Saturday, July 16, 2016

This Could Be The Last Time (But, It Probably Won't Be)

Here's a serious thought for you all to ponder upon, dear blog reader. Do you think that maybe the late David Bowie really was the glue that kept the world from falling apart? Ever since The Grand Dame sadly died in January, everybody on the entire planet appears to have gone effing insane.
Sherlock creator The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) 'has said the next series of the BBC show could be its last' according to a rather hysterically inaccurate report on Yahoo News. Steven made his commenst as the corporation released a first image of series four, which will be broadcast in early 2017. Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes (you knew that, right?) is pictured kneeling beside a rather mournful-looking bloodhound. Well, it's either that or, by Hell, that Martin Freeman's really let himself go. During an interview with the Torygraph, Steven said that the popularity of yer actual Benny and Marty his very self 'may result' in the end of Sherlock. Actually, he didn't quite say that but why let a little thing like factual accuracy stop you from saying that he did. What he actually said was: 'We do have two film stars in the programme. They haven't needed to do these jobs for a very long time. They're coming back because they want to. I don't know how long we can keep it going. I'm personally willing, but I'm hardly the main draw. I would be moderately surprised if this was the last time we ever made this show. But, I can't guarantee it.' So, actually, whilst he didn't rule out the possibility that this may be the final series, Steven didn't say it 'could be its last' or anything even remotely like it; quite the opposite, in fact. As the Digital Spy website headlined the story slightly more accurately Series Four Could Be Sherlock's Last ... But Probably Won't Be.
Earlier this week, meanwhile, Benny and Marty were spotted filming in Cardiff by the Daily Scum Mail. And, if you want to feel really unclean, dear blog reader, have a read of some of the comments left by various no doubt perfect specimens of humanity.
The Royle Family's Ralf Little has landed a guest spot on Doctor Who's forthcoming tenth series. Ralf began filming opposite The Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, and his new companion, Pearl Mackie in Cardiff on Friday of this week. The actor, who played Our Antony in the hit sitcom, and very good he was in it too, previously encountered The Doctor when he voiced Guy Fawkes in a video game Doctor Who: The Adventure Games. The BBC said that details of his character in the new series will be 'kept under wraps'for the time being. Which sounds like a challenge to fandom if ever there was one.
The team that will be guiding the TARDIS on its travels through space and time from 2018 onwards appears to be coming together. Misfits producer Matt Strevens is to join Doctor Who in the role of executive producer. He will join showrunner Chris Chibnall as part of the show's new creative team, following The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE)'s departure in late 2017. Strevens's new role was announced via a tweet on the BBC's official Doctor Who Twitter account, though the post was later deleted for some reason as yet unexplained. Beginning his TV career as a script editor on EastEnders in 2004, Strevens later served as a producer on ITV's The Bill from 2007 to 2009. He was then producer on E4's Misfits for its third and fourth series (2011 to 2012) and has also worked on BBC1's legal series Silk and the satirical drama Capital. He also has some previous with The Doctor, having produced 2013's origins drama An Adventure In Space & Time and has worked with ex-Doctor Who showrunner yer actual Russell Davies on last year's vastly over-rated Channel Four series Cucumber.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Nineteen programmes, week-ending Sunday 10 July 2016:-
1 Euro 2016: Portugal Versus France - Sun BBC1 - 12.27m
2 Euro 2016: Germany Versus France - Thurs BBC1 - 9.88m
3 Wimbledon 2016: Men's Singles Final - Sun BBC1 - 9.25m
4 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.43m
5 Euro 2016: Wales Versus Portugal - Wed ITV - 6.96m
6 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 6.95m
7 EastEnders - Fri BBC1 - 6.55m
8 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 6.39m
9 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.08m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.78m
11 Brief Encounters - Mon ITV - 5.56m
12 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.84m
13 Celebrity MasterChef - Fri BBC1 - 4.09m
14 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.03m
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.97m
16 Forces Of Nature With Brian Cox (No, The Other One) - Mon BBC1 - 3.89m
17 The Living & The Dead - Tues BBC1 - 3.99m
18 The Musketeers - Sat BBC1 - 3.69m
19 Tonight - Thurs ITV - 3.68m
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, The Great British Sewing Bee was the channel's highest audience puller, attracting 3.16 million. The channel's Sunday coverage of Wimbledon attracted 2.06 million. The episode of Celebrity MasterChef shifted from BBC1 due to the football drew 2.03 million punters. The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was seen by 1.99 million whilst Mock The Week was watched by 1.80 million, followed by Gardeners' World (1.79 million), the latest episode of Versailles (1.60 million), another temporary BBC1 refugee, The ONE Show (also 1.51 million), Today At Wimbledon (1.34 million) and Mr Versus Mrs: Call The Mediators (1.25 million). F1: British Grand Prix Live was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week (2.57 million), followed by Nine, Nine, Nine: What's Your Emergency (2.27m), Celebrity First Dates (also 2.25m), Life Stripped Bare (2.18m), George Clarke's Old House New Home (2.10m) and The Last Leg With Adam Hills (1.95m). Channel Five's top performer was Big Brothers with 1.67 million, ahead of The Hotel Inspector (1.62 million). The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies attracted 1.36 million. Sky Sports 1's most-watched broadcast was Live British Grand Prix seen by two hundred and seventeen thousand viewers. Live Super League drew one hundred and two thousand. Sky Sports 2's coverage of T20 Cricket: England Versus Sri Lanka was seen by three hundred and ninety four thousand. Live T20 Blast against Gloucester's impressive nine wicket victory over Kent was seen by one hundred and fifty thousand and Live Women's T20: England Versus Pakistan by one hundred and thirty four thousand. Sky Sports Now was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast with one hundred and thirty eight thousand. Euro Verdict 2016 had one hundred and twenty one thousand. And the verdict was ... that was a really very disappointing tournament all round. Although, Wales were quite good. On Sky Sports F1, Live British Grand Prix coverage had six hundred and ninety five thousand punters, in addition to those watching the simultcast on Sky Sports 1 and on Channel Four. Midsomer murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and fifty one thousand). Lewis was seen by eight hundred and thirty two thousand, Endeavour by six hundred and ninety nine thousand, Agatha Christie's Marple by six hundred and eight thousand and Foyle's War by five hundred and seventy three thousand. Tour De France Highlights coverage headed ITV4's weekly top ten with eight hundred and eighty nine thousand. Indeed, the top seven of ITV4's most-watched list were taken by the nightly cycling highlights. The movie The Spy Who Loved Me drew three hundred and ninety eight thousand. Worthless pile of rancid stinking shat Love Island was ITV2's most-watched programme with 1.80 million glakes, not a single one of whom would appear to have an ounce of dignity or self-respect in their bodies. Six episodes of worthless pile of rancid stinking shat Love Island had an audience of more than one million viewers, the only good thing to be said about which is that at least a portion of these waste-of-space idiots appear to have previously been regular viewers of Big Brother given the declining ratings of the Channel Five's own Victorian Freak Show. Vera headed ITV Encore's top ten with ninety one thousand viewers. BBC4's broadcast of the movie A Hijacking had four hundred and twenty five thousand viewers, in a top-ten list which also included The Secret Life Of Bob Monkhouse (three hundred and ninety eight thousand), The Good Old Days (three hundred and ninety five thousand) and The Sky At Night (three hundred and sixty five thousand). Top Of The Pops 1982 attracted three hundred and thirty nine thousand, The Bridges That Built London With Dan Cruickshank three hundred and eight thousand and The River Taff With Will Millard three hundred and seven thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by Agatha Raisin (eight hundred and twenty three thousand), The Simpsons (four hundred and fifty six thousand) and Limitless (four hundred and eighteen thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by the return of Ray Donovan (two hundred and sixty five million). Billions was seen by one hundred and seventy eight thousand, a Game Of Thrones repeat, by one hundred and thirty thousand and Cold Case by eighty six thousand. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew five hundred and eight thousand, Unforgettable had three hundred and ninety nine thousand, The Catch, three hundred and sixty eight thousand and American's Top Model, three hundred and forty six thousand. Sky Arts' Guitar Star had an audience of ninety one thousand. Discovering Film attracted sixty nine thousand. 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura was watched by six hundred and fifty four thousand viewers. Chicago PD was seen by five hundred and seventy three thousand, NCIS: Los Angeles, five hundred and fifty eight thousand and NCIS, three hundred and twenty thousand. NCIS also topped the weekly top tens of CBS Action (one hundred and thirty one thousand) and featured in the top tens of FOX (one hundred and seventy thousand) and the Universal Channel (one hundred and forty two thousand) as well as Channel Five. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's list also included Wayward Pines (two hundred and twenty two thousand), American Dad! (two hundred and seven thousand) and Outcast (one hundred and two thousand). The Universal Channel's top ten was headed by Chicago Med (four hundred and eighteen thousand) and Second Chance (one hundred and eighty six thousand). On Dave, Taskmaster was the highest-rated programme - no, this blogger has no idea why either - with seven hundred and eighty two thousand punters. That was followed by Have I Got A Bit More News For You (four hundred and eighty three thousand), the Top Gear Africa Special (three hundred and ninety seven thousand), Mock The Week (three hundred and forty five thousand) and Qi XL (three hundred and thirty nine thousand). Drama's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries was watched by four hundred and forty two thousand viewers. Silent Witness had three hundred and eighty four thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Quantico (two hundred and ninety two thousand), followed by Death In Paradise (two hundred and one thousand), Inspector George Gently (one hundred and fifty thousand), Father Brown (one hundred and thirty thousand) and New Tricks (one hundred and twenty eight thousand). Yesterday's repeat of Jeeves & Wooster continued with two hundred and ninety one thousand. 'Allo 'Allo was watched by two hundred and forty three thousand and Porridge by two hundred and thirty nine thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Wheeler Dealers was watched by two hundred and fifty two thousand viewers. Deadliest Catch had an audience of one hundred and ninety six thousand, Railroad Australia by one hundred and seventeen thousand and Alaskan Bush People by eighty one thousand. Discovery History's Dan Snow's Battle of The Somme topped the weekly-list with fifty nine thousand viewers whilst The Somme: The First Twenty Four Hours With Tony Robinson attracted thirty three thousand and Time Team, twenty three thousand. On Discovery Science, How Do They Do It? was seen by twenty eight thousand viewers as was the gloriously misnamed Finding Bigfoot. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes was Fast N' Loud (eighty one thousand). National Geographic's list was headed by Banged Up Abroad which had which had seventy seven thousand viewers. The History Channel's top ten was lead by Vikings (two hundred and fifty thousand). On Military History, Ancient Files Unsealed was watched by fifty six thousand viewers. Truth Crime With Aphrodite Jones and Copycat Killers were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (both with sixty four thousand viewers). Homicide Hunter headed CI's list (forty seven thousand). The latest episodes of GOLD's repeat runs of The Royle Family attracted two hundred and sixty two thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Russell Howard's Stand Up Central (one hundred and sixty seven thousand). Your TV's Murder U had seventy four thousand viewers. On More4, Building The Dream was the highest rated programme with four hundred and seventy eight thousand. It Was Alright In The 1960s drew four hundred and fifteen thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoaks drew nine hundred and twenty two thousand punters. The Horror Channel's broadcast of Stir Of Echoes: The Homecoming, attracted eighty two thousand viewers. Another movie, Dark Matter 2, headed Syfy's top ten with three hundred and ninety five thousand. Deadly Sixty had sixty six thousand on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most watched programme with fifty seven thousand. On W, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was seen by three hundred and eighty two thousand.

