Monday, March 28, 2011

The Hours That Were Yours Echo Like Empty Rooms

First up today, a message from our sponsors, dear blog blog reader.
Hit seventies TV show The Professionals is to be revived for a movie version by the team behind Daniel Craig's James Bond films and Captain America. The series originally starred Martin Shaw and his luscious perm along with Lewis Collins, who would inevitably bounce across the bonnet of a Triumph Dolomite shouting 'cover me!' as they intercepted a gang of terrorists from the international Communist conspiracy. Now, producers are promising to reinvent the concept for the Twenty First Century to make 'an exhilarating, emotionally-charged action-thriller that re-forges the seminal TV series for a new generation.' With lots of homoerotic moments. The film will see the return of British military-trained mercenary William Bodie and former police detective Ray Doyle, who work for the covert security unit CI5. The cast have not been announced but it will be filmed later this year. Callum McDougall - the executive producer of Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace - and Richard Whelan, one of the executives behind the forthcoming Captain America, will produce the film. The violent action series - which also starred Gordon Jackson as CI5 boss George Cowley - ran for fifty seven episode from 1977 to 1983. A good half of which were risibly bad. It was created by Avengers writer Brian Clemens. Whelan said: 'To take this 70s TV classic and launch it on to the big screen is a dream come true.' McDougall and Whelan's company Eighth Wonder has teamed up with another production firm Lionsgate UK. Lionsgate chief executive Zygi Kamasa said: 'This production will combine the wit and fast-paced action of the original TV series but also completely reinvent it for a new, modern audience and we're really looking forward to working with talented producers Callum and Richard on the film.'

An EastEnders line of dialogue referencing Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton has been cut from Monday night's episode of the soap, reports have suggested. In the episode of the BBC1 soap, the late couple had been mentioned in a discussion between Alfie Moon (Shane Richie), his cousin Michael (Steve John Shepherd) and Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) about the problems in Alfie's marriage to Kat. Encouraging Alfie not to give up on his relationship, Michael says: 'You two, you're like Burton and Taylor.' The original version of the episode saw a confused Alfie reply by saying: 'What? He's dead ain't he?' However, the Sun reports that whilst Michael's line will remain in the episode Alfie's reply will be cut following Taylor's death last week at the age of seventy nine. Following the removal of the line, the episode will jump to Roxy, who compares Alfie and Kat to 'salt and vinegar.' A spokesperson for the soap said that it was 'pure coincidence' that Taylor was mentioned in the scene, which was filmed earlier this year. The representative said: 'A decision was taken to edit the scene as it's so soon after her death.'

There's an excellent character assassination of Daybreak by former GMTV editor Peter McHugh in the Gruniad on Monday that had yer actual Keith Telly Topping standing on his chair applauding and shouting 'encore!' With venom dripping from every syllable, McHugh wrote: 'It is six months now since ITV launched its breakfast show Daybreak with new presenters, a spanking new set and new content. The audience doesn't like it. It's time for a change.' All good stuff, all pretty accurate - apart from his staggering assertion that GMTV 'could still muster a daily reach of five million viewers on a weekday.' Could it bollocks?! In what universe, pal? But the rest of it is bang on the money: 'It was obvious within days that Chiles was out of his comfort zone, not a morning person and certainly not the man to start your day with a smile. Bleakley was told to move closer. The audience was not happy. They wanted their old friends back, and they wanted the news and the weather – and not The ONE Show. They complained so much about the new presenters that audience comments were hidden from the staff, as were the daily demands for a return to what they had known. Staff morale plummeted with the ratings, as did the business. The once-successful website's traffic declined and advertisers found themselves owed millions as the programme failed to deliver on its audience promises. I estimate the underperformance cost ITV four million pounds in 2010, although ITV says otherwise. So here we are six months in. I'm told by insiders Daybreak is over its programme budget – again denied by ITV – and by my estimation Fincham is paying Chiles and Bleakley more than the combined wage bill of every presenter employed by GMTV. In the last full week of the independent GMTV in December 2009 its share of individuals was just under twenty seven per cent, five share points behind BBC Breakfast. More importantly commercially, its audience of housewives was thirty two and a half per cent, almost twice that of the BBC. Daybreak's individuals share is now about 18.5 per cent, less than half that of BBC Breakfast. Its mums audience share is down twenty per cent. There will apparently be champagne if it hits a twenty per cent individuals share by September.' You tell 'em, matey!

