Saturday, January 18, 2020

"Here Will Be An Old Abusing Of God’s Patience & The King’s English"

'Now, suck your thumb till the hallucinations stop and, remember, they're not real bats!' Orphan Fifty Five, dear blog reader. Apparently, it has been subject to quite a bit of 'Worst! Episode! Evah!' style malarkey from, you know, The Usual Suspects. This blogger, on the other hand, thought that was great. So, no massive surprise there, then. 'This is not a way to resolve a family dispute. What happened to good old fashioned passive-aggressive discussion?'
Of course, the phrase 'apparently, subject to quite a bit of 'Worst! Episode! Evah!' style malarkey from, you know, The Usual Suspects' should almost always be followed by one significant question: 'So, what else is new?'
Now, from The Usual Suspects to ... err ... mugs.
The first episode of the new series of Doctor Who, Spyfall - which this blogger thought was great - had an official consolidated Seven Day Plus rating of 6.89 million viewers, according to figures released by the Broadcasting Research Audience Board. The conclusion of the story, shown four days later on BBC1 had 6.07 million viewers. The ratings were considerably higher than the initial overnight figure - the only ratings that you will ever see stories written about in the tabloids despite the fact that it's the equivalent of reporting the Premier League half-time scores as the final results - and made the two episodes the fourth and sixth most watched on the BBC for the week and the eighth and sixteenth most watched shows across all channels. For Spyfall, episode one 6.70 million watched the episode on a TV set. BARB four-screen dashboard shows an additional one hundred and one thousand punters viewed on their PC, forty nine thousand on a Tablet device and twenty seven thousand on a smartphone. Episode two had 5.91 million watching the episode on a TV set with an additional eighty five thousand on their PC, forty six thousand on a Tablet and thirty four thousand on a smartphone. The episodes both had an AI score of eighty two.
From The North's TV Comedy Line(s) Of The Week came from the latest episode of From The North favourite Qi, Quagmire. And, specifically, a round concerning the recent discovery of two thousand year old preserved butter in Ireland's picturesque Bog Of Allan. 'Why did people decide to bury their butter in the bog?' asked Sandi Toksvig, not unreasonably. 'To stop the British from stealing it?' suggested Aisling Bea. Then, there was the moment in a later round concerning the origins of the name for Quorn. 'Do you know where it comes from?' Sandi asked Alan Davies who, as a vegetarian, confirmed that he eats lots of it. 'In my case, mainly Sainsbury's' he replied.
And now, dear blog reader, it's time for another exciting edition of ...
Chris Packham: Forever Punk
A splendid, life-affirming and positive documentary, reviewed here, here, here, here and here.
Only Connect
Would I Lie To You?
How nice it was to see the Hartlepool Mail celebrating the start of the new series of Vera by joining in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's regular sport of location-spotting. The producers revealed that locations appearing in the opening episode included The Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in Britain, Gateshead Snooker Club on Durham Road, the Freeman Hospital and Retro Bar in Newgate Street, Neptune Service Station in Walker, Ridley's Ice Cream and Coffee shop in Blyth and Tanfield School in Stanley. Other locations due to feature later in the series include Orchard House in Alnwick, Sunderland city centre, The University Hospital in Hartlepool and Marsden Grotto in South Shields.
Check out the Screenrant website's fascinating piece on the Moffat and Gatiss series' references to various previous film and TV adaptations of Bram Stoker's novel.
Storyville: Jonestown - Terror In The Jungle
The Sky At Night
Lost Home Made Movies Of Nazi Germany
Primal Scream: The Lost Memphis Tapes
Arena: A British Guide To The End Of The World
Lucy Worsley's Fireworks For A Tudor Queen
Kill Your TV: Jim Moir's Weird World Of Video Art
The Limehouse Golem
Snow Cats & Me
Tony Robinson's History Of Britain
On a - somewhat-related - theme, this blogger always looks forward to the return for a new series of BBC2's Ski Sunday each January. Mainly because, when he is subsequently filling in his 'what I watched yesterday' AI questionnaire for GfK, if they ask this blogger what he, specifically, thought about the programme in question he can write 'it's gone downhill' and know that he is being factually accurate and not a whinging old fart or a member of the Ski Sunday fandom equivalent of The Usual Suspects.
