Tuesday, September 08, 2009

If It's 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 & 42, Derren, I'm Quids In

Let's kick-off the latest batch of Top Telly News, dear blog reader, with a necessary plug: The Fleetwoods' lovely version of 'Unchained Melody' accompanies some gorgeous images of the North-East of England's many hidden gems in this new TV trail for BBC Newcastle. Check it out, it's really rather lovely.

Meanwhile, in other vaguely North East-related showbiz news Keith Telly Topping's favourite funny man (and, sometimes, lady) Eddie Izzard paid homage to the Angel of the North during his utterly insane one thousand one hundred mile run around Britain in aid of Sport Relief yesterday. Eddie, who is aiming to cover around thirty miles each day, ran from Ponteland through Newcastle and stopped off at the iconic landmark just south of Gateshead with former Olympic athlete Steve Cram before heading south toward Durham. And, you can watch some highlights of Eddie's brief trot through the region here. Since setting off from Trafalgar Square in July, Eddie has covered around thirty miles a day – longer than the length of a marathon – in an epic journey which has taken him all over the UK. Eddie, who runs at a rate of about five miles per hour, said: 'I had always wanted to do a big physical running challenge and this seemed a great way to do it and also raise money to help Africa and the poorest countries in the world.'

Julia McKenzie's impressive debut as Agatha Christie's Marple attracted five million viewers to ITV on Sunday night, but the production still lost out to the new series of BBC1's Waking the Dead. A Pocket Full of Rye, the first of four new feature-length Marple mysteries, drew an average of five million viewers and a twenty one per cent share between 8pm and 10pm, according to overnight figures. This was well-ahead of the 3.8 million who tuned in for Geraldine McEwan's final outing in the same role on New Year's Day. While McKenzie's debut as the elderly sleuth was the best rating for any show in the first hour of its running time, beating BBC1's Antiques Roadshow, it had much stiffer competition when Waking the Dead began at 9pm. The first episode of the dark detective drama's eighth series was watched by just over six million viewers and a twenty five per cent share. Moving on twenty four hours, ITV's new series of Blue Murder also came second in the crime drama ratings war at 9pm on Monday night, losing out to the second instalment of the Waking the Dead two-parter. Blue Murder's fifth series debuted with, again, a more than respectable five million audience, roughly in-line with that slot's usual figures. But it was a long way off the fourth series' opening audience of 7.2m on 3 December 2007. Meanwhile, the second part of Waking the Dead's episode Magdalene 26 - which concluded with the unexpected, and beautifully understated, death of Stella Goodman (Félicité du Jeu) - held onto the 6.1m strong audience that the first episode achieved on Sunday. I think both the Beeb and ITV will be more than happy with those figures considering the competition.

Derren Brown will reportedly try to predict this week's lottery numbers as part of his new series The Events. According to Daily Record, the illusionist and purveyor of princely prestidigitation will attempt to correctly guess the winning numbers on Channel 4 minutes before Wednesday's live draw. Camelot is said to be 'relaxed' about the stunt. 'Seventy per cent of adults in the UK will be trying to predict the six lucky numbers for Wednesday night's Lotto draw. It is impossible to affect the outcome of the draw and Derren Brown is not suggesting that he is doing this. He is an illusionist creating an illusion that he can predict the numbers. We wish Derren, but more importantly our players, the best of luck,' said a spokesman. Brown has promised to reveal his technique in a follow-up show on Friday. 'I realise there are a lot of questions this brings up and I hope they'll be answered on the Friday night show. For now, I'm really excited and really nervous and cannot tell you for sure how well it will work. Some things just have to be tried.' Wow. When Derren said this one was a 'career-breaker' he wasn't joking, was he?

Breaking News: Screenwriter and film director Richard Curtis has agreed to write an episode of the new series of Doctor Who, his agent has confirmed. The Blackadder and Vicar of Dibley creator told the Sun that he had signed up for the gig because his children were fans. 'It's tremendously good fun and a treat for my children,' he said. The fifty two-year-old writer is better known for romantic comedies like Four Weddings And A Funeral than for science fiction. 'These days the things you can watch together as a family are much fewer,' he explained of his decision to step on board the TARDIS, 'so when you get something like Doctor Who or The X Factor, it is such a pleasure to sit down as a family.' Curtis also revealed he was fascinated by time travel and was currently working on a low budget film about the subject. 'Maybe it's a desire to get out of being old. Sometimes you do just love the idea that you could go back in time and change things.' Curtis also said that he thought he may have 'one more sitcom in me before I die.'

