Saturday, October 08, 2016

Somebody's Watching Me

This year's Doctor Who Christmas special will see The Doctor team up with a comic book superhero. The sixty minute episode, called The Return Of Doctor Mysterio, will be written by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and broadcast on BBC1 on Christmas Day. The Doctor, played by yer actual Peter Capaldi, will work with the superhero 'to save New York from a deadly alien threat.' The titular Doctor Mysterio will be played by Justin Chatwin, who has previously appeared in Orphan Black. The pair are joined in the episode by an investigative journalist, played by Wolf Hall actress Charity Wakefield. Matt Lucas, who announced his return to Doctor Who earlier this year having appeared in last year's Christmas episode, will also appear. Chatwin said: 'Working with the amazing people at Doctor Who has been one of the most fun and rewarding projects I've ever had the pleasure of being involved with.' In further news: the official BBC Doctor Who Twitter account put out this image.
This blogger particularly enjoyed a comment which he spotted online from a notable Special Person following the announcement: 'A superhero in Doctor Who? This is ridiculous, it's turning a serious, believable drama into a kids show.' Sorry, remind Keith Telly Topping, this is still the programme about the alien with the two hearts who travels through time and space in something that looks like a police box, isn't it?
      Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is always very impressed with himself for asking anyone who says 'it's just a kids show now', or the like - as the occasional prat will periodically do - exactly how old they were when they first watched Doctor Who? The usual answer is 'around six or seven' (in this blogger's case, it was four - what can I say, I was always a bit precocious). The case for the defence, frankly, rests.
The stars of Doctor Who joined Matt Damon, Keanu Reeves and Kate Beckinsale at this year's New York Comic Con. Although, not on the same panel, obviously, cos that would be weird. The four-day convention in Manhattan attracted tens of thousands of punters as usual. Yer actual Peter Capaldi has previously attended San Diego Comic Con, but his appearance this weekend was his first at the New York event. He was joined by Pearl Mackie her very self. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and former Doctor Who lead yer actual Matt Smith took part in a panel called Tales From The TARDIS. Matt Lucas and Smudger's former castmates, Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston were also participating. New footage from the popular long-running family SF drama was screened at the event, ahead of this year's Doctor Who Christmas special and the new series set to be broadcast in 2017.
At one of the panels in question, Smudger revealed that 'one of [his] great regrets' was not sticking with the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama series for longer. To be specific, he said that he regretted not getting to work more with Jenna Coleman her very self.
Yer man Capaldi, meanwhile, has criticised the Government's decision to force the BBC to reveal the salaries of dozens of its employees. Well, why not, all the cool kids are doing it. The actor said that the clause in the BBC's new draft Royal Charter, which requires the corporation to disclose the pay of talent earning more than one hundred and fifty thousand smackers a year, was part of an attempt to 'dismantle' the broadcaster. He was backed by The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), who described the proposal as 'intrusive, invasive nonsense.' Peter told The Press Association: 'It's people just embarking upon attacking the BBC for no particular reason, other than they'd like to dismantle it because it is powered by an ethos of artistic spirit, ambition and intelligence that is no longer fashionable.' The Moff, who claimed he was personally happy to reveal his own earnings, said: 'How is the BBC supposed to compete with everybody else providing entertainment if they're not allowed to pay people properly, if they're under a ridiculous level of scrutiny? It's not fair and it's not reasonable and I don't like it. Anyone can know what I make for a living, I don't care. It's silly.' One presumes that Steven meant it was the proposal that was 'silly' rather than the amount of coin he earns, obviously.
This blogger's favourite ever moment on yer actual Facebook occurred on Friday evening of this week, dear blog reader. Keith Telly Topping was idly surfing around and stumbled on the page of someone whom he barely knows but who is a 'Facebook friend.' He and/or she had posted a link to the BBC News story about the announcement of The Return Of Doctor Mysterio. The first comment thereafter was from one of his and/or her friends but, mercifully not one of this bloggers. 'Fantastic. Thank Christ it'll be Moffat's last' this, no doubt perfect, specimen of humanity sneered. One could almost imagine him and/or her cackling like Beevis and/or Butthead as he and/or she typed their utterly worthless views on this matter. Only for that glee - which only The Special People can achieve when spewing their most monosyllabic anti-Moffat bile - to fall to the floor and shatter in a million tiny fragments a moment later when a second poster - not this blogger, I hasten to add - pointed out that, actually, Steven is also writing next year's Christmas special. This blogger laughed and he laughed and he laughed and he laughed until he stopped. And then he laughed some more. And then, he left the conversation just as The Special Person in question was into his second chorus of 'oh, why is the universe so unfair???'
The Lord Thy God Steven (OBE) indeed confirmed that he won't be leaving Doctor Who as showrunner at the end of the upcoming series ten but will have one more significant job to do on the long-running popular family SF drama that he loves before heading for pastures new. 'I've got so much more time left on Doctor Who,' he said at a press roundtable during New York Comic Con on Friday. 'I'm not just doing this Christmas, I'm doing next Christmas as well.' The Moffinator has had a long run with the BBC series, where he began as a writer when the drama was revived in 2005 and then took over as showrunner from Russell Davies in 2010. He had previously been announced he would be handing over showrunning duties to Chris Chibnall after the tenth series, which will start broadcasting in April. When it does come time to hand over the keys, Steven said that he plans to 'sit down' with Chibnall and 'figure out where he wants it parked and how to get it there. But to be honest, it's a very short conversation, I've had it before with Russell saying, "Could you crash the TARDIS?" And that was it, really.' Yer actual Peter Capaldi, who has said that he intends to continue in the role of The Doctor, told Newsweek that Moffat was stepping away from the show 'to avoid burnout.' That said, Moffat is glad his tenure won't be the end of The Doctor's adventures. 'It will feel strange and it will feel sad, but also the number one nightmare for anyone in this job is the idea that you wouldn't hand it over, that you would be the person who ended it and that would be horrible, unbearable,' he said. 'Now that we've managed to get Doctor Who back and put it right in the centre of television, the idea that it would end is appalling to me.'
It's safe to say that Class creator Patrick Ness is excited about yer actual Peter Capaldi's forthcoming appearance on the Doctor Who spin-off. The Doctor is set to cameo in the opening episode of the 'young adult' SF drama series, which comes to BBC3 on Saturday 22 October and Ness said Capaldi's acting skills - and sense of fun - shone through. 'So much fun. He can do anything, with any line,' said Ness responding to a question on a BBC America Twitter Q&A. Meanwhile, the first trailer for Class has been unveiled this week. Focusing on Capaldi's Doctor as he explains why he can't always be around to save the day, the footage includes shots of lead characters Ram (Fady Elsayed), Miss Quill (Katherine Kelly), Charlie (Greg Austin), April (Sophie Hopkins) and Tanya (Vivian Oparah) while mysterious shadows creep closer towards them. 'For time has looked at your faces. And time never forgets ...'
For those with ambitions to work in TV, it's the stuff of which dreams are made, a job in the Doctor Who production office. But one lucky person will have that dream come true as the BBC is currently hiring a script editor for the long-running family SF drama. An experienced writer is being sought to 'advise on all script-related matters associated with the production; help manage the relationship between the writer and the production and generate creative ideas and story ideas of the highest standard consistent with the series.' So, the successful applicant will be getting their hands on unfilmed scripts and could even be writing the odd line or two their very selves. The BBC that say the ideal candidate would have 'an excellent understanding of all aspects of screenwriting, including premise, story, structure and character and an ability to apply this knowledge to working situations with writers, as well as experience of working with writers under pressure are essential for this role.'
For the most part Benedict Cumberbatch has 'some of the best and most dedicated fans around,' but 'there's also a handful that veer on the "obsessive"' according to the Digital Spy website. Yer man Benny is on the cover of the November issue of Vanity Fair and he's 'spoken out' (that's tabloidese for 'spoken about' only with one less syllable) concerning 'being more than slightly creeped out' when it comes to people who concoct 'outrageous conspiracy theories' about his family 'out of jealousy.' There are 'people who believe that my wife is a PR stunt and my child is a PR stunt,' he alleged. 'I think, really, it's to do with the idea that the "Internet's boyfriend" can't actually belong to anyone else but the Internet,' he added. '"It's impossible he belongs to anyone but me". And that's what stalking is. That's what obsessive, deluded, really scary behaviour is.' In 2013, the Sherlock actor described a disturbing experience in which someone was live tweeting his movements from within his own home. 'I had someone live tweeting my movements while I was in my own house,' he told the Torygraph at the time. 'It was such a strange and a direct thing to see these tweets saying what I was doing as I was doing them. I found it really worrying and, yes, of course, very hard to deal with.'
TV comedy line of the week came from the - quite superb - first episode of the new, fifty second, series of Have I Got News For You? Guest host Nick Clegg was concluding a bunch of questions about UKiP with the revelation that, this coming weekend, Nigel Farage will be meeting fellow hairdo Donald Trump to offer him some advice. 'Why does he [Trump] need help?' asked Clegg. 'Because he's a psychopath,' answered Roisin Conaty.
Plus, there was Clegg's - one presumes, scripted - comment: 'It's the Conservative Party conference where Theresa May has called on the Tories to "embrace the centre ground." The Prime Minister criticised "the Liberal Elite" for belittling the intellectual capacity of voters. Quite right, the time to do that is with an exam when they're eleven years old. Theresa May has constantly reminded us that The People have voted for Brexit. She's less quick to remind us that people didn't vote for her to be Prime Minister. And, let's face it, she only got the job because she because she was [up] against a buffoon, a total git and Andrea Leadsom.' Plus, there was this photograph of the Health Secretary.
And Kevin Bridges' one-liner when Cleggy refused to say whether he'd ever part-taken of soft (or, indeed, hard) drugs when he was at university. 'People have done worse. Your mate, he fucked a pig! Allegedly!' There really isn't much wrong with Britain as a democracy so long as HIGNFY continues to exist. It's great to have it back.

Was that the single worst team in Would I Lie To You? history that poor old Lee Mack got himself lumbered with this week? Tracy-Ann Oberman, who claimed to remember watching the trailer for a documentary that David Mitchell never made and some blond Made In Chelsea-type thing who appeared not to have two braincells to rub together. They were, needless to say, no match for the towering lying skills of yer actual Rhod Gilbert with his claims of being the 'fake' second guitarist in a band called Muckspreader. If only!
One of the biggest news stories of the week has been UKiP's MEP Steven Woolfe allegedly 'getting into a minor disagreement' with fellow party member Mike Hookem and ending up in hospital. Or, as the lads on The Last Leg - now back from Rio and on Channel Four on Friday evening - described it 'UKiP re-enacting Fight Club.' Adam Hills asked his trademark 'is it okay?' question. For, in this particular case, and this blogger paraphrases, 'is it okay for an alleged politician to allegedly attack another one allegedly in the way that may, or may not, have occurred in this instance?' Allegedly. To which the answer is, obviously, 'no, it isn't, it's bloody illegal.'
And, finally in our 'Friday night is comedy night' subsection, here's the one and only Brian Blessed on the forthcoming US presidential election. You tell 'em, Bri!
