Thursday, November 18, 2010

We're Into A Brand New Trip

American-born actor Stuart Milligan is to make a guest appearance in the upcoming sixth series of Doctor Who. Doctor Who Magazine reports that the Jonathan Creek actor will feature in the US-based opening two-parter. Milligan previously voiced the character of General Stark in Doctor Who animation Dreamland and also starred in the 2003 revamp of Crossroads. He will join character actor Mark Sheppard, who will play Canton. Other cast members confirmed for the two episodes include The Damned United actress Sydney Wade, Highlander star Peter Banks and Ricky Fearon, who previously appeared in Torchwood episode, To the Last Man. It has also been confirmed that Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes co-creator Matthew Graham will write episodes five and six of the new series. Graham previously wrote the episode Fear Her for the show's second series in 2006. But, we forgive him that minor aberration, because he's lovely and Life On Mars was great!

All five celebrities taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special have now been named. Following on from the announcements earlier this week that Vince Cable (Lib Dem. Allegedly) and John Barrowman would be taking part, three final names have been added to the bill. Ex-This Morning host Fern Britton will be dancing with Matthew Cutler, EastEnders' actress June Brown will partner Vincent Simone and comedian Ronni Ancona is teamed up with Anton Du Beke. Barrowman will be paired with Kristina Rihanoff, while Cable is partnered by Erin Boag. All five couples will perform different dances for the Strictly judges and studio audience in the hope of winning a trophy. Speaking about her decision to sign up for the reality show, Britton said: 'Strictly Come Dancing is my family's favourite programme. I am thrilled to be included in the Christmas line up. Of course I shall be nervous but I am trying to dilute that with the thought of the fun involved. I am not a trained dancer and only wish to do as well as I can for my professional partner and the Christmas viewers. Oh and I am really looking forward to the spray tan, false eyelashes and sequins!' Ancona joked: 'It's a wonderful opportunity to finally have confirmed that I don't actually have two left feet. Just two right ones.' Cable - who, seemingly, doesn't have anything more important to do with his time - said: 'I am delighted to be taking part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special. Strictly has always been a not-so-secret passion of mine. I hope that by taking part in the show I can inspire others to get up and do something they have always wanted to have a go at.' I'd like to have a go at being business secretary, pal. I think I could do a better job that you. Can you fix it for me? BBC head of entertainment and events Katie Taylor added: 'Building on the success of the current series of Strictly - that has taken us literally to new heights - I am very excited that this year five fresh celebrities are prepared to don their dancing shoes, show us the cut of their cha-cha-chas and delight BBC1 viewers for Christmas.'

Christine Bleakley has reportedly revealed that she now drinks so much coffee she is experiencing cellulite. Which, presumably, explains why she's currently turning orange. At least, that's her excuse and she's sticking to it. Bleakley admitted that she drinks 'way more' coffee than ever before in order to deal with the early starts on Daybreak, and that the extra caffeine has given her legs an 'orange peel' look. She told Star magazine: 'Apparently coffee gives you cellulite. I've noticed my legs are much worse.' Bleakley also insisted that despite a tricky start for the ITV breakfast show, viewers will soon return to the programme when the format settles down. Well, according to the Daily Lies the other day, they already have. Even though, they haven't. 'This also happened when TV-am and GMTV started,' she said. 'When we started The ONE Show it took months to get confident. We're putting our hearts into it to make sure it comes together. Quitting isn't an option.' Well, it is, like. As the great Homer Simpson once noted: 'You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try!'

Chris Evans and Clare Balding have signed up to host new Channel Four show Famous and Fearless, it has been revealed. The programme will see a group of eight celebrities - rumoured to include Ricky Gervais, Gordon Ramsay and Teri Hatcher - competing in a variety of extreme sports to win money for local community projects. On Evans's appointment, a 'source' allegedly told the Sun: 'This year, Chris has revived his career by taking over Radio 2's Breakfast Show from Sir Terry Wogan and landing the Friday night spot on The ONE Show. Bosses thought it would be a good time to get him back on Channel Four and this looked like the perfect show for him.' Evans, who previously presented The Big Breakfast and TFI Friday on the channel, said: 'Famous and Fearless will be brilliant. Simply a huge, ambitious show with celebrities, monster trucks and an arena crowd. What's not to like?'

