Saturday, October 15, 2016

Silence Has It, Arrogance Has It

The Doctor is to be reimagined as Mr Men book characters, with the first four based on The Doctors as played by William Hartnell, Big Mad Tom Baker, yer actual Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi his very self. All twelve incarnations of The Doctor will eventually be made-over in the style of Roger Hargreaves, who created the Mr Men books in 1971. Roger's son, Adam Hargreaves, has written and illustrated the new book series. The first four books, to be released in spring 2017, will be Dr First, Dr Fourth, Dr Eleventh and Dr Twelfth. The idea was reportedly prompted by a number of unofficial Mr Men 'mash-ups' created by fans and posted online. Philip Jones, the editor of The Bookseller, told the BBC News website: 'There's a sense that since [the release of] the adult Ladybird books last year, there has been a market for ironic takes and mash-ups from old classics done with a new twist. This clearly taps into that same market, it's sort of the perfect Christmas gift book, or in this case Mother's Day and Father's Day.' The reboot of the Ladybird book series How It Works became hugely popular last year with the publication of new titles such as The Hangover, The Hipster and The Mid-Life Crisis. Jones added: 'With these types of book it's all to do with getting that combination of humour of nostalgia right.' This is not the first time a popular TV show has been given the Mr Men treatment. In 2013, HBO's Game Of Thrones was reimagined in the form of characters including Mr Beastly and Little Miss Vengeance. The Mr Men series itself was given a make-over in 2011 to celebrate its fortieth anniversary - Mr Greedy was re-imagined as a banker and Little Miss Chatterbox was seen with a mobile phone.
Yer actual Peter Capaldi has revealed that The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) has 'big ideas' for The Doctor before the showrunner leaves following next year's tenth series and the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special. But, that he doesn't know what they are. Speaking to IGN at New York Comic-Con last weekend about The Moffat's plans for his final episodes, yer man Capaldi said: 'I always say to Steven, "Don't tell me what you've got in mind, as I like the surprise of reading it." Also, I'm not sure knowing what's going to happen in advance helps you act it any better. I know he has big ideas ahead of him, but I don't know what they are."'
The Christmas special, The Return Of Doctor Mysterio - which, as previously announced, will have a superhero theme - has now concluded filming. Capaldi said that the episode 'evokes a more innocent age of superheroes' and compared it to Christopher Reeve's big-screen version of Superman. Peter also explained that he enjoys working with The Doctor's new companion, Pearl Mackie. He said: 'Everything is still new to me, so to have another person to say, "This is where the TARDIS is, this is where the trailers are and this is where the canteen is." It was nice actually. Pearl is amazing, she has great vigour and truth about her.' Capaldi believes that The Doctor's relationship with Mackie's character, Bill, will be very different to that with previous TARDIS co-habitor, Clara, as the latter was more aware of the wider Doctor Who world, whereas Bill needs to have things 'explained a lot more.' He added that this should also help new fans coming on board with the show, who don't have reams of cosmic knowledge.
Doctor Who showrunner The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) has confirmed that a scriptwriter from the original series - this blogger utterly refuses to use the term 'classic' since, as far as he's concerned, they're all classic - of the long-running family SF drama will write a script for the upcoming series. Probably Rona Munro (though, that's, obviously, a complete guess on this blogger's part. Nevertheless, if it turns out to be accurate, prepare to be effing impressed, dear blog reader). This will be the first time that a writer from the 1963 to 1989 version of Doctor Who will contribute to the revived series, launched in 2005. One director, Graeme Harper, contributed to both runs, being behind the camera on a number of episodes in 1984 and 1985 and from 2006 to 2009. The Moffat announced the news at a panel at New York Comic-Con and confirmed this in an interview with Comic Book Resources. Other writers already confirmed for the upcoming series include Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who wrote the 2014 story In The Forest Of The Night, Sarah Dollard, who wrote last years Face The Raven, regular contributor Mark Gatiss and newcomer to Doctor Who Mike Bartlett, best known for creating and writing Doctor Foster.
Speaking at another Doctor Who panel at the New York Comic-Con, Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) explained why he doesn't expect to see another multi-Doctor storyline in the near future. 'We did do that in The Day Of The Doctor. They all fly in to save Gallifrey,' he said during a Q&A. 'I remember David Tennant saying at the time, "You can only do that kind of thing very rarely - or it stops being special." It's just some blokes turning up in an old costume. You've got to keep it rare so that when all The Doctors meet, the universe shakes, the world changes and we get fabulous ratings. We can't do it all the time. Not in my time on the show will that happen again. I don't think we're going to do that again until whatever the next anniversary is, the one hundredth anniversary, which I've already told them I'm not going to do because I'm planning on having been dead for a while!'
As soon as it was announced that The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) was hanging up the keys to the TARDIS, many people automatically assumed that yer actual Peter Capaldi would also be saying goodbye to The Doctor as well, mainly because David Tennant left when Russell Davies did. This blogger must confess he was among them and would have given good money Peter regenerating at the climax of Steven's final episode which will be, as far as we know, the 2017 Christmas special. But, when IGN interviewed Moff at Comic Con to ask about the future of Doctor Who after he leaves his comments regarding yer man Capaldi were rather encouraging. 'Me leaving has got no impact on the regeneration,' he said. 'There's no reason that should be the case. I suppose it happened the last time and that's why people are thinking that way, but if you look back at the history of the show, producers and Doctors, they leave at different times. There's no need for those two things be in-sync.' Steven then talked about the behind-the-scenes process of regenerating, saying: 'It's terrifying. You're essentially recasting the lead in a television show. We have a magic reason why it works but it is terrifyingly hard, and people talk about it like, "Oh, you've just got to find a new Doctor."' Moffat also spoke about his plans for his final season, and admitted: 'I don't have any interest in making some sort of grand goodbye. As I keep pointing out, the vast majority of our huge audience don't know I exist so if I wave from the balcony they will just stare at me blankly.'
BBC America and Fathom Events have announced that the new animated version of The Power Of The Daleks will be shown in cinemas across the United States on 14 November 2016, a few days before it premieres on television at 8:25pm on the 19 November. The cinema showings will also feature bonus content, including interviews with members of the original 1966 cast. Kymberli Frueh, Fathom Events Vice President of Programming, said:'We're pleased to continue our long-standing and successful partnership with BBC America to bring more fantastic Doctor Who content to the big screen. The Whovians are always one of our biggest and most passionate groups of fans at the cinemas.' They are indeed, although many of them really have a very low tolerance threshold for being described by that hateful, moronic name, frankly. And not a single Doctor Who fan with so much as an ounce of dignity or self-respect in their body has ever or will ever use it. Just sayin'. Soumya Sriraman of BBC Worldwide North America, said: 'Ahead of the premiere on BBC America, it is a rare treat to be able to bring the lost episode, Power Of The Daleks, to life using modern animation techniques. Doctor Who cinema events have been incredibly successful, and this is extraordinary opportunity to allow a new generation of fans the opportunity to experience this classic adventure for the first time.' Yeah. It's actually. six lost episodes, Soumya, you might want to try doing a bit of research before issuing your next press statement, eh?
Children's animated series Fireman Sam reaches its thirtieth anniversary next year and to kick it off there's going to be a feature-length TV movie, Fireman Sam: Alien Alert. If you're going to have an alien-themed special, you can do a lot worse than getting one of The Doctors involved. Yer actual national heartthrob David Tennant will play Buck Douglas, an 'alien hunter' who enjoys the celebrity that comes with having a TV show a little too much. He's also got a familiar-looking hairstyle. When Douglas brings his Alien Quest show to Pontypandy, all of the villagers instantly get wrapped up in it. But while it seems like a bit of harmless fun, it proves to be hard work for Fireman Sam and the crew. In a press release, David said: 'Fireman Sam is a true institution of children's television so naturally it was a joy to be asked to guest-voice the character of Buck Douglas in the new special. I had a lot of fun in the studio bringing Buck's character to life and I'm certain he'll be a big hit with audiences when he appears on screens throughout the world in the movie. He's slick and smug, but his adventurous and gregarious persona, as well as his UFO investigative adventures, makes the kids - and quite a few of the grown-ups - want to be just like him!'
Yer actual Alan Davies has admitted that Stephen Fry is 'a big missing space' on the new series of Qi. And, in other news, apparently, it has been confirmed that The Pope is, indeed, Catholic. Stephen announced a year ago that he was stepping down from the long-running quiz show. Davies also revealed that new host Sandi Toksvig is 'a perfect replacement.' Speaking on The Jonathan Ross Show, Alan said: 'Stephen is a big missing space. The main difference is that they've changed all the furniture because Stephen is nine feet tall and Sandi is [small]. She's literally on a plinth.' But, Davies added that they were 'very lucky to get' Sandi as host, saying: 'It's not an easy gig to take over and she is every bit as smart and sharp, and she was great with the guests and she's really on top of it all. We knew the first night we came out and the audience were all, "Qi lives, it's not dead!"' He added that Toksvig 'totally got Stephen's blessing because they're old friends. As we recorded the shows it was like a seamless transition and it was really enjoyable and a relief.' The feeling is, seemingly, mutual as Sandi recently praised Alan, saying: 'I'm very fond of him. It's possible I'm on the turn for Alan Davies! He's my new showbusiness husband.' Toksvig also revealed that Davies is far from the brain-dead glake he often portrays in Qi. She told ITV's Lorraine this week: 'He gets it. It's an act. I have to say he's one of the cleverest, most charming people I have ever worked with.' She said that her relationship with Davies would be different from the one that the Jonathan Creek actor previously had with Stephen Fry. 'He and I honestly have a little bit more of a love fest,' she said. 'I like him very much and what he brings to the show. It's that proper combination of entertainment and information.'
TV comedy line of the week, dear blog reader: Who knew that Shaun Ryder had untapped comedy potential? (Anyone who says: 'Me, I bought one of his records,' get out, now!) During an appearance on Would I Lie To You? on Friday, the former Happy Mondays and Black Grape singer got in a brilliant one-liner at the conclusion of Henning Wehn's (true) story about buying an empty box from Argos without realising it. Ryder suggested that as anyone who shops in Argos will know, their boxes tend to be surprisingly light at the best of times even if you're buying, like, a wardrobe or something. 'Are you an Argos man, Shaun?' asked Rob Brydon. 'I used to be,' he replied. 'Big time.' 'What stopped you?' 'Fame'! Yeah, that'll do it.
Henning also turned up immediately afterwards on BBC1 on another wonderful episode of Have I Got News For You. Which included - among numerous other highlights - Paul Merton's neat summation of how Donald Trump's week has gone: 'You can't help but feel that his opponents have been keeping these leaked and recorded messages back until they'd have maximum impact,' noted Paul, perceptively. 'There was another one just today about him making a remark about a ten-year-old girl on a escalator, "I'll be dating her in ten years time." His attitude towards women [seems] very much [like] his attitude towards the rest of humanity, I suppose. He's a dickhead! Does that answer the question?' 'His basic problem is he's confusing the role of President of America with [the role of a] 1970s light-entertainment comedian at the BBC,' added Ian Hislop, helpfully. 'The fact is everybody's tolerated him up to this moment and, suddenly, they've [all] said "Donald Trump. He's awful! How could we have told? He's been campaigning for months and months and we've never had any indication that he might be thoroughly ghastly in any number of ways. How were we to know? This is so unfair!"' 'Is it fair to judge someone on comments they made ten years ago?' asked host Stephen Mangan, rhetorically. 'This is surely just youthful hijinks from when he was, you know ... fifty nine.' 'He was even condemned by his own wife, which is pushing it,' added Ian. 'When the future First Lady says "no, he is appalling!"' 'To be fair, that was Michelle Obama's speech that she just stole!' deadpanned Mangan. But perhaps the best comment came from the show's other guest, Ruth Davidson MSP, who showed that even some Tories have a sense of humour. 'At what point was it not ludicrous that the presenter of The Apprentice in America could become the Commander-In-Chief? It's like sayings the presenter of Have I Got News For You could become Foreign Secretary ... Oh!' 'I'm sure that loyalty will be rewarded,' Hislop told her with the sort of look on his face that sharks usually give just before they bite someone in half. He also added that Hillary Clinton is, in fact, very lucky - she's not been a great candidate and hasn't had that good a campaign. In any other election she'd probably be about to go down for the final ten-count at this point but 'this week, Donald has, literally, trumped it by being the worst candidate ever recorded in electoral history. In any country. At any time. Ever. And, I'm including Vlad The Impaler's run!'
The Graham Norton Show has got some big guests lined-up for a few weeks' time including yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch. The Sherlock star will return to Graham's red sofa on the episode to be broadcast on BBC1 on 28 October 28 to promote his upcoming movie Doctor Strange.
Graham Norton is joining the presenting team for the BBC's 2016 Children In Need telethon following the death of long-time host Sir Terry Wogan. Norton will co-host the show alongside Tess Daly, Rochelle and Marvin Humes, Greg James and Ade Adepitan. Sir Terry fronted the broadcast every year from its first appearance in 1980. But he pulled out of last year's event due to ill health and died two months later. Chat show host Norton said it was 'a huge privilege' to step into Wogan's shoes. 'This year we'd love to raise as much money as we possibly can in honour of the late Sir Terry Wogan,' he said. It is the first time that Norton has appeared as a presenter on the appeal. Sir Terry was replaced by Dermot O'Dreary for the 2015 show. Strictly Come Dancing's Daly, who has previously presented the show, said that it was 'an honour and pleasure' to work on Children In Need again and 'make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people right here in the UK.' Former Paralympian Ade Adepitan said: 'When I was a kid, Children In Need had a fundraiser at Stoke Mandeville - I was playing wheelchair basketball there. They made me and all the other kids feel really special, the money raised helped to buy wheelchairs and gave my friends opportunities to play sport. It was also cool to think we might get on TV. So, to now be part of the presenting team is such an honour and so exciting. I can't wait - it's going to be an incredible night!' Rochelle Humes said that she would 'never forget the amazing experience of presenting Children In Need with Sir Terry Wogan.' Her husband, Marvin - who has previously appeared on the show with the boy-band JLS - said: 'I've always been a huge fan of Children In Need and have great memories of watching the night of TV growing up and of course, performing with the JLS boys.' Radio 1 DJ Greg James, also hosting for the first time, said: 'It's an honour to be hosting Children In Need this year. It does such great work and makes a huge difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.' The programme will be broadcast live on 18 November from the BBC's Elstree Studios. Director of BBC content Charlotte Moore said: 'I know the nation will dig deep and do the late Sir Terry Wogan proud with their generous fundraising.'
