Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Bush & The Knockers

Game Of Thrones, the record-breaking fantasy drama TV series (you knew that, right?) will end after its eighth season, American broadcaster HBO has confirmed. Which, most of us kind of knew anyway so this hardly constitutes 'news', does it? HBO programming chief Casey Bloys made the announcement at the Television Critics Association's conference. The seventh series - which will consist of seven episodes instead of the usual ten - is expected to be broadcast next summer, while the final series will be in 2018. Speaking on Saturday in Beverly Hills, Bloys said the number of episodes for the final series was yet to be determined. 'We'll take as many as the [producers] will give us,' he said. Bloys did not rule out a possible future spin-off, saying that 'we're open to it, [the producers] aren't opposed to it, but there's no concrete plans right now.' Last year, Game Of Thrones won a record twelve EMMY Awards for a series in a single year. The series has picked up twenty three nominations - another record - ahead of this year's annual ceremony to be held in September.
Since The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) is leaving Doctor Who after the forthcoming tenth series (and, the 2017 Christmas Special), it isn't beyond the realms of possibility to assume that yer actual Peter Capaldi will also leave Doctor Who at the end of series ten (or, at the end of the 2017 Christmas Special). But, if you've been thinking that, it seems you may be incorrect in your assumptions. 'I have no reason to suppose that I'm writing out a Doctor,' Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No OBE Before He) is quoted as saying, in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine. 'Peter is loving the role and long may he do so. The departure of a showrunner doesn't mean anything to the audience,' The Moff added. 'Most of the audience doesn't know that I exist, so they'd go blank if I attempted to wave goodbye to them. So I'm damned if I'm imposing my departure on the show. I just want to do a good one, before I hand over to Chris.'
BBC Worldwide have confirmed that the 1996 Doctor Who television movie starring yer actual Paul McGann will be released on Blu-ray in September. Further details will be available nearer the release date as the sleeve and extras are 'still being finalised,' but according to Amazon UK's pre-order entry it will comprise two discs. The TV Movie celebrated its twentieth anniversary in May this year.
Here are the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Three programmes, week-ending Sunday 24 July 2016:-
1 Mrs Brown's Boys Live - Sat BBC1 - 8.82m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.54m
3 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.93m
4 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.03m
5 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.52m
6 Brief Encounters - Mon ITV - 5.27m
7 Eat Well For Less? - Wed BBC1 - 4.83m
8 Fake Or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 4.76m
9 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.70m
10 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.36m
11 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 4.33m
12= Celebrity MasterChef - Thurs BBC1 - 4.28m
12= Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.28m
14 Peter Kay: Twenty Years Of Not-In-The-Slightest-Bit-Funny - Sat BBC1 - 4.05m
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.97m
16 The Musketeers - Sat BBC1 - 3.47m
17 The Investigator - Thurs ITV - 3.44m
18 Dragons' Den - Sun BBC2 - 3.37m
19 The Secret Agent - Sun BBC1 - 3.30m
20 Forces Of Nature With Brian Cox (No, The Other One) - Mon BBC1 - 3.23m
21 Saving Lives At Sea - Wed BBC1 - 3.01m
22 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 2.99m
23 New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands - Tues BBC2 - 2.93m
These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched the programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after initial broadcast, but does not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. On BBC2, aside from Dragons' Den and the excellent New Zealand documentary series, the return of Robot Wars attracted 2.58 million followed by Monday night's two big-hitters for the channel Only Connect and University Challenge (both 2.21 million). Full Steam Ahead had 2.06 million. The London Anniversary Games was watched by 1.87 million, followed by The Somme 1916: From Both Sides Of The Wire with 1.76 million, the latest episode of Versailles (1.71 million), The Marvellous World Of Roald Dahl (1.65 million), Gardeners' World (1.64 million), The Refugee Camp: Our Desert Home (1.49 million), Mock The Week (1.45 million) and Keith Richards: The Origin Of the Species (1.33 million). The latest Qi XL repeat attracted seven hundred and fifty three thousand. The first episode of Eden was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week (2.26 million), followed by Nine, Nine, Nine: What's Your Emergency? (2.23 million), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.22m), F1: Hungarian Grand Prix Live (2.17m), the film Finding Nemo (2.09m) and Celebrity First Dates (2.06m). The horrorshow (and drag) that was Alan Carr's Grease Night attracted a thoroughly underwhelming seven hundred and sixty thousand people, all of whom, seemingly, had nothing better to do with their time and intellect than watch tripe this likes of this nonsense. And, speaking of tripe, Channel Five's top performer was Big Brothers with 1.80 million, ahead of Laugh Out Loud (1.62 million). The Hotel Inspector attracted 1.49 million. NCIS was seen by 1.09 million. Sky Sports 1's most-watched broadcast was International Champions Cup: Glasgow Celtic Versus Leicester City seen by two hundred and seventy three thousand viewers. The channel's broadcast of the Live Hungarian Grand Prix had two hundred and forty two thousand. Sky Sports 2's Saturday coverage of England's crushing victory in the second test against Pakistan got four hundred and ninety seven thousand punters. Sky Sports Tonight was Sky Sports News's highest-rated broadcast with one hundred and twenty thousand. It's interesting to note that the channel has been running virtual non-stop trailers for the return of Soccer Saturday for a full month before the Premier League kicks-off again, seemingly in their desperation to remind viewers that, for most of the year, they do have one programme which attracts an audience of hundreds of thousands rather than tens. On Sky Sports F1, Live Hungarian Grand Prix had six hundred and sixteen thousand punters in addition to those watching the race on Channel Four and on Sky Sports 1. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and fifty four thousand viewers). Endeavour was seen by eight hundred and thirty six thousand, Lewis by six hundred and sixty one thousand and The Booze Cruise by six hundred and sixty thousand. Tour De France Highlights coverage on Wednesday evening headed ITV4's weekly list with eight hundred and fifty seven thousand (that sort of figure does tend to occur on days when either Chris Froome or Mark Cavendish wins a stage). Indeed, the top seven of ITV4's most-watched ten programmes were taken by the nightly cycling highlights and Sunday afternoon's live coverage of the Paris finale. The movie A View To A Kill drew four hundred and thirty one thousand. Thanks to worthless pile of rancid stinking shat Love Island having, mercifully, ended its current series, ITV2's most-watched programme of the week was an episode of Family Guy with nine hundred and twenty two thousand. The movies The Bourne Identity and Love Actually drew seven hundred and forty five thousand and seven hundred and three thousand respectively. Vera, as usual, headed ITV Encore's top ten with one hundred and one thousand viewers. BBC4's broadcast of BBC Proms 2016 had an audience of seven hundred and thirty six thousand viewers. The channel's top-ten also included Beck: The Weak Link (six hundred and seventy thousand), Classic Albums: The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (six hundred and fifteen thousand) and The Fairytale Castles Of King Ludwig II (five hundred and nine thousand). Arena: 1966 - Fifty Years Ago Today attracted four hundred and eighty seven thousand. Danny Baker's excellent People's History Of Pop drew four hundred and thirty seven thousand whilst When Pop Went Epic: The Crazy World Of The Concept Album was seen by four hundred and twenty seven thousand hippies. Get yer hair cut, you lot. And, stop smoking that stuff, it's illegal. Sacred Wonders Of Britain with Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair), the classic Natural History documentary series Yellowstone and Ocean Giants (narrated by yer actual Stephen Fry) had four hundred and twenty thousand, four hundred and two thousand and three hundred and eighty six thousand viewers. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by Agatha Raisin (seven hundred and ten thousand), BBC3 refugee Don't Tell The Bride (six hundred and nineteen thousand), Carpool Karaoke Special (five hundred and forty three thousand) and The Last Ship (four hundred and ninety five thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Ray Donovan (three hundred and sixteen thousand). Billions was seen by two hundred and forty thousand, a Game Of Thrones repeat from series one, by one hundred and thirty three thousand and The Hillary Clinton Problem by one hundred and twelve thousand. On Sky Living, Bones drew seven hundred and fifty two thousand, Shades Of Blue had six hundred and forty one thousand, Unforgettable, four hundred and seventy thousand and Chicago Fire, four hundred and twenty two thousand. Sky Arts' Master Of Photography drew an audience of one hundred and eleven thousand. Trailblazers attracted eighty nine thousand. 5USA's The Mysteries Of Laura was watched by six hundred and thirty five thousand viewers. Chicago PD was seen by five hundred and forty six thousand, NCIS: Los Angeles, five hundred and five thousand and NCIS, three hundred and thirty one thousand. NCIS also topped the weekly top ten of CBS Action (one hundred and two thousand) and featured in the lists of FOX (one hundred and five thousand) and the Universal Channel (one hundred and thirty three thousand) as well as Channel Five. Aside, from NCIS, FOX's top ten also included Outcast (three hundred and eighty six thousand), Wayward Pines (three hundred and twenty thousand) and Someone Knows My Name (two hundred and fifty six thousand). The Universal Channel's was headed by Mister Robot (five hundred and twenty two thousand) and Motive (one hundred and eighty two thousand). On Dave, Taskmaster was the highest-rated programme - no, this blogger has no idea why either as it is about as funny as a raw and painful rash on ones chunky man sausage - with six hundred and two thousand punters. That was followed by the return of cult favourite Suits (four hundred and fifty six thousand), Have I Got A Bit More News For You (three hundred and eighty eight thousand), Mock The Week (three hundred and thirty nine thousand) and Would I Lie To You? (three hundred and twenty nine thousand) and Qi Xl (three hundred and ten thousand). Drama's Miss Marple was watched by three hundred and sixty one thousand viewers. The Doctor Bleak Mysteries had three hundred and fifty six thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Quantico (two hundred and ninety two thousand), followed by New Tricks (one hundred and seventy six thousand), Inspector George Gently (one hundred and thirty three thousand), Father Brown (one hundred thousand) and Death In Paradise (ninety five thousand). Yesterday's repeat run of the least funny sitcom ever made, Keeping Up Appearances was seen by two hundred and sixteen thousand. Words fail this blogger. The Royle Family Christmas Special - broadcast, as a tribute to the late Caroline Aherne, in the middle of July - was watched by two hundred and thirteen thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Alaskan Bush People's latest series continued with two hundred and forty thousand viewers. Deadliest Catch had an audience of one hundred and sixty seven thousand, Misfit Garage was watched by by one hundred and twenty nine thousand and Yukon Men by one hundred and eleven thousand. Discovery History's In Search Of The King's Head topped the weekly-list with twenty seven thousand viewers whilst Time Team attracted twenty one thousand and Hitler's Henchmen, nineteen thousand, a figure also achieved by Winston Churchill: A Giant Of The Century. On Discovery Science, Finding Bigfoot - or, not finding it as it turned out - was seen by forty eight thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programmes was, as usual, the cult favourite Wheeler Dealers (thirty three thousand). National Geographic's list was headed by Wicked Tuna which had which had one hundred and four thousand viewers. The History Channel's top ten was led by Vikings (two hundred and sixty one thousand). On Military History, Ancient Files Unsealed was watched by twenty nine thousand viewers. True Crimes With Aphrodite Jones and The FBI Files were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with seventy one thousand viewers and fifty five thousand respectively). Behind Bars and Killer Kids headed CI's list (both forty eight thousand). The first episodes of GOLD's Simon Callow vehicle The Rebel - which this blogger rather enjoyed despite most of the best bits having already featured in the much-run trailer - attracted three hundred and eight thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Jack Dee: So What? (one hundred and forty nine thousand). Your TV's Corrupt Crimes had eighty eight thousand viewers. On More4, Building The Dream was the highest rated programme with four hundred and twenty six thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoaks drew nine hundred and sixty five thousand. The Horror Channel's broadcast of one of the worst movies ever made, Virgin Witch, attracted one hundred and twelve thousand curious viewers. Or, one hundred and twelve thousand people who enjoy looking at Vicki Michelle's tits. One or the other. Dark Matter, headed Syfy's top ten with three hundred and ninety nine thousand. Deadly Sixty had forty three thousand on Eden. Alaska: The Last Frontier was the Animal Planet's most watched programme with fifty three thousand. On W, the weekly EastEnders repeat was seen by two hundred and twenty one thousand.