Game Of Thrones has received twenty three Emmy nominations, one more than its closest rival, American Crime Story: The People Versus OJ Simpson. Thrones, which won a record-breaking twelve awards in 2015, delivered almost a quarter of network HBO's ninety four nominations. There were also several British nominees, including Sherlock, Luther and Downton Abbey and for talk-show hosts John Oliver and worthless James Corden. The awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on 18 September. Viola Davis, who also made history in 2015 by becoming the first black woman to win the best lead actress prize, has once again been nominated for her role in How To Get Away With Murder. Amy Schumer secured four nominations, the most given to any one person this year, for her acting and writing on Saturday Night Live, Inside Amy Schumer and Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo. The nominations for Game Of Thrones included best supporting actor and actress nominations for last year's winner Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headley, Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams and recognition for writers David Benioff and DB Weiss. The People Versus OJ Simpson's lead actors - Courtney B Vance and Cuba Gooding Junior - were both nominated for the outstanding lead actor award. That category also saw nominations for Idris Elba for Luther, yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch for Sherlock and Tom Hiddleston for The Night Manager. There were also nominations for Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, for their writing on alleged comedy Catastrophe and for The Americans' Matthew Rhys, who was nominated in the best drama actor category. Julia Louis-Dreyfus will go for her fifth best comedy actress title for playing Selina Meyer on Veep, while last year's winner Jeffrey Tambor was once again nominated for best comedy actor for his role as a transgender college professor in Transparent. Tambor was one of several nominations for performances in shows on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Others included both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright for House Of Cards, Aziz Ansari for Master Of None, Kyle Chandler for the drama Bloodline, Rami Malek for Mr Robot, Lily Tomlin for Grace & Frankie plus Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Ellie Kemper. Beyonce's film Lemonade took two nominations, with the singer receiving a personal nod for her directing work. Five-time best comedy winner Modern Family was once again nominated - it is currently tied with Frasier for the show with the most titles in the category.
Meanwhile From The North favourite the divine Goddess that is Gillian Anderson seemingly isn't bothered that she and her The X-Files co-star David Duchovny were snubbed for an Emmy this year posting the following on Twitter.
Of course, back in the dey, The X-Files was an awards-show regular with three Emmy wins under its belt (including one for Gill her very self in 1997).

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman is to leave the popular dancing competition after the next series, the BBC has announced. The seventy two-year-old has led the judging panel since the programme started twelve years ago. 'This adventure began when I was sixty and now that I've reached my seventies, I've decided after this year it's time to hand the role of head judge to someone else,' he said. 'I'm looking forward to my last series very much and to whatever comes next.' Goodman will be joined by fellow judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood for his final series, which begins in the autumn. Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will continue to present the BBC1 series. Speaking about his time on the programme, Goodman said: 'In 2004, I was asked to take part in a brand new BBC Saturday night show and who would have thought me, old Len Goodman, would still be part of this amazing series more than ten years on. It is an honour being part of the wonderful Strictly Come Dancing.' Charlotte Moore, Director of Content at the BBC, said: 'I know we are all going to miss him tremendously, but I also know Len's final series is going to be full of unmissable moments and I hope audiences will give him the special send-off he so deserves.' It is not yet known whether Goodman will continue to work on the US version of the show - Dancing With The Stars - which runs for two series each year. Last August he announced he would be leaving the US show and was absent for the winter 2015 season. But three months later, he appeared to reverse his decision and returned to the programme for its spring run, which finished in May.

Line Of Duty and This Is England actress Vicky McClure has called for more affordable drama schools in the UK. The thirty three-year-old attended free classes at the Nottingham Television Workshop twice a week from the age of eleven. The charity offers free training for people aged between seven and twenty one in performance skills for television, film, radio and theatre. The actress, from Wollaton, made a plea that 'there should be places like that in every city.' She told Radio Times: 'It's striking how many successful actors came out of Nottingham. We don't need to send people to expensive drama schools. When I went to the Nottingham Television Workshop it was free. Even now it's affordable - one hundred pounds a term - and if people don't have that there are bursaries and sponsors.'
Worthless steaming shower of golden-shat Channel Four's z-list celebrities-in-casualty show The Jump will be back for a fourth series next year. The broadcaster claims - unconvincingly - that there has been a 'thorough review of safety procedures' after a number of accidents on this year's series, at least one of them very serious. The show, which stinks worse than a fisherman's rancid sock, sees z-list celebrities take part in really effing dangerous winter sports such as skeleton, ski-jumping and ski-cross. And, often, end up in traction. This is 'entertainment' in the Twenty First Century, dear blog reader. When it was broadcast in February, four contestants were hospitalised within three weeks. Rebecca Adlington, Tina Hobley, Beth Tweddle and Linford Christie were among the contestants who injured themselves badly enough to need medical treatment. Earlier this year, The ONE Show spoke to Tweddle about life after her accident - by far the most serious - on the show. She fractured two vertebrae in her neck after hitting a barrier and needed surgery. So, one would hope that any desperate z-listers who sign up for the next series will have taken the precaution of pre-booking a private room at the local hospital for when they end up in plaster from nose to toes.
The second series of the BBC's popular Sunday night historical drama Poldark will begin its ten-episode run on 4 September on BBC1. So, that's something worth looking forward to.

The BBC has admitted that it, if you will, 'went off the rails' when it failed to highlight that it was using five-month-old footage in Trainspotting Live. During the opening episodes of the show, which was broadcast on BBC4 on Monday night, host Peter Snow excitedly told viewers that there was 'live' footage of a diesel locomotive travelling along a track. 'We've just seen one going past,' he said. 'There we are, Class Sixty Six.' However, eagle-eyed viewers - who were also, seemingly, happy to turn Copper's Narks to the tabloids - spotted that the clip could not have been live and had in fact been posted on YouTube back in February. The Sun first reported the story in a front-page splash headlined Great Train Fibbery, which continued on an inside page with the subhead Rail fans signal fury at TV fakery. So, no obvious, sick - agenda going down there, then. And, that's fair enough, coming from an organ of the media with such a wonderful, untarnished record for accurate reportage as the Sun - who would, of course, never lie about, say, ninety six dead Liverpool fans, would they? Would they? A BBC spokeswoman said a mistake was made during the 'excitement of a live broadcast. It was made clear from the beginning of the programme that rail enthusiasts have been collecting and filming material over the last few weeks,' she said. 'The footage of the Class Sixty Six was intended to show viewers what the live trainspotters were looking out for. It was not captioned as live on screen to viewers, but in the excitement of a live broadcast, it was mistakenly suggested that it was a live spot.' Glyn Murray, from rail enthusiast website National Preservation, told the Sun trainspotters are one group that cannot be tricked. 'One group you cannot con is trainspotters,' he said. 'They notice all the nuance and are passionate about their hobby.' And, they'll like as not snitch you up to the Scum like a filthy, stinking grass if you get something wrong, seemingly. One imagines their parents are all very proud of them.
