Friday, July 13, 2012

Won't Be No Misfits In My Household Today

Former [spooks] actress Miranda Raison has said that the BBC spy drama 'could easily' return in the near future. The actress, who played Jo Portman for five series between 2005 and 2009, said that although this summer would have been the perfect opportunity to revive the show with fears over the Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics, she 'can't foresee a time' when [spooks] would feel redundant. 'I could see it happening,' she told the Digital Spy website. 'I mean with the Jubilee and the Olympics, now would be a fantastic time to have that story told. [But] there's always going to be a drama about MI5 and about London. I think they could easily start it up if they wanted to. It's not like they don't have an avenue of stories or ideas because they're all around us.' So, just to sum up then dear blog reader, [spooks] is not - despite several screamed headlines on various other TV websites - going to return. Nobody at the BBC in any sort of position of authority has suggested that it will return and no one at Kudos - who made the thing - have said they're expecting it to return. It's just that an actress who used to be in it (and very good she was too, let it be said here and now), has said that she'd like it to return. And, somehow Digital Spy have managed to turn that into '[spooks] could easily return.' It could, lads, but it's not going to. Glad we got that one cleared up before anyone got too excited. Raison admitted that she wasn't sure if she'd be willing or able to return to [spooks] given that Jo was killed off in the eighth season. Recalling her character's death, she explained: 'I'm not at all method, but I was really surprised by how much it affected me that Jo was dead. To undermine something like that - I know the scriptwriters wouldn't do a Bobby Ewing style - but sometimes you have to look at a body of work and be proud of it, but nod and move on.' Miranda will next be seen alongside Toby Stephens in the second series of BBC police comedy-drama Vexed, which will be broadcast later this month.

A trailer for Charlie Brooker's forthcoming detective show spoof A Touch of Cloth has been released. The promo for the Sky 1 series features John Hannah's DCI Jack Cloth and Suranne Jones as Anne Oldman chasing after a hooded criminal known as Crossbo. While Hannah quickly runs out of breath, Jones continues pursuing Crossbo accompanied by a live steel band, pulling off a stream of elaborate stunts and manoeuvres along the way. Brooker previously said that he considers A Touch of Cloth to be 'a silly, old-school spoof of the dark British detective serials. Just Airplane-style daftness,' he explained. 'The inspiration there was just to entertain.' Julian Rhind-Tutt, Adrian Bower, Navin Chowdhry and Daisy Beaumont also star in A Touch of Cloth, which will debut on Sky in August with a ninety-minute special. Two more episodes were ordered by the broadcaster late last month.

Coronation Street has signed up with Compare The Market as its new sponsor. The ITV soap will be financially supported with the price comparison site, known for its marketing creation Aleksandr Orlov and the spoof website Compare The Meerkat, for the next three years, ousting Harveys furniture. Who have been cast aside like an old sofa that's springs have gone and is a bit smelly. Simples. 'We are delighted to be working with Compare The Market as a partner for Coronation Street,' said Simon Daglish, Group Commercial Director of ITV. 'This is a long-term commitment from both parties around two of the most exciting and loved brands in the UK, which we believe will become the benchmark for partnerships going forward.' Which a right load of old corporate toot. Paul Galligan, Managing Director of Compare The Market, added: 'Coronation Street is one of Britain's most entertaining and best loved TV shows and so we are delighted to be partnering with such a prestigious programme. We will be working closely with ITV to ensure this is a model partnership, utilising both on and off-air opportunities to take our brands to customers in new and exciting ways.'

Ex-EastEnders actor Shaun Williamson has claimed that appearing in Doctor Who would be his dream acting role. Not that he's been offered a part, of course, he's just touting himself because, at the moment, the only job he can get is being the front man for a Daz advertising campaign. Williamson, who played Barry Evans in the BBC1 soap for a decade, said that the money he could make out of appearing in the BBC's popular long-running family SF franchise made it appealing. Arsehole.

