Sunday, August 13, 2017

She'll Be Rising

Jodie Whittaker is, reportdly, 'over the moon' to be playing the first female Doctor in Doctor Who. But, there was, apparently, 'a long gap' between Jodie finding out she had got the job and the news being made public last month. Speaking on ITV's Lorraine this week, the actress confessed that she was under 'a lot of pressure' to keep the news secret and it wasn't easy. During an interview with The Curiously Orange Christine Lampard, Jodie said: 'I didn't know the exact details but I knew there was going to be an attempt at a brilliant reveal and I got so super-paranoid in the lead-up to it. I would panic because I couldn't remember what I was told and what I wasn't allowed to say. I knew the big reveal would happen in July and they wanted it to be an amazing moment for me. So I was lying to everyone left, right and centre. My husband was the only one who knew. But I became so paranoid. I became a massive narcissist thinking everyone was talking about [me]. I would even whisper in my flat because I was worried someone would hear me. I was so melodramatic. Doctor Who has a massive audience and a loyal fanbase,' she added. 'Maybe [the first female Doctor] will open it up to some new younger faces that haven't been introduced to it yet. If I'm the thirteenth Doctor, there's clearly so much more to watch and catch up on. It doesn't matter what age you come into it. You have this amazing wealth of television to watch and for me to be part of that is really emotional and completely overwhelming. When I was first told I got the part, there was no thanks, I just cried. I was like, "Are you kidding?" You can't get a job like this and not be knocked sideways.'
The BBC News website, meanwhile, had thirteen questions for Jodie this week. Interestingly, most of them were actually quite sensible. Which, for the BBC News website these days, is something of an achievement.
Jodie has also revealed that it was Christopher Eccleston who first sparked her interest in Doctor Who. The actress appeared on BBC Radio 2's Saturday Breakfast With Dermot to discuss her exciting new role. She revealed in the interview with Bloody Dermot O'Dreary that she only became familiar with the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama when it came back to TV screens in 2005 when her former Antigone co-star, Big Ecc, took on the role. 'I have to say, I got more into it when it got brought back,' Jodie said. 'Even though I'm thirty five, my interest sparked with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant and Matt Smith and I feel kind of a part of that as well. That's what feels exciting about it, like you can list these thirteen actors and none of us are similar. Even when it's been twelve men, none of us are similar.' Thirteen if you count John Hurt, Jodie - which you really should. Fourteen if you count Richard Hurndall. Fifteen if you count David Bradley.
Still on the subject of Jodie, this article apparently proves that the Torygraph's Adam Smith can transcribe a radio interview, specifically Jodie's appearance on BBC 6Music's Shaun Keaveny Show earlier this week. Being able to copy and paste other people's words is, of course, a really important part of being a stenographer, sorry, journalist these days. It usually involves trawling Twitter in search of the demented ramblings of half-a-dozen malcontents to back up a, pre-determined, agenda-soaked story. To be fair this guy can, seemingly, listen to the radio and type at the same time. One is sure his parents are very proud of him.
Doctor Who fandom is, as we all know, one of the most passionate, opinionated - and occasionally scary - fandoms out there. As he prepares to leave the series, yer actual Peter Capaldi has insisted that any actor playing The Doctor has 'a responsibility' to its followers. Peter spent time on his final day of filming meeting fans and told the Digital Spy website this week that he doesn't consider the extracurriculars of playing The Doctor to be any kind of chore. 'I think that there is clearly a responsibility, which is very easy to address, because people don't really ask very much of you,' he said. 'They just like you to show up and smile at them and be nice. And actually that's an incredibly pleasant place to be, on the other side of that. As a kid, I liked Doctor Who, so I wouldn't have liked to have met [any of The Doctors] and found them to be rather unpleasant, or preoccupied with other things. And it doesn't take much to be friendly. So I just try to be friendly to them, that's all.' It's nowhere in the contract, but The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) agreed that there is 'emphatically' a responsibility to playing The Doctor, one that 'goes on for the rest of [the actor's] life. You will always be an ambassador for the show,' he said. 'I remember us saying that when Matt Smith took over - "You have been rude to your last taxi driver. And we don't mean for the next three years, we mean for the rest of your life!" I remember Matt himself saying, "Imagine how awful it would be if somebody had to carry the memory that [The Doctor] was rude to them. You would remember it on your deathbed, you'd still be thinking about that!" So you have to be [The Doctor] forever and nobody who's played The Doctor has ever thought, "Am I contractually obliged to do this?" - no, it's a role for life.' Mark Gatiss added: 'I remember distinctly reading that Tom Baker had given up smoking in the street, because he couldn't bear the idea of children seeing him like that. Things have slightly changed, but it's the same principle, isn't it? It's an ambassadorial role.'
As he prepares to depart Doctor Who this Christmas after a seven-year showrunning stint, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) has admitted to two regrets. Moffat told the Digital Spy website that there are two monsters he wished he had featured more in the series - one of his own creation and one a classic menace from the 1970s. 'I wish I'd done more with The Autons,' he said. 'I really like them.' The Autons did appear, briefly, in series five's two finale episodes The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang, but haven't featured on the show as a major villain since 2005's Rose. 'I think I should've done some more with The Silence,' Moff added. 'That was a good idea that I didn't revisit, and I don't really know why I didn't. But I did forty two episodes, I co-wrote more again, probably the same again re-wrote, so I think really I've covered everything. I think it was time to get rid of me!' Looking back over his time on the series, Moff cited 'all the shows we made around the fiftieth [anniversary]' as his proudest achievement. 'There was some phenomenal television there - I can now say that. The Day Of The Doctor, An Adventure In Space & Time, Peter Davison's lovely film [The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot], The Night Of The Doctor. All the stuff we did was brilliant. We carried off that fiftieth, we absolutely nailed it. No-one thought we would and we did, and it was great and I'm incredibly proud of that. It was hell [at the time], it was living hell, but it turned out great.' And, while many fans, including this blogger, will be sad to see him go, Steven insists that he is feeling 'fine' about leaving Doctor Who after so long. 'I haven't experienced the melancholy, partly because I'm still on the job, still doing it and the other thing is, honestly, when we stopped shooting the Christmas special. I hadn't known how stressed I'd been since 2009.When that all lifted from me, I just thought, "I don't feel like I've got my head in a vice anymore!" I'm not scheduling my entire life to death, in order to be able to do the work I've got to do. So at the moment, I'm just quite happy. I'll be sad I'm sure, in the future, but right now, bloody hell, is this how the rest of you live? How marvellous!'
Having returned, recently, from a well-deserved family vacation in the US, Steven this week posted to his Facebook fiends a photo of his computer keyboard and the message 'Holiday over. Now I just have to press all these buttons in the right order and it's a hit. Making-up-a-new-show-day!' 'Have you thought about, I dunno, perhaps adapting a late Nineteenth Century literary classic, but setting it in the modern day, to give it a novel postmodern twist?' this blogger asked, rather cheekily (hey, it's ma job, dear blog reader). 'Could be a winner.' The Doctor Who and Sherlock director Doug Mackinnon considered Keith Telly Topping 'might be on to something!' but, added, helpfully that Steven should not 'do Sherlock Holmes though, its been done a million times before.'
Those brain-dribbling hippy Communist nutters - and notorious dog murderers - at PETA have reportedly urged Chris Chibnall to make the new Doctor a vegan. The character is, actually, already a vegetarian - a significant penchant for fish fingers and custard notwithstanding - but the militant animal rights organisation is now requesting that the new Doctor Who showrunner make the Doctor go a step further. To which Chibnall will, hopefully, reply 'yes. As soon as I've finished eating this lovely bacon sarnie.' 'Eating dead animals simply doesn't fit with The Doctor's moral compass since, as Christopher Eccleston so aptly said, the show has "the central message of love for life in all its forms,"' read their statement. 'Animals, like humans, are smart and sensitive and feel pain.' Yes, they do. But, some of them also taste really good.
With spoilers and leaks becoming an ever-present battle for popular television series, Twin Peaks has had a serious discombobulation after one of its episodes leaked a whole week early. Sky has confirmed that its German syndicate, Sky Deutschland, accidentally showed Part Fourteen of the David Lynch and Mark Frost drama on Monday, instead of Part Thirteen which was scheduled to broadcast. The error was picked up on by German fans, who took to social media to complain and Sky later confirmed that it had run the show out of sequence due to a labelling error. 'Due to an accidental wrong labelling of the broadcasting file of a new episode of Twin Peaks, episode fourteen instead of thirteen was available on Sky On Demand in Germany for a short period of time this morning,' a Sky spokesperson told Variety. 'As soon as we got notice, the episode was removed. We apologise for the inconvenience and are working on making the correct episode available for our customers as soon as possible tonight.' After the episode was taken down (there is still some debate as to how long the episode was available for before it was removed), Sky Deutschland issued an on-screen apology to fans saying 'something has gone wrong.'
Speaking of Twin Peaks: The Return episode fourteen, dear blog reader ...
'... And last night, I had another Monica Belluci dream!' Reviews of episode fourteen of Twin Peaks: The Return can be found here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.
The cast of Twin Peaks: The Return - including yer actual Kyle McLachlan and Naomi Watts her very self - have created this short film along with the Vulture website 'in the spirit of the series.' What does it all mean? Perhaps only Bob knows.
If there's one thing that is more exciting than the Game Of Thrones 'Loot Train attack' from last week's episode - with all the burning and death and that - it's a video explaining exactly how the cast and crew managed to make Drogon's Inferno look so utterly realistic. Revealing their secrets - and a serious amount of hard work - in a video for Sky Atlantic, the team behind the scenes explained just how much effort went into creating the battle sequence. Whether they were nailing down 'the right amount of burn,' or keeping tabs on the eight cameras, three tracking vehicles, the 'souped-up drone and, even, a 'theme park ride' used in creating the spectacle, the crew were certainly busy.
'Nothing fucks you harder than time.' Reviews of Game Of Thrones, series seven episode five - EastWatch - can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. That was a bit of a good'un, that was.
It appears that The X-Files is - at least trying - to make a commitment to improving gender equality on its production team, as it has hired two female directors. TV Line reports that the two will direct an episode each of the forthcoming eleventh series of the popular SF drama. The X-Files veteran Carol Banker, who has previously served as script supervisor and director on the show's 1990s spin-off The Lone Gunmen, is one of the new additions. The series also welcomes Holly Dale to its directors list - her previous directing credits include episodes of Quantico, Castle, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Reign.
'Can you think of a good double entendre or shall I give you one?' asked the divine Goddess that is Victoria Coren Mitchell on this week's episode of Only Connect. Given that one of the clues to a later question in the episode was 'anus' and the answer to another was 'tits', this blogger thinks you might want to conquer the single entendre first, Victoria.
TV moment of the week: Great Britain's women's four-by-one hundred metres relay team - who had just won a brilliant silver medal themselves - watching their male counterparts take gold from the USA in dramatic fashion at the World Athletics Championships. Excitement simply doesn't come any more bum-jigglingly excellent than this.
In a fascinating interview with the Gruniad this week, the very lovely Peter Davison spoke, movingly, about his family history and, specifically, his father, Claude, who emigrated to Britain after serving in the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces during the war: 'Deep down he felt like an outsider,' noted Peter. 'Britain wasn't as welcoming as it should have been for him with his dark skin and hair, West Indian accent and gold tooth. After the war, he was technically an alien and had to go to London every few months to sign a form until he got his full citizenship back. I don't think I really appreciated him enough at the time. I loved him because he was my father, but mother was the dominant one - he let her do pretty much everything. So, with my sisters and my mother and grandmother, I think I had a very female-oriented upbringing. My maternal grandfather, Herbert, was more of a presence. We'd go there for Sunday tea and play cards - he'd always cheat, but in a very hammed-up way and that was when you got a glimpse of how much fun he could be.' It's a very good read, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping highly recommends that you to check it out.
Meanwhile, Peter's son-in-law, David Tennant his very self, has followed his immediate predecessor in the TARDIS, Christopher Eccleston, and had his say on Jodie Whittaker's casting. The two, of course, worked together on Broadchurch and David described Jodie as a 'brilliant' piece of casting when he appeared on on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert this week. And, David believes that gender doesn't matter when it comes to The Doctor, but he said that he 'isn't surprised' by the criticism because it happens every time. 'Whenever The Doctor changes, there's a backlash because that's a character people love. So people get very affectionate about The Doctor they knew,' David explained, before joking about the reaction to him being cast as The Doctor. 'They were like, "Who's the weaselly-looking guy? Who's this? I like the last guy. This is not gonna work for me. This show is dead to me. I resign from the Internet. Send!" There was a lot of that.' There was indeed, mostly from exactly the same people who were posting pretty much exactly those kind of comments over Jodie's casting a few weeks ago. 'That happens every time and that's because it's a show that has a lot of enthusiastic followers,' David added. He believes, however, it won't take long for Jodie to win over the majority of her - sight-unseen - critics and to get everyone to 'stop fussing' about her being, you know, a girly. 'Sure, Jodie is from a different gender than anyone who's gone before, but that will be irrelevant almost immediately when she takes the part,' David enthused. 'The Doctor can be whatever he needs to be. It's about finding the right performer at the right time, and that's Jodie without a doubt.'
Bryan Fuller has unveiled a progress report for the fourth series of Hannibal. The showrunner - who is also overseeing the second series of American Gods - has revealed that 'conversations' about a possible fourth series of Hannibal 'have started.' Replying to a fan who asked for an update on news of the drama, Fuller responded by confirming that the De Laurentiis Company, which produces Hannibal, has got the ball rolling. 'Conversations couldn't start until two years after the final airing of season three,' he said. '[We have] started those conversations. This takes time.' Hannibal ran for three series on NBC until it was cancelled in 2015.
Sky's new Tim Roth and Christina Hendricks drama Tin Star looks rather good judging by the - numerous - trailers they've been running of late. In fact, if the broadcaster shows any more new footage in trailers, it might not be worth watching the drama itself since you'll have probably seen more or less everything from the actual episodes themselves.