The launch of Channel Five's latest series of horrifying Victorian freak show Celebrity Big Brother was watched by an average overnight audience of 2.3 million viewers. That was half-a-million punters fewer than the audience for the launch of the previous series in January of this year. On the other hand, the ratings were up on the launch of last summer's show, which debuted in August 2015 with a 2.2 million average. Bloody Christopher Bloody Biggins, former glamour model Sam Fox and ex-EastEnders actor Ricky Norwood are among the latest edition's fifteen desperate z-list alleged 'celebrity' housemates. Others taking part include reality show regulars Saira Khan, Marnie Simpson and Katie Waissel, an The Apprentice-type person, a Geordie Shore-type person and an The X Factor-type person, respectively. This is 'celebrity' in the Twenty First Century, dear blog reader. Look upon their works, ye mighty and despair. Celebrity Big Brother was beaten in its 9pm timeslot on Thursday on overnights by both Hugh's War On Waste on BBC1 and The Investigator: A British Crime Story on ITV. Which, does rather restore ones faith in the general public. Slightly.
People who only watch BBC shows on catch-up will be legally required to have a TV licence from 1 September, when new legislation to close the so-called 'iPlayer loophole' comes into force. Although quite how the new law will be policed is another question entirely. Though the vast majority of households ow a TV licence, those without one who only watch catch-up content and not live broadcasts were, technically, exempt from paying the one hundred and forty five smackers a year charge. The government had promised to close the loophole, which already costs the BBC about one hundred and fifty million knicker per annum and is likely to increase, during negotiations last summer that also saw the corporation agree to shoulder the seven hundred and fifty million notes burden of free licence fees for the over-seventy fives. The changes apply to anyone watching BBC programmes on catch-up through any device and third-party services such as Sky, Virgin or BT. However, while a TV licence is currently required to watch live broadcasts from other terrestrial providers such as ITV and Channel Four, the new rules do not apply to non-BBC on-demand services such as ITV Hub or Channel Four's All4. BBC radio content listened to on-demand on iPlayer is also not covered by the legislation, as is content from Welsh broadcaster S4C. For the six people that watch it. A spokesperson for TV licensing said: 'As of 1 September 2016, a change in the law means you need to be covered by a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand – including catch-up TV – on BBC iPlayer. This applies to all devices. The change will not affect the huge majority of households which are already licensed. Fewer than two per cent of households only watch catch-up – and only those watching BBC iPlayer as part of their catch-up and on-demand viewing will need to buy a licence from September. You will not need a TV licence to download or watch programmes on demand from other providers, such as YouTube, Netflix, ITV Hub, All4 or Demand Five. All unlicensed households are being mailed and a publicity campaign will happen before 1 September.' So, buy yer TV licence dear blog reader and don't be a tax avoider or you may end up doing jail. Probably.
With just one month to go until Casualty's much-anticipated thirtieth anniversary episode is broadcast on BBC1, the soap is ensuring that viewers go into the episode with breath-a-bated by ending its current series on a whopping geet cliffhanger. Last Saturday night's shocking episode climax left Connie Beauchamp and her daughter, Grace, with their lives in dangerous danger as the pair went plunging over a cliff in the closing moments. We viewers will have to wait until the series returns on Saturday 27 August after the Olympics to find out what happened. But, in the meantime, Amanda Mealing has been keeping fans guessing by thanking them for their support, on Twitter, and keeping extremely silent about her character's fate. 'Thanks for all the love. It was tough to shoot,' she tweeted before studiously avoiding questioned about whether Connie survived the plunge or not.
There's some potential good news and some potential bad news for True Detective fans. Of whom, this blogger is very much one. The good news is, if last year's not-all-that-well-received second series hasn't put you off, there is hope for a third series of the HBO series. The bad news is, they don't currently have a writer or 'the right take' in place for a third series. So, don't hold your breath, that's all we're saying. HBO's head of programming, Casey Bloys, made True Detective's confusing fate known at the TCA press tour on Saturday. 'It's not dead,' he said. 'We are hoping for a third season. It's a very valuable franchise for us. [But] I'm not sure we have the right take for a third season yet.' The plan, as it currently stands, is to bring in another writer to join creator Nic Pizzolatto, who will act as a supervisor - just as soon as someone pitches a worthwhile idea. Series one director Cary Fukunaga has already ruled himself out of a return, but Matthew McConaughey is said to be up for reprising the role of cult favourite Rust Cohle. But whether a third series makes its way to our screens eventually or not, it would seem that we're all in for a long wait - which may be a good thing, considering former HBO boss Michael Lombardo admitted to rushing Pizzolatto for scripts last time around. 'I don't know if I would consider True Detective 2 a failure - but when we tell somebody to hit an air-date as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it's ready, when it's baked - we've failed,' he admitted.
Marge and Homer Simpson have agree to vote for Hillary Clinton in the forthcoming US election in a new video clip released by Twentieth Century Fox. The standalone clip, entitled 3am, has been posted on YouTube. Republican candidate - and hairdo - Donald Trump is seen with a copy of a book called Great Speeches by A Hitler in the video. When Homer signals that he might vote for Trump, Marge says: 'If that's your vote, I question whether I can ever be with you again.' Homer replies: 'And that's how I became a Democrat.' The Simpsons' discussion comes about when Marge says that she 'can't make love until I've decided who to vote for.' The narrator then poses the question: 'It's 3am and the phone is ringing in The White House - who do you want to answer that call?' The question is a reference to Hillary Clinton's political campaign of 2008, which ran an advert featuring a ringing phone at 3am, asking Americans who they wanted leading their country during a time of crisis. Both Clinton and Trump are then seen responding to such a phone call. Trump responds by saying: 'Not now, I'm on Twitter.' He then orders an aide to: 'Put my name on The Lincoln Memorial, disband NATO and make me some scrambled eggs. On gold plates.' Bill Clinton is seen initially answering the phone with: 'The situation room? I'll be right there.' His face then falls as he hands the phone to Hillary, saying: 'Oh, it's for you.' His wife replies, testily: 'Yes, from now on, it's always for me.'
Things we learned this week: Number one. Vic Reeves claims to have 'crossed paths' with at least four notorious serial killers including The Yorkshire Ripper. Vic said that he served tea to Peter Sutcliffe whilst working in a depot used by lorry drivers in the 1970s. 'I didn't recognise him because it was pre-him being convicted or in the papers so I didn't know,' Vic said. 'He was just a lorry driver,' he added to comedian Richard Herring during a podcast. Vic also claimed he had 'encounters' with Dennis Nilsen as well and Fred and Rose West. What, exactly, these 'encounters' entailed, he didn't elaborate. And, of course, he was also in a video with Shakin' Stevens. So, that's five serial killers, if you count Shaky, that well-known murderer of 1950s classics.
Things we learned this week: Number two. Interviewed by Metro, pre-Edinburgh, the delightful Lucy Porter was asked about her new live show, Consequences, whether she has any regrets in life. 'Loads,' she replied. 'This show is all about regrets, basically. It's about how much my sixteen-year-old self would have been disappointed in my forty three-year-old self. Politically, musically and sartorially, I have let myself down. I've become an "easy listening mum." I'm like "Ooh, I don't mind as long as it's got a good beat. One direction look like nice, clean young men. They seem no threat to my children." I always used to hate mainstream music and I was a massive music snob. I thought I was terribly alternative when I was sixteen because I like The Smiths. Now, at forty three, I realise The Smiths were also David Cameron's favourite band.' Well, he claims they were, Luce. 'I just always thought I would be one of those people who keeps up with music, who stays politically active. That hasn't happened and I'm examining why. Consequences is an apology to my sixteen-year-old self!'
Things we learned this week: Number three. The Goddess that is Victoria Coren Mitchell is a fan of Macbeth and has imaginary conversations with the Only Connect producer about potential sequels!
