Friday, April 20, 2018

Fear Not For The Future, Weep Not For The Past

Ever since The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and yer actual Mark Gatiss his very self announced their forthcoming TV adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, fans have wondered if it would be a period piece or if it would be set in the modern day. Now, we have an answer - of sorts - thanks to an interview with Radio 2 host Graham Norton. Appearing alongside fellow former Doctor Who showrunner Russell Davies, The Moff said that the new version of the classic vampire story will be 'reinvented in a Sherlock-y way. But, not in exactly the same way,' Steven added. 'We're not modernising it or anything, but we are doing a version of Dracula.' The Moff said that he and Gatiss have started work on the project - which he confirmed will consist of three episodes of ninety minutes each in a similar format to Sherlock - but that viewers should not expect it 'for quite a while yet ... 2020 or beyond.' The writer recently confirmed that Dracula would definitely not be a show about the titular Count solving crimes. Moffat and Davies were not merely on the radio show to talk about their forthcoming projects but also about their most recent endeavours, the Doctor Who novelisations books based on their episodes Rose and The Day Of The Doctor'. And, whilst at the Beeb, The Moff and Big Rusty also took time to get a selfie with yer actual Michael Grade. Which, if you look up 'things you never expected to see in all the live-long day' on Google you'll find that one pretty close to the top of the list.
And, speaking of Big Rusty, many people - this blogger very much included - are rather excited about the forthcoming A Very English Scandal, the drama which sees Russell tackle the real-life story of Jeremy Thorpe and Norman Scott. Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw played secret gay lovers in the 1960s whose relationship led to a massive political scandal, attempted murder and a hugely expensive count case. Luckily, it seems that we don't have long very wait, as Russell told Graham Norton. 'I'm not supposed to say when,' he said, 'but it's on in May. In the middle of May, on Sunday nights.' When asked for clarification the BBC said that there is 'no confirmed transmission date' for A Very English Scandal as yet. 'I'm very pleased with it,' Russell added. 'It's a lovely, lovely piece of work.' As well as uniting Russell with Grant and Whishaw, A Very English Scandal will be directed by Stephen Frears and produced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins.
Psst ... want to see yet another on-location shot of yer actual Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, dear blog reader? Of course you do, you're only human after all. This one, of one lucky fan getting a selfie with The Jodester her very self, was from the late-February shoot in Portsmouth, apparently.
Jodie, meanwhile, has admitted that she did not watch Doctor Who whilst growing up. Although, to be fair, it's not actually a legal requirement that people have to. Although, possibly, it should be. Anyway, the actress landed the role of the first female Doctor, taking over from Peter Capaldi last year. You might have noticed. It was in all the papers, and everything. Jodie told The Sunday Times: 'As a family we didn't watch it except at other people's houses. I was much more aware of it when it came back with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.' Jodie added that she did not feel 'daunted' when she auditioned for the role. 'I went to the audition excited, but I always walk into the room with an attitude of "I sound like this, I look like this, but, believe me, I can do it."' She said that her favourite Doctor was former Broadchurch co-star national heartthrob David Tennant but added: 'There is no right or wrong, there are no rules.' Which is true. Except the rule that Colin Baker was the worst one, obviously. Jodie will have three companions - That There Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole - when she appears as The Doctor. Asked if there would be any romance in the TARDIS, she replied: 'I'm only a few weeks in, I don't know the answers to quite a lot of questions yet.' She also said that the 1959 film Some Like It Hot was an 'inspirational' movie from her childhood but that it was Jack Lemmon - who played a man dressed as a woman, rather than his co-star Marilyn Monroe - with whom she really identified.
The director Jamie Childs' credits on his agency Independent Talent Group have been updated to include Doctor Who series eleven, suggesting that Childs will be working behind the camera an episode in the opening filming block. Jamie has previously directed episodes of Poldark, ITV's Vera and Sky's Stan Lee's Lucky Man. The actor Samuel Oatley - who has previously appeared in BBC3's Witless - will seem to be appearing in one of Childs' episodes as a character called The Warrior, according to his Spotlight profile.
Michael Sheen's new comedy-horror-fantasy-drama series Good Omens isn't going to premiere until next year, but that hasn't stopped the actor from already hyping the production. Early in 2017, it was confirmed that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's acclaimed novel was getting a TV adaptation and that Sheen and David Tennant were confirmed to be taking on the lead roles of the demon Crowley and his heavenly counterpart Aziraphale. This week, speaking on Zoe Ball's new - horrific - ITV talk show Zoe Ball On Saturday, Sheen is making sure we know it was just as much a treat to film as it will hopefully be to watch. 'I got to just spend six months doing a double act essentially with David Tennant,' Sheen said. 'You know David, he's just the nicest man in the world. We would do scenes and I would literally be watching him and half way through the scene I'd have to stop and go, "That was very good, you are good aren't you?" It was a real treat.' Good Omens will be a six-part series that centres on the two deities as they try to stave off the oncoming apocalypse, with Crowley and Aziraphale working together to keep the Antichrist from bringing about The End Times. So, a documentary, in that case. 'It's still bleached blonde underneath this,' Sheen said. 'Now, I look like essentially what I am, an old man who is dying his hair to look young.'
Meanwhile, dear blog, time for a bit of politics ...
Laugh? Laugh? This blogger almost did. Next ...

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced that the production team behind Game Of Thrones will be honoured with the BAFTA Special Award at this year's British Academy Television Craft Awards. The Special Awards recognises both the 'outstanding contribution to revolutionising and pushing the boundaries' within the various production areas and 'the support the series has provided for the television industry in the UK.' Game Of Thrones, currently in production on its eight and final series from its Northern Ireland production HQ, is television on a scale never seen before. No expense or time has been spared on the show, especially with these final episodes, the series eight team having recently completed a fifty five consecutive night shoot for one mammoth battle scene. 'This award recognises and celebrates the excellent craftsmanship of the entire production team behind Game Of Thrones,' said Krishnendu Majumdar, Chair of BAFTA's Television Committee. 'The craft behind what is one of the most popular dramas of our time is nothing short of incredible, from the breath-taking location shots to the intricately designed costumes and set pieces and not forgetting the level of detail from the makeup and prosthetics team to name a few. Huge congratulations to everyone involved.' Speaking on behalf of the whole production team, showrunners and executive producers DB Weiss and David Benioff responded: 'This award makes us extremely happy on behalf of the people who actually earned it - all our brilliant, talented, hard-working department heads and crew. Many, many people work insanely hard to create any film or television show. They are creators every bit as much as actors, writers, producers or directors and deserve to be recognised as such.' Actors John Bradley and Hannah Murray will accept the award at the Television Craft Awards on 22 April which, for the first time, will be live-streamed on YouTube and Twitter.
Game Of Thrones' eighth series is still over a year away but, already, we're starting to get a few casting titbits. The - thoroughly impressive - Watchers On The Wall website has reported that the final series of the popular fantasy drama is adding eight new characters, including five who 'need improvisational skills.' Of more interest are three somewhat atypical Game Of Thrones types, starting with 'a male soldier' with 'an imposing presence and actual combat skills' for what is described as a 'physically intense performance.' Sharing similar shooting dates, if not any specifically connected, will be a young village girl role for an actress aged eighteen to twenty five who be required to be 'naked above the waist.' So, there's something for viewers to look forward too. Finally HBO is looking for 'a clean-shaven grieving man' with the actor chosen importantly 'not going over the top.'
This week's 'Question on Only Connect that this blogger got the answer to before either of the teams' was this one. Yes, the music round. Again.
Gotham series five - should it happen - would 'change the game dramatically,' with the show teasing a 'catastrophic' series four finale in a few weeks time. The drama has already been throwing up twists and turns this series, though next month's finale A Dark Knight: No Man's Land may actually serve as an effective reboot of the series. Executive producer Danny Cannon revealed that 'a cataclysmic event' will take place in the episode. 'The cataclysmic event that happens in the last three episodes not only will change Gotham,' Cannon told the website. 'It not only combines so many characters that you don't think will co-operate with each other, but it changes the face of Gotham forever, so that season five, it's almost a reboot and a different show.' However, fans can rest assured that the 'reboot' in question would still have the same characters, Cannon clarifying that it is a 'reboot of stories' rather than a complete overhaul. 'Our characters have reached a maturity now, our characters are so well defined and that's why I think as writers, that's right about the point when you want to change people's perception of them,' Cannon explained. 'The [term] "reboot" means, just when you thought you knew people, something else will happen and just when you thought your season five would be like season four, season five is completely different. New characters and old characters that have changed. It's a complete [departure] and the city has changed too, new characters on a new landscape.' While the Batman prequel - a big favourite of all of us here at From The North - has yet to be officially renewed by FOX, Cannon remained optimistic: 'We're building to something much bigger. It's the biggest cliffhanger we've done. I mean, there has to be season five. Everything points to that because it's set up in that way.'
'You cannot be serious? That's your plan? How do you expect to get the drop on somebody who's studied kung-fu for two thousand years and is a zombie?' Meanwhile, now that Gotham has finally unveiled its Joker it's time for the show to introduce yet more villainous twists. The most recent episode - To Our Deaths & Beyond - saw one of Batman's most fearsome adversaries, Ra's al Ghul, returned from the dead in a ritual involving Bruce Wayne's blood. Although initially a zombie, Ra's soon regained his power after winning back The Demon's Head from Barbara Kean and The League of Shadows.
Star Trek: Discovery is set to boldly go somewhere the show has gone before, as it's set to incorporate Mister Spock. However, don't expect the prequel to weave in Zachary Quinto's version of the character as the JJ Abrams movie universe is 'entirely separate' from the TV show. Director Jonathan Frakes explained how the cameo will play out. Speaking at El Paso Comic Con, Frakes explained that despite Spock being a young science officer on board the Enterprise around the time that Discovery is set, the show is set to go back further into his childhood via flashbacks. Frakes says that he will be directing episodes two and ten of series two and that episode two will have Anson Mount as Captain Pike and a young Spock that will be seen in flashbacks. During the scenes, Spock will appear alongside his adopted sister, Michael Burnham.
