Friday, May 25, 2012

I Wanna Spend All Your Money

The BBC has agreed a new deal to broadcast Premier League highlights until the end of the 2015-16 season. The current deal had been scheduled to expire at the end of next season but a three-year extension has been signed. The rights cover the Saturday evening Match of the Day programme, the Sunday morning repeat, MOTD2 on Sunday evenings and other evenings when Premier League fixtures justify a show. The programmes will be available on the BBC's iPlayer from midnight on Mondays. Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said: '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.' BBC director of sport Barbara Slater added: 'We've seen audiences for Match of the Day grow in recent years and the programme remains one of the BBC's best loved and most iconic brands. The new contract will see MOTD celebrate its fiftieth birthday.' The BBC retained the rights with a bid of £179.7m. The first ever Match of the Day was broadcast on 22 August 1964 and top-flight rights have switched between BBC and ITV since then. Premier League highlights returned to Match of the Day in 2004-05. The show is hosted by former England striker Gary Lineker, with Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson and Alan Shearer among the regular pundits.

Sour-puss grumpy-face Christopher Eccleston has said that he feels 'justified' in leaving Doctor Who after the first series of the revived long-running BBC SF family drama. Eccleston has been largely tight-lipped about his time on Doctor Who since departing in 2005, but he did reveal last year that he quit the show over internal 'politics.' In a new interview with the Torygraph, the actor contended that he 'acted honourably' in bowing out of the role after his brief tenure as the Ninth Doctor. 'I know what went on and the people who were involved know what went on - that's good enough for me,' Eccleston said, adding: 'My conscience is completely clear.' The actor continued: 'I've lived my life, particularly my working life, on the basis that I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror about the way I behave. It wasn't a bold move, it was an entirely natural one. I'm hugely grateful to the children who to this day come up and talk to me about the show.' Eccleston has previously denied that he would return for Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary in 2013 because he doesn't like revisiting his past work. 'I never bathe in the same river twice,' he told Graham Norton last May.

