Saturday, March 17, 2018

Rage Against The Dying Of The Light

Talk to those who are, allegedly, 'in the know' about the hopes and aspirations of yer actual Chris Chibnall-era Doctor Who and there is one word on their - probably fictitious - lips; family. That certainly seems to be something of a watchword for the new era as yer actual Jodie Whitaker takes charge of the TARDIS for series eleven, according to a couple of anonymous - and therefore almost certainly fictitious - alleged 'production sources' allegedly 'quoted' by the Radio Times. Not only does that seem to be the desired 'vibe' between the new companions - played by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill - who will accompany Whittaker's Doctor, but new showrunner Chibnall is also claimed to be 'very keen' to make it a show that more families will sit down and watch. Filming started on the new series late last year and the precise relationship between the multi-companion set up has not been revealed. But whatever their relationship, the feeling according to one alleged production 'source' is that the adventurers are, allegedly, a family - with Walsh's character, Graham, taking a 'parental' role. 'The first Doctor - played by William Hartnell - was a grandfather to Susan and he had the companions Ian and Barbara in these early adventures,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said in that sort of wretched sub-tabloid 'nobody really talks like this' style. 'Chris's show will be very much its own thing but that is kind of the vibe.' Another alleged 'source' allegedly snitched: 'There is a feeling that the drama has been complicated by self-referential plotting at times and Chris wants his Doctor Who to be a show notable for its emotional intelligence.' Last year Chibnall revealed in an interview with the Royal Television Society's magazine Television that he was after 'risk and boldness' with his version of the show - a fact demonstrated by his decision to cast the first female Doctor. But, the article claims, his plans also involve a keen desire to restore its appeal as a family show, as noted by Chibnall's friend and collaborator, the director James Strong. 'It used to be - and I stress this is my personal opinion - at the heart of the schedule, an unmissable family show and, for some reason, it's slipped a bit from the national consciousness,' said Strong in the same piece. 'For me, when it goes towards story­lines that are a little bit more for the fans, I think you can lose that general appeal. I think Chris is going to offer a slightly different take on what the show should be. I think Chris, essentially, writes emotional thrillers and that's perfect for that show.'
BBC Worldwide have announced that series three of the revived series of Doctor Who (2007) will be the latest to receive the blu-ray Steelbook treatment, with the release due on 7 May. The three-disc set features HD-upscaled episodes of the series plus the extras originally released with the original 2007 DVD collection.
Grumpy Christopher Eccleston has claimed that his exit from Doctor Who in 2006 'almost destroyed' his career in a new interview. Because, a week wouldn't be a week without Chris Eccleston whinging about something, would it? That's why we love him. Speaking to the Gruniad Morning Star, Big Ecc reflected on his decision to leave the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama after one series and didn't hold back on the BBC's alleged handling of the situation. 'What happened around Doctor Who almost destroyed my career. I gave them a hit show and I left with dignity and then they put me on a blacklist,' he alleged. 'I was carrying my own insecurities as it was something I had never done before and then I was abandoned, vilified in the tabloid press and blacklisted. I was told by my agent at the time, "The BBC regime is against you. You're going to have to get out of the country and wait for regime change."' Since his Doctor Who exit, of course, Eccleston has appeared in several BBC dramas including The Shadow Line, Lennon Naked, Accused, Blackout, The A Word and the forthcoming Come Home. So, obviously, this 'blacklist' which Big Ecc claims to have been on would appear to have considerably ... whitened in the interim.
Eccleston, in fact, has been in spectacularly grumpy form this week - which, let's face it, is something of a default-position for Chris at the best of times - in particular when speaking about a lack of working class talent in the film and TV industry at the launch of Come Home. Asked by a journalist why he thought there was a dearth of working class actors and writers in TV, Ecc replied that it was down to 'class hatred, very simple.' Yep, that certainly sounds about right and fits in nicely with this blogger's own - somewhat limited - experiences in dealing with TV executives. The actor continued: 'It's the present Government, there's hatred. Brexit, there's a lot of hatred around. There's a lot of desire for separate-ness and a hatred of difference. The question to be asked is, why are so few working class writers coming through? Financially, working class writers and actors can't get through. It's set up on purpose to keep us out, 'cause there's a desire for an anodyne, bland culture. The Daily Mail rules,' he noted, adding: 'It would be great if The Shipping Forecast was [read by] a Scouser!' Ecc has previously admitted to feeling 'insecure' as an actor because of his working class background. Come Home - from Ordinary Lies writer Danny Brocklehurst - stars Eccleston as a father whose wife, played by Paula Malcomson, leaves him and their children. Described as 'a deeply emotional family drama, told with levity, laughter and an emotional truthfulness,' the series is set in Belfast.
With all the will in the world, any TV show surviving in today's industry can sometimes feel like an impossible task, so it was interesting this week to get a glimpse at the thought processes of executives related some of FOX's dramas. After meeting with FOX chairman Gary Newman, Deadline reported that while things are looking more than a little precarious for The Exorcist, signs are much more positive for other formats. Despite lamenting Kiefer Sutherland's definite departure from 24, Newman said that the high-octane franchise is 'still really valid' for audiences and TV bosses alike. Hinting at where the series could go next, Newman offered the backdrop of terrorism, suggesting that the issue is 'uniquely suited' to 24 because of its 'timeliness and urgency.' Turning to horror adaptation The Exorcist, Newman conceded that the show's move to Fridays was 'tough' and that it hadn't drawn in the hoped-for audience of 'moviegoers not going to the movies. I thought the show was incredibly well-produced [and] the stories were great,' he said, before adding a caveat: '[It's] clearly a show that's on-the-bubble.' So, don't get your hopes up too high for another series of that one. One series which has found a new home within FOX's schedule is Gotham and things are looking more promising for the drama, which Newman praised for doing 'a pretty good job of opening up that night {Thursday]. I feel like Gotham should have a place in our schedule,' he told Deadline, before going on to say that he hopes there are 'more years' of Gotham to come. The most assured future of all, though, goes to cult series Empire, which Newman said he wants to continue 'for as long as the audience continues. Our cast loves doing the show. We're so proud of that show,' he added.
Speaking of Gotham, this week's episode - Reunion - was yet another corker. Reviews of which can be found here, here and here.
The X-Files continues to prove that, so long as they keep Chris Carter well away from a word processor, it still has the ability to produce the goods. The latest episode, the gory-but-funny Nothing Lasts Forever was one of the eleventh series' strongest thus far; not quite as properly eleven-out-of-ten as The Lost Art Of Forehead Sweat or Rm9sbG93ZXJz but, still jolly entertaining. In fact, it was everything that the series worst ever episode - Home (1996) - would (and should) have been if they'd bothered included a bit of humour it in. You can read all about it here, here, here and here.
And, completing the weekly round-up of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite three current US dramas, The Blacklist also had another good week with The Capricorn Killer. Reviews are here, here and here.
Martin Freeman has claimed that the pressure surrounding high quality episodes of Sherlock has sapped the enjoyment from doing the series. Speaking to the Torygraph and, seemingly, attempting to out-grump even Christopher Eccleston, Marty was asked about the future of Sherlock, to which he replied: 'To be absolutely honest, it [was] kind of impossible. Sherlock became the animal that it became immediately. Whereas even with The Office, it was a slow burn. But Sherlock was frankly notably high quality from the outset. And when you start [that high] it's pretty hard to maintain that. Being in that show, it is a mini-Beatles thing. People's expectations, some of it's not fun anymore. It's not a thing to be enjoyed, it's a thing of: "You better fucking do this, otherwise, you're a cunt." That's not fun anymore.'
Meanwhile, Freeman's sometime-oppo Benedict Cumberbatch's own return to TV is imminent. Benny will play the titular lead in Sky Atlantic's five-part drama Patrick Melrose which will premiere on Sunday 13 May.
