Saturday, March 03, 2018

Snow Joke

Filming for the new series of yer actual Doctor Who has been extremely continuing this week, in Welsh Wales as it happens.
Prior to that, filming had been taking place down on the South Coast near Gosport. And, judging by the hot-water bottle poor Jodie was spotted clutching during location filming, it looks like it was bloody cold an'aal!
A rare piece of Doctor Who history is to be auctioned. William Hartnell's script for the first episode of the BBC's long-running family SF drama is up for bids, estimated at anywhere between five and eight thousand knicker, according to Antiques Trade Gazette. The script for Doctor Who &The Tribe Of Gum (one of the working titles for An Unearthly Child) was written by Anthony Coburn and was previously featured on Antiques Roadshow. Hartnell's 1963 script features written annotations from the actor his very self and was discovered by the grandfather of the current vendor whilst he was refurbishing the late actor's flat. The script is up for auction through Aston's of Dudley in the West Midlands on 3 May. Meanwhile, a Welsh auction house is currently offering original scripts for the unfinished Tom Baker-era serial Shada, written by Douglas Adams. They are going for between two and four hundred smackers.
Congratulations are extremely due to the team of daft glakes appearing in Only Connect this week who seemingly believed that the former football internationals Andrew Cole (Newcastle United, The Scum and England), Jackie Milburn (Newcastle United and England) and Phillipe Albert (Newcastle United and Belgium) were all 'captains of Wales'. This blogger - let it be noted, here and now - almost never gets horribly sneery and grossly unfair about people on his favourite intelligence quiz show who are - patently - much smarter than he is but don't know something about a subject that he's a bit of an expert on. But, there are exceptions. And this, tragically for The Beaks, was one of them. And they got beat in the episode as well so, you know, double personal disaster.
This current series of The X-Files has, thus far, been something of a game of two halves, Brian, with some genuinely great episodes (mostly notably the Darin Morgan script) and some spectacularly rotten ones (Chris Carter's up-its-own-arse series opener and last week's dull-as-dishwater Skinner-centric effort). This week, James Wong's Rm9sbG93ZXJz, was most definitely one of the former. Funny, inventive, shit-weird and in places genuinely disturbing. Check out a few reviews, here, here, here and here if you don't believe this blogger. And, let's face it, there's no reason why you should. Apart from trust, obviously. Keith Telly Topping's own review? He thought it was great, dear blog reader (and, further proof if any were needed that Duchovny and Anderson would've had terrific careers as comedy actors if they'd gone down that route from the start).
The BBC had a rather serious 'camera-fail' during an interview they were conducting with yer actual Karen Gillan her very self as she promoted her new movie this week. Kazza was being interviewed by BBC Scotland's Art Correspondent, Pauline McLean, about The Party's Just Beginning when a camera only went and crashed to the floor, didn't it? In the process making everyone appear geet startled and like they had just shat in their own pants. As you do.
A contestant who appeared on one of this week's episodes of MasterChef has pleaded guilty to fraud. The Daily Post reported that James Hywel Thomas admitted to three fraud charges running to more than sixty five thousand smackers by failing to provide tickets for sports events which didn't exist. He was handed a twenty two-month prison sentence suspended for two years the day after his - not especially successful - appearance on MasterChef was broadcast. You kind of knew it was going to be unsuccessful as the producers chose to open the episode in question with Thomas bragging to camera: 'I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants-type cook; it's no recipes, no rules.' And his fraud conviction sort of backs up the 'no rules' bit, it would appear. Once again dear blog reader, we can see the oft-mentioned curse of those who big-themselves-up during interviews on MasterChef coming to a sorry end. 'We always complete the required background checks on all our MasterChef contestants and at the time of filming, Jamie Thomas passed all the necessary checks,' a spokesperson for the production claimed to the Digital Spy website. What exactly 'the required background checks' entails, they didn't say. Last month, Thomas also admitted to abusing his position to obtain a Mercedes car, forging signatures and credit card fraud of eight hundred quid after claiming he was 'permitted' to use a woman's credit card. Mold Crown Court heard that the offences took place between February 2015 and June 2017. Thomas is the former boss of the North Wales Crusaders rugby league team.
ITV has very cancelled The Nightly Show - because it was shit and no one was watching it - as the broadcaster has, this week, initiated a cull of a number of poor-performing programmes. The vastly over-hyped talk show, which rotated host each week was largely slaughtered by critics and suffered from piss poor viewing figures. It was also, by a distance, the winner of this blog's annual award for the worst TV show of last year. And, when one considers the competition it had, that really was saying something. While its axing - sadly, not with an actual axe - does not come as a big surprise to anyone with half-a-brain in their head, it is not the only show that is being taken out into a field and put out of its misery, as ITV announced in its 2017 yearly results and annual report. 'Some of our schedule did not perform as well as we had hoped - for example The Nightly Show, Fearless and Bigheads - so will not return in 2018,' the broadcaster explained. Fearless, a crime drama starring Helen McCrory, lasted only one series, whilst Jason Manford's Bigheads saw contestants compete against each other ... wearing celebrity heads. Yes, if you're wondering, it really was every bit as bad as that description makes it sound. The Nightly Show started off controversially in March last year, moving ITV's News At Ten from its traditional 10pm slot. 'Celebrity' hosts included David Walliams, John Bishop, Gordon Ramsay and Davina McCall. God, it was rotten.
Game Of Thrones is ending next year - you might have noticed, it's been in the news and everything. Fortunately, we still have one final series of six episodes to get excited about and now we have a new poster to go with it.