This blogger is thoroughly indebted to his very excellent Facebook chum Mark Taylor for alerting him to this terrific, in depth interview with one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite actors, The West Wing's Richard Schiff about his career. Check it out, dear blog reader, it's really good.
The BBC has been told to be 'more distinctive' and 'take more risks,' as its annual report revealed that more than a quarter of BBC2's primetime schedule is made up of repeats. The BBC Trust said that the corporation had to offer 'more original and innovative content' and 'do more' to appeal to younger viewers and members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic audience. The weekly reach of the BBC's two main channels has been in long-term - albeit slight - decline, with BBC1 watched by seventy two per cent of the nation at least once a week in 2015-16 - down from seventy eight per cent nearly a decade ago - and BBC2 seen by forty six per cent, down from fifty seven per cent. The decline is, of course, a reflection not only of the individual channels' performances but also of an increasingly fragmented TV market. More than a quarter of BBC2's peaktime schedule – twenty seven per cent – was made up of repeats last year, up from twenty six per cent the previous year but down from a high of thirty one per cent in 2011-12. The channel's most often repeated show is also one of its most popular, Dad's Army, which is regularly watched by two million viewers on Saturday night. It means the majority of BBC2's overall schedule is made up of repeats, after original programming was axed from its daytime schedule, outside of news and current affairs programmes, as part of BBC cost-savings. The number of repeats on BBC1 is much lower, at 5.7 per cent, up from 4.8 per cent the previous year. At a time when the BBC has clashed with the government over the 'distinctiveness' of its content, the BBC Trust used its annual report on Tuesday to call on management to 'stop playing safe' with what it puts on screen. 'We have consistently asked the executive to increase the distinctiveness of BBC television and to address perceptions among lighter viewers that it tends to play safe with programmes and television,' said the Trust. 'We have seen some improvements [but] there is still a public appetite for the BBC to take more risks in its programming and offer more original and innovative content.' Overall audience appreciation of the BBC's TV output has fallen for the third year running, to 80.5 per cent from 82.1 per cent two years ago, the Trust said. It said the BBC should 'increase further the distinctiveness of its offer and report publicly on its performance in this respect.' Although it, rather unhelpfully, didn't specify what was so distinctive about the current schedules. A definition of 'distinctive' acceptable to all has proved rather hard to come by, with the BBC's controller of TV channels Charlotte Moore rebuffing the suggestion made by the - now thankfully extremely former - lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale earlier this year. The government's White Toilet Paper on the future of the BBC, which will be the cornerstone of the renewal of its royal charter, due by the end of this year, said the BBC should be 'distinctive, high quality and impartial.' Whatever those three - highly debatable - things mean. BBC4, the TV channel with the lowest budget, scores highest for audience appreciation and 'fresh and new' ratings, said the Trust.
There was a geet rive-on in the Weatherfield watchers community this week as the much-trailed death of Kylie who got very stabbed by Clayton and died in David's arms in the latest episode of Corrie. There was more blood on the cobbles since the time Ernie Bishop got shot. Oh, it was so sad. Apparently. Next ....
People under twenty five are watching just over a quarter less broadcast TV than in 2010, an Ofcom review into public service broadcasting has found. Viewing fell by twenty seven per cent among sixteen-to-twenty four year olds and children, while it fell only five per cent in the fifty five to sixty four age category in the same time period. Ofcom said that its report highlighted 'a widening gap between the viewing habits of the youngest and oldest audiences.' And, also the fact that more teenagers and 'young people' are getting up to the sort of things that teenagers and 'young people' should be getting up to instead of sitting in the house watching telly. Going down the park, drinking lots of cider and having some very disappointing sex. That's what being young is all about, after all. Those aged between sixteen and twenty four have embraced on-demand services instead. So that after they've got back from the park and the cider and the disappointing sex, they can catch up on Hollyoakes on their mobile phones. That's what being young is all about, also. The report found a third of all TV viewing among sixteen to twenty four year olds is via paid-for or free on-demand services. Live TV accounts for thirty six per cent of daily viewing in this age group, which is a fourteen percentage-point decrease in two years. The report found that overall TV viewing has fallen in recent years, with viewers now watching twenty six minutes less a day than in 2010. The average person watched three hours and thirty six minutes of TV per day in 2015. But PSBs still account for more-than-half of broadcast TV viewing. The report found that around three in four viewers were broadly satisfied with programmes on these channels. Ofcom also looked into funding and found increases in spending on factual TV and drama but a continued decrease in spending on children's programmes, the arts, classical music and religion. The main five public service broadcasters, which are made up of BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five, spent two-and-a-half billion knicker on new UK programmes on their public service channels in 2015, a two per cent increase since 2013. The channels spent the most money on new UK factual programmes, with spending up by eight per cent - to five hundred and twenty two million smackers - between 2014 and 2015. Spending on original UK drama also rose year-on-year - it went up twelve per cent to three hundred and eleven million quid. There was also more drama screened last year - a total of four hundred and sixteen hours, up from three hundred and seventy one hours the year before. Spending on children's TV fell thirteen per cent from 2014 to seventy seven million notes. The hours of original UK children's programmes fell from six hundred and seventy two in 2014 to five hundred and eighty last year. This was the first time fewer than six hundred hours of original UK children's programmes have been broadcast since 1998. Spending on new UK arts and classical music programmes dropped fourteen per cent to thirty six million knicker. Religious programming budgets fell by six per cent to twelve million - which is still twelve million too much, frankly - and money spent on original UK comedy decreased by four per cent to ninety nine million. Jane Rumble from Ofcom said that their research 'showed' that UK audiences 'still watch and value' public service broadcasting. 'But, there are significant differences in the viewing habits of older and younger audiences. As media and technology continue to evolve, it is important that broadcasters respond to these changes, so they can keep meeting the needs and expectations of viewers.'
Chris Evans's version of Top Gear may have been something of a disappointment in the UK - actually, there's no 'might have been' about it, it has - but abroad it is proving to be a marginally bigger hit than Jeremy Clarkson's version of the show. Which, seemingly, goes to prove that Johnny Foreigner will buy any old shit presented to him. Top Gear is considered to be one of the BBC's three biggest global brands - along with Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing - with sales of the TV show, DVDs, books, live shows and other merchandise thought to be worth between fifty and eighty million smackers per year depending on the number of episodes produced. The head of the corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, has said Top Gear 'remains on track' as an international brand. 'I am very happy with programme sales,' said the Worldwide chief executive, Tim Davie. '[Top Gear] has sold into over one hundred and thirty territories which is very strong and marginal growth versus the previous season.' Davie said that although there had been 'ups and downs' with Top Gear's ratings in the UK (mainly downs, to be fair), the show 'remains' a financial cash cow for the BBC. 'It is absolutely the case I think that Top Gear remains in very good health,' he said. 'It is a work in progress and we will have to see how it goes. I remain optimistic about Top Gear and its growth potential over the coming years.' BBC Worldwide, which said it has not yet confirmed Christmas DVD plans for Top Gear, has also seen success with local versions such as Top Gear China which drew three hundred million-plus views on digital services. It said there were no plans to revive Top Gear Live, the international live event tour that was mothballed following the departure of yer man Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Davie received total remuneration last year of six hundred and sixty four thousand smackers, including a bonus of two hundred and twenty grand, despite BBC Worldwide profits shrinking, albeit, only by a fraction of one per cent. BBC Worldwide saw headline profits fall slightly from one hundred and thirty nine million notes to one hundred and thirty four million whilst total sales rose three per cent to just over one billion knicker. The amount of cash returned to help support the licence fee funded BBC fell from two hundred and twenty seven million wonga to two hundred and twenty two million. BBC Worldwide justified Davie's payout pointing out that stripping out the impact of the sale of almost half of BBC America to The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad broadcaster AMC, meant 'underlying profits' actually rose almost five per cent and returns to the BBC were up eighteen per cent. 'We could probably have pushed for more profit but then we couldn't have done things like launch [digital service] BBC Store and not close down [unprofitable] channels,' said Davie. 'What I'm really proud of is the amount of returns to the BBC. At two hundred and twenty two million pounds it is the highest-ever amount without a boost from a disposal [of an asset].' Davie pointed out that to achieve the boost in revenue and profits BBC Worldwide had to make up the loss of thirty seven million quid in revenue and ten million smackers in profit that AMC now enjoys as co-owner of BBC America. Davie reiterated that BBC Worldwide has 'no interest' in selling its fifty per cent stake in UKTV, which co-owner Scripps has pursued in the past with offers of about five hundred million quid. 'We have a very successful partnership with Scripps,' said Davie. Gold and Dave owner UKTV, which pays half its profits to BBC Worldwide and tens of millions of pounds annually to get first option on re-runs of BBC shows like Top Gear, accounts for about a third of BBC Worldwide's total profits. 'Some critics' have argued that BBC Worldwide, which cut eleven per cent of its workforce and employs about eighteen hundred staff globally, could be better run if it was sold off by the corporation. But then, they would, wouldn't they? 'I think that the strength of BBC Worldwide is absolutely linkage to BBC intellectual property,' said Davie. 'We account for thirteen per cent of TV programme investment for the whole of the BBC. BBC Worldwide is best as part of the overall BBC, delivering maximum value for licence fee payers.'

