Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thin Ice: When Our Hearts Return To Ashes, It'll Be Just A Story

'Travel into the past, there's got to be rules. If I step on a butterfly it could send ripples through time that mean I'm not even born in the first place. I could just disappear.' 'Yes, that's what happened to Pete.' 'Pete?' 'Your friend, Pete. He was standing there a moment ago. You stepped on a butterfly, now you don't even remember him!' 'Shut up, I'm being serious!' 'Yes, so was Pete!'
'I've told you, you don't steer the TARDIS, you reason with her.' 'How?' 'Successfully, most of the time. She's a bad girl, this one. Always looking for trouble!'
'Interesting. Regency England. A bit more black than they show in the movies.' 'So was Jesus, history's a whitewash.'
'what's wrong?' 'Seriously? I've never seen anyone die before.' 'A few hours ago we were standing in a garden full of dead people.' 'That was different.' 'How?' 'They were dead already.'
'I'm two thousand years old and I've never had time for the luxury of outrage.'
'We're not going to be completely defenceless down there, are we?' 'Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Well, yes, but don't worry about it!'
'I keep my ear to the ground.' 'And, what is the ground saying these days?!'
'Always remember, Bill, passion fights, diplomacy wins.'
'I preferred it when you were alien. That explained the lack of humanity. What makes you so sure you life is worth more than those people out there on the ice? Is it the money? An accident of birth that puts you inside the big fancy house.' 'I help move this country forward. I move this empire forward.' 'Human progress isn't measured by industry, it's measured by the value you place on a life. An unimportant life. A life without privilege. The boy who died on the river, that boy's value is your value. That's what defines an age, that's what defines a species.' 'What a beautiful speech. The rhythm and the vocabulary. Quite outstanding. It's enough to move anyone with an ounce of compassion. So, it's really not your day, is it?'
'Hopefully she's smart enough to avoid your lot now.' 'But, what if she isn't? What if we've just doomed .. Greenland?' 'I'll check in on Greenland!'
'There's your tea. I put a bit of coffee in there to give it some flavour!'
'As long as I'm still here, you are going nowhere.'
'There's something frozen under the Thames. And it's eating people!' Gosh, that was really rather unexpectedly and totally terrific. And, that's coming from this blogger who thinks everything's great. Peter and Pearl might, just, be as good a Doctor/companion partnership as there's ever been on the strength of just three episodes. Fact. 'I was bein' all down-wi-da-kidz there, did you notice?' 'Yeah. My hair was cringing.' 'Awesome!'
Last week's Doctor Who episode, Smile, had an Audience Appreciation Index figure of eighty three. The Appreciation Index in an indication of how much viewers enjoyed a particular programme or episode. It is based to the reactions of a selected panel of viewers - including this blogger, as it happens - who rate programmes which they have watched the day after transmission giving a score out of ten. Eighty three is considered a good score, roughly on a par with the scores achieved by the last series of the popular long-running family SF drama.
The BBC have announced that The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) will be appearing at this year's Hay Literary Festival, which takes place between 25 May and 4 June. Steven will be there to talk the craft of writing, with reference to his work on Doctor Who and Sherlock and will feature on a BBC Radio 4 Front Row special to be recorded on the final Sunday. In addition, the writer of this year's Doctor Who episode Knock Knock, Mike Bartlett will also be appearing at the festival, talking about his television adaptation of his Olivier Award-winning play King Charles III and the challenges of writing for different mediums.
Mark Gatiss his very self might have written for Doctor Who, but he has never been asked to run the popular long-running family SF drama. Mark has so far worked on eight episodes for the BBC show, most recently series nine's curiously structured Sleep No More and the upcoming series ten episode The Empress Of Mars but, although The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) went from writer to showrunner, Mark wasn't considered for the role. 'I'm fine I wasn't approached for the showrunner position,' he told BANG Showbiz at Attitude's Bachelors of the Year Awards. 'I don't have any idea what will happen in the future. I don't have any plans to write for the show next year. It's nice to watch with no idea what will happen.' And, though Mark has no immediate intention to write for whomsoever the new Doctor turns out to be, the Sherlock co-creator agrees with the those who would like to see a woman in the role. 'It's a brilliant idea, why not? Cannot argue that a character who has two hearts, is two thousand years old, travels through time and space in a police box, can't change sex,' he explained. Maybe it's a good thing that Mark wasn't asked to be the Doctor Who showrunner given it might have affected The League Of Gentlemen's return to TV. Mark confirmed over the weekend that the BBC cult comedy is coming back for what Mark described as 'a League anniversary special!'
Someone else once touted as a potential Doctor Who showrunner - although that was never really on the cards given his multimedia career elsewhere is Neil Gaiman. Neil is pure hot property at the moment, especially as the adaptation of his novel American Gods looks set to become one of this year's most acclaimed new TV shows in America. While that novel managed to make it to screens eventually, one major plot strand throughout the author's career has been the struggle to film his groundbreaking comic Sandman. His series for DC Comics' Vertigo imprint, which was published between 1989 and 1993, was close to being adapted thanks to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, though that eventually fell through last year. It was a particular favourite of this blogger who once took a randomly assembled dozen issues several thousand miles across the Atlantic and asked Neil to sing them shortly after we'd shared a panel at a convention in Minneapolis. The look on his face was ... well, irritated, actually. But, he signed them. Class act, Neil Gaiman, totally. But if it ever does make it to either the small or big screen, Gaiman has said that he wants it to be a 'classy' TV series – adding that unfortunately he no longer owns the rights. 'If I had control over Sandman,' he told The Hollywood Reporter, 'which I do not, because I signed the deal when I was twenty six and I knew what I was getting into ...' Sandman is, in fact, owned by Warner Bros, with Gaiman explaining: 'The trouble with Warners - and I don't blame them for it - is they know that Sandman is one of the jewels in their crown - and they know that with the jewels in your crown, you make movies out of them. And, they know they have Batman. "We know what we have in Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Sandman ... we just can't crack Sandman." You can't crack it, because it's too big!' The author added that he hopes the likely success of American Gods will make Warner Bros think more carefully about how to approach Sandman, from which one of the characters from FOX's Lucifer is taken. 'I suspect in a weird way, the fact that they took a tiny fragment of Sandman and now it's one of FOX's biggest hits might actually convince people to do the classy TV series I've been suggesting they do for fifteen years now,' Gaiman continued. 'For a long time, I've been saying with a movie, you'll have to throw so many things out. Why not take all the things that make [it difficult to adapt], take all the bugs in Sandman and make them features. The fact that you have seventy five issues, plus a whole bunch of stories? You have eighty episodes. That's a good thing! The fact that you have adult themes and adult things? That's now a good thing. It will be very strange to take Sandman to TV, but I really do think it's the most important thing we could do. And I hope if American Gods goes big, between that and Lucifer, that could help.'
