Saturday, March 20, 2021

"Thou Cam'st On Earth To Make The Earth My Hell"

The start of 2021 has brought a sudden (and entirely unexpected) surge of new From The North bloggerisationism updates, dear blog reader. You may have even noticed. We're not out of March yet and, already, this is the fourteenth such vomit-forth of random malarkey from yer actual Keith Telly Topping's brain (size of an Adidas Telstar). The main reason for this, obviously, is that this blogger remains currently banged-up in his drum, the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House, shielding from the horrors of The Red Death and the outside world and trying to find something, anything, to take his mind off the impending demise of civilisation as we know it. Or something. We're, clearly, still a long way short of 2011's - almost certainly never to be broken - record of four hundred and forty seven From The North updates in a calendar year. But, nevertheless, considering that this blogger spent the majority of 2020 stuck in his gaff too and he still only managed to get his shit together to update this blog a mere thirty four times in twelve bloody months, the seeming verbosity of the beginning of 2021 here at From The North is, trust me, as much of a surprise to Keith Telly Topping as he is sure it is to you lot. Frankly, the sooner this crap is all over and this blogger can go back to doing sod-all to justify his existence will be not a moment too soon.
Mind you, dear blog reader, one notable thing about all this lockdownisation is this blogger suddenly finding himself in both a mental and physical state where he can quote, out loud, one of his favourite ever movie dialogue exchanges and have it be an accurate summation of the current state of affairs in the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House. 'He had one thing you don't have.' 'What's that?' 'A great big bushy beard!' Horrifying, yes? 
So, let's kick off this latest boggerisationism update with something that this blog has had remarkably little over over the last few months, some actual, proper, 'you might not know this but ...' top telly news type malarkey in the area.
Ralph Fiennes has been widely praised for his performance in The Dig as the archaeologist who uncovered the Sutton Hoo burials on the eve of the Second World War (not least on this very blog). Now his cousin Martin could be at the centre of a momentous modern-day discovery. An 'enormous' Roman villa on the family's Broughton Castle estate in Oxfordshire will be the first site excavated by Time Team when the cult TV series and From The North favourite returns on digital platforms later this year. Following the successful launch of a fan-led Patreon campaign in December, Time Team has now confirmed what could be the first of many digs and its first since the original series ended in 2014. Series Producer and creator of Time Team, Tim Taylor said: 'We're back thanks to the overwhelming support of our fans!' Created by Taylor and presented by the actor Tony Robinson, each episode featured a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining the process in lay terms. The specialists changed throughout the programme's run, although it consistently included professional archaeologists such as Mick Aston, Carenza Lewis, Francis Pryor and Phil Harding. The sites excavated ranged in date from the Palaeolithic to the Second World War. First broadcast in 1994, the series ran for twenty years on Channel Four before it was cancelled in 2014 after two hundred and eighty episodes (including numerous specials). With 1.5 million views a month on the Time Team Classics YouTube channel in forty one countries worldwide, the new programmes will premiere on YouTube, with additional behind-the-scenes content on the virtual platform, Patreon. This will give viewers the chance to engage as the shows are researched and developed, see live blogs during filming, watch virtual reality landscape data at home and join in Q&As with the team. Carenza, Stewart Ainsworth, Helen Geake and permanently put-upon geophys guru John Gater will all be returning and are excited about the new sites. Many of the original team are already involved, both on and off screen. They will be joined by new faces representing the breadth of experts practising archaeology today. Yer actual Sir Tony Robinson, who is an honorary patron, said: 'I was delighted to hear about the plans for the next chapter in Time Team's story. It's an opportunity to find new voices and should help launch a new generation of archaeologists, under the guidance and watchful eye of Mister Taylor. While I won't be involved in the new sites, I was delighted to accept the role of honorary patron of the Time Team project. It makes me chief superfan and supporter - all armoury in our shared desire to inspire and stimulate interest in archaeology at all levels.' So, dear blog reader, no Tony - and no Phil either seemingly. And, obviously, the late Mick Aston won't be involved - nevertheless, the news that they have managed to get the majority of the band back together is a cause for considerable celebration at From The North. It is, frankly, glorious in this here blogger's sight, so it is. The villa itself is a tantalising prospect - a grand building almost as big as Buckingham Palace. It is located on the Broughton Estate in Oxfordshire, belonging to the Fiennes family. The site, discovered by historian and metal detectorist Keith Westcott after years of research, could be one of the biggest villas uncovered in recent times. 'As our first dig back, we were keen on a site that would produce amazing evidence, showcase the very best that Time Team can offer and allows us to demonstrate to the full the latest technology like LiDAR and GPR,' said Taylor. 'With a fantastic team backed by Keith Westcott and Martin Fiennes, local community support, the possibility of an ongoing legacy, and the guarantee of great archaeology, Broughton Castle ticks all the boxes.'
