Thursday, December 02, 2010

They'll Share, Every Goal We Are Scoring Out There

Reiko Aylesworth is to make a guest appearance in a forthcoming episode of Hawaii Five-0. Movieline reports that the actress will play the potentially recurring role of Malia, a doctor and the ex-fiancé of Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim). A CBS source revealed that Kelly will be reunited with his former lover when a criminal investigation leads him to the hospital where she now works. Aylesworth is known for her role as Michelle Dessler on FOX's 24 and has played recurring roles on Lost, Damages and Stargate Universe. She has also made guest appearances in episodes of The Good Wife, The West Wing, CSI and Law & Order.

Bill Bailey has accused the BBC of treating its stars with contempt after he was 'sidelined' from Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Bailey alleges that the corporation expected him to cancel his live work – including a West End run and a tour involving a full orchestra – when they changed the recording dates of the comedy quiz show. After five years with Buzzcocks, Bailey missed three episodes of series twenty three in late 2007, when he was replaced by Noel Fielding – who subsequently went on to take the job permanently. In an interview published this week, Bailey said: 'I was basically sidelined from the show. Buzzcocks normally records in October and the BBC moved the recordings forward two months so it clashed with a lot of stuff I'd already booked. I'd had a tour of Australia, an orchestra tour and a West End run. They said, "Could you just cancel them?" I thought, how utterly contemptuous do the BBC treat their artists? Thinking I'm sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. You've got to get on with things. How rude are you to just assume I'm going to knock these things on the head? I said, "I can't cancel these shows." They said, "How many can you do?," and I could do seven or eight out of twelve or something and they said, "Well that's not enough," and I said, "Well there you go…"'

And now, dear blog reader, it's spoiler-time; here's what we know about the next series of Doctor Who so far:-
6.1 As Yet Untitled (1/2)
6.2 As Yet Untitled (2/2)
Written by: Steven Moffat, Directed by: Toby Haynes.
Filming Locations: Cardiff and Utah.
Guest Cast: Alex Kingston; Mark Sheppard; Stewart Milligan
The series opener is a two-parter set in America in the 1960s, and it's - mostly - about River Song and some nefarious doings that she's been up to.
6.3 As Yet Untitled
Written by: Neil Gaiman. Directed by: Richard Clark.
Filming Locations: Cemex, Taff Wells; Tredegar House, Newport.
Cast: Suranne Jones; Elizabeth Berrington
The episode begins in The Void, with something – or someone – whom we have not seen since The War Games (1969), and a knock on the TARDIS door.
6.4 What Are Little Boys Made Of?
Written by: Mark Gatiss. Directed by: Richard Clark.
Filming Locations: Pembroke House, Cardiff; Dyrham Park National Trust House, Gloucestershire; Waring House Estate, Bristol.
Cast: James Oram; Daniel Mays; Emma Cunniffe; Andrew Tiernan
The story appears to revolve around a child named George and his parents. There is also someone named Mr Purcell, who has a nasty run-in with his floor. And there's a cake, that has 'I am eleven!' written on it. Allegedly.
6.5 The Rebel Flesh (1/2)
6.6 Gangers (2/2)
Written by: Matthew Graham. Directed by: Julian Simpson
Filming Locations: Bute Park, near the Cardiff Castle.
Cast: Marshall Lancaster; Sarah Smart
In episodes five and six, the Doctor will face a 'thrilling and terrifying dilemma the like of which he's never seen before.' Again. And, apparently the Doctor has some flashbacks to his visit to Skaro in Genesis of the Daleks in the second half of the story. Steven Moffat hinted in DWM: 'Would you like to peek inside a cupboard that will chill your blood, or meet a workforce that will haunt your dreams?' Yes, I would.
6.7 As Yet Untitled (1/2)
6.8 As Yet Untitled (2/2)
Written by: Steven Moffat.
Cast: Alex Kingston
This episode will have a 'game-changing cliff-hanger,' which will continue in the autumn when the final six episodes of the series are shown (beginning with episode eight). Amy has 'a terrible secret,' something to do with the true nature of her relationship to the Doctor. There will be a 'frankly appalling' revelation concerning the one person in the universe the Doctor trusts the most. He will also be learning - fully - what his relationship with River Song is. Rory stumbles to the brink of a terrible mistake. And the Doctor's life changes forever. And, it'll be next September before you'll find out what happens next!