Endeavour will return for a sixth series in 2019. The Inspector Morse prequel, which stars Shaun Evans as the titular detective, broadcast its - really very good indeed - series five finale on Sunday with Detective Constable George Fancy (Lewis Peek) being murdered during an investigation into the disappearance of a teacher from a public school. However, fans were immediately comforted by the reassurance that the popular crime drama would return for a sixth series in 2019, as confirmed by ITV on Twitter during the episode and by a continuity announcement at the climax. A sixth series of Endeavour was expected even before the announcement, given the commercial and critical acclaim of the series.
Jezza Clarkson has rubbished bizarre - but widespread - tabloid rumours that The Grand Tour had been 'axed' by Amazon Prime. Clarkson responded to the recent tabloid claims that the third series of The Grand Tour would be the last, calling them 'shit.' Which, given that they appear to have originated within the pages of the Daily Scum Mail might be regarded as a case of 'stating the bleeding obvious.' Indirectly replying to the Scum Mail's claims - which were seemingly based on nothing more than wishful thinking and some unattributed alleged 'quotes' - that the show would be ending because Clarkson has signed up to present ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? revival, Jezza wrote on Twitter: 'Sorry Geordie. I may have published something which is horseshit. Annoying, isn't it?' Despite being one of the most expensive projects on telly (Amazon reportedly gave The Grand Tour team a budget of one hundred and sixty million smackers over three years), the series has reportedly managed to bring in a healthy profit for Amazon. The Scum Mail had allegedly 'quoted' an alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'source' who allegedly claimed that the entire Grand Tour crew 'might be job hunting when series three filming is complete in the summer.' 'Might'. Fantastically interesting word, that. The alleged 'source' allegedly continued: 'There is nothing to suggest they are going to do another one. No one has signed anything and employees are wondering where everyone will go once filming wraps.'
Monday's episode of MasterChef began with the traditional pre-game soundbites and three of the episode's contestants all making the potentially fatal error of bigging themselves up like they were the greatest thing since sliced gnocci with a citrus jeu. 'It doesn't matter how old you are, I'm good enough and I think I can do it,' boasted American-born Michele with a little smile to camera which suggested here was a lady who really believed she was it. But, of course, as all viewers would have realised the moment that clip was included in the episode by producers, she actually couldn't do it and she went home with her tail between her legs as one of the three cooks eliminated in the opening round. Next ... 'There's no point in cooking mediocre dishes,' said 'stay-at-home dad' Simon. 'My biggest fear is putting something up that people don't like.' Which, again since that comment was included in the episode, he did. Although Simon actually did manage to survive the first round cull by the skin of his teeth. Simon's survival in fact was due, in no small part, to the failings of the third contestant whose soundbites opened the show. 'I've got one eye on that trophy, I have to say,' a chap called Dave said with a rather self-satisfied smirk on his mush similar to Michele's a few seconds earlier. 'I've cleared a space on my shelf.' Space which, presumably, Dave can now put to some other - far more practical and realistic - uses since he, too, proved not to be quite as shit-hot as his comments had led viewers to believe he was. Even though he wore a tea-towel round his head just to be extra annoying. When, oh when, dear blog reader, will contestants on MasterChef get it through their heads that when the producers ask them, during the pre-game interviews, 'how do you think you'll do, then?' what those producers are desperately hoping for is a couple of chest-beating moments of rank self-aggrandisement. Which will prove to be the pre-cursor to telly magic when the punter(s) in question crash and burn about an hour later in the heat of the kitchen?
Another example of the self-same phenomena occurred in Thursday's episode when purple-haired Paula told viewers: 'I'm a good cook. I'm not going to beat about the bush, I am. But, it's all about on the day, isn't it?' That's an affirmative. As regular viewers were thinking 'the producers would not have bothered to include that if this lady wasn't heading for a jolly 'uge and humbling fall,' India Fisher was busy informing the the audience that Paula was, in addition to being 'a good cook', also 'a keen golfer.' One wonders if, Paula will be entering this year's British Open with a similarly 'I'm pure dead great, me,' attitude? Sadly for her, she played it safe and produced an edible, but not very ambitious, dish and was sent packing at the end of the first round by John and Gregg. Another victim of the old 'curse of bigging yourself up on MasterChef' malarkey.
This week's 'one question that yer actual Keith Telly Topping got right on Only Connect before the contestants' was as follows ...
Yer actual Buffy The Vampire Slayer - a series which looms large in this blogger's legend - has just turned twenty one last month and it seems that FOX might be up for reviving the series. FOX has been busy in recent years bringing back some of its previously popular like The X-Files, 24 and Prison Break. All to varying degrees of success and because, it seems, no one in American TV has any original ideas any more. But, when it comes to a Buffy revival, it seems there is only one thing in the way. One big thing. 'It's something we talk about frequently and Joss Whedon is really one of the greatest creators we ever worked with,' FOX TV group chair Gary Newman explained at the INTV Conference this week. FOX, of course, being the network that cancelled Whedon's Firefly after thirteen episodes and Dollhouse after twenty six. 'When Joss decides it's time, we'll do it,' said Newman. 'And, until Joss decides it's time, it won't happen.' Newman added that Buffy is 'probably the most ripe show we have for bringing back,' but that he 'wouldn't get out of the building alive' if he actually confirmed that it was happening in the foreseeable future. However, if they are waiting for Joss Whedon to decide when - or if - it's time to resurrect Buffy, they could be waiting for a long time as last year Whedon revealed just some of the reasons why he wouldn't bring the Telefantasy drama back any time soon. 'You bring something back and even if it's exactly as good as it was, the experience can't be,' he noted, possibly with specific reference to the recent revivals of, for example, The X-Files. 'Luckily most of my actors still look wonderful, but I'm not worried about them being creaky. I'm more worried about me being creaky as a storyteller. You don't want that feeling that you should have left before the encore. I don't rule it out, but I [do] fear that.' This was a feeling echoed by Sarah Michelle Gellar her very self, who compared a potential failed reunion to The Godfather Part III as part of the show's twentieth anniversary celebrations last year. 'I'm sure the fans are incredibly disappointed to hear that answer, but I think they'd be more disappointed if we created something and it didn't live up to the expectation, because the expectation is so incredibly high,' she added.
The production team behind The Crown have admitted that Claire Foy was not the show's highest-paid cast member, despite playing the title character. This revelation came as Andy Harries, Suzanne Mackie and Martin Childs from The Crown's production company Left Bank spoke about the show's past and future on Tuesday at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem. The Left Bank trio were discussing the five million knicker they spend on each episode of the period drama, when Suzanne Mackie acknowledged that Matt Smith actually earned the highest salary for playing Prince Philip because of his 'notoriety' from Doctor Who. Or, to put it another way, Matt had just come off playing the lead for four years on one of the world's most widely-seen dramas, if his agent hadn't managed to get him the deal he did then, one suspects, Matt would have been looking for a new agent. 'Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,' Mackie added. Left Bank's acknowledgement of the gender pay gap on the series is even more surprising since series creator Peter Morgan recently admitted that he was 'reluctant' to hire Smudger in the first place. 'Matt and Claire, it was really instantly obvious,' he said. 'I'm ashamed to admit, I needed persuading on Matt Smith and then I saw him with Claire and their chemistry. A friend of mine said to me, "I don't fancy Prince Philip and I don't fancy Matt Smith, but I really fancy Matt Smith as Prince Philip!" There's something in his movement, his swagger, it's quite transformative.'
And now, dear blog reader ...
It has been some time since there's been any new information about a potential second series of The Night Manager. Director Susanne Bier tipped shortly after the first series was broadcast that more was in the offing, but that it would take extra time since there was no direct sequel to author John le Carré's original spy novel. Matthew Orton had reportedly been hired to work on a new storyline for the AMC and BBC collaboration. Actress Elizabeth Debicki was initially reluctant to comment about the prospects of a second series when asked by the Radio Times, but eventually did. 'I think [a sequel] might be in the works,' she told the publication. Last year, Hugh Laurie broached the subject of more Night Manager by explaining how historic a second series would be in the canon of John le Carré's work. 'In the twenty-or-so novels that Le Carré's written, I don't think there's ever been anything that's continued beyond a novel that he's written,' Laurie said. 'So this would be new territory for him - and obviously he was immensely involved in [the first series] and gave it his blessing.' AMC and the BBC have not yet officially commissioned more episodes of The Night Manager, but they are working together on new John le Carré projects. Their adaptation of the author's Little Drummer Girl is currently in production, and will star Florence Pugh as a young actress who strikes up a dangerous relationship with an Israeli intelligence officer.
