Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Poppies Are In The Field (But Don't Ask Me What That Means)

Poppies. They're worn by many people around this time of the year, dear blog readers. Yer Keith Telly Topping wears one - usually for a couple of weeks up to 11 November - as a token of my appreciation for a lot of men (and women) that I'll never know who paid the ultimate price for standing up to bullyboy dictators. They are worn, specifically, for a symbolic silence lasting just two minutes, but the period of poppy-wearing leading up to Remembrance Sunday seems to be getting longer than ever. At least, that's according to a horribly prejudicial and spiteful little shitehawk 'exclusive' in, of all places, the Independent. Which you can check out for yourself, here. (It's a somewhat bizarre place to find such a nasty piece of work, the Indie is normally far too namby-pamby sitting-on-every-fence-on-every-issue to put out one of these kind of hatchet jobs. Maybe they're trying to muscle in on the Gruniad Morning Star's territory.) According to the newspaper 'this year the BBC's presenters started wearing [poppies] this weekend – a week before the Royal British Legion launches its fund-raising appeal.' So? The article, remarkably, whinges about this fact - though God only knows why - and quotes the views of some people of absolutely no importance whatsoever about how much of a disgrace all of this sick filth is and how someone should be horsewhipped through the streets for such impertinence, damn and blast their eyes. Jesus, the shit some people choose to care about. And, of course, you can absolutely guarantee that if any BBC presenter doesn't wear a poppy during the next fortnight, scum like these will be the first to complain about that as well. Can't do right for doing wrong, seemingly. Wherever there's an anti-BBC story, you can bet that the Daily Scum Mail will be following closely behind, their tongues quite literally hanging out of their slavering mouths and with a massive chimney, the size of a space rocket, on at the prospect of giving Auntie another damned good kicking. Just like a swarm of lice attracted to filth. Interestingly, however, hidden away in paragraph five of the Scum Mail article is a statement from the Royal British Legion themselves, who note that the BBC has done nothing wrong. 'What we do say to people is that when you receive your poppies – organisations, retailers, whoever – we set guidelines and say the national launch will be from 28 October,' said a spokesman. 'But it's really down to the individual as to when they choose to wear their poppy. We would never say they're wearing their poppy too early.' So, another complete non-story with a thoroughly sick agenda smeared all over it like jam on toast. Makes you proud to be British, doesn't it. We do that sort of thing so well over here.

Now, here's a story that the Daily Scum Mail will probably have their say over tomorrow: Ofcom is to take no action against Top Gear after presenter Jeremy Clarkson described a Ferrari car as a simpleton with special needs. In August, Jezza attracted criticism for his comments when comparing a new Ferrari with an older model owned by his fellow presenter James May. Criticism from two viewers. Out of an audience of over five million. I just thought I'd add that point here and now and you can bet a fairly sizeable sum of money that fact won't be mentioned when the anti-BBC press are trying to work out which angle they'll be using to cover this story. Jezza, you may remember, said: 'James's Ferrari (the F430) was a bit wrong. That smiling front end - it looked like a simpleton - should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs.' Jeremy was, of course, making a little play on the car's proper name - the Ferrari F430 Especial - but two viewers (who, seemingly, didn't have anything better or more productive to do with their lives) complained to Ofcom about his 'offensive' use of phrase 'special needs.' In response, the BBC said it 'regretted' that some viewers - ten of them to be exact, according to the BBC Press Office in August - had found the comments offensive, but stressed that there was 'no intent to make light of those with special educational needs or to make fun at their expense.' Why the hell they didn't add, 'oh for God's sake just grow up, will you?' to the whingers I have absolutely no idea. But, they didn't. The corporation claimed that Jeremy was merely poking fun at the car and at his co-presenter, rather than at people with learning difficulties. As though anyone with half an ounce of brains in their ruddy head actually needed to be told that. After accepting that the comments could cause offence - if you're a glake - the BBC opted to remove them from all repeats of the programme and from BBC iPlayer. In its ruling, Ofcom noted that Jeremy's comments were 'capable of causing offence' - again, if you're specifically looking to be offended - and 'could easily be understood as ridiculing people in society with a particular physical disability or learning difficulty.' However, the watchdog noted that Top Gear is well known for its 'irreverent style, and sometimes outspoken humour.' It said that the programme in question was also broadcast post-watershed at 9.30pm, meaning that viewers would expect it to contain more 'challenging content.' After taking into account the action taken by the BBC to remove the comments from repeat editions of the show, Ofcom decided against any further action. 'Ofcom acknowledged that the BBC took immediate steps in response to complaints it received about the programme,' said the regulator. 'In particular the BBC had voluntarily removed the comments from the iPlayer version of the programme and the repeat version broadcast several days later, and made the decision not to repeat the programme in its original format. It had also apologised for any offence caused by the comments, underlining that there was no intent to make fun of those with special needs. Ofcom therefore considered this case resolved.' And, again, just be flabbergasted by the shite that some people choose to care about, dear blog reader. The utter, mind-numbing trivia that constitutes 'stuff worth getting worked up about' to some. I mean ... things that are actually worth complaining about: There's really not many. Bigotry. Racism. Homophobia. Holocaust denial. Sadistic cruelty in all its forms. Some plank suggesting that your mum 'takes it up the arse.' The Fact that Sting is alive and getting paid as well. That's about it, really. And so, as noted at the time it first appeared, this is another complete non-story.