Here are final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Thirty Two programmes, week-ending Sunday 2 October 2016:-
1 The Great British Bake Off - Wed BBC1 - 13.13m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 10.61m
3 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 8.23m
4 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.35m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.99m
6 Victoria - Sun ITV - 6.52m
7 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.39m
8 Cold Feet - Mon ITV - 6.19m
9 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 5.99m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.84m
11 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.44m
12 Our Girl - Wed BBC1 - 5.30m
13 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.27m
14 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.59m
15 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.57m
16 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.40m
17 Sir Terry Wogan Remembered: Fifty Years At The BBC - Fri BBC1 - 4.35m
18 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.32m
19 Ambulance - Tues BBC1 - 4.31m
20 The Level - Fri ITV - 4.05m
21 DCI Banks - Wed ITV - 3.95m
22 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Thurs BBC1 - 3.93m
23 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.86m
24 Pointless Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 3.80m
25 Louis Theroux: Savile - Sun BBC2 - 3.72m
26 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 3.69m
27 Gogglebox - Tues Channel Four - 3.64m
28 Paranoid - Thurs ITV - 3.59m
29= The Fall - Thurs BBC2 - 3.54m
29= National Treasure - Channel Four - 3.54m
31= Match Of The Day - Sat BBC1 - 3.53m
31= Would I Live To You? - Fri BBC - 3.53m
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, this blogger doesn't make the rules! Strictly Come Dancing's Sunday night results episode attracted 8.97 million viewers whilst The X Factor's programme on the same evening had 7.49 million. On BBC2, aside from the much-talked about Louis Theroux documentary and the welcome return for a third series of The Fall, University Challenge was watched by 2.73 million viewers. The latest episode of Ripper Street was seen by 2.63 million and From The North favourite Only Connect by 2.38 million. The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice ... Of Greed drew 2.27 million punters whilst Gardeners' World had 2.14 million, The Great British Menu, 2.13 million and Hunting The Nazi Gold Train, 2.04 million viewers. Mock The Week and The Hairy Bikers: Chicken & Egg were watched by 1.96 million and 1.94 million viewers respectively. Old Mister Portaloo's Great Continental Railways Journeys attracted 1.92 million and Mastermind, 1.85 million. Conviction: Murder At The Station was seen by 1.75 million viewers, Nature's Weirdest Events by 1.59 million and Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two by 1.53 million. The opening episode of the hideous, rotten and wretchedly unfunny Morgana Robinson's The Agency attracted 1.21 million. How many of those will be back for episode two, time will tell. But, if it's more than Robinson's friends and family (so, you know, about twelve) then there really is something seriously wrong with the people watching it. Aside from the outstanding figures brought in by the second episode of the Robbie Coltrane drama National Treasure and, of course, by Gogglebox, Channel Four's next highest-rated broadcast of the week was Grand Designs (2.68 million), followed by Z-List Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls (2.55 million). Hunted was seen by 2.39 million viewers, whilst Location, Location, Location had 2.33 million, Speed With Guy Martin, 2.07 million, Nine Nine Nine: What's Your Emergency?, 1.91 million and the first episode of the excellent Damned, 1.89 million. Nasty Penelope Keith's Horrible Hidden Villages attracted 1.26 million punters. Every single one of whom needs their bloody heads examining for watching dribbling tripe the likes of this. And, speaking of tripe, Channel Five's top performer was, Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! - with 2.14 million - ahead of The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door (1.57 million), The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies (1.36 million), Secrets of The SAS: In Their Own Words (1.31 million punters) and Police Interceptors (also 1.31 million). After those three weeks 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 Stottingtot Hotshots victory over Blunderland was watched by 1.06 million viewers whilst Burnley's game against The Arse drew nine hundred and seventy five thousand. Saturday's live coverage of the Ryder Cup attracted five hundred and thirty one thousand. Further Premier League malarkey, Soon-To-Be-Managerless Swansea versus The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws on Sky Sports 2 had seven hundred and eighty four thousand whilst Everton Toffees versus Crystal Palace was seen by three hundred and sixty four thousand. Gillette Soccer Saturday was watched by seven hundred and four thousand on Sky Sports News HQ and a further two hundred and twenty one thousand on Sky Sports 1. Un-bee-leave-able, Jeff. Having praised Sky for getting their shit together and supplying their figures for this week, it was notable that 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 Malaysian Grand Prix on the channel, he is unable to. A total of 1.42 million viewers watched Channel Four's early-morning coverage of the race and Lewis Hamilton's spectacularly funny explosion. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and sixty one thousand viewers). It'll Be Alright On The Night was seen by five hundred and eighty one thousand, Doc Martin by five hundred and sixty two thousand and Agatha Christie's Marple by four hundred and seventy one thousand. A broadcast of Jaws headed ITV4's weekly list with three hundred and sixty six thousand viewers whilst MotoGP Highlights attracted three hundred and sixty five thousand. Steve McQueen: The Motorbike Movie Star had three hundred and four thousand and Benidorm was watched by two hundred and eighty thousand viewers. ITV2's most-watched broadcast was, as usual, the worthless steaming infested shower of rancid stinking 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 risible nonsense). The film Despicable Me drew eight hundred and sixty one thousand. Family Guy had six hundred and ten thousand viewers. DCI Banks headed ITV Encore's top ten with fifty one thousand viewers, ahead of Downton Abbey which had fifty thousand and Vera (forty four thousand). BBC4's list was headed by imported Scandi-noir drama Beck with seven hundred and forty five thousand viewers, followed by Britain's Lost Masterpieces (five hundred and forty nine thousand), Legends Of The Deep: Deep Sea Sharks (five hundred and forty five thousand), King Alfred & The Anglo-Saxons (five hundred and thirty nine thousand) and Kew's Forgotten Queen (five hundred and ten thousand). Railways: The Making Of A Nation drew four hundred and fifty six thousand and Clydebuilt: The Ships That Made The Commonwealth, four hundred and forty three thousand. Top Of The Pops 1982 was watched by four hundred and thirty one thousand, Natural World, four hundred and thirty thousand and Rome: The History Of An Eternal City, three hundred and seventy three thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by the latest episode of Hooten & The Lady (six hundred and twenty seven thousand), ahead of the utterly worthless, unfunny, full-of-its-own-importance vomit A League Of Their Own (six hundred and nine thousand), Mount Pleasant (four hundred and fifty three thousand), Zoo (four hundred and thirty two thousand), The Last Ship (three hundred and Ninety nine thousand) and The Simpsons (three hundred and seventy thousand). Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Ray Donovan (three hundred and ten thousand). The Night Of was seen by two hundred and forty three thousand and Ballers by two hundred and seven thousand thousand. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew four hundred and seventy nine thousand, Shades Of Blue had three hundred and fifty three thousand, Nashville, two hundred and forty two thousand and The Biggest Loser, two hundred and fourteen thousand viewers. Sky Arts' Discovering Film had forty seven thousand viewers whilst ABBA: Dancing Queen was seen by thirty nine thousand and David Bowie: A Reality Tour by thirty one thousand. 5USA's Chicago PD was watched by five hundred and twenty eight thousand viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles attracted five hundred and one thousand, Castle, four hundred and thirty eight thousand, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour, four hundred and thirty seven thousand, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, three hundred and forty four thousand and NCIS, three hundred and fifteen thousand. NCIS also topped CBS Action's list (one hundred and twenty three thousand) and featured in the top-tens of FOX (one hundred and thirty six thousand) and The Universal Channel (one hundred thousand). FOX's most watched programmes were American Horror Story (four hundred and twenty two thousand), Wolf Creek (two hundred and nine thousand), Family Guy (one hundred and sixty nine thousand) and Tyrant (one hundred and forty nine thousand). The Universal Channel's list was headed by Major Crimes with two hundred and eighty eight thousand, Private Eyes, two hundred and thirty eight thousand and Motive, one hundred and sixty one thousand. The movie Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason was watched by one hundred and forty two thousand. On Dave, the eleventh series of the cult favourite Red Dwarf continued with the largest mutlchannels audience of the week across all channels, 1.44 million viewers. The fourth episode of Dara O Briain's Go Eight Bit was the second highest-rated programme with six hundred and twenty one thousand punters. That was followed by the movies V For Vendetta (three hundred and ninety two thousand) and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (three hundred and ninety one thousand), Qi XL (three hundred and fifty six thousand) and Mock The Week (three hundred and twenty nine thousand). Drama's Rebus was watched by four hundred and forty two thousand viewers. Death In Paradise had four hundred and thirty eight thousand, followed by Dalziel & Pascoe (four hundred and fourteen thousand viewers), New Tricks (four hundred and one thousand), Father Brown (three hundred and fifty three thousand) and Murdoch Mysteries (three hundred and thirty five thousand). Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rizzoli & Isles (four hundred and thirty one thousand), followed by Rosewood (two hundred and eighty four thousand), Inspector George Gently (one hundred and thirty two thousand), Death In Paradise (one hundred and ten thousand) and Lie To Me (seventy two thousand). Yesterday's 'Allo 'Allo repeat run was seen by two hundred and thirty three thousand. Unearthing WW1 was watched by one hundred and ninety nine thousand and Blackadder's Most Cunning Moments by one hundred and eighty four thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Fast 'N Loud's latest series continued with three hundred and twenty six thousand viewers. Marooned With Ed Stafford (Plus His Film Crew) drew one hundred and thirty two thousand whilst Gold Divers was seen by one hundred and three thousand and Taking Fire was seen by seventy two thousand. Discovery History's Special Forces' Secrets topped the weekly-list with twenty one thousand viewers. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was seen by fifty thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was, as usual Wheeler Dealers (forty five thousand viewers). National Geographic's list was headed by Wicked Tuna which had eight four thousand viewers and Yukon Gold (sixty three thousand). Sex In The Stone Age was watched by fifty three thousand. The History Channel's top-ten was led by Barbarians Rising (one hundred and ninety one thousand). Mountain Men was seen by one hundred and thirty seven thousand and both The Bastard Executioner and Ice road Truckers both attracted an audience of one hundred and twenty six thousand. On Military History, Ancient Aliens was watched by thirty one thousand and Strange Rituals by twenty three thousand. JonBenet: An American Murder Mystery, American Monster and Killer Instinct With Chris Hansen were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with one hundred and fifty two thousand viewers, sixty seven thousand and forty eight thousand murder-lovers respectively). Homicide Hunter, Unusual Suspects and On The Case With Paula Zahn headed CI's list (seventy four thousand, forty six thousand and forty thousand respectively). Crimes That Shook Britain drew thirty seven thousand. GOLD's repeat of Only Fools & Horses drew one hundred and fifty four thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and seventy thousand). Your TV's Unusual Suspects had sixty three thousand viewers whilst Sensing Murder drew fifty nine thousand. On More4, My Floating Home was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and sixty seven thousand. Homes By The Sea attracted four hundred and thirty six thousand punters, Sarah Benny's Four Rooms, three hundred and ninety thousand, Hitler: The Rise & Fall, three hundred and fifty five thousand and Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown by three hundred and forty five thousand. E4's latest episode of Hollyoakes drew 1.05 million viewers. The Horror Channel's broadcast of Triangle attracted one hundred and eighty eight thousand. Their top-ten list for the week also included the abysmally wretched Lesbian Vampire Killers (one hundred and seven thousand), the 1958 classic The Blob (ninety thousand thousand) and Hammer's The Devil Rides Out (seventy six thousand). Dark Matter, headed Syfy's top-ten with three hundred and sixty five thousand whilst Hunters had one hundred and eighty one thousand and Killjoys, one hundred and forty three thousand. Deadly Sixty and The Great Human Odyssey were both watched by thirty seven thousand viewers on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with sixty nine thousand. On W, MasterChef Australia was seen by two hundred and seventy eight thousand. The Strain attracted two hundred and seventy thousand. On Spike, Criminals: Caught On Camera was watched by one hundred and fifty eight thousand and The X-Files by one hundred and fifty four thousand. Say Yes To The Dress was watched by one hundred and thirty eight thousand people who really do need to have a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror on TLC. The Vault's Jon Lee: 1999 A Year In Pop was seen by thirteen thousand punters. Jimmy's Heroes drew an audience of twenty nine thousand on Irish TV. Life Below Zero was seen by sixty five thousand on the Travel Channel.

Filming of Broadchurch series three is,as previously announced, well underway, with new on-set pictures showing David Tennant and Olivia Colman shooting scenes as Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller. Julie Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Parrish have joined the show for its third series, with Hesmondhalgh also spotted during the latest filming block. Shooting scenes alongside Tennant was Jodie Whittaker as Beth Latimer. The former Corrie legend Hesmondhalgh has been cast in what is described as a 'significant role'. The third series of Broadchurch will be its last, with creator Chris Chibnall moving on to his appointment on Doctor Who. 'This is the final chapter of Broadchurch,' he said previously. 'We have one last story to tell, featuring both familiar faces and new characters. I hope it's a compelling and emotional farewell to a world and show that means so much to me.' Other cast members for the upcoming series include Sunetra Sarker, Charlie Higson, Georgina Campbell and Lenny Henry (last funny, briefly, in 1983).
