Friday, August 31, 2012

He's Just So Keen For You To Listen

The fifth and final part of the Doctor Who web series Pond Life has been released online. The ninety-second episode marks a dramatic departure from the four broadly comedic episodes released earlier this week. After accidentally meddling in history, the Doctor (Matt Smith) returns to contemporary Earth only to discover that Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory's (Arthur Darvill) marriage may be in trouble.
Oh, and remember, dear blog reader, this is but a day away.
A wheelchair basketball match between Great Britain and Germany proved the most popular action on the first day of Channel Fout's Paralympics coverage, attracting a peak audience of 3.6 million on Thursday evening. Germany's seventy seven to seventy two win against the hosts had a five-minute peak of 3.3 million viewers and a fifteen per cent audience share on Channel Four at 9pm. A further three hundred thousand punters were watching on the broadcaster's Paralympics Extra channels. Overall, Channel Four's Paralympics 2012 programme averaged two and half million viewers over three hours from 7.30pm. Then The Last Leg with Adam Hills, Channel Four's highlights programme of the day's action, averaged nine hundred thousand viewers from 10.30pm. Earlier in the day, Channel Four's Paralympics coverage was the most watched programme on any network between 2.15pm and 5pm. Overall, the afternoon show averaged 1.3 million viewers between 1pm and 5.30pm. Channel Four had a 10.6 per cent all day share, a seventy per cent boost compared with the average for the previous twelve months. BBC1 rolled out another of its heavily promoted autumn dramas, Good Cop, which opened with 4.1 million viewers, winning the 9pm hour against Channel Four's Paralympics coverage. Competition included ITV's Doc Martin repeat (2.6 million), BBC2's Iceland Erupts: a Volcano Live Special (1.5 million, including one hundred thousand on BBC HD) and Channel Five's Celebrity Big Brother (two million). Overall, BBC1 topped primetime with 18.6 per cent of the audience share, beating ITV which averaged 16.6 per cent.

A bit later this week than usual, but here's the final consolidated ratings figures for the Top Twenty Five programmes for week ending 19 August 2012:-
1 The X Factor - ITV Sat - 9.10m
2 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 8.86m
3 EastEnders - BBC1 Mon - 8.55m
4 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 6.49m*
5 Silent Witness - BBC1 Sun - 6.44m
6 Accused - BBC1 Tues - 6.15m
7 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 5.85m
8 Mrs Brown's Boys - BBC1 Mon - 5.50m
9 BBC News - BBC1 Sun - 5.32m
10 Who Do You Think You Are? - BBC1 Wed - 5.30m
11 Ten O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 5.20m
12 Casualty - BBC1 Sat - 5.19m
13 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 5.00m
14 The ONE Show - BBC1 Mon - 4.84m
15 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 4.62m
16 Ruth Rendell's Thirteen Steps Down - ITV Mon - 4.28m*
17 Britain's Hidden Heritage - BBC1 Sun - 4.25m
18 Film: Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull - BBC1 Sat - 4.12m
19 England Friendlies - ITV Wed - 4.03m
20 The Great British Bake-Off - BBC2+BBC HD Tues - 4.01m
21 Match of the Day - BBC1 Sat - 3.95m
22 The Last Weekend - ITV Sun - 3.79m*
23 Red Or Black? - ITV Sat - 3.69m*
24 The Best Of Men - BBC+BBC HD Thurs - 3.66m
25 Hairy Dieters: How To Love Food & Lose Weight - BBC2+BBC HD Thurs - 3.57m
Those ITV shows marked '*' do not include HD figures. The X Factor's final rating on ITV alone was 8.08m, its lowest opening night audience for six years, although it was boosted by 1.02m viewers on ITV HD. No data was available for Channel Four for this week. Channel Five's best performer was Celebrity Big Brother (2.83m). Which is depressing, frankly. It was a terrific week for BBC2 with three programmes in the top twenty five - something virtually unprecedented in recent years. And, finally, let's all have a damned good laugh at the fiasco that is Red Or Black? Of course, if you add the audiences for its first two episodes - 3.69m and 3.22m - together that means it 'reached 6.91m viewers' which, no doubt, some wideboy in the ITV press office will be attempting to sell to the public via a press release very soon.

Yer actual Johnny Ball has reportedly signed up for Strictly Come Dancing. The television icon and father of former Strictly contestant Zoe Ball will become the oldest contestant on the regular BBC1 show if he does take part. The seventy four-year-old is said to have impressed producers after taking part in training sessions, reports the Sun. So, this is almost certainly a lie, then. An alleged BBC 'source' allegedly said: 'Johnny might be seventy four, but he's got some puff. He has looked after himself over the years and is really game. It would be foolish to write him off as some old duffer just there for laughs, like John Sergeant. He's been showing off some moves in training that would put much younger celebs to shame.' Zoe Ball would also be in line to interview her father on spin-off show It Takes Two. Johnny Ball was one of the most popular children's TV hosts of the 1970s and 1980s, and appeared on the likes of Play School, Think of a Number and Johnny Ball Reveals All. June Brown is the oldest contestant to have competed on a Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, taking part in December 2010 at the age of eighty three. The latest Strictly Come Dancing series will launch on Saturday 15 September on BBC1. Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh is said to have signed up for the show, while other names rumoured - but not confirmed - to be taking part include Jerry Hall, Fern Britton and former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan.

Cheryl Cole and have taken to Twitter to tell all of their fans they are 'fine' after being involved in a car crash in Los Angeles. Because, you know, we were all so worried.

Typically you wait four years for an Olympic Opening Ceremony then, like London buses, two come along at practically the same time. And so it was that on Wednesday evening Channel Four picked up the metaphorical baton from the BBC for the start of their Paralympics coverage. Believing themselves to be more of an 'edgy' broadcaster than the Beeb, C4 handed the task of taking us through what was unquestionably another spectacular event, to two gentlemen more used to reading the news, Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Not a pair, one should be said, renowned for their athletic prowess or for their extensive knowledge of all things track and field. Setting the scene as each country paraded around the Olympic Stadium, Snow in particular, veered more toward a political rather than a sporting narrative. Athletes entered the arena proudly waving their national flags, blissfully unaware that those at home were being regaled with tales of famine, corruption and civil war. And that was just France. But then, why bore us with trivia about the Moroccan relay team's personal best - as Hazel Irving likely would have - when you can engage us with the annual GDP of the Congo? Where they drink Umbongo, allegedly. That's not to say that the BBC's coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the Olympic were perfect, of course – they did bring us the witless witterings of Trevor Nelson at regular intervals. C4, though, have quite a bit of previous with unsuitable presenters at sporting events. Who can forget the hapless Ortis Deley's slow, painful broadcasting demise during the World Athletics Championships in South Korea last year? Not since the captain on the Titanic missed the iceberg has anyone been quite so out of their depth so quickly. Ortis lasted just days before he disappeared from view quicker than Andy Carroll's chances at Liverpool. Here's a radical idea, dear blog reader. Let newsreaders read the news and sports presenters present the sport.
The former head lawyer at the disgraced and disgraceful scum bucket of horse diarrhoea Scum of the World 'has categorically denied' any involvement in the commissioning of phone-hacking. Tom Crone, who was arrested at the crack of dawn at his home in South London on Thursday, was released on bail late on Thursday night after being detained by Scotland Yard detectives on suspicion of unlawfully conspiring to intercept communications. The Metropolitan police said that he was bailed until mid-October. 'My client has fully assisted the police in their enquiries,' said a statement issued on Crone's behalf by solicitor Henri Brandman. 'He categorically denies the commission of or involvement in any criminal offence. Neither he nor I will be making any further public statement.' Except to say all that, of course. Crone's arrest was the twenty fifth made by the Met Police team working on the Operation Weeting phone-hacking inquiry. It also was the first arrest since eight individuals, including the former Scum of the World editor and 'chum' of the prime minister Andy Coulson and former News International chief executive and well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, were told they would face a total of nineteen charges relating to phone-hacking. Operating Weeting was launched in January 2011 and is being run in parallel with two other investigations into alleged illegal activity by journalists – Operation Elveden into payments to police and public officials and Operation Tuleta into computer hacking and other breaches of privacy not covered by Weeting.

ITV Studios has purchased Graham Norton's So Television production company in a deal that could be worth up to seventeen million quid. Set up by Norton and Graham Stuart twelve years ago, So Television produces comedy and entertainment shows including, obviously, The Graham Norton Show and The Sarah Millican Television Programme. ITV's production arm ITV Studios has agreed to make an upfront cash payment of ten million knicker to buy the company, with a further cash payment based on its profit performance up to 31 July 2016. The maximum value of the deal is seventeen million notes. 'So TV has been our baby for twelve years, so I'm thrilled that the ITV family has decided to take it under their wing and help it blossom,' said yer actual Norton his very self. Graham Stuart added: 'We are incredibly excited to be starting a new chapter in the So story with ITV Studios. Now we have the chance to achieve what we've always wanted to in this industry but with real strength and inspiration behind us.' ITV said that the acquisition fits with the key objective of the five-year transformation plan imposed by its new chief executive Adam Crozier when he joined the commercial broadcaster in 2010. This objective was to 'create world class content for multiple platforms, free and pay, both in the UK and internationally.' So Television was buoyed earlier in the year by the BBC's decision to recommission The Graham Norton Show through to 2014. The series has also been distributed internationally in one hundred countries. Following its successful debut on BBC2 this spring, The Sarah Millican Television Programme has been recommissioned for a second run, which kicks-off with a Christmas special. So Television also produces panel show Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask for Dave, which was recommissioned by the digital channel earlier this year. ITV Studios managing director Denis O'Donoghue said: 'So Television is known for its creative rigour and intense quality-control across its programming, whether that is its crown jewel, The Graham Norton Show, or its newer but no less brilliant The Sarah Millican Television Programme. Its programming presence on other channels is strategically terrific for ITV Studios, which has increased its output this year with new shows across the BBC, Channel Four and Sky. I am really looking forward to having So as part of ITV Studios, working with Graham Stuart and his team to add even more value to this dynamic and successful production company.' Kevin Lygo, who joined ITV Studios as its managing director from Channel Four, added: 'So Television and Graham Norton have been making high quality programmes for many years now. "I believe that ITV Studios can bring scale to their ambitions and together we can continue to keep The Graham Norton Show at the top of its game and increase the amount of new programming in their production slate. This is an important acquisition for ITV Studios and demonstrates our strategy to increase our capability in the production of high quality television entertainment programming.'

Odious, risible waste-of-space bollocks Take Me Out is to be given an, alleged, 'celebrity special', it has been claimed. Four 'famous bachelors' will 'take to the love lift' in a bid to win a date on the wretched, odious, Paddy McGuinness-fronted dating horrorshow this Christmas, according to the ever-reliable Sun. 'The special should make for fantastic viewing,' lied an alleged 'insider' - nameless, of course, probably because he or she didn't want their friends or family to know that they worked on Take Me Out, for the shame and ignominy they would suffer as a consequence. 'These celebs are putting themselves out there,' the alleged 'insider' allegedly continued. 'It could lead to a match made in heaven – but it could also end in disaster. Either way, viewers will be gripped.' Betcha a thousand knicker this one won't. Note, also, the use of the word 'celebs' rather than 'celebrities' because it's got less letters and, as a consequence, is easier for Sun readers to wrap their brains around.
Celebrity Big Brother housemate (and full-of-her-own-importance waste of space) Coleen Nolan has 'blasted' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables) 'two-faced' Julie Goodyear. As if anybody normal actually gives a toss about utter nonsense like that.

