Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fighting The Nation With Their Guns And Ammunition

We can now confirm that Doctor Who will return on BBC1 on 27 August. Not that there was ever much doubt about that but the BBC, as ever playing their cards close to their big hairy chest, have waited until ten days out before 'officially' confirming it. Right. So, that's the important stuff out of the way.

The BBC has received more than seven hundred complaints about the controversial claim by historian and broadcaster David Starkey that 'whites have become black' in a discussion about last week's riots on Newsnight. Of those contacting the BBC, six hundred and ninety six were protesting about Starkey's comments, with twenty one actually supporting him, complaining that the debate was 'chaired poorl'y and that he was treated 'unfairly' as a result. Personally, this blogger doesn't think either of these whinges is remotely fair or justified. Starkey said what he said, hugely misguided and stupid as it was, on a live show - it's not the BBC's responsibility to stop him for speaking his mind, no matter how wrong he is. What do people expect them to do, drag him off by a hook? As for those trying to defend him ... yeah, good luck with that. If there's one thing this blogger likes even less than people who use racially provocative language to make a point it's those who are apologists for people who use racially provocative language to make a point. Even if there was a tiny smidgen of truth in what  Starkey said (which is arguable, though still difficult to justify) he's effectively finished his own career in about twenty seconds. So, now the best thing is just to step back and watch the ensuing firestorm. Media regulator Ofcom has also received complaints about the issue while an online campaign by an organisation called gopetition.co.uk - whoever the hell they are - demanding that the BBC should issue a public apology for 'unacceptable comments' had attracted more than three thousand six hundred signatures by mid-afternoon on Monday. Three thousand six hundred people, it would seem, who have chosen to demand that the messenger apologise for the comments of somebody else. I mean, really smart. No obvious and quite sick agenda going down there, then. The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, on Monday described Starkey's comments on race as 'disgusting and outrageous.' Outrageous, yes. Undoubtedly, and probably deliberately so. I don't know about anybody else, however, but I tend to save my 'disgust' for real honest to God issues not piffle and nonsense like this. If you go through life being disgusted by everything then when something properly disgusting comes along your complaints are unlikely to be taken seriously because 'oh, it's a serial whinger again.' Speaking at Haverstock, his former school in Chalk Farm in London, Milimolimandi said it was 'absolutely outrageous that someone in the Twenty First Century could be making that sort of comment.' And that is hard to argue with. He added: 'There should be condemnation from every politician, from every political party of those sorts of comments.' Starkey's remarks, made during a debate about the riots on Friday's Newsnight, provoked an immediate storm of controversy, with BBC business editor Robert Peston tweeting: 'David Starkey's nasty ignorance is best ignored, not worthy of comment or debate – though I fear there will be a media feeding frenzy.' And, lo and behold, that's pretty much exactly what's happened. Here, for instance, is loathsome oily CNN presenter Piers Morgan's views on Twitter, describing Starkey as 'a racist idiot.' Morgan said that Starkey had 'committed career suicide.' Which is probably true but then, even a broken clock is right twice a day, which is one more than that tool Morgan normally manages. The two other authors who were also on the Newsnight panel on Friday with Starkey have also responded to his comments. In the Gruniad Morning Star, Dreda Say Mitchell called Starkey's views were 'random and confused' but added that 'most people will realise this.' Yep. Unfortunately, 'most people' doesn't include everybody. Owen Jones suggested in the New Statesman that Starkey's comments could provoke dangerous repercussions, although he didn't elaborate. However another author, Toby Young, decided to become an odious apologist for Starkey's comments, blogging on the Daily Torygraph website that the historian was not being racist. He said: 'Starkey wasn't talking about black culture in general, but, as he was anxious to point out, a "particular form" of black culture, ie "the violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture" associated with Jamaican gangs and American rap music.' Which, quite apart from anything else shows a crass and woefully ignorant lack of knowledge about two very different subcultures lumped together on very dubious evidence. The majority of complainants said the BBC was wrong to allow Starkey to express such a view and should not have had him on as a guest, or at the very least should have challenged him more robustly. Which is moronic, frankly, since Emily Maitless - someone this blogger is not a big fan of at the best of times - very clearly did challenge his views (and not with any lack of robust, either) as this clip clearly shows. Obviously those rushing to have a go at the Beeb didn't bother to watch the whole thing, just the edited highlights. Starkey was in the middle of a heated discussion with Owen Jones, author of Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Classes, when he made his remarks during a debate hosted by Maitlis. 'What has happened is that the substantial section of the chavs that you wrote about have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion,' he said. 'Black and white, boy and girl operate in this language together. This language, which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has intruded in England. This is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country.' Starkey then referred to Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, who he described as 'an archetypal successful black man.' He said that Lammy sounded white. 'If you turn the screen off, so you were listening to him on radio, you would think he was white.' Lammy has since denounced Starkey's remarks as 'dangerous and divisive.'
The BBC said whilst it acknowledged some people will have found Starkey's comments offensive - well, most people who aren't card-carrying fascist monsters, actually - 'he was robustly challenged by presenter Emily Maitlis and the other contributors who took issue with his comments.' Which, indeed, he was. Jones highlighted the potential offence Starkey may have given and Maitlis provided further context by pointing out that David Cameron had already said the riots were not a race issue, the corporation added.