The BBC has announced a drama focusing on the 1993 Warrington bombing called Mother's Day. The ninety-minute drama has been written by Nick Leather, who lived in the town and was on his way there on the day of the attack. Next week will mark twenty fifth anniversary since the bombing in Warrington town centre by members of the Provisional IRA. Two children, three-year-old Jonathan Ball and twelve-year-old Tim Parry, died, while dozens more were injured. As the title implies, the drama will focus on the impact the events have on two mothers: Wendy Parry, who lost her son Tim in the bombing and Susan McHugh, a Dublin mother-of-two who, feeling outraged by the attack, organises a peace rally in protest at the continuing Troubles. Anna Maxwell Martin has signed on to play Wendy, whilst Vicky McClure will play Susan. Other cast members include McClure's Line Of Duty co-star Daniel Mays as Tim's father Colin, David Wilmot as Arthur McHugh, plus Simone Kirby and Conor Mullen. Filming has already started in Belfast, although no broadcast date for Mother's Day has yet been announced.
Another story connected to both The White Princess and The White Queen is being adapted for television. US channel Starz has had so much success with both period dramas that it is expanding the scope with The Spanish Princess, based on two more of Philippa Gregory's Plantagenet and Tudor novels. Unlike its predecessors, The Spanish Princess will be told through the perspective of the diverse ethnic groups living in London during the Tudor era, specifically focusing on Catherine of Aragon. The titular teenage Princess arrives in London intent on fulfilling her destiny on the English throne, only for her husband, Henry VII's heir Prince Arthur, to die. With the help of her African lady-in-waiting Lina, Catherine of Aragon claims that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated, making it possible for her to pursue a romance with Arthur's younger brother, Prince Harry (the future Henry VIII). 'Starz is committed to its ongoing programming strategy to provide premium content highlighting the untold stories of strong women in history,' the network's programming president Carmi Zlotnik said announcing the project. 'We have a passionate fanbase who embraces female-led stories like The White Queen and The White Princess and are excited to continue with Catherine of Aragon's story in The Spanish Princess.' There are no casting announcements as yet, but Gregory's novels, The Constant Princess and The King's Curse are being adapted by White Queen and White Princess writer Emma Frost and Life On Mars' Matthew Graham.
David Morrissey takes on a brutal murder in a fantastical city in BBC2's absorbing adaptation of China Miéville's mind-bending novel The City & The City. The actor is the lead, Inspector Tyador Borlú and though Morrissey may be synonymous with 'kick-ass' characters (as seen in, for example, The Walking Dead and Britannia), he has admitted that the 'vulnerability and visible torment' of Borlú drew him to the role. 'I'm six feet three and stuff like that, so you tend to get guys that kick-ass,' the actor told the media at a screening of his latest noir thriller. 'This is different though. There's a vulnerability about this character. He's slightly spinning but not really. You can see his torment very quickly, and it's reflected in the world around him and his interior story as well.' Morrissey continued: 'I like that and I like what is going on around him. The important thing is that it's asking questions of all of us. It was challenging in every aspect of what we had to do.' Made up of two fractured and conflicting cities - the deteriorating Besźel and the shiny and polished Ul Qoma – the four-part fantasy series follows Morrissey as he investigates the murder of a female student found in the streets of Besźel. The relationship between the two cities almost defies belief and its divided inhabitants are subconsciously trained to 'unsee' and 'unsense' the other, essentially blocking out their opposing city's existence. 'It's not a big leap for us to have to imagine what it's like to live in a city where you don't see people who exist on the very streets that we walk down,' Morrissey added. 'It's not a big leap of faith to live in our houses and ignore people on our road. That's it. We all live in the cities like that and this city is teeming with that sensibility. We have invisible people at our feet all the time. And this drama pushes that, and that idea that we're not allowed to interact with certain people who live here right now, and it's just accentuating that.' The City & The City – which also stars Sherlock's Lara Pulver and Mandeep Dhillon - will be broadcast on BBC2 in April.
Game Of Thrones has turned Maisie Williams into one of the most employable young actresses around, but it could have all been so different. Talking to InStyle, Williams revealed that she almost turned down her audition to play Arya Stark so that she could go on a field trip to a pig farm with her school. Fortunately, she decided the pigs could wait for another day and the rest is history. And, although she admitted that her instant fame led to her struggling 'with the pressure to fit in' during her teens, she will miss playing Arya once Game Of Thrones finishes next year. 'The hardest thing about the show ending is that I'll never get to be Arya again,' Williams reflected. 'I do wish she shaped me to be more fearless in the industry. Honestly, no matter what else I work on, I'll miss playing her.'
A HBO executive has suggested that there will be a lot of character deaths in the final episode of Game Of Thrones. Speaking at a 'Best of HBO' panel at the INTV Conference in Israel, the channel's senior vice president of drama, Francesca Orsi, recounted her experience of being at the table read for the finale, where actors were forced to read out their own characters' demises without warning. '[The table read] was a really powerful moment in our lives and our career,' she told Variety. 'None of the cast had received the scripts prior and one-by-one they started to fall down to their deaths.'
ITV Encore's repeat run of Vera recently ended and, in best digital channel 'we show them all then we show them all again' style (see also The West Wing, NCIS, Hustle, Lewis, Columbo, The Sweeney et al) they then went back to the beginning. Which meant that this blogger spent part of Friday evening watching an episode which, to the best of his knowledge, he'd never actually seen before - one of the really early ones, Hidden Depths. So, thanks for that ITV Encore. Do you do requests?
Robot Wars has been cancelled by the BBC for a second time. The show featuring duelling robots was rebooted on BBC2 in 2016 and ran for three series. Presented by Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon since its return, it is to be scrapped to 'make room for new shows,' the BBC said. Robot Wars was originally broadcast on the BBC from 1998 until 2003, then on Channel Five until 2004. It returned to the BBC in 2016.
It seems that Will & Grace can do no wrong at the moment, as the revived US sitcom has been picked up for a third series before the second has even been broadcast or the first has concluded. The news was confirmed at television festival PaleyFest in Los Angeles on Saturday by members of the cast.
The novel Gone Baby Gone's new TV adaptation has added more cast members, with Gotham's Peyton List set to take on the co-lead role. List will play the private detective Angela Gennaro in the FOX drama, reports Deadline. She will be starring alongside Joseph Morgan, who has already been cast as Angela's detective partner Patrick Kenzie. Laysla De Oliveira has also been added to the cast as Patrick's girlfriend Grace Cole, a doctor. The series, which is currently untitled, is based on the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane. It will focus on Patrick and Angela as they try to solve crimes in the working-class Boston suburb of Dorchester. Gone Baby Gone was previously adapted as a - not particularly good - film in 2007, directed by Ben Affleck and starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan in the lead roles. The TV series, which also features The Blacklist's Christine Lahti as Angela's mother, will be written by Black Sails co-creator Robert Levine and directed by Phillip Noyce, who was behind the camera on the Angelina Jolie thriller Salt.
Fans have waited twenty years to see Ant and/or Dec reunited with Cat Deeley on SM:TV Live, but it looks like they are going to have to wait longer. Due to Ant and/or Dec's busy TV schedule, it appears the Cheeky Chappie Doon Th' Bigg Market duo can't squeeze in a reunion show. Which is, obviously, a total tragedy.