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch has 'teased the possibility of a Sherlock revival.' At least, Benny has according to  piece of twenty four carat clickbait at the Digital Spy website. In reality, Benny didn't do that or anything even remotely like it, he simply repeated what he and most of the other important players in the From The North favourite franchise have been saying ever since the last episode was broadcast in 2017. 'I'm the worst person to ask on this because I never say never, obviously,' the actor recently told Collider. 'But I don't know. And I'm the worst person to ask because my slate's pretty full at the moment, as is Martin and all the other key players involved. So, who knows? Maybe one day, if the script's right. And I say "the script," maybe it could be a film rather than the series. Who knows? But anyway, not for now.' Yet, somehow, those utter planks at Digital Spy have managed to turn the latest in a lengthy series of 'uh, yeah, maybe, possibly one day. But, hey, don't hold your breath' comments from Benny, Marty, Steven and Mark into a - pretty standard for Digital Spy - clickbait non-story. So, well done them. There must be a 'y' in the day for that to happen.
The BBC has announced production on the fourth series of From The North favourite Killing Eve will begin in early summer and confirmed that it will be the show's finale. The upcoming series, starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, will consist of eight episodes and is expected to be broadcast on BBC1 and BBC iPlayer next year. Speaking about the drama's conclusion, Sandra Oh said: 'Killing Eve has been one of my greatest experiences and I look forward to diving back into Eve's remarkable mind soon. I'm so grateful for all cast and crew who have brought our story to life and to the fans who have joined us and will be back for our exciting and unpredictable fourth and final season.' Jodie Comer added: 'Killing Eve has been the most extraordinary journey and one that I will be forever grateful for. Thank you to all the fans who've supported us throughout and come along for the ride. Although all good things come to an end, it’s not over yet. We aim to make this one to remember.'
One would think that any actor would jump at the chance to appear in From The North favourite Line Of Duty. The series - which makes a welcome, and long-anticipated return to BBC1 this weekend - is, after all, one of the most popular and anticipated shows on the tellybox. But Kelly Macdonald, who stars opposite Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar and Martin Compston as this year's antagonist Joanne Davidson, says that she 'had second thoughts' about taking the role. It was, actually, From The North favourite Keeley Hawes, who won plaudits for her portrayal of Lindsay Denton in series two and three of the acclaimed police corruption drama, who convinced Macdonald to stick with the series. Macdonald explains to Radio Times: 'The real issue was the sheer number of words I had to learn. When I saw the script, my first instinct was to run a mile. It's all addresses and dates and police jargon, especially when I was interviewing suspects. Keeley was brilliant; she talked me down from the ledge. She said it might look as though you are being asked to do something completely impossible, but it's not.' Macdonald, who also admits that she had never seen the show before she was cast in it, added that hers co-star and fellow Scot, Compston helped to reassure her when she saw him at an awards event. 'He was so excited. He said, "Hey! You've got to do it!" It got to the point where I didn't feel I could run away from it. I thought it might actually be a good challenge and it really was. Although I still can't believe I got through some of it.'
Another From The North favourite, Peaky Blinders series six will not see the return of Charlie Murphy, who played the union leader and Tommy Shelby's occasionally love-interest Jessie Eden. The actress has since worked on gritty Irish thriller The Winter Lake as well as a TV show based on the Xbox gaming franchise, Halo. Murphy said about her off-screen exit from Peaky Blinders: 'It was a lot of fun when we shot it. And that feels like an age ago as well. It was about three years ago.' Despite the character seemingly leaving the show, Jessie Eden featured quite prominently in the Peaky Blinders series five finale, with Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) saving her from being arrested while protesting at that naughty old scallywag and right rotten rotter Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley's British Union of Fascists rally. She was also one of the few characters who was, briefly, tipped off to Tommy's plan to 'do a good thing,' by which he meant staging an assassination attempt on Oswald, which ended up failing. Badly. Murphy confirmed that she didn't film anything which was cut from the popular period drama, meaning she is unlikely to have been in any of the scenes that director Anthony Byrne previously explained had been cut from the final episode, to make Tommy's betrayer 'more oblique.'
In a recent - large and very thorough - interview with Radio Times, From The North favourite Mark Gatiss his very self has spoken, lovingly, of his memories of Target Books' Doctor Who novelisations. For all non-fans of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama - where've you been for the last fifty eight years?  - this enthusiasm may be difficult to comprehend. But, for a certain generation of fans - this blogger very much included - the book range published between 1973 and 1994 (novel adaptations of Doctor Who TV episodes, many written by the show's former script editor the late Terrance Dicks) was a gateway into the series. 'They were a huge part of not just growing up and learning to read, but very much part of Doctor Who when you couldn't see the old [episodes],' Mark noted. 