After the recent sad news that Pauley Perrette has filmed her final NCIS scenes, some good news: the popular long-running navy crime drama will be returning for a sixteenth season. And, it is confirmed that Mark Harmon will be back as both the star and executive producer. The president of CBS Entertainment, Kelly Kahl, explained 'the 'no-brainer' renewal decision: 'It's pretty simple - viewers everywhere love NCIS. This show speaks to viewers of all ages, in all parts of the country and around the world. NCIS's amazing characters and terrific storytelling result in some of TV's most passionate fans. Of course, none of this would be possible without an outstanding production team and talented cast led by the incomparable and absolutely tireless Mark Harmon. We're thrilled he is returning as the centrepiece of the show, and we could not be more excited for NCIS's sixteenth season.' There is, however, currently no news on whether David McCallum's recent reduced involvement in the series is to continue. At the same time, CBS also announced the recommissioning of the spin-offs NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans as well as several other popular dramas, Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver, Bull, Madam Secretary and Blue Bloods.
NBC's crime thriller The Blacklist - another From The North favourite - delivered a huge bombshell in its last episode as it appeared to, finally, introduce the long-lost Jennifer Reddington. Zarak Mosadek, saw Liz Keen (Megan Boone) attempt to take down Ian Garvey – who once put her in a coma and also murdered her husband Tom, among other naughty things – with her investigation leading her to a bar in Baltimore and a mysterious woman named Lillian. Talking to the woman, Liz learned that Lillian had been put into witness protection by Garvey to keep her safe from her dangerous father, criminal mastermind Raymond Reddington. Which means Lillian is actually Jennifer Reddington, a character who has been a mystery to viewers since her mother, Naomi Hyland (played by Mary-Louise Parker), was introduced in the show's second series, as well as being Liz's half-sister. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the show's executive producer Joe Bokenkamp revealed that this is one big revelation that viewers should actually trust - at least, for now. 'It is most likely the truth,' he said of Lillian's claim that she's Red's daughter. 'Viewers might remember that as far back as season two, we had introduced a character whose name was Jennifer Reddington and who was MIA. Reddington was looking for her. The woman's mother, Naomi Hyland was protecting her and wanted nothing to do with Reddington. Reddington had no access, no way to contact her and couldn't find her. And so, there is a character out there who we know to be Reddington's daughter and this woman, it seems that her foot may fit the slipper.' According to Bokenkamp, the twist will set up a number of new questions and mysteries to see out the rest of series five, including providing new insight into Garvey's potential agenda, as well as introducing a new 'incredibly dysfunctional' dynamic for Liz and Jennifer. 'It certainly won't be normal, I'm sure of that,' he added. 'I'm sure it will be incredibly dysfunctional and strangely dark and full of surprises. We're not interested in telling the reunion story of the two sisters who are gonna get to know each other. It is gonna be one that is fraught with questions and answers and it's gonna weirdly answer a lot of questions that we've had for quite some time. I think Liz is seeing Jennifer a little bit less a sister and more as an asset or a chip to play.'
It appears as though Westworld's second series is going to be even more 'epic' than previously announced. The much-anticipated second run of the HBO drama is due to premiere this weekend and it seems that much of the rest of the season will follow in the footsteps of the opening episode's seventy minute duration. 'The second season the premiere is a little over seventy minutes,' co-creator Jonathan Nolan told Entertainment Weekly. 'The fourth episode - which is one of my favourites - is a little longer than an hour. And the finale is just going to keep going and going - it's a bit of an epic.' Given that series one's finale clocked in at a feature-length ninety minutes, could the season closer be even longer? Last week, the media were given the titles and synopses of the first five episodes of series two, which included a confirmation that the previously glimpsed Shogun World will make its anticipated debut in episode five.
Yer actual Jezza Clarkson is revving to go in the first trailer for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'s revival on ITV. The Grand Tour presenter takes a flashy car for a spin before bursting into the studio in style and settling into the hot seat - with the familiar theme tune playing in the background.
Wor Geet Cany Ant McPartlin has been extremely fined eighty six grand and very disqualified from driving for twenty months after admitting drink-driving. The forty two-year-old crashed into two vehicles after taking a corner at speed while under the influence in Richmond last month. He was more than twice over the legal limit. On Monday, at Wimbledon magistrates court, district judge Barbara Barnes told McPartlin that he had 'let down many people' including his fans. 'I think it will have quite an impact on you to know that you are no longer a man of good character but you carry a [criminal] record,' she said. McPartlin spoke in court only to confirm his personal details and enter his guilty plea. But, through his lawyer, he 'expressed his remorse' for what had happened. While driving his car under the influence of alcohol, he hit a green Mini and then a red BMW as he lost control after the initial collision. In impact statements read in court, the respective drivers of the cars he crashed into said that they were 'left heavily shaken.' Faheem Vanoo, the driver of the Mini, said that his vehicle could have been hit front-on if he had not taken evasive action. 'We believe we could have died as a result of Mister McPartlin's reckless driving,' he said. The driver of the BMW, named only as Doctor Ng, said immediately after the collision her nine-year-old son, who was 'uninjured but in shock,' told her: 'I am dying, Mummy, I am dying.' She said that she was suffering from neck pain and her right knee was 'too painful to walk on.' The court heard that in a statement submitted last month, McPartlin said: 'I am ashamed and mortified that this happened. I accept full culpability for this and wish to apologise to all concerned. I am incredibly disappointed that have let myself and so many others down on this occasion.' His lawyer, Liam Walker, told the court that his client hoped the case 'would be a turning point' for him. Referring to reports that McPartlin entered rehab after being charged, Walker said the BAFTA-winning entertainer had 'been seeking treatment' for alcohol - and emotional-related - issues at the time of the incident. Walker said that McPartlin had 'a brief relapse' on the day of the incident. Barnes said McPartlin's culpability was 'high' but that he had shown 'genuine remorse.' Speaking outside court, after the hearing, McPartlin claimed that he was 'truly sorry' and expressed 'relief' that no one was injured more seriously in the incident.
She's the much-loved lead of Nordic crime thriller The Bridge, but Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) was very nearly killed off in the first series. Fans of the Scandinavian noir drama will remember that Saga was stabbed in episode nine and, originally, she was not supposed to survive. 'She was meant to be killed in the first season,' Helin revealed this week at a screening for the fourth and final series. 'Yes, in the very early drafts, Saga died in episode nine – she was stabbed,' confirmed creator Hans Rosenfeldt. Rosenfeldt explained that one of the executive producers on The Bridge ended up intervening and saving Saga. 'When he read the script, he said, "No, that's not going to happen!" so we changed it.' The Bridge will move from BBC4 to BBC2 for its final series, with Rosenfeldt and co-writer Camilla Ahlgren explaining that the decision was made to end the show before it became stale. 'The multi-plotting/serial killer/little bit larger than life thing, we've done it for four series,' Rosenfeldt said. 'There are very few series that actually creatively peak at series five, six and seven. They tend to go the other way. So we said, let's not be one of those shows where people say, "Oh, The Bridge is still on? I loved the first ones.' Let's not be that series. Let's make four really good shows and then say, "This is it, this is the story we had to tell." Not everything has to go on forever.' 'We all agreed on that,' added Ahlgren. 'Producers, actors. We knew it from the beginning and that is also a good opportunity for us to find our best end for the show.' The final eight episodes will see Saga coming to terms with the dire consequences of being accused of her mother's murder, while her partner Henrik (Thure Lindhardt) continues his desperate search for his children. For her part, Helin insisted that she was 'not sad' about The Bridge coming to an end after seven years, because she is 'satisfied' with how Saga's story ultimately comes to a close. 'It was emotional, but not difficult. I'm happy, but with a bit of separation sadness, from friends and colleagues. But I was so satisfied with the brilliant ending, so I'm not sad, I'm proud.'
Ofcom has opened seven separate investigations into Russia Today, in light of the Salisbury nerve agent attack which took place in March. The regulator will investigate 'due impartiality of news and current affairs programmes' on the channel. A spokesperson for Ofcom said 'we have observed a significant increase in the number of programmes that warrant investigation.' It aims to announce the outcome of the investigations 'as soon as possible.' The statement added: 'In relation to our fit and proper duty, we will consider all relevant new evidence, including the outcome of these investigations and the future conduct of the licensee.' Ofcom also confirmed that it was investigating 'audience tweets' in The Alex Salmond Show which, the regulator said, 'we have provisionally found were not from audience members.' In recent weeks, Russia Today's twenty four-hour news channel has been covering the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, which took place at their home in Salisbury on 4 March. The channel's slogan is 'Question More' and the network aims to provide its international audience with 'the Russian viewpoint' on global events. Which is, essentially 'it wasn't us, guv, we were in Vladivostok at the time, drinking vodka. With Vladimir. Honest.'
Ofcom has given 'provisional' approval to BBC plans for a new TV channel for Scotland. Ofcom said that decision would now be subject to a consultation, which will last until 18 May. The regulator will publish its final decision on whether the BBC can go ahead with the new channel in July. The BBC announced in February 2017 that it wanted to create the new channel, which was expected to begin broadcasting in the autumn of 2018. It published plans for the channel, to be called BBC Scotland, in November.
At the same time, Ofcom has proposed scrapping the further roll-out of local TV channels across the UK, citing concerns over 'economic viability.' More than thirty local TV stations have already been set up in the UK as part of a plan laid out in 2011 by the then lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt. In the same week that the vile and odious rascal Hunt was the subject of a reported parliamentary probe into his purchase of some flats in Southampton and he was forced to make a grovelling apology for his 'oversight' in not declaring his part ownership of the company involved in this malarkey. So, not a good week all round for the vile and odious rascal Hunt, then. Several of the channels have faced financial difficulties and have struggled to attract any sort of an audience. Ofcom has now proposed scrapping the roll-out of further local channels. 'Requiring new infrastructure to be built for additional local TV channels is not, in our current view, economically viable. It could also undermine the many local services already on air,' a spokeswoman said. The vile and odious rascal Hunt's 'vision' was, reportedly, for major towns and cities in the UK to have their own local TV stations. The business model is successful in the US, but local stations there are usually affiliated with a larger television network such as FOX or NBC. In May 2012, companies were invited to apply for a licence to broadcast in major cities including Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle and London. Money was taken from the TV licence fee to finance some start-up costs, including the cost of building transmission infrastructure. Successful bidders were given a prominent channel number on digital terrestrial television (via Freeview), but they were also obliged to produce a quota of local news as part of their licence agreement. Since the first service launched in 2013 several stations - including the capital's service London Live - have asked Ofcom to reduce their local news obligations; many of the stations have been ridiculed for the poor quality of their output or have been reported to Ofcom for breaching broadcasting rules; several stations have merged operations and now broadcast non-local programmes to save money. STV won the broadcast licence for several cities in Scotland including Glasgow, Aberdeen and Ayr. However, its local STV2 service is loss-making and in March the company said it was conducting a 'strategic review' of its operations. Ofcom had identified thirteen further locations as local TV candidates, but said it was now 'minded' to end the roll-out. 'Most licences for locations with a household coverage of under fifty thousand have not managed to attract viable applications,' it said in its statement. It also suggested the cost of building transmission infrastructure was prohibitive, since the BBC was no longer required to fund it. Sadly, it didn't take the opportunity to add that the next time the vile and odious rascal Hunt has 'a bright idea' it might be perspicacious of someone to tell him no to be such a bloody fool. Just a suggestion.