Pure mental heedbanger Noel Edmonds has once again come under fire for his comments about cancer being 'caused by negativity,' this time from the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire. The former TV personality infamously believes that he 'cured' his own alleged cancer but was criticised by Derbyshire who has suffered from the disease herself. Speaking with the presenter, Edmonds reiterated his audacious claim that 'negative energy' brings on the disease. Derbyshire brought up the occasion that he tweeted a cancer survivor to ask if they believed their 'negative energy' brought on the illness. 'I regret the fact he didn't answer the question,' he replied. 'It is a scientific fact that negative energy causes disease and negative thoughts are part of that process. It changes the outcome and millions of doctors and scientists will tell you that,' the former Deal Or No Deal host said. Derbyshire replied: 'Don't you think that is a horrible thing that you said to a cancer survivor?' To which Edmonds added: 'No, because I asked him a question - a perfectly reasonable question.' Victoria pressed him on his comments, asking: 'Do you think all cancers can be caused by negative attitudes?' To which Edmonds snapped: 'No!' Derbyshire then forced him to explain what he actually meant, as she queried specifically which cancers were caused be so-called negativity, to which he muttered: 'I don't know, I'm not a doctor.' Which we all knew anyway.
Lynda Carter has alleged that she experienced sexual misconduct on the set of her 1970s show Wonder Woman. The sixty six-year-old former Miss America has claimed that she was 'sexually violated' throughout her career, beginning with her breakthrough role as the DC Comics heroine. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Carter alleged that one Wonder Woman crew member 'drilled a hole in [her] dressing room wall' so he could he watch her undress. 'They caught him, fired him and drummed him out of the business,' she said. 'I fended off my share. And I've been afraid. If a man tried something, I would say, "Are you kidding me?"' Carter also claims that she was 'targeted for abuse' by 'one of the many powerful Hollywood men' who is 'already being done-in' in the wake of the Me Too movement, although she refused to name the individual in question. 'I can't add anything to [the allegations],' she said. 'I wish I could. But there's nothing legally I could add to it, because I looked into it. I'm just another face in the crowd. I wish I could and if I could I would. And I would talk about it. But it ends up being about me and not about the people who can talk about it. I don't want it to be about me. It's about him being a scumbag. So legally I can't do anything.'
National heartthrob David Tennant will collaborate with Lena Dunham for his next major TV series it has been claimed. Tennant has been cast in a leading role in Dunham and Girls collaborator Jenni Konner's remake of the British comedy series Camping, according to TheWrap. Jennifer Garner previously signed on to star in Camping as housewife Kathryn Siddell-Bauers, who organises a weekend excursion into nature to celebrate her husband Walt's forty fifth birthday. However, the trip goes pear-shaped when Kathryn's sister and best friend bring along a free-spirited wild child. Before the weekend is over, a crime will have taken place and a marriage will have been tested. This is the latest US role for Tennant, who most recently made a brief re-appearance as the mind-controlling super-villain Kilgrave in the second series of Netflix's Jessica Jones. Tennant also currently voices Scrooge McDuck in Disney's animated reboot of the Duck Tales series and is set for a co-starring role with Michael Sheen and Jon Hamm in Amazon Prime and BBC2's adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel Good Omens. Camping will be Dunham and Konner's comeback to US premium channel HBO, after ending Girls last year. The original Camping, which was written by and starred Julia Davis, broadcast on Sky Atlantic in 2016. The US adaptation will comprise eight episodes.
Holly Willoughby has revealed the outfit which she 'couldn't get away' with on This Morning. Stylist and fashion consultant Angie Smith posted on Instagram a photo of Willoughby wearing a navy roll neck and checked miniskirt, writing: 'The one that got away Too Short For TM.' And, this utter, banal, trivial horseshite constitutes 'news', apparently.
A Panorama investigation has revealed how the Russian state allegedly 'uses surveillance and propaganda' to discredit critics of President Putin. Opposition activists to The butcher of Grozny have long accused the Kremlin of using the security services and state-controlled TV to attack them. When BBC Panorama went to Russia to investigate their claims, the same tactics were, allegedly, used against their reporter John Sweeney and his camera team.
RT, the Kremlin-controlled news channel, faces being forced off air in the UK if the poisoning of Sergei Skripal is found to be 'an unlawful use of force' by the Russia state. The broadcasting regulator Ofcom, which has the power to close a TV channel if it decides it is not a 'fit and proper' holder of a licence, said that it had written to RT warning them that a Russian act against the UK - or, anyone in it - would automatically trigger a 'fast-track investigation' to potentially revoke its licence. Something which, one presumes, has now begun after this week both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary announced that Vladimir Putin was 'most likely' behind the outrage in Salisbury. 'We have today written to ANO TV Novosti, holder of RT's UK broadcast licences, which is financed from the budget of the Russian Federation,' Ofcom said. 'This letter explained that, should the UK investigating authorities determine that there was an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK, we would consider this relevant to our ongoing duty to be satisfied that RT is fit and proper.' Ofcom, which last year conducted a fit and proper test on billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch and his family relating to their takeover of Sky, said that it would carry out 'any investigation of RT' on an 'expedited basis. Ofcom has an ongoing duty to be satisfied that all broadcast licensees are fit and proper to hold a licence,' said the spokesman. Theresa May has suggested closing the channel as 'one potential option.' RT whinged that it is 'being used' as 'a sacrificial political pawn' in the fallout over the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter and that revoking its broadcasting licence would 'make a mockery of the concept of press freedom' in the UK. An RT spokesperson said: 'We disagree with the position taken by Ofcom; our broadcasting has in no way changed this week, from any other week and continues to adhere to all standards. By linking RT to unrelated matters, Ofcom is conflating its role as a broadcasting regulator with matters of state.' MPs have called on Ofcom to close the channel, which was founded by Putin as Russia Today in 2005, calling its broadcasts 'a propaganda mouthpiece for the Russian state.' The channel has accused the press of spreading 'fanciful' theories about the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. May's assertion that it is 'highly likely' the Russian state was responsible for the attack on Skripal has plunged Anglo-Russian relations to their lowest state since the cruise missile crisis in the 1980s. Ofcom said that after May makes a further statement, it will 'consider the implications' and whether to launch an investigation into RT's licence. RT said it was 'proud to have a better record with Ofcom than most other UK broadcasters.' The channel has recorded fifteen breaches of the UK broadcasting code since it began airing in Britain, three of which were serious enough to warrant a sanction. The most egregious was for a series of misleading or biased programmes on the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, which resulted in RT being forced to broadcast corrections detailing Ofcom's findings.
Helen Skelton has alleged that she was groped live-on-air by an interviewee whilst she was pregnant. Skelton, who appears on BBC1's Countryfile and presents the corporation's swimming coverage, said she felt 'really awkward' about the incident but that she was 'too intimidated' to complain. In an interview with the Torygraph, which reports that the alleged incident occurred 'during coverage of a sporting event in 2014,' she said: 'Basically, this guy grabbed me on the arse when I was presenting live telly. I felt really awkward about it. I was pregnant at the time as well. I didn't really know what to do. It's intimidating and you don't want to be the person who is being difficult and awkward. That's just the culture that television breeds. No one wants to be difficult. You want to bring solutions, not problems. We are all "happy, happy."' Skelton said that fellow presenter Colin Murray raised the issue and the man was in question and that he was, subsequently punished. '[Colin] kicked-off and said "that needs dealing with,"' she said. 'It was handled brilliantly because of that. I'd never thought about complaining. I don't want it to become my identity. The man in question was punished. There was a line drawn under it and that was that.' The Sun - with no supporting evidence other than guesswork, seemingly - claimed that the incident 'may' have been at the BBC's coverage of a darts tournament and named the individual they alleged 'may' have been responsible. The man in question denied any wrongdoing.
Horrible Jamie Carragher has been extremely suspended by Sky Sports until the end of the current football season after being filmed spitting at a car with a fourteen-year-old Manchester United fan and her father inside. On Sunday, the former Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws footballer snivellingly apologised on Twitter for the vile hockling incident which happened near Old Trafford after The Scum's two-one Premier League victory over The Scousers. Carragher has now been suspended from his duties as a football analyst after Sky commented that his actions were 'well below the standards we expect of our people. Sky takes this matter extremely seriously and strongly condemns Jamie's actions,' a statement from Sky Sports read. 'We have made that clear to him in person today and suspended him from his duties.' Appearing on Sky News, Carragher claimed it was 'a moment of madness' and admitted that one 'can't condone that behaviour whoever you are. I have brought shame on the name of football. I was a role model, people looked to me,' Carragher noted, adding that what he did was 'disgusting. If someone had done what I had done on the pitch, I would vilify them.' Fellow Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville had his say on the incident on Twitter. 'No excuses, he's made a big mistake. He's massively passionate about football and he's overstepped the mark and shouldn't have reacted. I've been on TV for three years with him and this isolated incident shouldn't stop us working together,' Neville argued. But, it will. For two months, at least. Following video footage the the gobbing being published, Carragher reportedly phoned the girl and her father to apologise, as well as taking to Twitter to say sorry.