From The North favourite Gotham finally returned in the US this week for its first new episode since November. And, with it, came yet another new incarnation of Poison Ivy (the series' third). Replacing Maggie Geha's Ivy is former Flash star Peyton List, whose version of the iconic DC supervillainess is rather disturbingly alluring. It was also interesting to see Sean Pertwee's Alfred being given a close variant on Michael Caine's infamously threatening Get Carter line to Alf Roberts: 'You're a big man, but you're in bad shape.' Delivered brilliant too, as you'd expect from an actor as good as Mister Pertwee Junior. This also suggests that, in addition to that chap in the music department of Gotham who seemingly loves British punk, post-punk and indie and includes loads of it on the soundtrack, there also appears to be an Anglophile movie fan on the writing staff. Which is good to know.
The previously 'missing' sixteenth episode of the recently-completed O series of Qi XL - Occupations & Offices - will be broadcast on Saturday 10 March on BBC2 at 10.30pm according to the series' iPlayer webpage.
Lee Mack has revealed that he threatened to cancel his BBC sitcom Not Going Out because it gets sponsored by alcohol brands when it is repeated on commercial channels. The comedy series, created by Mack in 2006, is originally broadcast on BBC1 but is also shown on UKTV channel Dave. Mack, who is am ambassador for Alcohol Concern, told Radio Times: 'We make it on the BBC, but then it ends up on commercial channels and is heavily sponsored by beer. This is my life. I spend ten months a year doing this and suddenly I feel like I'm in a brewer's marketing department and my work is being used to sell booze. I said, unless that stops, we're not going to make any more.' But, he added, that it then 'became complex' and 'it turned out we were contractually obliged.' He said: 'So, I said, "All right, we'll move it on. We'll change the name of the show, we'll make a new one."' He added that he would have done so, 'but then Dave relented.' Mack said that he no longer drinks alcohol himself because he 'just decided to pack it in,' but that he is 'not opposed to the consumption of alcohol' in general. 'I'm opposed to my kids watching TV at seven o'clock and being told to bet and drink,' he said. On the subject of no longer drinking, he said: 'I don't miss it at all. It's funny, because when you tell people you've stopped drinking, there's an automatic reaction. People ask, "Was it a lifestyle choice or were you waking up in a skip?"' He said that he 'would have been regarded as a "normal drinker" during the period when he was still drinking. 'I've had a few wasted days where you go, "I'll stay in bed today; I had a bit of a session last night," but I mainly just got fed up with the overkill of it in society, the way it's thrust down our throats.'
Suranne Jones is incredibly in demand, you might have noticed. So, what was it about Sky Atlantic's Save Me - the six-part thriller which features Lennie James as a man accused of kidnapping his estranged daughter - that enticed the Doctor Foster star to sign up? Suranne, who plays Claire, the mother of the missing daughter, gave much of the credit to James, who wrote the drama in addition to starring alongside her in it. 'I had just taken six months off with my boy when my agent told me to look at it,' she told Heat magazine. 'I had gone back to Doctor Foster, which was such a big show to return to, and I needed some time off. But then I read the script and Lennie's writing was so different to anything else I've done on TV. I was going from Doctor Foster to somewhere where I am part of a great ensemble with Lennie, Susan Lynch and Stephen Graham - they are people that I respect as actors, and to get to work with them was amazing.' Suranne added: 'You read a script and you know if you need to do it. Everything starts with the writing. I just look for really good stories.'
The BBC's much-trailed Civilisations began this week. The Gruniad liked it. So did the Torygraph. Unsurprisingly, some abject louse of no importance at the Daily Scum Mail hated it. More surprisingly, perhaps, so did the BBC's own resident artsy slapheed, Will Gompertz. And, The New Statesman gave it a right good slapping too. This blogger thought that it was all right.
Matt Smith's performance as Prince Philip in The Crown has won rave reviews, but series creator Peter Morgan has admitted he 'had to be convinced' to cast the former-Doctor Who actor. Morgan revealed at a BAFTA writing Masterclass that he 'was cautious' about Smudger until he saw him audition opposite Claire Foy. '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.' Another star of the series, Vanessa Kirby, wasn't originally in line for her role of Princess Margaret either. 'We had Vanessa in mind for someone else,' executive producer Suzanne Mackie revealed. 'We saw her audition for this smaller part - a nice part, but a small part.' Kirby originally went up for Winston Churchill's secretary Venetia Scott, who dies in the Great Smog of 1954, eventually played by Peaky Blinders actress Kate Phillips.
Meanwhile, Smudger his very self has revealed he nearly turned down his career-making role in Doctor Who. Speaking on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Matt said that he had 'a wobble' after being told he would be David Tennant's successor. 'I was like, "I don't think I'm going to do it,"' he told Kirsty Young. 'My agent said, "You're going to do it."' He also said he believed he was 'the wrong class' to play Prince Philip in The Crown but had #gotten by' thanks to 'a great wig. He's a rock star,' Smudge told Young, revealing that he had 'kind of sided' with the royal consort he played in two series of the Netflix drama. Matt made his first appearance as The Doctor in 2010 and continued in the role until 2014, when he was replaced by Peter Capaldi. You knew that, right? The Northampton-born actor said that he had 'loved every minute' of playing the Time Lord, even if it did lead to some curious encounters. During the interview, he also recalled seeing tattoos of his face on the flesh of dedicated fans (and, congratulations to the BBC News website for using the hateful 'W' word in reporting this story), one of whom had 'me and David [Tennant] on both thighs.' Smudge described Jodie Whittaker as 'a brilliant choice' to play the popular long-running family SF drama's first female Doctor. 'The show relies on big, broad, creative brushstrokes,' he continued. 'It's brilliant, it's high time and she'll be sensational.' Matt said that he had not given Jodie any advice on how to tackle the role but admitted in the interview that playing The Doctor had sometimes been an ordeal. 'It's the hardest thing you'll ever do in your life,' he said, citing the 'gargantuan number of lines' as a major factor. He also revealed he had been 'thinking about kids quite a lot' recently and that he would 'like a lot of them. A lot of my friends are having children,' he told Young. 'I think I'd be a good dad.'
There's an interview with national heartthrob David Tennant which this blogger feels it his duty to draw your attention to, dear blog reader. Amongst the topics covered are his latest movie, You, Me & Him, the pay on Broadchurch, Doctor Who and Good Omens.