'And, as we've opined over the years, to actually see the real ones having expected them to be like the books, it's quite disappointing sometimes. They were a magic thing in so many ways - particularly Terrance's wonderfully economical and terse style, but they're also beautiful and full of sort of wonderful pop poetry. "Through the ruins of a city stalked the ruins of a man" [the opening line in Dicks' 1977 adaptation of Doctor Who & The Dalek Invasion Of Earth] and things like that.' Twenty-four years after the last Target Doctor Who novel was released, the brand was revived in 2018 with new novelisations of several stories from both the pre-1989 and the post-2005 series, including Russell Davies beautifully revisiting his relaunch episode Rose and The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) adapting his own - magnificent - fiftieth anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor. Both of which this blogger brought just pre-lockdown last year and, very welcome they proved to be in helping to keep him vaguely sane during those dark days of late March 2020. A second batch of new Targets were released in March this year, including the first to feature Jodie Whittaker's Doctor - based on 2018's The Witchfinders, by episode's scriptwriter Joy Wilkinson. As part of this new set, Gatiss was asked to translate his 2013 story The Crimson Horror into prose and, for all his affection for the original Target novels, he was determined that his book be more than just 'an exercise in nostalgia. They're deliberately retro, the Chris Achilleos style and everything [the books' cover artwork by Anthony Dry apes the style of original Target cover artist Achilleos] but equally, as with the series itself, it's good to try and keep it going forward. So it's not entirely a pastiche of the Target style, because obviously it's a modern story. I didn't want to lose the speed of the TV story, because that's one of my favourite things about it. It's like a comic strip really, it just happens really economically and I didn't want to slow that down by massively adding to it. So I've sort of written a prequel [detailing the character Jenny Flint's first meeting with The Doctor] and then the story happens as breathlessly as it does on TV.' In preparing to write the book, Gatiss not only rewatched the TV episode for 'the first time in donkey's' but also 'dug out a few earlier drafts' of his script, rediscovering story concepts along the way that didn't make it to the final story as broadcast. 'The original pitch was going to have Conan Doyle in it,' he reveals. 'I'd written Cold War and then I got a text from Steven asking if I’d do another one. He wanted an episode that was almost a Paternoster Gang spin-off, with Conan Doyle and of course I said "yes." And then, I tried - I had all kinds of things buzzing around in my head - but it was just too hard. If it was The Doctor and Conan Doyle and Mrs Gillyflower ... but with the gang as well, there's not enough for [Conan Doyle] to do. But it left this legacy - that's why there's the optigram at the beginning, because Doyle was an eye surgeon and that's where all that was going to come from.' The idea to include the creator of Sherlock Holmes didn't make it past the plotting stage, Gatiss says. 'There certainly wasn't a first draft with Doyle - but he does deserve his own story, so maybe one day.' The episode's monster, too, was originally supposed to take a different form, with its writer originally drawing inspiration from the real-life Matchgirls' strike of 1888, which saw women and teenage girls who worked at the Bryant & May match factory in Bow protest against unsafe working conditions, with exposure to white phosphorus leading to some workers developing phosphorus necrosis of the jaw. 'I had this idea for the monsters - they were going to be all in black, sort of like Scottish Widows. And there's this horrible condition called Phossy jaw, where their jaws would literally drop off from the contamination of the phosphor ... and they would glow. I thought this is ideal. They were going to be the sort of "mummies," as it were.' Gatiss' ideas eventually evolved into what viewers saw on-screen, with the chief villain role being played by the late Dame Diana Rigg - appearing opposite her daughter, Rachael Stirling, for the first time on-screen. 'I was doing [George Farquhar's play] The Recruiting Officer with Rachael at the time and I remember just thinking, "Hello! here's an idea." Rachel had mentioned that she and her mum had never actually worked together, so I said, "If I wrote a Doctor Who for you, d'you think you'd do it?" and they leapt at it, so it was genuinely written for the pair of them.' He adds: 'Steven maintains that my Mrs Gillyflower at the read-through was better than Diana was in the show, but I'm not sure it was.' Gatiss had contacted Stirling shortly before Rigg died in September 2020 with the suggestion of getting together for a book signing but it was, sadly, not to be. Instead, the novel version of The Crimson Horror is dedicated to Sane Diana's memory. 'She was brilliant, so much fun,' Gatiss recalls. 'That was the least I could do.' Check out the full interview, dear blog reader, it's an enjoyably fascinating read.
On a somewhat related note, there is also a Radio Times interview this week with another From The North favourite, the very smashing Ingrid Oliver. This one, however, is far less interesting since its primary focus is in promoting some type of mobile phone game which this blogger has less than zero interest in. And, this blogger suspects, so have the majority of any potential readers. So, instead, to try and generate some interest the interviewer, Huw Fullerton (whose frequent nonsense masquerading as journalism this blogger has previously whinged about in the past), has inserted one question about whether Ingrid would be averse to appearing in a Doctor Who episode with Jodie Whittaker (to which the obvious answer is, basically, 'yes, if offered'). And then they've used that as the, entirely clickbait, headline for this 'exclusive' (Doctor Who's Osgood Is Back For A New Game - And Next, Ingrid Oliver Wants Her To Team Up With Jodie Whittaker). Once again, this blogger is forced to ask does anyone else remember when the Radio Times used to be written by grown-ups? Happy days, seemingly, never to return.
According to yet another Radio Times 'exclusive' ninety four per cent of Torchwood fans 'want the show to return with BBC3.' Though, this breathtakingly banal piece of - alleged - journalism doesn't explain why six per cent of Torchwood fans who expressed a preference, seemingly, do not 'want the show to return with BBC3.' One imagines Barrowman will be organising an Interweb petition to have every single one of the six per cent of non-conformists fed a lethal dose of the 456 virus from Children Of Earth as we speak. It's your own fault, six per center's, you had the opportunity to be like everyone else and you didn't take it. 
The year's BBC Comic Relief telethon - broadcast on Friday evening - featured a sketch with Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor. It came in the trailer for a fake film titled 2020: The Movie, which starred a number of big-name-type people as 'ordinary citizens dealing with the pandemic,' including Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan as a mother struggling to control her three unruly children. But it was Wor Geet Canny Jodie and co-star Mandip Gill's brief skit which stole the show - with the duo in a hospital ward in full PPE's garb discussing Bake Off. Elsewhere in the trailer, From The North favourite Keira Knightley made a cameo as The Woman Who Can't Take It Anymore. This blogger knows exactly how she feels. 