As noted above, Marshall Lancaster and Sarah Smart will appear in the upcoming sixth series of Doctor Who, according to Spotlight. The casting directory lists the two actors as appearing in episodes five and six of the new run, written by Life On Mars co-creator Matthew Graham. The episodes, currently titled The Rebel Flesh and Gangers, will see Smart play a character named Jennifer Lucas. The actress previously starred in BBC detective drama Wallander as Anne-Britt Hoglund, and has also appeared in At Home with the Braithwaites alongside former Doctor Peter Davison. Lancaster, known for his role as Chris Skelton in Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, will play the role of Buzzer in the two-parter. He has also featured in multiple episodes of Coronation Street as Slug and recently made a guest appearance on Doctors.

Stacey Solomon has spoken to her I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity ... camp-mates about the backstage spats on last year's X Factor. The singer, who reached the final in 2009's competition, admitted that she didn't get along with all of the contestants when she lived in a house with them. She also described some of the hopefuls on the show as 'nasty.' Speaking to the soon-to-depart Aggro Santos, dot com, she said: 'I liked Jedward, they were my friends, others weren't as nice. It's not fair to make judgements of anyone's character, I can't do that here as we are not in a normal situation. There were some people on The X Factor I didn't get on with while they were in the house, they were quite nasty. But on the tour we had the time of our lives because we were in a normal situation.' Meanwhile, Dom Joly and Jenny Eclair expressed their despair in the jungle at the standard of conversation from Solomon, Santos and Kayla Collins. 'There's two tribes left, the young and the oldies and sadly I'm one of the oldies,' complained Joly. 'The quality of the conversation is nosediving, it's X Factor, Big Brother and Tinchy Stryder.'

Miranda Hart has revealed that she always liked watching more traditional comedies. In an interview with the Gruniad Morning Star, the comedian explained that she loved comedians like Eric Morecambe and sitcoms such as Are You Being Served? and Fawlty Towers when she was growing up. '[And when I left boarding school] there was Ab Fab and Gimme Gimme Gimme,' she said. 'So I remained in this buffoony, clowny era and just thought nothing had changed. Alternative comedy passed me by. I was like, "Who is Alexei Sayle?"' Hart added that she is pleased that people feel free to say that they enjoy Miranda. 'It now feels like people are allowed to openly like an uncool show,' she said. 'I just thought, "That's the kind of comedy I love," so why not embrace the genre wholly and go, "Guys, this is what I'm doing, and you really will have to like it or lump it?"' She continued: 'I think there are different kinds of comedians, and I prefer the clowns who are going, "I'm an idiot, aren't we all a bit like this, laugh at me." Whereas a lot of other comedians are saying, "Aren't I clever? You want to be like me, aren't I cool? Revere me."' That'll be Stewart Lee, basically. 'Which is fine. But that's not my bag,' she concluded.

Broadcast magazine has done some in-depth year-on-year analysis for Daybreak and Breakfast. 'Compared with GMTV in the same week last year, the individuals share[for Daybreak] is down a slightly scary twenty six per cent,' they note 'while volume is down thirteen per cent and share for housewives with children is down thirty and thirty three per cent in volume. So the bleak days of five hundred thousand [viewers] may be in the past, but the climb to full recovery remains steep. BBC's Breakfast, mind you, armed with crampons and nylon rope, this week saw rises of thirteen per cent in individuals share and thirty two per cent in volume on the same week last year and, annoyingly for its commercial rivals, a forty per cent increase in share for housewives with children.' Rather shockingly, Daybreak - much trumpeted - ratings for last week (averaging eight hundred thousand each day for the first time since its first week in September) were even lower than GMTV's 2010 January to August average, which included four summer months of, traditionally, low figures. 'Daybreak this week stood at eight hundred and three thousand (nineteen per cent) with an I'm A Celebrity-fuelled eight hundred and fifty seven thousand on Monday. Compared with GMTV's average to 3 September this year, when it went off-air, Daybreak's individuals rating is down eleven per cent in share and seven per cent in volume; for housewives with children, it is down nine per cent in share and two per cent in volume.' So, in other words, which it's not doing as catastrophically badly as it was in mid-October, it's still getting less viewers than the show it replaced even though, in theory, this is the time of year when more people should be watching. In other news, Daybreak's audience appreciation index scores for the last ten days have gone sixty two, sixty nine, sixty five, sixty three, sixty five, sixty four, sixty five. Remember, anything below seventy five is considered 'below average.' So, to sum up dear blog reader, despite some of the spin you might be reading in a few of the more gullible national newspapers, not many people are watching Daybreak - certainly less than were watching GMTV this time last year - and, those that are, don't seem to think much of it.