River was a massively underrated BBC drama from the award-winning Abi Morgan. It was this a high entry in this blog's favourite shows of 2015 and From The North favourite Nicola Walker says that it was one of the best things she's ever done and that she is 'frightened' it may never come back. The actress - who takes the lead as an esteemed divorce lawyer in Morgan's upcoming BBC1 legal drama The Split - disclosed that co-star Stellan Skarsgard would reprise his role for another series of River, if Morgan would return as sole writer. 'I'm really frightened that River won't come back - as Abi is incredibly busy, as is Stellan,' Walker told Good Housekeeping. 'I remember overhearing a conversation between Abi and Stellan where they agreed that if they ever did it again, Stellan would only do it if Abi wrote all of it, and if she wanted do it again. But, I kind of like that it was a really good story well told, a one-off six episodes. Not everything has to be returned to. It's one of my favourite things that I've ever been involved in.'
Peaky Blinders and alcohol fans - and, let's face it, that's pretty much everyone - be advised. There is a 'pop-up festival' coming to London which may well be right up your straße. The event will be held by The Feasty Blinders and it will offer fans of the show a chance to immerse themselves in a themed restaurant. The Feasty Blinders have shared details of the event on their website: 'Celebrating the family's rapid expansion across England and into London, the notorious Feasty Blinders invite you to join them for an evening of opulence and hedonism at the newly acquired Club Eden in the heart of London.' Fans will be treated to 'bottomless drinks' on arrival, immersive entertainment (hopefully nothing any actual blinding) and a feast that is alleged to be 'to die for.' The website goes on to say that further details will only be revealed to guests who receive a ticket invitation from The Feasty Blinders. Those wishing to receive an invite must sign up on The Feasty Blinders' website.
The fate of Paul Hollywood's motoring series Big Continental Road Trip has been confirmed by the BBC. And, it's not good news for Hollywood. The BBC2 show followed the Great British Bake Off judge on a road trip across Europe, as he visited a nudist colony and tested out Ferraris, Lamborghinis and even a priceless prototype Pagani. It was, trust this blogger, every single bit as worthless and boring as that description makes it sound. And then some. Big Continental Road Trip was last broadcast in May 2017, leading the Sun to report this week that it has 'officially been axed' by the Beeb. Though, not with an actual axe, obviously, cos that would've been messy. A spokesperson for the BBC insisted that is not entirely the case. They claimed: 'Paul Hollywood's Big Continental Road Trip was only ever commissioned as a three-part series.' One or two people even believed them. Big Continental Road Trip was touted by Hollywood as an example of his 'sticking with the BBC,' after being the sole on-air presenter from the original Bake Off to jump from BBC1 to Channel Four.
Just when you thought that The ONE Show couldn't possibly get any weirder than having Richard Branson table-dancing or forcing Game Of Thrones' Kit Harington to blow up his own hair, enter an appearance by Professor Brian Cox (no,the other one). The people's scientist was being interviewed by Matt Baker and Angellica Bell about his upcoming arena tour, where he will share the wonders of the universe with the masses. Professor Brian explained that he had been devising a lecture designed to appeal to aficionados and science-phobics alike, so Matt and Angellica decided to put him to the test. 'You are going to be turning up somewhere unannounced right now because, if you're up for it, there's a pub round the corner,' Matt told Brian. 'Lots of unsuspecting drinks at the moment ... You pop yourself along and we'll join you live.' Angellica then whisked a slightly shell-shocked looking Coxy to the nearby pub, The Stag's Head, to see if he could keep the local punters entertained,educated and informed. Those random pub-goers were surprisingly polite as Angellica revealed that the professor would be giving them a totally impromptu lecture on the possible existence of aliens. 'They're excited,' Angellica said, with a slightly sceptical Coxy adding: 'They sound like they are, at least!' From there, Brian dove right in: 'The answer to the question, "Are there aliens?" is that, as with the answers to many of the greatest questions in science, we don't know. We know of only one planet in the universe where life exists and it's the Earth. However, what we can do is look at the history of life on Earth to give us some sense of how probable it is that life arises.' This was the part where Brian probably expected to lose the crowd, but The Stag's Head crew were surprisingly docile as he explained how life began on Earth four billion years ago. 'I think there are two questions here,' he continued. 'Are there microbes out there? On the surface of Mars or the moons of Jupiter, the answer might well be yes. If you ask the question, "Is there complex life nearby in the universe or are there civilisations out there?" I think because it took four billion years of stability on the Earth to go from simple life to a civilisation, the answer might be that civilisations might be rare.' Angellica ultimately asked the barman for his final verdict. 'With that information, I might not be able to sleep tonight, but it's very fascinating,' the barman declared.
Downton Abbey creator and general all-round snob Lord Snooty may have spent enough time in stuffy turn-of-the-century country houses. He's due for an excursion in the great outdoors. And, that's what Netflix are giving him. Lord Snooty is partnering with Netflix for a new series called The English Game, which will explore the origins of football (that's 'soc-her' for our Smerican dear blog readers) back in the late 1800s. Oh great - a Julian Fellowes drama about an upper class pastime which began in England's public schools and ended up as the great working class form of entertainment. In other words, a Julian Fellowes drama about class. What were the odds, eh? This six-part event drama will, it is reported, 'delve into how the sport crossed class lines and became a worldwide phenomenon despite its humble beginnings on the pitch at London's Limes Field.' No premiere date for The English Game has yet been announced by Netflix. Lordy Snooty is also working on two other period dramas for other global broadcasters at the moment. The writer has received a full season commitment from NBC in the US for The Gilded Age, about 'the rise of new money in 1880s New York City.' So, that's another Julian Fellowes drama about class. Earlier this week, Lord Snooty also struck a deal with Sky Atlantic a series called Five Arrows, 'a dramatisation of the rags-to-riches story of the Rothschild banking empire set against a tide of anti-Semitism in Europe.' Do we detect a theme emerging here, dear blog reader?
Idris Elba and Netflix are coming together for what is described as 'an intriguing comedy series.' The star of dramas like Luther and The Wire will 'get to indulge his funny side' in Turn Up Charlie, which he created and will both star in and produce. The eight-episode, half-hour comedy series will see Elba playing a perennial bachelor who moonlights as a DJ on the club circuit. Where Turn Up Charlie differs from Idris Elba's actual life is that Charlie is so down-on-his-luck that he takes a job nannying for friend's troublemaking daughter to earn some quick cash. The script for Turn Up Charlie will be written jointly by Laura Neal, Femi Oyeniran and Victoria Asare-Archer. Turn Up Charlie doesn't have a premiere date yet, but production is set to begin next month in the UK. Despite being known best for his drama and action hero roles, Idris has a wealth of television comedy experience throughout his career. He created Sky1's current comedy hit In The Long Run and also played Michael Scott's arch-nemesis, Charles Miner, in the US version of The Office. Also on the table for Elba this year is the fifth series of Luther, which will reunite him with co-star Ruth Wilson for another grisly case in London. Hewill also be reprising his Thor role, Heimdall, as in Avengers: Infinity War next month.
And, speaking of Ruth Wilson, she has landed the most unusual role of her career. Ruth will be playing her own real-life grandmother, Alison, in the BBC's three-part drama Mrs Wilson, which is based on Alison's diaries. The story will be adapted by Indian Summers' Anna Symon. Alison was married to the novelist Alexander Wilson from the 1940s until his death in the early 1960s, only to be confronted at that point by another woman who claimed that she was the real Mrs Wilson. Themes of identity and heritage will be explored as Alison fights to prove the legitimacy of her marriage and the love of her late husband - who will be played by Iain Glen. The cast for Mrs Wilson also includes From The North favourite Keeley Hawes, Anupam Kher and Fiona Shaw. 'I am so excited to bring to the small screen the extraordinary lives of my grandparents,' Ruth Wilson said. 'Theirs is a profoundly moving story.' BBC executive producer Lucy Richer added: 'Anna Symon's scripts, based on the remarkable story of Ruth Wilson's grandparents, are full of twists and turns. It is a story of breath-taking secrets and love against the odds and I can't wait to see it brought to life for BBC1 by such a fascinating cast, led by Ruth.'
Dakota Fanning is garbed in corsets, leg o'mutton sleeves and exquisite evening gowns reflective of New York's gilded high-society of 1896 to play Sara Howard – the first woman to work in the New York police department - in Netflix's gruesome period drama The Alienist. There is a brief moment during the series where we catch a glimpse of the physical torment inflicted by the corset in numerous red scars across Sara's torso and, this week, Fanning has revealed that off-screen she collapsed during her first fitting because of how tight it was. 'I actually fainted during my first fitting which gives you some indication [of what it was like to wear a corset],' she told the Digital Spy website. 'It was a completely easy way in to the character Sara and the time period. I've worn a corset for other roles and but I'm always so shocked about how it changes everything – about the way you sit, walk, move, breathe. How much you can eat, how much you can't. It's tight.' Fanning's Sara - who is forced to tolerate the indecent behaviour of her male colleagues on a daily basis - lends her police detective aspirations to help progressive child psychologist Doctor Kreizler (Daniel Brühl) to solve a spate of gruesome child murders. Kreizler also recruits illustrator friend John Moore - played by Luke Evans - to help as they investigate the crimes and the murky brothels where some of the young victims had worked. The three characters are fictional, but there are real-life figures depicted in the series, including Theodore Roosevelt and JP Morgan. Meanwhile, Fanning added that the corset was another restriction put in place for women of that time, worn to keep up a certain appearance. 'As a female, it was another thing you couldn't do for yourself,' the actress said. 'You had to wear these elaborate costumes to keep up this facade of what women were supposed to be - you couldn't even take them off on your own at the end of the day.' Discussing Sara's intriguing relationship with both the enigmatic Kreizler and the damaged Moore, Fanning explained: 'Sara, she is the first woman to hold the position in the police department and she's known John all her life. Kreizler is an outcast from society because his ideas are new, and progressive and I think he and Sara have that in common - she's doing the same thing, being female [in an all-male workplace] and society in general, they were always the outcast because they had so many restrictions and boundaries. Whether you were poor or wealthy, there were still things that you couldn't do.'