Have I Got News For You viewers have accused the BBC of having a 'Tory bias' after a particularly lengthy 'bashing' of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn according to the Daily Scum Express. Who do have a Tory bias. What they actually mean is that half-a-dozen Middle Class hippy Communist malcontents on Twitter like all professional offence-takers require a reet good whinge on a regular basis to justify their existence. They're quite a sight.
'Has Matt LeBlanc 'saved' Top Gear?' the BBC News website asked earlier this week and - as from rather crassly using overnight ratings figures instead to consolidated numbers, broadly speaking their conclusions appear to be only the money. As, indeed, does another piece in Radio Times in which BBC2 controller Patrick Holland confirmed that Le Blanc, Rory Reid and Chris Harris would all likely be back for the next series and had some jolly interesting things to say about the consolidated ratings, AI figures and audience profile for the latest series. 'The audience appreciation scores are far bigger than they were last year,' Holland said, praising the viewing figures which were consolidated at 3.4 million viewers per episode. 'The audience is much younger,' he added. 'It has had a real growth in under-thirty fours and under-sixteens.'
Mind you, these type of 'think-piece' article on BBC News aren't always so accurate. For instance 'was ITV's The Nightly Show a success?' waffles on for ages when, basically, it just needed a one word answer. No.
The malarkey over the latest series of MasterChef and that Visha woman's undercooked chicken previously highlighted by the blog continues to rumble on several weeks after full-of-herself Visha was extremely sent packing by John and Gregg. The Perth & Kinross Courier (so, not a real newspaper, then) managed to dig out a bunch of quotes from some bloke you've never heard of - 'who chairs the Master Chefs of Great Britain which is unconnected to the hit show' apparently - about what a right horrorshow (and drag) all this was. According to the article, he 'blasted' the programme. Which as you my know dear blog reader, is tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables, presumably, since the Perth & Kinross Courier didn't think their readers - all two of them - would understand a big word like that. And, this constitutes 'news' apparently. We live in dark times,dear blog readers.
Perhaps it's just as well the Perth & Kinross Courier didn't ask this character what he thought of Sam from the following week's episode and his 'modern' ways. The Sun, meanwhile, also seem to have no 'real' news to report, instead creating a cut-and-paste piece of rank bollocks over the 'social media fury' caused by how one pronounces 'charizo'. And, by 'social media fury' what they actually mean is 'the utterly pointless impotent rage of half-a-dozen whinging malcontents on Twitter about stuff that normal people couldn't give a monkey's wazzock about.' Just to clear that one up for anyone that was wondering.
Meanwhile, for those MasterChef viewers who are actually watching the show and not crassly whinging about it on Twitter, we're now down to the final nine contestants. Place your bets now. Alison looks to be the favourite but watch out for Lorna (and, possibly Faye whom this blogger is supporting on geographical, as well as culinary, grounds!)
An eerie new trailer for the Twin Peaks revival brings viewers back into the dark of future's past. No dialogue is spoken in the thirty-second TV advert; instead we are taken on a tour of the most famous Twin Peaks landmarks, including the Double R Diner, the police station and, most ominously, The Red Room.
Friday's The ONE Show featured a host of - not particularly good - musical veterans: The vile and odious Ronan Keating was presenting, Bananarama were on discussing their much-hyped reunion and The Cranberries,Christ help us, were performing too. They have just released their newest CD, Something Else, featuring some of their best known songs reworked. Because, they've got nothing new to offer, seemingly. What better way to promote the CD than with a live version of possibly their most famous song, 'Linger'? However, many viewers quickly noticed that singer Dolores O'Riordan looked visibly uncomfortable and was struggling to sing the song properly. So, no change there then. One doesn't really understand why anyone is particularly surprised by this woeful performance, the lass always found it hard to hold a tune.
Ofcom has announced it will not investigate crass whinges from a number of snitching Copper's Narks about this year's Comic Relief. The broadcasting regulator received three hundred and thirty eight whinges about the telethon. Of those, one hundred and seventeen concerned 'sexual material' in a sketch which saw Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer interview Susanna Reid. Ofcom said that the comedy sketch was 'inexplicit and consistent with the live, unpredictable format of this established charity programme.' The regulator told the BBC it had 'carefully considered' the whinges, adding: 'We recognise that some of the comedy sketches were not to everyone's taste.' The Reeves and Mortimer sketch saw the duo interview Reid as their characters Donald and Davey Stott, with Reeves apparently brandishing a prosthetic penis from under a kilt. As you do. Reid, who co-presents ITV's Good Morning Britain, later tweeted: 'That was an experience.' She added that she 'wasn't looking' when Reeves sat with his legs open while asking innuendo-laden (albeit, funny) questions about whether or not she had seen new film Kong. There were also forty nine - spectacularly ignorant and half-arsed - whinges about a video showing a child dying of malaria. Because, heaven help us that programme designed to raise money for sick children should actually show some. Jesus, has everyone taken The Bloody Stupid Pill this week, or what? Ofcom said: 'We found that images of a child suffering from malaria, while potentially distressing, were suitably limited and likely to have been within most viewers' expectations of a fundraising programme.' No shit? The segment 'Innuendo Bingo' drew twenty two whines, while there were also ten whinges about 'swearing' in a sketch featuring the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys. Sadly, the regulator did not also take the time to publicly name and shamed the three hundred and thirty eight glakes who wasted both their and the BBC's time with this nonsense. Very much an opportunity missed one might suggest.
