Saturday, July 07, 2012

Caught In The Devil's Bargain

Newly-released images from a Doctor Who series seven episode appear to confirm the return to the series of two popular characters. But, since this news might be considered by some dear blog readers as yer actual spoilers, Keith Telly Topping is going to give you all the chance to look away now if you don't want to know the results. In the meantime, here's a picture of some kittens.
And, now we're done. Anyway, the pictures show a Sontaran in a butler's attire and The Doctor's Silurian friend Madame Vastra (played by the excellent Neve McIntosh) dressed in a black veil, both on the set of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama. Madame Vastra had been rumoured to be returning to Doctor Who when images of her human maid (and inter-species lesbian lover) Jenny (Catrin Stewart) on set also appeared online. That should give the Daily Scum Mail something to whinge about. Which, is always a good thing. The popular duo of Vastra and Jenny made their first appearances in series six's A Good Man Goes To War. They will be returning for a Mark Gatiss-written episode, which is to broadcast in 2013. McIntosh recently publicly denied that she was to appear again in Doctor Who, when she tweeted: 'No-one's asked me [to come back].' Ooo, you little fibber! Dame Diana Rigg and her daughter, Rachael Stirling, will also be appearing in the episode, but the exact nature of their roles is not yet known.
DVD sales are directly funding some the British film industry's biggest hits, new research by the British Video Association suggests. Its report says the UK video industry 'contributes more to the finance of film and television content than any other single source of revenue.' Hit film The Inbetweeners was given the go-ahead following strong DVD sales of the Channel Four TV series. The film went on to make more than half of its revenue from video and DVD sales. The comedy, which cost around £3.5m to make, earned more than forty five million smackers at the box office worldwide last year - becoming the most successful British comedy to date. In December 2011, it became the third fastest-selling video release of the year, after Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2. A report released by the British Video Association on Friday estimates that forty seven per cent of feature film revenue comes from video sales and rentals, significantly boosting homegrown film success. BAFTA award-winning documentary Senna made sixty two per cent of its revenue from video, compared with just six per cent at the box office. Similarly Simon Pegg's SF comedy Paul made sixty per cent of its revenue from video, compared to just seventeen per cent at the box office. 'As the BVA's report shows, video continues to be a critical part of the film industry's ecosystem and a significant driver of revenue,' said Eddie Cunningham, of Universal Pictures. 'Paul and Senna are two great examples of British filmmaking at its best, and the revenue generated from video is hugely important in helping British producers like Working Title re-invest back into production and continue to create great films,' he continued. TV series and children's productions are also heavily reliant upon video sale revenue to bolster industry turnover. Critically acclaimed TV series such as Doctor Who, Sherlock and Planet Earth generate huge profits from video. Half the total revenue of Doctor Who is estimated to come from video sales in the UK and abroad. Planet Earth has sold some seven million DVDs worldwide - allowing profits to be re-invested in follow-up series such as Frozen Planet. Similarly, strong sales of series one of Downton Abbey on DVD paved the way for future series of the popular ITV drama. Last year, the amount spent by consumers on video entertainment - a total of £2.3bn - was more than that spent on cinema and music combined, with sales of DVDs accounting for the biggest share. At present, the British Video Association expects discs 'to remain the consumers' preferred option for the foreseeable future,' but the digital sector - whilst small - continues to show growth.

