Saturday, August 24, 2019

"I, To The World Am Like A Drop Of Water That In The Ocean Seeks Another Drop"

BBC comedy drama There She Goes, starring national heartthrob David Tennant and Jessica Hynes, will return for a second series. Based on the real-life experiences of writer Shaun Pye - whose daughter was born with an extremely rare and currently undiagnosed chromosomal disorder - the show follows the day-to-day life of Rosie (Miley Locke), who has a severe learning disability. Set eighteen months after the first series, the second will see Tennant reprise his role as Rosie's father, Simon while Jessica Hynes returns to play mother Emily. Edan Hayhurst will play Emily's brother Ben once again. While the first series was broadcast in 2018 on BBC4, the five-episode second run has earned a promotion and will be shown on BBC2. Speaking about the new series, Shaun Pye said: 'The massively positive response to the first series from parents and siblings of children similar to Rosie showed us that while our daughter is one in a trillion, we're part of something much bigger. Sarah and I feel very proud to be able to tell more of our daughter's story. Or, to put it more accurately, write down all the loveable, infuriating, beautiful, crazy stuff she does.' According to the BBC, transmission date for There She Goes will be announced 'in due course.'
Two years after he waved goodbye to Doctor Who on Christmas Day, yer actual Peter Capaldi is set to return to the BBC for a new festive drama - but this time, he is swapping the world of time travel for a far more macabre tale. And, a wig. Peter will star in Martin's Close, a new one-off half-hour BBC4 drama adapted from the MR James' short story, which follows 'a Seventeenth-Century murder trial with a supernatural twist.' The story has been adapted and directed for Christmas by yer actual Mark Gatiss. 'After the delightful success of last year's The Dead Room, it's a fantastic privilege to continue the tradition of the Christmas Ghost story on BBC4 - and what better than one of my favourite stories by the master of them all, MR James?' Gatiss said. 'I'm delighted to welcome another of Mark Gatiss' ghostly escapades to BBC4 after the success of last year's The Dead Room,' added BBC4 Controller Cassian Harrison. The story follows the titular Martin, a man accused of murdering a young woman with learning difficulties, with suspicion turning to him when the ghost of his victim apparently starts tormenting him and appearing to her neighbours. In his murder trial, the evidence of the ghostly apparitions ends up playing an unusually large part in proceedings, making for a strange twist on a standard legal drama. Martin's Close is expected to be shown on BBC4 on Christmas Eve in the same slot as last year's The Dead Room, an original ghost story by Gatiss which starred Simon Callow and Anjili Mohindra and was broadcast to critical acclaim. Capaldi - wearing a totally mad wig - will play Dolben, the barrister prosecuting Martin for the crown, while other cast members include Game Of Thrones' Wilf Scolding as George Martin, Simon Williams as Stanton, Sara Crowe as Sarah, Fisayo Akinade as William, James Holmes as Snell and Elliot Levey as the infamous Judge George Jeffreys.
Meanwhile, Peter's predecessor in the TARDIS, Matt Smith continues to film Edgar Wright's much-anticipated new movie, Last Night In Soho. Although, someone probably ought to clue Smudger up that in 1965, when the movie is reportedly set, they didn't have smartphones.
This month's Doctor Who Magazine sees some of the current Doctor Who writers paying tribute to the series pioneers. It features exclusive contributions from the likes of Paul Cornell, Sarah Dollard, Matthew Graham, Peter Harness, Pete McTighe, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE), James Moran, Rona Munro, Robert Shearman and Toby Whithouse. The issue is available now for a penny under six English pounds from all good newsagents (and some bad ones).
This week's From The North edition of Did You Know?: According to the very lovely Frazer Hines, David Bowie once told him that he was a fan of the 1967 Doctor Who serial The Abominable Snowmen.
Last month the Daily Mirra reported a widespread Interweb rumour - one that this blog had previously alluded to as far back as April; that The Cybermen would be returning in the next series of Doctor Who. An Instagram user has now captured a glimpse of a few of The Cybermen during recent location filming in Wales.
Not only is the wait for the - eagerly-anticipated - new series of Peaky Blinders almost over, but the BBC have announced that they will be showing the first two episodes on consecutive nights. It was previously known that the series opener, Black Tuesday, would be broadcast on BBC1 on Sunday. Next, the popular period gangster drama's second episode, Black Cats, will go out at 9.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday. This means the two episodes of Peaky Blinders will be shown immediately after the final two episodes of Poldark, which will also broadcast over consecutive nights. According to its synopsis, the Peaky Blinders series opener will focus on the 1929 Wall Street Crash, the financial recession which brings the Shelby family back together. The series will see Cillian Murphy return to play Tommy Shelby, with Paul Anderson, Finn Cole, Sophie Rundle and Helen McCrory all back. The drama will also see a few new faces, including Hunger Games star Sam Claflin, who will play the future fascist politician and despicable old stinker Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley.
As the world waits, expectantly and impatiently, for the return of Peaky Blinders, the Netflix-loving box-set stains at the Gruniad Morning Star all have their collective tongues out, salivating at the prospect and rammed so far up the production's collective arse that there's no room for anyone else to get in there. The above is just one of a series of ringpiece-slurping articles in the Gruniad this week. Take this one, for instance (tenuously linking the series massive popularity to 'our discontented times'). And, this one (a marginally more thoughtful piece about the series' depiction of that terrible old stinker Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley). 'The eagerly awaited fifth series of the Birmingham-set show returns on Sunday, making its debut on BBC1, the country's most-watched channel - a testament to its elevation to crown jewel status alongside the corporation's biggest returning dramas such as Line Of Duty,' writes Mark Sweeney in the first of these three pieces, seemingly in the process of coming hot, sticky spunk in his own shorts at the very prospect. The irony of the Gruniad's current obsession with Peaky Blinders will, of course, be lost on no one who recalls the review of the first episode written some hateful Middle Class hippy Communist smear of no consequence at the paper. Who claimed in her review that the episode was 'styled like a John Lewis ad with almost as many cliches. Will you keep watching?' Well, your fekking newspaper certainly has, you worthless shite. Did you Gruniadistas think we all had collective memories as short as those of a goldfish? God save us all from Middle Class hippy Communists who see the light a few years after everyone else and become evangelical about a TV show they had previously spat upon. Lordy, issa miracle. Mind you, to be scrupulously fair, that was 2013. As late as 2018, some equally unimportant arsewipe at the i - an organ of the media with such a small readership that it barely registers on the scale - was claiming in relation to Peaky Blinders: 'I can't stand [it]. I find that fake Brum accent too annoying to concentrate.' Maybe I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) would be more to your concentration tastes, whosoever the fek you are.
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight has unveiled his new project: a BBC1 series exploring the formation of the SAS. Adapted from the best-selling book SAS: Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre, the drama of the same name will tell the story of how the British special forces were created in response to the desert warfare of the Second World War. According to the BBC, the show will 'celebrate the glory, action and camaraderie at the heart of the organisation, as well as delving into the psychology of its flawed, reckless but astonishingly brave group of maverick officers.' Macintyre was given privileged access to the SAS's archives to write the original book. Speaking about the upcoming six-part series, Knight said: 'This will be a secret history telling the story of exceptional soldiers who decided battles and won wars only to then disappear back into the shadows. We will shine a light on remarkable true events informed by the people who shaped them.'
Some of Game Of Thrones eighth and final series' most pivotal scenes were 'met with a furious fan backlash,' from whinging whingers with nothing better to do with their time than whinge, loudly, on the Interweb. From Cersei's death to Daenerys' fiery massacre, the whinging whingers were out in force with their really dull whinging. They were quite a sight, to be honest. But, it was Arya Stark's dispatch of The Night King which caused the most confusion and whinging amongst those in the Hard-Of-Thinking club. During the battle between The Living and The Dead in The Long Night, Arya saved Bran's life by leaping out from the shadows and stabbing The Night King. Really hard. At which point, he shattered - like a ... big shattery thing - along with the rest of his icy hordes. Following the fight, whinging whingers had a few pressing questions: Like, how did Arya sneak past the army of The Dead? And, how did she manage to jump at an almost horizontal angle? And, did she really have enough know-how to pull it off? Some whinging whingers theorised that Arya was 'being instructed' in her righteous murderising ways by Jon Snow from the sidelines (though, Jon was a bit busy almost being burned to death by a dragon at that particular moment). However, that - ridiculous - theory is one that Kit Harington his very self is keen to kick in the Jacob's Cream Crackers. 'Come on,' he told The Hollywood Reporter when asked for his thoughts on this malarkey. 'What, the big man goes and tells the little girl to go and [do it]? No thanks. That's crap.' It is, indeed. Much like lots of nonsense which dribbles from the mouths and the brains of the whinging whingers. 'She did it all on her own. It had nothing to do with Jon!' That's not to say Snow couldn't have done the job if he'd been told to. Kit revealed that, before seeing the script, he thought it was Jon Snow's 'destiny' to see off the villain. 'I was a bit pissed off, only because I wanted to kill The Night King,' he said. 'I think I felt like everyone else did, in that it had been set up for a long time and then I didn't get to do it. But I was so happy for Maisie and Arya. I was secretly like, "I wanted to do that!" Especially because I love fighting with Vlad, who also played The White Walker I fought at Hardhome. I've never seen a better swordsman. But it was a really great twist and it tied up Maisie's journey in a really beautiful way. Over the seasons, we've seen her build up these skills to become this hardened assassin and she uses it all to kill our main antagonist.'
Meanwhile, Alfie Allen has responded to those self-same whinging whingers whinging about the HBO show's final series, saying that it 'pisses' him off when the crew is trolled. 'What pisses me off is when you see people like the camera operators, who are the best in the world - people behind the scenes who break their backs for this show - who are then getting trolled online by people,' Allen told Deadline. 'I can't even delve into that world too much, for my own sanity. But to read all that stuff. People laying into the DPs. It blows my mind.' On whether the 'negative reaction' (for which read whinging) over the series was partly down to 'separation anxiety' on the part of fans, Allen said: 'Too right. I think we've seen it before, in other shows that have been massive, where people didn't agree with how things ended. Where people are like, "This is not really feeding what I need anymore." So inevitably, that was going to happen. David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] were under huge pressure to finish this series off and do it in the right way.' Allen, who has been nominated for an EMMY after submitting himself for consideration, also spoke about how his character's downward spiral during the course of the show meant there were some 'dark moments' on set. 'Even up to the point of getting an EMMY nomination, this character did make me get inside my own head a lot and there were dark, dark moments,' he said. 'It's great to have it end on a positive note, because it was hard, during the process, to open up and talk about how difficult it was.'
Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani have joined the third series cast of Killing Eve, as production began this week. Series three will reportedly pick up immediately following series two's finale cliffhanger as Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) seemingly betrayed Eve (Sandra Oh) before Villanelle (Jodie Comer) shot Eve, leaving her for dead in Rome (in a neat role reversal to the climax of the first series). Killing Eve, based on the Codename Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings, continued its strong ratings in series two, doubling its initial audience in in both America and the UK. Killing Eve was recently nominated for nine EMMYs, including outstanding drama series as well as lead actress in a drama series nominations for both Oh and Comer and supporting actress in a drama series for Shaw. Writer Suzanne Heathcote will join the production as lead writer and executive producer, continuing the tradition of passing the baton to a new female author.
There is a very good piece on current From The North favourite, Fosse/Verdon by Vanity Fair's Julie Miller, How Fosse/Verdon Brought A Complex Story Of Sex & Theater [sic] Into The Time's Up Era which this blogger highly recommends to you all, dear blog reader.
All-time From The North favourite, Twin Peaks, is getting a - presumably, really expensive - 'collector's box-set', limited to only twenty five thousand copies worldwide and due to be released on 10 December. The set will contain series one and two of the original 1990s series, the 2017 eighteen-part Twin Peaks: The Return, the 'prequel' movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and its deleted scenes, The Missing Pieces. There will also be 4K Ultra Hi-Def versions of the original Pilot episode and the acclaimed episode eight of The Return; Behind The Curtain, behind the scenes and making of footage for all eighteen episodes of The Return; new interviews with Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee; On The Couch with Harry Goaz and Kimmy Robertson, full-length, unedited versions of a number of the musical performances at The Roadhouse, an exclusive die-cut, acrylic figure of Laura Palmer kissing Agent Cooper; The Red Room Gallery: a curated set of five printed cards depicting memorable moments in The Red Room; an individually numbered collectable certificate and a number of previously released special features. The twenty one-disc collection, will reportedly be housed in packaging 'with an exterior adorned by a wraparound vista of haunting and majestic Douglas Fir trees.' Once opened, 'a depiction of the infamous Red Room is revealed with its brown and crème chevron floor and brilliant red curtains.' Sitting in front of the red curtain will be 'an exclusive die-cut acrylic figure of Laura Palmer kissing Special Agent Dale Cooper. This acrylic figure comes inside a plastic display holder held in place by magnets.' Fans will have the option of leaving the figure in place inside The Red Room environment or removing and displaying it elsewhere (although, if they do that, it obviously decreases any potential resale value of the set. Mind you, so does taking it out of the plastic it's wrapped in). The plastic holder 'can also serve as an easel to display individual images from The Red Room Gallery.'
Someone called 'Steven Moffatt' - who may, or may not, be related to The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) - is, according to the Radio Times 'set to follow up his upcoming Dracula series with a crime thriller called Inside Man, which will go into production in late 2020.' The four-part mini-series is about a prisoner on death row in the USA and a woman trapped in a cellar under an English vicarage, 'whose paths cross in an unexpected way.' 'In our ongoing relationship with Steven and Sue Vertue, they sent us this mini-series which Steven had written on spec and we commissioned it instantly,' Piers Wenger, the Controller of BBC Drama said. 'The script is a page-turner and grips you from the outset and [Director of BBC Content] Charlotte Moore and I couldn't resist bringing this story to BBC1.' 'Moffat' (who may, or may not, be related to 'Steven Moffatt') is, Radio Times continues, 'currently busy prepping his Dracula TV series with Sherlock colleague Mark Gatiss, which is expected to hit our screens in the next few months.'
Vienna Blood, a 1900s-set crime series from Sherlock and Doctor Who screenwriter Steve Thompson is set to be broadcast on BBC2 later this year. Based on the best-selling Liebermann novels by clinical psychologist Frank Tallis, the three-part feature-length series will follow Max Liebermann (played by The Imitation Game's Matthew Beard), an English doctor who becomes a student of acclaimed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in Vienna. However, his studies under the Freud-dude are 'soon halted with the arrival of Oskar Rheinhardt' (played by Austrian actor Juergen Maurer), a Detective Inspector struggling with an unusual case. It is down to Liebermann's perception, forensics and deductions to help solve the city's most mysterious and ghastly crimes. Speaking about the two lead characters' relationship in the books, Tallis said: 'It is through Rheinhardt that Liebermann becomes involved with police investigations, applying his psychoanalytic knowledge - particularly when suspects are interviewed. Liebermann's technique, of course, is to allow unconscious processes to betray their misdemeanours "through every pore."' He added: 'There are many commonalities that link detection and psychoanalysis. Fundamentally, Sigmund Freud and Sherlock Holmes were in the same business.' The series, filmed on location in Vienna, also stars Game Of Thrones' Conleth Hill, Charlene McKenna, Amelia Bullmore and Jessica De Gouw. First published in 2005, there are now seven books in Tallis' Max Liebermann series, which has been translated into fourteen languages. The BBC has not yet announced when Vienna Blood will broadcast, but they have confirmed we can expect the series 'later this year.'
Speaking about the potential for any more Sherlock episodes to Collider, Martin Freeman has said there had been 'few talks' about reviving the popular drama as the cast and lead writers Mark Gatiss and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (OBE) were somewhat busy with other projects. 'They're few and far between, the discussions about Sherlock, just because Mark and Steven and Benedict and I, are all lucky enough to be not only working on stuff that we like and are interested in, but we know what Sherlock is,' he said. 'You don't look that gift horse in the mouth because that sort of stuff doesn't happen very often in someone's life. It's a huge, huge worldwide hit and way beyond anything we could've imagined.' Freeman also added that he would only want Sherlock - which was last on screens in January 2017 - to return if a new series could be 'something really special. If it's something really meaty and interesting, then I think we'd all be open to that,' he explained. 'Sherlock always sounds a bit like an event, anyway. We did three episodes [each series]. Albeit they were long - ninety-minute - episodes, but they were quite few and far between, by television standards. Normally, you're looking at ten or eight episodes. We did relatively few, even though there was a lot of material. It always felt like an event, so if we do more, it has to be worthy of that. We couldn't come back with something that was quite good. It would have to feel really, really special. It was that kind of show.' Whilst it looks like a long wait to see John Watson and Sherlock Holmes back on our screens, both of the creators have said they would be 'surprised' if they never made any more Sherlock. 'Nobody has ever closed the door on Sherlock - we just say the same thing all the time and it gets quoted different ways,' The Moffinator previously told Radio Times. 'We haven't got an immediate plan, but I would remain surprised, given the collective enthusiasm we have for it, if we didn't do it again.'
Huge Laurie has been lined-up to star as a conservative politician in the midst of a personal crisis in Roadkill, a new BBC drama from screenwriter David Hare. The four-part thriller will follow Peter Laurence, 'a charismatic Tory politician whose public and private life is falling apart.' Despite this, Laurence seems untroubled by guilt or remorse - well, he's a Tory MP, he would, wouldn't he? - and 'continues to further his own agenda and overcome his various enemies, who are doing their level best to bring him down.' Hurrah for them. Roadkill is Hare's first TV series since 2018's patchy-but-fascinating Collateral, which saw Carey Mulligan star as a pregnant police detective investigating the assassination of a pizza delivery man in London. Line Of Duty director Michael Keillor will be behind the camera on all four episodes of Roadkll. 'I first worked with Hugh Laurie in 1987 when he set off on his riveting change of direction from adroit comedian to commanding dramatic actor,' Hare said. 'I can't wait to see him embody the fictional future of the Conservative party in Roadkill.'
Rowdy Billie Piper has not only been announced to star in a new Sky series, I Hate Suzie, but is also reported to have co-created the drama with Secret Diary Of A Call Girl writer Lucy Prebble. The eight-episode drama will follow Suzie Pickles (Piper), 'a star on the wane whose life is torn apart after her phone is hacked, revealing a photo of her in an extremely compromising position.' Billing the show as 'excruciatingly honest,' Sky says that the drama will see Piper's character 'navigate the stages of grief - from shock to denial, guilt, anger and acceptance - as she clings to life with the help of her best friend and manager, Naomi.' Speaking about joining forces with Prebble again, Piper said: 'It's taken years to finally get Lucy, my long-term GF and favourite writer in London - to work with me again. We feel we've created something timely and not for the faint-hearted. If you too suffer with anxiety, shame, compulsive lying but like a laugh, please tune in at some point.' Made by Bad Wolf (the production company co-founded by Piper's former Doctor Who boss Russell Davies), I Hate Suzie is to be broadcast on Sky Atlantic in 2020.
Soon to appear as Her Maj in the third series of Netflix's The Crown, Olivia Colman is also scheduled for the ultimate telly accolade - to be on The Simpsons. But, whilst she will not be voicing a royal in the long-running animated sitcom, Colly will play a character trying to seduce Homer. Nice work if you can get it. Breaking the news on Twitter, The Simpsons executive James L Brooks said that the Oscar-winning actress would play a woman who 'attracts every man she's ever met' but 'falls hard, harder than she ever imagined, for Homer Simpson.' Other big names set to loan their voices to the new Simpsons series include Aquaman's Jason Momoa, Breaking Bad's Bob Odenkirk, singer John Legend, John Mulaney and Chrissy Teigen. Whilst her Simpsons episode is currently in production, Colman is set to return to screens on 17 November on The Crown. Although many are anticipating her portrayal of a British monarch, Colman recently described working on the show as 'the worst job,' owing to taking over from fan-favourite Claire Foy. 'It's horrendous,' Colly told EW. 'Everyone loves Claire Foy, so I have got the worst job in the world at the moment. The first week, I did feel myself trying to do Claire impressions,' she added. '"What would she have done?" It's the same as any classical play you do - everyone will have already played that part before.'
Sky 1's new - much-trailed - drama series Temple will premiere on Friday 13 September it has been announced. Temple tells the story of Daniel Milton, a talented surgeon whose world is turned upside-down when his wife develops a life-threatening illness. Conventional options for treatment run out, yet Daniel refuses to accept the cards he's been dealt. He partners with the obsessive yet surprisingly resourceful misfit Lee, to start a literal 'underground' clinic in the vast network of tunnels beneath Temple tube station. They are soon joined by Anna, a guilt-ridden medical researcher whose past is entangled with Daniel's and Jamie, a young fugitive bank-robber. Daniel does his best to juggle this dysfunctional family as his moral boundaries between being a husband, friend and doctor are challenged. But it soon becomes apparent that it may be him and his desperate actions that finally bring the whole thing crashing down. The series, which was created by Mark O'Rowe and is based on Norwegian drama Valkyrien, is being produced by Hera Pictures and stars Mark Strong, Catherine McCormack, Daniel Mays, Carice Van Houten, Tobi King Bakare, Wunmi Mosaku, Craig Parkinson, Lily Newmark, Chloe Pirrie and Ryan McKen.
BBC1's surveillance thriller The Capture will premiere on Tuesday 3 September. The Capture is described as 'a surveillance thriller set in London.' When soldier Shaun Emery's conviction for a murder in Afghanistan is overturned due to flawed video evidence he returns to life as a free man with his young daughter. But, when damning CCTV footage from a night out in London comes to light, Shaun's life takes a shocking turn and he must soon fight for his freedom once again. With Rachel Carey drafted in to investigate Shaun's case, she quickly learns that the truth can sometimes be a matter of perspective. Should she trust Shaun Emery? In addition to Holliday Grainer and Callum Turner, the cast also includes Ron Perlman, Famke Janssen, Laura Haddock, Ben Miles, Lia Williams, Sophia Brown, Paul Ritter, Adelayo Adedayo, Ralph Ineson, Cavan Clerkin, Barry Ward, Ginny Holder and Nigel Lindsay. The six episode drama series is being written and directed by Cyberbully and Blackout author Ben Chanan.
BBC2 has commissioned an as-yet untitled six-part comedy series from From The North favourite Sara Pascoe. The series will 'subvert the tradition sitcom format and blend eccentric characters, surreal moments and factual insight,' apparently. It follows Sara, who doesn't know why everyone else in the world is pairing up and having babies and so 'sets out on a mission to understand them.' She tries to prove that 'romantic love is mere chemicals and conditioning and doesn’t deserve our respect.' This conflicts a little with preparations for her sister's wedding and her best friend's first pregnancy. It was commissioned by BBC2 Controller Patrick Holland and the BBC's Controller of Comedy Commissioning Shane Allen. The as yet untitled series is a Stolen Picture and Sara Pascoe co-production. Catherine Gosling Fuller is the producer. The executive producers are Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Miles Ketley for Stolen Picture and Sara Pascoe. Notably, the series is something a natural progression from short-film Sara Pascoe Versus Monogamy, which she began with the bold statement that she 'doesn't think human beings are meant to be monogamous.' 'I'm obsessed with family dynamics, sex, hope and the reasons underlying why humans behave as we do,' Sara Pascoe said in a statement. 'My new series gives me a chance to explore all of these things in a funny, silly way, buoyed up by the research I've done for my two books.'
The very excellent Alan Cumming has said he was proud of starring in the first ever network drama on US television to have a gay leading character. The fifty four-year-old actor played Doctor Dylan Reinhart in Instinct, which is shown on Sky Witness in the UK. However, it was announced at the weekend that the show had been cancelled after its second series. Cumming said that he 'relished' the chance to further the cause of representation and equality for LGBTQ people. The actor, whose parts have ranged from BBC comedy The High Life ('deary me!') to US dramas such as The Good Wife, a memorable guest role in last year's Doctor Who, the James Bond movie GoldenEye and an acclaimed Broadway version of Cabaret, said that he had felt comfortable with the responsibility of taking on the ground-breaking role. On Sunday, the actor posted a message to his Instagram followers saying he was 'proud' to have been part of a show in which 'millions of people will have seen a same-sex marriage portrayed for the first time.' Speaking to BBC Scotland's The Edit, Cumming, who has dual UK and US citizenship, said that he had been 'surprised' there was no negative reaction to his character in Instinct. 'In a time in America's history when it is obvious that bigotry and homophobia and racism are rife, it has been heartening to know there are people out there who don't feel like that,' he said. He said the drama had not sensationalised or drawn attention to the lead character's same-sex relationship and this 'mainstream' approach had made it more acceptable to people. 'I've been in places like airports in cities across America and old ladies would say to me "I hope you and your husband get to adopt a child,"' he said. 'That is real progress.' Cumming, who said he was 'sanguine' about the show ending, joked: 'One of the good things about the show not happening is I won't have to deal with any screaming babies.' Cumming also told The Edit he was still 'a passionate supporter' of Scottish independence and said recent events showed 'enough is enough.' He said he thought a no-deal Brexit would 'further and quicken' the move to Scottish independence and claimed Scots were 'duped' at the 2014 referendum by being told a 'No' vote would keep them in the European Union. Brexit was another example of the Westminster government dictating a policy that Scotland did not want, he said.
The BBC has been accused of 'trying to strong-arm independent TV producers into extending the availability of their shows on the iPlayer from thirty days to one year without paying millions in additional licensing fees,' according to some whinging Middle class hippy Communist that you've never heard of at the Gruniad Morning Star. Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator - a politically-appointed quango, elected by no one - this month gave the green light for the biggest expansion of the BBC iPlayer since its launch in 2007, to enable the corporation to fight back in the streaming war against the Gruniad Morning Star's beloved Netflix and Amazon. Independent TV producers whinge that keeping their shows exclusively on iPlayer for longer means that they are less valuable when they are eventually allowed to be sold on to other services, such as the Gruniad Morning Star's beloved Netflix, which they are currently allowed to do eighteen months after they have bee broadcast on the BBC. Recognising this financial issue, Ofcom has said that the BBC needs to 'adequately compensate' producers and that it may have to look to pay a higher price for programming. However, PACT, the body representing the multi-billion pound UK independent TV production industry, whinges that it has been 'repeatedly contacted' by whinges members whinging that the BBC is trying to get them to sign off on using their shows for longer on the iPlayer without paying more. Pact claims that the tactics started in April, when the BBC's proposal to extend iPlayer viewing rights to a year were first made public and has prompted it to take the step of warning its entire member base about the issue. 'The BBC has consistently sought to strong-arm suppliers into giving the BBC these rights for no compensation and without a proper agreement,' whinged John McVay, Pact's chief executive. 'Pact has warned its members three times since April that the BBC has not yet reached an agreement with Pact for its ambitious plans.' In addition, the Gruniad Morning Star claims, the BBC 'is also planning a huge expansion of the iPlayer to make programmes available on the service for up to five years in total.' Proposals to do this were not part of Ofcom's assessment, which has agreed to allow only children's content to be made available on the iPlayer exclusively for five years, as the corporation wants to keep shows for a further four years on 'a non-exclusive basis. ' According to whinging - though suspiciously anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - 'production company executives,' the BBC is offering 'a pittance' for deals offering a further two packages of streaming rights to programmes lasting two years each - after they have been exclusively on the iPlayer for a year - to keep shows on the service. 'The proposed payment structure for these periods is risible,' the Gruniad Morning Star quotes one 'senior' - though suspiciously nameless - production industry executive as alleging. 'Having shows effectively permanently available on the iPlayer will depress the price that anyone else will want to pay for it.' The BBC has also been accused - albeit, not by anyone without a sick agenda smeared all over their disgusting mush - of 'trying to give BritBox,' its joint venture subscription streaming service with ITV due to launch this year, 'an advantage' by being first-in-line to pick up shows after they leave the iPlayer, instead of services such as the Gruniad Morning Star's beloved Netflix. Because an article of TV in the Gruniad Morning Star has to, legally, include at least three arse-slurping references to Netflix or the author gets his quiche-portion reduced in the Gruniad Morning Star staff canteen. It is alleged. Following the end of the one-year exclusivity window on iPlayer, the BBC is proposing that shows then only be allowed to be sold to a platform or broadcaster that 'invests in and supports the UK creative industries' that also agrees to carry 'prominent and approved' BBC branding and provide audience performance data. If producers want to wait to sell to anyone they like, they can do so only after eighteen months, under the BBC plan. This 'has been viewed by the production industry as attempting to eliminate Netflix as a bidder for shows once they are first allowed to be sold beyond the iPlayer,' the Gruniad Morning Star claims having sneaked in a fourth brown-tongued reference to their beloved Netflix. Netflix (five) 'prefers to brand shows it buys the rights to as its own in international markets,' the Gruniad Morning Star adds; for example, the BBC's Bodyguard was credited as being 'a Netflix Original' series outside the UK - and is 'secretive' about sharing any data on the popularity of shows on its platform. And yet, still, the box-set bores at the Gruniad Morning Star are all pushing each other out of the way to see which of them can ram their tongue right up there the furthest. They really are quite a sight, dear blog reader. One alleged - though, again, anonymous and, therefore, probably fictitious - 'production industry source' allegedly said: 'You could have a situation where a programme is being broadcast on TV by the BBC for free, is on the iPlayer for free but also on BritBox where you would have to pay for it.' Well, that's capitalism for you, matey. Welcome to the Nineteenth Century. Ofcom - a politically-appointed quango, elected by no one - has said that the extension of iPlayer rights to a year will have an 'adverse impact' on the launch of BritBox, but ITV has dismissed those concerns and did not object to the BBC's plans. However, Ofcom has estimated that the increase in viewing of BBC iPlayer content will mean an audience reduction at Channel Four's All4, ITV's Hub and Channel Five's My5 and 'other online platforms.' The loss of advertising revenue as a result is estimated at almost fifteen million smackers next year, although Channel Four claims it will be higher, with Ofcom estimating that losses will grow in subsequent years. 'Both viewers and production companies win by making programmes available for longer on BBC iPlayer,' said a BBC spokesman. 'This is about keeping up with viewer expectations and is long overdue. Audiences are choosing to consume content on demand and the value they receive from their licence fee should reflect that shift. We continue to have conversations with Pact and production companies to make this happen. Longer BBC iPlayer availability does not reduce the opportunities for them commercially, rather, success on the BBC leads to commercial success for independently produced programmes.'
Channel Four is 'locked in a battle with Netflix and porn' for the attention of younger audiences, according to its chief executive, as the television industry battles to attract a new generation of viewers raised on streaming services. And, porn, you know, doesn't. Alex Mahon talked about the challenge faced by the traditional channels as she unveiled new commissions with an increased emphasis on shows produced outside London and those that could appeal to more diverse viewers - including a new sitcom called Lady Parts about an all-female Muslim punk band and a drama called Generation Z about 'baby boomers turning into zombies.' Channel Four also announced a show called The British Tribe Next Door, which will see Gogglebox-type person Scarlett Moffatt relocate her entire family to Namibia, where they will live alongside the semi-nomadic Himba people in a purpose-built replica of their County Durham semi-detached house. Whether they stay there or not is another matter entirely. Although Mahon's comment, made during a dinner at the Edinburgh Television Festival, was said in jest, 'it reflects a growing acceptance among many senior television executives at the annual industry event that young audiences are unlikely to ever truly embrace scheduled television,' according to some middle Class hippy Communist of no consequence at the Gruniad Morning Star. This is forcing a radical rethink of how to measure success, with British television bosses increasingly accepting that they are no longer competing with one another but are battling with other forms of entertainment for attention. Channel Four is attempting to improve the popularity of its All4 catch-up service and the number of hours watched by viewers, rather than traditional live viewing figures. It is also putting more money into its yoof-focused E4 strand, moving staff out of London and launching a new advertising campaign based around complaints from viewers. Patrick Holland, the controller of BBC2, told the same festival audience that he 'accepted' traditional live television channels were 'increasingly watched by older and wealthier viewers.' He insisted his channel was 'fighting back,' with shows such as a rebooted Top Gear attracting a consolidated audience of more than a million viewers in the sixteen to thirty four age bracket. 'Broadcast television has a problem with younger audiences,' he said. 'The whole of broadcast television has older, posh people watching.' Holland said viewers are moving 'towards an iPlayer-only world,' aided by the BBC's decision to make most programmes available for up to a year on catch-up. In turn, this will create 'a growing need to make sure audiences are aware' that the publicly-funded broadcaster was responsible for the programmes. Holland said many viewers of Peaky Blinders associate the programme with Netflix, where past series are available on catch-up, rather than as an original commission from the BBC, which helped develop the show and nurtured its growth. To make matters worse for traditional commercial broadcasters, Enders Analysis on Wednesday said it was forecasting that British TV advertising spend would fall five per cent year-on-year during 2019 'due to the prospect of Brexit,' with companies cutting back on marketing budgets and shifting their money into 'other forms of media.'
Channel Four's Head of News has defended the right of journalists to call out politicians for telling lies. Dorothy Byrne delivered a keynote speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Wednesday, calling Prime Minister Bashing Boris Johnson 'a coward' for not granting news interviews. She also said that he was 'a known liar.' And a hairdo, also, though that's another matter entirely. Byrne told the BBC: 'If someone has deliberately spoken an untruth and we have evidence, we have to consider saying that what is said is a lie.' In her MacTaggart Lecture, she said: 'What we all need to decide: what do we do when a known liar becomes our Prime Minister? I've talked to journalists from several television organisations about this issue. They said they would be loath to use that word "liar." Remember when Andrew Marr told [former defence secretary] Penny Mordaunt her claim that the UK couldn't stop Turkey from joining the EU was "strange"? It was strange, but it was also untrue - a lie. Is it time for us to start using the L-word? I believe that we need to start calling politicians out as liars when they lie. If we continue to be so polite, how will our viewers know that politicians are lying?' She added that it 'isn't necessarily obvious' to the audience when politicians are untruthful in interviews. 'They are not journalists, they don't have all day to research stories,' she said on Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday. 'Journalists have a purpose. We go away and study and research whether what politicians say is true and then we ask them informed questions and make them accountable.' Byrne lamented the time given over to journalistic scrutiny by the present prime minister, the extremely former PM Theresa May and leader of the opposition, Comrade Corbyn. 'Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are cowards,' she said. 'If they really believe in the policies they promote, they should come onto television to explain them, to allow them to be scrutinised and to justify them.' Byrne, who was made Channel Four's editor of current affairs in 1998, also spoke about an industry that she said was 'rife' with sexism. 'That's one of the things about being an old lady, you gather a lot of information over the years. To men who have behaved badly in the past, I say this: you know who you are. And so do I.'
ITV is adding to the cast of The Bay. Joe Absolom, James Cosmo, Stephen Tomkinson, Sharon Small, Sunetra Sarker, Owen McDonnell, Steven Robertson, Amy James-Kelly, Kerrie Taylor, Wendy Kweh, Julia Haworth and Jack Archer have joined the Morven Christie-fronted series for its second series. The Bay is set in the unique coastal town of Morecambe and follows Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong, a police family liaison officer. The drama, which was created by Daragh Carville, is produced by Tall Story Pictures and stars Christie, Daniel Ryan, Lindsey Coulson, Imogen King, Art Parkinson and Taheen Modak. Alexander Lamb is the series producer, while Robert Quinn and Julia Ford are directing. 'I'm absolutely delighted to be returning to the world of The Bay and picking up the story of police detective Lisa Armstrong, as she faces massive new challenges both at work and at home,' said series creator Daragh Carville. 'We are welcoming back our fantastic core team from series one - led by the extraordinary Morven Christie - we're also welcoming in a brilliant cast of new faces. And once again our story plays out against the stunning backdrop of Morecambe Bay, with its beautiful views, its dangerous tides and its hidden secrets. I can't wait to get started.'
Blood is returning. Virgin Media Television in Ireland has renewed the Adrian Dunbar-fronted series for a six episode second series. Channel Five, who acquired the drama's first series, is to remain the show's UK broadcaster. Created by Sophie Petzal, Blood 'explores family, memory and the impact the past can have on the present.' The drama series is produced by West Road Pictures in association with Element Pictures and All3Media International and stars Dunbar, Grainne Keenan, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Fiona Bell and Denis Conway. 'We are delighted to be returning to Blood following its terrific reception last year,' said Jonathan Fisher, the Managing Director of West Road Pictures. 'The second series has a compelling new mystery at its heart, which we feel sure will keep viewers hooked once again. We're excited to see familiar faces returning, whilst also welcoming some wonderfully talented new additions to the team.'
The so-called 'Arrowverse' will continue in the UK. Sky 1 has picked up the UK rights to the eighth and final series of Arrow, the sixth series of The Flash, the fifth series of DC's Legends Of Tomorrow and the fifth series of Supergirl from international distributor Warner Brothers. There is still no word on whether they will also be picking up new related drama, Batwoman. The pick ups come after Sky 1 previously agreed a deal extension with CBS Studios International that gave them the rights to the upcoming tenth series of Hawaii Five-0. Amazon Prime Video UK are sticking with three of their high-profiles US acquisitions. The streaming service has, out of their long-standing agreement with international distributor Sony Pictures, acquiring the UK rights to the fifth series of Outlander. They have also secured the second series of NBC's Ryan Eggold-fronted medical drama New Amsterdam from NBCUniversal and the sixth and final series of period drama Vikings from MGM Worldwide Television. All three shows are expected to return to the streaming service later this year. The acquisitions come shortly after Amazon signed a major deal with CBS Studios International to pick up UK rights to Star Trek: Picard. According to unconfirmed reports, Comedy Central, has obtained the UK rights to the tenth series of the animated comedy Bob's Burgers. They have also secured the UK rights to the twenty-third series of South Park. Syfy UK has extended their licensing agreement with A+E Networks and secured the second series of UFO drama Project Blue Book. This deal was signed some months ago, before Sky assumed control of the channel following the Comcast deal. At the time, NBCU was also in talks to acquire NBC's summer drama The InBetween for Syfy UK's sister channel Universal TV, but it is not currently clear if that deal will be proceeding after the aforementioned Comcast agreement.
Sir David Attenborough is to present a one-hour BBC documentary looking at the fragile state of the natural world. Extinction: The Facts follows a World Wildlife Fund report suggesting that populations of animals, birds and fish have shrunk by sixty per cent in four decades. Factual commissioning controller Alison Kirkham said: 'Our audience has a hunger to understand how these urgent environmental issues affect them.' Sir David praised the Glastonbury festival in June for its environmental efforts. The veteran broadcaster appeared on The Pyramid Stage to congratulate the music event for going plastic free. 'There was one sequence in Blue Planet 2 which everyone seems to remember,' he said. 'It was one in which we showed what plastic has done to the creatures that live in the ocean. They have an extraordinary effect. And now, this great festival has gone plastic-free. That is more than a million bottles of water that have not been drunk by you at Glastonbury.' The BBC said that sales in reusable coffee cups have reached 'unprecedented levels,' but the film will ask if the public's gradually changing habits go far enough. Extinction: the Facts will go 'beyond our emotions to investigate what the extinction crisis means, not just for the planet but for every one of us. World-leading scientists will explore why species are disappearing at such an alarming rate and will ask what that means for humanity.' Earlier this year, Sir David presented a documentary for the BBC examining the facts about climate change. A broadcast date for the new film is yet to be announced.
Jason Manford has told of his 'terror' after being chased for eighty miles by 'a crazed road-rage driver.' The comedian was reportedly 'nearly rammed off a dual carriageway' as he was being driven back to London from a gig at Hayling Island, near Portsmouth. Blimey, this blogger knows that some people really didn't like Show Me The Funny but, that's a bit harsh. Jason claimed that his 'ordeal' was 'like being in a Hitchcock movie' with the other motorist 'swerving dangerously' in front of his Mercedes van. 'It was one of the weirdest experiences I've had,' he said. 'There's road rage. What does that last, two miles? But this guy followed us for nearly eighty miles.' The incident began soon after the comic left his gig at Sinah Warren Hotel on Saturday when he encountered a 2006 Toyota was blocking the road with its hazard lights on. Its driver asked if Manford and his driver, Lionel, if they had jump-leads. They said, 'No' and drove on. But ten minutes on, the man appeared alongside their van in his car. Speaking on his Absolute Radio show, Jason told listeners: 'He's shouting out the window, "Why didn't you have any jump-leads?" and "What are you doing here, on the island? This is my town." I thought, "We're going to wake up in a wicker man here." This is where it got scary. He was driving dangerously by cutting in front of us on the A3, breaking suddenly, coming up behind us, flashing us, beeping us, shouting out of his window, swerving into the road in front. It was getting to the point where it was a bit terrifying.' The man only disappeared when the pair drove to Sutton Police Station in Surrey, to report the incident. Officers found the Toyota extremely abandoned nearby. Jason said: 'It was registered to Hayling Island as well so he'd come all that way. They know everything about him. It was the weirdest experience of my life.'
A joke about vegetables has made it to the top of the menu as this year's funniest at the Edinburgh Fringe. Swedish comedian Olaf Falafel has won Dave's 'Funniest Joke of The Fringe' award with the culinary pun. 'I keep randomly shouting out "Broccoli" and "Cauliflower" - I think I might have florets.' It is from Falafel's show It's One Giant Leek For Mankind at The Pear Tree. In its twelfth year, the prize rewards the funniest one-liner to grace the venues of the festival and celebrates the pool of talent the Fringe has to offer. The goal of finding the wittiest one-liners fell to an expert panel of ten judges, comprising the UK's leading comedy critics. After scouring hundreds of venues and shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the panel submitted their favourite six jokes. Without naming the comics behind each one, two thousand members of the British public were invited to choose the funniest. Falafel's joke won forty one per cent of the vote. Olaf Falafel claims to be 'Sweden's eighth funniest comedian.' He is a surrealist comedian and illustrator and also works as a children's book author. He has performed two shows this year in Edinburgh, the first was It's One Giant Leek For Mankind. His second show is called Knitting With Maracas. On his joke claiming the top spot, Falafel said: 'This is a fantastic honour but it's like I've always said, jokes about white sugar are rare, jokes about brown sugar, demerara.' However, some whinging humourless berk at a charity for people with Tourette's syndrome has whinged that the comedian should 'apologise' for his award-winning joke. Which, obviously, he's not going to do or anything even remotely like it since it wasn't a joke about Tourette's, it was a joke about florets. A necessary difference one feels. Among the other jokes in the top ten was one by From The North favourite Milton Jones: 'What's driving Brexit? From here it looks like it's probably the Duke of Edinburgh.' Last year's winner, Adam Rowe, took the title with a joke that hit remarkably close to home for this blogger: 'Working at the Jobcentre has to be a tense job - knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day.' However, unlike that stupid arsehole at the Tourette's charity, this blogger didn't whinge about it like big a whinging whinger. In fact, he thought it was really funny. Previous winners of the award include Ken Cheng, Masai Graham, Tim Vine (twice), Rob Auton, Stewart Francis (2012's legendary: 'You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks'), Zoe Lyons and Nick Helm. Luke Hales, Dave channel director, said: 'What a year it's been for current affairs and British eccentricities. The comedic opportunities to be creative are endless and above all we've all needed a good laugh in 2019. We have really enjoyed the great anecdotes and one liners submitted this year and we couldn't be happier to crown Olaf Falafel as the winner of this year's Dave's Funniest Joke of the Fringe Award.'
Odious horrorshow (and drag) Jeremy Kyle is developing a new show for ITV, a mere three months after his daytime programme was extremely cancelled - in shame and ignominy - following the death of a man who had taken part. ITV's director of television Kevin Lygo said that it was making a pilot with the host, but the new show will not be broadcast in The Jeremy Kyle Show's old timeslot. Either Good Morning Britain, Lorraine or This Morning could be extended to fill that gap, Lygo said. Seemingly without any shame. Investigative series The Kyle Files will also return in 2020, Lygo added. ITV cancelled The Jeremy Kyle Show in May after the death of Steve Dymond, days after taking a lie detector test when he appeared as a guest on the sick exercise in the modern day equivalent of bear-baiting. Couldn't get shot of it fast enough, it seemed. His inquest heard that Dymond was found dead after 'growing concerned about the repercussions of the show' and that police suspected his death was a suicide. When ITV cancelled the long-running daytime programme, it said that it would continue to work with the presenter. Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Lygo weaselled: 'We are piloting something with him and we will just have to have a look because he is a consummate broadcaster and it would be absolutely wrong to apportion blame of the show against the presenter of it. We don't hold him in any bad way. We will look to find another show with him but I think it is unlikely it will go in the same slot.' Referring to the schedule, he said: 'I have spoken to him about it, of course and I think he feels as well that whatever he does next, it shouldn't be in that 9.30am slot. We have an ongoing commitment to The Kyle Files, which will be ready next year some time.' After The Jeremy Kyle Show's cancellation, MPs on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee launched an inquiry into the support offered to reality TV show participants. Kyle himself cowardly declined to appear in front of the committee, however, which Lygo said was 'totally his decision. He didn't want to do it and he feels that was the right thing to do. For him, it was his call. After the event I think he thought, "I'm glad I didn't." It would have all been on him. He might not have known stuff.' At one hearing, the committee's chairman Damian Collins MP labelled The Jeremy Kyle Show's makers 'irresponsible' for putting guests through lie detector tests without knowing how accurate those tests were. There have also been questions about other reality shows such as Love Island following the suicides of former contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon. Lygo said it 'wouldn't have occurred' to him to cancel Love Island too. 'I don't think Love Island and Jeremy Kyle are the same in any way,' he claimed, unconvincingly. 'The awful tragedies of people dying - this was years after they appeared on the show. They had appeared on other shows. They had gone on with their lives. All we know about suicide is that it is a very complex issue and there is not one trigger that does it. I don't feel there is a direct connection or enough significance to cancel Love Island because someone who was on it has gone through a tragic experience.'
The long-awaited title of the next James Bond film has finally been revealed. The twenty fifth official Bond movie will be called No Time To Die - the news was revealed by producers on Twitter. The movie, which will see Daniel Craig play Bond for the fifth and final time, will also star Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek as 'a mysterious villain.' Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the writers. Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw will return as M and Q respectively. Naomie Harris is also coming back as Moneypenny as is Rory Kinnear who will again play MI6 chief of staff Bill Tanner. Lea Seydoux is reprising her Madeleine Swann character from 2015's Spectre, while Jeffrey Wright is returning as Felix Leiter. The film is being directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, whose credits include the first series of HBO's True Detective and Netflix's Maniac. Fukunaga has hired last year after Danny Boyle left the project over unspecified 'creative differences.' No Time To Die will be released on 3 April 2020 in the UK and on the 8 April in the US.
A study into false memories highlights the risks of 'fake news' spreading via social media. Volunteers were shown a series of fabricated news reports in the week before Ireland's 2018 abortion law referendum. Nearly half of them subsequently claimed to have had prior 'memories' of at least one of the completely made-up events detailed. And, many failed to question their false recollections even after being told that the articles they had read 'might' be fake. The three thousand one hundred and forty participants had been more likely to have created false memories if the reports had lied about the side they had opposed, the study added. The peer-reviewed work supports prior research into the phenomenon. But, its authors say it is the first time the problem has been tested in relation to a real-world referendum at the time it was being held. One of academics told the BBC News website it highlighted how difficult it could be to 'undo' spurious memories once they had been created. 'Memory is a reconstructive process and we are vulnerable to suggestion distorting our recollections, without our conscious awareness,' Doctor Gillian Murphy, of University College Cork, said. 'The implications for any upcoming elections are that voters are vulnerable to not just believing a fake news story but falsely recalling that the [made-up] event truly happened.' Facebook used to display red warning flags alongside news stories which third-party websites had judged to be 'fake news.' But it ditched the strategy after saying that it could 'entrench deeply held beliefs' rather than calling them into question. Instead, it and other social networks now aim to 'limit' the spread of fake stories, provide wider context and shut down state-backed propaganda accounts. Even so, one UK-based fact-checking charity said that more needed to be done. 'These findings are concerning and link to previous studies showing how once something is in our memory, it is harder to correct it,' said Amy Sippitt, research manager at Full Fact. 'That's why it's important to tackle the causes of bad information to prevent it from arising in the first place.' The danger of fake news leading to false memories has been known about for years. One notable study in 2012 reported how participants had been led to misremember then US President Barack Obama shaking hands with Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even though there was no public record of any such an event, as well as former US President George W Bush entertaining a baseball player at his Texas ranch when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, in 2005, even though he had actually been at The White House at the time. The new study explored whether this effect could be induced during the 2018 referendum, which ultimately led to abortions becoming legal in the Republic of Ireland. Each participant was shown six news reports, two of which were fake. One example involved the forced destruction of campaign posters said to have been illegally bought with foreign funds. 'Yes' voters were more likely to claim they 'remembered' this happening if the story involved the 'No' campaign - and vice versa. What is more, some even claimed to 'recall' further details about the misdeeds which had not been included in the faked reports. 'It shows why we need to understand how individual stories can be used to portray a wider narrative,' said Sippitt. 'It's therefore important not to deal with the accuracy of claims in isolation but also to look at the bigger picture these depict.'
Facebook has launched its 'clear history' feature more than a year after it was first promised by Mark Zuckerberg as part of damage control efforts after the Cambridge Analytica revelations. The new feature, part of a wider set of tools covering 'off-Facebook activity,' will not delete anything from Facebook's servers, instead simply 'disconnecting' data from an individual user's account. It is initially being rolled out in Ireland, Spain and South Korea, to be followed by a worldwide launch 'over the coming months.' The tool allows users to see for the first time the extent of Facebook's tracking apparatus across the wider web and gives them 'some power' to control what the company learns about them from that surveillance. Information is sent to the social network by other companies using a number of tools that Facebook makes available, including the Facebook Pixel, an invisible image included on some webpages and Login With Facebook, which many apps and services use instead of creating their own login tools. The Gruniad Morning Star, for example uses both these features on its own website and apps. Previously, it was impossible for users to see which companies had sent information to Facebook. The new tool shows users a list of businesses that have shared information with Facebook and details of how many times they have done so. It also lets users take 'partial control' of that information, 'disconnecting' the shared activity from their account on a per app basis or entirely and only in the past or permanently into the future. Selecting the most thorough option will break the Login With Facebook feature, since it relies on the ability for apps to send information back and forth to the social network. Despite the fact that the information is merely disconnected from a user's account rather than being cleared entirely from Facebook's servers, the company has labelled the button 'clear history.' Stephanie Max, a product manager at Facebook, said this decision was made so that 'people were able to mentally connect that with how their browser controls work, where they can clear their history. We clearly state that the information isn't connected to your account.' The new features will not be heavily promoted by Facebook. The company claim that users will be able to find the activity history, as well as the options to 'clear' history, in the settings page of their Facebook app or on the website, but it will not be pushing the information to users on login. Max acknowledged that 'widespread' use of the clear history feature 'could' have an impact on revenue from advertisers, given how important the web history is to 'successful targeting' on the Facebook platform. But she highlighted that Facebook was the first online advertising company to offer such a feature. 'This will hopefully start a broader conversation around this particular practice,' she said. Zuckerberg first promised some form of clear history tool in May 2018, telling attenders at the company's F8 conference that it would 'be a simple control to clear your browsing history on Facebook - what you've clicked on, websites you've visited and so on.'
In the first test match of the 2019 Ashes summer at Edgbaston, England had Australia one hundred and thirty odd for eight on the first afternoon and, despite letting the Aussie's tail subsequently wag, nevertheless led by ninety run on the first innings. And yet, somehow, they were ultimately defeated by over two hundred runs. In other words, England somehow managed to lose a match they should never have lost in a million years. After a rain affected draw at Lord's, in the third test, at Headingley, despite bowling quite well in both of Australia's innings, two disastrous batting sessions on the second day - in which they were dismissed for but sixty seven - left England needing an actual, proper twenty four carat miracle to match Ian Botham and Bob Willis's stirring deeds in 1981. Enter Ben Stokes. And, somehow, England managed to win a match they not only shouldn't have but, one that for most of the game looked impossible for them to. And then, dear blog reader, there are still people out there who will ask you what, exactly, is the big deal with test cricket? Why do people get so excited over a game which can last up to five days and still end in a draw? The answer to that question came at Headingley this weekend for all the world to see.
Ben Stokes steered England to a sensational Ashes victory by one wicket as he struck an astonishing innings of one hundred and thirty five not out to square the series. And, for once, the words 'sensational' and 'astonishing' are not examples of crass hyperbole, they're probably the only applicable adjectives which even remotely describe the events of Sunday afternoon. Just as he dragged England through the 'super over' against New Zealand in last month's World Cup final, Stokes played one of the most breathtaking test innings by an Englishman. Set three hundred and fifty nine to win in the fourth innings on a wearing pitch, England lost wickets regularly throughout an intensely dramatic final day, against an increasingly confident Australian team who would have retained the Ashes had they won the game. When England's last batsman, Jack Leach, joined Stokes at the crease they still required an unlikely seventy three for an even more unlikely victory. However, Stokes farmed the strike expertly during the tenth-wicket partner and struck the ball sweetly, once finding the crowd with an outrageous reverse sweep and, on another occasion, stepping outside off stump to scoop Pat Cummins over his shoulder to fine leg for six. Stokes's effort evoked memories of Ian Botham's famous Ashes escape act at the same ground in 1981 and there will be discussion as to whether England's modern-day all-rounder's efforts here are even more impressive. England will now go to Old Trafford collectively boosted by one of the great victories in test cricket and one of the best-ever individual performances by Stokes. Home fans - well, some of them - had dared to dream at times during a dramatic fourth day. At one hundred and fifty six for three overnight, needing two hundred and three more to win, England had a glimmer of hope, although facing off-spinner Nathan Lyon on an increasingly worn pitch was a worrying prospect. Sure enough, it was Lyon who achieved Australia's first breakthrough of the day, albeit in somewhat freakish fashion. Joe Root had added just two runs to his overnight score of seventy five when he inside-edged an attempted drive onto his pads. The ball squirted backwards over wicketkeeper Tim Paine's head and David Warner, fielding at first slip, showed brilliant anticipation in taking a diving catch to his left. Having removed England's captain, whose innings had so frustrated Australia the previous evening, the tourists now scented blood. However, Jonny Bairstow joined Stokes in the middle with two hundred runs still needed and both batsmen dug in impressively. By lunch, after a compelling morning session, Bairstow was had reached thirty four and Stokes thirty two. They were batting in glorious sunshine and there was more than a hint of Australian concern as the scoreboard continued to tick towards that unlikely total. The increasingly threatening Lyon was regularly beating the bat, bowling into the footmarks, but Stokes and Bairstow battled on. Soon after lunch, Bairstow survived being given out caught behind off Josh Hazlewood thanks to a successful review, but was soon snared by the same bowler, caught by Marnus Labuschagne for a valuable thirty six. That brought Jos Buttler to the crease, he and Stokes hoping to build the same sort of spirited partnership which had steered England to glory in last month's World Cup final at Lord's. But, when Stokes called Buttler for a quick single and then changed his mind, his partner was committed and Travis Head's accurate throw to the bowler's end, which clipped the stumps, left Buttler short of his ground. Chris Woakes went for one run, caught at extra cover after being tempted to drive by Hazlewood, leaving England needing ninety eight to win but with just three wickets left. Jofra Archer provided a willing partner for Stokes, chipping in with fifteen, including a couple of swipes for four off Lyon, before he was caught on the leg-side boundary by Head. Then Stuart Broad was trapped LBW and the game - and, the Ashes with it - looked to be gone. That was to discount Stokes, though, who switched from careful defence to clean striking, his strokeplay made all the more brilliant by the knowledge that one mistake would have ended the match. With just one English wicket remaining, Stokes went on the offensive - his last eighty four runs came from sixty seven balls. One Josh Hazlewood over went for nineteen before he was swiftly taken out of the attack, with Stokes striking the ball beautifully to all parts of the ground. He planted Lyon for three sixes - including that outrageous reverse sweep - and followed that up by hitting Hazlewood for four, six and six in consecutive balls, during which time he passed the century mark. With seventeen needed to win, Stokes was dropped by a diving Marcus Harris at long leg. Then Stokes chopped the ball to backward point and again changed his mind about a single, Lyon fumbled a straightforward chance to run a helpless Leach out at the bowler's end. With Australia having wasted their final review on a hopeless LBW appeal against Leach, Lyon trapped a sweeping Stokes in front of his stumps. Although the umpire shook his head, replays showed that a successful review - if Australia still had one - would have ended the contest. Stokes then smashed Lyon back over his head for another six to further the Aussies' sense of seething injustice. With two runs needed to win and Leach facing Cummins, the England number eleven deflected a nasty bumper, the seventeenth ball he had faced since coming in, to the leg side for his only single from a seventy six run partnership, tieing the scores. Fittingly, it was left to Stokes to crunch a four through the off-side and confirm England's heroic and historic success. The noise had gradually cranked up with every run added in the last-wicket partnership, the Western Terrace growing in celebration with each ball that Stokes dispatched into the crowd. As the winning runs were scored, the noise released matched the magnitude of the achievement and on a medium sized nuclear explosion. When Stokes somehow summoned up the energy to drag himself from the field, he paused and acknowledged the adulation, once again as England's match-winner. When they were dismissed for sixty seven on Friday, England looked to have wasted a golden opportunity to level the series. Instead, they became only the third team in test cricket history to be bowled out for less than seventy in their first innings and still go on to win, as well as setting up a grandstand battle in the final two matches of the series. Australia's premier batsman Steve Smith and England's all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson are both set to return for the fourth test, the latter on his home ground in Manchester. If that match, or the finale at The Oval, can follow the fluctuations of the first three tests - Smith's batting brilliance won Australia the first and England with Archer bowling at fearsome pace were denied in the Lord's dark in the second - then the 2019 Ashes will, almost certainly, be spoken of in the same breath as the 2005 series. Or even 1981.
Then, less than an hour later, club record signing Joelinton's first goal in English football gave this blogger's beloved (though, tragically, unsellable) Newcastle United a surprise win at Stottingtot Hotshots. And Steve Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty) his first points as The Magpies' - alleged - 'manager.' After a week of intense media - and, far more importantly, fan - criticism which followed a truly gutless, directionless display at Norwich by Th' Toon, the Brazilian striker took advantage of sloppy Spurs defending to control substitute Christian Atsu's through pass before drilling low past Hugo Lloris. Atsu, on after Allan Saint-Maximin had to go off with an early hamstring injury, provided the assist with his first significant contribution. Spurs lacked the creativity to break down a resolute Newcastle side, whose four-man midfield of Ritchie, Almiron, Longstaff and Hayden spent a large chunk of the contest sitting deep in front of the back four (with Paul Dummett particularly outstanding). Son Heung-min, making his first Spurs appearance of the season after completing a three-match suspension, saw a bouncing first-half volley beaten away by Martin Dubravka, then rolled a shot wide shortly before the interval. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino sent on Christian Eriksen and Giovani Lo Celso for the final half-hour in an attempt to salvage something from the five hundredth match of his managerial career. It almost worked: Lo Celso's pass for Harry Kane ended with the England captain falling under Jamaal Lascelles' challenge - but Mike Dean ruled, rightly, that it was not a penalty and was backed up by the check from video assistant referee Anthony Taylor. Then Eriksen's diagonal pass gave Moussa Sissoko room to cross low, but Lucas Moura skied his shot over the bar from eight yards. However these were rare moments of panic for the visitors, with Stottingtot's fitfulness on the pitch mirrored by an equally lack-lustre display by home followers - prompting chants of 'Is this The Emirates?' from the away section. Thoughts that the game was turning into a re-run of United's one-nil win at White Tart Lane in 2013 were conjured up, but while that epic victory was achieved largely due to the heroics of Tim Krul in Th' Toon's goal, Spurs proved ultimately incapable of testing Martin Dubravka to any comparable extent in 2019. The most relieved man in the ground was probably Brucie, but the away supporters were entitled to enjoy what was - quite literally - a day out in the sun. Undeterred by transport headaches for the second weekend in a row, not to mention an all-pervading sense of doom surrounding the club, this was a timely reminder of just why some fans put themselves through those early starts and late finishes. It still matters. Two miracles in one day, dear blog reader. This blogger had a quick look out of the window because, the last time this happened, some wise men came from the East ...
Boreham Wood chairman Danny Hunter says he may reduce his investment in the club after a 'laughable' crowd of four hundred and seven saw their defeat by Sutton on Saturday. The National League side have averaged six hundred and fifty five fans over three home games so far this season. Taking away season-ticket holders and travelling fans, Hunter claimed that there were only forty six paying Boreham Wood supporters at Saturday's match. 'I've got to reassess what more I can do, as the town clearly doesn't want to consciously support its club,' he said. 'Saturday's abysmal crowd just makes me feel sad, as so much hard work goes into making this club over achieve every year and we just want a bit more support for those efforts.' Boreham Wood reached the 2017-18 National League play-off final, but fall well below the average divisional attendance of around two thousand three hundred so far this season. The Hertfordshire club - promoted four times since 2005-06 - introduced a ninety nine quid adult season ticket this summer in a bid to increase crowds, but Hunter said it had not improved matters. 'I suppose if you want an excuse, the lower than normal crowd could be put down to three hundred adult and OAP ninety nine pound season ticket holders, who took up our offer but never bothered to turn up and support us,' Hunter told the club website. 'I'm probably just feeling a bit sorry for myself, but four hundred and seven as a gate attendance at our level is laughable.' Hunter claims that he has put half-a-million smackers into the club since February, with a total spend of 1.2 million knicker over the summer to build a new stand and upgrade facilities. 'It might simply be the right time to re-evaluate my own ambitions and consider downsizing my year-on-year investment here and get rid of a few of the white elephants in the room,' he added.
Mansfield have suspended Dion Donohue and Jacob Mellis for 'an alleged serious breach of club discipline.' Police said that two men, aged twenty five and twenty eight, have been released on bail following 'an incident' which left two other men hurt - one needing hospital treatment - on Friday. Donohue, who is twenty five and Mellis, twenty eight, are currently banned from training and playing for the League Two club while suspended. Mellis, a former Moscow Chelski FC and Southampton player and Donohue, who joined Mansfield from Portsmouth in July, did not play in Saturday's two-nil League Two win at Carlisle. Mellis was completing a three-game ban following his opening-day sending-off against Newport anyway, while Donohue was said to be 'recovering from injury.' Last week, police issued an appeal for witnesses after officers were called to an incident in Mansfield town centre, arresting two men on suspicion of assault.
Sierra Leone forward Musa Noah Kamara has had his contract with Swedish club Trelleborgs cancelled after just one week. The club simply stated that the nineteen-year-old's three-and-a-half year deal was ended. 'He wishes to return to his home country for personal reasons,' Trelleborgs said in a statement on their website. Kamara went on to explain that he wanted to return to Freetown as he could not cope with the cold weather in Sweden. He finished as the top goal scorer of 2019 Sierra Leone Premier league with fifteen goals to help East End Lions emerge as champions.
Clyde manager Danny Lennon helped his side beat Glasgow Celtic's colts team - despite being thirty three years older than one of the opposition. The fifty-year-old, who hung up his boots eleven years ago, brought himself on at Broadwood for a second-half cameo appearance. Lennon was up against the likes of Parkhead teenage talent Armstrong Okoflex, aged seventeen. The Lanarkshire side claimed a three-one Glasgow Cup victory. It is unclear why the Clyde boss felt the urge to make his return to action.
Dirty Stoke manager Nathan Jones claims 'there must be something on the mind' of Dirty Stoke's goalkeeper Jack Butland after his calamitous error-strewn display in The Potters' defeat at Preston Both Ends. The hosts were two goals up inside twenty five minutes at Deepdale, with both goals stemming from mistakes by the twenty six-year-old England keeper. Daniel Johnson put Preston in front with a low, scuffed strike from the edge of the box which Butland failed to turn around the post. He was, again, at fault for Both Ends' second, allowing Billy Bodin's shot from outside the area to slide under his body and in to the net. 'No one talks about him as being a Stoke goalkeeper,' Jones told Radio 5Live. 'Everyone talks about him losing his place in the England side or that he's got to go abroad or leave Stoke to gain this or that. But he's got to do his job for Stoke first. I don't know where he must be mentally because there's so much talk about him, but realistically we all have to do our job for Stoke. You don't go from being a top goalkeeper to making errors like he is at the minute. There must be something playing on his mind.'
Bury have been given until 5pm on Tuesday to complete a sale that would prevent them from being expelled from the English Football League. Owner Steve Dale said late on Friday - the day on which the Football Legaue had threatened to bury Bury - that he had agreed a deal to sell the club to analytics company C&N Sporting Risk. The League One club had originally been given until midnight on Friday to prove they could pay off creditors and had funding to complete the season. The Shakers have not played any of their first six games of the season. Their first five league matches were suspended by the EFL and they have also been withdrawn from the Carabao Cup. 'The board has considered the evidence presented and has determined, in a final effort to allow the club the opportunity to survive, to grant an extension and work exclusively with the club and C&N Sporting Risk to see if a takeover is possible,' the EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans said. 'No one wants to see a club lose its place in the league and we will now work with the potential purchasers over the weekend and ahead of the Tuesday deadline in an attempt to find the solutions required for a sale to take place.'
Former Ghana, Nottingham Forest and Bristol Rovers striker Junior Agogo has died at the age of forty. Agogo, who began his career at Sheffield Wednesday, played twenty seven times for his country and scored twelve goals. He finished his career at Hibernian in 2012 having also had spells in the United States, Cyprus and Egypt. Agogo suffered a stroke in 2015 and struggled with his speech afterwards, telling a BBC4 documentary in 2017 that he felt anxious about his language. Agogo sealed his place in the hearts of Ghana fans with his performances at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations where he scored three goals including a late winner against Nigeria in Accra. 'I think that was the goal that sealed his popularity in Ghana,' Laryea Kingston, the former Heart of Midlothian midfielder said. 'During the tournament we could feel his influence in the team grow and his popularity go up but that goal sealed everything.' Despite playing alongside big names like Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan, Agogo was the team's star man during the tournament. 'A lot of fans didn't know but those of us in the team knew he was going to be good for us,' Kingston added. 'He spent a lot of time in the gym and his strength reflected in the way he played. He simply wanted to score goals and make a mark for the team and I am glad he did. He had a word for everyone, enjoyed a good dance, could tease a lot and take it too. This has really hit a lot of us.'
Now dear blog reader, would you like to see some footage of a team full of big, hard American baseball players getting all shit-scared by the sudden appearance of a squirrel? Of course you would, you're only human, after all. The squirrel found its way into the Minnesota Twins bench and caused abject panic and total discombobulation during their Major League game with Chicago White Sox. It was dead funny.
NASA is reported to be investigating a claim that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station, in what may be the first allegation of a crime committed in space. Anne McClain acknowledges accessing the account from the ISS but denies any wrongdoing, the New York Times reports. Her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, reportedly filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. McClain has since returned to Earth. Using a spaceship, obviously. The astronaut told the New York Times - through a lawyer - that she was 'merely making sure that the family's finances were in order' and that there was 'enough money to pay bills' and care for Ms Worden's son - who they had been raising together prior to the split. 'She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,' said her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, adding that McClain was 'totally co-operating.' McClain and Worden, who is an Air Force intelligence officer, married in 2014; Worden filed for divorce in 2018. Investigators from NASA's Office of Inspector General have contacted both over the allegation, the New York Times reported. McClain graduated from the prestigious West Point military academy and flew more than eight hundred combat hours over Iraq as an army pilot. She went on to qualify as a test pilot and was chosen to fly for NASA in 2013. She spent six months aboard the ISS and had been due to feature in the first all-female spacewalk, but her role was cancelled at the last minute over what NASA claimed was 'a problem with availability of correct suit sizes.' Legal frameworks agreed by the five states that own the space station - the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada - set out that national law applies to people and possessions in space. So, for example, if a Canadian national were to commit a crime in space, they would be subject to Canadian law and a Russian citizen to Russian law. Europe exists as one state within the legal framework, but any of the European states may extend their own respective national laws and regulations to the European equipment and personnel in space. Space law also sets out provisions for extradition back on Earth, should a nation decide it wishes to prosecute a citizen of another nation for misconduct in space with immediate effect. As space tourism becomes a reality, so may the need to prosecute space crime, but for now the legal framework remains untested. NASA officials told the New York Times that they were 'not aware' of any crimes committed on the space station.
Scientists working on an audacious mission to the ocean world of Europa can proceed with the final design and construction of the spacecraft, NASA says. The Europa Clipper mission will target the ice-encrusted moon of Jupiter, which is considered a prime target in the search for life beyond Earth. Below its icy shell, Europa is thought to hold a one hundred and seventy kilometre-deep body of water. This could have the right conditions for biology. Due to launch in 2025, the Europa Clipper mission has now passed a stage called Key Decision Point C, a crucial marker on the road to the launch pad. 'We are all excited about the decision that moves the Europa Clipper mission one key step closer to unlocking the mysteries of this ocean world,' said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's science mission directorate. JPL now begins to build the spacecraft dedicated to exploring Europa. Europa Clipper will carry out an in-depth investigation of the world, including whether it can support life in its subsurface ocean. Gravitational interactions with Jupiter generate tidal forces and heat, which keeps Europa's ocean liquid. The heating may even drive volcanic vents on the seafloor; on Earth, such vent systems support a wide array of life forms. But it has taken decades to bring a dedicated mission this far, in part because of cost considerations and the challenges posed by the space environment around Jupiter. Europa's orbital path takes it deep into belts of intense radiation which surround the giant planet. This radiation fries spacecraft electronics, which limits the durations of prospective missions to months or even weeks. So rather than orbiting Europa, Clipper will make repeated close flybys of the moon, to reduce its exposure to the energetic particles trapped by Jupiter's magnetic field. The spacecraft will carry nine science instruments, including cameras and spectrometers to produce high-resolution images of the moon's surface, a magnetometer to measure the strength and direction of its magnetic field (providing clues to the ocean's depth and salinity) and an ice-penetrating radar to determine the thickness of the icy crust above the ocean. The ice shell could be tens of kilometres thick. Luckily, scientists think there are several ways for ocean water to get up to Europa's surface. In recent years, the Hubble Space Telescope has made tentative observations of plumes of water-ice erupting from beneath Europa, much as they do on Saturn's ice moon Enceladus, which also has a subsurface ocean. The first concepts for missions to explore Europa were drawn up in the 1990s, around the time that data from the Galileo spacecraft helped build evidence for a subsurface ocean. Since then, however, one proposal after another has been thwarted, including an ambitious US-European mission along the lines of the Cassini-Huygens mission. But Clipper has had a key champion on Capitol Hill, in the form of Republican legislator John Culberson who, as chairman of the US House of Representatives appropriations committee that funds NASA, channelled money to the mission. But last year, Culberson, who had become known for his advocacy on Europa exploration, was unseated in Texas' Seventh congressional district by Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher. During the campaign, a pro-Democrat political action committee ran an advert saying: 'For Houston, Lizzie Fletcher will invest in humans, not aliens.' A follow-up mission to go and land on Europa has also been proposed. But the most recent federal budget request included no funding for the lander.
India's second lunar exploration mission has entered the Moon's orbit, nearly a month after blasting off, officials have said. Chandrayaan-2 began its orbit of the Moon on Tuesday. The craft completed the manoeuvre in around thirty minutes, the Indian Space Research Organisation said. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the mission as 'an important step in the landmark journey.' K Sivan, head of ISRO, said that he was 'confident' Chandrayaan-2 would land on the Moon as planned on 7 September. 'Whatever is humanly possible, has been done by us,' he told reporters at a news conference. Chandrayaan-2 was launched from the Sriharikota space station on 22 July, a week after the scheduled blast-off was halted due to a technical snag. India hopes the one hundred and forty five million dollar mission will be the first to land on the Moon's South pole. Last month's launch was the beginning of a three hundred and eighty four kilometre journey. Sivan said Chandrayaan-2's successful entry into the Moon's orbit was 'a make-or-break moment' for the mission. The craft, which comprises three parts - an orbiter, a lander and a rover - used an on-board propulsion system to complete the tricky operation. Sivan said that the speed and altitude of the craft had to be 'just right' because 'even a small error would have killed the mission. Our heartbeats increased for thirty minutes, our hearts almost stopped,' Sivan said. Now Chandrayaan-2 has entered the Moon's orbit, it will carry out a series of manoeuvres in the coming days before its lander attempts touch down next month. India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, was launched in 2008 but it did not land on the lunar surface. However it carried out the first and most detailed search for water on the Moon using radar. Chandrayaan-2 will try to land near the little-explored South pole of the Moon. The mission will focus on the lunar surface, searching for water and minerals and measuring Moonquakes, among other things. India used its most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, in this mission. It weighed over six hundred tonnes and, at forty four metres, was as high as a fourteen-storey building. The orbiter, which has a mission life of a year, will take images of the lunar surface. The lander (named Vikram, after the founder of ISRO) carries within its belly a Moon rover with instruments to analyse the lunar soil. In its fourteen-day life, the rover (called Pragyan) can travel up to a half-a-kilometre from the lander and will send data and images back to Earth for analysis. The journey of more than six weeks is a lot longer than the four days the Apollo 11 mission fifty years ago took to land humans on the lunar surface for the first time. In order to save fuel, India's space agency chose a circuitous route to take advantage of the Earth's gravity, which helped slingshot the satellite towards the Moon. India does not have a rocket powerful enough to get Chandrayaan-2 there on a direct path. In comparison, the Saturn V rocket used by the Apollo programme remains the largest and most powerful rocket ever built.
An eleven hundred-foot-wide asteroid named after the Egyptian God of chaos will fly past Earth in 2029 within the distance of some orbiting spacecraft, according to reports. The asteroid, 99942 Apophis, will come within twenty thousand miles of Earth on 13 April 2029, but scientists at the Planetary Defence Conference are already preparing for the encounter, Newsweek reported. They plan to discuss the asteroid's possible effects on Earth's gravity, potential research opportunities and even how to deflect an incoming asteroid in a theoretical scenario. Scientists say that most asteroids which pass near Earth are less than thirty feet wide, making Apophis a rare opportunity for research. And, effing scary if it gets any closer. The asteroid will be visible to the naked eye and will look like 'a moving star point of light,' according to NASA. Apophis was discovered in 2004 and, after tracking it for fifteen years, scientists say the asteroid has a one in one hundred thousand chance of striking Earth decades in the future – after 2060, Newsweek reported.
An 'uge Iron Age roundhouse, thought to be about two thousand five hundred years old and roman pottery have been uncovered during an archaeological dig at a coastal fort. Volunteers have joined experts to find out more about the little-known Dinas Dinlle National Trust-owned monument in Gwynedd before it falls into the sea. The forty feet wide roundhouse was buried by coastal sand, thought to have blown there during a sandstorm in 1330. Coins found at the fort near Caernarfon suggest it was occupied during Roman times. The 'well-preserved' roundhouse - with its eight feet thick walls - was uncovered close to the cliff edge buried underneath a metre of sand during a two-week dig. 'It's probably the biggest one I've ever seen in thirty years of archaeology,' said David Hopewell, senior archaeologist at the dig. 'In another trench we have another big wall which may be another roundhouse but we're not entirely sure yet. The main problem is that everything is under a metre of sand and we're wondering if it blew in in the big storm in 1330 - so it looks like it's been buried for a long time and it's superbly preserved.' Archaeologists' initial estimations think the Roman pottery could be from around 200 to 300AD while the fort is thought to be from the earlier Iron Age. 'That's not to say Romans occupied the site but perhaps a tribe lived there that traded with the Romans,' said Dan Amor, of the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. The roundhouse, though, could be the jewel in the crown of the hillfort - set on glacial drift sediment - of which about thirty per cent already been lost to the Irish Sea since 1900. Experts predict, due to climate change, the one hundred and twenty five-acre Dinas Dinlle site could be completely lost within five hundred years. It is one of twelve sites in the UK and Ireland being monitored by the European Union-funded Cherish project, led by the Royal Commission, to see how climate change is affecting coastal heritage such as Dinas Dinlle. This is the first archaeological excavation of the hillfort that formed part of a golf course in the early Twentieth Century before a pill box was constructed on the site during the Second World War. Early maps and the curve of the defences suggest the fort was once entirely enclosed but part of the Western defences have been lost to the sea following thousands of years of coastal erosion. 'Dinas Dinlle encapsulates the risk to our coastline from climate change,' said Andy Godber of the National Trust. 'Our coastal adaptation policy for Dinas Dinlle is to accept the loss of this important site, being part of this innovative project allows us to learn more about the history of human occupation here, while we still can.'
A Labrador gobbled a lemon drizzle cake which had been entered for a cake-baking competition at a country show. And the rest of this story, dear blog reader, barely needs telling. But, From The North is going to anyway. Because, it's funny. Violet, whose owner is the show's former chairman, ate the cake which had been placed on a table for judging at Northumberland's Warkworth Show. She may have gotten away with it, undetected, if it had not been for the pair of muddy paw prints left alongside what was left of the cake. And, let's face it, you hardly need to be Sherlock Holmes to come up with a - presumably, very guilty-looking - suspect in such circumstances. Despite the theft, there was still enough left for the cake to be judged. However, it failed to win anything. Show spokesman Derek Conway said that before the show opened to visitors, exhibitors took along their goods and placed them in a marquee. 'It was around 8am and everyone was frantically setting up stalls and Violet managed to slip her owner's attention and the smells of warm cake proved just too much to resist,' he said. Would that such a defence were available to other thieves. Conway said fourteen-month-old Violet was 'usually very well-behaved' and her owner, Chris Howliston, was 'very firm' on treats and snacks. 'Fortunately, the judges were still able to assess the cake and the baker took it all in good heart,' he said. 'This was the funniest event of the day and we adore Violet - I think she should be made an honorary judge,' he added.
A British woman accused of killing a patient by giving her botched buttock enhancement injections has been extradited to the US to face trial. Kelly Mayhew died in 2015 after silicone was injected into her buttocks in the basement of a house in New York. Former hairdresser Donna Francis, of Loughton in Essex, is charged with criminally negligent homicide and unauthorised practice of a profession. Francis contested her extradition but the High Court rejected her case. She was being held at Suffolk County Correctional Facility ahead of her court appearance on 27 September, Queens County Assistant District Attorney John Ryan said. If she is convicted, the extradition order stipulates Francis cannot be sentenced to more than one year in a US jail. Francis is accused of causing the death of Mayhew, who went to her for 'a butt enhancement procedure' in May 2015, Ryan said in a statement on his office website. He added that the victim 'went into cardiac arrest during botched silicone injections' and the accused 'allegedly left [the] dying woman in [a] Far Rockaway (New York) basement and [then] fled the country.' He said the defendant 'who is not a doctor' had set up a 'temporary medical practice' and purchased silicone gel from e-Bay. The medical examiner determined the victim died from systemic silicone emboli caused when unencapsulated silicone entered the bloodstream and caused an embolism.
The parents of three teenage tearaways who 'deliberately trashed' a model railway exhibition worth thirty grand have been ordered to pay compensation. The Market Deeping Model Railway Club display was damaged at Welland Academy in Stamford, Lincolnshire, on 18 May. The naughty boys - and a fourth defendant - shared a bottle of vodka as part of 'a pre-exam night out' before 'going on a rampage,' a court heard. Lincoln Youth Court heard the scallywags had 'deliberately pushed tables over.' The four sixteen-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted criminal damage and general badness. Three of them were handed twelve-month referral orders and their parents were also ordered to pay five hundred knicker in compensation. A fourth boy was told he would be sentenced on 2 September. The court heard the teenagers had 'decided to play football in the gym' and continued 'despite displays being destroyed.' They also threw parts of displays at the wall. After police were called due to the school's alarm system, the teenagers were found loitering in the lavatories and were extremely arrested. Members of the Market Deeping Model Railway Club claimed that 'a life's work' had been destroyed with some displays 'taking years to complete.' More than one hundred and seven thousand smackers, including a ten grand donation from model rail enthusiast Sir Rod Stewart, has been raised in a crowdfunding appeal to repair the exhibitions. Sentencing the tearaways, chairman of the bench of magistrates John Lock said: 'In nearly twenty years on the bench, I cannot recall such a case as this, of mindless, wanton destruction. It beggars belief. You came across the displays and models and not content with kicking a ball, you then went on a rampage.' Peter Davies, the chairman of the Market Deeping Model Railway club, said that he was 'glad' due process had been followed but it was 'right' that the teenagers make 'the best use of their future. We have to allow them to make a second start, although I don't condone the damage, it was horrific,' he said. The 'enormous' amount of money raised would 'go to a charitable trust' that is in the process of being set up, Davies revealed. One of its objectives will be to establish youth projects. 'By October we could see sixty young people involved in modelling projects they would never have done before,' he said. Prosecutor Shelley Wilson said that the four boys had 'made admissions in interviews' about the damage. One model railway enthusiast from St Neots Model Railway Club, John Kneeshaw, who contributed to the exhibition, had suffered fifteen grand's worth of damage, the court heard. One of the boys' defence solicitors said that they were 'in drink,' which 'may' have 'impaired their judgment.' No shit? The court heard that the youths had snivellingly apologised for their behaviour, whilst their parents said they were 'ashamed' and 'disappointed.' And, now, each a monkey light in the wallet.
It is a little known fact, dear blog reader, that the PM Bashing Boris Johnson can do an uncannily brilliant Jimmy Durante impression. And, unlike Eric Morecambe, he does it without the polystyrene cup.
Now spare a thought, please dear blog reader, for poor Mister George Brownridge. Seems you can't even 'please fifteen ladies' these days without someone taking it the wrong way.
Terence Davies, one of Britain's most original film-makers, once said he would never have made his autobiographical classic Distant Voices, Still Lives if Freda Dowie had not agreed to play his mother in it. Freda has died this week, aged ninety one. Dowie, a character actor with a mournful look, portrayed this matriarch of a Liverpool working-class Catholic family during the 1940s and 1950s with stoicism, forbearance and a quiet solitude, as her character - and her children - endured beatings from her husband, played by Pete Postlethwaite. Despite Davies saying that he had toned down the violence, Dowie recalled: 'It was tough working with Pete, as he was full of anger then. You could see why Terry cast him.' The director had seen Postlethwaite's potential to explode into fits of rage, while being intent on casting Dowie after spotting her playing a string of victims on television. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), made in the lyrical, evocative style ever present in Davies's work, is presented as fragments of a family's life, complete with singsongs in the pub. However, the harshness prevents it from being nostalgic, instead merely bringing to the screen memories of a childhood. Although Postlethwaite credited the film as his breakthrough, it never achieved the same fame for Dowie. But it did bring her opportunities to take character roles in groundbreaking television dramas. In Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (1989), based on Jeanette Winterson's autobiographical novel about Jess, a girl growing up in a Pentecostal household in Lancashire and coming to understand her sexuality, she played Mrs Green, a fellow church member of the girl's controlling mother (Geraldine McEwan). Mrs Green's piety is questioned when her mood changes from devout and glum to appearing to revel in holding a wine glass to a wall to eavesdrop on 'a fornicating couple.' Later, Dowie appeared to great acclaim in Our Friends In The North (1996), Peter Flannery's epic nine-part drama paralleling four Newcastle friends' emotional upheavals over more than thirty years. She brought a quiet dignity to the role of Florrie Hutchinson, stuck in the middle between the socialist idealism of her son Nicky (Christopher Eccleston) and the disillusionment of her trade unionist husband Felix (Peter Vaughan), a former Jarrow marcher. On finding a machine-gun under her son's bed, Florrie - another Catholic - goes to church to pray for his soul. She later shows fortitude as Felix battles Alzheimer's disease - until she can cope no longer and allows him to move to a care home. In the final episode, set in 1995, Nicky returns from Italy for Florrie's funeral, which marks the transfer of the 'older generation' mantle to the friends. Dowie herself followed no faith, although she did explore the thoughts and sayings of the Indian spiritual teacher Meher Baba - ultimately rejecting his belief that he was the Avatar. Born in Carlisle, Freda was the daughter of Emily and John Dowie, who sold fried fish. At Barrow girls' grammar school she passed her higher school certificate, excelling in French, German and Latin, as well as English literature. After training at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London she worked as an acting coach and became principal of the North West School of Speech and Drama in Southport, also adjudicating at local festivals and school competitions. In 1958 she switched to acting and began performing in repertory theatres. Within a few years her talent was recognised by the Royal Shakespeare Company, whose experimental group cast her as Mug in Boris Vian's play The Empire Builders at the New Arts theatre club in 1962. Two years later she appeared alongside Glenda Jackson in the same group's Theatre Of Cruelty season at The Lamda, under the director Peter Brook. Dowie also acted in a string of Greek tragedies, notably with a moving performance in the title role of Electra, alongside Derek Jacobi's Orestes, at The Greenwich Theatre (1971). At the same venue a year later she played Queen Victoria in Brunel. Her fifty-year television career, beginning in 1959 in an episode of The Eustace Diamonds, included parts as Princess Marie in War & Peace (1963), Fanny Thornton in North & South (1966), the Mother Superior helping at a refuge for vagrants and alcoholics in Jeremy Sandford's Play For Today, Edna, The Inebriate Woman (1971), Miss Branwell in The Brontës Of Haworth (1973), the dual role of The Sybil and Caesonia in I, Claudius (1976), Sally Brass in The Old Curiosity Shop (1980), Rachel Wardle in The Pickwick Papers (1985), Maria Insull in Sophia & Constance (1988), Mrs Waule in Middlemarch (1994) and Dulcie Green in Common As Muck (1994 to 1997). Her CV also included appearances in Just You Wait, Antigone, Diary Of A Young Man, It's Dark Outside, Dixon Of Dock Green, Jonathan Miller's Alice In Wonderland, Doctor Finlay's Casebook, The Newcomers, Six Bites Of The Cherry, Whistle & I'll Come To You, The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm, Doomwatch, Thirty Minute Theatre, Jack The Ripper, Upstairs, Downstairs, The Hanged Man, Within These Walls, Cover Her Face, Lovejoy, Call Me Mister, Boon, Death In Holy Orders and Heartbeat. Dowie's rare big-screen roles included nuns in the horror films The Omen (1976) and The Monk (1990). On BBC radio, as well as acting in dozens of plays she was a popular Morning Story and poetry reader and in 1960, played Aliss Oliver in the soap opera Mrs Dale's Diary. Her first two marriages, to Lionel Butterworth in 1952 and John Goodrich in 1961, ended in divorce. Her third husband, the artist, Times art critic and maker of arts documentaries David Thompson, whom she married in 1970, died in April this year.
This blogger completely agrees with this chap that it is high time for someone to wake up Satan's Brainwashed Cattle, dear blog reader. They've been asleep for far too long and, to be frank, they're missing out on the best part of the day.
This blogger has only been and gone and got himself another job, dear blog reader. It's all right, don't get too excited, it's only some temp work for an agency but it's full time for at least a month, with a potential for longer. So, that'll help to pay the Stately Telly Topping Manor rent for a while. Albeit, it's worth recalling that the last time this happened, yer actual Keith Telly Topping lasted but six weeks and ended up in a padded cell for the terminally bewildered for a spell. So, you know, baby steps and all that ... Keith Telly Topping had the interview on Friday morning (and the very nice lady at the company rang up later that afternoon to confirm that he had, indeed, got the gig and starts on Wednesday). However, getting to the interview was a 'bitch from Hell fiasco' type-scenario. The company is located in Longbenton, which is not an area of the city that this blogger knows at all well. But having got out the Stately Telly Topping Manor A To Z and then checked the company's website, this blogger found that it was 'reasonably close' to Four Lane Ends Metro station. Okay, that was no problem - get the number twelve bus to Byker, nip across Shields Road and get the sixty two which, according to its timetable, more or less, drops one right on the doorstep. So, this blogger did the first part but, as he got to Shields Road - with plenty of time to spare, let it be noted - horror of horrors he saw the sixty two just leaving the stop (about four minutes early. Keith Telly Topping will certainly remember that right shite state of affairs for future reference). Still no problem, Keith Telly Topping could have waited for the next bus, fifteen minutes later, but that would have been cutting it a bit fine to arrive on time and this blogger didn't particularly want to be late to a job interview. Keith Telly Topping had an hour and an all day bus/Metro ticket so he thought, 'what the Hell, it's a nice day, I'll take the Metro.' Of course, typically, he had just missed one going to Monument where he would have had to change anyway, so he got one going the other way, via the coast. And that was where all the problems really began; because everything from that point onward seemed to take about five minutes longer than scheduled. Long stop at Percy Main. Long stop at Tynemouth. Long stop at West Monkseaton. Really long stop at Northumberland Park. This blogger was starting to get a bit frantic by now. It was like one of those nightmares where it seems as though one will never make it to the airport to catch the plane to the island with all the gold on it because something always crops up at every turn and a succession of taxis all break down. Finally Keith Telly Topping arrived at Four Lane Ends at around 10.45am. The interview was scheduled for 11am. The e-mail from the company claimed that its location was - and this blogger quotes - 'about a ten-to-fifteen minute walk.' Without turned out to be true - if you're Mo Farah. This blogger set off - at some pace which, believe me dear blog reader, would've been a right sight to see had you been there. Keith Telly Topping still had no real idea where he was going, just that he need to head in one particular direction. He finally made the business park where the company is situated at about three minutes to eleven. But, he had no idea which of the twenty seven million buildings was the one containing the company he was seeking. So, he asked someone and, by pure luck, it was the building right next to where Keith Telly Topping was standing! This blogger went into reception, red faced, breathing heavily and not feeling at all well literally just as the interviewer came out to see if this blogger had arrived yet. Phew! Fortunately she was very nice and we had a right good laugh about Keith Telly Topping's transport fiasco. And, it couldn't have created that bad of an impression since, as noted, this blogger did get the job in the end. At least, when he rocks up for his first day of work he now knows where he's going. And he definitely won't be doing anything as bone-headed stupid as thinking 'the bus might be cutting it fine, I'll take the Metro instead' again in a hurry. But, still a day of stress and discombobulation wasn't entirely finished. Coming home, this blogger decided to go into town to transfer some money from one bank account to another. That turned out to be harder than expected because the branch of the Halifax he went to at Haymarket was shut meaning a long walk down Northumberland Street to the other one. Then, a schlep round the corner to the other bank. The bus ride home on the twelve was very uncomfortable, hot and overcrowded; and, somewhat typically, there was another - virtually empty - bus tootling along behind us which, at no stage, leap-frogged the bus this blogger was on. So Keith Telly Topping got back to Stately Telly Topping Manor with one muddyfunster of a thumping headache that no amount of paracetamol would shift. But, bright side, he's got a job! How was your Friday?
And finally, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping does not, normally, take much notice of the horoscope. Any more than he takes much notice of those who consult the entrails of chickens. Or, people who watch I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want). But, whilst on the bus into town earlier this week, doing the Metro crossword, he happened to glance at that particular day's horoscope since it was on the same page as the crossword. According to the Metro's charlatan-in-chief, one Patrick Arundell, Scorpios (and, that would seemingly include yer actual) should all be aware that 'with the Moon making a harsh angle to Pluto, you may have a block with a task that needs finishing.' We'll leave aside the use of the fantastically imprecise word 'may' at this time for a far more important aspect of these claims. This blogger did, briefly, consider whether to contact charlatan-in-chief Patrick to ask if he could demonstrate - using graphs if necessary - how the distant cosmic interaction between two celestial bodies when observed from a third (one a satellite of our world which affects Earth's tides but, this blogger would suggest from his own limited scientific knowledge, little else, the other a dwarf-planet billions of miles away which, until 1930, no one even knew existed) can possibly 'have a block' on any task of this blogger's that may, or may not, need finishing. However, this blogger stopped considering that when he noticed that contacting charlatan-in-chief Patrick could only be done via a £1.50-per-minute premium-rate phone line. Besides, by that point yer actual Keith Telly Topping's attention had switched to the entry for Cancer. 'With Uranus in your social zone, an idea could develop a more universal appeal and reach more people if you connect with those whose ideas complement your own.' Well, yeah, that sort of thing certainly can happen whenever Uranus is 'in your social zone.' Or, so this blogger had heard, anyway. Maybe there is something in all this astrological malarkey after all.