And, still on the subject of ratings, the continued chilly weather in the UK brought a set of bumper audience figures for a number of shows on Wednesday evening. Chief amongst there were the BBC's early-evening Local News and Weather programmes which achieved a staggering figure of 8.4m viewers. Given that its audience share at the time was just over thirty four per cent, a swift bit of calculation reveals that somewhere in the region of twenty five million viewers were watching TV between 6:30 and 7pm. ITV News and Weather also pulled in a higher-than-normal 4.8m during the same period. Following on from that, The ONE Show had an audience of 5.6m - the episode following the announcement of the Royal Wedding aside, its largest audience since March. Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention. which had been struggling of late, also saw its audience creep back above four million, its highest since the opening episode. On ITV, the trio of blockbusters, Emmerdale (8.2m), Coronation Street (9.9m) and 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! (8.8m) gave the commercial broadcast one of its best week-day evenings in months.

Coronation Street creator Tony Warren has said that the soap's cast should aim to show versatility if they want a long-term future with the show. In an interview with Broadcast, the seventy three and never become complacent about their positions in Weatherfield. Warren commented: 'The actors are constantly auditioning. Every time they give a performance, the writers will be there devouring it and seeing if there is a new direction they can take the character. People who give the same old performance are looking for the exit.' Warren also praised what producers have in store for next week's fiftieth anniversary episodes, promising that the Joinery Bar explosion and tram crash will be balanced with more subtle moments of family-based drama. He said: 'We're going to give viewers a tough ride. We want it to be the most spectacular [thing] we have ever done, but equally we want it to be the most human.'

Harry Hill has revealed that the BBC don't send him previews of programmes to use for TV Burp. Speaking to Radio 5Live, Hill admitted that they wait until the shows have been broadcast to decide what to feature on the ITV comedy. 'The BBC won't send us preview copies,' he said. 'Somehow we do manage to get hold of them. The BBC, from the start, have not wanted to play along.' Hill further insisted that, although the programme can be quite 'rude,' it is 'a celebration of TV. It would be quite easy to make a scathing, nasty version of TV Burp,' he added. Well, I like the 'nice' version of TV Burp. But, I also like the idea of a 'nasty' version of TV Burp. Which is best? There's only one way to find out ...

Paula Marshall is to make a guest appearance in a forthcoming episode of the FOX medical drama House. TV Guide reports that the actress will play Lucinda, the sister of Dr Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). 'Cuddy's in a relationship now and the boyfriend's meeting the family,' explained executive producer David Shore. It was previously announced that Candice Bergen would appear on the show in January as Cuddy's mother, Arlene. Marshall, who is expected to make her House debut in February, previously played Allison Brooks on CBS sitcom Gary Unmarried and has also had recurring roles on Californication and Nip/Tuck.

Jana Bennett's eight-year reign as head of the BBC's television division is expected to come to a close this month, with the executive due to take up a new role at the BBC's commercial arm. The change of job for the BBC veteran, who is credited as having overseen the return of Doctor Who and launched BBC3 and BBC4, is expected to trigger a wide-ranging search for a replacement, with the BBC looking outside its ranks in both the UK and abroad. One 'source' allegedly 'familiar with the situation' is alleged to have said: 'As soon as the Christmas schedule is put to bed an announcement is expected about Jana.' The announcement about her change of jobs could come in the next few days, and is expected to be made before the end of the year. During her tenure as director of television, and latterly as BBC Vision director, Bennett was criticised following the 2007 Crowngate affair, which led to the departure of BBC1 controller Peter Fincham, for showing 'a lack of curiosity.' She failed grasp that Fincham had made a misleading statement about footage that wrongly purported to show the Queen 'storming out' of a room. However, during her time, the BBC's flagship channels continued to perform well, with BBC1 holding audience share better than all of its rivals. Several BBC names have been touted as possible replacements, such as former BBC2 chief Roly Keating, Peter Salmon and George Entwistle, but the signs are that the corporation does not believe the right candidate is within its the organisation at present. That would trigger an intriguing race for one of the most powerful jobs in British television, where the person in charge is ultimately responsible for the corporation's portfolio of general entertainment TV channels, including BBC1, BBC2 and CBeebies. The person appointed is likely to be considered a potential successor to Mark Thompson as director general. From outside the BBC, Kevin Lygo, the head of ITV Studios, Lorraine Heggessey, the former controller of BBC1 and former BBC2 controller Jane Root are among the names that could be touted – although the BBC is keen to ensure that candidates from the US also emerge. Other rising BBC stars have been, apparently, been 'discreetly' ruled out. Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News, has just taken on some of the wider responsibilities for journalism held by outgoing deputy director general Mark Byford, and is not expected to apply. Tim Davie, the director of audio and music, who some believe is interested in the position, is not seen as having sufficient editorial experience to take on the television job. He was previously a marketer before joining the BBC. Bennett has told friends that she feels it is time for her to develop her international and commercial credentials. Her new job will see her act as a creative director at BBC Worldwide, based in London, with responsibilities that will include its international channels and the international version of the BBC iPlayer. Rumours about Bennett's move have been circulating for some weeks. She was, according to the Gruniad Morning Star, 'coy' about the subject of her leaving BBC Vision at a recent Broadcasting Press Guild lunch, admitting that there have been talks about a move to BBC Worldwide 'from time to time.' Separately, BBC Vision executives are bracing themselves for cuts following a high-level internal meeting this week. The division, which encompasses TV production and broadcasting along with digital video content, is expected to bear the brunt of a planned twenty per cent cut in management over the next year.