Former Big Brother producer Endemol UK has reportedly acquired a fifty per cent stake in celebrity gossip website Holy Moly. According to the Gruniad Morning Star, Endemol has made a 'significant' investment in the nine-year-old site to help it expand into other areas, such as TV, music and fashion. Holy Moly will continue to be managed by its founder Jamie East, who is hoping to expand the site into overseas markets. East, the son of former Sky Sports executive Trevor East, said that it is important for Holy Moly to 'look beyond' gossip about alleged celebrities such as Alex Reid, Katie Price and Cheryl Cole. 'It needs investment to keep growing - there is not much point in just standing still. The celebrity market is pretty stagnant and is not about to get any better,' East said. 'Celebrity will still be the focal point of the site, but with social networks such as Twitter I don't think there is going to be a life for a website that just deals in celebrity gossip for much longer.' Under the deal, Holy Moly's six-strong team of full-time staff will relocate from the firm's offices on London's Charlotte Street to Endemol's base in Shepherd's Bush. Tim Hincks, the Endemol UK chief executive, described Holy Moly as 'a brilliant success story in online entertainment,' and said that East is an 'inspired creative talent who we are tremendously excited to be working with.' East set up Holy Moly in 2002 as a competitor to Popbitch while still working as head of operations at Sky's broadband division. He concentrated full-time on the site three years later. Previously, East masked his true identity when representing Holy Moly, often wearing a balaclava during TV appearances. But now he feels that the time is right for the site to grow up. 'I'm thirty seven now and it's tiring and a bit embarrassing to put a balaclava on at this stage. It puts people at ease when they deal with us - they can rest assured we are not going to try to squirt water in their face,' he said. 'It feels like the right time. Holy Moly is not as risky as it once was - I don't think I am going to lose my house every time we publish a story - and I'm also really proud of it. I've always been proud of it.'

'It might sound a bit odd coming from someone who answers to the catcall "critic" but isn't it time we all got less judgmental?' notes Metro's Keith Watson in his really very good indeed review of the opening episode of the wretched So You Think You Can Dance. 'This disturbing thought occurred as So You Think You Can Dance (BBC1) leapt back on our screens and the whole talent contest circus kicked off again. We’re losing something: the joy of doing something for yourself, simply for your own sense of creativity. Everything, from singing to dancing to cutting hair, is being judged by self-appointed experts who reduce everything to the lowest common denominator of what passes for what's right and what's not. It’s Strictly Ballroom repeated over and over, with originality lying in a crumpled heap in the corner.'

Former EastEnders actress Nina Toussaint-White has been cast as a character named Mels in a Doctor Who episode to broadcast in the second half of series six. Toussaint-White is best known for playing Bradley Branning's girlfriend Syd Chambers in the BBC1 soap in 2009. Previous guest roles include appearances in Primeval and Casualty. Doctor Who Spoilers website report that the actress's online CV reveals she will appear in an episode directed by Richard Senior, who is directing episodes eight and thirteen of the new series. Both of these episodes will be written by showrunner Steven Moffat.

Merlin's executive producer Johnny Capps has revealed that Misfits creator Howard Overman will be writing an episode for the fourth series of the fantasy drama, which returns to BBC1 later this year. Overman has previously written eight episodes of Merlin, as well as episodes of Hotel Babylon, New Tricks and Hustle. Capps told SFX magazine: 'Episode three is written by Howard Overman. Howard is an extraordinary writer because he can totally switch from Misfits to Merlin to naturalistic drama. He's one of the few writers I know who can switch genres so easily.' Capps also confirmed that series four will open with a two-part story: 'It's being written by Julian Jones, who wrote the series three opening two-parter and the season finale. Alice Troughton, who directed Eye Of The Phoenix, will be directing it.'

Discovery is to launch a short season dedicated to science fiction following a partnership with the British Library. The channel will broadcast several documentaries from late May, having acquired Atlas Media Group's When Aliens Attack and ITV Studios' Sci-Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible from Discovery Channel US and Science Channel US respectively. Discovery has also produced the thirty-minute documentary Saving The Past: How Do They Do It? which goes behind the scenes at the British Library to follow the work of its curators. Other programmes included are How Techies Changed The World With William Shatner and Are UFOs Real? They will be grouped under the title Out of this World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It. The British Library’s similarly-named exhibition will also be promoted via the channel's website and on-air. The exhibition will cover the popularity of science fiction as a literary genre and inspiration for innovations. Dan Korn, head of programming for Discovery UK and Western Europe, said both organisations aimed to share knowledge. 'Both the British Library and Discovery seek to educate and inspire and this partnership gives us an opportunity to share with our viewers what science fiction has achieved, how it has influenced and continues to influence our perceptions about life in other parts of our universe,' said Korn.