The first semi-final of MasterChef: The Professionals on Monday evening brought an initial surprise as Gregg Wallace was missing-in-action (presumably off doing some filming for the forthcoming Turn Back Time). Thus, Michel and an even scarier than usual Monica were doing the judging this time. Geordie John, Sweaty Durham Dave, Big Fat Cuddly Scouse Claire and ... Young I Haven't Thought of a Silly Nickname For Her Yet Alice sailed through with virtually faultless dishes. Frenchman Ben made it too, despite an unfortunately undercooked bit of lamb. So too did Likeable (If A Bit Lightweight) Lee who, again, rather overdid his ingredients but still managed to pull something highly edible together. Sulky Stacey (who, inevitably, blubbed her way through her post-match interview) and Massively Overconfident In His Own Ability Matthew ('Bit disappointed really,' he said, with his lip trailing the ground. 'To come all this way...') were the two chefs to be eliminated.

And, [spooks] just keeps getting better and better. This week, we had much nefarious and naughty skulduggery from the Americans (in the shape of an excellent guest turn by the always reliable Colin Salmon), the Russians and the Chinese. Plus, the return of a much-loved character, some brilliant performances from all the regulars, a tensely twisting plot, some very unheroic moments for Lucas - who almost-but-not-quite reached the point of no return in terms of redemption in the final scene, and several near-squee moments for the casual Harry-and-Ruth 'shipper! I have to say, mind, judging by the next episode trailer, it looks as though there are some damned unpleasant things in store for at least two of section D. Possibly more.

Eddie Izzard is to play Long John Silver in a new version of Treasure Island for Sky1. Production is due to start in the drama next month in Ireland and Puerto Rico, and is set to be broadcast as a pair of two-hour episodes at Christmas 2012. It will be the first live-action adaptation of the novel for British TV since the last BBC version in 1977, but could receive a knock-on benefit from the success of the Pirates Of The Caribbean swashbucklers. Izzard is increasingly supplementing his stand-up with drama. Last year he appeared in - and was excellent in - BBC1's revival of The Day of the Triffids and he starred in The Riches on American's FX network for two series from 2007 as well as several high-profile movie roles. Sophie Turner Laing, Sky's managing director of entertainment and news, said: 'We have Treasure Island in production which stars Eddie Izzard. He doesn't do that much television so we are very excited that he is to play Long John Silver.'

And, speaking of Sky, wasn't it interesting that when they commissioned the first of their adaptations of the thorne novels, and announced this is a blaze of publicity, Sky's spokesperson gave headline writers everywhere a nice soundbite to fill up all the papers the next day: 'That's another nail in the coffin for free-to-air drama.' Yes, they did, indeed, say that. Now, this blogger has been watching thorne: sleepyhead for the past three weeks - and I've really very much enjoyed it too and I'm looking forward to the sequel, scaredy cat starting next week. But, it should be noted that the audience for last night's concluding part of the David Morrissey drama was just over four hundred thousand viewers. That's at the same time as Single Father was pulling in just four million on BBC1 and Downton Abbey was getting close to nine million on ITV. I'm as pleased as anyone that Sky are investing in new British telly drama, truly I am. But I think it's not unreasonable to suggest that rumours of the death of free-to-air drama might just have been somewhat exaggerated. Sunday's other ratings blockbusters The X Factor and Strictly both had another bumper night pulling in series-high figures of 13.65m and 9.86m respectively. TV light entertainment, ladies and gentleman. There's life in the old dog yet!