From The North favourite yer actual Gillian Anderson 'stole the show' at a literacy fundraising event with the reading of a letter written by a ninety seven-year-old in a care home. The letter was a thank you note from one Mary Grant sent in 1982, after a gift was delivered to her. In the letter, which was read to an audience at The Freemasons' Hall in London, Grant thanked the sender, a Mister Walker, for the 'lovely transistor radio you and your district so kindly sent me for my birthday.' Grant recounts how her roommate, Maggie Cook, had a radio for a long time, but did not share it with Grant. Mary went on to say that Cook had accidentally knocked her own radio off a shelf. She ended her letter writing: 'It smashed into many pieces and caused her to cry. It was so sad. Fortunately, I had my new radio. Knowing this, Maggie asked if she could listen to mine. I told her to fuck off.' The letter was one of a series of historic letters being read by a string of famous actors, musicians and writers as part of Letters Live. Inspired by Shaun Usher's best-selling Letters Of Note series and website, as well as Simon Garfield's book To The Letter, the event sees actors and performers reading out literary correspondence to a live audience. Lily Cole and the actor Colin Salmon were another hit as they read a letter exchange between the physicist Albert Einstein and a young girl named Phyllis, who in the January of 1936 wrote to him on behalf of her Sunday school to ask: 'Do scientists pray?' Danny Boyle read a letter written by German Olympic long-jumper Luz Long to Jesse Owens, who despite being a rival, became a close friend of Long's.
A reluctant camel, a 'minor fire' and a fractured arm feature in the first full-length trailer for The Grand Tour. Jezza Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond are billed as 'three friends on an adventure' in the promo for the new show. It features the trio in exotic locations, with the ex-Top Gear presenters joking that they have only had 'a minor fire' when a stunt goes wrong. The three are seen speeding around race tracks, flying over the desert - and trying but failing to entice a camel up a ramp. May wears a sling after fracturing his arm. As he sits helplessly in his car, Jezza asks his co-presenter: 'Has your door broken?' to which Mister Slowly replies: 'No, I'm broken. Can you hold the door for me?' And May and Hamster both make fun of Clarkson when he turns up dressed in a cream suit: 'Wow, Roger Moore!' Clarkson replies: 'Looking good is more important than looking where you are going' to which May replies: 'When are you going to do that then?'
Everyone knows that The Grand Tour is mere weeks away on Amazon Prime. And, needless to say, a lot of people are very excited about this. But, some Special People, seem to be a bit too excited. A widespread online Interweb rumour suggested that ex-Stig, Ben Collins, who was formerly the BBC's tamed racing driver until he wrote a book revealing his identity, was helpfully outed by the press and sacked by the show, would be returning as well. Except, that he isn't. It all kicked-off when a new video was uploaded to 'a dedicated Richard Hammond YouTube channel' (for, such a thing does exist) purporting to be a clip from The Grand Tour introducing a new racing driver. Hamster, Jezza and Mister Slowly then find a battered-looking Stig 'soaked in urine and living rough' who 'used to work on a TV show' - and suggest calling him 'The Stog.' It is then revealed to be none other than Collins. However, it turns out that this is all a case of 'Internet confusion.' What were the chances, eh? The clip is actually from a Clarkson, Hammond and May live show from two years ago The video 'went viral' during the last fortnight and lots of media outlets reported that Collins's Stig would be featured in The Grand Tour. Except that he won't be.
    Meanwhile, in some real Grand Tour news, the trio recently joined odious, unfunny lardbucket (and drag) James Corden for 'a race track quiz' during The Late Late Show, where Clarkson hinted that he 'missed' Top Gear. So do we all, mate, so do we all.
And, speaking of odious, unfunny lardbucket (and drag) James Corden, we come to TV Adverts That Annoy The Shit Out Of This Blogger & Get Right On His Tit, number thirteen: Just five words, dear blog reader: James Corden, confused dot com. 'Just Call Me Mister Green Light.' This blogger is totally indebted to his old mucka Mark of the very excellent So It Goes blog who observed: 'I could call you many things mate, but that ain't one of 'em.' Word, brother.
Here's a thought for the day, dear blog reader. Does anyone else reckon that Britain exporting of the odious Corden (and oily twat Piers Morgan for that matter) to the US is some sort of cultural payback for the Americans dumping all of their shit on us over the years? You know, the Hoola-Hoop, The Osmonds, herpes, The Dukes Of Hazard?
The BBC has 'defended' University Challenge after yer man Jezza Paxman claimed that starter questions are sometimes edited out if students cannot answer them. Although it's not entirely clear whom, if anyone, has actually whinged about this matter requiring the BBC to 'defend' itself. Sounds like a bit of an entirely made-up story to this blogger. The show's host reportedly said: 'If we get a run of questions, it doesn't happen very often, you might get a run of unanswered starter questions. They all get edited out,' he told an audience at Henley Literary Festival. The BBC said: ]If minor edits are made they always accurately and fairly represent each team's performance. Viewers should not be in any doubt that University Challenge contestants are the cream of the TV quiz crop,' a BBC spokesperson added. Paxo, who was speaking publicly for the first time about his autobiography, said that the episodes were edited because 'as a taxpayer you do not want to think your money is being wasted.' The quiz show, which was revived on the BBC in 1994, sees two university teams compete against each other. You knew that, right? Paxo left BBC2's Newsnight after twenty five years in 2014 but has continued to present the channel's University Challenge. The show first began in 1962 when Granada Television took the bold step of introducing an intellectual quiz show, fronted by Bamber Gascgoine. After its initial popularity, the programme was cancelled in 1987 due to low viewing figures, but was resurrected by the BBC seven years later with Paxo installed as its new presenter. It is currently one of BBC2's most watched programmes with a regular consolidated audience of around two-and-a-half to three million viewers per episode.
The Great British Bake Off has filled every spot in the top five most watched programmes of the year so far. An average of almost thirteen and a half million punters have tuned in to each episode of the BBC1 bakery competition, according to the research body BARB. It is the largest number of viewers Bake Off has attracted in its seven-year history. The ratings include those who watched the programme live and also people who recorded it and then watched it up to seven days after broadcast. The data covers only the first five episodes of the current series, and does not include the sixth episode which was broadcast on 28 September. Other popular shows this year have been ITV's talent show Britain's Got Toilets and coverage of Euro 2016 matches, with the former as Bake Off's closest competitor. One episode of the toilets show attracted twelve-and-a-half million viewers in April, putting it in sixth place overall.
Alan Carr has said that he won't be the next presenter of The Great British Bake Off. Not that anybody with half-a-brain in their skull actually suggested that he would be. 'I love Channel Four but no-one has approached me,' Carr told Nick Grimshaw during the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show.
Sandi Toksvig has insisted that she is 'not aiming to be a Stephen Fry Mini-Me' as she prepares to take over as Qi host. Well, hardly. There's a couple of significant differences. Height, for one thing. The writer and broadcaster, who described Qi as her 'dream job,' will become the first female host of a mainstream television comedy panel show. Speaking to the Gruniad Morning Star, Sandi claimed that she was 'not here as a Mini-Me for Stephen. You have to make it your own,' she added. Qi returns for its fourteenth series - the first since Fry's departure - next week.
You can find out how Sandi gets on when series N hits BBC2, with a line-up of all-star guests that will include Cariad Lloyd, Clive Anderson, Colin Lane, Corey Taylor, David Mitchell, Deirdre O’Kane, Mad Frankie Boyle, Gyles Brandreth, Holly Walsh, Jason Manford, Jezza Clarkson, Jerry Springer, Jimmy Carr, Jo Brand, Johnny Vegas, Josh Widdicombe, Lee Mack, Lolly Adefope, Lucy Beaumont, Lucy Porter, Matt Lucas, Miles Jupp, Nish Kumar, Noel Fielding, Phill Jupitus, Rhod Gilbert, Richard Osman, Romesh Ranganathan, Ronni Ancona, Ross Noble, Sarah Millican, Sarah Pascoe, Susan Calman and Victoria Coren Mitchell. In no order other than the purely alphabetical.
Bill Bailey has revealed the best heckle he ever received. The comedian, a particular favourite of all of us here at From The North, is touring around Australia for the next three months and told that he will 'never forget' what an audience member yelled out during a particular gig in Ireland. 'I was doing this orchestra show and I was describing the notion of film soundtracks,' Bill said. 'The orchestra were playing the music from Titanic ['My Heart Will Go On']. I was talking and I was slightly making fun of the whole thing. We were in the O2 Arena in Dublin with ten thousand people and you could hear a pin drop. 'I was saying, "This is how a soundtrack can create an atmosphere ..." and then a bloke in the back of the room shouted out, "ICEBERG, RIGHT AHEAD!" and the whole place just cracked up, me included.'
Steady Eddie Izzard has reportedly donated his performance fees from a sold out show at the Isle of Wight's Shanklin Theatre to two local charities, Layla's Trust and The Rainbow Club. The actor, comedian and political activist (and another cult favourite of us here at From The North) is currently filming on the Isle of Wight along with Judi Dench for the production of Victoria & Abdul at Osborne House. Sarah Leahy from Layla's Trust said why it means so much to them: 'We've been going for quite a few years now but we're quite low key, I think, in terms of our profile on the Isle of Wight. To have someone as well known as Eddie Izzard to choose our charity over others is fantastic. [We were] quite taken by surprise to be honest. We didn't actually know until about a week before hand that Eddie had chosen us as one of his two charities on the Island to have the proceeds of his gig, that he was doing at Shanklin Theatre, so it was quite a surprise. A really nice surprise.'
Yer actual Karen Gillan is currently getting very active in the jungle while filming her latest movie, Jumanji. And, she posted a picture of herself alongside her two stunt doubles on set in Hawaii this week. Kazza's the one in the middle, just in case you were wondering.
There's a really good piece in the Radio Times this week interviewing yer actual Sir Tony Robinson about the - completely non-existent - chances of a Blackadder revival. It includes the following gem: 'One of the last times we met [Rowan] said to me, "Do you know what would be great for Blackadder would be if we took over The Royal Tournament one day so you could have all these tanks and all these field guns being assembled and re-assembled and there would be a Blackadder narrative going on throughout it with huge screens like at Adele concerts at the same time."' Well, this blogger would watch it.
You're Back In The Room is, mercifully, no more. Phillip Schofield's hypnosis game show, which drew overnight audiences of less than three million punters while it was on-air, is coming to an end after two not-very-good series. Because it was shit and no one was watching it, which is the usual reason why TV shows that get cancelled are cancelled. An alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - 'show source' allegedly told the Digital Spy website: 'Phillip did a brilliant job as host. His commentary was hilarious and he loved doing the show, but he's got some new formats coming up for ITV and sadly something had to make way. You're Back In The Room was a bold, innovative and funny idea and an exciting format.' So 'bold, innovative and exciting' that ITV are throwing it into the gutter along with all the other turds, it would seem. 'It was a completely different show which we're really proud of,' the alleged - anonymous - 'show source' allegedly added. 'Unfortunately, the team felt after two series, it had done its job.'
Ruth Davidson is to appear on Have I Got News For You next week, after she whinged at the BBC to invite her to compete on Strictly Come Dancing. The Scottish Tory leader has accepted an invitation to appear as a panellist on the satirical quiz show. The broadcast will coincide with the SNP conference in Glasgow. It will be the second time that Davidson has appeared on the BBC show after making her debut in October last year.
