Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Every Time I See You Falling, I Get Down On My Knees And Pray

On Saturday 27 April 1963, The Beatles played the Memorial Hall in Northwich - the concert poster describing them as 'Hit recorders of Please, Please Me.' The next day, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr flew off to Tenerife to unwind for a week with two of their closest friends from Hamburg, the graphic artist Klaus Voormann and the photographer Astrid Kirchherr. Alcoholic wife-beating Scouse junkie John Lennon took his own holiday in Barcelona with the band's manager, Brian Epstein. (And, got up to who knows what - although the film The Hours And The Times speculates on that matter.) For the young popular beat combo, it was their first taste of the jet-set life and, in the saga of their ascent to the Toppermost of the Poppermost, a momentary breather about two-thirds of the way up Mount Everest. Their first big hit record was in the bag, the next one - 'From Me To You' - was just heading up the charts and full-blown Beatlemania was still a couple of months away. In the Canaries, the island's black sand, towering volcano and opportunities for sunbathing were as exotic to The Beatles as their new found celebrity was. Although, hell, this was 1963, the Isle of Wight would've been exotic to three shitkickers from The Pool. But none of their burgeoning celebrity status followed them to Tenerife, where they stayed anonymously at the Voormann family holiday cottage. The bandmates ran around asking the locals: 'You know us? The Beatles?' — only to be met with some bewilderment. 'Nobody expected them to become that big,' Kirchherr, who took her Rolleicord camera along to document the holiday said recently. 'Nobody in the whole of show business had ever been that big.' Voormann — Kirchherr's ex-boyfriend from art school — first stumbled upon the Beatles in October 1960 as they were pounding out Eddie Cochran and Little Richard covers at the Kaiserkeller, a flea-pit dive in Hamburg's notorious red-light district, the Reeperbahn. He introduced them to some of his friends and the group of art students - The Exis - became The Beatles first proper fanbase. Not long afterwards, Kirchherr began taking pictures of the five savage young Beatles (Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, drummer Pete Best and bassist Stuart Sutcliffe), brooding and bruised black-and-whites often taken down on the docks as gritty and real as they were scrupulously stylised. Rock 'n' roll pilgrims checking out Hamburg today are often surprised to find that the city doesn't look like that anymore. 'Astrid was the one, really, who influenced our image more than anybody,' Harrison once said. Voormann confirms that Kirchherr's large-format photographs 'took the Beatles into a different dimension.' Later they would specifically ask their photographer Robert Freeman to copy the half-in-shadow style that Astrid had first used three years earlier to create one of the most iconic LP covers of all time, With The Beatles. Sutcliffe, who became engaged to Kirchherr seven weeks after they met, described her as being 'like a rose that has run its dark leaves over the wall to look at the sun.' Sutcliffe, of course, tragically died of a cerebral hemorrhage in April 1962. Kirchherr, who is now seventy three, gave up photography in the late 1960s, frustrated by the unending requests for her Beatles images. Yet she remains an indelible presence in the mythology of pop music. It can be a heavy legacy. 'I had a great time sharing my memories, but I'm getting a bit tired of performing,' she said. So on 24 and 25 September, the New York auction house Guernsey's will lessen the burden by offering for sale Kirchherr's entire Beatles-related photographic archive, about six hundred lots in all, including her original negatives (along with the rights to their use) and rarely-seen images like the ones from Tenerife. 'For me,' Kirchherr said, 'they are still my dear friends, not The Beatles.'
James Murdoch the small is to face more questions from MPs investigating the Scum of the World phone-hacking scandal. Culture committee chairman John Whittingdale said he was recalling News International's chairman to 'give evidence for a second time.' It comes after MPs heard conflicting evidence over how much Murdoch knew about the obscene practices going on under his watch at the Scum of the World. Separately, it has emerged the mother of a 7/7 bombing victim is to pursue a civil case against News International. The case of Sheila Henry, whose son, Christian Small, was killed in the 2005 Russell Square explosion, will be one of six test cases for civil damages claims against News Group Newspapers over phone-hacking claims. Whittingdale, its chairman, said the committee wanted to first hear evidence from other witnesses, including former senior News Corporation executive Les Hinton and Mark Lewis, the lawyer representing many of the alleged phone-hacking victims. A spokesman for News Corp, the parent company of News International, said: 'James Murdoch is happy to appear in front of the committee again to answer any further questions members might have.' Earlier this month, former Scum of the World legal manager Tom Crone told MPs he was 'certain' he told Murdoch in 2008 about an e-mail which indicated phone hacking at the paper went beyond one rogue reporter, the defence that News International had stuck to from 2006 until January of this year. Crone said 'it was the reason that we had to settle' the case of PFA chief Gordon Taylor. Former editor Colin Myler also told the committee that the e-mail was discussed. Murdoch, however, has always insisted that he was not told about the e-mail. In July, he and his father - Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp - faced nearly three hours in front of the parliamentary committee, answering questions about what they had done to unravel the scandal at the Scum of the World. At the High Court, Lord Justice Vos has been considering applications from a number of alleged phone-hacking victims to decide whose will be heard as test cases in the new year. Earlier, he added that of Sheila Henry to a list including actor Jude Law, MP Chris Bryant, interior designer Kelly Hoppen, sports agent Sky Andrew and ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne.