Matt Smith has admitted that he would like to make some changes to his costume on Doctor Who. According to the Sun - who lifted the quotes wholesale from the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine (naughty, naughty!) - Smith explained that his outfit isn't always warm enough. 'I know I want a coat,' he said. 'You get cold in only a tweed jacket. And I want a hat. Not all the time. Just now and again. It feels Doctory and right for my Doctor. I think it can evolve and give it that variety.' Matt also joked that he could start adding props to the costume. At least, one assumes it's a joke. 'I think with this Doctor, you never know what he's going to do or say, or what he's going to turn up in in the morning,' he said. 'He could have a flamingo on his shoulder. Have you ever seen the Pink Panther where Peter Sellers has the parrot on his shoulder? I'd love to get some sort of pretend parrot on my shoulder because Peter Sellers is my hero. I'm working on it.' Steven! Your lead actor's gone a bit mental, it would appear. You might wanna have a word and calm him down a touch!

Cheryl Cole - seen left, looking uncannily like she's just crapped bricks in her pants - pre-recorded her performance of her new single, 'Promise This' on Sunday night's X Factor results show, it has been reported. According to the Sun, the vocals were pre-recorded apart from a few lines at the end of the song which Cole sang live. The entire performance was also, apparently, recorded before the rest of the results show was broadcast. A 'source' is alleged to have told the paper: 'Cheryl's routine was very energetic. It wasn't possible to sing it all.' However, an ITV spokesman denied these reports, telling the Daily Scum Mail - who, of course, believed them - that the Heaton Horror sang the lyrics live. Well, it appears that either the source or the spokesperson is lying and that, therefore, there's only one way to sort this out - FIGHT. Meanwhile, Cole said that was she surprised the public didn't take to Treyc Cohen's performance on Saturday's X Factor. Wildcard entrant Cohen was in the bottom two on Sunday after failing to impress voters with her rendition of Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love.' Personally, yer Keith Telly Topping thought it was rather spunky (albeit, a bit Tina Turner if you know what I mean). Speaking on The Xtra Factor about her act's switch from diva-style ballads to hard rock, Cole said: 'When the theme [Guilty Pleasures] came up, we chose something that was out of her comfort zone. I thought she rocked it out. But that's what this show's about and it's decided by the public. Next week maybe we'll go back more to her genre.' Did anybody else think it was a bit rich of Cheryl to describe Aiden's performance on Saturday as 'too emotionally intense' coming, as it did, just a few minutes before we got a full hour of the Heaton Horror herself, blubbing her eyes out on Piers Morgan's sofa?

England football captain Rio Ferdinand has ranted on Twitter about Wagner Carrilho's progression on The X Factor. The Manchester United defender claimed that the Brazilian singer's success is the reason he can't take the ITV series seriously. And that's the only reason?!

Martin Freeman has admitted that he would love Sherlock to be a success in the US. And, in other news, the Pope is still Catholic, apparently. The first episode of the drama was broadcast in America on Sunday. 'I hope it will [get] a similar reaction to what it's been in the UK, which is extremely positive and extremely favourable,' Freeman told New York Magazine. 'Even more than we could have wished for. It's beyond our wildest dreams, really.' Freeman admitted that some viewers may be unhappy with the fact that the Sherlock Holmes stories have been placed in modern times. 'Sherlock, in the Victorian and Edwardian times, used every bit of possible technology known to him, so that's what ours is doing,' he explained. 'It's not really a differing principle. I imagine there would be some people who are reticent about that stuff, because I think I was myself when I heard it was going to be modernised. I thought, "Oh hello, that could be bad TV."' He continued: '[But] it was some of the best writing I had probably ever read for television. I loved it. I hope that Americans go with it, because the most important thing about the Sherlock Holmes stories isn't the frock coats. It's the essence of what he is, and the essence of what the [Holmes and Watson] relationship is. And chasing bad guys.'

