Thursday, May 24, 2012

And In The Darkest Night, I'll Keep You Safe All Right

Steven Moffat has explained why Doctor Who's schedule has been changed for the forthcoming seventh series. Since Doctor Who was revived in 2005 the BBC family SF drama has usually been broadcast on Saturday evenings from Easter onwards usually reaching its series finale in early Summer. That changed last year when the series was shown in two batches during the Spring and Autumn. This year Doctor Who is absent from Saturday evenings as it has been delayed until the Autumn. In an interview with the Digital Spy website The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He), has explained why Doctor Who will be broadcast in the Autumn and Winter this year instead of its traditional Spring slot. 'I've always been open to anything that shakes [the series] up. I think that decision actually came from the BBC. But I've been well up for anything that we can do to shake up the transmission pattern, the way we deliver it to the audience and how long we make the audience wait, simply because that makes Doctor Who an event piece. The more Doctor Who becomes a perennial, the faster it starts to die. You've got to shake it up, you've got to keep people on edge and wondering when it will come back.' Well, yeah, all of that. Plus, of course, the Olympics and the European Championships and the Jubilee, obviously. When Doctor Who does return in the Autumn (probably in early September, although that's yet to be confirmed) it will be for five episodes with the fifth writing out current companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill). The second half of the seventh season will be broadcast in 2013 following the Christmas Special which will introduce actress Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new series regular companion, Avocado (or, whatever she ends up being called). 2013 will then mark the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who, an event highly anticipated by most fans. Including The Special People as it'll give them the opportunity for a right good gurn. When Digital Spy asked whether plans for the anniversary were already under way Moffat added: 'Yes, they are. I had a meeting about that earlier in the week!'
Yer actual Jeremy Paxman has told the Leveson Inquiry that odious puss bucket (and drag) Piers Morgan explained to him ten years ago how to hack into mobile phones. The infamously grumpy Newsnight presenter and scourge of waffling politicians claimed that this happened at a lunch at which the vile and nasty Morgan, then Daily Mirra editor - before he was, deliciously, tin-tacked for publishing faked photographs - 'teased' Ulrika Jonsson that he knew about her phone conversations with Sven-Goran Eriksson. Paxo said that the incident happened at a lunch organised by Trinity Mirra. Morgan subsequently tweeted: 'That's the last time I'm inviting Jeremy Paxman to lunch. Ungrateful little wretch.' But, he didn't, actually deny any of the things that Paxman had claimed which is rather curious. Former Labour Home Secretary Lord Reid also gave evidence to the inquiry into press ethics, saying that he first became aware of the inquiry into phone-hacking through the media reporting of it. And Paxman's BBC colleague Andrew Marr said that Labour favoured certain reporters, including billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's staff. Paxman claimed that he remembered the lunch at Canary Wharf for two reasons - because of what Morgan said and because he wondered why he, himself, had been invited. 'Morgan was teasing Ulrika that he knew what had happened in a conversation between her and Sven-Goran Eriksson,' said Paxman. 'I don't know if he was repeating a conversation he had heard or he was imagining this conversation.' Jonsson admitted in April 2002 she had been in a relationship with the then-England football manager, Eriksson, a fellow Swede. Paxman said that Morgan put on a 'mock Swedish accent' (and, I'm sure all dear blog readers are now imagining what the odious slimy Morgan sounds like when trying to sound like the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show) and did 'rather a bad parody' of Eriksson. It struck Paxman, he said, as 'close to bullying.' He said: 'I don't know if [Morgan] was making this up, making up the conversation. But it was clearly something he was familiar with and I wasn't. I didn't know that this went on. He turned to me and said "Have you got a mobile phone?" I said yes and he asked if there was a security setting on the message bit of it. I didn't know what he was talking about. He then explained the way to get access to people's messages was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234 and that if you didn't put on your own code, his words, "You're a fool."' Esther Addley, of the Gruniad, tweeted that when Paxman left court he confirmed to the press that he had not told the story before. Morgan has always furiously denied phone-hacking, including when he, himself, gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry last year. He told the inquiry in December that he was 'not aware' of any phone-hacking taking place at the Mirra while he was editor between 1995 and 2004 and said: 'I have no reason to believe it was going on.' Paxman also said there was no case for government control of the media and said that the nature of the BBC sometimes confused people abroad who had assumed it was a 'state broadcaster' and wrongly assumed that meant it was under government control. He said that he did not reject the idea that political journalism could influence politics. 'But politicians seek to tell the rest of us how to live our lives - I have no desire to do that,' he said. 'My job is to hold to account.' Paxman said politicians were not all 'scoundrels' and he occasionally took politicians to dinner as it was a good way of finding things out but he found it better to keep a distance from them and regarded none of them as friends. Earlier, Marr also said that there were 'no longer' any politicians he regarded as friends, but added: 'I am friendly with politicians, and many I like and admire. Contact with politicians is part of my professional life and was never easy.' He said that without individual contacts, and a little 'wining and dining,' the public would not have known about the difficulties within the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, which 'came out because politicians were talking privately with journalists.' Marr said he believed the Labour government thought having a 'positive' relationship with News International titles as well as left-of-centre newspapers such as the Mirra and the Griniad was 'well worth doing.' Asked if New Labour favoured some journalists because they worked for News International, Marr - who before joining the BBC worked for non-Murdoch newspapers - replied: 'Yes, absolutely.' Marr suggested that the rise of Internet news had meant that many people no longer buy newspapers to simply find out what had happened and papers had adapted and now looked to get readers 'emotionally engaged in the news.' Marr said there were differences between working for newspapers and for the BBC. He said the BBC's editorial code was stringent and carefully monitored and anything he did was 'being watched for impartiality.' He said it meant he was largely unaware of the regulatory work of Ofcom. Reid, who was Tony Blair's home secretary between 2006 and 2007, said that when the news of phone-hacking first broke 'my reaction went beyond surprise.' He said he spoke to the permanent secretary's office and to the Metropolitan Police commissioner to ask 'what the hell is going on?' He said the Met had confirmed the media stories but added that he was not given any information which was not in the public domain. Reid said the phone-hacking investigation in 2006 was 'a very tiny dot at the far edge of a very crowded radar screen in the Home Office.' He said his knowledge of the investigation had been 'limited' and he had not been receiving briefings. Reid denied that he was given 'favourable' coverage in the Sun or the Scum of the World as a result of providing 'preferential access' to government information. He said that there were thousands of articles written about him when he was in government and there were stories which praised him or were fair in other newspapers too. He said if the Sun praised him it may have been to make then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott look bad in comparison. Earlier the inquiry heard from Conservative MP Stephen Dorrell, who was national heritage secretary in the mid-1990s under John Major, with responsibility for media policy. Dorrell told the inquiry that the government at the time preferred to avoid statutory regulation of the press and said he was 'personally hostile for any proposal for official regulation of freedom of expression.'