The president of the Greek football club PAOK Salonika has apologised after he came on to the pitch with a gun during his side's match last Sunday. Ivan Savvidis had a gun in a holster when he entered the field after PAOK had a late goal ruled out for offside. The Greek Super League has been suspended and the European Club Association has suspended PAOK. 'I am very sorry. I clearly had no right to enter the field of play in this fashion,' said Savvidis. He asked his team to leave the pitch after PAOK had a goal ruled out in the eighty ninth minute of a game against AEK Athens and then marched towards the referee with two bodyguards before being pulled back. The executive board of the ECA, which represents European clubs, 'unanimously decided' to suspend PAOK with immediate effect. Greek football has been marred by crowd trouble in recent seasons and PAOK were deducted three points - but managed to overturn the sanction on appeal - after Olympiakos coach Oscar Garcia was hit by a toilet roll thrown from the stands at PAOK in February. Savvidis has claimed his reaction stemmed from 'the widespread negative situations' in Greek football, the actions of the referee and his assistant, match suspension, the protests and the invasion of the pitch by 'many people on both sides. My only aim was to protect tens of thousands of PAOK fans from provocation, riots and human casualties,' Savvidis claimed. 'Please believe that I had no intention to engage in a brawl with our opponents or the referees - and obviously did not threaten anybody. Unfortunately, my family and I, as well as my colleagues, have been taken hostage by a totally sick football status quo. Despite the non-stop attacks I am facing on all fronts, I fight and I will continue to fight for fair football, equitable refereeing in all encounters and titles being won on the pitch and not in courtrooms.' AFP news agency is reporting that Savvidis is currently 'on the run' after local police said that they were seeking Savvidis to arrest him for his pitch invasion. Savvidis, one of Greece's richest men, was born in Georgia of Greek heritage and is a former member of the Russian parliament.
Blunderland have suspended midfielder Darron Gibson after saying he has been charged with drink-driving. The Championship club - currently rock-bottom of the league - said that they had 'commenced a full investigation into the matter' after Gibson was charged on Saturday. 'We expect the highest standard of behaviour from our players,' said The Mackems chief executive Martin Bain. 'Should any individual fall short of those standards then robust action must be taken.' Northumbria Police confirmed that a thirty-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of driving over the legal alcohol limit and was in police custody. Former Everton and The Scum player Gibson has not featured for The Black Cats since 1 January because of a groin injury. Defeat at home to Preston Both Ends on Saturday has left The Mackem Filth bottom of the Championship, five points behind Barnsley and without a win in ten games as the prospect of back-to-back relegations becomes increasingly likely for their dwindling support. To make matters even worse for Blunderland, defender Jake Clarke-Salter, just back from a ban for a red card against The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters, was then sent off for a second bookable offence. It has recently been reported that Blunderland owner, Ellis Short, may be prepared to give the club away for free. But that most prospective takeover bids have been for less than that.
Research shows that fourteen-year-olds are picking up books aimed at children three years younger than them, according to a piece in that ever-reliable bastion of truthful and accurate reportage Daily Lies. Professor Keith Topping - no relation to this blogger, despite the fact that he and yer actual Keith Telly Topping share not only a name but, also, a page at Amazon(!) - said that it was 'popular' authors such as Walliams and Jeff Kinney, who 'penned' (that's tabloidese for 'wrote' if you were wondering) Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, who were to blame for this malarkey. He said: 'My beef with Kinney and Walliams is they're writing too many books at the same level of difficulty. They've both got big fanbases and they can move that fanbase on a bit, but they're not doing that. They're just feasting on the substantial royalties of books at the same level of difficulty.' Topping - a Professor of Educational and Social Research at the University of Dundee and the author of several (excellent) books on peer learning - added: 'If you look at JK Rowling, her first book was relatively easy and the rest became harder.' So, it's proper great to discover that, in addition to sharing a name with this blogger, Professor Keith Topping dislikes David Walliams almost as much as yer actual Keith Telly Topping does. Walliams, whose novels include Gangsta Granny and The Boy In The Dress, declined to comment.
Danny Boyle has revealed he is working with Trainspotting writer John Hodge on a script for the next James Bond movie. If made, it will reunite the Oscar-winning director with Daniel Craig, with whom he worked on a short film made for the 2012 London Olympics. Boyle said this week that he and Hodge had 'got an idea' and were 'working on a script. It all depends on how it turns out,' the director told Metro. Eon announced last year that the twenty fifth official film in the James Bond series would be released in November 2019. Craig later confirmed he would be returning to make his fifth Bond, having previously starred in Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre - which were all very good. And Quantum Of Solace. Which wasn't. When the release date was announced, Eon said the script for the new film would be written by regular Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. According to the Daily Scum Mail's Baz Bamigboye, however, that script 'now won't get made.' It is not uncommon for Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson to commission scripts that are not eventually produced. Peter Morgan, author of The Queen and Frost/Nixon, reportedly worked with Purvis and Wade on a film treatment entitled Once Upon A Spy. That film was never made, though one of its key plot points - the death of Bond's superior M - did end up forming the climax to 2012's Skyfall. The Bond series also has a history of bringing in writers to work on existing scripts. Paul Haggis worked on 2006's Casino Royale, while director Sam Mendes enlisted playwright Jez Butterworth to work on Spectre. Boyle's other current projects include All You Need Is Love, a Richard Curtis-scripted film which revolves around the music of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them). According to the Scum Mail, it is 'hoped' Boyle can begin shooting Bond Twenty Five at the end of the year once All You Need Is Love is completed.
A man who allegedly suffered 'career-ending injuries' during filming of Spectre has launched a High Court compensation claim. Terry Madden, of Rickmansworth, was working as an assistant director in Austria in 2015. He says that his legs were crushed after a Range Rover skidded out of control. Madden's lawyers said he should be compensated for injuries that 'ultimately ended his successful and celebrated career. He is highly regarded in the film industry for his work on the Bond films and many other blockbuster movies dating back over forty five years to the original Star Wars in 1976,' law firm Stewarts said. Madden, who was working as second unit assistant director, is claiming against B24 and Eon Productions, the companies behind the 007 franchise. Giving details of the damages claim, his lawyers said that on 17 February 2015 the unit was filming action sequences of an aeroplane flying through a valley in the Austrian Alps using a remotely-operated camera rig-mounted on a Range Rover. At the end of one of the shots, the vehicle skidded out of control and hit Madden, pinning him against a camera rostrum and crushing his legs. Madden said: 'I felt privileged and proud to work and be part of an active, exciting but hard-working industry, at times sacrificing family life. Then to have a career you worked hard over many years to build up, taken away within a few seconds in this horrendous accident, has been soul-destroying. It has limited my mobility greatly and I am unable to do things I once took for granted.' Lawyer Julian Chamberlayne said: 'It has now become necessary to issue High Court proceedings to ensure that the insurers fully compensate Terry for his injuries which have ultimately ended his successful and celebrated career.'
