Saturday, November 11, 2017

"My Sister Looks Cute In Her Braces & Boots"

The first official photo of yer actual Jodie Whittaker as she will appear in Doctor Who has been released. And, here it is, dear blog reader. Geet lush.
Production for the next series of Doctor Who started a couple of weeks ago and the Broadchurch and Trust Me actress has begun filming as the thirteenth Time Lord. Or, fourteenth, if you include John Hurt. Or, fifteenth if you count Richard Hurndall. Or sixteenth if you count David Bradley. Et cetera. Jodie, the first ladyfemale Doctor, takes over from yer actual Peter Capaldi and will make her debut on-screen when The Doctor regenerates in the Christmas episode on BBC1. You knew that, right? When her casting was announced in July, she said it felt 'overwhelming, as a feminist' to have the role. She told fans not to be 'scared' by her gender. And, to be fair, most of us aren't and are greatly looking forward to seeing what this very fine actress brings to the role. She said: 'It's more than an honour to play The Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything The Doctor stands for: hope.'
      In a trailer that was released to announce her casting, Jodie was seen in a dark hood and long grey coat - but said at the time that this would not be part of her official outfit. Instead, she is seen in teal culottes (and matching socks), braces and a striped jumper. Though, in fact, this blogger is assured by his dear Facebook fiends and, ahem, fashion advisors - Roberta, Lisa, Liz and Joanna - that, in fact, the 'culottes' appear to be more like gauchos. There is a subtle difference, it would seem: 'Culottes are shorts that look like a skirt, gauchos are mid-calf ... and, also, gave the look of a skirt.' And: 'Culottes are more of a divided skirt. Gauchos are a cropped flared trouser.' So, there you go.
'Apparently the pants are the Spring 2018 look in London,' this blogger was informed by Lisa. And, the winter 2017-18 (and beyond) look at Doctor Who conventions. Obviously. Thus, whilst Capaldi appeared like he'd just stepped out of the front row of a Specials gig circa-1980, Jodie's Doctor has clearly just been to see Dexy's Midnight Runners a couple of years later during their 'raggle-taggle gypsy' phase and is trying to do Helen O'Hara's look ... 'on a budget.'
'Will you be addressing the "pants/trousers" and "suspenders/braces" issues?' asked this blogger's old chum Danny Blythe on Facebook when Keith Telly Topping announced that all this fashion-related malarkey would feature on the next update of this blog. 'Probably not,' replied this blogger. 'Or, if I do, it'll just be an admonishment to our American cousins to speak bloody English!'
One thing that did, somewhat, piss this blogger off, big-style(e) about the social media reaction to this news is perfectly highlighted in this piece of abject fluff, First Look At Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who Costume Provokes Hilarious Comparison. The, alleged, 'hilarious' - ie. 'not hilarious at all or anything even remotely like it' - comparison being the, alleged, 'similarity' between Jodie's outfit and that worn by Robin Williams in Mork & Mindy. In so much as both featured ... a pair of braces. And ... that's it. What was really, spectacularly, annoying was the number of people who posted this observation (often with an accompanying screen-grab) on Twitter or Facebook, seemingly in the apparent belief that they were the first person to spot it and they were being so witty and arch by doing so. To the point where this blogger was threatening his lovely Facebook fiends with shoving his twelve-inch TARDIS USB hub up their collective sphincter - sideways - if they so much as thought about becoming the forty seventh person to post an image of Robin Williams on his page. It's a harsh justice regime at Stately Telly Topping Manor, dear blog reader, but entirely justified in this particular instance.
      So, to sum up then, one character in a TV series is soon to be wearing a pair of braces just as another character in another TV series used to thirty years ago. What a stunning revelation. Thank God nobody mentioned Bobby Ball. Well, until now, obviously.
Or, indeed, Slade, circa 1969. Though, to be fair, this blogger's Facebook fiend Tim Mulveil did. 'The mirror hat will feature in the Christmas special,' suggests Tim. Crazee.
This blogger is also astoundingly grateful to another dear Facebook fiend, Julie Donaldson, for spotting this, the most utterly pointless caption in the history of the BBC and adding 'well done for pointing this out.' If you missed it, dear blog reader, it's the big blue thing behind her. And, if you did miss it, this blogger also suggests getting your eyes checked at your earliest convenience.
Keith Telly Topping his very self noted the presence in the photo of what looks suspiciously like a cowpat just behind Jodie's left knee (with a white arrow pointing to it). Good job she didn't step in that, dear blog reader, it would have totally ruined those nice new boots and led to her stinking of shat for the rest of the photoshoot. (Admittedly, it could just be a rock ...) And, there was the question of whether that is indeed the new TARDIS exterior (which Radio Times seems convinced it is) or whether the image was merely a composite bit of photoshop using any available police box exterior to hand. This blogger's considered opinion is that it must be photoshop, surely? There's no way that sky is real. Not in England at this time of the year, anyway.
That There Chris Chibnall was seemingly so confident in Bradley Walsh's acting that he didn't even ask Brad to audition. The actor talked about the process of joining Doctor Who when he appeared as a guest on The ONE Show on Friday. 'Chris Chibnall, who runs it, asked if I fancy being in the show,' Bradley told Squawking Welsh Thing Alex Jones and guest presenter Sally Phillips. Unfortunately, the process of actually starting work on Doctor Who was much more of a ordeal than how Bradley landed the coveted TV job. 'Let me tell you how covert it is,' he noted. 'It's the most extraordinary show. When I went down to meet them and we had the first script meeting' it's filmed in Cardiff. I walked in. I had to go through a scanner. I had to have my ID with me. Just like an airport, getting into the reading. I'd go through a scanner, then you were taken into this big room. Massive like a warehouse room, painted black. There was eight of us sitting round the table, right in the middle with a light on top. [We got] black envelopes with a script in them, with your name embossed in gold. We had to open them at the same time. You've never seen anything like it.' He added: 'Then at the end of the reading, we all stood up and sang 'Delilah' by Tom Jones. Me, a couple of Cybermen, a Dalek. It's like being in The Masons!' Bradley said that he was 'proud' to be a part of such a historic era in Doctor Who history. 'I think it's brilliant that it's a female Doctor,' he said. 'I'm very privileged and proud to be a part of it.'
This year's annual fundraising evening Children In Need will take place from 7:30pm on Friday 17 November on BBc1 and, as in previous years, it will include a preview of the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special. The preview is currently scheduled to be shown during the first half hour of the telethon. Which is good because it means you don't have to watch the rest of it.
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) has revealed the name of a writer he approached to script an episode for Doctor Who and, why he turned the job down. 'The one I always wanted to get to do a Doctor Who, but he just didn't like it, was David Renwick,' Moff said. 'I thought he would have been a great Doctor Who writer. But he really just didn't like Doctor Who very much. I thought, "What do you mean you don't like it?! How can you not like it? What's wrong with you?"' Renwick was, of course, the man behind the BBC mystery crime drama Jonathan Creek. The writer also created the popular BBC sitcom One Foot In The Grave. Looking to the future and Doctor Who under new showrunner, that there Chris Chibnall, Steven said that he would like to see Jamie Mathieson (who wrote fan-favourite Mummy On The Orient Express and the recent Oxygen) write for Jodie Whittaker's Doctor. 'Jamie's always got about twelve ideas. He's full of high-concept ideas that he'd be better off - and richer - if he sold to the movie industry rather than splurge on forty five minutes of Doctor Who. But I hope they bring him back at some point.' Moffat extolled the virtues of the numerous writers on Doctor Who in his final years, while also revealing the challenges in finding new talent for the popular, long-running family SF drama. He said: 'The world isn't bristling with people who can do Doctor Who. People think it is, but it's not. I think our current bunch are really good. Particularly towards the end, I felt I was finding a brilliant new writer for Doctor Who regularly. It was difficult at the beginning, but now we've got Sarah Dollard, Jamie Mathieson, Peter Harness, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Mike Bartlett and Rona Munro. For ages, I thought they weren't, I'll be honest. I was thinking, "Where are the new ones?" Then suddenly wham! It was brilliant."
Steven was also asked if he is a fan of larger TARDIS team formats, rather than the 'traditional' two-person Doctor and companion set-up. Albeit, let it be noted that this supposed 'traditional' Doctor and companion set-up, in fact, didn't arrive in Doctor Who until 1972; prior to that, The Doctor, except in a couple of stories, had always travelled with two - or sometimes three - companions or had been stranded on Earth working for UNIT. As with many oft-cited 'traditional' elements of Doctor Who (the Time Lords, The Master, Gallifrey), the series was already several years old before they first appeared.
Anyway, when asked the question, Steven replied: 'I always have been, yes. A lot of the time, if you look at the ones I've personally written, I've rarely written with just one companion. I've always been sneaking somebody else in, whether it's River or Captain Jack. I loved it with Amy and Rory in the TARDIS, I thought that was great fun.' This blogger, too, is more or a fan of the three-person TARDIS occupants, it allows for more character interplay and great dialogue, as evidence, for example, by that great 'what is the sky made of?' sequence in The Pilot between The Doctor, Bill and Nardole. Last month, the BBC announced that Chris Chibnall's Doctor Who will see the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) joined by at least three companions, played by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill. Moffat said: 'I think they're going to have a much bigger range of companions, I really don't know much about what they're doing but it looks like they're going to do that and, I think, it works.' The Moff, who took over from Russell Davies as showrunner on Doctor Who in 2010 - you knew that, right - went on to explain the role of the companions and how they are 'just as important' as the title character. Calling his opinion 'contentious,' Steven said: 'The main character is always the companion. It's their story: they're going to change, they're going to live or die, they're going to be redeemed or damned. The Doctor's just going to carry on. So, who else is the companion going to talk to? They've got to have someone else to talk to, someone to talk to about him. It also allows The Doctor, in a way, to shine. Sometimes you don't want The Doctor on the screen, sometimes you want people screwing up on their own, or being menaced by monsters on their own and talking and wondering about it. The Doctor always comes in and sorts it out. You want enough of a supporting cast to keep The Doctor out of the way, because The Doctor kills the plot! In narrative terms, they're more useful because they can change, they can develop, they can make mistakes, they can be excited. The Doctor's there to be funny, witty, brave, amazing, admirable and - at a certain point - go and find the "off switch" for this week's monster. You don't want The Doctor to be normalised or dragged down, you want The Doctor to remain exceptional. And who is The Doctor exceptional among?' Finally, Steven, whose next television project is likely to be a version of Dracula with Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss, gave his take on what it is to know the Time Lord: "Knowing The Doctor is like adopting a hyperactive five-year-old. Towards the end, if you think about the dynamic, Amy and Rory had a child – that child was The Doctor! That became very obvious, he's the teenage kid! A hyperactive, very clever kid!'
The return of From The North favourite MasterChef: The Professionals to BBC2 this week brought an unexpected moment of comedy gold during the opening episode. The skills test was a fiendishly hard task devised by yer actual Marcus Wareing, asking the chefs to butcher a duck and then present the breast with a sauce of their own choosing in just twenty minutes. One chef, Nathan, began well but soon got his timing awry and ended up presenting a duck which was, he noted, 'a little bit pink.' The look on Marcus and fellow judges Gregg Wallace and the fearsome Monica Galetti's collective mush seemed to echo an, incredulous, line of dialogue from an episode of Spender many years ago, spoken by the late and much-lamented Sammy Johnson: 'A little bit pink? A decent vet could probably have that bugger back up on its feet!'
And, in the next episode, we had an even more buttock-clenchingly embarrassing moment for young chef Daniel who, whilst making a soufflé, got his sugar and his salt mixed up. 'With hilarious consequences,' as the TV Times used to claim about ITV sitcoms.
There were not one but two reference to The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) on this week's episode of Only Connect. One was a rather cunning question about the lyrics of the 1967 song 'I Am The Walrus' (which this blogger is thoroughly ashamed to say, it took him until the third clue to get).
The other occurred when the legend that is Gail Trimble mentioned in a casual throwaway one-liner that margarine 'sounds like submarine.' 'I will be singing "We all live in a Yellow Margarine" for the rest of the night!' noted the divine Victoria Coren Mitchell.
The divine Victoria her very self was a jolly busy lady on Friday evening. Straight after Only Connect she changed channels - and clothes - to appear on BBC1's Have I Got News For You. And, typically, got some brilliant moments. Like when introducing guest, the lovely Sara Pascoe with the line: 'A comedienne who is writing a book called Sex, Power, Money, although there may be a copyright battle as that's also the new title of Hansard.'
TV Comedy Moment Of The Week, number one came in the same Have I Got News For You episode when, discussing the sacking of Priti Patel and her replacement in the cabinet by Penny Mordaunt. Who is, as Sara Pascoe noted, still probably most famous not for anything she's done as an MP but for her appearance on ITV's notoriously wretched Tom Daley vehicle Splash! (or, Z-List-Celebrity Drowning as we at From The North used to call it.) Sara recalled that on the desperately dreadful diving competition, Mordaunt 'did a really big bellyflop and it really hurt her.' Gleefully, the infamous clip was then played. And, yes, it did look very painful. But, she's a Tory MP so, you know, nobody was too bothered about that. 'I mean, as metaphors go ...' began Victoria and then just left that thought hanging with the viewers. Like a sock on a shower-rail. Brilliant.
TV Comedy Moment Of The Week, number two: Dave Gorman - a noted board-game fanatics as any one who has read his excellent 2012 book Dave Gorman Versus The Rest Of The World will know - having a glorious rant about recent changes made by Parker's to a particular edition of Cluedo during the latest episode of Modern Life Is Goodish. 'I can see the way the world is going and so can the board-game manufacturers,' said Dave. 'They're desperate to try and make their games appeal to the computer generation. But, everything they do just makes them seem even more old fashioned to me. For example, Cluedo brought out a new version of the game a couple of years ago, Discover The Secrets. It doesn't happen in a Stately Home any more, instead it's set in a sort of The Only Way Is Essex mansion. All the characters are different and, instead of an Agatha Christiesque world we're now in a Hello! magazine kind-of world. Colonel Mustard has become Jack Mustard: "Once, the most sought-after celebrity football player, age has finally caught up with him; now a sports pundit." I've never wanted to solve a murder whilst pretending I'm Alan Shearer!' Dave went on to add that Miss Scarlet is now Kasandra Scarlet: '"She is at the centre of every social event and is the hottest star on the movie scene. She has the attention of all the celebrity magazines. Her biggest fear is that the press will uncover the shady things she did to claw her way to the top." And, as you can see, she's quoted on the card as saying: "What? You don't know who I am?" To which I can't help thinking: "I've a pretty good idea you might be Catherine Zeta Jones!"'
TV Comedy Moment Of The Week, number three: Sandi Toksvig's line of the latest episode of Qi 'According to one Dong-Yang resident, "They taste a bit like urine, but not much."' This blogger could provide you with some context if you didn't see the episode, dear blog reader. But he's not going to.
Subsequently, the subject of former Tory MP, the vile and odious Edwina Currie came up (it was a round concerning eggs). 'Didn't she have an affair with John Major?' asked Sandi, before adding, 'you could tell by the curry-stains on his underpants.' 'Sorry, I've just got a call here,' claimed Bill Bailey getting out his mobile. 'It's 1982; they want one of their jokes back!'
NCIS fans were greeted with a welcome face they hadn't seen for a bit near the start of this week's episode. And, the majority seemed to have been elated. David McCallum has been absent for the last three episodes, despite still being credited as a regular on the show, leading to all manner of speculation that he would be leaving the popular long-running Navy crime drama series. But, he popped back up for an evaluation in this week's episode, Burden Of Proof, after his brief break. Jolly good episode it was too. With a morally ambiguous ending too. Stop the press, NCIS had a morally ambiguous ending! That's got to be a first.
There was also another ripping episode of Gotham broadcast this week, Stop Hitting Yourself. 'Nothing in Gotham is free, Captain Gordon. You just better hope you can pay up when your bill's due. And it'll come.'
This blogger's favourite line of dialogue from a US drama this week, however, was from the latest episode of The Blacklist, The Kilgallon Corporation, Aram telling Dembe: 'Other than the fact that you sometimes have to kill people for a living you're, like, my role model!'
Meanwhile, here be the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Six programmes broadcast in the UK during the week-ending Sunday 5 November 2017:-
1 Blue Planet II - Sun BBC1 - 13.97m
2 Strictly Come Dancing - Sat BBC1 - 11.96m
3 The Great British Bake-Off - Tues Channel Four - 9.54m
4 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 8.12m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 6.85m
6 The Apprentice - Wed BBC1 - 6.81m
7 Emmerdale - Thurs ITV - 6.56m
8 Doc Martin - Wed ITV - 6.38m
9 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.24m
10 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.85m
11 The X-Factor - Sat ITV - 5.77m
12 The Last Post - Sun BBC1 - 5.56m
13 Pointless Z-List Celebrities - Sat BBC1 - 5.52m
14 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.39m
15 Inspector George Gently - Mon BBC1 - 5.07m
16 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 4.99m
17 Gogglebox: Z-List Celebrity Special - Fri C4 - 4.91m
18 Our Girl: Nepal Tour - Tues BBC1 - 4.85m
19 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.79m
20 Gunpowder - Sat BBC1 - 4.74m
21 Eat Well For Less? - Wed BBC1 - 4.49m
22 Paul O'Grady's For The Love Of Dogs - Thurs ITV - 4.31m
23 The Graham Norton Show - Fri BBC1 - 4.12m
24 Ten O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 3.96m
25 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 3.90m
26 Panorama - Sun BBC1 - 3.86m
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 programmes on BBC's iPlayer or ITV Player via their computers. Which is shame but, there you go. What can yer actual Keith Telly Topping do about it, dear blog reader, he's just one man? Last week, the return of Sir David Attenborough to BBC1 brought in the largest consolidated audience for any TV show this year so far (14.01 million). The second episode achieved the second largest consolidated audience of any TV show this year so far (13.97 million). One would dearly love to know what the forty thousand people who watched the first episode but not the second were watching instead! The Sunday night Strictly Come Dancing results episode had a consolidated audience of 10.63 million punters. Given that the ratings for pretty much all episodes of this year's competition have been up on the equivalent episodes from 2016, with each passing week that exceptionally silly woman at the Gruniad Morning Star who claimed - before a single episode had even been broadcast - that Strictly Come Dancing was 'in a fight for its survival' looks, with each passing week, more like complete and total crap. As with virtually everything else that appears in the Gruniad Morning Star, frankly. The X-Factor, on the other hand, possibly now is 'in a fight for its survival.' Particularly as it drew an astonishingly low total of but 4.55 million viewers for its Sunday results episode. Which this blogger thinks may well be if not the lowest ever audience for an episode of The X Factor then certainly in a bottom two or three. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' red-faced fury at this turn of events, tragically, can only be speculated about. Although to be honest, ITV should probably film that and show it every Saturday night. It'd probably get more than four-and-a-half million punters. University Challenge topped BBC2's weekly list, with 2.83 million. Louis Theroux: My Scientology Movie attracted 2.33 million. Nigella (She Has Her Knockers): At My Table had 2.20 million, Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, 2.01 million, The Big Family Cooking Showdown, 1.96 million and Saving Lives At Sea, 1.90 million. The Apprentice - You're Fired! was watched by 1.77 million, Elizabeth I's Secret Agent by 1.77 million, the latest episode of From The North favourite Qi by 1.50 million, Dad's Army, by 1.49 million, Coastal Path, by 1.48 million and Flog It!, by 1.47 million. Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast was, of course, for The Great British Bake Off followed by the Gogglebox: Z-List Celebrity Special (yes, the one featuring Corbyn). Z-List Celebrity Hunted (2.72 million) and Travel Man: Forty Eight Hours In Amsterdam (2.27 million) came thereafter. Grand Designs had 2.05 million viewers, First Dates: Z-List Celebrity Special, 1.92 million, Nine-Nine-Nine: What's Your Emergency?, 1.82 million, the movie Paddington, 1.74 million, The Supervet, 1.69 million, The Last Leg With Adam Hills, 1.64 million, Unspeakable, 1.64 million and The great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice, 1.63 million. Dispatches: Is Britain Full? was seen by 1.26 million punters. Channel Five's top performer was The Yorkshire Vet, with an audience of 1.50 million. Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild, Rich House, Poor House, Bargain Loving Brits In Blackpool and the movie Grease rounded-off Five's most-watched list with audiences of 1.48 million, 1.46 million, 1.38 million and 1.36 million. Paddington Station 24/7 was watched by 1.26 million. Sky Sports Premier League had an audience of five hundred and ninety four thousand for Moscow Chelski FC's victory over The Scum. A further 1.09 million watched the match on Sky Sports Main Event. Meanwhile, the Live Nissan Super Sunday game, Sheikh Yer Man City's hammering of The Arse, had three hundred and eighty two thousand on SS:PL, plus seven hundred and sixty one thousand on Main Event. Further Premier League action, Dirty Stoke versus Leicester City was watched by three hundred and thirty five thousand on Main Event and an additional one hundred and fifty five thousand on SS: PL and ninety five thousand on Sky Sports Mix. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies' wretched 'if we cross the halfway line, we might die' performance at Burnley attracted one hundred and forty four thousand to Sky Sports Premier League (and three hundred and twenty two thousand on SS: Main Event). The top-of-the-table-versus-bottom-of-the-table Championship clash of the weekend, the Tees/Wear derby in which The Middlesbrough Smog Monster beat managerless Blunderland drew two hundred and twenty thousand on Main Event and one hundred and sixty one thousand on Sky Sports Football. Gillette Soccer Saturday was seen by one hundred and seventy seven thousand on the Premier League channel, two hundred and seventy three thousand on Sky Sports Football and three hundred and sixty four thousand on Sky Sports News. On Sky Sports Cricket the channel's highest audience of the week was live coverage of India Versus New Zealand with fifty three thousand. Thirty three thousand punters watched Pace In The Zone: Nasser Hussain. Mexican Grand Prix Highlights was viewed by twelve thousand punters on Sky Sports F1. Live WWE Late Night Raw attracted forty four thousand viewers on Sky Sports Arena. Live NFL Redzone had forty one thousand on Sky Sports Mix. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by The Flash with 1.03 million viewers. The second episode of Marvel's Inhumans had nine hundred and forty one thousand and Modern Family, eight hundred and twenty eight thousand. Rancid stream of festering spew Bounty Hunters, featuring odious, lanky streak of worthless piss Jack Whitehall, attracted eight hundred and fourteen thousand punters - every single one of whom needs a damned good intervention, frankly. Plus a brain scan for any remote signs of common sense, dignity or self-worth. For shame, people of Great Britain, for shame. Another man who, seemingly, believes his own hype, the host of The Russell Howard Hour, was viewed by six hundred and twenty eight thousand. Still, at least DC's Legends Of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Arrow all featured in the channel's top ten whilst Sing: Ultimate A Cappella did not. So, it would appear that the British viewing public does, sometimes, recognise a stinking turd when they are presented with one. Sky Arts' Landscape Artist Of The Year was seen by two hundred and forty seven thousand viewers. The Rise & Fall Of The Clash drew fifty four thousand punters. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by Babylon Berlin with two hundred and forty three thousand. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver had two hundred and twelve thousand, Ray Donovan, two hundred and seven thousand, Tin Star, one hundred and eighty two thousand, the latest Game Of Thrones repeat, one hundred and twenty one thousand and The Deuce, one hundred and twenty thousand. On Sky Living, The Good Doctor drew by nine hundred and eighty one thousand whilst Criminal Minds, had eight hundred and eighty eight thousand. Chicago Fire attracted five hundred and four thousand. Fifty Shades Darker was watched by three hundred and thirty seven thousand spank-lovers on Sky Cinema Premiere. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (six hundred and eighty four thousand viewers). Foyle's War was seen by five hundred and six thousand and Lewis by three hundred and eighty six thousand. Coverage of World Series Of Darts was seen by four hundred and sixty nine thousand people with nothing better to do with their lives on ITV4. ITV Racing drew three hundred and ninety five thousand. ITV2's top-ten was headed by full-of-its-own-importance bucket of horrifying phlegm, Z-List Celebrity Juice, seen by 1.39 million sad, crushed victims of society. Family Guy had eight hundred and fifty four thousand. The movies Clash Of The Titans and Pacific Rim attracted eight hundred and thirteen thousand and six hundred and thirty five thousand, respectively. The Frankenstein Chronicles topped ITV Encore's top ten with one hundred and twelve thousand viewers, followed by Vera (seventy eight thousand). Shallow and appalling tripe The Only Way Is Essex, was viewed by nine hundred and thirty six thousand of exactly the sort of specimens who enjoy such risible and ugly exercises in z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity on ITVBe. Similarly wretched conceit, The Real Housewives Of Cheshire was seen by six hundred and twenty seven thousand. Broken Britain in a sentence, dear blog reader. BBC4's top-ten was headed by The Most Courageous Raid Of WWII (five hundred and thirty one thousand) and The Queen Group: Rock The World With Their Pompous, Overblown Nonsense (five hundred and twenty thousand). Top Of The Pops 1984 had four hundred and sixty eight thousand. The Good Old Days drew four hundred and thirty three thousand, I Know Who You Are, also four hundred and thirty three thousand and Jim Clark: The Quiet Champion, four hundred and twenty six thousand. Gunpowder 5/11: The Greatest Terror Plot attracted four hundred and three thousand and Billy Connolly: Portrait Of A Lifetime, three hundred and ninety seven thousand. 5USA's latest Chicago PD episode was viewed by six hundred and nineteen thousand punters, NCIS: Los Angeles by five hundred and thirty seven thousand, Castle by four hundred and forty six thousand, Bull by three hundred and seventy four thousand and Longmire by two hundred and eighty nine thousand. On Five Star, Home & Away scored four hundred and sixty two thousand. The movies An Eye For An Eye and Firewalker were the most-watched broadcasts on CBS Action (one hundred and fourteen thousand and one hundred and twelve thousand). Judge Judy attracted fifty one thousand on CBS Drama. No, this blogger has no idea why either. For FOX's sake, The Walking Dead's latest episode was watched by a whopping 1.58 million. The Gifted had five hundred and forty five thousand, American Horror Story: Cult, three hundred and forty one thousand, Family Guy, two hundred and fifty thousand and Lucifer, two hundred and six thousand. Private Eyes continued with two hundred and thirty eight thousand viewers on The Universal Channel. On Dave, the fourth smeggin' episode of Red Dwarf XII give the channel another bumper audience, nine hundred and seventy three thousand punters. Funny as a geet ugly boil on ones private parts, Taskmaster was watched by eight hundred and seventy five thousand very undiscerning punters. The start of the new series of From The North favourite Dave Gorman's Modern Life Is Goodish was viewed by five hundred and fifteen thousand. On the other hand, another example of laughless tripe, Zapped had three hundred and seventy eight thousand and Qi XL, two hundred and fifty five thousand. Drama's The Brokenwood Mysteries attracted four hundred and fifty one thousand viewers and New Tricks, four hundred and forty one thousand. Father Brown was seen by three hundred and ninety four thousand, Inspector George Gently, by three hundred and forty nine thousand and Shetland, by three hundred and thirty five thousand. Drama Channel staples, Death In Paradise (one hundred and thirty seven thousand) and Inspector George Gently (one hundred and twenty nine thousand) also appeared in the weekly top-ten of Alibi. Sony TV's list was headed by a particular favourite of this blogger, Hustle (thirty one thousand). Yesterday's Impossible Engineering drew two hundred and seven thousand, whilst The Blue Planet attracted two hundred and five thousand and Secrets Of Britain, one hundred and sixty nine thousand. Your TV's Body Of Proof brought in one hundred and fourteen thousand and Bones, ninety five thousand. On the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush was seen by four hundred and thirty three thousand viewers who enjoy watching large shouty men with large shouty beards shouting at the camera like a bunch of kids. Garage Rehab had one hundred and ninety thousand, Alaska: The Last Frontier, one hundred and seventy five thousand, Misfit Garage, one hundred and forty four thousand and Alaskan Bush People, one hundred and twenty nine thousand. Wor Geet Canny Robson Green's Ultimate Catch had eighty eight thousand. From The North fave Wheeler Dealers appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (twenty six thousand) and Discovery Turbo (thirty three thousand). Discovery History's Codes & Conspiracies headed the top ten with twenty seven thousand thousand, the same number as watched Bloody Tales From History. Battlefield attracted eighteen thousand. On Discovery Science, How Do They Do It? was seen by fifty nine thousand. Salvage Hunters on Quest was watched by three hundred and seventy eight thousand whilst Railroad Australia was viewed by two hundred and fifty three thousand. Pick's Z Nation had an audience of two hundred and sixty two thousand. National Geographic's list was headed, as usual, by channel staple Air Crash Investigations and by Nazi Sunken Sub. They were watched by sixty thousand and thirty four thousand respectively. National Geographic Wild's Savage Kingdom was watched by sixty seven thousand. The History Channel's most-seen programmes were WW2 Treasure Hunters (one hundred and ten thousand) and Ice Road Truckers (ninety two thousand). Ancient Aliens on the Military History channel was viewed by thirty two thousand. Crimes That Shook The Shit Out Of Britain, Britain's Darkest Taboos, Unusual Suspects and The Murder Of Laci Peterson were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with sixty nine thousand, sixty thousand, forty nine thousand and thirty six thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. From The North's current favourite afternoon distraction, Homicide Hunter drew twenty nine thousand. Guilty Rich, Murder By Numbers, Gone and Deadline Crime: With Tamron Hall headed Investigation Discovery's list (seventy eight thousand, seventy three thousand, sixty six thousand and sixty four thousand respectively). GOLD's repeat run of Mrs Brown's Boys had one hundred and ninety one thousand punters. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for Impractical Jokers with three hundred and seventy two thousand. This is what Americans think is funny, seemingly. Mind you, look at whom they elected President and then tell this blogger it's a country that doesn't do irony. On More4, Twenty Four Hours In A&E was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and fifty three thousand. Nine-Nine-Nine: What's Your Emergency? had four hundred and eight thousand and Three Day Nanny, three hundred and seventy three thousand. E4's list was topped, as usual, by a new series of The Big Bang Theory 2.51 million, by a distance the largest multichannels audience of the week. Hollyoaks had 1.10 million. Keeping Up With The Kardashians attracted two hundred and two thousand viewers on E! whilst Total Divas had ninety two thousand. The latest episode of The Exorcist, headed Syfy's top-ten with one hundred and sixty four thousand whilst Blood Drive was watched by one hundred and thirty eight thousand. The Horror Channel's weekly list was topped by several episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the most-watched one being seen by one hundred and seventy three thousand. Knucklebones was viewed by one hundred and eleven thousand. The original 1992 movie version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer attracted one hundred and six thousand. Who were all, presumably, just as horrified by Donald Sutherland's over-the-top performance as Joss Whedon was at the time. Between Heaven & Hell and episodes of The Human Jungle and Scotland Yard topped Talking Pictures list, with seventy nine thousand, sixty thousand and fifty two thousand respectively. The A-Team had one hundred and ninety two thousand on Spike. Hurricane 360 was viewed by seventeen thousand on Eden, as was Secrets Of The Earth. Pit Bulls & Parolees was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with forty thousand. MasterChef Australia on W attracted three hundred and fifty two thousand punters. True Crime's Fatal Attraction was seen by fifty six thousand viewers. Psychic Detectives drew forty five thousand. On True Entertainment, Taggart, was watched by one hundred and forty thousand punters. John Torode's Asia was seen by one hundred and thirty eight thousand on Good Food. TLC's list was headed by Say Yes To The Dress (one hundred and forty five thousand). Escape To The Country was watched by one hundred and three thousand on Home. The Civil War topped PBS America's weekly list with twenty thousand. Secrets Of The Manor House was seen by seventeen thousand. Shameful toot Teen Mom 2 on MTV was viewed by two hundred and twenty eight thousand planks whilst equally worthless Just Tattoo Us had one hundred and ninety three thousand. Most Haunted drew three hundred and sixty one thousand on Really. For a channel with that particular name, they appear to show an awful lot of programmes about non-existent subjects. Wacky Races had one hundred and fifty six thousand viewers on Boomerang. Be Cool Scooby-Doo! attracted one hundred and twenty three thousand. Zoinks! On Cbeebies, Go Jetters was seen by four hundred and ninety five thousand, Peter Rabbit by four hundred and seventy thousand, Andy's Prehistoric Adventures by four hundred and sixty two thousand and Sarah & Duck by four hundred and thirty three thousand. Alvinnn!!! & The Chipmunks had one hundred and seventy thousand on the Pop Channel. On AMC, Snatch was watched by twenty four thousand. American Pickers drew one hundred and sixteen thousand punters on Blaze. Britain's Next Top Model pulled in one hundred and forty nine thousand on Lifetime. Ireland West Music TV was seen by thirty eight thousand on Keep It Country. Knight Rider drew forty three thousand on Forces TV. The History Of Brick Lane attracted thirty seven thousand on London Live whilst Hammer's Straight On Till Morning had twenty nine thousand. One of the very worst films ever made, Who Dares Wins, drew ninety thousand to the Movies 4 Men channel. Looks Like Christmas was watched by one hundred and fourteen thousand punters on Movies24. On 4 November. Words, dear blog reader, fail this blogger.

The final of The Great British Bake Off attracted Channel Four's second biggest audience ever and its biggest for thirty two years. The latest episode of the baking show, which was won by Sophie Faldo, has been watched by eleven million punters in the seven days after it was first broadcast last Tuesday. This includes those who watched it live, via recordings, or through repeats. The audience means the Bake Off final was the biggest programme on Channel Four since the 1985 drama series A Woman Of Substance. It also confirms Bake Off as a success for Channel Four after it paid seventy five million smackers to Greed Productions to bring the programme from the BBC. The audience for Channel Four was still smaller than the number of people who tuned in for Bake Off on BBC1, with an average of 10.7 million viewers watching each episode in last year's series. However, Channel Four executives expected this and budgeted to break-even with the show at about three-and-a-half million viewers per episode, with income coming from advertisers and sponsors. In the event, Bake Off ended up smashing this target, despite the final almost being overshadowed by the judge Prue Leith after she named the winner on Twitter some hours before the show was due to be broadcast. The series as a whole was the most watched on Channel Four since Big Fat Gypsy Weddings in 2011. Bake Off has also been the most popular series among young audiences on TV in Britain so far this year. It averaged 2.6 million sixteen-to-thirty four-year-olds per episode. However, it is almost certain to be overtaken by Blue Planet II, the BBC’s new wildlife series. The first episode of Blue Planet II was watched by 14.1 million people. This consolidated audience made it not only the most watched programme of the year but the third most watched of the past five years, behind only the BBC's coverage of the football World Cup final in 2014 and last year's Great British Bake Off final on BBC1.
Peaky Blinders series four is back on our screens next week - and, it looks great - but already thoughts are turning to a fifth series and whether it will spell the end for the popular 1920s gangster saga. Creator Steven Knight recently admitted that his long-held plan to end the drama after five series is now less certain. Speaking exclusively to the Digital Spy website about the show's future, he explained: 'We're all thinking that five will be the last one, but it's not set in stone. I don't want to be a hostage to that. I mean, I always hope we will get more. For all we know, we may even go beyond that. But for the moment, I'm pacing so that the next twelve hours will tell the rest of the story. I hope that, at the end of episode six of series four, there will be a big surprise which will fire us off into series five.' Knight promised that fans will get 'some sort of closure' at the end of series five. But given that series four is still set in the mid-to-late 1920s, how does this fit in with Knight's stated plan to end the show at the dawn of World War II? Paul Anderson, who plays Arthur Shelby in the series, said: 'I don't know if we can wrap it up in one more season. I think we're in '26, '28? And so the Second World War is not for a little while yet. I don't think six episodes is enough to get us there. I had this conversation with Cillian [Murphy] about one more season, and we both agreed: If that's it, then yeah, for sure. But it might take two more. I've got a feeling it might take two more.' Knight also indicated that, if series five were to be the last, the final episode could feature a time jump ahead to 1939. 'I know what [year] I end in, but that doesn't necessarily mean that series five will take place in or around that year,' he said. 'I'm thinking that there's a way of resolving the story in a certain year, and then fast-forwarding to where it's going to end.'
If you thought the entertainment industry would be unaffected by Brexit, then we've got some potentially bad news for you. Next year's seventh series of Death In Paradise could end up being the penultimate one if the UK leaves the European Union without negotiating a deal. Robert Thorogood, the writer and creator of the hit BBC show, told Radio Times that he was worried about Paradise's future. 'Guadeloupe is an overseas territory of France, so it's part of the EU, which makes it really easy to film there,' he said. 'If we left the single market, it could make things much harder for us. So, like the rest of the UK, we're just going to have to wait and see what happens after Brexit.' The publication explains that series eight is scheduled for production next year, but a hypothetical series nine and beyond would happen after March 2019, the month the UK is due to leave the EU. Series seven of Death In Paradise will be Father Ted star Ardal O'Hanlon's first full series after he took over as lead from Kris Marshall at the end of the last run. Marshall explained that family reasons motivated him to quit the show, saying: 'I've done four years, it's an amazing show, but it's time to move on and it's time for someone else to enjoy the sun.' Filming for series seven was disrupted due to Hurricane Irma earlier this year, but resumed without incident.
The Twin Peaks: The Return finale raised far more questions than it answered (as noted by this blog at the time), ending on a massive cliffhanger which could yet result in more episodes. However, one of the show's creators has attempted to address some of the cult drama's most burning mysteries in a new book, including the off-screen fates of Laura Palmer, Annie Blackburn and Audrey Horne. In his book Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, published this week, co-creator Mark Frost clears up a bit of the ambiguity, revealing that in this revised timeline, Laura never actually died. FBI agent Tammy Preston (played by Chrysta Bell in the series) writes in the book as she reads a newspaper article that there is 'no mention of "murder", "wrapped in plastic", or "father arrested for shocking crime eventually dies in police custody of self-inflicted wounds"') confirming that whatever Dale Cooper did in the last episode in The Black Lodge, it had the effect of retconning the majority of Twin Peaks out of existence. '"It's right there on the front page: Laura Palmer did not die,' notes Preston. However, we also learn that Ronette Pulaski - who was there with Laura on the night that she 'died' - was still horribly tortured in that train car by BOB/Leland. A year after Laura's subsequent disappearance, her father Leland killed himself. Her mother, Sarah, plunged into alcoholism and depression as seen in the series. Interestingly, Frost does confirm that Sarah was, as many fans had speculated, that young girl we saw in the black-and-white 1950s scenes in episode eight, with that weird insect creature crawling into her mouth. Frost also addressed what happened to Annie at the end of the second series following her return from The Black Lodge. After being hospitalised, she fell into a catatonic state and attempted to kill herself. Cared for by her sister, Norma, she was later transferred to a mental health facility, where she has been ever since, saying just two words every year on the anniversary of her return: 'I'm fine.' And then, presumably, she got her current job doing the adverts for Foxy Bingo. One does love a happy ending. Frost confirmed that Audrey did end up in a coma after the explosion at the Twin Peaks bank vault, but woke up after three-and-a-half weeks. During the time she was unconscious, she was raped - presumably by Cooper's evil doppelgänger - and fell pregnant with his son. Those events prevented her from returning to her normal life attending high school, but she eventually gained a diploma and opened up a beauty salon in Twin Peaks. When her son, Richard, turned ten Audrey married her accountant 'without warning' – presumably Charlie, whom we met in Twin Peaks: The Return. FBI files state 'witnesses close to the situation suggest that this was more of a marriage of financial convenience than affection' as Audrey continued with her life – but then, out of the blue, she closed her salon and disappeared without a trace. The files continue: '[Audrey] seemed to vanish from public life, into agoraphobic seclusion, or, one troubling rumour suggests, a private care facility. The Horne family spokesperson has refused to respond to all inquiries regarding her whereabouts.' No more details are provided but it's no great stretch to conclude that 'private care facility' is the white room where we saw, briefly, Audrey during the series, seemingly unable to get over her rape and raising the evil Richard.
Two FAUX News broadcasts in the UK have been found to be extremely in breach of Ofcom rules over impartiality. A January edition of the Hannity programme discussed US President - and hairdo - Donald Trump's ban restricting travel from seven majority-Muslim countries. Ofcom said that the US-made show was 'largely pro-Trump' and did not sufficiently reflect alternative viewpoints. Tucker Carlson Tonight was also found in breach for a broadcast in May following the Manchester terror attack. Regarding Hannity, Ofcom said that they had taken into account 'that FOX News is a US news channel, directed at US audiences, which is available in the UK. The people who watch it in the UK are aware that it is a US channel and their expectations are different. It is not a main source of news in the UK. However, we were also mindful that, in our view, this particular programme dealt with major matters relating to current public policy that, as well as being of international significance, were of particular relevance and significance to UK viewers.' Ofcom said that the Tucker Carlson Tonight episode 'accused various public bodies and individuals in the UK, including Prime Minister Theresa May, of doing nothing to counter terrorism; stop radicalisation; protect citizens from terrorism; or protect "thousands of underage girls" from rape and abuse.' The programme also criticised public leaders, saying that 'their inaction was motivated by political correctness; they valued how people saw them over the lives of children; and they were forcing an "official lie" on citizens, which was "totalitarian and wicked."' Ofcom said that there was 'no reflection' of the views of the UK Government or of any of the authorities or people criticised, 'which we would have expected given the nature and amount of criticism of them in the programme.' The media watchdog also noted that 'the presenter [Carson] did not challenge the views of his contributors, instead he reinforced their views.' FAUX News stopped broadcasting on Sky in the UK in August and surrendered its licence to Ofcom on 1 November. Sky claimed that the decision to axe the channel was because of low audience figures. Ofcom said that it was 'appropriate' to publish its rulings against FAUX News, even though it is no longer a licensed television service falling under its jurisdiction. The decision was not related to Fox's takeover bid for Sky, an alleged 'source' allegedly told the BBC. One or two people even believed them. The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Bradley has referred the bid to competition regulators, the CMA. Critics of the merger, which gives Twenty First Century FOX access to Sky's twenty two million customers in Europe, fear it will mean billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch has too much control of the UK media.
Sky has reportedly threatened to shut down Sky News if the news channel proves to be an obstacle in billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Twenty First Century FOX bid. Which would be funny if for no other reason than it would put the vile and odious Kay Burley on the Nat King Cole. Regulators are currently investigating the deal amid concerns that billionaire tyrant Murdoch's media empire could become too powerful. Sky told the Competition and Markets Authority that the regulator should not assume 'the continued provision' of Sky News. BBC media editor Amol Rajan said that it was 'a credible threat.' FOX owns thirty nine per cent of Sky but wants full control of the satellite broadcaster. In a submission made to the CMA last month, but published by the regulator on Tuesday, Sky said that it 'would likely be prompted to review' its position if 'the continued provision of Sky News in its current form unduly impeded merger and/or other corporate opportunities available in relation to Sky's broader business.' This would particularly be the case if shareholders objected to the merger not happening, Sky said. Closing Sky News would only be an option of last resort and the broadcaster would try to find a buyer for the media company before that eventuality. 'The messaging coming through is alarming for supporters of Sky News but it runs completely counter to all the investment that there has been in the channel in all the recent months and years,' said Joey Jones, a political correspondent at Sky News for sixteen years and now head of public affairs at PR firm Weber Shandwick. But, he said that the threat was 'a risky move' by Sky: 'Inevitably this will be perceived by those who are already hostile to the proposed takeover, particularly in the political arena, as sabre rattling and as a perceived threat by the company.'
Three stars of hit BBC sitcom Mrs Brown's Boys diverted more than two million knicker into an offshore tax-avoidance scheme, Paradise Papers documents show. Patrick Houlihan and Martin and Fiona Delany transferred their fees into companies in Mauritius and sent money back as loans. Similar tax avoidance schemes have been subject to investigation and challenges by HMRC in recent years. Houlihan told the Irish Times that he had joined the scheme after 'receiving professional advice' without fully understanding it. Roy Lyness, who put the actors in touch with the advisers behind the set-up, was the accountant behind the similar tax avoidance scheme used by the comedian Jimmy Carr. The revelation in 2012 that Carr had used a Jersey-based tax shelter attracted criticism from the then-Prime Minister David Cameron. Who, interestingly, when presented with subsequent revelations about tax malarkey involving other public figures, including Tory-supporting Gary Barlow, said nothing. The leaked documents held by offshore law firm Appleby show how the three Mrs Brown's Boys actors put their fees from the production company owned by Brendan O'Carroll, the creator and star of the show and father of Fiona Delany, in companies they controlled in Mauritius. O'Carroll said that neither he nor his companies have been involved in a tax avoidance scheme or structure and the actors' wages were paid into a UK company bank account. O'Carroll's production company is registered at accountant Lyness's office in Oldbury in the West Midlands. Lyness claimed that he was 'bound by client confidentiality as well as duties under the Data Protection Act not to divulge confidential information concerning my clients' financial affairs.'
The BBC is to scrap plan to cut ten million knicker from its local radio budget, in a bid to become 'more local,' Director General Lord Hall has said. Speaking at an event marking the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of BBC local radio, he promised a 'renaissance' for the broadcaster's thirty nine regional stations. He said that the savings target - previously announced after a review of the BBC's local services - had been cancelled. Hopefully some additional money will be saved by sacking whatever plank it was that thought this was a good idea in the first place and throwing them into the gutter along with all the other turds. The BBC will 'instead invest in local radio to boost creativity,' he added. Speaking at the event in Coventry, Lord Hall said local radio was becoming 'more important, not less' and held a key role in battling fake news. 'I'm a Director General who believes in local radio,' he said. Which makes a nice change after one of his predecessors, Mark Thompson, appeared to want to gut the service and was only stopped from doing so by the intervention of listeners and the BBC Trust. 'For many years the BBC has been reducing its investment in local radio,' Lord Hall said. 'The development of new technology and the growth of smartphones has seen many people getting their local news, weather and traffic information digitally.' With many of the radio stations operating on reduced budgets over the past decade, a number of distinctive local shows and presenters were dropped from their evening slots and replaced by a 'shared broadcast' across all of England's stations. Another one of Thompson's bright ideas. A BBC statement said that this show, currently presented by Georgey Spanswick, would be ending and there would be a return to 'local programming.' Lord Hall said: 'Local Radio is in the DNA of our communities. I think that is more important than ever. England's changing. It's always been a patchwork of communities, with quite distinct identities. While Newcastle's population is getting older, Bradford's is getting younger and Birmingham is becoming one of the most diverse cities in Europe.' He pointed out that with political decision-making increasingly being devolved to councils and directly elected mayors, it was important that the BBC was ready to assess the impact this was having. 'I want to hear the sound of England as it changes. So while other media are becoming creatively less local, I want us to become even more so and to connect with our audiences in new ways.' Lord Hall stressed that the BBC had 'a duty' to reach out to the so-called smartphone generation. 'That's why the role of BBC local radio is actually becoming more important - not less,' he said. 'Local radio should be for everybody. It's there to serve the Facebook generation every bit as much as the rest of us.' The BBC will, instead, rely on savings elsewhere to protect the local radio budgets. Detailed plans will be set out next year, it said. Earlier in the day, Lord Hall was in Leicester to mark the launch of the first BBC local radio station, BBC Radio Leicester, which went live on 8 November, 1967.
A new Doctor Who tribute show has been announced. Arrows of Time – A Tribute to Doctor Who is a new full-dome planetarium show, being premiered in Brno in the Czech Republic on 19 November with a second performance on the following day. The show will go on a global planetarium fringe tour in 2018 - with dates to be announced - which will conclude in a three-week residency at the Edinburgh Fringe. Duncan Hendy, the writer, composer, and co-director describes the production as 'a new multi-Doctor adventure, four years in the making and approved by the BBC.' He said: 'It features the latest in technology and is a 3D, 4K, surround sound phenomenon! And places the audience at the centre of the show.' Soundalikes have been used to provide the voices of the various Doctors including John Guilor, who famously provided the voice of the First Doctor in The Day Of The Doctor and the BBC DVD recreation of the missing material from Planet Of Giants, in addition to Big Finish stars Christopher Thomson and Jake Dudman. The actors have also been motion captured for animated avatars to be used in the production. Ten Doctors' likenesses will be used including Sir John Hurt's War Doctor in addition to a new villain known as The Given, also voiced by Guilor. The Given is described as 'a foe older than time itself.' Hendy says about the musical soundtrack: 'The musical sections of the show between each episode feature the words of The Doctors themselves, translated into Latin and composed as an oratorio and is an integral part of the show. Video has been provided by NASA and the show is a co-production with the Brno Planetarium.' More information can be found on the website where tickets can be purchased and also a soundtrack is available in MP3 format.
German DVD distributor Pandastorm Pictures announced at the Doctor Who convention TimeLash III on the last weekend of October a limited boxed-set featuring all of the Sylvester McCoy stories, including new bonus features and the never-before-on-DVD released and newly remastered Silver Nemesis extended edition. This longer cut of the series twenty five story has previously only been released on VHS in the UK. The set will be called Siebter Doktor - Special Collector's Edition and presented in a valuable hardcover book in coffee table format. The set is limited to one thousand copies, each with an impressed number. And will cost you a jolly humongous amount of Euros if you want to obtain one. Script editor Andrew Cartmel has written over fifty pages of production notes on each story, which can be found in the English language as well as in a German translation. The seventeen region-free DVD's contain all adventures in English and German audio as well as English and German subtitles and over twenty four hours of bonus material. Another new bonus feature will be the BBC America special Doctor Who Revisited – The Seventh Doctor and an exclusive new interview with Cartmel. Product shipment is scheduled for the second week of December. This boxed-set can only be ordered from Pandastorm's own shop.
Disney has reversed its decision to ban the Los Angeles Times from attending film screenings as punishment for the paper's critical coverage of its business operations. The studio last week banned the LA Times from access to its screenings and talent, citing 'biased and inaccurate' coverage – only to trigger a boycott on Monday by several media outlets in solidarity. On Tuesday, Disney weaselled that it had ended its ban. Disney said in a statement: 'We've had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at the Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns and, as a result, we've agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics.' Alyssa Rosenberg, who writes about films and pop culture for the Washington Post, was the first journalist to announce she would no longer attend screenings presented by Disney films, including Star Wars, or its by subsidiary Marvel. 'As long as Disney is blocking the critics from the Los Angeles Times from press screenings, I can't in good conscience attend similar showings or write reviews in advance,' she wrote. Other journalists and outlets swiftly followed suit, including the New York Times. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics jointly announced that they would take the 'extraordinary' step of disqualifying Disney films from end-of-year awards consideration until the blackout was lifted. 'Disney's actions are antithetical to the principles of a free press and set a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility towards journalists,' the organisations said in a joint statement. Selma director Ava DuVernay, whose next film is Disney's A Wrinkle In Time, also tweeted her support for the boycott. The press boycott had raised the prospect of a public relations disaster for the Disney Company just as the film industry gears up for awards season. The company behind the so-called 'happiest place on earth,' Disneyland, had found itself accused of bullying and press censorship. The row also shone a light on the company's CEO, Bob Iger, who has hinted at a future run for political office. Prominent journalists pledged support for the LA Times. 'I just took out a subscription to the LA Times in honor [sic] of Disney boycotting the newspaper because it engaged in journalism,' tweeted the CNN anchor Jake Tapper. 'Join me!' The row flared after the paper published two investigative articles in September about the relationship between Disneyland and the city of Anaheim, just south of Los Angeles. The author, Daniel Miller, claimed that Disney used aggressive carrot-and-stick strategies to squeeze Anaheim for subsidies, incentives, rebates and protections from future taxes while reaping huge profits. The reports quoted and cited local politicians, including the mayor Tom Tait, who said that Anaheim had 'gone too far' in accommodating the entertainment giant. Disney responded by banning the paper from advance screenings for coming holiday season films – a ban which came to light last week when the paper explained the absence of previews for films such as Thor: Ragnarok. Disney followed up with a statement which accused the paper of 'a complete disregard' for basic journalistic standards. It claimed: 'Despite our sharing numerous indisputable facts with the reporter, several editors, and the publisher over many months, the Times moved forward with a biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda. We've had a long relationship with the LA Times. We hope they will adhere to balanced reporting in the future.' One or two people even believed them.
The BBC and AMC had huge success with the John le Carré adaptation The Night Manager, so they are turning to the legendary espionage author for another huge TV series. Le Carré's 1983 spy thriller The Little Drummer Girl is the next to be adapted into a big-budget six-part mini-series, with Lady Macbeth's Florence Pugh as lead character, Charlie. The Little Drummer Girl is set during the 1970s and will juxtapose a tragic love story against the high-stakes spying between Israel and Palestinian terror groups. The series was previously made into a movie starring Diane Keaton as Charlie in 1984. Earlier this year, the BBC and AMC announced that they had also optioned Le Carré's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold for television, based on a script by Academy Award winner Simon Beaufoy. Both channels are also rumoured to still working on a possible second series of The Night Manager, although that project, if it exists, has yet to receive an official commission.

A BBC drama has been taken out of the Christmas schedule after Ed Westwick, one of its stars, was accused of rape. Ordeal By Innocence, which was due to be shown on BBC1, will not be broadcast 'until these matters are resolved,' the BBC said. And the former Gossip Girl star has also 'paused' filming on the second series of the BBC2 comedy-drama White Gold. Westwick has vehemently denied the allegations, which have been made by two women. One of the accusers has made a complaint of sexual assault to the Los Angeles Police Department. A BBC spokesperson said: 'These are serious allegations which Ed Westwick has strenuously denied. The BBC is not making any judgement but until these matters are resolved we will not include Ordeal By Innocence in the schedules. 'The independent production company making White Gold has informed us that Ed Westwick has paused from filming while he deals with these allegations.' The three-part Ordeal By Innocence, adapted from the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, also stars Bill Nighy, Eleanor Tomlinson and Anna Chancellor. It was expected to be one of the BBC's key festive dramas.
The Los Angeles Police Department is reported to be investigating claims made by the actor Corey Feldman concerning an alleged paedophile ring in Hollywood. LAPD detective Ross Nemeroff confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that an investigation had been launched by the department following a report filed by the former child star on Monday. 'When a report is filed on something as severe as this, an investigation is opened by the robbery/homicide division, which also handles sex crimes,' he said. Feldman, who announced on Twitter that he had filed a report to the LAPD, has long alleged that a systemic culture of underage abuse exists in Hollywood. In his 2013 autobiography Coreyography, the actor claimed that both he and late Corey Haim were molested as children and blamed Haim's abuse for his death in 2010 at the age of thirty eight. Last month, Feldman announced that he was seeking funding for a film which he said would expose alleged offenders. 'Right off the bat, I can name six names, one of them who is still very powerful today,' he said, but added that he was unable to divulge the identity of the individuals involved due to 'potential legal repercussions' and fears over his family's safety. On Wednesday, Charlie Sheen denied allegations that he had sexually assaulted Haim on the set of the 1986 film Lucas, when Haim was thirteen and Sheen was nineteen. The claims, published in the National Enquirer, were made by actor Dominick Brascia, a long time friend of Haim's, who claimed that Haim had told him about the incident. 'Charlie Sheen categorically denies these allegations,' a spokesperson for the actor told The Hollywood Reporter. Rumours of organised child abuse in Hollywood have intensified in recent weeks following both Feldman's allegations and the re-emergence of the 2014 documentary, An Open Secret. The film, which alleges sexual predation of children by industry figures, failed to receive a theatrical or distribution deal when it was released in 2015, but has since been made available to view for free on the streaming site Vimeo, where it is said to have attracted millions of views.
'He had a very dark presence and a dark charisma.' Hayley Atwell is talking about disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whom she has met twice at public events. She counts herself 'incredibly lucky' at never having been left alone with him. 'I don't think he's a sex addict - I think he's a predator,' she says. 'He harassed women and therefore he should be punished in the highest way the law offers.' Atwell, best known for her role as Peggy Carter in the Captain America films, also wants to set the record straight about being labelled 'a fat pig' by Weinstein. A story recently surfaced that the powerful producer told her over lunch, during the 2007 filming of Brideshead Revisited, that she looked like 'a fat pig' on-screen and ordered her to lose weight. Her co-star, Emma Thompson, then allegedly reprimanded Weinstein telling him he was a misogynist and a bully and threatened to quit the film. Atwell, however, says that's not the way things happened. 'I was asked how I would feel, given I've got a curvy body, about losing weight - because 1920s flapper girls did not look like that,' she explains. 'It was put to me in a delicate way, very discreetly, very subtly - by someone not related in any way to Harvey Weinstein. But the question was enough to anger Emma who said to me very clearly: "You are a very good actor. You are not a model. This is a very dangerous path if you start to succumb to the wishes of Hollywood to make you look a certain way. If they ask you again, not only will I walk off the set but I'll take this issue to the press." She was extraordinary about it.' The actress, who is starring in a new BBC adaptation of Howards End, says that she was 'upset' about the term 'fat pig' suddenly being bandied around in relation to her. 'No one has spoken to me rudely about my weight, ever,' she says. 'And in fact, one of the least interesting things about any of the work I've done is how much I weigh. I find it another way of controlling women.' Atwell that says she 'can't remember' having directly experienced any sexual harassment at work. But, she adds that she 'can see that it happens,' adding she has 'instinctively had a feeling of it' when she walks into a room of powerful men. 'I've been groped in the street a number of times. I've received lots of sexually explicit messages on Instagram and had drunk men at bars coming up to me. You normalise it.' The actress views the allegations from women across various industries in the wake of the Weinstein scandal as 'an exciting opportunity. There is something quite extraordinary that's happening now,' she says. 'Everyone is talking about it and everyone's addressing it. I think certainly people who have harassed women in the past are probably shaking in their boots because they are expecting to be exposed at any time. And that, in itself, is a potentially very exciting opportunity now to create a much, much safer working environment, especially for the next generation of young women coming up.' Atwell adds it's also about 'teaching young women not to just accept it as the norm anymore - because that norm is changing.' Atwell is starring in a new BBC adaptation of EM Forster's Howards End, as the vivacious and headstrong Margaret Schlegel. The four-part series is a colourful, vibrant portrayal of Edwardian society. The characters are dressed in bright reds and blues - rather than the muted colours you might typically see in a period drama. Margaret and Helen Schlegel (Phillipa Couthard) feel modern and relatable - they really move around the screen, literally running around. The sisters speak over each other and squabble, as well as console each other, as families today would. Atwell says that they wanted to 'dispel the idea' of women back then being 'stiff-mannered and austere.' She puts this misconception down to the fact that photographs took so long to take that everyone had to freeze. 'We managed to find an archive of action shots of Edwardian women,' Atwell explains. 'They're blurry but you can see them striding down the street - skirts swaying in the breeze, books and cigarettes in hand, laughing and knocking their heads back. They spoke like we do, they had movement, they had energy, they had a great sense of humour and wit.' Equality of the sexes comes up as a strong theme in the series, with the Schlegel sisters striving for a more equal society. This is in direct opposition to matriarch Ruth Wilcox, who claims it's best to 'leave action and discussion to men.' Despite this, it's Wilcox who has the power in her family. Atwell sees feminism both in Howards End and the here-and-now as a complex and contradictory matter. Asked whether she classes herself as a feminist, she hesitates before vehemently declaring: 'I am! But I have to be clear about what my definition of feminism is,' she adds. 'And feminism to me is not women, women, women - it's equality between the sexes.' Asked about whether she has experienced the negative effects of gender pay disparity, she muses: 'I wouldn't be surprised if I had been and not known it at the time. Before, I was too scared to find out. It's not nice to find out you've been played or undermined or considered your contribution worth less because of your sex.' It's this pay gap, she decides, which is crucial to the overall attitude towards women in society. 'That then trickles down into social interaction, into how men and women can normalise the undermining of women, the stereotype of being a bimbo, of body-shaming women to still believe that they're not enough until they are a size zero.' It's all part of a bigger picture where women are 'still patronised and condescended to and spoken down to,' she believes. So what's the solution? Well, not 'stamping feet and hating men' argues Atwell, which she deems 'childish, immature and reductive.' Atwell says it's about the 'calling out of abuse of power when people see it' and realising 'it's no longer acceptable to do certain things in the work place.' It's also having multi-faceted female roles on-screen. 'I'd certainly love to see the women I come across in everyday life being better represented,' says Atwell.
Robert Lindsay has claimed he was blacklisted from the movie Shakespeare In Love after a previous run-in with Harvey Weinstein. His co-star in Weinstein-produced Strike It Rich, Molly Ringwald, claimed that Weinstein 'over-sexualised' her role and made her perform lines which weren't in the script. She implied in the New Yorker that her partnership with Robert Lindsay protected her from Weinstein's 'worst impulses.' Lindsay said that this effectively killed his own film career. He wrote: 'And, yes, she's right and because I confronted [Weinstein] he basically halted my film career. When I confronted him little did I know the impact on my career. Having been cast in Shakespeare In Love, he told the director "No Lindsay."' The actor also spoke of how Weinstein operated when he owned a film. He tweeted: 'Harvey Weinstein represented everything I came to hate about movies; if he owned a movie he owned everyone in it. Thank you everyone for your kind words but let's not forget money, power and abuse go hand-in-hand in every profession.' Allegations continue to come out about the film mogul. Most recently, Game Of Thrones actress Lena Headey said that she was left feeling 'powerless' after Weinstein made sexual advances towards her. The actress claims the producer was 'furious' when she rebuffed him and that after 'grabbing and holding tightly to the back of [Headey's] arm,' he ordered her not to tell anyone about his actions.
The American comedian Louis CK's movie premiere has been cancelled hours before the screening as five women levelled sexual misconduct allegations against him. Four of the accusers told the New York Times that he had masturbated 'during interactions' with them and a fifth said that he had asked to do so. The distributor of his new film, I Love You, Daddy, said that it was 'reviewing plans' for its general release. Four comediennes - Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, Rebecca Corry and Abby Schachner - and a fifth woman who spoke on condition of anonymity made allegations about the entertainer in Thursday's New York Times report. Goodman and Wolov said Louis CK 'stripped naked and masturbated' after inviting them to his hotel room during the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen in 2002. Corry told the newspaper that the comic was a guest star on a TV pilot she was appearing on in 2005 when he asked if he could go to her dressing room so she could watch him perform a sex act on himself. She said that she 'rebuked' him and pointed out that he had a daughter and a pregnant wife. Schachner said that she called Louis CK in 2003 to invite him to one of her shows and was dumbfounded to realise, during their phone conversation, that he was masturbating. 'I felt very ashamed,' she told the New York Times. The fifth woman, who did not want to be named, told the newspaper of alleged incidents involving the comic in the late 1990s while she was working in production on The Chris Rock Show. Louis CK, who was a writer and producer on the show, repeatedly asked her to watch him perform a sex act, she claimed. The accuser told the New York Times that she 'went along' with his requests even though she knew it was wrong. 'He abused his power,' she said. The premiere of Louis CK's movie in New York on Thursday night was abruptly called off. I Love You, Daddy was written and directed by Louis CK, who also stars in the film as a father who tries to stop his seventeen-year-old daughter (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) from having a relationship with a seedy sixty eight-year-old film director (John Malkovich). The movie's distributor, the Orchard, has not confirmed that it will go ahead with its release date in cinemas on 17 November. 'In light of the allegations considering Louis CK references in today's New York Times, we are cancelling tonight's premiere of I Love You, Daddy,' the Orchard said in a statement to industry publications. 'There is never a place for the behaviour detailed in these allegations. As a result, we are giving careful consideration to the timing and release of the film and continuing to review the situation.' Louis CK's planned appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert has also been very cancelled. On Thursday night, HBO announced it would 'purge' Louis CK's past projects from its On-Demand service. The cable TV network also said the comic would no longer participate in a charity comedy special, Night Of Too Many Stars, later this month. In September at the Toronto film festival, where I Love You, Daddy, was shown, the New York Times said that it had asked Louis CK about claims of sexual misconduct against him. The divorced father of two daughters dismissed the reports as 'rumours.' Louis CK joins a growing list of Hollywood figures including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner and James Toback who have been engulfed by such allegations. On Thursday, a Los Angeles County district attorney Jackie Lacey announced a task force of veteran sex crimes prosecutors to address 'the widespread allegations of sexual abuse in entertainment industry.'
Kevin Spacey is to be 'erased' from a completed Hollywood film following the allegations of predatory sexual behaviour against him. His role in All The Money In The World is to be recast and his scenes reshot. The release is expected to go ahead as planned on 22 December. Spacey, who was late oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty in the film, will be replaced by Christopher Plummer. All The Money In The World, directed by Ridley Scott, is about the 1973 kidnapping of Getty's teenage grandson. Variety said that Spacey had shot 'about two weeks' of footage and there were 'many scenes' in the film where he was the only actor on-screen. He already appears in the film's trailer, which was released in September. Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, who also star in the film, are expected to take part in the reshooting. The movie has also been withdrawn from the American Film Institute's annual Festival in Los Angeles later this month. Valentina Violo, who plays a secretary in the film, said that she had met Spacey at a party held at the end of shooting this summer. 'He was very nice and kind and very human,' she told BBC News. 'He was enjoying himself drinking, eating, speaking with people.' Spacey's career has nosedived since the first allegation of sexual advances were made by the actor Anthony Rapp on 30 October. US network Netflix has axed further production of Spacey's House Of Cards drama, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced it would no longer give the actor a special EMMY award and his agent and publicist dropped him as a client like hot shit. In response to Rapp's claims, Spacey claimed he had 'no memory' of the incident but, nevertheless, offered an apology. Since then several others have come forward accusing him of predatory behaviour, including a woman who claimed that Spacey had sexually assaulted her eighteen-year-old son last year. Spacey's representatives say that he is seeking unspecified 'treatment.' It is not uncommon for actors to have their roles recast or their performances adjusted in the case of death, illness and other unavoidable circumstances. Nor is it rare for actors to be replaced before or during production, for a whole range of reasons. It is, however, virtually unprecedented for a living performer to be removed from a completed film and have their character recreated by another actor. It is even rarer for that decision to be made so close to a film's release, or in a film whose trailer contains copious footage of the actor concerned. Spacey spent two weeks working on All The Money In The World, so it is possible reshoots may be relatively straightforward. Yet they are likely to be costly and include more than one actor. One scene in the trailer, for example, sees Spacey's Getty striding away from a horde of news reporters. With or without Spacey, Scott's film has already achieved a notoriety that is sure to make it a source of fascination. The fact that it already concerns a famous cause celebre - the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III - adds yet another twist to the tale.
Bryan Cranston believes that Kevin Spacey will 'never work again' after claims of sexual assault. 'He's a phenomenal actor, but he's not a very good person,' the Breaking Bad actor told BBC Newsbeat. 'His career now, I think, is over.' Cranston claims that he has 'never personally' seen abuse in Hollywood, but 'you know it has gone on. There's a disorder among all those people who use their power, their place or their status in any industry to overpower someone and force someone to do something that they don't want to do,' he says of the many Hollywood allegations that have emerged. 'It's beyond disgusting. It's almost animalistic,' says the sixty one-year-old, who is starring in Network at the National Theatre in London. 'It's a form of bullying. It's a form of control. It's almost always [done to] young vulnerable men and women who are starting their career. That sort of experience goes unchecked until something like this happens.' Cranston thinks such allegations will help change things in the movie industry. 'The pillars of what was are falling. Everything is being exposed,' he says. 'Women and men should not have to tolerate misbehaviour just because of their youth and inexperience. The silver lining is we're not accepting behaviour like that just because it's the way it's always been.'
The National Health Service should get the cash boost it was promised during the EU referendum, NHS England's boss says. Simon Stevens used controversial claims used by Vote Leave - that the NHS could benefit by three hundred and fifty million knicker a week - to put the case for more money in a major speech. With waiting times worsening, he said that trust in politics would be 'damaged' if the NHS did not get more cash. He said that the budget had grown modestly in recent years, but those rises would 'nose-dive' in the next few years. He said if action was not taken the NHS would 'really start to struggle,' predicting that hospital waiting lists could grow 'by a quarter' to five million by 2021. The speech by Stevens at the NHS Providers' annual conference of health managers was highly political, coming just a fortnight before The Budget. During the referendum it was claimed that three hundred and fifty million quid a week was sent to the EU and that would be better spent on the NHS. The claim was widely contested at the time and ever since - it did not take into account the rebate the UK had nor the fact the UK benefited from investment from the EU. Some argued that it proved 'highly influential' in the referendum result. Stevens refused to be drawn on just how much money he was after - alleged 'sources' allegedly close to Stevens said that he was not specifically asking for an extra three hundred and fifty million smackers a week, which would work out at an extra eighteen billion notes a year. Instead, they said it just needed to be significantly more than had been promised to date if waiting times were not to worsen. It comes as three highly influential health think-tanks - The King's Fund, The Nuffield Trust and The Health Foundation - published a joint report calling for an extra four billion smackers to be given to health next year. That amounts to eight times more than health spending is due to rise by. He told delegates in Birmingham: 'The NHS wasn't on the ballot paper, but it was on the ballot bus, "Vote Leave for a better funded health service, three hundred and fifty million pounds a week." Rather than our criticising these clear Brexit funding commitments to NHS patients - promises entered into by cabinet ministers and by MPs - the public want to see them honoured.' Which, of course, they won't be.
The BBC headquarters in London has got a new resident: he is tall, bronze and likes a smoke. A statue of novelist George Orwell now adorns the exterior of New Broadcasting House, a few minutes from where Orwell worked as a radio producer during World War Two. But what was the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four doing at the BBC? For decades, its staff have delighted in the suggestion that Orwell took his notion of absolute Hell from two years spent at the BBC. Near the end of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith finds himself trapped in the Ministry of Love's Room 101, 'many metres underground.' He must face his worst fears (which turns out to be a rat). Since the book came out in 1949, some have even suggested it was Orwell's comment on a similarly-numbered room at Broadcasting House, where he had to tolerate endless dull meetings. The idea appeals to writers trying to make sense of what seems an unlikely part of Orwell's career - his time on the BBC staff from August 1941 to November 1943. But, in fact, Orwell didn't even work at Broadcasting House. When, aged thirty eight, he became a talks assistant in the Overseas Empire Department and was based in premises, the BBC had moved into 55 Portland Place. After a year, he became a talks producer at the Overseas Eastern Service, working in a basement the wartime BBC had acquired from the gents clothing department at the store Peter Robinson. Orwell was already a well-known journalist and novelist - the author of Down & Out in Paris & London (1933), The Road To Wigan Pier (1937), Homage To Catalonia (1938) and the 1936 novel Keep The Aspidistra Flying. But he wasn't yet world-famous, as he later became with Animal Farm (in 1945) and with Nineteen Eighty-Four. His biographer, DJ Taylor, believes that Orwell was 'genuinely keen' to join the corporation. 'His health was already shot to pieces and it became clear he would never be called up to fight in the war. I think he saw the BBC as a form of war work.' Initially, a lot of Orwell's time was spent writing a weekly news commentary aimed primarily at India, to be read on air by Indian members of the department. The typescripts were rediscovered and published in the 1980s. They are summaries of how the war was going and there was no pretence of being great literature. His news commentary seventy five years ago this week, for instance, focused on events around El Alamein: 'The Battle of Egypt has developed into a great victory for the United Nations. The Axis forces are not yet destroyed, but they are in great danger.' Taylor thinks that Orwell was an energetic propagandist. 'It may seem strange because now we think of Orwell as the most truthful of writers. But, he knew the war needed winning and that good propaganda would be a part of that. When later he grew disillusioned, which clearly he did, it was because he feared the propaganda simply wasn't effective. He had no problem with the concept of propaganda for a cause which was morally right, so long as you didn't tell lies. But there is an irony that he was a propagandist for a regime at war with another regime - and in that surely we see the roots of Nineteen Eighty-Four.' After about a year, those in charge at the Beeb seem to have decided that because Orwell was a known supporter of Indian independence it would go down well in India if his name became more associated with the broadcasts. Orwell's presence on-air made the propaganda seem less like propaganda. He invited the likes of TS Eliot and EM Forster to broadcast to Asia and was permitted to go on-air himself - although in January 1943 BBC mandarin JB Clark wrote a tart memo highly critical of Orwell's 'unattractive' voice. A long line of documentary-makers have been aghast to find that somehow none of the programmes in which Orwell took part ever made it to the BBC archive. Simon Rooks, who runs that archive, says that it is a disappointment but no surprise. 'In Orwell's time very few things were recorded: radio was essentially a live medium. But in the war the BBC started to broadcast far more to other parts of the world. And, if you're broadcasting to India, which Orwell often was, some parts of the output have to be transmitted in the middle of the night. There would have been recordings to facilitate that. But those functional recordings were on acetate discs: they only had a thin lacquer coating and could play a handful of times before wearing out. Recordings were sometimes transferred to more robust archive discs for permanent use. But very few overseas programmes were ever kept - and sadly nothing with George Orwell.' Orwell died in 1950, aged forty six, so the voice is one reference point which hasn't been available to Martin Jennings, who was commissioned to make the new sculpture. His John Betjeman and Philip Larkin statues were both much praised. 'I've been an admirer of Orwell for years so I suppose it's my knowledge of the writings which is the basis of the piece. I was delighted to be approached by Ben Whitaker who was behind the whole idea.' Whitaker, a human rights lawyer and former Labour MP, died in 2014. 'The BBC is donating a wonderful home, though the funding has all been from private donors. But when I knew where it was going, that had implications. It's standing against a particularly tall Portland stone wall and will be elevated on a plinth. But it seemed to me that Orwell was the last person to be on a plinth. So I have made him stoop rather to the viewer - so perhaps it's more that he's on a soapbox, engaging an audience.' The location where Orwell is placed has been an unofficial smokers' corner ever since Broadcasting House was extended in 2013. So it's appropriate that Jennings' Orwell has a fag in one hand. He is also given the tall, gangling, slightly cadaverous writer ill-fitting clothes and cabbage-patch hair which he thinks were characteristic. 'But the placing also seemed to demand words on the wall behind Orwell: it would have seemed incomplete otherwise. In the end Ben Whitaker came up with the right choice.' The quotation is from a proposed preface to Animal Farm, which was never used: 'If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.' Jennings says they are 'an interesting and quite a challenging selection of words for a public service broadcaster.' He says: 'It's both Orwell talking to the political journalists of the BBC and it's the BBC expressing what it stands for to the general public.' Speaking ahead of the launch, Orwell's son, Richard Blair, told the Daily Torygraph that while he welcomed the acclaim bestowed upon his father, he believed Orwell would have been 'reserved' over the pomp afforded to him. 'He thought [the BBC] was a mixture of a girl's school and a mental asylum,' he added. 'Would he have approved of it? It's an interesting question. I think he would have been reserved, given that he was very self-effacing. In the end I think he would have been forced to accept it by his friends. He would have to recognise that he was a man of the moment. However, I think the fact that the BBC has afforded him singular acclaim, the only statue to be placed there, is remarkable.'
It is one of those things that is on many people's bucketlist and usually something you have to travel to the far North of Scandiwegia to witness, but the Northern Lights put on a show over parts of the UK this week on two successive nights. The phenomenon - which this blogger his very self has only ever witnessed about three times - swept across parts of Scotland and Northern England on Tuesday night, while areas as far south as South Wales also caught a glimpse of the aurora borealis. And, with dark, clear skies forecast for the next few days, it's likely that if you missed the show you may get another chance. Doctor Nathan Case, a physicist at Lancaster University who helps run AuroraWatch UK, said: 'The aurora was spotted from across the UK last night, including as far south as South Wales,' he noted on Wednesday. 'Last night's aurora was driven by fast solar wind coming from a coronal hole. The solar wind is a plasma, or electrically charged gas, that constantly blows out from the Sun.' He added: 'Particularly fast or strong solar wind conditions can produce visible aurora from the UK.' Aurorawatch UK issues alerts when aurora activity is high: 'To see the aurora, one needs dark, clear skies with a good view of the Northern horizon.'
Jupiter and Venus will be visible to the naked eye close together in the sky before dawn on Monday. The planets will appear in conjunction in the South-East, just above the horizon and may appear to look like one extremely bright star. In the UK, the best viewing time will be forty minutes before sunrise. Jupiter's four Galilean moons - Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede - will also be visible to those with a telescope. Clear skies are needed - and forecast for much of England and Wales. The planets will be seen best by those in mid-Northern latitudes around the world, including the UK and Northern US. Observers will have to have an uninterrupted view to the South-East as the planets will be very low in the sky.
Scientists have spotted an effin' 'uge planet in the centre of our galaxy – in the 'galactic bulge' at the heart of The Milky Way. The galaxy, not the chocolate bar. The object is thought to be thirteen times the size of Jupiter - or sodding enormous - and at the outside edge of what is classified as a planet. It was spotted using 'microlensing', where scientists measure distortions in light when a star passes in front of another star, by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment collaboration. The planet, the catchily named OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb is twenty two thousand light years from home - which, if it wasn't a Rolling Stones song, really should have been - and orbits its parent star roughly every three years. Its huge mass puts the object right at the deuterium burning limit – the conventional boundary between planets and brown dwarfs. The researchers say it is possible it is a brown dwarf, objects which are too big to be a planet but which are not massive enough to sustain the nuclear fusion which makes stars burn. The researchers write: 'We report the discovery of OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb, which is likely to be the first Spitzer microlensing planet in the galactic bulge/bar, an assignation that can be confirmed by two epochs of high-resolution imaging of the combined source-lens baseline object.'
Former England captain Alan Shearer fears that he may be at risk of dementia due to heading footballs during his playing days. The forty seven-year-old is the Premier League's record scorer with two hundred and sixty goals and enjoyed an eighteen-year career with Southampton, Blackburn Vindaloos and hometown club, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United. He also scored thirty goals in sixty three appearances for England but the Match Of The Day pundit has revealed he has concerns over his long-term health. 'For every goal I scored with a header during a game, I must have practised it one thousand times in training,' Big Al told the Daily Mirra. 'That must put me at risk if there is a link.' The paper says that Shearer has 'had tests' to examine how heading the ball has affected his brain. 'They were pretty nerve-wracking. I have got a terrible memory. I don't know if that is because I don't listen but I have got a poor memory. When you play football as a professional you expect in later life you are going to have problems with your knees, your ankles or you back, like I have. But never did I think playing football could be linked to having a brain disease. That is why the research has to be done.' Shearer believes that more research needs to be carried out and greater support for ex-players with dementia should be on offer. 'The authorities have been very reluctant to find out any answers,' he said. 'They have swept it under the carpet, which is not good enough. Football must look after old players with dementia and put an end to this sense that once you are done playing, you can be put on the scrap heap. It's a tough game, it's a brilliant game but we have to make sure it's not a killer game.' Details of the documentary that Big Al has made on the subject for the BBC, Dementia, Football & Me can be found here.
A life-size model of Adolf Hitler (who only had one, allegedly) used for 'selfies' by visitors to an Indonesian museum has been extremely removed. Pictures shared on social media show people grinning as they pose with the model of the Nazi leader in front of an image of the gates of Auschwitz death camp. It was only when the international community reacted with outrage that the De ARCA Statue Art Museum realised it had caused any offence. The museum, in Jogjakarta, Java, said that it had 'only wanted to educate. We don't want to attract outrage,' the museum's operations manager, Jamie Misbah, told news agency AFP. Pictures on social media show numerous people posing with the fibreglass statue, including a group of young boys dressed in orange uniforms performing a Nazi salute. It has left many around the world sickened - even if, as the museum originally claimed, no visitor had actually complained. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of Jewish human rights organisation The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, told AP: 'Everything about it is wrong. It's hard to find words for how contemptible it is. The background is disgusting. It mocks the victims who went in and never came out.'
A man's police interrogation in Kansas was ended prematurely after he began answering questions by farting, according to local reports. Sean Sykes Junior is facing federal gun and drug charges after being pulled over twice by police in Kansas City. He was initially released in September, but taken back into custody this month. Explosive new details have now emerged of Sykes's original interview in September which was brought to an abrupt end. According to the Kansas City Star, a detective's report said that Sykes 'leaned to one side of his chair and released a loud fart' when asked for his address by police while being interviewed in September. Sykes 'continued to be flatulent and I ended the interview,' the detective wrote after recovering. No charges were filed at the time after Sykes denied knowledge of the items, but the twenty four-year-old was pulled over again this month. He was charged with stolen firearm offences and possession with intent to sell cocaine. The detective's report emerged during a court appearance on Monday.
A jury has awarded seven-and-a-half million bucks to a customer who was injured while picking up a watermelon at a Walmart in Alabama. Henry Walker's foot got stuck after he stepped on a wooden pallet to get one of the fruits in July 2015. Walker, who was fifty nine at the time on the incident, fell over and broke his hip and foot, he told the court in Phoenix City. Walmart maintained the display was safe and said that they will keep using it. They also plan to appeal against the verdict. Walker, a retired army sergeant, won two-and-a-half million dollars in compensatory damages and five million in extremely punitive damages. 'It was a fair verdict because Walmart just didn't care,' Walker's lawyer, Charlie Gower, told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. 'They should have had something to cover up that pallet so someone's foot couldn't get caught in it and they didn't.' The jury heard how Walker had previously played basketball three times a week, but now has to use a mobility walker. Walmart says that there is 'nothing dangerous' about the display, which is used at stores around the country. They claim that any injury incurred by the customer was 'due to his own negligence. Walmart continues to display watermelons in the same manner as it did on 25 June 2015,' the Arkansas-based company said in a court filing on Wednesday. 'These displays come to the store from the producer already packaged and ready to be dropped and displayed,' they added. A spokesman for Walmart said that the damages are 'excessive' and that they intend to appeal.
A former high school art teacher in Arkansas has been accused of having sex with four students. Jessie Lorene Goline, who taught at Marked Tree High School, was very arrested on Wednesday and charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. Prosecutors said that Goline faces a single charge because only one of the students was younger than eighteen. Goline allegedly had The Sex with the students between January and April of 2016, authorities told the Democrat-Gazette. During one incident, a student, who was in Goline's class, said that she picked him up and took him to her apartment to have The Sex and then dropped him back off at school later that day. Goline is accused of having The Sex with another student on the same day. Another student said that he was 'dropped off' at Goline's apartment in Jonesboro, where they had The Sex. The fourth student claimed Goline commented on his looks and reportedly sent him a photo of herself wearing a thong. Authorities began investigating Goline in April after a parent accused the teacher of having The Sex with multiple students.
Two extremely naughty police officers have been very sacked after they left a message on a woman's answer machine saying that they hoped her child 'would get raped.' Quite why this pair were stupid enough to do such a phenomenally idiotic thing is unknown. The Avon and Somerset officers left the recording after being called to deal with a 'vulnerable' child, a misconduct hearing was told. Constables Samuel Dexter and Hannah Mayo are heard laughing and saying they 'did not care' what happened to the child. Both officers extremely admitted gross misconduct and were dismissed without notice. The hearing on Tuesday at police headquarters was told the child had been reported missing before being found by Dexter and reunited with her family. But a short while later, according to the hearing outcome notice, the child's mother called the police again to report the child was 'causing problems at the family home.' En-route to the property, Dexter and Mayo phoned the mother for more information and inadvertently activated the answerphone. In the recorded message the officers can be heard laughing and saying they had 'no interest whatsoever' in the child and both then said they hoped the child would 'get raped.' In his verdict at the hearing, Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the comments had 'broken the trust' the child's family had in the police. He said: '[The comments] go way beyond the boundaries that could be described as dark humour. I cannot accept the comments were a mistake, they were far more serious than that and the people we serve will be appalled to hear that police officers spoke in such a way about a child.' Chief Inspector Mark Edgington, of the professional standards department, said the officers had 'failed to treat the child and their family with respect. Both officers used appalling and horrific language about a vulnerable missing child and their family,' he said. 'There are no excuses for their behaviour and their actions are not reflective of our force or the officers and staff who work extremely hard every day to safeguard and protect vulnerable people.' Both officers have offered 'fulsome apologies' to the child and their family.
John Hillerman, who played the memorably spiky Higgins opposite Tom Selleck in the 1980s TV series Magnum, PI has died at the age of eighty four. John, who had been in declining health, died on Thursday of natural causes at his home in Houston his nephew, Chris Tritico, said. For his role as Higgins, Hillerman earned five Golden Globe nominations - winning in 1981 - and four EMMY nominations - winning in 1987. Besides playing the manager of the Hawaiian estate that Thomas Magnum used as home base, Hillerman was also known for his 1970s roles as arrogant radio show detective Simon Brimmer on the Ellery Queen series and the difficult boss on the sitcom One Day At A Time. When Hillerman decided to retire seventeen years ago, the actor born in Denison, Texas, returned to his native state and was content leaving Hollywood behind, his nephew added. He remembered his uncle, an Air Force veteran, fondly. 'He had an outstanding sense of humour and was one of the most well-read people I ever met. You couldn't play Scrabble with him,' Tritico said. As for that quasi-British accent which Hillerman used to great effect on Magnum and elsewhere, his nephew said that was honed during several decades of playing varied roles on the New York stage before he turned to TV and movies. Hillerman used something closer to his own voice in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, playing Howard Johnson, one of the comic Western's many Johnsons. He appeared in a number of TV series, including Valerie, The Love Boat and The Betty White Show and in films including a couple of real cult movies, Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show, Ernest Tidyman's High Plains Drifter and Roman Polanski's Chinatown. John served four years in the United States Air Force (1953 to 1957), working in maintenance in a B-36 wing of the Strategic Air Command and achieving the rank of sergeant. He became interested in acting after working with a theatrical group in Fort Worth during his service: 'I was bored with barracks life. I got into [acting] to meet people in town. A light went on.' After his discharge, he moved to New York City to study at the American Theatre Wing and performed in professional theatre for the next twelve years. He moved to Hollywood in 1969 and made his film debut in They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970) in an uncredited role as a reporter. His CV also included appearances in What's Up, Doc?, Paper Moon, The Day Of The Locust and episodes of Mannix, Kojak, Hawaii Five-0, Wonder Woman, Hart To Hart and Tales Of The Gold Monkey. His last credits included 1996's A Very Brady Sequel and an early 1990s appearance on Murder, She Wrote. The role of Higgins was his favourite, Tritico said. 'The reason he didn't take another big role is he refused to take a sitcom after Magnum,' he said. 'He wanted to continue doing the serious work that he felt Magnum was.' Hillerman's survivors include a sister, Jo Ann Tritico and seven nieces and nephews.
The Irish actor Scott Fredericks has died at the age of seventy four. Scott appeared in two Doctor Who stories; in 1972 he played Boaz in Day Of The Daleks, returning to the series in 1977 to play Maximillian Stael in Image Of The Fendahl. He also appeared as Carnell in the Blakes 7 episode Weapon. Scott was born in Sligo in 1943 and moved to London to train as an actor after gaining a scholarship to RADA. His first television role was in an episode of Crossroads in 1964. He played Tom Kelly in the BBC's memorably awful drama Triangle and featured in episodes of Z-Cars, Sutherland's Law, Dixon Of Dock Green, The White Rabbit, Sat'day White Sunday, Strange Report, The Regiment, The Man Outside, Barlow, Last Of Summer, The Enigma Files, Charters & Caldicott and the movies The Rise & Rise Of Michael Rimmer, See No Evil, The Deadly Females, Cal, From Beyond The Grave and the 1971 big-screen adaptation of Dad's Army. His final acting role was as Kenneth Wrigley in the 2008 series Rock Rivals. He returned to the part of Carnell in the Kaldor City series of audios after the character reappeared in Chris Boucher's Doctor Who novel Corpse Marker. Scott, interviewed for Doctor Who Magazine recalled: 'My first Doctor Who story was Day Of The Daleks, in which I played a character called Boaz and had a lot of scenes with Anna Barry and Jimmy Winston. I also had a few scenes with Jon Pertwee. There was this joke fight I did with him, which he choreographed. He'd convinced the director that he knew all about fighting as he'd been some sort of commando, but it ended up looking quite comical. My kids, though, loved it. All the things I've ever done and that's their favourite!' In 1980, Scott received the JJ Finnegan Evening Herald Award nomination for his solo stage show, Yeats Remembers. In 1992, became a contract Radio Drama director with RTE and represented the station at the 1997 Prix Italia Awards. Scott died on Monday after a long illness. He is survived by his partner, Mary and their two sons, Mark and Paul.
One of the most prolific contributors to Doctor Who, the composer Dudley Simpson, has died at the age of ninety five. Dudley worked on at least two hundred and ninety episodes of Doctor Who, writing the score to over sixty serials during a fifteen year association with the long-running family SF drama. His music provided the soundtrack to the majority of the adventures of the first four Doctors as well as contributing some of the most iconic TV theme tunes, writing the title music for Blake's 7 and The Tomorrow People. Dudley was born in Australia in October 1922. He served in New Guinea during World War II before studying orchestration and composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He worked for the Borovansky Ballet Company, the predecessor to the Australian Ballet, before moving to the UK, where after a season as guest conductor at Covent Garden, he became Principal Conductor of the Royal Opera House orchestra for three years. He first wrote music for television in 1961, working on a BBC drama called Jack's Horrible Luck, directed by Gerard Glaister. 'Composing for films requires a certain degree of adaptability,' he once noted. 'For example, I might be writing music to accompany the Ken Dodd show one minute and switch to something classical the next.' It was his work on the drama Moonstrike which brought him to the attention of Doctor Who's Associate Producer Mervyn Pinfield, who recruited him to write the music for the 1964 story Planet Of Giants. Over the next fifteen years, Simpson would contribute more to Doctor Who than almost any other person. Following Planet Of Giants he wrote the scores for The Crusade, The Chase, The Celestial Toymaker, The Underwater Menace, The Evil Of The Daleks, The Ice Warriors, Fury From The Deep, The Seeds Of Death, The Space Pirates, The War Games, Spearhead From Space, The Ambassadors Of Death, Terror Of The Autons, The Mind Of Evil, The Claws Of Axos, Colony In Space, The Dæmons, Day Of The Daleks, The Curse of Peladon, The Three Doctors, Carnival Of Monsters, Frontier In Space, Planet Of The Daleks, The Green Death, The Time Warrior, Invasion Of The Dinosaurs, The Monster Of Peladon, Planet Of The Spiders, Robot, The Ark In Space, The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis Of The Daleks, Planet Of Evil, Pyramids Of Mars, The Android Invasion, The Brain Of Morbius, The Masque Of Mandragora, The Hand Of Fear, The Deadly Assassin, The Face Of Evil, The Robots Of Death, The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Horror Of Fang Rock, The Invisible Enemy, Image Of The Fendahl, The Sun Makers, Underworld, The Invasion Of Time, The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Stones Of Blood, The Androids Of Tara, The Power Of Kroll, The Armageddon Factor, Destiny Of The Daleks, City Of Death, The Creature From The Pit, Nightmare Of Eden and The Horns Of Nimon. His one on-screen appearance in the series came in 1977 when he played the role of the Conductor at the Palace Theatre in episode four of The Talons Of Weng-Chiang. Working to tight deadlines, he would engage a small group of perhaps five or six musicians and mastered the extraordinary shed-sized synthesizers at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in Maida Vale. 'I always find Doctor Who very hard to write for,' he told Radio Times in 1973. 'Some of the stories are romantic, some dramatic, some straight sci-fi. But I always treat it as serious drama and try to give the music a sense of doom.' Simpson's last commission for the series was for the unfinished story, Shada. With the advent of a new producer, John Nathan Turner, who wanted a fresh sound for the programme, his services were no longer required. Dudley Simpson's work on Doctor Who brought him to the attention of other TV producers and in the 1960s and 1970's his talents could be heard providing the soundtrack to many series. He wrote the music to The Brothers, the 1972 drama that dominated the ratings on Sunday evenings. He wrote the theme to The Tomorrow People, the ITV SF series for children. And he the author of the spectacular theme to Terry Nation's Blake's 7 and provided incidental music for fifty out of the fifty two episodes. Other series on which Dudley worked included Z Cars (another show in which he appeared on-screen in an episode, as a restaurant pianist, albeit uncredited), Moonbase Three, The Ascent Of Man, Target, A Little Princess, Paul Temple, Lorna Doone, Kidnapped, Curtain Of Fear, The Last Of The Mohicans, Triton, The Man Outside, A Pin To See The Peepshow, Microbes & Men, Madame Bovary, North & South, Katy, Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm, The Legend Of King Arthur, Stalky & Co, Sally Ann, Dombey & Son, Goodbye Mr Chips, The Scarlet & The Black, The Diary Of Anne Frank, Super Gran, Tales Of The Unexpected, Amy, Maria Marten Or Murder In The Red Barn, The Lost Boys, The Velvet Glove, Late Call, Boy Meets Girl, Mary Barton, Epitaph For A Spy, episodes of Out Of The Unknown, Thirty Minute Theatre and The Wednesday Play and several plays in the BBC Television Shakespeare series. He was also the music supervisor on David Frost's famous 1977 interviews with Richard Nixon. His contribution to British television led the director Michael Hayes to describe him as 'the UK's answer to Bernard Herrmann.' Dudley retired in the 1990's and returned to his native Australia. He was back in the UK in 2013 to help celebrate Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary, appearing in Matthew Sweet's acclaimed episode of The Culture Show, Me, You & Doctor Who. He was, reportedly, 'bowled over' to be invited to attend the Doctor Who Prom at the Royal Albert Hall where his romantic 'city skyline' theme from the 1979 story, City Of Death, was performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.