Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Can't See Anyone Else Smiling In Here

'You people are messed up! And I say that as somebody coming from a country that brought you the sandwich in a can and a TV channel for dogs!' On Friday evening, dear blog reader, yer actual Keith Telly Topping sat in his gaff and watched Bill Shatner singing - well sort of - a version of The Sex Pistols 'God Save The Queen' along with over four million other BBC1 viewers. And, we weren't even on acid at the time. Whether The Shat himself was is another matter entirely. The decision to hire Bill as a one-off guest host for Have I Got News For You, the Beeb's long-running topical comedy news quiz, appeared something of an odd one - if this was Doctor Who some of The Special People would, in all probability, be wittering on about 'stunt casting.' But, since the job in question mainly involves the ability to read an autocue and keep a (mostly) straight face whilst doing so, most of those who get the gig manage to pull it off to a greater or lesser degree. Well, maybe except Charlotte Church. Anyway, The Shat, displaying the occasional comedy timing you'd except from Captain Kirk, further demonstrated his recently acquired ability to send himself up something rotten (notably in a round in which he sang items from his latest CD as clues for various recent news stories) and also provided a few genuinely funny moments. As when, for instance, Andy Hamilton told him after he'd commented on the strange scoring system: 'Bill, you haven't seen this show, have you?' To which Shatner replied: 'That's true. And luckily, I may add!'
The episode began with a very cool Star Trek visual joke (we always wondered if there were sliding doors behind the host's chair on the Have I Got News For You set and no, we know, there are!) The audience was then treated to the thirty minute masterclass of (one supposes deliberately) hammy overacting in which The Shat even managed to upstage comedy geniuses like Merton, Hislop, Hamilton and Charlie Brooker. Now that takes some doing.
An inability to pronounce familiar names to a British audience ('Drobga', perhaps understandably, 'snooker', 'Merton' and 'Hislop' more worryingly) also provided an unexpected source of laughs. Mind you, he got 'Abramovitch' right! The two regulars and both the guests managed to get the odd word in edgeways, Charlie Brooker being on particularly fine form when noting that a film clip concerning the G8 summit included a shot of 'a man using a computer to monitor the three coins left in the economy!' 'This is the G8 summit,' added The Shat helpfully. 'And Greece's attempts to cling-on to the Euro.' Oh, the audience loved it! Lapped it up, so they did. (Charlie got his own back later when in answer to Bill's question 'what was the problem blamed on?' in relation to the failure of the SpaceX Dragon rocket - the one containing Bill's former cast mate James Doohan's ashes - to take off, Brooker replied 'Romulans?!')
Paul Merton seemed to genuinely mean it when he told Bill what 'a joy and a surreal experience it is having you on the show.' There was barely a dry-eye left in the house. 'It's an out-of-body experience for me too,' confessed Shatner. When Bill talked about 'your Sunday Times newspaper,' Ian Hislop was quickly in with: 'It's not ours, it belongs to Mr Murdoch, he's yours.' Whether he was talking about America or Cardassia is not entirely clear. Hislop was also on his usual lightning quick razor-sharp form, replying to Shatner's question 'what did the French president do wrong, according to the Telegraph?' with the observation 'According to the Telegraph? Well, he's French for a start...!' We also had Charlie Brooker's rant about words made-up by combining two other words together (as in 'chillaxing') noting that anybody who does that is 'a funt.' 'If he's watching a film on DVD,' Andy Hamilton said, in support of the prime minister's self-confessed way of chillaxing, 'that's an hour and a half where he can't be doing any damage!'
Andy then went on to ask why Jeremy Hunt has 'the haircut of an eleven year old boy?' It wasn't just politicians that were getting it in the neck, however. John Terry copped a right load as well for his alleged muscling his way into someone else's moment of glory. And, Cornwall got a right kicking during a section of the Olympic torch relay. 'What caused confusion in Truro?' asked The Shat. 'Well, they're Cornish, aren't they? They'll always be confused in Truro' added Andy Hamilton. Paul Merton noted that he was actually playing a gig in Truro on Sunday. Yes, dear blog reader, that's three mentions of Cornwall's county town, in the space of about thirty second on the BBC. First time that's happened since ... well, ever.
Shatner revealed that expectant crowds in the Cornish town cheered as they saw someone running down the high street, assuming him to be the latest torch-bearer. But, according to the Daily Scum Mail he was, actually, 'a shoplifter holding aloft a stolen bottle of Rosé  pursued by two assistants from the Co-Op.' There followed a witty little sequence about the likelihood of the Olympic opening ceremony containing 'hundred of dancing chips' and Boris Johnson 'in a giant cod costume', Bill's almost orgasmic over pronunciation of 'Ilfracombe'. 'Have you been to Ilfracombe?' asked Shatner. 'The place is laced with prostitution!' 'That's their new slogan, now' said Charlie. 'Thousands lined the streets to see carry the torch through Taunton and a once-in-lifetime sight. "Oh my God, a black guy in the West Country!"' added Bill. Then we got to a musical round, with Bill singing snatches of 'Rocket Man', 'Oh Canada' and, unforgettably, The Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' (to accompany the story about three pensioners being evicted from a royal themed tea-room for not standing up when the national anthem was played). And so an entire generation of young British people how think William Shatner is a comedy legend. Which, to be fair, some of us older ones have thought for, ooo, the last forty odd years, at least.