David Hasselhoff is rumoured to be in line to replace Piers Morgan as a judge on Britain's Got Talent, it has been alleged. The former Baywatch actor left the equivalent position on America's Got Talent earlier this year - although it was alleged that Hasselhoff was dropped due to his well-publicised battle with alcohol. Simon Cowell is now believed to have offered the fifty eight-year-old a half-a-million pound deal to judge the next series of the ITV talent contest in place of Morgan, who has stepped down to concentrate on his new CNN anchor role. A 'source' allegedly told the Sun: 'David was delighted to receive the call as he really enjoyed his time on America's Got Talent. He is popular in the UK and loves the country, so for him it is a dream opportunity. You might say it's ironic Simon asked David to replace him after he was dropped in America. But they are great pals and David is really looking forward to the auditions.' A show spokesperson confirmed that they were in negotiations with Hasselhoff but denied that a deal was already done. They said: 'We are talking to David Hasselhoff. Nothing has been finalised.'

The BBC has confirmed that a commercial version of its iPlayer video on-demand platform will launch next year on Apple's iPad in international markets. At the Edinburgh TV Festival in August, BBC director general Mark Thompson said that the corporation would make iPlayer available to overseas users within a year. BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, has appointed Mark Smith to the newly created role of global iPlayer director to oversee the launch. According to the Financial Times, Worldwide said this week that it would make iPlayer available on iPad devices in selected overseas markets in the middle of 2011, starting with the US. Luke Bradley-Jones, Worldwide's recently appointed commercial director of, said that the global iPlayer would be aimed at early adopters with a keen interest in BBC content. Bradley-Jones said that the iPad version of the popular catch-up service would have 'a handcrafted feel, very much being about the best of British.' He confirmed that the BBC would charge a monthly subscription fee to access the on-demand application, partially to get audiences 'used to the service,' but also to 'generate additional value from the service in terms of the user data that it gives us. We will also offer advertisers the chance to partner with us on the "free" areas of the service,' said Bradley-Jones. 'We're also planning for the global iPlayer to initially launch just on the iPad platform, as it provides such potential to develop a truly interactive video on-demand service, and also maps pretty nicely on to our core target audience for the service.' Bradley-Jones said that the business model for global iPlayer would be tweaked in the future in response to changes in the video on-demand market. He added: 'There's a general acknowledgement in the world of VoD that there needs to be a hybrid business model, a combination of subscriptions, download to own and pay-per-view. I can see the value of that view and I believe it's the way that the global iPlayer will go in the medium term.'

Irish actor Jimmy Nesbitt has undergone two hair transplants over fears that his balding barnet would hamper his career. The Cold Feet and Jekyll actor has long sported a rapidly receding hairline, and after years of worrying about his lack of follicles and realising that he was in danger of becoming a prime slaphead, he has taken drastic action to improve his appearance. Yer Man Jimmy showed off a fine head of hair at a charity event in Manchester on Monday and admits the cosmetic procedure has transformed his life. He explains, 'It's horrible going bald.' We know, mate. Sting hasn't stopped punishing the rest of the world since he found out it was happening to him. 'Anyone who says it isn't is lying. Several years ago, I began losing my hair and like a lot of men it was a major concern to me. In fact it was practically an obsession. But, also I'm an actor so I'm in the public eye a lot and I really felt that my hair loss could affect my career prospects. So after many agonies and a great amount of thought, believe me it's something I didn't take lightly, I took the decision. I have had two hair transplants and I am very pleased with the results. In fact, I would go as far as to say they have changed my life.'

