Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bring On The New Messiah

The Statue of Liberty will, reportedly, turn into a Weeping Angel in the new series of Doctor Who. Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, wasn't it? The iconic New York landmark will feature in the series finale when the Doctor - played, of course, by yer actual Matt Smith and his companions Amy and Rory travel to America to battle a new army of the deadly creatures. The trio, apparently, with 'get a huge shock' when they discover the biggest Weeping Angel - killer statues which spring to life when they are not being watched - of all is the three hundred feet-high Statue of Liberty. 'A huge shock'? I should ruddy-well cocoa. Personally, if confronted with such a kerfuffle this blogger would, like as not, shat in his own pants and run an effing mile. So, probably just as well that Keith Telly Topping is not in the episode in question, in that case. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has said: 'There will be a final showdown with the Weeping Angels. Not everyone gets out alive. And I mean it this time!' Yeah. Make of that what you will. The Weeping Angels have previously been voted the show's scariest ever adversaries (in a poll which was utterly meaningless, incidentally) but current Time Lord Matt admits he has a 'soft spot' for them. He said: 'They were the first monsters I worked with and I have a soft spot for them. Weirdly, because they don't really speak, there is something even more ruthless about them.'
Meanwhile yer actual Steven Moffat (Thou Shalt Worship No Other Gods A'fore He) has denied reports that a Doctor Who movie is in development. Last year, the director David Yates went shot his big gob off and got lots of people all discombobulated and very hot under the trousers when he claimed to was 'working' on a film spin-off from the BBC popular long-running family SF drama. However, Moffat after several previous statements where he's sought to clarify the situation, seemingly, to no avail has now, clearly, had enough. He described the proposed film project as 'some weird fantasy. I don't think [Yates] was ever signed to it,' the showrunner told Entertainment Weekly. 'I think he's [expressed] an interest in doing it and he's a very fine director, and I think he'd certainly be someone that would be on the list for directing [for] such a project. I'm a big fan of his. But the project as he describes it would not happen.' Moffat added that he hopes to produce a Doctor Who movie 'someday', but insisted that a proposal for a film reboot - unrelated to the BBC show's continuity - 'did not happen. That whole proposal was not true,' he said. 'I can say that with authority because, as far as the BBC is concerned, I'm the voice of Doctor Who. So if I say it, it's true. The BBC own Doctor Who and, for the moment, I run it for them. So I can assure you definitively that was all nonsense - not the idea of making a film, we'd love to make a film, but the idea of a rebooted continuity, a different Doctor.' The Moffster claimed that rebooting Doctor Who for the big screen would be 'writing the book on how to destroy a franchise. [Any future film] will be absolutely run by the Doctor Who production office in Cardiff,' he explained. 'It will feature the same Doctor as on television. It will not be a rebooted continuity. All of that would be insane.' So, there you have it, dear blog reader. Not happening. As I believe this blogger correctly predicted the first time all this nefarious skulduggery, malarkey, shenanigans and doings first reared their ugly collective head, last year. It's nice to be right.

Ben Elton has reportedly written a new sitcom pilot for BBC1. That'll be worth avoiding.

Yer actual big shouty Gregg Wallace has claimed that Victoria Hervey (no, me neither) was the worst ever Celebrity MasterChef contestant. What's slightly more worrying is that Victoria Hervey (whom this blogger had to look up and, frankly, is still non-the-wiser as to what she actually does to be considered a 'celebrity') was included in a 'celebrity' edition of the show in the first place. Wallace told Heat that the 'model, socialite, aristocrat, and former "It girl"' (at least, according to Wikipedia) wanted to use a shop-bought jar of pesto in her pasta dish. Well, you've almost got to admire her cheek. Not in regard to the pesto but in regard to claiming to be a 'celebrity'. Asked who was the best cook to have featured on the show, Wallace said: 'Since they won it? Lisa Faulkner. At the time of winning? Phil Vickery, closely followed by Nadia Sawalha. The worst was that model, Victoria Hervey. She wanted to make spaghetti and pesto using a jar of pesto.' He added: 'From the series you can expect to see us break down the façade of celeb and turn these people into normal contestants. That, for me, is the thrill of Celebrity MasterChef. If they get through the early stages, they just want it so badly. They stop being celebs and start being MasterChef contestants.' Co-host John Torode said: 'At times we see the best cooking we've ever had, and at other times we see the worst. It's real extremes.'

Britain's efforts to win a medal in the synchronised diving was seen by a peak audience of 6.2m viewers on Monday. Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield, who lead the field after the first few dives, eventually finished in fourth place and just missed out on a bronze. BBC1 attracted an average audience of 3.82m between 1.45pm and 4pm, while the channel managed a peak-time audience share of fifty two per cent. From 4pm, Britain's unexpected (be, very well deserved) bronze in the mens' gymnastics was witnessed by 4.83m, before 6.37m watched swimming from the Aquatics Centre during the evening show from 7:30pm. Zara Phillips's involvement in the cross-country stage of the equestrian competition pulled in 1.7m royalists between 11.45am and 1pm. Some 2.17m tuned-in for rowing from 9am. Olympic Breakfast (1.54m) and Olympics Tonight (2.34m) continued to pick up solid figures at 6am and 10.35pm respectively. BBC3's wall-to-wall coverage continued to muster a strong set of ratings, with 1.03m from 2pm and 1.15m between 7pm and 11pm watching coverage of the gymnastics and the hockey.

Meanwhile, the first episode of EastEnders to be broadcast on BBC2 on Monday night, averaged 5.7m viewers with a peak of 6.1m.

London 2012 is just a few days old but, already the event is a record breaker for the BBC, after the BBC Sport website saw huge web traffic at the weekend and there were 1.7m iPlayer requests for the BBC's coverage of the Opening Ceremony. Released on Monday, BBC Online's first stats for its Olympic coverage revealed that BBC Sport attracted 7.8m global browsers on Saturday, a worldwide record for the day, and 5.6m browsers in the UK. The following day, the BBC Sport site attracted 8.3m global browsers and 6.1m British browsers - both a UK and global record. The BBC announced on Friday that its BBC Olympics mobile app had generated five hundred thousand downloads on iPhone and Android, but that more than doubled over the weekend to 1.15m. On Saturday, fifty five per cent of browsers to the BBC Sport site came from non-desktop devices, such as smartphones and tablets, said the BBC. Danny Boyle's acclaimed celebration of British history in the London 2012 Opening Ceremony attracted a television audience with a peak of almost twenty seven million viewers on Friday, beating the amount that tuned-in for last year's royal wedding. In fact, the only people who didn't enjoy it were a whinging right-wing shit-scum MP, some slaphead berk of no consequence in the Torygraph and, Rupert Murdoch. So, that's a collective you really want to belong to, isn't it? However, the spectacle also racked up 1.7m requests on BBC iPlayer, including nine hundred and twenty five thousand on Saturday alone - a record for a single day on the BBC's catch up TV platform.

Chinese gold medallist swimmer Ye Shiwen, aged sixteen, has denied taking drugs to enhance her performance, saying there was 'no problem with doping.' A US coach had earlier said Ye's record-breaking performance in Saturday's four hundred metres individual medley was 'disturbing.' Which is, apparently, American for 'I'm a sore loser.' if you've got any proof that she's taking drugs, pal, present it. Otherwise, shut the fuck up and take your team's beating like a man, you sound ridiculous. Christ, some people are just scum. Elsewhere, police are currently investigating an offensive tweet sent to diver Tom Daley about his late father. Dorset Police are looking into a Twitter message sent to Daley after he failed to win a medal in the synchronised diving event. A seventeen year old from Weymouth has, reportedly, been arrested in connection with this. The tweet is said to have made reference to Tom's father, who sadly died of cancer in May last year. This blogger repeats, some people, it seems, are simply scum. Also, Lithuanian fifteen-year-old Ruta Meilutyte - who goes to school in Plymouth - won her country's first-ever Olympic gold in the swimming pool in the women's one hundred metres breaststroke. And, there was some right kerfuffle at the fencing (yeah, the fencing). Ukrainian fencer Yama Shemayakina won epee gold but the headlines were grabbed by Shin A Lam. The South Korean forced a lengthy delay to competition after breaking down in tears following her semi-final loss to German Britta Heidemann. Shin looked to have beaten Heidemann only for the clock to be reset with one second remaining of sudden death. Heidemann then managed to score a decisive hit for a six-five win. The result angered the South Korean camp, who appealed. But their protests were ignored and Shin's coach was eventually escorted from the arena. 'I don't really know how to express the way I feel right now,' said Shin. 'I've been trying and working to get an Olympic medal for four years. Now I lost it in just one second. It's just impossible to accept.' What was that about it not being the winning that's important but the taking part?

David Cameron has urged overseas investors to back the UK's art, film, television, music and literature. Well, it might be an idea if your government did likewise, pal. The oily prime minister (and drag) told an audience including the Duchess of Cambridge that 'now is the time' to support the creative industries. He added that the Olympic opening ceremony had shown the country's 'incredible' talent, adding that many stars of Hollywood films were British. The reception was part of the GREAT campaign, to showcase the arts. It took place at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, was also attended by the lack of culture secretary (and bell-end hurler) the vile and odious rascal Hunt and Apple designer Sir Jonathan Ive. In his speech, Cameron said: 'I think a very simple message today is that if you are involved in the creative industries, now is the time to come and invest in Britain. I think you can see that from the people who are in the room tonight. You can see it from that incredible opening ceremony that Danny Boyle and Stephen Daldry and others produced. Also, I think you can see it in some of the extraordinary facts about the creativity of British art, television, music, drama, literature and cultural industries.' Cameron added: 'Not many people know this but, if you want superstars, of course all the big actors currently playing Batman, Spiderman or Superman are all actually British.' Yeah. I think you'll actually find lots of people knew that long before you did, Dave. 'If it's storytelling you are after, three of the best movie franchises of all time - Bond, Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter - are all British. If it's music you're after, of course Adele had the bestselling album this year. If it's television you're after, you need look no further than the fact that the president of the United States' favourite TV programme is overwhelmingly starring British actors, in of course Homeland.'