Top Twenty programmes for week ending 7 August 2011:-
1 New Tricks - BBC1 Mon - 9.41 million
2 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 8.80 million
3 EastEnders - BBC1 Mon - 8.70 million
4 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 6.78 million
5 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 6.58 million
6 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 6.09 million
7 Film: Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire - ITV Sat - 5.91 million
8 DIY SOS: The Big Build - BBC1 Tues - 5.80 million
9 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 5.36 million
10 Torchwood - BBC1 Thurs - 5.19 million
11 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 5.16 million
12 BBC News - BBc1 Sun - 5.12 million
13 Antiques Roadshow - BBC1 Sun - 5.10 million
14 National Lottery: In It To Win It - BBC1 Sat - 4.91 million
15 Law & Order: UK - ITV Sun - 4.88 million
=16 Dragons' Den - BBC2 Sun - 4.56 million
=16 John Bishop's Britain - BBC1 Sat - 4.56 million
18 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries - BBC1 Sun - 4.34 million
19 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Thurs - 4.29 million
20 Traffic Cops - BBC1 Thurs - 4.22 million

Executive producers Shawn Ryan and Simon Mirren have teamed up to develop a new crime drama. The project is being developed for CBS, Deadline reports. It has received a put pilot commitment, meaning that CBS will have to pay big fines if the pilot is not broadcast. The drama, which is currently untitled, focuses on a genetic scientist who discovers that he has the psychopath gene and uses it to help the FBI catch criminals. The concept is allegedly based on the true story of Professor James Fallon, who realised that he was a psychopath linked to a number of serial killers when he was examining the genome code. Ryan has previously worked on shows including The Chicago Code, The Shield, Angel and Lie To Me, while Mirren's credits include Criminal Minds and Without a Trace.

Comedy line of the week, by miles: From Bob Mortimer during a quite brilliant episode of Shooting Stars on Monday night: 'True or false, Cheryl Cole's music is not as entertaining as her divorce?!' How can anybody not adore a show that begins with an epic song and dance number about Henry VIII being capable of flight?!
House showrunner David Shore has admitted that the programme's future is uncertain. FOX president Kevin Reilly recently indicated that the long-running medical drama may not return for a ninth season next year. 'I think the show itself potentially has life left in it,' Shore told TV Guide. 'But I think a lot of that will depend on a lot of things.' He added that 'there is a chance' that House could conclude after the upcoming eighth season. 'Everybody's hoping it's not, but if it is, we want to do it right,' he said. Shore also confirmed that he has begun thinking of ways to end House if the series is indeed axed. 'To some extent [I'm thinking about that], yes,' he said. 'But it's clearly a contingency right now.' He continued: 'I'm tired of the [showrunner] job [but] I'm not tired of [House's] character.'

And now ... Daybreakwatch
8 Aug 581k AI 71
9 Aug 645k AI 71
10 Aug 649k AI 70
11 Aug 595k AI 70
12 Aug 612k AI 69
15 Aug 595k
The future's looking ... bleak.

Torchwood's Kai Owen has said that his character, Rhys, is determined to protect his wife Gwen and their baby. Owen explained that Rhys will likely never be a fully-fledged member of the Torchwood team, but he will always be willing to join forces with Captain Jack when Earth is threatened. 'Rhys will never be a fully-fledged team member, I guess. He will always be sort of this outside member who is kind of secretly on the books. He knows all the secrets of Torchwood and how they are confronted by the strange and the weird,' Owen told the Chicago Tribune. 'Whenever Gwen asks if he can give her a hand he'll oblige because hopefully then the situation will be over as soon as possible and Gwen can come back home to him safe and sound. Rhys would rather there be no Torchwood, but he does give them a helping hand, especially this season.' Owen went on to explain that filming parts of Torchwood: Miracle Day at the historic Warner Bros Studios in Hollywood was the thrill of a lifetime. 'Warner Brothers, it was like a dream come true,' he said. 'We were filming on a [sound] stage that was constructed in 1935, that Casablanca was shot on. It was where Two and a Half Men had been shot - obviously it was shut down at the time - and [the] ER stage that was home to Mekhi [Phifer] for eight years. We saw the Friends stage. We were still making Torchwood, but we were filming in Hollywood. It was bizarre. It's like a big dream now. It was amazing.'

ITV's all day audience share on Monday of this week was an astoundingly bad 7.8 per cent. Which, From The North reckons is its all time record low.

Sports journalists and photographers will be able to cover the new football season on the web and using social media services under a new deal agreed with football governing bodies. In the early hours of Saturday morning, representatives of the Premier League and Football League thrashed out a multi-year rights deal with media organisations including newspapers and newswires such as Reuters after days of tough negotiations. The sticking point in the talks had been that the previous agreement, drafted back to 2003-04, was 'not fit for purpose' in the digital age of social media and Internet coverage. Negotiations had particularly stalled on how much online live engagement media outlets could have during matches. Previously, journalists were allocated a number of 'windows' for online text and pictures to be updated, while there were no provisions for them to interact with fans using Twitter, Facebook or other tools. The new deal, thought to run for four years, allows journalists to update web stories and interact with fans on social media services whenever they choose, while there will be just a short delay on live minute-by-minute match coverage online. After talks between the football bodies and media owners stalled last week, journalists and photographers had been facing a lockout from Premier League games on the opening weekend of the new season if the new deal had not been agreed. The News Media Coalition, which represents various news agencies and led the negotiations, said that the changes would 'make a significant improvement to the ability of both its membership and other news organisations to report on the world's most popular sport.' A spokesman added: 'We are delighted to have reached agreement with the leagues and look forward to providing fans with the best possible journalistic coverage of the game: match analysis, superb photography, interaction with top journalists and the real stories behind the play. [The] agreement will put news-gatherers back in the press boxes at football grounds following a week in which a dispute with the football authorities over accreditation terms and conditions saw the media unable to attend matches. The previous agreement, signed in in 2004, was perceived as placing unreasonably restrictive constraints on how news organisations could use and distribute their copyright football content at home and abroad.'

Dermot O'Dreary has revealed his determination to prove that The X Factor can survive without Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole or Dannii Minogue but complained about the enormous pressure on him because of that. Don't just do it on our behalf, mate.
The US investigation into Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has been widened beyond claims that victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks were targeted by the News of the World, it has emerged. Investigators are understood not to have found any evidence so far to suggest that News Corp's UK journalists may have tried to hack the phones of victims of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. However, US authorities have moved to expand the probe to see whether there was a broader pattern of misconduct at News Corp's US operation, according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper, which is owned by News Corp, said that British police investigating allegations of phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World have told the FBI that there were no names or phone numbers of 9/11 victims among their evidence gathered to date. Officers working on the Met Police's Operation Weeting probe into phone hacking have examined massive phone records taken from jailed private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and other sources, but found no evidence to suggest 9/11 victims were targeted. The New York Police Department is also thought to have informed the FBI that it has nothing to suggest phones were hacked, while the FBI's own agents have said the same. US attorney general Eric Holder intends to meet with some 11 September families later this month to hear their concerns about the matter. The FBI is continuing to investigate the 9/11 hacking claims, which stemmed from an article in the Mirra based on an unattributed source. The New York Post, another News Corp publication, has advised its employees to keep any records or documents that could be relevant to the phone-hacking inquiry. US authorities have now launched a broader inquiry into allegations of misconduct at divisions of News Corp to see if there is a pattern of transgression by the firm. According to 'people with knowledge of the situation,' the authorities will allegedly look at cases such as a supermarket coupon lawsuit settled against News Corp's News America Marketing. Floorgraphics claimed that employees at News America Marketing had hacked into the company's website in 2003 and 2004. The case was eventually settled in 2009 when News Corp bought Floorgraphics' assets for just under thirty million dollars. The coupon case is more than five years old and so the statute of limitations would make prosecution unlikely even if criminal activity was uncovered, but finding evidence of a broader pattern of wrongdoing could allow US investigators to pursue older cases against News Corp. Mike Koehler, an assistant professor of business law at Butler University, told the newspaper that federal corruption probes often expand into searches for similar misconduct elsewhere. 'These inquiries have a point of entry, but it's common that once enforcement agencies get comfortable with that, they start saying, "How do we know this conduct wasn't taking place in countries X, Y, and Z?"' he said. 'It essentially forces the company to do a worldwide review which can take a long time and cost money.'