Other 'highlights' of the telethon included a quite amusing Staged sketch featuring national heartthrob David Tennant, Michael Sheen and Lenny Henry (last, briefly, funny for a short time in 1983) and a Catherine Tate/Daniel Craig James Bond parody. Most of the rest of the ninety seven hours of televised wackiness could, comfortably, be filed it the 'hey, it's a jolly good cause and we're all really glad their raised so much money for - genuinely - worthy charities but, please, don't make me actually watch too much of it' column.
There is a splendid interview with From The North favourite Steady Eddie Izzard in the Gruniad Morning Star this week covering all manner of subject which this blogger urges dear blog readers to check out: 'I've had boob envy since my teens. Just when teenage girls of my age were going "I want boobs", I was thinking "yeah, me too." But I couldn't say it. They talk about penis envy and I believe some women suffer penis envy. I cannot for the life of me get my head around this. But yes, I've always had breasts envy!'
Filming on a 'high-profile' TV production is reported to be currently taking place in Guildford. This is rumoured to be for the upcoming - and much anticipated - Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman.
Sky comedy and From The North favourite I Hate Suzie is officially returning for a second series, after it was renewed in early 2021. The show, co-created by Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble, was broadcast last year in August to great acclaimed and the coveted runners-up slot in From The North's Best TV Shows 2020 list. Filming for series two will, reportedly, begin early next year.
From The North favourite Danny Boyle is currently filming six-part biopic of the life and times of from The North favourites The Sex Pistols for FX. The Queen's Gambit's Thomas Brodie-Sangster will portray Malcolm McLaren and Westworld's Talulah Riley will play Vivienne Westwood in Pistol. The latest cast additions also include Christian Lees - who previously played Jerry Lee Lewis in Sun Records - in the role of Glen Matlock and Iris Law, in her screen debut, as Soo Catwoman. With the series now in production, Rolling Stain recently presented the first look at the limited series with a photo of The Faux Pistols - Toby Wallace as Steve Jones, Anson Boon as Johnny Rotten, Louis Partridge as Sid Vicious and Jacob Slater as Paul Cook - recreating Julien Temple's 1977 video performance of 'Pretty Vacant' for Top Of The Pops.
Pistol is based on Steve Jones' highly-amusing 2018 memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol. Craig Pearce serves as co-writer and executive producer on the series, with the Oscar-winning Boyle as executive producer and director. Pistol also stars From The North favourite Maisie Williams as Jordan, Dylan Llewellyn as Wally Nightingale, Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde and Emma Appleton as Nancy Spungen. And, this week, the Sun managed to get an on-location 'exclusive' photo of the latter.
TV review show Gogglebox is returning with its 'showbiz' edition, Celebrity Gogglebox, in aid of the Stand Up to Cancer campaign this week. This year's stars on the sofa include Line Of Duty actors Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston and From The North favourites Victoria Coren Mitchell and David Mitchell. Who can be seen assessing the horror classic Scream in this clip. In Victoria's case, warm and logical in a cheerily-amusing way, in her husband's as coldly cynical as a hard slap in the mush with a wet haddock. So, no change there, then. Chez Mitchell looks very nice, though. Celebrity Gogglebox will also include appearances from The Who's Roger Daltrey alongside large-toothed Scouse comedian and forthcoming Doctor Who regular John Bishop.
From The North favourite Unforgotten is, of course, currently in the middle of its - rightly acclaimed - fourth series dear blog reader. You might have noticed. But, after the most recent episode was broadcast, fans were reportedly 'delighted' when the writer and creator of the ITV drama, Chris Lang, shared some exciting news. Writing on Twitter on Tuesday morning, Lang retweeted a post about the overnight ratings showing that the drama had reached number one thanks to its highly-anticipated return this month. Chris wrote: 'What's this? Unforgotten NUMBER ONE!' before tagging several members of the cast. Sanjeev Bhaskar was clearly thrilled with the news, writing: 'This hasn't happened to me since Spirit In The Sky, seventeen years ago!'
From The North favourite American Gods' Ricky Whittle has suggested the drama's upcoming series three finale, admitting it will make fans 'angry.' Which is so surprising, dear blog reader, since TV fans are usually very thoughtful and open to new ideas and not the sort of people to fly off the handle and whinge, loudly, to anyone that will listen - and, indeed, anyone that won't - about what a right shite state of affairs their favourite show has turned into. The Starz series is due to wrap its third series on Sunday and, while he didn't give anything specific away, Ricky told the Digital Spy website that the concluding episode will be 'nuts.' 'For me, it really does culminate in the most epic season finale,' he said. 'It's just going to leave fans wanting more because we want more. When I read the season finale, I just texted Chic [Eglee] and the writers. It blew my mind. 'I can't spoil it,' Whittle added. 'It's nuts. But I think fans will be angry because it's so great and it's that cliché of: it's just going to leave them wanting more, because it's such an upsetting way to end a story, when you can't turn that page. You get to the end of the book and you're like, "Oh, come on!" It's Empire Strikes Back when it's like, "You can't! When is Return Of The Jedi?' In other American Gods news, Ian McShane has reacted to the show's latest shocking twist in the most recent episode.