Yer actual Sean Pertwee has brought his own sensibilities to Gotham's Alfred and fans will finally learn the hidden origins of the character in the forthcoming - and much-anticipated - series four. The actor sat down with the rest of the Gotham cast to talk to the ComicBook.com website's Dallas Jackson at San Diego Comic-Con. It was there that he teased what's coming this series for Bruce Wayne's protector. 'The question like Bruno had, our showrunner and John Stevenson and Danny Cannon sort of broached was why is he there?' said Pertwee. 'I think people sort of got appalled initially, you know, at my sort of bristleiness and nature towards young Master Bruce because that's not the Alfred people expected it to be but he never asked to be a father, he never asked to be there necessarily but he swore an oath. But what is that oath? That's what we're going to discover in season four. We're going to start to see more of Alfred in this.' Sean explained that this take on Alfred definitely fits the show's overall vision. 'That's what I love about the show really. We sort of have to start somewhere. We're seeing people at a time where they've never been seen before and it's called Gotham because it's about how it molds people, ordinary people into becoming extraordinary people.'
Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Four programmes broadcast in the week-ending Sunday 6 August 2017:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 7.29m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.29m
3 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 6.16m
4 Poldark - Sun BBC1 - 6.13m
5 Athletics: World Championships - Sat BBC1 - 6.03m
6 In The Dark - Tues BBC1 - 5.84m
7 BBC News - Sat BBC1 - 5.11m
8 Diana In Her Own Words - Sun C4 - 4.56m
9 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.42m
10 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.12m
11 Who Do You Think You Are? - Thurs BBC1 - 4.10m
12 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.09m
13 Long Lost Family - Wed ITV - 3.96m
14 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 3.93m
15 Watchdog - Wed BBC1 - 3.83m
16 I Am Bolt - Mon BBC1 - 3.41m
17 Orkney: When The Boat Comes In - Mon BBC1 - 3.38m
18 Love Your Garden - Wed ITV - 3.32m
19 Game Of Thrones - Sun Sky Atlantic - 3.04m
20 Inside London Fire Brigade - Thurs ITV - 3.01m
21 Thief Trackers - Thurs BBC1 - 3.00m
22 Athletics: World Championships - Sun BBC2 - 2.97m
23= DIY SOS: The Big Build - Wed BBC1 - 2.92m
23= Film: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince - Sun ITV - 2.92m
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. Don't ask this blogger why, dear blog reader, they just don't all right? Aside from coverage of the World Athletics Championships, the most-watched programme of the week on BBC2 was Inside The Factory with a total audience of 2.77 million punters. University Challenge (2.36 million) and Nadiya's British Food Adventure (2.16 million) followed. Gardeners' World was watched by 2.06 million, The Sweet Makers by 1.79 million, Ten Puppies & Us by 1.76 million, the second episode of Top Of The Lake: China Girl by 1.73 million, Man In An Orange Shirt by 1.49 million, Only Connect by 1.47 million, Billy Connolly: Portrait Of A Lifetime by 1.46 million, Mastermind by 1.44 Millions and Dad's Army by 1.30 million viewers. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast was for Diana: In Her Own Words - hardly a surprise given the amount of pre-broadcast tabloid publicity it had received - ahead of coverage of Women's Euro 2017: England Versus Netherlands (2.74 million) and Old People's Home For Four Year Olds (2.65 million). Nine-Nine-Nine: What's Your Emergency had 2.01 million, The Secret Life Of The Holiday Resort, 1.51 million, The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.19 million, Naked Attraction, 1.16 million, Public Enemies: Jay-Z Versus Kanye, 1.12 million and Location, Location, Location, 1.05 million punters. Z-List Celebrity Big Brother was Channel Five's top performer with an audience of 1.99 million for the Tuesday episode, with the wretched, sinister Victorian freak-show accounting for seven of the top ten programmes on the channel. Broken Britain summed up in one sentence, dear blog reader. Autopsy, All New Traffic Cops and The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies rounded-out a thrilling week's 'entertainment' for Five with audiences of 1.60 million, 1.35 million and 1.27 million respectively. GPs: Behind Closed Doors had 1.20 million and did Monday's Cricket On Five highlights and the conclusion of the fourth England/South Africa test match. With the return of The Championship, Sky Sports Main Event's coverage of the Live EFL: Notlob Wanderings Versus Dirty Leeds United was seen by three hundred and thirty three thousand punters. Friday night's two-goal thrilla at The Stadium Of Plight, The Mackem Filth taking on Derby County, had one hundred and ninety one thousand (and an additional one hundred and thirty three thousand on the Sky Sports Football channel). Aston Villains game with Hull City attracted one hundred and fifty two thousand (plus two hundred and fifty one thousand on Sky Sports Football). Sky Sports Premier League still didn't have any actual Premier League football to show this week so its most watched programme was the welcome return of Gillette Soccer Saturday, with one hundred and thirty four thousand in addition to the two hundred and seven thousand viewers watching the simultcast on Sky Sports News HQ and forty seven thousand watching on Sky Sports Football. On Sky Sports Cricket, Saturday's coverage of Live Test Cricket and England's crushing victory over South Africa at Old Trafford had three hundred and forty four thousand viewers. Thursday's Live T20 Blast was watched by one hundred and twenty nine thousand. Hungarian GP3: Race Two was seen by eighteen thousand on Sky Sports F1. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by Zoo (four hundred and twenty five thousand viewers). The movie Crocodile Dundee II drew three hundred and seventy two thousand. The latest episode of Ross Kemp Extreme World followed with three hundred and sixty thousand. The Simpsons was viewed by three hundred and thirteen thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was, of course, topped by the fourth episode of Game Of Thrones' seventh series - the one with all the burning and the death - with a remarkable 3.04 million viewers, by a huge distance the largest multichannels audience of the week. A Monday night repeat of the previous week's episode attracted 1.09 million whilst Thronecast was watched by seven hundred and twelve thousand. The latest episode of the much-trailed drama Riviera had two hundred and fifty four thousand whilst Last Week Tonight With John Oliver was seen by two hundred and twenty one thousand, Ballers, by one hundred and sixty thousand and Twin Peaks: The Return, by one hundred and fifty two thousand punters. On Sky Living, Chicago Fire drew five hundred and twenty seven thousand whilst Nashville had three hundred and sixty four thousand. How To Get Away With Murder attracted two hundred and eight thousand and UK Border Force, one hundred and sixty thousand. Sky Arts' Andre Rieu was watched by one hundred and twenty six thousand viewers. Coverage of the Cambridge Folk Festival had forty seven thousand viewers as did Discovering Paul Simon. Endeavour was ITV3's top-rated drama (1.04 million viewers). Lewis was seen by eight hundred and five thousand, Foyle's War, by six hundred and three thousand, Midsomer Murders by five hundred and eighty thousand and Agatha Christie's Marple by four hundred and fifty nine thousand. Audi Cup 2017 coverage headed ITV4's weekly list with 1.23 million punters whilst Everton's one-nil victory in Slovakia against Ružomberok FC in the UEFA Europa League followed with four hundred and eight thousand. For once, ITV2's list of shame was not topped by ghastly puddle of rancid phlegm, Love Island since the hateful 'z-list celebrity scumfest' has now, mercifully, ended. Instead, the movies The Hangover Part II and A Bug's Life were watched by seven hundred and eighty six thousand and seven hundred and eighty four thousand respectively. The Americans headed ITV Encore's top ten with ninety eight thousand viewers, followed by Vera (ninety five thousand) and DCI Banks (sixty three thousand). The Real Housewives Of New York was watched by two hundred and fourteen 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 Timeshift: Shipwrecks - Britain's Sunken History (four hundred and ninety seven thousand punters). The latest episode of the Spanish thriller I Know Who You Are had four hundred and ninety two thousand and Ten Things You Didn't Know About Tsunamis, four hundred and seventy six thousand. Explorers - Conquest & Calamity: A Timewatch Guide was seen by three hundred and eighty two thousand. Hyper Evolution: The Rise Of The Robots had three hundred and seventy six thousand, Inside Einstein's Mind: The Enigma Of Space & Time, three hundred and sixty six thousand, Two Types: The Faces Of Britain, three hundred and fifty eight thousand, Horizon, three hundred and forty eight thousand and Frank Skinner On George Formby by three hundred and thirty one thousand. 5USA's latest Chicago PD episode was viewed by six hundred and one thousand viewers, NCIS: Los Angeles by four hundred and eighty thousand, Castle by four hundred and forty four thousand and Law & Order: Los Angeles by three hundred and eighty thousand. NCIS - as usual - topped the most-watched programme list of CBS Action (one hundred and twenty nine thousand). Family Guy was the most-watched show on FOX's list with two hundred and sixty thousand. Shots Fired drew one hundred and sixty nine thousand, American Dad!, one hundred and fifteen thousand and an NCIS series fourteen repeat, one hundred and fourteen thousand. Ransom was seen by three hundred thousand viewers on The Universal Channel, followed by Chance (one hundred and thirty nine thousand) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (eighty nine thousand). On Dave, Qi XL was watched by three hundred and twenty three thousand, Room 101, by three hundred and twenty thousand, Not Going Out, by three hundred and sixteen thousand and Live At The Apollo, by three hundred and nine thousand. Drama's Death In Paradise was seen by five hundred and eighty seven thousand viewers. Murdoch Mysteries was watched by four hundred and twenty eight thousand. Alibi's highest-rated programme of the week was Rosewood (two hundred and twenty two thousand) whilst The Coroner had one hundred and fourteen thousand, Death In Paradise, one hundred and seven thousand and New Tricks, one hundred thousand. Inspector George Gently was watched by seventy nine thousand. The Sony Channel's top ten was headed by Saving Hope (fifty one thousand). [spooks] drew twenty seven thousand and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, twenty one thousand. Yesterday's Impossible Engineering had two hundred and twelve thousand, whilst a repeat of The World At War - a particular favourite of this blogger - attracted one hundred and eighty three thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catch was seen by one hundred and sixty five thousand viewers. Yukon Men had one hundred and fourteen thousand, British Treasure, American Gold, ninety two thousand, River Monsters: Mosquito Special, eighty three thousand and Extreme Car Hoarders, seventy eight thousand. From The North favourite Wheeler Dealers appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (nineteen thousand) and Discovery Turbo (thirty nine thousand). Discovery History's Salvaging The Kursk headed the top ten list with twenty three thousand. Egypt's Mystery Camber attracted twenty one thousand, as did The Mystery Of The Marie Celeste, whilst Titanic: Anatomy Of A Disaster had nineteen thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory was seen by forty eight thousand viewers. On Quest, Aussie Gold Hunters was watched by two hundred and thirty eight thousand. Pick's Warehouse Thirteen had an audience of three hundred and fifty four thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Nazi Megastructures with forty nine thousand viewers, followed by The Search For China's Blue Hole (forty two thousand) and War Heroes of The Sky (forty nine thousand). National Geographic Wild's Badlands was watched by twenty four thousand. The History Channel's most-viewed programmes were the sixth episode of Robert Redford's The West (two hundred and fifty thousand) and Forged In Fire (one hundred and sixty seven thousand). Cowboy Outlaws on the Military History channel was seen by forty thousand punters. Barbarians Rising pulled in thirty four thousand. Most Shocking Murders, Killing Spree, From The North guilty pleasure Homicide Hunter and A Town & Country Murder were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with eighty one thousand, seventy three thousand, forty thousand and forty thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. The Perfect Murder, Murder Calls, Murder Comes To Town and Scene Of The Crime With Tony Harris headed Investigation Discovery's list (sixty six thousand, sixty three thousand, fifty seven thousand and fifty thousand respectively). The latest of GOLD's Mrs Brown's Boys repeat had one hundred and eighty eight thousand. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Friends with one hundred and forty six thousand. Your TV's repeat of Bones series three continued with one hundred thousand viewers. On More4, Outlander was the highest-rated programme with five hundred and ninety one thousand. Volatile Earth: Killer Volcanos [sic] had five hundred and twenty three thousand and The Yorkshire Dales & The Lakes, four hundred and sixty four thousand. E4's list was topped by Made In Chelsea (nine hundred and sixty six thousand glakes), Don't Tell The Bride (nine hundred and forty seven thousand) and Hollyoakes (nine hundred and twenty three thousand). The second episode of Midnight Texas, headed Syfy's top-ten with four hundred and nineteen thousand. The Horror Channel's top ten was headed by Black Death (one hundred and thirty thousand). The channel's top-ten also included Pandorum (one hundred and eight thousand), Urban Legend: Bloody Mary (ninety seven thousand) and Where The Devil Hides (seventy eight thousand). Too Many Crooks, She and The Fast Lady topped Talking Pictures list, with forty nine thousand, forty six thousand and thirty four thousand respectively. On Forces TV, Military Driving School was seen by thirty seven thousand. Need For Speed drew two hundred and seventeen thousand on Spike whilst The A-Team was watched by one hundred and seventy thousand. Walking With Dinosaurs was viewed by forty seven thousand on Eden, whilst Lost Land Of The Jaguar had twenty nine thousand. Alaska: The Last Frontier was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with thirty eight thousand. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders on W attracted three hundred and eighty thousand punters. True Crime's Aphrodite Jones was seen by sixty five thousand viewers and No One Is Safe by fifty two thousand. On True Entertainment, Taggart was watched by one hundred and eighty nine thousand. Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food drew seventy one thousand on Good Food. TLC's list was headed by Outdaughtered: Busby Quints and I Am Jazz (both with one hundred and twenty five thousand viewers). Shameful waste-of-oxygen Ex On The Beach on MTV was viewed by four hundred and ninety five thousand. Ghost Adventures was seen by four hundred and eight thousand and Most Haunted by two hundred and twenty four thousand on Really. Which, given the nature of those two programmes, should probably think about changing its name to No-Not-Really. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! had seventy two thousand viewers on Boomerang. Zoinks. The American Experience topped PBS America's weekly list with twenty two thousand viewers. Explosive Rock Riffs Top Twenty drew ten thousand geet hairy heedbangers on Scuzz. On Cbeebies, Bing was seen by five hundred and thirty eight thousand, Olobob Top by four hundred and ninety two thousand and Sarah & Duck by four hundred and sixty five thousand. Alvinnnn!!! & The Chipmunks had one hundred and fifty four thousand on the Pop Channel. Five Star's most watched show was Wentworth Prison with four hundred and ninety eight thousand. On AMC, Burlesque was seen by fourteen thousand. Hardcore Pawn drew one hundred and eleven thousand punters on Blaze. Botched attracted one hundred and sixty four thousand viewers on E! The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills had one hundred and forty eight thousand on Lifetime. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Richmond Park: National Nature Reserve, were the most-watched shows on London Live with fifty two thousand and fifty thousand respectively. Sister, Sister attracted thirteen thousand on The Vault.