It was largely snubbed in the nominations for the TV BAFTAs, but The Night Manager picked up two BAFTA craft awards. The BBC espionage thriller won for editing and sound in the awards that celebrate behind the scenes talent. The Crown, National Treasure and Planet Earth II also won two awards each at the ceremony last weekend. In the BAFTA TV nominations only Tom Hollander from The Night Manager's cast was nominated for best supporting actor. This was a surprise to many - particularly readers of the Gruniad Morning Star - after the show did so well at the Golden Globe awards where Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman and Hugh Laurie all won prizes and the drama also won an EMMY for director Susanne Bier. Netflix series The Crown - which leads the BAFTA TV nominations - picked up two craft awards. The drama about the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II won for costume design and special, visual and graphic effects. Sir David Attenborough's Planet Earth II won two of its nine nominations. Those were the factual photography award for its cities episode (which was up against three other episodes from the series) and the factual sound category. National Treasure, which starred Robbie Coltrane as a comedian accused of historic sex crimes, won for direction and original music. Happy Valley writer Sally Wainwright picked up a BAFTA craft award for writing. It was her third BAFTA in this category and her fifth overall. The writer of Mum, Stefan Golaszewski, won for best comedy writing, beating Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Fleabag, Julia Davis for Camping and Steve Coogan, Neil and Rob Gibbons for Alan Partridge's Scissored Isle. War & Peace, which was nominated for five awards, won for production design. Other winners of were Black Mirror for make up and hair design, the documentary Hillsborough for factual editing, Rillington Place for photography and lighting and Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway for best multi-camera direction. The BAFTA special award for outstanding contribution to the industry went to prop master Bobby Warans. He has made props for nearly one hundred of the most popular British television programmes of the past forty years, including The Morecambe & Wise Show, The Two Ronnies, Strictly Come Dancing and Absolutely Fabulous.
David Attenborough has admitted his memory is failing as he films Blue Planet II. As the legendary naturalist approaches ninety one, he admits that he is struggling with his memory. Attenborough is currently travelling the globe as he films the second series of his BBC marine documentary series The Blue Planet. Speaking with the Torygraph, the presenter revealed how he was 'coming to terms' with taking longer to recall the right words to use during filming. He said that during a trip to the Jura Mountains in Switzerland he struggled to remember the name of a particular flower. 'There were these searing yellow fields and I can't think of the damn name. I wanted to say something about it but I couldn't. It wasn't until we got quite close to Geneva that I thought, of course, oil seed rape.' The presenter - who lost his brother Richard in 2015 just days before his ninety first birthday - has admitted he can't help but think about his own mortality on a daily basis. But, despite his fears, he is determined to continue with his work to promote conservation. Speaking to the Daily Mirra, he said: 'Not in a morbid kind of way but I suppose in an observational kind of way. I have no intention of retiring, as long as I can do the job and anybody wants me to. Who wouldn't go on? It is a joy and a huge privilege.' Attenborough will make two appearances in the seven-part Blue Planet II series and he said that viewers will be 'blown away' by the footage they've managed to obtain from the shores in Florida. He said: 'I've just come back from Florida where we have been filming spinner sharks. There are twenty thousand of them and people don't even know they're there. From a helicopter you can see this great column of fish and sharks and just over there, there are people exercising their dogs on the beach.' The BBC announced they were commissioning a second series of Blue Planet after Planet Earth II was such an enormous success last year. The upcoming series, which was filmed over a four year period using new technology, was last on-screen sixteen years ago.
Actor Tom Hardy apprehended a man who had allegedly stolen a motorbike in London, police have said. The Hollywood star stepped in after two teenagers on the bike crashed into a car in Richmond on Sunday afternoon. They ran off before one was was grabbed by the Taboo and Peaky Blinders actor and the other was nabbed by the Bobbies. Whether Big Tom gave the one he got hold of a bit of a kicking or not is unknown at this time. Police later confirmed that two sixteen-year-olds had been arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle. Witness Arun Pullen snitched to the Sun: 'Tom must have been walking down the road. He went off like a shot in pursuit and looked furious. I asked Tom what happened and he told me he chased him through my back garden and caught him around the block - but the route was like an assault course.' A Richmond Police spokesman said: 'We can confirm that there were two people on a stolen moped that went through a red light and crashed into another vehicle. The males ran off and one was detained by Tom Hardy. Both suspects were initially taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.' A Metropolitan Police spokesman later clarified the stolen vehicle was a motorbike and one of the arrested teenagers was riding pillion. The two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of various motoring offences including taking a vehicle without consent and theft of a motor vehicle, and remain in police custody. A spokeswoman for the thirty nine-year-old actor declined to comment.

Rutger Hauer is tackling a whole new challenge: a British sitcom. The acting legend is joining Line Of Duty's Claudia Jessie, Inside Number Nine's Ed Easton and Crazyhead's Susan Wokoma in the Dave channel's new sitcom Porters about the unseen life of a modern hospital.
One of the greatest Chinese fables is set to be retold again, in the form of a Netflix series. Almost everyone with a Chinese background has grown up learning the folktale Hsi Yu Chi (Journey To The West), the story of an epic pilgrimage of a Buddhist monk (Xuanzang, usually referred to as Tripitaka) and his three disciples, the monkey God, Sun Wukong who has been cast out of Heaven, the greedy and mischievous Zhu Bajie (Pigsy) and the man-eating demon Sha Wujing (Sandy). Together with a dragon prince, Yulong - transformed into a white horse - the party travels on a mission to bring ancient Buddhist scriptures from India back to China. Along the way, they encounter a series of monsters and other obstacles, ultimately triumphing through their wit and teamwork. First published in the Sixteenth Century during the Ming Dynasty it is usually attributed to Wu Cheng'en. Journey To The West has strong roots in Chinese folk religion, mythology, Taoist and Buddhist philosophy and the pantheon of Taoist immortals and Buddhist bodhisattvas are still reflective of some Chinese religious attitudes today. Enduringly popular, the tale is at once a comic adventure story, a humorous satire of bureaucracy, a spiritual insight and an extended allegory in which the pilgrims journey towards enlightenment by the power and virtue of co-operation. An abridged translation - Monkey: A Folk Tale From China - by Arthur Waley was published in 1942. Western audiences will perhaps best know the legend through one of the great cult 1970s TV series, Saiyūki (Monkey). The show - originally made in Japan by NTV - was an imported hit for the BBC and won a huge following in its dubbed form for its witty David Weir English dialogue, rudimentary special effects and funky soundtrack. Only thirty nine of the original fifty two episodes were dubbed and broadcast by the BBC, all of series one, but only half of series two. In 2004, the remaining thirteen episodes were dubbed by Fabulous Films Ltd with the original voice-cast (including David Collings, Andrew Sachs, Miriam Margolyes and Burt Kwouk). Following a successful release of the full English-dubbed series on DVD, the entire series was rebroadcast on Channel Four. Streaming site Netflix, perhaps capitalising on current nostalgia for the era, has now teamed up with broadcast companies in Australia and New Zealand to bring back the drama. The Legend Of The Monkey will revamp the classic as 'a big budget fantasy drama,' with 'a whiff of Game Of Thrones about it.' There's a noticeable change in location, this time being filmed in New Zealand and early promotional photos released last week show no Chinese actors have been cast. The lead actor is Thai, while others have Maori or Pacific Island backgrounds.