Michael Sheen has revealed that he is currently recovering from Covid. From The North favourite Sheen shared the news on Twitter earlier this week, saying that he had been battling the virus for the last few weeks. 'It's been very difficult and quite scary,' he wrote. He also gave an International Women's Day shout-out to 'all the incredible women' in his life who helped him through it. His partner, Anna Lundberg, confirmed she and their baby Lyra had the virus as well. 'It's been very challenging for all of us but luckily we're all much better now than we were.' She added that she was 'fortunate' to have relatively mild symptoms, 'which meant that I could keep focusing on Lyra and Michael.' Sheen stars in FOX's serial murderer thriller Prodigal Son. He was conspicuously missing from the show's TCA virtual panel last week, which featured the cast video conferencing from their homes.
Meanwhile, the final six episodes of Prodigal Son's - much shortened - second series will kick off in the US on FOX from 18 April. A new trailer has recently been released highlighting the latest two, high-profile, additions to the main cast, From The North favourite Alan Cumming and yer actual Catherine Zeta Jones.
That risible, diseased oily twat Piers Morgan's comments about The Duchess Of Sussex on Good Morning Britain which saw the odious piece of yellow phlegm having his arse kicked, hard, into the gutter by ITV have, reportedly, attracted a record number of complaints to the TV regulator Ofcom. Some fifty seven thousand whinges have been made about the show's coverage of the Oprah Winfrey interview broadcast on 8 March. The following day, Morgan claimed he 'didn't believe a word' Meghan had said. He left the ITV programme later that day, ne'er to return. Which was funny, let it be noted. The total of fifty seven thousand one hundred and twenty complaints made at the time of writing is over twelve thousand more than those made to Ofcom over a race row on Z-List Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 involving comments made by that cackling trio of worthless scum Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd. The Duchess herself is reported to be among those who have complained to the watchdog by Morgan. The odious oily gammon-faced potato Morgan responded on Twitter with some sneering comments: 'Only fifty seven thousand? I've had more people than that come up and congratulate me in the street for what I said.' Christ, he really is an utterly worthless puddle of diarrhoea, is he not, dear blog reader? Ofcom - a politically-appointed quango, elected by no one, which has regulated British TV since 2003 - has already launched an investigation into Good Morning Britain. A further four thousand three hundred and ninety eight complaints have, reportedly, been made about various aspects of the Oprah interview itself, which was broadcast on ITV. Some reportedly objected to the Duke and Duchess' claims about the Royal Family, some about the timing of the broadcast given the Duke of Edinburgh's on-going health issues and some about the use of allegedly misleading press headlines in the programme. This blogger's own view on all of this malarkey - for what it's worth (which is less than not much in the great scheme of things) - remains pretty much exactly as he described them in a recent From The North bloggerisationism update: That he, frankly, has somewhat more important things in his own life to worry about than a bunch of apparently self-entitled multi-millionaires being, allegedly, beastly and (allegedly) racist towards a couple of other apparently self-entitled multi-millionaires. And, that this blogger's main fascinating with - and disgust over - this story continues to be that it has, seemingly, obsessed America. A country which, let us remember, once fought a sodding revolution to get rid of the concept of royalty. Still, Piers Morgan getting flushed into the gutter along with all the other turds was, admittedly, a worthwhile and amusing sidebar to this tale of woe.
And, on that bombshell dear blog reader, we come to ...
The World's End. Admittedly, it may be the, shall we say 'least best' of The Cornetto Trilogy. But, sod it, any movie in which Primal Scream save the world from aliens is worth a couple of hours of everyone's time.
A Field In England. Ben Wheatley's bowel-shatteringly scary minimalist nightmare is just about the most disturbing and horrific ninety minutes ever committed to film. Reece Shearsmith and Michael Smiley at their outstanding best and a soundtrack of quite startling tension and menace. A twenty four carat masterpiece.
Twenty Eight Days Later. Danny Boyle, Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, John Murphy's glacial soundtrack, shitloads of zombies. What's not to love?
Pierrepoint. From The North favourite Tim Spall giving one of the most affecting and nuanced cinematic performances imaginable.
The Personal History of David Copperfield. In which Iannuci takes Mister Dickens out for a Saturday night piss-up on the town followed by a curry then back to his flat to spend the night listening to all his Bowie LPs! In other words, bloody brilliant.
Baby Driver. Edgar Wright's finest movie that doesn't include Pegg and Frost.
High Plains Drifter. Because, you can't beat a bit of Clint. Well you can if you're Stacey Bridges and the Carlin brothers but it's a really unwise thing to do.
Richard III. Richard Loncraine and Ian McKllan proving that Shakespeare could've written one Hell of a Hollywood shoot-'em-up-and-then-blow-'em-up action movie with tanks and guns and grenades and shit if only he'd been given the chance - and a multi-million dollar budget. Unfortunately, he died in 1616. That, as they say, was an opportunity missed.
The Eagle Has Landed. In March 1976, The New York Times announced that David Bowie would play a Nazi in the film if his schedule could be worked out. But, it couldn't so Sven-Bertil Taube got the gig and Bowie made The Man Who Fell To Earth instead. True story. Tom Mankiewicz thought the script was the best that he had ever written - this blogger begs to differ, it's no Live & Let Die - but felt John Sturges, 'for some reason, had given up,' did a poor job and that editor Anne Coates was the one who saved the movie and made it watchable. This blogger, for what it's worth, thought it was great.
