Friday, August 12, 2016

I Was Busy Trying To Hide My Madness In A Jar

Watching Sherlock 'makes you more attractive,' but Doctor Who 'is a turn-off,' according to a new survey. And, according to the Radio Times's Emma Daly, this mind-numbing bollocks constitutes 'news'? Does anybody remember when the Radio Times used to be written by grown-ups?
A lengthy interview with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), Mark Gatiss his very self and yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has been published by Collider. In which Benny claimed that Sherlock series four will be 'Myopically dark. You're talking about the end of the universe darkness. You can't see in front of you and would walk into everything dark.' Yeah. We get the idea, Benny, it's going to be dark. The Moffinator, meanwhile, took the time to talk up the series' new villain, Culverton Smith, played by the very excellent Toby Jones: 'He's completely different [to the villains that have come before]. It's a completely different character. He's the darkest villain we've had. There was always something charming and engaging about Moriarty. There was something fascinating and actually amoral, rather than immoral, about Charles Augustus Magnussen. This guy is the purest evil. Sherlock is actually appalled by him. He's the most evil villain we've had. I don't think that when you see it, you will disagree. He's horrific.' Mark added: 'It's an interesting thing to chart. We made our Moriarty very different to Doyle's. He's Irish and he brings all his charm, his twinkle and his humour to it while he's also terrifying. Magnussen was a very blank, chilling business man. He doesn't see what he's doing as evil. Toby is doing something very interesting. He's an avuncular, funny-seeming man with terrible teeth. We've given him terrible teeth, which are symbolic of the rot inside him. It's a great complex, shaded character. You're not quite sure what the relationship is with him.' You can read the whole interview here.
So, what's the deal with another series of The X-Files? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reunited to investigate that age-old alien invasion conspiracy malarkey earlier in the year - it was pretty good (apart from the last episode, which really wasn't) - and, there have been persistent rumours ever since that more episodes could be on the way. The latest hint at more X-Files comes courtesy of a birthday tweet sent to From The North fave Gillian by her co-star. 'Happy Birthday, Gillian. If you see Dana, tell her Fox says she might wanna polish up the ol' badge soon-ish,' Duchovny wrote. All of which is far more encouraging than the rather timid timeline FOX alluded to during the TCA press tour earlier in the week. While FOX president David Madden admitted that he would 'love to do another season' of The X-Files there had been, he claimed, 'no actual commission.' Yet. Last month, Chris Carter said that he was 'very happy' with how the recent mini-series turned out, saying: 'We came back and did fresh, original material, pushed the boundaries of the show and, I think, we showed that The X-Files has a lot more life in it.' If the drama does return, FOX will somehow need to fit it in between Duchovny and Anderson's incredibly packed schedules. Duchovny has his NBC summer drama Aquarius plus, an appearance in the revival of Twin Peaks is, of course, coming in 2017. And, not only is Gillian back on the trail of a killer in BBC's The Fall, but she's also reuniting with Hannibal producer Bryan Fuller on American Gods next year.
Playing Queen Victoria in a new eight-part ITV drama has been 'such a gift,' yer actual Jenna Coleman has revealed. The actress said that the role had been 'impossible to turn down' despite previously saying she wanted time off from television. 'When I left Doctor Who the first thing I said was, "I just don't want to do a series for a while,"' the thirty-year-old said at a press event in London. Rufus Sewell also appears in the show, which starts on ITV on 28 August.
Simon Day has admitted that he 'had reservations' about filling the late Warren Mitchell's shoes as Alf Garnett in a new version of Till Death Us Do Part. 'I did have doubts, because in some ways, it has to be an impersonation - there's no way to do it differently,' Day said. He added there were gasps from the studio audience at some of the lines. The one-off is being screened as part of the BBC's Lost Sitcoms series. Day said of the original series: 'Obviously, it was an amazing performance from Warren Mitchell, the way he built and got more and more angry and kept that going. I couldn't do that. I tried to be a bit more pathetic. It was very simple. It's very of its time.' Day said that he decided to take the role because it was 'such a brilliant script.' The episode follows a Johnny Speight script dating from January 1967. The recording of the original has, tragically,now been lost along with many other episodes of the series first, monochrome, years. 'I grew up watching these comedies,' Day said, speaking after the premiere of the first episode at London's BFI. 'People of my generation - we absolutely had the most fantastic TV comedy - Porridge, Dad's Army, The Likely Lads. There was so much brilliantly-written comedy that you don't really get any more. It's rare to see it. So to get that script, and have that cast, I thought - why not?' Lizzie Roper, currently starring in Boy Meets Girl, plays Alf's long-suffering wife, Else, while Sydney Rae White is Rita (played originally, of course, by Una Stubbs) and Carl Au is her husband, Mike. Day said that when the half-hour episode was filmed in front of a studio audience in Glasgow, there were gasps at some of Garnett's lines - including one when he calls a stranger 'a saucy bitch.' 'People now think, "Can you laugh at him shouting at girls? Not really."' He also added that 'a lot of people' had said: 'Good luck with that' when they found out he was to take over the role of Garnett, known for his politically incorrect and bigoted views. The lost Till Death Us Do Part episode, titled A Woman's Place Is In The Home, features Garnett ranting against his wife when he returns home to find no-one is in - and his dinner has burned. Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC said that he realised there was 'an appetite' for a series of revived sitcoms after the success of a Still Open All Hours. 'There is nostalgia there,' he said. Johnny Speight was 'making a satirical point' with Garnett's racist and sexist views, he suggested, adding: 'He made comments about race and Britain of its time.' The Lost Sitcoms, also recreating Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe & Son, will be shown on BBC4 later this year. The original recordings for the Hancock's Half Hour and Till Death Us Do Part episodes have been lost from BBC archives, while the only existing copy of the Steptoe & Son episode - A Winter's Tale - is a poor quality off-air telerecording.

Former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain has said that she is 'excited' to be joining the show's junior version as a judge. Hussain, who won 2015's The Great British Bake Off, will judge alongside chef and food writer Allegra McEvedy. CBBC's Junior Bake Off sees forty precocious youngsters aged nine to twelve competing for the title. Hussain said: 'This time last year I was in the Bake Off tent and now I get to go back and help encourage the next generation to get their bake on.' The contestants will each complete two bakes over ten heats, including a technical bake and showstopper challenge, with four youngsters in the grand final. The CBBC show's previous judges have included Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, James Martin and Graham Hornigold. Hussain has built a career since winning Bake Off which includes her first cook book, a column for The Times and a request from Buckingham Palace to make a cake for the Queen's ninetieth birthday. She will also present The Chronicles Of Nadiya, a show tracing her own culinary roots in Bangladesh. She won last year's final on BBC1 after baking a 'big fat British wedding cake' adorned with jewels from her own wedding day as the showstopper.
Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore are teaming up with writer and director David O Russell for a TV drama. Details of the plot have not been revealed but The Wrap reports that the American Hustle director has 'already had multiple offers for the project, sight unseen.' There are, however, no details on which TV networks are involved. It is believed that the production will be a limited series run. This is the second attempt at TV for Russell, who has been nominated for five Oscars and was behind Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and Joy. In 2014 he pulled out of a US TV drama he was set to make, a month after it was commissioned. The Oscar nominee had co-written ABC's The Club, a drama set in a private country club. No reason was given for his departure. It is not the first time either of the acclaimed actors has appeared on TV - De Niro and Moore guest-starred in the TV show Thirty Rock. Moore started her career on TV in the soap opera As The World Turns and won an EMMY in 2012 for her performance in the HBO TV movie Game Change, in which she played Sarah Palin. De Niro is due to be seen soon in the Bernie Madoff HBO TV movie The Wizard Of Lies. De Niro worked with Russell on Silver Linings Playbook, for which he got a best supporting actor Oscar nomination. He also made an appearance in American Hustle. The double Oscar-winning actor is due to receive a lifetime achievement award at the start of the Sarajevo Film Festival on Friday 12 August. He will also present Martin Scorsese's digitally restored Taxi Driver, in which he starred, to celebrate its fortieth anniversary.
Homeland is to continue for at least three more series, it has been announced. The sixth series of the hard-hitting espionage thriller will be broadcast in January 2017 and will be set in the US after a presidential election. Series seven and eight have also been confirmed, with Claire Danes and showrunner Alex Gansa both on-board, Deadline reported. Danes plays a counter-intelligence expert officer in the Showtime drama, which airs on Channel Four in the UK.

