Monday, July 02, 2012

Ms Rigg, You're Needed

The BBC have announced on Twitter that yer actual Dame Diana Rigg is to appear in Doctor Who alongside her daughter, Rachel Stirling. The actresses will play 'a mother and daughter with a dark secret' alongside Matt Smith, as The Doctor, and new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman in an episode to be shown early in 2013. The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat announced: 'Dame Diana Rigg, Rachael Stirling and a Mark Gatiss script - a combination of talents you could only get in Doctor Who! Frankly, I'm terrified already! The script commences filming this week, with the pair "playing a mother and daughter with a dark secret."' The story is reportedly set in Yorkshire with a period setting, with filming beginning on Monday at Roath Lock Studios and Bute Town in Rhymney, standing in for 'a village in the county.' Diana is, of course, best remembered as one of television's finest feminist icons, Emma Peel in the 1960s series The Avengers. She also became James Bond's short-lived wife in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The actress has had a long and impressive career covering stage, screen and television including The Assassination Bureau, Diana, Bleak House, First Born and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries. She also hosted the PBS series Mystery! for some fifteen years. On her forthcoming appearance, she said: 'The first time Rachie and I will be working together is on an episode of Doctor Who specially written for us by Mark Gatiss. How lucky is that?' Meanwhile, her daughter's career has encompassed starring as Nan in the controversial BBC adaptation of Tipping the Velvet, with other television appearances including Boy Meets Girl and last year's Women in Love; she has also appeared in films such as The Young Victoria, Centurion, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Snow White and the Huntsman. The actress is also no stranger to the world of Doctor Who, featuring alongside Tom Baker and Louise Jameson in the recently released Big Finish audio adventure Trail of the White Worm. On her latest role, Rachael said: 'What joy. I am looking forward to the madness of Doctor Who enormously. Mark Gatiss has written a gift of a script and an on-screen relationship between Ma and I that is truly delicious. We have never before worked together because the offers have not been tempting, but when such a funny and original script comes through you know the time has come.'

More than thirteen million viewers watched Spain win Euro 2012 on BBC1 – six times the number that watched the tournament climax on ITV. Spain's crushing 4-0 win over Italy averaged 12.3 million viewers on BBC1, with a fifteen-minute peak of 13.3 million on Sunday night. ITV's - genuinely pathetic - coverage of the same match, fronted by odious breakfast TV flop and greed bucket Adrian Chiles, averaged a risible two million viewers, with a fifteen-minute peak of 2.2 million. Overall BBC1's Match of the Day Live: Euro 2012 Final, hosted by yer actual Gary Lineker, pulled in an average audience of 10.2 million viewers across the entire broadcast, a 41.3 per cent share, between 7pm and 10.15pm. ITV's Euro 2012 Final Live, averaged 1.7 million viewers, seven per cent of the audience, between 7pm and 10.15pm. I'll repeat that, seven per cent. The advertising-free BBC traditionally outguns ITV on big sporting occasions such as this but the corporation's six-to-one win over its commercial rival – the BBC had an eight six per cent share of the audience during the game itself – was even more comprehensive than usual. The last time ITV broadcast live coverage of a European Championships final – Greece's win in Euro 2004 – the BBC had just over three times as many viewers as ITV, with 10.9 million viewers against 3.4 million. Such is the BBC's traditional ratings lead that ITV decided not to broadcast live coverage of the Euro 2008 final, also won by Spain. The BBC had a five-to-one lead in the 2010 World Cup final, when it drew fifteen million viewers compared with ITV's 3.3 million. The total audience for live match coverage of the final, at 14.3 million viewers, was up on the 10.6 million who watched in 2008 when it was only broadcast on BBC1, and identical to the 14.3 million who watched Greece's win in Euro 2004. But it was down on the 18.4 million who saw Spain's World Cup win, broadcast live by both channels, two years ago. England's Euro 2012 exit to Italy remained the most-watched match of Euro 2012, with a live match average of 20.34 million viewers on BBC1 on 24 June, with full coverage including pre- and post-match analysis averaging 17.4 million. The quarter final, which England lost on penalties - as usual - had a five-minute peak of 23.2 million viewers, the highest for any programme on any channel since England versus Portugal in Euro 2004. The first hour of ITV's Euro 2012 final coverage also lost out to BBC2's Secrets of our Living Planet. The Chris Packham natural history series picked up 2.1 million viewers between 7pm and 8pm, including BBC HD. Mock the Week's delayed episode - rescheduled from last Thursday - took 1.52m at 10.10pm. The BBC also offered an alternative CBBC commentary of the Euro 2012 final on the Red Button service, featuring channel hosts Chris Johnson and Hacker T Dog in Salford. Their 'offbeat' version, which included unwittingly comparing the Spanish Crown Prince to a member of the Gryffindor house in the Harry Potter books because he was wearing a red-and-yellow scarf, led to CBBC 'trending' on Twitter. Which is 'a thing', apparently.