In the US, meanwhile, Game Of Thrones's fourth episode of series seven, The Spoils Of War - the one with all the burning and the death and that - was the popular adult fantasy series' most-watched episode ever at 10.17 million viewers. This topped even the 10.11 million audience for the series seven premiere a few weeks earlier.

A 'dark and adult' TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice is, reportedly, being made by the production team behind Poldark. Although, quite why anyone thinks a 'dark and adult' version of Pride & Prejudice is needed or will find any sort of an appreciative audience is another question entirely. Indeed, The Irish Times journalist Emer Sugrue was prompted to ask that very question pretty much as soon as details of the new production were announced. This will be the sixth TV adaptation of the novel by Jane Austen - plus, the recent and highly successful Keira Knightley big-screen version - but scriptwriter Nina Raine, who is best known as a playwright, says that she hasn't watched any of the others before. This is also the first time that ITV will be making a version of the period drama, all of the previous adaptations having been made by the BBC. It comes twenty two years after the last TV dramatisation, the really popular one starring Colin Firth. Raine, whose play Consent was staged at the National Theatre last year, has been commissioned to adapt the novel by Mammoth Screen, who also made ITV's Victoria. Raine told the Radio Times: 'Pride & Prejudice is actually a very adult book, much less bonnet-y than people assume. I hope I do justice to Austen's dark intelligence - sparkling, yes, but sparkling like granite.' All of which is rather sneery and suggests that Raine does not consider previous adaptations - which, remember, she claims not to have seen - did do justice to Austen. Bit full of yourself there, Nina. You might want to consider that the famous 1995 version, just for one example, was written by Andrew Davies, one of the finest TV writers in the history of the medium. Damien Timmer, the managing director of Mammoth, said it was 'time to bring Pride & Prejudice into the Twenty First Century,' which given that it was written, published and, indeed, set in the Nineteenth Century some may argue is, kind of, missing the point. 'Every generation needs its own adaptation of this perfect novel,' he explained. 'In this age of the box-set - with audiences loving to binge on complex, serialised dramas - it feels absolutely right to reassess the great classics.'
The Crown series two has finally got a release date and a first trailer to go with it. Claire Foy and Matt Smith's second - and final - series hits Netflix on 8 December.
That wonderful actor, Earl Cameron, arguably Britain's first black movie and TV star, celebrated his one hundredth birthday this week with a piece in the Gruniad and an interview with the BBC. 'I never saw myself as a pioneer,' Earl notes. 'It was only later, looking back, that it occurred to me that I was.' Earl becomes the third actor to have appeared in Doctor Who to reach their one hundredth birthday, the others being the late Zohra Sehgal and the late Olaf Pooley. He is the oldest surviving actor to have appeared in the BBC's popular, long-running family SF drama, having a memorable role in the 1966 four-parter, The Tenth Planet. Earl was born in Pembroke, Bermuda. As a young man, he joined the British Merchant Navy, and sailed mostly between New York and South America. When the Second World War broke out he found himself stranded in London, arriving on the ship The Eastern Prince in October 1939. As he himself put it in an interview for The Royal Gazette: 'I arrived in London on 29 October 1939. I got involved with a young lady and you know the rest. The ship left without me, and the girl walked out too!' In 1941, a friend, Harry Crossman, gave Earl a free ticket to see a revival of Chu Chin Chow at The Palace Theatre. Crossman and five other black actors had bit parts in the production. Earl who was working at the kitchen of the Strand Corner House at the time, was fed up with menial jobs and asked Crossman if he could get him on the show. At first Harry told Earl that all of the parts were cast, but a few weeks later, when one of the actors went AWOL, Crossman arranged a meeting with the director Robert Atkins, who cast Earl on the spot. According to Cameron, he had a less difficult time than other black actors because his Bermudian accent sounded American to British ears. For example, the following year, he landed a speaking role as Joseph, the chauffeur in the American play The Petrified Forest . Along with Cy Grant, he is known as one of the first black actors to break 'the colour bar' in the UK film industry. With his appearance in 1951's Pool Of London, Earl became one of the first black actors to take up a starring role in a British film. According to Screenonline, 'Earl Cameron brought a breath of fresh air to the British film industry's stuffy depictions of race relations. Often cast as a sensitive outsider, Cameron gave his characters a grace and moral authority that often surpassed the films' compromised liberal agendas.' His CV also included appearances in Simba, The Heart Within, Sapphire, The Message, Tarzan The Magnificent, No Kidding, Flame In The Streets, Tarzan's Three Challenges, Guns At Batasi, Battle Beneath The Earth, The Sandwich Man, The Queen and Thunderball, in which he played Bond's Caribbean colleague Pinder Romania. In 1956 he had a small part in a BBC drama exploring racism in the workplace, A Man From The Sun, in which he appeared as community leader Joseph Brent. But it was Earl's starring part in the groundbreaking BBC 1960 drama The Dark Man, in which he played a West Indian cab driver in London, that exposed him to a wider audience. The drama examined the reactions and prejudices that his character faced in society. His other television work included Emergency - Ward Ten, The Andromeda Breakthrough, The Prisoner, The Zoo Gang, Crown Court, Jackanory, Dixon Of Dock Green, Neverwhere, Waking The Dead, Kavanagh QC, Babyfather, EastEnders, Dalziel & Pascoe and Lovejoy. A father of six, Earl was made a CBE in the 2009 New Year Honours and currently lives with his second wife, Barbara, in Warwickshire.
BBC News anchor Simon McCoy amused viewers after giving a hilariously lacklustre report on the World Dog Surfing Championships. As he spoke - in a noticeably flat tone - about the San Francisco event on Monday, Simon seemingly struggled to hide his disdain at every utterance of a pun. Sighing at the footage, he said: 'Now, you're watching BBC News, just bear in mind it is August. This does not look like a walk in the park – dog owners and their pets in California have hit the waves in the second annual World Dog Surfing Championships. Here are the pictures.' After another huge sigh, Simon continued: 'The competitors' challenge is to stay afloat on the board. This is in Pacifica near San Francisco but there are also prizes for the best dressed and tandem surfing dogs – the winner of course being crowned ... top dog.' He sarcastically added: 'That's a shame; we've run out of pictures.' Simon, of course, was already something of a cult figure to many media-watchers after his memorably 'tell-it-like-it-is' horror at being stuck in a street outside the hospital that the Duchess of Cambridge was about to give birth in a couple of years ago.
BBC News At Ten viewers allegedly 'got the shock of their lives' when they tuned-in earlier this week, with 'a mystery person' seemingly being caught watching 'something naughty' in the background. Although, quite how Yahoo News know that News At Ten viewers 'got the shock of their lives', they don't say. Did they ask all of them? If so, this blogger didn't get that particular questionnaire. Whilst newsreader Sophie Raworth was highlighting the latest cricket news, she appeared blissfully unaware of what was going on behind her. In the background, one eagle-eyed viewer spotted that a worker was, seemingly, watching something on his or her computer screen that involved a woman's naked breasts. Speaking to the Sun, an alleged - though, anonymous and therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'source' allegedly added that the 'mishap' has 'gone down like a lead balloon' at the BBC, explaining: 'It is totally unprofessional. It beggars belief a sex scene should be played live on-air.' Seemingly, the alleged 'source' allegedly talked in that curiously tabloidese way that no real person does. The BBC have said that they are 'investigating' the incident. And, a day later, it emerged that the 'something naughty' the Sun were so eager to highlight was, actually, a scene from the hit US TV show True Blood featuring the actress Anna Paquin
A BBC News report carried on as usual despite a woman casually exposing her knockers in the background. The, ahem, 'flashing image' occurred on the BBC Spotlight report about The Sidmouth Folk Festival on BBC South West, broadcast live at 6.30pm on Saturday. As a reporter spoke to festival-goers, a woman strolled past in the background and exposed her naked tits, with the BBC crew seemingly not noticing at all going by the way they carried on with their coverage. Which, obviously, gave the Daily Scum Mail something to tut about.
And, if it's not bared-naked ladies, it's swearing. A recent live interview on a local BBC News Channel was 'overshadowed' by a street performer in the background. BBC East Midlands hastily cut its report on police cracking down on street drinkers and beggars in Leicester short when a man - seemingly dressed as a Cyberman in drag - could be heard shouting 'fuck off' very loudly four times at a passer-by. Which was pretty funny, actually. This blogger thinks it's the highly disapproving look on the face of the lady police officer that makes it art.
Richard Hammond is officially back behind the wheel of a car for the first time since his horror crash in Switzerland. The Grand Tour presenter was involved in another serious accident earlier this year while filming the Hemberg time trial in the Rimac Concept One during filming for the second series of the Amazon car show. The car crashed and Hammond managed to escape to safety moments before the car caught fire, but the presenter was airlifted to hospital after the incident, ultimately revealing that he'd fractured his knee and had to undergo several procedures to fix it. Following months of rehab and therapy, Richard has now taken to his, James May and Jezza Clarkson's website to reveal that he finally got back into a vehicle and was on the road again this week. 'Today, I took my First Drive since my recent visit to Shuntsville,' Hamster wrote on DriveTribe. 'This feels better than the first time, maybe better than being seventeen and given the keys to my freedom because, this time, I'm ready. This is beautiful. Thank you, doctors.'
Hamster's oppo, Jezza Clarkson, has revealed that he was told by doctors he could have died after battling pneumonia. The Grand Tour presenter fell ill earlier this month while on the Spanish island of Mallorca - as previously reported by this blog - and has written about his time in hospital in his Sunday Times column. He wrote that he had 'three nights spent spasming in my bed' before a doctor sent him for tests at the hospital. He was then told that he would have to be admitted for 'at least a week,' which he said was impossible. The doctor said: 'If you don't do as I say you will die.' The TV presenter said: 'I'm sure many of you will have found yourself in hospital, not having planned to be there. But for me it was a new experience. And a weird one. Because I was in a room with nothing on the walls except wallpaper, and most of that was coming off.' Jezza has now left hospital, but faces around two months of recuperation. He said: 'This is the problem with hospitals. People who stay in them become institutionalised and incapable of speaking about anything other than what nurse brought what drug at what time. Boredom turns them into bores. And, when they get out, as I have and there is nothing to do for two whole months apart from get better, things are even worse, because all I can talk about is my illness.'
Pop star turned vicar - and, Facebook fiend of this blogger(!) - the very lovely Reverend Richard Coles is the latest contestant to sign up for the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. The former Communards keyboard player said: 'I've been waiting by the phone for eleven years. We had this top secret meeting. I cunningly disguised myself as a cardinal. They said "do you fancy it?" I said "not 'alf." Cometh the hour, cometh the overweight vicar with arthritis in his knees.' So far, one celebrity has been revealed per day for the new series of Strictly, which begins on BBC1 in September. Tess Daly and Claudia Whatsherface will return to host, but it will be the first series without Len Goodman on the judging panel. 'Just to give you a sense of where this is going I had a costume fitting last week where it was discovered that the only Strictly trousers I fitted were Ainsley Harriott's and I'm afraid with my first move I burst them and they had to be repaired with what looked like medical-grade elastic,' Richard added.
Soccer AM presenter Helen Chamberlain is leaving her role on Sky's once very popular football chat show after twenty two years. The Torquay United fan will be replaced by comedian Lloyd Griffith and former footballer Jimmy Bullard. The news was shared by Soccer AM in a tweet which read: 'Farewell and thank you to Mrs Soccer AM. This place won't be the same without you.' Hells Bells joined the Sky Sports show in 1995 and presented it - brilliantly - alongside Tim Lovejoy until he left in 2007. Along with three quarters of the audience at the time, including this blogger. She most recently co-hosted with John Fendley (no, me neither) who will continue to present the show alongside its new hosts.
There's a really very good piece by the BBC's Liam Barnes on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of one of this blogger's literary heroes, the playwright Joe Orton, here which this blogger highly recommends, dear blog reader.
Channel Four's award-winning Valkyrien is a new take on Nordic Noir, moving away from serial killers and the hygge world of popular Scandinavian dramas. The eight-part series follows respected doctor Ravn (played by Sven Nordin) who 'embarks on an unethical mission' to find a cure to save his terminally ill wife and sets up an illegal medical clinic in a disused underground bunker in Oslo. Along with the aid of his former unstable patient Lief (Pål Sverre Hagen), the pair come into contact with criminals, refugees and people known as 'doomsday preppers,' a minority preparing for the end of the world who are shunned from mainstream society, as he treats a growing number of patients who can't or won't seek traditional medical help. 'I thought it was something quite new in Norwegian TV, with its themes about medical science and doomsday preppers – it was something quite new and exciting,' Nordin told the Digital Spy website. 'And something very modern and different from what we normally do in Norway. Yes [people are suffering from Nordic Noir fatigue] and normally when you read a script in Norway, it's Nordic Noir and looking for this serial killer, but this was something quite different and was intriguing and new to me. A lot of young viewers have been watching this and really like it.' Valkyrien – which won Norway's Gullruten Award for Best TV Drama - also plays on the current political instability in Europe, the ongoing threat of terrorism, and the divisive subject of immigration. 'It touches on xenophobia and there are those who are fearful of the future, and we're all in a state of confusion because we have been feeling so safe but suddenly we have terrorism on our doorstep and of course we are frightened,' he said. It was recently reported that the series is being remade in the UK and will be set in London with Mark Strong taking the lead - and Nordin very much approves of the British adaptation. 'I think it's wonderful that someone else is taking it over from a little a country like Norway,' he added. 'To have this interest from abroad is a good thing for us.'