This blogger had an interesting day on 7 January; he was still on later shifts at work so, for 'lunch' (which occurred around three o'clock) he went over to that Asian fusion gaff near work for something hot and sticky. This was aided by a fascinating conversation with Keith Telly Topping's mate Malcolm about World War II spies. Then, getting out of the joint at 7pm, this blogger walked up Benton Road in the teeth of a force ten hurricane (or, so it seemed) to get the sixty three rather than hang around for another twenty minutes for the sixty two. However, he is never - not never - doing that again. Walking into a mighty wind might be a worthwhile exercise for mime artists but it's certainly not one of Keith Telly Topping's great pleasures in life, that's for damn sure.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping has been in some (metaphorical) toilets in his time, dear blog reader, but reckons that Four Lane Ends Metro Station at 7.20pm on a wet Wednesday in January might, just be the most depressing and soul destroying of them all. Therefore, when he says he really deserved this here lemon chicken with fried rice which he picked up on the way back to Stately Telly Topping Manor, trust Keith Telly Topping on that score. And, if you're wondering, it was cush.
Having a day off midweek - as this blogger did last week - obviously means needing to get everything one would normally do on a Saturday done on the day off instead; in this particular case, that involved a Thursday in town doing ... stuff. Including. let it be noted, having a spot of early lunch and trying out a - really rather good - new restaurant just off Northumberland Street. An unexpected bonus, that.
This blogger finished a pure-rock-hard nine to five-thirty shift on Saturday to discover that his beloved (though still unsellable) Magpies had earned a battling away draw at Moulinex (where away teams often get all blended) against the Wolverhampton Wanderings in the Premiership Socherball. Which was nice.
Having failed to make their dominance count in the first meeting with Rochdale, this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies made no mistake in their FA Cup replay, coasting into the Fourth Round at St James' Park on Tuesday evening. The outcome was hardly unexpected given the strong starting line-up and bench named by Steve Brucie (nasty to see him, to see him, nasty), but there were certainly some unexpected, 'I can't believe my eyes'-type events for almost thirty thousand fans present to witness. Mister Cashley made a rare visit to Gallowgate as United avoided any additions to their lengthy sick-list - and saw record signing Joelinton finally break his scoring duck with a first competitive home goal and only his second since joining The Magpies in the summer. On a night of broadly positives, there was a successful return from injury for Jamaal Lascelles, more valuable pitch-time for Matt Ritchie, a run-out for Jonjo Shelvey and an assist on his senior debut for teenager Tom Allan. Some generous defending by the League One visitors had allowed The Magpies to rack up an unassailable early lead by the half-hour mark. An own goal and a suicidal clearance by 'Dale goalkeeper Robert Sanchez that gifted Miguel Almirón a goal sandwiched by a quality Matty Longstaff's strike. A low-key second period was illuminated when Joelinton shook off his torpor to stick the ball past replacement custodian Jay Lynch, rounding off his side's first victory since the week before Christmas. Making his first start since returning from a lengthy injury, Ritchie's cross from the left was prodded into his own net at the Leazes End by Eoghan O'Connell in the seventeenth minute. Another Ritchie cross from left three minutes later found Matty Longstaff in front of goal and he had to time to take it down, turn and dispatch it past Sanchez. Six minutes later it was game over when Sanchez passed straight to Almirón - who had shot against a post when the tie was still scoreless - and he picked his spot to open up a three goal lead - the Paraguayan's fourth goal in his last five games in all competitions. Joelinton's goal arrived eight minutes from time when a neat pass from Andy Carroll released Allan down the right and his measured low cross was touched in by the Brazilian from six yards. An evidently relieved number nine then ran to embrace Brucie and his coaching staff on the touchline before being mobbed by his team-mates. Dale's consolation arrived in the eighty sixth minute when a short corner was played back by Aaron Wilbraham for Jordan Williams to hit a low shot from the edge of the box that beat Karl Darlow via a post. A fifth home goal almost followed in the closing seconds after Joelinton gained possession in the 'Dale box and set up Carroll, whose rising effort was tipped onto the angle of post and bar. Newcastle now face another League One side, Oxford United, in the Fourth Round. Victory over The U's would see The Magpies appear in the Fifth Round of the competition for the first time since Cashley bought the club in May 2007.
