Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Empress Of Mars: To Patrick Moore And David Bowie And All Those Other Stars, There's Evidence Here To Show You That There Is Life On Mars!

'So, there were humans on Mars in Victorian times?' 'No, there weren't.'
'Is that Neil Armstrong? First man on the Moon?' 'Not quite the first.' 'What, you mean he wasn't the first man on the Moon?' 'That is such a human-centric question!' 'I'm the human in this set-up!'
'Maybe someone's been messing around with time. Like in The Terminator?' 'The Terminator?' 'It's a movie, you haven't seen it?' 'I'm a very busy man.' 'You'd like it, it's got killer robots!' 'Oh, I'll put it on the list.' 'Even if there are people here, why would they bother writing messages on the surface of the planet?' 'State visit? Patriotic fervour? Rogue graffiti artist?' ... 'Fire. Oxygen. Basic physics innit?' 'Could have been basic death!' 'How can there be oxygen here?' 'The indigenous Martians were superb engineers. Mind you, there's a lot here that doesn't make sense.' 'Ah, it's like the underground tunnels in The Thing?' 'That what?' 'It's a movie! You'd like that one, too. Everyone dies!'
'By the Moons I honour thee. I'm The Doctor, what is your name? I know your people of old, I was once and honorary guardian of the Tythonian Hive.' 'Don't move, I'll sort this beggar out!' 'No, no, no, you don't understand, this creature is no threat.' 'He may look like a monster to you ...' 'I wasn't talking to you!' Who are you and what the devil are you doing here?' 'Well, I could ask you the same question. And, I will!'
'So, that's why you helped him come home? To claim Mars in the name of Queen Victoria? To loot it of its riches and stake a claim. The Red Planet turned pink?' 'That was the general idea, old love. But, there's nothing here, the whole show's been a ruddy wash-out. Ship crashed on landing, I go topside every now and then to see if I can repair the beggar.' 'It could have been a fresh start for all of us. But now, supplies are running as low as morale. Things are pretty desperate, I'm afraid.' 'You told us why you came here, what does he get out of it?' 'Nothing. He was hoping to find his people but it appears that he was asleep on that ship for much longer than he anticipated. Mars is dead. As dead as a coffin nail. Friday is the last of his kind.' 'Is he now?'
'You know what Friday is, then?' 'He's an Ice Warrior.' 'And, they're the proper Martians, right? They belong here.' 'Yes, the indigenous species, an ancient reptilian race, they built themselves this sort of bio-mechanical armour for protection. The creature within it as one with its carapace. The Ice Warriors. They could build a city out of the sand and drench the snows of Mars with its blood. They could slaughter whole civilisations yet weep at the crushing of a flower.' 'Like the Vikings?' 'Yes. Very much.' 'Ah, Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, the theme tune is a-maz-ing!'
'The last thing I'm going to do is take sides but, isn't it obvious? Friday's been using you all along. His aim was to get back to Mars and find his queen.' 'Nonsense! He was leading us to the riches he promised us.' 'The simple fact is, you don't belong here. The sooner you get off this planet, the better.' 'Don't belong? We're British! Mars is part of The Empire now!'
'What happened to not taking sides?' 'I'm trying to save their lives. Let's face it, in this scenario, the humans are the invaders. On the other hand, The Ice Warriors have vastly superior armaments which could wipe the humans out. So, what am I supposed to do?'
'What manner of fleshy worm are you?'
'And you, female? What do you say?' 'Me?' 'We are both surrounded by noisy males, I would value your opinion.' 'They're not lying to you. There's no need for anyone else to die today.'
'Iraxxa, listen to me, the Mars you ruled is gone, but don't let it end this way. Fight, yes. But, for the future not a dead past.'
'He's a paper tiger, not fit to command.' 'Look it doesn't matter who's in charge of your stupid expedition, you don't stand a chance against The Ice Warriors.' 'What, all two of them?' 'There will be more, you idiot. The Hive is active. Don't you see, they'll do anything to defend their home planet.' 'Well, I daresay the British army is more than a match for a bunch of upright crocodiles!'
'You'll regret this. In a couple of hours you'll be begging for help.'
'Why is there still no setting for wood?' 'But, you've got a plan?' 'Of course I've got a plan. I'm all plans! I'm made of plans.' 'Who the deuce are you two really? You speak of us as though we're a different species. You seem to know all about these Ice Warriors. Well, you seem to know a lot about most things.' 'We're sort of police.' 'Speak for yourself.' 'What, you could deal with big broody Martians and rocket ships but you can't deal with us being the police?' 'It's just such a fanciful notion, a woman in the police force!' 'Listen, yeah, I'm going to make allowances for your Victorian attitudes. Because, well, you actually are ... Victorian!'
'Oh, sod this for a game of soldiers!'
'Stand down or I'll fire.' 'Fire at what?' 'Well, geography was never my strong suit, but aren't we underneath Mars's North Pole? Over our heads, millions of tons of snow and ice. One good blast from the Gargantua here and your army will be on-ice forever. Trapped in an eternal winter, like ... Frozen. It's a movie!'
'You will die with honour, with bravery and in the service of those you swore to protect ... But, not today. In battle, soldier, to die in battle is the way of the warrior.'
'All being well, the first intelligent space-going system will be in touch fairly soon.' 'Thank you, Doctor, Mars is dead but the ice Warriors will live on.' 'Will they make it?' ''On yes. In fact, this might be the beginning of The Martian Golden Age.' 'Mars, are you receiving? ... This is Alpha Centauri. Welcome to The Universe!'
'How's it looking out there?' 'All quiet. It's traditional at this point to say "too quiet"!' A post-Brexit The Curse Of Peladon, dear blog reader, including the appearance of an old favourite; what's not to love?
And, if you enjoyed that, dear blog reader - and you should have because, no surprise, this blogger thought it was great - there's a really good piece by yer actual Mark Gatiss his very self in the Radio Times on the history of The Ice Warriors. Which you can read here. Mark's been doing the interview rounds this week, including a couple of interesting pieces with the Digital Spy website here and here. 'Oi, Queeny, let's talk, woman-to-woman.'
Now, dear blog readers, 'we have come to speak politics to you, today,' and all that. Starting with the renowned pollsters ComRes who are probably really hoping that no one read this little corker on the eve of the UK general erection this week (given that it was published in the Independent, that's not beyond the bounds of possibility). Err ... not even close, guys. Next time you might want to think about going back to consulting the entrails of chickens as a basis for your predictions.
So, that general erection thing, dear blog reader. If you missed it, to sum up - everybody lost and the erection was well-hung.
Anyway, here's a helpful (if brief) run-down of the main losers and the winners for the uninitiated. Because, it's not quite as straightforward as you might think.
The Losers:-
- That Theresa May. Big style, even though she's still in the job. For the moment. At the beginning for this erection campaign, this blogger firmly believed that the only way the Labour party could avoid a 1983-style pants down over-the-knee hiding would be if Theresa May went on national television, did a handstand and shat on her own head. Who could have predicted that was pretty much exactly what she did do? 'I want a mandate from the British people,' she said. And, you got one, love. It was 'piss off,' basically. As former Labour spin-doctor Alistair Campbell noted: 'She called an unlose-able election ... And lost!' Why the daft woman didn't do what most people who want a man date do and go onto match.com is another question entirely.
- The Tories, generally. As Ian Hislop pointed out in the BBC's Have I Got News For You erection special on Friday, the British people tend to have quite a low tolerance threshold for arrogance. Calling a general erection two years into a parliament for no other reason than you think you've spotted an opportunity for a landslide and then swanning around for six weeks like you own the gaff, refusing to lower yourself to appear on TV and talk to the electorate, issuing a manifesto which looks designed to target your traditional support demographic for particularly harsh treatment and then doing a u-turn on that very issue whilst pretending that you aren't all tend to go down rather badly with, you know, normal people.
- The SNP. Not so cocky now, Wee Jimmy Krankie, are ya? Another referendum? You're having a laugh.
- Nick Clegg. That's been a long time coming. If there's one thing that, generally, British people have even less time for than arrogance - besides foreigners - it's people who are prepared to sell their soul (and, in Cleggy's case, the soul of his entire party) for a sniff of sitting at The Big Kids table. Whilst, simultaneously, doing an uncanny impression of Jack Lemmon's character in Glengarry Glen Ross. Or, Gil from The Simpsons anyway. 'Doesn't Cleggy get a lick?'
- UKiP. A single issue party with no issue to run on. In his Friday resignation speech, the now-former leader, Paul Nutjob, defiantly described the party as 'still the guard dogs of Brexit.' As Andrew Marr subsequent commented on the BBC, 'very small guard dogs, though!'
- But, the biggest losers of all were, in fact, the British public who have somehow managed to swap a not-very-strong and not-very-stable government for an even-less-strong and completely unstable one. Hey, well done us.
The Winners:-
- The DUP. Like as not, you've probably never heard of them but, in short, they are a minority Northern Irish party with but ten MPs; they're pro-union, pro-Brexit and socially conservative and have garnered a reputation for some extremely dodgy views. The party opposes same-sex marriage and is anti-abortion - which remains illegal in Northern Ireland, except in specific medical cases. And, these are the people that the Tories seem about to climb into bed with to cling onto power. How arch. The DUP, incidentally, got roughly half of the number of votes that the Greens got but they are now, seemingly, The Government. How'd that happen? I mean, we've all watched The West Wing and Borgen and that sort of thing never occurs in fiction.
- Jeremy Corbyn. On a personal level, this was a positive triumph for the Labour leader who increased his party's share of the vote by nearly ten per cent over the 2015 poll. Let's remember, though, that Labour still lost the erection (the fact that the Tories lost it too, notwithstanding). They ended up with pretty much exactly the same number of seats as they did under Gordon Brown in the disastrous 2010 erection. And, like Premier League football, you don't get extra points for trying really hard! Yes, they did better that expected - much better, in fact. But, since they were expected to do nowt that really wasn't very hard. Jezza, therefore - his own personal standing massively enhanced - is still the leader of an opposition party about sixty seats shy of being in a position to form any sort of government if another erection were to be held tomorrow. Or, indeed, in October which is when the next one probably will be. Gosh, it's just like 1974 all over again. All we need now are some power cuts. Jezza, have a word with yer old mate, Arthur Scargill.
- Ironically, the big winner of the night was someone who wasn't even standing in the erection, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson.
So ... it was chaos, basically. Quite enjoyable chaos for those of us who stayed up all night to watch it, admittedly. And, unlike previous chaotic erections, this one was quite funny. An erection that didn't need to be called, but was in what appeared to be an act of crass, arrogant hubris on behalf of Theresa May (who, remember tried to put the blame for the reason why she decided to call a snap erection in the first place on the opposition parties for, basically, doing what they're supposed to do and opposing). It was a huge political gamble which risked everything on assuming that UK erections are personality contests. Which, for someone like May who doesn't have a personality - certainly, not a very likeable one - was always going to be the political equivalent of putting your life savings of thirteen black and saying to the croupier 'let it ride.' May wanted a mandate from the people. She didn't get one and, instead, her party have ended up much weaker and her own position is, effectively, that of a lame duck leader just waiting for the rest of her party to stab her in the back. Who was it that once described the Tory party as 'loyal to the point of Regicide?' Will 8 June be 'the end of May'? Time will tell, it usually does. But, whilst the short-term answer is possibly - though, not definitely - no, the medium-term one is 'oh, yeah, definitely, she's toast!'