Things we learned this week. Number four: Yer actual Ben Miller claims to be 'obsessed' with Game Of Thrones. 'The battle scene at the end of the current series was extraordinary,' he told Metro's Andrew Williams. 'In this series, it looks like they'll actually have an ending. It's picked up a lot of pace, maybe because they're no longer based on George RR Martin's books. All these roads seem to be heading in the same direction - towards a massive ruck! I did think the Arya Stark storyline was rubbish. The ending of that plot made no sense at all. But, soon afterwards, there was a dragon and a topless woman on-screen and I forgot all about it!' A chap of simple tastes is yer actual Ben Miller. This blogger thoroughly approves.
Former White Stripes frontman Jack White has made history by playing a vinyl record in Earth's stratosphere. Using a 'space-proof' turntable and a gold-plated disc in a high-altitude balloon, White and his label, Third Man Records, played 'A Glorious Dawn' by electro-artiste John Boswell, which samples Stephen Hawking and the late astronomer and broadcaster Carl Sagan, over seventeen miles above the Earth. The record played for eight minutes until the ascending balloon burst. And, presumably, it then crashed back to Earth with an undignified muffled crunch and, you know, broke. Certainly when, during a moment of ideological teen-punk fury, this blogger flung one of his old Osmonds singles - no, not 'Crazy Horses', he still liked that one - out of his bedroom window during the summer of 1978, it shattered into a million tiny fragments on contact with the yard below ... and that was only from a height of thirty foot. Mind you, that wasn't made of gold. White said that the goal was 'to inject imagination and inspiration into the daily discourse of music and vinyl lovers.' No, this blogger has no idea what that means either. But, in no way could it be considered as a - successful - publicity stunt. Obviously.
Jonathan Creek's Alan Davies has said the latest one-off special of the long-running drama will be 'the spookiest ever.' Daemons' Roost will also star Sarah Alexander as the title character's wife, along with Warwick Davies, in the tale of a sorcerer whose gruesome rituals are enacted 'with horrifying consequences.' Davies added: 'Jonathan Creek finds himself in real danger.' The drama, about an illusionist's advisor who helps to solve murders, was first broadcast - to great acclaim - in 1997. Albeit, the last three-part series, shown in 2014, was a bit pants. Shane Allen, the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning, said it was 'another sublime and intricately conceived treat from David Renwick.'
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self is to produce and star in a new film production of the classic British novel Rogue Male. Michael Lesslie, who has also adapted Macbeth and Assassin's Creed, is to write the screenplay. Rogue Male was originally written by Geoffrey Household in 1939. Benny told The Hollywood Reporter: 'I am thrilled both as an actor and producer to be working on bringing this most treasured of English novels to the big screen.' Household wrote twenty eight novels but Rogue Male was a best-seller and is regarded as not only his best known but, also, his finest work. The thriller tells the story of a hunter who attempts to assassinate a dictator but is caught and tortured. He escapes home to England but then has to evade capture from enemy agents and police. The story has previously been adapted by Twentieth Century Fox, whose 1940 production, Man Hunt - something of a minor classic - presented Hitler as the dictator and starred Walter Pidgeon. Peter O'Toole appeared in a - really very good - BBC adaption made for television in 1977.
Sky’s 1970s political drama Guerrilla starring yer actual Idris Elba has added the very excellent Rory Kinnear and Fresh Meat's Zawe Ashton to its - already impressive - cast. Line Of Duty's Daniel Mays and Getting On's Babou Ceesay will also appear in the series, which focuses on black activism in London. The six-part series is co-produced by Elba and written by John Ridley, who won a best adapted screenplay Oscar for Twelve Years A Slave. The story revolves around two lovers - played by Ceesay and Slumdog Millionaire's Frida Pinto - who set up an underground armed cell after freeing a political prisoner. Kinnear will play one of two police officers assigned to a Special Branch unit dedicated to eliminating all forms of black activism, based on the the real-life Black Power Desk group, while Ashton plays a community leader called Omega. Ridley said: 'I have wanted to tell this story for many years and I feel a great sense of responsibility towards the people and era that we are portraying. We have been given a rare opportunity to explore the kind of narrative that we do not usually see on television, and with the kinds of artisans who are not typically represented. I am extremely grateful and inspired by the brilliant and dedicated actors who have recently joined our team.' Shooting will begin on Guerrilla this week in London, and the series will be shown next year on Sky Atlantic and US network Showtime.
A sketch believed to have been the work of artist Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) has been revealed as a fake in an investigation by the BBC's Fake Or Fortune? The drawing of a dancer was passed to Alice Thoday, from Lincolnshire, through her family who believed it was part Rodin's work of a Cambodian dance troupe, which visited France in 1906. If genuine, the sketch would have been worth more than one hundred thousand quid. As it is, however, it's barely worth the paper it's drawn upon. Analysis by experts for the programme could not determine the drawing's authenticity. A handwriting analyst, who compared the signature of Thoday's work with examples of Rodin's signature, raised doubts that they were by the same hand. Additionally, art historian Christina Buley, who previously uncovered several fake Rodin's in a collection at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris in 2014, said that she did not believe the drawing was a genuine Rodin. She felt it had more of the distinctive hallmarks of the notorious forger Eric Durig, a Swiss-born sculptor who claimed to have been Rodin's last pupil. Philip Mould, the English art dealer and historian who co-presents Fake Or Fortune?, said: 'We're dealing with an artist who has been faked with competence by those close to him. It's understandable in the high-stakes art world that this leads to extreme caution and scepticism.' The show's co-host Fiona Bruce said: 'Never before have we investigated an artist whose work has been so comprehensively faked and whose fakes have been displayed at the most renowned art institutions in the world.' After the verdict, Thoday said that despite the team not being able to prove the family's belief the work was Rodin, it would remain hanging on her wall. As it covers a nasty stain that's lying there. Probably.
The parents of Anton Yelchin are reported to be suing the makers of his car, after it rolled downhill and killed him. Yelchin, who played Pavel Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek movies series, tragically died at his home in Los Angeles in June. A wrongful death lawsuit filed by his parents against Fiat Chrysler claims that the gear changer on his Jeep was defective. In April, the company recalled over one million vehicles across the world citing 'concerns' that they 'could roll away' after drivers exit. Yelchin did not create a will before he died and left behind a one million smackers estate, according to court documents filed by his parents.
With Cold Feet's revival just around the corner, From The North favourite Hermione Norris has landed one of the lead roles on ITV's next murder mystery. Norris, also well known for her role in the BBC spy drama [spooks] and ITV's Wire In The Blood, will be joined on Innocent by Inspector George Gently's Lee Ingleby - another favourite of all us at this blog - Mount Pleasant's Daniel Ryan and Angel Coulby – who you may remember from The Tunnel and her leading role as Gwen in Merlin<. The four-part drama follows David Collier (played by Ingleby), who has served seven years in prison for murdering his wife, Tara. He has always protested his innocence and faces the rest of his life behind bars. Norris is playing Tara's sister, Alice. Certain of David's guilt, she is left devastated by his appeal and retrial. Sounds rather good from that description, certainly it's got an excellent cast.
Poldark'ssecond series is on its way soon and Aidan Turner has confirmed that the production will be deviating from a highly controversial scene in the new episodes. In both Winston Graham's novels and the 1970s BBC adaptation, Ross Poldark forces his former love Elizabeth (played by Heida Reed in the new series) onto a bed and, essentially, rapes her. In the book Elizabeth accuses him of treating her 'like a slut', to which he replies: 'It's time you were so treated' and then the sexual assault occurs. Turner has revealed that in the latest adaptation the scene has been portrayed in a 'consensual' way. 'It seems consensual and it just seems right. He goes to talk. He doesn't go to commit a crime,' he told the Sun. 'They talk and it seems like there is still this spark between them, this unfinished business emotionally. Certainly, that's how Ross feels. He doesn't force himself upon her.'
