Tuesday, May 01, 2012

As Far As I'm Concerned Each Day's A Rainy Day

BBC2's acclaimed, award-winning sitcom Rev is 'likely' to return for a third series, a report suggests. The comedy stars Tom Hollander as Adam Smallbone, a vicar who relocates from a rural parish in Suffolk to an inner-city London church. BBC2 is 'in negotiations' with Big Talk Productions to recommission the series, TVWise reports. A BBC spokesperson said: 'BBC2 is very keen for Rev to return and we are currently discussing the possibility of a third series.' Olivia Colman and Miles Jupp also star in Rev, which concluded its second series in December last year. The show won the award for best sitcom at the 2011 British Academy Television Awards and has been nominated again this year.

He is the five hundred thousand pound star judge drafted in to make The Voice a hit with da kidz. But Will.i.am's healthy fee does not stop the Black Eyed Peas singer and songwriter from using his phone to send text messages – during a live Saturday night episode. Will.i.am was, reportedly, 'given a ticking off' by BBC 'bosses' (that's 'producers' in tabloid speak ... except this story also appeared in, of all placed, the odious slimy, trouble-making Gruniad Morning Star) after being caught using his mobile phone during Saturday's first live show, according to the Daily Scum Express and the Daily Lies. Fellow judge Tom Jones might take note: no one could accuse Will.i.am of being out of touch.

Former head of BBC1 Michael Grade had been talking about Doctor Who, discussing the reasons for putting the show on hold in 1986 and the events leading up to the return of the series in 2005. In the BBC Radio 2 show, On The Box, Grade tells the inside story of Britain's television industry as seen from his personal viewpoint. In this weeks edition, Dishing the Dirt, he talks to key players involved in the decisions about the show, including Jonathan Powell, who was Controller of BBC1 when the series was axed and Lorraine Heggessey who held that role when the series came back in 2005. Heggessey tells of the difficulties bringing the show back, with the rights being held by BBC Worldwide, but how she was determined to succeed. 'I just remembered it as an iconic show' she said, 'I wanted popular drama at the heart of Saturday night.'
In the programme Grade talks about the 'dislike' he felt for the series in 1986, which he felt was 'dated and past its prime.' He remembers how he was awarded the Horse's Ass award by Doctor Who fans in America, an award which he still has sitting in his loo. Also in the programme Grade talks to former showrunner Russell Davies, BBC executive Jane Tranter and former Executive Producer Mal Young, as well as current showrunner Steven Moffat who discusses about the expectations for the show as it approaches the fiftieth anniversary next year. 'It is a concern to stamp the word fifty on a series because it should be brand new every few years. But its great as it does give you an excuse for a party and an excuse to take over television again.'
A report by MPs into allegations of phone-hacking at the Scum of the World is due to be published on Tuesday. The cross-party Commons Media Committee questioned journalists and bosses at the now closed paper, as well as police and lawyers for hacking victims. Its report will consider the role of James Murdoch the small, who has denied knowing of wrongdoing at the paper, and other former News International executives. The committee of MPs began its inquiry in July 2011 in the wake of fresh newspaper revelations about the extent of hacking at the tabloid newspaper, with reported victims including the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the families of victims of the 7/7 London bombings. Murdoch the small told the Commons Media Committee last summer that he 'did not see' an e-mail which suggested that hacking was more widespread at the paper than previously acknowledged - a claim disputed by the Scum of the World's former editor Colin Myler and its former legal manager Tom Crone in their evidence. Murdoch the small, who was among those recalled to give evidence, has said he did not know about any wrongdoing but took 'his share' of responsibility for not uncovering it earlier. He gave evidence alongside his father Rupert, who at one point during the hearing was attacked by a man who rushed forward from the public gallery and threw a paper plate of foam, which hit the elder Murdoch's skin and clothes. That particular appearance was also the occasion which the News Corporation chairman and founder described as the most humble day of his life. The Conservative MP who heads the media committee, John Whittingdale, has indicated the report would 'seek to address the central issue' of whether there was a cover-up at the newspaper and whether statements made to the committee by witnesses were correct. 'We have been looking at whether Parliament was misled and who did so if that was the case,' he told the BBC's Daily Politics last Thursday. After initially claiming that malpractice was limited to one 'rogue' reporter at the Scum of the World, a story they stuck to for over four years, News International has now settled dozens of civil cases admitting liability for hacking between 2001 and 2006. More than six thousand possible victims have been identified and the police have so far made a number of arrests in connection with an investigation reopened in January 2011 - although no charges have yet been brought. The hacking revelations led to the closure of the Scum of the World and the government's decision to set up a judicial inquiry into press standards headed by Lord Leveson. Appearing before the Leveson inquiry last week, Rupert Murdoch said that there had been a 'cover-up' which 'shielded' senior figures at the paper and its parent company - including himself and his son - from 'knowledge of wrongdoing' taking place. Among others cross-questioned by MPs during their inquiry included former News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, former NI chairman Les Hinton and former Met Police deputy commissioner Champagne John Yates - who decided against opening a new hacking inquiry in 2009. The committee, which previously investigated hacking as part of a report into press standards in 2010, has said it was 'unable' to publish its latest report before now due to the amount of evidence that emerged during its public hearings.