The Sun are reporting that the current - tenth - series of the sitcom Benidorm will be the last. An alleged - though suspiciously anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly fictitious - 'TV source' allegedly said: 'Benidorm has been a huge success for ITV for a decade, but bosses feel it's run its course. The ratings have started to drop off and a number of the fan favourites have left, so it just feels as though the time is right to let it go out while it's still on a high. It has been ITV's longest running comedy, which is a real achievement.' Keen to neither confirm or deny the reports, a spokesperson for ITV insisted that there are 'currently no plans' to cancel the series. Or to renew it, for that matter. 'No decision has been made about a further series,' the channel said in a statement.
Ten years after his acclaimed FX drama The Shield ended, From The North favourite Michael Chiklis is returning to the crime drama genre with a role in new CBS pilot Murder. The investigative drama is 'loosely based' (ie. 'totally different') on the BAFTA-winning BBC2 series, which was shot in a documentary style and explored crime through the conflicting perspectives of police officers, criminals, witnesses and victims. Chiklis will play Detective Mason Garrity, with Teyonah Parris cast as Detective Ayana Lake, Deadline reports. Whilst the original BBC series was an anthology, with different characters featuring in each episode, the US version - written by Amanda Green - will follow the Garrity and Lake characters each week. So, as we said, 'totally different'. His casting in Murder sees Chiklis return to detective work following his EMMY and Golden Globe-winning performance as the fearsome corrupt LAPD detective Vic Mackey on The Shield. He also recently appeared on FOX's Gotham. The fifty four-year-old actor first rose to fame playing police commissioner Tony Scali on the light-hearted ABC drama The Commish from 1991 to 1996.
Michael B Jordan has tried taking down a monarchy in Marvel's Black Panther. Next up, he leads a rebellion against dystopian overlords in Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury's cautionary SF novel is being adapted as a TV movie by HBO and the first trailer makes it look like it could be one of the year's biggest hits. Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a terrifying future where a tyrannical government seeks to completely control the flow of information to its citizens, by burning all books. Guy Montag (Jordan) is a loyal member of the fire-brigade under the sadistic Captain Beatty (Michael Shannon), who is totally committed to the cause. That is until he meets a young rebel, Clarisse (Sofia Boutella) who opens up his mind to the possibility of the freedom that these books hold for anyone opposed to the leadership. This version of Fahrenheit 451 is both written and directed by Ramin Bahrani, who previously worked with Michael Shannon on the housing crisis drama Ninety Nine Homes. Fahrenheit 451 has been adapted for both film and television a few times since its first publication in the early 1950s, most famously a very good cinema version by François Truffaut in 1966. This version of Fahrenheit 451 - which will also star Weeds' Martin Donovan and Laura Harrier - comes to HBO in the US this spring. A UK premiere date hasn't been announced yet.
Terry Pratchett's infamously 'unfilmable' Discworld novels are reported to be in line for adaptation for the small screen. Following in the footsteps of Good Omens, which will be launched on Amazon Prime and broadcast on BBC2, Deadline is reporting that a Discworld TV series is being developed by BBC Studios. It is believed that Pratchett's comedy fantasy series will be heading to the small screen for a six-part series under the working title of The Watch. It won't be the first time that Pratchett's stories have been adapted for the small screen, with Hogfather, The Colour Of Magic and Going Postal all being broadcast on Sky. Strike Back and The Musketeers' Simon Allen is set to adapt Pratchett's work, while BBC Studios will co-produce alongside the author's own production company Narrativia, which is now run by his daughter Rhianna and former business manager Rob Wilkins.
Line Of Duty fans will - as previously announced - have to wait until 2019 for their next fill of AC-12 action, but there is a good reason for it. Speaking to the Digital Spy website about the new spy spoof Action Team, Vicky McClure also addressed the two-year gap between series four and five, despite the previous series arriving only a year after series three. 'I think it's Jed [Mercurio] doing Bodyguard because it's quite a big show to write,' she explained. Bodyguard reunites Mercurio with Keeley Hawes who plays Home Secretary Julia Montague in the BBC series which examines our contentious political climate through the eyes of a former soldier, played by Game Of Thrones' Richard Madden. In January, Adrian Dunbar revealed that Line Of Duty series five would start shooting 'some time in the autumn' and we do know that Mercurio has started writing the next series after he announced it on Twitter last week.