The Stately Telly Topping laptop had been running a bit slowly of late so, on Sunday, this blogger did a full system restore. Jeez, it took forever. And, after doing it, Keith Telly Topping needed to reinstall Chrome, Firefox, CClearer, his virus checker and a few other minor bits and pieces, which was something of a chore. Nevertheless, touch wood, the laptop has been running much quicker and has been having far less painfully slow episodes since that task was concluded.
In case any of this blogger's dear Facebook fiends missed it, Keith Telly Topping was subject to the bestest whinge he has ever encountered on Facebook on Sunday night. And it wasn't even Doctor Who-related which is, this blogger is sure you'll agree, something of a novelty these days. Someone - they shall remain nameless - whom this blogger doesn't think he'd ever had any previous direct contact with but who Keith Telly Topping must have fiended-up at some stage in the past - replied to this blogger's most recent of many I Really Deserve This postings with the following thought: 'Youre [sic] always bragging about what you've just eaten. Its [sic] REALLY boring!!!!' (This blogger thinks that it was the four exclamation marks at the end which made it art.) To which this blogger replied, nicely, that he was very sorry to hear this individual finds Keith Telly Topping's posts boring but there really is one very simple way of solving that issue and avoiding it ever happening again. 'Please feel entirely free to fuck off from this page and never come back,' this blogger advised the individual, before adding: 'Or not, it is a free country after all.' Needless to say both of these posts disappeared almost as quickly as they had arrived and Keith Telly Topping was soon one Facebook fiend the lighter. But, ultimately, much more contented for it. A case of 'I Really Don't Deserve Whingers' it would seem.
To be fair, it was probably the picture of the king prawn in garlic and ginger sauce with spring onions and boiled rice from the night before which was the straw that broke the camel's back for the chap. I mean, that's too much for most sensible people to take.
This blogger's old mucker Nick Cooper observed in the subsequent Facebook thread that the chap was obviously 'someone living in a takeaway desert and thus consumed with jealousy.' Perhaps. Nevertheless you know how, sometimes, one glances at a sentence and accidentally misreads one word in it which totally changes the meaning? That happened here. This blogger, briefly, thought Nick had written 'living in a takeaway dessert'! To which, Keith Telly Topping was about to reply: 'Ah, well that would certainly help to explain yon chappie's ire at all of the savoury dishes I've been posting.'
What a horrible day Tuesday of this week was though, dear blog reader; the 7.44am twelve was very late so this blogger missed the 8.01am sixty two connection in Byker. He got the next one twenty minutes later - which should've still got him into work more-or-less on time, albeit with little margin for error if there had been traffic issues. But all that soon became immaterial - whilst on the bus this blogger was gripped by the most dreadful stomach pains he has experienced in many a long year. It was so bad that he had to get off the bus at Four Lane Ends to use the public lavatories thereabouts. And, typically, he didn't have a twenty pee coin on him to pay for his entry into the hollowed sanctum so it cost him fifty pee instead. It never rains, and all that ...
Anyway trust this blogger when he tells you, dear blog reader, that you really don't want to know what happened in there. The world doesn't need that knowledge. Let's just say it wasn't at all pretty and that it involved - to be blunt - ejections from both ends of the spectrum. Presumably, you get the picture so we can leave it at that.
really didn't deserve that. It was so bad (and showed so little sign of clearing up in the short term) that, for the first time in four months, this blogger was forced to call in sick to work despite only being a twenty minute walk away. Fortunately, his manager, Danny, was very understanding.