Emmerdale fans were dismayed when the popular character Val Pollard was killed off back in 2015. Wor Geet Canny Charlie Hardwick, who played the village legend, admitted that it was her decision to leave the soap after eleven years. But, during an interview on Good Morning Britain this week, the actress suggested she had second thoughts when she was filming her finale scenes, which saw her character die after a shard of glass in a hall of mirrors fell down on her following an epic helicopter crash during Debbie Dingle and Pete Barton's wedding reception. 'They had to mock up this guillotine and I had to lie in it,' she explained. 'It took so long to film that first night that we went over time and had to call time on it. We tried to film it again the next day. They had to rebuild this prop, find a new location but again, after three times, the guillotine did not work. So I jumped up and said right that's it. Val dying is not meant to be!' Charlie went on to admit that, although leaving Emmerdale was 'the right thing to do in the long-term,' she found her departure incredibly emotional - so much so that she wasn't able to watch her final episode for quite some time. Charlie is now working in theatre and is currently starring in the play Sid & Viv.
Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's proposed takeover of Sky has met with further delays after the government asked the media regulator to 'conduct further analysis' of the mogul and his company's adherence to broadcasting standards, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport made the intervention after the government and Ofcom faced calls to deepen their investigation into the billionaire tyrant Murdoch family's suitability to buy Sky due to allegations that FOX News had colluded with The White House on a story that contained fabricated quotes. The US corporation Twenty First Century FOX, which is controlled by billionaire tyrant Murdoch and his grubby spawn, Lachlan and James The Small, wants to buy the sixty one per cent of Sky which it does not already own in an eleven billion knicker deal. On Tuesday the DCMS said that it had received submissions which raise 'new evidence and/or comment' about Ofcom's assessment of the takeover and was 'seeking further clarification' from the regulator. The department has asked Ofcom to respond by 25 August, meaning that the government is almost certain not to announce a final decision on whether to refer the deal to the Competition and Markets Authority until parliament returns from summer recess in September. The Murdochs have already 'expressed concerns' about delays to the regulatory process and tried to speed it up by not submitting an improved offer to allay the concerns of the government. An improved offer would have required further behind-the-scenes negotiation. Shares in Sky fell by almost five pence to 963.54 pence after the DCMS announcement and are now close to their lowest levels since the Murdochs' takeover bid emerged last December. It is understood that Ofcom has been asked for its comments on 'a range of broadcasting standards issues' and not that one particular piece of evidence has transformed the government's view of the deal. The submissions to the DCMS included the threat of legal action from a group of high-profile MPs including the former Labour leader and longtime Murdoch critic Ed Milimolimandi and Avaaz, the campaign group, if the government did not ask the CMA for a full investigation into the deal on the grounds of broadcasting standards. The MPs and Avaaz have criticised Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - for advising the government not to launch a broadcasting standards investigation despite a sexual harassment scandal at FOX News and the phone-hacking scandal at the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. On Monday the MPs published a new letter they had sent to the vile and odious rascal Bradley which said that the allegations that FOX News had 'colluded' with The White House on a story that turned out to be false - which the company denies - suggested a 'brazen disregard for the ethics of journalism' and showed that new compliance procedures at the company had 'failed dismally.' The MPs said that there were 'grounds to launch a judicial review' against Ofcom because the regulator had used an incorrectly high legal threshold when judging whether the deal should face a detailed investigation into broadcasting standards. The vile and odious rascal Bradley, the lack of culture secretary, has already said that she was 'minded' to refer the deal to the CMA on the grounds of media plurality, pointing to concerns raised by Ofcom in a report about the proposed takeover. The vile and odious rascal Bradley said last month that she had received 'tens of thousands of representations' since she announced her initial views at the end of June. But, the question of broadcasting standards remains open after her intervention; it had been thought that the vile and odious rascal Bradley would not make a reference on these grounds. A separate report by Ofcom cleared the Murdochs as 'fit and proper' owners of Sky and this is not thought to be under scrutiny in the government's latest intervention because it is a matter for the regulator. In its statement on Tuesday, the DCMS said: 'After assessing the large number of representations made in relation to the secretary of state's referral decision, a number of these raise new evidence and/or comment on the Ofcom assessment. Any referral decision by the secretary of state must be taken on the basis of a valid assessment of all the relevant evidence. For this reason the DCMS has asked Ofcom to advise on a number of points arising from these representations.' An Ofcom spokesperson said that the regulator had received the DCMS request and would respond before 25 August. Alaphia Zoyab, a senior campaigner at Avaaz, said: 'Ofcom took a "see no evil, hear no evil" approach to investigating the Murdochs and their fake-news factory FOX News. Under pressure from Avaaz and others, Secretary Bradley is beginning to see just how flawed that approach was. She should push for a deeper probe, and she knows that if she doesn't, a legal challenge is possible.'
Sky could be forced to pay an extra six hundred million knicker annually to retain the lion's share of Premier League matches when the next rights auction launches this year, with Amazon emerging as a potential competitor for the biggest prize in UK sport broadcasting. Google, Apple, Facebook and Netflix are other possible rivals for Britain's most valuable sports rights, which are split between Sky and BT under the current three-year deal. The prospect of a heated auction involving deep-pocketed tech firms has led analysts to estimate that Sky might have to pay a premium of up to forty five per cent on the four billion smackers plus it paid last time. That means a further £1.8bn, or six hundred million quid annually, to keep Silicon Valley off the ball. 'We expect Sky to pay forty to forty five per cent more in the next Premier League rights auction,' Thomas Singlehurst, an analyst at investment bank Citi, who has rounded up his peers' forecasts told the Gruniad. 'The base case consensus [of Sky analysts] is that payments go up by six hundred million pounds a year from the 2019-20 season.' This year there has been significant inflation in the sports rights market: the UK rights to the Champions League rose by thirty two per cent, the England and Wales Cricket board nearly trebled its deal for the England cricket team and the Football League is set to increase its next deal by more than thirty per cent. This month it emerged that Amazon has entered British sports broadcasting by outbidding Sky for the UK rights to ATP World Tour tennis, to go alongside its small deal with the NFL in the US. Amazon's surprise move comes at a perfect time for the Premier League, which has been happily flagging the potential interest of tech groups and streaming powerhouses in a bid to ensure it tops the last auction, when Sky and BT bid £5.14bn for one hundred and sixty eight matches per season over three years. 'It would be daft if we didn't think about how different auctions play out,' said Andy Haworth, the managing director of content and strategy at BT. 'The content market is always evolving with new players entering all the time.' The value of Premier League rights has rocketed five-fold from what seemed a heady one billion notes in 2004. It means that generating a profit from broadcasting top-flight football is no easy business even for global digital giants. The ten million knicker cost of a year of Amazon's ATP tennis deal would buy it about eighty one minutes of one match of the eleven million quid per game Sky pays under its current deal. The next auction will kick-off before the year end with a tender that will outline how many matches are available, over what time period and in how many packages. Last time, Sky won five of the seven packages. The auction is expected to conclude early next year.
CNN has parted company with a conservative commentator after he tweeted a Nazi salute at a prominent liberal critic. Jeffrey Lord tweeted 'Sieg Heil' in response to an exchange with the head of Media Matters for America. Lord later claimed that his comment had been 'misunderstood' and that he was, actually, 'mocking fascists.' A CNN spokesperson said in a statement: 'Nazi salutes are indefensible. Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.' CNN described Lord as one of its best known commentators and the first explicitly pro-Trump commentator to join the network. Lord has regularly sparred with Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America. Things came to a head on Thursday when Lord tweeted at Carusone, linking to a column he had written describing the group as 'Media Matters Fascists, the anti-free speech bigots.' Carusone, whose name had been misspelled as 'Corusone' in the headline, responded: 'Your headline has a mistake in it. Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don't take yourself seriously?' Lord responded with: 'Sieg Heil!' He later defended his actions, claiming that he was mocking Nazis and fascists and criticised CNN's decision to sever ties with him. 'I feel they are caving to bullies here,' he said.
'Men from poor backgrounds are twice as likely to be single in their early forties than those from rich families,' research suggests. And, in other news, seemingly bears do shit in the woods and the Pope is, apparently, Catholic.
The Perseid meteor shower will peak over the weekend, giving stargazers the opportunity to spot scores of shooting stars in the sky. Astronomers say that 'hundreds' of meteors will streak across the sky in a display that may be visible around the world. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every July and August as the Earth passes debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet. The BBC Weather centre said that it would peak from 11pm on Saturday and could be seen in most parts of the UK (for anyone who isn't watching Match Of The Day at the time). However, experts suggest that the Perseids could be harder to see this year as the Moon will be three-quarters full. Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said he was still hopeful of a good display. 'We can look forward to a decent display, even though they aren't going to be raining down from the sky. The Perseids can be very bright and often quite spectacular. Some meteor showers are slow, but we are moving into the Perseid stream so they are coming at us quite swiftly. I think under good conditions you might see one or two a minute, probably more towards Sunday morning rather than Saturday.' But, he said that stargazers might need 'some luck,' adding: 'You could see none at all for a few minutes and then two or three. You might be lucky or unlucky; that's the way with meteors.'
A house-sized asteroid due to pass Earth in October is currently 'damn close,' the European Space Agency says. The asteroid is forecast to speed inside the Moon's orbit at twenty seven thousand - an eighth of the distance between the Earth and the Moon. ESA says that it is far enough to 'just' miss our geostationary satellites orbiting at about twenty two miles. 'It will not hit the Earth, that's the most important thing to say,' claimed Detlef Koschny of ESA's Near-Earth Object Research Team. The small asteroid, about fifteen to thirty metres long, has been named TC4. It first passed Earth in October 2012 at double the distance, before disappearing. The original observations revealed its next approach would be in October 2017, but its orbit meant it could not be tracked. However, the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, in Chile, has now located the rock and determined its distance. 'It's damn close. This is indeed a close miss,' said Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre in Germany. 'As close as it is right now, I think this prediction is pretty safe meaning that it will miss.' ESA said the asteroid's pass is 'an excellent opportunity' to 'assess man's ability to respond' to a 'real asteroid threat.' Although, if it gets any closer, it will also be 'an excellent opportunity' to change ones underwear and start practising duck-and-cover.
Meanwhile, on a somewhat related note, an estate agent has released a map which claims to show the only safe places to live in the event of a global nuclear war. Although Britain is currently believed to be outside the range of North Korean missiles, eMoov has revealed the blast radius of a nuclear strike on twenty major British cities - including the one this blogger lives in - just in case tensions do escalate and one of Trump's preemptive strikes misses its target and hits us by mistake. Skegness, Weymouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Margate appear to be among the only safe places to buy a property if you fear for the Earth's impending doom. EMoov claims that a nuclear strike on London would wipe out most of the commuter belt including the vast majority of Surrey and Essex, as well as towns such as Reading and Romford. The only commutable towns which should be safe from a nuclear attack on London are in the farthest reaches of Kent and Essex. Albeit, one questions whether anyone would wish to commute into London in the event of it being a radioactive blast-site. And, even if one did, it's likely that public transport might, just, be effected by such a happenstance. The average house price in Margate is two hundred and sixteen grand compared to two hundred and nine thousand smackers in Clacton-on-Sea. Elsewhere in the country, Carlisle, Lancaster and Northern Wales offer good value homes safe from nuclear destruction, according to eMoov. The founder and CEO of the company, Russell Quirk, said: 'Luckily, we're out of range from any North Korean missiles, but if the world was to descend into nuclear madness the fall out would mean house prices would probably become irrelevant.' No shit? 'That said, with buyer demand already at explosive levels compared to the ground zero stock levels available, a nuclear war could see these more affordable areas grow in value as demand for a house still standing outside of an impact zone increases.'
China's President Xi Jinping has urged Donald Trump and North Korea to avoid 'words and actions' which worsen tensions. Looks like that ship's already sailed, matey. Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un have been exchanging hostile rhetoric, with the US president threatening to rain 'fire and fury' on North Korea. But China, North Korea's only major ally, has been urging restraint on both sides. A White House statement said that the US and China 'agreed' North Korea must stop 'provocative and escalatory behaviour.' Long-standing tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme worsened when it tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. The regime was also angered by last week's UN decision to increase economic sanctions against it. On Friday Trump issued a fresh threat against North Korea, saying it should expect 'big, big trouble' if, as it had threatened, it targeted the US Indian Ocean territory of Guam. But he added: 'Hopefully, it will all work out. Nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump, that I can tell you.' Here's the thing though, dear blog reader; if you're actually going to bomb somewhere, you just bomb the fucker, you don't announce you're going to bomb it and, thus, give the people you say you're going to bomb time to get their air defences ready. Those two clowns are, seemingly, having a nine-year-olds temper tantrum. 'I'm gonna throw a stone at you.' 'Well, I'm gonna throw a brick at you.' 'Do that and I'll tell my dad.' 'My dad's bigger than your dad.' Et cetera. It'd be quite funny to watch, actually, if only both of them weren't armed with weapons of mass destruction.