The Beard of Despair, well known horrorshow (and drag) Noel Edmonds has reportedly signed a deal to present a new BBC entertainment series. The Deal or No Deal host is said to have agreed to return to front a primetime BBC1 show for the first time since Noel's House Party ended in 1999, reports the Sun. Alleged 'insiders' allegedly claim that a 'campaign of heavy-duty flattery' was used to sign the odious Edmonds for the new Saturday night show. The Bodyguard will see 'contestants becoming celebrity minders' by taking on a series of challenges. Whether they will be tooled up and packing heat is not, at this time, known. The pilot of the show will be filmed at Elstree Studios this month, and is created by Endemol, the company behind Deal or No Deal. An alleged 'friend' of Edmonds is allegedly quoted as allegedly saying: 'Noel back on Saturday nights is obviously a big draw for the BBC - and to be fair it's a big deal for Noel too. He has softened in his view of the Beeb, and all the House Party stuff was a long time ago now.' No, I don't believe this quote either for the simple reason that The Beard of Despair hasn't got any friends. Edmonds worked at the BBC for around thirty years before he quit in 1999 and took his dubious talents elsewhere. He has since presented one-off programmes for the corporation, including a special National Lottery show six years ago. 'Noel wasn't sure he wanted to do it,' the alleged source allegedly added. 'He is busy with Deal Or No Deal and a lot of baggage comes with him returning to the BBC. He's enjoyed working in the commercial sector and doesn't need the money. But he has agreed to do this and we all hope it will work out. But the BBC should probably not count their chickens yet.' Pro-celebrity Chicken Counting on BBC1, A new format from the Edmonds hit factory there.

There's no point in asking you'll get no reply, as it were. The presence of John Lydon on Thursday night's Question Time, broadcast from that seat of rebellion Derby, seemed to offer the guarantee of profanity, controversy and danger. Younger viewers were doubtless wondering why a public fondness for butter should be sufficient qualification to appear on a current affairs discussion programme. But, for others Lydon's appearance prompted some mouth-watering speculation. Would the programme makers ditch the usual theme tune in favour of a few bars of 'Pretty Vacant'? No such luck – the producers were presumably waiting to use that for Chloe Smith's next appearance. How would the man who had been so dismissive of Her Majesty, dismissing her as the product of a fascist regime in 'God Save the Queen', treat the near-regal Dame David Dimbleby – another beneficiary of the hereditary principle? The producers had initially hoped to include Lydon during Jubilee week but diary clashes (not dairy, thankfully) meant he had to wait till this edition. He joined the likes of cheese fancier, Blur bassist and odious tosser Alex James, Jarvis Cocker and Will Young as pop star guests on the current affairs show. Lydon, sitting beside Louise Bagashite Mensch, began well. Wearing a shirt that appeared to have been made from an old tent and which was unzipped so far that it offered regular flashes of nipple, he earned a round of applause almost with his first banker-bashing words. It was not a surprise to hear someone on the programme confessing 'I did serious drugs and it messed with my head.' The surprise was that the revelation came from Mensch in a last-ditch - and rather desperate and needy - attempt to capture the audience's attention. Sharing the limelight with Lydon was sometime Have I Got News For You chair and Labour MP Alan Johnson. It was, in some ways, a tragic sight: someone once lionised as a genuine working-class hero, who had inspired such hope, now reduced to sad caricature. But whilst Lydon was on eccentric but entertaining form, Johnson was disappointingly serious. There was little hint that this was the failed rock star whose song 'I Have Seen', written in 1967, had eerily predicted Bob Diamond's testimony this week with its lines: 'I've been walking around with my eyes closed, preferred to see the things I like the most.' Johnson, like fellow panellists Ed Davey, Dominic Lawson and Mensch, were largely reduced to backing players for the main act. Lydon was the latest occupant of the wild card seat on Question Time – guests selected less for their expertise on politics and more for the hope they will create vivid car-crash television, such as the time Carol Vorderman physically morphed into Melanie Phillips in front of a suitably horrified audience. Those hoping for a genuine Bill Grundy moment, however, were to be largely disappointed. The Lydon on display was for the most part deferential to Dame David – at one point he even apologised for being rude. The veteran presenter got off rather lightly compared to Channel Four youth host Terry Christian described on a 1991 episode of The Word by Lydon, not entirely inaccurately, as 'a very tedious, typical Manchester gobshite.' Lydon was not the first failed reality television star to appear on Question Time – George Galloway was on only a few months ago – but his appearance showed the limitations of inviting rock stars who know more about playing to the crowd than quoting facts. 'I'm just a bystander who knows nothing,' Lydon said with appeal frankness at the start of one answer, though it didn't inspire huge confidence in the rest of his contribution. The best line of the night came not from the panel but a member of the audience who declared that bankers had 'put voters in dire straits.' For an old punk that must have sounded like a fate worse than debt.

