Sunday, February 03, 2019

Blame Game

'People expect us to be rivals and enemies!' Russell Davies and Steven The Lord Thy God Moffat (OBE), the two former Doctor Who showrunners, reflected on their time in the TARDIS during this week's the Radio Times Covers Party and revealed how they feel now that yer actual Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall his very self. have taken over the show. Huw Fullerton's piece on the event included the following exchange: 'It's not a new experience, watching from the sidelines,' The Moff said. 'We grew up doing that and it would be awful if it was not on. That's the nightmare. The idea that Doctor Who would not be on.' 'It's not strange, it's lovely, because it's Doctor Who,' Big Rusty added. 'After all, I used to sit and watch our own! On a Saturday night I'd sit and watch it going out like a viewer.' And even if they did want to be involved in the current incarnation of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama, the pair joked that new showrunner Chris Chibnall wouldn't let them. 'We're sitting outside those gates in Cardiff, crying "Let me in!"' Russell said. 'Chris, Chris, I'm in your garden. This tent its leaking, let me in,' added Steven. '[Chibnall's] in South Africa tonight. Are we allowed to say that? He's filming Doctor Who,' Davies continued. 'In my day we scheduled the filming around this party. Come on! What's more important than this? Actually we didn't go to South Africa for ten weeks in my day! Bloody 'ell. Very nice.'
From The North's TV Comedy Moment Of The Week: Alan Davies and Cariad Lloyd's 'TS Eliot karaoke' in the latest episode of Qi. You had to be there, dear blog reader!
From The North's TV drama moment of the week, the beautifully nuanced 'the little things matter' scene in this week's episode of Gotham, Pena Dura, between Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Which, at least one critic believes may have been the moment that Batman was, effectively, created.
The creator of Peaky Blinders has said the characters for series six are 'writing themselves.' Despite the fact that the acclaimed period drama's forthcoming fifth series only ended filming last week, Steven Knight recently revealed that he has already begun working by himself on a sixth series and will start writing it soon. He told Slate: 'I'm about to start writing season six now and if all the wheels fall off, or it goes horribly wrong, there's probably people that will say something. But at this moment, it has its own logic and momentum. Right now, it feels as if the characters are just writing themselves.' He added: 'Peaky is a very personal thing for me because it's based on stories that I was told as a kid by my parents. At the very beginning, I tried to have other writers involved but it just didn't work. There's no writers' room, or any other writer involved. I write everything from beginning to end. Maybe it's just me not being able to let go of something, especially with Peaky. I can't let it go.'
Killing Eve is getting a second home in the US: The BBC America drama will also be broadcast on its sister network, AMC, in its second series. The two channels will simulcast all episodes of the series, potentially providing a boost in profile for the - already very popular - drama. AMC is available in about ten million more homes than BBC America currently reaches. The move might also help AMC, whose biggest hit, The Walking Dead, has suffered a sizeable ratings decline over the past couple of series. The Waking Dead returns on 10 February for the second half of its ninth series and will end on 31 March, a week before Killing Eve's series-two US premiere. 'When we launched Killing Eve on BBC America last year we had high hopes, but no idea it would become this obsession,' said Sarah Barnett, the president of entertainment for AMC Networks. 'We believe we've just hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential viewers and we want to expose this brilliant series to the largest audience we can. That's what's behind this move … to have a big, premium network like AMC introduce this fantastic storytelling to an even broader array of viewers and fans.'
The allegedly 'secret' ending of Game Of Thrones is already out, somewhere. Sophie Turner has admitted that she has told 'a few people' how it all turns out for her character and the rest. In an interview with W Magazine, Sophie said that she is 'bad at keeping secrets' - so much so, in fact, that she has snitched up the ending of Thrones to some of her friends - like a dirty stinkin' Copper's Nark. 'I'm so bad at keeping secrets. I don't think people tell me things anymore because they know that I can't keep them,' she explained. 'I've already told the ending of Game Of Thrones to a few people,' she added. 'I was like, "Hey, if you want to know, I'll tell you."' Turner's admission comes after Maisie Williams claimed that 'no-one will be satisfied' when the show ends this year. She told Sky News: 'I don't think anyone is going to be satisfied [when it ends]. I don't think anyone wants it to end but I'm really proud of this final season.' And Emilia Clarke also recently admitted that its ending 'hit her hard.'
Doctor Who was the fourth most popular show on the BBC iPlayer in 2018, according to figures released by the corporation. Jodie Whittaker's debut episode The Woman Who Fell To Earth had nearly four million requests on the online platform. The most popular show of the year was, of course, Bodyguard, with the first episode becoming BBC iPlayer's biggest ever programme, with nearly eleven million requests across the year. All six episodes of the drama appear in iPlayer's top ten programmes of the year. Killing Eve came a close second with 9.2 million requests for episode one, followed by global thriller McMafia, with 4.7 million requests. Other popular programmes in iPlayer included Keeping Faith, The Cry, Dynasties and Our Girl. Overall in 2018 3.6 billion programmes were requested on iPlayer throughout the year.
Call The Midwife has been praised by viewers affected by cleft lip and cleft palate after the BBC drama showed a baby boy born with the condition. Mum Betty Marwick (Lisa Ellis) was overwhelmed when baby Kirk was born and the midwives were unsure how to react. Viewers and charities posted on social media after the episode of the drama, currently set in the 1960s, was broadcast on Sunday. A cleft is a gap or split in the upper lip and/or roof of the mouth (palate) which is present from birth. 'The Cleft Lip and Palate Association were delighted to see BBC's Call The Midwife feature a baby with a cleft in Sunday's episode,' a spokeswoman for CLAPA told the BBC. 'For many affected by cleft, this episode was deeply cathartic. For parents, seeing these early moments reflected on screen was an affirmation of what they themselves had gone through - the shock, the concern, the coping with cruel comments and the feelings of guilt. The ongoing treatment and support available to families affected by cleft today is incredible compared to what baby Kirk and mum Betty will have received in the early 1960s, but sadly there is still a dire need for greater awareness of cleft lip and palate so no-one is ever made to feel ostracised and isolated for something which can happen in any pregnancy.' She added: 'We cannot thank [Call The Midwife] enough for shining a light on a condition that affects twelve hundred new families every year.' Charity Cleft posted a video about advising the BBC1 programme on their storyline. Brian Sommerlad, plastic surgeon and chair of the charity, said that there have been 'many improvements' in treatment over the years, 'however we still a long way to go.' In Sunday's episode, Nurse Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby) had to borrow medical textbooks to read about the condition. She became a great support to Betty, but Betty was still anxious about the numerous operations that Kirk would face. The episode concluded with Kirk's first reconstructive surgery being a success as his father returned to help care for him. The NHS states that the gap associated with a cleft lip and/or palate is there because parts of the baby's face did not join together properly during development in the womb. A cleft lip and palate is the most common facial birth defect in the UK, affecting around one in every seven hundred babies. Call The Midwife has become well-known for tackling difficult and sensitive subjects in a historic context and has featured storylines about stillbirths, abortion, Down's Syndrome, sickle cell anaemia and FGM as well as social issues surrounding racism, homosexuality and disability.
A Very English Scandal, the Golden Globe-winning BBC drama about the Jeremy Thorpe affair, will return for a second series by looking at a very different scandal: the notorious divorce case of Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, dubbed by the press in 1963 as 'the Dirty Duchess.' 'We're going to focus on the very public divorce from her second husband. He went through her private desk and found a list of all the men she'd slept with,' producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins told the Radio Times. He also reportedly found 'compromising Polaroids of her wearing nothing but pearls with a man whose face was not in the pictures.' Treadwell-Collins added: 'At the time, the news was in all the papers: people thought it could have been a member of the royal family or the government or a Hollywood actor. No one still knows who it was.' The first series of A Very English Scandal, written by Russell Davies, starred Hugh Grant as the disgraced Liberal leader Thorpe who was scrambling to cover up his affair with Norman Scott, played by Ben Whishaw. It was one of this blog's favourite TV dramas of last year. When asked whether Big Rusty would remain at the helm of the show, Treadwell-Collins replied: 'For a feminist scandal, I need a female writer.' Sarah Phelps, who has won acclaim for her Agatha Christie Christmas specials including The ABC Murders, as well as writing Peggy Mitchell's farewell from EastEnders, is believed to be writing the next series. In becoming an anthology show, which will spotlight one infamous case per series, A Very English Scandal follows in the footsteps of hits such as Black Mirror and American Crime Story. The Duchess of Argyll's divorce from the Duke in 1963 caused a furore because the court case included the explicit photographs and the judge, Lord Wheatley, stated that the Duchess was 'a completely promiscuous woman.' The courtroom was, apparently, supplied with a list of as many as eighty eight men with whom the Duke believed his wife had affairs, allegedly including two government ministers and three members of the royal family. Lord Denning was called upon by the government to 'track down' the so-called 'headless man.' He compared the handwriting of five leading suspects - the minister of defence Duncan Sandys, the actor Douglas Fairbanks Junior, John Cohane, an American businessman, Peter Combe, a former press officer at the Savoy Hotel and Sigismund von Braun, the brother of the German scientist Wernher von Braun - with the captions written on the photographs. It has been claimed that this analysis 'proved' the man in question was Fairbanks, then long-married to his second wife but this was not made public. Granting the divorce, Lord Wheatley said the evidence 'established' that the Duchess of Argyll was 'a completely promiscuous woman whose sexual appetite could only be satisfied with a number of men.' The Duchess never revealed the identity of the 'headless man' and Fairbanks denied the allegation to his grave. The case went on to be somewhat overshadowed by the equally salacious Profumo Affair the same year.
Rumours of Sherlock's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Again. It is true that the popular series has been on a rest - a very, very long rest - since last year, but that's largely because its cast and writers are hugely in-demand. Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch is off saving the galaxy from Thanos, Martin Freeman is somehow sharing a stage with Danny Dyer and making all of those utter wretched mobile phones adverts and its writers are busy with a bloodsucker. Specifically, Mark Gatiss his very self and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) are hard at work on a BBC and Netflix series reinventing the Dracula mythology, with production set to begin 'very soon.' Fans couldn't be blamed in assuming that the duo's busy schedule would mean a Sherlock revival is out of the question, but that doesn't seem to actually be the case. Speaking to the Radio Times, The Moffster insisted: 'We’ve never said necessarily goodbye to Sherlock. No, we'll see!' 'One thing at a time,' Gatiss added. 'Dracula occupies a lot of headspace.' The two writers did mention that the experience of writing for a character as cerebral as Count Dracula did bring to mind Sherlock Holmes's own thought process. 'It is actually ten years since the pilot,' Gatiss said. 'So in a way it does bring back memories. But it brings back more fresh, recent memories of pain and horror.' 'It just brings back memories of the really late bits of Sherlock!' The Moffinator added.
Filming has wrapped on Poldark's finale with Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson posing for pictures to mark the landmark moment.
Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez is back in series five of the BBC crime drama Shetland - with a new sinister case involving a severed hand and a bag of body parts as our team's investigation uncovers a complex and unsettling network of organised crime. The fifth series of Shetland will begin on Tuesday 12 February at 9pm on BBC1. The series will consist of six episodes.
Various not particularly important or significant 'British cultural figures' - including Vivienne Westwood, Peter Gabriel and Mike Leigh - have signed a letter calling on the BBC to cancel coverage of this year's Eurovision Song Contest because it is taking place in Israel. Which, obviously, they're not going to do. Or, in other words, a bunch of broadly leftie borderline antisemites have decided to have a right good - public - whinge about a political regime to which they object. Which is entirely fair enough this is, after all, a free country, although it would be interesting to know if any of these individuals are also, themselves, boycotting countries with similarly dodgy regimes where their own products are currently being sold. Like, say, the United States of America? The letter, published in - of course - the Gruniad Morning Star, criticises Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories. 'Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations and we cannot ignore Israel's systematic violation of Palestinian human rights,' it whinges. 'The BBC is bound by its charter to "champion freedom of expression." It should act on its principles and press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed.' Quite why this letter was sent to the Gruniad instead of being put in an envelope with a stamp on it and sent to the Director General of the BBC - to whom it was, after all, addressed - is not known. Although, we can probably guess. The BBC has responded with a statement, underlining its commitment to broadcast the event: 'The Eurovision Song Contest is not a political event and does not endorse any political message or campaign. The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity and we do not believe it would be appropriate to use the BBC's participation for political reasons. Because of this we will be taking part in this year's event. The host country is determined by the rules of the competition, not the BBC.' The letter comes as the UK prepares to select its entry for the annual song competition in a public vote on a BBC2 show entitled Eurovision: You Decide, to be shown on 8 February. 'For any artist of conscience, this would be a dubious honour,' the letter suggests. 'They and the BBC should consider that You Decide is not a principle extended to the Palestinians, who cannot "decide" to remove Israel's military occupation and live free of apartheid.' Other signatories of the letter include actors Julie Christie and Maxine Peake, musicians Wolf Alice and Roger Waters and writers Caryl Churchill and AL Kennedy. So, no one that actually matters, then. Their letter follows another in September 2018 in which cultural figures from across Europe called on Eurovision's organisers to 'cancel Israel's hosting of the contest altogether and move it to another country with a better human rights record.' What, like 2007's hosts, Russia? Or 2017's, Ukraine? Oddly, this blogger does not recall any of these concerned individuals making protests on those occasions over human rights violations. The contest is being held in Israel following the country's win in the 2018 competition, for singer Netta's 'Toy'. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly wanted the contest to be staged in Jerusalem, but the nationality of the city is disputed, with Palestinians claiming an Israeli-occupied area as a potential future capital city. Instead, Tel Aviv will host the contest, which is scheduled for 18 May. The letter's authors say the decision 'does nothing to protect Palestinians from land theft, evictions, shootings, beatings and more by Israel's security forces.' No, indeed. And, neither do concerned letters to the Gruniad. Tragic, but there it is.
The BBC has blamed 'human error' for a suggestion on its News At Six that Theresa May would be flying back to Brussels for more Brexit talks in a Second World War Spitfire. The human who erred has, reportedly, been locked in the basement and forced to watched all ninety seven series of Last Of The Summer Wine until they promise never to do it again. The explanation 'has been greeted with scepticism by some who saw the incident as an example of pro-Brexit bias at the corporation,' claimed the Gruniad Morning Star. Albeit, the proof of this alleged 'scepticism' amounted to one tweet. At the end of Wednesday's evening programme viewers were shown black and white footage of the planes as the newsreader, Sophie Raworth, summarised the soon-to-be-former Prime Minister's plan to reopen Brexit talks with EU leaders. As the footage of the planes was played, Raworth read: 'Theresa May says she intends to go back to Brussels to negotiate her Brexit deal but EU leaders say the deal is done and they will not reopen talks.' The editor of the programme, Paul Royall, said that the Spitfire clip had been intended to be a foretaste of an item about a new Battle of Britain museum at Biggin Hill in London. In a tweet he blamed the mix up on 'human error' and joked he was 'pretty sure' that May would not be travelling to Europe in a Spitfire. Especially as they are single seaters so, unless she was flying the fucker herself it's probably unlikely. Tim Montgomerie, the pro-Brexit columnist and founder of the ConservativeHome website, said that he believed Royall's explanation, but 'many would not.' 'Some pro-EU Twitter users suggested it was a deliberate attempt to send a subliminal message about about May battling the European Union,' the Gruniad claimed. And, by 'some pro-EU Twitter users', they actually meant 'one pro-EU Twitter user,' someone called Lisa Huts (no, me neither) whinging about it. A spokeswoman for BBC News said that the mistake was 'a genuine error' and there was nothing more to add to Royall's explanation.
The television licence fee is going up from £150.50 to £154.50 on 1 April 2019, the government has announced. The annual price rise is 'in line with inflation.' Anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, or watching or downloading BBC programmes on the iPlayer, must have a licence. This also applies to laptops, tablets and phones. The new licence fee will cost £2.97 a week or £12.87 a month. It covers the cost of nine TV channels, regional programming, ten national radio stations, forty local radio stations, the BBC website, BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer. And, a department which has to spend time answering the kind of crass and bleating whinges highlighted in the previous two stories, of course. The BBC said that in the last financial year, 'ninety four per cent of the BBC's controllable spend went on content for audiences and delivery, with just six per cent spent on running the organisation.'
An ITV documentary about the sick and naughty crimes of Fred and Rose West was cancelled just hours before transmission on Thursday due to 'unspecified legal reasons.' The hour-long film, which was to have been presented by Sir Trevor McDonald, was replaced by another documentary hosted by the veteran broadcaster. ITV said Fred & Rose West: The Real Story would be shown 'at a later date.' Pre-publicity claimed the show would feature 'a West family member who has never spoken before on-camera.' The programme was also set to suggest that Rose West was as violent as her murderous husband, who killed himself in 1995. Interestingly all of this occurred at the same time as Channel Five were broadcasting another documentary based on the West's awful crimes, Fred & Rose: The One That Got Away which featured some truly disturbing reconstructions of horrific things that went on in Cromwell Street. Fred West killed at least twelve young women and girls between 1967 and 1987, burying the remains of nine of them under his home in Gloucester. The he killed himself. Rose West was convicted of ten murders in 1995 and is now serving a whole life sentence. Appropriate Adult, a drama about the case starring Dominic West as Fred West, was broadcast on ITV in 2011.
Those awaiting a new series of The Jump shouldn't hold their breath. The insanely dangerous z-list celebrity winter sports show, which has been shelved by Channel Four bosses for the past two years following a string of z-list celebrity injuries, looks set to be permanently canned. According to the Radio Times, Channel Four's programming chief, Ian Katz, 'dismissed' any plans to revive the show when he was 'quizzed' by the Mirra about The Jump's future. 'Quizzed', of course, being tabloidese for 'questioned' only with less syllables. 'You can never say never, but we've got no plans,' he said. The news comes just a week after former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle issued a lawsuit against the makers of The Jump after she was badly injured on the third series of the show. The bronze medallist required surgery on her back and her spinal cord when she hit a barrier on a landing during rehearsals. Tweddle is by no means the only z-list celebrity to have been injured while taking part. Melinda Messenger was forced to pull out in the first series after sustaining concussion while practising for the bobsleigh. In the second series, Ola Jordan suffered a 'serious' injury to her leg and hips after she fell over at an indoor ski slope. She has since said her leg may 'never be the same again.' The third series, the only in which Tweddle took part, ended up sending over half of its contestants to Innsbruck General for one injury or another (see here for the full, bone-snapping, details) whilst further calamities took place in the fourth series in 2017, including King of the Mods Sir Bradley Wiggins breaking his leg. Though it's worth pointing out that every single one of the individuals who got injured in The Jump had signed up to this stupidly dangerous conceit in the first place so, with one or two notable exceptions, it's really hard to have too much sympathy with any of them when they ended up getting hurt. It should also be noted, this is not the first time that it has been reported The Jump was being cancelled - in fact, The Huffington Post suggested that over eighteen months ago.
National heartthrob David Tennant has launched a new podcast which sees the actor 'interviewing some famous faces.' David Tennant Does a Podcast With... will see the popular actor talk to people like Sir Ian McKellen, Jon Hamm and his successor in the TARDIS, yer actual Jodie Whittaker. The series begins with Tennant talking to his fellow Broadchurch lead, Olivia Colman. The podcast is available on iTunes.
Friends, the US sitcom which ended almost fifteen years ago, is still 'the favourite TV programme for young people' in the UK, according to an annual survey of media consumed by the young. But it is likely to be viewed on Netflix and many will be watching on mobile phones rather than a TV screen. Few of the five to sixteen-year-olds surveyed were even alive when the show was first broadcast, between 1994 and 2004. But the Childwise report claims that the comedy is their favourite programme. Because, obviously, they asked all of them. The sitcom, about six friends living in New York, is now watched very differently from when it was first seen in the 1990s. Among those watching on demand, four in five are using their phones. Young people told the researchers that they liked the programme because of 'a combination of the subject matter and how they prefer to consume programmes.' The 'focus on friendships and relationships is relatable to teens,' claim the researchers. Whatever that means. And, they enjoy working their way through episodes, with familiar characters, with the next starting automatically when one finishes. Although, that's something which could be claimed about any long-running TV series, frankly. 'They can watch it virtually whenever and wherever they like, from beginning to end in order.' This twenty fifth annual analysis of media habits, based on a survey of two thousand young people, says this is now 'generation scroll' - in which most viewing is through mobile Interweb devices, whether a phone, laptop or tablet computer. Only ten per cent now get 'almost all' their TV programmes through a TV screen - and fifty eight per cent of these young people watch on-demand programmes on their mobile phones. The report says even the concept of a 'favourite programme' is being eroded, by what it calls 'a glut of choice and the transient nature of content.' The Childwise research shows young people are 'immersed in digital technology' spending on average three hours per day online. Almost forty per cent are 'regularly using' the Interweb when they are outside, as well as being connected at home. About seven in ten of this age group had used Netflix in the previous week. YouTube is the most dominant website and the gateway to music and video, followed in popularity by Snapchat. But Facebook has fallen by half in the proportion of young people saying it is their favourite website, compared with last year's survey. A quarter of these young people are in families with Alexa-style voice-activated computer assistants. But there are also signs of online fatigue. At the older end of the age range, among fifteen to sixteen-year-olds, there were suggestions that teenagers wanted to 'unplug,' with about three in ten wanting to spend more time off the Interweb. Excessive use of social media was 'associated with loss of sleep, tiredness and also loneliness,' as young people were spending a lot of time alone, even though they were 'connected' online. 'Children are more digitally connected than any other generation and more so than last year. Yet as connectivity increases, rather than feeling more linked to their peers, children are increasingly feeling alone and isolated,' says research director Simon Leggett.
A US-born anchor for Iran's state-run Press TV has returned to Iran after ten days of detention in the United States, the channel has reported. And, the Gruniad Morning Star has re-reported. The anchor, Marzieh Hashemi, testified as a material witness in an undisclosed federal investigation, a US federal court order said last Thursday when she was freed from The Slammer. Hashemi's detention added to the tension that has grown between Iran and the United States since President - and hairdo - Donald Rump's decision last May to pull out of an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran. 'It's very good to be home,' Hashemi said, on a visit to the Press TV office following her arrival in Tehran. Hashemi said that she feared she would be detained again on her flight leaving the United States from Denver to Frankfurt, adding: 'I was not comfortable as long as I was over US airspace. I was thinking they can reroute the plane and bring it down in Washington. It sounds like a movie but I lived through that movie so I know that anything is possible.' Hashemi was arrested by the FBI at St Louis Lambert international airport and transferred to a detention centre in Washington DC, where she was held for two days before managing to contact her family, Press TV said. Press TV claimed she was 'mistreated' in jail because her hijab was removed and she was offered non-halal food. The channel broadcast live footage of her arrival at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport on Wednesday, where a crowd greeted her with flowers. Most of the crowd were Iranian women dressed in black veils and holding anti-American posters, while loudspeakers played revolutionary songs and anthems in the background, an AFP reporter at the airport said. US federal law allows the government to arrest and detain a witness if it can prove their testimony is 'material to a criminal proceeding' and it cannot guarantee their presence through a subpoena. The US government has declined to disclose details of the criminal case in which Hashemi testified. However, an alleged US government 'source ' allegedly told Reuters it 'appeared' that the grand jury was examining whether English-language Press TV is a propaganda outlet that failed to register with the justice department as an agent of a foreign government. Which, to be fair, it probably is. A bit like FOX News is, really. Hashemi was born Melanie Franklin in the United States and changed her name after converting to Islam. She received Iranian citizenship after marrying an Iranian. She had travelled to the United States to visit her family, Press TV said. Several Iranian dual nationals from Austria, Britain, Canada, France and the United States have been detained in Iran in the past few years on charges such as espionage, collaborating with hostile governments and 'looking at me in funny way.'
Sir Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley and Heather Mills have settled phone-hacking claims against News Group Newspapers, their lawyers have said. The case involving NGN, publisher of the Sun and the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, was due to go to trial next week at the High Court in London. But, on Friday, the trio's solicitors said they had agreed - one imagines, positively eye-watering - terms with NGN. News Group Newspapers said 'sincere apologies' had been offered 'for the distress caused by the invasion of privacy. News Group Newspapers has settled cases relating to voicemail interception at the News of the World which closed in 2011,' a company spokesman weaselled. They added, however, that NGN made 'no admission of liability' with regards to 'any allegations of illegal information gathering at the Sun newspaper.' Hamlins, the law firm for the claimants - who also included Sir Elton's husband, David Furnish and Mills' sister, Fiona - said that the claims were 'the fourth trial in the last eighteen months which has settled very close to the start of the trial date.' Callum Galbraith, a partner at the firm, said: 'Notwithstanding the settlements and the growing body of evidence, News Group Newspapers Limited continue to refuse to acknowledge that any phone hacking took place at the Sun.' One or two people even believed them. The hacking revelations led to the closure of the Scum of the World in shame and ignominy in 2011 after it emerged that journalists intercepted the voicemail of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the the families of other victims of crime. Since then, numerous a-, b-, c-, d- and z-list celebrities - including David Tennant, Hugh Grant and Charlotte Church - have settled claims against the Scum of the World over phone-hacking and several of the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid's journalists have done periods of Bird for their bad and naughty phone-hacking ways. The Scum of the World closed in July 2011 amid damaging allegations of phone-hacking at the paper, revealed by the Gruniad Morning Star. Which was a valuable public service on behalf of the Gruniad even if it is a mostly risible organ mostly written by (and mostly read by) Middle Class hippy Communists. Journalists at the billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid hacked into voicemail messages of thousand of individuals by using a default factory-set PIN number. At its time of its closure the Sunday tabloid sold about 2.8 million copies a week and was famed for its celebrity scoops and sex scandals, earning it the nickname the News of the Screws.
Yer actual David Bowie's performance of 'Starman' on Top Of The Pops in July 1972 is widely considered as a watershed moment in musical history. Dressed in his multicoloured skintight jumpsuit, The Grand Dame camped it up like Kenneth Williams on acid and draped his arm around guitarist Mick Ronson during the chorus, shocking some viewers and thrilling many others, ushering in an era of glam and androgyny. 'But few people remember that Bowie actually debuted his Ziggy Stardust persona on ITV a month earlier,' the BBC News website claims inaccurately. Actually, technically speaking Bowie's first TV performance of a Ziggy Stardust song, 'occurred even earlier in the year in a performance of 'Five Years' on BBC2's The Old Grey Whistle Test. Nevertheless, the first TV performance of 'Starman', on ITVs Lift Off With Ayshea, has acquired something of a legendary reputation amongst Bowie's fans. Long known to have been erased, still photographs of the Lift Off appearance do exist, showing Bowie wearing the same Ziggy jumpsuit as he would later wear on Top of the Pops. He appeared along with The Spiders on an episode of Lift Off broadcast on 15 June 1972 which also featured he singer Tony Christie and was preceded by a segment starring the owl puppet Ollie Beak. Now, it has been widely reported that the performance has 'been unearthed' and could - could, please note - feature in a new BBC documentary. It was captured by a fan on an early home video recorder - but the tape has degraded and must be slowly 'baked' in an incubator in the hopes of restoring the footage. 'For fans, it is something of a Holy Grail,' Francis Whately, the producer and director of David Bowie: Finding Fame, told the Radio Times. '[The tape] would fall apart if we played it, so it's had to be very carefully restored. It will be a real coup if it comes off.' If being the operative term. 'The process of restoration is still underway and will continue until very close to the transmission of the documentary - expected to be next month on BBC2,' the report continued. 'The footage has only very recently been discovered,' said a BBC spokeswoman. 'We're hoping it will be ready in time to include in the film.' An ITV teatime show, Lift Off With Ayshea ran for over one hundred and forty episodes from 1969 to 1974. Almost all of the footage was, allegedly, 'accidentally' wiped when Granada TV sent the tapes to be digitised. According to the show's host, Ayshea Brough, duplicate recordings had been marked with an 'x', meaning they could be deleted, but the technician 'somehow misunderstood and binned the originals. He wiped years of my life and performances and everybody else's performances,' she told Record Collector magazine. 'It's a terrible thing.' David Bowie: Finding Fame is the final film in Whatley's acclaimed trilogy of documentaries about the convention-defying Grand Dame. The ninety-minute programme promises to feature unheard audio recordings and archival footage - including a 1965 BBC audition of Bowie and his then band, The Lower Third performing 'Chim-Chim-Cheree' and 'Baby, That's A Promise'. The BBC talent selection group infamously rejected the band after this performance, describing Bowie as 'a cockney chap, but not outstanding enough' and 'devoid of personality.' 'These are the stepping stones that led to Ziggy, but also many of the failures that led to Ziggy,' said Whatley. 'It shows how Bowie embraced them and learned from them all.' It includes contributions from one of Bowie's first girlfriends, the actress and dancer Hermione Farthingale and his cousin, Kristina Amadeus, who has never spoken publicly about him before.
Meanwhile David Bowie's son has criticised a new film about his father's life, saying that none of the singer's music will feature in it. Duncan Jones tweeted: 'If you want to see a biopic without [Bowie's] music or the family's blessing, that's up to the audience.' The film, called Stardust, is scheduled to start production in June with Gabriel Range as director. Jonny Flynn is set to play young Bowie, with Jena Malone as his first wife, Angie. The film is said to document a young Bowie's first visit to America in 1971. But Jones, who is of course a BAFTA-winning film director and producer himself, said that David's family has not been consulted on the film, nor does he know anything about how it will take shape. He later tweeted to say that if Neil Gaiman, the author of The Sandman and Stardust, wanted to write a Bowie biopic, then he would have his blessing. Jones also included director Peter Ramsey in his tweet, who has been responsible for films like Rise Of The Guardians and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. He added: 'And, if Peter Ramsey and his team wanted to make it as an animated film, I would urge everyone on my end to pay attention and give the pitch serious consideration.'
There's an interesting piece by the Independent's Adam Sherwin on the BBC's archive department and their current task of digitising 'over fifteen million items' from LPs and photographs to various video formats. Unfortunately, as with many of these kind of articles, this blogger is assured by some people who actually work in the archives department that it includes several examples of misreporting. For example the statement that a team of two hundred archivists 'is on a mission to preserve eighty seven thousand digital disks worth of material this year, at a rate of six hundred a day.' This blogger is assured that rather appears to be an example of somebody getting told some facts and then incorrectly linking them together. 'We might have two hundred people across all of Archives (although only one hundred and twenty popped out of the building in the fire alarm test earlier in the week), but only a few of them work on disc ripping,' one 'insider' said on Facebook.
It's a little-known fact that in the 1960s, The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo, you might've heard of them) actually tried to obtain the film rights to The Lord Of The Rings. Alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon wanted to play Gollum, Paul McCartney would have been Frodo and the band hoped Stanley Kubrick would direct it. Their plan came to an abrupt halt when JRR Tolkien refused. Now, in a strange twist of fate, a new Be-Atles movie is being directed by Peter Jackson, the man who finally brought The Lord Of The Rings to the big screen in 2001. The Oscar-winning director will bring to life the tense recording sessions for the band's final LP, Let It Be, using fifty five hours of unseen studio rehearsal footage that was shot in 1969. In a statement, he described the film as 'the ultimate "fly on the wall" experience that Beatles fans have long dreamed about.' He said: 'It's like a time machine transports us back to 1969 and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.' The footage was originally planned for a television documentary and eventually formed the basis of a feature film, also titled Let It Be. Although the movie went on to win an Oscar for best original song score, it has long been out of print. It is thought the band were unhappy with its emphasis on their disagreements in the initial stages of recording Let It Be - sessions which George Harrison described as 'the low of all-time' and Lennon, simply, called 'a month of Hell.' Mind you, he was bombed out of his gourd on smack for the majority of the sessions so his memory was not, necessarily, reliable. It's true that Harrison did walk out in high dudgeon during the initial rehearsals at Twichenham Studios, sick of constantly having his songs belittled and rejected by Lennon and McCartney in favour of, clearly inferior, material (and, when you consider that he presented his bandmates with 'Isn't It A Pity', 'All Things Must Pass' and 'Hear Me Lord' during this period who can, honestly, blame him?) But several of those involved, notably engineer Glyn Johns, have stated that the impression given in Michael Lindsay-Hogg's original Let It Be movie did not reflect their own memories of the period and the the sessions were nowhere near as black as they have sometimes been painted. Jackson's version appears to promise a more upbeat account of the recording process, which later stabilised and culminated with an impromptu gig on the roof of the band's record label Apple Corps in Savile Row - which took place fifty years ago, on 30 January 1969. 'I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth,' said the director. 'Sure, there's moments of drama - but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating - it's funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate.' Fears that the Jackson documentary may attempt to rewrite history are unfounded - a restored version of the earlier film will be made available 'following the release of this new film,' according to The Be-Atles company, Apple. Jackson's film is his first project since the acclaimed documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, which combined colourised footage of World War One with interviews of British servicemen. The New Zealand-based director has long been a Be-Atles fan and once said he 'grew up with' the band's music. 'I'm not a musical expert - and The Beatles are just about the only music I like,' he said at the premiere of Ron Howard's highly-regarded documentary Eight Days A Week in 2016. Jackson was also one of the first people to confirm the long-rumoured proposed Be-Atles/Lord Of The Rings crossover in a 2002 interview with Wellington's Evening Post. 'It was something John was driving and JRR Tolkien still had the film rights at that stage but he didn't like the idea of The Beatles doing it. So he killed it,' Jackson told the newspaper. 'There probably would've been some good songs coming off the album.'
John Malkovich is to star in a new play inspired by the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and the actor says it 'may upset people.' Bitter Wheat is being written by the Pulitzer prize-winning David Mamet, who will also direct the production. It will receive its world premiere in London's West End in June. It is described as 'a black farce about a very badly behaved media mogul,' Malkovich told BBC News. Scores of women have accused Weinstein of rape or sexual assault and the allegations led to what became the Me Too movement. Weinstein denies any claims of non-consensual sex and has described many of the allegations against him as 'patently false.' Malkovich, says Weinstein was 'the starting point' for the play and 'a reaction to the all the news that came out last year' about him. But, it has subsequently developed and now explores how people in positions of power in the entertainment industry have 'behaved badly for decades.' Bitter Wheat, which will also feature From The North favourite Doon Mackichan, is set in the present day and Malkovich plays Barney Fein, a 'depraved' Hollywood producer. 'Of course it might upset people who've experienced the kind of treatment that the play contains and shows and describes,' the former Oscar nominee says, adding: 'A lot of people may not like it. But what can I do about that? Personally I think it's a terrific piece of writing.' Malkovich is best known for films including Dangerous Liaisons, Con Air, Mulholland Falls and Being John Malkovitch. Obviously. The actor also gained a new audience of young fans over Christmas, as he starred in Netflix film Bird Box alongside Sandra Bullock. He recently appeared on television playing Hercule Poirot in a new BBC Agatha Christie adaptation, The ABC Murders. He says he 'loved' doing it. But he is aware 'it was a bit controversial and not appreciated in all quarters' and thinks that may make it unlikely he would be asked to reprise the role. In 1998, Malkovich co-starred in the film Rounders which was financed by Weinstein. But, he says beyond that 'I didn't really have any connection with him. They say everyone in Hollywood knew [about his behaviour]. But that's not true - it was never a topic of conversation any time the name Harvey Weinstein came around with me.' Nonetheless, Malkovich says he hopes he is not 'complicit' by being part of an industry which has allowed abuse of power to flourish unchallenged for years. 'Do I wish in retrospect I would have known a little more or said a little more?' he muses. 'Yes, I suppose.' And although he thinks it is highly unlikely, he says it is not impossible that Harvey Weinstein could work in Hollywood again. 'It seems a long trip from where I'm sitting now, but nothing would surprise me about the movie business, nothing. One of the foundations of our society is the notion of redemption. It's a very tough topic. Could he be forgiven? That's not up to me. He didn't do anything to me. That's up to the individuals whose lives he affected.' Other casting has yet to be announced but Malkovich says that one of Weinstein's accusers did ask to read Bitter Wheat, with a view to appearing in it. She later decided against it and he says he does not know why. Mamet is no stranger to the subject of sexual harassment allegations in his work. In his play Oleanna, a student accuses her professor of misconduct. He has also written about Hollywood many times including Speed The Plow. He has described Bitter Wheat as a comedy, which given the subject matter may surprise people. But Malkovich argues: 'A lot of people will laugh. A lot of comedy for me exists at the crossroads between pain and farce,' he says. 'In the end that's what theatre is for. A lot of great plays, done well, elicit the question do I laugh or do I cry?'
Sony/ATV has confirmed that the KPM Music Library has been completely digitised. The catalogue will appear on streaming and download services. The move, made by Sony/ATV Music Publishing division EMI Production Music, means that every recording in the KPM catalogue has been made available for sync licensing at EMI PM's website. You can also find the tunes on services like Apple and Spotify and download stores like iTunes and Amazon. The recording catalogue covers every genre of music, including orchestral and indie. TV themes also appear, including programmes like Grandstand, News At Ten, Grange Hill and the BBC's Wimbledon coverage. The catalogue also includes the KPM One Thousand series, which introduced songwriters and artists from pop, jazz and other genres. Jay-Zed, Fatboy Slim and Drake (all of whom are popular beat combos if you didn't know) have scored top pop hits sampling the catalogue. EMI had spent the last few years digitising the entire catalogue. This involved going back to the original analogue tapes. EMI has also digitised KPM releases which came out on 78RPM into the original twelve inch LP compilations first released in the 1960s. In addition, EMI digitied recordings made for the Themes International label. The company has also extended the digitisation process to other, lesser-known labels. These include the German Library labels Selected Sound and Coloursound. It has also started work on digitising the Berry/Conroy production music library. Speaking about the announcement, Paul Sandell, Senior Music and Distribution Manager at EMI Production Music, explained: 'We are proud to have taken this initiative to make KPM the first major music library to be fully digitised and available to our global broadcast clients and music lovers to enjoy. There is no bigger name library music than KPM, which is reflected by its rich and diverse catalogue spanning seventy years, including some of the best-known television theme tunes. We know this launch will not be lost on the sampling community as some of the rarest gems from the EMI vaults will be available for fans to access for the first time since the original 1960s and 1970s vinyl pressings.'
It is often said, dear blog reader, that a week is a long time in politics. This also applies to football (that's 'socher-ball' for our American dear blog readers). But, even by their own - often unique - standards, this blogger's beloved (though, tragically unsellable) Magpies can seldom have had a more up-and-down week in their sometimes proud one hundred and thirty year history. It began with a frankly disgraceful, cowardly, piss-poor, surrender-before-kick-off performance in the FA Cup against Wolverhampton Wanderings and an all-too-predictable failure to make their first signing of the January transfer window when a deal to bring Lazio's Jordan Lukaku to St James' Park on loan fell through at the eleventh hour (the rumour being that the Belgian wing-back failed a medical). There was a sour, militant mood swirling around Tyneside which added to by events on Monday. In a press conference which, at times, resembled a wake, Rafa The Gaffer Benitez revealed for the first time that he 'cannot guarantee' he will still be in charge at Newcastle at the end of the season. The manager's contract at St James' Park ends this summer and Benitez can walk away for nothing, with a penalty clause which would have seen him having to pay six million knicker to get out of his contract having now expired. Rafa has refused any attempts at a renegotiation, including the possibility of a one-year extension, until he had seen how the club had strengthened (or, failed to strengthen) in the current transfer window. When asked if he could 'guarantee' to supporters that he would not walk out before the end of the season, Rafa The Gaffer replied: 'No, I cannot guarantee anything.' To be honest, few - if any - Toon fans would blame the guy if he did, given the shoddy and disgraceful way he has been belittled and lied to over his near three years in charge at the club by his employers. Benitez's fraught relationship with the club's controversial owner, Mike Ashley, has once more been stretched to breaking point following another transfer window in which his attempts to bolster the first team squad have been thwarted at every turn. Ashley reportedly went into Benitez's office at St James' after a rare home victory against Cardiff City earlier this month, but the Spaniard admitted that it was a fruitless visit and that 'nothing has changed.' He has clashed with the club over recruitment during three of the last four transfer windows and appeared to have effectively gagged himself from talking about the matter in his press conference despite, one imagines, a huge temptation to blow the lid. However, he spoke of his own future and then, pointedly, refused the opportunity of advising his - mostly adoring - supporters to renew their season tickets, with deadlines approaching. 'That is not my business,' he said. 'My business is to prepare the team against Manchester City and be sure they can compete until the end of the season.' Newcastle fans had already planned a series of demonstrations against Ashley at Tuesday's televised Premier League game with last year's champions. Against that backdrop, Benitez spoke of his impromptu meeting with the owner. 'It didn't change anything,' he said. 'You just have more ideas. It's exactly the same position. I had a conversation with Mike, Justin [Barnes], [Keith] Bishop and Lee [Charnley] the other day. We were talking about everything and now we will see where we are.' He was asked if his patience would break, and replied: 'I want to do things well. Again I will say, if I decide to stay in the Championship to do my job and to finish my job in the way that I like to do things. I have some principles and I will try to do things properly. Believe me, I can see where you are with your questions and I can see what is going around the fans, but still I have a cold mind, we have to stick together. We have to work hard together and it is the only way, and the best way, if we want to stay in the Premier League. What I have to give back to the fans is this: I am a professional, I will work hard and I will try to do my best.' Benitez was asked why Newcastle had reached 28 January, deep in a relegation fight and yet had still not strengthened their wafer-thin squad. 'It's not a question for me,' he replied, flatly. 'The way things are going on here, I can say yes or not to the proposals that I receive. I can give some names but I don't do any negotiations, anything. In the end I can say yes or not so you give me this or that I can choose one or the other one. That's it. I can say yes if we need that.' He was then asked if he would quit if no new players arrived. 'We will wait until Thursday and see what happens,' he said.
What then happened, of course - because, this is Newcastle and nothing is ever straight-froward - was that amid scenes of delirious joy and almost disbelief in front of a crowd of over fifty thousand, Michael Owen's record as the last (alleged) Newcastle player to score a league winner against Shekih Yer Man City thirteen years ago was finally ended on Tuesday. And, to the utter consternation of Tyneside, The Little Shit's other claim-to-infamy as Th' Toon's costliest-ever signing also appeared set to be finally consigned to the dustbin of history. It was hard to suggest which of these looked two things seems the more unlikely before kick-off; taking three points from the defending champions after twenty two previous unsuccessful attempts in a decade-and-a-half, or spending around twenty million smackers on an incoming transfer. In keeping with the perpetual madness that is this daft, infuriating football club, the beleaguered garrison set their sights on goal for once - and only went hit the target. Twice. Pre-match talk of protests against the owner (who was not at the game) and songs of rancour and general dissatisfaction were quickly audible - especially when the visitors scored after a mere seconds. Pep Guardiola's side came to St James' Park on the back on a five-nil thrashing of Burnley in the cup and having put three goals past both Huddersfield and Wolves in their previous two league encounters. If United's plan was to park the bus, then it must have been the old one that Cliff Richard and his mates ended up driving to Greece in Summer Holiday. A cross by Raheem Sterling found David Silva sliding in at the far post to beat Martin Dubravka to the ball, heading back across goal for Sergio Aguero to expand his vast scoring total against The Magpies still further. The same player had the ball in the net again soon after, only for Kevin De Bruyne to be booked after taking the free kick which prompted Aguero's volley too quickly. Newcastle's spirited but a bit power-puff response consisted of shots by Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu in quick succession, whilst The Citizens seemed to be firmly in their comfort zone and, frankly, strutting around the gaff like they owned the place. However, Guardiola's side rarely troubled Magpies keeper Dubravka thereafter and Benitez's men gradually grew in belief. With an hour gone and United still in the game, referee Paul Tierney incurred the wrath of the home crowd by failing to show De Bruyne a thoroughly deserved second yellow card for a bad challenge on Matt Ritchie which most observers felt certainly warranted a booking. With Rafa The Gaffer doing his absolute nut on the sidelines, the home side shared that sense of manifest injustice and their attacks soon had what turned out to be a vital extra yard of pace. Ritchie broke upfield on the left and his centre was headed out by Fernandinho but only to Isaac Hayden, who returned it goalwards for both Salomon Rondon and Atsu to pursue it through a crowd of defenders. The Venezuelan forward got to it first and his toe-poke into the ground from just outside the six yard box bounced up and eluded Sheikh Yer Man City keeper, Ederson. Better was to come with ten minutes of normal time remaining, when the outstanding Sean Longstaff was barged over in the area by Fernandinho and Tierney pointed to the spot. The agony was prolonged for the Black & Whites whilst Ederson received treatment by two physios for some - mysterious and possibly fictitious - ailment, but Matt Ritchie held his nerve and rattled a penalty kick into the Gallowgate End net before demolishing the corner flag as celebration inside the gaff (and, one presumes, on the Red-half of Merseyside) erupted. The remaining ten minutes - and then over five minutes of additional time - passed with relatively few moments of unease before an almighty roar signified the referee's final whistle. Just over twenty four hours after that pre-game press conference when he seemed more like a man about to go to the gallows, a much happier Rafa The Gaffer faced reporters afterwards to say: 'We had a game plan - it was not to concede a goal in the first minute. The reaction of the players was important. We said in the half-time to stay in the game. The fans appreciate how we played and the way we won against a very good team. We stuck with our game plan. We were good enough to score two and lucky enough not to concede. Overall we needed to win one of these games. I think they were surprised they scored so early and maybe they had more confidence they could win. There's pressure and I think that was another factor - a draw wasn't enough for them. I think they were defending in a way that wasn’t easy for them. We were trying to manage the situation. Give credit to the players.' And, whilst Rafa didn't actually name specific names, he confirmed that he 'expected' his squad to be reinforced over the coming days. Since that one-nil home win in September 2005, United had failed to beat City in all twenty two Premier League meetings, losing nineteen and drawing the other three. Newcastle came from behind to win in the Premier League for the first time this season, having last achieved such a feat against The Arse in April 2018. It was also widely reported that this was the first time United have trailed at half-time before recovering to win in the Premier League since December 2006, when they turned a two-one interval deficit into a three-two home success against Reading. Rondon scored his sixth Premier League goal of the season and seventh in all competitions and Ritchie doubled his goal tally for the season after scoring another spot-kick at the same end against Blackburn Vindaloos in the FA Cup.
Then, on Transfer Deadline Thursday, Newcastle broke their transfer record in signing Paraguay playmaker Miguel Almiron from MLS side Atlanta United for around twenty one million knicker. It broke the previous record of sixteen million notes that was paid to Real Madrid for The Little Shit in 2005. And, what a waste of money that turned out to be. An official announcement from the club at 2.30pm on Thursday confirmed the permanent arrival of Paraguayan international forward. Almiron has put pen to paper on a five-and-a-half year deal keeping him at St James' Park until 2024. He takes squad number twenty four and becomes the second Paraguayan to join United following Diego Gavilan in January 2000. Interviewed after completing his move, Almiron required an interpreter as he answered questions in his native Spanish. He had travelled to Tyneside on Wednesday and was seen at the club's training ground earlier on Thursday. Almiron scored thirteen goals last season as Atlanta won the MLS Cup for the first time. The attacking midfielder previously played for Cerro Porteno in his home country and for Argentina's Lanus. 'I'm very happy and eager to start and to meet my new team-mates,' he said. 'The league is very competitive, this is a historic club, and Rafa Benitez himself were the main reasons why I am here now. I think it is a great responsibility, something beautiful for me, and I will try to offer the best I can to repay the trust the club put in me.' Rafa commented: 'We were following Miguel Almiron for a while and we saw a player with some pace in attack, who can play behind the striker. We have someone who can score goals and give assists. We know that MLS is a different challenge to the Premier League but he has the potential to do what we are expecting, and what we need. From talking to the lad, you can tell that he is really focused and wants to do well. He wants to be successful and he wants to help the team, to score goals and give assists if it is possible.' Lee Charnley was also emboldened enough to issue a statement: 'I'm delighted to bring Miguel to Newcastle United. He is a player who Rafa has wanted for a year and I appreciate he has had to wait longer than he would have liked. I would like to thank Rafa for his patience in waiting for a player he has coveted for so long. Given Miguel’s performances both in MLS and for his country, it was a question of when Atlanta United were prepared to sell him and, when they were, achieving a deal that made financial sense for us.' The Gruniad Morning Star reported that Almiron's deal consisted of sixteen million knicker up front, with an additional £4.7 million payment conditional on meeting various performance-related targets. Earlier, Newcastle had also signed defender Antonio Barreca on loan from Monaco until the end of the season with the option of a permanent deal. The twenty three-year-old former Italy under-twenty one international joined the French club last summer from Torino. 'I know that Newcastle is a big and historic club,' he said. Well, we used to be, anyway. 'I know that the people here really love football and that the fans are really behind the team.' An Italian journalist suggested that United will pay nine hundred thousand smackers as a loan fee and that there is a buyout clause fixed at just under eight million notes. Antonio becomes the third Italian-born player and fourth Italian-qualified to represent United competitively, after Alessandro Pistone and Davide Santon. Italian international Giuseppe Rossi was actually born in the USA.
Of course, this being this blogger's beloved (though, tragically, unsellable) Magpies, this oddest of odd weeks ended in more familiar style, with a one goal defeat against Stottingtot Hotshots at Wembley on Saturday. So, very much a case of 'as you were,' it would seem.
Black cats are meant to be good luck, yes? Try telling that to Everton, whose three-one Premier League defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderings was held up for several minutes by a feline pitch invader at Goodison Park. Final Score reporter John Acres filled nearly two minutes of prime-time television with a superb commentary of the cat's elegant movement across the Wolves penalty area, including the descriptive 'it looks like a fully grown cat. He drops a shoulder, jinks one way, goes another' and 'the steward's after the cat, but the cat knows it and puts in a turn of pace.' Eventually play was able to resume with referee Lee Mason adding seven minutes of injury time at the end of the game. More than one member of the crowd was heard to comment that if Everton manager Marco Silva gave the cat some boots and a blue shirt it would've got a game for his side.
Eleven Sports, the self-styled 'Netflix for Sports' controlled by the Dirty Leeds owner, Andrea Radrizzani, has saved its UK and Ireland operation from closure after reaching deals to offload the rights to Italy's Serie A and continue coverage of Spain's La Liga. In December, it emerged that the service, which launched last summer, was facing the prospect of shutting its streaming operation in the UK and Ireland after being unable to attract enough subscribers. The company attempted to renegotiate rights deals at a much cheaper rate to try and avoid pulling the plug. Eleven Sports has now concluded talks with IMG, which acts as the agent for Serie A rights, with the UK and Ireland rights for the Italian league to move to pay-TV operator Premier Sports from March until 2021. Premier Sports also picked up the rights to the Dutch Eredivisie and Chinese Super League. Eleven Sports has also concluded a new agreement with La Liga giving it 'temporary breathing space' to keep broadcasting matches in the UK and Ireland until the end of the season. In the summer, Eleven Sports will have to negotiate another deal with La Liga. 'Our priorities lie with our subscribers who we hope will experience minimal disruption as a result of these developments,' said an Eleven Sports spokesman. 'The strategic direction we have chosen allows us to focus on La Liga which not only drives real value for us in the UK and Ireland but is also a property which we continue to have a valued partnership with in five markets globally.' Eleven Sports said that as a result of the cutback in sports offered on its service existing and new subscribers will automatically see the price of its monthly pass reduced to £4.99 from 1 March. The company, which is thought to have attracted about fifty thousand subscriptions since its UK and Ireland launch in August, was charging £5.99 a month. In November, Eleven Sports struck a deal with the Scottish broadcaster STV to show two live La Liga and Serie A matches a week through its online streaming service. In October, Eleven Sports had been forced to stop its controversial practice of broadcasting European games on Saturday afternoons after pressure from football stakeholders. Eleven Sports said that despite the 'setbacks' it is still looking for new sports rights deals. Endeavour, the Hollywood talent agency which owns Ultimate Fighting Championship, the popular mixed martial arts competition and IMG hold a minority stake in Eleven Sports UK & Ireland. Eleven Sports, which also operates in markets including Poland and Portugal, is controlled via the holding company Aser, which in turn is controlled by Radrizzani. Late last year, UFC opted to move back to previous rights holder BT with a new broadcast deal.
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has snivellingly apologised and claims that he will 'learn' from his sending off for applauding a referee in a draw at Southampton. Zaha was extremely dismissed for 'sarcastically clapping' the referee, Andre Marriner, moments after being cautioned for tangling with James Ward-Prowse. 'All I can do is apologise to the team and the fans for my red card because I could have cost us. I will learn from it for sure,' he said. One or two people even believed him.
Goalkeepers are used to putting their bodies on the line to keep the ball out of the old onion bag, but Forest Green Rovers' James Montgomery took that cliché to something of an extreme against Mansfield Town this week. The twenty four-year-old lost some teeth in his side's one-one draw in League Two on Tuesday after being on the receiving end of a boot to his face. 'That'll interfere with his good looks for a while,' Forest Green manager Mark Cooper said after the game. 'He's got a large facial wound, an horrendous cut on his lip and he's missing a few teeth. He'll need some work done and is off to hospital to get some treatment, so we'll see how he goes in terms of how long he'll be out of action.' Montgomery later tweeted a picture of his mush from the treatment room before heading to hospital, joking that he would be setting up a fundraising page to pay for his replacement teeth. The unfortunate collision came with Montgomery's side a goal behind midway through the second half at New Lawn when Mansfield loan signing Gethin Jones' right boot caught him in a - painful - goalmouth scramble. Montgomery was forced off on sixty one minutes with the injury, making way for Reading loanee Lewis Ward who now looks set for an extended spell as first choice. Fortunately for Forest Green, the change had a positive effect as Reuben Reid netted an equaliser nine minutes later which put them fourth in the table, just two points outside the automatic promotion places.
The Football Association is reported to be 'looking into' an alleged incident of a coin being thrown in The Arse's home defeat by The Scum in the FA Cup. The Scum's Ashley Young posted a tweet after the tie with him holding the coin towards Gunners fans and the message: 'Heads we win, tails you lose.' The defender picked up the object following a melee involving opposing players towards the end of the game. The Scum won the fourth-round match three-one at The Emirates Stadium. The spat started off with Gunners left-back Sead Kolasinac and Red Devils' striker Marcus Rashford squaring up on the touchline. Jesse Lingard and team-mate Young also got themselves involved along with several of The Arse's players before Kolasinac and Rashford were booked. FA investigations into incidents such as coin-throwing involve 'seeking observations from the clubs' and, if needed, the fuzz. The governing body is expected to work with The Arse to identify the culprit and make sure they are dealt with by the club - probably by cutting off their goolies. Or something. Disciplinary charges would only follow in serious cases if the FA determined that the club concerned did not do enough to prevent or deal with the misconduct.
Marseille will play their upcoming home fixtures behind closed doors while French football's governing body investigates the events of their league defeat by Lille on Saturday. The match was held up for thirty minutes in the second half after a firework thrown by a fan exploded close to two players. A statement from the Ligue de Football Professionnel said that it had taken the decision 'as a safety measure.' Marseille's next home match is against Bordeaux on 5 February. 'Because of the nature and gravity of the facts, the committee has decided to investigate the case and during this process, as a safety measure, to play all games at the Orange Velodrome behind closed doors,' the LFP statement said. The LFP had previously ordered Marseille to close the North corner of the Orange Velodrome for the Lille and Bordeaux games 'following the use of pyrotechnic devices and the use of laser.' Marseille's Kevin Strootman and Jordan Amavi escaped unhurt from the incident and the referee took both sets of players off the field. The match had started with a ten-minute strike from home supporters in protest at the club's owners and coach. The eventful Ligue Un clash also saw nine yellow cards and one red - with former Newcastle United midfielder Florian Thauvin sent off for the hosts for two bookable offences. Which, to be fair, is two moments of action more than he ever produced at St James' Park. Lille won two-one with Pepe scoring both their goals and Mario Balotelli getting a consolation for Marseille on his debut. Marseille have won but once since late November. In that time, they have been eliminated from three cup competitions and dropped to seventh in the league.
Neil Lennon has left Hibernian but the head coach has 'not been dismissed' and has 'not resigned,' the Scottish Premiership club have said. Lennon was suspended by the club on Friday following 'an exchange' between himself and 'several club employees.' It has been reported that Lennon and his assistant, Garry Parker, were told to 'stay away' after striker Florian Kamberi was criticised at a team meeting. Hibs would only comment that the duo had left their positions 'by mutual consent.' 'Despite widespread speculation, the club confirms that neither Neil nor Garry has been guilty of any misconduct or wrongdoing and no disciplinary process has been commenced,' the statement read. 'The suspension, put in place to allow an internal review, was lifted by the club as part of this agreement.' The statement added that both Lennon and Parker 'consider that it would be in the best interests of all parties to part amicably' and 'thanked them for their efforts.' Lennon also offered his thanks to 'the board, the coaching staff, the players and all the fans for making the last two-and-a-half years so enjoyable.' He added: 'It has been my privilege to serve the club and I wish it every success in the future.' Former Glasgow Celtic and Notlob Wanderings boss Lennon took over at Easter Road in the summer of 2016 and lost just three league matches in his first season as Hibs ended a three-year period in The Championship. On their return to the top flight, the Edinburgh side finished fourth with a record points tally. This term also started well, with Hibs sitting second after eight games, but Sunday's victory at St Mirren - under the stewardship of Eddie May and Grant Murray - ended a run of five league games without a win. It lifted them up to seventh place - five points behind St Johnstone in sixth and seven behind city rivals Hearts. Hibs have also reached the Scottish Cup last sixteen and will host Raith Rovers next month. Head of academy coaching May said on Sunday that he does not want to succeed Lennon, while former Hearts player Murray has been coaching with the club since 2015.
Macclesfield Town manager Big Sol Campbell says that he has been 'surprised' by a 'really sad underbelly of abuse in football that has been left for far too long.' The Football Association is currently investigating claims that the forty four-year-old was subjected to alleged 'homophobic abuse' during The Silkmen's visit to Cheltenham on Saturday. Eleven games into his first job as manager, Campbell says that he has faced abuse from opposing supporters on the terraces and at railway stations on his way home from games. 'I'm not even playing any more. I'm a manager. It's not like I've got anything against whoever I'm playing. I don't understand why there is animosity towards a manager who has got nothing to do with their club other than being the opposition,' he said. 'I've just been a manager and I want to do my job.' Campbell played seventy three times for England and won the Premier League twice with The Arse, one of which was with The Invincibles team of 2003-04. In his 2014 autobiography, Campbell claimed to have been subjected to monkey chants by fans as a young player. Fans have often targeted Campbell with homophobic abuse. Which is apart from being sick and wrong on just about every level - also utterly bizarre as he is married and has three children. In 2014 he told the BBC: 'It's archaic. They've almost got a blueprint of a 1970s footballer and if it deviates from that in any way, that's it.' When Campbell was appointed Macclesfield manager in November, they were bottom of League Two, seven points from safety with just two wins from nineteen league games. Since then, they have won five of Campbell's eleven EFL games in charge and, while they are still in the relegation zone, they are now just two points from safety. 'I had to change nearly everything. It's important to be open and honest and a lot of the guys had to get a reality check on a lot of things. At the beginning there was no anchor and they were drifting out to sea and not knowing where they'd end up. There were fall outs. Some people like it, some people don't like it but for me, I had to get the quickest way up the mountain. We were bottom of the league, all those points adrift and regardless of what they thought of me, I really haven't got time for that. I'm here to win games and they will see how I run the show and how I carry myself. I haven't proved anyone wrong. I haven't proved anyone right. Until the end of the season I haven't proved anything but the main thing is that we stay up. I'm really fighting to make that happen.' Campbell says he is putting 'absolutely everything' into his first managerial role, whilst balancing time with his family who are still in London. Though Campbell jokes that his children had never heard of Macclesfield before he took the job, he claims that he is not planning on leaving Cheshire any time soon. 'The kids are really happy and they've come to a couple of games already. They've seen where daddy works and it's just about getting a place so they can spend more time up here.' Campbell, who also played for Sottingtot Hotshots, Portsmouth, Notts County and (very briefly) this blogger's beloved - though unsellable - Newcastle, has a UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching qualification available, which is mandatory for all first-team managers wishing to work in the Premier League, but Campbell isn't looking that far ahead. When he was appointed at Macclesfield he said he submitted 'at least twelve to fifteen applications' as he sought that first role. 'It's all about getting this job done right and I want to stay here as long as possible. I'm totally focused and invested in this club,' he said. 'I like where I'm living, I like the club, I like the owners, I like the people who are part of the club. I'm happy that the owner gave me a wonderful chance to manage his team and I'm eternally grateful for that and also the Macclesfield fans. I'm going to work my rear end off to really keep these guys up and at the same time enjoy it and play some good football. I've got to fight tooth and nail for my career, I have to work hard every day and that's what I'm doing here. This is my passion and people can't begrudge me fulfilling my passion.'
Italy's football federation is investigating claims that a referee racially abused a player in a non-league game between Serino and Real Sarno. The alleged incident allegedly involved Serino's Senegalese goalkeeper Gueye Ass Dia and allegedly led to his team walking off in alleged protest. The FIGC said that its investigation will 'consider reports' from the referee as well as from both clubs. Anti-discrimination group FARE condemned the alleged abuse as 'a shameful incident.' It added: 'Our message to Italian football on the alarming rise in racist incidents is simple. Enough is enough.' The alleged incident follows the alleged racist abuse of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly in a game against Inter Milan. The game wasn't alleged, it definitely happened. Inter were subsequently ordered to play two home league games behind closed doors and a third match without opening the 'curva' section, which is popular with fans known as 'ultras'.
A team which lost a cup quarter-final thirty one-nil 'played well' despite the emphatic scoreline, the managers of both sides involved have claimed. Rayleigh Town Ladies were beaten by Billericay Town Ladies in the BBC Essex Women's Cup on Sunday. They went in at half-time fifteen-nil down and Rayleigh boss Paul MacDonald praised his team for 'not giving up.' Despite them conceding sixteen goals in the second-half. Billericay's manager, Kim Coster, said the final result 'did not reflect Rayleigh's performance.' Rayleigh play four divisions below their opponents and MacDonald said he was 'proud' of his side's efforts. He said: 'They are four leagues above us and we did really well to get there in the first place. The girls ended up a couple of goals down early on but they put a shift in. I am pleased, not at the result, but with the effort the ladies put in.' Coster said: 'Anyone at the game would have seen a really good game of football from both teams. There was some quality football played by both sides. Rayleigh have a lot of good players, they are a good young side and have a lot of potential. They came, were competitive and never gave up.' The result falls some way short of Arbroath's infamous thirty six-nil win over Bon Accord in the Scottish Cup in 1885. That was the highest margin of victory in a professional game, until a 'thrown' game between As Adema and SO l'Emyrne ended one hundred and forty nine-nil in Madagascar. Earlier this season Benfica Women twice won twenty eight-nil in their inaugural season in the Portuguese Women's League.
The Rolling Stones' guitarist Rockin' Ronnie Wood is among a number of celebrity owners with horses entered for this year's Grand National at Aintree on 6 April. This is an unusual story in so much as normally when the words 'Rolling Stones' and 'horse' appear in the same sentence, it's in reference to some of Keef Richards' habits of the 1970s. Rockin' Ronnie bred and owns Sandymount Duke, stabled with the Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Jessica Harrington. The ten-year-old (the horse this is, not Rockin' Ronnie, he's seventy one) is one of a record forty seven Irish-trained entries - including last year's winner Tiger Roll - among a total of one hundred and twelve hopefuls at this stage. A maximum field of forty runners will take on the thirty fences in Liverpool. The number that will be dog food by the following Monday is not yet known. Other leading contenders include Scotland's 2017 victor One For Arthur and the Welsh National winner Elegant Escape. The Scum's former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who is a joint owner of last month's King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux, is also hoping to have a runner in this year's National, with Give Me A Copper. He part-owns the nine-year-old with daytime TV presenter and fraction of a human being Jeremy Kyle, who also has a share in Black Corton. Bryony Frost regularly rides Black Corton for trainer Paul Nicholls and would be bidding to become the first female jockey to win the marathon contest. Tiger Roll, trained by Gordon Elliott - who also won the National in 2007 with Silver Birch - held on by a head from fast-finishing compatriot Pleasant Company in a 'green sweep' for the Irish, who claimed the first four places last year. The diminutive gelding, currently twenty to one joint favourite, has the Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival as his main seasonal target, but would be the first horse since triple winner Red Rum in the 1970s to win consecutive stagings of the National.
Three-time Olympic medallist Lindsey Vonn has announced her retirement from skiing because her body is 'broken beyond repair' and 'screaming to stop.'The thirty four-year-old, who won downhill Winter Olympic gold at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, was chasing a record number of World Cup wins. But, after being plagued by injuries and revealing that she had further surgery last spring, she has been forced to stop. 'After many sleepless nights, I have accepted I cannot continue,' she said. 'I will compete at the World Championships in downhill and super-G next week in Sweden and they will be the final races of my career. The past two weeks have been some of the most emotionally challenging days of my life. I am struggling with the reality of what my body is telling me versus what my mind and heart believe I'm capable of. The unfortunate reality is my mind and body are not on the same page.' Vonn, who also won two World Championships, a super-G bronze in Vancouver and a Winter Olympic downhill bronze in Pyeongchang 2018, will retire four victories short of equalling Ingemar Stenmark's record of eighty six World Cup wins. Her bronze in Korea made her the oldest woman to claim a Winter Olympics alpine skiing medal. But, after saying that she'd had 'more injuries and surgeries than I care to admit' she described how a knee injury suffered at Lake Louise last year proved 'impossible to fully recover from.' She said in a post on Instagram: 'My body is broken beyond repair and it isn't letting me have the final season I dreamed of. My body is screaming at me to stop and it's time for me to listen. I have always pushed the limits of ski-racing and it has allowed me to have amazing success but also dramatic crashes. I have never wanted the storyline of my career to be about injuries and because of that I decided not to tell anyone that I underwent surgery this past spring. A large portion of cartilage that had delaminated from my bone was removed. My crash in Lake Louise last year was much more painful than I let on, but I continued to race because I wanted to win a medal in the Olympics for my late grandfather. Again, I rehabbed my way back this summer and I felt better than I had in a long time. Then I crashed in Copper this November and injured my left knee, tearing my LCL plus sustaining three fractures. Despite extensive therapy, training and a knee brace, I am not able make the turns necessary to compete the way I know I can.' Vonn, who dated golfer Tiger Woods for almost three years, added: 'At this point, arthritis is the least of my worries and I hope I can still ski with my kids some day. But even knowing what lies ahead for my body, it has still been worth it. Honestly, retiring isn't what upsets me. Retiring without reaching my goal is what will stay with me forever. However, I can look back at eighty two World Cup wins, twenty World Cup titles, three Olympic medals, seven World Championship medals and say that I have accomplished something that no other woman in history has ever done and that is something that I will be proud of forever! So please let my story be of comebacks, victories and even injuries, but do not tell my story as one of failures or unreached goals.'
UFC-type person Conor McGregor claims that he 'did not intend' to 'land the final blow' in a post-fight brawl following a defeat by Khabib Nurmagomedov - but still talked up his technique in the incident. McGregor was extremely suspended for six months and fined fifty thousand dollars for his part in the ugly scenes which marred UFC 229 in October. Nurmagomedov was banned for nine months and fined five hundred thousand dollars. 'It's just how it played out,' said Ireland's McGregor. In a post on social media he initially said: 'I am thankful for the Nevada Athletic Commission's fair assessment and handling of the brawl incident. It was not my intention to land the final blow of the night on my opponent's blood relative. I look forward to competing again soon.' Russian Nurmagomedov began a brawl by the octagon after beating McGregor, before the Irishman was involved in a bust-up with his opponent's support team. In a second message about the incident, McGregor posted two pictures of him evading a punch before landing one of his own on someone from Nurmagomedov's team. 'Straight left hand inside the attackers jab,' he said. 'He attempted to use the big security guard that's in all the movies as cover, but I could smell him a mile away and landed flush down the pipe. The final blow of the night at UFC 229 in association with McGregor Sports and Entertainment.' The suspensions for McGregor and Nurmagomedov have been backdated to the date of the Las Vegas fight. However, Nurmagomedov's suspension could be reduced to six months if he participates in an anti-bullying campaign in Nevada. If it is, it is not expected he will return to action until after 5 June because the practising Muslim will honour Ramadan. Two of Nurmagomedov's team have also been handed suspensions by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Both Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov have been banned for one year and fined twenty five thousand bucks. Nurmagomedov largely dominated proceedings before administering a rear-naked choke, prompting McGregor to tap out with one minute and fifty seven seconds of round four remaining. The champion instantly shouted at the beaten man and then pointed at McGregor's team before exiting the ring and attacking Dillon Danis, a fighter who trains with McGregor. Whilst the brawl took place, McGregor was involved in a bust-up in the octagon with one of Nurmagomedov's training partners. Nurmagomedov left the arena with fans throwing objects towards him, while UFC president Dana White said he 'felt sick' over the scenes. Three of Nurmagomedov's party were arrested by the fuzz, but later released.
Scientists have found a huge object hovering on the edge of the solar system. The body could help to shed light on how planets form and resolve a decades-old mystery about where such objects were hiding. The discovery is the first time that scientists have ever seen one of the objects, despite them having been predicted for more than seventy years. They are thought to be an important missing-link in the search to understand how we went from the initial clumps of dust and ice that formed and the planets they would eventually become today. The object was found in The Kuiper Belt, the collection of small objects floating beyond Neptune. The most famous of those objects is Pluto, but there are numerous other bodies there. They are thought to be remnants of the early solar system. Because they are so distant and mostly unaffected by radiation and the bigger planets, they are still largely as they would have been in those days, potentially allowing scientists a way of looking back in time to how the solar system might have looked before planets formed. Scientists had long predicted that objects of this size - a kilometre to several kilometres - were 'hovering' out there, but they had not previously been seen. Now astronomers from National Astronomical Observatory of Japan have managed to spot one using a technique called occultation, where stars are watched until something passes in front of them and causes the light from it to dip. The discovery suggests that there may be many more of the objects than had previously been thought. It also indicates that that the objects that will eventually go onto be planets first form into kilometre-sized clumps before merging together to create the worlds that surround us today.
A woman has been rescued after reportedly spending an entire weekend trapped in her billionaire employer's lift, authorities said. The woman, reported to be fifty three-year-old Marites Fortaliza, entered the elevator at the Manhattan townhouse owned by investment banker Warren Stephens on Friday evening. Firefighters responded to an emergency call at 10am local time on Monday and forced the lift open. Fortaliza is recovering in hospital. According to a family statement reported by the Associated Press Fortaliza was 'dehydrated but in a stable condition' at Weill Cornell Medical Centre. She has been 'a valued member of the Stephens extended family for eighteen years' and a family member accompanied her to the hospital, they were quoted as saying. Stephens is the head of Stephens Inc, an investment bank based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Authorities said that Fortaliza was trapped between the second and third floors of the house, on the Upper East Side of the city near Central Park. The family were apparently away for the weekend and nobody else was home while Fortaliza was working. Stephens' building has been 'flagged for a violation' by the Department of Buildings, the New York Times reports, until the elevator can be inspected. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.
An MP's jail term for lying to police over a speeding ticket is being reviewed after a complaint it was 'unduly lenient.' Peterborough MP Naughty Fiona Onasanya had extremely denied being behind the wheel when her car was spotted being driven at forty one miles per hour in a thirty miles per hour zone, in July 2017. But the jury didn't buy her story for a second. She was very convicted at the Old Bailey of perverting the course of justice and jailed for three months on Tuesday. The Attorney General's Office confirmed that it was reviewing the case. Onasanya - who has said that she intends to appeal against her conviction - is the first sitting MP to be jailed since Terry Fields was sentenced to sixty days for failing to pay his three hundred and seventy three knicker poll tax bill in 1991. Onasanya was thrown out of the Labour Party when she was convicted in December. A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office said: 'We have received a request for the case of Fiona Onasanya to be considered under the unduly lenient sentence scheme. The Law Officers have twenty eight days from sentencing to consider the case.' If deemed unduly lenient, the case will be referred to the Court of Appeal which will decide whether or not to increase the sentence. Anyone can make a request to the Attorney General's Office and only one request is required for a sentence to be reviewed. Onasanya was elected as Labour MP for Peterborough in June 2017, six weeks before committing the offence, in Thorney, Cambridgeshire. Her brother, Festus, was jailed for ten months for his involvement in the malarkey, after pleading very guilty to the same charge. After Festus falsely filled out her Notice of Intended Prosecution, Onasanya made the 'disastrous decision' to 'keep up the lie' from November 2017, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said when sentencing her. The prosecution told the court she went on to 'collude' with her brother to avoid being subject to the speeding ticket. When Onasanya was elected, she ousted Conservative Stewart Jackson who had held the seat for twelve years. Under parliamentary rules, a sentence of twelve months or more would have seen the MP automatically lose her seat. A Recall Petition - which can force a by-election if signed by more than ten per cent of the Peterborough electorate - cannot be opened until the appeal process is complete.
Gwyneth Paltrow is being very sued over an alleged 'skiing accident' which allegedly occurred in a Utah ski resort in 2016. The actress is accused of 'knocking down' seventy two-year-old Terry Sanderson leaving him with a brain injury, short term memory loss and four broken ribs. Sanderson's lawyers claim that he has also experienced 'a personality change.' Paltrow has denied the allegations. Her publicist, Heather Wilson, said the lawsuit 'is without merit and we expect to be vindicated.' The case seeks over three million dollars in damages. It claims that Paltrow was skiing 'out of control' when she hit the retired optometrist on a beginner's slope on 26 February 2016. In a press conference he said that he 'remembers' being thrown forward after hearing a woman scream but 'suffers memory issues' over 'exactly' what happened because he claims that he was 'knocked unconscious.' Craig Ramon, who was skiing with Sanderson, snitched that he 'witnessed Paltrow hitting him in the back,' knocking him over and falling on top of him. Sanderson said it was 'unkind' of Paltrow to immediately ski off and not check he was okay.
Supermarket giant ASDA has extremely lost an appeal in the latest development to a long-running legal dispute with staff over equal pay. The decision means that lower paid shop staff, who are mostly women, can compare themselves with higher paid warehouse workers, who are mostly men. ASDA said it was 'disappointed' with the decision and added that it 'remained confident' in its case. A ruling over whether the work is of equal value is likely to be made in May. Leigh Day, which represented the staff, said that the judgement was 'a major step forward in the fair pay battle.' ASDA said: 'We are obviously disappointed with the decision, which relates to a preliminary issue of whether jobs in different parts of the business can be compared.' It said THAT it had brought the appeal 'because it involved complex legal issues which have never been fully tested in the private sector and we will continue to ensure this case is given the legal scrutiny it deserves.' The Employment Tribunal first ruled against Asda in October 2016. It said that shop workers, who mainly work at check-outs or stacking shelves, could compare themselves with staff who work at warehouses. ASDA then appealed against this decision on ten different grounds. In August 2017, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled all points of their appeal unsuccessful. ASDA then took its case to the Court of Appeal. Following Thursday's ruling, the Court of Appeal denied ASDA the right to appeal again - on a general 'listen, you're not going to talk your way out of this one, it doesn't matter how many lawyers you can afford' type slap-down. However, the BBC suggests that the supermarket chain intends to apply to the Supreme Court to appeal against the ruling. Leigh Day represents more thirty thousand shop floor staff from the big four supermarkets - ASDA, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons - in similar cases. The legal firm said that the claims against the four supermarkets, if they lose their cases and are ordered to pay all eligible staff, could total more than eight billion knicker. Money which would, obviously, be passed on to the pubic in the form of your weekly shopping costing considerably more than it does now. Unless you shop at ALDI, clearly. The GMB union, which represents some ASDA workers, welcomed what it described as Thursday's 'landmark' judgment. General secretary Tim Roache, said: 'We know we're not all the way there, there are more hurdles to jump in this process and as always we remain ready to negotiate should ASDA want to get round the table.' ASDA said: 'Our hourly rates of pay in stores are the same for female and male colleagues and this is equally true in our depots. Pay rates in stores differ from pay rates in distribution centres because the demands of the jobs in stores and the jobs in distribution centres are very different; they operate in different market sectors and we pay the market rate in those sectors regardless of gender.'
A man has been issued with a harassment warning by police in London following a complaint by yer actual From The North favourite Kylie Minogue. Police were reportedly called to a house in West London on 23 January following a complaint of a man harassing a female resident. Scotland Yard said that the man was issued with a first instance harassment warning. A representative for Minogue declined to comment.
A huge food festival dedicated purely to cheese is coming to Manchester this February. The event will take place at The Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Stretford on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 February. Over the course of two days and several sessions, there will be a range of cheese-based products available to eat at the festival or take home. Blue Caribou Canteen, the French-Canadian poutine experts who recently starred on BBC2's My Million Pound Menu will be taking up a stand at the event. They will be joined by Sean Wilson, the former Coronation Street actor, now-turned cheesemaker. Some of the melty delights on offer will include raclette, cheese wheels, mozzarella sticks, halloumi fries and poutine. Plus, one imagines, a nice Cheddar if you're a pro-Brexiter and, therefore, 'not into all that foul-smelling foreign muck.'
A nineteen-year-old Arkansas man has pleaded very guilty to trying to steal a commercial plane so that he could fly to Chicago to attend a rap concert. The Texarkana Gazette reports that Zemarcuis Scott pleaded extremely guilty on Thursday to attempted theft of property and commercial burglary and was sentenced to five years of probation. Authorities have said that Scott was discovered on 4 July inside the cockpit of an American Eagle jet at Texarkana Regional Airport and that he explained up being nabbed by the fuzz that he had hoped to fly to an out-of-state concert. He had no training as a pilot. Police said he told investigators he thought piloting the plane would 'involve little more than pushing buttons and pulling levers.' In December, he was found extremely stupid but, nevertheless, just about mentally competent to stand trial. Authorities say that the forty four-seat jet wasn't damaged.
A North Carolina man is 'facing multiple charges' after being accused of attacking multiple women last Friday by 'thrusting his face into their buttocks.' Stefan Ryan Shuford, of Kernersville, was charged with assault on a female and sexual battery after being detained in the shopping centre. An officer from Kernersville police made the claims in an arrest affidavit, media outlet WGHP reported. The suspect allegedly approached three separate women from behind and 'forced his face into their rears.' In two of the cases, he allegedly 'licked them from behind without warning.' The 'probable cause filing' submitted by local police alleged that Shuford 'unlawfully and wilfully did assault and strike a female person by grabbing the victim's hips and thrusting his face into her buttocks, then pressed his tongue to her buttocks on the outside of her clothing.' The filing suggested that he did so 'for the purpose of sexual arousal and sexual gratification.' One alleged victim told WGHP that Shuford had followed her from the shopping centre parking lot to a store. WFMY-TV reported that after each attack Shuford 'fled on foot.' In court on Monday, the suspect's legal team claimed that he 'suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.' Although, exactly what those unfortunate afflictions have to do with a compulsion to rub your boat in a lady's bottom, they did not make clear. A representative for the local district attorney branded Shuford 'a danger to society,' WGHP reported. He remained in the Forsyth County Detention Centre on Sunday. The Winston-Salem Journal, a North Carolina newspaper, reported that Shuford had another brush with the law earlier in the month, on 11 January when he was charged with sexual battery for 'similar offences.' Kernersville Police Community Relations Officer Blake Jones told WGHP that the public should 'remain vigilant.' He said: 'Try and get away, get some separation from the person, tell them to stop. If you are in a retail store, be loud, be affirmative or very assertive with them. Tell them stop, get away.' He added: 'In this situation, there may not have been anything that the victims could have done differently. What you can do before you park your car is start looking at who is around you. When you walk into a store see if people are following you…see if anyone has taken an interest or a notice in you personally, that is going to be your number one indicator.'
A schoolboy had to have surgery to remove thirty nine magnetic balls from his penis after he shoved them up his urethra. The 'curious' twelve-year-old was left unable to urinate after inserting the string of small metal balls up his dong. X-ray images of the 'medical predicament' reportedly show the magnets lodged in a 'U' shape deep inside the boy's member. He was taken to Wuhan Children's Hospital in China on 13 January after he, allegedly, 'swallowed some foreign objects.' But Doctor Wang Jun - wasn't he the chap who advised us all to 'everybody have fun tonite'? - a urologist at the hospital, was 'shocked' and 'stunned' to discover thirty nine balls trapping the youngster's urinary tracts. He said: 'The boy was curious, so he put the Buckyballs into his penis.' Medical staff conducted a minimally invasive surgical procedure to get the balls out. Doctor Wang Jun added: 'It's impossible to pull the magnet balls out. The alignment of the balls would change if you try to pull it out along the tract.' Thanks to the medical staff, the boy is now able to wee-wee again and he - and his cock end - is said to be 'recovering' in hospital.
A Florida woman is facing child abuse charges after police claim she spanked other parents' children at a sleepover which she was hosting. 'One girl mentioned that she was hit in the knee with a wooden spoon and another one said that she was hit with a shoe,' Fred Jones of the Lake County Sheriff's Office told WESH. 'And then there was another victim who was held down so that she would not leave.' The Lake County Sheriff's Office says twenty nine-year-old Erin Pierce was hosting a sleepover when she started to beat the children there with a belt, a shoe and spoon, according to the Villages-News. Around twenty children were at the sleepover, according to WFTV9. Zabrina Tidball, who had two children at the sleepover, told WKMG that she 'can't imagine any parent doing that to a child.' Although, let's face it, some kids can be really annoying. 'She was kicking the kids,' Tidball told the TV station. 'She physically put her hands on them.' Caden Johnson, Tidball's twelve-year-old son, said that he was one of Pierce's spanking targets. 'She came out with a belt and told me to go and she started beating me as I was going out,' Caden told WKMG. A police report says that 'a few of the children said Pierce had been drinking at the time of the incident,' as reported by WFTV9. No shit? In an interview with police, Pierce allegedly told officers that she started to spank the children after one 'flipped her off,' WESH reported. One mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told WESH in an on-screen interview that her son 'came running home' from the sleepover. Pierce was released from Lake County Jail on a fifteen thousand dollar bond, according to the Villages-News. She is charged with false imprisonment and child abuse, according to WESH2. Now, Caden claimed that he is left with memories - and the bruises - from a sleepover-gone-bad. 'It hurt,' the boy told WKMG. 'She hit me worse than, like, anything.'
'Give me the money,' the thief said. 'I have a knife.' Only he wasn't holding a knife at the time. This was the curious case of a robbery that occurred in Prague's city centre on 20 December, when a purportedly-armed assailant entered a shop according to the website. The man, who has since been apprehended by police, waited in line until he was with the sales assistant. 'He turned to the woman behind the counter and said: "Give me the money,"' described Prague Police spokesperson Tomáš Hulan. 'He then he took his penis out of his pants and added, "I have a knife with me."' And, a willy, seemingly. The question of whether the thief had intended to brandish his own 'uge throbbing member to the member of staff is, it would seem, a matter of speculation. 'Whether the robber himself became confused in the heat of the moment and accidentally reached into his trousers elsewhere than intended is still unknown,' said Hulan. The, if you will, stick-up was at least initially successful. The sales assistant was so shocked that the crook managed to grab thousands of crowns from the register and make a clean getaway. Having, presumably, stuffed his bell-end back into his pants before trying to make a run for it. Afterwards, however, he was 'quickly apprehended.' And, police soon discovered that he had been running another scam on the streets of Central Prague. 'The accused claimed to be employed by a radio station that drove a promo car through the streets of the Prague every day, each time in different place,' Hulan said. 'And whoever spotted it would win a cash prize in the order of tens of thousands of crowns. The accused claimed to have information about where this car would be during the day, so there would be no problem finding it and winning.' Of course, he charged sums of up to a thousand crowns for this fraudulent information. Because police suspect the thief of running more scams in Prague, they have published his photo in local media and asked citizens to come forward if they have more information about his activities. Or, indeed, his cock.
A half-naked woman caught masturbating in public 'continued to pleasure herself' even after she was arrested, police say. Dovie Nickels, is accused of indecent exposure after she was 'cuffed without trousers' outside a hotel in Austin. She allegedly continued to masturbate in the back of police car after officers were called to the JW Marriott Austin hotel on Tuesday, according to court documents. A hotel worker told police that he saw her on the patio 'holding a silver object' to her genitals 'with her legs straight up in the air, spread open,' the Austin American Statesman reports. He added that he 'could hear Nickels making moaning noises,' the court documents added. When the staff member approached her to tell her to stop, Nickels allegedly shouted at him and asked if he wouldn't mind awfully going away. Only, you know, not in so many words. She then spent 'a further seven-to-eight minutes' masturbating outside the hotel - before moving to the terrace of the nearby Second Bar & Kitchen, it is claimed. Officers approached her as she sat outside the bar when she immediately stopped moving her arms under the table and placed them on top, police say. It was then that officers claim they 'observed that Nickels was not wearing any pants.'
And on a similar theme, a Haverfordwest man was caught masturbated in front of officers at the police station, days after being released from prison. John Hancox appeared from custody at Haverfordwest magistrates court on Wednesday 23 January. He pleaded extremely guilty to 'behaving in an indecent manner' by masturbating in the presence of officers at Haverfordwest police station. Hancox also admitted failing to notify police within three days of being released from prison, as he was required to as a relevant offender under the sexual offences act. He had pleaded guilty to touching a woman in a sexual manner on 13 August 2018. Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, told the court that Hancox brushed his hand across the woman's bottom on the day in question. She asked him not to and, shortly afterwards, saw him masturbating while looking at her. 'He admitted he had touched her bottom and accepted that that his penis was exposed, but denied he was masturbating and made some pathetic excuse that while he was adjusting his jogging-bottoms, his penis had fallen out,' Pritchard-Jones said, adding that Hancox had not notified police when he was released from prison on 16 January and he was re-arrested on 22 January. 'While being processed at the police station, on three occasions, he put his hand either in his pocket or down the front of his trousers and was masturbating.' The court heard that Hancox continued 'despite being told to stop.' He was remanded into custody until his next appearance on 22 February.
A South Carolina teenager has been accused of faking his own kidnapping in an - ultimately unsuccessful - attempt to extort his mother out of just over one hundred dollars, police say. Emmanuel Franklin, age nineteen, was arrested for blackmail on Thursday last week after attempting to carry out the vastly over-complicated scheme two days prior, local media outlet WLTX reported, citing information from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. An arrest warrant alleged the suspect had 'caused his mother to believe he would be killed by kidnappers' if she did not provide the cash demanded from her. The mother, who was not named by the sheriff's office, told deputies that she was contacted by telephone. On the call she heard her son and an unknown voice, who said one hundred and thirty dollars would have to be placed in a mailbox or her son's life 'would be at risk.' According to The State, a South Carolina-based newspaper, 'suspicions were raised after she recognised that the mailbox address belonged to the residence of Franklin's father.' WLTX reported that Franklin later admitted he had fabricated the whole tale to get one hundred and thirty dollars from his mother. It has not yet been explained why the teenager needed the money. Also remaining unclear was the identity of the second individual on the phone call. Under South Carolina's Code of Law, blackmail is currently defined as the 'intent to extort money or any other thing of value from any person' or 'threatening to do so.' If convicted, the crime is punishable with a maximum ten years in The Slammer and/or a financial penalty of up to five thousand bucks. In December last year, law enforcement officials in Illinois said suspect Mitchell Dutz, aged eighteen, made up a story about a thirteen-month-old baby boy being kidnapped by car thieves. It is alleged that he concocted the story to 'cover up a botched drug deal.' At the time, an Amber Alert was issued. Dutz subsequently pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to face trial next month. In September, a California woman was arrested after it emerged she had made false claims involving kidnapping and assault. Maria Gonzalez, claimed to have been attacked by two men in her car. In reality she fabricated the story to get out of paying nine thousand dollars to subcontractors of her trucking company, officers alleged.
A Florida man was apparently trying to steal Hydrocodone from a locked box, but the pills inside the bottle he stole did not match the label. Instead, he ended up with a handful of laxatives. According to an arrest affidavit, sixty nine-year-old Peter Hans Emery was seen by surveillance cameras going into a lockbox, selecting a pill bottle and pouring the pills into his hand. Pinellas Park police said that the bottle was labelled Hydrocodone Acetaminophen, but the bottle actually contained Equate Gentle Laxatives. Emery later allegedly admitted to stealing two pills he believed were Hydrocodone but said that he threw them away when he 'figured out they were something else.' According to the arresting officer, Emery retrieved two pills from a trash can to prove his story. He allegedly admitted he was not allowed to take the pills.
Unilever has said it is stockpiling Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Magnum bars ahead of the UK's departure from the European Union. So, thank God somebody's got their priorities sorted during this whole bloody mess. Now, we just have to hope there aren't any post-Brexit power cuts and they all, you know, melt. Chief executive Alan Jope said that the consumer goods giant was 'holding a few weeks' worth of extra stock' in case of disruption to supply chains. It follows admissions of Brexit stockpiling from other firms. Jope said that Unilever was also stockpiling deodorant in mainland Europe in case of Brexit-related delays. The firm's Leeds factory, which makes Sure, Lynx and Dove, supplies the whole of Europe, while its ice creams are produced on the continent. Jope added that the firm was 'building up stocks of the materials' used to package goods. 'We have built inventory on either side of the Channel,' Jope said. 'It's weeks of inventory - not months or days. If I was in the designer handbag business then I might have built further [inventory] cover but we're not, we are in fast-moving consumer goods and one of the things we have learned is, when you build inventory, it can end up being the wrong mix of product.' A number of companies have been stockpiling goods ahead of Brexit, including car-parts maker Robert Bosch, luxury goods firm LVMH and French drugmaker Novartis. Earlier this week, Sainsbury's, ASDA and McDonald's warned that stockpiling fresh food was impossible and that a no-deal Brexit would leave them short of stock. But the government said it has 'well established' ways of 'working with industry' to 'prevent disruption.' Although, rather typically, it did not reveal what these 'well established' ways of 'working with industry' actually were. Jope, who succeeded Paul Polman as Unilever's chief executive in November, said the company was 'preparing for various Brexit scenarios' but that a no-deal outcome would be the hardest to manage. 'We desperately hope that we don't end up in a tariff-laden environment,' he said.
Meat from endangered sharks is finding its way on to British menus, according to a study. DNA tests show that shark products destined for restaurants include two species vulnerable to extinction. Consumers may be unaware what shark they are eating and whether it is from a sustainable population, British scientists say. They may also not give a flying frig about such nonsense so long as the meat in questions tastes good. The UK is 'playing a continuing role' in the 'damaging trade in endangered shark species,' the scientists add. One of the two threatened sharks identified - the scalloped hammerhead - is subject to international restrictions. University of Exeter researchers say, despite the small number of samples studied, they have 'demonstrated' the sale of threatened sharks, highlighting the global nature of the damaging trade in endangered species. 'The discovery of scalloped hammerheads in shark fins that were destined to be sold in the UK highlights how widespread the sale of these endangered species really is,' Doctor Andrew Griffiths told the BBC News website. The research, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, examined both shark fins destined for restaurants and shark steaks sold in fishmongers and chip shops. Exactly which chip shops in the UK serve shark, they didn't say. This blogger rather wishes they had, however, as having read the report he now quite fancies a nice juicy endangered-shark steak. The report allegedly found that Squalus acanthias (spiny dogfish), a small shark classed as vulnerable to extinction, globally and, for one population in the North-East Atlantic, endangered, was the main shark being sold at chip shops, under the generic name huss, rock, rock salmon or rock eel. The shark was 'probably' imported from areas where stocks are sustainable and generic names are permitted - but the scientists say it is difficult for customers to tell exactly what type of shark they are eating and where it comes from. Or, indeed, care. 'It's almost impossible for consumers to know what they are buying,' said Catherine Hobbs, also of the University of Exeter. 'People might think they're getting a sustainably sourced product when they're actually buying a threatened species.' The scalloped hammerhead shark was identified among ten shark fins imported for the UK restaurant trade. The fins are often used to make soup, a celebratory dish in some Asian cuisines. Once shark meat is processed, it is difficult to tell which species it comes from. Therefore, the scientists carried out DNA tests to see what was entering the human food chain. They gathered more than one hundred samples from chip shops and supermarkets in Southern England. They also looked at dried shark fins imported into the UK. A type of DNA analysis, known as DNA bar-coding, gave an insight into the shark species on sale. A fragment of DNA can be matched with an online database known as the bar-code of life to identify the animal. Of the seventy eight samples on sale at chips shops in 2016 and 2017, about ninety per cent came from the spiny dogfish. Landing this shark is generally not permitted under EU rules, although those on sale were probably sourced from more sustainable stocks elsewhere, then imported and frozen, the scientists say. Of the thirty nine fresh and frozen samples obtained from fishmongers, about half were assigned to Mustelus asterias (starry smooth hound), a type of hound-shark. This shark is judged of least concern in terms of extinction risk. The Sphyrna lewini (scalloped hammerhead) was found in three of ten dried shark fins on sale in the UK. These may have been imported and stored before international restrictions came into force in 2014. This shark, which is not found in UK waters, is targeted for its fins and is in decline. Commenting on the study, Simon Walmsley, Chief Marine Adviser at WWF said: 'Endangered shark species shouldn't be ending up on people's plates as their weekend takeaway, particularly the spiny dogfish which is vulnerable and threatened with extinction.' Shark meat is eaten across the world and has been part of the human diet for many centuries. But between 2000 and 2011, global imports of sharks, skates, rays and other cartilaginous fishes rose by forty two per cent, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The international trade in twelve species is regulated because of concern over extinction risks. But there is debate among scientists over which - if any - sharks can be regarded as sustainable and harvested for food. 'Sharks are inherently more vulnerable to overfishing because they don't produce many eggs and they take a long time to reach maturity - to be able to produce offspring,' said Doctor Griffiths.
An air passenger who arrived in India from Thailand has been extremely detained at the airport after customs officers found a month-old leopard cub in his luggage. Suspicions were raised when officials heard noises coming from his bag, which was found to contain the cub hidden in a plastic grocery basket. The man had arrived at Chennai airport on Saturday on a flight from Bangkok. Authorities are investigating whether the suspect is part of an international smuggling ring or just an effing daft plank who thought he'd smuggle a leopard in 'for a laugh,' officials told AFP. The forty five-year-old, who has not yet been named, was said to have been 'evasive in his replies' when questioned about the contents of his luggage by customs officers. 'The animal was in a state of shock and was making trill sounds and appeared to be weak,' airport officials said. Footage captured at the airport showed officials bottle-feeding the leopard cub milk. Following an assessment by veterinarians, the cat was later taken to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai, where it will be cared for, India's NDTV reported.
A seventy nine-year-old woman has been sentenced to twenty eight days in The Joint following what officials have described as 'a campaign of intimidation' against her neighbours. Kathleen Neal, of Castle Donington, Leicestershire, sprayed weed killer and poured urine on to plants belonging to her neighbour, Susan Brookes. CCTV shows Neal pushing over her neighbour's plant pots, having removed a fence panel. She was extremely sentenced to a spell in The Pokey in her absence at Nottingham County Court on Monday. Neal was also ordered to pay legal costs of four thousand three hundred and twenty three notes after seven breaches of an injunction placed on her in 2016. Leicestershire Police said that a warrant had been issued and Neal had been very arrested earlier in the day. Brookes said that her neighbour had 'relentlessly' targeted her and husband Keith, since the year after they moved into the property in 2002. 'She certainly has been a neighbour from Hell,' Brookes claimed. 'For somebody who's seventy nine, she's pretty sprightly. She comes over as this poor little old lady but you should see her climbing over the five foot fence to get into our garden.' The court heard that Neal's catalogue of anti-social behaviour included trespassing on the Brookes property and 'conducting a campaign of silent phone calls' made from a pay-as-you-go mobile phone. She also deliberately lit smoky bonfires in her garden and caused criminal damage. 'It's been terrible,' Brookes told the BBC. 'Your whole life becomes about "what's she going to do next?" We haven't wanted to go away on holiday. Once when we were away she chopped down a tree and threw it into our garden. We've had to get CCTV and I have folders and folders of evidence about what she's done. I think the law needs to speed up a little bit in cases like this.' Brookes claimed she did not know what had sparked the harassment campaign but thought it 'might' have been prompted by Neal finding out that she used to live in a council house. 'This is the posh side of town,' she said. 'She used to say things to me like, "We don't want your sort around here."' Brookes said that the prison sentence had come as 'a relief. No-one wants to see an elderly lady go to prison but Mrs Neal has shown no remorse for her actions,' she said. 'My husband and I, therefore, now hope that the shock and shame of serving a short sentence in prison will finally change her ways.' Inspector Richard Jackson, from North West Leicestershire neighbourhood policing area, said: 'No-one should live in fear of their neighbour and unfortunately Neal has repeatedly refused to put a stop to her campaign.It is our hope that this sentence will finally put a stop to the behaviour which has blighted one family's lives for some considerable time.'
Some people with dwarfism say that they are not going to take it any more. They are standing up against 'dwarf tossing' and are making a big push to ban the practice in the state. For some nightclubs dwarf tossing, it is reported 'is seen as a real attraction.' It consists, as the name suggests, of throwing someone of short stature onto a mattress or a Velcro wall. For 'entertainment.' To many dwarfs, however, it is merely throwing away their dignity. 'This is so dangerous,' said Shoshana Kehoe Ehlers, a spokesperson with Little People of America who, clearly, feel this is a big issue. 'It's also really psychologically damaging to us as a community to be viewed this way.' Members of Little People of America took their message to the Washington state capitol, Olympia, on Thursday regarding how hurtful they consider the spectacle to be, inside and out. 'I'm a physical assault survivor and scared for my life,' testified Peter Reckendorf. He told a state senate committee that some people think those with dwarfism are 'all fair game' to be thrown around. 'I'm so scared to walk the streets of Washington state unknowing what's just around the corner. It's a difficult topic when it has affected you so directly.' This was a message also delivered by twelve-year-old Ayden Harris, who was born with dwarfism. 'To not do dwarf tossing,' he said. 'It's really bad for us LPs because it can really injure ourselves.' Ayden wants the focus to be on dwarfs as human beings. 'Dwarf tossing is hurtful and not fun,' he said. 'Dwarf tossing sends a message that bullying people who are smaller than you is okay. It's not.' So, he and others of diminishes statue, are standing tall regarding the matter. But, seemingly, there are those who believe this should be the choice of the little person involved in the tossing; people like 'Mighty' Mike Murga who makes a living being a tossed dwarf. After Mike was thrown at a strip club in Spokane, medical student Robert Eagle was deeply offended by the spectacle. '[It] made my heart sink,' he said. He contacted State Senator Mike Padden for a bill (SB-5486) to ban the practice. 'It comes down to basic common decency,' he said at the hearing. If passed Washington would join Florida and New York as the only states to ban such events. The bill has to be approved by the senate committee and full senate before being sent over to the House for hearings and a vote.
A woman, who 'behaved aggressively' and 'used force against two police officers' in Dubai was sentenced to six months in jail on Tuesday. According to public prosecution records, the thirty two-year-old Tajik woman was 'drunk' when she kicked a policewoman, grabbed her hand by force and insulted her. She also threatened to kill a police lieutenant. The woman, who was in Dubai on a visit visa, 'fiercely resisted' a woman officer as she did not want to be handcuffed and taken inside the police station. The Court of First Instance found the defendant very guilty of assaulting, verbally abusing, and threatening on-duty police officers and consuming alcohol without a licence and ordered her deportation after completing her jail term. A policeman said that he was on patrolling duty when he was 'informed about a problem' outside a residential building in Jebel Ali. 'When I reached the place, the security guard told me the defendant had arrived and was behaving erratically. She wanted to get inside even though she was not a resident.' The officer told the prosecutor that the woman 'looked drunk' and was shouting. 'She said she wanted to go inside the building to drink liquor. I told her it is a residential building and it does not have any place that serves alcohol. The woman would not listen as she was not sober. She would not leave either but was creating trouble.' The police sent a woman officer who took the accused in a patrol car. 'Outside the police station, another policewoman came out and as she was about to take her into custody, the defendant started to insult her and the police officers. She also poured water on her and on a police lieutenant,' the witness said. A policewoman said that she was assigned by the on-duty lieutenant to take the defendant out of the police car and get her inside the detention area. 'She was in a mess and heavily drunk. She was yelling hysterically and kept falling down. I was trying to help her stand up in vain. She asked for water then spit it from her mouth towards us. She would not let me handcuff her and take her inside. She used offensive language against us.'
A World War I-era German hand grenade has been found among a delivery of potatoes shipped from France to a crisp factory in Hong Kong, police say. The muddy device, which was three inches wide, was 'in an unstable condition' because it had been discharged but had failed to detonate, officials said. It was, therefore, not suitable to be used in the making of any potato-based snacks. It was discovered at the Calbee crisp-making factory in the Eastern Sai Kung district on Saturday morning. The bombe de terre, if you will, was safely detonated on site by bomb disposal officers. 'All the information to date suggests that the grenade was imported from France together with the other potatoes,' Superintendant Wong Ho-Hon told reporters. He added that the device was defused using a 'high-pressure water firing technique.' It is believed to have been dug up accidentally with potatoes planted in a field in France before being exported. 'The grenade was likely to have been left behind, dropped by soldiers there during the war, or left there after it was thrown,' Dave Macri, a military historian, told the South China Morning Post. Last year, thousands of people were forced to evacuate a busy commercial area of Hong Kong while police defused a 'severely damaged' World War II bomb found on a construction site. It was the second to be found in Hong Kong within the same week.
The popular board game Monopoly®™ has the power to bring families together but, in one particular case, it reportedly did exactly the opposite, leaving one person 'in need of stitches' in Kansas City, according to local law enforcement. Police Chief Terry Zeigler tweeted a brief description of the incident, writing that police were called to a home after a report was made of 'an aggravated battery.' Police report that the victim was playing a game of Monopoly®™ with his cousin when they 'engaged in an argument.' The cousin's girlfriend then hit the victim and 'shoved him into a mirror.' His injuries 'required stitches.' The suspect 'fled the scene' of the altercation and no arrests were made at the time - bringing a whole new meaning to 'Go to Jail.' Fighting over a game of Monopoly®™ is not an uncommon predicament for friends and family. According to a study performed in 2017 by the OnlineCasino website, nearly fifty per cent of the surveyed one thousand board-game-playing Americans said that they 'fought' while playing the game compared with the runner-up, Scrabble®™, which merely resulted in eighteen percent of games ending up with geet rive on with kids gettin' sparked an' aal sorts. Monopoly®™ also leads the polls in 'games most likely to cause hurt feelings' and 'games most likely to end with a flipped board or thrown pieces' by a wide margin.
A man in Florida has been accused of forcing a handgun into the mouth of a woman who had complained that he talked too much during a television show she was watching and had told him to hush his mouth. Booking records state Calvin Lindsey is now extremely facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery after being detained by officers at his home last Thursday. The suspect was held on one hundred and seventy five thousand dollars bond, Brevard County Sheriff's Office said. Florida Today reported that an argument over the allegedly talkative man ended with him retreating to a bedroom and closing the door. Police said that the woman entered the bedroom to get a blanket when she claimed to have heard the sound of a firearm being racked. She accused the man of trying to intimidate her. According to the arrest affidavit, the man pushed the woman to the ground and put the barrel of a nine millimetre handgun into her mouth. He allegedly said: 'You want to see intimidation?' Local media reported that the suspect tried to choke the victim and 'banged her head on the floor' of the residence. A shot was fired into the air, after which the woman managed to call nine-one-one. The man was taken to The County Jail by Palm Bay Police Department deputies. According to booking records he will next appear in court on 21 February, facing judge Rhonda Babb. Florida Today reported that Lindsey admitted to arguing with the woman, but claimed she was the one who had pointed the weapon at him. He said the gun fired 'by accident' during a struggle. Police noted that the woman had a broken tooth, which could have been evidence of the gun being forced into her mouth. The Palm Bay Daily noted that the weapon used in the altercation was a Sig Sauer nine millimetre. It was recovered at the residence along with a Mossberg shotgun. Citing the affidavit, the news outlet reported that the victim was left 'with visible bruises on her back and neck.' The Gainesville Sun reported that a second Florida man had been arrested on similar charges last Wednesday after placing a gun in his ex-girlfriend's mouth and threatening to kill her. Matthew Carter Wells was arrested after emerging from the woman's apartment. Specialised teams from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office attended the scene.
A porn actor who filmed himself and his ex-partner 'having a threesome' in front of passengers on the London Underground has been fined a thousand smackers. George Mason and Nicholas Mullan had The Sex with an - unknown - third man between Leicester Square and Waterloo stations, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard. It must have been a real quicky given that they're only two stops - Charring Cross and Embankment - apart and that journey, even on the notoriously unreliably Northern Line, usually only takes a maximum of three minutes. A video was subsequently posted on Twitter with the caption ' one hundred per cent genuine footage.' Mason, of Southwark, admitted outraging public decency. Mullan, from Belfast, was not fined but ordered to pay one hundred and seventy knicker in costs and carry out a twelve-month community order. And four Hail Mary's. Probably. The incident happened in July 2017, but it was not reported until February last year, when it was posted on Twitter. So, whatever public decency was outraged', in took a whilst - and some social media coverage - before it became evident to the fuzz, it would seem. Prosecutor Robert Simpson said 'the two men in the dock engaged in various sexual acts' on the Tube 'in the presence of the travelling public.' Simpson said: 'The incident is recorded by them and the video of what happened was subsequently uploaded on to Twitter, where another gay man saw it, thought that had crossed the line of what was acceptable behaviour and the incident was reported to the police.' An investigation discovered that the footage was posted to an account linked to Mason. Mullan was traced after another clip linked to an escort website in Northern Ireland, where he shared his mobile number under the name Toby. The third man was never traced. Defending both Mason and Mullan, Howard Cohen said that the video was recorded as the pair travelled back to Mason's flat 'after a day out.' He said: 'During the course of the journey, the idea came about that they would have sexual relations on the train.' Chairing the bench, Lucinda Lubbock described the offence as 'unpleasant and serious. The way it took place back in July, the seriousness of the offence, is exacerbated by the fact that it went on social media,' she said. 'We feel that this is a lesson to both of you. As your defence lawyer said, you have been humiliated in the court of social media.'
A elderly Oklahoma couple's 'sexual game turned horribly' wrong this week, as they accidentally burned their house to the ground with a seventy five-year old flamethrower. Firefighters were called on the site after receiving an unusual phone call but could do nothing to save the forty five-year old house from burning to the ground. Nancy Brown, the nine-one-one operator who answered the call from ninety six-year old Maurice Fogerty, says that she first thought she was dealing with pranksters when he told her that he had 'torched the house' with napalm while having The Sex with his wife. 'He told me he was penetrating his wife with his M1, as usual, but got too excited and activated the flamethrower.' Brown added that the explanation shocked her for a moment and it took her a while to realise that it was, actually, true. 'He kept repeating that everything was burning and I could hear his wife screaming behind him, but I still couldn't believe this could be real.' Fogerty and his wife were transported to the hospital to be treated for the psychological shock but were otherwise uninjured. They are unlikely to face any criminal charges, but may have problems when it comes to claiming their insurance policies, as damage caused by the use of weapons during sex games is rarely covered. A case involving a Gatling gun in 2004 and another involving a rocket launcher in 2011 have made their way to court and, in both cases, the insurance company didn't have to pay anything to the claimants.
Three New York City strip clubs were hit with a federal injunction recently after using supermodel Carmen Electra in an advertisement without permission. The former Baywatch 'actress' had joined a group of women who sued the owners of New York Dolls, Private Eyes Gentlemen's Club and Flashdancers Gentlemen's Club in 2015, but the clubs tried to put the blame on a third-party, claiming it was the responsibility of marketing contractors to secure the rights. Though she issued an injunction to Electra, US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald found that the ten lesser-known models and actresses who brought trademark claims as well are entitled to 'no relief.' 'These plaintiffs negotiated with a willing buyer and were paid the fair market value for any and all rights to the images,' Judge Buchwald wrote in a forty three-page ruling. 'To allow plaintiffs to be compensated a second time would be a clear windfall.' Buchwald declined to award Electra any compensation, however and she found little support for the claims of the other models that the use of their images 'defamed' them by depicting them as exotic dancers. 'At worst, the evidence shows that defendants failed to investigate the status of their or their contractors' rights to use plaintiffs' images which, in and of itself, is insufficient as a matter of law to prove actual malice,' she wrote. The only trademark claim that Buchwald found passed muster was Electra's. 'Electra's uncontroverted resume establishes that she has not just appeared in popular movies and television shows, but had regular and starring roles in them,' the opinion states. 'She is a recording artist that has released a self-titled album under a well-known record label. Brands and businesses have placed value in her appearances to the tune of millions of dollars. These achievements are indicia of a strong mark.' Earning five million bucks between 2009 and 2012, Electra's income towers over those of her co-plaintiffs: ranging from Sheena Lee Weber at four hundred dollars to Jesse Golden at ninety two thousand dollars in years where the women reported paychecks from modelling. 'Unlike plaintiff Electra, none of these other plaintiffs offered evidence of significant income earned through their various appearances,' the opinion states. Buchwald found that all of the women signed contracts granting 'unlimited use' of the images at issue, which appear as exhibits in the case docket. 'The clubs did not garner any additional profits from using plaintiffs' images and there is no evidence of an increase in revenue attributable to any special events that were promoted through the use of plaintiffs images,' the opinion adds.
A burglar who had sex with a corpse after breaking into a funeral parlour has been jailed for six years. Kasim Khuram had sex with a woman's body after lifting the lids of coffins at the Co-Operative undertakers in Great Barr, Birmingham, on 11 November. Khuram disturbed nine coffins 'during a drug-induced psychosis.' Sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Melbourne Inman QC said that the crimes 'offend all human sensitivity. I am not aware of - and nor have I been able to find - any similar case. It would be difficult to think of a greater deprivation of the dignity of the dead,' he said. Khuram forced his way into the parlour at about 3am while high on Mamba and PCP and after drinking vodka. He disturbed 'multiple coffins' and desecrated the bodies of two women. He was arrested and sectioned at the scene when police officers arrived, alerted by the parlour's alarm. Detective Chief Inspector John Askew from West Midlands Police described it as an 'horrendous and disturbing act.'Khuram wept as victim impact statements were read out in court and his defence barrister Joseph Keating claimed that he was 'deeply sorry' for his actions. The victims' families described him as a 'monster' who had 'twisted a knife' in their hearts. Khuram, who previously admitted sexual penetration of a body and burglary, was also ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years.
Two people from Michigan who met on a dating site and 'hooked up' for The Sex were extremely arrested following a police chase shortly after midnight on Thursday, Calhoun County Sheriff Department deputies said. A deputy saw a sedan and van speeding on in Pennfield Township at an estimated seventy miles per hour. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicles, but the car and van increased their speed and the deputy ended the pursuit. When he saw them again, sometime later, at Pennfield High School, both vehicles fled again. The sedan slid off the road and the driver, a twenty-year-old man from Battle Creek, was very arrested. The van travelled further but also slid off the road and the driver, a woman, aged twenty one, from Allegan, was arrested too. Deputies said the naughty couple had connected on a social media dating site, met in person for the first time and had The Sex in the van. The man then took money from the woman's purse and fled and she began to chase him. Deputies said the woman was 'still partially clothed' when she crashed her van. She was arrested for fleeing and eluding police and he was was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding, robbery, possession of counterfeit bills and other traffic offences. Both were taken to the Calhoun County Slammer.
A father and daughter from Nebraska have been charged with one count of incest after admitting to police about their sexy relationship. Travis Fieldgrove, thirty nine and his twenty one-year-old daughter, Samantha Kershner, were extremely arrested by Grand Island authorities on Wednesday, according to a statement from the police department, which noted that they became 'romantically involved' in September 2018, despite 'being aware of their biological relationship before being intimate.' Kershner allegedly told officials that she wanted to have The Sex with Fieldgrove because she was 'in a jealous competition with her half-sister' regarding who could have The Sex with their father, according to a court affidavit, obtained by the Omaha World-Herald, ABC-NTV and the Lincoln Journal Star. Kershner also told police that she learned of her father's identity nearly four years prior after asking her mother to introduce her to Fieldgrove. On 1 October, Kershner and Fieldgrove got married at the Adams County Courthouse in Hastings. Nebraska courthouses no longer require blood testing prior to obtaining a marriage license. Although, the fact that they once did is slightly alarming. Both Fieldgrove and Kershner are being held in the Hall County Jail.
The man who discovered that the painkiller ibuprofen worked when he cured his own hangover has died aged ninety five. Doctor Stewart Adams was involved in ten years of trials of the drug and endured a seven-year wait for it to be approved as a prescription. He had joined the research department at Boots after studying pharmacy at the University of Nottingham. In 2015, Doctor Adams told the BBC that taking the drug for the first time gave him a clear head to deliver a speech. His son Chris confirmed his father had died on Wednesday. Professor Kevin Shakesheff, from the University of Nottingham, said Adams's career and contribution to patients was 'inspiring. He is remembered for his successes in creating one of the most important painkillers in world but, as with many inspirational people, he had to bounce back from failures in earlier clinical trials before he and his team created ibuprofen,' he said. 'His life is a reminder to everyone in Nottingham that we can change the world through the work we do in our local companies, hospitals and universities.' Doctor Adams, who was born in 1923 in Byfield, left school aged sixteen and started an apprenticeship in a retail pharmacy run by Boots. This led to a degree in pharmacy at the University of Nottingham followed by a PhD in pharmacology at Leeds University, before he returned to the research department at Boots Pure Drug Company Ltd in 1952. Doctor Adams had been honoured for his research, with an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Nottingham, and two blue plaques from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He remained with Boots for the rest of his career, becoming head of pharmaceutical sciences. He told the BBC in 2015 what he was most pleased about was that hundreds of millions of people worldwide are now taking the drug he discovered.
Dick Miller, the veteran character actor best known for his role as Murray Futterman in the 1984 film Gremlins, has died at the age of ninety. Miller made hundreds of screen appearances during a career that spanned six decades. One of his first screen roles was in Roger Corman's 1955 western Apache Woman. The US actor went on to appear in films like The Terminator, Piranha and the original 1960 version of The Little Shop Of Horrors. Dick was born in The Bronx on Christmas Day December 1928. He served in the US Navy before attending the City College of New York and Columbia University. An aspiring writer-turned-actor, he collaborated with director and producer Corman on more than twenty films. Though he was usually a supporting actor, he had a rare starring role as the artist and murderer Walter Paisley in Corman's 1959 horror, A Bucket Of Blood. The Walter Paisley name would follow Miller throughout his career. In 1976, Gremlins director Joe Dante made his directorial debut with Hollywood Boulevard. Dante decided to name Miller's character Walter Paisley as a nod to Corman, the film's producer and Dante's mentor. Miller became a regular in Dante's films, playing characters named Walter Paisley in almost all the films they made together. They include 1981 werewolf classic The Howling. Dante broke with the tradition in 1984, giving Miller one of his most memorable roles - the drunk Murray Futterman - in Gremlins. Futterman was a World War II veteran who is paranoid about anything made abroad. Although the character appeared to be killed when gremlins drove a snow plough through his house, Miller returned to the role for 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Dante paid tribute to Miller in a series of tweets on Thursday, describing him as 'one of my best friends and most treasured collaborators.' The list of directors Miller would eventually work with included James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. He appeared in Cameron's The Terminator in 1984, playing a gun shop owner who shows Arnold Schwarzenegger's cyborg his range of weapons. As well as having more than one hundred and seventy movies to his name, Miller made more than two hundred television appearances. He notably played the role of Lou Mackie in 1980s TV series Fame. A documentary of his life, called That Guy Dick Miller, was made in 2014, in which he received praise from such co-stars as Gremlins' Corey Feldman. Miller's final film role was in Hanukkah, which has yet to be released. In it, he once again plays a character named Walter Paisley. Dick reportedly died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday, with his wife Lainie, daughter Barbara and granddaughter Autumn by his side. In a statement Miller's family said: 'His sense of humour and the unique way he looked at the world won him many lifelong friends and worldwide fans.'
Clive Swift, familiar to millions as Hyacinth Bucket's hen-pecked husband Richard in BBC1's absolutely unfunny but bafflingly popular 1990s sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, has died aged eighty two. Clive, who spent ten years at the RSC before breaking into television, also acted in such series as Peak Practice, Born & Bred and The Old Guys. He spent six years playing Richard opposite Patricia Routledge. The role saw him patiently tolerate her ham-fisted and invariably thwarted (not to mention laugh-free) attempts at social climbing. Off-screen Clive co-founded The Actors Centre, a meeting place for members of his profession in Central London. Born in Liverpool in 1936, the son of Lily Rebecca and Abram Sampson Swift. His late elder brother, David, was also a fine actor - probably best known for his role in the long-running sitcom Drop The Dead Donkey. Both brothers were educated at Clifton College and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where Clive read English literature. He was previously a teacher at LAMDA and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. During the 1970s, he appeared as Doctor Black in two of the BBC's MR James ghost story adaptations The Stalls Of Barchester and A Warning To The Curious. Swift also starred in the BBC adaptation of The Barchester Chronicles and played Sir Ector, the adoptive father of King Arthur in John Boorman's 1981 movie Excalibur. Swift's many roles included a small part in Alfred Hitchcock's 1972 film Frenzy. Many years later, he would play Hitchcock himself in a BBC radio play, Strangers On A Film. In the 1960's he made his first appearance on television appearing in Theatre Night. He had regular roles in the BBC Comedy series Dig This Rhubarb. Regular TV roles followed including playing Major Bagstock in Dombey & Son, and Albert Benbow in Clayhanger. Clive made two of appearances in Doctor Who, most recently in the 2007 episode Voyage Of The Damned. He had previously appeared in 1985's Revelation of The Daleks. His CV also included appearances in Compact, Knock On Any Door, Catch Us If You Can, Public Eye, The Expert, The Wednesday Play, Thirty-Minute Theatre, The Liver birds, Death Line, Dead Of Night, The Pearcross Girls, The Frighteners, South Riding, The Brothers, Beasts, Play For today, Nineteen Ninety, Send In The Girls, A Horseman Riding By, Hazell, The Nesbitts Are Coming, Cribb, Tales Of The Unexpected, A Passage To India, First Among Equals, Inspector Morse, Minder, Shelley, Boon, Aristocrats, Little Crackers and Midsomer Murders. In addition to acting, Clive was also a songwriter. Many of his songs were included in his stage show, Richard Bucket Overflows: An Audience with Clive Swift, which toured the UK in 2007 and Clive Swift Entertains, in 2009. According to his agent, the actor died at his home on Friday after a short illness, surrounded by his family. Clive was married to the novelist Margaret Drabble from 1960 to 1975. He was father of one daughter, Rebecca (who died in April 2017), known for running The Literary Consultancy in London and two sons, Adam Swift, an academic, and Joe Swift, the popular TV gardener.
The comedian, broadcaster and social commentator Jeremy Hardy, a regular on Radio 4 panel shows like The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, has died of cancer aged fifty seven. His death was confirmed on Friday by his publicist, Amanda Emery. Jeremy made his name on the comedy circuit in the 1980s, winning the prestigious Perrier Award in 1988 and best live act at the ITV Comedy Awards in 1991. On TV he appeared on shows like Qi and sketch programme Now - Something Else. In a statement, Jeremy's publicist said that he had died early on Friday and was with his wife and daughter when he died. 'He retained to the end the principles that guided his life; trying to make the world more humane and to be wonderfully funny,' Emery continued. 'He will be enormously missed by so many, who were inspired by him and who laughed with him. A fitting memorial will take place, details to be announced soon.' Radio 4 expressed sadness at the loss of 'one of the funniest people around.' Speaking to the BBC on Friday, the impressionist Rory Bremner remembered his friend as 'a kind and compassionate man' who 'cared more for people and causes than fame and fortune. He was unique in the way he delivered thoughtful, intelligent comedy,' he continued, revealing that Jeremy had been ill 'for a few months' and that 'very few people' had known about it. Another close friend, Jack Dee told the BBC that Hardy 'spoke fluent comedy,' adding: 'He could take any subject and make it funny.' When asked if he could recall a moment that stood out, he said: 'I remember dropping him at the hospital at one of his earlier appointments. He told the staff: "This is my friend Jack, he's on work experience for when he gets cancer!"' Born in Farnborough in Hampshire, in 1961, Jeremy studied modern history and politics at the University of Southampton before embarking on his stand-up career. From the outset, he worked his socialist politics into his topical act. He made his television debut in 1986 in Now - Something Else, also an early vehicle for Bremner. Hardy was a featured writer and also played the role of Jeremy the Trainee. Jeremy also appeared as Corporal Perkins in an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth in 1989. Seven years later, he presented an episode of Top Of The Pops. In 1996, Jeremy teamed up with Jack Dee to write the Channel Four sketch show Jack & Jeremy's Real Lives. The pair would later work together again on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. Hardy became well-known for his comically bad singing on the long-running radio panel game. He also fronted Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation, a series of comedy lectures for Radio 4, from 1993. Episodes were based around subjects as diverse as how to be a father and how to meet the challenge of the Twenty First Century. The show's tenth series was broadcast in 2014. He appeared on Radio 4 with his first wife, the American actress and comedian Kit Hollerbach, in the sitcoms Unnatural Acts and At Home With The Hardys. They adopted a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1990. Jeremy's political views were often reflected in his work. Until 2001, he wrote a column for the Gruniad Morning Star in which he regularly expressed his support for the Socialist Alliance. His final column for the paper criticised the news media for its 'increasingly humorous tone.' His opinions didn't always prove popular with his audience. In 2000, he was booed by members of the Just A Minute audience when he used the subject 'parasites' to begin a - very funny - rant against the royal family. In 2004, Burnley Council cancelled one of Jeremy's performances after saying in an episode of his Speaks To The Nation show that members and supporters of the British National Party 'should be shot.' Jeremy was also a keen advocate for the rights of Palestinians, travelling to the occupied West Bank in 2002 to film the documentary Jeremy Hardy Versus The Israeli Army. He is survived by his second wife, the film-maker and photographer Katie Barlow, and his daughter, Elizabeth.