The BBC has confirmed that its TV News Channel will not be closed, as its annual report was unveiled. The channel is under review - with a number of options for change or merging with BBC World News being considered - but closure has been definitely ruled out, Director General Tony Hall said. The report also revealed that the amount paid to the BBC's top earners has dropped by more than two million knicker. The total spend on talent of two hundred million smackers fell by eight million notes over the past year. The report revealed BBC TV has seen 'a small drop' in its weekly reach from eighty two per cent to 80.3 per cent. However, the drop is largely in-line with a dip in viewing for all similar TV services. BBC Online's reach has increased from 50.2 per cent to 51.4 per cent of the UK adult population, but appreciation of the service has continued to dip. Its AI score (the measure of opinion about the service) has dropped from seventy nine in 2014 to seventy six in 2015 to seventy three in 2016. The BBC says that the drop followed the relaunch of the BBC News site and mobile homepage. The corporation said it has seen approval begin to recover as people 'get used' to the new look but that it remains lower than they would wish. BBC Radio has seen another dip in weekly listening for Radio 1 with the number of minutes listened to by the average listener falling by twenty three minutes from six hours thirty seven minutes to six hours and eleven minutes. However, other services are largely stable and Radio 3 saw average listening of five hours fifty nine minutes rise to six hours twenty one minutes. BBC 6Music also rose from eight hours thirty eight minutes to nine hours and nine minutes, and its reach went up from 3.8 per cent to four per cent.
Researchers have 'demonstrated' how 'garbled speech commands' hidden in radio or video broadcasts could be used to control a smartphone. The clips, which sound uncannily like the Daleks from Doctor Who, can be difficult for humans to understand but still trigger a phone's voice control functionality. The commands could make a smartphone share its location data, make calls and access compromised websites. One security expert said that users could switch off automatic voice recognition. The researchers - from the University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University - explored whether audio commands 'unintelligible to human listeners' were 'still interpreted' by smartphones 'as voice commands.' They took a series of voice commands, such as: 'okay, Google, call nine-one-one,' which would activate an Android phone's voice control if enabled and heavily distorted the audio so that it was difficult for human listeners to understand. The low-pitched speech could be hidden among background noise and still trigger smartphone features. 'Our research was mostly geared towards answering the scientific question: can one leverage the differences in how computers and humans understand speech to produce commands that could be understood by the former and not by the latter?' said Micah Sherr, one of the researchers from Georgetown University. 'We found that the answer to this question is yes - but there's certainly a lot more work to be done to investigate what it would take to make these attacks more practically deployable. While the attack should be considered seriously - especially given the growing popularity of voice-only interfaces such as Amazon Echo, Apple Watch and Android Wear - we aren't trying to make the case that these attacks are easy to conduct.' The researchers have uploaded a sample of their garbled voices commands to YouTube, but have pointed out that the online clips may not activate a smartphone. 'The hidden voice commands are quite fragile. We tried to produce audio files that sit right on the intersection between what a human cannot understand and what a computer can understand,' said Sherr. 'Depending on the set-up in your room, the quality of your loudspeaker, and the distance between the speaker and the smartphone, the audio might have been sufficiently "pushed" in a direction that prevents computer understanding. Apple's Siri seems to be much more conservative as to what it accepts as human speech. Our attacks worked best against Google's app.' The team also highlighted that people found it easier to understand the garbled speech once they were aware of what was being said. Although such an attack is unlikely to be deployed in the wild, Ken Munro from cybersecurity company Pen Test Partners said that changing a smartphone's settings remained a good idea. 'It's a really interesting attack and serves to reinforce why it's so important to disable voice recognition without authentication,' he told the BBC. 'It may be possible to broadcast obfuscated speech to get a mobile browser to visit a rogue web site, or dial a premium rate phone number that the hacker owns, creating large-scale fraud. It is easy to set up a phone to require authentication such as a fingerprint before the device will recognise voice commands. Do that, then the problem is fixed.' The researchers will present their paper at the Usenix Security Symposium in August.
The broadcaster Colin Murray - whom, this blogger has to be hones, he can't stand but, for whom has suddenly gained a modicum of new-found respect - has announced on Twitter that he is to quit his morning radio show on TalkSport, following its parent company's buy out by News Corp. The presenter said that his position at TalkSport would be made 'unsustainable' by 'the future working relationship' between TalkSport and the Sun, which billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News Corp also owns. Murray, a Liverpool supporter, ended his message with a 'justice for the ninety six' hashtag, a reference to the ninety six Hillsborough victims murdered by the criminal negligence of South Yorkshire Police. Continued anger persists over the Sun's sick coverage of the 1989 disaster - or, bare-faced lies as the coverage was subsequently shown to be. In his post, Murray said that he had 'delivered all-time record ratings' for the station and had been 'offered a new contract until 2019.' The thirty nine-year-old, who left BBC Radio 5Live for TalkSport in 2013, said his last show on TalkSport would be on 2 September. A TalkSport spokesperson said Murray had been 'a fantastic asset' and it was 'very sorry to lose him.' News Corp's two hundred and twenty million knicker purchase of Wireless Group, the owner of Talksport Radio, was announced last month. Shortly afterwards the station dispensed with the services of footballer-turned-not-very-good-broadcaster Stan Collymore.
One of the wealthiest aristocrats in the UK has been very banned from driving after amassing twenty four points on his licence. The Duke of Rutland - who lives in Belvoir Castle - was caught speeding twice in Nottinghamshire, once in North Yorkshire and again in Derbyshire in an eight-month period. He was extremely banned for a year and fifteen points were added to the nine he already held. He was also ordered to pay three grand in fines and costs. The Duke, who was named in Northallerton Magistrates' Court as David Charles Rutland, failed to respond to the fixed penalty notices and a trial was set until his lawyers indicated that he would plead extremely guilty to his crimes. Rutland did not appear at the hearing which was told he was driving a Land Rover Discovery at the time of the offences. His solicitor Lisa Wilson said: 'He does not wish to minimise the offences. He does not wish to put forward an argument of exceptional hardship. The court may consider that with the title he has and the property he resides in the defendant is of considerable means.' No shit? Rutland, whose wealth was estimated at one hundred and forty million smackers by The Sunday Times Rich List, lives in the family seat of Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, set in eighteen thousand acres of land. So, presumably he can afford a chauffeur, then.
A Big Brother eviction was not the most memorable thing that happened to Lateysha Grace on TV on Wednesday evening. Following her departure from the Big Brother house, disaster - with the emphasis on 'arse' - struck as Grace tried to give Bit On The Side presenter Rylan Clark-Neal 'a twerking lesson.' Apparently. Why she did this, or why he wanted her to, has not been revealed. Unfortunately, Grace's dress quickly split down the middle - baring her bottom to a TV audience in what Rylan called his 'favourite moment of the series.' This is entertainment in the Twenty First Century, dear blog reader. Mind you, as bare bums go, it wasn't a bad one. Again, one imagines Grace's parents are really proud of her.
Police say that a man who allegedly beat a police officer with his prosthetic arm in May has been at it again, this time hitting a woman with his arm during a road rage incident. Jefferson County authorities say that Joshua Stockinger was involved in the incident during the second week of July. Stockinger allegedly used his prosthetic arm 'as a weapon' to seriously injure a husband and wife. The husband has two broken legs and his wife, cuts to her head, police said. In May, Stockinger was seen on surveillance video from Jim Butler Chevrolet in Fenton getting into a fight with a St Louis County police officer. During that incident, he was accused of hitting the officer several times over the head with his prosthetic arm. After the incident, Stockinger's prosthetic arm was taken away by police for evidence though Stockinger subsequently received the arm back. Presumably, the police having decided that even with it, he was, if you will, armless. Sorry. Anyway, Stockinger is facing four felony charges stemming from the latest violent assault. He is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on a one hundred and fifty thousand dollars bond.