British actress Polly Walker is set to join the cast of CBS drama The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker, for its fifth season. CBS has announced a raft of new cast additions and guest stars for several of its shows on Sunday during the TCA Press Tour. Amongst the names revealed as cropping up in some of its shows was Walker who will join The Mentalist in a recurring role. She will play FBI Agent Alexa Schultz a 'beautiful alpha female with a quick-witted personality,' it says here. The actress was most recently seen in BBC1's critically acclaimed drama Prisoners' Wives but will probably be most familiar to American audiences for her role of the scheming Atia of the Juli in HBO and the BBC's lavish co-production Rome. Polly'ss other notable roles include Sister Clarice Willow in Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica, the put-upon Anne Collins in State of Play and Ranna in Sanctuary. The actress will not be the only addition to The Mentalist for its fifth season. Former Charmed actor Ivan Sergei will recur as FBI agent Gabe Mancini while Jim O'Heir will guest star in the season premier.

Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman caused 'unintentional offence' when referring to those who believe in the Old Testament as 'stupid', the BBC Trust has ruled. Which proves two things. Firstly that the BBC Trust are back to their old trick of displaying rank and despicable spineless cowardice in the face of criticism from arseholes. And, secondly, that they also don't know their arse from their elbow since whether he was right or wrong to do it - and personally, this blogger couldn't give a stuff one way or t'other, that's what you get in a society where we have freedom of speech - it's clear that Paxo did intend to offend, intentionally, some narrow-minded Godbotheres. And, very satisfyingly, he succeeded. During a interview with atheist author Richard Dawkins - a prick of quite towering proportions, this blogger wants to add that at this juncture just in case anyone thinks this is a one-sided bit of bashing - the presenter also used the term 'religious hogwash' when introducing the story of Genesis. That's Genesis the book of the bible, rather than Genesis the turgid hippie rockers, to whom the term hogwash would have been entirely acceptable. Sorry, but it's The Law. A single complainant - who, clearly, had nothing more important to do with his or her time - also accused Paxman of 'bias' against religious belief. The Trust's editorial standards committee did not agree with this and also ruled that he was 'not deliberately offensive.' But, it recognised that 'some' viewers - glakes, mainly - 'were unlikely to have expected Jeremy Paxman's typically robust and confrontational interviewing style to extend to the use of the terms "religious hogwash" and "stupid people."' In which case 'some viewers' should frigging well get over themselves, we live in the Twenty First Century not the Fifteenth. Whether God exists or doesn't - and, as noted at this side of this page, this blogger is entirely open to extreme possibilities in either direction on that score - is a matter for personal faith and the idea that ones own personal faith can be damaged by a withering bit of sarcasm from Jezza Paxman suggests that the faith being damaged wasn't very strong to begin with. The committee said it 'regretted' the offence caused to some viewers by the use of the terms in question on the programme, broadcast on BBC2 on 13 September 2011. Cowards. Utter, utter, spineless wretched waste-of-space cowards. The committee said it did not believe the Newsnight item was biased but partly upheld the complaint regarding offence. In a separate case, the BBC's economics editor was found not to have been biased when she said London's finance services accounted for 'a tiny fraction' of the UK economy. But the BBC Trust did rule that 'due accuracy' had not been achieved in Stephanie Flanders' report on 9 December. For punishment, she had to go an sit next to Jezza in the naughty corner.

A thirty seven-year-old Sun journalist has been arrested by Metropolitan police detectives investigating alleged criminal breaches of privacy, as gleefully reported by the Gruniad Morning Star. The man was arrested on Tuesday morning on suspicion of handling stolen goods. A News International spokeswoman confirmed that he was a Sun journalist. He becomes the ninth person held by Scotland Yard's Operation Tuleta investigation and the third journalist held on suspicion of handling stolen goods. The Metropolitan police said in a statement: 'The arrest relates to a suspected conspiracy involving the gathering of data from stolen mobile phones and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately.' The man was arrested by appointment at an East London police station, Scotland Yard said. On Monday the Sun's chief foreign correspondent, Nick Parker, was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, and the paper's news reporter Rhodri Phillips was held earlier this month on the same grounds. Operation Tuleta is the Met investigation into alleged computer hacking and other criminal breaches of privacy not covered by the two other parallel probes, Operation Weeting, into phone-hacking, and Operation Elveden, into illegal payments to public officials.

Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins has had his Olympic training kit stolen from a Surrey hotel being used as a base for the British cycling team. In a message on Twitter on Sunday, he said: 'Watch your kit at the Foxhills spa, there is a tea leaf about.' The Foxhills hotel, in Ottershaw, said that The Wiggster had 'left it unattended' on the men's locker room changing room benches while using the sauna and shower facilities. It claimed that 'cycling fever' was to blame for the loss of the lycra rather than, you know, theft. Wiggins had returned to the hotel following a practice session ahead of Wednesday's London 2012 road cycling time trial races. In a statement, Foxhills said that he had arrived at the health spa at 12:45 on Sunday to use the gym and spa facility. 'Upon returning back to the locker room it seems that cycling fever has well and truly hit the Surrey club as the Official Team GB training lycra were nowhere to be seen. It seems an over-zealous fan has scored a fantastic London 2012 souvenir.' Wiggins later tweeted: 'Gotta delete tweet Re the thief, bad PR, never mind my kit though!' Quite right.

The BBC has confirmed that it will broadcast the interview that yer actual Cheryl Cole was alleged to have walked out of. The Heaton Horror vehemently denied reports in the press that she left a 'daft' Q&A with a BBC Team at Capital FM's Summertime Ball last month. 'I have never walked out of an interview in my career,' she wrote at the time. 'I had to be reminded of what your even referring to. Stop telling lies.' However, the BBC has now released a trailer for the allegedly 'satirical' series The Revolution Will Be Televised - which, this blogger must say, looks about as as funny as testicular discomfort - which includes footage of Jolyon Rubinstein interviewing Cole under the guise of BBCOMGWTF reporter Zam Zmith. Usher, Dizzee Rascal, The Wanted, Conor Maynard and Lawson are also shown being asked various left-field questions by Rubinstein, including, 'What is the meaning of life?', 'What happens when we die?' and, 'What would you do about the current crisis of austerity?' Presumably, this horrorshow was commissioned by the same person who thought The Mighty Boosch was. like, the funniest thing that, like, they'd ever seen in the world, bar none.

The high court has maintained the anonymity of several sporting-type people and public figures even though their privacy injunctions have been lifted. Newspapers will still be prevented from naming eight people who took out gagging orders against News International, the publisher of the Sun, last year to prevent details of their private life from being made public. In a ruling handed down at the high court on Monday, Mr Justice Tugendhat said the original injunctions would be undermined if newspapers were now allowed to name those behind them. At least five of the injunctions were brought to prevent newspapers from publishing allegations of alleged extramarital affairs. They were brought separately by two footballers, another well-known sportsman, a man 'in the entertainment industry' (which, really, sound like a euphemism for something else entirely, doesn't it?) and the former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin. Who, seemingly, can be named. Tugendhat said in his judgment: 'The fact that the various injunctions granted in these actions have been discharged does not mean that it would be lawful for anyone to publish the information, disclosure of which had been prohibited by those injunctions.' He added: 'In my judgment it is necessary for the anonymity orders to remain in force for the reasons submitted on behalf of the claimants.' News International has signed a consent order agreeing not to name the eight people. Or, seven of them, anyway. The newspaper group said it 'no longer had any intention' of publishing the private information. Three of the injunctions that have been lifted relate to footballers and another sportsman – identified in court only as JIH, MJN and TSE – who sought gagging orders to prevent details of alleged extramarital affairs being published by the Sun. A man working in the entertainment industry, identified in court under the acronym ETK, brought his order to prevent the Scum of the World from publishing allegations of an extramarital affair with a colleague. Goodwin, the former RBS boss, has his injunction partially lifted in May 2011 when details of his private life were made public in the House of Lords. On Monday, Tugendhat said that the anonymity of another person in that injunction, identified only as VBN, must be preserved. Another injunction lifted on Monday was brought by XJA, described in court only as 'a well-known person' who took legal action in December 2010 to prevent the publication of material that 'would seriously affect the harmony of his family.' The eighth case refers to a person named only as NOM, whose applications for an anonymity order have previously been heard in private.