Meanwhile, the publisher of the Scum of the World claims to have 'found' many 'tens of thousands' of new documents and e-mails which could contain evidence about the scale of phone hacking at the paper, it has emerged. Presumably down the back of the sofa. That's usually where lost things are. Michael Silverleaf QC, the barrister for the News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers, told the High Court at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday: 'Two very large new caches of documents have been [discovered] which the current management were unaware of.' NGN was ordered in the summer to search its internal e-mail system for any evidence that mobile phones belonging to a list of public figures were targeted by the paper. That search has not been completed, but some documents have already been retrieved, the High Court heard. Referring to the e-mails that NGN has been searching through, Mr Justice Vos told the court that 'there is some important material in what has already been disclosed.' It also emerged on Tuesday that lawyers acting for phone-hacking claimants have received a sixty eight-page document from police which lists the names of those who asked Glenn Mulcaire – the private investigator who worked for the paper – to engage in hacking, based on notes seized from his home during a raid in 2006. Mulcaire had a (useful, albeit inconvenient for his criminal paymasters) habit of noting the names of people who asked him to target mobile phones in the left-hand corner of his notebooks, often using their initials or first name to denote their identity. The document cannot be made public because Vos had previously ordered that they remain confidential so the police inquiry would not be compromised. The fact that the document compiled by Scotland Yard runs to sixty eight pages suggests (at least, according to the Gruniad) that it contains more than just a couple of names. The judge also gave NGN more time to comply with the earlier order requiring the company to hand over potential evidence to phone-hacking litigants – now extended to 30 September. NGN said last year that it had 'lost' some e-mails from the period when Mulcaire was most active, but subsequently said they had been found. However, the Commons home affairs select committee was told last week by HCL, which managed the IT systems of NGN's ultimate parent company, News Corp, that its client had asked HCL to delete hundreds of thousands of e-mails – on thirteen separate occasions between April 2010 and July this year. News also emerged on Tuesday that Mulcaire told one alleged phone-hacking victim, the Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes, that he 'cannot remember' who at the paper ordered him to target the politician's phone. Hughes launched legal action against the paper's publisher in August and won a high court order forcing Mulcaire to answer questions about who asked him to target his phone. Although Mulcaire has now complied with that order, Hugh Tomlinson QC, one of the barristers acting for the phone-hacking victims, told the court: 'Mr Mulcaire has indicated in respect of every question raised that he has no recollection.'

EastEnders has collected a trio TV Choice Awards, including best soap. Shane Richie was named best soap actor, while his on-screen wife, played by Jessie Wallace, won the prize for best soap actress. The pair play Kat and Alfie Moon, who made a dramatic comeback to Albert Square last year and, frankly, livened up the drama which had been in a dramatic slump for a few months previously. Doctor Who won best family drama, while Karen Gillan was named best actress at a ceremony in London. Former Doctor Who star, David Tennant, won best actor for his lead role in drama Single Father. ITV's Coronation Street also won two awards - best soap storyline for the fiftieth anniversary tram crash and best soap newcomer for Paula Lane, who plays Kylie Platt. It was a very good night for the BBC drama department as Being Human was named best drama series, while Sherlock walked away with best new drama. In the entertainment categories, The Cube won best game show, Britain's Got Talent was named best talent show and Celebrity Juice won best entertainment show. Other winners include Come Dine With Me, The Inbetweeners and Top Gear.