A regular source of some terrific industry gossip - not all of it, necessarily, true - is Metro's Neil Sean and his daily Green Room column. Thursday's issue provides two excellent bits of rank bitchiness for which Neil has become so noted. Firstly: 'Arlene Phillips won't shut up about people wanting her back as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, but the website and fan mail tell a different story. "Basically, it's all dropped off for her now," a BBC source tells me.' Not content with that, he goes for the jugular when it comes to Kerry Katona, whom, he notes: 'can't understand why Loose Women won't have her back on the panel. "Is it my bipolar or something like that?" she asks.' Top comedy, Neil. And, speaking of Metro, as previously mentioned several times on this blog, one of yer Keith Telly Topping's favourite TV reviewers is their man Keith Watson. In his latest round-up he asks a question which a lot of us have been wondering about recently in relation to Ann Widdecombe: 'How did an unhinged right-wing Tory morph into a national treasure?' Well, quite. However, I suspect Keith might be in a touch of trouble over his rather inelegant description of Ms Widdecome's alleged dancing as 'special-needs shimmies.'

Len Goodman has revealed who would like to compete in future series of Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'd like Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and Simon Cowell on the show,' he admitted. 'I'd enjoy telling Anne Robinson she's the weakest link and it'd be fun seeing Katie Price on there wobbling about!' Last year Goodman claimed that he wanted Cowell to appear on the US version Dancing With The Stars. Speaking about the current crop of celebrities, he commented: 'I think Pamela Stephenson is incredible. Then you've got Matt Baker, who's definitely up there and Scott Maslen. I think Kara Tointon's got great potential, too!' Everyone, in fact, other than Ann Widdecombe.

Gillian McKeith's daughter has defended her mother's behaviour on I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Face On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible, I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want Me To. Skylar McKeith-Magaziner - no, really, that's the chick's name, whaddya gonna do? - insisted that the TV nutritionist and hate figure to everybody who's ever eaten, and enjoyed, a cream cake, is not faking her crassly over-dramatic dramatic reactions in the jungle. And, she backed up her mother's claim that she had never seen the ITV reality show before taking part. Speaking on This Morning, Skylar said: 'I think she's doing great. She's conquering all her fears and I'm really proud of her for doing this. I couldn't do it!' And neither can your mom, seemingly. Of her mother's insistence that she had no idea what to expect in the jungle, Skylar added: 'We don't actually have a TV so I've just seen some clips, but she has never actually seen the show.' Unfortunately those of us who do own a TV have had to put up with your mother's smug, self-aggrandising programmes for the past few years so, frankly, you'll have to excuse us if we chose not to care.

An employment tribunal reserved judgment today in the case of a BBC Countryfile presenter who claims that she was a victim of age and sex discrimination when she was rejected for a prime time version of the show. Miriam O'Reilly was ruled out 'in one sentence' by former BBC1 controller Jay Hunt because her experience was in radio, the tribunal was told. The BBC has denied O'Reilly's claim of age and sex discrimination after she was dropped before the programme moved to a prime time slot in April 2009. The tribunal's written judgment is expected in about six weeks.

Prime Suspect producer Sally Head is to make a three-part ITV thriller - What To Do When Someone Dies - starring Anna Friel as a widowed schoolteacher. The drama is based on a novel by Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, focuses on Friel's character, Ellie Manning. Ellie is devastated when her husband Greg is killed in a car accident with a mystery woman in the passenger seat. Ellie refuses to believe that Greg was having an affair and begins to investigate his relationship with the woman, Milena Livingstone. Eventually, she begins to suspect that Greg was actually murdered. ITV's director of drama commissioning Laura Mackie said: 'What To Do When Someone Dies is an engrossing emotional thriller which explores grief, spiralling obsession, conspiracy and murder. It has been brilliantly adapted by acclaimed theatre writer Charlotte Jones and I'm delighted we have Anna Friel on board to play the leading role.' Filming for the three-part drama is expected to begin in London and Manchester in the spring.