BBC2's Line of Duty maintained its impressive start in the ratings as the show reached its third week on Tuesday night. The Martin Compston drama held a solid 3.14m in the 9pm hour, helping BBC2 overtake BBC1 in the 9pm hour. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? gave ITV a rare - and narrow - victory in the slot, attracting 3.23m. BBC1's Turn Back Time: The Family finished third in the hour with 3.1m. CSI logged 2.09m for Channel Five. Big Brother drew 1.33m an hour later at 10pm. Hugh Bonneville's Olympics sitcom Twenty Twelve returned to BBC2 with 1.2m immediately after Line of Duty, while 2.24m watched Volcano Live at 8pm. Overall, BBC1 topped primetime with 19.4 per cent of the audience share, beating ITV's 14.3 per cent. Meanwhile, Dynamo: Magician Impossible has become Thursday's most-watched multichannel show for the second weeks running. Though declining to nine hundred and ninety two thousand punters from 1.1m last week on Watch, the series retained its lead over Channel Four's 9pm programming. The return of drama Case Sensitive gave ITV a victory in the hour, grabbing four million viewers at 9pm, down 1.2m on last May's opener. Meanwhile, the conclusion of Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford's The Town That Never Retired two-parter was watched by 3.13m on BBC1. At 10pm, a hefty 2.26m caught Mock the Week on BBC2, easily overcoming Big Brother which had 1.26m for Channel Five.

The Sun once offered to help build a sports centre in Liverpool in exchange for support for a pending apology over its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster, a representative of the families of victims of the tragedy has told the Leveson inquiry. Margaret Aspinall, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said in written evidence published this week that the victims' families were 'appalled at the offer, which many saw as a bribe, and voted against it.' She added: 'It left a very sour taste in all our mouths.' She said that a Sun executive was sent to Liverpool to talk to the victims' families 'five or six years ago' about a possible apology over its notorious, odious The Truth front page, which - entirely falsely - claimed that Liverpool fans had contributed to the deaths, urinated on the dead, pick-pocketed bodies and prevented police officers from giving the kiss of life to fans caught in the crush. 'The offer that was put to us at the meeting came with conditions: If we allowed the Sun to publish that we, the Hillsborough Family Support Group, accepted the Sun's apology then they, in return, would help us in any way they could get to to the truth about Hillsborough,' wrote Aspinall. 'They also said they would help us to perhaps build a sports centre for children in Liverpool, or anything else we might need,' she added. In 2004, the Sun printed an sickeningly mealy-mouthed apology over what it described as 'the worst mistake in our history.' Too little, fifteen years too late. The official inquiry into the disaster, The Taylor Report, found that 'the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control.' Aspinall told Leveson that 'the harm our families suffered all those years ago was caused by the same problem which is the focus of your inquiry: that is, unaccountable collusion between the press and police working against the public interest and, in our case, natural justice.' She said the source of the Sun's lurid stories on the day after the disaster were 'a crude attempt to shift blame away from the police.' She said the Sun's coverage should have acted 'as an early warning about the unhealthy relationship between press and police.' But, Aspinall claims it was left unchallenged and led to the growth of the 'unaccountable culture of the press.' News International declined to comment on the allegations but said in a statement: 'News International is working closely with the Hillsborough Independent Panel as part of our sincere attempts to explain and apologise for the mistakes that were made twenty three years ago.'

A fifty five-year-old man has been arrested in Cardiff by police investigating the hacking of computers. Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Operation Tuleta, which is linked to the phone-hacking investigation, arrested the man on Friday morning. He was arrested on suspicion of committing offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. He is in custody at a police station in the Cardiff area. Police said the arrest - the sixth by Operation Tuleta detectives - is 'not directly linked to any news organisation or the activities of journalists.' Operation Tuleta is investigating allegations of computers being hacked to obtain private information. It is linked to the Met's investigation into phone-hacking, Operation Weeting. So far twenty four people have been arrested as part of the phone-hacking inquiry and another forty one as part of Operation Elveden, a related investigation into alleged corrupt payments to officials.

