Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week Nineteen: It's Time To Taste What You Most Fear

Doctor Who executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He) has suggested that he hopes John Barrowman's popular character Jack Harkness will return to the popular SF family drama series. The showrunner first introduced Captain Jack in the series one two-parter The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances for a stint with the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and Rose (Billie Piper). The rogue Time Agent proved to be such a hit that Barrowman was eventually granted his own spin-off series, Torchwood and has returned to Doctor Who on three occasions since. In an interview with The Gothamist, Moffat responded to a questioner's suggestion that he has resisted using any characters that originated from what the Digital Spy website describes as 'former executive producer Russell Davies's reign.' I'm not sure that's, actually, the right word to use since Russell wasn't, actually effing king. Anyway, 'there's no rule against that,' the Moffster asserted. 'People talk as if somewhere there's been some schism.' He added: 'I mean, Jack, who I wrote in the show, I'd love to have him back. I was thinking he should really be here recently but he's busy [filming Torchwood: Miracle Day]. And there are references to Davies's characters - we just had a reference to Rose, in fact. In my head there is a continuing story. There's no idea that we're abandoning anything. There is an element that The Doctor moves on from people in a rather scary but inevitable way. He won't be nearby forever.'

Meanwhile, John Simm has confirmed that he would 'definitely consider' reprising the role of The Master on Doctor Who. The forty-year-old actor took on the mantle of the villainous Time Lord for three episodes in 2007. Simm later returned to Doctor Who for David Tennant's farewell The End of Time two years later, where The Master appeared to sacrifice his own life to save The Doctor from facing the wrath of the vengeful Time Lord President, Rassilon. During an appearance on The ONE Show, Simm was questioned by Matt Baker as to whether he's open to rejoining Doctor Who so The Master can appear opposite Matt Smith's Doctor. 'I'd certainly consider [returning],' the actor said. 'There seems to be a lot of talk about it recently.' John was quick to point out, however, that he's yet to be approached by anyone on the Doctor Who production team regarding The Master's re-emergence. 'I haven't spoke to anyone about it, but I would definitely consider it,' he noted. 'It was such fun to do.' Earlier this month, Doctor Who executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat hinted that Simm could reappear as The Master in a future episode.

Tim Anderson has 'blasted' Gordon Ramsay. Or 'criticised' as normal people who use words that contain more than two syllables might say. The American-born winner of MasterChef earlier this week, said that he is very relieved he didn't go on the US version of the hit cookery show because Gordon Ramsay humiliates the contestants by refusing to eat their food. Anderson told the Sun: '[US MasterChef] is shit. It's an abomination. It's Gordon Ramsay spitting out food and being a dick. Sorry, American MasterChef is appalling. The British series is very cool. It's all about the cooking. American MasterChef is about Gordon Ramsay being Gordon Ramsay and tearing people down and about a quarter of a million dollar cash prize. My prize is the opportunity.' Despite his comments, Anderson did admit that Ramsay is 'a great chef' and said that he would 'love' to work in one of his restaurants, just 'not for him directly.' After winning the show, Anderson told the Digital Spy website that he was 'thrilled' and 'touched' that he has inspired people to cook.

Cat Deeley, the presenter of So You Think You Can Dance, told the Gruniad that she believes she has been the victim of phone hacking by tabloid newspapers. Deeley – better known in the US than the UK these days – said that she believed that she had been targeted 'at some point' based on the belief that 'certain phone conversations I've had have been repeated back to me, almost word-for-word.' However, Deeley said that she had not chosen to take the matter further saying that, as far as she was aware, 'it never went in the press' – because she chose not to respond to information she believes was gleaned via hacking. In an interview with G2, published this week, Deeley said: 'It was more like someone would call, either an agent or publicist, and say: "What's all this about, a 'source' has said this or 'a pal' has said this." And when it's happened it's almost verbatim a message that's been on a phone. They were after my reaction to get a story out of that, but I'd just not say anything.' She added 'only ever five people' who would have known some of the information that was put to advisers by journalists. 'I just know there is no way any of them would have said anything.' Earlier on Thursday it emerged that Wayne Rooney is considering taking legal action against the News of the World after being told by police that he may have been targeted by Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by the newspaper.

A Gypsy Weddings special for the royal wedding beat the third BBC Rock & Chips special on Thursday night, overnight audience data has revealed. On a very uninspiring night for just about all of the channels, My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding averaged 3.95m for Channel Four in the 9pm hour, peaking at 4.34m in the final fifteen minutes. A further six hundred and fifty thousand viewers watched the show on Channel 4+1. The reality programme proved too strong for the Only Fools And Horses spin-off Rock & Chips, which was watched by just 3.37m on BBC1 from 9pm. However, both shows ultimately lost out to Long Lost Family, the tripe Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell-hosted reunion show, which reunited 4.01m on ITV.