The Conversation. The meat in Coppola's Godfather sandwich.
Gimme Shelter. 'Just be cool down in the front there, don't push around.' The Sixties died here.
UFO. This blogger has always had this thing about purple hair and very tight silver pants. Just sayin'.
The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash. 'In those early days, there was a fifth Rutle: Leppo. A friend of Nasty's from art college, who mainly used to stand at the back. He couldn't play the guitar, but he knew how to have a good time and in Hamburg, that was more important!'
Bill Bailey: Limboland . The story about the disastrous Bailey family trip to see The Northern Lights in Norway continues to be final, positive affirmation of national treasure Bill's comedy genius.
It hasn't all been watching films and TV shows on the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House tellybox over the last week, of course. This blogger has also been listening to some wireless programmes on his - co-incidentally, wireless - laptop. A stray - and somewhat inaccurate - reference to the curious phenomena of Numbers Stations in an online article which this blogger was reading recently caused this blogger to hunt out his copy of Simon Fanshaw's acclaimed, fascinating 2007 BBC Radio documentary on the phenomena, Tracking The Lincolnshire Poacher. Which you can check out on YouTube here, dear blog reader (and, highly recommeded - if somewhat disturbing, it is too). Whilst he had that particular computer file of audio recordings open, it prompted him to also revisit a few other radio recordings of a similar vintage. Like, for instance, From The North favourite Bill Bailey's The Hunt For The Hum. And, Martin Shankleman's profile of Alan Blumlein The Man Who Invented Stereo in the Archive Hour strand. And, Ray Snoddy's very funny The Riot That Never Was. This blogger really should listen to a lot more radio than he currently does, dear blog reader. Although Keith Radio Topping doesn't have, quite, the same ring to it.
Indeed, given his former life as a regular broadcaster, this blogger listens to shocking little radio on a regular basis, dear blog reader. Apart from occasionally checking out the smooth early morning stylings of his ex-Afternoon Show partner, the legend that is Alfie Joey on BBC Newcastle, the only regular radio output this blogger consumes is Kermode & Mayo's Film Review each Friday on 5Live. (Unless, as with this particular week, there's some sporting event which takes precedent in which case it goes out as a podcast instead.) The latest episode, incidentally, is thoroughly recommended for Mark's thoughtful - if still unimpressed - review of the recently-released Zack Snyder director's cut of Justice League.
The other podcast which this blogger downloads on a regular basis, as previously mentioned, is the BBC's weekly Americast, the latest episode of which focuses on the Irish influence on American politics. In a suitably Saint Paddy's Day, 'begorrah, bejesus, where's me shillelagh'-type way.
Some very sad news, now, dear blog reader. The former Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz - famous for being the only woman to win the Nurburgring Twenty Four Hours - has died aged fifty one. Schmitz said last year that she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Schmitz had become synonymous with the Nurburgring Nordschleife, the fourteen-mile circuit in Germany which is renowned as the toughest in the world. She won the twenty four-hour touring car race at the track twice, in 1996 and 1997, driving a BMW M3. She became known as The Queen of the Nurburgring' and estimated she had driven around the track more than twenty thousand times. Schmitz later gained acclaim for an appearance on Top Gear in 2004 in which she drove a van around the track and, subsequently, became a presenter on the show alongside Chris Evans in 2016. Sunday's episode of Top Gear will be dedicated to Schmitz, with Clare Pizey, the executive producer, saying: 'Sabine was a beloved member of the Top Gear family and presenting team and everyone who had the pleasure of working with her on the team is in shock at this news. Sabine radiated positivity, always wore her cheeky smile no matter how hard things got - and was a force of nature for women drivers in the motoring world. Like everyone else who knew her, we will truly miss her - Sabine really was one of a kind. Our thoughts are with her partner Klaus, who was always by her side and who we welcomed to Dunsfold many times and her family in Germany.' Former presenter Jeremy Clarkson paid tribute by tweeting that Sabine was 'such a sunny person and so full of beans.' Formula 1 said that Schmitz was 'a force of nature' who inspired 'a new generation of motorsport enthusiasts.'
