Thursday, December 03, 2009

Oh Sting, Where Is Thy Death?

Yer Keith Telly Topping was dead delighted, dear blog reader, to pick up a copy of the DVD of Bill Bailey's Guide to the Orchestra on the cheap earlier this week (well, it was nine quid, anyway). As mentioned earlier in the year when an edited version of the concert piece was shown on the BBC, this is Sir William at his brilliant, entertaining, surreal and talented best - I mean, for the 'Doctor Who Theme as Belgian Jazz' sequence alone, it's worth a bit of your coin. It's been a damned good year for many of Keith Telly Topping's comedy heroes, frankly, with Eddie Izzard's tremendous Stripped tour and Mock The Week pissing off exactly the sort of people that you really rather want it to piss off.

And speaking of just such an occurrence, Jo Brand's joke about 'The Lady Thatcher' has escaped criticism from the BBC Trust after it - quite rightly - rejected a complaint made by a single, tight-arsed viewer. The body also decided not to uphold a complaint about another of Jo's comments, concerning incontinence, which she made in the same edition of Qi earlier this year, which one viewer had claimed was both ageist and sexist. During the Stephen Fry-hosted show, broadcast in February just two days after Baroness Thatcher's daughter Carol had been dismissed from The ONE Show for using the word 'golliwog' off-air, Brand had joked: 'It was great actually when she became Lady Thatcher, because then she sounded like a device for removing pubic hair - you couldn't take her seriously after that.' Later in the show, she asked Alan Davies: 'Is there a facility for men to wet themselves when they cough? Does that ever happen to blokes?' BBC1 Controller Jay Hunt said that Brand's comments were not poking fun at the former Prime Minister but were merely referring to her name. Actually, that's total crap, they were poking fun at Maggie as well. But, since when in a civilised society has telling Thatcher-jokes ever been a no-no? I mean, television comedy would never have made it through the 1980s without The Young Ones and Saturday Live doing exactly that on a weekly basis. The programme had been recorded several months before Carol Thatcher's sacking and it was simply a matter of bad timing that the episode was shown when it was - which was probably the only reason that the complaint had been made in the first place. The producer of Qi told the committee: 'It was an unfortunate oversight that this particular programme was transmitted on this particular night and one that is to be wholly regretted.' A complaint to the Trust on this issue had originally been rejected earlier in the year and now an appeal to the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee has also been turned down. It is to be hoped that the complainer themselves will now be charged double on their TV licence fee next year for crassly wasting everybody's time on such trivial nonsense when there are actually real, honest to God issues that should be occupying their time. The committee thought the play on words and the joke about incontinence were 'editorially justified,' did not amount to prejudice or anything even remotely like it and did not breach programme guidelines.

Which, satisfyingly, brings us to the following revelation: The X Factor has prompted the most viewer complaints to media watchdog Ofcom so far in 2009, recently released figures have revealed. The talent search attracted five thousand nine hundred and seventy nine complaints, with approximately four thousand of those relating to one incident - Dannii Minogue's remarks about contestant Danyl Johnson. The tenth series of Big Brother, its celebrity spin-off and Britain's Got Talent also featured prominently in the Most Complaints list. Ofcom recorded its biggest volume of complaints - just under sixty five thousand - in 2007, due largely to the Shilpa Shetty-Jade Goody-Danielle Lloyd-Jo O'Meara racism row. Question Time made fifth place in the 2009 list due to the controversy surrounding BNP leader Nick Griffin's inclusion on the panel. Coronation Street was the only soap opera to appear in the Top Ten, over issues including long-running character Ken Barlow's remarks at Easter which were seen as anti-Christian by some viewers. Mock The Week which, if you believe everything you read in the Daily Mail causes offence to all right-thinking individuals on an almost second-by-second basis, didn't even make the Top Fifteen. Ofcom's chief executive, Ed Richards, said that the body had seen an underlying trend towards an increase in complaints since it came into existence in 2004. So, there's the obvious answer, it would seem - get rid of Ofcom (a collective of nobodies, elected by no one, whose interference in matters of artistic concern is an outrage) and complaints to Ofcom will, as a consequence, stop overnight. A brilliant - and simple - solution, I feel. Speaking at the Culture and Media Select Committee, Richards put this trend down to a rise in cable and satellite channels with 'less well-established compliance' procedures and lower budgets. 'It was thought that people would become more comfortable with the idea there was a range of content,' he said, but added there had been a 'steady rise' in complaints. Richards said that 'boundaries are well understood' by more established broadcasters.