Though, if we've learned one thing from six years of Game Of Thrones it's this: When you're in trouble, it's always best for your underlings to fall of your sword.
Still, at least all of this malarkey gave the newspapers some proper honest-to-God 'news' to report on Friday. Which is always novel in this day and age.
Some wipe of no importance wrote the Gruniad Morning Star's round-up of the TV coverage of the erection which was, atypically, smeared with a crass anti-BBC agenda and grossly over-praised the George Osborne and Ed Balls's 'two mad blokes down the pub' double-act on ITV. Smug Stuart Heritage did provide us with one good line, however: 'Channel Four, too, underperformed. Its biggest crime, forgivable as it was, was believing the experts. "Millions of people are preparing for the most boring night of their lives," quipped David Mitchell forty five seconds before the exit poll tipped everyone into a tizzy. Once announced, it threw the programme's entire strategy for a loop.' The Radio Times review of the night was broadly similar but far less sneering.
The highlight of Channel Four's 'alternative' coverage, in fact, was Jon Snow finally admitting that he does 'know nothing.' Which, some of us have long suspected.
There were a few different ways of reading the subtle (or, maybe not so subtle) subtext in this advert from the Metro on erection day morning. A message to her? A message to him? A message to the electorate? In the event, it was actually all three.
Comedy moment of the erection: Andrew Neil during the BBC's coverage: 'Theresa May called this election to get a mandate for her own style of breakfast.' Oh, is that why she called it? Suddenly everything makes sense. Full English (with extra black pudding) or Continental (hold the croissant)?Though her thinking about Corbyn 'naked and alone at breakfast' says a lot more about her than it does about anyone else. (This blogger's thanks to Ian McCann for that excellent one-liner!)
What we need far more of in politics. Number one - Raving Loony Hippies. And, the bloke next to Yer Man Jezza in the top hat looks a wee bit mental as well ...
What we need far more of in politics. Number two - an angry-looking orange-faced bloke doing a piss-poor impression of a fishfinger. Yet, somehow, Tim Farron still retained his seat. Curious.
That Theresa May had an unusual opponent in her constituency of Maidenhead, one Lord Buckethead, who won two hundred and forty nine votes (and so, therefore, probably shouldn't prepare for government). It's not the first time that he's tried to become an MP. In 1987, Buckethead stood against Maggie Thatcher in Finchley, on that occasion gaining one hundred and thirty one votes. In 1992, he stood against then Prime Minister John Major in Huntingdon (one hundred and seven votes). At this rate by the 2390 erection, if his vote keeps expanding at its current rate he might be in a position to form a government.
Lord Buckethead wasn't the only odd person the PM shared a stage with. Bobby Elmo Smith also stood in Maidenhead. He got three votes. He's the one in red if you're wondering. No, the one in red on the right.
The Labour leader might have had a good night, but he seriously needs to work on his high-fives. Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry appeared to get a slap across her chest when Jezza rather overreached.
The feeling on this being a 'back to the Seventies' erection was much-aided by a post from the actor Robert Lindsay on Twitter, The Front Is Back, comrades!
At every erection since 1992, it's been the Sunderland South constituency that has won the traditional race to declare their result first. But, this year - oh, irony of ironies - it was the Mackems' big regional rivals Newcastle Central who were sharpest at getting their ballots out for the lads. First relegation to the Championship, now this. Bad times on Wearside, it would seem.
Then there was the curious case of 'the deal that wasn't a deal.' In what the Independent described as 'a night of farce,' on Saturday evening, Downing Street boastfully announced that a deal had been agreed 'in principle' between the Tories and the DUP for a 'confidence and supply' agreement rather than a formal coalition to keep the Tories in power (albeit with a waafer-thin majority of but two). But then, within hours, both sides issued statements saying that, in fact, talks were 'still ongoing' which, for at least one of the pair was yet another humiliating climbdown. The tone of both statements was in major contrast to Saturday evening's first message from No 10, which somewhat prematurely declared that a deal had been agreed in principle. In a DUP statement, released at midnight when most of us had gone to bed, the party said, possibly through gritted-teeth: 'The DUP held discussions with representatives of the Conservative Party in-line with Arlene Foster's commitment to "explore" how we might bring stability to the nation at this time of great challenge. The talks so far have been positive.' The DUP also - pointedly - retweeted a Sky News journalist's claim that Downing Street's first statement had been 'issued in error.' There seems to be a lot of that sort of thing going about in Downing Street at the moment which, doesn't exactly fill one with confidence of them being able to organise a decent piss-up in a brewery much less a 'strong and stable' government. To paraphrase Qingyuan Weixin (Chinese Tang Dynasty Zen-philosopher for the uninitiated) 'first there is a deal, then there is no deal, then there is ...' Somebody, somewhere, wants to get their story straight, one could suggest.
Foreign Secretary (no, really) Boris Johnson, meanwhile, dismissed reports of a Tory party leadership coup as 'tripe.' And, Boris certainly knows all about that. The Scum Mail on Sunday reported a nameless - and, possibly therefore fictitious (but, on this occasion, almost certainly very real) - 'close ally' of Johnson as saying it was 'go-go-go' to get him to take over the party from May. But Johnson then tweeted: 'Mail on Sunday tripe - I am backing Theresa May. Let's get on with the job.' One or two people even believed him. Well, except for the bit about the Scum Mail on Sunday being 'tripe.' Everyone believed that.
Meanwhile, here's a sneak preview of those Tory/DUP discussions.
The Prime Minister is 'a dead woman walking' who will 'inevitably face a leadership challenge,' former Chancellor George Osborne - whom she sacked, of course - has said. Jeez, you think? Once-in-a-generation mind, that one. He could count up to ten and everything.
And finally in our once-in-a-lifetime erection round-up, dear blog reader, in Keith Telly Topping's opinion - and, you should probably take notice of him, he's a highly regarded blogger, apparently - the absolute star of the night was the BBC's political correspondent and From The North cult favourite Laura Kuenssberg. Not just because of her incisive political analysis, occasional moments of cheeky humour and keeping Old Dimbley in his place whenever he threatened to get too schoolmasterly, Oh no, the main reason why Laura was so impressive was that she managed to sit for ten hours in what looked like a leather-upholstered seat in a hot TV studio. God, her ass must've been geet sweaty by the following morning. Maybe that was why, at one point during the evening, Laura accidentally dropped the c-bomb!
One imagines, therefore, that Laura would have been extremely relieved to be given the 'standing in Downing Street, shouting at That Theresa May' gig on Friday and - after a necessary change of clothing - get out in the sunshine and nice fresh air. 'Strong and stable,' indeed.
And now, dear blog reader, the really important stuff: The final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes broadcast, week-ending Sunday 4 June 2017:-
1 One Love Manchester - Sun BBC1 - 11.63m
2 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 9.45m
3 Coronation Street - Thurs ITV - 8.76m
4 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 8.21m
5 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.21m
6 EastEnders - Tues BBC1 - 5.81m
7 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 4.82m
8 Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.65m
9 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.61m
10 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.51m
11 Broken - Tues BBC1 - 4.11m
12 Question Time - Fri BBC1 - 4.08m
13 The Met: Policing London - Wed BBC1 - 4.04m
14 The BBC Erection Debate - Wed BBC1 - 3.63m
15 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.58m
16 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 3.52m
17 Party Erection Broadcast - Tues BBC1 - 3.47m
18 Keith & Paddy's Worthless, Unfunny, Shat-Stinking Picture Show - Sat ITV - 3.35m
19 Pointless - Mon BBC1 - 3.20m
20= The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway: The Final Countdown - Mon BBC2 - 3.01m
20= ITV News - Mon ITV - 3.01m
22= Kat & Alfie: Redwater - Thurs BBC1 - 2.98m
22= Film: Raiders of The Lost Ark - Sat BBC1 - 2.98m
24 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 2.88m
These consolidated figures, published weekly by the British Audience Research Bureau, include all viewers who watched programmes live and on various forms of catch-up TV and video-on-demand during the seven days after initial broadcast. They do not, however, include those who watched on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Doctor Who's initial overnight audience was hit badly by the last-minute rescheduling of the Britain's Got Toilets final up against it, drawing a fraction over three million - one of the lowest overnight totals in the series long and proud history. But, as usual, another close-to two million timeshift over the initially-reported overnight figure pushed the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama once again into the Top Ten most watched series of the week. ITV's week was - unsurprisingly - dominated by Britain's Got Toilets with eleven - count 'em - episodes of the talent contest occupying places in ITV's top thirty programmes. Add in five episodes of both Corrie and Emmerdale and there was bugger-all room for anything else. Except to note that Keith & Paddy's Worthless, Unfunny, Shat-Stinking Picture Show continued to lose viewers, down four hundred thousand punters on the previous week's episode as yet more punters realise what an utter waste of time this odious pair are. It's still 3.35 million too many, admittedly. The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway achieved an audience of over three million for the second week running on BBC2. That was followed by Springwatch (2.59 million: one of four episodes of the popular wildlife magazine programme that made it into BBC2's top thirty), Have I Got News For You (2.58 million having temporarily shifted channel due to BBC News' coverage of Friday's sick terrorist atrocities in London), Gardeners' World (2.32 million), Bake Off: Crème De La Crème (2.24 million), the second episode of the drama Paula (2.16 million), The Great British Menu (1.96 million), The Chilldenden Murders (1.87 million), the superb documentary Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution With Howard Goodall (1.62 million), Dad's Army (1.40 million) and the latest episode of Versailles (also 1.40 million). The second part of White Gold attracted 1.21 million. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast was May Versus Corbyn: The Battle For Number Ten (2.72 million), ahead of the channel's usual list-topper, Gogglebox (2.42 million) and Catching A Killer (2.20 million). The second episode of The Handmaid's Tale followed with 2.17 million, Twenty Four Hours In A&E (1.66 million), First Dates (1.53 million), The Last Leg With Adam Hills (1.52 million) and The Supervet (1.26 million). Cabins In The Wild With Dick Strawbridge had seven hundred and ninety four thousand and Grayson Perry: Divided Britain, seven hundred and fifty two thousand. Diana: Seven Days That Shook The Windsors (And Twenty Years That Shook The Daily Scum Express) was Channel Five's top performer with an audience of 1.67 million, ahead of The Secret Life Of The Long-Haul Flight (1.57 million), The Yorkshire Vet (1.42 million), Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! (1.38 million) and The Great Fire: In Real Time (1.27 million). JFK's Secret Killer: The Evidence drew nine hundred and ninety two thousand and NCIS was watched by seven hundred and ninety three thousand viewers. BT Sport pulled in one of its biggest ever audiences for their coverage of the final of the Champions League (1.75 million). With the end of the Premier League season, Sky Sports 1's audiences continued to be lower than usual, although Huddersfield's victory over Reading the Live Championship Play-Offs Final was seen by a healthy nine hundred and ninety two thousand punters. Plus Sir Patrick Stewart, obviously,so that was nine hundred and ninety two thousand and one. Live British Lions Tour attracted three hundred and sixty six thousand. Never mind chaps, it'll soon be August again. On Sky Sports 2, the ICC trophy provided a healthy crop of audiences as cricket-lovers did their best to ignore the rain; England's victory over New Zealand was the most-watched match with an audience of three hundred and one thousand, whilst the hosts previous match, against Bangladesh two days earlier, had two hundred and sixty thousand. Live World Cup Of Darts topped Sky Sports 3's list with one hundred thousand whilst, on Sky Sports 4, the Live European Tour Golf attracted eighty three thousand. Tuesday's Sky Sports News At Ten was top of the shop on Sky Sports News HQ, with ninety nine thousand punters now that Jeff, Kammy and the Soccer Saturday chaps have been bunged into a cupboard for the summer. Try and resist the temptation to punch Phil Thompson in his enormous hooter if you can, lads. Sky F1's Classic Races: Hungary was watched by seventeen thousand. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by the fifth episode of the much-trailed Jamestown (an impressive 1.03 million viewers). Hawaii Five-0 was seen by seven hundred and seventy seven thousand, The Flash by six hundred and ninety eight thousand, NCIS: Los Angeles by six hundred and forty one thousand and The Blacklist by six hundred and fifteen thousand. Supergirl had four hundred and fifty two thousand and Arrow, four hundred and twenty two thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by the latest episode of Blue Bloods (two hundred and eighty six thousand) whilst Veep was seen by one hundred and fifty three thousand punters. Silicon Valley had one hundred and forty three thousand, The Wizard Of Lies, one hundred and thirty four thousand, a Game Of Thrones repeat, one hundred and ten thousand, the fourth episode of Twin Peak: The Return, ninety eight thousand and Band of Brothers, seventy six thousand. On Sky Living, the latest episode of Greys Anatomy was seen by six hundred and twenty nine thousand whilst Madam Secretary had five hundred and twenty seven thousand. Nashville drew three hundred and fifty three thousand and the worst-acted drama on television, Scandal, a shameful two hundred and eighty seven thousand. Sky Arts' Master Of Photography was watched by one hundred and thirty eight thousand viewers. Wor Geet Canny Brian Johnson's A Life On The Road had ninety five thousand and the umpteenth repeat of The Be-Atles (A Popular Beat-Combo Of The 1960s, You Might've Heard Of Them: From Liverpool To San Francisco, eight four thousand. Midsomer Murers was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and sixty four thousand viewers). Agatha Christie's Marple was seen by six hundred and thirty two thousand and Foyle's War by five hundred and four thousand. Isle Of Man TT headed ITV4's weekly list with seven hundred and fifty five thousand punters. ITV2's most-watched broadcast was Family Guy (1.01 million). Britain's Got More Toilets had six hundred and seventeen thousand whilst the movie Despicable Me 2 (six hundred and thirteen thousand) completed ITV2's list of shame. Vera headed ITV Encore's top ten with seventy one thousand viewers, followed by DCI Banks (fifty one thousand). The Real Housewives Of Cheshire was seen by six hundred and forty two thousand of the sort of people 'for the hard of thinking' who enjoy such risible exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. BBC4's list was topped by the opening two episodes of the channel's latest Canadi-noir import, Cardinal (1.07 million and nine hundred and twenty eight thousand viewers, respectively), Egypt's Lost Cities (five hundred and fifty five thousand) and Egyptian Journeys With Dan Cruickshank (four hundred and fifty seven thousand). Next came From The North favourite Lucy Worlsey's The First Georgians: the German Kings Who Made Britain (four hundred and forty five thousand), Top Of the Pops: The Story Of 1984 (four hundred and twenty four thousand) and The Search For Alfred The Great (four hundred and twenty one thousand). 5USA's NCIS was viewed by four hundred and nineteen thousand viewers and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit by three hundred and eighty one thousand. NCIS also featured in the weekly most-watch programme lists of Channel Five, CBS Action (one hundred and ten thousand), the Universal Channel (eighty thousand) and FOX (seven hundred and sixty one thousand viewers). Prison Break was second in FOX's viewing list with seven hundred and eight thousand. Bull had four hundred and twenty eight thousand whilst the opening episode of the much-trailed Shots Fired drew two hundred and forty four thousand and Outcast was seen by one hundred and eighty five thousand. The Universal Channel's latest episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit attracted two hundred and forty seven thousand and Chicago Justice, two hundred and twenty three thousand. Bates Motel had one hundred and fifty eight thousand and Major Crimes, seventy nine thousand. On Dave, unfunny nonsense Taskmaster drew nine hundred and forty five thousand. For shame, Great Britain, for shame. Dara O Briain's Go Eight Bit had four hundred and forty one thousand. Channel staples Not Going Out, Would I Lie To You? and Qi XL attracted three hundred and sixty thousand, three hundred thousand and two hundred and fifty three thousand respectively. Drama's Dalziel & Pascoe was watched by three hundred and sixty seven thousand viewers. Death In Paradise was seen by three hundred and forty three thousand, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates by three hundred and twenty eight thousand, New Tricks by three hundred and twenty four thousand, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries by three hundred and twenty two thousand and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries by three hundred and seventeen thousand. Life On Mars drew two hundred and ninety one thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rosewood (two hundred and five thousand) whilst Father Brown had one hundred and fifty six thousand and Quantico, one hundred and fifty four thousand. At the Sony Channel, Saving Hope drew fifty two thousand. Yesterday's repeat run of Open All Hours attracted two hundred and twenty two thousand, whilst A Tale of Two Sisters was seen by one hundred and ninety four thousand. On the Discovery Channel, the Deadliest Catch series finale was watched by one hundred and fifty eight thousand viewers. Cooper's Treasure had one hundred and forty nine thousand, Wor Geet Canny Robson Green: Extreme Fisherman, one hundred and thirty nine thousand and Tanked one hundred and thirty two thousand punters. Gold Divers attracted one hundred and twenty five thousand and Naked & Afraid, one hundred and eight thousand. From The North favourite Wheeler Dealers topped the weekly list of Discovery Shed (twenty six thousand) and also appeared in the top ten of Discovery Turbo (twenty one thousand). Discovery History's Egypt Unwrapped headed the top ten-list with thirty seven thousand. Time Team attracted twenty seven thousand and War Digs With Harry Harris had twenty five thousand. On Discovery Science, How It's Made was seen by sixty one thousand viewers. On Quest, Salvage Hunters was watched by three hundred and forty eight thousand. Pick's Continuum had three hundred thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by the latest episode of Genius with one hundred and forty six thousand viewers, followed by Wicked Tuna (seventy nine thousand) and Supercar Megabuild (sixty one thousand). National Geographic Wild's Exotic Animals was watched by thirty two thousand and Secret Life Of Predators by thirty one thousand. The History Channel's weekly list was topped by Forged In Fire (one hundred and ninety five thousand) and Vikings (one hundred and sixty one thousand). On Military History, History's Most Hated was watched by thirty eight thousand punters. The First Forty Eight, The Jail Atlanta: Sixty Days In and Britain's Darkest Tattoos were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with ninety five thousand, seventy one thousand and fifty four thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. The Real Story With Maria Elena Salinas, Murderisation Chose Me and the return of the always wee-your-pants funny Evil Stepmothers headed Investigation Discovery's list (sixty seven thousand, fifty six thousand and forty seven thousand). The latest of GOLD's Mrs Brown's Boys repeats had three hundred and fifty thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for The Middle (three hundred and sixty two thousand). Bob's Burgers had one hundred and thirty nine thousand. Your TV's repeat of Bones series six continued with one hundred and thirteen thousand. On More4, The Good Fight was the highest-rated programme with six hundred and eighteen thousand. Come Dine With Me had three hundred and thirty nine thousand and Twenty Four Hours In A&E, three hundred and seventeen thousand. E4's list was topped by Made In Chelsea (nine hundred and fifty nine thousand viewers) and Hollyoaks, (nine hundred and three thousand). The Librarians, headed Syfy's top-ten with eighty one thousand. Star Trek: Voyager topped The Horror Channel's top ten (one hundred and twenty four thousand), which also included the movies Impact Earth (ninety six thousand), Cockneys Versus Zombies (eighty eight thousand), the 1967 classic Witchfinder General (seventy seven thousand) and The Devil's Tomb (seventy three thousand). The Night We Dropped A Clanger and the classic RAF war-movie The Way To The Stars topped Talking Pictures list with forty eight thousand and forty three thousand respectively. Max Bygraves in Spare The Rod was watched by thirty five thousand. Death Race drew one hundred and seventy four thousand punters on Spike. The Thirteen Factors That Saved Apollo 13 was watched by fifty thousand on Eden, whilst Last Steps: The Apollo 17 Experience and Cosmonauts: The Space Race attracted forty thousand and thirty nine thousand respectively. Pit Bulls & Parolees was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with forty five. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders on W attracted two hundred and eighty eight thousand punters. On the True Crime channel, Facing Evil had one hundred and eight thousand punters and Telltale Bones, seventy thousand. True Entertainment's M*A*S*H was watched by one hundred and sixty three thousand. Tom Kerridge Cooks Christmas attracted eighty seven thousand on Good Food. In the first week of June. Sometimes, dear blog reader, words genuinely do fail yer actual Keith Telly Topping. TLC's list was headed by Say Yes To The Dress (one hundred and thirty four thousand). Shameful waste-of-oxygen Geordie Shore on MTV was viewed by eight hundred and eight thousand people who enjoy watching attention-seeking glakes swanning around Th' Toon like the own the gaff. Most Haunted was seen by two hundred and seventy three thousand people who really do need their heads examining for signs of brain activity on Really. Be Cool Scooby-Doo! attracted ninety two thousand on Boomerang. Zoinks. War On The Eastern Front: Leningrad topped PBS America's weekly list with thirty eight thousand. Caught On Dashcam drew fifty four thousand on Real Live. Topsy & Tim had five hundred and thirty nine thousand on Cbeebies.

It's ten actual years since Doctor Who scared its audience witless with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE)'s classic episode Blink. To mark the anniversary of one of his most celebrated episodes, The Moff reminisced about Blink at DoctorWho.tv. In particular, he admitted to being pleased with the character of Sally Sparrow (played by Carey Mulligan, before she went to Hollywood and got nominated for an Oscar). 'Despite the deafening applause right now for Bill Potts and Missy, I do seem to be under a fair amount of attack for my female characters,' Steven wrote. 'And while there's no probably no smoke without fire, can I put my head on the block and say I think I wrote Sally rather well? The line, "Sad is happy for deep people" may be a bit (as in very) smart-arse, but it sums her up perfectly. The slightly detached, melancholy girl, in love with the past – forgive me, but I do think I nailed that.' But his musing on Sally also led Steven to reveal a possible alternate ending to Blink. The episode as broadcast saw Sally and Larry (Finlay Robertson) tricking the Weeping Angels into looking at each other – freezing the monsters like statues. In doing so, they avoided the fate dealt out to other characters – being sent back in time by the Angels. Now, Steven thinks perhaps 'melancholy, in love with the past' Sally should have fallen prey to the Angels, in a more bittersweet climax. 'All these years later, I wonder why I didn't end it like that? Just after she meets The Doctor, she pops back into the shop – and there's an Angel there. A moment later Larry follows her in and she's gone. And, for the first time he notices something about a painting on the wall – it's Sally, in the distant past. And she's smiling and waving. But no. Maybe it was better she learned to live in the moment – to take Larry's hand and move on. Maybe, in fact, it's time I stopped rewriting this script and let it be.'
Sherlock's Andrew Scott has some good news and some bad news about the future of the popular BBC drama. Andrew dropped a few hints about Sherlock's future on Tuesday on The ONE Show, when presenter Wor Geet Canny Matt Baker questioned whether the fifth series or yet another general erection would come first. 'I don't think there's another series of Sherlock coming soon,' Scott admitted. He went on to explain: 'We're not doing [Sherlock] for another couple of years. Everybody got quite busy, you know? You want to keep it fresh and stuff like that.' While it's not more of Sherlock, co-creator Mark Gatiss rather encouragingly revealed this week that he's already working with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) on 'another TV project.' 'I've got a lot on and Steven is just desperate to write something [else] other than Doctor Who and Sherlock, so I think it'll be a way off,' he said. 'But we definitely have plans for something juicy!'
