Friday, November 18, 2016

A Noble Spirit Embiggens The Smallest Man

As previously speculated on this blog, it was now been officially announced that Rona Munro will be returning to Doctor Who to write an episode of the new series. The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine confirmed that Rona, who previously wrote 1989's three-parter Survival featuring yer actual Sylvester McCoy, has written the ninth episode of the 2017 series, The Eaters Of Light. Since her previous stint on the popular long-running family SF drama, Rona has become a highly respected scriptwriter. She wrote the script for Ken Loach's Ladybird, Ladybird as well as the screenplays for Oranges & Sunshine and Aimee & Jaguar. She has also been prolific on the stage and written eleven drama's for Radio 4's Stanley Baxter Playhouse. Survival - which this blogger was a big fan of - was the final Doctor Who story to be broadcast before the show’s sixteen-year hiatus (with a ninety minute exception in the middle).
Also being filmed in the latest Doctor Who recording block is the, as yet unnamed, episode five by Jamie Mathieson, who previously contributed the 2014 stories the superb Mummy On The Orient Express and Flatline as well as co-writing last year's The Girl Who Died. All of which this blogger thought were great.

BBC 'bosses' (that's tabloidese for 'executives' only with less syllables) allegedly want Doctor Who to allegedly feel like 'a brand new show' when new showrunner Chris Chibnall takes over in 2018. According to that ever-reliable bastion of truthful reportage (allegedly) the Daily Mirra, the 'shake-up' will see yer actual Peter Capaldi and his new co-star, Pearl Mackie departing, allowing Chibnall 'a clean slate' for his era. Capaldi has played The Doctor since 2013 and Mackie will make her debut as Bill Potts in the first episode of series ten next April. An alleged 'insider source' is allegedly quoted as allegedly saying: 'BBC management wants a return to the format from the David Tennant era, when you had a dashing male lead and young female companion. Merchandising has dropped off sharply in recent years and there is a strong desire to boost the show's popularity among kids.' Sounds like a load of made-up bollocks to this blogger - not necessarily Peter's departure which Keith Telly Topping has sort of half expected, but particularly the alleged quote which has that typical tabloid-style of sounding exactly like real-people don't. But, like a chap whom yer actual Rona Munro once wrote for said on a memorable occasion 'time will tell. It usually does.'
Meanwhile, BBC Worldwide North America and Fathom Events have announced that they plan to show this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Return Of Doctor Mysterio in movie theatres across the United States at 7pm on Tuesday 27 December and Thursday 29 December. As well as the episode itself, the event will include two exclusive bonus features: A New Kind Of Superhero, giving a special inside look at Doctor Who's concept of a modern superhero and Doctor Who Extra, showing the making of this year's special, with appearances by Peter Capaldi and Matt Lucas, and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE).
He will be handing over the TARDIS keys to yer actual Chris Chibnall in 2018 and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) has insisted that, thereafter, he won't return to Doctor Who once he leaves. 'I've written a hell of a lot of Doctor Who,' he told students at the Oxford Union, according to Radio Times. 'I've written more Doctor Who than anything else and I've written more Doctor Who than anyone else has ever written. It feels as though, in my limited time on this Earth, I really should start focusing on something else. It's not that I've lost love for the show at all, but I think it's time for Doctor Who to have something new, as well as me. [So] as much as I hate to concede it - and I'd like to have Russell write for me - this is probably it for me. Once I'm done, I'm done.' That being said, maybe he could be convinced to return in future? Russell Davies nearly was, according to Moffat. '[He was] so close, we had storylines and everything,' he revealed - explaining that Big Rusty's heavy workload ended up 'quashing' plans for a comeback.
TV Comedy Line Of The Week came from the latest Qi XL on Sunday. Sandi was explaining the 'geo-coding' of American mild swearwords and observed: 'It's not often you see a map of the Gi-z score for "asshole", is it?' 'Not now Stephen's gone,' replied Jezza Clarkson.
This blogger doesn't know about anybody else, but he spotted the pre-highlighted 'mistake' on this week's Only Connect straight away. It was that Victoria changed her clothes, yes?
Viewers were reminded of that old MasterChef truisms 'any chef the producers show a clip of bigging him-or-herself up on camera will, like as not, be leaving the competition shortly thereafter,' on Wednesday evening's episode of MasterChef: The Professionals. 'These six chefs all believe they have what it takes to win the title,' Sean Pertwee said, in his most seriously-serious voiceover voice, as the episode began. And, at least one of them wasn't shy in saying so. 'I'm ready for it now,' said Joe, a twenty five year old senior sous chef from Winchester, like he was in the tunnel before a big Premier League game. 'Hopefully what will set me apart is having some individuality and personality on the plate. If you want to be considered one of the best, you've got to put yourself against the best and come out on top,' he added. 'Being in a high-pressure environment [with] my history and my past has definitely squeezed the best out of me. That's where you really separate the men from the boys. Who handles it, who doesn't. I definitely have a competitive streak and I try and not let that step over the line into arrogance,' Joe noted, clearly not doing a very good job of not letting it step over the line into arrogance when he couldn't resist adding: 'But, as a chef, that's pretty hard.' Well, it shouldn't be that hard if, like Joe in the subsequent skills test, you're asked by Marcus Wareing to produce a banoffee cheesecake with caramel bananas. That certainly did separate the men from the boys and a thoroughly red-faced Joe was, sad to report, found playing for The Boys Team. 'It's a very sickly, buttery glass of mush,' Marcus told him. Scowly-faced Monica was more scowly-faced than usual. Joe, of course, still had plenty to say for himself afterwards, noting that he 'didn't disagree' with the comments he'd received (although, to be honest, he looked as if he did, really). In the subsequent signature dish round, Joe presented pan-fried sea bass served with curried fregola, red onion and coconut bhajis, roasted cauliflower and pink grapefruit and lemongrass gel garnished with shaved coconut, basil oil and a crispy potato tweel. What? Anybody fancy a bag of chips instead? Marcus, Monica and Gregg certainly looked as if they did. Monica said she found the presentation of Joe's dish 'dated' and 'not very harmonious.' She also found parts of the dish under-seasoned and tasteless. 'Where the grapefruit gel comes into this dish I have no idea' said an even-more-scowly-faced-than-Monica-usually-is Marcus. No place, then, for Joe in Thursday's quarter final. Dylan, who'd impressed on Tuesday's episode, did make it. But, when he got eliminated after producing one of several interesting-but-flawed variants on fish and chips, he wasn't going gently into that good night. 'I do think I was better than some people who are still there,' he opined. Dylan, mate, nobody likes a sore loser.
An airport worker - who may, or may not exist and who may, or may not be Argentinian - allegedly kept Jezza Clarkson off a UK-bound flight, it has been reported. Widely. The former-Top Gear host claimed that Stuttgart Airport worker Manuel Pereira had said he was from Argentina as he stopped Jezza boarding a flight in Germany on Monday. Top Gear's Argentina special, of course, prompted ludicrously silly protests over a car number plate which some people thought appeared to refer to the Falklands War. Or something equally inane. A spokesman for Stuttgart Airport told the BBC that Jezza and his team had missed several calls for their flight. The spokesman said that the other passengers had already boarded, and added: 'Due to airline policy after a certain time of absence the luggage will be removed from the aircraft and the missing passengers will be withdrawn from the passenger list. From this point there is no chance for boarding, even if the passengers show up.' Only, he presumably said it in a German accent. Just guessing, but it seems likely. The representative added that the incident 'would be investigated' by its partner company, Stuttgart Ground Services, and that the 'personal behaviour' described in the Sun did 'not conform to our approach on customer service at Stuttgart Airport' if it happened the way Jezza said it did. He added: 'We do already know that the employee mentioned is Spanish, not Argentinian.' According to the Sun, Clarkson had been waiting to return to the UK with fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond when the alleged incident allegedly took place. The presenter, whose new show The Grand Tour made its debut this week on the Amazon Prime streaming service, claimed that he and his team had been stopped at the departure gate before being told they had missed their flight. Clarkson, who writes a weekly column for the Sun, alleged that Pereira had claimed to be from Argentina and had used a profanity. He had then 'marched off looking pleased with himself,' the presenter continued. Which, even if true, isn't necessarily against airport policy. Jezza also claimed that other airport workers suggested he and his co-presenters were 'too drunk' to fly, when they had only had 'one can of beer.' The Sun said Pereira had denied he was from Argentina or that he had sworn at Clarkson when the paper spoke to him on Tuesday. 'I would never say such a thing,' he is allegedly quoted as allegedly saying in Wednesday's edition of the alleged paper. 'I wasn't rude. I was polite and professional.' According to Clarkson, the flight he and his team ended up taking arrived in London before the one they missed. Which, short of using a TARDIS (or a Bugatti Veyron with wings), is bloody impressive if they managed it.