Pierce Brosnan has told Indian authorities that he was 'cheated' by a mouth freshener company which had employed him to promote its brand. He had been asked to explain why he was in an advert for Pan Bahar which is linked with an addictive form of tobacco. Brosnan said that the company, Ashok & Co, 'did not disclose the hazardous nature' of the product, a senior official said. And, presumably, that there was no mention of any 'hazardous nature' when Pierce read the original cheque. The firm has not reacted to the actor's statement, but told BBC News in 2016 there was no tobacco in the product. Indian law prohibits all advertisements of tobacco-related products. Delhi health official SK Arora said that in his written response to the government, Brosnan had also assured them that his association with the brand was 'over' and agreed to help further efforts against similar campaigns in the future. The former James Bond actor had condemned the 'unauthorised' use of his image in the advert for Pan Bahar in in 2016, soon after it first appeared. His appearance in the advertisement had outraged many Indians who questioned why he was endorsing a product associated with cancer. Despite his objections however, the television advert continues to be aired on Indian channels and even in cinemas to this day. Pan Bahar is commonly associated with pan masala and gutka, a potent mixture of tobacco, crushed betel nut, lime and clove among other ingredients. It is chewed (and subsequently spat out in bright red streams) by millions of Indians, who become addicted to its mildly psychotropic effects. Brosnan told People magazine that the contract was to advertise a single product - a 'breath freshener/tooth whitener' which 'contained no tobacco or any harmful ingredient.' Both pan masala and gutka have been linked to cancer, with many Indian states banning their sale and running campaigns to discourage people from buying them.
Plans are under way to create a memorial garden for the late and much-missed George Harrison in the town he made his home. Kellie Hinton, the mayor of Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, said that talks 'had progressed' with George's widow Olivia and charity the Material World Foundation. Harrison - a former member of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) - moved to the Grade II-listed Friar Park in Henley, where Olivia Harrison still lives, in 1970. A previous campaign to erect a statue to Harrison was halted following a request from his widow. But Hinton said that the charity had confirmed Olivia was 'in favour of a garden' inspired by her late husband instead. Hinton said: 'For a few decades, various people in the town including local councillors have wanted to create a memorial to celebrate that Henley was George and Olivia's family home. Unfortunately nothing suggested has ever been quite right. The idea for a garden came about last summer as a result of conversations with local woman, Emma Sweet. We wrote a joint letter to Mrs Harrison and asked for her permission and support. Discussions are still ongoing, with the aim of creating a peaceful, tranquil space for residents and visitors to enjoy in memory of somebody who meant an incredible amount to the people of Henley. Obviously the location and design are important to Mrs Harrison as well as Henley In Bloom, and if Mrs Harrison indicated that she was not in favour of the garden, in any way at all, we would not pursue the idea,' Hinton added. George was a keen gardener himself, he is pictured on the cover of All Things Must Pass, his most successful solo LP, in the grounds of Friar Park wearing Wellington boots and surrounded by garden gnomes. Another memorial garden to the late Be-Atle was opened to the public in 2013, at Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford.
Heather Locklear has been charged with several counts of battery against a sheriff's officer. The actress was arrested last month on domestic violence charges. Those charges have since been dropped, but four misdemeanour counts of battery were upheld. Her brother dialled nine-one-one after seeing the actress and her boyfriend fighting at her home in California. Sergeant Eric Buschow of Ventura County Sheriff's Office said the former Dynasty star was 'extremely hostile.' Buschow told the LA Times that more police had to be called to the house because she was resisting arrest. The officer said that deputies had 'struggled' to get Locklear, who also appeared in US soap Melrose Place, into a police patrol car. As a result, the fifty six-year-old is also facing one misdemeanour count of resisting or obstructing an officer. Ventura County Sheriff's Captain Garo Kuredjian said Locklear's boyfriend had 'a physical injury,' although he declined medical treatment. The actress was taken to Ventura County Jail and released after posting twenty thousand bucks bail. Locklear, who was previously married to Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, rose to fame as Sammy Jo Carrington in Dynasty in the 1980s. As well as Melrose Place, she later appeared on TV police drama TJ Hooker and sitcom Spin City, for which she was twice nominated for a Golden Globe.
A twenty-year-old Minnesota woman was sentenced to a one hundred and eighty-day jail term on Wednesday for fatally shooting her boyfriend during a YouTube stunt gone extremely wrong last June. According to the Star Tribune, Monalisa Perez, who was pregnant with the couple's second child at the time of the shooting incident, will be able to serve her jail time in ten-day increments. She was also barred from ever owning a firearm or getting paid for telling the story of the shooting. Perez shot her partner, Pedro Ruiz III, while filming a YouTube video for the couple's page. During the video, which was never published, Ruiz reportedly held an encyclopedia to his chest while Perez stood nearby. The stunt was apparently designed to test whether a bullet could travel through the book. The couple's three-year-old daughter was nearby at the time of the shooting, the Star Tribune reported. Perez also sent out a tweet about the video beforehand, stating that it would be 'one of the most dangerous videos ever' and that the stunt was Ruiz's idea. 'We were doing a YouTube video and it went wrong,' she said during the nine-one-one call, adding that 'everything' had been captured on the recording. Prosecutor James Brue said at the sentencing that 'this foolish stunt was dreamed up, planned, and executed by Pedro Ruiz and the defendant wrongfully and tragically relied on his assurances that the stunt was safe.' According to the criminal complaint, Perez told the police that 'Pedro Ruiz III had been trying to get her to shoot the book while he held it for a YouTube video for awhile.' While Ruiz's death had all the hallmarks of a modern tabloid story - attempts at Internet fame, a young couple, columnists decrying the toxicity of 'likes' - it was, at the end of the day, a tragic story about a young couple whose commonplace pursuit came with horrific consequences. It wasn't the first time that chasing after Internet views has pushed YouTubers - and their fans - to dangerous extremes. Last year, another YouTuber Jay Swingler almost suffocated during the filming of a video in which he stuck his head in a microwave filled with hardening paste. As for Ruiz and Perez, 'they were in love,' Ruiz's aunt told Valley News Live shortly after the tragic incident. 'It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn't have happened like this. It shouldn't have happened at all.'
A bride was reportedly arrested for driving under the influence while on the way to her own wedding in America. Amber Young was detained by police in Arizona after reportedly being involved in a three car collision on Monday morning. The thirty two-year-old was dressed in a white wedding gown as she was escorted into the Marana Police Department vehicle. She was believed to have been travelling alone at the time of the incident. According to People, the woman had been on her way to attend her own wedding when she was arrested. According to FOX News, the woman was arrested and charged in Marana, Arizona. One person is believed to have been injured in the incident and was taken to hospital with minor injuries. Getting arrested didn't stop the festivities from going ahead, however, as Young is said to have signed a criminal citation with a promise to appear in court at a later date before being freed to attend the nuptials.
A former company director has been extremely jailed for life after admitting the horrific murder of his former-partner's daughter in an Aldi supermarket in 'a cold-blooded public execution perpetrated for the purpose of revenge.' Neville Hord pleaded very guilty to murdering supermarket worker Jodie Willsher in front of horrified shoppers at a store in Skipton, North Yorkshire, just before Christmas last year. Bradford Crown Court heard that that Hord, a forty four-year-old father of two, was the ex-partner of thirty-year-old Jodie's mother, Nicola Dinsdale and had been on bail for allegedly attacking her at the time of the murder. Prosecutor Peter Moulson QC told the court how Hord stabbed Jodie several times in the store before he was restrained by members of the public. He said that it was 'a cold-blooded public execution perpetrated for the purpose of revenge.' Hord was jailed for life with a minimum of thirty-years in The Big House. His fifteen month relationship with Dinsdale had ended in November and after the murder, Hord told the police: 'It's all her fault, she is to blame, her daughter.' The prosecutor said that the attack was witnessed by many people, including a child as well as caught on CCTV. He said the attack was 'pre-planned' and the defendant 'also took an axe with him to the supermarket.' After the attack, shoppers and staff came to Jodie's aid and restrained Hord. Jodie was rushed to hospital but was declared dead a short time later. Prior to her murder Jodie, who was married with a five-year-old daughter, had taken her daughter to visit Father Christmas and was wearing a festive jumper for work that day. In a statement read to the court, Willsher's husband, Malcolm, said that his life and that of his daughter Megan had been 'ripped apart.' He said Jodie and her daughter had 'an unbreakable bond.'