A staff writer for the New Yorker has resigned after he admitted to inventing quotes by Bob Dylan in a recent book. Ooo, naughty. Mind you, that should be enough to get him a job on the Daily Lies or the Sun, they use made-up quotes from unattributed sources all the time. Jonah Lehrer acknowledged in a statement from his book publisher that some quotes he used 'did not exist,' and others were misquoted. The resignation came after the online magazine Tablet wrote an in-depth, snitchy, but well-researched - piece on the quotations used in Imagine: How Creativity Works. Shipments of the book, which was published in March, have been halted. The e-book version has been delisted. Houghton Mifflin, the publisher, said Lehrer had committed a 'serious misuse.' Lehrer was already somewhat out of favour at the New Yorker, which is known for its thorough fact-checking, after he admitted last month to having recycled passages for the magazine that he had written for previous publications. Gotta say, as somebody who does that all the time, if that was the worst of his crimes then I'd be defending the chap. But, it isn't. His admission came after Michael Moynihan of the Tablet contacted him about the quotes. 'I told Mr Moynihan that [the quotes] were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan's representatives,' he said. 'This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologise to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers.' Well, not to mention Bob himself, mate. I'd've said he's the one you owe the biggest apology to, pal, sod your editors. Among the quotes that were called into question was one that first appeared in the legendary 1960s documentary of Dylan's first British tour, Don't Look Back. When asked about his songs, Dylan says 'I just write them. There's no great message.' In his book, Lehrer added a third sentence - 'Stop asking me to explain' - which does not appear in the film. According to Tablet, Lehrer had also invented Dylan quotes about the song 'Like A Rolling Stone'. When confronted with the lack of attribution, Lehrer said he had been granted access to an unedited version of No Direction Home, an award-winning Arena documentary about Dylan by Martin Scorsese. He has now admitted that he never saw such footage. 'This is a terrifically sad situation,' New Yorker editor David Remnick said in a statement. 'But, in the end, what is most important is the integrity of what we publish and what we stand for.' Sales of Lehrer's book have been respectable before the scandal brought it all crashing down. Whether those who'd already bought it will get a refund is, at the present time, unclear. Although, personally, if I was them I'd be tempted to hand onto it, it might well be a collectors item in years to come.

Hundreds of millions of people have been left without electricity in Northern and Eastern India after a massive power breakdown. More than half the country has been left without power after three grids collapsed - one for a second day. Hundreds of trains have come to a standstill and hospitals are running on back-up generators. The country's power minister has blamed the crisis on states drawing too much power from the national grid. The breakdowns in the Northern, Eastern, and North-Eastern grids mean around six hundred million people have been affected in twenty of India's states. In a statement on national TV on Tuesday evening (which, of course, those affected couldn't actually see or hear because they've got no electricity !), 'Power Minister' Sushil Kumar Shinde said he had appealed to states to stop trying to take more than their quota of power. Well, he is the Power Minister after all, it would seem to be his department. What a great job title Power Minister is. I'd love to be Power Minister. 'I have also instructed my officials to penalise the states which overdraw from the grid,' he said. Shinde said the North-Eastern grid was fully up and running, forty five per cent of the Northern grid had been restored and thirty five per cent of the Eastern grid. Also on Tuesday it was announced that Shinde had been promoted to the post of Home Minister, in a widely anticipated cabinet reshuffle. Aw. I'll bet he preferred being Power Minister. In Delhi, Metro services were halted and staff evacuated trains. Many traffic lights are also not operating in Delhi, leading to massive traffic jams. In Eastern India, around two hundred miners were trapped underground as lifts failed, but officials later said an operation had begun to get them out. 'All of them cannot be pulled out together. It is a very slow process,' Eastern Coalfields general manager Niladri Roy told the AFP news agency. He said that the miners were 'all safe' and would be 'home for dinner.' except, of course, if they've got an electric oven in which case, don't get yer hopes up for anything hot, lads. The failure on the Northern grid on Monday also caused severe disruption and travel chaos across Northern India. One shopworker in Delhi, Anu Chopra, said: 'I can understand this happening once in a while but how can one allow such a thing to happen two days in a row? It just shows our infrastructure is in a complete mess. There is no transparency and no accountability whatsoever.' I'd get on to the Power Minister if I were you, love. He's the chap with the power. Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, the chairman of the Power Grid Corporation of India told reporters that he anticipated power being restored by 19:00. 'Our message to people is that they are in safe hands, we have been in the job for years,' RN Nayak said. The exact cause of the power cut was unclear, he said, but that it appeared to be due to the 'interconnection of grids. We have to see why there was a sudden increase in load. We will make sure that such a situation is not repeated,' he said. After Monday's cut, engineers managed to restore electricity to the Northern grid by the evening, but at 13:05 on Tuesday, it collapsed again. The Eastern grid failed around the same time, officials said, followed by the North-Eastern grid. Areas affected include Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan in the North, and West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand in the East. Smriti Mehra, who works at the Bank Of India in Delhi, said it had to turn customers away. 'There is no Internet, nothing is working. It is a total breakdown of everything in our office,' she told AFP. Mind you, one spin-off effect has been the lack of phone calls to home owners in the Uk from someone with a suspiciously Indian-sounding accent but a name like 'Steve' who claims to be ringing from 'Windows Support' to tell them that they computer is at risk. Across West Bengal, power went at 13:00 and all suburban railway trains on the Eastern railways ground to a halt from Howrah and Seladah stations, the BBC's Rahul Tandon reported from Calcutta. However, the city is not badly affected as it is served by a private electricity board. Power cuts are common in Indian cities because of a fundamental shortage of power and an ageing grid - the chaos caused by such cuts has led to protests and unrest on the streets in the past. Especially when there's an important IPL game in progress when the telly went off. But the collapse of an entire grid is rare - the last time the northern grid failed was in 2001. India's demand for electricity has soared in recent years as its economy has grown but its power infrastructure has been unable to meet the growing needs. Correspondents say unless there is a huge investment in the power sector, the country will see many more power failures.

According to the BBC, West Hampsters have agreed a loan deal with Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws that would see Andy Carroll move to Upton Park – but the striker will do his best to resist the move, according to the Guardian. And, West Hampsters themselves have denied doing any such thing according to various other reports. The deal is said to involve the Hammers handing over two million quid in return for taking the England centre-forward on loan for the coming season. But they must then hand over another seventeen million notes to make the deal permanent if they're still in the Premier League at the end of the season. The arrangement would reunite twenty three-year-old Carroll with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, who was - briefly - his boss of Newcastle. But the Gruniad Morning Star reports that Carroll will 'resist' the move because he prefers a return to Newcastle, the club whom he left for Anfield in a thirty five million knicker deal eighteen months ago.

Carroll's former team-mate Joey Barton, meanwhile, has threatened to sue national newspaper the Daily Lies. The controversial footballer posted a series of messages on Tuesday on Twitter in response to an article from the publication suggesting that he is worried about having gained weight since the end of the football season. 'What a load of balderdash in today's Daily Star,' Barton said. 'Not my style but because u [sic] have quoted me and it's complete lies. I'll have to sue. Thanks. Unless of course the co-editor comes out wearing a clown suit and public [sic] accepts the fact she's a BAD liar.' Yeah, like that's going to happen. This blogger is still waiting for the Lies to acknowledge that their 2003 story about pop wannabe Holly Valance being 'in talks' to replace Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a load of old cock and bull malarkey. Barton added: 'The fact they had they audacity to call me a "plonker" as well,' continued Barton. 'Quite funny how bad of a firm of liars they are. How do they think that absolute lies in this day and age, are going to be accepted? Are they that stupid? Appears they are.' Good question, Joe. We'll get back to you on that one when we have an answer. 'Their lie is not to call me a "plonker" plonkers, that's just an opinion, the real lies are in the rest of the article and its made up quotes.'

Dear blog readers may recall that the Daily Lies also has something a history for its dramatic front-page headlines involving Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads. (Remember Telly King Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads is dead from June last year?) Tuesday's Lies also pushes the boat out: Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's secret Big Bro sex romps, screamed the headline, leading any ordinary reader to wonder whether a) they've missed Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's stint in the Big Brother house and b) how Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's 'secret Big Bro sex romps' have only just come to light. Alas, the story explains that someone you've never heard of who claims to be Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's ex-partner will go on Celebrity Big Brother in August. We're reminded of Lies editor Dawn Neesom's trip before the beak at the Leveson inquiry in January when she was questioned of the earlier Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads splash. She said: 'Um ... it's dramatic. Eye-catching.' And mendacious bollocks, Dawn?

Meanwhile, speaking of odious newspaper lies, unfunny lard bucket (and drag) James Corden has denied tabloid reports that he is planning to write more episodes of Gavin & Stacey. Which is, of course, the best news we've heard all week. Corden was, allegedly 'quoted' by the Daily Scum Mail as saying that he 'definitely' plans to revive the bafflingly popular BBC comedy. This blog reported on this very sad news on Monday. However, Corden wrote on his official Twitter account: 'Getting loads of messages about a Gavin & Stacey special. I'm sorry to say there are no plans right now I'm afraid, but maybe one day!' A, little sting in the tail there. Still, it would appear that if Corden is telling the truth - and we have no reason to doubt the veracity of his comments - then the 'quotes' attributed to him by the Daily Scum Mail were, in fact, of the same variety as the Daily Lies use on, according to Joey Barton, 'a daily basis.' Wonder if Jonah Lehrer fancies a job there?

The Only Way is Essex 'stars' (or, you know, 'the people who appear in it', anyway) are, reportedly, facing the tin-tack following recent walkouts. Several cast members of the ITV2 series were recently said to have 'walked out' of filming after complaining about low pay and long working hours. However, producers have now allegedly sent out a warning letter to those cast members telling them that they may be axed if they keep halting production. Although, sadly, not with an actual axe. 'Bosses aren't prepared to take any nonsense,' an alleged 'insider' allegedly told the Sun. 'They know some cast members have been complaining about long hours and low pay, but have told them to stop whingeing and get on with it. Producers are particularly annoyed about time-keeping and the way some of them treat production staff. The stars have been told they have to start arriving on time and must be respectful to the crew.' The alleged 'source' allegedly added: 'They have been told nobody is bigger than the show - and if they don't like it they should leave as there are loads of people who'd replace them in a heartbeat. Even though the cast only get paid eighty pounds a day, they earn thousands from personal appearances and deals they wouldn't get if they weren't on the show, so producers feel in a strong position.'

And, so to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This is for everybody who got excited by the dressage. Always loved Anton Corbijn's 'wacky' video for this one.