A number of former cast members from The Shield will be guest starring on an episode of Lie to Me this season. Entertainment Weekly reports that Shawn Ryan, the creator of both shows, has cast several of his former colleagues to play a wrongly convicted death row inmate and his extended family. The actors lined up to appear in the Fox programme include Benito Martinez, Catherine Dent, Kenny Johnson, David Marciano, Cathy Cahlin Ryan and David Rees Snell. The episode, entitled Pied Piper, will be broadcast on 7 December in the US.

Kate Garraway has said that she never intended to upset Mariah Carey with a recent magazine column. The TV presenter was, by all accounts, taken to the woodshed by GMTV bosses after Carey denied Garraway's suggestion in her magazine column that she was a diva. In the latest issue of New!, Garraway told her readers: 'I am really sorry about the furore I caused last week after I wrote in this column about Mariah Carey's appearance on GMTV. Especially because I am told it has upset the star herself, which is the last thing I intended.' Well, if you didn't intend to upset her by publicly revealing that she brought her own private netty roll to the studio (which, as it turns out, was completely untrue) then I'd really hate to see what you'd have said about someone if you did want to upset them, Katie. 'You will remember I said how nice Mariah was. Everyone at GMTV loved having her on and her performance, typically, blew us all away. But it was wrong for me to add some jokes and gossip about her being a diva.' Particularly as, it turns out, you weren't even there at the time. Garraway added: 'Her management have now told me that I got hold of the wrong end of the stick completely and I am still reeling from the massive ticking off my bosses gave me for fuelling the rumours that Mariah is unreasonably demanding. Of course a star of Mariah's magnitude is bound to have a lot of people around her when she appears on a show like GMTV, especially as in this instance she also had a group of backing singers as well - no one would expect anything less. Let's face it - the world would be a much duller place without people like Mariah and it's only because they are such stars that we all love to gossip about them. I am so sorry, Mariah, and I really hope that you come back to the UK soon.' Don't hold yer breath, love.

Ricky Snakehips Whittle may be sued by the photographer that he has been accused of assaulting, lawyers have announced. The Hollyoaks and Strictly Come Dancing star was arrested last week after his car allegedly struck paparazzi Steve Farrell. Whittle was later released on police bail pending further enquiries. The alleged incident reportedly occurred as Whittle left a Liverpool bar following a party organised by the Hollyoaks team to mark the departures from the production of actresses Zoë Lister and Lena Kaur. According to the Press Association, the law firm representing Farrell has now released a statement which confirms that he is taking legal advice regarding a potential civil injury claim. Pannone Law's Nick Harrison explained: 'At this point in time we are making enquiries into the incident. Mr Farrell maintains that he was going about the normal course of his business as a freelance photographer when he was struck by a vehicle being driven by Mr Whittle. If the evidence suggests that Mr Whittle drove negligently into Mr Farrell, then Mr Farrell may well have a case for claiming compensation for his injuries and any loss of earnings.' You know how there are some people who suggest - in total seriousness - that if you're driving along and you see a photographer crossing the road in front of you, don't bother to break? Well, I wonder if they'd consider adding ambulance-chasing lawyers to that equation, or not?

Monday night's Wilson-centric episode of House was watched by over thirteen million viewers on FOX, the latest overnight viewing figures reveal. The latest instalment of the medical drama, which focused largely on Robert Sean Leonard's popular supporting character was up on last week's episode, which managed just under twelve million.