And, on that bombshell, dear blog reader, here's yer next lot of Top Telly Tips:

Friday 6 May
In Petworth House: The Big Spring Clean - 8:00 BBC2 - The Culture Show's arty Andrew Graham-Dixon goes behind the scenes of Petworth House, spending a winter working with the National Trust's conservation team at the stately home in West Sussex. The six-part TV series, produced by Wall to Wall, follows the art historian and writer as he assists the staff in putting the National Trust property 'to bed' for the winter. Andrew gets up close and personal with a Turner painting, vacuums a rare rug and learns the secrets of a book that predates the invention of printing. The series was previously shown on BBC4. Petworth House has some of the finest collections of treasures to be found in any stately home in Britain. Visited by more than a hundred thousand people each year, the property boasts some of the country's best paintings, carvings, furniture and sculpture. A hub of activity between March and November when it is open to visitors, the series will show how the property is equally busy in the winter months when it closes its doors to enable a select band of staff and volunteers to clean and care for its collections. The film crew visited the house more than fifty times during the winter shutdown in preparation for the series.

Classic Albums - 9:00 BBC4 - this week looks at the making of Primal Scream's seminal 1991 LP Screamadelica. The LP was released to widespread critical acclaim and is frequently acknowledged as one of the best - most important and influential LPs of the 1990s. Screamadelica also won the first Mercury Music Prize in 1992. It was a massive departure from the band's early indie-rock sound, drawing inspiration from the popularity of the house music scene. The band enlisted DJs Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley on producing duties, although the LP also contained a wide range of other influences including rock, gospel and dub. It's four hit singles - 'Loaded', 'Higher Than The Sun', 'Come Together' and 'Movin' On Up' - remain some of Primal Scream's best known songs. The band members - including singer and lyricist Bobby Gillespie - explain its inception, and the programme features rare archive performances, with contributions by Weatherall and Creation Records founder Alan McGee.

In the latest episode of the popular topical news quiz Have I Got News for You - 9:00 BBC1 - the actor and presenter Alexander Armstrong takes his turn as guest host, which is usually one of the highlights of the each series. He might, admittedly, be a bit wooden on Pointless, but Xander's terrifically dry delivery of autocue lines in this make him probably the series best presenter since Angus Deayton got the old tin tack. Regular team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton are joined by the North East's own king of comedy Ross Noble and the journalist, presenter, wit and stone dead fox Victoria Coren. Tasty.

Saturday 7 May
In 1966, just a few weeks before William Hartnell left production of the show he's starred in since it began, the Doctor Who production team took one of their very few trips away from their usual stock location of a gravel pit in Gerrard's Cross down to Cornwell. There, they filmed The Smugglers a rip-roaring rollercoaster of bodice-ripping, thigh-slapping, swashbuckling, heavy-ho me hearties adventure. Sadly, a few years later, tapes of the four-parter were junked by some glake at the BBC along with many other fine examples of early Doctor Who. But, from the tiny clips that have survived, audio recordings of the four episodes and the scripts, it appears to have been one of programmes lost gems. Forty five years on, they've - essentially - pulled the same trick. Sandwiched in between two of the most desperate, vacuous and banal television shows the BBC has ever disgraced itself by commissioning, Don't Scare the Hare and So You Think You Can Dance we find the BBC's flagship popular family drama Doctor Who - 6:15 BBC1. And an episode called The Curse of the Black Spot. Yar. The TARDIS lands on board a Seventeenth Century pirate ship stranded in the middle of the ocean, full of rough-tough sailors tossing about at sea. The Doctor discovers members of the crew are being attacked by a mysterious and beautiful creature known as The Siren. As more buccaneers fall under the seductress's spell, the Time Lord struggles to gain the trust of the vessel's implacable captain, Avery, and find a way to bring his troubles to an end. Guest starring the very excellent Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and model-turned-actress Lily Cole.

And so we come to the end of the outstanding French crime drama Spiral - 9:00 BBC4 which has been such a massive hit in the Telly Topping household these last few weeks. The police strive to pinpoint the connection between Vlad, the elusive leader of Niko's prostitution ring and the Butcher of La Villette. Tension mounts between Laure and Gilou as he prepares to the leave the team and Judge Roban uncovers proof of Arnaud's naughty betrayal. Needless to say, le renard argenté's reaction towards the little shit is somewhat unforgiving. But the killer evades custody leaving Laure in a race to get to him first. Roban discovers that the moral high ground comes at a price, while Pierre finds that bad, duplicitous Joséphine has made a deal with Szabo to save him. Last in the current series. Hopefully once series four is made we won't have to wait nearly a year for it to show up on BBC4.

