites. For, of course, entirely legal relationship-based purposes.
Meanwhile, the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale, has also been accused of 'misleading parliament' over the government's plans to privatise Channel Four. Eagle, made the accusation after it emerged that the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale had met with Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock 'to discuss Channel Four reform options' a mere six days before he told the lack of culture media and sport select committee last September that there were 'no plans' to sell off the broadcaster. The 3 September meeting with Hancock was revealed under a freedom of information request the day after the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale repeated that there were 'no active discussions' about a sell-off to the same committee earlier this week. 'The Secretary of State has misled the culture, media and sport committee,' Eagle told the Gruniad Morning Star. She described the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale's behaviour as 'totally unacceptable' (and, presumably, she wasn't talking about his personal life on this particular occasion) and called for him to 'make correct the official record.' Just two weeks after the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale's first appearance before the committee, a government official 'inadvertently revealed' the privatisation plans after being photographed entering Downing Street with a document setting out options for a sell-off clearly visible to cameras. MPs subsequently questioned the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale on the sell-off plans on Tuesday, when he still said he hoped a decision would be made 'soon', preferably before the summer recess. SNP MP John Nicholson pushed the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale concerning his earlier appearance: 'Are you saying that your officials were not working on privatisation on 9 September when you appeared before this committee?' The vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale at that point looked like someone who'd just shat in their own pants as he replied: 'I think I am, yes. I'm trying to think.' Take yer time, mate, we've got all day. 'Well, they weren't under active discussion at the time that I appeared before the committee. We started looking at the future of Channel Four, the sustainability of Channel Four and then as part of that the option of seeking an external investor was raised but I think strictly speaking, when I appeared before the committee, we had not begun those discussions.' What exactly 'strictly speaking' means, he did not elaborate. Eagle said: 'The government seem determined to sell off Channel Four for purely ideological reasons against the wishes of the public, who value the hugely popular programming it provides. We know the culture secretary is hostile to public service broadcasting, which he has demonstrated throughout the BBC charter review. He must now come clean about his agenda for Channel Four.' Eagle is expected to raise the matter in the House of Commons during Department for Culture, Media and Sport questions on Thursday. Earlier this week, the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale said that 'several options' were 'under discussion' from 'partial privatisation' to 'the status quo.' With the latter, presumably, meaning that Channel Four News will now be presented by sixty-year-olds in denim and pony-tails. I like it, I like it, I like it, I like it, I la-la-la-like it. 'I am not ruling anything in or out at this stage,' the vile and odious rascal (and coward) Whittingdale claimed, adding that 'quite a number of people' had 'expressed an interest' in the broadcaster after reading that its future was under consideration. On Tuesday, Nicholson described the timing of events as 'extraordinary. This must've been an incredible fortnight between the 9 and 24 [September], one minute you're innocently explaining to committee that there's no plans for privatisation and then there's a whirlwind of privatisation activity in the next fortnight.' Or, in other words, the vile and odious rascal and coward) Whittingdale may not have been entirely truthful in his evidence to the committee. Perhaps he had his mind on other matters? Perhaps we'll never know.
Channel Four breached regulations on product placement in an episode of its quiz show Countdown, the media watchdog Ofcom has ruled. A lone complaint was received about the 21 March episode in which the host, Nick Hewer referred to the Ideal Home Show 'at Olympia ... until 3 April.' Later, Dictionary Corner guest Mark Foster talked about being an ambassador for P&O Cruises, referring to various activities on offer by the company. Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - ruled that both references were 'unduly prominent' and 'promotional' in nature. Its spokesperson said: 'We found this programme broke broadcasting rules by promoting and giving undue prominence to products and services. Commercial references by the host Nick Hewer, and guest Mark Foster, were promotional and went beyond what could be justified editorially.' Opening the programme, Hewer told the audience that the Ideal Home Show would 'inspire us on how to improve our homes and make them even more beautiful. There are talks and tips and what-have-you from such experts as Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen and TV architect George Clarke. If you are going, good luck, get some great ideas and good luck with the home improvements.' Later, former British Olympic swimmer Foster made numerous comments about the array of different activities and services which are available on board P&O cruise ships including 'lots of different entertainment on board: dance troupes, coffee shops, restaurants - there's probably about twenty to thirty restaurants on board. A five-a-side football pitch, a basketball court.' Channel Four claimed that there was 'no commercial relationship' between it, the programme-makers, or 'any person connected with either' The Ideal Home Show or P&O Cruises. The channel continued that, while the programme's producers 'believed that the references were editorially justified in context,' it accepted - seemingly reluctantly - 'with the benefit of hindsight', that the 'language used' and the 'manner in which the information was scripted' meant 'that it could be construed as promotional in tone and it strayed into being unduly prominent.' Channel Four stated that as soon as it was 'made aware' of the whinge it removed this particular episode from its on-demand service All 4 and ensured it was not repeated. It explained that this episode was 'reviewed before transmission' by 'a junior member of the commissioning team' - one who is now, presumably, a former junior member of the commissioning team since neither of the two references in question were picked up and referred on to the commissioning editor to review as 'should be the process.' In light of this whinge, Channel Four stated that, from now on, all commercial references will be 'signed off' by the commissioning editor. Ofcom considered that the commercial references in the programme 'went beyond what could be justified editorially': the discussion about The Ideal Home Show appeared at the very start of the programme and was 'not prompted by, or linked to, the programme's editorial narrative' and, the references to P&O Cruises 'went beyond a discussion about the guest's role as a health and fitness advisor.' Meanwhile, the recent episode of EastEnders which featured Dame Barbara Windsor apparently taking an overdose of pills, received seven whinges from glakes regarding 'self-harm and suicide' but the BBC programme was not held in breach and the seven individuals were told to grow the fek up and stop whinging. Probably. There were also nineteen whinges about 'nudity' in an episode of Britain's Got Toilets which was broadcast on 23 May, but again, Ofcom did not uphold the whinges. Because, they've got more important stuff to worry about that crap like that.