A Coronation Street extra has become 'embroiled in a spat with the show's producers.' According to Yahoo News, at least, an organ which seems to regard this nonsense as 'news', seemingly. Beth Morgan has appeared in minor extra roles in Corrie and after, allegedly, 'impressing,' she joined the ITV soap in a more regular capacity in December of last year, playing a stripper in the Bethany Platt storyline alongside actress Lucy Fallon. The 'glamour model' joined the soap more prominently for the continued storyline around sexual exploitation and abuse. However, when Beth shared a behind-the-scenes photo on herself on set on Instagram, she 'revealed' how she was 'shunned' by the programme and given a stern telling off. And the fact that Yahoo News seems surprised by this merely proves that they would appear to be as stupiud as Beth herself. Speaking to the Daily Lies, Beth whinged about 'what really went on' and how the snap has cost her the role. 'I've always been an extra. I had been doing it for five or six years in Corrie' she claimed. 'I've been in Emmerdale and Hollyoaks too. I do it for TV shows, films, commercials.' Wow. It's a BAFTA-nomination next for Beth, clearly. Beth 'shared' (that's 'spoke about') how she 'rose to stardom' (that's 'got an extremely small role on a TV programme'). 'I got made a regular extra around two years ago in the gym. When the gym got shut down, they made me a regular in Nick's Bistro and the cafe Roy's Rolls,' she said. 'At that point, I was there once or twice a week,' after 'bosses' (that's tabloidspeak for 'producers' only with less syllables) evidently liked what she brought to the show. 'It was a good income for me and I was only on set for a few hours.' She was then approached for the role of a stripper, when she was accused of leaking a storyline by the image she shared: 'I took a picture of myself in the stripper outfit in the toilets. I always post pictures of me in my TV outfits,' she confirmed. 'I've never taken pictures of the set, but I've always done selfies for my social media. My agency had never bothered with it. I've got them all on Facebook, so I thought it was fine.' But, it wasn't. Not even close. 'The day after I posted it, I was in the newspaper,' she added. 'I don't know who stole the picture [from social media], but someone sent it into the papers saying I'd leaked a storyline.' Despite her agency's previous leniency over such snaps, this time they 'hit the roof': 'My agency phoned me going absolutely ballistic at me [saying I'd violated my contract]. I got absolutely bollocked from them. I did my research and Lucy Fallon had spoken to the Manchester Evening News about the lap dancing scene three weeks before I put that picture up,' she whinged. Although not 'officially sacked' by ITV 'bosses' (that's, again, tabloidspeak for 'producers' only with less syllables so that readers of Yahoo News and the Daily Lies can actually understand the word), Morgan claims that both the production and her agency 'have been very quiet' in terms of work: 'This was in November and Corrie haven't invited me back since. They're saying they haven't got rid of me, but it's obvious they have.' So, she appears to have decided to sing her song to the tabloids in a story headlined Corrie stripper Beth Morgan dishes dirt on shock axing. One wonders how, exactly, that bit of choice snitching will go down with her previous employers. 'I've had no work off my agency since that point. I've always posted pictures, but now they’ve made a big song and dance about it.' The article in the Lies also includes a piece about Morgan 'parading her curves'. 'showing off her impressive physique' and getting her baps out on a beach whilst also indulging in a top bit of back-stage Copper's Narkery: 'while her overall experience was positive, Beth wasn't a fan of everyone she met in Weatherfield. Without naming anyone in particular, she dished: "There's the odd few that turn their noses up at you, but it's expected."' That was extremely former Coronation Street bit-part extra Beth Morgan there, ensuring that she will almost certainly never get employment from any TV show again. Well done Beth, it's called 'shooting yourself in the foot,' apparently.
Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba and BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker are heading up two new game shows on the BBC. The corporation has announced four new programmes for its daytime schedule, including Hardball and Chase The Case to be presented by Oduba and Walker, respectively. They are both set to be broadcast during the afternoon on BBC1. Hardball is 'a fast-paced quiz that sees contestants battling against the clock to beat a rolling ball before it catches up with them.' Each episode will see six contestants take on the twenty five-metre track to beat the ball by answering questions 'on all sorts of topics such as pop music, history and sport.' But, probably not nuclear physics. So, not really 'all sorts of topics,' then. Only one contestant can reach the final to stand a chance of winning thousands of pounds. 'I absolutely love Hardball, it does exactly what it says on the tin! Like the best quiz shows, a simple format but a game that's not quite as easy as it first appears,' Oduba said. 'Once that ball starts rolling, it's very hard to stop.' Walker's game show, Chase The Case is a strategy show where contestants 'trade general knowledge for information in order to secure the briefcase with the biggest prize.' Each contestant has their own case and can answer questions to learn information about what's in their opponents' cases, but they can't see what's in their own. In the final round, they will attempt to steal each other's cases in head-to-head challenges and the first over the finish line gets to keep whatever is in the case that they're holding. 'I am delighted to be hosting Chase The Case. Within a few minutes of sitting down with the team from Bandicoot it sounded like they had come up with a show that is lively, engaging and audiences can join in the fun and play along at home. I can't wait to start filming,' explained Walker. BBC1's daytime schedule will also feature Coast & Country Auctions, offering 'a glimpse behind-the-scenes of auction houses' and Flipping Profit where 'an antiques expert, a wheeler-dealer trader and an upcycler are pitted against each other to see who makes the most money.' No, this blogger had absolutely no idea what an 'upcylcer' is either. Unless it's Sir Bradley Wiggins when he's going up a hill?
A BBC presenter has claimed that she would earn more money if she had a 'posh' accent instead of her pronounced Teeside accent. Middlesbrough-born BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern - a particular favourite of all of us here at From The North - said she had only 'just now' made it to a six-figure salary while 'posher' colleagues doing similar roles earn 'a hell of a lot more.' The thirty five-year-old also said that the BBC 'should do more' to encourage working-class people into broadcasting. 'We concentrate too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class. It's dead important to represent loads of different cultures. But, what the BBC doesn't do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds,' she told The Sunday Times. Speaking to the Gruniad Morning Star, Steph 'clarified' her remarks, saying that the BBC should not do less work recruiting people from ethnic minority backgrounds, but should give more consideration to class - although what the Hell business any of this was to those Middle Class hippy Communist lice at the Gruniad is another matter entirely: 'If you focus on class too, then that will bring with it diversity in every sense, not just ethnicity. There shouldn't just be a focus on ethnicity.' McGovern added: 'A lot of people who talk to me in the street [and] say they like me on telly are people from ethnic minorities, because we're often from a similar socio-economic background.' McGovern, the daughter of a teacher and radiographer, told The Sunday Times that she 'has had to argue consistently' to get paid fairly. 'It's not as simple as a gender issue; it's partly down to class. There are a lot of women who do a similar job to me who are paid a hell of a lot more, who are a lot posher than me.' She did not make it on to the BBC's best-paid list last year, which only featured those earning more than one hundred and fifty thousand knicker. McGovern believes too many BBC managers are 'out of touch' with ordinary people: 'A lot of people in management are from the same background. We're talking about "how do we represent more working-class people?" when they, themselves, are not working-class. So how do they know?' Earlier this month McGovern tweeted farewell to Louisa Compton, editor of BBC2's Victoria Derbyshire programme, who had been poached by Channel Four: 'Huge loss for the BBC - a BAFTA-winning journalist - one of few who investigates stories real people care about and doesn't live in a political/media bubble.' A few years ago, a BBC Breakfast viewer wrote in to give McGovern twenty quid towards curing her 'affliction', meaning her accent. McGovern told The Sunday Express magazine: 'I even got one letter that politely said, "Dear Ms McGovern, I watched you on BBC Breakfast. I'm sorry about your terrible affliction. Here is twenty pounds towards correction therapy."' A BBC spokeswoman said: “More than eighty per cent of the BBC's workforce was educated in state schools and the BBC is more diverse than it has ever been. The BBC has a clear commitment to finding and developing new talent. 'We offer hundreds of apprenticeships to ensure the BBC is open to people from all backgrounds and a range of programmes to help people develop their career once they've joined, but there's always more to do and we have an ambitious diversity strategy which sets out our commitment to fully reflecting and representing the whole of the UK.'
