Friday, August 19, 2011

Even If The Mountain Tumbles

James Desborough, an award-winning reporter at the former Scum of the World newspaper, has been arrested by officers investigating the phone-hacking scandal. Desborough was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to section one (paragraph one) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 after arriving at a south London police station on Thursday morning at 10.30am. He had arrived at the station by prior appointment for questioning about criminal activities at the paper. The allegations are believed to relate to events before Desborough was promoted to be the newspaper's Los Angeles-based US editor in April 2009. He was given the job less than a month after winning the British Press Award for showbusiness reporter of the year. His move to the US makes his arrest, the thirteen made by Operation Weeting, particularly significant. If Desborough was involved in hacking whilst in Britain, as police appear to believe he was, it raises the question of whether he practised those techniques in the US – and if so, whether he was the first and only Scum of the World journalist in America to do so. At the 2009 British Press Awards ceremony, Desborough was praised by judges for his series of 'uncompromising scoops which mean no celebrity with secrets can sleep easy.' He was presented with his award by Jon Snow, the Channel Four News anchorman who should be hanging his effing head in shame tonight, frankly. Desborough continued to win plaudits after his move to America. Ian Halperin, a Hollywood author, described him as someone who 'never gets his facts wrong. He's a rock solid reporter.' Hollyscope, an online site, also praised Desborough for 'seem[ing] to have information that not even close family members know.' One wonders how. Desborough joined the Scum of the World in 2005 and broke stories including Fern's big fat lie, which revealed that former This Morning host Fern Britton's dramatic weight loss was the result of having a gastric band fitted, not exercise and sensible eating as had been suggested. Desborough was writing for the Scum of the World up until it closed last month. His final story for the online version of the paper was on 8 July, two days before it closed, claiming the new Duchess of Cambridge was to act in a Hollywood film.

Ex-Scum of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire has taken legal action against its publisher News International following the phone hacking scandal. Mulcaire is suing the media company in an attempt to get them to pay his legal fees, after News International announced on 20 July that it would stop paying his costs with immediate effect. Mulcaire issued a high court writ claiming that News Group Newspapers - the News International subsidiary which published the Scum of the World until last month - are 'obligated' to pay the cost of his high court cases. It emerged earlier this week that News International has paid 'approximately two hundred and forty six thousand' smackers to lawyers acting for over the last five years Mulcaire. Mulcaire is named as a defendant in numerous cases, including those being fought by Steve Coogan and Labour MP Chris Bryant, along with News Group Newspapers. He is alleged to have routinely hacked into messages left on mobile phones on the instructions of 'senior figures' at the Scum of the World. News International confirmed that it had received the writ but had no further comment.

BBC1 have released a promotional image for the upcoming tenth series of [spook], featuring Ruth (Nicola Walker) and Harry (Peter Firth). Following the BBC's confirmation last week that series ten will be the last, executive producer Jane Featherstone promised that the relationship between Ruth and Harry is brought 'to a head' and that the pair's 'conclusion is sensational.' Set to begin on BBC1 next month, the spy drama's final series will feature new cast members Lara Pulver, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Alice Krige and Jonathan Hyde.
Horrible, odious full of herself bucket-of-puss Kay Burley has confirmed that she has had plastic surgery, telling colleagues that 'it's not a secret.' Well, not now it isn't. Although, arguably, until you opened your big fat flapping trap it might've been considered such. The Sky News presenter reportedly marked her fiftieth birthday by going under the knife. A report in the Mirra claimed that the 'subtle' work had seen some 'tightening along the jawline to redefine it.' 'Mother Nature needed a helping hand. It isn't a secret,' Burley said in a statement. 'Now then, I don't want anyone to feel awkward or embarrassed talking to me about today's Daily Mirra. I'm not. As I said when they asked, it's not a secret.' She added: 'I'm on the telly every day so if you can't tell the difference then I've done my money.' Asked if she would consider further surgery, Burley apparently answered: 'Never say never.' Ex-GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips had claimed that her former colleague 'shouldn't pander to the opinion that older women should be heard but not seen.' Not something that the odious self-promoting Burley is ever likely to be accused of.

Channel Four used the network premiere of Twilight on Wednesday night to take a dig at Channel Five's relaunch of the Big Brother format. The reality series was axed by Channel Four in 2010, before Channel Five reached an agreement with Endemol earlier this year to bring the show back. Last night, a continuity announcer seemingly took a swipe at the broadcaster for its decision to buy Big Brother, telling viewers: 'Resurrecting the deceased might be what some channels like to do on summer evenings, but here on Channel Four, we prefer the undead.' Gotcha!