The BBC has confirmed that it will not be bringing back its much-derided highlights show Wimbledon 2day, instead reverting to its traditional Today At Wimbledon format. Last year, the corporation shook up its TV highlights coverage, dropping John Inverdale as host and introducing Clare Balding, who had taken over Inverdale's 5Live Wimbledon presenting duties in 2014. Balding fronted Wimbledon 2day from a studio in the Gatsby Club, a private members' club close to the All England Club, rather than from studio facilities inside the Wimbledon grounds. The presenter and her guests sat at wine bar-style tables, offering lighthearted chatshow-style items such as viewers' clips of babies playing tennis alongside highlights from the tournament. But, according to the Gruniad Morning Star - who, apparently, care about bollocks like this - 'some viewers mocked the show for its awkward informal style' and demanded - demanded, note - that it show more tennis, while the Radio Times TV critic, that awful Graham woman, called it 'a mess' and 'a dreadful mistake' with 'a terrible, terrible title.' Which coming from a woman with a terrible, terrible face is, frankly, a bit of a pot-kettle-blackish type situation. As criticism mounted over the first week of the tournament - ooh, some punters were almost choking on their strawberries and cream, so they were - the BBC 'tweaked' the format, moving Balding and guests to seated positions, keeping the audience increasingly off-camera and increasing the amount of tennis highlights shown. At the start of the second week, it moved the show back to the traditional glass studio above Centre Court, removing the audience altogether. This year will see the return of Today At Wimbledon, with Balding and two experts analysing play each day. Which, so long as one of them is McEnore, should at least mean it'll be reasonably entertaining.

Jonathan Ross will be 'taking a break' from his ITV talk show - but contrary to various media reports, the show has not been 'secretly axed' by the channel. The Jonathan Ross Show returns for its eleventh series this autumn and, while the presenter will skip his regular winter/spring slot in 2017, he will return for a twelfth run later in 2017, the broadcaster claimed. 'Jonathan is extending his hiatus into the early part of next year to travel to the US,' said Ross's spokesman - rubbishing reports in the Mirra and the Gruniad to the contrary. 'The chat show will return in the autumn of 2017.'
Several BBC TV presenters have, reportedly, been sent human excrement in the post. According to the Sun, newsreaders Fiona Bruce and Huw Edwards are among those who have been 'targeted' with the unpleasant packages. The paper filed a Freedom of Information request which did confirm that staff had been targeted. Quite what prompted the Sun to file the request on that particular subject they did not reveal leading, perhaps, to the suspicion that they might have known the answer before they received it. Quite how they might have known the answer before they received it is another question entirely. 'During the past three years the BBC Investigation Service has received a number of complaints of excrement being sent to staff and talent at several BBC locations,' the BBC said in reply to the request. 'We can confirm that some of the samples have been tested and found to be human. These offences have been reported to the police.' What the other samples which weren't human were, however, they did not say. And, to be honest, this blogger isn't sure whether he wants to know, anyway.
Sex & The City's Kim Cattrall has spoken about the chronic insomnia which forced her to withdraw from a play at London's Royal Court last year. The fifty nine-year-old actress was due to play the title role in Linda but pulled out shortly before the play opened. 'I didn't want to let down the audience, the theatre, playwright or the actors,' Cattrall told the Radio Times. She said that being unable to sleep felt like 'a gorilla sitting on [my] chest' and had left her 'in a void.' The actress said that 'the hardest part' of giving up her part in Penelope Skinner's play was 'letting go. I realised the work that I really needed to do was more important than the play,' she went on. 'It was work on my sanity.'
Neil Morrissey has teamed up with that talentless professional Northern berk Paddy McGuinness for new Travel Channel show Stars In Their Cars. So, that'll be well worth avoiding like the plague, then.
The four members of ABBA have appeared together in Sweden and surprised fans with an impromptu singalong. They gathered last Sunday at a private party to celebrate the fifty-year partnership between songwriters Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. During the gala, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad performed the ABBA song 'The Way Old Friends Do'. Ulvaeus and Andersson then joined in at the end of the song, marking the band's first public musical performance in thirty years. Footage of the performance has yet to surface, but images of the quartet have appeared on social media. Since winning The Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, ABBA sold almost four hundred million records around the world. Mamma Mia!, the - frankly, bloody awful - musical based on their hits and produced by Ulvaeus and Andersson, has been seen by more than fifty million people. And been mmade into one of the crappest movies ever made. During their most successful period, the band survived marriage break-ups between Ulvaeus and Faltskog and Lyngstad and Andersson, but they finally called it a day in 1983. Their last public performance came three years later, on the Swedish version of TV show This Is Your Life, which was honouring their manager, Stig Anderson. ABBA have resisted pressure to reunite ever since, including a reported one billion dollar offer for the band to tour the world in 2000. 'They were talking about one hundred and twenty gigs or something,' Andersson said of the deal. 'It would have take ten years out of my life. Just the stress. And leaving people disappointed all the time. It was easy to say "no" to it. We all felt the same.' Speaking to the BBC in 2013, Faltskog said that she preferred to leave the band in the past. 'It was such a long time ago and we are getting older and we have our different lives,' she explained. However, the band have appeared together for several promotional events - at the premiere of Mamma Mia! in 2005 and, more recently, at the opening of an ABBA-themed restaurant in Sweden. Speaking after Sunday's celebration, Lyngstad told the Swedish newspaper Expressen: 'It was absolutely amazing. A lot of emotions. We've made this journey throughout our history. Benny and Bjorn in particular. Its been very nostalgic.'

