Friday, August 03, 2018

In The Same Place, At The Same Time

The BBC have released another new image from the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. This one featuring yer actual Jodie Whittaker's Doctor looking well-ready for whatever the universe decides to throw at her.
The cast of Doctor Who have confirmed that the forthcoming eleventh series will feature an episode which was shot 'under difficult circumstances' in South Africa. New showrunner Chris Chibnall and his production team have kept most of the details about the new episodes in a state of near-total news blackout, with the cast only now confirming to Doctor Who Magazine that they 'secretly' went abroad to film scenes. Albeit, it wasn't that secret - they were spotted and, indeed, this blog first reported the location's use as long ago as January. 'The shoot was three weeks. It was warm, so that was good,' yer actual Jodie Whittaker revealed. 'The ambition was huge and the landscapes there - you couldn't have got that here. But it required a lot of focus because we knew we had a lot to do in three weeks. We were working with a really great South African crew. They recommended things for us to do on our days off!' The downside was that the Doctor Who cast and crew arrived in South Africa as the country was in the middle of a drought, which restricted them to 'two-minute showers' and largely limited water usage. 'Other than the water crisis, we had a really good time out there,' Tosin Cole said. The cast did not divulge any further details about the episode, but Radio Times has suggested that South Africa may be doubling for the American deep South.
Multi-Doctor stories featuring yer actual Ninth Doctor - and his massive ears - may be the stuff of Doctor Who comics and fan fiction, but attendees at last week's London Film & Comic-Con got the next best thing when the timelines of Christopher Eccleston and Matt Smith his very self crossed. And, they touched as the following photographic evidence proved. But, but, but ... what about Blinovtich's Limitation Effect? Did nobody think about the potential devastating effects upon the time-space-continuum? Seemingly not. Oh well, fair enough. The three-day event saw appearances by all of the living actors who previously played The Doctor except for Sylvester McCoy, with Eccleston undertaking his first ever signing commitments at a convention event, a happenstance which previously seem about as likely to occur as Hartlepool winning the FA Cup. And, for once, he actually looking vaguely cheerful. It was whilst Eccleston was being moved around the arena that he passed Smudger, resulting in what the Doctor Who News website describes as 'a heartfelt meeting between the two actors, captured for posterity by surrounding fans.' Or, alternatively a rather competitive-looking arm-wrestling competition (which, one assumes, Big Ecc won by two falls and a submission). Ecc also reportedly met Peter Capaldi whilst the latter was coming out of a lift and the former was entering it, resulting in a hug between the two men.
The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) is staying with time travel for his next TV project, an adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife [sic]. HBO has given a straight-to-series order for the drama, based on the acclaimed and award-winning novel by Audrey Niffenegger according to Deadline. 'I read Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife [sic] many years ago and I fell in love with it,' The Moff said. 'In fact, I wrote a Doctor Who episode called The Girl In the Fireplace as a direct response to it. When, in her next novel, Audrey had a character watching that very episode, I realised she was probably on to me. All these years later, the chance to adapt the novel itself, is a dream come true. The brave new world of long form television is now ready for this kind of depth and complexity. It's a story of happy ever after - but not necessarily in that order.' 'We are thrilled to be partnering with Steven Moffat, Hartswood and WBTV on The Time Traveler's Wife,' [sic] HBO programming president Casey Bloys said. 'Steven's passion is evident in every project he's written and we are certain that his love and respect for this mesmerising and textured novel will make it a quintessential HBO series.' Moffat, his good lady Sue Vertue and Brian Minchin will executive produce through their Hartswood Films. The 2003 novel tells the story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who has a genetic disorder that makes him travel, involuntarily, through time and Clare Abshire, an artist who falls in love with him and has to deal with his condition. The novel was previously the subject of a - decent-enough if hardly Earth-shattering - 2009 movie adaptation starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. No production schedule or suggested release date has been announced for the TV version.
FOX is trying to bring Buffy The Vampire Slayer back from the grave but, despite all the media palaver at the initial announcement last week, fans are going to have to be patient. Last month, Joss Whedon confirmed that he was 'working with' Fringe and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D writer Monica Owusu-Breen and FOX on 'an update' of the classic series which would feature an African-American slayer. FOX Television Group co-chairman Gary Newman confirmed that development has started on the project at the TCA press tour on Thursday, but cautioned that it wasn't on an 'incredibly fast track.' Instead, the network wants to give Owusu-Breen the time to come up with a concept which will do the original show justice and satisfy Buffy's passionate fanbase. 'There's actually no script to see,' he explained. 'We've sat down with creators and had conversations with them about it. It's a very exciting prospect. It's fairly early. We haven't pitched it to any possible licensees yet, all of that is still to come. We're thrilled that Joss has engaged Monica who he worked with on one of his other series. She is the person who is day-to-day on it. She has a great take on the show.' To quell some initial unrest within the more barmy end of the Buffy fan community, Owusu-Breen recently made it clear that she had 'no intention' of recasting characters from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series. 'There is only one Buffy. One Xander, one Willow, Giles, Cordelia, Oz, Tara, Kendra, Faith, Spike, Angel. They can't be replaced,' she wrote. 'Joss Whedon's brilliant and beautiful series can't be replicated. I wouldn't try to. But here we are, twenty years later and the world seems a lot scarier. So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer. And that's all I can say.' Whedon himself is expected to have next to nothing to do with the reboot beyond having his name on the credits, since he is currently attached to write, produce and direct an HBO show called The Nevers which sounds very much like a Victorian-era Buffy.
The great Alan Alda, the star of M*A*S*H and The West Wing, has revealed he has Parkinson's disease. The eighty two-year-old told the CBS's This Morning show that he was diagnosed three-and-a-half years ago but had only decided to speak about it now. 'The reason I want to talk about it in public is I've had a full life since then,' he said. 'You still have things you can do,' he went on, revealing that he was 'taking boxing lessons three times a week.'Parkinson's is a progressive condition in which the brain becomes damaged. It can lead to tremors, difficulty moving, speech changes and eventually memory problems. Alda is best known for playing Captain Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H from 1972 to 1983. A six-time EMMY award winner, he went on to play the Republican presidential candidate Arnold Vinick - brilliantly - in  From The North favourite The West Wing (2004 to 2006) and was Oscar nominated in 2005 for The Aviator. Alda said that he had noticed during recent interviews to promote his new podcast that he 'could see [his] thumb twitch in some shots. I thought, it's probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view but that's not where I am,' he continued. Alda said that he had gone to his doctor to ask for a scan because he suspected he might have the disease. 'I read an article by Jane Brody in the New York Times that indicated if you act out your dreams, there's a good chance that might be a very early symptom where nothing else shows,' he explained. 'I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them, but what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife.' He continued: 'This is not to short-change people who are suffering with really severe symptoms. Symptoms can get very bad and their families can suffer. But in the very beginning, to be immobilised by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you, you still have things you can do.'
The broadcasting regulator Ofcom - a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - has scrapped the roll-out of further local TV channels across the UK. More than thirty local TV stations have been set up since 2013, but some - in fact, most - have faced financial difficulties and have struggled to attract any sort of an audience. Ofcom has now halted plans to seek people to run new channels in thirteen areas. The regulator said that it had taken the decision 'in light of the significant financial challenges that the local TV sector is facing.' Continuing with the plans for the new channels would, Ofcom said, 'have an adverse impact on the economic viability of the local TV sector.' As, indeed, anyone with half-a-brain in their head could have previously predicted. Licences will now not be advertised for Bangor, Barnstaple, Bromsgrove, Derry, Forth Valley, Gloucester, Inverness, Kidderminster, Limavady, Luton, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Stratford-upon-Avon. Local TV was launched in the UK under a - not even remotely well-thought-out - plan laid out in 2011 by then lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt. It has, since, proved to be a white elephant of properly elephantine proportions. Current licensees include ESTV, which runs the Evening Standard-affiliated London Live and That's TV, which runs fourteen channels across the UK.