The good news, after a hastily-arranged visit to the doctors, is that it wasn't anything too serious - gastro-enteritis or a nasty case of food poisoning, for example - merely the brilliantly named 'winter vomiting virus' (which, seemingly, also does an encore as the 'winter diarrhoea virus'). The doctor gave this blogger something to ease the stomach pain and reckoned that the Novovirus usually takes a day or two to clear up. Nevertheless that was, comfortably (or, actually, uncomfortably), two of the least pleasant hours in Keith Telly Topping's entire life - and he includes the time he broke his collar bone, the time he broke his foot, the time he tore his cartilage, being in a car crash and the break up of several (short term) relationships due to Keith Telly Topping being impossible to live with. Feeling as though one is on the verge of shatting oneself and puking all over the person sitting in front of you on the bus both at the same time trumps all of those with some ease.
Certainly, dear blog reader, the Stately Telly Topping Manor netties took something of a hammering over the course of the next few days.
By Wednesday, this blogger was starting to feel a touch better - albeit, the nausea still hadn't entirely died-down but, he followed his doctor (and the NHS website's) advice on being infectious for twenty four hours after the majority of the symptoms had subsided and gave it one more day before returning to work of Thursday.
A deal to show FA Cup matches via seven online betting websites is being investigated by the Gambling Commission, the industry regulator. The Football Association has been criticised after it sold the rights to the competition via a third party. The Football Association being, of course, an organisation that is keen to fine and suspend any footballer or club official found to have bet on any football-related activity. How ironic it is, therefore, that they seem to have no problem getting their collective kit off and hopping into bed with such people as these. Sanctions for bookmakers involved could include a warning, financial penalties or the revoking of licences. 'Our investigations into that matter are ongoing,' Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur told BBC 5Live. 'I understand why there are concerns and, to be clear, we already require gambling operators to market, advertise or engage in sponsorship in a socially responsible way. We are in touch with all operators in the deal to find out what they did to satisfy themselves.' A Gambling Commission spokesperson added: 'We expect gambling operators to ensure, when agreeing commercial deals relevant to sport, that such arrangements are consistent with keeping gambling safe.' Since the start of last season, bookmakers have been able to show FA Cup ties on their websites and apps. The seven gambling websites - Bet365, Betfair, William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes, Unibet and Paddy Power - acquired the rights via the agency IMG, who agreed a deal with the FA. Who, in turn, didn't ask too many questions when they saw the size of IMG's cheque. Probably. In the FA Cup third round, twenty three matches were available to watch on Bet365 - all those that did not kick off at 3:01pm on Saturday, including this blogger's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies draw at lower league Rochdale. The matches were available to anyone who had placed a bet or put a deposit in their account in the twenty four hours before kick-off. Betting companies with streaming rights for FA Cup ties say they would allow the games to be streamed on a free platform elsewhere. In July 2017, the FA announced it was cutting its ties with gambling firms, but the deal with IMG was done in January 2017.
In other news, dear blog reader, Ollie (no, me neither) has, apparently, 'quit' Love Island after three days. Because, he has 'feelings for someone back home.' How will the nation cope with this devastating turn of events?
Billie Eilish has been chosen to sing the theme for the forthcoming Bond movie No Time To Die.
Stormzy (he is a rap and/or roll-type individual if you weren't sure) has claimed that there is 'no credible reason' to hate Meghan Markle. Which is jolly good to know although, that hasn't stopped the Daily Scum Mail from giving it their best shot.
Glastonbury Festival bosses must ensure that their toilets are 'cleaned more often' and also 'plan for hot weather better,' licensees have said.
Catastrophe actress Sharon Horgan has revealed that the head nun at her school called her 'the spawn of The Devil and a child of Satan' after she drew on a uterus in a biology book as a teenager.
A thirty seven-year-old Florida woman has been extremely arrested after allegedly trying to set off a homemade bomb inside a Tampa Walmart. Emily Stallard is facing charges of attempted arson, fire bombing and child abuse, among other alleged nefarious skulduggery and, if convicted, could face a shitload of hail. Stallard allegedly built a homemade bomb using a Mason jar filled with nails, denatured alcohol and a candle, according to WFLA. She was spotted in the store with her son by a security guard who deemed her behaviour 'suspicious.'
A Singapore woman has been jailed - for a week - after allegedly coaching her daughter to post false online sexual allegations against ex-husband during what has been described as 'a messy divorce.'