Emma Willis is to continue hosting singing talent show The Voice when it moves to ITV next year. The forty-year-old, who fronted three series of the programme since 2014 on BBC1, said that she was 'absolutely delighted to be back' and not to be unemployed. However, she will host the show on her own, as her BBC co-presenter Marvin Humes will not return. So, it'll be off down the Job Centre for you, Marvin.
Sir Michael Caine has revealed that he is set to appear alongside Maisie Williams in a new political comedy Coup d'Etat, which begins shooting in America next month. Talking to The Sun, the 83-year-old said: "I've got a picture that I made last year [Going in Style] but it's coming out next year. But I'll be doing a movie in America next month called Coup d'état. 'It's not a romance, it's a comedy about a violent dictator with a young American pen friend - Maisie Williams, a little girl from Game of Thrones,' Caine said in a recent interview And, not a lot of people know that. The director and full cast of the movie are yet to announced.
Yorkshire cricket coach Jason Gillespie - you know, the chap who looks uncannily like Geoffrey Bayldon in Catweazle - has risked upsetting one of the club's main sponsors after saying that he 'hopes one day the dairy industry can be shut down.' What the diary industry has done to deserve this cheerless chagrin, he didn't say. Possibly it was an unfortunate childhood experience with a Heifer. Gillespie, who is a vegan - oh, that probably explains it then - made the comments in an interview with the Yorkshire Post. And, one imagines news of Jason's 'soft Southern ways' went down particularly well in Barnsley, for instance. Wensleydale Creamery signed a two-year extension to its sponsorship of the Headingley side in April. 'I hope one day the dairy industry can be shut down. I think it's disgusting and wrong on so many levels,' he said. The former Australia pace bowler added: 'It's out of my control, just like the fact that cricket balls are made of leather. I'll have it out with people, I don't care. There's nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe in.' A spokesman for the sponsor said it would 'seek more clarity' on Gillespie's comments. 'That's a very bold statement and I need to understand a bit more about what he's actually trying to say there,' the spokesman said when pressed for a comment. 'We are very proud sponsors. Our milk comes from over forty local farms with very high standards of welfare.' Plus, you know, it tastes nice on yer cornflakes. Just sayin'.

Former Moscow Chelski FC doctor Eva Carneiro has settled her dismissal claim against the club 'on confidential terms.' Though, one imagines, spectacularly expensive ones for yer actual Roman Abramovich. Who can, of course, afford it. Carneiro, who claimed constructive dismissal against Moscow Chelski FC, also reached a discrimination settlement against the club's former manager, Jose Mourinho. Moscow Chelski FC said that it - grovellingly - apologised 'unreservedly' to the former first team doctor for any distress caused by being treated like shit and publicly humiliated by Mourinho whilst the club did nothing to stop him. On Monday, it emerged that Moscow Chelski FC had offered Carneiro over a million knicker to settle her claims before it came to court. Which she had extremely rejected. In a statement, Carneiro said: 'I am relieved that today we have been able to conclude this tribunal case. It has been an extremely difficult and distressing time for me and my family and I now look forward to moving forward with my life. My priority has always been the health and safety of the players and fulfilling my duty of care as a doctor.' Addressing the London South Employment Tribunal Centre in Croydon, Daniel Stilitz QC, for Moscow Chelski FC and Mourinho, said: 'We are pleased to be able to tell the tribunal that the parties agreed a settlement on confidential terms.' Carneiro claimed that she was sexually discriminated against after she went on to the pitch to treat Moscow Chelski FC player Eden Hazard during the opening day of the Premier League season last August. She claimed that Mourinho shouted the Portuguese phrase 'filha da puta' at her, which means 'daughter of a whore', as she ran on to the pitch. Hazard had to leave the pitch, briefly leaving the team with only nine men at what Mourinho claimed was 'a crucial stage' in the game. Moscow Chelski FC went on to draw two-two with Swansea and Mourinho publicly criticised both Carneiro and the first team physio, Jon Fearn, for being 'impulsive and naive' in rushing onto the pitch to treat Hazard despite that being their job and the player, clearly, needing treatment of some sort. Carneiro left the club in September after being demoted. Moscow Chelski FC said in a statement: 'The club regrets the circumstances which led to Carneiro leaving the club and apologises unreservedly to her and her family for the distress caused. We wish to place on record that in running onto the pitch Doctor Carneiro was following both the rules of the game and fulfilling her responsibility to the players as a doctor, putting their safety first.' It added: 'Jose Mourinho also thanked Doctor Carneiro for the excellent and dedicated support she provided as first team doctor and he wishes her a successful career.' Pointedly, Moscow Chelski FC did not indicate whether Mourinho, too, offered any apology to Carneiro for his actions. In a statement to the tribunal, Mourinho - who was very sacked by Moscow Chelski FC in December after a run of poor performances - conceded that he did use the term 'filho da puta', meaning 'son of a whore' and insisted that he had been using it 'throughout the match.' But, Mary O'Rourke QC, acting for Carneiro, told the tribunal on Monday: '[Mourinho] uses the word 'filha' because he is abusing a woman.' The FA ruled on 30 September 2015 that the words did not constitute 'discriminatory language' after consulting 'an independent academic expert' in Portuguese linguistics. Mourinho's presence at the tribunal on Tuesday was unexpected because it was not thought he was going to give evidence until next week. Also in attendance were Moscow Chelski FC director Marina Granovskaia, chairman Bruce Buck, head physio Jason Palmer and head of communications and PR, Steve Atkins. The case was expected to last seven to ten days and could have led to potentially embarrassing witness statements and documents - including texts and e-mails - being made very public. Carneiro alleged that on 10 August 2015, Mourinho told Atkins that he did not want Carneiro on the bench at the next match, adding: 'She works in academy team or ladies team, not with me.' She also claimed that Moscow Chelski FC took no action following complaints about sexually explicit chanting at various away games - in particular at The Scum and West Hamsters United - and a lack of female changing facilities. Further allegations were that she was not provided with a club suit and regularly had to endure sexually explicit comments from her colleagues.