BBC bosses fear that Fiona Bruce could leave the corporation in favour of a lucrative contract with Sky, it has been claimed. According to the Daily Express, BBC executives are aware that the newsreader has many 'admirers' at the rival broadcaster and believe they may soon 'pounce' because she - like many BBC staff - is facing a pay cut. It is believed that Bruce's eight hundred thousand pounds-per-year salary will soon be slashed by up to forty per cent as part of the BBC's ongoing attempts to drive down costs. A source told the newspaper: 'Fiona has her fans at Sky and could soon be made an offer she might find difficult to refuse.' It's not difficult to refuse, it's easy. You just say 'no.' That's if you want to, of course.

Sir Paul McCartney has said that George Harrison and John Lennon would have been amused by The Beatles: Rock Band. Speaking to Observer Music Magazine, McCartney explained that his former bandmates would 'have seen the point' of the game, which is released on 9 September. 'For us, lets remember that the central thing is our music is getting played. That's the bottom line,' he said. 'I'm sure John and George would have thought, "Hey, what a clever idea."' However, McCartney's first impression of Rock Band was profoundly negative, as he described the title upon viewing it as 'a couple of grown-ups standing looking very foolish with these little plastic guitars playing to a screen.' He has since been impressed with the work of the Harmonix team, which has proved respectful to the band's legacy and image. The music legend said that this reverential approach is important 'not just because you should respect The Beatles, but mainly because there are a lot of people out there who are going to notice if you don't.' Yoko Ono agreed that Lennon would have been excited by the game's concept, as well as 'very happy with how the music and the visuals of The Beatles were represented. It will inspire and encourage the young generation to be intimately involved in music making,' she said. 'You can't ask for more. It will be another musical revolution created by The Beatles to make our planet a planet of music.'

Holly Willoughby has praised fellow television presenter Myleene Klass. In an interview with the Sunday People, Willoughby explained that young women in the television industry are working hard at the moment. 'I blame Myleene,' she joked. 'She set the benchmark for us to follow.' The Xtra Factor presenter continued: 'She has done very well for herself, people love her and want to give her work so she is definitely someone I hold in high regard.' Willoughby also praised Klass's parenting skills, remarking: 'There's no doubt that she is also a very good mum. She takes her little girl everywhere with her. How can you criticise that? She's not scared of a bit of hard work, like me.'

BBC Worldwide is on the hunt for a new chairman after revealing Etienne de Villiers will step down later this month. He will relinquish his role at the end of September, having been appointed chairman of the BBC’s Commercial Holdings Board in September 2005. He became chairman and non-executive director of BBC Worldwide in January 2006. During his tenure de Villiers oversaw the implementation of the four commercial criteria laid down in the BBC's Royal Charter as well as the introduction of the company’s five-year growth strategy in July 2007.

Ex-test cricketer Phil Tufnell could 'hardly walk' after his first Strictly Come Dancing training sessions, according to one of his BBC colleagues. The former sports star presented the broadcaster's coverage of a one-day match between England and Australia on Sunday, following a day of practise with professional dancer Katya Virshilas. Test Match Special producer Adam Mountford claimed that Tufnell was struggling with his fitness levels after starting preparations for the show. 'Also part of our summarising team on Sunday was Phil Tufnell, fresh from rehearsals for Strictly Come Dancing,' wrote Mountford. 'Well, I say fresh - frankly Tuffers could hardly walk after his first full day in the dance studio. One listener e-mailed in to ask whether his dancing prowess was more like his batting or his bowling. Tuffers answered, "Probably more like my fielding. Lots of mistakes with the very occasional flash of brilliance."' Despite tabloid rumours that the spin bowler and Virshilas have fallen out over training schedules, the duo have both tweeted about how much they are enjoying working with each other. Virshilas said: 'A "good exhaustion" after a really fun, hard day - Phil makes me howl and is making this experience better than I could have imagined.' Meanwhile, the former I'm A Celebrity... winner wrote last week: 'My legs are killing me but starting to get the hang of it and am in danger of actually enjoying it.'