Elisabeth Murdoch is to step back from the day-to-day running of Shine, maker of shows including Merlin and MasterChef, dropping the chief executive duties for which she has been responsible since 2001. Murdoch, who sold Shine to her father billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in a four hundred and fifteen million smackers deal last year, will continue to hold the role of chairman. 'As Shine further diversifies across genres, geographies and platforms, I believe that the continued growth of the company requires the chairman and chief executive roles to be distinct and separate,' she said. A spokesman said that Murdoch had no intention of cutting the number of days, or hours, she intends to work but that the move represented a 'refocus' of her responsibilities towards leading Shine's creative talent, culture and strategy. From September Alex Mahon, Shine's chief operating officer, will take over the role of chief executive with responsibility for day-to-day management of Shine Group's twenty eight operating companies. 'The division of duties will focus Alex's attention on managing the operational business whilst allowing me to concentrate on identifying future strategic opportunities and remaining the custodian of Shine's unique culture of creative excellence,' added Murdoch. Mahon, who is currently on maternity leave, joined as managing director of Shine TV from production company TalkbackThames in 2006.

Yer actual Stephen Fry has signed up to appear in a new multi-million pound advertising campaign for Virgin Media. The campaign, due to launch on Saturday night in primetime on ITV, sees Stephen joining Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson to promote TiVo. The adverts feature Fry and Branson donning kung fu-style robes to highlight the intelligent search and Wishlist functionality in the hybrid set top box service. In the first television adverts, Stephen - seemingly - does the splits and Branson throws a shuriken as they showcase the ability for TiVo users to search for content, such as YouTube videos featuring martial arts. The second advert features Stephen 'yelling to the Gods' that he wants to see a dinosaur, only to be disappointed by no response. Instead, he uses TiVo's Wishlist feature, which conjures a folder of TV shows, movies and documentaries all about prehistoric creatures. 'Stephen Fry is without a doubt one of the most high-profile and digitally savvy figures of today, making him an ideal candidate to demonstrate Virgin Media's TiVo service,' said Jeff Dodds, the executive director of brand and marketing communications at Virgin Media. 'Whilst the success of our previous ad campaigns has done a fantastic job in raising awareness of TiVo and some of its great features, such as a TV guide that goes backwards in time, our next step is to help even more people understand the many benefits of upgrading to TiVo. We think we've achieved this in a funny and memorable way.' The campaign, created by the BBH agency, is the latest in a series of celebrity-focused adverts from Virgin Media, following recent commercials featuring David Tennant and Usain Bolt. A debut advertising campaign for TiVo, which is now part of Virgin's core product bundles, starred Mad Dogs actor Marc Warren. However, Virgin will no doubt hope that its latest marketing campaign will run without a hitch, after one of the adverts featuring Tennant had to be pulled after a complaint from the BBC over showing the Doctor Who branding.

Just days after Mark Boucher's retirement another one of cricket's most popular and enduring figures has called time on his international career. Australia's Brett Lee, thirty five, has retired from all forms of the international game two years after quitting Test cricket and thirteen years after his debut for Australia. He will continue to play in the IPL and the Big Bash, the Australian Twenty/20 competition. A gruesome catalogue of injuries prevented him from making the step up from the very good to the truly great, but he finishes as the tenth-leading wicket-taker of all time across all international formats with seven hundred and eighteen victims.

Glasgow Rangers chief executive Charles Green says he will not challenge the vote by the Scottish Football League to place his new club in Division Three of the Scottish League. At Hampden, twenty five of the thirty clubs were against Rangers being in Division One. 'We are grateful to be accepted as members of the SFL and accept their decision to vote us into Division Three,' said Green. 'We made clear we would play where we were told to play and we just want to get back to playing football.' Rangers' website had immediately responded to the vote at Hampden by suggesting that the club had assurances from Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster and his Scottish Football Association counterpart, Stewart Regan, that an SPL2 would be launched to include Rangers and other invited clubs. Both Clyde and Dunfermline Athletic had expressed those fears immediately prior to the meeting at Hampden, where twenty nine clubs had initially voted in favour of admitting Rangers to the SFL before taking a second vote on the division in which they should play. But Rangers quickly toned the statement down to say: 'It was mooted last week that plans for an SPL2 would swing into action, but it is not known if this will be the case.' And Green followed that by saying: 'This decision maintains the sporting integrity that clubs and fans across Scotland have been calling for, but it also impacts massively on Scottish football as a whole and only time will tell what the consequences will be. Rangers has been handed the ultimate punishment of starting again from the bottom of the leagues, but there is an overwhelming feeling among fans and within the club of "wiping the slate clean" as a club free of sanctions. The people who brought shame on this great club are no longer part of it and everyone at Rangers is focused on rebuilding the club on top of a solid financial foundation. We wish to play a constructive part in Division Three and encourage our fans to support the other clubs within the league by attending matches and delivering to them the benefits of having Rangers within their league. It is a matter of regret for all of us involved with Rangers that the issues surrounding the club resulted in the SFL and its members being placed in a very difficult position not of their own making.' Green's Sevco consortium had been forced to apply for entry to the SFL after SPL clubs voted against the new Rangers being admitted to the top flight with the old company destined for liquidation. Regan and Doncaster had both warned of 'dire financial consequences' should Rangers be denied a place in Division One. Following negotiations with the SFA and SPL, the SFL clubs had been offered play-offs to the SPL and a working party into an expansion of the top flight in return for Rangers being accepted in the second tier. However, they voted to place them in the bottom rung and SFL chief executive David Longmuir said: 'Today has been one of the most difficult decisions to be made by all concerned. The decision has been taken in the interest of sporting fairness. I am comfortable that the Scottish Football League has made a very decisive decision.' Longmuir said his members clubs were united and still in favour of the reorganisation of Scottish football. 'I am proud that the First Division clubs made it very clear that they are looking for an all-forty two club solution to Scottish football,' he said. 'It is now for others to work with us to take the game forward.' SFL president Jim Ballantyne - whose club, Airdrie United, are poised to now be promoted to Division One, with Stranraer progressing to Division Two - hoped the SPL and SFA would accept the decision. 'We don't have any control over the SPL and they are entitled to do whatever they wish, within their own rules,' he said. 'But it's important to mention that the Division One clubs went out of their way to make it clear that their route regarding a solution involved all forty two teams. Other bodies are going to have to look at the decision we've taken and decide what view they are going to take.'

In 2013, best-selling author Neil Gaiman will return to The Sandman, the much-loved comic series which the writer launched for DC Comics almost twenty five years ago. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping likes this news, very much. Published under DC's Vertigo imprint, the new Sandman mini-series will be written by Gaiman with artwork by JH Williams, the acclaimed artist who is currently drawing and co-writing on the DC title Batwoman. The announcement of Gaiman's return to Vertigo, which DC executives hinted about last week, was made by Gaiman via video during the Vertigo panel on Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego. DC has indicated the title of the mini-series will be announced at a later date. Gaiman said the new Sandman series will focus on an 'untold' story which he has been meaning to reveal for years. 'When I finished writing The Sandman, there was one tale still untold: the story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman issue one, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war,' Gaiman said in a DC press release. 'It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman's twentieth anniversary, but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman's twenty fifth anniversary year coming up, I'm delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.' The last time Gaiman wrote a Sandman story was the graphic novel Endless Nights, which was such a success for DC that it became the first comic to ever show up on the New York Times bestseller list. The title remains one of DC's top-selling graphic novels. DC's move to revive The Sandman property echoes the publisher's move earlier this year to tell new stories based on the 1980's series Watchmen, which has become the company's best-selling graphic novel of all time. Before Watchmen, which began in June, has rocketed to the top ten sales charts for comic books, even though the new comics don't involve the original's writer, Alan Moore. Gaiman reportedly had a contract with DC which stipulated that The Sandman would end when he left the series after seventy five issues in 1996. The writer has gone on to become a screenwriter and novelist, with titles like Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and American Gods. He also penned the Newberry Medal-winning The Graveyard Book and Coraline, on which the movie of the same name was based and wrote the acclaimed 2011 Doctor Who episode The Doctor's Wife. Gaiman's new Sandman mini-series will be published under DC's Vertigo imprint, despite the fact that characters from The Sandman have shown up recently elsewhere in the DC Universe, as have many other formerly Vertigo characters. It will also be published under Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger, who served as the writer's editor when The Sandman was first conceived and published in January 1989. 'There's nothing like a Neil Gaiman story,' Berger said of the new mini-series. 'And there's nothing like having Neil back home on The Sandman, his dark, soulful, literary epic that transformed comics and continues to captivate countless new readers year after year. Working with him again, and with JH Williams, the extraordinary and groundbreaking artist, is truly the stuff dreams are made of.' The Sandman, a quite astonishing literary work in any context, told the story of the Lord of Dreams (also known, to various characters throughout the series, as Morpheus, Oneiros, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream Cat, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril), who is essentially the anthropomorphic personification of dreams. At the start of the series, Morpheus is captured by an occult ritual and held prisoner for seventy years. Morpheus escapes in the modern day and, after avenging himself upon his captors, sets about rebuilding his kingdom, which has fallen into disrepair in his absence. Gaiman himself has summarised the plot of the series (in the foreword to Endless Nights) as 'The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision.' Morpheus is one of seven dysfunctional siblings - The Endless - Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirium. The Sandman was initially published as a monthly serial. As the series quickly increased in popularity, DC began to reprint them in hardcover and trade paperback editions, each representing either a complete novel or a collection of related short stories. A total of ten collections contain the full run of the series and have all been kept in print. Preludes and Nocturnes (collecting The Sandman issues one to eight, The Doll's House (issues nine to sixteen), Dream Country (issues seventeen to twenty), Season of Mists (issues twenty one to twenty eight), A Game of You (issues thirty two to thirty seven), the short-story collection Fables and Reflections (issues twenty nine to thirty one, thirty eight to forty, issue fifty and The Sandman Special), Brief Lives (issues forty one to forty nine), Worlds' End (issues fifty one to fifty six), The Kindly Ones (issues fifty seven to sixty nine and the Sandman story - Fear of Falling - in Vertigo Jam 1) and The Wake (issues seventy to seventy five). Gaiman also wrote several new stories about Morpheus and his siblings which were published in 2003 as the Endless Nights anthology. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping once shared a panel with the lovely Neil at a convention in Minneapolis and, took with him, a random selection of issues of The Sandman for Neil to scrawl his signature all over. We decided, between us, that a random selection of The Sandman issues actually isn't random at all and says a hell of a lot about the person doing the random selecting. For example, issue one - 'elitist snob'. The Sound Of Her Wings - 'likes little goth girls far too much for his own good.' Men of Good Fortune - 'closet romantic.' Collectors - 'potential serial killer.' Dreams of a Thousand Cats - 'likes cats.' The Shakespeare one that I can never remember the title of - 'delusions of literacy.' Parliament of Rooks - 'effing weirdo!' Et cetera.

Medical professionals have warned that tight-fitting jeans are causing incidents of twisted testicles, bladder weakness and even urinary tract infections. TV doctor Hilary Jones is working with TENA Men to reveal the dangers of tight trousers on the male reproductive system. Jones said: 'I have seen several cases of men who have twisted their testicles due to wearing jeans that are far too tight. Please don't put style before health.' Tight trousers can constrict the spermatic cord leading to testicular torsion which cuts off the blood supply. This situation requires urgent surgery to prevent the testicle from turning gangrenous. The study of two thousand British men revealed one in ten have had 'unpleasant side-effects' from their tight trousers. Conducted by TENA Men, the leading male bladder weakness brand, the survey also showed that one in seven British men regularly wear skinny jeans.

Which means, of course, that this is yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. Doesn't have to be legit.