There will be no more investigations for Houdini & Doyle, as FOX has called time on the flop series. In probably the least surprising cancellation news of the year so far, the US broadcaster has confirmed that the drama - which featured Stephen Mangan as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - won't be back. Houdini & Doyle's ten episodes were shown in the UK from March to May on ITV Encore to disastrous pitiful ratings.
Sir Ian McKellen has revealed he tried to alter Harold Pinter's play No Man's Land to insert a crucial twist - a toilet break for his character. Sir Ian and Sir Patrick Stewart play drinking partners in a new production. Sir Ian told BBC Radio 4 Front Row: 'My character never leaves the stage for two hours and he drinks an awful lot - and I tell you when you drink at this rate, you simply have to go and pee. But he's not put that in the play. We tried to put it in the play.' The actor added: 'I'd say that was as close to an error as Harold Pinter ever got.' Despite his comments, Sir Ian will get a welcome break during the interval. The production opens in Sheffield on Wednesday and will travel to Newcastle, Brighton and Cardiff before embarking on a three-month run at London's Wyndham's Theatre. Sir Ian and Sir Patrick play ageing writers who spend the night drinking. The play was first performed in 1975, starring John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson. While Sir Ian is on stage for the duration, Sir Patrick's character does have the luxury of a break. 'He goes off for half-an-hour's sleep and comes back sober and rested,' Sir Patrick said. The actors consume only non-alcoholic drinks on stage - which Sir Ian revealed can have an effect on the brain as well as the bladder. 'I don't know how it happens,' he said. 'We've all experienced it at rehearsals. There we are sipping water - pretend champagne, pretend gins, pretend whiskies, pretend vodkas - water, water, water, water. And, by the end we were sort of slurring our words. You can get drunk without drinking alcohol, it turns out.' The play sees a reunion for the two stars of the X-Men movies and both actors believe fans of their other major screen franchises will also visit the theatre. Sir Patrick said: 'It gives both of us a lot of satisfaction that, because of the very popular and successful franchises we've been in, we are creating a new audience for live theatre, and especially a young audience. Teenagers who have been watching The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings - they want to see Gandalf, they want to see Jean Luc Picard and Charles Xavier and Magneto. That doesn't matter to us. We don't care why they come.'
The first stage adaptation of JB Priestley's psychological horror novel, Benighted, is to open in London at the end of the year. A new version, adapted by Duncan Gates, will have its world premiere at The Old Red Lion Theatre in December. Set on a stormy night, the story sees a couple abandon their car and seek refuge in a nearby crumbling mansion. The novel was adapted into a film - The Old Dark House, starring Boris Karloff - in 1932. 'Benighted was my father's second novel which was totally unlike his first, Adam In Moonshine and, indeed, unlike anything he wrote later,' said Priestley's son, Tom. 'It will be fascinating to see how it now translates for the stage, a new and very different medium. Of course the blend of characters will be as written but the setting must be adapted for the theatre.' Author, playwright, broadcaster, essayist, social commentator, parliamentary candidate and critic Priestley - a particular hero of this blogger - who died in 1984, is best known for works including An Inspector Calls - which returns to London's West End this November - The Good Companions, Jenny Villiers, The Thirty First Of June, Dangerous Corner, Laburnum Grove, Eden End, Time & The Conways, I Have Been Here Before, Summer Day's Dream, The Linden Tree and When We Are Married. And, many others. In 1940, he broadcast a series of regular programmes for the BBC - Postscript - which are often credited with influencing the increase in civilian morale during the period during and immediately after Battle of Britain. His socialist, humanist beliefs however brought him into direct conflict with the government and, later, in part helped to influence the birth of the Welfare State.
The Beard Of Despair, worthless Noel Edmonds and Leigh Francis's really annoying and desperately unfunny 'comedy' character Keith Lemon are said to be working on a new TV show together. So, that should be well-worth avoiding, then.
Jupiter's Great Red Spot - a hurricane three times bigger than the size of the Earth - is blasting the planet's upper atmosphere with heat, astronomers have found. Using measurements from an infrared telescope in Hawaii, a UK and US team found evidence for temperatures as high as fifteen hundred degrees Celsius - hundreds of degrees warmer than anywhere else on the planet. They suggest that the hotspot is created by thunderous soundwaves 'breaking' in the thin upper reaches of the atmosphere. The research is published in the latest issue of Nature. It arguably solves what planetary scientists had dubbed an 'energy crisis' for gas giants like Jupiter: temperatures in their upper atmospheres soar much higher than can be explained by solar energy - especially given their vast distances from the Sun. If the mysterious heat were generated by local sources, like Jupiter's famous storm, then the conundrum would be solved - and these measurements are the first direct evidence of any such activity. Study co-author Doctor Tom Stallard, from the University of Leicester, said that this was a major step forward in a 'twenty to thirty year odyssey' to try and understand heat flow on Jupiter. 'Ever since Voyager, we've had measurements of the temperature at the top of Jupiter's atmosphere, and it's been hot across the whole globe - from the poles, all the way to the equator,' he told the BBC. Jupiter's enormous, dramatic aurora can explain the heat in the polar regions, but for that warmth to reach the equator would require incredibly dramatic mixing, which modelling studies haven't been able to support. 'There's no real excuse for it to be so hot,' said Doctor James O'Donoghue from Boston University, the paper's first author. The freshly discovered spike in temperature, detected using a spectrometer at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Kea, offers a potential solution. Several hundred kilometres directly above the clouds of the Great Red Spot, the hotspot suggests that high-altitude heat is somehow created by the turmoil beneath. 'Several people have argued that it's likely that the heat comes from below, but the observations have never backed them up,' Stallard said. He and his colleagues don't know exactly what is causing the heat, but they have some ideas. It could be driven by great Jovian thunderclaps, rumbling upwards from the churning red clouds of the Solar System's biggest storm. 'You get some kind of acoustic event, probably thunder or something like that - or possibly other forms of sound energy - and that propagates directly upwards,' Stallard explained. 'That wave will continue going upwards until it reaches a lower-density region at the top of the atmosphere, and then it breaks and deposits all that wave energy into the top of the atmosphere, just like waves break on the shore - as the water gets thinner, it's less able to carry that wave and so it breaks and you see lots of energy.' There is a precedent for such sound-driven warming much closer to home, according to O'Donoghue. 'There is some evidence in Earth's atmosphere, above storms and above features such as mountains - the Andes in fact - that there are acoustic waves emanating from them, and that they propagate up into the atmosphere and cause heating there,' he said. The key to revealing the temperature spike was a tiny ion: H3+, a hydrogen molecule with an added proton. It is incredibly reactive and consequently, short-lived and rare on Earth. But in the sparse fringe of Jupiter's outer atmosphere there is almost nothing else for it to react with. Crucially, this ion works like a glowing, long-range thermometer for scientists, if they have the right sort of telescope - such as the spectrometer at the IRTF, which gathered the relevant data in a single nine-hour window back in 2012. 'Just by measuring its light, you can find out the temperature wherever it is,' said O'Donoghue. 'And, it's throughout all of the gas giant upper atmospheres - so it's essentially an in situ temperature probe.' Further insights might come from NASA's Juno spacecraft, now in orbit around Jupiter after its five-year trek. Stallard said that telescopes around the world were trained on the gas giant to take parallel measurements - and his team had planned their observations with the mission in mind. 'We thought, this is something that we haven't addressed, and it needed addressing. We've really ramped up our studies away from the aurora. Juno's going to reveal magnificent levels of detail about what the aurora are and how they're generated. But it will be interesting to see how much it tells us about the non-auroral regions and the top of the atmosphere. Obviously it's been designed to look deep, and to look at the aurora at the poles, but potentially Juno could reveal a lot more.'

