Monday, July 23, 2012

Derniere Etape Champs-Elysees

Matt Smith has appeared to rule himself out of appearing in a big-screen version of Doctor Who - by virtue of the fact that the proposed movie is unlikely to be happening any time soon. If at all. So, that's not exactly 'news', really. Speaking to Collider at last week's Comic-Con yer actual Smudger his very self explained: 'For my money, whoever is playing The Doctor [at the time] should be in the movie. I don't think there should be two Doctors. I think it would take four or five years to get something like that off the ground, and I don't anticipate that I'll be playing The Doctor then. My skin and the aging process couldn't take it. But, I don't see any reason why it couldn't work. I think they should get Steven to write it because he’s the best.' Meanwhile, The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat had, once again, re-iterated that any film version of Doctor Who will not be a separate entity to the current television series but, rather, an extension of it. Speaking to Airlock Alpha at the same event, the lead writer and showrunner commented: 'There will not come a time when there's a separate kind of Doctor Who. What was talked about was that there would be a separate Doctor and a different continuity. Of course it won't. That would be silly. Everyone knows that's silly. The BBC knows that's silly, and is not going to do that.' The likelihood of an alternative film version of the show was promoted by director David Yates talking a load of utter crap in November 2011 when he told Variety that BBC Worldwide Productions were undertaking the project and writers were being considered for a version that 'would start from scratch.' Moffat swiftly slapped such arrant nonsense down with the back of his hand.

Bradley Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour De France as his Team Sky and Britain team-mate Mark Cavendish claimed his fourth consecutive final stage victory. Wiggins, thirty two, finished in the chasing peloton in Sunday's final stage around the streets of Paris with a winning margin of three minutes and twenty one seconds. The Londoner's Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome consolidated his second place overall with Italy's Vincenzo Nibali third. It was Cavendish's twenty third stage win on the Tour. That saw him surpass seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong and Frenchman Andre Darrigade in the overall standings with the legendary Belgian Eddy Merckx just eleven away on thirty four. But the day belonged to Cavendish's close friend Wiggins, who safely negotiated himself around the streets of Paris, to complete the formalities after Saturday's stunning time-trial victory gave him an unassailable lead. The three-time Olympic track champion crossed the line with his arms raised in front of thousands of British fans on the Champs Elysees who had come to witness history being made. And, in winning this year's Tour, Wiggins not only fulfilled a life-long ambition but also sealed his place in cycling immortality. 'It is incredible,' said Cavendish. 'It couldn't be more perfect, an amazing tour for us. The set-up said four years ago the aim was to win the Yellow Jersey and we've done it with a one-two. We've got one more job to do next week [at the Olympics] and it's going to be an amazing few weeks for us.' 'I don't know what to say, I've had twenty four hours for it to soak in,' said Wiggins. 'I'm still buzzing from the Champs Elysees, the laps go so quick. We had a mission with Cav and we did it. What a way to finish it off. I've got to get used to that [being in the spotlight], it's going to take a while. I'm just trying to soak it all in. You never imagine it will happen to you but it's amazing.' In three demanding weeks, he toiled over the Alps and the Pyrenees to complete the mammoth twenty-stage, two thousand one hundred and seventy three-mile race which was in its ninety ninth year. During his stunning transition from track to road racing, Wiggins finished fourth in the tour in 2009 - equalling Robert Millar's 1984 British best - before crashing out with a broken collarbone when among the favourites to win last year. But having worn the Yellow Jersey for thirteen consecutive stages, Wiggins showed why Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has placed so much faith in his man as he accumulated a winning margin of over three minutes. That margin of Wiggins' victory also answered many of those who questioned why Froome, who appeared marginally stronger in the mountains, was not Team Sky's Tour leader. Team Sky themselves achieved the rare feat of a one-two on the podium, the first since 1996, when Dane Bjarne Riis finished ahead of his German team-mate at Telekom, Jan Ullrich. It is also the first time compatriots have taken the first two places since France's Laurent Fignon finished ahead of five-time winner Bernard Hinault in the 1984 event. Elsewhere, Frenchman Thomas Voeckler of Europcar won the Polka Dot jersey for the race's best climber, with Slovakian Peter Sagan of the Liquigas team easily securing the Green Jersey - won by Cavendish last year - in the points competition. American Tejay Van Garderen made up for BMC team leader Cadel Evans' disastrous title defence by winning the race's White Jersey for the best-placed rider aged twenty five and under. Evans, who made history by becoming Australia's first champion in 2011, finished nearly sixteen minutes behind Wiggins.