A special one-off Doctor Who episode written by pupils from a Cheshire school has premiered on CBBC's Blue Peter. Pupils from Ashdene Primary School in Wilmlsow won a national competition to write the script for the three-minute Doctor Who special. Inspired by the London Olympics, the short script featured Matt Smith as The Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, and heralded the return of one of the Doctor's most feared monsters, The Weeping Angels. The Angels made their first appearance in the 2007 episode Blink and will be back in the BBC1 series this autumn.
The lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt's former single 'rogue' adviser Adam Smith has told the Leveson Inquiry that he was 'bombarded' with information from a News Corp lobbyist. Smith claimed that departmental officials knew of his contact with Fred Michel but 'I don't think they knew of the volume or extent. A lot of the information he sent me I did nothing with,' Smith claimed.
He said that he had been aware Michel was trying to 'extract information' and 'would use my judgement on what to say.' Smith said he regretted the 'perception of collusion' with News Corp over the bid. He claimed the vile and odious rascal Hunt assured him over evening drinks that he would not have to resign over the Frédéric Michel e-mails, then the following morning, the vile and odious rascal Hunt told him: 'Everyone here thinks you need to go.' Smith said that he would not have been as strong as the vile and odious rascal Hunt in the outspoken memo to the prime minister in support of BSkyB bid revealed on Thursday. He also revealed that Downing Street tried to rewrite Smith's own the resignation statement 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 on Friday that he 'objected' to a last-minute rewrite to his resignation letter, which had been proposed by the office of cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood.
He successfully insisted that it be removed. The ex-special adviser 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 submitted to the Leveson inquiry that he had been in regular contact with the News Corp lobbyist Frédéric Michel during the company's bid for BSkyB. However, the following day Smith arrived at work only to be told by the slimy toad of a lack of culture secretary that 'everybody here thinks you need to go.' Or, rather, the vile and odious rascal Hunt and the prime minister think you need to go because, if you don't, it'll be them that'll be clearing out their desks. The special adviser – who had previously been praised for his work – was handed a draft resignation letter to sign. Colleagues of David Cameron'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 adopted a more neutral tone, and read: 'While it was part of my role to keep News Corporation informed.' However, Smith said he strong objected to the unexpected change because 'the department had known that that's what my role had been' and the original version was quickly reinstated. Smith has always said that he was given the task of acting 'as a link' between News Corp and the vile and odious rascal Hunt during the period when the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was adjudicating on the Murdoch company's eight billion quid bid for BSkyB. Smith had been tipped off that as part of James Murdoch the small's evidence the inquiry would see e-mails written by Michel and relating to their contact between June 2010 and July 2011. He watched Murdoch's Leveson appearance live and shortly after met the vile and odious rascal Hunt to offer his resignation on 24 April. He said the lack of culture secretary told him he did not think that would be necessary, and heard Smith's version of events. Recalling their conversation, Smith said he told his former boss that the Michel e-mails 'were a one-sided reflection and in many cases exaggerated,' something which Michel, himself, denied the day before. Smith then went for a drink with colleagues, where the mood was 'very pressured and one of the most stressful days that I'd certainly had to deal with.' Overnight, however, pressure on the vile and odious rascal Hunt mounted – and when Smith arrived the next day the vile and odious rascal Hunt made it clear that Smith would have to be the scapegoat and quit. The former special adviser described the conversation at the critical meeting with his boss: 'We did discuss how we'd enjoyed working with each other and how it was going to be tough and it wasn't just a one-line conversation, no.' Smith 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.' On the day he left, Smith also received a private note from Jonathan Stephens, the DCMS permanent secretary, praising his work. Stephens wrote: 'I've seen many special advisers – you have undoubtedly [been] the best and straightest. You've worked smoothly and professional. You've given great service to Jeremy. How you left today was characteristic of the selfless and self-effacing way that you've approached your role.' Or, you know, sucker. Stephens himself later appeared and told the inquiry that the vile and odious rascal Hunt received legal advice warning against making interventions on BSkyB bid before sending his controversial memo to prime minister in November 2010. Smith, he said, was 'drawn into a web of manipulation' by News Corp's Michel. Lord Justice Leveson said the row over handling of News Corp's BSkyB bid was 'a calamity' for the DCMS and urged a review of the role of special advisers. Stephens defended the vile and odious rascal Hunt over his 'quasi-judicial role' and said Smith should have been warned about how to deal with Michel.

David Cameron, meanwhile, has strongly defended the vile and odious rascal Hunt's handling of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's bid for BSkyB in the light of new evidence showing that the vile and odious rascal Hunt was privately pushing for the takeover to be allowed before he was appointed to oversee the process. But, since he said it on ITV's notorious This Morning to risible lard bucket Eamonn Holmes, it's probable that virtually nobody heard him. In an interview, Cameron claimed the vile and odious rascal Hunt had acted 'impartially' from the moment he took charge of handling the decision in December 2010 and that what he had said about the bid previously was 'not relevant.' The prime minister also said that he had 'no regrets' about giving the task to the vile and odious rascal Hunt, who is fighting to hang on to his post as lack of culture secretary following the revelation that he told Cameron in a memo in November 2010 that it would be 'totally wrong' to 'cave in' to those opposing the bid. Cameron made his comments on Friday as the Leveson inquiry announced that the vile and odious rascal Hunt will get the opportunity to explain his side of the story when he gives evidence for a whole day next week, on Thursday. Other witnesses next week include former PM Tony Blair, who is appearing on Monday. In the interview with This Morning, Cameron claimed that by November 2010 the vile and odious rascal Hunt had already made public comments supportive of News Corporation's bid for BSkyB that were 'more powerful' than the arguments expressed in the letter revealed at the Leveson inquiry on Thursday. At that point Vince Cable, the business secretary, was in charge of the bid, not the vile and odious rascal Hunt. The prime minister has been criticised for putting the vile and odious rascal Hunt in charge in December 2010, after Cable was recorded secretly saying that he had 'declared war' on the Murdochs, when Cameron knew that the vile and odious rascal Hunt wanted the bid to go ahead. Cameron told ITV that this was not relevant. 'The key thing was it wasn't what [the vile and odious rascal Hunt] had said in the past, it was how he was going to do the job. And I think, if you look at how he did the job, he asked for independent advice at every stage and he took that independent advice and he did it in a thoroughly proper way.' Cameron also said that he had consulted the cabinet secretary, then Sir Gus O'Donnell, about his decision to pass responsibility for media takeovers from Cable's business department to the vile and odious rascal Hunt's culture department in December 2010. Cameron said that O'Donnell had 'consulted lawyers' before approving the decision. Cameron conceded that O'Donnell 'did not know' about the vile and odious rascal Hunt's November letter when he agreed to allow the lack of culture secretary to take charge of media competition policy. But the prime minister claimed that 'did not matter' because O'Donnell was aware of the vile and odious rascal Hunt's public pro-Murdoch comments which, Cameron said, were 'more effusive' than those in the private letter. After he took charge of the issue, the vile and odious rascal Hunt handled it fairly, Cameron claimed, not very convincingly. 'He did act impartially because he took independent advice at every stage and he followed the independent advice at every stage, so it was right to give him the job.' The prime minister went on: 'I hadn't wanted to give anybody the job, I'd wanted Vince Cable, the existing business secretary, to go on doing the job, but that wasn't possible.' Cameron also said that he had no regrets about his decision to put the culture department in charge. 'It was the right thing to do under the circumstances which weren't of my making,' he said. He went on: 'Some people are saying there was some great conspiracy between me and Rupert Murdoch to do some big deal to back them in return for support. Rupert Murdoch has said that's not true, James Murdoch has said that's not true, I have said that's not true. There was no great conspiracy.' But Cameron did accept that relations between politicians and the media had got too close. 'There are lessons to learn – we are already learning those with far more transparency about contacts between press and politicians. No government has done that before, but I'm pleased my government is doing it,' he said.

So, as noted, the beleaguered lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, is set to appear at the Leveson inquiry next week to attempt and explain his relationship with News Corporation and handling of the company's eight billion smackers bid for BSkyB. If he can. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is to appear on Monday. The vile and odious rascal Hunt will be asked about his office's links with News Corp during its bid to take over satellite broadcaster BSkyB. And, hopefully, what the ruddy smeg he thought he was playing at. The answer to which should be illuminating. David Cameron told ITV's This Morning he did not 'regret' asking the vile and odious rascal Hunt to rule on the abortive deal and said he had acted 'impartially.' At one point, we thought he was going to break into a Scott Walker impression. But, he didn't. On Thursday, it was revealed that the vile and odious rascal Hunt had sent a memo to the prime minister indicating support for News Corp's bid weeks before taking charge. The vile and odious rascal Hunt will also face questions about whether his public expressions of support for the bid before he was given the role were compatible with his job in overseeing it. Next Tuesday, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May will appear at the inquiry. Business Secretary Vince Cable and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke will appear on Wednesday. The vile and odious rascal Hunt was appointed to the role in December 2010 after Cable was stripped of his responsibilities following comments made to undercover reporters from the Torygraph. Cameron said: 'I don't regret giving the job to Jeremy Hunt, it was the right thing to do in the circumstances, which were not of my making. The crucial point, the really crucial point, is did Jeremy Hunt carry out his role properly with respect to BSkyB? And I believe that he did.' The inquiry has seen e-mails showing that News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel received inside information about the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's handling of the bid from the vile and odious rascal Hunt's former special adviser Adam Smith.

Detectives have arrested another News International journalist in the probe into payments to public officials. The thirty seven-year-old woman was held at Bromley Police station on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt. The Metropolitan Police said the arrest at nine o'clock on Friday morning followed information provided by News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee. The arrest is the thirtieth in the Operation Elveden inquiry, which is running alongside a probe into phone-hacking. The BBC claimed that that the woman is a current member of staff at News International, the parent company of the Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and, before it was closed, the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World. The Torygraph claim that the journalist involved is Clodagh Hartley, the Sun's Whitehall Editor. In a statement, Scotland Yard said the woman had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906; suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office, contrary to Common Law, and suspicion of bribery, contrary to the Bribery Act 2010. 'It relates to suspected payments to a public official and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately,' the statement added. Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden investigation was set up to look into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and other public officials and it is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It is linked to Operation Weeting, the investigation into mobile phone-hacking by journalists. News Corporation set up its Management and Standards Committee to conduct internal investigations relating to allegations of wrongdoing at billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's newspapers. The MSC says that it is 'autonomous' from News International and that it 'works to ensure full co-operation with all investigations,' including the Leveson Inquiry and Scotland Yard investigations.

ITV has commissioned a new police drama titled True Crime. The series will be ITV's first daytime drama in four years, and is produced by the makers of The Bill. It will comprise twenty hour-long episodes, and will be recorded at The Bill's former home at Wimbledon Studios. The drama follows two police officers taking on cases inspired by real events. True Crime is created by former The Bill executive Paul Marquess of Newman Street, a newly formed drama division at FremantleMedia UK. The show will be shot in a documentary style and will also contain footage similar to CCTV for an authentic look. ITV's director of factual and daytime Alison Sharman said: 'It's very confident and sassy, and there's definitely some grit in the oyster. We tested the pilot with our viewer panel and we came back with positive responses from younger and older viewers. We know that drama repeats fare well on ITV in the afternoon, but there's the opportunity to do something fresh and challenging.' True Crime will be broadcast on ITV in an afternoon slot later this year.

Catchphrase could return to television for the first time in a decade. ITV is in talks with the format's owner DRG to commission a pilot of the programme, Broadcast reports. Northern Irish funnyman Roy Walker was the classic game show's original and best-known host, widely remembered for his line, 'Say what you see.' Walker, who left in 1999, has previously stated his interest in hosting a revival. Nick Weir and Mark Curry fronted the programme for the last two years of its life.

A legal row has erupted in the US over a set-top box which lets viewers skip over adverts in recorded TV shows. Three US TV broadcasters, FOX, NBC and CBS, have sued the maker of the device, Dish Network, in a bid to ensure viewers see ads. Dish Network has filed a separate lawsuit which asks a court to declare that ad-skipping can go ahead. The networks fear that if viewers cannot see adverts their main source of revenue will dry up. The Hopper digital video recorder was unveiled in early 2012 by Dish Network. On 10 May it added an 'auto-hop' feature that allowed viewers to completely skip over adverts that interrupted shows they had recorded. The lawsuits of the TV networks, which were filed individually, allege that the ad-hopping is 'illegal' because it 'involves the gadget making an unauthorised version of a copyrighted TV show.' In its lawsuit FOX - owned, of course, by billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch - claims showing a programme without adverts amounts to re-broadcasting - which violates agreements Dish has with the company. FOX spokesman Scott Goggin said that the ad-hopping feature could end up 'destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.' Or, in other words, cost some extremely rich people a bit of money. Which, obviously, the extremely rich people aren't keen on the idea of. So, why they can't just say that, one has now idea. The large US TV networks depend on cash from advertising for survival. Worldwide spending on TV adverts looks set to reach two hundred billion smackers by 2017. To fend off the claims of the networks, Dish has asked a court to look into the row and declare that the Hopper DVR does not violate copyright. Media analyst Todd Mitchell at Brean Murray said introducing the ad-hopping was a negotiating tactic by Dish which wants to pay less to air shows from large broadcasters. 'This is about programming costs,' said Mitchell. 'Dish is saying, if you want to charge me up to the wazoo, we will disable commercials. But if you charge us less, we can disable the feature.' Dish Network is the second largest satellite broadcaster in the US and has about fourteen million customers.

Former EastEnders star Michelle Ryan is to perform opposite Will Young in a new West End revival of Cabaret. The twenty eight-year-old will play singer Sally Bowles, the role Liza Minnelli played in the Oscar-winning 1972 film. Rufus Norris's production will run at London's Savoy Theatre from 3 October, following a four-week tour of the UK. Ryan played Zoe Slater in EastEnders for five years before leaving in 2005. She later appeared in a short-lived US TV remake of The Bionic Woman. Since then she has been seen in the 2009 Doctor Who episode Planet of the Dead and the Sean Bean film Cleanskin. Young, thirty three, will play the Emcee, the flamboyant master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Club in 1930s Berlin, where much of the action is set. The Kander and Ebb musical, based on the Christopher Isherwood short story Goodbye to Berlin, was last staged in the West End in 2006 - with Norris directing, Anna Maxwell Martin as Sally and James Dreyfus as the Emcee.