Mind you, there'll be egg on the faces of those who doubted Channel Five's word that it was going to get the biggest and most exciting guests on Celebrity Big Brother. Wills and Kate in BB house, declares the front page of the Daily Lies. What? The heir to the throne and his just married wife? Amazing! What next – Pippa Middleton to guest host The Gadget Show? Alas, all is not quite what it seems. Which, given that this is the Daily Lies is hardly unexpected. It turns out they are a pair of lookalikes raising the possibility that every housemate on the show will be an underemployed singing telegram. Or, at least, the real Kerry Katona.
Another very good episode of Torchwood this week. Poor Vera. And, Bill Pullman has said that playing convicted child murderer Oswald Danes in Torchwood has been 'one of the most rewarding experiences' of his career. What, better than being the president and battling aliens from another dimension? Crikey. Tough gig. Pullman revealed that he made the decision to join Torchwood before he even finished reading scripts for the first few episodes. 'I hear the voice in the writing. This knows itself. It's a concoction. It's an ambitious motherfucker,' Big Shiny Robot quotes him as saying. 'I want to be scary, boring, philosophical, funny, touching. I'm going to risk things. Exploding tension with the possibility that a laugh increases it.' The actor continued: 'I didn't even finish reading the first three Torchwood scripts and I didn't even finish the second one. I got it before Christmas and reading I was like, "This is Christmas for me." It's like opening a present.' Pullman went on to insist that he doesn't consider Oswald to be one of Miracle Day's villains. He explained: 'It clogs the wheels [to call him evil]. This "You're the bad guy in this movie" kind of talk is a yolk. His point isn't to be sinister. I think sometimes people are [just] scary.'

David Tennant has said that the dual nature of his role in Fright Night was what drew him to the horror remake. The Doctor Who star revealed that it was the combination of comedic and dramatic elements that attracted him to the part of vampire hunter Peter Vincent. 'A Las Vegas illusionist, there is already something quite juicy to begin with, and the fact that his private life is a sort of car crash, from an acting point of view, one is quite keen to get one's vampiric teeth into,' Tennant told the Huffington Post. 'And then the fact that he's got a dark secret, the fact that he drinks too much, all these things are wonderful opportunities.' Tennant went on to reveal that he first became interested in acting when watching episodes of Doctor Who as a child. 'In Britain, Doctor Who was always a ubiquitous part of our cultural heritage and I grew up - as everyone in my generation did - loving it. And as a kid I was transfixed and thought, "That's the job for me,"' Tennant said. 'I very quickly got that it was telling stories. I always understood the sort of fact/fantasy kind of definition, I very quickly got what actors did and I just sort of got that it was a great job.' He concluded: 'I've been very fortunate that I have so far been able to make a living at it.'

North London teenager George Gerasimou reportedly causes chaos on the first X Factor auditions show with a foul-mouthed tirade at judge Tulisa Contostavlos. Gerasimou, who previously auditioned on the show with group Triple Trouble, fails to control his temper after the judges dismissed his rendition of Pitbull's 'Give Me Everything'. Gary Barlow apparently joked about his routine: 'You've matured like a bad curry, mate.' And, this is the fellah who was saying just a couple of days ago that he wouldn't be nasty like Simon Cowell? Bloody hell, I'd hate to see him when he's being 'a bit mean.' The nineteen-year-old was unwilling to take criticism from N-Dubz star Contostavlos, warning the panel: 'Now it's time for my opinion.' Despite being told to stand on his spot and wait for the judges' verdict by Barlow, he allegedly launched into a tirade at the youngest X Factor panelist, claiming that she is not fit to replace Cheryl Cole on the show. Contostavlos blasts back: 'You've embarrassed yourself in front of the entire nation.' Possibly true, but he's embarrassed you an'all! Gerasimou called the singer a 'scumbag' and a 'dog,' before being told off in finger-wagging fashion by Dermot O'Dreary. 'Watch your mouth. Don't call girls that,' O'Dreary warns backstage. Ooo, you wouldn't like him when he's angry! 'No dogs allowed. No dogs allowed on The X Factor. I would have brought my Alsatian,' grumbled Gerasimou after being escorted from the stage by security. Sad, to the power infinity. And yet, still, it's more amusing than anything Show Me The Funny's come up with in at least five episodes.

Noel Gallagher has confirmed that he turned down Simon Cowell's offer of becoming an X Factor judge. The former Oasis guitarist and songwriter was reported as having rejected a one million smackers deal to join the ITV show earlier in the year. Cowell stepped down from the judging panel to focus on launching the US version. Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue both exited the series, leaving three positions available. These were later filled by Barlow, Contostavlos and Kelly Rowland. 'Money was never mentioned,' Gallagher told one fan during a question-and-answer session for the Sun. 'I told him he didn't really want me on there. He insisted he did. I insisted harder that he didn't and he gave up asking.' The guitarist added: 'My eleven-year-old daughter has never forgiven me.' Asked if he was planning to write an autobiography, the forty four-year-old responded that it was 'very much in the pipeline.'

The complete series boxset of the LWT comedy series On The Buses is to be released on DVD later this year. Fortunately, you don't have to buy it if you don't want to.