Armando Iannucci has confirmed that the plot for the next series of The Thick Of It has already been planned. The writer and producer told ShortList that the fourth series of the acclaimed and award-winning political satire would reflect the current coalition government. Iannucci said: 'We haven't started the physical act of writing it yet - we're about to get going - but we've got a storyline worked out. The third series ended with the election called and the opposition ready to take over. Obviously now we need to introduce a third party. If Peter Mannion [Roger Allam] is in power at long last, finally has his hands on the levers, he'll be mightily pissed off that there's suddenly someone else in his office, from another party, interfering. And no sooner do they arrive than they're told to cut their budget by thirty per cent. Plus we'll see Nicola Murray [Rebecca Front] in opposition.' Asked if Peter Capaldi's character Malcolm Tucker will be trying to bring down the coalition, Iannucci said: 'Yes, but he'll also be looking for The One. He's convinced there's a great new leader of his party out there. Whether he'll find The One or get shackled with The Other One, who can say?'

The song choices for this week's Beatles-themed X Factor have apparently been revealed. It was confirmed this week that contestants will have to sing a song by the group - a popular beat-combo of the 1960s, you might've hear of them - on this weekend's live show. It is the first time that the theme has been used on the programme. According to the Sun, last week's sing-off survivor Katie Waissel has decided to sing 'Help!' - how very apt - while fellow twenty four-year-old Rebecca Ferguson will tackle 'Yesterday.' Cher Lloyd has reportedly chosen to perform John Lennon's 'Imagine' and One Direction have decided upon 'All You Need Is Love'. Matt Cardle is said to be singing 'Come Together' - previously performed on the ITV singing contest last year by Olly Murs - while Paije Richardson will have a go at 'Let It Be.' In Louis Walsh's category, Mary Byrne has been given 'Something,' though what, they didn't say (boom-boom) whilst Wagner Carrilho keeps up his record of performing medleys by fusing together 'Get Back', 'The Hippy Hippy Shake' and 'Hey Jude.' Rumours that there have been manifestations of grave-spinning from the Lennon and Harrison parts of the cemetery cannot, at this time, be confirmed. See, this would never have happened when that nice Michael Jackson was in charge of their song catalogue! The War Crimes trials for such outrages will reportedly begin in the Hague sometimes next year.

ITV has confirmed that it will broadcast daily highlights of England's attempt to retain the Ashes from next week, with a 10pm programme to be fronted by Channel Five cricket presenter Mark Nicholas. The broadcaster has reached a deal with Cricket Australia and IMG Media, the sports rights company, to air a nightly one-hour show on the digital channel ITV4 featuring highlights of the five-test Ashes series, which starts next Thursday in Brisbane. It emerged that a deal was being negotiated earlier this month. ITV4 will also broadcast highlights of England's Twenty20 and one-day international series against Australia which are scheduled for January and February. The highlights programmes will be presented by Nicholas, who is currently working for Australian broadcaster Channel Nine during the Ashes and previously anchored Channel Four and Channel Five's cricket coverage in the UK. 'There is huge demand to see England defend the Ashes and I'm delighted that we have secured highlights, free-to-air for UK viewers,' said Niall Sloane, controller of sport at ITV.

James Murdoch has warned the government that blocking News Corp's proposed takeover of Sky could threaten the media giant's future investment in the UK. And, that he and daddy will be 'very annoyed' and may consider 'voting for someone else in future. And encouraging everyone else we know to do the same,' should they not get their own way. Allegedly. Business secretary Vince Cable (LIb Dem. Allegedly) has ordered Ofcom to investigate News Corp's bid to acquire the sixty one per cent of Sky that it does not already own. European regulators are also currently reviewing the proposed deal. Answering questions from investors at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference in Barcelona, Murdoch said that News Corp had always campaigned for 'a level playing field and to have competition policy applied with an even hand,' reports the Financial Times. Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corp Europe and Asia, urged the British government to look at the bigger picture when considering the takeover. 'While I'd say I don't think the grounds for public interest or plurality intervention are very strong, I do think that governments need to make some choices,' he said. 'I think from a policy perspective, the government really needs to assess the benefits of having - and this is across any place - a digital TV business that is a world leader, really centred in the UK marketplace with all of the things that it brings, versus potentially jeopardising an eight billion pounds investment in the UK, with a prolonged plurality process.' Murdoch also issued a thinly-veiled threat that blocking the Sky bid could result in News Corp taking its business activities to more 'welcoming' places. He highlighted that the media giant has created around thirty thousand jobs in the UK over the years with its digital TV and newspaper businesses. 'I think from our perspective, from India to Italy and to Germany, countries are becoming more welcoming of investment and more welcoming of what we can bring, as they really recognise what these investments in the media sector [bring],' he said. 'At a time when jobs and innovation and skills are really at a premium, and are so needed, particularly in places like the UK. So I think the regulatory environment is a wide range of different issues but sometimes I think particularly in this sector there can be a lack of clarity in what is really being weighed up and what the benefits of investment are.' So, the real question is, are the current government prepared to be threatened by a bunch of overgrown school bullies who have, effectively, said that if they don't get their own way they will take their ball and go home? Also at the conference, Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said that there has been 'no bigger supporter of Sky than News Corp over the last twenty one years.' Once he'd subsequently wiped the smear of rim-shat off his tongue, he went on to stress that its 'very much business as usual' for the satellite broadcaster while the regulatory process goes ahead.