It could work.

A pair of pranksters who pretended to be strongmen are being extremely sued by a TV station in the US after they blagged their way onto one of their shows. WEAU's Hello Wisconsin viewers and hosts were 'left rather confused' by the act 'Chop and Steele' last November when they were booked. Their appearance on the show turned out to be a prank by Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, who managed to get a spot on the show by sending a false press release. In it, they claimed to be Joe Chop Shopsin and Nicholas Steele Stelling, alleging - falsely - that they had previously appeared on the likes of America's Got Talent and at Disneyland. During their appearance on the show, they performed a variety of bizarre acts, such as smashing straw baskets and slapping each other with tennis rackets. As a result, Mercury News reports that Gray Television – which owns the channel – has filed a federal lawsuit against the pair, claiming 'fraud and copyright infringement' and asking the court to find that the two infringed the copyright of the episode they appeared on.
If the company win their legal case, it is possible that other television networks may take similar action against Jack Whitehall for fraudulently claiming to be funny.

And now, the story the just won't do the decent thing and die!
Dozens of a, b, c and z-list celebrities have settled their phone-hacking claims against the Mirra Group Newspapers. Lord Archer, Wor Kevin Keegan, Patsy Kensit and Michelle Collins were among more than forty cases which were resolved at London's High Court on Tuesday. The cases were resolved by the payment of undisclosed - but, one suspects massive - damages and a sickeningly grovelling apology from the shameful disgrace of a newspaper group whom, dear blog readers with a long memory may recall, spent several years denying that any of their staff had ever - ever - engaged in any of that-there phone-hacking malarkey, no siree, Bob. The BBC claims that 'in some cases damages exceeded' three hundred thousand smackers. This would be larger than the two hundred and sixty thousand knicker record damages awarded to the actress Sadie Frost following a High Court trial in 2015. Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke and actors Joe Swash and Denise van Outen joined a long list of individuals who were the subject of agreed statements read out to Mr Justice Mann at the High Court. The BBC's legal correspondent Clive Coleman said that it was 'the biggest tranche of cases' the newspaper group has ever settled. 'The legal costs around these cases are enormous,' he added. 'MGM put aside twenty six million pounds to look after all these claims. There are another fifty or so in the pipeline.' Phone-hacking was a technique used to listen to people's mobile voicemail. Journalists were able to access private information and use it for stories. The court heard one of the claimants, James Moir - better known as the comedian Vic Reeves - had been suspicious about an article which revealed that he and his wife were undergoing fertility treatment - information which they had kept private. Jo Wood - the ex-wife of The Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood - believed 'tensions' between the couple were 'increased' by the private information appearing in MGN's titles and the 'distrust' caused by the phone-hacking made a potential reconciliation impossible. David Sherborne, for Charles Clarke, said that the activities of MGN in his case had caused 'enormous stress' for him and his family. It caused them to 'drastically adapt' their way of life in order to preserve their privacy, he told the judge. He received 'a sincere apology' and undisclosed damages from MGN. Solicitor Gerald Shamash for author, former politician - and convicted perjurer - Lord Archer and his wife, Dame Mary Archer, said that MGN 'accepted' its activities caused 'significant damage and distress' to them and to members of their family. The judge heard that MGN had paid Kensit 'a substantial sum by way of damages.' Her solicitor, Callum Galbraith, told Mr Justice Mann that MGN's actions caused Kensit 'distress' during 'difficult times' when her marriage to Liam Gallagher was breaking down, when her subsequent wedding to Jeremy Healey was cancelled and during 'health scares' suffered by her and her son. In the case of Wor Kev, the judge heard that MGN had agreed to pay him compensation. Keegan's solicitor, John Newell, said in a statement: 'Discovering that his private communications with his family, friends and associates had been unlawfully accessed was a devastating intrusion.' Newell added: 'Kevin is pleased that Mirra Group have acknowledged their wrongdoing and publicly apologised. He feels vindicated and believes that justice has been done.' Last year settlement of a number of cases was announced at a hearing before the same judge. They included actions brought by Davina McCall and actors Nigel Havers and Rhys Ifans.
BBC presenter Diane Louise Jordan said she has had 'a tough three years' trying to clear her name after being wrongly accused of harassment. The ex-Blue Peter presenter claimed that her career suffered after she was issued with a Police Information Notice. She was given the PIN, sometimes called a 'Harassment Warning Notice', in 2014 for allegedly harassing the partner of her daughter's estranged husband. Her accuser received a suspended eighteen-month prison sentence on Thursday. Kayla Thomas was sentenced for perverting the course of justice. A spokesman for Cambridge Crown Court said Thomas had given a false witness statement and was also subject to a three-month curfew. The case has drawn attention to the issuing of PINs, which some claim are issued too frequently and without sufficient investigation into whether they are warranted. Jordan, who currently co-presents the BBC's Songs Of Praise, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that she felt 'guilty until proven innocent,' adding: 'It is a horrible thing to be hanging over you for three years, for something you know you haven't done.' Speaking to the Victoria Derbyshire programme, she said: 'I'm still reeling from it now. My integrity has been questioned and my sense of trust has flown out the window.' The presenter said that she had initially signed the notice because she thought she had 'no option,' without realising it would go 'on some sort of record.' She said the issuing of the notice and the media coverage it generated had had 'a detrimental impact' on her charity work. 'Some of the charities I was working with I haven't heard from again,' she told the BBC on Thursday. Because signing a Police Information Notice does not mean admitting any wrongdoing, there is no right of appeal. In 2015, a government report acknowledged that the lack of any procedure for appealing against a PIN 'can feel very unfair to recipients.' 'If somebody takes a dislike to you, they can make an allegation and you can be slapped with one of these notices,' said Jordan. 'The notices last about a year, but I've since found out they can stay on your record for longer. The police are aware they are less than perfect.'
To Ray Davies, America is a 'beautiful but dangerous' place as you can read in this fine interview with Kinky Ray at the BBC News website.