The actor Nigel Havers has accepted undisclosed - but, one suspects, pretty sizeable - damages from Mirra Group Newspapers after its journalists intercepted his voicemails for stories about his grief as he nursed his dying wife. This, you'll remember, is the same Mirra Group which, for several years as the phone-hacking scandal gradually unfolded repeated claimed that none of their journalists had ever or would ever engage in such activity, no sireee Bob. Ad, furthermore, that anyone who dared to claim they did was a lying liar and would, surely, burn in Hell for their wicked and wagging tongues. That Mirra Group. A statement read out on Nige's behalf in the High Court in London on Friday described how evidence had shown that Mirra journalists and 'private detectives working on their behalf' had 'targeted' him between 2000 and 2004, but particularly between April and August 2004. '[This] was the period when Mister Havers was nursing his late wife, who was then in her final stages of her battle with cancer, the time of her passing and her funeral,' the statement, read out by his barrister, David Sherborne, said. 'This was a horrific and traumatic time for Mister Havers, during which all sorts of sensitive and private information would have been accessible through his voicemails and those of individuals who were close to him, including his details of his late wife's medical condition and treatment, as well as his own welfare and emotional state at the time.' The hearing marked settlements reached between Mirra Group Newspapers and nearly two dozen claimants, including Davina McCall, Kym Marsh and Rhys Ifans, after the company - finally - admitted that its journalists had hacked their voicemails for stories. The claims concerned stories and investigations by reporters from the Daily Mirra, the Sunday Mirra and the People, which were based on details about the claimants' work and personal lives obtained through accessing their voicemails. In each case, Chloe Strong, MGN's barrister, relayed the company's 'sincere' - and, one trusts, grovelling - apologies and 'acknowledgement' that the 'information should never have been obtained in the manner it was.' No shit. Many of the claimants said the stories had led to a breakdown of trust between them and their friends, whom they suspected had been leaking stories to the tabloids. Henry Fox, representing Ifans, said: 'The claimant is upset that since he was targeted by the defendant, over a decade ago, he has lost a number of close friends as a result of the distrust created by the defendant’s activities. Had the defendant's conduct come to light at an earlier stage then these friendships may not have been damaged. This is something that the claimant bitterly regrets.' A statement Sherborne read out on behalf of the actor Caroline Chikezie said: 'The claimant has never spoken out to any journalists by telephone. She is devastated to think that the defendant's conduct caused a great deal of distrust between her and her partner at the time and also her close friends, many of who suspected the claimant of leaking private information to the press. The claimant now realises that the distrust, upset and problems she experienced with her relationships during this period were caused by being targeted by MGN journalists who were systematically hacking her voicemail messages and listening to her private information.' Others who reached settlements with MGN and whose statements were read out in court include Christopher Parker, an actor who has appeared in Eastenders, Samia Ghadie, the former Coronation Street actress, Kym Marsh, the Hear'Say singer and soap opera regular and Lisa Maxwell, the Loose Women panellist. Cases previously settled against MGN include those of the fund manager Nicola Horlick for twenty five grand, model Emma Noble for forty thousand knicker, stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton for seventy five thousand notes and Interior designer Kelly Hoppen for 'an undisclosed sum.' A spokesperson for Charles Russell Speechlys, which represented seven claimants whose statements were heard in Friday's hearing, said: 'We are delighted that the statements in open court have been read out today in relation to many of our clients' claims against MGN Limited, the publisher of the Daily Mirra, the Sunday Mirra and the People. In addition to awards of damages and payment of our clients' legal costs, MGN has offered its apologies to each of these clients for the distress caused to them by hacking into their voicemail messages, obtaining private information about them and using that information.' Anjlee Saigol of Taylor Hampton solicitors, who represented Havers, said: 'Nigel's case really does highlight MGN's truly callous behaviour and how its journalists ransacked voicemails no matter what their victim was going through in search of "a good story." To do this to someone during the time when their wife was in the final stages of cancer, her then passing and the funeral shows a complete lack of human empathy. My client is therefore very pleased to have received this apology today.'
