Sunday, January 14, 2018

Distance Learning

'He asked me not to wear panties in court!' The corpses continue to pile up as the best French police and legal procedural drama in the world, bar none, Spiral continues with its sixth - and, probably, final - series. This week's BBC4 double bill opened with the discovery of a body, that of a teenage girl whose death Laure Berthaud is convinced is linked to Officer Mercier's extremely grizzly murder. Elsewhere, a fearful Judge Roban faces a brain biopsy, Joséphine struggles to cope with the demands of her profession in the aftermath of being date-raped and Gilou is, seemingly, off-the-hook thanks to Laure helping to cover up his potentially disastrous taking of evidence from a suspect's gaff. It's also noticeable that, after a couple of weeks where they seemed to forget the series was back on the telly, Spiral mega-fans at the Gruniad have finally started their traditional episode-by-episode bloggerisationism round-up for the series first four episodes which you can check out here and here.
TV Comedy Live Of The Week: A brilliant moment from the latest episode of Would I Lie To You? 'I had hippy parents and I had to do a lot of weird stuff,' confessed the excellent Cariad Lloyd. 'Like what?' asked her team captain, Lee Mack. 'We had to go an sit in circle and chant in communes in Scotland,' she added. 'Was I the only one that we all had to go shop-lifting at Prestos?' replied Lee, horrified.
Cariad Lloyd - who is currently getting as omnipresent on ones telly box as Victoria Coren Mitchell - was also a guest on this week's episode of Qi (Objects & Ornaments) alongside Wor Geet Canny Sarah Millican and Alice Levine. Jolly fine episode it was too although, atypically in an episode with a four-fifths female cast, it was Alan Davies who got the best moment, one of those mad-brilliant so-far-over-the-top-he's-down-the-other-side impressions of some creature or other that he does in most episodes which sometimes work as brilliant comedy and sometimes don't. This one - related to the Uraba lugens, an Australasian caterpillar which, as Sandi Toksvig explained, 'keeps its old heads and wears them as hats,' leading to it being nicknamed 'The Mad Haterpillar' - did. 'As it grows it sheds its exo-skeleton, the protrusion on the top of the head remains and eventually it has a stack which it uses both as a weapon and as a false target for would-be predators,' noted Sandi. 'That is hoarding gone mad,' Alice pointed out. Then Alan went off on his surreal flight of fancy of the various heads conversing with each other and demanding to swap places. You had to be there, dear blog reader.
And now, dear blog reader, it's time for this week's 'Completely Bollocks Made-Up Doctor Who Story', which comes - not for the first time - from the good old reliable Daily Mirra. Even the source of the Mirra's story has now gone out of his way to poo-pah their claims which were, seemingly, sourced from a posting on Facebook. Classy. They really were a much more reliable source of 'news' when they just used to hack peoples phones to get their stories.
The next issue of Doctor Who Magazine is out this week and features yer actual Jodie Whittaker in her first cover since becoming the new Doctor on screen. It is available now from all good newsagents. And, some bad ones, too.
Jodie, of course, has uttered but two words as the new Doctor so far, but they were - unmistakably - tinged with a Northern accent. Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine, Jodie revealed that there was 'never any discussion' about her using anything but her natural speaking voice in the part. Well, you know what they say, 'lots of planets have a Yorkshire.' 'All The Doctors' voices have been different,' she said. 'There have been various dialects and I knew coming into it that there wasn't a rule that you had to speak a certain way. I auditioned in my accent and, at no point, did anyone say to do anything different. In fact they said, "Use your own voice."' She added that she would've been 'open' to trying a different accent, but was never asked. 'Obviously anyone who's seen me knows that this isn't the only voice I'm comfortable doing. If it hadn't worked during the scenes in the audition process I'm sure they would have picked up on that immediately. So in a strange way, I don't know how much of an actual decision it was. I think [the discussion] happened before I was even cast.'
Matt Smith is, clearly, a big fan of Jodie Whittaker taking over the TARDIS, saying that she will bring 'heart, humour and soul' to the role of The Doctor. Smudger had nothing but praise for his TARDIS successor during an appearance on The Late Late Show With Unfunny Full-Of-His-Own-Importance Plank James Corden this week. 'She's amazing,' Smudger said. 'She has such heart, humour and soul and I think that show works best when it's about big, bold casting and big, bold creative choices. It's kind of about time, isn't it?' he added. 'She is the right choice,' he continued. 'I am fully behind Jodie.'
'So far we can concluded that we are, indeed, in a parallel universe. One not governed by the Federation but by a fascistic human-only organisation ... [They] appear to the be antithesis of us in every way. They're an oppressive, racist, xenophobic culture that dominates all known space and they're ruled by a faceless emperor ... [The] culture appears to be predicated upon an unconditional hatred and rejection of anything and everything "other".' 'What, you mean ... ?' 'Yes sir, we've landed in 2018. Might be America, might be Britain, we're still trying to work that out.' It's taken ten episodes (including a couple of previous very good ones, admittedly) but Star Trek: Discovery has finally hit a level where this blogger can actually see what they're trying to do with it. And, Keith Telly Topping likes it! Though, that said ... the Mirror Universe needs far more 'evil facial hair' than they had on display in this particular episode. That apart, though, Despite Yourself was proper brilliant (especially Evil Tilly!)
'1994. He's dead because the world was so dangerous and complex, then. Who'd've thought we'd look by with nostalgia [because] that was a simpler time, Scully? Everything we feared came to pass, how the Hell did that happen?' The opening five minutes of the latest episode of The X-Files - Darin Morgan's episode last year aside - soundtracked by The Ramones' cover of 'California Sun' was the single best bit of drama on the popular SF show in years. Then came the caption 'written by Glen Morgan.' That explains it, this blogger thought; keep creator and showrunner Chris Carter well away from writing any scripts and this show still has the capacity to be great! And, after last week's episode, frankly that was a huge relief. The latest episode, This, included excellent dialogue (much of it hilarious), a plot that, whilst Mad-As-Toast, at least didn't disappear up its own arse (lots of elements were, seemingly, taken from the 1998 episode Kill Switch) and we had both Gillian and Duchovny acting their little cotton socks and not phoning it in this week. What a novel experience!
From The North favourite Gillian Anderson has explained why she's leaving The X-Files. 'It's time for me to hang up Scully's hat. It just is,' she told reporters at the TCA press tour on Wednesday. 'I arrived at the decision before we did the previous six [episodes], but I was really curious. I felt that the previous six was going to be it. It was dipping our toe back in again and getting to play these wonderful characters again. I think as Chris [Carter] has said himself that short stack of episodes felt like we were leaning how to walk again and that this season of ten feels like the pace is up and we're running.' She went on to say: 'I wouldn't necessarily have been happy if those six were how we said goodbye. There's lots of things that I want to do in my life and in my career and it's been an extraordinary opportunity and extraordinary character and I am hugely grateful.' As for her on-screen partner David Duchovny, he said that he was 'good either way' if The X-Files ended or continued. 'I've tried to say goodbye to Fox Mulder many times and I failed,' he said. 'And they all went and did the show without me, so how do you like that? I'm feeling pretty pissed off, now that I remember.'
In last week's mid-series premiere of The Blacklist, Liz Keene (Megan Boone) took a mournful sojourn to Alaska which then went horribly tits-up after some naughty mafia types turned up in the wrong place at the wrong time and she slaughtered them. With extreme prejudice. As grieving widow kick-ass FBI agents do, occasionally. She went home with the taste of blood in her mouth and a desire to get revenge on Tom's killers. Liz is a much changed version of herself now that she has a darkness inside of her that has previously only been hinted at, as creator and executive producer Jon Bokenkamp and executive producer John Eisendrath told TV Guide. As series five of the popular espionage drama progresses she and Red (James Spader) will work together to find Tom's killers, but she'll also find out some upsetting stuff about Red's role in Tom's death and the secrets that her father and her husband were keeping from her. And it will all culminate in the reveal of whose bones are in that suitcase, which in turn will reveal more about Red than anything previously seen on The Blacklist.