Vernon Kay has said that he would like to try his hand at acting, by landing a role in Coronation Street. Well, given that he's such a total waste-of-space at whatever it is that he's supposed to do on Family Fortunes that mightn't be as daft an idea as it sounds. It would be quite nice for him to find something to justify his worthless existence. Kay admitted that he is keen to spread his wings, telling the Sun that he wants to expand 'beyond light entertainment' shows. Into dark entertainment, it has to be asked? 'I'd love to be a shop assistant in Dev's shop or a barman, or the cleaner in the pub,' he said. Oh, hang on, he's talking about Corrie, I thought he fancied following Joe McElderry in a carry stacking shelves at Morrison's. 'I get offered loads of game shows, but I host Family Fortunes - why would I want to do another one?' I dunno, Vern - why did you want to do the one you did in the first place? 'Is there a game show out there that is better than ITV's Family Fortunes?' Yes. Plenty. Next ...

Stewart Lee has been accused of being an 'unbearable snob' by a Cambridge-educated researcher for the Tory party. Guy Stagg, who is also 'online lifestyle editor' at the Daily Torygraph has revived a month-old debate, by accusing Lee of sneering at the 'unsophisticated' fans of Michael McIntrye. In an article published this week, Stagg wrote about 'obstinate' and 'inappropriate' comedy snobs who tell other people what they should be laughing at – saying Lee was the worst of them all. Describing Lee's comedy sets as 'a blend of cynicism, vanity and unbearable snobbery' and 'a glittering rant against all the pet hates of the Left-wing elite,' Stagg claimed that comedy snobbery is just a vehicle for other, 'more poisonous' forms of discrimination against people seen as inferior. 'Stewart Lee's two BBC series were a glittering rant against all the pet hates of the Left-wing elite. His stand-up sets are a refined way of saying that anyone who reads Dan Brown is stupid and anyone who watches Top Gear is racist. In dissecting the prejudices of others, Stewart Lee is also showing off his own.' Stagg also uses the McIntryre row to complain about a story Lee tells about David Cameron acting selfishly when they were both at Oxford – which the comic admits is completely made up but claims that it nonetheless indicative of the prime minister's character. Stagg wrote that the routine meant: 'Stewart Lee is telling us, "My prejudices are okay. My hypocrisies are okay. My hate is okay." And the comedy snobs applaud.' And, the dreadfully annoying thing is, I actually - in part, at least - agree with the Tory. I hate it when that happens.

State-run daily newspapers in Myanmar have this week dropped back-page banners attacking the western media for the first time in four years. In what is taken to be a further indication of a government softening of its stance, the three official papers dropped half-page slogans that accuse the BBC and the Voice of America of 'sowing hatred among the people.' Now, if we can just get the Daily Scum Mail to stop doing the same thing ... The slogans have been a fixture in Burmese state newspapers since a bloody army crackdown on monk-led protests in August 2007. The BBC, VOA and two other foreign news organisations provide local-language news bulletins on shortwave radio frequencies and satellite television that are primary news sources for many people in Myanmar. Because, it's the only news they can actually trust. Removing the slogans is seen as the latest gesture of openness since elections last year ended five decades of army rule and ushered in a civilian-led administration. State newspapers have also been noticeably less critical of the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the figurehead of Myanmar's democracy movement who was freed last year from years of house arrest. However, Myanmar's televised media remain strictly controlled by the government, most foreign journalists are barred from reporting in the country and most foreign media websites remain blocked. One assumes that the irony of the BBC's reputation in Myanmar, Iran and China is not lost on the current British government. That's some terrific bedfellows you've got yourselves there, friends.

A 'killer' shrimp that feeds on native counterparts, young fish and insect larvae has been found at two sites in Wales, says the Environment Agency. The predatory Dikerogammarus villosus alters the ecology of habitats it invades, and can cause extinctions. It was found at a reservoir in Cambridgeshire in September. Environment Agency Wales said it has now been confirmed at Cardiff Bay and Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir in Port Talbot. It is not known how the species arrived there. Originally from the steppe region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, D villosus has spread across most of Western Europe during the last ten years. The alien invader can be as small as three mm but may grow up to thirty mm long (monster!), making it much larger than native freshwater shrimp. Dubbed 'the killer shrimp' by biologists for its appetite, and by tabloids because it scared the shit out of people, it often kills its prey and leaves it uneaten. The Welsh Assembly Government has set up an all-Wales group to contain the species as much as possible. One would've thought a bloody big net might help, possibly. It includes Environment Agency Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales, Cardiff Harbour Authority and the owners of Eglwys Nunydd. People using the waters are urged to clean and dry equipment when leaving the water to prevent the species from spreading. Environment Agency Wales director Chris Mills said: 'Despite the fearsome name, these are not a threat to people, but the damage they can cause to our environment here in Wales is a very real danger. Because of what they eat and the rate that they eat it, it can alter the food chain and our ecosystem by increasing the competition for food and the native species that rely on the insects could go elsewhere. We will continue with our monitoring work across Wales to identify any other water recreation spots where they could be to see how widespread the problem has become.'

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Here's Stevie.