Friday of this week - scarcely believably - was the fourth anniversary of this blogger's mother's death. Time really does fly, it would seem. And then, Saturday was the twenty sixth anniversary of Keith Telly Topping's dad's death. Barely a day goes by when he still doesn't think about them at some stage (usually when he should, in theory, have his mind on other things).
And now, a new semi-regular From The North feature. Did You Know? Number one: By 1965, The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) were famous. More famous than famous Beethoven, apparently. So famous, in fact, that even their guitars had to go out in public wearing dark glasses so as not to be recognised and mobbed by screaming fans?
As we all know, dear blog reader, there is no such thing as a 'good' week for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies. Every time a silver lining appears on the horizon a sodding great cloud usually comes along to obscure it. The people running that club really are remarkable in their ability to screw up almost everything they touch and give their long-suffering supporters reason to shake their heads in sad bewilderment and mutter the same thing that The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy suggests a bowl petunias falling to Earth does: 'Oh no, not again!' Just two days after their confirmed promotion back to the Premier League, St James' Park along with West Hamster United's London Stadium were raided by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs officers following an investigation into the clubs' transfer activity. Rafael Benitez, celebrating promotion on Monday, told reporters it was good to work at a club where there's no backroom politics, a not-so-subtle reference to his tumultuous time at Real Madrid. With Newcastle having documents seized and further questions looming for its senior officials, he may have spoken too soon. HMRC officers also reportedly visited offices belonging to Moscow Chelski FC 'in connection with its wider investigation,' a club spokesman confirmed. But, media reports suggested that the club's premises were 'not raided' and no arrests were made. According to local media reports, French officials arrested four football agents, with Marseille's transfer dealings understood to be under investigation. Newcastle's managing director Lee Charnley was reportedly arrested following the raids on Wednesday morning though he was released later that day without charge. HMRC said that they had arrested 'several men working within professional football industry for suspected of income tax and national insurance fraud. One hundred and eighty HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today. Investigators have searched a number of premises in the North East and South East of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones. The French authorities are assisting the UK investigation, have made arrests and several locations have been searched in France. This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences.' West Hamster's London Stadium was raided at around 8am on Wednesday morning. Officials 'co-operated' when asked to hand over documents relating to the investigation (such an odd phrase, that. I mean what the Hell else are they going to do but co-operate when The Law arrives and demands they hand over their records?) The Daily Torygraph claimed that the investigation 'extends to other clubs in England.' Charnley was appointed in 2014 to help The Magpies' owner, Mike Ashley, with recruitment. He played a key role in the appointment of Rafa The Gaffer Benitez as manager last year and in persuading him to stay during the summer. He has been Ashley's closest aide in his time at the club, quickly rising up the ranks and is said to prefer being 'in the background,' according to an alleged 'source' allegedly close to the club. Meanwhile, Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson tweeted: 'We're told today's HMRC raids focus on player transfers between UK and France; image rights, benefits and agent payments.' The Evening Chronicle reported that HMRC officials had also been seen entering a house in the Gosforth area of Newcastle on Wednesday. Sky later claimed that the address was Charnley's. The Daily Mirra's report on the events of the day included the following gem: 'Toon owner Mike Ashley only found out from the TV news, according to the club's chief scout Graham Carr, dad of comedian Jimmy.' Graham Carr, of course, is not Jimmy Carr's father, he's Alan Carr's father. It's odd, isn't it? The Daily Mirra used to be a newspaper that got most things right. Till they stopped hacking people's phones, obviously. They quote Carr as saying: 'Mike wouldn't know what was going on in the office. He'd probably know the gross figures and all that, and how much is paid to agents. But he would probably leave Lee Charnley to run the club which he's done very well. It's a sad day for Newcastle, a real bolt out of the blue. It's a bit of a shocker.' Carr, admitted that he expected to be questioned himself 'but insisted he had nothing to hide,' according to the Mirra. French news outlets reported on Thursday morning that former Magpie Sylvain Marveaux was one of those detained in France. The midfielder joined Newcastle on a free transfer from Rennes during July 2011, leaving for fellow French side Guingamp on a loan deal exactly three years later after he'd fallen out of favour with then manager, Alan Pardew. Returning to Tyneside in the summer of 2015, Marveaux saw out the final season of his deal at Gallowgate before becoming a free agent and moving permanently to French side FC Lorient. The Sun claimed that the 2011 signing of Demba Ba by Newcastle from West Ham led to the establishment of an HMRC investigation in 2016 which, ultimately, prompted Wednesday's activities. They also go on to highlight an alleged 'dispute' which involved the signing of Henri Saivet by Newcastle in 2016 - with the player changing agents before he swapped Bordeaux for Tyneside. Saivet's former agent alleges that his client made that change 'following contact with Graham Carr and that Lee Charnley was also contacted over the situation,' according to the Sun. It would be really ironic of all this bother is over the transfers of a pair of useless glakes like Marveaux and Saivet, neither of whom contributed very much during their stays at Gallowgate. Inevitably, this news has led to speculation over a possible points deduction and/or transfer embargo affecting United if any financial impropriety is proven. That, of course, cannot be ruled out, although given the hugely complex nature of what is being investigated and the time for any potential case to come to court - if, indeed, it ever does - it would seem unlikely that anything could affect Newcastle's return to the top flight in the short term, particular as, at the time of writing, no one connected with Newcastle has actually been charged with any wrongdoing, much less tried and convicted or acquitted. What happens in the long term, though, is another matter entirely - and while this remains a tax issue, it's plausible that an ultimately negative outcome could trigger some form of action from the football authorities. In January, a Parliamentary Committee revealed that forty three players, twelve clubs and eight agents were the subject of 'open inquiries' by HMRC. And finally, from the 'you really couldn't make this stuff up' department, the Nufc.com website suggests that on the very day that St James' Park was raided by HMRC, 'a public seminar by The Chartered Institute of Taxation was hosted there!'
Meanwhile, of course, there's still some actual football to be played; Newcastle finished their season on the road with a record fourteenth away victory - beating the thirteen achieved by Kevin Keegan's team in the 1992-93 promotion season - to put the pressure on Brighton & Hove Albinos for the Championship title and end a mostly horrible week around the club on a lighter note. Fabulous strikes from Christian Atsu and Isaac Hayden in the second-half secured the points for Rafa The Gaffer's side as they moved a point behind Brighton who play at teatime on Saturday. After a fairly lethargic first-half, Atsu chipped in a nonchalant free-kick from the edge of the box to break the deadlock and ten minutes later Hayden rifled in a twenty five-yard effort to make the points safe. The promotion party atmosphere was taken down to South Wales as over four thousand boisterous and celebratory away followers continued the celebrations in fine fashion and the team and manager took the plaudits at the end. There could have been more goals for both sides as Cardiff wasted some good chances and United were denied two clear penalties, while Jazz Richards was lucky to stay on the pitch after a horribly reckless challenge on Atsu.