Bones creator Hart Hanson has insisted that television is 'not a democracy.' Speaking to The Daily Beast, Hanson revealed that he has decided not to interact with any Twitter users he does not personally follow after fans insulted the way he was running the show. 'I was reading absolutely nothing that shed light on audience response,' he said. 'It suddenly occurred to me that what I was reading was largely just noise, much of it ill-spirited and, not to put too fine a point on it, dim. I didn't have to read all that crap. So I decided not to.' Hanson explained that he appreciates viewers' passion for the show but got tired of people complaining about his decisions. 'While I'm delighted that fans of the show think of it as "their" show, that delight doesn't extend to any desire to listen to them tell me how I'm ruining "their" show,' he said. 'The rude people - who are a minority but very vocal - are convinced that what they think about the show is what everybody thinks about the show and as a result they are furious when I don't do what they want. It's a kind of strange megalomania that becomes extremely wearing.' He added: 'It's absolutely wonderful that we have managed to elicit that loyalty and that passion in our fans. But it's a double-edged sword. A TV show is not a democracy.' Hanson also revealed that he received personal attacks and threats on Twitter, saying: 'I realised these rude people were encroaching upon my personal life - my own fault, mind you, for opening the door. Which led me to ask, "Why leave that door open?"'

A series of online shorts in which Steve Coogan resurrects his popular comedy character Alan Partridge has been nominated for a South Bank award. The shorts, made for the beer firm Fosters, will compete with BBC sitcoms Getting On and Rev for the comedy prize. Melvyn Bragg will present the awards on 25 January in London. The annual event, previously affiliated to ITV's axed flagship arts programme The South Bank Show, will now be broadcast on the Sky Arts channel. Lord Bragg said this year's shortlist 'demonstrates the extraordinary wealth of achievement across the arts in the UK. There has certainly never been a more important moment to celebrate the breadth and range of talent across the country.' It is the first time that a series only available online has been nominated for a South Bank prize. Other awards will be presented for visual art, theatre, opera, dance, classical music, pop, TV drama, literature and film. Bragg will present the awards at London's Dorchester hotel Mike Leigh's drama Another Year is up against low budget British SF thriller Monsters and an acclaimed documentary about the late playwright Andrea Dunbar, The Arbor. In the TV category, the BBC's Sherlock competes against E4's Misfits and Channel 4's This is England '86.

Adam Hills has been commissioned for his own talk show in his native Australia. The stand-up comedian - a big favourite of yer Keith Telly Topping - has signed a deal with the ABC for a series called Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight to go out early next year. The series, which will be broadcast on ABC1, is named after the road in the Elsternwick suburb of Melbourne where the broadcaster has its base. Hills said: 'I'm really excited to be allowed to have the run of the ABC studios for a few months. It feels like Mum and Dad are leaving town and have given me the keys to the studio. I'm gonna invite a few friends around, have some good chats, play some good music and try not to trash the place.' ABC's Amanda Duthie added: 'Adam is a talented and extremely popular member of the ABC family. He's a natural host and he's bursting with big ideas. We can't wait to see him bring us his very own take on the Tonight Show tradition.' Hills will continue to host the pop quiz Spicks & Specks for the ABC. The broadcaster has also announced other comedy shows for 2011, including Angry Boys from Summer Heights High creator Chris Lilley. Details are scant at present, although it has been filmed internationally and is a co-production with the BBC and HBO.

The supreme court has changed a key test for defending libel cases, in another significant step by the judiciary to weigh into the highly political debate about libel reform. In a unanimous decision on the defence of fair comment – a Victorian rule originally designed to protect art critics from being sued for libel – the court said the law should be updated to make it more simple, and to take account of changes in technology and the modern media. 'The defence of fair comment should be renamed honest comment,' said Lord Phillips, the president of the supreme court. 'Today the Internet has made it possible for the man in the street to make public comment about others in a manner that did not exist when the principles of the law of fair comment were developed,' he added. 'Millions take advantage of that opportunity.' This blogger included, it should be noted. Phillips, who described the issue as 'a storm in a teacup,' said the defence of fair comment was 'one of the most difficult areas of the law of defamation.' The law on fair comment has been developed by judges in cases going back to the Ninetieth Century, and originated to protect those who wrote critical reviews of books, plays and performances. But the rules determining when a defendant can invoke fair comment to protect themselves from libel have become increasingly complicated as judges have considered whether the defence could apply to a wider range of comment. The defence was a key issue in the case brought by science writer Simon Singh, after he was sued over comments in the Gruniad about the British Chiropractic Association. Overturning high court judge Mr Justice Eady's decision that Singh could not use fair comment, the court of appeal ruled in April that judges should be slower to draw the line between fact and comment in contentious areas of journalism and debate. But this week's decision by five members of the UK's highest court will have even further-reaching implications for the future of the law on libel. 'The defence is clearly going to feature more significantly now,' said Sarah Webb, partner and head of media, libel and privacy at Russell Jones & Walker. 'Whilst the Singh case widened the understanding of what was comment rather than an assertion of fact, today's judgment states that the comment must now only explicitly or implicitly indicate at least in general terms the facts upon which it is based. It is clearly going to be easier for defendants to now rely on this defence although the supreme court have still said it needs further refinement by the Law Commission.' The case was brought by a group of musicians called The Gillettes and Saturday Night at the Movies after a promoter posted a notice on its website stating it would no longer work with the group because the musicians were 'not professional enough.' The musicians sued the company for libel, claiming that the notice on its website implied that they were unprofessional and unlikely to honour future bookings, damaging their reputation. The supreme court ruled that the company should be entitled to the defence of fair comment, because the statement posted on its website identified the facts on which the comment was based. The court also considered human rights protections for free speech under article ten of the European Convention on Human Rights, stating that a defendant in libel cases could not be expected to prove whether a value judgment involved in a statement defended as fair comment, was true. Or, in other words, if you think an actor is rubbish and say so publicly, you shouldn't be required to prove that he is should the actor in question try to make a case that your critique has cost him potential future earnings. 'A value judgment is not susceptible of proof so that a requirement to prove the truth of a value judgment is impossible to fulfil, and thus infringes article ten,' said Lord Phillips. But the court stopped short of radical reforms to the law, by refraining from adopting a wholly objective test for fair comment. 'While the court agreed to a small bit of modernisation in stating that the defence should be renamed honest comment … the court did not accept suggestions that the defence should be expanded to embrace facts which were not known to the defendant, or even in existence when he made his comment,' said Gill Phillips, head of legal for the Gruniad, which was one of the media organisations that intervened in the case. 'Rather they suggested that the onus should be on a defendant to show that he subjectively believed that his comment was justified by the facts on which he based it.'