Three Peter Cook-related things you must watch on You Tube before you die.
1. The legendary Entirely a Matter for You from the 1979 Secret Policeman's Ball.
2. This clip from his appearance on Parkinson in 1974. Continued here.
3. Stephen Fry's wonderfully angry obituary for Peter from The Late Show in January 1995.

Stand-up comedians taking part in Channel Four’s star-studded Comedy Gala will take over the adverts as well as the broadcast. Jimmy Carr and Alan Carr will interrupt various commercials aired during the extravaganza in a Carr vs Carr Ad Break Challenge. In which they will, presumably, try to out smug each other. My money's on Jim, personally. The unusual move follows last year’s event, where the broadcaster commissioned Jimmy Carr to provide a commentary to adverts for the likes of Guinness, Go Compare and Churchill. Now Channel Four is seeking more brands to get involved in this year's show - and have their products mocked. The event will be filmed in London's O2 Arena on May 24 and broadcast in June.

Shohreh Aghdashloo has reportedly signed up for a guest role on House. TV Line claims that the Oscar-nominated actress will appear in the upcoming seventh season finale, Moving On. FOX has yet to confirm Aghdashloo's casting and no details are currently known about the role that she will play in the episode. The actress was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 2003's House of Sand and Fog and also won an Emmy in 2009 for her role in the BBC and HBO co-production House of Saddam. Her past television credits include recurring roles on 24 and FlashForward, and guest spots in ER, Grey's Anatomy and Law & Order: SVU.

Adrian Pasdar has reportedly landed a role in a new comedy pilot for NBC. The sitcom, which is currently untitled, stars Sarah Paulson as a woman called Mary who helps people with their careers but struggles to deal with her own personal relationships. TV Line reports that Pasdar has signed up for the male lead. He will play Brad, who drunkenly has sex with Mary in a bar and ends up working for her company. Pasdar played Nathan Petrelli in Heroes and appeared in Castle earlier this year. He recently admitted that he was not sure whether he wanted to work on a new television series. The NBC project, which has been penned by The New Adventures Of Old Christine and Will & Grace writer Kari Lizer, will also star Tim Meadows.

BBC1 has recommissioned two Saturday night formats, both of which will be recorded at the broadcaster's Glasgow Pacific Quay studios later this year. Secret Fortune, the National Lottery game show format, has been reordered after running on the channel for just a month. Belfast-based producers Wild Rover have been commissioned to make the eight part series, which will be executive produced by Phil Morrow. Meanwhile Tonight's The Night, fronted by John Barrowman, will be co-produced by Barrowman Barker Productions and the BBC's in house entertainment team. The series comprises six studio-based episodes and two compilation shows, and will be executive produced by Louise Rainbow and Eileen Herlihy. Both series were commissioned by BBC1 channel controller Danny Cohen, executive editor for entertainment Alan Tyler and controller of entertainment commissioning Mark Linsey. Tyler said: 'These are first and foremost great programmes. Their recommissions are fantastic news not only for the viewers who love them, but also for the in house and independent production companies involved and for the local economy.'

Aspiring porn actors from South Africa will be able to compete for a role in an adult sex film thanks to new reality TV series Porn Stars. After which, presumably, they'll find work getting hard. Oh, suit yerself. I work with the material I'm given, dear blog reader. The winners of Porn Stars, which will be broadcast in the country later this year, will get parts (stop sniggering at the back) in Hustler magazine's end-of-year movie and also receive a four hundred and fifty pound cash prize. Auditions to find the X Factor-style show’s one hundred finalists - who will perform live sex acts on stage before facing a public vote - have started, and producers have warned hopefuls to prove they can 'carry a line' before they show off their other assets. A shortlist of one hundred and twenty finalists has already been drawn up after over a thousand people auditioned three weeks ago in Johannesburg. Porn Stars producer Donovan van Wyngaard said he hopes the competition will help find the fresh (ahem) faces of South African pornography. 'The finalists will be performing sexual acts live on stage so that people at the show can vote,' he confirmed. 'A decision will be made as to who we choose as the lucky winners for the show.' The finalists are due to compete on stage during a Sexpo exhibition in August and October in Durban and Johannesburg, where they will be assessed by judges including strip club owner Perle van Schalkwyk and an executive from adult magazine Hustler. Schalkwyk said: 'All different kinds of people entered the show, not the typical kind of people we expected. 'I'm sure all the people who entered think they are great at it - it will be interesting to see just how good they are. 'Maybe we will find the perfect porn star. Who knows?'