Scientists have responded furiously to claims about climate change made in a live BBC radio interview. Experts told the BBC News website that the assertions made by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson - who, like his daughter, has his knockers - on Radio 4's Today programme were 'simply untrue.' Lawson had claimed that global temperatures had 'slightly declined' over the past ten years. Which, they haven't or anything even remotely like it. Scientists working in the field said that the records showed the complete opposite to be the case. Today defended its decision to interview Lawson on Thursday morning in a segment on climate change. The BBC argued that it had 'a duty' to inform listeners 'about all sides' of a debate. During the interview, Lawson claimed 'official figures' showed that 'during this past ten years, if anything average world temperature has slightly declined.' But speaking in a follow-up discussion on Friday morning, Doctor Peter Stott from the UK Met Office said the former Chancellor had got the facts wrong. 'We know that 2016 was the warmest on record, over a degree warmer than late Nineteenth Century levels, so this claim that we heard from Nigel Lawson that there's been cooling is simply not true,' he told the BBC. His view was echoed by Professor Richard Betts from the University of Exeter. 'The official figures do not show that the global mean temperature "has slightly declined." In fact, they show the opposite - global mean temperature has increased during the past ten years,' he said in a statement. 'The last three years were warmer than the previous seven and indeed were the warmest on record and this year is also shaping up to be nearly as warm (probably not quite as warm as last year since the influence of the El Nino has passed, but still a very warm year).' On Thursday, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 2016 State of the Climate report, stating that the year was the warmest in one hundred and thirty seven years of record keeping. All over the planet, the peer-reviewed study found 'strong evidence' of 'ongoing warming linked to human activities.' Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit new highs, as did global sea levels, while at both poles the extent of sea-ice hit new lows. Lawson, who was energy secretary in Margaret Thatcher's government before becoming chancellor - and then, getting sacked - now chairs the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a right-wing 'think-tank' which describes itself as 'open-minded on the contested science of global warming.' He was taking part in a segment following an interview with former US Vice President Al Gore, who was promoting the sequel to his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which made the case for tackling climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels. On the programme, Gore made the economic case for renewable energy and said that 'climate-related extreme weather events have grown far more numerous and far more destructive' in the ten years since the first film. It was suggested to the former Democratic presidential contender that he was 'going further than the scientific consensus' but, he said, researchers around the world were 'virtually unanimous on this and have been for decades,' adding that 'record downpours' in the UK were a direct result of climate change. Lawson was asked why he thought Gore was, in his words, 'talking complete nonsense.' And, Nigel certainly knows all about that. The former cabinet minister said that 'all the experts say there hasn't been' an increase in extreme weather events, citing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But, speaking on Friday morning, Doctor Stott said Lawson was wrong about the IPCC as well. So, at least he's consistent in his wrongness, you have to give the bloke that. The panel had 'clearly indicated' that there had been 'an increase in extreme events' and that these increases were 'linked to human use of fossil fuels. If you take the global picture, the IPCC said, very clearly, that it is very likely that human influence has contributed to observed global-scale changes in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes,' he told Today on Friday. 'If you take the global picture and look at the global fingerprint - yes, you can attribute that.' Many scientists also took to Twitter to express their dismay at the broadcasting of what they say were false claims. Physicist and BBC presenter Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one) said it was 'irresponsible and highly misleading to give the impression that there is a meaningful debate about the science.' Fellow physicist and broadcaster Jim al-Khalili tweeted: 'For Today to bring on Lord Lawson "in the name of balance" on climate change is both ignorant and irresponsible.' He added: 'There should be no debate anymore about climate change. We (the world minus Trump/Lawson et al) have moved on.' In a statement, the BBC said: 'The BBC's role is to hear different views so listeners are informed about all sides of debate and we are required to ensure controversial subjects are treated with due impartiality.'
Television presenter Kirsty Gallacher has been very charged with drink-driving. Police said that the forty one-year-old Sky Sports News presenter, from Virginia Water in Surrey, was arrested in Eton on Saturday. Gallacher has been bailed to appear at Slough Magistrates' Court on 4 September. Thames Valley Police said she was charged with one count of 'driving a motor vehicle when alcohol level was above the legal limit.'

Despite what you may have seen in 1950s movies, it is extraordinarily difficult to create mutant ants. But, not impossible, it would seem. For years biologists have altered the genetics of organisms as varied as mice and rice. Mutant fruit flies are a laboratory staple. But ants' complex life cycle always hampered efforts to grow genetically engineered ants. Until now. On Thursday, two independent research teams described their work deleting ant genes. Two papers chronicling the first mutant ants appeared in the journal Cell, along with a third study that altered ant behaviour using an insect brain hormone. Claude Desplan, a New York University biologist and an author of one of the studies said that, as far as he could tell, these ants are 'the first mutant in any social insect.' Ants have complex social roles, even though members of a colony are genetically very similar. Females may be egg-laying queens or sterile workers, colony cleaners or fierce soldiers. Males, who are little more than sperm-delivery systems with wings - so, much like most men, in fact ... only without with wings - appear only seasonally. To ensure the mutant genes carry on, 'you need to go through the queen,' Desplan said. 'It is not so easy to make queens.' 'There's a lot of interesting biologic questions that you can study with ants that you can't study with fruit flies or even mice,' said Rockefeller University biologist Daniel Kronauer, an author of the other mutant-ant study. If one was to throw a thousand fruit flies into a bucket of dirt, maybe they will fight or copulate, he said. 'But that's about it. Do the same with ants and they'll set to work digging, caring for broods and foraging.' What's more, the insects are prime targets for studies of epigenetics, the external factors that toggle genes on and off. 'Ants are amazing because with the same genome you can be a queen, or a worker, or another class of worker, or a soldier,' Desplan said. Desplan's research group chose to study a species of jumping ant found in India, Harpegnathos saltator, because all of these ants are potentially fertile. Before laying eggs, though, the workers have to become pseudo-queens. If a jumping-ant colony loses its queen, the workers go through a gantlet of ritualised antenna-flailing duels. The victor transforms into a pseudo-queen. Kronauer and his colleagues, led by Rockefeller University graduate student Waring Trible, studied clonal raider ants, Ooceraea biroi. Unlike most ants, the raider ants reproduce asexually, through parthenogenesis. Popularly called virgin birth, it is a phenomenon also seen in some snakes, lizards and sharks. The offspring end up as clones of the females. For both species, the desired result of genetic alteration was the same: creating mother ants that gave birth to future generations of mutants. Both research groups mutated their ants in the same way. Using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, with bacterial molecules acting like scissors to snip out genes, the scientists knocked out a crucial component of the ant's odour receptors. Pheromones, the odours by which ants communicate, are their social medium. Though there are hundreds of olfactory genes in ants, deleting one particular gene - called orco, for odourant receptor co-receptor - effectively renders almost the entire ant olfactory system useless. Removing every individual odour gene would be 'essentially impossible,' Kronauer said. But the power of orco to 'take out the whole family' of olfactory genes makes it an obvious candidate for manipulation. This is why both research groups independently decided to focus on deleting the gene. The insects lost about ninety percent of their olfaction, Desplan said. The behaviour of the mutants changed dramatically. The Indian jumping ants wandered away from the colony and wouldn't forage. If Desplan isolated a mutant jumping ant, the ant still became a fertile gamergate. But these pseudo-queens laid very few eggs and were 'poor mothers.' And, if the mutants belonged to a colony that lost its queen, they didn't partake in the antennae duels. Instead, they only twitched their antennae when alone, as if shadowboxing. Just like David Bowie on the cover of Let's Dance, in fact. The clonal raider ants that couldn't sense pheromones acted strangely, too. Normally, these ants detest the smell of Sharpie marker pens. But the mutants marched over lines drawn in Sharpie without any apparent difficulty. Like the jumping ants, the Ooceraea biroi mutants became antisocial. 'Suddenly, these ants aren't really social any more. They wander off, they don't join the colony,' Kronauer said. 'They just walk around.' Nor did they follow the pheromone trails their brethren left. Stranger things happened, too. One particularly odd loner ant crept into a colony, stole off with an egg and began to groom it with her antennae. All of a sudden she startled. There was no cause for alarm, but the flood of warning pheromones she released sent the rest of the non-mutant colony into something of a tizzy, Kronauer said. Now that scientists know they can alter ant behaviours through their genes, Kronauer plans to study the way colonies divide their labour. Desplan is interested in the way ants alter their longevity, in addition to sensory perception. Workers live to about seven months old. But workers that become pseudo-queens live for about four years on average. That is the equivalent of one human twin living to age eighty five and the other to age five hundred and fifty. 'Expanding by a factor of ten is unheard of,' Desplan said. Workers who become pseudo-queens turn back into workers once they're exposed to queen pheromones. These former queens die within months. That means there must be a reversible genetic switch which controls the ant life span. Other scientists have taken note of the mutant ant models, Kronauer said, including experts who study bees. 'People are very excited,' he said and they have asked whether his lab could help establish a similar protocol in other species. Research such as this opens the door for new model organisms, in Desplan's view. If the traditional bioscience method is to ask many questions of the same organism - such as mice or fruit flies - then genetic engineering techniques allow biologists to ask very specific questions to an animal that fits their needs. If you want to model communities, look to ants. 'Even mice don't have very sophisticated behaviour,' Desplan said. Some entomologists became ant experts because they loved ants. For Desplan, his was a more pragmatic affinity. He has worked with insects as varied as fruit flies, wasps and butterflies. And now, mutant ants. 'We became ant people because we needed to,' he said, 'not because we were born ant people.' You know, like Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee, Garry Tibbs and yours truly. As it were. And, if these model mutants catch on the way Desplan and Kronauer predict, expect the ranks of ant people to swell.
A rare 'pink rainbow' was spotted in the West of England on Monday evening. The phenomenon, seen in Bristol, Taunton and Yate, has been described as an 'optical illusion' by experts. People who photographed it described it as 'amazing' and 'pretty' on BBC Points West's Facebook page. BBC Weather presenter Simon King said that there was 'no specific name' for the phenomenon, which was caused by a regular rainbow and a pink sunset happening at the same time. 'We've got a regular rainbow, which is caused by water droplets in the atmosphere reflecting the sunlight into the spectrum of different colours,' he said. 'The other thing is a pinkish sunset caused by sunlight having to pass through a lot more atmosphere - due to the low sun angle late in the day - hence the shortwave colours - violets, blues, greens - are diminished and we only see the pinks and reds, giving the rainbow a pinkish colour.'
Restaurants in the UAE have reportedly been told to throw out Japanese-made Kikkoman soy sauce due the brand having alcohol in some of its products. The UAE Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said 'several samples of the product with different production dates violated the rules,' a news release read. 'The decision came based on the results of tests conducted by specialised accredited laboratories, which confirmed that several samples of the product with different production dates violated the rules,' the ministry added. The sale of alcohol is controlled in the UAE and only available from special licensed outlets and licensed hotels and bars. Officials said Kikkoman sauce that was specifically produced in Japan was being targeted, suggesting that was the type that contains alcohol. The food manufacturer has production plants and offices in the US, Netherlands, China, Canada, Singapore and Taiwan. Kikkoman sauce is a naturally brewed product like wine or beer. According to the company's website, it is made from soybeans, wheat, salt and water. During the fermentation process, the wheat starches are broken down to sugars and part of the sugar is changed into alcohol. 'The alcohol adds to the aroma and overall flavour of our soy sauce, the company states on its website. And, this blogger, as something of a half-way decent amateur chef with a penchant for Asian food, can confirm that Kikkoman's soy sauce is very tasty.
Fifteen minors who allegedly 'sexually assaulted a donkey' in the small rural town of Sidi Kamel in the Moroccan providence of Sidi Kacem have been treated for rabies infections reportedly received from the animal. The 'sexually frustrated' teenagers stayed at the Mechraa Belksiri Hospital for a week to receive rabies vaccinations after the animal transmitted the disease to them, explained Moroccan daily Al Akhbar. The incident has 'put the families of these fifteen young people into distress and horror,' reports the newspaper. Local authorities have been alerted and are searching to find anyone else who has 'approached and admired' the animal in question closely, in order to limit the risk of rabies spreading among the inhabitants. The occurrence became 'the subject of mockery and ridicule' among the population of the small town, the paper adds. However, it has also become 'a subject of fear and shame for parents who, in the utmost secrecy, hastened to have their children vaccinated in case they had approached the animal.' According to the newspaper, the number of infections 'could be much higher,' as some families preferred to take their children to hospitals outside the region to 'avoid humiliation.' The local authorities ordered the owner of the animal to slaughter it to 'avoid further risk of spreading the disease.'
Two men from Alabama - Darrin Gurliaccio and Jonathan Wright - are facing drug charges after law enforcement say they found approximately 'a pound of pot' in a house only yards away from Hartselle Intermediate School. Morgan County Drug Task Force Agents and Hartselle Police say they 'worked for a month making undercover buys' from the house. Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin stated that the agencies raided the house on Sparkman Street on Thursday morning. They arrested Darrin Gurliaccio for three counts of Unlawful Distribution of Marijuana. They took him back to his residence, where they found Jonathan Wright, who the sheriff's office say had legally changed his name to Yahweh 'at the direction of celestial beings.' They arrested Wright for 'Loitering in a Drug House.' And, being so stoned he does what celestial beings tell him to, probably. The sheriff's office say they found approximately one pound of marijuana along with several thousand dollars and items used in marijuana resale.
On Wednesday, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci - yes, he will do the fandango - accused New Yorker journalist Ryan Lizza of recording him without permission. In a tweet, Scaramucci called Lizza 'the Linda Tripp of 2017' over the explosive interview which, ultimately, cost Scaramucci his job. Which, if one was to take the metaphor to its logical conclusion, would make Scaramucci his very self the Monica Lewinski of 2017. Interesting theory.