Shadow media minister Helen Goodman (no, me neither) has said News Corporation's thirty nine per cent stakeholding in BSkyB was 'a problem' for the broadcaster, which itself had been guilty of behaviour which 'alarmed' her. Goodman said that BSkyB, which is currently being investigated by media regulator Ofcom as to whether it is a 'fit and proper' owner of a broadcast licence (or, indeed, a fit and proper organiser of a piss up in a brewery) due to the News Corp phone-hacking scandal, was a 'very effective broadcaster which broadcasts a lot of good programmes' and employed a 'lot of extremely able and capable people.' And Kay Burley. But, she said: 'It is a problem when the corporate control is in the hands of the same people who are clearly not running their newspapers properly. That must raise question marks for people.' No shit, Helen? Goodman was speaking at a Voice of the Listener and Viewer spring conference in Central London on Monday, a day after the shadow lack of culture secretary, Mad Hattie Harman, called for News Corp to be 'stripped' of its stake in BSkyB. Goodman said that the satellite broadcaster had 'issues of its own' to address after a Sky News journalist hacked into e-mails belonging to John Darwin, the 'canoe man' who faked his own death, a matter that is also being investigated by Ofcom. 'There are more problems at News Corp than there are at Sky,' Goodman said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 Media Show presenter Steve Hewlett. 'I was rather alarmed myself to hear that people at Sky News had been hacking e-mails. That was rather unfortunate. There was clearly a pattern of illegal and corrupt behaviour [at the Scum of the World]; maybe in Sky this was just one-off unfortunate. I don't think the issues relating to Sky are anything like that [relating to News Corp]. The reason Harriet said it is because of the relationship between the two. I don't think the two are indivisible ... I don't think the scale of the issues at Sky can be compared to those at News Corp.' Goodman claimed that the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt, in his office's dealings with News Corp in the run-up to its aborted attempt to take over BSkyB, had 'facilitated insider dealing. If he is in a quasi-judicial role and he is having private conversations and he tells parliament that he is giving us all the information and he hasn't, and he gives them information about what his decisions are before he tells everybody else, which facilitates insider dealing as well, I think that's a serious problem for him,' she added. 'It is very significant that what he did was coach News Corp in how to deal with what he was being told by his officials and by Ofcom.' She added: 'We said all along that we thought [the takeover] would give one organisation too much influence and that we were not convinced by the effectiveness of the Chinese wall and undertakings [about Sky News] which News Corp was offering. 'The point is that he did not act in a quasi-judicial role. What he did was coach News Corp in how to get what they wanted.'