The private art collection of the late David Bowie - the glue that held a broken world together, remember? - is to be revealed to the public for the first time. The Grand Dame's life as a collector was something he kept almost entirely hidden from public view. But now, nearly three hundred works by artists including Damien Hirst, Henry Moore and Marcel Duchamp will go on display at Sotheby's in London, before being sold at auction in November. The paintings are collectively expected to fetch more than then million knicker. 'David Bowie's collection offers a unique insight into the personal world of one of the Twentieth Century's greatest creative spirits,' said Oliver Barker, chairman of Sotheby's Europe. Most of the works are by Twentieth Century British artists, with pictures by Stanley Spencer, Patrick Caulfield and Peter Lanyon. Born in South London and raised in Bromley, David Bowie was also drawn to chroniclers of the capital's streets such as Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach. In 1998 Bowie told the New York Times, 'My God, yeah - I want to sound like that looks,' in response to the work of Auerbach. He was also fascinated by British landscapes and collected works by artists including John Virtue. Seven of his monochrome works are included in the sale. But the broad ranging collection is not limited to British art. Among the more maverick works is a piece by Duchamp - A Bruit Secret - in which he placed a ball of string between two brass plates, with an unknown object hidden in the middle. It is expected to fetch up to two hundred and fifty grand. The American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat's graffiti-style painting Air Power is the most valuable lot in the auction, with an estimated value of between two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half million smackers. Yer man Bowie bought the painting a year after he played the role of the artist's mentor, Andy Warhol, in the 1996 film Basquiat. And, very good he was too. The artist and writer Matthew Collings says that the collection reflected Bowie's personality. 'I would characterise it as bohemian, romantic, expressive, emotional art. Art that's filled with feelings,' he said, adding it was 'vivid and exciting' and was 'art that calls for a gut reaction, that's visceral, that's immediate, that you feel excited by straight away.' Although Bowie told the BBC in 1999: 'The only thing I buy obsessively and addictively is art,' little had been known about his life as an art collector. He did not buy on the basis of reputation or for investment, but because of his own personal response to each artist and their work. Collings thinks that he kept his collection private because 'he wasn't pretentious about it. I think he was an absolutely genuinely enthusiastic collector who didn't collect to be swanky or to big himself up,' he said. 'He really collected because he had a use for that work and it was a personal use. He looked at those things and they changed his state of being.' Bowie loved the art world. In 1994, in an unusual move for a rockstar, he joined the editorial board of a quarterly arts magazine Modern Painters where he was introduced to the novelist William Boyd. The pair became friends and Boyd said it was clear Bowie was not just 'a celebrity on the board - he genuinely had something to contribute. He did go to art school. He wanted to talk very seriously about artists, painters, themes and movements. So it was not a hobby or a whim, it was a very serious passionate interest.' Boyd also thinks the art world appealed to Bowie because it was 'so different' from his music career. 'He could be himself, David Jones rather than David Bowie. He found a forum and a world that he could move about in that had nothing to do with his fame. I think for a lot of famous people, if you can find that world, it's actually tremendously gratifying and fulfilling.' Bowie went on to launch an art book publishing company called Twenty One. His time there is probably best remembered for one of the most famous art hoaxes in history. He hosted a glamorous launch party at Jeff Koons's studio in Manhattan for a book celebrating the life and work of an American artist called Nat Tate. The catch? Tate did not exist. He was invented by Boyd. 'Without his participation it would never have been as big a hoax as it turned out to be,' Boyd said, adding he believes Bowie 'enjoyed' the challenge of trying to pull it off. 'Everybody loves a hoax and I think to fool a bunch of self-important intellectuals is no bad thing from time to time.' As well as two hundred and sixty seven paintings, more than on hundred and twenty items of Twentieth Century furniture and sculpture will also be auctioned. Among them, a striking 1960s stereo cabinet created by the Italian designers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Bowie listened to music on such an unconventional record player. Proceeds from the sale will go to Bowie's family. Although lack of space, not money, is the reason they have decided to sell.
A scientific paper which claimed that a 2012 exhibition of Damien Hirst works led to 'the release of formaldehyde fumes' has been retracted by one of its authors. The report said that gas levels at the Tate Modern exhibition - which included dead animals preserved in giant tanks - were 'above those legally permitted.' The claims were investigated by Hirst's Science Ltd company, which conducted more tests on his formaldehyde pieces. The results found that there was 'never any risk to the public,' as had been alleged. It has led Professor Pier Giorgio Righetti - one of the authors of the paper published in April in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Analytical Methods Journal - to acknowledge his paper was 'inaccurate and unreliable.' A spokesperson for Science Ltd and Professor Righetti said that the professor 'regret[ted] any alarm or concern the paper may have caused.' BBC arts editor and chief slaphead Will Gompertz was among those to report on the claims, in an edition of Radio 4's Today programme broadcast on 21 April. Tate Modern's Damien Hirst retrospective was the most-visited solo show and the second-most visited exhibition in the London gallery's history. It included a shark suspended in formaldehyde titled The Physical Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living plus a bisected cow and calf in four parts called Mother & Child (Divided). It's also important to note that the shark and the two cows were in fact, dead. Certainly after they've been placed in formaldehyde and chopped into four, anyway.

A teenager who took photographs in court as his friend was being jailed for murder and then glorified the killer on social media has been given a fifteen-month sentence in the pokey. Quite right too. That'll teach him. The Gruniad reports that the term of detention was extremely handed out to Damien Parker-Stokes, aged nineteen, by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, who warned of the 'severe penalties' faced by others who take illegal photographs of court proceedings and then post them online. Thomas, sitting at the High Court in London with Mr Justice Ouseley, said that 'young people' who used Facebook to 'mock the administration of justice' and 'cause considerable concern' to a victim's family 'must be deterred by the most severe sentences.' And that they should probably stick to doing what everyone else does on Facebook, posting pictures of their cats, links to fake news stories and arrangements for going out for a pint with their mates when they could just ring them instead. That's certainly what this blogger uses the social media site for. That and arguing with people about Doctor Who and it's producers (see below). The judge, who was clearly in no mood for none of that community service nonsense, said: 'The misuse that can be made of mobile phones to take photographs and videos is a real and serious threat to the administration of justice, and this court is very concerned to ensure that everyone understands that taking photographs in court can have a great impact on the administration of justice. Severe deterrent sentences are required to bring home the gravity of such wilful misconduct.' At a sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Thomas announced: 'This court will punish with very severe sentences anyone who photographs in court and who aggravates that offence by posting them on the Internet.' A second youth, Kyle Cox, aged eighteen, who admitted contempt and threw himself upon the mercy of the court, was bound over to keep the peace and not commit any further naughty offences for six months. Proceedings against the pair followed the illegal taking of photos at Bristol crown court in August 2014 for the sentencing of their friend, Ryan Sheppard, and the uploading of images onto Facebook. Ben Watson, for the Solicitor General Robert Buckland, told the court at a previous hearing that the pictures were accompanied by comments which 'vilified' the judicial process and 'glorified' Sheppard, who beat Mark Roberts to death in 'an unprovoked, sustained and brutal' orgy of sick violence in Weston-super-Mare in October 2013. Sheppard, who was seventeen at the time of the shocking crime and pleaded very guilty, was jailed for life with a minimum term of twelve years and three months. Cox was present in court to hear the sentencing decision in his own case, but Parker-Stokes failed to attend. Parker-Stokes had committed an 'extremely grave contempt of court,' said Lord Thomas. He had not made any apology, and his 'wilful' failure to attend had shown 'unbelievable' contempt. Plus, it denied the judge the opportunity to end his rant with the words 'take him down.' Which, he seemed rather annoyed about. Thomas said that the court 'took into account' the full and grovelling apology made by Cox and also his age. His conduct was 'far less serious' than that of Parker-Stokes, the judge continued. Parker-Stokes took a series of five photographs and a video of Sheppard in the dock. He then posted one image of Sheppard on Sheppard's Facebook page with a comment that included the words: 'Respect g [sic] at least u [sic] had the balls to admit it.' Cox uploaded the same image on his own Facebook page with the words: 'Ride or die certified South West g [sic].' He also uploaded an image he had taken of a judge in a different court – who did not sentence Sheppard – with the comment: 'Fuk [sic] the judge!' It is to be hoped that the young man uses the period when he could have been in detention at Her Majesty's Pleasure to, you know, learn how to spell.
And now, dear blog reader ...
Adverts That Grate This Blooger's Cheese. Number seven: That advert for Match.com featuring the lesbian couple. Not, this blogger hastens to add, because Keith Telly Topping has any problems whatsoever with a bit of righteous Sapphic portrayal on my TV (or, indeed, in real life). Oh no. Very hot water. Unlike, for instance, the 'concerned mum' who got her name plastered all over the Mirra by 'slamming' (that's tabloidspeak for 'criticising' only with less syllables) another TV advert which, she claimed was an example of 'shoving [a] gay message in [her] young son's face.' I dunno about you, dear blog reader, but this blogger would be quite happy to have some lesbianism shoved into my face. Just sayin'. No, the - two - reasons why the Match advert is so annoying to this blogger are, firstly because that you tell it's been created by some - probably male - advertising executive who's just been on a course in which he's been told (possibly correctly, let it be said) that there is no text in the world which cannot be improved, significantly, by 'lezzing it up.' And, secondly, and far more importantly, the implication of the advert that all lesbians are dead slutty and their houses are untidy because of all The Sex. That's ... something-ism, surely?
An ancient village dubbed 'Britain's Pompeii' - by journalists too lazy to come up with the descriptor a bit more original than that - was just a few months old when it burned down, it has emerged. Analysis of wood used to build the settlement suggests that it was only lived in for a short time before it was destroyed. Despite this, archaeologists said that the site gives an 'exquisitely detailed' insight into everyday Bronze Age life. Evidence of fine fabric-making, varied diets and vast trading networks has been found during the ten-month dig. The level of preservation at the site, in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, has been compared to that seen at Pompeii, the Roman city buried by ash when Vesuvius erupted in AD 79. At least five circular houses raised on stilts above the East Anglian fens have been found. David Gibson, of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, University of Cambridge, said the site allowed researchers to 'visit in exquisite detail everyday life in the Bronze Age. Domestic activity within structures is demonstrated from clothing to household objects, to furniture and diet,' he said. 'These dwellings have it all, the complete set, it's a "full house."' After the fire, the buildings sank into a river which has helped preserve them.

An amateur surgeon in Australia has pleaded very guilty to removing the left testicle of a man who could not afford professional medical treatment. Ooo, God, no. That's enough to make ones eyes water, to be sure? Allan George Matthews, fifty six, extremely admitted to 'removing tissue' from the man 'without consent or authority' at a motel in Port Macquarie, North of Sydney. Police said that the fifty two-year-old victim posted an online advertisement 'requesting assistance with a medical issue.' He had been suffering for years after being kicked in the groin by a horse. Police 'became aware' of the case in June when the man attended hospital after the wound he suffered during the operation became infected. Officers raided Matthews' home and seized medical equipment, firearms and four bottles of what they suspected to be amyl nitrate. Prosecutors alleged that Matthews was not authorised to perform such a procedure as he was not a qualified or registered medical practitioner. He also pleaded very guilty in court this week to illegally possessing a gun and two counts of possessing or attempting to prescribe a restricted substance.
The government has axed the Department of Energy and Climate Change in a major departmental shake-up. The brief will be folded into an expanded Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under Greg Clark. Ed Miliband, the former energy and climate secretary under Labour, called the move 'plain stupid.' And, Ed would certainly know all about that.
NASA's Juno spacecraft has sent back its first image since scientists pulled of a nail-biting manoeuvre put it into orbit around Jupiter last week. A rather fuzzy scene, the picture shows Jupiter part-illuminated by the sun, its giant red spot clearly visible. Also visible, as bright dots in the scene, are three of its four Galilean moons, Io, Europa and Ganymede. After five years and 1.4 billion miles, the spacecraft has arrived at its final destination, but what is the probe hoping to find? The photograph was taken by the spacecraft's JunoCam on the 10 July, when it the basketball court-sized probe was 4.3 million kilometres from the gas giant. With Juno on a fifty three day orbit, the distance between it and Jupiter is currently increasing with the spacecraft's next closest approach to the planet expected at the end of August. That, the researchers say, will allow the JunoCam to snap the first high-resolution images of the planet.
There's a thought, dear blog reader. Following Brexit will we have to stop calling Jupiter's moon third biggest Europa and call it, I dunno, 'Small Island In The Mid-Atlantic With Delusions Of Grandeur' instead? Just wondering.

For the second time in a month a University of Georgia student was taken to the hospital after being found naked in public while, apparently, high on drugs. According to a UGA police report, a twenty-year-old student was seen last week walking on Oak Street while wearing nothing but a baseball cap and carrying a fake guitar. The student told police that he had consumed as many as six tabs of LSD. On 29 May, a very naked UGA student dove into the back of a garbage truck in downtown Athens and fought with police officers who pulled him from the hopper as the student tried to burrow deeper into the trash. Police said they thought the twenty two-year-old student 'might have been' high on PCP, but people claiming to be friends of the student posted on Reddit that he also had taken LSD. Both students were taken by ambulance to Athens Regional Medical Centre. The most recent incident occurred last Wednesday. A UGA officer was driving on Oak Street when he saw the naked student walking on the sidewalk, carrying what initially was believed to be a tennis racket, according to the police report. The officer followed the student as he walked past Mama's Boy, a restaurant which has outdoor seating where police said there were 'numerous' people. The officer pulled his patrol car in front of the student at Andy's Car Wash, at which time he and his partner got out and 'confronted' to the student who reportedly told them 'a voice told him if he made it to Poplar Street he "would be okay."' What the officers thought was a tennis racket turned out to be a plastic replica guitar which is used with the Guitar Hero video game, according to the police report. The officers saw that the student was 'sweating profusely' and the pupils of his eyes were very dilated. They gave the student a blanket to cover his nude nakedness and 'led him to a shady area' where they sat him down on some grass so he could come down from the planet Far Out. The student told the officers that he had ingested 'three tabs of acid.' While members of a National EMS ambulance crew were medically assessing the student, he reportedly told the EMTs that he had actually taken six tabs. Police said when they later followed up with the student at the hospital he told them that in addition to dropping acid he had smoked 'a lot' of marijuana. The student was not charged by police with any offence.
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in the death of eleven-year-old Azriel Sage Estabrooks, a Somerset girl who died earlier this year after choking on a marshmallow at a friend's birthday party. Attorney Steven P Sabra, who represents the girl's obviously devastated parents, said that there are 'so many unanswered questions' as to the circumstances leading to Azriel's death that the suit had to be filed, among other things, to obtain all the reports and investigation summaries. Plus, you know, the money. 'When a healthy, normal child goes to a birthday party and ends up choking to death, questions of supervision and response to the emergency naturally arise,' claimed Sabra, adding that he 'hopes' the legal system 'will help' Azriel's devastated parents 'understand' what happened to their daughter. And, possibly mitigate their grief with a massive pay-out. Probably. 'I am sure that this tragedy has had a profound effect not only on Azriel's parents, but on the host family and the children that were present,' Sabra said. But, they're suing anyway. The lawsuit, filed Monday in the civil session of Bristol County Superior Court, seeks 'unspecified monetary damages' for 'conscious pain and suffering' endured by Azriel's parents, identified in the civil complaint as Jason L Estabrooks and Iris M Estabrooks of Somerset. The complaint names as defendants Raymond Dugan and Alison B Dugan, the residents who hosted the birthday party where Azriel ingested the marshmallow. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of 'failing to provide adequate supervision' for the children at the party and for 'providing food, such as marshmallows, that could be choking hazards for young children.' On 16 April Somerset police and ambulance units responded to the defendants' Pilot Drive home after receiving an emergency call of 'a person choking.' Azriel was unconscious and unresponsive when the first responders arrived. They removed the marshmallow from her throat and took her to Charlton Memorial Hospital. She was later transferred to Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence. But, the lawsuit claims, Azriel had already been without oxygen for 'an extended period of time' when she was discovered unconscious and lying on the floor. Azriel sadly died on 21 April. The Bristol County District Attorney's Office investigated the incident and ruled that Azriel's death to be 'a tragic accident.' However, the plaintiffs in the civil complaint accuse the defendants of allowing Azriel 'to wander off' during the birthday party 'without adult supervision.' The lawsuit also accuses the defendants of 'unnecessarily and improperly' delaying calling 911 and for allowing 'an unreasonable amount of time' to pass without discovering that Azriel was in 'life-threatening distress.' The complaint says that Azriel's mother, after receiving a 'frantic' phone call from Alison Dugan, arrived at the defendants' home to a scene of 'general chaos.' Noting that he raised four children and now has grandchildren, Sabra said that the incident 'was a reminder' how diligent parents and caretakers need to be for children as well as others they are responsible of caring for.
If you still don't believe - despite all the evidence of the last couple of decades - that the Daily Mirra's decline from a once-proud newspaper which featured pioneering investigative journalism into something which is only useful for wiping ones arse clean if the netty roll has run out, have a look at this example of quality journalism. Jesus wept, dear blog reader, Paul Foot must be turning in his grave.
An Indian man who bought one of the world's most expensive shirts made entirely of gold has been allegedly battered to death, police said. Datta Phuge shot into the global limelight in 2013 when he bought a shirt made with more than three kilograms of gold and worth about one hundred and ninety htousand quid. A money lender based in Western Pune, Phuge was called 'the gold man.' Four persons have been detained for questioning in connection with his death. Police suspect 'a dispute over money' may have led to the murder. The police said some twelve people attacked Phuge in Pune on Thursday night. One of the suspects had invited Phuge and his twenty two-year-old son to celebrate a birthday at an open ground in Dighi area when the men allegedly attacked him with stones and 'a sharp weapon.' Police said that Phuge's son had witnessed his father being murdered and had been spared by the alleged killers. 'However, we are investigating how Mister Phuge reached the open ground where he was murdered,' Dighi police station inspector Navnath Ghogare told the Press Trust of India news agency.
KFC staff in Lincoln have spoken about the moment when a man walked into a branch covered in blood after someone was stabbed in the city. Police swooped on the Lincoln High Street fast food restaurant after a reported stabbing on Smith Street. Staff told the Lincolnshire Echo that the man came in on Thursday. Joe Cade, the training manager, said: 'At first he came in and sat down at one of the tables in the restaurant and left blood all over the table and seats.' Danny McCombs, a KFC cook, said: 'It's not the first time we've had police in here before but nothing of this scale.' McCombs described the man as being in his forties. 'It was really exciting. When you see a police officer come in asking questions, you immediately think: "what's happened?" Then the riot van arrived and they came to the restaurant area. Then, we knew something bad was going on. We had multiple staff members who weren't on shift ringing up asking if anyone who works here has been hurt.' The staff said they understood that the victim had been stabbed in the face and had been taken away by ambulance. Police initially refused to confirm whether anyone had been arrested, but at lunchtime on Friday, said that a man and a woman were very arrested after the incident.