Twin Peaks: The Return continues to provide this blogger with a shopping list of 'stuff he wants in his life.' Like, this for instance.
It was jolly nice to see the under-appreciated Harvey Bullock getting the best line of dialogue in the Gotham series finale earlier this week. To wit: 'Penguin, Nygma and Tetch all in the same place for a high-stakes hostage swap, what could possibly go wrong?!'
Leslie Thompkins and Jim Gordon might not be on the best of terms in Gotham at the moment, but the same can't be said for Morena Baccarin and Ben McKenzie in real life. The couple already had a baby girl together, but now it has been confirmed that they recently got married after two years of dating. According to E! News, the couple went up a'fore the pastor last Friday in New York, a few months after news of their engagement first broke.
Yer actual Matt Smith went to visit his Doctor Who predecessor David Tennant his very self in London this week, as David was performing in Don Juan In Soho at Wyndham's Theatre. Dame Helen Mirren blagged her way into the resulting photo too. Three national treasures for the price of one, dear blog reader, perhaps the best value on any blog in the world right now.
Grammatical nitpick of the week: Watching the BBC's - very good - coverage of the Leeds Triathlon on Sunday, this blogger heard Helen Jenkins say: 'This course is unlike no other.' No, no, no, no, no! No, young lady, no. It's either 'like no other,' or it's 'unlike all others.' What you've just said is a double negative. Unless, of course, she was commenting on the sameness of triathlon in general and was trying to articulate just how like all the other courses that particular one was. This possibility did occur to yer actual Keith Telly Topping but, ultimately, he decided that whilst such a happenstance was not entirely impossible, it's bloody unlikely. All right, all right, it's my problem, I'll deal with it.
Sir David Attenborough says that his only career regret is missing out on time with his children. The Planet Earth presenter said his work took him away for months at a time when his two children, Susan and Robert, were growing up. Sir David told the Radio Times: 'If you have a child of six or eight and you miss three months of his or her life, it's irreplaceable. You miss something. Perhaps you can't have your cake and eat it.' Attenborough said that his wife, Jane, who died in 1997, had been 'very understanding,' however. A month after celebrating his ninety first birthday, Sir David told interviewer Louis Theroux that he thinks about his own mortality 'all the time,' because 'it's more and more likely that I'm going to die tomorrow.' Asked if he expects anything to happen afterwards, he said that he did not. On the subject of global warming, Sir David warned: 'We should be very, very worried about it. The land is being scorched, deserts are spreading and the seas are warming - all those factors cause great changes in our fortunes.' When asked which animal he felt a kinship with, Sir David replied: 'That has to be an ape. Because our kinship is a reality. I don't feel it with a mosquito or, indeed, a whale.'
Timothy Spall is to star in ITV's dramatisation of the twenty five million knicker Hatton Garden safety deposit box jewellery raid. The drama follows a slew of dramatic interest in the heist, after two films and a radio play about how the thieves broke into the vault. Larry Lamb and Phil Daniels starred in a big screen version released in April, while Michael Caine and Ray Winstone will appear in another upcoming film. Six men were very jailed for up to seven years for stealing items from the vault in Central London in 2015, with an estimated two thirds of the valuables still unrecovered. The robbery took place in London's diamond district, carried out by a gang of career criminals who drilled three holes through a concrete wall to climb into the vault. Spall, who won best actor at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for Mr Turner, will star alongside Kenneth Cranham in four sixty-minute episodes. Jeff Pope, ITV Studios' head of factual drama, said: 'This is one of the most high-profile crimes of the last decade and we wanted to understand what had happened - and why it had happened. The research threw up some fascinating detail and blew away many of the misconceptions about this story. It was not about a bunch of "loveable old blokes," many box holders lost everything in the raid and we will reflect this. But the planning was clever and the characters involved unique.'
Ex-Top Gear host Richard Hammond has been airlifted to hospital after a crash while filming in Switzerland. All right, hands up who said 'what, again?' Okay, you can all put your hands down now. The forty seven-year-old presenter was taking part in a race in an electric car for Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour. The Hamster 'climbed out of the car himself before the vehicle burst into flames,' the show said in a statement. Yer man Jezza Clarkson tweeted that it was 'the most frightening' accident he had ever seen but said that Hammond was 'mostly okay.' The show's statement said: 'Richard was involved in a serious crash after completing the Hemburg Hill Climb in Switzerland in a Rimac Concept One, an electric supercar built in Croatia, during filming for The Grand Tour season two on Amazon Prime, but very fortunately suffered no serious injury.' Hammond, who has a fractured knee, was 'conscious and talking' after the crash, the statement said. He was flown to hospital in St Gallen 'to be checked over. Nobody else was in the car or involved in the accident and we'd like to thank the paramedics on site for their swift response. The cause of the crash is unknown and is being investigated,' the statement added.
Alex Mahon has been named as the new chief executive of Channel Four. She is the first woman to take on the role in the broadcaster's thirty five-year history. Mahon was previously head of Shine Group until 2015 and is currently chief executive of special effects company Foundry. She succeeds David Abraham, who announced his departure earlier this year and will start her new role this autumn. Mahon said: 'Channel Four's unique remit to innovate and to appeal to young and diverse audiences make it an essential part of British culture. There is nowhere in the world like Channel Four and, in these changing times, its mission is more important than ever. I'm incredibly proud to be joining Channel Four and bring to it experience both of leading creative organisations at scale and dealing with an environment of constant technological change.'
So, you thought that this week's quota of bollocks 'non-news' stories cluttering up the media would be dominated by the general erection did you? Well, think again, dear blog reader. According to the Digital Spy website, witless Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield 'had such a fun' on This Morning on Wednesday that at one point, Willoughby 'actually had to crouch down on the floor to avoid pissing herself on live TV.' Tragically though, her bladder did, in fact, hold. Cos, let's face it, who wouldn't have willingly paid good money to see that? And this rank and ludicrous nonsense constitutes 'news', apparently. 'Tell me, Toby, these people don't vote, do they?'
What's The Big Deal About Love Island? asked the BBC News website, breathlessly, on Saturday. That's a very good question and this blogger thinks we should all take a moment to consider it. And, now we're done.
As if anyone with half-an-ounce of sodding brains in their skull gives a buggering stuff about such trivial nonsense. If this story had appeared in the pages of the Sun, this blogger would not have batted an eyelid, but the BBC?
The most recent - fourteenth - series of NCIS ended on a multitude of cliffhangers, one of which involved Agent Quinn. Now it looks like that cliffhanger will lead to the character's exit, as actress Jennifer Esposito has confirmed to Deadline that she has left the long-running navy crime drama. 'It was a great experience,' that actress said in a statement. 'I could not have asked for a better opportunity than to work with the NCIS cast and producers.'
Further new images of the forthcoming Game Of Thrones series seven have emerged online this week. Like this one.
And, this one.
And, this one. Tasty.
Happy Valley's third series may still be a way off, but we shouldn't wish the time away – because the show's next outing will probably be its last. Sarah Lancashire confirmed last year that the next series of the dark drama would bring the story of her character – police sergeant Catherine Cawood – to 'a very big full stop.' Speaking to the Digital Spy website, Siobhan Finneran – who plays Catherine's sister Clare – said that she thinks it's right to bring Happy Valley to an end, even though she loves working with creator Sally Wainwright. 'I don't think it's something that could run and run,' she said. 'If Sally wanted to write another series, I'd be absolutely delighted to do it, because I think she's a genius. I know she wouldn't ever put out anything that she didn't think was up to her usual standard. So it would be amazing, whatever she was doing with it. But I do think some things should be left alone, eventually.'
Poldark hasn't even begun its third series yet, but we already know it will be back for a fourth in 2018. But what about after that? There are plenty of books in the Winston Graham series to be covered. TV writer Debbie Horsfield said earlier this year that she and her team have yet to start working on any potential fifth series and will wait to see if the third and fourth remain popular with viewers. 'We don't know how popular it's going to be; whether it'll continue to be popular, whether we'll be asked to do more,' Debbie said. Producer Karen Thrussell added: 'At the moment, obviously, we're working on series four, and then if series five goes ahead.' 'We'll have to consider what will be in that series five,' Horsfield added. After the seventh Poldark novel, The Angry Tide, the story has an eleven-year jump. And this is something that Debbie hasn't ruled out featuring in a future series. She added that she doesn't like to stray too far from Graham's source material. 'To be honest, the thing is, we are huge fans of the books. I don't see any point in doing an adaptation if you're just going to go, "We'll ignore the books.' The books are tremendous feats of storytelling and characterisation. The challenge usually is to do with the sheer massive material. And of course, the experience of reading the book is very different to the experience of consuming a television show.'
The dust has finally settled following How I Met Your Mother's 'divisive' series finale and – at last – The Divine Goddess That Is Alyson Hannigan has admitted it had 'some pretty big issues.' Speaking to News.com.au, Alyson (who played Lily in the hit sitcom) has admitted that she 'didn't necessarily agree' with everything that went down in the episode. 'I didn't think Barney should have ever gotten married,' Alyson said. 'I liked Barney and Robin. But in my heart, I always wanted her with Ted. I just feel [Barney and Robin] shouldn't have gotten married.' During the interview, Alyson also revealed how the show's hour-long finale was 'cut down significantly' during the editing process, resulting in that abrupt ending. 'It just seemed too quick,' she added. 'Obviously it was a tear-jerker, but with all the stuff that got cut out it was too fast. You're just like, "Wait, what happened?!" There was a funeral scene [which got cut] and all this stuff that I think the audience needed. They needed that time to process that information, instead of having it slap them in the face.'
'Peas and rice!' It might be time to buy another Cornetto from the shop as Edgar Wright hasn't ruled out the possibility of doing Hot Fuzz 2. The action comedy movie - a particular favourite of this blogger's - starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg came out a decade ago in 2007 and MovieWeb asked Wright whether he would ever consider returning to the village of Sandford. 'I've definitely had some ideas and me and Simon have even talked about it at points, but it's that thing of, do I want to spend three years of my life doing that? Or do I wanna, if I have the opportunity to tell a new story, would I do that?' he explained. 'I would never say never and you're not wrong to say that that's the one that you could do further instalments.' Hot Fuzz ended with Pegg's Nicholas Angel becoming an Inspector and Frost's Danny Butterman promoted to Sergeant, so the prospect is there for a sequel to catch up with them as they solve a new series of grizzly-yet-hilarious crimes. But the issue for Edgar is finding a reason for doing a sequel. 'The tricky thing with a lot of sequels - and especially comedy sequels - is once characters have finished an arc,' he noted. 'Nicholas Angel becomes less of an automaton and becomes more human and Nick Frost's character becomes less of a simpleton and more of a badass. So then the thing is like, when that's your starting point for the next one, where do you go from there?'