The Advertising Standards Authority is not happy with Deal Or No Deal presenter and The Beard Of Despair, Noel Edmonds. Neither, for that matter, is yer actual Keith Telly Topping although, in this blogger's case, it's just a general state of unhappiness on account of Edmonds being, you know, a bell-end of quite of extraordinary proportions. Earlier this week, Edmonds - who is, obviously, not mental nor nothing - decided to tell everyone on Twitter about his favourite wonder product, the EMPpad which, he claims, 'tackles cancer.' It doesn't, just in case you were wondering. Not even the people who produce it claim that or anything even remotely like it. Edmonds also asserted that cancer is caused by 'a negative attitude.' Which, it also isn't. The advertising watchdog the ASA are now reviewing the comments and 'urgently looking into' a formal complaint about The Beard Of Despair's ludicrous claims. If found guilty Edmonds will, hopefully, have his knackers shut in a vice until he says he's very sorry and that he'll never do it again. Not just for this but, also, for The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, Noel's House Party, Mr Blobby, that ruddy awful thing he did for Sky (Noel's HQet al. It's only fair.
Alan Davies has claimed that Dave's lawyers have to watch his show As Yet Unfunny 'like a hawk' because the guests are 'so relaxed.' Speaking to the Digital Spy website ahead of the fourth series of the alleged comedy vehicle, Davies said that 'some' of the stories told by comedians on the show 'can be a bit eye-opening. Dave's lawyers are all over this,' he said. 'I went into a lengthy rant about how shit [a particular supermarket chain] is the other week and I don't think that will make the cut.' But, Davies added that most of the guests 'self-edit a bit. They're very conscious that they are going to be on television,' he said. 'Sometimes people start telling stories, like Catherine Tate started telling a story about something she did to an ex-boyfriend and you thought, "Wow!" But, they know that they're on the telly and they don't want to either humiliate themselves or anybody that they know.' Davies also admitted that Dave took 'a big risk' on As Yet Unfunny. 'No other channel would put this on,' he said. 'Now they're probably thinking, "Shit, look, Catherine Tate, they've got Eddie Izzard, they've got David Mitchell, they're all being hilarious - why haven't we got that show?" You wouldn't put it on - we offered it to you! But Dave is its natural home.' Davies also revealed that he likes giving new comedians and rising talent 'a good start' on the show. 'They don't know, but I know, that this is the best gig they'll ever have,' he claimed. 'They'll have to go through the living hell that is Eight Out Of Ten Cats at some point, and they're going to think, "God, I loved being on that Untitled. It's all downhill from here!"' Davies also admitted that he considered leaving Qi when Stephen Fry announced his decision to quit. Davies confessed that he had 'some trepidation' about filming new episodes without Stephen, who has been replaced by Sandi Toksvig. 'It's been a while since I've been excited about Qi, I must say. But, it's different. And it'll be weird when the lights go down and the theme music comes on and I look around and I go, "Who the fuck are you?" [Sandi and I] will establish a rapport of some sort between us. I've a huge amount of respect for her - she's been brilliant on The News Quiz for so many years. But it will be different.' Davies added that he 'thought about' quitting the show, but continued: 'I didn't want to. On balance, I wanted to stay. It's a great job - anybody would like to have my job, so why would you quit? I'll wait until I'm pushed!'
Speaking of Qi, the final three episodes of the forthcoming fourteenth - N - series were filmed last week in London. They included Noel (the 2016 Christmas Special) which will feature Susan Calman, Matt Lucas and Josh Widdicombe, Non Sequitur with guests Phill Jupitus, Miles Jupp and Deirdre O'Kane and one other episode, the full details of which are not, at this time, known.

Morecambe and Wise are coming back to the BBC. Yes, this blogger fully realises that Eric has been dead since 1984 and Ernie since 1999 but, I'm just reporting what I've been given. The corporation is set to showcase 'a slate of new comedy projects' in Salford, including a pair of Eric and Ernie impersonators reviving the classic duo's routines. So, that'll be worth watching, then. As part of the BBC's Salford Sitcom Showcase, The Late Late Morecambe & Wise Show will star Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens playing the iconic TV double act. The series will also include The Russ Abbot Sketch Show, a screening of BBC2 sitcom Home From Home starring Johnny Vegas, and a live version of new sitcom Lodger, co-written by Miles Jupp. Salford Sitcom Showcase is now in its fifth year and presents comedy scripts and talent currently in development, with the potential to be turned into future programmes. It will run between 5 and 6 July.
Ant and/or Dec have been made - presumably, collective - OBEs in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Hopefully, in future they will also be made Earls. Then, they'll be Earlobes. Next ...
And, still on the subject of North East icons and the Honour's List, yer actual Alan Shearer, has been awarded a CBE to go with the OBE that he already has. So, that makes him a Ceebieobbie. Who was a character in Star Wars, wasn't he? Shearer has received the award for charitable services to the community in the North East and has pledged to carry on that work. Since retiring as a player, Big Al has worked with NSPCC and Sport Relief in addition to his day job as a broadcaster. He also founded The Alan Shearer Academy Scholarship, which helps the development of promising young players in the region. While on Euro 2016 duty in France, Shearer tweeted: 'I am honoured and humbled to be awarded the CBE. I will continue to make it my priority to help give something back to the North-East.'
Idris Elba his very self is considering where to take his character, John Luther, next despite the BBC not yet releasing details of more episodes of the detective thriller. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Elba said: 'All I can tell you is that there has been some thought. The great thing about Luther is that you never know what may or may not happen next. I think that's part of its appeal. Each season feels like a capsule, but then you feel like, "Oh, it's got to come back." I will say that there has certainly been some thought about what to do next. If anything.'
Jerome Flynn has been reflecting on what he initially thought about Game Of Thrones. The actor told The Hollywood Reporter that he doesn't think anyone could have known what would happen with the drama and had 'some concerns' himself. 'I was a bit worried because I don't think I was allowed to see the script. Then I was worried that it might be a substandard, you know, rather cringe-y medieval thing with worrying costumes and dodgy accents,' Flynn explained. Which, coming from one half of the duo which recorded that woeful version of 'Unchained Melody' really is saying something! 'Of course, that wasn't the case,' Jerome continued. 'It's a job of a lifetime for any actor. I feel very lucky to still be there and still be alive, quite frankly.'