Here are the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twenty Eight programmes broadcast in the UK during the week-ending Sunday 7 January 2018:-
1 McMafia - Mon BBC1 - 8.51m
2 Vera - Sun ITV - 8.39m
3 Coronation Street - Wed ITV - 8.29m
4 Death In Paradise - Thurs BBC1 - 8.17m
5 Twatting About On Ice - Sun ITV - 8.09m
6 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.68m
7 Mrs Brown's Boys - Mon BBC1 - 7.45m
8 Emmerdale - Fri ITV - 7.15m
9 Girlfriends - Wed ITV - 6.47m
10 The Voice - Sat ITV - 6.12m
11 FA Cup Match Of The Day Live - Fri BBC1 - 6.02m
12 BBC News - Mon BBC1 - 5.95m
13 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 5.93m
14= Six O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 5.78m
14= Grandpa's Great Escape - Mon BBC1- 5.78m
16 Film: Spectre - Mon ITV - 4.96m
17 Still Open All Hours - Sun BBC1 - 4.94m
18 David Attenborough & The Giant Sea Dragon - Sun BBC1 - 4.86m
19 Hard Sun - Sat BBC1 - 4.84m
20 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.69m
21 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.52m
22 Catchphrase - Sat ITV - 4.46m
23 Z-List Celebrity Mastermind - Thurs BBC1 - 4.38m
24 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 4.29m
25 The Chase - Wed ITV - 4.28m
26 DIY SOS: The Big Build - Thurs BBC1 - 4.25m
27 Film: Maleficent - Mon BBC1 - 4.24m
28 ITV News - Wed ITV - 4.23m
These consolidated figures - published weekly by those lovely people at 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. Tom Kerridge: Lose Weight For Good topped BBC2's weekly top thirty with a whopping 3.52 million. Inside The Factory was seen by 2.94 million punters. A House Through Time drew 2.90 million, Trust Me, I'm A Doctor, 2.70 million, Christmas University Challenge, 2.60 million, Kate Humble: Off The Beaten Track, 2.14 million, Only Connect, 2.06 million back in its traditional Monday evening slot, Dragon's Den, 2.03 million, The Hairy Bikers' Mediterranean Adventure, 1.99 million, The Real T-Rex With Chris Packham, 1.83 million, Michael Palin: A Life On-Screen, 1.82 million, Inside Number Nine, 1.81 million and Qi, 1.79 million. Rome Unpacked was watched by 1.69 million. The Great Festive Bake-Off was Channel Four's highest-rated broadcast with 3.46 million. The opening episode of the excellent Derry Girl attracted 2.61 million. SAS: Who Dares Wins (2.53 million), Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.24 million) and The Biggest Little Railway In The World (2.24 million) came next. Hunted had 2.22 million viewers, the movie Pitch Perfect 2, 2.16 million, Twenty Kids & Counting, 2.02 million, Mrs Doubtfire, 1.90 million, The Secret Life Of The Zoo, 1.77 million, Kirstie & Phil's Love It Or List It, 1.66 million, The Bloody Odious Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Fiasco, 1.44 million and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II, 1.41 million. The network premiere of The Be-Atles (A Popular Beat Combo Of The 1960s, You Might've Heard Of Them): Eight Days A Week was watched by 1.35 million viewers. Channel Five's top performer was Z-List Celebrity Big Brother, with an audience of 2.20 million. The return of Will & Grace (1.86 million), World's Strongest Man (1.66 million), Diet Secrets & How To Lose Weight (1.60 million) and Costa Del Z-List Celebrity (1.04 million) rounded-off Five's most-watched list of shame. On Sky Sports Premier League, New Year's Day's Gillette Soccer Special was watched by three hundred and thirty one thousand, whilst four hundred and fifty nine thousand viewed Jeff Stelling and company on Sky Sports News. Everton's home defeat to The Scum was seen by seven hundred and twenty three thousand on SS PL, plus 1.09 million punters on Sky Sports Main Events. The Arse's two-two draw with Moscow Chelski FC had four hundred and four thousand plus eight hundred and sixteen thousand on Main Event. Stottingtot Hotshots draw with West Hamsters United was seen by two hundred and eighty thousand on Sky Sports Premier League and seven hundred and twenty seven thousand on Main Event. Live EFL, Dirty Leeds versus Nottingham Forest attracted two hundred thousand viewers on Sky Sports Football (plus two hundred and ninety three thousand on Main Event) whilst Celta Vigo against Real Madrid drew ninety six thousand. Live NFL, Jacksonville versus Buffalo was seen by seventy one thousand on Sky Sports Mix and forty nine thousand on Sky Sports Action. Hamilton's Mexican Grand Prix was Sky Sports F1's list-topper with sixteen thousand. Highlights of New Zealand Versus The West Indies T/20 had twenty four thousand on Sky Sports Cricket as did live first test coverage of the first test between South African and Sri Lanka. Ashes Debate: Fourth Test (the one England managed to draw) was watched by twenty two thousand. Sky 1's weekly top-ten was headed by the return for a second series of the patchy-but-occasionally-interesting Delicious with eight hundred and seventy five thousand viewers and Hawaii Five-0, with eight hundred and twenty seven thousand. NCIS: Los Angeles (seven hundred and twenty two thousand), From The North favourite The Blacklist (six hundred and fifty two thousand) and rancid stream of festering spew Trollied (six hundred and ten thousand people who should be bloody embarrassed after choosing to have their intelligence insulted by such crass horseshite) came next. Sky Arts' Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender was seen by ninety thousand viewers whilst Laurel & Hardy: Their Lives & Magic drew sixty five thousand viewers and XTC: This Is Pop, fifty seven thousand. Sky Atlantic's list was topped by the episodes of The Tunnel: Vengeance with one hundred and fifty six thousand whilst the other nine of the top ten was made up of episodes of Game Of Thrones (the most popular one being watched by one hundred and five thousand). On Sky Living, the latest episode of The Good Doctor drew 1.05 million whilst Chicago Fire, had five hundred and forty seven thousand. Madam Secretary attracted five hundred and twenty eight thousand and UK Border Force, one hundred and thirty eight thousand. Kong: Skull Island was the most-watched film on Sky Cinema Premiere, seen by 1.37 million. Logan drew six hundred and thirty three thousand. Midsomer Murders was ITV3's top-rated drama (nine hundred and eighty nine thousand viewers). Endeavour was seen by five hundred and eighty three thousand and Lewis, by four hundred and forty four thousand. The movies Doctor No and The Enforcer were viewed by four hundred and ninety six thousand and three hundred and ninety three thousand punters who like James Bond and Clint on ITV4. And, why not? ITV2's list was headed by The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Empire with eight hundred and eight thousand. Ibiza Weekender had eight hundred and two thousand whilst Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows as seen by seven hundred and fifty two thousand. Vera topped ITV Encore's top ten with seventy three thousand viewers, followed by Whitechapel (fifty three thousand). Shallow and appalling tripe Botched By Nature, was viewed by one hundred and fifty 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 Potomac was seen by one hundred and thirty three thousand. Broken Britain in a sentence, dear blog reader. BBC4's top-ten was headed by the third and fourth episodes of from The North favourite Spiral, with 1.05 million and nine hundred and eighty four thousand. Alaska: Earth's Frozen Kingdom had six hundred and thirty seven thousand, Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1985, six hundred and eight thousand and its sister programme, Top Of The Pops: 1985 The Big Hits, five hundred and twenty nine thousand. Engineering Giants drew five hundred and twenty three thousand. Kings Of Seventies Romance had five hundred and eighteen thousand, Walt Disney, four hundred and eighty eight thousand and Victoria: A Royal Love Story, four hundred and eighty two thousand. 