It has been nearly a year since we last saw James Norton and Wor Geet Canny Robson Green fighting crime in 1950s Cambridgeshire, but now it has been announced that Grantchester is returning for a fourth series. ITV confirmed recently that both Norton and Wor Geet Canny Robson will be returning for the new run but also that this series will serve as Norton's final episodes as Sidney Chambers. As Norton's jazz-loving clergyman prepares to bow out of the village, we can expect a new vicar to arrive in Grantchester to take his place, with the casting of the new arrival due to be announced shortly. 'It's a bittersweet time for Grantchester fans, who will be cheering the return of the series but crushed to say goodbye to James,' Masterpiece Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton said in a statement. 'We want to assure them that the series they love will continue with brilliant new episodes and a captivating new vicar.' Along with Norton and Wor Geet Canny Robson Green, who plays Wor Geet Canny Detective Geordie Keating, Grantchester's fourth series will also see the return of regulars Al Weaver, Tessa Peake-Jones and Kacey Ainsworth. 'I'm ecstatic that - with Masterpiece and ITV - we are returning to Grantchester with all our favourite characters,' Kudos Executive Producer Diederick Santer added. 'While I'm sad that these will be James Norton's final episodes, we will make sure he goes out with a bang. We've got exciting plans for where the show is heading and the vicarage won't be vacant for long.' Filming on the fourth series will begin in June this year, with a broadcast date yet to be announced.
The seventh series of the popular BBC drama has only just ended but production on Call The Midwife series eight has already begun. On Monday of this week the official Call The Midwife Twitter page posted a picture of Jenny Agutter, who plays Sister Julienne on the drama, holding a clapperboard for the first take of the next series.
Marcella wrapped up its second series of grim murders and plot twists last week and inevitably the question of whether we'll see more of Anna Friel's disturbed police detective is being speculated upon. While it the series was - broadly speaking - a reasonably-sized ratings success, ITV has yet to officially announce a third series and it appears that series creator Hans Rosenfeldt is waiting on them to greenlight more. 'We want to do it,' he told The Huffington Post. 'But, it's really up to ITV whether they want to commission series three. The final scene in the last episode is basically a prologue for a third series, so we're really setting it up.' Rosenfeldt's comments about the final scene will come as no surprise to viewers who watched the latest episode, with some people complaining that the plot took a sharp turn in the last five minutes to set up a new series rather than trying to resolve the many dangling series two threads. Regarding those abandoned plot points, Rosenfeldt told the website: 'People get a little bit like, "What happened to that? What happened to this?" but there's really no answer. They were in the show for a couple of episodes and once we had no use for them, we don't really try to wrap it up for them. That's like real life where you don't really know what happened to them. The episode was very emotional, so hopefully that will take away any element of disappointment. We are very happy with it and we think it is really, really good.' Interestingly, Anna Friel almost didn't come back for series two because she reportedly didn't know what she could offer.
Paul O'Grady has revealed that he 'very nearly died' while making his new ITV documentary, For The Love Of Dogs In India. But, he didn't. O'Grady explained that getting sick was his own fault, as he was advised to keep off the streets in Delhi. 'But, I was lying in the gutter with these two gorgeous little puppies,' he told the Mirra. Although that should, really, be 'I was lying in the gutter with these two gorgeous - disease-ridden - little puppies' it would seem. 'I'm feeding them by hand and flicking maggots out of a rat bite and, of course, I must have touched my mouth or my face - you forget. When you work with animals, you're not squeamish. At five o'clock in the morning I'm still vomiting. Ten o'clock at night, I'm still at it. They called the doctor and he said, "You're going in because you're so dehydrated." When I got in there, they said your white blood cells are going berserk, you're heading for renal failure.' But, he didn't. O'Grady also said that he doesn't remember going into hospital and that he 'felt delirious.' Much as this blogger often feels when watching on of O'Grady's programmes. Despite all that, O'Grady said that he 'wanted to get back to work.'
Hayley Atwell has offered fans a sort of closure about the much-missed Agent Carter, revealing the 'real' reason for its cancellation. As it turns out, no-one really wanted Agent Carter to end apart from its home network. Not Marvel, not Hayley and certainly not the fans. The reason, she reveals, was simply money, suggesting that her other ABC drama, Conviction was 'more profitable.' Until it, too, was cancelled after just thirteen episodes: 'I think it was just a network economical thing,' Hayley said. 'It's a shame the network cancelled it and wanted to put me in something more mainstream,' she told The AV Club website, suggesting ABC wanted something 'less genre-specific. [The network thought], "Let's put Hayley Atwell in something more mainstream that's less genre-specific and see if we can get higher ratings." And unfortunately that isn't, as an actor, anything I've got control over.'
A type of plankton described as part of 'the beating heart' of the oceans has been named after the BBC's Blue Planet series. The tiny plant-like organism is regarded as a key element of the marine ecosystem. Scientists at University College London bestowed the honour on Sir David Attenborough and the documentary team. It is believed to be the first time that a species has been named after a television programme. A single-celled algae, the plankton was collected in the South Atlantic but is found throughout the world's oceans. It will now be officially known as Syracosphaera azureaplaneta, the latter translating from the Latin for 'blue planet'. Sir David received the honour during a visit to UCL to open the newly refurbished Earth Science department, he said that it was 'a great compliment' and he was delighted that it would help raise awareness of the importance of plankton to the oceans. 'If you said that plankton, the phytoplankton, the green oxygen-producing plankton in the oceans is more important to our atmosphere than the whole of the rainforest, which I think is true, people would be astonished. They are an essential element in the whole cycle of oxygen production and carbon dioxide and all the rest of it and you mess about with this sort of thing and the echoes and the reverberations and the consequences extend throughout the atmosphere.'
Allison Mack, the actress best known for the TV show Smallville, has appeared in court on charges of aiding a sex trafficking operation disguised as a mentoring group. Keith Raniere, the leader of the 'self-help group,' was extremely arrested by the FBI in Mexico in March. Mack is accused of helping him to recruit women to the alleged 'sinister sex cult' who were then exploited 'both sexually and for their labour,' the New York prosecuting attorney said. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges. At a brief hearing on Friday evening in a Brooklyn federal court, the judge ordered Mack to be held in custody. She will appear in court again on Monday. Prosecutors allege Raniere oversaw a 'slave and master' system in his group called Nxivm, where female members were expected to have sex with him and were branded with his initials. 'Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere,' Richard Donoghue, US Attorney for the Eastern District in New York, said in a statement. Prosecutors allege that Nxium has 'the features of a pyramid scheme,' in which members pays 'thousands of dollars' for courses to rise within its ranks. 'Mack directly or implicitly required her slaves to engage in sexual activity with Raniere,' the statement from the attorney's office claims. 'In exchange for this, Mack received financial and other benefits.' If found guilty, both Mack and Raniere face at least fifteen years bird in The State Pen. Allison Mack was a mainstay of the popular Superman television show Smallville, which ran from 2001 to 2011. She appeared as Chloe Sullivan in more episodes on the popular teen drama than any other actor except for Tom Welling, who played Clark Kent. In late March, Mack's Smallville co-star Kristin Kreuk - who played Lana Lang - was forced to issue a denial to rumours that she had also acted as a recruiter for Raniere. In a statement published on Twitter, that she said any such accusations were 'blatantly false' and that she had left the programme in 2013. She said she had 'minimal contact with those who were still involved.' Within Nxium, a smaller group called DOS - or Dominus Obsequious Sororium - was created. The quasi-Latin phrase roughly translates as 'Master Over The Slave Women.' DOS had female 'slaves' and 'masters' and encouraged women to recruit new slaves 'who in turn owed service not only to their own masters but also to masters above them' in the pyramid scheme, prosecutors allege. Raniere is claimed to have stood at the top of that pyramid, as the only man, with Mack at the top level of women, immediately below him. Investigators say Raniere had 'a rotating group' of approximately fifteen to twenty sexual partners, who were not allowed to discuss their relationship with him or have one with anyone else. Compliance was 'assured' in part through the use of 'collateral' which had to be provided when joining - which prosecutors said included damaging information about friends or family, nude photographs, or rights to assets. They allege that 'slaves' in the group had to eat extremely low-calorie diets because of Raniere's preference for thin women. The existence of the group's alleged 'darker side' came to widespread attention in October 2017, when the New York Times published a story including interviews with former members and their families. A statement from Nxivm on its website says it is 'working with the authorities' to demonstrate Raniere's 'innocence and true character.'
The BBC has lost the rights to cover England's upcoming cricket tours of Sri Lanka and the West Indies on radio to the commercial broadcaster TalkSport. It is the first time since 2005 that the BBC's Test Match Special has lost the rights to an England overseas tour. 'I know our loyal TMS listeners will be very disappointed,' wrote Jonathan Agnew on Twitter. Scott Taunton, the CEO of TalkSport owner Wireless Group was in a far more bullish mood, saying that winning the rights was 'a great victory' for the station. 'I'm delighted that we will be with England fans for every ball of the day throughout these winter tours,' he added. The free-to-air rights cover the tests, one-day internationals and T20s for the tours which start in Sri Lanka in October and the West Indies in early 2019. Test Match Special will, however, continue to broadcast England's home summer series through to 2024. A deal agreed last year will also see domestic and international cricket shown live on BBC television from 2020. In his own post, Agnew stressed that the decision was made by the Sri Lankan and West Indies cricket boards and by not the ECB. TalkSport's cricket coup follows News Corp's 2016 purchase of its parent company in a two hundred and twenty million knicker deal. In a statement, the BBC said: 'We put forward a competitive bid for these tours but it was unsuccessful on this occasion. We're disappointed because we know how much cricket fans value our coverage. We are still the home of cricket on the radio, as we demonstrated during the Ashes last winter. This summer, all England's matches will be live on Test Match Special and we have a long term deal for all England's home internationals through to 2024 as well as rights to the next three Ashes series, both home and away.' The ECB declined to comment on the decision. Probably, because they were too embarrassed.
Plans for a two-week Premier League winter break could be announced before the end of the current season. A break would be held in late January and early February 2020 and staggered to ensure that games could be televised on each weekend. The Football Association council talked about the move on Wednesday after reaching a deal to play the FA Cup fifth round in midweek and without replays. There will still be replays in the third and fourth rounds. That would limit any potential financial impact on English Football League teams missing out on extra gate revenue. The break, which would only be for Premier League clubs, would not affect Christmas or New Year fixtures. A final decision is yet to be reached, but talks are said to be 'at an advanced stage' after an agreement was reached between the FA, the Premier League and the EFL. The FA has long argued in favour of a winter break based on the belief that the Premier League's physical intensity leaves players over-tired for international tournaments. It is planned that the first break would be held before Euro 2020, at which Wembley will host seven matches, including both semi-finals and the final. A UEFA study published a few years ago indicated that a player is four times more likely to be injured in the final three months of the Premier League season than over the same period in other European leagues. There is also the mental benefits of having a break - offering 'refreshment for both mind and body.'