Nicole Kidman will appear in the second series of Top Of The Lake, according to the David Dencik. Kidman's publicist had previously denied reports that the actress was joining the follow-up to Jane Campion's critically-acclaimed BBC2 mini-series. Danish actor Dencik told the Digital Spy website: 'I'm working right now on Top Of The Lake in Sydney with Jane Campion. Nicole Kidman is in this season. We've already started filming. It's four years later and Elisabeth Moss's Robin Griffin has moved back home to Sydney and it's a new case.'
The Who have criticised plans to make a sequel to Quadrophenia, the cult movie based on their 1973 rock, if you will, opera. Set around the clashes between rival Mods and Rockers in 1960s London and Brighton, the original 1979 movie - something of a cult classic and a particular favourite of this blogger - starred Sting (but, don't let that put you off), Ray Winstone, Phil Daniels, Mark Wingett, Phil Davies, Lesley Ash and Toyah Wilcox. Reports of a sequel surfaced in the Mirra last month - which they definitely didn't get from phone-hacking. Oh no, very hot water - with Wilcox among those rumoured to reprise their roles. But, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey have denied any involvement, calling the project 'a blatant attempt to cash in.' In a strongly-worded statement, they said: 'For the avoidance of doubt, this project isn't endorsed by The Who, Who Films, Universal or any of the other rights owners of the original.' Bill Curbishley, the band's manager who produced the original film, added: 'Quadrophenia is a significant and influential film based on The Who's music, not some Carry On franchise. Any follow-up could only be made by the authors of the original and would need to be worthy of the name. This karaoke sequel announced recently would be totally ridiculous.' Curbishley pointedly added that the new film would star neither Sting nor Winstone. Furthermore, the production will not be permitted to use any lyrics or music from The Who. The Mirra's report, which ran on 27 May, said that the follow-up would be set in the present day and based around events in the book To Be Someone, by Peter Meadows, which was 'inspired' by the original movie. His book - which, to be fair, is actually pretty good - picks up where the narrative of The Who's original LP (rather than the movie) ended, following the hero, Jimmy, through the late-70s punk era as he becomes a drug dealing gangster. Director Ray Burdis - who previously produced The Krays - claimed that Townshend had given Meadows' book 'the seal of approval', suggesting this 'counted' as an endorsement for his film. Which, it really doesn't. Meanwhile, Wilcox said that she would reprise her - in reality, rather minor - role as the sexually promiscuous party girl Monkey. 'The natural journey for my character, nearly forty years on, has seen her become a sexual predator, working in the sex industry as a madam. She's married to one of the other main characters and they're swingers.' Curbishley responded that he, 'found it hard to understand why any of the original cast would lend themselves to this crass attempt to cash in on the excellence of the original when this quite clearly isn't a sequel.' Well, in Toyah's case, Bill, that would probably be answered by another question. What was the last thing you can remember her acting in? 'nuff said.

The singer Christina Grimmie, who had competed on the US version of The Voice, has died of her wounds after being shot in Florida, police say. They added that a man 'opened fire' on her when she was signing autographs after a concert in Orlando. The assailant - who was tackled by Grimmie's brother - then shot and killed himself. The twenty two-year-old singer died later in a local hospital. In 2014, Grimmie finished third during series six of The Voice.
Dame Helen Mirren has testified for US politicians about the slow pace of restitution of looted Jewish art. She recently portrayed the struggle of a Jewish woman, Maria Altmann, to reclaim a painting by Klimt confiscated by the Nazis in the film Woman In Gold. The Oscar-winning actress spoke to a Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing on the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act on Tuesday. 'The right thing to do is to return the art to its rightful owners,' she said. The subcommittee held the hearing to examine a bill to 'provide the victims of Holocaust-era persecution and their heirs a fair opportunity to recover works of art confiscated or misappropriated by the Nazis.' Dame Helen told the Senate: 'When the Jewish people were dispossessed of their art, they lost heritage. Memories were taken along with the art and to have no memories is like having no family. And that is why art restitution is so imperative.' The Nazis seized the possessions of Altmann's wealthy Jewish family soon after they came to power in Austria in 1938. Maria, who died in 2011 aged ninety four, had been awarded eleven million quid in compensation for the theft. Having reclaimed Gustav Klimt's 1907 portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, known as The Lady In Gold, she sold it to the Neue Galerie in New York for seventy three million quid - on the condition it was always on display. Dame Helen said that seventy years after World War Two, it was 'a terribly sad fact that victims of the Holocaust and their families are still contemplating whether to seek restitution for what was stolen from them and lost under the most horrible of circumstances.' She said the lives of 'so many people' could be 'rejuvenated through the actions and the leadership of the US Congress to ensure that fair and equitable solutions in these cases are assured. But a lack of transparency, a lack of access to information concerning the location of stolen art and a lack of a legal assurance that at least they can have their say in court - this discourages them from taking action,' she added. 'The very act of Nazi expropriation was not only unjust but it was unconscionably inhumane. We are incapable of changing the past but fortunately we have the ability to make change today.' Dame Helen ended her testimony by thanking the Senate for 'your leadership and your efforts to address these issues in these modest reforms contained in the Hear Act. By ensuring that at least here, in the United States, access to justice and the courts will be ensured.'

Michael Jace has been sentenced to forty years in prison for the murder of his wife, CNN reports. The former The Shield actor, who was extremely sentenced on Friday, shot his wife April Jace at their home in LA in front of their two sons, the Los Angeles district attorney's office said. April was reportedly shot multiple times. The couple were married for eleven years, but but were apparently planning to divorce when the killing occurred. Last month, a Los Angeles jury found Jace guilty of second-degree murder at the culmination of a week-long trial on 31 May. During the trial, Jace's lawyers argued that his actions in May 2014 should have been considered manslaughter rather than murder because they were not premeditated. It took the jury around three hours over the course of two days of deliberations to reject that argument in favour of the second-degree murder verdict.
The new Harry Potter play in London has removed the use of live owls from the production. Instead, it will use dead ones. The decision followed 'an incident' during Tuesday's first show when an owl escaped into the auditorium. The bird had 'failed to return to its handler' after making a brief flight during a scene. Previews of the two-part play, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, began this week. At Thursday's performance of part two, a sign at the Palace Theatre informed the audience that there were 'no real birds' in the production.
The future was looking orange for a seagull after he fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala according to Wales Online (which, obviously, didn't have any real news to report this week). The bird was discovered at 'an undisclosed curry factory' in Wales and reportedly fell into the vat as he was trying to nab a piece of meat from a food factory bin. 'He was in a waste vat of chicken tikka masala,' veterinary nurse Lucy Kells said. 'They had found him after he had fallen in. They grabbed him out and then the rescuer brought him to us. He was bright orange. We have had wildlife covered in cooking fat and glue, but we have never had one covered in curry before.'
Primal Scream have cancelled a number of forthcoming shows to allow singer Bobby Gillespie to recover from injuries he received after falling off stage. Bobby was, if you will, gettin' his rocks off when he hurt his back falling into the crowd during a set at Swiss festival Caribana on 2 June. Which, whilst obviously painful for poor Bobby would, one imagines, have been jolly funny to watch at the time. Cancelling all June and July shows, the band tweeted that Bobby had been 'instructed to rest for a minimum of eight weeks.' The Primes were due to play headline sets at the Beat Herder and Secret Garden Party festivals. They were also due to top the bill at festivals in Spain, Ireland, France, Italy and Sweden in support of their eleventh studio CD, Chaosmosis.
A huge monument has been discovered buried under the sands at the Petra World Heritage site in Southern Jordan. Archaeologists used satellite images, drone photography and ground surveys to locate the find, according to the study published in the American Schools of Oriental Research. The large platform is about as long as an Olympic swimming pool and twice as wide. Researchers say it is unlike any other structure at the ancient site. The study, by Sarah Parcak of the University of Birmingham, and Christopher Tuttle, executive director of the Council of American Overseas Research Centres, describes the find as 'hiding in plain sight.' Petra dates back to the Fourth Century BC, when it was founded by the Nabataean civilisation, which inhibited parts of what is now Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Surface pottery suggests the platform was built in the mid-Second Century BC, when Petra was at its peak. It is thought the structure may have had 'a ceremonial purpose.' Or, in other words, the archaeologists don't know what it was for - come on, we've all seen enough episodes of Time Team to know what 'a ceremonial purpose' really means! The survey also revealed a smaller platform was contained inside the larger one, which was once lined with columns on one side with a vast staircase on the other. Tuttle told National Geographic that 'someone' in decades of excavation 'had to know' the structure was there yet it had not been written up. 'I've worked in Petra for twenty years and I knew that something was there, but it's certainly legitimate to call this a discovery.' Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Petra each year, although numbers have been hit by the conflict against ISIS. The site is best-known for the Treasury Building, which is carved from sandstone and featured in Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade.
Saturday, of course, saw the annual Licking The Very Ground Upon Which Her Majesty Walkth ceremony, so popular with tourists. As you may know, this ancient event goes back to the historically important General Synod Proclamation of 1172 - when King Edward The Optical Illusion decreed that, from henceforth, all members of the servile classes and 'the oi polloi' must, grovellingly, abase themselves a'fore the monarch and lick their boots if so required. Verily. Y'see, it's exactly these sort of quaint practices that have kept Britain great, dear blog reader.
You would probably have a hard time believing this following story, dear blog reader, if there weren't the pictures to prove it. A man took off with a bike which police say was not his own and a cowboy happened to be in the right place at the right time. On most days Robert Borba is roping cattle and kids, not criminals, but his usual routine took an unlikely turn when he went to pick up some dog food at the local Wal-Mart in Eagle Point. 'I hear a lady yelling, "Stop him he stole my bike!"' Robert told NBC5 News. The champion bull rider could tell that the man was getting away, so he got back-up. '[I] grabbed Old Grey from the trailer and went for him.' Rob Roque was landscaping at the Big Box store when this happened, snapping the pictures of the cowboy hero in action. 'He did it so well, I thought man he must be in a rodeo or something, it was perfect,' Roque said. 'I just roped him and the rope went down around his feet and I just rode off like I would if I'd roped a cow or something by myself,' Borba explained. Borba then held the man until Eagle Point police arrived before heading back to the farm to tend to his horses. 'Poor gal's bike that could have been her only transportation,' Borba added. 'Stealing ain't right so I figured get him stopped you know?' Officers arrested the - one imagines, extremely embarrassed - suspect, one Victorino Sanchez, on a theft charge. He is currently being held at the Jackson County Jail.