Former Conservative cabinet minister Michael Portillo is to present a documentary about cuts to the UK railway network for BBC Radio 4. Mister Portaloo will present One Way Ticket: The Beeching Cuts Revisited for Archive on Radio 4 on Saturday at 20:00. It will examine the cuts to the network recommended by Richard Beeching, chairman of the British Railways Board, in 1965. Portillo also presents the - really rather good - BBC2 series Great British Railway Journeys. As part of the Radio programme, Portillo travels along the Settle to Carlisle line, which lost many of its stations during the Beeching era. He also hears from former transport ministers about the impact Beeching's plans have had on government rail plans and policy over the past five decades. The programme is being made by independent production company Made in Manchester. Producer Ashley Byrne said: 'Michael loves the railways and his passion for their history and heritage really comes through in this programme.' It's noticeable that, since he left parliament, old Mr Portaloo appears to have turned himself into not only a broadcaster of some quality but also, as a bonus, apparently a rather decent human being as well. One wonders if that'll work for the vile and odious rascal Hunt when he, also, gets the tin-tack.

The BBC will broadcast wall-to-wall coverage of the London Olympic games but fans of Olympic sports such as badminton and hockey should make the most of it as minority sports are 'unlikely' to be given airtime after the last medal has been awarded. Fairly obviously, as they're 'minority'. As in 'not many people watch them.' London 2012 coverage will dominate the schedules for just over two weeks from 27 July, with eighteen hours of coverage a day on BBC1 between 6am and midnight, and fourteen hours a day on digital channel BBC3 between 9am and 11pm. BBC1's peaktime shows such as EastEnders – which will be part of the Olympic torch relay, the first fictional place to welcome the flame – will be shifted en masse to BBC2, with BBC4 also an Olympics-free zone. But the BBC's director of London 2012, Roger Mosey, said it was a 'big challenge' to get minority sports on air outside of the Olympics. 'The truth is, if you look at [the 2004 Olympics in] Athens, badminton got eight million viewers, hockey six and a half million. We did try to play badminton and hockey outside of the Olympics and then it gets five hundred thousand people watching,' he told the Voice of the Listener and Viewer conference in London on Monday. It is a big challenge to sustain that level of interest.' He added that the BBC would do all it could to provide information on relevant websites for people who wanted to take up sports, such as badminton, that they watched at the Olympics. Mosey added: 'Though I hate the phrase minority sports – some minority sports like curling are huge in the Winter Olympics – they are simply not [at other times of year].' Hard to argue with that, you know. And, this blogger says that as somebody who does, genuinely, enjoy watching both badminton and hockey, and quite a few other minority sports as well. I still prefer football and cricket, though. It doesn't make me a bad person. The BBC Trust recently said the BBC's news and sport station, Radio 5Live, should do more to cover 'non-mainstream and minority sports' after it found up to two-thirds of its sport output in 2010-11 was football-focused. Mosey said the Olympic flame was due to arrive in Walford on EastEnders in 23 July. He said that he was hoping it would be the 'first time EastEnders will be simulcast on the BBC News channel.' The run-up to the Olympics will also see Olympics editions of Absolutely Fabulous – featuring a guest appearance by Dame Kelly Holmes – and the return of BBC2 Olympics-themed sitcom, Twenty Twelve. Mosey said the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, in which the BBC is taking part, was 'one of the tougher sells' of the Olympics, with awareness of it 'relatively low' at about ten per cent of the population. He added that it was intended to show that Olympian performances were not just in sport but the arts too. The 1948 Olympics in London was the last where medals were awarded for artistic endeavours. Mosey said the BBC would not publish details about how much it had spent on coverage of the games until after they had finished because it was 'very difficult to disentangle normal business from specific games spending.' On recent comments by former BBC executive Sir Paul Fox that the BBC had 'not done enough' to protect its portfolio of sports rights, and that this Olympics would be the BBC's last, Mosey said: 'The BBC has just retained Wimbledon, Six Nations Rugby. It is absolutely the case that you cannot expect the BBC to have the sport portfolio it had when Paul Fox was running sport because you have Sky and properly a vigorous market out there. What you have got to imagine is what if the Olympics were behind a paywall? What if you had to pay a subscription to get the Olympics? That seems to us to be an enormously bad idea and that's why we support the listed events legislation, [and] public access and digital public spaces is what the audiences want.' The corporation will also film some parts of the games in 'super hi-vision', sixteen times the quality of HD television, which will not be in living rooms until 2024 but can be sampled by viewers at centres in London, Glasgow and Bradford, Mosey said. Check out the beach volleyball on that, it'll be stunning.