Will Young says that he is 'absolutely dandy' after leaving Strictly Come Dancing, stressing that his early exit is 'undramatic.' The singer announced on Tuesday of this week that he was leaving the popular BBC dancing competition after three live shows for 'personal reasons.' His dance partner Karen Clifton said that she is sad at his departure. Strictly will proceed as normal this weekend, with a third celebrity eliminated on Sunday. Young sent a text to BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show host Chris Evans after quitting the contest, which was read out on-air. It said: 'Here's the thing. I'm absolutely dandy, thanks. It's all very undramatic, really. I've done my statement and others can say what they want to say. I never read what they say anyway.' Young is only the fifth celebrity contestant to pull out of the show in its thirteen-year history. In his statement, the former Pop Idol winner said that he was leaving Strictly 'with joy in my heart that I have been able to take part in one of the most loved shows on British television.' He said: 'To be a part of Strictly has been a long time ambition of mine. As a performer, a viewer and a fan of the show, to dance as a contestant was an experience I always hoped for. I have made some great friends and am in awe of their performances week in, week out. I have found a creative partnership with Karen that has been the most wonderful thing to experience.' He promised to keep watching as a viewer and wished his fellow Strictly contestants 'much luck.' Young and Clifton came joint fourth on the leaderboard after last weekend's movie week episodes and the pair had been considered as among the early favourites to lift The Glitterball Trophy. They were due to dance the Viennese Waltz to 'Say Something' by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera on Saturday's show. Clifton said: 'I'm so sad that Will has decided to quit the show and I know it wasn't an easy decision for him. It was great dancing with him, he was such fun to work with and I wish him all the very best for the future.' Young had been criticised by Strictly's head judge Len Goodman for his dance not containing enough salsa elements during the movie week performance. When Young disagreed, he was advised to 'turn up, keep up and shut up' - but Goodman stressed this was 'only a joke' when a couple of national newspapers - with no supporting evidence whatsoever and with, obviously, no sick agenda smeared all over their scummish, disgusting faces whatsoever. Oh no, very hot water - suggested that it was this comment which had been behind Young's decision to leave. An alleged - though suspiciously anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - 'Strictly source' allegedly said there had been 'no falling out' between Goodman and Young. 'The pair have a lot of mutual respect for each other and had a laugh about what had happened backstage together when the show came off-air on Saturday evening,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said. Former contestants John Sergeant, Kelly Brook, Jimmy Tarbuck and Jade Johnson have previously withdrawn from the show. Tarbuck left in 2006 for health reasons, followed by actress and model Brook in 2007 after the death of her father. In 2008, journalist Sergeant said he felt there was 'a real danger' he might win the competition which would have been 'a joke too far' and Olympic long-jumper Johnson left the following year's competition after she tore a ligament in her knee. This year's series is to continue as planned with an elimination each week until the final. The contestants who have previously been voted off will not be returning. A BBC spokesman said of Young: 'The show fully respects his decision and wishes him all the best for the future.'
The BBC has defended Strictly Come Dancing after the departure of the second black contestant in as many weeks prompted accusations of 'racism.' Albeit, accusations made not by anyone that actually matters. Soap actor Tameka Empson left the show after losing a dance-off against TV presenter Laura Whitmore last weekend. They were in the bottom two after receiving the fewest viewer votes. Empson is the second of three black contestants in a starting line-up of fifteen to have left the show, in only the second week where viewers have been given a vote. Radio DJ Melvin Odoom left during the week after receiving the fewest public votes. His elimination was based on the voting figures alone after the usual dance-off was cancelled because of an injury sustained by the singer, Anastacia. Empson's departure left some fans 'alleging' that viewers had been 'racist.' David Barber - whoever he is - wrote on Twitter: 'Strictly voters at home show their racist leanings again. Two shows, two black dancers eliminated.' And, Matt Greer (no, me neither) wrote: 'Nothing shows how racist the UK is quite like Strictly.' But, student Emzie Langan (again, me neither) wrote: 'Those who think Strictly is racist because two black celebs have gone need to have a serious word with themselves. Idiots.' And, Robert Weaver (ditto) added: 'Is there a racist element to public vote on Strictly? We'll know for sure if Ore [Oduba] goes next week.' Quite why the Twitter views of these four individuals have become worthy of being reprinted in several national newspapers this week is, of course, another matter entirely. Because, whilst the Gruniad Morning Star might regard Twitter as 'The Sole Arbiter of The Worth Of All Things', it really isn't. The BBC - probably thoroughly pissed off that they were being quizzed about crap like this - pointed out that it was up to the voting public to ensure their favourite contestants stayed in the competition. 'Judges judge the dancing and the dancing alone, not anything else,' said a - one imagines, rather weary and disillusioned - spokeswoman, adding that in 'all except three' of the fourteen previous series of Strictly, the winner or runner-up was black or mixed-race. The complaints do not seem to have affected the show's popularity, either. The latest episode, which featured the former Labour MP Ed Balls dressed up as Jim Carrey in The Mask, attracted a peak overnight audience of 10.6 million, well above the 9.2 million overnight punters who watched the previous week and up a million from its first live show in September. The Daily Mirra columnist Fleet Street Fox - not his or her real name, one presumes - suggested that Odoom's departure 'suggested' that 'people are racist' rather than the BBC, a bit of a staggering claim to make, frankly. Three mixed-race contestants – Alesha Dixon, Mark Ramprakash and Louis Smith – have won the show in previous years and Colin Jackson, Denise Lewis and Simon Webbe are among six black or mixed-race contestants to have come second. In only three years – 2008, 2010 and 2015 – has there not been a single black or mixed-race dancer in the final as either winner or runner-up. An alleged BBC 'insider' allegedly said the programme's record in this regard was 'about as far from racist as you can get.' The initial vote from the judges put Empson in the middle of the leaderboard; she fell into the bottom two after her score was combined with viewers' votes. After the resulting dance-off, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman opted to keep Whitmore, while Darcey Bussell voted in Empson's favour. The main beneficiary from Empson and Odoom's poor performances in the public vote has been Mister Balls, who has twice overcome low scores from the judges. His banjo-strumming Charleston and his Samba performed as the character of The Mask were both ranked right at the bottom of the leaderboard by judges, but he avoided having to compete in a dance-off to keep his place on the show. The former Shadow Chancellor, who lost his seat in parliament last year, said that he found waiting to discover how Strictly viewers had voted more tense than the unveiling of results in a General Erection because contestants were not told who had won before it was announced in front of the cameras. 'No winks. No clues. Just a long wait, thinking we would probably have to dance our routine again. Which, for me, made the results even more tense than a General Election,' he wrote in the Radio Times. 'When candidates to be MPs stand on stage to hear the returning officer read out the votes, they've already been told the results backstage – and have had a few minutes to prepare. Twice I'd enjoyed the feeling of winning – at Normanton in 2005 and Morley and Outwood in 2010 – but in 2015 it was different. We were called in to a side room and the returning officer read out the votes in alphabetical order. No spotlight, no dramatic pauses. It was so close there was a recount (I eventually lost), so I had time to compose myself and think what I'd say live on national television.' However, Balls said that his experience of erection night stood him 'in good stead' to 'ride out the tension.' He added: 'Of course, a huge amount hangs on the result of a General Election. So when [dance partner] Katya asked me why I seemed so calm as we waited, I told her that I knew what it felt like to win and to lose, and there was nothing we could do about it.'
The BBC was able to strike a deal to keep showing the Olympics partly because US pay-TV giant Discovery 'feared a backlash' if it refused to share its rights to the games with the corporation. Discovery, the owner of Eurosport, struck a shock nine hundred and twenty million quid deal to take control of the rights to the Olympics from the BBC in the UK as well as across Europe from 2022. Discovery later struck a sub-licensing deal with the BBC as its free-to-air broadcasting partner in the UK; in turn the corporation allowed Eurosport to start broadcasting the Winter and Summer Olympics in the UK from next year. 'Yes, there was economics involved and yes, you can argue about the rights here and there [being aired free by Discovery in some European markets] but I don't think anyone at Discovery wanted to be the people that took the Olympics off the BBC,' said Peter Hutton, the chief executive of Eurosport, at a Broadcasting Press Guild event this week. 'We spend a lot of time looking after our brand. We want to be seen as someone who genuinely helps the sports industry and is positive to sports fans. You don't want to be associated with [negative] stories that make the sports viewing experience worse.' As part of the regulations of the International Olympic Committee, which auctions the rights to the Olympics, Discovery had to strike a deal to make hundreds of hours of Olympic coverage available on free-to-air TV. The company could have broadcast all of the Olympics on its own free-to-air channels, in Norway and Sweden it is doing just that, or in the UK could have looked at sub-licencing to ITV, Channel Four or Channel Five. But, it didn't. 'If you look at what we have done in Norway and Sweden for example, the plans are we show everything on our own channels, we have big free-to-air channels [there], that takes us down one direction,' said Hutton. 'You look at the UK and what the BBC have done with London in particular, that was an amazing achievement and success story for the Olympics [and] the BBC.' Hutton said the fact that keeping the Olympics with the BBC, which does not run adverts, instead of a commercial free-to-air partner was not made because it will mean that Eurosport will be the exclusive place companies can run advertising around Olympic events for the first time in the UK. 'Genuinely it was not a big factor,' he said. 'I think let's see where we go with our Olympic ad sales story. If you put it on the BBC, it is going to get a huge audience. Also [that means] putting it in a place people have always seen as the natural home of the Olympics.' Hutton said that under the IOC deal, Eurosport is allowed to start using the Olympic rings on its channel from 1 January next year. 'We will start putting Olympic-related content on the channel from that day,' he said. 'We are allowed to call ourselves "the home of the Olympics."' In February, Eurosport struck an exclusive deal with Jonathan Edwards to be its lead presenter fronting flagship sports programming including the Olympics. Asked if Eurosport intended to raid the BBC's presenting line-up for further big name talent to boost its Olympic coverage, Hutton claimed that they would not: 'I think with something like the Olympics it is really important to talk to the BBC and say "look, you do this, we'll do that" and create complementary coverage,' he said. 'There is no point going in there and being aggressive, that's a waste of effort.'
Gary Lineker has said that competition between broadcasters for sports rights is so intense that the BBC cannot take holding on to Match Of The Day for granted. The presenter told the IAB Engage Conference in London on Thursday that MOTD was 'incredibly strong,' but added: 'We are in a world of rights issues. You can't ever take things for granted. We lost rights before.' The BBC currently has a three-year Premier League highlights deal running until the end of the 2018-19 season worth two hundred and four million knicker. However, it is facing huge budget cuts, in part due to the government's decision to hand it the around seven hundred million smackers cost of paying for TV licences for the over-seventy fives. Lineker said that the corporation was being 'hamstrung' by the government, urged on by parts of the media with 'a vested interest' in seeing the BBC weakened. He added that he was 'unsure' whether he would be included in new rules requiring the BBC to reveal the pay of employees earning over one hundred and fifty thousand quid because he is 'not paid directly' by the corporation. 'It's just another one of the little agendas against the BBC that has been spiced up by the media,' he said. However, he added: 'If people have to know how much I earn, then people have to know.' Insisting that the UK didn't celebrate the BBC enough and that the corporation was 'under attack by a hostile media,' he said the fact that the licence fee was compulsory and paid by the everyone in the UK with a TV set meant life was 'far more difficult' for the corporation and those working for it. 'It's the one downside of working for the BBC is that the money comes from the licence fee. If it's Ant and Dec, no one cares, they earn vastly more than anyone at the BBC. It's kind of the bugbear. It's the thing you have to put up with. Perhaps it would be better if they put [the TV licence] up a bit and made it a choice.' Lineker also said that he wouldn't want to repeat his appearance on Match Of The Day in his underwear after promising to do so if his former club Leicester City won the Premier League. 'It was [a] fairly cringeworthy experience. I wouldn't like to do again,' he said. 'I did a stupid tweet which seemed safe at the time. I categorically knew at the time there was zero chance of Leicester winning [the league]. It went on to be quite possibly the biggest team sporting miracle of my lifetime.' He added that he was talking to Twitter about dealing with the huge number of people who respond to each of his tweets with references to an incident in which he 'shat himself' during a game at the 1990 World Cup. 'Twitter have just been in touch and might be able to help me on it,' he said. 'It's just evolved into this mad thing. I treat it as banter. I play on it myself occasionally, but it is quite difficult now responding to tweets. I don't look at general notifications now. It's a shame for the ones that make a serious point.'
So, dear blog reader, here be the final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Seven programmes, week-ending Sunday 9 October 2016:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 13.45m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.00m
3 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.51m
4 The Apprentice - Thurs BBC1 - 7.37m
5 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 7.18m
6 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.06m
7 Victoria - Sun ITV - 6.98m
8 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.50m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.35m
10 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 6.16m
11 Cold Feet - Mon ITV - 6.14m
12 Our Girl - Wed BBC1 - 5.62m
13 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.54m
14 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 -5.41m
15 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.35m
16 Ambulance - Tues BBC1 - 4.81m
17 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.77m
18 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.70m
19 World Cup 2018 Qualifier: England Versus Malta - Sat ITV - 4.64m
20 DCI Banks - Wed ITV - 4.48m
21 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.38m
22 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.34m
23 Paul O'Grady: For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.30m
24 Still Game - Fri BBC1 - 3.97m
25 Would I Live To You? - Fri BBC - 3.89m
26 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.78m
27 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 3.77m
These consolidated figures include all viewers who watched programmes live and on catch-up during the seven days after initial broadcast, but do not include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Don't blame me, pal, this blogger doesn't make the rules. Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday night results episode attracted 9.74 million punters whilst The X Factor's programme on the same evening had 7.16 million. The only other ITV shows to score a final and consolidated audience of more than three million were Paranoid (3.44 million), The Level (3.41 million) and The Chase: Celebrity Special (3.01 million). On BBC2, the latest episode of The Fall drew 3.17 million whilst University Challenge was watched by 2.81 million viewers and The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice ... Of Greed by 2.61 million. The last episode of the current series of Ripper Street was seen by 2.60 million and From The North favourite Only Connect by 2.40 million (MOnday being, once again, Beeb2's big night of the week). Wild West: America's Great Frontier drew 2.39 million punters whilst Gardeners' World had 2.24 million, The Great British Menu, 2.15 million and Mister Portaloo's Great Continental Railway Journeys, 2.02 million viewers. The return of The Apprentice: You're Fired was watched by 1.93 million. Hairy Bikers: Chicken & Egg attracted 1.90 million and Nature's Weirdest Events, 1.83 million. Mastermind was seen by 1.81 million viewers, A World Without Down's Syndrome by 1.50 million, the thoroughly excellent Boy George's 1970s: Save Me From Suburbia by 1.39 million and Sir Chris Hoy: Two Hundred Miles Per Hour At Le Mans by 1.33 million punters. The second episode of the hideous, rotten and wretchedly unfunny as an afternoon at the genital torturers Morgana Robinson's The Agency attracted an audience of somewhat less than 1.17 million punters and didn't make BBC2's top thirty list for the week. Good. This blogger is jolly glad about that, it makes him feel slightly less disillusionment about the rest of humanity. Gogglebox was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week with 3.26 million, followed by National Treasure (3.11 million), Speed With Guy Martin (2.52 million) and Z-List Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls (2.45 million). Grand Designs was seen by 2.32 million viewers, whilst Location, Location, Location had 2.10 million, The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.83 million, Hunted, 1.80 million and F1: Japanese Grand Prix Highlights, 1.73 million. The second episode of Damned was watched by 1.26 million and Nasty Penelope Keith's Horrible Hidden Villages attracted 1.13 million punters. Every single one of whom needs their bloody heads examining for watching risible tripe the likes of this. And, speaking of tripe, Channel Five's top performer was, Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! - with 1.93 million - ahead of The Yorkshire Vet (1.64 million), The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door (1.44 million), Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives (1.33 million punters) and GPs Behind Closed Doors (also 1.23 million). After those three weeks recently of not bothering to get their figures sent in, the Sky Sports channels again got their collective finger out and submitted their data to BARB for this week. On Sky Sports 1, coverage of the World Cup Qualifier between Wales and Georgia was watched by six hundred and two thousand viewers whilst Wales's previous game, in Austria three days earlier, drew three hundred and forty one thousand. Further World Cup malarkey, and Poor Bloody Scotland's piss-poor draw with Lithuania, attracted two hundred and ninety eight thousand - presumably, by the final whistle miserable as sin - Scotsmen to Sky Sports 2 whilst the England cricket team's victory in the first ODI against Bangladesh was seen by two hundred and sixty three thousand. Live Fight Night: Burns Versus Relikh had one hundred and seventy nine thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by two hundred and thirty one thousand on Sky Sports News HQ; a much lower figure than usual but, then, this wasn't a Premier League week. Having praised Sky for getting their shit together and supplying their figures for this week, however, it was notable that yet again this did not apply to Sky Sports F1. So, whilst this blogger would love to inform dear blog readers exactly how many punters watched the Japanese Grand Prix on the channel, he is unable to. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and forty three thousand viewers). Doc Martin was seen by five hundred and seventy thousand, It'll Be Alright On The Night by five hundred and thirty two thousand and the movie Carry On At Your Convenience by five hundred and twenty two thousand. Coverage of Live International Football: Italy Versus Spain (a very entertaining one-one draw) headed ITV4's weekly list with six hundred and twenty thousand viewers whilst When Football Changed Forever (And Much For The Worse), the story of the creation of the first Sky deal and the creation of the Premier League, attracted three hundred and four thousand. Benidorm had three hundred and one thousand and Car Crash Britain: Caught On Camera was watched by two hundred and sixty seven thousand viewers with, it would appear, nothing better to do with their time than watch CCTV footage and people getting seriously injured. Sort your shit out, people. Once again ITV2's most-watched broadcast was that worthless steaming infested shower of rancid poxy diarrhoea Celebrity Juice (watched by a staggeringly sad 1.30 million people, every single one of whom should be bloody well ashamed to show their faces in public after viewing so much as a second of this odious, smug, stinking nonsense). The movies Despicable Me and The Mask drew 1.17 million and six hundred and thirty one thousand respectively. The Xtra Factor Results had five hundred and sixty seven thousand viewers. Vera headed ITV Encore's top ten with sixty thousand viewers, ahead of DCI Banks which had fifty two thousand and Downton Abbey (forty six thousand). BBC4's list was topped by imported Scandi-noir drama Beck with seven hundred and eighty five thousand viewers, followed by Britain's Lost Masterpieces (five hundred and eighty nine thousand), The Natural World (five hundred and fifty one thousand), Capability Brown's Unfinished Garden (five hundred and eleven thousand) and The Incredible Story Of Marie Antoinette (five hundred and five thousand). Legends Of The Deep: Giant Squid drew four hundred and seventy six thousand and King Alfred & The Anglo-Saxons, four hundred and thirty nine thousand. The First World War was watched by four hundred and eleven thousand, Railways: The Making Of A Nation, three hundred and seventy three thousand and Timeshift: Wrestling's Golden Age, three hundred and seventy two thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by the latest episode of utterly worthless, unfunny, full-of-its-own-importance spew A League Of Their Own (seven hundred and forty three thousand), ahead of Hooten & The Lady (seven hundred and eight thousand) The Last Ship (five hundred and seventy four thousand), Mount Pleasant (four hundred and twenty six thousand), Zoo (four hundred and twenty five thousand) and The Simpsons (three hundred and forty six thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by the opening episode of Westworld (a staggering 1.84 million, by a distance the largest multichannels audience of the week and higher than anything broadcast on Channel Five all week). A repeat the same episode drew a further two hundred and seventy eight thousand three days later. The Night Of was seen by one hundred and sixty eight thousand and Last Night With John Oliver by one hundred and twenty seven thousand. The latest Game Of Thrones repeat was watched by one hundred and two thousand. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew five hundred and ten thousand, Shades Of Blue had four hundred and thirty two thousand, Nashville, three hundred and two thousand and Criminal Minds, one hundred and forty eight thousand viewers. Sky Arts' Carole King: A Musicares Tribute had fifty three thousand viewers whilst Legends In Concert: Dean Martin was seen by forty three thousand. 5USA's Chicago PD was watched by five hundred and twenty seven thousand viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles attracted four hundred and ninety seven thousand, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour, four hundred and twenty four thousand, Castle, three hundred and ninety thousand and NCIS, three hundred and twenty five thousand. NCIS also topped CBS Action's list (ninety five thousand) and featured in the top-tens of FOX (one hundred thousand) and The Universal Channel (one hundred and forty two thousand). FOX's most watched programmes were American Horror Story (four hundred and forty eight thousand), Wolf Creek (one hundred and eighty eight thousand), Tyrant (one hundred and sixty six thousand) and Family Guy (one hundred and twenty three thousand). The Universal Channel's list was headed by Major Crimes with three hundred and twenty four thousand, Private Eyes, two hundred and nineteen thousand and Motive, one hundred and eighty three thousand. On Dave, the eleventh series of the cult favourite Red Dwarf continued with 1.14 million viewers. Taskmaster was the second highest-rated programme with seven hundred and forty six thousand punters. No, this blogger has no idea why either. That was followed by Dara O Briain's Go Eight Bit (five hundred and seventy two thousand) and Qi XL (three hundred and thirty five thousand) and the Steven Seagal action thriller Hard To Kill (three hundred and thirty one thousand). The latest episode of Drama's repeat run of New Tricks was watched by four hundred and forty eight thousand viewers. Death In Paradise had four hundred and twenty seven thousand, followed by Rebus (four hundred and nine thousand viewers), Dalziel & Pascoe (three hundred and eighty thousand), Silent Witness (three hundred and forty three thousand) and Father Brown (three hundred and twenty nine thousand). Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rizzoli & Isles (four hundred and eighty eight thousand), followed by Rosewood (three hundred and nine thousand), Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour (one hundred and nineteen thousand), Lie To Me (one hundred and eighteen thousand) and Death In Paradise (one hundred and nine thousand). Yesterday's 'Allo 'Allo repeat run was seen by three hundred and nine thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Fast 'N Loud's latest series continued with one hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers. Gold Divers (with that bloody annoying woman in it) drew one hundred and sixteen thousand whilst Marooned With Ed Stafford was seen by one hundred and nine thousand and Taking Fire by one hundred and three thousand. Discovery History's Egypt Unwrapped topped the weekly-list with thirty two thousand viewers. Hitler (Who Only Had One): A Profile had twenty nine thousand and Bloody Britain, twenty four thousand. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was seen by sixty six thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was, as usual Wheeler Dealers (forty eight thousand viewers). Indeed, nine of the top ten programmes of the week on the channel were episodes of the popular car renovation show. The only programme not to feature yer actual Mike and Edd his very self was an episode of Kindig Customs (thirty four thousand). National Geographic's list was headed by Wicked Tuna which had ninety six thousand viewers and Car SOS (sixty four thousand). Science Of Stupid was watched by fifty two thousand. The History Channel's top-ten list was headed by Barbarians Rising (two hundred and fifty four thousand). Ice Road Truckers was seen by one hundred and twenty four thousand and The Bastard Executioner attracted an audience of one hundred and twenty thousand. On Military History, Ancient Aliens was watched by thirty nine thousand and Search For The Lost Giants by thirty four thousand. Murder On CCTV, Deadly Women and Swamp Murders were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with sixty one thousand viewers, fifty nine thousand and forty four thousand murder-lovers respectively). Robbie Coltrane's Critical Evidence, The First Forty Eight and Homicide Hunter headed CI's list (one hundred and seventy five thousand, eighty thousand and seventy one thousand respectively). Crimes That Shook Britain drew forty nine thousand. GOLD's repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys drew two hundred and ninety nine thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and sixty eight thousand). Your TV's Unusual Suspects had fifty five thousand viewers whilst National Enquirer Investigates drew fifty three thousand. On More4, Sarah Beeny's Four Rooms was the highest-rated programme with three hundred and sixty eight thousand. My Floating Home attracted three hundred and sixty five thousand punters, Hitler: The Rise & Fall, three hundred and sixty thousand, Come Dine With Me, three hundred and fifty six thousand and Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown by three hundred and seventeen thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoakes drew 1.10 million viewers. The Horror Channel's broadcast of Wilderness attracted one hundred and seventy nine thousand. Their top-ten list for the week also included Eden Lake (one hundred and sixty six thousand), The Devil's Playground (seventy eight thousand thousand) and an episode of Land Of the Giants (fifty eight thousand). Killjoys, headed Syfy's top-ten with one hundred and seventy eight thousand whilst Daylight's End had one hundred and fifty seven thousand. The Life Of Mammals and Deadly Sixty were both watched by forty four thousand viewers and thirty thousand on Eden respectively. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with sixty nine thousand. On W, MasterChef Australia was seen by three hundred and twelve thousand. John Bishop In Conversation With Freddie Flintoff attracted three hundred thousand punters. On Spike, The X-Files was watched by one hundred and forty nine thousand. Say Yes To The Dress was seen by one hundred and fifty nine thousand people who really do need to have a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror on TLC. The Vault's Saved By The Bell drew fourteen thousand punters. Irelanad's Country attracted an audience of twenty two thousand on Irish TV. Baggage Battles was seen by sixty five thousand on the Travel Channel.

As noted above, Westworld has become Sky Atlantic's most successful new series debut, eclipsing both Game Of Thrones and Fortitude in its first week. A total of 1.84 million people have watched the SF series since its launch on 4 October. The previous biggest series premiere on the channel, Fortitude, drew 1.74 million in its first week and episode one of Game Of Thrones was seen by 1.45 million. Westworld is set in a hedonistic theme park populated by lifelike androids and is based on the 1973 movie of the same name by Michael Crichton. The remake boasts an all-star cast, including Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright and Sidse Babett Knudsen and counts Star Trek and Star Wars: Force Awakens director JJ Abrams among its executive producers. The show has also been a hit in the US, providing HBO with the largest premiere audience since the first series of True Detective with 3.3 million viewers across all devices. It has also received a largely positive critical response on both sides of the Atlantic and was described by the Gruniad Morning Star as 'a seamless marriage of western and dystopian sci-fi corporate thriller.' This blogger rather enjoyed the first episode as it happens. However, in an indication of how rapidly viewing habits are changing, the bulk of Westworld's viewers tuned in after it was first broadcast either recorded or on-demand, with just four hundred and fifty thousand punters watching live. The total number of viewers for Westworld in the first week is likely to increase further as Sky's Now TV and and Sky Go app are not included in the initial catch-up figures. In contrast, almost half of those who watched the first ever episode of Game Of Thrones in 2011 did so on launch night, while seven hundred and twenty two thousand watched Fortitude live when it began in January 2015. Sky Atlantic director Zai Bennett said: 'With an A-list cast, incredible visual effects and a storyline that gets you immediately hooked, it's great to see that so many of our customers are enjoying Westworld as much as we are.' All of which may very well be true but, let's remember, Bennett is the prat who, when he was in charge of BBC3, thought it was a good idea to cancel Ideal whilst, when was the big boss groove at ITV2, commissioned one of Kerry Katona's worthless reality TV formats. So you know, if Zai Bennett said black was darker than white, this blogger would be asking for a second opinion. Though the launch of Westworld will prove heartening for Sky, it still has some way to go before it proves it can become a successor to Game Of Thrones, which is due to end in 2018 after two more series. The finale of the sixth series of the popular adult fantasy drama was watched by 3.6 million viewers in the week after it broadcast and the series, as a whole, averaged around five million viewers per episode once viewing on all platforms has been taken into account.
BBC2 has commissioned a second series of Robot Wars in its rebooted format. The show sees inventors pitting their robots against each other, as well as having to avoid the more powerful 'house robots.' The series in its new format was first shown earlier this year and was made in Glasgow. Mentorn Scotland has been re-commissioned to make the second six-part series. Dara O Briain and Angela Scanlon will return as hosts. Robot Wars was first broadcast by the BBC from 1998 to 2002. Before the reboot, the series was last broadcast from 2003 to 2004 on Channel Five.
Yer actual Mark Gatiss has said that cult comedy The League Of Gentlemen may return after more than a decade - with a Brexit theme. Gatiss was a co-creator of the anarchic BBC2 show, which ended in 2002, alongside Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Speaking on BBC Radio 6Music he said: 'We've talked seriously about doing something, we're not quite sure what it is yet but we'd love to do something. I wonder if there is something Brexity in us that we can do,' he added. The League Of Gentlemen ran for three series on BBC2. A 2005 feature film called The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse was also made. The comedy originated as a stage show. Its surreal sketches were set in and around the fictional town of Royston Vasey and the local shop, owned by Edward and his wife Tubbs, would only serve 'local people.' Gatiss told 6Music's Radcliffe & Maconie Show that people 'still shout catchphrases' from the series at him. He also expressed surprise at finding the show had acquired a new, younger fanbase. 'It's very reassuring and slightly alarming, to realise that the fifteen-year-olds who ask you about it have come to it from YouTube. They are freshly minted fans,' he said. He also said the Brexit idea had come to him when thinking Britain had 'become a local country for local people.' The League Of Gentlemen earned Gatiss and his colleagues a BAFTA Television Award, a Royal Television Society Award and the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux. Shearsmith and Pemberton reunited in 2009 to create a similarly dark BBC sitcom, Psychoville, which featured an episode guest-starring Gatiss but was cancelled after two series. Gatiss also plays Mycroft Holmes in BBC drama Sherlock, which he co-created with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and he has written for, and appeared in, Doctor Who.
The actress Faye Marsay has been forced to quit social media after admitting she got 'a lot of shit' over her part in Game Of Thrones. Because some morons can't tell the difference between actors and their characters, apparently. Marsay played the stick-waving assassin in the fifth and sixth seasons of Game Of Thrones. Faye has now quit Facebook after receiving some online hate. Speaking at a press conference this week, the actress revealed her dislike of social media since taking on the role, adding that some people want to know a little bit too much. She said: 'I got a lot of shit after Game Of Thrones but people were also really nice. I've had people trying to figure out who I'm in a relationship with and all that shit.' The actress is also starring in Charlie Brooker's latest series of Black Mirror in an episode called Hated In The Nation. It will focus on the issue of online trolls, which Faye admitted is something that terrifies her. 'I was a teenager in the 1990s. I didn't get a mobile phone until I was fifteen, so for me, this shit scares me as well,' she said. 'I remember the nineties and nothing was that intrusive.' She added: 'I've just come off Facebook three days ago. But I'll go to check it and be like, "fucking hell, I'm not on that anymore" and thank God I'm not. It's terrifying, social media.'
Eight Out Of Ten Cats is coming back to Channel Four with two new team captains in the form of Rob Beckett and Aisling Bea. And spin-off Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown is is also returning with a further eighteen episodes on Channel Four being commissioned. Jimmy Carr will be hosting the Countdown edition, with team captains Sean Lock and Jon Richardson. Guests on the upcoming series will include David Walliams, Catherine Tate, Noel Fielding, Claudia Winkleman and Richard Ayoade. Other confirmed guests include Roisin Conaty, Lee Mack, Joe Wilkinson, Isy Suttie, Russell Howard, Bob Mortimer, Jessica Hynes and Victoria Coren Mitchell and David Mitchell (though, whether they'll be in the same episode is not yet known).
Last year's The Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain, has signed a deal to make the BBC her home. It follows widespread - if, seemingly, ill-informed - media speculation that she could be involved in The Great British Bake Off when the hit programme moves from the BBC to Channel Four. Hussain said that she will now continue to make films for The ONE Show and develop 'other exciting programme ideas.' The BBC said that details of her new programmes would be announced 'in the near future.' There have been reports that the BBC is planning a new show to rival Bake Off when it switches channels. In September Hussain fronted the well-received two-part The Chronicles Of Nadiya on BBC1, while in August it was announced that she will judge a junior version of Bake Off on CBBC. She recently said that she had received 'no offers' from Channel Four to join their version of Bake Off when it moves in 2017 or 2018. In a statement, she said: 'Since winning The Great British Bake Off I've been lucky to have had some amazing opportunities with the BBC. I believe that making it my home gives me the scope to work across such a unique range of diverse and interesting projects. I'm delighted to announce that I will continue making films for The ONE Show, as well as developing other exciting programme ideas. I never thought this would happen, but it is and I have to admit, I'm going to embrace it.' Charlotte Moore, the director of BBC content, described Hussain as 'an exciting new talent,' adding that it had been 'great watching her thrive creatively since she won Bake Off last year.' She continued: 'She has a refreshingly authentic voice, great warmth and charisma and a natural ability to connect with audiences. I'm really looking forward to exploring new territories and perspectives with her.' The current series of Bake Off will be its final run on the BBC after its production company Greed Productions got their greed right on and signed a three-year deal with Channel Four. Paul Hollywood will move with it to Channel Four, but fellow judge Mary Berry and hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have opted to leave the show and remain with the BBC. A Channel Four spokeswoman said that no one else had yet been approached about presenting or judging roles. 'As we have previously stated Channel Four has not made any approaches about roles on the show,' the spokeswoman claimed. One or two people even believed her.

Emmerdale will not face an investigation over whinges that a storyline about dognapping could 'inspire copycat crimes,' the TV regulator has said. Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - received more than five hundred and fifty whinges (from, one imagines, people with nothing better or more constructive to do with their time than whinge about nonsense like this) across two episodes of the ITV soap at the end of September. In these, the characters of Charity Dingle and Ross Barton plotted to steal a dog and ransom it back to its owner. Which wouldn't be very nice if it had happened in real life but, in case you hadn't noticed, Emmerdale is fiction. You know, made up stuff. The half-baked and ridiculous plan eventually backfired, wit hilarious consequences, as the pair ended up cowering atop a climbing frame from a particularly vicious rottweiler. Some viewers - or, let us be really charitable and call them stupid bloody planks with sludge for brains instead - whinged that the on-screen plot 'could' encourage others to attempt their own dognappings. Quite why it should do that, or anything even remotely like it, they didn't state, although one imagines their argument would be similar to those put forward by idiots who claim that violence on television causes violence in viewers, seemingly under the belief that human beings are little more than Pavlov's dogs who simply react to stimuli. As has been noted elsewhere, there is also much comedy on TV and in films, does exposure to that cause jokes in the street? The Charity Dog Theft Action said on Twitter that it had written to the programme's producers over the storyline, which it described as 'irresponsible.' However, Ofcom slapped down such arrant nonsense and whinging and said that the fact the characters were 'clearly not role models' and that the scheme 'had failed' made it 'unlikely' that it would 'encourage copycats.' A n Ofcom spokesman said: 'We received a number of complaints about the risk that a storyline involving an attempted theft of a dog could encourage similar behaviour. We found that the scenes were not likely to condone or encourage people to attempt dog theft, taking into account the dramatic context and that the characters involved were clearly not role models. It was clear to viewers they were behaving in a morally questionable manner and the attempt to capture a dog failed.' Tragically, they did not take this opportunity to publish the names and addresses of the five hundred and fifty individuals who had wasted Ofcom's valuable time with this nonsense and, hopefully, shame them publicly for being such a bunch of daft glakes. An opportunity missed, one could suggest. However, let us once again stand up and salute the utter blithering crap that some people chose to care about. The episodes of Emmerdale were broadcast a month after the soap attracted further stupid whinges over a joke some believed 'could' be offensive to the disabled. A scene in which the characters Dan Spencer and Nicola King were drinking saw King suggest that Spencer looked 'like you've got that, what is it? Himi, Hemi, Hemiplegia,' which refers to the paralysis of one side of the body, usually following a stroke. Ofcom received forty three whinges about that episode, but decided not to investigate. The regulator said at the time: 'While the remarks could have had the potential to offend some viewers, after careful assessment we decided that, in the context of the programme, the remarks were not derogatory about people with hemiplegia.'
The BBC has hit back against a renewed attack on what the Daily Scum Mail has described as its 'Brexit bias' by pointing out that its EU coverage has been criticised by both sides of the debate. Sadly, they didn't take the opportunity to tell the Daily Scum Mail to go back to supporting Oswald Mosley and Hitler like they did in the 1930s. The Scum Mail - which, of course, has absolutely no disgraceful shit-scum sick agenda in this regard - accused the BBC on Thursday of 'reverting to its Europhile roots with a-vengeance,' using a double-page spread to report calls from the backbench MP Peter Bone - another scumbag of quite obscene proportions with a sick agenda smeared all over his ugly face - to 'probe the BBC over Brexit bias' and list 'how the BBC spins the great debate.' Right-wing MPs, they love 'probing' things. Until, of course, they're the subject of the probe in question - then, they're not so keen. Although the BBC declined to respond officially, alleged 'insiders'allegedly told the Gruniad Morning Star that it would be 'odd' for the BBC's guidelines to 'adopt the same editorial stance' as the right-wing scumbag paper and emphasised that the corporation's coverage was 'subject to attack' from both Remain and Leave supporters. The BBC journalists Justin Webb, Eddie Mair and John Simpson have suggested in recent weeks that 'not enough was done' by the broadcaster to 'interrogate' the sometimes outlandish claims made during the referendum campaign by the Leavers. However, the director of news, James Harding, wrote in the Observer last month: 'The BBC's job is not to preside over the democratic process – it is to report, to host the argument and to interrogate the participants. We aim to inform our audiences, not seek the approval of politicians or pundits. The fundamental charge – that BBC reporting resulted in a false balance in which fanciful claims got the same billing as serious insights – is not true.' The views of Webb, Simpson and others were 'given some support' by Cardiff University research last week, the Gruniad claim. This research allegedly 'found that impartiality was interpreted as providing equal say for both sides rather than in-depth scrutiny by experts or commentators.' The research also found that the BBC, along with other broadcasters, was guilty not so much of bias but of failing to sufficiently challenge the statistics. Cardiff's analysis of five hundred and seventy one reports during the referendum found that just over one in five statistics used were challenged either by a journalist, campaigner or other source. But most of this questioning – sixty five per cent – was carried out by rival politicians, with seventeen per cent of statistical claims challenged by journalists. Stephen Cushion, the director of the university's MA in political communication programme, wrote in the New Statesman: 'This left little space for more independent sources with expert knowledge to verify claims, or put statistics in context. In relying so heavily on campaigners without journalistic arbitration or seeking expert opinion, viewers were often left with little more than a statistical tit-for-tat between rival camps.' Such findings were echoed by many in the Remain camp who were frustrated by an apparent inability to attack what they considered to be 'lies.' Cardiff's research covered the main evening 10pm bulletin on ITV, Sky News, Channel Four and Five as well as the BBC. It also found that a focus on Conservatives on both sides of the debate tended to promote Tory campaign themes, such as the importance of free trade to the British economy, rather than more traditionally Labour concerns, such as safeguarding employment rights. Cushion claimed that the Conservative dominance meant the 'spirit' of the EU’s argument, which encouraged journalists to find 'a broad balance of arguments,' was not followed. A BBC spokesman said: 'BBC News is covering events following the referendum vote and the impact of sterling's revaluation in a responsible and impartial way – we have reported on the upsides as well as downsides and other key economic indicators, like the FTSE's strength, consumer confidence and manufacturing and services sectors rebounding.'
BBC presenters have apologised after the broadcaster's Breakfast programme showed footage of a gorilla instead of Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Which, to be fair, was really funny. The BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty was telling viewers that they would be joined by Wee Jimmy Krankie later in the programme when footage of the gorilla which escaped from its enclosure at London Zoo was shown on-screen.
Her co-presenter, a horrified Charlie Stayt, promptly shat in his own pants and quickly - just that bit too quickly, as it happened - apologised for the 'mistake.' He said: 'I'm sorry, we have very clearly run the wrong pictures over that particular sequence, my apologies there.' Very clearly. 'The story we will be talking about later, as you probably guessed by the pictures, is about the escaped gorilla at London Zoo.' Kumbuka the silverback gorilla escaped at on Thursday afternoon but was caught and returned to his den about an hour later after being tranquillised before he could run amok. Kumbuka was said to be 'completely wild.' Wild? Y'bugger, this blogger would've been livid. Thank you, thank you, dear blog readers, Keith Telly Topping is here all week.
Netflix's upcoming series The Crown will chronicle the younger years of a female monarch who suddenly ascends to the throne after the death of a male relative. That sounds rather a lot like ITV's recent Victoria, does it not? Well, not according to The Crown producer Andrew Eaton, who had some spikily harsh words for the popular Jenna Coleman series. 'The scale and ambition of what we were doing is just so much greater,' he claimed, rather snootily if truth be told. 'There were certain things that we were very keen to avoid, the worst being "soapy" at all. I think there's a little bit more historical licence on Victoria, where they're sort of happy to do that, just to bring people in.' Oooo. Get her. And when it comes to comparisons between Victoria's writer, Daisy Goodwin and The Crown's Peter Morgan, Eaton didn't hold back either. 'I just don't think Daisy Goodwin's anything like the same league as Peter Morgan as a writer,' he sneered. Full of his own importance, this bloke, by the sound of things. You can be the judge for yourself whether his strutting arrogance is justified when The Crown uploads its first ten episodes on Netflix on 4 November. The series stars yer actual Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth, with Matt Smith his very self playing Prince Philip and John Lithgow cast as Winston Churchill. Meanwhile, Victoria will return to ITV for a second series – and a Christmas special in 2017. 'There's obviously a great amount of potential, we've covered in series one the first three years of her reign,' Jenna Coleman told the Digital Spy website recently. 'We end the series with the first birth and that's the first of nine children to come. It's a story waiting to be told. We've not even got to The Great Exhibition, there's a lot to cover.'
The very excellent John Oliver once again offered a searing critique of Donald Trump on Last Week Tonight earlier this week – not for Trump's performance during the second presidential debate (Oliver taped the show prior to its live broadcast), but for the Republican nominee's crass and vulgar comments about women which continue to emerge and continue to threaten to derail his campaign. 'Yes, that is audio of Donald Trump in 2005 telling a giggling Billy Bush that one of the perks of fame is that he can grab women's genitalia without permission,' Oliver said after playing the 2005 recording of the billionaire bragging about attempting to 'fuck' married women and 'grab [their] pussy.' 'Since [last week], we have sunk so low we are breaking through the Earth's crust where drowning in boiling magma will come as sweet, sweet relief.' Oliver also went in on Bush, who has been suspended from NBC's Today show as a result of the release of the video. The former Access Hollywood host was seen in the clip sniggeringly encouraging Trump's lewd behaviour, at one point telling actor Arianne Zucker to 'choose between me and The Donald.' 'Fuck Billy Bush! Fuck that guy!' Oliver raged. 'It is gross enough that he's serving as Donald Trump's hug-pimp, but let's not gloss over the fact that he just said: "How about a little hug for The Bushy," a phrase that, if it's not already, should be a felony offence in all fifty states.' As for Trump's rambling late-night non-apology apology, during which he attempted to dismiss his sexist comments as mere 'locker room talk' and said that his words 'don't reflect who I am,' Oliver said: 'They could not capture his essence more if they were spoken by a spray-tanned Furby eating KFC and screaming at a Gold Star family.' Oliver didn't have any kinder words for the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, who has denounced Trump's remarks by releasing a statement saying: 'Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.' 'Championed and revered? You do know that women are human beings and not pedigreed show dogs, right?' Oliver said. 'You hope he works to demonstrate respect for women? What are you talking about? It's too late in absolutely every way. First, it's October of an election year and, second, he's fucking seventy!' Oliver also criticised John McCain, despite the senator's decision to publicly state he would no longer vote for Trump in wake of the controversy ('He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences'). Trump 'alone does not bear the burden of his conduct, because he alone did not make himself your party's nominee,' responded Oliver. 'All of you have consistently supported him through some absolutely heinous shit. In his very first campaign speech, he called Mexicans "rapists", and that was just the beginning. All of you still thought he should be president,' Oliver said, taking aim at the GOP leadership in general. 'So, the only way you get to be shocked and outraged now is if you were cryogenically frozen until Friday afternoon and that Access Hollywood tape was the first thing you saw upon being reanimated. Anything less than that, and this is on you too.' Oliver concluded by reiterating what Hillary Clinton argued in the debate: that the contents of the video are 'entirely in character' for Trump. Oliver warned that Trump 'isn't going anywhere,' even as GOP members flee his ticket. 'This is happening,' Oliver said. 'And, in a way, perhaps we have been always heading towards this historic moment. The first female presidential nominee versus the human embodiment of every backwards, condescending, Mad Men-esque boys' club attitude that has ever existed, rolled into one giant, salivating dick-size-referencing, pussy-grabbing warthog in a red power tie. I'll put it this way: if American democracy is a computer game, and Hillary is completing women's one hundred-year quest to get to The Oval Office, it kind of makes sense that this would be the final boss.'
The frightful full-of-his-own-importance horrorshow (and drag) Eamonn Holmes has bid farewell to Sky News breakfast programme, Sunrise after eleven years. But his exit came to a rather abrupt end when he was cut off mid-sentence, while he was hugged by fellow presenters Nazaneen Ghaffar, Isabel Webster, and Jacquie Beltrao. Somebody at Sky was happy to see the back of him, it would appear. Would that the odious Holmes could be cut off mid-sentence every time he appears on my TV; what a much more pleasant world that would be. Sky Sports' Sarah-Jane Mee will be the new permanent anchor for Sunrise, with Sky News senior correspondent Jonathan Samuels co-hosting.
Dave has announced series four of Crackanory, the anthology story series for adults. Famous faces appearing in the new series include Mel Giedroyc, Sheridan Smith, Anna Friel, Dara O Briain, Bob Mortimer, Mackenzie Crook, Miriam Margolyes and Doc Brown. Unlike previous years, there will only be one celebrity narrator per episode as opposed to two. Previous Crackanory narrators have included Christopher Lloyd, Carrie Fisher, Sue Perkins and the late Rik Mayall.
The BBC is to make about three hundred of its programme-makers redundant as its four hundred million knicker production arm prepares to be spun off in a separate unit and the prospect of losing shows such as Songs Of Praise to the commercial sector. The Gruniad Morning Star says that 'it is understood' the cuts 'are across the board,' covering drama, comedy, entertainment and factual and represents a reduction of more than ten per cent of the two thousand current staff. The move follows the BBC's plan to spin off the bulk of its in-house programme-makers into a new commercial subsidiary called BBC Studios. In addition, some of its shows such as Songs Of Praise and Holby City are being put to tender to the independent sector, with – under the terms of the government's draft new charter for the BBC – the rest to follow over the next decade. In return, BBC Studios will be allowed to become commercial next year and make shows for other broadcasters. The shake-up is one of the biggest changes to the BBC in its ninety three-year history and the three redundancies may not be the last. BBC Studios is currently a separate division of the corporation but is due to become a wholly-owned subsidiary next April, subject to the approval of the BBC Trust by the end of this year. 'There are concerns internally,' the Gruniad claims, 'about the future of BBC Studios staff as there is currently no guarantee about what will happen to their terms and conditions if shows they work on are won by the independent sector.' Nor are there, yet, details of a guarantee that BBC Studios will not be, one day, sold off. The BBC has a history of spinning off parts of the corporation, such as BBC Resources and then selling them off. One alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - 'insider' allegedly said: 'We thought there would be redundancies but this is still sad for those of us who have been making shows for the BBC for so long.' The BBC's in-house arm, BBC Studios, is also able to bid to make the programmes but will have to compete 'on the same terms' with commercial producers as part of Director General Tony Hall's new 'compete or compare' strategy, which may, with the BBC's generous conditions on things like pension costs, sometimes put it at a disadvantage. BECTU general secretary, Gerry Morrissey, said that the union was 'expecting cuts' but wants the BBC to ensure staff are looked after: 'The new system makes it very difficult for in-house to compete with independents and we want a level-playing field created for them.' It is understood, according again to the Gruniad if not anyone that matters, that the corporation wants BBC Studios to 'become more like the rest of the television industry' and 'become more flexible.' Therefore, some staff will be retained whilst others may be put on fixed contracts affiliated to individual shows. One alleged 'source' allegedly said that because of cuts to the licence fee and savings having to be made by the corporation, the BBC's programme-making arm 'would have been affected by redundancies anyway.' Whether this alleged 'source' is the same as the first, alleged 'insider' the Gruniad doesn't say. But, they neglect to actually name the one, or two, alleged 'sources' so we can probably presume that, in act, neither exists and the Gruniad have just made them up. BBC Studios director Mark Linsey said: 'A strong, creative and competitive BBC Studios is crucial to maintaining the BBC's role as one of the world's great programme makers – and we are committed to delivering the best content in all our genres. These plans will ensure we can compete successfully in the future.' The news comes just a day after it emerged that BBC Studios will not have to reveal the pay of the corporation's highest paid staff in an apparent climbdown by the government. Lord Ashton, the parliamentary under secretary of state for culture media and sport, told a Lords debate on Wednesday evening that BBC Studios would not have to carry out 'full named disclosure.' The plans were expected to affect one hundred and nine on-air staff working across the BBC, including the likes of Gary Lineker, Chris Evans and Graham Norton and journalists including Nick Robinson and Laura Kuenssberg. However, those working for programmes that will transfer to Studios, mainly drama and entertainment, will now be exempt from this malarkey.
A Sky shareholder has called for James Murdoch The Small to be extremely replaced as chairman, arguing that his appointment 'breached the corporate governance code' and is 'a major conflict of interest' because he is the chief executive of its biggest shareholder, Twenty First Century FOX. Royal London Asset Management, which owns fifty two million knicker in Sky shares, said that shareholders needed 'an independent chairman' and criticised the process by which Murdoch The Small was appointed at the beginning of the year. Murdoch The Small, a non-executive director at Sky, was the only candidate put forward by its nominations committee to take over from the then chairman, Nick Ferguson. Murdoch The Small had been forced to stand down as chairman of Sky in 2012 after the phone-hacking scandal at News International, publisher of the Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, where he had been chairman. Piers Hillier, the chief investment officer at Royal London, said: 'We continue to believe that James Murdoch's reappointment as chairman of Sky is inappropriate.' Hillier was speaking as Sky held its annual general meeting at the company's Osterley campus in West London on Thursday. 'Should FOX make a bid for Sky, investors need a strong, independent chairman to protect the interests of minority shareholders and negotiate the best possible deal,' he added. Murdoch The Small was appointed by a three-man committee of Sky directors, including the Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive, Martin Gilbert, now the Sky deputy chairman and the independent director Dave Lewis, the chief executive of Tesco, who will stand down from the board after Thursday's shareholder meeting. Murdoch The Small was then, unanimously, voted in as chairman by his eleven fellow board members, six of whom are 'independent' directors. 'No attempts were made to advertise the position externally, or appoint an agency, which goes against the UK corporate governance code,' Hillier said. Broadcasting regulator Ofcom heavily criticised Murdoch The Small's conduct in handling the phone-hacking scandal, saying it 'repeatedly fell short' of what was expected of a chairman. The lack of culture select committee, then chaired by the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale, also weighed in, concluding that Murdoch The Small had showed 'wilful ignorance' of phone-hacking. Murdoch The Small is the chief executive of Twenty First Century FOX, which has a thirty nine per cent stake in Sky. News International, which was rebranded News UK in 2013, is part of News Corp, the newspaper company founded by Murdoch's father, billionaire tyrant Rupert. The FOX TV, film and entertainment business was spun out of News Corp as a separately listed company in 2013. The Murdoch family was forced to give up on an eight billion smackers-plus News Corp bid to take full control of Sky in 2011 as the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal made it 'too politically difficult' to complete. Which was funny. The UK corporate governance code is not legally binding and companies only have to 'comply or explain.' Sky decided against 'informing or consulting' shareholders about the appointment of Murdoch The Small, although there is no legal corporate governance requirement to do so. In the four years since he moved into a non-executive directorship, investors have never voted against his reappointment at an annual general meeting.
Anna Friel has been extremely ordered to remove or rebuild an extension to her Grade II-listed house in Windsor. Or face the consequences. Whatever they are. The Brookside and Marcella star reportedly built a one-storey extension on the back of her home in Kings Road. But, Windsor council said that it had not been built 'in line with the planning permission granted in 2014' and its 'requests for changes' had been 'ignored.' A building enforcement notice has been issued by the local authority giving naughty Anna Friel three months to comply or face then sending the boys round with bulldozers and hammers and shit. Probably. Windsor Urban Development Control Panel chairman Malcolm Alexander said that naughty Anna Friel was 'very well respected' (plus, he thought she was great in Pushing Daisies) but the council could not treat her differently from any other resident. Well, they could, but they weren't going to. In a statement, the actress said that she wanted to apologise to the panel and took their demands seriously. She also claimed that she had been 'led astray by older boys' and begged the council not to cane her. Allegedly. She added: '[I] want to reassure the necessary authorities that any final cosmetic requirements that need to be undertaken, will be done within the allocated remedy period.' Alexander said: 'We have had months and months and months of negotiation and persuasion, that has all just been ignored. It is very unfortunate, she is a very well respected and high profile resident. But we have to be consistent, we can't make exceptions.' For he is Urban Development Control Panel chairman and he is The Law.
Harry Hill - remember him? He used to be funny - has suggested that he ended TV Burp 'at the right time,' because it was 'starting to go downhill.' Yeah, it was. Harry returned to TV this weekend with his new Sky show Harry Hill's Tea-Time and admitted that he 'doesn't have any choice' about it being compared to TV Burp. 'I think for my money this is as funny as TV Burp and I think at times it's funnier and I think it's very different,' he said. 'I think the key is not to make something similar. Broadcasters and other people always want you to repeat the same thing over and over again, but you have to keep your nerve, otherwise it's boring, isn't it? When TV Burp started, no-one liked that.' Hill continued: 'I know people inevitably will say, "It's not like the old days, we prefer TV Burp," but I also know that if we'd kept doing TV Burp it would have gone downhill. People would have been over it. And actually the ratings were beginning to go down and it wasn't quite the must-see programme that it was.'
Alexei Sayle - remember him? He used to be funny part the second - was at the forefront of the 'alternative comedy scene' back in the 1980s – surreal, inventive, shouty and, in the era of Margaret Thatcher, militantly political. However, despite comedy growing into a titanic industry in the interim and a fractious political climate, Sayle believes that there is 'no real successor' on television today. 'When this recession started in 2008, I was filming Miss Marple and I remember my driver said "have you heard Bank of America have just bought Meryl Streep?"' he told an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. 'I thought immediately that comedians would do that, just out of opportunism really, not necessarily out of their feelings in general. But it never really happened and I don't completely know why, because I think there is a market out there.' Asked about modern satire, Sayle believed they weren't serving the same purpose: 'There is Mock The Week and stuff like that, but that just seems nihilistic, saying they're all as bad as each other.' Sayle, who was promoting the third volume of his memoirs Thatcher Stole My Trousers, went on to note that whilst political acts like Mark Steel have a 'committed' following 'they're not mass entertainers anymore, they don't seem to have that impulse to play the biggest venues while being as provocative and innovative.'
Sarah Harding has spoken about pulling out of Ghost The Musical mid-performance. Those in attendance at Blackpool's Winter Gardens earlier this week were surprised when the former Girls Aloud singer 'fell ill' during the show and was replaced by her understudy, Kelly Hampson. Harding returned to the production for the following performance. While Sarah initially criticised the press for 'making assumptions' about her being pulled off stage, she has now revealed that her struggle with lingering pain from her injury on Channel Four's winter sports reality fiasco The Jump was responsible. 'Since appearing in The Jump, I have been in constant pain with a knee injury and, as anyone who has experienced chronic pain will tell you, it can take a serious toll on you both physically and emotionally,' she said. 'At the same time, I have the pressure of performing daily, for the first time in my career, in musical theatre - and as a lot of people know, I give the role of Molly in Ghost The Musical my absolute all at every performance. But, it is the relentless media scrutiny, the social media trolling and the sensationalised - and at times fabricated - stories in the press that hurt the most.' Despite Harding's own physical pain from her time on The Jump, she claimed that she is 'committed' to continuing her contracted run in Ghost The Musical. 'The opportunity was a dream come true for me,' she added. 'I have the privilege of working with a group of incredibly talented and dedicated individuals in a wonderful production. So despite some people and even some publications seemingly having an agenda to hurt me or make me quit, I remain committed to the production, the cast, the crew, the producers and of course the amazing audiences around the UK who have been hugely supportive.'
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved Newcastle and neighbouring Gatesheed have been selected to host a major exhibition showcasing art, design and innovation from the North of England. Quite right, too. The area has been selected by the government to host the five million knicker Great Exhibition Of The North in 2018. It was chosen above three other shortlisted bidders - Sheffield, Bradford and Blackpool. Former Chancellor George Osborne came up with the bight idea as part of his 'Northern Powerhouse package.' The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Bradley said that she was 'won over' by Newcastle and Gatesheed's 'ambition', including the organisers' estimate that the exhibition will attract three million people to the twin Tyneside cities. 'That level of ambition really did stand out,' she told BBC News. 'But that doesn't mean this is just for Newcastle-Gateshead.' The seventy seven-day exhibition will have the overarching theme of The Blazing World - The Fires of Invention. Proposed highlights of the exhibition: An opening ceremony on 21 June 2018 which will take place on the Quayside, featuring a bridge of illuminated drones over the River Tyne. During the event, three themed walking routes will guide visitors to venues and attractions. The Arts Circuit, Design Circuit and Innovation Circuit will start at an exhibition about 'Northern pioneers and trailblazers' at the Great North Museum: Hancock. Visitors will then traverse Newcastle before crossing the Tyne at the Millennium Bridge and converging on the Baltic art gallery, which will invite five Northern and five international artists to 'create work on the exhibition's themes.' Fifty writers will be tasked with 'rewriting the narratives of the North,' while the organisers promise to 'connect artists with scientists and inventors to work closely.' Organisers hope to bring Robert Stephenson's early steam locomotive The Rocket from the Science Museum in London to Newcastle, where it was originally built. There will be a summer camp for families and a closing ceremony will take place just before the Great North Run. Newcastle and Gatesheed's joint bid said: 'Inspired by the trailblazers of the North, the exhibition will have several cross-cutting themes for all to respond to, showing how the North's fires of invention continue to transform our world. Crucially, we will connect artists with scientists and inventors to work closely together, to create new artworks and respond to the great innovations of our time. Arts will meet industry in powerful and memorable ways.' The region has already proved it can host major art events, with a record one hundred and forty thousand punters visiting the Turner Prize exhibition when it was staged at the Baltic in 2011. But cultural venues in both Newcastle and Gatesheed have struggled in the face of savage local council funding cuts in recent years. As well as the five million quid for the exhibition, the government has pledged fifteen million notes for 'a legacy fund,' which will be open to cultural organisations across the North. The vile and odious rascal Bradley said: 'This is an exhibition for the whole North and certainly through the legacy work, we are looking for bids across the whole of the North of England so we can really show everything the north has to offer.'
Miranda Hart is to appear in Disney's live-action adaptation of The Nutcracker. She joins a star-studded cast which also includes Dame Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Keira Knightley. The actress and comedian will play Dew Drop, a comedic fairy, in the new film of the ballet, directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Hart tweeted: 'I won't lie, I am very excited to be playing a fairy. (Natural casting).' Ballerina Misty Copeland will also feature in the film, as will Interstellar and Twilight actress Mackenzie Foy. Hallstrom's movie is based on ETA Hoffmann's 1816 story The Nutcracker & The Mouse King, which was turned into a Tchaikovsky ballet in the early 1890s. It tells the story of Clara, who is given a Nutcracker doll which comes to life on Christmas Eve and takes her into a magical world of living toys. Foy will star as Clara while Knightley will play The Sugar Plum Fairy in the movie. It is not yet known if Knightley will be required to dance. The Dew Drop role will be Hart's second big Hollywood role after she starred alongside Melissa McCarthy in Spy in 2015. Hart is best known in the UK for her eponymous and self-created hit sitcom Miranda. She also won praise for her role as nurse Chummy Noakes in the BBC drama series Call The Midwife, which follows the lives of a group of midwives living in East London in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

ITV has said it is 'disappointed' that the government has given the go-ahead for a new tram route which ITV fears will disrupt filming on Coronation Street. ITV objected to a plan to build a tram line past the soap's set in Manchester because of potential noise from 'squeaking wheels, rumbling and horns.' But Transport Secretary the vile and odious rascal Grayling has now approved the plan, with conditions that he says 'should' reduce the noise. Interesting word, 'should' don't you think? ITV said that it will 'study the conditions' before deciding whether to appeal or not. An ITV spokesperson said: 'We are disappointed that the secretary of state has green lit the new Trafford Park tram route despite the fact there was a viable approved alternative route. The order includes a number of specific planning conditions intended to address our concerns, which we will now study in detail.' The line will run from Pomona to the Trafford Centre, going past the Coronation Street set on Trafford Wharf Road before turning up Warren Bruce Road, opposite the studios. In its objection, ITV said that there was 'a serious risk that there would be substantial interference with the production of Coronation Street as a result of "wheel squeal" and/or ground-borne noise caused by the tram.' But the vile and odious rascal (and slapheed) Grayling has rejected an alternative route, which would have run further away from the Coronation Street set, because it 'would not offer the same level of benefit as the proposals in this application and could present additional problems associated with events held at the Old Trafford Stadium.' Plus, presumably, the fact that no one who watches Corrie votes Tory anyway. He has, though, 'imposed measures' to reduce the noise, including changing the wheel profile of the trams, controlling the track gauge at the bend, using a 'friction modification system' and possibly changing the track design near the studios. Coronation Street built the set at a cost of fifty million notes and moved in at the start of 2014. The new line is expected to open in 2020 or 2021.
Olivia Colman is to star in a new play at the National Theatre 'about sisters and particle physics.' Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood will have its premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in July 2017. The NT's artistic director Rufus Norris said that he had persuaded the Broadchurch and The Night Manager actress back to the stage over a coffee. 'I'm totally thrilled that she'll be coming and joining us,' he said. Announcing the theatre's 2017 plans, Norris said that the play centred around two sisters - one of whom is a leading scientist at the opening of The Large Hadron Collider. Colly's last appearance at the National Theatre was in Richard Bean's England People Very Nice in 2009. Norris, who will also direct the play, last worked with Colman on his film version of the musical London Road. 'Since then, I've been trying to woo her back into the theatre,' he said. 'I had a coffee with her not long ago and managed to trick her into stepping back over the line. She's a fantastic asset to our creative industries,' Norris added. 'When actors get that kind of success in television and film, before you know it you can have five or ten years going by without them being on stage. So it's important to get those people back in and to keep that side of the craft up.' Other big names appearing at the National Theatre in 2017 include Imelda Staunton in Stephen Sondheim's Follies and Andrew Garfield in Tony Kushner's Angels In America.
An official report has concluded that 'foreign spies' were behind a cyber attack on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's computer system. The report provides new details on the 2015 attack on the BoM, which owns one of Australia's largest supercomputers. The Australian Broadcasting Corp previously quoted officials as blaming China for the hack, which China strenuously denied. The weather bureau produces scientific research information which is valuable to other countries. Among other services, it gives climate information to commercial airlines and shipping, analyses national water supplies, gathers climate data and works closely with the defence department. The Australian Cyber Security Centre report claims that 'suspicious activity' was detected from two computers on the bureau's IT network last year. Investigations found the presence of malware 'popular with state-sponsored cyber adversaries, amongst other malware associated with cybercrime.' The same 'Remote Access Tool' malware had also been used to compromise other Australian government networks, the report suggested. The ACSC said that the malware was 'linked to a foreign intelligence service' and that security controls 'were insufficient to protect the network from more common threats associated with cybercrime.' It said the hackers had been 'searching for and copying an unknown quantity of documents from the bureau's network.' The report did specify which country it believed was responsible but, perhaps significantly, that part of the report has not been made public. However, alleged 'unnamed sources' have allegedly previously snitched to ABC that China was behind the hack. China, as noted, said that the accusations were 'groundless' and 'not constructive.' China has repeatedly been accused of using cyber-attacks to spy on foreign states and companies in the past. But its officials routinely deny this and say that China is itself a victim of hacking. One or two people even believe them.
The BBC radio presenter Steve Hewlett has said that his first course of chemotherapy has failed. It was discovered in March that the fifty eight-year-old has cancer of the oesophagus, which connects the throat to the stomach. He is currently having a second course of chemotherapy, plus radiotherapy, at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. Despite the chemotherapy failing, Hewlett said that he was 'relatively positive.' The journalist revealed his illness on the PM programme on Radio 4 three weeks ago. On Monday, he told the same programme that - after four cycles of chemotherapy - it had looked like 'extraordinarily good news.' But after the seventh cycle, a scan revealed that the cancer remained aggressive and was 'growing back.' Hewlett said it was like 'being given notice' - although, he added, that he did not know 'whether the universe was going to act on it.' Hewlett - who has presented The Media Show on Radio 4 since 2008, and also writes for the Gruniad - has three children. Since his diagnosis, he admitted, he has moments where he 'had to shed a few tears. It can be in the bath, it can be in the shower, it can be just looking in the mirror (or) sitting on the bus,' he said. He added that he was 'happy' to talk about his illness because 'not enough is said, often enough, about cancer.'
Shailene Woodley has been very arrested during a protest in North Dakota against a huge oil pipeline project that will cross four states. The Divergent actress was arrested at a construction site as she was broadcasting the protest, which involved about two hundred people, on Facebook. Police say that she was one of twenty seven people arrested on charges of 'criminal trespass' and 'engaging in a riot.' The Dakota Access pipeline project has drawn huge protests. Native Americans have halted its construction in North Dakota, saying that it will 'desecrate' sacred land and damage the environment. In the Facebook footage Woodley claimed that she had been 'walking peacefully' back to her vehicle when 'they grabbed me by my jacket and said that I wasn't allowed to continue. And they have giant guns and batons and zip ties and they are not letting me go.' As she was led away with her hands cuffed, she alleged that she had been 'singled out' from hundreds of other protesters 'because I'm well known, because I have forty thousand people watching.' She was then roughly hauled off to the pokey whilst still protesting. The video spread quickly on social media. Woodley, a star of the Divergent movie series and Snowden, has previously joined members of North Dakota's Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protest against the 3.7 billion dollar pipeline pipeline. The protest on Monday took place at a construction site about two miles South of the town of St Anthony.
And, now ...
Giggling waste-of-oxygen Ian Wright is, apparently, 'the most popular football pundit on television' while former big-nosed Phil Thompson ranks bottom, according to a new study - albeit not one run by anyone you've actually heard of. Former The Arse striker Wright, whom this blogger simply cannot stand - and neither can anyone that Keith Telly Topping knows, come to that - received 'the most positive attention' on Twitter, according to research carried out by bwin, whoever the Hell they are. All of which says so much about Twitter and many of the morons who regularly use it to inflict their drivel on the world. In tracking over thirty thousand tweets - why, for the love of God, why? - 'analysing the performance' of English football's most high-profile pundits (or, wittering on about tripe that nobody with half-a-brain in their skull could give a ruddy stuff about, take yer pick), the study found that fifty eight per cent of tweets mentioning Wright were 'in support of his musings.' Obviously, none of those twatterers had ever seen an episode of Live From Studio Five otherwise they might not have been so charitable about yer man Wrighty. Alan Shearer, 'who has been earning improving reviews for his Saturday night reflections in recent seasons,' apparently, finished second behind Wright, with exactly half of tweets name-dropping him positive ones. Big Al promptly elbowed Wright in the mush over this malarkey. Probably. Jamie Carragher (forty seven per cent), Rio Ferdinand (forty six per cent) and Chris Kamara (thirty nine per cent) made up the top five. Somewhat surprisingly, BT Sport's criminally workshy little shit Michael Owen finished in seventh place with thirty seven per cent of tweets directed at him being 'positive' – albeit, seven per cent of those were also 'laced with profanities.' Those'll all be from Newcastle United supporters, no doubt, who have long memories and very low tolerance threshold for overpaid malingerers. Soccer Saturday regular Thompson - and his enormous hooter - finished right at the bottom of the table with just eleven per cent of tweets directed at him during September having anything good to say about him. Which is still eleven per cent too many, frankly. As is now the norm, pundits are constantly on the receiving end of some rather harsh words from viewers furiously sending tweets at half-time. The data showed that Sky Sports' Gary Neville was called 'a muppet' in three per cent of all tweets mentioning his name over the last month, while the keyword 'wonderful hater' was used in fifteen per cent of tweets mentioning Carragher. Another Soccer Saturday regular, Paul Merson, was called 'a fucking bell end' in four per cent of tweets. Yeah, can't argue with that, really. Glen Hoddle's well-noted tendency to state what seemingly half the country are already thinking hasn't gone unnoticed either, with 'cheers Glen' used - one presumes, ironically - in three per cent of tweets. And, all of this rank and disgraceful bollocks constitutes 'news', apparently.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle won their third successive Championship game as they cruised past Brentford at St James' Park. Jonjo Shelvey crossed for Ciaran Clark to head in the opening goal for the hosts on eleven minutes. Dwight Gayle's shot doubled the lead soon afterwards and he tapped in a second after the break from two yards out. Scott Hogan turned in after a corner to reduce the deficit for the visitors, but The Magpies were rarely troubled in the later stages. The result lifts Newcastle to second in the table, though the result took longer to secure than it ought to have, with Christian Atsu firing just off target and Ayoze Peres having a goal ruled out for offside in a dominant first-half showing by the home side. Gayle's two goals lifted him above Hogan and Bristol City's Tammy Abraham as the Championship's current top-scorer with nine.
Wayne Rooney's utterly worthless and full-of-her-own-importance wife, Coleen Rooney, has vented her impotent and ballistic fury at the - entirely justified - criticism dished out to her husband over the last week. Or, in other - slightly more realistic - words, just so we're absolutely clear about this, a woman whose contributions to society are, allegedly 'writing' a weekly column in that bastion of serious journalism OK! magazine, co-presenting (terribly) Tonight With Trevor McDonald, producing an exercise DVD, doing some modelling work for Littlewoods and marrying Wayne Rooney has criticised working men and women who have paid extraordinarily inflated prices to go to Wembley and watch her husband drastically underperform in a football match. And, for then daring to suggest that he might, you know, want to get his sodding finger out and try a bit harder. What a bloody disgrace. This pair of clowns, sad to say dear blog reader, are a classic example of everything that is wrong with modern z-list celebrity culture in Britain in the Twenty First Century. Pampered, indulged thin-skinned prima-donnas and spoiled brats who have never had to work an honest day in their lives and yet seem to feel that they are above any criticism whatsoever no matter how justified it may appear. And that they can abuse the people who, ultimately, pay Rooney's wages. He kicks a ball about a field - sometimes he does it well, let it be said, albeit no so much recently. But, what the Hell does she do to justify her flaming existence? Rooney endured a torrid few days in the spotlight; he was extremely booed by a section of the Wembley crowd for his performance - or, lack of it - against Malta last Saturday and then found out on Sunday that manager Gareth Southgate had dropped him from the England side to face Slovenia in midweek (though, in the event, he did come on as a second-half substitute). Coleen Rooney was listening to a programme on the radio which happened to be discussing why fans had booed her husband during England's very disappointing two-nil win over Malta and felt compelled to tweet her reaction to the criticism he was receiving from punters. Who, once again, had paid for the privilege of doing so. She started off by tweeting about everyone 'having an opinion' (which is, you know, people's right in a free and democratic society, sweetheart. Look it up in the dictionary. It's a big book with words in it, you probably haven't seen one before) and claimed that 'some forget others have feelings too.' She then got involved in a heated exchange with one user who replied: 'when you check your bank account every four weeks and have comfortably over a one million pounds in there, people have a right to judge.' Mrs Rooney didn't like that, seemingly, and went off on one, telling people to 'shut up', adding 'we're not plastic, he's not plastic, we are people.' Yes, you are. Vastly overpaid and horribly self-entitled people at that.
The publisher of the Daily Torygraph has been fined eighty grand for unlawfully identifying the teenage victim of former England footballer and convicted sex offender Adam Johnson. Torygraph Media Group grovellingly apologised unreservedly for using the pixelated image, which was taken from the fifteen-year-old's Facebook page and begged the judge not to send the editor to pris and they had been 'ed stray by older boys.' Probably. The Crown Prosecution Service rightly took action over a story and the picture published by the Torygraph on 3 March, the day after the former Blunderland midfielder was extremely convicted of child sexual activity and sent to The Big House for six years. It is a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act to identify any alleged victim of a sexual offence unless that person has waived their right to lifelong anonymity. Westminster magistrates court heard that the Torygraph had only sold four copies of that edition of the paper in the area where Johnson's victim lived - the Torygraph obviously not being a big seller on Wearside - but the court was told that the Torygraph Media Group 'accepted' that the pixelated image was 'likely to identify her.' Which makes one wonder why the geniuses at the paper didn't realise that before publishing it and, you know, not do it in the first place. Gavin Millar QC, for the publisher, said that the newspaper 'would no longer use such pictures' with reports of sex offence cases. The pixelated image was the same as that used by the Sun in March 2015 which led to the tabloid's then editor, David Dinsmore, having to pay two thousand three hundred knicker in costs and compensation. The Torygraph Media Group, which admitted a charge under sections one and five of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, was fined eighty thousand smackers and ordered to pay the teenager ten grand in compensation, as well as one thousand four hundred and seventy three notes in prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of one hundred and twenty quid. The publisher said in a statement: 'As we made clear in court, we have apologised unreservedly to the victim for the distress she has been caused. The picture should not have been published and we have put in place robust procedures to ensure that such an error can never happen again.' They blamed human error and said that the human who erred has, since, been taken round the back and 'given a good talking to.' Allegedly. A five grand limit on fines which magistrates could impose was very lifted when relevant parts of section eighty five of the Legal Aid, Punishment and Sentencing of Offenders Act 2012 were brought into effect from 12 March 2015 after the Sun's publication. The maximum fine the Sun could have faced was five thousand knicker, but the Torygraph Media Group faced a court which had power to fine it an unlimited amount. Which it, gleefully, did. In the case of the Sun, the image of Johnson and the girl was cut out from the original photo on Facebook and put on to a white background before photoshopping and airbrushing were used to leave the girl with a blank face. The Sun team then took a photograph of the Irish president, Michael Higgins, at a tree-planting ceremony in a Dublin park and used Photoshop to remove all of the people so the remainder could be used as the background in the picture of Johnson and the girl. The Sun's article also included a warning that anyone who identified the child online would face prosecution and referred to a case in which people were convicted of identifying a sexual offence victim on social media. Oh, the irony. The teenage victim told Johnson's trial that she had 'suffered a huge backlash' after she was identified online as the complainant. She told the court: 'The gossip on social media and hearing all of the horrible names that people have been calling me has been devastating to me, my friends and my family. People were lying about me and what I had said.'
Peers voted by a majority of one hundred and two to bring into force legislation requiring newspapers and media organisation to pay the costs of any claims made against them by phone-hacking victims. A cross-party coalition of peers voted by two hundred and eighty two to one hundred and eighty for the implementation of a key recommendation of The Leveson Report that the victims of hacking by newspapers and other media should be protected from paying the costs of bringing their claims in the civil courts. The scale of the government defeat – by a majority of more than one hundred – on an issue which is so contentious among MPs and peers may make it difficult for ministers to overturn in the Commons, where the Conservatives only have a majority of twelve. Peers had been debating the report stage of the so-called 'snooper's charter,' legislation – the investigatory powers bill, when an amendment was put following complaints that the provision had been put on the statute book three years ago but had not been implemented by the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale when he was that lack of culture secretary. The Lords' vote reprises the prospect of a 'Leveson-lite' regime for press regulation. The 2013 Crime and Courts Act proposes that the government can force publishers who aren't signed up to a regulatory regime recognised by the royal charter-backed press recognition panel to pay both sides' costs even if they win any libel and privacy cases brought to it. No newspaper is signed up to a royal charter-backed regulator. Ipso, which handles complaints for the Daily Scum Mail, The Times, the Sun and the Daily Torygraph said it had 'no intention' of doing so. The Gruniad Morning Star has its own readers' editor and is not a member of Ipso. Lord Prescott, the former Labour deputy prime minister, told the House of Lords that the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale had 'cheered up the press' when he announced last October at a Society of Editors dinner that he 'did not intend' to introduce the costs measure despite the fact it had been passed by parliament in the Crime and Courts Act in 2013. Ministers had tried to resist a vote on the issue with the leader of the Lords, Earl Howe, appealing to peers not to press the issue, arguing that the Leveson vote was 'unrelated' to the main thrust of a bill on surveillance by the security services. The minister said that he understood peers' frustration with the 'lack of progress' in implementing The Leveson Report and the government allegedly 'continued to look at the issue closely' and was 'actively considering it.' He argued that it wasn't 'unreasonable for new ministers to take time to understand the issues at play.' But crossbench peer Baroness Hollins pressed the issue to a vote arguing that it would be 'an injustice to the victims' of phone-hacking to 'pass up the opportunity to make the change.' Hollins said that the protection for victims proposed was equivalent to that which would have existed if the government had put into effect section forty of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. She complained there had been 'no explanation' why ministers had announced last year that they were 'not minded' to implement the section – a change of policy which broke the cross-party agreement and 'betrays promises made to both houses and to press abuse victims.' Independent crossbencher Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve said protecting alleged journalistic 'sources' was a 'profoundly important' liberal purpose: 'But the misuse of those sources whether by invention or by illegal interception of private communication or by forms of blackmail and the like is not a good liberal cause.' She said that 'additional protection' for alleged journalistic 'sources' needed 'to be balanced' with additional protection for those 'abused' by journalists. Prescott also supported the move, insisting the Lords did not want to change government policy but implement legislation already agreed. He said that it would 'ensure justice' for 'people who cannot afford to get justice in a case in which they have been offended against by phone-hacking.' They were backed by former Tory lord chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern. The royal charter proposal infuriated the newspaper industry, leading the Torygraph's editorial director, Guy Black, to warn it would create 'probably the harshest press regime anywhere in the free world and much of the developing world.' When the vile and odious rascal Whittingdale announced the delay in implementation in October 2015 he told newspaper executives: 'Given the changes under way within the industry, the introduction of the new exemplary damages provisions and the pressures on the industry, I question whether this additional step, now, will be positive and will lead to the changes I want to see.' No press regulator has yet won the backing of the press regulation panel so the threat to any newspaper group with outstanding phone-hacking claims could be only theoretical as the costs measure will not apply until a body is first recognised as an approved regulator.

President Obama (remember him? He used to be ... President) says that the US will work with private companies on its plan to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. Obama announced his proposals for a crewed mission to the Red Planet in 2010. But NASA's plan to realise this 'presidential vision' has been broadly criticised, particularly by Congress. In an article, President Obama pledged to work with private companies to 'to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts. We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time,' Obama said in an opinion piece for CNN. The comments are not surprising: Nasa is already working closely with the private sector to resupply the International Space Station. And many private space firms - particularly SpaceX, whose Dragon capsule delivers cargo to the International Space Station - have made no secret of their ambitions to explore Mars. Last month, Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX, outlined his proposal for a permanent base on Earth's neighbour. Reaction to this plan was mixed: some space alleged 'experts' criticised the plan as, allegedly, 'unrealistic,' while others praised Musk for outlining a detailed - and audacious - architecture for getting to Mars. The absence of detail is something which has cropped up as a recurrent criticism of NASA's own initiative, named, no very imaginatively, 'Journey To Mars' - a response to the Red Planet vision announced by President Obama six years ago. Earlier this year, members of Congress and alleged 'expert' witnesses claimed the US space agency 'lacked a clear road map' for Mars and that the plan needed achievable milestones to succeed. However, this has apparently not dented President Obama's enthusiasm for expeditions to the Red Planet. In his opinion piece, he said: 'We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time. Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we're already well on our way.' He said that he would be convening leading scientists, engineers and innovators in Pittsburgh this week to 'dream up ways to build on our progress and find the next frontiers.'
The very excellent Rose McGowan has spoken publicly about her experiences of being sexually assaulted. In the wake of this week's numerous Donald Trump assault allegations, the actress - a big favourite of all of us here at From The North - took to Twitter to claim that she had previously been raped by a studio executive. 'When no one else in Hollywood would listen, you heard. When no one else in Hollywood would do, you acted,' she tweeted in response to a message from film producer Cassian Elwes. McGowan went on to criticise Hollywood and the media for 'making it difficult' for her to report the assault and mentioned that her experience filming a sex scene for a movie would make her story less believable. 'A [female] criminal attorney said because I'd done a sex scene in a film I would never win against the studio head,' she said, adding: 'Because it's been an open secret in Hollywood/Media and they shamed me while adulating my rapist because my ex sold our movie to my rapist for distribution.' She later tweeted, 'it is time for some Goddamned honesty in this world.' The Charmed actress later commended another From The North favourite, Amber Tamblyn for an article in Glamour. In the opinion piece, Tamblyn commented on the Trump sexual assault scandal. She called the presidential candidate the 'winner of the Cave Man Cognition medal' and wrote about how 'misogyny' is 'playing a lead role' in this year's election race. 'Some have also said that Hillary silenced the women her husband harassed, or that Hillary was angry and vengeful towards those women and that she should have had their backs - speaking out against her husband - because: Women,' Tamblyn explained in her op-ed piece. 'Or, that she couldn't make her man happy at home or in the bedroom, hence: those Women. Or she should've left Bill because: Women. Or she should've stayed with him only for political gain because: Women. Or she's in some kind of marital agreement with Bill because she's a secret lesbian and prefers: Women,' she added.
A preteen girl and her father gave conflicting testimony on whether or not he hit her over the head with frozen bacon and then continued to beat her. The trial of Jonathan Powell began this week, in front of Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph Sheeran. Powell is charged with one count of third-degree child abuse, which is punishable by up to two years in The Big House. Powell has denied the charges. As his first witness, Bay County Assistant Prosecutor Bernard Coppolino called Powell's eleven-year-old daughter. She testified that she and her eight-year-old sister went to their father's house in January of this year, for the weekend. On Sunday morning, the two sisters had an argument, with the younger sister locking herself in their shared bedroom, the witness testified. She added that she knew a way to pick the lock by using a toothpick, so she went into the kitchen to fetch one. Powell was making breakfast in the kitchen at the time. 'I went right to where the toothpicks were kept,' she said. 'He started yelling at me. He grabbed bacon out of the freezer. He started hitting me with it.' Powell hit her on the top of her head with the bacon, she claimed, adding that 'it was hard. I was crying. When he started hitting me, I started backing up. We kind of moved into the dining room. He pushed me over the dishwasher and I fell and hit my head.' The girl then made her way to her bedroom. Her sister let her in and they locked themselves in. 'We were scared,' the girl testified. 'We were afraid our dad was gonna hit us.' She testified that her father at one point called her 'the B-word.' Later in the day, Powell entered her room and repeatedly hit her in the face, giving her a bloody nose. 'He said, "If you spare the rod, you spoil the child,"' she added. 'I know it's a quote from the Bible.' The girl said that she used her cellphone to text her mother about what had occurred, adding that she then spoke with her mother on the phone and said that she wanted to go home. When the girl was back in her mother's care, her mother called the police. Hampton Township Police Officer John S May Jr responded and took photos of the girl. Those images, depicting a mark on her left cheek, were shown to the jury by Coppolino. Cross-examined by defence attorney Matthew Reyes, the girl said that she 'did not recall' what time Powell took her back to her mother's residence. She said that she did recall Powell telling her not to tell her mother what had happened, adding that if he lost her, he would kill himself. After she testified, Coppolino called the girl's younger sister to the stand. She said that she was in her room when her crying sister entered. 'She said that my dad hit her with frozen bacon and then she tripped over the washing machine,' the younger girl testified. Later in the day, she saw Powell hitting her older sister in the bathroom. The girls' mother testified that Powell picked them up after school on Friday 8 January. On the Sunday morning, she received a text message from her eldest daughter which read, 'Mom, I want to come home.' 'I called her to see what was going on,' she said. 'She was crying and just kind of saying she wanted to come home. She didn't tell me any details. As soon as she walked in, she was crying,' the mother added. 'I seen on the face she had a black mark.' The mother then called her own father for advice, who instructed her to call the police. Officer May responded to the home and spoke with the girls, she said. She then took the girls to McLaren Bay Region hospital's emergency room so that her eldest daughter could be examined. Over the next few days, her daughter developed a black eye which lasted for about a week. The mother also found more bruising on her daughter's hip and buttock. Powell has not had contact with his daughters since the incident, she said. Under cross-examination, Reyes asked the mother if this was, indeed, the fifth time that she had reported child abuse against Powell. She said she did not believe that was accurate, saying she had only made two previous allegations. In Officer May's report, he did not write that the eldest daughter mentioned anything about being attacked by Powell in a bathroom. May said he later interviewed Powell at his home. He did not see any bacon inside Powell's home. Powell said that on the morning of the day in question, he was in the kitchen cooking breakfast - which included bacon. It was not frozen, however. At some point, his eldest daughter came into the kitchen, but Powell told her to leave the room. 'She said she wants to get into the bedroom and she wants to get a toothpick,' he said. 'I backed her up with the bacon. That's all I had in my hand. She fell over the dishwasher door [and] hit her head on a chair.' Powell said that his daughter hit the left side of her face on the chair, while the girl had said she struck her right side. Police photos showed she had a mark on the left side of her face. The dishwasher door was open and his daughter hit it with enough force to damage it so that it no longer closes, Powell claimed. He denied calling her names, punching her or hitting her with his forearm. He also said he never saw her with a bloody nose, nor did he find any bloody tissues in his house. Under cross-examination, Coppolino asked Powell how he disciplines his children. Powell replied that he does not. The case continues.

An accused rapist who is on trial in Canada could not have committed his crimes of which he is accused because he is 'too fat and his penis is too small,' his lawyer argued in court. To, if you will, beef up her argument (sorry), the attorney also showed the jury naked pictures of her chunky client and his titchy todger. Which, one imagines, would have been an experience few of them would ever forget. Jacques Rouschop - a rotund career criminal known by the nickname Porkchop - is accused of choking and raping two sex workers in Vanier in 2013. His lawyer argued that Rouschop could not possibly have raped the women even if he tried because he has a hernia, and because malesness is not in his favour. Rouschop's hernia 'makes it too painful to have sex from behind, his stomach is too large and his penis is way, way too small,' his attorney Natasha Calvinho said in court on Thursday, according to the Ottawa Sun. She passed around nude photos of Rouschop for the six men and six women on the jury to have a reet good gander at. Whether any sniggering or puking occurred as they gazed in awe at his little willy, we just don't know. According to a nurse who testified at the trial, Rouschop is five foot six inches tall and weighs so much that he exceeded the scales at a jail, which go up to three hundred and twenty pounds. His waist is sixty six inches, but his penis is only one inch - two when erect, the nurse added. Rouschop's lawyer argued that the defendant turned to sex workers to 'fulfill his needs,' but did not abuse them. 'Due to his weight and his appearance, he will be the first to tell you that he has had a lot of trouble attracting members of the opposite sex and that getting a woman's attention, let alone having sex, was not something that happened very often for him,' Calvinho claimed. One of the sex workers testified in September that Rouschop abruptly flipped her over, put her in a chokehold and yelled 'Who's in charge?' after paying her for oral sex in his car. She 'remembered'feeling crushed' under his weight and 'having troubling breathing'but said that she 'could not recall' the size of his penis. Rouschop, forty four, has pleaded very not guilty. His hefty criminal history stretches through at least two decades and he is already a convicted sex offender, the National Post reported. He was in the news last year after beating a jail inmate who mocked his mother during a card game.
A former Houston 911 operator is facing criminal charges for hanging up on callers because she 'did not want to talk to anyone,' according to Houston Police investigators. Crenshanda Williams faces two misdemeanour charges of 'Interference with Emergency Telephone Calls' stemming from incidents in March. According to charge documents filed with the Harris County Court, Williams worked for the Houston Emergency Centre where managers determined that she was 'involved' in thousands of 'short calls' - emergency calls that last less than twenty seconds - between October 2015 and March 2016. In one case, Williams allegedly hung up on a man who called to report a robbery in progress on 12 March. Hua Li told NBC affiliate KPRC that he had been buying lottery tickets at a convenience store when a gunman entered and tried to force his way through the door of a glassed-in security area behind the counter. As two clerks attempted to block the door, Li said that he ran from the store and 'heard several gunshots.' When he got to his car, he called 911 for help. 'They just said, "This is 911. How can I help you?" I was trying to finish my sentence, and we got disconnected,' Li claimed. Police said that Williams was the 911 operator and that she terminated the call 'within a few seconds.' Li called a second time and got a different operator. By the time police arrived, however, the store manager had been shot dead. Li told KPRC that 'if 911 is not there for you, nobody is going to help you. You're on your own.' In a separate incident, Williams allegedly hung up on a security guard calling to report reckless driving and could be heard saying, 'Ain't nobody got time for this. For real,' according to charge documents. Williams no longer works for the Houston Emergency Centre. She is scheduled to appear in court next week.
A Paignton man has offered a cash reward after a thief pulled up outside his home and stole a speed bump. Trevor Barfoot had the safety device installed over the summer following a series of accidents on the private road which runs past his home. However, the bolt-on speed bump was stolen on 9 September. Despite CCTV capturing an image of the suspect, the police are yet to make an arrest. Possibly, because they've got more important crimes to investigate. Possibly not. Barfoot has offered a one hundred knicker reward for anyone 'with information leading to the arrest and conviction' of the naughty perpetrator. 'We only put the ramps down in July this year to slow down the traffic using the private road as persons and animals have been injured by motorists speeding into and out of the site,' he said. 'Only this afternoon, we witnessed a motorist exiting the gates far too fast and a group of children crossing the pavement screamed in shock and just jumped clear. Whoever stole these speed ramps clearly has done so for personal gain and has not thought about the consequences of their actions. In the scheme of things, this crime might not be important but if someone is injured as a result of this selfish and gratuitous act of one individual, the consequences to them and their families could be tragic.'
'Other fish and chips shops don't give a fork.' These - apparently innocent - words‚ on an advertising billboard‚ left a bad taste in the mouth of a mother in Johannesburg who claimed that the word 'fork' 'could be interpreted' as an expletive. Fuck, presumably. But the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa this week dismissed her hilarious complaint about the advert having a vulgar connotation. And, hopefully, told the silly woman to grow the fork up and stop being such a daft forker. And, if they didn't, that was definitely an opportunity missed. The billboard by Real Fish & Chips said‚ 'Other fish and chips shops don't give a fork‚' and featured an image of a fish ... holding a fork. Marna Scheepers - who is obviously, not completely mental nor nothing - whinged that the billboard‚ 'would be offensive to children.' Why it would be offensive to children, and why - if it was - it was she who was whinging on their behalf, she didn't elaborate. 'The complainant argued that the advertisement suggest the swearing word which she felt was inappropriate and unnecessary‚' the authority said. Scheepers - who, to repeat, is clearly not mental or anything even remotely like it. Oh no, very hot water - argued that children 'would want to know' what the word on the sign meant(!) and claimed that she 'would not know how to explain this' to them. It's a fork, love. A forking fork. You use it to eat food. Jesus, it's The Stupid Pill thing again, isn't it? In its defence‚ the restaurant apologised - though, why they did so when it had, clearly, done nothing to apologise for, is another matter entirely - saying that 'no offence was intended.' It added that it 'saw nothing wrong' with the material and 'noted that its mascot has a physical fork in its hand.' The restaurant also challenged Scheepers to 'explain that other fish and chips stores do not provide forks to eat with.' The ASA ruled in favour of the restaurant‚ stating that people were likely to 'get the joke‚' but the billboard in and of itself did not contain any offensive or vulgar wording. 'Given the manner in which the phrase is displayed‚ parents are given the opportunity to either be honest with their children and explain the double entendre (depending on whether they feel their children are mature enough to understand it) or rely on the literal imagery and words used‚ thereby limiting it to the provision of a real fork‚' said the ASA. 'It can be accepted that the respondent's choice of humour might not appeal to all consumers. But this relates to a matter of personal taste‚ rather than one of objective offence.'
England extremely won their one-day series against Bangladesh with a four-wicket victory in a tense deciding match in Chittagong on Wednesday. Ben Stokes made forty seven not out and Chris Woakes sealed the win with thirteen balls to spare with a glorious straight six. Opener Sam Billings impressed with sixty two and Ben Duckett hit four fours and a six in his sixty three. Spinner Adil Rashid claimed an ODI-best four for forty three in Bangladesh's innings of two hundred and seventy seven for six, inspired by Mushfiqur Rahim's unbeaten sixty seven. It was an impressive chase from England, whose top three batsmen had a mere fourteen appearances between them, compared to the two hundred and fifty between Bangladesh's top three. The tourists now turn their attention to test cricket, with back-to-back two-day warm-up matches this week before the first test begins on 20 October. A new opening partnership of James Vince and Billings quickly put England ahead of the rate in their chase under the floodlights. Vince (thirty two) played fluently once again but it was the kind of promising, yet unsubstantial, innings that cost him his test place last summer. Billings, however, scored all around the wicket with some cleanly struck shots and the tourists were ten runs ahead of Bangladesh at the same point when the Kent batsman picked out deep square-leg in the twenty fifth over. Northants left-hander Duckett reined in his natural inclination for the reverse sweep. He also used his feet to excellent effect to play straight down the ground and reached sixty for the second time in his maiden international series. There was also judicious use of the improvisational, but a delicate leg flick was superbly caught by a diving Mushfiqur with ninety nine runs still needed. The powerhouse middle order of Stokes and skipper Jos Buttler looked to be guiding England to a comfortable victory with a stand of forty eight in seven overs that prompted parts of the passionate crowd to start heading for the exits, but the captain was one of two wickets to fall in twelve balls. Woakes was dropped at slip with twenty one still needed, but in between the errant strokes he played some masterful shots - none better than the majestic lofted drive that settled the contest. Having been dismissed for a mere two hundred and four at Dhaka in the bad-tempered previous match, England were in danger of a first ODI series defeat by Bangladesh. The Tigers, who played their first international in March 1986, lost their first twelve one-day matches against England but had won four of their past six against them going into the decider. They were also seeking a sixth successive home one-day series victory and began in confident fashion after being invited to bat first, Tamim Iqbal (forty five) becoming the first Bangladesh batsman to five thousand ODI runs and sharing eighty in nineteen overs with Imrul Kayes (forty six). While England's twenty overs of spin yielded five for eighty five, the decision to employ four seamers was hardly vindicated by one for one hundred and eighty five in thirty overs. Rashid claimed four wickets in an innings for the fourth time and finished as the leading wicket-taker for the series with ten, though it often proved to be his less impressive deliveries - rather than the fantastical Shane Warne-style fizzing leg breaks virtually turning square - that brought him success. Mushfiqur and Mosaddek Hossain added fifty in the final five overs to ensure a competitive total but, although wickets fell at regular intervals, England's batting depth proved decisive. After the drama of Dhaka, when Buttler was - rather harshly in many people's opinion - reprimanded for the vehemence of his reaction to hostile taunts from the Bangladesh fielders and two home players were fined for their part in the incident, there were no scenes of a similar nature. A potentially explosive moment when bowler Mashrafe Mortaza collided with Billings pursuing a run was settled amicably after 'a brief exchange of views.'
The family of Australia cricketer Phillip Hughes walked out of an inquest into his death. The twenty five-year-old batsman died from a haemorrhage in the brain two days after being hit on the neck during a match in Sydney on 25 November 2014. The five-day hearing was convened to examine if his death was 'avoidable.' Some players giving testimony at the inquest have been accused of dishonesty for saying they 'could not recall' many of the events of the day. The inquest, which began on Monday at New South Wales Coroner's Court, heard evidence from players including Brad Haddin, Doug Bollinger and David Warner. The court examined whether Hughes, batting for South Australia in a Sheffield Shield game against New South Wales, had been targeted by short-pitch bowling, or had received 'unsettling comments' from opponents. Questions were also raised about whether a bowler told Hughes 'I'm going to kill you' before he was fatally injured. Hughes' parents walked out of the inquest as the counsel representing the family, Greg Melick SC, criticised the players for repeatedly answering many questions by saying 'no recollection' or 'I can't recall.' 'At the end of the day, there was a plan, there was sledging, and short-pitched balls were bowled at Phillip Hughes, which increased the risk of an injury,' Melick said. 'Nine consecutive short-pitched balls from the one bowler aimed at leg stump or the body of the batsman was going too far.' Suggestions of fabricated evidence were hotly denied by the counsel representing Cricket Australia and its players. Hughes' brother and sister later exited the inquest as the sworn statements from the players were defended. The counsel assisting the coroner, Kristina Stern SC, said that 'concerns' about sledging and short balls were 'unnecessary' and should not form part of the findings. NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes will deliver his finding from the inquest on 4 November. A previous report, commissioned by Cricket Australia, said that protective helmets should be compulsory for batsman facing fast and medium-paced bowling. But it said that helmets meeting the newest safety standards would not have saved Hughes' life in this particular case.
Yer actual Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. The seventy five-year-old legend received the prize 'for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.' The singer, artist, writer and actor is the first songwriter to win the prestigious award. The performer - who took his stage name from the poet Dylan Thomas - is the first American to win the award since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993. Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said that Dylan had been chosen because he was 'a great poet in the English speaking tradition.' Damn straight. 'For fifty four years now he's been at it reinventing himself, constantly creating a new identity,' she told reporters in Stockholm. Dylan had long been tipped as a potential prize recipient, but few expected the academy to extend the award to a genre such as folk rock music. Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941 and began his musical career in 1959, playing in coffee houses in Minneapolis before moving to New York the following year. Much of his best-known work dates from the 1960s and early 70s, when he became an informal historian of America's troubles and, for about a decade, if he wasn't the most talented man on the planet he probably was in the top three. You knew all that, right? His move away from traditional folk songwriting, paired with a controversial decision to 'go electric' in 1965 proved equally influential. Dylan's many highly-regarded LP include The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963), The Times They Are A-Changin' and Another Side Of Bob Dylan (1964), Bringing It All Back Home and Highway Sixty One Revisited (1965), Blonde On Blonde (1966), John Wesley Harding (1967), The Basement Tapes (recorded 1967, released 1975), Nashville Skyline (1969), New Morning (1970), Blood On The Tracks (1975), Desire (1976), Empire Burlesque (1985), Oh Mercy (1989), World Gone Wrong (1993), Time Out Of Mind (1997), Love & Theft (2001), Together Through Life (2009), Shadows In The Night (2015) and this year's Fallen Angel. Plus, of course, the majestic ongoing Bootleg Series. Though, you might want to give the three late-seventies 'Born-Again Christian LPs' a miss. Since the late 1980s he has toured constantly, an undertaking he has dubbed 'The Never-Ending Tour.' The award will be presented alongside this year's other five Nobel Prizes on 10 December, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's 1896 death.
Sick and evil racist or religious abuse incidents recorded by the police in England and Wales rose by worrying forty one per cent in the month immediately after the UK voted to leave the EU, recently released figures have shown. Yeah, well, that was always likely to happen when the racist bonehead filth-scum were given official licence to spew their offensive, disgraceful phlegm following the Brexit thingy, wasn't it? You hardly needed to be a brain surgeon to work out this was likely to be a cause-and-effect thing. There were three thousand eight hundred and eighty six such crimes logged in July 2015, rising to five thousand four hundred and sixty eight in July this year, according to the Home Office.
It said that the 'sharp' increase declined somewhat in August but has 'remained at a higher level than prior to the EU referendum.' Sick, dear blog reader. Sick and wicked. The Home Secretary Amber Rudd claimed that the government was 'determined to stamp it out.' Well, go on then, sweetheart, talk is cheap. You could start by introducing swingeing prison sentences for all worthless fuckers who spout racist or bigoted nonsense, including those in your own party and those newspapers which support your party, when they appear to break the law. Just a suggestion. The number of hate crimes overall in the year 2015 to 2016 was up nineteen per cent on the previous year. Latest figures show that sixty two thousand five hundred and eighteen such offences were recorded by police. Of these, seventy nine per cent were motivated by race hate, twelve per cent by sexual orientation abuse, seven per cent by religion, six per cent by disability and one per cent were transgender hate crimes. Racist or religious abuse incidents recorded by police in England and Wales jumped forty one per cent in the month after the UK voted to quit the EU, figures show. Following the EU referendum, the then-Prime Minister David Cameron condemned 'despicable' incidents of hate crime. All hate crime is despicable, Dave. In July, the government published a hate crime 'action plan,' which Rudd claimed 'sets out how we are further reducing hate crime, increasing reporting and improving support for victims.' She added: 'Our hate crime laws are among the best in the world, but we cannot be complacent.'
A woman has been charged following an alleged road rage altercation with the BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine as he cycled home from work. He was riding in Kensington on 26 August when a row occurred which was captured on Vine's helmet camera. Shanique Syrena Pearson, twenty two, has been extremely charged with a number of offences including 'using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.' Pearson, from Vauxhall, will appear before a magistrates court next month. She has also been charged with 'driving without reasonable consideration to other road users' and 'failing to licence a vehicle.'
The actress Jean Alexander has died aged ninety. Jean became famous for playing Hilda Ogden on Coronation Street, one of the best-loved soap characters in British TV history. Resplendent in curlers and headscarf, Hilda was the put-upon housewife with a piercing voice who was always short of luck and money. Jean played the role for more than two decades and it came to define her career. But, she was already an accomplished actress long before she came into the cobbles of Corrie. She was born Jean Alexander Hodgkinson in February 1926 in the Toxteth area of Liverpool and, after leaving school, found a job as a library assistant. It was a mundane life and she was in danger of turning into the type of person that epitomised her most famous character. Inspired by variety acts she saw at the Pavilion Theatre in her home city, as a teenager, she joined an amateur theatre group and took elocution lessons. She had a love of Shakespeare, fostered by sitting in the gods in Liverpool theatres in her youth and it provided her with an escape. She made her stage debut in Macclesfield in 1949, the start of twelve grinding years in rep, performing in a different play each week as she toured the theatres and halls of the North of England. She became a stage all-rounder, including taking jobs as a stage manager and a wardrobe mistress. She made her TV debut in an episode of the Associated newspaper drama series Deadline Midnight and, over the next few years appeared regularly in small roles in series like Top Secret, Jack & Knaves, Emergency Ward Ten, Mary Barton, Badger's Bend and Z Cars, the BBC's gritty police drama set in a fictitious new town near Liverpool. In 1960, Granada launched Coronation Street, which within six months had become Britain's most-watched TV programme. Jean first joined the cast in 1962 with a brief appearance as a landlady who rented a room to a disturbed young woman, Joan Akers, who had kidnapped a baby to replace her own dead child. Eighteen months later Jean was back, this time as Hilda Ogden. As the perpetual underdog, whose best-laid plans almost always ended in disappointment or humiliation, she was at the centre of many of the show's classic comic moments throughout the next two decades. But she was also involved in some of the soap's most poignant scenes. The day she sobbed as she opened her husband Stan's glasses case after he died in 1984 proved that soaps do not need over-the-top explosions or fights to grip the nation. And when she warbled in her reedy, affected soprano (usually as she dusted the Rovers Return under Annie Walker's patrician eye), those on the receiving end winced. And yet, against the odds, Hilda, initially conceived by Coronation Street's writers as a nagging wife and gossiping char, became much more than that and found a place in the hearts of millions. Producer Bill Podmore once described Stan and Hilda as a great TV comedy double act to rival Morecambe and Wise. 'Universities wanted to make her their rector,' he said. 'A Welsh rugby team hailed her as their mascot. Even the Falklands fleet urgently called for a picture of their pin-up, complete with curlers, to inspire the troops for battle.' The confrontational chant of 'Stanley/Hilda' was regularly heard at many football grounds and the Scottish punk band The Skids immortalised the two characters - and many others from Corrie and fellow ITV soap Crossroads - in their 1978 song 'TV Stars'. In 1982, Hilda came fourth behind the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Diana in a poll of 'the most recognisable women in Britain.' Three years later, she won the best performance prize at the Royal Television Society Awards. And, three years after that, she became the first soap performer ever to be nominated for a BAFTA award. The British League for Hilda Ogden was established in 1979 by Sir John Betjeman, Willis Hall, Russell Harty, Laurence Olivier and Michael Parkinson, among others. Olivier once requested a cameo appearance in Coronation Street as a tramp who would be encountered by Hilda. A scheduling conflict ultimately ruled it out, but a signed photograph from the acting legend took pride of place in Jean's home in Southport. In 1976, a proud Hilda acquired her 'muriel' - the wallpaper with a mural of a mountain range to which she pinned her famous trio of flying ducks. Stanley and Hilda won a night in a luxury hotel for a second honeymoon in 1977. After kissing Hilda, Stan asked what her lipstick tasted of. The reply came: 'Woman, Stanley. Woman!' After Bernard Youens died in 1984, the character of Stan was written out. Hilda was seen silently unwrapping a parcel of his belongings and breaking down when she opened his glasses case. Hilda decided it was time to move on in 1987 and half the nation tuned in to watch as her neighbours finally showed some affection for her by throwing a surprise party in the Rovers Return. Hilda was born during Granada TV's infamous 1964 night of the long knives. Eager for ratings and worried that the now four-year-old soap had become 'too cosy,' the show's new young producer, Tim Aspinall, purged several established actors including Frank Pemberton, Doreen Keogh and Ivan Beavis. The popular character of Martha Longhurst, who had been the gossipy foil of Minnie Caldwell and Ena Sharples, had a heart attack and collapsed in the Rovers snug in one of the most famous episodes ends in British TV history. In a bitter prefiguring of more recent employment practices, the press often knew who was to be sacked before the actors did. In this climate, in came the Ogden family. They were stock soap characters, comedy proles, about whom the likes of Annie Walker, Elsie Tanner and Rita Fairclough could be insufferably snooty. Stan was a boozy layabout slob, Hilda his common-as-muck wife with laughably aspirational pretensions. But Hilda and Stan confounded that blueprint. Viewers simply loved them for their daily battles against their plight in the seemingly cursed number thirteen Coronation Street – she destined to live on her wits, he dodging any task that didn't send him in the direction of a pint. They were like us, or like what we feared becoming. As for Youens and Alexander, they established a close off-screen rapport perhaps more straightforwardly fond than the relationship they acted out on-screen. She called him Bunny and the two actors often rehearsed their lines over convivial games of Scrabble. The Ogdens' marriage was hardly loveless, as Jean recognised. 'Hilda could criticise him but she defended him furiously if anyone cast aspersions on his character,' she wrote. 'There was always a sense of deep pride when she talked of "my Stan", just as "our 'ilda" contained a tinge of awe. Together they formed an alliance against a world that was out to do them down.' Her character's distinctive look was inspired by the real-life Hilda Ogdens in Liverpool during World War II, women working in munitions factories who would tie up their hair to keep it out of the machinery and put it in curlers so they were ready in case they happened to be invited out in the evening. 'And that was Hilda too,' Jean explained. 'She always had her hair tied up ready - in case. All she had to do was whip the curlers out and give it a flick up with the comb. She never did go anywhere that was worth going to, of course - but that's where I got the idea from.' After Stan's death, Hilda carried on for a few more years before moving away to become a doctor's housekeeper in Derbyshire; finally getting the respectability that she had craved. When she said farewell to the cobbles with a rendition of Gracie Fields' 'Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye' in the Rovers on Christmas Day 1987, twenty six million viewers tuned in. Alexander took plenty of other roles after leaving Corrie behind - most notably as Auntie Wainwright in Last Of The Summer Wine. The wizened junk-shop owner she played for twenty two years was the 'absolute favourite part' of her television career, she once said. She also played Christine Keeler's mother in the 1989 film Scandal and appeared in Boon, Woof!, The Phoenix & The Carpet, Rich Tea & Sympathy, Cluedo, Heartbeat, I, Lovett and Barbara and voiced Mrs Santa in Robbie The Reindeer: Hooves Of Fire. But she will forever be remembered for playing Hilda, the busybody with the curlers. Jean never married, stating that she put her acting career first. Her autobiography, The Other Side Of The Street, was published in 1989. In it she she distanced herself from her most famous role, saying of Hilda: 'She was a spunky little soul, a fighter, like one of those lead-bottomed dolls that returns upright when it is knocked down. There was a lot in her that I admire but she ceased to exist the moment I took out my curlers, folded my pinny, rearranged my hair and stepped into the real world at the end of each recording. There was no nonsense about the character taking me over. I would have hated it if Hilda had lived in my house!' She lived for many years in Southport and, in 2009, she joined with other locals to campaign successfully for a temporary library in the town while the central library was being refurbished. In 2005, eighteen years after she left Corrie, there was still enough affection to put Hilda at the top of a TV Times poll to find the nation's favourite soap character. 'I don't know why she was so popular,' Alexander told the BBC in 2010. 'I think probably because she was a downtrodden, poor little soul. I think people were sorry for Hilda. She went plodding away, doing her best all the time, always aspiring to better things.' Jean is survived by a brother, Kenneth Hodgkinson and her nieces Sonia Hearld and Valerie Thewlis.

1 comment:

Mark said...

"The former Shadow Chancellor, who lost his seat in parliament last year, said that he found waiting to discover how Strictly viewers had voted more tense than the unveiling of results in a General Erection"

Election shurely? ;)