An influential committee of MPs has recommended that all private investigators in the UK should be licensed or registered to prevent the kind of 'rogue' behaviour exposed in the phone-hacking affair. The way in which private detectives work with journalists and the media to unearth information on people has been in the spotlight ever since the hacking affair erupted last year. Much focus has been on Glenn Mulcaire, the investigator jailed in 2007 for intercepting the voicemails of high-profile figures and members of the public on behalf of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's Scum of the World. MPs on the Commons Home Affairs committee said on Friday that two thousand and thirty two private investigators are currently registered as data controllers, but industry estimates suggest that as many as ten thousand people are operating in the sector. Their report warned that it is 'getting easier' for anyone to advertise themselves as a private investigator, as modern communications and cheap surveillance devices put the profession more within reach. But the industry remains unregulated, posting a number of 'serious risks', warned the MPs. Motorman files, revealing thousands of alleged requests by journalists for information on people from the investigator Steve Whittamore. The full extent of these records has not yet been released to the public, despite various calls from campaign groups, but they have been submitted to Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into media ethics and standards. The Home Affairs committee has recommended that the government should adopt a 'robust licensing and registration system' for private eyes as soon as possible. The MPs said that people working in the sector should be liable to a new Code of Conduct for Private Investigators, and those with criminal records should be automatically disqualified. All dealings between police and investigators should be recorded, said the committee, and there should be a 'one-year cooling-off period' before a serving police officer can enter the investigation industry. This is particularly because the MPs found that sixty five per cent of private detectives are former police officers. While recognising the 'honest contribution' made by most private investigators, the report said that some were involved in 'an illegal market in personal data.' Keith Vaz, the chair of the Committee, said that the hacking affair and other events have 'thrown light on the sometimes shady world of private investigators. We have found that rogue private investigators are the brokers in a black market in information. They illegally snoop on our data, cash in on our private lives and only get away with a paltry fine,' he said. 'The public must be assured that those acting as "private investigators" are subject to stringent checks, act under a code of conduct, and will face tough penalties if they step out of line.' Vaz added: 'It is also time for the link between private investigators and our police forces to be broken. Officers must be compelled to declare any dealings with private investigators and be subject to a cooling-off period before they can move from the police service to the private investigation industry. It is time this industry was regulated, so that the honest majority can get on with their work. We expect the government to act urgently.'

Lord Justice Leveson will find out whether newspapers are divided or united over proposals for a new press regulator that will be able to levy fines of up to one million knicker for breaches of ethical standards. He has used his powers under section twenty one of the Inquiries Act 2005 to order newspaper editors to say whether they agree with the detailed proposals submitted last month by Lord Black of Brentwood for regulation of the press. Black, the chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, will appear as a witness on Monday when the inquiry resumes for its final phase which centres on future press regulation. Also appearing on Monday is Lord Hunt (no relation), the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, which is being phased out. Black set out plans last month for what he described as an 'entirely different' regulator with a new structure and powers to punish errant newspapers and incentives to ensure every newspaper agrees to supervision. Soft-core pornographer Richard Desmond's Daily Scum Express and Daily Lies, which are not in the current PCC system of regulation, would under the new system risk being banned from taking advertising and using Press Association news wire services if they did not join the proposed regulator. These proposals are unlikely to have unanimous backing by newspaper editors and the body for the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers has already questioned how a ban on advertising for errant newspaper owners could work in practice. Next week the inquiry will also hear from other regulators including the Irish ombudsman, Professor John Horgan, and Ed Richards, the chief executive of Ofcom. Horgan and Hugh Tomlinson QC, who has been involved in behind-the-scenes round-table discussions among newspaper groups on future reforms, will give evidence on Friday as will Professor John Curran and Angela Phillips of the Co-ordinating Committee for Media Reform. The National Union of Journalists general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, will appear at Leveson on Tuesday when Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust is also giving evidence.

Sean Lock and Jon Richardson are to embark on a travel series for Channel Four, in which they have to live in the wilds of America. The Eight Out Of Ten Cats team captains will explore 'places corporate America fears to go' in the series, titled Hillbilly Holiday. Over three hour-long episodes they will go alligator-hunting with the cajuns of the Atchafalaya Swamps in Louisiana, pan for gold in Alaska and brew up moonshine in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A Channel Four spokesman said: 'Staying a week in each location, they will need to win over the locals who often ain't too keen on outsiders. They'll need to pepper the gumbos of red-necked survivalists, dill the pickles of Baptist snake-handlers and be educated in the ways of a nudist hog-trapper.' Channel Four's head of factual Ralph Lee said: 'Lucky bastards! It's one of the hardest parts of a commissioner's job to send other people on journeys you'd really like to go on. But we'll make sure they have a properly hard time and insist that it's all got a profound anthropological purpose.' Channel Four Head of Entertainment Justin Gorman added: 'It's a brilliant project. Sean and Jon are amazing talents and we will get to see a whole new side to them. Meanwhile, Richardson and Lock are to go head-to-head in another celebrity Countdown special. It follows the Eight Out Of Ten Cats version of the quiz show that was broadcast on Channel Four's Mash Up earlier this year. In that clash, presided over by Jimmy Carr, Richardson triumphed forty five points to twenty one.

Keith Allen's Princess Diana documentary has been postponed. Allen's Unlawful Killing, which questioned the circumstances surrounding Diana's death, was unofficially screened at Cannes last year. A spokesperson for the film told the Sun: 'Unlawful Killing has been sold all around the world. But there was a specific form of insurance needed by the US distributors to cover them for their French and UK offices. This proved impossible to secure. The film has been withdrawn in perpetuity.' Director Allen had originally suggested that Unlawful Killing would be screened in London, while conceding that a UK release would always be 'doubtful.' The fifty nine-year-old refused to censor the film, which contained a dying photo of the former Princess of Wales. The project had the financial backing of Mohamed Al-Fayed, the father of Diana's partner Dodi Fayed.

A woman has admitted smashing a window at Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' West London home with a broken brick. Leanne Zaloumis, of Catford, South-East London, attacked his Holland Park mansion on 24 March, Isleworth Crown Court heard. She was granted bail but forbidden from contacting Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads or going within three hundred yards of his home, or The Crossroads Motel. Zaloumis admitted intent to damage or destroy property but denied two other counts of affray and burglary. The not guilty pleas were accepted by the Crown. The court heard that Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads, was watching television in his bedroom when he heard a 'loud bang' from his bathroom. Which, at first, he thought was Dannii Minogue. When police subsequently arrived they found Zaloumis hiding inside a walk-in wardrobe at the mansion. Zaloumis was also said to have stood on Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads roof, yelling at him and hurling items at his bathroom window. Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads called his staff for help and was taken back to his bedroom during the incident, which happened at about 22:30. Judge John Denniss did not sentence Zaloumis because of administrative delays. Bail was granted because she has already served three months in custody. Zaloumis was also ordered to wear an electronic tag.

Sky is reportedly looking for a stand-up to front its next big sitcom, in the hope of replicating the success of hit comedies such as Seinfeld. The broadcaster's head of comedy, Lucy Lumsden, says that she is now looking for a 'second phase' of programmes that could be more satirical or anarchic than the family-orientated comedy-dramas that have so far provided the bulk of her output. 'I want to do an audience sitcom next,' she told an audience at the British Film Institute on London's South Bank this week. 'Now is the time to do something that might have some banana skins in it, now we've got a strong basis to build on. I'm looking at Seinfeld, Miranda, Not Going Out, looking at the stand-ups who go out and fearlessly feed off the audience every night.' She said that traditionally commissioners had put more emphasis on the writer than the performer, but vowed: 'I'm going to do it in a different way, which should be quite exciting.' Building sitcoms around stand-ups' personas or their stage act is common practice in the States, spawning such hugely successful shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond, Roseanne and Home Improvement. Lumsden left the BBC for Sky three years ago, as the company moved into commissioning home-grown comedy shows. She admits that her slate so far – which includes Spy, Stellar, the abysmal Trollied and The Café – erred towards a conservative tone. 'We needed to land quite strong, with shows that appealed to broad audiences,' she said. 'But now we're really craving something with a different flavour, something more anarchic – Chickens [the Second World War comedy starring Simon Bird and others] might be one of those. We were lucky that Channel Four passed on that pilot.' She added: 'In Phase Two we will also do lots more with new talent. We have Comedy Republic coming on Sky Atlantic, which is ten, ten-minute shows for the next generation of character comedians. They may be catchphrase-led, but not necessarily.' The strand may prove a similar gateway to Little Crackers, the Christmas series in which established comedy names made autobiographical shorts based on their childhood. It was the first thing Lumsden commissioned for Sky that made it to air – in December 2010 – and was followed with a second series last year and a third to come. 'I'm obsessed by autobiography, and pre-fame stories interested me a lot,' she said. 'Little Crackers was a bit of a calling card to let people know we were in the market. Some comedians directed their own, too, which gave them a bit of extra creative freedom.' She said that she was now more proactive in seeking out the comedians and writers she wanted to commission than she was at the BBC. 'We'd been a bit passive at my old job, waiting for stuff to land on my desk,' she admitted. 'At Sky I've been more pushy about identifying what talent I want to work with, and with twenty years in the business I had a pretty good idea. It's like fly fishing, as opposed to being on a trawler. When I left the BBC, they said, "We'll never see you again; you won't be at the awards ceremonies because it's Sky." But Sky told me "don't fear failure" – and said there was money to play with. And at the BBC you look back at this immense legacy. It was refreshing not to have that at Sky, to start from scratch.' She said that she had 'a clear idea' of the sort of shows she wanted to make. 'I like people who have the courage to write something about their normal life,' she said. 'And it was important to us that the commissions reflected modern Britain, so customers didn't just turn to Sky 1 for a window on American culture. 'We had these massive precincts – like the supermarket or families – so people would get a strong sense of place. Love is pretty much at the heart of all our shows too. I'm not obsessed with it, and there will be room for other styles but I felt we needed that in comedy. We want people to watch Sky 1 and feel better about themselves. A return to family values felt very important. I also want to try to ensure people watch TV as a family, not in their individual bedrooms, but sharing a laugh.' She said that she was also keen to add more regional voices to the Sky output, with shows such as Stella set in South Wales or Mount Pleasant set in Manchester. 'I'm not anti-Cambridge Footlights, but there's a feeling sometimes that in British comedy that we're stuck with the same voice,' she said. 'People come through Cambridge, then Radio 4, then BBC2.' And she added: 'If I'm cynical, the regional settings are a shortcut to having characters with a strong identity.' She also defended Sky's tendency to use established names. 'What I've learned is that the pool of talent is not huge,' she said. 'I'll take calculated risks and will really back talent – Ruth Jones got ten hour-long episodes without a pilot – but I won't do that with everyone.' But she said that with writers, past experience in the business was less important. 'For writers, new talent is different,' she said. 'If you've got a great voice and something to say, it doesn't matter what you've done before. It's all about the voice.' Citing Spy's writer Simeon Goulden, who had only written a few Armstrong & Miller sketches and two episodes of Secret Diary Of A Call Girl before his script was picked up, she said: 'Almost all of our shows are written by the new crowd. We all want to hear something that changes the record a bit.' Lumsden also said that after big rafts of commissions for Sky1 and Sky Atlantic, the female-skewed Sky Living would be her focus for the next year. The Joanna Page sitcom Gates – about a group parents – is the among the new comedies coming to that channel. And she said she hopes to expand on the Comedy Playhouse pilots which were broadcast on Sky Arts, possibly with a series of Nixon’s The One, which The Simpsons star Harry Shearer wrote from genuine transcripts of secret tape recordings made by the former US president.

Jason Manford performed before some familiar faces on Thursday in his new role as an Italian barber in West End musical Sweeney Todd. Downton Abbey stars Michelle Dockery and Brendan Coyle were among those watching the former host of The ONE Show make his official debut at London's Adelphi Theatre. Manford will play Adolfo Pirelli until 27 July in the Stephen Sondheim show. The comedian told the BBC News website it had been a nerve-wracking evening. 'It's so far out of my comfort zone,' said the thirty one-year-old after his performance, revealing it felt 'weird being nervous about an audience again. I'm not used to people being on stage with me who are already brilliant at it,' he continued. 'To be on stage with Michael [Ball] and Imelda [Staunton] in your first play, you couldn't ask for better. But in many ways there's no pressure on me. I don't feel people are sat there going, "I wonder when Jason Manford comes on."' Ball plays the title role in the critically acclaimed musical, which tells of a London barber who shaves, then murders, his customers. Staunton co-stars as Mrs Lovett, a pie-shop proprietor who finds a grisly use for his numerous corpses. Manford's role - played by Sacha Baron Cohen in Tim Burton's 2007 film version - is a relatively small one, featuring in two scenes and a climactic encore. 'I'm dead by half eight,' Jason noted. 'If it weren't for that ballad at the end, I could probably get my train home.' Yet the Salford native still pursued the role because he wanted to do 'a proper musical I could get my teeth into. You couldn't just put Dean Gaffney in the part,' he says of the preposterous Pirelli. 'I get to sing a proper song. But then it changes,' he notes about his character, who is revealed to have a hidden side. 'You've got to be a bit darker and angrier, and more threatening.' Manford's musical debut comes almost two years after his high-profile departure from The ONE Show in the wake of tabloid newspaper revelations about his private life. During his stint as presenter, Manford contentiously criticised the BBC for editing out a joke he made during a televised charity concert at which he performed. Pointedly perhaps, The ONE Show does not feature on his list of credits in the Sweeney Todd theatre programme. Manford denies he had any 'game plan' in accepting an engagement so markedly at odds with his previous experience. 'I got the job the same as anyone else really,' he shrugs. 'I asked for an audition and got one.' Having made the leap into professional theatre, though, the comedian admits he has been bitten by the theatrical bug. 'I've got TV commitments and I start touring next year, but I'd definitely like to do something for longer,' he reveals. Sweeney Todd, originally seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre continues at the Adelphi until 22 September. Robert Burt, who is spending July appearing at Glyndebourne, will return to the production at the end of Manford's four-week stint.

Let's Get Gold judge Rio Ferdinand has said that he 'would consider' a TV career in the future. Well, since he's not going to be getting the call from England any time soon, that might be a potential career choice.

International football transfer numbers and player buying fees have fallen sharply worldwide in the past six months, says governing body FIFA. Completed player deals fell by nine per cent in the first six months of 2012, but their total financial value plunged by more than a third, falling by thirty four per cent. Total income from fur thousand nine hundred and seventy three transfers around the globe was five hundred and seventy six million dollars. The drop may be due to continued global economic problems and the forthcoming UEFA financial fair play rules or the fact that many clubs, simply, haven't got a pot to piss in at the moment. Especially Rangers. The data was revealed by FIFA's Transfer Matching System organisation, which uses modern electronic technology with the aim of making international football transfers more transparent and legally compliant. 'We still have to see what happens in July and August, when European transfer windows are open, to see if this [drop] is just a dip or part of a continuing trend,' said Isabelle Solal, head of integrity and compliance at FIFA TMS. However, the economic recession and the impact of the UEFA financial fair play sanctions do seem to be having an effect. 'Clubs are making an effort to balance their books, but things should be clearer by September,' said Solal, speaking to the BBC News website at a World Sports Law Report conference into football player contracts. The figures refer to international transfers and do not cover 'domestic' transfers between two clubs in the same country. The big five European leagues - England, Germany, France, Italy and Spain - have transfer windows that run from 1 July to 31 August. And with most of the deals done in the first half of the year taking place during the January transfer windows in Europe, these are the two months when most global trading for the second half of the year will take place. The financial fair play rules have been introduced by European football's governing body to ensure that clubs only spend cash, including on big-name star signings, from revenues that they have created, rather than through borrowing or handouts from rich owners. The TMS is an online system for registering international transfers and has replaced the old set-up of documents-based on paper. In order for a transfer to be validated, the two clubs involved must enter the relevant information on the deal into the TMS system. However, in the first six months of 2012, the amount of fines that FIFA TMS has imposed on clubs for not complying properly with transfer regulations has almost reached the total for the whole of 2011. 'We are much more effective as a compliance department, and despite the number of transfers being down, we are finding more infringements as we grow into our role,' said Solal. 'We have a big focus on compliance education,' she added. 'We spend a lot of time trying to help clubs and associations understand the transfer market better. We have the technology that allows the information necessary for each transfer to be accessible to both parties, even if they are at other ends of the globe. It is great that sport is using the sort of technology that is widely used in business, and it is enabling us to become even more professional in our operations.'

FIFA president the odious Sepp Blatter - who is not at all corrupt in any way shape or form, just want to make that absolutely clear - says that Frank Lampard's so-called 'ghost' goal at the 2010 World Cup played 'a decisive role' in the introduction of goal-line technology. The International Football Association Board voted unanimously in favour of introducing the technology on Thursday. Blatter said: 'That [Lampard goal] was the moment for me to say, "You can't afford for something similar to happen in the next World Cup." We could say it is a historic day for international football.' Lampard's 'goal' came when England were 2-1 down in the second round against Germany. Fabio Capello's team went on to lose 4-1 and Lampard was so devastated by the whole fiasco than he started going out with odious greed bucket (and drag) Christine Bleakley as a consequence. Horroshow. There have been other similar incidents, most notably last month when Ukraine's Marko Devic was denied a goal against England at Euro 2012. The odious Blatter continued: 'In the autumn of 2010, we started tests and now we are ready. I am a happy man that we did it. The objective is for 2014 but now we have a system which is available for others.' The English Premier League has already said it plans to introduce goal-line technology as soon as possible, maybe at some point during the forthcoming season. However, not everyone is convinced it is a positive step forward. UEFA president, slimy Michel Platini has said that the technology would lead to 'PlayStation football.' Blatter is confident the odious little Frenchman will change his mind. 'He is more afraid that once technology comes in it will go from the goal-line towards the penalty box or whatever,' said Blatter. 'But I am sure with this unanimous decision of the international board that he will follow. He cannot go against history and this is new history. I am sure he is smart enough to realise that something has happened today in football.' England striker Sir Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick as England beat West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final, has spent years answering questions about whether his second goal actually crossed the line. 'It would have shown quite categorically that the ball was quite clearly at least a yard over the line,' he insisted. Which it wasn't, but never mind. 'But had it said it wasn't in, we would have won 3-2. There's still no difference.' Damn straight, Geoff. You stick to that story, mate. 'I am delighted though. I have been a leading advocate of bringing it in and I think it will benefit the game as a whole.'

The Scottish Football League clubs will vote whether to accept Glasgow Rangers at a meeting on 13 July. SFL chief executive David Longmuir confirmed the date after a board gathering at Hampden on Thursday. 'At this point, no decision has been taken by the board of the SFL or by any of our clubs,' said Longmuir. 'I have every faith in the judgement of those clubs to make a considered and reasoned decision which will be in the best interests of the game.' A newco Rangers is applying for SFL membership following the Scottish Premier League's decision to reject their application. The thirty SFL clubs met on Tuesday to discuss a proposal that would see the new Rangers enter Division One rather than starting life in the bottom tier. The SPL are offering a one million smackers payment for TV rights to Rangers games and the introduction of play-offs between the top flight and Division One. And the matter will now go to a ballot. BBC Scotland suggests that Dundee are likely to be invited to replace the old Rangers in the SPL for next season. And the Dens Park club say that they have been advised they will not be allowed to cast a vote on 13 July. 'Scottish Football League clubs are, over the next few days, being asked to make a crucial decision as to whether we are in a position to accommodate Rangers into the SFL,' added Longmuir. 'The time has come for all outside influences and pressures to stop. This is our national game and part of our culture so I ask all other bodies to leave it to those who have been put in this invidious position to make a decision in the best possible interests of our game.' Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan warned the game faced a 'slow, lingering death' if the Ibrox club had to re-start in Division Three. But Cowdenbeath were the twelfth SFL club to go public with their opposition to the idea of Rangers entering Division One, with Stenhousemuir the only club to so far indicate their support. And Charles Green, who purchased Rangers' assets when the old club was consigned to liquidation, said on Wednesday: 'If our application was to be accepted, Rangers will play in whichever division the SFL sees fit and we will move forward from there.' Longmuir explained that the first vote will be on whether the SFL can accommodate Rangers, with a simple majority required. If that vote goes in favour of Rangers, Longmuir said it would be 'supplemented by further resolutions that we would have to implement to change our rules.' He added: 'Our job over the next week or so is to consult with colleagues in both SPL and SFA to make sure that what we're about to do is for the benefit and interests of the game. The SFL clubs clearly have choices but what we plan to do is make the choices very, very clear to them by giving them the right information and to work over the next week to pull together the plan that's going to take the game forward through this mini crisis. Technically, the SFA, as governing body, has the power to influence just about every decision that is taken in the game but I believe that with proper collaboration we can get everybody onside with this.'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle are set to add a further promising teenager to their squad, with news that a deal has been agreed for Gael Bigirimana of Coventry City. The Burundi-born midfielder moved to England as a child joining the Sky Blue Academy when aged eleven. Handed his first team debut in August 2011 by Toon old boy Andy Thorn, eighteen year-old Gael went on to make twenty eight appearances in all competitions. News of United's interest first emerged in May, when a bid said to be between five hundred thousand and one million smackers was apparently lodged. A deal for teenage Australian defender Curtis Good has also reportedly been completed by the St James' Park club, but is yet to be formally announced until he returns from international duty. After undergoing fitness testing in the early part of this week, the United squad officially began their pre-season work on Thursday. Some eyebrows were raised when Peter Lovenkrands was sighted at Darsley Park, but it was quickly confirmed that Peter, who was released by the club at the end of last season, is currently training with United until he strikes a deal with a new club. Among those spotted on Wednesday meanwhile were new boy Romain Amalfitano and Demba Ba. As expected, United's trio of Euro 2012 attendees have been given extra time off, with Tim Krul due back on Monday 16 July and Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa returning the following Monday. With the departure of Fraser Forster to Celtic, United will begin their pre-season with Rob Elliot between the posts. Meanwhile, the club have announced that Papiss Cissé and Cheick Tioté won't be expected to return until Monday 9 July following their participation in World Cup qualifiers in June. It remains to be seen though whether the former actually shows up, or will be otherwise engaged in Spain at the Senegal Olympic squad's training camp. Speaking about that on Monday, Alan Pardew said: 'We have to give our permission (for him to play at the Olympics) and we are discussing it. It's awkward because we want to prepare of a difficult season ahead of Europa League and Premier League games.'

Thousands of fans at T in the Park face damp and muddy conditions, as heavy rain is forecast for the weekend. There have been downpours in central Scotland this week and an amber weather warning is in place for Saturday. But the weather is unlikely to put revellers off, with mud baths becoming as regular as the big-name acts at the festival in Balado near Kinross. The Stone Roses and Kasabian will headline the event on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Festival-goers began arriving at the site on Friday, when Snow Patrol and New Order were top billing on the main stage. And many more music fans will arrive on Saturday, as the first full day of the extravaganza begins. With a capacity of eighty five thousand people each day, the event is said to be more populated than any city centre in Scotland. But a heavy rain warning has been issued by the Met Office for central Scotland on Saturday. It said the public should be prepared for surface water flooding and some disruption to travel and outdoor activities. Aisling Creevey, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, urged fans to pack their waterproofs as rain will always be close-by. 'There could be some torrential downpours in central Scotland on Saturday,' she said. 'Sunday isn't looking great either but there will be a few dry spells. It will also turn a bit cooler with northern winds making the area unseasonably cool.' Cool? It'll certainly be ruddy cool when The roses hit the stage, baby. Other acts performing on Saturday and Sunday include Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, David Guetta, Calvin Harris (tragically, without Orville), Elbow, The Enemy and Brits Critics' Choice winner Emeli Sande.

Thus we come to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This is for anybody going to T in the Park this weekend. Hope you enjoy the mud, guys. Remember, there was once five hundred thousand lice-ridden stinking hippies gathered together in the same place at the same time. And, nobody had the foresight to deploy ballistic missiles.