A documentary following Lord Mandelson in the run-up to the general election paints 'a pretty accurate picture' of ministerial life, he has said. And of the busy life of one of the undead. The former business secretary said Mandelson: The Real PM? showed all the 'downsides and other events' of ministerial life. The Hannah Rothschild-directed film was premiered at the London Film Festival. The director said the project had been 'like being in the wake of a Great White Shark. He never stops, he is all seeing and all knowing,' she added. 'I think that is exactly how he is - he is a very pragmatic kind of guy. He is not a touchy-feely diva at all.' I have to say, love, I've often thought Peter Mandelson was many, many things - not all of them bad, necessarily. But, 'a touch-feely diva' was never, ever, one of them. I mean, not even close. Mandelson said he was not sure 'whether people will discover the real Peter Mandelson from the film but we will have to wait and see.' Well, if anybody gets their throat torn out whilst viewing it then, you know, that might be considered a sign of the film's honesty. The fifty seven-year-old is seen in the film describing then-prime minister Gordon Brown as 'a cross between a snowplough and a combine harvester.' During a discussion about making Brown more media-friendly, he notes: 'I've given up - I'd settle for the tie being straight.' Peter Mandelson, ladies and gentlemen. Coming to a Comedy Store near you, very soon.

EastEnders added a last minute scene to Thursday's episode to include a reaction to the government's Spending Review, which has dominated the news all week. The additional scene showed Patrick Trueman, played by Rudolph Walker, listening to the budget announcement in his grocery shop. Patrick was heard complaining to Charlie Slater, played by Derek Martin, about some of the cutbacks. But Charlie - marvellous little Daily Scum Mail reading working class Tory that he is - responded saying he thought the government was 'doing its best.' That's the sort of thing you say about a six year old who's not quite at the stage were he can do a breadth of the local swimming pool, mate. 'The budget, you know, is all right if you're not young, old, unemployed, working, or on benefits,' Patrick said to cheers from everybody in the country who isn't employed in the banking sector. 'Patrick they're doing their best mate. We've got to take a hit,' Charlie replied. BBC balance, y'see. I'll bet the Daily Scum Mail have a whinge about that, an'all. Overnight viewing figures suggest more than eight million watched the episode. It is not the first time the soap has attempted to reflect near contemporary real-life events during the show. In the past, last minute references have been made to Michael Jackson's death and the election of US president Barack Obama.

Arlene Phillips has criticised Ann Widdecombe for her 'flying' routine on Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing. This is the same Arlene Phillips who, you may remember, a few weeks ago was praising Widdecombe on how 'hysterical' her dancing had been on the show. Make your mind up, love. The former judge - former because, of course, she got sacked - said that the use of props in the current run of the dance show was 'undermining its credibility' (I mean, where to even start with that one) and suggested that Widdecombe's high-wire intro at the weekend was 'giving her an unfair advantage' over her rivals. Speaking to the Sun, the bitter old ratbag added: 'All rules are out the window. It looks like Strictly Come Play School. They could tumble in, enter on a helicopter. I'm sure the audience will love it. Dance lovers may feel differently. To fly in and take up a great deal of music prior to getting into hold takes the pressure off her. It's one rule for her and another rule for the others.' Widdecombe scored twenty one points for her tango on Saturday, but was compared to a 'dancing hippo' by Craig Revel Horwood whom, one senses, is really starting to get properly irritated that Widdecombe's clowning around is being voted for favourably by viewers. Which, of course, will continue to do just exactly that precisely because it pisses off the judges. That's one of the main reasons, ultimately, why Phillips herself got the boot two years ago, because her po-faced responses to John Sergeant's efforts gave a public the sense of power that they've always wanted, the chance to wave a sympathy vote right into the judges smug faces and grate their cheese hugely. Phillips's favourite routine of the night, she said, was Matt Baker and Aliona Vilani's Charleston, claiming that the ex-Blue Peter presenter looked 'close to a professional' with his performance. 'He has rhythm from the top of his head down to his twinkling little toes,' she added. So, that'll mean he'll probably get voted out next week whilst Doris Karloff will remain as a kind of court jester for the nation. Which, to be fair, is what she was when she was in the Home Office as well. It's just now she's got Anton Du Beke as her straight man instead of Michael Howard.

Adrian Edmondson has spoken about his struggle with helping wife Jennifer Saunders during her cancer scare this year. The comedian spoke to the Daily Scum Mail about the issues surrounding caring for a loved one battling the illness. Saunders was diagnosed with breast cancer last October but did not make the news public until June when she was told by doctors that it had passed. Edmondson said: 'The chemotherapy knocks you out and that's just brutal. You're hooked up to drips and things for three or four hours once a week. It's just grinding. It's horrible. The hardest thing was, there's nothing I could do to take it away. It wasn't remotely funny - there isn't even any black humour in the situation.'

The BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, has pledged that 'Britain will have a strong and independent BBC for the foreseeable future' despite the corporation having to make savings of over three hundred million pounds per year from its annual £3.6bn budget after the government chose to freeze the TV licence fee and charge the BBC with new funding commitments for several areas, including World Service. But writing in today Gruniad Morning Star, Thompson indicates that the outcome of the coalition's Comprehensive Spending Review is not as stifling for the BBC as pundits predicted. No, indeed. As noted last week, when you've been told you're likely to get both your legs cut off and you end up only losing one, some may regard that as a good deal. Others might not. 'It wasn't what media observers expected,' he writes. Problems would have been caused, however, had ministers gone ahead with mooted plans to make the BBC cover the cost of free licence fees for the over seventy fives. That was 'something which the BBC would have found not just financially disastrous, but constitutionally unacceptable,' according to Thompson. In his piece, Thompson says 'there is no question' that the settlement with government reached on the eve of the spending review announcement 'is tough,' but he counters claims that the BBC has been singled out for special treatment. He writes: '[The settlement] calls for the BBC to make four per cent of efficiency savings for each of the last years of the charter period. These savings will inevitably involve difficult choices. Yet it would be wrong to claim that the efficiencies show that the BBC is being singled out for special punishment. That four per cent annual efficiency rate is a benchmark across the public sector with some bodies facing much deeper cuts. Anyone who believes that the BBC could have achieved a licence fee settlement at any stage, and under any government, which would have called for lower efficiency targets than other public bodies were facing, is deluding themselves.' Well, we'll never know, pal, because you lot didn't even try. Thompson claims the agreement will actually strengthen the BBC's independence and that corporation will do 'everything we can' to ensure cuts are not made to content.

The BBC was preparing to 'go to war' with the government last week over the coalition's plans to force the corporation to shoulder the five hundred and fifty million quid annual cost of TV licences for the over-seventy fives, the Gruniad claims in a separate piece. A last-minute compromise in which the BBC offered to take on additional funding responsibilities including the World Service and most of Welsh-language broadcaster S4C's budget also avoided talk of a mass resignation among members of its governing body, the BBC Trust. Sir Michael Lyons, the trust's chairman who has already announced his decision to stand down next year, wrote what the Gruniad describe as 'a sternly worded letter' last Sunday to David Cameron and Nick Clegg against what he saw as a breach of the BBC charter. 'We will resist it to the utmost,' they claim that he wrote. On Monday Mark Thompson, Lyons and their BBC negotiating team feared the worst, according to an insider. 'A war scenario would have gone into place if they'd gone for the over-seventy five option. The BBC would have gone into meltdown and we were starting to think about what that might look like.' But the BBC is understood to have gained the support of Don Foster, the Lib Dem culture spokesman, as well as senior members of the junior coalition partner. The Liberal Democrats are thought to have played a part in persuading the government not to impose the cost of over-seventy fives' TV licences on the BBC. Thompson was on his way home to Oxford on Monday evening and was called back to London, where negotiations resumed at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, continuing into early last Tuesday morning. The deal was concluded later that morning. The veteran TV executive Peter Bazalgette has called last week's settlement 'rather a shrewd deal. The BBC came under sustained political pressure. The deal takes it out of that pressure.' Greg Dyke, the former BBC director general, has added 'It's not a disaster for the BBC. It wasn't ideal but given where other public service organisations are it wasn't bad either.' The Gruniad's James Robinson, however, disagrees in yet another piece on the subject in Monday's edition. And, he well may have a point. The Gruniad itself is, after a few years of virtually constant BBC-bashing which only the Daily Scum Mail can match has suddenly, it would seem, found itself a conscience, and is writing concerned editorials about protecting the BBC's indepedence. Yes, dear blog reader, that's right. Four seperate articles in today's Gruniad about the Tories trying to sttich up the BBC. What a pity some of mouthy Communist lice who work there weren't writing this stuff a few years ago when the BBC needed every friend it could lay its hands on. Bastards.