A woman has been extremely jailed over a 'drunken four-hour rampage' on an Etihad flight where she allegedly asked male passengers to join her in 'the mile high club.' Demi Burton had already 'shocked' two men by 'making crude comments about them having in-flight sex' during the eight-hour journey while she was, allegedly, 'intoxicated on red wine.' But when she was refused any more alcohol, Burton shouted: 'You may as well just land the plane now then,' before angrily raising her fists at cabin crew and 'going berserk.'
From The North's Headline Of The Week award goes to Idiot Burglar Rams Into His Pal Instead Of Jewellery Shop In Hilarious Fail. Albeit, this is from the Daily Lies so there's a better-than-even chance that the accompanying article is a load of made-up nonsense.
That was closely followed by the Huddersfield Examiner's Tears & Frustration As New Year Bid To Get Fit Becomes A Booking 'Fiasco'. Probably best not to bother, in that case. Just stay in your gaff and eat lots of chips instead. Bob's yer uncle.
Although the Irvine Times's Woman Admits Trying To Throttle Paul McCartney In Subway Store deserves at least an honourable mention in dispatches.
A large metal plate launched by an explosion at a chemical plant in Spain's Catalonia region killed a man two miles away. The man, named only as Sergio, was in his apartment when the one ton object struck, causing part of the building to collapse, officials have confirmed. A senior member of staff at the factory was also killed in the explosion, which seriously injured two others.
Biosecurity Queensland will 'go on a blitz' this weekend to 'crack down' on electric ants in Kuranda. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said that the hunt for electric ants would be held on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January. And, when found, that would be the end of their shit.
Next, some extremely sensible advice from The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them). If only they'd followed their own warning, of course, we might have been spared 'Rocky Raccoon'. And 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer'.
The actor Derek Fowlds, who has died this week aged eighty two, enjoyed long-running stardom on the small screen in popular TV shows ranging from children's programmes to sitcom and drama. To a generation of young viewers of a certain age, he was familiar as Mister Derek in The Basil Brush Show replacing the departing Rodney Bewes. For four years (1969 to 1973) he weathered bad jokes and puns from the waistcoat-wearing fox. During the first day of recording, it occurred to Fowlds: 'I've had ten years as a straight actor - what are people going to think?' However, he became a household name, adopting a slightly stern demeanour to keep the furry star in check, in response to constant interruptions, such as Basil rustling a bag of jelly babies and offering him one at a critical moment. Each week, alongside a series of sketches and a musical guest, came 'story time', in which Fowlds would read Basil a tale about one of his fictional ancestors. The Basil Brush Show was rare for a children's programme in featuring topical political jokes - and politics was at the core of Fowlds's next major TV success. The satirical sitcom Yes Minister (1980 to 1984), written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, was disarmingly realistic in its depiction of the machinations of government and the power wielded by civil servants. 'Its closely observed portrayal of what goes on in the corridors of power has given me hours of pure joy,' declared the then Prime Monster, Margaret Thatcher. Fowlds played Bernard Woolley, the private secretary struggling to keep the peace between the idealistic but inept new minister of administrative affairs, Jim Hacker (played by Paul Eddington), as he tries to shake up his department and Sir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne), the permanent under-secretary, speaking in wonk gobbledegook as he attempts to block change. Nervously steering a moderating course in the role - with Bernard's loyalties split between his political and civil service bosses - Fowlds then appeared with Eddington and Hawthorne in the sequel, Yes, Prime Minister (1986 to 1988), in which Hacker achieves his ultimate political ambition of running the country - and the writers revealed him to be a Tory. Both sitcoms were showered with accolades, including five BAFTA awards. Just a short time afterwards, Fowlds began a long run as the crotchety Oscar Blaketon throughout all three hundred and forty two million episodes and eighteen series of the feelgood Sunday evening period crime drama Heartbeat (1992 to 2010), set around the fictional North Yorkshire village of Aidensfield in the 1960s and based on the novels by Nicholas Rhea. Fowlds was joined in the original cast by Nick Berry, Niamh Cusack and Bill Maynard. As Oscar, Fowlds was initially the sergeant running the police station at Ashfordly, a neighbouring village. He based the character on his drill instructor in the RAF during national service days. 'I just cut my hair shorter, slicked it back and shouted a lot,' he said. In the seventh series, Oscar retired and briefly ran the village post office. Then he took over as landlord of the Aidensfield Arms pub while occasionally undertaking work as a private investigator, which satisfied his cynical, suspicious nature after so many years of police work. 'Oscar doesn't suffer fools gladly,' said the actor. 'I am more introverted than he is, far more wishy-washy, laid-back.'