Meanwhile, if any further reminder were needed that Bradley Wiggins's Tour De France win is a triumph for Team Sky backer BSkyB, as well as for British sport, look no further than about one minutes and forty nine in ITV's highlights of Sunday's action from Paris. The guy in the passenger seat of the Team Sky back-up car, seen joyously punching his fists in the air after Wiggins crossed the finish line, is none other than BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch. Well it's certainly a more fun way of spending Sunday that doing your homework for this week's Sky annual results presentation, eh Jezza?
They said he was elegant and graceful as a player - and, also, injury prone - now Glenn Hoddle is reportedly being lined-up to appear as a contestant on Twatting About on Ice. Which could, potentially, be the most embarrassing thing in the chap's life. Well, since a bemulleted Hoddle & Waddle appeared on Top of the Pops doing 'Diamond Lights', anyway. The former England manager is said to be auditioning to compete on the ITV show when it returns in 2013. According to the Mirra - so this is almost certainly complete lies - ITV 'bosses' are 'very keen' to sign up the fifty four-year-old former Stottingtot Hotshots player, with an alleged 'insider' allegedly saying: 'We would love Glenn to be part of the new show. He is a football legend and a guaranteed ratings winner.' He is? Okay. Ex-boxing world champion Steve Collins, Winter Olympics gold medallist Amy Williams and the Mirra's own 'gardening expert' Diarmuid Gavin, are among the other names alleged to be auditioning after being allegedly spotted at an alleged ice rink allegedly 'rehearsing' in front of alleged 'researchers.' Reggae Reggae Sauce creator Levi Roots is also reportedly 'in talks' with producers to appear when the show returns. Previous alleged 'celebrities' who have been rumoured to have auditioned for the miserably dreadful ice dance competition include Jodie Marsh, EastEnders' Matt Lapinskas and Ian Watkins who used to be H from Steps. Christ that's a line-up to get Christine Bleakley giggling like a simpleton, isn't it? Actually, come to think of it, if they had a bunch of Harry Ramps they'd rounded up on the South Bank, that'd still probably see Christine Bleakley giggling like a simpleton.

EastEnders' Sid Owen has reportedly 'retired' from acting and is now running a restaurant business in France. Which will come as a considerable surprise to those licence fee payers who never thought he could act in the first place. Owen - who played mechanic Ricky Butcher for almost twenty five years off and on - claims that he has 'no desire' to return to the BBC soap as he wants to concentrate on running his restaurant business. He said: 'I've retired. I'm now living permanently in France, where I have been on-and-off for the last ten years, and I'm running my restaurant.' Did we mention he was running his restaurant? If not, he is. Apparently. 'I haven't quite made my millions but I'm happy doing that and I'll never be back.' Owen also says that he never wants to be on TV screens again as he enjoys the lifestyle he has now got. He told the Sunday Mirra newspaper: 'I'm done with the UK and I hope that you will never see me on your TV screens again because I'm done and I've retired. I much prefer the lifestyle I have now.' In January he said he planned to leave EastEnders 'temporarily.'