Meanwhile, the lack of culture secretary the vile Jeremy Hunt has been accused of putting his own personal political ambitions ahead of the BBC's future in securing a 'dodgy deal' which will see the licence fee frozen for six years. Yeah, that sounds about right. The shadow culture secretary, Ivan Lewis (no, me neither) said the last-minute negotiations to reach agreement before last week's spending review announcement 'rode roughshod over the independence of the BBC, crushed any serious prospect of reform, and involved no consultation.' Which, was pretty much what this blog said about a week ago. Nice to see the Labour Party being so fantastically on the ball, as usual. Tomorrow, expect to see a statement from the front bench on what and absolute tragedy it is that the Titanic's gone down. But, the vile Hunt defended the way a settlement was reached, and said the result was 'acceptable to the BBC and very popular with the public.' It might, just be the former, largely because those at the top level of BBC management have been bullied into submission. But, have you got any actual figures to show it's the latter? Because, a few gobby usual suspect malcontents in the Daily Scum Mail letters page aside, I'm actually going to question the veracity of that statement. Mr Minister. Sir. You preening, pompous, odious little waste of space. See right. God, he loves himself that man, doesn't he? Personally, I want to see fourteen superb episodes of Doctor Who each year and if that means the BBC has to pay Matt Smith, I dunno, three hundred grand per annun to achieve that then I'd sooner have that scenario than the same episodes being made but with Barry Chuckle in the lead role because he's cheaper. And, I don't think it's an outrageous thing to suggest that the vast majority of TV viewers will feel the same way, generally, about most of the programmes they enjoy. Anyway, during Commons question time, Lewis said: 'The BBC is one of this country's great institutions, and its future a matter of public interest. Of course the BBC cannot be exempt from cuts at this difficult time, but can I ask you how you can justify a negotiating process which rode roughshod over the independence of the BBC, crushed any serious prospect of reform, and involved no consultation with licence fee payers or parliamentarians? Can you confirm at one point in the negotiations the BBC Trust board considered mass resignation, and that it now faces a judicial review by S4C? Is this not another example of you doing a dodgy deal for the Chancellor in order to further your own political ambitions, instead of providing responsible leadership on an issue of crucial importance to the future of this country?' Valid questions, all of them. Albeit, a bit flowery in the language department there, Ivan me old china. But, the wretched Hunt replied: 'I'm delighted to talk to you about the BBC, because the new licence fee settlement was announced last Wednesday and the Opposition has been absolutely deafening in the silence of its response.' Now, loathed as I am to admit it, the oily little twerp does have a point there. I mean, this blog hasn't been silent by any means. See here, for instance. And here. And indeed here. We've been holding the greasy reptile to account, good and proper, on a virtual daily basis. But, yes, Her Majesty's waste-of-space Opposition have been about as interested in this subject as I am in marine biology. 'And let me tell you the difference between what happened when your party negotiated the licence fee and when we did. When your party did it, it took two years, it cost three million pounds, and it ended up with an above-inflation rise. We have done it it took two weeks, it cost nothing, and we have got a freeze for six years.'

Channel 4 is to broadcast a celebrity 'extreme sports' show called Famous and Fearless in the New Year. Famous faces such as Ricky Gervais, Davina McCall, Gordon Ramsay and US actress Teri Hatcher are being lined-up for the programme, according to the Sun. So, that'll mean none of them will be involved except, possibly, Davina, who's looking for any work she can get right at the moment. The programme will feature teams of alleged celebrities 'squaring off' in challenges such as snowboarding, abseiling, bungee jumping and sky-diving to win money for community projects in their hometown. And, possibly break their necks. Which would, of course, be terrible. A 'source' is alleged to have said: 'Famous And Fearless will fill the gap left by Celebrity Big Brother in the New Year. Instead of watching celebrities cosy in the Big Brother house, viewers will see them having to work out in freezing January conditions from the comfort of their sofas.' Is it just me, or is this not a show that could have been designed for Keith Chegwin?

If you caught the excellent Keith Richards interview on The Andrew Marr show on Sunday and want to see more, check it out here.

Coldplay are the band most likely to send people to sleep, according to the findings of another one of these tedious and pointless straw polls, carried out for no obvious reason and reported as 'news' by everyone and their dog. Including this blog. We are all prostitutes now. Canadian singer Michael Buble was second in the poll, while Irish group Snow Patrol came third. The top-five was completed by Alicia Keys and Jack Johnson. The study, conducted by Travelodge (eh?), found that eighty four per cent of people listen to music in bed before going to sleep, while one in four fall asleep with their iPod on. Fifteen per cent of adults said they get a much better night's sleep if they have listened to music as an aid to drifting off. Stevie Williams, of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said that 'listening to soft, relaxing music at bedtime leads to a number of different benefits to a night's sleep.' He continued: ''These benefits include a longer sleep duration period, fewer night time awakenings and shortening of the time it takes to fall asleep.'