Patricia Ann Spann, forty six, and her biological daughter Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, twenty six, got married in the town of Lawton about seventeen months after same-sex marriage became legal in the state of Oklahoma. To get around the potential snag of their shared family name, Patricia Spann listed her name as Patricia Ann Clayton on the pair's marriage license application, filed with Comanche County. For her part in marrying her daughter, two years after she was legally allowed to contact her children following an annulled marriage to her biological son, Spann will serve time in jail, according to the Oklahoman. The newspaper reported that she pleaded very guilty to felony incest on Tuesday and, under a plea deal, Spann will serve two years in prison followed by eight years of probation. She will have to register as a sex offender following her release. Whether Spann was also charged with sock and disgraceful child cruelty in naming her daughter Misty Velvet Dawn, we simply don't know.
A Russian native from Brooklyn has been accused of poisoning her look-alike with a cheesecake and then stealing her identity and other property. Which is shocking, especially as the very idea of a Russian poisoning another Russian is so extremely unlikely. Forty two-year-old Viktoria Nasyrova of Sheepshead Bay was arraigned on Tuesday on charges of attempted murder, burglary and assault and ordered to be held without bail. Prosecutors say Nasyrova visited the Queens home of a fellow Russian-speaking victim in 2016 bearing a cheesecake tainted with a tranquiliser. They claim the thirty five-year-old victim ate the cheesecake, fell ill and passed out. She was found the next day on her bed unconscious with pills scattered about as if she tried to kill herself. Before passing out, the woman's last memory is of seeing the defendant sitting beside her inside her home, according to prosecutors. The victim later realised that her passport, employment card, a gold ring and cash were missing. 'This is a bizarre and twisted crime that could have resulted in the death of a Queens woman, whose only fault was that she shared similar features with the defendant,' said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. 'Offering a gift of a cheesecake, the defendant is alleged to have laced the dessert with a Russian drug and presented it to the unsuspecting victim.' Law enforcement agents with Homeland Security tested pieces of cheesecake that remained in its container and confirmed the sweet treat was laced with phenazepam, Brown said. Nasyrova faces up to twenty five years in prison if convicted.
An Oregon woman accused of drugging children at her day care so she could go to the tanning bed and work out, was sentenced to twenty one years and four months in The Big House on Friday. January Neatherlin was sentenced after pleading extremely guilty in February to eleven counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of third-degree assault, the Oregonian reported. The thirty two-year-old was arrested last year after police found seven young children unattended at her unlicensed day care Little Giggles, KTVZ-TV reported. According to authorities, Neatherlin drugged the children with the sleeping-aid drug melatonin before leaving the facility to 'tan and work out.' Police began watching Neatherlin last March after her former boyfriend and a former roommate reported her naughty behaviour. Neatherlin reportedly told parents that they could not drop off or pick up their kids between 11am and 2pm, which was reportedly 'nap time,' the Oregonian stated. Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby said that Neatherlin's behaviour created 'lasting damage' for the families who trusted her to watch their children. Parents reported that their children still struggle with sleeping issues.
What would you do, dear blog reader, if you found out that an asteroid measuring almost five hundred metres across is going to crash into Earth in one hundred and seventeen years time? Apart from shite in your own pants and run around in circles doing jazz-hands and screaming 'we're all going to die!', obviously. Or, more realistically, think 'Over a hundred years? I'll be long dead by then ... Someone else's problem!' Luckily, NASA is reported to be on the case. The space agency has been tracking Bennu, which is currently orbiting the sun and says there is a one-in-two thousand seven hundred chance that it will 'come into contact' with Earth in September 2135. Bright side, there's a two thousand six hundred and ninety nine-in-two thousand seven hundred chance that it won't impact and destroy all life on Earth. So, that's the good news. The asteroid measures four hundred and ninety two metres across, which is bigger than the Empire State Building and travels at estimated speeds of more than one hundred thousand kilometres per hour. In 2016, in preparation, NASA researchers sent a small spacecraft named OSIRIS-Rex into orbit directed towards the asteroid to map it and take samples to bring back to scientists on Earth. It is expected to land on Bennu in August this year. Now, it has also been revealed that the agency has developed 'a crisis response plan' for the possibility that Bennu begins heading for the world. And, like the 1998 film Deep impact, it involves the use of nuclear weapons. The eight-ton Hypervelocity Asteroid Mission for Emergency Response spacecraft is NASA's answer to Bennu, in collaboration with a US government security body and a weapons lab, according to Buzzfeed. If not any other source slightly more reliable. The spacecraft is designed to steer itself into the asteroid if it was directed towards Earth, with the intention of knocking it off-course and dragging it back into the Sun's orbit or, alternatively, to detonate an on-board nuclear weapon to splinter Bennu and remove the threat of it hitting the Earth. NASA researchers also believe that, if a nuclear blast was required to stop the trajectory of Bennu towards Earth, the blast would measure roughly around 1.15 gigatons of energy - or roughly twenty three times the size of the largest hydrogen bomb blast in history. The vehicle is yet to have been built or have an estimated price attached to it and remains solely in the planning stage, but remains as NASA's response to dangerous asteroids that could head towards Earth with little warning. 'Smart people are taking this seriously and thinking carefully about what might be done,' Richard Binzel, an 'impact expert' at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told Buzzfeed. 'These are reasonable ideas, well thought out.'
Astronomers in the US have found what they claim is an ancient 'relic galaxy' near the Milky Way, using the Hubble Space Telescope. The NASA scientists have been undertaking an 'Indiana Jones-type quest' to find the rarest and oldest forms of stars in the universe. Using whips and everything. The so-called 'relic galaxy' they have found is believed to be around ten billion years - or very - old. 'This wayward stellar island provides valuable new insights into the origin and evolution of galaxies billions of years ago,' said the researchers. Or, at least one of them did, unless they all chanted it simultaneously. But, that would be weird. In a galaxy known as NGC 1277, two hundred and twenty million light years from the Milky Way, its stars were formed during a one hundred million year interval about twelve billion years ago - at a rate 'one thousand times faster than seen in our own Milky Way today".' At the centre of NGC 1277 is believed to be what's known as a 'supermassive black hole,' equivalent to fourteen per cent of the total stellar mass of the galaxy, making it one of the largest known black holes in relation to the mass of its host galaxy. However, what is unique about this galaxy is that it 'abruptly went quiescent as the baby boomer stars aged and grew ever redder.' The researchers have published their findings in the latest issue of academic journal Nature. Although the Hubble telescope has identified so-called red and dead galaxies in the past, this is the first time that researchers have found one relatively close to Earth. Ignacio Trujillo, from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias at the University of La Laguna in Spain, said: 'We can explore such original galaxies in full detail and probe the conditions of the early universe.' The relic galaxy is believed to have twice the amount of stars that the Milky Way possesses, although it happens to be smaller. It is currently in a state called 'arrested development.' According to the scientists, most galaxies start out in a compact state, but this particular one 'failed to accrete more material to grow in size.' It is believed that one in a thousand major galaxies share the same 'relic' traits as NGC 1277. The researchers said that they were 'not surprised to find it, but simply consider that it was in the right place at the right time to evolve - or rather not evolve - the way it did.'
For those following the epic saga of the 'Stately Telly Topping Manor Kitchen Situation' (which seems to have been going on longer than Game Of Thrones), this is to confirm that yer actual has facilities again. This blogger has owned an electric cooker before - many, many years ago when he first moved into Stately Telly Topping Manor, admittedly, so he is not a complete novice when it comes to Mister Faraday's elastic-trickery and all that ... 'Shiny!' said Keith Telly Topping's good pal, Deborah. To which this blogger could only reply 'It is. Until I start cooking chips on it. After that, all bets are off!'
And, behold dear blog reader, the miracle of cookery!
Meanwhile, outside Stately Telly Topping Manor, ten days ago it was under a foot of snow; now stuff's growing on it!
Here is another small sample of some of The Playlist at Stately Telly Topping Manor over the last couple of weeks.