At the age of thirty one, Brittany Simpson was being evicted from a very well-appointed home - a million-dollar waterfront mansion in suburban Charleston, South Carolina. But, just days after her parents won an eviction order, 'something inside her snapped,' authorities claimed this week. As other family members slept, Simpson faced her father - film-industry worker Robert Simpson - and fatally shot him in the chest. Then, she tossed the gun and her bloody clothes off the backyard dock - and tried to pin the murder on an intruder, officials said. Authorities said that 'the die was cast' in March, when Simpson's mother sought to have her daughter booted out of the family home by a court order; the eviction was approved in May. The following Tuesday, at 6am, Brittay's younger sister, Brooke, dialled nine-one-one, in hysterical state, according to recordings obtained by the Post & Courier. Asked to describe the emergency, Brooke said, 'I just woke up and I heard a gunshot and my dad is screaming and there's blood everywhere; I think he's been shot.' The father was found dead in the bedroom when paramedics and police arrived. A neighbour told officers of seeing a woman run to the end of the dock and back just before police arrived. The lake was dragged; divers found the weapon and a green bookbag stuffed with a pink T-shirt and Nike shorts, according to court papers. The clothing matched what Brittany Simpson had been wearing earlier that morning in surveillance images from a neighbour's security camera. Within hours, Brittany was extremely in custody and charged with murder. Simpson, a popular high school athlete who had attended the University of Miami and the College of Charleston, had been unemployed recently. Robert Simpson immigrated to Charleston from the UK in 1975, according to his obituary, which described him as 'the life of the party.' A teamster, he was recently a crew member on the upcoming TV series Mister Mercedes, written by Stephen King. 'Rob was passionate about his work in the film industry and was on the cusp of retirement after thirty years,' his obituary reads.
Walmart claims that 'mischief' was the cause of an eyebrow-raising store display that appeared inside one of its locations this week. On Wednesday, a photo of a sign reading 'Own the school year like a hero,' perched above a glass-encased firearm display, spread on social media. People - albeit not anyone that actually matters - claimed to be 'furious' about the juxtaposition of the back-to-school sign and firearms. Walmart immediately condemned the display, issued an apology and called it 'truly awful.' It also said that it would investigate to locate the store in question and find out what had happened. On Friday, Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson confirmed to CNN that the company has determined the incident was 'the result of mischief.' He declined to elaborate, but said that the investigation was conducted by multiple employees who worked 'many hours' to get to 'the bottom of the situation.'
A 'sex-obsessed' - and very naughty - police officer who used his force helicopter to film people having sex has been extremely jailed. 'Team deviant' Adrian Pogmore admitted four charges of misconduct in a public office. He was jailed for a year. Two other officers and two pilots were cleared of misconduct following a three-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court. Pogmore, from Rotherham, was described as 'a swinging and sex-obsessed air observer.' Sentencing him, Judge Peter Kelson QC told Pogmore: 'You spied on and recorded these naked people from a height of one thousand feet. You, quite literally, considered yourself above the law.' The judge described Pogmore as 'a rogue police officer' whose actions had been 'offensive and invasive. In short, you used a two million pound helicopter which costs something like one thousand pounds an hour to run to advance your own sexual curiosities when it should have been detecting crime,' he said. 'Instead of deterring and detecting crime, you were committing crime. So strong were your sexual urges that you were willing to take - and did take - substantial risks of being detected by your colleagues in the helicopter at the time.' The intrusive filming took place on four occasions between 2007 and 2012 when Pogmore was part of the South Yorkshire Police Air Support Unit. The footage included a couple sitting naked by a caravan and a woman sunbathing naked with her daughters. A couple whom Pogmore knew were also filmed having sex on their patio. The judge said that his actions had 'severely damaged public confidence' in the police. One of the women filmed by Pogmore said in her victim statement: 'If you can't trust the police, who can you trust?' Pogmore had been described in court by other members of the air support unit as the 'team deviant.' Although, if they knew that and described him as such then it does, rather, make one wonder why none of them, seemingly, said anything sooner? In mitigation, John Ryder QC, said there was 'a macho culture' in the air support unit which he categorised as 'coarse locker-room humour rather than anything more sinister.' He said that the defendant had admitted what he had done and felt 'a strong sense of shame. He fully appreciates the seriousness of his behaviour,' Ryder said. 'It was utterly irresponsible. It was thoughtless and foolish. But it was not motivated by anything more sinister than that.' The judge said that he took account of Pogmore's twenty two-year police service, which included a number of commendations and said he found it 'an immensely difficult' sentencing exercise. But, he said that Pogmore's actions were a 'gross abuse of trust' and he had to impose a prison term. Pogmore had already been extremely sacked by South Yorkshire Police in 2015 following an internal misconduct hearing.
A man has been arrested by police after footage emerged of a jogger appearing to push a woman into the path of a bus on Putney Bridge. The fifty-year-old was held at a residential address in Chelsea on Thursday morning on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. He was later released whilst inquiries continue, police said. The CCTV footage - widely shared on the Interweb - showed the woman, aged thirty three, narrowly avoiding serious injury due in no small part to the bus driver's quick reactions. On Wednesday, the Met said that it had received 'a huge response' to its appeal for information. CCTV of the incident, which occurred on 5 May, was issued earlier in the week in an effort to trace the jogger after police attempts to establish his identity had failed. The footage showed a man barging the woman to the ground and off the pavement, into the road. The bus can then be seen swerving to avoid the woman's head. Afterwards the driver stopped the bus, at which point several passengers got off and went to help the victim. About fifteen minutes later the jogger reportedly came back the other way across the bridge. The woman, who received minor injuries, tried to speak to him but he did not acknowledge her and carried on jogging. The Met said that the man officers arrested was 'still the subject of investigation' but had not been released on official police bail. On Friday, the Independent reported that the arrested man is 'a millionaire US investment banker' and said that the suspect claimed he was not even in the country at the time the alleged offence took place. Well, that should be easy enough to verify - passport stamps, immigration records, flight ticket details and all that. And, seemingly, it was since he the arrested man has now been eliminated from the investigation. Which, one trusts, should make every media outlet that named this poor chap thoroughly ashamed of themselves. But, of course, it won't.
A twenty five-year-old Key Largo woman found hiding in the bed of a pickup truck after a traffic stop in Plantation Key told a deputy that she was 'just looking at the stars because it was a nice night out,' according to a Monroe County Sheriff's Office arrest report. Bobbi Mahlan was arrested early on Monday on a charge of resisting an officer without violence. According to the report, a deputy driving South on US Highway One noticed a Chevrolet truck coming from under the Snake Creek Bridge. When the deputy initiated a traffic stop, he noticed a woman lying down in the bed of the truck. He asked the woman for her name and why she was hiding, to which she identified herself as Kristina Lynn Haurun from Missouri and claimed to be looking at the stars. The deputy was unable to find anyone by that name during a records search, but a dispatcher advised him to check the database for Mahlan, who was a known associate of the driver. Mahlan's driver's license photograph matched the woman in the bed of the truck. The deputy also learned that Mahlan had an active arrest warrant on a battery charge. After Mahlan was handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car, she told the deputy that she gave him a fake name because she had a warrant.
Thanks to social media, Yakima police have a suspect in the case of a thief who was recorded stealing a newly installed surveillance camera from a non-profit agency. Police received a phone call from a social media user who recognised the man recorded taking the camera from the Yakima Valley Habitat Store, said Police Department spokesman Mike Bastinelli. The man jumped the fence surrounding the non-profit's address on 20 July and was recorded climbing up to the camera to steal it.
A Japanese company is selling what might be one of the most uncomfortable and least practicable pieces of jewellery ever dreamed up. BoDivas, based in Tokyo, is offering the item, which they call the 'Beachtail' and describe as 'sexy charms for bikini crotch'. The metallic charms are meant to be worn through the crotch of bikini bottoms, so the decorations dangle between a woman's legs. And, of course, needless to say the Daily Scum Mail were totally fascinated by this story.
An Arizona woman was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murdering her young cousin. Sammantha Allen was convicted of helping her husband, John Allen, lock ten-year-old Ame Deal in a plastic locker overnight as punishment on 12 July 2011. The Allens claimed to have punished Deal because the girl 'took a Popsicle from the freezer without permission,' the Phoenix New Times reported. Blimey. One wonders what they'd have done if she'd taken two. Ame Deal tragically suffocated and was found dead the following morning as temperatures passed one hundred degrees. Prosecutors said that the box only had small holes near the handles for air. The couple originally claimed that the girl had hid in the box during a game of hide-and-seek and suffocated accidentally. They later confessed to putting the girl in the box and padlocking it shut. During the trial, the court heard about other abuse that Deal was subjected to during her short life. Jurors were told that she was forced to eat dog faeces and walk barefoot on the pavement in one hundred and fourteen degree heat. Sammantha Allen was also found guilty of intentional or knowing child abuse and negligent child abuse, ABC15 reported. Her defence claimed that such harsh and cruel punishments were 'normal' in her own dysfunctional childhood home and said that she 'followed the example' of her mother and Deal's legal guardian, Cynthia Stoltzmann. Stoltzmann and Deal's grandmother, Judith Deal, both admitted to previously locking the girl in the box as punishment. According to CBS, Stoltzmann was convicted of attempted child abuse and sentenced to twenty five years in The Big House. David Deal, the ten-year-old girl's father, also pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse. Sammantha Allen is the third woman on Arizona's death row, the New Times reports. Some reports state that there has been no woman executed in Arizona since the horrific decapitation-during-hanging of Eva Dugan in 1930. Allen dropped her head and burst into tears after jurors announced their verdict in the penalty phase of the trial. 'She didn't care what happened to this child,' said Amanda Keagh, a juror in the trial. 'It was all about what was going to happen to her.' Jurors outside the courtroom claimed that they 'maintained an open mind' throughout the penalty phase of the trial, but ultimately pointed to Allen's demeanour inside the court as 'a major factor' in their decision. 'I think that was a pivotal moment for me,' Keagh said. 'I was waiting for something from her. That was her chance to plead for her life and it just fell short.'
A 'wannabe swinger' burst into tears on live television after he failed to get an erection during an orgy the Sun reports, rather sneeringly. The 'TV flop' - named only as John - 'failed to rise to the occasion' despite being 'embroiled in a steamy threesome with his wife and another beauty,' the Sun claim. John and his wife Lisa were appearing on the Playboy TV show Swing. After five years of marriage they were, they said, hoping for some 'experimental fun.' They were invited to spend a night with a pair of experienced wife-swappers at 'a special house in an undisclosed location.' Although, what, exactly, made the house 'specila', the newspaper do not disclose. 'The night started well when John and Lisa swapped partners for oral sex fun with Swinging experts Nikki and Daniel.' But, 'their decision back-fired big-time when John's manhood remained stubbornly flaccid despite the efforts of both Lisa and Nikki,' the paper continues. After 'his orgy disaster,' John who burst into tears again, claimed his embarrassing performance was 'down to his personality.'
Glenn Moore, on of the contestants of Eden has 'hit out' at Channel Four, saying he didn't sign up to take part in a reality TV show and that he was 'misled' by producers. During an exclusive interview with the Digital Spy website, the IT consultant claimed that he was 'deceived' when he signed up to take part. 'I trusted the people that were making this programme,' he said. 'We were told this was going to be a sixteen-part documentary series, not a reality TV show. A lot of the volunteers are gutted over what's happened.' The programme saw twenty three contestants agree to cut themselves off completely from modern life for a year while living in the Scottish Highlands, which included no contact with family and friends. Instead, they were tasked to build a self-sufficient community away from technology and modern tools, while filming their every movement. The show was first broadcast last year, but quickly disappeared from the schedules. A Channel Four representative has told Digital Spy that 'original plans' to show 'updates seasonally' later 'shifted' to 'recapping all of the events' over a total of five episodes, all of which were broadcast this week. Which is a direct contradiction to statements made by Channel Four earlier this year which claimed that the plan had always been to catch up with the contestants 'in 2017.' The series finally returned to Channel Four almost a year after the last episode was broadcast under the new name, Eden: Paradise Lost, which showed the remaining footage from their year in the wilderness over five nights. 'A five-part reality TV show can't possibly tell our story and everything we went through,' added Moore, miserably. 'There is so much that hasn't been shown. We were out there for a year and it's been cut down to five hours.' Whilst the volunteers were in the wilderness capturing everything on camera, some contestants claim that Channel Four decided to 'axe' its 'original plans' and 'didn't bother' telling them. This is a charge that Channel Four has denied, telling Digital Spy that 'all participants were aware' that the show was not being broadcast seasonally as 'originally scheduled.' But Moore insisted this is not the only reason why he -and other cast members - are angry. 'When we signed up for this, we weren't told it was going to be a year of hell,' he continued. 'We starved on that show - I lost four stone. It was a valuable experience and I loved living in the woods but God I had to make so many sacrifices. I ended a relationship to do this. If I had known it was all for reality TV, I wouldn't have done it. Most of the people wouldn't have.' When Moore finished filming earlier this year, he returned home, he claims, to find he was 'in huge debt' and is now 'struggling to get back on top' of his finances while adjusting back to normal life. 'It's taken me a while to get my head together as you can imagine,' he added. 'I'm trying to make sense of everything. I've come home to council tax bills, debt and I don't have a job. After everything I've been through, I would think very hard before doing anything for TV again.' A Channel Four spokesperson told Digital Spy: 'The five programmes in the series follow actual events and we are satisfied they are fair and accurate in compliance with the Ofcom broadcasting code. Any claim that we have falsely constructed scenes or events is strongly denied; the different dynamics and attitudes between the contributors speak for themselves in the series.'
Let us have a big bloggerisationism appreciation, dear blog reader, for the Portuguese athlete Nelson Évora who won a thoroughly well-deserved bronze in the long jump at the World Athletics Championship this week and managed to complete the entire competition seemingly with a large banana stuck down his shorts. That's a giant Cavendish if this blogger is not mistaken. Anyone with jokes about chimneys or, indeed, Nelson's Column, please form an orderly queue at the door.
An eleven-year-old girl in the Bronx was severely burned earlier this week after a friend dumped a pot of boiling water on her face and back while the girl was sleeping at her friend's house, authorities said. The alleged assault occurred late on Sunday night during a slumber party attended by several other pre-teen girls according to police. During the slumber party, one twelve-year-old decided to dump a pot of scalding hot water on the victim, reportedly as part of 'a game that is sweeping the country called the "hot water challenge."' The game, according to the New York Post, can either involve pouring boiling water on unsuspecting targets or drinking boiling water, then uploading the footage to social media. Both of which sounds like ruddy stupid things to do. Like other supposedly popular teen and pre-teen trends seized on by the media, it is not immediately clear whether this is an actual craze, or simply urban myth-style nightmare fodder for concerned parents. The victim was taken to Harlem Hospital following the ordeal, where she is reportedly in a serious but stable condition. Her mother told NY1 that her daughter is still experiencing a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally. 'She's emotionally messed up,' the mother said. 'She don't understand why they did that to her. She thought they was her friends.' She added that doctors are not allowing her child to even look at the scars. The twelve-year-old who allegedly dumped the boiling water was arrested the following morning and charged with felony assault, police said.