If you fancy something on a slightly bigger scale, there's The Simpsons Movie - 7:15 Film4. Twenty years after their first appearance on The Tracey Ullman Show, America's favourite dysfunctional yellow cartoon family finally made it on to the big screen. Cheekily described by creator Matt Groening as Homer's Odyssey, this is certainly epic, with eleven writers, a team of South Korean animators and a plot that follows Homer from Springfield to Alaska and back again after he accidentally causes a colossal environmental disaster in his home town (D'oh!). The script is glorious in its ambition, tackling everything from lowbrow slapstick to inventive visual gags (Bart's naked skateboarding is a particular highlight), barbed political comment (an ill-informed President Arnold Schwarzenegger declaring 'I was elected to lead, not to read') and irreverent swipes at its competitors (Walt Disney gets a very thorough bashing). The rich relentlessness of the jokes demands at least two viewings and, while some fans will undoubtedly be upset that a few of their favourite characters are sidelined (including villainous Mr Burns), this re-establishes The Simpsons as the jewel in the crown of American animation. Plus, if you watch it, trust me, you'll be singing the 'Spider Pig' song for the next month. I mean, be fair, what other movie can you ever aspire to watch in which the band Green Day drown whilst playing 'Nearer my God To Thee'?

Sunday 8 May
There'll be some Turkish Delight in Istanbul not Constantinople this morning as Formula 1: The Turkish Grand Prix Live - 12:10 BBC1 - revs up and burns rubber. Jake Humphrey is joined by Eddie Jordan for the fourth race of the season, which comes from Istanbul Park. (The race's start-time is 1.00pm but get there early because the build up is usually as interesting as the first few laps.) Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix last time out to end Sebastian Vettel's dominance, and the McLaren driver was also successful here last year, finishing over two seconds ahead of team-mate Jenson Button, with Mark Webber in third. Commentary by Martin Brundle and David Coulthard. A very pleasant way to spend three hours on a Sunday afternoon, frankly.

In the second of the two end-of-series clip shows for Time Team - 5:30 Channel Four - Tony Robinson and his old mate Mick Aston look back at highlights from the eighteen series of the popular archaeology programme. And, they discuss how their discoveries have helped to build a picture of the development of human life in Britain during the past ten thousand years. They explain how early Britons learned to control the land they lived on, and explore how the evolution of house-building helped change the way people lived. Last in the current series. It'll be back in the New Year and will, as ever, be a very welcome addition to a TV landscape too often devoid a programmes in which viewers are encouraged to actually use their brains.

Speaking of which there's Lord Sugar-Sweetie Tackles Football - 9:00 BBC2. In which the businessman and former Tottenham Hotspur chairman investigates the financial problems affecting English football, talking to leading figures within the game including Harry Redknapp, Alan Shearer, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, UEFA president and oily little twat Michel Platini, West Ham United vice chairman Karren Brady and Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan. He also presents his own five-point plan to help resolve the difficulties in which many clubs find themselves. Now, hang on - let's just get this prefect straight. Alan Sugar-Sweetie presents himself these days as the epitome of a hard-bitten, straight-talking successful and driven business entrepreneur. Some of us, however, actually have longer memories than seven seasons of The Apprentice and can remember when Sugar-Sweetie was the owner of a company which made the ninth best Midi Hi-Fi system you could buy. And the second best satellite receiver. When there were only two satellite receivers on the market. But, worst of all, is this idea that he was some kind of visionary genius when he was running Stottingtot Hotshots back in the 1990s. No he was not. The club were crap back then and won nowt. The photo of the left clearly demonstrates what many Spurs Ultra thought about Sugar-Sweetie and the job he did at their club. It's only since Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy took over the club from him and put some real money in that Tottenham have started to get a sniff of success. So, frankly, let's have a bit less of all this nonsense - almost Stalinist - revisionism. The idea of Sugar-Sweetie's 'five point plan to save football' is about as interesting to me as a similar plan devised by Barry Chuckle. God save us all from people with 'five point plans.'

It's the second episode of Vera - 8:00 ITV. Following the suicide of Jeanie Long, the woman convicted of the murder of teenager Abigail Mantel eleven years earlier, new evidence comes to light exonerating her of the dreadful and naughty crime. DCI Vera Stanhope reinvestigates the case, but to find out who really killed Abigail, the detective must uncover the secrets of a close-knit North country community that is still coming to terms with the incident. Detective drama, adapted from Ann Cleeves' novel Telling Tales, guest starring Hugo Speer alongside Brenda Blethyn, David Leon, Wunmi Mosaku and Paul Ritter.