BBC4 is emerging as one of the prospective casualties of the corporation's plans to find twenty per cent of cost savings, with the scope of the channel expected to be scaled back. More repeats are also expected across the BBC's channels as a result of the corporation's 'Delivering Quality First' cost-saving initiative. Other options still being discussed include axing some of BBC2's daytime schedule and cutting back on dramas on BBC3 and BBC4 – leaving the bulk of drama to BBC1 and BBC2. Digital channels BBC3 and BBC4 have been put under the microscope and it is understood BBC3 is seen as more distinctive. BBC3 is likely to remain largely intact but may be asked to concentrate on its key areas of factual and comedy. The youth-focused general entertainment channel only airs a few dramas, such as the acclaimed supernatural series Being Human, but could be asked to scale back on the genre. Management fears an outcry if BBC3 is tampered with and it has proved a useful tool for attracting young audiences to the BBC. It has also been a 'nursery slope' for hit BBC comedies, such as Gavin & Stacey and Little Britain and shown acclaimed documentaries such as Our War. However, more radical changes are being considered for BBC4 to turn it into a so-called 'arts and archive' channel. Despite BAFTA award-winning single dramas such as The Road to Coronation Street and biopic Enid, some corporation executives have questioned whether BBC2 should instead be airing such shows. BBC4 has also commissioned a smaller number of comedies, such as The Thick of It and Getting On, which have attracted critical acclaim. In the BBC's statement of programme policy, published earlier this year, BBC4 controller Richard Klein described his channel's aim 'to be British television's most intellectually and culturally enriching channel, offering an ambitious range of UK and international arts, music and culture,' but with no mention in his opening summary of drama or comedy. In his vision for the service for the next twelve months, Klein described BBC4 as 'the gold card channel for arts and culture, approaching subject matter at a level of depth, detail and authority second to none.' In a statement spanning nearly six hundred and fifty words, comedy and drama – which are the most expensive television genres to produce – were relegated to just one line. 'The aim is to offer discourse and insight through factual, drama and entertainment programming,' he said. One source said: 'The scope of BBC4 is under threat. The relationship between the four major channels is being looked at.' The BBC director general, Mark Thompson recently updated staff on the progress of DQF, which is being carried out as a result of last year's flat licence fee settlement. Thompson ruled out the merger of local radio with BBC Radio 5Live or dropping the BBC Parliament channel from Freeview. He did not rule out axing a service entirely. 'We haven't ruled out service closures yet but the work so far suggests there's a smarter way of making savings without taking entire services away from the public because every single service is strongly valued by its audience,' Thompson said. BBC management recently met with the BBC Trust to discuss progress on DQF before final decisions are made next month. The Trust has now appointed Ernst & Young as advisers to scrutinise the financial impact of management's plans. A BBC Trust spokesman said: 'We are not going to comment on speculation ahead of the trust reaching final conclusions on Delivering Quality First.'

A Sherlock Holmes novel has been banned from a Virginia school district for being anti-Mormon. The Albemarle County School Board elected to remove author Arthur Conan Doyle's first Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet from the sixth grade reading list after the book was deemed offensive to Mormonism, the Daily Progress reports. Board member Diantha McKiel told the website that the school system in question has a longstanding history of reconsidering books. 'Sometimes we have declared books age inappropriate, sometimes we have decided that they should stay where they are,' she said. The book was previously used as an introduction to the mystery genre. However, a number of parents found the work's portrayal of religion to be unsuitable for sixth graders. 'A Study in Scarlet has been used to introduce students to the mystery genre and into the character of Sherlock Holmes,' said parent Brette Stevenson. 'This is our young students' first inaccurate introduction to an American religion.' Students have already registered their protests against the ban, with more than twenty former middle school pupils turning out to oppose the ruling.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was inspired by a Facebook conversation about what an absolutely magnificent little slab of twenty four carat genius 'Uptown Top Ranking' by Althea and Donna was (and, indeed, still is). Thus
But then, yer actual Keith telly Topping his very self though to himself, 'Keith Telly Topping your very self,' he thought, 'why stop there?' There are plenty of other pure-dead skanking dread tunes in a Jamaican style(e) that still put an 'uge smile on an old and embittered Mod's face. Like this one, for instance.
And, indeed, this one.
Or, indeed, this one!