Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Who's The Cat That Won't Cop Out When There's Danger All About?

Issue four hundred and forty seven of yer actual Doctor Who Magazine features a lengthy interview with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods Before He). In this, his very Moffster offers a few hints and teasers on series seven of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama and beyond. Here's just a few highlights: Rory and Amy are no longer regular travellers with the Doctor: 'If he thinks he needs them, he just pops in on them,' says Moffat. But, 'each time they'll get a little older.' Moffat continues on the subject of killing off companions: 'Even if I don't think I'll do it ... maybe I will do it!' That means he won't. he's too nice. Moffat also ponders, 'If we did a UNIT story, would Martha be there?' The Special Weapons Dalek will 'definitely' appear in the new series opener. Moffat reiterates that the New Paradigm Daleks are 'an officer class.' Can the question 'Doctor Who?' be answered, he is asked? 'Wait and see' he replies, enigmatically. He also promises that we will find out exactly what The Trenzalore is all about. 'The Fall of the Eleventh' subplot (alluded to in A Good Man Goes To War and The Marriage of River Song) will also be resolved (although perhaps not in series seven). Moffat says that he is very keen the order of the episodes can be swapped around this year. There will, he assures us, still be a story-arc, but it will be 'the opposite' of series six (one guesses in terms of complexity and inner-connectedness). Even though he said there would be no more two-parters previously, they are still a possibility if the story requires them. Jenna-Louise's companion will be different to the others and is 'going to be a shock.' And, finally, filming will continue throughout the rest of 2012 and further into 2013 and beyond. Well, I don't know about you, dear blog reader, but that all sounds rather exciting to me.
The Kumars will make a TV return on Sky1 this autumn, it has been announced. The fictional Indian family will reform for a new run of their comedy chat show, which will see the Kumars downsize to a new flat in Hounslow as a result of the recession.
They originally appeared in The Kumars at Number Forty Two between 2001 and 2006 on BBC2 and later on BBC1, in a run totalling fifty three episodes. Stars Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Indira Joshi and Vincent Ebrahim have all reunited for the new show. Bhaskar commented: 'It's incredibly exciting to revisit these warm, oddball characters and to be given the opportunity to bring them up to date. We've tried to retain what viewers loved about the original show and to inject new characters and elements in a slightly new format that we hope will appeal to an even broader audience.'

That rarest of scheduling beasts, back-to-back primetime documentaries on ITV, began with more than four million punters for its look at the first year of the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday evening. William and Kate: The First Year had 4.2m viewers between 8pm and 9pm. ITV's documentary however lost out to BBC1's popular medical drama Holby City, which had 5.1m viewers in the same slot. The royal documentary was followed on ITV by The Hunt for Bin Laden which was watched by 2.4m, between 9pm and 11pm. This also lost out to BBC1's 4.6 audience for Crimewatch between 9pm and 10pm, and 5.1m for the BBC News at 10pm. Elsewhere at 9pm, the last of BBC2's excellent Meet the Romans With Mary Beard was watched by 1.87m viewers, beating Channel Four's talent show, Hidden Talent, which was watched by 1.3m. Earlier, The Hairy Bikers' Bake-Ation came to the end of its eight-part run with a 2.7 million audience between 8pm and 9.00pm. The bikers had the beating of the last of the current ten-part run of Channel Four's Supersize vs Superskinny, (1.7m) and Channel Five's new genealogy series War Hero in My Family, featuring celebrities who trace the stories of family members during times of war (1.1m).
The second part of the Leveson inquiry, which was due to investigate the extent of crimes committed at News International and other media organisations, may not go ahead, Lord Justice Leveson has indicated. In a ruling posted on the Leveson website late on Tuesday night, the judge said such an inquiry 'will involve yet more enormous cost' to the public and participants and would be required to 'trawl over material then more years out of date.' The Leveson inquiry has until now been restricted from investigating the extent of crimes such as phone-hacking or police corruption because of the risk of prejudicing potential criminal trials. It was therefore intended a second inquiry would take place - possibly in a year or eighteen months - when all possible criminal trials were complete. Leveson said that he has 'not ruled out' a second inquiry, but has indicated his preference was to make the present inquiry as broad as possible to reduce the need for a second. 'Obviously, the more restrictive in its analysis that part one has been, the greater will be the legitimate public demand for part two,' he said. Leveson said that police inquiries were extensive and a potential part two would be 'delayed for very many months, if not longer. In those circumstances, it seems to me that it is in everyone's interests that part one goes as far as it possibly can. If the transparent way in which the inquiry has been conducted, the report and the response by government and the press (along with a new acceptable regulatory regime) addresses the public concern, at the conclusion of any trial or trials, consideration can be given by everyone to the value to be gained from a further inquiry into part two.' Alleged 'sources' allegedly say that Leveson has not abandoned the idea of a second inquiry but used the ruling to 'lay down a marker' that it needed to be discussed. Leveson's remarks were part of a ruling on the extent to which he can go with his conclusions and recommendations in his final report. Last month, barristers for the tabloid newspapers and the police had argued he should be restricted from naming newspapers.

MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee had six weeks to consider the statement that Rupert Murdoch was 'not fit' to run a major corporation before a final vote that left them split along party political lines, the Gruniad claims to have learned. A Conservative member on the committee, Louise Mensch, criticised Labour colleagues for inserting the incendiary sentence, saying the committee had 'not for one moment' discussed it before the final vote on Monday, the day before the report was published. But the Gruniad claims to have seen a copy of papers circulated to committee members on 20 March that first set out the amendment of Tom Watson (power to the people!), including the conclusion that Murdoch was 'not a fit and proper person to have the stewardship of a major international company.' Mensch and the Labour committee member Paul Farrelly have confirmed that the papers were discussed at a meeting of the committee on 27 March. When the MPs arrived at Watson's amendment, the committee chair, John Whittingdale, announced that it would be 'too controversial' to get a consensus agreement and should not be discussed until the final meeting on 30 April, when disputed amendments would be put to the vote. The version of the amendment MPs voted on at the final meeting was slightly different to that in the 20 March papers, but still included the key 'not fit' phrase. The vote split the committee, with the Conservatives refusing to support the final report. Something that, one trusts, the voters of Suffolk Coastal (Therese Coffey), Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins), Shipley (the odious Philip Davies), Corby (Mensch herself) and Maldon (John Whittingdale) will remember come the next general election. This rendered it 'partisan and essentially worthless', Mensch said on BBC2's Newsnight on Tuesday. Her comments were widely interpreted as a suggestion that the 'not fit' claim had been sprung on the committee at the last minute by Watson, a suggestion denied by fellow committee members. The amendment was 'certainly' discussed before the Monday meeting, Farrelly told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday. The Liberal Democrat committee member, Adrian Sanders, whose vote with the five Labour members gave them a majority in favour of the 'not fit' amendment, rejected the suggestion that MPs had no prior warning of the amendment. 'The idea suddenly this was completely new – I'm afraid I don't go along with that,' he said. The subject was implicitly discussed throughout the committee's long inquiry, Sanders said: 'In a sense it ran through the whole inquiry – whether it was written down in those terms [or not].' Labour MPs on the culture committee also disclosed that they will not seek to amend the motion put to the Commons on the three News International executives found to have misled parliament. The decision means there will be no attempt to pass an amendment declaring either that Murdoch is not a fit and proper person to run a company, or that he has misled MPs. Discussions are underway on how the issue of misleading parliament will be handled by the Commons authorities, including whether the three former News International executives would be required to apologise in person. Any apology would imply guilt at a time when they may face criminal charges.

Former Scum of the World editor Colin Myler and ex-News International executive chairman Les Hinton have denied giving misleading evidence to MPs over phone-hacking. The Commons culture, media and sport select committee report found that Myler, Hinton and Scum of the World legal affairs manager Tom Crone had misled the MPs in their evidence given to the committee. The MPs said that Myler and Crone 'gave repeated assurances that there was no evidence that any further News of the World employees, beyond Clive Goodman, had been involved in phone-hacking.' 'This was not true and, as further evidence disclosed to us by the newspaper's solicitors Farrer & Co now shows, they would have known this was untrue when they made those statements,' said the report. 'Both Tom Crone and Colin Myler deliberately avoided disclosing crucial information to the Committee and, when asked to do, answered questions falsely.' But Myler, who is now editor of the New York Daily News, said in a statement today: 'While I respect the work that the select committee has carried out, I stand by the evidence that I gave the committee. I have always sought to be accurate and consistent in what I have said to the committee. The conclusions of the committee have, perhaps inevitably, been affected by the fragmented picture which has emerged from the various witnesses over successive appearances and by the constraints within which the committee had to conduct its procedure. These issues remain the subject of a police investigation and the Leveson judicial inquiry and I have every confidence that they will establish the truth in the fullness of time.' The most stinging criticism in the report was reserved for Hinton, who acted as executive chairman of News International, parent company to the Scum of the World, from 1995 to 2007, when he was succeeded by James Murdoch. Hinton was criticised for giving misleading statements to the culture committee over payments made to Clive Goodman, the former royal editor at the Sunday tabloid, who was jailed for phone hacking in 2007. However, Hinton - who resigned from Rupert Murdoch's Dow Jones Company in July 2011 - said that allegations he was complicit in a phone-hacking cover-up were 'unfounded, unfair and erroneous. I have always been truthful in my dealings with the committee' said Hinton in a statement. 'I am shocked and disappointed by the culture, media and sport select committee's allegations that I have misled Parliament. I will be writing to John Whittingdale, the chair of the committee, to object formally.' In compiling the report, the cross-party committee of MPs disagreed over the inclusion of a statement that Rupert Murdoch was 'not fit' to run an international company due to his 'wilful blindness' of employee malpractice. Despite opposition from Tory members, the report said that 'at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications.' It continued: 'This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.' As the Tory MPs refused to endorse the report, it will remain 'partisan' and not be recommended to the House. However, media regulator Ofcom said that it will "consider the report" in its investigation of whether Murdoch and News Corp are 'fit and proper' to own thirty nine per cent of pay-TV giant Sky. Or, indeed, fit and proper to run a piss-up in a brewery. In a statement, News Corp said: 'News Corporation is carefully reviewing the Select Committee's report and will respond shortly. "The company fully acknowledges significant wrongdoing at News of the World and apologises to everyone whose privacy was invaded.'