The first episode of The Grand Tour has been given rave reviews by critics. The show launched on the Amazon Prime streaming service on Thursday evening. it is the first programme to be fronted by Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May since they parted company with the BBC last year. Writing in the Evening Standard, Ben Travis described it as 'a stunningly beautiful show. If The Grand Tour is basically "Top Gear with a nitros boost of Amazon finances," the difference is immediately apparent,' he said. 'Clarkson may not exactly be the punk outsider that he sees himself as for ditching broadcast TV in favour of the new frontier of internet streaming, but he knows exactly what his fans want from him – and he delivers it in spades on his new home. Those who have never counted themselves as Jeremy Clarkson fans aren't exactly going to be won over here. But episode one is a confident opener that leaves the BBC's attempted Top Gear revival in the dust.' Jezza his very self tweeted: 'Genuinely relieved and grateful today. Huge thanks to everyone who has sent messages.' 'Filmic is the word that sprang to my mind when watching The Grand Tour,' wrote the BBC's arts editor, Will Gompertz. 'The scale of the production, the quality of the cameras, the epic sweeping shots and the pastiches of old movies - it seemed the show was aimed at the big screen, not the telly. Or a mobile phone, which is how I imagine a lot of people will view it. It opens with a scene so over-the-top and opulent you'd think that the Prince Regent was behind the camera. Think Mad Max meets Easy Rider as we see the three presenters drive across the Californian desert, making their way through a sea of cars all barrelling along to a massive stage that has risen from the sand like a pyramid. Maybe the small screen is too small for them, and their next step should be away from the Internet and into the cinema. It seemed to me that Grand Tour is a TV show that wants to be - and quite possibly should be - a movie' Writing in the Gruniad Morning Star - always such a big fan of Clarkson in the past - Sam Wollaston said: 'More than format, more even than the amount of money you throw at something, what really gives a television show its personality is the personnel. You can pour something into a different container, but it still tastes the same. And, like it or not, this tastes of Clarkson, Hammond and May.' He added, rather sneeringly: 'Fans of old Top Gear are going to be happy.' The Gruniad's readership also gave a broadly positive reaction. 'With The Grand Tour, it's as if not one day has passed since Clarkson floored someone for failing to present him with a steak,' added Metro. 'It's just another very luxurious, high-octane day at the office for the world's most Marmite Motor Musketeers and they're having fun, which naturally makes the show fun. Clarkson and his chums have the kind of natural camaraderie that knocks down Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc's meagre BBC presenting efforts like a feather. RIP Top Gear. Long live The Grand Tour!' 'Will The Grand Tour ultimately be worth watching? Why wouldn't it?' wrote Forbes. 'It's got the talent - not only the three presenters but producer Andy Wilman - of Top Gear with even more resources to execute their often epic ideas. I expect that after a few episodes they'll stop trying quite so hard and settle back into their old groove. But for now, the first episode felt like The Grand Tour's Power Trio is paying a little too much attention to how much they're getting paid and not nearly enough to the loud, smelly fast things that we all love.' The first episode of the series saw the trio take their travelling studio tent to Dry Rabbit Lake in the Mojave Desert in California. Vehicles featured in the episode included hybrid hyper-cars such as the McLaren P1, the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Ferrari LaFerrari. The Torygraph's Ed Power said: 'The Grand Tour isn't a shameless Top Gear rip-off. But under the hood the rival franchises have a great deal in common. The new series will certainly go some way towards obliterating memories of Top Gear's terrible Chris Evans-fronted relaunch. Petrolheads can rejoice. The BBC may wonder how Matt LeBlanc and whoever joins him next year can possibly compete.' Slavvering brown-tongued merchant Dan Wootton gave The Grand Tour five stars in his review for the Sun (you know, the paper Calrkson writes for). 'Being sacked from the BBC was the greatest thing that ever happened to Clarkson and co - and the world of cars on TV,' he wrote. 'This has guns, explosions, super yachts, madcap stunts, the British Institute of Car Chases, dramatic crashes, a sinking ship and Hamm­ond being dangled from a chopper.' Steady. 'But the one thing that really matters is Clarkson being reunited with his two mates on screen.' The Digital Spy website's Tom Eames said: 'Clarkson, Hammond and May's reunion ​is silly but worth the wait (and money). It's precisely all the things we loved about their old show, but bigger, brighter and more blow-upier. And they've sort of somehow come up with the world's first scripted comedy factual show, and it works perfectly.' Writing in the Daily Scum Mail - another newspaper that was always so friendly and generous towards Top Gear - James Shelley said: 'The Grand Tour had a new sense of excitement and knowledge about the cars but the same old warm friendship. It's a shame they had to leave the BBC but judging by episode one of The Grand Tour perhaps that was what they needed.'
The team behind The Grand Tour will use Twitter to gauge its popularity with fans, the show's producer has said. Twitter, of course, being The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth of All Things according to various lice at the Gruniad Morning Star. if not anyone more reliable. What could possibly go wrong? Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Andy Wilman also confirmed they will not be told what the viewing figures are. He said: 'We'll never know the number, because, even to us, Amazon won't tell us what the viewing figures are.' Asked how they will know if viewers like the show, Wilman replied: 'We'll get it from Twitter I would imagine.' He added that TV fans 'are all there [on social media] with their thumbs banging away.' The Grand Tour, which launches on Amazon Prime on Friday, stars yer actual Jezza Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond and will be the trio's first show since leaving the BBC's Top Gear last year. Wilman said it was a 'blessing' that the creative team behind the show would not be told the overnight viewing figures. 'You can just make something and never have to be sort of judged by looking for overnights and so on. That is quite a liberating thing, that we will just make our show. It's just going to exist out there. Over time hopefully millions will watch it, but we've said goodbye to that Big Figure coming in on a Monday morning,' he added. Some press reports have suggested that Amazon have given The Grand Tour a budget of four million knicker per episode. But, Wilman said: 'That figure is nonsense. It was reported in the papers and it's stuck there for good now. It's not true. It's lower than that. I'm not going to tell you the figure but it's a good whack.' Asked whether the budget was higher than the one million notes per episode the BBC reportedly spent on Top Gear, Wilman replied: 'It's more than that. Somewhere between one million and four million.' One episode of The Grand Tour will be released per week - unlike many programmes broadcast on streaming platforms which release all their episodes at once for viewers to watch when they wish. Speaking about the one-per-week release, Wilman said: 'It's a good thing because if it was Breaking Bad or something like that, you've got a plot and you go "Oh I've got to see the next one." There's no plot in what we do. It's three overgrown idiots doing stuff. There's nothing to make you go "I've got to watch the next one," so I'm happy there's a gap between each one.' He added that Amazon had 'no editorial input' in the making of The Grand Tour. 'They just left us alone,' he said. 'The BBC left us alone as well, in the main, editorially. Amazon have done the very same thing. We make a show, we send it over, thankfully they're making nice noises when they see it.' Wilman also did an interview this week with the Gruniad Morning Star which is well worth reading for those out there with an anti-BBC agenda. You might get something of a surprise. 'It's symbolic of the open road,' he said concerning the opening sequence of The Grand Tour. 'It's a gentler symbolism than: "Yay, we've all left the BBC!" Because we all love the BBC.'
The final and consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Four programmes, week-ending Sunday 13 November 2016 are as follows:-
1 Planet Earth II - Sun BBC1 - 13.14m
2 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) - Sun ITV - 12.19m
3 Strictly Come Dancing: The Results - Sun BBC1 - 11.37m
4 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 8.12m
5 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 7.39m
6 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 7.30m
7 The Apprentice - Thurs BBC1 - 7.26m
8 The Missing - Wed BBC1 - 7.11m
9 The X Factor - Sat ITV - 6.97m
10 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.80m
11 World Cup 2018 Qualifier: England Versus Scotland Nil - Fri ITV - 6.33m
12 Dark Angel - Mon ITV - 5.98m
13 My Mother & Other Strangers - Sun BBC1 - 5.96m
14 Six O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 5.71m
15 The Royal British Legion Festival Of Remembrance - Sat BBC1 - 5.53m
16 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.85
17 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 4.74m
18 The ONE Show - Fri BBC1 - 4.68m
19 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.64m
20 Pointless Z-List Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 4.63m
21 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.55m
22 Ordinary Lies - Tues BBC1 - 4.53m
23 The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins - Sat BBC1 - 4.20m
24 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 4.18m
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 this blogger, he doesn't make the rules. Strictly Come Dancing's Saturday night episode attracted 11.31 million punters. The X Factor's results programme on Sunday had 6.74 million. On BBC2, the top three rated programmes were the three nightly episodes of MasterChef: The Professionals (3.46 million, 3.43 million and 3.07 million) followed by University Challenge (2.84 million), the first episode of Close To The Enemy (2.74 million) and Only Connect (2.69 million). The Choir: Gareth's Best In Britain attracted 2.45 million viewers and coverage of the Rugby Union international between England and South Africa was seen by 2.19 million. Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two was watched by 2.02 million. The Victorian Slum had an audience of 1.99 million, The Apprentice: You're Fired! drew 1.79 million and The Mary Berry Story was seen by 1.68 million. The latest episode of Qi was watched by 1.64 million. As usual, Gogglebox was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast of the week (3.88 million), follow by The Secret Life Of Four Year Olds (2.79 million), The Last Leg: US Election Special (2.58 million) and SAS: Who Dares Wins (2.40 million). Married At First Sight was seen by 2.32 million viewers, whilst The Supervet had 2.31 million, Human drew 2.05 million whilst First Dates, was watched by 1.98 million. Great Canal Journeys attracted 1.92 million and F1: Brazilian Grand Prix Highlights had 1.84 million. Channel Five's top performer was, Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! with 2.15 million, ahead of The Yorkshire Vet (1.87 million), Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild (1.72 million), Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways (1.62 million punters) and The Ant and/or Dec Story (1.38 million). The movie One Christmas Eve was watched by 1.24 million viewers. On 13 November! That is just sick and wrong, dear blog reader. With no Premier League action this week due to the international break, on Sky Sports 1, Live Test Rugby: England Versus South Africa was seen by seven hundred and sixty thousand punters. Live Brazilian Grand Prix coverage drew five hundred and sixty six thousand and the World Cup Qualifiers between Austria and The Republic Of Ireland and Wales and Serbia had three hundred and forty two thousand and two hundred and eighty five thousand viewers respectively. Sky Sports 2's coverage of Live Test Cricket of the first test between India and England had two hundred and fifty three thousand. Live Brazilian Grand Prix was Sky Sports F1's most-watched broadcast with seven hundred and fifty eight thousand, in addition to those watching the simultcast on Sky Sports 1. Gillette Soccer Saturday was - as usual - top of the pile on Sky Sports News HQ albeit, with a lower audience that usual when the Premier League clubs are playing, two hundred and thirty one thousand punters. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and nine thousand viewers). Endeavour was seen by six hundred and thirty four thousand and Doc Martin by six hundred and eighteen thousand. Coverage of Snooker Champion Of Champions headed ITV4's weekly list with three hundred and seventy six thousand insomniacs. Once again ITV2's most-watched broadcast was that disgraceful and worthless shower of festering diarrhoea Celebrity Juice (watched by a properly tragic 1.47 million people, every single one of whom should be Goddamn ashamed to show their faces in public after viewing some much as a second of this odious, smug nonsense). Almost as bad, 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): Extra Camp drew 1.32 million viewers. For shame Great Britain, for shame. Dark Heart headed ITV Encore's top ten with one hundred and twenty nine thousand viewers, ahead of DCI Banks (eighty five thousand). BBC4's list was topped by the opening two episodes of Deep Water (nine hundred and fifty nine thousand and seven hundred and fourteen thousand viewers), followed by Rich Hall's Presidential Grudge Match (six hundred and eighty thousand), The Incredible Human Journey (six hundred and sixty three thousand) and a repeat of Frank Skinner On George Formby (five hundred and sixteen thousand). Dangerous Earth drew four hundred and fifty thousand and Top Of The Pops 1982, four hundred and six thousand. Elegance & Decadence: The Age Of The Regency was watched by three hundred and ninety three thousand, Destination Titan, three hundred and eighty two thousand and The Good Old Days three hundred and seventy five thousand. Sky1's weekly top-ten was headed by The Flash (1.02 million). DC's Legends Of Tomorrow was seen by seven hundred and forty six thousand, Arrow by six hundred and seventy eight thousand, and Supergirl by six hundred and eighteen thousand. Unfunny, full-of-its-own-importance spew A League Of Their Own drew six hundred and sixty thousand, a figure which, even though it's far lower than new episodes normally achieve, still makes this blogger angry. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Westworld (1.07 million). The much-trailed Divorce and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver were both seen by one hundred and seventy five thousand. The Young Pope and Mars had one hundred and forty two thousand and one hundred and four thousand respectively. On Sky Living, Criminal Minds drew nine hundred and eighty two thousand, the latest episode of From The North favourite The Blacklist attracted nine hundred and eleven thousand, Conviction (which is a proper waste of Hayley Atwell's considerable talent), five hundred and sixty four thousand and Chicago Fire, four hundred and seventy five thousand viewers. Grey's Anatomy attracted four hundred and seventy two thousand and Nashville, two hundred and eighty six thousand viewers. Sky Arts' Landscape Artist Of The Year was watched by two hundred and seventeen thousand viewers. 5USA's NCIS: Los Angeles was seen by five hundred and ninety thousand viewers. Chicago PD attracted five hundred and seventy nine thousand, Castle, four hundred and thirteen thousand and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, three hundred and ninety thousand. NCIS topped CBS Action's list (one hundred and twenty eight thousand) and also featured in the top-tens of 5USA (three hundred and one thousand), FOX (one hundred and thirty two thousand) and The Universal Channel (one hundred and fifty five thousand). FOX's other most watched programmes were The Walking Dead (1.74 million), American Horror Story (three hundred and sixty seven thousand) and Talking Dead (two hundred and sixty one thousand). The Universal Channel's weekly list was headed by Chicago Med (three hundred and forty nine thousand), Major Crimes (three hundred and four thousand), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (two hundred and eighty thousand) and Private Eyes (two hundred and twenty six thousand). On Dave, Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish was the highest-rated programme with six hundred and eight thousand punters. That was followed by the wretched Z-List Celebrity Storage Hunters (four hundred and ninety one thousand), Would I Lie To You? (four hundred and one thousand), Have I Got A Bit More News For You (three hundred and fifty five thousand) and Qi XL (three hundred and twenty nine thousand). The latest episode of Drama's repeat run of Death In Paradise was watched by six hundred and twenty thousand viewers. New Tricks had four hundred and forty eight thousand, followed by As Time Goes By (three hundred and fifty two thousand), Last Of The Summer Wine (three hundred and thirty thousand) and Murdoch Mysteries (three hundred and twenty nine thousand). Alibi's highest-rated programmes were Rizzoli & Isles (five hundred and eight thousand), Crossing Lines (two hundred and ninety five thousand), Rosewood (two hundred and seventy three thousand) and Silent Witness (one hundred and sixteen thousand). On The Sony Channel, Saving Hope was watched by eighty five thousand, [spooks] by fifty seven thousand and Hustle by thirty one thousand. Yesterday's Open All Hours repeat run attracted two hundred and ninety nine thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush's latest series continued with four hundred and three thousand viewers. Fast N' Loud drew one hundred and fifty eight thousand whilst Deadliest Catch was seen by one hundred and sixteen thousand, Alaska: The Last Frontier by ninety nine thousand and Street Outlaws by eighty six thousand punters. Discovery History's Dan Snow's Battle Of The Somme topped the weekly-list with twenty nine thousand. Top Ten Warfare had twenty eight thousand and both Raw War and Time Team both attracted twenty three thousand. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was seen by fifty three thousand viewers. Discovery Turbo's most-watched programme was Chasing Classic Cars with seventy two thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Mars which had three hundred and forty four thousand viewers and Air Crash Investigators (one hundred and twenty three thousand). Ice Road Rescue was watched by sixty three thousand. The History Channel's top-ten list was topped by Ice Road Truckers (one hundred and two thousand). Mountain Men was seen by eighty two thousand and Pawn Stars attracted an audience of seventy six thousand. On Military History, Ancient Aliens was watched by thirty five thousand. Dateline With Tamzin Outhwaite, Britain's Toughest Cops and Corrupt Crimes were ID's top-rated programmes of the week (with sixty seven thousand viewers, sixty one thousand and fifty eight thousand murder-lovers respectively). Robbie Coltrane's Critical Evidence, Homicide Hunters and The Jail: Sixty Days In headed CI's list (one hundred and fifteen thousand, one hundred and seven thousand and eighty five thousand). Crimes That Shook Britain drew seventy thousand. GOLD's latest series of wretchedly unfunny alleged sitcom Marley's Ghosts attracted two hundred and eighty one thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers (three hundred and fifty six thousand). Your TV's Corrupt Crimes was seen by seventy six thousand. On More4, CAR SOS was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and ninety seven thousand. Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown attracted three hundred and ninety seven thousand punters. E4's latest episode of the massively popular The Big Bang Theory drew 2.56 million viewers, by a distance the largest multi-channels audience of the week. Hollyoaks had nine hundred and sixty nine thousand. The Horror Channel's broadcast of Book Of Blood attracted one hundred and eighteen thousand. Their top-ten list for the week also included The Shrine (one hundred and three thousand thousand), Nude Nuns With Big Guns (ninety seven thousand), an episode of the cult classic Land Of The Giants (eighty two thousand) and The Unfolding (seventy four thousand). The Exorcist, headed Syfy's top-ten with two hundred and twenty eight thousand whilst had one hundred and thirty four thousand. Africa and The Human Body were watched by fifty four thousand and thirty three thousand respectively on Eden. Tanked was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with fifty seven thousand. On W, The Strain attracted three hundred and twenty three thousand punters. Police Interceptors was watched by one hundred and seventy thousand and The X-Files drew one hundred and thirty one thousand on Spike. Cake Boss was seen by one hundred and fifty one thousand people on TLC. The Vault's Saved By The Bell drew nineteen thousand punters. Ireland's Country attracted an audience of twenty five thousand on Irish TV. World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides was seen by one hundred and seven thousand on the Travel Channel.

Former Great British Bake Off presenter Mary Berry is set to present a new six-part series on BBC2, revealing her cooking tips and short cuts. Mary Berry Everyday will see Berry 'share family classics, easy recipes and special occasion dishes.' Earlier this month it was announced that Berry would present another new show, Mary Berry's Secrets From Britain's Great Houses, on BBC1. BBC2 executive Patrick Holland said the series was 'a real treat.' He added: 'I am thrilled that Mary is returning to BBC2 to share her magic.' Berry's previous BBC2 shows, aside from Bake Off which began life there before moving to BBC1, include Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites and Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking. She first made her name as a cookery writer and has judged the enormously successful The Great British Bake Off since its 2010 launch. The most recent series was the last to be seen on the BBC before it moves to Channel Four next year. Paul Hollywood is the only Bake Off regular moving to Channel Four with the series. However, Berry, Hollywood and hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc will be seen in two Bake Off Christmas specials on the BBC, which have already been filmed.

The BBC's director of content Charlotte Moore has admitted that losing The Great British Bake Off to Channel Four was 'incredibly sad', but hinted that the show 'may not be the same' when it moves channel. Speaking at the Broadcast Commissioning Forum, Moore explained that the Beeb had 'no choice' but to let Bake Off go because it couldn't afford it any more. 'I can't pretend that wasn't a really upsetting moment,' she said. 'We made a really strong offer, but we don't have infinite resources. I can't just write a cheque for anything. I wouldn't be able to do [our] distinctive range of programming if we just paid a lot for one show.' Channel Four, which reportedly paid twenty five million smackers a year in a three-year deal with Greed Productions to broadcast Bake Off, has insisted that it will 'still be the show we know and love' - though three quarters of the hosts and judges have decided not to be involved. And Moore hinted that she is 'not sure' how well Bake Off will do on Channel Four, saying: 'I know that chemistry and alchemy is a very delicate, fragile and precious thing.'

Children In Need has raised a record £46.6m, on a night that saw tributes paid to the late Sir Terry Wogan. The veteran broadcaster presented the annual charity event for thirty five years until poor health saw him pull out in 2015. Friday night's BBC1 broadcast was the first since Wogan died in January and a fundraiser of the year trophy was awarded in his memory. Presenter Rochelle Humes claimed that Sir Terry 'would have been proud' of this year's 'absolutely incredible' total. Last November's Children In Need show raised thirty seven million knicker on the night. The 2016 show featured special editions of Strictly Come Dancing with some of Britain's Olympic squad members and EastEnders. The winner of the first Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year Award was announced as Lauchlan Muir, from West Lothian, a boy who raises funds by being 'a human statue.' Sir Terry's son Mark, who presented the award, said the late presenter's family were 'hugely grateful' for the 'amazing tributes.' He added that Children In Need was his father's favourite night of the year. 'The money raised tonight and throughout the year actually made a difference to people who need it. And that's why he loved it,' he said. Presenters Tess Daly and Greg James kicked off this year's show saying: 'Sir Terry was somebody who embodied Children In Need and was someone we will all miss very, very much.' Graham Norton and Ade Adepitan later took over hosting duties and showed a montage of Sir Terry's 'best Children In Need moments,' including clips of him performing with Madonna. A host of celebrities (a-, b-, c- and z-list) appeared on screen as part of the night's entertainment. Among highlights were Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood poking fun at The Great British Bake Off's move from the BBC to Channel Four in a sketch which also featuring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and Ricky Gervais appearing in his David Brent guise. There was also an exclusive preview of the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Return Of Doctor Mysterio. Which was rather good.
