Sunday, November 11, 2018

Demons Of The Punjab: Arrive Without Travelling

'Be careful what you say back there; one wrong word you could talk yourself out of existence. Tread softly, you're treading on your own history.'
'It's a risk.' 'Oh right, cos none of our other trips have ever been risky.' 'I have apologised for the Death-Eye Turtle Army. Profusely! I suppose I could loop this into the TARDIS's telepathic circuits.' 'This thing's telepathic too?' 'Don't call her "a thing" Graham and, yes, she does have telepathic navigation. Sort of. Shorthand for a very complicated process which is way beyond your understanding.' 'Ta very much, I only hang around here to be insulted!'
'All the way from England.' 'You might want to keep that to yourself!'
'We can't go, I came here for answers, all I have is more questions.' 'I knew this would happen. We shouldn't have come. This is what happens when you try to be nice!'
'The land belongs to everyone, has done for centuries, one day doesn't change that.'
'You just saw something not-of-this-world and you took it right in your stride. Why was that, Prem?' 'Because I've seen them before.'
'I've taken note of your comments, I'll pass them on to Mountbatten ... if I ever run into him again.'
'I know who you are, I know what you do and it's not happening here!'
'I've seen war take our young and drought take our old. And men impose a border like a crack through our country.'
'I don't know if any of us know the truth of our own lives. Because we're too busy living it from the inside.'
'This is brilliant, I never did this when I was a man ... Sorry, my references to body and gander regeneration are just in jest.'
'Who's doing this stuff?' 'Ordinary people who've lived here all there lives ... There's nothing worse than when ordinary people lose their minds ... I don't know how we protect people when hatred is coming from all sides.' 'All we can strive to be is ... good men. And you are a good man.'
'This is us, forever. Our moment in time.'
'I know what you're asking but family history and time travel, very tricky.' 'Just for an hour. See her from a distance. What's the point of having a mate with a time machine, if you can't nip back and see your gran when she was younger?' Guess what, dear blog reader? Yep, yer actual Keith Telly Topping thought that was bloody great. Particularly as, Jodie and Bradley Walsh aside, it featured a cast almost entirely composed of actors of colour and that, in and of itself, is almost certain to piss off some very loud and obnoxious people on Twitter. Which, again in and of itself, is always a good thing. A lovely, lyrical script by Vinay Patel with a glorious tabla-dominated soundtrack and Jodie's finest performance yet. Though, yet again, Bradley got most of the best lines. A fittingly contemplative story for Remembrance Day full of compassion, hope and, magnificently, redemption. Beautiful. 'Still not interfering, are we?' 'Oi! The alien assassins started it!'
Demons Of The Punjab was watched by 5.77 million overnight viewers, a share of twenty seven per cent of the total available TV audience, according to initial figures. The rating for Doctor Who was the second largest overnight audience for Sunday and the tenth largest overnight for the week ending 11 November. Highest for the day was the Strictly Come Dancing results show which had 8.92 million viewers, whilst the BBC 9pm drama The Little Drummer Girl had 2.77 million. ITV peaked with 3.93 million overnight punters watching The X Factor while, up against Doctor Who, The Chase: Celebrity Special drew 3.77 million overnight viewers. Saturday's episode of Strictly Come Dancing topped the week with 9.91 million, while the annual Royal British Legion Festival Of Remembrance came third for the week with 6.78 million overnight viewers. The only other programmes which had a larger overnight than Doctor Who during the week were four episodes of Coronation Street and two episodes of Emmerdale, although if previous week's timeshifting numbers are anything to go by, Doctor Who should go up at least two or three places when the consolidated Seven Day-Plus figures are released next Monday.
The Tsuranga Conundrum's consolidated Seven-Day Plus ratings have been announced by BARB. The episode had an audience of 7.76 million punters - and increase above the overnight figure of 1.7 million timeshift viewers - made up of 7.49 million watching on TV and an additional two hundred and seventy thousand accessing the episode via PCs, tablets, smartphones and various other Twenty First Century malarkey. Doctor Who was the sixth most-watched programme in Britain during the week-ending Sunday 4 November. It was topped by the two weekly episodes of Strictly Come Dancing (11.13 million for Saturday's episode and 9.61 million for Sunday's), The Great British Bake-Off's final (10.34 million) and two of the week's episodes of Coronation Street (7.97 million and 7.91 million). Doctor Who again had a larger consolidated audience than the other four Coronation Street episodes and higher than all the week's episodes of both EastEnders and Emmerdale.
Having made a really big deal of the fact that switch from Saturday evenings to Sunday evenings for the current series of Doctor Who was done, at least in part, to ensure that the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama would have a more-or-less consistent time-slot, it has taken the BBC all of seven weeks to completely screw that idea up. On Sunday 18 November, Kerblam!, the seventh episode in Jodie Whittaker's first series as The Doctor, will be shown at the earlier time of 6.30pm on BBC1. And, it's all Sir David Attenborough's fault, it would seem. Attenborough's new and much-anticipated series, Dynasties kicks-off at 8pm that night, which has had the added effect of also moving Strictly Come Dancing's results show to half-an-hour earlier than usual (7.20pm).
Costume designer Ray Holman has confirmed on Twitter that he will be working on Jodie Whittaker's second series of Doctor Who during 2019. Which - as the Sci-Fi Bulletin website notes - appears to have poured lots of cold water on a fandom rumour, which this blogger must admit had entirely passed him by, that Jodie would be leaving the production and regenerating on New Year's Day. The switch from Christmas Day to New Year's Day from the popular long-running family SF drama's traditional end of year special has been speculated about - both within fandom and wider afield - for some time, with the Daily Mirra even producing alleged quotes from an alleged, though suspiciously anonymous and, therefore probably fictitious, 'source', claiming that the production had decided not to do more Christmas Day episodes because 'they've run out of [Christmas-related] ideas.' However, the BBC have yet to confirm when the, as yet untitled, eleventh episode of the current ten-episode run will be broadcast.
On Tuesday morning, yer actual Keith Telly Topping was asked - in his capacity as The Great Sage Of All Things Doctor Who-Related In The North East Of England - to go on BBC Tees' Mike Parr Show and talk about a ludicrous nothing-story printed in the Sun concerning Doctor Who allegedly losing some viewers because it has become 'too PC.' Which followed a similarly shit-stirring, factually inaccurate and agenda-soaked piece by some louse of no importance in the Daily Scum Mail a week earlier. Both of them, seemingly, based on the whinging of half-a-dozen sour-faced malcontents on Twitter. The radio piece itself was quite good fun, although this blogger suspects Mike, an old colleague from Keith Telly Topping's BBC Newcastle days when Mike hosted The Breakfast Show, would've liked to have gotten more than two or three words in edge-ways during the nine minutes that the segment lasted and this blogger pretty much monopolised the airwaves. Let this be a lesson to anyone who wishes to invite yer actual Keith Telly Topping onto the wireless, for any reason - he can talk for England, that kid. And, indeed, he will given half-the-chance. As Elvis Costello once wisely noted if you start to take this sort of nonsense too seriously, remember, 'yesterday's news is tomorrow's fish and chip paper.' (See, also Cameron McEwan's excellent piece How's Doctor Who Actually Doing? on the Digital Spy website.)
This blogger feels that, in the event, he did a pretty good job in rubbishing these utterly ridiculous pieces of Stalinist-style rewriting of history - although if he'd known that he would be called upon to defend how he polices comments on his own, private, Facebook page - this being, seemingly, 'of public interest' to the radio listeners of Teeside - he would have prepared a much more Ofcom-friendly defence in advance. He does, however, regret that he wasn't as pithy and brief on the 'too PC' subject as his old mucker James Gent. Who provided this glorious slapdown riposte on Twitter to a, similarly knobbish, question for the 'usually-a-bit-more-sensible-than-that' Jeremy Vine.
The Bank of England is asking the public to nominate a scientist as the face of the new plastic fifty smacker note - but forget about nominating The Doctor because, apparently, 'Time Lords of whatever gender are ineligible.' Any scientist can be nominated as long as they are British, dead, and non-fictional. No woman has ever featured on the reverse side of the fifty quid note, so the Bank is expected to come under pressure to select one. But that woman will not be Jodie Whittaker, as governor Mark Carney explained in his speech announcing the project. 'We're looking for someone from Great Britain and Northern Ireland who has made an invaluable contribution to UK society, be it through innovation, exceptional leadership, helping to shape the society or forging common values,' said Carney. 'As has always been the case, the Bank will not represent living people or fictional characters on our banknotes, so I'm afraid Time Lords of whatever gender are ineligible!' Instead, Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer is an early frontrunner, alongside Nobel prizewinner Dorothy Hodgkin and the late Stephen Hawking. Given what happened with the whole Boaty McBoatface fiasco, the Bank said that it would 'not be completely bound' by a public vote but would, instead, open 'a six-week window for names of scientists to be suggested for its character-selection process.'
Things we learned from this week's Only ConnectFrom The North favourite Victoria Coren-Mitchell (then, pre-marriage, still Victoria Coren) attended the 1999 Champions League Final at the Nou Camp and witnessed The Scum famously coming from behind to score twice in injury time and beat Fußball-Club Bayern München. She was, she claimed, sitting just behind former Manchester United legend the late George Best (although, he wasn't 'the late' then, obviously) who left the stadium, seemingly in disgust, as the clock reached ninety minutes. And, therefore, missed all of the late drama and his old club winning Europe's top prize for the first time since he, himself, played in the 1968 final. And, what made the story even funnier was that Victoria said she had told it a few times as an amusing little anecdote, most recently during a poker match which featured the former footballer Teddy Sheringham. She was, she added, entirely ignorant of the fact that not only was Teddy playing in that game but it was, in fact, he who scored the first of The Scum's goals!
Things we learned from this week's Qi XL: According to the latest research 'the average person has five secrets which they've never told a living soul,' said Sandi Toksvig. From The North favourite Victoria Coren Mitchell's five secrets are,she claimed: 'Where I keep my keys ... and four murders!'
We also learned that Bridget Christie, seemingly, doesn't mind going on national telly wearing a really scruffy-looking denim skirt with a big hole in it. Come on, love, could you not have smartened yourself up a bit for such a prestige programme?
From The North's TV Comedy Moment Of The Week came during Sky Sport Cricket's coverage of the third day of the first Sri Lanka versus England test. It revolved around Marcus Trescothick's complete inability to say 'the middle period' without getting a bit mixed-up, to the huge amusement of his broadcasting colleagues Rob Key and Nick Knight. Whether this was the first recorded use of the word 'piddle' on British TV since the 1970s, this blogger is uncertain. But, there can't be that many other examples, surely? Even Sad Bob Willis on the subsequent The Debate almost cracked a smile. Almost, but not quite.
Another mildly amusing sporting-related moment occurred during Sky Sports F1's coverage of the opening day of practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix when David Croft and Ted Kravitz were discussing the announcement this week that, in 2020, there will be a Grand Prix held for the first time in Hanoi. Ted noted that the company behind the promotion of the new race were Vinfast, a Vietnamese car-maker. Wise-cracking Crofty added that he had Googled the company and discovered they produce cars including the Vin Electric, the Vin Petrol and, of course, the Vin Diesel. Fast, dear blog reader and jolly furious.
The latest From The North's regular TV Comedy Line Of The Week award had a couple of contenders; the week's episode of Would I Lie To You? included Emma Bunton's claim that when The Spice Girls toured in the 1990s and stayed in hotels they played 'a special game to test who was the bravest.' What did the game involve, asked David Mitchell. They would dare each other to do 'certain things,' Emma added. So, what was the scariest thing you were ever asked to do, Emma was asked. 'Sing live?' suggested Rob Brydon.
The same episode also featured a classic bit of of back-and-forth between Mitchell and Lee Mack for which the popular BBC comedy panel show is so loved by regular viewers, this blogger included. Lee produced what he claimed was his 'lucky dice', one on which he could always throw a six within three attempts (as it turned out, he couldn't and, indeed, he didn't). 'How long have you had it?' asked Rob Brydon. 'About twenty years,' Lee claimed, before adding: 'Oh, you mean the dice? I thought you meant my syphilis.' David Mitchell then wanted to know where Lee had acquired it. 'I got it from a woman in Highgate,' Lee claimed. 'I meant the syphilis,' David shot back. 'Sorry. I paid for it. Four, ninety-nine! Full of spots!'
Another contender for the weekly award came thirty minutes earlier on Have I Got News For You when guest host (and national heartthrob) David Tennant noted during the 'Picture Quiz' round that a cow called Char has been voted as 'Britain's Sexiest Cow' recently. 'And, if you find her attractive and want to get in touch, you'll find her on Meat-Grinder,' said David. 'Some people are already protesting that it's a bit sexist to objectify a cow for her looks. Hastag "Moo-too."'
Paul Merton was on deliciously surreal form during the same episode. In the 'Missing Words' round a headline from the Tools & Trades History Society Newsletter ('skip the item about detachable drill-heads, there's always a boring bit' added David helpfully). The headline read as follows ...
'Is it "the sex show at the end, featuring Monica and her obedient snake, Tommy?' asked Paul. Even normally dry-as-a-bone Reg Hunter cracked up at that one.
Toby Whithouse - Doctor Who writer and creator of Being Human - is teaming up with Neil Gaiman for a new version of Gormenghast. The series is an adaptation of the novel by Mervyn Peake which tells the story of the titular castle and its family of nobles. Gaiman and A Beautiful Mind's Akiva Goldsman will serve as executive producers, while Whithouse will write the series. The new Gormenghast won't be the first time the books have been adapted, with the BBC produced a gorgeous and highly-regarded four-part series based on the story in 2000. It starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the Master of Ritual Steerpike and Christopher Lee as Mister Flay.
As mentioned during the last few bloggerisationism updates, filming is already well underway on the much-anticipated fifth series of From The North favourite Peaky Blinders. Scenes have been shot on location in Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent over recent weeks. And, reportedly, trailers and crew arrived in the Black Country Living Museum (a regular location for previous series of the popular period gangster drama) to shoot scenes for the new series earlier this week.
Similarly, another From The North favourite, Killing Eve, is currently shooting its - equally anticipated - second series. The production has already done some filming in Amsterdam and Paris but seems to be situated in and around London at the moment. Fans on social media have been busy stalking the filming units and posting photos and videos of Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer and other members of the cast at various spots around the city, including - most recently - in Russell Square.
Meanwhile, there's a fascinating piece by the Gruniad's Morwenna Ferrier on Killing Eve's use of fashion as a specific dramatic artifice which you can read here. Unusually for the Gruniad, the majority of it actually makes some sense. I know, dear blog reader, Keith Telly Topping was shocked and stunned by this malarkey too.
There's a very good piece by the Independent's Sean O'Grady on the second episode of The Little Drummer Girl here. And, one by the Gruniad's Graeme Virtue, here. And a really sneering, unimpressed one from the Torygraph's Gabriel Tate, here. This blogger, for what it's worth, thought it was great.
The first trailer for the forthcoming Channel Four drama Brexit: The Uncivil War has been unveiled this week and marks something of a transformation for its leading man, Benedict Cumberbatch. The Sherlock actor signed on to appear in the one-off drama earlier this year in the role of Vote Leave campaign director, Dominic Cummings. The two-hour special will explore how the Leave campaign managed to scoop an unexpected victory, in no small part thanks to tactics employed by Cummings.  Ad, though telling pork-pies on the side of buses, obviously. The thirty-second clip sees Cumberbatch's Cummings addressing the camera directly. He says: 'We live in a multiverse of different branches of histories and in a different branch of history, I was never here, some of you voted differently and this never happened - but I was and it did. Everyone knows who won, but not everyone knows how.' Alongside Bennyh, the drama also stars Rory Kinnear, John Heffernan, Richard Goulding, Paul Ryan, Liz White and Oliver Maltman.
A scene from Luther's forthcoming fifth series has been posted on the series' Twitter feed. And, it's a bit tasty. Speaking about the series a few months ago, Idris Elba said: 'All I can say is we know how long the fanbase wait for the show and we're never taking that lightly. So, as much as we have to keep one eye on how do we not do what we've done before, at the same time saying to the audience, "This is Luther", so you recognise the traits. That's the tough part. Because after five seasons, you kind of go, "Oh where do we go now?" and for me I'm very excited about the season, it feels very similar to what we've seen but it takes a few turns. Luther is still the character we love to hate.'
Jenna Coleman has hinted that her days as Queen Victoria could be numbered. The former Doctor Who actress will return soon for a third series of Victoria, but now Jenna has revealed there 'will come a point in the not too distant future' when it will become 'unrealistic' for her to play the Queen. Series three, opening in 1848, will see Victoria already with six of her nine children and, in reality, by that stage Her Majesty was not as slim and youthful as she once was. Jenna, who is currently finished filming on series three, said that she was taking things on 'a series-by-series basis' but added in an interview with Radio Times: 'In the next one she's starting to look a bit more matronly, she's had six or seven children, so a bit wider, bit more of a bust, the make-up is more drawn. But, there will come a point in her story when no amount of prosthetic make-up or me lowering my voice will be convincing enough.'
Veep and The Thick Of It's Simon Blackwell, Chris Addison and Martin Freeman have co-created a new comedy series about parenting called Breeders. Freeman will take some time off from making those really bloody annoying Vodaphone adverts (a new and particularly annoying one turned up  this week, specifically to grate this blogger's cheese) to play 'a caring father discovering he's not quite the man he thought he was' in the ten-part series, alongside Episodes' Daisy Haggard. It is a Sky/FX co-production, both of which have a strong track record in comedy. The official synopsis describes the show as 'covering some of the less-discussed truths and challenges of being a parent.'
We've talked before on this blog about Primal Scream singer Bobby Gillespie's remarkable - and much-discussed - appearance on the BBC's political programme This Week. A new portrait posted on the Primal Scream Instagram account depicts Bobby and the show's host, the loathsome Andrew Neil. And it's bloody brilliant. The pair found themselves embroiled in a heated live TV debate about the state of the nation, before Bobby refused, point blank, to get involved in some allegedly 'comic', but, actually extremely embarrassing 'dancing capers' at the end of the show. Bobby later posted a statement describing Neil as 'arrogant, rude and smug.' Which, we all kind of suspected anyway from several decades of Neil's arrogant, rude and smug appearances on our television screens. Now, the band have posted the painting of their unimpressed frontman while a demonic, reptilian Neil parading behind him. The painting was, apparently, created by an artist who goes by the online name of Wefail. Whom, this blogger feels, has captured the moment perfectly.
Jamie Dornan is back on the BBC and reuniting with the creator of The Fall in a trailer for the upcoming thriller Death & Nightingales. The three-part adaptation of the 1992 Eugene McCabe novel of the same name takes place in 1885 over a twenty four-hour period in Fermanagh. Written and directed by Allan Cubitt, Death & Nightingales follows Beth Winters (Ann Skelly) on her twenty third birthday - the day that she has decided to join the charming Liam Ward (Dornan) and run away from her difficult life with her Protestant landowner stepfather, Billy (played by Matthew Rhys). 'The heartbreak of this place. Love it and hate it like no place on Earth,' Beth says in the trailer. 'Tomorrow I leave it forever.' Death & Nightingales will be Dornan's first major television role since wrapping playing Christian Grey on the big screen in Fifty Shades Freed earlier this year and it also marks a return to the UK for actor Rhys, after spending several years working abroad on FX's The Americans. 'I'm thrilled to be reunited with Allan and his brilliant scripts to play such an intriguing character like Liam Ward and to return to Northern Ireland and BBC2,' Dornan said earlier this year. 'I've been a huge fan of Allan Cubitt's work for many years so I'm thrilled to have been given the chance to work on Death & Nightingales alongside Jamie and Ann and return to the BBC,' Rhys added.
Netflix has sent an apology to Richard Madden after a widely reported 'water bottle incident.' The Bodyguard actor, who recently claimed he was stopped when he tried to help himself to a bottle of water at Netflix HQ, revealed on his Instagram account that the streaming giant has sent him a gift to say sorry for the 'misunderstanding.' As well as some bottle of water, the parcel came with a note reading: 'Dear Mister Madden - Our deepest apologies for the water bottle situation. Normally, we give them out gladly but your fans are always so thirsty.' On the American talk show KTLA Morning News, the actor revealed that things got heated when he recently visited the Netflix building for a meeting. 'I walked in and was told I was in the wrong building,' said Madden. 'But there was a fridge of Netflix-branded water, which I went to grab a bottle of and he said you have to go around the corner for your guys' show. I said, "Cool, I'll just grab a bottle of water," which I was told "No, you're not allowed to, it's for Netflix employees only."'
Wor Geet Canny Ant McPartlin has been 'told off' by a High Court judge after failing to attend a hearing regarding the financial settlement for his divorce. The former partner of Wor Geet Canny Dec's ex-wife, Lisa Armstrong, was at the hearing in the Family Division of the High Court on Monday. The hearing had reporting restrictions but Mister Justice Mostyn said that journalists could report McPartlin was 'told off.' Mostyn said: 'There isn't one law for the famous and one for the rest of the community. Why is he not here?' the judge asked McPartlin's barrister, Jonathan Southgate QC. 'The rules say he was supposed to be here - and that can be reported.' The judge indicated that he 'might' have excused McPartlin's non-attendance had he been contacted in advance and given a reason for it. Mostyn then considered issues relating to the reporting of any future hearings in the former couple's debate over money. He ruled that detail relating to their confidential financial information would not be permitted. He also said McPartlin's address could not be revealed in reports of hearings. Further hearings are expected soon. McPartlin and Armstrong were granted a decree nisi by Judge Alun Jenkins in the Central Family Court in London last month. The couple were married at Cliveden House in Berkshire in 2006. They have no children. Last year McPartlin went into rehab after struggling with a painkiller addiction which, he claimed, stemmed from a knee operation in 2015. He has also had problems with alcohol and was banned from driving for twenty months in April after being caught over more than twice the legal drink drive limit. Following the incident, the presenter, who has worked alongside Declan Donnelly for nearly twenty five years, announced he was reducing his TV commitments. It was confirmed earlier this year that he would not present the next series of I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) and would instead be replaced by Holly Willoughby.
Netflix has reassured fans of its popular crime drama Narcos that the show's future 'remains safe.' Doubts were raised after security concerns escalated when a location production scout for the series was shot dead in Mexico last year. But, producer Eric Newman said 'no one will threaten the future of Narcos. We're going to be just fine,' he said, adding that the series was moving on to 'an incredibly exciting season, its best one yet.' Narcos began as a gritty drama about the rise and fall of Colombian drug lords and gangs such as Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel. The storyline will now shift to Mexico and will explore the origins of the country's modern drugs war by going back to its roots. Responding to the death of thirty seven-year-old location scout Carlos Muñoz Portal, Newman described the incident as 'an unbelievable tragedy. It was a death not related to drug trafficking or the show. It occurred at the very start, we had not even begun filming yet,' he said. 'But it very much informed the process in terms of security. And there will be dedication paid to him in the new season.' Diego Luna, who portrays convicted Mexican drug lord Félix Gallardo, said that there was 'a tremendous amount of security' in place throughout the course of filming. 'The Mexican drug war is a very complicated yet important story to tell,' he said. 'It is one we need to tell to audiences around the world.'
After a number of prior moves, The Blacklist has shifted timeslots once again for its forthcoming sixth series. The espionage thriller will now be shown on Fridays on NBC, with the premiere arriving on Friday 4 January from 8pm. It will subsequently broadcast weekly from 9pm. This isn't the first shift that the drama has experienced, with the show originally debuting on Mondays before being moved to Thursdays and then to Wednesdays. The next series will pick-up after the game-changing twist at the end of series five when it was revealed - or, at least suggested - that James Spader's Reddington has been actually an impostor all along. 'This is something that we've talked about from the inception of the show,' creator Jon Bokenkamp claimed about the plot twist. 'It is part of the underlying mythology that we've slowly been unravelling. I think there are a number of episodes that we can go back and sort of map and chart how we got here. Hopefully that is proof of concept to the audience that this is not something we're just winging, and that we're on a very specific path, and this is a well-earned reveal.' He also suggested that the dynamic between 'Reddington' and Liz Kean will change in series six, adding: 'He does not know that she knows. I think that piece of information is really compelling. This blows up everything. Very rarely does anyone know something that Reddington doesn't know, right? He's always ahead of the curve. He's a very cunning and smart, brilliant mastermind criminal, and yet he didn't see this one coming. So I think that is a real power shift and something that we haven't explored in past seasons.'
The CW has some good news for fans of both the Charmed reboot and The Vampire Diaries spin-off, Legacies. It was announced this week that the channel is ordering more episodes of both shows, as well as picking up additional episodes of the sports drama All American. Legacies and All American each had three more episodes ordered by The CW (bringing them to sixteen in total), whilst Charmed, which has so far been something of ratings success for the network, got an additional order of nine further episode to give it a full series total of twenty two.
The Affair is adding an Oscar winner to its cast for its fifth and final series. TV Line reports that Anna Paquin will be joining the Showtime series next year. Anna will be playing Alison and Cole's daughter Joanie Lockhart, who is currently five years old in the series. But the final series will see the drama jump ahead two or three decades to tell Joanie's story. According to TV Line Joanie, now in her thirties, will return to a climate-change ravaged Montauk in a bid to find out what really happened to her mother, Alison (From The North favourite Ruth Wilson) who was killed off near the end of series four in, what first seemed like, a suicide until it was later revealed she had been killed by her lover, Ben. Showtime has already released the final series' synopsis, revealing it 'will chronicle the aftermath of the [series four] finale's horrific events and find the characters coming to terms with the consequences of their choices - as they make the realisation that if they really want to change their futures they must first face the past. This final season is about how everything does really fall apart in the end, but somewhere in that wreckage, the seeds of change finally sprout.' Following the exit of Wilson - currently busy shooting Luther in London - in September it was revealed that Joshua Jackson was also leaving the drama. While he will no longer be a regular during series five, he is expected to appear in 'one or two' episodes.
CBS All Access' rapidly growing slate of Star Trek shows may including one revolving around a familiar character. Deadline claims that Star Trek: Discovery's Michelle Yeoh is talking about reprising her role as Captain Georgiou in 'a stand-alone All Access series.' The project would, reportedly, be an extension of Georgiou's story from Discovery's forthcoming second series. If it comes to fruition, the spin-off would be in line with CBS strategy. Between the, as yet unnamed, Jean Luc Picard series, Short Treks, Below Decks and plans for other shows, the network clearly wants a continuous stream of new Star Trek material to draw fans of the popular franchise to its streaming service. As Deadline warns, though, Yeoh's availability may complicate matters. Between the potential for a Crazy Rich Asians sequel and a production deal with SK Global Entertainment, the actress may not have many opportunities to take on a regular series in the near future.
Ever since Gotham premiered on FOX in 2014, fans of the Batman prequel have awaited Batman's appearance. Cameron Monaghan, who plays Jeremiah Valeska on the From The North favourite, has now confirmed that The Dark Knight will, indeed, appear in the show's fifth and final series, due to start in January. Asked on Twitter if Batman would be appearing, Monaghan's responded with a one word reply.
Another angel is getting her wings on Lucifer. Newcomer Vinessa Vidotto is reported to be joining the cast of the popular supernatural drama as it moves from FOX to Netflix for series four. Vidotto will play Remiel, an angel who idolises her big brother, Amenadiel (the excellent DB Woodside), but 'also feels under-appreciated or overshadowed while struggling to match his towering standards.' Presumably, that makes her Lucifer's sister, too? Previously, Charlyne Yi guest-starred in one episode as Lucifer's sister, Azrael. Lucifer stars Tom Ellis as the titular fallen angel, Lucifer Mornigstar, who helps to solve crimes as a consultant for the LAPD. It was cancelled by FOX in May following a three-series run, but after a major outpouring of supports from fans, Netflix stepped in to resurrect the series, ordering a ten-episode fourth series which is expected to debut sometime next year.
Sorry, everybody, there won’t be any Easter next year. The Goddess of fertility will not appear in American Gods' forthcoming second series - at least not in the guise of From The North favourite Kristin Chenoweth, who played the character in the fantasy drama's first year. So, no Gillian Anderson, no Kristen Chenoworth ... this blogger is rapidly running out of reasons to carry on watching, frankly. The actress confirmed her departure from the show exclusively to TVLine on Monday at a press event for the upcoming NBC special A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating Fifteen Years On Broadway. She cited her longstanding friendship with former showrunner Bryan Fuller, who in November left the troubled Starz drama with fellow showrunner Michael Green over 'creative differences' with producers Freemantle, as the reason behind her decision. 'I couldn't come back without him,' Chenoweth said. 'It wouldn't be right.' Similarly, in January, From The North favourite Anderson - who played Media and also starred in Fuller's Hannibal - told reporters that she had also left the production. Former West Wing actress Chenoweth played Olive Snook in Fuller's 2007 ABC cult classic Pushing Daisies and she remains close to the acclaimed writer, whom she calls her 'brother.' In December, the actress told Variety that before Fuller's departure, she had planned to return for several of American Gods' series two episodes but was 'unsure' as to whether that would now happen. On Monday, Chenoweth told TVLine that she did have conversations about returning to American Gods even in Fuller's absence. 'Let me just say this: Those people are also my family,' she said. 'It came out of [Neil] Gaiman's brain, who is a genius.' She added that she wants the show to be a success for the people who are still involved with it. But, ultimately, 'Bryan's my guy.'
More than seven thousand people in the UK still watch TV in black and white more than half-a-century after colour broadcasts began. London has the most TV licences for black and white sets at over seventeen hundred, followed by four hundred and thirty in the West Midlands and three hundred and ninety in Greater Manchester. A total of seven thousand one hundred and sixty one households have, they claim, not switched to colour despite transmissions starting on BBC in 1967 and on BBC and ITV in late 1969. The number of black and white licences has almost halved in the past five years and is down from two hundred and twelve in 2000. The figures were released by TV Licensing in what appears to be a reminder that anyone watching television must, by law, have a TV licence. Or, face - rightly - getting banged-up in The Pokey along with all the murderers and the rapists and the people that nick stuff from Waitrose. Spokesman Jason Hill said: 'Whether you watch EastEnders, Strictly or Question Time in black and white on a fifty-year-old TV set, or in colour on a tablet, you need to be covered by a TV licence to watch or record programmes as they are broadcast. You also need to be covered by a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, on any device.' Last month the organisation said more than twenty six thousand naughty 'young people' - aged eighteen to twenty five - were caught watching live TV or BBC iPlayer without a TV licence in the past year. That was despite ninety two per cent of students 'knowing' that a licence is required to watch their favourite shows. A black and white licence has one distinct advantage over its colour equivalent: it is a third of the price at fifty quid a year compared with one hundred and fifty notes. Neither does TV Licensing carry out checks of households claiming to watch a black and white set. 'It's entirely done on trust,' a spokesperson said. Television and radio technology historian Jeffrey Borinsky claimed that collectors like him still have numerous black and white TVs. 'Who wants all this new-fangled 4K Ultra HD, satellite dishes or a screen that's bigger than your room when you can have glorious black and white TV?' he asked. Well, virtually everyone actually, Jeffrey you stuck-in-the-past plank. 'Thirty years ago, you could still buy black and white TVs, mainly small portables, for as little as fifty pounds and it's interesting to know that some people still have them.' Yes. And, thirty years before that, you could catch rickets or diphtheria; your point being? Never trust anyone, dear blog reader, that uses the word(s) 'new-fangled.' In any context.
Michael Sheen will 'walk on the wild side' as he joins the third series of The Good Wife spin-off The Good Fight. The Welsh actor will be the villain of the upcoming series when he takes on the role of sleazy lawyer Roland Blum, who CBS All Access describes as 'a man of appetites - drugs, sex, you name it.' Roland Blum will be a particularly cunning foe for Diane Lockhart and her team in the courtroom because he's 'far more interested in winning than the niceties of following the law.' Returning alongside Christine Baranski will be three of Diane's closest associates – Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn, Rose Leslie as Maia Rindell and Audra McDonald as Liz Lawrence. As mentioned, this villainous character is quite a change of pace for Sheen, who has most recently been playing the angel Aziraphale opposite David Tennant's Crowley in Neil Gaiman's adaptation of Good Omens. It was also announced last month that Sheen would play the roving reporter in an all-new musical version of Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds.
Tom Hiddleston will be reprising his role as the God of mischief in a new Marvel TV series based on the character Loki. The show will be released on Disney's new streaming service, Disney+. Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger also announced that Lucasfilm is developing a second Star Wars live-action series for the new service. The series will follow the adventures of rebel spy Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion and before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 'Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me,' said Diego Luna, who will reprise the role of Andor. 'I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey. We have a fantastic adventure ahead of us, and this new exciting format will give us the chance to explore this character more deeply.' he continued. When news originally emerged in September about Disney's plans to launch a number of series about Marvel characters, some speculated we would also be seeing a show focusing on Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, but there has been no update thus far. However, Disney did announce that we can expect new stories set in the world's of Pixar's Monsters Inc and High School Musical, making sure there's something for everyone in an attempt to rival Netflix. Disney+ is scheduled to launch in the US in late 2019.
The Western town set frequently seen in Westworld has burned down as wildfires ravage Southern California. The set was located at Paramount Studios' filming ranch in Agoura Hills and was seen often in the HBO science fiction series as one of the interactive environments built by the Delos corporation to mimic the American Old West. A spokesperson for Paramount told The Hollywood Reporter that no-one from Westworld was 'impacted' by the fire because the series is not currently filming its third series. 'Paramount Ranch was one of the locations used during seasons one and two of Westworld, in addition to the primary location at Melody Ranch in Santa Clarita,' a studio representative said. 'Westworld is not currently in production and as the area has been evacuated, we do not yet know the extent of the damage to any structures remaining there.' In addition to being seen in Westworld, the was also used in films like American Sniper and the 1990s TV series Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman. The various wildfires currently burning throughout Los Angeles have also reportedly impacted other public figures since they intensified earlier this week. Caitlyn Jenner and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson both reportedly lost their homes in the blazes, but were safely evacuated by fire authorities. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro was also forced to evacuate his mansion, which houses his vast film and memorabilia collection.
The Satanic Temple activist group is reported to be suing the makers of TV series The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina for fifty million dollars. Over a statue. Netflix and Warner Brothers allegedly 'copied' the group's statue of the goat deity, Baphomet, in the programme. Both production companies have declined to comment on the lawsuit. The Satanic Temple claim that they 'do not believe in a supernatural Satan,' but, instead, seek 'to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people.' Except the makers of a TV show, it would appear. Their lawsuit, filed on Thursday in New York, claims an icon 'similar' to their own appears in four episodes of the series. Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, posted a tweet comparing their statue with that in the show. The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina is a drama on Netflix following Sabrina Spellman, a half-mortal half-witch teenager. It is based on the classic comic of the same name, which also inspired the - much more light and fluffy - Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a series which ran from 1996 to 2003. Characters in the show who worship The Dark Lord practise cannibalism and forced worship and The Satanic Temple argues that its members 'are being associated with these evil antagonists.' Although, arguably, calling yourself 'The Satanic Temple' is hardly a guarantee for much good publicity. Greaves confirmed that the group was going to take legal action against the show's production companies for 'appropriating our copyright monument design to promote their asinine Satanic Panic fiction.' Greaves told US broadcaster CNBC that Baphomet has 'come to represent us as a people' and that the statue in Sabrina 'dilutes and denigrates' their group. Satan himself has yet to comment on the furore. Although one suspects he's not too thrilled with The Satanic Temple's use of his name.
Andrew Flintoff (nice lad, bit thick) has told Radio 5Live that he 'can't wait' to start presenting on Top Gear alongside professional Northern berk Paddy McGuinness and ... the other one. Speaking to Robbie Savage and Matthew Syed, the former England cricket captain said that the emotion of finding out he'd been chosen was like 'getting the call to be picked for England.' So, presumably, next we have a career blighted by injury with occasional highs but also some devastating 'five-nil defeat in an Ashes series'-type lows, then? Sounds about right.
BBC newsreader Simon McCoy was seemingly taken aback by The Spice Girls reunion announcement and expressed concern over Victoria Beckham's absence from the line-up. The fifty seven-year-old presenter, who has decades of broadcast experience and something of a cult following for his dry and witty presenting style, said that the news had left him 'in shock.' It came as Simon was discussing the tour on Monday after playing the group's announcement video on the BBC News channel. As the clip ended, he paused and said: 'I'm in shock. What struck me there is actually without Victoria, will the music suffer?'
China's state news agency, Xinhua, this week introduced the newest members of its newsroom: AI anchors who will report 'tirelessly' all day, every day, from anywhere in the country. Chinese viewers were greeted with a digital version of a regular Xinhua news anchor named Qiu Hao. The anchor, wearing a red tie and pin-striped suit, nods his head in emphasis, blinking and raising his eyebrows slightly. 'Not only can I accompany you twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year. I can be endlessly copied and present at different scenes to bring you the news,' he says. This, dear blog reader, is The Future. Horrifying, isn't it?
Author George RR Martin has spoken about the pressure he has felt about writing his book The Winds Of Winter, the long-awaited next chapter in the bestselling saga that Game Of Thrones was adapted from. Describing the success of the TV series as 'a considerable weight to bear' when trying to end his own saga, Martin admitted that he was 'struggling' to get in the right mindset to write the book, which fans have impatiently been demanding since his last release (A Dance Of Dragons) in 2011. 'I've been struggling with it for a few years,' Martin told the Grunaid Morning Star in a new interview. 'The Winds Of Winter is not so much a novel as a dozen novels, each with a different protagonist, each having a different cast of supporting players, antagonists, allies and lovers around them and all of these weaving together against the march of time in an extremely complex fashion. So it's very, very challenging.' Martin also noted that the success of Game Of Thrones on TV was also making him feel a pressure for the print version to 'measure up' - especially given that the HBO series overtook his own novels (using plot details he had provided to the showrunners) in 2016. 'The show has achieved such popularity around the world, the books have been so popular and so well reviewed, that every time I sit down I'm very conscious I have to do something great and trying to do something great is a considerable weight to bear,' Martin said. 'On the other hand, once I really get rolling, I get into the world. The rest of the world vanishes and I don't care what I'm having for dinner, what movies are on, what my e-mail says or who's mad at me this week because The Winds Of Winter isn't out - all that is gone and I'm just living in the world I'm writing about. But it's sometimes hard to get to that almost trance state,' he concluded.
Mark Gatiss gives 'a tour de force performance' as George III in a new production of Alan Bennett's acclaimed play about the king, according to reviews. The Madness Of George III at Nottingham Playhouse is 'a perfect star vehicle' for Gatiss, according to the Gruniad Morning Star's critic Kate Maltby. The Torygraph's Dominic Cavendish agrees, saying that Gatiss had come 'into his own as a leading theatre actor.' Bennett's 1991 play shows King George battling a mystery mental illness. Nigel Hawthorne won an Olivier Award for playing the troubled monarch in the original production and went on to reprise his role in the 1994 movie adaptation. Cavendish gave the play five stars and saluted the way the Gatiss 'keeps drawing out more from himself, coiled entrails of pain, confusion and fear, while somehow retaining his lovability.' According to The Stage, the League Of Gentlemen, Sherlock and Game Of Thrones actor 'rises to the challenge' of following in Hawthorne's footsteps and 'turns out to be very good casting.' Critic Natasha Tripney wrote: 'Gatiss's performance is very physical. He makes the most of his height, stalking the stage, splay-toed, as he conveys the king's rapid decline.' Gatiss also drew high praise from Nottingham culture website LeftLion, whose reviewer Jared Wilson said that Gatiss was 'excellent, engaging and energetic throughout.' Debra Gillett and Adrian Scarborough also appear in Adam Penford's revival, which will be screened live in cinemas on 20 November.
In mid-October, Interweb rumours started to circulate that the character Emperor Palpatine will return in the forthcoming Star Wars IX. While these rumours were largely - and by 'largely', one actually means 'completely' - unsubstantiated, they suggested that Palpatine would somehow appear 'in some sort of projection' to Kylo Ren. Despite him being, you know, dead. What this rumour didn't state, was if this would be the same Palpatine we all remember from the original and prequel Star Wars trilogies. Though Ian McDiarmid is reported to be 'eager' to reprise his role, a new variant rumour suggests that a younger version of the Sith Lord will appear in the upcoming film. The Weekly Planet Podcast (no, me neither) introduced a theory - from an anonymous alleged 'source' - that yer actual Matt Smith, who has been widely reported as appearing in the upcoming film, 'might' be playing a younger Palpatine. Though, as Entertainment notes: 'It's worth pointing out from the start that the rumour surrounding Matt Smith's role in Star Wars: Episode IX came from an anonymous, unverified source.' And, probably a fictitious one, at that. Though the thought of yer man Smudger playing the universe's most evil being does, undeniably, have a certain potential!
Twelve years after the show wrapped up, Deadwood's revival movie has finally started shooting. As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, most of the TV series' cast have returned for the film. That includes: Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, Paula Malcomson, John Hawkes, Anna Gunn, W Earl Brown, Dayton Callie, Brad Dourif, Robin Weigert, William Sanderson, Kim Dickens and Gerald McRaney. The paper also claims that Jade Pettyjohn, best known for the Nickelodeon TV series version of School Of Rock, is joining the cast as a new character. Behind the camera, Daniel Minahan will direct the movie after his work on four episodes of the drama, while creator David Milch has written the script. HBO is reported to be hoping for a spring 2019 release. The movie will take place ten years after the end of the TV series.
This week has seen the release of the fiftieth anniversary 'super deluxe' six-CD box-set of The Be-Atles self-titled 1968 masterpiece (that's The White Album to you and me, dear blog readers). There have been many reviews which you can hunt out at your own convenience but this blogger feels it his duty to point you in the direction of Eoghan Lyng's excellent overview at the We Are Cult website before you go off and read the Grunaid or the Torygraph's retrospective reviews. 'Time has been very kind to The White Album, fifty years on,' writes Eoghan. 'And this album presents the future paths The Beatles took, much more so than Abbey Road or Let It Be. 'Julia' and 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' echo the naked relief that soaked Lennon's debut, while the sprightly 'Back In The USSR' and 'Martha My Dear' paved [the way] for the stadium pop tracks that McCartney and Wings would delight audiences [with] in the seventies. Harrison's invitation to Eric Clapton's searing guitar solos on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' was the beginning of a musical camaraderie that lasted well into the nineties and the gentle tones Starr sings on closer 'Goodnight' were re-introduced to a generation of fans as the Thomas The Tank Engine narrator ... There was a price for such diversity, as differing ideologies, drugs, technique dictation and the ever-felt presence of Yoko Ono caused a number of walk outs during the recording: George Martin took a long holiday, leaving Chris Thomas in charge; Geoff Emerick quit the sessions in July 1968, leaving the young Ken Scott engineering much of the rest; even the most sensitive Beatle, Starr, quit the band briefly, leaving the multi-skilled McCartney filling in on drums.' However, the best line in the piece has to be: 'An instrumental 'Revolution' demonstrates the electric guitar weaving Harrison and Lennon are rarely credited and though there are too many backing tracks here ('The Inner Light', 'Back In The USSR' and 'Savoy Truffle' all get this treatment), a piano and drums mix of 'Lady Madonna' is a must listen to Jasper Carrott devotees to hear that The Beatles could never have worked with any drummer but Ringo Starr!' The allusion, from those that don't know, is to a - rather mean, spiteful and inaccurate - 'joke' Carrott told on his TV show Carrott's Lib in the early 1980s which has often, erroneously, been credited to John Lennon in subsequent years: 'Ringo wasn't the best drummer in the world ... He wasn't even the best drummer in The Beatles.'
There's also a highly readable interview with Giles Martin on the tricky job of remixing a masterpiece at the BBC News website, here. At least the author of this piece - Mark Savage - bothered to do the necessary research and ascertain at exactly whose house the legendary May 1968 demos were recorded. Unlike one of his BBC colleagues who, earlier in the same day, claimed that it had been 'George Martin's house in Esher' rather than at the home of a little-known session guitarist called George Harrison.
Well, these George's, they all look the bleedin' same, don't they?
Peter Hook is to auction a collection of guitars and memorabilia from his Joy Division and New Order days after falling out, big-style, with his former bandmates. The items up for sale include his first bass and the guitar he used on Joy Division's second LP, Closer. It comes a year after a legal action with the rest of the band was finally settled. 'The court cases with the others didn't help me viewing either band in a very rosy light,' Hooky whinged to the BBC. Hook fell out with the other group members in 2007 and began playing Joy Division material with his own band, The Light, in 2010. This blogger, as it were, 'saw The Light' a couple of years later. They were all right as it happens. Not as good as New Order, but not bad. Hooky told BBC News that he had 'come to feel something had to go' and that the memories associated with the Joy Division and New Order items had become tarnished. 'Since starting again in 2010 and playing the music, which is the only thing I'm allowed to do, I came to realise that the people who allowed me to play the music - ie the fans - were the only ones that mattered,' he said. 'I felt something had been broken and I thought, "is it time to let [the items] fly?" It felt like the right time. Maybe not for the right reason, I have to say.' The memorabilia up for sale includes the Gibson EB-0 replica that Hooky bought the day after watching The Sex Pistols' 1976 gig at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall, a concert which is credited with inspiring an entire generation of Manchester musicians. 'I borrowed the money off my mother,' Hook recalled. 'Bernard [Sumner] had told me, "Make sure you get a bass guitar because I've got a guitar." I didn't know the difference. I didn't have any more money to buy a case so [the shop owner] stuffed it in two black bin liners and I very proudly sat on the bus with my bass guitar in its two black bin liners. It was punk from start to finish. When I got home my father laughed at me and said, "What are you going to do with that?" At that precise moment I did not have a clue. I just knew I wanted to run off and join the circus and Johnny Rotten had shown me the way.' Hook played that bass on Joy Division's debut EP, An Ideal For Living and used it to co-write for songs the band's first LP, Unknown Pleasures. It will go up for sale with a four grand valuation at Omega Auctions in Newton-le-Willows on 2 March. A portion of the auction's proceeds will go to mental health charity Calm and to The Epilepsy Society, in remembrance of Joy Division singer the late Ian Curtis, who was epileptic. Other lots on sale include a Shergold Marathon custom six-string bass. Hook used the instrument on Joy Division's second LP and in the early years of New Order following Curtis's death in 1980. Curtis's typed and signed lyrics for the song 'Failures', which appeared on An Ideal For Living, will be offered, as will a leather jacket that Hook bought in 1977 and regularly wore during the 1980s. He is also selling Factory Records' famous floating boardroom table. 'I'm just hoping these things will go out into the world and be appreciated for the massive part they played in history,' said Hook.
Salomon Rondon struck twice as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still tragically unsellable) Magpies recorded consecutive Premier League wins for the first time since April with victory over Bournemouth at St James' Park. Rondon put the home side ahead after just seven minutes following great work by DeAndre Yedlin, who darted behind the Bournemouth defence to pick out the waiting Venezuelan. The twenty nine-year-old striker then doubled his side's advantage as half-time approached, dropping deep to collect the ball before charging into the penalty area to meet Kenedy's cross with a powerful header that recalled the exploits of several former Magpies centre-forwards. There was a long first-half delay as Adam Smith received treatment for an injury sustained while preparing to take a free-kick and it was deep into stoppage-time that Bournemouth found a route back into the contest as record signing Jefferson Lerma nodded in Ryan Fraser's cross. Ex-Magpie Dan Gosling appeared after the break and had the ball in the net in the closing stages but was, correctly, ruled offside. Both sides missed second half chances in a really open, entertaining game with Callum Wilson heading over and, for The Magpies, Matt Ritchie, Rondon and substitute Christian Atsu all going close. Cherries goalkeeper Asmir Begovic produced a string of fine saves to keep his side in the contest, while Jordon Ibe missed a good opportunity to equalise for the visitors. After their worst top-flight start for one hundred and twenty years, Newcastle recorded their first Premier League win of the season last weekend with a one-nil triumph over Watford - and it appeared as though a significant weight had been lifted as The Magpies produced an energetic performance against The Cherries. Rafael Benitez's side, who had lost six of their last eight games at home, were set up to deny Bournemouth space at St James' and worked tirelessly to press The Cherries and disrupt their rhythm. Rondon bullied the Bournemouth defence, registering eight shots but also dropping in to create opportunities as Newcastle stormed to victory and climbed to fourteenth in the league table. The Magpies had previously scored more than once in a game on a solitary occasion this season - their three-two defeat at The Scum in October - but would have added to their tally had it not been for the efforts of the alert Begovic. Benitez was without the injured trio of Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto, but his side - bottom of the league two weeks ago - dug in to see out another important victory. With momentum hopefully building, they will now face Burnley in a key game following the international break in a fortnight's time. So, it's nice to see a smile back of Rafa The Gaffer's boat after a jolly frustrating couple of months. How long that will last, of course, is another matter entirely.
Players involved in any proposed European Super League would be banned from playing international football, including the World Cup, says FIFA president Gianni Infantino. German publication Der Spiegel has claimed that several 'top' European clubs held 'secret talks' with a view to creating a such a set-up by 2021. So that they can all make loads of filthy wonga and get their greed right on. So, no change there, then. The magazine claimed that 'leaked documents' had revealed clubs' plans to leave their own national leagues and associations. Infantino said that it was FIFA's 'duty' to 'protect football.' Which it is, although normally in the past FIFA's duty has, also, been to get their greed right on and make as much filthy wonga as they can. Cos they love making filthy wonga, dear blog readers. Lots and lots of it. He also claimed that FIFA's own plans for a Club World Cup was 'the answer to any attempt to break away from the leagues' because it would 'generate much more revenues for the clubs but also much more revenues for solidarity. We have seen for many years these attempts to break away outside of the structures, going back to the 1990s,' he added. 'You are either in or you are out. If there are players who don't play organised football then that encompasses everything - national leagues, confederation competitions, the Euros and the World Cup. It is up to us to protect football and come up with solutions that benefit clubs and also the world football community.' Der Spiegel also claimed that the documents it obtained showed Sheikh Yer Man City and Paris St-Germain overvalued sponsorship deals to help meet UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules. It alleged that in 2014 the clubs negotiated with Infantino, who was then General Secretary of UEFA, to 'agree reduced punishments.' Der Spiegel also reports that City owner, Sheikh Mansour, 'provided monetary supplements' to 'existing deals with sponsors' in Abu Dhabi, where he is part of the royal family, to invest more money into the club. La Liga president Javier Tebas made a similar claim last year, with UEFA responding by saying it was 'not investigating' City, who have won the Premier League three times since Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008. UEFA found City had breached FFP rules in 2014 and the two parties reached a settlement, with City paying a forty nine million knicker fine - thirty two million quid of which was suspended - while their Champions League squad was reduced for 2014-15. Der Spiegel calls the settlements 'weak' and claims UEFA 'wasn't even entirely aware of the degree to which it had been deceived.' City have said they will not be commenting on the claims. Addressing the claims, Infantino said: 'We were doing our job and saved the system and we saved European club football. We worked with the information we had at the time. If new information has come out, I'm sure UEFA will look at it.' Meanwhile, Infantino said that the chances of expanding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to forty eight teams is 'certainly small' but 'discussions' to do so will continue. 'I was positive about it from the beginning because I think if we can increase the number of teams it is good for football,' he claimed. 'That is why we are going to do it for the 2026 World Cup. Can we do it for 2022? It is a difficult challenge.' A final decision on the issue will be made at the next FIFA council meeting in Miami in March and Infantino suggested Qatar could share the tournament with its neighbouring countries. However, that could be difficult considering Qatar is currently involved in a geet stroppy tiff with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 'We are in discussions with Qatar,' said Infantino. 'It will be a very, very difficult challenge to do it only in Qatar. So personally, as president of FIFA, I would be very happy if some matches could be shared with some countries in the region.' He added: 'In the light of current circumstances in the region I would be even happier if it could happen. Football unites, builds bridges, that could be a concrete result. What are the chances? Certainly small but what is wrong in discussing it?'
Imagine scoring your first professional goal in the biggest club fixture in your homeland. Now imagine doing it aged fourteen. For Fernando Ovelar, that unlikely dream became a reality on a Sunday. Ovelar, who is two months short of his fifteenth birthday, scored the opening goal for Paraguayan top-flight team Cerro Porteno in their Superclasico against arch-rivals Olimpia. It came a week after he made his senior debut. Nestor Camacho, who scored Olimpia's equaliser in the two-two draw, is thirty one - more than double Ovelar's age. The game ended in dramatic fashion - Marcos Acosta putting Cerro in the lead with a ninety fifth-minute penalty and Jorge Ortega equalising with a penalty of his own in the one hundred and third minute after both teams had a player sent-off. Ovelar is the youngest player to have featured in Paraguay's top division - but not the first fourteen-year-old to score in professional football. American Freddy Adu - once described as 'the next Pele' - was also fourteen when he scored his first goal for Major League Soccer side DC United. Mauricio Baldivieso, who played in Bolivia's top division shortly before his thirteenth birthday, is thought to be the youngest player to ever play professional football.
Thierry Henry claimed that it was fate. It certainly sounded like a fairytale - the forty one-year-old was heading back to where he started out as a player, to rescue a club in crisis. Monaco announced his return on social media by posting an archive picture of their former teenage striker, his trademark grin beaming out beneath a long since discarded fluffy moustache. A quarter of a century had passed and the years had been kind to him. A mercurial player, an eloquent pundit, the smart money was on Henry enjoying more success from the dugout. Albeit, he still frequently has that look on his face which suggests he's just smelled shit nearby. No-one expected it to be easy, of course. When replacing Leonardo Jardim on 13 October he inherited a team that had won just once in ten games. But, surely almost nobody would have thought things would turn quite this sour, quite so quickly. Speaking on Radio 5Live's Football Daily, French journalist Julien Laurens and BBC Sport columnist Guillem Balague discussed the crisis facing former Arsenal striker Henry in his first job in management. 'It's just a mess, chaos. I do feel for Thierry because I don't think he realised how bad everything was already,' Laurens said. 'And, I'm not sure he has the tools to rescue a team that has won just one game all season, back on 11 August. I think he could be a good manager but right now, in a situation of crisis, I am struggling to see how he can do better, because the team is destroyed. It looked like a fairytale but it's turning in to an absolute nightmare.' Under Henry, Monaco have lost two and drawn three in all competitions. They are second bottom in Ligue 1 and next up are champions Paris St-Germain, who have won twelve from twelve. For PSG, Kylian Mbappe has scored eleven in his eight games and is building an irresistible partnership with the world's most expensive player, Neymar. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, his former club Monaco were beaten four-nil at home by Club Brugge as they crashed out of the Champions League with their heaviest defeat in the competition. Two years ago Mbappe had fired them to the semi-finals. 'Henry has said maybe it's even better to be out of all European competition so they can focus on the essential, which is staying up,' Laurens added. 'Because right now they look like one of the worst teams in the French league. Tactically Henry seems lost, he keeps tweaking the formation and the players, putting more and more young players on the pitch, who are not suited for this situation. And if they need new players in January, who would want to go to a club that is second bottom in the table? One of the question marks we had was how will he deal with problems with adversity, and right now it looks like he is struggling. You wonder if he is still in the mode of being a player and not a manager.' Speaking after Tuesday's defeat, Henry himself said: 'Right now I'm telling myself the worst is possible.' He may well have been right to do so. Defeat by Brugge was a result that left his team without a win in fifteen games, defender Kamil Glik's injury had added to an already long list of absent senior players, but still there was worse to come. Because the crisis at Monaco looks to be running even deeper off the pitch. On Monday, the club moved to deny allegations they had cheated Financial Fair Play rules, following claims made in Der Spiegel's reporting of leaked documents it says that it 'acquired from whistleblowers.' On Wednesday, the German news magazine also alleged Monaco's owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire, personally profited one hundred and twenty four million Euros from the one hundred and eighty million Euro sale of Mbappe to PSG - which the club also denied. Later that day, Rybolovlev was placed under investigation by Monaco police on separate allegations, relating to a major fraud case. 'You need different types of coaches in these situations,' Balague said. 'Someone who perhaps has lived through a crisis at a different club and knows how to hold on to what is important here. But also a really important point is that the board should be helping too. The first thing they have to do is change the targets for Henry, change the expectations for the season ahead. Someone should come out and say: "Okay let's just try to save the season, and then let's rebuild." If they do go down this season - and let's not forget they were relegated as recently as 2011 - it will be very hard for Henry to overcome that damage to his reputation as a winner.'
Former Stottingtot Hotshots striker Roberto Soldado was one of five players suspended following the brawl in last week's Galatasaray versus Fenerbahce match. Members of both teams exchanged blows with kids gettin' sparked and aal sorts after Friday's two-two Super League draw. Soldado, who joined Fenerbahce from Villarreal in 2017, was one of three players sent-off and the Spaniard was banned for six matches. Fenerbahce's Jailson Siqueira received an eight-match ban and Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, five matches. Galatasaray boss Faith Terim was given a seven-match ban for insulting the referee and for comments he made in the post-match news conference. Assistant Hasan Sas was banned for eight matches for attacking members of the opposition. Galatasaray midfielders Garry Mendes Rodrigues and Ryan Donk were banned for three and six games respectively for 'unsportsmanlike conduct.' Both teams were also fined.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie has become the latest Scotland player to ask to be excluded from international duty 'for the forseeable future.' Ritchie, who has started Newcastle's last seven games, turned down a request to be in the squad for Nations League games against Albania and Israel. 'I wanted Matt to come in, but he has asked to be left out at the moment,' said head coach Alex McLeish. He added Ritchie's reasons were 'private' but 'he has not retired. It is not something for me to discuss,' McLeish said. 'He had injury issues as well and, again, there is management of his injuries. You don't know everyone's private life so you have to respect that.' McLeish is already without Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur, who recently retired from Scotland duty to focus on his club career, while Robert Snodgrass, who has been involved in all West Hamsters United's games this season, is also missing from the latest squad. 'He's managing a kind of ankle knock that is ongoing,' McLeish explained. 'It made him miss the last games [against Israel and Portugal] too. So again, it's just something out of our control.' McLeish also has to contend with a growing injury list, with strikers Steven Naismith and Leigh Griffiths and Hearts centre-back John Souttar, all sidelined, while Blackburn Vindaloos defender Charlie Mulgrew was named in the squad despite struggling with a rib injury.
Three men and a woman have been very charged with criminal damage after an ambulance was smashed up while football fans celebrated England's quarter-final win over Sweden at the World Cup. The car was taken out of service when it was damaged after the match on 7 July in Borough High Street, London. More than ten grand was raised through a crowdfunding page to pay for repairs. The four defendants are due to appear at Camberwell Magistrates' Court on 22 November. A JustGiving page set up by Millwall Supporters' Club raised twice its target of five thousand knicker after photos of the damaged car were shared across social media. However, a Skoda dealership offered to fix the car for free, so the donations were, instead, put towards restoring an old ambulance, the London Ambulance Service said.
England completed a thumping two hundred and eleven-run victory on day four of the first test against Sri Lanka to end their thirteen-match winless run away from home. The tourists steadily took top order wickets in the first two sessions before taking the final five after tea. Moeen Ali claimed four for seventy one and Jack Leach three for sixty, while Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes picked up a wicket each. The win puts England one-nil up in the three-match series and is their first in an overseas test since October 2016. Between them, England's three spinners took 1sixteen wickets in the match, the second best return by English spinners in a test since 1958. A dominant performance from England over the first three days had left Sri Lanka needing to bat out the final two days to draw - or score a record four hundred and sixty two to win. Beginning the day fifteen for no wicket, the hosts survived the first hour unscathed but lost three quick wickets before lunch. Angelo Mathews offered some resistance with a breezy fifty three but he chipped Moeen to mid-wicket shortly after tea as England closed in on victory. Rangana Herath - playing in his final Test - was the last wicket to fall, run out by Stokes. The win is Joe Root's first as captain away from home and is England's first ever victory at Galle. 'It is right up there as one of my best wins,' said Root. 'We were in control for the majority of the game which shows how skilful and consistent we have been. As a group we have all contributed in some form but to see young inexperienced guys put together really important match-wining performances is really pleasing. It shows the plans are right, the preparation is right.' England's bowling attack has struggled for potency overseas in recent years but in Galle, Root was able to call on a variety of bowlers who all contributed. Root started day four with seamers James Anderson and Sam Curran before turning quickly to spin when there continued to be no swing. He first introduced left-arm spinner Leach, followed by off-spinner Moeen and the pair removed the Sri Lanka openers, with Leach trapping Kaushal Silva LBW for thirty and Moeen catching Dimuth Karunaratne off his own bowling for twenty six. All-rounder Ben Stokes had a light workload with the ball in this test but he dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva on the stroke of lunch and bowled a hostile spell after the interval. He peppered Mathews and Kusal Mendis with excellent short bowling and should have had been rewarded with another wicket but Anderson dropped a relatively simple catch from Mathews. Leach bowled a long, accurate spell in the afternoon session and claimed the two wickets to fall, having Mendis caught at mid-off and bowling Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal with a brilliant delivery. Moeen then returned after tea and for the second time in the match took a wicket with the first ball of the final session, this time having Dhananjaya de Silva caught by Stokes at slip. Shortly afterwards Moeen saw off Mathews and leg-spinner Rashid claimed his first wicket of the innings by dismissing Dilruwan Perera for an aggressive thirty, before the victory was sealed by the run out of Herath. Other than Root himself, who bowled one over on day four, every England bowler took a wicket in the match but it will be the spinners who pleased the England captain most. Their combined sixteen wickets is the second-best spinners' haul for England for sixty years, beaten only by the nineteen Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar shared in Mumbai in 2012. 'The spinners performed beautifully,' Root added. 'They controlled when required, attacked when they could and I always felt we would take wickets throughout the game.' England wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who scored a first-innings century, was man of the match on his debut. England's losing run overseas stretched back all the way to October 2016 when they lost to Bangladesh in Dhaka. Since then England, so impressive at home, have lost series four-nil in both India and Australia, plus narrower defeat in New Zealand earlier this year, with three draws accompanying the nine defeats. Previously at Galle England had drawn twice and lost twice but on this occasion, after being reduced to one hundred and three for five before lunch on day one, they then dominated every session of the match. As well as the bowlers the batsmen also contributed, with Foakes and Keaton Jennings hitting centuries in the first and second innings respectively. 'To be able to contribute to the team is just amazing,' Foakes said. 'It has been one of the best weeks of my career so far, if not the best.' A win in the second test in Pallekele, starting on Wednesday, would seal England's first away series win since beating South Africa in 2016. For Sri Lanka, the final wicket summed up their disappointing performance in this test. Their bowlers were not as effective as England's, their fielding was disappointed and some of their batsmen again fell to reckless shots on the fourth day. Making an albeit unlikely attempt to save the test, Karunaratne was out attacking Moeen, hitting the ball straight back for a catch in the morning session and Mendis foolishly charged down the wicket and skewed a shot to mid-off. The ball before Dhananjaya edged to Stokes at first slip in the final over before lunch, he had played a wild drive to the Durham all-rounder which had been given out caught behind, only to be overturned on review. Herath's dismissal - sprawled in the dirt after failing to beat Stokes' powerful throw - was an ignominious finish for a player who ended a fine test career with four hundred and thirty three wickets - putting him joint eighth on the all-time list - but also a strange one as he had called for the risky second run. The forty-year-old's team-mates celebrated his retirement at the end of play by carrying the spinner around his home ground on their shoulders but Sri Lanka will now have to do without him. 'It's a hard day for us, because we know how much Rangana has done for the team and Sri Lanka cricket,' reflected captain Dinesh Chandimal, who himself struggled in this match with a groin injury sustained while fielding. 'We'll have to say "sorry" to him, we couldn't give him a really good farewell. Our batting was below par during the game, you can't stay in the game [with this kind of batting]. Credit goes to England, they played some outstanding cricket. We had a really good start in the first session but we couldn't capitalise on it.'
Two batsmen in New Zealand have set a record by scoring forty three runs in a single over. Joe Carter and Brett Hampton were batting for Northern Districts against Central Districts in a domestic one-day match in Hamilton on Wednesday. South Africa-born fast bowler Willem Ludick bowled eight balls in the over, including two no-balls, conceding six sixes, a four and a single. The total is a record for List A matches - one-day internationals and recognised domestic limited-over games. Ludick might have been removed from the attack after only one legitimate delivery because his next two attempts were waist-high full tosses. But playing conditions in New Zealand allow umpires to 'apply understanding and tolerance with regard to over-waist-high full toss deliveries' and officials decided that a no-ball was sufficient penalty on both occasions. Carter and Hampton passed the previous record for a List A over of thirty nine, set by Zimbabwe's Elton Chigumbura for Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi against Abahani Ltd in the Dhaka Premier League. In one-day internationals, South African Herschelle Gibbs scored thirty six in an over - with six sixes - against Daan van Bunge of the Netherlands in the 2007 World Cup. In the twenty-over format, India's Yuvraj Singh dispatched England's Stuart Broad for six sixes in the 2007 World T20 in Durban. In a first-class match between Wellington and Canterbury in 1990, occasional bowler Bert Vance conceded seventy seven in an over in which only one of his first seventeen deliveries was legitimate, part of a bizarre attempt to contrive a result on the final day of the game.
A Zimbabwean woman is reported to be suing her ex-boyfriend after his 'abnormally long' penis allegedly 'overstretched' her vagina. Mind you, this was reported by the Daily Mirra so, you know, not so much a pinch of salt as a twenty four gallon vat. Silindile Mangena is, the Mirra's excellently-named Bradley Jolly claims, 'planning to undergo reconstructive surgery after getting intimate with Mugove Kurima.' But, she wants Kurima to pay the one hundred and fifty thousand Rand cost of this (that's about eight grand) and is taking him to court to get the wonga. Silindile, of Harare, told the Zimbabwe Mail that her private parts were 'tight' before she met Kurima in 2016. And, now apparently, they're not. Ooo, one imagines that'll have chaffed a bit. She claims that she fell in love with Kurima even though he was married at the time. However, she ended the relationship in May this year after Kurima is alleged to have stretched her vagina to breaking point with his 'uge throbbing member. 'It is currently unclear how large Silindile alleges her ex's penis is,' notes the Mirra. What, you mean you haven't checked, Bradley? That's not a very good example of quality investigative journalism, is it? The woman will reportedly ask the court - through her lawyers, Dakarai, Masendu & Partners - to 'force' Kurima to pay for reconstructive surgery on her damaged lady-bits in South Africa.
A Washington 'kink enthusiast' died last month after silicone injections in his genitals led to fatal bleeding, but the New York Post reports that his mothers believes 'a gay sex cult is to blame.' Jack Chapman, an Australian living in Seattle, died from 'silicone embolism syndrome' resulting in haemorrhaging in the lungs, the King County Medical Examiner's Office told the media. Chapman - 'who went by Tank Heathcliff Hafertepen and Pup Tank' according to the paper - was an active member of San Francisco and later Seattle's gay BDSM community. Chapman served as one of several slaves to master Dylan Hafertepen, 'known as the nickname Noodles and Beef.' Hafertepen, who has thousands of followers on social media, is known for posting salacious photos of himself with his slaves, whom he calls his 'pups.' Several of Hafertepen's pups, including Tank, 'appear to have artificially enlarged genitals as well as extremely muscular bodies,' the paper says. Chapman's mother, Linda, is blaming Hafertepen for turning her son on to the dangerous body modification that resulted in his death. 'It was devotion, it was like some sort of clan, family, like a cult. And to prove their devotion to him they had to change their bodies,' Linda said on the Australian talk show The Project, which was broadcast on Channel Ten this week. 'It is not known who injected silicone into Chapman's scrotum,' the Post adds.
Earth has two 'dust moons,' researchers say, after their study confirmed the presence of astronomical clouds orbiting our planet. The clouds, however, are 'practically invisible.' They were found about four hundred thousand kilometres from Earth by Hungarian researchers and are 'extremely faint,' which 'previously gave rise to scepticism about their existence.' The clouds were first reported by Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski in 1961, who made the discovery while investigating two points in the Earth-Moon system where two gravitational forces interact in a way that stabilises the position of objects, known as A Lagrange Point. It was near one of these points, called L5, where Doctor Kordylewski noted two 'bright patches,' now known as The Kordylewski Dust Cloud. This collection of space dust was thought to move around Earth as The Moon moves along its orbit, according to the Royal Astronomical Society. However, as the clouds were difficult to observe, their existence was doubted by some scientists. But, now researchers say they have captured images of the clouds using a polarising filter system attached to a camera lens. Polarised light reflected from the dust was picked up by the camera, thus confirming the elusive clouds. 'The Kordylewski Clouds are two of the toughest objects to find and though they are as close to Earth as The Moon, they are largely overlooked by researchers in astronomy,' study co-author Judit Sliz-Balogh said in a Royal Astronomical Society statement. 'It is intriguing to confirm that our planet has dusty pseudo-satellites in orbit alongside our lunar neighbour.' Sliz-Balogh, along with Andras Barta and Gabor Horvath, described the clouds in a research paper published in the Royal Astronomical Society magazine's November issue. The location of these dust clouds could be potential sites for orbiting space probes, the Royal Astronomical Society proposed. Future research will look into The Kordylewski Vlouds to determine whether the dust could threaten equipment parked there.
Astronomers have found what they believe to be one of the universe's oldest stars, a thirteen-and-a-half-billion-year-old body formed almost entirely of materials spewed from The Big Bang. The star's age suggests the part of The Milky Way where our sun resides could be at least three billion years older than previously thought, according to researchers at John Hopkins University in Maryland. The composition of the newly discovered body indicates it could be just one generation removed from The Big Bang in the cosmic family tree. 'This star is maybe one-in-ten million,' said Kevin Schlaufman, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and lead author of the study, published in The Astrophysical Journal. 'It tells us something very important about the first generations of stars,' he added. The first stars formed after the universe began with The Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago were made up entirely of hydrogen, helium, an small amounts of lithium. Those stars then produced elements heavier than helium in their cores and seeded the universe with them when they exploded as supernovae. The next generation of stars formed from clouds of material laced with those metals, incorporating them into their composition. The metal content of the universe’s stars increased as the cycle of star birth and death continued. Our sun is thousands of generations down that line.
US researchers have successfully tested the idea of producing electricity from a mushroom covered in bacteria. The scientists used 3D printing to attach clusters of energy-producing bugs to the cap of a button mushroom. The fungus provided the ideal environment to allow the cyanobacteria to generate a small amount of power. The authors say their fossil-free 'bionic mushroom' could have 'great potential.' As researchers the world over search for alternative energy sources, there has been a sharp rise in interest in cyanobacteria. These organisms, widely found in the oceans and on land, are being investigated for their abilities to turn sunlight into electrical current. One big problem is that they do not survive long enough on artificial surfaces to be able to deliver on their power potential. That's where the button mushroom comes in. This fertile fungus is already home to many other forms of bacterial life, providing an attractive array of nutrients, moisture and temperature. So the scientists from the Stevens Institute of Technology developed a clever method of marrying the mushroom to the sparky bugs. Appropriately enough, they came up with the idea while having lunch. 'One day my friends and I went to lunch together and we ordered some mushrooms,' said Sudeep Joshi, a postdoctoral researcher and author of the study. 'As we discussed them we realised they have a rich microbiota of their own, so we thought why not use the mushrooms as a support for the cynaobacteria. We thought let's merge them and see what happens.' Using a special bio-ink, the team printed the bacteria on the cap of the mushroom in a spiral pattern. They had previously used an electronic ink to embed graphene nano-ribbons on to the surface of the fungus to collect the current. When they shone a light on this particular magical mushroom, it caused the cyanobacteria to generate a small amount of electricity. Not quite a lightbulb moment but proof that the idea worked in principle. The researchers say that several mushrooms wired up together 'could' light a small lamp. 'We are looking to connect all the mushrooms in series, in an array and we are also looking to pack more bacteria together,' said Sudeep Joshi. 'These are the next steps, to optimise the bio-currents, to generate more electricity, to power a small LED.' A big plus for the experiment was the fact that the bugs on the fungus lasted several days longer compared with cyanobacteria placed on other surfaces. The researchers believe that the idea 'could have potential' as a renewable energy source. 'Right now we are using cyanobacteria from the pond, but you can genetically engineer them and you can change their molecules to produce higher photo currents, via photosynthesis,' said Joshi. 'It's a new start; we call it engineered symbiosis. If we do more research in this we can really push this field forward to have some type of effective green technology.' The leap from fossil fuel to fungi fuel may not be that far away. The study has been published in the journal Nano Letters.
A vibrant display of the aurora borealis was visible over Shetland on Sunday night. Images of the spectacle - known in Shetland as 'The Mirrie Dancers' - have been shared widely on social media and, the BBC helpfully collected some of the best ones, here.
The two thousand-year-old remains of a dog with its fur still intact have been found at a Roman fort. The rare find was made at Vindolanda near Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland and has been sent for analysis to determine the dog's breed. It was part of a haul made by a team of four hundred volunteers who pay for a place to excavate at the site each year. Other finds included an eighteen hundred-year-old skull of a beheaded native Briton which was stuck on a spike. A spokeswoman said the fact that the dog's fur was so well-preserved was 'incredible.' The top part of the human skull also found showed evidence of numerous wounds including sword injuries. Doctor Andrew Birtley, the chief executive officer at the Vindolanda Trust, said: 'This individual came from the North-West of Britain, as determined by isotope analysis of his teeth. The damage patterns to this skull show clearly that his head was decapitated and then placed on a stake after death, which came about through a series of violent wounds to both sides of his head.' He said that 'trophy head-taking' was 'common' among Roman auxiliary soldiers. Another artefact found during this year's dig was a solid silver brooch in the shape of a duck dating back more than eighteen hundred years. A spokeswoman for the Vindolanda museum said: 'The native British design of the brooch can be traced back hundreds of years prior to Roman occupation. The duck was a symbol of honesty, simplicity and resourcefulness - we probably all need to channel our inner duck.' She said that there had been so much interest in the brooch that the museum was making replicas to sell. All the finds will go on display next year.
A woman has been arrested in Queensland in connection with the 'strawberry scare' where sewing needles were found hidden inside fruit. Police said the fifty-year-old was arrested on Sunday 'following a complex and extensive investigation.' The woman - who has not been named - is expected to face unspecified charges on Sunday evening. A nationwide investigation was launched after shocked and stunned shoppers first reported the contamination in September. There were over one hundred reports of needles being found in strawberries, though many were suspected to be copycat cases or social media stunts. Farmers were forced to dump tonnes of berries and supermarkets pulled the fruit off sale. The first cases emerged in Queensland, where a man was taken to hospital with stomach pains after eating strawberries. The scare spread to every Australian state and - later - to New Zealand, raising public alarm. In response, Australia's government raised the maximum prison term for fruit tampering from ten to fifteen years in The Big House. Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed to 'throw the book' at anyone responsible, saying: 'It's not funny, putting the livelihoods of hard-working Australians at risk and you are scaring children. And you are a coward and a grub.' In Queensland, where the strawberry industry is worth one hundred and sixty million Australian dollars a year, the local government pledged a million bucks to support the state's stricken farmers.
Norway has evacuated all one hundred and thirty seven crew from one of its warships after it collided in a fjord with a Maltese oil tanker. Eight people were 'lightly injured' in the collision in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen. The KNM Helge Ingstad frigate has been listing dangerously. The warship had been returning from NATO military exercises. The tanker, the Sola TS, was 'slightly damaged' and it appears that it did not spill any oil. The incident led to the shutdown of a major oil terminal and a gas plant. The two vessels collided at about 4am local time on Thursday as the frigate was sailing inner fjords for training, officials said. The tanker had already left Equinor's Sture oil terminal with a cargo of North Sea crude, Reuters news agency reports. 'Due to the damage to the frigate it was moved to a safe place,' NATO's Allied Maritime Command said in a statement. The tanker, which has a crew of twenty three, returned to port for inspection. It was not immediately clear what had caused the collision. Other than, you know, one ship bumping into the other one, obviously. The Sture export oil terminal, as well as the Kollsnes gas plant and several offshore oilfields, were shut down 'as a precaution' but resumed operation on Thursday afternoon, Equinor said in a statement. The Sture terminal is a major tanker port, with almost twenty five per cent of Norway's oil production passing through the facility. Meanwhile, the Kollsnes plant processes gas from several fields for a number of European countries, including the UK. It was not immediately known how the temporary closure of the facilities would impact on wholesale gas prices. Although given the greed of most energy companies, we can probably guess the answer to that one. An unnamed official told AFP news agency that 'a small oil slick' had been detected from the frigate. 'It took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it sinks where it is,' the official said.
A sixty nine-year-old Dutch 'positivity guru' who claimed he does not 'feel his age' has started a legal battle to make himself legally twenty years younger on the grounds that he is being 'discriminated against' on a dating app. Emile Ratelband told a court in Arnhem that he did not feel 'comfortable' with his date of birth and compared his wish to alter it to people who identified themselves as transgender. Ratelband said that due to having an official age which 'did not reflect his emotional state' he was struggling to find both work and love. He has asked for his date of birth to be changed from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969. 'When I'm sixty nine, I am limited. If I'm forty nine, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car,' he said. 'I can take up more work. When I'm on Tinder and it says I'm sixty nine, I don't get an answer. When I'm forty nine, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.' Doctors have told him that his body was that of a forty five-year-old man, Ratelband argued. He described himself as 'a young God.' The judge conceded that the ability to change gender was 'a development' in the law. 'I agree with you: a lot of years ago we thought that was impossible,' he said. But, he asked the applicant how his parents would feel about twenty years of Ratelband's life being wiped off the records. 'For whom did your parents care? Who was that little boy then?' the judge asked. Ratelband, a 'motivational speaker' and 'trainer in neurolinguistic programming,' claimed that his parents were dead. He also said that he was willing to renounce his right to a pension to ensure there were 'no unforeseen consequences' of his age change. The public prosecutor in the court asked whether the ability to change a date of birth in the law would require health inspections in the future, to allow the state to correctly judge someone's 'emotional age.'Kuijpers told the court: 'There is also something like common sense, of course.'
A prisoner is reportedly on the run after being released from HMP Hull 'in error,' Humberside Police has said. Michael Kavanagh was on remand awaiting trial for allegedly carrying an offensive weapon and intent to cause grievous bodily harm in June. He was released 'by mistake' on Friday and was last seen wearing a dark Adidas hooded top, with grey jogging bottoms and blue Adidas trainers and heading away from The Big House a fast as his legs could carry him. Anyone who spots Kavanagh is urged not to approach him but, rather, to call police and retreat to a safe distance a watch the ensuing action. Superintendent Gary Hooks said: 'Firstly, I would like to appeal to Michael directly to hand yourself in to your nearest police station immediately. Anyone found supporting and harbouring him could be subject to prosecution for assisting an offender,' he added. HMP Hull is a Category-B men's prison that originally opened in 1870.
A woman has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her ex-roommate for teaching her pet parrot 'dozens of lewd remarks' which it would repeat 'hundreds of times every day.' Sarah Johnson from Louisville in Kentucky claims that her former roommate, Steven Moore, caused her 'psychological and emotional trauma' by teaching her pet parrot to 'sexually harass' her.According to the complaint, Moore taught the plaintiff's bird, an orange-winged amazon parrot named Kiki, 'several short sentences of [a] sexual nature,' which the animal began repeating, tirelessly. Johnson kicked Moore out of their apartment after only six months but says that Kiki continued harassing her for almost three years until she was finally forced to have her the bird euthanised. The woman explained her unusual situation in an interview with WHAS-TV: 'I loved that parrot until Steven moved in. I know it all began as a joke, but it totally ruined my life. It made me insecure about my physical appearance and my sexuality. It kept yelling stuff like "show me your tits" and "stuff me in your pussy" all the time. It drove me crazy and was so embarrassing that I didn't dare invite anyone at home.'
A divorcee 'seeking a wealthy boyfriend' has won thirteen thousand knicker in damages from an 'elite' dating agency after it failed to introduce her to the match she hoped would be 'possibly the man of my dreams, the father of my child.' Tereza Burki had sued Seventy Thirty, based in Knightsbridge for 'deceit and misrepresentation.' On Wednesday the high court ruled that it had 'misled' the businesswoman about its 'exclusive' membership. Delivering the ruling, Judge Richard Parkes QC said: 'Gertrude Stein quipped that whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop. This case is about a woman looking for romantic happiness who says she was tricked into shopping in the wrong place, paying a large sum to a dating agency which, she says, made promises but failed to produce the goods.' Burki, a mother of three who lives in Chelsea, approached the dating service in 2013 in pursuit of a new partner. 'Her requirements were not modest,' the judge observed. What she wanted was 'a sophisticated gentleman,' ideally employed in the finance industry. It was important that he should lead 'a wealthy lifestyle' and be 'open to travelling internationally.' Burki's most important requirement was a willingness to have more children since she had 'always wanted four.' Burki was encouraged by what she read about Seventy Thirty and eventually signed up, paying twelve thousand six hundred smackers. The judge said that the agency's then managing director, Lemarc Thomas, claimed there was 'a substantial number' of wealthy male members 'actively engaged' in its matchmaking services who were 'a sufficient match' for Burki's desires. This was 'false and misleading,' said the judge, because there were only about one hundred active male members altogether. That number could not 'by any stretch of the imagination' be described as 'a substantial number,' even without considering how far that number would have to be reduced to allow for compliance with her specific criteria. 'Had Ms Burki known what the true size of the active membership was, she would not have joined Seventy Thirty,' he said. She was induced to enter her contract with the agency by the false representations given by Thomas, who 'must have known' that he was giving her 'a wholly false impression,' the judge added. In her legal action, Burki sought the return of her membership fee and damages 'for distress.' The agency counter-sued her for 'libel and malicious falsehood' in connection with two online reviews she wrote. The judge awarded her twelve thousand six hundred quid damages for deceit and five hundred notes for distress. He awarded Seventy Thirty five grand for libel relating to an April 2016 Google review by Burki. Ruling on the agency's libel claim, Parkes said that he had not found the business was 'a fundamentally dishonest or fraudulent operation,' although at the time, it probably had a short supply of suitable men. Had Thomas explained to Burki that the database included active members, former members who still wished to be matched and people who had been 'headhunted' and had agreed to be put on the database in the hope of finding a suitable partner, she would have had 'little cause for complaint,' Parkes said. Susie Ambrose, the founder and company director of Seventy Thirty, said that Burki had joined with 'the lofty and unrealistic' expectations of how many men she would be introduced to through the agency. 'We are a niche, exclusive agency, not a mainstream, mass-market online dating service. We are not going to have thousands of members because there simply aren't thousands of single, wealthy, high-calibre prospects out there,' Ambrose said. She added: 'By her own admission in court, Ms Burki never read the terms and conditions. Ms Burki was found to have libelled Seventy Thirty, as the judge said that we had sourced excellent matches for her. Therefore, her remarks about us being a non-reputable and fraudulent company were deemed untrue and entirely without foundation.'
A woman in California was arrested after reportedly stripping almost naked in a Walmart store to test various sex toys in front of dozens of shocked and stunned customers. The Union City Police Department received a call from the department store manager reporting that a customer was 'behaving indecently.' Upon arriving on the site, the officers found twenty seven-year old Laura Martinez 'lying almost naked on the floor' and 'masturbating with a vibrator.' According to Darlene Anderson, an employee who witnessed the incident, Martinez used 'at least two dozen different toys' before she was extremely arrested. 'It was the grossest thing I've seen in my life,' said Anderson. 'That fat lady just dropped her pants and started testing every dildo and vibrator we have in front of everyone.' Anderson added that she will be 'haunted' by the images and sounds to which she was exposed. 'The worst part was her moaning and screaming. It was disgusting! I'm pretty sure I'll have nightmares about it.' Martinez now faces a total of seven criminal charges including felony indecent exposure, causing public nuisance and disorderly conduct. Her lawyer, James Mulford described the charges as 'excessive and unjustified' and said that he is 'convinced of her innocence.' According to Mulford, the woman 'did not intend to attract attention to her genitals' but was merely 'testing the merchandise with the clear intent of buying some of the products.' If found guilty on all charges, Martinez could face a maximum of three years in The Big House and a bowel-shattering fine of twenty five thousand bucks.
A thirty five-year-old Washington man was very arrested over the weekend for, allegedly, having sex with a dying beaver while high on methamphetamine, reports Washington television station KXLY. A local woman came across a beaver which had been struck by a car. 'Someone help me save this beaver,' she wrote in a Facebook post. 'I flipped him over so he would walk but his leg is broken.' She was able to move the beaver out of the way of traffic by placing it on a towel and dragging it closer to a nearby pond. After calling local wildlife agencies and veterinary clinics that were closed for the holiday weekend, she decided to go home and get a plastic tub that she could keep the animal in until authorities were open the following day. When she came back, she had something of a surprise. 'He's deceased,' she later wrote on Facebook referring to the beaver. 'I caught a homeless man having sex with the beaver. I'm traumatised!' Officers from the Kennewick Police Department confirmed the account, saying in a statement that they responded to a report of 'a transient male having sexual contact with a wild animal.' The man was apprehended by police and also found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine. He is currently facing charges of Animal Cruelty and Possession of a Controlled Substance, both of which are felonies. If convicted for animal cruelty, he could face a two-year jail sentence, a fine starting at one thousand dollars, a forfeiture of any animals which he owns and a ban on having similar pets in the future, reports Newsweek.
Police in Alabama say that a man 'not wearing any pants' fell through the roof of a Waffle House during 'a botched burglary' and 'fought patrons before fleeing.' The Times Daily reports Tuscumbia police Detective Wes Holland claiming that twenty seven-year-old Glenn Bost is 'being sought on criminal mischief and burglary charges.' Another suspect has not been identified. Police Chief Tony Logan says that the Birmingham man tried to break into the restaurant's office through the ceiling. Logan said that Bost went into a bathroom, tied the door pulled down his pants and climbed into the ceiling. He says an underwear-clad Bost then fell into the dining area and fought off patrons who were trying to detain him. Logan says Bost then fled, 'leaving behind his pants.' Which contained his driver's license. Police suggest that Bost 'may have been on drugs.' No shit?
A brawl between two mothers at a school bus stop reportedly landed both of them in the hospital. Both used a broken coffee mug as a weapon. One of the mothers later spoke exclusively with ABC Action News. Tiffani Cruz had just got out of the hospital. Cruz defended why she smashed a coffee mug over the head of the other woman. 'It was self-defence over an incident that made no sense,' Cruz claimed. While North Port Police say that it started over 'an argument about parenting,' Cruz claims that the women have 'had issues before.' She says that two weeks ago she confronted the other woman for yelling at another child at the bus stop. 'My heart was racing!' said Eithan Cruz, who is of no relation to Tiffani Cruz. The child and his brother, Bairon Velazquez, witnessed the fight from the back window of their school bus. 'Her face was bleeding and stuff,' said Eithan. 'I looked away,' added Velazquez. Cruz admits that she hit the other woman with her mug. Police have not identified the other woman. Pieces of the mug were used as a weapon in a slashing manner, police say. Both parents ended up in the hospital but paramedics airlifted the other woman to the hospital with a serious cut to her throat. ABC Action News asked Cruz if she thought she 'went too far' and why she called it self-defence. 'Because she hit me. She got this close to my face nudged me with her nose and when she nudged me with her nose - it was her fist going up so my fist was going up,' claimed Cruz. Sarasota County Schools is offering counsellors after several dozen elementary-aged students witnessed the violent brawl. Investigators say that charges are pending.
A Georgia man accidentally shot himself as he allegedly tried to rob a McDonald's on Saturday. The man, wearing a wig, entered the restaurant and asked for the manager, according to a Bibb County Sheriff's Office release. He brandished a handgun and told the manager to take him to the back office and open the safe. The manager sensibly complied but, while in the office the manager and another employee ran to the front of the store. They heard a gunshot, then saw the robber flee out of the restaurant. A short time later, witnesses reported hearing a man screaming for help and the man was found wearing only his underpants. He was lying near a wig, several articles of clothing and money, all connected to the robbery. The suspect, Donte Sherrod Grayer, of Macon, had been shot - seemingly with his own gun - in the left thigh. He is currently listed as being 'in [a] stable condition' at the Medical Centre, Navicent Health. He will be taken to jail upon his release. And charged with being an idiot.
The Pratt Tribune in Pratt, Kansas suffered a humiliating typo in the print edition of their 28 October newspaper. Inevitably, someone took a photograph of the small-town newspaper and shared it on Twitter where it quickly went viral. A short fluff-piece written by Gale Rose was missing an important hyphen in the headline. The error was corrected in the newspaper's digital version of the article, but the physical copies were, tragically, hyphen-less.
A terminally ill actress who raised nearly seven thousand quid for her own funeral after being given weeks to live has, sadly, died. Shirley Hellyar, from Glasgow, thought she had beaten cancer and travelled to Newcastle to celebrate. She suffered chest pains while visiting friends in October and was subsequently told that she had less than five weeks to live. The actress said that her family had already lost her brother when he was sixteen and added 'no parents should have to have funerals for all their children.' She was recently cast as a villager in a Netflix production called Outlaw King, starring Chris Pine and had said that she hoped to see it. However, she died on Wednesday, a mere two days before its general release. A statement on her fundraising page said Hellyar 'unfortunately passed away in her sleep' at St Oswald's Hospice in Gosforth, surrounded by family and friends. 'Shirley was very grateful for everyone's help and donations which made her last few weeks so much better,' the statement said. 'She said that all the help she had received restored her faith in human kindness. Thank you all once again.' Hellyar was first diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma after developing a tumour on her lung in 2017. By September this year, she said the tumour had shrunk and she was well enough to travel to Newcastle where she had lived for years and used to work as a sexual health worker. Just before her death Hellyar said: 'My parents have already had to lose a child - they lost my brother, so they've had this sad story before. The idea that again they'd been left in this situation again just broke my heart. Nobody should be planning their own funeral and organising stuff but if I can take the pressure off and make it more bearable for my parents, I'll do that.' More than three hundred people donated just under seven thousand pounds to help her parents, Elizabeth and Gordon, pay for her funeral and their travel costs from Scotland.
And finally, dear blog reader, a stray comment which this blogger spotted online last weekend reminded him of one of the defining moments of his early life. Back in late 1979 Keith Telly Topping was sixteen and queuing up to see a particular film outside the old Pilgrim Street Odeon when a couple of chaps around his age - perhaps touch older - who had, seemingly, just come out of the cinema having watched the previous showing of the movie in question walked past the queue. One said to the other 'well, that was the biggest load of old shite I ever paid money to see!' For about ten seconds, this blogger was in two minds as he considered whether he should get out of the queue, get the bus home and save his money (and three hours of his time) on the strength of this less-than-impressed 'review.' Thankfully, he chose to say. This blogger says thankfully because the film in question was, in fact, Apocalypse Now, which is still one of the greatest movie experiences Keith Telly Topping has ever had and remains a desert island movie for him. Of course, this blogger knows that he would have caught the film eventually even if he has left, in bowdlerised form on TV or on video (though, remember, this was Christmas 1979, the Telly Topping household didn't acquire a VCR for another four years). But, it wouldn't have been the same as watching it on a big screen in Dolby-surround sound (or, whatever system it was that Francis Coppola used on that particular film). So, the point is, if you want this blogger's advice for what it's worth dear blog reader, never, ever, under any circumstances, take anyone else's review of a movie or a TV episode or a book or a record seriously until you've experienced it for yourself. And, that includes anything this blogger recommends - or doesn't recommend. You might find, having watched the thing, that you agree with a negative (or positive) assessment you've previously read, but you'll never know that until you've had the experience yourself. Like the man said, '... who's in charge here?'