Ofcom, meanwhile, is intent on not being 'rushed into a knee-jerk reaction' on the review of Sky's broadcasting licence, according to the BBC. Ofcom could revoke Sky's UK broadcasting licence if finds sufficient cause for concern, effectively putting pressure on News Corp to sell the stake. The watchdog has said that it will 'consider' the damning report issued by the culture committee. News Corp has branded claims in the culture committee report as 'unjustified and partisan.'In a statement released on Wednesday alongside its financial results, Sky insisted that it is a 'fit and proper' holder of a broadcasting licence and that it is engaging with Ofcom in the review. The pay-TV giant also pointed to its 'positive contribution to UK audiences, employment and the broader economy, as well as its strong record of regulatory compliance and high standards of governance.' And to hacking the phones of murdered schoolgirls, of course. Shouldn't forget that. The Liberal Democrats wrote to Ofcom yesterday calling on the regulator to 'speed up' its review of the Sky licence following the culture committee's report. However, the BBC has learned that Ofcom is willing to take 'as long as it takes' in the review, as it wants to be 'fully appraised' of the situation. It may be that Ofcom will wait until it has assessed the report by Lord Justice Leveson in his inquiry into press standards and ethics later in the year. But the regulator has already said that it will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal proceedings in the hacking affair before releasing its judgment.

Fresh details of how News International apparently sought goodwill by dangling two offers of sponsorship in front of the London mayor, Boris Johnson, are contained in evidence published by the Leveson inquiry. Rupert Murdoch has admitted in his Leveson testimony that executives at the company were at the time - throughout 2010 - attempting to cover-up the truth about phone-hacking at the Scum of the World. In September 2010, Johnson publicly attacked the hacking disclosures, calling them 'party political codswallop,' a statement which has subsequently proved very uncomfortable for the mayor. Documents subsequently revealed that News International was at the time offering him two million smackers towards an academy school in London and talking of donating millions more to sponsor another Johnson project, a cable car crossing the river Thames. At the end of 2010, according to e-mails published by Leveson, the NI executive Will Lewis asked colleagues: 'Where are we with the schools project, particularly Boris securing the land and Michael Gove [the education secretary] the capital investment?' An internal meeting on the subject was arranged at the company's Wapping HQ with James Murdoch the small. Lewis also discussed the cable car sponsorship with colleagues. He wrote on 11 January 2011: 'Re cable cars: Transport for London have submitted their original planning application and are awaiting the results next month. Once granted, we can hopefully jump in – if we want to.' Both offers were, however, dropped shortly afterwards. Police reopened a criminal investigation into phone-hacking, and the Scum of the World's former editor Andy Coulson was forced to resign as the prime minister's press secretary. 'In the end, I'm afraid News International didn't produce a sausage,' the mayor told the radio presenter Nick Ferrari on LBC this week. In September 2010, when the New York Times published a lengthy investigation confirming allegations of phone-hacking originally made by the Gruniad Morning Star, the mayor leaped to NI's defence. In words that subsequently proved highly embarrassing, Johnson told the London assembly the hacking disclosures were 'a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labour party' and spent several minutes licking News International's collective arsehole for good measure. He did not mention at the time that he was, at that moment, in commercial talks with NI to obtain sponsorship for two prestige projects. When he was challenged at a press conference the following July, after the assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, Champagne John Yates, had been forced to resign over the hacking scandal, Johnson said: 'Okay, I misunderstood the severity of the allegations but that was actually because no one had briefed me.' So, it wasn't Boris's fault, it was everyone else's. He added: 'I had a very, very clear briefing from the police, from John [Yates] that there was nothing new in these allegations.' Johnson's sponsorship dealings with NI began in June 2010, shortly after David Cameron became prime minister, when, according to the e-mails released alongside Rupert Murdoch's testimony to the Leveson inquiry, he held a meeting with well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, then the NI chief executive. They discussed the prospects of NI putting up two million knicker to become the 'lead sponsor' of what was to be called the 'News Academy' in East London. Brooks was, apparently, 'enthusiastic' and Johnson referred her to the London Development Agency, which offered a site in the former Royal Docks and introduced her to Newham council. At the same time, Johnson was looking for up to thirty six million quid in commercial sponsorship for a cable-car crossing of the river in Docklands in time for the Olympics, which could carry News International branding. On 4 July he announced: 'The aim is to fund the construction of the scheme entirely from private finance and discussions are ongoing with a number of private sector organisations that have expressed interest in the project.' On 4 September, a few days before the New York Times hacking revelations, the e-mails disclose that Johnson was 'actively working on the academy scheme', and met Gove to try to persuade him to release enough Whitehall cash for a new school building. Johnson's lobbying appeared to reach its height on 30 November, in East London, when he met James Murdoch the small, accompanied by well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and the editor of The Times, James Harding, as well as Gove himself. According to his hospitality register, after an inspection of a potential academy site alongside the Royal Docks, the party adjourned to the new Forman's smoked salmon restaurant at the Olympic Park and a Transport for London official made a presentation about the cable-car scheme. Johnson's hopes for money from the Murdochs came to nothing. The academy was never built, with NI blaming its pullout on the failure of Gove's department to provide the bulk of the capital required for a new school building. Emirates airline did eventually offer to sponsor part of the cost of the cable car. In the run-up to the mayoral elections, Johnson lost his temper when challenged by BBC London's political editor, Tim Donovan. He said on-air that such questions about his dealings with NI were 'fucking bollocks.' He subsequently defended his actions, saying: 'In difficult economic circumstances my job is to get investment for London.' In an interview with the Gruniad in March, Johnson said the 'implosion of [Rupert] Murdoch's power has been the single biggest political event of the past three years', but added: 'I don't regard him as quite the satanic influence that some do and if you look at the newspaper industry he did a great deal to set it free, and that is a point you don't often hear these days.'

Misfits star Lauren Socha has admitted racially aggravated assault at the start of her court case in Derby. The BAFTA-winning actress had originally denied the charge but changed her plea at the beginning of her trial. The twenty one-year-old was accused of assaulting taxi driver Sakandar Iqbal last year. She has been sentenced to a four month jail term, suspended for one year. She was also told she must carry out eighty hours of community service, pay compensation to her victim and court costs. A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Police said the assault took place in Derby city centre last October. Socha, from Littleover in Derby, won the best supporting actress award at the BAFTAs in 2010 for her role as Kelly in Misfits.

Ofcom has reportedly received almost two hundred complaints from animal lovers allegedly 'outraged' at Keith Lemon offering a puppy as a prize in a competition on ITV's LemonAid last weekend. The media regulator received one hundred and seventy six complaints from members of the public who believe Lemon, the not-particularly-funny alter-ego of the comedian Leigh Francis, and ITV should not have offered up the animal – which was won by a young girl – as a prize in the show aired Saturday 28 April. Ofcom is assessing the complaints to see if there is any reason to launch a full investigation into whether the competition is in breach of the broadcasting code. British viewers tend to be sensitive to the point of stupidness concerning the portrayal of animals on TV. John Lewis re-edited its Christmas TV advert in 2010, removing the image of a young boy going out into the snow to give his dog a stocking. Angry viewers - seemingly with nothing better to do with their time - made one hundred and forty five complaints to the advertising watchdog and a Facebook protest page was launched to force the retailer to remove the scene because they believed it sent 'the wrong message' about how to treat a dog. Last year the Advertising Standards Authority received more than one thousand complaints about a Paddy Power advert that featured a blind footballer seeming to kick a cat into a tree, making it the third most complained about TV advert of all time. The ASA subsequently cleared the advert of - ludicrous - accusations that it 'encouraged animal cruelty' after ruling that the cat was 'clearly and deliberately shown to be unharmed' at the end of the advert. Albeit, up a tree. A VW advert in 2008 featured a dog trained to shiver. UK viewers were outraged and seven hundred and forty three complained to the advertising watchdog. With regard to both this and the following story, dear blog reader, let us, once again, simply marvel at the absolutely shite some people chose to care about.