Leeds United's all-time record goalscorer Peter Lorimer has died aged seventy four, the club have announced. The former Scotland international scored two hundred and thirty eight goals in seven hundred and five appearances for Leeds in all competitions over two spells spanning twenty three years. He won two football league titles, the FA Cup and League Cup with Leeds under manager Don Revie. Leeds announced 'with great sadness' that Lorimer had died on Saturday morning 'following a long-term illness. Peter's contribution to Leeds United will never be forgotten and his passing leaves another huge hole in the Leeds United family,' read a statement. 'He will always remain a club icon and his legacy at Elland Road will live on.' Lorimer was not simply a key figure as Leeds enjoyed huge success in the 1960s and 1970s but a spectacular symbol of a golden era at Elland Road which saw their ruthless, physical approach often overshadow the natural brilliance of one of the outstanding British post-war teams. Under the leadership of Revie, Leeds enjoyed great highs and bitter lows, big successes and heartbreaking disappointments, with Lorimer a pivotal character in all the twists in the plotlines. Lorimer became Leeds' youngest ever player when he made his first team debut against Southampton in September 1962 at the age of fifteen years, two hundred and eighty nine days. As an attacking midfielder, he would go on to become a key member of Revie's team that became a dominant force in English football, winning the League Cup in 1968, the First Division titles in 1969 and 1974, the Charity Shield in 1969 and the FA Cup in 1972. They also tasted European success with victory in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968 and 1971, as well as reaching the 1973 European Cup Winners' Cup final and the 1975 European Cup final - losing both in controversial circumstances. Lormier thought he had scored with an edge-of-the-box volley in the latter, but his goal was disallowed and Leeds lost to Bayern München amid a riot with kids getting sparked and aal sorts. Lorimer also won twenty one caps for Scotland and played in all three of their matches at the 1974 World Cup, scoring in the win against Zaire. Lorimer's shooting from any range makes him a standout in any showreel of Leeds' glory era. It earned him nicknames such as 'Lash' and 'Hotshot' and the power and pace of his shots inspired a chant of 'ninety miles an hour' from the home support whenever he lined up to take a free-kick. Leeds endured a rollercoaster of emotions during the Revie era; those who acknowledged the class and ability of the team assembled by this most complex of personalities justifiably questioning how and why they did not win more. And, in a reflection of the ill-fortune Leeds often felt followed them around during their greatest days, two of Lorimer's greatest strikes rank among the most infamous goals they never scored. In an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Villa Park in April 1967, as Leeds chased an equaliser in the dying seconds, Johnny Giles turned a short free-kick to substitute Lorimer, who sent a rising right-foot thunderbolt past a helpless Peter Bonetti from twenty five yards. The referee Ken Burns ruled the goal out, the explanation apparently being that the wall was not back the required ten yards, causing scenes of chaos and confusion. It was regarded by Leeds fans as one of many injustices their club suffered, before even more acute pain came in the European Cup final. That was the last hurrah for a magnificent side but Lorimer stayed on and remained one of the most important influences at Elland Road. Two years before that European Cup controversy, Lorimer was thwarted by one of the greatest saves in FA Cup final and Wembley history, when Sunderland keeper Jimmy Montgomery made a miraculous stop to turn Lorimer's shot onto the bar from five yards as the Second Division side stunned the overwhelming favourites by winning. These were disappointments, but Leeds and Lorimer enjoyed huge successes during the Revie era as he took them out of the Second Division to claim a collection of the game's biggest honours with the Dundee-born forward an essential ingredient in their recipe for success. Lorimer came to prominence in the 1965-66 season and won a reputation as a player of creativity and menace, topped off with his ability to score goals, often of the thrilling and theatrical kind. Leeds finally claimed silverware winning the 1968 League Cup Final against Arsenal at Wembley as well as the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, the forerunner of the UEFA Cup, in the same year with a two-legged victory over Hungarians Ferencváros. It was the league title Leeds and Revie believed would cement their status as one of the great sides and it duly arrived in 1968-69, the title clinched with a goalless draw at Liverpool. Lorimer patrolled the right side with his gifted fellow Scot Eddie Gray on the left. Revie also establishing the deadly front-line of Mick Jones and Allan Clarke, all fuelled by the hugely talented and fiercely competitive midfield duo of Giles and Billy Bremner. Leeds were in the running for three major trophies towards the conclusion of the 1969-70 season but ended empty-handed as the schedule caught up with them, Everton winning the title, Glasgow Celtic sending them out in 'The Battle Of Britain' European Cup Semi-Final and Chelsea victorious after a - spectacularly vicious - FA Cup Final replay. Throughout it all, Lorimer was the model of consistency and reliability, claiming more honours when the Inter Cities Fairs Cup was won against Juventus in 1971 along with the FA Cup against Arsenal the following year, Leeds failing to land the double by losing their last game at Wolverhampton Wanderers to give the title to Brian Clough's Derby. Leeds and Lorimer suffered further disappointment the following year when the shock loss to The Mackem Filth was compounded by a hugely controversial defeat to AC Milan in the European Cup Winners' Cup Final in Athens eleven days later. Milan won one-nil but Leeds were infuriated, as were the neutral Greek fans, at a series of highly-debatable decisions by local referee Christos Michas. He was later banned for life for match-fixing. Lorimer collected another title-winners medal in 1973-74 but with Revie gone, the Brian Clough experiment cut short after forty four days and the great side suffering the ageing process, the club was about to leave its greatest era behind. As the club went into transition under a succession of managers, Lorimer tailored his game to become the experienced elder statesman of the side, a guiding hand to his younger colleagues. Lorimer eventually left Leeds in 1979, having two spells at Toronto Blizzard, a short stint at York City and also for Vancouver Whitecaps before making an emotional return to Elland Road in 1983 to play under the management of his old wing partner Eddie Gray. Leeds were in the former Second Division by this time. Lorimer became the club's greatest goalscorer before retiring in 1986. Lorimer won twenty one caps for Scotland, scoring four goals, making his debut in Austria in 1969 and playing his final game against Romania at Hampden Park in December 1975. He was a key part of Willie Ormond's Scotland squad at the 1974 World Cup in Germany, scoring a typical volley in a two-nil win against Zaire in their opening group game. It was a relatively narrow victory margin Scotland would later regret as they performed creditably to remain unbeaten against holders Brazil and Yugoslavia only to go out on goal difference. Even after retiring, Lorimer was a permanent fixture at Elland Road and Leeds United games around the country as a pundit for BBC Radio Leeds. He also had a column in the Yorkshire Evening Post and the club's match day programme as well as running a public house in the area. Lorimer was also appointed as a Leeds United director under the boardroom leadership of Gerald Krasner and was the only one to continue in the role when Ken Bates assumed ownership in January 2005. He acted as a fans' representative, although he was questioned by some supporters because of his public backing for chairman Bates during troubled times at Elland Road and was announced as the club's first Football Ambassador in April 2013. Lorimer, however, is one of the club's iconic figures and his death is another very sad day for Leeds United after the loss of his team-mates Norman Hunter, Trevor Cherry and Big Jack Charlton in recent months.