There was an unfortunate slip-up by BBC's Match of the Day pundit yer actual Alan Shearer during the Euro 2012 final on Sunday night when he noted how the triumphant Spanish team had enjoyed 'an unbelievable amount of sex.' Lucky old Spaniards, I reckon. One supposes that's what comes from winning three major tournaments in a row. The ladies love a trophy or two. What Shearer actually meant to say – and he quickly corrected himself – was 'an unbelieavable amount of success.' Let's hope they don't let it go to their head. Course, yer actual Shearer had a fair bit of sexy success himself. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping really rather enjoyed watching that.

ITV has formally announced the - long rumoured - commission of Broadchurch, a new ensemble crime drama series starring David Tennant, Arthur Darvill, Olivia Colman and Vicky McClure. Okay, sold, on those four names alone. Written and created by Chris Chibnall (previously, of course, of Torchwood and Doctor Who as well as Life on Mars and Law & Order: UK), the eight-part series will explore what happens to a small community when it suddenly becomes the focus of a major event and is subjected to the full glare of the media spotlight. David will play DI Alec Hardy, an out-of-town, newly promoted police detective, while Arthur will play the town priest, Paul Coates. Tennant's character is set to clash with a local officer played by Colman. The actress found fame as Sophie in Channel Four comedy Peep Show, before going on to star in BBC comedy Rev, Twenty Twelve and films including Hot Fuzz, The Iron Lady and Tyrannosaur. McClure played Lol in This is England and recently starred with Tennant in BBC1's mainly improvised drama True Love, The cast also includes Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan and Will Mellor. Top quality cast, that mind. Chris Chibnall commented: 'Broadchurch focuses on a small British community which finds itself at the eye of a storm. In the wake of one boy’s death, the residents of Broadchurch come under scrutiny and suspicion. It's a story of scale and intimacy, as the lives of the characters are laid bare.' Laura Mackie from ITV's drama commissioning team added: 'It's not a "whodunit" or a traditional police drama.' Sounds intriguing. Directed by James Strong (Downton Abbey, Doctor Who), Broadchurch will be filmed on location in Portishead near Bristol and Dorset from mid-August until the end of November. Broadchurch will be produced by Kudos Film and Television, the company responsible for Life on Mars, [spooks] and Hustle.