Ross Noble has earned a reputation as a one of Britain's most effortlessly talented stand-up comedians. His set changes every night, as the Cramlington-born raconteur spins incredible, fantastical tales out of thin air. One reviewer called it 'daydreaming aloud.' With a six-week West End residency on the horizon, the comedian is launching a TV series - Ross Noble's Australian Trip - which follows him on a motorcycle ride across Australia during his recent tour. Along the way, he takes in the world's second-largest playable guitar, the giant potato of Wollongong and an emu car-wash. His circumnavigation of the country came just months after the one hundred-acre farm he owned with his Aussie wife, Fran, was destroyed in a bush fire, along with everything he owned.

Emmerdale newcomer Chris Bisson has revealed that he is impressed by the soap's ongoing revamp. The actor, who makes his debut as Jai Sharma this week, admitted that he is excited to be part of series producer Gavin Blyth's vision for the show's future. In June, Blyth promised to make a number of 'slow-burn' changes to the Yorkshire-based drama in an attempt to increase its appeal to viewers. He joined the programme in January following the departure of predecessor Anita Turner.

Spiteful, vain, chip-on-her-shoulder, full-of-her-own-importance waste-of-space Anne Robinson has admitted that she would make stronger remarks against Welsh people if she went on Room 101 again. The Liverpool-born Weakest Link host sparked controversy by branding the Welsh 'irritating and annoying' when she appeared on the BBC comedy series in 2001. Reflecting on the row, Robinson told Celebs On Sunday: 'My biggest regret is that I was not ruder about the Welsh when I appeared on Room 101. I wouldn't marry one or have one in the house.' Funnily enough, most Welsh people say the same thing about Anne Robinson. Curious, that.

Coronation Street star Samia Smith has been questioned by police after discovering a dead body. The pregnant actress was visiting relatives in Sale, Greater Manchester with her husband Matthew over the weekend when she found a man's corpse in the back of a van, the Sun reports. It is believed that the vehicle caught the twenty seven-year-old's attention when she heard a dog barking inside. She then made the gruesome discovery after staring through its back window. Smith, best known for her role as Maria Connor on the ITV soap, immediately phoned the police, who closed the road and sealed off the van after arriving on the scene. Vets later arrived to deal with a Staffordshire bull terrier dog which was also found inside the vehicle. One neighbour commented: '[The van] has been parked here since Friday and the dog's barking was very loud and went on for quite a while. We have never seen the van before and don't know who owns it but it is very sad.'

MTV UK will not air It's On With Alexa Chung, it has announced. Last week, the cable network revealed plans to begin airing the live talkshow from Monday. However, an MTV spokesperson has admitted that clearance issues may mean the series is unable to air in the UK at all. 'Due to unforeseen clearance issues, MTV UK will not now be airing It's On With Alexa Chung. At this time, the show has only been cleared by the distributors for broadcast in the US, and at this stage, we cannot confirm whether the series will eventually air in the UK.'

Michelle Trachtenberg may have a new show on NBC, but she has not forgotten her Gossip Girl comrades, and will return to the series for a guest arc as Georgina Sparks this fall.

Ellen DeGeneres has poked fun at David Beckham's recent underwear advertising campaign while interviewing him on her chat-show, according reports. The England star and wife Victoria recently posed together in a string of racy adverts for Emporio Armani, clad only in their keks. During the midfielder's appearance on her daytime programme, DeGeneres revealed an alternative poster which featured her head photoshopped over Victoria's body. 'That's crazy that nobody got to see that. I felt that more people should see it and I don't have a lot power but I have some power,' she said. The comedienne then directed Beckham (pictured right, not leaving much to the imagination, let it be said) towards a TV screen which showed that massive billboards of the mock campaign had been hung outside the studio, in Times Square, on Sunset Boulevard and in London's Liverpool Street Station. Discussing the real adverts, Beckham said that he was thrilled to be able to work with his wife, adding: 'We never get a chance to work together.' Well no you wouldn't, Becks. I mean, she can't play football and you can't sing or dance so there's not really all that much opportunity. Although, to be fair, she can't sing or dance either and it's never held her back.

Channel 4 received more than two hundred complaints last month about flagship comedy programmes such as The Kevin Bishop Show and Alan Carr: Chatty Man. Bishop's show regularly attracts controversy on taste grounds, though in C4's round-up of August's complaints log, the broadcaster chose to illustrate the one hundred and seven criticisms with a comment slating its quality rather than its standards. One viewer said that it was 'poor,' adding: 'The jokes are non-existent, the impersonations are lame and to be frank it's just not funny.' Yeah, that's a pretty accurate description. A sketch on chat-show Alan Carr: Chatty Man in which Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden joined the host to lampoon Susan Boyle generated seventy five complaints, while thirty four viewers felt that Charlie Brooker overstepped the line with a 'rant about God' in an edition of You Have Been Watching. C4's latest factual entertainment formats to explore social issues, How the Other Half Live and Benefit Busters, have proved divisive. The former, which pairs a rich and poor family, was the most praised show last month, with thirty four messages of support, but forty two viewers criticised what one termed 'a self indulgent PR exercise' on the part of the richer participants. Meanwhile, six people contacted C4 to praise Benefit Busters for putting the benefits system on the public agenda. But a further seventy five questioned the programme. One viewer said: 'I do not see how C4 has the nerve to use the term "documentary" for this type of programming. Instead, this has been a completely uncritical platform for the current government's neo-liberal welfare to work policies.' So, no obvious agenda going down there then. No sireee Bob.

Katie Price was reportedly pushed to the ground after Alex Reid was taunted following a cage-fighting event in West London. The glamour model and her new boyfriend were at the Extreme Brawl after-party when some friends of gypsy fighter Tony Giles reportedly asked Reid to go outside for a fight, according to the Sun. An onlooker said: 'He didn't retaliate but people he was with got involved. It turned into a riot.' One of Giles's friends claimed that Reid asked for a beating, saying: 'He wound me up. He's an arrogant wanker who was walking around like he owned the place. We had a problem with him and were going to sort it out but he chickened out. He deserves to get his head kicked in.' Sounds like a rather fun scene this cage-fighting malarkey - tell me, where can people sign up?

Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding has had a Janet Jackson-style wardrobe malfunction or two during his training for Strictly Come Dancing, says the Daily Mirror. Wilding apparently has 'tree trunk' thighs and his super-snug dance trousers keep splitting at inopportune times. The answer, apparently, is a pair of 'specially reinforced trousers' to get him through the tougher routines.

Keith Allen, Reece Shearsmith and Matthew Kelly have joined the cast of Sean Holmes's Comedians. Goodness Gracious Me actor Kulvinder Ghir, David Dawson and Mark Benton are also confirmed for the revival of Trevor Griffiths' legendary 1975 play, which has not been produced in London for nearly twenty years. The play - brilliantly adapted as a one-off Play For Today by the BBC in the late 1970s with Jonathan Pryce and Bill Fraser - centres on six aspiring comedians who attend an evening class in Manchester ahead of a performance for a London agent which, for one reason or another, goes disastrously wrong. Former You Bet! presenter Matthew Kelly will play the role of Eddie, the comedy tutor. It will take place at the Lyric Hammersmith from 14 October to 14 November.

Jack Tweed is being regarded as a strong potential target of prison violence, according to various press reports. Staff at Pentonville Prison reportedly consider Tweed at risk due to his fame and the nature of his alleged offence. The club promoter, convicted thug and former lover of the late Jade Goody, who is currently on remand accused of sexually assaulting a nineteen-year-old female, apparently has prison guards watching him closely in his cell to prevent him from being attacked. Michael Glover, the son of a fellow inmate, told the Sun: 'A lot of people are shouting out of their cells, having a right go at him.' Tweed was reportedly heard crying after his family failed to visit him over the weekend. Glover continued: 'My dad gave him some food and Jack was just sitting down on his bed crying. My dad said he looked like he was shitting himself.'

And, speaking of people who totally showed themselves up in front of the entire nation on Celebrity Big Brother, Danielle Lloyd has bought a flat with her boyfriend, football player Jamie O'Hara according to press reports. The pair, who have been dating for six months, spent an estimated two million pounds on the property in Sunninghill, Berkshire, state the Sun. The flat has twenty four-hour security, which Lloyd is said to have insisted upon after being burgled in June. The former Celebrity Big Brother contestant has also been quoted as saying that she wishes to settle down after a string of high-rofile incidents which culminated in her allegedly being attacked in a nightclub earlier this year. Lloyd was reportedly punched in the face after a fight broke out over O'Hara in May. The former disgraced Miss Great Britain was said to have suffered a cut lip after bumping into the Tottenham Hotspur player's ex-girlfriend, Sade, in the Funkymojoe in South Woodford, Essex. According to the Sun, a brawl started between friends of Sade and Lloyd, who claimed that she was hit in the face as she went to leave. A representative for the model said at the time: 'She has swelling and an injury to her lip. She was attacked for no reason. There is not a shred of truth in the claim she stole Jamie from his ex-girlfriend. Both were single when they met.' In 2006, Lloyd made an infamous appearance on the BBC's Test the Nation quiz show. When asked 'Who was Winston Churchill - a rapper, a US President, the Prime Minister or a King?', Lloyd answered, 'Wasn't he the first black president of America? There's a statue of him near me - that's black.'

Spice Girl Mel B, Trinny Woodall, rugby star Austin Healey and Keith Allen (presumably, once he's not on stage in The Comedians) will move into impoverished households in Leeds as part of a new three-part series for ITV. Oh, for God's sake. Just when you think that ideas for TV shows can't possibly get any more banal or crass, along come good old ITV to prove you wrong every single time. The programme 7 Days on the Breadline will show the wealthy celebrities moving into households on housing estates, in some cases replacing a member of the household, and trying to survive on the family's income. They will also witness community issues on the estate such as long-term unemployment, isolation and the need for positive role models for younger people on the estates. And it will be patronising and desperate. However, is it too much to hope that Trinny, in particular, will fall in love with the place and effing well stay there? The series will be produced by Endemol's Brighter Pictures (now, why does that not surprise me?) and was commissioned by ITV controller of popular factual Jo Clinton Davis and Alison Sharman, director of factual and daytime. Who should be bastard-well ashamed of themselves, frankly. Clinton Davis said: 'We hope that exploring life at the sharp end of modern Britain in this personal and immersive way will bring home the challenges that are being faced on a daily basis by so many today and be an enlightening and enlivening experience for all involved.'

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly have been honoured for their outstanding contribution to television at this year's TV Quick and TV Choice Awards. The presenting duo were handed the award recognising their twenty years in television at London's Dorchester Hotel last night. And for stopping making records so early in their career. 'We're absolutely chuffed to receive the TV Quick & TV Choice Award for outstanding contribution, it's a real honour. We can't believe we've been doing this for twenty years - it really is the best job in the world,' said McPartlin. Donnelly added: 'A massive thank you to all of our fans who have supported us over the years - here's to the next twenty!' The pair also took home the best entertainment show trophy for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, while The Inbetweeners was awarded best comedy and Loose Women nabbed the best daytime prize. Best family drama was awarded to Waterloo Road and one of its stars, Denise Welch, was named best actress, while Merlin scooped the best new drama honours. Ashes to Ashes was named the best drama series and star Phillip Glenister was handed the best actor vote. Other winners included EastEnders, which took home three of the five possible soap awards, The Apprentice, Britain's Got Talent and Top Gear.

Sky have dropped its planned doc on the search for the remains of Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after his mother pulled out of the show. The broadcaster had commissioned The Search ... With Martina Cole from Free@Last TV, with a view to transmission in early 2010. The crime novelist had been lined up to front the show, which would have investigated the whereabouts of Keith Bennett’s remains by revisiting existing evidence and interviewing new witnesses as well as those who were involved in the case. But Sky has withdrawn from the series after Winifred Johnson, Bennett's mother, confirmed she was not prepared to take part.

Melvyn Bragg said he was left with no choice but to walk away from The South Bank Show, after ITV director of television Peter Fincham slashed his programming budget. Bragg, speaking with Radio Times, said he attended a 'routine meeting' with Fincham, only to be told that the cut to the show’s budget was so deep 'in effect they cancelled the programme.' In May this year, ITV announced that Lord Bragg would be stepping down after more than thirty years at the helm of the programme. But contrary to the press release put out by ITV, Lord Bragg insists he didn’t step down. 'It was impossible to make two or three programmes, never mind eighteen or twelve,' he said. 'There was no way forward. And there was no negotiation.' The South Bank Show is one of Britain’s longest running television shows. It premiered in 1978 and over the years has profiled artists ranging from The Beatles to Francis Bacon, Ingmar Bergman and Coldplay. The upcoming final batch of films will feature the Wagner family, a profikle of Fever Pitch and High Fidelity author Nick Hornby and a celebration of Disney-owned Pixar.

England women's first major football final in twenty five years is to be screened by the BBC on Thursday. The European Championship final against Germany, at 5pm at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, will be shown live on BBC2. England's women's team have not reached a major final since being beaten by Sweden in the inaugural European Championships in 1984. The team is hopeful captain Faye White will be fit after breaking her cheekbone in the quarter final against Finland. She may wear a face mask, as famously sported by John Terry, her counterpart in Fabio Capello's team, in 2007. Germany start as favourites, having scored fifteen goals and conceded only three in five qualifying matches. It's good to see the ladies having a moment in the limelight just for once - like England's ladies cricket team which seem to be the best in the world in their sport at the moment - I always feel that we don't take women's sport anywhere near seriously enough in this country. Unless it's athletics or swimming, I guess. Not sure why that is - although undeniably there's more than a hint of sexist gittery in there somewhere - but, anyway, From The North sends its best wishes for the girls on Thursday.

Hole in the Wall, The Thick of It, Shaun the Sheep and new comedy Home Time are all set to join the BBC's HD channel this autumn – but Top Gear is still absent. The BBC-HD autumn slate also includes debuts for Countryfile, Waterloo Road, series two of BBC2 comedy Beautiful People, new children’s show Gigglebiz plus the results show for Strictly Come Dancing. Writing on the BBC Internet blog, head of BBC-HD Danielle Nagler said she still had concerns that the channel was 'limited and unpredictable' a year after she was appointed. 'I was concerned at what I perceived as the gap between the BBC-HD promise – the best content from the BBC – and the reality,' she said. 'Those concerns haven't entirely gone away. But looking at the autumn schedule I do feel that we are moving in the right direction and I would hope that you agree.' Most big BBC shows for the autumn will appear on the channel, including the Doctor Who specials, Antiques Roadshow, The Electric Proms, Emma and The Art of Russia. The channel is also the only UK-wide BBC channel showing BBC Wales' new drama Crash, which starts tomorrow. Regarding Top Gear's absence from the HD schedules, Nagler added: 'Don't feel your thoughts/pleas/paeans of praise for Top Gear have disappeared into the ether, or into my recycling bin. I really value your contributions to our thinking, and hope to be able to update you very soon. But I also want to work through this autumn to make it easier to get information about what is on BBC-HD when so that I can tackle the frustrations you air around missing programmes in HD or not knowing what is available.'

Rami Malek, Julian Morris and Hrach Titizian have landed recurring roles on FOX's 24, accoridng to The Hollywood Reporter. Malek, whose previous credits include Medium and Gilmore Girls, will play Marcos, a would-be suicide bomber, while former ER actor Morris is joining as a CTU SWAT agent. Thirty-year-old Titizian, who appeared as Zamil Kouri in 24's sixth season, will take on the new role of Nabeel, the second-in-command of security for President Hassan.

Singer Katy Perry has said in an interview that she is terrified of falling asleep while travelling in cars. Keith Telly Topping wishes to inform you, dear blog reader, that his own bizarre fears include small yappy-type dogs, the Turin Shroud, ladies with facial hair and clotted cream.

My thanks go to my wee pal Alfie Joey for discovering the following little gem on You Tube. It's from the Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles in 2001 and I'm on approximately one minute and fifty six seconds into the clip. I think it's my sole appearance on You Tube - thank God - unless, of course, you know different. Alf was particularly impressed that I was the only one of the assembled Doctor Who novel authors to 'indulge in a bit of stand-up!' See what I mean about my 'fat Elvis-period'?! And, isn't it lovely to dear old, and very much lamented, Craig Hinton on fine form again?

And finally, confirmation of many people's long-held suspicions. Staff at shops owned by the Dixons Stores Group have been caught insulting customers behind their backs on a social networking site. An unofficial group, set up on Facebook for staff of DSG, featured comments from existing and former staff of the electronics retailer. The comments branded customers 'stupid' and recounted unflattering shop floor conversations with them. DSG said it was disappointed that the comments had been left and added that it would be investigating. Oh good, a bunch of sackings are, seemingly, on the horizon. Now, who feels stupid? The Facebook group called 'DSGi Employees' says it is one for 'people who work/have worked for the same company' and has about three thousand members. In it staff, many of whom used their real names, post comments about encounters with members of the public, some of which heap insults on them. Among many insults, one particular staffer at a store asked if it would be acceptable to use a cattle prod on customers who prove difficult to satisfy. Gotta say, I'm surprised that anybody's surprised by this revelation. Because that sort of casual disdain for the general public meshes perfectly with my own experience of shopping in Dixons over many, many years.