Have I Got News For You had an overnight audience of 4.4m, which won its slot even including ITV+1 according to the BBC's Sam Hodges on Twitter. Ratings were, of course, down across the board on Friday due to the unseasonably warm weather (he'll, it's spring time in Britain, this should be a queue for blankets and thermos flasks). And just in case anyone should ever forget, dear blog reader, this now means that the odious twatface Piers Morgan finishes his latest series of odious Life Stories (3.9m on ITV) on the extremely amusing note of having been soundly beaten in the ratings by Ian Hislop seven times out of seven. Sometimes, life is just good.

Oh, and speaking of Have I Got News For You, which one can never do enough of, frankly, they became merely the latest comedy outlet to feature that photo of the G8 leaders watching the Champions League penalty shoot out and Cameron celebrating. You know, this one.
Is it just me or does anybody else wonder whether the odious Eton Rifle is in the middle of his second chorus of 'two world wars and one world cup, doo-dah, doo-dah' to Angela Merkel here? Just me, then ...

Matt Smith swapped his sonic screwdriver for the Olympic torch as the relay travelled from Cardiff to Swansea on day eight of its marathon journey around the UK. Smudger ran an early morning leg in the Welsh capital, where the BBC's hugely successful long-running family SF drama is made. Matt started the day by carrying the Olympic flame from the historic Norwegian Church, in Cardiff Bay. The TV star was among one hundred and thirty two separate torchbearers who will take part in the relay as it journeys one hundred and fifteen miles across south Wales. Setting out in Cardiff, the journey concludes in Swansea on Saturday evening with a high profile celebration in Singleton Park. On the way it passes through Dinas Powys, Barry, Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Merthyr Tydfil, Treherbert, Ynyswen, Treorchy, Nant-y-moel, Ogmore Vale, Bryncethin, Bridgend, Laleston, Pyle, Margam, Taibach, Port Talbot, Briton Ferry and Neath. But not Plott, sadly. Later in the morning the torch will be carried in Merthyr Tydfil by Welsh rugby player Matthew Rees. And hurdler Colin Jackson, who in 1988 won Olympic silver in Seoul, will run one of the day's final legs in Swansea. The torch began its journey from the British Antarctic Memorial statue in Cardiff where Smudger took the torch into the city. He said he was 'thrilled' that hundreds of people had lined the streets so early on a Saturday morning to watch. 'It's a great privilege to be involved. I can't quite believe people have actually turned up, I thought I would be just be carrying it around, waving to the ducks. I think the Olympics, the whole build-up, the sense of national focus, I'm really excited about the summer of sport we have ahead. It's wonderful. I would do it in my underpants. It's the Olympic torch. I would probably get a bigger crowd for that,' he joked. Once a talented footballer in his teens, Matt played for the youth teams of Nottingham Forest, Leicester City and Northampton Town before a back injury curtailed his sporting ambitions and led to him taking up drama instead. He had no difficulty covering the three hundred metres, after having to sprint away from numerous intergalactic monsters since taking over from David Tennant as The Doctor two years ago. There is also a TV connection at the torch's third port of call as it moves on to Barry where scenes for the sitcom Gavin & Stacey were filmed. The relay then turned north towards Caerphilly, from where, later in the day, the first in a series of nine special live editions of Blue Peter will be broadcast. Presenters Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood are hitting the road for the BBC programme's Big Olympic Tour, and after each show they will be taking part in a free event for families run by BBC Learning, which will include a host of interactive activities. From Caerphilly, the relay moves on through Pontypridd to the day's most northerly point in Merthyr, where former Wales captain Matthew Rees, who has won fifty international caps and also played for the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa, will run the final leg of the morning. After lunch, the relay will return south from Treherbert through the Rhondda Valley to Bridgend, before turning north west towards Port Talbot, the steelworks city that is home to Kite Tail, the largest sculpture in the Principality, and crossing the Sail Bridge before the climax of the day in Swansea. The day's oldest torchbearer, ninety one-year-old Betty Gray, is due to receive the flame just before six o'clock. She has been involved with table tennis since 1939, won world and European singles titles in her age group and is now president of the Table Tennis Association of Wales and still an active coach. Less than an hour later, teenager Sophie Wheeler is due to hand the torch to Jackson, who is arguably the finest track athlete Wales has ever produced. The forty five-year-old former sprint hurdler, now an athletics commentator for the BBC, won twenty one major medals during his career, including ten World and European golds - both indoor and outdoors - and two golds at the Commonwealth Games. He set a world record of 12.91 seconds in 1993 that stood for almost thirteen years and the only major title to elude him was Olympic gold, with second-place behind Roger Kingdom in Seoul the only time he reached the medal podium. The day will end with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron in Singleton Park, part of Swansea's evening celebration which will also feature performances by Only Men Aloud, winners of the BBC's Last Choir Standing competition in 2008 and rock band Kids in Glass Houses. No, me neither.