Here's the final, consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Programmes week ending 24 June 2012:
1 Euro 2012: England Versus Italy - BBC1 Sun - 20.34m
2 Euro 2012: England Versus Ukraine - ITV Tues - 16.22m
3 Euro 2012: Spain Versus France - ITV Sat - 9.00m
4 Euro 2012: Czech Republic Versus Poland - BBC1 Thurs - 8.74m
5 Coronation Street - ITV Wed - 8.27m
6 EastEnders - BBC1 Wed - 8.04m
7 Euro 2012: Croatia Versus Spain - BBC1 Mon - 7.49m
8 Euro 2012: Germany Versus Greece - ITV Fri - 7.44m
9 Emmerdale - ITV Thurs - 6.43m*
10 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 6.00m
11 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 5.59m
12 Silk - BBC1 Wed - 5.28m
13 The Graham Norton Show - BBC1 Fri - 4.26m
14 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Thurs - 4.23m
15 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 4.20m
16 Mrs Brown's Boys [rpt] - BBC1 Sat - 4.14m
17 Formula One: The European Grand Prix - BBC1 Sun - 3.92m
18= The ONE Show: Best Of Britain - BBC1 Fri - 3.68m
18= Lewis [rpt] - ITV Thurs - 3.68m*
20 Midsomer Murders [rpt] - ITV Wed - 3.46m*
Those programmes marked '*' do not including ITV HD ratings figures. Euro 2012 pre- and post-match coverage is excluded in all cases, these are the match ratings only. BBC2's highest rated shows were King George and Queen Mary: The Royals Who Rescued the Monarchy (2.48m), The Natural World (2.34m) and Mock The Week (2.32m). Channel Four's top performers were Twenty Four Hours In A&E (2.99m) and Eight Out Of Ten Cats (2.63m).

For fans of both science fiction and electronic music, something very exciting has happened - the BBC have reportedly reopened the Radiophonic Workshop. The legendary department was founded at the BBC in 1958 at their Maida Vale studio as an in-house sound effects and music production team for radio programmes like The Goon Show. Within a few years they had become responsible for some of the most groundbreaking work in the then-new field of electronic music. Some of their compositions still have the ability to surprise with how modern and advanced they sound, and it's still common to see contemporary electronic musicians cite its work as a major influence. According to the Workshop's site: 'In 2012 as part of, an innovative new digital arts media service created in joint partnership between the BBC and the arts council the radiophonic workshop is being reborn.' It continues: 'Instead of being confined to rooms full of equipment in Maida Vale studios in London, the new Radiophonic Workshop will instead be a virtual institution, visibly manifested as an online portal and forum for discussion around the challenges of creating new sounds in a world saturated in innovative music technology but lacklustre in terms of actual original output. We will primarily bring together two key disciplines: music composition and software design, and as such its members will be drawn from the cutting edge of both.' As part of the BBC, the Workshop provided a working environment unlike any other in the commercial sphere. Not only were its compositions groundbreaking, but two of the most influential members of the Radiophonic team were women. Daphne Oram co-founded the Workshop with Desmond Briscoe, driven by her desire to produce music similar to the French genre of musique concrète which had grown in post-war France and Germany. Later, the great Delia Derbyshire was responsible for arranging the Doctor Who theme tune. That came out in late 1963, the same year as The Beatles' debut LP and Cliff Richard's 'Summer Holiday.' It sounded then, and it still sounds now, like The Future. Delia's later projects, such as White Noise, were just as trippy and unexpected for the time they were made. From the early sixties the Workshop began creating television and radio themes and jingles, particularly for low budget schools programmes and local radio stations. In 1962 one of Maddalena Fagandini's interval signals, 'Time Beat', was reworked with assistance from George Martin and commercially released as a single using the pseudonym Ray Cathode. During this period the innovative electronic approaches to music in the Workshop began to attract some significant talent including Derbyshire, Brian Hodgson and John Baker, a jazz pianist with an interest in reverse tape effects. Later, in 1967, they were joined by David Cain, a jazz bass player and mathematician. Perhaps the most significant recording in Radiophonic Workshop history came in 1963 when they were approached by composer Ron Grainer to record a theme tune for the upcoming BBC television series Doctor Who. Presented with the task of realising Grainer's score, complete with its descriptions of 'sweeps', 'swoops', 'wind clouds' and 'wind bubbles', Delia created a piece of musique concrète which has become one of television's most recognisable themes. Over the next quarter-century the Workshop contributed greatly to the programme providing its vast range of unusual sound-effects, from the TARDIS dematerialisation to the Sonic screwdriver, as well as much of the programme's distinctive abstract minimalist electronic incidental music, including every score from 1980 to 1985. As the sixties drew to a close many of the techniques used by the Workshop changed as more electronic music began to be produced by synthesisers. This led to a new generation of musicians arriving in the early 1970s like Malcolm Clarke, Paddy Kingsland, Roger Limb and Peter Howell. Its contributions included material for programmes such as The Changes, The Body in Question, Blue Peter and Tomorrow's World as well as sound effects for popular science fiction programmes Blake's 7 and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. By the early 1990s, BBC director John Birt decided that departments were to charge each other and bid against each other for services and to cut those which couldn't make enough revenue to cover their costs. In 1991 the Workshop was given five years in which to break even but the cost of keeping the department, which required a number of engineers as well as composers, proved too great and the Workshop closed in March 1998. The BBC, nevertheless recognised its contribution and heritage. Mark Ayres and Brian Hodgson were commissioned to catalogue the extensive library of recordings by the workshop prior to placing it into the archive. Thus they preserved a considerable part of the workshop's work for posterity. Since the closure many of the Radiophonic Workshops LPs have been re-released on CD. In October 2003, Alchemists of Sound, an hour-long television documentary about the Radiophonic Workshop, was broadcast on BBC4. Also worth seeking out, if you can find it, is the stunning 1983 Radio 4 documentary We Have Also Sound Houses about the department's work. Whether the new Workshop is anything more than just another music forum taking advantage of a prestigious name remains to be seen, but it's going to be exciting to see what happens next. A comprehensive engineering history of the Radiophonic Workshop is available here, including details of specific equipment used by the Workshop over its original forty year lifespan.

Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads has admitted that he often puts through 'cute' girls during audition stages of The X Factor. The talent show judge explained that he and his fellow panellists are allowed to flirt with contestants but only on one condition. 'If you are single, you can flirt,' he is quoted as saying in the Sun. 'We've definitely put girls through because they are cute, in the same way the girls put guys through – it's just the way of the world.' Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads insisted that he has 'no regrets' over the revelations that were revealed by Tom Bower's biography in April, including his secret affair with Dannii Minogue, the least famous of the Minogue sisters. 'I've been a naughty boy – that's why I got into the music business. I've had my fair share, nothing too bad.' He added that he is 'flattered' with the attention given to his private life, especially as it helps improve the ratings for his TV shows. 'I'm immensely flattered because it means people watch the shows. Without the shows being popular no-one would know who I am!'

BBC arts commissioner Mark Bell has just announced a majestic list of commissions, sending old favourites (David Dimbleby, Andrew Graham-Dixon) and newer stars (James Fox, Alastair Sooke, Lucy Worsley) far and wide in search of culture at its most glittering for mass consumption. Spoiling the effect a little, though, at least according to some tosser of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star, is the concluding mention of the Arena unit opening up their archive in a digital space, The Arena Hotel, where 'visitors will have free reign to roam.' Can Bell be trusted to oversee these costly projects vigilantly if he doesn't bother to read his own press releases, the tosser of no importance asks?

American TV network CBS has released a new poster for Elementary, their upcoming contemporary Sherlock Holmes series. Following a pilot directed by Michael Cuesta (Homeland), it was announced last month that a full series has been ordered. The poster's tagline reads: Obsessive. Impulsive. Volatile. Bloody Brilliant. Elementary will be broadcast in the US on Thursdays at 10pm on CBS this autumn. A UK broadcaster for the series has not yet been announced. Although the chances of it being BBC1, 2, 3 or 4 are remarkably slim. In an official synopsis released by the network, Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu's Dr Joan Watson are described as 'a crime-solving duo that cracks the NYPD's most impossible cases.' Miller has insisted that Elementary will differ from BBC1's Sherlock: 'You obviously look at it and say, "Wait a second..."' he noted. 'But I feel there’s enough differences there. I thought I could do something with it; otherwise, there’d be no point.' Well, indeed.

They haven't been seen together since one of them was forced to quit as No 10 director of communications in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal almost eighteen months ago. But now David Cameron and Andy Coulson have reportedly 'landed themselves in another minor controversy' after they both unexpectedly showed up at an Oxfordshire music festival, said to be of 'the highlights of the Chipping Norton social calendar.' An event which was also attended by former News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks. This is all reported, rather gleefully, and with pictures, by the Gruniad Morning Star. Photographers claim that they saw Coulson and Cameron 'briefly exchange words.' Downing Street says, categorically, that they did not. A spokesman for No 10 said: 'They did not speak or meet.' A photographer, working for an unidentified news agency, is alleged to have claimed that he 'witnessed them exchanging words outside a hospitality tent.' But the two men were not snapped together in conversation. Pictures of the two men at the festival were separately captured by a photographer from a second news agency, INS. 'From what my photographer told me, they did chat, only very briefly,' said Neil Hyde, news editor of the INS agency whose photographer was at the festival. The Cornbury Music Festival is held at Great Tew near David Cameron's constituency home. Coulson's presence at an event close to Chipping Norton is more surprising than Cameron's, given that the former spin chief's family home is some miles away in Forest Hill, near Dulwich. However, local reporters believe that Coulson has recently moved to the area from South London, which would make him a fully fledged member of the Chipping Norton set which also includes local celebrity Jeremy Clarkson. Both the prime minister and his former aide did, seemingly, manage to dodge Brooks, who also lives nearby with her husband, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie, a close personal friend of the prime minister. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks 'enjoyed warm relations with the prime minister', notes the Gruniad, before the phone-hacking scandal escalated – the Leveson inquiry heard how he sent texts to her signed 'LOL' while she sent him a puke-inducingly sycophantic text inviting him for 'country supper' at her Oxfordshire home and telling him she was 'so rooting' for him as 'not just as a proud friend but because professional we're definitely in this together.' Their relationship has been less publicly close since last July when the Scum of the World, which was in her charge at News International when Milly Dowler's phone was being hacked, became the subject of a Scotland Yard investigation. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was recently charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after a Met investigation into phone-hacking, while Coulson has been charged with alleged perjury in relation to a trial of former Scottish MP Tommy Sheridan. Both deny the charges. Cameron's constituency home in Witney is close to Great Tew, while the Brookses live in nearby Sarsden. All three were present on Saturday, the second day of the annual music and arts extravaganza, which has been running for nine years in the Oxfordshire countryside. Headline acts at this year's event included Jools Holland, Alison Moyet, Marc Almond and Elvis Costello.

The number of warnings issued about the behaviour of newspaper journalists harassing and intruding into the privacy of celebrities and ordinary members of the public is creeping back to the levels before the phone-hacking scandal erupted. Complaints judged serious enough to be taken up by the Press Complaints Commission had fallen dramatically in the second half of last year after the Leveson inquiry was set up in July and nervous editors shat in their own pants at the thought of what would be done to their knackers if they tried on any of their old nefarious skulduggery. Tabloids appeared to rein in their behaviour in the aftermath of the revelation that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked and the creation of a public inquiry, which the lack of education secretary, rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Michael Gove, warned had created a 'chilling atmosphere' for freedom of expression. Figures from the PCC show the watchdog put out one hundred and ten advisory and desist notices in 2010. In 2011, it sent one hundred and nineteen notices in the first six months, and only twenty seven in the second half of the year, after the inquiry had begun. But in the first six months of 2012, the PCC issued sixty six – matching 2010 levels – suggesting the tabloids have regained some of their confidence. Complaints have included one brought by the family of Sebastian Bowles, the eleven-year-old boy killed in a coach crash on the way home from a skiing trip in Switzerland this year, whose lawyer gave evidence to Leveson last week. Advisory and desist notices are sent confidentially by the PCC to all newspapers, usually in response to a complaint by a member of the public or a celebrity who believes they are being harassed by reporters. Their existence is usually kept private, although sometimes complaints are made public, such as when the PCC successfully persuaded photographers to stop camping outside Kate Middleton's home at the time of her twenty fifth birthday in 2007. In some cases this year, the PCC was acting for celebrities complaining about similar press intrusion into their family lives and photographs taken on private property or of their children. However, mostly they were taking up cases from ordinary people, many of whom were grieving because of the death or illness of a child, partner or parent, or the aftermath of an affair. Among the complainants to the commission in the past year are the parents of Sebastian, who said photos were taken against their wishes of them and another child visibly 'distressed'; a couple who were visiting a seriously ill child in hospital and a man who said his career and health had been affected by journalists surrounding his home after his wife was revealed to be having an affair. Giles Crown told the Leveson inquiry that Sebastian's parents, Edward and Ann, had been upset by photographs of them and their nine-year-old daughter taken in the porch of a hotel while they waited for a coach to take them and other bereaved families to the crash site, despite other coaches parked in front of the hotel to try to shield them from the press pack. They also had 'packs of press' outside their homes in London and Belgium, and police had to regularly return to the family house in Belgium to move on journalists who returned each time they were asked to leave, while neighbours were followed down the street by reporters asking questions about the grieving family. 'As a result of these visits, and from this point in time until more than a week later, Edward's family lived with their external window shutters closed because they were so concerned,' said Crown. The family also complained that family holiday photos from Edward Bowles's Facebook page were used without permission, despite him believing that he had set the privacy settings to the highest level. The notices are seen as one of the more successful activities of the PCC, which is to be abolished after the Leveson inquiry into press standards and replaced by a new 'independent' body, whose structure will be created through complex negotiations between Lord Justice Leveson, the newspaper industry and politicians. But the notices do not always succeed, and Hugh Grant told Leveson in November that complaints to the PCC last year failed to remove photographers camped outside the house of Ting Lan Hong, the mother of his baby daughter. He eventually obtained a court order. Media legal expert Jonathan Coad also said those cases which resulted in formal letters from the commission were only 'a small proportion of the problem.' Coad, a partner at Lewis Silkin solicitors, said among the other cases he has dealt with were a journalist who tried to interview a child with special needs through the letterbox of his home about his parents' marriage; a celebrity whose neighbours were offered five hundred pounds cash if they would sign a witness statement saying she was a bad mother and a TV star who after being told a story about him being gay would be published tried to kill himself – a story which was leaked apparently by somebody in the ambulance ringing a newspaper with the tip-off. 'From inside red-top land, initially they did feel the sap taken out of them by Leveson, and their behaviour was consciously improved,' said Coad. '[However] my feeling and anecdotal experience is the initial effect has passed.' It is understood that not all requests for the PCC to intervene are acted on if the commission does not believe there has been a breach of the code, for example if several media organisations make one request each for an interview. Reporters do not have to be acting aggressively for an advisory or desist notice to be sent, only ignoring repeated requests to be left alone. Complainants include those who have been libelled by newspaper or magazine articles or have other serious allegations. The numbers would also be likely to be affected by rising public awareness of the PCC and the public's rights to complain, which would have been increased further by the media attention given to the Leveson inquiry.

Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch cancelled his annual summer party in London this year, but it seems that instead of sulking the party-mad media mogul and simply switched the bash (and the accompanying board pow-wow) to Milan, where Sky Italia is based and things are somewhat less stressful. And, replacing the British mix of fawning politicians, creepy lobbyists and careworn in-house executives were some rather different and mostly better-looking VIP guests: the bosses of Ferrari, Juventus, Inter Milan and Barcelona, and the football legends Franz Beckenbauer, Paolo Rossi and Gianluca Vialli. As Rupert seemingly lacks any interest in football, it's unclear what they all talked about.

At Television Centre, ever-louder tummy rumblings 'seem set to be the soundtrack to the dying months of the Mark Thompson era,' as the Beeb is reported to be axing bars, cafes and even the drinks cart in reception 'as staff continue to move out.' According, again, to some wanker of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star - who always seem to thoroughly enjoy a good bit of trouble-stirring like this. Let's at least hope the Filling Station canteen will stay until the last BBC staffer departs, if only to underpin the existence of the Killing Station Twitter feed of someone posing as its crotchety manager. Few news presenters have escaped being depicted outrageously, with Emily Maitlis portrayed as once engaged to Chris de Burgh, Stephanie Flanders as never paying for her food and John Simpson (last seen 'trying to console the Greek girl in the foyer ... he's been on the ouzo again') as perpetually tipsy and recklessly amorous.

Sean Bean has been talking to Metro about his role as a terrorist hunter in Cleanskin, his musical ambitions and the challenges of dressing up as a woman. Asked what was the worst injury he'd sustained while making a film, Sean replied: 'While I was doing Sharpe, we were shooting in a trench. It was a scene where horses were running towards us to jump over the ditch. Unfortunately, the earth was so soft a horse's hoof went through and hit me on the head. I passed out. It did my neck in. I got a concussion and was dizzy for a few days. This was just after I'd come back from the hospital having had eight stitches for a cut on my finger caused by a flintlock.' On the subject of his recent, acclaimed, portrayal of a transsexual in the BBC1 drama Accused, he noted: 'It was a challenge but one of the most enjoyable jobs I've ever done. I like to diversify and that role was certainly different. It was a role I could get my teeth into. I wondered if I could pull it off, though. It took a lot of focus and commitment but I threw myself into it. You can’t have any reservations or inhibitions with a role like that. The character, Tracey, was very loud and off the wall. She had big blonde hair, big boobs, short skirts and her alter ego was a subdued school teacher called Simon. It was fascinating playing those two roles. You see the whole process of him making the transition. The first day was hard – coming out of the trailer dressed like that. It was a bit nerve-racking.' The newspapers then asked who, in his career, had Sean learned the most from working: 'I worked with John Hurt a couple of times and learned a lot from him. I shared a dressing room with Pete Postlethwaite for eighteen months and he became a good friend. His discipline had an impact on me. You could have a laugh with him but he was always on the ball when it came to work and very professional. Hopefully some of that rubbed off on me.' And finally, what was his career highlight? 'Sharpe is very close to my heart because of the length of time we were filming for and because of everything else that came from it. Lord Of The Rings opened a lot of doors for me. It was a privilege to be working in New Zealand on a project like that.'

BT Vision may not let Sky show its thirty eight Premier League matches a season from 2013-14. Chief executive of BT Vision Marc Watson told the Gruniad that the broadcaster is 'keeping all its options open' after it secured the rights to a twenty six-game package and twelve-game package in last month's three billion smackers auction, including a clutch of 'first-pick' matches between the biggest sides. Of the possibility that BT Vision may not offer its packages to Sky subscribers, Watson said: 'That is an option, but it is early days, we are considering all options. Having games like these gives you options. We have had a lot of calls in the last few weeks. My instinctive view is to look to make it widely available, but we will see.' Watson added: 'We'd have taken more games at the right price. For the first time in history the Premier League sold the first-pick matches, the crown jewels, to someone other than Sky. We had a plan and we stuck to the plan. As a company we were pretty calm. We were never panicking and were confident in what we were going to do. We understood the risks and benefits and approached it with calm confidence - that is not to say arrogance.' It has been claimed that the BBC's Gary Lineker has been approached to join BT Vision when its Premier League coverage starts next year. 'He's popular and experienced, and looking for a new deal at exactly the right time, so everything is falling into place nicely,' a supposed BT 'source' allegedly claimed. Meanwhile, Watson suggested that competition regulators should have done more when they forced Sky to offer its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to its rivals at better wholesale rates in 2010. 'If you want balance you have to have the right regulatory framework and the playing field is not as level as it should be,' he said. 'The wholesale must-supply deal for Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 is important in our thinking too. It has not gone as well as perhaps we hoped it might. It lacks Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports 4 and we are really not happy with the pricing, it needs to allow us a better retail price and make for better margins. It has gone okay but it has not changed the dynamic of the market.'

BBC Worldwide has confirmed that the 1970 Doctor Who story, The Ambassadors of Death - starring Jon Pertwee, Caroline John and Nicholas Courtney - will be released on DVD in full colour. The seven part story was made originally made in colour as part of the first Jon Pertwee season, but the only master tape to remain in the BBC Archive is that of the opening episode. The rest of the story was only kept on 16mm black and white film. A second generation colour copy does exist as an off air recording from WNED Channel Seventeen in Buffalo, New York and this was used to restore episodes five and six to colour for the 2002 Video release. At the time it was not possible to restore the remainder of the story. With the advances in technology over the last decade, the complete story has now been digitally restored. It was hoped to release the story last year, paired with the 1977 story The Sun Makers, however problems with restoration process caused the release to be postponed in order to allow the Doctor Who restoration team more time to achieve the best results on the story. It is expected that the DVD will be released later this year.

Telemarketing companies are bombarding people with cold calls and ignoring a government scheme aimed at protecting the public from the menace, a BBC investigation has found. Around seventeen and a half million phone numbers are registered with the Telephone Preference Service, the scheme created to prevent people from receiving unwanted calls from UK-based companies. The British public receive an incredible three billion marketing calls every year, and the BBC's Panorama programme found that little action is being taken to address the issue. According to Panorama, despite thousands of complaints from the public being lodged with the Information Commissioner every month, there has not been a single fine imposed on offending companies for at least eighteen months. Mike Lordan, of the Direct Marketing Association, which runs the TPS, said that many firms are simply ignoring the restrictions. 'Companies are not abiding by legislation and we should be seeing enforcement against those companies who are persistently breaching legislation,' he said. Panorama spoke to Tony Clark, who signed up to the TPS in the hope of blocking cold calls, but found that he was still receiving up to five a day. Clark alleged one company that has been particularly persistent is Central Claims Group, based in Bury. The company's website said that it specialises in accident compensation claims, and it allegedly urged Clark to sue his employer for his industrial deafness. But Clark says that he has worked for himself for thirty five years. 'I'd like to know how they know about me and how they got my details,' he told Panorama. In the investigation, reporter Declan Lawn goes undercover to find how the cold call companies target the public. Firms are supposed to cross-check their database to ensure people on TPS are not bothered, but secret filming at Central Claims Group revealed employees simply tearing out pages of the phone book and 'calling people at random.' Staff at the Central Claims Group were also found to be giving false company names in order to avoid getting complaints from disgruntled members of the public. In a statement, Central Claims Group said that it 'takes its legal and regulatory obligations seriously,' and 'does not condone the lapses shown.' But Mark Weston, a lawyer who specialises in data handling and commercial law, said that the firm was guilty of a 'blatant disregard for the law.' The Information Commissioner's Office was recently given the legal power to act in cases such as this, including the imposition of a fine of up five hundred thousand smackers. But the ICO warned that tackling the problem is not easy given the huge profits that cold call companies can make. Simon Entwisle, the director of operations for the ICO, said: 'At the moment we definitely are trying to take action against these individuals. We have only had the power to issue the fine since the end of January, so it's early days yet. The other thing I have to say is there's a lot of money to be made in this particular sphere.' The programme also found evidence of outright scams by cold call companies. Retired lecturer Pamela Warner lost one hundred and twenty pounds after a rogue company phoned her pretending to be Microsoft and persuaded her that she needed to pay a fee to fix a supposed software problem on her computer.

Last month was the UK's wettest June since records began in 1910, provisional Met Office figures show. It comes after this year also saw the rainiest April on record, while the period from April to June was also the wettest recorded for the UK. June was also the second dullest on record with 119.2 hours of sunshine - the record of 115.4 hours was in 1987. Total UK rainfall was 145.3mm - more than twice as much as normally expected, the Met Office said. June saw long, prolonged rainfall and short but exceptionally heavy showers, which ended with storms battering Wales, the Midlands, the North East and Northern Ireland. A Met Office spokesman said there had been unsettled weather in some part of the UK for the whole of the past three months. 'With only the latter half of May seeing a spell of prolonged fine weather,' he said. 'Movements in the track of the jet stream, a narrow band of fast flowing westerly winds high in the atmosphere, have contributed to the weather we have seen.' Wales and Northern Ireland had their wettest June on record, England experienced the second wettest and Scotland the eighth wettest. Events throughout June were disrupted by the weather - race-goers at Ascot were drenched, the Olympic torch was doused and festival-goers on the Isle of Wight were mired in mud.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 33 of the Day here's something from the Radiophonic Workshop oeuvre. Magic Delia and Blue Veils and Golden Sand.