Fired Apprentice candidate Sandeesh Samra has claimed that she is proud to have left the BBC reality show with her 'integrity intact.' The twenty six-year-old Nottingham-based candidate said that she was pleased that she didn't resort to 'backstabbing' and 'hogging camera time' like candidates who left the show before her. 'The problem was that I didn't have a game plan. I just wanted to be a team player and do everything that I could with the team so that we had a win,' she told the Mirror. 'Some of the other candidates were very "me, me, me," putting themselves forward for everything. They probably came out earlier than me and were found to be highly annoying. A couple of ladies who came out before me really grated on housemates. These people were fighting and bitching and back-stabbing, trying to get their face in the camera and be the one that takes the lead on everything, so that Lord Sugar doesn't say to them, "What are you doing? You didn't do much." I am happy that I've come away with integrity. It's better to be the way I was, than to be the highly-irritating, annoying person who gets on everyone's nerves.' Samra now runs a medical recruitment company.

Bones' executive producer Stephen Nathan has suggested that Brennan and Hannah have become friends. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Nathan acknowledged that some fans are frustrated about the introduction of the chracter of Hannah (Katheryn Winnick) because it means that Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) are not together. 'I think it's the difficulties and the dissatisfaction that propels the show forward in a way,' he said. 'That there's some frustration with these characters that we've grown to love over five and a half years - we want them to do certain things. But obviously, if they did right away, fans would be very disappointed.' Nathan added that he is pleased with the relationship between Booth and Hannah. 'They've become actual real friends, so no matter how difficult it is for Brennan to see Booth and Hannah together, she doesn't hold it against Hannah,' he said. 'Her tremendously rational and logical mind tells her that this is not Hannah's fault and that she likes Hannah. She would do the same thing. So their relationship is a very healthy and very mature relationship between two very strong women.' He continued: 'The honesty that has grown in this threesome has provided us with an interesting dynamic because they behave in a way that isn't expected. You expect there to be some jealousy, but there really isn't. Hannah's only jealous of Booth's professional relationship with Brennan because they get to do all this kind of dangerous stuff that Hannah misses from being a war correspondent. All of that is growing to an ultimate shift in the series.'

Former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan is reportedly developing a new television project with Sony Pictures TV. Brosnan will both produce and star in the series, which will follow the exploits of an international operative, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Sounds original. The main character will deal with high-risk situations such as kidnappings and business espionage. Brosnan is said to be considering a small acting part in the project, rather than the lead role. His most recent television appearance was a cameo in the pilot for FOX sitcom Running Wilde. The new project will mark his first regular television role since the cancellation of the detective drama that made him a household name, Remington Steele in 1987. Former ER writer Jack Orman, Beau St Clair and Keri Selig will executive produce the pilot alongside Brosnan.

The Indian government has banned reality television shows from showing 'adult content' during the day time. Officials say the decision follows complaints from the public about scenes in two reality programmes currently on air during prime time. They say that shows such as Bigg Boss - India's version of Big Brother - can only be broadcast between 11pm and 5am. The announcement coincided with the arrival of former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson into the Bigg Boss house. Dressed in a white sari, Anderson said 'Namaste' to her fellow housemates and shook hands with all the participants. The BBC's Prachi Pinglay in Mumbai says that in the process of her eagerly awaited entrance she asked them questions about the routine in the house, the tasks they faced and whether people swam in the pool. When contacted by the BBC, producers of the reality TV programmes said they had yet to be officially notified of the government's ban. The federal Information and Broadcasting Ministry said the restrictions come into effect immediately. The BBC's Tinku Ray in Delhi says that the government has been flooded with complaints about scenes from Bigg Boss and another reality show, Rakhi Ka Insaaf or Rakhi's Justice. In one incident a female inmate of Bigg Boss, Veena Mallik - who became famous in a recent cricket spot-fixing scandal as the former girlfriend of Pakistani cricketer Mohammed Asif - dropped her towel to reveal her nakedness. Other complaints include intimate kissing scenes which are taboo in public in India and abusive language, while a police case has been filed against the Rakhi Ka Insaaf show following the suicide of a participant. A ministry official, who did not want to be named, told the BBC that while there is no censorship, episodes will have to clearly state on screen that content in the programme is only for adults. In a significant move, the ministry has also barred news channels from carrying excerpts from these programmes during the day. Some local news channels have been broadcasting large parts of these very popular shows repeatedly throughout the day. In its investigation into the shows, the ministry says the race for increased ratings on television is pushing producers to be more sensational and show content that is 'not appropriate' for younger viewers.