A wax museum in Texas has, reportedly, removed its statue of the now extremely former US President Mister Rump from display after it was repeatedly punched by visitors. Louis Tussaud's Waxworks in San Antonio had to move the statue into a storage room because some museum visitors kept on attacking it. They punched and scratched the figure, inflicting so much damage that it had to be pulled from public view, Clay Stewart, regional manager for Ripley Entertainment, which owns the museum, told the San Antonio Express-News. 'When it's a highly political figure, attacks can be a problem.' Ahead of the US presidential erection last year, Madame Tussaud's in Berlin put its own wax statue of Mister Rump in a dumpster. It was, reportedly, intended to reflect its expectations for the November polls. In 2006, a worker at Madame Tussaud's Museum in London learned the hard way that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, when his former girlfriend leaked images of him kissing Kylie Minogue's waxwork's bottom online. A shot showed Bryan Boniface pulling down Kylie's gold hotpants and kissing her bum. In other photos, taken during night shifts, he was seen fondling waxwork figures of Penelope Cruz and J-Lo. He was also seen beating up Sven Goran Eriksson, throttling then London mayor Ken Livingstone and grabbing disabled Professor Stephen Hawking about the person. Boniface's ex, Sofia, reportedly leaked the pictures when their romance ended.
This week police in Paris announced 'a fruitful investigation' and a raid netting MDMA and ecstasy with a street value of over a million Euros. But it has turned out to be fruitful in a different way. Alleged 'sources' allegedly close to the investigation now say that the pink powder nabbed by The Fuzz was, in fact, ground up sweeties. More specifically, they were 'crushed Tagada strawberry' made by Haribo, AFP reports. A suspect still faces prosecution as Plod also found stolen mobile phones, as well as a machine used to manufacture ecstasy tablets, Le Parisien reports. But, it is not clear why the original haul was reported to be illegal drugs, nor why seemingly large amounts of an innocuous sweet had been ground into powder. Mind you, there are some decidedly odd people in the world. Drug seizures can be misidentified - last year what was initially claimed as Thailand's largest ketamine bust was found to be a type of cleaning agent. Meaning that anyone who took it would not end up stoned but would, instead, be very clean.
Bill Nelson, a former astronaut and US senator, has been nominated to be the next head of NASA. The seventy eight-year-old is seen as a moderate Democrat, and his nomination by President Joe Biden on Friday drew bipartisan praise. He will need to be confirmed in the Senate before he can take up the role. Nelson said he was 'honoured' to be picked to lead the US space agency, adding that he would 'help lead NASA into an exciting future.' In a statement, The White House said he was 'known as the go-to senator for our nation's space programme' for many years. 'Almost every piece of space and science law has had his imprint,' it said. The Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, said: 'I cannot think of anyone better to lead NASA.' Nelson was a driving force behind NASA's Space Launch System rocket, which was conceived in the wake of an Obama-era overhaul of the US space programme. He will succeed Jim Bridenstine, who led the agency for two years under the Trump administration. Bridenstine earned widespread praise for his efforts to promote NASA programmes - in particular, its Artemis venture, which will see astronauts return to the Moon in the 2020s before mounting a mission to Mars. Born in 1942, Nelson served in Florida's state legislature during the 1970s, representing the district that Is home to NASA's Kennedy Space Centre. After his erection to the House of Representatives in 1978, he became the second sitting member of Congress to travel into space when he flew as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1986. After he won erection to the Senate in Florida in 2000, Nelson continued to be closely involved in formulating space policy. In 2010, he said he believed President Barack Obama had 'made a mistake' by cancelling the Constellation programme. That programme was former President George W Bush's effort to return astronauts to The Moon. Along with a Republican Senator for Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Nelson insisted that NASA be mandated to build a new heavy-lift rocket in the agency's 2010 Authorization Act. The SLS gave NASA the capability to launch its Orion crew vehicle to The Moon and other deep space destinations, while securing a base of engineering expertise across the South. Nelson lost his last re-erection bid and his Senate term ended in 2019.
A Russian woman has, reportedly, been detained on suspicion of killing and dismembering her toyboy lover after removal men discovered body parts in her fridge. Mind you, this was reported by the Daily Lies so, you know, no so much a pinch of salt is needed but more, a cellar full. Anna Vinokurova is alleged to have lived with the gruesome remains of her dead boyfriend, Evgeny, for eight days before moving the fridge to another area of her home city, Krasnoyarsk. Staff from the removal company made the grisly discovery after noticed a pool of blood in the back of their truck, which they realised had been seeping from the fridge. After questioning the woman, they alerted the police. A local press report quotes a police affidavit as saying: 'The fridge began to bleed on the way and she admitted the killing.'