Some of the injuries being picked up by the chap in Strictly Come Dancing this year are enough to make yer eyes water. This week saw BBC sports presenter Ore Oduba explaining that his 'downstairs' took 'an absolute beating' during rehearsals for the show. After that, Olympian Greg Rutherford revealed that practicing the jive with his partner, Natalie Lowe, had left him fearing for his ability to become a father. 'We've actually had to adapt our jive because we wanted to do a really extreme jump into a lift. It was epic,' the long jumper told the Daily Lies, who seem to be utterly obsessed with Strictly at the moment in the way that they used to be - but, apparently, no longer are - over Big Brother. You know, when it used to be made by a company owner by the same soft-core pornographer that they were. 'But then during rehearsals, Nat missed the position and as she grabbed me, she ripped her nail off, which bled everywhere,' Rutherford allegedly revealed. 'Then we tried again and we lost it. I fell to the floor and couldn't move. I feared I'd never have children again it was that bad.' Luckily the pair managed to recover enough to impress the judges at the weekend with a near-perfect performance. And, despite the eye-watering injury, the Olympic gold medallist insists that he can 'go all the way' in the competition. In the way that he didn't in the long jump in Rio. 'I don't think I'm the best dancer by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I can work harder than anybody else in this competition,' he allegedly told the alleged newspaper.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli reportedly threatened to walk out of last week's results show after the dance off was cancelled. Producers made the decision after Anastacia was unable to perform because of a painful injury to her mastectomy scars, as reported in previous bloggerisationisms update. This meant that Kiss FM presenter Melvin Odoom (no, me neither), who was due to face the singer in the dance-off, was sent home after receiving the least amount of viewer votes. According to the Daily Lies - which had already got a hysterically overblown front page story out of all this malarkey and tripe - the solution didn't go down well with 'the fiery Italian judge' who, allegedly, 'stormed backstage' and 'demanded to be taken home.' Bruno is 'believed' to have told 'show bosses' (or, producers, as they're more widely known to people who aren't tabloid reporters) that if a contestant could not dance, for whatever reason, then they should lose their place in the competition. An alleged 'show source' allegedly told the alleged newspaper: 'The studio audience had no idea about the backstage drama.' Bruno was, eventually, 'persuaded to return to the panel' to finish recording the results show, which was broadcast on Sunday evening. Although they refused to comment on Bruno's alleged reaction to the decision to cancel the dance-off, the BBC told Huffington Post that the judge did not refuse to film the results show or get in his car to leave the studios early. So, therefore, either the BBC is lying, or the Daily Lies are. Whom do you believe, dear blog reader? Anastacia has since been given the all-clear by doctors and will be competing in the show again this weekend. A BBC spokesperson said: 'Anastacia is rehearsing her Viennese Waltz and is planning to perform it with Brendan on the show this Saturday.' The BBC has also responded to viewer whinges about the decision to cancel the dance-off. In a statement, it said: 'Anastacia was unable to perform in the dance off due to an injury, meaning Melvin Odoom became the first to leave the new series. Anastacia sustained an injury in training. She was seen by a doctor on Friday and the injury forced Anastacia and Brendan to re-choreography their routine on Saturday. After she chose to perform the altered routine her injury was unfortunately aggravated further. A decision was made in the results show that Anastacia and Brendan could not perform again. This is the first time this particular scenario has happened, but Strictly has the rules for many situations including this one. This pre-agreed Strictly rule for this scenario states that if a contestant has performed on the Saturday show then finds themselves in the dance off but is unable to perform again due to injury, there can be no dance off and the final decision lies firmly and solely in the hands of the viewer vote. The couple with the fewest number of viewer votes in the dance off was Melvin and Janette, and therefore they left the competition.' Which can be translated as 'it's our show, we'll do what we like, if you don't like it sod-off and watch The X Factor.'
And, speaking of The X Factor, Saara Aalto (no, me neither) secured herself a spot in the live X Factor finals last weekend, with Sharon Osbourne giving the Finnish singer one of just three spots in her category. Now the 'hopeful' has 'opened up' (that's tabloid speak for 'spoken about, only with less syllables) about her personal life, revealing that she used to be one half of Finland's most famous power couples 'before she ended things for a female superfan.' Aalton told the Sun - who must think they've hit the biggest jackpot in the history of jackpots with a story about The X Factor and lesbianism - that she 'dumped' her boyfriend Teemu Roivainen after nine years together after meeting dedicated fan, Meri Sopanen. The 'lovebirds' are now engaged. She explained: 'I was in The Voice of Finland in 2012 and my girlfriend - fiancée now - watched the show, liked me a lot and sent me a fan message through Facebook.' Last time this blogger did that to someone he'd seen on TV he got a visit from Special Branch soon afterwards.
Gotham has expanded their rogues gallery, as The Mad Hatter made his debut on this week's episode in the US. The Hatter, Jervis Tetch, is a classic Batman villain taken from the pages of the DC comic. Tetch is a master of hypnotism, using his talents as a club performer to entertain the rich citizens of Gotham City, but secretly giving them suggestions so that he can rob them late at night after his show has ended. While he's not the same person as the character from the Alice In Wonderland novels, Gotham's Mad Hatter - splendidly played by Benedict Samuel - shares one thing in common with Lewis Carroll's character, they are both infatuated with a girl called Alice. Tetch's Alice is his sister, who was one Hugo Strange's inmates at Indian Hill. Alice's blood happens to have a virus, that causes deadly effects if it comes in contact with other people. Causing all manner of discombobulation and malarkey in the process, obviously.
This blogger has to admit he was a bit worried about Hayley Atwell's TV follow-up to Marvel's Agent Carter when he first saw its trailer. Conviction appeared to be a desperately generic crime drama which featured a, seemingly pointless - albeit, very nice - shot of Hayley in her bra, apparently as a major selling point of the show. Now, it appears this blogger was right to be worried. The ABC series stars Atwell as former First Daughter Hayes Morrison, who is blackmailed into heading the Conviction Integrity Unit, a department of lawyers, detectives and forensic experts who re-examine old cases where there is suspicion of a wrongful conviction. It sounds like a decent enough - albeit, madly far-fetched - premise, but have a gander at some of the first reviews. The Gruniad, for instance frothed: 'Since it cancelled old warhorse Castle, ABC is on the lookout for its next great procedural and with an inherent case-of-the-week structure this could have been a home run. Conviction allows people to root for the underdog and feel like they're doing the right thing rather than watching another show about a talented man who is helping a female investigator put murderers in jail. Creators Liz Friedman (Jessica Jones) and Liz Friedlander (The Following) felt the need to pile on a bunch of tired conventions of the genre and uninteresting visual ticks, killing it before it could even get started. It's clear that none of the people the CIU is investigating belong in the slammer, but someone at ABC should be locked up for squandering Atwell's considerable talents once again.' Deadline added: 'Conviction finds Atwell as a disgraced and decadent former First Daughter given a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card if she takes over a team that, get ready for it, looks into possible false convictions. The fact that the legally-trained Hayes Morrison character now finds herself with a former First Lady of a mother with high-office ambitions of her own adds a shot of the zeitgeist to the series created by Liz Friedman and Liz Friedlander, but it is soon dissipated. The fact is, from what I've seen, the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue backstory serves more as an halting anchor than launch pad and the redemption tale never takes off. Which is a real shame, because Atwell is a star awaiting her star vehicle; sadly, Conviction doesn't give her the necessary lift.' And, those are two of the nicer ones.
Sharon Horgan has praised the number of women currently involved in high-profile comedy shows. Horgan is best known for Pulling and Catastrophe, both of which she co-wrote and appeared in. 'Most of the TV I'm watching is either created by, starring or directed by women,' Horgan told the Radio Times. 'At all the EMMY parties I went to, the people I was honing in on to tell I appreciated their work were ladies - Rachel Bloom, Tina Fey, Jill Soloway.' She added: 'They were everywhere. So certainly in the comedy world, it's looking pretty sweet.' Bloom is best known for appearing in Crazy Ex Girlfriend, while Tina Fey wrote and starred in Thirty Rock and Jill Soloway created, wrote and directed Transparent. All of which are a thousand times funnier than anything Sharon Horgan's ever been involved in. Just for context, you understand? Horgan's work on the depressingly unfunny Catastrophe was - bafflingly - nominated for 'outstanding writing for a comedy series' at the EMMYs, which took place in Los Angeles last month. She is currently working on the third season of Catastrophe and recently wrote the pilot for Divorce, which starred Sarah Jessica Parker. Horgan also co-wrote the pilot for the alleged comedy Motherland, which was warmly received by the Gruniad Morning Star, if not anyone that actually matters, when it was broadcast on BBC2 last month. Speaking of which ...
The BBC has commissioned full series of Motherland and the revival of Porridge. Six new episodes of Porridge, starring Kevin Bishop, will be made after a pilot episode received reasonably positive reviews. The remake of the 1970s classic, which saw Bishop play the grandson of Ronnie Barker's character, was part of the BBC's recent sitcom season. And, to be fair, it wasn't quite as thoroughly wretched and awful as this blogger thought it was going to be. Unlike the remake of Are You Being Served? Which was. Motherland was part of the New On Two season, which saw several new sitcoms piloted on BBC2. Porridge creators, the great Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who will write the new series, said: 'We're in a state of disbelief that Porridge is coming back after all these years, but Kevin Bishop is a worthy successor to Ronnie Barker. So even though we feel like recidivists, we're more than happy to go back inside.' Bishop his very self added: 'It was an honour to be asked to play Fletch although I never thought it would go further than just the one-off homage. To be welcomed back by Porridge fans and the BBC to make a full series, is one of the proudest moments in my career.' Last month, a consolidated audience of 5.38 million viewers tuned in to Porridge, which received broadly positive reviews. The Torygraph's Michael Hogan said that the new Porridge 'left me with an indulgent grin on my face,' while the Daily Scum Mail described it as 'an affectionate tribute to a magnificent series, by the men who created it.' Then again, they've always been a bit wacky and way-out when it came to what they thought was good and what isn't.
The original series of Porridge, which starred Barker, Richard Beckinsale and Fulton Mackay, ran from 1974 to 1977. More than two million viewers watched the pilot episode of Motherland across all platforms and the alleged 'comedy' - starring Anna Maxwell Martin as a harassed parent - was praised by a few Middle Class hippy Communist critics. The Gruniad Morning Star described Motherland as 'terrific' while the Independent called it 'a magnificent half-hour of fresh comedy.' This blogger thought it was shite. The pilot episode was written by the usually excellent Graham Linehan, Helen Linehan, Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh. Six thirty-minute episodes will be made for both series. Broadcast dates for the shows are yet to be announced, though Porridge will go into production in January. The BBC also announced that a series of A Brief History Of Tim, written by and starring Tim Renkow, had been commissioned. Renkow, who has cerebral palsy, plays the lead role in the comedy which sees his character use his condition to get away with saying whatever he wants. Four twenty-minute episodes of A Brief History Of Tim will be made for BBC3, which used to be aTV channel before it moved online earlier this year. Renkow said: 'I'm very excited to be working with the BBC. I just hope I can beat my old employment record of two days.' Damian Kavanagh, the controller of BBC3, said: 'We are all about the best new British comedy at BBC3 and are very happy to give A Brief History Of Tim a home.' Shane Allen, the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning, said: 'These three exciting new commissions reinforce our mission to keep nurturing the very best of new talent and to cherish the great talents we've championed over the years.'
Farsight Studios have released their digital recreation of the 1992 Doctor Who Pinball Machine. The table has been released for iOS, Google Play, Steam (Mac/Windows), Mac App Store, Amazon and Ouya. The table was 'inspired' by the TV series (well, sort of) and featured the original Doctor Who theme tune, the TARDIS, various Doctors, companions and villains from the series. The digital version of the table was produced after a Kickstarter campaign raised over fifty six thousand bucks, enough to purchase the the licences allowing Farsight studios to develop the replica of the machine. The game, designed by Barry Oursler and Bill Pfutzenreuter, tasks the player with rescuing each of the first seven Doctors from The Master, each one adding a new dimension to the ruleset. Although, judging by the artwork, Peter Davison appears to have been replaced by the lead singer of Def Leppard and, Tom Baker by a member of The Jackson Five. Multiball is played via a three level 'Time Expander' mini playfield that raises up to reveal more targets, allowing players to 'defeat Davros and his Daleks' and 'restore Earth's time to normal.' Which is a good thing, obviously.