Every Time, Just Like The Last On Her Ship Tied To The Mast

Matt Smith has praised Doctor Who guest-star Ben Browder. American actor Browder - best known for his roles in the cult SF series Farscape and Stargate SG-1 - will appear in a Western-themed Doctor Who episode as a cowboy. 'He's great in it,' Smith told Entertainment Weekly. 'He brings that sort of American naturalism which we Brits just don't have, however hard we try. He makes a good cowboy. He has that great drawl. And the wonderful Adrian Scarborough is in that [too], he just steals the whole episode. He's fantastic.' Browder's episode - titled A Town Called Mercy - is currently expected to be shown third in Doctor Who's forthcoming seventh series. 'We went out and shot in Almeria in Spain, where they shot The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars - all the Sergio Leone stuff,' Smudger said. 'You know, we've done Utah, we've done a great big Western, we've done New York. I think it's very exciting to see just where else it can go.' The actor claimed that each future Doctor Who episode resembles 'a big film-of-the-week.' He added: 'We've got dinosaurs on a spaceship. We've got a Western episode. We've got New York and Weeping Angels. And I think that's quite exciting. It's like going to the box office every week.'

Meanwhile, Matt has also said that he was has 'learnt to live' with comparisons to the other Doctor Who actors. No, no, no, no, no. This will not do. It's 'learned', Smudger, not 'learnt'. Jeez, do they teach these kids nothing at the Prydonian Academy these days? The actor - who is, just in case you've been asleep for the last forty nine years, the eleventh actor to play the iconic role - admits he struggles to think of himself amongst a list of actors including William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison and David Tennant and knows he can not be every fan's favourite inclination of the character. He said: 'It's par for the course, and something that you learn to live with and adapt to. People will have their favourites. For some people, it'll be Patrick [Troughton]. For some, Pertwee. For others, Tennant. For me, to even be mentioned on that list, that's enough of a thing - when you think about it, eleven actors!' However, the twenty nine year old admits he did accept himself as the character very early on into the casting. He added to Doctor Who magazine: 'When did I accept myself? I had to do it very early on. Even in moments of self-doubt, you have to stick to your instincts and be convinced about them. There is no other way, you've got to have faith in your ability.'

Police investigating alleged privacy breaches related to the phone-hacking inquiry have arrested a man on suspicion of handling stolen goods. The fifty one-year-old - a journalist according to reports - was arrested on Monday after attending a central London police station by appointment. He was arrested by officers from Operation Tuleta, which is probing allegations of computer hacking. The arrest relates to a suspected conspiracy involving the gathering of data from stolen mobile phones. It is the eighth arrest in Operation Tuleta, and comes less than a fortnight after a Sun journalist was arrested by the same investigation. The investigation is running alongside Operation Weeting, into phone-hacking, and Operation Elveden, which is looking at corrupt payments by journalists to public officials.

Rebecca Adlington's bronze medal in the women's four hundred metres freestyle final was watched by nearly eleven million overnight viewers, the biggest audience for the 2012 Olympics so far outside the massive audience garnered by the opening ceremony. Adlington's race had a peak audience of 10.14 million viewers on BBC1 at 8.25pm on Sunday, rising to 10.7 million when viewers to one of the BBC's twenty four digital Olympics channels, BBC Olympics Six, were included. The whole of BBC1's Olympics 2012 evening programme, which featured the Adlington final, averaged 7.2 million viewers between 7pm and 10pm. Earlier, more than seven million viewers saw Lizzie Armitstead win Britain's first medal of the games. The exciting climax to the women's cycling road race had 6.8 million viewers on BBC1 and another eight hundred thousand on BBC Olympics Three, giving it a total audience of 7.6 million at 3.35pm. The whole of BBC1's afternoon Olympics programme averaged 4.69 million viewers between 1.15pm and 5pm. Britain's 3-1 win over United Arab Emirates in the men's football - which yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was watching - also proved a ratings winner for BBC3. The match peaked with 3.2 million viewers at 9.30pm, with another five hundred thousand on the BBC HD channel and eight hundred thousand on BBC Olympics Two, giving it a total audience of 4.5 million. BBC3's four-hour evening Olympics programme, which also included Great Britain's basketball defeat by Russia, averaged 1.4 million viewers between 7pm and 11pm. In another predictably strong performance by BBC1, which is showing blanket coverage of the London games apart from its news bulletins, the channel had a twenty eight per cent share of the audience across the whole of Sunday. BBC3, which is also showing wall-to-wall Olympics, had a 6.1 per cent share, for the second day running putting it only narrowly behind ITV (6.8 per cent). ITV1's top-rating programme was London Zoo documentary The Zoo, which had 2.52 million viewers between 8pm and 9pm. It was followed by a repeat of David Jason drama A Touch of Frost, watched by 2.09 million viewers between 9pm and 11pm. Channel Four looked to tackle the Olympics appeal with a documentary about erotic phenomenon, First Shades of Grey. The network seemed to hit the G-spot with Sex Story: First Shades of Grey, watched by 2.16 million viewers between 10pm and 11pm. BBC2 threw a new series into the mix with The Dark: Nature's Nighttime World, visiting the jungle of Costa Rica after the sun has set. It began a three-part run with a more than respectable 1.79 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Earlier, BBC1's highlights of the Formula 1 Grand Prix from Hungary had 3.64 million viewers between 5pm and 6.30pm.

Meanwhile, still no the subject of ratings, here's the Top Twenty consolidated figures for week ending 22 July 2012:-
1 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.14m
2 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.25m
3 Emmerdale - Mon ITV - 7.17m
4 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.21m
5 Countryfile - Sun BBc1 - 5.14m
6 Wallander - Sun BBC1 - 5.01m
7 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.80m
8 Ten O'Clock News - Tues BBC1 - 4.66m
9 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.62m
10 DIY: SOS The Big Build - Wed BBC1 - 4.45m
11 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 4.35m
12 The National Lottery: Secret Fortune - Sat BBC1 - 4.28m
13 Mrs Brown's Boys - Sat BBC1 - 4.28m
14 The ONE Show - Mon BBC1 - 4.26m
15 Line Of Duty - Tues BBC2/BBC HD - 4.24m
16 Film: Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade - Sat BBC1 - 4.21m
17 Britain's Secret Treasures - ITV Fri - 3.87m*
18= Crimewatch - Tues BBC1 - 3.78m
18= Twatting About On Ice Goes Gold - ITV Sun - 3.78m*
20 Turn Back Time: The Family - BBC1 Tues - 3.70m
As usual, those ITV showed marked '*' do not include ITV HD figures.

Benedict Cumberbatch has broken his silence on the upcoming CBS series Elementary. The US network will soon premiere its modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes, set in New York and starring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson. The concept is very similar - very similar - to the BBC's acclaimed modern version of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Sherlock, starring Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Cumberbatch stated that he would be concerned that the show's dynamic would be different from his series due to the lack of a male Watson. 'If I were the [producer], I'd be frightened of the dynamic of male friendship that you'd lose,' he told TVLine. 'Because that is obviously the bedrock of the books as well. [Now] there might be sexual tension between Joan and Sherlock, which is [a different dynamic than you'd have] between the two men. So, that's a new thing to explore.' However, the actor said that he has no ill-feeling towards the new show, and that he wishes his friend Jonny Lee Miller good luck. 'I really do. I think it will be great. It will be a different spin on it, because obviously, theirs is modern-day as well, so it needs to be different from ours, and I think the more differences, the better, to be honest. I don't see why they shouldn't co-exist with us,' he added. 'I don't think they'll steal our audience. I think people who are Holmes fans who think they do a good job of it will have a treat in watching ours and the films. So I wish them good luck!'

Danny O'Donoghue has, reportedly, confirmed that Jessie J is not returning to The Voice for series two. Speculation has been mounting over the singer's future involvement with the show since May, with a tabloid report last week claiming that she was definitely not being asked back. O'Donoghue is quoted by the People as saying: 'I'm really sad she's not coming back - we have a great friendship.' Defending his coaching partner, The Script singer added: 'She wasn't a diva at all - I have never seen her throw tantrums. Jessie is incredibly articulate and she's headstrong. That sometimes can be misconstrued as being too arrogant. But she's a brilliant role model for young women.' Sir Tom Jones recently revealed that he was in talks with the BBC about renewing his contract, but stated that he would only do so once he knew the identities of the three other coaches. There have been no official confirmations so far, but O'Donoghue and will.i.am are both expected to retain their places on the panel.

Alan Davies had no expectations for Qi being successful when it began. The comedian is a regular panelist on the comedy quiz show - hosted by Stephen Fry - and admits that he is often bemused as to why it is a cult hit. He said: ' don't think any of us had any expectations for it. In effect, it's a bunch of people talking about very obscure stuff all presided over by a ridiculously clever man who makes fun of us ... But it seems to work.' Alan added that he loves working on the show because it makes him laugh so much, but that he and the rest of the panelists once forced filming to be stopped because they couldn't compose themselves. Speaking to Reader's Digest magazine he said: 'My favourite shows are the ones where I end up laughing even more than the audience. There was one where Julian Clary was telling a story about needing the loo when he met the queen.' Alan also told the magazine: 'Around the time that Jonathan Creek started [1997], I seemed to be everywhere. All of a sudden, I was being recognised. About ninety nine per cent of people were lovely, but there was always that one per cent who wanted to give you some shit. Keith Richards once said, "Everybody wants to be famous, until they are." He's right. I wanted to be able to turn fame on and off when it suited me, but it doesn't work like that.' He added: 'I think it's even worse today. I recently Googled myself and was amazed at how much vitriol and anger was being directed at me, just because I was on telly. I've never Googled myself since, and I never will.'