Britain won their first gold medals on day one of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Track cyclist Sarah Storey cruised to victory in the women's C5 individual pursuit, after breaking her own world record in Thursday's heats. In the pool, Jonathan Fox took gold in the men's S7 one hundred metres backstroke but was unable to better his world record from earlier in the day. Nyree Kindred and Hannah Russell also secured silvers in the Aquatics Centre. Kindred came second in the final of the women's S6 one hundred metres backstroke while sixteen-year-old Hannah Russell, making her debut at a games, also took away a silver in the women's S12 four hundred metres freestyle. Paracyclist Mark Colbourne won Great Britain's first medal of the games with a silver in the men's individual one kilometre time trial. Elsewhere, Britain's double world judo champion Ben Quilter won a bronze medal after beating Japan's Takaaki Hirai in the men's under sixty kilo judo, while twenty-year-old Zoe Newson left the ExCel with a under forty kilo powerlifting bronze. ParalympicsGB chiefs are targeting a record haul of one hundred and three medals and second place in the overall table for the British squad. Storey, thirty four, tore into the gap separating her from opponent Anna Harkowska and passed the Pole just after halfway in their three kilometre run-off. But the defending champion insisted victory was not as easy as it looked. 'Mentally you have to prepare properly,' she said afterwards. 'I have to respect all my competitors. I didn't expect to catch her as quick as I did, but I stepped up my game. I just thought I had to get there quick and you're just willing the rider to come to you as quick as possible so you can just finish.' Earlier, Storey had qualified for the final in a time of three minutes 32.170 seconds - more than a second better than her own 2009 world record. Storey's gold medal was the eighth of her Paralympic career, which has seen her be victorious in both cycling and swimming events at previous Paralympic Games. Fox, from Plymouth, had beaten his own world-best time in the men's S7 one hundred metres backstroke at the Aquatics Centre with a time of one minute 9.86 seconds. He was unable to replicate his blistering pace in the final but led from the off and, despite tiring severely in the last ten metres, was able to hold on for gold. Prior to the final, Fox told BBC Radio 5Live: 'I've been in good shape for the last couple of months so wanted to put it all together for London. After coming second in Beijing, I wanted to go one higher. I think my time has come.' Colbourne, forty two, only started para-cycling in 2009 after breaking his back in a paragliding accident a few months earlier. But he recorded a time of one minute 8.471 seconds to edge team-mate Darren Kenny, a multiple world and Paralympic champion, out of the top three. 'I've worked for the last eight months towards this,' said Colbourne. 'A big thanks goes to all the coaches for getting me into the best shape possible.' Kindred, who has won nine medals in three Paralympics, was aiming to regain the title she lost at Beijing in 2008. She set a Paralympic record of one minute 27.96 seconds in her heat, but saw China's Dong Lu beat the time in the final to consign her to silver.

Less than twenty four hours later, Colbourne secured a gold medal in the men's individual C1 three kilometre individual pursuit in world-record time. Colbourne thrashed his Chinese rival Li Zhang Yu in three minutes, 53.881 seconds. Aileen McGlynn and pilot Helen Scott had secured Britain's first medal on day two of the Paralympics with tandem silver behind Australia. The Britons set the fastest time as the penultimate pair in the blind and visually impaired tandem one-kilometre time-trial at the Velodrome.

There was no mention of the Paralympics in Mad Frankie Boyle's Sun column on Friday. But the well known Scottish comedian was all over the front page of rival the Daily Mirra – and all for the wrong reasons. As usual. It is suggested that Channel Four intend to cut their ties with the controversial comic after a string of 'bad taste Paralympic jokes' on Twitter in which he called Saudi amputees thieves and said a British high jumper wouldn't get his personal best because that was Taliban assisted. I'm not going to editorialise this news item. Oh no. Very hot water. The broadcaster said in a statement: 'Frankie Boyle is not under contract with Channel Four and we don't have any shows planned with him.' This was a marked change of tone from May, when Channel Four's chief creative officer Jay Hunt said the broadcaster was 'in discussions' with Boyle about future projects but 'had not found the right one.' Doesn't look like they're going to, now. The channel seems to be cutting its ties with Boyle less than a fortnight after their previous head of comedy, Shane Allen, announced he was to leave Channel Four to become head of comedy commissioning at the BBC. Allen was widely seen as Boyle's main ally inside Channel Four as he refused to severe ties with the Scottish comedian despite numerous controversies, Ofcom investigations and legal threats over his close-to-the-bone jokes on Tramadol Nights. In an interview with the Gruniad Morning Star in August 2011, Allen said Channel Four was planning to film a pilot for a new series, Frankie Boyle's Rehabilitation Programme, in the autumn of last year.

This summer is set to be the second wettest in the UK since records began - and the wettest summer in one hundred years - provisional Met Office figures suggest. The wettest summer - defined as June, July and August - since national records began was in 1912. Figures up until 29 August show that 366.8mm of rain fell across the UK this summer, compared with 384.4mm rainfall in 1912. The April to June period was also the wettest recorded. The figures are provisional as there were still two days remaining in August, but the BBC Weather Centre said the rainfall was not expected to exceed the total amount in 1912. Records began in 1910. BBC weather presenter Laura Tobin said this summer had been so wet because a jet stream - a fast moving band of air high in atmosphere - from America, which should be sitting across Scotland and the North of England, was much further south than usual. 'It meant June was the wettest on record - most places had over one-and-a-half times more rain than they should have. July was also one of the wettest months ever, with some areas like Dorset breaking records. August has been about average,' she said. She said September was expected to be 'a typical September,' and no heatwave was expected in the next ten days. In April, seven water companies across southern and eastern England brought in hosepipe bans after two unusually dry winters left some groundwater supplies and rivers as low as in the drought year of 1976. But the restrictions were followed by record rainfall across the UK in April, and more rain in May and June led to flooding in some areas. The hosepipe bans were lifted in June and July. The Environment Agency issued more than one thousand river flood alerts and warnings between 1 June and 15 July, the most issued in a summer since 2007. August 2012 looks set to be the driest and sunniest of the three summer months across the UK, with 105.5mm of rain to 29 August, and one hundred and forty hours of sunshine up to 28 August. The mean temperature for August was 15.7°C - in a month that also saw the hottest day of the year so far, reaching 32.4°C at Cavendish in Suffolk, on 18 August. Summer 2012 is also likely to be one of the dullest summers on record, with just three hundred and ninety nine hours of sunshine up to 28 August. It is the dullest summer since 1980, when the UK saw only three hundred and ninety six hours of sunshine.

Haris Vučkić's long-range bender - steady - was enough to help yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though still unsellable) Newcastle United beat Greek side Atromitos to reach the Europa League group stages. Newcastle lost their goalscorer from the first leg, Ryan Taylor, to a serious-looking knee injury early on. But his replacement, the young Slovakian midfielder Vučkić, struck a diagonal shot for his debut Newcastle first team goal to earn the lead after twenty first minutes. Tim Krul was perhaps fortunate to stay on the pitch after he appeared to bring down Chumbinho in the penalty box and Elini Dimoutsos wasted a late chance as he fired wide. Slovenian Vučkić signed for Newcastle from NK Domzale in January 2009 aged sixteen. He made his first-team debut in the 2009-10 season but broke his hand the following season after making his Premier League bow. In February 2012 he went on loan to Cardiff where he scored his first goal in English football. Denis Epstein also shot over as the Greek side finished strongly, but overall Newcastle enjoyed a relatively comfortable night as they qualified for the next round on their first European foray in more than five years. Alan Pardew's side will face far sterner tests in this competition, but there were encouraging performances from the occasionally frustrating Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux on either wing and, particularly, an assured display by another teenager, Gael Bigirimana in midfield in place of the injured Cheick Tioté. The wide pair caused havoc down the flanks and were among seven changes made to the team following Newcastle's defeat at Moscow Chelski FC, with Marveaux testing Atromitos keeper Charles Itandje early on after James Perch curled wide. Vučkić's introduction on eleven minutes came after Taylor was injured when skipping over a challenge and then collapsing as his knee seemed to give way on the slippy turf. It looked like it could be a grave problem, but twenty-year-old Vučkić wasted little time in putting Newcastle in front when he collected Danny Simpson's throw-in from the right, moved inside and lashed a shot into the bottom corner via a deflection off Matias Iglesias. The substitute could have added another, but despite the hosts holding the upper hand in the first half, Brazilian Chumbinho caused several moments of concern. First, his shot was saved by Krul and then the Newcastle keeper evaded a red card and a penalty in the same moment when he seemed to have brought down the Brazilian after he fumbled Denis Epstein's shot although, on replays, there was some suggestion that Chumbinho may have kicked Krul's hands and then fallen over rather than the other way round. The referee decided to book the Atromitos forward for diving. Newcastle looked comfortable to begin with after the break and Obertan could have doubled the lead on the night, as former Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws keeper Itandje parried his firm shot. But as the time ticked away, the visitors grew more dangerous and they missed a golden chance when Iglesias's shot was deflected into the path of Dimoutsos, but he blazed wide of the post from an angle about ten yards out. There were a few more nervy moments for Newcastle's defence before Alan Pardew was able to celebrate his first managerial success in European competition, whilst both Dan Gosling and Marveaux shooting wildly over when well-placed late on. The decent crowd of twenty nine thousand two hundred and forty two greeted the final whistle with a certain amount of relief as United completed the job, although Taylor's injury was a major disappointment on an otherwise satisfactory night in Toon.

Incidentally, to any dear blog readers watching the game on ITV4, is yer actual Keith Telly Topping on drugs or does than not look like the TARDIS on Atromitos's shirts?
A team in Romania was thrashed 31-0 (that's THIRTY ONE - nil) against lower league opposition. The cup match saw second division side CS Buftea face third division side ACS Berceni, but at half-time, ACS Berceni were already leading twelve goals ahead. Berceni scored another nineteen goals in the second half without reply. CS Buftea had fielded a team of mostly teenagers, and fell to reportedly the heaviest defeat in Romanian football. Stephen Stana, president of the winning side ACS Berceni, told local media: 'I'm ashamed to tell you the score. But it's not our fault that [CS Buftea] disregarded the competition.' CS Buftea won promotion to the second division last season.

And, finally, that really annoying bell-end out of Blur, Alex James, and odious buffoon Jamie Oliver are to host a new music and food festival in Oxfordshire this weekend. Jamie Oliver presents The Big Feastival is being held at the Blur bassist's farm in Kingham. More than ten thousand people are expected to attend two days of music headlined by Paloma Faith (presumably with her jubilee sick bag, which might come in handy given who's she likely to be meeting) and Texas. The vile and wretched Oliver will, apparently, also 'show off his drumming skills' on stage with James for a one-off performance in a band. Called Knob Cheese, one imagines.