Lord Justice Leveson has queried whether bloggers would have to be brought in a revised system of press regulation, as he heard evidence from Andrew Marr about the growing power of political websites. The BBC journalist and presenter said that ConservativeHome and other websites are 'now as influential as any newspaper' and any new system of regulation proposed by the judge 'would have to include those alongside newspapers.' Marr said that political bloggers were often 'card-carrying party members' often with 'strong contacts with their side,' which meant that they could not be treated as 'old-fashioned journalists' but were nevertheless 'increasingly significant.' The observation prompted Leveson to reflect that he saw an 'enormous spectrum' of online material ranging from a simple text to bloggers who are 'a trade or a business' as he touched on the boundaries of regulation. He went on to ask, rhetorically, whether regulation might distinguish between those who are 'simply commenting' and sites 'getting towards the business end of journalism' – a clear signal that he was continuing to give thought to the issue. Earlier, Leveson asked Marr – also a former editor of the Independent – to reflect on the differences between press and broadcast regulation. Marr said that the BBC code of conduct for journalists was 'stringent and so carefully monitored' for somebody coming from a newspaper background. He added that when he joined the BBC, the level of monitoring was unexpected 'because really every phrase that you use, exactly how long you talk to people for, all of that is being watched.' But, Marr said that he did not believe newspapers would necessarily prosper under heavier regulation. He said: 'Newspapers are in a very, very parlous state in this country. Most of them are hollowed out, they are very short of money and none of them yet has found plausible answer to the challenges revenue brought by the Internet. A new system of regulation placed on top of that, you know might be like taking away the feeding tube right at the end or the oxygen mask. So those would be my worries.'