A millionaire's daughter who drove looters around London during the 2011 riots has been jailed for two years. Laura Johnson, twenty, of Orpington had denied charges of burglary and handling stolen goods, claiming that she was acting under duress. But the judge at Inner London Crown Court said she played 'a pivotal role' in law-breaking on 8 August and sent her to pokey forthwith. She was convicted of taking goods from a Comet store and handling a stolen television from a Currys outlet. Johnson was joined in the dock by a teenage boy, who had previously admitted burglary by stealing alcohol and cigarettes from a BP garage in Charlton. He can now be named as Christopher Edwards, seventeen, after the judge lifted an order banning his identification. Edwards was sentenced to twelve months at a young offenders' institution. Passing sentence, Judge Patricia Lees observed that Johnson's reaction to the arrival of the police was to put her foot on the accelerator of her car - despite an officer standing in front of it. She told Johnson and Edwards: 'Your actions added to the overall lawlessness that threatened to overwhelm the forces of law and order. You both come from loving and supportive homes - of neither of you could it be said that your parents have not provided every advantage they could for you. You both revealed your weaker side to your characters in taking advantage of an escalating situation because you thought you could get away with it and would not be caught.' Turning to Johnson, she said: 'You were pivotal to this planned criminal enterprise. You went out willingly that night knowing what you were about to get involved in.' Jurors were told that Johnson drove several looters around various shops during the height of the riots. Her passengers jumped from the car wearing hooded tops, bandanas and balaclavas and loaded it with stolen electronic goods. Johnson - who was reading English and Italian at Exeter University - is a former grammar school pupil. She is the daughter of wealthy couple Robert and Lindsay Johnson, who own direct marketing business Avongate Ltd. In mitigation, her barrister Martin McCartney said she was 'a bright, intelligent, articulate young woman' who was then 'at a very low ebb' and argued she was unlikely to offend again. He said: 'At the time of the offence, placing what she did against the background of who she is, this was completely out of character. It is not beyond the realms of reason that the way she acted might have been affected by the emotional turmoil she was in.' Johnson will serve half of her two-year sentence in prison, minus one hundred and forty four days, due to time spent under a qualifying curfew. Her defence claimed that she acted under duress because she was 'afraid' of her passengers. A University of Exeter spokeswoman said: 'The University of Exeter is aware of the sentence that has been given to Laura Johnson. We will now consider the outcome in order to determine the best way forward with regards Laura's studies at the university.'

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has asked Bayern Munich honorary president Franz Beckenbauer to come up with an alternative to the 'tragedy' of penalty shoot-outs. Beckenbauer is head of the Football Task Force 2014, a group designed to recommend rule changes. 'Football can be a tragedy when you go to penalty kicks,' Blatter said. 'Football should not go to one-to-one. When it goes to penalty kicks football loses its essence.' He added: 'Perhaps Franz Beckenbauer with his football 2014 group can show us a solution, perhaps not today but in the future.' The Champions League final was decided on penalties this season, with Moscow Chelski FC winning after Bayern Munich had dominated the game. One wonders if Blatter would be bleating so much if the Germans had won the game. Probably not. It was the tenth time that the European Cup final has gone to a shoot-out. Zambia also won a major cup in a penalty shoot-out this season, beating Côte d'Ivoire for the Africa Cup of Nations. The World Cup final has twice been decided on penalties, with Brazil beating Italy in 1994 and Italy seeing-off France in 2006. Blatter referred to the 'tragedy' of shoot-outs after Italy's win. The Swiss was speaking to delegates at the FIFA congress on Friday.

We've got two Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the day, today. The first is, obviously, for Dave and Jezza, bless 'em. Wonder how long it'll last.
Whilst the second is for ... everybody else, basically.