'Einstein was wrong when he said, "God does not play dice." Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen!' Stephen Hawking - who died this week aged seventy six - battled motor neurone disease to become one of the most respected and best-known scientists of his age. A man of great humour, he became a popular ambassador for science and was always careful to ensure that the general public had ready access to his work. His book A Brief History Of Time became an unlikely best-seller although it remains unclear how many people actually managed to get to the end of it. Those who did read it, however, found it full of brilliant - and often hilariously funny - pearls of wisdom, like, on the subject of the end of the world: 'It will take about a thousand, million, million, million, million years for the Earth to run into the sun, so there's no immediate cause for worry!' Stephen appeared in a number of popular TV shows and loaned his synthesised voice to various recordings and adverts. He was, the Gruniad Morning Star's science editor, Ian Sample, wrote: 'The brightest star in the firmament of science, whose insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions.'
Stephen William Hawking was born in Oxford in January 1942. His father, a research biologist, had moved with his mother from London to escape Luftwaffe bombing. Stephen grew up in London and, later, St Albans and, after gaining a first-class degree in physics from Oxford, went on to Cambridge for postgraduate research in cosmology. He decided to continue his career in physics at Trinity Hall, proposing to study under the distinguished cosmologist Fred Hoyle. He was disappointed to find that Hoyle was unable to take him, the person available in that area being Dennis Sciama, unknown to Hawking at the time. In fact, this proved fortuitous, for Sciama was becoming an outstandingly stimulating figure in British cosmology and would supervise several students who were to make impressive names for themselves in later years (including the future astronomer royal Lord Rees of Ludlow). As a teenager Stephen had enjoyed horse-riding and rowing but, while at Cambridge, he was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease which was to leave him almost completely paralysed. As he was preparing to marry his first wife, Jane, in 1964 his doctors gave him no more than two or three years of life. 'My expectations were reduced to zero when I was twenty one,' he later noted. 'Everything since then has been a bonus.' He began to use crutches in the 1960s, but long fought the use of a wheelchair. When he finally relented, he became notorious for his wild driving along the streets of Cambridge, not to mention the intentional running over of students' toes and the occasional spin on the dance floor at college parties. Ultimately, the disease progressed more slowly than his doctors had expected. The couple had three children and in 1988 - although Hawking was by now only able to speak with a voice synthesiser following a tracheotomy - he had completed A Brief History Of Time, a layman's guide to cosmology which made him probably the most famous scientist since Einstein. It sold more than ten million copies, although its author was aware that it was dubbed 'the most popular book never read.' He received honorary degrees, medals, prizes and awards throughout his career and was honoured with a CBE in 1982. He was reportedly offered a knighthood in the 1990s but later revealed that he had turned it down over issues with the then-government's funding for science. Hawking discovered the phenomenon which became known as Hawking Radiation, where black holes leak energy and fade to nothing. He was renowned for his extraordinary capacity to visualise scientific solutions without calculation or experiment. But it was perhaps his 'theory of everything,' suggesting that the universe evolves according to well-defined laws, which attracted most attention. 'This complete set of laws can give us the answers to questions like how did the universe begin,' he said. 'Where is it going and will it have an end? If so, how will it end? If we find the answers to these questions, we really shall know the mind of God.'
Hawking's celebrity status was acknowledged by The Simpsons - he appeared in four episodes of the popular animated comedy, most memorably being depicted drinking in Mo's Tavern with Homer, suggesting he might 'steal' Homer's idea that the universe is, actually, doughnut-shaped. His cartoon self came about as his daughter, Lucy, knew one of the scriptwriters. He appeared in a documentary about Red Dwarf during which he spoke about why he enjoyed the SF comedy and also featured in Star Trek: The Next Generation as a hologram in one of Data's regular poker games as well as several episodes of The Big Bang Theory, a Little Britain Comic Relief sketch, Monty Python - The Meaning Of Live (running over an 'annoying' Brian Cox with his wheelchair!) and Futurama. He spoke of his love of Doctor Who in the 2013 BBC documentary The Next Doctor: Live. His most recent was broadcast just last week, as the voice of the book in The Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy. In 1988, Hawking, Arthur C Clarke and Carl Sagan were amongst the interviewees in God, The Universe & Everything Else. Pink Floyd used his distinctive synthesised voice for the introduction to 'Keep Talking' on The Division Bell. Though, contrary to what you might have read on the Interweb, he did not narrate Radiohead's 'Fitter, Happier'.
Undeterred by his condition, he continued his work as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University and in 2001, his second book - Universe In A Nutshell - was published. He believed his illness brought some benefits; he said that before he developed the disease he had been bored with life. But his condition, inevitably, made him dependent on others. He often paid tribute to his wife, Jane - who had looked after him for more than twenty years - and friends and relatives were shocked when he left her for one of his nurses, Elaine Mason, whom he married in 1995. The couple divorced in 2006. By 2000, Hawking was a frequent visitor to the emergency department of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, seeking treatment for a variety of injuries. Police questioned several people about allegations that he had been subjected to verbal and physical abuse over a period of years. He was known to be an erratic, almost reckless driver of his electric wheelchair and Stephen insisted his injuries were not caused by abuse. In 2007, he became the first quadriplegic to experience weightlessness on board the so-called 'vomit comet', NASA's modified plane specially designed to simulate zero gravity. He said that he did it to encourage interest in space travel and booked a seat on Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space plane. 'I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers. I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space. I therefore want to encourage public interest in space.'
In 2014, the film The Theory Of Everything was released, based on Jane Hawking's account of their courtship and marriage. Hawking himself met Eddie Redmayne as part of the actor's preparation for taking on the role of the scientist. A decade earlier Benedict Cumberbatch had also portrayed the scientist in the BBC drama Hawking. In a series for the Discovery Channel, Hawking said that it was 'perfectly rational' to assume there was intelligent life elsewhere in the universe but warned that aliens might not be of the gentle, friendly and curious variety displayed in the Close Encounters Of The Third Kind strand of SF but, rather, closer to The Daleks keen to rape Earth of its raw resources and then move on. Hawking also predicted the potential end of humanity through global warming, a large comet or a new virus. He was a great believer in the best in humanity, however, once noting: 'We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special!' Always politically active, as a student in 1968, Hawking marched alongside Tariq Ali and Vanessa Redgrave to protest against the Viet'nam War.He was a longstanding Labour Party supporter, called the 2003 invasion of Iraq 'a war crime', supported the academic boycott of Israel, campaigned for nuclear disarmament and supported stem cell research and universal health care. Hawking was greatly concerned over health care and maintained that without the National Health Service, he could not have survived into his seventies. Hawking stated: 'I have received excellent medical attention in Britain and I felt it was important to set the record straight. I believe in universal health care. And I am not afraid to say so.' Hawking feared privatisation and use of agencies causes profit to be extracted from the Health Service. Hawking stated: 'The more profit is extracted from the system, the more private monopolies grow and the more expensive healthcare becomes. The NHS must be preserved from commercial interests and protected from those who want to privatise it.' Stephen alleged that ministers had damaged the NHS, he blamed the Conservatives for cutting funding, weakening the NHS by privatisation, lowering staff morale through holding pay back and reducing social care. Hawking accused the vile and odious rascal Hunt of 'cherry picking evidence' which Hawking maintained debased science. Hawking also stated: 'There is overwhelming evidence that NHS funding and the numbers of doctors and nurses are inadequate, and it is getting worse.' Hawking feared Donald Trump's policies on global warming could endanger the planet and make global warming irreversible. Hawking said: 'Climate change is one of the great dangers we face and it's one we can prevent if we act now. By denying the evidence for climate change and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.' Hawking further stated that this could lead Earth 'to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.' Asked by ABC's Diane Sawper in 2010 to sum up his three key messages to the world, he replied: 'One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away.' He collaborated with the Russian investor Yuri Milner in 2015 to work on projects to find evidence of alien life. He once wrote that he had motor neurone disease for practically all of his adult life but said that it had not stopped him having an attractive family and being successful in his work. 'It shows,' he said, 'that one need not lose hope.' On the subject of death, he added: 'I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last forty nine years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.' He is survived by his three children, Lucy (an author with whom he co-wrote several children's books), Robert and Tim.

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