More than three quarters of the public who expressed an opinion want stricter regulation of the press plus tighter limits on media ownership. According to a YouGov poll, sixty two per cent of those asked want to see the current system of regulation replaced by a legally established body, and ninety four per cent of those who want some form of regulation. Eighty one per cent want it to be either 'very' or 'fairly' strict. Almost three quarters of respondents support limits on the overall proportion of the UK media that a single person, or single, company can own. Roughly the same number - seventy six per cent - want to see fixed limits on newspaper ownership. And sixty two per cent of these people want that number to be no more than two titles. The poll, commissioned by the think tank IPPR, also indicates a strong public preference for media owners to be full-time UK residents and taxpayers. More than eight out of ten of respondents supported the idea that newspapers should be required to print a correction and/or apology for incorrect stories on the same page as the offending story appeared on - even if it is the front page. And nearly half think newspapers have too much power over politicians. There is strong support for keeping - forty five per cent - or strengthening - twenty nine per cent - the impartiality rules governing broadcasters, and also support for extending these rules to video content that resembles TV news - fifty five per cent. The BBC, as a publicly funded broadcasting service, is strongly supported (by fifty seven per cent of respondents). Nick Pearce, IPPR's director, said: 'Once the Leveson inquiry has completed its work and made its recommendations, politicians will have to make some difficult decisions on the shape and reach of media policy. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the hacking scandal and other revelations, this polling shows that the public mood has hardened significantly towards tighter regulation of media standards and more controls on media ownership. Understanding this public appetite for change, while ensuring that the UK has a free, vibrant and economically viable media, will be the challenge of the months ahead.'

Prime Minister David Cameron has been rebuked for 'unparliamentary language' after calling shadow chancellor Ed Balls 'a muttering idiot.' He was asked by Speaker John Bercow to withdraw the remark made during a stormy prime minister's questions. Labour said the PM was 'increasingly losing his temper' because he was 'losing the economic argument.' Cameron also apologised later to veteran MP Dennis Skinner for 'sharp' comments he made to him last month. It is not the first time that Cameron has appeared to lose his cool with Balls, who sits opposite him on the Labour benches, last year calling the shadow chancellor 'the most annoying person in modern politics.' Answering a question on enterprise zones, Cameron hailed the government's economic strategy and said he wanted to find 'innovative ways of using our hard-won credibility, which we wouldn't have if we listened to the muttering idiot opposite me.' The remark sparked uproar on both sides of the Commons, with shouts of 'Flashman' from the opposition benches, a reference to the fictional upper-class Rugby school bully in Tom Brown's Schooldays. It's a name which had been regularly used by Labour MPs to attack the Old Etonian prime minister. Once the Speaker had restored order, he asked the prime minister to 'withdraw the word idiot' as it was 'unparliamentary language.' A smiling Cameron said: 'I will replace it with "the man who left us this enormous deficit and this financial crisis."' On Twitter, political pundits claimed Balls had upset the prime minister by telling him to 'chillax, have another glass of wine' - a reference to a recent book in which Cameron's methods of unwinding from the stresses of his job were revealed. Balls denied the claim, tweeting: 'For the record, I was simply asking the Prime Minister, as he boasted the economy was on track: "Tell us about the recession."' Speaking outside the Commons after the PM's questions session, an alleged Labour 'source' allegedly said: 'It is deeply un-prime ministerial and a sign of his weakness on the key economic argument.' Although, they added, it was also pure-dead funny, so it was. Later on, while taking questions on the NATO summit, Cameron also apologised to veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner, for his 'sharp' response to him last month - when he had suggested Skinner, and MP since 1970, should collect his pension and leave Parliament. Cameron said that he actually believed Skinner was a 'tremendous ornament' to Parliament. Which, if you look up 'back-handed Dennis Skinner compliments' on Google, you'll find right at the top. Labour peer Lord Adonis said Balls would have been 'delighted' to have seemingly provoked 'another reaction' from the prime minister. 'Almost every week the prime minister turns himself into the personal publicity machine for Ed Balls,' the former transport secretary told BBC Radio 4's The World at One. 'I can't think of anything Ed would rather have had happen during Prime Minister's Questions than to be called an idiot by David Cameron. He will be dining out on this for weeks to come and it will do his standing huge powers of good.' But Lord Lamont, who was Cameron's boss when he was chancellor in the early 1990s, defended the prime minister, saying: 'He can by quite volatile. I think that makes him more engaging.'