A Swedish woman has accused the Scum Mail Online of falsely representing her as the victim of a sexual assault in an article about sex attacks allegedly perpetrated by 'foreign youths' at a music festival according to the Gruniad. What, the Scum Mail publishing something that isn't true? That's scarcely believable.

The developer of two small semi-detached homes converted from old public lavatories is 'feeling pretty flush' (ho, and indeed, ho) after selling one for two hundred and eighty five thousand smackers. Cannonside bought the run down site for just eighty grand in 2012 and set about clearing out the detritus of human waste, drug use, masses of litter and evicting quite a few mice. Each of the houses in Ewell, Surrey, has one bedroom, en-suite showers, downstairs cloakroom, a courtyard garden enclosed by a brick wall, underfloor heating. And, a toilet, obviously. David Greaney, of Cannonside, said that the clean-up and closure of the public toilet has 'improved' the community. He said: 'We found all kinds of materials which suggested the site was being used for things it shouldn't have been. There were needles, drugs packages, vermin, asbestos, litter. It was only a matter of time before someone was found abused or raped in there. The council should have been made to take it down. They sold it so they wouldn't have to take it down.' Residents were, reportedly, 'outraged' when cash-strapped Epsom and Ewell Borough Council first auctioned off the toilets in 2012. At the time, the council claimed that the closure of the toilets, along with two other public toilet blocks, would save twenty one thousand knicker a year.
Bosnia's highest appeal court has extremely upheld a lengthy prison sentence against a former Playboy model for laying a honey trap for a Bosnian mafia boss and helping a rival try to kill him. Three weeks before the appeal verdict, Slobodanka Tosic, told AFP that she had 'done nothing wrong' and has been 'dragged through the mud.' The court did not agree and Slobodanka must now served two and a half years in stir for her sinful and naughty ways.
A man in New Zealand has 'quit his job to play Pokemon Go full-time' according to BBC Newsbeat. And this constitutes 'news' apparently. Jesus, has everybody taken The Stupid Pill this week, or what?

A British woman 'has left Twitter users outraged' (according to the Daily Scum Express if not anyone that actually matters) after saying that the Bastille Day attacks in Nice on Thursday evening had 'spoiled my shopping trip.' Because, as we all know, Twitter is now The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things, is it not? Witness Lucy Nesbitt-Comaskey made the - admittedly rather crass and insensitive - remark while giving an interview on Sky News in the aftermath of the apparent terror attack. When questioned about the disaster live on-air, she said: 'The sad thing about it, I know this is awful and maybe a bit selfish, but it did spoil our shopping trip.' A bit selfish, Lucy? No shit? Sorry if the murder of eighty odd people inconvenienced you at all. However, she did at least have the sense to qualify her comments with the following: 'We bought all this lovely shopping and know we can't be bothered with it, it doesn't mean anything now,' which is, at least, a shade more humane. Nesbitt-Comaskey's comments were made just hours after the attack took place which have reportedly left at least eighty four people dead in the French city and many more seriously injured. The Daily Scum Express also got a second story about Twitter 'outrage' over Sky News's coverage of the horrifying events. Seriously, do people on Twitter have nothing else to do with their lives other than watch TV news in search of something to be offended by?
Sir Mick Jagger is expecting his eighth child. Well, he isn't, obviously - unless some form of medical miracle has taken place - but the singer's girlfriend, twenty nine-year-old American ballerina Melanie Hamrick, is apparently 'with sprog.' Sir Mick, seventy two, already has seven children whose ages range from seventeen to forty five and he became a great-grandfather last year. The news comes two months after fellow Rolling Stone Rockin' Ronnie Wood became a father again aged sixty eight, after his wife Sally Humphreys had twin girls. Sir Mick began dating Hamrick after the suicide of L'Wren Scott in 2014, his partner of thirteen years. He had his other children with, deep breath, Marsha Hunt, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall and Luciana Gimenez Morad. He has five grandchildren and became a great-grandfather in May 2014 when his granddaughter Assisi, the daughter of Jade Jagger, gave birth to a baby girl.
Britain's Chris Froome was forced to run without a bike following a crash with a motorbike on one of the most iconic climbs of the Tour De France on Thursday. Froome crashed along with Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema just over one kilometre from the finish on Mont Ventoux. The defending champion was overtaken by rivals Adam Yates and Nairo Quintana in the melee but race organisers subsequently ruled Froome should retain the overall lead. Thomas De Gendt won stage twelve, which had been shortened because of high winds. Speaking to French TV, Froome, the 2013 and 2015 champion said: 'I was with Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema and all three of us went into the back of the motorbike. I got hit from behind by another motorbike that broke my bicycle. I told myself, "I don't have a bike and my car is five minutes behind with another bike - it's too far away, I'm going to run a bit."' The Team Sky rider finished one minute and forty seconds behind Trek-Segafredo's Mollema, who had immediately managed to remount his bike and forty four seconds behind BMC's Porte. But Porte and Froome were later given the same time as Mollema, five minutes five seconds behind Lotto Soudal rider De Gendt. Froome said: 'I'm happy with the jury's decision. I think it's right. Thanks to them and thanks to the Tour De France organisation.' As Froome climbed towards the finish line at Chalet Reynard, Porte rode into the back of a motorbike, which seemed to stop suddenly because of crowds encroaching on to the road. Froome and Bauke Mollema crashed into the Australian and all three fell off their bikes. With his bike damaged, Froome set off on foot as he waited for a replacement. According to the UCI, cycling's governing body, a cyclist can cross the line on foot but only if they have their bike with them. He attempted to use a neutral service bike before switching to a third bike from the Team Sky car about two hundred metres later, eventually crossing the line shaking his head. Froome, who held a twenty eight-second advantage over Yates overnight, extended his lead to forty seven seconds, with Quintana - regarded as Froome's biggest rival before the race - a further seven seconds adrift. Porte said: 'The crowd were all over the road and it was such a mess. It was just crazy.' Dutchman Mollema tweeted a picture of the crash and said: 'This may not happen in the biggest race of the world! There has been too many accidents with motos [sic] last year!' It remains unclear whether the motorbike that Porte collided with stopped because of spectators stepping into its path. But over-zealous fans have caused several problems already on this year's Tour. There have been regular calls from riders and organisers for spectators to respect the space of the cyclists. The end of the stage up the legendary Mont Ventoux was cut short by six kilometres on Wednesday because of strong winds, reducing the space for spectators to line the route to the finishing line. Veteran rider Fabian Cancellara tweeted: 'What a scandal today for Le Tour. No safety and too much chaos on Mont Ventoux. This is definitely not what cycling needs.' Amid all the chaos, it was easy to overlook De Gendt's tremendous win in the one hundred and seventy eight kilometres stage from Montpellier. The Belgian, runner-up on stage five, was part of an early thirteen-man breakaway and had initially dropped off the front, but he fought back and finished narrowly ahead of compatriot Serge Pauwels in the final stretch to claim the king of the mountains jersey. Orica-BikeExchange rider Yates, who is having a superb Tour, briefly led the general classification, before Froome's time was amended. Yates, the twenty three-year-old from Bury who is in Great Britain's road race team for the Olympics in Rio in August, remains Froome's closest rival. Froome extended his lead the following day to one minute and forty seven seconds by finishing second in the stage thirteen time trial. He clocked fifty one minutes and eighteen seconds for the thirty seven kilometre stage from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to La Caverne Du Pont-D'Arc, which Dutchman Tom Dumoulin won in fifty minutes and fifteen seconds. Mollema finished sixth to go second in the overall standings. There were initial doubts that the stage would go ahead after Thursday evening's attack in Nice. Tour officials ultimately decided to continue with the race, with a heightened security presence, after at least eighty four people were killed when a lorry drove through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the Southern French city. There was a sombre atmosphere at both the start and finish lines on stage thirteen, with most riders not learning of the news from Nice until they woke on Friday. 'We want this day to be a day of dignity as a tribute to the victims,' said the race director Christian Prudhomme. 'The race must continue.' There was a minute's silence held before the first rider set off and another as the jersey holders stood on stage after the day's racing finished. The riders, including Froome, Dumoulin and Yates placed their bouquets of flowers on an empty podium in a symbolic tribute for the victims in Nice. Froome, who lives in Monaco, just twelve miles from Nice, said: 'This is definitely a time for people to stand together. It definitely puts things into perspective for us. I'm happy with how the stage went but everyone's thoughts are with the people in Nice. It's a special place for me, close to where I'm based, and I can't imagine what everyone is going through.' Mark Cavendish won stage fourteen on Saturday as Froome maintained his overall lead. Cavendish, riding for Team Dimension Data, won a sprint finish ahead of Alexander Kristoff and Peter Sagan. It was the Manxman's fourth stage win on the 2016 Tour and his thirtieth overall, just four behind the record of five-time Tour winner Eddy Merckx. Froome finished safely in the peloton on the two hundred and eight kilmometre stage from Montelimar to Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux crossing the line sixtieth along with all of his general classification rivals, so preserving his lead of one minute forty seconds in the yellow jersey.