A long-believe lost 1961 episode of The Avengers has been recovered. Chris Perry of the TV archive group Kaleidoscope announced this week: 'Today I have been given a missing episode of The Avengers from 1961.' It will be shown in public on Saturday 12 November at Birmingham City University at Kaliedoscope's Missing Presumed Wiped event. 'It's a moment that I know many devoted fans of The Avengers in the UK – and around the world – have longed for and one which I certainly believed would happen one day,' Chris added, revealing that the recovered episode was The Tunnel Of Fear starring Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee and first (and last) broadcast in August 1961. The last major discovery from this series happened some fifteen years ago, in April 2001, when the opening act of the first Avengers episode, Hot Snow, and a complete version of Girl On The Trapeze were found in the catalogue of holdings in the University of California. Up until that point, only one complete episode of The Avengers first series was known to exist, The Frighteners, a copy of which was also discovered at UCLA through an online search some years previously. Now, that number has doubled.
The Big Bang Theory has become a treasure trove of SF legends when it comes to guest stars over the years. In particular, many Star Trek icons have appeared alongside Sheldon, Leonard and co in the CBS sitcom - Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, George Takei and Wil Wheaton. But there's been one Star Trek great notably missing from that list, William Shatner. It turns out that The Shat has, indeed, been offered a role in the show, but he declined as he wasn't happy with the script. But, Bill hasn't ruled out a future appearance if they gave him something to work with. He told the Digital Spy website: 'I've had several conversations with the creators and what they wanted me to do, didn't seem to be exactly right, so I said "find something that's better." They may have taken umbrage at that, I'm not sure.' Explaining what he had been offered, he added: 'They wanted me to play myself a little obliquely and they said it would work out, but I needed more assurance on that.' Shatner's late co-star Leonard Nimoy famously appeared in the show in 2012, voicing Sheldon's Spock doll in a dream sequence.
The UK communications regulator Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - has ranked every 'swear word' in the English language (and, some that, you know, aren't) in order of offensiveness. After interviewing over two hundred people in the UK about how offensive they find words like 'bellend' and 'beef curtains', Ofcom concluded their list and ranked the words as either mild, medium, strong or strongest. Although participants were asked their opinion on one hundred and fifty words in total, those listed below are in the 'general swear words' list. Other words people were quizzed on include those linked to race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, body parts and health conditions and even religious insults. Here's what Ofcom found, in the 'general swear words' category. Mild: Arse, Bloody, Bugger, Cow, Crap, Damn, Ginger(!), Git, God, Goddam, Jesus Christ, Minger, Sod-off. Medium: Arsehole, Balls (which might make this year's Strictly Come Dancing a bit post-watershed), Bint, Bitch, Bollocks, Bullshit, Fek, Munter, Pissed, Pissed Off, Shit, Son of a bitch, Tits. Strong: Bastard, Beaver, Beef curtains(!), Bellend, Bloodclaat(?), Clunge, Cock, Dick, Dickhead, Fanny, Flaps, Gash, Knob, Minge, Prick, Punani(?), Pussy, Snatch, Twat. Strongest: Cnut, Fcuk, Motherfcuker. And Semprini. Obviously. It's a good job this blog is an NC-Seventeen rating, is it not, dear blog reader?
Keeley Hawes says that she has previously 'stayed away' from acting in dramas about missing children as they 'felt too close to home.' Hawes appears in the second series of the BBC drama The Missing, which focuses on children who have disappeared. She said: 'Having three children myself, I have tended to stay away from these sorts of dramas in the past. It all felt too close to home, it's one of those stories you see on the news.' Hawes, the star of Line Of Duty, Ashes Io Ashes and [spooks], added: 'You don't want to look at it, but in the end you can't help it because it's riveting.' The second series of The Missing - written by brothers Harry and Jack Williams - begins with a young British woman being found collapsed in a German town square. It later transpires that the woman - Alice Webster, played by Abigail Hardingham - has been missing for eleven years. The series explores how her family and the local community cope with her return. Hawes and David Morrissey play the girl's parents, Sam Webster and his wife Gemma. Speaking about her decision to sign up to the show, Hawes said: 'I was sent the first six scripts and I sat down one evening and thought, "Oh I'll take a look at the first one." By the end of the evening I had read them all, like I was making my way through a box-set. I just couldn't stop. So I was very excited.' The first series of the BBC1 drama, which starred James Nesbitt, was broadcast to great acclaim in 2014. The forthcoming series stars an almost entirely different cast - detective Julien Baptiste, played by Tchéky Karyo, is the only character to return. It will, again, tell the story over two timelines, starting in 2014 when Alice returned and then moving to the present day. The programme will also examine Alice's possible connection to another missing girl whose case Baptiste has previously examined. Harry Williams said: 'We didn't want to recreate the same story, we wanted to do something different. Rather than losing someone, it's about finding someone, and whether that is the happy ending that everyone thinks it is.' Hawes said that she can't tell us much about the hugely-anticipated second series for fear of spoilers, but she did reveal that her character is 'not convinced' by her returned daughter. 'Almost everything I tell you is a spoiler!' she told the Radio Times. 'But people love to second-guess. When I did Line Of Duty people were sending me photographs of white boards they'd set up trying to figure it out. This will be the same.' Keeley did disclose that her 'damaged' character starts out badly, and there's something about her returned daughter that she 'isn't certain about.' The actress also admitted that she hasn't watched the first series, continuing: 'I still haven't seen it, partly because I've got three children myself and I do find things like that quite difficult. We all know the story about Madeleine McCann,' she said. 'There's this line that Kate McCann wrote in her book that really struck me. I kept thinking about it. She wrote, "Every morning you wake up and think, is today the day?" Well in our story, today is the day.'
Women should regard wolf-whistling as 'a compliment,' Joanna Lumley has suggested. In an interview with the Daily Mirra, Lumley claimed that wolf-whistlers were saying: 'Cor, you look all right darlin'.' Lumley - who is, obviously, not mental - added: 'What's wrong with that?' Good question. Anyone who's ever been the victim of sexual harassment want to take this one? The seventy-year-old actor, presenter, campaigner and former model claimed that people had become 'sensitive flowers' who were 'very offended by everything.' In July, Nottinghamshire Police said that wolf-whistling could be 'a hate crime.' In the interview, Lumley claimed that people had been 'tougher' in the 1960s. 'When I was modelling, photographers were much ruder,' she said. 'They'd say: "You look frightful, what's the matter with you? You look podgy, you look fat as a pig." It was good-natured banter. You kind of got on with it, it didn't upset you.' Please do remember all that dear blog reader, the next time some no doubt perfect specimen of society makes a horribly offensive personal comment about your appearance, it's all just 'good-natured banter.' Apparently. Lumley has insisted that she wasn't trying to offend anyone with her comments.
Helen Flanagan, who played Rosie Webster in Coronation Street, is to return to the soap after five years. Viewers will see Flanagan back on-screen next February and she will stay until the spring, ITV said. Not all the time, obviously, there'll be some other programmes on as well. The actress first appeared in the soap at the age of nine and remained until 2012, when reports said that she had been suffering panic attacks on set. Her character, a model, was said to have left Weatherfield to take part in a reality TV show. In 2011, she had been seen in an ITV2 spin-off Just Rosie, which followed her as she tried to forge a modelling career. After her departure from Coronation Street, Flanagan herself, in a 'life imitating art' style scenario took part in a number of reality shows including I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) and Celebrity Super Spa No, me neither). In a statement, the twenty six-year-old said: 'I'm so excited to be returning to Coronation Street and being part of the Webster family again.' ITV said that plot details were being 'kept under wraps' but 'one thing is certain - Rosie's visit to see her family won't be uneventful.' Coronation Street producer Kate Oates said: 'The Websters have missed Rosie and so have we. With Sophie away on holiday with her sister it seemed like the ideal time to bring Rosie back home with her for a visit. We are delighted that Helen is as keen explore what Rosie has been up to away from the cobbles as we are.'
BBC Radio 4 has cancelled a show hosted by the former comedian David Baddiel after some rather manufactured 'outrage' over jokes about the Queen's sex life on her ninetieth birthday. Don't Make Me Laugh - one of the most apt titles for a supposed 'comedy' show ever hatched - which was created and fronted by Baddiel, featured panellists 'discussing topics'. With hilarious consequences, clearly. One pre-recorded episode, which was broadcast at 6.30pm on the day of Her Maj's birthday, included the subject 'The Queen must have had sex at least four times.' Panellists, who included Russell Kane (very popular with students), made a series of crude sex jokes about the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The BBC received more than one hundred and twenty whinges about the show from 'outraged listeners' - or, you know, Daily Scum Mail readers, anyway - and the corporation's governing body, the BBC Trust, ruled that the panellists' comments were 'personal, intrusive and demeaning.' And, much more importantly, not in the slightest bit funny. Mister Baddibub later grovellingly apologised for the 'offensive section' of the show and said that it was never meant to be scheduled for broadcast on the Queen's birthday but the week after. But, mainly, he grovellingly apologised because he realised that this is exactly the sort of shitstorm that often gets people sacked. Partly as a result of the broadcast, the BBC decided to move the show from 6.30pm to 11pm. The corporation has now decided to cancel the show but is 'understood' to be 'keen' to work with Baddiel again. 'We're lucky to receive hundreds of great ideas from brilliant comedians who want to work with Radio 4 and we always bring a mix of returning shows to our audiences whilst also finding space for new programmes in our packed schedule,' said a spokeswoman for Radio 4. 'This means not all shows get recommissioned as otherwise it would be impossible to try out fresh formats and ideas.' The Gruniad claims that the BBC's decision to drop the series was not based on the BBC Trust ruling on the episode featuring the Queen joke. At least, that's their story and they're sticking to it.
The undercover 'journalist' Mazher Mahmood, known as The Fake Sheikh, has been found extremely very guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. After a long career in which he has exposed, embarrassed and in some cases helped to convict his many victims, the shadowy Mahmood is now headline news himself and his reputation - such as it was - is in shreds. And he is facing the possibility of doing some serious Richard III. Mahmood, fifty three, was found to have tampered with evidence in the collapsed drugs trial of the singer Tulisa Contostavlos. His driver and co-defendant, Alan Smith, sixty seven, was also found guilty of the same charge following a trial at the Old Bailey. Prosecutors said that Mahmood had 'a vested interest' in Contostavlos's prosecution. Both men will be very sentenced on 21 October. As he was leaving court, Mahmood declined to comment to journalists or say whether he would be launching an appeal. Ben Rose, Contostavlos's defence lawyer, claimed - unconvincingly - that investigative journalists did 'important work' but that Mahmood 'clearly went too far. The real scandal in this case is that Mahmood was allowed to operate as a wholly unregulated police force, "investigating" crimes without the safeguards which apply to the police,' he added. 'It was obvious from the outset that Tulisa should never have had to go to court. If Mahmood's evidence had been properly stress-tested instead of accepted wholesale by the CPS, we are confident it would have come to the same conclusion.' The self-styled 'King Of The Sting' claims to have helped in the convictions of one hundred alleged 'criminals' during his twenty five years as an investigative journalist. Every single one of which will, hopefully, now be thoroughly reinvestigated for further signs of criminality. Three cases based on his evidence have already been abandoned, another twenty five have been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service. Six have been taken up by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, including that of the former London's Burning actor John Alford, jailed in 1999 in a case shockingly similar to the 'sting' Mahmood attempted on Contostavlos. The media lawyer Mark Lewis said that he had been instructed by eighteen people to pursue civil claims against Mahmood, which he says could top eight hundred million knicker 'with some awards dwarfing those seen in the phone-hacking scandal.' Some of the individuals were convicted of crimes which, they argued at the time, came as the result of false evidence. 'Over the last twenty five years, innumerable lives have been ruined by the dishonest actions of Mazher Mahmood,' Lewis added. 'People have lost their livelihoods, their homes and relationships, with some spending time in prison.' The court heard that Contostavlos had been 'targeted' by Mahmood, posing as an influential film producer who wanted her to star in a Hollywood blockbuster. Mahmood - a former Scum Of The World investigations editor - met the singer at the Metropolitan Hotel in London in 2013 and she allegedly arranged for him to be sold half-an-ounce of Charlie by one of her contacts for eight hundred smackers. The former N-Dubz singer and The X Factor judge was later arrested and charged with being 'concerned in the supply of a class A drug,' after Mahmood from Purley, snitched her up like a filthy stinking Copper's Nark to The Law. But, her trial was eventually thrown out, the Old Bailey was told, after driver Smith was found to have changed his police statement, removing comments that she made to him expressing her disapproval of hard drugs. As Smith drove Contostavlos home to Hertfordshire, she allegedly spoke about a family member who had a drugs problem. When he was interviewed by police about the journey more than a year later, Smith, of Dereham in Norfolk, recalled the conversation. But a day later, after speaking to Mahmood and e-mailing him his draft police statement, the singer's anti-drugs comments were removed, the court heard. Referring to Mahmood, prosecutor Sarah Forshaw QC said: 'He knew that if it could be shown that he had acted improperly as an agent provocateur, inducing Miss Contostavlos to do something she would not otherwise do, his own credibility and standing and the prospect of conviction in the case might both be severely damaged.' Mahmood, who also worked for The Sunday Times and the Sun On Sunday, has been very suspended by News UK since the collapse of the Tulisa trial. A News UK spokesman said: 'We are disappointed by the news that Mazher Mahmood has been convicted. We do not have further comment at this time.' No, of course not. Too busy trying to get your own story straight, one imagines.