The BBC's director general-designate, George Entwistle, is thought to be considering 'a strategic repositioning' of BBC Worldwide, a move which raises questions over the future of its long-standing chief executive, John Smith. Entwistle, who officially takes over from Mark Thompson in September, is understood to be keen to bring the corporation's commercial arm 'closer to the public service side' of the licence fee-funded BBC. The plan to investigate trimming the scope of BBC Worldwide – which makes the BBC more than a billion smackers in annual revenues selling content including Top Gear, Doctor Who, Sherlock and Planet Earth – is understood to have been raised by Entwistle as part his interview for the role of director general. 'Entwistle raised the role of BBC Worldwide and bringing it closer to the BBC in broad strokes,' said one alleged 'source' according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Which, again, means this bollocks is, almost certainly, a load of old trouble-making toot dreamed up by hippies and Communists. 'There are certain implications in what that would mean,' the alleged 'source' allegedly continued. But, probably didn't. Entwistle, the Gruniad go on to state, 'is understood to have Fleshed out his thinking' (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean) to the BBC Trust following his appointment as director general on 4 July. 'He's presented the plan, and asked for approval,' said an, alleged, second source. 'In principle it has been accepted but he can't make it happen until he is in the job. It is what he wants and what he is working towards, but he has no power to execute any plan yet and things could change by September.' One of the, alleged, 'sources' - one of Heinz's fifty seven varieties, no doubt - allegedly said that Tim Davie, the BBC's head of audio and music, had been 'considered a good fit' to potentially take on running BBC Worldwide. Davie will almost certainly be considering his future after missing out on the top job, however, he has also been linked with a potential move to run All3Media, the production company behind shows such as The Only Way Is Essex, Shameless and Skins. 'The BBC is very keen not to lose Davie,' said one of the alleged 'sources', allegedly. 'This is pure speculation,' said a spokesman for the BBC. And saucy speculation, at that. 'George has made it clear that he has not yet handed over his responsibilities as director of Vision. His plans for the future of the BBC are still in development and there will be no running commentary on this process.' Smith, a BBC stalwart who has more than quadrupled the corporation's commercial profits in his career at the broadcaster, declined to comment. Alleged 'sources' allegedly said that Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, and Thompson, in his role as non-executive chairman of BBC Worldwide, have, allegedly, had 'combative' meetings with Smith in recent months. 'There have been very uncomfortable and awkward moments in board meetings,' said one alleged 'source', allegedly. 'Patten definitely wants BBC Worldwide closer to the BBC,' another allegedly said. 'There is a restructure plan to bring BBC Worldwide more "inhouse", under the new director general.' Smith, who observers say at one point harboured ambitious plans to spin-off BBC Worldwide, has in the past been linked with several high profile media jobs. He has always publicly denied any interest in leaving the corporation. The Gruniad claims that one of these myriad of nameless - and, therefore, presumably entirely fictitious - 'sources' had said he, or she, or it 'understood' that if Smith was to negotiate his departure the BBC would expect a payout in the region of one million knicker. When Smith took the helm of BBC Worldwide in July 2004, the business had just reported revenues of six hundred and fifty seven million quid, including income from joint ventures, and £36.7m in pre-tax profits. Last week, he reported that BBC Worldwide made more than one billion notes in revenues for the fourth year running, and like-for-like profits of one hundred and fifty five million wonga. Last month Jana Bennett, the president of worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer, left BBC Worldwide as part of a major reorganisation of the way the commercial arm is run.

Dame Maggie Smith's possible departure from Downton Abbey is apparently 'up to her,' according to Lord Snooty Julian Fellowes. Rumours that the actress may leave her popular role as the Dowager Countess at the end of the third series of the show emerged earlier this year, with producers at first denying claims. In a rather sour-faced, spiteful and dismissive interview - or, in other words, 'an ordinary Julian Fellowes interview' - with TVLine at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, Lord Snooty his very self revealed more information on Smith's future with the series. He said: 'I can't tell you, "Oh, yes, she's definitely contracted [for series four]" - because she isn't. It's entirely up to her when she stays and when she goes.' Smith opted out of signing a long-term contract for the show in March, while Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Brendan Coyle all made deals to return for potential fourth and fifth series of the show. 'With Maggie, you never know,' Lord Snooty added. 'Other [actors] sign on for the next series and they sign for this and they sign for that, but she doesn't. She stays her own person. But as far as I'm concerned, hope she stays with the show until Downton falls down.'