England missed out on the right to host the 2018 World Cup after football's governing body FIFA picked Russia to stage the event for the first time. Russia saw off rival bids from England, Spain and Portugal and the Netherlands and Belgium to win a secret ballot of FIFA's twenty two executive members in Zurich. None of whom are, obviously, corrupt. England hoped that Prince William, oily David Cameron and David Beckham would give them an advantage. Ultimately, however, all of their talking, hand-shaking and brown-tonguing, not to mention a budget of - reportedly - fifteen million quid spent on the bid, it all ended with England garnering a mere two votes. One of which came from their own representative. Meanwhile, Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup. And, to be honest, if we're talking about 'legacy,' one of FIFA's supposed main criteria in terms of developing the game internationally then those two are, on the face of it, pretty good choices. I'm sure both will put on good shows. Despite a bid described as 'excellent and remarkable' by FIFA president Sepp Blatter following Thursday's final presentations, the executive committee rejected sending the 2018 tournament to England for the first time since 1966. 'We'd heard a rumour two or three minutes before we'd sat down that we hadn't been successful,' said former Newcastle and England captain and BBC pundit Alan Shearer. 'We'd also heard we'd gone out in the first round. Congratulations to Russia - they had a fantastic bid. I thought the guys who got up and spoke for us were magnificent. They couldn't have done any more. At the end of the day, it hasn't been successful but you try your best. I was hoping that I might see a World Cup in my lifetime in England. I wasn't born in '66. It hurts but you have to congratulate the winners. Everyone was very happy and very confident with the bid we put in. We couldn't have done any more. It's disappointing. I'm a loss at what to say. I'm sure [Cameron, Beckham and William] will be as disappointed as the rest of us. Those guys have worked tirelessly. If we haven't got it this time, when are we ever going to get it after what those guys have done?' Eddie Afekafe, a community worker who grew up in Manchester, acted as compere for the presentation in what was regarded as an inspired move. He told how football gave him a chance - compared to his school friends, many of whom were stuck in gangs. 'England 2018 would change the lives of millions of people like me,' he said. Though England is blessed with a series of excellent stadia, good transport links and policing, it is thought a number of behind-the-scenes factors possibly went against England. The BBC's recent Panorama investigation - broadcast on Monday - accused three FIFA executive committee members of accepting 'corrupt' payments and alleged that FIFA vice-president Jack Warner - somebody with whom David Cameron was seemingly quite happy to schmooze like a good'un this week - had been accused of attempting to supply ticket touts. Michel Platini, president of European football's governing body UEFA, insisted that the documentary would not alter members' votes or wreck England's chances. But he did claim that the British media's arduous relationship with football's international governing body could jeopardise England's chances of success. African confederation president Issa Hayatou - whose vote England had high hopes of capturing - Brazil's Ricardo Terra Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay were all accused by Panorama of taking payments. England 2018 bid adviser Sir Keith Mills said: 'I think we're all gutted. We felt over the last eighteen months we had an outstanding bid. I think we had the best bid technically. I think our three lions did an outstanding job. You have to understand that FIFA's view of a host city is different to our own. Their message was today they want World Cups to go to developing countries. None of the mature countries in the world are being selected.' Ex-England striker BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker added: 'I'm obviously devastated along with the rest of the team. We put a lot of effort in and are going home empty handed. We gave it our best shot. We put in a strong bid and it was a great effort by the guys this morning. All you can do is wish Russia well and hope they have a really good World Cup. Always we've just said you don't know how you're doing and how you're going to do. It's so secret once they get in there and we'll never know to be honest. English football will carry on regardless. We're very strong in our country in terms of our league. It could have been a huge boost. It's a real shame we'll never get a chance to prove that. It's a slightly strange experience lobbying and entering the political world.' Qatar will host the 2022 competition after beating rival bid from Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. The FIFA executive committees' decision came as a surprise after the US and Australia bids had been highly-fancied (as, indeed, had Spain for 2018). Australia's bid fared even worse than England's getting just one vote. Of course, the Daily Scum Mail were quick off the mark in a tawdry and rather sickening bit of blame-apportioning. In addition to being spitefully racist, this article noted: 'Six FIFA officials were suspended last month following a Sunday Times investigations and on Monday BBC Panorama claimed three other FIFA members had taken bribes in the 1990s.' Interestingly the very next paragraph added: 'The bid also endured confusion as it's board constantly changed and was engulfed in a scandal in May when Lord Triesman was forced to quit after making unfounded allegations about Spain and Russia colluding to influence referees at the World Cup.' They failed, of course, to remind their readers exactly who it was that published these 'unfounded allegations' - the Scum Mail on Sunday. Hell hath no fury like a British tabloid who backed the wrong horse. Although, to be fair, if you want to see an even more thoroughly shameful and mendacious piece of scum journalism, check out this one. By the way, in an ironic twist whilst the bid decision was being revealed on Thursday afternoon on BBC2, ITV4 were busy showing From Russia With Love - one wonders if they had a tip-off in advance?