Sarah Parish has broken a leg 'while trying to snowboard on a plastic sledge.' So, dear blog reader, if you're thinking about doing something similar, it's probably a good idea not to. The actress - best known for Broadchurch and Mistresses - is spending a second day at the Royal Hampshire Hospital in Winchester following her accident. Parish posted a message on Instagram on Saturday alongside footage of her being treated by paramedics. She told fans she had been given 'enough morphine to knock the Navy out but [she is] still in pain.' In her message, she added: 'Note to self: cheap plastic sledges are for sitting in and gently trundling down primary slopes NOT a substitute for a stand up snowboard.' Doctors are due to operate on her on Saturday and place a pin through her shin, Parish said.
Doctors in Nairobi have reportedly been suspended for performing brain surgery on the wrong patient. A case of mistaken identification tags caused a mix-up between two patients - one needed surgery for a blood clot on the brain, the other merely nursing and non-invasive treatment for swelling after a head trauma. It wasn't until hours into the surgery that doctors discovered there was no blood clot in the person they were operating on, according to a report from BBC News. Hospital CEO Lily Koros said that the hospital 'deeply regrets this event and has done all it can to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient in question. We are happy to inform the public that the patient is in recovery and progressing well,' Koros added. Both the person operated on and the blood clot patient are said to be 'in good condition.' Apparently, this is the first time this type of mishap has occurred in Kenya. The neurosurgeon, the anaesthetist and two nurses involved have been suspended. The mix-up is reflective of a bigger problem, according to the country's doctors union.
A tourist was mauled to death in front of his wife and children after he climbed into a live tiger enclosure to dodge the fifteen pound entrance ticket. The victim, in his forties and identified by his surname Zhang, had been visiting the Youngor Zoo in Ningbo City, in China's Zhejiang Province, with family and friends. Horrific mobile phone footage which has 'gone viral on Chinese social media' and which was later removed because of its graphic nature, shows Zhang being dragged around by the Siberian tiger. Other big cats also surround Zhang as he tries to fight them off by kicking out with his foot, but the animals refuse to leave, with one biting down on his neck. At the end of the clip, Zhang is dragged under the trees while employees at the wildlife park try to scare the cats away using firecrackers. According to the authorities, it took more than an hour to retrieve Zhang’s body and he was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after. One of the Siberian tigers was also shot dead during the incident, though reports have not confirmed whether it was the one that held Zhang by his neck.
The Chinese government has reportedly banned the letter 'N' and George Orwell's novels Animal Farm and 1984 in 'a major online censorship clampdown.' Experts believe that the crackdown is part of leader Xi Jinping's plans to become dictator for life. Not just for Christmas. The move has been met with criticism - and, in the case of the banning of a letter, bafflement - from around the world. The China Digital Times reports that a list of proposals made by Beijing's National People's Conference includes the letter 'N', Orwell's novels Animal Farm and 1984 and the phrase 'Xi Zedong', a combination of Mr Xi and former dictator Chairman Mao Zedong's names. It is not entirely clear why the letter 'N' was briefly banned, just one among hundreds of words and phrases, although some speculate it could be considered 'a sign of dissent.' It certainly features in the phrase 'a sign of dissent.' Twice, in fact. Charlie Smith, co-founder of, which helps users track and bypass Chinese censorship, told the Gruniad: '[Censors] probably determined it was sensitive and then moved to add that content to the blacklist so others would not be able to post something similar,' he said, noting that the seditious symbol had now been emancipated. 'I doubt that they actually put that much thought into it so sadly, the letter 'N' was a victim of this rash decision.' Censors also banned images of Winnie the Pooh after dissenters shared images of the cartoon bear hugging a jar of honey alongside the quote: 'Find the thing you love and stick with it.' The Disney bear's image has been compared to President Xi Jinping, prompting periodic blocks on the use of Pooh pictures online. Xi's rule has been characterised by a relentless crackdown on critics and independent civil society voices such as lawyers netted in a sweeping crackdown on legal activists that began in July 2015. Joseph Cheng, a long-time observer of Chinese politics now retired from the City University of Hong Kong, said that following the passage of the constitutional amendment: 'There will be even less tolerance of criticism.'
A married middle school teacher was arrested for having sex with a fourteen-year-old student who told detectives that she gave him marijuana and sent him nude photos on social media. Stephanie Peterson, a former science teacher at the New Smyrna Beach Middle School in Florida, is accused of having a sexual relationship with her former seventh grade student - even after his parents confronted her about it. Peterson would pick the boy up from his home while her husband was at work, and drop him off a few hours later, according to the arrest report cited by WKMG. Peterson, who warned the boy about keeping their relationship secret, also bought him marijuana and a pipe to smoke out of, he claimed to police. She also sent him nude photos on Snapchat and Instagram with her face clearly visible, allowing cops to identify her when the teen's parents went to the police. The boy broke down crying one day and told his mother about the sexual relationship, which began around November, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. His parents confronted Peterson about breaking it off, according to Sheriff Mike Chitwood. When the teacher resumed her relationship with the teen in January, the parents reported her to the police. Peterson was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery and one count of transmission of harmful materials to a minor.