American Luke Aikins has become the first person to jump from twenty five thousand feet without a parachute, landing safely in a net. Why anybody would even think about doing such an insanely dangerous thing, he didn't say. Probably to compensate for an undersized penis. Or something. Anyway, Aikins - who has more than eighteen thousand jumps under his belt, mostly with a parachute - fell dead centre into the one hundred feet square net in Simi Valley, Southern California. During the two-minute fall, broadcast live on FOX television, the forty two-year-old reached the speed of one hundred and twenty miles per hour. To loud cheers, he climbed out of the net and hugged his wife and young son. 'I'm almost levitating, it's incredible,' he said after Saturday's jump. 'This thing just happened! I can't even get the words out of my mouth,' he added, admitting that he was 'nervous' beforehand. Well, that tends to happen when you jump out of a plane at twenty five thousand feet without a sodding parachute, mate. He also admitted that he had 'nearly' had to cancel the jump because he was ordered to wear a parachute 'for safety' and this would have made his landing more dangerous because of the extra weight. However, the organisers had lifted the ban just minutes before the jump. 'Aikins' leap represents the culmination of a twenty six-year career that will set a personal and world record for the highest jump without a parachute or wing suit,' his spokesman Justin Aclin said. Aikins, who is a safety and training adviser for the US Parachute Association, said that his friend came up with the idea two years ago.