Sometimes, dear blog reader, a song will just present itself for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This is just one such occasion.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Laugh Politely At Repeats

A series of new cinema-style posters for the upcoming season of Doctor Who have been revealed by the BBC. And, very nice they are too. Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill feature in the specially-made posters for Doctor Who's new season, which will lead up to the show's fiftieth anniversary special, next year. Four new images have been released to accompany the recently-released poster for Asylum of the Daleks. Series seven of the BBC's popular long running family F drama will include the departures of Gilllan and Darvill, who have played The Doctor's companions Amy and Rory since 2010. Episodes in the upcoming season will include Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and A Town Called Mercy. A return of The Weeping Angels and River Song is also expected in the fifth episode. Doctor Who will return to BBC1 and BBC America on Saturday 1 September with seventh series premiere. Tasty.
Oh yeah. Now I'm ready for Saturday.

Meanwhile, Smudger his very self has 'channelled' David Bowie - at least, according to the Digital Spy website - for a new photoshoot. 'I'm a huge Bowie fan,' Smudge said. Hey, aren't we all? 'I loved the Olympic Opening Ceremony because I thought, "How amazing, the plethora and heritage of music we have. Incredible! Wonderful!"' he added. Asked about the mid-series episode featuring The Weeping Angels, Smith added: 'It's terribly exciting because they're my favourite monster and it's one of my favourite cities. If I had my way I'd shoot the whole thing in New York.' He added on the subject of The Doctor: 'He does everything very quickly because he's got to. He's endless, he's boundless, he's limitless! He constantly allows you to reinvent him. That's what's interesting about this year. It's about what a new companion reveals in him.' Smith continued: 'It's like a Shakespearean tragedy, Doctor Who.' Only, with a sonic-screwdriver, obviously. Not many of those in King Lear. 'There's a theatre to it. Because every day you're either facing the end of the world, or the loss of the person you love most, or the invasion of the most appalling creature or alien that you can ever imagine. But in the face of that tragedy there is also comedy. It's about adventure.' The full interview and photoshoot appears in this month's Empire magazine, on sale this week.

The X Factor and Doctor Who will clash in the Saturday night schedules on 8 September for ten minutes it has been revealed. Doctor Who's second episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is scheduled to run from 7:35pm until 8.20pm on BBC1 whilst The X Factor will start on ITV at 8.10pm. Early schedules featured the two programmes overlapping for twenty minutes but ITV have now pushed the talent show later into the evening. This weekend's Doctor Who premiere will not clash with Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads's entertainment series. Asylum of the Daleks ends at 8.10pm, just before The X Factor is due to start. The X Factor's ratings have been lower so far this series than last - albeit, not massively so. Nevertheless, the two episodes shown so far have both failing to reach the ten million viewing figures on overnights and forty per cent audience shares, both of which it was managing regularly during the opening audition rounds last year. However, ITV controller Peter Fincham has denied that there are any concerns about the ratings on the show, insisting that the vehicle has still 'got years' to run. He forgot to add 'I hope.'

Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill have said that a companion leaving Doctor Who 'makes really good telly.' The pair will depart their roles as Amy Pond and Rory Williams in the BBC family SF drama's upcoming episode, The Angels Take Manhattan. 'It's always emotional when a companion leaves, but that's what the show is about,' Darvill told Vulture. 'No-one can stay with The Doctor forever. It makes really good telly.' Gillan - who joined Doctor Who alongside Darvill in 2010 - explained that she has watched 'pretty much all the episodes beginning with the reboot in 2005. I actually love the way Catherine Tate left,' she said. 'It was so tragic, Donna not being able to remember any of her time with the Doctor. And in terms of performances, I loved watching David Tennant leave Billie Piper on the beach because she just looked like he was genuinely leaving. She was genuinely crying. Then there's Freema Agyeman. She had that unrequited love and had to get out. It was all pretty painful in a good way.' Both actors also admitted to taking items from the TARDIS set before filming their final scenes, including a magnifying glass and a pair of binoculars. 'I'm not sure they'll notice - there are so many little bits,' said Gillan. 'And also, they do tours for people to walk through the TARDIS and people take things slyly. Or, they think they're being sly.'

And finally for today's Doctor Who news, the fourth instalment of the web series spin-off Pond Life has been released online.
Yer actual Benedict Cumberbatch his very self has discussed his role in Parade's End. The actor, who plays disgruntled aristocrat Christopher Tietjens in the BBC2 five-part series, said that the role is not generally the type he takes on despite popular opinion. Asked about his tendency to take on upper class hoity-toity roles, Cumberbatch told Shortlist: 'Ah, but it's a fat one this time. That's the difference. Seriously though, despite people's opinions, I haven't played that many aristocrats and landed gentry. Admittedly I do talk fast because I'm a public schoolboy, but I haven't even done many period dramas. I've oscillated between the First World War and the Georgian period. That's my niche.' Benny also revealed what drew him to the role, crediting writer Tom Stoppard and co-star Rebecca Hall with piquing his interest. 'Tom came and had tea with me at the National Theatre, which is always quite seductive. As soon as he asked me if I wanted a biscuit with my tea, I knew what was going on,' he recalled. 'Rebecca, who's a really good friend, sort of talked me around too. But really it's the book [by Ford Madox Ford]. It's the first modernist novel and it takes in consumerism, the First World War and the death throes of the upper classes through the prism of this love triangle. It's incredible.'

Coverage of the London Paralympics Opening Ceremony attracted an average audience of almost eight million viewers – making it one of the most-watched shows in Channel 4's thirty-year history. Wednesday night's curtain raiser to the eleven-day London 2012 Paralympic Games had an average of 7.6 million viewers, a forty per cent share of the audience, between 8pm and its later than expected finish about 12.20am. This is about five times the network's average audience on a Wednesday night over the past three months. The dramatic Opening Ceremony from the Olympic Stadium in East London, a fortnight after the end of the Olympics, had an astonishing fifteen-minute peak of 10.9 million viewers between 8.45pm and 9pm, and a five-minute peak of 11.2 million during the same period. This gave Channel Four a 25.7 per cent share of the peaktime audience between 6pm and 10.30pm, beating both BBC1 - with sixteen per cent - and ITV 's eleven per cent. Channel Four's all-day share, of 19.8 per cent, was also the biggest of any channel on Wednesday. This compares to the network's average all-day share of about six per cent over the past three months. The BBC's coverage of the Beijing Paralympics Opening Ceremony in 2008 had a five-minute peak of 2.8 million viewers. Channel Four's chief creative officer, Jay Hunt, said: 'Last night's Opening Ceremony was a spectacular start to the London 2012 Paralympic Games and I'm delighted that so many viewers enjoyed it with us. It kicks off eleven days of great sporting coverage on Channel Four.' The broadcaster, which spent about nine million quid on the rights to the Paralympics which previously had been shown by the BBC, is looking to the games to help redefine itself in the post-Big Brother era. If audiences for the BBC's coverage of the Olympics are anything to go by, the games will also give a big boost to the channel's audience over the next eleven days. Channel Four, like its commercial rivals ITV and Channel Five, suffered massively in the sixteen days of the Olympics as the BBC dominated the ratings and gave all of the opposition a damned good trousers-down shoeing. Although it will likely not hit the highs enjoyed by BBC1 – the Olympics Opening Ceremony peaked with more than twenty seven million viewers – Channel Four can certainly expect considerably more than its typical share of the audience of around six per cent. The broadcaster will show around one hundred and fifty hours of live coverage from the games, anchored by Clare Balding who attracted numerous plaudits for her role covering the swimming and equestrian events for the BBC during the Olympics. Channel Four has also undertaken a five hundred thousand smackers talent search to unearth new disabled presenting talent. The popularity of the Opening Ceremony inevitably hit audiences for shows on other channels. BBC1's risible gardening show The Flowerpot Gang had just 1.7 million viewers between 8pm and 9pm, while ITV documentary Britain Then and Now could only manage an even more desperate seven hundred thousand viewers between 9pm and 10pm. BBC2's The Culture Show at the Edinburgh Festival was watched by three hundred thousand punters between 10pm and 10.30pm. BBC1's Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring yer actual Patrick Stewart, drew 3.6 million viewers between 9pm and 10pm. Despite the heavier competition, BBC2's Vexed actually saw its audience grown slightly to nine hundred and fifteen thousand at 9pm, prior to which 1.72m watched Restoration Home. John Barrowman's Dallas managed eight hundred and fourteen thousand viewers at 10pm on Channel Five.

Sky controller Stuart Murphy has defended the distinctly underwhelming viewing figures for Rihanna's fashion TV show Styled To Rock. The Sky Living series does not appear to have rocked too many viewers' worlds as its highest set of overnight ratings to date came on Tuesday, but it still only drew an audience of one hundred and five thousand punters for the channel. Because, it's shit and it stinks, basically. You know, not to sugar-coat it or anything. Another dreadful vacuous celebrity vehicle aimed at some mythical - bone-thick - audience, interested in nothing but the lives of the rich and brainless, whom most TV executives appear to believe exist but, actually, don't. It was easily beaten in the overnights by, for example, a Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire repeat episode on Challenge and a Qi repeat on Dave. Murphy has insisted that he 'isn't concerned' by the figures, pointing out that the numbers for the first episode climbed to four hundred and forty thousand if they included repeats and catch-up services. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival last week about the show's ratings, he said: 'It was trending on Twitter,' as thought nonsense like that means anything in the real world. 'Rihanna is the biggest star in the world,' he claimed. Err ... have we had a poll on that, pal? Cos I didn't get the memo if we have. 'Find me a channel controller who would turn down Rihanna in her own series.' Styled To Rock is executive-produced by Rihanna her very self and features Girls Aloud's Nicola Roberts and fashion designer Henry Holland as mentors. Cheryl Cole, Scissor Sisters and Katy Perry are among the special guests who have filmed appearances during the series. And, just to repeat, it's shit and it stinks.

ITV is set to drop the numeric one from its flagship channel for the first time in a decade as part of 'a forthcoming rebranding exercise,' according to a report. Of course, some of us never called it anything other than ITV and always believed this 'ITV1' nonsense was a load of old fekking toot. Broadcast claims that the rebrand of ITV is among a number of changes being made to the commercial broadcaster's network of channels. This includes the trademark yellow colour on the flagship ITV being phased out and a new set of idents - short video clips that accompany the starts of programmes - being introduced. The report also claims that ITV's digital channels - ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV - will be given a 'substantially different on-screen presence,' whatever the hell that means, although they will keep their existing names. An alleged ITV 'insider' allegedly told Broadcast that the rebrand is 'not just a paint job,' but is about 'boosting the overall ITV brand. This is a big undertaking and will have a sense of scale,' the alleged 'source' allegedly said. 'It is aimed at ensuring viewers attribute our content to the ITV brand.' Rufus Radcliffe, the group marketing and research director at ITV, is said to be leading the rebrand, which is ITV's first such exercise in the last six years. Previously at Channel Four, Radcliffe was behind the relaunches of E4 and More4, and he also introduced Channel Four's current 'floating logo.' ITV's branding changes were originally due to roll out in the autumn, but they have reportedly been pushed back to January, presumably to avoid clashing with The X Factor.