5USA's latest episode of Castle was viewed by four hundred and forty three thousand punters, NCIS: Los Angeles by two hundred and eighty nine thousand, Chicago PD by two hundred and fifty nine thousand and two classic 1975 episodes of Columbo, Forgotten Lady and Identity Crisis by two hundred and fifty three thousand and two hundred and forty six thousand. The latter, directed by and starring Patrick McGoohan, is a particular favourite of this blogger. On Five Star, the movies Elysium, A Walk Among The Tombstones and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective scored two hundred and forty three thousand, two hundred and twenty four thousand and one hundred and ninety nine thousand respectively. Th World's Strongest Man: 2017 drew two hundred and eighty eight thousand on Five-Spike. The High Chaparral was the most-watched broadcast on CBS Action (one hundred and seventeen thousand) whilst NCIS was viewed by one hundred and ten thousand. Judge Judy attracted seventy four thousand to the curiously mis-named CBS Drama. For FOX's sake, the first episode of the newest series of NCIS - the one with Gibbs and McGee stranded in Paraguay, attracted eight hundred and sixty five thousand viewers. The latest episode of the much-touted The Orville - which this blogger thought was quite entertaining although not, perhaps, anywhere near as mad-brilliant as one or two dear blog readers had suggested - had six hundred and seventy four thousand and Family Guy, two hundred and thirty one thousand. NCIS also continued its - seemingly endless - repeat run on the Universal Channel with one hundred and twenty one thousand viewers in a top ten which included eight episodes of the popular navy crime drama. On Dave, an episode of Red Bull Soapbox was watched by three hundred and twenty three thousand whilst Live At The Apollo had three hundred and eight thousand. Drama's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries was viewed by three hundred and fourteen thousand whilst Pride & Prejudice attracted three hundred and five thousand viewers and New Tricks, three hundred and four thousand. Two Drama Channel staple also headed the weekly top-ten of Alibi - Death In Paradise with one hundred and ninety one thousand and Inspector George Gently with one hundred and forty four thousand. Sony TV's most watched movies were Look Who's Talking Now (forty thousand), First Knight (thirty five thousand) and A Few Good men (thirty four thousand people who couldn't handle the truth). Yesterday's Wartime Crime drew three hundred and seventy six thousand, whilst Open All Hours attracted two hundred and forty one thousand, Hunting Down The Nazis, two hundred and eighteen thousand and a very rare repeat of the first series of The Black Adder, one hundred and ninety two thousand. On Your TV, Bones brought in ninety four thousand. The Discovery Channel's Gold Rush was seen by four hundred thousand viewers. Wheeler Dealers Trading Up had three hundred and twenty thousand, Alaska: The Last Frontier, on hundred and twenty five thousand and Mythbusters, one hundred thousand. Former From The North fave Wheeler Dealers appeared in the weekly top tens of both Discovery Shed (thirty thousand) and Discovery Turbo (also thirty thousand). Discovery History's Tony Robinson's World War One headed the top ten with thirty six thousand. The Executioners also had thirty six thousand and Battlefields attracted thirty thousand. On Discovery Science, Food Factory was by sixty three thousand and How Do They Do It? by forty eight thousand. Salvage Hunters on Quest was watched by two hundred and eighty two thousand. Pick's Big Cats: An Amazing Animal Family had an audience of three hundred and thirty five thousand. National Geographic's list was headed by Banged Up Abroad and Big, Bigger, Biggest. They were watched by sixty six thousand and fifty one thousand respectively. National Geographic Wild's Man-Eater Of The Congo was viewed by thirty eight thousand. The History Channel's most-seen programme was American Pickers (fifty six thousand),followed by Forged In Fire (fifty five thousand) and Britain's Bloody Crown (fifty one thousand). Ancient Aliens on the Military History channel was watched by thirty two thousand. Homicide Hunter, On The Case With Paula Zahn, The First Forty Eight and Most Shocking Murders were Crime & Investigation's top-rated programmes with sixty three thousand, fifty thousand, forty one thousand and thirty nine thousand blood-and-snots-lovers, respectively. Grave Secrets, 1980s: The Deadliest Decade, Golden State Killer, Deadly Women and Swamp Murders headed Investigation Discovery's list (eighty six thousand, eighty five thousand, seventy five thousand, seventy two and seventy two thousand respectively). GOLD's repeat run of Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow continued with one hundred and ninety nine thousand punters. Comedy Central's largest audience of the week was for an episode of Friends with two hundred and ninety one thousand. On More4, That Awful Keith Woman's Coastal Villages was the highest-rated programme with four hundred and ninety one thousand Daily Scum Mail readers. E4's list was topped by Hollyoakes with 1.03 million Botched on E! had forty three thousand, as did E!News. The Librarians headed Syfy's top-ten with two hundred and eighty thousand. The movies What Dreams May Come and The Thing pulled in seventy thousand and sixty four thousand respectively. The Horror Channel's weekly list was, as usual, topped by several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, one of them attracting two hundred thousand. Interrupted Journey, No Love For Johnnie, Soft Beds, Hard Battles and Man of The Plains topped Talking Pictures list, with ninety two thousand, eighty four thousand, sixty five thousand and sixty two thousand respectively. Attenborough & The Giant Dinosaur was viewed by forty two thousand on Eden. Alaskan Bush People was the Animal Planet's most-watched programme with forty one thousand. Tipping Point: Lucky Stars on W attracted an audience of one hundred and seventy thousand. True Crime's Forty Eight Hours was seen by seventy three thousand viewers. On True Entertainment, Agatha Christie's A Caribbean Mystery was watched by one hundred and fifty seven thousand punters. Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers had seventy eight thousand people on Good Food. TLC's list was headed by Ninety Day Fiance (one hundred and sixty four thousand). Escape To The Country was watched by one hundred and seven thousand on Home. Jazz topped PBS America's weekly list with forty seven thousand. Shameful and wretched pants Teen Mom 2 on MTV was viewed by two hundred and ninety four thousand. The Great British Bake-Off drew one hundred and seventy seven thousand on Really. Tom & Jerry had one hundred and three thousand viewers on Boomerang. On Cbeebies, Topsy & Tim was seen by five hundred and fifty three thousand. In The Night Garden had four hundred and fifty seven thousand and Bing, four hundred and forty six thousand. Alvinnn!!! & The Chipmunks had an audience of one hundred and sixty thousand on the Pop Channel. On AMC, Grey's Anatomy was watched by fourteen thousand. Pawn Stars drew one hundred and eighty nine thousand punters to Blaze. Judge Judy pulled in fifty eight thousand on Lifetime. Knight Rider drew thirty nine thousand on Forces TV. Liz:The Elizabeth Taylor Story attracted sixty two thousand on London Live whilst Live: New Year's Day Parade had forty thousand and Unlocking Sherlock, twenty eight thousand. Hell Bent For Leather, was seen by one hundred and fifty nine thousand on the Movies 4 Men channel. Operation Dunkirk attracted one hundred and twenty four thousand. Sister, Sister was watched by twenty nine thousand on The Vault.

BBC iPlayer had its best week ever in the period between Christmas and New Year. This was after a number of popular box-sets were added to the streaming service, including Sherlock, Blue Planet and Miranda. Binge-watch series like Peaky Blinders and Line Of Duty helped the broadcaster reach over sixty nine million requests to view during the seven day period. The EastEnders Christmas Day episode was the most popular individual broadcast, with nine other episodes of the popular soap also in the top twenty which also included and the Christmas specials of Doctor Who and Mrs Brown's Boys. The EastEnders Christmas episode received 1.6 million requests, while the Boxing Day episode had 1.5 million. Peaky Blinders was the most successful of the reinstated box-sets, with eight million requests, whilst episode six was the third most-watched show of the week. The BBC received over ten million more requests for programmes in the same week compared to last year. Watching television at Christmas is a long-standing tradition in Great Britain but viewing figures on the main channels such as BBC and ITV have fallen in recent years, as increasing numbers of people have turned to on-demand services such as Netflix, catch-up services like iPlayer or DVD box-sets. Charlotte Moore, the BBC's Director of Content, said: 'It's hugely exciting to see such unprecedented numbers come to BBC iPlayer this Christmas. The public have responded in their millions to the amazing range of content we've offered - and for those who are loving our special Christmas box-set collection there are still a few days to go.'
David Attenborough's underwater documentary series Blue Planet II was the most-watched TV show of 2017. The 29 October episode - the first of the series - attracted more than fourteen million viewers to BBC1. Episodes of Blue Planet II occupied the top four slots in the end-of-year top ten. Strictly Come Dancing was the second most popular show, followed by I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), the One Love Manchester concert, Broadchurch and Britain's Got Toilets. The One Love concert was held to raise money for victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack. The Great British Bake Off was the most watched programme in 2016 with 15.9 million viewers, but was absent from this year's top ten following its move from BBC to Channel Four.