Downing Street was given legal advice that remarks made by the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, about billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch 'could be seen' as 'prejudging the issues' on the very day that David Cameron gave him responsibility for overseeing the News Corporation bid for BSkyB. An e-mail shown to the Leveson inquiry on Friday afternoon, sent by the legal director of the vile and odious rascal Hunt's Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and copied to Cameron's chief of staff, said that public comments made after the bid had been announced in June 2010 were 'not helpful and tends towards an element of prejudging issues.' The memo, from Patrick Kilgarriff to Ed Llewellyn, was sent on 21 December 2010, the day that Vince Cable was stripped of responsibility for the BSkyB bid after the business secretary was secretly recorded by Daily Torygraph reporters saying that he had 'declared war' on Murdoch. Cameron was already lining-up the vile and odious rascal Hunt to assume the role when Kilgarriff raised concerns over previous public statements, believed to be contained in an interview with the Financial Times on 16 June 2010, shortly after News Corp announced its intention to buy the sixty one per cent of BSkyB it did not own. 'It does seem to me that News Corp control Sky already, so it isn't clear to me that in terms of media plurality there is a substantive change but I do not want to second guess what regulators might decide,' the vile and odious rascal Hunt told the FT. 'When did JH [the vile and odious rascal Hunt] say it? I assume it was shortly after News International announced its intention to buy out the other shareholders in Sky. Therefore at a time when JH was not responsible for policy in these areas,' Kilgarriff wrote. 'If so, it is not helpful and tends towards an element of prejudging the issues.' Earlier on Friday the inquiry heard how the vile and odious rascal Hunt in November 2010 was 'angling' to get involved in the bid even though it was not his department's responsibility. He asked for legal advice on 'what his powers might be' and if he could contact Cable's team. He was given clear advice that it 'would be unwise to do so' by Kilgarriff on 19 November 2010, the day that the vile and odious rascal Hunt wrote to Cameron outlining his support for the BSkyB bid in an internal memo. Earlier an official in the department had written: 'There is no role in the process for the DCMS so we would recommend that you do not have any external discussion on the BSkyB media merger nor write to the Secretary of State for Business Affairs [Cable] about it. 'If you want to contribute, you could write a letter stating facts backed up with evidence.' However, the unnamed official added: 'This carries risks to the robustness of the decision.' The e-mails were released to the Leveson inquiry as part of the witness statement of Jonathan Stephens, the permanent secretary to the DCMS. He said on Friday afternoon that he was 'shocked' by the 'extent and tone' of the communication between the vile and odious rascal Hunt's special single 'rogue' adviser, Adam Smith, and the News Corp lobbyist Frédéric Michel. Stephens added that Smith, who resigned last month after one hundred and sixty three pages of evidence detailing his e-mail and text communication with Michel about News Corp's BSkyB bid were released to the inquiry, was 'unwittingly' drawn into a 'web of manipulation' and exaggeration. He said: 'Sadly Mr Smith, I personally believe against his will and intentions, was drawn into almost what seems to be a web of manipulation and exaggeration and was inadvertently drawn beyond what he intended to do or wanted to do,' Stephens told the inquiry. Stephens said that Smith's close relationship with Michel was 'clearly inappropriate' for his role as a special adviser. 'The extent, the number, the nature of these contacts was in my judgement clearly inappropriate and not just in one or two disputed cases,' he added. Lord Justice Leveson described the fallout of the government's handling of News Corp's aborted eight billion quid bid for BSkyB as 'probably for the department and certainly for Mr Smith a calamity.' Stephen agreed with this assessment. Asked by Leveson how it could have happened, with Smith a 'highly regarded young man' in a 'comparatively small office,' Stephens said: 'I don't know is the immediate answer.' He added that he 'struggled to understand' why Smith, when he found himself under pressure, did not talk to someone about it. 'It didn't need to be me, it could have been someone else.'