The BBC has pulled a documentary film series about the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri as tensions mount in Beirut over expectations that Hezbollah operatives are about to be accused of involvement in the killing. The first of three parts of Murder in Beirut was scheduled to be broadcast on BBC World this Saturday, but the producer was told without warning on Tuesday that it was being delayed. The BBC said the film had not yet complied with its editorial guidelines. No new date has been set. But the decision to postpone it was taken after a Lebanese newspaper described how it accused the militant Shia group of the 2005 assassination, in which Hariri and twenty two others were killed by a massive car bomb. The point of the film, al-Akhbar claimed in a front-page article on Monday, was 'to implicate Hezbollah in the crime,' with one image showing partial details of a man described as a former member of the organisation's foreign operations unit. On Thursday, extracts were broadcast on al-Jadeed TV, a pro-Syrian channel. Tension has mounted sharply in Lebanon in recent weeks amid expectations that a UN-backed international tribunal will shortly issue indictments in the case, the country's equivalent of the Kennedy assassination. Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, warned last week that he would 'cut off the hand' of anyone who tried to arrest its members. Hezbollah, the most powerful military and political force in Lebanon, is supported by Iran and Syria and has repeatedly accused the tribunal of serving US and Israeli interests. Sa'ad Hariri, the dead man's son and current prime minister, has insisted that he, Nasrallah and other leaders will not let Lebanon 'explode' over the issue. The series was made by ORTV, a British-Saudi production company, and originally commissioned by al-Arabiyya TV, the Saudi-owned satellite channel. The first version was completed last summer but never broadcast as Saudi Arabia sought to improve relations with Syria. BBC World then commissioned a re-edited version. Initially, Syria was widely blamed for the killing but it has become clear in recent months that Hezbollah is suspected of involvement, fuelling fears that Lebanon's rivalries will escalate dangerously if indictments are issued. The tribunal, based in a suburb of The Hague, began work in March 2009. In a new twist, Lebanese media reported that Alireza Asghari, a former Iranian revolutionary guard general who defected to the US, provided information about the role of Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008. The films include interviews with decision-makers in Beirut, Damascus, Washington and Paris, promising to tell 'the gripping inside story of what's really at stake in the struggle for power in the Middle East.' The BBC has not been warned specifically not to screen the series, but 'insiders' allegedly admitted to the Gruniad Morning Star there is 'nervousness' about its potential impact in the current volatile climate. Nadim Shehadi, a Lebanon expert at the Chatham House thinktank in London, told the paper: 'There is an atmosphere of terror in Beirut. It may be a deliberate campaign to apply pressure to the tribunal. It is almost as if there is a communications strategy.' The documentary producer, Christopher Mitchell, told the Gruniad: 'It is true that the film's transmission has suddenly been postponed. I am assured by the BBC that the series hasn't been dropped. Stories about the Middle East are highly sensitive and go through a lengthy period of fact-checking and approval. I hope it will appear in the near future. Was this justified? I don't yet know, though I understand the sensitivities involved. Murder in Beirut tackles a difficult subject and everybody on the production worked hard to make sure it was as fair and accurate as possible. Naturally we are very disappointed that the broadcast has been delayed.' A BBC spokesman said: 'All programmes shown by BBC World News must comply with the BBC's editorial guidelines. This applies equally to programmes we commission from the BBC, independents or, in this case, bought-in programmes. From time to time, the compliance process requires more time to complete. This can affect scheduling. This series of programmes falls into this category.' Rafiq Hariri was a billionaire businessman who served twice as Lebanese prime minister and helped rebuild central Beirut after the ravages of the civil war. A Sunni Muslim who was backed by Saudi Arabia, and a close friend of France's Jacques Chirac, he fell victim to divisions about Syrian influence in Lebanon. But his murder on 14 February 2005 triggered mass protests and international pressure that led to the removal of Syrian forces after nearly thirty years. Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, has always denied any involvement and the focus recently has been on the possible involvement in the killing of Hezbollah, part of Lebanon's parliamentary opposition as well as a powerful militia which is credited with leading resistance to Israel since the 1982 invasion. General Gabi Ashkenazi, the Israeli army chief of staff, said this week that if the tribunal were to indict Hezbollah members it would probably lead to a coup d'état.