Virgin Holidays has said that it is 'exploring potential legal action' against BBC1's The Voice over alleged copyright infringement in the show's V-Room area. Introduced in episodes of The Voice broadcast last weekend, the V-Room is described as a 'bright red nerve-centre of Internet chatter', in which presenter Reggie Yates discusses social media activity around the hit talent show. However, Virgin Holidays has operated 'v-room' branded lounges at Gatwick and Manchester airports for the past four years. 'These lounges are exclusively for the use of Virgin Holidays customers and are designed to give them a spacious and well-appointed area with a free buffet, a gaming zone for the kids, a space for infants and a bar for the adults, in which to relax with their families prior to catching their flight,' said the company. 'They are extremely popular with our customers. We are the only holiday company in the UK to offer this service, and the v-room concept is an integral element of our Rockstar Service offering.' Virgin Holidays said that it is concerned that the BBC may have infringed its copyright with the V-Room branding, and the company is therefore exploring potential legal action. 'In the light of this, and the confusion this is causing our customers who are questioning the motives of the BBC in online conversations because they are unsure which property is which,' commented the travel operator. Virgin Holidays is currently exploring whether the use of the term in The Voice represents a copyright infringement and if it is proven to be so, will consider 'appropriate legal action.' Andm of course, none of this has anything whatsoever to the BBC recently forcing Virgin to scrap an advert they'd done with David Tennant which alluded to Doctor Who over copywrite infringement. Oh no. Very hot water.

Any Venn diagram featuring viewers of ITV's risible, calamitous breakfast flop Daybreak and readers of chap's mag FHM may have a larger overlap than we first thought. From The North only mentions this after the ill-fated breakfast programme's sacked former presenter the curiously orange Christine Bleakley jumped thirty five places in this year's list of One Hundred Sexiest Women list to fifty eight – one is aware that this doesn't bear too much forensic analysis – while Horrible Kate Garraway was a new entry at ninety seven. Slightly unnecessarily, the mag points out that Garraway 'at the age of forty four is the most senior entry this year.' And, old enough to be most reader's mother. Probably.

Kelly Rowland has reportedly told friends that she feels 'stitched-up' after executives for The X Factor said that they did not want to bring her back as a judge this year. X Factor 'insiders' allegedly claim that despite the singer's announcement that she was quitting the show, they were keen on signing former judge Dannii Minogue for the next series instead. Previous reports suggested that producers withdrew their offer for Rowland to return after the star allegedly demanded one and a half million smackers to return to the programme. 'Sources' allegedly close to Rowland allegedly told the Mirra that the singer maintains it was her decision 'not to sign' a contract to return as judge on the ITV reality singing competition. 'She has e-mails going back months showing discussions, so it is stupid of them to say they didn't want her or she was being greedy,' one alleged 'insider' allegedly claimed. 'Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads has gone on record saying he wanted Kelly back. She loved doing the show so feels a bit let down. She feels stitched up now and it just looks like they are panicking because they don't have a judge.'
Twatting About on Ice producers are contemplating 'a complete overhaul' of the show's judging panel, according to tabloid reports. Louie Spence, Katarina Witt and Robin Cousins's jobs are all said to be 'at risk' following a drop in ratings during the latest series, reports the Sun. Spence and Witt were brought in as replacements for Emma Bunton and Jason Gardiner at the start of the series, but the duo failed to generate headlines or much viewer support. New host the curiously orange Christine Bleakley was also heavily criticised by many viewers. The ice-skating reality show has typically topped Sunday night ratings in January for ITV for several years, but it lost out due to the huge success of new BBC drama Call The Midwife. An alleged 'source' allegedly told the Sun: 'Dancing On Ice was so boring this year - and it didn't escape the notice of the top brass. We're going back to the drawing board in a bid to inject some life into the show. We're looking at everything - the judges, the stars on the show, everything is up for discussion.' Producers are also apparently considering switching the series from Sunday nights to Saturday nights in 2013.

Jo Joyner has become the latest EastEnders actress announce she will be taking a break from the BBC1 soap. The actress, who plays Tanya Branning, has asked producers for a break in 2013. Joyner wants to leave the soap, when her current contract runs out, to spend more time with her family. The Daily Lies reports that Joyner has told friends her recent storylines have been 'full on' and allegedly told an alleged 'friend': 'The rest of this year is going to be even more dramatic, because the Brannings have got some amazing stuff coming up.' An EastEnders spokesperson is quoted by the Digital Spy website confirming Joyner's temporary exit saying '[she] will be taking a break from filming in 2013 but will definitely return.' The news comes just a day after it was revealed that June Brown will be taking a six month break from EastEnders as well reportedly to write her memoirs. Fellow EastEnders actresses Charlie Brooks, Lindsay Coulson and Patsy Palmer are also taking breaks from the soap with all three expected to return by the end of the year. Jessie Wallace also recently took a three month break but recently returned to the set for filming.