Derek was born in Balham, to Ketha and James Fowlds. During the second world war when Derek was three his father, a sales rep, died of cancer, so he, his sister Babs and their mother moved to Berkhamsted, to live with his grandmother. At fifteen, he left the local Ashlyns school, where he first appeared on stage and joined a printer's firm as an apprentice while continuing to perform with an amateur dramatics company. After two years as a wireless operator in the RAF, he won a scholarship to train at RADA (1958 to 1960). Then he made his professional debut with Worthing repertory company. His West End roles included Father Penny in Robert Marasco's Catholic boys' school thriller Child's Play (Queen's Theatre, 1971), Anthony, son of a wartime general with a secret, in Ronald Mavor's A Private Matter (Vaudeville, 1973), various parts in Confusions (Apollo, 1976 to 1977, five one-act plays by Alan Ayckbourn) and John Smith in Ray Cooney's Run For Your Wife (Criterion, 1986). On TV, Fowlds starred as the sleuth Ambrose Frayne in Take A Pair Of Private Eyes (1966) and Peter Bonamy, facing life after a heart attack, in the sitcom Affairs Of The Heart (1983 to 1985). Other roles included Randolph Churchill in Edward The Seventh (1975), Oliver Davidson in the political thriller Rules Of Engagement (1989), Michael Coley in the 1991 series of Chancer and John Gutteridge in Firm Friends (1992 to 1994). His CV also included appearances in the likes of The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, Hotel ParadisoDoctor In Distress, East Of SudanChips With Everything, Gideon's Way, Armchair Theatre, Cluff, Marriage Lines, The Man In Room Seventeen, Frankenstein Created Woman, Z Cars, Wink To Me Only, Theatre 625 (in Nigel Kneale's The Year Of The Sex Olympics), Fraud Squad, Doctor Finaly's Casebook, The Smashing Bird I Used To Know, The Liver Birds, Tower Of Evil, School For Unclaimed GirlsThriller, After That, This, Comedy Playhouse, The Doll, Clayhanger, Miss Jones & Son, Send In The Girls, Robin's Nest, Rings On Their Fingers, Minder, Cribb, Triangle, Strangers, Play For Today, Inspector Morse, Van Der Valk, Perfect Scoundrels, The Darling Buds Of May, Die Kinder, The Detectives and Casualty. Fowlds's autobiography, A Part Worth Playing, was published in 2015 in which he recalled how he started to act 'just for kicks. Growing up the thought of acting as a living never crossed my mind. I wanted to be a footballer or sportsman,' he said, adding he started acting in school plays. 'I enjoyed mucking about the stage,' he wrote. He told the tale of how in his first play a child, he got his sword stuck up another actor's skirt and 'I heard the sound of audience laughter for the first time in my life, and I was just knocked out.' Speaking to The Stage publication last year, he offered some advice to any budding actors. 'My advice to young actors today would be to work hard whenever you can, but also to have fun and, whatever you do, don't take yourself too seriously. Always remember that an acting career is a marathon, not a sprint, and I wish all of today's actors good luck with it.' Derek's first marriage, to Wendy Tory (1964 to 1973), ended in divorce, as did his second, to the Blue Peter presenter Lesley Judd (1974 to 1978). Jo Lindsay, Fowlds's partner of thirty six years, died in 2012. He is survived by the two sons of his first marriage, Jamie and Jeremy.
Now, a new semi-regular From The North feature, So Many Questions ... Number one. What's going on here, then?
Followed, inevitably, by So Many Questions ... Number two. Because, you just can't whack a good tasty bit of Quim, can you?
And finally, dear blog reader, please allow Keith Telly Topping to offer you all a movie suggestion for the weekend if you're looking for something to watch. Any one of these will do. Or, indeed, two or three of them. You know it makes sense.