The future of commercial public service television in the UK is currently being reviewed, including whether the licences held by broadcasters such as ITV and Channel Five should be put up for auction. The media regulator has published advice on future options for the commercial public service broadcaster licences - the Channel Three (ITV, STV and UTV) and Channel Five licences - when they expire in 2014. Completing its statutory duty, Ofcom's report considers whether the existing licence holders 'will be able to contribute, at a commercially sustainable cost, to public service broadcasting in the ten years from 2015.' The broadcasters currently provide various public service programmes, including news and current affairs, in return for prominence on the electronic programme guides and valuable spectrum on digital terrestrial television. Ofcom has outlined three options going forward for the licences, starting with a straight renewal of the licences for a new ten-year period - the most likely outcome. The watchdog said that 'in broad terms' the existing public service obligations set for broadcasters 'could be sustainable in the next licence period.' Analysis shows that the Channel Three and Channel Five licensees 'could continue to make a sufficient contribution to public service broadcasting beyond 2015.' But Ofcom notes that benefits 'could be drawn' from establishing a separate, standalone licence for Channel Three in Wales, mirroring the ones in Scotland (STV) and Northern Ireland (UTV). 'We also suggest that changes to the Channel Three service received by viewers in the south of Scotland may be appropriate to ensure the provision of Scottish news in that area,' said Ofcom. However, Ofcom has also proposed auctioning off the commercial PSB licences in order to open up the competitive process and see if other broadcasters could do commercial public service television any better. '[We] may also test whether potential bidders - including the current licensees - could consider fresh approaches to public service broadcasting,' said Ofcom. The final option involves extending the current licences for a shorter period to permit a full review of public service broadcasting as part of government's consultation on a new Communications Bill. '[This] could also give Parliament a chance to consider how public service content could be delivered in a world changed by the growth of digital media,' Ofcom noted. Ofcom feels that all three options are 'credible,' but it is now up to the vile and odious rascal Hunt, the lack of culture secretary, to decide which is the best course of action going forward.

Long-running BBC music show Top of the Pops is to return - as a stage show. Top of the Pops Live will be produced by the team that created the Michael Jackson tribute musical Thriller, who have described their new touring show as 'a nostalgic interactive jukebox.' A cast of tribute singers, dancers, presenters and musicians will recreate the sights and sounds of the TV show's 1970s, 1980s and 1990s heyday. Archive footage from past episodes will also feature in the production. There will also be a chart rundown during the show, from which the audience can choose a number one track to feature as the final song of the night. Derek Nicol of producers Flying Entertainment said he was 'delighted to be working on one of the UK's most iconic brands. Like most people I have nothing but fantastic memories of Top of the Pops,' he said. Top of the Pops was first aired on New Year's Day 1964 and featured mimed performances from The Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield and The Beatles. It was cancelled by the BBC in 2006 after forty two years on the air. Its theatrical incarnation will open in Eastbourne on 18 October before touring the UK until April 2013.

Sky's grip on the pay-TV movie market has been weakened by the arrival of streaming services Netflix and Lovefilm, meaning it is unlikely the regulator will intervene in the sector. The assessment from the Competition Commission reverses its provisional finding, published in August 2011. The earlier finding said Sky's control was restricting competition, leading to higher prices and reduced choice. Sky said it welcomed the commission's revised findings. 'We have long argued that UK consumers are well served by strong competition between a variety of movie providers,' a Sky spokesperson said. 'We remain committed to innovating for customers so that we can make Sky Movies even better, building on developments such as Sky Anytime+ and Sky Go. At the same time we're focusing on the launch of Now TV, which will offer consumers even more choice in this vibrant sector.' In its earlier finding, the commission had said that Sky had an advantage, given its large subscriber base, making it difficult for other broadcasters to bid successfully for rights to air Hollywood studios' new releases on pay-TV. Sky has agreements with all six of the major Hollywood studios. At the time, the commission said it was considering whether to restrict the number of Hollywood studios from which Sky may license first subscription pay-TV window rights. But the regulator now says that the movie and TV streaming services on offer have changed the picture. Competition between providers of movie services on pay-TV has changed materially and, as a result of these changes, consumers now have much greater choice,' said Laura Carstensen from the commission. 'Lovefilm and Netflix offer services which are attractive to many consumers and they appear sufficiently well-resourced to be in a position to improve the range and quality of their content further.' Sky is also due later this year to launch its own Internet TV service, called Now TV, which will offer films on a pay-as-you-go or contract basis, without the need for a full subscription. 'Given that we no longer find there to be an adverse effect on competition in relation to movies on pay-TV, we are not now proposing any remedial action,' Carstensen said. The commission has requested responses to its revised provisional finding by 13 June, before it issues its final verdict.