Here's the moment that a massive gas blast reduced a house in Sunderland to rubble and wrecked another was caught on camera. The footage, captured from a camera at Ryhope resident Kelly Rickett's house, shows the explosion and debris flying through the air. A woman survived the blast - which destroyed her house - reportedly because a fridge fell on her, her sister has claimed. Susan Shepherd was pulled from the rubble of her home in Rosslyn Avenue following the explosion on Friday morning. The semi-detached was flattened by the blast and a neighbouring property was heavily damaged. Tracy Tia Judson said her sister suffered minor burns and was able to talk to ambulance staff. Writing on Facebook, Judson said: 'The fridge fell on top of her and saved her life, she's absolutely fine under the circumstances, she's got minor burns to her back, face and arms and her hip might need stitching.'
The Utah Supreme Court has issued a ruling essentially upholding the spanking of a child, as long as 'there is no other evidence of harm or abuse.' In a ruling issued late on Wednesday, the state's top court unanimously reversed an abuse case ruling involving four children and their parents, all of whom were not identified. 'The parties stipulated to a number of findings of fact. One stipulated finding indicated that '[K] also disclosed [Mother] has spanked and disciplined her and her siblings with a belt. The mother uses a black belt with rhinestones. [Father] has spanked the children with a belt historically,' Justice John Pearce wrote. The ruling said that the juvenile court judge overseeing the case 'acknowledged' there 'was a time' when hitting a child with a belt was 'historically deemed appropriate' and 'reasonable discipline.' However, that judge concluded that times have changed and 'it is not acceptable to strike a child and certainly to strike a child, of any age, with an object - a belt, a strap, or a paddle or anything of that nature.' The parents appealed the judge's finding to the Utah Supreme Court. 'More specifically, they argue that the juvenile court erred when it concluded that spanking a child with a belt, without any additional proof of harm, constitutes abuse within the meaning of Utah law,' Justice Pearce wrote. The Utah Supreme Court sided with the parents, saying the decision made by the juvenile court was 'overly broad. The juvenile court's per se rule expands the definition of "abuse" to capture the myriad ways a parent might "hit a child" with "another object" that would not actually harm the child,' Justice Pearce wrote. The justices said that under the juvenile court's finding, a pillow fight, rolled up socks or hitting a child with a 'Nerf sword playfully' could all fall under the definition of 'abuse.' Justice Pearce wrote that the court would need 'more information of harm' before concluding it was, in fact, abuse under Utah law. 'It is unclear how hard Parents hit the children, whether the children suffered emotional or physical pain and whether the children were injured. Without more, the juvenile court was forced to rely on a per se rule that has the potential to sweep non-abusive behaviour into its net,' he wrote. An attorney representing the mother in this case declined to comment when contacted by FOX 13 on Thursday. The Utah Attorney General's Office, which represents the Division of Child and Family Services, said that it was reviewing the ruling. Clayton Simms, a juvenile law attorney not connected to this case, said that the Utah Supreme Court 'essentially' suggested it is 'okay' to thrash your brat to within an inch of his or her life if it can be considered as 'reasonable discipline. It still captures if people go overboard,' he said. 'So, it is not freedom to injure your kid or harm another person. It is just saying if you discipline your kid reasonably, if you spank them in a way that's reasonable discipline.'
Three Bonita Springs teenagers were arrested on Monday after they robbed a man, bragged about it in a video on social media and displayed online the jewellery and cash they had taken, deputies said. Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers announced the arrests in a news release Tuesday. Two seventeen-year-olds and Ernesto Ortiz, aged eighteen, each face a felony charge of robbery with a firearm, according to Lee County Sheriff's Office arrest records. The man had agreed to meet a seller he met online on Monday to purchase a Louis Vuitton belt for two hundred dollars, according to the release. But, when the three teenagers arrived at the Georgia Street location and the man got into the backseat of the car, one of the seventeen-year-olds stuck a gun against the man's rib cage. At the same time, the other seventeen-year-old exited the car and blocked the door to prevent the man from escaping. Ortiz then reached over and pulled two necklaces and a bracelet off the man before stealing several hundred dollars in his pockets. The man then was told to exit the vehicle and the trio drove off. Soon after the robbery, the teenagers posted a video on Snapchat, a social media app which allows users to share photos and videos, bragging about their crime and showing the gun they had used in the robbery and the jewellery and cash taken, according to the release. Which if you Google 'really bloody stupid things to do after you've just committed a crime,' you'll find that one quite close to the top. Investigators quickly identified the three teens - though, they wouldn't have been regarded as very good investigators if they hadn't managed to - due to their prior criminal histories in Lee County and extremely arrested the trio within a matter of hours.
Fire officials in California say that residents of an Orange County apartment which was gutted by fire were burning candles to ward off evil spirits before the blaze broke out. Officials told the Los Angeles Times that people were burning candles and sage before flames erupted on Tuesday night in a Costa Mesa duplex. The fire was 'mostly contained to a bedroom' and was quickly doused. Some residents were displaced but no one was injured. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but fire officials say that people burning candles or using open flames should 'keep a careful eye on them.'
An Irish lawmaker has blamed a damaged road on 'malicious activity by fairies.' Danny Healy-Rae, an independent member of Ireland’s parliament, the Dáil, claimed that a mysterious dip in the N22 road in Kerry, is related to 'the presence of fairy forts,' The Irish Times reported. 'There are numerous fairy forts in that area,' Healy-Rae said on Monday. 'I know that they are linked. Anyone that tampered with them back over the years paid a high price and had bad luck.' The road network in question, he said, passes through an area 'filled with standing stones, stone circles and other ancient monuments' and is 'steeped in fairy folklore.' The dip has reappeared despite a repair effort by the council that Healy-Rae said cost about forty thousand Euros. 'There was something in these places you shouldn't touch,' Healy-Rae said. 'I have a machine standing in the yard right now. And if someone told me to go out and knock a fairy fort or touch it, I would starve first,' he added. In 2007, when a dip first occurred in the road, Healy-Rae - who is definitely not mental nor nothing - asked about the supernatural at a meeting of Kerry council. 'Is it fairies at work?' he asked, in a formal motion authored when he was a councillor. At the time, the council road authorities said the dip was due to 'a deeper underlying subsoil/geotechnical problem.' Healy-Rae has previously sparked controversy with a claim, in 2016, that 'God above' controlled the weather and therefore the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities could not be blamed for climate change.
A KFC diner was, allegedly, 'scarred for life' after suffering 'horrific' second-degree burns when she accidentally spilled boiling hot chicken gravy across her bare lap. Probably a good idea not to do such a thing, in that case. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping who, occasionally, has a KFC and rather enjoys the gravy, usually eats it rather than pouring it over his exposed skin. Beth Smale claims that she was left 'in agonising pain' and required 'weeks of medical treatment' - but she now fears that others could be hurt. Photos show a six-inch blistered wound on Beth's right thigh, which was exposed because she was wearing shorts when she was scalded. The twenty two-year-old was, she claims, 'forced' to a cancel a holiday with her boyfriend because her wound could not be exposed to sunlight and, also, because she felt 'so self-conscious' about the scarring on her leg. Smale said that she was on her way to a family birthday party when she went into a KFC in Bletchley, on Saturday 17 June. She said: 'It was my dad's partner's birthday and we were running a bit behind so popped in there for lunch. We ordered the meal - a bucket of chicken - and got a side of gravy. We were eating in, but they gave it to us as a takeaway and it was in takeaway containers. We went to sit down at the table and as I picked up the gravy, the pot was so hot, it was impossible to touch it. I quickly put it down on the table and it fell on to its side. The gravy - which was so hot it was bubbling - spilled on my leg.' Smale said that she had been wearing shorts and the gravy was only on her leg 'for a few seconds' before she brushed it off. 'By then, my leg was already bubbling, the blisters came up within about five minutes. My partner said, "You can't put ice on it. That can cause more damage," so we went to A&E at Milton Keynes Urgent Care Clinic and they rushed me straight in. The doctor told me I had second-degree burns. It was disgusting - they had to pop all the blisters and rip all the skin off. My skin was still burning underneath, so she had to rip two layers of skin off.' Smale said that she suffered 'weeks' of agony as she recovered from the burn and had to return to the doctors regularly to get the dressings changed. 'The day I got burnt, the doctor told me the temperature of that food must have been way too hot to cause that injury, so she advised me to go back to KFC and fill out an Accident Report Form.' Smale added that she went to complete a form and spoke to a manager who 'didn't apologise' and so she made an official complaint. She received a twenty five smackers voucher - just about enough for a family sized KFC bucket and several sides (including chicken gravy, no doubt) - and, after following up her complaint, heard that KFC's insurance company would not accept liability. Adding: 'I think it's horrendous they're not taking responsibility. I just want to make sure they have a system in place to make sure it can't happen again.'
A woman described her 'horror' after seeing a naked man injecting drugs into his testicles outside the toilets of a Liverpool branch of McDonald's. Merseyside Police confirmed that they were called to the Lord Street branch of the fast food restaurant following reports that a man had exposed himself to a woman. An eyewitness, who told the Liverpool Echo about her shocking ordeal - but did not want to be named - described how the naked man lifted up his genitals and injected himself with a 'drugs' needle in his scrotum. She also claimed that the man was making 'strange' noises throughout the incident. Well, you would do if you stuck a ruddy great needle into your bollocks. I don't know about anyone else but this blogger's eyes are watering at the very thought of it. The man was locked in the toilets by a member of McDonald's staff who then called police. Officers arrived at the restaurant and extremely arrested the man for breaching the peace. The woman, described how she was left 'crying her eyes out' after witnessing the incident, locking herself in a bathroom until she was sure it was all over. She said: 'I go in every morning for my cup of tea before work and I went to use the loo and I just saw the man. He was outside the toilets, completely naked, injecting something into his [scrotum] and making this noise. I don't know if it was a sexual noise or if it was relief from injecting himself but it was just disgusting. It was awful.'
A New Mexico law enforcement officer admits that he 'looked at pictures of naked women on the Internet' whilst on duty, but claims that he was doing so as part of his job. The Albuquerque Journal reports that former Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office Mark Kmatz filed a complaint for employment retaliation on Wednesday against the Bernalillo County Commission. Kmatz claims that he was looking at the naked pictures as 'research' into 'a specific group of individuals with distinct tattoos and piercings.' Kmatz wrote in the lawsuit that he was 'forced' to resign or be 'terminated' and that the nudes were not on pornographic sites.
An Albuquerque man faces disorderly conduct and indecent exposure charges after urinating on a family of three at a Metallica concert in Glendale on Friday, according to court documents. Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers arrested Daniel Francis Daddio, aged forty four, at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The victim family - a ten-year-old girl, her father and his wife - told police that they 'felt warm liquid washing over their backs and legs.' The father said that he turned around and saw that Daddio had exposed himself. When the father confronted Daddio, he shrugged, according to the paperwork. When troopers arrested Daddio, they observed he was very, very drunk.
Investigators say that a suspect accused of burglarising a Southern California home took a bathroom break during his naughty criminal ways and left DNA evidence in the toilet which ultimately led to his arrest. Andrew David Jensen, of Ventura, was arrested on 28 July on suspicion of committing a burglary. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office said that the suspect 'neglected to flush' during the home break-in last October in Thousand Oaks, California. That allowed investigators to collect evidence and conduct a DNA search. This matched another DNA profile in a national database and detectives tracked down the suspect at his home.
Substitute Olivier Giroud headed in a dramatic late winner as The Arse fought back to beat Leicester City in a thrilling start to the 2017-18 Premier League season on Friday evening. The Gunners trailed three-two with seven minutes to go before Aaron Ramsey and Giroud swung the game back in the home side's favour at a euphoric Emirates Stadium. Alexandre Lacazette headed The Gunners ahead ninety four seconds into his top-flight debut, only for Shinji Okazaki to head an equaliser just two minutes later. Jamie Vardy then shot the visitors ahead from Marc Albrighton's cross, before Danny Welbeck drew The Arse level at the end of a pulsating opening half. Leicester took the lead again when Vardy headed in Riyad Mahrez's corner before Arsene Wenger made an inspired double substitution which sparked The Arse's comeback. Substitute Ramsey smashed in an angled drive - from a corner which was won after Mesut Özil appeared to handle in the build-up - before Giroud showed athleticism and strength to meet Granit Xhaka's corner.
On Saturday, nine-man Moscow Chelski FC made a disastrous start to their Premier League title defence as they were beaten at home by Burnley. The champions had Gary Cahill sent off early on for a dangerous tackle and The Clarets made their numerical advantage count as they stormed into a three goal lead before half-time, with Sam Vokes netting twice and Stephen Ward also getting on the scoresheet. Substitute Alvaro Morata fired home on his league debut midway through the second half to reduce the deficit. Moscow Chelski's hopes of mounting a comeback looked to have been ended when Cesc Fabregas was given his marching orders with ten minutes left to play but David Luiz netted two minutes from time to set up a frantic finale. Frank De Boer's Crystal Palace reign got off to a nightmare start as Huddersfield Town stormed to victory at Selhurst Park in their first ever Premier League match. Palace defender Joel Ward turned the ball into his own net to hand The Terriers the lead midway through the first half and minutes later record signing Steve Mounie doubled the visitors' advantage. Mounie capped a dream debut with another goal after the break to earn David Wagner's newly-promoted team an impressive win. Palace fans started the season with renewed optimism amid De Boer's appointment as manager but they will be worried by their woeful performance. Wayne Rooney scored on his second Premier League debut for Everton to earn The Toffees victory against Dirty Stoke City. Jordan Pickford made a brilliant stop late on from Xherdan Shaqiri to prevent a Dirty Stoke equaliser. Mauricio Pellegrino had to settle for a point in his first match as Southampton manager as his side wasted a series of chances against Swansea who failed to muster a single shot on target and will be relieved to have escaped with a point against a Saints side which has now failed to score at St Mary's in five hundred and forty five minutes. Tony Pulis celebrated signing an extended contract in the best possible fashion as West Bromwich Albinos began the new campaign with a one-nil win over Bournemouth at The Hawthorns. New signing Ahmed Hegazi enjoyed a dream debut, heading headed home Chris Brunt's free-kick. Earlier, Watford and the Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws shared six goals in the lunchtime kick-off. The Reds had looked set to take all three points as they twice fought back to lead three-two at Vicarage Road but Miguel Britos' injury-time strike earned the hosts a share of the spoils. In Saturday's evening game, newly promoted Brighton & Hove Albinos were beaten two-nil at home by Sheikh Yer Man City. On Sunday, at a flat and thoroughly dispirited St James Park where just about all of the goodwill from last season's promotion appears to have evaporated in a cloud of lack-of-ambition, this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies were given a damn good hiding by Stottingtot Hotshots. Their cause, sadly, was not helped by that daft glake Jonjo Shelvy moronically getting himself sent off for stamping on Dele Alli. At Old Trafford, The Scum beat West Hamsters United four-nil. So, at least yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies aren't bottom of the league. Yet.
Wandering idly through Th' Toon on Tuesday toward the bank so that this blogger could get some money to buy something for Us Dinner at Stately Telly Topping Manor, Keith Telly Topping only went and bumped into the broadcasting legend that is his former BBC Newcastle colleague Simon Pryde. So, the pair of us had a very productive five minute whinge about how ruddy dreadfully this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies are probably going to do in the Premier League this season without more investment in the squad. As we men do. This blogger was then quoted - twice - on that evening's episode of Total Sport. And, Keith Telly Topping was even quoted more-or-less accurately as well. (What he actually said was 'if somebody gave me a thirteenth place finish now, I'd snatch their hand off!')
Children as young as ten were injured after a brawl broke out between more than two hundred football fans in a coach park. Five people were arrested in the wake of the fight after the Middlesbrough Smog Monsters versus Sheffield United game on Saturday. Cleveland Pollis said that youngsters were 'terrified' by the geet rive-on violence with kids getting sparked and aal sorts, which left one police officer in hospital. Disorder began just before the final whistle when Blades fans - whom this blogger has never particularly liked since one of them pulled a knife on him at at FA Cup Semi Final a couple of decades ago - thought their team had scored a last minute equaliser, only for it to be disallowed. Those held remain in custody while inquiries continue. Cleveland Police Assistant Chief Constable Jason Harwin said that the force would 'absolutely not tolerate violence of this nature.' He added: 'The vast majority of fans accept that football is a family game, watched by children, parents and grandparents. It is terrifying for children to witness such violence, or be innocently embroiled in it as their parents frantically try to keep them safe. Unfortunately a small minority of people behave in a manner which puts innocent fans at risk.' The Smoggies won the Championship game by a single goal.
Glen Campbell, the voice behind 'Rhinestone Cowboy', 'Wichita Lineman' and 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix', has died at the age of eighty one. A representative for Universal, Glen's record label, confirmed the singer's death to Rolling Stone magazine. During a career that spanned six decades, Campbell sold over forty million records. In 1968, one of his biggest years, he even outsold The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might have heard of them). 'It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease,' the singer's family said in a statement. 'Some people have said that I can "hear" a hit song, meaning that I can tell the first time a song is played for me if it has potential,' Glen once said. 'I have been able to hear some of the hits that way, but I can also "feel" one.'
Glen was born in 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas, where the cowshit lies thick the seventh son in a sharecropping family of twelve children. It was a hard, impoverished childhood. 'We used to watch TV by candlelight,' Campbell told Rolling Stone in 2011. In his youth, Campbell started playing self-taught guitar and became obsessed with the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. By the age of ten he was something of prodigy. He dropped out of school when he was fourteen and moved to Wyoming with an uncle who was also a musician, playing gigs together on the honky-tonk circuit at rough rural bars. Glen then moved to Los Angeles and by the early 1960s had solidified a spot in The Wrecking Crew, the legendary group of professional studio musicians much favoured by producers like Phil Spector. In 1963 alone Glen appeared on over five hundred recordings and countless more throughout the decade, including The Byrds' 'Mr Tambourine Man', Elvis Presley's 'Viva Las Vegas', Merle Haggard's 'Mama Tried' and The Righteous Brothers' 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling'. 'I'd have to pick cotton for a year to make what I'd make in a week in LA,' he said. 'I learned it was crucial to play right on the edge of the beat. It makes you drive the song more. You're ahead of the beat, but you're not.' Fellow Wrecking Crew member Leon Russell called Glen 'the best guitar player I'd heard before or since. Occasionally we'd play with fifty or sixty piece orchestras. His deal was he didn't read [music], so they would play it one time for him and he had it.' His guitar featured on many of the landmark recordings of his time. That's Glen's rhythm playing on Frank Sinatra's 'Stranger In The Night' and his ringing lead riff on 'I'm A Believer' by The Monkees.
He also featured, along with many of his Wrecking Crew colleagues, on The Beach Boys' 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds. His association with Brian Wilson was particularly fortuitous. The Beach Boys auteur co-wrote 'Guess I'm Dumb', one of Campbell's early solo singles (a Beach Boys discard which Mike Love, allegedly, refused to sing). Even though the song failed to chart, Campbell joined the band for a five-month tour at the end of 1964 where he replaced Wilson, playing bass and singing falsetto leads, after Wilson suffered a breakdown and refused to go on the road. 'I took Brian's place and I was in heaven then,' Glen remarked. 'He fitted right in,' said Wilson. 'His main forte is he's a great guitar player, but he's even a better singer than all the rest. He could sing higher than I could!' In addition to his session and touring work with others, Glen had been recording a series of singles as a solo artist for several different labels without success. He first came to wider attention via a cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's anti-war song 'Universal Soldier', somewhat ironic given that Campbell's own political views tended towards social conservatism. 'The people who are advocating burning draft cards should be hung,' he infamously said in 1965, a quote which would often be used against him in later years.
All of that studio experience meant that, by 1967, Campbell was a different kind of country artist. Despite several attempts to go solo during The Wrecking Crew years, it took Glen's association with the songwriter Jimmy Webb where he forged his own territory between country and pop. Glen's had his first major crossover hit with 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix', a mature torch song and a twenty four carat pop standard. 'Glen's vocal power and technique was the perfect vehicle for these, in a way, very sentimental and romantic songs. And we made some records that were very nearly perfect. 'Wichita Lineman' is a very near perfect pop record,' Webb recalled. 'I think in the process that Glen was a prime mover in the whole creation of the country crossover phenomenon that made the careers of Kenny Rogers and many other artists possible.' Songs like 'Wichita Lineman', 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix', 'Galveston' and 'Where's The Playground, 'Susie? told strong narratives, were draped in melancholy and through the use of stirring string arrangements, transported the listener into three-minute dramas which had a cinematic sweep. Campbell credited the fact that he and Webb grew up within one hundred and fifty miles of each another as one of the reasons why they had similar sensibilities. 'That's what we grew up with – the good songs, the good lyrics, the good big-band stuff. I miss that era,' Glen told the Guardian in 2005. Webb's 'melodies and chord progressions were as good as anything I'd ever heard.'
'Phoenix' kicked off a close working relationship between singer and songwriter which included the haunting Viet'nam War ballad 'Galveston' and the devastatingly beautiful 'Wichita Lineman', Campbell's first top ten hit and a song which includes one of the finest lyrics in all pop music: 'And I need you more than want you/And I want you for all time.' During this period, Glen had additional hits with songs written by other writers, including the tender 'Gentle On My Mind' and 'I Wanna Live' and also recorded a highly-regarded LP of duets with the singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry (another particular favourite of this blogger), including the singles 'Let It Be Me' and 'All I Have To Do Is Dream'.
With swelling orchestral arrangements and slick production, these songs weren't exactly considered the height of cool in the Sixties. 'They felt packaged for a middle-of-the-road, older crowd,' noted Tom Petty. 'At first, you go, "Oh, I don't know about that." But it was such pure, good stuff that you had to put off your prejudices and learn to love it. It taught me not to have those prejudices.' As the Woodstock generation emerged and tastes changed, Campbell remained deceptively clean-cut despite his own - usually well-hidden - personal demons. He was the type of star the cross-current of Middle America could relate to. Whilst his peers like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash were styling themselves as the modern equivalent of badlands outlaws - Cash rather more convincingly than the others, admittedly - Campbell's songs were middle-of-the-road relatable but, often cast in a wan, melancholy light. There was a sophisticated, mature quality to Glen's records that appealed not only to the teenage pop market but to those who had long-since left their teens behind them. Charlie Daniels noted that Campbell 'filled a niche in American music that very few people have ever reached. He represented the best of the pop and the best of country and he pulled people in from both sides. It was a great thing for country music and, frankly, for pop music.'
After a break with Webb in 1969, the hits continued with other writers including 'Try A Little Kindness', 'Honey Come Back', 'Oh Happy Day', 'Everything A Man Could Need' and 'It's Only Make Believe'. Glen racked up forty eight country hits and thirty four pop hits in America between 1967 and 1980 – a remarkable accomplishment, considering such versatility in reaching both audiences predated the 'new country' trend that Garth Brooks and others would develop in the early 1990s. Like Johnny Cash, Campbell hosted a popular US television show which defined genres in the artists it showcased. When disco dominated the pop charts, he showed an uncanny ability to adapt by releasing 'Southern Nights', the Allen Toussaint song redone with a stomping funk beat and 'Rhinestone Cowboy', which became ubiquitous at dance clubs across Middle America.
In the summer of 1968, Campbell guest-hosted The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour TV show. The successful appearance led to his own variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which he hosted from 1969 until 1972. Artists like Cash, Ray Charles, and Linda Ronstadt performed on the show, which also gave a national platform to rising country stars like Willie Nelson (a close friend of Glen's whom he had backing in Nelson's touring band a few years earlier). 'He exposed us to a big part of the world that would have never had the chance to see us,' said Nelson. 'He's always been a big help to me.' Glen's boyish charisma led John Wayne to suggest him for a co-starring role in 1969's True Grit. As movie debuts go, that was a pretty auspicious one. Glen later recalled, self-deprecatingly, that his own acting was so amateurish he 'gave John Wayne that push to win the Academy Award!' Glen reportedly got on well with The Duke, sharing his conservatism on many - although, not all - issues (the pair are said to have once argued on the set of True Grit over Wayne's casual use of racially-provocative sentiments). On The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Glen tended to avoid political topics like the plague. Around this time, he described himself in interviews as 'a registered Democrat, but I voted Republican a few times' and he would perform in support of both Republican and Democratic politicians at various points in his career (he was a supporter of Ronald Reagan's presidency, for example).
Glen suffered a few bad years during the early 1970s, his TV show was cancelled, his second feature film, 1970's Norwood, flopped and the hits dried up for a while. He, briefly, relocated to Britain, making the popular The Glen Campbell Music Show for the BBC. Then, unexpectedly, Campbell scored a huge smash with 1975's 'Rhinestone Cowboy'. It began a comeback which included 'Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in LA') and another American number one, 'Southern Nights'. Once the hits dried up again, in the 1980s, Glen struggled with alcoholism, cocaine addiction and turbulent marriage battles. In the early Eighties, he had a tempestuous, high-profile relationship with the country singer Tanya Tucker, who was twenty two years his junior. In 1982 he married Kimberly Woollen, a Radio City Music Hall Rockette, who helped Campbell to clean up his life. He also became a born-again Christian and recorded religious LPs while never cutting back on touring. By the late 1990s, he discovered a new generation of younger artists were citing him as an influence -partly due to an impressive reissue campaign by EMI, but also helped by a new wave of interest in Americana music spurred by artists such as Dwight Yoakam, Freedy Johnston, Michelle Shocked, and REM.
Campbell was married four times and has five sons and three daughters. He had an unlikely close friendship with Alice Cooper, his long-time golfing partner. In 2003, he was arrested for hit-and-run, an incident which ended with him allegedly kneeing a police officer in the thigh. Campbell pleaded guilty to extreme drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident and spent ten days in jail. In 2011, Campbell, who was seventy five at the time, revealed that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. In June of that year, he announced that he was retiring from music. He released his final CD of original music Ghost On The Canvas (with guests Billy Corgan, Paul Westerberg and Jakob Dylan and including the remarkable 'A Better Place', a song which confronted his Alzheimer's) and embarked on a farewell tour with three of his children backing him. 'I think this has been really good for him,' said his daughter Ashley. 'Before the announcement, people were thinking, "He's drunk. He's using again." Now it's more of a supportive thing as opposed to an angry, critical thing.' In 2014, I'll Be Me, a film about Campbell's farewell tour and his struggles with Alzheimer's was released. He spent his final years in an assisted living facility. His friends and children would often spend days with him playing him his old songs. 'Music utilises all of the brain, not just one little section of it,' Ashley noted. 'Everything's firing all at once. It's really stimulating and probably helped him plateau and not progress as quickly as he might have. I could tell from his spirits that it was good for him. It made him really happy. It was good for the whole family to continue touring and to just keep living our lives. And we hope it encourages other people to do the same.' Earlier this year, Campbell released Adiós, his final studio CD, a collection of mainly covers of songs he likes of by Bob Dylan, Harry Nilsson, Willie Nelson and his old partner Jimmy Webb recorded after his Goodbye Tour. 'Almost every time he sat down with a guitar, these were his go-to songs,' Ashley told Rolling Stone. 'They were very much engrained in his memory - like, so far back that they were one of the last things he started losing.' Glen is survived by his fourth wife, Kim and his children, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, Dylan, Ashley, Cal and Shannon.

No comments: