Sunday, August 11, 2019

For God's Sake, Let Us Sit Upon The Ground & Tell Sad Stories Of The Death Of Kings

Rumours were swirling across the Interweb earlier in the week like a big fek-off swirly thing, you might have noticed; there's nothing unusual in that, of course it kind of goes with the territory. But, these particular rumours were claiming that Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall had quit the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama, dear blog reader. Further - entirely unsubstantiated - additional rumours suggested that yer actual Jodie Whittaker had 'departed in sympathy' with her, now seemingly former, boss. It should be noted that this blogger had, at the time, no idea whether these stories were true or not (although he knew what he suspected). But, he also knew that, according contemporary unsubstantiated Interweb rumours, David Tennant was about to be sacked during his first series of Doctor Who (and to be replaced by James Nesbitt) because his performance was claimed to be 'disastrously bad.' And, so was Matt Smith. And, so was Peter Capaldi. Twice. It's odd how pretty much exactly the same rumour - with some minor variants - goes around during either the first or the second series of every Doctor. In fact, a variant of this rumour was actually doing the rounds during the production of last year's series. If one didn't know better one might almost conclude that someone - with, perhaps, an agenda of some description to push - was 'making shit up.' But, that would never happen in a place as totally sane and balanced as Doctor Who fandom, would it?
    Radio Times soon reported that the current rumours appeared to have originated 'on a popular Doctor Who message-board' (so, that'll be Gallifrey Base presumably) before 'being spread on social media platforms.' In other words, therefore, these shenanigans began as a claim on Gally Base and were then picked by 'some people on Twitter.' Oh well, it was definitely true in that case. Of course, that part of the Interweb occupied by fandom, promptly lost its collective shit. It was quite a sight to behold, dear blog reader; truly, you should've been there. 'From what I read the bigwigs at the beeb has seen rough cuts of S12 and wasn't happy so either he's quit or gone and reshoots are to be done and the special also has yet to be shot,' claimed one person on Facebook. When this blogger asked the chaps in question where, exactly, he read these claims, whom they was written by and, where they had gained the information from, any specifics were in remarkably short supply. 'This is how rumours spread,' this blogger noted, somewhat wearily. '"From what I've read ..."' A further rumour quickly appeared stating that the BBC would be 'making a statement,' presumably about whom was to be taking over from The Chib and Jodie at 2.30pm on Thursday, prompting several, 'well, there must be some truth in all this if they're making a statement,' type comments. Again, this blogger attempted to calm some frayed nerves. 'So, ergo, if they're not making a statement, which it appears they aren't since 2.30 has been and gone, then there's likely to be no truth in it?' Rumours happen, this blogger added. 'When they do, it's usually a good idea to take a deep breath, remember that - nine time out of ten - we've been here before and relax.' He added that: 'If what starts as a Doctor Who fan rumour (and, then gets repeated on Twitter) stated there was a "y" in the day, I'd probably still want a second opinion before trusting it.' There was some speculation that 'since the BBC haven't made a statement, we need to wait,' to confirm that the rumours were untrue. 'Wait for what?' this blogger wondered. 'If this isn't true - which, I strongly suspect it isn't (although, I have no inside knowledge on this, I'm just going on instinct) - then the BBC won't make a statement. This is a rumour emerging from Doctor Who fans, barely a week goes by without one of those occurring.' This blogger also asked those worried by this malarkey when was the last time they could remember the BBC issuing a statement with regard to either confirming or denying a fan rumour. The only time that Keith Telly Topping can remember such a statement ever being issued was when Chris Eccleston left the production (one of the few occasions where what started as a Doctor Who fan rumour turned out to be in the slightest bit accurate). That was fourteen years ago. As previously noted, variants on this rumour (the Jodie part, specifically) went round during Tennant's first series, Smudger's first series, Peter's first and second series and Jodie's first series. On none of those occasions did the BBC issue a statement to say, effectively, 'this is all crap.' Even though they probably wanted to. But, if they started doing that, they'd never stop to do anything else - like make the sodding programme in the first place. 'If there is any truth in this - and there's just a vague possibility there may be, though I doubt it - then we will know very soon,' this blogger told his nervous Interweb chums. 'And, it will be news announced all over the place, not on Gallifrey Base and then repeated on Twitter.' 'I think its pretty obvious something isn't right within the Doctor Who circle,' one chap wrote on Facebook. 'There is,' this blogger confirmed. 'It's called Doctor Who fandom.'
      Soon enough, Radio Times reported that 'there is no truth in the speculation about Chibnall and/or Whittaker's departures, with show insiders bewildered by false rumours that they say bear little resemblance to the reality of series twelve filming.' Something that 'bears little resemblance to reality' emerging from Doctor Who fandom? What were the chances? 'This is all total nonsense,' one allegedly well-placed - although, anonymous - alleged Doctor Who 'source' allegedly told Radio Times. 'This has originated and spread through the online rumour mill.' So, that's that sorted, then. Rumours of their departure appear to have been greatly exaggerated. However, what this blogger thought was particularly sinister in this case wasn't so much the original rumour - as noted, this is the sort of thing which crops up regularly - but, rather, the sheer glee with which it was spread - and sneered about - by those who, for whatever reason have issues with the current production. Then again, dear blog reader, this is Doctor Who fandom we're talking about, there are some very odd people inhabiting its darker corners. Though, to be fair, at least the chaps at the excellent On The Lash website did get a rather marvellous parody 'news story' out of this cock and bull malarkey. Which made this blogger laugh. Lots. 'Doctor Who has been run by fans who actually know how to run a television show for far too long. Now's the time for it to be run by fans who don't have a fucking clue how TV works or how to verify news stories. Good luck!' You couldn't make it up. Well, you could and, indeed, someone did.
National heartthrob yer actual David Tennant has confirmed that he 'would be interested' in a return to Doctor Who if he was to be asked to step back in to the TARDIS for the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama's sixtieth anniversary. He was speaking as part of an exclusive interview that was shown in US theatres as part of a special tenth anniversary screening of his final episodes, the two-part The End Of Time. Whilst David's would be thrilled to see him return as The Doctor David pointed out that the decision for any return is out of his hands. 'People ask me this like it's in my gift, like it's my decision when I'll just stroll back out on set and go, "Right. Turn Over. Here I am." It doesn't really work like that.' But he did admit that he would love to team up with current Doctor Jodie Whittaker and fellow ex-Time Lords Christopher Eccleston, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi. 'It would be fun to do. Jodie and Peter and Matt are all mates now. It'd be wonderful to be on set with them. Chris, I don't know as well, but I'm a huge admirer of him and I've always enjoyed meeting him, so it'd be fun if we were all on set together. I suppose the opportunity has historically been there for Doctors to return to an extent. There would come a point where I wouldn't be able to get away with it. I wouldn't be able to fit in the suit or get my hair to stand up at the end like I used to. There's a sixtieth anniversary in a few years and the question will inevitably come up. But it won't be for me to decide.'
As reported on the last bloggerisationism update, The Doctor is heading to HBO Max after the WarnerMedia streaming service picked up the streaming rights to Doctor Who. Which is jolly good news, of course - anything that gets the show new viewers is to be celebrated. However, one line in the press release announcing this did rather shock (and stun) this blogger's brain. 'Doctor Who is one of television's all-time, most beloved series, on both sides of the pond ...' said Kevin Reilly, the Chief Content Officer of HBO Max. That is, indeed, a factually accurate statement in 2019, dear blog reader. Despite the odd sneers you'll still hear from committed 'not we's' - and, indeed, from some of the darker corners of its own fandom (see above) - these days Doctor Who is, indeed, 'cool'. In a world where many one-time geeks, nerds and anoraks are now running multinational companies and shaping influence (not least, by being in charge of the production of television shows like Doctor Who!), it is now socially acceptable to call yourself a Doctor Who fan. Though it is not and never will be social acceptable to call yourself a 'Whovian' and anyone that does needs to be slapped, hard, and repeatedly until they promise never to do it again. These days, programmes like Qi and Only Connect gleefully celebrate the world of Doctor Who - and the world of Doctor Who fandom - Middle Class hippy Communists at the Gruniad and the Independent (and Middle Class hippy neo-Conservatives at the Torygraph) are perfectly happy to write gushing fanboy-and/or-girl-esqe articles and reviews of the kind that would, once upon a time, only have found an audience in the pages of photocopied A5 fanzines with a readership in the dozens rather than the hundreds of thousands. But, some of us with zimmer frames can remember a time - and it wasn't all that long ago in the great scheme of things - when declaring 'I'm a Doctor Who fan' at any sort of social gathering was, roughly, the equivalent of saying: 'Hello, I have leprosy; you might want to step back and avoid touching me if you want to live.' This blogger is certainly not unhappy about the change - good heavens, far from it - and he delights in the current popularity and whatever perceived 'coolness' that the production has acquired post-2005. It just amuses him whenever he catches someone talking about Doctor Who as though it has always been regarded in the UK - and elsewhere - in the same breath as Shakespeare, Dickens, The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them), David Bowie, Ian Fleming and Arthur Conan Doyle. Because, despite what Kev Reilly of HBO Max may claim, it most certainly wasn't always thus. Here endeth the latest episode of History Today, dear blog reader. See that Doctor Who? You love that, you do. And so does you mum ...
Of course, the flip side of all this is that now Doctor Who is - legally - 'cool', members of fandom are now allowed to sneer, in a thoroughly sneeringly sneerish manner, at all of those who once sneered at them. For being, you know, spazmos. Sorry, you sneerers, but it's The Law and we have to comply.
Game Of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss have signed a deal with Netflix, the streaming giant has said. Variety reported that Netflix won a 'three-way bidding war that had recently narrowed from the six major studios to Netflix, Amazon and Disney.' Netflix boss Ted Sarandos said that he was 'thrilled to welcome' the 'master storytellers.' Benioff and Weiss added how 'grateful' they were to HBO, the US network that broadcast Game of Thrones. HBO is also going to broadcast the forthcoming Game Of Thrones prequel, which will be shown in 2020. 'We've had a beautiful run with HBO for more than a decade and we're grateful to everyone there for always making us feel at home,' Benioff and Weiss added. They explained that they had 'found common ground' with Netflix executives, including Sarandos, after talking to them in recent months. 'We remember the same shots from the same eighties movies; we love the same books; we're excited about the same storytelling possibilities,' they said. 'Netflix has built something astounding and unprecedented and we're honoured they invited us to join them.' Variety said that no financial amount was mentioned for the development deal. But it added that similar deals between Netflix and figures including Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes were 'said to have been worth nine figures.' In July, Netflix revealed it had attracted fewer paid subscribers than expected in the previous three months, blaming price rises. Shares in the company sank ten per cent after it added 2.7 million new customers worldwide in the April to June period, well below expectations. And, astonishingly, it also got a couple of bad reviews from the Gruniad Morning Star whose box-set loving journalists normally have their tongues rammed so far up Netflix's collective chuff that there's no room for anyone else to get in there. Benioff and Weiss have had huge success with Game Of Thrones, earning forty seven EMMY awards and one hundred and sixty nominations for the adult fantasy drama - which is up for a further thirty two EMMYs next month. Benioff and Weiss are also producing and writing a Star Wars trilogy and are reportedly set to adapt prison break drama Dirty White Boys for FOX.
Peaky Blinders fan art will be used to promote the show's fifth series across the BBC it had been reported. Submissions from more than a thousand fans around the world were whittled down to sixteen, which have been commissioned by the show's creators. The commissions 'are all about celebrating and giving recognition to the Peaky Blinders fans,' said Emma Brooke, from BBC Creative. The show's fifth series, set in 1920s Birmingham, will be broadcast on BBC1 'soon.' Although, the Beeb still haven't announced when, exactly. 'I entered the competition on a whim and didn't really expect anything to come from it,' said Holly Reynolds, from Birmingham. The twenty one-year-old illustrator, who binged on the show while studying in Worcester, said: 'The accents made me feel like I was at home. It feels a bit surreal,' she added, when her portrait of Tommy Shelby - chosen as her subject for his complex character - was commissioned. The BBC has confirmed this week that the popular period crime drama will return on 25 August on BBC1.
The semi-regular From The North TV Comedy Line Of The Week award goes to Alan Davies on the - long-delayed - Past Times episode of Qi XL which was, finally, broadcast on Friday. It occurred during a round concerning time and perceptions of its passage: 'I was flipping through the telly the other day and I stumbled upon Jim Davidson being interviewed by Piers Morgan,' noted Al. 'And, the time it took me to change the channel felt like the equivalent of four years!'
From The North favourites Richard E Grant and Mark Gatiss and the author Helen Fielding are to front programmes in a year-long 'celebration of literature' on the BBC. So, two of those at least should be worth watching. Oscar-nominated actor Grant will visit locations that have inspired writers in France, Italy and Spain for a three-part documentary on BBC4. Fielding will mark the twenty fifth anniversary of her comic creation Bridget Jones in Being Bridget. And, a spin-off from BBC1's new Dracula adaptation will see co-author Gatiss trace the influence of Bram Stoker's titular character. Noted Gothic-horror fan Gatiss, who has co-written the drama with The Lords Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), will front the documentary titled In Search Of Dracula, looking at the character's origins and legacy. It will also include a reunion of seven Hammer brides of Dracula. Other highlights in the year include: BBC2's three-part series The Novels That Shaped Our World which will focus on how fiction has reflected and shaped society over three hundred years - in the areas of empire and slavery, women's voices and class experience. There will also be a Novels That Shaped Our World Festival in collaboration with libraries and reading groups. BBC2 will tell the story of Michael Bond and his greatest creation, Paddington Bear. Artist Gillian Wearing will celebrate George Eliot in a BBC4 documentary for the bicentenary of her birth, while five contemporary writers will do the same in a series on Radio 4. Eliot's masterpiece Middlemarch will be adapted for Radio 4 and Radio 3 will re-examine The Mill On The Floss. David Olusoga will chart the rise of the African novel for BBC4. There will also be programmes focusing on the work of Hilary Mantel and the late Toni Morrison. BBC Arts acting director Lamia Dabboussy said: 'We're hoping to get the nation reading, re-reading and debating novels through this year-long focus on literature across the BBC.'
President Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the - failed - 1999 impeachment proceedings it led to are to be dramatised on US television. The latest series of American Crime Story will be broadcast in the run-up to next year's presidential erection. Lewinsky is among the 'producers' on the FX show, which follows previous series devoted to the OJ Simpson trial and the murder of Gianni Versace. Booksmart actress Beanie Feldstein will play Lewinsky in the drama. Sarah Paulson will play Linda Tripp, the civil servant who secretly recorded Lewinsky's private phone calls about her affair with the president and snitched about them to the media. It is not yet known who will play Bill and Hillary Clinton in the show, which will be based on a 2000 book by Jeffrey Toobin. In a statement given to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky said that she was 'hesitant' and 'more than a little scared' to be involved in the Ryan Murphy production. But, presumably, she subsequently changed her mind when she read the cheque. She claimed that she had come around to the idea after 'a lengthy dinner' with the American Horror Story producer and now felt 'privileged to have this opportunity.' And, richer, obviously. 'People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades,' she continued. 'It wasn't until the past few years that I've been able to fully reclaim my narrative. I'm so grateful for the growth we've made as a society that allows people like me who have been historically silenced to finally reintroduce my voice to the conversation.' Speaking on Tuesday, FX chairman John Landgraf defended the decision to premiere the show just as the US prepares to go the polls. 'I don't think Crime Story is going to decide the next presidential election,' he told journalists in Los Angeles. The network boss also confirmed that he would not be 'reaching out' to the Clintons in order to seek their input. Lewinsky, now forty six, was twenty two when she became romantically involved with Clinton. The former president was impeached for perjury - and subsequently acquitted by Congress - after denying that he had 'had relations' with Lewinsky. Last year Lewinsky said that Clinton's actions had been 'a gross abuse of power' and that he had 'enough life experience to know better.' Impeachment: American Crime Story will premiere in the US on 27 September 2020.
A JRR Tolkien 'expert' - for, such people do, indeed, exist - working on Amazon's forthcoming multi-series adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings has claimed that the retail and streaming giant has been refused permission by the estate to use the bulk of the book's plot. In November 2017, Amazon beat Netflix to a two hundred million quid deal with the Tolkien estate, HarperCollins and Warner Brothers to acquire the rights to the fantasy novel and is reportedly spending around a billion bucks on the adaptation. Details were scarce at the time of the announcement, but Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon's head of scripted programming, promised 'a new epic journey in Middle-Earth.' Tolkien 'scholar' Tom Shippey, who is supervising the show's development, told the German fansite Deutsche Tolkien that the estate has 'refused' to allow the series to be set during any period other than the Second Age of Middle-Earth. This means Amazon's adaptation will not cross over at all with events from the subsequent Third Age, which were dramatised in Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning trilogy and sees the hobbit Frodo Baggins destroy The One Ring. Spanning three thousand four hundred and forty one years, the Second Age begins after the banishment of the Dark Lord Morgoth and ends with the first demise of Sauron, Morgoth's servant and the primary villain in The Lord Of The Rings novel, at the hands of an alliance of elves and men. Shippey said that Amazon 'has a relatively free hand' to add details since Tolkien 'did not flesh out every detail' of the Second Age in his appendices or Unfinished Tales, a collection of stories published posthumously in 1980. But Shippey called it 'a bit of a minefield - you have to tread very carefully,' saying that 'the Tolkien estate will insist that the main shape of the Second Age is not altered. Sauron invades Eriador, is forced back by a Númenórean expedition, is returns to Númenor. There he corrupts the Númenóreans and seduces them to break the ban of the Valar. All this, the course of history, must remain the same. But, you can add new characters and ask a lot of questions, like: What has Sauron done in the meantime? Where was he after Morgoth was defeated? Theoretically, Amazon can answer these questions by inventing the answers, since Tolkien did not describe it. But it must not contradict anything which Tolkien did say. That's what Amazon has to watch out for. It must be canonical, it is impossible to change the boundaries which Tolkien has created. It is necessary to remain "Tolkienian."' Amazon's The Lord Of The Rings series is predicted to start production in 2020. An official release date has yet to be announced, but Shippey revealed that it would span twenty two episodes.
Amir Arison is reported to be 'teasing a jaw-dropping start' to From The North favourite The Blacklist's seventh series. Which you can read about here. But, beware, potential spoilers are ahoy if you're bothered about that sort of thingy.
Whilst fans of the original comic wait, impatiently, to see if Netflix's forthcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman's masterpiece The Sandman will be faithful to the source material and do it justice (ala Doom Patrol) or, completely shag it up in the most embarrassing way imaginable (as in just about every other comics adaptation ever attempted), check out the Comic Book Resources website's highly speculative but fundamentally well-written Ten Characters We Hope To See In Netflix's Sandman. The author, Shawn Lanlos, some how managed to miss Lyta Hall and Calliope off his list but, including such fan favourites as Matthew The Raven, Cain and Abel, Hob Gadling, Will Shakespeare and Death more than makes up for the omissions.
Lesley Manville has joined the cast of Lennie James' Sky Atlantic series Save Me for its second series. 'I couldn't be more delighted to be joining this phenomenal series,' Manville said. 'Save Me was a major highlight of 2018, a testament to Lennie James' writing and acting and the exceptional cast and creative team.' Manville will play Jennifer, the wife of Gideon Charles. Jennifer is forced to make an almost impossible choice that will place her in direct conflict with Nelly, following the return of the vulnerable girl, Grace (played by Olive Gray), who Nelly rescued whilst searching for his own daughter Jody. Created by James, Save Me tells the story of Nelson Rowe and his search for Jody, his missing daughter. The drama series is produced by World Productions and stars James, Suranne Jones, Stephen Graham, Thomas Coombes, Kerry Godliman, Nadine Marshall, Susan Lynch and Jason Flemyng. Lizzie Rusbridger is the series producer, while Jim Loach and Coky Giedroyc are directing. Filming on the second series is reportedly due to get underway this month ahead of a 2020 premiere. The second series will pick up fourteen months after the events of the first, which saw Nelly left devastated after his desperate search for Jody proved unsuccessful. He had been dragged into a dangerous underworld, taken risks that had proved precarious for himself and those closest to him and challenged Nelly to re-evaluate many of the decisions he had made about his life, all to find Jody. Now, fourteen months down the road, is he still looking for her? And if new evidence were to emerge, what would it force Nelly and those close to him to do next? 'The first series of Save Me was an absolute must-see, showcasing bold, British drama at its finest. The show really has been part of a step change for Sky drama, alongside Patrick Melrose and Chernobyl, achieving widespread critical acclaim as well as an army of fans,' said Sky's Director of Drama Cameron Roach, who commissioned the show's second series. 'We're thrilled to now bring our viewers the second series of this unique story, to see the return of our much loved characters alongside new cast members including Lesley Manville.'
It is being reported that ITV 'is in active conversations' with Mammoth Screen about a fourth series renewal of Victoria. Jenna Coleman was recently interviewed on Graham Norton's radio show where she revealed that the drama would 'take a bit of a break' before 'moving forward.' Coleman is said to be 'pursuing other projects' between series three and four. Whilst a Victoria renewal appears likely, alleged - though anonymous and, therefore, possibly fictitious - 'sources' allegedly suggest that it is 'not imminent' and the drama will not be back before 2020 at the earliest, with 2021 being more likely. Daisy Goodwin is reported to be already working on the scripts.
Dad's Army: The Lost Episodes will premiere on GOLD on Sunday 25 August and will be broadcast over consecutive nights, it has been announced. As you'll probably know if you've seen anyone of the twenty seven million adverts that they've been running over the last few weeks, Dad's Army: The Lost Episodes is a trio of remakes of three episodes from the second series of Dad's Army that were wiped as a result of the BBC's then archival policy during the 1960s and 1970s. ('Did you know that three episodes of Dad's Army are lost?' the annoying adverts demand of views. Yes, as it happens, Keith Telly Topping did. Next ...) The episodes being remade are The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Walker, A Stripe For Frazer and Under Fire. The three-part series is being produced by Mercury Productions, who have worked closely with the Estates of the original writers, Jimmy Perry and David Croft, to recreate the episodes using the original scripts. The cast includes Robert Bathurst, Kevin McNally, Timothy West, Kevin Eldon, Mathew Horne, David Hayman and Tom Rosenthal.
The fifth and final series of The Affair will receive its UK premiere on Sky Atlantic on Tuesday 27 August, it has been announced. Created by Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi, The Affair explores the emotional and psychological effects of an affair which destroyed two marriages and the crime that brings these individuals back together. The drama series stars Dominic West, Maura Tierney, Sanaa Lathan, Anna Paquin, Julia Goldani Telles and Jadon Sand. Sarah Treem is the showrunner and serves as executive producer alongside Jessica Rhoades, Hagai Levi and Michele Giordono.
In From The North's last bloggerisationism update, some of the results of Ofcom's latest Media Nations report were mentioned. Since then, further details have emerged. For instance, the second episode of Channel Four's comedy Derry Girls was the most watched TV programme in Northern Ireland last year, according to Ofcom figures. The episode had an average audience of six hundred and eight thousand and a share of seventy per cent of those watching TV at that time in The Province. The figures also show that adults in Northern Ireland are 'more likely' than those in any other UK nation to listen to the radio. Ninety-three per cent of NI adults do so each week. Local radio accounts for sixty per cent of listening in Northern Ireland, much higher than to counterpart stations in Scotland, Wales and England. About half of homes in Northern Ireland now subscribe to TV streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Now TV or Disney Life, increasing from two hundred and sixty two thousand in 2018 to three hundred and forty thousand in 2019. Netflix is the most popular, with more than forty one per cent of homes in Northern Ireland now signed up. However, traditional TV still accounts for most TV time in Northern Ireland (eighty two per cent) and remains the most popular place for people to keep up with the latest news. In 2018, Northern Ireland viewers spent an average of three hours five minutes per day watching broadcast TV, down by fourteen minutes since 2017 and over an hour less than in 2010. However, viewing to other services on the TV set, such as streaming or gaming, increased by five minutes to an average of forty two minutes per person per day in 2018. Jonathan Rose, director of Ofcom Northern Ireland, said that the way people watch TV is changing faster than ever before. 'In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing, to reach around half of Northern Ireland homes,' Rose said. 'But traditional broadcasters, who produce brilliant Northern Ireland and UK programmes, still have a vital role to play.'
On a related note, Ofcom also reported that an episode of Still Game was the most-watched TV programme in Scotland last year. About one million three hundred and seventy three thousand people tuned in to watch the BBC Scotland 'comedy' when it was broadcast on 15 March. Personally, this blogger has always found Still Game to be about as funny as geet hard eye-watering kick reet in the Jacob's Cream Crackers, but he knows that it is very popular with some dear blog readers. The Ofcom report said that traditional broadcast viewing still made up 'the bulk' of TV screen time in Scotland despite the rise of streaming services.
And, finally on the subject of Ofcom's Media Nations report, this blogger must say that he thought it was jolly interesting to observe the way in which what was, essentially, the same story - that, despite some major increases in streaming service viewing over the last year, traditional terrestrial and Freeview services still dominate the majority of consumer viewing habits - was reported by different media outlets. For example, whilst the BBC's coverage was headlined Traditional TV Viewing Holds Off Streaming, Ofcom Reveals, those Netflix-licking Middle Class hippy Communists at the Gruniad Morning Star's take on exactly the same set of figures was the far more cynical and atypically sneering More Bodyguards And Love Islands Needed As UK Viewers Desert TV. A classic example, if ever there was one, of the way in which 'agenda' dominates most media reporting. This blog, very much included.
Lest it be thought this blogger is too down on the Gruniad Morning Star, there is a fascinating piece by the Gruniad's Elle Hunt (no, me neither), How Friends Taught The World To Speak English - From Jürgen Klopp To Korean Pop Megastars which is well worth five minutes of your time, dear blog reader. If only to speculate exactly what Herr Klopp saying 'how you doin'?' would sound like.
CJ de Mooi, a former panellist on BBC quiz show Eggheads, has appeared in court after his arrest on a European arrest warrant for an alleged killing. Scotland Yard said the forty six-year-old from Monmouthshire had been arrested at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday. Westminster Magistrates' Court heard the warrant related to allegations of manslaughter, murder, assault and battery in Amsterdam in 1988. De Mooi appeared under the name, Connagh Joseph. The warrant was issued in May by Dutch authorities who are requesting the opportunity for 'further questioning.' Prosecutor Brian Gibbins said: 'It appears the defendant, a TV personality, wrote an autobiography. In that autobiography it said that the defendant claimed that whilst living in Amsterdam in 1988 he may have killed a drug addict who was attempting to mug him by punching him and throwing him into a canal in Amsterdam. It is understood that person had a knife with him. It was said that the defendant punched his assailant square in the face, disarmed him and threw him in the canal. On the face of the warrant he is wanted for further questions.' Chris Stevens, representing de Mooi, said that there was 'a lot of missing information' in the warrant, such as a named alleged victim, a date of birth or a location of the alleged incident. He said that the inquiry by the Dutch authorities was 'based on something that might have happened' and 'could arguably be self-defence.' Stevens added: 'There isn't anything to suggest the Dutch authorities are in a position to charge him with this.' In court, de Mooi, dressed in a green T-shirt and hooded top, confirmed his name, age and address. Magistrates granted de Mooi bail on the condition that he does not travel overseas, sleeps at his home address every night and keeps a charged mobile phone with him at all times. He was ordered to attend a further hearing in November. His autobiography, published last year, describes an incident in which de Mooi claims he attacked a man while he lived on the streets. De Mooi alleges that he punched a man who approached him with a knife and then threw him into a canal in Amsterdam in 1988. In an interview in 2015 with the Daily Mirra which serialised the book, he was quoted as saying: 'He caught me on the wrong day and I just snapped. I punched him so hard in the face, knocked the knife out of his hand and threw him in the canal. I fully suspect I killed him. I've no idea what happened to him,' he added.
Andy Carroll says that his return to this blogger's beloved (though, tragically unsellable) Newcastle United eight years after he left was 'what dreams were made of.' The thirty-year-old, released by West Hamsters United this summer following a six-year spell blighted by numerous injuries, signed a one-year contract with The Magpies on transfer deadline day. 'I enjoyed the time I spent here and hopefully I can carry on where I left off,' said Carroll, who made his Newcastle debut in 2006 as sixteen year old. Where he left off, incidentally, was being injured for the last few weeks of his time at The Magpies during January 2011, his last appearance actually having come in a three-one defeat at Sheikh Yer Man City on Boxing Day 2010. 'For me to get back to where I was, I think this is the only place for me.' And, just to repeat, where he was, was injured. Carroll scored thirty three goals during his five years on Tyneside and helped the club win promotion to the top flight in 2009-10. And, when he was fit he was bloody good let it be noted, even at that early stage of a career which promised so much. He told Sky Sports News: 'When I put the shirt back on it will probably be a better feeling that it was the first time. It's something I wanted for a long time and now it's here. Playing for your boyhood team and going away, you realise what you had and missed. Coming back it's something only dreams are made of."' The former England striker moved to Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws for a club-record thirty five million knicker in 2011, but scored only six goals in forty four league games at Anfield before he was loaned to The Hamsters for the 2012-13 season. Although he experienced knee and hamstring problems during that campaign, The Hamsters still took a punt and signed Carroll on a permanent deal for fifteen million quid in the summer of 2013. However his injury record at The Hamsters makes for sobering - and painful - reading; ankle, foot, groin, pelvis, neck, knee, hamstring and thigh issues all severely restricting his pitch time. Of the two hundred and sixty four Premier League games The Hamsters played during the time Andy was at the club, he started just eighty four of them and managed another forty two appearances from the bench. Scoring thirty three times, his most recent competitive appearance came against Sheikh Yer Man City in February 2019. Having completed ninety minutes in just four Premier League matches over the past two seasons, the fear is the Carroll will not be fit enough regularly to make a significant impact at his boyhood club. Should he manage to make it off the treatment table and onto the pitch, Carroll will join Tommy Wright, Robbie Elliott, Lee Clark, Nobbie Solano and the late Pavel Srnicek in playing for United in the Premier League era during two separate spells. Newcastle manager Steve Brucie (nasty to see him to see him, nasty) said: 'To bring a local hero like Andy back to Newcastle United is fantastic. He is very excited to be home. He is a big, physical threat in the opposition box and another great option for us at the top end of the pitch. He gives us something different to what we already have and we'll do our best to get him flying again.' Reports that the biggest betting currently going on in the Newcastle area is on exactly how many minutes of Premier League action Carroll will play this season cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied.
Carroll became Newcastle's fifth signing of the summer following the arrival of forward Joelinton, winger Allan Saint-Maximin, left-back Jetro Willems and right-back Emil Krafth. The latter signed earlier on Transfer Deadline Day from Ligue 1 side Amiens for a reported five million smackers on a four-year contract. The Sweden right-back only joined Amiens on a permanent deal earlier this summer after a season on loan. 'When a Premier League team wants to sign you, of course you are happy,' said the twenty five-year-old whose arrival potentially signals the end of their time at St James' Park for at least one and possibly two of the three right-backs already at the club, DeAndre Yedlin, Javier Manquillo and Jamie Sterry. 'I know Newcastle is a big club, so I'm very happy to sign here and to be here right now,' said Krafth. 'It's a good moment in my career to take a step forward. The plans Newcastle had for me, I felt like they were fitting me perfectly, so that was why I chose Newcastle.' Krafth made thirty five appearances in the French top flight while on loan at Amiens last season from Bologna. He has won twenty caps for Sweden thus far in his career and played at last year's World Cup in Russia.
A late flurry of deadline-day signings took Premier League spending for the summer up to 1.4 billion knicker, just short of the 1.43 billion notes record set in 2017, according to Deloitte. Deadline Day spending alone by English top-flight clubs was one hundred and seventy million smackers - but on just eighteen deals, the joint fewest number of transfers on the last day of the summer window since 2009. Everton's thirty four million quid signing of forward Alex Iwobi from The Arse was the biggest incoming Premier League deal, while the largest transfer saw Romelu Lukaku leave The Scum for Inter Milan for seventy four million knicker - a loss of a million quid on the fee they paid Everton to acquire Lukaku in 2017. The Arse were the biggest spenders in England during the window, splashing out one hundred and fifty five million smackers. On Deadline Day, they spent twenty five million quid on Glasgow Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney and eight million wonga on Moscow Chelski FC centre-back David Luiz. Stottingtot Hotshots recruited Real Betis midfielder Giovani Oo Celso on loan and signed Poor Bloody Fulham Haven't Got A Chance winger Ryan Sessegnon for twenty five million quid. Their pursuit of Juventus forward Paulo Dybala was one of the big stories earlier in the day but any potential deal fell through. Watford spent a club record, reported to be twenty five million smackers, on Rennes winger Ismaila Sarr and Leicester City bought Sampdoria's attacking midfielder Dennis Praet for a reported eighteen million knicker. Three former England internationals made moves - Burnley signing Moscow Chelski FC midfielder Danny Drinkwater and Sheikh Yer Man City bringing in Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson, both on loan, in addition to this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle re-signed free agent striker Andy Carroll (see above). A busy day in the Championship was headlined by West Bromwich Albinos spending four million notes on Southampton striker Charlie Austin. This was the second year in a row when Premier League clubs could only sign players until the day before the season started, instead of the end of August as in previous years. The deadline has also now passed for Championship clubs, but teams from Scotland, Leagues One and Two and all of Europe's major leagues can bring in players until 2 September. The total number of Premier League signings in the summer fell for the sixth year in a row. Eleven of the twenty Premier League clubs broke their existing transfer record this summer, with Sheffield United smashing theirs four times. The Arse, Aston Villains, Leicester (twice), Sheikh Yer Man City, Newcastle, Southampton, Stottingtot Hotshots, Watford - on deadline day - West Hamsters United and Wolverhampton Wanderings were the others. Harry Maguire's eighty million knicker switch from Leicester to The Scum was the biggest Premier League signing of the summer, followed by The Arse's seventy two million quid purchase of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe. Champions Sheikh Yer Man City bought Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri for sixty two million knicker and Juventus right-back Joao Cancelo for sixty million. Spurs spent over fifty three million quid on Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele - their first major signing since January 2018. The Villains spent one hundred and twenty five million, the second promoted club to hit nine figures after Poor Bloody Fulham Haven't Got A Chance, who did so last summer, only to subsequently be relegated in April. The other biggest transfers were The Scum's right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka (fifty million from Crystal Palace), West Hamsters United striker Sebastien Haller (forty five million from Eintracht Frankfurt), Newcastle striker Joelinton (forty million from Hoffenheim) and Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans (forty million from Monaco). Moscow Chelski FC also spent forty million notes on Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic despite having a transfer embargo imposed upon them for various naughty shenanigans in relation to Financial Fair Play. The Croat was already at Torpedo Stamford Bridge on loan, so Frank Lampard's side were allowed to sign him permanently as he was already registered with them. Their sale of Eden Hazard to Real for a fee of eighty nine million smackers, which could rise to one hundred and fifty million with add-ons and other under-the-counter malarkey, was one of the biggest deals in the world. This was the second highest total spend since the introduction of the transfer window system in 2003, according to analysis from Deloitte's Sports Business Group. It is the fourth consecutive summer that Premier League clubs have spent over one billion notes. But Premier League clubs' net expenditure (purchases minus sales) was six hundred and twenty five million knicker - the lowest in a summer since 2015, helped by Hazard and Lukaku's big-money moves abroad. Dan Jones, a partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: 'With this level of net spend, combined with a more modest increase in Premier League broadcast rights values for the coming season than we have seen previously, we would expect wages to increase at a greater rate than revenue, returning to a wages to revenue ratio of over sixty per cent. However, this does not signal major financial concerns as Premier League clubs collectively generated pre-tax profits of four hundred and twenty six million pounds in 2017-18, while net spend as a proportion of revenue of twelve per cent is at its lowest since 2012.' La Liga clubs could still overtake the Premier League's total. Spain's top-flight clubs have spent 1.1 billion quid, with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona accounting for two thirds of that alone. That number will increase with their deadline not until 2 September. Championship clubs spent one hundred and sixty million snots on transfers, an increase from the one hundred and fifty five spent last summer. Moscow Chelski FC (who, of course, have an incoming transfer embargo), Crystal Palace and Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws were the only three clubs to make a profit on transfers this summer. Benfica (one hundred and seventy million quid) and Ajax (one hundred and sixty five million) were among the sides in Europe to make the most in player sales this summer. The deadline for La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and other European leagues is on 2 September so their clubs can sign Premier League players until then. Real Madrid have been linked with The Scum's midfielder Paul Pogba all summer, but it seems unlikely The Scum would let the French international go now without being able to bring in a replacement. Stottingtot Hotshots playmaker Christian Eriksen is another who could leave the Premier League. The Danish international, who has one year left on his Spurs contract, is reported to be interested in a move abroad. But Spurs's failure to sign Dybala this summer may make a move for Eriksen less likely. Sheikh Yer Man City winger Leroy Sane is a long-term Fußball-Club Bayern München target but the cruciate ligament damage he suffered in Sunday's Community Shield will probably see Sane stay at Etihad Stadium for this season at least. Real Madrid's sulky Gareth Bale was never credibly linked to a move to any English clubs before the deadline (none of them could have afforded his grossly-inflated wages). He has got three-and-a-half weeks to find a European club to take him off Real's hands or else face a season playing for their reserves, with the Welshman seemingly not in coach Zinedine Zidane's plans. Paris St-Germain forward Neymar continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid or former to his club Barcelona, while Real attacking midfielder James Rodriguez - like Bale - may have to move away for first-team football. The Premier League deadline closing could spark a flurry of signings elsewhere. Some managers in Leagues One and Two have been waiting for this stage, with Premier League and Championship clubs now more likely to know who they will be willing to sell or to offer on loan.
Liverpool Alabam Yee-Haws scored four first-half goals as they started the new Premier League season with a blistering performance to demolish newly-promoted Norwich City at Anfield on Friday evening. Norwich captain Grant Hanley scored the opening goal of the top-flight season when he sliced Divock Origi's cross into his own net before Mohamed Salah opened his account after a pass by Roberto Firmino. German midfielder Marco Stipermann forced a fine save by Reds keeper Alisson before an unmarked Virgil van Dijk headed the third from Salah's corner, Origi added the fourth after a stunning pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Teemu Pukki's composed finish reduced the deficit after Liverpool lost Alisson to injury, the Brazilian keeper replaced by new signing Adrian after slipping while taking a first-half goal-kick.
Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Sheikh Yer Man City got their title defence off to a winning start with five-nil victory at West Hamsters United in a game which saw the video assistant referee play a significant role for the first time in the Premier League. Harry Kane twice struck late as Stottingtot Hotshots overcame Aston Villa three-one. Spurs, who finished fourth last season, fell behind to a ninth-minute John McGinn goal before they equalised courtesy of a brilliant strike from their club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele. Kane fired two goals in the final four minutes. The highlight of the game, however, came when thirty five million quid midfield flop Moussa Sisoko had a shot for Spurs. And, it went out for a throw-in! Sheffield United, who were playing in League One as recently as 2017, marked their return to the Premier League after a twelve-year absence with a spirited draw at Bournemouth, Billy Sharp scoring an eighty eighth-minute equaliser for The Blades to cancel out Chris Mepham's first goal for The Cherries. Everton Toffeemen were held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace. Everton's Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off, while Wilfried Zaha started on Palace's bench after missing out on a move before the summer transfer deadline and sulking about it like a big girl. Brighton & Hove Albinos got off to a flying start under new boss Graham Potter. They won three-nil at last season's FA Cup runners-up Watford - an own goal by Abdoulaye Doucoure, plus strikes by Florin Andone and new signing Neal Maupay sealing the points for The Seagulls. Burnley also won three-nil at home to Southampton, Ashley Barnes with two goals and Johann Berg Gudmundsson the other. Leicester and Wolverhampton Wanderings shared a goalless draw in one of Sunday's early kick-offs. And, The Scum gave Moscow Chelski FC a damned good four-nil hiding in Frank Lampard's first game in charge of The Blues.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang punished somewhat expected slack defending by this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies to give The Arse victory at a rain-drenched, gloomy and rather deflated St James' Park on Sunday. Starting with many of their one hundred and twenty five million knicker's worth of signings on the bench and without midfielders Mesut Özil and Sead Kolašinac (see below), The Arse's boss Unai Emery watched his side struggle to cut through their opponents in the first half. That all changed just before the hour mark when Gabon international Aubameyang collected Ainsley Maitland-Niles' cross from the right and fired past Martin Dubravka after Newcastle had, needlessly, surrendered possession in midfield. As for Steve Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty), his Newcastle managerial debut pretty much went to the expectations of many in Newcastle's thoroughly cheesed-off fanbase. Workmanlike, one-paced, pedestrian and lacking in much flair or imagination. Not bad, just dull. The managerial career of Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty) in a nutshell. Still, bright-side, at this stage in the season, The Magpies are currently only one win off a Champions League place. Laugh, dear blog reader? Laugh? This blogger nearly did. The Magpies' record signing Joelinton Apolinário de Lira went close with a shot blocked by Bernd Leno, before Jonjo Shelvey saw his drive crash off the woodwork. The home side were flat for much of the second half, although another new recruit, Allan Saint-Maximin, tested German Leno with a near-post drive. But, he also tripped over his own feet a couple of times. Miguel Almirón was mostly anonymous after a bright opening twenty minutes. And whilst The Magpies never looked in too much trouble before they committed defensive suicide, following The Arse's goal, they never remotely looked like threatening an equaliser and ended the game with most of the team looking worryingly weary and heavy-legged. Looks like another season-long relegation battle, dear blog reader. Newcastle United claimed that forty seven thousand six hundred and thirty five tickets were sold for the opening game, but inside St James' Park, the number of empty seats was clearly visible and it looked more than around four thousand. This was United's lowest attendances for a home game since April 2016. The attendance for Th' Toon's opening fixture of last season, against Stottingtot Hotshots, was fifty one thousand seven hundred and forty nine. The year before that - also against Spurs - opening day saw a capacity crowd of fifty two thousand and seventy seven.
Two men have been charged with a public order offence connected to a Premier League footballer, police have said. Ferhat Ercan and Salaman Ekinci were very arrested on Thursday outside the North London home of The Arse star Mesut Özil. Özil and Sead Kolašinac were not in The Arse's squad for Sunday's Premier League opener at this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle due to 'further security incidents.' Both players were targeted by carjackers in North London last month, an incident which attracted widespread publicity at the time. According to reports, the men were arrested after 'becoming involved in an altercation' with security staff outside Özil's home. 'Two men have been charged under Section 4A of the Public Order Act following an incident in Camden on Thursday 8 August,' the Met said. Ercan and Ekinci are due to appear up a'fore The Beat at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on 6 September. Police said they were treating the public order offence and the attempted car-jacking as separate incidents. Midfielder Özil and defender Kolašinac were left out of a friendly against Lyon following the attempted car-jacking in Golders Green in July. After the attack, Kolašinac posted a picture of himself and Ozil on social media and added: 'Think we're fine.' The Arse said on Friday the players had been left out of Sunday's squad following 'further security incidents which are being investigated by the police. The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority and we have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives,' the club said.
Dirty Stoke have released twelve million knicker alleged striker Saido Berahino. The Burundi international Berahino joined the Championship side from West Bromwich Albions in January 2017. The twenty six-year-old scored just five goals in fifty six appearances and last played for Dirty Stoke in February. He was extremely convicted of drinking and driving in May and was fined seventy five thousand smackers and banned from driving for thirty months at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court. In a one-line statement The Potters said: 'Stoke City can confirm that Saido Berahino has today left the club by mutual agreement.' The former England Under-Twenty One international had three years left on his five-and-a-half-year deal. He was almost three times over the alcohol limit when his Range Rover was stopped in London's West End in February. Berahino was arrested minutes after being robbed and while the court heard there was 'no dispute' that the robbery had taken place, magistrates found he 'was not in fear of death or fear of serious injury.' It was also heard that Berahino had previous convictions of drinking and driving in 2015 and being drunk in charge of a vehicle in 2012.
Huddersfield Town have been extremely charged by the Football Association with breaking kit and advertising rules. It comes after a controversial shirt was worn in pre-season as part of a sponsorship deal with Paddy Power. The bookmaker's name was displayed in a sash across the club's shirt in a pre-season friendly at Rochdale, which the FA say was in breach of regulations. The club is accused of breaking the rules surrounding the size of slogan allowed on a player's shirt. The shirt was a spoof, with the deal actually seeing the club remove their sponsor's name from the front of their kit as part of a campaign by the Irish bookmaker. 'When we announced the kit, we knew the design would cause quite a negative stir and that was part of the campaign,' Huddersfield's commercial director Sean Jarvis told BBC Radio Leeds after the club's real kit was unveiled last month. The FA asked The Terriers for the their 'observations' about the shirts, which have since been auctioned and raised more than thirty grand for charity. Paddy Power have agreed similar deals to 'unsponsor' the shirts of Newport County, Motherwell, Macclesfield Town and Southend United.
Bury are reported to be 'confident' of remaining in the Football League despite being threatened with expulsion over their ongoing financial problems. The League One club have been given until 23 August to show the EFL their plan to pay off outstanding creditors. Bury's first three games have all been suspended because they have so far not provided 'the clarity required.' 'If we stand united we can get through this difficult spell for our historic club,' Bury said in a statement. 'In the last six months, we have come a long way together. Once we have supplied the EFL with the recently requested additional information, we are confident that our embargo will be lifted. In anticipation of this, we would expect that the EFL will not remove us from the Football League. A lot of people are working very hard to get this over the line. As a club, we would like to thank the players who are currently training at Carrington with a view to signing for our brilliant football club. Thank you for standing by us, even though the situation we find ourselves in is very difficult. There is a lot of uncertainty in the Football League with other clubs outside Bury. Everyone at the club wishes them all the best with their own circumstances.' The EFL have said they would 'continue to work constructively with the club' to obtain the details required to avoid calling off further fixtures. The Shakers have already been given a twelve-point deduction for the season after entering into a company voluntary arrangement, which is classed as an insolvency event by the EFL - to try to clear some of their debts. Bury, who won promotion from League Two last season, had a winding-up petition against them dismissed by the High Court on 31 July.
The Football League has grovellingly apologised to a Hull City fan who claimed he was asked to stop texting or face ejection from a game. Daniel Mawer tweeted a lengthy thread after Hull's win against Reading on Saturday after an alleged 'undercover security guard' approached him at half-time. He was, he claimed, 'spoken to' as part of 'spot checks into unauthorised data gathering at EFL matches.' Mawer told BBC Sport that he was 'shocked' (and stunned) by the initial approach. Hull City are now liaising with both Mawer, the club's own security company Superstadium Management and Comsec, a company hired by Football Data Co to monitor the collection and distribution of official match data. 'The Comsec scout spotting programme is managed by Football Data Co in collaboration with the league and its clubs,' said an EFL spokesman. 'Access is provided at matches for Comsec representatives to operate and identify potential infringements. On initial review of this particular incident all procedures and protocols were followed, but clearly there is still some work to be done to ensure these checks are conducted appropriately and sensitively. It's never the intention to offend and for that Football Data Co and the League offer its apologies to the supporter affected by this random spot check.' In a statement, Hull City also said that they would investigate 'how the check was handled' and how the scout spotting programme 'could be improved' at the KCOM Stadium. Unauthorised data gathering - or 'courtsiding' as it is known in other sports - is the practice of transmitting information from sporting events for the purpose of gambling or of placing bets directly from a sporting event. Daniel's experience was widely shared on social media, including by Match Of The Day Presenter Gary Lineker on Saturday, who tweeted: 'This is nuts.' Oh, do Walker's do nuts? Yes, apparently, they do. 'I've had quite a lot of messages of support since it happened,' said the Hull season ticket holder. 'I feel it's something that needed highlighting as I wasn't sure how widespread these checks are. I was just texting a few friends and relatives who can't make it to games these days, just the odd update on how the game was going. I was mainly telling my girlfriend what I thought of Hull forward Tom Eaves' haircut.' The Football Supporters' Association were among those to tweet support to Daniel. 'It's not that people are being asked at grounds about potential suspicious activity; it's how they're being approached that concerns us,' director of case work Amanda Jacks told BBC Sport. 'It's also a bit disappointing Hull's response doesn't included the word "alleged" when speaking about Daniel's experience. We understand people have a job to do and some people unfortunately do go to games with the intention of manipulating betting markets. But we believe this is a very small minority of the hundreds of thousands who attend matches across the country every weekend.'
Brazil's Gabriel Jesus has received a two-month international ban for his naughty behaviour after he was sent off during the Copa America final last month. The Sheikh Yer Man City forward, who scored in the three-one win over Peru, remonstrated with referee Roberto Tobar, kicked a water bottle and then pushed the VAR monitor as he left the pitch in a geet stroppy childish huff. Jesus, also fined thirty thousand dollars, has seven days to appeal. The striker is set to miss September's friendlies against Colombia and Peru. A statement from governing body CONMEBOL said: 'Gabriel Jesus is suspended for two months from the day following the notification of this decision. Consequently, the player is suspended to play official and friendly matches with his national team in that period of time.'
Fußball-Club Bayern München warmed-up for the start of the Bundesliga season with a twenty three-nil win over amateur side FC Rottach-Egern. The German champions averaged a goal just under every four minutes as Corentin Tolisso scored four and Robert Lewandowski hit a hat-trick. Lucas Hernandez made his first appearance since his club record eighty million Euros move from Atletico Madrid. Bayern get their league campaign under way against Hertha Berlin on Friday 16 August. Before that, Bayern begin their defence of the German Cup on Monday when they travel to FC Energie Cottbus. While Borussia Dortmund beat the five-time European champions to win the German Supercup in the annual Bundesliga curtain-raiser, this was a much more comfortable outing for Bayern. Otschi Wriedt also grabbed a hat-trick while Thomas Müller and New Zealand international Sarpreet Singh both scored twice. Coach Niko Kovac made ten changes at half-time against opponents they defeated twenty-two in 2018.
An investigation into the identity of a Gambian player at Hamburg has been started by German football's governing body. It follows a complaint from Nuremburg about the true name and age of midfielder Bakery Jatta, who played against them in a four-nil defeat on Monday. His club's records say Jatta is twenty one, but there are claims in the German media he is older and called Bakery Daffeh. Hamburg, who play in Germany's second tier, 'stand completely behind' Jatta. The DFB, Germany's football association, said it has 'already written to' Hamburg and 'asked for an opinion on the allegations. The panel will then have the appeal in due course,' it added. Hamburg head of sport Jonas Boldt has said he is 'amazed' by the complaint and expects 'an unambiguous response' about Jatta's eligibility. Records say that Jatta has been at Hamburg since 2016 and was born in June 1998, with no evidence of a club prior to that. On the other hand, there is evidence that a Bakery Daffeh played for Brikama United in The Gambia, as well as Casa Sport in Senegal. Daffeh also scored for The Gambia under-twenty team in a one-nil win over Liberia in 2014. A report in German newspaper Bild states: 'Nach einem Hinweis recherchierte SPORT BILD in den vergangenen Wochen über die Vergangenheit Jattas. Und die Indizien häuften sich massiv, dass Bakery Jatta in Wahrheit Bakary Daffeh heißt und nicht am 6 Juni 1998, sondern am 6 November 1995 geboren ist. Er wäre also rund zweieinhalb Jahre älter - und damit bei der Einreise nach Deutschland schon volljährig gewesen, was das Verfahren einer Aufenthaltsgenehmigung erschwert hätte. Alleinreisende minderjährige Flüchtlinge erhalten in der Regel eine Duldung und dürfen im.' Unfortunately, they didn't say it in English. Bild claims that any trace of Daffeh ends in August 2015, at precisely the same time as 'Jatta' turned up in Germany. Boldt said: 'We expect in return an unambiguous response from the DFB and DFL about Bakery Jatta's eligibility as soon as possible, so that appearances in cup and league matches are still possible. Ultimately, our player has had a valid passport and has been eligible to play for us for the past three years. For us, it isn't acceptable that this eligibility to play is brought into question by assumptions and conjecture. We stand completely behind Bakery and will carry on to completely include him in training and our match day squads, as he is a valuable player for us and an integrated, valued member of our team. I personally find it unbelievable and distressing that our player is attacked from all sides in public, purely because of presumptions and suspicion. Baka has once again proved the correctness of his passport and right to work in this country to us.'
Football fans caught feeding seagulls have been warned they will be removed from a Scottish Championship stadium. Dumfries side Queen of the South issued the message before their first home league game at Palmerston Park. It comes after complaints about the 'mess and nuisance' caused by birds at the ground at a cup clash with Motherwell last month. Now the club has appealed to fans to help tackle the issue by putting any waste food in bins provided. The Doonhamers have said they face a 'pretty much impossible task' in dealing with the problem having tried 'various things' to tackle it. Their efforts have included playing 'bird of prey noises' over the sound system and flying red kites, a widespread bird of prey in Dumfries and Galloway, above their ground. However, the gulls have continued to cause problems, with staff forced to stay out on the pitch late at night to try to stop them roosting on the playing surface. Supporters have been asked to play their part in dealing with the issue. 'If you are seen to be deliberately feeding the seagulls you will be removed from the ground,' the club warned on its Facebook page. 'In order to minimise the impact of the seagulls on everyone's enjoyment of the game, please do not feed them and please use the bins provided for all waste food. Please consider your fellow supporters.'
A 'loophole' in the regulations protecting children from being targeted by betting firms has alleged been exploited by Wayne Rooney wearing the number thirty two when he joins Derby County, according to a gambling industry expert. If not anyone you've actually heard of. The Rams have secured 'a record-breaking sponsorship' deal with their shirt sponsor, online casino 32Red, 'off the back of' the former England captain joining the Championship side. Rooney's squad number at Pride Park will be thirty two when he joins Derby in January, but the company denies it has anything to do with their sponsorship arrangement. One or two people even believed them. Although 32Red will not appear on any replica children's shirts, as prohibited by regulations, they can have Rooney's name and number thirty two printed on the back of their kit. The betting company said their agreement 'complies with FA regulations.' However, Professor Jim Orford - a psychologist from Birmingham University who 'studies gambling', nice work if you can get it - said: 'It's obvious what it is there for, isn't it? It won't say 32Red, it will just be thirty two, but it clearly is meant to be a link to 32Red and people will start to associate the number thirty two with gambling and gambling on 32Red. It is a loophole in the law. A lot of children won't understand it to start with but advertising is like that. A lot of people will understand it, while for others it will just be in the back of their minds and be subliminal. They are trying to just slip it in and get around that very sensible aspect of the regulations.' A spokesperson for 32Red said that it 'wouldn't matter what number' Rooney plays in at Derby. 'As Wayne Rooney said himself during his press conference, the squad number means nothing. The number is a separate issue to the logo,' the 32Red spokesperson added. Again, one or two people even believed them. 'The number is not important. Other players also wear the number in the Championship - 32Red don't have a trademark on the number thirty two.' The betting firm also rejected the notion that they have taken advantage of an alleged loophole. 'Responsible gambling is at the heart of our business,' the spokesperson said. 'We will next week talk further details about the deal that will have a wider impact on the Derby community, with Wayne Rooney involved in community initiatives. Our additional investment will also include responsible gambling initiatives.' The Football Association declined to comment as Rooney is yet to come under their jurisdiction because England and The Scum's all-time leading scorer does not move back to the English game from Major League Soccer side DC United until January. Orford, who runs Gamble Watch UK - an 'independent organisation' that 'questions gambling policy in Britain' - said that the FA and Gambling Commission should both look at the arrangement and whether the number on the shirt is a breach of regulations. 'One of the basic principles of the Gambling Commission is that they protect children and young people,' he said. 'It should be making a fuss about this, to the FA in particular.' Yes, but they're not going to because, as previously noted on this blog, the Football Association seem to have no problem whatsoever with paying lip-service to gambling awareness whilst, simultaneously, having their second, third and fourth tier league competitions sponsored by SkyBet. Conflict of interest, you say? This blogger couldn't possibly comment. In a statement, the Gambling Commission said 'sponsorship arrangements must be undertaken in a socially responsible manner,' with its rules adding that deals should not 'be likely to be of particular appeal to under-eighteens' or 'associated with youth culture.' Doctor Alan Smith, the bishop of St Albans and the church's gambling spokesman, told BBC 5Live that he 'hopes' Rooney adds gambling awareness work to his charitable causes. Though, what the Hell any of this had to do with the church is another matter entirely.
The 1969 LP Abbey Road by The Be-Atles (they were a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them) will be reissued for its fiftieth anniversary in September. All six physical formats offer a brand new Giles Martin and Sam Okell stereo mix and for the first time all the bonus sessions are available on vinyl and CD. The three CD/blu-ray 'super deluxe edition' delivers Giles Martin's new stereo mix of Abbey Road with two further CDs of outtakes and unreleased rarities. The super deluxe is packaged as a one hundred-page hardcover book. The volume features chapters written by Beatles historian Kevin Howlett, song-by-song details and session notes, the cover art and photo shoot and the LP's reception upon its release, plus an essay by music journalist and author David Hepworth looking at the LP's influence through fifty years. The book is illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs (including many by Linda McCartney) plus images of handwritten lyrics, sketches, Be-Atles correspondence, recording sheets and tape boxes and reproduced original print adverts. Unlike The White Album package, this is a square twelve inch by twelve inch set. As well as the standard vinyl LP of the album remix, a three LP vinyl box is offered which includes all the sessions from the two CDs in the super deluxe in their entirety. A twelve-inch vinyl picture disc is the third vinyl option available. Additionally, a two CD deluxe edition offers the new stereo mix with an alternate version of the LP (drawn from the sessions) on disc two. Abbey Road was recorded in 1969 after Let It Be, although it was actually released seven months before Let It Be, on 26 September 1969 (largely because no one could face the arduous task of going through the Let It Be tapes and trying to salvage an LP out of them). Incredibly, work on songs that would end up on Abbey Road started just three weeks after the Let It Be sessions finished at Apple in Saville Row. The fact that one-time fifth Be-Atle, Billy Preston, was still around for the recording of 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' - in Trident Studios - underlines that fact. A different take of this song, with Billy prominent, is one of the outtakes included in the super deluxe edition. Other bonus material includes Take Seven of 'The Ballad Of John & Yoko' - The Be-Atles' last UK number one and an alternate version of that song's B-side, the hugely under-rated George Harrison composition 'Old Brown Shoe'. Paul McCartney's solo demo for what would become Mary Hopkin's second single, 'Goodbye' shows a man and his guitar at the peak of his powers. This much bootlegged recording - which has the air of a classic knocked off in his lunch break - will finally be officially available on this Abbey Road set, as is George's demo of 'Something'. The demo of 'Something' has already appeared on Anthology 3 of course, although this is apparently a different mix. Very little Abbey Road-related material from Anthology 3 has been repeated here - 'Something' (along with Paul's demo for 'Come And Get It') are the exceptions. For example, take one of 'Because' features on the new Abbey Road sets but the specially-created a-cappella version from Anthology is absent. The two discs of sessions also includes three versions of 'Her Majesty', a 30 July 1969 'trial edit/mix' of 'The Long One' the famous medley which formed the bulk of Abbey Road's second side and alternate takes of 'You Never Give Me Your Money', 'Here Comes The Sun' and 'Oh! Darling'. The blu-ray audio which comes in the four-disc super deluxe edition features not only the standard 5.1 mix, but also a Dolby Atmos mix. The latter was also created for Sgt Pepper in 2017 but was not completed in time for inclusion with the box-set of the 1967 LP. Finally, a vinyl picture disc of Abbey Road is released at the same time as the four other physical formats. It's worth noting that the original stereo mix of Abbey Road doesn't appear on any of the formats (there was, of course, no mono mix). The fiftieth anniversary editions of Abbey Road will be released on 27 September 2019. And, bang goes Keith Telly Topping's overdraft. Again. Damn you, Be-Atles ...
Meanwhile, thousands of Be-Atles fans made a pilgrimage to the actual Abbey Road fifty years to the day after The Be-Atles walked over its zebra crossing for the cover of the eponymous LP. The band was pictured walking across the road the LP was named after on 8 August 1969. The image of Sir Ringo Starr, Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison and the alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie outside the EMI Studios in St John's Wood is one of music's most iconic moments. Since the release of the group's eleventh studio LP, the zebra crossing has become a tourist hotspot for devout fans who stop traffic to pose for pictures on the same spot. Barely a day goes by without traffic being stopped so that fans can get their pictures taken 'doing the Abbey Road walk'. And, on Thursday, crowds came together in droves to recreate the moment. Fans at the event were in high spirits and many dressed up as their heroes in tribute to the band. Transport for London said that two bus routes were 'briefly diverted' as queues to cross the road had 'blocked access.' Abbey Road Studios invited people to have their photo taken against a cardboard backdrop of the original Beatles image in their car park amid the crowds. Photographer Iain Macmillan took six shots of the group during a ten-minute break from the nearby studio. In most of them Paul McCartney was wearing a pair of sandals but, for the shot chosen for the cover he had, famously, elected to remove them and was, therefore, barefoot. Ironically, The Be-Atles had originally planned to call the LP Everest - reportedly, after the brand of cigarettes favoured by one of their record engineers, the late Geoff Emerick - but had baulked at the idea of flying all the way to the Himalayas to shoot a cover. Prior to the release of the LP, the studios had always been referred to simply as 'EMI' but, afterwards, it became universally known as 'Abbey Road'. This blogger's been there - one cannot be a Be-Atles fan not have - although he didn't go to the bother of having his picture taken on the crossing. Which probably makes him just about the only person in the Western Hemisphere who hasn't.
If you've never heard Abbey Road, dear blog reader, it's pretty good. You really ought to check it out. Take that as a recommendation.
The Moon may now be home to thousands of planet Earth's most indestructible animals. Tardigrades - often called 'water bears' - are creatures under a millimetre long which can seemingly survive being heated to one hundred and fifty degrees Celsius and frozen to almost absolute zero. And, believe this blogger, people have tried both. They were travelling on an Israeli spacecraft which crash-landed on the Moon in April. The co-founder of the organisation that put them there thinks they are 'almost definitely' still alive. The tardigrades had been dehydrated to place them, effectively, in suspended animation and then encased in artificial amber. You know, for a laugh. 'We believe the chances of survival for the tardigrades are extremely high,' Arch Mission Foundation boss Nova Spivack said. The Arch Mission Foundation keeps a 'back-up' of Earth - with human knowledge and the planet's biology stored and sent out to various solar locations in case of a life-ending event. The 'lunar library' - something resembling a DVD which contains a thirty-million-page archive of human history viewable under microscopes, as well as human DNA - was being carried on the Beresheet robot lander. And, alongside them were dehydrated tardigrades - some in amber and some stuck on tape. For most creatures there would be no coming back from being dehydrated - life without water is almost impossible. But tardigrades are not most animals. They can be brought back to life decades after being dehydrated. Scientists have found that tardigrades are near-enough indestructible. When dried out they retract their heads and their eight legs, shrivel into a tiny ball and enter a deep state of suspended animation that closely resembles death. They shed almost all of the water in their body and their metabolism slows to 0.01 per cent of the normal rate. If reintroduced to water decades later, they are able to reanimate. All of that, plus they became the first animal to survive in space in 2007, made them a perfect candidate for Arch Mission's lunar library. 'Tardigrades are ideal to include because they are microscopic, multicellular and one of the most durable forms of life on planet Earth,' Nova said. Even though the tardigrades are likely to have survived the Moon crash, it might not be a good idea that they're there. 'What it means is the so-called "pristine environment" of the Moon has been broken,' whinged Open University professor of planetary and space sciences Monica Grady. When spacecraft leave Earth they are bound by the Outer Space Treaty not to contaminate their environment. 'You might say it was broken in 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were there, which is true, but since then we've become much more aware of how we should preserve these planetary bodies. I don't think anybody would have got permission to distribute dehydrated tardigrades over the surface of the Moon. So it's not a good thing.' Particularly for the tardigrades themselves, obviously. Since, as far as we know, no tardigrade possesses the knowledge to build a rocket and get themselves back to Earth. If the tardegrades are on the Moon, it is unlikely they will be able to spring back to life without being reintroduced to water. But it would, theoretically, be possible for the tardigrades to be collected, brought back to earth, reanimated and studied to see the effects of being on the Moon. Of course, that means someone going to the Moon and finding them. We should probably stick that on NASA's 'To Do' list, then. Right after 'go to the Moon again for the first time since 1972.'
The Curiosity team is calling it 'Strathdon' - a boulder-sized Martian rock comprised of dozens of sedimentary layers. Its discovery suggests the area of Mars being explored by the NASA rover is more geologically complex than is typically appreciated. For the past several months, Curiosity has been exploring a region called the 'clay-bearing unit' within Gale Crater. This area, located along the slope of Mount Sharp, once featured lakes and streams, the remnants of which now appear in the form of clay mineral deposits. By exploring this region, scientists are hoping to catch a glimpse of Mars' ancient past, when the Red Planet was able to maintain liquid water on the surface - and possibly even life. And, the Ice Warriors lived there. Recently, the NASA rover came across a large rock comprised of dozens of sedimentary layers. Dubbed 'Strathdon' by the Curiosity team, the brittle rock looks like a gigantic chunk of baklava, with its tiered, wavy rows. These features, according to NASA, point to the presence of a dynamic environment, in which wind or flowing water - or possibly both - imbued this Martian region with its distinctive geological features. 'We're seeing an evolution in the ancient lake environment recorded in these rocks,' said Caltech's Valerie Fox, a co-lead investigator for Curiosity's clay-unit campaign, in a NASA press release. 'It wasn't just a static lake. It's helping us move from a simplistic view of Mars going from wet to dry. Instead of a linear process, the history of water was more complicated.' On 9 July, Curiosity took a photo of Strathdon using its Mastcam. NASA adjusted the image to show how the rock and sand would appear under normal daylight conditions on Earth. A second photo taken a day later with the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager - a camera affixed to Curiosity's robotic arm - appeared to show the rock at a distance ten centimetres. A few weeks earlier, while Curiosity was exploring a region within the clay-bearing unit, the rover stopped to take a three hundred and sixty-degree panorama as it stood next to a rocky outcrop named Teal Ridge. The image was taken on 18 June and was also colour-corrected to show the scene under Earth-like lighting conditions. Incredibly, after seven years on Mars, Curiosity is still uncovering new and unexpected things. Its nuclear power system should last a few more years, so we can happily anticipate many more discoveries in the future.
A rocket engine explosion on a naval test range in Northern Russia has extremely killed two people and injured six, the defence ministry told Russian media. The victims of the explosion in Arkhangelsk region were civilian specialists while military and civilian personnel are among the injured. The ministry claimed that radiation levels were 'normal' but the city of Severodvinsk registered 'a brief spike' in levels. An area of the White Sea nearby has reportedly been closed for a month. But, the deputy head of Archangelsk port, Sergei Kozub, told the BBC that the closure was 'planned before the accident.' One or two people even believed him. Radiation levels peaked between 11:50am and 12:30pm before falling and normalising by two o'clock, the city administration in Severodvinsk claimed on its website, without reporting how significant the 'spike' had been. One imagines that if residents notice that they have started growing a second head then they should probably seek assistance. It is unclear what could have caused radiation levels to rise. Local people were reportedly 'urged' to 'take precautions' against radiation. No increase in ambulance call-outs was recorded, the administration added. A woman in Severodvinsk named only Alina told Russian news site 'I work in the hospital where they're bringing the injured. They advise everyone to close their windows and drink iodine, forty four drops per glass of water.' Children in local kindergartens were taken indoors after reports of the blast and parents were advised not to take them outside in the evening, other residents were quoted as saying. The defence ministry did not say officially where or when the blast occurred but unofficial alleged sources allegedly claimed it happened near the village of Nyonoksa, where a navy missile test range is located. Nyonoksa is about thirty miles West of Severodvinsk, which has a population of nearly two hundred thousand. 'During testing of a liquid jet engine an explosion and combustion of the product occurred,' the ministry said in a statement. 'There have been no harmful chemicals released into the atmosphere, the radiation levels are normal.' Emergency aircraft were used to airlift the injured. They included defence ministry officials and developer company representatives, who 'had injuries of varying severity,' the statement added. There had been earlier reports of a fire at a military facility near Nyonoksa. Telegram-based media outlet Mash claimed that radiation levels in the village were 'three times higher than normal.' Nyonoksa carries out tests for virtually every missile system used by the Russian navy, including sea-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and anti-aircraft missiles. It is the second accident involving Russia's military this week. On Monday, one person was killed and eight others were injured in a blaze at an ammunition dump in Siberia. Flying munitions damaged a school in the area. More than nine thousand people were evacuated. An investigation is under way into the cause of the incident.
The National Grid has claimed that it will 'learn the lessons' after nearly one million people across England and Wales lost power on Friday. But director of operations Duncan Burt told the BBC that its systems 'worked well' after the 'incredibly rare event' of two power stations disconnecting. Others begged to differ. He claimed that he 'did not believe' a cyber-attack or unpredictable wind power generation was to blame. Regulator Ofgem have demanded an 'urgent detailed report' into what went wrong, who was responsible and how much of a damned good thrashing they can expect to receive for their ways. It said it could 'take enforcement action,' including a fine, after train passengers were left stranded, traffic lights failed to work and thousands of homes lost power during the blackout. An energy department spokesperson said The National Grid must 'urgently review' what happened. And, make sure this shit never happens again. National Grid power was restored by 6pm on Friday but some train services continued to be disrupted on Saturday. The power cut happened at about 5pm on Friday, The National Grid said, with blackouts across the Midlands, the South East, South West, North West and North East of England and Wales. National Grid claimed that its systems were not to blame. Industry experts said a gas-fired power station at Little Barford in Bedfordshire, failed at 4:58pm followed, two minutes later, by the Hornsea offshore wind farm disconnecting from the grid. Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, Burt acknowledged the 'immense disruption' the blackout had caused. He said that the 'near-simultaneous' loss of two generators was 'more than the grid was routinely prepared for,' prompting automatic safety systems to shut off power to some places. 'We think that worked well; we think the safety protection systems across the industry, on generators and on the network, worked well to secure and keep the grid safe, to make sure that we preserved power to the vast proportion of the country,' he said. But he added that the industry needed 'to examine' whether these safety systems were 'set up correctly' to have 'minimal impact' on people's daily lives. RWE, owner of the Little Barford power station, said it shut down 'temporarily' on Friday 'as a routine response to a technical issue' and called for National Grid and Ofgem to 'investigate the wider system issues.' And, Orsted, the owner of the Hornsea offshore wind farm, said automatic systems on Hornsea One 'significantly reduced' power around the same time others failed. A spokesperson added: 'We are investigating the cause, working closely with National Grid System Operator, which balances the UK's electricity system.' Police were called to help travellers during the huge disruption on the railways on Friday, with delayed passengers stranded for hours. Disruption continued into Saturday for some routes. London North Eastern Railway, which runs between King's Cross and the North of England and Scotland, said services were 'returning to normal,' but 'a small number' of trains had been cancelled Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and Gatwick Express, says it is 'investigating' why the power cut had 'such a severe effect' on its trains. Thameslink trains were particularly badly impacted as GTR had to deploy technicians to manually restart trains North of London. David Hunter, energy analyst at Schneider Electric, told the BBC that the grid was 'pretty safe and pretty reliable,' but this was 'a wake-up call' to the energy industry and businesses 'with critical infrastructure.' He said it was 'possible' that the transition to clean energy 'might' be creating 'greater stresses' on the system because energy such as wind power was 'less effective' as 'a shock absorber' to shifts in supply and demand. So, there you go, dear blog reader, it's all the hippies' fault, seemingly. Shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said that the impact of the power cut was 'unacceptable' at a time when The National Grid reported 1.8 billion knicker in profits and increased dividends to shareholders. King's Cross was one of the worst-hit stations, with all trains suspended for several hours. Passenger Dayna McAlpine whinged to Radio 5Live that her train took 'nearly thirteen hours' to reach London King's Cross from Edinburgh - a journey which would normally take less than five hours. 'By hour seven things were starting to get pretty tense,' she said. 'People were threatening to self-evacuate off the train. Food ran out about five hours ago.' Others on social media reported having travelled for twelve hours, while some rail passengers were stuck on trains until the early hours of the morning. At the worst point of the power cut, about five hundred thousand people were affected in Western Power Distribution's area - including forty four thousand customers in Wales - while one hundred and ten thousand Northern Powergrid customers also lost power. In London and the South East, three hundred thousand people were affected, UK Power Networks said and another twenty six thousand customers were without power in the North West. Northern Powergrid said the problems had affected Newcastle airport and city's metro system. Radio 5Live listener Ed, in Woodford Green, claimed that he 'felt totally cut off' as mobile phone networks were also down. 'You heard all the alarms going off all around. Everything else was pretty eerie and quiet,' he said. 'There was no way we could know anything - it could be any reason that the power had gone down.' Yeah. Bears, perhaps. Or, ants. Electric ants who wanted to haul everyone off to work in their sugar mines. Anything. At Ipswich Hospital, a back-up generator which was supposed to supply power to outpatient areas did not work after the power cut, causing problems for fifteen minutes before power was restored.
A man who sparked panic by walking into a Walmart with a rifle and body armour claimed to police that he was 'testing his right to bear arms in public.' And now, having tested that right he will, presumably, test his right to a fair trail and rehabilitation once he has served the length prison sentence which is, surely, coming his way. Dmitriy Andreychenko entered the shop heavily armed, days after a mass shooting at another of Walmart's stores. 'I wanted to know if that Walmart honoured the second amendment,' the twenty-year-old told police after his arrest. Prosecutors have charged him with making a terrorist threat. If found guilty, the charge could result in a four-year prison sentence and a fine of ten thousand bucks, Greene County prosecutor Dan Patterson said in a statement. On 8 August, Andreychenko entered the store 'armed with an AR style rifle slung across his chest, wearing a ballistic vest and recording himself,' police said. Both the rifle and a handgun he carried were fully loaded. He told police that he 'did not expect the reaction' his walk generated. Which would suggest that, in addition to being a thuggish right-wing gun-toting fool he is also bone-thick into the bargain. 'This is Missouri, I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out,' he said, according to police filings. A tip, mate. When you're in a hole, it's usually a good idea to stop digging. Days before, twenty people had been extremely killed in a Walmart in El Paso by a gunman carrying a similar automatic rifle. The police statement also revealed that Andreychenko's wife, Angelice, had told him that it 'was not a smart idea.' Nice to see that someone in that family has some brains. 'She told him that people were going to take this seriously due to recent events. She told him he was just an immature boy,' the statement said. His sister, Anastasia, also told police that Andreychenko he had asked her to record video of what he called his 'social experiment' prior to him doing it. ;She told him that it was a bad idea and that she did not want to do that,' it said. Andreychenko told police that he 'only intended to buy some grocery bags and check if anyone tried to stop him.' The store manager - not unreasonably - 'believed Andreychenko came to the store to shoot people,' the police statement said and triggered the fire alarm to evacuate customers. Andreychenko was held at gunpoint by an off-duty fire fighter, who was legally carrying his own weapon, until police arrived and arrested his sorry as and threw him in The Joint. Prosecutor Dan Patterson said that while residents of Springfield, Missouri, were allowed to carry weapons, 'that right does not allow an individual to act in a reckless and criminal manner endangering other citizens.' The terrorist threat charge covers an act which 'recklessly disregards the risk of causing the evacuation' of a building, or 'knowingly causes a false belief or fear that a condition exists involving danger to life.' Andreychenko is currently being held on a ten thousand dollar bond and will not be allowed to possess a firearm if such time as he does make bail.
Gynaecologists are warning of the 'potential risks' of vaginal steaming after it emerged that a Canadian woman burned herself whilst attempting one. A case study, involving a sixty two-year-old, was published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. The woman had been suffering from a prolapsed vagina and believed the treatment could help avoid surgery. Vaginal steaming, which involves sitting over a hot water and herb mix, has seen a growth in popularity of late. It - and other treatments for intimate areas, including vulva facials - are now available at some salons and spas. The LA Times first reported on the steaming trend in 2010, and it later gained widespread attention when Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop brand recommended it. Last year, US model Chrissy Teigen also shared a photograph of herself undergoing the treatment. Spas advertising 'v-steaming' claim that it has been 'used throughout history' in countries in Asia and Africa. They say the practice, which is sometimes called Yoni steaming, acts to 'detox' the vagina. Experts, however, warn that it 'can be dangerous' and say there is 'no proven medical evidence' for the health claims being made, including that steaming can ease period pains or help with fertility. Doctor Vanessa Mackay, a consultant and spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says it is a 'myth' that the vagina requires extensive cleaning or treatment. She recommends using plain, unperfumed soaps on the external vulva area only. 'The vagina contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it,' she said in a statement. 'Steaming the vagina could affect this healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels and cause irritation, infection (such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush) and inflammation. It could also burn the delicate skin around the vagina.' A number of doctors have been sharing the injured woman's story in recent days in order to highlight the potential dangers from steaming. Doctor Magali Robert, who authored the article, said that the injured woman attempted to steam her vagina 'on the advice of a traditional Chinese doctor.' The woman, who gave permission for her case to be shared, sat over the boiling water for twenty minutes on two consecutive days before presenting herself at an emergency department with injuries. She sustained second-degree burns and had to delay reconstructive surgery whilst she healed. Doctor Robert - day or night, he'll be there any time at all - who works in pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery in Calgary, said that word of unconventional therapies like steaming can 'spread through channels' like the Interweb and word-of-mouth. 'Health care providers need to be aware of alternative therapies so that they can help women make informed choices and avoid potential harm,' Doctor Robert adds in the article.
A heated debate about market stalls was disrupted by a foul smell and furious finger-pointing at a Kenyan regional assembly on Wednesday, local reports say. 'Honourable Speaker, one of us has polluted the air and I know who it is,' Julius Gaya reportedly told Homa Bay county assembly. But the member he accused of dropping one is said to have replied: 'I am not the one. I cannot do such a thing in front of my colleagues.' He then suggests that 'the one who smelt it, dealt it.' Several other honourable members raised a point of order to allege that 'the one that done the rhyme done the crime.' Hoping to, if you will, clear the air, the assembly's Speaker Edwin Kakach then instructed members to 'step outside' and 'take a break' from the chamber. Reports also say that he asked officials to bring in air fresheners 'to make it pleasant. Get whatever flavour you will find in any office, whether it's vanilla or strawberry. We cannot continue sitting in an environment that smells bad.' The smell is reported to have subsided before any such sprays were necessary, allowing the debate to continue.
A chap who, it would seem, genuinely is called Dick Braine (no, me neither) has been elected as the leader of the UK Independence Party. Speaking after his victory, Dick Braine said that he wants to establish UKiP as the 'far-moderate voice of common sense' in Great Britain. Who wants to be the first to tell Dick Braine that 'far' and 'moderate' are kind-of mutually exclusive in this context and that this is probably only the second time in recorded history that words 'common sense' and 'UKiP' have appeared in the same sentence? The first being in the widely-used phrase 'no one with any common sense votes UKiP'. Oh and, finally and probably most importantly, two questions: Are they still going? And, why?
This blogger's favourite Gruniad Morning Star op-ed rottweiler Marina Hyde's latest thigh-slapping character-assassination Cummings: The New Rasputin Is Outshining Johnson As Antihero-In-Chief includes one of the best paragraphs the Gruniad has ever printed: 'Still, the spotlight is fickle. This week it was mostly shining on Dominic Cummings, a sort of skinny Cartman who really wants you to know he's got the highest score on Call Of Duty: SW1. Every photo of Cummings going into Downing Street sees him shiftily meeting the camera's gaze with the same defensive sneer you'd see on the proprietor of a holiday caravan park who has just been released on police bail after a fatal gas explosion thought to have been caused by poor maintenance. Britain really is the land of crap Rasputins, each one dragging us one step further back towards the primordial soup, like some grim Descent of Man.' Marina's pieces on the recent Tory leadership campaign have previously been highlighted on this blog, here and here. She's got a sassy mouth on her, that young lady. And she's clearly far too good for the Gruniad!
As a special bonus for y'aal, dear blog reader, here is a briefish glimpse of some the choice gear which has been on the Stately Telly Topping Manor playlist this week. (Note: Yes, it's true, yer actual Keith Telly Topping even plays the majority of his bangin' tunes through his TV these days.)
Meanwhile, let it be known that this blogger has - most definitely - got his very self a crying, talking, sleeping, walking ...
And finally, dear blog reader ...