A pair of suspected thieves were arrested after they left a trail of footprints in the snow. Officers in Macclesfield received a report of a theft from a van on Tuesday. Police said they followed a line of footprints in the snow and arrested two men, both aged thirty nine. A spokeswoman for Cheshire Police said: 'The offenders made off on foot leaving a trail of footprints in the snow. Officers made a search of the area and arrested two men. Items were recovered nearby.'
A Corsicana, Texas woman was arrested for shoplifting. But the story didn't end there. Shannen Shunta was apprehended outside outside a grocery store and put up a fight, but officers were able to place her under arrest and put her in the police cruiser. She then seemingly decided that she needed to do something with the drugs that she had on her. Her idea? Have a dump in the police car and then hide the stuff in there. 'During transport, the suspect intentionally defecated in her pants and then concealed 2.3 grams of crack cocaine, a crack pipe and one Valentine's Day card in the defecation,' according to the police report. The department issued a warning to other potential drug users, saying 'This is scientific proof that drugs will fry your brain.'
Piers Morgan is set to return to television screens with his Life Stories series this week - so, don't say you weren't warned. The first episode features actress Pamela Anderson. According to the Daily Scum Express, the Good Morning Britain presenter called Anderson 'a tough cookie' but 'hit back' at her complaint they only spoke about 'her body parts and men.' Following filming for the episode, Anderson wrote on her blog: 'Piers is notorious for trying to make every one happy with a twist of tabloid journalism. He knows his audience. I just wish differently.'
A registered sex offender was arrested Thursday after walking naked into a Port Hueneme restaurant and allegedly masturbating in front of employees, police said. The incident happened at a Jack in the Box on North Ventura Road north of Los Angeles. When officers arrived, they found forty nine-year-old Oxnard resident Aaron Edward Carter standing in the lobby area 'with his pants and underwear around his ankles, actively masturbating,' according to the Port Hueneme Police Department. As opposed to inactively masturbating? Police said that Carter had entered the restaurant with his genitals exposed and then, while still masturbating, approached three female employees at the front counter while shouting, 'Come on baby.' After police extremely arrested Carter, they found a glass meth pipe 'on his person.' Where on his person, they did not elaborate. Police said that Carter was on probation for petty theft and resisting arrest.
A naked man on a yellow All Terrain Vehicle 'led police on a wild chase through the Northland' for more than an hour Sunday afternoon in Kansas City. The man was 'suspected of being under the influence of drugs,' police said. No shit? The man eluded officers for a while in a field and, eventually, found a break in a fence and led police South toward the Kansas City Regional Police Academy. The man then circled back and got onto the Interstate where he was subsequently captured. The Clay County Sheriff's Office posted a message on Twitter saying the man was in custody and that 'no dangerous instruments were found.'
Former Premier League footballer - and extremely convicted sex offender - Adam Johnson is 'already eyeing a return to professional football' once his time in prison comes to an end a newspaper - well, if you can call the Daily Lies a newspaper, which is probably pushing things a bit - has claimed. Rather unconvicningly using unattributed quotes from alleged 'sources', let it be noted. The thirty-year-old was extremely jailed for six years in March 2016 after being found very guilty of grooming and sexual activity with a fifteen-year-old girl. The former Sheikh Yer Man City and Blunderland winger, who came through the ranks at The Middlesbrough Smog Monsters, is expected to be released from prison next year and an alleged - though curious anonymous and, therefore, almost certainly entirely ficititious - 'source' has told that well-known bastion of truthful and accurate reportage Daily Lies that Johnson 'will look to go overseas' when - for which read 'if' - he starts playing again. 'He definitely wants to play again - but it is just a question of where and if anyone will pick him up,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said. He will, of course, be free to sign for anyone he wants having had his contract extremely terminated by The Mackem Filth. 'He is clearly a talented player and would get into many a team, even with a lengthy spell behind bars,' the alleged 'source' allegedly claimed. 'China or the Gulf States are probably his best option where he could go and be forgotten but the Turkish league is also a contender.' Although, given that the Gulf States and Turkey are Muslim countries and they tend to take a somewhat dim (and occasionally fundamentalist) view of sex offenders, he might want to think about keeping his knob in his his pants if - big if - he does end up plying his trade in the Middle East. It had also been suggested that Johnson 'could' look to join the American Major League Soccer upon his release from The Pokey. However, the United States have extremely strict visa rules - as anyone who has ever had to fill in a visa application will know - which would also certainly prohibit Johnson from even entering the county, let alone becoming an employee in MLS.
It has been nearly two weeks since KFC restaurants in Britain were first reported to be running out of chicken. Which witnessed all sorts of silly people on Twitter getting their virtual knickers in a non-virtual twist, as reported - gleefully - by the blog. And, pretty much everyone else for that matter. It was the only story the British media were interested in for a few days. Then it started snowing ... Go figure. Anyway, the chicken shortage, which was said to be caused by 'logistics', forced hundreds of restaurants to temporarily close. The chain apologised to their outraged - chicken-starved - customers. But the crisis has not yet been fully resolved. KFC said on Thursday that roughly three per cent of its nine hundred stores in the UK remain closed. Hundreds of other locations are open, but are offering 'only a limited menu.' Lettuce was reportedly in short supply on Thursday, but customers also complained on social media about a lack of corn, beans and wraps. The absence of one item in particular, chicken gravy, drew loud objections. KFC, which switched last month to a new delivery supplier, DHL, said that its partner was 'still trying to meet demand. Gravy is available in the vast majority of our restaurants but a few may not have it owing to the ongoing distribution challenges DHL is experiencing,' KFC weaselled said in a statement. Last week, the chain used a full-page advert in several British newspapers to apologise for shutting down hundreds of restaurants because it ran out of chicken. The bright red advertisement showed an empty bucket with the chain's initials scrambled to say 'FCK' on it, alongside an apology. 'A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It's not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who travelled out of their way to find we were closed,' the advert said.