Two men have been extremely sentenced to six months in The Prison in the first case of wildlife trafficking brought in Côte d'Ivoire. An Ivorian government lawyer said that the judgement 'sends a signal' that animal trafficking is being taken seriously. The men were arrested while trying to sell an infant chimp to an undercover BBC reporter posing as the representative of a wealthy Asian buyer. Chimpanzees are in such sharp decline that they are now listed as an endangered species. Those in West Africa, in particular, are judged to be critically endangered. As Ibrahima and Mohamed Traore have remained in prison since their detention last December, they are deemed to have already served their sentences and were, therefore, set free. Presumably, to start committing more crime. Infant chimpanzees are in huge demand as pets in homes and commercial zoos in the Gulf states and China. The dealers were arrested in a dramatic raid staged by Ivorian detectives working with international police organisation Interpol, acting on information shared by BBC News. During the operation, a baby chimpanzee, later named Nemley Junior, was freed and taken into the care of wildlife officials. After becoming used to the keepers at the zoo in Abidjan the baby chimpanzee showed signs of recovery.
Two former BBC local radio presenters have each been extremely jailed for five years for indecently assaulting under-age boys. Husband and wife Tony and Julie Wadsworth were found very guilty by a majority verdict of encouraging six boys to take part in naughty sexual activity between 1992 and 1996 and banged up in the slammer as a consequence. The couple were also convicted at Warwick Crown Court of 'outraging public decency' by having sex in open woodland. The pair had denied the charges. Following a three-week trial, Julie Wadsworth was convicted by majority ten-two verdicts of nine indecent assaults against boys and five counts of outraging public decency. Her spouse, who acted as a 'look-out', was found guilty of the same charges, also by majority verdicts. Both were found very not guilty of three counts of indecent assault. Some of the victims, who were aged eleven to fifteen at the time of the offences, told the court that Julie Wadsworth was variously dressed in 'a flasher's mac' trench coat, white high-heels, stockings, suspenders and a split-skirt. Prosecutors said that the abuse took place 'at a number of locations,' including the couple's home in Atherstone, as well as on a nearby golf course and surrounding woodland. During the trial, the Wadsworths - who married in 1994 - claimed that they had enjoyed 'outdoor hanky panky' in order to 'empower' Julie Wadsworth and help her with 'body image issues' stemming from 'a troubled past.' She admitted having 'sexual encounters' with 'young men' but repeatedly denied that any of them had been under the age of consent. Tony and Julie Wadsworth were a well-known double act in the Midlands, presenting together for more than two decades for BBC local radio in Leicester and in Birmingham until 2015. The couple were noted for their double-entendres and Carry On-style sense of humour. Although little-known outside the Midlands, the case generated lurid headlines in the tabloids as details of the couple's sick and sordid sex lives were revealed in court. Staff who worked with them at the BBC said that they had 'absolutely no suspicions' about their sexual activities. Sentencing the pair, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said that the 'grave offences' had caused 'emotional damage' to all of the victims. He said that Julie Wadsworth, had 'loved the attention and that young boys were attracted to you' and her husband had 'encouraged the offences. ' He said it would have been 'obvious' to anyone that the victims - some of whom were riding bikes or climbing trees in the parkland - were young boys. As the verdicts were returned, Julie Wadsworth repeatedly gulped and wiped away tears. Her husband showed little emotion. Mitigating for her after conviction, David Hislop QC said: 'At sixty years of age, hers has been a tragic fall from grace. A period of incarceration will be made even more difficult for her, knowing the stigma attached to her convictions will carry on forever.' Speaking after the case, David Rouse, a senior prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service, said that the couple had lived 'double lives. In their public and professional lives they were a couple who came across as caring, warm and respectable. However, in their private lives, they preyed on young, impressionable victims for their own sexual gratification.' He thanked the victims for their courage in bringing 'two sexual predators to justice.'
A woman who was raped by the film director Roman Polanski when she was thirteen years old will ask a court to end the case against him, his lawyer says. Samantha Geimer has previously said that she has forgiven Polanski but this will be her first court appearance on his behalf. She 'is tired of this,' lawyer Harland Braun told Reuters. Polanski admitted statutory rape and served forty two days in prison, but later fled the US, fearing his plea bargain deal would be scrapped. The court hearing in Los Angeles is aimed at getting access to plea deal testimony from the 1970s, Braun said. He would use this to persuade European authorities to rescind an international arrest warrant against Polanski. Braun said it would be the judge's decision whether to take Geimer's testimony into account. 'She is coming with her husband because she is tired of this case going on for forty years,' he said. 'She wants it over.' Polanski was rearrested in Switzerland in 2009 and spent months in prison and under house arrest before being released. Polish courts and the Swiss authorities have rejected requests for him to be extradited to the US.
Portland Police say that they have arrested a man for allegedly 'masturbating vigorously' in public. Suggesting that if he'd done it somewhat less vigorously, he might've gotten away with it. A member of the public reported that they saw the man exposing himself outside New Avenues For Youth. When officers responded, several witnesses pointed out the suspect, whose 'erect penis was exposed to the public while he masturbated vigorously,' court documents claim. When an officer asked him why he was doing this in public, the man is alleged to have replied that he was 'on meth,' wanted to go 'back to prison' and added that he '[expletive] hates Portland.' Terry Lee Andreassen was arrested on felony charges of public indecency.
Though, it should also be noted that not everyone in America even knows how it's spelled.
And now, dear blog reader ...
Bald men in Mozambique could be targets of ritual attacks, police have warned, after the recent killing of five men for their body parts. Two suspects have been arrested in the Central district of Milange, where the killings occurred. 'The belief is that the head of a bald man contains gold,' said Afonso Dias, a police commander in Mozambique's Central Zambezia province. Albino people have also been killed in the region for ritual purposes. The BBC's Jose Tembe in the capital, Maputo, says that police believe the notion of a bald head containing gold is 'a ruse' used by witchdoctors to get clients to take a person's head to them. 'Their motive comes from superstition and culture - the local community thinks bald individuals are rich,' Commander Dias is reported as having told a press conference in Maputo. The suspects are two young Mozambicans aged around twenty, the AFP news agency reports. A regional security spokesman, Miguel Caetano, told AFP that one of the victims had his head cut off and his organs removed. The organs were to be used in rituals to advance the wealth of clients in Tanzania and Malawi, Caetano said. There has been a spate of killings of people with albinism in East Africa in recent years, with their body parts used to make charms and potions by witchdoctors.
A young mother who kept a gun and drugs in her kitchen cupboard has been very jailed for eight years. Remmay Williams, twenty four, of Leicester, reportedly had 'thousands of pounds of cocaine, crack and heroin' in her cupboard - along with 'a semi-automatic pistol wrapped in a tea towel.' She was found extremely guilty of intent to supply Class A drugs, possession of a self-loading pistol, machine pistol and ammunition. She had denied any and all knowledge of the items. Well, that sounds fair enough. I mean, this blogger has just checked in his own kitchen cupboard and found loads of stuff he can't remember acquiring, or why. A tin of peaches? Where the hell did they come from? Anyway, Leicester Crown Court heard how Williams - who has a four-year-old child - had her home raided by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit in March 2016. This followed the arrest of her 'close friend', James Orme, who had been seen leaving her house and whose car was found to contain crack cocaine and heroin and a Skorpion sub-machine gun. Last year Orme was jailed for nine years after pleading guilty to possession of the handgun, the machine gun and possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin. The drugs recovered from the car and the kitchen were worth around twenty four thousand smackers wholesale, police said. Investigator Emily Sharpe, from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: 'Throughout the investigation Williams maintained she had no knowledge of the drugs and gun being in her kitchen cupboard, which also contained everyday items. She was close friends with Orme, whom she knew to be a drug dealer, and had little regard for the safety of others living in her house, putting them at risk.'
A man has been charged in connection with an armed stand-off at a Newcastle Job Centre. The man, armed with a knife and wearing a fake explosive device, held several staff hostage at Newcastle East Job Centre in Byker on Friday morning. Which is an establishment this blogger knows very well from both having once, briefly, worked there and also had occasion to sign on in the gaff from time-to-time (usually, fortnightly). Maxwell Brennan, of Shipley Walk, has been charged with false imprisonment, communicating a bomb hoax and possessing a knife. Thankfully, nobody was harmed during the incident, though local roads and the nearby Byker Metro Station were all closed. Buildings in the vicinity were also evacuated. Which was jolly bad news for anyone who, like this blogger, were trying to do their weekly shopping at the nearby Morrisons at the time of the incident. All the buses were getting diverted off Shields Road, it was reet kerfuffle getting back to Stately Telly Topping Manor and no mistake. Bomb disposal experts searched the building and other properties in the area, just to be on the safe side but suggested afterwards that they were not treating the incident as terrorist-related.
The Job Centre in question is, as it happens, right next door to Clifford Street pollis station so, at least, The Law didn't have very far to go to sort things out and lead the suspect - dressed in just his pants, seemingly - off to the cells.
A blistering unbeaten one hundred and two from Ben Stokes saw England's ODI cricket team strut past Australia by forty runs (via the Duckworth Lewis System) and dump their old rivals out of The Champions Trophy. England had been reduced to six for two and then thirty five for three chasing two hundred and seventy eight to win, as Australia's pace attack threatened to take the game away at rocking Edgbaston. But a thrilling partnership of one hundred and fifty nine at almost exactly a run a ball between Stokes and captain Eoin Morgan swung the game back in England's favour. The sour look on Aussie captain Steve Smith's miserable mush was, dear blog reader, a sight to see. And, listening to Shane Warne, Michael Slater and Ricky Ponting having to commentate on all of this malarkey for Sky Sports was, let it be noted, a double-bonus! Australia, the reigning one-day world champions, will be now be heading back to the Antipodes with their tail well and truly between their legs before the knock-out stages and without a single win; their defeat sending unfancied Bangladesh through to the semi-finals after they beat New Zealand on Friday. Smith and his team will climb on to the plane with damp socks and a deep sense of whinging resentment at the weather they have faced this past nine days. Having had their first two matches rained off, they were all over England like a rash when drizzle interrupted the contest with Stokes fresh to the crease. As the England pair came back out there was every expectation of further tribulation to come. Instead, Morgan crashed the first two deliveries for boundaries and what might have been a rearguard became an all-out assault. The Aussies found themselves pegged back after having been one hundred and forty seven for two at the halfway point of their innings with Adil Rashid and Mark Wood both taking four wickets. The innings will also be remembered for a remarkable juggling catch by Jason Roy on the boundary to dismiss Glenn Maxwell at a vital point in proceedings. Australia went from two hundred and thirty nine for four to two hundred and fifty four for nine in just over three overs with Wood and Rashid carving up their middle order and causing the sort of collapse one normally used to associate with England teams. Under grey skies, despite their pacey start, the Aussies were then helpless in the face of Stokes and Morgan's brutal hitting (plus some lusty blows from Jos Buttler after Morgan was run out for eighty seven), all three of the Australian pace bowlers - Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins - going at more than five runs an over. When the rain came again with nine overs remaining, England were two hundred and forty for four, comfortably ahead of the par score under DLS. England, already in the semi-finals after comfortable wins over Bangladesh and New Zealand earlier this week, will be the only team in the last four with a one hundred per cent record, looking every inch the pre-tournament favourites. With the out-of-form Jason Roy going second ball and Alex Hales caught at slip for a duck, England had found themselves two wickets down before the second over was done. When Joe Root was dismissed for a quick fifteen, the first rain interruption seemed to offer sweet relief to the home side. Instead, they resumed as if cantering, Morgan hitting the first two balls after the restart for four, the fifty partnership with Stokes rattling up off just forty four deliveries. Pat Cummins shipped thirty three runs off his first four-over spell as the two batsmen raced each other to their half-centuries, Stokes reaching his with a brutal pulled six off Mitchell Starc in just thirty nine balls. Twenty of the deliveries he faced were dot balls, meaning he had scored fifty two off just nineteen balls. And as the record Birmingham crowd celebrated as they normally do when England are beating Australia (noisily), the two carried on at the same destructive rate, the one hundred partnership garlanded by four sixes and twelve fours. It came as a shock when a mix-up saw Morgan run out for an eighty one-ball eighty seven, but Stokes and Buttler steered them to the brink of victory before the weather intervened for the final time. Australia had started their innings at pace, racing to one hundred and thirty six for one thanks to Aaron Finch's sixty eight off sixty four balls, only for Rashid and Wood to intervene in thrilling fashion. Rashid, dropped for England's first match of the tournament, initially tightened the screw, his opening spell of seven overs yielding only twenty six runs. And when he returned, he reaped the benefit of that pressure, taking three wickets for fifteen runs in his remaining three overs - the wickets coming in a brilliant ten-ball burst. Not once in his cumulative ten overs was he hit to the boundary, keeping the Australia batsmen scoreless for twenty eight deliveries and down to a single off twenty three more. Wood, used in three bursts by skipper Morgan, took the key wicket of David Warner in his first spell and then returned to have the sour-faced Steve Smith caught by Plunkett at mid-off for fifty six. Which was really funny as it made Smith's sour-face even more twisty and annoyed-looking than usual. Two balls after Plunkett had dropped a relatively straightforward chance off Glenn Maxwell, Roy took his sensational catch at deep midwicket, catching the ball high above his head and then flinging it up as he staggered across the boundary before stepping back to catch it again just inside the rope. It left the very impressive Wood with figures of four for thirty three, his best return in one-day internationals and Australia were grateful to Travis Head for a rapid seventy one not out which took them towards a slightly more competitive total. But, not competitive enough in the end.