Lawyers for Neil Morrissey have been accused by the Daily Scum Mail of 'abusing' a no-win, no-fee arrangement by claiming costs of one hundred and thirty thousand smackers in a case in which the actor got damages of just fifteen thousand. However, the solicitor involved in the case over a horribly libellous article published in 2010 said that the allegations are 'absolute rubbish' of just the kind of nonsense you'd expect from scum the likes of them. And, that it is the Daily Scum Mail which is abusing the no-win, no-fee system, which is intended for those that cannot afford the cost of libel actions. Peter Crawford, who acted for Morrissey, added that the fees reflected the amount of work needed to 'extract a suitable retraction' out of the paper. The publisher of the Daily Scum Mail, Associated Newspapers, cited the lawyer's claim for costs as 'excessive' and 'a good example of abuse' of the legal rules, which allow lawyers to take on cases free of charge on condition they get paid if they win under a system of rules known as conditional fee agreements. 'The sum of one hundred and thirty thousand pounds is a remarkable level of costs in a case in which the defendant admitted liability within a few weeks of proceedings being issued, but is typical of the excessive costs charged by CFA-assisted lawyers in cases against newspapers,' Associated said in a new submission to the Leveson inquiry. Personally, I'd've concentrated on the words 'the client admitted liability' and reflect on how, if they hadn't published the unsubstantiated and libellous article in the first place, they wouldn't have had to pay anybody anything. I'm just saying. After being asked by Leveson to give the background to the Morrissey case and explain what the bloody hell they thought they were playing at, Associated claimed that the solicitors at Stitt & Co, Crawford's law firm, were claiming costs which included success fees of thirty four grand and seventeen grand for a barrister who offered 'behind the scenes advice' as the case was settled out of court. The Men Behaving Badly actor received a somewhat grovelling apology and the previously undisclosed damages of fifteen thousand smackers in January this year in relation to a quite disgraceful article published in 2010 which - wrongly - claimed that he was banned from a French bar for 'rowdy, drunken behaviour.' Not a smidgen of truth existed in the article in question. The paper later admitted to Morrissey that it 'could not verify' the story. Proceedings for libel were issued in June 2011 and six weeks later Associated capitulated according to the publisher's own chronicle of events, made public for the first time in its latest Leveson submission. According to the Associated submission, Morrissey offered to accept damages of forty five thousand quid but the Scum Mail - being the tight-fisted scum they are - offered only ten thousand. The actor then sought thirty thousand and finally agreed to fifteen grand from the publisher on 2 December 2011 and got permission to make a unilateral statement in open court. However, Crawford dismissed the claim that the fees his firm charged were excessive. 'The costs were properly incurred and charged at appropriate rates. The success fee reflected the risk of the litigation. They would have been lower had the Mail conceded the allegations were untrue and defamatory at an earlier stage,' he said. Or, indeed, not published them at all. 'It proved extremely difficult to extract a suitable retraction and a sufficient apology from the Mail. It is the Mail abusing the system by relying on the offer of amends procedure as a way of halving the damages that would otherwise have been payable to an individual who was seriously defamed.' He said Morrissey could not have afforded to take the Scum Mail on were it not for the CFA system. Three years ago the actor entered an individual voluntary agreement to help him repay debts of two and a half million smackers he had incurred after investing in property, including a hotel in Wales. Associated and other newspaper groups have criticised the increased use of no-win, no-fee arrangements. Earlier this year the former Times legal manager Alastair Brett said CFAs do give justice to 'impecunious and middle income claimants' but they were also a magnet for 'greedy solicitors,' some of whom he claimed doubled their normal hourly rate of five hundred notes. The high fees means that newspapers can face bills of hundreds of thousands of pounds to defend libel actions whether successful or not. Which is, of course, something that makes the average person's hearts bleed for the poor wee dears. In its Leveson submission, the Scum Mail quotes another CFA case of a claimant asking three national newspapers to cough up two hundred and thirty thousand knicker in legal fees. Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, also raised the cost of libel when he testified at Leveson in January saying news organisations are 'forced to employ highly expensive barristers and before you know where you are, you've seen one hundred thousand pounds plus disappear.' He warned that newspapers 'don't have that kind of money.' All of which goes to further suggest that, if you don't want to end up out of pocket, don't print libel.

Lord Sugar-Sweetie his very self has denied tabloid reports that he is preparing to axe Young Apprentice. The spin-off reality show, which will broadcast a third series in October, hasn't scored anywhere neat the same sort of ratings as its adult counterpart and the Sun newspaper alleged that Sugar-Sweetie was preparing to ditch it to focus on the original. However, Sugar-Sweetie quickly took to Twitter on Thursday morning to refute the allegation. 'Sun article about me wanting to stop Young Apprentice is total rubbish,' he wrote. 'If there are no more Young Apprentice series it will be the BBC who decide not me.'

The BBC Trust has ruled that Labour MP Diane Abbott should not have been paid for recent appearances on flagship political programme This Week. Abbott, a regular guest along with former Tory MP Michael Portillo and presenter Andrew Neil, has been paid thousands in appearance fees. The BBC claimed rules banning payments to MPs representing their parties did not apply as This Week was 'not a normal' political show. But this was rejected by the Trust. The Trust also ruled the MP's appearances had been 'too frequent' since she became a shadow minister. In January crossbench peer Lord Laird complained that Abbott had received five payments of eight hundred and thirty nine notes and one of eight hundred and sixty nine knicker for appearances on This Week. The BBC's editorial guidelines state that MPs should not be paid for appearances where they are 'speaking as a member of their party or expressing political views.' The guidelines allow for the payment of a realistic 'disturbance fee' to cover the time and inconvenience involved in appearing in a broadcast but Lord Laird argued that the payments to Abbott 'went beyond this.' Although ,what the hell it had to do with him, no one seems too sure. BBC director general Mark Thompson responded to the peer in February, passing on the views of This Week's producers. They said that while the guidelines state that they should not normally pay MPs to appear, This Week was 'not a traditional political programme.' They argued that, although Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo were asked to express political opinions, they also have a co-presenter role, interviewing other guests. Lord Laird - who clearly had nothing better to do with his time and chase around after nonsense like this - whinged again that the producers were being allowed 'to flout the BBC's own editorial policy' expressing 'surprise' at their assertion that This Week was 'not a normal political programme.' The Trust's Editorial Standards Committee ruled that payments to Abbott totalling six thousand seven hundred and twelve quid - recorded in the MPs' Register of Financial Interests - constituted a breach of the guidelines. Abbott, who is MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, was a regular presenter of This Week until 2010, when she ran for the Labour leadership in the 2010 contest won by Ed Milimolimandi. During the leadership campaign she was replaced on the programme by other Labour politicians including Caroline Flint and Charles Clarke. The new Labour leader appointed her to the front bench as shadow public health minister. At the time she tweeted: 'No more This Week. BBC management say I cannot be a shadow minister and be on the program [sic]. Sad.' The BBC Trust recorded a total of eight subsequent appearances by Abbott since she joined Milimolimandi's front bench team, with her role being filled by other well-known Labour MPs including former home secretary Alan Johnson. A spokeswoman for BBC News said that they 'note the findings' of the Trust. Doesn't necessarily mean to say they agree with it or, indeed, will take any notice of it, of course.
A sixty-year-old man, understood to be former Scum of the World head of legal Tom Crone, has been arrested in South-West London by police investigating phone-hacking. The man was arrested at his home at 06:45 BST on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications contrary to Section One of the Criminal Law Act 1977. Which, presumably, means he was dragged from his bed by The Peelers banging, hard, on his door at the crack of dawn with a 'come out, in the name of the law' and all that malarkey. Which is funny. It is understood that the arrest followed the passing of information from News International's management and standards committee and Crone had no prior notice that the police were coming to his gaff to make the arrest. He is the twenty fifth person arrested as part of the Operation Weeting investigation into phone-hacking. The Metropolitan Police launched Operation Weeting last year. It runs parallel to an inquiry into corrupt payments by journalists to public officials. Last month it was announced that eight people, including well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks and the prime minister's 'chum' Andy Coulson, would face a total of nineteen charges relating to phone hacking. The two ex-Scum of the World editors are to be charged in connection with the accessing of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone messages. They are among seven of the disgraced and disgraceful paper's former staff facing charges of conspiring to intercept voicemails. The phone-hacking allegations led to the closure of the Scum of the World in disgrace, shame and ignominy in July 2011 and the setting up of the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics.

US network ABC has ordered a pilot for a TV series based on Marvel's SHIELD agency, to be written by Avengers Assemble director Joss Whedon. The fictional government peacekeeping organisation featured in Whedon's hit blockbuster, headed by Samuel L Jackson's character, Nick Fury. According to the director, the series will be largely 'autonomous' from the Avengers sequel due in 2015. He will also produce the show and may direct the proposed pilot episode. Disney announced earlier this month that Whedon would help develop a live-action TV series based on Marvel characters. It is not yet known if any of the stars of Avengers Assemble will appear in the pilot. If it becomes a full series, the show would mark Whedon's return to TV after the cancellation of his last two shows, Firefly and Dollhouse both of which won many critical plaudits but failed to find sufficiently high audiences to satisfy the networks. Prior to that Whedon had enjoyed huge success with the small-screen version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. Both of which yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self was a bit partial to. Avengers Assemble - known as The Avengers in the US - was a global hit when it was released earlier this year. It went on to become the third biggest-grossing film ever, making $1.46 billion worldwide.