Ibiza club promoter Allister Logue killed himself six weeks after being rejected for Big Brother, an inquest heard. Logue jumped in front of a Tube train having been turned down as a contestant for the reality television show in a live broadcast. A suicide note and passport were found on the fifty five-year-old’s body after his death at Charing Cross station on 24 July. Terry Lovegrove, the Coroner's Officer at Westminster, said of Logue: 'At seventeen he took up hair dressing and became embroiled in the burgeoning music scene. He worked for photographer David Bailey doing hair and make up for various fashion and magazine shoots, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.' He was 'disappointed' after being rejected on live TV as a contestant for Big Brother on 9 June this year. He was one of eighty one one hopefuls which was then reduced to fourteen contestants. Coroner Dr Paul Knapman recorded a suicide verdict at Westminster coroner’s court.

Channel Four has commissioned a fourth series of Gok's Fashion Fix. The broadcaster has, however, decided to change some aspects of the show. The programme is expected to be renamed Gok's Clothes Roadshow and will include multiple makeovers and a fashion face-off. In each episode, Gok Wan will set up a pop-up catwalk in one town and give a group of women in the local community a makeover. He will also provide mini-makeovers and fashion master classes. And, call everybody 'girlfriend,' as usual. The fashion face-off will see buyer Brix Smith-Start championing high-end fashion while Wan will use high street stores. The winner will be decided by the town's residents. Channel Four's features editor Katie Boyd said: 'Gok fever's rampaging through Britain and in response we've supersized the show, giving every woman in the country the chance to rock up and get styling tips from the man himself.' let's all hope it's not contagious, eh?

ITV is reportedly considering expanding The Only Way Is Essex format to other UK locations. The ITV2 reality show followed the lives of a small group of disturbingly loud and crass young Essex socialites including Mark Wright and Amy Childs. Now the multichannel could take the show to other cities. Yer Keith Telly Topping would, particularly, like to see one set amongst the Octeganarian community of Hove. The Only Way Is Sussex. Broadcast magazine reports that, while ITV have not confirmed the plans, a second series of the show is being lined-up for next year following a Christmas special.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has been caught stealing a joke. The Conservative MP made the faux pas when he was invited to contribute to a new charity joke book raising money for Britain's Army veterans. He submitted the line: 'Hedgehogs – why can't they just share the hedge?' But the gag, famously, was written by stand-up Dan Antopolski, and attracted widespread media attention in 2009 when it was named best joke of the Edinburgh Fringe by the Dave TV channel. The joke subsequently went viral, and even wound up on T-shirts, forcing Antopolski to drop it from his set as most the audience had already heard it. When Antopolski learned that Osborne had purloined it for The Laughing Soldier: The British Army Joke Book, he reportedly said: 'My God, is there nothing that man won't do?' But he also praised the book, in aid of veterans' charity Project 65, saying: 'Anyone who has given their professional life to caring for animals deserves the best care and if this book helps our veterans then that's more important than whether a namecheck increases my DVD sales either online from or in person on my national tour. We've got to be bigger than this.' As well as raising money, the book also aims to raise morale, as hundreds of of free copies are also being sent to troops serving in Afghanistan.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, we have not only a change of scene, not only a change of style but, also, a change of colour. From a time when garishly tinged vinyl was de riguer to get a record into the charts. And the message of this record is ... Here come de Big Boss - huh! Let's get it on! Tragically, they simply don't make pop records like this anymore. Ah, Carl. Where are you when your adoptive country desperately needs you? Expect Wagner to be doing a cover version of this golden oldie sometime very soon.