Dear blog readers with a longer memory than the average goldfish may recall this blogger previously mentioning an apparent arson incident which took place close to Stately Telly Topping Manor last summer, as reported on this blog at the time. The trial of the individual charged with arson and attempted murder is currently taking place, as reported by the Chronicle, here. Warning, if you do follow the link, some of the report is quite graphic in its description of the injuries sustained by the unfortunate victim.
A sudden flurry of snow - particularly in the last week a February, dear blog reader. It's the British weather equivalent of a dog in the playground; everybody's got to take some photos of it (this blogger very much included). This is something of a regular thing in Britain, in case you hadn't noticed. We get about four days of snow a year on average but, when it hits, everybody shits themselves, there is no other news worth reporting as far as the media is concerned (even if KFC has run out of chicken), there is travelling chaos and the country, effectively, grinds to a halt for the duration. And then, it thaws and - after a couple of days whinging about how the thaw is, actually, worse than the snow - we all go back to normal. Meanwhile, three hundred miles due East, in Norway and Sweden, they're coping perfectly fine with this sort of malarkey about ten months of the year. We really are a bunch of bloody wimps (as pointed out by several of this blogger's friends who live in properly cold places, like Minnesota).
Anyway, the threatened 'Beast From The East' duly hit the UK overnight on Monday as had been predicted all last weekend. Tragically, this blogger had to go out on Monday morning, it was unavoidable - places to go, things to do, people to see and all that. Thus, Monday saw comfortably the least enjoyable couple of hours this blogger had experience since ... well, who am I kidding, the previous day, if truth be told. Let Keith Telly Topping paint you a picture, dear blog reader. He was on a bus, in the bank, in the post office, in a shop, in another shop, on another bus and in another shop, all with periods in-between of trudging through slush. Because, at that stage, this 'arctic week' Britain was alleged to be facing appeared to be more a sort of 'arctic hour or two'. The top end of Shields Road, in particular, was at that stage resembling an ice rink ... about two hours after somebody decided to defrost the bugger. By the time yer actual Keith Telly Topping got his sorry ass back to Stately Telly Topping Manor with his weekly supplies, his shoes and socks (all four of them) were soaking, he'd completely lost all feeling in a couple of his toes and then, back in his drum and once he'd jacked the central heating up to full blast to thaw out, suddenly, he found himself too hot because the sun outside was, at that stage, glorious.
Of course, this blogger spoke far too soon. Monday afternoon, it started snowing seriously. By Tuesday, it was getting more than a bit Siberian out there, a situation which got even worse over the next couple of days. Blizzard conditions and thundersnow (see below), no less.
It was interesting to see a few people people on Facebook posting comments about a curious phenomena which this blogger had never come across before it hit Tyneside, big-style, on Wednesday, Thundersnow (that's an outbreak of thunder and lightning during a snowstorm). Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is more than amazed that he'd managed to reach his early fifties before knowing that such a thing even existed. Especially as it is, frankly, far more terrifying than normal thunder and lightning and rain! This blogger almost shat himself at this discombobulation when it occurred without warning mid-Wednesday afternoon. Mind you, in his own defence, this blogger must add that the lightning was really close; for an instant he thought it was The Second Coming. Thundersnow is, apparently, quite an uncommon phenomena particularly in the UK, as the Evening Chronicle explains here.
This blogger's good friend Jeff Hart notes that there is an old wives tale which states that thundersnow 'means [there'll be] more snow in a week.' This blogger loves old wives tales related to snow. Like, for instance the occasionally-heard statement that 'it's too cold to snow.' To which, if it's ever directed to him, this blogger always replies: 'I don't know if you've ever been to the South Pole, the coldest place on the planet, but they get quite a bit of a snow down there!'
This blogger, meanwhile, is - as he so often is - indebted to his old mate Dan Blythe who posted on social media this week: 'No, still not that cold here,' accompanied by this marvellous image.
The actor Peter Miles has died at the age of eighty nine. Miles is possibly best known for three guest appearances in Doctor Who. In 1970 he played Doctor Lawrence in Doctor Who & The Silurians. Lawrence was the director of the Wenley Moor nuclear research facility, who refused to cooperate with UNIT's investigations. He met a memorable death when he succumbed to the Silurian virus. Miles returned to the series in 1974, playing Professor Whitaker, the scientist responsible for flooding London with Dinosaurs, in Invasion Of The Dinosaurs. His final, as most famous, appearance came a year later in the six-part Genesis Of The Daleks with a chilling performance as the Nazi-like Nyder, second-in-command to Michael Wisher's Davros in the Kaled bunker. It was a role Peter clearly relished and one he returned to in the Big Finish audio play Guilt and in two versions of the stage play The Trial Of Davros. Miles had a long career in British television, his debut coming in 1968 in an Armchair Theatre. Appearances followed in a huge array of series such as Softly Softly, Vendetta, The Inside Man, The Troubleshooters, Doomwatch, Paul Temple, Dixon Of Dock Green, The Man Outside, Colditz, Moonbase 3, Within These Walls, New Scotland Yard, Survivors, Poldark, Z Cars, Warship, Disraeli, Blake's 7, Crown Court, New Scotland Yard, The Hanged Man, The Sweeney, The Main Chance, Hill Of The Red Fox, The Sandbaggers, Hazell, Warship and Bergerac and in the movies Made, Monarch and The Eagle Has Landed (as Hitler). He also appeared in the 1993 BBC Doctor Who radio play, The Paradise Of Death. Miles was born in August 1928. He was also an accomplished jazz and soul singer and musician. He was a childhood friend of the singer Dusty Springfield and the first recordings that Dusty ever made - with the trio The Lana Sisters in the ate 1950s - featured Peter Miles on guitar.