Hollyoaks actress Bronagh Waugh has joined the cast of a new BBC drama. The actress, who portrays Cheryl Brady in the teen soap, will play the wife of a serial killer in upcoming BBC2 thriller The Fall. Waugh said that she will not need to take a break from Hollyoaks to film the five-part piece. She explained: 'I am so thrilled and honoured to have been given this opportunity by the BBC. It is such a challenging and demanding role that I feel will really stretch me and explore my range. Allan Cubitt's script is the kind that actors can only dream of and to be involved with such an esteemed cast and creative team is a definite career high for me. I'm so lucky to have such an understanding boss at Hollyoaks. Emma Smithwick, our executive producer, was so supportive and did everything in her power to enable me to do both. She knew what an amazing opportunity it was for me. It's been tough - working seven days a week and flying back and forth between Belfast and Liverpool - but I absolutely love it!' Playing Sally-Ann Spector in The Fall, Waugh will appear alongside X Files legend Gillian Anderson, who stars as murder investigator DSI Gibson. Hollyoaks co-star Gerard McCarthy had signed up for the show in March. Once Upon a Time's Jamie Dornan and Séainín Brennan have also been recently announced for the cast.

MI6 officer Gareth Williams was 'on the balance of probabilities' unlawfully killed, coroner Fiona Wilcox has said. In a narrative verdict, she said that it was unlikely he got into the bag his body was found in by himself, but doubted his death would ever be explained. The thirty one-year-old code-breaker from Anglesey was found at his central London flat in August 2010. Police say the investigation remains open and officers would be re-examining the evidence gathered. The naked body of Williams was found padlocked inside a red sports holdall in the bath of his home. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said: 'We are already undertaking actions in order to develop existing DNA profiles, to trace unidentified individuals who may have information about Gareth's death and to further develop analysis of telephone communications.' Speaking outside Westminster Coroner's Court after the inquest, Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, who is leading the inquiry, said Scotland Yard 'will now refocus and actively pursue all the evidence heard and all the new lines of inquiry. His naked body was found in the most suspicious of circumstances. It's highly likely that a third party was involved in Gareth's death and I urge anyone who knows Gareth and who had contact with him to search their conscience and come forward with any information.' Family solicitor Robyn Williams said their 'grief is exacerbated by the failure of his employers to take even the most basic inquiries about his whereabouts and welfare.' By the time police were alerted to the code-breaker's disappearance on 23 August 2010, he had not been at work for a week and there was extensive decomposition of his body. MI6 chief Sir John Sawers apologised 'unreservedly' to Williams' family for its 'failure to act more swiftly. The lessons have been learned, in particular the responsibility of all staff to report unaccounted staff absences,' he said in a statement. Responding to the family's criticism an MI6 spokesman said: 'We fully co-operated with the police and will continue to do so during the on-going investigation. We gave all the evidence to the police when they wanted it. At no time did we withhold any evidence.' In her summing up, the coroner said: 'Most of the fundamental questions in relation to how Gareth died remain unanswered.' But, she said, she was 'satisfied ... that a third party moved the bag containing Gareth into the bath' where his body was found. 'The cause of his death was unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated,' she added. 'I am therefore satisfied that on the balance of probabilities that Gareth was killed unlawfully.' The coroner also criticised the Met's SO15 counter-terror branch for the way it handled Williams' work phone and other exhibits. She said the evidence of his line manager on why the absence was not reported sooner 'begins to stretch bounds of credibility.' Williams' sister revealed to the inquest that Williams was unhappy living in London and had complained to family of 'friction' at the intelligence agency. And his family have said they believe he may have been killed by an agent 'specialising in the dark arts of the secret services.' Dr Wilcox said that while there was no evidence to suggest he died at the hands of MI6 'it is still a legitimate line of inquiry.' She said 'it would appear that many agencies fell short.' During the investigation Scotland Yard were not able to speak to Williams' MI6 colleagues directly. The coroner also identified breakdowns in communication by her own office in ordering a second post-mortem examination, a DNA mix-up by forensics and the late submission of evidence by MI6 to police. But she added that 'taking all these shortfalls together, I am satisfied that the evidence is reliable.' Dr Wilcox said the 'highly unusual circumstances' of Williams' death had immediately raised the possibility of foul play however, which had prompted 'endless speculation.' On Williams' accessing of bondage websites, she said: 'Clearly experimenting with bondage would involve danger.' But the coroner ruled his possible interest in bondage and drag queens did not have any direct bearing on his death, and she questioned whether leaks about his private life to the press 'was an attempt by some third party to manipulate the evidence.' Dr Wilcox said no indication of a suicidal intent had been presented. Bag experts have said even Harry Houdini would have struggled to lock himself in the bag. Dr Wilcox said it was 'extremely unlikely' that Williams found a technique to lock and get out of the bag himself, but she could not rule it out. She suggested if Williams had locked himself into the bag he would have taken a knife with him, as he was a 'risk assessor.' The lack of hand and footprints in the bathroom of his Pimlico flat was 'significant', Dr Wilcox added. 'If Gareth had been carrying out some kind of peculiar experiment, he wouldn't care if he left any foot or fingerprints.' The inquest heard from three pathologists who had conducted post-mortem examinations on Williams and who had been unable to reach a firm conclusion on cause of death. But they say poisoning and asphyxiation are the most likely reasons. Dr Wilcox said that she decided to deliver a 'narrative' verdict as an open verdict would not do justice to the case. A narrative verdict has been an option for coroners in England and Wales since 2004 and is where the circumstances of a death are recorded without attributing the cause to a named individual.

A man who rode on a BMW motorcycle two years ago is suing them for having an erection ever since. Some people have to pay good money for that sort of thing. Anyway, after a four-hour ride with a 'ridge-like' seat, Henry Wolf's condition began. Orange News reports that Wolf is holding BMW and the motorcycle seat maker Corbin-Pacific accountable for 'emotional distress' and 'medical expenses'. The Californian has claimed that his situation is due to 'an extreme case of priapism.' Priapism, or the state of having a exceptionally long-lasting erection, usually only occurs for several hours. Wolf's lawsuit states that he is 'now is unable to engage in sexual activity, which is causing him substantial emotional and mental anguish.'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle United moved to within one point of third-placed Arsenal with a remarkable 2-0 win over Moscow Chelski FC. Papiss Demba Cissé opened the scoring at yer actual Torpedo Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night by rifling a stunning left-footed volley into the top corner midway through the first half. That goal was a proper corker but the Senegalese striker's second, and thirteenth in twelve games, shortly before the end was one of the goals of the season - curling from the left flank with the outside of his boot over the helpless frame of Petr Cech and his comedy hat. For Alan Pardew, it was not only a welcome response to The Magpies shockingly poor 4-0 loss at Wigan Not-Very-Athletic on Saturday but also his first win in London since arriving on Tyneside in December 2010. The injured Danny Simpson, who had previously not missed a single Magpies match this season, was replaced with the adaptable utility man James Perch in the only change to Alan Pardew's side. The game began with Moscow Chelski on the front foot, struttin' around like the cockney chancers they are dahn the market on a Sunday, duckin' and divin', lah-v-leee. Fernando Torres was looking confident after his hat-trick against Queen's Park Strangers Gilrs XI on Sunday, and crossed intricately for Daniel Sturridge after ten minutes who scuffed the strike on his favoured foot. The Magpies fought their way back into the match, however, and went ahead on nineteen minutes. Left-back Davide Santon received the ball from Jonás Gutiérrez and cut inside from the wing before passing to Cissé on the edge of the Moscow Chelski area. Cissé chipped the ball up with his first touch then sweetly struck home with his second (with his, supposedly, 'weaker' left foot). The Blues were subdued in their response but, with nine minutes left before the break, they burst into action. Florent Malouda skimmed a header across Tim Krul's goalmouth from a Torres cross and then, a minute later, Branislav Ivanovic nodded over from a corner. At the other end, Demba Ba would have ended his barren spell if not for Cech's stretched save with a minute until half-time. The Newcastle striker then thundered an attempt off the crossbar from a subsequent corner. Bringing on Juan Mata for Sturridge was Roberto Di Matteo's solution to the one-goal deficit, and the Spanish substitute whipped in a couple of free-kicks from the flanks but the threat on Krul's goal remained minimal. Cheick Tioté took a heavy blow to the head on the halfway line in an aerial challenge with Jon Obi Mikel (in which Mikel appeared to lead with his elbow) and had to be stretchered off with an oxygen mask after several minutes of treatment on the pitch. (Pardew confirmed after the game that he should be fit for Sunday's clash, calling  Tioté 'a warrior'.) Moscow Chelski veterans Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard came on after Tioté's nasty injury as Di Matteo chased an equaliser (both to ludicrously arse-licking build ups from the Sky Sports commentary team, it should be noted). Drogba had his first crack on goal from a thirty five-yard free-kick which nearly knocked Krul off his feet as the Dutch keeper caught it on seventy six minutes. Lampard had his turn with nine minutes left of normal time but the experienced midfielder skewed wide. The hosts continued to flood forward and John Terry thought he had scored from one of several corners being poured into the visiting box, but Santon cleared off the line. Ten minutes of stoppage time were signalled because of the Tioté injury, and the home side were the team in the ascendancy. However, Cissé's extraordinary second goal from absolutely nowhere four minutes into added time silenced