Timing is pretty much everything when it comes to sex, but for one Canadian couple it ended in a bit of a buzz-kill. Richmond Royal Mounted Police tweeted on Wednesday that they had stopped a moving vehicle after spotting a couple having sex while driving. Corporal Dennis Hwang said that an officer noticed 'something unusual' about a car driving on Number Five Road and Westminster Highway on Tuesday evening. 'There were two people where there would have been one traditionally — I'm not going to describe that in any more detail. You can use your imagination,' he said. 'The driver was having trouble keeping his car straight.' Police said that while the male driver was 'definitely distracted,' no electronic device was found. The driver now faces a three hundred and sixty dollar fine for 'driving without due care and attention' and a one hundred and sixty seven dollar fine for 'a seatbelt violation.' Hwang also said 'it took longer than usual' to produce a driver's licence and registration. 'They were a bit embarrassed and you might say this ended in a buzz-kill of sorts.' Hwang added that, in nineteen years of police service, he has never seen anything like this. 'It's obviously incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons,' he said, adding that the distracted driver 'could wind up in an accident' and 'airbags are not meant to be deployed' when two people are in the same seat. 'Find an appropriate and private place to have sex - not while driving.'
A California woman is reported to be suing SoulCycle for 'negligence' after her instructor allegedly told her to keep pedalling, which led to her falling off of the exercise bike and injuring her ankle. According to court documents acquired by People magazine, Carmen Farias was taking a class at a SoulCycle gym in Beverly Hills with her co-workers in June 2014 when she felt her legs weaken. She then tried to stop pedalling, but the bike's wheels continued to spin. Farias then alleges that instructor Angela Davis mocked her for slowing down, barking to her and the rest of the class that 'we don't take breaks.' According to People, the court documents then states that, 'The shame caused Carmen to momentarily attempt to pedal faster.' Claiming that she was 'embarrassed' for 'getting called out' in front of her co-workers, Carmen tried to speed up. However, Farias allegedly 'became fatigued and disoriented', causing her to fall off the bike completely. As the bike's pedals kept spinning, Farias says that she 'repeatedly dislocated' her left ankle, which was still clipped into the pedal. 'By the time the pedals did stop, Carmen had been catastrophically injured,' her attorney alleges in the lawsuit. Farias claims that neither her instructor nor other SoulCycle staff taught her how to properly to use the bikes. In addition, Farias says that she 'never signed a waiver for the class,' and the employees at SoulCycle allegedly did not checked or asked her for such a waiver.
Chastity belts and drunk driving traditionally don't really go together. Which is what makes the following story of thirty five-year-old Tennessee resident Curtis Scott Eidam so thoroughly newsworthy. News station WATE reports that Eidam was pulled over by police in 'a sobriety checkpoint' on State Route Sixty Two last month. Police, they claim, immediately noticed that Eidam 'smelled of alcohol' and 'had bloodshot eyes.' As if that weren't enough of a clue to the fact that he may have been driving under the influence, Eidam also told officers that he'd taken 'at least' four shots of hard liquor over the previous four hours and a breathalyser test showed a .117 blood alcohol content in his system. But then, things got weird: After he was taken into custody, Eidam told police that they would need to retrieve a key from his car so that he could unlock a chastity device which was, at that time, 'attached to his genitals.' The key was retrieved by officers and given to jail personnel after Eidam was arrested so that he could be extracted. Eidam was charged with driving under the influence and possession of a handgun under the influence. There was, however, no added charge related to the device he had clamped around his naughty bits.
A study by researchers at the University of Texas has concluded that 'spanking hurts your kids' mental health'. And, their bottoms, obviously. Nice work if you can get it, being a researcher at the University of Texas, it would seem. In another report, they have suggested that bears do, indeed, shit in the woods that that, after careful consideration, they have collected pretty conclusive evidence that the Pope is Catholic.
A grandmother is believed to be the oldest woman to ever have her name added to the sex offenders' register after she was caught having sex in a public park according to the Daily Scum Mail. Alicia Brown, seventy nine, was extremely arrested by officers after passers by spotted her 'in the act', as it were, with some described by the Scum Mail as 'her fifty four-year-old lover' at Rush Common in Brixton Hill. Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court heard how Brown's 'partner-in-crime', William Knowles, made his way down to South London from Manchester that day to meet up with her for a bit of the old How's Yer Father in the open air.

A man who must give the police twenty four hours' notice before he has sex even after he was cleared of a charge of rape has said that the ruling 'puts an end to your life.' One can only assume that the reason for the one day's notice is so that any interested parties can, you know, watch. The man, in his forties, was acquitted last year at a retrial. He has been charged with breaching the terms of the order by refusing to give police the pin to his phone. He accused North Yorkshire Police, which (big surprise) declined to comment, of 'sour grapes' in applying for 'a sexual risk order' after the case. The order requires the man to disclose 'any planned sexual activity' to the police or face up to five years in prison if caught with his pants down by Lily Law. The case is due back in court on 14 July ahead of a hearing on 19 August, which will decide whether to grant the police's application to make the interim order permanent. Sexual risk orders were introduced in England and Wales last year and can be applied to any individual who the police believe poses a risk of sexual harm - even if they have never actually been convicted of a crime.
'A respected police officer has won a sex discrimination case against the Metropolitan Police after he was "unlawfully punished" by a female officer following an incident involving a towel,' according to the Torygraph. Sadly, after such a promising opening paragraph, the story isn't anywhere near as interesting as that made it sound.
Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow recently revealed her list of 'Not-So-Basic Sex Toys.' Which isn't, actually, 'news' per se, but, it's as good an excuse as any to use this photo of Gwyneth in her keks.