Top Gear presenter yer actual Matt LeBlanc has said that he is 'keen' to return for a second series of the motoring show, but does not know what the future holds. As indeed, few of us do. Except Derren Brown, obviously. And, possibly Mystic Meg. Speaking to TV critics in Los Angeles, LeBlanc added: 'There's nothing officially happening yet. Follow the BBC.' Top Gear's prospects were thrown into doubt in July when his co-host Chris Evans announced he was stepping down. Speaking after his departure, Evans said that the series had proved LeBlanc and Top Gear 'were made for each other.' The former Friends star was 'The Man' and 'a total mensch,' Evans said, scotching tabloid reports that the pair's relationship had broken down during filming. Asked by the critics what he liked most about the job, LeBlanc said 'probably the travel' to countries including South Africa, Morocco and Ireland. He also said that he liked the show's 'broad demographic. Everybody can relate to an automobile,' he added. Well, except Middle Class hippy Communists who read the Gruniad Morning Star, obviously. The BBC has said it has 'no plans' to replace Evans when Top Gear returns later in the year.
The new Star Trek TV series is to centre on a female character, the show's executive producer has revealed. Bryan Fuller said Star Trek Discovery will feature 'about seven lead roles,' but will 'focus on a female lieutenant commander' instead of the captain. According to Deadline, it is thought the lead character 'will not be white' in an effort to 'increase diversity.' Fuller also said the new show, which will be broadcast next year, will feature a gay character in the ensemble. It is not the first time a Star Trek series has featured a female lead - Kate Mulgrew played Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, which ran from 1995 to 2001. Albeit, that was one of the rubbish ones. Speaking at the Television Critics Association panel for CBS, Fuller - who has also written the pilot episode - described the lead in Star Trek Discovery as 'a lieutenant commander with caveats.' Is that a euphemism for something? Just wondering. He said that he decided not to focus on the captain because 'we've seen six series from captain's point of view and to see one from another point of view gives us a richer context.' The other details Fuller revealed about the series included the show will be set ten years before the original series featuring Captain Kirk and will bridge the gap between Enterprise - the other rubbish one - and the Kirk years. There will be 'more aliens' than you 'would usually expect' on the crew - it will not be 'one person with a bumpy head.' And, there will be robots. Which is never a bad thing. There may be the possibility of seeing younger versions of the characters seen in Kirk's crew, but not until the second series. There is also the chance to see the character of Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson, played by Winona Ryder in JJ Abrams's 2009 big screen adaptation. The first season will consist of thirteen episodes rather than the traditional twenty to twenty four to 'keep storytelling tight.' Because the programme will be shown on CBS's on demand platform, it will not be 'subject to broadcast standards and practices' usually seen on network TV. Fuller said that this would allow 'a broader spectrum' of content including 'slightly more graphic content' and profanity. The new series, which begins production in two months time, will be streamed globally on Netflix the day after it is made available on CBS All Access in North America from January.
Funny as a dose of unstoppable diarrhoea Robert Webb has a new sitcom in the works for BBC2. So, that'll be worth avoiding.
The makers of American Crime Story are to follow their EMMY-nominated drama about convicted armed robber and kidnapper OJ Simpson's murder trial with one on the impact of Hurricane Katrina. According to executive producer Brad Simpson, the second series of the FX drama will be 'even more massive and more sprawling' than its predecessor. 'There were crimes that happened during Katrina - murders, rapes,' he said. 'And there's also the crime of us not rescuing these people and not being prepared to take care of New Orleans.' More than eighteen hundred people were killed when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, flooding eighty per cent of New Orleans. The disaster, the costliest in US history, caused estimated economic losses of one hundred and twenty five billion dollars. At a panel event in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Simpson said that Katrina was 'a natural disaster waiting to happen.' Scripts are currently being written for the drama, which will premiere on the FX network in 2017. American Crime Story: The People Versus OJ Simpson dramatised the arrest, trial and subsequent acquittal of the former American football player and actor. Simpson had been accused of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, on 12 June 1994. The series received twenty two EMMY nominations last month, with six of them going to members of its cast. Simpson said that he would like to cast some of the show's actors in its follow-up, but only 'if there are roles for them.'
Criminal Minds could be without Thomas Gibson for a while after the actor was reportedly suspended from the show. Gibson was involved in 'a physical altercation' with a producer on-set, according to Deadline. That's 'a fracas' if you're Jezza Clarkson or, 'a punch up' if you're anyone outside of the television industry. As a result, Gibson will apparently be absent from the third and fourth episodes of the drama's upcoming twelfth series. And, the most astonishing thing about this story is that ... Criminal Minds has been going for twelve years. I mean, why? One day later came the news that Gibson had, in fact, got the old tin-tack over the incident. Gibson played special agent Aaron Hotchner since Criminal Minds launched in 2005.
Hollyoaks actor - well, if you can describe anyone on Hollyoaks as an 'actor' which is probably pushing the definition a bit - Parry Glasspool has been suspended after posting a video in which he mimicked a woman threatening to stab her boyfriend to death. Channel Four has also fined Glasspool 'an undisclosed sum' which he will give to a domestic violence charity. 'I am truly sorry to anyone I have upset or offended,' he said. 'I would never condone domestic violence in any way and on reflection see that my video was insensitive and inappropriate.' The twenty four-year-old, who plays Harry Thompson, joined the soap last year. The clip was posted to the actor's Instagram account in June and featured him waving a knife in front of the camera. He took on the role of a woman warning her boyfriend about talking to other girls, saying: 'I would kill you if you did. With this knife I know exactly how to. Done it before and I'll do it again so don't even think about it.' The video has now been very deleted. Unfortunately for Glasspool, at least one screengrab from it, survives.
The Simpsons is to broadcast its first hour-long episode next year. Although there has been a Simpsons movie - and, quite good it was too, especially 'Spider Pig' - this will be the first time a regular extended episode of the long-running animated comedy. Executive producer Al Jean said in a statement: 'I just pray it won't be the last thing people see before a Trump inauguration.' Taraji P Henson, who plays Cookie on FOX's Empire and the actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key will be the episode's guest stars. Henson will voice the role of Praline, the former wife of a music mogul who has conned Monty Burns into bankruptcy. Key will play Jazzy James, who joins Smithers, Homer and Bart to help Monty get his revenge. The episode, which will go out in January in the US, will be titled The Great Phatsby. The Simpsons begins its twenty eighth season on 25 September.
Former President Martin Sheen has called Donald Trump an 'empty-headed moron' during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Which, frankly, is an insult to perfectly reasonable and normal empty-headed morons. Martin, who for seven years played President Jed Bartlet in The West Wing (you knew that, right?) was discussing his upcoming movie The Vessel when the question-and-answer interview turned to politics. Martin, as is his way, did not hold back on his feelings about the Republican presidential nominee. 'He makes me laugh, in that nobody seems to get it yet,' Martin said. When asked what people didn't 'get', Martin added: 'That he's an empty-headed moron. That he has absolutely nothing to offer us. That he's done his bidding and he has to be responsible for the damage he's already done. There's nothing private about this guy,' he continued, adding that the one word he would use to describe Trump was 'scary. Don Trump has been around for a very long time. He's a very self-centred promoter. I think that says it.' Sheen confirmed his support for Hilary Clinton in the interview, acknowledging that she was 'hardly the perfect candidate,' but appeared to forgive her past mistakes. 'She has some common sense,' Sheen said of Clinton. 'I'm not saying she's mistake-free. Who is? I mean, she's a human being. She's been in public life for thirty years. She's made a few mistakes. Is anybody talking about George Bush and the thirty thousand e-mails he destroyed about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and all of that nonsense and how Great Britain came in, and all the other allies knowing full well that it was bogus? So, please, if you want to talk about how much her mistakes have cost us, none in human lives - and please don't mention Benghazi. That's a lot of crap. She was not controlling that situation. It was a military situation. And that's run by the Pentagon or the CIA or both. She's under orders.' The Vessel, in which Sheen plays a Catholic priest in a small town that was hit by a tsunami ten years earlier, is scheduled to be released 16 September.
Sky News has said that it 'stands by' a report on gun-running in Romania after officials from the country's anti-corruption unit claimed the broadcaster's journalists 'faked' a meeting with arms dealers. The Romanian Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (the acronym for which is the deliciously suggestive 'Diicot') said on Wednesday that it had arrested 'a number of people' thought to be involved in staging an arms deal featured in the programme, which was broadcast this weekend. In an appearance on Romanian TV, Diicot chief prosecutor, Daniel Horodniceanu, said that the investigation was 'a scenario made up by British journalists.' According to local media, those arrested claimed they had been 'given a script' by Sky chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay, provided with equipment and paid two thousand Euros. It said one of those involved, Aurelian Szanto, had been 'hired' while working in London to set up the meet, but he claimed he had been 'tricked' into taking part on the understanding that the filming would be 'presented as fictional.' Szanto told Romanian national news agency AgerPress: 'The person in question told me it was a documentary that the Sky trust would make in Europe about these arms smuggling acts, to inform the population, so that it may be vigilant and look for suspects. They told me the following: we want to have two people presenting us some arms and through the presentation of the respective weapons to draw the attention on how these sales are done.' Diicot also said that the arms featured in the broadcast were 'legally owned' and 'used for hunting' and were 'very different' from the AK47 assault rifles Sky claimed were on offer. The Romanian Ambassador to the UK, Dan Mihalache told Romanian press that the story was about 'fake news' but that it 'should not be allowed' to affect relations between Romania and the UK. However, Ramsay on Wednesday afternoon suggested that the response was down to the 'embarrassment' the story had caused the Romanian government. In a blogpost published on Sunday about the programme titled Gang Selling AK-47s 'Bound for Western Europe', Ramsay wrote: 'After months of negotiation with a Romanian gang, Sky News was directed to a remote part of the country for a meeting with gang members prepared to show us what they could supply. There is no subterfuge here. They knew we were a news organisation wanting to illustrate how getting a weapon is relatively easy and they believed we were going to buy them.' A Sky spokeswoman said: 'Stuart Ramsay is one of our most experienced and tenacious journalists with a long history of delivering major stories from around the world. He's delivered a robust report on gun-dealing in Romania and Sky News fully stands by the story.'
George RR Martin's epic science fiction story series Wild Cards is to be developed for TV following the success of Game Of Thrones. The twenty two volumes imagine a scenario in which an alien virus spread across the Earth after World War Two. Most humans are wiped out, some are left deformed and one per cent gain superpowers, which they may use for good or evil. As you would, obviously. The TV rights have been bought by Universal Cable Productions, which was behind shows like Psych and Mr Robot. 'Development will begin immediately on what we hope will be the first of several interlocking series,' Martin wrote. The author has enlisted more than thirty writers to join him in contributing to the Wild Cards anthologies, graphic novels and games since the series began in 1986. 'Most of all it is a universe, as large and diverse and exciting as the comic book universes of Marvel and DC (though somewhat grittier and considerably more realistic and more consistent), with an enormous cast of characters both major and minor, Martin wrote. 'There are thousands of stories to be told in the world of the Wild Cards.' Martin will not work on the series himself because he has an exclusive development deal with HBO, but will hand it over to Wild Cards assistant editor and writer Melinda Snodgrass and former DC Comics and Syfy Films writer and producer Gregory Noveck. 'They know and love the Wild Cards universe almost as well as I do, and I think they will do a terrific job,' Martin said.
Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls is the first contestant confirmed for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. Speaking to Chris Evans on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Balls said he was 'scared to death.' He described taking part as 'a dream come true,' adding that 'Parliament was much easier than this.' Balls, who has also run three London marathons, told Evans that he was trying to get fit for 'those moves. From the beginning of September, I'm definitely going to be doing twelve hours a week training but everybody says I'll have to do quite a few more hours than that,' he said. 'Our family have been massive fans of Strictly for years. I've taken the view that if you have a midlife crisis, make sure you plan it well and enjoy every minute.' Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC1 next month. Head judge Len Goodman is stepping down after this series. 'It's a dream come true,' said Balls. 'And, to do Len's last series, my only hope is it stays a dream and doesn't become a nightmare.' The former politician is married to Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who Balls revealed was a tap and ballet dancer as a teenager. She tweeted that she was 'so, so envious' of her husband's appearance on the show. Balls was spotted on the dance floor at the Labour Party conference in 2014 doing a Gangnam Style dance alongside his wife. He is the first male politician to appear on the series, but former MPs Mad Ann Widdecombe and Mad Edwina Currie have both been contestants, in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Former business secretary Vince Cable also appeared in a Christmas special in 2010.
Gregg Wallace is a married man. Again. The MasterChef judge has tied the knot (for the fourth time) with his current girlfriend, Anne-Marie Sterpini, in a romantic ceremony at Hever Castle in Kent. Gregg's co-host, John Torode, was given the honour of acting as his best man and the happy couple were also joined on their big day by Torode's girlfriend Lisa Faulkner, and MasterChef: The Professionals judge scowling Monica Galetti. Blimey, there's someone you really want in your wedding photographs. Her mush will take all the fizz out of the champagne. Other guests at the ceremony included Gregg's mum, Mary Pettman and his brother, Paul – who arrived at the Thirteenth Century church in an RAC van after his ride to the wedding broke down. The newlyweds later celebrated with around one hundred and twenty invitees at an evening reception.
A new midweek Premier League show fronted by Gabby Logan has been added to the BBC's extensive football coverage for the 2016-17 season. Of course, this occurs during a season in which yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies aren't in the Premiership so, frankly, Keith Telly Topping is not interested. Match Of The Day returns on Saturday nights, while BBC Radio 5Live will feature one hundred and forty four live Premier League games. Live text on the BBC Sport website will cover every Premier League match, as well as international, European, Football League and women's action. There will also be the return of FA Cup coverage across the BBC. The Premier League Show will feature 'in-depth interviews with players, broadcast from the National Football Museum in Manchester.' Gary Lineker will meet Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for the first programme, which will be broadcast on Thursday 25 August.
Katherine Jenkins and her husband Andrew Levitas are to produce a new children's animated TV show. Symphony Street will be aimed at four to eight-year-olds and it is hoped it could be screened on Welsh channel S4C. So, that should mean it'll have a massive audience of, like, eight, or something. One of the characters will be voiced by the Neath-born mezzo soprano, who said that the recent birth of her daughter, Aaliyah, had inspired the project. The series will follow a group of musical friends and 'will feature music from a variety of genres.' Jenkins said: 'Music is the international language: it doesn't see colour, race, class or creed, and the lessons learned through it are easily translated into everyday life. It was with this in mind, that my husband and I set out to create a fun and exciting musical platform to teach our own young daughter.' Symphony Street will be produced in Wales by children's entertainment studio Splash Entertainment, which is run by SuperTed creator Mike Young. He said the chance of working with 'iconic talents such as Katherine and Andrew' on a music-driven children's show produced in Wales was 'too good to miss out on. Symphony Street is a fresh, funny and innovative series that will be designed for the media platforms they now frequent, it's a win-win.'
And now, dear blog reader ...
Urban myths of sinister vans driving around peeking into people's homes to catch them watching the BBC without a TV licence have been a staple of the right-wing press for years (and more recently, an extremist wing of anti-TV licensing Twitter) but last weekend the Torygraph - who, obviously, had no sick agenda smeared all over their disgraceful collective mush an inch thick, oh no, very hot water - put an alarming new twist on the story. BBC vans to snoop on Internet users screamed the headline, warning that from next month a fleet of vehicles will 'fan out across the country capturing information from private Wi-Fi networks in hopes to "sniff out" those who have not paid the licence fee.' Or, criminals in other words. The story - which is crap, of course - was based, seemingly, on a report published by the National Audit Office last month, which said the BBC had 'demonstrated its ability' to detect people watching live programming (the Torygraph decided not to mention the reference to 'live viewing only' bit) on 'a range of non-TV devices.' An alleged - although anonymous, and therefore probably fictitious - 'computer network expert' allegedly snitched to the Torygraph that the Beeb 'might' be deploying a modified version of a tactic known as 'packet sniffing,' which looks at the nature of data passing through Wi-Fi networks without actually intercepting it. 'Might' being, of course, a fantastically important words at this juncture. The alleged 'expert' - if he or she even existed, which they probably didn't - allegedly claimed that iPlayer data 'could' be modified to make it distinguishable from other traffic without actually looking at its contents. 'Might' and 'could' in one article. Top journalism there, Torygraph. The BBC issued a, rather weary-sounding, statement rebutting - indeed, ridiculing - the Torygraph article (without naming it), saying that there had been 'considerable inaccurate reporting this weekend about how TV Licensing will detect people breaking the law by watching BBC iPlayer without a licence. While we don't discuss the details of how detection works for obvious reasons, it is wrong to suggest that our technology involves capturing data from private Wi-Fi networks.' But, the BBC's statement is somewhat ambiguous about its capabilities and there is an obvious reason for that. While it doesn't want people to think it is turning into Big Brother (much less broadcasting it), it does want them to think it knows when you are watching BBC programming without a licence – especially when, from next month, you will be required to pay the £145.50 annual fee to legally watch catch-up content as well as live programming. However, carrying out the sort of mass surveillance suggested by the Torygraph is likely to be prohibitively expensive, technically challenging and quite possibly illegal. Besides, there are other - far easier and cheaper - ways for the BBC to tell who is watching iPlayer without paying. It has ruled out combing its own records of computers that have logged in to iPlayer and matching those up to licences, but it is authorised to use anti-terror legislation – the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act – to target people it already suspects of watching without a licence. It could, in theory, use that authorisation to access Internet records of which sites you have visited. Even if surveillance vans were used, a targeted approach and one that didn't monitor Wi-Fi traffic, would make far more sense. In the long run, a more elegant solution would be to require a code linked to your TV licence to access iPlayer. Whatever it does come up with, the rationale is clear. The BBC says that it already loses one hundred and fifty million smackers a year to people who say they don't need a TV licence because they only watch catch-up and with the number of households saying they don't have a TV increasing each year, it needs to find some way of making sure people who consume its programmes any other way are paying. In short, we need people to believe the Beeb is watching – otherwise one day there might not be a BBC to watch.
The BBC's Rio Olympics anchor Clare Balding earned more than five hundred thousand quid last year, cementing her position as one of the UK's highest-earning female presenters according to a spectacularly mean-spirited and shit-stirring nosy-parker article written by some Middle Class hippy Communist shitscum of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star. Though, what the blithering fek Clare Balding earns has to do with the odious Middle Class hippy Communist lice at the Gruniad - or, anyone else for that matter - is another question entirely. The sports broadcaster - currently out of the country covering the Olympics for the BBC and, therefore, unable to defend herself against this kind of odious shite - made five hundred and sixteen thousand seven hundred and twelve knicker in the year to the end of October 2015. According to documents filed at Companies House and snooped at by the Gruniad, Balding, receives payments for services as a TV presenter and royalties as an author. Her company Clearly Clare shows that shareholders' funds rose from £1.24m to £1.76m year-on-year. Again, to repeat, what any of this has to do with the Gruniad lice is a question only they can answer.
Channel Four has cancelled Caitlin Moran's semi-autobiographical sitcom Raised By Wolves, but the writer has promised fans that a third series will still be made. Moran, who wrote the show with her sister, Caroline, has asked fans to sign up for updates at a specially created website and on Facebook and 'back a push' to ensure the second series isn't its last. Producer Big Talk is backing the series and said that the show's cast and crew were 'committed to a third series.'
In a video revealing the news, Moran said: 'Due to a combination of the death of David Bowie and the unexpected Brexit vote, Raised By Wolves will not be returning to Channel Four next year. This is, sadly, the way of global events. We're well-read yet brassy working-class women who've punched their way up from a council house in Wolverhampton to a TV series – currently the only TV series in Britain by and about working-class woman, which is pretty damn poor when you think about – so we're not just going to sit on an ice-floe and wait to die, like old Eskimos.' She added: 'We want you to be the first to know what's happening next. Because something's definitely happening next. We've got a fucking gigantic plan.' Channel Four confirmed that it would not be recommissioning the show due to its 'commitments to new programmes.' A spokeswoman said: 'We are incredibly proud of launching Raised By Wolves and introducing the exploits of Della, Germaine, Aretha and their family to audiences, however Channel Four is committed to a range of brand new series for next year. We wish Caitlin, Caz and our friends at Big Talk all the best.'
Entertainment One, the owner of Peppa Pig, has rejected a one billion smackers takeover approach from ITV as 'too low.' The film and TV producer and distributor said that it had received a preliminary proposal to buy the company for two hundred and thirty six pence a share, or £1.01bn in total. Talk of a bid by ITV has pushed its shares up by more than a third since April when Entertainment One denied that it had received an approach from the broadcaster (or anyone else for that matter). In a statement to the stock exchange, Entertainment One said: 'The board of eOne has reviewed the proposal and has unanimously rejected it on the basis that it fundamentally undervalues the company and its prospects.' It is understood ITV has made the approach but Entertainment One did not identify the network in the statement.
The judge overseeing Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway To Heaven' copyright trial has rejected the group's attempts to recoup almost over six hundred grand in legal costs. Whilst the rock legends were found very not guilty of plagiarising Spirit's song 'Taurus' in June, Judge R Gary Klausner said that the case was 'not frivolous.' He ruled there was 'no evidence' that the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe 'harbored nefarious motives' in bringing the case. For that reason, the estate was 'not obliged' to repay the band's legal fees. The trust for Wolfe - better known as Randy California - claimed Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant stole the opening riff for 1971's 'Stairway To Heaven' from 'Taurus', a short instrumental released three years earlier. But a jury found that 'Taurus' was 'not intrinsically similar' to 'Stairway's opening. Page and Plant, along with their publishing company Warner/Chappell, sought to recoup the money following the verdict, arguing that their insurance company would not cover the legal fees because the copyright claim was 'so old.' Their lawyers argued that the case was an attempt to 'shake down' the group. The judge acknowledged that the band had 'succeeded' at trial and had shown 'a right to compensation' - but in the end it was up to his discretion, and he sided with Wolfe's trustee. Wolfe died in 1997. Meanwhile, the lawyer for his estate has promised to appeal the original decision.
A man facing charges over a gun attack, in which the alleged victim was 'shot several times,' has had his bail conditions amended, for a night, so that he can attend a pop concert. Patrick Joseph O'Neill is due to stand trial later this year over the shooting in Ardoyne, North Belfast, in November 2010. He denies the charges against him. On Tuesday, he applied for a relaxation in his bail conditions so that he could go to a Madness gig on 20 August. A Belfast Crown Court judge agreed to extend his curfew 'for one night only.' And, not a single step beyond. Because, that would be an embarrassment. He also told anyone who disagreed with his decision to 'shut up' and take the night boat to Cairo. (You can put your hands up if you're getting bored with all the Madness puns incidentally ... Okay, you can all put your hands down now. Thanks.) The ruling means that O'Neill, of no fixed abode, will be able to stay out until midnight on 20 August to attend the gig, which is part of the Belsonic music festival in Belfast. Making the application, O'Neill's defence barrister said that his client had obeyed all of the conditions imposed on him since he was released on bail, including observing a curfew from 8pm to 6am. Plus, you know, he 'had tickets.' O'Neill, denies charges including wounding with intent and possession of a Glock pistol with intent.
A airline passenger has reportedly attempted to smuggle his pet turtle onto a flight by disguising it as a KFC burger. The man, who has been identified only by his surname, Li, was passing through security at China's Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport ahead of a China Southern Airlines flight to Beijing when 'something strange' was detected in his carry-on luggage. Li had packed a KFC burger in his bag, but the X-ray machine picked up on some 'odd protrusions' sticking out of the wrapper, China's Guangzhou Daily newspaper reported. It turned out that those protrusions were turtle legs. Li had hidden his pet turtle inside a sesame seed bun and wrapped him up in a KFC package. But Li wasn't prepared to give away his contraband companion at first, reportedly refusing to submit to a bag search. 'There's no turtle in there, just a hamburger,' Li told airport staff, according to Guangzhou Daily. 'There's nothing special to see inside.' That, seemingly, didn't work. I know, I was surprised as well. Li finally agreed to let airport staff search his bag and the turtle was extremely recovered. When he was asked why - in the name of all that is Holy - he had stuffed his live turtle inside a burger, Li claimed that he didn't want to be parted from his 'beloved' turtle during his trip away. Airport staff explained to Li that turtles were 'not allowed on the plane' and the dejected passenger agreed to leave his pet in the temporary care of a friend. The turtle, incidentally, was said to be unharmed but did have a look on its face like it was owed an explanation from someone. Reactions on Chinese social media website Weibo were mixed, with some users charmed by Li's claimed affection for his turtle while others condemned the man for subjecting his pet to risky conditions. 'That poor turtle!' one Weibo user wrote. 'It had to absorb all those X-rays!' Earlier this year customs officials in Vietnam were surprised to find live birds strapped to the legs of a man who was attempting to board a flight at Ho Chi Minh City. As well as the birds shoved down the man's pants, a number of others were found inside his luggage, including endangered species that were strictly banned from export.
A Des Moines woman was extremely arrested on Monday after police said that her two-year-old son was 'found alone, sucking on a frozen chicken breast.' Hallie Amick, thirty, now faces charges of child endangerment. And, of being 'one bad mother' for the incident, according to WHO-TV. Police claim that they went to a home in East Emma Avenue after 'someone' called 911 to report that a toddler had been left home alone. When officers arrived, they found a two-year-old boy in the backyard, wearing nothing but 'a full and sagging diaper.' Police say that the child was 'sucking on a frozen chicken breast.' A small dog in the backyard was 'observed' trying to jump up on the child to get at the chicken. Officers spoke with a neighbour who told them that the child was 'often' left unattended. The neighbour claimed that they would see a man and a woman leave the home without the child. Another neighbour snitched to the police that she had found the child in the middle of the street at one point shortly after the family moved in and said that they ;did not watch the child very well.' Police say when Amick arrived at the scene, she 'lied' and told them this was the first time she had left the child alone, but after police confronted her with the neighbours' Copper's Narking she extremely admitted that she left the boy alone 'on occasions.' When police searched the home they found marijuana and 'drug paraphernalia.' Amick was very charged with possession of schedule one drugs.
A judge reportedly called a man 'a bit of a cunt' as she very jailed him for racially abusing a black mother. Which, some might regard as 'fair comment.' Judge Patricia Lynch QC was sentencing the accused, John Hennigan, aged fifty, at Chelmsford Crown Court when he told her: 'You are a bit of a cunt.' John Hennigan, remember, is aged fifty, not fifteen. Judge Lynch replied: 'You are a bit of a cunt yourself.' Well, it appears to be factually accurate, at the very least least. 'Being offensive to me doesn't help,' she continued. Hennigan, who was extremely jailed for eighteen months for insulting a black woman and has twenty three previous convictions for forty seven offences, then told Judge Lynch to 'go fuck yourself.' 'You too,' replied Judge Lynch. Is it wholly inappropriate to say that, on the strength of these retorts, this blogger loves Judge Lynch the mostest, baby, and would, cheerfully, go to jail for her if she told me to? Yes, it probably is. Hennigan had told Tanisha Ford that he didn't 'agree with inter-racial relationships.' Pity for him. 'I like natural,' he said. 'I prefer white children.' His latest offence was his ninth breach of an ASBO banning him from 'acting in an anti-social way' or 'using racist language.' Something which the chap, apparently, has some difficulty complying with. Does there not reach a point, mate, where you might want to start thinking that the problem isn't so much with everybody else, rather it's with you? Just something to, you know, drop into your toaster and see if it pops up brown. Following his exchange with Judge Lynch, Hennigan is reported to have banged, hard on the glass panel of the dock, performed the Nazi salute and shouted 'Sieg Heil' twice. Presumably because he didn't think she'd heard him the first time. He then began to sing: 'Jews, gas them all.' Judge Lynch responded: 'We are all very impressed. Take him down.' Mitigating, Harry Warner urged Judge Lynch to spare Hennigan from immediate custody, claiming - unconvincingly - that Hennigan 'could benefit from working with probation.' Warner said: 'He is a rather unfortunate man. He lives alone, is single and has been diagnosed and medicated for depression.' Sentencing, Judge Lynch told Hennigan: 'Your offence is thoroughly unpleasant and repeated breaches of this order using the most unpleasant of language and causing distress. It is said custody would be distressing for you but it seems you never learn. This is the ninth time you have breached this order, the same offensive, racist comments and you don't deserve another chance.' Hennigan tried to argue with Judge Lynch before he started swearing and was very sent to jail. This is the latest in a string of breaches of Hennigan's ASBO. According to the Daily Scum Mail, he has previously abused a bus driver and pub staff. On another occasion he performed a Nazi salute in a Central London pub and called black people 'niggers'. In October 2012 an Old Bailey judge described Hennigan as a 'disgrace to the values of this country'.

A drunk aeroplane passenger who threatened to stab the pilot and everyone on board has been very jailed for eight months. Martin Johnson, from Harlow in Essex, made the threats on an EasyJet flight from Bristol to Malaga in April. Bristol Crown Court heard that Johnson bought two bottles of duty free wine and drank one before boarding and the other on the aircraft. The flight had to turn around and return to Bristol after he made his threats. Which, obviously, made all of the other passengers delighted. The court heard that cabin crew 'found an empty bottle of wine' in the aircraft toilet and that 'someone' had 'urinated all over the cubicle.' Well, to be fair, we've all done that before. Johnson, it was claimed, 'became abusive' after they announced that the flight would be returning to the departure city. 'If the pilot turns us around I am going to stab him and I am going to hit him,' he reportedly said. 'I'm going to stab an air hostess and kill everybody on the plane.' Johnson, originally from Scotland, was very arrested when the flight landed after it had turned back twenty five minutes into its journey. The court heard that his behaviour 'caused disruption' to many of the one hundred and fifty three passengers on-board, whose holidays and travel were delayed and it cost EasyJet 'tens of thousands of pounds.' Representing himself, Johnson denied that he had threatened to stab anybody and said that he was not a violent man. Sentencing him, Judge Michael Longman - who sounds like the kind of judge that would have been perfectly at home when hanging was a sentencing option for most crimes - said that Johnson's behaviour would have caused 'fear and alarm' to other passengers. 'The vast majority of aircraft passengers are sensible and law abiding and when people act irresponsibly and idiotically like you did, sentences of imprisonment will always be required. I take into account there was no physical violence although the oral threats were bad enough. In the circumstances there must be a sentence of immediate imprisonment.' Johnson, also known as James Kelly, has been given a lifetime EasyJet ban.

A thirty six-year-old New Mexico woman and her nineteen-year-old son face incest charges and say they will do 'anything' to stay together. Monica Mares gave Caleb Peterson up for adoption when he was an infant, according to KOB. When the two met later in life, it is claimed they became 'romantically involved' and decided to 'become a couple.' Which, obviously is against all Law of God and Man. Police said that a neighbour 'confronted' the pair about their sick and sordid relationship; officers arrived at Peterson's house and the couple told investigators they were 'sexually involved.' They were then extremely arrested. Peterson, a mother of nine children according to the Daily Scum Mail, said that she is 'willing' to give up seeing her other children in order to be with Peterson. A court ordered the couple not to see each other. 'He is the love of my life and I don't want to lose him. My kids love him, my whole family does. Nothing can come between us not courts, or jail, nothing,' Mares told the Daily Scum Mail. 'It went beyond a mother-son relationship. I never really viewed her as my mom. In certain aspects I do but, mostly, I don't,' Peterson told a news website. Peterson said that their relationship 'never felt wrong.' He described it as 'a normal romantic relationship' and claimed that he wants to 'raise awareness' about Genetic Sexual Attraction relationships - that is relationships in which closely related adults are attracted to one another. A court hearing has been set for September. The couple face eighteen months in The Big House if convicted.
Police are investigating claims that a teenage British tennis player was poisoned at Wimbledon last month. Gabriella Taylor, eighteen, spent four days in intensive care after becoming unwell during her girls' Quarter-Final match. Scotland Yard says that it has received 'an allegation of poisoning with intent to endanger life or cause grievous bodily harm.' Taylor's mother confirmed to BBC Radio Solent that the matter was 'being dealt with by police.' Milena Taylor also told the Torygraph that her daughter had been 'close to death.' She said that doctors diagnosed 'a rare strain of leptospirosis' - also known as Weil's disease - a bacteria which can be transmitted through rat urine. The teenager, from Southampton, had been staying 'in a completely healthy environment' and it was 'impossible' for her to have 'simply become ill,' her mother told the paper. Asked who might have been behind such a despicable act of deranged naughtiness, Taylor said: 'That is not for me to say. I just want the police to investigate it fully and it will be up to them how to proceed.' The junior player last week spoke to BBC Sport about the 'mystery illness' she had contracted during the tournament, saying: 'It was such an awful experience, probably the worst time of my life.' Taylor, ranked three hundred and eighty one in the world, did not pick up a racket for a month after being forced to stop in the middle of her match against Kayla Day of the United States on 7 July. She returned to training this week. 'It started the day before as a stomach bug and I managed to overcome it by winning my match that day,' Taylor added. 'But, the day of the Quarter-Final, I woke up and felt ten times worse. I couldn't believe it was happening to me in one of the most important tournaments of my life.' A police statement said that the allegation was received by officers on 5 August, concerning a possible offence at an address in Wimbledon between 1 and 10 July. 'It is unknown where or when the poison was ingested,' a spokesman added. A Wimbledon spokesman said that they had 'not been approached' about the investigation by the police, adding: 'There is no record of Miss Taylor using her catering pass to eat on site at the Championships in 2016.'
The former Pakistan test batsman and captain Hanif Mohammad, who played the longest innings in test cricket history, has died aged eighty one. Hanif played in Pakistan's first test, against India in October 1952 as a seventeen year old and scored three thousand nine hundred and fifteen runs in his fifty five appearances for Pakistan until he retired from test cricket in 1969 (although his first class career carried on into the mid-1970s). The four hundred and ninety nine he made for Karachi against Bahawalpur in 1959 was the highest first-class score in all cricket for forty five years - beating Don Bradman's then-record - until it was passed by Brian Lara's five hundred and one for Warwickshire against Durham. Hanif's three hundred and thirty seven against the West Indies in Barbados in 1958 lasted sixteen hours ten minutes, which remains a test record. Born to well-to-do parents, Hanif led a happy childhood in Junagadh on the West coast of the Kathiawar Peninsula until partition occurred in 1947. Hanif had inherited ball-skills from his mother, Ameer Bee, who had played badminton in Junagadh and he and his brothers - Wafiz, Raees, Mushtaq and Sadiq - learned their craft playing street cricket. Four of the five brothers went on to play tests for Pakistan whilst the fifth, Raees, was once named twelfth man for the national side. At least one of the Mohammad brothers played in each and every one of Pakistan's first one hundred and one tests. Hanif's son Shoaib also played forty five tests and his grandson, Shehzar, over thirty first-class matches. Four nephews also had first-class careers. Hanif's career lasted until 1976, although - to the regret of many - he never played in the English County Championship, unlike his youngest two brothers, Mushtaq and Sadiq. He did have a single outing for the Northamptonshire Second XI in August 1965 whilst preparing for his appearance for a Rest of the World side against England at the Scarborough Festival a few days later. In all he made fifty five first-class centuries - twelve of them in tests - and finished with a strong first-class career average of 52.32. He could also bowl taking over fifty first class wickets with his off-spin and also kept wicket on a number of occasions. Hanif was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968 and in January 2009 he was, along with two other legendary Pakistani players, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, among the inaugural batch of fifty five inductees into the ICC's Hall of Fame. The original 'Little Master', Hanif co-founded The Cricketer Pakistan in 1972 and edited the magazine for two decades. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and had been having treatment for respiratory complications when he died in Karachi on Thursday. Former Pakistan batsman Rameez Raja, speaking on the BBC's Test Match Special, said Hanif was 'a true legend' and 'a cricketing genius.' He added: 'He was a determined and solid player. He was the only renowned batsman Pakistan had in the 1950s and 1960s.' Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said cricket was 'in mourning' and Hanif's 'legend shall live forever. His sublime technical skill, his unflappable temperament and his resolve and staying power in all conditions were most remarkable and won plaudits for him and for Pakistan,' he added.
Turkish prosecutors investigating the failed July coup have issued an arrest warrant for one of the country's best-known footballers, ex-international Hakan Sukur, state media report. Searches were carried out at two houses in Western Turkey, as officials said that he faced charges of being a member of 'an armed terrorist organisation.' Blimey, I know Blackburn Rovers had a bit of bad reputation when he played for them but, that's a bit strong. A former MP for the ruling AK party, Hakan Sukur is a known supporter of the cleric blamed for the botched coup. He moved to the US several months ago. A warrant was also issued for the ex-footballer's father, Selmet Sukur. He was arrested in his hometown of Adapazari after he was seen at a local mosque and reported to the police. Selmet Sukur for years acted as his son's manager. Hakan Sukur's Twitter account and website were not publicly accessible on Friday. However, he has expressed support for cleric Fethullah Gulen in the past. Hakan Sukur played for Turkey one hundred and twelve times and scored fifty one international goals. He started his career with Galatasaray in 1992 and was part of their UEFA Cup-winning team in 2000. He also had spells with Torino and, later, with Inter Milan, Parma and Blackburn. Sukur, famously, scored the fastest-ever World Cup goal, after eleven seconds against South Korea in 2002. Retiring from football in 2007, he was an AKP MP for two years from 2011. Some two hundred and seventy people died and many more were wounded when parts of the armed forces tried to seize power in Turkey in July. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by purging the military and public services of tens of thousands of people suspected of following Gulen, whom the government accuses of setting up a parallel state. Hakan Sukur went on trial in-absentia in June for insulting President Erdogan on social media and the decision by prosecutors to seek his arrest is not seen as a surprise because of his support for the US-based preacher.
Researchers have concluded an eight-year study of one of the most infamous forgeries in the history of science - the fake human ancestor Piltdown Man. They allege that the forged fossils were made by one man: the prime suspect and 'discoverer' Charles Dawson. The human-like skull fragments and an ape-like jaw, complete with two teeth, shocked the scientific world in 1912 but were later exposed as a hoax in 1953. New tests show the bones came from two or three humans and one orangutan. The research, published in Royal Society Open Science, was a multi-disciplinary collaboration including palaeobiologists, historians, dental experts and ancient DNA specialists. Comparing the methods used on multiple forged specimens dug up near the Sussex village of Piltdown between 1912 and 1916, the team found what they describe as 'a highly consistent modus operandi' - the same reddish-brown stain was applied to make the bones look old and the specimens had appropriate local gravel packed into their crevices. Dentist's putty was used to fix the teeth and the gravel in place. Such a fixed strategy for fooling the scientific establishment pointed to 'a single person conducting the operation,' said Isabelle De Groote from Liverpool's John Moores University. Critically, it also links two separate locations: 'Piltdown I' where the original jawbone and skull fragments were planted and excavated in 1912 and 'Piltdown II' two miles away where Dawson claimed to find a matching tooth and skull pieces in 1915. 'What we've been able to demonstrate is a signature, a fingerprint throughout all of these specimens, even including the second molar from the second Piltdown site,' said Doctor De Groote, first author of the study. 'Dawson is the only one who ever said there was a Piltdown II site; he's the only one who was ever associated with it and we can clearly link that molar to the original specimens.' That case is clinched by 'detailed analysis' of the various teeth. The exact shape of molars from the two sites, as well as traces of DNA found in teeth at both Piltdown I and Piltdown II sites, suggest they all came from the jawbone of a single orangutan - probably belonging to a rare subspecies from Borneo. Remarkably, Dawson appears to have removed the teeth, breaking the jaw in the process, then ground them down to make them appear more human and stuck two molars back in the jaw with putty and gravel. But planting a third tooth at Piltdown II, a century before ancient DNA analysis became possible, ultimately proved to be his undoing. 'That has to be Dawson, there's no doubt about that. He's the only person uniquely linked with both those sites,' said co-author Chris Stringer from London's Natural History Museum. It is still possible that someone else supplied the specimens for Dawson to 'discover,' Professor Stringer added. But the amateur collector, anxious for scientific acclaim, was certainly 'the central figure.' As a consequence, several other suspects for the hoax are now off the hook, De Groote said, including the French priest Teilhard de Chardin who excavated an isolated canine tooth at the Piltdown I site in 1913. The new findings place that tooth firmly in the same orangutan jaw as the molars, which are now tied to Dawson. 'It exonerates a number of people who have been accused,' De Groote told BBC News. She and her colleagues' fresh insights into the forger's methods - such as the precisely matching gravel embedded in the bones - also point to Dawson. 'It was very carefully done,' she said. 'That's another thing that exonerates some others - for example, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the suspects. Obviously he could write a good story, but he probably would never have had the skill or the scientific knowledge to prepare a forgery like this one.' Dawson, on the other hand, had a long-standing interest in antiquity and fossil collecting. He knew that scientists were expecting the earliest human ancestor to have a big brain but an ape-like jaw. 'He listened very carefully,' said De Groote, adding that Dawson even 'tailored subsequent forgeries' to the reaction of the scientific community. 'When a jaw and the skull bones were announced, there was a big discussion at the Geological Society about what the canine in such an animal would look like. And, ta-da - six or seven months later, a canine shows up and it looks exactly like what they had predicted.' She said that the team's sleuthing on the Piltdown saga has made her think no evidence should ever be taken for granted and that scientists must beware their preconceptions. 'If something fits a hypothesis maybe too well, question it again.'
NASA 'accidentally' sold a priceless Apollo 11 artefact and now faces a legal battle to try to get it back. The bag was used to collect Moon samples in 1969 and was sold 'by mistake' last year 'due to a clerical error.' It was snapped up by one Nancy Carlson from Illinois for just nine hundred and ninety five dollars but, NASA says that it is 'a priceless rare artefact, if not a national treasure.' NASA only realised the mistake when Carlson sent back the bag 'for authentication.' The space agency then decided to keep it and is now working with federal prosecutors to reclaim legal ownership of the item. Meanwhile, Carlson has launched her own lawsuit against NASA to get the bag back. The 1969 mission saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spend several hours on the Moon's surface gathering more than twenty kilograms of lunar material. The bag itself still has fragments of lunar debris embedded in its material. It is not the first time that the bag has been mired in controversy. In 2005 a director of a Kansas space centre was found very guilty of stealing and auctioning space artefacts loaned by NASA. During the investigation NASA officials found the Apollo 11 lunar bag inside his garage. The latest mix-up was due to two items in NASA's inventory being given the same identification number, meaning the wrong item was sold.
A pigeon racing champion has been handed a lifetime ban from the sport following allegations that he cheated to win a race from France. Eamon Kelly, was accused of cheating in this year's Tarbes Grand National, a blue riband event. That's an actual blue riband event rather than an event where the prize is one or several Blue Riband®™ biscuits. Just to be clear about that.
Kelly allegedly registered fourteen birds for the race, but kept them at home while sending decoys to Tarbes in France. The National Flying Club said that the fifty two-year-old, from Didcot, 'admitted to senior members' that he had cheated. In a statement the association said: 'This follows the falsification of [his] race entry for Tarbes Grand National race dated 19 July 2016. Mr E Kelly admitted [cheating] in telephone conversations with the president, chairman and secretary of the National Flying Club after the falsification was confirmed.' Kelly won the 2015 Tarbes Grand National and was also an official race controller for the National Flying Club. Before the allegations were uncovered, he was due to receive fifteen hundred knicker in prize money and a ten grand Ford Fiesta for defending the title. The race is among the most prestigious events in the pigeon racing calendar, with as many as four thousand birds entering. Entrants can take part from all over the UK and their birds must travel between five hundred and eight hundred miles. Before the announcement of the decision to ban Kelly, National Flying Club chairman Philip Curtis wrote on its website that 'the committee is very saddened by the events that took place over the Tarbes weekend.' He added: 'Such an occurrence put a huge cloud over the whole race. Compounded by national coverage of the event this is a very sad day for the sport of pigeon racing. We wish to inform members that the National Flying Club is satisfied that no other members of the organisation are involved in this occurrence.' Kelly's partner told the BBC that he was 'distraught' after the claims surfaced last month, but has not yet commented on his expulsion.
To the Olympics, now. Dirk Van Tichelt probably didn't envision one of the greatest days of his life ending in the hospital. But that's exactly where the Belgian judoka found himself on Monday night hours after winning his first Olympic medal. Van Tichelt won bronze in the seventy three-kilo judo competition. Naturally, he went to Copacabana Beach that night to celebrate the achievement. Whilst there, Van Tichelt was reportedly assaulted by a thief and was struck in the face. He was taken to the hospital after the incident. The thief, who was reportedly Brazilian, came away with a cellphone but, crucially, not with Dirk's bronze medal. All of which allowed Van Tichelt to take this picture the following day. The Belgian Olympic Committee released a statement confirming the details and saying that Dirk did not require treatment at the hospital.
In the lead-up to The King Of The Mods yer actual Sir Bradley Wiggins and his three team pursuit partners winning gold in Rio, how nice it was to see the BBC presenting a short highlights package of Sir Brad's previous Olympic triumphs using his musical hero The Goddamn Modfather his very self Paul Weller's 'Start!' as the soundtrack music. Because, what you give is, indeed, what you get. Sir Brad, superbly aided by Ed Clancy, Owain Doull and Steven Burke, won the four thousand kilometre team pursuit to win his fifth gold medal, along with two silvers and a bronze, to become Britain's most decorated Olympian.
The biggest mystery of the Rio Olympics so far has taken a new twist. Just when you thought the green diving pool story couldn't go any further or get any weirder, the - separate - water polo pool has turned green too. FINA – the international swimming federation, responsible for administering competitions like the Olympics, said: 'FINA can confirm that the reason for the unusual water colour observed during the Rio 2016 diving competitions is that the water tanks ran out some of the chemicals used in the water treatment process.' FINA added that 'testing had been done' on the water and, though the lack of chemicals meant 'the PH level of the water was outside the usual range,' there was 'no risk to the health and safety of the athletes.'
Try telling that to the Australians though – they complained of 'itchy eyes' after their water polo event. 'It hurts at the end of the game and we'll probably get teary eyes for the next couple of hours but that's all right. It wasn't too bad in the water but now it's really starting to sting,' Australian centre back Richie Campbell told Fairfax after the Aussies' match with Japan on Wednesday. Tom Daley is looking at the positive side,however – the green pool means that it's 'easier' to 'know which way is up,' the British diving Bronze medallist said. 'When you’re spinning around diving, outdoor diving can be difficult because the sky is blue and the water's blue, so you don't know which way is up. Now that the water's green it makes it slightly easier to see where you are,' he told ITV News. He added: 'I've seen way worse, trust me.' Well, yes. The contestants on Splash, for instance.
Memorable Moments of Olympic Broadcasting, number one: Jason Mohammad's pithy comment: 'Things I thought I'd hear myself never say on television: "It's been a glorious night for Egyptian handball!"'
Meanwhile, the BBC have been 'criticised for biased commentary and cheering of Team GB in the Rio 2016 Olympics.' At least, they have according to some wretched odious lousescum of no importance at the Daily Torygraph - one Cristina Criddle who, of course, does not have any sick agenda in this regard. Oh no. Definitely not. 'Criticised' by whom, you will no doubt be wondering at this point? The government? The Martians? Giant Haystacks? No, of course not. Rather, it's by a bunch of people you've never heard of on Twitter, obviously. Because, as the Gruniad Morning Star never gets sick of informing us, Twitter is now The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things. So, in other words, this is another ludicrous 'non-story' to file away alongside some people on Twitter's apparent obsession with Helen Skelton's thighs. Which, interestingly, the Torygraph also found space to publish. So, definitely no - sick - agenda going down there, then. Does anybody remember when the Torygraph used to be a proper newspaper, staffed by journalists rather than stenographers good at cutting and pasting tweets? No, me neither, dear blog reader, I'm only fifty two.
Extraordinary scenes of celebration have erupted after Fiji won its first-ever Olympic medal. Banks closed, shops shut and revellers took over the streets of Suva dancing and singing. Fiji claimed the gold medal after defeating Great Britain forty three to seven in the rugby sevens final at Deodoro Stadium. Thousands of people across the island nation had stopped what they were doing to watch the history-making match. Many supporters dressed in Fiji colours and rugby jerseys, carrying the national flag to cheer on the team. At the final whistle blew, excited revellers took to the streets. 'Some people even stopped their vehicles on the busy streets of Suva and got out with Fiji flags to join the celebrations, not paying much heed to the slight traffic jam they cause,' the Fiji Times reported. 'The celebrations will definitely continue into the weekend and the week ahead.'
Tennis player Eugenie Bouchard's Olympics were rather short-lived, falling to Angelique Kerber in straight sets in the ladies singles and then losing in doubles with her partner Gabriela Dabrowski to Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, both during the second round. Neither loss can be blamed on any one specific hit, point or serve, but a sports analyst seems to know exactly what went wrong: the Canadian was 'too distracted by beauty, fashion and hair' to get the gold. Adam Kreek, a CBC sports commentator, insinuated that Bouchard, who is currently ranked number forty two in the world, doesn't want to reach Serena Williams' status. 'When I saw her in the mix-zone, she loved talking to the media. And when I look on her social media, she's posting pictures of herself, she's holding up the toothpaste and she's trying out different hairstyles,' Kreek, a former Olympic rower, sneered. 'Maybe she wants something different than to be a competitor,' he added. 'For me as a sports fan, I'm not interested in watching that. But there are people out there that want to see someone, you know, pursuing beauty and fashion and this sort of thing. And maybe that’s, "I got into the tennis world and I want to leverage this."' Needless to say, Kreek has been widely criticised for his crass, ignorant and borderline sexist comments.
And, speaking of sexist gittery at the Olympics, when US gymnast Simone Biles gave a storming performance on the uneven bars, an NBC commentator complimented her by saying: 'I think she might even go higher than the men.' Meanwhile American swimmer Katie Ledecky was praised as being the 'female Michael Phelps' in the Scum Mail Online. Both women were already world champions so why was there a need to compare them to men? 'So far some of the Olympics commentary on female medallists that we have seen and heard has been offensive and demeaning. They are Olympic stars in their own right,' according to Sam Smethers from the women's rights charity The Fawcett Society. 'For far too long women's sport has been treated as a second-class game.' Another US commentator caused outrage on social media when he implied that a female athlete was reliant on her husband - after Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu won gold in the four hundred metres individual medley with a new world record, the broadcaster referred to her partner, who is also her trainer, saying: 'This is the man responsible.' The woman responsible, meanwhile, was somewhat ignored. The Chicago Tribune has also come under fire for the way it described Corey Cogdell-Unrein, the bronze medal winner in trap shooting. In a tweet, the paper called her 'Wife of a Bears' linesman.' Which was factually accurate, she is married to Cory Unrein, but it does rather reduce her - a world-class athlete in her own right - as 'the little woman at home.'
'I'm shocked at how we seem to have gone backwards in how we describe women competitors,' says Professor Kath Woodward from The Open University. 'There is an assumption in the media that if a straight female athlete wins then her male partner made it happen for her. But if a female partner of a male athlete is pictured, such as during a tennis match, it is only to confirm his heterosexuality.' At NBC, eyebrows were reportedly raised again when it was said that the US women's gymnastics team looked like they 'might as well be standing in the middle of a mall' during their team final. The media needs to be 'more careful,' according to Olympic gold medallist Anna Watkins. She came to appreciate the 'sheer power' of the press after she won the double sculls in 2012. 'They define how the public see you,' she says. 'I think often it's an unintentional thing but in some ways that's more concerning as it shows an unconscious bias. Men aren't immune from comments about their physique, such as when wearing tight trunks, but women get it more and it's more important because of the history of inequality.' Sexist language isn't a new phenomenon at the Olympic Games - in 2012, US TV host Conan O'Brien sent a tweet saying that weightlifter Holley Mangold would 'bring home the gold and four guys against their will.' More examples from Rio include the Scum Mail Online's decision to pick out the appearance of female gymnasts including Oksana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan, whose pink and white leotard 'failed to complement her skin tone,' and Australian Larrissa Miller who 'turned heads for all the wrong reasons' because of a leotard 'with an unattractive teal hue and a rhinestone-covered collar.' Because, of course, this was a catwalk not an Olympic final. In an article about Australian one hundred metre hurdler Michelle Jenneke, the Sun website described her as 'abs-olutely fabulous.' It featured a picture of her competing in 2015 in her team uniform with the caption: 'Michelle Jenneke certainly isn't shy about showing off her body.' The Cambridge study also found that it's much more common for women to be referred to as 'girls' than it is for men to be called 'boys', something that, to be fair, this blog is probably as guilty of as most other media outlets. 'Many commentators say "girls" in sport even if they know they should say "women." This is because they think it's a trivial issue to do with political correctness and they forget in the heat of competition,' suggests Woodward. 'But when you call a woman a girl you are actually infantilising her. A girl is a child. Women's bodies have long been infantilised in popular culture as youth is seen as attractive.'

Kuwaiti trap shooter Fehaid Al-Deehani became the first Independent Olympic Athlete to take a gold medal Wednesday when he won the double trap shooting competition, beating Italy's Marco Innocenti and Britain's Steven Scott. But Al-Deehani, who is a Kuwait army officer, made an attempt to protest the International Olympic Committee's banning of Kuwait from the Olympics. According to the NBC online broadcast, Al-Deehani used a marker pen to cross out the 'Independent Olympic Athlete' label on the back of his uniform. As you can imagine, the IOC wasn't having any of that. Officials made Al-Deehani attach 'a makeshift IOA label' to obscure the one he had tampered with. 'My achievement is for myself,' Al-Deehani said after winning gold. 'I would like to give my achievement to my country, but we are banned. I consider this only for me.' Al-Deehani has been forced to compete as an Independent Olympic Athlete because Kuwait has been barred from the Olympics by the IOC for 'government interference in sport.' Other international sport governing bodies, like FIFA, have also suspended Kuwait's national teams. Al-Deehani reportedly was asked to carry the neutral IOC team flag at the Opening Ceremony but refused. 'I am a military man and I will only carry the Kuwait flag,' he said, according to AFP. 'I cannot carry the IOC flag.'
US news website The Daily Beast has apologised for publishing an article that may have 'outed' a number of gay athletes at the Rio Olympics. Readers complained that some athletes - who were not named but were identifiable from details in the article - were from countries with harsh anti-gay policies. The reporter had described how he used online dating, including popular gay app Grindr, to get dates with athletes. The Daily Beast said it had 'screwed up' - no shit? - and later removed the article. 'Today we did not uphold a deep set of The Daily Beast's values. These values - which include standing up to bullies and bigots and, specifically being a proudly, steadfastly supportive voice for LGBT people all over the world - are core to our commitment to journalism and to our commitment to serving our readers,' the website said. The story said that athletes were using dating apps such as Bumble, Grindr, Jack'd, and Tinder to connect with other people at the games. The reporter described how he used the apps and he got three dates within an hour and detailed what some men wrote on their profiles on Grindr. He also gave details of their height, weight, nationality, and a description of their profile picture.
Kenya's Olympic committee sent home an athletics coach from the Rio Games on Thursday after he allegedly posed as an athlete and gave a urine sample to drug testers, deepening concerns about the country's efforts to tackle doping, which has tarnished its reputation. John Anzrah was extremely sent home after a drug test at an Olympic venue, according to Kip Keino, the legendary Kenyan athlete and chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya. 'He presented himself as an athlete, gave the urine sample and even signed the documents. We cannot tolerate such behaviour,' Keino said. 'We don't even know how he came here because we did not facilitate his travel here,' he added. The East African nation boasts some of the world's best middle and long-distance runners, but more than forty of its competitors have failed drug tests since 2012 and its athletics federation has been mired in corruption scandals linked to doping. The concerns over Kenya's doping problem were so large that at one point that the country's participation at the Olympics was under threat. It was not entirely clear which athlete Anzrah was pretending to be although most of the media reports have named the Kenyan eight hundred metre runner Ferguson Rotich. A senior 'source' at Kenya's running federation said that he had spoken to the 'concerned' athlete, who claims Anzrah used his accreditation purely to obtain free meals from the athletes' village. 'When the anti-doping officials met him, they assumed me he was the athlete and that he was lined up for testing,' said the source. 'The coach, for fear of being exposed or discovered, did not explain to the anti-doping guy that he is actually not the athlete. Hence he played along and went for the test.' The International Olympic Committee said that it had set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the matter. 'We take note of the decision of the Kenyan Olympic Committee to send home its athletics coach following a violation of anti-doping rules and we thank the NOC for its swift action,' a spokesperson said. 'The IOC has immediately created a disciplinary commission to look into the matter with regard to the coach and the athlete concerned.' Last week, Kenya sent their track and field manager Michael Rotich home from the games following allegations that he had requested money to let undercover journalists, posing as athlete representatives, know when drugs testers would be calling. Rotich denied the accusations but was nevertheless arrested on his return to Nairobi, where a judge ordered the police to hold him for four weeks during the doping probe. The latest doping allegations, coming on the eve of the first track and field competition, arrive at an awkward time for organisers and the World Anti-Doping Agency, which this month removed Kenya from its list of nations deemed 'non-compliant' with its doping code. WADA changed its stance on Kenya after the country's parliament introduced new legislation to harshly punish drug cheats. Keino, a two-time gold medallist, had been the first senior Kenyan official to sound alarm bells about the scale of doping in Kenya. In the past he has often complained about his concerns being ignored by government officials.
The Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi and the Bulgarian steeplechaser Silvia Danekova have tested positive for banned substances at the Rio Olympics. The Chinese Swimming Association said that Chen tested extremely positive for a substance without providing specifics. Xinhua, the official state news agency, reported the story early on Friday. The eighteen-year-old finished fourth in the women's one hundred metres butterfly on Sunday, missing a bronze medal by nine-hundredths of a second. She was also scheduled to compete in the fifty metre freestyle. Seven Russian swimmers have been allowed to compete in Rio after initially being banned following allegations of a huge, state-sponsored doping operation in their homeland. That decision sparked vocal complaints from several swimmers, most notably the American Lilly King whose remarks were aimed at Yulia Efimova, the Russian who on Friday added two hundred metre breaststroke silver to her one hundred metres second place. Chen's team-mate Wang Shun declined to comment after he won bronze in Thursday's two hundred emtres medley. 'This situation, I don't know the details. I'm not aware of it, so unfortunately I can't answer your question,' Wang said. Li Keke, a spokeswoman for China's national anti-doping agency, said that she had 'no additional information. We have noticed media reports about the case. So far the anti-doping agency has yet to receive any official confirmation,' Li said. 'This reported test should be generated by the organiser. The Olympic committee and FINA should know about it. At present, we will continue to monitor.'
Meanwhile, Danekova has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs and said that she was 'shocked' at testing positive for the banned blood booster erythropoietin a few days after her arrival in Brazil. The thirty three-year-old, who was due to compete in the women's steeplechase on Monday, has reportedly been suspended pending the result of the test on her B-sample. Danekova said that the 'only logical explanation' she could give for the positive test was that the substance came from 'a contaminated food supplement.' EPO, which increases the number of red blood cells, has been used mostly by endurance athletes such as middle and long-distance runners and cyclists. 'I've been tested four times after entering the Olympic Village,' Danekova, who faces a four-year ban if found guilty, told Bulgarian television on Friday. '[Results] of the three of the samples were negative. It's an incredibly big shock.'