Strictly Come Dancing professional Gorka Marquez was assaulted in the street after filming the show's annual special in Blackpool. The twenty six-year-old dancer is reported to have been 'attacked by a group of youths' on Saturday as he walked to a nightclub with colleagues from the popular BBC series. He required dental surgery after two of his front teeth in his lower jaw were 'badly chipped.' The BBC said that Marquez had been 'sadly the victim of an unprovoked incident.' A spokesman added: 'He will be back in training this week and is looking forward to the group routine next weekend.' The Spanish dancer made his Strictly debut in this year's series and had been partnering EastEnders actress Tameka Empson. The pair were eliminated in the second round but Marquez has continued to appear in the programme as part of the weekly group routines. Marquez also stepped in to dance with Anastacia in week five when her regular partner, Brendan Cole, was ill. According to the Sun, which broke news of the attack, Marquez was with fellow professional dancers Aljaz Skorjanec and Neil Jones when he was chinned by the yobs. The paper said that they had been walking to The Flamingo Nightclub near Blackpool Tower when 'a group of youths' approached them. It added that Marquez had not been drinking and had not made any contact with the gang before the assault, which was not reported to police.

Wor Geet Canny Ant and/or Wor Geet Canny Dec have signed a new deal with ITV which will see them stay with the channel for another three years. The new contract will see the Geordie duo continue to appear exclusively on the channel until at least the end of 2019. It means the pair will present further series of Britain's Got Toilets, Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and 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). The cheeky chappie doon The Bigg Market duo said that they were 'like, absolutely geet delighted to be extending our relationship with ITV, like. This deal will take us past the twenty-year mark with ITV and we couldn't be happier or more geet sorted, and that.' Or something.
'Being right sucks.' A grimacing Bart Simpson scrawled the phrase over and over again on a classroom chalkboard in the open to the latest episode of The Simpsons. The sequence was produced as a response to a 2000 episode of the long-running series, which predicted a Donald Trump presidency. Bart To The Future, produced over sixteen years ago, was a look into Lisa Simpson's future. Bart is depicted as a failing musician, while his sister, Lisa, becomes the first female president following her predecessor, Donald Trump. The episode was written as a 'warning to America,' writer Dan Greaney told The Hollywood Reporter. 'And, that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane.'
The show also predicted that a woman would follow Trump. Will they be right again in 2020 (or 2024)? Will there still be an America for a woman to become president thereof? Tune-in to find out.
BBC Breakfast's business presenter Victoria Fritz went into labour after coming off-air, with one of her fellow presenters acting as her birthing partner earlier this week. Sally Nugent stepped in after Fritz's husband was stuck on the motorway. Fritz later gave birth to a baby boy at St Mary's Hospital in London. The baby had been due to arrive in early December but Fritz's waters broke shortly after the end of Monday's episode. Fritz tweeted her 'heartfelt thanks' for the BBC Breakfast 'team effort.' A BBC spokeswoman said that Nugent had only intended to keep Fritz company while waiting for her husband, who was stuck in traffic on the M6. 'When Sally heard that she'd gone into labour she offered to be there until Victoria's husband got there. But her husband never arrived so she found herself at the birth.' A picture of mother and baby was put on BBC Breakfast's Facebook page with the headline Breaking Breakfast Baby News! 'Twenty four hours ago Victoria was presenting our business news - today she has some rather more important news to deliver. He was in a bit of a rush to greet the world and arrived a few weeks early so he doesn't have a name yet but both mother and baby are doing well.'
Yer actual Danny Baker - whom this blogger used to really respect ... until about five minutes ago - has revealed his appearance on the current series ofI'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) will be his last on British television. The presenter has joined the current series of the ITV reality show at a late stage and will enter the jungle on Thursday. He said: 'I have been doing telly for forty years, I'm sixty next year and I've got no ambition to be on telly anymore. The only show I've ever wanted to do is this. It's like being asked to do a West End musical.' Oh Danny ... you so disappoint this blogger. One hopes, at least, the money makes it worthwhile. Cos, if it doesn't you've got no other excuses. He added: 'This is, in modern TV, as good as it gets. They fly you around the world, put you in a hotel with a beach, then you play games in the jungle.' Danny was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and mouth in 2010 but was given the all-clear the following year. He said that he is now considering moving away from the UK once he turns sixty in June. He said: 'Next summer I am even thinking about living in America. So when this came around, rather than disappearing quietly, I thought "why not do one last big television programme?" I just don't want to do any more telly or radio or anything else after June. But I may as well write, that's easy to do sitting on the edge of the ocean.'
The lavish production of The Crown, the drama of the Queen's reign running on Netflix, seemingly perpetuates the myth that Princess Margaret was browbeaten into giving up Group Captain Peter Townsend, the war hero who proposed to her in 1953. But documents in the National Archives show that the reality of the sitution was quite different, as the former BBC Court correspondent Paul Reynolds noted in this excellently researched piece on the BBC News website.
Christmas is a joyous time (for some, anyway, Bah! Humbug!) but often hectic and full of street, so BBC4 is slowing it all right down for us this year. The channel's festive treats are headlined by The Flying Scotsman, an hour-long 'slow TV' trip from the driving seat of the iconic steam engine, giving a signal-by-signal guide to life on board. On a journey from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster, the crew will take the locomotive down the Severn Valley Railway. The Flying Scotsman follows on from last year's BBC4 Goes Slow season which included The Canal, an uninterrupted canal boat journey down a historic British waterway. Christmas will also see BBC4 revive the 1980s music programme Pop Quiz for two 'specials'. And one uses the word quite wrongly. Hosted by original presenter Mike Read, the shows will again pit two teams of z-listers from the 1980s against each other. The channel has also commissioned Bucket, a 'new bittersweet comedy' starring Miriam Margolyes and Frog Stone.
The building from where Sir Terry Wogan broadcast his last Radio 2 breakfast show has been renamed after him. BBC Western House, located next to New Broadcasting House in Central London, will now be known as Wogan House. The Wogan family, who were on-hand to see the building's new signage unveiled on Wednesday, said that they were 'extremely touched by such a wonderful gesture.' Sir Terry, who died in January, hosted the Radio 2 Breakfast Show from 1972 and 1984 and again from 1993 to 2009. The DJ was last on-air on Radio 2 in November 2015, presenting Weekend Wogan. In a statement, the Wogan family said that Radio 2 had been 'such an important part of Terry's life. He spent so many happy years there doing what he loved - chatting and laughing with the listeners from his studio in BBC Western House every weekday morning,' they said. BBC director of radio Bob Shennan said Sir Terry had been 'a much-loved Radio 2 personality. Each time we all walk through the doors of Wogan House we will be forever reminded of him - his warmth, wit and endless charm.'
Former Made In Chelsea-type person Spencer Matthews and ex-Welsh international rugby player Gareth Thomas are among the first z-list celebrities announced for the fourth series of The Jump. Seven z-listers had to pull out of the last series of the Channel Four winter sports show after injuring themselves - in a couple of cases really badly. Channel Four said there had been 'a thorough review of safety standards.' Former England rugby captain Jason Robinson and ex-footballer Robbie Fowler are also taking part in the new series. Model and 'businesswoman' (whatever the Hell that mean) Caprice is also thought to have signed up, according to the BBC News website. The show sees z-list celebrities compete (or, at least, attempt to compete) at various winter sports including ski-jumping, bobsleigh and speed skating. And, usually 'plummeting from a great height with a muffled crunch' too. The last series made headlines after a number of z-list celebrities suffered injuries. Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle had the most serious, having to undergo surgery on her neck after a fall while training for the show, which prompted the first review into safety procedures on the show. Channel Four said at the time that events were 'no more difficult' than in the previous two series and all competitors had 'undertaken a rigorous training programme to prepare them for the show.' Plus, they hadn't mentioned anything about spine threatening injuries when they read the original pay-cheque. A second 'review of safety' was undertaken at the beginning of February. The series will be filmed in Austria again and will be broadcast over six weeks in the new year.
And now, dear blog reader ...
Horrible Alesha Dixon has signed up to present a new ITV z-list celebrity dance series. Dance Dance Dance will 'challenge contestants to recreate famous routines' from music videos and films. Horrible Alesha Dixon said: 'The standard of dance is very high and I can't wait for the public to see these iconic performances brought back to life.' Former T4 presenter Will Best (no, me neither) will co-host, while Diversity's Ashley Banjo (a dancing-type person) and choreographers Tina Landon and Timor Steffens will serve as judges. Coronation Street actress Lucy-Jo Hudson and ex-JLS singer JB Gill will be among the z-list contestants on the show, ITV said. The Only Way Is Essex-type individual Jessica Wright, Emmerdale actress Fiona Wade and Jonny Labey, who recently left a role in EastEnders, will also appear. So, that all sounds like a right load of utterly worthless shat which should be avoided by all but the most undiscriminating and easily pleased of viewers. How completely unexpected.