The best film of the night is How to Lose Friends And Alienate People - 9:00 Channel Four. British journalist Toby Young found success when he wrote a best-selling book about his failed stint at a New York magazine. This loose adaptation stars Simon Pegg as Sidney Young, who, unlike his real-life counterpart, has a charming silly streak that keeps you grinning even as he snipes at and isolates himself from the American showbiz glitterati. It helps, too, that the stars and their PR wranglers are even bigger egomaniacs than he is. That's in stark contrast to Jeff Bridges, who twinkles quietly in the background as the irascible editor of the magazine (based, loosely, on Vanity Fair), and Kirsten Dunst, who makes a blandly inoffensive love interest. Despite this tacked-on romance, Pegg and director Robert B Weide (who cut his teeth on Curb Your Enthusiasm) deliver a wickedly funny mix of social and literal slip-ups, which is bound to win over and amuse most people. Point of interest - there's also a minor character in the movie based on Young's old flatmate Sophie Dahl. But, don't let that put you off. The fact that James Corden has a small role, however, might just be the tipping point for many dear blog readers.

Monday 9 May
Business Nightmares with Evan Davis - 8:00 BBC2 - is a new series uncovering the inside stories of how some successful businesses have committed monumental mistakes. With the help of leading experts and entrepreneurs, the economist and Dragons' Den presenter (and, as Harry & Paul portray him, big-eared cross-eyed freak) reveals remarkable design and manufacture blunders made by some of the world's biggest brands. These include a soft-drink company which decided to change its most popular flavour for no obvious reason, a washing powder that dissolved clothes and a car manufacturer which priced its products too cheaply.

Strangeways - 9:00 ITV - as the title suggests is a documentary following day-to-day life at Her Majesty's Prison Manchester, which was opened in 1868 and is currently the largest high-security prison in the UK, housing more than twelve hundred very naughty inmates. In the first episode, a new arrival enters the Category A unit on remand due to his alleged involvement in a multimillion-pound drugs conspiracy, which he claims to know nothing about. And armed blagger Adrian Fielding marries his fiancée Kelly Hansen. Ah, bless. Wonder if it was a shotgun wedding? No, cos y'see ... oh, suit yerselves.

In the latest two episodes of Coronation Street - 7:30 ITV - Becky plays second fiddle (again) as Steve and Tracy dash to A&E with Amy. Claudia launches a scathing attack on Audrey when she sees her with Marc at the bistro, and Chesney warns Fiz that John is too unstable to look after Hope alone. Meanwhile, Tina cannot hide her jealousy from Xin, and David makes a connection with Max. Fiz dismisses Chesney's concerns about John (which, one imagines, she's going to regret in days to come) and Marc finally opens up to Claudia. And, finally, a drunken Tommy bets Jason that he can woo Sian, and Tina gets a shock. All of human life is here, dear blog reader. Some of it is interesting.

However, if you prefer wallowing in the shameless self-promotion of shallow absolute non-entities them, There's Something About Josie - 10:00 Channel Five - might just be the very programme for you, dear blog reader. This is a reality series following the life of Big Brother winner Josie Gibson as she 'copes with the pressures of photo shoots, red-carpet events and magazine interviews.' Pity for her. So, in other words, this is a reality TV show about someone who is 'famous' if that's the right word, for appearing on a reality TV show. Yet another example of the way in which TV feeds on itself. In this episode, Josie puts everything on hold as she focuses on arrangements for her Big Fat Gypsy Wedding-themed birthday party. This is no dignity left in the world, dear blog reader. Only wretched self-aggrandisement regardless of actual worth.

Tuesday 10 May
As if we didn't have enough of him the other night when he was, allegedly, putting the football world to rights, Lord Sugar-Sweetie is back to infect my TV screen again in the latest series of The Apprentice - 9:00 BBC1. The stakes are raised even higher than usual as this year's hopeful entrepreneurs compete for a quarter of a million investment to start their own company - with Alan Sugar-Sweetie as their business partner. The sixteen contestants get off to a flying start when they are sent to New Covent Garden Market, where they are given two hundred and fifty smackers to invest in fresh fruit and vegetables. The teams race to secure the best produce at the lowest price, before using their ingredients to make tempting juices, fruit salads and pasta meals to cater for London's mad-hungry workforce. Continues tomorrow. Followed, of course, by the addictively entertaining Apprentice: You're Fired! at 10:00 on BBC2, presented by Dara O'Briain. A word of warning, however. Tonight's episode features well known sour faceache (and drag) Kate Spicer. So that's one definite reason not to watch.

Explorer Paul Rose teams up with biologist Tooni Mahto and underwater archaeologist Frank Pope to explore the secrets of the waters surrounding Britain in Britain's Secret Seas - 7:00 BBC2. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's own particular favourite sea is the North Sea, dear blog reader. Because like a woman it will beguile you with its salty aroma, it's seductive sounds and its picturesque vistas. And then, when you dip your big toe in, it will give you sodding hypothermia. Also like a woman. Anyway, the trio begin by highlighting marine life in and around the western seas, including basking sharks off the Cornish shore and spider crabs in the shallows of South Wales, as well as creatures in a protected area around Lundy Island off the Devon coast.

Just when we thought that TV has lost its fascination with life-swap conceits the day that the Duchess of York got caught selling favours to arms dealers, what's this coming over the hill, is it a monster? Yes indeed, dear blog reader, not another example of 'rich people pretending to be poor for a few days to show how wid-it they are' but, rather, the opposite. Home Is Where the Heart Is - 9:00 ITV - sees four homeless people taken off the streets and invited to live for a fortnight with Blur bassist and, these days, really annoying reality TV show regular Alex James, former Treasure Hunt presenter Anneka Rice, chef Aldo Zilli and camp interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, who hope to address the problems their guests are battling. Oh, bloody hell. Not Justin and Colin again? Do those guys do nothing individually? Are they conjoined at the hip? So, in other words, a few desperate individuals who haven't been on TV in a couple of weeks (or, in Anneka Rice's case, a couple of decades) engage in a game of 'adopt a Harry Ramp.' The homeless people begin by moving into the celebrities' homes, where the - surprisingly photogenic - Jim faces the prospect of spending the night in a bed after eighteen years on the streets. And then, a fortnight later, poor old Jim will no doubt be kicked back into the gutter where they found him in the first place. Sick, ladies and gentlemen. Vile rotten and thoroughly sick.

In The Viking Sagas - 9:00 BBC4 - Doctor Janina Ramirez examines the narratives, suggesting they tell the stories of real people and events in the Viking world. She travels across glaciers and through the lava fields of Iceland to investigate the historical documents and to find out more about the famous Laxdaela Saga. Part of the Wonders of Iceland season.

Wednesday 11 May
The National Movie Awards - 8:00 ITV - comes this year from Wembley Arena. The world's least convincing 'woman of the people' the vision of orange that is Christine Bleakley hosts the awards ceremony celebrating the most successful films of the past year, in which the winners are decided by public voting. And, no doubt, will titter gormlessly throughout the entire event since - from the evidence of ITV's notorious flop breakfast show Daybreak that seems to be her entire act. Among the nominees for Movie of the Year are Black Swan, The Social Network, and The King's Speech, which won four Oscars in February, including Best Actor for Colin Firth. And will, almost certainly, win just about everything it's up for tonight. Inevitable box-office hits Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, X-Men: First Class and The Hangover Part II battle it out for the prize of Must See Movie, while boy band JLS are promising a TV first ahead of the release of their debut 3D film Eyes Wide Open. Just kill me now.

24 Hours in A&E - 9:00 Channel Five - is a new fly-on-the-wall series. Filmed over twenty eight days, this documentary provides access to one of Britain's busiest A&E departments at King's College Hospital in London. The series begins with the stories of a thirty three-year-old Greek student in a critical condition after being run over by a bus, seventy eight-year-old Tom, who fell head-first off a ladder while painting his daughter's landing, and a cyclist with a severe head injury. Harsh.

And so to what appears to be the very worst TV programme dreamed up this year. Well, no, there's Don't Scare The Hare obviously. And Sing If You Can. In fact, to be honest, after Home Is Where The Heart Is yesterday, I doubt that Poms in Paradise - 7:30 ITV - will even be the worst programme on TV this week. But, that really isn't saying much. Of the estimated six million Britons who live abroad, almost a quarter settle in Australia. This documentary follows those who have made their home in the popular tourist destination of Gold Coast in Queensland, beginning with a champion lifesaver, a plant specialist and a woman seeking a holiday lifestyle. A perfect example of everything that is wrong with the concept behind this show is illustrated in the opening line of the pre-publicity: 'For many disillusioned Brits, migrating down under represents the perfect escape from their humdrum lives in the UK. Why struggle through another freezing cold winter, stuck in the same boring old job, when you could be on the other side of the world living the dream lifestyle.' Have we become a nation of numskulls who only understand words with one syllable? Why 'Brits'? What's wrong with the word 'Britons'? Stupid question, really, the obvious answer is it will have people who read the Sun scratching their heads because it's too long for them to memorise.