The Peaky Blinders aren't just conquering the Birmingham underworld, they're the kings of BBC2 as well. Steven Knight's gritty period gangster drama was the channel's biggest drama series of 2017, averaging a whopping 3.3 million consolidated viewers over the course of its six new episodes. For comparison sake, that average tops the 2.4 million who tuned in the first year and the 2.2 million and 2.4 million respectively who watched the second and third series. In yet more impressive numbers, 3.6 million punters watched December's series finale - Peaky Blinders' largest ever audience for a single episode. 'Peaky continues to grow not just as a TV show but also as a cultural phenomenon,' Knight noted. 'As makers we watch the creativity and invention of our fan base as closely as they watch the show. There is a great engine of support behind the show all around the world even in countries where it is not officially available. The BBC gave us a free and open platform to create something other broadcasters may not have understood. The story will continue.'
Great news everyone! Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement will be back on-screen for an all-new Flight Of The Conchords special. American fans who aren't lucky enough to catch the comedy duo on their UK tour later this year will be able to watch HBO in May for a one-off episode featuring 'all of the best moments' of the tour. At the TCA press tour on Thursday, HBO promised that Bret and Jemaine will be performing both brand new songs and some of their classics from the show. The 'Flight Of The Conchords Sing Flight Of The Conchords Tour' was announced last October and will kick off with back-to-back nights at the Portsmouth Guildhall on 5 and 6 March. In addition to their live dates, Jemaine announced at the TCA press tour last week that he and Bret were 'busily working' on a new TV special. 'We're going to film a little something this year,' he said. 'We're going to shoot an hour thing.' HBO was the home of Flight Of The Conchords when the cult sitcom was broadcast between 2007 to 2009, receiving ten Primetime EMMY Awards along the way.
The Simpsons' Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has been at the forefront of a big conversation about representation on TV throughout 2017. A documentary called The Problem with Apu was released last year and talked about how the character embodied the stereotypes of Indian-Americans, like being a shopkeeper, as well as the problems of white actor, Hank Azaria, putting on a heavy accent to portray the character. Azaria later responded to the documentary, saying that it made 'some really interesting points' and gave everyone a lot to think about it and now the actor has revealed that The Simpsons will 'definitely' be addressing the issue on-screen. 'The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased or worse based on the character of Apu, it's distressing,' he said at the Television Critics Association winter press tour this week. 'The idea that anybody was marginalised based on it or had a hard time was very upsetting to me personally and professionally. As far as what is going to happen with the character going forward, it's really not just up to me. [The producers] will definitely address - maybe publicly, but certainly within the context of the show - what they want to do, if anything, with the character.'
There appears to be a bit of trouble with series two of American Gods. With an all-star cast including Ian McShane, Ricky Whittle and From The North favourite Gillian Anderson, the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman's acclaimed novel premiered to a slew of positive reviews in 2017 and featured heavily in this blog's best shows of the year awards. Costing a hefty one hundred and thirty million dollars for the first series, the drama's continuation was always going to come at a price, however, it sounds like the problems are bigger than were first thought. Speaking at the Television Critics Association's press tour, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht explained that American Gods is 'struggling' at the moment. 'Kristin Chenoweth, as far as we all know, is still committed to the show - obviously pending her availability because, as you are seeing, we're having some trouble getting the second season underway,' said Albrecht. As recently announced, American Gods had already lost Anderson who played the Goddess Media. 'It's an incredibly difficult adaptation of a fantastic novel,' said Albrecht. 'It's one of the reasons it took so long to get to the screen in the first place. Neil Gaiman will be taking a more central role moving forward into a more traditional showrunner function and we're looking for a partner for him who can ensure that the television part of this gets the appropriate attention.' The news that Gaiman himself will be taking on a bigger role is a positive however, for those worried that the network is giving up on the show, Albrecht stressed that Starz is still planning a long-lasting series. 'We're very committed to American Gods,' he reassured fans. 'We love the show; as I mentioned before, it did very well for us. We're hoping for many more years of American Gods to come on Starz.'
A TV series based on Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles novels has taken a step closer, with Bryan Fuller signing on to develop the series. Christopher Rice, the son of the author made the announcement on the official Vampire Chronicles Facebook page, revealing that adapting the books has been 'a long-held ambition' of Fuller's. 'Sometime in the 1980's, a young teenager from Washington State, who dreamed of working in Hollywood one day, decided it was his destiny to write a film adaptation of a novel called Interview With [A] Vampire,' the post read. 'That teenager did what any resourceful, gifted and determined young person would do in such an instance; he got a copy of the San Francisco phone book and checked to see if the novel's author had a listed phone number. It turns out she did. To his astonishment, the author, my mother Anne Rice, answered the phone herself when he called, and when this young man declared his intentions to adapt her book for the big screen, she gave him the number of the producer in Hollywood who owned the rights. Naturally, the producer's response was something along the lines of, "You're too young, kid. Go hone your talent. Maybe someday." Today I'm thrilled to inform you that the young man of which I speak is Bryan Fuller, who grew up to be one of television's most innovative creative forces, responsible for such an amazing array of shows as Hannibal, Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies. Even better, the opportunity he asked for all those years ago has finally arrived.' The rights to The Vampire Chronicles novels were sold last year, with the TV adaptation having been in the works since April. Christopher Rice called Fuller 'a perfect addition to our creative team' in his statement. The Vampire Chronicles series follows the activities of Lestat de Lioncourt and previously served as the inspiration for two movies: 1994's big-budget Interview With The Vampire and 2002's pretty much forgotten Queen Of The Damned, with Tom Cruise and Stuart Townsend playing Lestat respectively. The TV adaptation is Fuller's first project since he departed Starz's American Gods in November. He also developed Star Trek: Discovery for CBS All Access, but again exited the series before it launched.
Offred has blood on her hands - literally - in the first look at the second series of The Handmaid's Tale. A trio of new publicity photos from the upcoming episodes paint a grim-looking future for Elisabeth Moss's Offred and offer a haunting look at one of Gilead's handmaid funerals.
Series of HBO's True Detective is still, apparently, 'a long way off.' According to The Hollywood Reporter, the thriller almost certainly won't hit the network this year. Speaking at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, HBO programming president Casey Bloys was asked if True Detective would return in 2018 and replied: 'No, 2019.' Given the lukewarm reception to True Detective's second series starring Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell, especially as compared to the widely acclaimed debut, one can't blame writer and creator Nic Pizzolatto for wanting to take his time. Series three will focus on House Of Cards alumnus Mahershala Ali as an Arkansas State Investigator tasked with another gruesome murder mystery in the Ozarks. Stephen Dorff and Carmen Ejogo will co-star.
HBO last week confirmed that Game Of Thrones's eighth series will not be ready until 2019. The delay was not surprising given the reported scope and ambition for the final six episodes – but what's the official reason? Entertainment Weekly spoke to HBO president of programming Casey Bloys about the decision. 'They take the time they need to do the show at its highest level of quality,' replied Bloys. 'As the show has gone on, it's gotten bigger – big battle scenes, big special effects. These things take time. Here's the one thing I can assure you: [DB Weiss and David Benioff] were not sitting around on a beach waiting to go back to work. They're perfectionists, and this is the soonest it can come back at a level of quality that they are comfortable with.' Elsewhere, Bloys dismissed any suggestion that Game Of Thrones will be revived or rebooted in the near future, while none of the previously announced planned spin-offs features any current characters. 'This story, A Song Of Ice & Fire, is done. There's no revival, reboot, spin-off talk,' he confirmed.
The Bletchley Circle is coming back four years after its final episode was broadcast on ITV. US-only streaming service BritBox is reviving the drama for a new series, it has been announced. Following four lady crime-solvers in 1952, who had once worked as codebreakers at Station X, The Bletchley Circle had two series on ITV in 2012 and 2014. It was shown to decent - if unspectacular reviews - and, pretty much, viewer apathy. The new series, The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, will bring back two of the original leads - Rachael Stirling as Millie and Julie Graham as Jean - as they travel to America and join forces with two American codebreakers to investigate a string of new murder cases. Sounds wretched, frankly. It is BritBox's first 'original' commission. The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco will launch on the streaming service later in 2018 and will span four two-part stories. 'In 2018, BritBox will up the ante with our first commission, more co-productions and more popular programming and star power from all genres appealing to new subscribers along with our very loyal existing members,' said BritBox president Soumya Sriraman. In the UK, ITV will be showing the new episodes. Back in 2014, one of the leads of the original show Sophie Rundle – who played Lucy – told the Digital Spy website that she was 'gutted' it wouldn't be returning for a third series. 'It was a real shame because we would've loved to have come back,' Rundle said. '[But] in the climate that we're in at the moment, it's really hard to get shows recommissioned. Doing a second series was a complete bonus – we only thought we were doing a one-off drama.' Since then, Rundle had found considerable employment in Peaky Blinders and Jamestown which, presumably, explains her lack of involvement in the reboot. Bigger fish to fry and all that.