Harry Kane volleyed an injury-time equaliser as England snatched a dramatic point against Scotland after a flurry of late goals in their 2018 World Cup qualifier. Kane met Raheem Sterling's deep cross at the back post unmarked and slotted past Craig Gordon on ninety three minutes. England had looked to be heading for defeat when Leigh Griffiths curled in two brilliant free-kicks late on - both over the wall into each side of the net on eighty seven and ninety minutes. Joe Hart would have been very disappointed with both goals but then, he's probably been too busy filming more of those crap shampoo adverts to devote much time to his goalkeeping. As usual. Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had given England the lead with twenty minutes remaining of a game which had barely fluttered to life before then with a strike that Gordon should have saved, just five minutes after Oxlade-Chamberlain coming on to the pitch. With Scotland's fans pleading for the final whistle and Hampden Park in a frenzy of nationalistic euphoria as they closed in on their first win against the Auld Enemy since 1999, there was only a minute left when Kane, given the captaincy by manager Gareth Southgate, rescued England. It kept a rather unimpressive England on course for next summer's World Cup in Russia and dealt a savage blow to The Scots' already dwindling chances. England remain top of Group F with fourteen points from six games, three points ahead of Slovakia in second place and and Slovenia in third. Scotland are fourth with but eight points.
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill praised the spirit of his team after a vital one-nil win away to Azerbaijan in Group C. O'Neill's men looked to be hanging on for a draw until Stuart Dallas snatched the victory in stoppage-time. Dallas' first competitive international goal earned the Northern Irish all three World Cup qualifying points when it looked like they would be fortunate to escape the stifling Baku heat with a draw. They are second in Group C with thirteen out of eighteen points. World champions Germany - who gave San Marino a seven-nil hiding in Nuremberg - are the only team to have scored against them. A horrendous blunder from Stottingtot Hotshots goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saw Sweden snatch a stoppage-time winner against France to open up the battle at the top of Group A. The Arse forward Olivier Giroud fired Les Bleus into the lead with a superb volley into the top corner after taking the ball down at the far post. Sweden hit back just before the break when midfielder Jimmy Durmaz lashed in an angled drive. Jakob Johansson and then France forward Antoine Griezmann both had chances before, with just seconds of three minutes of added time remaining, Lloris dribbled the ball out of his penalty area only to trio over his own feet and scuff an attempted clearance. Toulouse forward Ola Toivonen clipped a first-time effort over the keeper from just inside his own half, which bounced into an empty net to spark wild celebrations from the home fans at the Friends Arena as Sweden moved above France to the top of the table on goal difference. The Netherlands are now just three points behind after sweeping past bottom team Luxembourg five-nil at the De Kuip in Rotterdam, which marked the first match of Dick Advocaat's third stint in charge of the Dutch national side. Bayern Munchen winger Arjen Robben put the Netherlands ahead after twenty one minutes. Wesley Sneijder - making a record one hundred and thirty first international appearance on his thirty third birthday - scored a second after thirty five minutes. Advocaat, who was named as Danny Blind's successor in May, saw his side go further ahead on the hour through Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. Quincy Promes headed in a fourth with twenty minutes left, with a late penalty from Vincent Janssen completing the rout. Bulgaria, who had been third in the group, slipped to a two-one defeat in Belarus. Switzerland kept themselves ahead of Portugal at the top of Group B with a two-nil away win over the Faroe Islands. The Arse midfielder Granit Xhaka put the Swiss ahead with a low shot and Dirty Stoke's playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri's neat angled finish wrapped things up in the second half. The diving cheat Cristiano Ronaldo scored two close-range headers as Portugal won three-nil in Latvia. Ronaldo - whose double helped Real Madrid win the Champions League final in Cardiff last Saturday - put Portugal in front five minutes before half-time after Jose Fonte's header came back off the crossbar. Ronaldo added a second from almost on the goalline after sixty one minutes, with Porto striker Andre Silva adding a third six minutes later. Andorra moved off the bottom of the group table with a shock one-nil win over Hungary at Estadi Nacional where a header from Marc Rebes brought to an end a run of sixty six competitive matches without a victory for the Andorans. Belgium strengthened their position at the top of Group H with a two-nil win against Estonia, who finished with ten men. Dries Mertens put The Red Devils ahead from close range. Just before half-time, Estonia midfielder Artjom Dmitrijev saw the red card for a nasty foul on Marouane Fellaini. West Bromwhich Albinos forward Nacer Chadli made it two-nil with four minutes left. Second-placed Greece battled to a goalless draw away to Bosnia-Herzegovina, who remain one point behind. A late goal from striker Pieros Sotiriou gave Cyprus a two-one win over Gibraltar at Estadio Algarve. Cyprus took the lead in the tenth minute after an own goal by Gibraltar skipper Roy Chipolina. But the hosts levelled on the half-hour through Anthony Hernandez, only for Sotiriou to head in a winner with just three minutes left. Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick as Poland maintained their six-point lead at the top of Group E with a three-one win over Romania in Warsaw. The veteran striker opened the scoring with a twenty ninth-minute penalty and doubled their advantage when he added a second before the hour. A second penalty from Lewandowski sealed another win for the hosts five minutes later before Bogdan Stancu scored a late consolation. Stevan Jovetic was another hat-trick hero as Montenegro held onto second place in the same group with a four-one win over Armenia in Podgorica. Denmark also kept up the pressure on Poland with a three-one win over ten-man Kazakhstan in Almaty.
England won their biggest international fitba title since 1966 by beating Venezuela one-nil in the Under-Twenty World Cup final on Sunday. It was England's first appearance in the final of a global tournament since their World Cup victory fifty one years ago. Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin's first-half goal was enough for victory thanks to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman's second-half penalty save. Woodman denied Adalberto Penaranda from the spot after the Malaga forward was fouled by Kyle Walker-Peters. The referee pointed to the spot to signal a penalty before referring to the video assistant referee. The decision stood - there was the slightest of contacts - but Woodman's strong palm kept out Penaranda's effort. In the first half Ronaldo Lucena hit the post with an audacious long-range free-kick that had Woodman well beaten, while Stottingtot Hostshots midfielder Josh Onomah saw a powerful effort strike the underside of the Venezuela bar after the break. After the match, England forward Dominic Solanke, due to join Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws from Moscow Chelski FC on 1 July, was awarded the Golden Ball given to the player of the tournament. Woodman - who also saved a penalty in England's earlier match against Costa Rica - was awarded the Golden Glove, given to best goalkeeper of the tournament. England's youth teams have won the Under-Seventeen European Championship twice - in 2010 and 2014 - and the Under-Twenty One European Championship twice - in 1982 and 1984. Their previous best at the Under-Twenty World Cup was third place in 1993. Of that squad, only four players went on to represent England at senior level - Nicky Butt, Nick Barmby, Alan Thompson and David Unsworth. Six of the current squad which triumphed in South Korea on Sunday were part of that Under-Seventeen European success in 2014. Woodman, Jonjoe Kenny, Dominic Solanke and captain Lewis Cook all started in Sunday's final, while Dael Fry and Woodman's Newcastle team-mate Adam Armstrong were on the bench.
Former Blunderland manager David Moyes has been extremely fined thirty grand by the FA after telling the BBC reporter Vicki Sparks that she might 'get a slap' in March. Moyes' vile and odious comments came following The Mackem's home draw against Burnley in the Premier League (from which they were, subsequently, extremely relegated). The Scot was asked by Vicki - a former colleague of this blogger - if the presence of Blunderland's usually absentee-owner, Ellis Short, had put extra pressure on him. Moyes, who resigned as Blunderland boss in May, subsequently expressed his 'deep regret' for his comments. But, that cut no ice with the Football Association who told him not to be such a daft plank and never say such crassly ignorant things again - or anything remotely like them - should he ever get another job in football. Which, given his recent disastrous record at The Mackems, The Scum and Real Sociedad is somewhat open to question.
Scientists have found 'a hellish world' where the 'surface' of the planet is over four thousand degrees Celsius - almost as hot as our Sun. In part, that's because KELT-9b's host star is itself very hot, but also because this alien world resides so close to the furnace. KELT-9b takes just two days to complete one orbit of the star. Being so close to its star means that the planet cannot exist for very long - the gases in its atmosphere are being blasted with radiation and lost to space. Researchers say that it may look a little like a comet as it circles the star from pole to pole - another strange aspect of this discovery. News of KELT-9b is reported in the journal Nature. Its highly unusual properties were also presented this week to the spring meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin. 'We found [the planet] back in 2014, if you can believe it and it took us this long to finally convince ourselves that this truly bizarre and unusual world was in fact a planet orbiting another star,' Professor Scott Gaudi, from The Ohio State University, told the BBC News website. 'We know pretty well how big the planet is and how massive it is: it's about three times the mass of Jupiter and twice as big as Jupiter. We know the parent star's properties reasonably well: it's about two and a half times more massive than the Sun, it's almost twice as hot as the Sun and it's rotating very rapidly and so it would appear very flattened to our eyes.' The planet is tidally locked to its star, meaning it always presents the same face - just as our Moon never shows its far side to Earth. This raises the temperature on the 'day side' of KELT-9b to over four thousand three hundred degrees - hotter than the surface of the average Red Dwarf star, by far the most common type of star in the Milky Way. The host star - KELT-9 - is radiating so much ultraviolet light that it may completely erode the planet's atmosphere. Professor Gaudi's team calculates that material is being lost at a current rate of perhaps ten billion or ten trillion grams per second. If KELT-9b possesses a rocky core, this could be laid bare eventually, but a more likely end scenario is that the planet will simply be engulfed by the star. This star is what is termed an A-type object. These stars burn brilliantly but have brief lives in cosmic terms. They exist for just millions of years rather than the billions of years that our Sun is expected to persist. So, it may not be long before KELT-9 expands as it exhausts its fuel and eats the planet. The discovery was made using a robotic telescope system that uses high-end - but standard - camera telephoto lenses attached to scientific grade detectors. The Ohio State University operates the system at two locations, one in the Northern hemisphere and one in the Southern hemisphere. It is a collaboration with Vanderbilt University, Lehigh University, and the South African Astronomical Observatory. This astronomical facility goes by the name of the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope. 'We named the telescope kind of as a joke; we're poking a little fun at ourselves,' said Professor Gaudi.
Adam West, who has died aged eighty eight, was one of those actors who had to strive - but never quite manage - to 'live down' not a failure but rather his greatest success. West, who was synonymous with the role of Batman in the vastly popular, campy TV adaptation of the superhero comic of 1966 to 1968, could never escape his alter ego. Although he appeared in scores of films and television series throughout his long career most reviewers, whatever the role, insisted on referring to him as 'TV's Batman.' However, it is fair to say that Adam, realising that he owed his fame to the Caped Crusader, was not averse to making oblique allusions to the character in some of his films and often resorted to cheerful self-mockery. There are, after all, far worse ways of making a living. The tall, well-built Adam, with chiselled good looks and a resonant baritone voice, was perfect casting for the upright all-American millionaire Bruce Wayne, who lives with his ward Dick Grayson in Stately Wayne Manor. Of course, they secretly double as the masked vigilantes Batman and Robin when called on the Batphone by Commissioner Gordon to catch a villain loose in Gotham City. The hugely successful big-screen spin-off Batman: The Movie (1966), brought together the TV series' four most outrageous villains – The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), The Joker (Cesar Romero) and The Riddler (Frank Gorshin) – to try to outwit the daring man and boy in tights. Whilst almost everybody around him hammed it up in best pantomime style - to great effect, let it be noted - Adam remained stonily po-faced in the most improbable comic-book situations, earnestly delivering such absurd lines of dialogue as: 'It is the duty of every good citizen of Gotham City to report meeting a man from Mars in a public park.' And: 'It's a low neighbourhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions!' And: 'Hand down the shark-repellent Batspray!' And, this blogger's particular favourite: 'Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb!' Adam died peacefully in Los Angeles after a brief battle with leukaemia, a family spokesperson said. His tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Bruce Wayne, won a deserved cult following. However, Adam later struggled to find work after becoming horrendously typecast. 'It was inescapable,' he noted. 'I'd just about land something substantial, something I liked or [was] a good career move. Then some dinosaur would rear up and say, "but the audience will think of him as Batman." It was formidable. It was there like a brick wall.'
Adam was born as William West Anderson in September 1928, in Walla Walla, Washington. His father was a farmer and his mother was a former opera singer and concert pianist who had been forced to abandon her own Hollywood dreams to care for her family. Adam moved to Seattle when he was fifteen with his mother following his parents' divorce and was enrolled in Lakeside School in Seattle. He later graduated with a bachelor's degree in literature and a minor in psychology from Whitman College. Drafted into the United States Army, he served as an announcer on American Forces Network television. During his last year of college, he had married Billie Lou Yeager. After spending two years in the army, he moved with his wife to Hawaii to persue an acting career. In 1956, West and Yeager divorced and Adam married Nga Frisbie Dawson, with whom he had a son and daughter, though that marriage also ended, in 1962. While in Hawaii, West was picked for a role as the sidekick on a children's show called El Kini Popo Show, which featured a chimpanzee. In 1959, West moved with his wife and two children to Hollywood, where he took the stage name Adam West. In his autobiography Back To The Batcave, he explains he chose Adam simply because he liked the way it looked and sounded with West, his middle name. His close friends and family always called him Bill. He appeared in the film The Young Philadelphians and guest-starred in a number of television Westerns. On three Warner Brothers Western series broadcast on the ABC, Sugarfoot, Colt Forty Five and Lawman, West played the role of Doc Holliday. He portrayed Wild Bill Hickok in an episode "of the 1960 NBC series Overland Trail and guest-starred on Edmond O'Brien's syndicated crime drama Johnny Midnight. Then he was cast in a supporting role as police sergeant Steve Nelson another crime drama, The Detectives, starring Robert Taylor. He made two guest appearances - in different roles - on Perry Mason and appeared on Walter Brennan's sitcom, The Real McCoys. Adam starred in an episode of the cult SF anthology The Outer Limits, made a brief appearance in the movie Soldier In The Rain starring Steve McQueen and starred as Major Dan McCready, the ill-fated mission commander of Mars Gravity Probe One in the 1964 film Robinson Crusoe On Mars. In 1965, he was cast in the Three Stooges comedy Western The Outlaws Is Coming and he starred as a tough Texas ranger in the formulaic spaghetti western The Relentless Four. One curiosity from this period was Alexander The Great, a projected historical TV series, with William Shatner in the title role and West as his right-hand man Cleander. A pilot episode was made in 1964, but it was only broadcast four years later when Shatner and West had become TV icons as Captain Kirk and Batman respectively.
In 1966, after seven years as a jobbing actor, West was given the break he had dreamed of, though it turned out to be a curse in disguise. The producer William Dozier cast West as Bruce Wayne in Batman, in part after seeing Adam perform as the James Bond-like spy Captain Q in a Nestlé Quik TV commercial. The popular campy show ran on ABC from 1966 to 1968; a feature-length film version directed by Leslie H Martinson was released in 1966. During his Batman character, Adam appeared in a public service announcement where he encouraged schoolchildren to heed then-President Lyndon Johnson's call for them to buy savings stamps to support the Vietnam War. After Batman ended, Adam claimed that he was offered the role of James Bond by Cubby Broccoli for the film Diamonds Are Forever. West did not accept, later stating in his autobiography that he believed the role should always be played by a British actor. Like his co-stars Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig (who played Robin and Batgirl), Adam found himself severely typecast. 'Typecasting is an enormous challenge,' West remarked. 'I think I had one of the biggest with Batman, because it was a costume character and part of American pop culture. People said I couldn't do certain things because Batman wouldn't. It was tough for a while.' West's first post-Caped Crusader role was in the film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969). His lead performance against type as cynical tough guy Johnny Cain did not erode his Batman image and the movie was a box office flop. As a Nazi army captain, with a shaky German accent, he faced Yugoslavian resistance fighter Rod Taylor in Hell River (1974). Sadly, those two were among his better movies. For a time, West made a living doing personal appearances as Batman. In 1974, when Ward and Craig reprised their Batman roles for a TV public-service announcement about equal pay for women, West was absent - reportedly rather embittered by his inability to escape from Gotham City. 'I was rushed into some not very good movies, and I just hit the beach and nursed my wounds for a while,' he recalled. 'Part of it was the dinosaurs of Hollywood went away, people who don't get it. I was certainly more welcome when the younger people came in.' For a while he struggled with alcoholism and depression but, eventually, he appeared to come to terms with the cape and the cowl. 'I can't tell you how grateful I am to those fans. They are not stupid. I think they appreciate my sincerity and my work. Actors want to be loved. Batman has done that for me. I have an audience out there which is always waiting to see whatever I do. And new generations are constantly discovering me in reruns. So, as long as I stay sharp, good things can still happen for me. Meanwhile, I keep hoping that a wonderful opportunity will come along. Believe me, my life ain't so bad, after all.' On another occasion he noted: 'That typecasting is a mean, long-fanged yellow dog that grabbed my leg about three in the morning at least once a week. It was tough to deal with. [But] if you hang around long enough, they think you're good. It's either my tenacity or my stupidity, I'm not sure which!'
Adam subsequently appeared in the movies The Marriage Of A Young Stockbrocker, The Curse Of The Moon Child, The Specialist, Hooper, The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (in which he appeared, briefly, in drag) and One Dark Night as well as TV movies like The Eyes Of Charles Sand, Poor Devil, Nevada Smith, For The Love Of It and I Take These Men. Other schlocky B films he made were Young Lady Chatterly II (1985), Zombie Nightmare (1987), Night Of The Kickfighters (1988), An American Vampire Story (1997) – in a Hawaiian shirt as The Big Kahuna, vampire killer – and Joyride (1997), as a man who pimps his daughter. He did guest shots on TV series including Seventy Seven Sunset Strip, Bonanza (in which he, very much against type, played a villainous role), Tales Of Wells Fargo, Maverick, Diagnosis: Murder, Love, American Style, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Night Gallery, Alias Smith & Jones, Mannix, Emergency!, Alice, Police Woman, Operation Petticoat, The American Girls, Vega$, Laverne & Shirley, Bewitched, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hart To Hart and The King Of Queens. During the 1990s, West's status as a pop culture icon led to appearances as himself in the film Drop Dead Gorgeous and in several TV series, including Murphy Brown, The Ben Stiller Show and The Drew Carey Show. In 1991, he starred in the pilot episode of Lookwell, in which he portrayed a has-been TV action hero who falsely believes he can solve mysteries in real life. The pilot, written by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel, was broadcast on NBC that summer but was not picked up as a series. Adam was also much in-demand for voiceover work in animation series, predictably dubbing Batman/Bruce Wayne in The New Adventures Of Batman (1977) and again in SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984) and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985). He lampooned himself, brilliantly, in The Simpsons (2002), trying to convince Bart and Lisa that he once played Batman. 'I guess you're only familiar with the new Batman movies. I didn't need moulded plastic to improve my physique!' Privately, Adam called himself 'The Bright Knight' in contrast to The Dark Knight. Since 2000, Adam made regular appearances on the animated series Family Guy, on which he played Mayor Adam West, the lunatic mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island. His role gave him a new wave of popularity and lead writer Seth MacFarlane claims to have gone out of his way to avoid typecasting Adam by deliberately avoiding any references to Batman. 'When fans ask me for advice, here's what I tell them,' he said in an interview. '"Remain an optimist."' He is survived by his third wife, Marcelle whom he married in 1972, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. We shall all recall his ability to say lines like 'the nobility of the almost-human porpoise' with a straight-face more fondly than Adam himself probably ever realised.
The much-loved actor Peter Sallis has died at the age of ninety six, his agents have confirmed. Peter was best known as the mild-mannered Norman Clegg in the long-running BBC sitcom Last Of The Summer Wine. By the time he first appeared in the role, in 1973, he had already carved out a distinguished twenty five year career in the theatre and on the big and small-screen. His role as the flat-capped philosopher Cleggy made him the longest-serving cast member of the series, appearing in all two hundred and ninety five episodes of the series across thirty seven years to its final episode in 2010. Later, he reached an even wider audience as the voice of Wallace, the cheese-loving character in the animated film series, Wallace & Gromit.
Peter was born in February 1921 in Twickenham the only child of Harry Sallis, a bank manager and his wife, Dorothy. After attending Minchenden Grammar School in Southgate, Peter went to work in his father's bank, training to deal with shipping transactions. After the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the RAF. He failed to get into aircrew because he had a serum albumin disorder and he was told that he risked blacking out at high altitudes, so he became a wireless mechanic instead and went on to teach radio procedures to recruits at RAF Cranwell. Peter started as an amateur actor during his four years in the RAF when one of his students offered him the lead in a production of Noel Coward's Hay Fever. 'Acting is a matter of instinct,' he said when appearing on Desert Island Discs in 2009. 'As soon as I was on the stage I just felt so at home.' His success in the role caused him to resolve to become an actor after the war and he subsequently won a Korda Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He made his first professional appearance on the London stage - a walk-on part in Sheridan's The Scheming Lieutenant - in 1946 and for the next six decades he was rarely out of work. Throughout the 1950s he made a name for himself as a reliable character actor playing everything from Shakespeare to Chekhov. His first play with a star cast was a production of Three Sisters, where he appeared alongside Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson. He had film roles in Anastasia, The VIPs and Wuthering Heights, but it was for his television work that he was best known. He had already acted in two TV plays by the writer Roy Clarke, in one playing a transvestite, before landing the role of Clegg in a Comedy Playhouse episode entitled Of Funerals & Fish. This was successful enough for the BBC to commission a series with the revised title Last Of The Summer Wine. Surprisingly, given its later success, the first series was not all that well received by either audiences or critics. Peter recalled that filming of the early episodes was enlivened by off-screen arguments between his co-stars, Michael Bates and Bill Owen. 'Michael was somewhere to the right of Margaret Thatcher,' he said. 'And Bill Owen was somewhere to the left of Lenin. It was all incomprehensible to me as I'd never had a political thought in my life.' The series - following the gentle comedic misadventures of a trio of anarchic pensioners - sparked an appreciation society and a deluge of tourists to Holmfirth, the West Yorkshire village where it was filmed. Peter said: 'You would not find me getting up to anything crazy that Clegg gets up to, but I have been very lucky to be a part of it all.'
On stage, he played Doctor Watson to Fritz Weaver's Sherlock Holmes in the Broadway musical Baker Street in 1965. He also appeared in the memorable 1967 Doctor Who six-part story The Ice Warriors, playing Eric Penley, the rebel scientist who helped Patrick Troughton's Doctor defeat the Martian menace at an isolated scientific research station. He was due to return to the popular long-running family SF drama in 1983 to play Captain Striker in the Peter Davison story Enlightenment but when industrial action delayed filming he was no longer available and Keith Barron took the role instead.
Peter appeared in many British films in the fifties and sixties such as Stranger From Venus, Saturday Night & Sunday Morning, Clash By Night, No Love For Johnnie, Doctor In Love, Hammer's The Curse Of The Werewolf and Taste The Blood Of Dracula, The Mouse On The Moon, Charlie Bubbles, the cult horror classic Scream & Scream Again, The Incredible Sarah, The Night Digger, The Haunting Of Julia and Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe? Having made his TV debut in 1947 in a small role in a BBC adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, he spent the following decades appearing in series as diverse as The March Of The Peasants, The Heir Of Skipton, The New Shilling, Strange Experiences, The Black Arrow, The Widow Of Bath, International Detective, Jango, Danger Man, Amelia, A Chance Of Thunder, Maigret, Crying Down The Lane,The Chem Lab Mystery, It Happened Like This, The Avengers, Sergeant Cork, Z Cars, Knock On Any Door, Blackmail, The Wednesday Play, Thirty Minute Theatre, Catweazle, Parkin's Patch and The Troubleshooters. His first notable television role was as the eponymous diarist in the fourteen-part BBC serial The Diary Of Samuel Pepys in 1958. Other roles followed including episodes of The Persuaders!, Menace, Budgie, Paul Temple, Public Eye, The Moonstone, Callan, Kate, Barlow, The Capone Investment, Hadleigh, Raffles, Softly Softly: Task Force, Yanks Go Home, The Ladykillers, Tales Of The Unexpected, strangers & Brothers, The New Statesman and the BBC comedy series The Culture Vultures. In addition, he wrote a stage play, End Of Term and also a handful of radio plays. Despite calling himself 'only mildly well-known,' after thirty years of playing Clegg, Sallis's face was one of the most familiar on British television. In 1973 he played a priest in the TV movie Frankenstein: The True Story and the following year he was cast as Bonteen in the popular BBC period drama The Pallisers. Between 1976 and 1978 he appeared in the children's series The Ghosts Of Motley Hall in which he played Arnold Gudgin, an estate agent who did not want to see the hall fall into the wrong hands. During the same period, he played Rodney Gloss in the BBC series Murder Most English. In 1978, he starred alongside Northern comic actor David Roper in the ITV sitcom Leave It To Charlie as the title character's pessimistic boss. The programme ran for four series, ending in 1980. He also played the part of the ghost hunter Milton Guest in the children's paranormal drama series The Clifton House Mystery, was the voice of Rat in The Wind In The Willows and its sequel, Oh! Mister Toad and appeared in Rumpole Of The Bailey, Holby City and Kingdom. He also narrated a well-remembered 1970 public information film advising householders to reduce the risk of burglary by locking all windows and points of entry.
In 1992 his voice became recognisable across the world, when his distinctive tones graced the character of Wallace in Nick Park's celebrated Aardman Animations' film Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out. The film won a BAFTA award and was followed by the Oscar-winning films The Wrong Trousers in 1993 and A Close Shave in 1995. Though the characters were temporarily retired in 1996, Peter returned to voice Wallace in several short films and in the Oscar-winning 2005 motion picture Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, for which he won an Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production. In 2008, Sallis voiced a new Wallace & Gromit adventure, A Matter Of Loaf & Death. In 2010 he provided the voice for Wallace in the TV show Wallace & Gromit's World Of Invention. After Peter retired from the role, he passed the voice of Wallace to Ben Whitehead.
Asked for the inspiration behind Wallace, Nick Park called Peter his 'automatic' choice and explained how the actor had even helped influence the character's face. He said: 'There was something about his voice that somehow insisted I make Wallace's mouth really wide to get it around the syllables.' Peter considered himself very fortunate to be in the hands of talented scriptwriters. But his own gentle manner and natural timing certainly helped create comic characters of enduring and wide-ranging appeal. It was with the mild-mannered Clegg that he felt most at home. 'I am like him in many ways,' he noted. 'I am fairly retiring and do not like to be the centre of attention. I think I'm well cast.' In 2006, Peter published a well-received autobiography entitled, with typical self-deprecation, Fading Into The Limelight. Roger Lewis in the Scum Mail On Sunday stated: 'Though Sallis is seemingly submissive, he has a sly wit and sharp intelligence that make this book a total delight.' In one of the memorable parts of the book, Peter wrote about having starred with Orson Welles in Welles' stage adaptation of Moby Dick - Rehearsed. Some years later, Peter said that he received a 'mysterious' telephone call summoning him to the deserted Gare d'Orsay in Paris where Welles announced that he wanted Peter to dub Hungarian bit-players in his cinema adaptation of Kafka's The Trial. As Peter said: 'The episode [itself] was Kafka-esque, to coin a phrase.' His agent told Peter that he was unlikely to be paid anything for this, not even his travelling expenses. Sallis replied that, on the contrary, he would have been prepared to pay for the honour of working again with Welles, whom he has always described as one of the two 'true geniuses' he has worked with in his long career, the other being Nick Park. Peter was awarded the OBE in the 2007 Birthday Honours for services to Drama. 'I've been lucky enough to keep going and I realise now, though it's taken me nearly one hundred years, that my voice is distinctive,' he said in one of his last interviews, adding 'I'm very lucky indeed.' He continued to suffer from macular degeneration and in 2005, recorded an appeal on BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Macular Disease Society. For many years he lived in a cottage on the banks of the Thames at Richmond until failing health and eyesight forced him to move to a flat in Central London. His last years were spent at Denville Hall, the actors retirement home, in North London where he died peacefully, with his family by his side, on 2 June. Peter married Elaine Usher in 1957 though the couple were divorced eight years later. He is survived by their son, Crispian (an Oscar-nominated set designer), and two grandchildren.
The former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tioté has died from a heart attack aged thirty after collapsing during a training session in China, a spokesman for the player has announced. In his seven years at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) United, the Côte d'Ivoire player made over one hundred and fifty appearances. He joined the Chinese second-tier side Beijing Enterprises in February. 'It is with deep sadness I confirm that Cheick Tioté sadly passed away earlier today after collapsing in training,' said spokesman Emanuele Palladino. 'We cannot say any more at the moment and we request that his family's privacy be respected at this difficult time. We ask for all your prayers.' Born in 1986, Cheick was part of the Ivorian national squad that won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. He began his professional career with minor league side FC Bibo in his native Yamoussoukro. Cheick then joined the Belgian side Anderlecht in 2005. A loan deal took him to Roda JC for the 2007-08 season, after which he remained in The Netherlands with a permanent move to FC Twente in July 2008 where he made eighty six appearances and won the Eredivisie league title in the 2009-10 season under manager Steve McClaren. Cheick, a combative, hard-tackling defensive midfielder, then signed for Newcastle in 2010 for three-and-a-half million quid. He appeared one hundred and fifty six times in all competitions for The Magpies, scoring only once. But, the goal in question will never be forgotten. In February 2011, he hit a memorable volley as The Magpies came back from four-nil down at half-time to draw with The Arse in a remarkable Premier League game. He had joined United earlier that season and was named as an unused sub for Newcastle's home loss to Blackpool soon after arriving in the UK; Cheick's first outing for the club came a week later at Everton when he completed a flawless ninety minutes 'looking instantly at ease in a central midfield anchor role and never wasting a ball.' That was the first of twenty six league appearances in what was a memorable first season (and, almost as many yellow cards!), capped by that long-distance goal and followed by a new six year deal with the club. Capped by the Côte d'Ivoire at U23 level, Cheick won his first senior cap in June 2009 in a friendly against Cameroon. Cheick had impressed in three appearances for the Côte d'Ivoire during the World Cup Finals in South Africa just weeks before he joined Newcastle. Both then manager Chris Hughton and chief scout Graham Carr would later claim credit for having spotting him. By the 2014-15 season Tioté had lost his regular starting place at St James' Park and was sidelined with a foot injury, aggravated while on Nations Cup duty. The installation of Rafa Benitez saw Cheick start Newcastle's final six Premier League games and he remained a Magpie despite drawing interest during the summer of 2016 from various overseas clubs. A Championship debut came from the bench during a one-one draw at Aston Villains in September and starts came against Birmingham City in the FA Cup in January - a one-one away draw and three-one home success. Seemingly set to join Sporting Gijon in Spain, continued rumours of interest from clubs in China eventually brought an offer from Beijing Enterprises Group and he was confirmed as their player in early February. A statement from Newcastle said: 'We are devastated to have learned of the tragic passing of Cheick Tioté at the age of just thirty. The thoughts of everyone at Newcastle United are with Cheick's family, friends, team-mates and everyone connected with the clubs he represented.' 'Cheick was one of the best we had in terms of his attitude,' Toon legend and coach Peter Beardsley told BBC Radio 5Live. 'He had a wicked sense of humour, he was top class and he will certainly be missed in this city.' Beardsley added: 'He was flat out every day in training and was a brilliant example to the kids at our club. He loved a tackle - he wasn't horrible, but very aggressive. Every time he saw the ball he went for it. He was also really funny in the dressing room. He had a brilliant smile and he lit up a room. He was fantastic.' On Tioté's goal against The Arse, Beardsley added: 'It was an unbelievable volley and it couldn't have happened to a nicer person. I can still see him running up the end of the pitch. He must have run seventy metres to celebrate with the fans. In all the time that I have known him, he was a true professional, dedicated and above all, a great man. Our hearts go out to his family and friends at such a sad time.' A devout Muslim, Cheick observed fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan. He had two children with his first wife, Madah. During his time at Newcastle, the couple lived in Ponteland close to Newcastle airport. In September 2014, it was reported by the Evening Chronicle that Tioté had married a second wife, Laeticia Doukrou, in the capital of the Côte d'Ivoire, Abidjan.

No comments: