Thursday, August 01, 2019

Why Should Wrath Be Mute & Fury Dumb?

Let us kick-off the latest bloggerisationisms update with the semi-regular From The North award for the most singularly pointless telly-related article in living memory. Which, the week, goes to the Radio Times's Huw Fullerton for the breathlessly 'who, actually, gives a fuck?' Why Isn't There A Doctor Who Panel At San Diego Comic-Con?. A piece of 'we haven't got any real news to report so here's some filler' clickbait nonsense so utterly 'full of sound and fury, signifying nothing' that it's almost a textbook example of how to get paid for nothing. There wasn't a Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Huw, because ... there wasn't. It's not The Law that there has to be, you daft plank. 'Radio Times understands that the BBC also decided that the filming of the new episodes took precedence over any promotional opportunities at this stage, preferring to hold their powder until closer to transmission and debuting new footage or images this autumn instead,' states Huw. No shit? Jesus, does anyone remember when the Radio Times used to be written by grown-ups?
By contrast, the - excellently named - Daniel Gumble's think-piece on Killing Eve at the PSN Europe website, Inside Killing Eve: Behind The Scenes Of A TV Phenomenon is well worth a few moments of your time, dear blog reader.
The BBC has released the trailer for the fifth series of From The North favourite Peaky Blinders. And, it looks geet lush. Created by Steven Knight, Peaky Blinders is set in Birmingham in the 1920s and follows the extended Shelby criminal family whose many brothers, sisters, cousins and uncles make up the fiercest gang of post-war Birmingham. You knew that, right? The drama is produced by Caryn Mandabach Productions & Tiger Aspect Drama and stars Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Sophie Rundle, Finn Cole, Kate Phillips, Natasha O'Keeffe, Aidan Gillen (and his many accents), Jack Rowan, Charlie Murphy, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Harry Kirton, Packy Lee, Ned Dennehy, Ian Peck and Benjamin Zephaniah. The fifth series finds the world thrown into turmoil by the financial crash of 1929. Opportunity and misfortune are everywhere. When Tommy Shelby MP is approached by a charismatic politician with a bold vision for Britain, he realises that his response will affect not just his family's future but that of the entire nation. Sam Claflin, Anya Taylor-Joy, Brian Gleeson, Neil Maskell, Kate Dickie, Cosmo Jarvis, Emmett J Scanlan, Elliot Cowan, Charlene McKenna, Andrew Koji and Daryl McCormack have all joined the cast for series five.
Game Of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel has addressed the whinging, mostly media-created 'backlash' to the demise of her fan-favourite character Missandei, saying that it 'opened up important discussion' about how actors of colour are treated in television. And demonstrated what happens when on-screen representation is so minimal. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Emmanuel said that she understood why some fans reacted with such disappointment when Missandei was executed during the show's final series, particularly as she was one of just two characters of colour with prominent roles on the show. 'When you have the token characters - I don't think they tokenise us in the usual sense – but when you have one or two characters, people who are used to being "othered" or of a minority background, [viewers] will look for the closest thing to them and I think so many people are so rooting and invested in those two characters,' Emmanuel explained. 'And then specifically women and women of colour [identified with] Missandei, so I expected the reaction to that, but I wasn't quite prepared for the size of the reaction and, like, very prominent people were writing about it.' She concluded: 'I was kind of excited that that conversation was being had. But it's something we can learn from going forward, about how we cast things, especially because it was a fantasy series. There's fantasy, there's so much more possibility. And that way, if you try to cast as inclusively as possible, when the only one goes or is no longer in the show, there's not so much of a heartbreak, because you feel represented throughout, as opposed to by just one person.' Nathalie also defended Game Of Thrones showrunners DB Weiss and David Benioff from whinging critics by reminding viewers how compelled they were by early series of the show. 'In light of the reaction to the end of the season, which, by the way, I think most people I know enjoyed it - I think it's easy to focus on the negative, and I think people forget what those two did,' she said. 'And obviously the whole writing team and everyone responsible and involved, but I think people forget that. They literally made us hang onto their every word for ten years. To me, that makes them legends.' Emmanuel was speaking at a press conference for her latest role: a TV reboot of Four Weddings & A Funeral, which is being produced by Mindy Kaling. And which sounds about as much fun as an afternoon at the genital torturers.
Game Of Thrones cast member Conleth Hill may hold the media accountable for the intense vitriol surrounding the show's final series - a viewpoint which this blogger has a certain sympathy for - however HBO's top executive does not. At the show's Comic-Con panel last week, Hill dismissed the largely media-created series eight 'backlash' as a 'media-led hate campaign.' But in an interview with TVLine, HBO president Casey Bloys said: 'I do not think the media is responsible for this.' Bloys believes that the incendiary reaction to the final six episodes from some whinging whingers was inevitable. 'That's the good news/bad news about a show that was so popular - when you go to end it people have very specific ideas about how it should end,' he said. 'And, truly, the only thing that really matters is that the creators told the story that they wanted to tell.' Bloys does not see the debate dying down anytime soon. 'It's a little bit like religion and politics - nobody is going to convince anybody of their [opinion],' he said. 'I think the entire show - and specifically the final season - will be debated for years to come.' Bloys also claimed that he was 'not involved' in showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss' decision to abruptly pull out of the aforementioned Comic-Con panel. 'I have no idea [why they pulled out],' he maintained. 'But I will tell you that, personally, I will sometimes commit to something and then as it comes closer I'll go, "Oh, I don't want to do that."'
Watchmen co-creator Alan Moore notoriously loathes adaptations of his seminal comics (and, there have been many - From Hell, V For Vendeta, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen et cetera). Hates them with a passion he normally reserves for attending Hawkwind gigs, so he does, dear blog reader. And, he's never shy of telling the world about it. Regardless, Watchmen became a Zack Snyder film in 2009 - and, not a bad one actually as this blogger noted at the time, although not without some significant flaws. Now, a decade later, HBO has a TV series adaptation of the award-winning comic currently in production and creator Damon Lindelof isn't letting Moore's negativity stop him from continuing the story. 'It's an ongoing wrestling match,' Lindelof said at the TCA's Watchmen panel. However, he revealed that his reaction to Moore's general attitude toward adaptions was 'Fuck you guys, I'm doing it anyway': 'I am channelling the [punk rock] spirit of Alan Moore by saying fuck you to Alan Moore.' Nevertheless, Lindelof claimed that he holds the source material in high regards. 'We are not going to mess with it, it's canon,' he said of the original 1986 twelve-issue comic. Lindelof's Watchmen HBO series reportedly takes place 'years after' the events of the comic. The official description of the series promises to 'embrace the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own.' Okay, firstly, anyone who uses the words 'graphic novel' when talking about a comic should, in this blogger's opinion, be kicked, really hard, in their Jacob's Cream Crackers. For being a pretentious, Middle Class hippy Communist smear. Actually, there is no second, that's it. Something which, this blogger is sure, Alan Moore his very self would thoroughly agree with. His good mate Neil Gaiman certainly does. Developed by Lindelof, HBO's Watchmen stars Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Junior, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tom Mison, James Wolk, Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith and Adelynn Spoon. The series will premiere this autumn. And, this blogger really hopes that it'll be good.
Interestingly, Lindelof's Watchmen discussion came during the same week that another TV adaptation of one of Alan Moore's celebrated comics, The Anatomy Lesson issue of Saga Of The Swamp Thing occurred. It was adapted as an episode of the - already-cancelled - Swamp Thing TV series. Albeit, the episode appears to have gone down like a bucket of cold sick with at least one reviewer.
Unlike the original 1984 comic (from the days, thankfully, long before pretentious Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star-reading smears decided to start calling them 'graphic novels' instead). An issue which is, generally, considered to be - at least one of - the beginning(s) of The Modern Age of comics. And, a bloody twenty four carat masterpiece in the bargain.
This blogger's own introduction to comics actually came in a rather curious way, dear blog reader.  Let him set the scene: Back in the early-1970s there weren't all that many places in the UK where you could actually buy comics (even if you had the money for such ephemeral items); unless you lived in London which had a few early independent comic shops, you depended on finding a local newsagent which stocked some. As it happened, this blogger's local newsagent did. And, it's this which explains why Keith Telly Topping's always been more of DC kiddie than a Marvel one. Back around 1971, if you'd asked someone of my age to name a comic-book character, the first one they would probably have mentioned would be Batman, mainly due to the popularity of the 1960s TV series. But, after that, it would've been all the Marvel characters - Spider-Man, Thor, The Hulk, Fantastic Four, The X-Men et cetera. However, this blogger's local newsagent seemed to have done a deal purely with DC's UK distributor and, each week, they would receive five or six comics which they used to stick in one of those revolving wire magazine racks which you'd often see in a newsagent's windows back then. This blogger has a feeling that they may have a been something of a loss-leader given that the shop never seemed to actually sell all that many; rather, perhaps, they were designed - with their attractive, multi-colour covers - to draw youngsters into the shop where they could, well, buy more sweets, basically. Anyway, one day - it was a Saturday morning this blogger remembers, probably sometime during the summer of 1971 - this blogger was walking along the back lane behind the shop on his way to see a mate who lived in McCutcheon Court. He spotted, outside the back door of the newsagents, a cardboard box which had, obviously, been left out for the bin-men, containing general shop rubbish. On top of the box, however, were three comics which, this blogger presumes, had been the unsold ones from the previous week (or, possibly the week before that). There was an issue of The Brave & The Bold (featuring Batman and The Green Lantern), an issue of Justice League Of America (which also had Batman on the cover) and an issue of the anthology title House Of Mystery. This blogger thought, 'I'm havin' them' since they were, clearly, about to be thrown away. But, being the well brought-up little chap that he was - and, knowing that he'd never be able to sneak three comics past Mama Telly Topping without having some plausible explanation about where he'd acquired them from - he did call into the shop and ask the owner, Joe, if these were being thrown away. And, if so, could Keith Telly Topping, you know, have them. For nowt. Joe said that they were and that yes, Keith Telly Topping could have them. For nowt. Over the course of the next year or two, this blogger acquired quite a few comics that way - though he did, occasionally, buy the odd one or two if he particularly liked a cover and thought there was a probability that if he didn't buy it, someone else would. But, most of the fifty or sixty that he acquired, admittedly were freebies. And then, for some reason, around 1974, this blogger somewhat lost interest in American comics and switched his attention to UK ones, something which continued until the mid-1980s when he switched back. Somewhere in a cupboard in Stately Telly Topping Manor, this blogger has two large very cardboard boxes containing the majority of Keith Telly Topping's comic collection. Among them are quite a few of those 'found freebies', a reminder of a time when no one - specifically, not pretentious Middle Class hippy Communist Gruniad Morning Star-reading smears would dream of describing the contents of those little books of magic as 'graphic novels'!
Writing the above has reminded this blogger of one other comic-related story from the 1970s. This blogger has always had a fantastic memory for things which scared the buggering bejesus out of him as child, dear blog reader. Like the 1973 BBC thriller The Donati Conspiracy or the episode of the American TV anthology series Ghost Story, At The Cradle Foot. Both of these were memorable enough on first broadcast to lodge themselves in this blogger's brain to the extent that he would often annoy his fandom mates when, many years later, he was out for dinner with them and would start recounting all the plot-points he could remember. Although, in both of those cases, unlike, say, bowel-shatteringly scary episodes of Doctor WhoDoomwatch, UFO or Ace Of Wands of roughly the same vintage, whilst he could remember whole chunks of dialogue, et cetera, he couldn't actually remember the names of those series involved. Until the invention of the Interweb of course, at which point, lengthy research over several years (and, in the end, some dumb luck) eventually yielded the identities of both of the series' in question. Before the invention of the Interweb, this blogger had to depend on other sources - like his old friend Helen Stirling who, one night in 1986 at the Fitzroy Tavern, managed to identify some drunken half-remembered bits from a decade-old children's TV series as this blogger's memories of Carrie's War! Anyway, the reason this blogger mentions all of the above, dear, blog reader, is that one of his most primal shat-in-his-own-keks memories from the same period was reading a horror comic at a friend's house. This wasn't DC (or Marvel) it was a monochrome comic; the story was about a prisoner in a Medieval castle who had hatched a cunning plan to escape; lying quietly and playing dead. Then, when he gets put in a bag and thrown over the walls into the moat, he would swim to freedom and afterwards enact his chilling revenge on all of those who had been responsible for his incarceration in the first place. All seems to be going to plan until, in the final panel, he discovers that, actually, he's been half-eaten by his 'friends', the rats in his cell. Fair shatted this blogger right-up good and proper that one, so it did. However, as with The Donati Conspiracy and At The Cradle Foot (and Carrie's War), Keith Telly Topping - whilst remembering almost the entire plot - could never remember the name of the comic that he'd been reading. That is, of course, until the invention of the Interweb(!) So, one quick Google search for 'prisoner getting eaten by rats in a 1970s horror comic' later, this blogger found the following - excellent - website. And, confirmation that the story in question was The Thirteen Dead Things - writer and artist, sadly, unknown but published in issue fifteen of the comic Pyscho (cover-date November 1973). Thank you, Interweb. Forty six years this blogger has been trying to recall the name of that.
Almost exactly six month to the day since the shortened thirty minute version of it was first broadcast and over three months since a new episode appeared, Past Times, one of the two outstanding episodes of the P series of Qi XL will, finally, be broadcast on BBC2 on 9 August at 9.45pm. At least, according to the Radio Times website. Last minute changes to the schedule notwithstanding. Quite why this extended version of the episode has been delayed for so long is not, at this time, known; speculation exists that it may have been something to do with Ellie Taylor's use of a really bad, naughty sweary-word ('fuck') during her 'Qi Poem' in the episode although, language as strong as this isn't that unusual in Qi. Whether the series finale, Postal, will be broadcast the following Friday or sometime shortly before Christmas 2022 is, also, unknown at this time. Though one certainly wouldn't discount the possibility of the later. Just a reminder that, as already reported on this blog, the next - Q - series of From The North favourite Qi is already in the can and is likely to be broadcast sometime during the autumn or winter or ... sometime. Eventually. Probably on Dave.
And now, dear blog reader, the latest in our semi-regular From The North series 'Gosh, Don't Some Adverts On British Telly Make Viewers Really Angry?' Number two; and this one is specially for Mister Keith Telly Topping of Stately Telly Topping Manor, near Gatesheed. It concerns the - no doubt entirely lovely - young lady who is playing 'Charlotte, aged thirty two' in the most recent of those horrifically self-important Elite Singles adverts. And, specifically, the hideous smug little grin she gives to camera at the conclusion of the advert. One that would, surely, see any potential 'elite' date make an excuse, get up and leave the restaurant, landing 'Charlotte, aged thirty two' with a (hopefully enormous) bill. 'Charlotte, aged thirty two', m'love, sorry but you're never going to find The One and you are, sad to say, probably destined to a life of loneliness and unfulfilled longing for a soul-mate. And, all because of a hideously smug little grin to camera. Tragedy.
A BBC adaptation of an Agatha Christie story has started filming in and around Bristol. The Man In The High Castle's Rufus Sewell will play the hero Mark Easterbrook in two-part drama The Pale Horse. Kaya Scodelario, who appeared in teen drama Skins, will play Hermia. She will be joined in the cast by Gotham's Sean Pertwee, Killing Eve's Henry Lloyd-Hughes and Call The Midwife's Poppy Gilbert. Doctor Foster's Bertie Carvel will take on the role of Zachariah Osborne. The Pale Horse follows Easterbrook as he tries to uncover the mystery of a list of names found in the shoe of a dead woman. His investigation leads him to the peculiar village of Much Deeping and the titular Pale Horse, the home of a trio of rumoured witches. Word has it that the witches can do away with wealthy relatives by means of the dark arts, but as the bodies mount up, Easterbrook is certain there has to be a rational explanation. From The North favourite Pertwee will play Detective Inspector Lejeune while Lloyd-Hughes will appear as David Ardingly and Gilbert as Thomasina Tuckerton. It is the latest in a string of BBC adaptations of Christie's work adapted by Sarah Phelps. Tommy Bulfin, commissioning the editor of BBC drama, said: 'We are thrilled that filming is now under way on The Pale Horse for BBC1. Sarah's brilliant scripts and her unique take on the famous Agatha Christie stories have once again attracted an array of top and exciting talent.'
As part of their Late Night Prom at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this week, cult electronic band Public Service Broadcasting - a real favourite of this here blogger - dedicated the iconic tune 'Go!' to the late Christopher Kraft who conceived NASA's Mission Control and oversaw the Apollo 11 moon landing. This followed news of Kraft's death, aged ninety five a few days previously as reported on the last From The North bloggerisationism update. The art-rock instrumental samples radio communications between the landing module and ground control from 1969. The song was taken from Public Service Broadcasting's top twenty concept CD The Race For Space. Which, dear blog reader, if you haven't got a copy of in your gaff then you're, like, nowhere, baby. Released in 2015, it focused on the technological and ideological battle between the US and Russia as they pushed the frontiers of space exploration, using newsreel footage and NASA's own recordings to augment the ambient music. Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz, whose voice is heard on 'Go!', endorsed the project, requesting a copy of the CD, PSB's J Willgoose, Esquire proudly told the BBC. Public Service Broadcasting, whose other CDs have documented The Blitz, the decline of coal mining in Wales and the history of British broadcasting (2013's Inform-Educate-Entertain, a particular favourite of this blogger), were making their Proms debut. The specially-arranged performance of their CD was enhanced by the Multi-Storey Orchestra and the London Contemporary Voices Choir. There was even a dancing horn section, accompanied by two dancers in spacesuits. Chris Kraft, who joined NASA in 1958, developed the planning and control processes for crewed space missions. He set up NASA's Mission Control operations to manage America's first manned space flight and the subsequent Apollo missions to the Moon. 'At a time when there were no rules or procedures for space travel, Mister Kraft, a brilliant aeronautical engineer, virtually wrote the book for NASA,' said the New York Times in its obituary. He developed many of the systems that made space exploration possible: Global tracking and communications networks; instruments to monitor the condition of astronauts; emergency procedures and the techniques for splashdowns and recoveries at sea, the newspaper added.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea, the classic children's book by Judith Kerr which has enchanted generations of readers, will come to TV this Christmas as a half-hour animated film on Channel Four, featuring the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo and Tamsin Greig. They will be joined by David Walliams and Paul Whitehouse and the role of Sophie will be taken by seven-year-old Clara Ross, who will make her TV debut. The special will be made by the team behind previous festive shows We're Going On A Bear Hunt and The Snowman & The Snowdog. The book tells the tale of the eponymous tiger who shows up at Sophie's front door and proceeds to eat the family out of house and home, even going so far as to drink all of the water out of the taps, before declaring: 'Thank you for my nice tea. I think I'd better go now' and departing. Fekking freeloading immigrant. Oyelowo, who starred as Martin Luther King in Selma, said: 'Who wouldn't jump at the chance to play the iconic Tiger from The Tiger Who Came To Tea? He's a big cat of few words because he's too busy eating. But I relished all of the growling, chomping and slurping, which called on me to find my inner cat.' Walliams - who is alleged to be 'very popular' though, personally, this blogger can't stand him - who will narrate the film, said: 'I knew Judith well and I really adored her. She was an incredible inspiration - her work is so brilliant. The book is a thing of beauty - there isn't a word out of place, the illustrations are just gorgeous. I really wanted to be a part of it and I was chuffed that she wanted me to narrate. I'm so proud to be associated with it because it's a stone-cold classic. Just like the book has been around for over fifty years, hopefully the animation will have this incredible longevity too.' The book, which came out in 1968 and has sold more than five million copies, was written and illustrated by Kerr, who died this year at the age of ninety five. It has often been suggested - based on absolutely no supporting evidence - that it was influenced by her family's persecution by the Nazis in 1930s Germany, although Kerr denied this.
Earlier this week, dear blog reader, this blogger noticed some chancer selling one of the recently-released 'Sherlock Holmes' fifty pence pieces on eBay for two-and-a-half quid - a five hundred per cent mark-up on the actual monetary value of the coin in question. What a marvellous example, this blogger thought, of modern capitalism in action. Then he stopped because, on the same website, some plank was attempting to sell another one of the same coins - in 'used' condition and 'found in Huddersfield' - for seven grand! And, seemingly, this isn't the only example of such rank numbskullery. As the Daily Scum Express noted. 'Despite asking for a lot of money, the seller admitted they did not know much about the coin. They wrote on the advert: "I'm not going to lie and make out I know much about coins but I do know these coins are mintage and this coin in particular as it's 2017. I have kept it in a very good condition and as you can see it's really shiny and well looked after."' Oh well, if it's shiny, then it's obviously worth seven grand of anyone's money. 'What is it actually worth?' the Scum Express asks in its headline, without actually answering the question at any stage in the article itself. It's 'worth' fifty pence, Grace Henry. That's the amount of goods or services which could be purchased with it if you went into a shop with it.
Twenty four million old-style one knicker coins have been returned to the Royal Mint over the last year. But that still leaves one hundred and forty five million outstanding - even though people have been unable to spend them in shops since October 2017. The round quid coin was replaced by the twelve-sided version to help crack down on counterfeiting. According to the Royal Mint, the round one smacker coin can still be deposited at most high-street banks. The new coin was introduced on 28 March 2017, with one in thirty of the old version estimated to be fake according to the Royal Mint, a company wholly owned by the UK Treasury. There were about 1.7 billion round one knicker coins in circulation at the start of the six-month transition period in March 2017. A Royal Mint official said: 'Our communications campaign encouraged the return of old pound coins when legal tender was removed. The small proportion of coins not returned can continue to be deposited into a customer's account at most high street banks in the UK.' They added: 'We expect there to be some returns for a number of years to come as people find these coins.' Millions of the round one smacker coins have been melted down to help create some of the new ones at the Royal Mint. The new coin is described by the Mint as the 'most secure in the world' and has a string of anti-counterfeiting details, including a hologram and micro-sized lettering inside both rims. It also has material inside which can be detected when electronically scanned by coin-counting or payment machines. The first pre-decimal coin, the florin, and the shilling were not demonetised until the 1990s, though had effectively ceased to circulate long before then. Earlier this year, the Treasury confirmed that it would keep all the current denominations of coins. An independent review of cash published in March suggested that banknotes and coins were a necessity for eight million people.
The BBC's iPlayer now has permission to routinely keep shows available for a year rather than just thirty days, after Ofcom said it could expand its service. Some shows will be available for even longer, the broadcasting watchdog said. Ofcom said 'the BBC's proposed changes to BBC iPlayer could deliver significant public value over time.' There is likely to be 'an adverse impact' on rival services, but that 'will be outweighed by the public value,' the regulator decided. The BBC will now have to negotiate with independent programme-makers who make many of its shows to formalise the extension beyond thirty days. Ofcom reached its decision after a competition assessment. It added that the change 'could increase choice and availability of public-service broadcast content and help ensure the BBC remains relevant in the face of changing viewing habits.' Last year's most-watched show on iPlayer was The Bodyguard, followed by Killing Eve. Ofcom estimated that 'the increase in BBC iPlayer viewing could be fourteen to twenty four per cent for general content and six to nine per cent for children's content, with an overall increase in BBC iPlayer viewing of twenty to thirty three per cent.'
British TV and radio stations will be explicitly required to protect the 'welfare, well-being and dignity' of individuals who take part in their programmes, under proposals that could radically change how reality TV is made in the UK and have a collateral impact on news and documentaries according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Although, some might question exactly how much 'dignity' contestants in, for example, Love Island or 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) deserve having signed up for the damned things in the first place is a question well worth asking. The media regulator, Ofcom - a politically-appointed quango, elected by no one - said that it was proposing to add two rules to the existing broadcasting code to protect members of the public who take part in programmes, in an announcement timed to coincide with the final of this summer's series of Love Island just to get maximum publicity. In addition to requiring producers to take due care to protect the dignity of participants, broadcasters will also have to ensure members of the public are 'not caused unjustified distress or anxiety by taking part in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes.' The changes, the Gruniad claims, 'could upend how reality TV, which often thrives on showing embarrassing moments that participants may later regret, is made and the extent to which broadcasters can push boundaries in the search for ratings.' Although the proposals have been developed partly in response to the death of a participant on The Jeremy Kyle Show, the code will apply to almost all radio and television programmes other than dramas, sitcoms and soap operas. As a result, news reporters and documentary creators will be explicitly required to 'consider the impact of including members of the public in their broadcasts,' with potential implications for investigative journalism. Ofcom said that its guidance 'would make it clear' that different approaches 'are suitable for different genres of programming,' although broadcasters may err on the side of caution. The regulator said 'attitudes in society to welfare and well-being' had 'changed' and the broadcasting code 'needed updating' to reflect 'new social standards.' It specifically highlighted the thousands of complaints received from members of the public last summer - often as a result of social media 'backlashes' - regarding notorious self-publicist Roxanne Pallett on Z-List Celebrity Big Brother, a row between notorious self-publicist Kim Woodburn and panellist and notorious self-publicist Coleen Nolan on Loose Women and the treatment of Dani Dyer on Love Island. Tony Close, Ofcom's director of content standards, said: 'People who take part in TV and radio shows must be properly looked after by broadcasters and these rules would ensure that happens. These new safeguards must be effective. So we're listening carefully to programme participants, broadcasters, producers and psychologists before we finalise them.' Regulations around reality television came under renewed scrutiny after the death in March of the former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis. Thalassitis was the second cast member of the programme to take their own life, following the death in June 2018 of Sophie Gradon, who appeared on the show the year before. In May, the House of Commons DCMS select committee launched an inquiry into the wider reality TV industry as a result of the death of Steve Dymond, who died shortly after failing a lie detector on The Jeremy Kyle Show. Committee members were inundated with written testimony from former reality TV show participants. After Thalassitis's death, ITV pledged to increase the level of support and advice it provides to Love Island contestants as the broadcaster sought to protect one of its most valuable programmes from a public backlash. The channel has recently announced plans to launch a second winter series of the show, which could become one of the first programmes to be covered by the new broadcasting rules. The rules will apply only to 'traditional television and radio broadcasters' and not online-only content on YouTube, which remains entirely unregulated.
An episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show was withdrawn after broadcast because of 'concerns' that the programme's lie detector test was 'unreliable,' amid continued scrutiny of the tactics used by the now-cancelled reality TV show. ITV's chief executive, Carolyn McCall, said that the show employed 'trained providers' to carry out polygraph tests on individuals who were attempting to settle family disputes in front of a live audience, with 'an expected accuracy rate' of more than ninety per cent. Despite the fact that, as previously discussed on the blog, everything to do with the polygraph is a completely ludicrous pseudo-science. 'We are aware of only one instance where a guest who had failed the lie detector test later advised The Jeremy Kyle Show that they had taken another test administered by a different polygraph examiner, which gave a different result. The episode was not transmitted again.' The show was extremely cancelled earlier this year following the death of a participant, Steve Dymond, after he failed a lie detector test. The incident prompted a reckoning for the entire television industry and, as a consequence, Ofcom has proposed a new requirement for all television producers to protect the 'dignity' of members of the public. In evidence to the House of Commons' digital, culture, media and sport select committee inquiry into reality TV, McCall confirmed that the producers of The Jeremy Kyle Show 'often' used the show's Facebook page to 'encourage' its 1.2 million followers to apply to the programme in return for 'a free lie detector test.' This echoed similar adverts broadcast to viewers of the main television programme. The committee chairman, Damian Collins, said that he was 'concerned' on one occasion in late 2018 the programme's makers 'used Facebook ads to find individuals who wanted to take lie detector or DNA tests. It is particularly concerning that the production team appeared to be specifically targeting people who were hoping to resolve a difficult personal situation,' he said. ITV claimed that this was 'a one-off incident' where they 'experimented with paying' to boost the audience of a single Facebook post. One or two people even believed them. This suggests the advert would be 'mainly seen by existing fans' of The Jeremy Kyle Show who already liked the page – as opposed to ITV going out of its way to narrowly target individuals wanting to take a polygraph test who had not heard of the programme. Despite this, there is evidence that the promise of a free lie detector test was 'a major attraction' for many vulnerable participants on the programme. Former participant Dwayne Davison, who was called 'the most hated Jeremy Kyle guest ever,' told the Gruniad Morning Star earlier this year that it was the promise of a free lie-detector test to settle an argument which prompted his decision to contact the programme in the first place. Davison said the appearance - and the subsequent 'social shaming' which followed repeats of the programme and clips circulating on social media - led him to attempt suicide as he 'struggled to deal with his infamy,' which he claimed was a result of being 'provoked' by the show's producers. British television producers have warned they could shy away from highlighting under-reported issues involving individuals from the fringes of society as a result of increased regulation. 'Reality TV has already played a role in raising social, health and welfare issues amongst the public through the inclusion of participants from across the socio-economic, gender identification, political and cultural spectrum,' said PACT, the trade body which represents the self-interests of UK's independent television production companies. Channel Four also provided evidence to parliament. Asked by MPs whether it had 'many' complaints from contestants on Naked Attraction – its nude dating show - it said that 'fewer than five per cent' of contestants had 'given negative feedback.' The chief executive, Alex Mahon, said complaints were 'mainly from people who did not find their nude date attractive.' A small number of participants said they were unhappy they 'did not appear attractive on television' when the show was broadcast. Mahon said they were offered additional psychological support. The hearing also revealed that only six of this year's thirty six Love Island contestants actually applied to be on the show. Twenty four were 'head-hunted' by ITV's casting team and another six were 'put forward by professional talent agents.' ITV had previously told Radio 1's Newsbeat: 'Everyone who is seen for the show goes through exactly the same process.' Which would now appear to be not, entirely, true.
The Gruniad, incidentally, seems to have discovered a new cause to champion - empathy and understanding for those who appear on reality TV, with an impassioned editorial, The Guardian View On Reality TV: Show Contestants Some Love on Wednesday. Yes, dear blog reader, this is, indeed, the same newspaper which was happy to publish Sirin Kale's offensive, sneering, hateful "Barcelona Is In Italy": How Flagrant Stupidity Creates Reality TV Superstars just a few weeks ago. Both the odious Kale and the editor who deemed this disturbing, bullying and disgraceful example of atypical Gruniad Middle Class hippy Communist sneering at Working Class people worthy of publication are, seemingly, still employed by the Gruniad. As another article on Love Island, published the day before the editorial appeared, proves. The Gruniad Morning Star, dear blog reader? Crass, ignorant hypocrites? Surely not?
The Sex, nudity and slavery are not things one normally associates with the world of Jane Austen. Yet an invitation to write a drama based on the Nineteenth Century author's unfinished novel Sanditon gave award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies a chance to buck convention. 'I aim to please myself when writing these things,' says Davies, who admits 'sexing it up comes fairly naturally. If it's not there, I think "let's put some in,"' he explains. 'I like to write it and I like to watch it.' It was Davies, of course, who had Colin Firth taking an impromptu swim in his 1995 BBC adaptation of Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Twenty-four years on, the first episode of ITV's Sanditon ups the ante considerably by having three of its male leads take a naked seaside skinny-dip. Another provocative scene sees its young heroine Charlotte (Rose Williams) stumble upon a man and a woman performing 'a furtive sexual act' in a forest. A key player in the story, meanwhile, is Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke), a heiress from the West Indies whose mother was a slave. 'It was very much a team job,' says Davies. 'We just sat around talking and thinking and saying, "Dare we do that? Yeah!" Some period stuff can be quite dour and worthy and this is witty and lustful and lascivious,' says cast member Kris Marshall. 'It's a new take which lets people feel the people back then weren't so different,' adds fellow actor Jack Fox of the allegedly 'risqué' dramatisation. Austen had completed twelve chapters of Sanditon - originally titled The Brothers - at the time of her death in 1817. ITV's eight-part drama takes these chapters as a starting point before spiralling off in directions that are all its writers' invention. 'I suspect the purists will hate it but we're in the entertainment business,' suggests Anne Reid, who plays the formidable widow Lady Denham. 'Sanditon is a place where anything goes,' says Marshall of the titular fictional coastal town where the drama is set. The Death In Paradise actor plays the businessman Tom Parker, an ambitious entrepreneur determined to make Sanditon 'the finest seaside resort on the whole of the South coast.' His ebullient character exudes a confidence and a can-do optimism not a million miles from the upbeat rhetoric used by Bashing Boris Johnson this week. While declining to make specific parallels with the new Prime Minister, Marshall remarks that there was 'an ebullience in England in the early Nineteenth Century that really did fire the country on. Everything is cyclical and we were moving into the start of the next cycle,' he observes. 'Are we at the start of a new cycle now? Who knows?' The aforementioned male skinny-dipping contrasts amusingly with the prim Victorian bathing costume Charlotte dons for her own ocean plunge. Speaking on Friday after a screening of Sanditon's debut episode, Williams said that the sequence marked 'a welcome move away' from 'traditional' drama staples. 'For so long it has been the norm for women to expose their bodies, so the shift is needed,' the actress told reporters. 'There's more male nudity these days because female nudity can be a contentious area,' admits Davies, whose other recent adaptations include Les Miserables and War & Peace. 'But maybe, you know, the pendulum might swing back.'
An Emmerdale actor reportedly 'growled like a mad dog' before attacking a man, a court has heard. Mark Jordon is accused of assaulting Andrew Potts in July 2018 after a row erupted in a beer garden. The actor, who plays Daz Spencer in the soap, allegedly bit Potts and spat out a chunk of his skin, Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court heard. Jordon denies affray, unlawful wounding and assault by beating. Potts wiped away tears as he described what he claimed was a 'frightening' assault outside The Farrars Arms in Oldham on 1 July last year. The court heard a row broke out when Potts' partner Rosalind O'Neill said 'I hope they're using a condom' - referring to Jordon's daughter and a man she was with. The jury was told Mrs O'Neill apologised for her crass and ignorant comment, but Potts said: 'I wouldn't let my daughter act like that in front of me.' CCTV footage showed the former Heartbeat actor having to be held back. Potts said Jordon was 'like a madman' and was threatening to kill him. The court heard Potts threw a couple of punches at Jordon before being ushered away from the pub. Potts denied saying that he had filmed the girl and would post it on YouTube. But he told the court he 'might' have said 'you think you're clever because you're on TV' to Jordon's girlfriend Laura Norton, who plays Kerry Wyatt in Emmerdale. After leaving the pub, the couple were confronted by Jordon, who pushed Mrs O'Neill to the floor, jurors heard. 'It was just horrendous, he was growling like a mad dog,' Potts claimed. Potts alleged that Jordon bit his thumb and the palm of his hand, spitting out a chunk of skin and the pair fell to the ground where Jordon also bit his eyebrow. Potts denied a suggestion that he had pushed Mrs O'Neill out of the way before jumping on Jordon's back and putting his fingers and thumb inside his mouth to grab his cheek. The trial continues.
Actor James McArdle has called the theatre reviewer and full-of-his-own-importance bell-end Quentin Letts 'pathetic' after he made remarks about the 'whining' accents of Scottish actors. The critic was writing about the play Peter Gynt at London's National Theatre, in which Glasgow-born McArdle stars, when he made the comment. He said 'the fruity purr' of Oliver Ford Davies was 'a welcome calm ... from the whining Scottish accents.' 'To go for our accents is something else,' said McArdle. Ibsen's original Nineteenth Century work is set in Norway and tells the story of the adventures of the titular character from the Norwegian mountains to the North African desert. David Hare's updated version sees McArdle's hero as a Twenty First Century Scottish soldier, in a work with singing and milkmaids described by Letts as 'dancing Dolly Partons.' Letts said in the Sunday Times Culture column: 'After so much frenzied movement and whizz-bang theatrics, the fruity purr of veteran thesp [sic] Oliver Ford Davies as the button moulder brings a welcome calm to proceedings and relief at last from the whining Scottish accents.' Speaking to Scottish broadcaster STV, McArdle said 'that critic is infamous for saying things like that and I think it's a bit pathetic and I don't want to give him credit as a real reviewer to be honest.' He added: 'This whining Scottish accent is currently playing one of the biggest parts ever written in one of the most famous theatres in the world. I don't really have time for Quentin Letts to be perfectly honest with you.' McArdle's criticism of Letts follows comments made by fellow Scottish actor James McAvoy, who hit out at Letts over his 'derogatory' comments when the review was first published on 14 July. 'Quentin, I would love to have a conversation with you. I'll be doing a play soon in the West End, at the end of the year,' said McAvoy. 'Maybe we could have a post-show discussion about why you think it's okay to label the sound of an entire nation in such a derogatory fashion? Where the person with an English accent gets referred to by his name as an individual with fruity superlatives, whereas the people who are whining just get referred to as Scottish. Not as individuals, not as actors, just an entire nation.' Letts - a pompous, smug and disgraceful right-wing twat of outrageous proportions - is known for 'being controversial' in his reviews and last year incited a backlash after he asked in his Daily Scum Mail review whether actor Leo Wringer was cast in a Royal Shakespeare Company production 'because he is black,' leading the RSC to accuse him of having 'a blatantly racist attitude.'
Sir Paul McCartney has admitted that he can't remember how to play all The Be-Atles songs. Macca says he has to rely on bandmates and listen to some of the 'deeper cuts' that he hasn't played in a while, with thew popular beat combo of the 1960s (you might've heard of them) back catalogue dating back some fifty five years. 'I have to re-learn everything. I've written an awful lot, you can't retain them all. We go in rehearsal and I'm, "Oh yeah, that's how it goes,"' Sir Paul told the Daily Mirra. While he has worked on over a thousand songs, he believes that most of them have stood the test of time. Except for 'Ebony & Ivory'. That remains horseshit. When asked if he thinks his songs are 'pretty good,' he replied: 'I really do. Some of the old songs you say, "Oh, that's clever, I wouldn't have done that." It's exciting to think that still works. We were a little rock and roll group from Liverpool, it just kept going.' Meanwhile, McCartney has recently hinted that he may release an CD of outtakes in the future after amassing 'millions' of them during studio recordings (probably something of a minor exaggeration). Describing the outtakes as 'a treasure trove# in an interview on his website, the seventy seven-year-old said that the material comes from various ab-libbed sound checks and rehearsals. On being asked if he still improvises at soundchecks, McCartney said: 'Yeah, we do. We've got millions of them. And fortunately, there's a guy in our team called Jamie, who logs them. And he tells me we've actually got thousands. Some of them are really good and occasionally I'll pick one out and work on it.'
German electro-pop pioneers Kraftwerk (they're a popular beat combo, m'lud) have won a long-running copyright battle over a two-second clip of their 1977 song 'Metal On Metal'. The European Court of Justice ruled that musicians cannot 'sample' other artists' records without permission. Kraftwerk brought the action against hip-hop producers Moses Pelham and Martin Haas in 1999 over the Sabrina Setlur song 'Nur Mir (Only Me)'. The ECJ decision could have huge implications for the music industry. Monday's ruling means that any reproduction of a sound sample taken from an existing recording must be authorised by the original producer. Kraftwerk's Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider-Esleben were the producers of 'Metal On Metal' on Kraftwerk's ground-breaking and hugely influential 1976 LP Trans-Europe Express. But the ECJ also ruled that use of a 'modified' sample - one which is unrecognisable from the original - could be used without permission. The Kraftwerk dispute centres on a short drum sequence looped repeatedly in Setlur's song. In 2012 Germany's Federal Court of Justice ruled Setlur's song should no longer be promoted, agreeing with Hutter that it amounted to copyright infringement. But in 2016, the German Constitutional Court - the country's highest court - decided the impact on Kraftwerk did not outweigh 'artistic freedom.' The case then reached the ECJ on appeal. Florian Drücke, chairman of German musician's union BVMI, said that the ECJ 'has made it clear that a phonogram manufacturer is allowed to allow or prohibit the duplication of his phonogram and under certain conditions very short audio sequences against the use of third parties.' But he added that the court had also created 'criteria as to when sampling falls within the scope of art freedom. The interpretation of the new criteria of the ECJ will be up for discussion,' he went on. Meanwhile, according to The Wrap, Meatloaf (a popular beat combo of the 1970s) has settled another copyright case involving his hit 'I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)'. The case was originally filed in 2017 in a California federal court by Enclosed Music, which argued the song copied a 1989 song '(I'd Do) Anything For You' by Jon Dunmore Sinclair and Mike Molina (no, me neither). The settlement details have not been disclosed. In other news, a US court has ruled that Katy Perry (a popular beat combo of the Twenty First Century) copied her 2013 song 'Dark Horse' from a Christian rap song. Perry gave evidence in the week-long trial, denying she had ever heard the 2009 song 'Joyful Noise' by Flame before recording her song. She even offered to perform 'Dark Horse' for the court room when her lawyers were unable to play the song for jurors because of a broken speaker system. The jury ruled against Perry on Monday.
An 'uge US event to celebrate fifty years since the Woodstock festival has been cancelled just two weeks before it was due to start. Organisers blamed 'a series of unforeseen setbacks.' The news will come as little surprise to many, as the proposed venue had already been changed and various artists had dropped out. Woodstock Fifty originally had Jay-Z, The Killers and Miley Cyrus on the bill. The main investor had first announced its cancellation back in April, but organisers 'vehemently denied' the report and pressed on with preparations. Woodstock Fifty was first announced in January, as a celebration of half-a-century since the original New York State event, which had featured the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Sly & The Family Stone, The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. And six hundred thousand lice-ridden hippies in a field and no one having the wherewithal to point a thermonuclear ballistic missile in their general direction. An opportunity missed, one might suggest. Michael Lang, who was organising the event and co-produced the first Woodstock in 1969, said that the revival festival planned to sell one hundred thousand passes for the 16 to 18 August event at Watkins Glen, New York State. Ticket prices were not unveiled. By March, rumours started circling about financial problems. Nevertheless, an impressive line-up, featuring some of the world's biggest artists, was released and organisers said tickets would be on sale on 22 April. A bombshell was dropped around a week later when the chief funder, Dentsu Aegis Network, said that the festival had been cancelled, as it could not ensure the 'health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees.' The festival organisers rebutted this announcement and, after a court battle with Dentsu, they found new backers in May. The following month the festival lost its New York venue, but in July it was announced that it would be taking place in Maryland instead. Then Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Santana and others all dropped out in quick succession, as the festival looked increasingly unlikely to take place. Over the weekend, it was announced that tickets for the festival would be free, although the line-up was unclear. In a statement on Wednesday, organisers finally admitted defeat. 'Woodstock Fifty today announced that the three-day festival to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary has been cancelled,' the organisers said. 'We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating,' Lang said.
Three new worlds have been spotted orbiting a star seventy three light years away from Earth; they are among the smallest and nearest exoplanets spotted so far. One of the planets appears to be a mysterious 'missing link' unlike anything in our solar system. The new worlds were spotted by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which was sent into space in 2018 with the aim of finding new worlds around neighbouring stars that could support life. One of the trio is a rocky 'super-Earth' - like our planet, but much bigger - and two gassy planets like Neptune, but much smaller (both are about twice the size of Earth). Sadly, scientists are doubtful whether any of the three could support life - but believe there may be other planets in the same system. While it is believed that the temperature range at the very top of the furthest planet could support some forms of life, the atmosphere itself is thought to be too thick and dense, creating an intense greenhouse effect - similar to that on Venus. The discovery, published in Nature Astronomy, also has researchers curious about a type of 'missing link' planet we don't have in our own solar system. Here we have small rocky planets - Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars - or much larger gas-dominated planets - Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune - but nothing in between. 'TOI-270 will allow scientists to study this "missing link" between rocky Earth-like planets and gas-dominant mini-Neptunes, because here all of these types formed in the same system,' said lead researcher Maximilian Gunther, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The closest of the three planets - TOI-270B - takes a little over three days to orbit its star, with TOI-270C taking 5.7 days and TOI-270D at eleven days. TESS was launched on April 18 last year and is designed to observe almost the entire sky. The satellite looks for dips in light that might betray the presence of a planet passing or 'transiting' in front of its host star.
In March 2017, Brazilian National Observatory astronomer Bruno Morgado and colleagues took advantage of the beginning of the Jupiter passage through a very dense stellar region, with the centre of the Milky Way as background and organised an observational campaign to obtain data from a predicted stellar occultation by Jupiter's ice moon Europa. A stellar occultation occurs when the light from a star is blocked by a foreground body - such as a planet, moon, ring, or asteroid - from reaching an observer. The main reason for observing stellar occultations is that they can be used to probe ring systems and atmospheres in the outer Solar System. Such measurements can be made from the ground - something that Doctor Morgado's team took advantage of to explore Europa. 'We used data from the first data release of ESA's Gaia mission to forecast that, from our viewpoint in South America, Europa would pass in front of a bright background star on 31 March 2017 - and to predict the best location from which to observe this occultation,' Morgado said. 'This gave us a wonderful opportunity to explore Europa, as the technique offers an accuracy comparable to that of images obtained by space probes.' The Gaia data showed that the event would be visible from a thick band slicing from North-West to South-East across South America. Three observatories located in Brazil and Chile were able to capture data - a total of eight sites attempted, but many experienced poor weather conditions. The observations refined Europa's radius to nine hundred and seventy miles precisely determined Europa's position in space and in relation to Jupiter and characterised the moon's shape. Rather than being exactly spherical, Europa is known to be an ellipsoid. 'It's likely that we’ll be able to observe far more occultations like this by Jupiter's moons in 2019 and 2020,' Doctor Morgado said. 'Jupiter is passing through a patch of sky that has the Galactic centre in the background, making it drastically more likely that its moons will pass in front of bright background stars. This would really help us to pin down their 3D shapes and positions - not only for Jupiter's four largest moons, but for smaller, more irregularly-shaped ones, too.' Using Gaia's second data release, provided in April 2018, the astronomers predict the dates of further occultations of bright stars by Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto in coming years and list a total of ten events through 2019 and 2021. The favourable position of Jupiter, with the Galactic plane in the background, will only occur again in 2031. 'Stellar occultation studies allow us to learn about moons in the Solar System from afar and are also relevant for future missions that will visit these worlds,' said Doctor Timo Prusti, Gaia project scientist. 'As this result shows, Gaia is a hugely versatile mission: it not only advances our knowledge of stars, but also of the Solar System more widely.' The team's work was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Steve Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty) has admitted that his biggest challenge as the new head coach of this blogger's beloved (though, tragically, unsellable) Magpies will be winning over the club’s diehard fanbase. No shit, Sherlock? Hey, did you work that out on your own, Brucie, or did you have help? Cos, if it's the former, that might qualify you for being one of the great minds of your generation. However, Brucie says that he is determined to grasp his 'big opportunity' with both hands. Until, like several predecessors, his new boss decides that it's time for a change and he gets his sorry ass handed to him on a plate in the form of redundancy. The former Sheffield Wednesday boss was named as Rafa The Gaffer Benitez's successor earlier this month, sparking a furious response from large sections of Th' Toon faithful. And, for 'large sections' read 'pretty much all of them.' Most of whom are somewhat pissed off about having a manager whom they liked, respected and admired and who has a CV that included winning the Champions League, La Liga, the UEFA Cup, the Europa League, the FA Cup and the Copa Italia replaced by someone who likes to play his 'I'm a proud Geordie boy, me' card when he feels like it and ignore it at other times, who has, in the past, publicly abused the Newcastle supporters whom he claims to be one of and whose CV includes winning promotion with Birmingham City and Hull (after getting both of them relegated). There has been talk of disgruntled fans boycotting the club's opening game of the Premier League season against The Arse on 11 August, although whether this actually happens is - validly - open to question. As this blogger had noted on several occasions in the past, football fans are often their own worst enemies in this regard in that our fandom - and support of lost causes - always tends to work against us. Speaking to arch Ashley apologists talkSPORT on their Kick Off show on Monday night, Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty) claimed that he 'understands the frustration' surrounding his appointment - admitting he isn't 'everybody's cup of tea' - but vowed to 'do all he can' to push his boyhood club on and prove to be a success in the job. Or, in other words, exactly the same generic 'I'm a proud Geordie boy, me' crap that he has been spouting in every interview he's given since he got the job in the first place. Brucie said: 'It's all been a bit of a blur so far, but I've really enjoyed it. My dad used to say to me I was mad full stop getting into management. I really couldn't turn this job down again. The easiest thing to do would have been to say no, but I wanted to have a crack. Newcastle never leaves you and I wanted to have a go. I was happy and settled in Sheffield, but the Wednesday chairman [Dejphon Chansiri] understood my decision and we shook hands and wished each other all the best.' That'd be the same Sheffield Wednesday currently threatening to take legal action against Newcastle over the appointment of Brucie, would it? He continued: 'My biggest challenge is to win over the support and the challenge to the team is to try and take it forward in the way we are going to play. The big thing that disappoints me is getting labelled with this "dinosaur" thing. We played three at the back at Crystal Palace twenty years ago and one off the front. We were one of the first teams to do it. You get labelled with this dinosaur tag and being old school. There is nothing wrong with old school. But of course you have to embrace what the whole job is about now. The biggest thing I have to overcome are these doubters.' On the threat of a fans' boycott, Brucie said: 'Whether that boycott will take place, your guess is as good as mine. I saw a so-called demonstration the other day - there were twelve people involved in it. It can sometimes be blown out of proportion. I'm convinced that, come the first game of the season, the supporters will be like they always are - right behind their team.' If not, necessarily, the head coach. A necessary difference, one feels. 'I'm not everybody's cup of tea with getting the job. I understand that, but I will give it as good a go as I can do. Hopefully the experiences that I've had over these past twenty years will stand me in good stead.' He added: 'One thing I do know is that the Newcastle fans, come the start of the season, will be there cheering on their team like no other club can. They have been been incredible with their support for the club over the years. I just hope I can keep them moving forward and give them something to shout about. Rafa was that popular with the fans here that whoever was going to come in had big boots to fill. There aren't too many Rafa Benitez's around who have been as successful as he's been and won the Champions League. So there was always going to be an adverse reaction. I completely understand that and it's up to me now to prove people wrong by getting results on the field. This is my big opportunity in management, there's no doubt about that. I've had to wait a while for it, but I'm determined to be a success at this magnificent football club. I hope I can get this football club over the line in terms of winning a trophy. I'm not that naive to think we can win the Premier League, but we've got to be having a go with one of the trophies.' So, there you have it, dear blog reader - not everyone's cup of tea, big boots to fill, wants 'a crack', yadda, yadda, yadda. Another right load of old toot.
Record signing Joelinton scored his first senior goal for the club as this blogger's beloved (though tragically unsellable) Newcastle came from behind to beat Hibernian at Easter Road on Tuesday evening in their fourth pre-season friendly. Sean Longstaff and Jamaal Lascelles were also on target in Edinburgh but there was worrying news for Steve Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty), as Matt Ritchie left the pitch during the first half with a hamstring injury which will require a scan. United's three man backline was breached after just ten minutes when Stevie Mallan beat Karl Darlow with a clean strike from the edge of the box. Ritchie went down shortly after with nobody near him and got up and walked straight off with Rolando Aarons replacing him at left wing-back - a position he struggled in when played there previously by Steve McClaren. Miguel Almiron went close in the fifteenth minute, heading a Jonjo Shelvey ball from the right narrowly wide. But, a minute later the scores were level and Joelinton had his goal, thanks a first time effort from close range from a great ball from Javier Manquillo on the right. Home custodian Ofir Marciano blocked another Almiron effort in the twenty fdourth minute with his foot but was helpless to stop Longstaff's firm shot from the edge of the area ten minutes before the break. Rather than the mass change of personnel seen at Preston Both Ends on Saturday, United made no half time substitutions and continued to push on - Fabian Schär and Isaac Hayden both augmenting the attacks. Joelinton should have made it three-one on the hour when he elected to pass to Hayden, rather than shooting and the goalkeeper cut out his weak attempted pass. Hibernian enjoyed their best period of possession but the intensity of the game inevitably dropped until Lascelles got on the end of an Aarons cross and thumped a header home from six yards with eighteen minutes remaining. Joelington's movement both on and off the ball caught the eye and the development of an understanding with both Almiron and Shelvey promises to be crucial to The Magpies' attacking aspirations this season. But, the victory was well deserved and notable for some displays of a level not always seen in games of this nature - Manquillo certainly seemed to be up for it and Yoshinori Muto tried hard to make an impression. The Ritchie injury, though, highlights the worrying lack of genuine depth in the squad and renews concerns that struggles in the transfer market will see previously discarded players back in the side by default rather than merit.
The Football Association is introducing 'sin bins' at grassroots level from the start of the 2019-20 season. The ten-minute dismissals will be issued by referees as a sanction only for dissent, while shorter punishments will be applied in youth football. They will be indicated by a referee showing the guilty player a yellow card and pointing to the touchline. 'Dissent is a key part of the game that needs to be tackled,' said the FA's chief executive Mark Bullingham. Sin bins were first piloted during the 2017-18 season and extended to a total of thirty one leagues the following year. It will be implemented up to step five of the National League System and tier three and below in women's football. The FA found that there was a thirty eight per cent total reduction in dissent across all leagues during the trial period. Bullingham added: 'Our pilot phase has proved that sin bins work well. The trial showed a huge impact on behaviour that we want to roll out to the whole game and make it more enjoyable for everyone.'
The Football Association has increased the minimum ban for anyone found guilty of racist abuse to six matches. The increase for the 2019-20 season comes in the wake of a forty three per cent rise in reports of racist abuse last season. As well as racist language, the minimum ban also covers any discrimination aimed at a person's gender, sexuality, religious beliefs or disability. The FA has also announced that people in technical areas can be issued with yellow and red cards. It is the first time the minimum ban for abuse has risen since a five-game suspension came in for such offences in 2013. The minimum suspension is only for a first offence and bans can be increased if there are any additional aggravating factors.
Police investigating rape allegations against Brazilian football player Neymar say they have closed the case. The São Paulo attorney general's office said the case was suspended 'due to a lack of evidence,' but will be sent to prosecutors for a final decision. The investigation was opened after a Brazilian model, Najila Trindade, alleged that the footballer attacked her in a hotel in Paris, in May. Neymar has denied the accusations, claiming that he is 'being extorted.' A spokesman for Neymar told AFP that he was 'not able to comment' on the police decision. The case has gripped Brazil, where it has dominated newspaper headlines. It first came to light in June, when the Paris St-Germain striker released a seven minute video on Instagram revealing that he had been accused of rape. He also published Whatsapp messages and images that he claimed to be of the woman. In the video he claims that he had to make them public to 'prove that nothing really happened.' Trindade then went public, giving a television interview and releasing footage and a video clip purportedly showing an altercation between the two. Police later filed a defamation suit against Trindade, who allegedly insinuated the force was corrupt, according to news agency AFP. The model was also dropped by several lawyers. Prosecutors now have fifteen days to evaluate the case before a judge makes a final ruling.
Gareth Bale has stroppily pulled out of Real Madrid's trip to Munich for a pre-season tournament, following the collapse of his proposed move to China. It is understood that Bale is 'not in the right mental state' to play after Real president Florentino Perez prevented him from joining Jiangsu Suning. Last week, Real boss Zinedine Zidane said that the thirty-year-old was 'very close to leaving' having fallen out of favour. Zidane added his exit would be 'best for everyone.' But, particularly for Bale who was set to pick up a signing on fee the size of the gross national debt of several third-world countries. The thirty three-time Spanish champions will play Bale's former club Stottingtot Hotshots on Tuesday in the opening game of the tournament that also includes Bayern München and Fenerbahçe. Danny Rose is included in Spurs' squad, despite being left out of the pre-season tour party of Asia in order to seek a new club. Bale joined the Spanish club for eight five million knicker from Spurs in 2013 in a world record deal at the time. He has three years left on his contract with the Bernabeu club where he has won four Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, a Copa del Rey, three UEFA Super Cups and three Club World Cups. The Welshman scored three goals, plus a penalty in a shootout, in four Champions League finals for Real as they won the competition in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. However, injury problems have limited him to seventy nine La Liga starts in the past four seasons. He played forty two matches for Real Madrid last season in all competitions but was booed by the home supporters at times during the campaign. It has been reported Real blocked Bale's move as they are demanding a transfer fee for the player. Former Real Madrid and Wales manager John Toshack has told BBC 5Live that criticism of Bale is 'justified' and that he should have 'engaged himself' with Spain and the Real supporters during his six years at the club. 'Come out Gareth, do an interview, speak yourself,' said the seventy-year-old. 'You've been here six or seven years now. You don't speak the language. That's an insult to the people that you're working for. It's not gone down well at all here in Spain, and it saddens me.'
Angry South Korean football fans are reportedly 'seeking compensation' after Cristiano Ronaldo failed to take to the pitch during a Juventus pre-season friendly. Ooo, aal vexed and with their mad right-up, so they were. The superstar was allegedly contracted to play for forty five minutes when the match against K League All Stars was announced, organisers say, but he stayed on the subs' bench throughout. Fans became angry when he made no sign of lacing up his boots, even chanting the name of his rival Lionel Messi. Some have now reached out to Seoul law firm Myungan to file a lawsuit. They are seeking compensation of seventy thousand Won (that's around forty eight quid) per ticket, one thousand Won for the ticket commission fee and one million Won each for compensation for 'mental anguish.' 'Normally in such cases the plaintiffs will be refunded the price of the tickets, but I put this under a special case since the company, through false advertising, took advantage of the football star's fans,' a lawyer from the firm - which, honestly, does not part-take in chasing ambulances under any circumstances - told Reuters. 'As for the mental anguish part, I'd like to say some of them are raucous fans, the real avid fans. So for them it is very painful because they love Ronaldo and want to protect him, but they can't, given the situation,' he added. 'For now we have two plaintiffs who sued the company, but I have been getting a lot of calls today and I assume there will be some sixty thousand more.' Robin Chang, CEO of The Fasta, the Korean agency which arranged the game, broke down in tears to broadcaster SBS and confirmed that the contract stipulated the Portuguese star would appear for forty five minutes. However, Chang claimed she only found out that the thirty four-year-old would not be making an appearance ten minutes into the second-half. 'When I went to argue with [Pavel] Nedved, the vice president of Juventus, all he said was "I also wish Ronaldo ran, but he doesn't want to. Sorry, there's nothing I can do." I was so frustrated,' she claimed. South Korea's professional football governing body, K League, said a letter of protest has been sent to the Italian champions for 'violating the contract.' Many fans have been voicing their anger at Ronaldo on social media. 'He betrayed the sixty thousand audience and belittled us,' one fan who attended the match whinged on Instagram. 'I'm no longer a Ronaldo fan.' One imagines that multi-millionaire Ronaldo is p0roper gutted by your no longer being his fan, mate.
Former Brazil forward Ronaldinho has had fifty seven properties seized and his Brazilian and Spanish passports confiscated over unpaid taxes and fines, according to reports in Brazil. The twice World Player Of The Year was fined nine-and-a-half million Reais (just over two million smackers) for, allegedly, illegally building a pier at his lake house in the city of Porto Alegre, the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo claimed. But as well as the environmental fine, big-toothed Ronaldinho is also 'being pursued by creditors' seeking to recover over 1.6 million quid 'in other debts, such as council taxes.' A judge in Porto Alegre told the Reuters news agency that because the case was under judicial secrecy rules, no details of the newspaper report could be either confirmed or denied. Ronaldinho was the 2004 and 2005 World Player of the Year and enjoyed the prime of his career at Spanish giants Barcelona. He won the World Cup in 2002. The captain of that team, Cafu, is similarly facing financial problems, having had various apartments which he owns in Brazil seized by the authorities. Ronaldinho's net worth is estimated at eighty to =one hundred million knicker and he is reported to charge around one hundred and fifty grand for a single promoted Instagram post.
A former football agent involved in the late Emiliano Sala's move to Cardiff City from Nantes in January has failed to appear in court charged with two counts of fraudulent transfer of property. Willie McKay arranged the flight that crashed in the English Channel, killing Sala and pilot David Ibbotson. He is accused of buying a fifty four thousand knicker car and a nine thousand quid watch while declared bankrupt. McKay's solicitor told Manchester Magistrates' Court that his client would not be attending 'because of the press. If he had been ambushed outside this court today it could have severely affected his mental well-being,' Michael Levy claimed. One or two people even believed him. McKay faces two charges under the Insolvency Act, including spending nine thousand one hundred smackers on a Rolex Date Just II watch for his wife in Leeds on 14 December 2014, while bankrupt. The second charge states that a day later, he spent fifty four grand on a Jaguar XK5 car in Doncaster. Steven Palmer, chair of the bench, told the court: 'We find no good reason why we should proceed in [Mr McKay's] absence. We are going to adjourn to allow him to attend. We expect him to attend.' Palmer said the court would issue an 'attend or warrant' letter, adding: 'If he does not attend we may arrange transport for him.'
Fort William, Britain's worst professional football team, have finally ended a seventy three-game winless run stretching back over eight hundred days. The Highland League side, who had a minus two hundred and twenty one goal difference last season, triumphed five-two against Nairn County in the North of Scotland Cup. Prior to this win, their last victory came four campaigns ago when they defeated Strathspey Thistle four-one. 'Unbelievable stuff,' declared the club's official Twitter account. 'A great night at Claggan Park tonight. An unbelievable feeling. We would like to thank everyone who came along. And we would like to thank everyone online, around the world who have celebrated with us. Your support doesn't go unnoticed.' Within minutes of the final whistle the club, whose eighteen hundred-capacity ground is nestled in the shadows of Ben Nevis, was trending on Twitter as word spread of their famous victory. Last week Fort announced a tie-up with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and the loan of nine players. At least two on those were on target against Nairn. A BBC Scotland documentary, The Fort, followed the club's disastrous run last season that delivered just two draws and a minus seven points finish due to a deduction for fielding an ineligible player three times. Fort William midfielder Scott Hunter took to Twitter ahead of Wednesday's game, writing: "Thanks 'o everyone for their comments, support and love for the BBC doc and Fort William FC. Eyes of the world are on our result tonight.'
It says something about the apparent inevitability of Lewis Hamilton winning his sixth world F1 title this season that, after his worst performance for years, the Mercedes driver left the German Grand Prix with his championship lead actually slightly larger than it was when he arrived. Yet events throughout a remarkable race at Hockenheim on Sunday also underlined that nothing can ever be taken for granted in Formula 1. Who would have predicted as Hamilton came into the pits for fresh tyres after leading comfortably for the first twenty eight laps that he - and Mercedes - were about to embark on a series of errors so uncharacteristic for a team that had, until then, made everyone else in F1 look second rate this year? Within twenty laps, Hamilton was down in twelfth place and asking his team: 'How's it gone this bad?' Five laps after that, Hamilton was spinning at Turn One, making yet another pit stop and rejoining in last place. It looked a golden opportunity for his team-mate Valtteri Bottas - then running fourth but with a Toro Rosso and a Racing Point just ahead - to carve chunks out of Hamilton's lead and reignite his own fading title hopes. Only for the Finn to crash heavily at the same corner. Then, four hours after the end of the race, Alfa Romeo's cars were demoted out of the points for a technical infringement and Hamilton promoted to ninth. And so the world champion left Hockenheim, after what he described as 'one of the worst weekends I can remember,' with his advantage extended to forty one points. 'I don't really care where everyone else finished,' Hamilton said. 'I was in the lead and I finished pretty much last.' Hamilton, who was still feeling the effects of the illness that earlier in the weekend had left him wondering whether he would even be able to compete, looked in total control for nearly half the race. Slowly pulling away from Bottas, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen pressuring the Finn but unable to pass and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc looking dangerous but manageable in fourth, it appeared Hamilton's race to lose. And then, lose it he did. But not before Leclerc had done the same. Lap twenty five - with the track drying and tyres wearing out, but rain still falling - was an agonising moment for drivers and strategists alike. Verstappen stopped for dry-weather tyres, only to spin on them in the stadium on his out lap. He managed to keep going. Backmarkers who had done the same were starting to show signs of going quicker, so Ferrari called in Leclerc on lap twenty seven for slicks - choosing the softs for best grip rather than the mediums that Red Bull had given Verstappen, much to the Dutchman's chagrin. A lap later, Hamilton also pitted for slicks and so began the chain of events that unravelled his race. As Hamilton pitted, Leclerc slid into the run-off area at the penultimate corner. The twenty one-year-old had gone wide there twice before. But this time, on slick tyres on a damp track, he went further in and discovered a surface that looked like it had been washed with soap. The result gave the impression of an F1 car that had just encountered a children's slide and Leclerc slid helplessly into the gravel then the advertising boards and out of the race, having looked like he might be able to challenge for the lead. The safety car was deployed. At the end of his out lap, just like Leclerc, Hamilton made the same mistake, slightly further around the corner. He hit the barrier. He somehow managed to avoid getting beached like the Ferrari, but had damaged his front wing and needed to pit to replace it. To reach the pits, he had to go the wrong side of a bollard on pit entry. That earned him a five-second penalty. In the pits, the team were not expecting him. As the wing was changed, other mechanics ran around like headless chickens as the team vacillated over which tyres to fit; it looked like something out of The Keystone Cops. It took a full fifty seconds for Hamilton to rejoin the race, which he did in fifth place. There was a restart and Hamilton got himself up to third. But then there was another safety car - after Renault's Nico Hulkenberg became the third driver to fall foul of the penultimate corner, again tossing away a great chance of a strong result. Verstappen, who had inherited the lead when Hamilton crashed, pitted for fresh, treaded intermediate tyres. Hamilton did not. He asked why - and was told that they would have lost too many positions to other cars because they would have had to take the five-second penalty as part of the pit-stop. But, that answer did not seem to make sense because the time loss from the penalty would be less severe if he stopped under safety car conditions, he would not be losing out to anyone who would have been that difficult to pass - he might have dropped behind Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon, or he might not - and he was likely going to have to stop again anyway. Sure enough, at the end of that safety car period, Toro Rosso and Racing Point made the decision to stop which ultimately earned Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll third and fourth places. Then after two laps of racing, Hamilton had to stop anyway. And by that time it was too late. It was a lap after Verstappen, who pitted again to swap the intermediates he had fitted a few laps before for slicks and Bottas. So while they rejoined in first and fourth places, Hamilton dropped to twelfth. And then, to top his afternoon, Hamilton spun at the first corner five laps later and had to stop again to replace his damaged tyres and rejoined last. Doing his interviews, before attending the Mercedes debrief, Hamilton was understandably rather sulky from what had happened. 'These weekends are sent to try you but what I can say is health is everything,' he whinged, his bottom lip trembling in a way at F1 fans haven't seen since Nico Rosburg beat him to the championship in 2016. 'This weekend I could feel for all the people who are sickly in hospitals, who are going through difficult times. I felt even more for them this weekend just knowing how horrible it does feel being ill. Obviously my illness is minuscule compared to a lot of people's but it felt like the world was ending for me for a lot of time. So I have a lot of sympathy for them. But otherwise, it is really hard when you do have that to perform at a great level. I managed to pull it out over a single lap [in qualifying]. But I really thought today was going to be tough, especially being wet. I did pretty well up until the first stop and then it was just a cascade of decisions made. Going to the slick tyre; I wasn't sure it was slicks anyway and then they put them on and then I went off, then I had to come in, then they weren't ready and it just went on and on and on. It was just hard out there for everyone. I don't really care where everyone else finished. I was in the lead of the Grand Prix and I finished pretty much last. That's definitely very painful. I don't even know how.' Later, he added: 'The turning point was when they put slicks on and it was still wet. Others had put slicks on but I had stayed out because it was still wet and kept going as far as I could on the inters. As they called me in, I could see there was more rain coming down but they have usually more knowledge than me. If I had said, "Put inters on" and it was wrong, it could have been costly, but as they put my slicks on it was the same time as Leclerc went off and it had just started to rain more.' Why the uncharacteristic mistakes, he was asked? 'I'm only human,' he replied looking like he was about to burst into tears. Mercedes had spent the weekend celebrating one hundred and twenty five years in motorsport and their two hundredth Grand Prix. There were a multitude of nice touches, from a special paint job for the cars, to the team being kitted out in period costumes. But as their race unravelled, more than a few people were wondering whether the racing Gods were paying them back for what some had seen as hubris. Team boss Toto Wolff described it as 'a terrible day' and 'an Armageddon weekend. It's not embarrassing,' the Austrian said. 'It's motor racing and sometimes you have to take a slap on the chin and learn. These are the days that make us better. We have to think about what went wrong. I do believe in the karma thing and when you want to do particularly well sometimes things can go wrong. Maybe you can get distracted. Maybe you do things differently than normal. I don't know. We will summarise it rationally tomorrow and write down all the calls we missed or the things we shouldn't have done and progress as a team.' Hamilton said: 'Ultimately, it was a combination of things. It is massively upsetting for us to be eight seconds in the lead at one stage. It was like one domino after another. Like snakes and ladders. But we win and lose together. It just shows you how easy it is to get a weekend wrong. But we stay united and pull together and regroup and come back fighting for the next one. We were still doing pretty awesome until the domino effect. We need to take the positives and leave all the negatives out. It's only one race and we keep moving forwards.' For Bottas, in championship terms, there will surely be no coming back from his error - Hamilton is unlikely to present him with such a great chance again. It remains to be seen how it affects the Finn both psychologically and in terms of his future. Wolff is waiting until the summer break to decide whether to re-sign Bottas for next year. Crashing out of fourth place, which looked likely to become second at least and putting the seal on a bruising weekend for his team can hardly have helped his cause. Elsewhere, Red Bull's strategists underlined their unofficial status as arguably the best in F1 in such situations as they guided the almost-flawless Verstappen to a splendid win, his second in three races. Sebastian Vettel partly atoned for crashing out of the lead at home last year with a strong drive to finish second from the back of the grid in the Ferrari, looking becalmed in seventh place for a long while before coming alive on slicks in the closing laps. It was a great race for Toro Rosso. Kvyat took a podium, eleven races into his return to a team that sacked him before the 2017 season. And Albon underlined the raw speed and promise he had already shown this season - he was ahead of Kvyat the whole way until he was unlucky to lose out on an even better result than sixth when they rolled the dice for the Russian on the strategy call during the crucial safety car period. And the Alfa penalty moved Robert Kubica up to the final points position - his first point since his return to F1 eight years after the terrible injuries that at one point appeared to have ended his career. As for F1 as a whole, that is now three terrific, exciting, unpredictable races in a row in a season which not long ago people were writing off as boring. Hamilton might have a lock on the title, but this season has so much more to give.
Egan Bernal became the youngest rider in one hundred and ten years to win the Tour De France after Caleb Ewan won the traditional sprint finish in Paris. With the race leader not challenged on the final stage, twenty two-year-old Bernal became the first Colombian winner. He crossed the line in the peloton, hand-in-hand with his Ineos team-mate and last year's winner Geraint Thomas, who finished second this time. 'To finish second behind a team-mate makes it okay,' said Thomas. 'Two years ago I had my arm in a sling with a broken collarbone watching Chris Froome win, wishing I was riding and I would've taken second then, but it just shows how time and expectations have moved on. Egan is the future and when I'm forty five and old and fat and sat in the pub watching him win a tenth Tour De France I can say I taught him all I know.' Thomas went into the three-week race as joint leader with Bernal but his preparations had been disrupted when he crashed while travelling at around fifty miles per hour in the Tour De Suisse in June. He had to abandon that race and then he had three minor crashes during this year's Tour. Thomas led Bernal for much of the race but his team-mate was stronger in the final week in the Alps and ended up winning by one minute eleven seconds, with Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk twenty seconds further adrift in third. 'Thanks to all my team and thank you [Geraint Thomas] for giving me the opportunity,' said Bernal. 'I'm the happiest guy in the world. I have just won the Tour De France and I can't believe it.' Bernal's victory is the seventh in eight years for a British-based team, after Ineos took over the ownership of the Team Sky squad earlier this year. Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the race in 2012, with Chris Froome triumphing in 2013 and then claiming three in succession from 2015 before Thomas took last year's title. Bernal is just the third Colombian to win one of cycling's three Grand Tours. Nairo Quintana won the 2014 Giro d'Italia and 2016 Vuelta a Espana, while Luis Herera won the Vuelta in 1987. A largely pedestrian sixty kilometre ride from Rambouillet to Paris saw Bernal and his Ineos team-mates sipping a celebratory glass of champagne. As the riders entered the capital city, the race crossed the river Seine via Le Pont Neuf, close to the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame - French television chose not to show the building that was ravaged by fire in April - before the riders swept through the grounds of the Louvre. Last year's champion Thomas was given the honour of leading the peloton through the Place De La Concorde and up the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees for the first time. The pace increased with the passing of each seven kilometre lap, which saw the riders swing round the Arc De Triomphe before hurtling back down the Champs-Elysees at speeds approaching fifty miles per hour before heading off back towards the Louvre. Julian Alaphilippe, who led the race for fourteen days, giving French fans hope of first home win since 1985, led the peloton on to the Champs-Elysees for the final time, trying to set up a victory for his Deceuninck Quick Step team-mate Elia Viviani, however, the Italian was nowhere as Lotto Soudal rider Ewan proved quickest in Paris. The Australian, who timed his charge to the line to perfection, edging out Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen to win his third stage on his debut Tour, said: 'It was quite messy I went down the right, I'd been told to avoid there and it is quite bumpy but luckily I had enough speed to come through at the end.' For Alaphilippe, who finished fifth overall, there was the consolation of being named the race's most combatitive rider, while his compatriot Romain Bardet claimed the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey. Slovakia's three-time world champion Peter Sagan won the green points jersey for a record seventh time. Bernal, a climbing specialist, who was born in January 1997 in Zipaquira at an altitude of two thousand six hundred metres, showed his potential at last year's Tour, when he rode as a domestique to Thomas and Froome. After pacing Thomas to victory on Alpe d'Huez and ultimately the overall title, Froome said: 'He's got an amazing engine. You only have to look at what he did on Alpe d'Huez, for a twenty one-year-old, that's amazing. There is a lot in Egan that reminds me of myself when I was younger. It's great having him on the team and he brings a lot of young, new energy to the group.' He joined Team Sky for the 2018 season, after winning the prestigious Tour De L'Avenir - a stage race for under-twenty three riders that has seen many of its winners go on to Tour De France success. He won the Tour Colombia and Tour Of California last year before making his Tour De France debut. This year, three crashes helped Bernal arrive at the Tour as joint leader of the Ineos team. The first was his own, on a training ride in Andorra and it ruled him out of May's Giro d'Italia, where he had been due to lead the team for the first time in a Grand Tour. Froome's season-ending crash at June's Criterium du Dauphine then pushed Bernal up the Ineos pecking order, while Thomas's spill at the Tour De Suisse later that month saw Bernal take over as the sole leader of that team and he went on to win the race. After riding away from Thomas on the Tourmalet on stage fourteen in the Pyrenees, he did so twice again in the Alps in the final week to position himself as Ineos' strongest rider at the Tour and secure his first Grand Tour win in only his second attempt. Bernal is the third youngest winner of the Tour. The youngest was France's Henri Cornet, who was nineteen when he was controversially awarded victory in the second edition of the race in 1904, while Luxembourg's Francois Faber was a few days younger than Bernal when he took the 1909 title.
Both Luke Rowe and Tony Martin have grovellingly apologised after being disqualified from the Tour De France. UCI commissaires expelled the Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma road captains after they clashed late in stage seventeen. Footage showed Martin almost riding Rowe off the road and the Welshman appearing to retaliate by grabbing the German. 'It feels incredibly harsh,' said Ineos team principal Sir Dave Brailsford. 'It's nothing more than you see most days of the race.' 'I can hold my hand up, it's something I've got to live with,' said Rowe who sat next to Martin in a video released by both teams. 'We both made a mistake and have accepted responsibility. It was the heat of the moment, it was hot out there and we were fighting for position, myself for Geraint and Egan and Tony for Kruijswijk. It's one of the biggest sporting events in the world and I want to say sorry to so many people, including Tony and the Jumbo-Visma boys. I feel like I've let a lot of people down, more so than anyone my team-mates.' Martin added: 'I'm really sorry for what happened. I felt bad directly afterwards, but it was the heat of the moment and sometimes this happens in sport.'
Chris Froome's recovery from a serious crash is 'ahead of schedule' according to Team Ineos boss Sir Dave Brailsford. The four-time Tour De France winner broke his neck, femur, elbow, hip and ribs in the accident on 12 June. The Briton was home from hospital before this year's Tour and last week tweeted a video of himself cycling on a static bike, pedalling with one leg. 'He's managed to turn a pedal now with his other leg. He's well ahead of where he was hoping to be,' said Brailsford. Speaking to the BBC's Sportsweek programme, Brailsford added: 'In typical Chris Froome fashion, he's putting everything into his recovery. Hopefully we'll see him back at the Tour De France next year.'
The new head of communications to the prime minister used to dress up as a chicken and heckle Tory politicians, his former employer has claimed. Under instructions from them, one hastens to add rather than in his own time, for a laugh. Lee Cain, who has been appointed as Bashing Boris Johnson's chief spin doctor after serving as his press aide in the Foreign Office and during his successful Conservative party leadership campaign, was previously a Fleet Street journalist. The Daily Mirra reported that it had 'deployed' Cain in 2010 as the notorious 'Mirror Chicken', who was known for turning up at public appearances by Tory MPs and ridiculing them. It said Cain 'taunted David Cameron and his Tory chums as they ducked questions' in the run-up to the 2010 general erection. The paper claimed that Cain was inside the costume in a picture it published from 2010 showing someone wearing a chicken outfit and Daily Mirra T-shirt outside a polling station with a furious-looking Cameron and his wife, Samantha. Cameron went on to form a coalition government in a hung parliament, then spent the majority of his premiership working on new ways to fuck up Britain. With the Brexit referendum - his idea in the first place - he topped all previous efforts. You knew that, right? The Daily Mirra quoted an - anonymous - and, therefore, possibly fictitious - former colleague of Cain as saying: 'Lee was a great Mirror Chicken. He attacked the role with real zeal and great passion. The news desk were so impressed with his work he was used on a number of occasions. I vividly remember him coming to the newsroom and prancing around still in his full outfit like a rooster. It’s hard to believe a man with his past of taunting the cowardly Tories is now such a powerful figure inside Number Ten.' It must be said, however, that the anonymous - and, therefore, possibly fictitious - former colleague of Cain doesn't talk like the traditional anonymous alleged 'sources' used as quote fodder by the tabloids. He uses words of more than one syllable, for a kick-off. As director of communications, Cain will be responsible for determining the Conservative government's message in public. Before working for Bashing Boris, he was the head of broadcast for the Vote Leave campaign.
A group of cross-party MPs who've been on a fact-finding trip to Canada predict that the UK will fully legalise cannabis use within five to ten years. Canada became the first G7 country to allow recreational use of the drug in 2018. Of the three politicians in the group one had a significant shift in his position. Labour's David Lammy now backs legalisation, against his party's official stance. Lammy, alongside Conservative Jonathan Djanogly and Liberal Democrat Sir Norman Lamb were all filmed on their journey for a Radio 1 Newsbeat documentary called Legalising Weed: Canada's Story. Currently cannabis is designated as a Class B drug in the UK and anyone caught with it could face up to five years in The Joint. However, there has been a shift in approach towards medicinal cannabis products, which can now be legally prescribed to some patients. The decision to relax those rules followed an outcry over two boys with severe epilepsy being denied access to cannabis oil. It is argued that where cannabis has been legalised for medical use, authorised recreational use often follows. 'I want the market legalised, regulated and taken away from crime gangs,' said Tottenham MP Lammy after returning from visiting Toronto. 'For young people not to be criminalised by use and properly educated. I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organised in this country.' The Liberal Democrat Party already officially backs legalising cannabis in the UK. MP for North Norfolk, Sir Norman Lamb led that policy decision. Whilst in Canada he wanted to legally sample cannabis oil to try to help him sleep. But he was aware that such a product would be illegal in the UK. He may be the only serving British MP to ever openly take a cannabis product on camera. 'Taking this oil is purely for sleeping for relaxation, I will take it before bed and before my flight home.' It is different to the cannabis oils available legitimately in the UK because it contained THC, the compound which gets users high. 'I was really anxious because I was chairing the technology and science select committee and I was travelling back over night and I thought if I get back with no sleep it will be a challenge.' He said he did not feel high but it did help him fall asleep. 'I slept incredibly well. I took the drops and I slept very well on the plane home, I actually slept through breakfast.' The trip was organised by a UK-based campaign group, Volte Face, which wants the UK to legalise the drug. It is part sponsored by a big North American cannabis company called MPX. Newsbeat suggested that it was trying to use its money to influence British politicians. 'We're moving it away from organised crime to a legitimate commercial industry,' Scott Boyes, MPX CEO, said. 'We've had a lot of UK investors invest in our company and we're moving into six countries. A lot of the money we have raised has come out of the UK, so I don't consider it interfering with other people's politics and a lot of the expenses have been born by themselves.' Lamb and Lammy decided to fund their own flights and accommodation. But the MPs also realise that Canada's experience has not been without problems. In the documentary Piper Courtenay whose title is Cannabis Editor for a weekly newspaper describes how technically illegal, but often described as 'grey', cannabis providers still thrive. The limits on fully licensed products mean there is still a market for things like edibles and other cannabis products. Around half of the cannabis bought in Canada still comes from illegal sources. 'It's certainly better than the legal product I have tried so far, because they genuinely care about growing good craft cannabis,' she said. All three MPs on the trip believed that the UK would follow Canada's lead and legalise cannabis for recreational use in the next decade. But Tory MP for Huntingdon, Jonathan Djanogly, was perhaps unsurprisingly given his party name, the most conservative with his predictions. 'I think we have got a lot to learn before the legalisation of recreational cannabis, which I think will happen at some point,' Djanogly said. 'I think we're on a ten to fifteen year cycle which would mirror what has happened in Canada.' However, the government told Newsbeat it 'has no intention of changing the law' when it comes to legalisation. A Home Office spokesman said: 'The legalisation of these substances would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery they can cause to families and society.'
British investigators have enough evidence to prosecute two of the so-called Islamic State 'Be-Atles' in the UK, the Supreme Court has been told. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are accused of belonging to an IS cell which is thought to have kidnapped and murdered Western hostages in Syria. They are currently being held in Northern Syria. The US wants to use evidence amassed by British investigators to put both men on trial there. However, Washington is refusing to give the UK a standard assurance that neither man would be executed if convicted. Elsheikh's mother, Maha Elgizouli, is trying to block the government from handing the Islamic State 'Be-Atles' over to the US. It has emerged that she also wants to take the Crown Prosecution Service to court for failing to put her son on trial in the UK. The pair, who are from London, are accused of being members of an IS cell - dubbed 'The Be-Atles' because of their British accents - which also included Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015 and Aine Davis, who has been jailed in Turkey. The Be-Atles were a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them. Opening Mrs Elgizouli's challenge before seven of the UK's most senior judges, Edward Fitzgerald QC said that the Crown Prosecution Service had held 'very substantial evidence' since 2016 to charge Kotey with five murders and eight counts of hostage-taking. The Director of Public Prosecutions had also acknowledged there 'may' be sufficient evidence to charge Elsheikh with membership of a banned terrorist organisation. No steps had been taken to launch prosecutions because of alleged 'legal obstacles' in asking Kurdish forces to hand over the men, both of whom have been stripped of British nationality. In contrast, Ben Wallace, the former security minister and now defence secretary, told MPs in July 2018 that the UK did not have evidence to try either of the men in the UK and that a US trial was 'the only solution.' The current hearings will decide if Wallace was being entirely accurate with the actualite when he claimed this. 'Mrs Elgizouli is solely concerned to protect her son from the death penalty,' said Fitzgerald. 'She recognises the enormity of the crimes alleged against her son, Shafee Elsheikh and against his alleged accomplice, Alexanda Kotey. She recognises they should face justice. But she submits that they should face justice in this country, the country of their past citizenship.' The court heard that the US government asked the UK as early as 2015 to help build a case against Elsheikh and Kotey. Theresa May, when she was home secretary in 2015, told Washington that the UK would only hand over evidence after receiving a categorical guarantee that neither man would be executed. The UK has long sought and obtained such a death penalty assurance from the United States. That position was reiterated by May's successor, Amber Rudd, but then reversed after Sajid Javid entered the Home Office in April 2018. Sir Kim Darroch, the then British ambassador to Washington, warned him that US President Donald Rump would be 'wound up' if the UK 'kept insisting' on a death penalty assurance. Which would, at least, be a sight to see. 'They already feel that we are dumping on them a problem for which we should take responsibility,' he wrote. Javid subsequently offered to share with the Americans as many as six hundred witness statements, without seeking any kind of guarantee that Elsheikh and Kotey would not be extremely put to death for their bad and naughty - alleged - crimes. Fitzgerald said that the UK's policy of refusing to provide evidence which could lead to the death chamber was 'so clear' to the world that it was part of the nation's common law. '[Mrs Elgizouli] is asking no more than that the home secretary should apply the settled policy,' he told the justices. 'Behind that policy lies a long and honourable tradition on the part of this country of rejecting the death penalty as morally wrong in all circumstances. We have maintained a firm policy of refusing extradition or deportation to countries that impose the death penalty, no matter how serious the offence and no matter how repellent the offender.' Mrs Elgizouli is appealing against a High Court ruling made in January by two leading judges, who concluded that Javid's decision was 'not unlawful.' Meanwhile, a senior US counter-terrorism official has told Newsnight that the UK should be repatriating British IS fighters and prosecuting them at home, arguing that its failure to do so is 'a dereliction of responsibility.' A spokesperson for The Be-Atles said: 'What the fuck does any of this malarkey have to do with Paul, George, Ringo and the alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie?' Well, no, they didn't. But, they probably would have if asked.
More than two hundred people have taken part in a pilgrimage along the length of Hadrian's Wall. Every ten years archaeologists and enthusiasts spend a week travelling the wall finding out about its latest discoveries. Built between the years 122 and 130AD, it took about fifteen thousand men six years to build the Roman frontier defensive structure. Stretching for seventy three miles from Waalsend, to Solway on Firth, it once marked the Northernmost extent of the Roman empire. The first pilgrimage in 1849, was attended by twenty four people but now the event attracts attention globally, with people travelling from places as far away as China, the United States and European countries to participate. Scott Vanderbilt from California said: 'I've been coming to Vindolanda since 2010 when I first brought my adult children to walk the length of the wall. A volunteer came up with a tray of findings and pointed out everything they'd discovered and at that point I became utterly besotted.'
Police are searching for a man who was apparently deliberately run over by a driver in Central Newcastle. Footage on social media showed the pedestrian being thrown into lamppost when a car hit him at high speed before being driver off from the scene. It happened just after 9pm on Saturday following a confrontation on Groat Market. Although, let's be honest here, 'a confrontation' doon Th' Bigg Market on a Saturday night - with a geet rive-on and kids gettin' sparked an' aal sorts - is hardly a unique occurrence, dear blog reader. Or, indeed, anything even remotely like it. Northumbria Fuzz are hunting for the driver and said that 'robust action' will be taken against anyone involved. Like, a severe talking-to presumably. This blogger would just like to confirm at this juncture that it wasn't him - the fact that he can't drive and was in his gaff at the time watching Killing Eve being a pretty solid alibi. The video taken by a member of the public starts with a woman hitting a car's windscreen with her high heel as two men get into the vehicle. The car then takes off at speed, mounts the pavement and subsequently nearly hits a man and causes the woman to fall to the ground. The man then chases the vehicle before it stops, reverses and drives straight into him. Really hard. The Law said in a statement: 'Following a disagreement in the street, an offender then entered a vehicle and drove it at a man, knocking him to the floor. The occupants of the car then made off from the scene. An investigation is ongoing into the incident and officers are now carrying out enquiries to trace those involved.' Acting Inspector Michelle Jahangiri said: 'This is a very serious incident that happened in a very busy street in Newcastle.' It was later reported that a chap had been pinched by The Bobbies over this occurrence and had been up a'fore Bedlington Beak to answer a charge of dangerous driving and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm. The twenty eight-year-old - of no fixed abode - has also been charged with common assault, driving while disqualified, driving with no insurance and driving without a licence. He was extremely remanded in custody.
A man and woman arrested over 'a mass brawl' which reportedly broke out on a British cruise ship have been released from custody but 'remain under investigation.' Six people were hurt as P&O's Britannia sailed to Southampton after a week-long trip to Norway's fjords. A forty three-year-old man and a woman, forty one, both from Chigwell in Essex, were extremely arrested on suspicion of assault. Plates and furniture were reportedly 'used as weapons' during the violent incident in the early hours of Friday. Good Morning Britain journalist Richard Gaisford, who was on board, said that the violence occurred after a black-tie evening and an afternoon of 'patriotic' partying on deck, when 'large amounts of alcohol were consumed.' Oh a cruise? No shit? Writing on Twitter, he said: 'Witnesses told me they were so frightened they had to hide, as family groups fought.' Gaisford claimed that he had 'been told by a witness' the incident was sparked by a passenger 'taking offence' at another holidaymaker dressed as a clown. However, P&O denied there was someone dressed as a clown on the ship or anything even remotely like it. So, either the alleged witness who allegedly told Good Morning Britain journalist Richard Gaisford is lying or P&O are. This blogger will leave it up to you, dear blog reader, as to whom you believe the mostest, baby. Hampshire Police said its officers attended the ship when it docked in Southampton. A police spokeswoman said three men and three women were assaulted, with their injuries including 'significant bruising and cuts.' A P&O Cruises spokesman said: 'Following an incident on board Britannia on Thursday evening we can confirm that all guests have now disembarked and the matter is now in the hands of the local police.'
A teacher got drunk at a school's end of year prom, told male pupils the girls were 'gagging for it' and then threatened to 'knock out' the school principal, a panel has heard. Sounds like a good night, then. Music and drama teacher Lewis Morrison had, earlier, handed in his notice at Albion Academy in Salford. He had drunk 'six or seven pints' and a video of him 'shouting and swearing' was later shared on social media. The professional conduct panel ruled it was 'a one-off.' Morrison, who had worked at the school since 2014, was asked to leave the Year Eleven prom, held at Hotel Football, Old Trafford in June 2018. Witness A told the hearing that Morrison had been seen 'sloshing around his pint and swaggering.' Witness B said that pupils had commented Morrison was extremely drunk, to which he responded that he 'did not care' as he was 'leaving in a couple of weeks.' He told the panel he heard Morrison say: 'Lads, you need to go where this lot are for the after party, they are gagging for it,' referring to the teenage female pupils. In a written statement, Morrison said: 'I was not falling over, fighting or being sick; admittedly I had a few too many drinks.' He said this meant he had made 'some bad decisions,' however he denied 'encouraging sexual activity amongst students' and claimed that his comments had been 'twisted and taken out of context.' A video was shown to the panel showing Morrison 'making a head-butt action' and saying he would 'knock out' the school principal, adding: 'Put that on Snapchat.' Morrison responded to this: 'The violent content is an isolated incident amongst a range of silly jokes that I have taken too far.' The panel concluded that Morrison's actions 'were those of crass stupidity, which represented a considerable misjudgement as to what was an appropriate amount to drink and language to use, at an end of year prom.' However, it said it was 'a one-off incident' and decided a prohibition order was 'not appropriate.'
A 'prominent Russian Instagram influencer' was reportedly found dead from knife wounds on Friday in a suitcase in her rented Moscow apartment. So, it's unlikely that Ekaterina Karaglanova will be influencing anyone from now on - on Instagram or, indeed, anywhere else. She was discovered after her family reported that she had failed to contact them for several days or, as a consequence, influence them. Karaglanova, who had more than eighty five thousand followers - with nothing better to do with their their lives - on Instagram, had recently graduated as a doctor. Police said that they were investigating 'jealousy as a possible motive.' Karaglanova had recently started a new relationship and had planned a holiday to The Netherlands to celebrate her birthday, according to Russian daily Moskovsky Komsomolets. But her parents grew concerned when attempts to contact her in the days leading up to her trip failed. They then contacted her landlord and requested access to her apartment, where they found a suitcase containing her body in the hallway. Police said that there was no evidence that a struggle had taken place at the apartment and no weapon was found at the scene. They added that CCTV footage had captured a former boyfriend of Karaglanov briefly visiting her property in the days around her disappearance, but did not say if this was being investigated further. Karaglanov regularly posted images of herself on Instagram. In this post from March, she wrote about her plans for redecorating her flat, trips abroad and 'another important activity I'm thinking about, which I'm not going to talk about for now.' This, seemingly, 'influenced' many of her followers to, also think about important activities but, not talk about them. Such is the way of the modern world, dear blog reader. In her final post, which featured a picture of the Greek island of Corfu, she wrote that she liked to 'travel often, but in each country I spend no more than three to five days.' As well as her Instagram account and her 'influencing' ways, Karaglanov also maintained a popular travel blog, which had thousands of subscribers. She also held a residency at a medical school in Moscow and practised as a doctor specialising in dermatology.
This week saw the six hundredth anniversary of the First Defenestration of Prague. The Hussite priest Jan Želivský led a crowd to the town hall to demand the release of political prisoners, but several town councillors appeared at a window, jeered at the crowd and threw stones, one of which hit Želivský. This enraged the Hussites, who then stormed the building and threw seven of the councillors from the window, including the Bürgermeister and a judge, to their deaths. And, that was the end of their shit. When King Wenceslas IV heard of this malarkey he, reportedly, died of shock. The incident started the Hussite Wars and was the first of three notorious defenestrations in that city, the last being that of Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk in 1948. The events were subsequently references - in completely different contexts, admittedly - in episodes of two From The North favourites, Qi and Hannibal.
And finally, dear blog reader, if ever there was a pitch-perfect metaphor for the current state of our fair nation, here it is. This blogger's thank go to his old mucker Danny for the photo.