A Belgian sailor has reportedly become the first Olympic competitor to report falling ill during the games, with some suggesting a link between the illness and the polluted waters of Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay. Evi Van Acker, who won a bronze medal in the Laser Radical class of the 2012 London Olympics Sailing Competition, reported feeling unwell after racing on Wednesday, the sport's governing body, World Sailing, said. The thirty-year-old contracted a severe intestinal infection while training in Rio in July, which has hampered her energy levels, according to her coach. Wil Van Bladel told Belgian VRT network: 'Evi caught a bacteria in early July that causes dysentery. Doctors say this can seriously disrupt energy levels for three months. It became clear yesterday that she lacked energy during tough conditions. She could not use full force for a top condition. The likelihood that she caught it here during contact with the water is very big.' The Belgian Olympic Committee confirmed Van Acker had a 'serious gastrointestinal infection a few weeks ago. She has not fully recovered. It makes it difficult for her to go through long periods of sustained effort,' it added. Concerns have repeatedly been raised over the pollution levels in Guanabara Bay, the site the games' sailing events, and competing athletes have been warned by doctors, engineers, and scientists to keep their mouths shut while participating in activities in the water. A sixteen-month-long study commissioned by the Associated Press and published just days before the games began found Rio's waterways are contaminated with raw sewage and teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria. The survey revealed consistent and dangerously high levels of viruses from the pollution, putting some fourteen hundred athletes at risk of getting violently ill. Olympic chiefs have insisted sailing on the bay is safe and sailing officials have said competitors have 'taken precautions.'
Rio 2016 has been 'the most difficult games ever' and crowd numbers are 'a disappointment' according to the the International Olympic Committee. John Coates, the vice president of the IOC, acknowledged that swathes of empty seats at a number of venues have been 'a source of frustration' for the body. This has been in stark contrast to London 2012 where just about every event was sold out well in advance of the games. 'This has been the most difficult games we have ever encountered,' Coates said. 'I wish there were bigger crowds.' Organisers claim that about eighty four per cent of tickets have been sold, but many of the arenas have appeared sparsely populated. 'We did understand that they were distributing tickets to poorer folk and school kids, but we are still not seeing them at any of the venues,' Coates said. 'That's a disappointment, but the quality of the sport is certainly rising to the occasion.' Coates says there are 'no regrets' about hosting the Olympics in Rio because 'it is important to spread the games' although it has been 'a greater challenge' than the IOC anticipated.
Anybody else looked at the 'lion silhouette' design on the British 2016 Olympic team's kit and thought 'ah, somebody was a fan of The New Avengers'? Just me then?
She was born during the reign of James I, was a teenager when René Descartes set out his philosophy of thought and the Great Fire of London raged, saw out her adolescent years as George II ascended the throne, reached adulthood around the time that the American revolution was kicking off big-style and lived through two world wars and several world cups. Living to an estimated age of nearly four hundred years, a female Greenland shark has set a new record for longevity, scientists have revealed. The discovery places the lifespan the Greenland shark far ahead of even the oldest elephant in captivity, Lin Wang, who died aged eighty six. It is also far longer than the official record for humans, held by one hundred and twenty two-year-old Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment. 'It kicks off the bowhead whale as the oldest vertebrate animal,' said Julius Nielsen, lead author of the research from the University of Copenhagen, pointing out that bowhead whales have been known to live for two hundred and eleven years. But the Greenland shark doesn't scoop all the awards - the title of the world's longest-lived animal is held by Ming, an Icelandic clam known as an ocean quahog, that made it to five hundred and seven years before scientists, em, killed it. Grey, plump and growing to lengths of around five metres, the Greenland shark is one of the world's largest carnivores. With a reported growth rate of less than one centimetre a year, they were already thought to be long-lived creatures, but just how long they lived for was something of a mystery. 'Fish biologists have tried to determine the age and longevity of Greenland sharks for decades, but without success,' said Steven Campana, a shark expert from the University of Iceland. 'Given that this shark is the apex predator in Arctic waters, it is almost unbelievable that we didn't know whether the shark lives for twenty years, or for a thousand years.' The new research, he says, is the 'first hard evidence' of just how long these creatures can live. 'It definitely tells us that this creature is extraordinary and it should be considered among the absolute oldest animals in the world,' said Nielson. Writing in the journal Science, Nielsen and an international team of researchers describe how they set about determining the age of twenty eight female Greenland sharks, collected as by-catch during scientific surveys between 2010 and 2013. While the ages of many fish can be determined by counting the growth layers of calcium carbonate 'stones' found their ears - in a manner somewhat similar to counting tree rings - sharks do not have such earstones. What's more, the Greenland shark lacks other calcium-rich tissues suitable for this type of analysis. Instead the team had to rely on a different approach: scrutiny of the lenses in their eyes. The lens of the eye is made of proteins that build up over time, with the proteins at the very centre of the lens laid down while the shark is developing in its mother's womb. Work out the date of these proteins, the scientists say, and it is possible to achieve an estimate of the shark's age. In order to determine when the proteins were laid down, the scientists turned to radiocarbon dating - a method which relies on determining within a material the levels of a type of carbon, known as carbon-fourteen, that undergoes radioactive decay over time. By applying this technique to the proteins at the centre of each lens, the scientists deduced a broad range of ages for each shark. The scientists then made use of a side-effect of atomic bomb tests which took place in the 1950s: when the bombs were detonated, they increased the levels of carbon-fourteen in the atmosphere. The spike, or pulse, in carbon-fourteen entered the marine food web across the North Atlantic no later than the early 1960s. That provides a useful time-stamp, says Nielsen. 'I want to know when I see the bomb-pulse in my sharks, what time does that mean,' he said. 'Does it mean they are fifty years old, or ten years old?' Nielsen and the team found that the eye lens proteins of the two smallest of their twenty eight Greenland sharks had the highest levels of carbon-fourteen, suggesting that they were born after the early 1960s. The third smallest shark, however, had carbon-fourteen levels only slightly above those of the twenty five larger sharks, suggesting that it was actually born in the early 1960s, just as bomb-related carbon-fourteen began to be incorporated in marine food webs. A Greenland shark returning to the deep and cold waters of the Uummannaq Fjord in North Western Greenland. 'That indicates that most of our analysed sharks were actually older than the time mark, meaning that they were older than fifty years,' said Nielsen. The scientists then combined the carbon dating results with estimations of how Greenland sharks grow, to create a model which allowed them to probe the age of the twenty five sharks born before the 1960s. Their findings revealed that the largest shark of the group, a female measuring just over five metres in length, was most likely around three hundred and ninety two years old, although, as Nielsen points out, the range of 'possible ages' stretches from two hundred and seventy two to five hundred and twelve years. 'The Greenland shark is now the best candidate for the longest living vertebrate animal,' he said. With adult female Greenland sharks known to hit sexual maturity only once they reach more than four metres in length, the scientists found that females have to clock up an age of around one hundred and fifty years before they can produce young. But, not everyone is convinced that Greenland sharks can live for four centuries. 'I am convinced by the idea of there being long lifespans for these kinds of sharks, [but] I take the absolute numbers with a pinch of salt,' said Clive Trueman, associate professor in marine ecology at the University of Southampton. Doubting Clive agrees that it is 'possible' to get a record of the early life of a vertebrate from eye lens proteins. However, the fact that the proteins in the centre of the eye lenses, and hence the carbon-fourteen within them, came from nutrients taken in by the shark's mother adds 'a number of uncertainties' to the calculations, he says. Campana argues that while the approach taken by the researchers is sound, he 'remains unconvinced' that Greenland sharks live for almost four hundred years. But, he adds, 'future research should be able to nail the age down with greater certainty.' Nielsen is also 'looking forward to further research,' saying that he hopes the Greenland shark's new found fame will 'boost awareness' of the animal, as well as conservation efforts and attempts to unravel other aspects of its physiology. 'There are other aspects of their biology which are super-interesting to know more about and to shed light upon,' he said.