Hat Trick's managing director, Jimmy Mulville, has completed a management buy-out of the independent production company, whose credits include Have I Got News For You and the acclaimed sitcom Outnumbered. Mulville, who co-founded Hat Trick in 1986, this week completed the purchase of a forty five per cent stake in the company that was bought by finance group August Equity for twenty three million pounds six years ago. He now owns the majority of the company, with another stake owned by Hat Trick's chairman, Patrick McKenna, who is also chief executive of Ingenious Media Group. The buyout was first mooted three years ago, Mulville revealed. 'It's rather odd – I feel quite lonely, because I think we're the only one of the founding members of the "independent sector" that is still independent,' he said. 'We've dipped our toe in a bit of corporate activity and we've taken our toe out again. I feel quite relieved.' Mulville told C21: 'We began talking about it in November 2006. We had realised that the deal we did with the investment bank all those years ago was predicated on world domination, and very quickly we'd realised that, as a small-to-medium-sized business with that much debt, there's really nowhere to go. Both parties realise that, and both then set about trying to work out a deal that was agreeable to both parties, which takes a while.' He said he had no plans for an imminent sale. 'I've got no plans to do anything with it in terms of selling it on in the foreseeable future, so we're just growing the business. In real-world terms, there's no debt in the business, which is good. We've got a full order book and the management here are fully incentivised now, because the shareholding rests with us and not with an outside investor, which is probably the shape that a business-like mind should be in. We'd never borrowed until we did this deal. The first eighteen years of Hat Trick's life we didn't borrow a penny and we thrived, and were able to enjoy good profits with dividends for shareholders – albeit a small group of private shareholders – so I'm quite relaxed about it. It is more perilous, as a small-to-medium-sized business, to have a bit of debt in your business, whereby you're vulnerable to a bank losing faith. Whereas at the moment, we're just betting on ourselves.' Hat Trick's other TV credits include Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Room 101, Drop the Dead Donkey and The Kumars at No 42.

Amanda Holden has predicted that her new sitcom Big Top will get a harsh response from critics. Well, it will if the rest of it is as crap as the first episode suggests, Amanda love. I laughed once. It was the joke where someone said that to comply with Health & Safety Regulations he'd wear a hard hat 'like that gay pop band' and another character suggests he means Coldplay. That was pretty funny, actually. But apart from that ... It takes something pretty special to waste comedy talents like Tony Robinson and John Thompson quite as much as this did. In the series, the Britain's Got Talent judge with the uncanny ability to burst into tears at the slightest provocation plays ringmistress Lizzie. Speaking on The Paul O'Grady Show, Holden admitted that she expects the media to write-off the series before it has time to develop. Holden commented: 'They'll slate it. They'll slate me. They'll say, "Why is she a talent judge? She's in this show and she's not talented in it."' Yes, that's about the size of you. You kind of know that a series is in big trouble when its female lead is saying that she expects criticism before it's even been broadcast, don't you? Thirty eight-year-old Holden, who has previously appeared in Cutting It and Wild At Heart, recently described Big Top as 'credit crunch comedy.' And, on the evidence of the first episode, certainly there appear to be considerable toxic assets at work in the scripting department.

SeeSaw, the new video-on-demand service from transmission firm Arqiva, has agreed its first content deal with BBC Worldwide. The service, built using technology from the collapsed joint venture Project Kangaroo, will carry a range of programming from the BBC archive, including Doctor Who, Cranford and That Mitchell & Webb Look. When it launches in the 'coming months,' SeeSaw will support a mix of free and pay content, with more programming deals expected to be announced imminently. 'Today's announcement is a significant milestone for SeeSaw, demonstrating our commitment to deliver a rich and varied range of British programming,' said SeeSaw chief executive Pierre-Jean Sebert. 'By offering an enhanced viewing experience and great content, SeeSaw will become the ideal destination for consumers to indulge their passion for TV.' BBC Worldwide director of content partnerships Simon Danker said: 'As a nation we're becoming increasingly familiar with watching full-length content online. We're pleased to give UK viewers the chance to watch some of their favourite BBC shows whenever and wherever they want.' SeeSaw platform controller John Keeling added: 'Confirming great content from BBC Worldwide is just the beginning. With unrivalled depth in comedy, drama, factual and lifestyle programming, SeeSaw will change the way Britain chooses to watch great television. Watch this space.'

BBC2 has commissioned a new Stephen K Amos comedy vehicle. The six-part show will combine stand-up, sketch characters and audience participation with hidden camera antics. BBC controller Janice Hadlow said of the programme: 'Following the recent success of Miranda, I'm delighted to welcome another great talent to the channel and give Stephen K Amos the opportunity to really shine in his own television show.' Amos added: 'Obviously I'm thrilled - although now my mum will find out I'm a stand-up comedian. She thinks I drive a minicab.' Heh. Well, that one joke has put this on a level par with the opening episode of Big Top before it's even entered into production. That takes some doing.

Coronation Street veteran Betty Williams will fear she has become a killer in a forthcoming storyline in the soap. According to the Sun, the Weatherfield favourite will be left horrified next year when one of her famous hotpots appears to have poisoned an elderly visitor to the Rovers. It is thought that the plot will begin in February when Betty reaches her ninetieth birthday and looks likely to be awarded the title of 'Manchester's Oldest Barmaid' by the Weatherfield Gazette. Her celebrations are subsequently marred when rival pint-puller Enid Crump arrives in the Rovers and announces that she should be the winner as she is ninety one and still works at The Parsons Arms pub. Attempting to calm the situation, landlord Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) offers Enid a sherry and a hotpot, but accidentally microwaves a meal that is more than two months old. Enid is then rushed to hospital and ends up close to death due to food poisoning. Betty, played by eighty nine-year-old Betty Driver, reportedly goes on to panic and say: 'It's murder. I'll have killed her. I'm too old to go to prison. I'll never come out alive!' However, Steve's wife Becky (Katherine Kelly) tells her partner: 'It won't be Betty that cops it if Enid pops her clogs, Steve - it'll be you. You delivered the fatal blow.' Driver has played the role of Betty for the past forty years and the character's hotpots have become a regular feature of life in the Rovers.

Meanwhile Corrie actress Maggie Jones, who played Blanche Hunt in the soap, has sadly died in hospital at the age of seventy five. A spokeswoman for the ITV show said the star, who had been recovering from an operation in October, had 'passed away peacefully' on Wednesday morning. William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, said that Jones was a 'brilliant actress' who had an 'amazing dry wit.' She first appeared as Blanche, who is best known for her harsh put-downs and sharp tongue, thirty five years ago.

Rare footage of Syd Barrett singing with The Pink Floyd on Top Of The Pops has been discovered after more than forty years. The damaged footage of the band playing their second hit, 'See Emily Play', has been restored and will be screened for the first time since its initial 1967 broadcast. Barrett, who died in 2006, left the group a year after this was recorded. The British Film Institute will show the footage at its Missing Believed Wiped annual event on 9 January. The Pink Floyd performance, on a one-inch, reel-to-reel tape, was discovered in a private collection. It features two full editions of Top Of The Pops from 6 and 27 July 1967, both hosted by the late Alan Freeman. Steve Bryant, senior curator at the BFI, said: 'This is an enormously significant discovery that will generate huge interest amongst music fans all over the world, even though the surviving material is in poor condition.' BFI staff were 'thrilled to have been given the opportunity to restore this recording, as much as has been possible, so that people can get a sense of this legendary appearance,' he added. TV recordings were often dumped or wiped in the 1960s and 1970s due to tape storage and copywrite issues.

Liz McClarnon has been unveiled as the host for BBC3's Hotter Than My Daughter. The new series, which was announced earlier this year, features pairs of warring women who believe their partner's dress sense and look is affecting their relationship. 'Hotter Than My Daughter will be packed with genuinely jaw dropping moments,' said McClarnon. Is that, necessarily, a good thing, however? 'It will be lip gloss and mini dresses at the ready for these mums, daughters and bezzie mates. I can’t wait to start masterminding the makeovers and uncover the home truths behind the hot pants.'

BT Vision has agreed a content deal with NBC Universal International Television Distribution to bring a raft of US dramas to its video-on-demand service. Under the deal, BT Vision's TV Pack subscribers will get access to a variety of NBC Universal programmes, including Law & Order, 30 Rock, House and Heroes. 'We are delighted to sign a deal with NBC Universal, so that we can offer some of the most successful US drama series all in one place and available for TV pack customers to watch whenever they want,' said BT Vision chief executive Marc Watson. BT Vision already has existing deals with HBO and Universal Music. It also signed another agreement with Sony Pictures in July for VOD rights to a range of new and classic films.

Ofcom's chief executive Ed Richards - remember him? - has defended the regulator's pay-TV investigation following staunch criticism from Sky. At a culture select committee hearing today, Richards said that Ofcom is working to a 'very clear framework' in its review. He added that Sky may be 'uncomfortable' with the investigation because it is 'part' of the pay TV industry, reports the Guardian. 'We found in this area quite an interesting development, that it's often the case that people observe or criticise us for being over-regulated,' he said. 'If you look at some of these cases you often find it's a specific response to an area of activity. We know full well Sky and [Sky chairman] Mr Murdoch are uncomfortable about our investigation into pay TV because Sky is part of it.' In its consultation, Ofcom is proposing to force Sky to free up access to its subscription video-on-demand movies and FA Premier League TV rights at significantly cheaper prices. Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in September that the consultation threatens the 'virtuous circle of risk and reward' by making it easy for rival operators to make a profit at Sky's expense. In August, James Murdoch also used his MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival to decry the 'astonishing' level of regulation imposed on Sky. However, Richards stressed that Ofcom did not instigate the review as it was a joint Virgin Media, BT, Top Up TV and Setanta complaint in 2007 which kicked the process off. He also said that Sky is not so concerned about the broadband market, in which the firm has developed a 'strong position' under heavy regulation. Ofcom's pay TV consultation will reach a firm verdict in March 2010. The Ofcom chairman, Collette Bowe, who was also at the culture select committee hearing, admitted that over the past year the regulator had not made much progress in 'the area of public service content for children. I'm sorry to say that we've not made much progress yet,' Bowe said, warning that the nation was in danger of 'sleepwalking ourselves into a situation where we don't have high-quality UK original content for our kids.'

Liam Gallagher has said that he may keep the Oasis band name despite his brother Noel's departure. The singer told the Evening Standard that he, guitarist Gem Archer and bassist Andy Bell would retain the name unless they came up with something better. Liam said: 'We're not using it at the moment, but if we don't come up with something else by the time we're ready to release the album it'll be Oasis. I'm not going to call myself something ridiculous just for the sake of it. We're trying lots of new names right now, but nothing's sticking so we're just plugging on with the music. Obviously we won't be playing any of Noel's songs. It's going to be different without Noel and Noel's fans will sneer at it but then, you know, if they don't like the music, don't fucking buy it. Don't come to the gig, 'cos you're not going to be hearing 'Don't Look Back in Anger.'' He added: 'We're halfway there, man. We've got all the songs done. Without Noel at all. Me, Andy and Gem are doing it. That was the way it was going anyway, even on the last record. We were, like, doing most of it and Noel was off doing his own thing. So we've got a bit of studio time booked after Christmas and we're going to get in there, do it quick, with no stewing on it, and I'm feeling really confident about it.'

John and Edward Grimes have rejected suggestions that Simon Cowell wants Joe McElderry to win this year's X Factor more than his own acts. It has been claimed that Cowell recently urged the other judges to back McElderry, despite him mentoring Olly Murs and Danyl Johnson. However, John told the Mirror: 'I think that's a load of speculation. I think that everyone goes out there and does their own thing. They work with their own mentor. Joe's with Cheryl, he has Danyl and Olly and Dannii has Stacey.' He added: 'Who's going to win? I think that everyone has a good chance, I think that they're all on the same level, but I think that people seem to vote for them. We want Stacey to win, but people need to get behind her and vote for her.' Edward said: 'Think about it, there's no bottom two anymore so if someone doesn't get the votes then they're gone.'

Meanwhile, the Grimes twins are reportedly being considered for an appearance on The Simpsons. According to the Sun, the singing duo could feature as themselves in an episode of the animated sitcom. But, hang on. Don't you actually have to be, you know, reasonably well know in the US before you get asked to go on The Simpsons? A country in which The X Factor isn't widely shown? Hmm ... I smell a made-up story here. Nevertheless, a FOX spokesman is alleged to have said: 'Castings are not something we can talk publicly about, but we are taking a look at the boys. We love anything Irish - we set a whole show there last year. They are certainly charming and good-looking fellows.' Edward said: 'We would love to be on The Simpsons.' So would many people, pal, but most never will. Remember, whilst Britain's Got Talent sensation Susan Boyle was namechecked by Homer Simpson in an episode show earlier this year even she hasn't been asked to actually appear.

Rolf Harris has revealed that he is planning to work with Mr Dizzee Rascal and The Chemical Brothers next year. Mint.

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, and Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, announced two new dramas which will spearhead a BBC4 season which explores love and sexuality in Twentieth Century literature: Billy Ivory's adaption of DH Lawrence's Women In Love, which also draws upon The Rainbow, and Amanda Coe's adaptation of John Braine's novel Room At The Top. Ben Stephenson said: 'I am thrilled that two of our most exciting screen writers Billy Ivory and Amanda Coe are re-interpreting the works of two of the Twentieth Century's most daring and honest voices: DH Lawrence and John Braine, and bringing them back into the spotlight.' Klein added: 'Modern adaptations are a new direction for drama on the channel and I'm delighted to bring alive for viewers these iconic, but sometimes overlooked, classic novels. They will form the backbone of a season exploring how relationships between men and women, including sexual relations, were written about and conducted.'