Sky News is to launch a new Sunday morning show hosted by former political correspondent Sophy Ridge. The one-hour show called, imaginatively, Sophy Ridge On Sunday, will go head-to-head with Robert Peston's ITV Sunday morning politics show. Sky News says that Ridge's show, which will launch on 8 January and be broadcast at 10am each week, will 'pick up on the mood of the nation as Brexit negotiations begin.' Each programme will include a major interview and a special weekly feature, Ridge On The Road, where Ridge will explore 'how the country is reacting to news and decisions in Westminster,' as well as newspaper reviews and analysis from Sky's news team. The show is a major break for Ridge. The former political correspondent for the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid Scum of the World joined Sky News as senior political correspondent in 2011 before becoming a presenter last month. 'This is an incredible opportunity for me to hold the people who govern our country to account and ask the questions that our viewers want answered,' she said. 'I hope that we deliver a programme that demystifies the political rhetoric, offering real insight into what decisions in Westminster mean for the rest of us.' The launch of the show follows a number of high-profile changes at Sky News including Dermot Murnaghan, who fronted Murnaghan On Sunday, moving to present flagship evening programme Sky News Tonight. Sophy Ridge On Sunday and Peston On Sunday both go up against The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1, which regularly attracts more than one-and-a-half million viewers. 'Sophy On Sunday will bring a fresh approach to Sunday morning broadcasting,' claimed John Ryley, the head of Sky News. 'This will not be a show that reports from the Westminster bubble, but will be investigating how decisions made by the political elite affect the public and their lives. Sophy is an exceptional talent, and I know she will offer a new perspective on the political week for our customers across the UK and beyond.'
JJ Abrams futuristic series Westworld has landed a second series on US cable channel HBO. Another ten episodes of the big budget drama will be broadcast in 2017 or 2018, HBO programming editor Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter. 'Westworld is such a big, ambitious show. I don't know if it will be fall of 2017 or into 2018,' he said. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Westworld is getting an average audience of 11.7 million viewers per episode. Westworld's ensemble cast includes Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Luke Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Borgen's Sidse Babett Knudsen. The first series is being broadcast on Sky Atlantic in the UK. Co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy said in a statement: 'During the lengthy journey to the screen, our incredibly talented actors, staff and crew became a family and we look forward to the privilege of continuing this experience with them. We're also thankful to all of our amazing partners at HBO, WBTV and Bad Robot for their steadfast support, imagination and ambition. We simply couldn't have made this show anywhere else.' Bloys would not reveal whether the stars of the current series will return for a second season. 'I don't want to speculate about cast because there's still three episodes left to air,' he said.
Rory McGrath, the alleged comedian and TV personality, has appeared in court to plead not guilty to an accusation that he stalked a married woman. The sixty-year-old, from Cambridge, was said to have 'harassed' the woman for fourteen months. McGrath is said to have sent the alleged victim electronic messages, as well as to have 'approached her in public' and 'sent letters to her husband.' The woman cannot be identified for legal reasons. The alleged comedian, who is best known for his appearances on the BBC1 panel show They Think It’s All Over and Channel Four's Who Dares, Wins, spoke only to confirm his name, address and enter a not-guilty plea when he appeared at Cambridge magistrates court on Tuesday. The alleged harassment is said to have taken place between April 2015 and August this year. McGrath was granted conditional bail, which forbids him from contacting the woman or visiting a particular address in Cambridge. He is due to stand trial in January at the same court. McGrath was a panellist on They Think It’s All Over for its entire run from 1995 until it was axed in 2006. He went on to appear in the Three Men In A Boat series on the BBC with Dara O Briain and Griff Rhys Jones.
An e-mail which was accidentally sent to all the NHS's staff in England has 'caused havoc.' One of the health system's employees sent the message on Monday morning without realising that they had copied in eight hundred and forty thousand of their co-workers. The action quickly clogged up the system - no shit? - and was exacerbated by many users hitting 'reply all' to subsequent complain about having received the e-mail sent to them in the first place. The distribution list was later disabled at 10am, but some users continued to have problems for many hours afterwards. The secure e-mail system is used by NHS staff and other approved organisations to discuss healthcare and related activities. 'It's driving me bananas,' one doctor - who asked not to be identified - allegedly told the BBC. 'The thing is, hundreds of people have been replying. My NHS e-mail is very important to me because it's the only secure way I can send and receive anything safely about my patients. So, this is a major problem [and] potentially a risk to patients.' A spokeswoman for NHS Digital said that it was not a member of its IT team who had sent the message, but declined to identify the culprit, saying they were not to blame. 'A number of e-mail accounts have been operating slowly,' said NHS Digital in a statement. 'This was due to an NHS Mail user setting up an e-mail distribution list which, because of a bug in the supplier's system, inadvertently included everyone on the NHS Mail list. As soon as we became aware of the issue, we deleted the distribution list, so that no-one else could respond to it. We anticipate the issue will be rectified very soon.'
Beagle 2, the British mission to Mars in 2003, came 'excruciatingly close' to succeeding, a study has shown. A bit like Chris Waddle's statement that if the penalty he took against West Germany in 1990 had been six inches lower it would have been 'the greatest penalty ever taken.' But, it wasn't. A new analysis of pictures of the Beagle 2 spacecraft shows that it did not crash-land on the Martian surface. Instead, it indicates that the landing 'went to plan' and at least three of its four solar panels opened successfully. The analysis also suggests that the probe may even have 'worked for several months,' but was unable to send its data back to Earth. Professor Mark Sims of Leicester University, who commissioned the study, told BBC News that there is 'an extremely small possibility' Beagle 2 might still be working on the Martian surface to this day. 'It may have worked for hundreds of days depending on how much dust was deposited on the solar panels and whether any dust devils were cleaning the panels - as happened with NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers,' he said. 'One possibility is that it could still be working today - but it is extremely unlikely and I doubt that it is.' Doctor Manish Patel, of The Open University, was among the hundreds of UK scientists who worked on the Beagle 2 mission. He agrees that the new evidence suggests Beagle 2 took 'lots of scientific data' but was unable to send it back. 'If Beagle 2 went into surface operations mode, it could have continued for some time performing the initial pre-programmed operations, happily taking data and waiting for a response from the orbiters. It turned out to be a very lonely time for the lander at the surface,' he said. Those views are backed by Professor Jan-Peter Muller of The Mullard Space Science Laboratory, which is part of University College London. 'Given that [NASA's] exploration rover Opportunity is going strong since January 2004 when it was due to last only until March 2004 and that Mars Express is going strong thirteen years after orbit insertion when it was due to last only three years, the possibility that Beagle 2 could still be collecting data after thirteen years is remotely possible.' The British built Beagle 2 Spacecraft was due to land on the Martian surface on Christmas Day in 2003. The mission was charismatically led by the late Professor Colin Pillinger. The spacecraft was capable of collecting soil samples and analysing them for signs of organic molecules associated with life in a miniaturised on-board laboratory. Disappointingly, no signal was received on Christmas Day. The search for a response from Beagle 2 continued for several months but the spacecraft was never heard from again. In 2014, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found Beagle 2 on the Martian surface. The spacecraft took pictures which seemed to indicate that the spacecraft landed as planned and some of its solar panels had opened. In the new detailed analysis, Nick Higgett and his team at De Montfort University not only confirmed this but also indicated that Beagle 2 had deployed at least three of its solar panels - with the fourth and final panel possibly beginning to open. The technique is based on simulating possible configurations of the lander on the surface and comparing the amount of sunlight that reflects off the simulated lander with real pictures taken from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The researchers then identified which landing configuration of one, two, three or four solar panels opened was the best fit. 'Hopefully these results help to solve a long held mystery and will benefit any future missions to Mars,' said Higgett. 'We got so close,' says Professor Sims, adding: 'We succeeded in so many elements. It is a great pity the communications didn't work and we didn't get the science back.' Sims says that he and others who worked on the mission 'take satisfaction' from the fact that the system did seem to work so well. 'It shows that the Beagle 2 team did an amazing job. It shows that the design was sound. It got there. It landed on Mars at the first attempt.'
Pluto may harbour a 'slushy water ocean' beneath its most prominent surface feature, known as The Heart. This could explain why part of the heart-shaped region - called Sputnik Planitia - is locked in alignment with Pluto's largest moon, Charon. A viscous ocean beneath the icy crust could have acted as a heavy, irregular mass that rolled Pluto over, so that Sputnik Planitia was facing the moon. The findings are based on data from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. The space probe flew by the dwarf planet in July 2015 and is now headed into The Kuiper Belt, an icy region of the Solar System beyond Neptune's orbit. Sputnik Planitia is a circular region in the heart's left 'ventricle' and is aligned almost exactly opposite Charon. In addition, Pluto and Charon are tidally locked, which results in Pluto and Charon always showing the same face to each other. 'If you were to draw a line from the centre of Charon through Pluto, it would come out on the other side, almost right through Sputnik Planitia. That line is what we call the tidal axis,' said James Keane, from the University of Arizona, co-author of one of a pair of papers published on the subject in Nature journal. This is strongly suggestive of a particular evolutionary course for Pluto. The researchers contend that Sputnik Planitia formed somewhere else on Pluto and then dragged the entire dwarf planet over - by as much as sixty degrees - relative to its spin axis. He explained: 'If you have a perfectly spherical planet and you stick a lump of extra mass on the side and let it spin, the planet will re-orient to move that extra mass closer to the equator. For bodies like Pluto that are tidally locked, it will move it toward that tidal axis - the one connecting Pluto and Charon.' Professor Francis Nimmo, from University of California, one of the authors of a separate study in Nature, told the BBC's Inside Science programme: 'There's more mass in Sputnik Planitia than in surrounding regions - so somehow there's extra stuff there.' But, there's a problem with this idea, because the feature is thought to be the result of an impact with another object at some point in Pluto's past. Sputnik Planitia is a hole in the ground, so there shouldn't be more weight, there should be less weight. If the story is correct, you have to find some way of hiding extra mass underneath the surface of Sputnik Planitia,' said Professor Nimmo. 'If you take some of the ice beneath Sputnik Planitia and replace it with water, water is denser than ice so you'd be adding extra mass. That would help Sputnik Planitia to have more mass overall.' If a massive impact created the basin, it may have also triggered any material - such as a slushy ocean - beneath the surface to push Pluto's thin crust outward, causing a 'positive gravitational anomaly' that would have caused the dwarf planet to roll over. Professor Martin Siegert, from Imperial College London, who was not involved with either study, called the result 'fascinating. The ocean would be incredibly cold, and hyper saline (I think they said enriched in ammonia), so unlike water on Earth or Europa,' he told the BBC News website. 'It would certainly be an extreme environment! Perhaps the most extreme in the Solar System?' But, James Keane thinks phenomena other than a subsurface ocean could explain the alignment of Sputnik Planitia with Charon. 'Sputnik Planitia is filled with several kilometres of volatile ices. These ices are predominantly things that we think of as gases here on Earth - nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide. On Pluto these are solid, and they behave almost like glaciers do on Earth,' he told Inside Science. His team's explanation focuses on the nitrogen ice: 'Each time Pluto goes around the Sun, a bit of nitrogen accumulates in the heart once enough ice has piled up, maybe a hundred metres thick, it starts to overwhelm the planet's shape, which dictates the planet's orientation. If you have an excess of mass in one spot on the planet, it wants to go to the equator. Eventually, over millions of years, it will drag the whole planet over.' But he added: 'It's hard to distinguish between either scenario, so both teams will have to do future work to try to test both hypotheses.' New Horizons, which is about the size of a baby grand piano, was launched on 14 January 2006. After its flyby of Pluto, mission scientists identified a second target - an icy Kuiper Belt body called 2014 MU69 - which the probe should reach in around 2019.