any Moscow Chelski comeback and, frankly, shut the cockney chancers in the crowd right up and sent them scurrying for the exits and their jellied eels and pints of weak lager with a lemonade top. Pfft. Girls drink. Anyway, Newcastle's ten million quid January signing took the breath away from most of the stadium with an outrageous shot from thirty yards on the left wing after a nod dwon from Shola Ameobi, ensuring he gave the Tyneside club their first league triumph at the West London ground since 1986. United remain in fourth place in the Premiership after Notlob's capitulation and surrender at home to The Stottingtot Hotshots. Happy Harry's lads won 4-1, which will, presumably, have put a bit of smile on his miserable mush after 'The People's Choice' was overlooked in favour of the - massively more qualified - Roy Hodgson for the England job. Much to the gurning and gnashing of teeth of many of Redknapp's odious, sycophantic brown-tongued cheerleaders in Fleet Street and at Sky Sports. Newcastle's next match is against Championship-chasing Sheikh Yer Man City FC on Sunday at St James' Park. Moscow Chelski FC, meanwhile, have a date at Wembley on Saturday against The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws in the Russian FA Cup.
The Football Association have, apparently contacted the Sun and - rightly - protested at that paper's front page on Tuesday mocking Roy Hodgson's speech impediment is 'unacceptable'. Like I say, quite right too. Although it's probably worth asking where was the FA and their sense of 'unacceptability', on 19 April 1989? Just wondering. This week's casually offensive excuse for a story in the Sun has led to more than one hundred complaints to the Press Complaints Commission. News International has not made any comment. Probably too busy working out if they can pin it on a single 'rogue' reporter and then stick to that story for four years. A spokesman for the Press Complaints Commission said: 'I can confirm we have had over a hundred complaints.' The FA said it had also received a 'large number of objections' to the story about the current West Bromwich Albino manager. FA chairman David Bernstein said: 'We are delighted at the media response to Roy's appointment but are disappointed with the headline in the Sun, which we consider is in poor taste and disrespectful.' The game's governing body will not be making an official complaint to the PCC but said it had raised the issue with the newspaper and 'made it clear' the organisation found the front page unacceptable. Justice for the Ninety Six.
US soul and blues guitarist Charles Skip Pitts has died in a Memphis hospital at the age of sixty five. The musician was best known for his distinctive 'wah-wah' guitar pedal sound, memorably featured on Issac Hayes' theme for the 1971 film Shaft. Skip joined Hayes' band in 1970 and remained a member until Hayes' death in 2008. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music said that the musician died on Tuesday and had been suffering from lung cancer. Born in Washington DC, Pitts learned to play guitar when he was eleven years old, picking up tips from neighbour and fellow musician Bo Diddley. By the age of seventeen he performed on Gene Chandler's Rainbow '65 and went on to play with The Isley Brothers (replacing Jimi Hendrix), Sam and Dave and Wilson Pickett. It was his move to Memphis and his near forty-year collaboration with Hayes that earned him his fame. Later in his career, Pitts made appearances in films including Samuel L Jackson movies Black Snake Moan and Soul Men, to which he also contributed to the soundtrack. He also performed on the score for 2005 film Hustle and Flow. Most recently he worked as a session musician for Stax Records and appeared on The Reverend Al Green's I Can't Stop and Cyndi Lauper's Memphis Blues, both of which were nominated for Grammy awards. He also released a CD last autumn, entitled Got to Get Back!, with his band The Bo-Keys. Scott Bomar, his Bo-Keys bandmate, told Memphis website The Commercial Appeal that Skip's style was 'very unique. He took a little bit of the Bo Diddley rhythm, the Northern soul of Curtis Mayfield and the Memphis sound of Steve Cropper and Reggie Young and somehow came up with his own thing, a style that no one had.'

Which very sad news brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. So, this one's for Skip. Here's the hot buttered soul of The Black Moses his very self. And Jesse Jackson with a sensational afro. Rite! On!