The loss of England's World Cup 2018 bid went down very badly with many English newspapers, with a lot of attention focused on the somewhat contrasting reasons for Russia being in the news. The Independent used a nice footballing cliché, A day of two halves, in a piece which contrasted Russia being chosen to host the tournament on the same day that its Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, was accused of corruption in the latest batch of Wikileaks revelations. Fifa bungs Russia the World Cup was the Sun's take on the same allegations. The Daily Scum Mail posed a question which, it alleged, every football fan would be asking: Was it a stitch-up? Which, genuinely, makes a change from 'How can we blame all this on asylum seekers ... or the BBC?' Downing Street, the Scum Mail continues, has 'done little to hide its anger' and suggested that David Cameron 'has no plans' to congratulate Vladimir Putin. Which, one is sure, the Butcher of Grozny will be absolutely devastated by. According to the Daily Mirror, the England camp are 'seething' at being 'betrayed' by what it calls 'dodgy voting.' Andy Anson, in particular, is widely quoted in several newspapers talking about alleged 'collusion.' Hang on, is this the same Andy Anson that was wittering on last week about the BBC being 'unpatriotic' for suggesting, essentially, the same thing? How very curious. The Times has a satellite picture showing arctic conditions over the UK. It sums all the big stories under one headline: Frozen out. Several columnists show they were not impressed with the high-powered team which went to Zurich for England - oily David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham - and they leap to the defence of the British media in general. According to the Daily Scum Mail's resident gobshite Richard Littlejohn, 'the presence in Switzerland of this A-List triumvirate was the final depressing fusion of royalty, politics and celebrity.' Good God, I actually agree with something Littlejohn's said. It must be the End of Days. Simon Jenkins in the Gruniad Morning Star defended the honour of the British press after criticism of the BBC and the Sunday Times for exposing FIFA corruption. 'In this World Cup Sewer,' he wrote, 'we reptiles of British journalism hold our heads high.' But he says 'the grovelling of the Prime Minister and the second-in-line to the throne before this Zurich racket has been a national humiliation.' In Owen Gibson's piece in the same paper, he adds, along similar lines: 'What went wrong? Everything. The strategy to deliver Jack Warner, the controversial CONCACAF president who throughout the two‑year bidding process had successfully made England dance to his tune, failed. The visit to Trinidad by the former prime minister Gordon Brown, the overtures of his successor Cameron, the Beckham coaching clinics and the meetings with the future king all counted for nothing. Instead Warner, who had insisted that the BBC Panorama programme which accused him of arranging ticket touting would not affect his vote, and his two CONCACAF colleagues backed Russia. Senes Erzik, from Turkey, who England also thought they had in the bag, also deserted them. Nor was there sufficient support from the African delegates so actively courted by England in the hope that historical investment in football development and support for Hayatou's failed attempt to topple Blatter in 2002 would reap rewards.' Paul Joyce in the Express believed that the decision was 'to do with politics and slapping down a nation whose free press had dared to try to expose the stench of corruption.' The Daily Mirror praises the bid team and reserved its anger for 'any dimwits' thinking of blaming the BBC or the Sunday Times. They should remember that 'in Russia, critical journalists are murdered,' it says. A valid point, well made. 'The culprits for this most excruciating humiliation of football's motherland since England lost to the USA in Belo Horizonte sixty years ago were to be seen skulking in the ante-chambers of Zurich,' writes nasty curly-haired Little-Englander Jeff Powell in the Scum Mail. 