Two officers at high-security prisons allegedly took naughty illegal payments from the Mirra, the Daily Scum Express and News International journalists, a senior police officer has told the Leveson Inquiry. Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers said that one officer had allegedly received thirty five thousand quid. Stories possibly linked to the payments revealed 'very limited material of genuine public interest,' she added. The fourth module of the inquiry is focused on future press regulation. And, hopefully lots of it. Akers is leading inquiries into phone-hacking, claims of police corruption and computer crime. In her evidence, she said that Scotland Yard had analysed stories possibly linked to payments to two senior prison officers at separate prisons. She said: 'It's our assessment that there are reasonable grounds to suspect offences have been committed and that the majority of these stories reveal very limited material of genuine public interest.' The inquiry heard that one prison officer was accused of taking illegal payments of nearly thirty five grand from Trinity Mirra, News International and Scum Express Newspapers during the period between April 2010 and June 2011. Additional payments are also alleged to have been made, with a final payment in February 2012, she said. And you thought all dodgy activity involving newspapers had stopped the day the Scum of the World got closed down, dear blog reader? The other official allegedly received payments totalling more than fourteen grand from Trinity Mirra between February 2006 and January 2012. In her evidence, Akers said the Met had arrested forty one individuals as part of the Operation Elveden inquiry into corrupt payments to officials, and fifteen current and former journalists in relation to conspiracy to intercept communications. The inquiry heard that police were looking into one hundred and one separate allegations of data intrusion, and examining eight to eleven terabytes of electronic data. Akers has led Operation Weeting since January 2011, overseeing a team of officers looking at phone-hacking at the Scum of the World, which was shut in disgrace, shame and ignominy in the wake of the scandal. Operation Elveden is looking at e-mails received from News International that allegedly show payments made to police by the Scum of the World's owners News International. A third inquiry, Operation Tuleta, is looking at allegations that computers were hacked to obtain private information. During evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in February, Akers, who is due to retire from the Met next May, outlined details of payments of tens of thousands of pounds made by journalists to public officials. She said the Sun had had a 'culture of illegal payments' and claimed eighty thousand knicker had been paid to one individual over a number of years, while one journalist had received one hundred and fifty grand from the paper to pay alleged 'sources'. Her evidence at the time was examined by the attorney general to see whether it had prejudiced any trials resulting from the investigation. The inquiry will also hear closing submissions from the Met, Torygraph Media Group and Associated Newspapers. The Gruniad Morning Star states that journalists at the Sun are, apparently 'indignant' over the recent arrest of one of their number under Operation Tuleta allegedly for handling stolen goods. Pity for them. One is sure that several bank robbers are, equally, indignant, when they're arrested for their crimes too. The Gruniad alleges that they complain readers have been phoning the paper in relation to items they have, allegedly, found 'since 1969' when Rupert Murdoch bought the Sun. As though that makes it all right. One - nameless, of course - journalist on the paper allegedly said that if the police were going to pursue every journalist who got a call about a subject someone did not want them to know about, 'we might as well pack up and go home.' Which, to this blogger, sounds like a fantastic idea. Can we do that, please?

Once a really very good show indeed but, by the end, it was dying on its feet. ITV's finale of Primeval drew just 1.7 million on Saturday evening, its lowest terrestrial audience ever. A sad way for a show that, in its day, was actually pretty decent to end. Only 1.38m chose to watch the SF drama's series-five climax at 7.30pm, adding a further three hundred thousand on ITV+1. Primeval's fifth run had already been broadcast on Watch - averaging around five hundred thousand punters per episode - as part of a co-production deal between ITV and UKTV following its initial cancellation in 2009. The franchise will continue exclusively on the digital channel with spin-off New World. You've Been Framed followed on ITV with 2.11m at 6.30pm, then 2.61m watched The Cube at 7.30pm and TV's Biggest Blockbusters rounded off a wretched night for ITV with 2.03m from 8.30pm. BBC1 fared much better with its ninety third showing of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade pulling in 4.1m and kicking off the evening at 6.30pm, after which Casualty grabbed 4.39m, and a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys drew 3.74m at 10.30pm. Overall, BBC1 led a one-horse race with 23.3 per cent, while ITV had 11.5 per cent of the audience share.

The grandson of the Scottish television pioneer John Logie Baird has said British culture was changed by the first satellite images. Fifty years ago on Monday, public satellite television images were beamed across the Atlantic from the United States to Britain and Europe. Iain Logie Baird said the event changed people's perception of distance and the world. Logie Baird works at the National Media Museum in Bradford. He said: 'It wasn't actually the first satellite broadcast but because it was seen by so many people when it was on, it had a tremendous impact on people's perception of distance and extension of their consciousness. Suddenly you could see across the ocean as easily as you could make a phone call.' The Telstar satellite, which belonged to telecommunications giant AT&T, was launched by NASA on 10 July 1962. Prior to Telstar, Baird said, people had to record TV programmes onto tapes, which would then be flown to the destination country, meaning there could be a delay of days, if not weeks, before they were broadcast. The first television picture relayed from earth to space and back occurred later the same day, with a transmission of the American flag waving in front of the Earth Station in Andover, Maine. An AT&T spokesman said the idea of an active communications satellite, which does not simply reflect signals but amplifies and retransmits them, was first conceived by the science fiction author Arthur C Clarke in 1945. Ten years later John Pierce, of Bell Telephone Laboratories, published a scientific paper outlining the possibilities for satellite communications. In January 1960, AT&T and NASA agreed to a joint project. AT&T would design and construct an experimental satellite and pay NASA to launch it in what would be the first privately sponsored space launch.

Yer actual Sir Chris Hoy has been chosen to carry the flag for Great Britain at the opening ceremony of the London Games on Friday. The four-time Olympic gold medal winner polled the most number of votes among the five hundred and forty two members of the British team. The thirty six-year-old cyclist also carried the Union Flag at the 2008 closing ceremony in Beijing. 'I'm absolutely delighted and honoured to have been voted as the flag bearer for Team GB,' said Sir Chris. 'To lead out your team at a home Olympics is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that that I can't wait to experience in just a few days time.' Other GB Olympians who also received support included archer Alison Williamson, who will be competing at her sixth Games. Hoy, who will compete in the team sprint and keirin at London 2012, is the first cyclist to have the honour of carrying the British flag at an opening ceremony. The Scot will lead out the British team when they become the last of the two hundred and four competing nations to enter the arena. Or, two hundred three if the Maldives has sunk into the sea by then. It has been a remarkable few days for British cycling following the success of Bradley Wiggins in the Tour De France. Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling, told BBC Sport: 'Just when you think it can't get any better it does. It is the cherry on the cake for British Cycling after Bradley Wiggins's success on Sunday. Sir Chris is a brilliant athlete and a fantastic ambassador for the sport of cycling. Hoy is reaching his potential just at the right time in the sport and deserves this pivotal role at London 2012.' Hoy, who is Scotland's most successful Olympian, was named BBC Sports Personality of the year in 2008. He won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, a gold at Athens in 2004 and another three golds in Beijing four years ago. Britain's Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: 'Team GB could not have placed the flag in better hands. It is a great honour for Sir Chris and the team will be proud to march behind him. He is a fantastic ambassador for his sport and his country.' Hoy is not due to compete until the second week of the Games, when he will try to surpass rower Sir Steve Redgrave's British record of five gold medals. The British Olympic Association asked each sport represented in Team GB to nominate one candidate. The team leaders of each sport then voted on the shortlist.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso beat Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Jenson Button in a close fight to win the German Grand Prix. The Spaniard became the only man to win three times so far this season. He drove a controlled race and stayed just far enough ahead of his pursuers to maintain the lead. Button climbed up from sixth on the grid to pass Vettel at the second pit stops but was re-passed with two laps to go. However, the Englishman was subsequently promoted to second place after race stewards gave Vettel a twenty-second penalty for his overtake of Button on the penultimate lap. And, for being a dirty stinking cheating Johnny Foreigner. Probably. Lewis Hamilton had a thoroughly miserable day, and eventually retired with gearbox damage after running well down the field following an early puncture. But he will not incur any penalty for a gearbox change because of his early finish. The result extends Alonso's championship lead to thirty four points ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber who had a low-key race finishing in eighth place, never showing any real pace. Alonso said: 'It was tough, not an easy race. Maybe we were not the quickest in dry conditions but we were competitive and it was enough to maintain the lead. Great strategy calls from the team to keep me ahead through the pit stops. I knew it would be a long race to the end, with Jenson putting pressure. But the car was feeling good on top speed and traction and that was enough to keep the lead into turn six, and after that overtaking is not so easy.' The only consolation for Hamilton on the occasion of his one hundredth Grand Prix was that the McLaren showed encouraging pace following a major performance upgrade. At one stage, Hamilton unlapped himself on Vettel - although not Alonso - as he attempted vainly to recover from his early set-back. It was a move which angered the double world champion who whinged about it afterwards to anyone that would listen, though there was nothing illegal about it. Getting all stroppy and discombobulated, so her was. it was a sight to see, dear blog reader. Alonso was never very far in front but was always able to stay just far enough ahead of first Vettel and then Button to ensure they could not use their DRS overtaking aids to pass him into the hairpin at turn six. It led to a tense grand prix in which the identity of the winner was always in doubt until Alonso took the chequered flag. The Ferrari made a lightening start from pole position and although Vettel quickly closed up the initial gap Alonso had built on the first lap, the Spaniard was able to pull clear before their first pit stops to ensure he held the lead into the second stint. Meanwhile, Button was fighting past Hulkenberg and then Schumacher, to move quietly into third place. Vettel emerged from his first pit stop five seconds ahead of Button but the McLaren closed remorselessly on the Red Bull and passed the German by making his second stop a lap earlier. Vettel emerged from the pits to find Button on his outside on the run to turn two, and the McLaren easily took the position. Button was rarely more than a second behind Alonso from then until a few laps from the end of the race but the Ferrari driver was always in control and in the closing laps he stretched away as Button began to lose grip in his rear tyres. Rather than try to take the lead, Button had to spend the closing laps fighting off a late challenge from Vettel, who passed him at the turn six hairpin on the penultimate lap. Vettel said: 'The pace was there but it was extremely difficult when I was close to Fernando and Jenson we seemed to lose a lot and not be able to stay close enough to try to something under braking. I am not entirely happy, it could have been a bit better if it was clean air most of the race but that was not the case. Second place was the best we could get today and I am happy with that.' Errr ... make that fifth, Seb. Button said: 'It was a close race and I couldn't quite get Fernando at the end. When you are in the middle of three you really have to fight and I was pushing a little bit more in the early part of the stint, whereas when you're in front you can coast a bit in the bits where you don't need to push. It was close but Fernando knows as we all do where to use Kers to keep someone behind you. I ran out of steam at the end of the straight and the gap was a little bit too big to get back. But it was a fun race and it's nice to be on the podium again. I've had my feeling back the last two races but the pace hasn't been there [in the car], but today it was. We're there or thereabouts at the front, still a little way to go.' Raikkonen provided some exciting racing as he moved up from tenth on the grid. On the way, Raikkonen engaged in top-class racing with Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher and the Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta. Schumacher finished seventh behind Sauber drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez. Hulkenberg and Di Resta took the final points positions in ninth and tenth.

The British screen, television and stage actor Simon Ward has died after a long illness, his agent has confirmed. Ward appeared in several films throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including Young Winston and The Three Musketeers. He also starred as Bishop Gardiner in The Tudors and as Sir Monty in the popular BBC series Judge John Deed. A statement released by his agent said that Simon died peacefully with his wife Alexandra and their three daughters at his bedside. The son of a car salesman from Beckenham, Ward joined the National Youth Theatre at the age of thirteen where he remained for eight years. After attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he worked in repertory in Northampton, Birmingham and Oxford, and occasionally in London's West End. His break into the theatre came in 1967 when he played one of the leads in the original London run of Joe Orton's play, Loot, which lead directly to a number of television and film roles. Terrific as a psychopathic killer in 1969's under-rated I Start Counting (opposite the teenage Jenny Agutter), in 1972, Simon played the title role in the movie Young Winston. This was the role which brought him to national prominence, and thereafter the in-demand Ward starred in several high profile films during the mid-to-late 1970s. The following year he played the Duke of Buckingham in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers and its sequel The Four Musketeers (1974), and also in 1974, he played author/veterinarian James Herriot in the successful film adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small. He took one of the lead roles in the 1976 First World War adventure Aces High, then starred as Lt William Vereker in the 1979 film Zulu Dawn. He was also seen as a fictional Nazi functionary in Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973). Later film roles included Zor-El in Supergirl (1984). In 1995, at very short notice, he took over Stephen Fry's role in the play Cell Mates, after Fry walked out of the play near the start of its run. In more recent years Simon returned to theatre, touring the country with plays such as Alan Bennett's The Madness of George III and Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband. Ward's eldest daughter is the actress, Sophie Ward. His youngest daughter, Kitty, is married to the comedian, Michael McIntyre.

And so to today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Which is, obviously, for Brad. You done good, Ace.