ITV's reality show 71 Degrees North in which a bunch of alleged celebrities are dumped in the Arctic circle and left to fend for themselves failed to thaw the icy reputation it had from an underperforming first series when it returned on Tuesday evening. It only just beat the new Hairy Bikers series on BBC2 overnight data has revealed. 71 Degrees North - featuring celebrities such as Martin Kemp, Amy Williams, Brook Kinsella and, ahem, Nicky Clarke the hairdresser - taking on challenges in Arctic conditions, averaged a meagre 2.28m for ITV in the 9pm hour and one hundred and fifty thousand additional viewers on ITV+1. The show just outperformed new series Hairy Bikers' Meals On Wheels, which had 2.24m on BBC2, but was trounced by the first episode of BBC1's Waking the Dead spin-off The Body Farm's 5.25m. Elsewhere, Mayday Mayday was watched by 2.66m on ITV from 7.30pm. New show Missing Millions launched with 2.71m on ITV in the 8pm hour and another one hundred and fifty thousand on ITV+1, but lost out to Holby City's 4.9m on BBC1.

ITV is piloting a new hour-long 6pm news programme that integrates its early evening regional and national news bulletins. Such a move would challenge BBC1's news ratings dominance between 6pm and 7pm. ITV currently runs its regional news at 6pm, followed half an hour later by ITV News, its national and international news. This puts it at a disadvantage to BBC1, which runs its national and international news at 6pm, followed by regional bulletins in the second half of the hour. There has been speculation for some time that ITV could roll its two bulletins in together as part of its ongoing news review. In a letter to staff on Wednesday, Mike Jermey, ITV's director of news and sport, confirmed that 'some off-air pilots' are being made 'to test the idea.' Such a change to its news schedule would require regulatory approval from Ofcom so ITV is trialling the new-look news hour before making a formal application. Jermey told staff: 'One of the options we're looking at it a potential integrated 6pm to 7pm "news hour" – delivering international, national and regional news in one coherent programme.' He added: 'We'll be looking at the overall structure of the hour, including timings, durations and handovers. The pilot programmes will then be reviewed so that we can decide on the best way forward for ITV news.' It is not yet known what the mix will be between regional, national and international news, although it is understood that several different options are being trialled. Some media commentators fear that regional news could be squeezed and put towards the end of the news hour, where it would compete directly with BBC1's 6.30pm regional news bulletins. However, ITV has maintained that its regional news service, which it provides as part of its public service broadcasting obligations, is 'not financially viable' in its current form. The business consulting firm McKinsey has proposed, as part of ITV's news review, merging three separate units – ITV News, ITV Regional News and GMTV's flop replacement, Daybreak – to reduce costs. Could just give Chiles and Bleakley the boot, of course - that'd probably save a few wads of wonga. However, Adam Crozier, the commercial broadcaster's chief executive, indicated last year, during a Lords communications committee hearing, that if ITV was freed from the contract rights renewal system – which was designed to prevent it from abusing its dominant market position – regional programming could benefit. Crozier said: 'Certainly we would put programming right at the top [of areas that would benefit from CRR being scrapped]. ITV has regionality at its heart.' Jermey also told staff in his letter that ITV will begin formal talks this month with ITN about renewing its network and London news supply contract beyond the end of next year. 'Those talks will aim to build on the "one ITV News" work already under way,' he explained. ITV owns forty per cent of ITN and there are suggestions that the network could buy out the other stakeholders – Daily Scum Mail and General Trust, Reuters and United Business Media – and integrate ITN more into ITV. An ITV spokesman said: 'Michael Jermey, ITV director of news, current affairs and sport, today updated staff on ITV's ongoing news review, which is looking at all areas of ITV's journalism in order to further strengthen the broadcast and digital news operation.'

Doctor Who star Arthur Darvill has suggested that his character Rory has become 'more assertive and heroic' since he began travelling with The Doctor. Darvill said it is admirable that Rory continues to protect his wife Amy at all costs, even after dying and being resurrected on more than one occasion. They keep killing Rory has become something of running joke in fandom, of late. 'It's funny the way Rory deals with things. He's quite nervous and doesn't really want to put himself in danger but as soon as it's anything to do with Amy being in danger he'll just throw himself in straightaway,' Darvill told reporters on a recent conference call. 'Even though all these incredible things have happened and all these horrible things have happened, his relationship with Amy is still the strongest thing in the world. It's very real and very good and he's still completely, wildly in love with her.' On the subject of 'the many deaths of Rory Williams' he noted: 'I think it’s got a bit much for him, all the dying. He's bit sick of that, to be perfectly honest. I think I kept seeing it as a bit of a running-joke and I'll ask Steven [Moffat] if there's any kind of big reason for that constantly happening and he's as bad with us as he is with all you guys, with the press and with the public. He won't tell us anything. So I have no idea if this is going to keep happening. But I personally hope that Rory just stops dying.'

Meanwhile, it's a day with a 'y' in it so that must mean John Barrowman's been in the papers revealing something else that he'd 'love' for Captain Jack. Barrowman this time said that he'd 'love' to see Captain Jack's past explored if Torchwood returns for a fifth series. Which it may do although, one suspects, largely only if Russell Davies wanted to do another series. The actor admitted he's unsure if another Torchwood will be commissioned, but thinks that there's much more of Captain Jack's story to tell. He told Entertainment Wise: 'I'm happy with what the writers write. I like the aspect of that particular job - I'm not a producer, I'm not a writer, I come in and I get the scripts and I do the job, and I bring the character to life and that kind of brings a bit of the pressure off! But I think I'd love to see Jack time travel a little more, and I love going back in time to Jack's past. I think that's also nice to explore.' Barrowman also explained that he enjoys playing Captain Jack because the Torchwood leader doesn't fit the traditional mould of SF heroes. 'He's not a typical type of hero that you would see in a comic book or in a TV show,' he commented. 'That's what makes him fun to play. Also he's a little bit naughty and he speaks his mind, and he's got conviction with everything he does.'

Scottish Neil Oliver (and his lovely hair) is the latest subject of Metro's Sixty Second Interview slot and, among his, fascinating answers, is a hint that Coast will be continuing for a while yet. 'You've been around Britain about five times. Has Coast run its course?' he's asked. To which he replies: 'The popularity of the first series was unexpected and we went back and looked at other places. There are twelve thousand miles of coastline so it was justifiable to look in greater detail. Then it became a logical progression to consider the ways we as an island have been affected by our neighbours: France, Scandinavia, these are coastlines we've moved back and forward to for millennia, so it becomes a bigger story of how we're all related in North-West Europe. I haven't been as involved with Coast over the past couple of years but it's a juggernaut. It's built up such an audience that it will continue.' There's also the question about his female fanbase. Is it really true that he has 'a fan club of ladies' who 'get dressed up' to watch his shows? 'I've heard this,' notes Neil wryly. 'but I haven't witnessed it. As long as the programmes I'm doing are capturing people's imaginations, that's brilliant. And if people are curious about me that comes with the territory. I've put myself in a visible position. The more women the better. Actually, let me rephrase that – I have a wife and children. I'm flattered people are interested in me at all.'

The BBC has reportedly apologised to some viewers who were apparently unhappy with coverage of the memorial service to mark the tenth anniversary of the 11 September terrorist attacks. Families of the victims attended ceremonies in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Sunday, where the names of those killed were read out. However, the BBC has confirmed that it received 'a number' of complaint from some viewers who were 'unhappy that commentary was aired' during the reading of the names. This was branded 'disrespectful' by some. Jesus, poor old Auntie - they can't do right for doing wrong for some people, it would seem. Responding, the corporation said: 'This special programme sought to mark the tenth anniversary of the 11 September attacks featuring reaction and discussion on the day's events and covering the ceremonies in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. As I'm sure you can understand, it can be difficult to strike the right balance between showing as much of the ceremony as we can, as well as providing commentary and analysis for our audiences. Such a large and continuous roll call of names also brings its own challenges for broadcasters.' The response concluded: 'We believe our coverage was handled sensitively and respectfully, however we're sorry if some of the audience didn't feel we got this quite right on this occasion. We certainly intended no offence.' They didn't add 'perhaps one or two of those whinging might have shown a bit of gratitude that we were covering the event at all.' They didn't add that because, of course, the BBC are, collectively, far too polite to deal with the vast majority of complaints they get in the way that they should be dealt with. Which can be both a blessing and curse.

The dates have been announced for the start of the digital TV switchover in Tyne Tees, marking the final English region to transfer from analogue to digital. On 12 September 2012 the transmitters serving Tyne Tees will switch off analogue BBC2 and boost the Freeview service to reach virtually all 1.4m households in the region. Including yer actual Keith Telly Topping. Although, to be fair, I've got Sky digital so I'm not really that bothered. The remaining analogue channels will be switched off in Tyne Tees on 26 September 2012 to complete the switchover process in the area. After the change has been completed, thousands of homes previously in digital blackspots, such as Sunderland (and, let's face it, them lot down there are in a blackspot in more ways than one), Whitby, Morpeth and Berwick-upon-Tweed, will be able to receive Freeview channels for the first time. And, thanks to this will be able to watch all day Top Gear on Dave like the rest of us. The North East will be the last region in England to make the switch to digital - always the bridesmaid, eh? - bringing to an end the epic process of upgrading the UK's television infrastructure. Various regions have already made the move to digital, including Scotland, the Granada TV region and the Anglia TV region. The switchover is expected to reach London in time for the Olympic Games next summer. Turning off analogue TV signals will allow digital terrestrial TV, essentially Freeview, to reach virtually all homes. At the end of the switchover, Freeview services are predicted to be available to over ninety eight per cent of households. Digital UK and the Switchover Help Scheme will run a series of awareness campaigns in Tyne Tees ahead of the switchover next year, including roadshows, advertising and leaflet mailouts. John Askew, Digital UK's regional manager for the North East, said: '[This] announcement paves the way for a new era in broadcasting for viewers in the North East. We are preparing for the end of analogue TV and the dawn of a fully digital age in which everyone can enjoy extra choice and easier recording. Digital UK and the Switchover Help Scheme will ensure people know about this important change, and that advice and practical support are available.'

Channel Four has commissioned a documentary focusing on the life of comedian Tommy Cooper. Just like that. No, not like that, like that. Anyway, Cooper of course famously died in 1984 while on stage at Her Majesty's Theatre which was being broadcast on live on ITV. The ninety minute special, which was announced by Channel Four's Head of Comedy, Shane Allen, will feature unheard audio and unseen archive footage from his personal and professional life. The show will also feature a number of contributors who battled to save him following his heart attack on stage. The programme is due to be broadcast later this year. Shane Allen said: 'This is an in depth look into the emotional and professional workings of one of Britain's most loved and admired comedians.' Googlebox Entertainment (a joint venture with Sony Pictures Television) and Noel Gay Television have been commissioned to produce the programme for Channel Four. Hopefully, they'll include this extraordinary bit of footage. The bit with the duck still cracks me up every time.

Sarah Michelle Gellar has suggested that the best roles for women are on television. The former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star told Collider that she had been 'spoiled' by her time on the cult Telefantasy show. 'I thought that was the way it was everywhere, and it's not,' she admitted. 'I started to watch Damages and all of these amazing, female-driven shows, and [a return to television] was something that was always in the back of my mind.' Gellar stars in new series Ringer, which premiered this week on The CW network. 'If I hadn't had the time away, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate the experience that I'm appreciating now,' she claimed. The actress added that she has been overwhelmed by the fan support of her small-screen return. 'You can only hope that [people] want to see you on television and that they'll watch,' she said. 'But everyone has been so kind.' Gellar recently insisted that mystery drama Ringer will not disappoint dedicated viewers. 'Nicole [Snyder] and Eric [Charmelo] pitched me the first three seasons all the way through,' she explained. 'Some things have already changed, but the big questions we have answers to, and we give them out a little bit every episode.'

The West Wing scriptwriter Michael Oates Palmer has sold a new drama pilot to NBC. The currently untitled project is being described as a contemporary take on classic 1942 film Casablanca, according to Deadline. The potential series will follow an American ambassador who resides in a corrupt Eastern European country. When a visiting Congressman is killed, the US responds with a military operation, but the wife of the general in charge is a former lover of the ambassador. Palmer wrote for The West Wing during the show's fourth and fifth seasons and has also worked on CBS series Shark and AMC's Rubicon. His new drama will be produced by McG's company Wonderland Sound and Vision. Other drama projects in development at NBC include a modern-day update of Frankenstein, a wrestling show produced by Dwayne The Rock Johnson and an adaptation of 1984 film Romancing the Stone.