No matter how grateful he is for the support, Bill Bailey thinks the online petition to get him a part in The Hobbit might have worked against him. Back in 2007, fans started campaigning to get the comedian and actor a role in Sir Peter Jackson's movie, eventually gaining almost fifteen hundred signatures. When he was last in New Zealand in 2010, Bailey even auditioned for a role. But sadly, it came to nothing and the man who once called his stand-up tour Part Troll will not be appearing in Jackson's latest epic. Bill isn't bitter. 'You hand the director a load of signatures, it would probably wind him up eventually,' he notes. '"Oh God, I just want a resume. I don't want all of these signatures, cluttering up the desk." But I think I'm going to try to write a musical based on The Hobbit. That's the way to go.' Bill is certainly qualified for the job. A classically trained musician, he is a man of supreme talent who always incorporates many songs and compositions into his stand-up shows. In fact, his musical prowess led to a headlining spot on the main stage at the Sonisphere heavy metal festival last year, playing to a crowd of about sixty five thousand long-haired stinking hippies. 'I actually got a band together, and they were all very good musicians and we sort of rehearsed a bit before the show and I basically wrote a couple of new songs, and we did arrangements of my songs in the metal style,' Bill says. 'It was daunting, I have to say. That number of people, and particularly metal fans, all the other bands that were on - Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax, and me. Metal fans are brilliant. They're so enthusiastic and they were really up for it and they completely embraced it. It was quite a tough evening really because it was raining, it was cold, a lot of people were standing about but nonetheless it was a blast. I'd love to do something like that again. It was quite extraordinary.' A CD of the music Bailey played at Sonisphere, Bill Bailey in Metal, was released in November. Bill is returning to New Zealand in October with his latest comedy tour, Qualmpeddler, which will feature his usual blend of 'musical mash-ups, twisted logic, some political ranting, brilliant visuals and animation, a clear-eyed yet surreal view of the modern world, plus some new explorations of language inspired by a trip to China, where Bailey's experiences were stranger than surreal,' according to the promotional material. Intriguingly, it could also feature a dubstep version of Downton Abbey and Bill discussing whether a Spice Girls reunion is part of the Mayan 'end of days' prophecy. 'It's the usual multi-media kind of spectacle, as it were, because I love to use screens and films and visuals in the show because I just think it's another element,' Bailey says. 'I like to mix up the comedy, the way the comedy is presented, so it gives the show a bit of light and shade.' Bill claims a show takes, on average, two years to develop from initial concept to being ready to perform and right now he's still fine-tuning Qualmpeddler, which he will tour first in Australia. 'When I get to New Zealand of course it will be absolutely polished. Like a fine pebble. Like a piece of quartz.' Despite not casting him in any of their movies, Bailey says he loves the country, especially as he and his family - wife Kristin and nine-year-old son Dax - enjoy exploring the great outdoors. 'If I'm away we'll go and try to do something like rafting or we like to go biking, quad biking, walking, hiking, that sort of thing, a bit of bird watching occasionally if I get the chance. So, outdoorsy stuff, I think because most of my professional life I'm indoors.' There hasn't been much time to enjoy the outdoors in Britain so far this year, with the country suffering from a disappointing summer. 'It has been pretty abysmal really and even by good English summer standards. Freezing cold rain and wind is what we've been having,' Bill adds. 'Rather put the dampeners on the Queen's diamond jubilee floating flotilla pageant, which was a damp affair.' He was actually out of the country during last month's jubilee celebrations, but he says he caught some of it on TV. 'There was a lot of footage of boats sort of aimlessly pootling around in the Thames. There was this huge parade and a pageant and a concert with Elton John and Grace Jones and lord knows who else and [the Queen] didn't do anything. She didn't say thanks, or "I could have done without Cheryl Cole but the rest of it was okay." She said nothing!' It turns out, though, that Bill has met quite a large proportion of the Royal Family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 'William and Kate came to my show actually, and we sort of smuggled them in to the stage door and they were lovely. Really pleasant, charming, down-to-earth people.' But with the ongoing global financial crisis and political instability, Bill admits to sometimes feeling gloomy about the world's future. 'Europe is coming apart at the seams and it makes you think whether this was always going to happen, whether it was on the cards and has been for a long time. We're in a crisis but I think there's also a bit of chicanery with governments trying to make a bit of capital out of it. You say to everyone, "Oh, things are bad" and then you bung through a load of strict legislation while everyone is just terrified,' he says. 'So yeah, it's a time of reflection, I think, and a time of qualms. A time to peddle some qualms.'

Vexed newcomer Miranda Raison has insisted that she will be a 'completely different' influence on the show to her predecessor Lucy Punch. The former [spooks] actress will play Georgina Dixon, partner of Toby Stephens's Jack Armstrong, in the BBC comedy drama's second series. She was brought in when Punch quit her role as Kate Bishop after the first series of Vexed, which was broadcast during 2010. Speaking to the Digital Spy website about her experiences on Vexed, Miranda recalled: 'When I arrived the producer said to me "rather than thinking in terms of the old character, it is a completely different and new character." [Lucy] was absolutely brilliant. Lucy's bloody good, she's an amazingly natural comedienne. But [Georgina's] all brand new. I think what her and Jack have in common is that they both think they're really straightforward and they want to have successful relationships with people, but actually they self-sabotage all the time. That's a big difference between Lucy's character in the first series and Georgina. [Kate] was someone that had a life, whereas Georgina doesn't. She's quite sad. She's old enough that she should be further along in her personal life - not that she should try and be more conventional, just that she should be a bit more emotionally mature.' Raison went on to describe her Vexed alter ego as verging on 'being completely unhinged' and teased that Georgina will have a 'very different relationship' with Jack to Punch's character. 'There is definitely chemistry there,' she stated. 'It's not a Ross and Rachel [from Friends] where there's a great confession of love, but there's certainly quite strong chemistry. Georgina thinks she wants this conventional perfect man and Jack seems below the measure all along, but what she really wants is someone who is going to sit and watch football, because she is not cut out to be the other half in one of those relationships.'

During the Olympics most countries will have 'national hospitality houses' in London to entertain athletes, VIPs and patriotic fans. The Brazilian house is situated in the historic Somerset House, the African countries are using the verdant spaces of Kensington Gardens, the Danish are taking over St Katherine’s Dock and the Belgians will be using the eleventh-century buildings of Inner Temple. The Irish house will be in a Father Ted-themed pub in King's Cross. The idea of the houses is to provide a place for fans to congregate to cheer on their country's team (with sporting action streamed live on giant TV sets) and for countries to assert their national identity through a series of events and concerts. Dara O Briain and Ardal O'Hanlon have been named 'ambassadors' for the Irish house which will be situated at the Big Chill bar on London's Pentonville Road – just across the road from King's Cross station which has direct transport links to the Olympic Park. And, a pub yer actual Keith Telly O'Topping, beggorah, bejesus, where's me shillelagh, knows very well indeed. Open every day from 10am until 2am, the Irish house will feature appearances from Dara and Ardel, Sonia O’Sullivan, Barry McGuigan and a host of Irish athletes competing at the Games. Live music and entertainment will also be provided with a roof terrace doubling as a barbecue area. Bands lined up to play at the house include the fast-rising Dublin hip-hop act The Original Rude Boys.

A little classic, now, from the Indepedent's errors and omissions column: 'Extra care is required when one of our writers makes fun of someone for getting things wrong. On Monday, we mocked Jeremy Clarkson's grasp of averages. "The average adult sends two hundred texts a month," the sage of the Sun had written. "Plainly, they never spoke to my eldest daughter about this." Our columnist explained: "If your eldest daughter sends nineteen hundred texts per month while nine non-relatives each send just one hundred, the average is not nineteen hundred but two hundred." Except that it is not. As Laura Newton, a reader, pointed out, if they "each" send one hundred that makes nine hundred, plus nineteen hundred, which is two thousand eight hundred. So the average is two hundred and eighty. The point is awarded to Clarkson.' Could you say that any more grudgingly? Clarkson One, Up-Their-Own-Arse Middle-Class Hippy Communists, Nil.

Three members of the female Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot have gone on trial, in a case which has divided Russia and inflamed the religious establishment. They were taken into custody in February after singing a song protesting against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral. I dunno - in this country you do something like that and thirty years later you're doing butter adverts. It's not right, dear blog reader. Anyway, the song outraged the Russian Orthodox Church who accused the women of blasphemy. Supporters say the case reflects the state's growing intolerance of government opponents. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich caused outrage when they sang a song that implored the Virgin Mary to 'throw Putin out.' The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has said the performance, which took place at the altar of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, amounted to blasphemy. The women are facing the charge of 'hooliganism' motivated by 'religious hatred or hostility' and could face up to seven years in prison. Pussy Riot made headlines around the world late last year when footage of their controversial public performances at Moscow landmarks such as Red Square attracted millions of viewers on the Internet. More than one hundred prominent Russian actors, directors and musicians have urged the authorities to release the three. Western musicians such as Sting and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have also criticised the women's arrest. Mind you, if Sting thinks it's a bad thing then, in an 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' kind of way, I'm almost inclined to back The Butcher of Grozny on this one. I mean, let's face it, on the one side you've got Putin whose worst crime is thoroughly sick criminal genocide against Chechens. On the other, there's Wallsend's nastiest, whose crimes against humanity (and music) are far more vile and nefarious. Sorry girls, normally I'd sympathise but Sting's swung it for me. Anyway, activists have said the case indicates that President Putin, now serving a third term in office, is not heeding calls for him to be more tolerant of political opponents.

Great Britain beat the United Arab Emirates 3-1 at Wembley to ensure a draw against Uruguay in their final group game will take them through to the quarter-finals of the Olympic football tournament. Skipper Ryan Giggs headed the opener and Tom Cleverley hit both posts as Britain led at the break. Rashed Eisa equalised with a composed finish in front of an increasingly anxious Wembley crowd, but substitute Scott Sinclair struck a minute after coming on and Daniel Sturridge's deft chip sealed the win. It was a far from comfortable match for Stuart Pearce's team and there were times after UAE's second-half equaliser when the occasional boo could be heard inside the stadium. The mood changed completely when Britain struck twice in three minutes but there is still room for improvement when they play Uruguay in Cardiff on Wednesday. Uruguay, one of the pre-tournament favourites, were stunned 2-0 by ten-man Senegal at Wembley earlier in the day. Moussa Konate scored twice for the African side, who had to play for more than an hour with ten men after the dismissal of Aboulaye Ba following a professional foul on Luis Suarez. Senegal, like Britain, now have four points and take on a UAE side who have lost both of their Group A games. Uruguay have three points to Britain's four, which means that a draw will be enough for Pearce's team to reach the last eight. There was little to excite the crowd in the opening phase of Sunday's game, with fans starting a Mexican wave as early as the fifth minute. But home supporters were given something to cheer when Britain's Welsh connection struck. Giggs had started the move from which Craig Bellamy scored against Senegal last Thursday, but it was the latter who assumed the role of creator on Sunday, delivering a deep cross that Giggs headed home. At thirty eight years and two hundred and forty three days, Ryan Giggs became the oldest man to appear in the Olympic soccer competition and he is now also the oldest scorer, thanks to his rare headed goal. Aaron Ramsey, one of three changes along with striker Marvin Sordell and James Tomkins, was impressive on the right and started a move that culminated in a shot from Bellamy that Ali Khaseif saved. Ramsey also picked out Sordell but the Bolton striker's shot from eighteen yards took a slight deflection before the keeper tipped it around the post for a corner. There were large periods in the opening forty five minutes when UAE looked threatening and it took a good block to deny Eisa, while Ahmed Khalil later surged past right-back Micah Richards before delivering a low pass across the face of goal. The game could have taken a decisive turn before the break but midfielder Cleverley was extremely unfortunate to see his eighteen-yard shot hit both posts before rebounding to safety after superb work by Bellamy. UAE levelled after the break when Eisa collected a through ball and glided past Tomkins before slotting his effort beyond Jack Butland. There was a sense of some panic inside the ground and Butland was forced to make a great save with his legs to deny Khalil after a quick exchange of passes opened up the Britain defence. But the impressive Bellamy crossed for Sinclair to level before Cleverley played a brilliant pass for Sturridge, who struck the decisive third.

Unless you've had a telegram from the Queen in the last few years you will never have witnessed a British medal in the men's team gymnastics at an Olympics. Until Monday of this week when the British team took a surprise - but very deserved - bronze after a dramatic battle at the North Greenwich Arena. Louis Smith, Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Max Whitlock and Sam Oldham overhauled Ukraine and Japan in the final floor exercise to make history and were first announced as having won a silver. But some whinging from the Japanese led to a lengthy delay, before it was announced that they had been moved up from fourth to second and that Britain had, in fact, won a bronze, the same medal they won at the Olympics in this event in 1912. China took gold. So, that put a smile on everyone's face. Once again, Britain has more medals than Kazakhstan. Marvellous.
There's a very good thinkpiece by Al Murray in the Gruniad concerning the recently concluded Paul Chambers Twitter case. Al writes: 'It was a case that has felt like an absurdist operetta about English law. At the appeal it seemed that at any moment Stephen Fry would stand up to proclaim: "Are we not Englishmen? Is it not our right to make jokes?" and then Paul would be carried shoulder high into the street. But the limits of the state's right to proscribe what we can and can't say have been clearly outlined – as well as reconciling itself to the Twitter stream as a new context and how the law has to respond to it. What Paul's victory doesn't mean, as I've had to explain more than once, is that anyone sending actually menacing messages will be able to say, "well, he got off". It also doesn't mean that – a comparison some have made – if you're in a queue at the airport and say you've got a bomb in your bag, you'll get away with it. Because he didn't do that. It means that discretion in wielding the law, a precisely blunt instrument, has to be on the agenda when dealing with electronic media. The response from some has been: "You should watch what you say" – a retort that, for me, contains far more menace than any tweet I've ever seen.' Well said that man. What energised campaigners in this case was, clearly, a sense that the law was being badly served by an apparent inability to distinguish between a joke (however much in poor taste) and a credible threat to injure persons and/or property.

There were teething troubles last week for the BBC's Olympics news studio in a tower block, with Ben Brown calling it 'definitely as hot as the Middle East,' Fiona Bruce, variously described as sounding as if she was 'in a goldfish bowl' or 'on a building site,' and George Alagiah forced to grimly intone top stories of catastrophic GDP figures and massacre imminent in Syria with the lit-up stadium as his incongruously festive backdrop.

Channel Four's Shane Allen is tipped by Broadcast magazine to win the vacant post of BBC comedy controller, and if he does defect the forthright, Frankie Boyle-championing Ulsterman will conduct a ruthless shake-up, judging by his past interview blasts at the Beeb for timidity, commissioning too much and being too nice to say no. But perhaps its existing executives are tougher and blunter than he thinks. Jessica Hynes recently revealed in Stylist why her pilot with Julia Davis, Lizzie and Sarah, won't become a series: 'The BBC told us it wasn't funny.' And, having seen it, this blogger agrees with the BBC. I like Jess and I like Julia but Lizzie and Sarah was about as funny as an afternoon at the genital torturers.

Switzerland football Michel Morganella has been expelled from the Olympics for posting a racist message on Twitter. The Swiss Olympic team chief, Gian Gilli, said that Morganella is being 'stripped of his Olympic accreditation' ahead of Switzerland's final group match against Mexico on Wednesday. He 'discriminated against, insulted and violated the dignity of the South Korea football team as well as the South Korean people,' Gilli said through a translator. Morganella posted an offensive and threatening message aimed at South Korean people after Switzerland lost 2-1 to South Korea on Sunday. The Swiss newspaper Le Matin published images of a tweet from the player's account. The account has since been deleted. The twenty three-year-old defender is the second Olympic athlete kicked off a team for offensive Twitter comments. Greece dropped the triple jumper Voula Papachristou last week after she posted a comment mocking African immigrants.

The Scum have signed a new deal to have its shirts sponsored by US car brand Chevrolet. The deal for an 'undisclosed amount' is for seven years and begins from the 2014-2015 season, the club said. Chevrolet, which is made by General Motors, takes over from current sponsor Aon. The Scum was recently called the most valuable club in sport, worth $2.23bn, according to Forbes magazine. Chevrolet is only the fifth shirt sponsor in the club's history. 'This is a fantastic, long-term deal for the club,' said The Scum's commercial director Richard Arnold. 'They are a key partner on our current tour and I know they have enjoyed experiencing the buzz generated by our fanatical support and the sell-out crowds in South Africa, China, and Europe.' Earlier this month The Scum applied to list on the US stock market in a share sale aimed at raising a minimum one hundred million dollars. The club has been controlled since 2005 by the Glazer family, the billionaire US sports investors who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers American football franchise.

Images taken by a NASA spacecraft show that the American flags planted in the Moon's soil by Apollo astronauts are mostly still standing. The photos from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show the flags are still casting shadows - except the one planted during the Apollo 11 landing. This matches Buzz Aldrin's account of the flag being knocked over by engine exhaust as Apollo 11's lunar lander lifted off. LRO was designed to produce the most detailed maps yet of the lunar surface. Each of the Apollo missions planted an American flag in the soil at their landing sites. Scientists had previously examined photos of the Apollo landing sites for the flags, and had seen what looked like shadows cast by them on the lunar surface. But this was not considered conclusive. Now, researchers have studied photos of the landing sites taken at different points during the day (and under different illuminations) and have observed shadows circling the points where the flags are thought to be. Which, if nothing else, will hopefully put pay to any of those ludicrous bollocks conspiracy theories that the whole thing was mocked up in a TV studio. Professor Mark Robinson, the chief scientist for the spacecraft's camera instrument, LROC, said in a blog entry: 'From the LROC images it is now certain that the American flags are still standing and casting shadows at all of the sites, except Apollo 11.' The Arizona State University scientist added: 'The most convincing way to see that the flags are still there, is to view a time series of LROC images taken at different times of day, and watch the shadow circle the flag. Personally I was a bit surprised that the flags survived the harsh ultraviolet light and temperatures of the lunar surface, but they did. What they look like is another question (badly faded?)' LRO began its mission in lunar orbit in September 2009, to identify mineral and other resources on the Moon as well as scout promising landing sites for future missions.

Saturn's moon Iapetus frequently plays host to a huge type of landslide or avalanche that is rare elsewhere in the Solar System, scientists report. Sturzstroms or 'long-runout landslides' move faster and farther than geological models predict they should. They have been seen on Earth and Mars, but there is debate about their causes. Now, images from the Cassini space mission, reported in Nature Geoscience, suggest that heating of icy surfaces helps the landslides keep going. On Earth, landslides typically travel a horizontal distance that is less than twice the distance that the material has fallen. Long-runout landslides, by contrast, can travel as much as thirty times the vertical falling distance. A great many mechanisms have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, ranging from simple sliding on ice to the sound waves from the slide making rock and debris behave more like a fluid. But there is little consensus on which of these theories, if any, is correct. Now, Kelsi Singer of Washington University in St Louis, US, and colleagues report that the geography of Iapetus is a unique setting to test these theories. The moon was discovered by Giovanni Cassini in 1671. 'The landslides on Iapetus are a planet-scale experiment that we cannot do in a laboratory or observe on Earth,' Singer said. 'They give us examples of giant landslides in ice, instead of rock, with a different gravity, and no atmosphere. So any theory of long-runout landslides on Earth must also work for avalanches on Iapetus.' Iapetus is a geologically interesting place to look; it is a squashed sphere, fatter at its equator than its poles, and is mostly encircled by a ridge that reaches peaks some twenty kilometres high. It also has a number of giant impact craters reaching depths of twenty five kilometres. The icy satellite has more giant landslides than any Solar System body other than Mars. The reason, says Professor William McKinnon, also from Washington University, is Iapetus' spectacular topography. 'Not only is the moon out-of-round, but the giant impact basins are very deep, and there's this great mountain ridge that's twenty kilometres high, far higher than Mount Everest,' he explained. 'So there's a lot of topography and it's just sitting around, and then, from time to time, it gives way.' Singer was looking for stress fractures in the moon's ice, but instead found evidence of thirty massive landslides - seventeen along crater walls and thirteen along the giant equatorial ridge. Analysis of the images from these events suggests that the 'coefficient of friction' - a measure of how much the slip-sliding of material in a landslide tends to slow it down - on Iapetus is far lower than expected for ice. It appears that this faster-moving ice seen on Iapetus has a lower friction coefficient than that of slow-moving ice measured in Earth-bound laboratories. The team suggests that the tiny contact points between bits of ice debris in such a landslide may heat up considerably, melting it and forming a more fluid - and thus less friction-limited - mass of material. They suggest that physicists here on Earth test the idea in the laboratory, giving insight not only into what is happening on Iapetus, but closer to home as well.

Today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day could be taken to be about winning at the Olympics, dear blog reader. But, actually, it isn't, it's about heroin.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Three Cheers For Our Side

The eyes of the world (and, possibly, beyond) were, of course, focused on London on Friday night for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. You might have noticed, dear blog reader. In fact, chances are - unless you're a sour-puss-grumpy-face, you did. A peak audience of twenty seven million viewers (I'll repeat that, TWENTY SEVEN MILLION viewers) in the UK - and an estimated one billion worldwide - tuned-in to watch a celebration of British iconography, including James Bond escorting the Queen to the Games and Mr Bean in Chariots of Fire. Doctor Who was represented in a blink-and-you'll-have-missed-it moment when the TARDIS materialisation sound effect complementing Queen's dirge-like horrorshow (and drag) 'Bohemian Rhapsody' during the 1970s musical section. As widely reported before the event, a video montage from the BBC's popular, long-running family SF drama's theme-tune had originally been planned to be included but it was,seemingly, 'dropped for timing reasons.' Doctor Who's brand manager Edward Russell clarified: 'A video montage which very briefly showed all eleven Doctors was approved but we were told it may not be included which was clearly the case.' Doctor Who wasn't alone - the Clangers never even made it to rehearsal stage and a Monty Python's Flying Circus segment was, also, dropped at the last moment.
In Doctor Who, of course, one episode saw the Doctor himself light the Olympic flame (Fear Her in 2006 - not a very good one, it must be admitted). In reality, the Olympic cauldron (made up of two hundred and five petals representing every country competing at the Games) was ignited by seven aspiring young athletes chosen by British Olympic champions like Kelly Holmes, Steve Redgrave and Daley Thompson. I'd've preferred either David Tennant or Matt Smith personally (no offence to the kids who did it, of course, they were all very good). But, hey, you can't have everything. As the American satirist Steven Wright once wisely noted, 'where would you keep it?'

The Royal Mail is to release a set of stamps to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who next year, with the first day cover reportedly due on 8 January 2013. So, if you've ever wanted the opportunity to lick a Doctor's backside, that'll probably be your best chance. I'm here all week. Try the veal. No other details are available at present, with the Royal Mail informing the Doctor Who News website: 'Unfortunately it is too soon to have or to send out any information regarding an issue in January 2013. Probably around the end of November or start of December we should have a first publication that we can send.' It won't be the first time that Doctor Who has been officially recognised in such a prestigious way. A Dalek was chosen by Royal Mail to represent television in The Entertainers' Tale issue that was released on 1 June 1999. The set also comprised Bobby Moore (sport), Charlie Chaplin (cinema), and Freddie Mercury (popular music).

The BBC have confirmed that the first official television trailer for Doctor Who's next series will be broadcast on Thursday 2 August, around 8:00pm on BBC1, with a repeat the following week. The trailer forms part of a series of promotions for shows that form the latest British Original Drama campaign that will run throughout the London Olympics coverage over the coming seventeen days. As well as Doctor Who, the list includes Merlin, Hunted (see below), Good Cop, Accused, The Secret of Crickley Hall, The Paradise, Ripper Street, plus EastEnders (also, see below). The series of trailers kicked-off from 28 July with a special compilation. Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said: 'BBC1 drama offers audiences the most vibrant and most original home-grown drama in Britain today. This upcoming range of new drama titles are the very best of British, made with ambition and scale that I hope will capture the imagination of our audiences with the same spirit as the London 2012 Olympics.'

Sharon Ricknman (Letitia Dean) is heading back to Albert Square and to mark the characters return to EastEnders a new trailer has been released by the BBC, using The Rolling Stones 'Gimme Shleter' as a soundtrack. 'There's one heck of a storm coming,' it says Hurricane Sharon heads to Albert Square. Although the trailer promoting the character’s return actually features a tornado rather than a hurricane. But that meteorological error aside ...

BBC1's coverage of day one of events at London 2012 won every single time-slot from 6am to close (unlike Britian's place on medals table), peaking with 8.7m viewers at 8.20pm according to overnight figures. BBC3 averaged a very strong eight hundred and eighty thousand punters between 9am and 11pm (and an over one million average between 6pm and 10pm). The all-day audience shares saw BBC1 against 29.9 per cent of the available audience with ITV hitting an all-time low on 6.7 per cent (and that includes ITV+1 figures). They only just beat BBC3's 6.4 per cent for the silver medal. ITV's best performing programme all day was a repeat of Midsomer Murders pulling in 2.3m viewers between 8pm and 9pm. That was their sole audience above two million. BBC1's evening Olympics 2012 show (from 7pm) average 6.3m across its three hours.

A new trailer for suspense thriller Hunted has been released by the BBC. Written and created by American writer Frank Spotnitz (probably best known for his work on The X Files) and from Kudos the producers of [spooks], Hustle and Life on Mars, Hunted is an original eight-part mini-series set in the world of international espionage. It stars Melissa George - pretty girl, can't act - as Sam, a highly skilled operative for an elite private intelligence company who survives an attempt on her life that may have been orchestrated by members of her own team. Once she returns to the firm, she is forced to perform her highly dangerous secret missions 'in the shadows' without knowing who to trust and who wants her dead. And, from the evidence of the trailer, it looks rather good - very in keeping with Kudos's record of producing good-looking, slick, testosterone-snorting British dramas that could, at a pinch, pass for American ones. Spotnitz said of the show: 'I'm incredibly excited about the ambition of this series. It's got action on a cinematic scale, huge story twists and turns, and intriguing characters who are both emotionally and morally complex. I can't imagine a better cast, director or production team to bring it all to life.' Stephen Dillane, Morven Christie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Lex Shrapnel also appear in the show's cast.

The cast of US sitcom Modern Family have reportedly agreed new pay deals after six of them sued TV network ABC last week over their contracts. Sofia Vergara, Ed O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson filed legal papers, claiming their contracts were illegal. Show producer FOX promptly shat in their own pants and, in some haste, confirmed the deal and said filming for the fourth series would begin on Monday. Exact financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed. Show creator Steve Levitan told reporters on Friday he was 'very happy' the dispute was resolved. 'It's a distraction I'm happy to see end,' he added. Five of the actors sued the network on Tuesday, asking a judge to rule their contracts should be invalidated because they violated California law prohibiting deals that run longer than seven years. O'Neill joined the case later in the week. As the dispute dragged on, a first 'table read' rehearsal for the season was cancelled. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new pay deal will see the salaries for Bowen, Burrell, Ferguson, Stonestreet and Vergara rise from about sixty five thousand dollars per episode to about one hundred and fifty thousand bucks for the fourth series. O'Neill, who as an already established star made about one hundred and five thousand dollars per episode for season three, will also receive an increase. The new deal will also see the cast receive a small percentage of the show's profits. In exchange for the pay rise, the cast have agreed to add one year to their existing seven-season contracts - which will see their salaries boosted to three hundred and fifty thousand dollars per episode for an eighth series - and will drop their legal action. The sitcom about the everyday lives of a dysfunctional family of fathers, sons, daughters and grandchildren living in suburbia is among ABC's top shows. It won the EMMY for best comedy last year, while Burrell, Bowen and Stonestreet have won individual EMMYs for their work on the show. The sitcom was also recently nominated for fourteen EMMYs for this year's awards.

Meanwhile, some - genuinely - appalling news. James Corden has said that he 'definitely' intends to make more Gavin & Stacey episodes. I'm so sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, dear blog reader, truly I am.

And speaking of unappealing arseholes, a lack of any inherent originality seems to figure strongly in the career of Paddy McGuinness. And, it would seem, he's at it again. The extremely unfunny Take Me Out presenter is reported to be starring in 'a TV Burp-style show for Channel Four.' So, the story here seems to be, if you can't afford Harry Hill, Paddy McGuinness will do instead. I wonder if Harry was up for the Gregg's adverts gig as well? McGuinness filmed a pilot called Paddy's TV Show in Manchester last week. The Sun - of course; about the only people in the world who think Paddy McGuinness is, in the least bit funny, are likely to be Sun readers - reports that ITV Studios describe the programme as 'a comic look at TV shows that might normally slip under the radar.' Or, TV Burp in other words. If picked up, it will be McGuinness's first project for Channel Four since the wretched Phoenix Nights spin-off Max and Paddy's Road To Nowhere in 2004. The hugely popular TV Burp broadcast its final episode on ITV in March after presenter and creator Harry Hill quit the show, citing the strain of the tough working schedule.

NBC co-host Meredith Vieira failed to do her homework during the broadcaster's much-criticised coverage of the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday night. 'If you haven't heard of him, we haven't either,' this ignorant odious fraction of a woman said when Tim Berners-Lee was highlighted. 'Google him,' continued her co-host - and hairdo - Matt Lauer, clearly unaware of the irony of what he just said concerning the inventor of the World Wide Web. Personally, this blogger is with LA Observed's Bob Timmerman: 'After the sixteen days of the Olympics are done, there will be plenty more things people will dislike about NBC's coverage of the games. But, this bit of willful ignorance of one of the world's most innovative minds and someone who developed a communications medium that has made it possible for NBC to show us the Olympics online, just floored me. I'm not worried about London's ability to pull together a well-run Olympics. I'm more worried about NBC's ability to find on-air talent who are not completely ignorant of any technological development. In the world of television news, it is still acceptable to laugh at one's lack of knowledge about science and technology. ' Yeah. What he said.

The BBC is to seek assurances from the company that provides its Olympic pictures after an embarrassing technical error resulted in a frustrating lack of timing information during the men's cycling road race. As the race progressed the BBC's commentary team and viewers alike became increasingly frustrated with the lack of information on the gap between the leaders and the peloton. As they urged Mark Cavendish and his team-mates to try and close the gap as the race entered its final stages, Hugh Porter and Chris Boardman were at a loss to explain to viewers how big the gap actually was. In a statement released shortly after Kazakhstan's Alexandr Vinokourov crossed the line first on The Mall, the BBC placed the blame squarely with Olympic Broadcasting Services, which provides pictures to broadcasters around the world. OBS, embroiled in controversy last week when it emerged that it had clashed with the company hired by Danny Boyle to produce his opening ceremony, in turn passed the blame to London 2012 organisers. A BBC spokesman said: 'We have raised our concerns with OBS who have explained that there were GPS problems with the LOCOG-supplied timing graphics, which resulted in a lack of information for the commentary teams. A number of tests were run by OBS this morning on parts of the course. We've been assured that everything is being done to try and resolve this ahead of the women's road race.' The failure of the timing equipment could not have come at a worse time, with all eyes on Mark Cavendish and his team-mates in the hope they could help him to Britain's first gold of the games. With the entire race dependent on whether they could close the gap with a breakaway group in time to mount a late charge and put Cavendish into position to win a sprint finish, the lack of timing information left a massive hole in BBC coverage leading to lots of waffling. OBS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the International Olympic Committee and hosts the broadcasting operation for several major sporting events. It employs teams from around the world to produce the coverage of the twenty six Olympic sports, with its services provided to the host city as part of the Host City Contract agreement. The template has been in place only since 2008, before which the host broadcaster was typically provided by the host city. Manolo Romero, the Spaniard who has been managing director of OBS since its creation in 2001, announced this week that he intended to stand down in 2013.

In a subsequent update, Olympic organisers blamed 'spectators using Twitter' for disrupting television coverage of the cycling road races. Viewers were left in the dark about timing and positions after electronic updates failed to reach commentators during both the men's and women's events. Poor old  Chris Boardman was left using his own watch to try and estimate timings. But the International Olympic Committee had said that fans sending updates to Twitter while watching the race had, in effect, jammed transmissions of race information. Communications director Mark Adams said: 'From my understanding, One network was oversubscribed, and OBS are trying to spread the load to other providers. We don't want to stop people engaging in this by social media but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates.' Okay ... Hang on. You're suggesting people should only tweet 'urgent' updates? Is there a single instance in the history of the Internet of Twitter ever being used for anything other than utter trivia? Tim Berners-Lee, you've got a lot to answer for! Jesus, I've heard everything now. Only use Twitter for 'urgent' stuff! What planet, exactly, are you from, Mark? Anyway, the timings are, apparently, sent to organisers via tiny GPS transmitters in competitors' bikes but the messages were not being received during the races. A spokeswoman for games organisers LOCOG -who are not having a very good time at the moment, what with the empty seats and all - said: 'There are fixed timing points at the start and finish line, as well as one at Box Hill which LOCOG provides. These worked well and the result and timing of the race are not in doubt.'

A Tony Hancock radio episode not heard for more than fifty years was broadcast on Sunday – to mark the start of the Olympics. The special edition of Hancock's Half Hour was originally broadcast in 1958 to coincide with that year's British Empire and Commonwealth Games. It originally went out live on the BBC Light Service from the London Coliseum as part of a variety show, designed to entertain athletes on their way home from Cardiff, where the games that year were being held. In the nine-minute sketch, Hancock along with Sid James and Bill Kerr make preparations for their varied roles in the games. It had been thought that no recording of the show existed, but an off-air recording was found in the vast archive left by the late Bob Monkhouse, when he died died in 2003.

The Daily Scum Mail went to town on last week's mix-up which saw North Korea's female footballers walk off because images of them were shown alongside the South Korean flag on the stadium screen – with characteristic restraint (that's err, irony, in case you were wondering, dear blog reader), the Scum Mail covered the one-hour row with an atypical angry, twenty two-word headline and six giant photos. Awkwardly, however, according to the Gruniad Morning Star the paper itself was guilty of a similar 'foul-up' and 'blunder': among various flags flown from the top of its Kensington offices to welcome Olympic visitors was that of the Soviet Union - a country which ceased to exist in 1991. A Russian flag had to be hastily found to replace it. The Scum Mail still mentally stuck in the Thatcher era? Who'd have thought it?

The six metre-tall puppet figure of Lady Godiva is to continue its journey around Coventry on Sunday, before departing for London. The puppet left Coventry Cathedral and made her way to Broadgate where she was dressed in her embroidered coat to cover her nakedness. The coat has been created by a team of textile and glass artists from across the West Midlands. Godiva Awakes is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The Lady Godiva puppet will later travel to London to celebrate the 2012 Games, powered by a team of cyclists.

After the disappointment of the Men's Road Race the day before, Lizzie Armitstead won Britain's first medal of the 2012 Olympics on Sunday as Netherlands' Marianne Vos claimed gold in the women's road race. Armitstead took the silver with Russian Olga Zabelinskaya third in a thrilling rain-soaked race that ended on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. Zabelinskaya instigated a breakaway with twenty five kilometres to go and Armitstead and pre-race favourite Vos went with her. Armitstead attacked Vos on The Mall but the Dutch rider had too much power. Britain's Nicole Cooke, who won this race four years ago, finished in the main peloton. Britain, therefore, had the same number of medals as Kazakhstan. Which is nice. Subsequently Rebecca Adlington - remember her? Mad Frankie Boyle's mate - won a bronze. So, Britain now has more medals than Kazakhstan. Three cheers for our side.

And, there was further good news as Lewis Hamilton took his second victory of the season as he beat Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hamilton led throughout the race but had to fend off a determined challenge from both Raikkonen and the Finn's Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean, who was third. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was fourth ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and McLaren's Jenson Button. Alonso extended his title lead over Red Bull's Mark Webber to forty points. The Australian was ahead of the Spaniard after their second stops, but Webber suffered a failed differential and made a third stop for fresher tyres with thirteen laps to go, which dropped him back down to eighth place at the flag. Webber is two points ahead of Vettel in the championship, with Hamilton a further five points adrift and one ahead of Raikkonen as F1 heads into its mid-season four-week break before returning with the Belgian Grand Prix on 2 September. Jenson Button, slower and harder on his tyres than team-mate Hamilton, finished the race sixth, ahead of the Williams of Bruno Senna, Webber, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg. Hamilton's win came as a result of a controlled defensive drive, not dissimilar to Alonso's victory in Germany a week ago. The McLaren driver led from pole position and measured his pace ahead of the faster Lotus cars. The 2008 world champion said: 'There is a long way to go and we have a lot of work to do, but we are going to give it everything.' Grosjean was his main opposition for the first two-thirds of the race, as Raikkonen bided his time fighting up from sixth place on the first lap, after he dropped a place to Alonso at the start after a temporary failure of his Kers power-boost system. But clever strategy by Lotus, founded on their car's excellent tyre usage, gave Raikkonen clear air in the middle of the race before his second and final stop and put in an impressive sequence of laps to make up enough ground to pass Button, Alonso, Vettel and Grosjean. The two Lotus cars were side by side rounding the first corner when Raikkonen emerged from the pits but the Finn legitimately pushed the Frenchman to the outside of the track on the exit of the corner and consolidated second place, before setting off after Hamilton. He quickly closed on to the McLaren's rear, and the question then became which driver's strategies would work out best - and would Hamilton's tyres last when he had made his final stop five laps before Raikkonen. But the extra wear generated by following another car took the edge off Raikkonen's tyres, and he had to settle for second place as Hamilton took his first win since the Canadian Grand Prix in June and became only the third driver - after Alonso and Webber - to win more than one race this season. Raikkonen said: 'We came second, it's not enough. We had some problems with the Kers in the first lap which didn't help us, but we had good speed. We keep trying the next race to win, we keep saying that but at least we are up there all the time. I take the second place, but for sure we are not happy until we win.' Grosjean was left to fend off Vettel, a problem that removed itself when the German made a third stop for tyres late in the race with ten laps of the sixty nine remaining. Vettel used his fresher tyres to try to close a fifteen-second gap on the Lotus but ran out of time. Button ran third in the early laps, but his heavier tyre wear forced him on to a three-stop strategy, one more than Hamilton's. Button's race was further hindered by coming out from his second stop behind Senna, although the Briton managed to rejoin ahead of the Brazilian after his final stop having made up ground following Senna's second and final stop.

So, I guess it's time for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day, in that case. Here's a James Kirk song sung by the legend that is Edwyn Collins from one of the great debut LPs of all time.