Peaky Blinders and Taboo creator Steven Knight is currently the king of TV period dramas at the moment, but his next project is taking him into the future. The scriptwriter is partnering with The Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence in a blockbuster deal to make Apple's next scripted project, according to Deadline. Apple is venturing more and more into the scripted TV field, developing a satire of US breakfast TV starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston and a reboot of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories from Bryan Fuller. This new project with Knight, called See, is described by Deadline as 'a world-building drama series set in the future.' See has been given a straight-to-series commission and is expected to run for eight episodes/ The futuristic SF drama is yet another major project for the busy Knight. The Birmingham-based writer has also started development on both a stage musical and a feature film based on Peaky Blinders. His See collaborator Francis Lawrence has most recently reunited with his Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence for the spy thriller Red Sparrow, due for release in March.
The BBC is to show two major documentaries about challenges facing the environment and a landmark series in which animals are followed for more than two years, as it looks to build on the extraordinary success of Blue Planet II. Drowning In Plastic will be broadcast on BBC1 and explore the damage that plastic is doing to the environment – an issue already raised by Blue Planet II – while The Truth About What You Wear will investigate the impact of the clothing industry on the environment and wildlife. Dynasty will be a new landmark wildlife series for the BBC with episodes following a group of lions, African hunting dogs, chimpanzees, tigers and emperor penguins as they try to build a family or group. If the series follows the pattern of other major BBC natural history series, it will be narrated by Sir David Attenborough, although the BBC were unable to confirm this. However, it has been confirmed that the veteran naturalist will appear on-screen for the first time with Professor Brian Cox in a further show which examines history's most significant scientists. Attenborough and Cox will discuss the legacy of Charles Darwin in People Of Science. The six-part series will be available on BBC iPlayer, with Coxy also interviewing the author Bill Bryson and Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England. Tom McDonald, head of commissioning for Natural History and Special Factual Programmes at the BBC, said Blue Planet II had 'galvanised' the broadcaster and marked the 'beginning of a sea change in how we tackle environmental issues on BBC1.' Some of the most powerful scenes in Blue Planet II involved how human behaviour and climate change is affecting oceans, such as an albatrosses unwittingly feeding their chicks bits of plastic. Attenborough said that the series showed why 'global action' needed to be taken about the use of plastic. The new Drowning In Plastic documentary will investigate in more detail how plastic is getting into the ocean and what damage it is doing. McDonald said: 'This is something that we have been talking about doing as a subject for some time. It was commissioned before Blue Planet II went to air but it was watching the cuts [of Blue Planet II] that made me think "this is a very, very big issue." Blue Planet II became a torch for it as a big issue. If Blue Planet II raised it as a global issue, this is a science and environmental film that will look at it in real detail. We want it to be as urgent and timely as possible.' The ninety-minute documentary will be presented by Liz Bonnin, a science and wildlife presenter at the BBC who fronted Galapagos and Big Blue Live and contributed to Cox's Stargazing Live. She will travel around the world examining 'plastic hot spots' where the problem is at its worst. Bonnin said that she has been 'horrified' at the 'scale of the plastic pollution I've found along countless shorelines and out in the open sea.' The documentary about the impact of the clothing industry, which will also be on BBC1, will be led by presenter and journalist Stacey Dooley. She will look into the links between fashion and rain-forest deforestation, water contamination and pollution, as well as the threats to endangered species such as orangutans and jaguars. Dooley has threatened to hold big clothing brands to account in the documentary, adding: 'It's hugely important that we all become aware of the damage being caused and to show consumers that we have the power to make positive change.' It is rare for the BBC to show such high-profile documentaries about the environment. Previous programmes that have tackled the environment - including Blue Planet II - have led to some criticism of the broadcaster for allegedly 'preaching' to viewers. Although, admittedly, such criticism has come from, you know, worthless bastards. However, McDonald said: 'It's not that we haven't tackled these subjects on BBC1 before, but I think the public conscious has changed. I think there is an appetite to understand beyond the headline. We are not here to campaign, we are not here to lobby, but there is a consensus among scientists that the world is changing. I don't think there is anything contentious about looking at what is happening in the world.' The programmes will be shown on the BBC later this year. Natural History shows already commissioned by the BBC for 2019 include Spy In The Wild II, which will use modern camera technology to travel with animals, and Equator From The Air, a BBC2 documentary which will show different parts of the centre of the world.
Filming for the fifth series of Luther has begun in London. And here's your first look. Yer actual Idris Elba returns to his role as John Luther for the new four-part series from EMMY-nominated writer Neil Cross. Dermot Crowley, Michael Smiley and Patrick Malahide will also return, alongside new cast member Wunmi Mosaku who joins as new recruit Catherine Halliday. 'It's good to be back in London, back in the coat,' Idris said in a statement.
The Only Way Is Essex is 'on track' for 'a major shake-up' when it returns next series, as the wretched, z-list-celebrity-by-non-entity show has confirmed that several people will be departing the series ahead of its next run. According to the Sun, among those who are about to leave are ... some people you've never heard of. Which is, obviously, tragic.
Twatting About On Ice has lost its new commentator after only one episode, ITV has confirmed to the Digital Spy website. Matt Chapman was the on-air announcer for the premiere of the revival series replacing the legend that was Tony Gubba, who died in 2013. However, the racing pundit has now departed the series 'after a scheduling clash.' Or, perhaps, because all the money in the world wasn't enough to justify the embarrassment of being involved in this turd. One or the other. 'We can confirm that Matt Chapman has left the show, and wish him all the very best and look forward to him reporting at ITV Racing at Warwick this weekend,' ITV said in a statement. One or two people even believed them.
Channel Four has ordered a second series of its new hit comedy Derry Girls after just one episode had been broadcast. Derry Girls launched on 4 January to praise from both critics and viewers. Even this blogger thought it was really good and Keith Telly Topping, generally speaking, doesn't like anything that doesn't involve time travel. Allegedly. Consolidated viewing figures show the sitcom has become Channel Four's biggest comedy series launch in five years, with two-and-a-half million watching the first episode, a thirteen per cent plus share of audience and more than double the slot average of sixteen to thirty four-year-old viewers. Indeed, such is the confidence of Channel Four that it has already ordered a second series from writer Lisa McGee.
Bitter old Red Jimmy McGovern's abject misery-fest Accused is the latest British drama to be getting a high-profile US remake. as if America hasn't got enough problems already. House creator David Shore will adapt the BBC anthology show for new channel Paramount Network, Deadline reports. It adds that as part of the deal, Shore will assemble a writers room to produce three scripts which, 'if they win over the executives will result in a straight-to-series order.' Each episode of the UK show followed someone accused of a crime as they awaited the verdict of their trial. The deal comes under Shore's big contract with Sony TV, where he moved from Universal Television in 2012. It is not the first foreign adaptation Shore has tackled, as he had previous success in adapting the South Korean drama series The Good Doctor for ABC. The first series of McGovern's Accused was broadcast in 2010 on BBC1, its six episodes won it an International EMMY for Best Drama Series and nothing but anger from this blogger for making TV to slit your wrists to.
There has been tremendous buzz over the last year about a potential revival of Lost but, apparently, it's not happening. At least not yet. Speculation picked up last year about the Disney-owned channel bringing back Lost in some form when executive producer Carlton Cuse reached a new deal with the network. Cuse himself previously said that he was 'excited' to explore the possibilities of the Lost universe as well. For now though, development hasn't gone any further than that. Speaking to TVLine this week at the TCA press tour in Los Angeles, ABC president Channing Dungey said that talk of continuing the franchise has yet to move beyond the theoretical stage. 'We have not had any official discussions about that,' she clarified. 'It's something that's on a list of, "Wouldn't that be great if ..." but at this point it's only at that place.' Dungey mentioned that she is keen to have a discussion with Carlton Cuse about delving back into Lost, although she stressed: 'I haven't had that conversation with him yet.' Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof previously blessed any potential resurrection of the franchise without his involvement, so long as no characters from the original series are used.
After some typically ill-informed tabloid reports suggested that Miranda 'would be returning to our screens in the near future,' Miranda Hart put an end to such speculation on Twitter this week.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, the CEO of the Starz network, Chris Albrecht, said that he was having 'productive discussions' about the future of Outlander with the producers at Sony Pictures Television. 'I wouldn't worry too much about that,' he added. Series four of the popular SF historical drama is currently in production and will adapt the fourth book in Diana Gabaldon's series of novels. 'Our biggest problem is we don't kill [lead actors] Caitriona and Sam along the way. The two of them are fantastic and deserve every bit of the accolades they have received,' Albrecht said. Notably, Gabaldon recently had to deny that she was plotting to kill off her main characters and was baffled such rumours would spread in the first place.
Three former cast members of the greatest TV drama in the history of the medium that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title, The West Wing - Bradley Whitford, Josh Malina, Richard Schiff - along with Ed Begley Junior will head the cast of a one-night only reading of William Goldman's screenplay for All The President's Men, presented by the Fountain Theatre in partnership with the City of Los Angeles. The free event will be hosted by Los Angeles City Council member Mitch O'Farrell and will take place in the John Ferraro Council Chamber of LA City Hall on Saturday 27 January at 7:30 pm. A catered reception will follow in the City Hall Rotunda. Based on the book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the 1976 film All The President's Men tells the story of their Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the Watergate scandal, which brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. 'This high-profile reading will be a statement asserting the First Amendment, advocating freedom of the press and honoring [sic] the tenacity of American journalism in a free society,' says Fountain Theatre co-artistic director Stephen Sachs, who will direct the reading. 'As the current administration is under investigation, the echo of Watergate rings loud and clear. Reporters from the New York Times and Washington Post have been heroes, warriors for our democracy, as they were forty-five years ago.'
Sarah Lancashire's new drama Kiri has received good reviews but, apparently, some social workers are less than impressed about how their profession was portrayed. The four-part Channel Four series focuses on social worker Miriam Grayson and nine-year-old Kiri, who disappears on an unsupervised visit that Miriam arranged. But some people on Twitter that you've never heard of whinged that they were 'disappointed' at aspects of its plot. Channel Four said 'extensive background research' was carried out and that social workers were consulted during this. Just, not the ones that whinged, seemingly. Kiri, written by Jack Thorne - who was also behind National Treasure - was also accused of not portraying social work in a positive light. In it, Miriam - played by Happy Valley actress Lancashire - is seen drinking early in the morning before driving, paying an informal visit to a previous client and bringing her dog to work. She then takes Kiri from her foster parents for the visit to her grandparents before her adoption goes through. But, whilst there, Kiri is abducted by her birth father. Consultant social worker Ingrid Richardson asked broadcasters to make television dramas about social work 'showcasing positive stories, relationships and outcomes - they are real, they do happen.' A Channel Four spokesman said Kiri was 'a complex and entirely fictional' drama, with 'fully-drawn, three-dimensional figures, each with their own human flaws and personal difficulties.' He said: 'The drama explores, among other topics, the vast pressures placed upon social workers and the very difficult job they do. Extensive background research was undertaken to ensure the themes explored within the drama were accurately and authentically portrayed and social workers, various departments within the police and charities were all consulted during the scriptwriting and development stages.' Critics were, broadly, impressed by the first episode. Chitra Ramaswamy, writing in the Gruniad Morning Star, said it was 'beautifully observed and not-as-grim-as-expected. Kiri is full of clever scenes that gently tease out the knotty tangle of intersectional themes - race, class, social care - without threatening to strangle,' she said. The Torygraph's Patrick Smith gave the series four stars, praising Jack Thorne's 'nuanced' writing. 'It was riveting,' he enthused. 'Far from relying on soothing moral platitudes, Thorne's script was a complex study of human frailty, concerned with raising difficult but vital questions.' The series pulled in a lot of viewers to become Channel Four's biggest drama launch in over two years. The premiere episode averaged 3.2 million overnight viewers.
So, dear blog reader, you think that you've seen the most disinterested-looking extra in television, history? Well, think again. Coronation Street gave its audience a slice of gold this week, when viewers - well, half-a-dozen people that you've never heard of on Twitter, anyway - spotted what appeared to be a particularly lacklustre extra in the foreground of one of the episode's scenes. During a poignant moment when Zeedan (Qasim Akhtar) offered an emotional speech about the murder of his sister Alyas boyfriend, Luke (Dean Fagan) to local press, in the foreground of the shot were several eager reporters. And, one rather bored-looking photographer. Needless to say, once it hit the Interweb, the scene 'went viral,' with people expressing their amusement at the skills (or, lack of them) that the photographer displayed.
Viewers were, it is claimed, 'left shocked and stunned' after a live Channel Four News interview was interrupted by two people having a bit of a kerfuffle in the street. The pair of angry passers-by hurled abuse at each other as they passed through the background of the interview, which featured on Tuesday evening. The two men paused just within the camera shot and continued their argument, as one of the people arguing waved his arms in fury. Daily Scum Mail journalist Andrew Pierce, who was being interviewed by Cathy Newman outside the newspaper's offices in Kensington, was drowned out by the commotion and appeared distracted as the noisy fight unfolded behind him. 'I'm terribly sorry about the distraction behind, can't really help that one,' he said. Fellow guest Dawn Foster, also a journalist, chuckled at the unscripted disturbance as Newman said: 'There seems to be some sort of fight behind.' After the segment ended, the appalling Newman weaselled: 'I would like to apologise to viewers who might have picked up some bad language in the background, not from our guests but from the passing brawl going on.'
The BBC is reported to be 'deeply unimpressed' with an off-air conversation in which two of its high-profile journalists seemingly joked about the gender pay gap, an alleged BBC 'source' has, allegedly, said. Although one rather suspects that the BBC are equally unimpressed with whichever Copper's Nark it was that made this off-air conversation public. One of the high-profile journalists involved, certainly is. Radio 4's Today presenter John Humphrys and North America editor Jon Sopel were discussing Carrie Gracie, who had quit as China editor over equal pay. Before Monday's show, the Sun and The Times reported, they 'joked' of 'handing over' pay to keep Gracie in the role. How the Sun and The Times without sometimes snitching it up to them, of course, is a question perhaps best left for another day. And, if - as their appears to have been - the passing of a recording of the conversation (which is BBC property) to an external media source then, perhaps, a police investigation. A BBC spokeswoman said the presenter regrets the 'ill-advised' conversation. Humphrys told The Times that the off-air chat was 'nothing to do' with the campaign by Gracie. One or two people even believed him. He said: 'This was what I thought was an exchange between two old friends who have known each other for thirty years and were taking the mickey out of each other.' BBC management are understood to be 'deeply unimpressed' with the discussion, which took place ahead of a pre-recorded interview for Monday morning's edition of Today.
Birds Eye has welcomed aboard a new Captain. The frozen fish company has chosen fifty six-year-old Italian Riccardo Acerbi as the face of their advertisements. This is not the first time that fish fingers have gotten a makeover, Birds Eye went for a much younger captain back in the 1990s. Thomas Pescod only lasted three years, before the company reverted back to the traditional friendly grandfatherly figure.
A bigamist who was caught when his wife - or, one of them, anyway - saw him on live television with another woman has been very jailed. Daniel Gundry's wife, Helen Gundry, was watching Ant and/or Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway in March 2016 when she spotted Gundry with Susan Brooker. Gundry of Ashford in Surrey, initially denied that he had married Brooker but, later, admitted bigamy when confronted with the evidence. Magistrates sitting in Warrington said that he was very guilty of deceiving both women and causing them 'humiliation.' As Gundry was jailed for six months, Helen Gundry and their daughter left the court in tears. Daniel and Helen Gundry married in 1998 and had lived apart for several years but, the court heard, Gundry had told his wife he wanted to get back together. While watching the ITV show with their daughter, Helen Gundry was 'shocked' and 'stunned' to see her estranged husband, whom they thought was working in Dubai, appear in one of the items. He was among the guests being taken to the surprise wedding of Brooker's sister. Following the programme, Mrs Gundry discovered through social media that Grundy had married again and both women subsequently made complaints to Cheshire Police. Gundry initially said had only had 'a blessing' in the Seychelles with Brooker but, the court heard, he had married her by forging documents. The court was also told that he deceived both women over money. In a victim impact statement, Mrs Gundry told how she had suffered sleepless nights and depression. 'He has been lying for a long time so I'm just glad that finally he's been found out,' she said after the sentencing. Brooker said that her whole world had 'caved in' and her life was 'going in slow motion.' The district judge said that he had caused both women 'embarrassment, shame and humiliation.' Gundry, who was not legally represented, told the court he accepted in full the damage he had caused.
Wor Geet Canny Jimmy Nail will no longer star in balding, ludicrous, full-of-his-own-importance world saviour and lutist Sting's musical The Last Ship when it makes its UK debut this year. The actor had been due to reprise his role as Jackie White in the Newcastle-set musical, which closed after just three months on Broadway in 2015. Which is, obviously, tragic. As this blogger's good friend Ben Adams noted, 'for the want of a Nail, a nation was saved.' Oh, yes.
Disgraced movie-mogul Horrible Harvey Weinstein was shown being accosted by a diner in Arizona this week in a video rather gleefully posted onto the tabloid-news website TMZ which has, needless to say, 'gone viral.' According to TMZ, the confrontation happened in Elements restaurant in Paradise Valley. Weinstein's representative, Sallie Hofmeister, told the Arizona Republic in an e-mail that TMZ's report was accurate and did not provide further comment. TMZ reported that the producer, who is said to 'be undergoing rehab,' was eating dinner with his 'sober coach' at about 9pm when a man at an adjacent table asked to take a photo with him. Weinstein declined. When Weinstein and the coach got up to leave, the other diner told his friend to start filming what was about to occur, TMZ reported. The video shows the man walking up to Weinstein and saying, 'You're such a piece of shit for what you did to these women. Get the fuck out of here!' and then slapping him, really hard, in the face. Twice. TMZ reported that Weinstein 'declined' to call police and left the restaurant.
A company which supplied lingerie to the Queen has reportedly lost its royal warrant over the contents of a book which revealed details of royal bra fittings. Rigby & Peller, a luxury underwear firm founded in London, had held the royal warrant since 1960. It was withdrawn after June Kenton, who fitted bras for the Queen, released a book called Storm In A D-Cup. Kenton claimed there was 'nothing' in the book to 'be upset about,' adding that it was an 'unbelievable' decision. Her Majesty, seemingly, did not agree with this assessment. Buckingham Palace said it would 'not comment' on 'individual companies.' A statement from Rigby & Peller said it was 'deeply saddened' by the decision, adding it was 'not able to elaborate further on the cancellation out of respect for Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Warrant Holders Association.' Though, seemingly, Kenton had no problem with 'elaborating further' on Her Majesty's breasts for the entertainment of her readers; which is always a dangerous game to play, particularly if a significant part of your future livelihood rather depends on Royal patronage. The Royal Warrants Association says twenty to forty Royal Warrants are cancelled every year and a similar number are granted. Kenton, from Bushey in Hertfordshire, had bought Rigby & Peller with her husband in 1982 for twenty grand before selling a majority stake in 2011 for eight million knicker - although she remains on the board. As official corsetiere to the Queen, Kenton regularly visited Buckingham Palace and serviced members of the Royal Family, including the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies' season continued to resemble all of the consistency of a wobbly jelly. Substitute Joselu scored within four minutes of coming on to earn Newcastle a draw against bottom side Swansea City. The visitors, who were denied a first-half penalty when Mo Diame appeared to handle in the area, nevertheless, took the lead through Jordan Ayew's header after Karl Darlow had parried his first effort. Newcastle equalised eight minutes later when Ayoze Perez's deflected shot fell for Joselu and he shot through the legs of Alfie Mawson. Swansea are now four points behind seventeenth-placed Bournemouth, while Newcastle are three points above the relegation zone in fourteenth. The Swans nearly grabbed a dramatic winner in injury time but Wilfried Bony's shot was cleared off the line by Newcastle's DeAndre Yedlin.
Elsewhere, ten-man Leicester produced an outstanding display to earn a point at third-placed Moscow Chelsea FC although they should probably have come away from Torpedo Stamford Bridge with all three. The Foxes dominated possession for large periods and created the better chances but had the sting taken out of their display when defender Ben Chilwell received two yellow cards in the space of five second-half minutes. He was shown no mercy by referee Mike Jones when he brought down Victor Moses, shortly after fouling Willian. Bakary Sako scored the only goal as Crystal Palace continued their revival under Roy Hodgson with victory over Burnley at Selhurst Park. The Mali international cut in powerfully from the left after good work by Christian Benteke and then drilled a left-footed shot that went straight through Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope. West Hamsters United manager David Moyes became only the fourth manager to win two hundred Premier League matches as his side thrashed out of form Huddersfield four-one. Victory means The Hamsters, who have gone five games unbeaten in all competitions, move five points away from the drop zone and overtake Huddersfield in the process. West Bromwich Albions ended a twenty-match winless streak in the Premier League with victory over Brighton & Hove Albinos, thanks to goals from defenders Jonny Evans and Craig Dawson. The victory was Alan Pardew's first in the league since he replaced Tony Pulis in charge at The Hawthorns at the end of November. The only negative for The Baggies was a bizarre gesture from Jay Rodriguez which may land him in big trouble. After an argument with Gaeten Bong, Rodriguez appeared to pinch his own nose, prompting an angry reaction from the Brighton defender. Referee Martin Atkinson did not take any action on the pitch but made a note of the incident. The Seagulls slip from twelfth to eighteenth spot while West Brom remain in the relegation zone, a place below them in nineteenth, but are only two points behind seventeenth-placed Bournemouth. Abdoulaye Doucoure bundled home a controversial last-minute equaliser as Watford fought back from two goals down to draw with Southampton. Doucoure seemed to use his right hand to divert Troy Deeney's header past Alex McCarthy from close range to snatch a point for The Hornets. Two goals from James Ward-Prowse had given the Saints a two-nil lead at half-time as they looked to be on course to end a run of nine Premier League games without a win. But Watford came out stronger in the second half, thanks largely to the introduction of Deeney.
Wolverhampton Wanderings lead at the top of The Championship was cut to ten points as they were held to a goalless draw at Barnsley while Derby won three-nil at Birmingham. Nuno Espirito Santo's table-toppers are now unbeaten in thirteen league matches but were reined in by The Rams, who moved back up to second place with their victory over the second-bottom Blues. Johnny Russell put Derby ahead against Rams boss Gary Rowett's former club, Matej Vydra added a second and Andreas Weimann rounded off the scoring in the eighty ninth minute. Rowett's side had been pushed into third by Cardiff City, whose four-match losing streak in the league came to an end as they thrashed basement boys Blunderland four-nil at home in the lunchtime kick-off. Callum Paterson opened the scoring in the first minute of the second half, Black Cats midfielder Didier Ndong was sent off three minutes later for a nasty challenge on Junior Hoilett and Joe Ralls then extended the hosts' lead soon afterwards. Paterson later added his second goal and substitute Anthony Pilkington's stoppage-time effort completed the rout as The Mackem Filth's ex-Wales boss Chris Coleman endured a thoroughly miserable return to the Cardiff City Stadium. Although the forty seven-year-old had overseen some of Welsh football's finest moments in recent memory at this ground - such as their 2015 win against Belgium and the celebration of qualifying for Euro 2016 - his Swansea roots meant that the Cardiff fans greeted him with mockery rather than reverence. Bristol City's promotion push suffered another setback as they were beaten at home by Norwich, their third league defeat in a row, James Maddison netting for the away side in the seventy ninth minute. Seventh-placed Dirty Leeds had Eunan O'Kane sent off in the first half at Ipswich and succumbed to a Bersant Celina goal at Portman Road. Poor Bloody Fulham moved above The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters into eighth place following their victory over The Smoggies at the Riverside Stadium, where Oliver Norwood converted a late penalty. Burton Albinos remain twenty second following their three-one home defeat to Queens Park Strangers, who are now nine points clear of the relegation zone. Notlob, a point better off than Burton, dropped to twenty first as they lost two-nil at Brentford. Hull are just outside the relegation zone, level on points with Notlob, having drawn nil-nil with Reading at The KCOM Stadium. Millwall and Preston drew one-one at The Den, Aiden O'Brien putting the hosts in front before Callum Robinson equalised.
Vitaly Mutko has stepped down from his role as chief organiser for next summer's World Cup in Russia, two days after he temporarily left his post as Russian Football Union President. Russia's Deputy Prime Minister was extremely banned from the Olympics for life having been accused of running a huge 'state-directed' doping programme. Mutko stood down from his RFU position on Monday while he contests the ban. He has now also left his World Cup role to 'concentrate on government work.' Allegedly. Mutko said that Alexei Sorokin will instead chair the World Cup 2018 organising committee. 'There is still a lot of work, but I am absolutely sure that everything will be ready on time,' he told R Sports. The organising committee spoke of its 'great regret' at Mutko's decision, but added it would not affect its plans for the tournament, which starts on 14 June. Football's world governing body, those well known appeasers of corruption FIFA said it had 'taken note of the decision' and thanked Mutko for his work so far. Whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov, a former Russian anti-doping agency worker, told the International Olympic Committee that Mutko, a former Sports Minister, 'created and ran' the country's 'state-directed' doping programme. He has always denied being part of a doping programme - to paraphrase Mandy Rice Rice Davies, 'well, he would, wouldn't he?' - but Russia was, nevertheless, very banned from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
England's opening two World Cup group matches against Tunisia and Panama will be broadcast live across BBC television, radio and online. Gareth Southgate's side face Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday 18 June at 7pm UK time before playing Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday 24 June at 1pm. Both Group G games will be broadcast on BBC1, Radio 5Live and online. Euro 2016 champions Portugal's Group B game with Spain is also on the BBC at 7pm on Friday 15 June. England's final group match, against group favourites Belgium on Thursday 28 June at 7pm, will be shown live on ITV, who will have first pick in the last sixteen if England make it that far (which, give their performance at the last couple of tournaments, is doubtful). The BBC will then have the first two choices of quarter-final games, including England's if they progress that far. Both BBC and ITV will broadcast the final live from Moscow on Sunday 15 July at 4pm. Reigning world champions Germany open against Mexico on Sunday 17 June and viewers will be able to watch that game live on the BBC. Philip Bernie, BBC head of TV Sport, said: 'We're delighted with our selection of matches, which sees the BBC bring England's first two games of the competition live to our audiences - as well as their potential quarter final. We are also very pleased to be showcasing the skills of the world's best players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, in five of their group matches. The BBC is proud to be offering such an enticing array of games on football's biggest stage, as we look to deliver to audiences unprecedented, extensive access to World Cup content across TV, radio, online and social media.'
The referee who awarded a controversial penalty against Northern Ireland during their World Cup play-off defeat by Switzerland says that he made a mistake. As pretty much everyone who saw the incident, including all the players, already knew. Romanian Ovidiu Hategan ruled that Corry Evans had blocked a shot with his arm during the first leg, despite TV replays showing the ball struck the player's shoulder. 'It was a sad and unpleasant moment for me, sad because I made that mistake,' Hategan told Romanian media. Hategan will not be used as a referee at the World Cup in Russia. World governing body FIFA has released the list of thirty six match referees who will take charge of matches at this year's tournament and Hategan has accepted that his decision during the first leg at Windsor Park 'may have played a factor' in his omission. 'Unfortunately I'm not among the thirty six, but I'll see if I'm going to be a video referee,' he added, hopefully. 'Surely it has had a big influence and what happened in the play-off game. It's not a secret and I'm not hiding behind words. In our world, the referees are the same as the goalkeepers - everyone sees the mistake. I've got over that moment, I'm a strong man. My family were there for me.' Swiss defender Ricardo Rodríguez scored the subsequent spot-kick to secure the only goal of the play-off, which ended Northern Ireland's hopes of qualifying for Russia.
The former Home & Away actress Jessica Falkholt has had her life support switched off two weeks after being in a car crash, according to reports from Australia. The crash, which happened in New South Wales on Boxing Day, also killed her parents, sister and the other driver. The actress, who played Hope Morrison in the soap, had surgery after the accident but remained in a coma. The decision to end her life support came a day after the funeral service for the rest of her family. At the time of the accident, Network Seven, Home & Away's broadcaster, released a statement saying: 'Although her time on set was brief, once a part of the Home & Away family, always part of the family.' Falkholt's character first appeared when Hope and Raffy Morrison arrived in Summer Bay. Hope briefly worked at the garage, but ran away after stealing money from there and from the Salt restaurant. It emerged that her young sister Raffy - who was, actually, her cousin - was a sibling of the Morgan brothers in the soap, so Raffy stayed in the Bay with them when Hope was jailed for her naughty crimes. Falkholt's stint on the long-running series lasted for sixteen episodes and ended in November 2016. She then filmed a role in the US movie Harmony, which is set for release this year. Jessica's parents, Lars and Vivian, were killed instantly in the crash and her sister, Annabelle, died in hospital from her injuries three days later. Vivian Falkholt's brother, Paul Ponticello, spoke at their funeral, saying that he thought he and his sister 'would grow old together.' Australian police are still investigating the crash, which also killed Craig Whittall, who was driving the other car involved in the incident.
Eddie Clarke, the last surviving member of Motörhead's most famous line-up, has died at the age of sixty seven. The band's Facebook page announced that the guitarist died in hospital after being admitted with pneumonia. Clarke, whose nickname was Fast Eddie, played with Lemmy and Phil Taylor in the furiously loud heavy metal band between 1976 and 1982. He played on the first six Motörhead LPs, including Bomber, Overkill, Ace Of Spades and the band's UK number one live recording, No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith. Born in Twickenham, by the time he was fifteen, Eddie had already been through an extraordinary number of local bands, eventually turning professional in 1973 when he joined Curtis Knight's prog-blues band, Zeus as guitarist. In 1974, the band recorded an LP called The Second Coming at Olympic Studios. Eddie also played on a second LP, Sea Of Time, with Zeus. Later, with guitarist Allan Callan, keyboard player Nicky Hogarth and drummer Chris Perry, Eddie formed Blue Goose though he left before the band's debut LP was released. Eddie soon formed another band with Be-Bop Deluxe bassist, Charlie Tumahai, Ann McCluskie and Jim Thompson. Called Continuous Performance, this line-up lasted until early 1975, when their demos failed to secure them a record deal and Eddie temporarily gave up the music industry. He was, according to legend, working on re-fitting a houseboat when he met Phil Taylor who had recently joined Motörhead and introduced Clarke to Lemmy. Eddie's last gig with Motörhead took place at the New York Palladium in May 1982. Hearing that UFO bassist Pete Way was keen to leave that band, the two met and formed Fastway, initially which former Clash drummer, Topper Headon who was later replaced by Jerry Shirley. The band signed to CBS, toured supporting AC/DC and released several LPs including 1986's Waiting For The Roar recorded at Abbey Road. Despite being a popular live act, success alluded them although the band, in various line-ups, continued until 2011.
The TV scriptwriter and author David Fisher has died at the age of eighty eight. David wrote four Doctor Who stories between 1978 and 1980 all of them featuring Tom Baker. His first contribution to the series came when he wrote two successive stories for the Key To Time series arc. The first, The Stones Of Blood, was a Hammer-style story featuring blood-eating rocks. It won praise for its depiction of strong female characters, especially that of Professor Rumford, played by Beatrix Lehmann. Fisher also wrote the following story the handsome The Androids Of Tara, inspired by the Anthony Hope novel The Prisoner Of Zenda and a particular favourite of this blogger. In 1979 he returned to the series with The Creature From The Pit. That one wasn't a particular favourite of this blogger! David was also working on a story at the time called A Gamble With Time, but for various personal reasons had to relinquish the story and hand it on to the show's then Script Editor, Douglas Adams, to finish what eventually became the widely acclaimed City Of Death which was broadcast using the generic BBC writer pseudonym David Agnew. Fisher's final script for Doctor Who was The Leisure Hive broadcast in 1980. David's other work for television included scripts for Hammer House Of Mystery & Suspense, Hammer House Of Horror (the memorable episode Guardians Of the Abyss), The Mackinnons, General Hospital, Crown Court, Sutherland's Law, The Lotus Eaters, Crime Of Passion, The Troubleshooters, Dixon Of Dock Green, Crown Court, This Man Craig and Orlando. He was Script Editor on the 1979 ATV children's series Why Can't I Go Home? David also often collaborated with another of his former Doctor Who colleagues, Anthony Read, during the 1980s and 1990s on a number of historical non-fiction works, largely related to World War II.