Channel 4 has hired Derren Brown - The Events executive producer Justin Gorman as its new head of entertainment to replace Andrew Newman. In his role at independent production firm Objective, Gorman gained notoriety for producing Brown's groundbreaking series for Channel 4, including the high-profile How To Win The Lottery episode. From January 2010, he will take over from Newman, who moves in the opposite direction to take on a position at Objective. Reporting to head of Channel 4 Julian Bellamy, Gorman will oversee all commissioning of entertainment programming across the main channel and E4. 'This is a key moment for entertainment on both Channel 4 and E4. The freeing up of commissioning hours and cash brought about by the decision not to recommission Big Brother means there are a multitude of opportunities in this area,' said Bellamy. 'Great entertainment is a key part of Channel 4, and I look forward to working closely with Justin to find the next generation of groundbreaking entertainment shows for the channel.' In his broadcasting career, Gorman has also worked at Hat Trick, Granada and Princess Productions, and been involved with ITV shows Popstars, Blind Date and The Cube.

Hollywood actress Charlize Theron has been confirmed as one of the presenters at the football World Cup draw. The South African star will be joined by David Beckham and Ethiopian athletics icon Haile Gebrselassie at the event which takes place in Cape Town on Friday. Theron, who won a Best Acteress Oscar for her role in the movie Monster in 2003, will assist FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke with the draw. Two hundred and fifty million people are expected to watch the draw live on television, which will determine the groups for the final thirty two teams in next year's tournament. Viewing figures in the Republic of Ireland are expected to be somewhat lower than those in France, however.

Myleene Klass has reportedly secured a new six-figure contract with Mothercare. According to the Daily Mail, the high street retailer agreed to extend Klass's current deal following the success of her Baby K clothing line, which was launched in 2008.

Kerry Katona has announced that she will start working hard to lose weight in the New Year. Yer Keith Telly Topping says that every year too. It usually lasts until around 3rd January. The reality TV regular has admitted that she was ashamed of her appearance when she recently spotted an unflattering photo of herself in a newspaper. Katona told OK magazine: 'That vile pic has made me want to go to boot camp - it's given me the kick-start I needed.' The twenty nine-year-old said that she will remain 'nice and podgy' over Christmas but will begin her new fitness regime immediately afterwards. Revealing why her size has increased in recent months, she explained: 'I'm bankrupt and I can't afford electricity. I'm in the house and it gets dark and I've got nothing to do. I'm cold, so I think, "Ooh, what do I want to eat?" Then I just sit and watch a film, and stuff my face.' Hang on. If you can't, as you allege, 'afford any electricity' then how, exactly, do you 'watch a film,' Kerry? That would appear to be the one, obvious, flaw in your otherwise really quite hilarious sob-story.

Balding ex-milkman and professional whinger, Sting, has rejected the accusation that he is a gross hypocrite because of his ongoing campaign to save part of the Brazilian rainforest. The whiny-voiced singer-songwriter was pointedly quizzed by Jeremy Paxman on the BBC's Newsnight about whether he felt uncomfortable travelling between his various homes 'at enormous carbon costs,' whilst still banging on about saving the planet. Sting said: 'I think it's an amusing red herring for the media to blame celebrities for the global crisis we're in.' Oh, so it's not your fault, or Bono's, it's down to 'the common people' then, is it, Gordon? Paxman interjected: 'You're not being blamed for it, you're just being accused of hypocrisy, that's all.' Fab. Sting replied: 'I've done a lot of work to try and safeguard vast amounts of equatorial rainforests over the past twenty years.' Yes, but that's not actually answering the question, is it? Do you, or do you not, fly around the world (usually in First Class, I'm guessing) when you want to be An Englishman in New York? Or Tuscany? Or Rio, for that matter? 'I think I've tried to ameliorate my carbon footprint which is admittedly large, but then again so is yours, Jeremy.' Yeah, but not as large as yours, fellah. He then added: 'Whenever I'm asked a sensible question that's when I give a sensible answer, but none of us are blameless in this. It's difficult to do my job and not have a carbon footprint, but I've tried to offset it. I've worked pretty hard over the last twenty years - demarcated an area of land the size of Belgium, which is a big success story.' So, to sum up, Our Stingy does a lot of a work saving the planet. Dunno if you knew that because he's usually so shy and reticent to talk about it, dear blog reader. If you didn't, however, I'm sure the pompous self-important little prick will be extremely happy to fill this significant gap in your knowledge with a finger-wagging lecture or several.