As the Gruniad Morning Star put it, 'It was just another breakfast time at Tripoli's smart Rixos Al Nasr hotel, sleepy foreign journalists helping themselves to cereals, rolls and terrible coffee in the restaurant, looking out over a neat garden unusual in the dour capital city. But the Groundhog Day conversations – more overnight coalition air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's forces, rebel advances in the east, how to escape the minders – were suddenly interrupted when a distraught woman burst in to describe how she had been repeatedly raped by government militiamen.' The story concerns one Iman al-Obeidi who was, according to numerous press reports, quickly manhandled and arrested by security officials – an extraordinary spectacle for the assembled journalists, hemmed in by severe restrictions on their movements and fed often barely credible information. The scene – filmed by several of those present – unfolded when Obeidi entered the Ocaliptus dining room and lifted up her abaya to show a slash and bruises on her right leg. 'Look what Gaddafi's men have done to me,' she screamed. 'Look what they did, they violated my honour.' Distraught and weeping, she was surrounded by reporters and cameramen. Libyan minders pushed and lashed out at the journalists, one of them reportedly drawing a gun, another smashing a CNN camera. Two waitresses grabbed knives and threatened Obeidi, calling her 'a traitor to Gaddafi.' Obeidi said she had been arrested at a checkpoint in the capital because she is from Benghazi, stronghold of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion in the east. 'They swore at me and they filmed me. I was alone. There was whisky. I was tied up. They peed on me.' You have to pay good money for that sort of thing normally. Anywat, she continued that she had been raped by fifteen men and held for two days. Charles Clover of the Financial Times, who tried to protect her, was reportedly pushed, thrown to the floor and kicked, and Channel Four correspondent Jonathan Miller claims to have been punched. Obeidi was then frogmarched, struggling, into the lobby and driven away, shouting: 'They say they are taking me to hospital but they are taking me to jail.' Government minders again tried to stop journalists taking pictures. 'It was impossible to verify her account,' noted the Gruniad rather tersely. Musa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said that he had been told Obeidi, apparently in her thirties, was 'drunk and suffered from mental problems.' Well, why not, the Libyan government's full of people like that. The incident made a powerful impression on journalists who have heard of, and occasionally seen, brutality but are subject to stringent controls to prevent them reporting independently and have a frustrating sense of being manipulated for crude propaganda purposes by the authorities. 'There was a desperate sense of our failure to prevent the thugs taking her away,' Miller said afterwards. 'There was nothing more that we could have done as we were overtly threatened by considerable physical force.' An American TV cameraman said: 'I think she probably was raped, otherwise I can't see her having the courage to put herself at such risk to let us know what the regime is doing. We see the fear in people all the time. But this is the most blatant example of the vicious way the regime treats the Libyan people.' It is clear, the newspaper goes on to report, 'from snatched conversations and anecdotal evidence that hundreds of Libyans have been detained in Tripoli, Zawiya and elsewhere since the uprising began five weeks ago, with many families still unaware of their whereabouts.' Libya's media strategy is to highlight the violent nature of the rebellion, insisting it is inspired by al-Qaida, and to emphasise that coalition air attacks – mandated by the UN to protect civilians – are causing civilian casualties. But foreign media have not been allowed to visit hospitals and have been escorted to only two sites hit in the last week. The first was a naval base in central Tripoli, where there were no casualties. The second was a farm on the outskirts of nearby Tajura, damaged by fragments of what one expert said was a US-made Harm anti-radar missile, and where one person was slightly injured. Visible military targets – such as a mobile radar station on the adjacent coastal road – appear to have been surgically destroyed. Journalists have also been taken to see two mass funerals of purported victims of the attacks, where large crowds chant pro-Gaddafi slogans and slogans attacking what Libyans call the 'colonialist-crusader aggression.' John Simpson, the BBC's foreign affairs editor, was warned by Libyan officials after questioning in a broadcast whether coffins seen at a funeral on Thursday contained the bodies of civilian victims. It is thought eighteen air cadets were killed in an air strike on a Tajura military installation, the number corresponding to charred bodies shown to photographers in a hospital mortuary. But no distinction has been made between civilian and military casualties. The government said on Thursday that 'nearly one hundred' civilians had been killed. No names of the dead or injured have been published. The US, France and Britain say there are no confirmed civilian casualties. 'I am on a short leash because they really objected to my questioning whether the coffins we saw contained civilians,' Simpson said. 'All I said was that it was impossible to verify, but they took that as a great insult.' If it's any consolation, John, when the rebels get to Tripoli it's gonna be a frigging bloodbath and most of these torturing bastards are going to end up having their heads cut off and stuck on a pole in the town square. So, you know, probably best not to rock the boat too much for the time being. Other journalists have received anonymous threats. 'I have read your stories and the penalty for carelessness is death,' one American correspondent was warned by e-mail. The Rixos is in a secluded compound twenty minutes from the centre of Tripoli. Journalists who have managed to leave it or another hotel without minders are routinely detained by police or turned back at roadblocks. Taxi drivers face arrest if caught picking up journalists. Libyan officials insist that all journalists comply with the rules 'for their own safety' but are evidently frustrated that their message is not getting across. 'This is an extremely tense time,' said Ibrahim. 'Our soldiers are being killed. People in Libya are very angry, very bitter. They know the news from Ajdabiya. They know the coalition forces are not protecting civilians. They know the rebels came from Benghazi to Ajdabiya and that we are withdrawing. No one is investigating this.' I'm sorry, this is a Libyan complaining about the press only showing one side of a story? Is that supposed to be dramatic irony, or what?

Up to a dozen serving police officers are being investigated after making inappropriate comments on their Facebook sites. Their remarks include comments about wanting to beat up rioting students and describing a suspected paedophile who flashed at children in a play area as 'a dirty scum pervert.' Another officer posted a video on the social networking site of a US policeman flooring a suspect by shoving him in the neck, writing: 'How cool is the copper!' A policewoman colleague replied: 'I must try this move when I am out and about again! Classic!' Another post read: 'I have to deal with human bacteria all day, every day. Thus I loathe and despise human kind.' I know how you feel, pal, trust me. The comments were made by Essex policemen and women who apparently did not realise that their accounts could be read by members of the public. How nice to see police intelligence is all it's cracked up to be. One officer remarked that he was 'off to Southend tonight with his band of merry men to dish out some justice.' They were reported by an unnamed member of the public - or, you know, a Copper's Nark! - who tipped off the Essex Police professional standards department which promptly launched an investigation. The unnamed member of the public is reported to have said: 'Police officers are expected to maintain professional standards even when they are off duty – but this lot seem to have forgotten all that.' Too busy dishing out ad-hoc and arbitrary justice, no doubt. In a letter sent back to him, the unnamed member of the public was reportedly told that the officers involved were being 'dealt with under the misconduct process.' It added: 'The relevant divisional commanders have been instructed to take management action with each of the officers concerned. This consists of formal advice on the use of such sites. Officers have also been instructed to remove the offending material. Thank you for your public-spirited action in bringing this to the attention of Essex Police.' The letter ended, 'PS: We know where you live.' Allegedly. All of this reminds this blogger of a time when he was in town late one Friday night and saw the funniest piece of police/public interaction imaginable. Some recidivist was in earnest discussion with a constable who had his arm halfway up his back and was giving his kidney's an occasional wallop with his truncheon. 'Ya tekkin' liberties, like!' squealed the arrested urchin between periodic 'ow's. 'If, by that, you mean that I am taking your liberty, from you, then that is correct,' noted plod with a witty turn of quip I wouldn't have given him credit for previously. Then he concluded 'You're fuckin' nicked,' which suggested a few too many night in watching repeats of The Sweeney on Bravo.

I wonder do you ever, dear blog reader, listen to a lyric from a popular song - one, perhaps, that you've heard a thousand times before - and suddenly think 'what the hell are you going on about, you very strange individual?' Happened to yer actual Keith Telly Topping the other day. I was listening to the opening of Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak which, of course, oepns with the immortal line 'Tonite there's gonna be a jailbreak/Somewhere in this town.' Err ... the jail, possibly Phil?