A family who occasionally appear in the Channel Four TV show Gogglebox have apologised for 'jokingly' posting a photograph on social media with the caption 'Isis training day.' Brothers Baasit, Raza and Umar Siddiqui were pictured wearing camouflage gear whilst paintballing. But the image was reported to police after it was uploaded to Facebook by Raza with the caption 'Isis training day, look how happy we look.' Okay, it's a very poor joke, particularly in the current climate but I really do feel we should be focusing, at this point, on establishing the identity of the glake who thought that was worthy of wasting the police's valuable time. Didn't he or she think that The Law have enough on their plate already without having to investigate trivial bollocks like this? Obviously not. Has everyone taken The Stupid Pill this week, or what? Baasit has since tweeted an apology for the post: 'The image on Facebook was meant to be lighthearted but was clearly a joke that was misjudged. We are extremely sorry for any offence caused,' he said. And, you know, fair play to the lad, frankly, he's realised that a joke has backfired and has taken steps to try and minimise its negative impact. Good on ya. A spokesman for Derbyshire police confirmed: 'A member of the public contacted us after a photo of three men at a paintball centre was uploaded to Facebook, mentioning the so-called Islamic State. We have examined the photograph and are satisfied that the caption was not intended to be taken seriously and there was no link to terrorism whatsoever. We will be offering suitable words of advice to those who uploaded it. However, no offences have been committed and there will be no further police action.' A spokesman for Gogglebox said: 'The Siddiquis have not been under investigation by local police. They are aware that this post was misjudged and have apologised for their mistake. It will not affect their position on Gogglebox.' For what it's worth, this blog is fully in favour of both freedom of speech and of the right of individuals to make jokes about any subjects that they see fit, no matter how uncomfortable such attempts at humour may make some other people; that is, surely, part of the freedoms that we enjoy in the West which, for example, terrorists would like to take away? However, you also have to be aware that if you do make a joke which offends someone, and you get called on it, it's probably wise to remember the old truism, if you're in a hole, stop digging. Here endeth the lesson.
A terror attack on the UK is 'highly likely' and a case of 'when, not if,' the head of the Met Police has said. Well that's a cheery thought for people to wake up to. Thanks for that advice, pal. Writing in the Scum Mail On Sunday, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe cited recent atrocities in Europe and a number of foiled plots in the UK. But, he said that the UK's 'acceptance of difference' and 'shared values' provided a 'hostile environment for terrorists.' The UK's terror threat has been ranked as 'severe' - meaning an attack is 'highly likely' - since 2014. It is the second highest of five possible UK threat levels. Sir Bernard said that recent attacks around the world had created 'a sense of fear' in Britain. No shit? Attacks in Paris killed one hundred and thirty in November, thirty two people died in bombings in Belgium in March, and eighty four people were killed when a lorry ploughed into crowds in Nice earlier this month. Sir Bernard said: 'I know that with each new outrage, and especially those on our doorstep in Europe, there is a greater sense of fear that Britain will be the next victim in this wave of cruel and mindless mass murder. I feel and understand that fear, and as the police officer in charge of preventing such an attack know that you want me to reassure you.' Yep, that sounds entirely sensible. 'I am afraid I cannot do that, entirely.' Oh. Great.
He also made reference to plots which had been 'foiled' in the UK since the horrifying murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013, including one to 'target officers at Shepherd's Bush police station' and another to 'carry out a Lee Rigby-style attack on US soldiers in East Anglia.' But, he also pointed out that the relationship between the police and the UK's intelligence agencies was 'a world-beater.' The UK's gun control laws and the fact that Britain is an island meant 'terrorists would struggle to get the firearms required to repeat attacks similar to those we have seen on the Continent,' he claimed. 'Second, it is our tolerance and acceptance. Our approach to Muslims is no different because these attacks purport to be committed in the name of Islam. We don't stigmatise the millions of British Muslims whose values and faith completely reject the terrorists' litany of hate.' We don't? Well, most of us don't. He said that the number of firearms officers in the Met Police had risen by six hundred to two thousand eight hundred. But, he also said that the vast majority of police officers were unarmed and 'I believe this gives us a far healthier relationship with the people we police.'
A lynx which escaped from Dartmoor Zoo in Devon has been recaptured - after more than three weeks on the run. The police had warned that the cat, named Flaviu, could be dangerous if cornered. You don't say? It's an effing lynx, moron, of course if could be dangerous. The Carpathian lynx, the size of a large domestic cat, was found after walking into an - allegedly - 'humane' trap and is now back at the zoo. Zoo owner Ben Mee told BBC Radio Devon that it was 'a huge relief' to have got the animal back. He said that they had been 'living in the hope' that Flaviu would wander into a trap looking for food. 'I've been speaking to lynx trackers all around the world and I was getting more confident that he would end up doing this but the timescale was the thing that worried me. They said it could be a week or six weeks or six months.' Flaviu was trapped about a quarter of a mile away from the zoo in woods at Hemerdon. Thirty members of staff and volunteers began combing the zoo but found no trace of the animal, concluding that he had left the park. Search teams were organised in the local area, while twenty five traps were baited with various types of meat. Head tracker Andrew Goatman set a trap where Flaviu had killed a lamb said Mee. 'The farmer moved the sheep away from the area and Andrew set the trap using veal, knowing that Flaviu would return to the scene of the kill,' he said. 'When we came back we found a very irritated lynx.' Mee said that he now wanted to find a female lynx to 'keep Flaviu company. He's at the right age, so that's the next priority,' he said. 'We have also taken extra precautions to prevent another escape by putting a roof on the lynx enclosure.' Devon and Cornwall Police had previously used thermal imaging cameras to assist with the search. Dartmoor Zoo took delivery of the animal on 6 July from Port Lympne wildlife park in Kent but, it escaped the very next day. It is the third escape from the zoo after a jaguar got loose from a pen and into a tigers' enclosure in 2006 before it was sedated by keepers. In 2007 a wolf clambered over the top of its enclosure before being recaptured.
An accused burglar was found dead after 'an unusual turn of events' following a homeowner catching the alleged thief in the act of breaking into his Alabama residence on Friday night, Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer said. In an attempt to stop a string of burglaries at his mobile home, Stringer said that Nathanial Johnson, sixty eight, of Spurgeon Road 'set a trap.' Johnson parked his vehicle at a neighbour's on Friday night, went back to his home and waited. Sometime before midnight, Johnson told sheriff's deputies that he heard someone knock on the front door of his home. When he didn't answer, the person went to the backdoor and broke the lock. Johnson told police he 'met' the burglar, identified as Cleveland Jones Gully, at the door and chased him outside. Stringer said Gully, who 'has a reputation for breaking into houses,' then either fell or jumped off the back steps of the mobile home. That's when Johnson - who, frankly, is yer actual Keith telly Topping's new hero -'jumped on Gully and tied his hands behind his back.' Stringer said Johnson put duct-tape on Gully's mouth and tied him to a tree. He wrapped Gully to the tree with insulated electrical tape and clothesline, he said. Johnson told police he then went back to his neighbour's home and called police. '[Gully] was still alive at that point and there was no indication that he was dying,' Stringer said. When sheriff's deputies arrived about ten minutes later, though, Gully was very dead. Stringer said Gully did not have any visible injuries except for cuts around his body from the wire. An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death, he said. Bystanders told police that Johnson did not intend to kill Gully. 'He just wanted to stop him from breaking into his home,' Stringer said. He said that Johnson wasn't armed with a firearm. No criminal charges have yet been filed against Johnson and Stringer said he isn't sure if any will be in the future. Nor, indeed, should there be. In fact, they should give him a medal. 'We will probably present it to the grand jury to see what they say about it,' Stringer said.
Less than eight hours after being found unconscious in his vehicle, a Johnstown man was very arrested for entering a Washington woman's apartment while naked. Well, we've all done it at one time or another, be fair. Joshua M Herdman, of Demuth Street, was reportedly arrested by Washington police around 6:30am Friday morning after the woman told police that she found him in her apartment after she heard him sneeze. The woman fled the apartment and police found Herdman a short time later naked in the hallway. He allegedly told the police he didn't know how he got into the apartment or why he wasn't wearing clothes. Like I say, we've all done it. The previous day, police were called to Jefferson Avenue for a report of a man 'slumped over in his vehicle.' They found Herdman 'alert' in the driver's seat. He allegedly told police that he had taken crystal meth. Police found pipes and syringes in the vehicle. Herdman was then transported to the hospital for a voluntary blood test. He was later charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. He was arraigned before District Judge Jay Weller and placed in Washington County Jail on twenty five thousand dollars bond.
Now, a heartwarming family story from the good old US of A, dear blog reader. A man reportedly tried to drown his six-week-old infant son in a flushing lavatory during 'an armed domestic dispute' which led to a SWAT stand-off, Pittsburgh police said on Tuesday. Dennis Gateley was 'in custody awaiting arraignment' on charges including aggravated assault against the infant, endangering the child's welfare and illegally possessing a firearm. He was also charged with assaulting and threatening to kill others within the house. Gateley's brother told police that he found Gateley, the child's mother and the child's paternal grandmother arguing in a bathroom on Monday. The grandmother told police that she saw Gateley punching and pushing the child's mother so she grabbed the infant and ran with the child's mother into a bathroom to get away from him. Gateley forced his way into the bathroom and his brother saw the women 'yelling at Dennis who was holding the infant child upside-down pushing his head into the toilet,' police said in the criminal complaint. The grandmother's boyfriend wrestled the baby from Gateley, police said. When police responded, residents of the house said Gateley was 'armed and inside.' A SWAT team was called to the home in the city's Mt Washington section. A police negotiator persuaded Gateley to surrender about two hours later. The woman and child were taken to a hospital for evaluation. The child was not believed to be seriously injured even though, at one point, Gateley banged the child's head off a wall before pushing it into the lavatory, police said. The woman was treated for a black eye. Gateley was also bitten by the family's dog during the melee. Pittsburgh Public Safety Spokeswoman Sonya Toler said that negotiators 'helped bring the incident to a peaceful end.' After being taken to Allegheny General Hospital to be treated for the dog bite, Gateley reportedly 'became irate with officers.' Online court records don't list an attorney for Gateley, who was on probation for an assault conviction last year. Gateley is not allowed to own a firearm because he was convicted of felony aggravated assault in a 2009 case in which he also pleaded very guilty to resisting arrest and 'trying to disarm an officer,' court records show. He was sentenced to six to twelve months in The Big House followed by three years' probation in that incident. Jeez, there's 'anger issues' and there's real anger issues.
Witless, brain-dead blonde thing Holly Willoughby and waste-of-space 'famous-for-nothing' Jodie Marsh have 'reignited their feud' from the beginning of the month, when Willoughby was accused of 'breaking the girl code' when she didn't inform Marsh that she had lipstick on her teeth during an interview on This Morning. And, this utterly trivial shat constitutes 'news', apparently. At least, according to Yahoo News it does. Jesus, dear blog reader, do you ever just long for the day when somebody invents a huge bomb and blows this sick and worthless world and everyone in it to bastard smithereens? Just me then?
Do it now, somebody and put us all out of our misery.
And, on a similar pointlessly trivial note, Tom Hiddleston's 'Embarrassing' Showmance With Taylor Swift has Cost Him an Armani Job according to the same, utterly worthless, website. Oh, the manifest tragedy. How will the world cope?
I'm telling you, dear blog reader, it's the only solution that makes any kind of sense. Drop the bomb, end it now. We don't deserve to live in this shallow, crass, wretched world of utter non-entity we've created.
Still there was some good news on Yahoo this week. James Corden is, seemingly, to be offered a Primetime Slot on US TV following The Late Late Show's 'success'. This is, of course, properly fantastic news since it means the talentless, unfunny berk will, hopefully, be so busy coining it in Stateside that he will have no time to make any programme over here that stink up my TV. Excellent. Hey, that really is the sort of news this blogger loves to hear. Cancel the end of the world, we've got so much to live for.
For God's sake, dear blog reader, we are aspecies that came out of the cave and discovered the secret of fire, mastered making bronze and iron, organised ourselves, produced great thinkers, engineers, inventors, poets, writers, artists, musicians, geniuses, sailed the seas, conquered flight, went to the Moon ... We're better than this surely? ... Nah, you're right, probably not. Next ...

Miss Teen USA is shrugging off its champion's repeated historic use of a racial slur on Twitter, disclaiming it as 'having occurred years before' Texan Karlie Hay's participation in the tournament. Hay, crowned Saturday in Vegas, will continue to receive support for 'her continued growth,' the organisation told People Magazine. The Miss USA Pageant was recently acquired by WME/IMG after the company cut a deal with the pageant's co-owner, Donald Trump last year, Variety reports. In an Instagram post, Hay implied that the racist language she used was a result of her 'personal struggles. I admit that I have used language publicly in the past which I am not proud of and that there is no excuse for,' Hay captioned a group photo of herself with the other Miss Teen USA contestants. 'Through hard work, education and thanks in large part to the sisterhood that I have come to know through pageants, I am proud to say that I am today a better person.'
Dear blog readers may remember the story of Larry The Lobster from a recent From The North bloggerisation update. Larry, the giant fifteen-pound crustacean who rose to fame last week after being rescued from the dinner table at a Florida restaurant has, reportedly, died. The lobster, originally believed to be one hundred and ten years old, had been shipped to the Maine State Aquarium last Wednesday by animal activists who thought he deserved to continue living rather than get eaten, according to Brooke Estren, an attorney based in Boca Raton who helped rescue and package Larry. Estren told ABC News last week that Larry was supposed to arrive at the aquarium the following day. But Jeff Nichols, communications director for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, which operates the aquarium, said that Larry didn't arrive until nearly a week later. 'We're not doing an autopsy, but it appears the way the lobster was extensively handled and the way it was packaged appears to have contributed to his death,' Nichols told ABC News. He said that Larry had arrived inside a Styrofoam box with three gel freezer packs inside, all of which 'were warm' and one of which 'had burst open.'
Joe Melluso, the seafood restaurant owner who had originally obtained Larry and later surrendered him to Estren and her friends, told ABC News that he was 'extremely disappointed' upon hearing the news of Larry's death. Melluso said that had 'gotten word' Larry had been 'held up' in shipping. 'I feel like if I had known that he was held up in shipping sooner, I would've offered to bring him back to the lobster tanks he was living in,' he said. 'That way, he could have a safe place to stay while they were figuring out the shipping. I'm disappointed by how all this was handled and I had no clue about any of it.' Estren herself 'declined to comment' - strange since, last week, when she was being seen as Larry's saviour she had plenty to say for herself - but said that she would 'pass along requests for comment' to Amir Rossi and John Merritt, friends and animal activists who, she said, contacted her for help saving Larry. Merritt told ABC News that he and his friends were 'really disappointed that Larry didn't make it alive.' He explained that when they 'took possession' of Larry from Melluso, the lobster 'had been out of the water already for three days' and lobsters actually 'usually don't live past forty eight hours.' Merritt said 'the whole ordeal was too much stress' for Larry and that it likely 'just wore him down and he just couldn't endure. We did our best, that is all we can say,' he added. 'The reason we stepped up to save Larry is because he was originally being exploited for profit and we couldn't let that happen and thus our mission [was] to save him and get him back home. We wish we had better news.' Anyway, here's a picture of Larry now. It's what he would've wanted.
How hot is it currently in upstate New York? It seems that it's so hot horse manure is bursting into flames. No shit? S'cuse the pun. Obviously. The state Department of Environmental Conservation says that it has received 'multiple complaints' about the smell and smoke emanating from a burning pile of horse manure at a property in the town of Throop, in the Finger Lakes region twenty miles west of Syracuse. The responding officer learned that the owners of a horse stable had been storing the manure 'in large piles' which frequently spontaneously combusted in the excessive heat and dry conditions. DEC officials say that a shift in the prevailing winds carried the rancid odour of burning manure into the neighbours' windows. It took three local fire departments - hopefully wearing breathing apparatus - two hours to douse the flammable faeces.
A Florida man was very arrested after police mistook icing from a Krispy Kreme doughnut with methamphetamine, WFTV reports. On 11 December 2015, sixty four-year-old Daniel Rushing was pulled over for speeding and not coming to a full stop when exiting a 7-Eleven parking lot, an arrest warrant said. He told the arresting officer that he had a concealed weapon and agreed to a vehicle search. 'They said, "We found what we thought was crack cocaine in the beginning, but now we think it's methamphetamine,"' Rushing told WFTV. The Orlando officer tested the glaze twice and it came up positive for meth both times, the report added. But, after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement tested the glaze, it came back negative and the initial possession charges were dropped. Rushing said that he was wrongfully taken into custody and is considering taking legal action against the pollis over the matter.
Nigella Lawson - she has her knockers - has dropped out of the bestseller top twenty in latest cookbook sales chart, the Daily Scum Mail has claimed, adding that 'clean eating' recipe books are ahead of Lawson and Jamie Oliver. And, once again, let us fall to the floor and beat our chests, wailing at how tragic this awful news is. Or, you know, not.
The German Grand Prix was the last race before Formula 1 heads off for its four-week summer break, so it was fitting that it consolidated the two overriding trends which have emerged so far this year. The first is that Lewis Hamilton appears to be in total control of this season regardless of the mechanical problems that afflicted him in the opening races - and which will have a knock-on effect as soon as the season re-starts at the end of August. The second is that Ferrari seem to have lost their way - again - and look close to implosion. Hockenheim was Sulky Hamilton's sixth win in seven races, a remarkable run that has seen a sixty two-point swing between himself and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, turning a forty three-point deficit into a nineteen-point lead. To anyone who has tracked the form of the competition between the two men since they became team-mates in 2013, the deficit Hamilton faced after two bad starts and then a succession of mechanical failures in the first four races looked eminently recoverable. Hamilton has admitted that he, personally, had his doubts. He said after winning in Germany on Sunday that in early May he was 'finding it hard to see a way through the trees.' But the last seven races have reconfirmed the inner belief he has always had that, all things being equal, he will beat Rosberg more often than not - and certainly often enough to beat him to a world championship over twenty races or so. Rosberg admitted after the race that he was facing 'a tough moment.' Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said the German had 'a bad day,' which seemed a fair way of summing it all up. Rosberg made a bad start and lost three places, to Hamilton and Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, at the first corner. He then spent two stints behind the Red Bulls, without ever - after the first lap - getting close enough to try a move. He said afterwards this was because he had 'lost grip' in the 'dirty air' behind them. Rosberg did eventually manage to get back to second place, thanks to a bold move on Verstappen in Turn Six right after their second pit stops. But the manoeuvre earned Rosberg a five-second penalty for forcing a rival off the track. Rosberg claimed afterwards that he 'definitely didn't see that coming.' But seeing as he got a penalty for pulling pretty much a carbon-copy move on Hamilton on the last lap of the Austrian Grand Prix last month - albeit in defence rather than attack - perhaps he should have. That put Rosberg back down to fourth - the fact that it turned into an eight-second penalty when the stopwatch Mercedes were using to time the stop malfunctioned not really affecting his position - and, again, he failed to make any significant dent in the Red Bulls ahead. Other than the move on Verstappen, it was a strangely lacklustre performance. There have been extenuating circumstances for Rosberg in the turnaround between the two Mercedes drivers. He was forced wide by Hamilton at the first corner in Canada, he damaged his car and dropped to fourth in the collision in Austria and he has been beaten away from the line after taking pole in the last two races in Hungary and Germany. The bottom line however is that, fundamentally, Hamilton has out-driven him. As he tends to do more often than not at a ratio somewhere between two-and-three-to-one. Even with a grid penalty for using too many engine parts facing Hamilton in one of the next two races, it is looking very much as though the best chance Rosberg will ever have to beat his team-mate to a world title has already slipped through his grasp. Rosberg is not the only competitor seeing his hopes of winning the world title this year fading rapidly in front of their eyes. Ferrari have had a desperate month of July, going from hopes of winning races to sinking behind Red Bull to third in the constructors' championship. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were an anonymous fifth and sixth at Hockenheim, a race that the team had expected to mark an upturn in form because the characteristics of the track better suited their car than the last two races in Silverstone and Hungary. After the race, Raikkonen put his finger on what was wrong: 'We need more down force to go faster and it will make a big difference to tyre life.' Vettel sulkily added that 'we think we know what to do.' But do they, really? This was Ferrari's first race since they split with their technical director James Allison, a decision which mystified many in the paddock, where the forty eight-year-old Englishman is rated as probably the industry's next most foremost aerodynamic design leader after Red Bull's Adrian Newey. When Ferrari announced Allison's departure on Wednesday, it was assumed by some that it must be related to the tragic and unexpected sudden death of his wife in March. But in fact, it seems that the relationship between Allison and Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene had broken down. Marchionne has been busy reorganising the team. Alleged 'sources' allegedly close to Ferrari allegedly say that Allison - a man who knows his mind - had disagreed with what was being done. There had been a couple of flash points over the past couple of months and, eventually, it was agreed that their relationship could go no further. On one level, that's fair enough, Marchionne is the boss - and a formidable and highly effective global business leader. He is paid to make the big calls. If one of his senior managers does not agree with them, there is only going to be one outcome. But the bigger question is over the wisdom of parting company with a man of Allison's abilities, what happens next and whether Ferrari really understand what is wrong and how to fix it. Even Ferrari's director of engineering, Jock Clear, who only started working for the team in January after a year's 'gardening leave' from Mercedes, admitted that 'losing someone of James Allison's calibre is not going to go unnoticed. James was very, very strong. He will be missed but that's the challenge for us.' But the problems go deeper than the wisdom or otherwise of parting company with one technical leader, however good he might be. There are questions over the general philosophy by which the team is run, the effectiveness of the F1 design group, race strategy and recruitment. On strategy, the German Grand Prix provided the latest in a series of pieces of evidence this year that Ferrari are in a bit of a muddle. After throwing away potential victories in Australia and Canada, TV viewers were treated at Hockenheim to Vettel questioning his engineers' decisions - just as he did in Baku last month. During Vettel's third stint, they radioed him to tell him to come into the pits for a tyre-change. He said, no thanks, the tyres were good, he'd stay out for another couple of laps. They told him it was their only chance for an undercut. Vettel responded: 'The others are miles ahead. Who am I going to undercut?' They suggested Verstappen. But he was eight seconds up the road, so there was no chance whatsoever of them passing him by stopping early. It was a mystifying conversation and one that, a few moments later, Vittel won when the pit crew changed their mind. On car design, it has now been eight years since Ferrari produced the best car in F1 - back in 2008. Since then, all Ferraris have had an aerodynamic deficit to the best, and this one is no different. Alleged 'sources'allegedly close to the team allegedly say that the problem is Ferrari 'lack creative design flair.' This is something Marchionne has recognised and intends for his restructuring to address. But removing from a leadership post someone who embodies it seems an odd way of going about it. Then there is recruitment. In late 2007, former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn had talks with Ferrari about going back as team boss after a year's sabbatical. They foundered on his desire for total control of the team and demands for no interference from then-president Luca Di Montezemolo, which had been one of the secrets of their runaway success with Michael Schumacher. Di Montezemolo refused. Brawn walked away, joined Honda, which became Brawn, which became Mercedes, where he laid the foundations for the team's current dominance of F1. In 2011, a few months after Ferrari had lost the title for their new driver Fernando Alonso with a catastrophic strategy call in the final race of the season, chief designer Aldo Costa was sacked. Di Montezemolo had demanded a head because the car was lagging behind Red Bull. It later transpired that there was not much wrong with the car itself; the major difference was in Red Bull's mastery of using exhaust gases for aerodynamic effect, a technology Ferrari never mastered over the succeeding two and a half seasons it was permitted. By the time that was clear, it was too late. Costa joined Brawn at Mercedes. In 2014, Ferrari had agreed a deal for Newey to join the team. He began to get cold feet when team principal Stefano Domenicali was forced into resigning following the team's poor start to the season. Shortly afterwards, other things happened which undermined Newey's faith that going to Ferrari was a good idea and he decided to back away. Domenicali's replacement, Marco Mattiacci never gelled with Alonso, who was already having grave doubts about Ferrari's ability to ever produce a car in which he could win an elusive third title. Alonso said that he wanted to leave. Mattiacci did nothing to try to keep him; instead signing Vettel and effectively forcing the Spaniard out. The fact that Alonso says he never wanted to stay is immaterial, now Ferrari had lost arguably the best driver in the world, the man who almost single-handedly had made them look respectable for the previous five years. And now Allison has gone, too. Vettel, it transpires, is not happy about that at all - and running the race strategy from the car is unlikely to increase his confidence either. Up and down the paddock in Germany, many people were saying that they found it hard to see a way back for Ferrari from here. If there is one, it looks like being a long road. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh following the Ferraris. Behind Hulkenberg, McLaren's Jenson Button passed Williams' Valtteri Bottas on the final lap for eighth place, just after team-mate Alonso had lost out to Force India's Sergio Perez for the final point after a mix-up with Verstappen as the Red Bull lapped the McLaren and then slowed down. Alonso backed out of an attempt to unlap himself and Perez took advantage of the McLaren's wearing tyres to slip by after Alonso locked up on the entry to Turn Six. The Spaniard appeared to have worn out his tyres closing in on Button earlier in the final stint - as Button had warned over the radio would happen to both if the two drivers were not careful. He was, Alonso, seemingly, was not. Formula 1 heads into its summer break, returning for the Belgian Grand Prix on August 28 at Spa Francorchamps, where Hamilton dominated last year.