The vile and odious rascal Hunt addressed News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel as 'daddy' and 'mon ami' in a series of text messages released by the Leveson Inquiry. Frenchman Michel praised the vile and odious rascal Hunt's 'stamina' and, arse-lickingly, described the vile sand odious rascal Hunt's 'great' performances on TV and in the Commons in return. The two men's wives both gave birth at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London in late May 2010. The lack of culture secretary is under intense and growing pressure over the way he handled News Corp's attempted takeover of BSkyB. The Leveson Inquiry released sixty seven texts sent by the two men between 21 June 2010 and 3 July 2011. This covers the period when News Corp was bidding for BSkyB; the vile and odious rascal Hunt had the responsibility of deciding whether the deal should go ahead. In one of the texts, the vile and odious rascal Hunt told Michel that there was 'nothing u [sic] won't like' in an upcoming speech. On 21 June 2010 the lack of culture secretary texted the lobbyist: 'Baby fine just changed his nappy lucky daddy!' Then on 15 July 2010, the News Corp employee praised the lack of culture secretary on a 'great announcement,' to which the vile and odious rascal Hunt replied: 'Merci papa.' A text on 25 July congratulated the vile and odious rascal Hunt on an appearance on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show: 'Full of energy and purpose on Andrew Marr! Liked your answer on Rupert and on BBC!' The vile and odious rascal Hunt responded: 'Merci mon ami.' In August 2010 they exchanged texts about the vile and odious rascal Hunt's decision to abolish the UK Film Council. Michel wrote: 'Be strong! Even Clint Eastwood can't stop it.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt replied: 'If they play Dirty Harry so can I!' They sent greetings to each other on Christmas Eve 2010, with the vile and odious rascal Hunt writing 'Hope Daddy has a lovely Xmas! Jeremy' and Michel responding 'You too mon ami! Fred.' The Leveson Inquiry into media standards is currently looking at the relationship between the press and politicians. Next week the vile and odious rascal Hunt will appear before the inquiry on Thursday and it has also been announced that former Prime Minister Tony Blair will give evidence on Monday.

The vile and odious rascal Hunt's position was further weakened when the Leveson inquiry published the original draft of the lack of culture secretary's memo to David Cameron about the Murdochs' takeover bid for BSkyB. The draft, sent on his private G-mail account to his single 'rogue' aide Adam Smith on the afternoon of 19 November, goes much further in explicitly backing the bid than the final, more sanitised draft which was published earlier in the week. The vile and odious rascal Hunt demands of the bid: 'Why are we trying to stop it?' and claims that if ministers do not back the bid, they could end 'in the wrong place, politically.' Both phrases were removed from the later draft, about which Smith e-mailed: 'Much happier with this version!' The vile and odious rascal Hunt also goes into considerable detail in the original draft showing that he has already appeared to have rejected the arguments of the bid's opponents. He wrote: 'Those poeple [sic] who are arguing that the Murdochs will have too much influence are in my view confusing the revenues which Sky gets [around eight billion smackers] which are much higher than – say – the BBC's four billion pounds, with the influence Sky has editorially which is much less because a) mpst [sic] of the channels watched on Sky belong to other people over which it exerts no editorial control; and b) where it does (eg Sky News) it has less than five per cent market share.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt writes in terms that would seem to suggest he saw the legal process begun by the then business secretary, Vince Cable, as somewhat cosmetic. He says: 'Much of what we do will be constrained by the absolute necessity to respect due process at every stage, but I think you, I Vince and the DPM should meet to discuss our response to potential different scenarios. May I arrange such a meeting?' His observations about due process were changed in the final draft to sound more neutral. The final version read instead: 'It would be totally wrong for the government to get involved in a competition issue which has to be decided at arms length.' The final version also added a new sentence that sounded more statesmanlike: 'We must be very careful that any attempt to block it is done on genuine plurality grounds and not as a result of lobbying by competitors.' As opposed to lobbying by, say, French Fred, it would seem. Downing Street has sought to argue that the vile and odious rascal Hunt was doing no more in his private memo to the prime minster than he had already said in public. But this evidence of his thinking at the time may make that position increasingly hard to sustain. The latest e-mail disclosure comes after news that Downing Street tried to rewrite the resignation statement of Smith, the vile and odious rascal Hunt's former special adviser, using language which would have implied that the thirty-year-old official had strayed beyond his remit in communicating with News Corporation about its BSkyB takeover bid. Smith told the Leveson inquiry that he had objected to a last-minute rewrite to his resignation letter, which had been proposed by the office of the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. He successfully insisted that it be removed. He also revealed that he had initially been told by the vile and odious rascal Hunt that 'it won't come' to his resignation on 24 April, immediately after it emerged in evidence to Leveson that he had been in regular contact with the News Corp lobbyist Frédéric Michel during the company's bid for BSkyB between June 2010 and July 2011. The following day he arrived at work only to be told by the lack of culture secretary that 'everybody here thinks you need to go.' Smith, who had previously been praised for his work, was handed a draft resignation letter to sign. Colleagues of the prime minister's most senior civil servant then requested that the first line in the proposed letter be amended to read: 'While I believed it was my role to keep News Corporation informed...' The initial draft had adopted a more neutral tone, and read: 'While it was part of my role to keep News Corporation informed...' Smith said that after he objected to the change – because 'the department had known that that's what my role had been' – the original version was reinstated. He added that he had offered to resign because 'I thought by this stage that the perception had been created that something untoward had gone on.' He told the inquiry the extent of his contact with Michel 'could not have come as a surprise' to anyone in the DCMS. Smith, who sent two hundred and fifty seven text messages to Michel during the BSkyB bid, said that 'senior figures' in the department, including the vile and odious rascal Hunt, were all 'generally aware' of his activities. Asked by Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, if he had mentioned Michel's name in his discussions with the vile and odious rascal Hunt, Smith said: 'I believe so. I mean, I would have mentioned it. I suppose I would say they generally knew I was in touch. On some certain issues they certainly knew.' In his witness statement, Smith said: 'I believe that Mr Hunt [and others] were all generally aware of my activities from a combination of the discussions at our meetings and more informal contact.' He added that he had 'received no specific instructions as to whether or not there were any limits to the types of information which I could provide.' Questioned by Jay, Smith repeatedly disputed Michel's interpretation of comments he made in texts and e-mails to the lobbyist. In his witness statement he said: 'I did not recognise a lot of what was being said about me as being accurate.' At one point Jay asked him whether he agreed with Michel's comment to the inquiry that he believed the special adviser was 'speaking for' the vile and odious rascal Hunt during their conversations in the same way that Michel was speaking for James Murdoch, the small. 'Not on detailed issue points, more as a buffer,' he replied. Asked whether he and Michel had become 'inappropriately' close, Smith said: 'I think the tone of some of the language I may have used in some of the texts in hindsight was a bit too flippant and loose certainly but I don't think the substance of what we've been through was inappropriate.' However, Jonathan Stephens, the most senior civil servant at the DCMS, told the Leveson inquiry on Friday afternoon that he was 'shocked' by the 'extent and tone' of the communication between Smith and Michel. 'The extent, the number, the nature of these contacts was in my judgment clearly inappropriate and not just in one or two disputed cases,' the DCMS permanent secretary said. On Thursday, when Michel appeared at the inquiry, it emerged that there was evidence of one hundred and ninety one telephone calls, one hundred and fifty eight e-mails and seven hundred and ninety nine text messages between the News Corp lobbyist and the DCMS, of which ninety per cent were with Smith. Stephens added that Smith 'was drawn into almost what seems to be a web of manipulation and exaggeration and was inadvertently drawn beyond what he intended to do or wanted to do.' Metropolitan police detectives investigating alleged inappropriate payments to public officials by journalists made their thirtieth arrest, a thirty seven-year-old woman employed by News International whom the Torygraph claim to be the Sun's current Whitehall editor, Clodagh Hartley.

EastEnders' Joshua Pascoe has reportedly been arrested in connection with an alleged sex assault. The Sun claims that the teenager, who plays Ben Mitchell in the BBC soap, was questioned by police in Wimbledon, on Thursday, before being released on bail. 'His mum is distraught. He's only sixteen, so his arrest is very upsetting for the whole family,' an alleged 'source' allegedly told the alleged newspaper. Scotland Yard said: 'A sixteen-year-old boy was arrested on May 24 in connection with an allegation of sexual assault. He has been bailed to return to a North London police station on 31 July.' Meanwhile, a BBC spokesman added: 'We are aware of the allegations.' Pascoe, who first appeared in EastEnders in December 2010, is the fourth actor to play the role of Ben. Matthew Silver, Morgan Whittle and Charlie Jones have also portrayed the young Mitchell.

Meanwhile, Pascoe's co-star June Brown has been signed up to front a BBC1 documentary on the elderly. The Dot Branning actress, who is currently taking a six-month hiatus from the Walford soap, will investigate the 'lack of respect' for old people in British society today. The eighty five-year-old said: 'I want to find out why older people are undervalued and ignored and what can be done to change the lives of millions. My own belief is that we must try and somehow reconnect the young and old before the gap between them grows so wide that it's impossible to fix.' Brown's show will be part of an entire When I'm Sixty Five season of programmes focused on the ageing population in the UK. The Apprentice's Nick Hewer will also reunite with former colleague Margaret Mountford to follow fifteen retired pensioners returning to the workplace in The Town that Never Retired. BBC1 controller Danny Cohen said in a statement: 'When I'm Sixty Five brings together a range of powerful and thought-provoking programmes that explore the reality of life for many older people, and the choices they face. Thought-provoking seasons anchored in primetime are something I would like to have more of on BBC1, and the theme of our ageing population and the lives of older citizens is clearly a pressing one. I hope this cluster of programmes resonates with all BBC One viewers, no matter how old they are.'

John Bishop is the face of a new billboard campaign promoting vegetarianism. The cheeky-chappie Scouse comic gave up meat in 1985 after seeing a cow being slaughtered. 'The cow was hanging up looking at me as if to say, "You did this"', he said. The poster shows him grinning into the camera as three chicks perch on his shoulder next to the caption: Chicks Love a Vegetarian! D'ya get it? Oh, suit yerselves. The poster at London's Borough Market coincides with National Vegetarian Week. Personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping likes meat. Lots of meat. Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, you name it, he'll eat it. And he'd be delighted to have those three chicks between two slices of bread (after they've been humanely killed and cooked, of course). Just so there's no accusations of hypocrisy whilst I'm giving the campaign a bit of free publicity. Vegetarianism is a fine and noble sentiment and, so long as nobody forces it on me, I have no problem with it.
Virgin Media has agreed a deal with Eurosport to offer the sports broadcaster's 3D coverage of the French Open 2012 tournament to cable TV customers. Virgin Media subscribers with a HD compatible set top box and a 3D enabled high definition television will be able to enjoy all the 3D action on channel five hundred and twenty three. Eurosport will run a live 3D feed from Centre Court at Roland Garros from 28 May to 10 June. This is the third consecutive year that Eurosport has covered the French Open in 3D, but the first time that the feed has been made available live to UK homes. Alongside Virgin Media, Sky has also agreed a deal to offer the coverage to its satellite TV customers with 3D TVs on the Sky 3D channel. Eurosport has the pay-TV rights to the French Open, while the free-to-air rights are held by ITV, which will show the tennis tournament for the first time this year.