Meanwhile, the BBC's director of news has urged staff not to strike during the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in early June, arguing that industrial action would fail licence fee payers during a historic national event. In a pointed e-mail to staff, Helen Boaden warned that viewers 'would not tolerate' any disruption to the corporation's coverage of the diamond jubilee. Boaden, who is understood to have applied for the BBC director general job, also took a swipe at broadcasting rivals by saying there was 'nothing some of our competitors would like more than to see the BBC fail its audiences at a major national moment.' BBC staff were on Monday balloted over possible strike action to coincide with the Buckingham Palace celebrations in June. Broadcasting unions called for industrial action over the corporation's 'derisory' one per cent annual pay offer. Boaden said in the e-mail: 'There was an interesting UK newspaper response to our Trades Unions' threat to call industrial action to upset the BBC's Jubilee coverage. Some were hostile to say the least; others scornful. There is nothing some of our competitors would like more than to see the BBC fail its audiences at a major national moment. It would allow them to depict us as indifferent to the people who pay for us.' Boaden claimed that she 'respected the right' of BBC staff to ballot over strike action - which it big of her since it's a legal right of every working man or woman in a democracy with withhold their labour if they feel their employers are not giving them a fair deal - and that it would put many workers in 'a dilemma.' She added: 'But I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't make a few observations about why in the long term, I believe that such action would be damaging to all of us and to the BBC we love. For most people this is genuinely an age of austerity; the UK economy has just slipped back into recession; many people fear for their jobs – including of course, people in BBC News; there is a kind of collective anxiety about the place which is more apparent the further from London you travel. Against that background, I don't think our licence fee payers are in any mood to tolerate us even suggesting that for our own interests, we should damage BBC output. The union ballot will put many of you in a dilemma. I appreciate that and fully understand that what you do must always be a matter for your conscience. But as I often say when discussing programmes, we can't sack the audience but they can sack us… not least by losing faith in us. BBC News has unique responsibilities to our many different audiences. In your frustration about pay, please don't make the mistake of taking them for granted.' Boaden is understood to be one of the internal candidates vying to be Mark Thompson's successor as director general, alongside chief operating officer Caroline Thompson and director of vision George Entwistle. The BBC declined to comment on Boaden's e-mail. The corporation said in an earlier statement that it was 'disappointed' that UNITE, BECTU and the NUJ had asked its members to strike over the pay dispute. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ, said the unions were calling for industrial action 'not out of self-interest, but because we love the BBC.'

Sam Spruell has described BBC1's forthcoming thriller series Mayday as 'a weird The Killing.' Errr ... isn't that, The Killing?! Written by Ben Court and Caroline Ip from the Whitechapel writing team, the five-part drama also stars Sophie Okonedo, Peter Firth and Aidan Gillen. Spruell will next be seen starring as Finn alongside Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart in this summer's adventure movie Snow White and the Huntsman, released in UK cinemas on 1 June. Speaking to the CultBox website, Spruell talked about Mayday and revealed: 'It's got a very strange tone. It's not like anything I've read in a while. It's just a little bit off, it's a bit spooky. It's set in the country and it's a bit like a weird The Killing.' He continued: 'It's got a really weird unique tone and it's the kind of thing that could go really well or could not get enough viewers to make its mark, but you've got a try to produce new ideas. There's a murder in a village and it's about the village's façade falling away.'

The BBC have released a trail which will run across BBC Television for the Olympic torch relay. The trailer features the specially commissioned music that the BBC will use for the Olympics. Elbow produced the song, 'First Steps', featuring the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, a school choir from Elbow's old school and the London Community Gospel Choir. The full song will be released nearer the time of the games and the music will be used for the opening titles of BBC coverage. The trail will also feature as a promotion in a special The ONE Show on 18 May when the torch arrives in the UK.

Former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland will not return as an X Factor judge when the show resumes later this year, her spokesperson has confirmed. 'Kelly has not been able to agree a deal that fits into her autumn/winter schedule so sadly cannot accept a place on the 2012 panel,' they added. The US singer said that being a mentor on the ITV show had been 'an incredible experience' and a 'great opportunity.' Take That's Gary Barlow recently confirmed that he would return. It is not yet known whether Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh will join him on the panel. Rowland's representatives cited 'global commitments, scheduling issues' and the show's 'increasing demands' among the reasons for her departure. Some tabloid newspapers had speculated that the thirty one-year-old's remuneration had also proved a sticking point. An X Factor spokesperson said the line-up would be announced 'in due course. Kelly's immense experience in the music industry shone through in both her judging and mentoring on The X Factor,' the spokesperson continued. 'We would like to thank her for being a part of the country's number one show and wish her well for the future.' The first X Factor auditions in front of the judges are scheduled to take place in Glasgow on 11 June. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads was absent from the judging panel for the first time last year as he concentrated on launching a US version of the show.

Stuart Murphy, the controller of Sky One, has been promoted to director of Sky Entertainment Channels. Murphy will retain his existing role, but also take over responsibility for future strategy of the entire Sky Entertainment portfolio of channels: Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts, Sky1 and Sky Living. The controllers of each channel - Jane Johnson (Sky Living), James Hunt (Sky Arts) and Naomi Gibney (Sky Atlantic) - will now report to Murphy, who will continue to report to Sophie Turner Laing, the managing director of entertainment, news and broadcast operations. Sky has pledged to up its investment in home-grown programming by fifty per cent to six hundred million knicker by 2014. Forthcoming new British content includes another Sir David Attenborough 3D documentary, Kingdom of Plants, and entertainment shows Sinbad, Starlings, Hit and Miss and Playhouse Presents. 'Over the past three years, under Stuart's leadership, we have seen Sky One become a true destination channel, offering our customers some of the finest drama, comedy and entertainment programmes on television at the moment,' said Turner Laing. 'I have no doubt that in his new role, he'll bring the same vision and drive to the rest of the portfolio, working with the team to look at the next steps for the rest of our - first class - entertainment channels.' Murphy said that he was 'properly excited' about the opportunity to oversee Sky Entertainment. 'Getting Sky One HD to where we are today was a real team effort and I can't wait to work with Sophie, the channel heads, the commissioning heads and the indie community to look at how we take the entertainment channels to the next phase,' he said. Alongside overseeing Sky Arts, James Hunt will also now become director of entertainment production, assuming the responsibility from Barbara Gibbon, who has joined Sky Creative as a production director.

It's a show where much of the comedy comes from elaborately constructed swearing. But, The Thick Of It was heavily 'bleeped' when it was broadcast in American this week. Although the political satire went out at midnight, BBC America decided the US public was simply not ready for the stream of F-bombs emanating from the mouth of spin doctor Malcolm Tucker and others. Writer Simon Blackwell wrote on Twitter: 'Apparently BBC America bleeped The Thick Of It. Must have sounded like a lorry reversing into a heart monitor.' Fans immediately took to social media to protest the censorship on the third series. One Helen Burton (whoever she is) wrote on Facebook: 'Why is every other word "beeped"? Everyone knows what they are saying. It is on late so parents can put their kids to bed and watch. This is completely unnecessary.' No shit, Helen. Oh, hang on, we've already one that one, haven't we? Steve Darner (no, again, I'm not sure who Steve is or why the Chortle website is quoting him) added: 'The show is on at midnight here, what ever happened to the adult time watershed? We watched The Thick Of It and fifteen minutes in we deleted the BLEEPING DVR recording. If you are going to air ADULT TV shows during adult hours, then don't edit or censor them.' So, that's you told BBC America. The Steve Darner has spoken. BBC America launched with the third series of the show, featuring Rebecca Front as new minister Nicola Murray, to coincide with the spin-off HBO series Veep, also created by the great Armando Iannucci. It previously aired The Inbetweeners and Skins with all the naughty bad words bleeped out, too. Shocking. Meanwhile, the very notion of journalists trawling around Twitter and Facebook for a couple of 'reaction' quotes - from, you know, 'people you've never heard of' - to support a story has been condemned as 'lazy'. By this blogger. It's like, have you noticed how many times someone relatively famous will die and all of the initial reports will feature three comments from Twitter (one of them usually by Stephen Fry and all of them from people who barely knew the individual involved) about how 'terribly sad' this is? Basically, because the journalist in question is too effing bone idle to get off his or her fat arse and go and speak to somebody who knew the deceased. It's right pisses me off, that's all. In a Malcolm Tucker style.

It's been a decade since [spooks] first appeared on our screens and we got caught up in the extraordinarily tense drama about MI5 agents. Now viewers have the chance to go back to those early days when we had no idea just how shocking the show was going to be – or how ruthlessly it would kill off many favourite characters along the way. (Although to be fair, killing off a - seemingly - recurring character as early as episode two by pushing her face into a deep fat fryer should've given us all a pretty healthy clue.) 'This was espionage drama that didn't just threaten our heroes, it made good on those threats at regular intervals, so you simply never knew who would survive from week to week. Fame was no guarantee of safety either: Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes starred in the early series but let's just say they didn't exactly last the whole ten years,' says the Gruniad, very inaccurately as it happens. Kelley went off into the sunset with her photographer boyfriend midway through series two and Matthew did survive right to the final episode to do one last, messy, job for Harry. Do some sodding research, Gruniad! Oh no, sorry, that's a ruddy stupid suggestion, isn't it? Sony Entertainment Television (Sky channel 157, Virgin channel 193) is showing the series from the start, beginning on 16 May and continuing every Wednesday at 10pm all the way to the last episode and some bastard's idea of a fun-ending being to kill the divine Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker). Yes, this blogger is still Goddamn pissed off about that!

International family entertainment producer and distributor DHX Media and its subsidiary Wildbrain Entertainment have signed a deal with UK-based publisher Immediate Media to create magazines for preschoolers based on its hit stop-motion series Rastamouse. An'ting. The deal will see Immediate publish a standalone title every four weeks from June 2012 featuring stories, reward charts, cut-outs, and stickers. The first title comes after CBeebies Magazine published a Rastamouse special issue in February 2012, and follows on the heels of CBeebies greenlighting season two of the musical, mystery series the same month. The series, created by Genevieve Webster and Michael De Souza and developed from the original books published by Little Roots.

English Heritage has defended its decision not to grant actress Dame Thora Hird a commemorative blue plaque. The proposal was rejected because the organisation felt it was 'too soon' to properly assess how she would be viewed 'in ten, fifty or even one hundred years time.' The decision was criticised by figures including actress Maureen Lipman, according to the Scum Mail on Sunday. Dame Thora was born in Morecambe and died at her London nursing home in March 2003 at the age of ninety one. In 2006 a blue plaque was unveiled at the London home by another organisation, the Heritage Foundation, which specifically honours figures from the world of entertainment. Minutes from English Heritage's Blue Plaques Panel meetings are normally not made public until some months have elapsed. At the 19 October meeting, Dame Thora's plaque proposal was rejected as it was 'too soon to make an accurate assessment of her lasting contribution to her field.' English Heritage only considers putting blue plaques on buildings where eminent individuals have lived once they have been dead for twenty years or once the centenary of their birth has passed. 'The panel was very aware of just how much love and admiration there is for one of the best-known British actresses of recent times,' its spokesperson said. 'As Dame Thora had been proposed under the centenary rule, it was felt that it was too soon after her death to know how she will be regarded by future generations.' The much-loved actress was known to millions for such sitcoms as Meet the Wife, In Loving Memory and Last of the Summer Wine.

Faded eighties glam queens Duran Duran are to headline a concert in London's Hyde Park to mark the start of the Olympic Games. The gig will feature acts from all four nations of the UK, with The Duranies representing England and Snow Patrol appearing for Northern Ireland. If you can manage to stay awake through the latter (hard work, I know, but try), Stereophonics will then represent Wales and Paolo Nutini will play for Scotland. Is it really so very wrong of this blogger to hope that Simon Le Bon manages to screw up 'View To A Kill' just like he did the last time he had a global audience? Yeah. Probably. It's was funny, though. (It occurs, incidentally, at two minutes and fifty three seconds into the clip if you don't want to sit through the whole thing.)

This has been the wettest April in the UK for over one hundred years, with some areas seeing three times their usual average, figures from the Met Office show. Some 121.8mm of rain has fallen, beating the previous record of 120.3mm which was set in 2000. Flood warnings are in place with up to twenty to thirty millimetres of rain forecast for southern England on Monday night. A fifty two-year-old man has died after his car became submerged at a ford south of Newbury following heavy rain. The man and his dog died when a Toyota Yaris was trapped in 'five feet of fast-flowing water' as it drove across the ford on Thornford Road, Compton Wood. The Badminton Horse Trials, in Gloucestershire, have been cancelled for only the second time in their history because of a waterlogged course. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for severe weather in south-west England, east of England, London and south-east England and the Midlands overnight. It says further flooding is possible and driving conditions may be difficult. There are thirty seven flood warnings in place, including twenty in south-west England and a handful each in the Midlands, north-east England and East Anglia. There are also one hundred and fifty five 'less serious' alerts. The Environment Agency is remaining on high alert for flooding into Tuesday across southern England, but particularly in Somerset, Dorset and Devon, a spokeswoman said. 'River flows are high after this weekend's rainfall and we are keeping a close watch on river levels as well as checking defences and clearing any potential blockages to reduce the risk of flooding,' she said. Tewkesbury, which suffered severe flooding five years ago, is among the areas affected by heavy rain, with flood alerts in place for every river in Somerset. The figures up to 29 April show the amount of rain which has fallen is almost double the long term average for April of 69.6mm, in records dating back to 1910. The Met Office said six of its weather stations had seen more than three times their usual monthly average this April. Liscombe, on Exmoor in Somerset, has seen the most rainfall, with 273.8mm of rain compared with its 86.4mm average. Much of the rain has been focused on the south of the UK, with England recording more rainfall than Scotland. Prestwick in Ayrshire has seen just 39.2mm of rain and Skye has had just over half of its monthly rainfall - with 52mm of its 99.5mm average. It is in stark contrast to March, which was the fifth driest on record with 36.4mm of rain compared to the average of 95.9mm. Despite the heavy rain, swathes of England are still in drought, with warnings that the downpours were not enough to counteract the effects of two unusually dry winters. A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'While we welcome the rain we have received recently, we cannot be complacent and still need everyone to save water where they can.'

And, so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which, after the last bit of news, seems horribly appropriate, actually.