National treasure Jarvis Cocker will reportedly 'rummage through other people's knick-knacks' in a special episode of Bargain Hunt. He will be pitted against the former Happy Mondays' dancer Bez in a one-off episode of the bafflingly popular teatime show, which sees amateur buyers trying to sell antiques for a profit. The programme will broadcast in September to mark the fourth annual BBC Music Day. Kylie Minogue, Gareth Malone and Ella Eyre will also take part in the UK-wide celebration of music, which takes place on 28 September. Bez and Cocker will be joined on Bargain Hunt by their respective bandmates Rowetta Idah and Candida Doyle. Woman's Hour will mark Music Day by publishing a Women In Music Power List, celebrating the top forty female voices in music, from songwriters and performers to managers and producers. The list will be compiled by a panel including singer and actress Kate Nash and producer Catherine Marks, who has worked with Wolf Alice, Foals and The Killers. Kylie, Kylie, sweet and smiley will be 'encouraging commuters' to do 'The Locomotion' as she voices train announcements at major stations across the UK. 'I truly believe in the power of music to bring joy and lift the soul,' said the diminutive Antipodean pop star and BBC Music Day ambassador. 'Hopefully my little messages for train passengers will be a nice surprise and a reminder of the power of music.' Choirs will entertain commuters on the platforms of more than forty destinations around the UK - so, if you're planning on travelling anywhere that day, fer Christ's sake take an iPod with you - while the BBC Singers will perform in Birmingham's New Street Station with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. After Shaun Ryder became the voice of Manchester trams last year, the network will host surprise performances from 'local music legends' in 2018. Birmingham's metro system, meanwhile, will be taken over by performance group Free Radical. On TV there will be a special edition of Pointless, featuring musicians Lianne La Havas, Amy Macdonald, Leslie Garrett and Ella Eyre alongside BBC radio presenters. And, Gareth Malone is presenting the All Star Music Quiz, a competition in which two z-list celebrity teams have to 'play the answer, as well as say it.' Amateur musicians and community groups are being encouraged to join in too, with schools being given support to put on special performances in playgrounds and assemblies. Radio 1 will head out to universities for a simultaneous celebration of Music Day and Freshers' Week, culminating in a 'Rave Lounge' at Brighton University featuring Annie Mac and Danny Howard. 'The UK is truly a nation of music lovers,' claimed Bob Shennan, the director of BBC Music. 'BBC Music Day aims to bring the nation together to celebrate this, from pop and rock to classical and choirs and everything in between. There really is something for everyone to enjoy!'
Unseen sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus have been discovered in Michael Palin's archives. He gave the material to the British Library in 2017 and, after examination, they were found to contain several unused script ideas. These included a Wild West Bookshop sketch and 'The Amorous Pink Knight', storylines cut from Monty Python & The Holy Grail. According to The Times, the sketches will go on display to the public at the British Library later this month. More than fifty notebooks containing notes on two Pythons films - Holy Grail and Monty Python's Life Of Brian - will also be part of the exhibition. They show how much both the films changed throughout the drafting process, as material was cut to 'prevent causing offence' to the viewing public. Not that this plan worked, obviously. The sketches also reveal how Holy Grail was meant to have a different ending, whilst the film about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (they dance when 'eer they're able) was also set to feature a Western saloon scene. It sees a man appear from the desert, in need of a beer, only to find out the saloon is actually bookshop. 'The last bookshop before you get to Mexico,' the bookseller says.The selection of items showcase Palin's creative life over a period of more than twenty years - from 1965 to 1987. The seventy five-year-old writer, actor and comedian gave his blessing for sketches to be reproduced and put on display and says that he can't think why some of them weren't used. 'The Holy Grail took shape gradually and at the beginning it had far more ideas in it than ended up on screen because you had to have a narrative. In the end the story of the knights was strong enough,' he said.
Andy Serkis is to direct a performance-capture film version of George Orwell's Animal Farm for Netflix. Deadline reports the adaptation will be contemporary and highlight the 'staggering relevance' of the satirical and dramatic power of Orwell's allegorical novel. It is not known yet whether the film will get a cinema release as well as being on the streaming service. In 2012 Serkis said he had started work on an adaptation of Animal Farm. He told them they were 'using an amalgamation of filming styles' to create the environments. At that time he had intended to appear in the film himself. The novel was an allegory about the dangers of Soviet Communism and the rise of Joseph Stalin. Set on an English farm, a group of animals led by the pigs overthrow their cruel farmer and take over the farm themselves. However they soon find that the animals are not all as equal as they thought. 'We are incredibly excited to have finally found the perfect creative home in Netflix for this extraordinarily zeitgeist work by George Orwell,' Serkis said in a statement. The film will be produced by Serkis' film company The Imaginarium. Matt Reeves, who directed Serkis in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and War For The Planet Of The Apes, will also be one of the film's producers. Serkis said he was 'happy' to be re-united with his 'great friend. With his acute sensitivity, storytelling intelligence and honesty and command in this realm, is to have the very best scenario for our long-held passion to bring this fable alive.' Last week it was announced that Serkis' directorial debut Mowgli, a Jungle Book adaptation, had been bought by Netflix.
Football's world governing body FIFA - a notoriously corrupt collective of gangsters, criminals and appeasers of dictators - has been 'urged' to conduct an 'independent investigation' into claims the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team ran a secret campaign in 2010 to sabotage competing host bids. Not that they're going to, obviously. The chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee Damian Collins - a man never short of an opinion ... on pretty much any subject you care to name - said that the 'serious allegations,' published in The Sunday Times, would be a breach of FIFA's rules if the proved to be true. 'It requires a proper independent investigation and FIFA should make clear that will happen,' he said. Speaking on Radio 5Live, he added: 'If the Qataris have broken the rules, they should face some sanctions.' In a statement Qatar's 'Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy' said it 'rejects each and every allegation put forward by The Sunday Times.' The paper claims to have seen leaked documents that show the Qatari bid team employed a US PR firm and ex-CIA agents to smear its rivals - mainly the United States and Australia. The alleged aim was to create propaganda to give the impression that a World Cup would not be supported domestically. The Qatar tournament organisers deny the allegations. Which, to paraphrase Mandy Rice Davies, 'well, they would, wouldn't they?' A campaign such as that alleged by The Sunday Times would have extremely broken FIFA's bidding rules. Qatar beat rival bids from the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan to the right to host the 2022 World Cup in a process not so much bent as U-shaped. FIFA's rules state that World Cup bidders should not make 'any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association.' The Qatar bid team has been previously accused of corruption, but was cleared following a two-year FIFA inquiry. One or two people even believed them. Some of the alleged aspects of the smear campaign include a 'respected academic' allegedly being paid nine thousand US dollars to allegedly write a negative report on the huge economic cost of an American World Cup, which was then distributed to news media around the world; journalists, bloggers and high-profile figures were recruited in each country to 'hype up negative aspects' of their respective bids; a group of American physical education teachers recruited to ask their US Congressmen to oppose a US World Cup on the grounds that the money would be better used on high school sports; grassroots protests were organised at rugby games in Australia opposing the country's bid and intelligence reports were compiled on individuals involved in rival bids. The documents seen by The Sunday Times - which the paper claims were 'leaked by a whistleblower' who worked on the 2022 bid team - were apparently 'unavailable' during the FIFA inquiry. The Qatar bid team is alleged to have employed the New York office of communications company Brown Lloyd Jones, which is now BLJ Worldwide, along with a team of former intelligence officers to run a campaign aimed at undermining one of FIFA's key criteria in the bidding process - that each bid should have strong backing at home. In its statement, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said: 'We have been thoroughly investigated and have been forthcoming with all information related to our bid, including the official investigation led by US attorney Michael Garcia. We have strictly adhered to all FIFA's rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.' A FIFA statement said 'a thorough investigation was conducted by Michael Garcia and his conclusions are available in the report,' referring to the completed two-year inquiry.
Meanwhile, the Football Association is reported to be considering putting England forward as a potential host for the 2030 World Cup. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that no one in international football can bloody stand England. Because we're a bunch of self-deluded whingers who seem to believe that we're still a global power when, in fact, we haven't been for forty years. The last major tournament played in England was the 1996 European Championship, thirty years after the country hosted its only World Cup. FA chairman Greg Clarke says that the governing body's board has 'agreed to start work' to see if a bid is feasible. 'This work will take place during the new season and no decision will be made until 2019,' added Clarke. Wembley is already hosting seven games during Euro 2020 and the FA has bid to host the European Women's Championship in 2021. England failed with a bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Russia were instead announced as hosts by Sepp Blatter, the now disgraced and disgraceful former-president of FIFA. England felt aggrieved by that bidding process but it is thought the FA has been 'encouraged' over 2030 by the greater transparency around the recent vote for the 2026 World Cup, which was won by a joint United States, Canada and Mexico bid. It will now decide whether to bid to become the potential candidate from UEFA, European football's governing body. FIFA vice-president David Gill said in June England should have 'great confidence.' However, there is expected to be a strong joint bid from Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, with 2030 marking the one hundredth-year anniversary of the first World Cup in Uruguay. There is no guarantee that the FA will decide to make a bid and many will no doubt see is as a doomed and needless waste of money after England's humiliating and ill-fated bid for the 2018 World Cup. But the fact that such a move is even being considered reflects a growing confidence from within the governing body that its image in the international game has improved. Significantly, the government is understood to be more supportive of the idea of bidding than it once was. The current government, that is. The next one, which may led by Comrade Corbyn is likely to be more interested in hosting the world ice hockey championships. Clarke also dismissed claims by former FA chairman Lord Triesman that England 'could step in' to host the 2022 World Cup, should Qatar be stripped of the competition. Which, they won't be. Clarke said: 'FIFA has chosen Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup and they have a duty to investigate any issues around the process that are rightly thrown into question. Russia did a brilliant job hosting the 2018 World Cup and we support the rotation of World Cup hosting around confederations. That would make the 2030 World Cup the next one a European nation might be able to host and not before. Anyone suggesting otherwise is acting disrespectfully to our global game and does not speak for the English FA.'
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though tragically unsellable) Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez says that the club's fans 'need to be concerned' after an embarrassingly wretched four-nil hammering in their penultimate pre-season friendly at SC Braga. And, trust this blogger Rafa, we all are. As bloody usual around this time each season. Goals from Ricadro Horta, Joao Novais, Fransergio and Dyego Sousa condemned The Magpies to a 'worrying' defeat. 'Things are not going well off the pitch and you can see a reflection of that on the pitch,' admitted Benitez. No shit? Following the match in Portugal, Benitez claimed that he had 'no idea' about any potential new signings at the club before the Premier League season. The former Liverpool manager said that he wants 'another three or four players' before the transfer deadline on 9 August. But, as usual, public promises made by club's owner, that awful Ashley individual, appear to have been nothing but outright lies. In the same week in which Ashley has, reportedly, been in talks to inject money into the House of Fraser department store chain, once again he seems remarkably reluctant to put his hand in his pocket when it comes to the football club that he owns. 'We were poor and we made too many mistakes. We have to wake up - that's it,' added Benitez after the Braga game. 'You see the teams that have been promoted, the money they are spending. Put it all together and you understand why the fans need to be concerned. We are concerned. Everyone in the dressing room was really upset with our performance and with how things are going, but we will try to change things in the next ten days. Am I optimistic, thinking that in ten days, we can do what we didn't do in two months? I don't think so. But, still, I think it's obvious we need people, we need bodies. We have been talking for a while about players. I think it's the time to act, more than talk. I said two months ago what we needed and ten days before the start of season we still are where we are. There's four or five players we thought we could bring - but we haven't.' When asked if he was close to any new signings he said, bluntly, 'I have no idea.' The Magpies open their league campaign against Stottingtot Hotshots at St James' Park on 10 August, followed by fixtures against Cardiff City, Moscow Chelshi FC, Shiekh Yer Man City and The Arse. So, after five games of the new season, no prizes for guessing which club is likely to be very bottom of the Premier League. There was a modicum of good news for United this week as they confirmed that they have signed Japanese international striker Yoshinori Muto from Mainz on a four-year deal. The twenty six-year-old, who is The Magpies' fifth summer signing, scored eight goals for Mainz last season as they avoided relegation from the Bundesliga. Muto was in Japan's World Cup squad for Russia making one appearance - in the defeat to Poland. 'As the first Japanese Newcastle United player, I am honoured to be a player for such a big club,' he said. 'I hope to achieve good results - that is what I am here to do. I would like to perform well and leave my name in Newcastle's history.' Muto signed after being granted a work permit on Thursday. His fee is reported to be nine-and-a-half million notes and boosts the options for a team who scored but thirty nine Premier League goals in 2017-18, the second fewest of the top fourteen. His arrival follows that of Switzerland defender Fabian Schär from Deportivo La Coruna last week, while Benitez has also been able to sign goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on a permanent contract following a six-month loan spell. The Magpies added former Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng on a free transfer and Moscow Chelski FC midfielder Kenedy has returned on a season-long loan deal after the Brazilian had a successful six-month spell during the last campaign. However, a proposed move for West Bromwich Albinos striker Salomon Rondon - something which has dragged on for the majority of the summer - appears to have stalled at the eleventh hour. Dwight Gayle's unwillingness to leave Newcastle for a Championship side is reported to be 'hindering progress,' as are the alleged 'inferior contractual terms' said to be on offer to him. When asked about the Rondon situation Benitez noted: '[It] could be fine if we have an agreement but we have to respect West Brom and what they decide. It seems that Dwight Gayle will stay, so that's what we have at the moment.'
A five smacker note engraved with the image of the England striker Harry Kane has gone into circulation in Merthyr Tydfil. In Wales. Oh, the irony. Micro-engraver Graham Short made six of the notes after Kane won the Golden Boot for scoring the most goals during the 2018 World Cup. He used the note at a shop in Cefn Coed last Wednesday. The artist previously etched Jane Austen onto new deep-sea divers when they were first circulated and those have been valued at fifty grand. Short, from Birmingham, chose Merthyr Tydfil because his father was born in nearby Dowlais. The other notes were spent in Meriden in the West Midlands and the Elephant House in Edinburgh. A fourth note will be spent in Northern Ireland. He gifted the other two notes to the Football Association and to Stottingtot Hotshots forward Kane his very self. Because, obviously, Kane is a bit short of cash most of the time. Short uses very fine needles to scratch the images into clear sections of the notes. They remain legal tender, so it is up to sharp-eyed customers or shopkeepers to see if they have one. Explaining his decision to spend the money in Merthyr, Short said: 'I wanted someone to find it who perhaps needed the money, and they can perhaps sell it for whatever - holidays or Christmas. I like the magical feeling of it and just want people to be as excited as I am. It's just a bit of fun, but it also puts my art beyond the walls of a gallery. My art sells for a lot of money now and it's really out of reach for most people. But if they find this and sell it and make a lot of money, I'll be really pleased with that.' It is not the first time Short's work has been valued highly, with a portrait of the Queen being sold for one hundred thousand knicker in 2016. The valuation comes from the Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery, which insures his etchings at fifty thousand smackers each. Money specialist website Change Checker said that the phenomenon of people spending big money on banknotes depends on the notes having 'an interesting story behind them.' So, for example, if you have a tenner that Wayne Rooney once used to wipe his arse, then that might be worth a bloody fortune. It added: 'AA01 banknotes were part of the first batch of banknotes printed or serial number AK47 have been particularly popular thanks to the machine gun connotations. It really is just personal preference and what someone is willing to pay to have a certain banknote in their collection.'
Red and yellow cards will be issued to managers and coaches for 'misconduct in the technical area' and other nefarious skulduggery and stroppy indignation this season. Premier League managers will receive verbal cautions for 'irresponsible behaviour' in the 2018-19 campaign. But, in the FA Cup, Football League, EFL Cup, EFL Trophy and National League, they will be shown cards. Accumulating cautions will also lead to various suspensions, with four bookings warranting a one-match ban up to sixteen resulting in a misconduct charge. Previously, match officials only had the power to warn officials to behave themselves before sending them to the stands for more serious incidents. Cards can be issued for actions including inappropriate language or gestures towards match officials, kicking or throwing water bottles, sarcastic clapping and waving imaginary cards. This season will also see the introduction on competition-specific suspensions for players, rather than cautions carrying across multiple competitions.
There is no significant football action going on at the moment - you might have noticed - what with the 2018-19 campaign still a week away from starting. Other than pre-season friendlies, the only meaningful football at present are the UEFA Champions League and Europa League qualifying rounds. The second qualifying round fixtures finished this week, for entry into the third round before sides are set to face play-offs to earn entry into the group stage proper. Burnley's European adventure is set to continue, as they qualified for the third round after a hard-fought three-one extra-time victory over Aberdeen. Following a draw in the first leg, The Clarets broke the deadlock here in the second leg through Chris Wood, which added to their away goal advantage from the first leg at Pittodre. However, The Dons new signing, teenager Lewis Ferguson equalised in style with a sensational overhead kick which silenced Turf Moor before the half-time whistle, prompting fears that Sean Dyche's side would not progress. However, Burnley fought back into the game through Jack Cork's header and victory was secured as Ashley Barnes score from the penalty spot in the second-half of extra time. Burnley are set to face another tricky test against Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in the third round. The first leg will take place in Istanbul on August 9. The results for the majority of other qualifying rounds went as expected, as there were no major upsets and well-established sides secured their respective qualification through routine victories. Belgian side Genk progressed after a nine-one aggregate win over Fola Esch of Luxembourg, while Croat side Hajduk Split were four-two winners over Slavia Sofia. Bundesliga side RB Leipzig secured a five-one aggregate win against Sweden's BK Häcken, while Turkish giants Beşiktaş JK demolished B36 Tórshavn of the Faroe Islands eight-nil on aggregate. There were also comfortable wins for Sevilla - against once-great Hungarian side Újpest - and Serie A side Atalanta. CSKA Sofia, Sparta Prague, Hibernian, Vitesse Arnhem, Bordeaux, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Steven Gerrard's Glasgow Rangers also secured passage into the third-round with narrow wins of their own - the latter with a two-one aggregate win over NK Osijek of Croatia. Their progress, however, was somewhat marred by a nasty incident in which two men were seriously injured in violent clashes before the game in Glasgow. There was dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions, as Dean Ebbe's late goal saw The New Saints progress to the third qualifying round of the Europa League. The Welsh champions travelled to Gibraltar having beaten Lincoln Red Imps two-one in the home leg. Juan Manuel Montesinos Romero took advantage of a defensive mix-up to put the home side ahead in the second leg. But Ebbe restored The Saints' advantage on aggregate on the eighty-minute mark, meaning Scott Ruscoe's side will now face Midtjylland of Denmark. Crusaders were knocked out after a battling one-all draw against Olimpija Ljubljana. Paul Heatley's clinical finish earned Crues a deserved share of the spoils at Seaview in Belfast after Nik Kapun's low strike had put Olimpija ahead. The Slovenian side progress to the third qualifying round six-two on aggregate win thanks to their first-leg win. Iceland's Stjarnan defeated Nõmme Kalju FC of Estonia three-nil in Garðabær. The one major shock from this round of fixtures was Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar, who lost three-two on aggregate to unfancied Kazakhstan outfit FC Kairat, despite a two-one win in the home leg. Albeit, Budapest Honvéd FC's home defeat to Luxembourg's FC Progrès Niederkorn would have been a major surprise if it had happened a couple of decades ago. Dinamo Minsk overcame Slovakia's Dunajská Streda whilst Cypriot champions AEK Larnaca thrashed League of Ireland's Dundalk four-nil. And, the excellently named Dynamo Brest of Belarus progressed at the expence of Greek side Atromitos. Some really big names were also playing in the Champions League second qualifying round where the likes of Glasgow Celtic, Ajax Amsterdam, Malmö FF, Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade all made it safely through to the next stage of the competition.
An allegation that Mansfield Town's captain Krystian Pearce was racially abused during their pre-season friendly against Sheffield Wednesday is reportedly being 'looked into' by the Football Association. Tuesday's match is already under investigation by the FA after both sides were involved in a mass brawl with kids gettin' sparked an' aal sorts of bother and discombobulation. A Mansfield statement said that they had reported the incident to Nottinghamshire Police and the FA. Wednesday said they 'vehemently refuted any form of racist abuse. Sheffield Wednesday are aware of the very serious allegations made following the pre-season friendly with Mansfield Town on Tuesday 24 July,' a club statement said. 'The club vehemently refutes any form of racist abuse on our part and will vigorously defend itself should the need arise.' After the match, Stags boss David Flitcroft claimed to the media that something had 'riled' Pearce. 'With seven or eight minutes to go Pearcey was visibly upset with something, so I got him off the pitch,' he told the Sheffield Star. 'Pearcey has a character and a calmness about him as everyone can see. Supporters around here have known him longer than me. He has a calmness and assurance when playing football. But something riled him. Something rattled him and I was worried that, with him looking so wound up, he might do the wrong thing.'
Smaller football clubs are reportedly struggling to get their pitches ready for the new season after the recent heatwave in Great Britain. The long hot dry spell - with occasional flooding in between in some areas - has 'left many grounds unplayable' and some clubs say that they are losing thousands of pounds from cancelled pre-season matches. The risk has led to one council advising clubs to delay the season. But others, such as Kettering Town in Northamptonshire, have been using up to thirty thousand litres of water to soak their pitch and make it safe and playable. The chairman of Shepton Mallet AFC, Rodney Neale, who is also the club's groundsman, said that he, personally, would not play on their surface in Somerset. 'Imagine a youngster who has his career ahead of him putting his foot in [one of the holes] and breaking his ankle,' he said. The club, like thousands of others in the non-league pyramid, is run mainly by a mixture of volunteers and money from sponsors, usually local businesses. It also depends on income from pre-season fixtures, perhaps watched by several hundred supporters and many of those have been cancelled. This year the club has used about six tonnes of sand to fill the gaps in their bone-dry and cracked pitch, but ground staff accept they are fighting a losing battle. In Worcestershire, Redditch Borough Council has spoken to local football clubs saying 'safety must come first' and advised them to delay the start of the season. Tom Henman, from Redditch United, said that it previously has only had to cancel one match in eighteen months and has a 3G artificial surface. He accepted that a lot of other local clubs were suffering and said they had 'fixture swapped' so games that would have been cancelled can now go ahead. Kettering Town, which is in the Southern League, took a different approach to the problem with thirty thousand litres of water sprayed on the pitch. But it said that the watering was 'a balancing act' between making sure the pitch was playable without running the risk of having the game called off because of a waterlogged pitch. Lincoln City and Lincoln United had to cancel their pre-season fixture saying the heat had a 'detrimental effect on the pitch.'
Former England captain Terry Butcher has extremely quit as Philippines national coach before he had even taken charge of a match. The fifty nine-year-old was appointed on a two-year deal in June, starting this weekend, but 'he does not believe the right system is in place' for the country to be successful according to BBC Sport. Butcher, who made seventy seven appearances for England, has managed eight clubs since ending his playing career in 1990. Some of them really, really badly - most notably his thing-slappingly hilariously inept spell in charge of Blunderland. During which a terrace chant made up by supporters of local rivals Newcastle United, 'we put Terry, Terry, Terry, Terry Butcher on the dole, on the dole', soon came alarmingly true! 'I'm sorry to announce that I will not be proceeding in the role,' he said. In a statement to Press Association, Butcher, who has not managed since he was extremely sacked by Newport County in 2015, said: 'Across recent months I've been intensely engaged with many people to thoroughly understand and prepare for this exciting challenge. The vital issue for myself was to carefully build a robust plan to meet the football ambitions of the national team and "do the country proud." Regretfully, I've not been able to make this work in the way that I intended and I've decided not to continue in the role.' The Philippine Football Federation said it 'accepts with understanding' Butcher's decision.
England's one thousandth test match produced a game entirely befitting the occasion and was a necessary reminder that, despite what all the doubters my claim to the contrary, test cricket is still the highest form of the game. England held their nerve to complete a tense and thrilling thirty one-run victory over India in the first test on an enthralling fourth morning at Edgbaston. It was so typical of Edgbaston, a ground which time and again produces these sort of great finishes with the crowd so heavily involved. Recently, we have seen many one-sided tests, where one team gets on top early on in the first innings and then steamrolls to victory, with the opposition unable to mount any sort of resistance. This first test of a much-anticipated five match series was anything but. It ebbed and flowed. Both teams were only ever one fifty-run partnership or a couple of wickets away from being on top. When England were two hundred and sixteen for three on the afternoon of the first day, then again when India were one hundred for five on the second, Joe Root's men had the opportunity to nail down victory. Yet, at the end of the third day, they seemed on the verge of defeat. India - resuming on one hundred and ten for five in pursuit of one hundred and ninety four - were bowled out for one hundred and sixty two as tension mounted among an increasingly raucous crowd for England's one thousandth test. James Anderson removed Dinesh Karthik with the sixth ball of the day before Ben Stokes produced a brilliant over to dismiss India's captain Virat Kohli for fifty one and Mohammed Shami without scoring. The all-rounder sealed victory by having Hardik Pandya caught at first slip to finish with four for forty. Joe Root's bowling changes paid off: Stokes struck twice in his first over and recalled leg-spinner Adil Rashid trapped Ishant Sharma six balls into his introduction. Stokes in particular bowled with aggression and intelligence, although he is set to miss the second test at Lord's as his court case for affray begins in Bristol on Monday. While India came up short, their performance was a far cry from their dismal tour of Engand four years ago and bodes well for the remainder of what promises to be a keenly contested series. The famous 2005 Ashes test at Edgbaston, when Australia entered the fourth day needing one hundred and seven runs to win and England requiring two wickets, was mentioned several times in the build-up to the fourth day's play. As they were thirteen years ago, England were cheered on by a trademark boisterous Birmingham, crowd. Anderson struck in the first over, taking the shoulder of Karthik's bat and Dawid Malan - who had previously dropped three catches in the match - holding on to a low chance at second slip. There was an intensity around England's performance as they starved Kohli of the strike. He cut a calm figure, reaching his half-century with a flick off the hip for four, but he faced only sixteen of a possible sixty two deliveries before his dismissal. In a celebration reminiscent of Andrew Flintoff in 2005, Stokes sank to his knees even as Kohli reviewed the LBW decision from an inswinger, before Shami dangled his bat and edged behind to Jonny Bairstow. Rashid, brought on to bowl at the tail, pinned Ishant in front with a spitting googly. Despite a late rally from Pandya, who made thirty one and protected Umesh from the strike, Stokes found his edge before wheeling away in celebration. Despite victory, this test was characterised by missed opportunities for England. Kohli was dropped twice in the slip cordon before going on to make one hundred and forty nine on the second day and there is still a propensity for England's middle order to collapse without warning like wet cardboard - as they did in both innings here. While India took their chances at times - Kohli's run-out of Root on the opening day halted England's first innings as Root and Bairstow seemed on the verge of building a huge total, while Ishant produced a terrific spell of swing bowling on Friday afternoon - they too could never quite grab hold of the match. India cannot always rely on Kohli to rescue their innings, while England have some real questions to answer over the make-up of their side. Malan struggled with the bat - he averages twenty in home tests - and did not look comfortable in the slip cordon. Sam Curran, however, was a huge bright spot for the home side. His bowling on the second day and aggressive counter-attacking batting on the third dragged England back into the game and set the stage for a thrilling finish. Their biggest concern for the second test, which starts on Thursday, will be the loss of Stokes. The fourth morning underlined how important he is in both lifting England and producing an important spell when they most need it.
Geraint Thomas became the third Briton to win the Tour De France when he crossed the finish line in Paris on Sunday. The Team Sky rider, follows Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and four-time Tour champion Chris Froome as Britain - and Team Sky - celebrated a sixth win in seven years. Alexander Kristoff won the final sprint finish on the Champs-Elysees as Thomas crossed the line arm-in-arm with Froome after three weeks of racing. He beat Dutchman Tom Dumoulin by one minute fifty one seconds, with Froome finishing third. The Welshman, who rode in support of Froome in each of his four wins, had built up that lead over the previous twenty stages and Tour convention dictates that the yellow jersey is not challenged on the final stage. 'When I rode on the Champs-Elysees for the first time in 2007, that was insane - just to finish the race and just to be a part of it,' Thomas told ITV. 'To now be riding round winning it is just incredible. It's just a whirlwind. I seem to be floating around on cloud nine. Maybe when I'm seventy, sat in a corner of a pub telling some eighteen-year-old what I used to be, it will sink in. It's incredible, the stuff of dreams.' Froome was heavy favourite to become the fifth rider to win a record-equalling fifth Tour De France title. He came into the race as defending champion and holder of all three Grand Tour titles, having won the Vuelta A Espana last September and the Giro D'Italia in May. However, he was only cleared to race the week before the Tour started, after his anti-doping case was dropped by cycling's world governing body, the UCI. But his hopes of matching Eddy Merckx's record of four consecutive Grand Tour victories were ended in the Pyrenees mountains in the final week as Thomas proved to be the strongest rider. The final one hundred and sixteen kilometre stage began in Houilles, to the North of Paris and the riders took a leisurely pace into the capital before embarking on eight laps of the city centre. Team Sky led the peloton into Paris, having allowed France's Sylvain Chavanel to ride clear for one lap in his final Tour in recognition of his achievement of completing a record eighteenth race. Six riders attacked off the front of the peloton and built an advantage of about forty five seconds, but they were eventually reeled in on the final lap, with six kilometres remaining. World champion Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates did the bulk of the chasing, hoping to help the winner of the green points classification jersey to a first win in Paris, but Norwegian Kristoff outsprinted Frenchman Arnaud Demare and Germany's John Degenkolb after Yves Lampaert's late attack failed. Thomas rode over the line a few seconds later, alongside Froome. Thomas' victory comes in his ninth Tour, one fewer than the record for most appearances before winning, held by 1980 winner Joop Zoetemelk of the Netherlands. Like many British riders, he raced on both the track and the road in the early part of his career, winning two Olympic and three world team pursuit titles on the track between 2007 and 2012. He also won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the road race. His sacrifice in helping Froome win four Tours has meant Thomas' best finish before this year was fifteenth. He has also been dogged by bad luck. He fractured his pelvis on stage one in 2013 but rode the remaining twenty stages to help Froome win; in 2015 he crashed head first into a telegraph pole and in 2017 broke a collarbone on stage nine. This year, he rode a near faultless race to cement his place among Britain's greatest cyclists. Asked if he ever thought Thomas could win a Grand Tour, his former Team Sky teammate Mark Cavendish, who has won thirty Tour De France stages, told BBC Sport: 'Recently, yes. But there is a definite hierarchy in Team Sky so I didn't know if he'd get the opportunity. If they had said to Geraint "right, now you've got to work for Froome" he'd have done it. That's the kind of guy he is. That's what is special about him and why he deserves the win. He's the most loyal guy you'll ever meet.' Former British cyclist Chris Boardman, who won three Tour stages and wore the yellow jersey, said Thomas is 'the most popular winner for years. No disrespect to those who have gone before him but he's always laid it down for someone else and sacrificed himself for someone else.'
Whilst Geraint Thomas was winning the Tour, Germany's Pascal Ackermann surged past his rivals to win the Ride London-Surrey Classic in a bunch sprint finish. The twenty four-year-old Bora-Hansgrohe rider kicked with two hundred metres to go on The Mall to hold off Italy's Elia Viviani and win in four hours twenty minutes. Viviani's compatriot Giacomo Nizzolo finished third and Britain's Mark Cavendish twelfth. The one hundred and eighty three kilometre race came down to a sprint finish after a five-man break was caught with six kilometres remaining. Ackermann won the second stage of the Criterium Du Dauphine in June. 'It was an amazing job with how the team brought me back in the end. I crashed in the middle of the race but came back,' he told BBC Sport. 'I spoke to the team yesterday and told them I was in really good shape and we did it. I am really proud.' The German road race champion timed his effort up the inside to perfection as Quick-Step Floors rider Viviani ran out of gas. A breakaway group containing Bahrain-Merida riders Valerio Agnoli and Manuele Boaro stayed clear until the final stages. Cavendish stayed near the front of the peloton throughout, flanked by his Dimension Data team-mates, but as the sprint trains assembled on The Mall he was too far back to influence the outcome. The Ride London-Surrey Classic - billed as the world's richest one-day race with a total prize fund of one hundred thousand Euros - was awarded top-tier World Tour status in 2016.
Lewis Hamilton won a tense strategic battle at the Hungarian Grand Prix to head into Formula 1's summer break with a twenty four-point championship lead on Sunday. Ferrari appeared to blow their best chance to challenge the Mercedes driver, delaying a pit stop for Sebastian Vettel long enough to lose their advantage over Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas and emerge behind the Finn. It was a critical error that could have cost Vettel second place - but he fought back and passed Bottas with five laps to go. Bottas misjudged an attempt to defend from Vettel, who passed on the outside on the run to turn two. Trying to keep the place from too far back, Bottas locked a wheel, slid onto the kerb, hit Vettel and damaged the Mercedes' front wing. Vettel emerged unscathed and Bottas carried on, only to have another contact with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo when the Australian tried to pass around the outside at turn one and Bottas locked up and slid into him. Bottas' troubles allowed Kimi Raikkonen to come through into third place behind his Ferrari team-mate, while Ricciardo passed him on the last lap to take fourth. Despite the late drama, the big picture is that Ferrari have now lost two races in a row that they might have won in different circumstances. Hamilton's advantage with nine races to go is almost a race victory and puts him in a strong position for when the season re-starts in Belgium at the end of August. Mercedes went into the race pondering how best to maintain the first and second positions they earned thanks to rain in qualifying - had it been dry, they were resigned to the Ferraris being faster. Mercedes accepted that Ferrari would be faster in the race, too, so it was a case of how best to play the strategy to try to keep Hamilton in the lead. Hamilton and Bottas led from the start and Vettel passed Raikkonen to run third in the early laps. The Mercedes were on the ultra-soft tyres, while Vettel was on the more durable softs, planning to run long and attack at the end of the race. The plan was working well for a while. An early pit stop for Raikkonen on lap fourteen triggered a response from Mercedes a lap later with Bottas and now Vettel was in second behind Hamilton. But the world champion's tyres were hanging on better than might have been feared and he held an eight-second lead over Vettel until beginning to lose time shortly before his pit stop on lap twenty five. That put Vettel in the lead, and by lap twenty nine the German had enough of a lead over Bottas to make a pit stop and re-emerge in the lead. But Ferrari preferred to wait, to ensure he did not have too long to run on the ultra-soft tyres in his final stint. They arguably waited too long. For a few laps, Vettel had five seconds in hand beyond the twenty seconds that would be lost in a pit stop, but from lap thirty five Bottas began to eat into Vettel's advantage. The Finn then unleashed a fastest lap on lap thirty eight, two seconds quicker than he had been going before and when Vettel pulled into the pits on lap thirty nine it was now touch and go whether he would get out in front. A problem fitting the left front wheel delayed Vettel and ensured he emerged behind the Mercedes. From hoping to attack Hamilton, Vettel now had to try to find a way past Bottas. And, despite the Mercedes' fading tyres and the Ferrari right behind him for thirty laps, Bottas drove superbly to hold on until five laps to go and the critical incident. Vettel closed in at turn one, Bottas squirmed under power on the exit and Vettel got the run on the Mercedes into turn two. Bottas then seemed to lose his head. Not only did he clash with Vettel but he made another error in the incident with Ricciardo, who despite being forced off track caught the Mercedes again. Bottas was ordered by his team to give the place back, perhaps hoping to avoid a penalty when the stewards investigate after the race. Bottas was given a ten-second penalty but it made no difference to the result. Ricciardo drove well to fight from twelfth on the grid to finish fourth for Red Bull, despite the damage from the Bottas incident. Their second driver Max Verstappen retired from fifth place in the early stages with the latest in a series of engine problems, causing the Dutchman to swear angrily into the radio at his frustration at the repeated problems. Pierre Gasly took a strong sixth for Toro Rosso, from the same place on the grid after excelling in qualifying, ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen. There was finally some good news for Fernando Alonso on the two-time world champion's thirty seventh birthday. McLaren made the same strategy as Vettel work beautifully, jumping Alonso and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne ahead of Renault's Carlos Sainz, Haas' Romain Grosjean, Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg to take eighth. Sadly for the under-pressure Vandoorne, after his best race for some time, the Belgian's gearbox broke with nineteen laps to go and he had to retire.
Italian discus-thrower Daisy Osakue has left hospital after she was hit in the eye by an egg thrown from a car, in an attack which she believes was 'racially motivated.' Police in Turin have cast doubt on any racist link, but the attack has inflamed a row surrounding populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Salvini has rejected claims by political opponents of a 'racism emergency.' He argues that the only emergency he is fighting 'involves crimes by immigrants.' Osakue, whose parents are originally from Nigeria, suffered damage to her cornea in the attack early on Monday in the Moncalieri area of Southern Turin. She had been training in the US for ten months and had returned to Italy to find 'a different country. Certainly the climate of widespread violence that I see scares me,' she said. She holds Italy's under-twenty three discus record and is set to take part in the European Athletics Championships which get under way in Berlin on 7 August. She was concerned that the injury could affect her ability to compete. 'I'll do all I can to be in Berlin,' she told reporters, adding that it was 'just an abrasion' and after a few days and some eye drops she should be fine. The athlete, who has been studying in Texas, insists that she was targeted on purpose by attackers in a Fiat Doblo car as she walked home shortly after midnight. 'They didn't want to attack me, as Daisy. They wanted to hit me as a young woman of colour. That's an area used by prostitutes and I was mistaken for one of them,' she said, pointing out that there were other people in the vicinity at the time but she was singled out. She had been the focus of verbal racist attacks in the past, but when it involved a racist action she felt another wall had been breached. Police said there had been 'other attacks involving eggs being thrown' earlier in the month and did not suspect a racist link to the latest incident. Last week, three women in the Moncalieri area were targeted as they left a restaurant. However, the case has prompted criticism of Matteo Salvini, the right-wing leader of Italy's anti-immigration League party, which is in government with the populist Five Star Movement. Salvini has targeted illegal immigration and immigrant crime since he arrived at the interior ministry and has seen his party's popularity surge. Last week, a Roma camp was cleared in the capital, weeks after he said that all Roma should be counted and foreign Roma deported. A Moroccan man died in a hospital South of Rome after residents suspecting him of 'planning a robbery' chased his car and then beat him up when he crashed. Salvini said it was 'nonsense' and 'an invention of the left' to speak of 'a racism emergency' in Italy, arguing that in the space of just three days ninety five immigrants were arrested. He was backed up by Five Star government partner Luigi Di Maio who said such cases were being used by their opponents to argue the government was 'instigating racism.' And, by the other members of Five Star who added 'rain or shine, you'll always be one in a million.' Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took a different line and phoned Osakue after she left hospital, saying that Italy should not lower its guard towards any race attacks. Conte was on the way back from a visit to the White House, where President - and hairdo - Rump praised Italy's handling of immigration.
Women are being warned against 'risky cosmetic rejuvenating procedures' to 'reshape and tighten' their vagina. Experts suggest that the alleged 'therapies', offered by some private clinics in the UK and the US, 'pose a serious risk of burns, scarring and recurring pain.' Typically during these procedures, a probe is inserted into the vagina to heat or laser the vaginal tissue. Although it is non-surgical and can be done in a lunch hour, it is 'not necessarily safe,' say officials. Laser and energy-based devices have been approved for use in destroying pre-cancerous cells in cervical or vaginal tissue, as well as genital warts, but they have 'not undergone testing for rejuvenation therapies.' US regulator, the FDA, says it will 'take action' if deceptive marketing of 'the dangerous procedure with no proven benefit' continues. It says a growing number of manufacturers have been claiming the procedure can treat conditions and symptoms related to menopause, urinary incontinence or sexual function. 'These products have serious risks and don't have adequate evidence to support their use for these purposes. We are deeply concerned women are being harmed,' says the FDA warning. Paul Banwell, consultant plastic surgeon and member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, shared the FDA's concerns: 'There has been an exponential rise in the interest in women's health and sexual well-being and whilst this should be encouraged, it is vital that any educational and treatment initiatives are provided in a sensitive manner free of any misleading or marketing hyperbole.' Doctor Vanessa Mackay, from the UK's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: 'There is no evidence to suggest that non-surgical "vaginal rejuvenation" devices are effective in improving vaginal muscle tone or reshaping vaginal tissue. If women are concerned about the appearance or feel of their vagina, they should speak to a healthcare professional. It is important to remember, however, that every woman's vagina is different. Labia are as individual as women themselves and vary in appearance and colour. To strengthen the muscles around the vagina, women are encouraged to try pelvic floor exercises which can help to improve muscle tone and sensitivity during sex.' Vaginal dryness is a common but treatable problem that many women experience at some point in their lives. It can be caused by a number of things including the menopause, breastfeeding, childbirth, not being aroused before sex and some types of contraception. Women are encouraged to try self-help options before seeing a healthcare professional, including vaginal moisturisers and lubricants. If these aren't effective, a doctor may prescribe vaginal oestrogen, says the RCOG.
A man extinguished a fire on the world's longest pleasure pier by urinating on it. Thomas Watson reportedly noticed a small fire on the deserted Southend Pier and 'took matters into his own hands' - quite literally - by relieving himself over the flames. The council thanked Watson for his 'quick-thinking tinkling' but said that it was 'confident' its own sprinkler system would have worked, as the Sun reported. Essex Fire Service confirmed it was called but no action was required. Watson, from Houghton Regis in Bedfordshire, was visiting the pier with his partner and their daughter on Friday when he noticed smoke and small flames on the wooden planks. The weather had turned and 'we were literally the last people there,' he told the BBC. Watson said the fire was 'only small on top,' but a lot of smoke was coming from underneath and he 'thought it was all burning under there. I looked at it and the wood was proper charring away, like white with an orange glow. Using my initiative I decided to empty my bladder.' Although his partner had called the fire service, Watson had tackled it by the time crews arrived. A Southend Borough Council spokesman said: 'Whilst we have faith our sprinkler system would have soon sprung into action, we understand the visitor deployed his own sprinkler system to swiftly extinguish the miniature inferno.' He said the family could come back and visit the pier for free, but added: '[We] kindly ask that he keeps his trousers firmly secured on this occasion.'
There is really only one contender for From The North's Headline Of The Week award, Teeside Live's Drunk whacked penis on women's car then did poo in street - as they sat and ate chips. Which, frankly, is just a normal day in Redcar. This blogger is right partial to a nice bag of chips, dear blog reader. Anyway ...
That said, the Metro's Thieves nick shark from aquarium by wrapping it up to make it look like a baby pushes the car whacking, pooing and chips story a close second. The unnamed thief took the shark from a petting tank at the San Antonio Aquarium then wrapped it up to look like a baby then wheeled it out in a pram. Footage from inside the aquarium shows two men and a woman sneaking the two to three foot long grey horn shark from the building on Saturday. They've even got video footage of the incident and everything!
A suburban Seattle mother has reportedly been charged with felony assault and general 'bad-mommyness' following an attack last year on a sixth-grade girl at a basketball game between two Catholic schools. Authorities claim that thirty eight-year-old Monique Altheimer went onto the basketball court during a December game in Seattle and choked the child who had fought with the suspect's daughter during 'an aggressive ball game.' Investigators say that Altheimer was 'cursing at the victim as she strangled her,' and she elbowed another eleven-year-old girl who was trying to help her teammate. The victim was starting to black out when her own mother appeared to knock Altheimer down and stop the attack. Charging documents filed last week note that Altheimer 'has been previously convicted of assault.'
A cut-in line for free samples at a Costco turned into a fight between two seventy-year-old men, according to police. One of the men claimed that he was waiting in line for 'a complimentary piece of cheese' at the Costco in Greenville, South Carolina, when a seventy two-year-old man 'cut in line, took some cheese and walked off,' according to a 26 July incident report. The first man, seemingly, wasn't having any of that malarkey. After he moved on to another line with free samples of cheeseburgers, police said that the man saw the seventy two-year-old approaching. The first chap was still reportedly upset about being cut in front of and, according to the incident report, he told the other man that 'he could get in front of him because he knew he would just cut the line anyway.' The seventy two-year-old man responded by saying 'I will do it again!' - then added, 'You're a jerk,' police reported. A fracas them broke out between the two. The seventy two-year-old then hit the seventy-year-old in the right side of his head and caused his hat and glasses to get knocked off, according to the report. The woman member of staff who was working at the cheeseburger sample stand said 'she saw two men argue in front of her station' and she confirmed the seventy-year-old's account when she told police that a 'man in a Hawaiian shirt hit the other man in the head and it sounded very loud and that the man's hat flew off his head.' Though the aggressor had left the Costco by the time that police officers arrived, they soon tracked him down. Cos, he's old and he hadn't got very far, probably. When an officer reached him on the phone, the seventy two-year-old admitted that he was 'involved in an altercation.' Police reported that he said he 'hit the man's hat off his head after the man got in his face and he felt that the man was going to hit him because the man was balling his fist.' Greenville Police Department Public Affairs Manager Donald Porter told The State that no arrests have been made in the incident. Police are attempting to get surveillance footage from Costco to help in the investigation and the responding officer said that 'further investigation' was needed because the men's stories 'are inconsistent' and 'the witness did not have much to say.'
A man in Austin, Texas was extremely arrested after unsuccessfully attempting to rob a Whataburger 'with a pair of tongs,' according to officers. Although, to be fair, they might well have been, you know, quite sharp tongs. The sort that could give someone quite a nasty nip in certain circumstances. After reviewing surveillance video, authorities say that forty four-year-old David Garcia-Gonzalez, 'who had difficulty maintaining balance while walking,' approached a Whataburger. After 'loitering in the business for a while,' he reportedly grabbed a pair of metal tongs and walked up to an employee who had opened the register. The suspect approached her from behind and 'started jabbing her with the tongs' whilst, repeatedly, demanding money. Garcia-Gonzalez was eventually confronted by another employee - one who was, seemingly, unafraid of the tongs - who ordered him to leave the restaurant. The then suspect fled the scene and was later detained by officers at a nearby car wash.
A man who attacked an ice cream van and threatened its owner with a Samurai sword in front of 'screaming' children has been very jailed. Well, you know what it's like when they've just sold the last flake and you're desperate for Ninety-Nine? Jamie Tickle was said to be 'drunk and high on cocaine' when he climbed into the van and waved the sword about in an untoward manner as a woman was serving three children on 1 July. He then hid by some bins when the law arrive but was arrested shortly after the attack in Merseyside. Tickle was jailed for two years and eight months at Liverpool Crown Court for affray and possession of a weapon. Judge Stephen Everett said the attack 'came out of the blue and we may never get to the bottom of why he did what he did.' He said that although no-one was injured, the attack caused 'psychological devastation.' The judge also said he was unsure whether Tickle fully understood the seriousness of what he had done. The court had earlier heard that Nuntaporn Watkinson had been working at The Rides in Haydock when Tickle approached her carrying a three-foot long sword. Watkinson, who has returned to work since the attack on her thirty fourth birthday, said that while she was 'terrified' of being killed, her 'biggest fear was for the three children I'd been serving. I can hear the children screaming and crying,' she added. A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: 'This was a truly awful incident that took place on a busy suburban street in broad daylight, in full view of a number of children.'
An Arkansas woman is currently in jail after telling police she shot and killed her husband ... because he purchased pornography. Jefferson County authorities say that sixty nine-year-old Patricia Hill called nine-one-one to report what she had done. Hill told dispatchers that she shot her husband, sixty five-year-old Frank Hill. She told investigators that she had cancelled his subscription when she found out he ordered television porn. Hill said she then asked her husband to leave the house and when he refused, she shot him. Investigators found the man - who had been shot twice - in a backyard shed. 'There's a shed that he would frequent from time to time, I'm not sure if it was designated as a man cave or whatever but he was found inside that shed,' said Major Lafayette Woods.
A school superintendent accused of repeatedly defecating on another high school's track has resigned. The Star-Ledger of Newark reports that the Kenilworth school board accepted Thomas Tramaglini's resignation Thursday. In an e-mail sent to staff, the board said that it 'became clear' his continued service became 'too much of a distraction.' Tramaglini is charged with public defecation, lewdness and littering. A court hearing is pending. Authorities say that surveillance video caught Tramaglini in late April following an early morning run at Holmdel High School. Police said staff members were watching to see who had been leaving human faeces on the property. His lawyer, Matthew Adams, issued a statement saying that Tramaglini will 'continue to fight the allegations' and that his resignation should not 'be construed as an acknowledgement of guilt.' Neither Adams nor authorities have said why Tramaglini allegedly did what police allege he did. Adams also said that Tramaglini plans to sue Holmdel police over the mug shot taken after his arrest, claiming they should not have photographed him at police headquarters because the public defecation, lewdness and litter charges were 'low-level municipal offences.' 'It's like getting photographed and fingerprinted for a speeding ticket,' Adams told the newspaper. He has filed a tort claim notice which lists potential damages of more than one million bucks due to 'loss of income, harm to his reputation, emotional distress and invasion of privacy.' 'It is our position that the photograph that has been widely disseminated was unlawfully taken and maliciously distributed,' Adams said.
Bernard Hepton, who died this week aged ninety two, was one of those great character actors whom viewers were always glad to see again. He could be plain and morose, or authoritative and stern, or he could be extremely funny, but he never let the audience down, whether as the German Kommandant with a human streak in Colditz (1972 to 1974), or as an ordinary, humdrum 'television watcher' in Jack Rosenthal's sitcom Sadie, It's Cold Outside (1975), opposite Rosemary Leach. He once described himself as 'specialising in rather dodgy foreigners,' but was unable to account for his often exotic casting since he was, in fact, a proud Yorkshireman. The 1970s was Hepton's decade of greatest activity and exposure. He was hardly off our small screens, appearing as Thomas Cranmer in two BBC blockbusters, The Six Wives Of Henry VIII (1970) and the following year's Elizabeth R (1971), with Glenda Jackson in the title role. Then he popped up as the Greek freedman, Pallas, in I, Claudius (1976) and the intelligence officer Toby Esterhase in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979), a role he repeated with subtler inflections and a less English accent in the sequel Smiley's People three years later. In addition, he was a flustered press officer in Philip Mackie's The Organisation (1972), a satire on power games co-starring Peter Egan and Donald Sinden, an incompetent, very funny management figure in Eric Chappell's sitcom The Squirrels (1975) and, perhaps most memorably, as the Belgian resistance fighter Albert Foiret, running a restaurant patronised by Nazis while smuggling out prisoners of war in the BBC's acclaimed drama Secret Army (1977 to 1979).
As an actor, he could transform himself without make-up into a king or a yokel. His voice was strong, Yorkshire-tinged, his bearing firm, his timing impeccable, his range impressive. Chronically shortsighted, he could hide effectively behind spectacles, but without them he bared an unusual moon-like face, curiously blank and yet highly expressive at the same time. Bernard was born in Bradford and grew up in the same street as JB Priestley twenty years earlier. He was the son of Bernard Heptonstall, an electrician, and his wife, Hilda, who came from a family of mill workers. The tedium of his duty as a teenage fire-watcher during wartime was relieved by some one-act plays the woman in charge of the watch brought along and this led to Bernard joining the local amateur drama company based at Bradford Civic Playhouse. His eyesight exempted him from a military call-up, so he trained as an aircraft engineer and a draughtsman. But, he continued with the playhouse and when the incoming director, Esmé Church, founded her short-lived drama school in 1945, he was her first student; Robert Stephens, another of her proteges, said of Hepton, 'immediately, you could see that he was brilliant.' He went straight into fortnightly rep in York for two years, worked at Windsor and Birmingham, the most talked about regional theatre of the day. Barry Jackson, its founder, became his second great mentor after Church and Bernard graduated from small roles in 1952 to director of productions for Jackson in 1955. He had eased this promotion by accidentally becoming proficient as a fight director with a fellow Rep actor and he was invited to the Old Vic in London to arrange the fights for Richard Burton's Hamlet in 1953. Back in Birmingham, he directed RC Sherriff's The Long Sunset and Peter Ustinov's Romanoff & Juliet and undertook Beckett's monologue of reminiscences in Krapp's Last Tape. Now well-established, after Jackson departed from the company, Hepton took on the directorship of Liverpool Playhouse in 1963, only to run into disagreements with a conservative board over his daring choice of repertoire, including Max Frisch's The Fire-Raisers and John Osborne's Luther. He also took up cudgels in the Gruniad Morning Star with Peter Hall, arguing that there should be six national theatres throughout Britain and not just one in London, all funded equally and of equal status.For someone so highly regarded within his profession it is surprising that Bernard never worked with the National Theatre or the Royal Shakespeare Company. Instead, leaving Liverpool within a year, he joined the newly founded BBC2 channel in 1964, with ideas of producing and directing there - he had actually made his TV debut as long ago as 1955 in a BBC Birmingham adaptation of Shaw's You Never Can Tell) followed by a performance as Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons two years later. As a producer (and occasional director), he worked during the mid 1960s on the soaps Compact and United! and the dramas Swizzlewick, Thursday Theatre and The Wednesday Thriller. But he was soon back in front of the camera. He played Wemmick in a Hugh Leonard 1967 serialisation of Great Expectations and Mister Farebrother in a 1968 version of George Eliot's Middlemarch. In 1969 he was a fascinating Caiphas in Dennis Potter's controversial Son Of Man, in which Colin Blakely was a disconcertingly human, socialist-minded - and, possibly schizophrenic - Jesus, inevitably incurring an accusation of blasphemy from that dreadful Whitehouse woman and her Clean-Up TV campaign. It was one of the finest Wednesday Plays in that hallowed BBC single-play slot.
In the 1980s Hepton achieved a lifelong ambition in playing Inspector Goole in a BBC production of Priestley's An Inspector Calls and resumed his association with BBC classic serials as Sir Thomas Bertram in Mansfield Park and as the withered rag-and-bone man Krook in Bleak House. He chilled viewers on Christmas Eve 1989, as the landowner Sam Toovey in Herbert Wise's production of The Woman In Black and was brilliant in Andrew Davies's adaptation of The Old Devils in 1992. The BBC's Emma, again adapted by Davies, in 1996 was thought by many far superior to the Hollywood take on the same Jane Austen novel; the BBC cast Kate Beckinsale as the headstrong heroine, with Hepton as her hypochondriac father, Mister Woodhouse, and notable support from Samantha Morton, Olivia Williams and Mark Strong. His CV also included appearances in The Newcomers, Boy Meets Girl, The Spanish Farm, Out Of The Unknown, Thirty Minute Theatre, The Troubleshooters, The Elusive Pimpernel, Manhunt, Catweazel, The Main Chance, Z Cars, Doomwatch, Dennis Potter's Follow The Yellow Brick Road, Some Mothers Do Have 'Em, A Pin To See Th Peepshow, Village Hall, Centre Play, Orde Wingate, Blood Money, Kessler (the short-lived, a somewhat under-rated sequel to Secret Army), Cockles, Bergerac, The Life & Loves Of A She-Devil, The Charmer, A Perfect Hero, The Lady' Not For Burning, Dandelion Dead and Midsomer Murders.
On stage he played Tesman in Hedda Gabler at the Bristol Old Vic and Shylock in The Merchant Of Venice at the Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford, but other classical roles often eluded him. He made amends of a sort in the 1982 London premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings, first at Greenwich and then at the Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue, in which he was the self-effacing star of the show as the muddled doctor with aspirations to puppetry. His film career was limited, too, embracing a third go at Thomas Cranmer in Waris Hussein's big-screen follow-up to the BBC series, Henry VIII & His Six Wives (1972), and small - but, certainly in the case of the former, crucial - roles in two Michael Caine movies, Mike Hodges's terrific Get Carter (1971) and John Frankenheimer's more mundane The Holcroft Covenant (1985). Bernard married in 1957 the actress Nancie Jackson, who he had first met when she played his wife in A Man For All Seasons and they settled in Barnes, with a fine collection of paintings. Two years after Nancie's death in 1977, he married Hilary Liddell. She died in 2013. He is survived by a niece and nephew.
And, finally, dear blog reader ...

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