Astronomers claim to have discovered the roundest object ever measured in nature. Kepler 11145123 is a distant, slowly rotating star that's more than twice the size of the Sun and is even rounder than Ann Widdecombe. Seriously. Researchers were able to show that the difference between its radius as measured to the equator and the radius measured to the poles was just three kilometres. 'This makes Kepler 11145123 the roundest natural object ever measured,' said lead author Professor Laurent Gizon. He added that it was 'even more round than the Sun.' Or Ann Widdecombe. Professor Gizon, from The Max Planck Institute For Solar System Research and his colleagues used a technique called asteroseismology - the study of how stars pulsate, or oscillate. NASA's Kepler space telescope observed the star's oscillations continuously for more than four years. The periodic expansions and contractions of Kepler 11145123 can be gleaned from fluctuations in its brightness. And from these data, astronomers were able to extract information about its shape. Using the method, Gizon and his colleagues discovered that the star rotated faster at the surface than in the core, contributing to an unexpected rounding of its form. The difference of three kilometre, between the polar and equatorial radii, is tiny compared to the star's mean radius of 1.5 million kilometres. The authors say that this distortion is 'probably' caused by factors other than rotation alone. They suggest that a weak magnetic field surrounds the star, making the star appear even more rounded. The research is published in the journal Science Advances.
Texting 'while walking does very silly things to your gait,' according to scientists from the University of Delaware. Who clearly had nothing better to do with their time that particular day.
And now, dear blog reader, the story that just keeps giving ...
The publisher of the Daily Mirra has paid out more than half-a-million knicker to settle phone-hacking claims by twenty nine people including Les Dennis, Natasha Kaplinsky and EastEnders actor Steve McFadden. The former footballer Sol Campbell, retired boxer Audley Harrison and model Victoria Hervey were also among those whose claims against Mirra Group Newspapers were settled at the high court. Many of the claimants were friends or family of the famous people targeted by journalists. They included David Beckham's father, Ted, and singer Charlotte Church's ex-boyfriend Steven Johnson, his father – also called Steven Johnson – and his mother, Yvonne Kearle. In all but one case – that of the Emmerdale actor Jayne Walton, who received forty grand damages and her legal costs – the details of the agreements were not made public. McFadden, who plays Phil Mitchell in EastEnders, was said to have been caused 'significant distress.' Kaplinsky, the TV presenter who won Strictly Come Dancing in 2004, claimed to have been “'heartbroken' when private details of her wedding and honeymoon were published. Kim Waite, acting for Trinity, accepted that 'unlawful interception of voicemail or other privacy breaches' had occurred and offered her 'sincere' - and,hopefully grovelling - apologies to all twenty nine claimants. She said that Trinity 'deeply regrets the wrongful acts' and would not do the same in the future. Given that the Mirra group had previously, and on numerous occasions, claimed that they have never done any of that there phone-hacking in the first place, no sir, until overwhelming evidence to the contrary forced them to come clean and cop a plea, one would, perhaps, be forgiven for taking their promise not to be naughty again with a large pinch of salt. The other people who had their claims settled included the actor Neil Morrissey's partner, Emma Killick, the actors William Mellor and Sarah Parish, Abigail Titmuss, the musician Lee Ryan, Barry Smith, an ex-boyfriend of Sadie Frost and the sports injuries doctor Mark Waller. The TV presenter Jeff Brazier, Simon Clegg, former chief executive of the British Olympic Association, the Big Brother contestant Victor Ebuwa, James Gardner, a 'friend' of Paul Gascoigne and the late George Best's agent Philip Hughes were also among those being paid for any inconvenience caused. Others included Best's son, Calum, the former real estate agency director Sandy Armstrong and the singer-songwriter Sam Preston. A number of those who settled their claims with MGN, a subsidiary of Trinity Mirra, including Dennis and Clegg, are involved in a separate civil case against the Sun's publisher News Group Newspapers.
A row has, if you will 'blown up' in the Canadian parliament over the word 'fart'. When the Conservative MP Michelle Rempel accused the government of treating the province of 'Alberta like a fart in the room' over jobs, Green Party leader Elizabeth May took exception. However, it was not the accusations of inaction which riled May. 'I heard her say a word I know is distinctly unparliamentary and I think she may want to withdraw it,' the shocked and stunned May said. 'The word was "f-a-r-t"' she continued, spelling it out so as not to repeat the offending term. Rempel, who has represented Calgary Nose Hill since 2011, became equally incensed. 'Is my colleague actually serious? I just gave an impassioned speech about Alberta jobs and that's what the leader of a political party has to say? No, I don't withdraw it.' May was not letting that one go, however. 'Decorum is important and respect is important in this place,' she scolded. Unsurprisingly, the row has caused great hilarity on social media - especially in light of the political upheaval taking place across the border. 'With all eyes on Trump's destruction of US politics and civil society, a silent-but-deadly political scandal in Canada,' tweeted Josh Greenberg, director of one of Canada's leading journalism schools. It was, however, something of a confirmation for those who feel that all politicians - as The Fall once said - talk a lot of wind.
An Oregon man who died after falling into a scalding Yellowstone National Park hot spring in June was looking for a place to 'hot pot,' the forbidden practice of soaking in one of the park's thermal features, officials have said. Sable Scott told investigators that she and her twenty three-year-old brother, Colin, left a boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser and walked several hundred feet up a hill in search of 'a place that they could potentially get into and soak,' Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress told KULR-TV in an interview. As Sable Scott took video of her brother with her cellphone on 7 June, he reached down to check the water temperature and slipped and fell into a thermal pool about six feet long, four feet wide and ten feet deep, according to a National Park Service incident record. Park officials did not release the video or a description of it, but the report said it also chronicled Sable Scott's efforts to rescue her brother. Search and rescue rangers spotted Colin Scott's body floating in the pool the day of the accident, but a lightning storm prevented recovery, the report said. The next day, workers could not find any remains in the boiling, acidic water. 'In very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving,' Veress said without any apparent irony. The report included images of several signs warning people of the dangers of the park's geothermal features and of travelling off the walkways in the area where Scott died. Scott was on a college graduation trip with his sister at the time of his death, which came a day after six people were cited for walking off-trail at the park's Grand Prismatic Spring. A week later, a tourist from China was fined a thousand bucks for breaking through the fragile crust in the Mammoth Hot Springs area, apparently to collect water 'for medicinal purposes.'
Pianist and songwriter Leon Russell died in his sleep at the age of seventy four in Nashville, earlier this week. Leon was famed for his gospel-infused southern boogie piano-based rock and blues. He played anonymously as a studio session pianist during the 1960s before his breakthrough in the early 1970s. He was inducted into the Rock and/or Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Elton John - a long-time friend and admirer - has called Leon his 'biggest influence as a piano player, a singer and a songwriter.' Leon's had a relatively brief period of stardom in the 1970s which was later revived in 2010 with the help of Elton when the two collaborated on a highly acclaimed CD, The Union. The record took third place in a list of 2010's best CDs by Rolling Stone magazine. Over his career, Leon recorded more than thirty five LPs and was best known for his 'A Song For You'. The song was covered by The Carpenters, The Temptations, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and his good friend Willie Nelson among others. He also wrote 'Delta Lady', recorded by Joe Cocker, and he organised and performed with Cocker's legendary Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour in 1970 using members of The Delaney & Bonnie Band (Leon also co-wrote the classic 'Superstar' with Delaney Bramlett). On his own first solo LP, Leon Russell, also in 1970, contributing musicians included Ringo Starr and George Harrison for The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them) as well as Eric Clapton and several Rolling Stones and was, in part, recorded at Olympic Studios in London. He performed at Harrison's Concert For Bangladesh in 1971, his hard-rockin' medley of 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' and The Coasters' 'Young Blood' was one of the highlights of the concert and its subsequent movie. Leon was known as 'the master of space and time' in his seventies heyday. He wore a cocked top hat and with salt-and-pepper hair past his shoulders and a beard that reached his chest, created an inscrutable image that was equal parts shaman, tent revival preacher and cosmic ringmaster. He ruled the stage with piano-banging abandon and, backed by a multi-piece band and chorus (The Shelter People), put on a show that was a boiling mixture of rock, soul, gospel and country. Born Claude Russell Bridges in Lawton, Oklahoma, Leon began playing piano at the age of four. He attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa. Also at the school were the country singer Anita Bryant, who was two years older, and in the same 1959 class as Leon, David Gates, later of the band Bread. Russell moved from Tulsa to Los Angeles in 1958 where, as a first-class studio musician, he played on many of the most popular songs of the 1960s, including recordings by The Beach Boys (that's his piano on 'California Girls'), The Byrds (that's his piano on 'Mr Tambourine Man'), Bobby Boris Pickett (that's his piano on 'The Monster Mash'! Honest) and Herb Alpert. He also played piano on many Phil Spector productions, including sessions by The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love and Spector's legendary 1963 Christmas LP. Leon can be seen in 1964's T.A.M.I. Show movie, playing piano with The Wrecking Crew (the informal name for the top LA session musicians of the 1960s), sporting short, dark, slicked-back hair, in contrast to his later look. Soon after, he was hired as Snuff Garrett's assistant and creative developer, playing on numerous number one singles, including 'This Diamond Ring' by Gary Lewis & The Playboys. Russell produced and played on sessions for Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell, Ike & Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Badfinger, Freddie King and many others. He wrote and recorded the hits 'Tight Rope', 'Bluebird', 'This Masquerade', 'Roll Away The Stone' and 'Lady Blue'. After a number of years of reduced prominence, Russell's career was rejuvenated when Elton John sought him out for a new project. In November 2009, Leon worked with John and Bernie Taupin on The Union. Produced by T-Bone Burnett and featuring guest appearances by Brian Wilson and Neil Young, the CD was released in October 2010 and became Leon's sixth Gold LP. The recordings were interrupted in January 2010 by a health scare: Leon was hospitalised and underwent surgery for a brain fluid leak, as well as treatment for heart failure and pneumonia. In April 2011, Leon and Elton performed together as the musical guests on Saturday Night Live. Cameron Crowe's documentary on the making of The Union was released in 2011. Leon is survived by his wife, Jan Bridges.
A sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Sir Elton John by his former bodyguard has been extremely dropped. In legal papers filed in March, Jeffrey Wenninger had accused the singer of making 'sexually suggestive comments' towards him and groping him. A representative for Sir Elton confirmed: 'The case was withdrawn, with no payment made.' Wenninger, a Los Angeles policeman, worked for the singer from 2002 to 2014. He had accused Sir Elton of three separate incidents - all of which he claimed occurred in the final year he worked for the singer. Sir Elton's legal team previously described his claims as 'baseless.'
Adele and members of her audience were forced to duck for cover after an arena in Mexico was invaded by a bat. The singer warned one fan, saying: 'It landed right by your head. Oh my God, it's a bat!' Adele was performing in Mexico City as part of her world tour. After a few minutes flapping around, the bat reportedly flew away.
San Marino officials have demanded an apology from Germany's Thomas Müller, who made comments about their team following an eight-nil win for Germany on Friday. Müller said that playing 'a team of amateurs' in the World Cup qualifier put German players 'at risk of injury.' Bayern Munchen's chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added: 'San Marino has nothing to do with professional football.' San Marino's Olympic Committee spokesman, Alan Gasperoni, offered ten reasons for the game to be played and told Müller that Germany 'does not own the game. It's served to make me realise that even if you wear the most beautiful Adidas kits, underneath you're always the ones that put white socks under their sandals.' Good answer! San Marino Secretary of State for Tourism and Sport, Teodoro Lonfernini, called for a formal apology. 'Germany are world champions, but they are not the master of the world,' said Lonfernini. Joachim Löw's side were two-nil up inside nine minutes and ran out easy winners, with a hat-trick from former The Arse forward Serge Gnabry on his debut, two from Jonas Hector, an own goal and strikes from Kevin Volland and Sami Khedira. Müller - who did not score and has also not scored for Bayern in the Bundesliga yet this season - said afterwards that while 'it's a highlight for San Marino to play the world champions,' the game should not have been played. 'It served to show that even against lowly teams like ours you cannot score a goal and don't say you were not frustrated when [goalkeeper Aldo] Simoncini denied you,' Gasperoni said in the letter posted on Facebook. 'It also served to show that football belongs to everyone who loves it and we are part of that, whether you like it or not.'
England players have been banned by the Football Association from having nights off while on international duty. The FA is looking into claims that 'several players' were 'out until late' on Saturday night after Friday's three-nil win over Scotland - less than three days before they drew two-two with Spain in a friendly. The naughty boys. Wayne Rooney grovellingly apologised after pictures showed him appearing completely bladdered at a wedding that same night. Meanwhile, the Sun claims 'up to ten' other players were at a nightclub drinking until 4:30am on Sunday. A statement issued on behalf of Rooney, who had attended a wedding at the team's hotel, said: 'Naturally Wayne is sorry that pictures taken with fans have been published. Although it was a day off for the whole squad and staff, he fully recognises that the images are inappropriate for someone in his position.' The FA, whose decision is, they claim, 'not prompted purely' by Rooney's night out on the razzle, is not expecting to discipline anyone. Chief executive Martin Glenn said: 'Don't make a drama out of it.' Oh, too late for that mate. These are British tabloid newspapers we're talking too, they'll make a drama out of anything so long as it features, you know, tits. Or Jeremy Clarkson. 'We are having a proper investigation into what went on. It's disappointing. It's appropriate that he apologised. It doesn't set a great tone for the England captain but I don't want to over-dramatise it either. Were there FA staff involved? We're establishing the facts. We're talking to people who were there to find out if anybody from the backroom staff was involved. Why on earth would you be doing that given there is a team agreement around alcohol consumption during camp? There would be questions asked for sure. There's been a journey. A strict disciplinarian like Fabio Capello where the players were closeted away, it was seen not to be a good success. Roy Hodgson brought a more liberal approach. Roy was right, let's treat people like adults. The best agreements are when players come up with their own rules and then work with them. I think we're probably in the right ball park. We just need to have a degree of trust and make sure when we agree something as a group, we stick to it.' Glenn added that he had 'no intention' of speaking to The Scum's manager, Jose Mourinho, who was said to be 'unhappy with the situation' concerning Rooney. England's players, who will still have free time but not whole nights off, all reported back at 11am on Sunday as they were instructed to, and attended training in the afternoon. When asked about the Rooney story, Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws manager Jurgen Klopp said that he did not see a problem. 'I feel sorry for the players,' he said. 'We live on the sunny side of life, but in the end maybe it is a surprise there is a human being behind the kid. This generation is the most professional generation of footballers we have ever had - not only in England. All the legends you admire, they drank like devils and smoked like crazy and were still good players. Nobody does that any more. I've no idea where Wayne was but I'm pretty sure it was not that serious.' Scotland and West Bromwich Albinos captain Darren Fletcher defended his former The Scum team-mate Rooney in an interview with BBC Radio 5Live. 'The whole situation is very unfortunate,' said the midfielder. 'I hear a lot about how professional footballers are detached from the public and they don't mingle any more. This circumstance shows why professionals are scared to do it. He's suffered the consequences of the social media world we live in. Players will be even more guarded now. People plaster you all over social media when you're kind enough to take pictures with fans. He holds his hands up. It's been blown out of proportion. That's not me defending my friend, Wayne Rooney, that's me defending most footballers who like to let their hair down. He's made a mistake but a genuine one in terms of trying to give a bit of time to fans when he was a bit worse for wear. He's the most down to earth guy you'll ever meet. If he gets the chance to socialise with normal people and his guard is down, he's probably let the guard down too far. He's almost been too approachable and down to Earth.'
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United moved five points clear at the top of the Championship by beating Dirty Leeds at an emotional Elland Road. Fans of both sides held two minute's applause before and during the game to make next Sunday's fifth anniversary of the death of Gary Speed, who played with great distinction for both clubs. Dwight Gayle pounced on a Rob Green howler to volley the Magpies ahead in the first half. Leeds rallied and Eunan O'Kane's shot was well saved but Gayle's second, from a sharp team move after half-time, sealed Newcastle's eighth league win in a row. Defeat by contrast ends Leeds' three-game winning run and leaves them just outside the play-off places. In front of a sell-out thirty six thousand Elland Road crowd (Leeds's first full-house in six years), these two old heavyweights evoked memories of classic top-tier matches of yesteryear with a first league meeting since 2004. Speed's tribute briefly brought the two teams together but with both in search of points for a realistic return to the Premier League, it swiftly returned to a contest that Newcastle, for the most part, controlled throughout. Gayle's breakthrough goal came from a swinging Jack Colback cross that Rob Green failed to cope with, the first real opportunity of the game. The goal ignited a response from Leeds as referee Graham Scott waved away Pontus Jansson's protests for a penalty at the end of the half and they continued that momentum early in the second period with possession and some pressure. Yet Newcastle snuffed out hopes of snatching a point or more when sharp passing sliced open Leeds' left and Gayle turned in Vurnon Anita's cross for a second that created a comfortable cushion and in turn deflated the hosts.
It's an old football adage, of course, that the first priority of any season is to get to forty points as quickly as possible to cancel out any possibility of relegation. If you can do that by the end of November, as Newcastle have this season then you're probably heading in roughly the right direction.
Australian commentators have proclaimed a 'crisis' in the nation's cricket team after it slumped to another emphatic loss. South Africa thrashed The Aussies by an innings and eighty runs in Hobart on Tuesday to seal the three-test series. Captain Steve Smith said that he was 'embarrassed to be sitting here' at a news briefing after the game, but local observers were even more withering. 'Australian cricket is in crisis like never before,' said one review. 'The captain has no answers. The coach has no answers. The men in suits are boarding planes,' Peter Lalor wrote in The Australian. 'Heads have to roll, but no matter how many sacrifices are made, it will not satisfy the blood lust of the public, of whose game they are the guardians.' Former wicketkeeper Rod Marsh resigned as Australia's chairman of selectors on Wednesday, saying it was 'time for some fresh thinking, just as it is for our test team to welcome some new faces.' Writing for the ABC, Geoff Lemon said batting collapses had become 'endemic' and 'the defining factor' of a team which was all out for eighty five runs in the first innings. 'But the point for Australia is the absence of players who can withstand this,' he wrote. 'As batting orders have collapsed, so has morale, and there's no repairing a crushed meringue.' 'What would Sir David Attenborough think?' asked The Age's Phil Lutton, rating seven current players 'endangered' or 'critically endangered' of losing their place in the side. Anthony Sharwood said that Australia was 'getting towelled up' by a South African team missing its two best players, captain AB de Villiers and fast bowler Dale Steyn. 'There's just not the quality replacements out there. The question is why? Too many players growing up on the Froot Loops diet of T20 rather than the muesli of long form cricket?' he wrote in The Huffington Post.