Arsene Wenger is to leave The Arse at the end of the season, ending a near twenty two-year reign as manager. The Frenchman departs a year before his latest contract was due to expire. The Gunners are currently sixth in the league and set to miss out on a top-four spot for the second straight season, with their hopes of reaching the Champions League resting on winning the Europa League. Wenger, sixty eight, won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including the Double in both 1998 and 2002. In 2004, he became the first manager since 1889 to lead a team through an English top-flight season unbeaten. 'I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years,' said Wenger. 'I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. To all the Arsenal lovers, take care of the values of the club.' Arsenal say that a successor will be appointed 'as soon as possible.' Appointed in October 1996, he is the Premier League's current longest-serving manager and has taken charge of a record eight hundred and twenty three games. But some Arse fans have turned on the Frenchman over the past three seasons as a result of their league performances. After winning the 2005 FA Cup, they waited another nine years - three thousand two hundred and eighty three days - for their next silverware. It came as they beat Hull City to win the 2014 FA Cup, before winning the trophy again the following season. The Arse have also struggled in Europe since losing to Barcelona in 2006 Champions League final. Sunday's defeat at yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle was their eleventh in the league this season, equalling their worst tally in a campaign under Wenger.
Being one of the smallest teams in the English Football League means nothing to Accrington Stanley, who have enjoyed unprecedented success this season and will reach new heights next term. It has been a season to remember - victory against Lancashire rivals Preston Both Ends in the Carabao Cup, striker Billy Kee being named League Two player of the season and now promotion to League One for the first time in the club's history courtesy of Tuesday's win against Yeovil Town. These really are the glory days for a team most football fans, for better or worse, still associate with a famous 1980s television advertisement for milk. But how have Accrington reached these lofty heights for a club of their relative small size? Accrington's cumulative attendance in the 2016-17 season was significantly less than, for example, this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United's average attendance for each match they played in the Championship last season (fifty one thousand). Since resigning from the Football League in 1962, the reformed Stanley have never played higher than the English fourth tier. The position they were in going into Tuesday's game at The Wham Stadium is in no small part down to a mid-season transformation. John Coleman's side have put together a stunning run of form in 2018, having been ninth in the table following their Boxing Day defeat at Carlisle. Since that loss, Accrington have won sixteen of nineteen League Two matches, with January's defeat by Crawley, a one-all draw at Barnet in February and Saturday's draw against Exeter City the only blemishes on an otherwise perfect second half of the season. Their good form this season has drawn comparisons to the Coleman side that won the Conference National title in 2006. 'I see a lot of parallels with the Conference-winning side,' Coleman told BBC Radio Lancashire. 'The way things have panned out and the way we've won games are very similar to the way we won them in the Conference. The spirit we had then, I see emerging in this squad and I hope it continues.' In his first spell with the club, Coleman led Stanley to three promotions from non-league to League Two, a division in which they have remained since 2007. Coleman left for Rochdale in 2012 and short spells at Southport and Irish side Sligo Rovers followed. Since his return to Accrington in 2014, Stanley have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes. The club came narrowly close to automatic promotion to League One for the first time in their history in 2016, but were denied when Bristol Rovers scored a ninety second-minute goal against Dagenham & Redbridge to take third place on goal difference on the final day of the season. Stanley then went on to lose their play-off semi-final to AFC Wimbledon, with Lyle Taylor's extra-time goal in the second leg the difference between the teams. In the two years since that defeat, players have come and gone - among them Omar Beckles to Shrewsbury Town of League One and Josh Windass to Scottish Premiership club Rangers. With Accrington having the second-smallest average attendance in the EFL, renting a 3G pitch to train on as they do not own their own training ground, as well as an impression among some that they are a figure of fun, does Coleman get annoyed by the comparisons to richer clubs? 'It doesn't annoy me,' he said. 'Any publicity is good publicity as far as I'm concerned. If it's positive publicity then we are going to be forever the David and Goliath story. All the credit has to go to the players because of how hard they work, the desire and determination that they have shown without the greatest facilities to work in on a daily basis. But they put that to the back of their mind and get on with the job.' It has been an eventful season for the club off the field, too. Accrington captured national press attention after the EFL ludicrously 'reminded them of their responsibilities' following owner Andy Holt's announcement that he bought the players food after wins. Supporters have taken this in good spirit, with a couple of home fans attending Saturday's draw with Exeter in topical fancy dress following the club's run-in with the EFL. Despite the publicity - good and bad - Coleman is happy with the impression some have of his team. 'I don't think we're seen as an underdog in the games over the past three or four weeks, but the size of our club and our structure means we are going to be seen as minnows,' Coleman said prior to their game against Exeter. 'We can get ourselves on a stable foot and have a nice ground and a nice stand built and a training ground, and we can then start developing a proper club in this town instead of a club that's always ever-shifting and changing just to get by. We're a self-sustaining club who can compete in the English Football League.'
Meanwhile, a local supermarket has produced a new logo for their bottles to mark Accrington's rise to the third tier. 'If we had a pound for every time milk is mentioned to us we would be rich club,' said Accrington's commercial manager Daniel Bowerbank. The new milk logo has Accrington Stanley's crest on the bottle with the question 'Who are they?' 'It's a classic advert and put Accrington on the map, but hopefully we will be recognised for more now,' said Bowerbank. 'We even had Ian Rush tweeting us about milk - it's great to have little bits like that but slowly we are getting away from it.' But, it is certainly not something the club hides from, so when some local ASDA employees and a photographer turned up at the stadium unannounced to try to plug their milk they were welcomed in. Commercially, Accrington get nothing, says Bowerbank, but they do hope the supermarket shifts a few extra pints of milk. 'If the community want to get behind the football club like that, it's great,' he added. 'What we got was milk to make a few brews for the players and enough to last us the week.'
Blunderland manager Chris Coleman says that Saturday's Championship visit of fellow strugglers Burton Albinos could be their 'last chance' in their bid to avoid the dreaded drop. The Black Cats are bottom of the table, six points from safety, with three games of the season remaining. Burton are just a point above The Mackems and defeat for either would be a huge blow to their survival hopes. 'We have to give everything and hope and pray we get a bit of Lady Luck,' the Welshman told BBC Newcastle. 'The fact there is still a glimmer of hope, an outside chance, is maybe a miracle in itself.' Coleman added: 'Everything is on the game on Saturday. We have just got to win. We need to take care of our business, more than any other game this season.' Blunderland, who have won just one of their past fifteen league games, appear to be on the brink of a second successive relegation. The loser of their game on Saturday will go down if other results go against them - while if Blunderland and Burton draw, they will both be relegated if Notlob and Birmingham both win. The Wearsiders saw their ten-year stay in the Premier League end last year and could drop into the third tier for just the second time in their history, following their sole campaign at that level in 1987. 'If you think about where we are, at the start of the season you never would have thought it,' Coleman said. 'Over the forty three games we have not had enough to make sure we are away from where we are. With three games to go, nobody is going to back us to get out of it. Until it is mathematically impossible. If I am talking to you on Saturday evening with three points in it and two games to play then we are still in the fight. There is a possibility of that and we have to hold on to that and hope for that with everything we have got.' Coleman has won five of his twenty six league games since taking charge in November, but is remaining upbeat ahead of the visit of The Brewers, who are one place and one point above The Mackem Filth in the table. 'We have got a real good chance of getting three points, which could keep us in there,' he added. 'The worst thing will be if teams around us give us a chance and we don't take it. We have got to get the best out of what we have got and be as positive as we can. We are not in a position where we can think it doesn't matter. It always matters.'
A fan has been extremely arrested after running on to the pitch to 'remonstrate' with the referee in Rochdale's goalless League One draw against neighbours Oldham Not Very Athletic in midweek. The supporter charged towards official Peter Bankes after a first-half penalty was awarded to Rochdale. He slipped and was subsequently 'restrained' by Oldham defender Anthony Gerrard and by stewards. A twenty seven-year-old man has been charged with pitch encroachment, possession of class A drugs and 'using threatening words or behaviour.' Oldham have also confirmed that the man has been given a two-year banning order from the club. 'The supporter has admitted his shame and apologised to the club, however we condemn his actions in the strongest possible terms and have made this swift decision,' said a club statement. A Rochdale statement added: 'Rochdale Football Club would like to thank Oldham for acting swiftly and for working closely with us on this matter.' Following a delay, visiting goalkeeper Johny Placide saved Joe Rafferty's penalty which was awarded after Gerrard brought down Joe Thompson in the box.
A policewoman was reportedly 'seriously injured' following an explosion at the Vasil Levski Stadium during Levski Sofia's Bulgarian league match with city rivals CSKA. The officer was hit by broken glass after a device exploded near a stadium entrance, police officials confirmed. 'She underwent surgery but there are many pieces of glass on her face and in the eye,' police chief commissioner Anton Zlatanov said. 'It's not a firework, it's a bomb.' Zlatanov added that 'more than twenty Levski fans' were detained after the match. The Sofia derby ended in a two-two draw.
Fenerbahce and Besiktas' Turkish Cup semi-final second leg was abandoned after the visitors' boss Senol Gunes was hit on the head by an object thrown from the crowd. Gunes was taken to hospital after being struck in the fifty eighth minute at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium on Thursday. Besiktas players left the pitch with referee Mete Kalkavan, who subsequently called the game off. Besiktas' Pepe, the former Real Madrid defender, was sent off after thirty minutes, while the match was delayed for five minutes in the first half after projectiles where thrown at Besiktas players. Television pictures appeared to show sixty five-year-old Gunes falling to the ground and clutching his head after being hit during a row between Fenerbahce fans and Besiktas players on the bench. Besiktas chairman Fikret Orman called it 'a sad day,' while the Turkish Football Federation said it would make a decision on the match in the 'coming weeks.'
