Saturday, May 26, 2018

Disturbed

Over five hundred episodes from the first twenty six series of Doctor Who will be broadcast worldwide on the live streaming video platform Twitch from 29 May. Fans will be able to watch adventures from the first seven Doctors - from 1963's An Unearthly Child to 1989's Survival – while chatting live to thousands of other viewers around the world. The screening of from 29 May till 23 July follows Twitch's successful previous marathons of Power Rangers, Bob Ross: The Joy Of Painting and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood [sic]. In addition to the episodes being screened in blocks - three times per day, around the world, completely free - fans can also enjoy a heap of exclusive Twitch content. Viewers who subscribe to the Twitch Presents channel will gain access to a pack of exclusive emojis, themed around The Doctors. For fans in the US, UK and Canada, Twitch is hosting a giveaway each week of the event, including a grand prize trip to London Comic-Con. For details on how to enter and full terms and conditions visit this site.
Radio Times have - once again - update Huw Fullerton's Everything We Know About Jodie Whittaker's Doctor article. Which can be read here.
Some bright Spark was spotted this week auditioning for the next series of Doctor Who. (This blogger expresses his gratitude to the very excellent Rob Francis for altering him to this. And to Gary Russell, for altering Rob to this!)
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) and Mark Gatiss his very self have teased 'a new adventure' – of the Sherlock variety, obviously – with a video and a 'The Game Is Now' hashtag. In the video, Mark and Steven point out that it was 'International Sherlock Holmes Day' on 22 May, before adding: 'We better announce something. It's not a new episode, not a new series, not a film, not a jigsaw, not a bread bin. Not a range of decorative cutlery. Although that would be nice.' Which is true, it would be. They continue: 'A new adventure, an actual new adventure, a proper one involving the people that you'd expect to be involved in a Sherlock adventure.' The pair then direct fans to a website - The Game Is Now - where they can sign up to whatever this 'adventure' is. And, if you sign up on the website, there's another video featuring yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch and Gatiss having a conversation in character as Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, where they talk about 'recruiting the public.'
The opening episode of A Very English Scandal - documenting the rise and fall of politician Jeremy Thorpe - received broad praise from critics and viewers. The BBC mini-series stars Hugh Grant in 'revelatory' form as the Liberal Party leader, with Ben Whishaw as his former-lover, Norman Scott. Ahead of broadcast of the Russell Davies adaptation, much had been made of the decision to cast Grant - previously somewhat typecast as a romcom actor - in the role of Thorpe. The Gruniad Morning Star suggests that the 'gamble' has paid off with Grant 'never less than wholly convincing and compelling' and 'clearly having the time of his actorly life,' according to Lucy Mangan. 'Everything (bar the stutter) that made him a romcom star is still there, but now there is everything else too,' she wrote. 'He handles the comic scenes and moments, which are sprinkled liberally throughout, with the deftness you'd expect, but never loses sight of the underlying nervousness, fear and venality underlying the politician's moves,' Mangan added. Grant is aided by Davies' dialogue, adapted from John Preston's novel, noted the Digital Spy website - capturing the 'tragedy and farce' of the scandal prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. The Torygraph was similarly effusive calling Hugh Grant 'both charming and bone-chilling in this brilliant take on the Thorpe affair.' Jasper Rees argued that Grant's portrayal embodies 'everything that is perfectly loathsome about some Establishment figures: entitlement and charm masking the ruthless guile of a predator.' The depiction of Thorpe's double-life is enabled with 'spiffing joie de vivre' through Alex Jenning's performance as fellow MP Peter Bessell - the confidant-turned-witness in Thorpe's eventual trial for conspiracy to murder Scott. And whilst The Times' review claims that the real-life Scott, now seventy eight, 'hates' the way Whishaw portrays him as 'a mincing weakling' - just one day after Davies had told Radio Times that Scott 'loved' the drama - the Independent sees Whishaw's take as the puppy-eyed model to be 'pitifully believable.'
David Tennant and Catherine Tate are set to reunite for new comedy drama Americons on Sky. In addition to acting opposite each other as The Doctor and Donna Noble on Doctor Who, the pair also worked on stage together in a 2011 adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing and in the reboot of Disney's animated series DuckTales. Tennant has also appeared in an episode of The Catherine Tate Show, playing a teacher who had the task of disciplining Lauren Cooper. Not much is known about Americons as yet, apart from the fact that it will follow a couple who move to America. The show will be produced by Bad Wolf, the production company founded by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner.
The series of Gotham will introduce The Ventriloquist and other Batman comic villains. Gotham's executive producer John Stephens confirmed that the series, which won't premiere until 2019, will introduce DC characters such as Scarface, The Ventriloquist, Mother, Orphan and Lady Shiva into its final run. 'There are a whole bunch of characters I want to see that I feel the viewers at large aren't fully aware of, like Scarface or Ventriloquist,' Stephens told CBR. 'There's a great dark version of that character somewhere out there who I would like to see come out. Some characters we know we want to see are Mother and Orphan. We want to see Lady Shiva. We are going to see all those characters in season five.' The series will, reportedly, pick up after Jeremiah's plan to detonate a series of massive bombs under the city's streets, leaving Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock and the rest of the survivors facing a number of previously unknown enemies. The show's fourth series finale was broadcast last week last week - and, very good it was, too - managing to kill off some long-term Gotham characters and setting the stage for the final series which will ultimately see Bruce complete his transformation into The Batman. Earlier this month, Cameron Monaghan explained the absence of the Joker title from the series. In a Twitter post, Cameron revealed the decision not to officially name either of his characters as The Joker came 'from high-up' in order to 'reserve' the name for the DCEU film series.
This week's NCIS series finale saw yet another regular character in peril in very unexpected cliffhanger. Which you can read about here, if you're not bothered about spoilers.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping being, as you know dear blog reader, just a poor man made tame to fortunes blows, he feels it necessary to give out a quick reminder not to miss BBC2's adaptation of King Lear on Bank Holiday Monday. Judging by the trailers, it looks well-tasty.
The first images of Suranne Jones in her new BBC drama, Gentleman Jack, have been released this week. The BAFTA-winning actress will play the noted diarist Anne Lister in the eight-part series from Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax writer Sally Wainwright. Jones is joined by Peaky Blinders' Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker. Gentleman Jack's outstanding cast - as previously announced - will included Game Of Thrones' Gemma Whelan as Anne's sister Marian, plus Timothy West, Gemma Jones, Peter Davison, Amelia Bullmore, Vincent Franklin and Shaun Dooley. Anne Lister was a noted landowner and industrialist in Nineteenth Century Yorkshire and Gentleman Jack will tell the story of her return to her ancestral home of Shibden Hall in Halifax in 1832, after years of travelling the world. Lister's diary extracts - detailing her financial concerns, business activities and intimate details of her relationships with the women she loved through her life - were written in code and some of them have been decoded for the first time for the series. Her story was previously the subject of another BBC drama, 2010's The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister. Filming on Gentleman Jack is currently underway in both West Yorkshire and on location in Copenhagen.
It must be a really good gig being in Game Of Thrones, dear blog reader; not only do you get invited to all the cool events - like the Monaco Grand Prix, for instance - but, also, you can walk around with no socks on and nobody will tell you that you look daft. Beards are obligatory too, obviously. As demonstrated here by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Liam Cunningham and Kit Harington seemingly auditioning for the back-line of Hawkwind circa 1972.
FOX's decision to a cancel Lucifer didn't go down particularly well with the drama's cast, crew and fanbase, needless to say. The network is throwing fans a - small - bone by broadcasting two 'bonus' episodes filmed for what was meant to be series four. TVLine reports that these episodes will be shown in the US on Monday 28 May. The first episode, Boo Normal, sees Ella recall a big childhood secret, while Once Upon A Time' is 'a fairytale episode' set in an alternate universe and has Lucifer's creator, Neil Gaiman, as The Voice Of God. Tom Ellis has given fans hope about a revival, saying: 'Talks are happening. It's not going to be an instantaneous thing like Brooklyn Nine-Nine was. It's worth reiterating that to the fans. But we're not giving up. I never felt like the numbers on FOX ever really reflected the actual popularity of the show. If anything, [the fan reaction] has really galvanised us and picked us up from the floor.'
Richard Gere is making a return to TV after nearly thirty years. He will play a US media mogul in the new BBC drama, alongside Peaky Blinders' Helen McCrory and Billy Howle. Gere said that he was 'so pleased' to make his small screen comeback in the series, written by Tom Rob Smith. He joins the ranks of other Hollywood actors, like Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, making the move from film to TV. MotherFatherSon, to be broadcast on BBC2, tells the story of businessman Max (played by Gere), his heiress ex-wife Kathryn (McCrory) and their son Caden (Howle). The family empire is threatened when Caden, who runs Max's UK newspaper, spirals out of control - with consequences for 'the future of the family, its empire, and a country on the brink of change,' said a spokesman. The series will consist of eight hour-long episodes made by BBC Studios Drama London. Gere said: 'I'm so pleased to be working now with the BBC on this extraordinary eight hour project with such talented people and which resonates so much to the time we live in.' Tom Rob Smith, who wrote The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, said: 'Telling this story was always going to depend upon gathering an extraordinary cast.' He described Gere's roles as 'iconic and complex,' while saying McCrory showed 'heartbreaking emotional tenderness and immense power,' with Howle 'one of the most exciting young actors' he had ever seen. McCrory, also a prolific stage actress, said that the script was 'completely original and full of surprises,' while Howle said he was 'humbled to be given the opportunity to portray such a complex role.' Filming is starting in London and Spain this summer.
Kenneth Branagh may have had a go at Poirot on the big screen, but the BBC is turning to John Malkovich to play Agatha Christie's detective for a new TV series. Malkovich will follow in the footsteps of Branagh, David Suchet, Albert Finney et al as Poirot in a three-part limited series adaptation of Christie's The ABC Murders, set to begin filming next month. Taking place at the height of pre-World War II tension in the 1930s, Poirot faces off with perhaps his most cerebral foe yet - a killer who leaves behind a copy of the ABC Railway Guide with every body in Andover, Bexhill and so-on. This limited series version of The ABC Murders comes from Sarah Phelps, who has previously adapted The Witness For the Prosecution and And Then There Were None for the BBC over the last few years. Her cast for The ABC Murders also includes Rupert Grint as Poirot sceptic Inspector Crome, Broadchurch's Andrew Buchan as Franklin Clarke, Eamon Farren as Cust, Tara Fitzgerald as Lady Hermione Clarke, Bronwyn James as Megan and Freya Mavor as Thora Grey. 'Set in the seething, suspicious early 1930s, The ABC Murders is a brutal story of violence and lies, the long shadow of the past and the slaughter to come,' Sarah Phelps said. 'At its centre, one of the most familiar, famous characters in crime fiction. We may all think we know Poirot but do we really know Hercule?'
It seems that Daenerys Targaryen's final on-screen impression is not the most settling farewell the show could give the character. 'It fucked me up,' Emilia Clarke told Vanity Fair in a recent interview as she confirmed she has shot her character's final scenes. 'Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavour in someone's mouth of what Daenerys is. I'm doing all this weird shit,' Clarke added of her character in the final series. 'You'll know what I mean when you see it.'
ITV has announced that Victoria has begun filming on its third series. Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes are set to return, and viewers are also getting some new additions to the cast in the shape of Laurence Fox and Kate Fleetwood. Announcing the news on Victoria Day - the actual anniversary of the actual Queen Victoria's actual birth - ITV also confirmed that Fox (best known, of course, for Lewis) will play 'charismatic and wayward' Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston. One of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite ever British Prime Ministers due to his liberal home policy and his 'send a gunboat' attitude toward foreign affairs. That's the way to deal with Johnny Foreigner. Meanwhile, Tony and Olivier Award nominee Fleetwood will play Victoria's 'mysterious' sister, Feodora, who unexpectedly comes back into the Queen's life. There are several more additions to the cast, with John Sessions set to play Prime Minister, John Russell. Lily Travers will play The Duchess Of Monmouth, while Nicholas Audsley, David Burnett and Endeavour's Emily Forbes have also been cast. The new series will begin in 1848, which was a turbulent time for Europe and for the monarchy and saw Victoria come under pressure from the government to leave London for her own safety. The drama's creator and producer Daisy Goodwin explained that the royal couple will face 'some serious difficulties' in this series. 'Victoria and Albert are the most famous couple of the Nineteenth Century but, underneath the united facade, their relationship is at breaking point and it is a struggle for mastery that neither side can win,' she said.
Almost eighteen million Britons watched coverage of last Saturday's royal wedding, making it by far the biggest television event of the year, as social networks and news websites also saw enormous online interest in the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Albeit, let it be noted that if eighteen million people were watching then approximately forty four million were not. Just, you know, for a tiny bit for perspective. British viewers overwhelmingly turned to the BBC's coverage, led by Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards and Dermot O'Dreary, which attracted a peak overnight audience of over thirteen million during the ceremony itself. ITV's programming attracted a peak audience of but 3.6 million people, while substantially smaller numbers of people watched part of the coverage on Sky News and the BBC News Channel. The viewing figures are lower than for the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton but the overall fall in TV audiences across the board means that the BBC's coverage is, comfortably, the most watched British television programme of 2018 to date. US TV networks, which invested heavily in coverage of the wedding and cleared their schedules for all-day programming hosted by leading presenters, will report their audience figures later. The global audience, while difficult to estimate, is likely to be in the hundreds of millions. Twitter saw enormous interest in the wedding, with 3.4m tweets sent during the ceremony, according to the social network. Twitter now being, of course, The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things. At least, according to the Gruniad. Social media interest in the event peaked during the passionate sermon delivered by bishop Michael Curry, at which point people following the ceremony sent forty thousand tweets a minute. News websites saw substantial boosts to their traffic figures as some readers flocked to the wedding coverage, while the interest in the wedding was also reflected on newsstands. The UK's ten national Sunday newspapers - including a special one-off Sunday edition of the i newspaper - dedicated a combined two hundred and eighty two pages of print coverage to the wedding. The Sunday Scum Express provided the most coverage, with forty eight pages of sick brown-tongued slavvering and pictures from the ceremony. Don't worry, guys, one is sure a few knighthoods will be in the post shortly.
Several media outlets - notably, Yahoo News - have reported 'the astonishing moment' that a passenger plane was caught flying over the crowds gathering for the Royal Wedding in Windsor and commented upon by lots of people that you've never heard of on Twitter. And, this shite constitutes 'news', apparently. The Aer Lingus jet 'suddenly appeared' - well, as suddenly as a sodding great jet aeroplane can appear - whilst the crowds were filmed from above by the National Police Air Service. The plane was flying between one and three thousand feet as it made its descent towards Heathrow Airport, while the police chopper was flying at over eight thousand feet.
Ofcom has opened three new investigations into the Kremlin-backed news channel RT for potential breaches of the broadcasting standards code, on top of the seven investigations it announced last month. The media regulator placed the twenty four-hour news channel's output under additional scrutiny after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, which has been blamed on Russia. The latest potential breaches identified by Ofcom include an episode of RT's flagship CrossTalk discussion show broadcast on 20 April, which described all of the US government's 'potential strategies' in the Syrian civil war as 'poorly thought-out options.' The regulator will also investigate two news items on the channel, originally known as Russia Today, for alleged lack of balance. One, captioned 'Face of nationalism,' discussed the Ukrainian government's position on Nazism and the treatment of Roma Gypsies. The second was a report on the treatment of anti-fracking activists by the UK authorities, which included interviews with Bob Dennett, the co-founder of campaign group Frack Free and Joe Corré, an 'anti-fracking activist.' 'We note the new investigations by Ofcom and will work with the regulator through its processes,' said a spokesperson for the Russian channel. An Ofcom spokesperson said that RT has 'historically had an acceptable record' when it comes to breaches of broadcasting rules. And, if you look up 'really backhanded compliments' of Google, you'll find that one pretty near the top of the list. However, when the regulator began extended monitoring of the channel after the Salisbury attack it discovered multiple potential breaches of the UK code. The regulator said that as a result it would 'continue to monitor' the output 'for the foreseeable future,' given the number of potential breaches. An eleventh investigation into RT, dating from the end of last year, is continuing into the apparent use of fake tweets by the former the Scottish first minister Alex Salmond on his eponymous show. In extreme circumstances Ofcom has the power to withdraw RT's ability to broadcast in the UK for continuous breaches of broadcasting regulations, depriving it of the right to be distributed through Freeview, satellite and cable services. However, this would not necessarily be a disaster for the business. RT has delighted in its 'outsider status,' holding up official criticism of its output as evidence that it is speaking truth to power and giving an alternative view. Professor Stephen Hutchings, of the University of Manchester, who is leading a research project into RT, said this month that the broadcaster's future 'could' lie in its successful and unregulated online operation. 'They would love for Ofcom to ban them,' he claimed.
That odious beardy Communist Mark Lawson, has written a whinging article in the Gruniad suggesting that the BBC's plan to make an increasing number of shows available on iPlayer for extended periods 'is a worry to independent production companies.' As if viewers actually gives a shit about such whinging nonsense.
Welcome to the Twenty First Century, Mark. And, get a save, y'disgraceful hippy.
Holly Marie Combs has shared her thoughts on the new Charmed reboot. 'Let me say first that I appreciate the jobs and opportunities the Charmed reboot has created,' she said. 'But, I will never understand what is "fierce, funny, or feminist" in creating a show that, basically, says the original actresses are too old to do a job they did twelve years ago. I hope the new show is far better than the marketing so the true legacy does remain.' Combs added: 'Reboots fare better when they honour the original as opposed to taking shots at the original. Reboots also do better when they listen to a still passionate fan base which is what it's all about, isn't it? That's why we do reboots. The fans are why we all get to do what we do. So we wish them well and hope for success.' The Charmed reboot will premiere on The CW later in the year. Judging by the recently released trailer, it looks properly dreadful.
The Woman In White's Jessie Buckley has joined the cast of Chernobyl, a five-part drama starring Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgård and Jared Harris. The Sky Atlantic and HBO series will 'tell the human story' of the catastrophic nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986, when a late-night safety test went wrong. With apocalyptic consequences. The drama was first announced in July 2017 with Harris set for the starring role as Valery Legasov, the Soviet scientist chosen by the Kremlin to investigate the accident who became bitterly disillusioned with the failure of the authorities to face up to the design flaws in the reactors. Apple Tree Yard star Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgård will also play key roles in the series, which began filming in Lithuania in April. Buckley, who rose to infamy in the talent contest I'd Do Anything and recently starred as Marian Halcombe in The Woman In White, said: 'It is a real honour to be part of this important piece of work and share with the world the real truth about the unbelievable bravery and sacrifice that the people of Chernobyl made in order to stop an even greater disaster. I feel incredibly humbled.' Also joining the drama are Adrian Rawlins, recently seen as Rob Moffatt in the ITV drama Innocent and Ralph Ineson, probably best known for his role as Dagmer Cleftjaw in Game Of Thrones. Further actors taking part in the large-scale production include Paul Ritter, Sam Troughton, James Cosmo and Con O'Neill. Written by Craig Mazin and directed by The Walking Dead's Johan Renck, Chernobyl promises to 'bring to life the true story of the unprecedented tragedy.'
Former Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh is joining the staff on Channel Four's Ackley Bridge as 'a home-wrecking netball teacher.' Walsh will guest star as Claire Butterworth in the second series of the school drama. She is the fiery ex-wife of Steve (Paul Nicholls) and mother to their child, Zak.
The Crystal Maze will be back this June with a new set of z-list celebrity specials – including one episode taken over by the cast of Derry Girls. Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Dylan Llewellyn and their team captain Saoirse Monica Jackson will be representing the - fine - Northern Irish sitcom. Host Richard Ayoade will also be welcoming eight-time Paralympic medallist David Weir, former England footballer Wayne Bridge, Countdown's Rachel Riley and Charlotte Crosby - who is a Geordie Shore-type person, apparently - in a z-list celebrity team captained by Judy Murray. Another z-list 'star special' will see Katie Price join forces with Bez, Roman Kemp and Made In Chelsea-type person Binky Felstead in a team led by ex-footballer and odious, risible shortarse self-confessed liar, Dennis Wise. Big Narstie (whoever he is) will be tackling the maze with team captain Dame Kelly Holmes, alleged 'actress' and - spot-cream advert superstar - Jorgie Porter, 'YouTuber' (that's 'a thing' apparently) Alfie Deyes and Olympic long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford. Comedian Joe Wilkinson, Blue Peter's Radzi Chinyanganya, Horrible Kate Garraway and Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts will be following Richard Madeley's captaincy. And, dear blog reader, you though this year's Z-List Celebrity MasterChef was 'a bit more z-list than usual'? The Crystal Maze celebrity 'specials' - and, one uses that word quite wrongly begin in June on Channel Four.
Michael Palin's new travel documentary sees the comedy legend travel to North Korea. Palin was granted 'unprecedented access' to the country following two years of planning and complex negotiations and his visit coincided with the historic meeting in April between North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and President Moon of South Korea. Palin covered more than thirteen hundred miles of the secretive country for the documentary, discovering the realities of everyday life for the North Korean population, from the capital Pyongyang to the snowy peaks of Mount Paektu. 'To visit North Korea was an opportunity I couldn't turn down,' said Palin. 'For somewhere that is so often in the forefront of the news, it remains a complete mystery to most of us. That we were able to travel across the country and get some sense of everyday life was enormously exciting. The visit was an eye-opener for me and I'm sure it will be the same for others. In all my travels around the world I have never had the same sense of fascination and revelation as on this journey to North Korea.' Palin, who celebrated his seventy fifth birthday whilst filming the series, has previously made travelogues for the BBC including Around The World In Eighty Days, Pole To Pole and Full Circle. This will be the presenter's first series for Channel Five and is set to be broadcast later in 2018.
Andrew Marr will return to present his BBC1 Sunday morning politics show this week, after undergoing surgery on a malignant kidney tumour. The Andrew Marr Show has been fronted by stand-in hosts Nick Robinson and Emma Barnett over the last two weeks but producer Rob Burley has now confirmed via Twitter that Andrew will be back in the hot seat on Sunday 27 May.
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama - remember them, they both used to have jobs - are teaming up with Netflix to produce films and TV shows. Netflix said that the former US President and First Lady have 'entered into a multi-year agreement' with the service. It says the 'films and series' will 'potentially' include 'scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features.' 'Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us,' said Michelle Obama. Exact details of programming have yet to be announced. The couple have created Higher Ground Productions to produce the content to be broadcast on Netflix. 'One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,' said Obama. 'That's why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix - we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.' Mrs Obama added: 'Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others. Netflix's unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.' When rumours began to circulate that the Obamas were going to team up with Netflix earlier this year, the New York Times said that one possible show idea was for Obama to 'moderate debates on issues such as health care, climate change and immigration.' But the paper added that there were 'no plans' to use the shows to 'attack conservative critics or Donald Trump.' 'Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world's most respected and highly-recognised public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,' said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. 'We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.' The streaming service's mix of original drama, films and other programming has proved popular globally, with subscriber numbers reaching nearly one hundred and eighteen million at the end of 2017.
Jeffrey Tambor has said that he apologised to his Arrested Development co-stars at the height of the sexual misconduct scandal that plagued his other series, Amazon Prime Video's Transparent. Tambor has denied accusations that he sexually harassed his former assistant Van Barnes and Transparent co-star Trace Lysette, but recently acknowledged that 'lines got blurred' among them. Amazon extremely fired Tambor from his EMMY-winning role as transwoman Maura Pfefferman after conducting 'an internal investigation' and will now move ahead with a fifth and final series of Transparent without him. However, Netflix and the team behind Arrested Development are currently standing behind the actor and will not remove him from the fifth series, or its accompanying publicity campaign. The cast appeared together on Entertainment Weekly Radio on Monday, where Tambor admitted that he had spoken to his Arrested Development castmates 'months ago' to apologise for dragging them into his personal problems. 'I sent an e-mail around and said an apology to these people I love so much for the distraction and you'll be asked questions, and things like that,' he explained. 'I gave a rather in-depth interview to the Hollywood Reporter. I'm no longer playing Maura, I'm going to miss her very much, I'm going to miss that cast that I love so much and I wish them all the best. But I'm here now as a fan of this wonderful, wonderful group. I'm a little nervous, but I am so excited about this - and such a fan of these people - it is our best season and these actors just knock it out of the park.'
Hollywood mogul - and, allegedly, very naughty man - Harvey Weinstein has turned himself in to police in New York. The charges were not initially announced but US media suggested that 'some' may relate to accusations by the actress Lucia Evans. It was later confirmed that he had been charged with rape and several other counts of sexual abuse involving two separate women. Dozens of women have made allegations, including of rape and sexual misconduct, against the sixty six-year old. Weinstein has always denied non-consensual sex and this would be the first time he has been charged. The allegations triggered the Me Too movement which sought to demonstrate and draw attention to the widespread prevalence of sexual abuse and harassment. Dozens of journalists were at the First Precinct police station in Manhattan when Weinstein appeared, dressed casually and carrying one book about director Elia Kazan and another about Rodgers and Hammerstein. The New York Times reports that some of the charges relate to an allegation brought by Lucia Evans. She detailed her accusations against Weinstein in an article in The New Yorker in October last year. It is not clear if he will face more charges brought by other accusers.
Morgan Freeman has grovellingly apologised following allegations of sexual misconduct made by eight women. One production assistant accused Freeman of 'harassing' her 'for months' during filming of bank robbery comedy Going In Style, CNN reported. She said the eighty-year-old touched her repeatedly, tried to lift her skirt and asked if she was wearing underwear. Freeman apologised to 'anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected.' And, if you look up 'non-apology apologies' on Google, you'll find that one pretty near the top of the list. 'Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy,' he claimed in a statement after he had been accused of doing exactly that. Making women feel uncomfortable was 'never my intent,' he insisted. The production assistant was among eight women to tell CNN they had been the victims of harassment. She told CNN that during the harassment another actor, Alan Arkin, 'made a comment telling him to stop. Morgan got freaked out and didn't know what to say.' Meanwhile a woman who worked on the 2013 film Now You See Me claimed that staff knew 'not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not to wear anything that would show our bottoms' or 'any close-fitting clothes' if Freeman was around. Morgan is also said to have stared at women's breasts and asked women to twirl for him. CNN also said it had 'spoken' to 'dozens more people' who worked with or for Freeman, some of whom praised Freeman and insisted his behaviour was always professional.
The Pussycat Dolls - they are 'a popular beat combo' yer honour - are suing the parent company of the Daily Scum Mail, after an article was published in which former member Kaya Jones claimed that the group was 'a prostitution ring,' where members were 'given drugs' and 'passed around' music industry executives for The Sex. The lawsuit, filed by the band's manager, Robin Antin, as well as under The Pussycat Dolls Inc brand name, is citing defamation as a result of the article, published in October 2017. It describes the article as 'intentional, reckless and malicious. False and defamatory statements made by a disgruntled, unreliable and biased person looking for her fifteen minutes of fame, Kaya Jones, when the defendants knew through their direct prior dealings with plaintiffs, or should have known, with even the most basic check, that Ms Jones was unreliable and her story obviously false.' The Scum Mail Online article published tweets by Jones which made the accusations, and also quoted an interview Jones gave to the website InfoWars that contained further accusations. Jones joined The Pussycat Dolls in 2003, as they were transferring from being a dance troupe to a pop group, led by Nicole Scherzinger. She recorded backing vocals for their debut CD but left the group in 2004, before the release of their breakthrough single 'Don't Cha'. You know that one, dear blog reader, 'don't cha wish yer girlfriend was ... something or other.' It was quite popular with 'young people' apparently. The group went on to score other big hits in 'Buttons', 'Jai Ho' and 'Stickwitu' across two studio CDs, which made the Top Ten in both the US and UK (and other territories as well). There were reports that they were to reform in 2018, with Kimberly Wyatt telling Comedy Central UK: 'We're reuniting at the end of this year. When I've got a dream and an intent, I'm quite relentless at pushing forward and making it happen.' There have been no confirmed tour dates or new material, though and the lawsuit claims that the news stories 'impacted' on the reformation plans. 'One of the central themes of the all-women group is female empowerment,' the claim reads, continuing that the articles 'directly impacted the groups reputation in this regard and in turn has caused incalculable damage to any effort to reunite by the group.'
Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle is to reunite with Daniel Craig for the twenty fifth James Bond film, which is due to be released from 25 October 2019. Boyle will also reunite with Trainspotting writer John Hodge, who is creating an original screenplay. Production is set to begin on 3 December at Pinewood Studios. EON Productions' Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli described Boyle as 'exceptionally talented,' adding they were 'delighted' to have him on board. The film will reunite the Trainspotting director with Craig, with whom he worked on a short film made for the 2012 London Olympics. Donna Langley, chair of Universal, which is distributing the film, hailed 'the unparalleled combination of Danny's innovative filmmaking and Daniel's embodiment of 007.' Craig confirmed last August he would be returning to make his fifth Bond, having previously starred in Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre. Three of which were good. And one, really wasn't. Boyle's other current projects include All You Need Is Love, a Richard Curtis-scripted film that revolves around the music of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them).
Dairy Crest has announced plans to invest eighty five million knicker in the expansion of its cheese factory in Cornwall to 'meet growing demand for cheddar in markets such as China.' The company behind the mature cheddar brands Cathedral City and Davidstow said that the investment would be 'phased over the next five years' and funded, partly, by the sale of seventy million quid in new shares to institutional investors. And, the rest from, you know, the sale of cheese. Mark Allen, the chief executive, said that expansion of the factory was 'great news for the local area,' providing certainty for its dairy farmers and workers, and creating jobs over the period. About two hundred people are employed at the plant. To meet growing demand, Dairy Crest estimates it will need to increase annual cheese production at its Davidstow factory in Cornwall from fifty four thousand tonnes to up to seventy seven thousand tonnes. That's a lot of cheese. The group, which also owns Country Life butter and Clover spread, hopes to capitalise on rising demand for mature cheese at home and abroad.
The UK must be ready to counter 'intensifying threats' emerging in space, the defence secretary has said. And, he wasn't talking about The Daleks or The Klingons. Those threats include the 'jamming' of military satellites used by the Army. Launching the UK's first defence space strategy, Gavin Williamson said that he would boost staff in the sector by a fifth to six hundred. He also confirmed that he is 'considering' British participation in 'an alternative satellite-navigation system' to the EU's Galileo programme. Williamson - who is just a poor boy and nobody loves him - said that with so much military and civilian technology reliant on satellites (which are potentially vulnerable to attacks) the UK 'needs to be at the forefront of space technology.' Such technology was 'not just a crucial tool for our armed forces but vital to our way of life, whether that be access to our mobile phones, the Internet or television,' he said. 'It is essential we protect our interests and assets from potential adversaries who seek to cause major disruption and do us harm.' He did not specify whom those 'potential adversaries' were. Part of the UK's strategy will see RAF Air Command 'given a key role' in the control of military space operations. The defence secretary also said that the government would 'review' the UK's contribution to the EU's Galileo satellite programme as well as planning for an alternative system. These comments come after the EU blocked the UK's participation in the project citing 'security concerns.' The Financial Times reports that the European Commission has 'sent a letter' to the UK government (how Twentieth Century) in which it warned that security elements of the project 'needed to be protected' to avoid them being 'irretrievably compromised' by being shared with the UK, which will be a 'third party' after Brexit. The Galileo project aims to be a European version of the US's GPS system - promising real-time positioning down to a metre or less. The UK has already spent 1.4 billion Euros on the project and Business Secretary Greg Clark is said to be 'taking legal advice' on whether the money can be reclaimed. On Monday, defence minister Guto Bebb told the Defence Space Conference in London that space is a 'vital' part of the British economy. Launching the strategy will 'ensure our industry continues to benefit from this growth in satellite technology.'
The lack of culture secretary has agreed he 'does not have enough power' to 'police' social media firms after admitting only four of fourteen invited to talks actually attended. The vile and odious rascal Hancock told the BBC it had given him 'a big impetus' to 'introduce new laws' to tackle what he has called the Internet's 'Wild West culture.' He admitted self-policing had 'not worked' and legislation 'was needed.' But Labour's Tom Watson - Power To The People! - said the government had 'squandered' chances to 'get tough on the tech giants.' The vile and odious rascal Hancock told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show, presented by Emma Barnett whilst Marr is on sick leave, that the government 'just don't know' how many children of the millions using using social media were 'not old enough' for an account and he was 'very worried' about age verification. He said that as part of the Data Protection Bill currently going through Parliament, firms could be fined up to four per cent of their global turnover - which could run to more than one billion knicker for the biggest firms. Asked what the threshold would be for firms to be hit with such fines, in terms of underage children on certain platforms, he said: 'I'm not going to give a figure because we are going to consult on it.' The vile and odious rascal Hancock told the programme that he hopes 'we get to a position' where all users of social media have to get their age verified. Codes of conduct would be examined he said as existing 'terms of reference' were often not enforced properly. Asked how many of the fourteen firms invited to attend government talks had showed up, he replied: 'Four.' Efforts to regulate the Internet have had limited success. A plan to introduce age verification for all porn sites was due to come into force in April, but has been delayed with no details given about how it might work. An 'opt in' system where Internet service providers ask people if they want to access adult content has seen sex education and suicide prevention advice inadvertently blocked. A new law in Germany forcing social networks to remove hate speech within twenty four hours is being 'revised' after complaints that too much content was being blocked. Two government departments are working on the new laws aimed at holding technology companies to account. The vile and odious rascal Hancock said: 'One of the problems we have got is that we engage with Facebook, Google and Twitter and they get all of the press, they get all of the complaints in the public debate but there's now actually a far greater number of social media. They didn't show up and the companies they have now got over a million on their site.' He said that this - and the difficulties getting Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to answer MPs' questions - showed Britain 'did not have the power' needed: 'That's one of the reasons we are legislating. The fact that only four companies turned up when I invited the fourteen biggest in gave me a big impetus to drive this proposal to legislate through.' Pushed for details of how quickly social media firms would have to remove terrorist content to avoid a fine, he said: 'We should be very ambitious,' but said a set timescale could mean companies 'work up to that timescale,' while he would prefer them to do so 'as quickly as possible.' According to a consultation carried out last year, following the Internet Safety Green Paper, four out of ten people had experienced abuse online and sixty per cent had 'seen inappropriate content.' Digital Minister Margot James told Sky's Ridge On Sunday that she had received abuse and reported it to the police. She added: 'It's not just of parliamentarians, it's any woman in public life and some of our famous broadcasters have had the most terrible abuse online which is completely unacceptable - if it's not illegal it should be and I think some of it is.' Two government departments are working on a White Paper expected to be brought forward later this year. Asked about the same issue on ITV's Peston On Sunday, The Vile & Odious Racal Hancock (who was certainly getting himself about a bit last weekend) said that the government would be legislating 'in the next couple of years' because 'we want to get the details right.' There have been a number of efforts by politicians to curb intimidation and abuse on social media. In February Theresa May announced a 'crackdown' on the intimidation of political candidates and highlighted the 'coarsening and toxifying of our public debate' on social media. The Vile & Odious Rascal Hancock's predecessor, The Vile & Odious Rascal Bradley, said that Facebook and Twitter 'could' be 'asked' to 'help fund campaigns' against abuse while the European Commission flagged up delays by social networks in preventing and removing hate speech. Extremely former Home Secretary Amber Rudd last year accused technology experts of 'sneering' at politicians who tried to regulate their industry.
Boris Johnson has been heavily criticised this week. Because he's a daft plank with a truly ridiculous haircut. But, that's not exactly 'news', per se. However, the fact that he has suggested that he should be given his own 'Brexit plane' to help him 'drum up trade around the world' when the UK leaves the EU has, not entirely surprisingly, been met with howls of derision. An existing RAF Voyager jet - which is shared by the Prime Minister, senior cabinet members and the royal family - 'never seems to be available,' the foreign secretary whinged. The Voyager's drab grey colours also 'undermined' Britain's reputation when the country needed a powerful 'flagship,' Mad Boris added. 'If there's a way of doing it that is not exorbitantly expensive then, yes, I think we probably do need something,' he told reporters while on a trip to South America. 'The taxpayers won't want us to have some luxurious new plane, but I certainly think it's striking that we don't seem to have access to such a thing at the moment.' The anti-Brexit Best for Britain group branded the idea 'a vanity project,' saying: 'Clearly he feels chartered aircraft are beneath him.' And Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary said: 'The sooner this ludicrous waste of taxpayers' money is grounded the better - and I don't just mean the jet, I mean Boris Johnson too.' You tell 'im, Em! Johnson spoke out on a five-day tour on commercial flights, which involved taking a variety of airlines to travel to Peru, Argentina and Chile with an entourage of officials and media. He had to stop off in Madrid to change planes on his Air Europa service from London to Lima, adding five hours to the journey time - oh, the inherent tragedy - because the only direct flight on offer 'did not fit his schedule.' Nevertheless, Johnson insisted it was not his own comfort he was concerned about. One or two people even believed him. The Foreign Office also has use of the Queen's Flight fleet of BAE 146 jets, one of which Johnson used to fly to Moscow before Christmas. Johnson's call for his own plane will revive memories of Tony Blair's plans for a prime ministerial jet - nicknamed Blair Force One. However, the plans were ditched by his successor, Gordon Brown, to save money. The Voyager then began its work transporting VIPs in 2016, after a ten million knicker refit under David Cameron. To keep costs down, the fifty eight-seater Voyager continues to conduct air-to-air refuelling missions for the RAF when not in VIP use - and so retains its military colours.
And, whilst the world recovered from laughing at that little bit of Boris Buffonary, there came the news that Johnson had been targeted by a Russian prank caller pretending to be the new Prime Minister of Armenia. In a recording posted online, the UK foreign secretary congratulates the caller on his erection and goes on to discuss UK-Russia relations, the Salisbury poisoning and Syria. He also expresses surprise and interest when the caller claims President Putin is 'influencing' Jeremy Corbyn. The Foreign Office claimed that Johnson 'realised' the call was a hoax. One or two believe even believed them. It added: 'We checked it out and knew immediately it was a prank call. The use of chemical weapons in Salisbury and Syria and recent events in Armenia are serious matters. These childish actions show the lack of seriousness of the caller and those behind him.' The eighteen-minute recording was posted on YouTube by pro-Kremlin British journalist Graham Phillips, BBC Monitoring reports. It was credited to two prominent Russian political pranksters - Vladimir Vovan Kuznetsov and Alexei Lexus Stolyarov, who are 'in favour' with the official Russian media. After congratulating the caller, Johnson talks of developing UK-Armenia trade and investment links. Asked about Russia and the Salisbury poisoning, he says he is 'almost one hundred per cent sure' that The Butcher Of Grozny was 'behind' the attack and that it is important to avoid a 'new cold war.' He advises the caller to show 'determination and firmness' when dealing with Putin. When the man claims that the Russian president talked of his 'influence' over the Labour leader and that his goddaughter 'met with people of Mister Corbyn,' Johnson asks for more information. 'I am sure our intelligence will be listening on this line and they will draw the relevant conclusions,' he says. During the conversation, the caller also describes what he says is a 'fake' video of the aftermath of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, to which Johnson said it seemed to be 'very clear' that the Syrian regime was behind a chlorine attack in Douma, 'almost certainly with Russian knowledge.'
What do you do if a racehorse is running straight at you? If you are At The Races presenter Hayley Moore, you stand your ground and tackle the animal using only your bare hands. Moore was working at Chepstow Racecourse when Give Em A Clump - that's a horse, in case you were wondering; or at least it was, it may be a can of dog food by the time you read this - stumbled and unseated his rider. Moore was knocked arse-over-tip to the ground - really hard - but managed to keep hold of the reins, unsaddled the gelding and then got back to her day job. All of which you can see, here. It's very funny. This blogger once backed a horse at twenty-to-one. It came in at ten-to-four. Nah, lissun ...
A BBC investigation has uncovered allegations of 'illegal' cross-border adoptions at a home run by Catholic nuns in Northern Ireland. Evidence suggests some children may have been moved out of the UK without their mothers' consent from Marianvale mother and baby home in Newry. One woman was issued with three birth certificates in three countries. The Catholic Good Shepherd Sisters said that adoptions were 'conducted strictly in accordance with the legislation.' The Marianvale mother and baby home in County Down operated between 1955 and 1984. It was one of a network of institutions in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which offered women the voluntary option for those who were unmarried to give birth in private and give their babies up for adoption. However, BBC radio programme File On Four has 'heard claims' that 'some' adoptions were 'not voluntary' and uncovered evidence that laws 'may' have been broken. These include falsified details on official documents. Campaigners claim this may have been to facilitate the illegal movement of babies across state borders. File On Four accessed the home's baptism book, which revealed extensive movement of babies and women across state borders. The ledger contained details of more than eight hundred babies born to Marianvale women. The BBC has established at least twenty five babies left Northern Ireland, mostly going to families in the Republic of Ireland, but at least two went to the USA. Meanwhile, at least one hundred and twenty women came from outside Northern Ireland to Marianvale, from as far afield as Fife, London, Plymouth and Manchester. Patrick Corrigan, of Amnesty International, said: 'This now cries out for a thorough, independent investigation and I think what will certainly need to happen is that there is a strong cross-border cross-jurisdictional dimension to any investigation into what happened in Northern Ireland.' In response, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd said: 'We utterly reject any suggestion that illegal adoptions were conducted from Marianvale. All adoptions were conducted strictly in accordance with the legislation which then applied. Some women did not proceed with adoption, as was originally planned and with the support of families, took their babies home.'
Britain's secret service will broadcast its first recruitment advert on national TV this week in a bid to encourage more women and ethnic minorities to join MI6. The intelligence officers would help find new secret agents and check information gathered is legitimate. The poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in Salisbury resulted in a surge of applications, officials say. But they want to broaden their reach and say they want people who 'challenge the status quo.' So, anyone with long-hair and a waistcoat who has spent fifty years in denim probably need not apply. The latest official figures from March 2016 showed twenty four per cent of senior staff and thirty eight per cent of non-senior staff were women. There were also no British, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic members among the senior ranks and they accounted for just seven per cent of the non-senior staff. The advert, which will be shown in a break during Channel Four News, begins with an image of a shark - stereotypically a depiction of 'evil' in James Bond films. But, later it turns to a mother comforting a child and tells viewers MI6 wants people who have 'understanding and emotional skills.' 'Secretly, we're just like you' is the tagline of the campaign. Except, they've got guns and shit, obviously. MI6 has long had a deeply ambivalent relationship with its fictional portrayal in the James Bond films. Last year, the Secret Intelligence Service broadcast adverts at the cinema to attract a different type of candidate. The image of a ruthless spy with a licence to kill who saves the world has done wonders for the MI6 brand, but it does not reflect the reality of work inside the organisation and the concern is that it may have put some people off joining. Chief of the service, Alex Younger, said that MI6 needs to have the diverse workforce 'to meet the challenges we face' and avoid having a 'groupthink' approach. 'We want people who have never thought of joining MI6 to join MI6,' he says. 'People who challenge the status quo - in a respectful way - are valued,' he added. Particularly as the job may well involve them rockin' all over the world. The average starting salary is around thirty five to thirty seven grand for the intelligence officer positions and all applicants must pass a vetting process. So, that's yer actual Keith Telly Topping out for a start! Intelligence officers perform three different functions. Targeters identify individuals who may have access to secret information who MI6 might be able to recruit as agents. Case officers cultivate, build and manage the relationships with those agents. Requirements officers make sure the intelligence that is produced by agents is valid and also relevant to the customers in government who receive it. This latter function was boosted in the aftermath of MI6's performance over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction when 'erroneous intelligence' was used to justify military action. Previously, applicants would have had to prove their parents had been born in the UK, but this requirement is now 'being looked at.' 'We are making our nationality rules slightly more flexible, to support our diversity agenda and enable a wider selection of candidates to join us,' a recruitment official for MI6 said. The TV advert is the start of a series of adverts for different roles which will be carried on TV and social media.
The actions of a woman who drove on to the route of the Plymouth Half Marathon have been described as 'disgusting.' Lorna Empson, a marshal at the race, said that the driver was 'trying to get on to a main road' and claimed 'there was no other way out' due to road closures. 'People were not happy with her [and] I cannot blame them as she could have caused a serious accident,' Empson said. Local MP Luke Pollard said it was 'very silly' in light of terror attacks where cars were used as weapons. A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said: 'We believe that no injuries were caused by this action. Officers from the roads policing unit are aware of this incident and inquiries are under way into this matter.' A spectator captured footage of the car pulling out of Hawkers Avenue in front of the runners on Sunday.
If you work in radio - as this blogger used to - you are 'more likely to be subject to psychopathic behaviour' from your co-workers, according to the findings presented in a new book by Oxford research psychologist Doctor Kevin Dutton. As B&T reports, Dutton, who works at the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, has written a book called The Wisdom Of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies & Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. The book details the jobs which are most likely to 'attract' psychopaths, with journalists and media presenters taking out the second and third spots on the list respectively. The number one job likely to attract people with psychopathic behaviour is that of CEO and others include public servants, the police, surgeons, chefs and lawyers. Dutton says that the 'key' character traits to look out for are the ability to control others and to manipulative. o, that's everyone's boss, basically. He goes on to claim that psychopaths 'generally perform well in an office environment,' are 'often' found in senior management and that the CEO is the career 'most suited' to the personality disorder.
When there is a divide between a club and its supporters who is the one person who can bring everyone together again? A big-money striker? A billionaire owner? Well, Blunderland have turned to the man who used to dress up as their mascot to help repair the damage of successive relegations and off-field chaos and malarkey. Lifelong fan Tony Davison worked in the club's marketing department between 1996 and 2005 - which included a spell as Samson The Cat on matchdays. But he has now been appointed as managing director at the Stadium of Plight. The return of Davison, who had been working in Stottingtot Hotshots' commercial department, comes after a boardroom reshuffle sparked by Stewart Donald's takeover of the relegated Championship side. 'Having worked with Tony in a variety of roles over the last decade, Stewart and I knew from the start that he was the man with the experience, desire and contacts to implement the vision that we have for the re-engagement of Sunderland AFC with its fans and the local business community,' said executive director Charlie Methven. 'Tony is passionate about Sunderland and the fact that he has left a senior executive position at a top Premier League club and taken a lower wage to come back to his home city, demonstrates what his values are.' Samson forms part of a mascot double-act at Blunderland - so what does the future hold for his partner, Delilah? Rumour has it, she was only a whisker away from gaining a role on the new-look Black Cats board. But, she didn't. Why, why, why?
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a nice guy, dear blog reader. Well, most of the time, he is. But, sometimes, he can be - he freely confesses - really small and petty when it comes to past perceived slights. There are, for example, people who, once, said something nasty to this blogger in like 1986 or something that still haven't made it off the Stately Telly Topping Manor shit-list. Keith Telly Topping mentions this because, it's much the same with football, really - there aren't too many clubs that this blogger actually hates (rather that just 'immensely dislikes', which is most of the rest of them). Those that he does hate are, almost exclusively, down to previous nasty incidents as an away supporter. The Scum and The Mackem Filth being the two, obvious, exceptions in this regard. So, when Keith Telly Topping says that he hates Sheffield United, it ha nothing to do with a bad experience with a Ted Hemsley poster at an early age but, rather, because this blogger once had a sodding great knife pulled on him by some meathead Paul Calf lookalike whilst walking back to the car after Th' Toon had had the temerity to beat The Blades in an FA Cup semi-final. As Keith Telly Topping told the chap in question as he stood there debating whether to stab this blogger to death or not 'it's not my fault yer team got beat, mate.' Another club that Keith Telly Topping really loathes, however, are The Bloody Aston Villains with their notoriously fickle (and extremely violent) Holt End-Second City Scum support who, on at least two occasions, tried to give this blogger a damned good kicking half-way round Birmingham for the simply awful crime of 'wearing a black and white scarf in a claret and blue area.' Plus, of course, they're managed by that odious full-of-his-own-importance berk Steve Bruce so, you know, that's two reasons to hate them and all they stand for. Therefore, whilst this blogger has no great love of Poor Bloody Fulham Haven't Got A Chance, The Cottagers victory in this weekend's Championship Play-Offs over The Villains only didn't put a smile on Keith Telly Topping's mush because one was already there from having spent a couple of hours watching Jos Buttler and Dom Bess proving that we do have a couple of people in England who haven't quite forgotten how to bat. But, it briefly kept the smile there. So, that was jolly nice. Although, this blogger should add that he smiled even more when the Sky Sports cameras lingered on John Terry's scowling boat-race for far longer than seemed entirely proper.
When this blogger mentioned all of this on Facebook shortly after the game ended, his old mucker the broadcasting and comedy legend that is Alfie Joey expressed - seemingly genuine - surprise that Keith Telly Topping was capable of 'joy fuelled by hate.' Fair upset, Wor Alfie seemed. And, he may have had a point. This blogger's only justification? 'It's called schadenfreude, mate. Life's full of it!' That was nothing, however, to words of another dear Facebook fiend, Lee, who observed: 'Fuck football. All of it. Without exception.' 'Oh, it'd be a jolly long list of aspects of life which deserve a "fuck 'em, all of 'em, without exception" attitude that I would have to get down before he got anywhere near footie,' this blogger replied. 'Politicians, journalists, jobsworths, Tories, hippies, Communists, The French, showjumpers (and their horses), golfers, Wee Shughie McFee the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads, burglars, anybody who's ever appeared on Geordie Shore, everyone who had been the punchline to a mad Frankie Boyle joke, people who "look at me in a funny way" ... you know, it's a long and exhaustive list.'
An attack on a referee at an amateur football match has been described as 'the worst assault on a match official on British soil.' Sunday's incident occurred during a cup game organised by the Turkish Community Football Federation in North London. The Federation says that it is 'shocked and disgusted' and 'strongly condemns' the incident, which was filmed. And, can be seen here. It is understood the referee suffered only minor injuries during the game at New River sports centre in White Hart Lane, which saw Dumlupinar Yeni Malatyaspor beat GS FC two-one. Footage of the incident was sent to charity Ref Support as part of its Referee Abuse Must Stop campaign. It shows a man being tackled to the ground and kicked on the floor by a group of people on a football pitch. 'This is the worst assault on a match official we have seen on British soil,' said Ref Support's chief executive Martin Cassidy. 'The subject needs to be taken seriously and the FA referees department needs to allow a pilot of body cams at grassroots level, to not only act as a deterrent to assaults and abuse but also as an evidence-collecting device.' The TCFF and the London Football Association are investigating the incident while the Football Association says that it has started a disciplinary process. 'Both the London FA and the FA condemn any assault on a match official and have offered support to the referee,' said the FA. The TCFF said it is also meeting the team involved to 'discuss our options with regard to any action we will take against the club and individuals involved.' Ian Braid, managing director of Duty of Care in Action Sport, added: 'The trend of increasing abuse of match officials is something sport, not just football, needs to address, not only for the wellbeing and welfare of the individuals involved but to address the trend of declining numbers of people volunteering to be an official.'
An Italian man has pleaded extremely guilty over the violent incident before Liverpool's Champions League game against Roma in which a Liverpool fan was left seriously injured. Daniele Sciusco admitted violent disorder which happened ahead of the first leg semi-final game at Anfield. Filippo Lombardi has pleaded not guilty to the same charge and another of inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was remanded in custody for trial at Preston Crown Court in October. Liverpool fan Sean Cox from County Meath, remains in a critical condition after being attacked on 24 April outside The Albert pub on Breck Road, Walton.
A permanent visitor from interstellar space has been found in our solar system, astronomers studying an asteroid orbiting our sun have revealed. While collisions with Earth by comets and asteroids from within our solar system are thought to have brought organic material and water necessary for life to emerge, experts say the latest discovery suggests bodies from beyond the solar system 'might' have also have played a role. Fantastically scientific word 'might', don't you think dear blog readers? 'It would be very interesting to go and observe it more and understand its composition,' said lead author Doctor Fathi Namouni from the Observatoire De La Côte D'Azur. 'Before [the discovery of this asteroid], we only had to work to explain solar system phenomena with the objects that are in the solar system and thought to be part of the solar system all the time,' he said. 'Now we have new sources of material that actually influenced the solar system - and so the solar system did not grow up in isolation.' The latest discovery marks the first time that an asteroid which appears to be a permanent member of our solar system has been revealed as having its origins in another star system. Oumuamua, an asteroid spotted hurtling through our solar system earlier this year, was only on a fleeting visit. Known as Asteroid 2015 BZ509, the permanent visitor is about three kilometres across and was first spotted in late 2014 by the Pan-Starrs project at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii. Experts quickly realised that the asteroid travelled around the sun in the opposite direction to the planets – a retrograde orbit. Further work on the asteroid revealed it takes the same length of time to orbit the sun as the planet Jupiter at a similar average distance, although in the opposite direction and with a different shaped path, suggesting the two have gravitational interactions. But unpicking quite where the asteroid came from was challenging. Asteroids that orbit the sun on paths that take them between the giant planets - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune ' are known as Centaurs and it is thought that many 'might' (that word again) come from distant bands of material within the solar system such as the scattered disk or The Oort cloud. Several, like BZ509, are known to have retrograde paths, although how they ended up on such orbits is unclear. Centaurs' orbits are difficult to pin down precisely and are thought to be unstable. But there was a clue there was something unusual about BZ509: while previous studies suggested retrograde Centaurs stay gravitationally 'tied' to planets for ten thousand years at most, recent work had suggested this asteroid's orbit had been linked to Jupiter for far longer, probably as a result of the planet's mass and the way both take the same time to orbit the Sun. Writing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Namouni and co-author Doctor Helena Morais from São Paulo State University in Brazil describe how they 'developed a new computer model' which allowed them to produce a million possibilities for the asteroid's orbit, each with tiny differences and trace their evolution. To the team's surprise, the results reveal that the asteroid's orbit appears most likely to have remained very similar and linked to Jupiter for four-and-a-half billion years - in other words, since the end of planet formation. 'That was completely unexpected,' said Namouni. The discovery provides 'vital clues' as to the asteroid's origins. 'It couldn't be debris of the solar system because at 4.5bn years, all objects, planets, asteroids, comets in the solar system are going around the solar system in the same direction,' he said, adding that the model suggests the most likely explanation is that the asteroid was captured by Jupiter as it hurtled through the solar system from interstellar space. 'It means it is an alien to the solar system,' he said. Namouni said the asteroid is 'unlikely' to be the solar system's only immigrant. The computer modelling reveals that asteroids that had been captured by Jupiter but then broke free from the planet's gravitational pull would now be orbiting the sun on a path perpendicular to the plane of the solar system. Namouni says astronomers should go on the hunt for such bodies. 'When [BZ509] was captured [by Jupiter], probably it wasn't captured all by itself, or maybe it broke up,' he said. Doctor Licia Ray, a planetary scientist at Lancaster University who was not involved in the research, told the Gruniad that the discovery of a body from another star system in the midst of the solar system was exciting. 'That means you can get a lot of cross-contamination, for lack of a better word, of stellar planetary systems during their formation,' she said, adding that it 'might' be that other asteroids came into our solar system and crashed into the Sun, were ejected or even smashed into planets or moons - a tantalising possibility not least because some of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn are thought to have conditions favourable for alien life. 'It definitely could mean that you could get organic building blocks [of life] spread between different systems,' she said. The team are now hoping to go further. 'We are looking to apply our time machine simulation to the orbits of other retrograde Centaurs to see where they come from,' said Namouni. Another report on this story, at the MSN news website, came with the hilariously screamed headline: Asteroid Orbiting Backward Around Jupiter Is First "Interstellar Immigrant" From Beyond Our Solar System. Which sounds more like the kind of headline you'd expect from the Daily Scum Mail, frankly.
The Prime Minister made the strongest commitment yet to 'fully associate' the UK with the EU's sixty eight billion knicker research programme post-Brexit. Theresa May said that the UK would be willing to make 'an appropriate contribution' and, in return, it would expect 'a suitable level of influence.' She also said that Britain would 'participate' in Research & Development with the EU's nuclear body Euratom. The announcements have been welcomed by UK scientists. British research is one of the greatest financial beneficiaries of membership of the EU. Between 2007 and 2013, the UK received eight billion notes from the EU for research - three billion more than it put into the research budget. As well as the money, membership of the so-called 'Framework Programme' enabled British scientists to participate in European research projects. But what is most important to UK researchers is the right to influence the areas of research that are funded. Non-EU members are eligible to receive EU research funding but have no say in the development of research projects. There have therefore been concerns that Brexit would damage UK research. May said in her speech that she would 'discuss proposals' with EU negotiators to enable UK scientists to continue to influence the direction of EU research in return for additional payments. 'The United Kingdom would like the option to fully associate ourselves with the excellence-based European science and innovation programmes,' she said. 'Of course, such an association would involve an appropriate UK financial contribution, which we would willingly make. In return for that contribution, we would look to maintain a suitable level of influence in line with our financial contribution and the benefits we bring.' The key word in that statement is 'appropriate.' It's thought that what the Prime Minister is saying is that under her proposed new terms, the UK would not expect to get more money out than it puts in, as is the case now. The UK research community has pressed the government for just such an arrangement. The President of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan, gave May's comments a cautious welcome. 'There will still be much to negotiate, but the UK should be involved in all aspects of the programme. The sooner our involvement can be confirmed, the sooner scientists across Europe can put politics to one side and get on with shaping the science that will improve lives,' he said. 'The research community remains anxious about the potential damage Brexit could do to UK and International science until a deal is struck, but today's speech clearly shows that the UK government understands what is at stake.' May has also said that the UK would continue to participate in the R&D of the EU's nuclear body, Euratom. Last year, continued involvement had been ruled out because although Euratom is not part of the EU, membership requires being subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice - which the government has said it will not accept. It is unclear how the government will resolve this apparent contradiction, but it is notable that May singled out the R&D component of Euratom for participation, indicating that some form of partial membership might be possible. May also indicated that she was 'aware' of 'concerns' that restrictions on EU immigration would damage UK research. 'Our immigration system supports [international collaboration], with no cap on the number of the students who can come to our universities, and thousands coming every year, learning from some of the finest academics and contributing to the success of some of the best universities in the world,' she said. 'The UK will always be open to the brightest and the best researchers to come and make their valued contribution. When we leave the European Union, I will ensure that does not change.' BBC News learned last week that record numbers of skilled engineers and IT specialists from outside the UK were being denied visas to take up job offers from British employers. The senior deputy general-secretary of the trade union Prospect, Sue Ferns, said that she would like to see how May would enable the easy movement of skilled engineers and scientists. 'How [does the government] intend to turn the Prime Minister's warm words on the contribution of EU scientists to the UK into concrete reassurances for the short term and eventually into a migration system that continues to allow the free exchange of people and knowledge across the continent? And on Euratom, if the government can accept that an association for R&D is advantageous to the UK, why do they continue to insist that such an association is legally impossible in other areas, for example nuclear safeguards?'
Roman Abramovich must explain how he acquired his vast and staggering fortune before he receives a new visa allowing him back into the UK according to media reports. The oligarch, who owns Moscow Chelski Football Club, has been forced to apply for a new investment visa after letting his previous one expire, the Torygraph claims. New rules require him to pass 'a tougher visa test' which includes proving that his funds were 'obtained lawfully.' The Torygraph separately alleges that the wealth of 'dozens' of oligarchs is 'being investigated' by the National Crime Agency as part of 'a wider crackdown.' There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Abramovich and nor that the NCA is delving into his finances, the Torygraph hastily adds. But the Home Office is reported to be 'demanding' - demanding, mark you - to know how Abramovich, whom legend has it began his entrepreneurial career selling rubber ducks from his Moscow apartment, became a multi-billionaire. Abramovich is Britain's thirteenth richest man with a fortune estimated at nine billion smackers and is 'closely connected' to Vladimir Putin, the newspaper states. The refusal to grant a new visa - or, at least, delay it - will 'further raise tensions' between London and Moscow. Cos, that sort of malarkey - pissing off the Russians - is always good for a laugh, isn't it? Abramovich's dealings - like those of other Russian oligarchs in the UK - are under scrutiny following the Kremlin-orchestrated nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, in March. Abramovich, despite owning at least three homes in London, is currently barred from entering the UK because he no longer has a valid visa. He missed Moscow Chelski win the FA Cup Final on Saturday although 'friends' have pointed out that he watches fewer Moscow Chelski matches than he used to and 'has little interest' in the FA Cup, preferring the Premier League and Champions League. Much like most football fans these days, in fact. His old visa, which ran for forty months, expired whilst he was abroad. As a result, Abramovich was forced to make an application for a new visa under new rules brought in in 2015, rather than the more simple process of renewing an existing visa. Theresa May's spokesman, while declining to comment on Abramovich's specific case, said: 'The rules were tightened in 2014, that involved amongst other things. New powers were introduced to refuse where there are reasonable grounds to believe the applicant is not in control of the funds; funds were obtained unlawfully or by conduct which would be unlawful in the UK; or the character, conduct and associations of the third party providing the funds in granting is not conducive to public good.' Asked if somebody given a visa under the old system might be barred under the tougher new rules, the spokesman said: 'The work is ongoing and I wouldn't pre-empt it, but it is a logical conclusion.' The difficulty faced by Abramovich is also, privately, being blamed on tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions in the wake of the attempted assassination of the Skripals that has caused delays in processing the Moscow Chelski owner's visa application and those of other wealthy Russians. Russia closed Britain's St Petersburg consulate and expelled twenty three diplomats. Abramovich's spokesman declined to comment but Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov had no such reluctance, and said: 'We are witnessing Britain's rather unprecedented anti-Russian mania which is manifested in various ways.' Oooo, get her. 'I have no doubt that such actions won't go unnoticed by investors from other countries. Many countries are working to improve their investment attractiveness and this I believe is a step in the opposite direction.'
After completing what they say is the first examination of Adolf Hitler's remains since World War II, a team of researchers has announced that the Nazi shithead - who only had one - most definitely died in Berlin in 1945 and, therefore, cannot possibly still be alive. On the Moon. Or elsewhere, for that matter. The study was no easy feat - over the past seventy odd years, Hitler's presumed corpse has been shot, set on fire, secretly buried, dug up by the Soviets, hidden in a cupboard by the KGB and finally ordered to be completely and utterly destroyed. Hitler's person, meanwhile, has appeared in the fantasies of all manner of conspiracy theorists who insist that his remains are fake. Last year, a team of French researchers persuaded the Russian government to let them inspect the last two pieces of Hitler known to exist: a bullet-shot chunk of skull and a set of teeth. They compared these fragments to war-era autopsy records and concluded that those are definitely Hitler's teeth. 'There is no possible doubt. Our study proves that Hitler died in 1945,' co-author Philippe Charlier told Agence France-Presse after the results of the study were published on Friday in the European Journal Of Internal Medicine. 'He did not flee to Argentina in a submarine,' Charlier continued. 'He is not in a hidden base in Antarctica or on The Dark Side Of The Moon.' (That's the actual Dark Side Of The Moon, not the Pink Floyd LP, obviously. Though, it should be noted, Hitler's probably not on that either. Roger Waters is, though. A necessary difference.) So, that's something of a relief, frankly. Because, Hitler really was a terrible old stinker and the world (and, The Moon) is extremely better off with him having died, in a ditch, on fire. And, it was his honeymoon as well so, as Eddie Izzard once noted, 'double bonus'. The professor is by no means the first researcher to try to debunk claims - by utter frigging loonies - that Hitler survived beyond World War II, which have persisted for decades despite the derision of nearly all mainstream historians. And most 'normal' people as well.
Some good news now. A performance of a musical written by and featuring Bloody Sting has been extremely cancelled in a row over contracts and costs. The Last Ship had been due to be performed outdoors at Newcastle's Spiller's Wharf on Bank Holiday Monday. It has now been shelved after producer Karl Sydow accused the promoter, SSD Concerts, of failing to sign a contract and SSD claiming that 'last-minute' demands had 'pushed costs up.' The row does not affect the ongoing UK tour of the show, which is due to end in July. Bloody Sting created The Last Ship as a tribute to the shipbuilding community in his home town of Wallsend. The musical tells of a group of unemployed shipbuilders who take over a closed factory to build one final ship and stars actors Joe McGann, Charlie Hardwick and Richard Fleeshman. Despite trying to reach a resolution, SSD said that it had 'no alternative' but to 'accept' the decision to cancel the show, but was 'bitterly disappointed.' However, a statement issued by the show's producer Karl Sydow, said that he had 'lost confidence' in the promoter. He said: 'It is of paramount importance to us that the quality and artistic integrity of the performance would be what we and the audience would expect and we do not have the necessary confidence that this would be delivered. Therefore we have reached the unfortunate conclusion that we have no alternative but to cancel the performance. We thank all of the ticket purchasers and apologise for the disappointment and inconvenience that this cancellation may cause.' In a statement SSD said: 'Due to the unexpected last-minute demands of the show's London-based production team, the costs to produce the event were spiralling and unmanageable. We are bitterly disappointed that The Last Ship's officials have taken such a stance which poses a real financial threat to a North East-based promoter that has been behind some of the biggest live music events staged in Newcastle.'
A joyride in a motorised shopping cart landed a Florida couple behind bars on Thursday. Only in America, dear blog reader. Security cameras were rolling when Jeffrey Robert Sabiel and Santa Marie Walters stole a motorised shopping cart from a Walmart located on Missouri Avenue in Largo, according to an affidavit. The couple was seen driving off the property and heading West. Shortly after the theft was reported, the cart was spotted outside Jimmy's Sports Bar in Largo and an officer found the couple at the bar, drinking. After initially denying the theft, the couple then admitted to taking the cart and were arrested on charges of grand theft auto.
A man in Ohio realised the downside of, if you will, 'bringing home the bacon' when a pig wouldn't stop following him on his way home early Saturday morning. Police in Elyria, Ohio, say that they thought the unidentified man 'must have been drunk or hallucinating' when he called for back-up after failing to shake off the swine. The North Ridgeville Police Department said that they received the call at 5:26am on Saturday morning. Upon arrival, they discovered the man, who was sober but was still being followed by the pig near the city's Amtrak station. When asked what he thought the pig was doing, the man replied 'this little piggy went wee-wee-wee all the way home.' Probably. An officer loaded the pig into his police cruiser and, eventually, returned it to its owner. A department spokesperson told CBS News the pig's name was Zoey. Well, it used to be Zoey, now it's ham, gammon, bacon, belly pork, hot dogs ... you know. 'Also, we will mention the irony of the pig in a police car now so that anyone that thinks they're funny is actually unoriginal and trying too hard,' the department said in a Facebook post.
After pleading extremely guilty to a charge of affray, Newcastle United winger Rolando Aarons received a ten month suspended sentence with one hundred hours community service at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday. The hundred hours, presumably, does not include appearances for Th' Toon's reserves. The offence took place inside city centre bar Livellos in October 2016, with Aarons reportedly punching and head-butting another man during a mass brawl. Among several others convicted was Aarons' mother, who received a twenty eight week sentence suspended for twelve months, with a two month curfew.
Dona Reynaud, a former candidate for mayor of Kenner near New Orleans and the wife of Councilman Keith Reynaud, was arrested on Thursday after police claim she was 'the aggressor' in a fight with a couple at Treasure Chest Casino. Reynaud was booked with disturbing the peace, according to Lieutenant Brian McGregor, spokesman for the Kenner Police Department. Police officers were called to the casino after security 'broke up a fight' involving Reynaud and 'an unidentified man and woman' according to media reports. Reynaud, who 'appeared to be intoxicated,' told officers that the man shoved her with no physical provocation after she told his female companion that 'it was not the time to be line-dancing,' an arrest affidavit said. 'But they checked the casino surveillance video and determined [Reynaud] was the aggressor,' McGregor said. In the video, Reynaud is seen walking over to the seated couple. She pulled up a chair, sat next to the man and woman and began what appeared to be an argument, the affidavit said. Reynaud then shoved the man, and he pushed her back, the report said. The man stood up and started yelling at Reynaud. A bystander pulled Reynaud away from the couple. But Reynaud then 'removed both of her high heel shoes, ran towards the male and punched him in the face,' causing him to fall from his chair, the report said. Reynaud toppled over onto the man and they 'continued to tussle on the ground' until security arrived. Reynaud was given an opportunity to sign a summons for a city misdemeanour. 'She refused to sign the summons, so she was arrested,' McGregor said.
The parents of a thirty-year-old man have resorted to drastic measures in an effort to get their son to leave home: they are suing him. Court documents say Michael Rotondo does not pay rent or help with chores and has ignored his parents' offers of money to get him to move out. Despite issuing five eviction letters, Christina and Mark Rotondo say that their son still refuses to leave. Michael is arguing that, legally, he was not given enough notice to leave. The Rotondos filed their case with the Onondaga County Supreme Court, near Syracuse, New York on 7 May, after months of unsuccessfully urging their son to leave. The Rotondos' lawyer, Anthony Adorante, told Syracuse.com the couple did not know how else to get their adult son out of their house. 'We have decided that you must leave this house immediately,' reads the first letter, dated 2 February, according to court filings. When Michael ignored the letter, his parents wrote up a proper eviction notice with the help of their lawyer. 'You are hereby evicted,' a 13 February notice signed by Mrs Rotondo reads. 'A legal enforcement procedure will be instituted immediately if you do not leave by 15 March 2018.' The couple then offered their son eleven hundred dollars to go away - along with some sharp commentary about his behaviour. 'There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you. Get one - you have to work!' they said. By 30 March, however, it was becoming clear that their son had no intention of leaving. In April, Mr and Mrs Rotondo went to their local town court to see if they could evict their son. But they were told that because Michael is family, they would need a Supreme Court justice to officially send him packing. According to WABC News, Michael has called his parents' lawsuit 'retaliatory' and has asked the court to toss out the request. The Rotondo family will take their case to Supreme Court later this month - some weeks ahead of Michael's thirty first birthday.
Tabloid headline of the week goes to the Daily Scum Mail for Big Flash & Fries Please! "British" Tourist Orders A Burger With Her Whole Bottom On Show In Majorca. You don't really need to bother reading the article, however, the headline is, pretty much, it.
A New Zealand man who stole a human skull and bones from a Masonic lodge said that he would return the stolen goods 'in exchange for meth.' Cayden John Minto pleaded extremely guilty to a charge of burglary and another of blackmail when he appeared in the Nelson District Court on Thursday. A police summary facts said that overnight on 1 December, Minto broke into the Southern Star Lodge. He forced a fire door open, found a key on top of a locked cupboard and used it to access a ceremonial area of the building known as The Temple. Once inside, he took a human skull, assorted human bones, cutlery and books, as well as ceremonial knives, robes and marbles. The value of the items was estimated to be between one thousand and fifteen hundred dollars. Two weeks later, Minto made contact with a member of a fellow Freemasons Lodge via Facebook. He sent messages over several days, claiming that he was acting 'on behalf of someone' who had the stolen goods, but was willing to 'negotiate' their safe return. 'Tell them be as fast as possible as the person with it will destroy it and dispose of it if he doesn't get seven gram [sic],' one message read. The demand was passed on to a member of the Southern Star Lodge. It was believed the person was requesting seven thousand bucks for the safe return of the items. Police later located the stolen items at Minto's former partner's house and they were returned to the lodge. Minto originally denied breaking into the lodge and said that he had received the property from 'someone with an interest in the Freemasons' whom he refused to name.
A man has been very jailed after being found by police walking around at midnight with a meat cleaver down his trousers. Police were called to the Abbey Lane area of Leicester shortly before midnight on 21 April after members of the public said that they had seen a man 'with a weapon' in his pants. And, no, that's not a euphemism. I mean, this blogger could have gone that route if he'd wanted to, you know. 'He was spotted exposing his massive chopper', that sort of thing. But, Keith telly Topping is bigger than that, dear blog reader. Anyway Cecil Pike told the fuzz that he had been attacked by 'an Oriental gang' and was heading to Melton Road to find them and 'cut them up.' When he was arrested he was found to have the meat cleaver down his trousers and the knife in his pocket. He later pleaded extremely guilty to two counts of possessing a bladed article. Pike was sentenced to thirty four weeks in prison at Leicester Crown Court on Thursday, where Judge Nicholas Dean heard that Pike had mental health issues and had recently walked into HMP Leicester with two knives and 'asked to be locked up.'
A teenager who started a major wildfire in the scenic Columbia River Gorge in Oregon has been ordered to pay restitution for at least the next decade, though it's unlikely the boy will ever cover his nearly thirty seven million dollar bill. The Oregonian reports that Hood River County Circuit Judge John A Olson issued the opinion on Monday, awarding the restitution totalling thirty six million six hundred and eighteen thousand three hundred and thirty dollars and twenty four cents to cover the costs of firefighting, repair and restoration to the gorge and damage to homes. Victims include the US Forest Service and Oregon Department of Transportation. I think it's the addition of the twenty four cents that make it art. The naughty fifteen-year-old from Vancouver, Washington, earlier this year 'acknowledged wrongdoing' and said that he threw two fireworks in Eagle Creek Canyon on 2 September when 'flames spread quickly.' No shit? The fire caused evacuations, an extended shutdown of a major interstate highway and devastation to a major outdoor tourist attraction. The judge's order notes that the boy can set up a payment plan, though payments can be halted after ten years as long as he complies, completes probation and doesn't commit any other crimes. At a hearing last week, the boy's lawyer urged for 'a reasonable and rational penalty,' calling the thirty seven million bucks sought 'an absurd amount' for a child. The restitution is solely the responsibility of the teen and not his parents, who came to the US from Ukraine. And, probably want to go back there right about now. Olson called it 'an extraordinary amount' and then deferred on a separate restitution order because he wanted more time to review the case. The judge said that the largest figure he could find for prior juvenile restitution cases in Oregon was one hundred and fourteen thousand dollars. In February, the teen pleaded very guilty to 'reckless burning of public and private property' and some other charges. Olson sentenced him to community service and probation and the boy had to write more than one hundred and fifty letters of apology to those affected by the fire that burned seventy five square miles. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area attracts more than three million tourists a year and holds North America's largest concentration of waterfalls. The fast-moving blaze ravaged popular hiking trails and marred stunning vistas. State law allows the Oregon Department of Revenue to garnishee the teen's bank accounts or pay cheques. If he is due refunds on his tax returns, the state could also take those. If he wins the lottery, the state could collect all of his winnings. So, from his point of view, it's probably a good idea not to play the lottery, then. Anger at the boy was so intense that authorities withheld his name to protect his safety. He is listed in court papers merely as AB.
Dixon Of Dock Green, one of British television's longest running and most popular police dramas, starred Jack Warner as the dependable, friendly London bobby who welcomed viewers to each episode with the cheery greeting 'Evening, all.' It ran for twenty one years from 1955 and is remembered for its cosy, nostalgic world of petty theft and tickings-off delivered over cups of tea. Although there is much truth in this recollection of the programme, from the early 1960s - in a changing Britain where crime was rising and with the launch of the much grittier series Z Cars - there was some attempt to bring the drama up to date. The ageing Dixon - promoted to sergeant in 1964 - eventually became deskbound and stories focused on the younger detective, Andy Crawford, played by Peter Byrne, who has died aged ninety. Byrne had joined Dixon Of Dock Green at its inception, as a wet-behind-the-ears constable. PC George Dixon had previously featured in The Blue Lamp, the most popular film in British cinemas in 1950. Although the character was shot dead little more than twenty minutes in, he was brought back to life in a 1952 stage version of The Blue Lamp which featured Gordon Harker as Dixon, Byrne as PC Andy Crawford and Warner as Chief Inspector Cherry. Ted Willis, co-writer of both the film and play, then turned it into the television series, with Warner as star and Byrne reprising his stage role. In later years, Crawford married Dixon's daughter, Mary (played successively by Billie Whitelaw, Jeanette Hutchinson and Anna Dawson) and moved to CID, rising to the rank of detective inspector and gradually did more of the legwork for Dixon - astonishingly, Warner was eighty by the time the programme finally ended in 1976. Two years before that, in an example of how it made an effort to catch up with other police dramas and the modern world, a tougher and more cynical Crawford ended up being investigated after leading a raid on suspected robbers that resulted in one of the unarmed suspects being shot by a police gun. However, with modern cops-and-robbers sagas such as The Sweeney complete with screeching cars and violence as standard, Dixon Of Dock Green still looked horribly anachronistic and Byrne decided to leave in 1975, after twenty one series. A year later, the programme was finally laid to rest. Born in Forest Gate, East London, to James Byrne, a musician who later played in Jack Hylton's band, and his wife, Elizabeth, Byrne was brought up in Hendon and educated at Finchley Grammar School. He then trained at the Italia Conti Stage Academy and, at the age of sixteen, alongside fellow students, made his professional debut as The Third Elf in Clifford Mills and John Ramsay's fantasy play Where the Rainbow Ends, at The Knightstone Theatre, Weston-super-Mare in 1944. The following year, Byrne made his radio debut in The Will Hay Programme and appeared as a schoolboy alongside the star in the revue For Crying Out Loud, produced by Hylton at The Stoll Theatre. He was also with Hay in The Victory Royal Variety Performance at the London Coliseum shortly after the end of the Second World War. Following national service, Byrne performed with repertory theatre companies across the country. Hylton then cast him in The Blue Lamp and as Phil, one of the children of Dan (Warner) and Doris (Joyce Barber) in a 1954 stage version of The Archers. Byrne's West End roles included the Honourable George D'Alroy in She Smiled At Me (St Martin's Theatre in 1956), Robert Castin in Boeing-Boeing (1966) and Robert Danvers in There's a Girl In My Soup (1968-69). He also acted in and directed tours of Agatha Christie plays, later appeared with Bill Kenwright's touring Christie company between 2009 and 2013 and did stints as actor or director in The Mousetrap, The West End's longest-running show, at St Martin's Theatre. He made his television debut in 1953 as David Mason, with Whitelaw as his wife, in The Pattern Of Marriage, a four-part drama-documentary series written by Caryl Doncaster and Willis which was instructional in guiding viewers on how to re-establish 'happy family' life at a time when divorce was on the increase. Byrne later became good friends with Paul Elliott, who played a police cadet in Dixon Of Dock Green and in 1964 they formed E&B Productions, staging up to thirty pantomimes a year across the UK, directing and starring in some themselves. Eventually, Byrne sold his shares to Elliott but continued to act in some of the shows. He had a guest role in a 1981 episode of the TV SF serial Blake's 7 as Justin, a scientist who genetically engineers animals as slaves for humans and a run in the sitcom Bread as Derek, a widower who befriends Nellie Boswell (Jean Boht). He played an ageing Tony Blair relocated to the Middle East in Armando Iannucci's satirical 2006 series Time Trumpet, set twenty five years in the future and appeared in episodes of Doctors and Holby City. His cinema appearances included small roles in Reach For The Sky (1956), Watch Your Stern (1960), The Iron Maiden (1960) and Carry On Cabby (1963). When Radio 4 revived Dixon Of Dock Green in 2005, the character of Andy Crawford was played by David Tennant, alongside David Calder as Dixon. Byrne's 1956 marriage to Vera Dalgleish ended in divorce. In 1980, he married Renée Goldschmidt, who died in 2011. He is survived by his two stepchildren, Anthony and Vivienne.

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