The use of the death penalty globally is continuing to fall, an annual report by Amnesty International has said. Although twenty three countries carried out executions in 2010, four more than in 2009, the number of people executed dropped from at least seven hundred and fourteen to at least five hundred and twenty seven, the rights group said. But that figure does not include China, whose executions are thought to be more than all other countries put together. Gabon last year became the one hundred and thirty ninth country to cease the practice, whilst Mongolia also declared a moratorium on the death penalty. But following an execution-free year in Europe in 2009, the death penalty returned to the continent with two executions in Belarus. The report expresses alarm that a significant number of executions or death sentences handed down in 2010 were for drug offences - including more than half of the death sentences in Malaysia. Methods of execution employed worldwide were beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection and various kinds of shooting. No stonings were recorded in 2010, but stoning sentences were recorded in Nigeria, Pakistan and Iran. Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty said: 'In spite of some setbacks, developments in 2010 brought us closer to global abolition.' But he added: 'The minority of states that continue to systematically use the death penalty were responsible for thousands of executions in 2010, defying the global anti-death penalty trend.'

Former England cricket legend Sir Ian Botham has said that he would consider walking the length of Sri Lanka to raise funds for children to build a new life in the war-ravaged north of the country. Botham, who has been doing long-distance charity fundraising walks in Britain for twenty five years, accompanied Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan and their captain Kumar Sangakkara on a tour of the region. When Botham was asked if he would consider a charity walk in Sri Lanka, he said he would have to think about it because of the heat. But when he was told that the walk might be as short as two hundred and sixty miles, rather than the one thousand-mile treks which he is used to, he reportedly said: 'Well that's different, I'll consider that.'

Manchester United has been named the most hated company in Britain according to a new poll even beating several loathed banks. Yeah, I'd go along with that. The Sun - who, along with most of the rest of the British media usually have their tongue rammed so far up The Scum's collective warsehole that there's no room for anybody else to get in for a good hard lick - reports that the football club is hated by twenty six per cent of the one thousand people quizzed for an Online Opinions survey. Presumably the other seventy four per cent were from Essex or Wiltshire or somewhere else several thousand miles from Old Trafford and are, therefore, big fans. The football team's power and success over the past two decades was blamed for their high placing in the vote. That and their arrogance that needs slapping down at every given opportunity. The Scum are reportedly followed by low-budget airline Ryanair with twenty three per cent and utilities firm British Gas on twenty two per cent in the poll. Next was McDonald's with nineteen per cent and banks RBS and Lloyds TSB with seventeen per cent and sixteen per cent respectively. Overall, banking was named the most hated sector, followed by utilities and petrol companies.

A French photographer has stripped naked in public for several nude self-portraits in New York. Ooo, la, la. Parisian Erica Simone posed among clothed strangers for her work titled Nude York: Self-portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen, the Daily Scum Mail reports. With a mixture of glee and tutting. Erica said: 'At first it was like, "Can I really do this?" I was into the idea, but I didn't totally have the [nerve] to do it - I'm not totally an exhibitionist. It is not as if I just spent the whole day walking around naked. I was fully clothed until I was ready to take the shot.' She added: 'It's not about sex. It's crazy that it's illegal to be naked. The whole process was really liberating and it made me feel freer and more comfortable in my own skin and not be ashamed of my body. The first few times I was so nervous and I guess innocent about everything, and yeah it was scary a bit as well. But now I don't care about being naked. I am more concerned about getting the shot right rather than worrying about being naked or what people in the streets are thinking.' Earlier this month, nude cyclists rode through the Australian city of Melbourne for its fourth Naked Bike Ride. Last year, a naturist resort in New Zealand announced a naked golf tournament at a nearby course. Although participants were, apparently, warned about the use of any illegal wood. No, listen.

Right, moving on swiftly to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, it's time to celebrate what Julian Cope once described as 'the Godlike genius' of Scott Walker. Starting off when he was part of, if you will, a band of brothers.Next his trio of hits, starting with the finest ever interpretation of a Jacques Brel song and a brilliant performance on the Frankie Howerd show Howerd's Hour. If there was one thing about yer man Scott - quite apart from that voice - was that he was a stunning interpeter of, occasionally, some pretty bog-standard material. Take 'Joanna', bit a soppy tearjerker in anyone else's hands but in his, it becomes a song of aching beauty. Same with the next one, you can imagine any number of cabaret crooners massacring 'The Lights of Cincinatti' (in fact, I've heard several!) But this is breathtaking. Scott 4 remains one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite LPs by anyone. Particularly on this piece of proper social comment. Let's finish off, though, with another standard. A song that even Midge Ure could spoil. Although he gave it a damned good try.