Everton boss and odious glake Sam Allardyce says that a survey sent by the club to fans asking them to rate his performance on a scale of zero to ten was 'a marketing slip-up.' The survey was part of an exercise with a fan panel designed to discover how 'connected' they feel to the club. Allardyce replaced Ronald Koeman as Everton's manager in November. 'The survey passed out by the director of marketing was a slip-up,' he said. 'His knowledge is about marketing and not football. He got things wrong.' One or two people even believed him. Fans were asked to rate the statement: 'I have a high level of trust in the current manager and coaching staff eg in making the right decisions to get the best out of the team.' Allardyce has guided Everton to a current position of ninth in the Premier League after taking twenty seven points from twenty games since replacing the sacked Koeman. However, there has been growing discontent among some supporters over what they perceive as a negative playing style. As, indeed, there have been at just about every club that Allardyce has been manager of in the past. The former England boss suffered abuse from Everton supporters during and after Saturday's draw at Swansea City, having been subjected to similar treatment after the defeat at Burnley on 3 March. 'It hasn't made any difference to me,' Allardyce sneered. 'I'm planning for the future, until someone tells me otherwise. If that was to happen I'd be more than extremely disappointed.' Everton send out a fan survey several times a year. The club sent the same list of questions to some fans last May, including one about their view on Koeman.
Bradley Wood has been very banned for six years after twice intentionally getting booked during Lincoln City's FA Cup run last season. Wood was found extremely guilty by a Football Association tribunal of two match-fixing offences after telling friends that he would try to get booked in Lincoln's victories over Ipswich Town and Burnley. The FA said that seven people, including 'two close friends,' bet on him to be booked in those matches. The potential winnings totalled around ten grand but not all were paid. Wood, who now plays for Alfreton Town, contested both charges but admitted twenty three other betting offences. The FA Independent Regulatory Commission judgement said the fact that none of the seven had previously bet on bookings and the size of the bets made them stand out. Wood was given a five-year ban for the match-fixing offences and a further year after admitting twenty two charges of betting on the outcome of matches and one charge of passing on information. He was fined three thousand seven hundred and twenty five knicker, ordered to pay costs and has been suspended from all football-related activity until 8 March, 2024. Lincoln City, who reached the FA Cup quarter-finals last season after wins over Ipswich and Burnley, said that they were informed about the investigation in April 2017. Wood was suspended for the final two weeks of his contract and released in May.
A self-confessed Nazi who called for the genocide of Jewish people has been jailed for three years. Which some might regard as a rather short sentence for such a utterly sick and atrocious crime. The twenty two-year-old Lancashire man, who 'cannot be named for legal reasons,' was found extremely guilty in January of two counts of stirring up racial hatred. Preston Crown Court heard that he committed the offences 'in speeches at far-right gatherings' in 2015 and 2016. Judge Robert Altham said that the defendant's comment had been 'intended to mobilise others.' He said the intent of the man, who was involved with the now-banned group National Action, was 'clear.' Judge Altham said: 'He seeks to raise street armies, perpetrate violence against Jewish people and ultimately bring about genocide.' He added that they were 'not idle comments said in the heat of the moment' and he was 'resolute in his original views and withdraws nothing.' The judge described an apology submitted in mitigation as 'meaningless' at best and 'dishonest' at worst. He sentenced the man to eighteen months in prison for each offence, to be served consecutively. The court heard that the defendant had described Jewish people as 'parasites' and called for them to be 'eradicated' at an event in Yorkshire. At another demonstration he claimed Britain 'took the wrong side' in World War Two. The court heard the defendant also said: 'You can call me a Nazi, you can call me a fascist, that's what I am.' Judge Altham said material discovered by police at his home was 'as shocking and inflammatory as it is misguided.' Wayne Jackson, defending, said that his client was 'not making excuses' for his behaviour and had been 'impressionable in the past.'
A university graduate is believed to be the first woman convicted under new domestic abuse laws after scalding her boyfriend with boiling water, stabbing him and keeping food from him. Jordan Worth banned her partner from their bed, decided what clothes he could wear, isolated him from friends and family and even took over his Facebook account. She was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after pleading extremely guilty to the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship, introduced in 2015, as well as wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Worth, who reportedly came from 'a loving and supportive family,' made her boyfriend's life a misery, exercising control over him and deciding what he could wear shortly after they moved in together, Luton Crown Court heard. Raised in Ridgmont, she had been a high performer at school and was a trained gymnast. She gained a two: one Honours Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Hertfordshire and had been volunteering for an animal charity but wanted to become a teacher. She had also raised money children in Africa. But Judge Nic Madge heard that 'there were two sides' to Worth, who controlled every aspect of her partner's life at their home in the village of Stewartby in Bedfordshire. Worth and her partner had met at college in 2012 when they were both sixteen, Maryam Syed, prosecuting, told the court. Worth reportedly became violent towards the man, who suffered from hydrocephalus (caused by a buildup of fluid inside the skull) that made him vulnerable. She used blunt objects to strike him, wounded him with a knife and didn't help him get to hospital for treatment. For nine months he was not permitted to sleep in the same bed as her, the court was told. The charge of controlling or coercive behaviour covered a period from April of 2016 to June 2017, when police were called to the couple's home. Neighbours said that they 'often' heard the couple arguing and the sounds of things being thrown in the house, Syed said. The victim was heard by his neighbours shouting at Worth: 'Get off me, you are hurting me.' He was seen on occasions with black eyes and to be limping and with his arm in sling. Once Worth was seen at window by a neighbour 'armed' with a screwdriver or hammer, the court heard. Another neighbour heard the victim shouting 'Get off me. Get off my head. Don't keep doing that to my head.' When paramedics were called, they noted injuries to his hand and burns to arms and legs, which were being self-treated with cling film. He was taken to Bedford Hospital's acute clinical unit and then to Addenbrookes Hospital. Syed said: 'Five per cent of his total body surface was scalded.' Days later, Worth was arrested. Judge Madge told Worth that as well as the violence she had carried out on her partner she had refused him adequate bedding and food. He said she would 'belittle' her partner and discouraged him from contacting friends and his family. 'She accepts that she has in the past, on a number of occasions, used blunt objects and implements to strike him and that he suffered injuries as a result of her doing so,' he said. 'She accepts using boiling or hot water to cause injury to him. She accepts that she has in the past used a knife to cause injury to her partner. He suffered from hydrocephalus and had a vulnerable head and he became increasingly isolated.' Worth was made the subject of a restraining order which prevents her from contacting her ex for an indefinite period.
A woman in Lynden, Washington was very arrested early Sunday morning after deputies say that a man reported she hit him in the head with a baseball bat and was walking around with a loaded rifle threatening to kill him. Deputies responded to a home in Lyden at about 2am when a man called nine-one-one whilst hiding outside the home saying that his girlfriend of two years struck him with a baseball bat. Witnesses inside the home say Julie Solomon also slashed the victim's tires and had a loaded rifle after she argued with the victim and accused him of cheating on her. Deputies say that Solomon appeared 'highly intoxicated' and resisted arrest, even kicking and stomping on deputies' feet. Solomon is a previously convicted felon and was arrested on a multitude of charges.
A US online retailer has been 'reprimanded' for promoting an explicit advert for a penis extender strap within video games played by children. UK watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority said that had 'behaved irresponsibly' and must 'ensure' its adverts were 'properly targeted at appropriate age groups' in the future. It marks the third time in five months that the San Francisco-based firm has been found to have breached the rules. In each case it has failed to respond to the charges. The powers the ASA has to punish offenders are limited, but it told the BBC that it would 'continue to apply pressure on where necessary.' Although, given that the company appears to have taken not a blind bit of notice to previous applications of pressure, one could legitimately question exactly how effective that application of pressure has or, indeed, will be. The latest ruling concerns an advert which appeared on 26 November. It showed an animated image of a penis above a second animation of the strap being applied. Members of the public reported seeing the imagery in two puzzle-themed apps: Zynga's Crazy Cake Swap and Ketchapp's 2048. Both have a Pegi Three rating, meaning they had been judged to be 'suitable for all ages' by Europe's video games ratings authority. In addition, the advert was also spotted in Peel Smart Remote, a TV remote control app. Ketchapp said it 'believed' that it should not be held responsible for adverts served up in its software, but added that it had increased the age rating of all of its games in response to the complaint. The ASA said that Zynga did not respond to its inquiries while Peel Technologies' reply was 'not substantive.' 'We considered that given the content of the apps, they were likely to have a broad appeal to all ages including children,' the watchdog's ruling stated. The ad must not appear again in an untargeted medium.' The ruling comes just a week after the ASA upheld other complaints made against Wish and its parent Contextlogic. These followed its promotion of adverts featuring a baby wearing ripped shorts that exposed its bottom 'for no reason that was relevant to the product.' In some cases the photo appeared alongside a picture of a woman wearing an unzipped cat suit, who was also exposing parts of her buttocks. These adverts had appeared on Facebook as well as an unidentified app, and were judged to be 'offensive.' Prior to this, the ASA criticised Wish in November for an advert featuring a 'red and bloody' temporary tattoo placed on a woman's shoulder. It had appeared in the game Simon's Cat Crunch Time last July. The authority said that children who had seen it 'might have suffered distress.' The ASA does not have the power to impose fines. However, it told the BBC it had 'taken other action' to tackle the problem. Although it did not reveal what that other action entailed.
There are not many people in the world who are able to change the name of a nation. But King Mswati can - he is one of the world's few absolute monarchs. King Mswati III of Swaziland announced on Wednesday that he was renaming the country 'the Kingdom of eSwatini.' The monarch announced the official change in a stadium during celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of Swazi independence. The celebrations also marked the king's fiftieth birthday. The new name means 'land of the Swazis.' The change was unexpected, but King Mswati has been referring to Swaziland for years as eSwatini. It was the name the king used when he addressed the UN general assembly in 2017 and at the state opening of the country's parliament in 2014. He explained that the name had caused some confusion, saying: 'Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland.' The son of Sobhuza II, who reigned for 82 years, King Mswati currently has fifteen wives. According to official biographers, his father took one hundred and twenty five wives during his reign.
A rapist who manipulated a girl into having sex with him by pretending to be a ghost has been jailed for twenty six years. Liam Clarke knew his victim was terrified of evil spirits and used that exploit her, Exeter Crown Court heard. Clarke, of Crediton, was convicted of four rapes, three assaults by penetration, sexual activity with a child and eight counts of indecency or indecent assault. Judge David Evans said: 'Your offending across the years was monstrous.' The court heard how Clarke's victim was 'petrified' of the occult following 'a bad experience during an Ouija board.' He made 'strange noises' at night which left the fifteen-year-old girl terrified and pushed notes under her bedroom door claiming to be from the ghost. Pretending to be the spirit, he then made threats to the teenager and told her the only way of getting rid of the demon was by having sex with him. Sentencing Clarke, Judge Evans said: 'She said she did not want to have sex with you but you threatened her repeatedly. You made deliberate use of her deep fear of ghosts and spirits.' The offences took place between 1997 to 2016 in Torquay, Crediton and in Hampshire. Clarke was arrested in July last year and found guilty at trial in March. He also repeatedly abused two young girls in Southampton by putting coins in his underwear and getting them to play hide and seek.
A woman in Jacksonville, Mississippi, reportedly 'accidentally shot her husband in the buttocks,' according to the MS News Now website. The injury appears to have been non life-threatening. No additional information is known at this time, except that in all likelihood, it really hurt.
A man in the UK who caught the world's 'worst-ever case' of super-gonorrhoea has been cured. Sexual health doctors say that he was 'very lucky' and the case was 'a major wake-up call for everybody.' The man reportedly picked up the superbug during sex with a woman in South East Asia, despite having a British partner. It was the first-ever case of the infection being incurable with first choice antibiotics, but now two similar cases have been reported in Australia. The original case came to light last month and was linked to travel earlier in the year. The main antibiotic treatment - a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone - failed to treat the disease. A detailed analysis of his infection suggested one last antibiotic might work and he has since been treated with ertapenem. Doctor Gwenda Hughes, the head of sexually-transmitted infections at Public Health England, said: 'We are pleased to report that the case of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea has been successfully treated.' The public health body launched an investigation to track down any further cases - including in his British partner - but says that the superbug has not spread in the UK. Yet. Discussions between Public Health England, the World Health Organisation and the European Centres for Disease Control agreed this was 'the most serious case' of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea ever detected. But now two 'similar' cases have apparently been discovered in Australia. One also involved sex in South East Asia, the other person reported no foreign travel. Doctor Hughes said that they will be 'challenging' to treat and were 'a timely reminder' to everyone that super-gonorrhoea is 'likely' to be more common in the future.
A former Houston nine-one-one operator who hung up on thousands of people including calls for help during robberies and homicides will spend ten days in jail and eighteen months on probation. Harris County jurors on Wednesday found Crenshanda Williams extremely guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls. Williams spent a year-and-a-half taking calls at the Houston Emergency Centre until she was caught in August 2016 and had her ass fired by the city. A supervisor who oversaw Williams was also placed on a year of internal probation, officials said at the time. Williams' bad and naughty misdeeds came to light after HEC officials performing routine monthly audits of nine-one-one calls noticed 'a high volume' of Williams' calls lasted less than twenty seconds. In a news release detailing the sentencing, prosecutors said that a review of call records showed Williams hung up on 'thousands' of calls. The calls included one where a store owner tried to report a violent robbery and another where a caller dialled nine-one-one concerned about two drivers racing in an area on the Interstate where people had been killed speeding just weeks earlier. Harris County prosecutors said that the county had 'an obligation' to hold public servants criminally accountable when they break the law and the community's trust.
A Louisiana woman is facing burglary charges after she allegedly broke into a home and had a snack in the bathtub. Officers discovered Evelyn Washington in the Monroe home. The victim in the case said that she arrived at home and saw an unknown woman, later identified as Washington, very naked in her bathtub and eating Cheetos. Washington told the victim that an unknown man 'told' her to break into the gaff. Officers located a broken window on the East side of the residence with an ice chest under the window sill which Washington had, apparently, used to gain access. The bathtub was still full of water and a plate of food including half-eaten Cheetos was found on the lavatory seat next to the tub. Both the suspect and victim claimed that they did not know each other. Washington was booked into Ouachita Correctional Centre on charges of burglary and criminal damage to property.
Two 'well-known Destin Realtors' - for, such things exist, apparently - were extremely arrested on Friday night after allegedly causing a disturbance at a local bar, according to their Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office arrest reports. On their way to the Okaloosa County Jail, forty seven-year-old Tracy Bari and her daughter, twenty four-year-old Julia Bari, both are said to have told the deputy they were going to 'murder' him and his family for arresting them. Deputies were called to The Red Door Saloon at around 2am on Friday about customers that were causing a disturbance. Employees told the deputies that the women had 'become impatient' whilst waiting for drinks. They 'started yelling' and 'becoming very disrespectful,' at which point employees tried to escort the women out of the bar, according to the offence reports. They began to punch and kick multiple staff members who escorted them outside. Once outside, Julia Bari allegedly punched an employee in the face multiple times, causing visual discoloration to his face, according to her arrest report. When deputies tried to detain the women, Tracy Bari kicked one of them in the leg. In the patrol car, Tracy tried to kick out the window, continuing after her legs were shackled. Julia gouged her window with the steel cuffs, leaving deep scratches. According to body-cam worn by the deputies, Tracy announced that they 'know lots of rich and famous people with lots of money' and added that the deputies were going to be out of a job. 'I'm on the radio. I'm also famous,' Tracy boasted. 'I'm on HGTV.' According to Bari's website, she was featured on an episode of a TV series called How Close Can I Beach? - no, me neither. Tracy Bari was charged with felony resisting an officer with violence as well as misdemeanour battery. Her daughter was also charged with misdemeanour battery. Both women have been very banned from The Red Door Saloon for a year.
The president of Uganda has said that he wants to ban the nation's citizens from practicing oral sex because 'the mouth is for eating.' President Yoweri Museveni - who is definitely not mental nor nothing - blamed 'outsiders' for 'trying to convince Ugandans' to perform oral sex on one another and said that he was issuing a public 'warning' about it. He told the press: 'Let me take this opportunity to warn our people publicly about the wrong practices indulged in and promoted by some of the outsiders. One of them is what they call oral sex. The mouth is for eating, not for sex. We know the address of sex, we know where sex is.' Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act in 2014, making it illegal to be gay in Uganda. So, definitely not repressing his own latent tendencies with overtly aggressive displays of masculinity, then? Oh no, very hot water.
In September 2017, California resident Summer Sandoval filed a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against confectionery manufacturer YumEarth Inc. Within her complaint, Sandoval claimed that YumEarth 'knowingly engaged in deceptive marketing tactics' by neglecting to list 'sugar' as one of its ingredients for YumEarth Organics Vitamin C Pops, instead using the more opaque term 'evaporated cane juice,' which is, basically, sugar. Sandoval reportedly purchased the lollipops under the misapprehension that they were healthy and did not have copious amounts of sugar. Last week, as Legal Newsline reported, a district judge moved the case back to San Bernardino Superior Court because there wasn't sufficient proof that the number of bags Sandoval purchased would meet exceed the seventy five thousand dollar threshold which would qualify the case for federal jurisdiction. (That would have been about eight thousand bags of lollies.) To Sandoval's credit, evaporated cane juice is a contentious term; as the FDA noted in 2016, the term is 'somewhat misleading' to those consumers who 'may be unaware' that it refers to sugar. YumEarth, in November, moved to dismiss Sandoval's claim, calling it 'frivolous and nonsensical.' The company also noted that Sandoval's lawyer, Ryan M Ferrell, has got troubles of his own. According to the Legal Newsline, Ferrell was implicated in a 2015 racketeering lawsuit which accused Ferrell and his former firm, Newport Trial Group, of using for-hire college students as plaintiffs in class action lawsuits. Ferrell denies any wrongdoing. The case continues.
A fictional video reporting the onset of thermonuclear war and featuring BBC News branding has been shared widely. It is not real but 'alarmed viewers' have reportedly contacted the BBC, apparently convinced it is true. Although if it had been true what they Hell they thought the BBC were going to tell to do they isn't entirely made clear. Build a fallout shelter really quickly, probably. On YouTube, the company behind the video clearly stated it was fiction before their account was removed. But on WhatsApp, where the video has been passed on without that clarification, some users were fooled. Opening with a familiar shot of the BBC newsroom, a grim-faced presenter announces a 'serious incident between Russia and NATO. Although the details are uncertain, early reports indicate that a Russian surveillance aircraft was fired upon by naval vessels of NATO forces,' the presenter says. As the report progresses, the incident escalates to the point where Russian warships have fired on NATO targets, the Royal Family has been moved, an emergency broadcast advises everyone else to stay at home and thermonuclear war erupts, destroying the German city of Mainz and part of Frankfurt. It is nicely produced, but there are several key giveaways. The fact that the seventh trumpet hasn't sounded being the most obvious.
Meanwhile, a recycled prediction for the end of the world is making its way around the Interweb once again, with earnest doomsayers warning that a mysterious - and fucking big - planet is hurtling towards a collision with Earth and that it will hit on 23 April. Conspiracy theorist David Meade is predicting that Planet X, also known as Nibiru, will show up at the end of April, sparking Armageddon and with bottomless pit and the wailing and the gnashing of teeth and all that. Interestingly, Meade also predicted that Nibiru was going to hit Earth in September 2017. And then again in October 2017. And then again in November 2017. So, presumably working on the assumption that if you keep saying something often enough, sooner or later you're bound to be right, here's having another go.
A diamond-bearing space rock which exploded in Earth's atmosphere in 2008 was part of a lost planet from the early Solar System, a study suggests. The parent 'proto-planet' would have existed billions of years ago before breaking up in a collision and was about as large as Mercury or Mars. A team has published their results in the journal Nature Communications. They argue that the pressures necessary to produce diamonds of this kind could only occur in planet of this size. Using three different types of microscopy, the researchers characterised the mineral and chemical make-up of the diamond-bearing rocks. The fragments were scattered across the Nubian desert of Northern Sudan after the asteroid 2008 TC3 exploded thirty seven kilometres above the ground in October 2008. About fifty pieces of the four metre-wide space rock - ranging in size from one to ten centimetres - were eventually gathered. The fragments are known collectively as the Almahata Sitta meteorites (the name is Arabic for 'Station Six', after a nearby train station). Some of the material trapped in the diamonds since formation (these features are known as inclusions) can only form above pressures of about twenty gigapascals, the scientists report. Such conditions 'can only be attained in a large planetary body.' Farhang Nabiei, from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland and colleagues say that the measurements provide 'the first compelling evidence for such a large body that has since disappeared.' The finding also boosts the theory that today's Solar System planets were forged from the remains of tens of large 'proto-planets.' The parent body for 2008 TC3 may have formed in the Solar System's first ten million years. The meteorites from this collision fall into a category of space rocks called ureilites, which account for less than one per cent of objects that collide with Earth. The researchers suggest all ureilite asteroids may be remnants of the same proto-planet. The team wrote: 'Mars-sized bodies (such as the giant impactor which formed The Moon) were common and either accreted to form larger planets, or collided with the Sun or were ejected from the Solar System. 'This study provides convincing evidence that the ureilite parent body was one such large "lost" planet before it was destroyed by collisions.'
The US space agency's Tess satellite has launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a mission to find thousands of new worlds beyond our Solar System. The mission will survey a great swathe of stars, hoping to catch the dips in brightness that occur when orbiting planets traverse their faces. Tess's goal is to compile a catalogue that other telescopes can then focus in on for more detailed analysis. 'Tess is equipped with four very sensitive cameras that will enable it to monitor nearly the entire sky,' said George Ricker, the mission's principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which leads the project. 'The types of planets that Tess will detect are revealed by a process called a transit. We can see the shadow, effectively, of the planet as it passes in front of its host star.' NASA's latest space telescope went up on a SpaceX Falcon Nine rocket at 18:51 local time. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite was supposed to have departed on Monday, but the rocket company had wanted some extra time to investigate an issue connected with the launch vehicle's guidance system. Wednesday's forty nine-minute flight put the satellite on a highly elliptical path around the Earth. Mission planners have designed a novel orbit that will see the observatory corralled by the gravity of The Moon. This will lead to it using very little fuel to manage operations, enabling the mission to keep on working for a couple of decades, or for as long as NASA finds value in its science. Tess follows in the footsteps of Kepler, a groundbreaking space telescope launched in 2009. It also used the transit technique to confirm more than two thousand exoplanets. But Kepler, for its primary mission at least, only looked at a very small patch of sky and most of its discoveries were simply too far away or too dim to permit further study. The Tess strategy will be different on a number of fronts. First and foremost, it is a wide-field survey. Its cameras will scan big strips of the sky over twenty seven-day periods, taking in eighty five per cent of the heavens in two years. 'Over those first two years, which is the nominal mission for Tess, we're expecting to add thousands of planets; something like two to three thousand planets that are certainly below the size of Jupiter, and most of them below the size of Neptune. So, the kind that have the potential for being the terrestrial-type worlds that we're most interested in,' MIT co-worker Jennifer Burt told BBC News. All the discoveries will go into a catalogue that other observatories can then mine. 'Think of it as a phone book; you'll be able to look up the ones that interest you,' said Tess deputy science director, Sara Seager, also of MIT. 'But it's not just quantity; it's quality as well - because the planets we do find will be bright enough and close enough to Earth that we really can do follow-up measurements with them.' Tess's mission is very timely. The next few years will see a new generation of super-telescopes come online that have the technologies to probe the atmospheres of nearby worlds. Scientists will be looking for gases that are potential 'biomarkers' - the chemical signatures such as molecular oxygen, methane and water that could indicate the presence of lifeforms. Perhaps the key actor in this field will be the successor to Hubble - the James Webb space observatory, due in orbit from 2020. Its six metre-wide primary mirror and infrared instruments seem perfectly tuned for the job. But there will be others as well, especially in Europe where exoplanet science is very strong. The ground-based European Extremely Large Telescope, with its thirty nine metre-wide primary mirror, will certainly be targeting Tess discoveries when it becomes operational in the early 2020s. And then there is the recently selected European Space Agency telescope known as Ariel, which will launch in the late 2020s with the very specific ambition of studying exoplanet atmospheres. 'Tess will be extremely important for us,' said Ariel's principal investigator Giovanna Tinetti from University College London. 'In particular, it is expected that many super-Earths will be discovered around very bright stars by Tess and it's clear these will be absolutely great targets for Ariel,' she told the BBC.
From 1999 to 2001 it was the home of Tim Bisley and Daisy Steiner, two geeky North Londoners prone to finding themselves and their motley collection of friends - in surreal and awkward social situations. Today, the Tufnell Park house which featured in the cult Channel Four sitcom Spaced is up for sale. And, evoking memories of character reactions when they heard how much Marsha had been offered for it in the show itself, it can be yours for a mere four million smackers. The grade II listed detached Victorian house, consists of nine bedrooms (including a two bedroom garden flat), three bathrooms and four reception rooms. Immaculately decorated throughout, it is a far cry from the cheap flat where Simon Pegg's Tim sat glued to his PlayStation, while Jessica Hynes' Daisy was bogling 'for research.' The property is also blessed with 'period features throughout,' as well as large front and back gardens. While the house's exterior featured prominently in the show, the majority of interior shots were actually filmed at Ealing Studios and Twickenham Film Studios. In the show, the property was advertised as fully furnished for ninety quid a week. But fans will have to dig considerably deeper if they want to buy the gaff and take the place of Tim and Daisy.
This week, this blogger finally got around to watching the first series of Westworld in full, dear blog reader. This blogger has had the preview discs for the ten episodes for a year and he thinks he might've even watched the first couple of episodes at one point but, because he had stuff to do, he then put them to one side and for one reason or another never got back to the much-talked-about SF drama until this week. Still, given that it took Keith Telly Topping about five years of constant badgering from friends before he got into Game Of Thrones and three years before he caught up with Peaky Blinders, he takes being only a year late to this particular party as a sign of some personal progress! Sometimes Keith Telly Topping gets in on the ground floor of series and sometimes, it takes the deafening sound of a million voices shouting 'why aren't you watching this, Keith Telly Topping you foolish fool?' over and over again until his brain explodes before he get there. It's swings and roundabouts, innit?
Recently, dear blog reader, this blogger has been told - told, mark you, not asked! - by several dear Facebook fiends that he should be having at it with this 'Ten Day Album Challenge' malarkey which lots of people on Facebook are currently doing. But, he's not going to. For several reasons not least of which are 1) yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a geet contrary sod at the best of times; 2) they're LPs not albums. Albums are things your parents keep photos of their wedding in; 3) these sort of things are seldom very interesting and 4) if Keith Telly Topping were to list ten LPs that actually did have an influence on his life the list would, realistically, be largely made up of a bunch of singles compilations which he bought - or had bought for him - between the ages of eight and thirteen. So, instead, Keith Telly Topping has been doing the 'Singles Acquired Before The Age Of Eleven Which Keith Telly Topping Thought Were Mad-Cool Then And Still Quite Likes Now' challenge. And, it was quite good fun, as it happens.
The television game show Supermarket Sweep brought bright lights and music to shopping and made a star of its presenter, Dale Winton, who has died this week aged sixty two; the cause of his death was not announced. He was flamboyant, personable and sensitive, once saying: 'Every guy in the world would love to be Mister Macho, but I am camp and you cannot lie to the public. If you're yourself, they'll either love you or they won't.' The British version of Supermarket Sweep, based on an American format, featured contestants answering questions and riddles, giving them the opportunity to run around the studio supermarket filling their trolleys in a bid to get through to the final Super Sweep, with a two grand prize at stake. It ran in ITV's daytime schedule from 1993 to 2001 and was revived in 2007. After hosting various National Lottery results shows from 1996, Winton had a long run on peak-time television as presenter of The National Lottery: In It To Win It (2002 to 2016), with contestants battling on winners' row for a potential prize of one hundred thousand knicker. Dale was born in London to Gary Winton, who owned a furniture shop and Shirley, who acted as Sheree Winton and was once dubbed 'the English Jayne Mansfield' for her appearances in film and TV comedies alongside stars such as Spike Milligan, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Terry-Thomas, Sid James and Frankie Howerd. Dale was named after Dale Robertson, the star of the TV western Wells Fargo. His parents divorced when he was eleven and his father died two years later. At the age of twenty one, Dale found his mother - who had depression - dead in her bedroom after taking an overdose of barbiturates. It was her fourth attempt to take her own life. Winton revealed in his 2002 autobiography, My Story, that he had never told her he was gay. He also talked on the TV programme Loose Women in 2016 about having depression himself while coping with the end of a relationship. 'I should have taken myself off the TV, but I didn't,' he said. 'I always thought, "Get over yourself." But my mum died of it. It exists and anybody out there who has had it knows it exists. I would not leave the house. Five years. I've totally got through it. It was triggered by a very bad break-up.' Although his mother hoped he would become a lawyer or an accountant, Winton left Aldenham school at sixteen, determined to have his own career in showbusiness. He went through a string of jobs, including selling timeshare apartments abroad, while working as a DJ in clubs in Richmond upon Thames. In 1974, he was given his own radio show on the United Biscuits Network, which broadcast to the company's employees in factories across Britain, then three years later joined Radio Trent in Nottingham. Stints followed at Radio Danube in Yugoslavia, Chiltern Radio in Luton and Beacon Radio in Wolverhampton. By then, he had broken into television with Pet Watch (1986), appearing alongside the vet Bruce Fogle in a Sunday early-evening show about keeping domestic animals, and had his own chat show on the Lifestyle Channel a year later. Following the launch of Supermarket Sweep, he hosted The Weekend Show (1995) for the BBC, featuring quirky and feelgood stories from around the country. At the same time, he presented Pets Win Prizes (1995), with animals in games such as owl races and Hard Hat Hamster and Terry Nutkins adjudicating. Winton also hosted The Other Half (1997 to 2002), with the challenge of guessing opponents' partners, Touch The Truck (2001), an endurance game featuring a group of twenty people touching a stationary truck, with the last one remaining being the winner and the first series of Hole In The Wall (2008), where z-list celebrity contestants contorted themselves to fit through holes in a moving wall. The latter, in particular, became something of a cult viewing guilty pleasure in a 'so bad, it's brilliant' way which disappeared the instant Winton quit the gig before a second series. Proud to have lost more than five stone as a teenager - 'I was like a walking blancmange,' he said - Winton presented Weight Of The Nation (1999), encouraging people to lose the pounds in the BBC's Fighting Fat, Fighting Fit season. He also hosted three series of Z-List Celebrity Fit Club between 2004 and 2006. He presented several editions of Top Of The Pops in 1995 and 1996. His BBC Radio 2 shows included Pick Of The Pops (2000-10) – taking over from a retiring Alan Freeman – and he occasionally stood in for the likes of Steve Wright and Liza Tarbuck. He even scraped into the singles charts with 'Supermarket Sweep (Will You Dance with Me)', reaching a somewhat unworthy number seventy two in 1994. Celebrity status also led Winton to be cast as an irritating game show host in the 1996 film Trainspotting and he had fun on TV playing Lord Saruman The White in a 2002 French & Saunders Easter special and Thomas in the 2011 Comic Relief spoof Uptown Downstairs Abbey. He appeared as himself hosting Our Lady Air's annual steward of the year competition in Matt Lucas and David Walliams's mockumentary account of airport life, Come Fly With Me (2010) and was an amusing participant in an episode of Would I Lie To You? The first episode of a new series, Dale Winton's Florida Fly Drive, was shown in February. The remaining three episodes will follow in the summer.