Blunderland manager David Moyes has been very charged by the Football Association after telling the BBC reporter Vicki Sparks she might 'get a slap.' Moyes (seen below shortly after a hamster had run up his trouser leg, seemingly) was caught-on-camera making the vile, bullying remarks after his team's draw against Burnley in the Premier League in March. The fifty four-year-old has expressed 'deep regret' for his comments. It came after an interview in which he was asked by Vicki - whom, as this blogger has previously noted, is a former colleague of Keith Telly Topping - if the presence of Sunderland's owner Ellis Short at the game had put extra pressure on him. He said 'no' but, after the interview, added that Vicki 'might get a slap even though you're a woman' and that she should be 'careful' next time she visited The Stadium of Plight. An FA statement said it is alleged his remarks were 'improper and/or threatening and/or brought the game into disrepute,' contrary to Rule E3(1). The Scot has until Wednesday 3 May to reply to the charge or cough up his guilt and accept his, frankly, overdue punishment. This occurred on the very day that The Mackem Filth extremely lost their latest Premier League game to another relegation-threatened side, The Middeslbrough Smog Monsters, to leave the Wearsiders on the brink of the drop.
Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has been extremely banned from football for eighteen months after admitting a Football Association charge in relation to betting. The thirty four-year-old has been fined thirty grand and 'warned about his future conduct' after being charged with breaking FA rules for placing twelve hundred and sixty bets on matches between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016. Barton claimed that he is 'addicted' to gambling. He plans to appeal against the length of the suspension, calling it 'excessive. I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem - I'm disappointed it wasn't taken into proper consideration,' he said. The midfielder bet on some matches in which he played but he stressed in a statement on his website that 'this is not match fixing' and that at 'no point in any of this is my integrity in question.' He added: 'I accept that I broke the rules governing professional footballers, but I do feel the penalty is heavier than it might be for other less controversial players. The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement.' Barton also called on the FA to do more to tackle the culture of gambling in football. He added: 'If the FA is truly serious about tackling the culture of gambling in football, it needs to look at its own dependence on the gambling companies, their role in football and in sports broadcasting, rather than just blaming the players who place a bet.' Players in England's top eight tiers are banned from betting on all football matches. Barton rejoined Burnley in January, having left Scottish Premiership side Glasgow Rangers in November. In the same month, he was given a one-match ban for breaking Scottish Football Association rules on gambling. Barton admitted the Scottish FA charge of placing forty four bets between 1 July and 15 September 2016, whilst he was a player at Ibrox. Barton said that since 2004, on an account with Betfair, he placed 'over fifteen thousand bets across a whole range of sports' - of which over twelve hundred were on football - staking an average of one hundred and fifty notes per bet. Between 2004 and 2011 Barton said that he also placed several bets on his own team to lose matches but added that he was not involved in the match-day squad in any of those instances. 'I had no more ability to influence the outcome than had I been betting on darts, snooker, or a cricket match in the West Indies,' said Barton. 'On some of those occasions, my placing of the bet on my own team to lose was an expression of my anger and frustration at not being picked or being unable to play. I have never placed a bet against my own team when in a position to influence the game and I am pleased that in all of the interviews with the FA and at the hearing, my integrity on that point has never been in question.' Barton's bets on matches he started include a three pound stake on himself to be first goalscorer for Sheik Yer Man City against Fulham in a Premier League game in April 2006. City team-mate Richard Dunne scored the first goal in a two-one defeat. It is understood that the FA was only made aware of the bets by the betting company prior to his second charge in December 2016, which led to its investigation. The high number of bets has resulted in a detailed and complex investigation and the timing of the charge was not related to Barton rejoining Burnley.
And now, dear blog reader, here's this ...
Fyre Fest was advertised as 'the most luxurious music festival ever' - an 'ultra-exclusive party spanning two weekends' on a private island in the Bahamas, with private jet travel built into the extravagant ticket price, where Instagram ingenues, including Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, were headed to dance on yachts and that. But, in the event, that's not what happened. According to the Vice News website: 'Rich millennials paid thousands for Ja Rule's Fyre Fest and are now stranded on an island in disaster-relief tents!' An image which is, admittedly, very funny. The production was 'a shit show' from 'its inception to its spectacular collapse [on] Friday, the exact words separately used by three people who bought tickets, though only two actually made it to the island, Great Exuma, in the Bahamas,' the website claims. 'Beginning early Thursday, many of the advertised private jets - which turned out to be chartered commercial planes departing from airports like La Guardia and Miami International - failed to take off at all. And, those passengers may now consider themselves the lucky ones. Festival-goers on the ground found 'luxury' accommodations more like disaster relief-like tents, significantly less amenities than promised and no clear way to leave. 'It's complete chaos,' William Needham Finley IV, a Raleigh blogger, said from the beach on Thursday night, later posting a Periscope video showing the bare-bones setup of tents, one small stage, and a half-built 'concierge' structure. Produced via joint venture between Ja Rule (a popular beat combo, apparently) and Billy McFarland (the founder of the once-lauded millennial credit card company Magnises) Fyre Fest advertised a line-up with artists like Tyga and Desiigner (no, me neither) and the band Blink-182 (are they still going?) alongside activities like 'swimming with pigs' and jet-ski rentals. But the problems started early on Thursday when flights were mysteriously grounded. While hordes of people were waiting at the Bahamas airport to leave, the organisation sent out an e-mail confirming that the festival had been cancelled on Friday morning. 'Due to circumstances out of our control, the physical infrastructure was not in place on-time and are [sic] unable to fulfill on that vision safely and enjoyably for our guests. At this time, we are working tirelessly to get flights scheduled and get everyone off of Great Exuma as soon as possible. We ask that guests currently on-island do not make their own arrangements to get to the airport. We are working to place everyone on complimentary charters back to Miami today. This process has commenced.' A few hours later, Ja Rule apologised in a screenshot from the iPhone Notes app, claiming none of this was his fault (in capital letters, an'all, so it must be true) and denying that the festival was a scam. Several people described the scene as more like a FEMA-camp than a festival. Which, to be honest, sounds like just about every festival this blogger has ever attended.
A cargo ship that was carrying sheep from Romania to Jordan reportedly smashed into a Russian military vessel in the Bosphorus Strait on Thursday. The Russian ship sank after its hull was pierced in the collision. The ship, called Liman, was part of the Russian fleet in The Black Sea. It was a reconnaissance vessel and was apparently returning from a mission in the Mediterranean. The seventeen sailors on the ship were all rescued. Meanwhile, the cargo ship 'suffered no significant damage in the collision' and was able continue its journey once the investigation into this incident was completed. The vessel, which had a crew of seventy eight, was apparently carrying eight thousand eight hundred sheep, which had been loaded in the Romanian port Midia-Navodari. No sheep were injured in this incident, just in case you were worried.
United Airlines has said that a 'potentially record-breaking' giant rabbit died in its care, but only after the transatlantic flight it was travelling on had landed. The three foot continental giant rabbit, which was ten months old and named Simon, died while travelling from London Heathrow to O'Hare airport in Chicago. The airline revealed it had offered the customer compensation and, contrary to previous reports, clarified that the animal was alive when it was taken off the flight. United's spokesman, Charles Hobart, said the animal had 'appeared healthy' and 'shown no signs of distress' upon landing. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, about thirty minutes later, he said, the rabbit was sleeping in a pet facility run by the company and 'shortly afterwards' an employee opened its cage 'to find it dead.' It comes three weeks after a video showing a passenger being dragged off a United flight sparked widespread outrage. The death of the rabbit is probably worse, though. Particularly for the rabbit. 'We won't know the cause of death because we offered to perform a necropsy free of charge – that's standard procedure – but the customer didn't want us to perform a necropsy, and we understand,' said Hobart. Owner Annette Edwards, a breeder from Worcestershire, told the Sun that Simon had been 'expected' to grow to be 'the world's biggest rabbit' after his father, Darius, grew to four foot four inches. She said his buyer was 'famous.' Famous, but rabbitless, it would seem.
A sixteen-year-old student in Texas is facing felony charges after he, allegedly, urinated in his teacher's drink. The teacher at Moody High School asked another student to refill her water cup at a fountain in the hallway. The student went to the restroom and, at some point, handed the cup over to the sixteen-year-old. The first student claims that he 'didn't see' what the sixteen year old in question did. When the sixteen-year-old returned to the classroom, he gave the 'pink Yeti cup' back to his teacher and asked her 'how far she would go and what she would drink if she was out somewhere trying to survive,' said Police Chief Roger Kennedy. The teacher then took a sip from the cup, and said the water 'tasted funny.' The school district said that the principal 'reviewed camera footage' and statements from students and then notified authorities. Police said that because too much time had passed, tests failed to show whether the water contained urine. The sixteen-year-old is facing charges of assault on a public servant, harassment of a public servant and obstruction/retaliation, according to Moody police. Plus, taking the piss, obviously. 'Any type of bodily fluids thrown on a public servant is harassment, it's a felony three,' said Kennedy. On April 13, Superintendent Gary Martel told KWTX: 'Unfortunately students will make poor decisions at times. These poor choices sometimes occur within our schools. They are considered as a joke, dare or something funny et cetera. The district cannot keep all poor decisions from happening on our campuses but we will follow district policy so there are consequences and punitive results for those who choose to make bad decisions at school.'
A postman who was ambushed by a gang of five-year-olds with water pistols has reportedly been banned from a street after confiscating one of their guns. Cody Harvey and two of his friends were squirting one another but when the post van arrived, Cody said 'squirt him,' so they turned their pistols on the two postmen. According to Cody's mum one of them returned fire with elastic bands. But the other postman wasn't amused and took the £12.99 water gun from Cody and threw it into the back of his van before driving off in Trebanog, Mid Glamorgan. Cody’s mother, Leanne Jeremiah said the gun was later found by the village shop owner, dumped in a bin. She said that the postman called Cody 'a fucking bastard.' Which, sounds like 'fair comment' to be honest. Royal Mail - who, obviously, have a backbone like jelly at the best of times - apologised and sent a cheque for a new water pistol instead of, perhaps, suggesting that Ms Jeremiah give Cody a ruddy good hiding for being such an annoying little chap. Swings and roundabouts, innit?
Michigan State Police are warning Northern Michigan residents of 'scruffy' men going door-to-door trying to sell meat to residents. They were reportedly contacted about two men in a small white pick-up truck trying to sell meat. The men are described as 'rough and scruffy.' There have been a number of encounters reported in the city of Alpena. People have said the men approach the house and offer to sell you meats listed on a brochure. On some occasions, the men will accept the response that the resident is not interested; other times, the men become 'very pushy' and continue to sell the meat until escorted off the property. One resident said one of the men asked to use his bathroom. Another resident said the men 'seemed intoxicated.' Residents report that the truck the men are driving is a beat-up white Chevy or Toyota with a standard cab and a cap on the box that doesn't appear to be a refrigerator unit. Police advise that it is not illegal to sell items door-to-door, but residents should not allow door-to-door salesmen inside their home unattended. Or, indeed, buy foodstuffs from someone who is scruffy and smelling of drink.
Tim Farron has been caught on camera asking a voter to smell his spaniel. The leader of the Liberal Democrats was out on the campaign trail in Cambridge. In footage posted by the BBC's Daily Politics, Farron was heard saying to a voter: 'Smell my spaniel, maybe.' Whether this was a euphemism for something else entirely, we don't know at this time.
A 'freak accident' started an unscheduled fire on Wednesday night at the Hillside Chapel Crematory in Cincinnati, owner Don Catchen said. 'My operator was in the process of cremating remains and [the body] was overly obese and apparently it got a little hotter than the unit is supposed to get,' Catchen claimed. 'One of the cremation containers that we had close got caught on fire and that's what burnt.' Cincinnati Fire Chief Michael Washington said the fire started with 'a business-as-usual cremation.' When fat in the body burned at a higher temperature than usual, the hot flames spread to nearby containers and parts of the surrounding room, he added. 'We believe there were some combustible storage boxes that were too close to the ovens,' Washington said.