Actor Richard Wilson has pulled out of his Edinburgh Festival Fringe show after suffering from a heart attack. The eighty-year-old was in a stable condition in hospital in London, his agent John Grant confirmed. Wilson had been due to reprise his role as Victor Meldrew, the grumpy pensioner in BBC comedy One Foot In The Grave. His twelve-night run, billed as I Don't Believe It! An Evening With Victor Meldrew, was due to begin on Tuesday at the Assembly Roxy. The show's promoters confirmed the cancellation of the production. In a statement, they said: 'Due to ill health, Richard Wilson has taken the decision, to take some time out. He is sorry to have to disappoint those hoping to see him in Edinburgh. We hope to plan further shows for later in the year.' Wilson was born in Greenock and came to acting relatively late. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art after completing national service in the army and working as a hospital lab technician. He later won plaudits in the acclaimed 1987 series Tutti Frutti, which also starred Robbie Coltraine and Emma Thompson, He first appeared as the curmudgeonly Meldrew in 1990. The BBC show went on to run for six series, winning the BAFTA for Best Comedy in 1992. Victor was killed off in the final episode but the actor was due to bring him back to life for the new stage show.

Alabama police are searching for a man whom, they say, poses as a delivery driver to steal cases of beer and soda from grocery stores. Darrius Williams, aged twenty two, is described as being black, five-foot ten inches tall and weighing about two hundred pounds, according to Central Alabama Crime Stoppers. He is extremely wanted on four counts of theft of property. Williams' last known address was in the two thousand six hundred block of Caroline Drive in Millbrook. Whilst wearing a delivery driver uniform, Williams has been entering stores with a cart and stacking it with cases of beer and soda, according to Crime Stoppers. Instead of restocking the shelves, though, he loads up his vehicle and leaves with his swag. Several store managers in the Prattville area have reported falling victim to Williams's naughty thieving ways. Central Alabama Crime Stoppers says that anyone with information on Williams' scam or his current whereabouts is asked to call the police of Crime Stoppers at 215-STOP. A cash reward may be available.

A growing body of research appears to show that online prawn is 'warping men's brains,' diminishing their sex drives and producing 'addictive behaviours commonly found among drug abusers,' as prawn producers 'experiment with technologies' to make the viewing experience of Internet prawn 'more compelling.' Which is, obviously, shocking news for those - like this blogger - who like a nice bit of prawn (on the Internet or, indeed, in a curry). Advances in neuroscience have helped support the findings: At least twenty five major studies published since 2011, sixteen of which were released within the last two years, link 'habitual use of erotic videos - and shellfish - with deleterious developments in brain structure,' often mirroring those of drug addicts. The studies catalogue 'a raft of maladies' including 'compulsive behaviour, desensitisation, loss of motivation' and 'even erectile dysfunction in men younger than twenty five.' Neuroscientists increasingly agree that prawns on the Interweb 'fits the established model' of what constitutes addiction, said Todd Love, a psychotherapist who studies and treats prawns and other Internet-based seafood addictions. 'There is a growing consensus among the top addiction neuroscientists worldwide that Internet prawn use alters some users' brains in some of the same ways substance abuse does, and that these brain changes are consistent with the established addiction model,' Doctor Love said. Presumably, he's the same Doctor Love that Tina Charles once sang about because, the chances of there being two of them are remote, to say the least.

The North East has suffered a bitter blow with the announcement that direct flights from Newcastle to New York are to end. But, we're used to bitter blows up here. It's those freezing North Easterlies you get whipping in from Norway in the middle of July. That, and a certain fatalism about our beloved (though unsellable) football teams. And,Gregg's recent decision to put up the price of a stottie by two pee. Despite increasing passenger numbers over the two years it has been in operation, United Airlines have pulled the plug because the route 'wasn't profitable.'

1 comment:

Mark said...

Yeah well done Channel 4, axe the only funny sitcom around right now, yet keep the likes of Alan Carr. Rise of the idiots...