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though utterly unsellable) Magpies began their latest stint as a Championship club with a resounding victory in Dublin on Saturday afternoon, rounding off their week-long Irish training camp with a six-nil victory over Bohemian. In front of a sun-drenched Dalymount Park crowd, Rafa Benitez debuted all five of his summer signings and saw six different United players get their name on the scoresheet. Wearing their new white and purple third kit (along with black armbands marking the second anniversary of the loss of fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney on-board Flight MH Seventeen), United went ahead on fifteen minutes through new boy Matt Ritchie. Full back Jamie Sterry overlapped down the right and pulled the ball back for Ritchie who took a touch before curling a neat left-footed shot into the top corner. Aleksandar Mitrovic then won a penalty on the half hour, tempting Bohs 'keeper Shane Supple to take his legs after intercepting a pass. The Serb converted the spot-kick. United restarted the second half with six replacements and one of those introduced, Dwight Gayle, made a lightning start hooking in from close range on fifty one minutes following a corner from Florian Thauvin that Jamaal Lascelles played back. Moments later, Thauvin took a pass from Rolando Aarons and tucked the ball home for number four. Aarons scored United's fifth in the fifty ninth minute with a fine solo effort after latching onto an Ayoze Perez pass and Gini Wijnaldum completed the scoring in the seventy fourth minute. While their first-team counterparts were banging the goals in across the Irish Sea, United's U21 reserve side also enjoyed a goal-fest somewhat closer to home. Sporting their new navy blue and orange away kit, Peter Beardsley's second-string enjoyed a stroll in the sunshine at Darlington's Northern Echo Arena, bagging three first-half goals and another two after the break in a five-one win. The visitors started brightly and, after seven minutes, Haris Vuckic tapped in from close-range after Ivan Toney's deflected shot hit the woodwork. Toney himself doubled United's lead with a well-placed free-kick. Vuckic played a supporting role in United's third shortly before the break, slipping the ball to Callum Roberts who rounded the Darlo 'keeper and scored from a tight angle. The first-half ended with Darlington's only goal. United keeper Nathan Harker - largely a spectator thus far - was put under pressure following a wayward pass from Gael Bigirimana and was dispossessed on the edge of the box before appearing to handle the ball. Lewis Nightingale's resultant free-kick was met by Liam Hardy's glancing header. Within two minutes of the second half, Slovakian defender Lubo Satka increased the visitors' lead with a free header after a precise delivery from Alex Gilliead. United's fifth, eight minutes from time, came after trialist Flavio Da Silva's shot was deflected into the path of Sean Longstaff.

People can carry a 'silent' red hair gene which raises their risk of sun-related skin cancer, experts have warned. But, we all know what the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and, now unemployed tit) Gove had to say about experts, don't we? All of this is jolly bad news for this blogger and other life-long sufferers of The Ginger Curse who used to think we were something special but are now, seemingly, common as much. Well, bugger. That's annoying. The Sanger Institute team estimate that one in every four UK people is a carrier. The gene's effect is comparable to two decades of sun exposure in terms of cancerous changes, they say. While people with two copies of the gene will have ginger hair, freckles and pale skin and probably know to take extra care in the sun, those with one copy may not realise that they are at risk. Of death. Around twenty five per cent of UK adults have one version of the gene called MC1R which increases their risk of malignant melanoma. These carriers may not always look like 'easy burners,' say the researchers - but they are. Although not true redheads, they will have pale skin and some freckles and are prone to sun damage. Their natural hair colour can range from brown through to blond, sometimes with a hint of red. The researchers looked at more than four hundred tumour samples from patients who had been diagnosed with melanoma. They found that the patients who had at least one copy of a genetic variant of MC1R had forty two per cent more sun-associated mutations in their cancers than individuals without these variations - equivalent to the toll of an additional twenty one years in the sun. The findings, in Nature Communications, suggest that people with the red hair gene are 'naturally less able to protect themselves' from the sun's damaging UV rays. MC1R provides instructions for cells that produce a pigment called melanin, which is what makes skin go brown to protect it from UV damage. The red hair gene version of MC1R does not offer much tanning or sun protection. So, it would seem you don't have to be like Keith Telly Topping, as white as a ginger bird's arse, to be at risk of catching The Big C if you're doing a bit of strimming in the garden without slapping Factor Fifty all over every single bit of potentially exposed skin. Tragedy.
Anyway, dear blog reader, just how bad can things possibly get? I dunno. Let's ask the Foreign Secretary, he might have some idea. Oh, hang on ...
On Wednesday evening, dear blog reader, in response to two media stories which, had they occurred just a couple of weeks ago this blogger would have assumed to be the product of satire, Keith Telly Topping posted the following thought on his Facebook page: 'Boris Johnson is foreign secretary,' he wrote. 'Sam Allardyce is 'in talks' with the FA and may, potentially, be the next England manager. So, is Chris Chibnall going to offer the role of The Doctor to Barry Chuckle when Peter decides to move on. That would be a hat-trick.'
A small, light-hearted attempt to lift the general mood, so it was - not the best joke this blogger's ever come up with but, you know, even if he does say so himself, it raised a small titter with one of two of his chums. Of course, this being Facebook, someone inevitably took that innocuous statement as an excuse for a bit of Chris Chibnall-baiting. It's the new national sport amongst The Special People if you hadn't noticed. It was rather mean and not especially funny comment about how this individual was hoping Chibnall would be 'the next shock resignation' to hit the headlines. Keith Telly Topping said that he thought that was a rather shitty comment considering Chibbers hasn't even started the job for which he was being criticised and then, promptly, went to bed. Next morning, Keith Telly Topping wrote what he considered to be an end to the discussion on the thread. 'It's bad enough that Steven [Moffat] has to take the crap he does from people with an agenda for that most dreadful of crimes "producing a TV show in a way I don't like." Chibnall is now, seemingly, getting the same eighteen months before his first episode as producer has been shown (and twelve months before it's even been made). You can indulge in that sort of nonsense on your own Facebook page if you wish, it is a free country after all. But, House Rule, you're not allowed to do it here. If you're not able to abide by that then, fine, you know where the door is. And, if you don't, I can help you find it very easily. And, that goes for everyone else as well. Zero tolerance enforcement. No exceptions.' As usual, of course, there are always some people who seem to believe that 'zero tolerance, no exceptions' applies to everyone except them. There followed, from this chap, a couple of thoroughly bizarre rants which, essentially, suggested anyone who couldn't see Chibbers was/is 'talentless' was/is either 'deluded' or 'intimidated' because he's 'powerful'. This, after he (and everyone else reading my page) had, specifically, been asked not to use the place to air such churlish and unwelcome comments as that. Keith Telly Topping has no wish to come over all dictatorial nor nothing but, at the end of the day, my house, my rules. It's never nice to have to block somebody, particularly as - this issue aside - I'd never really have any problems with the chap concerned, previously. But when you ask, relatively nicely I feel, people not to do something and they, apparently, decide to do exactly what they've been asked not to anyway to see if you were serious, what can you do except press the ultimate sanction button? So, he went into my killfile with a little muffled 'plop.' This blogger imagines there'll be some hissy-fit nonsense and toys thrown out of prams over such a sanction but, hey, life's too short for any of that bollocks. Here endeth the lesson.
So, dear blog reader, no Osborne, no rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and, now unemployed tit) Gove and no vile and odious rascal Whittingdale in Maggie II's first cabinet. So, it's not all bad news. In relation to the latter, the champagne is, very definitely, on this blogger. Although of course, as mentioned a while back in relation to the vile and odious rascal Hunt moving on from the lack of culture department and leaving space for someone worse, it's sometimes wise to remember the old truism: Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true. Announcing the news of his departure on Twitter to the delight of millions, the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale said: '[It] has been a privilege to serve as culture secretary. I wish my successor every success and will continue to support creative industries.' Bet he didn't wish her every success, really. To be fair, this turn of events does presumably mean that the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale can now spend more time with his - several - Internet 'friends.' So, everybody wins.
Karen Bradley is to take over from the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale as the lack of culture secretary. Bradley has been the MP for Staffordshire Moorlands since May 2010 and a Home Office minister since 2014. Prior to working in politics, Bradley spent twenty years working in business, with roles as an accountant and tax manager for firms including KPMG and Deloitte & Touche. A Sheikh Yer Man City fan who has several times declared free tickets from the football on her register of MPs' interests, Bradley lists her hobbies in Who's Who as 'travel, wine tasting, cooking [and] puzzles.' A crime thriller fan, she has read 'every Morse, Dalziel & Pascoe, Frost and Rebus that's been printed.' So, she can read. Well, that's a significant change from about the last half-dozen lack of culture secretaries.

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