Thursday 12 May
Extreme Fishing: Ends of the Earth - 9:00 Channel Five - sees good old Robson Green embarking on yet another journey profiling fishing destinations around the world. Wor affable, blokey Robson has seen, and fished, most of the world in previous series of Extreme Fishing. But whilst Florida was fun, and Costa Rica was cool, Robson wants more. More fish. In more extreme places. He wants to go fishing in places where fishermen fear to tread. Actually, fisherman don't really tread anywhere since most of their destinations are water-heavy. Robson, apparently, wants to go to places so cold that the water is deadly to everything except that which dangles on the end of his line. And at the opposite end of the spectrum, where it's so hot the fish are cooking before they are even out of the water. Places where the air is thin, the fish are prehistoric, and where the sun don't shine. And, at all of them, to say things like 'Wey, y'bugger!' and 'Eeee, it's a whoppa!' in that very endearing and entertaining way of his. This will be Robson's ultimate fishing challenge. An epic six part adventure taking him from the edges of the oceans to the rim of the Arctic Circle; from the Caspian Sea to the mighty Congo River. Along the way he will pit himself against some of the rarest and most remarkable fish in the sea and, as always - meet people whose passion for fishing matches his own. This will be his most extreme journey yet and, if he can pull it off, it will be his greatest triumph. In the opening episode, he begins by visiting Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - the most remote place he has ever fished.

In the latest episode of EastEnders - 7:30 BBC1 - the party comes to a disastrous end, much to Phil's amusement. Actually, come to think about it, that could be a concise little microcosm for EastEnders entire worldview. Anyway, his attitude enrages Ben, and his attempt to make amends only fuels the youngster's white hot anger. Zainab visits the imam to discuss her problems and breaks down as she wrestles with her conflicted emotions. Denise steps up her efforts to seduce Yusef, while Fat Boy and Mercy rehearse for their court appearance - with unexpected (and, no doubt, hilarious) consequences.

Over on BBC4 in the latest archive offering from Top of the Pops: 1976 - the Beard of Despair Noel Edmonds presents an edition originally broadcast on 6 May 1976 - the week in which Abba's 'Fernando' finally reached the top of the chart, after spending three weeks at number two. And Brotherhood of Man finally buggered off back to plan their next assault on the nation's earlobes. (If you're wondering, it'll be another fourteen months before 'Angelo' hits the top so there's plenty of time to get annoyed by other crap bands in the mean time.) Meanwhile, Cliff Richard performs his future top ten single and the record which, effectively, kick-started the second half of his career, 'Devil Woman'. And Robin Sarstedt sings 'My Resistance Is Low' - a song which would prove to be his only UK hit. Thankfully, he's nowhere near as smug and oily as his brother, Peter, and the record's actually quite good. Ruby Flipper, who replaced Pan's People as the show's in-house dancers, make their debut, and the programme also features performances by Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, The Rolling Stones, Frankie Valli, Mud and Barry Manilow. Meanwhile, in a warehouse at Butler's Wharf in London, the Sex Pistols are rehearsing.

The Chicago Code - 9:00 Sky1 - is a new crime drama series. Teresa Colvin, the first female superintendent in the Chicago police department, makes it her personal mission to stamp out corruption in the city's corridors of power. However, with only her brutish former partner Jarek Wysocki and an eager rookie cop for support, she finds that taking on the city's power-brokers is an uphill battle. In the first episode, Colvin lobbies for a city corruption task force to investigate a politician, and Wysocki attends the scene of a murder with his new partner Caleb Evers. Rather decent looking drama from The Shield creator Shawn Ryan, starring Jennifer Beals, Jason Clarke and Delroy Lindo.

And so to the news, dear blog reader: CBS correspondent Lara Logan felt sure that she would die while being sexually assaulted by a mob when covering the jubilation in Cairo's Tahrir Square after Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, she says in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday. 'There was no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying,' she confessed in a transcript released by CBS's 60 Minutes programme. 'I thought not only am I going to die, but it's going to be just a torturous death that's going to go on forever.' Logan, a thirty nine-year-old South Africa native and long time war correspondent, was flown back to the US and hospitalised for four days. She was covering the celebrations for 60 Minutes on 11 February when she and her camera team were surrounded by a mob of hundreds whipped into a toxic frenzy. Logan lost contact with her colleagues for about twenty five minutes and endured a sexual assault and beating that she feared she would not survive, she said in the interview. She said thoughts of her two young children helped her get through the attack, which ended when she was rescued by a group of Egyptian women and soldiers who drove her to her hotel. Logan said when she eventually saw her children, 'I felt like I had been given a second chance that I didn't deserve because I did that to them. I came so close to leaving them, to abandoning them.' Logan, who returned to work this week, said that she chose to speak out about her ordeal to give courage to other women who have suffered sexual assault, especially female reporters who fear such admissions may affect their work. Logan made her name as a war correspondent for GMTV during the US-led Afghanistan war in 2001 and subsequently reported on the war in Iraq and its violent aftermath. She joined CBS News in 2002. it's nice to see the Sun begin so thoughtful and not in any way sensationalist in their coverage of her ordeal.

Ray Winstone has revealed that he declined a part in The Wire. He told the Daily Mirra that he was reluctant to spend time away from his family. 'Maybe if I was a young man, I'd think about moving to America. I was offered a part in The Wire years ago, and it's probably a good thing I never did it because it turned out to be a fantastic series and I probably would have ruined it,' Winstone conceded. 'The reason for that was my [daughters] were a certain age and at school and I'd have had to be in Baltimore for seven months. There's nothing wrong with Baltimore but I wouldn't see my kids and it was the wrong time for me. I've no regrets at all,' the actor added.

Royal Wedding apparently caused the fourth highest ever surge in electricity demand due to a television programme - there was a two thousand four hundred Megawatt surge as television coverage passes back to studios as Kate and William reach Buckingham Palace. Which is, according toe press reports, equivalent to nearly a million kettles being boiled at once. Engineers in National Grid's control room expertly managed a series of surges and drops in electricity demand as much of the nation sat glued to Friday's Royal Wedding. Like crushed victims of society lost in a helpless fog of delusion the a faded grandeur of bygone days. The surge of two thousand four hundred MW when television coverage passed back to the studio is said to be the fourth highest ever surge in demand due to a television programme. In case you're interested, the top three surges in demand were: The record of two thousand eight hundred MW set at the end of the nail-biting penalty shoot-out after England's World Cup semi-final against West Germany in 1990. Secondly, the two thousand six hundred MW surge in demand after a 1984 episode of The Thornbirds and, finally, The two thousand five hundred and seventy MW surge at half-time during England’s quarter-final against Brazil in the 2002 World Cup. Just after Seaman had left Ronaldinho's cross float in over his head. I'm sure you remember it like it was only yesterday. Demand fell when people stop what they're doing to watch television and then surges again at natural breaks in the proceedings when everyone does things they have been putting off, such as boiling the kettle or switching on their computer, at once.

Microphones and equipment from John Lennon's home studio, in which he recorded his early solo LPs, are to be sold at auction. The former Beatle and alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie had the equipment installed at his Georgian manor house estate at Tittenhurst Park, near Ascot, in 1970. The house became the recording venue for the Plastic Ono Band and Imagine LPs over the next two years. The microphones are expected to fetch at least five thousand smackers each. Lennon was joined by his wife, Yoko Ono, producer Phil Spector and fellow ex-Beatles' Ringo Starr and George Harrison in using the microphones during sessions. Recording equipment specialist seller MJQ Ltd, which is handling the sale, is also selling a mixing console from EMI's Abbey Road studios, which has been used for recordings for the past eighteen years. An acetate disc used for mastering recordings, in which all four Beatles have etched their names, is expected to sell for tens of thousands of pounds. A coffee percolator once owned by Starr - who later acquired Lennon's home - will also be offered up for sale. That's going to a tenner, apparently.

Cheryl Cole is reportedly 'devastated' after reading 'negative comments' about herself online. A magazine article claims that the singer, who may become a judge on The X Factor USA, 'became upset' after reading American websites which labelled her as 'a no-mark Brit.' Thank Christ the Heaton Horror never reads this one, that's all I can say. According to 'sources', the twenty seven-year-old has also recently begun a new workout regime with 'celeb fitness guru' Tracy Anderson. An 'insider' allegedly told that bastion of truth and honesty Now: 'Cheryl's finding it really tough to work out to Tracy's standards. She's also facing leaving everything she knows behind, including ex-hubby Ashley. She's going from a big fish in a small pond to a tadpole in the ocean.' It has also been claimed that Cole will not change her Newcastle accent for the American version of the show.