Reggie Yates has said that having Wor Cheryl Cole perform on The Voice will 'wind up X Factor head honcho Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. Cole was a judge on ITV's The X Factor for three years, with her acts winning twice, but she was axed from The X Factor USA just two weeks into filming the audition phases. Asked if Cole's upcoming performance on Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's BBC rival The Voice would 'be two fingers up' to the show boss, Yates told Heat: 'I don't know. Possibly! I think a lot of people want there to be this battle between us and Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads so much.' He added: 'It will wind him up. But do I care about that? It's just, whatever. I just think it's wicked that Cheryl's going to perform on our show. I think if she comes on and does well, it will be fantastic.' The Heaton Horror will perform her new single 'Call My Name' on The Voice semi-final results show on Sunday, May 27.

Big Brother will return for a thirteenth series on Tuesday 5 June, it has been confirmed. The reality show will be back on Channel Five for a non-celebrity edition from early next month.

Tumbling ratings for The Voice can only mean one thing to the odious lice at Daily Scum Mail. Time for a Danny Cohen hatchet job. Well, running BBC1 does tend to make you public enemy number one in odious, scummy Dacre-land, and the thirty eight-year-old is all over The Voice behind the scenes, so it is not surprising that he is in for a bit of flack from the Scum Mail. But, according to the Gruniad, feelings are 'running high' at White City over the article, with the broadcaster complaining about a whole serial inaccuracies in it. Apparently, according to these 'sources', Cohen does not dine at The Wolseley, where a caviar omelette can set you back sixty quid (a fact the Scum Mail seems to have lobbed into this story gratuitously in its attempt to get wax exploding in the ears of their readers that some people earn lots of money, Cohen being one of them). He also didn't commission the series Fuck Off I'm A Hairy Woman on BBC3 – he was, actually, the controller that cancelled it – nor did he commission Torchwood on BBC1 (although the homophobic bigots at the Scum Mail dislike the Doctor Who spin-off on general principle because it featured a 'gay sex scene'). The 'Bohemian splendour' of Dan's gaff in Primrose Hill is actually a flat (although, in that area, they certainly aren't cheap); there is no 'thought map' on his wall apparently. And, the BBC insists, his wife Noreena Hertz raised close to one million smackers, not a mere two hundred thousand, from footballers for nurses on Channel Four's The Million Pound Footballers Giveaway. But all this still leaves one allegation standing which the Scum Mail makes: Cohen is still involved in the fan club for eighties Welsh rockers, The Alarm. Whether this alone warrants the Scum Mail headline: The BBC boss who'll plumb any depths of bad taste for ratings is open to question, to say the least. Remember, Danny, if the Daily Scum Mail dislike you, you must be doing something right.

Mock the Week will return for a new series next month, which will include a celebration for its one hundredth episode. The BBC has confirmed that the satirical panel show is to return for a five-part eleventh series on 14 June, with the landmark episode airing on 5 July. Six more episodes will be broadcast on BBC2 from September to October and a Christmas special will also be produced. Host Dara O'Briain and regular panellists Andy Parsons, Hugh Dennis and Chris Addison will all return for the new series. Comedians Micky Flanagan, Greg Davies and Nathan Caton are guests for the first episode back, while the likes of the great Milton Jones, Marcus Brigstocke, Zoe Lyons and Miles Jupp will feature on the summer series. Ed Byrne and Stewart Francis are among the famous faces booked for episodes later in the year. Mock the Week was first broadcast in June 2005 when David Cameron was a largely unknown shadow education secretary and Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband had only been MPs for four weeks.

Sky Arts has announced that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe and Mad Men's Jon Hamm will appear in a new comedy-drama for the channel. Based on the memoirs of celebrated Russian writer and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov, A Young Doctor’s Notebook will be broadcast next year as part of the brand new run of Playhouse Presents. The four-part series recounts Bulgakov's semi-autobiographical experiences as a young doctor working in the small village of Muryovo at the dawn of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Jon Hamm will portray the older doctor, who has a series of bleakly comic exchanges with his younger self, played by Radcliffe. Hamm commented: 'I am thrilled to get the opportunity to work on such rich source material with such fantastically talented people whose work I greatly respect, and to continue the relationship with Sky who have taken such good care of Mad Men since acquiring it. Also, I have been watching Bridget Jones's Diary on infinite loop, and I think I've finally got this accent thing sorted.' Radcliffe added: 'I have been an obsessive Bulgakov reader for a couple of years now so when the opportunity to become involved in this project came up, I could barely contain my excitement. The book is funny, grotesque and heartfelt in equal measure and I look forward to working with a great group of people to help bring it to life.'

This Is Spinal Tap's Michael McKean has been rushed to hospital in a critical condition, after being hit by a car in New York. The sixty four-year-old actor, who plays lead singer David St Hubbins in the cult, if you will, rockumentary, has since stabilised, but sustained a broken leg in the accident. 'He'll be okay, hopefully he'll be fine,' his publicist Harriet Sternberg told the New York Daily News, before adding: 'It's pretty devastating.' McKean was hit on his way to a Broadway theatre, where he is starring in Gore Vidal's The Best Man. Sternberg said this was the first curtain that he'd missed in his forty-odd-year career. The former Saturday Night Live regular has also appeared in This Is Spinal Tap co-star Christopher Guest's films Best In Show and For Your Consideration, and made a guest appearances in a number of shows, including The X Files, Friends, Smallville and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Police are investigating as an accident, not a crime, according to the Daily News.

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle United have signed yet another French midfielder Romain Amalfitano. The twenty two-year-old will arrive at Les Toon on a free transfer after his contract with Stade de Reims expired. Amalfitano, who helped the French club win promotion to Ligue 1, joins compatriots Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux, along with the French-speaking African quartet of Demba Ba, Cheick Tioté, Papiss Cissé and Mehdi Abeid at St James' Park. 'When this club wants you to play for them, it can only be a good thing - I'm very happy to be a Newcastle player,' Amalfitano told the club's website. Amalfitano, whose older brother Morgan plays for Marseille, added: 'I have seen a bit of the city already and it is a change from France, but one I am really looking forward to. I have taken the opportunity to play in the Premier League and cannot wait to get going.' The Magpies, who finished fifth in the Premier League last season, will be looking to further bolster the squad having qualified for the Europa League. Manager Alan Pardew was rewarded for leading Newcastle to their highest placing in the top flight in eight years by winning the Barclays and League Managers' Association manager of the year awards.

Meanwhile, Queen's Park Strangers captain and arch psycho nutter Joey Barton has been banned for twelve matches after being found guilty of two counts of violent conduct. Barton, twenty nine, was sent off in QPR's defeat at Sheikh Yer Man City on the final day of the Premier League season and had already accepted a charge over his clash with Sergio Aguero in the wake of his red card. In addition, he was found guilty over a separate clash when he tried to hoy-the-heed-in on Vincent Kompany. The midfielder has been fined seventy five grand by the Football Association. Barton was initially sent off for an off-the-ball clash with City striker Carlos Tevez and will serve a four-match ban for that offence, as it was his second sending-off of the season. The incidents involving Aguero and Kompany came after Barton had been dismissed, meaning they fell outside of the jurisdiction of the match referee, and have resulted in a further eight-game suspension. The chairman of the regulatory commission stated after the hearing: 'There are rules of conduct that should be adhered to, and such behaviour tarnishes the image of football in this country, particularly as this match was the pinnacle of the domestic season and watched by millions around the globe.' Speculation has been mounting over the future of the former City and Newcastle midfielder and the Strangers chairman Tony Fernandes had admitted there was 'uncertainty' over the player. 'There are experienced people who will come back to me and we'll review the whole situation,' he told BBC Sport. 'There's a process that the club goes through in terms of sendings off and disciplinary action. That's something [manager] Mark Hughes will report through to the board. I'd rather not focus too much on that at the moment, because it's down to the club to do the investigations and get all of the information. We want to focus on the positive things. We'll wait and in due course our views will be known.' Barton initially refused to leave the field, seeming to attempt a further bit of argy-bargy with City substitute Mario Balotelli and, after he was finally dragged away down the tunnel shouting 'ah'll tek yis aal on!', took to Twitter in an effort to 'defend' his actions. In the immediate aftermath of the game, Barton tweeted: 'People are forgetting Tevez started the fracas by throwing a punch to the head. Can do nothing but apologise to the players and the fans. Still don't think its a sending off.' He confessed that he had kicked Aguero in the hope that one of the City players would have retaliated and, also, been sent off. The following day he added: 'Right, enough about yesterday, I apologise to everyone offended by it. If that's not enough for some, so be it. Life is too short.' He added: 'Things happen on the pitch, in the heat of battle sometimes. Not how we always plan them to happen.' He then made a series of very unseemly comments about Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker. What a nice chap he is.

Seminal indie group The Stone Roses have played their first reunion gig to an ecstatic reception from fans. The four-piece played a surprise show for around one thousand people at Parr Hall in Warrington, Cheshire. 'They've never played so well together,' forty three-year-old Andrew Rudder, from Ashton under Lyne told the BBC. Although, now Andrew knows this unless he's attended every single Roses gig ever, is a question perhaps best left for another day. But opinion was mixed over the quality of singer Ian Brown's voice. 'He can't sing but he never could,' said Tom Six, thirty five, from Liverpool. True. But what he lacks in tonal ambition he more than makes up for in star quality, baby. Remember, it's not where you're from it's where you're at. 'It sounded a little bit hoarse and croaky but it was all right,' Six added, grumpily. 'It was the Roses how I remember them.' Dennis Warriner, a fifty-year-old supermarket manager from York, said: 'It started off a bit ropey but it got better without a doubt.; Another fan, Warrington local government official Paul Blaney, said: 'I've seen Ian Brown four or five times. The guy was on fire. It was amazing. The musicality blew me away. They played the classics and a few B-sides.' The hour-long, eleven-song set began with 'I Wanna Be Adored' and also included favourites from their landmark eponymous 1989 debut LP, including '(Song For My) Sugar-Spun Sister', 'Made Of Stone', 'Waterfall' and 'She Bangs The Drums'. But not 'I Am The resurrection'. Bastards! They also played two songs from their more patchy, Led Zeppelinesque second CD, including the hit 'Love Spreads', but they did not unveil any new material. It was the first time Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary Mounfield and drummer Alan Wren had played live together since 1990. Oasis star and besotted Roses worshipper Liam Gallagher was among those in the crowd. The gig was announced only at four o'clock on Wednesday and tickets were available to fans who turned up at the venue with a Stone Roses CD, LP or T-shirt. Michelle McKay, a New Zealander living in Liverpool, said she had heard about the show on Twitter and got straight on the bus. 'I got here a little bit late for the wristbands but I was very lucky, a guy who I've never met before managed to slip me a wristband so I got in,' she said. 'I was in about the third row back and everyone was singing along. It almost drowned out the band. 'She Bangs The Drums' was the highlight for most people. I've never seen a band all hug each other at the end like that. There was a lot of love in the room.' The band's first official comeback show had been scheduled for Barcelona on 8 June. They were not due to perform in the UK until the end of June, when two hundred and twenty five thousand punters are expected to watch three shows at Heaton Park in Manchester.

Wednesday's Google Doodle was something a bit different just in case you missed it, dear blog reader. To celebrate what would have been the seventy eighth birthday of analogue synthesiser legend the late Robert Moog, the Google people in California made a fully-playable Minimoog synthesiser on the Google search page for Internet searchers to, briefly, indulge in their own private Rick Wakeman fantasies. Born on 23 May 1934 in New York, Bob Moog was a musical and technical pioneer and genius. He designed such classics as the Minimoog, the Model D, and the Moogerfooger effects pedals. After earning a pair of degrees in physics and electrical engineering - and combining the two with an engineering physics PhD - Moog's effect on modern music cannot be understated. Not least because he produced something that Linda McCartney could actually play. At the age of nineteen, he founded a company to manufacture theremin kits, before he developed the first Moog synthesiser in the early 1960s (US Patent 3,475,623). Early owners of the Moog included Bernie Krause and Paul Beaver, Micky Dolenz, George Harrison, Pete Townshend and Keith Emerson. Another of his first customers was Walter (later Wendy) Carlos, whose work on the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange still sounds like The Future over forty years after it was first released. The first Moog instruments were modular synthesizers. In 1971 Moog Music began production of the Minimoog Model D which was among the first widely available, portable and relatively affordable synthesizers. Bob died in Asheville, North Carolina on 21 August 2005 at the age of seventy one.
And so we come to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day. And it's an extra special duo of poptastic delights today, a couple of mighty slabs of top quality Mott here, and here.