'In the rodent-like rush to jump off the ship of blame, the incompetents in charge of our national game sought to hide the grotesque ineptitude of their bid to stage the 2018 World Cup behind the allegations broadcast by the BBC and published by the Sunday Times and our sister newspaper the Mail on Sunday. It is an excuse as feckless as the entire England campaign. Nor can they get away with crying foul at FIFA for dumping them bottom. After all, it was the same preening crew, who led the English public down a cul-de-sac of false hope, who were busy trying to ingratiate themselves with the executive committee who run the world game.' Jeez, I agree with that as well. Littlejohn and Jeff Powell in the same day. Just kill me now. In a wonderfully piss-taking piece in the Mirror, one of this blogger's favourite football journalists, Oliver Holt, makes a mock confession: 'I have been "unpatriotic." I wish to recant. It is a crass insult to FIFA to say that it is the greatest sporting body on the planet. It makes me feel sick to think that anyone in England could ever have put our 2018 bid at risk by being so insensitive as to suggest it. FIFA is so much more than that. It is the best-run, most farseeing, intuitively brilliant, environmentally friendly, sexual equality conscious, racially aware, daylight-saving, job-sharing, liberal, fertiliser-free, organically farmed, fair trade organisation of any sort, anywhere in the world. Under the leadership of the Dear Blatter, it cares little for profits and alliances with corporate partners who make soft drinks that fatten up kids and is concerned only with the good of the game. If every government was run with as much transparency and wisdom as FIFA, the world would be a better place.' Sarky bleeder! The Telegraph's excellent Henry Winter begins his article on the fiasco with: ''"We were stitched-up," confided a member of the England bid team. "The Prime Minister was stitched-up. He thought he had a number of votes locked down ..." FIFA's credibility was battered on Thursday, not by any allegations of corruption but by the cynical game of collusion and vote-trading that patently went on in FIFA House. All the fish are soiled.' According to Sporting Life, Anson suggested that FIFA members had 'lied' about their votes and the millions of quid spent on England's 'glowing' technical report was 'money down the drain.' Anson added: 'David Dein, myself, David Cameron, David Beckham and Prince William were looking people in the eye and asking them for their vote and being told "yeah." I am not sure what else you could do.' Err ... not believe them? Just a wild suggestion, there, you know. Everybody lies, ask Dr House. Asked if the England bid team had been lied to, he replied: 'I am not going to name names because that is not fair on individuals but clearly some people have. We thought we had more than six votes, perhaps seven or eight.' Sky Sports News sought out the sagacity of former England manager Graham Turnip Taylor: 'FIFA, for me, is full of people who say "yes" to your face and "no" behind your back. Their reputation has not changed for many years. [England] have little or no influence; we are considered to be arrogant and know-alls and FIFA don't have to answer to anyone. I think it is about time that FIFA were really investigated. Our journalists have been blamed for this – I don't get into that.' Still, bright side, it could have be far worse; down under after their own failed bid, the headline in the Sydney Morning Herald was Boot goes in over World Cup 'farce' which is bad enough, as you might imagine, but they're also getting a hiding in the cricket as well.

Police in Pittsburgh mistook a 'blood-splattered' horror movie set for a real murder scene - for eight hours. One officer labelled the room 'the most grisly murder scene' he'd witnessed in his thirty five years in law enforcement. Firefighters responding to a call at the George Washington hotel happened upon the room, reports Metro. They found blood everywhere, bottles of alcohol scattered about the room and 'a piece of a scalp with hair still attached.' Eight hours into their investigation, the police realised the 'blood' wasn't, actually, real blood and they were dealing with a set left over from New Terminal Hotel, a horror film starring the late Corey Haim. According to the owner of the hotel, the set had been left untouched in case those in charge of the movie wanted to carry out re-shoots. Billed as 'an exploration of Hollywood's dark side,' the film was released in March and went straight to DVD. Haim, of The Lost Boys fame, died of a suspected accidental overdose in March aged thirty eight.

And, finally, here's yer Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. I dunno, it just seemed appropriate today, somehow. We're English and we crave disappointment.I feel like I've just been pole-axed by a late Gerd Müller winner in extra time.