Thousands of UK websites are expected to be in breach of a law that dictates what they can log about visitors. European laws which define what details sites can record in text files - called cookies - come into force on 26 May. Cookies are widely used to customise what repeat visitors see on a site and by advertisers to track users online. The Information Commissioner's Office said it would offer help to non-compliant sites rather than take legal action against them. The regulations say websites must get 'informed consent' from users before they record any detailed information in the cookies they store on visitors' computers. Among websites that have complied with the law, getting consent has involved a pop-up box that explains the changes. Users are then asked to click to consent to having information recorded and told what will happen if they refuse. UK firms have had twelve months to prepare for the change and the ICO has spent much of that time reminding businesses about their obligations. The ICO has also updated its policy to allow organisations to use 'implied consent' to comply. This means users do not have to make an explicit choice. Instead, their continued use of a site would be taken to mean they are happy for information to be gathered. However, it was a 'concern' for the ICO that so many sites were not yet compliant, said Dave Evans, group manager at the ICO who has led its work on cookies in the last eighteen months. However, he added, it was not necessarily easy for companies to comply with the laws because of the amount of work it involved. On busy sites, he said, an audit of current cookie practices could take time because of the sheer number of cookie files they regularly issue, monitor and update. Evans claimed the ICO was expecting sites that were not compliant to be 'able to demonstrate' what work they had done in the last year to get ready. Fines for non-compliance were unlikely to be levied, he said, because there was little risk that a non-compliant site would cause a serious breach of data protection laws that was likely to cause substantial damage and distress to a user. It was planning to use formal undertakings or enforcement notices to make sites take action, he said. 'Those are setting out the steps we think they need to take in order to become compliant and when we expect them to be taking those steps,' he said. 'If they comply with one of those notices or sign one of those undertakings they are committing to doing this properly and that's the main point.' As well as advising firms, the ICO has also issued guidance to the public that explains what cookies are, how to change cookie settings and how to complain if they are worried about a site's policy.

As reported in a previous blog, the BBC have managed to keep their rights to Match of the Day, their long-running highlights programme of Premier League games for three years from the 2013-14 season. Match of the Day presenter, the lovely, fragrant Gary Lineker said: 'It is wonderful news that we have Match of the Day for another three years. It is a flagship programme and it shows how much the BBC values sport and the importance of football.' Damn straight. And, the single best thing about this is that it completely screws up a rather mean-spirited an nasty 'exclusive' in the Daily Scum Mail a few days ago which claimed Lineker was about to leave the Beeb. The rights cover the traditional Saturday evening slot, the Sunday morning repeat, Match of the Day 2 on Sunday evenings and various other evenings throughout the season when Premier League fixtures justify a show. It also allows Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2 to be available on the BBC's iPlayer from midnight on Mondays. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore added: 'The free-to-air highlights are extremely important to the broadcast reach of the Premier League; allowing the competition and our clubs to be seen by the maximum possible number of fans across the country. The BBC has done a fantastic job for fans of Premier League clubs by providing quality coverage and analysis across their programmes. We are very pleased to be continuing our partnership with them.'

Darlington FC have been relegated four divisions to the Northern League Division One on the recommendation of the Football Association. The Quakers had hoped to enter into the Evo-stik Premier having been told by the Football Conference they would not be admitted entry to the north section. After going into administration this season, the club was advised it must agree to repay debts to creditors. However no Creditors Voluntary Agreement was reached for those debts. Subsequently the DFC 1883 Limited group purchased the club's assets from Darlington FC 2009 Limited. That decision ensured the club, which was already relegated from the Blue Square Bet Premier this season, could continue to survive, while avoiding repayment of the debts, which remain with the existing holding company and not with the new group. Among the teams they will face next term are FA Vase winners Dunston UTS and Shildon, with whom they will ground-share next season. 'We had appraised all potential outcomes and have produced plans and a financial model that will work at this level,' a statement from DFC 1883 Limited said. 'The focus now will be to get the football club back up through the leagues as quickly as possible. We can be inspired by clubs like Chester, Wrexham and others who have taken this journey and enjoyed great football, grounds with atmosphere and a rekindling of supporters' enthusiasm.' Now the club's immediate fate has been decided, moves can begin to replace former manager Craig Liddle, who agreed to join Sunderland as development coach. 'We expect to be able to name the new manager shortly,' the statement continued. 'An excellent short list is in place, and now that we know which league we are in we can draw those discussions to a conclusion.' And to think, it's just over a year ago that Darlo were at Wembley celebrating winning the FA Trophy. What a shame for a proud old club like that. There, but for the grace of God, go all of us.

And so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day which, today, features one from The Shat's oeuvre. William, it was really nothing.