The Queen has declared the London 2012 Paralympics officially open, during a spectacular Opening Ceremony watched by some eighty thousand spectators. Britain's first Paralympic Games gold medallist, Margaret Maughan, eighty four, had the honour of lighting the cauldron. Paralympics chief Lord Coe told the crowd: 'Prepare to be inspired, prepare to be dazzled, prepare to be moved.' The Queen said: 'The games are returning to the country where they first began, more than sixty years ago.' The ceremony, co-directed by Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings, signalled the start of elven days of competition by four thousand two hundred athletes from one hundred and sixty four countries, including more than three hundred athletes from the home nation. Wheelchair basketball, shooting, swimming and track cycling are among the events set to feature on the opening day. From Stephen Hawking, the Hadron Collider and The Big Bang, to the biggest apple bite, this was a very different opening to that of the Olympics. It may not have cost as much to put on, but it was just as ambitious. There were echoes of the Olympics with roles for Shakespeare's The Tempest and Tom Heatherwick's cauldron, as well as royals, flags and a parade of elite athletes. But though the light panels in the crowd created the same spectacular effect as in the Olympic opener, they have now become known as Paralympixels. At the Olympics opener, the key excerpt from The Tempest was Caliban's tribute to the 'Isles of Wonder.' This time, it was Miranda's marvelling at 'how beauteous mankind is' in her 'brave new world' speech. This was a ceremony that was more nuanced in its celebration of elite sport. A celebration of diversity. But no less of a celebration for that. Lord Coe told the crowd at the East London stadium: 'It is my great honour to say welcome home to the Paralympic Games.' He said Britain 'was ready' and the crowds in attendance would be 'unprecedented,' adding: 'These will be a games to remember.' Eight members of the British under-twenty two wheelchair basketball team were given the honour of carrying the Paralympic flag into the stadium. It was raised by members of the armed forces, before the Queen declared the games open. British swimmer Liz Johnson, a medallist from Beijing 2008, wheelchair rugby judge Richard Allcroft and David Hunter, who is coaching the ParalympicsGB equestrian team took the official oaths on behalf of competitors and officials. At the close of the ceremony, twenty four-year-old Royal Marine Commando Joe Townsend - an aspiring Olympic triathlete, who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan - descended on a zip wire into the stadium from the top of the nearby Orbit tower. He handed the flame to David Clarke, a member of the ParlympicsGB five-a-side football team, who passed the torch to Maughan, who won gold in archery at the 1960 Rome Paralympics. She lit a tiny flame on the ground, igniting more than two hundred copper petals. Long stems then rose towards each other to form a cauldron, signifying unity. Like the impressive Olympic cauldron, it was made by designer Thomas Heatherwick, and one hundred and sixty six of the petals bore the names of competing nations at the Paralympics. Hemmings said it was 'extremely spectacular and like nothing you have seen in previous ceremonies.' The ParalympicsGB athletes earlier entered the stadium to David Bowie's 'Heroes', led by Peter Norfolk, the two-time Paralympic wheelchair tennis champion, who carried the union jack. He later described it as a 'wow moment.' In one heart-stopping moment during the show, six Paralympians and former competitors - including Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson - were flown into the stadium in golden wheelchairs. Disabled ex-serviceman David Rawlins flew a twin-engined Tecnam P2006 light aircraft over the stadium to kick off the proceedings. A sphere ignited The Big Bang - something which Professor Hawking, a world-renowned physicist who has motor neurone disease, has written about extensively - to start the show and fireworks lit up the stadium. Hawking and actor Sir Ian McKellen played prominent roles in the ceremony, which also featured a host of deaf and disabled artists, local children and performers newly-trained in circus skills. Some three thousand volunteers took part in the event, which organisers entitled Enlightenment and said was 'profoundly about science and humanity.' Throughout the ceremony, Hawking acted as a guide to Miranda - a character from William Shakespeare's play The Tempest, who was central to the show - while Sir Ian played Prospero. Inspired by uncertain British weather, umbrellas were also a big theme in the ceremony, which was described as 'both spectacular and deeply human' by organisers. The Queen was welcomed by Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, before the union jack was carried in by representatives of the armed forces. It is the first time the monarch has officiated at the openings of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Teams from all one hundred and sixty four countries paraded into the stadium to music mixed and played by three London-based DJs. The Paralympic torch began its journey in Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Games, on Tuesday night. It was carried by five hundred and eighty torchbearers in total, and after being carried past some of London's most famous landmarks, was used to light a scaled-down version of the Olympic cauldron. The torch had earlier been delayed but games organisers Locog confirmed the flame arrived at the stadium in time to light the cauldron. UK Sport and the British Paralympic Association have set a minimum target of one hundred and three medals this time from at least twelve sports, including swimming, athletics and rowing and hopes are high that ParalympicsGB will emulate the success of Team GB. Britain finished second in the medals table at the 2008 Games in Beijing, winning forty two golds, twenty nine silvers and thirty one bronzes. China were top with two hundred and eleven medals, of which eighty nine were gold. More than 2.4 million tickets for events have already been sold, including half-a-million to overseas visitors. In a statement released before she opened the games, the Queen said: 'It is with tremendous pride that the people of London and the United Kingdom welcome the world to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. We look forward to celebrating the uplifting spirit which distinguishes the Paralympic Games from other events, drawing on Britain's unique sporting heritage.'

A colourful line of pulsating balloons is to line the night sky across the seventy three mile length of Hadrian's Wall. The digital art installation will see 400 balloons lined from Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend - just a couple of miles from Stately Telly Topping Manor, dear blog reader - to Bowness-on-Solway, as part of the London 2012 Festival. Called Connecting Light, it is designed for people to view the wall as a bridge not a barrier - described by artist Zachary Lieberman as an 'inverse wall.' Lieberman said the creation has 'never been seen before.' Designed by New York based digital arts collective YesYesNo and founding member Lieberman, the idea is to allow people to share their physical or emotional experiences and thoughts about borders. He said: 'We are nerd artists who try to find a poetic way to use technology - in this case it's LEDs and radio communication. Hadrian's Wall is set in amazing landscape, it's incredibly beautiful and the other thing I love about the wall is that it goes through so many different types of environments - windswept plains, craggy rocky landscapes, straight through cities. That diversity of environments I found really powerful. I also felt it's very peaceful in places and we wanted to capture that. Connecting Light celebrates the whole of the wall.' Lieberman says his work uses technology in a playful way to explore the nature of communication and the delicate boundary between the visible and the invisible. The six feet six inch diameter weather balloons will transmit messages between each other and internal LED lights will change colour in response - this will create a line of pulsating colours as messages travel through it. The public will be able to interact with the balloons by creating messages and selecting colours either at the site or online - directly controlling the installation. There are several sites across the wall which will be open to the public, including the Errington Arms in Corbridge, Housesteads Roman Fort and Carlisle Castle and Tullie House Museum. Linda Tutiett, from Hadrian's Wall Heritage, said: 'We want people to think about Hadrian's Wall in a fresh new light, we want to build an audience for the wall who will care about it for the future. This is one way of getting people to think about some of the world's most amazing heritage, but to do so in such a brilliantly modern way is really going to put the spotlights on Hadrian's Wall Country from all over the world.' The Hadrian's Wall Trust is looking for volunteers to help out at the event. Connecting Light is being produced in partnership with the Hadrian's Wall Trust, the Cultural Olympiad programme and local partners. The event takes place over Friday and Saturday and organisers advise visitors to go between 20:00 and 23:00.

Elbow's Guy Garvey has said that he is starting a new record label solely for vinyl EPs to revive the format. The singer told the BBC he was inspired to begin the project by EPs of the past and would be challenging fellow artists to try out the multi-track format. Each EP - which also comes with a free download code - will have four songs, where one must be an instrumental and another should contain spoken word. 'We don't want disposable songs - we want a twenty minute record,' he said. In an interview broadcast on BBC Radio 4's PM programme on Thursday, Garvey said EPs were becoming increasingly important. 'Young bands that are perhaps self-financing and have to make money through touring can release three EPs rather than one album,' he said. 'That's three times as much excuse to tour, so it's working commercially.' The singer added making an EP was a good challenge for a music artist. 'You're making something that somebody who really loves your music is going to go and find - it's like leaving a note in your lover's pocket that they won't find for six months.' Garvey will be setting up the label with Jim Chancellor, the head of Fiction Records, Elbow's label. The Mercury award-winning band created the anthem for the BBC's Olympics coverage and performed their hit 'One Day Like This' in front of a TV audience of more than twenty six million at the Olympics closing ceremony.

Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, this seems appropriate. Again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You In Your Small Corner, I Stand In Mine

Lord Justice Leveson is expected to launch what is being described as 'excoriating' criticism of various shitscum odious lice in the press after notices went out to all newspaper groups warning them that he anticipates making rulings on everything from privacy to self-regulation. Which is fantastic news. Now, hopefully, some of those sleazy phone-hacking bastards will know what it's like to sweat by having a monkey on your back. It is understood the same generic letter has gone to all the main national newspaper groups, but executives are anxiously awaiting a more damaging Rule Thirteen notice containing specific criticism of individual titles and witnesses. Leveson's Rule Thirteen notice is understood to be around one hundred pages long with a five page summary listing the areas Leveson is intending to make critical pronouncements on, according to alleged 'sources.' These notices are expected to contain 'explicit adverse comment' and could go to anyone in a newspaper group whom Leveson feels has been a bit of a twat and failed to uphold standards, as well as individuals from any other sectors who face criticism in the judge's final report. Witnesses during the one hundred and ninety seven day inquiry included politicians, police and media regulators. Rule Thirteen of the Inquiry Rules 2006, obliges Leveson to give those he intends to criticise a right to reply before publication. According to the Gruniad - which appears from their comments not to have received one of the Rule Thirteen notices, yet, much to their obvious glee - those 'with sight' of the first batch of Rule Thirteen notices said that the appeals court judge has 'thrown the kitchen sink' at the newspaper industry. And, frankly, it's about time someone did. 'It is excoriating,' an alleged 'source' allegedly said. The executive summary is understood to cover specific areas including self-regulation, invasion of privacy, the issue of prior notification of publication, accuracy and, the most vexed of all issues, 'public interest.' The editor of the Independent has said he fears that Lord Justice Leveson is 'loading a gun' against the industry. Chris Blackhurst said the letter issued by Leveson to all major national and regional newspapers warning them of potential criticism he may make in his report amounts to a 'demolition of the industry.' Blackhurst told BBC Radio 4's The Media Show on Wednesday afternoon that there was nothing positive in the letter, which runs to more than one hundred pages. 'It is a damning indictment of my industry,' he said. He added that 'some of the criticisms are certainly justified,' but that others 'raise eyebrows' and do not bear any relation to practices at his paper or other titles at his 'end of the market.' Yeah well, tough, mate. If you chose to swim in the gutter you get flushed down into the sewer with all the other turds. I'll shed no tears for any of you. Blackhurst said his reaction was one of 'shock and anger that it is so one-sided. It's a diatribe.' He said: 'It throws the book at the industry. The best way I can describe it is he's loading a gun, and this document – well over one hundred pages – is all the ammunition. And believe you me there is plenty of ammunition, you read the ammunition and you just gulp.' The letter is divided into sections with headline assertions such as 'self-regulation has failed' backed up with references to the evidence. Newspaper groups and others are anxiously awaiting the second batch of Rule Thirteen notices which could be more damaging, corporately. Leveson said during the inquiry that his findings were intended to 'provide a narrative' on which to base recommendations. But he added that if he felt the need to make a 'specific criticism of any sort against an individual or title, a separate notice would be provided.' News International is preparing for the worst in the wake of the phone-hacking affair, which included the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone, but it will be doing its best to deflect criticism of its flagship brand the Sun, hoping that the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World will be Leveson's main target. Some chance. Printing those pictures of Prince Harry's knob couldn't, possibly, have been at a less appropriate time, it would seem. Leveson said earlier in the inquiry that he will not make findings as to the culture and ethics of individual titles 'save, perhaps, in relation to the News of the World,' but he put newspapers 'on notice' that he may make specific criticisms of individual titles. The Press Complaints Commission is also expected to be heavily criticised, but it has already accepted its fate and is currently winding down. Tabloid editors linked to what the inquiry described as 'egregious' breaches of the PCC code of practice seem unlikely to escape censure by Leveson. He has already criticised the Daily Scum Express over coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. During the inquiry he accused the newspaper of writing 'complete piffle' and 'tittle-tattle' about the McCanns. The Daily Mirra will also be in his sights in relation to its coverage of Christopher Jefferies, the Bristol landlord questioned by police about the murder of Joanna Yeates, but released without charge and cleared of any involvement. Former editor Richard Wallace apologised to the inquiry for this coverage. Leveson has said that under the legislation, he has discretion about warning anyone who is 'criticised expressly or inferentially in the evidence in order' but said in a ruling during the inquiry that he 'cannot include any explicit or significant criticism of a person to whom I have not given such a warning.' It means that those who do not receive a second warning letter can confidently expect to escape censure in his final report.

Yer actual Matt Smith his very self has hinted that a monster from the classic series of Doctor Who could soon return. coughZygonscough. Sorry, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has been rather chesty of later. Anyway, the actor told TV Choice that an enemy from the show's original 1963-1989 run might make an appearance in a future episode. 'Perhaps there are some classic monsters coming back,' he hinted. 'There's one I'm very intrigued by, which we haven't seen for quite some time.' Quizzed about the returning threat, Smith clarified: '[It's] a thing we haven't seen since the series returned to our screens in 2005.' So, let us let Zygons be Zygons. As it were. Meanwhile, Smudger has said that Jenna-Louise Coleman's character - Avocado - will 'redefine' his role as The Doctor. The former Emmerdale and Waterloo Road  actress takes over as the Doctor's companion part-way through the next series oafter the departure of Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Asked how the Doctor would change without Amy and Rory, Smudger told that bastion of truthful honest journalism Heat magazine: 'That's something I'm trying to explore in the playing of him at the moment. I think a new companion coming in changes who he is, so hopefully there'll be some kind of fruits in that relationship redefining him a little.' Gillan added: 'I think The Doctor's going to be sad to see the Ponds leave, but he's also going to carry on, because that's what he's done for the past fifty years, essentially.' On the subject of how Coleman has been getting on, Smith said: 'She's doing brilliantly. She's actually doing night shoots as we speak, poor thing.'

The third part of the Doctor Who web series Pond Life has been released by the BBC. The latest instalment - again written by Chris Chibnall - features Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill) and a popular returning monster. The Ood's intrusion into Amy and Rory's bathroom follows Tuesday's second episode, in which The Doctor stumbled into the couple's bedroom.
The Great British Bake Off is still delivering some remarkable ratings for BBC2,the latest episode being watched by nearly 4.2m punters on Tuesday night. The third edition of the new series of the cookery show served up an average of 4.17m, with the audience growing healthily between 8pm and 9pm, peaking near to five million in the last five minutes. Bake Off's continued prowess also had a positive effect on The Midwives, which climbed four hundred and seventy thousand viewers week-on-week to 2.57m in the 9pm hour. Meanwhile, Jimmy McGovern's unhealthy misery-fest Accused shed more viewers (for the second week in a row), although it still comfortably won its post-watershed slot with 4.08m. BBC1's fellow dramas Holby City and EastEnders performed solidly earlier on. A Born To Kill? documentary about Myra Hindley boosted Channel Five, drawing 1.48m at 8pm. Channel Four's ninety-minute religious documentary - Islam: The Untold Story - interested 1.24m from 9pm, while a repeat of ITV's Lewis had 2.39m between 8pm and 10pm. Overall, BBC1 scored another convincing primetime win with 21.7 per cent against ITV's 12.5 per cent.

Clare Balding has claimed that The X Factor 'feels different' after the London 2012 Olympics. The presenter told Heat that the 'fair' and 'brutal' world of the games has cast the reality talent show in a new light. 'I watched The X Factor last Saturday. It just felt different,' she said. 'After the Olympics, we now really admire real people, achieving things that have taken a lot of training and dedication, and some hint of sacrifice.' She added: 'They win or they lose and it's a fair world, but it's quite brutal. And I think we all just watched The X Factor a little more cynically than before and it didn't feel right. It's like suddenly the chocolate you eat is fake. You know, it just doesn't taste like chocolate any more.' And, you've only just realise this, Clare? Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens has said that a legacy of the Olympics was the proof that 'hard work and dedication makes real superstars.' Record-breaking Olympian Chris Hoy has admitted that he is 'not a huge fan of reality TV,' adding: 'Real life is not about instant gratification or overnight fame.'

The former Times journalist Patrick Foster has been arrested by Metropolitan police detectives investigating computer hacking. Foster was arrested at his home address in North London early on Wednesday morning. The Met said the arrest related to 'suspected offences under the Computer Misuse Act and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.' Scotland Yard added that the arrest related to the 'identification of a previously anonymous blogger in 2009.' The blogger is understood to be Richard Horton, a police constable who was unmasked by The Times as the man behind the NightJack blog in 2009. The arrested individual was being questioned at a North London police station on Wednesday morning. This arrest is the first by Scotland Yard's Operation Tuleta investigation into computer hacking that relates specifically to the NightJack case. Horton was unmasked as the NightJack blogger in July 2009. Horton's blog, which won the prestigious Orwell prize for its descriptions of a PC's life, was then closed down and he was reprimanded by his police superiors. Foster is a former graduate trainee at The Times. He left the paper in 2011 and has since written freelance articles for the Daily Torygraph and the Gruniad Morning Star. The NightJack affair resurfaced in February at the Leveson inquiry into press ethics. James Harding, the editor of The Times, and the paper's former legal manager, Alastair Brett, gave evidence to the inquiry over the identification of Horton as NightJack. Horton is now suing the publisher of The Times, News International subsidiary Times Newspapers, for breach of confidence, misuse of private information and deceit. For mucho wonga. The Lancashire detective's claims all arise from the alleged unlawful accessing of his e-mail account in May 2009.

Bob Bird, the former Scotland editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, has been arrested and charged by police investigating allegations of perjury and phone-hacking linked to Tommy Sheridan's conviction for lying in court. Strathclyde police took Bird in for questioning on Wednesday morning as part of their long-running Operation Rubicon inquiry into claims that witnesses lied under oath during the perjury trial of the Scottish socialist leader Tommy Sheridan in 2010. Bird was later released from custody and a report will now be prepared for prosecutors. A Strathclyde police spokewoman said: 'Officers from Operation Rubicon of Strathclyde Police arrested and charged a fifty six-year-old man with attempting to pervert the course of justice at the time of the defamation action of Thomas Sheridan versus News Groups Newspapers. A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in Glasgow. Proceedings are now active and it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further.' The Crown Office said that Bird was arrested and charged on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Bird is the third former Scum of the World journalist to be held by Strathclyde detectives. His former boss, Andy Coulson, was arrested on suspicion of lying under oath during Sheridan's trial and charged with perjury in May. Bird's former news editor on the scum tabloid's Scottish edition and later Scum of the World's books editor, Doug Wight, was arrested and charged two weeks ago as part of the same investigation. Wight was charged with perjury, conspiracy to hack telephones and breaches of the data protection acts. All three deny the charges. Operation Rubicon was set up in the wake of the closure of the Scum of the World in shame and ignominy last summer, following allegations that News International staff had hacked the phone of the missing schoolgirl Millie Dowler. In collaboration with Crown Office prosecutors, Strathclyde police are investigating allegations that Sheridan and a number of people linked to him were victims of phone hacking, allegations that data protection legislation was breached, and that witnesses in Sheridan's trial lied under oath. Sheridan was convicted in December 2010 of committing perjury when he won a celebrated defamation action against the Scum of the World in 2006, after the paper published detailed allegations about his sex life and alleged adultery.

This Is England star Chanel Cresswell has revealed that the cast are still hoping for a final series of the drama. Shane Meadows was reported to have stopped work on a third TV series based on his 2006 film to focus on his Stone Roses documentary. 'I don't know [if there will be another series], it depends,' Cresswell told reporters. 'Obviously This Is England '90 would be the next one, but we haven't had a definite no or a yes yet. But we all wish it will happen, because that would be a good end. The '90s will be a really fun time to do.' Cresswell - who stars in Sky's wretched, worthless comedy Trollied - plays Kelly Jenkins in the Channel Four drama. 'In This is England, you work really hard and rightly so,' the twenty two-year-old actress explained. 'Shane does it spot on. Filming that, he makes you live what you're filming and your personality does change.'

The BBC has been accused of 'stereotyping Muslims' in its new sitcom, Citizen Khan although by whom is matter for some debate. The broadcaster has reportedly received one hundred and eighty five complaints since the first episode was broadcast on BBC1 on Monday, with some of these allegedly claiming that the sitcom was a 'tasteless depiction of Islam.' Given that it's written by and stars several Muslims, some may feel that's an odd assertion. It's a bit like claiming Mrs Brown's Boys gives a stereotypical representation of the Irish. Complaints are said to have risen overnight, however, the BBC said it has evidence of a lobbying campaign. The six-part series follows a Muslim community worker in Birmingham. It was created by British Muslim, Adil Ray, who also stars in the show. Other members of the cast include My Family's Kris Marshall as a mosque manager and Shobu Kapoor, who played Gita in EastEnders, as Mrs Khan. The media watchdog, Ofcom, said it received 'in the region of twenty' complaints about the programme. One viewer who complained to the BBC said the show 'insulted' and 'ridiculed' Islam. 'We feel though as if this show has crossed the line and we expected a comedy show but now we have witnessed a mocking show,' said the viewer. Who, exactly, 'we' referred to, he or she didn't say. Another wrote that the content was 'bigoted' and 'offensive.' But others, commenting on a BBC messageboard following Monday night's broadcast defended the show. Referring to a scene in which a teenage daughter hastily changed her attire before her father entered the room, one said: 'People are reading too much into Citizen Khan, especially the hijab thing, it happens!' Comedian Humza Arshad, star of the hit Internet comedy Diary of a Badman, told the BBC's Asian Network that he felt some of the jokes 'went a bit too far. I wasn't offended but I think some other people might be. For example, the scene with the Qu'ran. Personally I'd play it safe. Some people might complain about it - I've got similar feedback myself by the audience, the Muslim community is one of the most sensitive communities out there.' Former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Yousuf Bhailok said the show was 'the best thing the BBC has done recently. It is good to change the stereotyped image of Muslims always being serious and shouting that has appeared so often in the media,' he said. 'There is great humour among Muslims. I am glad it has been made.' Reviews of the show have been mixed, with the website, Asian Image saying that it split opinion. But then, so did Dad's Army when it started so that's not, necessarily, a bad thing. 'Asians will easily identify with the over-emotional Mrs Khan, the daughter who lives a double life and the sensitive Amjad,' said reviewer Amjad Malik. 'It was stereotypical because in many respects that is what comedy is about. The jokes were a little poor in parts but I sense the criticism is a little unfair.' Arifa Akbar, writing in the Independent said it wasn't a bad comedy, 'it just wasn't new. Comedy doesn't have a duty to represent real people, but it does need to be funny, and while a family comedy requires a broad appeal, this is no reason to unspool recycled jokes that worked a treat forty years ago,' said Akbar. The criticism was echoed in the Daily Lies, which added: 'The show's weakness isn't so much that it's a niche comedy but the fact that its style feels incredibly dated, like an old-fashioned studio sitcom from twenty-odd years back.' Meanwhile, a review in the Gruniad Morning Star described the sitcom as 'un-bold' and 'safe.' The BBC said the first episode of Citizen Khan was watched by 3.6 million viewers, which it described as 'a very positive start.' A spokeswoman said: 'We're delighted that so many people enjoyed this new comedy and we have received a number of appreciations from members of the Muslim community and beyond in praise of the show and for creator Adil Ray, who like the family portrayed, is a British Pakistani Muslim. Alongside these appreciations, a small percentage of viewers have complained to the BBC regarding the show's portrayal of the Muslim community. New comedy always provokes differing reactions from the audience and as with all sitcoms the characters are comic creations and not meant to be representative of the community as a whole,' she added. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self, incidentally, thought it was a pretty decent effort for a first episode - I agree about the feel being rather old-fashioned in some ways - again, not that this is necessarily a bad thing, Miranda has a similar 'I've seen this before' quality to it. But, overall, it had enough jokes which worked in the first half-hour to keep me vaguely interested. And, in terms of any sitcom these days, that's a big plus.

American Idol producer nasty Nigel Lythgoe is to develop a remake of the 1980s musical TV series Fame. The original show, based on the Oscar-winning 1980 film, followed the students of the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. The new series will be set in the present day against the backdrop of a fixation with the world of celebrity. Lythgoe, who is also a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, will make the show in partnership with MGM TV. Lythgoe said in a statement the remake would 'expose the gritty struggle, heartache and pain endured in the search for stardom and the often lofty price paid for success.' Lythgoe added: 'In my lifetime, I've discovered a great many incredibly talented individuals - some have achieved stardom. Simultaneously, I've seen many dreams shattered, egos destroyed and lives changed forever. The end destination may well be fame and fortune, but the road to stardom is littered with broken hearts. I look forward to stripping away the glitter and glamour and revealing the true mixture of passion, humanity, exhaustion and sacrifice that these richly talented individuals endure on their road to fame.' The first Fame TV series began in 1982 and ran for five seasons, spawning an LP and a number of - frankly appalling - singles.

Complaints about unwanted marketing calls have trebled to almost ten thousand a month since the beginning of 2012 thanks to a huge surge in activity by PPI and accident claim firms. Telecoms watchdog Ofcom said that in July alone nine thousand eight hundred and three complaints about unsolicited marketing calls were registered with the Telephone Preference Service, the official central opt-out register on which householders can record their preference not to receive such calls. This compares with three thousand two hundred and twelve complaints in December 2011. 'The problem [with such calls] is a growing issue and can be partly attributed to an increase in the aggressive marketing practices of PPI and accident claims firms,' said an Ofcom spokeswoman. The number of people who have complained to the telecoms watchdog about silent or abandoned calls has also trebled to more than three thousand a month since the beginning of the year. Silent calls have become an increasing cause of nuisance and alarm, particularly for older people. They occur when automatic dialer systems used by call centres make more calls than they have people to take them. If there is no one available to take an answered call it is automatically dropped; the consumer will hear nothing before being cut off. Under Ofcom's rules the number of abandoned calls companies make to consumers each day is not allowed to exceed three per cent of the total live calls made on that day. In January 2012 one thousand one hundred and thirty two complaints about such calls were made to Ofcom, a figure little changed from six months earlier. However, since then complaints have rocketed, reaching three thousand three hundred and ninety in July. In April Ofcom fined home insurance and repairs firm HomeServe seven hundred and fifty thousand smackers for making excessive numbers of silent and abandoned calls. At the time Claudio Pollock, Ofcom's consumer director, said: 'We hope the fine will send a strong message to all companies that use call centres that they need to ensure they are fully compliant with the rules or face the consequences.' But, seemingly, it hasn't. The number of complaints suggests that the problem of silent calls is growing, although Ofcom attributes much of the rise to changes in the way it has collated its data over the last few months and a growing awareness by householders about how to complain. Ofcom can take enforcement action against companies making silent calls and is currently investigating two, npower and TalkTalk. Complaints about receiving abandoned and/or silent calls can be registered on its website. The Information Commissioner's Office is responsible for taking enforcement action where a company makes marketing calls to a person who is registered with the TPS and has not given prior consent to receive such calls. Consumers can complain directly to the ICO on its website. For a complaint to be recorded by the TPS, the person making the complaint must have been registered with it for at least twenty eight days. 'The real problem is that companies are prepared to break the law because the Information Commissioner's Office, which is responsible for enforcing the law, hasn't been flexing its muscles. As a result there's no real deterrent for wrong-doers,' said a spokesman for the Direct Marketing Association which runs the TPS. Jo Connell, chair of the Communications Consumer Panel, which highlights consumer issues to Ofcom, said the steep rise in the number of complaints to the TPS was 'of serious concern. We encourage Ofcom, the Information Commissioner and TPS to strengthen their co-operative efforts and take action to reduce the incidence of unwanted calls,' she said.

Artist Damien Hirst has revealed the inspiration for his famous spin paintings - an episode of children's TV show Blue Peter, which demonstrated the technique in 1975. Presenter John Noakes made a rudimentary spin painting on air, watched by a nine-year-old Hirst. 'I grew up with Blue Peter,' he said. 'I got my idea for the spin paintings from an episode in the 1970s.' Hirst is seen making his artworks on the CBBC show on Thursday. His signature spin paintings have sold for more than one million quid and have helped make him one of the world's most celebrated and wealthy artists. 'I never thought it was real art,' he said of spin painting. 'I remember thinking, "That's fun, whereas art is something more serious." And then as I got older, I started thinking about Van Gogh and all those painters, and cutting your ear off when you're painting, and at that point I thought, "Why does it have to be like that?" I thought, "No, actually, the better art is the art made with the spin machine."' Hirst's passion was then piqued by a stall at a school fete that charged five pence to make a spin painting. 'I queued up all day and I was making them over and over again,' he told the show. Now forty seven, Hirst has gone on to become one of Britain's most well-known but divisive artists. His first major retrospective, which is drawing to a close at Tate Modern in London, has been a hit with visitors, and he created a giant spin-style painting to adorn the floor of the Olympic Stadium for the 2012 London Games closing ceremony. But his detractors include art critic Julian Spalding,who sounds like one of those people who talk loudly in restaurants, who recently suggested Hirst's pieces had 'no artistic content' and would soon be 'worthless financially.' Oooo, get her. Hirst has been presented with a gold Blue Peter badge to recognise his contribution to British art and he will be seen showing children how to make spin paintings on the show on Thursday. Blue Peter editor Tim Levell said: 'I imagine a young Damien Hirst watching Blue Peter with wide-eyed wonder and then going out and trying something new that eventually inspired a whole body of his work. We hope the show continues to inspire and encourage today's children with every episode.'

Three adverts trumpeting the high welfare standards of pork sold with the Red Tractor quality mark have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, which found the claims could mislead consumers into thinking pig welfare in Britain was better than it is. 'This is a victory for consumers, who deserve to be able to choose higher welfare meat without being misled,' said Joyce D'Silva from campaign group Compassion in World Farming, which made the complaint. 'Claims of high welfare are clearly a lucrative marketing tool but in this case they were overblown and misleading to the consumer. The "pork not porkies" claim on the advert makes this a particularly embarrassing own-goal for Red Tractor pork. This is also a victory for those pig farmers in the UK who adhere to higher welfare standards like the Soil Association's organic standard or the RSPCA's Freedom Food.' Most British farms are members of the Red Tractor scheme, a label of the Assured Food Standards scheme, accounting for forty per cent of pork sold on UK shelves. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board told ASA the three adverts it commissioned were intended to compare the welfare standards of Britain and pork imported from many EU countries, where sow stalls are still in use despite an imminent EU ban and castration is still common practice. The ASA said that this comparison was unclear and that consumers could interpret the adverts as championing the general level of pig welfare in the UK. 'We considered that the claim implied that there were no concerns about the welfare of pigs in the UK, whereas some areas were unlikely to be regarded as "high" welfare,' it said in its adjudication. CIWF has said it is particularly concerned by the scheme's guidelines on the use of slatted flooring and farrowing crates for sows. D'Silva said: 'The Red Tractor labelling scheme for pork does not guarantee high welfare and we are delighted that the ASA agrees with us that the claim was misleading.' In a statement, the RSPCA said that although some Red Tractor farms went 'well above' the basic scheme requirements, others were failing to meet all the animals' needs. But it added: 'Under the Red Tractor scheme pigs can be kept on bare concrete or slatted floors with no comfortable bedding or suitable materials such as straw to root around in – not conditions which the RSPCA, and many shoppers, would equate with "high welfare."' The ASA found that Red Tractor made efforts to control the use of these methods, and that it set stringent standards for their farms with spot checks and inspections. It also pointed out that, due to differences such as a ban on sow stalls in place in the UK since 1999, 'the quality of pig welfare in the UK was high in comparison with the welfare of pigs in many European countries.' In a statement, Red Tractor claimed that animal welfare was at the core of its standards. 'We are pleased that the ASA ruling accepts that Red Tractor pork is produced to higher standards than the EU legislation that underpins pork production in the rest of Europe, but we are slightly disappointed that the ASA felt that this obvious point of reference should have been made more explicit in the adverts. The fact is that much of the imported pork that we see on shelves is produced in systems that would be illegal in the UK, let alone below Red Tractor standards. Even changes to EU pig welfare regulations that come into effect from January 2013 still won't be on par with the Red Tractor standards.' BPEX, a division of the AHDB, said it accepted the ASA's ruling on what it considered 'a small technicality.' Director Mick Sloyan said: 'We will continue to promote the independently audited standards behind Red Tractor pork and pork products, including welfare, in a way that is absolutely clear to consumers.'

The advertising watchdog has told BSkyB to stop 'exaggerating' the speed of its film download service, after rival BT complained its claim that it was 'instant' was misleading. BSkyB ran a press advertisement promoting its new film rental service, Sky Store, marketing it as a 'movie store in your home – available instantly through your Sky+ box. Rent movies instantly.' BT, which owns rival pay-TV broadband video service BT Vision, lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority. The telecoms company argued that BSkyB's claim misleadingly exaggerated the speed with which films would be available to consumers using the service. BSkyB countered that customers would understand that 'rent movies instantly' meant via a download to the Sky+ box, and that films would be available to view very quickly – 'within seconds, as opposed to minutes.' The advertising watchdog was not swayed by BSkyB's argument. It said that making a claim of 'instant' indicated to consumers that they could watch a film 'straightaway, or with no noticeable delay,' when in fact Sky admitted that for some viewers with slower broadband connections the delay could be considerably longer. 'We considered that a delay of up to a minute for most customers (and longer for those with slower broadband connections) would not be in line with their reasonable expectations for an online movie service which was described as "instant"' the ASA ruled. 'We therefore considered that the ad had exaggerated the capabilities of the service and we concluded that it was likely to mislead.' The ASA told Sky not to exaggerate the speed with which consumers would be able to access movies using the Sky Store service.

Two attendees were ejected from Republican National Convention on Tuesday for throwing nuts at a black CNN camerawoman. The individuals told her 'this is how we feed animals' as they threw the nuts, multiple witness said. Convention security and police removed the two from the convention centre shortly after the incident. In a statement, convention officials said the attendees had 'exhibited deplorable behaviour. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.' The identities of the two ejected was unclear. News broadcaster CNN confirmed the incident but had no additional comment. The incident happened on Tuesday in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where delegates officially nominated Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate to face President Barack Obama in the November presidential election.

The Paralympic flame has reached outer London as part of a twenty four-hour torch relay to herald the start of the 2012 Games. Four national flames, kindled last week, were united in a cauldron at a ceremony in Stoke Mandeville - the spiritual home of the Paralympics. A flame lit from that cauldron is being carried ninety two miles from Buckinghamshire to London's Olympic Stadium. The Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are among those attending Wednesday's opening ceremony. Crowds gathered in the market square in Aylesbury, to watch the start of the relay on Tuesday night and thousands more turned out overnight to cheer on the torchbearers along the route. Running about ninety minutes late, the flame, which is being carried by some five hundred and eighty torchbearers in total, is due to arrive at Britain's first traditional Hindu temple, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in Brent. It will then visit Lord's, London Zoo and the Abbey Road zebra crossing made famous by The Beatles among other famous landmarks in the capital. In Trafalgar Square later, former boxer Michael Watson, wheelchair racer Dame Tanni Grey Thompson and Paralympic swimmer Chris Holmes will carry the flame. About three thousand invited guests, including Paralympians, representatives from disability groups and local residents, attended Tuesday evening's ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Some one hundred and fifty local residents took part in a lantern procession and formed a guard of honour for eight torchbearers who carried flames representing England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The children who were invited to take part in the procession, together with their parents, had gathered at Stoke Mandeville last week to make the lanterns out of canes, tissue paper and sticky tape. One of those involved was twelve-year-old William Lansdown from Hazlemere in Buckinghamshire, who has Down's Syndrome and attends a sports group for disabled children. 'The lanterns looked brilliant,' said William's mother, Lynn. 'It was a great atmosphere, with the emphasis on families taking part and not just disabled people. The fact that so many children were involved made it special, given the theme of inspiring a generation to do more sport.' Earlier, performers entertained the crowds ahead of speeches by International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven, Lord Coe, chairman of Games organisers LOCOG, and the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt. Eva Loeffler, the daughter of the founder of the Paralympic Games, Dr Ludwig Guttman, paid tribute to the role the Stoke Mandeville Games - and her father - had in defining the modern Paralympic movement. Lord Coe addressed the crowd, saying he was 'excited' to be at the home of the games on the eve of their opening. Speaking of Dr Guttman, he said: 'It is simply not possible to stand here without feeling a mountainous debt of gratitude for one of the world's great visionaries.' Carrying the English flame was Katie Piper and Paralympian Tony Griffin. Piper, who suffered major injuries when her ex-boyfriend attacked her with sulphuric acid, was nominated for setting up the Katie Piper Foundation and raising awareness of burns survivors. During a ten-year career Griffin won thirty eight medals and works as Bolton's Sports Ambassador promoting disabled sport. The Scottish flame was carried by boxer Jon Jo Look, who has a prosthetic leg and coaches youngsters in the sport, and Noel McShane, who set up the National Wheelchair Tennis Association of Great Britain and the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. Darren Ferguson, a special constable who talked down a distressed man from a bridge, and Joseph Morris, who saved a girl from drowning in a river, carried the Northern Ireland flame. Julie Gilbert and Marsha Wiseman carried the Welsh flame. Shortly after 20:00, the first team of torchbearers - Paralympians chosen by the IPC - left the stadium, signalling the start of the twenty four-hour torch relay. Just before midnight the torch was carried through the village of Weston Turville, in Buckinghamshire, where residents lit candles to line the route. A London 2012 spokeswoman said: 'Each place has got a different way of doing things. In Weston Turville the candles along the street were superb, in Tring it was the sheer number of people, and in Berkhamsted there was music while the torch went along the High Street, and when it left the church bells rang out.' Making up the first team of torchbearers were IPC president Sir Philip Craven took part in five Paralympic Games mainly in wheelchair basketball, and swimming, Baroness Susan Masham represented Britain at the first two Paralympic Games winning medals in swimming and table tennis, Caz Walton has been involved in every Paralympic Games since 1964 as both an athlete and team manager, Sally Haynes took part in the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960 and went on to compete at a further three games winning medals in the Epee discipline of wheelchair fencing and table tennis, Jane Blackburn took part in five Paralympic Games between 1972 and 1992 competing in archery, athletics, lawn bowls, swimming and table tennis and winning eleven Paralympic medals including five golds. When it arrives at the Olympic Park in Stratford it will be used to light the cauldron during the opening ceremony of the games. The event, called Enlightenment and created by Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey, will showcase the skills of disabled artists with a cast of three thousand adult volunteers including injured soldiers and past Paralympic athletes.

Any club hoping to lure a big name away from yer actual Newcastle United during the remaining days of the summer transfer window would have to make an 'astronomical' offer to succeed. The Press Association says it understands only bids which the club simply 'could not ignore' would prompt the Magpies to even consider parting with the likes of skipper Fabricio Coloccini or midfielders Cheick Tioté and Yohan Cabaye. Coloccini has been linked with Premier League champions Sheikh Yer Man City in recent days, while both Tioté and Cabaye have been touted as targets for The Arse ahead of Friday's deadline. Gunners boss sour-faced Arsene Wenger has played down his reported interest in the Côte d'Ivoire international, although Newcastle counterpart Alan Pardew will be a relieved man if he gets to Saturday morning without losing any of his key players. However, potential purchasers will be left in little doubt that, with the Magpies not looking to sell, they would have to find in excess of twenty million smackers to give themselves any chance of landing a member of Pardew's blue chip brigade. Indeed, it is understood that if Wenger was to pursue an interest in Cabaye, for example, it would take much of the proceeds of Robin van Persie's twenty four million knicker switch to The Scum to unlock the door at St James' Park. The values of all three men have grown appreciably during their time on Tyneside with Coloccini recovering from a difficult start in English football to not only justify his ten million quid price-tag, but prove an astute acquisition. Both Tioté and Cabaye, of course, are products of the club's much-envied recruitment policy which has seen chief scout Graham Carr scouring the continent and identifying players with potential for the Magpies to snap up at competitive prices. The Ivorian cost Newcastle just three and a half million smackers when he joined from Dutch side FC Twente during the summer of 2010, while the Frenchman's signature was secured from Lille in return for £4.8million a year later. Both have been big hits in the Premier League with Tioté's all-action, aggressive style complementing Cabaye's cultured passing game, and both have played central roles in the club's return to prominence. Pardew, who spent the first two months of the summer hoping no club would activate the £7.5million release clause in striker Demba Ba's contract (now expired), knows all players have their price following Andy Carroll's thirty five million knicker departure for Liverpool just weeks into his reign. However, he is desperate to strengthen, rather than weaken, his current crop and to that end, still has hopes of adding further recruits of his own. Pardew has so far drafted in midfielders Dutch Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Romain Amalfitano and Australian teenage defender Curtis Good, and is keen to boost his options in both defence and attack. His interest in Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy and Twente's Brazilian central defender Douglas has been well-documented, while Carroll's proposed return from Anfield, either on loan or at a knock-down price, remains a big talking point in the press at least despite the Reds' disdain. But with all three deals having proved difficult to execute, the club has alternatives, although all activity will be governed by the insistence of owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias that they will only do business on their own terms, a policy which has occasionally frustrated fans but which, in the long term,s seems to be paying dividends.

Meanwhile, Trinity Mirra's Sunday Sun title has suffered a sales decline of more than twenty per cent in the first six months of the year, with the publisher blaming the circulation drop on the paper's local team, Newcastle United, doing 'too well' in the Premier League last season. The Sunday Sun, which has also had to face the arrival of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's near-namesake national tabloid, has reported a 22.1 per cent decline in circulation in the first half of 2012 compared to the previous six months. A spokesman for Trinity Mirra cautioned against linking the slump in circulation to the launch of News International's new national Sunday tabloid, the Sun on Sunday, first published on 26 February. Instead the spokesman pointed to the impressive performance of Newcastle United, finishing fifth in the last Premier League season that ended in May. The Magpies' strong end to the season saw more of their matches during the run-in switched from Saturday to Sunday for broadcast on Sky Sports. Just three of Newcastle's last eleven Premier League games were on a Saturday, robbing the Sunday Sun of a day of readers digesting match reports, comment and analysis. In addition, the Euro 2012 tournament meant that the usual summer of news and gossip about signings and transfers was muted during May and June. 'The ongoing economic downturn continues to present challenges across the entire regional publishing industry,' said a spokesman for Trinity Mirra. 'However, we continue to take actions to strengthen our brands across all platforms including our newspapers, websites and mobile sites.'

England captain Andrew Strauss has retired from all forms of cricket. Strauss skippered his country in fifty of his one hundred Tests and is handing over to one-day captain Alastair Cook. Strauss, thirty five, said: 'For me the driver to it all quite frankly was my form with the bat. In truth, I haven't batted well enough for a long time now. I think I have run my race.' He denied his decision to quit was influenced by the furore over Kevin Pietersen's axing from the team. Strauss scored seven thousand and thirty seven Test runs at an average of 40.91, leaving him ninth in England's all-time run-scorers list. During his time in charge, England became the world's best team for the first time. Cook, twenty seven, will take charge of his country for the first time in the four-Test series against India in November. He said: 'I'm very excited by this new challenge. It is a huge honour to be appointed Test captain and I am very much looking forward to captaining the side in India this winter and beyond.' Strauss was England's third-most experienced captain and the second-most successful behind Michael Vaughan, with a record of twenty four wins from his fifty matches at the helm. He also led the side to home and away Ashes triumphs during a run of victories which saw them crowned as the world's number one team for the first time since the rankings were introduced. Strauss added: 'I am extremely proud of everything I have achieved as a cricketer and I have found myself very fortunate to play in an era when some of English cricket's greatest moments have occurred. I have loved every minute of it. It hasn't been something that occurred overnight. It has built over a few months. I would like to go out on my own terms with my head held high and I think this is the right time.' The retirement of Strauss will be overshadowed to an extent by the unsavoury controversy involving Pietersen. Strauss was said to be the subject of 'provocative' text messages which Pietersen sent to South African players during England's two-nil series defeat by the Proteas. But Strauss was insistent he had made a decision about his future before the news of the texts broke on the eve of his one hundredth Test match at Lord's. 'I first spoke to Andy Flower about it prior to the Kevin Pietersen incident rearing its head,' he said. 'It just hasn't been a consideration. I first spoke to Andy about this a few weeks ago and said I'm considering it and would talk to him at end of the South Africa series. By the time I spoke to him again, my mind was made up and I think he knew that.' Strauss sent letters to members of the England team explaining his decision to retire and they responded by sending him one hundred bottles of wine. It was a sign of the high regard the dressing room held him in, a view Cook voiced as he paid tribute to his predecessor. 'Obviously I've got huge boots to fill,' said Cook. 'It feels like I've spent all my England career walking out to bat with him. Unfortunately it might mean I have to take the first ball now.'

German referee Dr Felix Brych embarrassed himself in a Bundesliga match between Hannover and Schalke on Sunday by drenching himself with his own bottle of water. Bet he felt like a right drip. He may well be a doctor in law and refereed some of football's top games in the Champions League, but Brych was left wet-faced after a battle with a water bottle. Mid-way through the second-half, the thirty seven-year-old saw the opportunity to take a quick swig when a Hannover defender was being treated for an injury. But despite all those years of studying, he struggled to undo the admittedly odd sachet of water. After asking for help from goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, Brych could only succeeded in bursting the liquid all over his mush. Brych was officiating Hannover's match against Schalke on Sunday, which ended 2-2 thanks to a last minute equaliser from Adrian Nikci.

Anyway, on that amusingly moist note, here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader.