Friday, July 21, 2017

My Sister Is Not My Enemy

Now, dear blog reader, just in case you were wondering, no it wasn't a crazy dream, The Doctor is still, very definitely, a ladygirl. And, this blogger believes that's a good thing. If you have a problem with that, then this blog probably isn't a place you want to be hanging out. This blogger suggests, instead, you might want to try Twitter. A far more resentful and angry venue. To quote the Reverend Richard Coles: 'Twitter: Ramming a rusty bucket of wasps on your head because road rage is for snowflakes since 2006.'
A thought occurred to this blogger his very self earlier in the week - don't look so surprised, it does happen occasionally - regarding the casting of Doctors. Not just the new one, but generally. And the thought was this, dear blog reader. Each time news is announced that the current actor playing The Doctor intends to leave Doctor Who, there is always a flurry of (usually rather banal) media speculation on the subject of the likely replacement for the role. It's always the same kind of names that get thrown into the ring - Hollywood A-listers whom the BBC couldn't afford in the million years (since all their money is paid to Chris Evans and Gary Lineker, seemingly); in-demand TV-regulars who would never be interested in a job that has a ten-and-a-half month a year filming schedule leaving them no time to do anything else, mixed in with various c-, d- or z-listers, instructed by their agents to push themselves forward as a 'potential' next Doctor to a tabloid stringer and get some free publicity. The bookmakers then get involved with their endless lists of runners and riders; almost all of whom you know will not be the name chosen because since when did you see a bookmaker telling you they think you should bet on someone who is actually going to win? And the whole thing becomes a - not entirely unamusing - circus for a few weeks and/or months until the actual actor chosen is publicly named. You always get some ridiculous suggestions for 'early favourites' for the role. Take Tilda Swinton, for example. Because an Oscar-winning actress who normally does four films a year, at least, is certainly going to be interested in taking a massive pay-cut (Peter Capaldi was paid between two hundred and two hundred and fifty thousand smackers for his work on Doctor Who in the last financial year, according to figures published by the BBC this week). And all to sign up to three series of a ten-and-a-half month a year shoot allowing her no time to do anything else? Yes, we're probably best to park that one in the 'Don't Be A Bloody Moron' file along with Helen Mirren, Idris Elba et al. A few false flags will be run-up the flagpole and saluted. Remember, dear blog reader, the Daily Torygraph grandly announcing that Rory Kinnear had been chosen as the new Doctor when he, you know, hadn't? It was same this time around with the Daily Mirra's curiously non-existent 'insider' and Kris Marshall. So, given all of that here's a thought for you; on the last three occasions that a new Doctor has been chosen, in all cases the incoming Doctor - Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker - have been mentioned virtually nowhere by any newspaper, broadcaster, website, media speculator or bookmaker until about three or four days before the announcement was due, at which point they suddenly become an overnight favourite (or, in Smudger's case, the overnight second favourite behind Paterson Joseph). Presumably, this was because at that point, one or two of the handful of people who actually knew the name had mentioned it, casually, to a friend or two over a pint, who had, in turn, mentioned it to a friend or two of theirs over a pint, several of whom had, immediately, rushed off to Ladbrokes to have a sly tenner on the outcome. Guessing! So, next time there's going to be a change of Doctor - which will, hopefully, not happen for a long while yet - once Jodie has decided that she's had enough, here's a tip for everyone; don't bother to speculate and ignore all of the people who are speculating to fill column inches. Rather, just wait until about three days before the announcement is due and then check out who is betting on whom. That will save us all a lot of bullshit, pointless hand-wringing and some unfortunate people - like Kris Marshall, for instance - getting depressingly spiteful malarkey said about them for the properly dreadful crime of 'being the next Doctor' when they were never going to be.
The Tilda Swinton thing - or, non-thing, actually - brings up another curiosity, dear blog reader. When he appeared on BBC local radio earlier this week, yer actual Keith Telly Topping mentioned to The Legend That Is Alfie Joey the concept of 'The Doctor Template.' Allow Keith Telly Topping to explain. Back in the late 1990 and early 2000s, whilst Doctor Who was off-air, every few months there would be an article somewhere suggesting that the BBC's, at that time former, family SF drama was about to be brought back (some of these rumours were based on nothing more than wishful thinking, others did come from actual pitches to the BBC that were, at least, discussed, before Russell Davies finally came up with his pitch that was accepted in 2004). Each time this malarkey occurred, a newspaper or several would write about the rumour and would then include a list of 'likely' people who were thought to be in the running for the central role. They were usually about as 'likely' as something ... that is not very likely in the slightest. But most such suggestions depended on what this blogger has described as 'The Doctor Template.' Which amounts to, suggesting someone who would, essentially, play the Doctor in a similar way to one of the previous Doctors. Often, showing the lack of imagination that journalists share with fandom, there would be suggestions based on actors previous CVs. For example, Tony Head - at the time playing a rather Doctoresque 'Englishman-in-an-alien-environment' character in another popular and long-running Telefantasy show, Buffy The Vampire Slayer - was usually near the top of any list. (That suggestion wasn't quite a batty as some others. Interestingly, Tony had been one of many names put forward during the casting process for the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie before Paul McGann got the role.) But, in other cases, you can actually see the thought processes at work. For example, another name that always cropped up in these kind of speculations was Eddie Izzard. Now, at the time, Eddie was still best known as a stand-up comedian but he had just started off on his parallel acting career. One which has, since, become very impressive and successful. And, of course, Eddie was then, and I think still is, famously, a Doctor Who fan (those with longer memories may recall that his early stage shows used to include a very funny routine about The Daleks). Eventually, somebody asked Eddie about all this 'are you going to be the next Doctor' nonsense. Eddie was wise to The Doctor Template theory and pointed out that, when journalists think of The Doctor, they usually think about Tom Baker who, after all, was the longest-serving Doctor and is still, to this day, probably the name most associated with the role. Tom, of course, is brilliant - a proper national treasure - but it has to be noted that he is also a bit ... odd. This blogger means that in the nicest possible way; he's a genuine British eccentric in real-life as well as in the majority of the roles he plays. That's one of the main reasons why we love him so much. So, Eddie noted, you can see the way that journalists (and, I guess, fans too) minds work in this regard. 'Doctor Who, he's a bit weird. Who else is a bit weird? That Eddie Izzard, he's definitely a bit weird. Right, we'll have him on the list!' Alan Davies, another stand-up-turned-actor - at the time we're talking about, very in-demand through Jonathan Creek - was another name to be regularly suggested by the tabloids. In his case, largely it seemed because he looked a bit like a young Tom Baker, especially his similar curly hair (it was, therefore easy for newspapers to do a bit of primitive photoshopping of Alan's face onto an old publicity photo of Tom in the hat and the scarf to accompany their speculative articles). And then, of course, there were a series of non-actors-but-eccentric-types; people like the late Paul Daniels and the presenter Adam Hart Davies who, infamously, received death threats after one newspaper suggested that he was 'in the frame' to be The Doctor in one of these proposed-but-never-made late-1990s revivals. Which brings us back to the 'early favourite' for the role once Peter Capaldi had announced his decision to step down, Tilda Swinton. A brilliant character actress and perceived to be. that phrase again, 'a bit weird.' The fact that BBC couldn't afford her or, even if they could put a deal together and Tilda was up for the gig, that would be, effectively, the end of her film career for three or four years whilst she was contractually obligated never seemed to have entered the heads of those making this suggestion and those sad, deluded planks who actually believed it. All two of them. So, again, next time you read a newspaper suggesting a potential 'next Doctor', use your brain, dear blog reader. That's what it's for.
The BBC has issued a formal response to crass whinges - from an unspecified number of rank numbskull glakes - about the casting of Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor. Since the news was released on Sunday, the Corporation has, reportedly, received 'a number' of whinges about the casting decision. Of course they have. As part of its complaints procedure it has now responded. Thankfully, with both barrels: 'Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of The Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the programme. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series. The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender. As the Controller of BBC Drama has said, Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life-force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor. We hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story.' Or, in other words, 'welcome to the Twenty First Century you sexist dickheads. Try purchasing a new mind since the one you've currently got is clearly narrow and full of diarrhoea.' Here endeth the lesson.
Just to be clear about this, the suggestion has been made more than once online - on a couple of occasions by people whom this blogger really rather respects - that just because someone does not think Jodie Whittaker should have been cast as The Doctor, that does not mean they're sexist. Okay, it's an interesting argument - not one this blogger agrees with - but, in that case, what other reasons are they if they're not sexist? This blogger, for instance, hasn't seen one single complaint about the casting of Jodie Whittaker because someone thinks that she's not a very good actress. Keith Telly Topping hasn't seen one that's critical because she's, for example, considered by someone to be too young, or too old, or too white, or too pretty. On the other hand, every single one of the criticisms that this blogger has seen concerning the casting of Jodie Whittaker are because she's a woman. By definition, that's sexist. It's saying that an actor should not be cast in a TV series entirely because of her gender and no other reason. If you want to call it something else, you're free to do so, but it's a virtual dictionary definition of what the word 'sexism' means.

Next, another random thought which will be familar to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's Facebook fiends: Some rather distressingly loud-mouthed individuals have claimed to anyone that will listen (and, indeed, anyone that won't) that following the casting on Jodie Whittaker, they no longer intend to watch Doctor Who. In the vast majority of cases, this blogger does not believe that's true for a single second - Hell would freeze over and the seventh trumpet of the Apocalypse would sound before many of these individuals would not willingly choose to sit in front of their tellyboxes on a Saturday night, gurning at the screen and then going on the Internet immediately after the episode has finished to tell everyone how much they hated it. However, benefit of the doubt; if, in some cases, this is true, then that does raise a truly terrifying prospect. Imagine: It's a Saturday in September 2018 and gangs of angry, embittered former Doctor Who fans are roaming the streets of Great Britain like an unholy army of the night looking for something to bellow 'Worst! Episode! Ever!' at. It's, frankly, a nightmare in the making. Has anyone alerted the authorities to this potential breakdown in the social fabric?
People who have publicly stated that they think a female Doctor is a good idea include: Doctor Who creator the late Sydney Newman (in 1985), Tom Baker, Russell Davies, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tennant, et cetera, et cetera. People who have publicly stated that they think a female Doctor is a bad idea include: Doctor Who 'superfan' and former record producer Ian Levine, Katie Hopkins, the Daily Scum Mail, the Daily Scum Express. And, Satan (probably). Keith Telly Topping will leave it entirely up to you, dear blog reader, as to decide which column you'd sooner be in.
This blogger also recommends that those unfamiliar with the Doctor Who's sometimes awkward relationship with its own fanbase with regard to 'giving them what they want' should have a read of Nick Barlow's superb article Whether You Like It Or Not - a properly excellent think-piece and a jolly useful aide d'memoire to members of all TV fandoms who believe that they 'own' their own particular favourite show.
Meanwhile, Doctor Who author Una MacCormack's Chinks In The World Machine is another thoughtful and excellently written addition to the debate about whether a female Doctor is a) a good idea or b) a really good idea.
The BBC have revealed that the video announcing Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor received over sixteen million views online. The minute-long specially shot scene debuted on BBC1 after the Men's Wimbledon final on Sunday, where just over five million viewers watched it. It was also released on BBC social media channels around the world. The reveal has been viewed 9.8 million times on the BBC Facebook channel so far, with over 2.5 million views on the Doctor Who Twitter account - making it 'the most successful tweet of all time' for Doctor Who. Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, said: 'To see the overwhelmingly positive response to the news that Jodie Whittaker will star as the Thirteenth Doctor and know that the reveal has had over sixteen million views online so far, is just phenomenal. It's exhilarating to see Doctor Who engaging with people on so many different levels and I cannot wait for the audience to see her in action on BBC1 this Christmas. The teaser trailer, which debuted on Friday evening before the BBC1 Six O'Clock News, has been watched a further 4.8 million times online.
Meanwhile, Jodie Whittaker doesn't appear to be anything like we'd expected, does she? (In case you're wondering, this is, actually, the very lovely sadly sooner-to-be-former Doctor Who Magazine editor, Tom Spilsbury appearing on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire Show to talk about Jodie's casting. Poor Tom. You announce that you're leaving The Doctor Who Magazine and suddenly everybody forgets your name! One hopes it's a fate Peter Capaldi doesn't suffer, too.
Incoming Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Edge Hill University. The award for, services to Literature, was made on Monday 17 July. In a video released by the University, Chibnall talked about how it felt to receive the award and his aspirations for Doctor Who.
Game Of Thrones has returned for its seventh series - you might have noticed, dear blog reader - and the critics were, generally, quite happy about it. 'It was a thrill to have the show back and it looked more stunning than ever,' wrote the Independent's reviewer. 'By the end of the episode it is clear that the stage is now set for a war of truly epic proportions,' wrote Jess Kelham-Hohler of the Evening Standard. The first episode of the show's seventh series - Dragonstone - was broadcast in the US on Sunday evening and in the early hours of Monday morning UK time. Which would've played jimbuggery with yer actual Keith Telly Toping's sleep patterns if he hadn't, wisely, decided to record it and the latest episode of Twin Peaks: The Return to watch the following morning over breakfast and a nice hot, sweet cup of Joe. Which was civilised. Only one more series of but six episodes of the epic fantasy saga, inspired by the works of author George RR Martin, is planned after this one. Dragonstone opened in typically gory fashion with members of the late Walder Frey's house dying in numbers after drinking wine poisoned by Ayra Stark in revenge for Frey's murder of her mother and brother. The episode also featured the introduction of a new character, played by Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent, as well as a cameo from Ed Sheeran. He's 'a popular beat combo,' apparently. Reviews of the episode welcomed Broadbent's performance as Archmaester Marwyn, with The Hollywood Reporter saying that he 'fits into this ensemble flawlessly.' Critics were far less complimentary about Sheeran, whose appearance as a soldier was dubbed 'jarring' and 'unsubtle' by the Independent's Christopher Hooton. This blogger, who wouldn't have been able to picked Sheeran out of a one-man police line-up, frankly, thought he was all right. In his role as an unnamed soldier, the popular beat combo was seen telling Maisie Williams' Arya that the song he is singing is 'a new one.' According to the Daily Mirra, the exchange 'could only have been more awkward if he'd winked at the camera after and said "Available at all good record stores."' Presumably, they got that information from a 'source' other than the one that told them Kris Marshall had been cast as the new Doctor.
The BBC has upheld a complaint from the daughter of a Scottish artist after Jeremy Paxman gave the wrong answer to a question on University Challenge. The quiz show host incorrectly attributed Billy Connolly's 1970s banana boots to the artist John Byrne rather than their true creator, Edmund Smith. Glasgow pop artist Smith made the size-nine bananas for the comedian in 1975. The BBC said that it had drawn the 'oversight' to the attention of the programme's producers. Although quite what the Hell they are expected to do about this since the episode - a Christmas z-list celebrity special' - was broadcast on 27 December 2016 is another matter entirely. During the semi-final, Jeremy Wade, Shiulie Ghosh and Professor Jamie Angus - for the University of Kent - were asked by Paxo: 'Born in Paisley in 1940, which artist and playwright designed Billy Connolly's banana boots and wrote the 'Slab Boys trilogy' for the theatre and the series Tutti Frutti for television?' After a few seconds deliberation, team captain Paul Ross replied: 'Nicola Sturgeon.' To which Paxmo responded: 'Funny answer, but not right. John Byrne.' Byrne did, indeed, write Slab Boys, Cuttin' A Rag and Still Life as well as Tutti Frutti but he had nothing whatsoever to do with the creation of The Big Yen's stage-footwear. The BBC acknowledged that the answer was wrong and conceded that the correct information was widely available, including from the biography of Billy Connolly, written by his wife Pamela Stephenson. In a ruling from the Complaints Unit, the BBC said: 'The daughter of Edmund Smith complained that the answer was incorrect, her father having designed and made the boots in question. Evidence from several sources, including a detailed account of the matter in Pamela Stephenson's biography of Billy Connolly, confirmed that the boots had been designed and made by Edmund Smith. The executive producer responsible for oversight of the series drew the finding to the attention of the independent production company which makes it.' Edmund Smith's banana boots are currently on display at the People's Palace Museum at Glasgow Green.
The BBC is to launch a new Top Of The Pops-style music show more than eleven years after it cancelled its flagship pop music programme. The corporation has announced that a six-part music series will be broadcast live this autumn on BBC1 and feature performances from a collection of the biggest UK and global music stars in each episode. The name of the programme and its place in the schedule are yet to be confirmed but it is understood it will be broadcast at peak times in the evening. Unlike Top Of The Pops, the new thirty-minute show will feature sketches and interviews as well as live performances. It will be made by the production company Fulwell Seventy Three, whose five partners include James Corden and Ben Winston, the executive producer of Corden's US chat show The Late Late Show. The BBC has not had a regular flagship music programme on BBC1 since Top Of The Pops was cancelled in 2006. Top Of The Pops was first broadcast in 1964. Like the new BBC music show it was only commissioned for six episodes before winning a permanent weekly slot. More than two thousand episodes of the programme have been broadcast, including Christmas Day specials since 2006. The new programme has been commissioned by Charlotte Moore, director of BBC content and Jan Younghusband, head of commissioning for BBC Music. Bob Shennan, director of BBC Radio and Music, said: 'This series will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the biggest and best UK and international bands and artists and we’re looking forward to working with one of the world's most innovative and creative TV production companies.' Gabe Turner, another partner at Fulwell Seventy Three, added: 'The BBC's heritage in creating and broadcasting world-class music TV is second to none – their classic music shows were a big part of our childhoods growing up as fans devouring everything pop culture. The range of genres and different styles that people are listening to now is more diverse than ever before, and it's a great time to be making a show that gives a mainstream TV platform to the most exciting stuff out there.'
      This blogger's view on all this malarkey is as follows; it is always worth remembering the reasons why Top Of The Pop ended in the first place. It had experienced the best part of a decade of declining audiences as music fans tended to gravitate towards MTV, VH-1 and other specialist video channels. The BBC tried their best, they gave it different time slots on different nights and even switched it to BBC2 with the proviso that it needed to get less viewers on the second channel to be considered 'a success.' And, every time they tried something else with it, the audience shrank further. Also, the nature of Top Of The Pops - groups or solo singers appearing live in front of a studio audience - was seen to be somewhat 'old hat' as more artists concentrated on making videos rather than actually appearing live. And, although some fiftysomethings like this blogger might quite like the idea of a modern equivalent of Legs & Co or Pans People shaking their funky stuff to the latest X Factor winner who couldn't be bothered to come into the BBC and mime their single each week or some slab of bangin' gangsta rap, it's probably fair to say that such an idea would be considered faintly ludicrous by today's teenage pop consumers. Because, let's face it, the majority of people who call for a Top Of The Pops revival by and large almost certainly don't buy chart singles on a regular basis. The people for whom Top Of The Pops was always, primarily, aimed at never seemed to miss it too much when it was gone. Additionally, of course, since 2006 when Top Of The Pops ended, the whole nature of the singles chart has changed radically, as has the business of actually buying music. These days, with downloads and streaming, if a song is in the charts for more than two weeks it's an exception rather than the rule. Plus, obviously, anything that involves James Corden is, probably, best avoided. Apart from those two Doctor Who episodes he was in, obviously.
Many ticket holders for cancelled Olly Murs concerts in Dorset and Devon will not be refunded after the promoter went bust. The singer was to perform at Exeter's Powderham Castle on 29 July and at Kings Park, Bournemouth on 5 August. Stephen C Associates Limited, which organised the events, said it had ceased trading. In a statement the promoter said: 'The company is not in a position to offer you a refund.' Though, to be fair, they did not add: 'Still, bright side, at least you don't have to listen to Olly Murs singing now.'

A shrinking glacier in Switzerland has revealed two frozen bodies believed to be of a couple who went missing seventy five years ago, Swiss media report. Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin disappeared at a height of two thousand six hundred metres after going to tend to their cows in the Alps in August 1942. They were farmers whose seven children never gave up hope of finding them. Their youngest daughter, now aged seventy nine, said she was planning to give her parents the funeral they deserved. The couple were never found despite extensive searches. 'We spent our whole lives looking for them,' Marceline Udry-Dumoulin told Lausanne daily Le Matin. 'I can say that after seventy five years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm.' A DNA test will be conducted in several days' time, police say. Local police said that the bodies were discovered last week on Tsanfleuron glacier, above the Les Diablerets resort, by a worker from a ski-lift company. Director Bernhard Tschannen said that his employee found some backpacks, tin bowls and a glass bottle, as well as male and female shoes and part of a body under the ice. Valais police said in a statement that a book, a backpack and a watch had been taken to Lausanne for forensic analysis. Tschannen said that it was 'likely' the couple had fallen into a crevasse and the way they were dressed implied that they could have been there for 'seventy or eighty years. The bodies were lying near each other. It was a man and a woman wearing clothing dating from the period of World War Two,' he told Le Matin. Ms Udry-Dumoulin said that her mother, a teacher, rarely went on such walks with her husband, a shoemaker, because she spent much of her adult life pregnant and it was difficult terrain. She said that she had never given up hoping that one day she would find her parents, even climbing the glacier three times herself to look for them. Within months of the disappearance of her parents, she and her siblings were placed with different families and lost contact over the years. She told Le Matin that she wanted to hold a long-awaited funeral, but would not wear black. 'I think that white would be more appropriate. It represents hope, which I never lost,' she said. The bodies of a number of missing climbers have been discovered in the Alps in recent years. Climatologists say a rise in global temperatures is causing the ice to recede, revealing the corpses of those missing for decades.
A security robot in Washington DC suffered a watery demise after falling into a fountain by an office building. The stricken robot, made by Knightscope, was spotted by passers-by whose photos of the aftermath quickly went viral on social media. For some, the incident seemed to sum up the state of Twenty First Century technology. 'We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots,' wrote one worker from the building on Twitter. 'Steps are our best defence against the Robopocalypse,' commented Peter Singer - author of Wired For War, a book about military robotics. It is not the first accident involving Knightscope's patrolling robots, which are equipped with various instruments - including face-recognition systems, high-definition video capture, infrared and ultrasonic sensors. Last year, a sixteen-month-old toddler was run over by one of the autonomous devices in a Silicon Valley shopping centre. And, earlier this year a Californian man was arrested after attacking a Knightscope robot. The man, who was drunk at the time of the incident, later said that he wanted to 'test' the machine.
Paul Nicholls has been rescued after being trapped at the bottom of a waterfall in Thailand for three days, his agent has said. The ex-EastEnders actor had motorcycled to the site in Koh Samui before falling, breaking both legs and shattering a knee. He was unable to use his phone after it broke, but local villagers alerted police to his abandoned motorbike. The thirty eight-year-old Bolton-born actor's agent said that he was 'recovering well.' Nicholls will be flown back to the UK next week. The actor, who played Joe Wicks on the BBC soap in the 1990s, was on holiday in Thailand after finishing filming for the Channel Four series Ackley Bridge. After being alerted, police searched records to find out to whom the bike belonged and found that it had been rented to a British tourist called Paul Greenhalgh - Nicholls' real name. Volunteer rescuers, police and medics went to search for the actor and found him several hours after setting off. Nicholls' first TV appearance was aged ten in Granada Television show Children's Ward. His EastEnders character lived with schizophrenia and the popular soap was praised for its portrayal of mental health on-screen. Since EastEnders, Nicholls has appeared in a number of TV shows, including Law & Order: UK, Casualty and Grantchester. His most recent TV appearance is in Channel Four's Ackley Bridge, where he plays a teacher in a school where British Asian and white British communities merge.
The very excellent Doug Morris posted up the playlist for this weekend's episode of, in this blogger's opinion, the best music programme currently on radio, BBC Newcastle's Best Surrender. This blogger noted that 'every radio show should start with 'Safe European Home', frankly. It'd certainly liven up Women's Hour, fr instance.'
The actor and playwright Trevor Baxter has died, aged eighty four. Born in November 1932 and educated as Dunwich College, after graduating from RADA in 1961, Trevor appeared in a wide variety of shows. His CV included credits in well-known series such as Adam Adamant Lives!, Z Cars, The Wednesday Play, Public Eye, Lorna Doone, Harpers West One, Thriller, The New Avengers, George & Mildred, Dickens Of London, Edward The Seventh, Zodiac, The Edwardians, The Barchester Chronicles, Rumpole Of The Bailey, Selling Hitler, My Family and in later years roles such as Lanyon in Jack The Ripper, Gordon Naylor in The Politician's Wife and Doctor Albrigtsen in Maelstrom. On the big screen, he appeared in films including Nutcracker, Parting Shots, Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow and Van Wilder: The Rise Of Taj (his final screen appearance in 2006). For Doctor Who fans, it was the pairing-up with Christopher Benjamin to play Professor Litefoot alongside Henry Jago that he will probably be best remembered. Created by the late Robert Holmes for the 1977 Tom Baker six-parter The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the duo proved popular and memorable and though rumours of a spin-off television series of their own never came to fruition, the pair found new life through the company Big Finish with their own series of audio CD adventures. Louise Jameson played Leela alongside Baxter in The Talons Of Weng-Chiang and paid tribute to the actor. 'Unbelievably sad to learn that marvellous Trevor Baxter has left the building. He has been in my life since 1976. Witty and vibrant to the end.' Off-screen, Baxter appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the West End, toured Shakespeare in South America with Sir Ralph Richardson and also appeared in the USA in David Mamet's A Life In The Theatre. He was also an accomplished playwright, with plays such as Edith Grove, The Undertaking, Ripping Them Off and Through A Glass Darkly. He also wrote the 1985 TV play The Last Evensong. In 2003 he adapted Oscar Wilde's A Portrait Of Dorian Gray for the stage and in 2005 Wilde's short story Lord Arthur Savile's Crime.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Doctor Is Out On Her Rounds

So, dearest blog reader, the announcement on Sunday that the next Doctor in Doctor Who would be played by the very righteous Jodie Whittaker - a ladygirl, just in case you didn't know - brought a predictably 'mixed' response from some of the, ahem, darker corners of Doctor Who fandom and, indeed, some of the darker corners of the wider media. All sorts of people who have never shown the slightest bit of interest in Doctor Who before were having their say on this matter, from politicians, to the scummier end of tabloid journalists, to ... other people. It was quite a sight, to be honest. But this blogger wasn't particularly interested in any of that nonsense. You know what they say, dear blog reader, 'there is no such thing as bad publicity ... Unless it involves Operation Yewtree.' This blogger thinks Jodie will be great. End of.
Of course, some of the press chose to concentrate many of their column inches on the furious deranged rantings of a handful of alleged Doctor Who 'superfans' (whatever that ridiculous descriptor entails. And, yer actual Keith Telly Topping says that under due advisement given the fact that he was actually described as such his very self whilst appearing on BBC local radio this week. More on that malarkey later). In particular, much attention was focused on one particular 'big name' Doctor Who fan of long standing - who often appears to resemble an overgrown school bully, now in his sixties (and, it might be quite nice if he acted like he's a grown adult rather than a petulant, sugar'd-up teenager once in a while) who usually has a rant or two available for tabloid publication on request. Maybe he should make a protest record about Jodie. You know, something along the lines of 'This is absurd/The Doctor is not a bird/We fans must be heard/The Doctor is not a bird/This is not a joke/The Doctor is a bloke/We are in distress/The Doctor's in a dress.' That kind of thing. Stick a disco beat on it and get a few unemployed former members of S Club Seven and Steps to sing it, it'll out-sell 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters' no problem.
That particular individual - and several others, to be fair - have, not for the first time, claimed that this is 'the end' of Doctor Who for them and that they are now 'finished' with the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama. Okay, that's no problem then; Great Britain is a very fine democracy, people are free to watch, or not watch, whatever they chose on their tellyboxes. What's the betting, however, that come Christmas Day when the next Doctor Who episode is broadcast - the first to feature Jodie - the majority of people who have been making such claims will be watching it? And then, twenty seconds after the episode has finished, they'll all be online - on Twitter, on Facebook, on Gallifrey Base (or on all three) - whinging to anyone that will listen (and, indeed, anyone that won't) about ... something or other. Probably Jodie Whittaker. Or Chris Chibnall. Or both. 'Wheel turns, civilisations rise ...' It's always nice to be able to shoehorn a Doctor Who quote in somewhere. (There is, incidentally, a very useful list of all the - numerous - times Doctor Who has, allegedly, been 'ruined' in the past here.)
There was, of course, lots of discussions on Facebook about these very shenanigans on Sunday evening. This blogger, for instance, noted the following: 'I'll tell you what is really great about Jodie's casting. It's looking through my Facebook newsfeed, seeing all of the "this is the END of Doctor Who after fifty three years of genius (PS: I am not a sick sexist twit [sic], oh no, perish the thought ... I just have a problem with a woman being cast in a TV show)"-type comments from individuals whom I never knew were members of Those People before but now have definitive proof of their rank and terrible glakery ... And then remembering exactly what Facebook's excellent block facility is for. You should all try it, Facebook fiends - zero tolerance policy - it's very liberating and strangely fulfilling!' See, yer actual Keith Telly Topping is also into spectacular and self-important grandstanding for the masses. (Though, let it be duly noted, the thread which followed this grandiose announcement was almost wholly positive and, in three days, this blogger has blocked a total of but four of his two-and-a-half thousand Facebook fiends over anti-Jodie Whittaker comments. Seems not everyone on the Interweb is scum, dear blog reader. At least, not the vast majority of the people that this blogger chooses to hang around with. Which he sort-of knew anyway.)
There was considerable humour around too. Take, for instance this blogger's good mate Danny, who suggested the following: 'It's entertaining right now to picture Jodie Whittaker - ideally in some swishy long velvet coat with boots - striding across an inhospitable, misty, rocky landscape, sonic in hand (or sonic watch activated, or whatever they go for), spouting some marvellous bollards like "We need to deactivate that relay terminal before The Bandrils get there, Captain, or it will be the end of this planet - and your career!" All in a broad Yorkshire accent, with a raised eyebrow. I am so looking forward to this.' This blogger responded: 'Funnily enough I had more or less exactly the same mental image. Only the costume was different. High-heels, stockings, mini-skirt, tight blouse, riding crop, top hat ... But the rest, spot on. Especially the bit about The Bandrils!' (Joking, just in case anyone from The Sisterhood is reading this and is - rightly - aghast at this blogger's crass and casual sexiness. This is 'humour', it's an English invention in which one says something that one does not, necessarily, mean. For the purposes of merriment and japery. Honest. No, really.)
'Whilst spending the last couple of hours in your delightful company dear Facebook fiends, I've also had one eye on the movie Speed on E4,' this blogger wrote late on Sunday evening after spending about five hours taking non-stop about Jodie Whittaker. 'I don't know if you know the plot. It's about this deranged sneering madman trying to stop a bunch of people from having a good time by blowing up their world and the plucky girl who won't let him get away with it. So, that's the Jodie Whittaker announcement, couldn't tell you what the film is all about.' Laugh, y'miserable sods!
Keith Telly Topping did manage to get himself into one or two minor tiffettes. When one 'Not We' - who is a good lad, incidentally, this blogger hastens to add that - posted: 'It's lovely to see the Doctor Who c*nts [sic] getting into a tizz about something else for a change. They're normally just telling us that football is shit and that the rest of us are really racist or something for liking it,' Keith Telly Topping got his proper and discombobulated sark right-on: 'As a "Doctor Who c*nt [sic]" - and bloody proud of it - who has no problem whatsoever with change in all its forms, loves Jodie Whittaker the mostest, baby, and was a season ticket holder at St James Park for the best part of thirty five years, thank you so much for that incisive and witty deconstruction of the complexities of fandom. I'm sure your own contributions to society are many, and large!' (Hi, Gav!)
There was also a jolly interesting - and, I do mean that - debate which erupted when one of this blogger's American chums posted that she was more 'concerned' about Chris Chibnall's forthcoming role on the show than Jodie Whittaker's. 'Why are you "concerned"?' this blogger asked,genuinely surprised. 'He's a man producing a TV show, what on Earth is there to be "concerned" about? You live in a country with a President who might start World War III at any moment, I think to be honest you've got slightly more important things to be worried about than Chris Chibnall and what he may, or may not, produce on Doctor Who.' This led to an interesting thread. One contributor noted: 'Concerned he'll make the unforgivable pig's ear of Doctor Who that he made of Torchwood, I imagine.' Okay, valid point. 'And that's a "concern"?' this blogger opined in his usual self-righteous and rather annoyingly haughty way which he reserves for those moments when he'd much rather be saying 'listen, just shut up, I am right and you are wrong. End of discussion!' 'The world is full of stuff over which one is entirely justified in being "concerned." I would argue - and others may chose to disagree if they wish, it's a free country - that "a man who may (or may not, we don't know cos he hasn't started work yet) produce a TV show in a way I don't like" really isn't one of them. But, there you go that's me, full of radical suggestions.' And, later, Keith Telly Topping added: 'I'm quite prepared to be disappointed by Chris's take on Doctor Who - particularly as I've been such a big fan of the works of the previous two showrunners. But, and this is the important thing, I'm not going in there expecting to be disappointed. Because, that way, I almost certainly would be. Regardless of how one feels about Chris Chibnall's past work, on Doctor Who and elsewhere, the fact remains that the last thing he wrote and showran was a drama that was massively popular - with, you know, "normal people" - and got many millions of viewers. If he does that with Doctor Who, regardless of whether I like it or not, then he's doing a good job. And that should be the way every single Doctor Who "fan" should feel. To feel any other way would, frankly, be selfish in the extreme.' The other chap did not agree. So, we agreed to disagree. Democracy in action, dear blog reader. Although, Keith Telly Topping is still right and he's still wrong. Or, so yer actual Keith Telly Topping believes.
Obviously, with the Jodie Whittkaer casting being such 'big news' (because, there was nothing else remotely important going on in the world other than an actor being cast in a TV show, was there?) every BBC local radio station in the country dragged their own 'tame Doctor Who fan' out of the cupboard for some quality airtime. Or, if they didn't have one, they interviewed the very lovely Tom Spilsbury from The Doctor Who Magazine instead. This blogger was very much included. Early on Monday morning, Keith Telly Topping had a call from someone at the local radio station asking if he would appear at 9.40am on The Breakfast Show and talk to Keith Telly Topping's old mucker and sometime-writing partner The Legend That Is Alfie Joey about Jodie Whittaker's casting. 'Yes, I'd be quite prepared for that eventually' said Keith Telly Topping, beautifully channelling George Harrison in A Hard Day's Night. 'And, can I ask, are you a Doctor Who fan?" the producer then asked. To which this blogger replied: 'If I'm not then why, exactly, are you ringing me and asking me to go on the radio to talk about it?!' That flummoxed him! Anyway, despite such dreadful impertinence, this blogger did, indeed, appear on BBC Newcastle's Alfie & Anna At Breakfast chatting for a few minutes about the fact that Alfie still owes this blogger a coffee, how great Jodie Whittaker was/is/will be, why all fandoms have a conservative element and are resistant to change, 'The Doctor Template', Twitter not being The Sole Arbiter of The Worth of All Things and why "Whovian" is such a Goddamn hateful word that no one with an ounce of dignity or self-respect actually uses. Except ironically. If you want to check it out - and, if you do, dear blog reader, why for the love of God, why? - it will be available for around the next four weeks here. This blogger is on for about five minutes from, roughly, two hours and forty minutes into the show (just after The Supremes, which seems rather appropriate). And, even if Keith Telly Topping does say so his very self, he was as entertaining a lard!
The Sun and the Scum Mail Online have been accused of being 'reductive and irresponsible' after publishing nude photographs of Jodie Whittaker in articles covering the announcement that she is the new Doctor, according to the Gruniad. And, for once, the Middle Class hippy Communists at the Gruniad are entirely right to be furious in their stroppy indignation and their horror. Reporting the BBC's announcement on Sunday that Whittaker would be the first female Doctor, both publications ran articles about Whittaker appearing naked in her previous acting work, illustrating the stories with stills from the movie in question. Equal Representation for Actresses, a campaign group, said that it was 'surprised and disappointed' by the publications' coverage of Whittaker. This blogger is also disappointed. But, 'surprised'? From the Sun and the Scum Mail? Not really. ERA said: 'We are delighted by the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth Doctor. Or the fourteenth if you count John Hurt. Or ... [continued on page twenty eight]. However, we are surprised and disappointed by the Daily Mail and the Sun's reductive and irresponsible decision to run a story featuring pictures of Jodie in various nude scenes.' The Sun published the photographs under the headline Dalektable. The article covered pages four and five of the newspaper and described Whittaker's 'saucy screen past' with specific reference to her appearance in nude scenes in the - excellent - 2007 movie Venus. The Scum Mail Online's article was headlined Doctor Nude! (I think it's actually the exclamation mark that makes this doubly sneering and offensive). This did also featured naked and topless photos of previous male Doctors, including Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith. The Sun ran a separate news article welcoming Whittaker's casting on its front page, while the Daily Scum Mail did not publish the topless photos in Monday's edition. Because, they're the Daily Scum Mail and they don't do that sort of thing. Except online in the sidebar of shame. Of course all of this is a jolly useful reminder, dear blog reader, that there are some good people in the world, some bad people and then there are some folks who are just bloody scum. And, that most of them work for tabloid newspapers.
The Daily Mirra - which, still hasn't commented on the claims they made, allegedly based on an anonymous (alleged) 'source' six months ago that Kris Marshall would be the next Doctor, for definite, no question - the Daily Scum Express and the Daily Lies also published photos. Theresa May was among those who welcomed the announcement of the first female actor to play The Doctor. Responding to questions about the news, the Prime Minister's spokesman said: 'She was pleased.' Last year May told the Radio Times that she always tried to watch Doctor Who at Christmas 'if possible.' This year, it almost certainly will be possible since the chances of her still being in her current job in December are somewhat remote.
She's gonna be great, dear blog reader. Jodie Whittaker, that is, not Theresa May. Trust this blooger, has he ever led you astray? Okay, don't answer that.
On Monday morning, just before he got the radio call, this blogger was rather disappointed to awake and find that the Interweb hadn't melted overnight. Only, nearly. He was then faced with the actual big question of a Monday morning. Not should The Doctor be a ladygirl a) yes or b) definitely yes. No, it was which of the two programmes he had recorded overnight on Sky, Game Of Thrones or Twin Peaks was he to watch first. That was a toughie. (In the end, he went for Peaks, followed by Thrones. And, both were great, so that was all right.)
In the first three series of the television show Mission: Impossible (1966 to 1969), Martin Landau, who has died this week aged eighty nine, played the ace impersonator Rollin Hand, one of the specialists used by the Impossible Missions Force. Hand was described as' a “man of a million faces.' Landau's own face was instantly recognisable, with its haunted eyes, wide mouth and furrowed brow; even when he broke into a smile, he could seem to be frowning. Martin was disguised beneath heavy make-up for his best known film role, as the horror actor Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994), Tim Burton's biopic of the cross-dressing director of trashy movies. Landau's Lugosi is a tragicomic creation: his wife has left him, he is addicted to morphine and most of Hollywood thinks he is dead. 'This business, this town,' he sighs, 'it chews you up and then spits you out. I'm just an ex-bogeyman.' Martin would have known where Lugosi was coming from. After Mission: Impossible, he had been largely typecast, appearing in genre fare with titles that would have shamed Wood himself (such as 1981's The Harlem Globetrotters On Gilligan’s Island). But his career was rehabilitated by three films for quality directors: Francis Ford Coppola's Tucker: The Man & His Dream (1988), Woody Allen's Crimes & Misdemeanours (1989) and Ed Wood. All three earned Landau Oscar nominations for best supporting actor; the third resulted in victory (over Samuel L Jackson and Paul Scofield, among others). Lugosi was, he said in his speech, 'the part of my life.'
Born in Brooklyn, Martin was the son of Jewish parents, Morris, an Austrian-born machinist who attempted a career as a singer and his wife, Selma. After attending James Madison high school and Pratt Institute, Martin was employed from the age of seventeen as a cartoonist on the Daily News. He worked on Billy Rose's syndicated column Pitching Horseshoes and assisted Gus Edson on the comic strip The Gumps. Although offered promotion at twenty two, he decided to leave the newspaper and concentrate on acting. He juggled a dozen roles in summer stock in New England and auditioned for the Actors Studio in New York: Landau and Steve McQueen were the only two hopefuls admitted from a batch of two thousand applicants in 1955. That year was overshadowed by the death in a road accident of Landau's close friend, James Dean, whom he had met at a TV audition years before. At the Actors Studio, Landau was taught by the best – Lee Strasberg, Elia Kazan, Harold Clurman – and began a relationship with fellow student Marilyn Monroe. They split up after several months; Martin said he found Monroe 'too complicated' and was defeated by her frequent costume changes on their dates. When he became a teacher himself, Landau's students included Jack Nicholson, Anjelica Huston and Harry Dean Stanton. With Mark Rydell, he later ran the Hollywood-based branch of the Actors Studio, set up in 1967. After a handful of TV appearances, Landau broke into film when Alfred Hitchcock saw him on stage in Los Angeles in a touring production of Paddy Chayefsky's Middle Of The Night and cast him for a small, but crucial, role opposite Cary Grant in North By Northwest (1959). When Landau asked why he had been chosen for the role of James Mason's henchman, Hitchcock replied: 'Martin, you have a circus going on inside you.' Landau decided to make the character gay, adding an extra dimension to the relationship between boss and underling.
He came to specialise in a particular type of unsettling, debonair heavy. In the epic Cleopatra (1963), Landau was General Rufio, hailing Rex Harrison's Caesar and doing his dirty work (consulting the auguries, finding the rest of the decapitated Pompey) and later memorably pleading with a bathing Elizabeth Taylor from behind a screen. He had a considerable amount of screen time, yet claimed his best scenes were left on the cutting-room floor. Later came a part as the Jewish high priest Caiaphas in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) and horse operas big and small, including Nevada Smith (1966) with McQueen who was a good friend. In the comedy western The Hallelujah Trail (1965) Martin was a deadpan Sioux tribesman, Chief Walks-Stooped-Over, leading an attack on a wagon train in a fierce sandstorm.
Mission: Impossible brought him primetime exposure and an opportunity to work with his wife, the actress Barbara Bain, whom he had married in 1957. The pilot episode found Rollin disguised as a dictator bent on nuclear destruction. After three - massively popular - series, more than seventy episodes, three EMMY nominations and a Golden Globes award, Martin left the series after a contract dispute. Bain, perhaps inevitably, although she had not been involved in the pay dispute, left with him.
In They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970), Martin was a preacher caught up in a murder investigation undertaken by Sidney Poitier's title character. The film gave him a fiery sermon, delivered with wild eyes and abundant sweat before a packed congregation. He and Bain moved to Britain in the early 1970s to star in the TV series Space: 1999, created by the husband-and-wife team of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Landau was John Koenig, the commander of Moonbase Alpha, a character with integrity, humanity and authority. Martin was proud of how topical events were mirrored in the plots (one episode parallelled Henry Kissinger's role in the Middle East) and enjoyed his time in the UK, but he felt that the series 'became increasingly silly.' Which is true. It does have a cult following, however and this blogger was something of a fan - particularly of the first series and episodes like Dragon's Domain, Black Sun and Alpha Child.
After leaving the show, Martin drifted in disappointing material for the next ten years. Then came Tucker: The Man & His Dream and a role to savour. Landau excelled as Abe, a financier who hustles up the money for an engineer, Preston Tucker (played by Jeff Bridges), to create 'the car of tomorrow, today.' Previously, Landau's height had mostly been imposing. As Abe, he walked with a hunch, as if carrying the weight of his past. Always complaining, Abe is the antithesis of the exuberant Tucker – the same dynamic would exist between Landau and Johnny Depp's characters in Ed Wood. Tucker was not a box-office hit, but Coppola's film put Landau back on the map and he was rewarded with a rich and unusually large role in Crimes & Misdemeanours. Allen cast Landau as Judah Rosenthal, who intercepts a letter from his mistress to his wife and, after grappling with his conscience, sanctions his mobster brother to arrange a professional hit. Judah is an ophthalmologist who feels the 'eyes of God' upon him; and Landau's troubled gaze, upon hearing that his brother has taken care of the situation, is the film's defining image. Off-set by a comic plot involving Allen and Alan Alda, Landau's performance is full of anxiety and panic. Unusually for an Allen film, Landau was shown the whole script before filming began (Allen's actors often just see their own section). He told Allen that viewers must be able to 'identify' with Judah and the character was adapted accordingly.
Another challenging part, as the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal in the TV movie Max & Helen (1990), earned Martin a phone call from Wiesenthal himself: 'I have something to say to you. You were perfect.' After big-budget, bland choices, such as Sliver (1993) and Intersection (1994), Ed Wood gave Landau a dream role, if a daunting one. 'It's a Hungarian morphine addict alcoholic who has mood swings,' he said. 'That would be hard enough, but it has to be Bela Lugosi!' Ten years earlier, Landau had played the character of Dracula on stage with the same script that had been used for Lugosi's theatrical performance in the 1920s. Not only did Landau learn a Hungarian accent for Ed Wood, but he spoke the dialogue as if trying to conceal his heavy accent – just as Lugosi had. After playing Geppetto in a pair of Pinocchio films (1996 and 1999). having a tiny - but memorable - cameo in Burton's Sleepy Hollow (1999) and appearing in the 1998 movie spin-off of the popular TV series The X-Files, Martin took a role in the Capra-esque The Majestic (2001), set against the backdrop of Hollywood in the 1950s. On TV, he was Abraham in an all-star biblical epic, In the Beginning (2000) and had recurring roles in both Without A Trace and Entourage that brought him another EMMy nominations. His greatest later project was the stop-motion animated film Frankenweenie (2012), which again reunited him with Burton. With a heavy accent, Landau was the voice of the sinister science teacher Mister Rzykruski, who terrifies his pupils and has shades of the actor's knockout performance as Lugosi. In Remember (2015), he played an Auschwitz survivor who helps Christopher Plummer with his revenge mission to track down a former Nazi officer. Martin and Barbara Bain divorced in 1993. He is survived by their daughters, Susan, a writer and producer and Juliet, an successful actress best know for her role as the vampire Drusilla in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

... And The Next Doctor Is

So, if you had money on anyone else to get the gig, dear blog reader, tough you've lost.
The very excellent Jodie Whittaker will play the thirteenth Doctor in Doctor Who. Or, the fourteenth, if you count John Hurt. Or, the fifteenth, if you count Richard Hurndall. Or, the sixteenth, if you count David Bradley. Or, the seventeenth, if you count Peter Cushing. Or, the eighteenth, if you count that bloke who played the character on stage in Seven Keys To Doomsday in 1974. Listen, she's playing a Doctor, all right, the actual number is hugely unimportant.
Jodie - the very first ladygirl to play the title role in the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama - is thirty five and was born in Skelmanthorpe, near Huddersfield. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 2005. She made her professional debut in The Storm at Shakespeare's Globe that same year. She has since worked extensively in film, television, radio and te theatre. In her first major break, she played the duel role of Jessie and the title character in the film Venus in 2007. In 2010, Jodie appeared in the movie The Kid and also co-starred in BBC1's Accused. The following year she was superb in a rather good ITV thriller mini-series, Marchlands. She appeared as Viv in the BBC's adaptation of The Night Watch and was in the cult movie Attack The Block. She is probably best known to most dear blog readers for her role as Beth, the mother of murder victim Danny Lattimer, in three series of the hugely popular detective drama Broadchurch (created by her new showrunner on Doctor Who, Chris Chibnall).
Two quick points about Jodie's casting from this blogger; firstly - which newspaper was it that claimed to have 'a source' who was telling them six months ago that Kris Marshall had already joined the Doctor Who cast and would be appearing before the end of the series as the next Doctor? The Daily Mirra wasn't it? They were a far more accurate newspaper when they used to hack people's phones, at least they got one or two stories right in those days. So, would you care to name your alleged 'source', you Mirra-type people? Because he or she was, clearly, lying to you. If he or she ever existed of course. Which he or she almost certainly did not.
Secondly, most of the reactions that this blogger saw in the immediate aftermath of the announcement on Facebook were jolly positive - which, to be fair, Keith Telly Topping kind of expected from the vast majority of the people that he chooses to hang around with on the Interweb. There was, however one particular noxious thread he saw - started, not by one of Those People please note, but rather by a person this blogger has always had a great deal of time for - in which lots of toys were being thrown out of prams and nonsense wittered about 'PC gone mad' and the like. (Interestingly, a phrase which appeared almost word-for-word in a comment posted on the Daily Scum Mail website concerning the possibility of a female Doctor. One wonders if the person who made that comment on Facebook enjoys the idea that they share something in common with a Daily Scum Mail reader. I'm guessing probably not.) The thread, however, now seems to have disappeared. Curiously, it did so almost immediately after this blogger suggested on it that one or two people contributing to it needed to, ahem, 'grow the fuck up' if they were getting so vexed and discombobulated over 'an actor being cast in a TV show.' Is there nothing, dear blog reader, that yer actual Keith Telly Topping can't achieve? Next on his agenda, peace in the Middle East. Give him a couple of hours, he'll have it all sorted ...

Someone on Twitter meanwhile, took four particularly ludicrous Daily Scum Mail reader comments about the potential casting of a woman as The Doctor and has, deliciously, turned them into title captions for the next series. And, already, someone is setting up a podcast called A TARDIS Full of Bras, apparently! This blogger massively approves.
The current era production of Doctor Who - which this blogger thought was great, incidentally - will be coming to an end at Christmas but the team behind the show have no intention to stop working together. Brian Minchin – producer on the BBC's long-running popular family SF drama since 2013 – has been hired by Sherlock producers Hartswood Films, where he will continue to work closely with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE). Minchin's new job is head of drama development at the company's Cardiff production base, Hartswood West, where he will reportedly develop original dramas and work on existing Hartswood projects. 'I've worked very closely with Brian for the last four years on Doctor Who and he's a brilliant and creative producer and a good friend,' said The Moffinator. 'Now that I'm leaving Who to concentrate on Hartswood projects, I couldn't be more delighted that Brian is doing the same.' Steven has already announced he will be developing a new version of Dracula for Hartswood and his Sherlock co-creator, Mark Gatiss his very self. Sherlock producer Sue Vertue serves as producer and board director at Hartswood. The company was originally established by her mother, Beryl Vertue, in the 1980s.
Astronomers say that they have detected 'strange signals' coming from the direction of a small, dim star located about eleven light-years from Earth. Researchers reportedly picked up the mysterious signals on 12 May using the Arecibo Observatory, a huge radio telescope built inside a Puerto Rican sinkhole. The radio signals appear to be coming from Ross One-Two-Eight, a red dwarf star which is not yet known to have any planets orbiting it and is about two thousand eight hundred times dimmer than the Sun. Abel Méndez, an astrobiologist at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, said that the star was observed for ten minutes, during which time the signal was picked up and 'almost periodic.' Méndez said that it is 'extremely unlikely' intelligent extraterrestrial life is responsible, but noted that the possibility 'can't yet be ruled out. The SETI groups are aware of the signals,' Méndez wrote in an e-mail to Business Insider. He added that once translated, the message read 'So, who's the new Doctor then?'
Gwendoline Christie has praised Game Of Thrones for changing the platform for women on television. The actress made the comments during a Thrones special on the Entertainment Weekly Network. 'This was a television show that would put women at the forefront,' she said. 'We were going to explore female characters in a way that conventionally doesn't happen. They wouldn't simply exist as the mother role, the girlfriend role, the wife role, or the sister. They would be people in their own right. I think putting women to the fore is what has changed the platform for television now,' she added.
Poundland has reportedly been forced to delay the launch of a Toblerone copycat after getting stuck in a legal wrangle with the triangular chocolate bar's owners. Last month, the budget chain announced plans to begin selling Twin Peaks, a bar with two humps rather than the distinctive single peak chunks of the Toblerone bar, which is one of the discounter's biggest sellers. Instead of featuring the iconic Matterhorn on its red and gold packaging, the Poundland version featured the Wrekin, a hill in Shropshire near the company's head office and was made in Birmingham rather than Switzerland. At one hundred and eighty grams, it was also thirty grams heavier than the one pound Toblerone currently available. The Twin Peaks bar was initially planned to launch at the beginning of this month and then delayed until the middle of July. The Gruniad Morning Star claimed it is 'understood' that Poundland still plans to go ahead with selling Twin Peaks, but the launch has been delayed after the company received a legal letter from Toblerone telling them to cut it out. A spokesman for Poundland said: 'Twin Peaks is still in development.'
And, speaking of Twin Peaks, there's a great piece by the Gruniad's Tom Huddleston on the best bits of the first nine episode which this blogger urges you to check out, dear blog reader. Keith Telly Topping particularly enjoyed this bit: 'The moment Michael Cera appeared in Twin Peaks – astride a gleaming hog, sounding exactly like Marlon Brando in The Wild One – you could almost hear the global fan community cry out in horror. Twin Peaks is a place for cool kids, dammit, not blockbuster stars! But the bizarre pairing of Lynch and Cera produced a miracle, a rambling monologue that wasn't just funny but loveable, earnest and pointed. There's a message here for the hardcore fans and cosplayers: David Lynch loves you, but doesn't take you as seriously as you take yourselves.
And, this bit: 'Like 'Revolution Number Nine' or the ballet sequence from The Red Shoes, the eighth episode [of Twin Peak: The Return] is destined to go down as one of the most widely experienced works of pure avant-garde art. Within moments of its airing the Internet had exploded. And, although it is possible to pinpoint some of Lynch's influences – Stanleys Kubrick and Brakhage, original eight millimetre atom bomb photography, his own Eraserhead and Dune – the confluence of elements feels completely unique and completely astonishing. There are 'normal' moments – Coop and Ray's night-drive, the flirty fifties teens – but they're islands in an ocean of stark beauty and poetic terror. Let's see mainstream telly try to absorb this.' What He said.
And now, dear blog reader, the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Seven programmes broadcast, week-ending Sunday 9 July 2017:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.97m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.64m
3 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.08m
4 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 5.98m
5 The Loch - Sun ITV - 5.26m
6 Wimbledon 2017 - Fri BBC1 - 4.86m
7 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.81m
8 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.71m
9 Peter Kay's (Lack Of) Comedy Shuffle - Fri BBC1 - 4.67m
10 Fearless - Mon ITV - 4.49m
11 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.36m
12 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 4.20m
13 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.09m
14 Fake Or Fortune? - Sun BBC1 - 3.93m
15 Ten O'Clock News - Thurs BBC1 - 3.91m
16 Joanna Lumley's India - Wed ITV - 3.81m
17 Six O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 3.66m
18 Broken - Tues BBC1 - 3.60m
19 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 3.37m
20 Love Your Garden - Wed ITV - 3.36m
21 Mrs Brown's Boys - Fri BBC1 - 3.32m
22 The Voice Kids - Sat ITV - 3.29m
23 Killer Women With Smug Oily Twat Piers Morgan - Thurs ITV - 3.23m
24 The Week The Landlords Moved In - Wed BBC1 - 3.03m
25 ITV News - Mon ITV - 2.96m
26 The Betrayed Girls - Mon BBC1 - 2.86m
27 The ONE Show - Tues BBC1 - 2.63m
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. Once again, viewing figures were generally down across the board this particular week despite much of the hot weather disappearing as suddenly as it had appeared. The BBC1's latest - not very good at all - music lack-of-talent show, Pitch Battle, continued to be ignored by all but the most un-discerning of punters. An episode of EastEnders, switched to BBC2 due to BBC1's Wimbledon coverage, headed the channel's top thirty programmes list with an audience of 4.15 million. A brilliant figure for BBC2, a rather underwhelming one for an episode of Easties. Wednesday's episode of Today At Wimbledon was the most-watched of the nightly highlight shows with 1,89 million viewers. Ripper Street (1.78m) and the latest episode of Hospital (1.63 million) followed. Mock The Week was watched by 1.56 million, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show by 1.42 million, The Life Swap Adventure by (1.24 million, Dragons' Den by 1.13 million, Flog It! by eight hundred and three thousand, Count Arthur Strong by seven hundred and forty one thousand, Museum Of The Year by seven hundred and forty thousand, Coast by seven hundred and thirteen thousand, Wednesday's Newsnight by six hundred and eighty one thousand and a Qi XL repeat by six hundred and thirty four thousand. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast was for The Crystal Maze Z-List Celebrity Special (2.33 million) ahead of Twenty Four Hours Banged-Up In Pollis Custody (With All The Murderers And The Rapists And The People Who Nick Stuff from ASDA) (2.12 million) and the latest episode of The Handmaid's Tale (1.98 million). Secrets Of China's Forbidden City had 1.95 million, F1: Austrian GP Highlights, 1.86 million, Twenty Four hours In A&E, also 1.86 million, The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.68 million, First Dates, 1.67 million, Ackley Bridge, 1.56 million and Secrets Of Your Cruise, 1.54 million. Odious Eamonn & Horrible Ruth: How The Other Half Lives was Channel Five's top performer with an audience of 1.64 million. The Dog Rescuer With Alan Davies drew 1.47 million, The Hotel Inspector, 1.39 million, All New Traffic Cops, 1.31 million and The Highland Midwife, 1.14 million. The most-watched episode of Big Brother during the week was Thursday's 1.13 million. Paul O'Grady's depressingly awful revival of Blind Date continued to lose viewers at a rapid rate, its fourth episode attracting but 1.03 million - three hundred thousand down on the previous episode as yet more of the audience realised that the Blind Date format was a right load of old toot even when national treasure Cilla was presenting it, let alone yer man O'Grady. Sky Sports 1's coverage of Live British & Irish Lions Tour rugby was seen by eight hundred and fifty two thousand punters. On Sky Sports 2, coverage of Live Test Cricket cricket and England's victory over South Africa in the opening test of the summer had three hundred and seventy one thousand viewers whilst Live T20 Blast was watched by one hundred and ninety eight thousand. Cricket also topped Sky Sport 3's list, highlights of the first test on Sunday evening getting ninety thousand and England's victory over Australia in Live ICC Women's World Cup Cricket being seen by fifty six thousand. And, jolly exciting it was too. Sky Sports 4's Live European Tour Golf - or, Hours Of Televised Sky as it should, more accurately, be called - had eighty two thousand. Tuesday's Sky Sports Tonight was top of the shop on Sky Sports News HQ, with one hundred and thirty thousand punters. Sky F1's coverage of the Austrian Grand Prix was watched by ... some people. Probably quite a few. Because someone at Sky hadn't bothered to get their figures to BARB in time, however, this blogger is unable to tell you exactly how many. The simultcast on Sky Sports 1, on the other hand, attracted two hundred and thirty three thousand punters. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by the start of Ross Kemp: Extreme World with eight hundred and thirty three thousand. The latest episode of that hateful and banal exercise in smugness and celebrity-by-non-entity, A League Of Their Own had seven hundred and thirty two thousand viewers, every single one of whom needs their bloody heads examining for any signs of brain activity if they find this toxic, full-of-its-own-importance vomit even remotely amusing and weren't just watching on the off-chance that either Corden or Whitehall might do something spectacularly stupid which resulted in their extremely painful hospitalisation. That's the only reason this blogger occasionally tunes-in to be fair. Zoo followed (five hundred and twenty eight thousand). The Force: North East was seen by two hundred and eighty three thousand and The Simpsons by two hundred and sixty eight thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by the clip show Game Of Thrones Greatest Moments (two hundred and ninety four thousand) as the channel, like everyone else awaits, eagerly, for the start of series seven. The fourth episode of the much-trailed Riviera had two hundred and seventy thousand whilst Last Week Tonight With John Oliver was seen by two hundred and forty five thousand punters. The latest episode of Twin Peaks: The Return was watched by one hundred and seventy one thousand and The Leftovers by one hundred and fifty thousand. On Sky Living, Madam Secretary was seen by five hundred and seventy nine thousand whilst Nashville had three hundred and sixty five thousand. Criminal Minds drew one hundred and nineteen thousand. Sky Arts' Master Of Photography was watched by ninety eight thousand viewers. The Summer Of Love had forty three thousand and a Classic Albums episode focusing on Cream's Disraeli Gears, thirty seven thousand. Lewis was ITV3's top-rated drama (eight hundred and sixty five thousand viewers). Endeavour was seen by eight hundred and forty nine thousand, Agatha Christie's Marple by five hundred and twenty six thousand and Foyle's War by five hundred and twenty three thousand in the second week in living memory that not a single episode of Midsomer Murders featured in the ITV3 top-ten list. Shocking and stunning, dear blog reader, shocking and stunning. Tour De France Highlights headed ITV4's weekly list with eight hundred and forty eight thousand punters. A broadcast of Jaws attracted three hundred and seventy one thousand. ITV2's list of shame was topped by Love Island - a truly depressing 2.91 million, the highest multichannels audience of the week and one of a horrifying six episodes of the hateful 'z-list celebrity scumfest' to attract an audience of more than two-and-a-half million viewers on ITV2. Broken Britain in one shameful statistic, dear blog reader. The Pop Group were right, we are all prostitutes now. The movie Gravity pulled in seven hundred and twenty two thousand, which does slightly restore ones faith that not everyone who watched ITV2 is a brain-dead glake. Just most of them. The Americans headed ITV Encore's top ten with one hundred and eleven thousand viewers, followed by Vera (eighty six thousand) and DCI Banks (seventy thousand). The Real Housewives Of New Jersey was watched by two hundred and eighteen thousand of the sort of people who enjoy such risible exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. BBC4's list was headed by The Queen Mary: The Greatest Ocean Liner (six hundred and ninety seven thousand punters). Britain Beneath Your Feet had six hundred and twenty thousand and Nature's Great Events, four hundred and sixty seven thousand. Rock 'N' Roll Guns For Hire: The Story Of The Sidemen was seen by four hundred and eighteen thousand, Castles: Britain's Fortified History by four hundred and two thousand, Colour: The Spectrum Of Science by three hundred and seventy nine thousand, a repeat of the excellent Science & Islam by three hundred and seventy two thousand, the latest The Sky At Night by three hundred and fifty three thousand and Horizon, by three hundred and forty three thousand. 5USA's latest Chicago PD episode was viewed by six hundred and one thousand viewers and NCIS: Los Angeles by four hundred and seventy nine thousand. NCIS topped the most-watched programme list of CBS Action (one hundred and thirty six thousand). Shots Fired was the most-watched drama on FOX's viewing list with one hundred and eighty four thousand. Family Guy drew one hundred and forty seven thousand and American Dad!, one hundred and forty two thousand. Ransom was seen by four hundred thousand viewers on The Universal Channel, followed by Chance (one hundred and twenty seven thousand), the movie Sleeping With The Enemy (one hundred and five thousand) and Major Crimes (ninety five thousand). On Dave, Dara O'Briain's Go Eight Bit was watched by four hundred and ninety thousand and Red Bull Soapbox, by four hundred and sixty eighty thousand. Would I Lie To You? attracted three hundred and thirty five thousand. Drama's Death In Paradise was seen by four hundred and eighty three thousand viewers. The Doctor Blake Mysteries was watched by four hundred and fifty six thousand, WPC Fifty Six by four hundred and twenty two thousand and New Tricks by four hundred and one thousand. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries had three hundred and ninety eight thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme was Rosewood (one hundred and eighty seven thousand) whilst Quantico had one hundred and thirty eight thousand, The Coroner, one hundred and thirty thousand and Death In Paradise, one hundred and fifteen thousand. The Sony Channel's top ten was headed by Saving Hope (forty five thousand). Yesterday's Forbidden History had two hundred and fifty six thousand, whilst Battle of Britain attracted two hundred and twenty six thousand and Royal Murder Mysteries, two hundred and twenty one thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Tanked was seen by one hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers. Gold Divers had one hundred and forty two thousand, Devil's Canyon, one hundred and five thousand, Wor Geet Canny Robson Green: Extreme Fisherman, ninety two thousand and Naked & Afraid, ninety thousand. From The North cult favourite Wheeler Dealers topped the weekly list of Discovery Shed (twenty seven thousand) and also appeared in the top ten of Discovery Turbo (thirty eight thousand). Discovery History's The Viet'Nam War headed the top ten with twenty five thousand. Frontline Battle Machines attracted twenty three thousand, whilst Out Of Egypt and America: Facts Versus Fiction both had fourteen thousand. On Discovery Science, How Do They Do It? was seen by forty eight thousand viewers. On Quest, Salvage Hunters was watched by two hundred and thirty thousand. Pick's The Force: Essex and Elementary had audiences of two hundred and ninety one thousand and two hundred and eleven thousand respectively. World's Most Evil & Sick Murdering Bastards had one hundred and eighty four thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by the latest episode of Wicked Tuna with ninety four thousand viewers, followed by Supercar Megabuild (ninety one thousand) and Seconds From Disaster (fifty seven thousand). National Geographic Wild's Safari Live was watched by forty eight thousand. The History Channel's most-watched programmes were the second episode of the much-trailed Robert Redford's The West (two hundred and sixty six thousand) and Forged In Fire (one hundred and sixty five thousand). On Military History, Cowboys & Outlaws was seen by sixty six thousand punters and Ancient Assassins by thirty three thousand. The Jail Atlanta: Sixty Days In, Killing Spree, Most Shocking Murders and Crimes That Shook The Crap Out Of Britain Till It Could Be Shaken No More were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with sixty two thousand, fifty thousand, forty one thousand and forty thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. One of From The North's current guilty pleasures, Homicide Hunter had thirty five thousand. Murder Calls, Evil Online, Murderisation Among Friends and another From The North guilty pleasure, the remarkable Evil Stepmothers headed Investigation Discovery's list (one hundred and one thousand, sixty three thousand, fifty five thousand and fifty one thousand). The latest of GOLD's Mrs Brown's Boys repeat had two hundred and fifty eight thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Your Face Or Mine with two hundred and five thousand. Your TV's repeat of Bones series four continued with one hundred and three thousand. On More4, the British TV debut of Outlander was the highest-rated programme with eight hundred and twenty two thousand viewers. The Yorkshire Dales & Lakes had seven hundred and forty one thousand and The Naked Village, three hundred and twenty seven thousand. E4's list was topped by Hollyoaks (a rather below-par eight hundred and eighty three thousand for a series which normally manages to top the one million viewers mark at least once a week). Dark Matter, headed Syfy's top-ten with two hundred and fifty five thousand. The Horror Channel's top ten was headed by Book Of Blood (one hundred and sixty three thousand). The channel's top-ten also included The Apparition (one hundred and thirty four thousand), Two Thousand & One Maniacs (seventy one thousand) and Forty Days & Forty Nights (sixty thousand). Dick Barton and Scales of Justice topped Talking Pictures list, with forty one thousand and thirty one thousand respectively. On Forces TV, Get Some In! was watched by thirty five thousand whilst a very welcome repeat run of Gerry Anderson's UFO was seen by thirty three thousand. Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away! drew one hundred and sixty thousand on Spike. The classic Western The Big Country had one hundred and fifty three thousand. Extreme Fishing With Wor Geet Canny Robson Green was watched by forty eight thousand on Eden. Bondi Vet was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with sixty five thousand. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders on W attracted three hundred and forty seven thousand punters. True Entertainment's Taggart was watched by one hundred and thirty six thousand murrrrrdaaaaah lovers. James Martin: Home Comforts drew sixty one thousand on Good Food. TLC's list was headed by the woefully nasty Say Yes To The Dress and the equally horrible Curvy Brides Boutique (one hundred and sixty nine thousand and one hundred and sixty seven thousand). Shameful waste-of-oxygen Ex On The Beach on MTV was viewed by five hundred and eighteen thousand. Ghost Adventures and Most Haunted were seen by two hundred and fifteen thousand and one hundred and seventy eight thousand punters on Really. Which, given the subject matter of these two horrorshows should, possibly, be rechristened 'No-Not-Really'. Tom & Jerry attracted seventy three thousand on Boomerang whilst Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! had fifty eight thousand. Like, zoinks. The American Experience topped PBS America's weekly list with sixteen thousand viewers. Proper Rock N' Heavy Metal drew seven thousand on Scuzz. Yes, there really is a channel called Scuzz, dear blog reader and seven thousand punters (with long-hair who enjoy bangin' their collective head) seemingly watch it. Honest. On Cbeebies, Topsy &Tim was seen by four hundred and sixty seven thousand, Octonauts by four hundred and sixty six thousand and Bing by four hundred and forty thousand. Miraculous: Tales Of Ladybug & Cat Noir had one hundred and twenty one thousand on the Pop Channel. This blogger would also love to tell you all what the top-rated show on God TV was, dear blog reader, but it seems The Lord has not supplied his viewing figures for this week. Which, given that he's omni-present is a bit remiss, frankly.

Channel Four has announced a new series of Million Pound Drop but under a new name – The One Hundred Thousand Pound Drop. Budget cuts, eh? Remarkable Television, part of the Endemol Shine Group, revealed that Channel Four Daytime has commissioned a bumper sixty episodes of the game show. The One Hundred Thousand Pound Drop, which will be broadcast in an afternoon slot, sees host Davina McCall returning as 'a raft of brave new contestants' take on 'the dastardly Drop' and attempt to win a jackpot of ... a hundred thousand quid. Since Channel Four can no longer afford to offer a million knicker or anything even remotely like it.
The Football Association has charged the former Sutton keeper Wayne Shaw with breaching betting rules after he ate a pie in the FA Cup loss to The Arse. Shaw resigned after being shown on television eating the pie during February's fifth-round defeat. This followed a leading bookmaker offering pre-match odds of eight-to-one on him doing exactly that. The forty five-year-old has been charged with 'intentionally influencing a football betting market' and 'improper conduct.' Whether the pie also faces charges is not, at this time, known. Following the match, Shaw admitted to being 'aware' of the betting promotion, but claimed that the incident was 'just a bit of fun.' He was also made the subject of an investigation by the Gambling Commission, after Sun Bets claimed to have paid out 'a five-figure' sum for a bet placed on their promotion. 'We are told we are not allowed to gamble as it is full-time professional football,' Shaw told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme at the time. 'In no way did I put anyone in jeopardy of that - this is not the case here, this is just a bit of fun and me being hungry.'
According to this article, after damaging her vocal cords which resulted in her having to cancel a couple of concerts at Wembley earlier this month, Adele is 'still mute and forced to use sign language.' If the situation persists, it will probably mean her next CD would be a bit more experimental than the previous ones.
Tragically, the same condition has not affected Sting.
A woman from Springfield in Oregon was extremely arrested on Wednesday evening and charged with two counts of reckless endangerment after multiple drivers reported a car towing three children - her two-year-old daughter, four-year-old son and eight-year-old nephew - in a small, plastic red wagon going around a busy roundabout multiple times during rush hour. Scott McKee, a spokesperson for the Springfield Police Department, said that Alana Nicole Donahue admitted to officers that she was towing children behind her white Ford Taurus in a wagon attached with a rope. McKee told The Oregonian that Donahue suggested to police that this 'wasn't a big deal,' that she was 'showing the kids a good time' and claimed that she was only driving five miles-per-hour. 'I talked to a witness today that said she saw them go by her house in their neighbourhood and they were going like thirty miles-an-hour,' McKee said. Which suggests that either Donahue is lying or the witness is. Would you like to bet on which is more likely, dear blog reader?
In a press release, police said that a witness reported the youngest child begin to cry after the wagon went up on two wheels during the trip. Other witnesses told officials that Donahue was 'holding up traffic' and then 'yelling at motorists,' telling them to 'get out of her way' and '[mind their own business.' McKee said there was 'pretty heavy traffic' at the roundabout where Donahue was towing the children. 'Given the time of day, it's right at five o'clock, it's a busy intersection,' McKee said. 'It feeds from three different directions.' Drivers reportedly 'became impatient' and some were unable to see what was causing the delay. One motorist told police that they pulled out around a car, almost causing a collision. Officers evaluated Donahue at the scene when she was arrested several hours later. She did not appear to be under the influence of intoxicants. Officers contacted the Department of Human Services who 'placed Donahue's children with another person' whilst Donahue was booked at the Springfield Municipal Jail. If convicted she faces a lengthy spell in The Big House.
A Washington State woman is reportedly in big-style jail facing hate crime charges after her racist tirade against her neighbour was caught on camera. Shalisha Israel, of Spokane Valley, has been charged with three counts of malicious harassment and an additional charge of making a false statement, KREM reports. The cell phone video contained racially-motivated comments such as, 'go back to where you belong' and 'I think you might be terrorists! This is not your America! You are evil!' The suspect also shouted her mistaken belief that the victim was from Egypt. The victim, Nawar Al-Graiti, is a pre-nursing student who was able to immigrate to America from Iraq after his family helped American troops. 'When deputies arrived on scene, Israel came out from her apartment and started yelling at the family as they were talking to a deputy, according to court documents,' KREM reported. 'She also admitted to calling the family terrorists.' The victim said the racial abuse has been 'ongoing' for months. 'First time I avoid her, the second time, third time, fourth time, fifth time. Then I say okay and I told her I am calling the cops next time you talk to me,' Al-Graiti told KREM. 'I got this kind of situation that really makes me feel bad. Why is she doing that?'
The White House on Thursday made public a trove of e-mails that it received from voters offering comment on its Election Integrity Commission. The commission drew widespread criticism when it emerged into public view by asking for personal information, including addresses, partial social security numbers and party affiliation, on every voter in the country. It further outraged voters by planning to post that information publicly. Voters directed that outrage toward the Trump White House and the voter commission, often using profanity-laced language in the one hundred and twelve pages of e-mails released this week. 'You will open up the entire voting population to a massive amount of fraud if this data is in any way released,' one voter wrote. 'Many people will get their identity stolen, which will harm the economy,' wrote another. 'I respectfully request, as an American-born citizen legally eligible to vote for two decades, that you leave my voter data and history alone, do not publish it and do nothing with it,' said another. Unfortunately for these voters - and others who wrote in - the Trump administration did not redact any of their personal information from the e-mails before releasing them to the public. In some cases, the e-mails contain not only names, but also e-mail addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and places of employment of people worried about such information being made available to the public.
A woman is in jail after police claim that she vandalised property in downtown Tulsa. Well, who hasn't idly wanted to at some stage in their lives? Well, this blogger actually since he's never been there. I'm sure, it's lovely. After all, Gene Pitney thought a lot about it. Anyway, police say that Shelly Beekman was threatening people, throwing rubbish bins and breaking windows on South Main Street. As you do. Beekman was extremely taken into custody and booked on a malicious mischief complaint.
A couple ended up in A&E after they attempted to perform the iconic lift from Dirty Dancing ahead of their wedding. Bride-to-be Sharon Price and her fiancee, Andy, were left unconscious after their attempt to create the famous sequence in a beer garden 'went awry.' The pair, who have watched the Patrick Swayze moment 'more than thirty times,' thought it would be funny if they gave it a practice ahead of their big day. And, it was, though admittedly for all the wrong reasons. Things went seriously wrong when they collided – with Andy knocked out and cold and the pair both ending up sprawled on the floor.
A Southampton woman and a Bournemouth man have been arrested after 'a spate of Lego thefts.' Police were first called to the Smyths Toys Superstore in Bournemouth after two men and two women made off with six hundred knicker-worth of Lego without paying. Days later officers were called to a Tesco store in nearby Poole after two women stole four boxes of Lego valued at eight hundred and fifty eight smackers. The police were, frankly, baffled. Ten minutes later police received a further report that four people had pushed three trolleys containing Lego out of a Toys R Us store without paying and 'made off in a Vauxhall Vectra.' Which, as getaway cars go is a pretty piss-poor effort, frankly. The total value of the stolen Lego was said to be over thirty hundred and sixty quid. A thirty eight-year-old man and an thirty eight-year-old woman have now been extremely arrested on suspicion of theft. Active enquiries are ongoing to identify the further suspects. This blogger used to have a fine collection of Lego, dear blog reader. But he stopped playing with it when he was about twelve.
A teenage girl and two teenage boys in Mississippi have been arrested for allegedly forcing a woman to perform oral sex and broadcasting it on Facebook. Mind you, this is according to the Daily Scum Mail so it might be a load of lies. Hayleigh Alexis Hudson, aged nineteen and seventeen-year-old Ezzie Johnson were arrested on Wednesday night after a video of the attack went viral. Kadari Fabien Booker, seventeen, was also arrested. All three remain in Harrison County Jail. The disturbing footage was viewed more than forty seven thousand times before it was taken down.
A Lincoln woman was arrested after leading Nebraska State Patrol troopers on a high-speed chase on Interstate Eighty near North Platte on Friday, according to a news release. Claire Mason, thirty three, was cited for eighteen separate crimes, including fleeing to avoid arrest, a felony and reckless driving after speeding away during a traffic stop and leading troopers on a miles-long chase. A trooper pulled over Mason on westbound I-80 for speeding, according to the release. Mason refused to get out of her car and gave the trooper a false name. She also told the trooper that her license was suspended and she had a warrant for her arrest. Mason then sped off and a pursuit began, with speeds reaching one hundred miles per hour. Troopers used a tire deflator on Mason's car, but even then the pursuit continued for ten more miles. Mason was eventually stopped and very arrested a mile West of North Platte.
Kirsty Allsopp has dramatically announced that she has 'quit Twitter,' five days after she was 'attacked and mocked' for suggesting that keeping a washing machine in the kitchen was 'disgusting.' And, this banal nonsense constitutes 'news', apparently. The Pop Group were right, dear blog reader, we are all prostitutes now.
Meanwhile, This Morning presenter and worthless blonde thing Holly Willoughby also 'landed herself in a bit of bother' this week on social media. Apparently. Over ... something that nobody with more than a couple of braincells to rub together in their head actually gives a bollocks about. So, no change there, then.
A woman from Finksburg, Maryland was arrested after she allegedly assaulted a man with a vacuum cleaner. April Marie Robinson-Hall was charged with one count of second-degree assault. And, another count of possession of s sucking device. Robinson-Hall was initially held without bail, but Judge Brian Green released her on her own recognisance after a bail review. According to the statement of probable cause, Robinson-Hall and the man 'began arguing after he accused her of taking his prescribed medication.' The alleged victim stated that he attempted to leave the premises during the argument, at which point Robinson-Hall 'became physically violent' and struck him 'several times with a vacuum cleaner, injuring his wrist, hand, arm and leg.' The man told police he then left the venue and drove to a police station to report the shocking incident as he could not call to report the incident because he said Robinson-Hall had taken his cellphone. Two Maryland State Police troopers responded to the premises and extremely arrested Robinson-Hall, who allegedly was 'uncooperative' and made 'several threats against the troopers' as she was being taken into custody, according to the statement. A summons was issued the same day on charges of second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer and malicious destruction of property when Robinson-Hall allegedly struck an officer in the face in central booking, damaging the officer's glasses.
A Washington DC judge has tossed out a jury's conviction of a protester who laughed during the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Senate confirmation hearing, finding on Friday that the government had 'improperly argued' during the trial that her laughter was 'enough to merit a guilty verdict.' The judge ordered a new trial in the case, setting a court date for 1 September. Desiree Fairooz, who was associated with the group Code Pink, had been convicted of disorderly and disruptive conduct and demonstrating inside the Capitol. Fairooz was taken into custody during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January after she laughed when Senator Richard Shelby claimed Sessions had 'a clear and well-documented' record of 'treating all Americans equally under the law.' (The Senate rejected Sessions' nomination for a federal judgeship in the 1980s over concerns about his views on race.) But Chief Judge Robert E Morin of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia overturned the guilty verdict on Friday because the government had argued that the laugh alone was enough to warrant the verdict. Morin said it was 'disconcerting' that the government made the case in closing arguments that the laughter in-and-of-itself was 'sufficient.' The rookie officer who seized Fairooz had never made an arrest previously and had 'no experience securing congressional hearings.' Nevertheless, prosecutors pressed forward with the case, insisting that 'laughter is enough' to merit criminal charges of disorderly and disruptive conduct and demonstrating inside the Capitol. Fairooz's attorney had argued that she had the right to object to her arrest as she was being taken out of the room and that a conviction based upon her conduct after the initial laugh 'could not stand.' Attorney Sam Bogash asked the judge to toss out the jury verdict. The jury, Bogash wrote, 'was not reasonable' in its evaluation of the evidence.
A woman has been arrested for entering a family's residence without permission and assaulting a child while yelling 'what sounded like voodoo curses,' according to an arrest affidavit. Sara Aranda, of Leander in Texas has been charged with burglary of a habitation with commission of an assault on a child, a felony that could be punishable up to twenty years in The Pokey. Brandi Duncan reportedly awoke after the woman entered the residence 'without force and began yelling.' Duncan's eleven-year-old son was asleep on the couch when Aranda struck him three times with a wooden stick yelling 'inaudible statements that sounded like she was making voodoo curses.' The child said that when Aranda struck him, she asked who was inside her house. The woman was able to enter the residence since the door was not shut properly. According to the affidavit, the woman 'may have mental health issues' - no shit? - 'based on her demeanour and statements' which 'were not clear or did not make sense.'
According to Fox Five News Atlanta, a woman was arrested after 'attempting to impersonate an undercover federal officer in order to receive a discount at a Chick-fil-A in Marietta.' Tara Marie Solem has been indicted with the charge of impersonating an officer, in addition to disorderly conduct. According to police documents, Solem stated that she 'was entitled to the law enforcement discount,' but company policy requires an individual to be in uniform in order to receive the discount. As a result, Solem entered the fast-food restaurant and 'became belligerent' while speaking with two different managers. She claimed that wearing a uniform could 'blow her cover' or 'possibly get her killed.' She presented a silver badge, but then changed her story, claiming she was 'an agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation,' instead of the 'federal agent' she had claimed to be upon initially requesting a discount. Solem called the corporate office of Chick-fil-A, supposedly reporting herself as 'Agent Solem.' The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has since told police that no agent under that name exists. Unless it's a secret one, of course.
Sometime late on Saturday evening, dear blog reader, From The North had its three millionth individual page hit since this blog started in 2006. I know, I know, 'This Blogger will not celebrate meaningless milestones' and all that. Whatchamagunnag'do?
Still, this singular factoid presumably means that three million individuals have, at one stage or another during the last eleven years, stumbled across From The North in their endless search for porn. Or, alternatively, this blogger's three regular visitors have each clicked on this blog a million times ... because they've got nothing better to do with their time, it would seem. One or the other.