And, if you fancy one of the finest examples of journalistic 'I told you so' in the history of the medium, dear blog reader, check out the Gruniad's Roy Gleenslade's piece on his own dealings over the years with the vile Mahmood, Mazher Mahmood's Journalistic Game Has Finally Been Brought To Book. It'll make yer hair stand on end.
The partner of former EastEnders actress Sian Blake has been given a whole life tariff for killing her and their two children. Arthur Simpson-Kent stabbed Blake to death along with their sons Zachary, eight, and Anon, four. The Old Bailey heard that he killed them when he learned Blake was planning to leave him and take their sons away. Blake had motor neurone disease and would not have been able to defend herself, the court heard. All three were hit on the head before they were stabbed in the neck or throat with a small axe by Simpson-Kent, who then buried their bodies in the garden last December. He painted over the blood stains in their bungalow in Erith before fleeing to his native Ghana in January. Simpson-Kent was extremely arrested at Heathrow Airport in February after being extradited. He admitted to murdering his family in June. Mr Justice Singh said there was 'no doubt' that Simpson-Kent should serve the rest of his life in prison. 'In my judgment this was indeed a case where each murder involved a substantial degree of premeditation or planning,' he said. 'At the very least that must be true of the murder of each of the two little boys individually and in turn after the defendant had already killed Sian Blake.'
A leading Nigerian actress has been banned from the Hausa-language film industry because of her 'immoral' behaviour, the main industry body says. Rahama Sadau 'caused offence' by 'hugging and cuddling' pop singer Classiq in a video, it added. The industry, commonly known as Kannywood, has been under fire from conservative Muslim clerics who accuse it of corrupting people's values. They regard it as 'taboo' for men and women to hold hands or kiss in public. Sadau, who is said to be currently on a holiday in India, has not yet commented on the ban imposed by Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria. Its chairman, Muhammadu Kabiru Maikaba - who is, obviously, not mental - told the BBC Hausa service that the ban was 'total. This is not the first time that she has been doing these wayward things. We have been warning her, but she still went ahead to dent our image,' he said. The Kannywood star appeared in the video with Classiq, in a song entitled 'I Love You'. In it, the singer is smitten with a vegetable seller in a market, acted by Sadau. Initially, she rejects his advances, batting him away with a bunch of vegetables, but he, eventually, wins her over. They hold hands and engage in a bit of cuddling which would be considered demure in a Western film. Classiq himself cannot be banned because he is not a member of Moppan.
Fleabag, the hit BBC comedy which started life as a one-woman theatre show, is returning to the London stage. Writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge will appear in the two-week run at the Soho Theatre in December. Fleabag was first performed as a one-woman play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013 before being commissioned as a series by BBC3. It later moved to BBC2 and the series has received more than a million iPlayer requests this year. Fleabag is a 'dark comedy' in which Waller-Bridge plays 'a sarcastic, sex-obsessed young woman attempting to navigate modern life in London.' The show received warm reviews from critics, with the Gruniad Morning Star describing it as 'utterly riveting,' while the Radio Times praised its 'unusual, clever and brave depiction of a female world in disarray.' The Torygraph described the show as 'a gloriously rude and far funnier, update of Bridget Jones.' Waller-Bridge told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the show's stage origins helped her develop the TV series. 'I essentially had two months worth of build up to that performance you see on the screen, which is a luxury that few screen actors have,' she said. 'In the show, people would laugh, so I'd go, "Tick, that's staying in, I know how to perform that." I was testing material and creating the right performance. The moment it was just me talking to a camera, I had to keep bringing back the echoes of that audience reaction because otherwise I wouldn't have known how to pitch it so specifically I guess.'
FIFA has imposed sanctions on eleven football associations for 'unsporting and discriminatory conduct' by their fans during World Cup qualifiers. Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Italy and Albania have all received fines. Chile have also been ordered to play their qualifier against Venezuela on 28 March 2017 behind closed doors. This is because it is their second infringement this year. In May, they were banned from playing at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos in Santiago for two matches and fined thirty thousand Swiss Francs as a result of homophobic chants from supporters, with the second suspension suspended for a year. Some of the recent incidents by fans of the eleven nations have included homophobic and racist chants. The fines range from sixty five thousand Swiss Francs, given to Honduras for two cases, to the twenty thousand Swiss Francs for Brazil and Canada for unspecified naughtiness.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed expanding the World Cup finals to forty eight teams - after initially suggesting that he wanted to boost it to forty. According to the forty six-year-old Italian, sixteen countries would be eliminated after a preliminary knockout round. The rest of the tournament would then be the same as it is now, with thirty two teams competing in the group stages, followed by further knockout rounds. Infantino said that a decision on possible expansion would be taken in January. 'These are ideas to find the best solution,' he said. 'We will debate them this month and we will decide everything by 2017.' Infantino took charge of world football's governing body in February. One of his election promises was to expand the World Cup to forty teams. But his idea now is that thirty two teams take part in a preliminary knockout round in the host country, with the winners joining sixteen further seeded teams in the group stages. 'It means we continue with a normal World Cup for thirty two teams, but forty eight teams go to the party,' said Infantino, who replaced disgraced and disgraceful Sepp Blatter. 'FIFA's idea is to develop football in the whole world. The World Cup is the biggest event there is. It's more than a competition, it's a social event.'
Two Sparta Prague players have been told to train with the club's women's team after making sexist comments about a female match official. Goalkeeper Tomas Koubek said that women 'belong at the stove' after assistant referee Lucie Ratajova failed to flag an opponent offside during Sunday's three-three draw with Brno. Later, midfielder Lukas Vacha tweeted a picture with a comment 'to the stove.' Sparta chief executive Adam Kotalík called the remarks 'unacceptable.' He added that the players 'will see for themselves that women can be handy not only at the stove.' Women's team captain Iva Mocova said: 'We are looking forward to the boys training with us.' Speaking after Sunday's game, Czech Republic international Koubek had added: 'Women should not officiate men's football.' He later posted a picture of his wife and daughter on Facebook and said he wanted to 'apologise to all women.' Having, presumably, been told to by his missus. Fellow Czech international Vacha said his 'comment was directed to a specific error which affected the outcome of the game, not for any other women.' Midfielder Alois Hycka appeared to be several metres offside before scoring the Brno's equaliser in stoppage time. The Football Association of the Czech Republic's disciplinary committee is due to deal with Koubek's remarks on Thursday.
Debutant Jake Ball and leg-spinner Adil Rashid bowled England to a thrilling twenty one-run victory over Bangladesh in the first one-day international in Dhaka. Ball took five wickets and Rashid four as the hosts slipped from two hundred and seventy one for four to two hundred and eighty eight all out in pursuit of England's three hundred and nine for eight. Ben Stokes starred with the bat, hitting his maiden ODI century, while another debutant, Ben Duckett, scored sixty. Captain Jos Buttler smashed sixty three and completed a stumping in the hosts' collapse to seal a fine performance. It was a remarkable fightback from England as Bangladesh clearly buckled in the humid evening conditions. The Tigers, who knocked England out of the 2015 World Cup, appeared to be cruising to a comfortable victory when Imrul Kayes brought up his century alongside former skipper Shakib Al Hasan (seventy nine off fifty five balls). However, both batsman took time out to deal with cramp in the oppressive heat and it was after one particular break in play that England - who had seemed unable to stem their opponent's run chase - dramatically fought back. The pacy Ball, bowling back of a length, dismissed Shakib and Mosaddek Hossain with consecutive deliveries and he later completed victory when he had Taskin Ahmed caught behind by Buttler. Captaining England for the first time in the absence of Eoin Morgan, Buttler was inspirational - stumping Kayes off a wide bowled by Rashid. He caught his opposite number, Mashrafe Mortaza, while Shafiul Islam was run out as Bangladesh lost their last six wickets for seventeen runs and, lost their shit with it. England's innings was built around a sparkling and mature century from Stokes. The twenty five-year-old arrived at the crease with the tourists wobbling at sixty three for three after Jason Roy's punchy forty one and relative failures for James Vince (sixteen) and Jonny Bairstow (run out without scoring). The left-hander's most memorable test innings have been on the hard surfaces of Perth and Cape Town, so starting against spin in Bangladesh presented a new challenge. Stokes played a patient knock, muscling the bad balls through the leg side with typical gusto and showing a canny side to his game with some eye-catching reverse-sweeps. He was given fine assistance by Duckett, who instantly looked at home in international cricket - the Northants left-hander playing all around the wicket and looking particularly strong on the sweep. Late momentum was provided by Buttler, who started cautiously before racing to his half-century with thirty runs in just seven balls. And it was that late charge which proved to be the difference in a close, competitive encounter. England do have some concerns, however, with Bairstow (hip) and Roy (shoulder) leaving the field during the Bangladesh innings with their respective injuries. The second match of the three-game series is at the same venue on Sunday.
Durham's relegation from the County Championship Division One over financial issues is 'a kick in the teeth,' according to captain Paul Collingwood. The North East county were also given a forty eight-point deduction for next season. Collingwood, who has been with the club for twenty one years, is currently part of England's coaching staff in Bangladesh. 'The players are seriously unhappy, a lot of anger, a lot of "whose fault is this?"' the forty-year-old former England all-rounder told journalists in Dhaka. 'The fact is that the players are one hundred per cent innocent here. We get asked to win things and give our best and stay in the first division and that's what the club is all about. That's why it's such a kick in the teeth because we know how hard it's been to continue our first division status with all the strains that have been on our team in the last few years.' Collingwood, who signed a one-year contract extension with Durham in July, is in Bangladesh with teammate and England all-rounder Ben Stokes. He admitted that the extent of the club's financial problems had come 'as a shock' to the players, who had been unaware of the seriousness of the situation. 'I can't believe we are in this position. I don't understand how it can go so far down this road for us to be penalised like this and how it hasn't been picked up and brought into a sustainable business like it should be,' he said. The ECB have also stripped Durham of the right to host test cricket at the Riverside Ground as well as imposing a revised salary cap from April 2017 to 2020, with the level determined annually by the governing body. However, Collingwood sought positives in the knowledge that Durham had maintained their first-class status and the club 'can now look forward. When I first heard about it I thought it was the end of the world but in some ways you have to understand that the ECB have given us an opportunity to rebuild and refocus.' Durham's director of cricket and former first-team coach Geoff Cook said that the severe punishment handed out the club was 'harsh.' They had to invest a large amount of money to ensure the Riverside was up to the standard required to host tests but have now lost that right. 'This is one of the real tragedies of it,' Cook told BBC Newcastle. 'In all innocence, all Durham County Cricket Club have tried to fulfil its commitment to the area and provide a great international venue and top-class sport. I'm not sure how the club has got itself into this position, but no matter how it has got there on the surface the punishment is extreme.' Durham's relegation to Division Two of the County Championship seems to be a warning to other counties but the England and Wales Cricket Board is also at fault, according to former England captain Michael Vaughan. 'The ECB have to hold their hands up and look at the system they have created,' said Vaughan. Counties currently have to bid to stage international matches at their grounds. Durham reportedly paid nine hundred and twenty three thousand knicker to stage England's test match against Sri Lanka in May, which ended in victory for the home side. Former Durham and England fast bowler Steve Harmison said 'nobody comes out of this looking very good.' He added: 'I don't think the ECB have helped Durham in the last twelve to eighteen months and there has been mismanagement from a Durham point of view.' Lancashire director of cricket Ashley Giles, England's former T20 and ODI coach, said that the ECB's policy of trying to 'create competition' in order to spread test cricket throughout the country had 'backfired a little bit.' Or, in Durham's case, a lot.
The Mobile Police Department reportedly arrested a woman from Arkansas who broke into a Mobile area business to eat a sandwich. Police reported that on Friday around 5.30am officers responded to 'an alarm' at the Stewart Law Firm located at Saint Francis Street in Mobile. When officers arrived, they discovered an open window. Inside, officers found twenty two-year-old Raven Ashton of Ward, Arkansas in the kitchen of the law firm eating a sandwich. After noticing the officers approaching, she is said to have 'passed out on the couch.' Ashton was transported to a local hospital to be treated. After determining that there were no medical issues, she was taken to the Metro jail and charged with third-degree burglary.
October is set to be a dazzling month for stargazers as Halley's Comet is making a comeback to British skies. Starting this week, the Orionid Meteor Shower - the remnants of the famous comet - will start firing off shooting stars. And, at its peak - on 20 October - you could see up to twenty shooting stars every hour depending on where you are. The news was announced by the Met Office, who said: 'Orionid meteors are known to be very fast travelling at around forty one miles per second and, typically, on the faint side, although with clear, dark skies you still have a good chance of spotting one with its persistent, long trail. The Orionid meteor shower is named as such because it appears to radiate from the constellation Orion, which is one of the most visible and recognisable in the sky throughout the world.' If you want to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower, try to find a dark area, away from light pollution and on a clear night. It will be visible until around 7 November.
Wrestling 'legend' Ric Flair stirred quite a bit of controversy after he announced that Hollywood actress Halle Berry was but one of the many women who had 'taken a ride on his Space Mountain' before she was famous. Or, you know, had sex with him if you're not au fait with the euphemism. Following the claims of the retired WWE wrestling-type person, that he had slept with Berry, the actress denied that any such rendezvous ever took place. Berry's representative refuted the story on Tuesday. An alleged - though anonymous - 'source' told the TMZ website that the Oscar-winning actress hasn't even heard of Flair. 'There is no truth to this! Halle has literally never even heard of him let alone met him,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said, allegedly adding that the actress, who is currently married to Olivier Martinez, was 'deeply offended' by the ex-wrestler's accusations. 'A man doesn't get to sexualise and lie about a woman he's never met to better himself or his name. It's offensive, demeaning and beyond misogynistic,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said. Flair recently made headlines - in a handful of tabloids who are interesting in this sort of crap - bragging about his sexual conquests during the Ask Naitch segment of The Ric Flair Show podcast. He went on to sneer about having slept with the fifty-year-old actress when asked by a fan via Twitter if any celebrity had 'ridden the Space Mountain,' a reference to his, no doubt massive, manhood. 'Oh gosh, several dozen,' he claimed. 'Do you want me to start with Halle Berry? Of course she did. She was in Atlanta and she had just gotten divorced from Dave Justice,' he continued. The claims made by Flair seemed to have taken the podcast's co-host, Conrad Thompson by surprise. He asked, 'wait, are you telling a real story right now?' Flair replied, 'would I have to make up a lie?' Which, isn't really an answer, it's another question. The sixty seven-year-old former WWE champion is currently engaged to be married for the fifth time after his last divorce in 2012.
A recruitment agency has been criticised for advertising jobs only for 'attractive' women, as well as specifying the bra size they should, ideally, have. Matching Models in London describes itself as 'an international temp agency for beautiful and talented people.' It advertised for a 'personal assistant' with 'a classic look, brown long hair with b-c cup.' The Equality and Human Rights Commission called it 'appalling, unlawful and demeaning to women.' Or, at least, to all women who don't have long brown hair and b-c cup. Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the EHRC, said that it would be writing to Matching Models 'asking for them to clarify their hiring practices immediately.' Meanwhile, women's equality campaigners said that the adverts were 'straight out of the 1970s.' Sam Smethers, chief executive of The Fawcett Society, said: 'It is extraordinary that they are taking this approach and almost certainly falls foul of equality legislation. If we ever wonder why the battle for gender equality hasn't been won, this is a timely reminder.' The agency's founder, Nathalie Jansen, said: 'Our clients are important to us - and looks are important.' Another job advert on the agency's website asks a 'sexy female driver' to drive a Porsche Cayenne two days a week for between forty and fifty thousand knicker-a-year for 'a Knightsbridge-based businessman and polo team owner.' Employment lawyer James Lynas, partner at Winckworth Sherwood, whoever they are, said that the advert was 'clearly unlawful,' adding that 'anyone' could complain to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who have powers to intervene. Which, sounds like an incitement to others, frankly. Tell you what, James, why don't you complain about it, if anyone can. Then you can let us all know how you get on and we can applaud your initiative. He also said that an employment tribunal could find the use of phrases such as 'beautiful and attractive' were really code for 'young,' and, in reality, discriminatory against older women. He added: 'A male driver who genuinely wanted the job could submit an application and sue for sex discrimination if rejected. Compensation for such claims is unlimited.' A statement on the agency's website states: 'It is almost politically incorrect to request someone to work for you that is both attractive as well as professionally equipped with the right set of skills. However, our company understands the importance of having the right people representing your company, because after all, first impressions count.' Hilsenrath said: 'Matching Models are right about one thing; first impressions count, but the important stuff is not about your hair colour. If they wish to maintain their reputation, they should act like a business in the Twenty First Century and consign this type of sexism to the history books.' Under the 2010 Equality Act, it is extremely against the law to say, or imply, that you will discriminate against anyone - including saying that you are unable to cater for disabled workers, for example. Employers are also not allowed to question a candidate's age, sexual orientation, marital status, number of children or plans to have children, disability, race or religion. As for specifying clothing sizes, an employer has to be able to demonstrate that it such a question is essential to the nature or context of the work. Talking about the personal assistant advert, Jansen said: 'The client who wants the specific cup size is an older gentleman - he has a specific outfit he designed with Christian Dior. He wants a "Jackie O" look. And he wants a lady with a smaller cup size to fit into the outfit. I recently had an Indian businessman who interviewed sixty women from my firm. He wanted a blonde, blue eyed, Greek woman. He hired six of them to work on his plane.' Matching Models clients include MTV, Louis Vuitton, Coca-Cola, the Renualt Formula 1 team and Harrods. At least, it does at the moment although if the bad publicity generated by this malarkey doesn't scare off one or two of those, this blogger will be very surprised. Jansen claimed that she had hired 'five thousand people worldwide' and pointed out MTV wanted models 'with tattoos and piercings.'
Women suffering from 'a loss of sexual desire' should be offered testosterone on the NHS, a doctor has suggested. Nick Panay, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told a GPs' conference that it could also 'improve women's energy and mood.' But he added that there were 'no licensed testosterone products' for women, who need much lower doses then men. Around one in three women is said to be affected by the condition at some stage in their lives. Panay, a consultant gynaecologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said that there was 'a need' to tell women about the potential benefits of testosterone. He told the Royal College of GPs' conference in Harrogate: 'We're not saying that female androgen replacement is a universal panacea. We're not saying it is a female Viagra. Women are, after all, much more complex creatures than men (and do not respond) to the on/off button that Viagra offers. But I think that it should be part of the counselling process.'
A work thought to be by the Dutch artist Frans Hals which was sold for a reported eight-and-a-half million smackers has been declared a fake. One imagines whomsoever thought they were going to receive the eight-and-a-half million smackers is somewhat pissed off about that malarkey. Sotheby's said that it had 'rescinded the sale and reimbursed the client in full' after tests revealed the painting, An Unknown Man, was 'undoubtedly forged.' The investigation followed reports that a sophisticated forger is currently at large in the art world. The forger is also believed responsible for a painting attributed to the Italian master Orazio Gentileschi which was loaned to the National Gallery. The painting, David Contemplating The Head Of Goliath, was loaned to the gallery by its current owner in 2013 and was on display until March this year. It has since been returned. The National Gallery said that it 'undertakes due diligence research on a work coming on loan as well as a condition check,' and that these were carried out on the painting in question. Another disputed work, attributed to Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, was extremely seized by authorities in France in March after doubts were raised about its authenticity. The work had been loaned to an exhibition in Aix-en-Provence by Hans-Adam II, the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein. According to The Art Newspaper, the work came on to the market in 2012 and was sold 'in good faith' to the prince in 2013. Sotheby's said that 'with the agreement of the seller' of the work thought to have been by Hals (1582-1666), which was sold in 2011, it had 'informed the buyer of a possible issue with the authenticity of the painting.' It subjected the alleged Hals painting to 'an in-depth technical analysis' after links emerged between it and the Cranach painting. Sotheby's said that the tests 'showed the presence of modern materials used in the painting in a way that meant it could not have been painted in the Seventeenth Century.' Unless there was a time machine involved, obviously. Speaking on Radio 4's World At One, the art historian and Fake Or Fortune? regular Bendor Grosvenor called the case 'extraordinary. What is amazing about [the painting] is the quality and the fact that it's not a copy,' he said. 'Whoever has subsumed the aura of Hals when he painted this also came up with a totally fresh composition. If these [paintings] are fake, and I believe they are very likely to be, we are dealing with the best faker of all time.'
The Rolling Stones (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) have confirmed they will release a new CD of blues covers in December. Blue & Lonesome was recorded over just three days in London earlier this year and features new versions of songs by the likes of Howlin' Wolf and Jimmy Reed. Eric Clapton also features on the record, having dropped into the sessions while he recorded his own CD in the studio next door. The Stones haven't released a studio CD since 2005's A Bigger Bang. The last time The Stones premiered any new material was on the 2012 compilation record Grrrr! - which featured two new songs, 'One More Shot' and the single 'Doom & Gloom'. The band first revealed their plans to release a CD of covers in April. 'We're actually in the studio in the moment cutting new stuff,' yer Keef Richards told BBC 6Music, while Rockin' Ronnie Wood added that the band had 'cut eleven songs in two days, just "bang", like that.' He added: 'They sound so authentic it's frightening. We didn't spend any time rehearsing them or anything. We just picked a song that suited Mick's harmonica or a guitar riff and they worked out pretty good. It was like, "this is what The Stones do, we play blues."' Blue & Lonesome was recorded in British Grove Studios in Chiswick, just a couple of miles from Ealing, Richmond and Eel Pie Island, where the band built their reputation as a hard-working South London five-piece in the early 1960s. Accordingly, the CD tips its hat to the blues covers they played before manager Andrew Loog Oldham first locked Mick Jagger and Keef Richards in a room and instructed them to come up with some original material. Among the songs on the new CD are Little Walter's 'Just Your Fool', 'Everybody Knows About My Good Thing' by Little Johnny Taylor and 'I Can't Quit You', originally written by Willie Dixon and made famous by Otis Rush and, later, Led Zeppelin. 'This album is manifest testament to the purity of their love for making music, and the blues is, for The Stones, the fountainhead of everything they do,' said Don Was, who co-produced the new recordings. It will be released on 2 December by Polydor Records, with pre-orders beginning on Friday, 7 October.
A 'mysterious' star that some astronomers believe 'could' harbour an 'alien megastructure,' continues to confound researchers. A study accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal has only 'deepened the mystery' surrounding the 'strange light pattern' emitted from the star known as KIC 8462852. Josh Simon of the Carnegie Institute and Ben Montet of Caltech analysed data gathered by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope during the four-year period the telescope observed KIC 8462852, Carnegie Science said in a statement. The star is one of some one hundred and sixty thousand stars that Kepler has spotted since 2009, though its unusual light pattern captured the attention of many. Kepler hunts for Earth-like planets in the Milky Way by measuring the brightness of stars and looking for tiny dips in light patterns which could signify an orbiting planet. In most cases, when a planet is orbiting a star the Kepler measures a uniform light pattern. However, the strange dimming of KIC 8462852 suggests a large mass of matter is circling KIC 8462852. Over the past year, scientists have hypothesised that everything from a mass of comets to bad data or 'alien structures' could be to blame for the unusual light curve. So far, nothing has been conclusive and attempts to identify radio signals from the star have been 'unfruitful.' Montet and Simon investigated the star's light pattern through a series of Kepler calibration images which had not yet been used for scientific measurements, according to Carnegie. 'We thought that these data could confirm or refute the star's long-term fading and, hopefully, clarify what was causing the extraordinary dimming events observed in KIC 8462852,' Simon said in a statement. The researchers found over the first three years of Kepler's mission, the star dimmed just one per cent. The light from the star then dimmed two per cent over six months and remained at the level for the remainder of Kepler's mission. After comparing the star's light pattern to five hundred similar stars observed by Kepler, the researchers found that the fading KIC 8462852 displayed over the first three years 'wasn't uncommon.' What stood out, however, was that none of the other stars exhibited the heightened dimming that KIC 8462852 exhibited over the final six month period. 'The steady brightness change in KIC 8462852 is pretty astounding,' Montet said. 'Our highly accurate measurements over four years demonstrate that the star really is getting fainter with time. It is unprecedented for this type of star to slowly fade for years and we don't see anything else like it in the Kepler data.'
Mercedes have pinpointed the cause of the engine problems that forced Lewis Hamilton to retire while leading the Malaysian Formula Grand Prix. Apparently, it 'blew up.' The team claim they have 'put safeguards in place' to avoid a repeat heading into this weekend’s race in Japan. Presumably, that'll be for it not to blow up.
Odious lanky streak of unfunny worthless rancid piss Jack Whitehall has 'confessed' to 'teasing' Jamie Redknapp over his wife, Louise, appearing on Strictly Come Dancing and the 'infamous Strictly curse.' The odious lanky streak of unfunny worthless rancid piss, who appears on the unfunny worthless panel show A League Of Their Own with the former footballer, made the claims during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show. He said: 'I have I have to support Louise because I've basically been winding Jamie up for the last month about "the Strictly curse." I just was winding Jamie up, he was Facetiming her every hour. He nearly punched me.' Oh, if only wishing made it so.
Olly Murs has offered his support to ex-One Direction type person Zayn Malik, after the singer pulled out of several concerts with 'extreme anxiety.' And this constitutes 'news', apparently.
And now, dear blog reader ...
Kerry Katona - remember her? - has reportedly cancelled a tour after just forty two tickets were sold for the opening night. A Special Evening With Kerry Katona, A True Story - which used the word 'special' quite wrongly - promised to 'spill the beans' on Katona's 'colourful private life', with allegedly 'incredible tales' of how she 'blew millions of pounds on drugs, booze and a series of failed relationships.' Or, you could just read about it in the tabloids since she seemed to sell pretty much the same story on a virtual monthly basis. The twenty-date one-woman show has now been 'rescheduled' for next year while Kerry goes on tour with Atomic Kitten, after her opening performance at the three hundred and forty-seat Melton Theatre in Leicestershire apparently only managed to sell forty two tickets. One allegedly 'disappointed' fan told the Sun: 'I'd bought [the tickets] for my mum and her sister because they are big Kerry fans but when I looked online and saw that she'd only sold a few dozen seats I called the box office. They said because the ticket sales were so low the production was now "unlikely to go ahead" and that a firm decision would be made in a week or so. They told not me not to worry about the money though as everyone will receive a full and prompt refund if it doesn't go ahead.' So, not that disappointed, then.
A Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, police officer told authorities that he was 'only trying to stay awake' when he was caught masturbating in public this week, the police have said. Glenn C Woolard was heading home from his shift Wednesday morning when he allegedly pulled down his basketball shorts and exposed himself while driving, The Morning Call reported. A woman driving alongside Woolard reportedly told police that he was 'waving it around' and 'fondling himself' in full view of other drivers. The victim was able to get Woolard's license plate, leading police to Woolard's home. There, Woolard allegedly confessed to this and to another incident a week earlier in a Target parking lot, where a woman said that his window was down 'as if he wanted to be seen,' according to records obtained by Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin emphasised at a news conference that Woolard was off-duty during the incidents, driving his own vehicle and 'not in uniform.' He reportedly said there were 'no other known incidents' at this time, but that more victims 'may come forward' as the case proceeds. Woolard was arraigned Friday and released on his own recognisance.
Police said that a Boston man's eye-catching facial tattoo was 'a big help' in securing he and his girlfriend's arrests on charges that they stole five hundred and seventy dollars worth of sunglasses this week. Specifically, Eliezer Santiago had the Biblical 'mark of the beast' - six, six, six - written across his forehead. If ithad been six, six, eight he would have been the neighbour of the beast, obviously. He was extremely arrested along with Grace H Stewart after a theft at the Oakley Store, police told the Natick Bulletin. Police said that they later pulled the suspects over as they fled the mall, finding three pairs of sunglasses in the vehicle that employees reported were missing after the pair left the store. Both were very charged with larceny of property worth more than two hundred and fifty bucks and conspiracy to commit a crime. A judge ordered Santiago held on two thousand dollars bail and Stewart on five hundred dollars, along with an order to both to stay away from the mall.
Police have launched an appeal to fund out why a chicken crossed the road, after receiving reports of a bird giving motorists 'cause for concern.' The frightened chicken was found stranded in the middle of Dundee this week after it had crossed a busy road. Thankfully, it was rescued by Tayside Police Division and has now been handed over to animal welfare officers. Police have since taken to social media to try to trace the abandoned bird's owner. Police wrote on Facebook: 'Officers were in East Marketgait, at 8.30am after reports of a chicken trying to cross the road and giving passing motorists cause for concern. The bird was traced safe and well and has been brought to our police station.'
Canadian world champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber was at the Rio Olympics despite earlier testing positive for cocaine but the decision to allow him to compete was 'the right one,' Athletics Canada said on Thursday. The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada's ruling was released on Thursday and claimed that Barber 'inadvertently ingested' the banned substance during 'a sexual encounter' the night before the Canadian Olympic trials in July with 'a woman he met online who had taken cocaine.' Sounds perfectly reasonable although it does suggest that Shawn may want to consider, in future, before an important competition, lowering his pole, as it were. Barber, who set a Canadian record and won the national title the following day, had faced a possible two-year ban imposed by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport but was ruled 'no fault or negligence' for an anti-doping rule violation by an independent arbitrator. The International Association of Athletics Federations and World Anti-Doping Agency both reviewed the decision and turned down their right to appeal. 'Forensic toxicologists have looked at the case and understood ... that it was impossible to have taken this amount of cocaine intentionally,' Barber's lawyer, Paul Greene, said. 'You have inadvertent ingestion of cocaine that is passed to an athlete by way of kissing which is exactly what happened.' Considered one of Canada's best bets for a gold medal in Rio, Barber scraped through qualification before finishing a disappointing tenth. Barber's hearing was held on 5 August, the day of the Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony, with the decision issued on 11 August but the twenty two-year-old pole vaulter insisted the distraction 'did not impact' his performance. Although, boinking an online admirer who was snowflaked off her face may have. 'It was quite an ordeal going into the Olympics but everything worked out the way I think it was supposed to,' said Barber, who was stripped of his 2016 Canadian pole vault title and record due to the positive test. Looking to 'relieve stress' the night before the trials in Edmonton, Barber said that he posted a Craigslist advertisement seeking 'a casual encounter' with a woman who was 'drug and disease free.' He got one who, it would seem, satisfied only one of those categories. Barber claims that he was eventually contacted by 'a woman and her then-boyfriend' and arranged a meeting a hotel. The woman admitted during the hearing that she had consumed cocaine and during their encounter kissed Barber several times. She did not inform him that she had taken the drug. In its decision the SDRCC said the evidence showed Barber 'did not know or suspect, and could not have reasonably known or suspected,' that he was at risk of ingesting a prohibited substance by kissing. 'The athlete wanted this case heard by an independent arbitrator and that happened,' said Paul Melia, president and chief executive of CCES. 'The arbitrator listened to all of the evidence and made the decision that the athlete had exercised the utmost caution and therefore was at no fault and the period of ineligibility was immediately lifted.' They failed to explain what part in this encounter the woman's then-boyfriend played. Maybe he was judging, or was there on the off chance that Barber's pole, you know, snapped.
Some very sad news now. The actress who played Emmerdale's Zoe Tate has announced that she has terminal lung cancer. Leah Bracknell starred in the ITV series from 1989 to 2005. Her character was known for storylines which raised awareness about mental health and LGBT issues. Bracknell, who is now a yoga instructor, shared her diagnosis on an Internet fundraising page set up to raise money for treatment in Germany. On the fundraising page fifty two-year-old Leah, who is known to her family as Ali, said that she had been teaching yoga workshops and starting rehearsals for a comedy play before she received the news. 'It turns out that the universe had other plans. Life was about to be unexpectedly turned on its head,' she said. 'I began to feel breathless climbing stairs. I just put it down to a bit of stress. My abdomen suddenly ballooned - and within a matter of a few days I looked heavily pregnant. I could barely walk or breathe.' After an emergency procedure to remove excess fluid from around her heart, Leah said that she was told she had stage four lung cancer, which she described as 'a fairly brutal and bleak diagnosis, but one I am determined to challenge.' Her partner, Jez Hughes, explained the funds will be used for 'immunotherapy and integrative medicine, which are seeing previously "incurable" cancers going into complete remission.' During her years on Emmerdale, Zoe Tate came out as lesbian and later suffered from schizophrenia. She made a dramatic exit when she left the village, blowing up Home Farm where the family had lived. She won the 'Best Exit' award at the British Soap Awards in May 2006 for her performance in the scene.
Speaking of Emmerdale, on Thursday evening of this week yer actual Keith Telly Topping attended the first new Record Player event at the Tyneside Cinema since December 2014; it was proper terrific to see the majority of the regular crowd - Christian and Vicky, Chris and Gill, Billy and Steph, Sam, Jeff, Old Uncle Steve Scunthorpe and all. This blogger had quite forgotten how much he missed seeing those guys. All that, and Dark Side Of The Moon, a record that seems to sound better every time Keith Telly Topping hears it.
The Emmerdale link was provided by the very excellent Wor Geet Canny Charlie Harwick who was interviewed by Uncle Scunthorpe about how much the record had meant to her when she was nought but a wee nipper and growing up in Waalsend. Steve also provided a clip of Wor Geet Canny Charlie's well-dramatic and shocking exit from Emmerdale in 2015, asking if the audience would like to see her character 'buy the farm.' It was, of course, left to this blogger being as pedantic as ever, to observe to Steve that since Emmerdale hasn't been Emmerdale Farm since 1989, technically, 'buy the farm' wasn't, perhaps, the most appropriate or accurate description for poor old Val Pollard getting 'orribly killed by that falling shared of glass after the helicopter crash. 'Sliced from history' might have been better. The evening was, nevertheless, quality entertainment all round and, to round the evening off, this blogger had a very nice and well-tasty curry, eaten whilst watching the latest episode of The Fall. Keith Telly Topping's life in a nutshell dear blog reader.