A furious letter from alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon to yer actual Paul McCartney (MBE) and his wife, the late Linda, written after The Be-Atles' break-up has sold for nearly thirty thousand dollars to someone with more money than sense. In the two-page typed draft with handwritten notes, Lennon criticises the couple for their treatment of him and his wife, Yoko Bloody Ono. The attack is said to be in response to Linda Mac's criticism of Lennon for not publicly announcing his departure from the popular beat combo of the 1960s (you might've heard of them). The letter was sold at a US auction to an anonymous - though, presumably, filthy rich - collector in Dallas. The opening paragraph makes reference to a letter that Lennon had received which, he said, made him wonder 'what middle-aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it.' He said: 'I resisted looking at the last page to find out — I kept thinking who is it — Queenie? Stuart's mother? Clive Epstein's wife? Alan Williams? What the hell, it's Linda!' Lennon went on to respond to accusations he was 'self indulgent' by criticising the McCartneys for their 'treatment' of him and Yoko. Using very strong language the like of which his Auntie Mimi would not have approved, Lennon said that he hoped they realised the trouble 'you and the rest of my "kind and unselfish" friends laid on Yoko and me, since we've been together.' Making direct reference to his former bandmate, Lennon questions the notion that 'today's art' came about because of The Be-Atles. He wrote: 'I don't believe you're that insane - Paul - do you believe that? When you stop believing it, you might wake up!' He also responds to the criticism that he did not publicly announce he was leaving the band in 1969, claiming that he was asked by Paul and his then manager Allen Klein to 'keep quiet' as it would 'hurt The Beatles.' In his last attack directed at Linda, he says that he 'suffered' because of her 'insane family/in-laws' before adding in capitals 'God Help You Out, Paul.' US auctioneers RR Auction said it believed the letter was written 'around 1971' - a year after McCartney had publicly announced he was leaving the band. It said the letter, which sold for $29,843.45, 'captures the intense rivalry between the two men in the months, and even years, surrounding the break-up of The Beatles.'
A Russian schoolgirl has fallen to her death after climbing over a balcony to take a selfie. The twelve-year-old, known as Oksana B, reportedly took the photo while sitting on a railing on the seventeenth floor of her apartment building. She had told her mother she was 'going for a walk' when she went to take the picture. Oksana sent the photo to her best friend before police believe she lost her balance and fell to the ground. According to reports, her friend noticed the picture was taken in a risky location and tried to call her. When she didn't get an answer, she sent the photo to Oksana's mother. The twelve-year-old's body was found by a passer-by who reported it to police. The photo itself, hasn't been published. In recent years, taking selfies from obscure and dangerous locations has become a social media craze with daft people all over the world posting their daring photos online. After a number of selfie-related deaths in Russia last year, the Russian government launched an advice campaign outlining when not to take them.
A fourteen-year-old girl who died of cancer has been cryogenically frozen in the hope that she can be 'woken up' and 'cured' in the future after winning a landmark court case in her final days. The girl's divorced parents had disagreed over whether her wish to be frozen should be followed, so the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, asked a High Court judge to intervene. In a letter to the court, she said: 'I don't want to die but I know I am going to. I want to live longer. I want to have this chance.' The girl, known as JS, asked Mr Justice Peter Jackson to rule that her mother, who supported her desire to be cryogenically preserved, should be the only person allowed to make decisions about the disposal of her body. Shortly before her death in a London hospital on 17 October, in what is believed to be a unique case, the judge granted JS her wish. Her body was frozen and taken to a storage facility in the US. She is one of only ten Britons to have been frozen, and the only British child. She told a relative: 'I'm dying, but I'm going to come back again in two hundred years.' When everyone she knew is long-dead, so that should be a fun experience. After a decision which raises profound moral and ethical questions, the judge and the girl's doctors expressed 'serious misgivings' about the process, which did not go entirely according to plan. Her mother reportedly spent the last hours of her daughter's life 'fretting about details of the freezing process,' which was 'disorganised' and 'caused real concern' to hospital staff. The judge suggested that 'proper regulation' of cryonic preservation – which is currently legal but unregulated - should now be considered. Cryogenic preservation of bodies does not fall under the remit of the Human Tissue Authority, which regulates the freezing of sperm and embryos because it was 'not contemplated' when the Human Tissue Act 2004 was passed.
A South Florida couple are reported to be 'outraged' after they said their daughter was suspended from her middle school for using a child butter knife at lunchtime to cut a peach. 'There's no one there trying to educate and to be reasonable to say, "Let's work this out,"' the girl's father, Ronald Souto, said.
A terrifying phenomenon known to cause paralysis and hallucinations at night is surprisingly common. Have you ever found yourself in a half-waking state, either while falling asleep or waking up and completely unable to move or cry out no matter how hard you try? This blogger has experienced this phenomena on occasions. Known as sleep paralysis, this distressing experience is thought to occur when a person is stuck in a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. The inability to move is thought to be due to the muscle atonia normally induced during REM sleep to stop us physically acting out our dreams. To make matters worse, some people also experience hallucinations while paralysed which can include seeing an ominous figure in the room and feeling a strong sense of presence. In some of the worst cases, this intruder can be seen and felt physically climbing on top of the helpless sleeper, resulting in a crushing sensation on the chest and difficulty breathing. This particular experience has also come to be referred to as 'The Old Hag' due to how often the hallucinated figure is perceived to be an ugly old woman shrouded in black. Fortunately though, aside from being terrifying, sleep paralysis in itself is generally harmless.
A seventy eight-year-old Houston man dropped his trousers and mooned a woman outside of a Kenner hotel after she rejected his sexual advances, according to authorities. Robert Scott was arrested and booked for obscenity said Lieutenant Brian McGregor, spokesman for the Kenner Police Department.
An American man says that he caught his wife cheating with the help of a drone-mounted camera and has posted the footage - along with his apparent nervous breakdown - online for all to see. The jilted husband, who goes under the name 'YAOG' on YouTube, claims that he was 'tipped off' in a phone call that his wife was being unfaithful to him, but after a couple of unsuccessful attempts at following her on foot to her office, he decided to use a drone instead. In the video, the distraught chap claims that the woman in the aerial shot is his wife walking away from their house to get her hair done. Instead, she gets into another man's car in a drug store parking lot. 'Here she is taking her hair out. Great, make yourself look pretty for the guy you're about to cheat on your husband with, right?' the man narrates. 'Yup, make sure your hair's all nice. Is she brushing her hair? I don't know what she's doing. She's making sure her hair looks all nice for this cocksucker. Watch. If you're not paying attention you might miss it. Here it comes. There it goes! Boom, eighteen years, gone! Eighteen fucking years gone!' A this point, YAOG's voice raises to a scream. 'Eighteen fucking years gone! Eighteen years and you just threw it away like that. We had a good marriage, I thought it was a pretty good marriage. Apparently not. Eighteen years. Well, fuck you!' There have been some conflicting reports on the video's veracity, since 'YAOG' has admitted in the past that he 'gets paid thousands of dollars' in advertising money for his YouTube channels. But, according to the Daily Scum Mail, 'he also mentions his wife in past posts and has used her as a model for several of his videos, meaning the scenario is still plausible.' And, of course, the Daily Scum Mail would never, in a million years, publish a story which wasn't true. Oh no, very hot water.
'Giant mutant rats the size of cats have left residents in England living in fear after invading an entire row of terrace homes' according to a news report. The 'plague of rodents' are 'pounding around in the lofts like dogs' above the heads of 'terrified homeowners.' The rats, some measuring as long as forty five centimetres, have been 'swarming around their homes and kitchens.' Yet despite repeated complaints, Gravesend council pest-controllers said residents are responsible for controlling the vermin. But they said they 'felt powerless' to stop as the giant rats move indoors to 'escape the cold.'
Are you feeling okay, dear blog reader? Keith Telly Topping only asks because for a brief - but deeply weird - period last Friday afternoon, Facebook 'killed' a substantial part of its user base, telling their friends to 'remember' them. These people were, to be clear, mostly alive. Although, in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's case, he was suffering from a nasty cold at the time so,for a while, it was touch and go. 'Memorial mode' for Facebook accounts exists so that you can preserve a loved one's posts and photos, but without seeing their faces and names in Facebook adverts. You can have someone's account put in that mode by sending to Facebook something as simple as an online obituary. A 'technical glitch' killed off much of Facebook's user base for a few minutes, but left the newly deceased logged in. Fortunately, everything went back to normal within the hour, with the living and the dead having the correct respective Facebook account statuses.
The Daily Scum Mail has 'revealed' the 'top wedding guest complaints'. Because, seemingly, they didn't have any real news to write about.
Former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis has been shortlisted for this year's Bad Sex In Fiction Award. Her novel, The Butcher's Hook, is one of six nominees to be announced so far for the annual prize. One line in the novel reads: '"Little beast," he says to me, his hands on my thighs. Here are your flanks, all plump and sweet. And then, sliding his hand over my hips to my waist: "Your rump, your loins. But you need flaying."' Crikey. This blogger doesn't know about anyone else, but he feels hot all over. Organisers say that the 'purpose' of the prize is 'to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction.' The award does not cover pornographic or expressly erotic literature. Ellis faces competition for this year's dubious honour from A Doubter's Almanac by US writer Ethan Canin. His novel includes the following: 'The act itself was fervent. Like a brisk tennis game or a summer track meet, something performed in daylight between competitors. The cheap mattress bounced.' Well, it wouldThe Tobacconist, by Vienna-born actor and writer Robert Seethaler, is also nominated. It features: 'A shudder of joy passed through him with such force that he would almost certainly have fallen backwards into the cigar rack if Anezka hadn't caught him at the last moment and pressed him firmly against her body.' Leave Me by Gayle Forman and Men Like Air by Tom Connolly are also on the shortlist. One line in Connolly's novel is: 'He arched over her back and took hold of the passport before it landed on the pimpled floor. Despite the immediate circumstances, human nature obliged him to take a look at her passport photo.' The Day Before Happiness by Italian author Erri De Luca is also nominated this year. His novel includes: 'She held me in her arms; they cracked. A few short snarls escaped her before a bite that called the pain from my nose to make it course through my neck.' The winner of the award, which was won by yer actual Morrissey last year, will be announced on 30 November.