The release of the latest Rajar figures this week measuring radio performance was jolly bad news for Radio 1 which has, seemingly, lost loads of listeners. On the other hand, it was a good news story for Radio 4, 5Live and 6Music all of which enjoyed 'record ratings' during the most recent quarter. And, for this blogger's local BBC radio station, BBC Newcastle which, after a couple of slightly below-par quarters, is back above three hundred thousand listeners per week with a twenty one per cent reach and the biggest audience for any BBC local station outside London. And, for the very first time, it's also ahead of Metro, the local commerical rival in that particular market. Well done to all of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's good chums up on Barrack Road. The total number of people tuning to UK radio at least once a week reached 48.7 million.
Now, dear blog reader, here is Keith Telly Topping's top medical tip for the week. Let's say, hypothetically, one were to be suffering from what can only be described as a 'chronic - and very distressing - blockage of the bit that stuff normally comes out of'- the kind which normally involves corks being inserted with a mallet, if you understand this blogger's drift. And, as a consequence, one goes to ones kindly local GP (we'll call him, for the sake of argument, Doctor Chris) and he prescribes 'an industrial strength blockage clearer' (named, perhaps, something like Docusate Sodium). Four days go by with no discernible change despite one taking two of these capsules first thing in the morning and two more last thing at night. And then, on the morning of The Fifth Day one were to have, let's say for instance, 'a release of quite biblical proportions with the nasty noises and the squirting and all that' do not, do not, do not, under any circumstances whatsoever dear blog reader, think about twenty minutes later 'well, now that's out of the way, it's time to do the weekly shopping.' Because, as the late Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket would often note '... And, there's more!' Hypothetically, obviously. This was, very much a public convenience announcement.
And, finally dear blog reader, last weekend saw the fifty eighth birthday of yer actual Miss Kate Bush, seen here having a chat with one of her oldest fans.
And see here, wearing a pair of very tight spandex pants in the late 1970s. Two sides of a woman's work, as it were.

3 comments:

Mark said...

Oof my sympathies on the toilet front!

Oof again, at the Kate Bush piccies

"Vic also claimed he had 'encounters' with Dennis Nilsen as well and Fred and rose West. What, exactly, these 'encounters' entailed, he didn't elaborate."

He did actually; Nilsen was 'eyeballing' him and his mate in a gay bar in London in the 80s, and Fred and Rose West picked him up in the 70s when he was hitchhiking back from Glastonbury. :)

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping said...

Ah. This is what y'get, y'see, when you take some of your news from a sidebar in the Metro glimpse over someone's shoulder on the bus to Morrison's! I figured the Wests would be a "I was standing at the bus stop and this bloke asked me if I fancied going back to his place for a threesome" type conversation. Glad he didn't go. As, I'm sure, is yer man Jim his very self.

Mark said...

That's a rare insight into your bold and dogged investigative journalistic spirit!