Roger Bannister, who has died at the age of eighty eight, was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. Sir Roger, who was knighted in 1975, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease since 2011. The record time in Oxford established him as one of the great names of British athletics. In an age of the gentleman amateur, Bannister saw his running as something to be done in his spare time. He once wrote that the ideal athlete was one who enjoyed a few drinks and even the odd cigarette. Roger Gilbert Bannister was born in March 1929 in Harrow. After leaving University College School in London, he went to Oxford to read medicine before going on to St Mary's Medical College. Bannister used his medical knowledge to devise his own training regime and investigate the mechanical aspects of running. He had taken up athletics while at Oxford but his studies meant that he could snatch only about thirty minutes a day to practise his technique on the track. Unlike the lucrative profession it has become today, athletics was always only one aspect of Bannister's student life. 'As soon as I ceased to be a student,' he said, 'I always knew I would stop being an athlete.' Nevertheless, after just three sessions, he was running a mile in four minutes and twenty four, which was enough to see him considered as a possible for the 1948 Olympics in London. Four years later he was selected for the British Olympic team to compete in Helsinki. Despite being concerned at a lack of fitness, he finished fourth in the fifteen hundred metres final, setting a new British record. By the spring of 1954, Bannister was continuing his training preparations for the Commonwealth Games, with one eye on the world record and the other on his arch-rival, Australian John Landy. Bannister took to the track at Iffley Road, Oxford, on 6 May, a day beset by unfavourable weather. The race was almost cancelled but eventually the starting gun went off. Helped by his pacemakers Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, Bannister broke the tape in a time of 3:59.4 and history was made. When timekeeper, that hateful old right-wing scumbag Norris McWhirter tried to announce the time of 'Three...' the rest of his words were drowned out by cheers. Only when he read the newspapers the following day, did Bannister fully appreciate the scale of his success. 'It had become rather like Everest, a challenge for the human spirit,' Bannister reflected on the significance of his own achievement.
His world record lasted just forty six days. John Landy ran three minutes and fifty seven seconds in Finland to set up a much-anticipated clash between the two men in the British Empire Games in Vancouver later that year. In a race billed as The Miracle Mile, Landy led until the final bend when he made the mistake of looking back for his rival. Bannister burst through to breast the tape in 3:58.8. Bannister trained on for one final triumph at the end of August 1954, a prestigious, hard-fought but ultimately comfortable victory in the European fifteen hundred metres in Berne, in a championship record – a commanding exhibition from a thoroughly confident athlete in a week when he was the only British man to win a gold medal. He never competed again. However, the achievements on the track paled into insignificance for Bannister when he finally fulfilled his ambition and qualified as a doctor; as a teenager he had listed his role models as Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie and England's favourite middle-distance runner, Sydney Wooderson. 'You don't have to make the rest of your life boring to be a good runner,' he said. From 1957 to 1959 he did his National Service, which he had delayed until he had passed the exams to obtain membership of the Royal College of Physicians and could enter in a specialist medical grade. For the first year he worked at the army hospital in Millbank looking after senior officers. Then he volunteered to go to Aden, using his physiological experience to investigate deaths among young soldiers. He found that soldiers were susceptible to potentially fatal infections if they were put through strenuous exercise before they had acclimatised. To prove this hypothesis he carried out research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and published the outcome in two Lancet papers. When he left the army, he started his training in neurology as a registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. In 1962 he was awarded a Radcliffe travelling fellowship from Oxford University to Harvard University, where he spent a year doing research on oxygen shortage on blood circulation in the brain. On his return to the UK, he was appointed consultant neurologist at the Western Ophthalmic hospital and St Mary's hospital in London. He remained there until 1985. During this time he became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. His particular research interest and expertise lay in the autonomic nervous system, which unconsciously controls all the automatic systems of the body from digestion to the heartbeat. In the course of this, he carried out research into Multiple System Atrophy, a potentially fatal condition, finding that many patients benefited from sleeping with their heads raised. As a consultant at two London teaching hospitals, he acquired a reputation not only for the effective treatment of patients, but also for his ability to organise resources and run medical committees. These talents soon led him to the higher realms of hospital administration. In 1974 he was involved in a serious motor accident when his car when it was hit by another that had crossed a motorway's central reservation. Recovery was slow (he had difficulty in walking comfortably for the rest of his life); he abandoned all private practice and directed his energies towards his autonomic nervous system research, a speciality that had tended to fall between cardiology and neurology. He founded the Autonomic Research Society, lectured widely in the US and Europe and edited Autonomic Failure: A Textbook Of Clinical Disorders Of The Autonomic Nervous System, a standard work which ran into multiple editions. He was also editor of the textbook Clinical Neurology for several years. In 1975 he was knighted, and ten years later returned to Oxford as master of Pembroke College, where he served until his retirement in 1993. He became the first chairman of the Sports Council in 1971 and, during his tenure, he led a crusade on drug-testing in athletics. He was knighted in 1975 and made a Companion of Honour in the 2017 New Year's Honours. For Bannister, the challenge of the four-minute mile was only ever a psychological barrier, not a physical one and he always maintained that his achievements as a neurologist far outshone his time on the track. But for most, the image of Bannister will forever be the long-limbed athlete, with his head thrown back, breaking the tape on a blustery May evening in 1954. In 2014 he published his autobiography, Twin Tracks. The same year he revealed that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In 1955 he married Moyra Jacobsson, an artist. She survives him, along with their two sons, two daughters and fourteen grandchildren.
And finally, dear blog reader, here's a photo from the Telly Topping Family Archive. This is from Bultins in 1979, yer actual Keith Telly Topping - looking a bit glum, to be honest - with his dear old mam and dad. Quite apart from the then-very-in-vogue Terry Griffiths-style purple shirt, this blogger was clearly going for a look that suggested either a) 'Awroit, we're the Peaky Fookin' Blinders!' ([¹] British pop-culture reference, circa 2015). Or b) 'Ooh, hello Honky-Tonks, how are you?' ([²] British pop-culture reference circa 1974). One or the other.