A search is underway for a moped-riding pervert who pulls up alongside women, masturbates and rides away. Well, it is according to the Metro if not any more reliable sources. The suspect, who appears to be middle-aged and enjoy having something hot and throbbing between his thighs, wears a helmet throughout to conceal his identity as he exposes himself in front of his victims. One of the women he targeted managed to film him from inside a vehicle across the street, in footage she then posted online to try and identify him. It shows the man pleasure himself openly in the middle of an affluent street in the middle of the day. The footage was taken in the town of Klang, in Western Malaysia.
Now, dear blog reader, is Frozen hash brown recall due to possible 'extraneous golf ball materials' the greatest headline in the history of great headlines?
A group of nuns who denounced Christ and sell cannabis to help the needy say they are defying President Trump to sell even more. The Sisters of the Valley are California's self-ordained feminist 'weed nuns,' are on a mission to heal and empower women with their cannabis products. Based near the town of Merced in the Central Valley, which produces over half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States, the Sisters of the Valley grow and harvest their own cannabis plants. The sisters insist they aren't scared by Trump's stance on drugs – in fact, quite the opposite they are expanding in spite of him. The group had roughly seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars in sales last year, the most since it started selling products in January 2015.
A saleswoman, who created a profile on a dating app and promoted sex after she became jobless and needed money to fly home, has been jailed for seven months in Dubai. The twenty four-year-old Moroccan woman walked into a police station and admitted that she had been staying illegally in Dubai and working as a prostitute before she was detained in March. The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the defendant of promoting and working in the sex trade after she created an account on Who's Here? (a smart phone app that is designed for dating and chatting). She was also convicted of consuming liquor. When she appeared in court, she admitted that she had worked as a prostitute because she needed the money to return to her country. She told the presiding judge that her residency had expired and she had been staying in the country illegally.
A woman who ran around King's Lynn's QE Hospital grounds naked on two separate occasions in a week has been jailed for her naughty ways. Linda Deane from King's Lynn pleaded very guilty to outraging public decency and has been jailed for twelve weeks.
'For the first time ever, a defendant has been charged in connection with a xylophone rage incident,' claim The Smoking Gun website. According to investigators, Floridian April Encarnacion was pinched by the fuzz earlier this month on a domestic battery charge after police responded to a residence in Fort Walton Beach. Encarnacion, it is claimed, was in the kitchen with the male victim, who 'was playing a xylophone.' Encarnacion - apparently not enjoying the musical performance - 'asked him to stop,' according to a court filing. When the man refused, Encarnacion 'dumped a pot of cold cooking grease on him.' An officer who responded to a nine-one-one call noted that the victim had 'wet spots on his shirt and shorts,' and that 'there was a puddle of liquid on the ground where the victim was sitting near the xylophone.' During police questioning, Encarnacion - who is currently jailed in lieu of three thousand dollar bond - reportedly confessed to the 14 April attack. Charged with misdemeanour battery, Encarnacion is next scheduled for a 2 May court appearance. Encarnacion, an unemployed housekeeper is, the website alleges, 'already serving a probation sentence in connection with a 2015 no-contest plea to a felony charge of battery on a police officer.' An arrest report does not reveal what sort of xylophone was involved in the incident.
A Turkish court on Wednesday handed a woman who phoned into a top television talk show to complain about 'military operations' in the Kurdish-dominated South East of the country a one year, three month sentence for 'terror propaganda.' The woman, Ayse Celik from Diyarbakir, in early 2016 phoned into The Beyaz Show on Kanal D to raise alarm over the human cost of the relentless military crackdown on Kurdish militants. While jailing her, the court in Istanbul acquitted the show's producer, Kadir Turnali, and thirty eight people who had supported Celik's comments, the state-run Anadolu news agency said. The security forces have since 2015 pressed a campaign against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party in the Kurdish-majority region, which the government says is aimed at flushing out militants but activists claim has killed civilians. In its ruling, the court in the Bakirkoy district of Istanbul said that Celik had 'sought to legitimise the violent methods of the PKK.' In the phone-in, Ayse Celik presented herself as a teacher although this has been doubted by state media. 'Are you aware of what is happening in the East of Turkey?' she asked. 'People are fighting hunger and thirst, in particular the children. Please be sensitive and do not remain silent,' she said. The channel is owned by the Dogan Group, one of Turkey's biggest conglomerates with substantial media interests also including the Hurriyet daily and CNN-Turk channel. Kanal D and the show's anchorman, Beyazit Ozturk, all apologised for the comments. The case had polarised opinion in Turkey, with the contribution widely praised by Kurdish activists but condemned by nationalists as treachery.
Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director of The Silence Of The Lambs, has died in New York at the age of seventy three. His publicist confirmed that Jonathan died from complications from oesophageal cancer. Born in 1944, Demme's other features included Philadelphia, Something Wild and the acclaimed Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense. The director's publicist said: 'Sadly, I can confirm that Jonathan passed away early this morning in his Manhattan apartment, surrounded by his wife, Joanne Howard and three children. He survived Ramona, aged twenty nine, and her husband James Molloy, Brooklyn, aged twenty six and Jos, aged twenty one.' The Silence Of The Lambs, the second film to feature Thomas Harris's serial killer Hannibal Lecter, is one of only three films to win the so-called 'big five' Oscars. As well as best director, the 1991 movie was named best picture, won a screenplay prize and saw both of its lead actors, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, honoured. Demme also steered Tom Hanks to an Oscar in Philadelphia, while Mary Steenburgen won a supporting actress Oscar for his 1980 debut, the cult comedy Melvin & Howard. In recent years Jonathan worked with Anne Hathaway on Rachel Getting Married and directed Meryl Streep in both Ricki & The Flash and his 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate. Born Robert Jonathan Demme on New York's Long Island, Demme began his directing career working for producer Roger Corman. His earliest credits included Caged Heat, a thriller set in a women's prison and Crazy Mama, a road movie starring Cloris Leachman. His other work included a number of music videos - this blogger was a particular fan of his gorgeous ten minute clip for New Order's 'The Perfect Kiss' - TV episodes of Columbo, Saturday Night Live and American Playhouse and several documentaries with Neil Young.
The author who wrote the books that inspired the long-running TV series Heartbeat has died aged eighty. Peter Walker, a former policeman who wrote under the pen name Nicholas Rhea, lived at Ampleforth in North Yorkshire. His daughter, Tricia, said that her father's cancer had returned two weeks ago and he died at home on Friday. His Constable series of books inspired the Yorkshire Television production, set in the 1960s, which ran between 1992 and 2010. The programme followed the life of a young police officer transferred from London to the North York Moors.