A proposal to divide BBC regional current affairs in England into four so-called 'super regions' has reportedly been rejected by the BBC Trust. The plan was one put forward under the corporation's Delivering Quality First cost-cutting programme. With just two days to go until BBC executives meet to finalise their DQF proposals, 'sources' are alleged to have said the BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten is keen that the Trust is informed about progress as he 'is looking to get the trustees to buy in to whatever is agreed before an announcement is made in early October.' Under the rejected 'super regions' proposal, four regional centres would have been created, most likely in Salford, Birmingham, Bristol and another in the east of England. However, it is thought that another proposal to share more BBC local radio non-peak programmes between neighbouring stations is still on the agenda. Currently it is thought the main proposals being made under DQF are to cut back on the range of BBC4 output and bring it closer to BBC2, reduce BBC3's budget, increase the number of repeats and replace some of BBC2's daytime output, perhaps with BBC4 programmes.

Sky News suffered a catastrophic, Brian Johnston-esque outbreak of corpsing during its Monday night paper review. Presenter Anna Botting launched into a discussion of the Natalie Rowe-George Osborne story by talking about it 'dominating' Tuesday's front pages. And things just went downhill from there.
Andrew Pierce's sniggery asides reduced Botting and fellow reviewer Kevin Maguire to such fits of the giggles which meant they were unable to continue. 'We're going to take a break – this is hopeless,' Botting eventually managed to squeak between chokes. 'Back in a minute.' That's another RTS news channel of the year award, clearly.

The television advert for Tesco's Butcher's Choice sausages showed an idyllic country scene as pigs wandered freely around a field as the farmer went about his harvest. But the advertising watchdog has banned the supermarket giant from repeating the commercial, saying it misleadingly implied that the meat used for the sausages came from 'free-range pigs.' Four people complained about the advert after it was broadcast in May this year. Tesco said it did not believe it was misleading, adding that the pigs had been reared to 'world-class nationally-agreed welfare standards.' Before they were killed, turned into meat and eaten. So, we're sure the pigs were ruddy delighted by their treatment. The supermarket giant said the advert, which was filmed on a farm that is a supplier, showed pigs both outdoors and indoors. But the Advertising Standards Authority said in 'all [the] scenes the pigs were shown to be in a spacious and free environment. The pigs were shown wandering unrestricted outside and, within the indoor barn scene, the barn door was shown to be open and the pigs' movement unrestricted,' the regulator added. The ASA said viewers were 'likely to interpret the ad to mean that the pigs were reared in an unrestricted environment and had access to outdoor pasture. Since we understood that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.' The ASA said the advert breached advertising regulations and must not be repeated again in its current form. A Tesco spokesman said: 'The farmer featured in the ad is a genuine Tesco supplier and shows the environment in which the pigs are reared. We accept the ruling and the ads will no longer appear on screens.'

Waste-of-space non-entity Peaches Geldof has 'blasted' the teen-drama Skins for 'giving teenagers a bad name.' If you're waiting for an ironic punchline dear blog reader, sorry, there isn't one. Apparently she was serious. Geldof, who has dominated many a tabloid headline for her crass behaviour and utterly worthless lifestyle in recent years, has criticised the E4 drama for its portrayal of teenagers and claimed life isn't a '24/7 party lifestyle when you're growing up.' No, really, Peaches Geldof said that. Geldof criticised Skins in an interview with the Sun's TV Biz. whom, we imagine, could barely keep a straight face whilst she was telling them this. 'Skins is too much. It's real in some ways. But for every handful of teenagers who are wayward and going through things that are portrayed in Skins, there are many teenagers who aren't. It's not just a 24/7 party lifestyle when you're growing up. There are times when you are sitting at home doing your homework and it's not just this crazy, drug-fuelled orgy-filled thing that Skins says adolescence is. It gives a bad name to modern adolescence. Smart teenagers will watch it laughing but other kids will think that's what life is really supposed to be like — and their lives are boring in comparison. It might spur them on to try and live more recklessly.' The daughter of Saint Bob Geldof and Paula Yates has certainly had her own fair share of teenage drama from a failed marriage to a suspected drugs overdose.

Just when you thought life supporting a conference side may be the ugliest job in football, Mansfield Town come along and appoint twenty nine-year-old 'sexy stunna' Carolyn Still as their new chief executive. Still, the youngest CEO in English football, joins the Blue Square League club as a replacement for Steve Barker after roles in the fashion industry with luxury goods companies Bulgari and Gucci. 'It's a great privilege for me to be offered the chance to lead this football club,' said Still, a politics graduate from the University of Durham. 'I intend to add vibrancy and fresh ideas to our approach off the field.' And, hopefully, the dressing room. She continued: 'I want to wake sleeping fans with a lot of different initiatives by liaising with them and finding what they want.' From The North are, we admit, no Blue Square experts, but we think it's safe to assume that a number of would-be Stags may be awoken from their own particular slumbers when they realise the lovely Carolyn is after an impromptu conflab.

British artist Richard Hamilton, regarded as a pioneer in the field of Pop art, has died at the age of eighty nine following a short illness. The London-born artist's best known work was a 1956 collage featuring a body builder and a tin of ham, which earned him the title Father of Pop. The Gagosian Gallery, which announced his death, said the art world had 'lost one of its leading lights.' He was working on a major retrospective just days before he died. The exhibition is due to be seen in London, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Madrid next year. Larry Gagosian, who owns several galleries around the world, said: 'This is a very sad day for all of us and our thoughts are with Richard's family, particularly his wife Rita and son Rod.' Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota said Hamilton died as he 'would have wished,' working on his art. In an interview with the BBC last year, Hamilton said: 'I've always done exactly I wanted to do and I've always had the good fortune to do that.' The artist was born in London in 1922, trained as an engineering draftsman and worked at EMI during World War II. He studied at London's Royal Academy but was expelled after defying a teacher's instructions. Hamilton went on to study at the Slade School of Fine Art, leaving in 1951. A year later, Hamilton founded the Independent Group at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, with Eduardo Paolozzi, Lawrence Alloway and several other architects. This group helped to develop English Pop Art. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he also taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal College of Art, where he was an early supporter of David Hockney. One of his most famous works Swingeing London (1967, see left) in which Mick Jagger in lurid green jacket is enclosed in the back of a police car, shielding his face against the media glare, is considered one of the icons of 1960s British modern art. Aside from his famous collages, Hamilton also designed the cover of the Beatles' White Album and poster in 1968. Hamilton's design is the only Beatles' LP cover which does not show the four band members. The artist told how Sir Paul McCartney called him to ask him to design the new cover. Hamilton said: 'Peter Blake's album sleeve (for Sgt Pepper) was crowded with people and very colourful. I thought it would be appropriate to present an album that was just white.' During his career, Hamilton exhibited at some of the world's most famous art galleries, including the Tate in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. His later work focused on political images, which often parodied post-war consumerism. Serota said: 'This fascination with the consumer society was highly critical, a moral position that was also evident in his distrust of the political establishment ranging from Mrs Thatcher to Tony Blair and Hugh Gaitskell.' Shock and Awe (2008) featured Tony Blair wearing a cowboy shirt, with guns and holsters. Hamilton said he produced the image after he saw Blair 'looking smug' following a news conference with George Bush. In 2010, London's Serpentine Gallery exhibited Hamilton's Modern Moral Matters, which focused on his political and protest works. Asked recently about being called the father of Pop art, Hamilton said it was not a term he aligned himself with. 'While I was interested in the pop phenomenon, I never associated myself with the term, which I used to describe Elvis Presley and rather vulgar American imagery of ice cream cones or hamburgers,' he said. 'However, significant things were happening in the 1950s and it seemed not only to be a cool moment but a momentous moment for humanity.'

Iran has enforced a ban on television series airing love triangles. Exceptions will only be granted for shows that denounce affairs and love triangles, according to Fars News Agency. Half-naked men are no longer allowed to be shown in Iranian or foreign productions, though there has been no statement on how this will affect sports coverage. Furthermore, 'unnecessary mingling' between opposite genders has now been strongly discouraged. In case it causes the local populous to have their ardours inflamed by Western decadance and they go running amok in the Casbah. Or something. The report goes on to say that many Iranian residents have turned to illegal means to continue watching uncensored television. The country prohibited the use of satellite dishes more than a decade ago. It was previously reported that Iran banned cooking programmes from demonstrating how to prepare Western dishes earlier this year. No MasterChef in Iran? I'd sooner die!

Cheryl Cole has reportedly gone to Afghanistan to visit members of the armed forces. Poor sods, as if they haven't got enough to deal already with from the Taliban.

Right, here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This is for all you Iranians who just can't get enough of this sort of thing. He is The News. Stop dancing, Bernard, it's embarrassing.