The body of a girl thought to have been murdered by Roman soldiers has been discovered in North Kent. Archaeologists working on the site of a Roman settlement near the A2 uncovered the girl who died almost two thousand years ago. 'She was killed by a Roman sword stabbing her in the back of the head,' said Paul Wilkinson, director of the excavation. 'By the position of the entry wound she would have been kneeling at the time.' The Roman conquest of Britain began in AD43, and the construction of Watling Street started soon afterwards linking Canterbury to St Albans. A small Roman town was built on the route, near present-day Faversham. Wilkinson is the director of SWAT Archaeology - a company which carries out digs before major building work takes place on sites which may hold historical interest. He was in charge of a training dig excavating Roman ditches when they made the shocking find. Wilkinson said that the girl had been between sixteen and twenty years old when she was killed, and her bones suggested that she had been in generally good health. He also believes that the body had then been dumped in what looked like a hastily dug grave. 'She was lying face down and her body was twisted with one arm underneath her body. One of her feet was even left outside the grave,' he said. The burial site was just outside the Roman town, with cemeteries close by. Wilkinson said that the body was found with some fragments of iron age pottery which would date the grave to about AD50, and suggest that she was part of the indigenous population at the time of the invasion. Another indication of her origin, according to Wilkinson, is the orientation of the body. Romans buried their bodies lying east-west, whereas this body was buried north-south, as was the custom for pagan graves. Many people have a romantic view of the Roman invasion, Wilkinson said. 'Now, for the first time, we have an indication of how the Roman armies treated people, and that large numbers of the local populations were killed. It shows how all invading armies act the same throughout history. One can only imagine what trauma this poor girl had to suffer before she was killed.' She will be re-buried at the site.

Michael Barrymore was asked to leave a restaurant after launching a foul-mouthed verbal attack during the filming of Celebrity Coach Trip. According to the Mirra, Barrymore 'squared up to a French waiter' before calling the man 'a cunt.' 'He was necking wine and becoming louder and louder. When a waiter looked at him, Michael lost it and started shouting and swearing, calling the poor chap "a cunt,"' a 'source' allegedly claimed. 'Glasses got smashed. Michael tried to goad him into throwing a punch. It was horrible. Michael is incredibly ­unpopular.' Barrymore also reportedly argued with other contestants including - Alex Best, Lembit Opik and Lizzie Cundy. His spokesman confirmed the allegations, but insisted that his behaviour was a side-effect of the medication he has been prescribed since falling off a horse last week. The spokesman said: 'He has been unsteady and disorientated. A customer took exception as he moved around the tables, they had an altercation.'

ITV football pundit Andy Townsend has revealed how he was threatened by Real Madrid fans after being mistaken for Champions League referee Wolfgang Stark. As opposed to those occasions in the UK where he is threatened by England fans after being mistaken for a proper football commentator. Townsend said that he feared being attacked while having a meal in a Madrid restaurant with anchor Adrian Chiles and ITV bosses following Real's loss to Barcelona on Wednesday evening. Speaking to the Daily Scum Mail, the former footballer said that he soon realised the fans had mistaken him for Stark, who made a number of controversial decisions during the game. 'I went into a restaurant and was eating when I noticed people looking at me. Some of them started taking pictures and then someone came and gave me a pot plant, saying, "This is for you," with a funny look on his face,' said Townsend. 'There were ten of us around the table thinking, "What is going on here?" When I stood up I got booed and when I went to the loo I got followed there and back. A waiter escorted me to my seat. I didn't know why!' Maybe he wanted to say he'd been in the presence of the worst football analyst in British TV history? Just a thought. Townsend added: 'Then people came up to me, talking aggressively in Spanish and there was a man shouting at me from the other side of the restaurant. It was all getting out of control. Then it dawned on me. Because I still had my UEFA accreditation around my neck they thought I was the referee. To them I was Wolfgang Stark! So I had to turn around and tell them I was from English television.' Chiles saw the lighter side of the incident, which given how bad things are going for him on Daybreak at the moment is understandable (although, to be fair, I'd be pretty amused by the potential for Andy Townsend to get a good thumping myself) but Townsend blamed Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho for whipping the fans up into 'a frenzy. Adrian's started calling me Wolfie, but actually there's a sinister edge to it. The crowd were baying for the referee's blood. They totally saw the referee as the villain of the piece. That's how Mourinho whips up a frenzy,' he said. 'As ITV were going off air there was actually a fight going on in front of me in the stadium - two men were exchanging blows. And these were the decent seats. I witnessed first-hand the effect Mourinho has on fans. I wouldn't want to see him back in England.' Last week, it emerged that Townsend was alleged to have been lined-up by BBC bosses to join BBC Breakfast as a replacement for the outgoing Chris Hollins.

The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is Jello Biafra's howl against totalitarianism, complacency and self-righteousness and seems horrible appropriate this week of all weeks.